Monday, October 12, 2015

Kismet: Flick of the Tail (Play Report)

The Party:
 
Farida - Topaz eyed paladin, out into the Wide World for the first time.  Paladin of Ancients

Hakim -  A priest of the Adventurous, weak for a pretty face.  Trickery Domain

Zaina - A nomad sorceress carrying a royal legacy in her veins.  Ifrit Bloodline

It's Market Day in Huzabba, the Grand Jewel, and the streets are packed as several caravans have arrived in the early morning or the night before.  The party ambles the crowded thoroughfares of the Grand Bazaar towards Mahmoud, the camel drover, pursuing the rumor he has brought a mystic camel to market.  The air is thick with cloying perfume, spices, and pack animals; but the distinct smell of grilling goat draws Farida down a street, her mouth watering and mind swimming with thoughts of savory delicacies.

As Zaina and Hakim follow her they are accosted by an erstwhile street vendor offering a wide range of jewellery for sale.  One piece in particular draws Zaina's eye, and she is able to haggle the vendor into selling it for 3 gold shekels.  Hakim's book learning recalls a reference to the fabled 7 Tears of the Lion Queen and suspects that the bauble may lead to greater treasure in the fabled Land of Lions.

Following her nose, Farida is blocked from the sought culinary delights by a knot of people surrounding a scuffle.  A fisherman and porter grapple and kick over possession of a beautiful, ruby fish until the fish pops free and lands in a nearby well.  The porter kicks the fisherman and stalked away, muttering curses.  Knocked to the ground by the porter's parting blow, the fisherman tears at his hair and wails lamentations to Fate over this cruel development.  The paladin intervenes before the man plucks himself bald, inquiring why he would care so much about a single fish.  Surely as a fisherman he has seen hundreds of their ilk come through his nets?
Zalid, the fisherman, explains that he is forced to fish because he is ill suited for any other sort of work, and he is terrible at it.  But such a beautiful fish, pleading with him in a voice ringing with silver bells, would surely fetch a high price with the right buyer, and Zalid knew just the noble seeking a fine prize from Lake Hali. As the other two PC's catch up, Farida recalls that Marids of high birth have to spend time as a fish before they come into their inheritance.  Having explained the fisherman's plight to her friends they state they retrieve this fish.  Hakim knows that the ruling families of Huzabba have intermarried with the Marids in the past, the nobleman Zalid mentioned may be seeking to bolster his cache.  Zaina had heard stories of the Marids but never seen them, knowing they were genies of the sea.
They ask him to wait for them at a nearby coffeehouse, while the party compares notes.  Resolving to rescue the fish and disregard Zalid's situation.
After asking some quick questions around the square, the party finds out that the well is connected via cistern to a nearby bathhouse which has fallen into disuse.  Before breaching the doorway Zaina notices cursemarks carved into the door frame, just a few flourishes away from hexing any who step through.  To disrupt their completion she Mends the door, and the party steps through.  Moving quickly and quietly, they see the surfaces have a fine layer of dust and large cat paw prints left behind. 

After some empty rooms that once had purpose they find the once bricked up arch to the cool room, whose pool held a similarly twisted and broken iron grating in its depths.  Eschewing any spelunking they scout out the rest of the floor, finding a large room full of tallied bags of linen, with doors that open to large alleyway.  Turning another few corner they come to a T- Junction with signage pointing them to either the changing rooms or the hot baths, Hakim insists that Zaina should take the opportunity to bathe, she takes exception and fires back.  As they trade barbed quips, Farida notices motion in the changing room.  Shining her light upon it reveals a carpet of animal skeletons surging towards them.

Swarmed by diminutive attackers and facing a death by a thousand cuts, Hakim open the windows of his soul and shines the Light of Adventure to Turn the undead.  Animated by the party's negative energy but rebuked by their unity of purpose, the swarm recoils and skulks in the shadows of the changing room waiting another opportunity to strike.  Not giving it to them, Zaina forces the door closed as Hakim wards it against undeath.

Heading in the opposite direction, they come upon the hot baths proper which contains another mauled iron grate.   No longer able to avoid getting in the deep end, the party links hands, casts Light, and holds their breath as they scuttle down the sunken tunnel.  Barely able to maintain their breath, they break air upon entering a larger copper cylinder with a 3' hole in its side.  Distorted humming fills the air around them as they shimmy out of the copper tube and onto the empty, flooded floor of what has once the boiler room.

Announcing their presence, the party dives under the copper boiler and come upon an old woman kneeling on a mat.  Shelves surround the walls behind her, cluttered with odds and ends, but separate from all that is a bowl with a gasping, ruby fish.  Conversing with the party she asks Hakim to leave her some food for the fright they gave her, muttering nonsense under her breath ("ytterp hsif".)  Hakim grows suspicious of her but Zaina, ever bold, steps past them and seizes the bowl as Farida moves between the crone and her friend.  The elderly woman snarls and her illusory masks drops, revealing a horned, green skinned head full of yellowed teeth.  Her lunge reveals her folded legs unfurl into the lower part of a lion as her weight bears down upon Farida.
Zaina gets a face full of venomous snakes for her trouble, Burning Hands saves her from any further harm though she passes out from poison.  Farida mixes it up with the hag as Hakim rushes to Zaina's aid.  With Zaina stabilized he then rushes to bolster Farida's efforts, getting eviscerated in the process.  Farida's steel and Zaina's sorcery prove to be too much and the foul beast flees into the darkness beyond the boiler.  Farida calls upon the Moon to restore Hakim's rent flesh and gets him on his feet.  Stumbling into the flooded room seeking their foe, Zaina sees the fish is still dying.  Realizing they will need to return her to the water she was taken from, she scoops up the fish and the party makes their egress.

Hakim ponders out the logistics and tells the others that without camels they will not make it in time.  Reminding the others of Mahmoud's rumored mystic camel, Zaina leads them to his corral and pleads with him for his aid.  As Mahmoud is married to her mother's sister twice removed they are family and he will loan them the camel for 25 gold shekels.  Hakim readily pays him, and the party clambers onto the mighty beast of dunes.  Riding like the Traitorous Angel is chasing them, they blitz past the coffeehouse where Zalid was waiting for them.Seeing them ride past with HIS fish, Zalid runs out after them but is soon left eating their camel dust.  Avoiding any further complications through Zaina's expert camel handling, they deposit the fish in Lake Hali.  In thanks she sings them a song and swims away. The party makes camp on the lake shore, eager to nurse their wounds and avoid any further dangers.
The morning reveals a bundle of kelp containing 11 pearls and piece of broken pottery bearing the word "MULUK."