This is an unedited version of my notes from the last game, held on 6/19. I was unconscious for most of it, so had plenty of time for notes :) Hans and Luciano were each alone while Stella and Niccolo were together. Stephan handled switching among the players wonderfully, again.
HANS: At the end of the last session, Hans had just climbed the exterior of the Broken Pitcher Inn in Padua and seen into the window of a room and noticed blood and also evidence of ritual magic. Hans enters the room and takes some of the wax and soaks up some the blood. (Perhaps for Anatina, Stella or Niccolo to use in a spell later to learn more). After going back out and looking around in another room, Hans falls out of the window and lands very badly, breaking some ribs and seriously hurting himself. He hobbles to a doctor’s office. The doctor, in a hurry somewhere (to the Zanetti manse to treat Luciano, it turns out), gives him some hasty first aid.
LUCIANO: Luciano awakes from his injury-induced slumber. He is in a dark, well-appointed room on a fancy bed. He is in a lot of pain, but looks like he’s otherwise ok and has all his stuff. Konrad (Hans) sneaks into the room and is there to rescue Luciano. Hans has doubts about Luciano’s identity, he is afraid this may be a trap. Hans questions Luciano, asking him to prove his identity by revealing where the gold is. Luciano, exasperated at being doubted, reports that the gold is on its way to Florence. Luciano then passes back out. Out of Character, we soon realized this was a magical attempt to obtain information from Luciano about the whereabouts of the gold while he was still actually passed out. Stephan got Piotr in on the attempt, and it worked beautifully Luciano then has blurry notions of going in and out of consciousness, and kind of sees a doctor with a bird mask.
HANS: Hans, still searching Padua for Luciano, is talking to the bartender of the Broken Pitcher. The bartender reveals that the woman with the two Zanetti “livery men” have not left or paid for their room, as far as he knows. He is worried she might be a prostitute and will sully the name of his inn. Hans offers to go clear them out.
NICCOLO & STELLA: These two are racing in a carriage toward Florence with the gold. Both give in to temptation, in their own ways. Niccolo begs the carriage to stop, claiming to need to relieve himself. He scampers off into the woods to collect a wand he needs to use his newly-obtained demon-powered nature magic. Stella takes the opportunity to hide some of the gold on her person. She also hides some in the carriage, but not as well. Niccolo finds a perfect, slender wand of ash on the forest floor, with no ash trees nearby. It was clearly meant for him. He collects it and can’t wait to try it out. With the help of the powerful Lady of the Wood spirit, he casts a spell to predict the weather for the next 6 days. Drawing even more power from the Lady, he casts a more powerful Liar’s Charm on himself. This will make him much more believable for the next week. He returns to the carriage and they set off once again.
HANS: Looking in the next place he can think of to track down Luciano, Hans heads to Romina’s apartment. It is empty and the door is unlocked. There looks to be a half-packed piece of luggage and some signs of struggle. He decides to ask the neighbor lady if she saw anything. He picks the lock of her front door and accidentally wakes her up.
NICCOLO & STELLA: Carlo the drover notices a log has been recently felled across the road. This spells ambush! Sure enough, 4 toughs pop out in front, two behind. They demand the carriage and it’s contents or they will kill the three of them. Stella yells for Carlo to try to turn the carriage around and escape. Due to the road’s narrowness, this will prove awkward. Two thugs shoot crossbows at Carlo and miss. They begin to reload. The seeming leader of the gang and his partner each begin to approach either side of the carriage. Two thugs behind the carriage wait or take aim. Niccolo begins drawing on the mighty power of the Lady of the Wood. This casting will take him 5 seconds. This is super-quick in magic terms, but still a LONG time in combat terms. Carlo begins to turn the carriage around, as the burly thug opens Stella’s door. She greets him with a solid stab with her large knife to his torso. The thug then misses her with his attack and she stabs him really hard again. This guy is in bad shape and will soon pass out. Meanwhile the leader of the thugs has opened Niccolo’s door and attempts to bash him on the head with his buckler. The nighttime darkness penalties are just enough to cause a miss. This buys Niccolo the precious last second needed to finish his spell. He calls forth a large fire and catches the two crossbow thugs by the log. One is immediately incapacitated, the other is soon afterwards from the damaged suffered from burning clothes. A few of the other thugs are seriously frightened by what they see, as are two of the four horses. Stella’s injured thug tries to stumble away. Niccolo’s thug-leader begins a tactical retreat. One of the thugs in the rear tries to shoot Carlo, but misses badly and instead hits the thug-leader square in the back, knocking him out of the fight. Niccolo draw more of the dark power and summons more flame, this time instantly. He catches the two other crossbow thugs who were behind the carriage. Stella’s thug finally passes out from his injuries. Although outnumbered two-to-one, and lacking heavy fighting skills, Stella and Niccolo have emerged triumphant! The sound of fast horses approaches from the direction of Florence.
HANS: The just-awakened neighbor sees Hans and screams “INTRUDER!” Hans screams “MOUSE! Don’t worry honey, I’ll take care of it”. It was an inspired Fast-Talk. He calms her down a bit, convinces her to put the kitchen knife down. She doesn’t know much, other than that Romina left with two men-at-arms in the employ of a local noble. She’s not sure which noble. Hans finds out it’s the Zanetti mansion (from another bartender? I didn’t catch this part).
LUCIANO: Luciano finds himself in an extremely realistic dream. He is back in China with his Master. (Stephan and I really need a name for this guy. Also, Stephan – this guy calls me Fenyu which means “angry one”). Luciano works out logically that this must be a dream, and that he must wake himself up. He tries to focus his mental strength, but it’s not quite enough. He needs something to motivate him for another attempt … AHA REVENGE! He must wake up to get REVENGE! Still, not enough. He’s gonna need something more – he’s being magically kept asleep. He uses Gizmo in the dream to produce an elixir of Awaken. Still no good.
HANS: Hans gets the location of the Zanetti mansion. He also learns that the Zanettis are creepy. They don’t get out much – only sometimes at night. Creepy. Lots of messengers in and out of the place lately, though. Hans heads out there at night to try to rescue Luciano. It’s a good thing Padua is such a traveler’s town – we’ve been doing a lot of otherwise suspicious stuff here. Casing the joint, Hans spots at least 8 guards and heavily barred windows. In other words, pretty good security. He waits for a hole in the guard patrols and sneaks through the garden and climbs up to the roof. He makes a tiny bit of noise and as he gets on the roof, a guard spots him. Thinking quickly, Hans decides that prudence is the better part of valor and leaps off the roof. This time, he lands like a silent ninja-cat and evades the guards to escape the premises. He gets a room at the Broken Pitcher and settles in for the night.
NICCOLO & STELLA: Niccolo takes a bit of the thug-leader’s clothing for later magical investigation before the horses arrive. The horses bear Stella’s chaperon Ms. LaForte and two burly fellows. The message about the gold being on its way to Florence was received at the Salon of the Blue Rose, and these three came to escort the gold home. To explain the charred bad guys, Stella claims that after fervent prayer by Niccolo, a lightning bolt miraculously struck the enemies. They get the log moved out of the way and head safely back to Florence where the gold is put directly into the de Medici vault. Niccolo and Stella head to the Salon for some much-needed rest.
LUCIANO: Focusing his rage, attempting to meditate, using another Awaken elixir and sticking his hand into the dream-fire, Luciano is finally able to wake himself up. He is in a dark, shuttered bedroom. He is in his underwear and very, very injured. He looks around and makes a bit of noise. He gets back into bed as the two guards from the hallway remove the bar to the room and enter. They see Luciano in bed and buy his sleep-act. They notice that the ritual candles in a circle around the bed have gone out. They debate about what to do. Succumbing to their fear of angering Master Zanetti by doing the wrong thing, they decide to just leave. Luciano looks around the room again after they leave. He finds (using his last Gizmo) that his pastille elixir of Sleep had fallen under the bed. He also locates a match. He lights a candle, and gets back in the bed. He kicks the wardrobe to make some noise and the guards come back in the room. As they are about to open the door, Luciano ignites the pastille tosses it near the door and holds his breath. After a few seconds, both guards pass out. Luciano takes the clothes, weapons and keys of one guard and locks them both in the room. Acting as if he is a guard who needs to exit the house to use the outhouse immediately, he luckily gets past the guards inside and out. He makes his way into town and gets a room at an inn and passes out.
HANS: After spending the night in the Broken Pitcher, Hans sees the doctor for more treatment. He overhears the doctor being told that he will no longer be needed on retainer at the Zanetti mansion, as the patient is no longer there.
LUCIANO: Awakening safely the next morning, Luciano hitches a ride on the next carriage to Florence (a pretty common occurrence). Unfortunately he does not run into Hans, who is now planning to rob the Zanettis blind before heading back to Florence himself.
NICCOLO & STELLA: As he falls asleep, Niccolo is awoken by an intense pain on his chest. Stella rushes into his room in time to see a living, full-color, full-motion tattoo appear on Niccolo’s chest. The image is of a sapling growing to a full, large tree with branches spread to his arms. The tree sprouts green leaves and pretty flowers before the leaves die and the tree withers into a twisted, black, scary tree and stabilizes. Understandably freaked out, Stella wakes Anatina and tells her everything she knows about Niccolo’s dark magic powers. Anatina is very worried and decides to confine Niccolo for now under Stella’s care while she contacts the Body of Hermes and researches a possible method of breaking Niccolo’s bond with the Lady of the Wood.