NOTE: Please read the Adventure Log, but start with “The Story So Far…” The Adventure Log lists the posts in reverse chronological order.
Half, Goat, Lotus and Holy snuck ashore and posing as adventurers entered the town the day before theCohort entered port. They took up quarters in the Crusty Crab Tavern. They pretended to listen to the recruiting speeches, but spent more time uncovering the movers and shakers in Sandpoint.
Lotus and Holy discovered that the City Watch was trusted, but the Captain of the guard was hiding something- a dark secret. His second in command, Lt. Pulsiver was a fine swordsman and way too talented for his position, but he was loyal to his post. Lotus figured he would be a great recruit, if they could get him. They took him to watch the Cohort tryouts at the fighting pits and get to know him better.
Goat and Half spent their time learning about the underworld. They first met Restus, a dangerous pyromancer from the far eastern edge of the Empire. More interesting, they discovered that Black Lorren O’Nine and the Raven have smuggled in a load of weapons. A few well-placed coins earned Half the location of the stash.
Half immediately saw an opportunity for profit and decided it needed his attention, even to the detriment of the mission. A few drinks made Goat more cooperative and the pair drifted out into the dark recesses of Rat Alley. With Goat standing guard, Half confirmed that the weapons were Imperial gladii (short swords) and guarded only by two men shooting dice.
In the meanwhile, Goat overheard a commotion in a nearby alleyway and a quick investigation showed that a group of six townies overseen by a guardsman were kicking the crap out of Goldie. Goldie was one of the Legion’s nicest guys and Goat couldn’t imagine him pissing off 7 people all at once. A sixth sense, or more likely, a drunken epiphany, warned Goat that he didn’t want to dive in swinging.
As he approached, he was shocked to see the group grabbing tools, sticks and other improvised weaponry to take on the other Redcloaks back at the Crab. He slipped in the crowd as they marched back to the tavern. About this time, Half made his way from the shadows in time to see Goat headed back toward the tavern and two more guardsmen following the mob. He shadowed the guards, already able to hear the mayhem ahead.
At the Crab, the mob used Goldie’s head to open the back door to the tavern and then commenced a brawl with the Red Cloaks inside. Amazingly, Goat was fighting on their side. Goat found himself caught up in the moment and with an overwhelming urge to fight. Fortunately, Lotus, Holy and Lt. Pulsiver had returned to the tavern. They were able to hold off the rabble and the guards. Half slipped through the melee and hid under a table, where he tried to talk some sense into Goat. Unfortunately, he then succumbed to whatever was driving everyone else mad. He immediately began dragging wounded Legionnaires under the table and slitting their throats.
Fortunately, Holy shouted “flare” and created a blinding white light. The Immunes knew to cover their eyes and were unaffected, but the Red Cloaks and townies were blinded. He then negated the rage effect. Freed of the enchantment, Half distanced himself from his grisly handiwork and began urging the blinded soldiers out into the street.
Outside, the sound of raging mobs echoed throughout the town. Realizing that the Cohort was the target of the rage, they raced toward the docks, only to find themselves cut off by a torch wielding mob. Holy cast a sanctuary spell, rendering them invisible as long as they maintained peaceful thoughts. Goat was unaffected, but the mobs ignored him, confirming that the anger was directed only at the Cohort.
Lotus made contact with Teach and Wander and was able to confirm that a squad of the Cohort were at the fighting pits and the Captain was attending a formal dinner at the central keep. While Half slipped through the town to warn Boot and the guys at the pits, Holy and Goat took their squad to the weapon cache Half had previously uncovered. Lotus went back to find Lt. Pulsiver, certain that he would have some clues. Pulsiver had only one notion- Elder Wistan, the same councilor who refused to allow the Cohort to bring weapons into Sandpoint. The team reunited at the weapon hideout and shared their information and plans
Using Teach and Wander’s magic to communicate, the Captain issued orders for the Immunes to neutralize the source of the rage effect. According to Teach, it was an old man standing over a flaming brazier, but he must be using something to focus the rage effect on the Cohort. The Tavern squad remained in hiding at the weapon cache ready to rescue the Captain, if necessary. The Pit squad, lead by Boot, worked its way stealthily down the river trying to avoid roving mobs of townies. The Immunes and Lt. Pulsiver headed to Wistan’s directly through the city.
Despite Holy’s word of caution and Half’s offer to scout ahead; Goat kicked in the door to Wistan’s mansion and just started smashing his way through room after room. It was dumb, but effective. A dull red light attracted him to a library and after smashing down the door, he was surprised to see THREE Wistan’s glaring at him. Behind them a flaming brazier sent a cloud of red smoke up the chimney and out to the city beyond. The rage effect washed over Goat, but he was already angry enough that the sorcerer had tried to turn the entire village against his Cohort. He sprang into action decapitating the middle Wistan’s head.
The results were explosive… as in the corpse exploded in a blast of fire, knocking the great dwarf stumbling back and dazed. Lotus was also hit by the rage effect and although he knew it was a poor idea, found himself rushing into combat with the other Wistan duplicates. The real Wistan rose from behind the brazier and sent coals flying from it like a Roman candle. Everyone in the room was blasted back by the attack and Holy had to drag Lt. Pulsiver back to the hallway to heal him. Two big explosions later, the duplicates were dead, but both Lotus and Goat were badly burned. Even worse, dark ethereal forms rose from the corpses of the duplicates.
Holy unleashed holy fury, but only one of the spirits was destroyed. Lotus and Goat tried to engage them with their weapons, but it was useless. Wistan realized that Holy’s power tipped the scales against him and surrounded the room with his dark flame, disrupting Holy’s contact with his power source. Fortunately, Half was able to dramatically enter the room with a ridiculous riddle; completely distracting the wizard from pressing his advantage. Holy was able to rush up to melee range, while Pulsifer was able to hurl his spear. Neither attack was successful, but provided enough of a distraction for Half to circle around and catch Wistan unawares. The blow was instantly lethal and the spectral forms and ring of fire immediately disappeared. Half immediately checked the corpse for gold, but only found an odd scarab. Lotus noticed that on the wall behind the brazier was a faded, patched Legion cloak, later revealed to belong to Gracchus, the Pit Master and retired Red Cloak. Pulsiver suggested they burn it, but Lotus suggested that Holy merely cleanse it with a blessing.
Just as Holy finished cleansing the cloak, Boot charged into the room with the squad from the pits. Seeing the men in their polished leather and red cloaks reminded Half that he and his team weren’t supposed to be Cohort. He pulled Lotus aside and whispered his plan to Lotus, who asked Lt. Pulsiver to go along with the story.
Once the mystical smoke cleared and the town returned to normal, Lt. Pulsiver informed the Captain of the Guard and the Council that the he had seen the strange smoke coming from Wistan’s chimney and came to investigate. On the way, he encountered the Cohort squad coming from the pits. Boot put his men at Pulsiver’s disposal and together they raided the house and subdued Wistan. Killing the wizard had lifted the curse. The testimony of the highly vaunted Lieutenant of Guard in conjunction with the evidence at Wistan’s made the Cohort the heroes of the hour. It wasn’t far from the truth and everyone wanted to find common ground after the horrors of that night.
The Cohort was wildly celebrated and recruitment stepped up tremendously. Within the next two days, they gained 50 new men including Lt. Pulsiver and Restus, the traveling pyromancer, who had missed all the fun.