Dead Sea Almanac - May 10, 2019
Recap: City of Echoes
Yesterday, we had our first session of City of Echoes. The plan was to stream it, but we had a cascading run of technical issues at the beginning of the session that would have adversely affected the quality, so we opted to run with no recording. Here's a summary of what happened.
- Ember: Human rogue, short of stature, seeking to find information important to his religion in the City of Echoes. The man with the plan.
- Komyros: Lacri-sha doctor (homebrew race and class), seeking information about his mixed draconic and elven origin in the City of Echoes. Hired for the expedition by Ember. The guy who doesn't fight or speak common.
- Kota: Komyros' pet pseudo-dragon, who translates for him as a series of mental images. Basically an angry cat.
- Laika: Awakened dog sorcerer, along for the ride after befriending Ember. Sentient and speaks by telepathy, often serving as a go-between for her communication-challenged party members.
To start out, the heroes walked along the central bridge to the middle platform of the atrium, from where they saw a figure disappear on the beacon tower. Rushing down to the bottom of the stairs and checking the door for traps, they investigated. Ember was the first to enter, and immediately re-emerged as his evil half to attack the party. Meanwhile, Ember's good half reappeared at the top of the stairs they had just descended and rushed to the party's aid. Making a skillful two out of three acrobatics checks to descend the switchbacks perpendicularly, Ember sprained his ankle badly but made it to the fight in time to attack his alter ego. During the fight, Komorys fired his grappling hook and crit failed, angering a large water serpent who he ended up in the water with, much to the annoyance of Kota. To escape, he then fired his grappling hook and crit failed again, concussing himself on the wall with a far-too-rapid ascent. In the ensuing chaos, the party defeated Ember's evil half, forcing him to recombine, and then fled from the water serpent into the beacon tower.
Inside, they met their first sentient inhabitant of the city: a monk-like man of clerical disposition who introduced himself as Herb. Herb offered some information about the city archives and a festival to occur tomorrow before vanishing spontaneously, only to reappear at his desk and ask the heroes once again, "Can I help you?" with no memory of their prior encounter. Notably, he also asked them, "And where is the woman who came in with you?" Interrupted by the appearance of Jess, the city's captain of the guard, the heroes watched as both NPCs vanished into thin air, only to re-appear several times throughout the ascent of the tower. Moving through an office space for the city guard and their sleeping quarters, the heroes heard the ringing of a gong and an announcement that the Festival of the Moon had begun; rushing up another flight, they found that Kota had bashed his head into the gong while chasing a phantasmal cat.
Several people who've expressed interest in City of Echoes aren't able to make it to the first few sessions, but may join us as we progress through the campaign. None of them are shown in the evidence of heroes presented in the tower; the mystery hero remains a greater mystery than that.
Before the heroes could explore, Jess pounded up the stairs to accuse the heroes of pounding the gong a day early, when it should not have been pounded until the festival. Ember and Komyros blamed Laika, upon which Jess expressed disbelief that a dog would do such a thing and told the "three of them" to behave before disappearing when they turned away.
Inspecting the gong floor, Ember found a locked chest; while the other heroes advanced to the floor above, he disarmed its trap and found two padded mallets, a tunic of pure white with a red sun sigil emblazoned on it, a book with a sigil of a compass made in brass, and two dozen colorful vials of liquid which smelled of various substances, including blueberries, sulfur, and roses. Ember took the book and tunic, and found on closer inspection that the book contained sentient writing, which welcomed him with two words: "Welcome, traveller."
On the floor above, the heroes found a library, where Komyros searched for any evidence of the Lacri-Sha, finding that seventeen had been first recorded in the census in 1478 of the Second Age. Taking that census book, he turned his attention to Laika, who had found two bowls on the ground - one of porcelain and one of cast brass. As the only one to read Draconic (and especially archaic draconic), Komyros was surprised to see that the bowls were both marked with the text "Laika" in gold lettering.
In the process of inspecting a nearby stained-glass cabinet for traps, Ember was struck by a barb that caused him to gain levels of exhaustion and nearly die before Komyros could save him - the dice hated Jet yesterday - and ended up with a lot of disadvantage and his speed reduced to ten feet. Laika used Mage Hand to pick the lock on the cabinet and open it, and the contents were revealed: a whip and medical bag matching those carried by our heroes and a picture of them wearing their normal attire and accompanied by a woman in black. Conspicuously, there were two hang-points in the cabinet for some sort of equipment that had been previously removed. We ended with our heroes badly bloodied, thoroughly confused, and begging for more. Tune in next week as the heroes reach the top of the tower and the observatory it contains. Where will they go from there? Who knows? Only one thing is certain - the City isn't finished with them yet.