Styness is a city of approximately 100,000. The city is arranged in a circle. The whole region is cut off from the rest of the continent by the Kelkar Mountains, and there are only a few (one?) difficult passes to the outside world. There are two other valleys connected to Styness by lower passes – Northlund and Rholv valleys. Styness was founded approxomately 850 years ago by outcasts from elsewhere on the continent. These outcasts were driven out due to their use of Necromancy.
Styness City is divided into three sections, corresponding to the three Paths: Artisan, Artist, and Philosopher. More important members of society have residences closer to the center. At the center is an enormous Grey Tower of unknown height which houses the Empyrean. The Empyrean is an enormous blue flame. Blue Smoke rises over the city out the top of the tower. Styness’s governing Religion holds that the souls of the departed enter the Empyrean, where the afterlife is located. Since Styness acknowledges planar Cosmology, do the souls of the dead not appear on the planes?
Bodies of the dead are animated as Skeletons. These skeletons provide cheap labor, allowing the entire society to function at a fairly high technological and intellectual level. The skeletons are not associated with the people to whom they once belonged. The skeletons break down over roughly a century, so the population does not grow astronomically.
Northlund Valley is lower than Styness, and is connected by the Sigrid River. Most of the agricultural products come from Northlund. Rholv is higher and connected by a mountain road. The terrain is high prairie, and a lot of animal husbandry (primarily goats and sheep) takes place there.
We begin the game at our Attainment (promotion from apprentice to journeyman in our various careers. Essentially graduation). This takes place in a large square just north of the Grey Tower. 1,500 young people are attained today, slightly larger than usual. Quentin notices Jane and her sexy alterations to her robes. There is discussion of food.
Several long speeches ensue. Bernard “Sheriff” Corson is the police chief/captain of the Guard for the city and speaks first. Bel is discretely reading a historical essay about the hushed-up case of the heretical uncle of a previous Prelate Nullius. Attainment is the “social event of the season,” and all the movers and shakers are there.
The next speaker is Carlotte Malmsten, the First Artist. She uses obnoxious metaphors and tries to sound smarter than she is. Next comes Manwe Suchkin, the First Philosopher. He’s impatient at having to wait to speak, since he’s such a better speaker than the others (and knows it). He has a morbid turn of mind, and the gist of his speech is “be a good citizen, because someday you will die.”
Finally Gerod Tremane speaks. He reads segments from an ancient history of Styness analogous to the Bible, although not a holy text itself. He speaks well, but gives the same speech every year: be good citizens so you will join the Empyrean.
After Attainment we have a chance to go to the fancy State Dinner/Tea Party or a student after party. Naturally, we choose the student party and proceed to get drunk. Shenanigans ensue. Quentin tries to rufie Jane (and Patrick tries to rufie Bel…). Patrick picks a fight with Emmond Braggus, Malcolm is working, and Bel is dancing with Queelie, an attractive young gnome.
Emmond Braggus is a bully. Patrick tricks him into getting too drunk. Frena Goldwin, a “nancy-type” cleric shows up and heals him of alcohol poison, then drags him off. Emmond‘s friends/mooks Olin (human) and [[:jolly] (Dwarf. It’s his name, not an ironic nickname) come and start arguing with Patrick about his tricks, but they’re too drunk to figure out what to say.
Quentin and Patrick are trying to get some illicit substances. Patrick summons a toad to try to get high, but I bet the toad was poisonous. They don’t actually do anything. Then we find out that Jolly’s buddy Schmidt is dealing. We “pimp” Jane & some of her friends for Lady-Jane-esque drugs. We get walking to another party, where the drugs are. We now discover that the original student party was at Jane’s family’s house.
We’re on our way to a bad neighborhood when we round a corner and see Jolly, Olin and one other figure coming toward us. The other figure is dressed as a Day Guard, although it’s night. The guard tries to detain us, but he doesn’t have solid justification. The three of them try to grab us, so Bel runs for help. Before he gets back with a Night Guard, Quentin and Patrick have knocked the three out. They discover forged Guard badges. The name on the badge the guy dressed as a guard is Josef Karamazov. Olin has a day guard badge with the name Gabriel Nyder. Jolly is carrying a sack with 20 gp?
Bel returns with a mustachio’d night Guard, who recognizes the “Night Guard” as Bill, a local malcontent and/or drunkard. Fortunately he believes that they attacked us, rather than the other way around, and halls them off for impersonating guards. The mustachio’d guard is named Eduard Masterson. We thank him for his assistance with 8 gp and Curteel can I call him Curt? promises to spread his fame. We reach second level.
Bel’s Thoughts on the matter:
I would have thought Jolly and Olin had roped Bill into a plot to get back at us for what Patrick did to Emmond, but the counterfeit badges required preparation. Also, what’s with the 20 gp? Were they payed to go after us? If so, we have enemies more threatening than a few bullies, about whom I know nothing. It’s clear that I’m currently useless in combat, although I hadn’t prepared my spells with combat in mind. Schmidt ran off as soon as trouble started, so he might be the cause of some trouble later. Jane & her friend (never caught her name) seem like good eggs, maybe deserving of more respect.