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DM Magister Ludi's Legacy of Fire

Game Master Gordon the Whale

In the barren wastes of the Brazen Peaks, secrets await those brave enough to find them.

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Dross walks back into the camp muttering about animals. He checks on Garavel, making sure he didnt get trodden on in the commotion.

Garavel lies on the stretcher, which is still attached to a restless camel. He is still unconscious, but breathing regularly.

Valik stands up, his eyes grave as he rests his hand on the old man's shoulder.
"I am sorry, I just don't know enough to heal such grievous wounds."

At Almah's speech, Valik pulls himself up to his full height, despite his weariness. "You may not believe this, Lady Roveshki, but we are your mercenaries. I am Valik. That is Dross, Dullen, Travis and Asad" he says, pointing to each in turn.

"We were ambushed by Gnolls on the way to this encampment and Garavel was injured by thrown spears. We were able to keep him from death, but he needs time to heal. Dross is near him, over there."

"We are placing ourselves at your command. Except," Valik pauses, obviously embarrassed, "I made a mistake when I signed the contract. I did not inform Garavel that I am beholden first to the Lady of Dawn. Any orders that countermand Her code I am honor and duty bound to ignore. If you wish to release me from your contract because of this restriction, I will understand."

Almah makes only a nod of acknowledgement when you tell her that you are her new mercenaries; it's unclear whether she expected this, or is hiding her surprise. When she hears that Garavel is injured, however, she immediately starts giving orders.

"Garavel is injured too! It is an ill day indeed. Bring him here! Father Zastoran," she indicates the old man, "set up a hospital tent for the wounded. You all," she gestures to the five newcomers, "Assist Father Zastoran as necessary. Guards, set up a watch along the perimeter, if we are going to get a visit from the locals, I want to know about it. Speaking of which... Where's Dashki?" She looks around the camp, but apparently does not see the object of her search. "If anyone sees him, tell him to report to me."

Turning her attention to Valik, "Take me to Garavel." As the two make their way to Garavel's stretcher, she speaks more quietly, "I have no quarrel with the followers of Sarenrae, though I tend toward the Vaultkeeper myself." She makes a sign of respect to Abadar. "Indeed, I believe it was Her teachings that inspired you to save my fortune teller, which I cannot fault. Furthermore, the town we are here to liberate seems to have once had quite a large temple devoted to the Dawnflower. I cannot see that restoring it would be in conflict with your beliefs, nor vanquishing the violent and lawless gnolls that currently occupy it. I think our purposes are compatible." She gives you a brief, charming smile.

When you reach Garavel, Almah kneels down to inspect him. "He seems to have been tended well, though the wound looks serious. I'm sure Father Zastoran will be able to bring him around. Bring him." She directs the command to Valik and Dross, then begins walking back to the camp, apparently expecting to be obeyed.


Dross shrugs and then kneels down to untie the litter from the camel. He takes one end and gets ready to lift with Valik.

Valik just raises his eyebrows at Dross, as if he were asking a question. He then shrugs and lifts the other side of the litter, and follows Dross's lead down the hill to Father Zastoran.

By the time Valik and Dross arrive back at the camp with Garavel, a large pavilion has been erected, with a carpet covering the dusty ground beneath it, and pallets laid out for the injured. Zastoran is mixing up infusions, more calmly now that his patients are out of immediate danger. He directs Valik and Dross to place Garavel on an empty pallet, and decants a liquid from his apparatus as they do so.

"Well, after this one, I won't be able to brew any more until tomorrow. I need to set up a distillation overnight. Let's see if it's enough to bring him around..." He carefully pours the liquid into Garavel's mouth. The man's breathing eases, but he does not awaken. Zastoran sighs. "Ah well, I'll be able to fix them all up tomorrow."

Almah glances around the pavilion. The guards, after helping to set up the makeshift hospital, have spread out around the perimeter of the camp, watching into the dusk. Only Valik, Dross, Travis, Asad, Dullen, and Zastoran remain. Almah gestures for the five mercenaries to follow her a short way outside. She crosses her arms as she faces them, then says quietly, as if fearing to be overheard:

"I don't like this. My majordomo and fortune teller are both incapacitated, and two of my mercenaries are indisposed. One permanently. We sent up a smoke signal that any gnoll between here and the Brazen Peaks could have seen. Plus my local guide is nowhere to be found. It seems like too much to chalk up to ill luck. I'm afraid that something more nefarious is going on here." She bites her lip, and then seems to come to a decision. "I want the five of you to investigate this incident. You weren't here when the fire started, so you are the only ones I can be absolutely sure had nothing to do with it." She pauses to let the command sink in, making brief, firm eye contact with each of the group. "Any questions?"

"I don't have a question, but I sure could use some motivation lady!" Asad says with a crooked playful smile.

"Be respectful Asad, she is our employer, and a lady. She owns your contract and ours, as well as the loyalty of her men-at-arms and people." Valik says with quiet intensity.

"We will do our best, but we are not investigators or men of learning, we are just warriors. Any ideas on how you want us to proceed? Do you suspect anyone?"

Almah takes a deep breath and sets her jaw, fire flashing in her violet eyes, but Valik speaks first. When he has finished, the princess smoothes her robes fastidiously and says, "Thank you Valik. As for you -- Asad, was it? -- I would venture that, even if you have no other... motivation for uncovering a potential traitor within the camp, that the 200 dinars promised to you if you serve me faithfully in this venture ought to suffice. I assure you, if you do not fulfil your duties with diligence and respect, you will be released from service immediately. Here, in the arid wilderness. And the aforementioned fee will not be paid. Do you understand?" She fixes Asad with a hard, regal stare.

Her features soften and she turns back to Valik. "Now, as to your questions. There is no-one I suspect. Indeed, the thought that there might be a traitor among us is as troubling to me as the loss of the wagon. And the girl, of course." She says the last off-handedly, as though the life of the young mercenary was of lesser consequence than the wagon.

"I am no investigator myself. This is the sort of sordid business I would normally delegate to Garavel, but as he is indisposed, you shall have to suffice. Perhaps you should... Investigate the scene of the fire? Interview the members of the expedition? They may have seen something, or have some insight. When questioned, the arsonist, if there is one, may even give his guilt away by his manner."

"What is it with the people in this area? No one has a sense of humor anymore I swear it!"

"I apologize if I offend you miss, but I do my job. I would think you want as many men between you and a potential gnoll raiding party as possible. I hear they like torturing pretty ladies. Anyway, I am not a detective. Point me to who needs to be talking and I'll get a confession out of em!"

"I guess we can start by poking around the burned wagon, like you suggested."

Valik walks over to where Father Zastoran is working.

"Father Zastoran. You seem like a well learned man. Do you mind helping me for a few minutes? I would like your opinion on the burned wagon."

As Valik heads off to consult Zastoran, Almah says, "Excellent. If you have any further questions, or results to report, I will be in my tent." She gestures to what is obviously the largest and most lavish tent in the camp.

The old man shows a face of surprise. "Why, uh, certainly, sahib. I'm not sure how much help I'll be, but the patients can spare me for a while." He gets to his feet, leaning on a cane and following Valik and the others slowly over to the remains of the burned wagon.

The wagon has been reduced mostly to charcoal and ashes, though some larger pieces of the floor and wheels are still intact.

Searching through the ashes:
You find a few broken bottles and vials, a cracked crystal ball, the melted remains of quite a few candles, and some scattered gold dinars. Scorched fragments of a deck of cards are scattered around the whole area.

Perception DC 20:
There are no signs of a struggle or violence.

Knowledge(arcana or religion) DC 12:
The cards are the remains of a Harrow deck, a traditional divinatory focus for Varisian fortune-tellers.

Zastoran nudges a cracked and blackened crystal ball lying in the ashes with his cane. "You know, I always thought that Elois was a charlatan, myself. Not a whif of real magic about him. All his talk of doom was just fabricated to frighten the Ameera. She's under a lot of stress, you know. But the more she worried, the more she turned to him. It would have been better if Garavel were here these past days. He's such a calming influence on her. Not that I'd wish any harm on Elois, mind you! You did a good thing, pulling him from the fire, young man, and we're all grateful for it, I assure you."

Valik grunts acknowledgement of Zastoran's comments, thinking as he sifts through the ashes.

I have no idea what I am looking for...

Perception 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (10) + 2 = 12
I cannot do a Knowledge check untrained above DC10


Perception: 1d20 ⇒ 8

Dross prods a melted candle with his boot "Hmm! You sign on hoping to get out into the wastes, stretch your muscles and kill a few Gnolls and what do you get instead?! Police work!" he grumbles as he sifts through the burnt out wagon. Then he turns to Father Zastoran. "Can you think of anyone who may have had a reason to do this sort of thing? Almah said your guide was missing, what was he like?"

"Guide? Oh, you mean that Dashki, of course. He's supposedly an Gnoll expert. He certainly seems to have enough in common with the dog-men. Lanky fellow, and ill-mannered if you ask me. Twitchy. Lady Almah hired him back in Solku to act as an interpreter and advisor if she had to deal with the local gnolls. It seems like the more advice he gives, though, the less inclined she is to even consider diplomacy as an option. He's got some horror stories, that one does." The old man looks around nervously, and continues in a conspiratorial manner,"But the most unsettling thing about him is the way he obsesses over the Ameera! No one with healthy desires skulks around a pretty woman the way he does. Almah was close with Elois -- not in an unseemly manner, mind you -- but Dashki just might have gotten it in his flea-bitten head to be jealous. There's no telling what a scoundrel like him might do!"

Game Master

Perception DC 16:
You see a tall, dark man with long, unkempt hair peering at you from around the corner of a wagon.

Anybody there?


Perception: 1d20 ⇒ 7 yep. Still here but blind as a bat!

" It never looks good when a culprit is needed and a man is missing. Sounds like there's a good chance it was this Dashki! What do you reckon Valik? Case closed hmm? "

Sorry I was on Guam for a few days. I assumed that I would have internet access, but for whatever reason the hotel that I was in consistently failed to get my room hooked up. So I couldn't even post to tell you that I wasn't available.

Perception 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (8) + 2 = 10

"It does sound suspicious sir. We will be sure to talk to this guide."

Or it could just be the normal interest of a man for a woman, and the good doctor could be jealous.

Investigators we are not.

No worries, Valik, I'm just happy to have not lost the only real PC. ;-)

The old man appears taken aback by Dullen's swift adoption of his theory. "Well, I... I don't mean to accuse him, effendi, for I have no evidence against him. It was just the idle speculation of an old man..." He trails off, wringing his hands, then clears his throat and continues, more firmly. "Is there... anything else you need me for, or can I return to my patients now?"


"Well just be careful with your speculation. I'd hate to condemn the wrong man. If Almah found out we might not get paid!... I can't see anything obvious in all this mess," Dross says indicating the ashes. "Let's go question someone else." He looks around the camp trying to pick out who to question next.

Valik shrugs and looks around the camp.

"Where did Dashki keep his gear?", Valik asks the doctor.

We should probably talk to the common folk of the camp. I bet they have a different perspective than we would get from the guards.

"Well, I assume he keeps any possessions in his tent over there--" The old man starts to turn, presumably to point out the tent in question, but he stops and squints in the twilight at one of the nearby wagons. "Hello? Is someone there?" He lowers his voice to speak only to the investigators. "I swear I just saw someone duck behind that wagon there." He cranes his neck to get a better look, then calls out one more time, "Hello...?"

Perception: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (9) + 8 = 17

Well at least I know how to deal with this situation.

Valik runs forward to where the doctor pointed at the wagon, keeping his eyes open for any surprises.

Perception 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (11) + 2 = 13

As Valik moves toward the supply wagon, followed by his companions, a tall, dark man with long, greasy black hair steps into view. He is dressed in filthy rags, and his odor betrays a very loose relationship with hygiene. He has a scimitar and dagger sheathed at his waist, and a longbow slung over his back. He sneers as he addresses Father Zastoran, "Jumpy a bit, aren't we, preacher-man. It's just old Dashki, nothing to be afraid of... Much."

He turns his attention to Valik and the other mercenaries. "And what have we here? A pale-face from the north, and a handful of desert weeds. Either we've decided to invite the Kulldis over for dinner, or Almah's pet monkey must have arrived with the new hires." He rolls his eyes disdainfully. "Or both." He grins savagely, showing a mouthful of crooked but sharp teeth.

His eyes dart around nervously, but he settles them on the burned remains of the wagon. "Looks like the card-man had a little accident, eh?"


"Accident or something more sinister?" Dross almost growls the question not liking this guys tone. "Where have you been while Elois' wagon was burning to the ground?"

Dahski laughs, a bit nervously. "Easy there, whelp. I was eating my dinner by the campfire. Not that it's any business of yours. When I saw the smoke, I headed up into the hills to scout for gnolls. A beacon like that could draw them from miles away. Fortunately, the wind seems to have dispersed it before it was noticed." He gestures vaguely up into the darkening sky.

GM rolls:
Dashki bluff: 1d20 - 1 ⇒ (20) - 1 = 19

Sense Motive DC 19:
Dashki speaks brashly, but doesn't make eye contact during his speech. He also paused almost imperceptibly before the word "eating." He seems to be hiding something.

Sense Motive1d20 + 6 ⇒ (16) + 6 = 22

"Somehow I doubt that. I have yet to meet a scavenger that didn't scurry over to see if anything was left on a corpse. We were waylayed not far from here by a few gnolls. I would bet that they are waiting for night to fall before they pay us a visit. They know exactly where we are because of the smoke, they don't have to come close when you can see them."

Valik leans in close to Sashki and sniffs.

"At least we northern-pale faces know when something stinks. I think that we will go and see if anyone was with you at the campfire." Valik turns and motions to Dross before walking towards the campfire. "You know Dross," he says, loud enough to be heard by Dashki, "I would really hate to be the person who caused the fire. Anyone involved in all that death, pain and destruction is probably going to get staked out under the sun for the ants and dogs. If they came clean, they might get out of this alive."


Sense Motive: 1d20 ⇒ 15
Dross winds up looking a little puzzled by Valiks reaction to Daski but he decides to run with it. "If I had my way the man responsible would be staked out over coals and left to roast!" " He says following Valik over to the fire.

The unkempt man narrows his eyes at Valik, and calls after him angrily. "Let's just remember who is the gnoll expert here, and who is the sunburned wetlander. I didn't start your stupid fire!"

Father Zastoran hobbles after the mercenaries toward the camp fire. He gets as close as he can to Valik, and quietly says, "Now I'm sure he's lying! I was eating dinner at the camp fire just before the wagon fire started, and I'm sure Dashki was nowhere to be seen!"

Game Master

When you reach the campfire, no-one is there. Looking around the camp, you realize that everyone you have heard of being in the expedition is accounted for elsewhere: The four guards are arranged around the perimeter, keeping watch; Almah is in her tent; Father Zastoran is with you; Garavel, Elois, and the injured young man are in the hospital tent; the two camel-drovers are in the last phases of rounding up the animals; and you just left Dashki.

"Thank you father. I need to talk to a few others in the camp before I confront Dashki again though."

"Dross, how do you feel about talking to the guards about the fire and Dashki? I am going to talk to the drovers. We can meet back here and compare notes."


Dross nods to Valik "Good luck with the drovers, they seemed a narky lot. Someone should keep an eye on Daski in case he tries to run." He says looking to the others from their small group. What's happened to our other mercenaries?

Dross heads over to the nearest guard. "Any sign of Gnolls around?"

The guard glances at Dross as he approaches, and nods amiably, although his face is obscured by his helm. "No sign yet. It is my understanding that if they do come, it will most likely be after nightfall, when we are most blind. Tales tell that the hyena-folk can see even on a moonless night." The man shudders. " Has the Ameera ordered you to assist in the watch?"


"Actually I'm trying to work out how the fire started." He pulls out some jerky from his rations and starts chewing. "Jerky?" he says offering the guard some. "Do you know anything that could help? Like where people were when the fire started and directly before?" he asks spitting out a rather tough piece of jerky and ripping off another bit with his teeth.

Diplomacy if needed: 1d20 - 1 ⇒ (19) - 1 = 18

The guard accepts the jerkey and lifts his mask just enough to take a bite. "My thanks, effendi. It was almost time for me to eat before the fire, and now that the camp is on alert, there is no time." He continues to scan the horizon intently as he speaks. "Before the fire, I was standing watch outside the Ameera's tent with the other guards. The Ameera was within. I... believe Hadrah was serving the evening meal at the campfire, but I could not see that from my post. I could see the fortune teller's wagon, but I did not notice any activity. The fortune teller had been inside for some time." He takes another bite of jerkey and chews. "I did see Dashki, badly hidden behind a tree near the Ameera's tent, trying to catch a glimpse of her no doubt. That filthy wretch is obsessed with her."

I'll take the diplomacy as an attempt to improve your relationship; this guard is now helpful to Dross.


"Seems no one really likes this Dashki... Which tree did you see him behind?"

The guard shrugs. "He's rude and dirty. We haven't even seen him do much as a guide. As far as I know, he's a complete charlatan. As for which tree... Well, it was probably that one over there." He gestures to a nearby tree. The tree in question is really more of a shrub, barely taller than a man, with sparse foliage and a gnarled trunk.You are currently southwest of camp, just off the map.

Staying out of the drover's way as they capture the last free camel, Valik moves over to stand close to where the other beasts are hobbled, and watches the activity.

As she returns the last camel to the pen, the female camel driver wipes her forehead with a cloth. "Well, that's done, at least. What do you reckon, love," she says to her male counterpart, "time to get back to dinner?"

The man looks around in the pen, silently counting on his fingers. "Camels all here... Goats all... Wait!" he turns to the woman in alarm, "Hadrah, where's Rombard?"

A shocked look comes over the woman's face. She peers into the pen, looking down low between the feet of the livestock, "Why, I don't see him. I haven't seen him, not since before the fire. He must have... wandered off, I suppose..."

"Who is Rombard, and can I help you find him? I may not be able to help you catch him, but another set of eyes is another set of eyes...and night is falling soon." Valik asks as stands at the edge of the pen, watching the animals mill about as they are counted.

Hadrod looks close to tears. "Rombard was my favorite baby goat. It's getting dark now, we'll never find him." He sniffles. "Poor Rombard."


"Thanks effendi, I've got to go check out that tree but if you remember anything else let me know alright? Here, no guard can watch on an empty stomach!" Dross says handing the guard some bread and a bit of slightly mouldy cheese from his rations to go with the jerky before heading over to the tree to see if he can find anything that could pin Dashki.

Perception: 1d20 ⇒ 18

"As long as the the Lady's rays are upon us, there is still time to look. And I am guessing that you loved Rombard because he was a smart and affectionate goat, so even if we do not find him this moment, he may find a way to pass the night safely."

"I am Valik, by the way. I figure I might as well introduce myself if I am going to help. Come, let us look once more. Do you have any ideas where your little goat might like to hide?"

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