Monday, 23 March 2015

The Scroll Thief – D&D 5 @ LisboaCon 2015

The 5th Annual Encounter of Portuguese Roleplayers, integrated in LisboaCon 2015, brought the famed Vacaria Brotherhood to hunt "The Scroll Thief" (D&D 5 Expedition).
The present report may contain (trust me, it does!) language inappropriate for halfling and gnomes under 150 years.

Stolen Books and Irritating Svirfneblins
So, the intrepid heroes of Phlan - Harper Dwarf Cleric KHAN, Emerald Enclave Ranger SASHA, Zhentarim Fighter/Rogue ANDREZEEL, and Descendant of Asterix's Bard LANZA - were once again summoned to aid Mantor's Library. After reencountering the broom-wielding pain-in-the-ass svirfneblin that shouts at every Harper for "dirtying the floor", The Vacaria Brotherhood met Emma Brandywine, a crazy halfling lady scribe (which smeared everything with ink). Apparently, three books had been stolen from different people associated with the Library (immediately we could tell that we were roleplaying in a fantasy world - quite probably the only place where someone is interested in books...).
After passing a Will save to avoid STOMPING the goddamned svirfneblin with me olde dwarven boots, we headed towards the book proprietors.

Mischievous Bookkeepers and Gladiators
The first on the list was Arya, whose book "The Weave" had been stolen. The book talked about “something arcana” and THE POOL OF RADIANCE being some kind of focus for enhancing magic. Our genius bard (INT 8) decided to investigate the bookshelf, where he found some runes. He decided to investigate the runes REALLY CLOSE. Yes, something went KABOOM, and he gained a new hairstyle. At least it was useful: Arya discovered that someone had messed with the runes. Hummm, at that moment me dwarven nose started sniffing something fishy, and it wasn't the cursed svirfneblin. Arya was withholding information from us! I teamed with the ranger's wolf and rolled a gazillion in intimidation, forcing her to reveal that, beside the book, a Horn of Blasting and a set of magical scrolls were also stolen.
Second on the list was a brother dwarf, named Martin, who had a fighting school. He had a volume from the collection of "Ren’s Memories", telling about the glorious fight of Ren and the dragon Tyrantraxus in... The Pool of Radiance! Martin also gave us a list locating some other volumes stored in the Library.
Lastly, we visited Ajin Lammarck (possibly related to the guy that wrote about giraffes' necks?) who was missing a book titled "Lords and Lineages of Phlan". Hummm, again I noticed something fishy in the air. Again it wasn't the svirfneblin. Again I intimidated the guy. Woohoo, me dwarf is gaining a reputation of badass. So, the lying bastard had altered the pages of the book in order to claim nobility to his family. The shock! The outrage! The infamy! Truth must be defended! Or we can simply get bribed and forget about it. With 60 gp, a carpet, and the promise of 10 platinum pieces if we return the book, we left the house with our silence.
No, dear reader, your eyes didn't deceive you. We brought the guy's carpet with us. Hey, it was a large Persian-like carpet! I'm sure it is worth a fortune! But since we forgot to sell it afterwards, let us take a moment to remember that we spent the rest of the adventure walking around with a HUGE PERSIAN CARPET ON OUR SHOULDERS. Forget about Vacaria Brotherhood, henceforth we are The Keepers of the Rug!

Enter Soares
If there was any doubt that the Portuguese had colonized Faerûn, it was dismissed the moment a guy named Soares jumped in front of us (the DM swore it was the official name in the Expedition document). He identified himself as belonging to "The Whisperers", the local thieves' guild. His boss (promptly named Aníbal - only Portuguese will understand) wanted a word with us. Well, ok, we followed the guy, still carrying our carpet, and... AMBUSH! Three halflings jump out of trash bins and - coordinated by Soares, who gets rid of his elf disguise - attack us.
Soooo, let us take another moment to interiorize the present scene: four guys are walking around the city carrying a large Persian carpet, suddenly the dude in front of them removes his prosthetic elven ears, and a trio of halflings jumps out of trash bins for an ambush. Can things get a little loonier? I don't know, maybe the bard could start swinging a pair of maracas and sing "La Cucaracha"?
With everybody dancing the Macarena, we make short work of Soares and his trio of mariachis. There was a note in his pocket ordering him to "deal with us", and signed E.B.
E. B.? Who the hell is E. B.?
Eva Braun?
Emma Bunton (a.k.a. Baby Spice)?
Eric Bana?
Or... could it be EMMA BRANDYWINE!!!!!

Ooooh, the plot thickens, and by now me dwarven nose smells a list of suspects:

- Arya and Ajin (both of them could be involved in some scheme, and both were lying to us)
- Emma Brandywine (although far-fetched, her initials correspond to the incriminating note, and it had ink stains)
- The Svirfneblin (I want him to be on the list, just because)
- Andrezeel (the guy is a Zhentarim, for Mystra's sake!!! He already stole a Ring of Fire Resistance!!)
- Eva Braun (hey, the bitch and Hitler could have faked suicide and fled to Faerûn!)

The Chase and The Horn of Blasting
Returning to the Library we discover that two scribes are missing: Garda Greenleaf and Elisson Berenguer. Yes, the most perceptive of you have noticed that one of them has E. B. in the name. Damn, me dwarven heart was betting in the svirfneblin.
A brief visit to the quarters of E. B. reveals him to be part of the Cult of the Dragon. Remembering the location of the additional volumes of Ren’s history, we chase him insanely until floor minus 15 of the Library (boy, is this thing huge). YES, WE STILL HAVE THE CARPET!!! I’M NOT LETTING GO OF THE CARPET FOR ANYTHING IN THIS WORLD!
We find the body of Garda, and two of the missing books (the first and the second), but with several pages missing. We hunt the bastard. He plays the Horn of Blasting. Everything collapses. We’re not dead! Pilled with rubble, but still breathing, AND HOLDING TO THE DAMNED CARPET! We run. The chase is on. This is intense. Big room. Five wraiths! Damn, no magical weapons! We hit! We bash! We zap! The dog dies. Sorry, it was a wolf. There’s a chest with a “something made of bone that fits in a head” inside. The bard is an idiot. He picks the thing, and places it on the head!!!! SUSPENSE! Everything stops! Incoming mini-heart attack! The DM announces it is a Headband of Intellect, thus moving the bard’s intelligence from 8 to 19.
WHAT?!?!?!?!!? WHAT!?!?!?!?!?!?! YOU-----WHAT!?!?!!?!?!?!? WE’RE GONNA KILL THE DM!!!!
No time! Must chase E. B.! BOOM. Explosion. Smells like Sulphur. How do we know, none of us is a wizard? Doesn’t matter! The chase is on again! Almost catching the guy. Sunlight. The guy is running away in a horse.

That moment you go into a swamp and receive a wedding invitation
Unable to catch the bad guy, we investigate the stuff he left behind. There’s a map with an X. And a letter telling E. B. to meet Ritnax. We start laughing. Why the hell does the name have DRAGON WRITTEN ALL OVER IT?!?!?!!?
We head to the swamp, and… the Black Knight from Monty Python is impeding the crossing of the bridge. Well, ok, not the guy from Monty Python, but our acquaintance Gilthanas, bagpiper extraordinaire. He’s getting married with the girl from previous session, which so happens to be a gold dragon. We are all invited to the wedding. Great! Me dwarf happens to know a great trio of mariachi halflings…
We continue to the swamp with Scarlet father’s blessing (I’m just going to mention, casually, that he is the Avatar of Bahamut).
SWAMP! We catch up with Elisson, who is extenuated. All is well when it ends well. Oh, look, there’s a dragon behind you. SHIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIT! Wait, it’s not a dragon! It’s a cute little, tiny, baby youngling dragon. He even has a cute Hello Kitty backpack, as if he’s just returning from school! Aaawwwwww… Then he opens his mouth and does 5d8 acid damage. SCHEISSE! Not so cute anymore.
The dragon is not alone. Lizardmen, coming out of the lair. Wait, there’s more: the lair has special rules! The swamp starts FARTING, and me olde dwarf gets thrown to the floor. There’s darkness, and me olde dwarf gets blinded. There’s a swarm of insects coming out of the lair, and me dwarves’ beard gets full of bugs! STOP IT, YOU BASTARD DM!!! I’M STARTING TO HATE YOU EVEN MORE THAN THE GUY WITH THE BROOM! THERE’S NO WAY YOU’RE GONNA MAKE ME DROP THE FUCKING CARPET, OK!!!???? JUST GIVE UP!
Eventually we end up killing all the lizardmen, and the dragon flies away. We capture Elisson, and the Zhent wants to receive the award by delivering him to the authorities. But I’m a neutral good Harper, and I know it means death for the guy, who shows signs of repenting being associated with the Cult of the Dragon. I manage to convince the rest of the party to deliver him to Scarlet’s father, placing him in custody of the Church of Bahamut. Great, now I’m on the hit list of the Zhentarim…

Final Thoughts
This was a great session. I had lots of fun and we managed to have great roleplaying moments. Probably this was an Expedition more appropriate for a “non-convention” environment, since it required much attention to details, investigation, and gathering puzzle pieces. With more noise coming from other tables, and me having to pause once or twice to “say hi” to some friends, a lot of the “feel” may have been lost. But, otherwise, you would never have experienced THE CARPET!
Congratulations to the DM who has been guiding Vacaria Brotherhood through all these hilarious adventures, and to all the marvelous people involved in coordinating the Portuguese Roleplayers National Encounter, which is getting more intense each year, and with record participants.

P.S. I’m placing a unique Persian carpet on e-Bay, in case anyone’s interested…

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