Conspiracy Weary
Table of Contents

GM TODO ITEMS

  1. Update Stormwall and named NPCs as needed.
    1. add up to 4 mythic trials
    2. add up to 12,000 xp
  2. PCs can obtain about 2 lb of argia from the battlefield (from about 2000 lb of worms)

PC Plans for Session

  1. Interrogate the de-wormed
  2. Figure out how to reintegrate the rebels into society
  3. Get to the bottom of the Valleysea and the machinery and memorial there
  4. Uncover the telportation network. (Darias thinks this might have something to do with the Valley Sea machine. Checks the BoaTP.)12
  5. Take a grand tour of the Island and handle any uprisings or issues
  6. Train new people for the Stormwall and for the city militias
  7. Deal with the nitrocellulose-like stuff from the undersea crates (~400 lb of it or so)
  8. Dig up the "weapons trapped under the Golddale mountain"
  9. Get shrines built for as many of the Isler demons as possible

Interrogating the De-Wormed

TODO for each person, list questions the PCs want to ask them - GM to answer those questions prior to start of session. For more information about these specific people, you can also see the overview page.

General Protocol

Prisoners are kept separately from each other, can't send or receive messages from the outside world and aren't being allowed visitors.
Prisoners who volunteer information are questioned without the use of magical compulsion. The BoaTP is used to test their claims elsewhere.
Maleos is coordinating with Esme to question Thomas Berenger. (At no point is Esme to be anywhere near the cells. That's what Telepathic Bond is for. :) )
The Berengers in particular are to be kept from talking to each other.

Questionable Questions

There were a few other questions listed here, but I just.. I can't come up with a tactful way in my head for you guys to actually ask these questions, and some of them are just so out of left field I think any right-thinking person would respond with something along the lines of "the fuck?!" So.. if you guys want answers to these, or if you have some tweaks you want to make or soemthing, let me know, but otherwise I'm going to skip them because I think all they'd do is dig holes, not give you any real answers.

  1. Do you want the Usurper to be freed from his prison?
  2. How do you feel about the gods?
  3. How do you feel about Isle and its people?
  4. What would you like to do now that you no longer have a worm controlling you?

Hawa Travert AKA Howard Traverton

Aida posits at the BoaTP the following:

  1. Hawa Travert is from Across. false
  2. Hawa Travert's attacks' purpose was to steal specific items for the Usurper. false
  3. One of the reasons for Hawa Travert's attacks was to steal specific items for the Usurper. true
  4. Hawa Travert does not remember anything about the last 10 years. false
  5. Hawa Travert wants to communicate but is unable to do so. false
  6. Hawa Travert is attempting to communicate but is unable to do so. true
  7. Hawa Travert is being magically controlled. false
  8. Hawa Travert did not consciously choose to commit all the crimes he's accused of. true
  9. Hawa Travert wants to go Across. false
  10. Hawa Travert's real name is Hawa Travert. false
  11. Hawa Travert has, aside from the worm controlling him, always worked alone. false
  12. Hawa Travert chooses not to speak. false
  13. Hawa Travert is choosing not to speak because he is being blackmailed. false
  14. Hawa Travert is choosing not to speak because he is protecting someone other than himself. false
  15. Hawa Travert can understand what we are saying. true
  16. Hawa Travert has worked with other people in this group of de-wormed people. false
  17. Hawa Travert is aware of Perai Luun. false
  18. Hawa Travert knows where the worms are coming from. true
  19. Hawa Travert knows how to plug the worm hole. false
  20. Hawa Travert knows who is harvesting the worms. false
  21. Hawa Travert can shift into an actual bear. true
  22. Hawa Travert has seen an actual bear before. false
  23. Hawa Travert was born with the ability to shift into a bear. false
  24. Hawa Travert was given the ability to shift into a bear before he was wormed. false
  25. Hawa Travert can still shift into a bear even after being de-wormed. true
  26. Other people in the group of de-wormed people know that Hawa Travert can shift into a bear. false
  27. Hawa Travert carved his name into all the known carts/places he was accused of attacking people on the roads. true
  28. He carved those words. Those words aren't his name. But he was trying to carve his name. true
  29. Hawa Travert carved his name in an attempt to speak the truth while he was under the worm's control. true

Known to be Corrupted by the Usurper; bearlike features.

Hawa is apparently catatonic and does not respond to any external stimuli save for chewing and swallowing food that is put directly into his mouth. He stares blankly off into the distance and does not appear to hear, see, or even barely feel the outside world.

Maleos believes proper containment is the priority with Hawa, before any attempt at interrogation. Something like that statue that caused people… to just… stop. Or possibly a Contingency that uses an invisible ray attack to Dim Door the prisoner back into his cell if the prisoner ever exits its cell. Or maybe even some sort of mind-affecting Suggestion that causes him to think he is alone in the wilderness and sitting here is fine.

Chains, bars and drugs are probably nigh-useless, unless we want to lock him in an underground stone cube. And that would make feeding him problematic.

What do you remember the worm doing while it was in control of you?

This question is met with silence.

What can you tell us about the worm’s recent plans? Was it setting any contingency plans in motion?

This question is met with silence.

When did the worm take control of you?

This question is met with silence.

Do you know of any members of a conspiracy that were or were not controlled by a worm? Please name/describe them.

This question is met with silence.

Do you know where/how new worms are created/acquired?

This question is met with silence.

Do you know anything about the Usurper?

This question is met with silence.

Aida's Interrogation of Hawa

Aida passes a precious sheet of paper and a writing implement across the table to Hawa. Can you please write your name?

Hawa stares off at the wall, unmoving, for a long moment, and you think that he's going to continue to be unresponsive. Then, very slowly, you see a shaking hand reach out for the pen. He grabs it in his fist and slowly, deliberately scratches something onto the paper, tearing it in a few places from the force of his writing. It looks like "How(scribble) Travrt(scribble)."

Aida gets another writing implement and writes on the paper YES with a box around it NO with a box around it I DON'T KNOW with a box around it STOP with a box around it. I'm going to ask you some questions. If you want to answer them, point to one of these boxes for your answer.

Mal suggests we show him a paper with the alphabet and let him point to the letters one by one. It's got to be easier than struggling to write them.

We could also just ask him to point to the worm-source a map of Isle.

I'm thinking "Hawa Travet" might be "How ta trap it," or possibly "How d'ya travel to it?"

Did Aida agree to the use of Telepathic Bond during these interviews so an ally can crosscheck their answers via the BoaTP during the interview? If not, Mal will offer to check them all afterwards. Hopefully before the priests release anybody so we can make sure we're not being played.

Mal posits the following at the BoaTP:
Hawa Travert wants3 the Usurper to escape its prison. false
Hawa Travert lied in their interview with Aida. false
Hawa Travert resents4 the people of Isle. false
Hawa Travert resents the culture of Isle. false
Hawa Travert resents one or more of the Gods of Isle's Religion. false
(if previous true, check which ones.)
Hawa Travert wants5 to die. true
Hawa Travert has seen the Usurper's true form. true

On a whim, Maleos asked the Ollidamarans if anyone named Howard had disappeared over the last 50 years or so. That got us Howard Traverton, killed in the mines at age 21, which was 35 years ago. BoaTP confirms that this was previously Hawa Travert's name.

Anita Waldemar

What do you remember the worm doing while it was in control of you?

Anita has mostly covered this. The vast majority of her time was spent networking and dealing with normal customers. She did a considerable amount of research on how to alchemically make certain poisons and a couple of types of explosives, the most successful of which you've discovered. She handed off poisons to various people, usually via Matthias but sometimes more directly. She also mixed up considerable numbers of special alchemical medications for someone, but she doesn't know for whom. There were necromantically-charged uppers and some heavily boosted pain and healing potions.

What can you tell us about the worm’s recent plans? Was it setting any contingency plans in motion?

She doesn't know anything about recent plans aside from the triggering of handing off specific, premade potions and poisons to various people including Matthias. You already saw some of the results of that with the poisoned candies.

When did the worm take control of you?

I hope I remember this properly, because I'm not referring to my notes at the moments, but I believe it was around 16-17 years ago. It's in that range.

Do you know of any members of a conspiracy that were or were not controlled by a worm? Please name/describe them.

Anita only really knows of Matthias explicitly. There are so many other people that picked up packages from her over the years, but she doesn't know if any of them were in on anything or if they were just regular customers or even "blind" couriers.

Do you know where/how new worms are created/acquired?

No.

Do you know anything about the Usurper?

Very little beyond the fact that it exists. She, like all of these people, know first-hand what it's like to be dominated by the Usurper, but its thoughts were walled off from hers aside from the commands, really.

Mal posits the following at the BoaTP:
Anita Waldemar wants the Usurper to escape its prison. false
Anita Waldemar lied in their interview with Aida. false
Anita Waldemar resents the people of Isle. false
Anita Waldemar resents the culture of Isle. false
Anita Waldemar resents one or more of the Gods of Isle's Religion. false
(if previous true, check which ones.)
Anita Waldemar wants to die. false

Ward Berenger

  1. BoaTP says: Ward Berenger wants the Usurper to break free of its prison. true

What do you remember the worm doing while it was in control of you?

"It seemed to be mostly listening. Mostly kind of… gently prodding me sometimes. Preventing me from talking about it. I could go about my life, but it would nudge me in certain directions sometimes in negotiations and in business. And it prevented me from ever acting as though it were there."

What can you tell us about the worm’s recent plans? Was it setting any contingency plans in motion?

"I couldn't say. I couldn't hear anything from it, just.. there was almost kind of this pressure if I tried to do something it didn't want that prevented it, put me into a… a weird almost sleepwalking state where I could hear myself say things, feel myself do things that I didn't tell myself to do. But as soon as I stopped fighting it, I could continue on with my life, as far as I could tell without any interference."

When did the worm take control of you?

"So long ago… so long. It's been a little over 10 years."

Do you know of any members of a conspiracy that were or were not controlled by a worm? Please name/describe them.

"I don't know about any conspiracies. I'm a businessman. All I did was buy and sell materials, gems."

Do you know where/how new worms are created/acquired?

"Not a clue. I didn't know they even existed until I woke up to the sensation *shudder* of one climing inside of me."

Do you know anything about the Usurper?

"Who? No, I don't know what you're talking about. Who is the Usurper?"

Mal posits the following at the BoaTP:
Ward Berenger lied in their interview with Aida. true Ward lied about the conspiracy question
Ward Berenger resents the people of Isle. false
Ward Berenger resents the culture of Isle. false
Ward Berenger resents one or more of the Gods of Isle's Religion. true - everyone except Nerull
(if previous true, check which ones.)
Ward Berenger wants to die. false

Camilla Berenger

  1. BoaTP says: Camilla Berenger wants the Usurper to break free of its prison. true

What do you remember the worm doing while it was in control of you?

*breathy* "It's.. it's so odd. It was like… like this years-long nightmare where, I… I knew something was wrong, but the second I tried to think about what might be wrong, I just… I just couldn't. It was almost like something reset in me when I tried. I didn't know there was something controlling me until… until you took it out. I don't know what I did, what it did.. I just don't know. I mean, it was just charity work, gladhanding, stupid parties… I couldn't have done any real harm… could I?"

What can you tell us about the worm’s recent plans? Was it setting any contingency plans in motion?

"I don't know. Nothing makes sense. I didn't know anything was wrong, nothing, not until the priest showed up and teleported me from my bed to the Godswatch."

When did the worm take control of you?

"I don't remember exactly. It was so long ago, and it's all so fuzzy. Maybe a decade?"

Do you know of any members of a conspiracy that were or were not controlled by a worm? Please name/describe them.

"I can't help you. I don't know anything."

Do you know where/how new worms are created/acquired?

"I didn't even know they existed until… until a few days ago, when you all…."

Do you know anything about the Usurper?

"Who is the Usurper?"

Mal posits the following at the BoaTP:
Camilla Berenger lied in their interview with Aida. true Camilla lied about basically everything except "new worms" and "do you know anything about the Usurper"
Camilla Berenger resents the people of Isle. false
Camilla Berenger resents the culture of Isle. false
Camilla Berenger resents one or more of the Gods of Isle's Religion. true - all except Nerull
(if previous true, check which ones.)
Camilla Berenger wants to die. false

Thomas Berenger

Thomas refuses to talk until granted a pardon by the Stormwall and in public. Once the pardon is granted, he tells the PCs that he served as a messenger and go-between for a conspiracy of non-dominated pro-Usurper forces. He discloses that at least these people are involved in the conspiracy.

The very first thing Maleos does after hearing about the conspiracy is posit at the BoaTP the following:

  1. High Priest of Erythnul: Cronus Lyon wants the Usurper to break free of its prison. true
  2. High Priest of Nerull: Farrell Ignazio wants the Usurper to break free of its prison. true
  3. High Priest of Hextor: Gerolamo Xanthe wants the Usurper to break free of its prison. false
  4. Thomas Berenger wants the Usurper to break free of its prison. false
  5. Camilla Berenger wants the Usurper to break free of its prison. true
  6. Ward Berenger wants the Usurper to break free of its prison. true

Maleos to Esme: "I need your help interrogating a prisoner. They said they wanted a full pardon for everything they did while the Usurper was pullin' the strings. We said they could only have it, but they had to answer all of our questions and help us undo all the damage they had caused. He prolly thinks he got a good deal. Let's take him for everything he's worth."

At this point, Maleos is only sure of one thing: Worm or no worm, Thomas Berenger is every bit the shrewd negotiator Esme painted him as. Protocol for Thomas Berenger is that Maleos will ask the questions, but Esme will be listening in via Lesser Telepathic Bond elsewhere. Mal's hope is that Thomas will never see Esme's Wis score coming.

TODO
Guess we'll need to ward Ward.
Coordinate with the Ollidamarans. Suggest the possibility of leveraging Xanthe as a double-agent.
Prolly wouldn't hurt to poll the BoaTP on where the rest of our prisoners stand about letting the Usurper out of its cage. Just in case.

What do you remember the worm doing while it was in control of you?

"There's so much, just so much." He'll tell stories about carrying information he couldn't consciously know from person to person, carrying items from Golddale to Violetford and very very occasionally from Golddale to Brightmill, and angling for increased political influence with the politicians of Golddale. There are easily a hundred incidents of him brining information or items from one location to another.

What can you tell us about the worm’s recent plans? Was it setting any contingency plans in motion?

"Certainly." He tells you about the poisonings, about receiving information on all three of the "Chosen" at a dead drop (someone was obviously doing some legwork to find out who you were and who your families and loved ones were), and taking other information to differnt dead drops. He doesn't know what the information he took was; it was sealed, and he didn't read it. The information he received, though, he took to the candymaker to include in the poisoning target list.

When did the worm take control of you?

Before I moved out of my parent's home. That must have been 9 or 10 years ago.

Do you know of any members of a conspiracy that were or were not controlled by a worm? Please name/describe them.

"I can't say for sure beyond what I've already told you. My only other direct contacts were Norman (the candymaker), my parents, and Ivonne. But there were dead drops where I knew to pick up or leave information for others. I assume that these others weren't dominated since I never needed to bring information to Ivonne, Norman, or my parents, only items."

Do you know where/how new worms are created/acquired?

"I have suspicions that they're somewhere in Golddale. In retrospect, my tasks seem to have been carefully planned to maintain as much separation as possible from Golddale."

Do you know anything about the Usurper?

"I have heard… thought-heard… it's a weird thing to describe. I have thought-heard that name. Is that what these worms called themselves?"

Mal posits the following at the BoaTP:
Thomas Berenger wants the Usurper to escape its prison. false
Thomas Berenger lied in their interview with Aida. true Thomas lied about the conspiracy question, specifically the statement "I can't say for sure…"
Thomas Berenger resents the people of Isle. false
Thomas Berenger resents the culture of Isle. true
Thomas Berenger resents one or more of the Gods of Isle's Religion. true - all of them
(if previous true, check which ones.)
Thomas Berenger wants to die. false

Mattias Medved

What do you remember the worm doing while it was in control of you?

"Lotsa stuff. Stole, mostly. Killed some. A couple. Didn't want to, but… I couldn't help it. Couldn't do anything about that."

What can you tell us about the worm’s recent plans? Was it setting any contingency plans in motion?

"Some. Know I was supposed to kill a couple of people. Don't know who they are or why I was supposed to kill 'em, it was just.. just the command that came through, you know? Some bloke named Richard.. no, Ralph. Ralph… Daniels, I think. And some broad, Nico Little. Both locals."

When did the worm take control of you?

"I was just a kid, only 176. Made the mistake of trustin' that candyman and he fed me a demon."

Do you know of any members of a conspiracy that were or were not controlled by a worm? Please name/describe them.

"Must be. I dropped a lot of notes, picked up a lot of notes. Ferried them to Anita, mostly, or from. Never looked at them unless they were for me, telling me to rob or kill."

Do you know where/how new worms are created/acquired?

"Nah. Don't wanna know, neither."

Do you know anything about the Usurper?

"Too damn much, I'll tell you that! Don't wanna know no more. That worm.. that… thing, that was more than enough. I'm through."

Mal posits the following at the BoaTP:
Mattias Medved wants the Usurper to escape its prison. false
Mattias Medved lied in their interview with Aida. false
Mattias Medved resents the people of Isle. true
Mattias Medved resents the culture of Isle. true
Mattias Medved resents one or more of the Gods of Isle's Religion. true, all of them
(if previous true, check which ones.)
Mattias Medved wants to die. false

Jerred Darcy

Known to be Corrupted by the Usurper; no obvious physical deformities.
Transmutation magic swirling around his arms, legs, and throat. The meat itself has basically been turned into a magical item, presumably by the Usurper.

What do you remember the worm doing while it was in control of you?

"Din't really control me much, jus' sometimes. Mostly wanted me to do m'damn job. Get down inta the mines and know erry inch of 'em. Couldn't fight the bastard. Couldn't even talk 'bout it."

What can you tell us about the worm’s recent plans? Was it setting any contingency plans in motion?

"Think it wanted ta know 'bout th' mine, control access 'n shit like that. All I 'member's a coupla days ago (i.e., when everything went down in game, and just before the round-up raid) bein' pushed inta tha depths, where them buggers was hidin' out. Was gonna be doin' somethin' to 'em, but that priest nabbed me afore I could get to 'em."

When did the worm take control of you?

"Twenny years 'go, mebbe a little more. Down in tha mines. Stumbled 'cross a nest of 'em pokin' 'round where I shoulda kept my damn fool head out."

Do you know of any members of a conspiracy that were or were not controlled by a worm? Please name/describe them.

"Dunno 'bout any conspiracies. I didna work with a ton 'o people, just m'miners."

Do you know where/how new worms are created/acquired?

"Dunno about creation. Were a whole mess've 'em in the mines, down in some closed-off shafts. I hadta trade 'em out from time ta time, 'bout every six months or so. Horrible days, the trade-days. Paralyzed an' laid up th'whole time. That was my responsibility, gettin' the new ones out there 'n escortin' th' ol' ones back to the nests." He tells you where the nests were, but you already cleared them out during the big offensive.

Do you know anything about the Usurper?

"'S got some kinda link t'the mines, is all. Very protective of 'em. Mebbe just 'cause that's where the worms were. Got the feelin' they were all kinda linked together, this big other that'd talk through m'head and the worms that actually lived inside."

Mal posits the following at the BoaTP:
Jerred Darcy wants the Usurper to escape its prison. false
Jerred Darcy lied in their interview with Aida. false
Jerred Darcy resents the people of Isle. false
Jerred Darcy resents the culture of Isle. false
Jerred Darcy resents one or more of the Gods of Isle's Religion. false
(if previous true, check which ones.)
Jerred Darcy wants to die. false

David Tapia

What do you remember the worm doing while it was in control of you?

"Most o' the time, it was.. I just couldn't think 'bout it, y'know? But sometimes, sometimes I'd get these urges, these compulsions to go work at odd hours or on weird side-projects…. That's when I'd, y'know, I'd work on 'em, fer hours lotsa times, even days, but then I couldn't for the life 'o me remember what exactly I'd been buildin'. Didn't seem weird, I just… it musta made me just dismiss that thought as not important, y'know? Just made me forget and just… just not care…."

What can you tell us about the worm’s recent plans? Was it setting any contingency plans in motion?

"Musta been, but I couldn't say anything specific-like. Last few days, 's all a blur. Can't remember nothin' from that time clearly, just suddenly bein' here and findin' out it's already past-Festival and I didn't know how I'd spent most'a tha last week."

When did the worm take control of you?

"I don't know… oh, gods, I don't know. I can't remember it, I don't know… I don't know when. It… it musta been… oh, gods, it musta been years ago, just years. I can remember these… these blank nights all.. all the way back to when I was tryin' for Competent, all the way back 15 or so years ago at least."

Do you know of any members of a conspiracy that were or were not controlled by a worm? Please name/describe them.

"I don't… I don't know anything. I don't even know how I spent….." *staring off into space*

Do you know where/how new worms are created/acquired?

"Uh-uh." *still staring off into space*

Do you know anything about the Usurper?

*eyes snap back to you* "Usurper. I… I heard that before, somewhere. Can't tell ya where, can't remember, but I know it, half know it, at least. Must… must be related to these things, these mind-worms, yeah? 'Cause the memory, it's all blurry-like, same as with the project."

Mal posits the following at the BoaTP:
David Tapia wants the Usurper to escape its prison. false
David Tapia lied in their interview with Aida. true David lied about the "… I couldn't say anything specific-like"
David Tapia 's mind has something dangerous inside it. (I.E. whatever the hell it was Esme asked the BoaTP to determine that it wasn't safe to mind-read Hawa Travert.) true
David Tapia resents the people of Isle. false
David Tapia resents the culture of Isle. false
David Tapia resents one or more of the Gods of Isle's Religion. false
(if previous true, check which ones.)
David Tapia wants to die. false

Cherise Godo Glass

What do you remember the worm doing while it was in control of you?

"Exploring. I wanted to explore, and it wanted me to get close to the edges, into the mists. Touch a Watcher. Map the currents. All… *sigh*… all things, honestly, I already wanted to do."

What can you tell us about the worm’s recent plans? Was it setting any contingency plans in motion?

"All I know is that I had this… this urgent wanderlust? This feeling that I needed to be back out on the boat, away from land, away from everyone. So I went… and then you all showed up, and now here I am."

When did the worm take control of you?

"I was just a kid… My da, he was a fisherman, but he was an odd sort. He always wanted to see the Island, and so he'd take me and my ma, during the winters, we'd go places. Went to Violetford a couple of times, Brightmill once, even. But we usually went to Golddale. One time, when I was about… must have been 9 or 10, this kid there, he told me he'd found something special. Did I want to see it? Hells yes, I wanted to see it. He took me down around the mine area, snuck me in. There was a dead body there, and, let me tell you, it was not special. Not at all. It was bloated and gross. I turned to leave, but the kid was gone, and then this worm thing just jumped out of the dead body, and…"

*stops to regain her composure*

"Anyway, it's been there, but… kinda not letting me think about it being there… ever since. I knew it would push me, 'sail farther', 'get closer', all that, but at the same time, I didn't know, you know? Because I wasn't allowed to know…."

*stops again*

"It's… it's been so long, almost thirty years. And now, in a weird way, I feel… almost lonely. Disgusting. But… but true."

Do you know of any members of a conspiracy that were or were not controlled by a worm? Please name/describe them.

"I.. I thought Margaretha was. But since she came and picked me up and… well, I guess I was wrong about that."

Do you know where/how new worms are created/acquired?

"The mountains, maybe? I don't know. I'm just guessing because that's where I was…"

Do you know anything about the Usurper?

"It was critically interested in the Watchers. I remember that now. I can't tell you anything beyond that, why, or what it knows, or anything. I just know it was focused on them."

Mal posits the following at the BoaTP:
Cherise Godo Glass wants the Usurper to escape its prison. false
Cherise Godo Glass lied during her testimony to Aida. false
Cherise Godo Glass resents the people of Isle. false
Cherise Godo Glass resents the culture of Isle. true
Cherise Godo Glass resents one or more of the Gods of Isle's Religion. true
(if previous true, check which ones.)
Cherise Godo Glass wants to die. false

Ivonne Issachar

Known to be Corrupted by the Usurper.
Mostly centered on her face and head, according to the priests. Maleos suspects it makes her a better liar or possibly prevents her from thinking clearly. He'll check the BoaTP daily to see if she's somehow regenerated a new worm inside her (false), since she currently sounds like an exaggerated, drunken parody of herself.

What do you remember the worm doing while it was in control of you?

"I mostly remember just playing around with all the animals. Whatever it was wanted me to be there, I know that much. It was creepy, but at the same time, it was really nice, you see? Because there were so many animals, and I could talk to all the new people who came in to visit, too! So I was never lonely, and I was never bored! I always had stuff to do. My mama always said it's important for a young lady to keep herself busy, because idleness just leads to trouble. And I think she was right, don't you know? I mean, I know this was trouble, and I wasn't idle, but still, just think if I was! It'd probably have been even more trouble then, don't you agree? I think all those cute little animals kept me out of most of the trouble, I'll tell you that."

What can you tell us about the worm’s recent plans? Was it setting any contingency plans in motion?

"Oh, I don't know anything about plans. The best-laid plans are wiped away upon contact with the problem, that's what my daddy always told me. 'Ivonne,' he'd say, 'Ivonne, you can plan if you want to, but I've lived my life in the moment, and look where that's gotten me! You just follow your heart, dear, and it'll take you where you need to go,' that's what he always said. And he was right, I think, because, do you know, I spent so much time with Priestess Lawson, and so many people just don't understand her, but I think I do, you see? Because I didn't plan anything, I just lived in the moment, and don't you know, that's how the animals do it, and I think that's what Priestess Lawson liked about me, because we could get along, because we both love animals so much! I'm sorry, what was the question?"

When did the worm take control of you?

"Oh, do we have to talk about this? It's so… unpleasant. I don't want to talk about it. Can we talk about the animals some more? Maybe you could bring me Tilo and Scoot, those two always seemed to like me even more than Priestess Lawson! They're so small, and they'd give me something to care for and something to do while I'm here. Be a dear and fetch them for me?"

Do you know of any members of a conspiracy that were or were not controlled by a worm? Please name/describe them.

Her answer to this is so unhelpful and so off-topic at such length that reproducing it here would be a waste of bits.

Do you know where/how new worms are created/acquired?

"Well, I assume it's much like all the animals do…. I've never really seen a worm reproduce, but back on the farm, we mated the sheep every year, and let me tell you, they didn't really need us butting in to it, no sir! And people are the same way, you know." *wink* "You leave a few people alone together for long enough, they'll surely get to creating new people, you'd better believe it! And with gusto! What was the question? Were you asking me out?"

Do you know anything about the Usurper?

"Hmm? What's a Usurper? It makes me think of syrup. Oh, I'd love some syrup! Flatcakes and syrup sound soooo good right now, and it's been oh so long since I've had some! When you fetch Tilo and Scoot, could you bring me some flatcakes and syrup, too? Oh, and some sweet-cider! I'd just die for a glass of sweet-cider! And some carrots or something for the mice, too! They'll almost certainly be hungry. How long have I been here? Has someone been looking after the animals? Oh, you just have to let me go, they'll be so hungry! I need to go feed them, and brush them, and, oh, there's just so much work to be done!"

Mal posits the following at the BoaTP:
Ivonne Issachar has a Usurper worm inside her. (repeat daily) false
Ivonne Issachar wants the Usurper to escape its prison. false
Ivonne Issachar lied during her testimony to Aida. false
Ivonne Issachar resents the people of Isle. false
Ivonne Issachar resents the culture of Isle. false
Ivonne Issachar resents one or more of the Gods of Isle's Religion. false
(if previous true, check which ones.)
Ivonne Issachar wants to die. false

Minna Soloman

What do you remember the worm doing while it was in control of you?

"Everything is very fuzzy. I remember, vaguely, working on magical research. I do not remember the specifics. I also remember improving my boat designs."

Darias asks for specifics. He's also adding inquiries to the BoaTP about boats built for the Usurper, if they're designed to escape the Isle through the Mists, to destroy the Watchers, if they're still around, where, etc…

"All our fishing boats, they are really only good for the shoreline, the littorals. They cannot handle the open ocean. They just are not sturdy enough. They cannot even safely make it out to where the Watchers are in rough weather or during large tides. We never needed anything else because we cannot go more than a few miles out in any direction anyway. Still, I could tell they just were not sturdy enough. I wanted to improve on our best works. So I developed different hull designs, entirely new ones. I made a couple that were faster, but not as maneuverable; those are very exciting. Mostly, though, I was looking for sturdier and stronger without making them too heavy to control. And I wanted to make them bigger so that they could carry more supplies. Cherise's is one of my best prototypes. She sent me a letter once, told me once that she could not have explored the Island's waters so thoroughly without my work. She could stay on that boat for weeks without coming to shore, or she could bring three or four people along for a week-long journey if she wanted to. I think it was one of my most promising designs - I didn't even use any magic to help with that one."

"As for the magical research… I can try to explain some of it, but magical theory is not my strong suit. I have a relatively strong grasp on the basics of abjuration, transmutation, and some simple forms of enchantment, but my grasp of evocation is rudimentary, and I have not studied the other classifications significantly. I primarily relied on magic to help me develop protections for my designs that I could then try to replicate in mundane materials. I also worked on some studies of the magical fields surrounding powerful items, but I could not tell you much about it or draw any conclusions for you. Though I seemed to understand the material at the time, it has become nothing more than gibberish to me now."

What can you tell us about the worm’s recent plans? Was it setting any contingency plans in motion?

"I do not know any specifics. I was experimenting. On what, I cannot tell you."

When did the worm take control of you?

"I was dominated during the early spring of the year before last, at the Sunbreak festival. I met… someone there who conned me into joining them in a private setting. Upon doing so, I was set upon by this creature."

Do you know of any members of a conspiracy that were or were not controlled by a worm? Please name/describe them.

"I know of no conspiracy specifically. It is reasonable to assume that there is one, considering the work I was doing. Unless, of course, so many where dominated by worms that they planned to try to breach the Mists with a mass migration of dominated Islanders. That seems to be the only rational explanation for why they would bother to dominate me."

Do you know where/how new worms are created/acquired?

"They must reproduce somehow, I would assume."

Do you know anything about the Usurper?

"No, I… wait. Usurper, you said? I semi-remember that word. An entity? The worm. That's what you mean, correct?"

Mal posits the following at the BoaTP:
Minna Soloman wants the Usurper to escape its prison. false
Minna Soloman lied during her testimony to Aida. false
Minna Soloman resents the people of Isle. false
Minna Soloman resents the culture of Isle. false
Minna Soloman resents one or more of the Gods of Isle's Religion. false
(if previous true, check which ones.)
Minna Soloman wants to die. false

Henrika Foley

Henrika Foley's answers are generally quiet and emotionless. She doesn't look at you, just stares at the floor.

What do you remember the worm doing while it was in control of you?

"I was a hunter. An assassin."

What can you tell us about the worm’s recent plans? Was it setting any contingency plans in motion?

"I was…. I had targets. Many. A dozen or so."

Can you name/go into specifics about who they were, and why they were targeted? Was there anything in particular, other than the existence of the worms, that they seemed keen on protecting?

"Rebels, mostly. People who were getting food, information, that sort of thing, all for the rebels. Couldn't find the camp, but could kill the scouting parties. Also a couple of others… I don't know why I killed them. They were just villagers, not rebels, as far as I could tell, but I didn't know everything."

When did the worm take control of you?

"Six, seven years ago. After a hunt. It came out of the deer."

Not sure if we missed this one, but Darias is asking the BoaTP whether there are any worms left on the Isle in any animals.

You didn't. Maleos searched for any other worms on the Island, and there aren't any. This is actually the first time you've ever heard of one potentially being in a non-sapient animal.

Do you know of any members of a conspiracy that were or were not controlled by a worm? Please name/describe them.

"No."

Do you know where/how new worms are created/acquired?

"No."

Do you know anything about the Usurper?

"No."

Mal posits the following at the BoaTP:
Henrika Foley wants the Usurper to escape its prison. false
Henrika Foley lied during her testimony to Aida. false
Henrika Foley resents the people of Isle. true
Henrika Foley resents the culture of Isle. false
Henrika Foley resents one or more of the Gods of Isle's Religion. true - all of them
(if previous true, check which ones.)
Henrika Foley wants to die. false

Karman Bartos

Known to be Corrupted by the Usurper.
Karman has Transmutation magic swirling around his eyes, arms, legs, stomach, and ears

What do you remember the worm doing while it was in control of you?

"Everything's just a blur… What year is this?" after you tell him "I don't really remember anything for the past 5 years."

This story seems fishy to you. He could be telling the truth and he's just nervous and naturally shifty, or he could be lying to you. You can't tell which.

What can you tell us about the worm’s recent plans? Was it setting any contingency plans in motion?

"I told ya, man, I just don't know. I barely remember anything from the past 5 years, just blurred images here and there like I was drunk tha whole time."

When did the worm take control of you?

"'Bout five years ago, little more. Was at a game, somewhere. Can't remember where. I was drunk. I got rolled. I don't remember much after that, not until, well, roughly now."

Do you know of any members of a conspiracy that were or were not controlled by a worm? Please name/describe them.

"No clue. I don't even know what I've been doing the last five years, much less anybody else."

Do you know where/how new worms are created/acquired?

"They fuck?"

Do you know anything about the Usurper?

"What's a Usurper?"

Mal posits the following at the BoaTP:
Karman Bartos wants the Usurper to escape its prison. true
Karman Bartos lied during their testimony to Aida. true Karman lied about just everything except the last two questions, which he didn't answer.
Karman Bartos managed to send a non-spoken message while he had his finger stuck in the tent flap. false
Karman Bartos resents the people of Isle. true
Karman Bartos resents the culture of Isle. true
Karman Bartos resents one or more of the Gods of Isle's Religion. true - all but Nerull
(if previous true, check which ones.)
Karman Bartos wants to die. false

Nana Lund

What do you remember the worm doing while it was in control of you?

"It mostly seemed to be just.. observing. It made… strong suggestions as to how I should spend money from time to time. Investments. Construction of specific magical devices, like these incredibly expensive food-transport chests. Most of those decisions didn't make much sense to me."

What can you tell us about the worm’s recent plans? Was it setting any contingency plans in motion?

"I assume so. I just spent about half of my accumulated fortune in the past few days, tens of thousands of Elders. I assume most of that went to activating some sort of contingency plans."

When did the worm take control of you?

"So long ago… almost forty years now. I was so young back then…." *long pause* "It must have some sort of residual effect, like it did when it was inside of me. I should be terrified, disgusted, shaking, a wreck… but I just don't feel anything. It's almost like it was when it was inside of me, just a background."

Do you know of any members of a conspiracy that were or were not controlled by a worm? Please name/describe them.

"My staff, they all must have been, but they didn't know anything, I swear. They just did what I asked. I know they made purchases and deliveries. I must have tasked them with seventy or more just in the past few days."

She'll describe some of the things she's had her staff do. She sent funds to various temples, distributed some magical reagents to frequent purchasers on credit, and similar. The details are taken down by the priests to be followed up on.

Do you know where/how new worms are created/acquired?

"No. Information was very compartmentalized. I didn't even understand much of what I was investing in, not fully, at least. Fishing boats, various magical research projects, reagent substitution experiments. I'm not a wizard myself, you understand, so while I've grown to understand many aspects of magical theory, all I have is theory, not practice."

Do you know anything about the Usurper?

"The word is very familiar. I feel as though I should have some sort of reaction to it, but that reaction is somehow dulled. It must be the worm - am I correct? That is the name of the worm, the Usurper? Pray tell, what does it intend to usurp?"

Mal posits the following at the BoaTP:
Nana Lund wants the Usurper to escape its prison. false
Nana Lund lied during her testimony to Aida. false
Nana Lund resents the people of Isle. false
Nana Lund resents the culture of Isle. true
Nana Lund resents one or more of the Gods of Isle's Religion. false
(if previous true, check which ones.)
Nana Lund wants to die. false

Miran Reynolds

Miran, like all of the other individuals retrieved and dewormed during the PC's shock-and-awe action, was thoroughly checked out by a cadre of priests and Stormwall before being left in her medical-tent "cell." She was healthy and showed no traces of being poisoned, diseased, or cursed. She was left alone for only a short period of time while the wounded were tended to and the battlefield cleared of any worm-corpses that could even potentially regenerate. When the priests checked in on her after less than an hour, she was found dead of unknown causes. Magical inspection indicates that there was some kind of extraordinarily well-hidden magical item or effect on or in her person that activated when or shortly after the worms were all killed, killing her in the process.

BoaTP… Does anyone else have this kind of magical device in them. If not, we need to figure out why it was important that Miran Reynolds didn't survive. Likely due to information she might have. What do we know about her?

No one else appears to have any kind of magical device implanted in them, though some of the others are carrying so-far-unknown magical effects (Hawa, Karman, Jerred, Ivonne… don't know if I missed anyone without referring to notes). I think all you know is that she was a political assistant (think Secretary of the City) for Brightmill.

Mal posits the following at the BoaTP:
Miran Reynolds wanted the Usurper to escape its prison. true
Miran Reynolds resented the people of Isle. true
Miran Reynolds resented the culture of Isle. true
Miran Reynolds resented one or more of the Gods of Isle's Religion. true - all but Nerull
(if previous true, check which ones.)
Miran Reynolds wanted to die. false

Crimes and Punishments

The PCs negotiated judicial pleas with the Watch, the Heironyan justices, and so on. And now, the results of those trials….

Preaching to the Chior

Since Thomas Berenger is forcing our hand, we might as well get some good publicity out of it. Maleos would like to say this at Thomas's public pardoning:

"This is a message for anyone out there who might have gotten sucked into the Usurper's plans: Your Demon has failed you. The Stormwall suffered no casualties, and saved each and every one of victims the Usurper had possessed. But that was a very near thing. Several worms attempted to burst out of the backs of their human hosts, sacrificing the hosts' lives for only the most meager tactical advantage. Some of the victims were corrupted into monstrous forms; We have saved their minds, but their bodies will never be the same. This thing is not your friend. It lies to you. It tortures its victims. It would kill you on a whim. Come forward and receive your pardon now, before it's too late."

He'd like some particularly gossipy onlookers in the crowd if possible. Then he'd repeat that basic message when we go around proselytizing.

Maleos's hope is that people to start gossiping about the fact that there may be some kinda stragglers out there, and there's pardons up for grabs. These people just tried to summon a god, and we killed it right in front of them, with zero casualties. Ten seconds later, we confiscated their secret ammo dumps. The conspiracy has been a huge flop. No amount of cognative dissonance is stronger than the panic they must be feeling right now. This gives the conspiritors an easy way out. Just come forward and say you didn't mean it, you were tricked into it. It may not get the high priests, especially if they have a Plan B, but it'll maybe get some of the underlings. At the same time, it makes the Stormwall look like the good guys. They're offering pardons! Best of all, it makes Thomas's power play look like something we planned all along.

Esme thinks it's a good start.  She also thinks that there are some additional things we can use it for at the same time.  We can play up the pardons as a way to divide up the conspirators; we can use it to get people used to the idea of going Across by telling the public that some of the pardons will be contingent upon retrieving important artifacts from there; and we can play up the "rightness" of your actions by announcing the reopening of the teleporter network, if we can find at least a few pads quickly enough (which will just mean doing some very quick coldcrystal work).  That'll be a start for honing the message to get the general public more on our side and used to the idea that Across isn't "death"

Valley Sea Machinery

Darias will check the BoaTP for a description of the machinery under the Valleysea, and anything related to it.

The Book doesn't appear to have any specific information about machinery under the Valleysea. It only mentions that there is a holy site at the bottom of the Valleysea and that Islander should stay away until they are confident in both their strength and their penitence because any who enter will be sorely (and perhaps mortally) tested. It also says that the only treasures to be found there are knowledge and wisdom; those who enter will receive neither wealth nor power.

Teleportation

Darias will check the BoaTP for a description of the teleportation network, and anything related to it.

The Book does have vague descriptions of the teleportation network. It describes how the "long-steps" work and notes that the Isle was established with 4 major and 16 minor pads. The major pads were set up to be linked to one another and 5 other pads apiece (8 total), and the minor pads are linked to 4 pads each. The instructions were to put the major pads in the centers of the cities to be established on the Isle. Activation of a pad is simple and just requires a quick series of taps (the pattern is in the book), throwing you to the pad you're facing. Pads are very simplistic; if someone's blocking the other end of the pad you try to jump to, the jump fails and you get a chime and a red ring on the pad. The pads can activate about once every 10 seconds and can transport 6 medium people or a total of about 1500 lb.

Is there an image or description or map of the locations? One that could help us identify a pad?

There aren't any really good maps - there are some sketches, but the landmarks and information are quite out of date. The initial directive was "put the major stones where you will found your settlements and the minor ones anywhere you need to reach quickly to ensure each settlement has access to everything they need." The major stones will be easiest to find in general since there was one placed somewhere near the "middle" of Old Brightmill, Old Violetford, and Old Golddale. Old Violetford has retained the most of its original character, meaning you know where that stone is. Both Golddale and Brightmill have changed more significantly. The Brightmill stone still should be vaguely near the City Hall/Temple area, but Golddale is more of a crapshoot. You have no idea where the fourth major stone would be; there are only 3 cities, after all.

As for the minor stones, the directives in the Book imply that the minor stones will probably be scattered relatively far from their linked major stones; for instance, Brightmill's very close to the forest, so it likely doesn't need a long-step to there; but it's further from the mountains, the sea, and so on, so there might be some long-steps that would have given Brightmill easier and quicker access to those areas. There are certainly areas you would call significant on the Isle, and some of those would be good places to start looking - the accessible bays, the western seaside, the big forests, the Valleysea area, and maybe even the swamps.

More Better, Less Bad

Sometimes it's difficult to conceptualize that only three or four days passed between the Battle of the Usurper's Crossing and the Deconstruction7, barely enough time for most of the Isle to have even heard about what has happened. Over the next few days as you're interrogating subjects from the Deconstruction, you hear rumors, reports coming in, and you see that fully a quarter of the Stormwall has slowly disappeared from camp. They've been dispatched, you find, to help quell potential riots and reinforce the Watch in areas where there has been increasing unrest. From rumors, you hear of huge public arguments, disownings, even brawls. What you don't hear about are deaths. It seems that, whatever unrest there is, at least thus far the Watch and the Stormwall reinforcing them have been able to contain the problem, help cooler heads prevail at least for a time. There are certainly those who despise both you and the changes you've brought to the Island; those who distrust you for having upended their world and disappeared; and those who have started to revere you, perhaps uncomfortably so. And there have been arguments and even fistfights between these factions. No one has yet pulled weapons or organized any kind of resistance movement, though. You can't help but twitch every time a messenger arrives from the dispatched Stormwall, just waiting for it to be a message about the first murder brought about by your actions, the first organized riot in a city, the first hints of open revolution against your statements. But so far, despite nearly a week having passed since the Decontruction, you haven't heard of any such thing. Your gut tells you that this could, maybe should be worse than it is, so much worse. You begin to wonder if there are lingering effects from the Gold Boon, things Perai Luun did under the table while manifested that are still touching the minds of the populace… and considering the mind-effects of the worms you just pulled from more than a dozen of your fellow citizens, this thought might be just a little bit uncomfortable.

How does Aida feel about this? Does she believe this is lingering magic, or does she have a different explanation?
How does Darias feel about this? Does he believe this is lingering magic, or does he have a different explanation?

Darias is far more uncomfortable about the worshipers than the jeering haters. (Point of fact, there have already been several murders due to our actions.) Darias thinks that this equilibrium likely won't last too much longer. He's of the opinion that we need to start speaking to the people. Granted, it might wind up being a match held to a powder keg, but with the conspiracy still out there, and the natural chaos this kind of thing would cause, well, I don't think we have a choice. We'll need trusted voices of support… the high priests, especially Hume, probably Captain Bannister, etc. We may also need to neutralize the conspiratorial high priests first, but we definitely need to move fast.

As to the magic… it's possible. Maybe ask the BoaTP. It's also possible that people just haven't gotten to the point where they're wanting to murder their neighbors. The conspiracy could certainly be fanning the flames. At this point, starting a civil war that destroys a large portion of the population could be the conspiracy's best option.

How does Maleos feel about this? Does he believe this is lingering magic, or does he have a different explanation?
Here's how Maleos feels about this: AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

Maleos checks to see if there's lingering magic on people who perhaps uncomfortably revere us. He'll also posit at the BoaTP that the direct effects of Darias's Gold Boon effects are currently still being felt (true). If this returns true, he'll cast a Divination to find out how long we have before they wear off (they're slowly wearing off and will probably hold for another week at the outside). Hopefully at least until the times are realigned…

Maleos asks Esme if she can think of a different explanation. "I know it damn sure wasn't our handling of the political situation. Best thing we did was bring ten Aidas to a wormfight."

And don't forget the conspirators!

High Priest of Erythnul Cronus Lyon

Maleos posits the following at the BoaTP:
Cronus Lyon wants the Usurper to break free of its prison. true
Cronus Lyon resents the people of Isle. true
Cronus Lyon resents the culture of Isle. false
Cronus Lyon resents one or more of the Gods of Isle's Religion. true - all of them
(if previous true, check which ones.)
Cronus Lyon wants to die. false

High Priest of Nerull: Farrell Ignazio

Maleos posits the following at the BoaTP:
Farrell Ignazio wants the Usurper to break free of its prison. true
Farrell Ignazio resents the people of Isle. false
Farrell Ignazio resents the culture of Isle. false
Farrell Ignazio resents one or more of the Gods of Isle's Religion. true - all but Nerull
(if previous true, check which ones.)
Farrell Ignazio wants to die. false

High Priest of Hextor: Gerolamo Xanthe

Maleos posits the following at the BoaTP:
Gerolamo Xanthe wants the Usurper to break free of its prison. false
Gerolamo Xanthe resents the people of Isle. false
Gerolamo Xanthe resents the culture of Isle. false
Gerolamo Xanthe resents one or more of the Gods of Isle's Religion. true
(if previous true, check which ones.) True—pretty much all, but Hextor the most strongly //
Gerolamo Xanthe wants to die. //false

Is he a double agent? He’s in the cult but doesn’t want the usurper to get free.
Not on the side of the gods? No.
Does he believe in the mission of the cult? No. So we don’t know what he’s doing…or why. Can’t say he’s a double agent but can’t say he’s a single agent either. Don’t have a clear picture of his motivations.
Has he experienced a crisis of faith? True
Nothing he has ever made has held up to the standards he sets with his designs.
He is working with Shimone. False
He has divulged info about the conspiracy to anyone who is not in it. True
…..that he knows is not in it. True
——that he knows isn’t in it and people who have taken actions against it True
Same for the cult. ?
There’s clearly somehting else going on here where he isn’t fully a true believer of usurper cult but is participating so must be participating for reasons other than deep religious zealotry.
He has corrupted the teaching of Hextor in the church in subtle ways.
(Intentionally changed them)
The Dharven are the children of Hextor.
He is twisting the teachings of Hextor towards Amem (the god whose eye is under Suntar Agam throne room). The worship, we’re seeing the beginning of the types of things that happened that ended up Paray Luun out of our history.
Was this already started before this guy came along? There were some seeds before that directed him this way. It’s been happening very very slowly over at least the past few generations.

Information Exchange

Just to be thorough, Maleos posits the following at the Book of a Thousand Pages:

The high priest of Boccob has voluntarily8 taken actions that support the Usurper within the last week.
The high priest of Ehlonna has voluntarily taken actions that support the Usurper within the last week.
The high priest of Erythnul has voluntarily taken actions that support the Usurper within the last week.
The high priest of Fharlanghn has voluntarily taken actions that support the Usurper within the last week.
The high priest of Heironyous has voluntarily taken actions that support the Usurper within the last week.
The high priest of Hextor has voluntarily taken actions that support the Usurper within the last week.
The high priest of Nerull has voluntarily taken actions that support the Usurper within the last week.
The high priest of Olidammara has voluntarily taken actions that support the Usurper within the last week.
The high priest of Pelor has voluntarily taken actions that support the Usurper within the last week.

To answer these, assuming the above footnote: the positive results for "voluntarily and knowingly" are Erythnul, Hextor, and Nerull. That would be High Priest Lyon, High Priest Xanthe, and High Priest Ignazio.

The he gets a list of the priests of the conspiring High Priests and posits the following for each at the BoaTP:

  • <priest name> has uttered statements in favor of the Usurper within the last week.
  • <priest name> has voluntarily taken actions that support the Usurper within the last week.
  • <priest name> has uttered more statements in favor of the Chosen than against them within the last week.
  • <priest name> has voluntarily taken actions that support the Chosen within the last week.
  • <priest name> has voluntarily taken actions that hinder the Chosen within the last week.
  • <priest name> has uttered more statements in favor of Perai Luun than against him within the last week.
  • <priest name> has voluntarily taken actions that support Perai Luun within the last week.
  • <priest name> has voluntarily taken actions that hinder Perai Luun within the last week.

Starting with the most important priests and working his way down the ranks. He may not have time to finish, but he should at least be able to grind through the upper echelons. (If it seems like the general trend is "yes to everything," he'll narrow it to the last 2 days or the last day.)

GM can easily write this as:
<Priest name>, <Rank> priest of <Deity>: Supports/Doesn't Support Usurper; Talks up/Talks down Chosen more; helps chosen; hinders chosen; Talks Up/Talks Down Perrai Luun more; helps PL; hinders PL

Note: Yes, Help and Hinder are tracked separately, but I'm gambling that since talk is easy and work is hard, probably very few people are voluntarily playing both sides. The few that are probably have complex stories that merit further questions. If the trend seems to suggest they're all returning true, I'll change to positing that they helped more than hindered.

Maleos gives the Olidammarans a nice juicy infodump of what we've learned from the prisoners as a way of partially repaying them for all the info we've been asking for lately, and then he'll add "I'm frankly really worried about how many of the people involved in this conspiracy seemed to be fans of Nerull. I worry the Nerullian high priest's involvement could mean the entire branch of Isle's religion has been misled by the Usurper. If we can't flip Farrell Ignazio, this could be building to a very ugly climax."

To broadly summarize the results of Maleos's "check all the priests" line of inquiries above, note that there are something like 360 or so active priests on Isle. Counting ex-priests (retired or those who have left the priesthood to pursue different paths), you're looking at more like 400, but probably under rather than over. Priests and ex-priests make up something like 40-45% of the spellcasters on the Isle. Of that set, there are a number you could narrow down as being likely to be on the side of the Usurper, mostly specializing in Nerull, Hextor, and Erythnul, but not only of those specialties. There are no current Olidammaran priests who seem to be good candidates for "traitors9," but there are 2 ex-priests who might be. Other than that, you can find "traitors" in every priestly specialization. The total "traitor count" appears to be around 10% of the priesthood and has 12 apprentices, 13 journeymen, 10 competents, and 4 high priests, spread throughout all of the specializations. Helping and hindering the Chosen is harder to guess since you guys don't have a real clear mission or public presence yet, which means everything is basically false on both sides (they haven't helped or hindered you because they've just not done anything directly relating to you). There are some indications of people working against Perai Luun (mostly around priests that are suspected to be "traitors" or directly report to those priests), and there are some strong indications (particularly in the Pelorian and Olidammaran camps) of priests working for Perai Luun.

The Honest Case Against the Usurper

(given the motivations of the Usurper's supporters that we know about, here's the Hard Sell)

  • If the Usurper breaks free of its prison, we're all gonna die horribly at best, or be forcibly controlled by subcutaneous worms at worst.
  • Don't like Isle? Good news. Pretty soon, you'll be allowed to just leave if you want to.
  • Like gambling? Drink? Politics? Power? Lucrative Business Deals? There's a whole huge world out there that values these things differently than Isle.
  • Feel abandoned by Isle's classic pantheon? Well I've got some good news for you. The gods are on their way back.
  • But wait! Don't like Isle's Gods? Coming soon: leaving!
  • Confused and disillusioned by layers of metaphor? Good news! We've found the artifact designed to serve up Isle's true history, hot and fresh, on demand, 24/7!
  • Intrigued by esoteric lost branches of magic and alchemy? Come study abroad and learn more than you ever imagined possible from the peoples who've spent generations mastering this stuff.
  • "Has this ever happened to you!?" *screaming as a worm explodes from their spine and chunks of exploded flesh rain down* No? Want to KEEP IT THAT WAY? Just Say No to the Usurper!
  • It's literally named after what it wants to do to you I mean come on people how is this hard

Artifacts 'R' Us

We have two pounds of Argia to work with. That's frankly fucking insane. We could literally sit down with the priests and build some kinda new artifact if we could talk them into it. What should it do? Post your ideas here

  • Tons more of those subdermal implants the higher-ups use that inoculate people against the Usurper's influence.
  • A Stormwall Hammer, except it's made almost entirely of Argia
  • A large number of standard Stormwall Hammers
  • A Magical Item that can hold Maleos's Silver Boon… or maybe even Aida's Gold Boon… and then when it's spent, it very very slowly begins to recharge… basically a Boon Battery
  • A population-calming item to prolong or replicate the calming effect of Dare's already-spent Gold Boon.
  • Some sort of system that allows the Book of a Thousand Pages to be read by more than one person at a time.
  • Pelor's Compass. Hear me out on this one. Obviously we can't make a mechanical lifeform like the ACTUAL Pelor's Compass. But what we might be able to do is use Maleos and maybe one of his Bronzes as a sympathetic link to the Shadow version of Pelor's compass, and using that for structre, pump the 2 pounds of argia full of shadow magic until it can basically emulate the Compass for a certain number of rounds per day. Would be SUPER useful for exploring the Mainland. Just sayin'.

Moving Forward

Maleos floats the idea that we could start organizing people to prepare for the Temporal Alignment. New markets and opportunities are going to open up, and new visitors are going to be reconnecting with Isle. That means new opportunities for those who go and new opportunities for those who stay. It would give people something to do with their energy besides fighting over whether or not this is a good idea. Hopefully when the magic starts to wear off if people are already engaged in something positive, they won't go back to escalating tensions.

Of course, we'll need to make sure the Millitias have the tools they need to keep the peace.

Golddale is probably our throniest problem to tackle next. If we're scheming, you'd better believe the powers that Be in Golddale are scheming.

If we can find a way to reach out to the 90% of priests who aren't potentially in on the conspiracy, in theory, it should be easy to bring enough mana to bear to cancel out any spellcasting on their part. In practice, actually doing that would require a LOT of legwork and coordination. (Presumably the Ollidamarans are already on this, but we have no way of knowing how successful they are.) Besides which, a lot of the priests on our side are probably already working towards some sort of ritual for Dispelling the enchantments on the Corrupted Islers.

At the very least, given the whole 10% Priests thing, I think the Stormguard should put Detect Magic on at least one guy in every unit in the short term. True Seeing cast by a Mythic caster would be even better. Any plot, mission or move by the conspirators is all but guaranteed to involve some sort of magic. So invisibility on the front lines, Ritual back at the base. (If we're lucky!)

Anti-Ritual Ritual

If the conspirators are planning a ritual, we know who their likely targets would be— we have a list of names they wanted dead, including us PCs and the high priests of the faithful. So if we just cover all those people with a Reflect magic ritual during the Equinox, the conspirators are screwed. Anything they throw at us would bounce back up to ninefold!

Maleos posits at the BoaTP that some of the conspiritors:

  • Have cast ritual magics in the last week that did not include the faithful
  • Have completed a ritual casting in the last week that did not include the faithful
  • Are currently working on a ritual casting that did not include the faithful

(The clause "did not include the faithful" is to disambiguate between and filter out any conspiritors who somehow may have infiltrated any of the rituals we did that we already know about from Operation: Good Tequila.)


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