A more combat-heavy session this time. Last time, Jeb and Magnus came in possession of some mysterious metal shards and traced them to the Krupp riverfront warehouse. After they met up with John, a plan was made to sneak in that night and investigate…
In Attendance: John Dwyte (Darryl), Magnus Dwyte (Trev), Jebediah Underwood (Joe).
An’ naturally, I’ll be servin’ as the Lawman.
The group rest up and head out that night, loaded for bear. As they approach the warehouse, they see lights; sentries! And not just the normal night watchmen; these sentries are Red Brand gang members with serious firepower and guard dogs.
Although they could go in the front, guns blazing, the guys decide to take a stealthier approach. Jeb finally gets some use out of the aelfar clan bow he’s been carrying round; aside from some thrown knives, it’s the closest thing to a ranged stealth weapon the three have between them. Jeb also uses his vial of venom to coat three arrows, imbues the bow with his holy weapon ability, and passes it to John, who’s the best shot.
They head round to the east side, and John takes aim at the sentry there; thankfully the sentry’s lantern and Jeb’s blessing make the shot easy despite the dark. The arrow nearly kills the sentry, and the poison finishes him off, dropping him. The guard dog seems confused, and that’s when Magnus swoops in. Trev uses his character’s always prepared ability to produce a dog treat, and I let him take his Animals check with advantage. He nails it, and successfully pacifies the dog. Jeb and John move in, and they hide the sentry’s body in the nearby lean-to. Then Magnus takes the dead man’s red scarf and lantern, and the guard dog’s leash and goes after the next one.
He extinguishes the lantern and approaches the next sentry, asking to be relit. He successfully passes as the dead sentry, and the other guy moves towards him. Trev then has Magnus drop the lantern on purpose, and as the other sentry instinctively watches it drop, he knifes him in the throat (for quick kills like this, I call for an attack roll; on a hit, it’s insta-kill, and on a miss it’s a critical, unless it’s a natural 1 in which case you messed up). Jeb then grabs John’s cavalry sabre, rushes in, and kills the guard dog. Two down!
Magnus once again uses always prepared ability to produce a cigarette and approach the third guard, who’s patrolling the pier and who thankfully hasn’t heard anything. After giving the guy a light, Magnus pulls the old “what’s that over there?” trick, and when the sentry is distracted, he’s pushed into the water by Magnus, dragging his dog in as well (who happily paddles away). Jeb, wearing the second guard’s red scarf, appears and throws the guard his whip to help pull him back up onto the pier. As the sentry climbs up, John casually walks up and puts a poisoned arrow between his eyes while he’s completely helpless. The third guard falls back into the water with a splash and drifts away.
All in all, pretty slick work from the three of them! However, there are still two sentries out front. The group find a side door and slip into the warehouse from the west side. They explore a couple of offices, and find a shipping manifest for a steamer called the Aeolus coming out of Tributary Falls to collect “miscellaneous” cargo early the next morning.
They move into the main warehouse area, and find it full of the crates that the Red Brands were unloading earlier that day. The duergar relic that Jeb’s carrying starts reacting, beeping at different pitches and frequencies as he comes near certain crates. Upon opening them, they find weird bits of metal, stone, and ceramic which look just like the shards (which Magnus left under a floorboard in their room back in the saloon). I make sure that they realise that if all these relics are indeed duergar in origin, the total worth is astronomical; like if your living room contained the Mona Lisa, the Turin Shroud, Hitler’s brain in a jar, and two hundred kilos of cocaine.
Magnus and John cover the door while Jeb explores some of the crates upstairs; however the sentries outside notice the beeping of the relic and the light of his lantern and go in to investigate! One of them runs in and is gunned down by Magnus (who is really pulling his weight this session), while the other gets a hellfire bomb dropped on him courtesy of Jeb.
With all the sentries out of the way, the group decide to wait out until morning and try and get aboard the Aeolus. A fine plan, however…
After about an hour, Jeb, who’s keeping watch, notices a stagecoach approaching. He shouts a warning, and Magnus, still wearing his Red Brand disguise, runs out front with their new friendly guard dog so as not to rouse suspicion. Jeb and John take up positions upstairs by the windows, ready to shoot if needs be.
The stagecoach pulls up, and three people get out. One is Otto Krupp, the warehouse owner and patriarch of the Krupp family. He’s arguing with the second person, a pretty and petite woman dressed very smartly in a long black coat and business suit. The third person is a grizzled and uninterested looking hired gun type, who Magnus (after a quick Superstition check) recognises as Silas Thorn, a bounty hunter of some renown. In Trev’s words, “he’s not Boba Fett; he’s Bossk.”
Krupp and the woman are arguing about something to do with their “business arrangement”, and Krupp being “accommodating” to the “wishes of our mutual benefactor”. Alarm bells start ringing for the guys, and they make the obvious deduction that Krupp and the Red Brands are both working for the Quiet Brothers, the sinister Illuminati-like crime syndicate.
Krupp, the woman, and Silas start to head into the warehouse to “check the merchandise”. Krupp blusters to Trev, asking where the other guards are. Trev attempts an lie, but his roll is average while my roll for the woman’s Insight check is disgustingly good. She sees right through him, and whips out a pair of stiletto blades from hidden pockets in her coat.
“He’s not one of the guards we posted, you idiot. He’s one of the Dwyte brothers, which means the other one and that priest must be nearby.”
“Yeah? Well… umm…”
“BUMDERS!!!” (opens fire)
This fight. Oh boy, this fight. Up to now, the guys have had it pretty easy, stomping everything with ease. But this time they were up against two elite adversaries; Silas Thorn and the Quiet Brother facilitator, Jenny “the Razor”. And “elite” means “funky special abilities, and acting twice per round”. And my dice, fickle polyhedronal bastards that they are, decided to start rolling really well.
For example, Jeb had a nasty surprise when he tried a shot at Silas, missed, and the bounty hunter used his reaction return fire to make a ranged attack right back at him, which hit (despite the cover Jeb had) and took off three-quarters of his HP. John then had an equally nasty surprise when he fired at Jenny and hit… except Jenny had an ability called deadly dodge which let her roll 1d3 and add that to her Defence to determine if she was hit… and then if she wasn’t, then she got to move 5 feet and make a thrown knife attack right back. Oh yeah. These two were mean.
Trev unleashed Charles the dog at Jenny, and he took a chomp out of her before she knifed him back and killed him (that’s how you know she’s evil). Krupp meanwhile was running back to the stagecoach and telling his driver to get the hell out of Dodge.
Silas ran into the warehouse and snuggled down behind some crates and started taking potshots at John, and oh Darryl by the way Silas has a repeater rifle so he can fire two shots at you, oh God I’m sorry.
Trev tried to blast Jenny with his sawn-off shotgun, but he missed and got a knife in the chest for his troubles. He dropped, and had to start making death saving throws. Silas meanwhile had a back-and-forth with John, which ended with John hurting, and the older bounty hunter getting head shot.
“Dibs on the rifle, by the way.”
Jeb tried to hit Jenny with his hotshot-loaded shotgun, but the Quiet Brother (Sister?) was too nimble. She ran up the stairs to him, and issued a cryptic threat.
“We won’t let your god rule this world, priest!”
She then got slash-happy with her knives, and Jeb went down. Magnus meanwhile was recovering, but he was still two successes away from stabilising, and now it was the injured John against the nearly fighting-fit Jenny. She went for him, but luckily she fluffed her attack roll. However, so did John. It wasn’t looking good…
Until Trev rolled a natural 20 on his death saving throw for Magnus, stabilising and recovering 1 HP! Magnus, bleeding and barely conscious, rolled over, raised his sawn-off shotgun, aimed at the completely unaware Jenny, and channelled his inner Ellen Ripley.
“Get away from him, you bitch!”
Now, Trev’s character isn’t exactly what you’d call a sharpshooter or a gunslinger, so we all held our breath as he rolled his d20. Hell, I wanted him to succeed! It span, came to rest, and…
BOOM. Hit, and precisely enough damage to drop her! It was an awesome cinematic moment (the heroic recovery, the fact the shot was the last shell in his gun, the one-liner, everything), and a great way to finish off a very tense, very challenging fight.
Jeb and Magnus got back on their feet and healed a bit (and John recovered Silas’s repeater rifle), and they crowded around Jenny, who was alive but mortally wounded. Jeb attempted to read her mind with his small miracle ability, though he was wary, given that the last time he tried to read the mind of a Quiet Brother he’d taken damage. He didn’t take damage, but he still couldn’t get anything; the woman’s mind was totally locked off to him. Clearly the Quiet Brothers have access to some very potent occult arts to be able to do such a thing.
(to John and Magnus) “You fools… you don’t realise… he’s… using you…”
“Ignore her. She’s just tryin’ to spook you.”
He took out his ceremonial knife, the one they found in the Dwyte Manor basement.
“I ain’t usin’ ‘em. The Lord is, both them and me. You? You, he ain’t got no use for.”
Then he stabs Jenny. She screams and convulses, and bursts into heatless, silver-green flames. She’s quickly consumed and soon only blackened bones remain.
“What the hell was that!? That knife…”
(shrugs) “We ain’t killed one of these Quiet Brothers yet. Maybe they all do that. There something ain’t right with them, after all; like they’re… empty, inside. Like they’ve been hollowed out by all that devilry.”
John and Magnus seem to accept this as an explanation, for now at least.
So what now? Krupp’s seen them, and knows about their involvement. The Quiet Brothers will almost certainly find out that one of their agents has been killed, and Morgan “the Branded” won’t be pleased that another five of his men have been dealt with.
“We send a message.”
They find a rowboat tied up on the pier, and load it with two crates of relics from the warehouse; one full of metallic plates and rods, the other with stone and ceramic tablets. Then they use lantern oil to set fire to the warehouse, burning it and its contents to the ground.
The Reaper’s Tally: 2 witches, 5 train robbers, 10 Red Brand gang members, 1 guard dog, Silas Thorn, Jenny the Razor.
“Fuck YES!” Moment: Trev’s string of great rolls that allowed his character to stabilise, act, and blow away the knife-wielding psycho attacking his brother. Gonna be hard to top that any time soon.
Rather than go back into town, the three of them decide to hole up in the burned out Dwyte Manor for a few days, hiding the two crates and planning their next move. The decision seems to be to head to Tributary Falls, and find out who there was so keen to receive so many duergar relics. Whoever they are, they have dangerous connections; the Quiet Brother syndicate. Can two brothers of a once-noble family and a gruff old preacher really go up against them and win?
We’ll find out next time…