Dusk City Outlaws – Part 4

Continuing with our Dusk City Outlaws adventure. See Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

Day 4: Planning Scene

The crew meets at a theater where Emilia works, up on a catwalk above the scene while the place is deserted, with a bottle of wine and a round of cheese.

How do we circumvent the alchemical mist? There are no windows. Maybe the secret tunnels connect, but that’s a long shot. The entertainers will be using the ramp to the cellars to their staging area. The room right above the Silver Chamber will be open to the guests, with entertainers and finger food trays.

  • What to do about the guards?
  • What do we want our helpful entertainers to do?
  • Where do we want the unhelpful ones to be?
  • What do we want to use the secret tunnels for?
  • How do we want to use the rumours we created about the Bandit King and the protesters? (That latter one is probably true-ish, though.)
  • What do we want to do about Lysa of Rotwood?
  • Can we make further use of Janos Zakharin?

Emilia knows Manfred Willoughby’s place of business, an office next to the Koslova Museum of Vladov History and Culture. Its security is minimal and any items of value left with him for appraisal are normally stored in the museum’s vault.

Night 4: Legwork Scene

Violet heads for the secret tunnels to update the crew’s map of the tunnels. She and Emilia come through the sewers and successfully map out the tunnels, coming up on a wine rack blocking the secret door — which, using alchemical acid and glue, they turn into a movable facade for the tunnel entrance.

Pandora once again uses her Mother Teresa persona, rounds up the faithful and organizes a protest that will take place later at the Van Der Greaves manor. 

Emilia checks with her underworld contacts about Lady Malindra’s guards and learns that all three shifts will be on duty at the same time for the party. The captain has been working for a long time and is somewhat irritated with her because she makes his life difficult then is mad because he does what she ordered him to. The guards are well paid but the employer is annoying. For small things, they are probably bribeable, but no one is likely to take large risks. 

Day 5: Legwork Scene

Emilia goes to visit Carmen Sanza, a fence specializing in objets d’art, to ask about Manfred Willoughby’s reputation. He’s a fussy, delicate man, very thin, balding, with glasses concealing one glass eye. He’s fussy and prickly but truly an expert, and if he confirms the authenticity of the panels at the unveiling, their credibility will be unassailable. Lady Malindra hopes to impress him in order to be chosen to host the Galleria Historica traveling art show, as Willoughby is on the board that chooses participants.

Pandora reaches out to her Spider contact, whom she regularly supplies with “specialized consumables”, to learn about Charles Montesque. Spiders are no great friends with Crown agents. Montesque started investigating groups of mummers interfering with City Watch actions around Janos Zakharin, then the burglary of Naomi Lee’s shop attracted his attention and he connected the dots with Lady Malindra’s event. The Spider promises to alert Pandora if Montesque makes waves, such as requisitioning a squad, etc..

Violet dresses up as Gabriel Vega and visits alchemists, asking about horrific ingestible poisons. She drops by Naomi Lee to ask details about the antidote to the alchemical veil so she can prepare a fake. When she reaches the district, Violet sees a group of citizens who have organized an Endless Dawn volunteer watch; she recognizes among them the Endless Dawn provocateur — and friend of the real Gabriel Vega — Tabitha Saldano. They are upset that “poor Naomi was robbed and the City Watch did nothing.”

Violet easily sneaks past the group and into Naomi’s house, returning most of the stolen items to the alchemist except for the key reagents. Naomi offers a fake antidote but asks Violet to stop breaking in and to not involve her any further about this job. 

Night 5: Legwork Scene

Pandora pours some fuel over the flame of outrage among the faithful; a riot is brewing.

Emilia sees a costume-maker about making some useful quick-change reversible outfits. [Will serve as advantage dice on Disguise later on.]

Violet hires some helpers from her cartel to come in through the tunnels and help move the heavy panels to the cart.

To be continued…

Dusk City Outlaws – Part 3

Continuing with our Dusk City Outlaws adventure. See Part 1 and Part 2.

Day 3: Legwork Scene

Violet sets out to intercept Naomi Lee as she heads out to Lady Malindra’s to clean the panels. Coincidentally, the City Watch are out in significant numbers in the neighborhood to show law-abiding citizens that they are being protected. Violet meets the alchemist right in the foyer of her own home and convinces her that one way or another, she will not do the job for Lady Malindra today. With a mix of threat and coaxing, Violet stages robbery and vandalism then Naomi runs out the front door, yelling “Thieves! I’ve been robbed!” while Violet hightails it.

From her spot at a nearby cafe, Emilia sees a plainclothes individual flash a badge to the City Watch sergeant and take over the investigation.

Emilia had already arranged (spends one Influence) for one of Naomi’s legitimate clients, Bishop Milo Opus, to need to visit her this morning for special incense, so the Bishop shows up just in time to witness the robbery and to distract the agent of the Crown from questioning Naomi too closely. Mother Teresa (Pandora) is at the bishop’s side, demure. Emilia is eavesdropping on conversations.

Despite Emilia signalling Naomi to stretch things out, the alchemist assures Bishop Opus that it will take her very little time to prepare some incense. Charles Montesque, the Crown investigator simply observes the events without intervening. 

After Naomi has finished and the City Watch leaves, however, the investigator approaches Naomi to ask her some questions. They sit at the same cafe where Emilia is observing, but Montesque’s questions turn out to be more about the Silver Chamber than the theft until he mentions how “convenient” it was that the specific reagents were stolen or destroyed. Soon, Naomi rolls over and gives up Violet. 

Pandora, as Mother Teresa, stays with Bishop Opus and tries to gauge his opinion of Lysa of Rotwood and her blessing of the Silver Chamber. Once again, “Mother Teresa” stresses the agitation of her flock over the events, portraying them as ready to take forceful action. The bishop sighs, agreeing with her objections; he says he already spoke to Lysa of Rotwood about this and she resisted his gentle pressure; beyond this, he doesn’t really have the authority to forbid a blessing. He promises to try again.

A bit later after the bishop has moved on to other work, his aide tells Pandora in confidence that Lysa received a large bribe from Lady Malindra to conduct the blessing.

Night 3: Legwork Scene

Emilia gets a carpenter and stagecrafter to build a cart with the exact dimensions of the Silver Chamber panels which can be rapidly taken apart and reassembled. She intends for the panels to be disguised as the cart itself rather than in a cart. 

Violet prepares a disguise and spreads a rumour in Oakheart, where the Van Der Greaves estate is located, that a new player (Gabriel Vega, the Bandit King) is in town and planning to assassinate Lady Malindra. She learns about secret tunnels under the manor; they are no longer used and have been boarded up but they connect with oversized sewers.

Pandora meets Lady Florimel and Charlotte Van Der Greaves under the pretense of attending a piano recital to warn her about another rumour, that commoners who are faithful of the Church are planning a demonstration to protest Lady Malindra’s unveiling of the SIlver Chamber panels. Emilia organises a small group of protestors in Oakhurst to provide verisimilitude. Pandora puts the fear of the unruly mob into Charlotte, who now plans to talk to her aunt about endangering the family.

Then Charles Montesque, the Crown investigator, shows up to check on the small protest, but doesn’t seem to spot Emilia though he studies the group as they eventually disperse peacefully. 

To be continued…

Dusk City Outlaws – Part 2

Continuing with our Dusk City Outlaws adventure. See Part 1.

Night 1: Legwork Scene

A letter appears under Violet’s door. Janos Zakharin, an exile from Vladov, is consulting for Lady Malindra as an “expert” on reconstruction of the Silver Chamber. He had a reputation as a tyrant back in the Vladov Empire before its fall and he is hated as a traitor by the Vladov community and the Circle in Dunhaven. Pyotr has found some evidence that Zakharin may have had the panels stored in Dunhaven for a good while. Zakharin is an older man with long white hair coming to a widow’s peak and a haughty manner even though he is 

Pandora gathers the gossip among high society, learns the names of a few notable guests, including Lysa of Rotwood, a priest of the Silver Judge, who will be blessing the new exhibit; and Manfred Willoughby, an art historian who will be certifying the authenticity of the panels, and get one hour of private viewing before everyone else on the day of the unveiling. 

Emilia checks out the entertainers that have been hired for Lady Malindra’s party, trying to establish who can be bribed into covering for the crew. Pandora and Violet come along for backup. Emilia gets a good sense of who is going to be helpful, including a few Vladov refugees; she finds four that are going to be particularly useful, and four that are going to be difficult. They are all dressed in different uniforms matching the theme of the location where they are posted.
Violet cases Janos Zhakharin’s warehouse in unclaimed territory on the waterfront. Emilia helps her by playing drunk to distract the guards. Violet sneaks in and finds a rather empty warehouse but she does find ledger books in a small office, showing evidence that a lot of Vladov artefacts, including the panels, were held here while Zakharin gradually sold them off. Zakharin is in the process of shutting down his operation here.

Day 2: Planning Scene

The crew meets at Pandora’s cozy apartment. Pandora is interested in creating a decoy plot that will be leaked to the Van Der Greaves, possibly framing Lysa of Rotwood as wanting to publicly accuse Lady Malindra. The crew agrees that they will need to investigate Lysa of Rotwood and her motivations.

Violet wants to confront Janos Zakharin and apply pressure (blackmail or threat) to get information from him. 

Pandora creates a detailed fake identity as a priest of the Silver Judge, which will make her less conspicuous among slums and commoner districts. Rotwood itself is a slum.

Emilia has been to the Van Der Greaves estate before so she remembers the layout and some of the security measures. There should be two groups of five guards milling about the estate, and six more guarding the Silver Chamber. There is also an alchemical mist veiling the entrance to the Silver Chamber and causing anyone crossing it to become sluggish for five hours unless they get the antidote, which Lady Malindra keeps in a locked drawer in her study. 

Night 2: Legwork Scene

Pandora visits Lysa of Rotwood as Mother Teresa, a small parish priest relating her flock’s concerns with Lady Malindra’s acquisition of the Silver Chamber. They meet in Rotwood at Lysa’s church after her service. Lysa reacts with anger, she seems to have faced the question several times before,

Violet acquires a sharp Vladov knife, then goes to case Zakharin’s manor, with Emilia as lookout outside, busking. There are five guards on duty about the estate, which Emilia distracts with a troupe of actors staging an impromptu play — but a passing City Watch sergeant does notice that Emilia is purposely distracting the estate guards. 

Violet successfully sneaks in and rifles through Zakharin’s papers in his study. She finds that he has been getting threats from the Circle, no longer veiled but pretty open, and he’s preparing to leave the city. He doesn’t seem to have any connection with the Church of the Silver Judge. Violet leaves the knife and some blood on Zakharin’s desk.

She also finds some information about the strong adhesive that was used to secure the panels. The panels were brought in in two bulky boxes, nothing particular about them. The panels are coated with natural silver that was allowed to get a patina that is considered important by the Church. Lady Malindra has hired an alchemist, Naomi Lee, to strip the tarnish and seal the shiny silver under a permanent lacquer, the very next day.

Emilia knows Naomi Lee and tries to convince her to skip town for a few days rather than execute the commission, but in vain; this would be too hard on the alchemist’s career. But Lee does supply just the right compound to dissolve the adhesive, and agrees to mix up some coating that will disguise the panels.

To be continued…