Gesta Gertrudis: Volume III
Time for another Gertrude update. Due to Lockdown, both sessions took place electronically via Discord.
The Angels obligingly pre-empted any attempt to talk them out of it… by attacking Thendwyn. One might be a Celestial Being, but attacking a cat – and destroying an archaeologically significant temple – is Not On. Not on at all. Gertrude decided that these must be heretical Angels in Rebellion or something. She’ll have to discuss it next time she meets a Cleric of the Eternal Flame, but for now it was time for some exciting
derring do combat.
Alas, Gertrude’s initiative roll was godawful. Worse, the Angels were immune to fire damage (bye, bye Heat Metal), radiant damage, or magical attacks (bye, bye, the remainder of Gertrude’s offensive spells). Which meant…
(The DM kindly ruled that this did not count as something to which the Angels were immune).
The first Angel managed to get itself isolated a bit, so Gertrude targeted it first: “I’ve seen more convincing Cherubs on the back of a Valentine’s Day Gift Card!”. Which succeeded. Alas, that Angel didn’t last long enough for the resulting disadvantage to matter – Elknel, Ember, and Alisa managed to make short work of it before it actually had another turn.
But the other Angels were not push-overs. These critters might not be overly beefy, but they could dish out damage. Thendwyn, Alisa, and Ember were knocked out at various points, with the Angels dishing out some 160 points of damage against Ember. Ouch.
Manya wheeled out her Healing. Gertrude would have, but Healing Word is really only useful for getting someone off the ground, and the initiative order meant that Manya got in first. So Gertrude utilised Mantle of Inspiration… and her bow. Which did actually hit, for a princely 1d6+3 damage.
The remainder of the combat for Gertrude consisted of a failed Vicious Mockery (“We’ll make you Weeping Angels!”), and dodging a temporary werewolf-turn from Elknel. But eventually, the party finished off the Angels.
The bodies dissipated… leaving some beautiful (and priceless) silk, some armour, and some swords. Manya got her paws on the silk, whereas Ember and others took the armour and swords. Gertrude took one sword… “for Daddy’s collection.” The notion of selling such priceless items seems rather icky to her.
On returning to the town, the townspeople offered the party a further financial reward for saving the temple. Gertrude declined. She is not a lowly mercenary, but rather an Heroic Adventurer… filthy lucre would taint her pure-hearted motivations (she’s a noble woman, of course, with a Gentleman Amateur mindset out of the nineteenth century). The rest of the party had no such qualms.
Then it was off to the tavern. Where Gertrude performed her new violin piece about the fight against the Angels… and wheeled out Enthralling Performance to get free drinks for everyone. Gertrude got extremely tipsy on expensive brandy, but Manya even more so… and Manya wound up making advances on our drunken Glamour Bard. Gertrude might not know how to seduce people to save herself, but her passive seduction is off the charts, and as per her sister’s advice, “it doesn’t count if it’s with a woman or a lower-class person.” Oh, and “the gardener told me it was a cure for hemorrhoids”.
In the event, Alisa the NPC put her foot down, and took Gertrude upstairs for some private girl-on-girl. Ahem. One only hopes that Alisa is not expecting a relationship out of this.
Finally, it was off to the great city of Kestir, where we were to deliver a scroll to a Philosopher. Not that Gertrude knows about that… it’s something from before her time. She was just in it for the Adventure. The party has also levelled up, being now at Level 9. That means that Gertrude now has a fifth-level spell slot. She grabbed Geas, while swapping out Tasha’s Hideous Laughter in favour of Bestow Curse.
On arriving at the city, the party was swamped by dodgy merchants. Phuul the Detective bought himself an overpriced teapot, though Gertrude tried (and failed) to persuade the merchant that he ought to donate the teapot to the party. That rather disappointed our Bard, since with +13 to Persuasion, that’s not something she normally fails at.
Kestir is culturally different to Gertude’s homeland, being a mixing-pot of the Imperio and Shakiah. She sees this as a magical desert-land, akin to Arabian Nights. But so far as she knows, people enjoy music everywhere. She made a bee-line for what locally passes for a high-class Inn, and offered to perform.
Perform she did. Gertrude rolled a 19 on her Performance check, which means the final result was 32. The audience was mesmerised. Literally. She threw in an Enthralling Performance, and nabbed herself a truly aristocratic fish dinner and a bottomless supply of expensive brandy. Gertrude doesn’t actually have any money, remember (or even really understand it). She feeds herself by psychologically enslaving people and bludging off her friends, just like a true noble-woman.
Alas, there was one person who was not charmed. The previous House Bard, the grandson of the well-to-do owner of the Establishment. The Bard enquired as to her musical education… only to find that Gertrude is a natural talent, with some… magical… aspects around the edges. He was rather sulky and hostile as a result.
Then things developed in an unexpected direction. Manya confronted the Bard, and wound up calling him a pigeon. Manya does not have Vicious Mockery, but that would be one hell of a strange insult. The Bard responded by asking his grandmother to have Manya evicted from the Inn. Gertrude was forced to use her (rather formidable) powers of inter-noble diplomacy to smooth things over… but she now had an idea. A very strange and disturbing idea, but one which demonstrates Gertrude’s psychology quite well.
That night, Gertrude crept into the Bard’s room. She cast Bestow Curse on him while he slept, to ensure he failed his Wisdom save, then shook him awake, and threw Geas at him. His Geas? To be romantically infatuated with Manya for the next thirty days, or suffer… 5d10 damage. Fatal, in his case.
Gertrude’s reasoning was that the Bard was an ideal character to star in a romantic comedy. Grumpy, aloof, and yet sensitive artist, struggling with his feelings for the woman he had so cruelly spurned… it is the stuff of true drama. And if there’s one thing Gertrude likes, it’s a good literary trope.
Alas, things did not go as intended. The next day, the Bard turned up on Manya’s doorstep with a red rose and an apology. Manya wasn’t interested, however. And it soon became quite clear (via Gertrude failing a Deception check) that this change of heart was magically induced.
Gertrude defended her actions, arguing in favour of the timeless beauty of art… but she was finally forced to lift the Geas. But she still doesn’t think Geas is a bad of dealing with people. No. Gertrude’s now convinced that the real problem was that in this case she was “working in the wrong genre” (yikes). So she shrugged, and treated herself to a hearty breakfast, as paid for by Phuul the Detective.
Then she went for a walk into the city. By herself. All very new and exciting, and she made an excellent friend by the name of Hasad, before she was found, and taken back to the rest of the party.
You see, Phuul had a contact in Kestir. This contact was willing to pay a staggering ten thousand platinum pieces for the Angel armour, which split among the party meant everyone ended up ludicrously rich. Gertrude is now wealthier than Annalax ever was, though I’d imagine she’ll find ingenious ways of burning through her funds.
Then something interesting happened. Phuul’s contact turned out to have immense interest in certain Dreamland items. So the party took him on a little shopping trip…
Only to find the Dreamland ravaged by war.