There was a bit of a discussion about whether we should retro the vampire-in-a-box section of the last session where the trunk was opened and a vampiress escaped. Since only two players were present there but four characters were present, I put it to Archer's player whether he would like a retro as he tends to have the most pragmatic perspective. I explained that we presumed Archer's reasoning would be a) the trunk is destined to go to the Aspis Consortium, b) the Aspis Consortium are heavily invested in Cheliax and are known to be as dodgy and dangerous as multi-national corporations come, c) Cheliax is the Andoren enemy, d) powerful non-necromantic magical auras were found in the trunk that suggested a small armoury of no less than three magical items, and e) two of the casters could have repaired the lock afterwards. With all of that information, it seemed logical to Archer's player that he would have wanted to double check the contents of the trunk first before delivering it to the Aspis Consortium. There was no way to suspect that a monster would have been waiting in a 2 ft wide, 3 ft long, and 2 ft high trunk.
Anywho, so with that out of the way the cart trundled up to the ship and Lenny came down the gangplank. Archer was sitting very primly and properly in the cart but was otherwise nonresponsive. Lhye went to disarm him when he mysteriously snapped out of an enchantment that would normally take several days to break. No one explained to Archer that the trunk was empty (though he suspected) and no one told Lenny that it had even been opened. The Aspis fellow took a bit of time showing up with his coach and four mercenaries and he accepted the trunk, thanked them, and asked if they had thought to open it.
"No," said Proteus.
"No," said Archer a little too quickly.
"Are you sure?" asked the Aspis fellow shrewdly.
"How could we?" lied Proteus. "The lock is of a superior quality. We tried to take a look, to be honest, but we never managed to get it open."
The Aspis fellow nodded at that, though still seemed a little suspicious, and warned them about what might happen if the trunk were found empty. Then he left.
Everyone then caught up on sleep and re-set their spells. Lhye sneakily went for a daylight walk and managed to track down the vampiress through a process of elimination. She was released only a dozen minutes before dawn so she couldn't have gone too far. Presuming that she was new to the area, she had to go to one of the more obvious underground places. He found her in a tavern's cellar after convincing the tavern keeper that he needed to take a look down there. As he's held in rather high esteem as a healer in the area, the tavern keeper didn't ask too many questions, and Lhye went downstairs to find the vampiress.
The vampire was a Chelish woman wearing a blue diaphonous, almost liquid, shawl about her shoulders over a dark blue (almost black) dress. The skin was pulled tightly against the sharp angles of her face and her dark eyes were unwelcoming but didn't Dominate him. She wore a morningstar of a silvery steel that gleamed gold whenever it was struck by the light - it didin't appear to be a particular evil weapon which confused him. She also wore a garnet stone set deep within an Elysian bronze metal.
She called Lhye a fool for coming into such a dangerous location and scolded him for his stupidity. He explained that he came because his cat, the conduit for his magic, had shown adoration of her and he wondered if he were serving some terrible entity that it would be fond of vampires. After all, his Harrow reading stated that he would be responsible for great change (though he didn't mention the reading).
Lhye managed to tease out information from her with a great deal of tact and stubbornness. He found out that she was an Inquisitor of Milani who used to work in the Chelish underground formenting rebellion before her particular group was crushed and she had to flee overseas to try her hand at aiding rebellions in Chelish colonies in the Mwangi Expanse. Unfortunately, one of the tribes also had members that worshipped Urgathoa and in a cruel twist of fate she was turned into a vampire. Lhye tried to figure out her alignment in case she somehow wasn't Evil but she gave no verbal clues one way or another though she did state that she still wanted to tear down Chelish tyranny.
She also warned him referring to him as a 'man of chaos' that needed to figure out where he was going to place his feet or he would be lost and adrift as much as anyone else. He asked if she would kill anyone in Diobel and she stated that she had no need and would soon be finishing her journey in Absalom as had been intended from the beginning.
Then Lhye returned to the others in time to see a slaver come up to finalise their slave transaction. They all went except for Proteus whose player wasn't in attendance. Proteus kept an eye on Marxus and the ship. On the rowboat (that had a silk screen to keep the sun off them at the back and nourished slave rowers), the man (whose name I forget at the moment) spoke to Lunjun as an interpreter about what the going rate was for agents in Andoran. Lunjun correctly deduced that he meant agents in Katapesh for Andoran and stated that he couldn't determine it himself but with a cutting of his hair he could have him contacted and located by the right people in Absalom (which the slaver stated he was visiting in a month's time).
The slaver's ship had a slaver stink to it that was barely covered by heavy incense and oils. It also had a Katapesh Naval Corvette as an escort. His ship also had twenty Naval officers and a Naval captain for an otherwise enslaved crew. They soon figured out that all of the slavers were born in Katapesh but were from foreign families as they generally had Chelish, Taldan, Ulfen, Half-Orcs, Tien, and Tiefling appearances (Tieflings always being outcasts). Captain Archer purchased about 33 slaves to help round out his crew and sold masterwork weaponry to get them. There were another 70 in the Hold but the Andorans frown upon purchasing slaves (even to free them) because it simply encourages the practice.
I'll do up a list in the next session of their identities, genealogies, and other details later on. Suffice to say they bought three tieflings (one scaly across the forehead whose scales pulled up the eyebrows in a way that made him look imploring, one black toothed-clawed-eyed woman, one obviously Rakshasa-born). There was also a female Aasimar who had her own little cage who had a golden sparkle in her eyes, a sheen to her raven black hair, and was a thing of seeming celestial beauty that tugged on the heartstrings. She cost 100gp on her own but they bought her anyway.
Then they brought the slaves back to the ship where Archer intimidated them into line, declaring that while they're free men they're now pressed sailors and that they will be released after they make a run to rescue their own people that are being held on a prison hulk. Archer didn't explain quite where they were going as it would have terrified them. Marxus insisted that they be bound while the other officers left the ship as he wasn't capable of keeping thirty plus nervous slaves in line with only a couple carpenters and five able seamen to control the ship (all of which were unarmed).
So they then headed off to finally kill the brothel owner who was reincarnating people into slavery. They went during the day while the prostitutes were sleeping and Lenny successfully heard the brothel keeper eating in one room and she smelled steam and oils coming from another (a recently made bath). They checked the bathroom and found it set up nicely but with nowhere to hide. Archer's player gave out a special card he'd been given for cleverness where he could alter or add some aspect of a building or area. So I added in a large decorative folding screen a foot away from the wall of Tiennese design that they hide behind.
Then the man, a dusky elf, entered the bathroom and slipped into the bathtub that already held his tiny octopus familiar. This made Lhye anxious as it meant he was a witch and now a cleric or druid and therefore he wasn't entirely defenceless without his divine focus. They all got a surprise attack on him. Lenny slashed at him and dealt 10 damage in a line down his naked chest. Archer struck him for 5 damage with a shot from his gun. Lhye successfully cast Hold Person on him. Proteus failed to hit him with his trident (unfortunately) and finally Lunjun Siva got a critical with his Scorching Ray using his gun and burnt a hole clear through his heart for around 42 damage? Something ridiculous.
They looted the witch's gear (some nice outfits, silver tea set, chess set, grooming and shaving kits, Cauldron of Brewing) but left the rest of the items for the freed prostitutes. Lenny chopped the brothelkeeper's head off. Archer went down to help them get their story straight and find out if they wanted to be free of him - they did. He asked them what they wanted to do now and learned they wanted to set the brothel up as a Brothel of Calistria and make it also partially a place of healing (part doctor's office) as that would be most against the brothel keeper's desires as the keeper was a worshipper of Urgathoa. Lunjun did most of the looting and took the man's oils, inks, and onyx stones, and shattered a pewter statue of Urgathoa and took the unholy book to burn.
Lhye prevented them from killing the octopus familiar so that he could bribe / threaten (using his cat as the threat as it did want to eat the octopus) the octopus into giving him spells. It offered up Feast of Ashes and Fester but refused to teach him anymore. So he spared the octopus which would soon become a regular octopus after 24 hours. Hopefully Lhye thought to reintroduce it into the ocean.
And with that, they prepared to flee before the Diobel Consortium, the Aspis Consortium, and the brothelkeeper's powerful friends caught onto them. They also had to get out so they could rescue their crew members from the slaver hulk before they were sold off or, worse, Wellard was found out to be Andoran.