The Adventures of Annalax: Volume XXVI
Annalax’s schemes were, alas, put on hold at the start of the session, due to a horrifying discovery of a mangled body outside the town brothel. The victim had been hideously mutilated, complete with faux-antlers being driven into their skull. And, sure enough, a crowd was gathering in the street outside.
Annalax did what Annalax does. He pickpocketed the distracted crowd, rolling a natural 20 in the process, and netting himself a hundred gold pieces. Never waste a distraction, especially a grotesque tragedy.
But Einarr… poor, silly Einarr. Our party Barbarian decided to ask if the brothel were still open. Which offended everyone, and led to him being detained by the Town Guard for questioning. Annalax cast Invisibility on himself, and followed. He was thus privy to the conversation between the Chief Guardsman and Einarr.
It turned out that the Guardsmen were latching onto our party as “powerful newcomers,” because no local had the strength to pull off something like this. Einarr rolled a natural 20 in an effort to convince the Chief of his innocence, but it was clear that all the party were being brought in for questioning. Well, the party members the Guards could actually see anyway, since a Rogue with +11 Stealth, Invisibility, and Disguise Self is rather hard to track down.
(Annalax also took the opportunity to verify that, yes, the two framed tavern goers were indeed in the prison cells. He let them be, but made a point of freeing the town drunk, with instructions that he find gainful employment with the Rogue Herbalists. Our Drow can be surprisingly gracious on occasion).
So far as the murder went, Annalax decided that the perpetrator was probably some Fae with a vendetta against the Wild Huntsman (hence the faux-antlers). In any case, he’s a Businessman, not a Detective. If further information turns up, great, but for now he had another plan. A highly elaborate one.
It started with the purchase of paint supplies.
Yes, paint supplies. Annalax was posing as a travelling artist.
When “Leonardo D’Angelo” turned up at the house of Lord Kamon – the terrifying local aristocrat – he humbly requested an audience. You see, Leonardo is an eccentric genius, who wants to include a painting of Kamon in his next exhibition. He cited his supposed painting of Godriel (still being lugged around) as evidence of his past work. With sufficient Deception, and Minor Illusion… he managed a “preliminary sketch,” and got Kamon to agree to a meeting at his favourite cafe, in three days.
(Annalax was really interested in luring the guy out into the open, with the intent of staging a fake attempted assassination. Via impersonating the Town Guard, Annalax would then keep the fellow and his servants confined to his bedroom for their own safety. In the meantime, Annalax and the Herbalist Rogues would be free to run riot in the manor, and Annalax would Disguise Self as Kamon around town, for financial advantage. What could possibly go wrong?).
Annalax then went to find Elknel, with ideas about how to stage the mock-assassination. There was just one problem.
Elknel had found the murderer. It was a demon, escaped from Ember’s head.
This was one of those sessions that took a Sharp Turn to Crazy.
We had Ember, Elknel, Einarr, and Annalax versus a high-level demon (one that may look like a child, but which is most certainly not).
“If you can’t kill it, run like a little boy.”
Which is exactly what he did.
Alas, the demon had a ranged attack… doing 60+ HP on our poor Drow, and knocking him unconscious from full health. Only the timely intervention of the Town Guard ensured his survival. Elknel met a similar fate. Einarr was knocked down to 8 HP from 94 with a demonic scythe… ouch.
Ember made it through to the Druids. You know, the magic-users who actually run the town, and who might have the power to do something.
The Druid response? Ember is choc-full of demons, and needs to be locked up for public safety.
It is a sentiment Annalax heartily agreed with, of course. The Druids may be arseholes, but they’re also right. Unfortunately, the resulting conflict triggered traumatic experiences from Ember’s earlier life. Which unleashed more demons on the town. Einarr pulled out his Devil form, and joined in the chaos. Then some angels turned up too.
The town wound up looking like the cover of a Metal Album. Burning, blood, and wholesale slaughter of innocents.
At that point? Annalax ran back to the Rogue’s House (supposedly not targeted by the demons), and offered the Herbalists a proposition. His elaborate scheme with Lord Kamon had turned to literal ashes, but there was still one escape route left.
“Let’s all do a runner to the Dreamland. We’re away from the craziness, and we can set up shop there.”
The NPC Rogues agreed with him. They had no commercial future here, what with their town getting wiped out. So Annalax pulled out his Silver Key, and abandoned the party for new companions, and a new world. A quieter world where he does not risk his life to demons every step, and where he is free to act as a sort of warped Drow version of St Paul, spreading Lolth-worship to Overworlders. He’ll be back one day to deal with his sister in the Waking World, but for now, his tale is done. Peace, Quiet, and Money await.
Thus (for now) ends the Adventures of Annalax.
(The rest of the session featured my replacement character, who will be dealt with in a follow-up post).
Back to the Annalax Index: https://phuulishfellow.wordpress.com/2021/01/07/the-adventures-of-annalax-a-compendium/