“A Show of Rocks and Horror”

What follows are excerpts from the script to “A Show of Rocks and Horror”; a retelling of the Sigil murders from the perspective of Trevor Trevalyn, a guild member of The Bounty Hunter’s Guild.  Not written by Trev himself, many of the story elements have been greatly embellished.


DRAMATIS PERSONAE

TREV, a human bard – Fortissimo, a half-fiend
KAZUKO, a tiefling monk – Bob Rogers, a human mime
GUILDMASTER RO, a human of unknown class – Montogmery Cholmondeley, a human of high class
FRIEDRICH VON GUTERMUTH, a vampire hunter – Tassandra, a drow
CELESTIA HISTORIA, an elf mage – Elviira, a drow barbarian
LEWYN, an elf badger-fancier – Azalee, a half-fiend badger-fancier
WOLF, a villainous werewolf – Kev Kevalyan, a perfectly ordinary human
BARON ERENVEIR, a vampire serial killer – Lorelai, a sylph


ACT I
SCENE I
Tavern Interior

Enter TREVOR TREVALYAN, sat on a stool center stage, idly playing a lute.  Enter KAZUKO, stood at bar, watching.

TREV
Good evening, ladies and gentlefiends; I am Trevor Trevalyn, though most just call me Trev.  Tonight I would like, if I may, to take you on a strange journey. It seemed a fairly ordinary night when the handsome personage you see before you and his stoic tiefling acquaintance Kazzy, spent another night in the tavern that late Uktar evening.  It’s true that there were stories of murders most foul in the area in which they were residing, but they being normal kids and on a night out, well, they weren’t going to let that spoil the events of their evening were they?

Trev focuses on playing his lute.  Enter GUILDMASTER RO, approaching Kazuko with a  piece of paper in hand.

RO
Kazuko, there you art!  I hath been looking all over for thee!

KAZUKO
*nods*

RO
How would’st thou like to be a member of the newest guild in this fair city we doth call Sigil?

KAZUKO
*shrug*

Trev stops playing, walking over to the two at the bar.

TREV
What’s all this about a guild, Ro?

RO
Ah, Trev, my most charismatic friend!  On the night gone previous, I lay adrift in the realm of dreams as I am want to do, when suddenly I awake from my slumber by the sound of this very piece of parchment I do hold in mine claw, being slid under mine front door!

TREV
Let me see that… Hmm ‘Dear Sir, my name’s Fred and I kill vampires.  Do you have a vampire you want killed? Then I’m your man’. And there’s a stick figure but I can’t tell if it’s supposed to be the vampire, this ‘Fred’, or his pet cat.

Trev shows the parchment to the audience.  The writing is in crayon, and the drawing is comically oversized and looks little more than a scribble.

TREV
I don’t know, Ro, how does this relate to founding a guild?

RO
Well, my devillishly good looking friend, the fact is that the humble abode I had been inhabiting for said night happened to be a new acquisition of mine from that very day!  I had thought to found another fine drinking establishment, but with the arrival of the letter you doth read, it doth occur to me that the citizens of this city have plenty of quests that can not be fulfilled by the boys of Harmonium, nor the other constantly squabbling guilds that do name Sigil as home.  It was then that my mind did wander to thoughts of my incredibly handsome friend Trev and his punchy sidekick Kazuko!

TREV
I see, well it would certainly benefit my many adoring fans if they knew where to find me for each gig.  What do you think Kazzy?

KAZUKO
*shrug*

TREV
Very well.  Congratulations Ro, you have your first two guild members; from now on you can find Trev at the Bounty Hunter’s Guild, on the corner of Redwind Road in the Guildhall ward, 3 doors down from the ‘Other Place’ massage parlor and spa!

RO
(whispering)

How did you know where it is?

TREV
(whispering)
Shh.

[Exeunt.


ACT I
SCENE VII
Exterior Sigil Street

Enter FRIEDRICH VON GUTERMUTH, handing out flyers to passersby.  Enter CELESTIA HISTORIA with TRICO, who is handed a flyer by Friedrich.  Exit Friedrich. Celestia is focused on mapmaking as cityfolk watch her, including Celestia’s STALKER.

CITYFOLK
Now, it’s no wonder that her name means “Starry sky”
Her looks have got no corollary
But behind that fair veneer
I’m afraid she’s rather weird
Very different from the rest of us
She’s nothing like the rest of us
Yes, different from the rest of us is that girl

STALKER
Right from the moment when I met her, saw her
I said she’s gorgeous and I fell
Here in town there’s only she
Who is beautiful as me
So I’m making plans to kidnap that girl


ACT II
SCENE II
Casino interior

Enter RAKSHASA, STORM BROTHERS and CASINO PATRONS.
Musical Interlude: Tiger Feet
Storm Brothers move behind bar.  Enter WOLF who moves sinisterly to a gaming table to a chorus of boos and hisses.  Enter KAZUKO who moves to bar. Enter TREV who is immediately greeted by several succubi.

TREV
Ahh, the Fortune’s Wheel; finest place in Sigil for rolling a few dice, winning some big money, and making a few friends- if you know what I mean!  Yes, there’s no better place than the Fortune’s Wheel, found on the corner of Guvner’s Mile right opposite the courthouse!

Trev moves to bar.  Enter FRIEDRICH and LEWYN, looking stressed.  Lewyn is awkwardly concealing a badger plushie under his cloak.

FRIEDRICH
I can’t believe they almost refused me, the infamous vampire hunter Friedrich von Gutermuth, slayer of Nicolai Samael Thisor Zalisasmo Tanerivi Darkfury the 43rd, and vanquisher of Sonesari Tanese Zariva Phantiac Conardos Nararia Xanebeni Dacir Timothy Wildwing the 69th!  How could they accuse me, of all people, of being of such common cloth that I am not permitted to enter this establishment!

LEWYN
Not now, Friedrich!  Hark! A suspicious individual sits at the table over yonder!

FRIEDRICH
Aha!  Well done, my forever faithful elven companion!  Look at his hairy visage, and the almost feral way in which he throws his dice to the table!  Why, I’d wager that he is the very vampire that we have been pursuing! Have at you, foul creature of the night!  Face my unquenchable flame of life and know what it means to experience the true death at the hands of your mortal enemy Friedrich von Gutermuth!

Friedrich moves to draw his crossbow with one hand and his rapier with the other, only to be stopped by the plush badger.

LEWYN
Sir, please wait!  Should you not check with your vampire sight first?

FRIEDRICH
I am sure there is no need, my pointy eared partner in justice!  Never have my senses betrayed me where vampires are concerned! But if it please you, then I shall humour your request.

Friedrich dramatically moves his hand to his temple and stares intently at Wolf for a few seconds.  He then sheathes his weapons.

FRIEDRICH
It seems your elf eyes perceived the truth better than my own on this day, Lewyn.  Thank you, else an innocent may have lost their life by my hand; I could not forgive myself if one as innocent as he was to die by these hands, meant solely for the eradication of those foul creatures which call the darkness their home.

LEWYN
Your praise flatters me, sir, but do not feel downhearted yet; he still seems suspicious, and praytell is that more suspicious individuals that do approach?  Come, let us listen to them converse.

Enter SALT and PEPPER, moving towards Wolf.  Friedrich, Lewyn, Trev and Kazuko all move to listen.

WOLF
I told you not to bother me here, gargoyle filth.

Salt and Pepper laugh.

WOLF
Shut up, idiots.  What do you want?

SALT
Hehe.  Not to “quarry” boss.  She’s “dust”. Hehe.

PEPPER
Yeah.  Heh. Between a “rock” and a hard place.  I “chip”ped in too. Hehehe. She was “Gravel”ling at our feet.

WOLF
Morons!  Don’t say that here, who knows who could be listening??

Wolf dramatically looks around.  Friedrich et al. nonchalantly start whistling, and go back to eavesdropping position as Wolf relaxes.

WOLF
Meet me at the usual place, and don’t come here again.  Understand?

SALT
Of “quartz” boss.

PEPPER
“Crystal” clear.  Hehe.

WOLF
Ugh, are those two really the best the master could cobble together?  Still I guess I shouldn’t take them for granite…

[Exeunt Wolf, Salt and Pepper.
Exeunt Friedrich et al., each putting a finger
to their lips to shush the person who follows,
ending with Lewyn shushing the plush badger.


ACT II
SCENE X
Casino Interior

Enter TUMUNNU, sitting on a comically undersized stool, watching a small screen.  Enter TREV, standing to the side of Tumunnu, also watching the screen. Enter CROUPIER, FRIEDRICH, LEWYN and WOLF, approaching a gaming table.

LEWYN
This chap is obviously a con man… Can’t we just move on-?

WOLF (interrupting)
Don’t you disrespect me, little man!
Don’t you derogate or deride
You’re in my world now, not your world
And I got friends waiting outside

SALT and PEPPER (off-stage)
He’s got friends waiting outside…

WOLF
Sit down at my table
Put your mind at ease
If you relax it’ll enable me
To do anything I please
I can read your poker face
I can change your luck some too
I see deep into your heart and soul
And make your pockets empty too
The cards, the cards, the cards will tell-

FRIEDRICH (interrupting)
Now hold on just a moment, you stole that from The Froggie Printo!

WOLF (confused)
What? What are you talking about?

FRIEDRICH
That song just now!  That’s the same song from The Froggie Printo, you just changed some of the words about!

WOLF
No I didn’t!

FRIEDRICH
Yes you did!  My mother had the bards sing that to me every night!

WOLF
Grr… Well so what if I did?  How else am I supposed to get a cool villain song?

FRIEDRICH
I don’t know, maybe when you’re discussing your nefarious deeds with the gargoyle twins?

WOLF
But then it’d spoil the big reveal that my boss is a vampire!

FRIEDRICH
Of course he’s a bloody vampire, everyone already knows that!  Why else would I, Friedrich von Gutermuth, VAMPIRE SLAYER be here?!

Enter BARON ERENVEIR

ERENVEIR
Is that my cue???

EVERYONE
No!!!

[Exit Erenveir.

LEWYN (panicked)
Has anyone seen my badger?!?

[Exeunt pursued by badger.


ACT III
SCENE XIII
Erenveir Mansion exterior

Enter FRIEDRICH, CELESTIA, KAZUKO and TREV, bursting through a window as the Erenveir mansion collapses into rubble.  Trev approaches the audience, plucking his lute as Friedrich et al. look back at the remains of the mansion.

TREV
And so the wicked Baron Erenveir and his vampire thrall that masterminded the plan were vanquished.  Wolf was in custody, and the gargoyles that were simply carrying out orders had returned to dust. Once again, the streets of Sigil were safe.

A scream is heard from off-stage.  The Guildhouse set slowly begins to rise from the stage.

TREV
Well, as safe as the streets of Sigil can be.  And from the metaphorical ashes of the Erenveir mansion, a new and prosperous guild grows… But what of the heroes that saved the day?

Friedrich approaches center stage, striking a heroic pose with crossbow over one shoulder and hat pulled down over face.

TREV
Freddie continues offering his vampire hunting services to anyone who needs it.  No new cases yet, but as soon as one reveals itself from the shadows, he will be waiting.

Enter GUILDMASTER RO, walking up to Friedrich and shaking his hand.

TREV
He even offered his family’s savings to help renovate the guild into the gaudy yet strangely appealing premises it is today.

[Exeunt Friedrich and Ro.

Celestia approaches center stage, curtsies, then stands up straight, puts her hand up to her mouth and laughs.

TREV
Celestia has her own business to attend to, apparently in defiance of the guild’s name becoming the Bounty Hunter’s Guild, though in spite of this she can still often be found in the guildhouse, sitting in her usual spot by the window with her trusty owl familiar.  She’s yet to set anyone else on fire, though none dare provoke her.

[Exit Celestia.

Kazuko approaches center stage and performs a brief martial arts display.

TREV
Kazzy’s continuing her quest for self-improvement, and trains at the Great Gymnasium on a daily basis.  It’s believed she’s made it her personal goal to hold her own in a fight against Tummunu.

[Exit Kazuko.

Lewyn approaches center stage and gives an elegant bow.

TREV
Lewyn is still residing in the guild, just waiting to see what adventure will find him…

Enter BADGER, chasing Lewyn.

[Exeunt Lewyn and badger.

TREV
…I don’t know the badger’s name, but I personally like to call him ‘Adventure’.  As for me? I still travel Sigil, finding new venues to play the ol’ lute ‘n’ flute.  But I must admit, it’s pretty nice having a home to go to where everyone knows your name.

[Exit Trev, through the fully revealed guild door.
All female cast members follow, giggling.


Advertisements

Savage Species: A Supplement to the Tempus Sigilian. Issue #212.

Hello darlings! Letitia here, your fabulous feathered fashionista and fountain of facts for all things fantastic in our fair city of Sigil!

As you are no doubt aware, it’s entertainment season in the Outlands!  Although Sigil remains unchanging, all our wonderful gate towns are starting to have longer days and warmer nights, which may be bad news for denizens of Cania but for most of us it’s the perfect weather for a show!  This week our focus is on two particular shows, both inspired by the Baron Erenveir attacks two months ago.

Firstly, there’s to be a benefit concert held in Broken Reach to raise funds for the families of the victims of Baron Erenveir; this will be headlined by none other than Sigil’s Sweetheart Ika Ne!  For anyone yet to have the pleasure of attending one of Ika’s performances, you are in for a treat; her heavenly voice (somewhat ironic for a tiefling!) is accompanied by an amazing array of illusions performed by a professional team of bards, promising a display that will feel like you’re being flung through the forests of Arborea to the snowfields of Ysgard without ever leaving your seat!  Touched by the stories of the people of Plague Mort, and the tragic betrayal felt by the refugees of Ravenloft, Ika decided to perform in this once-in-a-lifetime concert.  Red Shroud has graciously provided the venue for the event, as the self-proclaimed ‘demoness of public relations’ also sees this as a perfect opportunity to showcase how far Broken Reach has come as we approach the bicentennial of Bladed Reach’s collapse.  As I write this the stage itself is being constructed by the very same Sensate architects that designed Red Shroud’s magnificent floating palace of white marble and red glass, which is sure to be an amazing setpiece against the backdrop of the Abyss’ dramatic red sun.
Though the setlist is still to be confirmed, it’s expected that we will see Ika supported by other big names such as the super hot boyband ‘Super Jupiter’, Tiara who famously collaborated with Ika on their hit song ‘Rabbit’, and we might even get a homecoming performance from the Succubus Sensations ‘Future Dawn’!
And for anyone that might be cautious of visiting the Abyss: relax!  Red Shroud boasts of her fortress town being completely impenetrable even if the armies of Mithrengo attack- a fact that has been proven several times over the past two centuries.  We may even get a surprise appearance from the guildmates of the Bounty Hunter’s Guild, as it’s rumoured they have been given VIP invitations from Ika herself!  Though one person that may not be attending is Trevor Trevalyan, as there’s rumours abound that he will be involved in our other big event…

For anyone unable to get to Broken Reach, or if you simply aren’t a fan of magically enhanced talent- preferring instead to see good traditional acting and practical set design- we have an event for you!  Sponsored by The Tempus Sigilian (the cosmos’ only inter-planar news outlet) and devised by the genius mind of Fortissimo (creator of such hit shows as the tragic ‘La Caduta’, the moving story of a house of drow collapsing by their own hand; and the side-splitting comedy ‘Journey Through the Nine Hells’) comes the long-awaited comedy musical ‘A Show of Rocks and Horror’!  The show promises a ‘mostly’ true account of the events that led to Baron Erenveir’s demise from the perspective of the Bounty Hunter’s Guild, specifically our favourite heartthrob Trevor Trevalyn! See why I suggest he may not be at Ika’s concert? Who wouldn’t turn up to see themselves portrayed on stage!
The show will feature an all-star cast including Fortissimo herself (winner of the ‘Garl Glittergold’ Best Actress award for her performance as Bruna Glannaz in ‘La Caduta’) as Trevor himself, Lorelai the Sylph (nominee for Best Supporting Actress as Tatyana in ‘Strahd: La Vita di un Vampiro’) as the wicked Baron Erenveir, and introducing Elviira as Lady Celestia Historia.
This show will premier at The Lady’s Tressel in The Hive at the same time as Ika’s concert, but don’t worry if you miss it!  If all goes well the group intend on touring Sigil over the coming weeks.

So there you have it, two unmissable events at the same time!  Make your decision wisely; I know I have, as I will be writing the review for A Show of Rocks and Horror in our next issue (plus I might even meet my beloved Trevor!)

So until next time, goodbye and remember- if you can’t be good, be scandalous!

Escapism

From the journal of Sabine.  Extra effort has been put into the handwriting, and the general presentation is made to look as perfect as possible.  Writing style is deliberately as devoid of emotion as possible, for reasons that will hopefully become clear.


 

Journal of Sabine.
Chandlerscross, Scardale.
Date unknown.  But I am cold.

In 24 hours we have witnessed as much of Chandlerscross as I care to.  As we split up to get our bearings on the town, Arosea, ever the good natured Halfling, witnessed a mugging in an alley and decided to get involved.  Being clearly outnumbered, she sought help from a local guard, only for her to see firsthand how deep the corruption spreads in this place, as rather than help they promptly arrested her, seemingly just because the guard felt like it.  I placed a Status spell on her so I would know where she was being taken and if she was in any danger, and also attempted to offer some words of reassurance.  Unfortunately there was nothing we could do to sway the guards’ opinion.
A man informed us that he could help us get our friend back, and gave us vague directions for meeting him.  We found our way there, and Jessie managed to talk our way in to what was evidently the hideout for The Watch, one of the more prominent gangs of Chandlerscross.  I have been given a vision of the life I could have had.

Before entering I had changed out of my cleric vestments, as I have no particular desire for Sabine the Cleric to be identified with Sabine the Rogue.  It may not be a particularly effective disguise, but it at least gives me some basis for an alibi, and should we be on the run they’ll be looking for a rogue rather than a cleric which gives me the advantage.  The hideout itself was highly reminiscent of some of the places I visited back in Sembia.  A motley crew of characters from all walks of life with one common purpose.  They seemed far too eager to help us with the jailbreak with little reward for themselves other than the thrill of annoying Sembia, so naturally I was distrustful.  They are either fools or willing to sell us out at any second, so I wouldn’t take any chances.  My Status spell indicated to me that Arosea was not having a pleasant time, likely being beaten for information, so I knew we would have to hurry our plans; first deciding that entering via the sewer system would be safer and likely waste less time than attempting to talk our way in.  We would then have to find Watch members that could accompany us, as the three of us alone would not stand a chance.  Lasslyn naturally gravitated towards the most imposing figure in the room, a half-orc barbarian nearly twice her size.  They seemed to get along marvellously, though I was unsure how useful another pair of muscles would be.  Jessie was mingling and found a sellsword and an archer… again, I questioned their use.  They seem like decent enough folk, so I will protect their identities in case this journal should somehow fall into the wrong hands.  I surveyed the room to find anyone that may actually be of use, and noticed a girl called Myrrh, fully equipped with thieves tools and daggers, counting money- exactly the sort of person we would need to help unlock doors and disable traps.  I approached Myrrh, hoping to talk as one professional to another, but things did not go smoothly.  I was still getting feedback of pain from Arosea, and was quickly losing my patience which apparently affected my demeanor.  I reunited with my companions as we discussed who should be brought.  Lasslyn was very insistent we bring the half-orc, and Jessie was just as insistent we don’t bring the bard that was present.  At this point I didn’t much care as we were running out of time, but suggested it would be a very good idea to bring Myrrh because as skilled as I am and as arrogant as she is, it wouldn’t hurt to have someone with a more specialised set of skills with us.  I left the room whilst business was conducted, but I soon got an intense emotional response from the Status spell, feeling as though Arosea was suffering from an intense panic attack- something uncharacteristic of a Sembian interrogation.  I insisted that we had to leave now.

The sewer adventure was relatively unnoteworthy.  We found some rats of abnormal height which were dispatched within seconds thanks to a double-team of barbarians.  A couple of Gelatinous Cubes, which are best avoided when possible.  Myrrh seemed to have taken a liking to Jessie.  I’m mature enough to admit I felt a pang of jealousy, and I’m sure that without the constant reminders from the Status spell then I may well have been distracted by memories of Cédric and I…

Reaching the end of the sewer, we emerged in what appeared to be more a palace than a prison.  Sembian soldiers were assembled in the courtyards, training.  A much bigger presence than I was expecting; clearly they are taking the Cormyran threat much more seriously than in the past few years.  As we closed in on Arosea’s location we could hear someone approaching.  Preparing for battle we were met with a scared cleric.  Having experienced these interrogations first-hand, I do not envy her position in the slightest and I can only imagine how she would feel being met with a group such as us… I offered to let her join us so she could get exact some justice, but she refused.  A reminder of my own weak will, and for the briefest of seconds I was reminded of that moment, so many years ago.  Satisfied she wouldn’t talk, we let her go and finally made it to the room with Arosea.  Knowing full well that her torturer would be in there with her, Jessie elected to use a trick he had learned called ‘the Bardic Knock’.  Within seconds the door was open and the torturer unconscious.  Arosea was clearly traumatised, but composed enough to gather her possessions and be ready for the escape; thanks to the Status spell I could feel her heart racing in my head.  I noticed that the torturer was still breathing, barely, and asked Arosea if she wanted any closure whilst he was still alive.  She said no, so I took the liberty of putting him out of his misery with a simple Inflict Minor.  Though in my frustration I must have accidentally triggered my Ring of Spell Piercing, as what should have been an easing into rest felt more like a painful execution… At least I can rest assured he won’t talk.

My mind has been somewhat preoccupied since then, but suffice to say we escaped, despite our barbarians not realising their own strength and Myrrh being unable to deal with a simple door.  We split up once we were out of the palace/prison, and aside from a  brief encounter with the so-called Silver Needle we all seem relatively safe for now.

Well.  They do.  I believe they are all staying at the Watch’s hideout tonight… I have chosen to stay at a nearby inn as I have some explaining to do.  I am not looking forward to this, but I can’t waste time with this journal any longer…  I must accept punishment for my actions.  May Ilmater have mercy on me.

A Dude Playing a Chick Pretending to be Another Chick

18 years ago in High Castle of High Dale, in the governor’s house (only barely better furnished than the common folk’s for such a small town), a group of teenagers have gathered to play some sort of game…

‘Right’, said the apparent leader of the group; a boy in fairly expensive looking clothes and a cloak slightly too large for him, bearing a pin with the symbol of his father, lord of High Castle.  He took his position at head of the kitchen table after picking up a stack of parchment from the floor. ‘Are we ready?’
‘Give us a moment, Magnus’, said a boy who looked considerably older than the others, his ears slightly pointed demonstrating him to be a half-elf.  He pulled a stool up to the table, sat, and took a scrap of parchment out of his pocket, smoothing it out on the table.
‘Yeah the girls ain’t even here yet’, said another, this boy covered in dirt, looking like he’d just come off the fields.  He was raiding the kitchen cupboards, picking out a cup, a pepper mill, and similarly sized objects.
‘Ugh’, sighed Magnus, slouching back in his chair.  He looked up at the exposed wooden beams of the roof as he shouted to the world in general ‘Come oooooon, hurry up!’
‘Yeees, lord Magnus’, came a sarcastic reply from the doorway accompanied by a snigger.  Side by side two girls walked in; they mockingly curtseyed simultaneously before both laughing at Magnus’ annoyance.  The taller blonde haired girl moved with elegance as she pulled the only other chair up to the table, whilst the one with the unkempt auburn hair lazily pulled up a stool with one hand, sat on it and rested her feet on the last remaining stool.
‘Hey get your muddy boots off, Sabine!’ cried the boy with an armful of various kitchen utensils, ‘That’s where I’m sitting!’
Sabine stared at the boy with a smile, simply kicking her boots off whilst keeping her feet on the stool, dried mud scattering across the floor.  The other girl covered her mouth as she laughed as the boy forcibly put Sabine’s feet on the floor and wiped off his seat.
‘If you’re done…’ said Magnus, passing a sheet of parchment to the girl that wasn’t Sabine, ‘then we can finally begi- wait a minute.  Becky has her sheet, Xander has his…’
‘Right’, said Sabine, picking up her boot and shaking a scrap of parchment out of it.
‘You keep your sheet in your shoe?’ asked Xander, the half-elf.  Sabine shrugged.  ‘For some reason girls clothes don’t have pockets.  More importantly,’ Sabine dramatically turned her head to the other boy, ‘where’s Jake’s?’
‘Er… The dog ate it?’ Jake answered unconvincingly.
‘You don’t even have a dog’ said Becky, flatly.
‘It doesn’t matter!’ snapped Magnus, slamming his fist on the table,’We’ll improvise!  That’s what this game’s all about!’
The table fell silent, as Magnus took in a deep breath.
‘Right…’

‘We left off with you all in the Mermaid’s Clam’.
Sabine stifled a laugh as Magnus shot an annoyed glance at her.  He started reading from one of his pieces of parchment.
‘In the surprisingly well decorated tavern, two figures approach you.  “Where are the rest of you?” the female asks.  “I think you are confused, sister, they have not met us yet” the male says.  “Oh sorry brother, time can be such a confusing concept.”  “Actually I do not think this is a matter of time, I think we have found ourselves in a different narrative all together.”  The male looks you directly in the eye.  “Hello Bethany.  Liam.  Sarah.  Dan.”  He looks back to the female, “Probably not Isaac, he’s dyslexic you know”.’
Magnus’ brow furrowed as the others looked at him in confusion.  He carefully inspected the parchment in his hands before scrunching it into a ball and throwing it at Becky.
‘Have you been tampering with my notes?? Keep your crappy girly fiction away from my stuff!’
Becky looked at the others with bewilderment as Magnus continued.
‘As I was saying… You’re in the Mermaid’s Clam tavern, where there are a couple of patrons.  What do you do?’
‘I ask the patrons about the gnome’, Xander said.
‘OK, being the barbarian you’ll have a penalty to your charisma but you try asking regardless.  The responses you get are mostly about how the gnome’s been gathering ancient knowledge for use in some sort of ritual, something to do with using the empowered magic of Netheril to summon a horrible creature.’
‘Not good’ said Jake.
‘Agreed’ said Becky.  The group turned to Sabine who looked either deep in thought or completely disinterested; it was often hard to tell.
‘…Whilst the guy’s distracted, can I pick his pocket?’

A couple of hours passed.  The kitchen utensils had been moved about the table to represent the characters, and were currently in a formation facing a conspicuously large empty spot on the table.  During this time Jake had somehow acquired a plate of chicken, Xander was practically asleep, Becky was maintaining her noble posture whilst Sabine was resting her head on Becky’s shoulder, and Magnus had his head in his hands.
‘Jake can we pleeeeease stop talking about the golem with the four swords?’ he said, ‘We’re almost done, I want to finish this today…’
‘I’m just saying, I get he was part human, but then why was he coughing when he clearly didn’t have lungs?’
‘Enough!’ Magnus slammed his hands on the table. ‘You made it through the plane of Mechanus, and are now in front of the gnome you’ve been tracking.  He barely acknowledges you entering as he’s poring over a spellbook.  Jake, you recognise it as your spellbook that YOU LOST.’
‘Not my fault I forgot my sheet’ Jake muttered under his breath.
‘The gnome speaks: ‘It’s too late, idiots, I have all the pieces I need right here!  With the combination of Netheril magic and the secrets of golem manufacturing from the automated factories of Mechanus I will be able to empower the Body of War spell in ways never dreamed possible!  And then YOU will bear witness to the time that I, Charles ‘The Newt’ Luminaire, single handedly killed the Tarrasque! The mythical unstoppable monster that entire armies have only managed to put to sleep!  And not only that, but it was in a suit so masterfully worked by the perfect combination of spells it is as though it was fashioned by the Gods themselves!  All that remains is to summon the terrible beast itself!’ and with that, the gnome starts to read from his spellbook.  The room darkens as an eerie green spark dances across the ground.  The entire room then starts to tremble as a crack seems to appear in the fabric of reality itself, opening up to a cosmic maelstrom from which a pair of huge horns begin to emerge!’
Magnus looked at his players around the table, eager to see their excitement.  Xander had raised his head slightly, though his eyes were bloodshot with tiredness.  Jake looked like he was paying attention but was still munching on a drumstick.  Sabine had her hand raised as though she had been puppeting Magnus’ words, and was now looking at Magnus slightly wide-eyed as though she’d been caught in the act.  Becky was smiling at Magnus intently, but was clearly holding her lips tightly shut to stifle a laugh.  Magnus simply shook his head dismissively and resumed his dramatic storytelling.
‘The mighty Tarrasque begins to raise its head out of the portal, a grotesque snort coming from its’
‘I cast Miracle’, interrupted Becky.
‘…Nostrils.  Wait, what?!’ said Magnus with indignation.
‘I said I cast Miracle’, repeated Becky.  ‘I learnt it last level.  I get to ask the Gods one wish right?’
Sabine suddenly perked up, leaning forward with her head in her hands, a huge grin on her face.  ‘Hah, brilliant!  What now, Charlie-boy?’
‘Um,’ said Magnus, flustered, ‘you… you do know it costs experience right? It’ll make you weaker!’
‘I know,’ nodded Becky, ‘but I think it’s worth it to stop a portal opening to wherever it is the Tarrasque comes from and relying on a deranged gnome to save the cosmos’.
‘But… But…’ Magnus’ eyes darted around the table for help, but it was clear there was none to be found.  He looked dejected as he raised his hands to rub his eyes.  ‘Fine. OK.  Whatever.  What do you say?’
Becky cleared her throat and closed her eyes in thought.
‘I know I am a servant of Ilmater, but I offer this as a plea to whichever deity may be listening.  Grant me the ability to stop this pathetic little creature’s lust for power, and in doing so may he suffer judgment for the pain and suffering he has brought unto others, that no others may be hurt by his hand again.  In payment for this Miracle I offer my body and soul, such is my desire’.
Becky opened her eyes and smiled as Sabine applauded.  The boys simply watched to see what would happen, as Magnus lowered his arms, interlocking his fingers and stretching them in frustration.
‘Not bad, sis.  Very heartfelt.  If there were any Gods able to help, poor Charles would just have a sudden heart attack or something right now before he could finish the summoning.  But you know what?’ Magnus looked at Becky with a slightly psychotic smile, and his voice took on a mocking sing-song tone. ‘It didn’t work.  You know why? Because this is my game, and that makes ME God! I’M the one in CONTROL here, NOT YOU!! Always with that STUPID. POLITE. SMILE ON YOUR FACE and… and… YOUR OBNOXIOUS LACKEY FOLLOWING YOU AROUND!!!’
There was stunned silence around the table as Magnus lowered his voice, though it still had a frantic edge to it.  ‘You know what? Not only did your stupid spell not work, but you see this teapot? Yeah, that’s the Tarrasque, but now it’s not gonna be a teapot, it’s gonna be… this!’ Magnus suddenly stood up, marched over to a slop bucket, and threw it at the table spilling its contents everywhere.  ‘There, are you happy now?? The teapot’s a bucket now!  You just summoned a bucket!  A, a, Dire Tarrasque!!  And uh-oh, looks like it’s too big for the battle area, and who’s that in the way at the front?’ he said as he picked up the pepper pot, ‘Oh it’s Becky’s character!  Oh well, guess you died.  Bye-bye Becky!’ he exclaimed as he threw the pepper pot over his shoulder.  Becky’s lip began to tremble in upset terror, as the boys had slowly started shifting themselves away from the table.  Magnus sat back down in his chair, clearing the table with a sweep of his arm in one final burst of anger.
‘Dude, what in the Hells is wrong with you? Come on Becky, let’s go.’ said Sabine, standing up and helping Becky out of her chair.  She looked back over her shoulder at Magnus who was wide-eyed, pulling at his hair, staring at his ruined notes.  ‘You’re a gods-damned psycho, man…’
Once Sabine and Becky had left, Xander was next to leave.  He gave a bow of respect to Magnus before simply saying ‘You’re a dick.’ and exiting.
Jake hung around in awkward silence for a moment before trying to approach Magnus, attempting a reassuring pat on the back. ‘Er… for what it’s worth, I thought that whole bit with the portal and stuff was pretty cool.  Er, sorry it got screwed up?’
Magnus gave a slight nod, and Jake hurried after the others.
‘My campaign… ruined… All my plans… I’m supposed to be the one with the power… They’re supposed to do what I say…’ Magnus said, tears beginning to fall to the parchment below.

A Happy Family

Excerpt from Sabine’s journal, the night the party arrived in Chandlerscross.  There are crumbs between the pages, and the last page is stained with tears.


 

My head is spinning…

We’re currently in Chandlerscross, staying with Arosea’s aunt and uncle.  I’ve only met the uncle so far, but he seems nice.  Then again, they are Halflings so it’s to be expected.

It’s been a long day, and I’ve felt out of sorts through most of it.  As we left Feather Falls, whatever entity we encountered in those mines has made it clear to us that it won’t be forgetting us any time soon.  According to Arosea, there were hundreds of these ethereal beings blocking our way, yet the rest of us couldn’t see them.  That being said, Jessie was clearly feeling nauseous and I knew something had been watching me for a while… Lasslyn was, of course, as oblivious as ever.  Considering the ordeal that Arosea went through in Feather Falls, we would have been fools to ignore her.  I attempted to remove her fear, which may have calmed her nerves but didn’t change the fact she could still see the figures and they were getting closer, apparently detecting us through vibrations as we walked.  Jessie had the idea of sending the horses as a distraction… Not a terrible idea, though it made sense to send just one and see what happened.  We sent Arosea’s, as she has Mag the dog to ride.  It was at that moment Jessie became overwhelmed by his nausea and started vomiting violently, unfortunately out of my control as my daily spells had been prepared for fighting the creature from the mine- just in case.  I kept a careful eye on the pony to see what happened to it; to see if these threats were real or imagined.  What I saw… let’s just say the threat was definitely real.  We all knew turning back wouldn’t be an option, as like in the mine we would have to force our way through sooner or later.  I prepared my Light of Lunia in the hopes of deterring them, though how I would aim at something I could not see is anyone’s guess… I don’t know if I was affected by getting too close to them, but the next few moments are hazy.  We managed to get past by making a distraction, but something about it still feels wrong to me… like it was too easy.

The next few hours were uneventful, and we soon arrived at the gates to Chandlerscross, met by a horde of restless peasants.  A border control had apparently been set up, prohibiting access to the city even to residents.  No-one could tell us why, simply that if we required passage we would have to join the queue, and so that is what we did.  Now I’m no stranger to queuing, being patron to a god of suffering.  The others have less patience though.  Jessie and Arosea were both trying to get the attention of passing guards to find out what was happening, but to no avail.  Even to me the queue was taking an unnaturally long time though… I asked the gentlemen in front of us how long they had been waiting and they said hours.  Despite their exasperation I detected no hint of a lie.

Eventually, Jessie managed to get the attention of a fresh-faced guard who seemed softer than the ones we’d previously encountered.  The guard apologised for the wait but still had no intention of giving us reason for the delay or any preferential treatment.  It was at that moment I heard a tiny voice saying ‘big bwother, my feet hurt…’.  Almost instinctively I reached down to pet the child, saying ‘there there, not long now’.  I’m not sure at what point I realised it was Arosea I was petting, but we were clearly getting some sympathy from the guard so I continued the act.  Even Lasslyn was making some attempt to get involved; I know we needed to proceed as a party, and same-sex couples are not unheard of in Faerun, but a human cleric and a dwarf barbarian might stretch the imagination, especially ones that have apparently adopted a halfling girl and a human that looks barely 5 years younger than one of his apparent mothers…  Nevertheless, the naive guard was touched and went to find a superior to see if he could speed things up for us.  The stern faced guard that returned obviously saw straight through our flimsy charade, though Arosea tried to keep it up as long as possible, hiding behind Jessie.  Thankfully the man was willing to listen to our case, and on being presented the letters bearing the seals of the previous dales he led us to the front office, explaining on the way that Chandlerscross had fallen victim to quite severe gang violence of late, so the border control was an attempt to keep out gang members and keep the townspeople safe.  As we had important business we were moved to the front of the queue… where we would be subject to a strip search.

We were led past the partition one by one, to give us some privacy, so we couldn’t hear much of each other’s experiences which would definitely be for the best.  Arosea was first, and apparently made it through without incident.  Next was Jessie, and I swear I heard a gasp but was too nervous to give it much thought; perhaps the rumours of ‘bardic charisma’ are true?  I was in no hurry to be inspected, so allowed Lasslyn to pass next.  I could quite clearly hear her loud boasting of ‘I got this scar in ___’ and ‘oh, that scar was from ___’.  Pretty sure when she got through I also heard a cry of ‘who’s been touching my sword?!’

My turn.  Deep breath, and wish I’d prepared more than one Remove Fear for the day… I entered the office.  ‘Anything to declare?’ ‘Um, no?’ I say as I nervously fondle the ring on my hand…  The inspector appeared to notice my nervousness, and much to my relief he said with an unchanging expression ‘very well, you may pass.  I won’t subject a woman of the cloth to an embarrassing breach of her modesty’.  I must have had an expression of wide-eyed shock on reaching the other side, but the others seemed too relieved with their own safe passage to notice.  We continued.

‘Chandlerscross is a clean, modern city with the most competent city watch of the dalelands, free from corruption’.  That’s the description I’d heard from travellers.  I was already having doubts on that latter statement based on my hassle-free entry, but still wasn’t prepared for the sight of graffiti everywhere, vandalised buildings, and most notably the defaced statue in the center of town proclaiming the rise of the ‘Silver Needle’.  Arosea being the one of us that had some familiarity with this town seemed equally concerned based on her fixed smile, but she quickly snapped out of it, telling us to follow her to her family’s place.  And here we are, what would be a nice little tearoom were it not for the sounds of screams and shouts.

…Apparently Arosea hadn’t seen her family in years.  The events of the day had already taken their toll on me, so I attempted to find a quiet area where I could watch the happy reunion quietly.  I was offered a slice of cake, but apparently there was a crack in my composure as I was asked if I was feeling alright.  I tried to smile but excused myself for my ‘evening prayers’.  I don’t know how long I was gone for, but on coming back downstairs I noticed my cake had gone, with a trail of crumbs leading to Lasslyn.  There was apparently a commotion outside, some sort of vigilante or something… I can’t deal with this right now, and I don’t think my companions can either.

Even now, in the back of my mind it feels as though I’m being watched.  I sincerely hope that it’s just my thoughts of Rebecca…

Savage Species: A Supplement to the Tempus Sigilian

Everyone’s talking about The Guild who Stopped the Murders- but who exactly are they??

Hello darlings and welcome to this week’s Savage Species, in which your humble harpy friend Letitia has her ear to the ground and her eye in the sky to bring you all the latest news on the notable figures of Sigilian society.  This week’s all been about a new guild in town, the ones who shockingly put an end to Baron Erenveir’s reign of terror.  The guild is as yet unnamed, but rumour has it they’re calling themselves ‘The Bounty Hunters Guild’; a bold and practical name but could there perhaps be more to it? Did someone take out a bounty on the Baron??  Time will tell, but for now, just who are the members of this guild?

To begin with we have their Guildmaster, a mysterious human known simply as ‘Ro’.  Now in my experience, humans have interesting hard to pronounce names like ‘Justin’ and ‘Leo’, so to have as boring a name as Ro? He must be hiding something.  In fact I’ve done a little digging and found records of an old adventurer rogue that went by the name of Ro, could this be him?  It would certainly explain how he managed to afford the asking price of some of his members! Who know’s what treasure he has stashed away from those days??

Next is Lady Celestia Historia, and I know what you’re thinking and yes, that is the same Historia family that has been subject of this column numerous times in the past.  Celestia had managed to escape my notice up to this point, are the Historia’s ashamed of her existence because of being a half-elf?  The product of an illegitimate bonding between one of their explorers and a poor native girl perhaps?  Interestingly, when asked why a Historia would join a guild away from her family, she refused to comment.  Maybe the Historias are coming out of their isolation to profit on the untold potential of a bustling cosmopolitan city such as our fair Sigil?  I’ll be keeping a close eye on her to find out more, but not only that- she apparently has some great fashion sense too! Noticing the lack of stars in Sigil’s sky, her fashion seeks to bring the stars with her wherever she goes.  If you’ve heard of stars but never had the opportunity to leave this fine city, gazing upon her wardrobe looks to be the next best thing!

The other high-profile name to join this guild of bounty hunters is Friedrich von Gutermuth, and instantly I see why they chose the name.  The von Gutermuths are no stranger to us, and indeed Friedrich himself has made an appearance in here a few times; building their reputation on ‘cleansing’ the planes of ‘undesirables’, notably vampires and demons, it is said the von Gutermuths have powers of charisma that would be considered almost vampiric themselves.  Priding themselves on what they call an ‘Unquenchable Flame of Life’, they have an almost supernatural ability to counter even the most persuasive vampire’s gaze.  Whilst always quick to shoot down accusations of prejudice, the von Gutermuths often resurface as the subject of rumours on whether their targets and methods could really be called ‘justice’.  One thing that can’t be disputed though is Friedrich’s ‘killer’ attire! The long coat and crossbow look is really popular right now with the increased interest in Ravenloft, and even when not stalking his prey he’s been spotted at the Fortune’s Wheel looking right at home amongst the nobility.

Which brings us to Trevor ‘Trev’ Trevalyn, the handsome rogue of the group.  You may have seen him around various locales in the city ‘plucking his lute and blowing his flute’ (if you know what I mean), and everything this guy does just exudes an aura of coolness.  His past is shrouded in mystery, but that’s just to keep us ladies (or perhaps even men) interested, right? When my colleague was trying to approach Trev for interview he commented ‘Ach, he’s never where you expect him to be, and certainly gets around a lot… Probably unrelated but when I eventually caught up with him my pocket watch went missing as well’.  I must admit to liking a man who’s quick with his hands, and able to evade the tenacity of Yotek!  I asked my colleague if he discovered anything about the scoundrel’s marital status, of course purely out of interest for you, my readers…  ‘Well he was hanging around a Drow lady-‘ say no more! Even my craziness can’t compete with that of a drow! Still, if I should stumble into him during one of his performances and we should lock eyes…

Moving on!  The final member of the guild is a young Tiefling named Kazuko, or apparently ‘Kazzy’ to her friends.  What’s so special about another Tiefling in Sigil, I hear you ask? Well as is well known, most tieflings are unfortunately controlled by their ancestors- whether a desire to embrace their heritage and use their powers for mischief, or prove that they’re better than their bloodline and live honest lives.  It seems that Kazzy takes the latter to the extreme, having taken the path of monkhood!  And I’m not even talking of the Order of the Long Death, as when asked by my colleague she said she was doing this for the good of the people!  There’s being apologetic for the sins of your father, but Kazzy darling, I think you’re taking this far too seriously!  Lighten up!  No-one can be as rigid as that, so just between you and I, dear readers, we’re going to see what Kazzy’s like behind closed doors- find what makes her tick, what she does for fun because everyone needs a little fun in their lives!  We’ll have to be careful though; when we asked if she had any words for you, our readers, she replied with the bold statement: ‘I Don’t Like You.’ Oh dear, Kazzy! What are we going to do with you??

That’s all for today, darlings!  Stay out of trouble, but remember, if you can’t be good be scandalous 😉

Correction: It has been brought to our attention that there’s another guild member my colleague overlooked, an elf by the name of Lewyn.  All we currently know is that he has an insane and possibly dangerous badger, but if we find anything interesting about him you’ll be sure to see it in our next issue!

Tempus Sigilian; The only inter-planar news outlet (300th day of the 120th year of Factol Iltar’s Reign)

Lady’s Ward Killings Stopped! Community Leader Responsible?

A report by Yotek Lillehammer

In a statement released by Harmonium earlier today, it is confirmed that the renowned vampire leader of the Ravenloft community, Baron Erenveir, has been killed in his own home in Plague-Mort whilst resisting arrest in connection to the Lady’s Ward murders.

Acting on a tip-off given to them by one of Erenveir’s accomplices, Harmonium enlisted the help of a Sigil based guild to apprehend the vampire, who, it is reported, turned violent when accused of his crimes causing the guild to act in self-defense.  When asked why the guild went to the trouble of killing the vampire when he could easily have been brought in for a fair trial whilst disabled, Harmonium refused to comment.
The guild responsible are a fresh as-yet unnamed guild, who only claim a handful of members to their name, but amongst whom are a member of the Prime renowned Historia family, and a member of the von Gutermuth family.  With the von Gutermuth reputation as vampire killers, we asked Harmonium if the Baron’s death was planned as part of this operation, but their response was simply that a von Gutermuth would be best equipped for confronting a vampire and that this guild had a personal investment in the case; they would not accept responsibility for any of von Gutermuth’s actions during the operation.
We approached the guild to see if they could explain any of the details of this mysterious string of affairs, such as why a prominent figure with much to lose would be involved in these high profile murders.  First we met with the Guildmaster, a human who goes by the simple name of ‘Ro’.  We asked him why the guild got involved in this mystery that had eluded Harmonium for the past two tendays, and he had this to say: “As a new guild, we needed a job to get ourselves noticed.  I believe it was Friedrich (von Gutermuth) who came in with one of your fine newspapers with an article on the third Lady’s Ward murder, and suggested we try and help solve that mystery.”
We then spoke to Lady Celestia Historia, who told us a little more about how the mystery was solved: “…around some of the crime scenes was rock dust… we (herself and Kazuko, a fellow guildmate) were walking to the next place where a murder might take place when Friedrich told us gargoyles were most likely responsible for the killings and we were attacked”.
And how did they know where the next murder would take place? Well… “I can’t quite remember… The others were giving Ro all this information… He was having trouble so I helped out with my maps and we came to the conclusion it was there”.
We were then able to gather more information from a man who calls himself Trevor Trevalyn, one of the founding members of the guild along with Kazuko who was unfortunately unable to comment much on the specifics of the case, essentially being the hired muscle who would prefer to get things done no-questions asked.  When asked how the guild discovered the Baron’s involvement, Trevor had this to say: “Well personally I had very little to do with that… to be honest, I still don’t really know who (Baron Erenveir) is.  Besides, we got a confession from the man he hired (‘Wolf’, a werewolf who is currently under Harmonium custody) who was hanging around his house.  Pretty low move for him to namedrop an acquaintance if he’s innocent”.
Mr Friedrich von Gutermuth was unwilling to provide comment at this time.
So, the details as we understand them are that Baron Erenveir, who has been the subject of rumour for some time now, apparently hired a werewolf to carry out these killings in the Lady’s Ward.  In turn, the werewolf hired a pair of gargoyles to do the actual work, presumably not wanting to get his own hands dirty and hoping they would act subtly enough that the killings could not be traced back to himself.  The Baron’s motives remain unknown, though it has been speculated that all the victims were Primer races, making this a possible hate crime; a theory supported by the fact the suspects are all associated with the Ravenloft demiplane.
Regardless of whether you agree with the guild’s methods or not, they are sure to gain a lot of recognition from the Primer races who feel they have been unfairly treated since their arrival in Sigil, though we can also expect heavy backlash from the Ravenloft community who have felt their own struggles have been going unnoticed since the inclusion of Primers, and the lack of a fair trial for their leader is sure to fuel some more radical members of the community’s anger.  We will, of course, report further information as it develops.
For further information on this young guild and its’ members, be sure to read our Savage Species supplement which is running a spotlight spread on the guild this week.


Sub-stories in today’s edition:
Demon goes berserk during talent show at the Lady’s Tressel
Automota struggling to cope with influx of business as new weapon plans unveiled
More pieces of Xaos sent to Limbo in attempt to stabilise town
Member of The Fated spontaneously combusts in street

%d bloggers like this: