|Andrew Marlowe RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014 aka Locke1520|
Pentraeth House’s gleaming white masonry and sculpted dragonesque chimneys command the attention of visitors to Kintargo, Cheliax. The ostentatious mansion features a grand two-story ballroom with one of the Inner Sea’s most magnificent works of stained glass art: A nearly floor-to-ceiling curved window featuring a wondrous seascape.
Home to Sir and Lady Vastin, minor nobles with growing influence in the city, Pentraeth House is quickly becoming a major hub in local politics. The couple host frequent parties, and each opulent affair increases Vastin influence and prestige.
Sir Vastin, a shipping magnate, uses the parties as a way to flaunt his success. Meanwhile his wife, the rumored leader to a group of revolutionaries known as Kintargo Unbound, quietly nurtures sedition against House Thrune among her attendants.
Tonight’s party is a growing nightmare for Sir Vastin. Kabe, a hired assassin, murdered one of the noble’s best men, Captain Caecilius; evidence uncovered by the PCs indicates Sir Vastin is Kabe’s next target and that he will attack at tonight’s party. Kabe’s identity remains a mystery; all that is known is he’s an arsonist and a murderer.
Sir Vastin retains the PCs’ services again. Tonight they will provide security, supervised by Vastin’s halfling valet Mr. Atticus. The valet leaves all necessary planning to the PCs as long as it doesn’t involve canceling the ball, inconveniencing guests, or increasing costs. Mr. Atticus is resolute on these issues — he is equally invested in protecting Sir Vastin’s reputation and life.
Complicating matters, Captain Caecilius promised bribes to a guttersnipe crew. Since his death, the guttersnipes have not received their tribute. Unbeknownst to anyone, two guttersnipes are coming tonight to forcibly collect on Caecilius’ promise.
Part Three: Uninvited Trouble (CR 6)
The massive ballroom swirls with color and motion. A string quartet plays an up-tempo melody as a cosmopolitan array of revelers dance and mingle. The guests’ attire blends the classic Chelaxian styles with a smattering of Varisian flair.
A floor-to-ceiling stained-glass window dominates the curved western wall of the ballroom. Its images of emerald sea-dragons and tall masted ships are backlit by magical daylight. Tables arranged beneath the window host several men in age-worn finery talking quietly. The ascending spiral staircase in front of the group leads to an ornate catwalk made of pale wood that seems to bisect the stained-glass windows where cobalt sea and clear blue sky meet.
Midway down the hall, two private balconies overlook the dance floor from the north and south walls. Sir Vastin and a young nobleman share drinks in the northern balcony alcove. The eastern wall opposite the great window features a larger balcony where the severe Lady Vastin sits in a trim Andoren-cut gown while her flock of attendants gossip and laugh.
Investigating the Ballroom
- PCs’ search attempts for Kabe requires a successful Sense Motive Check DC 18 to detect his suspicious behavior amongst all the other guests. A PC gains a +5 circumstance bonus if they know they are searching for a dwarf. The character may attempt this roll every ten minutes.
- PCs questioning guests at the party discover most guests lack any useful information. There is a cumlulative 5% chance for every ten minutes spent questioning guests that someone remembers a strange behaving dwarf. The group of sea captains under the catwalk do remember the suspicious dwarf and his “malarky story.”
Once the PCs spot Kabe or when all the PCs have had the opportunity to take an action read or paraphrase the following:
With a sudden crash, a large stone bursts through the rigging of a stained-glass ship, raining down multi-colored shards. Partygoers scurry for cover as a small but portly draconic silhouette flies through the open glass on four overworked wings. A second sleek dragon follows closely behind. Both yellow-gray mottled dragons perch on the catwalk’s rail. The slim one menaces onlookers with his beak-like mouth and a hiss.
Creatures: This is a complicated encounter with a number of NPCs.
Sir and Lady Vastin - When the guttersnipes land Vastin assumes its an assassination attempt. He shouts to the PCs, “deal with these creatures!” he then flees to area f the obligatory shrine to Asmodeus.
Lady Vastin calmly ushers her entourage into the upstairs family rooms of the house and bars the doors.
Guttersnipes - Known around Kintargo’s waterfront as Gnar and Boll, the pair are vandals and extortionists. Gnar is the rotund crew leader and Boll is his enforcer.
Gnar imagines he’s clever, charming and superior to other crew leaders. He tires of the paltry scores his crew brings in. He believes it’s time for Vastin himself to pay up.
Boll is lithe, muscular, and frighteningly fast. Despite his silent obedience, Boll is deceptively cunning. A psychopath, he prefers the simplicity of senseless violence to the responsibility of leadership.
If any dock toughs escaped after the warehouse raid in Part Two, they reported to Boll. He recognizes the PCs from these reports and quietly notifies Gnar before attacking the PC identified as least dangerous.
PCs may attempt negotiations with Gnar. If the PCs can shift his attitude to Friendly, he and Boll will agree to leave and deal with Sir Vastin later. Gnar’s starting attitude is Hostile, offering a bribe of at least 100 gp his attitude shifts to Unfriendly and if the bribe exceeds 300 gp it shifts to Indifferent.
The Assassin - Hired to kill Sir Vastin; Kabe is a dwarven sorcerer with a reputation for arson and the occasional murder. He infiltrates the party as a minor noble traveling from the Five Kings Mountains to seek his fortune in Varisia.
Kabe is carefully considering his options and planning his approach when the Guttersnipes arrive.
Crowds - (Core Rulebook 436) If combat breaks out the guests panic. Crowds of guests, staff and musicians move toward the front exit. The map denotes the starting locations for the four crowds of panicked guests. Each crowd moves 30 feet towards the main double doors. The crowds cannot move through one another’s spaces but they can move together becoming a larger single crowd. A crowd larger than Large size counts the five feet on either side of the door-frame as two squares each.
PCs may attempt to direct a crowd as normal.
Gnar CR 3
hp 30 each (R2)
During Combat: Gnar is prone to pontificating even while fighting. He prefers to perch and focus on causing property damage with his breath weapon. If forced to fly, he attempts to maintain the high ground. The banisters of the catwalk and balconies are his favored perches, if PCs close to melee range he will ascend to land precariously on the chandeliers.
Should Boll require his assistance with a difficult foe, Gnar will swoop in and flank with his enforcer. Also, if the attackers have wooden bows or crossbows, Gnar will cease his wanton destruction of Pentraeth House in favor of unleashing his rotting breath on as many archers as possible, softening up bows for Boll to sunder.
Morale: A coward at heart, Gnar flees if reduced to 10 hp or if Boll is slain.
Boll CR 4
hp 34 (r2)
Melee bite +9 (1d4+4 plus flensing bite), 2 claws +9 (1d3+4)
During Combat: Unlike Gnar, Boll seldom stops moving. Silent and cruel, Boll prefers to attack with his claws and flensing bite, using wing trick whenever possible. Boll doesn’t fight fair; his tactics include upending drinks into an opponent’s face or grabbing stray bits of clothing to maneuver into better biting position. He prefers to eliminate spell casters and archers quickly. Boll will attempt to sunder any previously damaged wooden weapons with a vicious bite.
Morale: Boll is fearless and enjoys every opportunity to inflict pain. He fights to the death.
Kabe CR 1
hp 18 (gem sorcerer - NPC Codex 160)
During Combat: Kabe moves from his starting location k and takes the most direct route to the spiral staircase and the second floor. PCs should deduce that Kabe is the assassin as he is the only guest running towards the fight. Kabe fights whomever gets in his way, guttersnipes and PCs alike.
If Kabe makes it to area f, he attacks Sir Vastin preferably with burning hands if he has any remaining.
Morale: If reduced to half hit points Kade surrenders.
Sir and Lady Vastin
human aristocrat 3
hp 19 (squire - NPC Codex 251)
Development: If the PCs negotiated with Gnar and managed to improve his attitude to Helpful, Gnar decides he likes the PCs and could become a valuable ally when the PCs return to the waterfront in Part Four.
Kabe still carries his written orders. The unsigned parchment bears the unique sigil of his employers, a revolutionary group called Kintargo Unbound and contains specific information on tonight’s events.