Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Khareo's Tale #5 - A devil's untimely end

In this session, the Lothal sisters are trying to finish the work started in the last session where they confronted a devil that was destroying the life of a noblemwoman. The devil turned out hard to kill, and the first contact ended in a withdrawal from Merbaum (the devil). 

Looking for Lorenz Lothal

The day after the confrontation with Merbaum, the sisters assumed that things would get quiet. They decided to head for the court of Sharna III to investigate the circumstances of their father's disappearance. They met with someone from the chamberlain office. It turned out that this man, named Karmen, personally knew their father. He left the sisters in a lobby while he knocked at a few other doors.

When he came back, Karmen told the sisters that their father has set out on a diplomatic mission to Lorthalen, a sovereign island in the Golden Archipelago. He set out on an independent sailship, never came back. As a result he was declared missing and his salary was terminated a month ago.

The sister went back home and worked for the rest of the day. Martha drew a star chart for her father and found out that within the last 6 months, her father had indeed been in the Golden Archipelago. Not a lot more could be read from the chart. At least the two pieces of information corroborated.

Tracking Merbaum through Khareo

Merbaum entered back into the sisters' lives with the knock of a door. Lady Fremton was waiting on the threshold with the crumbled remains of an amulet in her hand. She explained that the vitality amulet had shattered into the night. Mary recognized that Merbaum had possibly attempted to do her harm, and that the amulet had stopped the ritual. Mary advised Lady Fremton to wear the ring that she made to poison Merbaum since it was also a vitality amulet.

Both agreed that Merbaum would not let got of this easily. They anticipated a time where Lady Fremton could end-up without Mary's protection. Something had to be done, soon. The problem mainly was that there was no way to find out where Merbaum was in the first place. Lady Fremton didn't want to return to her flat for the time being.

The sisters splitted to attempt to find traces of a devil in Khareo. They knew that Merbaum was probably preying on other wealthy citizens in the city. However, the odds of finding any of them bragging about their curse were very low. Mary, whom had a fantastic rapport with the business community, decided to tap into this network to scrounge for rumors. She asked around for anecdotes about recently destitute or otherwise gloomy upstanding merchants. Unfortunately, a full day of running around left her empty-handed.

Martha was at a lost for rumors: most people that she knew treated her either as a child or as a weirdo. She got sneers from neighbors and shooed away from market stalls. Her best bet turned out to talk to Sheriff Stanton, a grumpy horologicalist with enthusiasm for tax collection. Martha had fallen in his good book by being so openly at odds with the local Architecturalist congregation.  

Stanton came back to her a few days later with the tip that a goldsmith called Elmira Acker had suddenly closed shop and isolated herself from her social circles. If her problem came from Merbaum, then he really had found the best kind of professional to harrass.

The curse of Elmira Acker, goldsmith.

Merbaum tangled into the net while Martha takes her sweet
time aiming.
When the sisters knocked at the closed shop's door, they were quickly turned away. Martha interjected and mentioned Merbaum by its name. The goldsmith, a woman in her forties, let them in and asked about everything that they knew about the devil. Her story was similar to Lady Fremton, except that her husband had left her a long time ago and didn't get killed by it. The sisters inspected the goldsmith shop and her adjoining apartment on the upper level. They then hatched a plan. Mary convinced Ms. Acker to invite them over that night so that they could ambush Merbaum. Hopefully, to wipe him from her life for good.

On the way home, Mary bough a net in the style used by demonstration fighters at festivals. She spent the rest of the day figuring out how to throw the darn thing. Martha loaded both flintlock pistols and wrapped them in a piece of canvas. Merbaum was about to get a taste of Lothal medicine.

The ambush according to Chloe ( Martha )
Later into the night, the sisters went back to the goldsmith shop. They consulted with Ms. Acker to find a good ambush setup. Usually, the devil came from the back door and got fed on the counter of the shop. Mary and Martha found dark corners in the store to hide.

Merbaum arrived late into the night. He was rude and threatening to Ms. Acker. She led him down to the store and manipulated her lantern such as to have the sisters on the other side of the glare. Merbaum landed on the counter and began wolfing down a few gold pieces.

Mary threw her net at him. He recoiled to dodge but slipped off the counter and landed on the ground, completely tangled. Martha walked to the powerless fairy and carefully shot him to the heart. The devil was leathery tough! Once the smoke cleared, Martha could only see a graze on his chest.  While she switched pistol, Mary hopped on the counter. Martha shot at Merbaum again: a great rift opened in his chest and yellow sparks were streaming out of it. Merbaum had given up on escaping the net and was instead trying to chew his way out.

Merbaum realized that a dodge retreat is impractical atop a
glass counter. 
Mary jumped down to the ground and trample him. She snapped her vitality amulet off her neck and shoved it into the rift. A surge of white light filled the room and the screaming got the best of Martha who fled to the upper level. Mary had been badly burnt by her last move and couldn't move her hand anymore. The devil tried to plead with Mary to let him go: Mary would have none of it. Martha came back in, snapped off her amulet from her neck and shoved it in the rift as well. Merbaum's body was now smoking, his mouth frothing. The sight and the pain from her burn sent Mary retching to the floor. As Martha was about to draw her foil, Merbaum stopped writhing and became silent. The devil had eaten his last golden meal.

The ambush by Sophie ( Mary Lothal ).

Peddling the body

The sisters had a hunch that a devil's body would fetch a good price from an alchemist. After a bit of negotiations, they managed to sell Merbaum's body to one of them for the great sum of 500 silver ( nearly a years' salary). It could have proably fetched a lot more, but this would have required an amount of leg work that the sisters weren't ready to put forth.

Mary and Martha realized that they now had enough money to support their mother and family home while they travel to Lorthalen to investigate the disappearance of their father. Hopefully Mary will be able to recover from her crippling burns on her right hand!

GM's notes: 

  1. A net is a very potent weapon in GURPS!
  2. Sophie had the brilliant idea to use the white magic of a vitality amulet to poison the devil: this is pure awesome!

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