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Hi Mister Fluffykins
Welcome to the Curse of the Crimson Throne crew. You picked a fantastic adventure path to run. These boards are filled with tips, answers to questions and advice.
First of all, you should read through the complete AP to get a clear scope of what the adventure is about and the Guide to Korvosa to get to know the city. It is a big plus for the campaign if you manage to create a bond with the city.
I'll put in some links here that might be helpful for starting the campaign:
Of course, these are just a handful of links, there is so much more to be found in the messageboard hoard.
Apart from that, I would also like to recommend you read some campaign journals on this AP. One that I really like and that was a big inspiration for my campaign is Moonbeam's CotCT. I've also been writing my own journal, which might prove helpful as well.
Most of all, good luck and have fun!
Your idea to continue the campaign should work.
As for the NPCs, Rolth is the only one who definitely hails from Korvosa, Dr. Davaulus is not from the city and Lady Andaisin, well ... I can't really say. In my campaign she is from somewhere else as well. So it would make sense that Dr. Davaulus, Lady Andaisin and their allies just get paid for their services and leave. Rolth on the other hand stays and is a perfect candidate to reappear at Pilts' Palace, as you suggested yourself. Other people have done that before by giving him a family tie to Pilts (maybe Rolth is his brother, father, uncle or something).
Well, if your players are attached to their characters, there are other ways of continuing the campaign:
THIS ANSWER CONTAINS SPOILERS!
Well, the death toll will be higher because of the PCs' failed mission, but there are other ways to stop the plague. The most logical solution would be this: your party invaded the Hospice of the Blessed Maiden and must certainly have stirred up things in the sick ward and the experimentation ward. If they did, it is likely that patients got out of the hospice and reported on the abuse there. This would lead to the queen having to intervene. She could tell her 'allies' that they reached the goal for which she hired them, so they can leave now. Consequently she could have her Gray Maidens storm the hospice and close it down (making her the hero in the eyes of the public).
Anyway, if you make a new party, I'd advise you to tie in your new characters to the campaign. Some ideas on the top of my head:
I haven't read the last 2 adventures yet - is there something else I'll need to account for if the Queen's plan to purge the sick of Korvosa goes off mostly as planned? Should we just start a new campaign?
You should definitely read up on the last two installments. Number six is actually more important to you now, because it discusses the queen and her schemes. Number five is just the quest for a sword in an undead castle, it has less impact on or information about the city plotline.
Some simple fixes:
When Paizo released its Rise of the Runelords anniversary edition in a wonderful hardcover version, they got many of their fans dreaming of another similar projects. The topic has come up a few times on these boards, as in this thread, and it turns out that Curse of the Crimson Throne is one of the favorites for such a make-over.
Understanding that we are speaking purely hypothetically, if such a conversion was ever made, which changes would you like to see to the adventure path apart from a 3.5 to Pathfinder Roleplaying Game rules update?
Looking at the cadaver of the brown bear that the ogrekin's hunting dogs took down, Balian realizes it has a nice, thick pelt that would make an excellent rug for his bedroom. With Puk's aid he starts skinning the magnificent animal, while Sjo tries his hand at preparing a juicy bear steak. When the companions finally return to the road where they left their horses, they are surprised to find their mounts missing. Fortunately whoever took them did not bother about hiding his tracks, so Balian easily picks up a trail. About an hour down the road the heroes discover two wooden buildings off the road, next to a clearing in the wood.
Puk sneaks closer to scout ahead. The two sagging buildings look like a worn down hunting lodge and barn. Windows have been boarded over and moss and fungus grow on the shaded sides of the decrepit structures. The halfling also spots a tangled field of corn and other diseased plants growing in the clearing. An eight-foot tall brute is working the ground with a vicious iron hook. His grotesquely deformed head resembles a giant pumpkin: a huge mass of tumors and overgrown bone gives his head a lopsided look. Numerous crows fill the air above him. Puk circles the lodge, sticking to the trees, and makes his way around the building to the barn. Upon approaching that building he quickly makes out the frightened whinnying of horses, cruel chuckles of more brutes and savage snarls of dogs inside.
The halfling gathers his friends and together they stealthily crawl up to front of the barn. Puk throws open the doors and the companions look upon an unpleasant scene. Three ogrekin and two skinny, naked dogs are torturing three awkwardly bound horses. Puk's riding animal seems to be taking the worst punishment and shows various cut and bite marks. Balian's and Sjo's mount are here as well, but there is no immediate sign of Quint's ride. Balian storms in, charging an ugly ogrekin who has two forearms growing from his right elbow. Quint swirls his whip around the crooked stumpy legs of an exceptionally short hillbilly and pulls him to the ground, so Puk can stab him in a weak spot while he's down. Meanwhile Sjo realizes that the third of the brothers in the barn is huge, even in his eyes, standing over eight and a half feet tall. This giant has a somewhat 'normal' face, although his eyes are very big and his skin is pale as the full moon. Balian wields his weapon to great efficiency, taking out one of the dogs and the short-legged brother in one mighty sweep. He next faces the wrath of the two remaining brothers, who hit him hard with their bare hands. Meanwhile the pumpkin-headed ogrekin who was working the field outside, has rushed to his brothers' aid. He throws himself on Sjo, dangerously whirling around his vicious iron hook. Balian and Puk take out another opponent: the tall hulk falls dead at their feet. The last of the three torturers smashes the ranger in return with his twin forearms, but Quint understand that fourth, pumpkin-headed brother is the biggest threat, as he is clearly more experienced in battles and packs a ferocious punch. The bard spellbinds the ugly brute with a successful cacophonous call, causing a sickening head-ache to surge through his tumorous brain, taking away his ability to fight. The creature retreats to the door and flees the scene. In the meantime the companions finish off the last opposition in the barn, before chasing after the ogrekin who is fleeing around the barn. The heroes manage to corner him and - even though he regains control of his actions and dishes out some damage to Spyder - he succumbs quickly to superior numbers.
With Quint's horse still missing, the companions decide to tackle the main house next. This decaying hunting lodge slumps drunkenly at the edge of the clearing. Rickety stairs crawl up to a porch covered by a huge eave which is supported by heavy pillars of pine. These timbers have crude carvings of manticores impaling children and wolves ripping apart women. The simple decorations look like a child's work, but the depictions grow more gruesome from one picture to the next. A large rocking chair of lashed wood and bone sways erratically in the breeze at the far end of the porch under a vast menagerie of wind chimes, all composed of humanoid and animal bones. The windows have been boarded up with thick timbers, although it is unclear whether this is to keep intruders out or to keep unspeakable horrors in. A host of ants marches happily away, many the size of a grown man's thumbnail. A moth as big as a shovel-head clings to the porch ceiling, watching the party with alienating eyes. The scent of bad meat, urine, sweat and decay wafts from between the cracks.
Sjo's warning that there might be traps is merrily laughed away, but when Puk walks up to the front door, a rack mounted with a series of sharpened bones suddenly swings down from between the many hanging bones. At the same time rusty saw blades spring from the cracks in the floorboards. The terrible double trap fails to hurt the lucky halfling, though, as the spikes only pierce the air above Puk's head, while the blades slides just left and right from where he's standing, cutting off no more than a few hairs from the tufts covering his ever-bare feet. The halfling chuckles at his own good fortune and slowly pushes open the door. The reception room holds a tremendous hearth in the right wall, but there is no fire burning in it, while the small rogue remembers that smoke arose from the chimney on the roof. A mangy dire bearskin rug lies before the fireplace. The animal's pained visage still snarls at whatever hunter that took its life. To the left is a huge couch, haphazardly upholstered in animal hide and humanoid flesh. Sjo recognizes a fox's head and a human-looking hand and foot in the putrid leather collection. The door on the other side of the room has a big hole in the bottom, big enough for Puk to see that the hallway behind it is clear. After having crawled through the hole, the rogue's keen ears pick up the exhausted cracking of wood. It comes from the door to his left, causing his curiosity to rear its head.
The halfling leads his friends down the hall and quietly opens the door. Next Balian storms in and faces an incredibly corpulent woman with stringy, black hair, greasily sticking to her humongous head. She wears an old stained curtain as a robe. The room reeks of sweat, but also of decay, which originates from the chamber's second occupant, a hulking ogre who did not come into view until Balian charged inside. The ranger realizes that this giant is no longer alive, although he still moves to attack the intruders. Could this be the deformed ogrekin's mother in the company of their late father, returned from the dead? It certainly seems so. Disgusted by the foul woman the ranger chokes and fails to hit her. "I don't know who you are, strangers, but you are fools for coming in here! I'll have your heads on a pike to decorate my porch! Daddy, tear them apart!" she shrieks. Balian turns to the ogre zombie and decides to attack him first. His greatsword tears through the rotting meat while Puk tumbles through the room to find an advantageous flanking position behind the undead hulk. The zombie moans and swings his heavy greatclub at Balian, but the ranger can block his strike. The fat lady rolls around in her bed - obviously the source of the creaking Puk heard earlier - and throws a heinous spell at the halfling which blinds him. With one simple incantation she has stolen the rogue most powerful weapon, his eye for weak spots. Quint recognizes the woman's threat and tries to take her out of the fight with a cacophonous call, but she resists his magic through sheer power of will. Sjo bludgeons her with his heavy mace, but cannot prevent her from draining Balian's strength with a ray of enfeeblement. The sly mage has now crippled the second damage dealer with her magic. Balian gets no time to recover, for the ogre crushes half his ribs with a devastating blow. Quint attempts another cacophonous call on the fat lady, but her will proves too powerful again. Sjo rushes to Balian's aid with a healing spell so the ranger can continue the fight, but the undead ogre hits about wildly, wounding all the companions. With Puk's and Balian's efficiency greatly reduced, it is hard for our friends to bring the giant to his knees. Both Spyder and his master go down first, before Puk can finally deliver the finishing cut. Meanwhile Sjo has resorted to firing wave upon wave of burning hands at the corpulent monster, who finds no protection from this magic among her five mirror images. When her zombie bodyguard is beaten, she decides to play it safe and whispers the words of a powerful spell that dimension doors her out of the room with a simple "poof".
1 Erastus 4708
The companions get their horses ready for the trip to Lost End and pick up their charter at Citadel Volshyenek. The Field Marshal also hands them a reward for closing Lavender's Luxury two days ago: a hefty pouch with 1,000 gold sails and some of the swindlers' equipment, a magical greatsword, mithral breastplate and cloak, which all go the Balian, and a ring of protection for Quint. Then the heroes leave the city.
The farmland makes way for a rougher terrain after a couple of hours as the road bends off to the west and crawls between the western stretches of the Mindspin Mountains that line the southern horizon and the cliffs alongside the Bay of Korvosa somewhere to the north. The sole pathway here sees infrequent passage, as only the Hellknights from Citadel Vraid travel it from time to time on their heavy warhorses, but the heroes do not encounter any of these blind enforcers of the law today. When darkness sets, they make camp and pass a restful night.
2 Erastus 4708
After a couple of hours Balian spots an overgrown path that veers off the main road to the northwest. Travel becomes slower now, as the horses have to walk through the high grass and weeds. It definitely looks as if no one has come this way for a long time.
It is almost noon when the companions pick up the muffled murmur of pain from behind the bushes. They dismount and check out the source of the noise, discovering a large wounded bear that has a bear trap around its paw. It has been pulling at the iron teeth to try and get free, but its efforts have only caused it further injury. The animal roars viciously when the adventurers approach, giving them pause. Suddenly the growls of the injured colossus are drowned by barking dogs, who are closing in fast. A few breaths later six hunting hounds burst out of the foliage and attack both the bear and the companions. Despite their fervor the dogs cannot penetrate the companions' defenses and soon start to fall prey to their weapons.
"You hurts my dogs! Rukus Graul kill you for that, he will!" The master of the hounds arrives in the wake of his pack. It is an ugly humanoid with a wide mouth and a huge misshapen finger which dangles like a hook from his right hand. Quint recognizes the creature as ogrekin, like the grotesque cabbage-headed hulk the heroes encountered in the derro warrens, an unnatural mix of humans and ogres. The lumbering hunter wields a sharp spear, but fails to hit Balian. At the same time the hounds finish off the bear and now hurl themselves on the companions. The heroes pick off the mongrels one at a time without suffering a single bite. The unfortunate half-ogre is equally unsuccessful and never scores a hit with his spear. Sjo barks at him to surrender, but he refuses. "You kill my dogs, I kill yours!" he grunts as he plunges his pike in Spyder. "Rukus not surrender, ever!" he shouts as the companions bear down on him from all sides. The next moment his dead body drops to the ground. That is how the heroes of Korvosa deal with stupid, overconfident brutes.
Using detect magic Sjo is pleasantly surprised to learn that this primitive creature was wearing a valuable girdle around his waist, a belt of giant strength, which the Shoanti healer gladly straps around his own hips.
The companions want to explore the sunken Delivery further and make their way through the hatch into its cargo hold. Swimming inside they see they are not alone: a giant octopus moves in to attack. Quint throws a cacophonous call on the bottom dweller, nauseating it and forcing it to retreat in the galley. Slowly the heroes swim towards the door, but before Sjo can close it, Balian sneaks through and swings his greatsword at the large creature. Hampered by the water, his hit loses much of its strength. Puk stabs at it as well, but as the octopus has taken up position in the corner, there is no way for him to hit its vulnerable spots, so his cuts are only minor nicks. It seems like both heavy hitters have lost their advantage in this underwater environment. When Quint's spell is about to end, the bard tries to renew it, but this time his magic is resisted and the sea creature regains control of its actions. Its tentacles lash out and all the companions suddenly find themselves in the awkward grasp of rubbery arms. Balian has to drop his blade and pulls out a simple dagger to cut at his opponent. Sjo does the same, but finds it hard to score a hit. Quint, who is usually the least effective melee fighter, is all of sudden the biggest threat as his short sword of frost pierces one of the tentacles, rendering it useless. The iron embrace of the octopus's arms slowly squeezes the life out of the heroes as they try to fight themselves free. Although they manage to cut off more tentacles, the crushing arms take their toll and both Sjo and Balian lose consciousness. Puk and Quint are near to the end as well: the halfling lashes about furiously with his small swords, scoring some extra scratches, but Quint saves the day by striking the final blow.
The companions take a few moments to heal up, before searching the cargo. There are over half a dozen big cages, the doors of which have all been opened. Each of these holds a number of dead rats, who did not die from drowning, but rather from the plague. In the lower hold the companions discover more opened cages, as well as the drowned body of a man who has an amulet of Urgathoa around his neck. There is also a ballista in here, that was used to fire the heavy shaft through the hull which caused the vessel to take on water and sink.
The companions return to the harbor, dry up and head to the citadel to report to Field Marshal Cressida Kroft. She encourages the heroes to examine the location marked on the map: the abandoned Porphyria manor Lost End. She will make a document to authorize her special task force, so the companions do not run into trouble again because they cannot prove they are working for the city. She asks them to make preparations and return tomorrow to pick up the document.
The companions spend the rest of the day getting ready for their trip. They also make sure that Tayce and Brienna have enough food to get through the next couple of days without having to leave their house and risk exposure to the plague. They do the same for Madam Nesia and the children in the villa.
Quint also dives into the villa's library and finds more information on Lost End. The country house was commissioned by Lord Chadris I of House Porphyria. This nobleman was one of the wealthiest and most prominent businessmen and aristocrats in the city in his day. He was also the direct competitor of Eodred I, who was crowned the first king of Korvosa, much to Porphyria's discontent. One of Chadris's wilder business ideas was to buy up the desolate lands on the south coast of the Bay of Korvosa and try to establish a harbor there. He never got past one small landing stage in a cave, somewhere in the fierce cliffs that line the south edge of the Bay and a large manor on top of the rocks. The waters proved too treacherous to allow for any decent harbor activity and the political struggle for power in Korvosa consumed too much of his attention, so Chadris abandoned his plans to develop the area further. The manor became the Porphyria holiday house, although it found a more permanent resident in Lady Ulrika, the wife of Chadris' son, Chadris II, and mother to Chadris III, who briefly made it to the throne of Korvosa, becoming its worst and most unpopular king to date. Lady Ulrika reportedly resided in the manor for health reasons, but the truth was that she was insane and her family locked her away in the country house to avoid embarrassment in the higher circles of the city. Since the fall of the Prophyria's, at the end of Chadris's mad reign, and their banishment to Cheliax in 4667, the manor has stood empty.
Since it is the last day of the month, Sjo pays a visit to the tax office and declares what the party made in the last month. Taxes amount to 4,819 gold sails, due to be paid over the next month.
That night Balian and Quint are awakened from their sleep by cries from Nesia's room. The girl is having a bad dream. Balian carefully wakes her up and tries to calm her down. She says she had a nightmare in which she saw the shadow of a robust man standing in a doorway. He said something to her and then closed the door, after which blood started dripping from the ceiling, slowly filling the room. As Nesia is quite shaken, Balian offers to sleep in the extra bed to watch over her.
That is a nice map, what did you use to make it?
Just some paper that looks like parchment, which you can get in the store. I drew the map on it and burned it. I actually tried making a computer version first, but since I don't have any decent graphic software, it was easier to do it by hand and burn it for real (obviously a controlled fire, taking out or blackening the part I wanted to get this result). It makes for a nice prop, though.
I sometimes use the same parchment paper for other hand-outs as well, e.g. I have a translated version of
something that will turn up in a far away future:
For my copies of the Korvosa Herald I use regular white paper, since the parchment vellums are a bit more expensive.
30 Sarenith 4708
On the way to the harbor the companions pick up a copy of the Korvosa Herald. They are happy to see that their call to aid the city's medic force has made it to the front page.
Larella casts water breathing on the party before fisherman Jarend takes them out to the river bend where the ship sank. Quint spots a shadow on the bottom of the stream that looks like the wreck. He pulls out his wand of mage armor to enhance everyone's defenses, as swimming in armor is not a good idea, even with the ability to breath under water. Then the companions dive to the sunken ship, which rests some 70 feet below the water line on the bottom of the river. A moniker on the bowsprit identifies the vessel as the Delivery, the same ship that bore off necromancer Rolth almost two months ago. The strangest feature of the wreck is a big hole in the hull with a massive ballista arrow sticking through it. This hole was obviously below the water line when the boat was still afloat, and must have been the main reason why the ship sank so quickly. What is weird about the arrow, is that it sticks out of the hull instead of into it. It was fired from within! The deck is blackened by the fire that raged there before the ship went down. Especially the aft deck was badly damaged.
Balian swims for the foredeck first and kicks open a door that was swollen shut. Inside he finds a room that was converted to a shrine of Urgathoa. A crude wooden statue of an attractive, straight-haired woman with a lower body that has wasted away to bones leaves no mistake as to her identity. If this ship bore the disease that plagues Korvosa, the goddess of physical excess, disease and the undead would make for a fitting patron deity. Puk even notices Urgathoa's unholy bible, In service of Your Hunger, floating in the water. Fortunately the ink has mostly faded from the pages.
The doors the cabins in the aft deck open more easily, as they are almost burned through. The right room is a small mess hall, while the left one used to house the captain. The contents of these rooms were mostly destroyed by the flames, but the captain's quarters still hold a valuable clue. Nailed to the wall are the burned remains of a map, showing the Bay of Korvosa. One location is marked in red: Lost End, a place on the desolate south coasts of the bay, where the dangerous cliffs normally don't allow ships to moor. Quint has heard of this place before: Lost End was once the country house of the Porphyria family, a noble house that was exiled from Korvosa by King Eodred's mother, Queen Domina, after they tried to steal the crown from the Arabasti dynasty. Fortunately Chadris Porphyria's short reign was such a disaster that it paved the way for Domina to seize power for her family again. The surviving Porphyria's returned to Cheliax, where their house still held a lot of power. Perhaps the plague is their revenge or a devious way for them to facilitate their return.
Travelling through Korvosa's sewers brings back memories of the days when Sjo, Balian and Quint were still in Lamm's lambs and had to hunt for rats to feed Lamm's ever-hungry alligator Gobblegut. Only this time they are here to make peace with the rats instead of kill them. With Meep Gildenglare's pet rat Mr. Nibbles leading the way through this filthy maze the companions make good time. Even an ochre jelly that drops from the ceiling hardly slows them down. While Balian hacks the slime into ever smaller parts, Sjo finishes them off with a few burning hands spells.
When they approach the wererats' den they notice some light seeping from a man-sized crack that cuts deep across the opposite wall of the tunnel, on the other side of the muck. Balian also picks up some voices from within. The companions decide to go the diplomatic way once again and hail the inhabitants of this underground lair with loud hellos. They continue calling out for Girrigz, the wererat leader, as they approach the cleft. Balian is the first to enter a rough-hewn stone cave, wading in the small flow of sewers filth that cuts through this room. An empty table bathes in the light of a flickering brazier. The perceptive ranger spots a shadow in the far end of the room, a shape that looks like a big, walking rat. With a squeaking voice it wonders what the companions want.
"We are here to talk to Girrigz about the sick rats and people. A mutual friend asked us to check on you to make sure you are okay", Quint answers.
"What do you mean, sick people? My people, you mean? My people are sick, as are our rat brothers", the creature interjects.
"You don't know, then? The people in the city are sick as well, maybe one in four is infected by now, and many rats as well", Sjo replies. "Some citizens blame you and we just want ascertain ourselves of the fact that this hasn't gone down wrong with you?"
"Hmmrr, so the people blame us ... again, while they are the ones who are guilty! It's always the same with you people ...", a much lower-pitched voice grunts from an opening in the other end of the room.
"Are you Girrigz? Meep Gildenglare sent us", Quint inquires.
"Meep, har har, that old little turncoat human lover ... she has turned from her own, we have no interest in what she has to say", Girrigz groans back. "No, ignorant intruders, we are not responsible for this mess, on the contrary, it is all a vicious plan of your kind to decimate my folk. It is humans who set loose the diseased rats on the city, when they had that ship sink in the river bend."
Quint realizes that the wererat does not have a correct picture of the situation above ground. "Well, first of all, it is definitely not 'all the humans' who are responsible. Thousands are sick as well and hundreds have already lost their lives. I'm even infected myself. So your analysis that the humans are responsible is not accurate. But I do believe you when you say that some humans might be responsible. Sometimes there are bad people and if you can offer any insight on what happened, we'd be happy to learn about it."
"So humans are sick as well ... the irony, struck down by your own kind! But don't you have healers up there who can make the sickness go away?"
"We do, I am somewhat of a healer myself", Sjo returns. "But the plague has taken on huge proportions, so we are struggling to save just a few. Still, you have sick here as well? I can have a look at them if you want me to, although I do not master the magic to heal them."
"Well, maybe I do ... that is to say, I am in possession of a magical wand that is supposed to heal the sick, but I lack the power to activate it. Maybe you are capable of doing so?" Girrigz inquires with a friendlier voice. "I'll send one of my brothers to fetch you, follow him, but only you, big man, the rest of you will remain where they are."
The shifty ratman that Balian noticed before reappears in the north exit and waves Sjo closer. He leads the Shoanti through a smaller cave that reeks of death and decay. Hundreds of dead rats and at least seven deceased humanoids have been piled to the wall. The next room in the complex is bigger, a small fire burns in the center and lights up the features of a dangerous-looking wererat, obviously Girrigz. Four very sick wererats are lying on the floor and more lycanthropes and dire rats move in the background. Quint sees that some of them shows signs of the plague as well.
The healer examines one of the diseased creatures, he won't last another day if he receives no care. Girrigz comes closer and hands Sjo a white wand. "It should contain the magic to cure diseases." Sjo accepts the item and moves his other hand inside his pocket to reach for Zellara's deck. The fortuneteller's cards confirm that the wand does what Girrigz says. Of course, Sjo realizes, there is only a limited chance that the magic will have the desired effect. By his calculations that shouldn't even be one in two since wands are usually made at minimal caster level. Furthermore he does not know if the wererat is aware of that; so he tries to formulate it in a simpler fashion: "Your men are in bad shape, I'm afraid. I hope they are not too far gone to be cured. There, let me try it on this poor man first." Sjo activates the magic and the wererat immediately lets out a sigh of relief as his sores disappear and a healthy blush returns to his cheeks. So fortune favored the Shoanti on this first patient, but there still are three more badly diseased lycanthropes in the room. Sjo's attempts to cure these creatures meet with less success, as only one of them gets better. Sjo even retries healing the last one with a second charge, but that fails as well. "I'm afraid your brothers are too far gone", he whispers, knowing all too well that failure has nothing to do with the patient's condition, but with the strength of the wand. When Girrigz seems to accept this fact, the Shoanti is relieved, but he quickly fears that his little bluff might be pierced when Girrigz asks him to cure three other less sick wererats. Still, fortune favors the Shoanti once again as all three attempts to cure these three succeed on the first try. So his story holds.
Girrigz is now fully convinced of the companions' good intentions and invites all of them into the room to negotiate. When Sjo tells him that the magically cured are not immune to the disease and might get infected again, the wererat leader nods and suggests that it might not be a bad idea to lead the sick rats out of the city. The fierce lycanthrope looks nothing like the pied piper from the fairy-tale, but he might have the same sway over rodents and taking the infected rats out of the city would be a giant leap in fighting the plague.
Girrigz also confirms what the companions suspected already. The mysterious plague is connected to the ship that sunk in the harbor over a week ago. The wererat was alerted to the burning vessel by one of his rat friends. He went to the exit of the east tunnel to witness the ship go down, as hundreds of rats fled from the wreck. "It is customary for a boat to hold a few dozen rats, but this ship had far too many of them, many hundreds, some of whom swam to my location. That was the first time I saw the festering sores that have since then taken out half my crew. Strangely enough, there were no human survivors trying to reach the shore."
The companions decide that the wreck deserves closer inspection. Still, they were sent here with a mission as well, making sure that Girrigz does not take out his ire on the humans above. Sjo steers the conversation in this direction again, but first he wants to improve his goodwill and digs out the restorative ointment from his pack, knowing that this salve has the same chance to cure the sick as the wand did. "I might have one more trick up my sleeve to help your sick friends", he says. He applies some of the ointment on the last two sick wererats and as if by a miracle, they both work! Girrigz is very interested in the unguent and proposes to trade it for the wand. Sjo immediately sees the gain in this deal and accepts: there are only two applications of ointment left, while the wand still holds twenty charges. On the other hand, the wererat leader has no use for a wand he cannot activate, so it is a win-win situation. When the companions ask Girrigz not to seek revenge on the humans, he quickly agrees. The thought had crossed his mind, but the information and the aid the party provided him and his people sufficed to sway him. The company parts in good spirits.
That evening Sjo uses the wand to cure the children in the villa and little Brienna. He also secures a sloop for tomorrow and arranges with Larella that she will forego one cure disease spell in favor of some water breathing magic.
I'm just going to shamelessly promote my Deviantart page here with several tabletop set-ups of Curse of the Crimson Throne locations. There are links already in my journal on these boards, but for those who don't read it, here's the link to my gallery.
It includes terrain set-ups of Gaedran's Lamm's Old Fishery, Castle Korvosa, All the World's Meat, the Shingle Chase, Trinia Sabor's execution, the Carowyn villa, the wererat sewer den and Lavender's perfumery. There are also extra scenery pieces from added sidetreks, including the old courthouse from the Hangman's Noose.
I hope you enjoy it.
Yes, it's too bad that some issues are not available anymore, except on the secondhand market for crazy prices. Fortunately there still are the pdf's. I'd rather spend $ 13.99 on a pdf than several hundreds on a physical copy. After all, we've all grown so accustomed to our computers that we're able to work with a pdf as well, although I do prefer an issue in hand as well ...
Seven Days to the Grave is a favorite among many AP readers. The mood of the adventure surely contributes to the adventure's appeal. To enhance the atmosphere in the city, I like adding some random street encounters; just a few scenes the PCs witness in the streets of the city to create the right mood. Here are some of my ideas, but I'd love to hear more suggestions.
Note: in my campaign the plague is being spread by rats, so rats play a big part in these street encounters.
I greatly appreciate your effort to give us some insight in what's going on. We have all been eagerly awaiting the next line of Pathfinder Battle figs, and at least now we know why we have to wait. I'm definitely looking forward to your next reveal, but until then I wish you lots of rest and merry days over the holidays.
Some of the things I would like to see in a new line include an auroch ox, a generic Shoanti warrior and ordinary civilians. I also like the suggestion of a red mantis assassin.
Today there is another long line in front of Lavender's perfumery, but the companions do not approach the people in the same manner they did yesterday. Quint announces to everyone that Lavender's ointment does not work against the plague and Balian adds that they are here to officially close the shop. Since the customers have probably been waiting in the queue for hours, they are not inclined to leave just yet and stay put for now. When the guard at the door sticks out his head to enquire about the commotion Sjo order him to lay down his weapon in a very commanding tone. His words clearly affect the man, but he is still separated from the companions by a small crowd of people, so he chooses the safety of the inside instead and retreats in the shop. Weapons are drawn and now the bystanders realize that the situation is both serious and dangerous, which sends them running. The young heroes follow the guard and while Sjo orders most of the surprised customers out, Quint repeats that they are here to close the shop under the orders of Field Marshal Cressida Kroft. Tensions rise as the three bodyguards raise their weapons: the most burly of them threatens with his greatsword, while the other two wield a sword and shield. They defend the way to the counter, where the owner of the business, Vendra Loagrri, questions the four intruders' authority. For all she knows they are mobsters who want to steal her money. Sjo steps forward, booming that he's arresting her for obstructing justice, while Quint gives the three guards a final chance to surrender.
The man with the greatsword, obviously the leader of Lavender's security, slips his boss a quick glance before sending his mighty weapon in a sweeping arch on Quint. The bard staggers backward, bleeding profusely from a gaping wound. Balian tries to return the favor, but the fact that there are still a handful of customers left in the shop, cowering in the corners, makes him too cautious and allows his opponent to block his attack. Vendra jumps over the counter and pulls out a dagger that she flings in Quint's direction. Fortunately for the gravely wounded bard, the projectile misses him. Her other two guards bare down their longswords on Puk and Sjo. These opponents are no beginners and they hit hard. Sjo realizes the threat they pose and resorts to his magical arsenal for battlefield control. His hold person freezes his attacker in place. Quint seeks refuge behind his friends and patches up the worst of his cut with a cure light wounds. Meanwhile Puk and Spyder engage the third guard, seeing how the head of Vendra's security now focuses his powerful swings on Balian, succeeding in another bloody gash. Sjo takes the man out of the action as well by paralyzing him with another hold person, as Quints attempts a new spell on Vendra. His cacaphonous call nauseates her so she has to give up fighting as well. The heroes are now clearly in control of the battle: they put down the remaining guard, slip the greatsword from the leader's grasp and push him to the floor. He fights off the paralyzing effects of Sjo's magic and tries to make for his weapon, but the heroes bear down on him from all sides and hit him into unconsciousness. While Sjo stabilizes the bleeding guard to prevent him from dying, Vendra and her last guard surrender.
Puk tells the four cowering customers to get the hell out of here, but Balian stops one of them to get his identity, since he witnessed what transpired in here. The heroes heal their wounds and tie up Vendra and her men. Quint tries to get more information on the ointment from Rita, the frightened shop assistant, but she has little to offer and dreads acting against her boss. Sjo figures that he will find out more if he investigates the scene himself. He leads Vendra to the back of the building and uses her keys to unlock her personal living quarters and her laboratory. Here he finds confirmation for professor Sirtane Leroung's analysis of Lavender's Luxuriant Liniment: two barrels of animal fat, a bunch of cut up weeds and cheap perfume to scent the ointment. Still Vendra sustains her belief in the effectiveness of her cure, claiming that for a pharmacist there is no difference between weeds and herbs.
The companions decide to leave the rest in the hands of justice. They bring the four prisoners to the Longacre building to have them locked up and head over to the citadel to give a full report to Cressida Kroft. They also hand the Field Marshal all weapons and armor they confiscated, including some magical items. Kroft is actually surprised at how 'peacefully' and lawfully the companions concluded their business and admits that she made a mistake in not giving them a document to assert their authority. She suggests that the companions actually join the Korvosan Guard, although she quickly decides that might not be the best option, since the Gray Maidens were given full control over her soldiers.
Afterwards Sjo wants to follow up on the medic task force. In the Bank of Abadar he learns that Darb Tuttle is talking to the Jeggare and Arkona families to procure a building that can serve as a new hospital. He also informs professor Sirtane Leroung that his own illness has been conquered, affirming her suspicion and hope that the human body can fight off the plague. When she questions him about his 'treatment', he says that he's been using lesser restoration to keep up his vigor, which was definitely a strong weapon in overcoming the disease, but such a 'cure' is obviously not available on a large scale.
Meanwhile Puk, Balian and Quint return to the villa, where they discover that Madam Nesia is entertaining a guest. It's Meep Gildenglare, the old seamstress and more notably, the friendly wererat lady. Meep confirms that it took her a while to remember the companions from their days in the 'Pied Piper' play five years ago, but now she does. She recalls the children who peeped under the floorboards from where she was directing the rats on stage in her wererat form and realizes that they have grown up. She now freely admits to being one of the oldest lycanthropes in the city, one of the few who was born with the affliction. Unlike most of her kin she has managed to find her place in regular society, which makes her a 'coward' or even 'traitor' in the eyes of most of her own sort. One such lycanthrope, who's never been able to integrate in the human world and has always felt suppressed and shunned, is Girrigz, a young but strong wererat who is also a born werecreature. Girrigz has been nursing his grudge against human even more since he was shot with silver arrows by the Korvosan Guard a couple of years ago. He has gathered a number of like-minded brethren around him and like most stereotypical members of his kin, he has made his home somewhere in the sewers.
Although Meep does not entertain cordial relations with these wererats, recent development in the city have caused her to worry. She has witnessed how the plague is ripping through Korvosa and has not failed to notice that rats play an important part in spreading the disease. She has picked up various rumors that blame the wererats for this epidemic and fears that this news will not sit well with the likes of Girrigz. He already feels frustrated at being condemned to live in the filth of the humans and will be greatly offended by the accusation that he is the cause of this malady, as if any wererat would ever purposely poison a real rat brother or sister. Their bond with the little rodents is just too strong, Meep says as she pets the rat she has in her own lap, which she introduces as Mr. Nibbles. Meep sighs deeply before she implores the heroes to help her kinsmen out. She wants them to go below ground and convince Girrigz and his gang not to do anything stupid, because such an act would only backfire in these rat-hating days. In return she will gladly provide a wardrobe for Nesia, because the girl can hardly put on the same gown day after day, as lovely as it may be.
My group refused to turn Trinia over to Kroft, for the very good reasons described. Instead, they sent her off to Harse. However, they then received word of an execution planned anyway, an execution of a feebleminded and hair-dyed woman. This was where Blackjack intervened, and this girl too was sent to Harse. So, when the party finally make their way to Harse themselves, they meet not only Trinia, but the other woman. Since a 6th level spell is needed to remove feeblemind, and it has a permanent duration, the people there have not been able to remove it, instead they have fed her and cared for her. With no name given, they affectionately call her Drooley or Drooley girl. *scratches her head* Ah well, I suppose I need to make her sort of important somehow.
I don't know at what time you introduced the Gray Maidens into your campaign, but if you did that before Trinia's trial, the girl could possibly be someone who volunteered to become a soldier in the queen's guard, but who 'failed' her training, maybe because she wasn't strong enough, or maybe because she was too headstrong to be brainwashed, so they decided to erase her mind altogether with feeblemind instead. In reality the girl could be just about anyone's daughter or (girl)friend. She could also be a former member of the Korvosan Guard, or even a Sable Marine who was ordered to infiltrate the Gray Maiden training.
In my campaign, Trinia wasn't in her own house, because then the guards would just have arrested her themselves. She picked up the rumors that she was going to be arrested for the king's murder and disappeared immediately. The PCs tracked her to the apartment of a friend, a tiefling stripper, as you can read in my journal. They chased her down across the shingles and convinced her to give herself up, claiming that she would only be safe if she could prove her innocence publicly.
Trinia agreed, but her trial did not go as expected, and she was convicted to die by beheading. The PCs were present at the execution - and even though the bard was itching to interfere - they did not free her, but then witnessed the caped crusader swoop in and save the girl.
Later the PCs were contacted by their friend Vencarlo to see the girl to safety at a friend's place in Harse. This part of the story is where my PCs - who up until this point have been working for the government (and the queen) to restore order in Korvosa - are starting to doubt Ileosa's sincerity. Since they are officially heroes of the city, they try to remain "loyal" to her majesty, at least openly. But in secret their alliances are slowly changing. Trinia is the first step down this important road.
You could always do an extra session with your old party. Snow has also reached Korvosa and your old PCs get involved in a side-quest that somehow aids your new party. I'm not very familiar with Reign of Winter, though, so I don't know if such a scenario would be possible. Still, I guess it would be tremendous fun for your players to dig up the old characters once more.
Marik Whiterose wrote:
How wonderful! I never knew the Shoanti who recovered the Fangs had an official name, Coja Eyes-Aflame! He'll be playing a part in my future campaign, at least his remains will. Until now he was known in my notes as 'Shemesh Fire-for-Blood'. I guess that it's out with Shemesh and in with Coja ... Thanks for pointing that out, Marik.
Marik Whiterose wrote:
I'm thinking of sending them on a quest to recover the other artifacts of Kazavon taking them well into Epic, err I mean, Mythic territory.
'Recover' you say? I'd rather see your PCs save the world and 'destroy' the artifact they have right now ... unless they want to recover the rest to destroy those artifacts as well.
I mention the goings-on in Korvosa regularly in my Reign of Winter campaign I'm running now with the same group. Since it's 7 years later there's a bunch that happened, and they players are always stoked to hear a small tidbit of information about Korvosa in the background.
That is actually really cool for your players. I used to do that too in my old campaigns, but since CotCT is my first campaign in Golarion, I can't do that yet.
Have you used old characters again, either as NPCs or as one-shot PCs for a tie-in adventure?
Puk takes Madam Nesia to the villa while his friends follow up on the body carters who were going in the wrong direction. A vagrant at the side of the road calls out and asks them if they want to buy a cloak of rat skins. Sjo gives the man some silver, but immediately burns the filthy cape. For some extra coin the bum reveals that the carters pass by regularly. "They always disappear down a dark alley over there." The man points out where it is.
The high walls of the surrounding buildings throw the awkwardly bent Racker's Alley into constant shadow. The hidden sideway is rich with the stomach-turning stench of rot. Heaped against the wooden back wall, behind an empty cart, rises a pile of dozens of plague victims and hundreds of dead rats. The entry to a door has been left clear: it is the back entrance of a small rundown shop called Giotorri's Toys. The front door and windows have been boarded up, making the place look deserted, but the back door seems to be unlocked. Balian puts his ear against the wood and hears voices inside.
The ranger pushes in, surprising two body carters in the shop's backroom. Sjo calls out to them: "In the name of the law, lay down your weapons!" But the fools do not head his words and make for their clubs. While Quint starts mocking them with his satire, Balian jumps forward and whirls his greatsword in a devastating arch, gravely wounding both men. (Double critical hit on a cleave.) One of the men attempts to strike back, but his pitiful fighting skills are no match for the ranger; the other body disposer tries to make a run for it, but can't dodge Balian's swift reaction and goes down. The sound of battle draws in five more men from the shop in front. They want to swarm the three companions with superior numbers, but quickly learn their mistake. Two well-placed burning hands spells from Sjo and Balian's cleaving blade take them down. One of the carters makes it outside, but Spyder and Quint halt his escape. The final opponent surrenders.
In the front room Balian discovers a stain of dried blood, no older than two days. The lone survivor confesses that he and his colleagues were tired of making the many long runs from north to south across the city with the corpse carts. So they started ditching the dead rats and bodies in this shady back alley. They thought no one would mind, but then it turned out that someone still lived in the boarded-up shop next to their perfect little dumping ground. Toymaker Giotorri had locked himself in his shop to keep the plague out, so he obviously wasn't too keen on having the infectious cadavers piling up against his back door. The carters tried giving him money, but when he refused, things got out of hand and they killed the old man. That is why they attacked the companions, because they were trying to hide a crime ...
Our friends take the murderer to prison and swing by the university to talk to its professor in alchemy, Sirtane Leroung. They ask her to examine Lavender's Luxuriant Liniment, hoping she can tell them whether the ointment really works. Sirtane seriously doubts it, even at first glance, since the substance can hardly even be called an ointment, looking more like grease. The professor in turn asks her visitors if they have heard of anyone recovering from the disease, or even better, of anyone who is immune. Since she cancelled her classes to avoid the danger of spreading the plague, she has been studying the pestilence, hoping to find a cure. Knowing that people actually recover from it, would be a great support. But the real clue to fighting the deadly malady could come from those who possess a natural resistance to it. The companions promise to ask around and keep her informed. They pay a quick visit to Field Marshal Kroft and the temple of Pharasma to report on the carters' scheme in Racker's Alley, before retiring to the comfort of the villa.
Puk has already taken Nesia to the tailor's and she is in the bathroom right now, getting ready for dinner. She may have lost her memory, but she certainly did not forget how the dress up: she looks absolutely stunning. Sjo offers the lost girl his bedroom and spends the night at Larella's.
29 Sarenith 4708
The children are still sick and Quint is feeling worse as well. Sjo on the other hand feels great, it looks like his body has fought off the infection. Balian is still as healthy as a fish and Nesia is in excellent physical shape too, but her mental problems persist as she still has no recollection of who she is. Balian and Sjo spend a couple of hours tending to the sick, including their daily visit to little Brienna. After lunch they talk to Sirtane Leroung again. The alchemy professor confirms her suspicions: Lavender's Luxuriant Liniment is nothing more than animal grease, mixed with weeds and some cheap perfume to make it smell less revolting. It has no healing properties whatsoever, apart from the potential placebo effect.
The companions report the matter to Field Marshal Kroft, but she lacks the manpower to do anything about Lavender's Luxury herself. She implores the four friends to attend to the case personally. She trusts them to handle the matter in whatever way necessary, but they have to close the shop, because all those people in the queue infect each other. This place offers no cure, on the contrary, it is a serious health hazard.
Does the Eternal Glyph trap in area A7 trigger when you attempt the "Decipher Script" (Linguistics) check or does it trigger only when you succeed at the check and can understand Thassilonian?
The way the trap is explained suggests that you understand the language, so the trap only triggers when you succeed the Linguistics check or use a spell like comprehend languages. Of course you could describe the writing in such a way that you make the PCs curious enough to have them use their skill or spell.
Big praise goes to my friend Moonbeam, who introduced Nesia in his Curse of the Crimson Throne journal, which you can find here - obviously this thread is forbidden for my own players!. She was a big hit at our gaming table, so thanks for the inspiration! We miss your presence on these boards ...
28 Sarenith 4708
The next morning Mouse is still feeling ill and Quint, Korwick and Heldrin are a bit under the weather as well. That means that all the kids and both Sjo and Quint have been infected. Only Balian and Puk are still feeling healthy.
Soon the guests for the breakfast meeting arrive: Valdur Bromathan of Sarenrae, brother Aldrick of Pharasma, Archbanker Darb Tuttle of Abadar and Ornher Reebs of Asmodeus. These four representatives of Korvosa's most important churches are joined by Doctor Dave Saulus of the Queen's Physicians and Sjo's girlfriend, Larella of Shelyn, who spent the night in the villa for the first time. Sjo welcomes everybody and leaves the guests to come to their own agreement. Darb Tuttle immediately takes charge and the others let him. When it becomes clear that the heroes signed a contract with the highpriest of Asmodeus, promising him 50 % of all the funds raised, there is some discussion, but the medic council finally decides to discuss that matter at a later date. For now they agree to place collection boxes in all the temples and they also decide on a text to be printed in the Herald.
When the guests have left, Sjo and Balian see to all the sick in the house. By noon they go to Trail's End to take care of little Brienna as well. The girl still hasn't recovered, although Sjo's healing has kept her relatively well. Brienna's mother Tayce inquires if the companions have already heard of the cure that is supposedly available somewhere in the Heights district. They obviously haven't, but a potential medicine certainly piques their interest, even if - which they suspect - it turns out to be a sham. Some information gathering quickly points them to Lavender's Luxury, a perfume boutique. The shop stands in a row of tightly packed houses in Summoning Street, just south of the Acadamae. The owner is a Chelaxian woman named Vendra Loaggri, who is famous for her avant-garde creations and brazen promotions, like her "Free Imp with every purchase" stunt last year.
A long queue of eager Korvosans waits in a line that stretches far around the corner. Several of those waiting bear the obvious blistered symptoms of the plague. A strong man guards the door and eyes every customer that enters closely. A customer leaves the perfumery and immediately applies a greasy ointment on his neck. He refers to it as Lavender's Luxuriant Liniment and claims that he already feels better, even though Sjo notices no changes in the man's red spots and Quint detects no magic. Quint wants to sneak a peek inside, but dreads the thought of having to queue for hours, so he decides to start a new line for those who want to buy perfume instead of the cure. While most queuers throw angry glances at the bard, his fast-talking overwhelms them enough so he can get away with his little scheme. About fifteen minutes later he is inside the shop, where a happy-looking dockworker is giving his unbiased personal testimonial of how the luxuriant liniment cured him of the plague. A woman with clear blue eyes asks Quint what he wants when he reaches the counter. The bard recognizes her as Vendra, Loaggri, the shop's owner. From her he learns that Lavender's Luxuriant Liniment has already been around for a long time, but the merchant only recently became aware of its special plague healing ability when a customer who had used it got better. Quint finds it hard to determine whether the woman is lying of whether she truly believes the ointment works. He ends up buying a bottle of perfume and Puk picks up a dose of the cure, because he wants to have it examined.
Back in the street Quint teases Sjo about his new girlfriend, giving the big Shoanti the impression that he is a bit jealous. As the two young men are harrying each other, they suddenly hear a loud scream. A group of people have gathered down the road and Quint can tell that are crowding a woman who is clearly in a state of panic. The frightened girl has blond hair and is dressed in a white sheet with no clothes underneath. Sjo gets the bystanders to give her some space while Quint calms her down. When they ask her for her name, she doesn't know ... she doesn't remember who she is or how she got here! An old lady tells the companions that she noticed the girl staggering down the street in naught but a white sheet, looking disoriented. When she asked the girl if she was okay, she started wailing like a madwoman. Still, she seems to be in fine physical order, very fine even as she looks very attractive. Quint wants to get the poor thing some clothes and convinces the old lady, who lives close by, to sell him a skirt and a blouse. Despite this sober attire the girl looks stunning when she puts on the clothes, especially when they prove to be a bit tight around the chest. Sjo and Quint continue to quiz her to see if she remembers anything. When they talk about Sarenrae, Asmodeus or Abadar, she recalls the names and portfolios of those gods, although she cannot name any godhood spontaneously. They lead her down the neighborhood to try and trigger her memories, but nothing comes back. When Puk mentions food, she realizes she is quite hungry, as are the companions, who haven't had lunch yet.
Balian suggests grabbing a bite in The Travelling Man in Old Korvosa. The girl shows table manners while eating her burger, indicating that she is not from the lower classes, although she does not display the elaborate etiquette of the nobility either. The girl is very worried and every question the companions ask her sends her into a state of alarm. Is she a criminal? Or someone who was about to be sacrificed in the temple of Asmodeus? Did she rise from the dead or did she use to be a statue that was turned to flesh? She hasn't got a clue.
During the conversation Quint notices some men in the square who are pushing a cart with a dead body. It is not until they have disappeared from view that the bard starts wandering why the body carters were going west instead of east, to make for the bridge south for the Gray District, where all corpses have to be delivered. Still, the pleasant company at his table soon makes him forget his contemplations for more agreeable worries, the pretty girl's lot. Focusing his gaze on her shapely curves, the bard casts a detect magic which reveals a hint of magic on her. Sjo joins in with his own spell and reads a touch of transmutation in the lingering magic. The two men try to get the girl to imitate some of their simple spells, to see if she masters the art of spellcasting. It yields no success, although the girl admits to feeling some familiarity to spell weaving. The companions also experiment with the girl's reflection in the window, but seeing a mirrored version of herself triggers no memories.
Finally Sjo proposes naming the girl, since it is hard to talk to someone without a proper name. Balian comes up with a nice suggestion, Madam Nesia, the lady who suffers from Mad Amnesia.
After having procured the cooperation of all the major temples in Korvosa to combat the plague together, Sjo has little difficulty in convincing his girlfriend, Larella of Shelyn, to join in the effort, although her contribution will be very limited. She has only just reached the power to cast remove disease and her chances to fail at getting someone better are still bigger than her chances to succeed. Still, she's more than happy to help.
Next the companions want to pay a visit to Dave Saulus, the Chelish doctor who leads the Queen's Physicians. They learn from Cressida Kroft where to find him: he's setting up a hospital in an empty warehouse, just a block away from Zellara's old fortune-teller's shop in the harbor area. Dozens of laborers are getting the building ready; a newly painted sign at the door identifies the place as The Hospital of the Blessed Maiden, a reference to Saint Alika. Doctor Saulus is in an office on the first floor and listens quietly as the young men inform him of their plans to form a medic force by having all Korvosan temples pull their resources. Saulus confirms that the number of diseased people certainly justifies a second hospital in Korvosa and agrees that it is best that both medical centers gear their activities for one another.
The companions decide to invite all the parties who are fighting the plague in their own villa the next morning for breakfast. This first meeting will launch the medic force, and hopefully it will go on to lead a life of its own without the heroes' further involvement. Cyril Fordyce, the editor of the Korvosa Herald, even agrees to print a public call for help and funds in his periodical's next issue. Quint says he will get his final text tomorrow, after the meeting in the villa.
I really don't mind upping the power level to keep them challenged.
Playing with experienced players, I've been doing that for years. It helps that we only use the Core Rulebook and the APG to keep things manageable (I use PCgen which covers these handbooks). I give my players a 20 point buy and they get 75 % of their potential HP, but my NPCs are built with the same perks. I also adjust the competition at the table if necessary. During the last couple of sessions I've thrown extra opponents at the PCs once when things got too easy and I've also left out an opponent once when things got tricky. I even build some NPCs around 'loot', e.g. the greatsword wielding ranger PC is lagging in magical items, so I designed an extra bodyguard with a +1 greatsword for one of the upcoming sessions.
I do most of my conversions at work anyways so it keeps me busy.
I officially envy you.
Marik Whiterose wrote:
There were some people who talked about rewriting Yargin Balko as an alchemist, but I can't find stats anywhere. On the other hand, how hard can it be to make a level 1 or 2 NPC, right?
Finally Will parried and riposted an attack by the were-shark followed by a critical thrust through the beast’s heart, finally killing it.
Sounds like a tremendously great session. My sympathies for the loss of Hakhan. Am I right in assuming that he will be replaced by a new character or is there a resurrection miracle around the corner?
If you're looking for a list of the major NPCs in Korvosa, your best shot is the appendix in the Guide to Korvosa on p. 62. But as Knick said, to make the city come alive, there will be a lot more NPCs than these, both from the modules and from your own creation. The only way to have a list of those is making your own, I am afraid.
High priestess Keppira d'Bear is pleased to see Cedrik is safe and is sighs when he tell her what happened. She offers the companions her full support in their efforts to fight the plague, provided they get her help for a number of more mundane tasks. She also wishes them luck trying to convince the churches of Abadar and Asmodeus to join the 'medic task force'.
The Grand Vault of Abadar is composed of well-kept grey-veined white marble walls with gleaming bronze friezes, all of which radiantly reflect the light of the sun. The structure towers over surrounding buildings and, along with its steep stairs and ramps leading up to the temple's great bronze doors, boasts an aura of divine luxuriance. Today however, the great stairs do not exhume an aura of grandeur, but rather of chaos. Dozens of desperate civilians - mostly of the working class - throng the entry, scarcely being held back by a group of gold-armored guards. Puk sees one man dressed in fine silks pushing through the pock-scarred crowd. To all everyone's dismay, this rich man is allowed inside. The protectors at the gate are heavily pressed by the angered bystanders when Quint speaks out to calm everyone down. He urges the sick to return home, so they can rest and get better instead of tiring themselves here and infected even more fellow citizens while they're at it. He promises them to talk to the Archbanker and work out an arrangement so they can be helped. After the crowd disperses the guards let the companions in.
Archbanker Tuttle welcomes his guests and can be convinced that he will serve order and civilization better by joining in an organized effort to fight the plague. Unlike the churches of Pharasma and Sarenrae, he is not looking for extra hands to help out in his temple, on the contrary, he does not want strangers running around his Bank. So he will help, but at another location. He agrees to meet with the representatives of the other churches tomorrow and already feels like he should be the one to be the overall coordinator. If the companions want to appeal to the general public to help, they might just as well ask for donations, which would serve the Bank of Abadar better than 'helping hands'. Despite his willingness to join in the medic force, Tuttle will keep back some spells for his own followers, he says. After all, if they are sick, they deserve to be treated just as much as everyone else!
The church of Asmodeus is one of the most magnificent buildings in the city, built from red marble in the shape of a five-pointed star, and situated upon Citadel Crest in the wealthiest ward of the city. The church competes with Abadar for the right to verify and witness oaths and contracts. Since his initial error in judgement - when he sacrifices thirteen maidens to his deity - high priest Ornher Reebs has taken great pains to operate on the right side of the law. Despite this focus on its lawful nature, many Korvosans see the church of Asmodeus as an evil entity in the city and carry a deep mistrust for the infernal religion.
Unlike the other temples the church of Asmodeus is not overrun with people. The sturdy bodyguard Mallas summons his master and hangs around to keep an eye on things while his superior talks to the companions. Ornher Reebs is not happy to see Sjo, who attempted a short apprenticeship in the temple, before turning his back on it. To Reebs that kind of cowardly behavior smells like breach of contract. Quint plays the 'pride' card when he says that all the other churches have agreed to help out, so it would be a 'shame' if Asmodeus would not join in. Reebs wants to know how much the Bank of Abadar is being paid for its help and when he learns that the companions plan to raise money through donations, he demands half of the proceeds. He also wants the companions to communicate about his church's involvement in a positive light, so more people in the city might grow to appreciate his faith. He even draws up a contract stipulating the exact lines of his conditions. In return he offers his full array of disease fighting spells, as well as the couple of useful spells that his subordinate Tyresha can cast. He knows that there are only two priest in his church who can cast remove disease, but the weight of one high priest easily overshadows a dozen low level clerics. Reebs is the third most powerful priest in the city, so the companions will need his help. Quint and Sjo realize that the man is right: high priests can ask their god for many remove disease spells when they fill all their higher level slots with this power as well. Moreover, the chance at success depends on how powerful the caster is, so Reebs would certainly add value to the task force. The negotiators agree and put their signature plus a drop of their blood at the bottom the contract that Ornher Reebs draws up.
With no sign of brother Cedrik in this end of the complex, the companions retrace their steps to the first crossroads chamber with the small pool. Having explored the right side, they now dive into the left tunnel, which slopes down across a hard stone surface. Centuries of water trickling down have worn the steep floor smooth, making it treacherous to navigate.
The passage ends at a cavern with a domed ceiling, cramped with stalactites. Several of these hanging formations have grown together with the stalagmites on the ground, making up one colossal pillar. At the foot of this beautiful column a large clear pool has formed. Quint tosses a light stone into the water. It looks quite deep, at least seven feet. A man-shaped shadow rests against the stone pillar below the water line: the calcified remains of a long forgotten man. Two tunnels lead off into the darkness, one just around the corner to the right and another at the far end of the cavern.
Reaching the other tunnels is hard without getting wet. Sjo decides to head back to a spot with even footing, where he can take off his plate armor. Meanwhile Puk, Quint and Balian investigate the right corridor. They come across three more ghasts, but they dispose of the undead easily. Balian peppers them with arrows from the back line, while Quint tries to trip them with his whip, giving Puk the opportunity to stab them with ruthless efficiency. The tunnel ends in a stone door at which the undead have obviously been scratching. The left bottom corner of the door is missing, revealing a small room beyond in which some scared rats have taken refuge. So the ghasts were after more rodents to eat! Balian pulls the door open. The room looks manmade and is strewn with the decayed remains of wooden crates. Apart from three diseased rats there is nothing here worth noticing.
When they return to the pool cavern, Sjo joins them in nothing but his shirt. Quints digs up a wand with mage armor to boost the healer's defenses a bit. One more tunnel remains, but to reach that, the companions have to cross the water. Balian and Puk manages to keep to the side of the cavern, but Sjo and Quint lose their footing and glide off into the center of the pool. They use this opportunity to examine the skeleton at the foot of the pillar and discover a gold bracelet on his right arm.
Before climbing up the final tunnel, Quint weaves a prestidigitation through his fingers to dry everyone's clothes. Puk leads the way into a shadowy cavern. A dark shape jumps forward from an alcove in the opposite wall, splashing water over the halfling and shouting: "Stay back, you fiends! In the name of Pharasma!" It is brother Cedrik, still a bit wet and tired. He has caked blood on his forehead.
When the wide-eyed priest understands that the intruders are there to save him, he is overcome with relief and spills the beans on what happened. He was tasked with working in the morgue and he remembered the chalice that was there. Since he had always been told that it possessed certain magical abilities, he wondered whether it might be helpful in fighting the plague. So he looked up some information in his books, but he came up with nothing of real interest. His next best guess would be to examine the cup itself. Upon arriving in the morgue, he went into the backroom to look at the chalice. He was surprised to hear strange sounds coming from below the floor, underneath the stone altar. Trying to pull the heavy block of stone aside, he accidentally pressed the secret button in the bas-relief, triggering the opening mechanism. The altar slid away, making the chalice on top topple and fall down the hole that was revealed underneath. Ashamed at his clumsiness Cedrik jumped into the dark to retrieve the cup, but the drop was deeper than he had estimated, so he hurt his ankle. His arrival in the underground chamber was met by hungry growls and grunts from a host of undead. Before they could reach him, Cedrik snatched up the chalice and ran off into the only available exit. He stumbled down the steep, slippery tunnel into the pool chamber, hitting his head before plunging into the water. As he heard the ghasts coming after him, he quickly climbed out of the pool and hid in the far corner of the cavern, keeping his flask of holy water at the ready. He spent a very scary night there, but fortunately, the undead never came for him.
There is one more exit from this final cave: a heavy stone door marked with Shoanti runes. They talk of Shemnoata the traitor, who led the intruders with the long, white knives into his home camp, resulting in the slaughter of 58 warriors, women and children. Sjo feel uncomfortable disturbing the passage, but Quint and Puk are eager to explore it. Balian pushes at the door, but when it finally gives way, he almost falls down the sinkhole that is beyond, for indeed, the roughly circular cavern has no floor, but rather drops away into the dark. Jutting from the far wall are seven evenly-spaced spears. Mounted at the end of the shafts are jawless human skulls, all turned to face the door. They boom in old Shoanti: "Begone! Let the one who betrayed his brethren rest!"
Balian notices that the sinkhole has some kind of alcove about thirty feet down. Puk climbs down a rope and discovers a small secluded compartment in the side of the sinkhole which holds an unadorned stone tomb. Balian and Quint join the halfling and the bard casts detect magic. He sees a slight sheen of magic emanating from beneath the heavy lid. Together the three young men push aside the cover a bit and look upon the leathery face of the body inside. With a low-pitched sigh the corpse opens its eyes and stares back at the adventurers. Balian reacts immediately and plunges his blade in the dead man's face, tearing apart his jaw. Quint and Puk are hindered by the lid that still covers most of the tomb and thus protects the corpse. Then Shemnoata's gaze takes its true effect, confusing both Balian and Puk, making them either hurt themselves or babble incoherently. Quint tries to hold back the undead with cure light wounds touch attacks, while Sjo quickly makes his way down the rope to help his friends: "You fools, I hate to be the one to say I told you so, but ... I TOLD YOU SO!" Shemnoata throws off the stone lid, making it disappear in the sinkhole, and stands up. By that time Sjo arrives and hits the risen dead hard with his heavy mace. Quint's short sword finishes him off once and for all, simultaneously ending the insanity that has taken hold of Balian and Puk.
Quint casts another detect magic, which gets a much brighter reaction now, coming from the corpse's silver belt. With Zellara's aid Sjo identifies it as a belt of physical might, which enhances both one's strength and stamina. This powerful item is perfect for a swordsman like Balian. Puk remarks that the girdle is of Chelish make, so it probably was the traitor's payment. That would explain why he was buried with it, for none of his brethren would have wanted the cursed item after they'd killed him.
With the underground complex completely explored the companions return to the morgue. Sjo and Quint ask Zellara's insight in the mechanism that kept the undead locked in. It seems like the proximity of the chalice acted as some kind of key to seal undead into the silvered room. Now they can finally reconstruct what happened. The diseased rats somehow made their way into the old underground complex and disturbed the undead's slumber by providing them with food for the first time in centuries. The ghasts' loud meal alerted Cedrik, who accidentally managed to open the secret passage and who jumped into the hole to retrieve the fallen chalice. There he saw the undead, not realizing that they were still locked into the silvered room because the chalice was still close-by. The panicked priest grabbed Pharasma's holy cup and ran off, thus removing the 'key' from the holy barrier and breaking its magic. The undead were finally free after three hundred years. Fortunately for the clumsy priest the ghasts were more interested in food and made off after the diseased rats, leaving the chamber where Cedrik had sought refuge in peace.
walter mcwilliams wrote:
Majenko - The Pseudodragon leads the rest of his kind in a grand hunt through the skies of Korvosa slaying or driving most of the imps out of Korovosa except for a small gaggle near the Acadame. He becomes the Prince of Dragon’s in Korvosa and lives a long life of comfort with his harem.
So, your heroes have defeated the final villain of the campaign and liberated Korvosa. What did your heroes decide to do with the city afterwards? Who took what office? I'm curious.
Too bad there are no reactions to this thread. I'm still playing this campaign and I'm definitely planning some "continuing the campaign" stuff. I already discussed some of my ideas in this thread. Lately I've also been considering a follow-up adventure about the Rise of Runelord Sorshen.
So any nice post-campaign stories or experiences would certainly be welcome.
Happy to hear that you're still reading and you still like the story.
It is one of the things I find most difficult when reading other journals - remembering who all the characters and NPCs are - which is why I hope the pictures help to get an image of the PCs and some of the settings. Still, there are a lot of characters in this story, so yeah, it might get hard sometimes. It certainly helps to be familiar with the AP, because then you can at least tell those NPCs apart (like Kroft, Orisini, Trinia, Tuttle, Ornelos, Arkona, d'Bear ...).
I also understand the fact that you do not write a comment every time you read a new entry. I read some other journals myself, and even though I try to leave a note at least once, I do not do so every time - far from it. I only speak up when I have something to say or to ask. Still your little comment was appreciated. I hope you'll enjoy what I have in mind for my group. If things work out as planned, there should be good times for years to come ...