This session was special for me, because it marked the PC's trial. As I'd mentioned a few entries ago, my lovely players ended up killing a few of the Harrowfolk on their way to the Forlorn Tower, then being arrested on both murder charges and for crimes against the state. Killing the Harrowfolk meant breaking a 30 year old peace treaty between Wellspring and the surrounding Harrowfolk tribes, leading directly to war.
So, as the PCs were arraigned and met with their "Silent Advocate", Alderman Cylus, I went into lengthy detail as to how the trial was to proceed. The Tribunal of Five--Wellspring's judicial body--would hear three series of arguments from both the prosecution and the defense: The Trials of Character, Deeds, and Motive. Witnesses were called alternately, with cross-examination optional.
With no hesitation, the party dropped into full role-play. Witnesses were called, arguments were made...
...and I placed twenty black poker chips in the center of the table.
Eyes got wide. "What are you doing, Andy?" they asked. I didn't reply.
You see, in Play Dirty, Wick describes something that he calls The Armageddon Clock. Premise is that the party is on a timer, only they don't know how long they have. All they know is that when those chips run out, the GM smiles...and bad things happen.
The trial continued for nearly an hour-and-a-half in real-time. Every so often, I'd simply reach over my GM screen and pick up a chip or two. When I pulled three off of the stack in one go, Will (our runepriest) looked at me in abject terror. I just smiled.
At last, the last chip was pulled. The party fell silent. I grinned...and slammed the stack of chips down onto the table with all the force of a spiked football. Chips flew everywhere, as I narrated:
"A massive crash echoes through the courtroom as a giant catapult stone, easily the size of a man, smashes through the roof! It splinters beam and tile, crashing to the stone floor where you sit. The people in the gallery panic, screaming out and fleeing for the doors! It appears that the siege has begun...
With the courtroom in chaos, the party was able to flee into the city even as it descended into chaos. However, they did not do so alone! Rather, they escaped with the help of a mysterious stranger--the enigmatic eladrin known as Elladan RedHand. After a brief meeting with Elladan in his possibly-extradimensional hideout, they decided to join up with the eladrin in finding Saint Estelred's ancient laboratory and, with it, the artifact of their desires: The Tear of Ioun.
As such, next time, we start off with a midnight romp through the besieged Wellspring, in the hopes to get to Estelred's ancient laboratory...and an encounter with its current, mind-flaying occupant!