Jacob as the GM
Charlie as Effy Varrow, an Avalon soon-to-be famous explorer
Lee as Finn Hopkins, the vengeful son of an Avalon privateer
Vinnie as Vanya Steiglig, a grizzled Eisen monster hunter
Josh as Janina “Nina” Kohrs, a Samartian union leader who makes pacts with honestly-not-devils
Amy as Galina Rurick Olgovna V’novgorov, an Ussuran noble searching for technology
And introducing Ash as the drunken former musketeer, Remy.
Session One: Vestenmannavnjar
Jacob handed out character sheets with our stats typed up, including explanations for any advantages we had bought and any magical or secret society-based systems we had. He also had a booklet marked, “Secret”, which he taunted me with as someone who was a player for once.
The heroes started in a seedy pub with a mysterious figure. Much like last session, however this time is was Remy! As a fancy Montaigne, he had a band following him everywhere he went. He sat in awkward silence, assessing the situation. Time passed. He held his hand out for a weird cult handshake, which Effy immediately took and shook vigorously, introducing herself as a famous explorer. He said he’d never heard of them, but Vincent sent him to help out. The group gave a quick in-character recap of the last week’s festivities.
There was a message, “The myths lead to the crown”, and talk of mysteries in the Charouse Sewers. People had been disappearing and murmurs had the sewers as something involved in them. Okay, in 7th Sea lore, there’s kind of a Stargate in there in the original edition. As far as we’re aware, there’s no Stargate there this time and the GM said that in his game there wouldn’t be one. Despite that, most of the evening’s events would be blamed on Stargates. All the talk of the sewers immediately made Effy assume that there would be a statue to take a rubbing of and follow where it leads. The heroes decided to explore the sewers, but all the entrances had recently been blocked at the King’s behest, even banning the Explorer’s Guild from going down there. There would be a slight problem with the amount of bards in Remy’s retinue and Vanya pointed out that you are never more than three feet from a bard in Montaigne. They’re going to be everywhere.
We went into a dramatic scene, looking into what we could do and as before, use our rolls to add plot elements either helping, hindering or defining what went on a bit more.
Galina used her “Extended Family” advantage to make it so that she had a cousin in court. I love the narrative tricks advantages like this can pull:
The third cousin… fourth cousin? Whatever it was, Amy added one to each instance of separation, apparently the V’novgorov family were pretty widely spread through Theah. Galina would get into the palace to see her cousin, Nina would mix with the servants, Remy would pretend to be a bodyguard and Effy dressed as a manservant before breaking in to look for any sewer maps. Finn and Vanya decided to talk to the commoners. Our rolls determined the following:
Josh – The only link to the disappeared people is that they were in households which kept servants.
Charlie – Musketeers guard each entrance to the sewers.
Vinnie – The middle class are getting paranoid, blaming servants for the disappearances.
Amy – In court there are rumours that the Inquisition are behind this.
Josh – There’s a rumour that this is being done to recruit the servants to some cause.
Ash – Some people are buying the service of the servants without anyone to serve.
Lee – Shadowy figures… possibly those from The Dawn Star, have been seen by the sewers.
Jacob – There have been tales of ghouls in the sewers. No, not goa’uld. Ghouls.
Vinnie – Soon there will be rain, which will flood the sewers.
Amy – The mastermind behind the creation of the sewer map, Monmart, has access to one.
Charlie – There was building work going on down there, which has halted for now.
Josh – The King’s maid says he’s been chanting some weird stuff. Not the usual ‘whips and butt’ stuff, but dark rituals. It was this point that we decided that, “Whips and Butt Stuff” was the official motto of Montaigne. It seemed pretty much in keeping with what we’d heard about the place.
Lee – The Dawn Star was seen around here, transporting the figures.
Charlie – One of the earliest people exploring the sewers vanished, then appeared in some ruins far away, completely insane. I had to defend that I didn’t like Stargate, this wasn’t a way of secretly adding a Stargate to the game.
Ash – Monmart is an admirer of Galina. He’s relatively guarded and scruffy, by Montaigne standards.
Lee – One or two more families who have good relationships with their servants are trying to investigate these disappearances
Ash – He heard a rumour that Monmart’s household was growing, a lot of new servants.
Amy – Soon there will be a Vaticine holiday, one which is no longer recognised given the King’s issues with the Vaticine church.
Josh – The King’s main serving girl said that she saw drawings of a mermaid statue, but with wings. She ‘fell ill’ and moved away shortly after.
Lee – There are rumours of demonstrations taking place during the holiday.
So we had the situation set up. Galina decided to send her cousin away before anything big went down, telling her to go back to Ussura to look after her mother, maybe for four or so months. Nina tried to get messages to any ‘good’ nobles. Once that was over, we were ready to storm the sewers!
Galina and Effy enlisted the help of Monmart to go on an expedition into the sewers. Vanya and Remy decided to go spelunking in the sewers. Finn and Nina tried to talk their way in (so Nina did the talking and Finn looked imposing).
Once inside the sewers, Galina offered to sing for Monmart, in return for looking at the maps. While they were doing that, Effy found a lot of strange glyphs on a large device on the map, marked, “Enter alone and choose…” one or once? Effy wasn’t sure, despite her skill with languages.
Nina spoke with a few guards at one entrance and Finn followed. I have a note saying “Finn KO’s” hastily crossed out, so there it looks like there was a change of mind. Nina was shown to a ladder after talking the guards round. They grabbed some robed and blended in.
Remy and Vanya found their own way in, although being a classy gent, Remy had to waste one of his raises to make sure he didn’t get crap on his shoes. Vanya carried on the tradition of Vinnie’s characters by being in the filth.
Nina was taken down to the sewers where there were masked people with Vaticine crosses on their robes. They mentioned knowing where ‘it’ will happen and that they needed to cooperate to stop it.
Effy realised, looking at the maps Monmart had that he was a member of the Rose & Cross. They’re a bunch of bro-knights who love heroism, so Effy decided she’d need to play up to that. Monmart was easily convinced to show Galina and Effy into the sewers and the chamber with the device. Effy examined the words and realised it was, “choose once.” The options on the giant device which probably shouldn’t be pressed were, “courage, honesty, beauty, knowledge, peace, victory, self-sacrifice.” She turned the dial to knowledge because she was Effy. A red gem popped out and Effy felt it firing up her brain. She pocketed it without the others noticing.
In their section of the sewers, Vanya found a dead body with its’ throat cut. A servant by the looks of it. He prepared a ‘corpse tongue’ potion which was a horrible ritual thankfully unseen by all of the group other than Remy. The servant was able to speak briefly, despite their unfortunate state. He said that he was employed by the King, who was taking a lot of people into the sewers. He thinks they’ll all die. After warning Jacqueline DeSeoux, The Lightning Guard killed her. He asked that Vanya tell his mother that he was sorry.
Effy told Galina that they needed to distract Monmart, knock him out and explore the sewers properly. Round a corner from Monmart, Effy screamed and waited for him to come and rescue her. Galina kicked over and KO’d the person who ran to her… who wasn’t Monmart. It was a goon and he was quickly followed by another. “He fainted,” Effy said. He didn’t believe her and the girls were taken away by Monmart and his people. We saw there were about 40 or so armed men and several hundred captives held in a large section of sewer below where Monmart was.
Nina spoke to the inquisition who were going to storm the King’s dark ritual. One of them was weirdly familiar to Finn as well, a man named Paddy O’Neill who had been sent to take a rubbing of a statue.
Vanya and Remy collided with the rest of this scene, seeing Monmart on his raised podium announcing to all the sacrifices at the bottom of the sewer, “The King thanks you for his presence, you will make the king greater… part of something greater. Open the gates!”
The sealed section of the sewer filled with innocents were being opened by Monmart’s guards. People were panicking! Time for action!
Galina drew her dagger and stuck it into Monmart’s thigh.
Effy decided to Tarzan down to the guards opening the gates.
Nina tried to inspire the captives into overpowering the guards.
Remy and Vanya started attacking the brute squads while Finn opened fire.
Effy failed to close the door and hit the ground amongst the panicking crowds. “Find the marks on the statue and bring them back!” Finn shouted, seeing Paddy trying to do the same.
The mobs were cut apart and Monmart, still stabbed in the foot by Galina, demanded the surrender of the group. Jacob decided to “apply pressure”, which is a way of forcing people to spend raises to do actions other than what we’re being provoked to do. In this case, surrender. Nina managed to rally the people as the gates opened and an army of ghouls flooded out. They were fearsome, shadowy beasts, perfect for Vanya to deal with, less so for everyone else. Effy looked up at the top of the massive sewer chamber which had a statue of a pegasus on it. Vanya attacked the ghouls as a whirling dervish of death. Remy provided a shield wall and advanced on them.
Effy went to grapple up and saw three children stranded on their own, so as she climbed up, she grabbed the kids and dropped them off higher up than the land of watery ghoul death. The statue was massive, but Effy quickly found the section to take a rubbing of.
“That’s a relief,” Vinnie said. Queue groaning. Also a Hero Point from Jacob as he encouraged this sort of behaviour.
Nina decided to make a pact with a dievae for more help. It demanded the figurehead of a ship called The Dawn Star. Nina agreed and was suddenly able to freeze the water around the ghouls, then left the area to look for people to start democratic grandstanding with.
Effy took out her knife (yes, for a grappling hook fighter, she had a knife which was never to be used in a fight), then etched two more crosses into the map on the pegasus, providing a couple of false leads for the Dawn Star’s crew, just as Paddy was climbing after her.
The battle against the ghouls turned in the way of the heroes and the crowds were inspired to leave peacefully. Nina spread word for any anti-royalists (and in this crowd there were a lot now) to meet up in a pub in a few days to discuss what to do next.
Finn shot Paddy off the pegasus statue and while the statue shook from the impact, Effy accidentally dropped her etching coin down onto an inquisition fighter’s head, knocking him out (an improvisation from my stated action, which took two raises to perform). Monmart said he would remember this, ripped a bloody hole into reality and walked out. He knew porte, a type of teleportation magic which the Montaigne use. You know, compared to the whips and butts magic they normally use. Oh god, what if they combined them? Ugh.
We switched scene types as things were wrapping up now. Vanya scared the inquisition rather than face their wrath for his monster-harvesting ways. He threatened to turn them into a wall hanging. Effy used her map knowledge to guide people out of the sewers, Galina and Nina remained to help them out. The people were willing to help with our goals in the short term after the rescue, but would need to be cultivated further in the future. Nina spent a couple of raises to gain a contact in each group.
Both Josh and I spent raises to add to our reputation, which so far seemed exactly like ‘faith’ in the first edition. We had no idea whether this would do anything, but hoped that it might. I’ve not checked the reputation system, but either there’s not much there yet or Jacob hadn’t yet. I’m still not sure. Despite actively knowing that, we decided to try it anyway so we’re probably the idiots here.
Vanya sealed the door which led to the should and wrote a warning for anyone else. Galina mentioned the strange machine to the group, which Effy tried to stop her mentioning. It had worked well once, but Effy wasn’t sure it would do the same again or might end up leaking spiders everywhere. She didn’t want her only posh friend to die.
The group were in the hall and it felt like some of the magic inside had been used up. The glyph for ‘knowledge’ was gone. Remy went up to the dial and turned it to ‘self sacrifice’. There was nothing at first, but a pit opened in front of him. He dropped an oil lamp inside and it kept going with no visible bottom. There was an odd debate about whether he should go down the pit. Ash decided to straight up ask Jacob whether he would die. Yes, of course he would. It was self sacrifice, after all.
Galina picked ‘victory’ and received a blue gem which gave her the ‘reckless takedown’ advantage. Effy touched it and the gem went clear, but when Galina held it again, the colour returned. “Fine,” Effy said and decided to give this process her approval. They needed to do more of this for science.
Nina dialled in ‘peace’ and was given a sword. Josh was a little put out, having made a noble character who wasn’t going to be a big fighter.
The self-declared “Team Sensible” of Finn and Vanya (really?) weren’t there and didn’t have choices to make.
Nina had advanced her story by making contacts with people, as had Vanya in fighting ghouls and Finn for discovering more about his missing boat.
We had a lead about where to go: Avalon!
To the high seas! And to be continued!