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Summary[]

Sasha goes and hides in a bar and meets a drunk. Azu and Grizzop trawl the strip looking for her. Meanwhile, Hamid gives his father a warning shot.

Synopsis[]

Grizzop and Azu are still looking through the streets of Cairo for Sasha. They start to ride down the main strip, full of people tidying up sand. Grizzop asks if any of them have seen Sasha, and Azu starts describing what she looks like. Sasha, as she’s standing up on the buildings, sees Grizzop and Azu riding down the street. In the time it’s taken for them to get there, a small crowd has formed trying to figure out why people are being hit with pebbles. Sasha thanks the sphinx gargoyle and them on the head. As nicely as possible, the gargoyle gestures to the fact that they’re made of rock, but say thanks anyway.

Sasha asks them if they knows a good place to go, and the sphinx tells her to check out the Pharaoh, that it does really good whiskey. She wanders off the roof, still unnoticed by everyone, and heads off to find the Pharaoh.

A minimal digital sketch of Hamid walking next to his father, with an orange and yellow background. Hamid is walking behind him, looking upset and concerned, while his father seems irritated and ignoring him. Hamid and his father are both halflings; Hamid is wearing a three-piece suit and a cloak, and Saleh is in a suit, holding a blue hat. He also has a moustache, and his hair is pulled back.

Hamid chases his father. Art by @bagelwhalee on twitter. Used with permission.

Hamid, meanwhile, is back at the manor, chasing after his father, who is striding off to, as he says, solve the situation. Saleh is walking down the drive, and Hamid follows, saying that this isn’t a way to fix anything. He ignores Hamid; Hamid’s brother is standing a way back, still incredibly drunk. Hamid casts magic missile, making sure that they hit in front of his feet. Saleh stops. From the distance Hamid is at, he can see his father sigh, and then leans over, talks to one of the guards, and walks out of the gate. Hamid, steadily getting more frustrated, tells his brother to go back up to his room and that he’s going to follow their father and find out what he’s doing. His brother agrees, and starts stumbling back to the house.

Saleh heads into a carriage and Hamid runs after him, refusing to let him get away. He successfully leaps onto the back of the carriage and hoists himself onto the back, settling where the footmen would sit. His father hasn’t noticed.

Back to Sasha - she’s heading off to the Pharaoh; the place is a complete dive, and it’s clear that it’s really popular, but not in a way that’s problematic. It’s one of the only old buildings left along the strip - it looks almost like an inn, with the original stonework just in place. Basically, it’s the place where all the employees at the more tourist-y areas go to have drinks after work. It used to have a sign over the door, but it’s so worn away that Sasha can’t see it. She hears a few people around speaking French, referring to it as the Pharaoh, and she slips inside. The clientele is varied: going from employees to well-dressed people who are “slumming it.” For Sasha, it’s the first sort-of familiar setting that she’s been in for a while. It has lots of low ceilings, small rooms, and lots of nooks and crannies.

As she wanders around, she notices that there are a few different bars in there. She finds herself in an empty nook with its own bar, and heads over. It’s just her, the barman, and a drunk patron who may be unconscious sitting next to her. She asks the barman for a whiskey, and the drunk patron says that the whiskey is rubbish, recommending that she try the gin. He reaches into his pocket and grabs a coin, pushing it across the bar and saying to get her the biggest gin they have. Sasha says that she can pay for herself, but the patron is so drunk that he falls asleep, snoring. Sasha takes the coin and slips it back into his pocket.

Azu and Grizzop are still looking for Sasha, heading down the strip. They spot a commotion happening outside of a casino, and Azu asks if Sasha is one to cause commotions. Grizzop points toward it and directs Azu to the commotion, still sitting atop her shoulders. It seems to be that someone was causing trouble, but no one knows what was happening. Grizzop, who’s been around Sasha enough, can tell that it seems to have been something sneaky. Azu asks what Sasha would do when she’s upset, and Grizzop says that he isn’t sure. He thinks that she might have snuck off, and then reminds himself that she’s already done that, and then suggests that she might have gone off to get drunk. Azu says that they can look for her in some of the bars, but Grizzop points out that he can see at least 12 bars from where they are - Azu isn’t deterred, cheerfully saying that they can try all of them.

Back to Hamid - he is still on the carriage, and he realises as they go that it’s heading toward the main bank of Cairo, which doubles as the central repository for the meritocracy. It is also where the unfortunate incident with his brother happened. Hamid waits for his father to get out of the carriage, then waits for his father to notice him. Saleh does, and stops, telling Hamid that he’s just embarrassing himself, before heading into the building. The bank is a completely retrofitted pyramid. The original stonework is still there, but it has been retrofitted with glass and steel. It’s an incredibly huge building; there are some extra offices higher up and so on.

Saleh heads into the foyer and starts talking to someone at the desk; Hamid is walking at his side, but his father ignores him. Hamid doesn’t care, and continues walking alongside him. Saleh is saying that he needs to speak to the manager as soon as possible, and heads over to a private room. It’s not somewhere Hamid has been before, but it’s very similar to the banks he’s visited before, albeit with more security. He opens the door and heads in. Before Hamid can follow, he turns to him and says that Hamid will not be coming any further. Hamid asks if his father wants him to explain the problem with the family, and Saleh says no and shuts the door in Hamid’s face.

Back to Sasha - the patron next to her comes to, and is blearily looking at her. He doesn’t start talking immediately, but once he does, it turns into a bit of a monologue. It’s more like he’s talking to the barman than Sasha, but the barman doesn’t respond, or stop it. The man is rambling nearly nonsensically about how everything was going to be so good, and the sandstorms, and his translations, and how he’s just wasting. Sasha asks about him being a translator, and the man says that he isn’t, that the French lot do the translations. He asks the barman for another gin; Sasha offers to buy it for him. She says that a lot of things are messed up these days, and he says that things being messed up are alright, and that accidents happen, but says it’s a bit rubbish that it came out badly. Sasha says she knows what he means, and he asks where things go from here. He says that he spent years studying coding, and Sasha asks why he would do that; he says that he was gonna be the first archaeologist to use modern methods.

Azu and Grizzop check briefly in each bar; Azu takes a shot at each bar they go to, and starting at the third bar, Grizzop does as well, and starts to get a bit more loose and hyper from the alcohol. As they get to a few of the last bars, Grizzop asks if they know a place off the strip where less tourists go to, and Azu asks what bar a sad person would go to.

Back to Hamid - his father has shut the door and is effectively in a sealed box. Hamid, angry, casts detect magic, and catches a lot of spells that are standard protocol and some heightened security measures. He debates casting fireball on the door, but ends up deciding that it would be a bad idea. Instead, Hamid casts invisibility, and waits for the manager to show up. As he does, the manager stops, whispers that he hates this, slicks back his hair and smiles widely as he steps through the door. Hamid sneaks in along with him. His father is standing there brooding, and the manager is faffing about as he speaks with Saleh. Saleh cuts him off and says that he’s aware that there was a murder on the premises, and that he needs it to disappear.

Cut to Sasha: she’s getting a little bit more intoxicated, listening to the patron next to her sing a refrain on “nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen,” replacing “trouble” with “curses”. The barman has left a bottle of gin between the two of them and left.

Azu and Grizzop find themselves outside the Pharaoh; Grizzop is a bit buzzed. They haven’t really gotten many other options left. Azu tells Topaz to go away and she vanishes; Grizzop and Azu fall, and Azu picks Grizzop up and sets him on his feet. As they head into the bar, there’s a whistle and a number of people muttering about paladins coming into the bar. Azu uses detect evil in the bar; about 30% of the clientele seems to be evil. The mutters continue through the bar, and someone “playfully” tosses a bottle near them. Azu doesn’t start anything, but rests her hand on one of her throwing axes. Grizzop runs around to all of the different grumps at the tables and tells them that they aren’t here for them, they’re here to look for Sasha.

Sasha, meanwhile, hears the distinct sound of two barpeople discussing how they’re going to get some nameless people out, and a grump at a table discussing how they’re going to get the drop on two paladins who have just come into the bar. Sasha winds up her spring loaded wrist sheaths, moving into the shadows. She can hear Grizzop attempting to reassure the grumps from around the corner, and she waits in the shadow. Azu is trying to stop Grizzop from walking around, but he’s not listening to her, and has started to become completely surrounded by the more shady members of the pub. They both find themselves standing alone in a small circle, surrounded, as everyone not affiliated with the grumps leaves. Grizzop is still trying to explain how he and Azu aren’t planning on righteously murdering everyone in the room, and Azu is calling Sasha’s name in between trying to get Grizzop to shut up. Three people attack simultaneously, and the party enters combat.

Jump back to Hamid: his father and the manager are both sitting there silently, and the manager asks if he is referring to the recent murder. Saleh nods, and the manager says that since this is going to be difficult because it’s a Meritocratic bank. He explains that the group was caught in the attack, and that one of the security guards was killed. The manager continues, saying that they have been conducting an internal investigation, and Saleh interrupts him, saying that he knows it was his son. He asks what happens next, and the manager says that they’re in a predicament.

They can’t make it disappear; Saleh says that he’ll do anything, because his son deserves better, but the manager again says that there’s not much they can do. They explain that they held off on making an arrest until after the funeral, but that they’re going to have to at some point. It’s not something they can brush under the rug. Saleh turns away for a moment, and says that he’s willing to change his will so that the bank becomes under full Meritocratic control if they blame him instead of his son.

Quotes[]

Alex: "We have had mysterious cloaked figures tied to Sasha's past in some way turning up—"
Ben: "Who got murdered."
Alex: "They got absolutely murdered, and then you're gonna complain why I destroy you all later and I'll be like "well you dealt with the first one so quickly!""
―Episode recap.

Alex: "Could you give me an Acrobatics check to jump on the back?"
Bryn: "How I wish I was Sasha ..."
Lydia: "Really?"
Hamid attempts to jump on the back of his father's carriage.

Azu: "You know Sasha better than I, what would she do, if she was upset?"
Grizzop: "Uh ... I dunno, um ... sneak off probably?"
Azu: "Well, she did that. And then what?"
Grizzop: "Sneak off some more..?"
Azu and Grizzop realise that Sasha is missing.

Alex: "The place is warded against things like teleporting in, it's warded against things like divination—"
Bryn: "Let's cut to the chase, if I cast fireball on the door, how badly is it likely to go?"
Hamid attempts to get into the room at the bank without his father noticing.

"If you're asking if you'll immediately die: no. Ask me if it's a good idea."
Alex

"Then again, I mean ... you are Hamid ... al-Tahan ... clue's in the name. Maybe you could get away with more, maybe that's the solution. Let your emotions get the better of you and trust the family name to get you out of the problem."
Alex

"You don't hear any trouble elsewhere, it might be because (singing) nobody knows ... how cursed I am, nobody knows ... my curses!"
Alex, as Carter

Ben: "I'm quite good at diplomacy ...(rolls a natural 1)"
Bryn: "What a statement."
Ben: "I am quite good at diplomacy, but the dice is a 1. I still got 8!"
Alex: "Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair."
Grizzop attempts to dissuade the bar patrons from fighting.

"See, see, see. Usually, usually we'd be doing stuff but y'know, look, it's fine. Look, usually I come in here I'd be hunting you down, I'd be hunting you down, there'd usually be a bounty on your back but actually no, right now, you're all good. D-d-don't worry about it. It's alright."
Grizzop

Helen: "I got 11, assuming I don't add anything to it."
Bryn: "You do. (pause) No, you don't."
Helen: "I got 10."
Ben: "You, in fact, deduct something from it."
―Game mechanics.

Alex: "Three tables are thrown at you ... all of them are at Grizzop ..."
Ben: "Get a 21. Go on, hit a 21."
Alex: "None of the tables hit a 21."
Grizzop: "Limbo!"
―The bar patrons attack Grizzop and Azu.

Ben: "Am I now, kind of, like—have I clocked it?"
Alex: "Yes."
Bryn: "Make him roll Perception first. Yeah, he acts first but he doesn't realise he has to fight."
Alex: "I can't keep him in initiative order and also unaware there's a fight!"
―The bar patrons attack Grizzop and Azu.

"Ah, alright, well I wasn't gonna do righteous murder but you've forced my hand! (nocks arrow and aims) Right, alright, you all stand down or I'm gonna do some righteous murder and it's going straight in your eye!"
Grizzop

"So I'm gonna run towards Grizzop because I just made this friend I'm not losing him to a chair! And like the other friend is still missing, I'm not having this!"
Helen

"I just love the complete antithesis of Bertie's relationship with furniture."
Lydia

Azu: "We do not wish to fight, we simply wish to find our friend, Sasha!"
Grizzop: "I'll go!"
Azu: "N-no!"
Alex: "Two thugs immediately attack Azu for speaking."
Azu attempts to stop the bar fight.


Dice rolls and Mechanics[]

  • Grizzop and Azu roll a Perception check to find Sasha: Grizzop got a 9, Azu got 11.
  • Sasha makes a Perception check: 31.
  • Hamid makes an Acrobatics check to jump onto his father’s carriage: 24.
  • Sasha makes a Perception check at the Pharaoh: 27.
  • Azu rolls a Knowledge (local): nat 20.
  • Grizzop and Azu make a Fortitude save: Azu gets a 28 and Grizzop got a 17.
  • Hamid rolls Knowledge (arcana): 26.
  • Hamid rolls a Stealth check to sneak into the room: 38.
  • Sasha makes a Fortitude save: 14.
  • Grizzop makes a Diplomacy check: nat 1.
  • Sasha makes a Perception check: 28.

Combat Breakdown[]

Initiative: Grizzop (22), Grumps, Azu (10), Grumps, Sasha (7)

Surprise Round

  • Grumps: Throw three tables at Grizzop. None of them hit.

Round 1

  • Grizzop: Surrounded by enemies, he pulls his bow out and points it at the head of the biggest person in the room.
  • Grumps: The one Grizzop aims at immediately charges him. They hit him with a chair, dealing 4 damage. Grizzop takes the chair on his head, takes a backwards roll, and tries to ready his bow.
  • Azu: Runs toward Grizzop, placing a table between him and his first assailant. She turns and faces the other half of the room, drawing her ominous greataxe.
  • Grumps: Two thugs attack Azu for speaking. The first attacks with a hammer, the other with a bottle, and both miss.

Plot Notes[]

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