Gallowsbird (2016)

The Friends of Man and the Manhunt

After the group breaks I go back to my place to collect Bell for adventure. When I arrive I see her bandaging Viola. After I ask about it she informs me she wants to make an attempt a day. After that she offers to sell me a love story from the Temple district called “Love Inbetween”. A brief skim shows that it’s about a woman, Martha Dawnwitch of the Senations. She fell in love with a smith from the Poles, Greg. It tells of her escape to the mids, taking many magical effects with her. Eventually Gregory escaped, but Martha was killed by mercenaries. Note that this bare resemblances to Duni’s story and is apparently based off a true story according to Viola. We briefly talk about her working and not resting but after hearing about Harrison she quickly agrees to follow.

Along the way we quickly stop by the Apple with the intention of getting a square book. When we get there we discover that the door was broken by a force from inside the building. We draw our weapons and slowly approach. Inside are three men dressed in strange tunics that are collecting the books. One of them, a tall blonde man, approaches unarmed. I have conversation 1 with a Jish Ravram. We leave the Apple with them walking in a line. We arrive at the Society and I find Salisbury and direct them to an interrogation room. The whole time they are staring at things and nodding to each other. I tell them to wait there and they do so. Outside I tell Salisbury I brought them here on grounds of breaking and entering. I leave the case to him and go retrieve Bell and then join Richard.

Richard eventually joins the group. I ask Dave to leave and then ask what the penalty for robbery is. Richard informs me it’s usually just a fine and then I tell him the jist of what happened with the ‘Friends of Man’. I also try to explain that they seem like foreigners. We store that info away for later and go to Falconflight.

We reach an office 20 min later that is small, cramped, and smells of street vendor food. Behind a door we hear a woman conversing with Falconflight in elvish. “I fear he may have found us, Roy… its not safe here.” He responds in common “Don’t call me that.” We knock and the voices stop and let us in. We learn the facility is called the ‘Falcon Detective Agency’. There is a young looking elf woman with short hair, big eyes, and a thick accent. We ask to see Falconflight and she directs us to a door. Inside Falconflight tells us that the address probably isn’t real. There is a cult called the Promised in the mids that has control of the afterlife. According to him the property is in the after life. Falcon believes it’s a scam by Harrison. We decide to still go investigate the address we uncovered. Before we leave I question if Richard was involved with Harrison and he denies it. (Upon further review of notes it was pretty obvious it was a zombie that was the third party). That cleared up we head to the matronis.

We get close to the building, a squat darkened building whose second story has collapsed into the first and exposed sewer below. In one of the few non-collapsed rooms we find a door with a light under it. There is some argument between Falconflight and us whether we should investigate it. We decide to first scan the nearby buildings and find them clear. Richard claims that he can smell the undead and they are definitely in the building. Falconflight takes point and he opens the door. When he does three zombies whose eyes seem to be closed emerge. One wanders away while the other two approach. Inside the building itself is a cloaked individual moving his arms in a strange pattern. The two zombies that approached us appear to be illusions and we enter to confront the cloaked individual. We hear Harrison’s voice. “I thought we had a deal? You keep away, I don’t kill you. That was a one-time deal, you know. You will lose, you know. ‘Falconflight’ has been failing for years. He is a failure. You are too. Only he entertains me. You will just die.” As we approach I notice it’s the mask itself talking and not the person. Just as I try to give warning a large explosion rocks the building. We all survive but the cloaked figure is revealed to be Lenny who is now dead. We collect ourselves and try to see if Harrison is still around. He was the third zombie and is now escaping. Pearce sees a vision of Broderick cheering him to victory and is able to find the trail. Together with Falcon’s help they track him to a small building near the Temple district. We surround the building and after a brief discussion Belltoll enters the building alone. A scream his heard followed by loud sobbing from Harrison. Belltoll emerges soon after holding Harrison’s hand. She signs ""When he killed my mother, she was worth a thief’s hand. I have now taken that. He allowed this for his safety. Let him go today. Kill him next time." Richard and Falconflight seem reluctant but they agree to the terms Bell set. We return to the mids.

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Public: Dungeon & Taxes

Before the group meets up there is a square book delivered to my doorstep in the morning. I drop it off at the Apple and head to the office. Once there the group meets up and there is a discussion about Venyard. I reiterate the story told in the letter and answer a few questions. In general the others aren’t happy but don’t press it. We state we will add it to the report and move on.

The next person we decide to investigate is Eugene Piggabrick. Since we know he adopts from a few orphanages we go investigate them. The first is Mery Ann Orphanage run by a Mr Don Roger. He seems incredibly incompetent and the place seems like a disaster zone. He says nothing but good things about Piggabrick. We try to get some documentation but apparently he has none. When we leave Broderick scolds us for being so straightforward. We go to the second orphanage called “Child Prison”. It’s almost exactly like it sounds and is run by an elderly dwarf. We state were running audits and look over her files. We get a sense that Piggabrick is recruiting about 16 kids in total a year.

We go to Piggabrick’s residence and Brodie hires one of the kids to go clean a chimney in the Apple. Richard and I follow behind and we all meet up at the Apple. After questioning the kid we find out that the children are forced to work but aren’t treated horribly. Some get sick from the work but those that survive eventually move out on their own. After this we call in Piggabrick and he repeats a lot of the same lines. Says that sometimes children get sick and now that he isn’t supposed to use potions he can’t afford to treat them all. We inform him he can uses potions and get the names of a few children that have left, including one that lives at Brodie’s shelter. They collaborate his story and we consider the case closed.

The final person we investigate is Deryl Huffweiser. We first check the records to see if the rates have fluctuated slightly and notice nothing wrong. After that we split up and check places along the route. While searching I find “Neverfold” poker house. They are well acquainted with Huffweiser. He has apparently been on a winning street and many have claimed him to be cheating. Although questionable behavior it seemed he was honest in his job and the case was closed.

All four cases completed we let Brodie write and send in the report.

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Books & Myths

After I leave Richard and Falconflight I return to Fieldsworth’s office. As I enter the office I hear shuffling and groaning from the back room so I close the door. I use my Object reading on various pieces of lab equipment. I hear a voice I assume is Harrison shouting to make the scene look like a robbery. Some oil being ignited on the equipment and rotting flesh smashing things. I’m able to turn in the vision and confirm Harrison was at the scene. I exit the memory and go to the back of the facility. Fieldsworth has become a zombie, although still confined. I manage to get some of the surgical tools and retreat from the room. I use object reading to see that Harrison took Fieldsworth’s soul before he killed him. Satisfied I’ve learned everything I can hear I leave the doctor.

My next stop is the Jiggly Gypsies to meet with Viola. She was apparently bruised from trying to break into my place. She also has a book written pretty recently, a historical examination of the Calamity and the authors theories about it. The other is generic Temple info, specifically common customs as of pre-demon, post-calamity. She agrees to follow me in order to get her money. In case it wasn’t obvious it’s revealed her viola is magical when she starts pulling books out of it.

We briefly discuss the square books and she suggests asking the book binders who make most of the books, There are three: one in the senation, temple, and matroni districts. She gives me the address to the senation and the matroni binders and tells me to just say she sent me. At my request she also reveals that Gretchen Winterword is a arcane scribe, mostly scrolls although she revealed she would have to introduce me. We talk a little more and “bury the hatchet”. Viola is actually pretty cool. We part on good terms.

I head home and find Samantha concentrating on something inside the mirror so I go downstairs and talk to Venyard. We proceed to have conversation 3. I go upstairs and find Samantha arranging books. We have Samantha Conversation 13 with Venyard and Belltoll. In that conversation I go to the Weather Society, become invisible and go steal the wheelchair. Along the way I make it look like someone picked the lock before sneaking back out. After the conversation ended I go back and alert the guard that someone broke in and deliver a letter that Venyard escaped.

When I get back Bell and Sam are both sitting up and drinking some dense tea. As I enter I hear Sam talking about Bell’s bravery before we have conversation 14.

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Dynamic Duo

After we part for the day and I’m leaving the building Salisbury finds me and says he wants to have a meeting. I agree and we go to his diner and we have Salisbury Conversation 3. That taken care of I go back to the Weather and join Richard in the office and we head towards Doctor Fieldswoth’s office. We arrive to his place to find the front door locked and a note on the door.

“I am taking a working sabbatical and will not return until my research is complete. Please see a competing doctor, thank you.
-Dr. Fieldsworth”

I confirm our suspicions that this is a forgery. We get ready to enter the building when we notice a few punks watching the building. I volunteer Richard to distract them while I try to get in. The skeleton key doesn’t work so I’m forced to cast knock before I duck in and close the door.

I enter the building to see a large pile of smeared blood leading to a back room. I also see broken lab equipment and smell burning chemicals. I find the doctor heavily tortured. He has been partially deskinned and hung upside down, the phrase ‘scumblood traitor’ carved into his chest. It resembles the body at Dunni’s place. Surgery was apparently half done. I find a back door and go outside and motion for Richard to join me. When we meet up he confirms they were watching for someone to enter. One of the watchers leaves towards the market. After some debate we decide to split up in case the first guy leaving is a decoy. Regardless of what happens we agree to meet up in an hour.

I follow watcher #1 as he heads to the market. He buys a few harmless things from shops and heads deeper into the mids. Eventually he heads into a dimly lit tavern called the The Last Swan. I go up and the bouncer lets me in. Inside I see a lot of people drinking and some people in some private rooms upstairs. I go to the restroom in an attempt to find a private place and find he’s already there. After he leaves he goes to the bar and starts drinking. I wait a while but when he decides not to move I leave and head back.

I meetup with Richard at the alley behind the doctor’s office. Richard says that his guy left for the Temple district but was spooked and came back. While we’re talking another older man walks up to the punk and gives him some gold. The older man walks to the office and we realize it is now unlocked. He gestures to the punk and they head off in different directions. We prepare to go confront the older man when we hear noises from inside the office. Richard goes to investigate the noises while I go try to stall the old man. I catch up and we have Falconflight conversation 1. It ends with us leaving a diner after agreeing to meet up tomorrow.

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Public: WWE
Brodie Addition

The group meets up in the office as usual except Broderick is in his Venyard disguise. Before we do anything Brodie brings up that Salsibury approached the pseudo Venyard and brought up some of our communications. I denied any such connection. Broderick asked several more times but I insisted I was ignorant. He did not seem convinced but dropped the subject.

After that we decided to follow Broderick and see if the Opal Wardens approach him. Me and Richard follow him for a while and eventually a man named Flint Rockwood approaches false Venyard and wheels him to the Matronis. A ways back we couldn’t hear the conversation so we silently follow the duo to a building called the “Fisticuffs”. We pay to get in and inside we realize it’s some sort of fighting ring. Several people are fighting in the center, Venyard and his chair quickly following. Apparently they expected Venyard to heal up the fighters so that the match could continue. Unable to heal Broderick is thrown around in his old man disguise and eventually pretends to pass out. He is then taken out.

In the meantime we learn that the facility is owned by Bossman Tod, the former leader of the Opal Wardens. Now free of the ring Venyard flirts with a maiden which turns out to be the daughter of Bossman. He enters and proceeds to start strangling Venyard until we pull him off. Once Bossman cools off we talk and he agrees to go have a meeting with the current leader to see if Venyard can be spared. There is some debate on whether he left to do it immediately and if we should follow. When we try to leave Rockwood attempts to pull Venyard back in. I try to intervene and inadvertently challenge him to a duel. I break free and bolt. Richard talks things down afterwards. After that Bossman comes back and says that as long Venyard stays with them he will be spared.

We then go to the warehouse and briefly talk with the leader. Broderick tries to pass us off as guards and get us to fight for some reason. I shoot it down and we leave and decide that it isn’t worth the trouble.

We call in Michelle and talk to her about what we know. She says she was trying to help the Matronis form better tax regulations and that she knew she was supposed to look out for Venyard but didn’t know who he was. She became aware of his presence when she read a letter about him and delivered it to the Wardens. We dismiss her and Brodie briefly mentions that they could probably keep the secret in exchange for favors. Richard and I point out that we were hired to avoid that exact scenario and we agree she abused her powers and shouldn’t be elected.

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Let the Group Schemes Begin!

Broderick follows me to my place with Venyard in tow. When we arrive I call to Belltoll and ask if she is willing to guard Venyard for a few days inside her house. She agrees. I go upstairs to write the basic contract and come down some time later. We drop off Venyard and than Broderick go to my apartment. He asks about Reva’s murder, apparently now that things have calmed down he would like a more thorough investigation.

I tell him most of what I know. Dunni was on the run. She was connected with Patricia and "Gregory, the later of which was reported to have died in a demon attack. I tell him Reva’s death was separate and claimed that the last people to see them alive were different. We agree to try to find more info and Broderick changes into his Venyard costume. It’s pretty good.

Shortly after he leaves I hear Venyard screaming from downstairs. I go downstairs and have Belltoll conversation 2, Samantha conversation 12, and Venyard conversation 2. After all those I get Venyard his drinks. He has already cured Bell. I tell her to pass along “thanks” as well as she can.

I then go to the Weather Society to find Richard. I’m informed that he’s been moved up to the 3rd flood and has his own room. We have Richard Conversation 1.

Based off the information given by Richard. I go to the strip club “Jiggling Gypsy” and find Viola. We proceed to have Viola Conversation 1.

After that I head home for the day.

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Public: Internal Review

We meet up at the apple because of a letter we received from Richard. We go there, briefly note that a chair has been taken, before we go find a large pile of square books. These were delivered by Viola who is connected to Richard. After I shout a few insults that she ignores she leaves. We have no idea who the books were given to but there are at least a dozen. I tell them they’re magical and that I was attacked and apparently I’m the only one.

The group, now officially working for the weather, meets up in the office. Apparently Broderick has arranged himself a super desk for some reason. We are given a list of people to look into

*Eugene Piggabrick – monotizing orphanages, adopting a lot of children, chimney sweep, address of home and orphanage, applying for lower council
*Michelle Rodriguez – crossing into the matroni district, not native to there, home address, applying for lower council
*Venyard – Accused of swindled and scammed at Delectable Comestibles, involved animal trade, also accused of not providing a home address
*Deryl Huffweiser – tax collector, came into a large sum of money, home address

We first decide to investigate the courier. Given that we have her address we decide to go there first. I am volunteered to go act like I am a person who is interested in moving in to confirm if she is in the facility. We notice that she was trying to hide her non human heritage and has trimmed her ears. She gives me some generic info, goes on a strange tangent about gnomes being bad. Eventually I leave and we decide to stake out her place to see where she goes.

We tail her to a market where she collects tags from various shops in the district. We confront one of them and learn she is collecting tax information. We continue to tail her and note she goes to the Matroni district. She enters a building and we push Broderick into the second story so he can go listen in while Richard and I stake out different entrances. Broderick hears that they reference Vendrick about some letter “They passed him by without issue. He’s working for them now” &“Good catch. He owes us.” while Richard finds out that the building belongs to mercenaries called the “Opal Wardens”.

She eventually leaves and we follow. She goes to the Weather Society and we wait outside. She eventually leaves again and then returns home. Now that we know Venyard was involved somehow we decide to find him. This is easy since he is seated outside the facility reading a square book.

He offers us some “peanuts” which Broderick accepts. Apparently they are actually coffee beans. Broderick is enraged at this betrayal. We continue our questioning and Venyard is very upfront. Admitting to tricking people and claiming he is going to do so again. We ask about the Opal Warden connection and states they are after him. He apparently slept with the boss’s daughters?

We decide to use Venyard as bait to try to get more info on the Rodriguez thing. Venyard refuses. Since he’s admitted crimes the others decide to take his stuff and have one of us, Broderick, disguise himself as Venyard. Venyard starts shouting and when his wheelchair is taken his complaints become frantic. At one point he brings up that I owe him. After realizing that they can’t jail a man without questions popping up they follow my initial suggestion of placing him under house arrest at my house. Venyard, while still unhappy, prefers that option. We also throw in a contract if his wheelchair gets damaged. The session ends with me wheeling him home.

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Pearce Succumbs to Peer Pressure

I go to the Weather Society station in the afternoon and find Richard at some sort of workshop. I pull him outside to hand over the evidence found at Gary Borland’s house and the sword which I partially identified. In return Richard says that the meeting with Harrison won’t be possible. Instead he hands me the contract for Belltoll herself.

Before we can split we encounter a ratfolk performing some sort of experiment. He is wearing a large brimmed hat and uncomfortably large darkened glasses. We discover he is pulling a large spool of “mosswire” that is powered by some source to utilize vibrations to let him hear/smell things from far away? He has me hold a cable and takes Richard away. I smell something awful coming from the moss wire and I’m told that was the intention. The rat introduces himself as “Mortimor Norvegicus, Inventor” hands out his card with his address and then leaves.

Richard and I separate and I eventually return to the Weather Society where I find a old human lady feeding some pigeons. I introduce myself and she says she is “Margarette Batch” a member of the upper council. She said there was some “major deception” in the society and now she wants to hire the apple staff to be ‘Internal Review’. She points out that the higher council exists to “stop wicked legislation”. I apparently represent the Mids, Broderick the Senations, Tharul the Docks, and Richard the Society itself. She stresses that we should not join the lower council and suggests I try to talk Broderick out of it. I agree to her offer and she stands up and leaves.

I walk into the facility and find Salisbury who leads me to a small office where Venyard is waiting inside. We have Venyard Conversation 1 and then he rolls out. I find Salisbury outside and we agree to go to his bar again. We have Salisbury conversation 2. We iron out some basic rules for our group and separate.

I go to the Apple to find Tharul and Belltoll. I find Belltoll by herself crying in the Apple. We have Belltoll Conversation 1. We are interrupted by a yell from Samantha. I run up there to find her in a state similar to being drunk, a result of rapid tonic consumption. Apparently the people have been rapidly using the healing power. I promise to inform the devoted and let her get some rest. I go finish my conversation with Bell and come up and tuck Samantha in.

Before I go to bed I check the square book and find it’s half formed in the chest. There is a box seemingly behind it. While trying to check where the rest of the book is I find that pages have snuck around and 4 are touching the bird. The pages seem burned at stabbed 47 times. I remove the pages and ensure the bird is safe. Out of curiosity I use object reading and find myself having a vision. I’m a fat owl inside a forest near the city. I’m being attacked by a ton of tiny enemies. I flee and lose some feathers before escaping.

I gather the rest of the pages and throw them in the chest, cast arcane lock on it, and wrap the seal of the chest in fabric. Then I call it a day only to be awoken by Samantha in the night and we have conversation 11.

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The Book is Immortal

Before I go to bed I notice that the chest containing the square book is open so I close it. I go to bed and the next morning give Jacket the loot to sell. The chest is open again and when I look inside I see some ash covering the bottom of the chest. I suspect this is the square book reforming so i bottle some of the ash and note it’s being pulled towards the chest. I search my apartment and find a line of ash slowly heading towards the chest. I secure several other sections and take several precautions.

During this Jacket awakes. He gives me an odd look and I explain that I’m dealing with a cursed book. He suggests I get rid of it or give it to the book salesman, Viola. I ask where she is and Jacket says he can’t say. He needs to be more professional. I ask him if he thinks I’m sane. He responds with “sometimes” and that everyone needs to be sorta insane to survive. Also commenting that one day things we’ll make sense but it won’t be a good day.

As Jacket is leaving I find a letter: "To whom it may concern,

My name is Margarette Batch. I’m speaking on behalf of the High Council.

If possible, I would like to have a word with you. The nature of it isn’t appropriate for letters. It concerns the actions in the docks. Please come in anytime between morning and early evening. I will be wearing the ugly hat." I burn the evidence and go enchant the downstairs with arcane lock.

At the request of Richard I go the house of Gary Borland in search of evidence. I scope out his place and note the trap at his front door. I enter the house after he leaves and quickly make sure I’m alone. After I do I find his study and comb it for any evidence. I find out he’s obsessed with his cat named Corn who is not anywhere in the house. I find two letters suggesting Borland is fabricating his testimony to pay off a debt to an unnamed party. I also find a neatly wrapped package that I find out contains a square book. Object Memory: “You feel this book become birthed from an iron womb, seared with the square of its captors, and bound without a moment of pause. The rest of the memory is darkness within the package”. I leave the book, take the evidence, and leave.

When I return to my apartment I find no evidence of the book. I use my bottled ash to act as a compass and find that the book is in the apartment next door. I knock and a red-eyed elf answers that is obviously high on something. I get drug inside and find a lot more strung out elves and some drums. I also see a large pile of ash piled near the wall. I put the ash into a bucket and attempt to leave. The elves offer me some bark to burn and I decline. I ask enough stupid questions they think are profound until I can get out. I dump the ash in the chest to keep it from forming in other odd places.

I go check on my demon-ness. My left is leg dark colored. Like the flesh is dying but not rotting. In spots.

I head to the Weather Society

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The Miracle That Never Should have been

When Ratman‘s spell ends we’re both back in the library. Samantha knows nothing about what we’ve discussed. I give her the basics of the conversation and she asks what the monster is. I question how she doesn’t know since she made a deal with the monster and apparently the monster can alter memories. It’s suggest he might be similar to the Ratman and Samantha suggests he take off his armor. Ratman ignores that request and walks away. I explore the library (half of which is now a garden). I learn that the library isn’t exactly normal geography. I find myself walking in circles and learn that walking away from Samantha is taxing. Also learn that I can’t read the books in her library. Eventually I go back to my room.

After a few moments I get an idea and decide to go stab the square book in my room with the jester sword. It pierces deeper than a book and sizzles when I stab it but when it comes out the book looks broken. I report to Samantha and she says the book in the library is no longer healing. I cut it up some more and take it out back and burn it. I proceed to have conversation 9 with Samantha

I go downstairs to heal Jacket’s lock and have conversation 7 with Jacketman.

After that conversation I head back up. Samantha is gone from the mirror and I find a note “I can fix this”. I can’t communicate with her and before I can do anything else I hear a scream in the street. Jacket has picked a fight with a couple of teenage thugs. I knock one of them out and stop the fight. He requests that I help him kill whoever killed his daughter, to which I agreed. He says that Samantha headed for the temple and after saying a few profanities I chase after her.

I find her cold and crying near the temple border and we have Samantha conversation 10. We go get some alcohol and she doesn’t like it. We enter my apartment and Jacket cooks a meal. It’s awkward for everyone. He sleeps in the spare bedroom. Samantha asks some questions about him but I dodge most of them.

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