After being forced to work for the Boros Legion at the Festival of the Guildpact, our five adventurers find themselves policing petty crimes during the festivities. Things get a little less petty when they uncover a gruesome murder they now have to solve.
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Produced by Play+1 and Charging Moose Media
Based on the worlds of Dungeons & Dragons and Magic: the Gathering by Wizards of the Coast
Story by Brian David Judkins
Sound Capture and original Sound Effects by Will Melones
Music by Alexander Nakarada of SerpentSound Studios
Edited and Mixed by Ned Donovan
Last time on Encounter Party: Ravnica, the City of Guilds, prepares for the massive end of the year festival. The fates of five strangers are thrust together in the wake of a mysterious artifact, forced into a fight they did not provoke our players find themselves on the strange side of the law. The Boros Legion, a dangerous orb, all that and more this week on Encounter Party.
Hello ladies and gentlemen and welcome back to the Encounter Party. My name is Brian David Judkins. I am your Dungeon Master with me again are Andrew Krug, Eddie Cooper, Ned Donovan, Sarah Babe and Landree Fleming. Let's get started.
The barracks of the 34th Precinct is in stark contrast to the rest of the third district. Red and white banners of the Boros Legion hang off every tower and palisade. It looms over the district like a stern parent shaming the debauchery of the Theatre Row. There is no place for fun in the Boros Legion, an attitude made clear as you are all escorted inside.
Now you say that you have brought or at least recommended that your prisoner come with you.
You're confident he's somewhere within the barracks, but he's no longer within your custody. Well because you are currently under somebody else's custody. So this would be the workplace of your minotaur companion Fikarra Ordruun. The barracks itself is abuzz like a swarm of angry bees. There are dozens and dozens of legionnaires in every corner of the barracks. People are getting marshaled over in that corner, other people are managing documents over here; it is the, the hurried energy of a group of people getting ready for the busy festival weekend. You are herded through this crowd of legionnaires into a back office. In that office is an older man sitting behind a desk. He has a face like rough leather. He has the stubble of someone who just doesn't really bother shaving anymore. And Fikarra, you know, this is Captain Farland, who's the commanding officer of the 34th Precinct. Captain Farland is currently losing a staring contest with a piece of paper. And as the five of you are marshaled inside one of your escorts steps behind the desk to whisper something in his ear. With an absolutely defeated and deflating sigh Captain Farland looks up and addresses the five of you: "Oh great. This is exactly what I need. Let me guess, did someone spill your drink? Or perhaps they said something nasty about your mother?"
"They actually kidnapped a local who had brought in a cursed enchanted item but, please, by all means, denigrate us some more."
"Yes, sit in the middle of a barracks and tell me exactly how my attitude should be. And you, Private Fikarra, what do you have to say on this matter?"
"Sir? In order to protect property damage and to de-escalate the situation, we decided
Ned Donovan 3:15
Escalated the situation
"to attack the person that was there and the rest of people left, they mentioned Mr. Alfonso--"
"I don't have time for this!"
"I have the festival starting tomorrow and I'm certainly not keen on feeling my jail cells before the day even begins. Now, what am I to do with you?"
Ned Donovan 3:32
"I don't know. Probably your job."
"Well, smartasses all around."
Well, no, actually, "Quite honestly, sir, I'd just like to go home if I could."
"Mm-hmm. Well the problem here is that we have: public intoxication, a bar fight, assault, and you, justicar, should be extra ashamed of yourselves. Now--"
"Ashamed? I tried to stop someone from being kidnapped, and you stand here mocking me."
"I am trying to be as civil with this I possibly can. But I have every right to throw you in a jail cell until I find the time to bother coming to speak with you again."
Ned Donovan 4:12
Typical Boros, just focusing on the wrong thing.
"Sir. Yes, sir."
Would everyone please make Charisma saving throws please4.?
Ned Donovan 4:24
Okay, well, you are probably fine. You're probably fine because this is your boss. Regardless, I would say this, Andrew: whatever is about to go down, might be better to just hope it ends quickly. And then, unless this involves actual physical confrontation or jail time, maybe just let this man stew out.
He has not managed to intimidate all of you physically. But it is very clear that you're going to have to wait for him to decide when this is over. However, your unfazed attitude does convince him that perhaps this isn't the best way to go about it. And as he kind of eyes the crowd, he starts again. "Well, then, maybe this just happens to be your lucky day. I will offer you a deal. You can either work or you can rot. What will it be?"
Ned Donovan 5:18
"The Festival of the Guildpact starts tomorrow. And as you can guess by my demeanor, it is my favorite time of year, when my entire battalion is garrisoned along the streets of the festival, having to protect the fair people of Ravnica from their drunken selves. The thing is that the bureaucrats of this city tend to forget that criminals tend not to commit crimes directly in the faces of legionnaires. A couple of plainclothes officers might do me a bit of good this weekend. So I offer you this. You work for me and keep the riffraff out of my hair for the next two days and I will commute your sentences. Otherwise, your payment is staying out of a jail cell. I have no problem keeping you on hold until the justicars come down and deal with this themselves."
The moodmark enchantments on Lorzatch's face flit into a reluctant configuration as his face blushes an autumnal yellow.
"This is not a very difficult thing to work out. You either putter around the festival for two days, get a little tough with the riffraff and the street punks, or you can spend the weekend in jail.
Getting tough with the riffraff and street punks is my job.
"Glad to hear it. And you, Private Fikarra, don't really have a choice."
"No sir. Yes sir. Sir. No, sir. Yes, sir. Sir."
I would like a verbal confirmation from each of you now. Please.
Ned Donovan 6:53
Ned Donovan 6:56
It's nice shade of yellow, yo.
"I'm not expecting an Izzet scientist to follow along anyway. So just line up with the rest of these clowns."
"And do puff your chests out like you're proud of yourself." And as you guys line up in order perhaps--
Oh, I do.
Taking example from Fikarra, a Boros mage happens to walk in front of you and at each of your chests, he just kind of shoves a fist into your chest and it is hot, like red hot. And as he pulls it away, you see a small Boros sigil, a glyph that just sort of like flickers and flames above your chest. It is the red sunlit fist of the Boros Legion. And he says, as he's kind of talking about it, it slowly flickers away just as much as he says, "If you get into trouble, tap your breast and the sigil will alight. You now work for the Boros this weekend. I don't care what your guilds are. I don't care what your past is. And I don't care where your allegiances lie. Your job this weekend is to keep the nonsense out of my hair, and I will keep the nonsense out of yours. Is that understood?"
"Sir, yes, sir."
Ned Donovan 8:04
"You are hereby demoted to Hazda for the entirety of the festival. You will not enjoy the privileges or the help of your fellow legionnaires. Your job is to marshal this civilian militia. And do not disappoint me."
"Sir. Yes, sir."
"Now get out of my office." And you guys kind of get forcibly shoved out onto the streets.
"Alright, okay, I'm going."
Lorzatch's face blushes a deep indigo into purple, into cyan, and then fades back to its jaundiced yellow.
"Why are you changing colors?"
"It's a condition."
"Like a good condition?"
Ned Donovan 8:48
"Does it, does it mean anything? Can you do it by choice?"
"Can you do patterns?"
Is this part, is this part of your personal character? Or is this a Devkarin trait?
This is personal.
It's a personal thing.
"I'd just like to say that I second your face colors."
Ned Donovan 9:05
What is happening?
"Well, I got demoted because of you people."
Ned Donovan 9:12
"I got a really interesting story because of you people. Really in here."
Lorzatch, as soon as he is outside of the barracks, covers the Boros insignia with a ragged stole scarf thing that he's thrown across his neck.
As you kind of start rubbing it over yourself and inadvertently touching the area at the same time, you realize that the glyph is actually up off of your chest in a hovering way, so no matter how much you try and cover it, it still kind of glows over in the front and after a moment it sort of dissipates again.
"It won't be covered up."
"I don't know about all of you. But I'm planning on getting to the bottom of what this is." I'm not holding it barehanded.
Not holding it barehanded.
I wrap it--
I would love to continually make you take chill damage.
Every time you're like, 'where's the thing, it's right here, oh no!'
Zenia is smitten by the orb, so as soon as he brings it out, her eyes just go straight, she is, she's with you.
"I can see you're intrigued, sorcerer."
"Then join me."
Well, we can still patrol everything. I mean, we need to patrol everything or they're going to put us back into the barracks.
As of tomorrow morning you are on duty.
Tomorrow morning. It is now evening.
So we've got, like, a little bit of time.
A little bit of time.
So you find your way back to the Leg End, the only place this still has open rooms this close to the festival's day. Dodgy looks very nonplussed to see you. But he offers you rooms to stay for the night, at the cost of 200 zibs per night. You have the breadth of rooms available to you, every one of them is open except for the one all the way down the line. You can partner up as you wish, if you wish to stay together for any reason, but there are five of you. And there are only three rooms available. So please divvy yourselves out as you wish.
"I'd like to stay with the orb. Please."
"I'll allow it."
"So, three of us, right?" In the second room?"
Ned Donovan 11:22
So please, please make a note as to where your gear would be located for the following day. And then everybody gets a nice long rest.
The following morning. Eventually you're all rousted by the sounds of an excited city. It's the last day of the year and the first day of the Festival of the Guildpact. Each of your sigils are agitated at some point during your dressing, reminding you of your misfortune. But you do muster yourselves eventually and head out into the row. What you're met with is an overwhelming assault on each and every one of your senses. Sights, smells and sounds collapse on you from all sides. Every possible square inch is crammed full of concessions and trade booths. Three separate songs are playing at the same time, condensing into something that sounds more like a dying alms beast than anything else. Confetti chokes the air like ash and colors you didn't even know existed reflect the sunlight into every nook and cranny of the street.
Anywhere there is to stand, there is some goblin, human, Vedalken, or Loxodon expunging a year's worth of stress into one sporadic celebration. As you guys begin your patrol, would one of you please roll a D6?
I will. Three.
Ah. A three. Give me a Perception check please.
No, just, just Lennox.
I did not do well.
You did not do well.
I rolled a three.
Would somebody else please roll another D6?
Ned Donovan 13:11
So I keep walking down the street.
You keep walking down the street.
Okay, so you hear this really horrible aggravated argument happening between two people off to the side. On the side of the street. There are two people who have stands at the festival, side by side. One of them is this sort of craggly old lady who has a booth full of, like, kitschy items for sale. And then next to her is this sort of, like, horrid wrinkly old guy who is selling street food. He is vending street food. But upon closer inspection, it doesn't look very appetizing. Like he's not actually particularly good at making whatever it is that he's selling and they are in it, after each other. The old guys accusing her, "You ruined my food! You ruined my food. This--"
And she's like, "I didn't do nothing, you don't blah blah blah, get your face, get your ugly face out of my face."
Ned Donovan 14:03
They both turn to you at the same time. "What?"
Ned Donovan 14:07
So look, this here is a festival, and we have been deputized to deal with problems such as yourselves.
I totally tap my Legion.
Ned Donovan 14:17
I don't really want to do this. I'd rather watch you duke it out and then tell you you were dumb for fighting in the first place, because it feels like you'd be taught an important lesson, but apparently I have responsibilities. So could you please stop."
The kind of craggly man looks at you. He says, "She released critters into my food!" And she's like, "I did no such thing! This man is a liar!"
"Is there any proof that she unleashed critters in to your food?"
"It looks like your food has gone rancid."
Oh, he like holds up some shit. And there's like bugs.
I examine the bugs.
Please do, Devkarin.
Yes. Oh, I mean, yes, well, the Golgari would definitely know what the bugs are. You immediately recognize what these are. So they're called sugar beetles. In the undercity, the Devkarin elves probably have a different word for them. But up here, they're nicknamed sugar beetles and they set in right at the point where food starts to ferment or goes rancid. In the undercity, sugar beetles are used as an indicator on when it's time to give up on a crop. If sugar beetles set in, then the the crop as a whole is pretty much gone and needs to be completely uptoiled and, and sort of started again. So this is an indication that this food is not good.
And it would be naturally occurring as opposed to introduced by a third party.
It would be naturally occurring.
Lorzatch shares this information with the party.
"Sir, your food has simply gone bad. You cannot blame this woman."
So he just kind of, he just kind of scowls, and she feels incredibly victorious about the situation. She just goes, "Ha, I know it! I told you! It's got nothing to do with me!"
"Madam. Disperse now please."
Well, she has a stand, she's not going to disperse. You can, she can sell the thing.
But we will, we will call this situation readily quarreled.
"Go back to your stand."
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One more D6 if you please.
Three. Please give me another Perception check. For Lennox.
Aw, you got a little bit of a whammy.
Ned Donovan 17:01
Do you not have any bonus on your Perception somewhere? Is it like a six at least?
Ned Donovan 17:07
As you guys kind of continue, you do hear another ruckus. As you kind of look to your left, you can see down an alleyway that there is a small crowd of people who look like they're shoving somebody up against a wall.
I'll go up and I kind of
There is a gang
Of six young humans
Who have a small goblin literally up off the ground pressed into the wall.
"Drop the goblin! Now!"
They kind of look over at you pretty pissed off. "Who the fuck are you?"
"Back off, bovine!"
"What, are your horns deaf?"
They've done did it now.
They kind of like fan out, they kind of drop the goblin to the floor and they kind of fan out. There's like six of them. They're like
"Excuse me, friends."
They look like they get in fights, like they're not
"Excuse me, friends, would you like to join me in..."
So I walk up.
"Beating the living hell out of these people?"
"Oh do we have, we have a Mad Cow?"
Boom! I just charge directly for him.
Give me an attack roll.
Can we also get the age of these children, just so I know?
Street toughs. Old enough to know better.
There you go.
That is going to be a 15.
A 15 will do it. Roll me some damage.
If you murder a child...
Okay, so please describe to me exactly what's happening here.
I just go for this guy.
Probably a headbutt.
Probably a headbutt. So you just walk up to this punk, who is, like, up to your chin.
And you just full-on headbutt him in the face.
And he goes down, and they're like, "Hey man, we didn't mean it! Uh, I'm sorry, man, ma'am, man-ma'am. I'm sorry." And they kind of like collectively pick themselves up and just freakin book, like this is not, they they stepped, and got put in their place and they are out. And now you have this goblin.
I walk up to the goblin. "Are you all right?"
He goes, "Oh, yes. Oh, thank you. Oh Skyx is so thankful for you. They were very mean. They were very mean to Skyx."
"Why were they attacking you?"
"Oh, because Skyx is a goblin. They're not very nice to goblin, no one's nice to goblins."
"Can we escort you someplace, sir?"
He says, "Yes, I clean up one of the theaters in the area. I am just a push-broom."
"We'll come. We'll take you and make sure you get to your next place safely."
Lorzatch rolls a 15 for Insight against the goblin.
Ned Donovan 19:39
Yeah, yeah, I was about to ask the same damn thing.
You can also make an Insight check, that's fine. Um, he is not. He looks incredibly frightened. You get no sense that he's lying. He is some poor young goblin who has a menial job and these guys were pricks and probably were beating him up because he's an easy target.
Lorzatch is satisfied and chooses to escort the goblin back to his place of business.
So you escort the young goblin back to his place of work in Theatre Row. It's a nice theater. It's one of the larger ones. Definitely sort of patroned by the Orzhov banks. It's a nice place. And Skyx very apologetically, "Oh thank you. Thank you again, thank you so much," as he shuffles his way into the front entrance, unlikely to come back out during the remainder of the festival. Probably had enough fun. The rest of your afternoon is pretty event-free and mundane. There is a Selesnyan lyre trio that performs a concert out on the street and that kind of keeps everyone's attention for a while. Even though people don't really likes Selesnyan music out here, they're, they're booed pretty viciously. This is a, sort of a Rakdos part of town, but at least it keeps everyone in one place and kind of keeps their attention to prevent any more major mishaps for you. So as the afternoon comes to an end and supper time begins to set in. And as the festival sort of makes its way off the streets indoors for the night, you guys probably find that it's safe enough for you to return to the Leg End if you so desire.
"Thank you for all of your help, friends."
Ned Donovan 21:08
Is there any reason why we would not head back to the Leg End? I mean, I'd love to know what's going on with this sphere. Is the sphere in your possession or is this the sphere back at the Leg End?
The sphere is in my possession.
Ned Donovan 21:17
Please reach for your sphere.
Oh no, oh no.
With my cape.
I reach for my sphere.
As you go to grab your cape, you realize that there is like a slit in your cape. Now thankfully the orb is still there. But your coin course is gone.
Ned Donovan 21:44
Bad luck bro.
Very clearly a cutpurse has snuck by and snipped your purse.
Stupid failed Perception check.
Yes. In fact, in fact, based on the rolls, a second one came by to steal it again, but it was already gone the first time, so he was just kind of disappointed. 'Aw, somebody got here before me.' 'Rats! Aw shucks!'
Ned Donovan 22:11
I'd love to go back to the Leg End, have some food, and maybe put this sphere on the table and just like try and make some decisions about it.
You guys heading back to the
My coin purse has been stolen, I have no zips.
Ned Donovan 22:22
I got zibs, I'll help you out.
Where are we going? Are we heading back to the tavern?
As long as we're all satisfied that this satisfies what the captain has asked of us and that we're not likely to incur any
Yeah, yeah, what time of day is it? Now.
It's towards the night. The festivals are kicking in. So it is New Year's night, so there is going to be New Year's activity but there also is nothing preventing any of that guard duty from happening at a bar.
Ned Donovan 22:54
Look we don't got anywhere else to go. I'm a big fan of the Leg End. Dodgy's cool. Let's go to the Leg End.
Yes. Let's head back.
So you guys had back to the Leg End. You find yourself a table, we'll say out of privacy, if you would prefer to take the one in the back corner, you may.
Ned Donovan 23:10
I love that you have a favorite table.
Well this is, this is Fikarra's watering hole.
I'm all about it.
This is a great place because the, I think the Boros enjoy drinking here because of the magic barriers. They don't have to deal with shit. So when shit happens, they're like, come on Fikarra, don't ruin the one place we can go to. There's a couple of interesting people that you notice inside the tavern. There is a Simic guild member sitting up at the table, Zenia, that you were sitting in just yesterday. She is funneling alcohol into a cytoplast-covered toad.
And taking a seemingly large amount of very strange notes as this toad begins to swell and swell and swell with all the fluid that she's pouring into it. The gang of punks that you saved Skyx from this afternoon are also inside the tavern. Looks like they found some place to celebrate the rest of their evening. They are drinking very heavily and being pretty belligerent about it. There is also a shrouded man sitting at the bar that everyone seems to be giving a lot of space to. He's trying not to make a scene but he continues to slam his face on the, uh, continues to slam his fist on the bar--
In between gulps. Yes. That is different. Very different. And then you also, yeah. And they're sort of right as you pass in that table, right in front of the door, there is a couple who looks like they're out having a great time until they start breaking out into a quarrel. The woman suddenly brandishes her steak knife as a weapon and it immediately flies out of her hand to the no-weapons-allowed wall. Unfortunately it does take the man's ear on the way.
Ned Donovan 24:29
I was gonna ask this question!
You see him scream in pain and hold his ears as you continue past. Maybe not worth your time.
Yeah, Zenia sees it and she giggles a little bit.
And just keeps walking.
Lorzatch will get involved and will roll Medicine to try and treat this man's ear.
I will, I, yeah.
Ned Donovan 25:25
How would you like to help?
Lorzatch will peel the severed ear from the wall and do his best to reattach it, applying Chill Touch selectively and using a fungal epoxy to sort of lacquer it back on.
And as the filaments take root inside the man skin, it'll stitch back the tissues together and hopefully not grow gangrenous.
You do this very well. In fact, they're both really appreciative and even the, the woman is pretty mortified. And is like, "I'm sorry, I didn't mean it. I love you." "Oh, I love you too." And it quickly becomes sickening to the point that you may have regretted helping in the first place.
I consider arresting her for assault. But then I don't.
Lorzatch will sidle up and point out to either the justicar or the Selesnyan that a shrouded man is sitting at the bar, and there was a particular shrouded the man who had been kidnapped quite forcefully sometime earlier, but having not seen his face, Lorzatch can't identify him and would instead suggest that one or both of them check that shit out.
Ned Donovan 26:41
This is a very good point. I was distracted by the filling of a toad with alcohol. I think that's an important
Ah, excuse me.
As do I, Brevin, thank you.
Ned Donovan 26:51
But I agree with you, I should stop looking at the toad.
As people of science, we are of course obligated to follow up.
Ned Donovan 26:57
You check out the toad, I'll check out the shrouded figure.
Ned Donovan 27:01
Ned Donovan 27:02
I need to know.
You approach the shrouded figure.
Ned Donovan 27:06
The shrouded figure. I'm not going to the shrouded figure, I'm going to try and get a vantage point that I can see the shadow figure, so I'm looking at this bar, I'm, is, I'm going to the other corner from where the shrouded figure is to try and see across the bar and see if I can gather any information.
As you approach the shrouded figure, he seems to have calmed down a great deal. In fact, he's actually perfectly still now. As you're kind of looking in, you see Dodgy just sort of lightly saunter down the bar and just gently remove the guy's mug from in front of him with zero effort whatsoever. That action alone is enough to tilt this guy off the back end of his barstool and he lands on his back with a thud, still perfectly in shape like a dead beetle in sitting position. His cloak falls back from his face and his clothing a little bit, you can see he's actually an Orzhov guild member who's wearing some really nice kind of expensive clothes underneath, probably covering himself up because this place is probably well below his station, so what he's doing in here, I don't know, why he's drinking in such a low brow place, I don't know, but for right now he is stone cold out.
Ned Donovan 28:16
Drunk? From drink?
Ned Donovan 28:18
Ned Donovan 28:18
We're not saying like, dude got poisoned.
Dodgy kind of looked at him and goes, "I told him not to try this. This celebration special. It gets the weak ones every time."
Ned Donovan 28:27
"Hey Dodgy, one celebration special please."
"You got it. 20 zibs, my friend."
Ned Donovan 28:33
Give me a Constitution check, please.
Ned Donovan 28:38
Ned Donovan 28:40
As for the Simic with the toad,
Yes, she is Vedalken. Looks pretty uppity. Just sort of sitting there as she kind of pours a little bit into this toad. He sits with his mouth open and then she kind of pours a little bit and then writes down some notes and kind of stares again and pours a little bit into it.
"I hate to interrupt any kind of scientific endeavor, uh, but at this point, miss, it looks like you're torturing the toad."
I was simply going to ask what variable it is that you're testing.
"Ah, good question."
She says, "Ah, well, it is not torture yet until the point of explosion, at which point I would imagine would take about another two ounces, I would step back if I were you, briefly." And she pours the remaining liquid of whatever this is that she's been feeding this toad. And this amphibian who was enjoying a brief moment of unexpected intoxication very quickly hits a moment where his eyes bulge and he realizes, 'Oh, perhaps this is a bit too much fluid,' and he just sort of bursts all over the table. The Vedalken gets a bunch of sort of frog juice on her notepad, of which she doesn't seem to be bothered by it and just to herself, "Hmm. Not as much as you would expect." And kinda continues just to going back and writing her notes. While you were all engaging who you are engaging with, there is a blood-curdling horrific scream that comes from upstairs that could have come from any of your rooms.
I run upstairs.
You run upstairs.
Lorzatch is not far behind.
Not far behind.
I'm going too.
Zenia didn't notice the scream, but she does see him, Lorzatch, run away, so she follows him.
Ned Donovan 30:27
I'm gonna make sure that
You are probably the closest to the stairs. If you're at the bar, you were the closest to the stairs.
Ned Donovan 30:33
Well then I should go up first. If I'm not the first one up, then yeah, I run up.
No, because I'm not gonna let people go by. If they went up first, I'd like hang out and make sure we were good down here.
You don't have to, you can wait.
Yeah, I mean, do I get free refills?
No. It is enough that the whole bar is kind of stopped. It's that loud.
Ned Donovan 30:50
My instinct would be that, like, the last person up should hang out at the bottom of stairs and make sure nothing happens down here, given that there's a scream, but I would run up.
I would actually like to go to the door.
To the, to the front door.
Yeah, to kind of, like, lock down the place.
And see if that, make sure nobody can leave.
Sure. Give me some type of Intimidation or Persuasion check.
Intimidation or Persuasion, you say.
Oh yes, the Boros minotaur, proficient maybe?
That's going to be a 19.
Great. You get to the door and are like, 'Don't.'
'Any of you thinking about getting out of here, don't.' And everybody just kind of sits still and it's like, 'oh this night just got really bad didn't it?' Those of you who run upstairs, you realize that the scream, as you kind of very quickly hunt door, door, door, you realize the scream came from the very, very end of the hall, that one room that was already occupied by the time that you goes in there. As you open the door. Ned, you are first in line?
Ned Donovan 31:48
Please give me a Constitution saving check.
Ned Donovan 31:52
Great. For whatever reason, you are not horrified by what it is that you see inside.
Ned Donovan 31:58
There is, for the those of you running up to the door, there is a woman on the ground screaming, continuously screaming, staring at the bed. On the bed is a torso and nothing else except for some blood on the floor. No arms, no legs, no head.
Just ''tis a flesh wound.'
Male or female?
Lorzatch rolls a 15 to examine the torso.
Okay, you examine the torso. There is a woman screaming. I will, I will say you're going to need to make a disadvantage check while this woman is screaming.
Still a 15.
Still a 15. Okay, what you notice is that all five limbs have been cut off cleanly, to such an extent that perhaps it's curious how someone was even able to dismantle five limbs quite so efficiently.
And is there any sign of decay setting in?
There is no sign of decay.
It's very fresh, including the blood.
This man was just murdered.
Just murdered and...
Ned Donovan 33:02
By the woman?
Are the windows open?
Removed. Decapitated, likely post-mortem, given how cleanly the cuts were made. And there is no sign of any of the limbs nor the head in this room.
I go to the woman.
"Madam, what did you see? What's happened here?"
She is so completely horrified. She's very unresponsive. [stammering]
Damn it. No. Okay. Okay, so you slap her but it doesn't like, it just--
That is Lennox's fault.
We're, we're going with that? We're going with that? It's not, like, an Airplane reference. We're just gonna full-on do this.
Ned Donovan 33:43
No, we are leaning in to it.
Alright. This is the podcast, folks, strap in.
'I had to stop her from screaming.'
Right, now it doesn't really quell her it just kind of make sure at least acknowledge that you are there.
And she kind of converts her hysteria from like just the nether into like you, and she's kind of grabbing at you like: [stammering]
While, while he's talk, trying to talk to her, Zenia just kind of creeps up and she's trying to, she's like, humming to herself under her breath trying to match the pitch the scream.
And while she's doing this, she's kind of looking all over this woman, like, clothes, maybe, like, picking up a pocket. This woman doesn't seem to be paying attention and Zenia is not polite. So she's going to
She's completely uninjured.
There is not a speck of blood on her. As far as her things, give me a Sleight of Hand check, please.
Aha, lucky for me...
Oh no. That's one thing DMs don't want to hear, 'Oh, lucky for me, which means unlucky for you...'
Well, I mean, I got a little too cocky. But I got a 13.
I think, I think a 13 is enough to do it. But I think at the point where she now kind of acknowledges you doing a thing. And she's now kind of grabbed both of your clothing. And he's just sort of shaking and stammering and screaming.
But did I find anything?
You did not have the opportunity to remove anything because she immediately is like, she doesn't seem mad at you that you were rifling through her things. But she at least knows that you're there and is now trying to engage with you.
Lorzatch rolls either--
A 19 for herbalism.
Or a 22 for Medicine to try and treat this woman's...
Ned Donovan 35:50
Shock and alarm.
Trauma. It's legitimate.
Ned Donovan 36:02
I would feel like those have synonymous...
Yeah, so herbalism. Do you have any medicinal herbs on you?
Well, he has an herbalism kit.
Which suggests that...
Which is more of a...
Different than having medicinal herbs.
It's different than, sort of, like...
Ned Donovan 36:19
It's the means to use herbs.
It's like a mortar and pestle and stuff.
Herbalism kits are great for like Survival checks, things out in the wilderness, providing food and things like that. But as far as a direct medical connotation without something sort of established...
I, I roll a 19 to smoke this lady down. No. Uh...
22 with Medicine to try and calm her, if Medicine could apply.
I'm going to struggle here to figure out a way that you could do this. Let's say that you at least find a way to prevent her hyperventilation.
I gently stroke her back.
But it is very clear that whatever is affecting her is mental trauma. She is not physically hurt at all.
I gently stroke her hair.
And I whisper in her ear. "You're safe. We are here to help. What have you seen in this room?"
Give me Persuasion.
'Lucky for me...'
I think you guys have managed to get this woman to a point where she is not going to be a danger to herself. But as far as whatever has afflicted her mentally, it's really beyond anything outside of some sort of medical profession or magical stopping.
Is she still holding on to me?
She is still pretty much grasped to you as if in a way that she does not want to be left alone.
Oh, okay. I was going to tickle her. But if it's comforting to her to be there, then sure.
No, no, Landree wouldn't, but Zenia would. Zenia still tickles her to try and get her to let go.
Oh god, it's, I don't think she's ticklish right now. I think she's too, I think she kind of looks at you like 'something serious has happened, woman!'
I cast Heroism.
Ah, and what will hear Heroism do in this particular situation, please.
A willing creature you touch is imbued with bravery. Until the spell ends the creature is immune to being frightened.
And gains temporary hit points equal to my spell casting ability modifier.
Great. So you manage to calm her down to the point. She is brave. But it is not sort of just a magical like, 'oh, haha, this does not bother me anymore.' She is really messed up. But she at least has the wherewithal to at least converse with you.
"Madam. Again. What have you seen in this room?"
"There was, there was, it was a man. And somebody came and, and cut him. And, and they threw me in the corner and they told me not to move. And I covered my eyes and I couldn't see and I heard a horrible noise."
"I need you to try and remember what this man looked like."
She said, "It was dark. And he was laughing. And he came at me so fast. I don't remember it very much. I just remember he was laughing. This was very funny to him. And the minute he shoved me into the corner, I didn't know what was going to happen. I looked away and I didn't open my eyes until I heard the window break."
Ned Donovan 39:23
"What were you doing in the room?"
She seems unwilling to discuss that.
"Who is this man? Who was he? Did you know him?"
She says, she says, "I don't know."
"Where did you meet him?"
I'm sorry. You rifled through her clothing?
We have our first private note of the session.
You did actually, you were not able to retrieve it from her body. But you did spot what I have just handed on to that piece of paper. For those of you listening at home, Landree has found two very important indicating items. One, the woman in question has an Azorius guild signet on her person, and two, she has some sort of plug attached to her chest. So she claims that she has just met this man, she does not know his name, and that somebody attacked them. And she says, 'I don't know who he was. He shoved me in the corner and I didn't open my eyes again until I heard the window break.'
Lorzatch moves to the window.
There is a broken window.
Ned Donovan 40:28
Can I examine to see, examine to see if the window was broken by, like, an object or if they jumped through the window and it's like a stereotypical, like they're busting through with their shoulder. Right. I want to know, like roughly the size of the human we're dealing with.
Lorzatch rolls at 20.
Lorzatch rolls a natural 20 so...
Ned Donovan 40:47
Certain things you find about the room: number one, there is a broken window. Notably, all of the glass is outside the window, suggesting that it was broken from the inside. Attached to the window, stuck on one of the pieces of broken glass is a piece of fabric. The fabric looks like it could be a part of a black and red checkered pattern. Onto the body, all of the cuts were made with extreme precision, okay, very clean, very knowledgeable, like quartering a chicken.
Not necessarily one stroke, but whoever or whatever did this knows how to disassemble a body in the quickest and most efficient way possible. This is a practiced maneuver. While those of you upstairs are investigating this murder scene, Fikarra, down at the front door you see two people stand up from a table over in the opposite end of the tavern where you guys were sitting. They are in full Boros uniform, there are two of them, one male, one female, they have dark skin, white hair, and they are dressed in a wojek uniform. Now, the wojek are the Boros detectives, they're the investigators. They're the people who would be called anyway to deal with a murder scene. And it looks like they kind of sigh to each other, having resolved that there's no real way that they're going to avoid being a part of this situation. They look to you Fikarra at the door with this just extreme disappointment and make their way upstairs. So those of you who are upstairs quickly can see two wojek officers approach and ask what's going on.
I say, 'Please tell these men, or these people, what you've seen.'
And she does. She recounts the situation. And they're like, "This is... okay. All right." And the, the woman looks at the man and says, 'shoot you for who has to go," and he goes, 'ugh,' and they kind of throw a rock-paper-scissors, he loses, says, "Fine, I'll go get a team," and then he starts heading his way out, asks you to let him out, and it's very clear that the Boros are going to go do their duty because this falls within their line. The, the woman on the floor does start talking to the wojek officer. For whatever reason, she seems much more comfortable talking to her. Perhaps you're not necessarily carrying the air of a justicar today. But the wojek does manage to get out of her that her name is Elazia and she simply recounts what's going on. And the, the wojek looks at you, Fikarra, and says, "I heard we've got a new Hazda soldier kicking around the barracks. I'm not technically on duty today. But you are, and as far as I'm concerned, this is your mess. So, uh, until Studi gets back, I don't really want to be bothered by this. But as soon as the med team arrives, I have work to do on my hand. So..." And she just kind of leans back against the railing, kind of folds her arms.
"This is your district?"
"It's all our district. Oh, right. Undercity. Up here, we have laws and rules in areas where we patrol and protects them so that lawless craziness just doesn't run around wherever we feel like."
Ned Donovan 44:08
"Yet still there is a disembodied torso."
"What Rak, what Rakdos performers do you know in the area?" He holds up the red and black checkered cloth.
She looks and she's like, 'you're kidding, right?' "Sorry. Undercity. This is Theatre Row. 90% of what you see is Rakdos."
"Any of them moonlight as butchers?"
"Are you serious? The Cult of Rakdos, a cult that warships a demon named Rakdos, who somehow was allowed to be a guild leader? They're masochists, who worship a nihilist, in the theater district!"
While everyone else is distracted, I'd like to quietly go up to the woman and just say, "I feel like you're not telling me the full story."
Persuasion check please.
She kind of looks at you and says, "What makes you say that?"
"Between you and I? I just want you to know, while you were very distracted, I did a quick search. So."
"So? Did you see the torso lying on the bed?"
"I did see the--"
"You see this blood that we're sitting in?"
"Yes, I did see those things. There is a lot of blood. You're absolutely correct. And I'd love to look at it some more, a little bit later. But I found something on your person that you failed to mention to the group and I'm giving you the opportunity to talk with me about it right now."
She's a little standoffish as in, like, "What are you talking about? Don't you see what has happened to me?"
I just reach my hand and I touch where I found the object.
Okay, so she just kind of looks at you and just very gently...
Okay, so she shakes her head at me.
And I, obviously I pick up on this and, and as Zenia very quickly goes, "Blood!" And she walks over to the torso.
Okay, you guys have a very brief period of time before a Boros medical team comes to start, you know, ascertaining if this guy's dead or not.
Are there signs of a struggle in the room?
No. Again, it is sort of frightening how clean this was. In fact, the only thing dirty about it is the fact that somebody left through a window.
Ned Donovan 46:28
Is it clear how they got in? Did they come in through the door?
Great question. It's not clear. The important thing to note is the window is locked. But it is broken. It was an exit.
Ned Donovan 46:39
I would love to take a take a brief hiatus back downstairs and ask Dodgy who was in the room? Who signed it out? Do we have a ledger?
That's pretty good.
Yeah. Okay, so you go down and you talk to Dodgy.
And Dodgy's like, "What is going on? And why is it every time you're in my bar, something's going wrong?"
Ned Donovan 46:51
"To be clear, we protected you last time so..."
Ned Donovan 47:00
It's like a, we're at like a one-and-one here.
"Do I want to go up there?"
Ned Donovan 47:04
Ned Donovan 47:07
"You should wait for the Boros team. Now--"
"I hate the festival."
Ned Donovan 47:12
"Up there is a situation involving one of your tenants."
"Who has the room at the end of the hall?"
"He's the man at the end of the hall."
Ned Donovan 47:22
"Do you not keep a ledger?"
"I do keep a ledger. Why?"
Ned Donovan 47:25
"Because I would like to know who is in the room at the end of the hall."
"Why? What has happened to the man at the end of the hall?"
Ned Donovan 47:30
"Do you want to create a scene downstairs?"
"What has happened to the man?"
Ned Donovan 47:34
"So there's a situation upstairs."
"Yes, you've already said that."
Ned Donovan 47:37
"Yes. There's a lot of blood."
Ned Donovan 47:40
"The, the man of the end of the hall is unrecognizable or identifiable."
Ned Donovan 47:44
"And we very kindly need you to do either of those things for us."
"I'm not going up there. I've got a crowd full of people down here who are really upset."
Ned Donovan 47:54
"I just told you that you didn't have to go up there. I just need you--"
"The name in the ledger!"
"What do you want from me then?"
So you kind of, he kind of takes a second. People are clearly in the room like, 'What's going on? What's going on?' "Shut it!" He kind of goes down, he looks at his ledger like, "A man came in. A Mr. Caleb. Rented the room for the weekend."
Ned Donovan 48:13
"First name or last name?"
"That's it. It's just a Mr. Caleb."
Ned Donovan 48:16
"You have a terrible ledger."
I'd like to ask--
"How many names does a man need?"
Ned Donovan 48:20
"The charm on your establishment for weapons?"
"Is it your entire establishment or just down here?"
"Yes, it's everywhere."
"In the rooms as well?"
"You're not allowed to use martial weapons in here. Otherwise things like this happen."
Well, that's interesting because there's a body with no arms and no legs and--
Ned Donovan 48:39
I was really trying to hold that information in.
He goes, "Oh, Christ. Oh god. I hate the festival so much." Yes?
I'd like to cast Detect Magic. I got an 18.
You got an 18 on Detect Magic. There is magic localized within the room.
Of what it is...
I don't know.
But there is something localized within the room. But whatever it is, you've never really smelled it before.
Ned Donovan 49:14
If I go back upstairs and rejoin everyone in the room could I perform an Arcana check based on knowledge of lore to see if that's something I would be able to recognize?
Ned Donovan 49:22
Doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo 17.
Whatever this was, in your experience, was not done magically. This was precision dismemberment. Somebody very easily got in here, subdued someone, cut up one of the two people in here, and then left through the window.
Ned Donovan 49:42
Can I ask Elazia how long in your memory was it from the time that the, that the person entered the room to the time that they left by the window?
She says, "I screamed as soon as he shoved me in the corner."
So this happened, if that's true, within less than five seconds.
If this is true.
Ned Donovan 50:02
Yeah, talking a 10-seconds surgical dismemberment.
If that's true.
This woman's story, which she ascertains is true, is that somebody came into the room. She does not know how they came into the room. She doesn't necessarily confirm or deny that the door was locked. It's not her room. Entered the room. In the moment when her and the other man realized that person was there. She was put into the corner and told to stay there. She closed her eyes, screamed, heard the person leave through the window, and then when she woke up--
Ned Donovan 50:34
So the scream was not related to the torso and the blood. The screen was from a push to the corner.
The scream was when he put her in the corner and it is very unlikely anyone heard the breaking of the window because she screamed. By this point the Boros team has arrived and the wojek officers officially take over the crime scene for the time being. The five of you are ushered back to your rooms for the night. And you get to think about how horrible of a day this has been. Lennox, for a second night in a row you find it difficult to fall asleep as you have this dangerous orb pressed against your side. Zenia, you mull over the items that you found on Elazia's person and wonder what that could possibly signify. And above all, the five of you lay awake in your beds commiserating over the fact that this was only day one of your sentence and how much worse it could possibly get tomorrow.
Next time on Encounter Party! Day two of the festival brings even more terror as the murder investigation takes a horrible turn. Will the players solve it in time or will Captain Farlan revoke his agreement? Find out on the next Encounter Party!
Encounter Party is produced by Play+1 and Charging Moose Media. Based on the worlds of Dungeons and Dragons and Magic: the Gathering, created by Wizards of the Coast. Sound capture and original sound effects by Will Melones, edited and mixed by Ned Donovan. Music by Alex Nakarada of SerpentSound Studios. Special thanks to Megan Judkins, Marcus Thorne Bagala, and Will Melones.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai