The party deals with a brand new situation up in Prague University. Hamid grieves, Grizzop and Sasha... help? And then they all get arrested.
Hamid is in a ball on the floor screaming in shock and pain as Sasha explains what happened to his sister. Grizzop comes up and sits next to him, trying to comfort Hamid by explaining that death isn’t the end and that his sister is in the afterlife. Hamid is still whimpering and crying as Grizzop comforts him, and then there’s a tentative knock at the door. Sasha goes over and opens the door, revealing Gideon, who’s standing there in tattered robes. He’s waving for Curie to come over, saying that the Cult of Mars and the meritocratic forces are locking down the university.
Hamid stands up and gives Grizzop a big hug as Grizzop continues to comfort him. In the doorway, Gideon squeaks as he finally notices Hamid. Curie leans over and apologizes for Hamid’s loss, and says that the university is being locked down, and they need to figure out what to do next. Apparently, Kafka’s fear effect reached out over the entire city, not just the opera, and people aren’t best pleased. Grizzop is the only one of the party who recognizes the Cult of Mars: they’re generally known as bad news. Their main mission has been to establish a perimeter around the entire Mediterranean, surrounding Rome, and their sworn mission is to contain everything in Rome and destroy all the undead outside of it - they absolutely hate the undead to a problematic extent. Curie suggests that all of them make themselves scarce before the Cult of Mars arrive. Hamid finally catches sight of Gideon as he wipes at his eyes, and yells at Gideon, asking what he’s doing here. Gideon stands there, frozen.
Sasha grabs Hamid and says that they need to leave as well, and Hamid asks what’s going on, looking around. Curie, Freud, and Einstein are all packing up their stuff, preparing to leave. Hamid asks why they need to leave, and they explain that if Prague decides that the university is at fault, it isn’t going to go well for them. Hamid says that maybe they should take responsibility, because one of their own went rogue and tried to enact one of the lost rituals of Rome.
At this moment, the doors to the room they’re in burst open, and they see three members of the Cult of Mars standing there in full plate armor. Their armor is a dusky red (almost looking dust-like) and they have no sigils on their armor. Each of them have massive weapons. The one in the front yells for everyone to hold, and they enter combat.
Hamid, Grizzop, and Sasha stay out of it, although they aren’t allowed to leave. They watch the guards approach Curie, Freud, and Einstein, and Einstein teleports away and then Curie closes her eyes - the next moment, Curie and Freud are gone and the Mars guards are on their backs. Grizzop thinks he sees a bit of a blur of movement in between the two moments, but Sasha doesn’t see anything. Hamid knows that he just witnessed a massively effective time stop, cast by Curie. All the faculty are gone, the guards are on their backs, Gideon is where he was, and the weapons are all on the table. Sasha picks up Hamid and steps over the guard, and they re-enter initiative.
After Hamid tries to convince the cult members that the party is on their side, a door opens on the other side of the hallway. All of the guards immediately stand to attention, and they approach. It’s a late middle-aged man, with greying hair and an incredibly severe expression as he walks up to the party. He says that the cult would appreciate their cooperation as they take control of the university, and Hamid and Grizzop agree; Sasha is a little suspicious.
Time skips a bit. They’re all sitting in an old university classroom with guards - Grizzop keeps asking the guard he kicked if his leg hurts. Sasha and Grizzop are arguing - Sasha wanted them all to run and leave instead of talking, and is annoyed that Hamid and Grizzop didn’t listen. Grizzop says he wasn’t even able to get by the guard anyway, and they keep bickering while Hamid is silent. Smash cut to all three of them being separated and put in individual rooms. They’re not tied down or anything - there is a single guard outside their room, and they’re all sitting across from another guard. They start with Hamid - the cult of Mars member (the supervisor, the one who showed up earlier) is asking about him being turned into a monster. Hamid says it was a spell, and that it wore off after the necromancer died. The supervisor says that Hamid was found transformed into a monster along with a necromancer, has a history of violent tendencies, and has a link to a student currently missing from the university. Hamid asks who they mean, and the supervisor says Liliana Beekos - Hamid says he hasn’t seen her since she broke up with him six months ago.
Grizzop is pacing in his own room, being interviewed by a massive woman who has shown him nothing but disgust. She calls him creature and insinuates that Kafka was his master, since goblins are “lesser minions”. Grizzop says that he is a paladin of Artemis, and starts completely baiting the cult of mars member. She tries to intimidate him and Grizzop keeps laughing in her face, egging her on, and she picks up a table and slams it against the wall, as Grizzop asks if he’s supposed to be scared or not.
In another room, Sasha is sitting across from a guard in full plate armor. He calls her an undead minion, saying she’ll probably be killed soon, and Sasha just completely stonewalls him, not saying anything.
Hamid is losing it a little bit back in his room, starting to explain the entire story to the supervisor, starting with him getting kicked out of Cambridge. He gives a brief overview of what happened in Paris, and then in Prague, slowly getting more and more incensed as he goes through this whole tirade. The supervisor doesn’t move or say anything, and the second Hamid stops, asks again how Hamid is linked to the disappearance of Liliana.
In Grizzop’s room, the interrogator is basically frothing at the mouth as Grizzop keeps egging her on; she’s clearly not able to hurt him, but she keeps threatening him with worse and worse threats.
Neither the guard nor Sasha speak. Her foot occasionally taps the floor.
Hamid collapses into the chair - he’s utterly exhausted. He tells the supervisor that he has no idea where Liliana is, and that he hasn’t seen her in six months. He starts crying a bit again, and the supervisor doesn’t ask any more questions and heads out. Sasha’s interrogator leaves as well, giving her what might be an appreciative nod. Grizzop’s interrogator needs to actually be led out of the room, still threatening him as Grizzop laughs at her and eggs her on.
A lot of time passes as they’re stuck alone in their rooms. They’ve been left in their rooms with all of their weapons. Sasha grabs her tools and picks the lock. She listens at the door, and hears the door be re-locked as a voice outside the door says to stop. Sasha kicks the door.
Eventually, the doors are opened at the same time, and they’re all gestured out into the corridor. Oscar Wilde is standing at the end of it, and Grizzop asks who it is - Hamid introduces them both to each other. Wilde asks where Bertie is, and Hamid says that Wilde obviously already knows. Wilde makes a snide comment and Hamid snaps, yelling at Wilde to leave out the condescension. They all follow Wilde into a room and he lounges on the desk, and Wilde apologizes for them being detained by the cult of Mars. Wilde makes a few comments about Grizzop and Grizzop asks him to stop talking about himself in the third person. Wilde asks if they understand what’s going on in Prague, and Sasha says that the cult of Mars seem angry that they handled the situation, that Hamid is understandably in a bad way, and that they’re down a tank.
Wilde explains that the entire city fell under the fear effect, and that the cult of Mars and the Meritocrats are taking control of the situation. Hamid asks if Wilde has actually been able to capture the university faculty; he says no - the Meritocracy and the cult of Mars are trying to find them now. He says that the situation is quite bad, and Wilde explains that a previous contact of his is wrapped up in it as well - Hamid asks who, and Wilde tells him that Liliana may have been working with Kafka as part of her Ph.D. Hamid is shocked and doesn’t completely believe it - he says she may have worked under him, but not together. Wilde says that Kafka and Liliana entered Newton’s study a few weeks ago - Kafka came back, but Liliana did not.
Hamid asks where his sister’s body is, and Wilde explains that Aziza’s husband is here and will handle getting it transported. Wilde says that Hamid will have to wait on going back to his family, though, as there’s still more work to be done. He explains that the city wants the Prague Meritocrat, Bolla Smok, to ravage the university much like Guivre did with Eiffel’s folly. Wilde says it isn’t going to happen. He explains that the work Liliana was doing is for the Simulacrum, and they need to go find her so that Wilde can get some answers from her.
- Sasha: "Hamid…I’m…sorry, mate. I mean…she went doing what she loved right…being…in opera, and then thrown across a room…sorry, mate, oh gosh. Does anyone know what to do with a crying person?"
- Grizzop: "Yes! Yes. So, look." (He sits down next to Hamid) "Look, I know I haven’t known you for that long, but generally, death isn’t the end, okay? So your sister, she’s gone somewhere else, but she’s not gone, right? So…and obviously yes, it’s horrible, and she died in really tragic circumstances, but..."
- Hamid, shakily: "She, she’s, are you saying she’s, she’s in the afterlife?"
- Grizzop: "Yeah, yeah, she is. Like, who, what did she worship?"
- Hamid: "My, my family’s never been very religious."
- Grizzop: "No no, sure, but like, you know, there are other, you know, law, justice, artistic integrity, something like that?"
- Hamid: "I mean, she, she loved music above everything else really."
- Grizzop: "Ok, right, so there is a god of music, and art, and, do you think she was a good person?"
- Hamid: "Yeah, she was." (he starts sobbing again.)
- Grizzop: "Yeah, but she, she will be, she has gone to that heaven, ok?"
- Sasha: "Oh, Hamid, Hamid...ahhhhh." (Pats his shoulder awkwardly.)
- ―Grizzop and Sasha try to comfort Hamid
- Grizzop: "Look, death is hard, and it’s painful. And I’m not gonna pretend it’s not a horrible thing, but it happens and you’ve gotta move on with it, you know, with your lives. You can’t let it shut you down. She was going after her dream and what she wanted to, and you need to keep doing that, for, you know, for her sake."
- ―Grizzop is pragmatic about death.
- Supervisor: "This isn’t the first time you’ve been associated with a potential set of murders."
- Hamid: "I’ve had to save the world twice despite the fact that I’m the least qualified person there could be! If people like you did your job properly it wouldn’t be necessary!"
- Supervisor: "So, just to be perfectly candid, you were seen in the form of a monster, in the company of a known necromancer, with a history of, shall we say, violent tendencies?"
- Hamid: "What, the necromancer?"
- Supervisor: "Yourself."
- Hamid: "Violent tendencies? Oh for god’s sake!"
- Supervisor: "And a known link to a currently missing member of the student body. So I repeat, what do you know, why were you there…"
- Hamid: "Currently missing member of the student body? Who are you talking about?"
- Supervisor: "…and how are you involved in the disappearance of Liliana Beekos."
- Hamid: "Disappearance, I didn’t realize she was missing! She broke up with me six months ago, I haven’t seen her since! What’s that got to do with anything?!"
- ―The Cult of Mars interrogates Hamid
- Interrogator: "So. Creature."
- Grizzop: "Grizzop."
- Interrogator: "I didn’t know we were naming you now. So, can you please explain to me what you can regarding the actions of your master, the necromancer Kafka, at the opera."
- Grizzop: "Could I see your manager, please?"
- Interrogator: "No."
- Grizzop: "I really have to complain about the customer service."
- Interrogator: "I’m fairly certain that as a lesser minion you’re not owed any rights."
- Grizzop: "I am a paladin of Artemis. Okay? So maybe you can go and get my superiors, and they can talk to your superiors, and you can get out of my face. (Starts laughing at her) You’re trying to be intimidating to me! Are you supposed to be big and scary? Oh, no, me, just a lesser little creature!"
- Alex: "She physically picks up the entire heavily made desk."
- Grizzop: "Oh yeah, come on, bring it!"
- Alex: "Breaks it against a wall, but is very clear that she has not laid a finger or touched you or put you in any actual harm."
- Grizzop: "Am I still supposed to be scared?"
- ―The Cult of Mars interrogates Grizzop
- Alex: "Sasha, you are sat opposite a guard who is still wearing their full plate."
- Interrogator: "Do you understand that you are likely to be killed soon? As an undead minion, it is our responsibility and our oath to eliminate your kind. Do you have anything to say?"
- Lydia, after a long pause: "I mean, she doesn’t. No."
- ―Sasha stonewalls the Cult of Mars.
- Hamid: "Look, do you want to know everything, I’ll tell you everything, I’ll start at the beginning! So, I got kicked out of Cambridge. Great! You know about that. Fantastic. It was awful! It was the worst moment of my life! I became a mercenary, okay. We got a job from the Meritocrats. We’re trying to help. We’re trying to be on the right side of these things. We were sent to Paris. We investigated the situation in Paris. The situation in Paris was so completely screwed up beyond belief that nothing good could come of it, and we made the best of it. Okay? And you probably know what happened there, so I won’t go into more detail, but oh my god, it was ridiculous! And yes, some bad stuff happened but we did the right thing! And then we came here and things went from bad to worse. We found out there as a rogue mage running around trying to enact the lost rituals of Rome! So we got involved. We tried to stop him. We ended up in the opera house where he was conducting his ritual. And I lost, not only my oldest friend, but also my sister! Trying to defeat him. And he is now dead! Thanks to me and my team. So why don’t you show me some goddamn respect for once!"
- ―Hamid, growing increasingly agitated
- Grizzop: "You gonna invent a new game? You gonna invent a new sport? Goblin ball, are ya? You gonna invent a new sport?"
- ―Grizzop taunts his interrogator.
- Alex: "Sasha, after maybe 10 minutes the guard reaches up, adjusts the helmet, and puts their hands back, waiting for a response from you."
- Lydia: "Her foot occasionally taps the floor. She yawns and stretches."
- Alex: "Oh, right, I'll take that down, can you give me a yawn and strech check and I'll counter it with a sense motive."
- Ben: "You're not tired."
- Alex: "You're not tired!"
- ―Sasha stonewalls the Cult of Mars.
- Lydia: "Did they take my masterwork thief's tools?"
- Alex: "You are all in the rooms with all of your equipment, your equipment wasn't taken."
- Lydia: "Pick the freakin' lock, mate."
- ―Sasha decides to break out of the room she's being kept in.
- Alex: "You successfully pick the lock."
- Lydia: "Listen at the door?"
- Alex: "You hear the distinct sound of a set of keys being put into the lock, and the door being relocked. And then someone, quietly, through the door, goes, "Stop it.""
- Lydia: "Kick the door."
- Alex: "The door is now kicked. That'll show him."
- ―Sasha is unable to break out of the room.
- Hamid: "This is the current employer of the London and Other London Outstanding Mercenary Group."
- Wilde: "You’ve got a new name!"
- Hamid: "It was on the paperwork. Do you not read your memos?"
- Wilde: "I’m a very busy man. I like it though, it’s punchy."
- ―Wilde learns the new name for the party.
- Hamid: "The one thing you can right now is not condescend to us, Oscar! We have done all the hard work and I’ve lost two of the most important people to me, and we had to save the world again! While you were nowhere to be seen. So, yes, I appreciate your help, I appreciate you’re here, and I am grateful that you’re about to help us sort this out, but you can leave out the condescension right now, thank you!"
- Grizzop: "If you want a management course, the Temple of Artemis actually does quite a good one."
- Wilde: "I like the new one, he’s funny."
- ―Wilde shows up and is able to extricate the party from the Cult of Mars.
- Wilde to Grizzop: "Have you considered mercenary work? It’s very lucrative."
- Grizzop: "Yeah, they already offered."
- Wilde: "Oh, fantastic, that does make things easier."
- Grizzop: "Right."
- Wilde: "He’s sassy, I like him."
- Grizzop: "Would you stop talking about me in the third person, please."
- ―Wilde continues to condescend to Grizzop.
- Wilde: "Apologies by the way for the way that you were treated, I realize that the Cult of Mars are a little bit…"
- Grizzop: "I mean, it’s classic them."
- Sasha: "A bit killy."
- Grizzop: "They’re just idiots."
- Wilde: "I mean, it’s not the word I’d have chosen, but it has a certain ring to it, a bit killy, yes."
- ―The Cult of Mars take a very aggressive stance when it comes to the undead.
- Alex: "This is still the pulpy fun season! Pulpy fun season, guys!"
- Bryn: "Yeah, I'm having so much fun!"
- Ben: "I helped invent a new game, so!"
- Lydia: "I'm a zombie now!"
- Bryn: "If you could just stop working up my character so much that I feel the intense need to swear, that'd be great? Can we just get down to that level?"
- Lydia: "Please don't get him to the point where he actually throws up in reality."
- ―[add context]
Dice rolls and Mechanics
Grizzop rolls a knowledge religion check: 16+.
Hamid rolls knowledge arcana on the spell Freud is casting: 12.
Everyone rolls a perception check to see what Curie does: Grizzop rolls a 12, Sasha rolls a nat 1, Hamid rolls a 20.
Hamid rolls knowledge arcana to see what Curie cast: 30.
Sasha rolls disable device: 23.
Sasha rolls a stealth check: 24.
Initiative: Hamid (19), Mars guards, Sasha (15), Grizzop (7), faculty members
Hamid: Delays his action.
Mars guards: One of the guards stays in the doorway so no one can leave. The other two approach Curie and Freud and start to scuffle with them.
Sasha: Moves over to stand by Hamid and Grizzop.
Grizzop: Points to the symbol on his armour and says that he, Hamid, and Sasha are with Artemis. He tries to walk past the guy in the doorway, who blocks his way.
Curie, Einstein, and Freud: Acting simultaneously, Einstein teleports out of the room. Freud casts a mind-affecting spell on a guard, who isn’t affected. Curie casts time stop, she and Freud disappear and every guard is suddenly on their back with their weapons in a neat pile on a table.
Hamid: Does nothing.
Mars guards: Start getting to their feet. They go to grab their weapons on the table.
Sasha: Grabs Hamid and tries to acrobatics through the guard: she rolls a 25, and successfully gets past the guard.
Grizzop: Rolls diplomacy to try and get past the guard: rolls a 14 and the guard doesn’t let him by.
Hamid: Wriggles his way free of Sasha and says that they don’t need to fight each other.
Mars guards: One successfully grapples Grizzop, lifting him off of the floor. The other two guards start to pursue Sasha and Hamid.
Sasha: Tells Hamid to run and pulls her daggers out, rolling a 16 on acrobatics to get on the guard’s shoulders and attempts to stab them in the neck. She hits the metal of their armor.
Grizzop: Kicks the guard in the hip joint and rolls an 18 on his escape artist check, the guard drops him.
Hamid: Rolls a diplomacy check of 30, trying to explain that they were the ones who took down the necromancer and that they aren’t against the cult of Mars.
Mars guards: The one in front of Hamid hesitates a bit. The other two go still and the doors at the opposite end of the corridor open.