New readers begin here…
Arriving in the Ekulan city of Teluk’Ammar, the party attempts to pass itself off as a noble and his entourage attending a royal wedding. Gutz (a thief originally from Northeim) is pretending to be the noble, not terribly well; Nessime is his advisor; and The Warforged is his personal chef, in which role he is somewhat hampered by having no sense of smell or taste, and absolutely no relevant skills.
"He’s a lousy cook," Gutz explains to the NPCs bulking out the party, "But he’s a clockwork robot. How cool is that? How many people can say they have a clockwork robot chef, eh?"
Fortunately, the NPCs bulking out the party include an actual chef, two servant boys, a real courtier, and 12 surviving Amazons (including the cute one Gutz is trying to pick up, and the one known as "You, Amazon at the back," who despite having no skill managed enough aces on her d4-2 to successfully identify an evil artifact they recovered from an assassin a little while ago). The rest of the Amazons fell victim to the river pirates mentioned in the previous episode.
It’s a fine, sunny day, which makes the thunderclaps downriver puzzling. Lookouts advise the crowd waiting at the docks that an… unusual Amazon hawk ship is approaching. With over half the rowers killed by pirates en route, The Warforged has created a low-tech version of Project Orion, and is using Blast under the No Power Points setting option as an ad-hoc propulsion method; fire off a Blast behind the ship, and use the resulting wave to boost the ship forwards. Their wake is full of dead fish.
As he describes it, this is so cool that I invoke one of my metarules and allow him to get away with it once, on the understanding that this does not establish a precedent.
The crowd thins out considerably, as the townspeople want no truck with Things Man Was Not Meant To Know, but the dignitaries and Valk guards don’t want to lose face and tough it out. The explosions cease and the ship is manoeuvred into dock by more conventional means.
Now this isn’t actually in the adventure as written, but given that Teluk’Ammar has a large contingent of Valk cavalry, I could not resist having Kumal the Smiling pop up again.
For those new to Shadows of Keron, Kumal is a long-time antagonist of the party who leads a charmed life. He has no special advantages, but the dice love him. The party has shot him, stabbed him, thrown him down a well (twice), and blown him up with Blast spells (multiple times), but he keeps coming back for more. At least he did, until a failed Fear check left him with a Major Phobia of Warforged, since when he has been trying to avoid Our Heroes. He was last seen at the Citadel of the Winged Gods, being carried off by a brace of ferocious giant fighting birds. However, I feel that having him ripped to pieces offstage is less than he deserves, so he now finds himself working as a mercenary in Teluk’Ammar.
Fortunately, the dice were kind to him again, and the party decided not to press their advantage; so he wormed his way to the back of their escort and slipped away, while The Warforged and Nessime used their Beast Friend and Puppet powers to ensure Gutz impressed the Valk with his (nonexistent) horsemanship.
This session focused on social roleplaying rather than combat – well, except for the swordfight in the pit of cobras, but that hardly counts – as the party attempted to ingratiate itself with the local nobility, hunting, dancing, engaging in political discourse and so forth.
"Let me show you the breakdance of my people," said Gutz, before getting several raises on an Agility roll boosted by Acrobatics, and doing The Worm across the ballroom floor.
Predictably, by the end of the session the bride-to-be was missing, a number of Valk warriors were mortally offended, and Our Heroes had decided that civil war was were about to break out.
"Now, I know this may sound immoral," said The Warforged, "But while the army is getting ready to leave, we could grab the wedding presents and make a run for it. It’s what Conan would do."
However, after extensive debate on this point, they decided by a narrow margin to throw their weight behind their erstwhile host, and ride out with the army.