Saturday 10 August 2019

Inquisition Team 13: The Origin

The Inquisition of Karnath: In the years following the war, the power of the Inquisition was readily tapped with the power of Gold. The King has seen fit to change this, and the Inqusition is now short of reliable inquisitors.

Inquisitorial Team Thirteen is:

Cage - Tall, imposing, and denser than the dark alloy the warforged is made of. Has trouble opening doors unassisted. Best classified as a monk. Your narrator!
Lars Ceny - An elven rogue drawn to the Inquisition by the lure of mostly-legal gold.
Severn - A walking enigma of a wizard; arguably the most normal member of the team.

We are Karrnathian Inquisitors. Or so we'd like to say; we were actually just assistants to one. Unfortunately, we picked a bad time to be employed in the Karnathian Inquisition -- while bribery was rampant, we didn't get to taste any of it. However, being too new to possibly be worth bribing, we also escaped the mass purge that followed.

Lars Ceny, Cage and Severn -- a team now known as Group 13 -- were summoned by Superior Glockta. Glockta is a war veteran, who was a prisoner of war and looks it.

DM: "He walks with a limp."
Severn: "A limp what?"

We're tasked with investigating who or what has been killing the King's Men in the town of Bastion. We need to go out, find him, get a testimony and witness, and 
Bring it back to Glockta. Our contact is Brother Longstep.

We're given 20 G for expenses.

We travel out to Bastion at the break of dawn, and arrive around noon. After orientating ourselves, we start looking for Brother Longstep. We start with the inn. It's certified by the dragonmarked houses, so at least it's something. It's staffed by two halflings, Brian and his wife, who are happy to point us to Brother Longstep (In the "big house"), and rent us two inn rooms for 1 S each.

We knock on the door, and are greeted by the quietest, and slowest old man ever. He's glad to let us in and (eventually) introduce us to Longstep. We're introduced to a squat, fat halfling who is spittling fat and goose as he eats with one greasy hand, and dictates something to his assistant gnome.

He introduces himself. He offers a greasy handshake, which Lars gladly, and firmly, takes. Lars licks his hand afterwards, which elicits a reflexive heave from myself, despite not having a stomach. He wants to know who we are, exactly, and why we're here. We announce that we're the inquisition, and he's pleased we came so quick -- it's only been 3 days. We get his account of things -- peasants have been dying, and while one or two could simply be attributed to them forgetting they need to eat, three is too much, and four is absolutely unacceptable, it cuts into taxes too much.

Ella Gnomey, his aide, has more specific information, a list of who died, where they lived and their families, and more information. The victims were all found in the woods, which are known to be somewhat unsafe, given the lack of town guards, and they were otherwise perfectly healthy, if a little worse for wear due to being left outside. I acquire a copy of the list.

Some of the corpses have been taken to the nearby Garrison Ford for recycling in necromancy, but the others were too decayed to be of use and so were just buried.

We start with Karl. Outside his house, there is a pig. Lars thinks it bears a resemblance to an orc; if he is, he easily resists my questioning:

"Are you an orc?"

With inconclusive results, we add him to the list of suspects. If all else fails, we can nominate him as the culprit, only for him to fling himself into a fire on the way back.

We talk to Karl's family; he was a good lad, he ate his vegetables, did the fields. He was young and full of energy. He was likable, and could have had his pick of wives, but was waiting for The One. In short, he had no enemies; he simply walked out one night, and never came back. He begins to tear up, and I comfort him with a rythmic pat on the shoulder. Pat. Pat.

We head back to the inn for the night and grab drinks; another two silver for drinks. The innkeep asks after Longstep; we inform that he's probably not hungry. Brian remarks that nobody's seen Longstep for a while, but he has a juicy rumor for us -- after Longstep's wife died, he seems to have gotten a little woman-crazy, and was seen with a female wizard. Hot like a fireball with legs that went all the way up, here and gone two days later. Longstep didn't talk about it, and hasn't been seen much since. The innkeep loves his wife, but just between him and us, wouldn't mind getting that hot wizard's address. I promises to deliver if at all possible, and this earns me a drink on the house. Which I drink.

The inn begins to empty as people go to bed. We are now in "Prime Sneaking Hours", and Lars sneaks out to go loiter around Longstep's house. Aside from a desire to to break in, nothing of note, so we go to bed; I am sharing a room with Lars, but at Lars' insistence, have to stand in the corner and face the wall.

As I stand in my corner, I hear rattling and movement from Servern's room. I go to investigate, and tell him he should be sleeping. I find him at the window, with an incredibly attractive woman on the other side... the bat wings and horns on the succubus probably help her stay afloat outside our second-floor window. She sees me, and vanishes as I reach out a hand:

"Wait. I need to know your address."

The succubus wanted Servern to go outside. Probably a bad idea. I remind him to remain pure of thought.

The next morning, nobody has been succed. We need to find the Succubus' summoner; we contemplate luring the succubus with bait comprised of Lars and a copper dreadful or other erotic literature concocted by myself, to defeat it directly; but us attempting to fight the actual succubus head-on will go poorly, as we have no non-magical weapons.

Lars has a hunch -- Ella Gnomey might be our suspect. We go pay her another visit. The butler's showing us in, and Servern detects magic as we go; there is a *shitload* of magical items, including a painting, and a table with abjuration on it. Even the Butler is magical.

We get Ella alone, and inquire about Brother Longstride's new squeeze. That's a weird one; Longstride's ex-wife died a couple of months ago, a wizard named Jerad showed up, and after he left, the new girlfriend showed up. Coincidentally, the Butler, despite being old, is not old, but new -- he has only been here for a month or so.

We ask her to show us around the victims' houses. She loudly proclaims that she cannot, but she will show us on the map the best way to get to each of the houses. In the marks she leaves on the map, Lars realizes she's slipped us a message on our map: Check The Basement.

We head back to the inn and outline our theories: Ella is innocent, the magic she's surrounded by is natural to her dragon mark. But the butler... he's surrounded by a thick old illusion spell. He's either responsible, or knows something.

Night falls, and we set out to Longstride's mansion basement.

We descend, and find lights on in the basement. We all peek around the corner. There's a circle there, with a man split open in the middle; his guts are everywhere, but we sure as hell see that heart still pumping. He's not young, rather old; could be the "old" butler.

Whoever he is, we're pretty sure there's nobody home. His life sustains the magic circle; killing him will probably break the circle, and free the succubus to do whatever she pleases.

We're in agreement of ending the battery's life. I reveal my true function; a poisoner with a built-in poisoning kit, I puff poison over him to do the job, and Lars physically breaks the circle.

Almost instantly, we hear breaking glass above, and the sound of a fat halfling being succ'd to death. We sneak upstairs and take a peek. The succubus is hunched over Longstride and is literally sucking him dry. Her horns are definitely longer than when we last saw them, and Longstride is looking a little withered.

She finishes the job, rips his head off and not noticing us, jumps out the window. There is a potential problem in having a succubus on the loose in general, but she'll probably go home rather than hang around and terrorize the town. Either way, out of scope for our team, and so Not Our Problem.

We go find Ella Gnomey; she's curled up on her bed, stricken with terror, but we manage to convince her everything's okay. Turns out she didn't actually know much, just that she wasn't to go into the basement. This is fine -- according to paperwork we fill out, she is a credible witness who saw everything. We recommend that she continues to stay out, as well as out of the Lord's chambers, and hire a good cleaning team.

Severn and Lars also designate most of the magical items in the house for recovery; they need to be scanned for "Demonic taint".

Some days later, we're back at home, and we finish our report. We have Exceeded Expectations on this case, pleasing an unknown number of superiors, and our reward is a promotion; there is one Inquisitor position officially available, and if anyone asks, two of us are mere adepts, but we will be collectively appointed this position.

We are now collectively Inquisitor Thirteen. How unexpected.

Addendum: According to out-of-game knowledge, the succubus was indeed under specific orders; don't harm Longstride, and obey his every order. However, he had no malicious intent; he simply did not specify any orders regarding the citizenry, nor did he connect their deaths with his succubus, so she was free to feed on the men of the village at will. In short, a bunch of people died because a fat, thirsty thot of a halfling wanted a demon girlfriend.

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