Monday, 14 October 2019

THE CRYSTAL SEAS, Episode 15:The Bishophtu Bath House Part Two

The party have travelled to the city of Nahemot on a mission of murder: Lila, the second wife Romani lord, Geta Shaoul, has ordered them to assassinate her former "friend", the wizard Kharzan. After a night of meticulous planning at the  local massage parlour and a morning spent staking out the bath house to formulate the perfect crime, the party instead decided to rifle through coat pockets in the cloak room resulting in ejection from the premises, bereft of clothing, and being pursued by a pair of angry guards. What now?
This instalment includes lots of material adapted or drawn directly from The Boswitch Bathouse by Arnold Kemp of Goblin Punch fame. Spoilers abound!  This post also summarises two sessions that took place on 15th and 22nd of September: apologies to my players, hope we can get back to the campaign soon!

22nd Sositi, Around Eleven AM
The party burst into the foyer of Madam Palfrey's Bathouse: Ursula and Analicia draped in modest bath robes (Analicia's being a stolen staff uniform) and Horace naked from the waist up, his modesty only preserved by a towel. Bolg has already rushed down the stairs to meet them, holding his magic cat, already aware of what has happened from his second floor perch.

Bolg is accompanied by a young girl, who urges them to follow her. They are led into a small, wood panelled room. The door shuts behind them. It is windowless and pitch dark. Ursula ignites a magical flame:

"What the fuck happened?"

No one says anything, the door opens, an unfamiliar young woman enters. She has brought their weapons from their room upstairs, and some dark-coloured robes. as the party thank her and get dressed, she seems impatient:

"Is it done?"

Analicia's attempts to play dumb are ignored, and the party infer that they are dealing with a servant of young Lady Lila. When they ultimately confess that no, they have not yet completed the task she reacts unfavourably, but ultimately explains there is another way: one of the wood panels conceals a secret entrance into the bath house! Already Analicia is agonising over whether they are acting in a morally correct manner: the mysterious young woman responds with:

"Look, I don't know and I don't fucking care. I've got a job to do and so have you: do your fucking job!"

The party sense her anger is a consequence of a real fear: of what or whom they do not ask, but ultimately they acquiesce, and venture through the secret door. Bolg joins them, reasoning that he can use his magic cat to peer down from the balcony and relay what he sees back to them. 

Self Harmony

Them secret door opens into a small room sealed off from the rest of the bath house by one door: there is a ceiling above them, unlike much of the open air complex, so Bolg's cat can't get a bead on them. The room is tiled in beautiful white marble and contains two marble benches: one of which appears to be for reclining, the other is laid with a variety of glistening knives and surgical implements of highly polished bronze. there is also a jar of leeches.

They estimate that they must be in the corridor running parallel to the male baths: Bolg, his eyes now rolled to the back of his head and his pale hand clutching the sleeve of Ursula's dark robes conveys the all-clear from his second pair of eyes, the magical cat he has sent up to their second floor suite.

They take a few breaths and exit the chamber of self-harm, leaving the tools of the trade behind them.

Room Service?
They hurry down the corridor to the door at which they had previously been told to find Kharzan: they listen, but hear nothing within. Analicia picks the lock and edges the door open gingerly: the room is empty but for a wooden bench with iron manacles attached, and a few stiff whips. They continued onward.

After checking the cold baths and one or two other doors, they finally hit the jackpot: a locked door behind which they know lurks the naiad, whose company is reserved for premium clients. A gentle rap was met with a not entirely pissed off "What do you want?"

"He sounds like a wizard," whispered Ursula.

An earlier round of rock paper scissors had designated Analicia as the primary hitman, so she set her honey trap:

"Hello? Mr Kharzan? I am your... birthday gift..."

It was a cheap move, but ultimately elf-maids are rare in the south and a sorcerer of Kharzans tastes and appetites wasn't going to pass up an opportunity.

An Ignominious End
I'd like to tell you how Kharzan fought the good fight, but in all honesty it was a long time ago, and the details are hazy. Analicia had definitely concealed a knife beneath her robe, and she was able to backstab the sorcerer while he told her about his birthday plans, but it was not deadly enough, and soon a firefight ensued which Kharzan could only ever lose, even with the support of his foot-soldiers.

The sorcerer Kharzan ended up clomped round the head with a warhammer, then impaled to the bottom of the naiad pool by an arrow. For their troubles, Ursula escaped with a broken arm, Analicia once again received major burns to her body, and they all owed the naiad a blood debt after she eliminated one of Kharzan's men, a debt they promptly forgot about as they bundled their way back into Madam Palfrey's.

Lady Lila's spies ensured they were able to slip away to a safehouse, but not before they witnessed an odd explosion and plume of smoke rising from the location of the bath house.

Back to Romani
A few hours licking their wounds in an old woman's hovel gave them the chance to reflect on their crimes, and also the chance for darkness to arrive and provide further cover. In the event it appeared the citizens of Nehemot were distracted by some other event, with many people marching aggressively in the streets. Back at the docks, Zeke confirmed that tension between the city's two communities was at an all-time high, a situation he somehow connected to the party.

They crossed in silence, received a princely sum for their deed, and decided to spend some time recuperating. Ursula disappeared into the wilderness with Bolg, Horace prayed for forgieness at the temple, and Analicia tried her hand at selling hand-crafted wooden kitchen utensils, which were a smash hit!

To be continued...

View the Crystal Seas Kill List Here


  1. I've run the bath house a couple of times, and the wizard always dies fast.

    I had a player die in the carriage, though, which was fun.

    1. Yeah in hindsight I didn't play him very well, but the party had been dragging their heels for a bit and I think I got over-excited to see them acting so... murderous! Also, completely forgot that he was wearing his phoenix cloak (having already taken pains to describe it), so decided there was a delayed blast (hence plume of smoke later rising over bath house). They never got to meet the minotaur or the mudmen or the goblin, but they DID catch two people "making-out" in the toilets...

      Thanks for providing us with many hours of entertainment!