Kormatin Solo Adventure 3: Kormatin fights the Decadents
This actually stretched across three sessions but I would rather organize these by story arc rather than by session when I can help it. After the events of last sesion Duke Garland Wiern politely invited Kormatin and his companions to dinner. Kormatin brought up his concerns of a possible Swynfaredian invasion. Duke Wiern essentially "I am not sure if the Swynfaredians are planning to invade or not, but I am going to home for the best and prepare for the worst. I am making military preparations blah blah blah." Garland loved to gush about his eldest daughter because Garland is the king of Fumaya's father-in-law. His eldest daughter was not present because she in the capital with her husband the king. She and the king have a four year old daughter and a nine month old son. Garland is very loyal to the king for obvious reasons. Garland's second born and heir apparent is Lord Bohdan (mid twenties). When the dinner started, Bohdan put his foot in his mouth very quickly "Why are we entertaining priestly guests when it's not a holiday" angering his father and siblings for his social gaff. Bohdan was quiet for the rest of the evening. Lord Tacitus (early twenties) was what Kormatin's player deemed "the smart reasonable child of the duke." He seemed to have a good head on his shoulders and was taking reasonable precautions to defend the realm against a possible Swyfnaredian invasion. Lady Felicja (18) was Garland's daughter, was a deliberately obnoxious. Kormatin's character background is that he was an illegitimate bastard son of a noble woman and unknown father. As a child he was shipped off to the Khemra's temple. Lady Felicja gave him a backhanded compliment that, dressing it up in flowery language but she essentially said "It's really great that you have been capturing all those bad sorcerers. Maybe we should send all our bastards to the Keepers for training." Kormatin did not respond to the barb but inside he was seething. This was the transition between Solo Story Arc 2 and Solo Story Arc 3. Kormatin's player asked for a new story hook. Conveniently I had a story hook specifically for the town near Castle Wiern. Kormatin was able to visit the castle but he was not staying there. A lowly stable hand approached Kormatin and begged him for help finding his missing friend. Kormatin not having anything better to do, so he agreed. Investigation revealed that in recent months there were six disappearances. All of them were vagrants, beggars, or turd shoveling laborers. Four men, two women. People with little to no living family that no one would miss. Kormatin found a loose geographic pattern to the abduction, while investigating this, he spotted a mysterious stranger tailing him. Kormatin turned the tables on the man following him. He tried to deny doing anything wrong, but as soon as Kormatin's gnome friend suggested "Let's search him!" He pulled a sword and stabbed her (healed with a potion later). Kormatin and his sidekicks took the man down pretty easily but he fought to his last breath. They searched his corpse and found a Maylar holy symbol. It's not illegal to worship Maylar but it is cause for suspicion and attacking people in an alley is illegal. Kormatin kept it quiet that this man was a secret Maylar cultist, he told people "I was investigating missing people, and this man tried following me and then attacked when I questioned him." Everyone was shocked by this as the man's public identity was an unassuming bachelor peasant laborer who liked spending his nights getting drunk at the tavern. They searched his house and found he had a hiding place with a surprising amount of weapons and armor for a "harmless drunkard". They questioned his friends at the tavern. Kormatin's gnome friend Ragani suspected one of the men at the tavern knew more than he let on. Ragani followed him (being far stealthier than Kormatin or Tihalt). The suspect took a circuitous route the servants entrance of Castle Wiern then left the castle. Kormatin and company went to his hovel in the middle of the night, and accosted him. "Why are you sneaking around and visiting the castle late at night." etc. He made up a BS story that he was trying to seduce a chambermaid who worked in the castle. They searched his house found another hidden holy symbol of Maylar and more weapons and armor than most peasants own. They arrested him and threw him in the guard house lockup. Kormatin didn't tell the soldiers why, he pulled rank and said "Hold him until I say otherwise." No one questioned the scary Keeper because the last man he brought over was a corpse. They went back to the castle the next day, and quietly told Lord Tacitus what was going. Lord Tacitus ordered the chambermaid in question to clean something and while she was away, Kormatin and his buddies searched her room, found another Maylar holy symbol and a dagger with a bit of dried blood on it. The chambermaid denied everything and unconvincingly claimed she was set up. Lord Tacitus helped them quietly move her to the castle dungeon. Lord Tacitus gave Kormatin and his buddies the work schedule of all the servants in the castle. While they were doing chores, Kormatin and his buddies were going to search their quarters room by room. They found two more servants (one man, one woman) with hidden weapons and Maylar holy symbols. The man had a map with the disappearances in town marked and another site outside of town marked). Kormatin and his buddies arrested the them both. The woman did not fight. The man tried to fight to the death, but they managed to knock him unconscious, he was almost dead. They had to magically heal him in order to interrogate him. Under interrogation, the woman denied everything. The man spilled his guts making a full confession and saying that they followed a Tester who wore a mask and operated under the pseudonym "the Reveler" and they were murdering lowly people who not be missed. He said the out of town site was where they were hiding the bodies. Note he asked for clemency after spilling his guts, not before. Moderately suspicious. He named names. The dead man, the two captured women, and another manservant whom Kormatin promptly threw in a cell. The man denied everything until he found out that his compatriot sold him out and which point he shouted that "The traitor will die!" which is effectively confessing "Yes I am a Maylar cultist too." Kormatin and company searched the rest of the servants quarters at the castle and identified no new evidence of Maylar additional cultists (at this point they killed one, and captured four), so Kormatin and his sidekicks went to investigate the burial site. But it turns out the map they were given was planted there for Kormatin to find. Kormatin, Tihalt and Ragani were ambushed by about almost a score of men. A combination of Decadents cultists and hired criminal thugs all wearing party masks. The cultists charged while the thugs took opportunist shots with their crossbows. Ragani tried to summon as many fighting spirits as she could. They didn't last long but they took a lot of hits that would have hit the party. Tihalt on focused on shielding Ragani while Kormatin did most of the actual fighting. Tihalt took out one or two cultists. Kormatin beat them after a very long very hard fight. He focused on the Reveler. The Decadents supposed leader. He was a skilled fighter and could shoot rays with Wrath ●●●, but he was not match for Kormatin. Once Kormatin was able to finally kill him, it became easier to take out other cultists. There was a female Maylar theurgist that tried hexing Kormatin and his companions but she couldn't beat their prodigious Willpower scores, so she switched to summoning fighting spirits which set up an arms race between her and Ragani. After one of the thugs failed a fatigue check and chose to bolt, Kormatin's player decided to step up his efforts. He had already drank a speed and flying potion though he hadn't used either of these powers yet, so he went straight for the theurgist. After a brief but intense fight, she tried to flee using her flying potion and invisibility potion but Kormatin had already prepared counters for both. He knocked her unconscious with an aerial takedown which scared the hired thugs into breaking and running. Kormatin did not bother going after him choosing to mop up the remaining cultists. Most of the cultists tried to fight to their last breath, but with the power of their enemy largely broken Tihalt and Ragni were able to take the offensive and help Kormatin with his mop up. The mystery theurgist turned out to be Lady Felicja. The Reveler turned out to be a nobody figurehead. In addition to Felicja, they captured four or five cultists. Kormatin turned over his prisoners to Duke Garland Wiern. Lord Bohdan Wiern redeemed himself in Kormatin's eyes by apologizing for being a fool and not seeing his sister's true nature sooner. He promised to tkae his duties as lord more seriously in the future. Lord Tacitus Wiern said he suspected his sister was sneaking out of the castle for an illicit love affair and had no idea she was involved in anything this serious. Felicja gave a heartfelt testimony that she was coerced into helping the Decadents but this seemed to be crocodile tears because divinations revealed her as a potent Maylar theurgist. An innocent hostage cannot be coerced into the true faith to become a theurgist like that. Maylar worship is unpopular in Fumaya, but it is not a crime to be a Maylar aligned theurgist. Ritualistic murder is a crime. The duke sentenced most of the cultists to death for conspiracy murder, even the ones that turned stoolie. He reluctantly charged his daughter as an accessory to murder and sentenced her to banishment. Kormatin and company thought it would be a good idea to distance themselves from the duke given the circumstances. They went to Alexandra Frymar for a debriefing. Since the queen's sister was involved with the cult and bad news tends to travel fast and get distorted. She asked them to pass their account to the king in person. ON the way to King's Lake, Kormatin was approached by Brigid, a Swynfaredian woman claiming to be a defector. She had the same heterochromia eyes that Kormatin has. She says her father, Rohdri ap Gruffyl sired a lot of bastards and says that most of his sorcery wielding children have heterochromia. If Kormatin is his natural son, then Kormatin is the only heterochromia child without sorcery. Brigid is also a favored soul of Zarthus and a bardic caster. Like most dual casters, she is considered a "double dabbler", not especially potent in either. Brigid filled Kormatin in with a lot of information on their way to King's Lake and her back story seems to check out so far.
Kormatin got a lot of scrolls and potions but he also expended a lot of scrolls and potions. I gave him and his sidekicks bonus experience for completing a major story arc and a dangerous one that. The next session will start in King's Lake and Kormatin will be resupplied with magical resources and treasure. I guess for Kormatin, material rewards tend to show up at the start of stories rather than the ending.
Kormatin's player gave me the feedback that he liked this long-term connected conspiracy to unravel more than the episodic "Spy of the Week" plots he got before this. I am going to try to have more longer term complicated plots instead of mostly unconnected mini-plots going for.