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Description

The mystery of the Hoffermans deepens, as The Dragon Friends are separated to try and gather the disparate pieces of a shattered family. Disguises are removed, allegiances are flipped and friend turns on friend as the tragic tale of the Hoffermans is laid bare.

Synopsis

Jovian calls the Hoffermans together into the drawing room. As he does, Bobby Pancakes' Disguise spell runs out, causing him to no longer look like Baston and instead look like an undressed halfling. Elsebeth explains that the will that is to be read in 3 hours her in his office, but the office is surrounded by cultists. Baston initially offers to collect the will, but Jovian refuses saying he wants to send a member of the Hofferman family. Magritte suggests that she will go and get it, and asks Lionshield to go with her. Jovian also agrees to go with them to look after the elderly Magritte. Bobby and Truscott decide to go to the city morgue to get the report from the coroner. Philge decides to let Smiggins have the day off and encourages him to indulge in his hobby (painting), but Smiggins asks her to go into his hut and fetch his stuff. 

Bobby and Truscott meet with the coroner, Arian Knossos, who is somewhat limited as a coroner by not knowing the names of any parts of the body. Arian informs them that the Constant's body was poisoned using Midnight Tears, a powerful poison that is favoured by assassins as it is hard to trace and easy to dispose of, but difficult to use as the victim must be exposed to the poison every day for two weeks in succession. She also allows them to collect the deceased's effects, which includes a card wrapped in string. 

Meanwhile, Philge goes to get the easel out of Smiggins' hut (where he also keeps sharpened guns, knives, etc.) and there meets Smiggins Smiggins, Smiggin's butler. Baston hears a loud pounding noise on the doors of the house and opens them to reveal Father Brackenvald, who demands to speak to the family immediately, as Roman Hofferman has escaped from the asylum. With Baston, Philge and Diametra the only ones left in the house, nobody is able to help him. Brackenvald explains that Jovian was one of a pair of twins; Jovian was the more business-minded one while Roman was artistic and later fell apart; their father sent Roman to the asylum, where he gradually became more unstable.  

Baston panics and runs upstairs to Jovian's quarters, kicking Jovian's trunk to attempt to open it but failing and resorting it to getting Philge to hit it with a mace instead. Inside the trunk is, bound and gagged, a man who is the spitting image of Jovian. Philge removes the gag, and the figure inside claims that he is Jovian. 

Elsebeth, Lionshield, and Jovian have opened the secret door in Truscott's quarters to collect the will. Magritte uses the code word to open the lock box holding the will. Jovian is about to take the will when Banknote takes it first, but then there's an ominous click, and Mr Elai is revealed having locked the study door behind them. Jovian informs them that Elai will not let them leave unless they turn over the will to him. Lionshield casts Thunderwave on Mr Elai, knocking him backwards and smashing open the door. Jovian attempts to back towards the window, pulling out a pistol and attacking Lionshield.  

Lionshield activates Bushu-D2 and instructs it to burn Jovian, which it does, but also sets the room on fire as Jovian jumps out of the window. Elai attempts to tackle Lionshield, and Lionshield then casts Expeditious Retreat to flee with Magritte and return to the mansion. 

Meanwhile, Bobby opens the note to read: "Dearest Uncle. Words cannot express how devastated I was that you felt unable to attend my wedding. The Flotians have been good to me and I hope, in time, you'll understand this. I've enclosed a small canister of the Rutherglen lamp oil we used in the ceremony, a small gift to mark the day. The distance between us pains me dreadfully. I hope you will visit soon and we shall be family again. D." He hears the 11am bell ring outside, and decides to head over to the reading of the will. 

Baston and Philge have brought Father Brackenvald to speak to the figure claiming to be Jovian. "Jovian" states that the last thing he remember was eating an ice cream in Baldur's Gate. Unable to prove if he is the real Jovian or not, and with the carriage to the reading calling at the door, they put a sack over his head and take him on the carriage. 

Bobby, Lionshield and Baston's parties all arrive at the will reading together. Lionshield explains that Jovian seems to have something wrong with him, as he shot at him. Margritte opens the folio containing the will as Baston takes the hood off "Jovian". Magritte explains that the Will leaves the house to Diametra, the family's expatriate holdings to Jovian, his remaining fortune to Magritte, his library to the town, and a separate letter and book included with the will. The letter is addressed to the Duke, so Bobby reads it: it states that "this is not the first time the Lost City has returned, but this time the gates do not hold. The herald is a puppet; if you truly wish to stop him, seek out his master the Dark Count, who never forgave and never forgot." Below the note, the book is a history of the house of Strahd, with the last page torn; Bobby realises the tear matches the paper he found in Hofferman's journal, revealing that Carcosa was the location of Patrina's wedding, torn from reality by Strahd in his jealousy.  

People

Dragon Friends

Guest NPCs

  • Jovian, Magritte and Diametra Hofferman
  • Smiggins
  • Smiggins Smiggins
  • Elsebeth Truscott
  • Father Brackenvald

NPCs

  • Arian Knossos, Coroner

Bestiary

Places

  • Hofferman Estate
  • Rivershine Hall

Themes, Tropes and Running Jokes

  • Several references to "The Game" including a reference to "negging".
  • Bushu-D2 Sets fire to Truscott's office. Another unfortunate incident of the Dragon Friends committing arson this season.

Trivia

  • Banknote levels up to Level 4.
  • Philge is asked for her last name and has no response. 

Quotes

  • "How does a mushroom know where the ground starts?"
  • "Remember that day when you and your brother went to see the little ducks? Which one of you killed the duck?" "... Wouldn't they both have been there?"
  • "And the city that held that ill fated wedding is lost as well for Strahd’s anger was such that he used his foul magics to unstitch Petrina’s beloved city of carcosa from the fabric of the world. Now it floats in silence and despair, a cursed and lonely plane. Now for one day every hundred years, on the night of the celestial convergence, the lost city returns to the world. During that fateful night Petrina awaits in the city with just seven gates standing between her and Strahd. May that monster never broach that city and find his bride, for doom comes with him."

Table Talk

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