Episode Three - Fallen Stars
Episode 3: Fallen Stars (Level 2)
The heroes gathers at the observatory, examining the meteor. Ichtaca explains that he had been unable to help the others with the fires, because as they left the party, an unknown assailant had attacked Professor Jennish. Ichtaca scuffled with him and drove him off, but hadn’t gotten a clear look at the man. They agree to split up, each with a different goal. Vash takes men and horses from the university, and heads out into the countryside to retrieve the remaining two meteors. Tobias and Professor Jennish go to the Abríanach libraries, hoping to learn more about the apparently psionic power of this fallen star. Ichtaca goes out into the city, trying to track down more information on whomever attacked the Professor last night, and their true intentions.
Tobias and Jennish struggle for tedious hours thorough mounds of information, trying to explain the nature of the meteor, and are able to glean useful background knowledge, plus several interesting facts. Senfaer created the stars to be stepping stones within the darkplane, like oases. The meteor seems to be a literal fallen star, or rather what is left of an intentionally crafted artifact of great power, one which serves as the physical heart of a star. The artifact is a source of raw psionic power, and sensitive individuals may be able to sense it from miles away. Seeking to understand his own power, Tobias also learns more about struggle between psionics and aberrant life, and Senfaerist orders.
Meanwhile, Icthaca questions partygoers, getting a better description of the assailant, and then hits the streets to find him. He questions an urchin, who directs him to the docks, where he struggles to make headway with the tough dockworkers there. Most of these workers are either involved with or members of the heathfolk mafia. At the western docks, controlled by The Souliaydach Family, Ichtaca has little luck, and is treated with hostility, threatened, and finally tossed into the lake, narrowly avoiding a beating. Floating in the water under a conversation above on the docks, he overhears the dockworkers complaining about him. He learns that the man he seeks is one Kraydith Bouchaylen, an enforcer for the Souliaydach family, who will be “taking care of some business” at the Shemarya clinic later tonight.
Ichtaca heads for the eastern docks, controlled by The Gumayr Family, and has better luck. Expressing an interest in joining the Gumayr family, he complains about Kraydith to an interested dockside mob enforcer. The man implies that “taking care of” Kraydith would be a fine way to impress the family, and says he will be on the docks around midnight handling “some business,” if Ichtaca wants to stop by with proof of said task. The brawny barbarian then visits a Gumayr Family brothel, where he greatly impresses one Chaldea the Lucky with his prowess. She has heard rumors that both mafia families have offered paid bounties for the "retrieval’ of skilled doctors and medically knowledgeable professors, as well as for patients infected with the Némelethe. Also, a shipment of great interest to both families is rumored to be coming in tonight at midnight. Pirates have recovered several items of value in a shipwreck, and are planning to sell them to the highest bidder in the black market. Realizing that Kraydith was sent to kidnap the professor, not kill him, Ichtaca sends word to Tobias to meet him at the clinic.
The number of infected brought in by the guards has increased, and Tobias’s makeshift clinic now encompasses two old agricultural buildings. Tobias and Ichtaca hide in a hayloft with a good view of the nearby grounds. Around sundown, Kraydith appears at the head of an angry, torch-bearing mob, the mob seems determined to burn down the clinic and end the threat of infection to the surrounding populace. The two heroes leap into action, Tobias breaking his fall in a pile of manure. The battle is intense, with fires blooming in the dry hay and more angry citizens arriving every moment. Ichtaca skillfully wields his axe, knocking out men with torches, and reserving his deadlier blows for Kraydith. Tobias lifts Kraydith into the air with his mind, incapacitating the man for a while, then slamming him into the ground with lethal efficiency. Even as he fights, he tries to conceal the true nature of his power, but loses control several times. One man collapses, veins bulging as he dies from a massive aneruism. Others fall screaming, clawing their eyes. The psion releases a ripple of power that causes dozens of people to fall unconscious, both assailants and victims alike. Ichtacha finishes off Kraydith, noticing Tobias’s power, but saves his curiosity for later. He runs to help pull patients from the first building, which is now fully ablaze. When Tobias follows several men into a clinic building, he sees only unconscious men, mob members, patients, and doctors all fallen to the floor in chaos. He puts out several small fires, and races up the stairs. Lyda has slain several attackers with her pistols, but two more are trying to drag her off through a window. Tobias reaches out with his mind and rips the head off of one assailant, spraying Lyda with blood, but scaring the last attacker to flee through the window. Shocked, Lyda asks him where he got this strange power. Tobias lies, failing to convince her of his sincerity. The battle is won, but it seems the angry mob was merely a ruze, incited by Kraydith to cover his true scheme. In the confusion, mafia members planted in the throng had penetrated the larger building and carried off three doctors and several patients. As the smaller of the two clinic buildings burns to the ground. Ichtaca confronts Tobias, demanding to know what power he brought to bear on their enemies. Again, Tobias ineffectively denies any power. The two men head for the docks to learn more about the mafia interest in the Némelethe.
As they approach the eastern docks, the two men see crowds running away, and hear shrieks of terror. Aberrant monstrosities from the lake are attacking one of the piers, writhing tentacles dragging away unlucky dockworkers alive into the watery depths. Two large creatures like mutated octopi, masses of too many eyes, beaks and tentacles, have hauled themselves up onto the docks, joined by a pair of humanoid creatures with gaping, toothy maws, slimy skin, and masses of long tentacles for arms and legs. They are snatching workers, tossing them to smaller creatures in the water nearby to be dragged away thrashing into the lake. The heroes plunge into the fray, and are quickly hard-pressed to survive. They take on the attention of the beasts, allowing a few workers to escape, and calling out to the men to bring in the city guard. Again and again they are lashed open by whip-like tentacle strikes, crushed in powerful grips, bitten into by toothy suckers, and dragged around the battlefield. Tobias is pulled into the lake, but manages to kill his assailant before he is pulled under. Ichtaca, pinned down in the arms of one hideous creature, can only scream as it bites into his face, muffling his cries with its maw and tearing into the skin around his mouth and chin with crooked yellow fangs. Bleeding and near death, Ichtaca falls to the ground. The bloodthirsty creature releases him, turning towards Tobias. Although the two heroes have managed to slay two creatures and gravely wound the other two, Ichtaca is down, Tobias is reeling from bloodloss, and things look grim. Strangely, like at the clinic, the city guard fails lto appear. As Tobias lashes out with his power in a desperate attempt to save his and Ichtacha’s lives, Professor Jennish and Lyda come running into the battle, turning the tide with a distraction and medical help at the last possible moment. Tobias and Ichtaca finish off the beasts, and listen in disbelief to Lyda and Athelsheth. The pair didn’t seek them out to assist them, but rather came looking for them expressly to get their help. Another monster, some massive, horrific thing, is attacking the library at Abríanach, and the city guard are nowhere to be seen. Vash has not returned from his trip to the countryside. It will be up to these four alone to avert the crisis.
Psionic Research Skill Challenge: 625 xp
The Mafia Connection Skill Challenge: 625 xp
Ichtaca attempting to join the Mafia: 100 xp
Trouble at the Clinic Combat Encounter: 1,058 xp
No casualties among clinic patients and staff: 200 xp
Prevented mass kidnapping of clinic patients and staff (only 3 kidnapped): 200 xp
Sparing angry mob members: 100 xp
Tobias’s loss of psionic control: 100 xp
Trouble at the Docks Combat Encounter: 750 xp
5 out of 24 dockworkers saved: 125 xp
Awesome In-party Role-Play: 200 xp
Role-Play with various NPC’s: 100 xp
Staying in-character: 100 xp
Total: 4283 xp, divided among 2 players, is 2142 each. Cumulative was previously 2538, and now is 4680. Good work! We skipped level 3, so please level up to 4!
Kraydith Bochaylen had 3 jeweled brooches, worth 100 gp each, other assorted male heathfolk jewelery, worth 100 gp total, 50 gp worth of local currency, and a custom version of the magic item “pouch of platinum.” The difference is that any currency placed in the pouch is converted into an equal value of polished, cut gemstones, which are generally accepted anywhere. (See page 296 of the compendium for gemstone values.)
Out of Session Rewards:
In-character email 1: Tobias and Vash each get one action point.
In-character email 2: Tobias and Vash each get one action point.
Vash’s email skill challenge: Vash gets one action point.
Anyone who participates in in-character email 3 may refresh their daily powers before the coming combat (or combats)!