RPG@QUT Matt's D&D

DM log-- Fallcrest 3-3

Our heroes woke up after one of the hardest days in their lives. It was the morning of 15 Sunsebb {see timeline}. They woke to a Fallcrest still roiling with discontent, but the distribution of the trade goods had prevented things from boiling over for the moment. Jorn, the trader bound for Vlekstaad, was still among the wreckage of his winter festival shipment, refusing to go south, and having hired Brad to provide security. He was frantic about opening the trade route as the only viable way to Vlekstaad was through Fallcrest—the surrounding area south of the cliff had overnight become overrun by gnolls, making travel any direction but quickly downstream extremely dangerous. Jorn revealed the nature of his panic: he had taken a lot of money from Vlekstaad trade heavies with which to buy all the festival goods from the south. As insurance of timely delivery, Jorn had agreed for his wife and children to stay in Vlekstaad as a special guest of his lenders—hostages. Jorn knew that for every day he was late—and this deadline was in three days, barely enough time to travel there even in good weather—his lenders would start to cut parts off of their collateral. He hoped that if he got to a place called Fallingwater, the proprietor there, himself from Vlekstaad, would send a message to assure that Jorn was on his way, buying an extra day or two. Our heroes considered him a fool, but in honest distress, and added this to their reasons to open the trade route as soon as possible. But first they needed to investigate the [[Drake’s Tail Inn]].

They returned to the scene of the slaughter. To make a long story short, their investigation led them to conclude that in fact, the “guards” who did the slaughter, and who the heroes fought, were in fact residents of Hightown, who went to very rich schools there and had recently been living there. They had been long addicted to chaos shard. They had been smuggled there in an eladrin-style carriage, then snuck inside the inn while the real town guards (paid off with Hightown money via a thin halfling), boarded up the Drake, and slipped away. {A series of skill checks uncovered many individual bits of evidence too laborious to list here—but hopefully others have taken notes! The players linked this evidence to other aspects known from previous adventuring, resulting in lots of Plot Point awards. To Callum and Scott: 1 PP for remembering that chaos shards have a kind of consciousness, explaining the dual-soul nature of the deceased fake guards. To Darcy: 1 PP for recalling the demons’ interests in the chaos shards, and how this related to the extraplanar nature of the fake guards. To Rachael and Scott: 1 PP for remembering that the gnoll boss in the Moon Hills mine forced people to fight each other, and ate the organs, in an echo of the Cannibal’s behaviour.} Between this and the confirmation that The Cannibal was an eladrin elite, the logical conclusion was that this was a false flag operation: powers in Hightown wanted it to look like the town guards were to blame for the slaughter, apparently in order to drive a wedge between the Lowtown residents and the guards. It would fit a divide-and-conquer strategy, and from the hostage situation at Sandercot Provisioners, it was working. The heroes gathered evidence to make their case, and headed to Sandercot to present it to the mob.

The hostage situation at Sandercot Provisioners was as intractable as ever, with hundreds of Lowtown residents mobbed outside and baying for the blood of the guards who had taken the hostages. The guards, led by Dale, were more certain than ever that safe passage out of town was impossible, so it was a deadlock. The heroes stepped onto a cart in front of the building to address the crowd, and presented the evidence. {This was a skill challenge in which they used skills and persuasion checks to make the evidence stick.} They convinced the crowd, whose mood turned dramatically. They were no longer angry at the guards, who had been framed. They were now very, very angry at Hightown. Far beyond the taxation, disruption of trade, and galling inequality of wealth, now the crowd blamed Hightown elites for outright slaughter, The Cannibal being a tool of Hightown to wage actual war on the Lowtown poor. The mob called for the guards to come out to be welcomed as Lowtown’s best chance to raid and overthrow the Hightown elites, and to take Fallcrest back. The guards did emerge to great adulation and the hostages returned to tearful families. Only later did our heroes realise that the eladrin guards did not emerge. Like Bastian, they sensed a racial hatred underneath the crowd’s anger at Hightown, and decided to quietly slip away before it got worse.

At this moment, the crowd parted as a new arrival came on the scene—the subject of the next adventure log!

{For general adventuring, quest advancement, and a low-risk skill challenge, give 300XP to each in the group}

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