Monday, April 6, 2020

Conquest of the Gorgon Coast: Session 2 - One Night in Fallen Taurochtalia

Herein is the second play report for my "Conquest of the Gorgon Coast" game, playing with dear friends: Peter, Finn, Cid, and Will. It makes use of the random tables for Spoils of the Gorgon Coast, as well as randomizers cut and expanded on for the zine supplement which y'all might see soon provided we're still alive. Content warning for a suicide and general violence. 

The Set-Up


Having rescued Augistinius Gorgondi-Rex from imprisonment upon Isla Santa, the survivors of the Pact make their way to Fallen Taurochtalia to deliver the Degenerated Heir, now broken by the Basilisk Strain, to their superiors and agents of his father; and to also receive further orders.

Our Map.

The Party

  • Galban Ferragamo, a veteran from the Knights Glantisant with a snaggletooth grin. Played by Will. 
  • Zaira Dominitus, a displaced dastardess of the Lonely Few, cursed to live while others die. Played by Cid.
  • Pike of the Ashen City, an outcast who lost their fellows in the Ruins of the Old Empire. Played by Finn.
  • Flamma Lombasti, a horrifying siege engineer and murder scholar from the Cabal of the Shattered Eye. Played by Peter after Eridian’s death.


How did the session go?

Things certainly happened. This session was sort of the...Consequences of Carousing.

Firstly, on the boat, Augistinius was given the strange fleshbook from the island, which when read from aloud, caused grip checks which Galban failed and imparted upon him a strange doomsday sensation. Augistinius proclaimed that an age of the gaunt and starved shall begin, wherein all is devoured until none may yet again suckle upon a mother’s teat or know warmth of food within their belly. Zaira and Pike thought this sounded grim, but they’re not really a big fan into the Cult of Chalices anyway. Augistinius was given new clothes and he nearly ripped the jaw out of the hostage Sebastor, Sauvon Rochenne. It was a tense, odd time on the boat.

Upon arriving in Fallen Taurochtalia a day early, as the Isla Santa mission went well, the party split up. Galban sought out his superior, Knight Captain Lanza Tuttii of the Knights Glantisant; a civilized and restrained figure with the tightly wound and crumpled face best compared to an inbred master. Galban presented Sauvon in bondage, as hostage for the company to ransom. 

Lanza, the authoritarian brute that he is, had flogged Galban in the past so their meeting was very deferential. Lanza had taken a map from Iago Herelake, an albinistic and unhinged member of the Dogaressa’s Guard in the hopes that the Knights Glantisant might help hunt something in the spiraling labyrinthine patterns. Lanza refused to give the map back to Iago and after getting the progress report from Galban, gave two orders: Inform the Pact that Augistinius is to be delivered to the Shrine of the First Chalice tomorrow morning, and show this dreg what it means to make demands of his superiors. Lanza then departed with Sauvon in tow.

Galban thus told off Iago, and Iago challenged him to a duel; demanding satisfaction and his map back; for everyone’s safety. Iago drew his rapier first, but Galban took to brutalizing the fencer with a mace, two-handing it and crumpling ribs and the man’s swordarm. Galban proclaimed the will of the strong determines authority and right; Iago called him a fascist and surrendered. Galban, at the threshold of butter Grip loss, was frothing at the mouth and already seeing things in a strange combat focus.

Iago told him to give back the map, to not look at it. Galban of course, looked at the map. He got his mind lost in the patterns and scrawling endless tunnels, he realized it was scrawled upon flesh; not parchment, and when he looked up, he saw he was being watched by Chanters from the Cult of Chalices. He gained an affliction, as he was at zero Grip. Iago noticed the look, gave the man a drink of wine, and suggested they might aid one another; tonight, at the Dogaressa’s Tower upon the Gates of the Manticore. Iago mumbled that he’d see him there.

Erstwhile, Pike and Zaira escorted Augistinius around as he demanded to be able to collect old debts from years prior at the Ecclian Coliseum. Upon arriving they encountered the local crimelord, a dog-man of Cynophenia; Salamach the Cyclops. Named for his strange helmet which obscures one eye and his enjoyment for brutality. Salamach was ripping apart a military deserter who had stolen schemata from a siege engineer named Flamma Lombasti, who was watching the brutal display with errant joy.

Flamma discussed her inventions he’d interrupted; the corpse-shooter, the gore-blaster, the limb-flinger; and her arrangement with Salamach involved making sure she could spray his bones at anyone else who’d screw with her. She’s essentially a terrible giallo Jigsaw. We have fun.

Flamma, Pike, and Zaira share niceties whilst Augistinius and Salamach bicker and posture about debts and treasure. Pike wants to go on a pub crawl, but gets stuck babysitting the Heir whilst Flamma and Zaira wander off to see Flamma’s workshop and discuss the finer points in ripping people apart.

Augistinius and Salamach agree to dinner on an island villa just off the coast of the city, as it is apparently the Heir’s summer villa and Salamach has been crashing it/boozing it/sleeping there since Augistinius vanished three years ago. Pike is forced to come along. Pike hates every minute of it.

The villa is an extravagantly wealthy affair, with overgrown gardens, lush fountains lining the promenade staircase to its entrance, and with art and wealth lining every room. It is also awash in prostitutes, hedonists, drunkards, and drug-users whom Salamach parties with during his nightly bacchanales. The Heir and the Dog-Man have dinner on either side of a long table, with Pike in the middle and Pike’s dog Dandelion, sitting next to them. Things go poorly, lots of shouting between the pair. Pike is offered a bottle of wine, which Pike bites the cork off of, and begins to chug down.

Pike is informed by a servant that it is a 400 year old vintage. Pike asks if the servants wants to share. The servant doesn’t.

On the mainland, Zaira tours Flamma’s workshop; a horrible affair of half-baked machines and toxins. Zaira and Flamma conjure up the idea of making chemical weapons, but having failed their rolls, spend the rest of the night robbing an apiary, poisoning a metric tonne of bees, and wasting a lot of good potential poison. 

After leaving instructions for the morning at the boat, Galban goes to the Dogaressa’s Tower and the guards outside act viciously when he suggests he’s going in to see Iago. They ask that he kill Iago. Galban thinks that’s funny, but Galban is still unhinged. He goes in, notices the extreme disrepair and bankruptcy of the Dogaressa’s Guard. He ascends three floors to Iago’s study. Iago’s room is painted with tar, paint, shit, piss, and blood, to display the same symbols on the skin map. He keeps a circle of salt around his bed and writing desk. Iago answers the door, unlocks 20 locks, and pulls a pistol on Galban; only to let Galban in and keep the gun pinned on him.

The two discuss the map. Galban didn’t see in it what had inspired Iago to make it. Iago suggests the Cult of Chalices called something into this world, that they are to blame for Teotauria’s eruption and the desolation that created the Ashen City and immolated the souls of all within it. Iago motions to the lone window of his study which gazes out into the ashen clouds which have been present for decades over the former 60% of the capital. Galban, fool that he is. Opens the map. Again.

Coin flip. 

Galban is 0 Grip.

Galban sees something in the ash. It’s a silhouette, serpentine but not; a shadow of immense size and strange fluidity. He feels its eye upon him, the weight of its attention. His blood boils. He feels weightless. He feels flowing wind. He breaks upon the ground, several stories down, his body shattered upon the rocks.

Galban dies. Suicide it seems.

Pike wakes up in the garden of Augistinius’s villa, upon a fainting couch, wearing a fine toga, a set of laurels upon their head, a stack of cabbages behind them, 30 golden denarium upon their belly, and Dandelion sitting on a stool behind an easel. Drunks are scattered about the gardens, asleep. Pike gets up, confused. An itch upon the back of their neck. No hickies or anything untoward. Pike looks at what their dog apparently painted, a horrific display of a scene of them in repose; all clothing and organic matter made of a thin meaty film, their laurels made of teeth, the rest of them normal; albeit laying upon a pile of skulls.

Pike’s dog is apparently an excellent painter, but this isn’t the weirdest shit to happen to Pike. Pike takes the painting and dresses themself back up in their armor as they approach the villa. Apparently Augistinius and Salamach must’ve gotten into a fight, as the dining hall’s grand table has been flipped, and the Heir is sitting on the ground, flagellating and performing his morning Chalice rites. Blood seeps in slowly from the kitchen. 

They discuss things, neither have good answers for what has happened. Pike has a tattoo of a golden stag beetle’s head upon the back of their neck. Pike asks how this could’ve happened. Augistinius suggests one might’ve used a needle. Sometime in the night Pike somehow ended back on the boat from Santa Isla, as they had treasure they left on the boat and Dandelion has a note pinned to the collar. Pike convinces Augistinius they need to go if he has what he came for. Augistinius has a collected bag of treasures and knick-knacks.

The pair argue about poetry and how to steer a boat. Augistinius regrets having killed his servant staff and makes vile comments about washer women having more skill at piloting boats than Pike. Pike takes it on the chin.

Flamma and Zaira wake up on piles of dead bees their last night’s ventures a bust. Zaira continues to live up to her reputation; she survives operations while others die considerably and awfully. 

They double back to the boat, and then go to the Shrine of the First Chalice so they might talk more about future work. Within the shrine, Pike, Zaira and Augistinius are greeted by the choir and a gold-masked cabalist in white; the Aspirant of the White Wizard.

Eridian’s superior.

He chides them for Eridian and Galban’s absence, denounces them as pathetic, shames them for their losses, berates them for being bad at their jobs, and then once Augistinius is happy someone else feels the same way; the Aspirant tells Augistinius he has been denounced as degenerate and cast to the wild world. 

Pike steps away from Augistinius, expecting the worst. Augistinius instead proclaims he will bring the world to its knees and neither his father nor any foreignborn heretic will survive his wrath.  Flamma stays outside and measures Pike’s old horse, seeing if she’s good enough to be part of a limb-chopping machine project. Augistinius throws her a coin as he departs, telling her to burn it all down. 

Pike and Zaira are given a gilded plush chest filled with 30 golden beetle brooches and given new orders. The War Host needs to scout out the areas that will be a battlefield in the coming campaign, the realm between the Palace of the Hand of Virtue and the Palace of the Chalice-Heir. They also need to recruit new specialists to the Pact. After being convinced by Zaira’s glib tongue that they can in fact, do this, he asks if they received any treasure whilst away. Zaira lies. They leave.

Outside, they recruit Flamma and assume Galban deserted. They head back to the boat to figure out how to unload their stolen treasures, and Flamma knows some people.

Ferdinand & Isolde, representatives of the Grand Banks of Calmyn, are busy sowing dissent between mercenaries and camp followers about who really deserves a higher pay. As they watch poorer people fight to the death over their words, the New Pact arrive with their haul of stolen foods. Ferdinand & Isolde are insufferable. They agree to buy the whole lot; paintings, orgy masks, et cetera, for 8000 silver coins and a cut of future hauls; and asks the party to sign a contract that says none of that and also share a drink so they can write off this whole enterprise. 

Flamma signs her name, Zaira signs as Z, Pike signs as Galban Ferragamo.

They get a big sack of cash. 

Aftermath


Everyone who survived got between 3-5 XP for their various grip checks, successful schemes, and treasure gains. Zaira is officially in charge of the Pact right now, Flamma is employed. They discussed more horror shit. They're essentially using the tech trees of the Undead Scourge from WCIII. So that's fun. 

Next Session

The party heads to the Cliffs of Bissabova and the surrounding haunted plains to scout and seek out new recruits. They have a sizable personal warchest. Will, as Galban killed himself, has made a new character. Said new character is a necromancer from a company I wrote for the first supplement to Spoils of the Gorgon Coast. 

It’s gonna get weird. And maybe it’ll go into a goddamn crypt. 




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