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L'amore tra i mostri: Session 2, Q4-6

Continued from HERE.

4. How can the fight be brought to the enemy, gaining ground for the heroic motivation? 

Be the PCs first: 
Encounter: infiltration 
Place: La Piazza Avanti, same time
Orsini directs everyone's attention to Stefano's closed shop and the extraordinary locks keeping it secure. Don Pantaloni states that strange locks prove that strangeness lurks inside. Knowing that he has touched the heart of the warrior who falsely accused Guglio, Don Pantaloni insists that the warrior help the others open the door.

Be the GM next:
Story Cube: magnet
Count Cabravino agrees that this would be a good idea. The warrior tries to force the door open and (natural 20) he breaks through! As soon as he steps into the shop, his feet become held fast in place by a gluey substance. Several clocks on the shelves of the shop suddenly come to life, and little statuettes of characters with bows and arrows fire tiny projectiles at the warrior. After being pricked by several of the tiny arrows, the warrior almost instantly falls asleep. Count Cabravino surmises that the projectiles are poisoned. The townspeople are scared to enter the clockmaker's shop.

Be the PCs once more:
Knowing they're on to exonerating Guglio, Orsini and his friends carefully step over the sleeping warrior and walk into the shop.

5. How can any heroic gains from the results of Question 4 suddenly be undermined as new information about the true face/scheme/power of the enemy becomes known?

Be the GM first:
Story Cube: egg 
Encounter: revelation & combat 
Place: Inside of Stefano's shop, La Piazza Avanti, minutes later
The shop is a cluttered mess of clock faces, gears, and gizmos, but there are no other traps around to slow Orsini and the others. A stairway in a back room leads to a basement and then to a tunnel which is quite odd since none of the buildings in the piazza have anything more than minor underground storage facilities. Down the narrow passageway, six egg-shaped objects sit on the floor. As the heroes get closer to them, the fabricated eggs open up, and out pop human-sized clockwork skeletons sporting hand-drawn happy faces and brandishing swords! Their construction clearly shows the eccentric handiwork of Stefano the clockmaker. Somehow, this is all his doing!

Be the PCs next: 
The skeletons aren't undead, so Ysabel warns the others that she cannot affect them with her divine powers. Orsini, Ysabel, and Guglio try to push through the constructs while Don Pantaloni uses his sharpshooting skills on the skeletons' happy faces. The melee in tight quarters is a difficult one and, to everyone's horror, Guglio is mortally struck down (to exactly 0 hit points)! Orsini lifts his fallen friend's war hammer and fights on doubly hard! Guglio miraculously regains consciousness (got a 20 on his first death saving throw and received 1 hp) and drags himself out of the fight. Orsini and Ysabel finish off the other skeletons, and then everyone tends to their wounds as quickly as possible.

Be the GM once more:
As he is being healed, Guglio recalls seeing the silver bust of the Dwarven Moon Goddess come to him as he neared death. It spoke to him, imploring him to find her. Was the beautiful vision just a dream or something more? The group looks past the shattered remains of the clockwork skeletons down the rest of the dark tunnel. In the distance, they can hear the sounds of clicking gears.

6. How can the adverse results from Questions 4 and 5 be further intensified, forcing the heroes to commit to a do-or-die course of action in accordance with the heroic motivation? 

Be the GM first:
Story Cube: raven 
Encounter: intrigue & combat 
Place: Inside of Stefano's shop, La Piazza Avanti, same time
The tunnel opens up into a wide workroom. Inside of the torchlit room there is a very large clockwork bird skeleton with fabric wings. Stefano is engrossed in working on the bird machine, but his wife is not. She sees the heroes enter and whips off her cloak revealing that, although she is a much older woman, she wears the garb of an Old Continent warrior exceedingly well. The woman lifts up a huge mace and charges at group of friends.

Be the PCs next:
Orsini and Guglio ready themselves to counter Stefano's wife's attack, but they are no match for her. (I made her a level 10 fighter just to see what it would be like!) The older woman easily disarms Orsini and bashes Guglio across the room. Don Pantaloni wisely keeps his distance. Sister Ysabel implores the woman to cease, explaining that they are here to check on her husband's safety.

Be the GM once more:
The woman warrior heeds Ysabel's well-spoken pleas, and Stefano steps forward to apologize. He explains that he and his wife Elda had to quickly fake their deaths because Guglio's week of gathering rumors had inadvertently given them away, and mercenaries were coming to kill them. Stefano tells them that he had once been the royal wizard to King Ambrosi of the Old Continent, but then he and the King's wife, Queen Elda, had fallen in love and run away to Vitalia together. Elda's ally, the Merchant Princess, had been a help at first, but King Ambrosi's ally, the dragon Tito Nero, was too great a threat, and Elda and Stefano tried to disappear. Unfortunately, Tito Nero was able to track Stefano's magic, so, in a ritual in the tiny tower, Stefano had discharged all of the arcane knowledge and power out of himself so that he and Elda could elude the dragon. Stefano spread rumors through the information broker Ponzetti that he and Elda were dead, hoping Ambrosi would give up. But Ambrosi's wrath is unrelenting and his mercenaries are everywhere - and they'll be in Avanti soon - and the clockwork bird isn't ready to fly them to safety yet - and it looks like Stefano and Elda's time has finally run out...

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