Sunday, April 27, 2014

Taxing Mistakes: the Mazes

This adventure is part 1 of the "Taxing Mistakes" duet I set up for the players in the emails to the group.

The session began with the PCs in Sigil traveling around on their own visiting various establishments. Bobby went to the Grand Gymnasium and had a delicious Smootie made from the Smooth Berry from the deepest Beastlands. Nearin went to the Civic Feasthall and researched her trinket: a collar for a memorat which allows it to record more memories. Norbys stalked some alleyways and nabbed a cranium rat for himself which he would use to research the spell raise tiny dead.

The players all returned to their home to find a note stuck to the door. The note stated that there were 15 years of unpaid taxes associated with this property and the Tax Office was going to foreclose on the property. The only option for the players was to report to the Tax Offices in the Hall of Records. The Hall of Records is the faction headquarters of the Fated.

The Tax Offices in the Hall of Records were full of dejected looking people and various clerks running around. The players approached the front desk, explained the situation, and were told to report to Aram Oakwright, a major leader in the Fated (Factol's Manifesto). At the same time, Bobby went up to one of the dejected looking Cagers and asked what was wrong. The man said that the Heartless had taken his house and all his property and that now he'll have to live in the streets. This greatly upset Bobby who was strongly opposed to the "Tax People".

The players met with Aram Oakwright in his large office where he greeted them and offered them a deal. If they retrieved the sword of the legendary factol Vartus Timlin, he would forgive their debt and give them 15 years tax free. Timlin was mazed by the Lady of Pain a very long time ago and the Fated have found a way into his maze. And more importantly, they have found a way out. Should the PCs fail to obtain the sword, however, they would loose their house and all their worldly possessions. As a threatening tale, Aram tells the PCs of how the Fated became owners of the Hall of Records by foreclosing on Bigby's Magic College (Factol's Manifesto).

The PCs attempted a little bit of negotiation, with Bobby mostly asking that the dept of the man crying in the hall also be forgiven for his debts. Aram eventually agrees to a version of the players wants but forces them to be accompanied by NPC NAME a wood elf Fated thief played by a guest player sitting in on the session. She had the information on the portal, the key in and out, and was to take charge of the sword when it was acquired.

The PCs and NPC quickly moved to the gate to Timlin's maze located in the Hive behind a inn catering to fiends. Once in the maze, the players began marking the walls with chalk and moved along till they found a large statue of the Lady of Pain. The statue was the clue for finding the exit gate. The PCs then checked the place where Timlin had set up kip hoping to find his sword. They were able to track down a crude blade with the word Lightbringer crudely carved into it.

The players then kept exploring the maze, eventually realizing that it loops back upon itself. After hunting down the secret door, the players were ambushed by a group of Mercykillers guarding the way out. It turned out that the Fated were not the only group that had discovered the entrance, and exit, to Timlin's maze. The PCs were able to defeat all of the Mercykillers.

While searching through the rest of the maze for Timlin's sword, they encounter a large man who seems to not be alright in the head. He is slightly barmy and is both confused by the players but curious to see what they are doing. After a few words, he heads out to wander around the mazes more. The man was Timlin and he was carrying the Lightbringer.

A few more laps around the maze and eventually the players ran into a Harmonium guard that had also come into the Maze for Timlin's sword. A brief exchange of blows led to the players retreating. After a little bit, Timlin's wanderings brought him to the Harmonium as well. He cut them down easily and then turned to the PCs. Discarding his fool act, the vicious and calculating Timlin demanded that the PCs lead him out of his maze. He would even give them Lightbringer if they so desired.

After a little bit of deliberating, the PCs agreed to Timlin's deal. They gathered up all the food bowls, the key out, and stepped up to the portal out. Timlin following them closely, they all stepped up onto a dias. At the last moment, Norbys cast command on Timlin telling him to "stop". Timlin failed his save, and the PCs jumped through the portal as fast as they possible could.

In Sigil, the NPC grabbed the sword and placed it into her hair. Already a tight bun, the sword slid into place as a bright blonde highlight. The group then went to the Hall of Records and made sure the deal was sealed. They were forgiven for the tax debt and were no longer to pay taxes for the next 15 years. Also, the man Bobby referenced would have his property returned.

This adventure was loosely based on "Mazes" from Well of the Worlds with a lot of tweaks to the set up and interested parties. It worked out well, especially by having an NPC Fated joining the group. None of the PCs are sympathetic to the Fated's philosophies, so the interactions produced some great moments. For example, Bobby was complaining about the "tax collector people" to which the GUEST NPC replied "I am the tax people".