Last night our 13th Age campaign picked up where we left off in Santa Cora. In between sessions the players collectively agreed to make Glitterhaegen their next stop, as they really wanted to continue to look into the Prince of Shadows’s dealings, but didn’t want to get quite as close as Shadowport to do so.
As far as Icon Rolls, the Prince of Shadows managed to come out strikingly on top again, and this ultimately lead to their most ideal ship to take being what was clearly a pirate vessel. With an all gnomish crew. (In fact, I seem to be subconsciously making gnomes a very big sea fairing race this game.) I also worked in an icon roll with the High Druid, as this particular ship also kept a druid on retainer, to help speed up the journey. Generating wind is useful for speed, and moving the ship silently with the push of water as you near the Necropolis is just good sense. Though the party didn’t want to take any risks with the later, the cleric Solare taking the time to create a ritual to deter attacks as they passed the Necropolis in particular. Which did foil an encounter I had in the works, but in a rather clever way. Which always amuses me.
Lieth also noticed an object in the sky well before anyone could, that seemed to roughly be near Glitterhaegen, and over time he could notice it carried some light at night, and seemed to be slowly moving.
However the Prince of Shadows came up a lot in Icon rolls, and while I can’t always come up with a good way to work an icon roll in, I try. (There was an Emperor roll I couldn’t squeeze in this time.) Their pirate ship was deferred to Shadowport to deliver cargo early. Originally the plan was to have the shop stop by Glitterhaegen and then head to Shadowport. The party, already having had some dealing with the Prince go south one way or another assumed the worst. Preparing to hide and do everything in their power to not go to Shadowport themselves. (Right down to fearing that they were the cargo getting delivered there. I swear, they’re more devious than I am in their fears.) They eventually decide they’re probably safe, but still hide bellow deck the whole time the ship makes it’s brief stop in Shadowport.
After the ship departs, they make their way back up to see a hooded dwarf, not unlike the one that attempted to bribe them to stay out of the Prince’s affairs in the prior session. After some small bursts of panic, they eventually decide it’s not that bad. With Lieth deciding to take direct approach and chat up the fellow. This wound up being fairly fruitful for them. This dwarf is in fact the one they had dealt with before. (They didn’t ask how he got to Shadowport so quickly ahead of them, but their guesses of there being ways for those in the Prince’s employ weren’t far off.) Turns out he’s retiring, as he’s starting to think working under the Prince isn’t what it used to be.
Using smooth talking, a little bit of bribery, and his background as a smuggler, Lieth managed to get the more important details as to what’s been going on with the Prince of Shadows. He’s currently suffering from an affliction that is most dangerous for one of his talents. He’s bored. For the first time that anyone can recall, the Prince of Shadows is bored. Because of this he’s been behaving a bit more, erratically. Stealing and dabbling in the purviews of other Icons. Perhaps even looking to supplant one or become something new himself. This particular dwarf (they never asked his name) actually had the good will and clout to retire. A rare thing in his profession. (He plans to open up a bookshop and enjoy a quieter remainder of his days.) Lieth also worked out what his next job was going to be, which would be to invade the object in the sky Lieth himself had taken note of earlier. There being an inventor in Glitterhaegen by the name of Jauqeem that has created a contraption that would assist in reaching it. The goal being a fabulous and priceless treasure located in the base of the ziggurat. (This being my own spin on the Wild Garden from 13 True Ways.) Lieth decides that he’s interested in this.
Lastly, the dwarf makes Lieth an offer to receive an item he thinks he’d find most useful. It’s truly priceless, truly. But this guy is getting out of the business and doesn’t need it anymore. The price is steep, but Lieth pays. He is now the owner of one of two gloves, that have belonged to the Prince of Shadows. This is the first artifact I’ve introduced to the game, and an appropriate one given what this campaign is revolving around. As per the artifact rules in 13 True Ways. It has a number of abilities, all of a very rogueish bent. They all revolve around the idea that three nimble hands are often better than two. The glove directly assisting in tasks.
Finally the part arrives in Glitterhaegen, and quickly makes a beeline to the inventor Jauqeem. He seems a little off kilter, but they end up taking his flying contraption up towards the Wild Garden. (The trip, prepaid even as he was originally expecting that dwarf to arrive soon for this very reason. It’s worth noting that his flying machine is a more or less the love child of a circular dance floor and a helicopter.) Along the way the players encounter their one combat encounter of the evening, and it’s decidedly a big one. A white dragon with a wyvern bullied into it’s service declares that the ziggurat and it’s treasures are it’s own, and demands the players stop their approach. Lieth attempts to negotiate, but the bard Yain quickly turns this into combat with a well placed insult.
When I setup this encounter, I was a little afraid that it might be too much for the level 4 party. However four crits, one of which got to be triple damage, made frighteningly short work of the dragon, with the wyvern soon dying as well. It was a stunning battle, with every character managing to shine.
The next session will be picking up as the players enter the ziggurat itself. They’ve also been bumped up to level 5, in part because they might need it for the challenges inside.