Lack Of Initiative

Act 2: Alibis in Alleyways

After asking a few more questions of Gus and Fox, the party decides to first check in with the Wayside Oracle. Gus leads them to where she usually does business, which is a small table beneath an archway. The so-called “Oracle” is a gnome named Jasyla who insists upon reading their palms before discussing anything else.

Jasyla’s prophecies coincided with tarot cards as follows:
Pamplemousse – Death
Unruhk – The Priestess
Topiary – The World
Aribi – The Lovers

Unruhk also asked Jasyla about the mysterious dreams he’s been having that seem to predict the future. Jasyla told him that this is the first step of realizing that he has the “Sight,” and that he must embrace this power and pay close attention to the meanings behind his dreams.

The Oracle then tells them that the Kind of Cats came to visit her three nights ago and she hasn’t seen him since. Orvillius asked for her advice on his treaty with the Worg Lord, and she cautioned him that he would be in great danger over the coming days. Since his disappearance, she has tried unsuccessfully to use her gift to find him. Jasyla told the party she believes the Rat Boss must be involved in Orvillius’ disappearance, though she’s also heard rumors that Gazimoff Sparkneedle, who runs the Clockwork Circus, may know something.

The party decides to seek out the Worg Lord first. With both Gus and Gristlemonger‘s help, they are finally confronted by the Worg Lord, Non, and some of his underlings in an alley. Non refuses to tell them much of anything, insisting that he doesn’t approve of their kind meddling in the affairs of beasts and that they should stay away. Non eventually retreats, with Unruhk noting that it is very strange for a worg to walk away from a fight, and especially for one to seem nervous. Gus, who disappeared while the party was speaking to Non, tells them that he doesn’t trust the Worg Lord.

On their way to investigate the Rat Boss’ hideout, the party is stopped by two city guards – Watchmen Merric and Greg. They claim that Unruhk matches the description of a wanted murderer and insist that he must come to the nearest barracks for questioning. Though Unruhk is willing to go, the rest of the party argue with the two guards. Topiary claims that Unruhk is under her care, as she is a cleric of the House of Knowledge, but Unruhk exposes her lie.

Finally, Aribi realizes that their receipts from Fantasy Costco have timestamps as well as their names on them, which will provide an alibi for the time of the murders. She presents all of this evidence to the two watchmen and Unruhk is allowed to go free.

{{OOC Note: While this confrontation was taking place, Turbles tweeted Clint, Justin, Travis, and Griffin McElroy asking for confirmation as to whether Fantasy Costco has receipts with a timestamp and buyer information. Clint responded:

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And later further clarified:

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While Clint was apparently pulling a Dad-joke with his first tweet, Tzufit decided to let the decision stand, given that Clint McElroy responded to Turbles’ tweet in the first place, and Turbles rolled a natural 20 on her Persuasion check against the guards.}}

When the party finally arrived at the Rat Boss’ home, they found a dirty apartment with few furnishings. The Rat Boss herself was in a room on the upper floor. She appeared to them first as a human woman, but eventually revealed herself to be a wererat. When the party, with Gus, entered the room she asked Gus what he was doing there. Gus told her they were looking for the King. The Rat Boss claimed that Orvillius was taken by a gang of half-orcs called the Stinkrot Crew and was being held in an old warehouse down by the docks. The Rat Boss told Gus that he owed her a big favor before she transformed into a rat and jumped from the window. The party was unable to follow her.

Upon reaching the old warehouse, Pamplemousse climbed to an upper window and found that the entire building was vacant, with a layer of undisturbed dust on the floor. The party then questioned Gus, who confirmed that he hadn’t heard of the Stinkrot Crew operating in quite some time. Though they were reasonably certain Gus was either hiding something from them or generally nervous, they weren’t able to figure out which of these was the case.

With all their other leads exhausted, the party moved on to the Clockwork Carnival to speak to Gazimoff Sparkneedle. They were refused entrance to the carnival without tickets, which Unruhk agreed to buy for all of them. The goblin in the ticket booth at the entrance told them Gazimoff was “in the back.” The carnival grounds themselves were a large circle, but upon reaching the area that seemed to be “the back,” they found another exit guarded by two half-ogres. Unruhk spoke to them in Giant and they told him that Gazimoff had likely gone to the sideshow tents to check in on the barkers there.

Sideshow Alley hosted five attractions:

  • The Giant Gorilla
  • The World’s Ugliest Boy
  • The Mermaid
  • The Will-o’-Wisp
  • The Chain Devil

The party decided to first check the Giant Gorilla’s tent. Inside they found a hole in the ground with a giant gorilla head emerging from it. The eyes were shut, but the muscles twitched occasionally and the nostrils flared in and out. The tent barker warned the party not to do anything that might wake up the gorilla, and Pamplemousse in particular seemed very concerned.

However, Aribi was able to discern that this was simply an elaborate clockwork mechanism being controlled from somewhere below them. Realizing the deception, Aribi cast Light on the goblin barker’s shirt, causing a bright white light to illuminate the tent. Pamplemousse panicked, shoving the barker out of the tent as quickly as possible. Once outside, the barker took his shirt off and threw it on the ground, telling Pamplemousse to leave him alone.

Back inside the tent, Aribi yelled to the people she knew must be somewhere below them, working the mechanism, to ask where Gaizmoff was. After a moment, one of them yelled back that he had just been there and had likely moved on to another tent.

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