Return to the Stinking Sludge

Session Summary for 3/8/09, Elves & Espers

The Party for this session consisted of Idariel 7, Twonkey, Josepi, Bon Go, and Traumiel. It has presumably been some short time (less than an hour) since the last session, and some of the party members have wandered in and out on errands of their own. The early part of the session was spent bringing Bongo and Traumiel’s players up to speed. As the result of a particularly clever Knowledge (Arcana) roll, the party now suspected that the mysterious Figure in Red from the previous session fit the description of a Super-Model, a race of technologically and magically enhanced creatures, gorgeous in appearance, near-perfect in every way, and endowed with what can only be considered “superpowers.” No one else could have held up the zombie mammoth by main strength, or moved quickly enough to be unseen while causing a sonic boom. The Super-Models had evidently taken over the city some decades back, ruled it with an iron (but immaculately manicured) fist for about a year and a half, and then abruptly vanished without trace, after which the current Lords of Infrastructure took power.

Idariel came to the conclusion that finding the Super-Model might somehow lead to the return of her investigator’s license, and she was determined to track down the figure. After the parade ended, the party trooped down to the street to examine the site of the amazing rescue. Unfortunately, investigation of the area proved fruitless; there was no way to track a figure who seemed to have vanished completely. Many bystanders had seen the event, but they had all been deafened and knocked down by the sonic boom, and were unable to provide any leads as to where the figure might have gone. The party decided to change tack and question the G-Nome family. Fortunately, some of the bystanders recognized the girl as the younger daughter of the Gruff family, so the party had somewhere to start. Visiting a G-Nome family isn’t easy, as they all live in the Web. Fortunately, getting G-Nomes to come to you is easier–you simply hire them. Idariel and Josepi made their way to the nearest G-Nome booth, where they were able to request a contract with the Gruff family. Almost immediately, a teenage boy G-Nome by the name of Bob Gruff appeared, offering to take a message. Idariel asked him about the incident, but as he had been busy working, and not attending the parade, he hadn’t heard about it yet. He agreed to carry a message to his mother Phoebe, however…for a fee, of course. Josepi grudgingly paid up, and Bob zoomed off into the Web. Not long thereafter, Phoebe showed up. After expressing their concern, and hoping her daughter was all right (she was), Idariel asked if Phoebe knew anything about the red-cloaked figure. She didn’t.

The party batted around several more ideas and quizzed the GM about Super-Models for a while, but eventually gave up the search as a dead-end. At a loss for anything better to do, Josepi and Traumiel suggested that perhaps earning some money was an acceptable alternative, so they decamped back to Barbis Boltbiter’s establishment to ask for another contract.

Barbis wasn’t in the best of moods when the party arrived — he had been expecting them right back after the parade, and had been wondering where they’d been the past few hours. Setting that aside, though, he informed the party that he’d been negotiating with Lord Shadrach, owner of the Sludge Works, over the rights to the Thaumivorous Ghost Moths. Lord Shadrach had agreed to pay the party a generous percentage of all proceeds arising from use of the Moths (of which Barbis took a cut as well). The party was naturally surprised that things had worked out well for them, through no action of their own…until Barbis mentioned the catch.

It seemed that Lord Shadrach needed a job done. Carvin Spiker, who the party had met previously, manager of the Sludge Works, and therefore employee of Shadrach, had been murdered, his office burned with him in it, and Shadrach wanted the party to investigate. (The GM explained that the police wouldn’t get involved unless they were paid to do so, and that the Lords generally handled crimes on their own properties.) Barbis made clear that the deal about the Moths was contingent on the party taking care of this, so of course they agreed immediately.

The party retraced the steps of their previous expedition, and made their way down to Poisonville. Josepi suffered from the same allergic reaction to the fumes that he had before, this time joined by nature-boy Traumiel. Eventually, the group made its way to Carvin’s office, and found it quite thoroughly torched. Carvin’s corpse sat unmoved, but deeply roasted, behind his desk. Figuring he should put his medical skills to some use, Traumiel examined the body, not entirely certain what more he could learn. He was able to definitively determine that the body was Carvin, that Carvin was quite dead…and that he’d been killed with a garrote before he had been burned. While Traumiel was playing medical examiner, the others searched the office, and noticed that Carvin’s papers had been carefully spread around before they were burned, so that nothing readable would survive. The fireproof safe had also been carefully opened and the contents burned. The party made knowing “Hmmm” noises at each other–clearly, they were dealing with professionals here. But why garrote Carvin before burning the office? Bon Go also noted a spot of flooring that appeared different…she recalled that there had been a locked drawer in that spot before, but it was gone now. Twonkey volunteered that Carvin had never let anyone see what was in that drawer before, and had locked it hastily the one time that Twonkey came into the office while it was open. Idariel attempted to Detect Arcana on the room, and was able to determine that the firebugs, whoever they were, had left behind a spell designed to mask any clues from prospective forensic investigators…and that the spell was working quite well. Idariel had been fortunate to detect it at all.

Giving up on the office, Josepi decided to canvass the neighborhood. He’d noticed a diner nearby that was not only a greasy spoon, but also a greasy knife and fork, and probably a greasy soup ladle and whatever that fork is with the three tines that no one can remember what it’s for. He introduced himself to the owner, M3j (a Droll…a cross between a dwarf and a troll, 4 feet tall and 7 feet wide -jm), and asked if anyone had seen any strange air-cars in the area. M3l was only interested in talking to paying customers, of course, so Josepi and Bon Go each bought a cup of coffee, which turned out to be surprisingly excellent. M3l still wasn’t terribly forthcoming, so Twonkey, an acquaintance of M3l, spilled the beans that Carvin had been murdered.

Meanwhile, Traumiel wasn’t about to go anywhere near a place that ostensibly served food in Poisonville, so he stayed behind. He reasoned that if the arsonists had blocked spells and technology, they might have failed to account for purely physical methods of investigation. With nothing to go on except for memories of cop shows from his youth, he cast around outside the office, and was lucky enough to locate the scorch-marks left by a landing air-car on the street just outside the office. He decided to wait until Josepi came back to see what he made of it.

Back at M3l’s, the cook was visibly upset about Carvin’s murder. After all, Carvin did considerable coffee-and-danish business with the diner. After recovering his composure, M3l opened up a bit more. He hadn’t known Carvin particularly well (people in Poisonville don’t ask too many personal questions), but it was obvious that Carvin had a little something going on the side beyond running the Sludge Works. He was known to flash some cash around, and was frequently seen with some “honeys” on his arms. Given Carvin’s rather expansive physique, it seemed likely these companions were paid. M3L recalled that they’d probably come from the Pussycat Club, and gave Josepi directions as to where to find that establishment. With a couple of new leads and a probably course of action, the players decided to call it a night.