ACT I: LUCIANUS’S CALL FOR HEROES
Background: Seraphinus was tried and convicted of offering freehold secrets to JohnnyLookInTheAir, who had a somewhat amicable relationship with Seraphinus back when he was a Mocha Hill changeling. According to Seraphinus, the meeting was arranged to exchange information necessary to defeat TheFairDamsel, but Winter Queen Eltiana and her tribunal (Eltiana, Elbin, DrusyChrysocolla) ignored all of Seraphinus’s pleas and found him guilty of consorting with the enemy, to be Hedge-banished until WalterLucianus comes up with something quick. WalterLucianus vows to get to the bottom of all this mess, but he alone can’t sway MochaHill’s other Courts to his advantage, and needs very strong evidence of wrongdoing outside of MochaHill. In addition, Lucianus was forced to install Summer Court knights who want to see both Blair brothers ousted.
How will WalterLucianus get out of this mess? After exhausing most of his options, Lucianus’s only remaining option seems to be to find help from within Mocha Hill, in the form of a little-known band of changelings working outside the collective eye of Mocha Hill’s power players who oppose Lucianus. Enter the player characters…
Scene 1. Lucianus’s Proposition (Mack’s Tavern)
The player characters respond to a Help Wanted ad on the Mack’s Tavern community message board that only the characters can see: Lucianus wants a few good changelings to help save his wrongly accused brother.
The characters (Mack, Dico, LeighBlarfingard, and PhineasFletcher) meet for the first time at Mack’s Tavern on the day of the help-wanted meeting (May 23, 2010 in-game as well as in real life), and eventually Lucianus’s ensorcelled friend Brian (who also works for the Maryland Independent) escorts the characters up to a warded “VIP room” for changelings only, to discuss private matters with Lucianus.
Lucianus gives the characters the basic rundown on the circumstances leading to Seraphinus‘s arrest, and tells them about the dragonstone crystals that can control Seraphinus. If the PC’s agree to a boon quest Pledge, then Fyedra agrees to give the characters more information about the crystals and Goblin Markets.
Fyedra is hesitant to help the PC’s out at first, then reluctantly agrees to assist Lucianus and be cooperative in giving the questors some more detailed information on the crystals such as:
- One of the gems held by TheFairDamsel dragon’s horde is rumored to be held by a hob known only as the Silent Witch, but she can only be found in the Hedge in a hut along the Twilight Road. Fyedra also warns the characters of “toad hobs” along the way int he marshes.
- Most important: A rogue hob named Grumpleschnacky has a vendetta against the Fair Damsel, and can be found at remotely located Goblin Markets. Grumpleschnacky spooked Fyedra by giving her the hard-sell on seeking an old diary — which Fyedra refused because the asking price was too steep. (she won’t tell the exact deal to the PC’s) In addition, he knows far more about Fyedra and the twins than she was comfortable with, and also of the inner workings of TheFairDamsel’s Arcadian lair.
WalterLucianus explains to the characters that his hands are more than full as Lord of Summer, and that he wants hidden operatives to do some muck-raking work while his other allies protect Lucianus’s front-side, so to speak. The characters then take their leave to go questing.
Scene 2. Back to the Goblin Market
Mack guides the characters to the Purse State Park goblin market, and speaks the secret code words (“Hi, Henry!”) to gain access to the market. Today’s market was rather weak, with just the standard goblin fruit peddlers, a couple general stores carrying little of import, and Elsa’s Fine Clothing. Dico talks to Elsa the clothier for a while, before leaving due to lack of “funds” (i.e. strange goblin treasures) to pay for a Hedgespun hat. Tom has no luck finding anything from a gaggle of hobs. The only character who has any luck is Cheese, who finds out that a mysterious mapmaker and an artifact dealer will attend next week’s Market. After finding out nothing about Grumpleschnacky, the PC’s leave market to sleep in Leigh’s mushroom grove.
Scene 3. The Silent Witch
During the next day, the PC’s arrive at Mocha Hill and Kendrick greets then with a turkey sandwich (or in Leigh’s case, the “special veggie combo” made with Hedge hummus) and a warm cup of Mocha Hill joe. After their meal, the characters head along the Muck River downstream in search of the marsh, then go right at the fork which leads to a boggy marsh with a giant fallen tree. The player character spot a Hob Toad and try to sneak past the toad to go through the wooden log, but Mach fails to sneak past the toad and get a strong whiff of some Hob Toad sleep gas. The toad gas puts Cheese to sleep instantaneously, and Mack is in a drugged state from the gas, but everyone else escapes unscathed. The tree-passageway opens into a hilly mountainside, and from the mountainside the PC’s travel to the hobgoblin station. Tom, Leigh, and Dico all roll exceptional successes when evading the hobs, and escape to the cliff that Leigh and Dico scale after twenty minutes.
Eventually, this journey leads to Dico and Leigh talking to the Silent Witch, or at least trying to until the Witch notices a strange key and begins talking — or rather, bartering — over keys and crystals. Dico eventually finds out that the Witch had a dragon-stone but a pair of changelings stole the gem not to long ago — and one of these changelings had scissors for hands! The Witch provides no further assistance, as she recoils from her mirror reflection and asks Dico and Leigh to leave. Mack identifies the scissor-hand changeling as Scissorman, a dangerous Margrave with whom he clashed with back in 2007.