Thursday, September 7, 2017

Actual Play: FATE Eagle Eyes: Herculaneum -- In the Shadow of Vesuvius Session 2

Here's the write-up for Session 2 of the Eagle Eyes One-Shot that occurred Friday, August 26th, 2016.

Dramatis Personae:
  • Sabin, a Resourceful Widow of a Rich Patrician (Played by R)
  • Cassius, a Devil-May-Care Poet (Played by W)
  • Aetius, a ex-Mysteries Cult Assassin (Played by A)
  • Prim, Sabin's slave (Played by J but absent this episode)
  • Mystery Man, the Eagle's representative in Herculaneum and the PCs boss, called Quintus (a Equestrian) and Glaucus (a Patrician) by various folks
  • Kaeso, murdered Patrician Merchant
  • Pomptina, second wife of Kaeso, probably having an affair with Kaeso's son, Antonius
  • Antonius, son of Kaeso by his first wife
  • Kaeso's chief Butler
  • Various guests, guards and servants
  • A tiger

The session begins with Cassius and Sabin at the party. Sabin makes herself the center of attention to better control Pomptina, since she lost track of Kaeso. Cassius makes himself the center of attention as well, keeping the audience laughing.

Both hearing the shout for "Guards! Guards! The master has been murdered!"

Pomptina is freaking out because guards with bared swords are running through her party, ruining it and dashing her hope for social elevation. She isn't understanding that her husband has been killed.

Sabin takes the opportunity to ingratiate herself more into Pomptina's companionship and sticks to her like glue. A servant comes and tells Pomptina that the master, her husband, has been murdered. Pomptina is in shock and doesn't understand what's going on.

Sabin asserts control, as a patrician, over the servant and has him take them to the head butler, who is standing outside the library with guards and the servant brained by Prim. There is no sign of Prim and the servant can't say who brained him.

Sabin takes over and gives orders to the butler, who isn't sure who's in charge, Sabin or Pomptina, but Sabin wins and he promptly orders the guards to search for the assassin while following Sabin's orders to protect the guests by having them move the party to the garden to see the performing tiger.

Cassius is still entertaining the audience when the butler arrives and starts giving orders. Cassius gets his way with the butler but earns undying enmity as a result. He then spends some time making sure the party is split into smaller groups so that there is more space to sneak around in.

Flashback: Aetius is an assassin for the Attis Mystery Cult. His boss, Gnaeus Lucius, the Cult of Attis' High Priest, orders him to kill a former cult member who didn't like how Gnaeus was treating his riches as if they were his own. Gnaeus has been acting more and more erratic over the past few weeks and, while Aetius has been told to kill enemies of the cult, this is the first time he's been told to kill a former cult member. Aetius is told to make it look like an accident and so he stalks the former cult member. 

When the former cult member's family goes to a party a week later without him, Aetius sneaks in the house and tries to kill him. It goes completely pear-shaped. The former cult member is a knife fighter par excellence and beats Aetius like a punching bag, forcing Aetius to kill him in a bloody, murderous way before escaping.

That blows Gnaeus' plans to get the former cult member's family back in the fold (as well as their riches) all to hell and the family accuse Gnaeus of his murder. Aetius, battered and stabbed, is told to meet at a place where he expects Gnaeus to have him killed. He instead goes to see his parents and finds them killed by Gnaeus' men. Aetius is discovered by his parents neighbors, who assume he killed them, so a mob forms, lead by the Cohortes Urbani (city watchmen), and they chase him.

Aetius runs down a narrow alley and is blocked by the mountainous man seen in previous flashbacks. With scant seconds to spare ahead of the mob, the walking mountain grabs Aetius and pushes him through a door to temporary safety.

The room is dark until the Mystery Man lights a candle and explains the circumstances to Aetius. Aetius is recruited to the Eagles and over the next few months he does some jobs here and there, not always killing, but often making sure accidents happen that have some sort of effect that the Mystery Man wants. He lives on an estate outside of Herculaneum and notices that Sabin is brought there and becomes the mistress of the estate. He also notes Prim's arrival.

Back to the Present: Aetius is told by Mystery Man to show up at the party and be prepared to do a deed. He witnesses Sabin become the center of the party and Cassius playing his instrument. When the screaming starts, Mystery Man brings him down an empty corridor and shows him a secret passage, telling him to grab Kaeso's son Antonius, alive.

He promptly gets lost in the secret passages in the mansion.

Sabin, now alone with Pomptina, brings her into the room with the corpse of Kaeso to see what's going on. Pomptina sees the dead body and faints, and a handmaiden starts fanning her while Sabin sends the other one to get smelling salts. 

Cassius, wanting to know what's going on, goes to where he heard the screaming start and sees the library door partially open. Sabin, momentarily not stuck with Pomptina, proceeds to riffle through the library's desk as Cassius sees her through the partially open door.

Sabin finds two sets of books, one with a red cover the real one with names, dates, amounts and why payments were made, and the other, with a brown cover and embossed with a crown, with the fake bookkeeping. Kaeso was stupid and didn't put anything in code. Sabin hides the red book on her person.
Aetius is lost and can't find his way to find Antonius and stumbles through a secret door into the library, at the same time that Cassius, intrigued by the beautiful Sabin, walks into the library and quietly closes the door behind him. The secret door closes behind Aetius.

The three look at each other and Sabin pulls a dagger, expecting trouble. At the sight of possible violence, the handmaiden, who is fanning the unconscious Pomptina, faints.

The three are startled when Mystery Man opens the secret door Aetius came through and addresses each of them. To Aetius, he says "I thought I told you to get Antonius." To Sabin "Where is your slave Prim and what are you doing here?" and to Cassius "Aren't you supposed to be distracting the guests?" He rounds out his queries with an appeal to the gods "What the hell am I paying you three for?!?!?!" then disappears back into the secret passages.

Realizing that they are all Eagles, they get back to work. Aetius goes back into the secret passages and finds where Antonius is -- he's in a room in the mansion, having sex with his girlfriend. When she steps into the bathroom to clean up, Aetius quickly jumps in the room, subdues the naked Antonius and drags him into the secret passage. The girlfriend, thinking he ran off after having his fun, gets pissed and goes off in a huff.

Cassius and Sabin head to the party and introduce each other. Cassius charms Sabin with his handsome demeanor, putting her off her guard. In the gardens, they learn that the tiger is missing.

Meanwhile, Aetius, carrying a naked Antonius through the secret passages, hears the tiger roaring in the secret passages but can't figure out where it is! Sabin also hears the tiger loose in the mansion!

Session 2 ends with a tiger on the loose!

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