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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber. 943 posts. 1 review. No lists. No wishlists.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

And so the companions return to Endrin military academy, with Amin Jalento in tow. Again, the only thing answering their call at the front doors is a dog barking inside. Quint uses the Key-lock Killer's bell to magically open the entrance. The barking comes from a room down the hall. It leads the young friends to a training room where a white labrador retriever sinks into a low growl. Balian sends Spyder over to ease the animal's discomfort, as suddenly one of the practice dummies comes to life and jumps down from the wooden scaffolding and swings his longsword at Quint. "Get out, intruders. We don't need looters in here!" He draws some blood, but when the bard looks at the man's face, he notices a long scar across his left cheek. When Danarella talked about Janros Rainwater, she mentioned such a distinct scar.

"We come in peace ... Janros Rainwater, I presume. We're not here to steal from you, we're here to talk. We want to ask you about Yuuna", the bard says.

"Yuuna, do you know where she is?" he jumps to Quint's words.

"We were actually hoping you might tell us", Quint continues with a slight tone of disappointment.

"She's been missing for a couple of days now, she hasn't been at work and she's not at home."

"So you've been to her place. Maybe you're the one who got in through the back window", Sjo speculates.

"Indeed I was. The only thing I found was a wooden toy house, representing a local little restaurant. I don't know if you're familiar with it, 'The Traveling Man' it's called. I went there and asked about her, but I didn't find anything."

"So, you're here all by yourself, or what?" Balian notices.

"Just me and Boomer", Janros pets the dog. "Everyone else was called back into service, when all the trouble started after King Eodred died. I am one of the seniors here, so I stayed behind to keep an eye on things. There have been a couple of attempts at looting since the quarantine. That is why I attacked you ... I do apologize, of course."

"Don't worry about it, hard times demand even harder measures. We understand," Quint assures the man." Still, I imagine you do not know what is happening to your brethren on the mainland. They are much worse off."

"My brothers, what do you mean?"

"Well, there is no easy way to break this news to you," Sjo explains. "The Sable Company has been outlawed after Commander Endrin attempted to murder the queen."

"He did what?"

"He tried to kill her, shot an arrow straight into her head, he did", Balian goes on. "Should have killed her on the spot, but she pulled it out like it was a splinter and planted it right between Endrin's eyes. Game over for him, and his troops with him. The Gray Maidens have been all over town hunting the Sable Company down."

"By the gods, I must get over there and help them!" Janros shouts.

"If some of your colleagues are still alive and at large, they've probably gone into hiding already. There's not much you can do", Quint says.

"The hell there isn't. I cannot sit idle while my friends are being butchered or arrested. I have to help, or at least I have to try!" Janros objects.

"Why don't you come with us to find Yuuna?" Sjo suggests.

"As much as I love her, duty calls. I'll give you the wooden house, though I don't see what good it will do. Then I have to go."

The toy house does not only portray 'The Travelling Man', but also the square in front of it, which is famous for its occasional otyugh outbursts. A small wooden circle represents the plug over the sewer entrance. Puk notices he can remove it and sees a strange, vaguely heart shaped indentation underneath it. Studying it, Quint realizes that it perfectly fits the feet of the wooden Yuuna figurine. So she is not in 'The Travelling Man' after all, but in the nearby sewers!

The companions quickly say goodbye to Janros Rainwater and Amin Jalento, who has agreed to watch over the Endrin academy in Janros's absence. Afterwards they hurry to the square in front of 'The Travelling Man'. A heavy grid covers a substantial hole in the ground, which is normally winched open every Oathday to feed the garbage eaters. Next to this giant plug is a smaller manhole with a lid, which opens easily, revealing a ladder down. A scared female voice rings from below: "Is anyone there? Please help me!" The slightly exotic accent betrays her Vudran heritage. It is Yuuna! And she is still alive!

The adventurers climb down and find a stone set of stairs leading further into the dark. Below a light shines from a locked cage which houses a scared woman. She clings to the bars in the front, trying to avoid the tentacles swinging at her in the back of the cage. A hungry otyugh is barred from entering at the other end, but it is attempting to grab the Vudran with its long feelers through the iron ribs.

Then a second female voice calls out: "Once again we bear witness to your slow and feeble attempts at rescuing those you love! You should have been here hours ago! Still, I'll give you this one shot at saving the damsel in distress to kick off our little game. There will be no such mercy from here on, though. So, prove to me how fast you are at rescuing your friends or watch them die! No time to dally." With the sound of metal grinding on stone several portcullises rise and at the same time the door in the back of Yuuna's cage swings open, clearing the way for the otyugh to charge in.

"Puk, use the cloak of the pixie king!" Quint shouts as everyone gathers around the halfling who zaps the party into the cage. Arriving behind the bars gives the companions the opportunity to confront Yuuna's foe, but it also keeps them safe from the pair of otyughs that enter the central room through the other opened passages, or at least the heroes think so, because the creatures simply stretch their appendices through the iron poles to attack. Balian cuts a deep slash into the sewer monster in the cage, but then he sees an extraordinarily large specimen emerging from one of the lower pipes. The creature glides its mighty tentacle through the bars and grabs the ranger with it, pulling him against the iron and crushing his ribs. Quint tries to save his friend by nauseating the huge grappler with cacophonous call, but his magic is easily resisted. One of the normal sized beasts also grabs Balian through the metal, putting the ranger in dire straits. Inside the cage the otyugh bites Sjo with its filthy teeth, but it doesn't survive Puk's deadly gashes. Next Sjo draws upon his mastery over the element of fire and hurls a fireball at the three monsters in the central room. Burned sewage is not exactly a pleasant smell, but the crisp meat on the otyughs' backs is definitely a welcome sight. Balian fails to free himself from the huge tentacle and has to resort to his dagger to gash the tendril that squeezes him. It takes several rounds of cutting and two extra fireballs to drop another otyugh and send the two remaining ones running.

While Yuuna thanks Quint profusely for saving her, Balian notices another toy house in the corner. This one resembles the temple of Aroden, an old crumbling church, devoted to the worship of the city's former most popular god, until he disappeared a century ago. A pitiful trio of clerics is rumored to maintain the building as best they can, going so far as to hold services every Sunday for a handful of patrons, most of whom are not worshippers, but simply curious observers. The feet of the Korwick doll fit into an indentation inside the wooden miniature building.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

The first assassin uses the element of surprise well by slicing into Quint's flesh with his curved, serrated blade. His comrade never gets the chance, however, as Balian brings down his greatsword in a devastating arch, tearing apart the man's carapace armor. When the heavily injured hitman tries to stumble out of the way, the ranger follows up with another bloody sweep, finishing off his opponent once and for all. As his corpse hits the floor, the room is suddenly filled with a red mist. The first trained killer realizes that newcomers aren't simple students of the Orisini Academy and vanishes from view. The next moment a giant real-life red mantis appears behind Balian. The ranger easily deflects the insect's claws and continues his deadly attacks, quickly chopping the creature down. Meanwhile Puk reaches into his pocket and draws out some dust of appearance, which he blows into the air, making the invisible assassin reappear. The opponent now finds himself cornered and summons four mirror images, but facing overwhelming odds, this act only prolongs his suffering. He manages one more feeble hit, before being overrun. As he falls down, more red mist arises and the companions notices that both assassins' corpses have completely disappeared, as if they were never there. So these are the dreaded red mantis? By the gods, how they failed to live up to their reputation!

Sjo suggests using Vencarlo's house to rest up, the hour is growing late and tomorrow promises to be a rough day. At the same time they can wait here for the fencing master to come back home. The heroes quickly scan the building and discover a hidden lockbox in Vencarlo's closet. It contains a bag of holding, which Balian empties on the floor. The black cloak, mask, boots and gloves and the fancy rapier leave no doubt as to its proprietor: this gear is Blackjack's. So Vencarlo is the caped crusader, just as the companions expected. Sjo puts the items back in the bag and return the box to its secret compartment. Let's just hope that the old pro gets home soon, the party could definitely use an accomplished ally at its side to steer through the murky waters of Old Korvosa.

21 Erastus 4708

Morning breaks and still there is no sign of Vencarlo Orisini. As the party leaves his house, Balian spots a shadowy figure trying to hide in the ruins of the burned training facility. The ranger rushes over, his greatsword blazing in the light of the morning sun. The shadow scurries backwards, stumbling over his own heels and falling flat on his bottom in the ashes. In the black dust Balian recognizes the face of one of Vencarlo's students: Amin Jalento, captain Jalento's boy.

"You are alive! I saw you enter that deathtrap yesterday evening ... those assassins were waiting inside. And when you didn't come out, I feared the worst!"

"So, what are you saying? You saw us walk into this ambush without warning us?" Quint raises his eyebrows.

"I'm sorry, I was hidden in that building up there, squeezed between the beams of the roof. A narrow hiding space, not easy to get out of, but a good place to remain from view. Anyway, after the master was forced to flee the day before yesterday, I've been waiting for him there."

"Wow, too much information at once, Amin, why don't you start at the beginning?" Sjo interjects.

"Of course, I apologize. You know I'm a student at master Orisini's school. I was on the island attending classes when the quarantine hit. My master was gracious enough to allow me to stay as his guest. My fellow students have all either left or died from the plague, but fortunately Vencarlo and I did not get sick. Then, two nights ago, we were set upon by five of those red killers in their ant helmets ..."

"Not ants, mantises actually, red mantis assassins to be exact", Quint clarifies.

"Gods, no ... those notorious slayers are after my master? They say the red mantis don't quit until they finish their contract. Then it's even worse than I feared. Anyway, my master held them at bay while he shouted for me to run. As I glanced over my shoulder, I saw how he took down one of them, but there were too many, so master Orisini knocked over a brazier and set the academy on fire, giving him the opportunity to flee as well. I haven't seen him since. I've been hiding, waiting for him to return. That's how I saw those two killers sneak into the house yesterday. They even lighted the fireplace, perhaps they were trying to suggest that I was in the building."

"And then we arrived. It didn't occur to you to shout a warning?" Balian grumbles.

"To be fair, I had dozed off, it was late after all. I was awakened by you knocking on the door ... before I could react, you had entered. By the time I had crawled out of my hiding place and made it to the door, I heard the sound of battle inside. When you did not come out again, I assumed you had been slain. So I hid once more ... I'm a coward, I know, keeping out of harm's way is the only tactic I know to survive."

"And what of you master, where could he be?" Quint asks.

"I don't know where he has gone. The master never tells me where he goes. Even in the days after the quarantine he left the house regularly, mostly at odd hours in the night, sometimes not returning until the morning. At one such return his clothes were bloody - he told me he had fought off a thief, but I'm sure there was more to it than that. Furthermore, in the days before the red mantis attack, my teacher had a singularly strange houseguest visit him on three separate occasions - a man with wild hair and a jittery habit of looking about. I guess he was some kind of artist, for he had blue stains on his hands and clothes."

"Salvator Scream, a doom-thinking painter who has been going through an extended 'blue period', no doubt", Sjo muses.

"That is probably correct, he definitely had this 'poéte maudit' vibe going for him. Still, Vencarlo always spoke to him behind closed doors. On their last meeting I heard my master raise his voice in anger, a rare thing, I assure you. Vencarlo Orisini is known for his patience and control. In over a year, he never got mad at me even once, despite my clumsiness and lack of progress."

"Don't sell yourself short, friend. You will find your courage yet", Sjo balms. "Still, one thing is clear, this place is no longer safe, not with the red mantis about. Do you have any other place to stay?"

"I don't. I live on the mainland, I just come here for my classes. Master Orisini is the only one I know here."

"So you don't know anyone at the Endrin military academy either?" Balian asks.

"Well, I know of the place. It's a Sable Company operation, but some officers of the Guard train there as well. Dad studied there for a time, before he made captain, when I was still a child. But I've never been there myself."

"Well, the academy is where we're going right now, perhaps you can stay there, you're the captain's son, after all", Balian smiles.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
roloz wrote:

The Party still LIKES Queen Ileosa and while I've been dropping subtle hints, it's either gone over their heads or they've rationalized it as a naive young queen getting bad advice from scheming nobles.

I may have laid it on a bit thick in the second session with the whole "Oh heroes, I am just a weak and innocent queen, please help me save my city" bit. Everyone liked her and the Bard is openly planning to seduce her.

You gotta love that! The queen should be a master manipulator, so having the PCs deceived by her is an excellent story-element.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

The companions' next destination is Yuuna's flat. Balian easily picks the lock and finds a small, but colorful room. There is no trace of Yuuna, there are no signs of a struggle, only the back window has been forced open. Nothing else is of any help to the young men, so they return to Eel's End to talk to Yuuna best friend, Danarella. The redhead has no idea where her Vudran colleague disappeared to, although she hopes her friend is okay. She might have fled to the mainland, but Danarella suspects that Yuuna would never do that without informing her. Maybe Yuuna's stalker knows more, she muses. She explains that Yuuna had a 'fan', a man who was probably in love with her and who regularly escorted her home after work. They jokingly called him her 'stalker', although he was quite a respectable man, a trainer at the Endrin military academy, called Janros Rainwater.

Endrin military academy is a whitewashed building that acts as barracks and training grounds for a small garrison of both Korvosan guards and Sable Company trainees. This place does not just only drill soldiers and teach them new tricks and tactical insight, it also serves as a breeding ground for good relations between the Guard and the Sable Company. The trainees act as liaisons between the two military forces, allowing for joint operations and continued mutual support. The academy's location within the old wall of Fort Korvosa, at the foot of Garrison Hill, provides a more serene scenery than the chaotic streets of Old Docks and the cramped alleys of Bridgefront. Although there are signs of plundering and destruction here as well, they are less frequent and there are no decaying bodies on the ground or thugs about.

Double doors bar the entrance to the academy. A note has been nailed in the wood: Academy closed - No entry. Balian knocks loudly. The only reaction is a dog that starts barking inside, but no one answers the call. Since this building is so close to Vencarlo's house, the companions want to pay the fencing master a visit first. Maybe he knows his colleagues in this training center, so he might facilitate their access.

Two blocks away stands Vencarlo's famed sword school, or at least, that is where it used to stand. The once-proud Orisini Academy is no more: the training facility has recently burnt to the ground. Fortunately, Vencarlo's living quarters still stand, nestled in the other corner of the compound. Puk's quick eyes pick up a line of smoke coming from the chimney, so the fencing expert is at home! When Balian knocks on the door, it clicks open from the impact of his blows. Why would Vencarlo leave his door unlocked? The companions draw their weapons and carefully enter the building. The ground floor is empty. If Vencarlo is still here, he is probably resting upstairs ... and if he isn't, the bedroom might just be the best place to find a trace. The stairs lead to a personal training room with a burning fireplace and two practice dummies in the far corners, to either side of the hearth. The exposed rafters give the room an open feel. There is one more door in here which can only lead to the bedroom. Puk's sixth sense warns him of a danger as two shadows drop down from the beams above. Their weird armor resembles the carapace of a scarlet insect and their blood-colored ant-like helmet completes the picture: Red Mantis assassins!


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

The party decides to get into Old Korvosa by boat from the other bank of the Jeggare River. Trail's End, outside of the city walls, seems like the perfect spot to get across. Tayce Soldado, Brienne's mother and guard Grau's sister-in-law, lives there, so maybe she can help them find suitable transportation. The companions gather their gear and leave the villa. While making their way through Midland to the High Bridge, they suddenly see three scared Korvosans fleeing from something. Rounding the corner the companions come upon the source of this panic: seven Gray Maiden are locked in mortal combat with three Sable marines. The three black-clothed soldiers are obviously outmatched. Quint addresses the officer of the attacking force, questioning her violent actions and trying to get her to stand down by fascinating her, but he only succeeds in isolating her from the combat while her squad continues pressing the unfortunate members of the Sable Company. Balian's instincts tell him to interfere, but Quint cautions him: fighting the Gray Maidens will only result in outlawing the companions as well. So our friends watch with horror how the ironclad female warriors butcher the marines. The officer explains that Sable Company members have been declared 'public enemies'. These soldiers refused to surrender, so they were put to the blade. As the Gray Maidens march off, Sjo recognizes the dead marines from his days in the Sable company's stables. He feels torn, but has to agree with Quint that stepping in would have compromised their own mission. Quint also adds that killing Gray Maidens is not the solution, after all, these women are just following orders. Moreover, the companions cannot take on the complete force of Gray Maidens by themselves, as there are rumored to be 500 of them in the city and their numbers seem to increase every day. With a heavy heart the young friends continue their own quest.

Tayce is relieved to see Sjo: her daughter still hasn't recovered from the plague, so the healer digs up his wand of remove disease to cure the girl. In return Tayce convinces her neighbor Jarend to take the companions across the river. The skilled fisherman is glad to assist and drops the heroes on the easternmost quay of Old Korvosa, cleverly avoiding the Gray Maidens sloops that patrol the water.

Quint leads his friends straight to Eel's End. The 'entertainment center' is still running, although there are a lot less visitors than before. No surprise, since Old Korvosa is cut off from the rest of the city. Almost all patrons are sporting a strip of red cloth bound around their right arm. Quint quickly learns that they are the emperor's 'men', though the word thugs would suit them better. So Vencarlo's letter spoke true: Pilts Swastel, the crazy owner of obscene Exemplary Execrables theater, has become the self-proclaimed ruler of the quarantined district. Quint boards the House in the Clouds, the brothel where Yuuna works, and asks her boss about her. Madame Halvara claims that she hasn't seen the Vudran girl in five days. She recommends that the bard talks to Danarella, who is Yuuna's best friend. Perhaps she knows more. Sjo's ears already glow red as he thinks of the pretty redhead who helped him lose his virginity, but it looks like she is 'occupied' with one of the emperor's men for the moment. The Shoanti also picks up that the brothel's Madame does not seem overly pleased with Pilts Swastel's mob crowding her establishment. When he questions her about it, she whispers that the emperor's men act as if they own the place and pay only a fraction of the normal rates to get their kicks. But they are the only business Eel's End sees these days.

The companions figure that the emperor is probably the best source of information in Old Korvosa at the moment, so Quint uses fasinate and suggestion on one of his cronies. The ruffian, whose name is Patrick, agrees to take the party to see his boss. As he leads the way through the streets, his gang of thugs notice a drifter who is coughing badly and has trouble standing. Sjo immediately makes out that the stranger is suffering badly from the plague. "There's one of those filthy infected!" the thugs scream as they brandish their short swords and storm the unfortunate soul, quickly slashing him down without mercy. "That is the way we deal with the diseased in Old Korvosa", Patrick laughs. As they approach the former theater, the companions see that the playhouse has partially burnt to the ground, a theme that seems to run all over the island recently, just like the heaps of rotting cadavers in the streets. Several walls are covered in graffiti with slogans like "Gods bless the emperor", "Swastel is the man" or "Pilts to Power", and depictions of a bloody guillotine and heads flying about. Most houses in the area are boarded up tightly, others look abandoned with their front doors kicked in. Pilts Swastel's new 'palace' consists of a block of buildings that escaped destruction, right next to his erstwhile theater. Patrick knocks on the door of a small corner house and takes the companions past the guards up rickety stairs inside. Through a splintered hole in the wall he proceeds them over a rope bridge to a second building and then over another bridge to a huge open-air balcony clinging to the south side of a large tenement. The terrace is shielded from the elements by a brightly colored canvas roof that extends over the area like a dome, held in place by a wooden framework. The balcony itself contains two features of note. The first is a high backed chair that looks like a poor man's version of the Crimson Throne itself. Directly west of the throne stands an intimidating device, a tall guillotine of carved wood and bone, its blood-spattered base depicting grasping demonic feet and the housing that holds its glittering blade looks like a leering demonic face. Puk recognizes the apparatus as the Demon's Maw from Galt, one of Swalts' most prized possessions from his freak show museum. Flies hovering over a nearby basket leave no doubt to its content: severed heads.

Lazily relaxing in the throne's red cushions is a familiar figure. He looks even more hideous than he did when they met him three months ago. His eyes have fallen back in his skull, his pockmarked face indicates that he survived a bout with the plague, but not unscarred. He is dressed in a threadbare fur-trimmed crimson cloak and a cheap crooked crown, both pieces from his extensive collection of stage costumes and attributes. Pilts Swastel looks more like a vagrant king than actual royalty. His gaze betrays more than a touch of madness, but when he speaks the almost hypnotic pattern of his voice explains how he managed to gather the desperate and cruel to his banner. The toughest of the Old Dock thugs have made it to his personal bodyguards, guarding all corners of his throne. Staring from the hole in an executioner's mask is a sturdy gnome. Since the second eye-hole in the mask has been sewn shut, this can only be Swastel's tongueless, one-eyed sidekick, Jabbyr.

The emperor of Old Korvosa remembers the companions and welcomes them to his court. He saw them perform at the Marble Dome and was especially taken with their inspired alteration of the opera's final scene, with a genuine fight and real blood spattering the stage. When he inquires why the party has come to his island, Quint informs him that things on the mainland are getting out of hand. The bard recounts the story of what just happened in Castle Korvosa, using silent image and ventriloquism to depict the scene of queen Ileosa killing the commander of the Sable Company. Swastel loves it and already envisions a new play in which commander Endrin's sexual relationship with the queen ends in his death at her corpulent advisor's hands. There should definitely be room in it for a threesome with Sabina Merrin as well, he muses.

Next Quint changes the subject to Rolth, who is supposed to be hiding in Old Korvosa. He does his best to portray the necromancer as a great threat to the emperor's rule, but also admits that Rolth kidnapped some children who need rescuing. "So in fact you come to me seeking my assistance, hmm, let's see ..." Swastel sighs before mumbling the words of a detect magic. "I do like that belt you're wearing, young bard", he smiles at Quint. "It would make a handsome tribute to my person, as well as an acceptable payment for my services." The emperor makes his exorbitant demand with an air of self-evidence; emanating that he will not take 'no' for an answer. Being from a humble background, Quint has had to earn every one of his possessions through hard work and understands their value. He feels insulted and bellows at the emperor. Then things go fast: the emperor's bodyguards jump forward, stun Quint with a well-placed punch and grapple Balian. Sjo tries to freeze one of them with a hold person, but his magic is resisted. Balian struggles out of the brute's grasp, but the emperor whispers a charm monster and sways the ranger not to fight. "Just give me my prize and get to your knees, young bard. My court, my rules! Now don't be stupid!" Swastel grins at Quint. Puk realizes that complying with the emperor's wishes is the only tactic to get out of this mess alive, so he frees Quint' belt from the stunned bard's waist and throws it at Swastel's feet. The next moment one of the emperor's brawlers forces Quint on his knees and the fight is over. Pilts Swastel girds on the shiny belt and suddenly seems bored with his guests. "I'll see what I can do about this Rolth character. You are dismissed", he blurts out. Not wanting to overstay their welcome, the companions take their leave. A displeased Quint vows to himself this is not over yet.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
shadram wrote:
There was a miniatures game called Sails of Glory released a couple of years ago that has some nice pre-painted ship minis. There's a gallery on its BoardgameGeek page. The game's pretty fun, too! They're easy to find and buy online.

True, but these ship are mini-boats, so you can use them for chases, but not with miniatures on top of them, because they are way too small for that. The company also has nice battle mats which you can use for a sea terrain (the mats I use in my pictures are from Sails of Glory).


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

If you're a bit of a crafter, you can convert Mega Bloks ships. They did some neat vessels in the past in their Pyrates line and they produced several boats from Pirates of the Carribean. They look pretty great, but like Lego they have these 'nubs', which are in the way of miniature gaming, so converting the ships is recommended. Of course, you could always use them as they are, they'd still be nice, I guess.

You can pick up the ships on the second-hand market on the internet. Be careful where you buy, because some sites offer these boats terribly overpriced. Still, I was able to pick up all the vessels I wanted at reasonable prices. It just takes some searching and patience. There are also several sites which offer tips and pictures on how to convert the pieces.

This is a link to my Deviantart page, where I've put up several photos of my conversions, like the Stormstalker with some pirates miniatures for scale. If you look through my gallery, you'll find other ships as well. I even have modular pieces (similar to Dwarven Forge) to construct the inside of a boat. They are a mixture of Psomminiature pieces (the barn set) and homebrew parts.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

In my campaign the Gray Maiden and Korvosan Guard soldiers who were securing the Hospice were oblivious to what was going on below the surface. The PCs bypassed them by making a whole in the roof in Dr. Davaulus' first floor office and then used the elevator to go directly to the underground temple. Since the guards were only on the ground floor, they didn't notice the PCs.

When the PCs came out of the temple, they used the ground floor and ran into the guards. The party bard scolded at the Gray Maidens for their ignorance at what was taking place in the cellar, leaving them dumbfounded (bluff check), so the PCs could simply walk out. This left the Gray Maidens to discover the temple for themselves.

The bard's satisfaction at his successful bluff disappeared the next day, when rumors in the city spoke of the Gray Maiden rooting out the treacherous temple of Urgathoa and taking care of the vile doctors. This provided the queen with public deniability, since it were 'her troops' who discovered the evil plot and killed the doctors.


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BALIAN, CG Male Human ranger 7 (urban ranger)
Init +5; Senses Perception +11
AC 23, touch 15, flat-footed 20
hp 76 (7 HD)
Fort +9, Ref +9, Will +4
Speed 30 ft. (6 squares)
Melee greatsword +1 (two handed) +13/+8 ((two handed) 2d6+8/19-20)
Melee masterwork dagger +13/+8 (1d4+5/19-20)
Ranged masterwork longbow (composite/strength rating+4) +11/+6 (1d8+4/x3)
Base Atk +7; CMB +12; CMD 27
Ranger Spells (CL 3rd):
1st (2/day) (DC 12) - lead blades, longstrider
Abilities Str 21, Dex 16, Con 16, Int 7, Wis 13, Cha 7
Special Qualities Favored Community Korvosa +2, Track +3, Trapfinding +3
Feats Cleave, Combat Reflexes, Endurance, Favored Defense (human +2 AC and CMD), Following Step, Power Attack (-2 atk, +4 dmg / +6 dmg on 2-handed), Step Up, Step Up and Strike
Skills Acrobatics +9, Climb +8, Disable Device +12, Heal +5, Intimidate +8, Knowledge (Geography) +2, Knowledge (Local) +8, Perception +11, Perform (Act) +3, Ride +6, Sense Motive +1, Sleight of Hand +7, Stealth +12, Survival +5, Survival (Follow or identify tracks) +7, Swim +8
Possessions greatsword +1; ring of protection +2; mithral breastplate +1; amulet of natural armor +1; belt of physical might (+2 str/con); cloak of resistance +1; wand of cure light wounds; masterwork dagger; masterwork longbow (Composite/Strength Rating+4)
Favored Community Korvosa (Ex) You gain a +2 bonus on initiative checks and Knowledge (local), Perception, Stealth, and Survival skill checks. An urban ranger traveling through his favored community leaves no trail and cannot be tracked (although he may leave a trail if he so desires).
Favored Enemy (Human +4, Undead +2) (Ex) You gain a +4/+2 bonus on Bluff, Knowledge, Perception, Sense Motive, and Survival checks when using these skills against humans/undead. Likewise, you get a +4/+2 bonus on weapon attack and damage rolls against such creatures.
Trapfinding (Ex) At 3rd level, an urban ranger can find and disable traps, as the rogue class feature of the same name.
Push Through (Ex) At 7th level, an urban Ranger is never slowed by difficult terrain in his favored communities. In addition, he can move through the space occupied by local citizens as if they were allies. This does not apply to creatures intent on harming the Ranger. Areas that are enchanted or magically manipulated to impede motion, however, still affect him.

Trained actor You trained as a child to be an actor. You gain a +1 trait bonus on Perform (act) and Perform (act) is always a class skill for you. You also gain a free skill point in Perform (act).
Child of the Streets You grew up on the streets of a large city, and as a result you have developed a knack for picking pockets and hiding small objects on your person. You gain a +1 trait bonus on Sleight of Hand checks, and Sleight of Hand is always a class skill for you.
Reactionary You were bullied often as a child, but never quite developed an offensive response. Instead, you became adept at anticipating sudden attacks and reacting to danger quickly. You gain a +2 trait bonus on Initiative checks.

SPYDER, dog companion level 7, N Medium animal
Init +3; Senses low-light vision, scent; Perception +8
AC 26, touch 14, flat-footed 22 (+3 Dex, +7 natural, +1 Dodge, +5 Armor)
hp 62 (7d8+28)
Fort +8, Ref +8 (evasion), Will +3 (+7 vs. enchantment and fear)
Speed 40 ft.
Melee bite +12/+7 (1d6+4)
Abilities Str 19, Dex 17, Con 18, Int 3, Wis 12, Cha 6
Base Atk +7; CMB +11; CMD 24 (28 vs. trip)
Feats Dodge, Skill Focus (Perception), Weapon focus (bite)
Skills Acrobatics +7 (+15 jump), Perception +8, Survival +6 (+10 scent tracking), Swim +10
Devotion +4 morale bonus on Will saves against enchantment spells and effects and fear
Possessions amulet of natural armor +1; studded leather barding +2

---

PUK, CG Male Halfling rogue 7 (swashbuckler)
Init +5; Senses Perception +9
AC 24, touch 18, flat-footed 24, uncanny dodge
hp 58 (7 HD)
Fort +8, Ref +13 (evasion), Will +5, +2 morale bonus vs. fear, +2 racial bonus vs. fear
Speed 20 ft. (4 squares)
Melee main hand silver short sword +2 (small) +12 (1d4+2/19-20) and off-hand short sword +1 of shock (small) +11 (1d4+1+1d6/19-20)
Melee masterwork sap (small) +12 (1d4 non-lethal/x2)
Ranged shortbow (small) +10 (1d4/x3)
Ranged sling staff (halfling) (small) +10 (1d6/x3)
Base Atk +5; CMB +4; CMD 19
Atk Options Sneak Attack +4d6
Abilities Str 10, Dex 21, Con 14, Int 8, Wis 10, Cha 10
Feats Acrobatic Steps, Dodge, Martial Weapon Proficiency (Halfling Sling Staff), Nimble Moves, Two-Weapon Fighting, Weapon Finesse, Weapon Focus (short sword)
Skills Acrobatics +17, Acrobatics (Jump) +13, Appraise +6, Bluff +7, Climb +8, Diplomacy +6, Disable Device +13, Disguise +8, Escape Artist +12, Intimidate +4 (+0 vs. medium-sized), Knowledge (Dungeoneering) +3, Knowledge (Local) +5, Linguistics +4, Perception +9, Perform (Percussion Instruments) +6, Ride +5, Sense Motive +5, Sleight of Hand +12, Stealth +17, Use Magic Device +4
Possessions small short sword +1 of shock; small silver short sword +2; studded leather +2 (small); shortbow (Small); halfling sling staff (halfling); small masterwork sap, amulet of natural armor +1, ring of protection +1; cloak of the Pixie King (+2 on saves, Dimension Door 1/day)

Sneak Attack (Ex) If you can catch an opponent when he is unable to defend himself effectively from your attack, you can strike a vital spot for extra damage. Your attack deals 4d6 points of extra damage.
Bleeding Attack (Ex) A rogue with this ability can cause living opponents to bleed by hitting them with a sneak attack. This attack causes the target to take 1 additional point of damage each round for each die of the rogue's sneak attack. Bleeding creatures take that amount of damage every round at the start of each of their turns. The bleeding can be stopped by a DC 15 Heal check or the application of any effect that heals hit point damage. Bleeding damage bypasses any damage reduction the creature might possess.

Fast-Talker You had a knack at getting yourself into trouble as a child, and as a result developed a silver tongue at an early age. You gain a +1 trait bonus on Bluff checks, and Bluff is always a class skill for you.
Personal Addiction You were the addict. You blame Gaedren for your brush with death and hate how his drugs are causing similar problems among other youths. Fortunately, your body recovers quickly from toxins, and you have a +1 bonus on Fortitude saving throws.

---

QUINTILIAN (QUINT), CG Male Human bard 7 (court bard)
Init +2; Senses Perception +9
AC 21, touch 13, flat-footed 19, Combat Expertise
hp 58 (7 HD)
Fort +5, Ref +8, Will +5, +4 vs. Bardic Performance, sonic, and language-dependent effects
Speed 30 ft. (6 squares)
Melee short sword +1 of frost +9 (1d6+3+1d6/19-20)
Melee longsword +8 (1d8+2/19-20)
Melee masterwork whip +9 (1d3+2)
Melee sap +8 (1d6+2)
Ranged shortbow +8 (1d6/x3)
Base Atk +5; CMB +8; CMD 21
Known Bard Spells (CL 7th):
3rd (2/day) (DC 16) - glibness, haste
2nd (4/day) (DC 15) - cacophonous call, gallant inspiration, heroism, mirror image, pyrotechnics
1st (5/day) (DC 14) - cure light wounds, expeditious retreat, innocence, memory lapse, silent image, timely inspiration, touch of gracelessness, ventriloquism
0th (at will) (DC 13) - detect magic, ghost sound, light , lullaby, mage hand, message, open/close, prestidigitation, read magic
Abilities Str 16, Dex 14, Con 14, Int 14, Wis 8, Cha 17
Feats Combat Expertise, Improved Feint, Lingering Performance, Skill Focus (Perform Comedy and Perform Oratory)
Skills Acrobatics +11, Appraise +6, Bluff +17, Climb +6, Diplomacy +19, Disguise +7, Escape Artist +11, Intimidate +16, Knowledge (Arcana) +6, Knowledge (Geography) +6, Knowledge (History) +9, Knowledge (Local) +15, Knowledge (Local/Art & music) +16, Knowledge (Nature) +6, Knowledge (Nobility) +9, Linguistics +12, Perception +9, Perform (Act) +8, Perform (Comedy) +16, Perform (Dance) +7, Perform (Oratory) +16, Perform (Sing) +8, Perform (String Instruments) +7, Sense Motive +16, Sleight of Hand +7, Spellcraft +6, Stealth +5, Use Magic Device +13
Possessions short sword +1 of frost; chain shirt +1; buckler +1; longsword; masterwork whip; sap; wand of feather step; wand of cure light wounds; wand of mage armor; Shortbow; amulet of natural armor +1; Wand of magic missile (CL 3rd); Scrolls of levitate, gentle repose, false life, knock; Dust of appearance; ring of fire resistance (10); ring of protection +1; cloak of resistance +1; Belt of Physical Might (+2 Str/Con); [i]Key-Lock Killer's bell Bardic Performance You can use this ability for 19 rounds per day.
Versatile Performance (Comedy / Oratory) (Ex) You can use your bonus in the Perform (Comedy / Oratory) skill in place of your bonus in the Bluff or Intimidate / Diplomacy or Sense Motive skills.
Countersong (Su) You can counter magic effects that depend on sound.
Distraction (Su) You can use your performance to counter magic effects that depend on sight.
Fascinate (Su) You can use your performance to cause up to 2 creatures to become fascinated with you (Will save DC 15).
Heraldic Expertise (Ex) A court bard gains a bonus equal to half his bard level on Diplomacy, Knowledge (history), Knowledge (local), and Knowledge (nobility) checks. 2/day, the court bard can also reroll a check against one of these skills, though he must take the result of the second roll even if it is worse.
Satire (Su) A court bard can use performance to undermine the confidence of enemies who hear it, causing them to take a -1 penalty on attack and damage rolls (minimum 1) and a -1 penalty on saves against fear and charm effects as long as the bard continues performing. This penalty increases by -1 at 5th level and every six levels thereafter. Satire is a language-dependent, mind-affecting ability that uses audible components. This performance replaces inspire courage.
Mockery (Su) A court bard of 3rd level or higher can subtly ridicule and defame a specific individual. The bard selects one target who can hear his performance. That individual takes a -3 penalty on Charisma checks and Charisma-related skill checks as long as the bard continues performing.

Trained actor You trained as a child to be an actor. You gain a +1 trait bonus on Perform (act) and Perform (act) is always a class skill for you. You also gain a free skill point in Perform (act).
Fast-Talker You had a knack at getting yourself into trouble as a child, and as a result developed a silver tongue at an early age. You gain a +1 trait bonus on Bluff checks, and Bluff is always a class skill for you.
Child of the Street You grew up on the streets of Korvosa, and as a result you have developed a knack for picking pockets and hiding small objects on your person. You gain a +1 trait bonus on Sleight of Hand checks, and SoH is always a class skill for you. You also gain a free skill point in SoH.

---

SHAOBAN (SJO), LN Male Human oracle 7
Init +0; Senses Darkvision (60 ft.), Perception +2, Clouded Vision
AC 24, touch 11, flat-footed 24
hp 51 (7 HD)
Fort +5, Ref +6, Will +9
Speed 20 ft. (4 squares)
Melee cold iron mace +2 (heavy) +11 (1d8+5)
Base Atk +5; CMB +8 CMD 19
Known Oracle Spells (CL 7th):
3rd (4/day) (DC 17) - cure serious wounds, dispel magic, fireball, prayer
2nd (6/day) (DC 16) - cure moderate wounds, hold person, remove paralysis, resist energy, restoration (lesser), weapon of awe
1st (8/day) (DC 15) - burning hands, comprehend languages, cure light wounds, magic weapon, protection from chaos, remove fear, shield of faith
0th (at will) (DC 14) - create water, detect magic, purify food and drink, read magic, spark, stabilize
Abilities Str 16, Dex 10, Con 12, Int 8, Wis 14, Cha 19
Feats Armor Proficiency, Heavy, Combat Casting, Dazzling Display; Lightning Reflexes, Weapon Focus (Heavy Mace)
Skills Acrobatics -6, Bluff +8, Climb -3, Diplomacy +14, Heal +8, Intimidate +12, Knowledge (Local) +0, Knowledge (Religion) +8, Linguistics +0, Perform (Act) +9, Perform (sing) +9, Sense Motive +10, Sleight of Hand -1, Swim -3
Possessions cold iron mace +2 (heavy); ring of protection +1; full plate +1; amulet of natural armor +1, cloak of resistance +1, belt of giant strength +2, wand of cure light wounds, wand of remove disease; buckler

Clouded Vision Your eyes are obscured, making it difficult for you to see.
Flame Mysteries You draw upon the divine mystery of Flame to grant your spells and powers.
Touch of Flame (Su) As a standard action, you can perform a melee touch attack that deals 1d6 points of fire damage + 1 per two oracle levels (1d6+3). Alternatively you can use this power to ignite your weapon as a free action, adding the same amount of fire damage to each of your weapon attacks during that round. You can use this ability a number of times or rounds per day equal to 3 + your Charisma modifier (7).
At 11th level, any weapon that you wield is treated as a flaming weapon, adding 1d6 points of fire damage + 1 per two oracle levels.
Molten Skin (Ex) You gain resist fire 10.
Wings of Fire (Su) As a swift action, you can manifest a pair of fiery wings that grant you a fly speed of 60 feet with average maneuverability. You can use these wings for 1 minute per day per oracle level. This duration does not need to be consecutive, but it must be spent in 1 minute increments.

Trained actor You trained as a child to be an actor. You gain a +1 trait bonus on Perform (act) and Perform (act) is always a class skill for you. You also gain a free skill point in Perform (act).
Child of the Streets You grew up on the streets of a large city, and as a result you have developed a knack for picking pockets and hiding small objects on your person. You gain a +1 trait bonus on Sleight of Hand checks, and Sleight of Hand is always a class skill for you.
Ease of Faith Your mentor, the person who invested your faith in you from an early age, took steps to ensure that you understood that what powers your divine magic is no different than that which powers the magic of other religions. You gain a +1 trait bonus on Diplomacy checks, and Diplomacy is always a class skill for you.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Quint takes the note from her.

"Dear Cressida

It has been a while since we have talked. Since the Gray Maidens locked off Endrin Island from the rest of the city, I have been stuck here. At least officially. Let's just say that one does not simply walk out of Old Korvosa these days.

Things have been chaotic here. The plague has ravaged the district. No family has been spared. Without the support or hope from the city's churches many people have fallen prey to despair or disorder. Several buildings lining the quays have been torched and gangs have taken over the streets. Some madman has crowned himself 'emperor of Old Korvosa', you might have heard of him, Pilts Swastel, the deranged owner of a detestable and perverse theatre, Exemplary Execrables. Fort Korvosa is the only place that is still safe, for that is where the Arkona's rule. But the rest of our district is in dire straits.

Anyhow, Old Korvosa might very well be the garbage dump of Korvosa, it is in the city's filth that one finds the most surprising information. I have uncovered some vital clues regarding the queen. You know that I have distrusted her from the very beginning. I do not grasp the full picture just yet, but I fear that dark magic is at work here, possibly a pact with a devil of some sort.

Can you get in touch with our new friends? You know, those young heroes who have helped out before. I have not been able to follow their adventures of late. Are they still safe and in good health? Can you ask them to pay me a visit? The likes of them should have no trouble crossing the Narrows of Saint Alika to Old Korvosa, despite the quarantine. They might even be safer here than on the mainland, after all, there are no Gray Maidens here. The queen has left Old Korvosa to rot, but at least this frees us from her choking grasp.

I greet you cordially and remain your faithful friend,

you know who ..."

Puk and Sjo immediately want to leave for Old Korvosa, but Quint tells them they still have to pick up Balian. "And we also have to get out of these clothes, we cannot face adversity wearing these silks." So the young men return to the villa first, where Balian is already waiting for them in the company of the Varisian woman Ravenna. "We come bearing grave tidings", the bard sighs, but Balian scoffs at this: "It will be nothing compared to what I have to tell you", he claims.

First the ranger asks Sjo to give him 1,000 gold sails, to pay the woman. When the Shoanti is reluctant to do so, Balian whispers that they rescued Larella ... from Rolth. "Just let me pay her and then I will explain all", he says.

After the woman has been paid, she hands a leather bag to Balian and takes her leave. "You might want to sit down for this", the ranger tells his friends. "These Varisians are Sczarni, gangsters from Thief Camp who work for crime lord Batista Cadabrani. I have enlisted his services to track down Rolth and my sister."

"I remember them," Sjo says, "we had a run-in with them before, if it hadn't been for Grau Soldado and his late brother, we would not be here to tell this tale." Quint looks displeased at Balian's secretive behavior, wondering why his friend didn't tell him that he hired help. It feels like betrayal.

Balian continues: "Five nights ago, Cadabrani's men - including the woman you just met - found a trace to my sister. She had apparently been enquiring about Larella Semyr, you know ... Sjo's girlfriend, the high priestess of Shelyn. The Sczarni kept an eye on the temple of the goddess of beauty and that same night they noticed a dark-haired woman sneaking into the building. Inside they interrupted a struggle between this woman, obviously my sister Alika, and Larella. Alika fled, but Ravenna managed to pull this bag off her shoulder. The Sczarni chased my sister to the Narrows of Saint Alika, but there they were driven away themselves by Gray Maiden guards, while the saw Alika make her way to Old Korvosa."

Next Balian reaches into the bag and takes out five small wooden statues. "I think these represent Alika's intended victims", he says as he sets them out on the table. "This is Mouse ... Korwick ... Heldrin. This one is Larella and then we have this exotic beauty. I think she is that girl from the house of pleasure Quint likes to frequent, you know ... the Vudran one."

"That does look a lot like Yuuna from Eel's End, indeed", Quint confirms as he takes a closer look. "They are going quite far in looking for people we care about."

"Still, that does not sound well for our three young lambs", Sjo worries.

"Sadly, that is correct," Balian continues. "Ravenna also recognized our three wards and came here as fast as she could, but the children were already gone. She has been keeping an eye on our home for the last five days, hoping that the intruder might return, but no such luck."

"And what about Larella, is she okay?" Sjo inquires.

"The Sczarni watch over her. At night she hides out with them in Thief Camp and during the day she works in the hospital, but Cadabrani sends his own son with her to protect her."

"Well, it looks like we have one more reason now to go to Old Korvosa", Puk concludes. "An urgent one, I would say. I suggest we leave straight away. We can fill in Balian on what happened in the Castle on the way ... oh yes, and show him Vencarlo's letter. It is time for you to help shape those changes Zellara was talking about, my ranger friend. Time to fulfill your destiny!"


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

20 Erastus 4708

Late in the afternoon of the 20th the companions reach the gates of their home city. They immediately head to the university, to hand the blood cap mushrooms to professor Sirtane Leroung. She instantly sends an envoy to warn the castle. Quint feels a bit surprised, but Sirtane eases his mind by saying that the whole city is eagerly awaiting her cure. She gives him the latest issue of the Korvosa Herald, which has an article on the topic: Cure for the plague just around the corner!. Her brother-in-law, who publishes the newspaper, insisted on it, Sirtane explains. There is also a report on the treacherous plague doctors and the quarantine of Old Korvosa. The history of Korvosa on the back is devoted to the reign of queen Domina and her son Eodred II.

Puk also informs about Madam Nesia's blood which he collected after she exploded into a sea of sanguine fluid. Fortunately Sirtane has found some time to examine it. The blood clearly showed signs of residual transmutation magic of a very high order. She believes it to be a weird modification of the simulacrum spell, powerful magic that allows a magic-user to construct an illusionary double of someone from snow and ice. This spell requires a very accomplished caster and costs thousands of golden sails in ingredients. In Nesia's case blood was used instead of ice and snow, which is clearly a more powerful ingredient, but the fact that Nesia had no memories and became sick and died, shows that the spell that created her had not been perfected yet. Mages who master this level of magic are extremely rare, in Korvosa they can probably only be found in the Acadamae, Sirtane muses.

By the time Sirtane has finished her exposé on Nesia's condition, her messenger returns from the castle. He says that the queen has ordered her and her family, and also the companions, to come to the castle tonight, where Ileosa will address her people for the first time in weeks. Our friends decide to return home to bathe the dust of travel from their skins and dress up for the occasion.

Upon arriving at the villa the companions notice that the three kids are nowhere to be found. There is no note either. Sjo is worried that the children got sick again; after all, it's been ten days. A sudden knock at the front door pulls the healer from his contemplation. There is a beautiful Varisian woman at the front door who insists on talking to Balian. She introduces herself as Ravenna and Sjo sees that she is not alone, another man is waiting for her in the street. Balian joins the Varisians and agrees to go with them, without telling his friends where he is going. It looks important, as the ranger is willing to give up a visit to the castle for it. Puk decides to follow the ranger stealthily and tails him to a house in Thief Camp. The building looks well guarded, so the halfling sees no easy way in and returns to the villa to prepare for the queen's speech instead. Unlike Balian he does not want to pass an opportunity to gaze on the beauty of the queen.

In their smartest attire Sjo, Puk and Quint go to the castle, where a small crowd of the city's finest has already gathered. Everyone is quite curious. At the foot of the grand stairs up the mastaba Puk spots Cressida Kroft. She wonders as well what this meeting is about and points out that there are a lot of Gray Maidens present. The Castle almost looks like a fortress preparing for battle.

The guests are allowed into the throne room where the waiting continues. The room buzzes with impatience when the queen suddenly appears out of thin air, flanked by the commander of her Gray Maidens and a heavy, bald man - clearly a spellcaster. His robes cling tightly to his firm body. Ileosa is wearing a new crown with spikes that look like giant shark teeth. While everyone falls silent, Quint calls out: "Queen Ileosa, it has been too long, it is good to see you again." The queen returns his words by briefly piercing him with her gaze, which she then sends over the other guests in the room. She beams with confidence when her lips curl into a smile and she addresses the crowd:

"My dear citizens, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Hold on a bit longer and the plague that fell over us will be a thing of the past. We have a cure!

I know, our recent path has been riddled with hardship and challenges. There were many casualties and fear overtook us all. But rest assured, the nightmare will soon be over. The university of Korvosa has developed a medicin. Just a few more days and life will rule the streets again instead of death.

Korvosa is indeed a beautiful city and many envy her for her riches and pleasures. They try to crush us with riots, but we resist! They try to starve us, but we survive by sheer will. They try to cut us down with disease, but we arise stronger than ever. The enemy comes to us in many guises, as opponents or as allies. Treachery runs deep sometimes. The physicians who came to the city, weren't healers who were trying to make us better, but the true architects of the plague itself! But we triumphed over them all!

Still, all these attacks have taken a heavy toll. Thousands of citizens fell to the disease, everyone of us has lost friends or family. The Korvosan Guard is crippled and the Sable Company is broken by numerous losses. None of these troops have the strength left defend our city properly. So I proclaim that henceforth the Gray Maidens are the new protectors of the realm and their commander Sabina Merrin is the general of all military forces in Korvosa."

A wind of discomfort waves through the crowd, but Ileosa is not finished yet. She hails the heavy man to her side: "This gentleman is Togomor, my new advisor who will take up the duties of castle seneschal from now on.

I have also decided to dissolve the Sable Company and merge their depleted numbers with the Guard, making one whole from two halves. Commander Endrin of the Sable Company, please approach!"

The crowd is baffled as Marcus Thalassinus Endrin steps forward. Quint uses the consternation to utter the words of a detect magic spell and sees that the queen, Merrin and Togomor all bear powerful magic. Especially the crown radiates a strong glow. In the meantime Endrin makes his way to the podium.

"Commander, I hereby strip you of your command and ask you to surrender your badge of honor."

As Endrin does so, he trembles. He reaches for his badge, but instead of handing it over, he throws it at the queen, cutting her left cheek. Everyone, including Ileosa, is shocked into paralysis for a few moments, long enough for Endrin to bellow out: "Your shameful reign ends now! Korvosa will be free again!" At that point his other hand appears from under his cloak, firmly grasping a loaded crossbow. He aims at the still-locked queen and pulls the trigger. His bolt strikes Ileosa straight in the temple: a deadly shot!

Yet the queen does not fall.

She doesn't even tremble.

With incredible speed she regains her composure and yanks the bolt from her head. Before the blood from her wound has time to trickle down her cheek, she rushes over to Endrin. With her free hand she grabs the man by the throat and lifts him off the ground. Her other hand wields the bolt as a dagger, which she hammers between Endrin's eyes. The commander's lifeless body tumbles to the floor, as Ileosa turns to the crowd and cries out: "This shall be the fate of all enemies of Korvosa! Mark well his death! All traitors will suffer the same fate!"

A second later Togomor steps forward, laying his hand on Ileosa's shoulder and teleporting her out of the throne room. Sabina Merrin orders everyone out and her Gray Maidens start pushing the crowd towards the exit. Field Marshal Cressida Kroft is stunned and horrified by what she has seen. She takes the companions to her office in the citadel to speak with them freely. Her gut tells her to step down from office, but she fears that a Gray Maiden puppet will replace her then, so she decides against her gut feeling. She hopes that by complying with the queen, she can exert the largest possible amount of control to see her soldiers safe. Quint is angry: Endrin's peaceful approach has only lead to the man's untimely death. The bard feels like the city is slowly being murdered in front of his eyes.

A knock on the door disrupts the conversation. A guard from the Longacre Building bears a letter for the Field Marshal. It was given to him by a boy who was arrested for escaping from Old Korvosa. Kroft thanks him and starts reading. "This comes from Vencarlo Orisini," she says, "it looks like he is looking for you. Here, read it."


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

The companions fill a bag with red mushrooms and then seek their way out of the swamps. Although Furian is very happy to see Mirala alive, he has a troubled heart when he tells her that her brother avenged her 'death' by killing over a dozen of his kin. Mirala feels guilty about her part in this tragedy, as it was her irresponsible behavior that triggered her brother's madness. She wants to confront her brother alone, so the heroes accompany Furian to the pixie court, while the centaur girl makes for Pointer's Rock.

Pixie king Tirmando is pleased to hear that Mirala survived, but no amount of good news can sway his mournful mood. Still, he remembers his promise to the adventurers and hands his green-leaf cloak to Puk as a reward. This wonderful cape functions as a cloak of resistance, but it also allows the wearer to dimension door once per day. The king invites his guests to spend the night at his court before they return home tomorrow. Later that evening Mirala arrives, explaining that her brother is distraught about his own heinous deeds and has decided to leave the vale to seek atonement for his sins.

Level up: level 7

17-19 Erastus 4708

The next morning the companions head back to Korvosa. On the evening of the 18th Zellara's ghost appears to them from her Harrow deck to do another reading. She removes the nine book cards from the deck and has everyone draw one. Sjo evokes a healthy dose of laughter when he draws the idiot, which Zellara interprets as a warning not to be too naive. Quint goes for the inquisitor, who accepts only the truth. Zellara says that Quint will be instrumental in uncovering an important hidden truth. Balian draws the raksasha as a warning not to be manipulated. Balian should be careful not to act differently than what his true nature prompts him to do. Puk's card is the vision: he will meet a man whose insanity and genius will be intertwined.

Next Zellara reshuffles the cards and lays them out for each of the companions. In Sjo's present she finds the crows, who represent a group of dangerous people who violently take possession of what is not theirs. The desert is in his future, as a sign of a harsh environment in which he will have to survive. Quint has the foreign trader in his past, representing a hidden truth whose unveiling will surprise some and shock others. The future reveals the uprising: a leader will be overthrown, but it remains unclear which part Quint will have to play in this. Puk has the tangled briar in his past. Bad events in his younger days defined his path, but set him on a journey towards hope. Puk's future reveals the same card he picked in the choosing, the vision. Zellara concludes from this that the mad genius will play a key role in days to come. Balian's fortune also shows important facts about the past. The empty throne signifies a great loss that still defines his life today. The idiot also comes up here, indicating that Balian made a rash decision in the past and the fact that he fooled others about it will not be received kindly. The marriage in Balian's present stands for big changes that are about to happen. Zellara says that the positive position of the card expresses the hope that Balian will be able to sail the waves of change and maybe even help shape them. His future is less clear, although Zellara interprets the forge card as a sign that a great heat that has burned everything to cinders might be part of Balian's fate.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Wes wrote: " Indiana passed its controversial SB 101 bill — which, in part, protects businesses that wish to discriminate against same-sex couples."

I seriously had to reread this line twice. I live in Europe and I hadn't heard about this yet. I thought it was a mistake and it meant to say 'prosecute' instead of 'protect'. I find this very shocking and I cannot understand how such a bill could ever be passed in a modern democracy. So I'm in full support of all people and organizations speaking out against it!


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

The heroes have located the lizardfolk settlement in the Mistmoors. As they approach, they notice that the scaly creatures are all distracted by something: they are all staring in the direction of the beating drum. Balian seizes the opportunity to glide the boat right up to the pile huts. Puk jumps out of the boat and climbs the first building they pass, while Quint calls out with a friendly voice: "Here, catch!" He throws then end of a rope to the closest lizardman. Surprised by the sudden arrival of armed pinkskins, the creature shouts out in a language none of the companions understands, grabs his club and starts bashing his shield with it vehemently. The entire tribe picks up his war cry and looks ready for battle.

While Quint realizes that he knows no language to successfully communicate with these creatures, his friends jump into battle and quickly take down a number of lizardfolk. Sjo notices a mass of rocks beyond the pile houses, where a fair number of scaly creatures have gathered. He summons a mighty fireball, killing four of them and wounded two others. Puk, Balian and Spyder meet with more resistance as they face some lizardmen wearing hide armor and shields, obviously warriors of some kind. Quint trips one of them and again the bard calls out for a seize-fire, but to no avail. By now the chieftain joins the fight, while the white-scaled shaman summons an owlbear to slow down the heroes' advance.

Quint attempts to capture the chief in a cacophonous call, but the creature is not affected, and Sjo fails to dispel the owlbear. Meanwhile Balian and Spyder pick off the last 'common' tribesmen, so only the chief, shaman and the summoned monster remain. The ranger feels that the shaman tries to freeze him in place, but bites back and resists the hold person. Quint finally manages to control the battlefield by nauseating the leader and his medicine man with two successful cacophonous calls. Both of them slip into the murky waters, giving the companions the time to take out the owlbear and heal their wounds.

Tied to some kind of sacrificial altar is Mirala, the missing centaur girl. Furian, the pixie, blinks out of invisibility and starts babbling away while Sjo unties the horsegirl. Mirala claims to be confused by the tribemen's behavior. They rescued her from the quicksand, took her to their village and treated her with respect, although she could not communicate with them. Today, they suddenly grabbed her and tied her to this pole, but she doesn't understand why. Sjo wonders if they were planning to bleed her out in a sacrificial ceremony, but Puk realizes they were literally trying to offer her to the creature that suddenly rears his ugly head from the swamp waters: a black dragon! Before they can react, the dragon spews a stream of biting acid on Sjo, Spyder, Quint and Furian. The little pixie goes down. Next the black-skinned retile sinks his teeth in Quint's flesh. At the same time the lizardfolk chieftain and shaman climb out of the water again. Puk and Sjo confront the dragon, while Balian and his dog fight back the two lizardmen. Quint distracts the enemies with his satire and hands his wand of cure serious wounds to Mirala, who support the fight with some well-placed healing. During her medical work she sings an inspiring song which lightly boosts the companions fighting skills.

Balian's greatsword cuts deeply into the chief's flesh, but his shaman sidekick heals him again. Fortunately, our ranger friend is on a roll and with a critical hit he takes down the fierce lizardman. The shaman flees into the water and swims to the dragon's side. This monster seems to have overestimated his own power: he does wound his opponents badly, but Mirala's healing keeps them on their feet and their weapons hit him time and again. The shaman heals him enough to continue fighting, but when Balian delivers another critical blow, the dragon decides not to tempt fate any longer and escapes, barely alive. The lizardfolk medicine man quickly follows his 'god', leaving the companions victorious. Sjo can bring back Furian from the brink of death, while Balian finds that the alter is covered in red toadstools: blood cap mushrooms! Hundreds of them!


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Man's Promise is the one to focus on first, the wormwood is a good second.

There are some ships on the market, but they all require work: assembly and/or painting. You can also build your own or convert existing ships. Mega bloks did some impressive pirate ships in the past, which convert quite well to 28mm standards. I did some myself and I also made some homebrew terrain pieces to construct the inside of a ship, combining them with Psomminiature pieces (Psom is similar to Dwarven Forge and they have a barn set). You can find some pictures in my Deviantart gallery.


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Charisma of Fun wrote:

I buy preprinted minis because I work 50-60 hours a week. I simply don't have the time to add that aspect of the hobby to my life. However I may pass my mini to one of my friends who can touch him up.

These sets of I comics were created with the intent of being higher quality than the standard wizkids minis. With the exception of Harsk they really are quite nice. The Inquisitor has a very nice face for a preprinted mini despite his face being obscured by both a bow and arrow and the brim of a hat.

Yes, I hear you. I work long hours as well, although my holidays are probably longer than yours. That's when I make time for my painting.

Still, I only wanted to point out that a small touch-up job can already change the overall look of the mini considerably, so definitely ask your friend if he can do it. For example, my Valeros came with a black spot on the tip of his nose. He looked totally ridiculous, but the easiest touch-up job ever made him look the way he was supposed to. So sometimes it's nice to be able to do that (or have your friend do it), especially for these expensive minis.

The problem with the Harsk mini, in my opinion, is the size of the eye template: they are too big! They don't match the Pathfinder art, which shows dwarves with rather small eyes, compared to their square heads and stout bodies. This manga-like eye stamp can easily result in an unnatural position of the eyes, as it did on your or my mini. Painting some flesh color over the pointy edge reduces this unnatural effect somewhat. If you don't like the eyes at all, you could always ask your friend to make new eyes altogether, but that is a big risk , because - as you can imagine - eyes are difficult.


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Charisma of Fun wrote:

Everyone seems to be fairly pleased with their minis so I'm assuming there is an unfortunate bad run of Harsk. Mine looks more like a bearded hedgehog than a dwarf. I contacted customer service but they have already warned me that the replacement still looks "alien". :-/ (nonplussed)

Harsk is my fave so if anyone has multiples of a decent Harsk I'd be willing to buy or trade.

I'm really surprised these bad Harsks have shipped. The quality is embarrasing.

http://tinypic.com/r/dham3o/8

If you can use a paintbrush, it requires some minor touch-ups to make him look better. I used some brown to accentuate his moustache and eyebrows, made his mouth a bit clearer by giving him a lip and some white teeth and I put some skin tone over the awkward end of the eye that was stretching out over his nose. Two minutes of work, it took me longer to get his picture taken and uploaded to show you.


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The companions return to the pixie court to confront king Tirmando with the truth. They make Furian confess what happened to Oakenbrow's sister. The little fey sobs and cries bitter tears as he explains that he lost Mirala to the quicksand of the Mistmoors while playing with her there. The king and his entire court are shocked to learn of Furian's role in Oakenbrow quest for vengeance. With a heavy heart Tirmando accepts that he had best take to opportunity to parley with the centaur, even though he admits that it will be hard for him to negotiate with the archer who killed so many of his subjects. Still, he sees no other solution to this conflict, other than killing his attacker, which he obviously does not favor. He also tells Furian that he will have to pay for his involvement in this tragedy and - more importantly - for his silence afterwards.

Next the king turns his attention to the companion: he realizes that he made a deal with them, to tell them where they can find blood cap mushrooms. These red toadstools are rumored to grow in the Mistmoors, but no one dares to venture there ... except for little Furian, it seems. As a first step on his path to redemption the king order the distraught little fey to accompany the companions to the swamps, a quest that Furian clearly doesn't like.

On their way south Furian tells the heroes more about the cursed moors. Hundreds of years ago it was the site of a huge battle between two human armies. Since that time the ghosts of the dead roam there, so the place was declared a forbidden zone. The pixie king had the Mist Lake flood the area, turning it into a swamp, so no one would go there anymore. Doubting the stories of old, Furian and Mirala tempted fate and went to the moors to see for themselves how dangerous they really were. The pixie has regretted this decision every second since Mirala drowned.

The Mistmoors truly deserve their name, as they are clouded in eternal mist. The companions find no dry path through the swamp and before they know it they are up to their knees in murky waters. Quint pulls out his wand of featherstep to have everyone move more freely through the difficult terrain. Sjo takes Puk on his shoulders, since the halfling is too short to walk here, while Spyder is reduced to jumping and swimming. Furian removes his cloak to reveal his wings and takes to the air. Sjo sends him up to scout the area from above, but the pixie has a hard time relocating the heroes when he descends again, serving only to increase his fear. He testifies that the entire swamps are covered in a thick veil of mist.

After twenty minutes the waters become even deeper and suddenly Quint can't free his feet anymore. He starts sinking slowly and his friends have to throw him a rope to pull him out. Furian explains that they have already travelled deeper into the moors than he and Mirala did, but still there is no sign of the red mushrooms. Then Sjo picks up strange whispers, but his friends claim not to have heard anything. A minute later Balian thinks he sees a shadow move in the mists; Quint calls out and is answered by a whispering sound coming from behind him, but again the others say they haven't heard a thing. Then Furian grabs his head: "They are here! Can't you hear them?" The scared pixie quickly turns invisible, as the mists seem to sigh from all sides.

Next a fearsome warcry resounds in Shoanti: "For the Shadde-Quah! Kill them all! Kill them all!" Four shapes tear themselves from the fog, seeming to be made of white smoke themselves. These must be the ghosts of Shoanti barbarians who fell here, seeking to destroy the Korvosan intruders. Sjo pulls out the amulet he recovered from the Shoanti tumulus outside of Harse and shouts that he is a nalharest, friend of the Shoanti, while Quint starts a Shoanti song to calm the attackers. These attempts do not sway the enraged assailants from attacking, although the incorporeal barbarians focus their attention on the other companions: Balian and Puk. Balian gets hit several times by a misty battleaxe, while Puk's armor proves no defense for one ghost's corrupting touch. Balian's greatsword cleaves through the opponents, tearing away wisps of their ghostly bodies. When Sjo and Quint give up their attempts to reason with the aggressors and join the fight, they get targeted as well. Quint can hurt the ghosts with his wand of magic missiles, but realizes that just two magical arrows per attack will not suffice to take down the opponents quickly. He summons mirror images of himself and jumps into melee with his short sword instead. Sjo heals Puk's and Balian's worst wounds and swings his morningstar at the barbarians. He ends up striking the 'killing' blow on two ghosts, while Puk and Balian slay the other two.

Our friends start to wonder if it is actually a good idea to travel the swamps blindly. Still they press on. Puk climbs one of the large mangrove like trees, only to learn that he can't make out anything in the mist. He finds no blood cap mushrooms in the tree either. As he comes back down, Balian's attention is drawn by soft splashes of water. While the ranger draws his blade, a boat appears with three lizardmen. The one in front hurls a javelin at Balian, but fails to hit him. The trio of scaly creatures is clearly outmatched by the heroes and only moments later they are defeated. Quint notices that two of the dead lizardmen wear necklaces made of flowers, much like the ones they found in Mirala's cave or around Furian's neck. The pixie also recognizes the handiwork of his centaur playmate and is filled with hope that his best friend is still alive. The companions take the lizardmen's boat and Balian sits down at the oars, demonstrating his skill at rowing which he developed as a galley slave. He chooses the direction the scaly hunters came from, gliding slowly over the muddy water. His instincts guide him well and half an hour later he picks up the beating of a drum. He steers the boat in the direction of the noise. Suddenly the mists clear and reveal a small settlement of pile dwellings.


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Nice, I like it.


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Wheldrake wrote:
Now my only real problem is volume. We usually play at a friend's place, so I have to load up tons of boxes in my car, each gaming session. All for a good cause, though.

I'm very familiar with this 'problem'. We play at a friend's house as well, so I lay out my scenery before the game and only take the required pieces. I can imagine that transporting such a huge amount of material can get tricky.


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Xen wrote:

We're still a few months out from starting our CotCT adventure, but I like to be prepared. What I am asking for is just advice from players or GM's alike, that have played the campaign. I don't know what the other players are playing yet so this is going to be a semi hefty list. I am not looking for party comp or builds, just spoiler-free campaign specifics and if the character idea will mesh well with the adventure. Here's the list:

Brawler (Strangler or Monk (Tetori): From what I know of the campaign, it's city based so that means a lot of humanoids and not a lot of things above size large. I'm just hoping this guy would stay effective until the end instead of losing momentum like in Giant Slayer.

Rogue (unchained): I would play this character as more of a Dex/Int based skill monkey. Just hoping this guy would have a chance to shine with a huge skill set.

Enchanter or Fey-blooded Sorcerer or Bard: This would be the party face choice. It'd be nice to play a Sorc/Wiz, but that is more dependent on the availability of spells or social interaction that can be modified by spells.

Alchemisit (Jekyll/Hyde): This would just be fun to roleplay, but I am worried that the mutagen happy alchemist would fit more in Carrion Crown and not CotCT.

Summoner or Ranger: I read that rangers are great for roleplay here (thanks Player's Guide), but I am more interested in advice with Favored Enemy. I am also worried about a size large Eidolon/Animal Companion moving through tight spots. Any suggestions for thematic Eidolons/ACs would be cool too.

Thanks in advance for the time and info everyone!

A lot depends on how closely your GM is following the AP as written and how much opportunity he's willing to provide for social interaction, but in general I'd say that rogue, bard or urban ranger are excellent choices. The ranger should pick human as the first favored enemy, then undead, then devil. As for animal companion, I'd choose something that blends well with a city - the ranger in my campaign simply has a dog.

Still, your other ideas are valid as well and they would definitely work in this campaign. In my opinion the AP does not necessarily require a full-blown arcane caster, but there is reason not to include one.


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Hobbun wrote:

Question, where did you get the ‘land’ pieces? Not the trees so much, but where Thistletop actually sits on. The bridge, etc?

From Wheldrake's post: "Homemade cliffs from spare blocks of polystyrene left over from a kitchen project, a knife, spraypaint & flocking "


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16 Erastus 4708

During the third watch Balian perceives a noise outside and silently wakes up his partners. As they rise from their bedrolls a cute little bunny hops in through the front door. It looks at the companions with big, innocent eyes and speaks: "Greetings, you brave men of Fort Thorn. Are you the heroes from the stories of old? We are looking for fearless warriors to protect us from the terror of the Vale." Puk looks charmed by the fuzzy bunny, but his human friends see the rabbit for what it really is, an illusion. Sjo walks over to the window and yells out into the night: "Stop this ridiculous charade and show yourself if you want to talk to us!" He peers into the darkness outside, hoping to pick up someone with his darkvision, but he is surprised by the sweet voice that comes from behind him, inside the keep: "Okay then, here I am."

A ginger-haired female pixie suddenly appears out of thin air. "My name is Lorana. It looks like the gods have answered our prayers and sent you to help us."

"And what is it that we are supposed to help you with, then?" Quint wonders.

"Oakenbrow, the nasty horseman, of course. He is the one who killed my second cousin Lendil who you found nailed to the door. We have no idea why, but since a fortnight the horseman has been on a killing spree, he's killed over a dozen of my kinsfolk. Our king Tirmando is in desperate need of help against this murderer. Will you please come with me and speak with our majesty, mighty heroes?"

"Well, we don't know you or this Oakenbrow, so we can't make any promises. Still, it certainly looks like something is amiss in this little paradise of yours", Sjo answers. "Of course, we're not here by chance, we're looking for something that we can only find in this valley. Do you know of any red mushrooms growing anywhere?"

"His highness will definitely be willing to aid you with that quest, noble strangers. If only you come with me."

"Well, give us until morning to rest up. Then we will go with you", Sjo tells the tiny fey.

And so it goes, when the sun has risen again, the red-haired fairy returns and leads the companions across the river into the forest. After two hours through the dense woods the travelers reach the court of the pixie king: a tall hollowed-out tree. Lorana takes her guests to the royal hall in the heart of the tree. Puk immediately loves these cozy quarters, but his friends have to bend over backwards to fit into the tiny rooms. On a green throne, with a leaf mantle on his shoulders, sits the troubled king, Tirmando. His eyes betray a touch of relief as the heroes enter.

The king explains that the centaur Oakenbrow, who has lived in the valley for many years with his younger sister Mirala, has suddenly become aggressive for no apparent reason. So far he has killed fourteen pixies and he shows no sign of stopping. Tirmando has no clue what motivates the centaur, but is in dire need of help. He requests the adventurers' aid in neutralizing the threat. In exchange he will gladly show them where the blood cap mushrooms grow, but he also offers his cloak as a reward.

The companions agree to help the pixie king, as he does not require the centaur's death, but rather an end to the hostilities. Quint inquires where they can find Oakenbrow and asks for a guide to show them the way. "The centaur and his sister live at Pointer's Rock. Furian, my subject, you know the girl well. You play with her all the time. You will take these gentle folk there." A tiny pixie, even small for his kind's size, reluctantly steps forward, but he does not dare to refuse his king's command.

The trek to Pointer's Rock takes the companions back north through more dense forest. Their guide Furian seems ill at ease. When the PCs question him about the centaurs, they quickly sense he is hiding something. It turns out he played with the centaur girl all the time, but her older brother never appreciated their frivolous games. He used to warn his sister time and again that she shouldn't waste her time with the irresponsible fairy, but she never heeded his advice. Three weeks ago things went wrong, terribly wrong. Furian took Mirala on a scouting trip to the dangerous Mistmoors in the south of the valley. Oakenbrow had always forbidden his sister to go there, but she went anyway ... because Furian talked her into it. While they were playing Mirala suddenly stepped into quicksand and started sinking into the muck. Furian lacked the strength to pull her out and desperately rushed back to Pointer's Rock to get Oakenbrow. By the time they returned, Mirala had completely disappeared below the surface. Her brother exploded in rage and would have killed Furian on the spot if he had had the right weapons. The pixie fled and has since witnessed how the centaur ranger has been exacting his revenge on the fairyfolk with newly forged cold iron weapons. Furian is the only pixie who knows the truth, but he fears informing his kin, because they will hate him for it. He is obviously heartbroken about what happened, but he begs the companions not to tell the king.

After a while the forest gives way to rocky hills. Furian draws attention to the highest one, which has some kind of stone spire on its back: Pointer's Rock. A small brook springs from somewhere on top of the hill and sends its water down in a magnificent waterfall. The entrance to Oakenbrow's lair is behind the chute, Furian explains. Sjo and Quint call out to the ranger before entering the centaur's home, but they find it empty. When they emerge an arrow flies past them and buries itself in Furian's little chest. The pixie falls to the ground, bleeding from a deadly wound. The arrow came from the bushes, some 100 yards beyond. Balian, Quint and Puk form a living shield in front of Furian while Sjo hurries over the treat the fey's injury. Quint calls out to Oakenbrow, offering his condolences and asking the enraged bowman to parley instead of fight. The centaur orders the companions out of the way, claiming that this is not their fight. He gives them one chance to retreat; all he wants is the malicious forest imp who led his sister to her death. "Oh, I warned him so many times to keep his hazardous games away from her, but the naughty trickster never wanted to listen. Now it's too late. All that counts is revenge!"

The companions try to reason with the grief-stricken centaur. They understand his sorrow, but no matter how many fey he kills, he will never get his sister back. They urge him to reconsider his plans for revenge, there has to be a better way than violence. In the end Oakenbrow concedes, he'll agree to a seize-fire until he has spoken to the pixie king. He wants the party to send Tirmando here, alone, so they can negotiate. He even gives his word not to harm the king during these talks.


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"There's something up there." Balian's senses alert him to the ticking of rocks up the mountain side. When he looks up he sees loose stones starting to shift and slide, quickly gathering speed and volume. The ranger jumps back, getting himself and his steed Webb out of the sudden avalanche that floods the pass. Just in time; if he had reacted a heartbeat later, he would have been buried by the rubble.

Glancing up the mountain flank, Puk realizes that the landslide was no coincidence. Three large shapes are moving against the rocks. Their dark gray skin makes them blend in with their surroundings, explaining why the companions did not notice them before: stone giants! Sjo calls upon his flame-wielding gift and hurls a fireball on the ambushers, but the giants emerge from the blaze hardly scorched. Two of the attackers jump down, swinging their huge clubs, while the third starts hurling boulders on the travelers. The heroes manage a handful of nicks and cuts, but it will take more than a few hits to take down these brutes. The giants on the other hand pack a very mean punch, one of them pummels Sjo to the ground, while the other one nearly bashes Puk's skull to pieces with a mighty critical strike. The halfling bites back the darkness that threatens to drown him and gulps down a healing potion, while Sjo barely manages to heal himself with his magic. Quint has taken a few steps back down the path and casts mirror image on himself. He then taunts the giants with his song of satire, luring one of the ambushers to his position. The large female tries to smash him with her greatclub, but she hits an image instead. Meanwhile Balian finally takes down the first opponent. Puk and Sjo rejoin the fray and focus their attacks on the female, while the rock-throwing giant - clearly upset by the death of his brother - storms down the mountain as well. Thanks to the distracting barbs of Quint's satire the stone giants start missing their attacks. Bleeding from many wounds, the gray female sags to her feet, finally defeated by countless cuts. Her ally joins her in death a few moments later. The heroes quickly heal up and discover a treasure bag on the female stone giant. It holds a cave bear pelt, some gems, a gold nugget and a giant-sized horn with intricate carvings. Quint figures it would make a nice addition to the Jeggare Museum in Korvosa.

The companions continue their journey and reach the green wilderness of Bloodsworn Vale as the sun glides behind the highest peaks. There is not much sunlight left, so they'll have to find a place to set up camp for the night soon, especially since dark clouds are gathering in the sky, heralding a summer storm. Checking the map that professor Sirtane Leroung provided, Sjo concludes that there should be an old fortress down the road: Fort Thorn. The stronghold supposedly dates back to a time when the road to Nimrathas was still used. The healer wonders what will be left of the structure after a century of disuse. The ancient road through the forest has worn down to barely more than an animal path and does not easily allow passage to four travelers leading four stout mounts. By the time the light dies, Balian spots the old fort. The main building, which was made of stone, seems mostly intact, but the rest of the fortress lies in ruins. The wooden palisade has been reduces to crooked stumps of wood that are overgrown with bushes. There is just enough of the old gatehouse left to identify it as the erstwhile entrance. Fort Thorn's central keep was once a massive two-story building, but now it looks more like a haunted house. The eastern flank is heavily scorched and overgrown with the valley's trademark bramble: bloodroses. There is no sign of blood cap mushrooms, though. Balian figures the toadstools require a more humid environment. As the first flashes of lightning illuminate the evening sky, the companions make an uncanny discovery: the dead body of a small, winged humanoid has been nailed to the keep's front door with three arrows. The creature was obviously left there as a warning. Quint identifies the unfortunate being as a pixie, tiny feyfolk who are known for their elusive nature and whimsical character. Balian examines the arrows and finds out that the tips are made of cold iron, the only metal that can hurt these small fairies. Sjo claims the pixie has been dead for two days.

The keep itself looks sturdy enough to provide shelter for the night and the coming storm, but the heroes want to make sure that the rest of the fortress is safe before they make camp. The eastern half of Fort Thorn was completely laid to waste by fire. Wild bushes have reclaimed this speck of civilization, making it hard to even figure out where the various buildings used to stand. One ruin still rises: the base of a stone tower. This building used to house a small smithy. It looks like someone recently cleared the inside of weeds and bushes and made use of the anvil to forge weapons out of cold iron, as some grains of blue-gray ore are still scattered over the floor. Balian examines the place carefully and deduces that it must have been about two weeks since this smithy was cleared and used. Summer rain has worn away most tracks, but the ranger finds one clear footprint in the sand in front of the tower: an unshoed horse hoof. Beyond the tower, Sjo rummages through another growth of bloodroses and notices that they actually cover a statue representing Erastil, the god of wilderness and the hunt. Somehow this wooden sculpture survived the fire that burned down the rest of the building a long time ago.

With the rest of the fortress secure, the companions get comfortable in the old keep, while a thunderstorm erupts outside. They are happy to find out that the ground floor of this building remains dry, even after a century of decay.


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Kalindlara wrote:
My GM combined them with the Hero Points system. ^_^

I do the same in my campaign, they are a pool of extra hero points.


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I listed my additions in this post.


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Kalindlara wrote:

It's unlikely - they're learning not to develop the Path at the same time as its rule set. Could be surprised, though. ^_^

The big region for that (of the known ones) is Vudra - a lot of the excitement for Vudra to be detailed was tempered by the knowledge that we needed "psychic" rules before justice could be done. Now that those rules are coming... a lot of us are eager to see the Impossible Kingdoms for the first time.

Still a bit soon for an AP, though - see point one up there. ^_^

I agree that a Vudra AP is somewhere on the horizon, but you might be right, it could be too soon. Still, you never know ...


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Lord Snow wrote:
I moved things around a bit such that in order to be accepted as a Shoanti, each character had to pass a trail - each one from a different tribe. So instead of having to do X after Y after Z my players could choose in which order to visit the different tribes and pass their trials, which made the adventure feel more open. I also expanded on the dungeon crawl with the Havero, and switched out the one with the red render with a head on base assault against a stone giant colony to retrieve a sacred totem pole.

Those changes are actually quite nifty to tackle the problems of this module. First of all you got rid of the X-Y-Z order. But I especially like your take on the stone giant colony. One of my problems with the quests in the book was that they felt so non-Shoanti. A quest to retrieve a sacred Shoanti totem totally fixes that problem. I like it!


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Xzaral wrote:

We then unscramble them to make the words Kbboffdh Fancaf Bacbijd.

And we obviously have the next AP.

Darn, James, you're spoiling all the fun, giving away such obvious tips ...


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James Jacobs wrote:

It's not about goblins.

And a good example of why I have to be super concise and careful about the words I say on topics like these. Because [REDACTED], obviously.

Hmm, another tip, red-acted? Curse of the Crimson Opera, perhaps?


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Inspectre wrote:
The wererats’ leader, Girrigz (or however that’s spelt) was completely insane and driven only by his hatred of humans.

Lol, for once you spell a name correctly and then you doubt yourself ... Okay, I'm exaggerating slightly, but - yes - Girrigz is the way to write his name.

I'm still having fun reading, keep it coming.


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James Jacobs wrote:
I do predict some folks will be gobsmacked by the AP.

Hmm, I wonder if this is a silent hint at the involvement of a certain race starting with gob...


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Cesare wrote:

As requested, here are my edits to the campaign:

Currently our game is on hiatus as our core group is scattered across the four winds. With that being said, we are in Book VI and the PCs are all at lvl 15. I've taken the liberty to expand on all the books while sticking to the Medium XP track, so they are "over-leveled." I've advanced the enemies accordingly.

Anyways, when crafting the campaign, I decided that the focus will be solely on the PCs and their backstories, and I did my damnedest to synergize their character concepts with the campaign's plot points. I did this by restricting race to human only . Furthermore, each character must be a native of Korvosa and are restricted to the Varisian, Chelish, or Shoanti ethnicities (with exceptions allowed based on the quality and plot-hook potential of their backstories/character concepts). I then closely monitored their class selection (no summoners or Asian-themed classes), and had them all tied to Gaedran Lamm in some way. Before you condemn me for being a character creation nazi, I have run multiple campaigns (with more liberal character creation rules) for the same group, and Crimson Throne is their favorite campaign by far.

Very intriguing, Cesare, keep it coming. I love all the twists and changes you've made to the story and I'm looking forward to reading about the expansions you've made to the game.

On your restriction to human as a race:

I also have three humans in my group. I restricted race choice as well, since I started the AP when the PCs were still children in Lamm's lambs. Obviously I needed races that would still be adolescents five years prior to the start of the actual campaign, so long-living races like elves or dwarves were out. Moreover, since Korvosa's population counts 90 % humans, it was the logical choice to push for human. I left some other races open as well, but I rewarded the choice for human further by giving them a free skill point in a knowledge skill each level (on top of the human's extra free skill point). My character creation guide also included tips on which classes would fit my version of the AP and which wouldn't. Finally, I supplied some sort of skill ranking, listing which skills would be useful and which would be less so (e.g., we're going heavy on the roleplay, so social skills were a plus). A fourth player joined the campaign as we launched into the actual AP; he's playing a halfling.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Inspectre wrote:

Thanks! And y'know, I had heard that about Maidrayne Vox and I was really confused because I was certain that she was human. So I went and checked the back cover of the Guide to Korvosa, which lists the various important people in Korvosa, including Vox.

Here's the entry for her:

Mistress of Blades Maidrayne Vox (LE female human fighter 12), field commander of Order of the Nail.

Maybe I will try to fit in some Reincarnate-gone-wrong hijinks in the campaign somewhere. And given what Cid's discovered about my Order of the Nail, an alignment shift may be in order as well. (Vox tends to be more affably Evil anyway, compared to DeVries "I will effing kill ANYONE who steps out of line.")

Also, if anyone can suggest some other modules/scenarios that they think would work good in CotCT (basically anything set in or around Korvosa/Kaer Maga/The Cinderlands), I'd be happy to take a look at them! I havent' added any actual modules yet but I've been looking at The Harrowing, Conquest of Bloodsworn Vale, and Acadamae of Secrets.

I'm looking forward to expounding on Book Three when the recap finally gets there - it's been a complete mess thus far . . . but an interesting mess if I do say so myself!

There actually is a picture of Maidrayne Vox on page 30 of the Castles of the Inner Sea campaign setting, which is shown on her wiki as well. She looks very centaury, I'm afraid.

I've used several other modules to complement my campaign:

  • Murder's Mark during my prelude sessions;
  • Swamp Stomp from Dungeon magazine #93 to draw the PCs away from the city for a few days while the king dies and things fall to pieces (I never liked the idea of the city sinking in chaos during the mere few minutes to PCs needed to clear out Lamm's operation);
  • The Sixfold Trial which was more of an inspiration than anything else for my opera interlude;
  • The Hangman's Noose in which the PCs helped out Zenobia Zenderholm solve a ten year old mystery in the old courthouse;
  • Priestly Secrets from Dungeon magazine #71 to save a clumsy priest of Pharasma from the undead horrors in the catacombs beneath the morgue;
  • The Hook Mountain Massacre provided the Graul farm for a sidetrek on the way to the abandoned Porphyria manor (an adaptation of Misgivings from The Skinsaw Murders), where the PCs discovered the laboratory in which Lady Andaisin and doctor Davaulus created the plague;
  • I'm just about to send the PCs to Bloodsworn Vale to collect a crucial ingredient in the cure for the plague, although my adventure will only use the setting, not the scenario from Conquest of Bloodsworn Vale;
  • instead of the railroad encounters in A History of Ashes I will send the PCs to the Hold of Belkzen to free a Shoanti spy in an adaption of Shadows of Spine Castle from Dungeon # 148;
  • I will skip Skeletons of Scarwall completely since my players are not fond of large dungeon crawls;
  • instead I will use some homebrew scenarios involving the rebellion and the PCs will invade the Acadamae in an adaptation of Academy of Secrets to find the contract devil's copy of Ileosa's infernal contract;
  • next the PCs will have to free Zellara's spirit from her Harrow deck in The Harrowing as they need the gypsy ghost to point them to the bones of the Shoanti shaman who brought the fangs to the mastaba.

    I do regret that The House on Hook Street will only appear in October, as I'll be starting Escape from Old Korvosa shortly and this scenario might make a nice addition to that adventure ... but I can't put my campaign on hold for five months waiting for the module. Too bad ...


  • Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

    10 Erastus 4708

    On this radiant Sunday morning Sjo attends a service at the temple of the sun goddess, Sarenrae. Meanwhile Balian hangs around the Gray Maiden barracks on Eastshore. With Maiden guards at the gate, on the walls and in the towers of the walled complex, the ranger does not risk a look inside, but he clearly hears the sound of military training inside, even on a Sunday. The ranger makes a quick stop at Thief Camp as well: Cadabrani's men have been widening their search for Alika to the whole of Midland, but they have come up blank. Balian asks them to continue their efforts and pays the crimelord for another day.

    While Quint spends one more day in the stables, Puk keeps an eye on the castle. No one goes shopping today, but at 11 o'clock a coach arrives with Archbanker Darb Tuttle and a handful of Abadarian guards. The highpriest of Abadar stays in the castle for about an hour and a half. Asking around, the halfling gathers that Tuttle comes here regularly, at least once a week. Actually, he has been doing so for years, even dating back to before Eodred met Ileosa. In the afternoon Puk follows up on Sirtane Leroung's progress. She claims to be close to a solution, but she is missing a crucial ingredient: blood cap mushrooms. This very rare fungus only grows in the Bloodsworn Vale. Puk agrees to travel there and gather toadstools for her.

    At home the halfling brings his friends up to speed on their new quest. They search the books in the library for more information on the Bloodsworn Vale. Nestled between the lofty peaks of the Mindspin Mountains, the valley lies on an ancient road connecting Korvosa to Nirmathas. This once well-worn path used to serve as an overland route between the empire of Cheliax and its remote colonies in the north. The trail, however, fell into disuse after the death of Aroden and the ensuing civil war, during which Molthune and Nirmathas declared independence. The state of animosity between these fledgling countries and the old empire saw an end to merchants using this route for trade. A century of neglect has erased the road and allowed the woods and monsters to reclaim the vale.

    The Bloodsworn Vale is named for the bloody battles that were fought there during the Everwar, Cheliax's war of expansion. It was the site of a large, months-long struggle in 4396 - over three centuries ago - between the Chelaxian army led by Field Marshal Korvosa and the defending Shoanti natives. Fields of blood-red roses are said to mark the graves of the many Shoanti barbarians and Chelaxian soldiers who laid down their lives in the conflict.

    Balian actually knows the valley, as he travelled through it after he freed himself from slave duty in Cheliax and returned to Korvosa. Since he had served as a galley slave for over four years, the ranger swore not to travel north aboard a vessel, but rather on foot, thus choosing this forgotten itinerary. He remembers that the eerie sounds and morbid atmosphere of the vale greatly troubled him, but somehow he managed to get through undisturbed without running into any of the cruel monsters or hungry predators that supposedly hunt the place.

    11-15 Erastus 4708

    The next morning the companions prepare to travel to the Bloodsworn Vale. They buy supplies and warn the field marshal of their impending absence. A one-way trip should take five days, two days to reach the Mindspin Mountains and three more to traverse the treacherous mountain passes before arriving in the notorious valley. Balian visits Batista Cadabrani and pays him 1,000 gold to keep the search for Alika going while he's away. Quint will join his friends on this wilderness trip as well, so he has to make up an excuse to have Marcus miss his new job at the stables: he tells master Jacob that he's come down with the plague.

    The first two days go smoothly and the companions reach the mountain range without difficulty. The old pass proves harder to travel; the heroes are forced to lead their horses by the bit. The road was once wide enough to allow for wagons, but now it is overgrown with weed and bushes or blocked by numerous landslides that no one has cleared in a hundred years.


    Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

    9 Erastus 4708

    Quint gets two rooms at an inn, one in his own name and the one next to it as Marcus. This place will serve as his place of operations during his undercover mission. This means he will have to miss out on the commune session, though. Puk, Sjo and Balian attend the morning service in the Cathedral of Pharasma. Afterwards they meet up with Archbishop d'Bear for the divination attempt.

    "As I told your friend Sjo yesterday, you have come to the right place to ask your questions. Pharasma shepherds our world's recently-departed souls to their final reward. All have to stand before her throne in the Boneyard, to be judged. She alone decides where each of us will spend eternity. As goddess of life and death, she already foresees what our ultimate fate will be, which is why she is also the mother of prophecy. Still, she accepts that we all have room to shape our own destiny, which is why she reserves her ultimate judgement until we finally stand in front of her.

    You have proven yourselves friends of the Lady of Graves, and as such you have deserved this favor of her. But since we are all free to shape our own lives, the Mother of Souls frowns upon divine interference, so she will bestow the honor of her insight upon you only once. I hope you came prepared, for your window of opportunity will close fast. Be ready, my friends, for you will not face the high one again until your day of judgement."

    Keppira d'Bear raises her hands to the skies, takes a deep breath, closes her eyes and utters the holy words. All goes silent and it feels like the world around the companions disappears, leaving only the here and now. When the archbishop opens her eyes again, they are white and she speaks in a voice that is not her own.

    "MORTALS, YOU HAVE COME TO ME FOR GUIDANCE. ASK AND I WILL ANSWER."

    Sjo can't help but feel impressed and needs a little nudge from Puk to snap out of his wonderment: "Gulp ... my Lady, we are humbled in your presence ..."

    "Ask the questions", Balian grumbles under his breath.

    "Oh yes, my Lady, is Neolandus Kalepopolis, the seneschal of Korvosa, still alive?"

    "YES."

    "Is he being held prisoner?"

    "YES."

    "Are Kalepopolis and Blackjack the same person?"

    "NO."

    "Is queen Ileosa Arvanxi a follower of Urgathoa?"

    "NO."

    "Is the one who ordered the plague on Korvosa a member of an old Chelish noble house?"

    "YES."

    "Is queen Ileosa involved in the murder of her husband Eodred Arabasti?"

    "YES."

    "Are there members of the Red Mantis assassins present in Korvosa at the moment?"

    "YES."

    "Are there Red Mantis assassins in the Castle?"

    'YES."

    "Was the Red Mantis contacted by Ileosa or someone of her entourage?"

    "YES."

    "Was the initiative to contact the Red Mantis taken by Ileosa?"

    "UNCLEAR."

    "Is the queen being misled by one of her advisors?"

    "YES."

    "Are Rolth the necromancer and Balian's sister Alika still in Korvosa?"

    "YES."

    "Did the artists Lucian Lycan, Guy Nolin and Archibald Meerwater die because of a shift in the pantheon?"

    "NO."

    Keppira closes her eyes again, releases a deep sigh and lowers her head. When she looks up again, she is trembling. "I have not performed this ritual often," she breathes, "it is the most wonderful paradox you can imagine, to feel the wisdom of the goddess flow through your veins, but our simple mortal coils were not meant for such wonders, so it leaves me exhausted and wanting at the same time. So strange, like a drug addicted drug addiction. You must excuse me, I must rest. I hope you found what you were looking for."

    ---

    Meanwhile Quint has made sure to arrive at master Jacob's at sunrise, disguised as Marcus from Old Korvosa. The head of the castle's stables puts him to work immediately, helping to muck out the horses' stalls alongside the two boys he saw here yesterday: Wade and Pip. Although Wade is the older of the two, it quickly becomes clear that Pip is the smarter one. The twelve-year old boy is very helpful and tells Quint what to do. "Cleaning up horse manure is not a difficult job, as long as you are willing to get your hands dirty", the boy teases. "Or you can just be smart about it and use a pitchfork", he laughs, while showing the newcomer how to swoop up the wet and dirty bedding while leaving the clean stuff on the floor. "All horses are different", he explains, "it gets easier once you get to know them. Just make sure to be thorough, or it'll be twice as hard to clean up tomorrow." Afterwards he also teaches Quint how to empty the wheelbarrow in a large cart. "You'll have to take that out of the city later, with Curtis", he says.

    Quint really digs in and makes an excellent impression on the boy. In the meantime he learns who else works in the royal stables. Old Docus is an experienced horse trainer who hails from the breeders in Harse. His sight has diminished greatly with old age, but he knows his way around the stables blindly. He walks the animals in the yard with the aid of Billy and Bowen, twin brothers who are about Quint's age. They were hired four years ago by king Eodred himself after their father, who was a hippogriff rider in the Sable Company, lost his life in the line of duty. Quint also meets Ron again, the man who took the cook and the servant girl to the market yesterday. Ron is new at this job, since Greg, the old driver died of the plague.

    When the stalls have been cleaned, Quint joins Curtis Kortval on a trip outside the city to get rid of the manure. Curtis turns out to be a hard worker, although he complains a lot. Apart from Greg, two more of his colleagues lost their battle to the plague, Matt and Kirk. Three others are still out sick, Porter, Ekkels and the only girl who works with them, master Jacob's own daughter Red Lisa. So everyone has had to step up to take over their chores. Curtis can also give Quint some insight on who works at the castle. Most of them are women, like Karina the cook and Mikki the kitchen help. There are also a number of cleaning ladies. The only male servants are Jorn, the simpleton who has to do the heavy lifting, and Scotty, the gnome handyman who's in charge of the repairs. Jacob's lads, as the stables workers are often referred to, were allowed into the castle on rare occasions, for example to celebrate a holiday with the other servants there, but they haven't been inside the palace since king Eodred took ill and died. Curtis has never met the queen's new advisor, but he knows the man's name: Togomor.

    ---

    In the villa Puk tries his hand again at reading, but he quickly gets bored and heads off to the market instead to check out Hedge Wizardry, a shop that specializes in alchemy. Since he saw what alchemists like doctor Saulus or Sirtane Leroung are capable of, he's developed a bit of an interest in the matter. Phaeton Skoda, the shop owner, shows the halfling interesting goods that might be of use in his adventures, like smokesticks, sunrods or thunderstones. The small rogue is most intrigued by alchemist's fire, some kind of splash bomb, and the tanglefoot bag, which can be used to glue down people to the floor.

    Afterwards the halfling swings by Sirtane Leroung's laboratory. She claims to be making good progress on the cure, but she hasn't had time to investigate the blood sample yet. She'll only be able to do that when the crisis has been conquered.

    ---

    At noon Balian slips off to Thief Camp again, to get an update on the search for his sister. Mob leader Batista Cadabrani tells him that his men have been searching around Westdock , the harbor ward where the Hospice of the Blessed was located, but they have found no trace of the necromancer Rolth or his dark-haired companion. With a deep sigh and a long silence Balian expresses his malcontent at the lack of progress. Batista explains that Rolth has evaded the law for over a decade, so the ranger should not expect him to be found easily. In the end Balian puts up the money for another day and takes his leave.

    ---

    After lunch Sjo, Balian and Puk head over to the Theumanexus college, where the gnome headmaster merrily greets them. Sjo gravely explains that his scrying attempt will have to be done with the utmost discretion: no one can know who he scried on or which information the results of his attempts yielded. Geezlebottle promises to keep it all a secret. Then Sjo reveals the name of the first target: Neolandus Kalepopolis, who - he assures - is still alive. Since the gnome has never met the seneschal in person, he asks for a personal item that used to belong to the man in question, to facilitate his scrying, but the companions have nothing to offer him. Slightly disappointed the gnome weaves his hand over a bowl of murky water and starts mumbling the words of a spell. Puk picks up the name Neolandus Kalepopolis in the otherwise incomprehensible string of words. After a few seconds the wizard looks up: "I feared this would happen, my attempt did not succeed, I'm sorry. Maybe the target resisted my spell or he might also be protected from this kind of magic, I don't know. In either case, it's no use trying again today, it won't work anymore. Who would you like to spend the second scrying on, good sirs?"

    Balian asks him to scry on his sister Alika. Fortunately he has a personal item of hers to increase the chances of success: the little wooden dolls she made of herself and her brother as children. Geezlebottle says that this will be of great help. Again he does the incantation and this time he remains concentrated much longer, although the companions see nothing in the water. When the wizard finally opens his eyes again, he confirms that this time his attempt met with success. He saw a pretty black-haired girl, dressed in leather armor, sitting at a table with a skinny, blotchy man - clearly Rolth - and another thuglike individual. Geezlebottle's magic does not reveal any clue on her location, however. Sjo pays the small magic-user and takes his friends back to the villa.

    In the evening Quint joins them as well. He gives them a full report on what he found out. The queen's advisor Togomor apparently is a professor at the Acadamae, the head of the transmutation department. If the rumors are true, he should be a quite powerful individual. Sjo also informs Quint on the scrying and commune attempts. The friends discuss the divine answers to their questions until late at night.


    Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
    MrVergee wrote:
    Master Jacob: "Why don't you come back tomorrow, at sunset? We'll give it a try ..."

    That should have been sunrise, of course, don't know how I messed that up.


    Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

    Meanwhile at the Castle, Quint has been watching the grand stairs leading up the pyramid. Four Gray Maidens stand guard at its foot. By half past nine the doors of a nearby building, just left of the stairs, open and a strapping young man, about Quint's age, leads out a horse and cart. He seems familiar with the animal and talks to it soothingly while staring up the stairs to a small group of people coming down. A middle-aged woman and a young girl, who looks no older than fifteen, are accompanied by four Maidens. The girl waves vigorously at the young man and allows herself to be helped on the box. She fakes having trouble getting up, so the man has to lift her. She clearly enjoys the attention. The driver also aids the other woman take a seat before he sits down himself and gently urges the horse to move. The four Gray Maiden fall in line behind the wagon and follow it to the east.

    Quint pursues the wagon from a safe distance to the market. The middle-aged lady buys all kinds of supplies, enough to feed at least two dozen people easily. The merchants greet her kindly and allow her to cut in line. The goods she requires are already waiting for her and while she pays and specifies what she'll be needing tomorrow, the merchants' helpers load the merchandise in the wagon. The whole process runs very smoothly and Quint sees no opportunity to interfere without raising suspicion. He does learn the woman's name, as the merchants address her as Mrs. Karina. The young girl remains at her side at all times and while they're buying meat, the butcher hands her an extra piece of sausage and calls her Mikki. The man is obviously charmed by the lass and again she seems to welcome the attention with a warm smile.

    Quint then decides to try and approach the driver while he's waiting, but the Gray Maidens step up immediately and urge him to move along. Perhaps he'll have better luck at the stables, where at least there are no annoying Maidens around.

    When the shopping is done, the wagon returns to the castle, where a broad-shouldered, but simple-looking man is already waiting for it to arrive. He picks up a heavy basket and joins the four guards and the two women up the stairs to the castle. The man comes back two times more to carry up the rest. Next the driver takes the wagon back to the stables.

    In the streets at the foot of the pyramid Quint addresses a woman who also looks like she's just returning from the market. She puts her basket on the ground and reaches for her keys to open the door.

    "I"m sorry, ma'am, I just noticed a sweet little dog around the corner. It looked well cared for ... white, with a long fur and a face like a fox. It can't have been a stray, but its owner was not around. Maybe it slipped out of the house or something. You wouldn't happen to know who owns such a pet?"

    "A white dog, you say? Sorry, I can't help you there. No one around here owns such an animal." The woman pushes her door open and reaches for her basket.

    "Are you okay with the groceries, ma'am? Too bad you don't have a strong man to help you carry your things, like that fellow I just saw on the steps of the castle. He seemed like a friendly chap, though not too bright."

    "Well, we can't all be queens, can we? That Jorn fellow is indeed somewhat of a simpleton, but he's a good boy. He's been working there for as long as I can remember.

    "Like part of the furniture?" Quint laughs. "Do you know if they're hiring people up there? I'm actually from Old Korvosa, but ever since the quarantine I've been locked out. I can't go home and I can't do my job. It doesn't look like I'll be able to get back any time soon, so I'll have to find something to earn a living in the meantime."

    "Oh no, poor boy, here ... have some of my bread."

    Quint refuses to take the loaf: "That's not what I mean ma'am. I have a few coppers left, I don't need a pittance. My mum didn't raise me to be a beggar. I want to work for my money and make an honest living. Such a big castle always needs people, doesn't it?"

    "Well, it's mainly women, up there. This Jorn fellow is an exception because he's been there for so long. The men work down here, in the stable with Master Jacob."

    "Aha, I might give him a try, then. Thanks for the tip, ma'am. I wish you a wonderful day."

    "That very kind of you, young man. I wish you the same." At that the woman goes inside.

    Quint keeps an eye on the castle for the rest of the day. At two o'clock two dozen Gray Maidens arrive from the east and go up the stairs. Fifteen minutes later the same number of female warriors comes down again. Four of them relieve the sentries at the foot of the stairs, while the others leave again. Quint follows them over the High Bridge into the East Shore district, at the other side of the river. They enter a walled complex just across the water. So these are the Maidens' barracks, good to know.

    ---

    Sjo is still working on finding out whether seneschal Kalepopolis is still alive. He decides to check with archbishop Keppira d'Bear herself at the temple of Pharasma to find out if she can help him. She confirms his suspicion that high level priests have an excellent spell for just such a purpose: commune. With this magic she can contact her deity and ask a number of questions that can be answered with a simple yes or no. She is not surprised that brother Cedrik did not know about this spell; he was always better at keeping the books than at weaving magic, as his tragic mishap under the mortuary clearly illustrated. Keppira d'Bear is also the only priest in her church who masters this level of complexity. While she dislikes the fact that she would have to give up a spell that might cure another plague victim, she does agree that Pharasma is the prime authority on life and death. If Sjo can offer some relief for her cure-wasting guilt, she'd be willing to pray for a commune spell tomorrow. She also explains that he has to prepare his questions carefully. The magic allows her only a short time to ask about a dozen things, wasting these precious seconds to come up with new questions is not an option. Sjo freely offers one of his wands of remove disease - the one with 11 charges left - to d'Bear as compensation, which she gladly accepts.

    ---

    Puk decides to dive into the villa's library. He is quite ambitious, putting one book on top of the other, he wants to make a pile as high as he is and read that! Still, looking at all those books, he realizes that he'd better start with some light reading and takes a small book on halflings in Korvosa. Perfect! Now he can find out which other famous kinsmen were here before him. It turns out that the history of famous halflings still has to be written. The book details how the Leroung family uses ships with halfling crews, who are lighter and take up less space than human sailors, so the ships can carry more goods and turn in a bigger profit. So the chronicles of the smallfolk in the city limit themselves to servants and workers. Even the most 'famous' halfling in Korvosa was once a servant. Old Orkatto, the owner of Orkatto's Feathers and Furs, used to serve a lord in Magnimar as his master of the hunt. The country squire saved his coppers well and retired to Korvosa to set up a shop in exotic pets. His caged wonders go from rainbow-plumed songbirds and snowdust badgers to emerald-back nightbelly boas and even the odd dream spider. Apparently, the shop is in South Shore, quite close to the villa.

    ---

    Later that day Balian sneaks off on a private mission. He remembers the Sczarni thugs who attacked him and his friends when they were in Path's End for the first time. Back then his party was no match for these gangsters and needed Grau Soldado's help to escape, but the ranger's skill has grown considerably since that time and now he feels confident that he can handle a little trip to Thief Camp by himself. He does take Spyder along, just in case things come to blows and he needs a flanking partner. His goal is to find the Scarni's godfather, a man called Batista Cadabrani, and enlist his help in tracking down his sister Alika. Being a fellow Varisian, Balian hopes that these Sczarni will agree to sell him their services. After all, the Sczarni are notorious for standing up for Varisian rights and punishing the Chelaxians on their high horses.

    Located just outside the city walls beyond Dwarfwalk Gate is the shantytown Thief Camp. Balian notices that the poor people here have not been spared from the plague: there are crosses on several doors and a dozen dead rats and people lie by the road, ready to be carried off. Balian spots a few local thugs and approaches them without showing any hesitation: "I want to meet with Batista Cadabrani. Take me to him", he calmly speaks.

    The biggest gang member mocks the ranger: "And who is this little mouse in a rats' nest? It looks like you need an urgent lesson in humility!"

    Balian sighs and holds his head at an angle. "I bet I can take you down without even taking my hands out of my pockets", he claims. The man fumes and reaches for his club, but Balian simply whistles for Spyder to jump at the brute. A few breaths later the man is squirming on the ground, bleeding from several bites, begging for mercy. Balian calls off his canine and repeats his request to see Cadabrani.

    The ranger is guided into one of the bigger stone houses, where an older man is cutting onions at a table. He's wearing a black brimmed hat and his gaunt face sports a shade of gray stubble. Despite the sting of onion in the air his eyes show no sign of tears. "Do you like onion soup, Varisian?" he asks. "It stimulates the bowels. When you get my age, not everything runs as smoothly as you'd like anymore, just like my men in the street. They seem to be having a hard time as well keeping things in hand. Sit down and tell me why you're here."

    Balian explains that his sister has disappeared and that she was last seen in the company of Rolth the necromancer. Batista concurs that this Rolth character is like an eel, slippery and repulsive at the same time. He is also extremely hard to track down. Finding someone who is with him will prove very hard. Such a service will be expensive. Batista wants 100 gold sails per day for sending his men out to look for her and an extra 1,000 gold if they locate her. The payment for the daily search has to be paid in advance. If the money stops, so does the search. Balian stipulates that Alika has to remain unharmed or consequences will be dire. He also demands a daily report. "Do not try to con me, old man, or you'll pay the price that so many have paid who tried to cross me. I'll return shortly with the money."

    As Sjo controls the group's income, Balian has no personal money to speak of. Asking his Shoanti friend is not an option, since the righteous healer might not agree to hiring an underworld gang to do some shady work. Selling one of his magic items looks like the only alternative. Fortunately he has just the item: Lady Andaisin's headband of inspired wisdom. The temple of Pharasma would definitely be interested in such an item, but Balian doubts if they will be discreet about it, so he visits a merchant who will do anything to make a profit, including keeping quiet: Diederik Lodann. Lodann was the merchant-actor who played alongside the companions in The Passion of Saint Alika, portraying the seer's father. Balian secures a neat 2,000 gold sails for the headband and negotiates a buy-back option within ten days for a 10 % increase.

    With two bags of 100 platinum pieces Balian returns to Batista to seal the deal. He pays the gangster his first 100 gold and expects a detailed report tomorrow of what his money has bought him. "Of course, my dear Balian, for a Varisian hero like you, we will certainly do our best", Batista smiles. Although it sounds like a compliment, Balian senses that the old man wanted him to know that he already figured out who he was in this short time span. Well, at least this proves that the man has resources to gather information, but Balian will have to watch his step around him.

    ---

    Concluding that he has done enough reading for the day, Puk sets out again to check the quarantine situation of Old Korvosa. Since halflings in Korvosa are considered simple workers or servants, no one notices the small rogue, who also uses his skill to blend into the shadows to remain unseen. The Narrows of Saint Alika, as the channel of water between the mainland and Endrin Isle (the actual name of the island on which harbors the district of Old Korvosa) is called, is mostly obscured from view by sturdy city walls that line the northern coast of the mainland. The many gates in the wall, which used to lead to the 20 or so wooden bridges over the Narrows, have all been closed, and the bridges behind them burned. A score of Gray maidens man the walls.

    The only 'breach' in the wall is where the stone bridge crosses the channel. The opening has been thoroughly barricaded and is also heavily guarded. Peeking over the blockade, Puk notices several skiffs in the water with even more Maidens, who are guarding both the Narrows and the mouth of the Jeggare river on the other side of the Isle. In all, the security of Endrin Island seems pretty tight. Puk counts at least five dozen Gray Maidens. The halfling also gets a glimpse of the district on the far end of the bridge. Old Korvosa looks desolate; several buildings have been vandalized or burned and no one dares to show himself so close to the deadly guards on the bridge. The most gruesome discovery is the fact that the protestors who were killed when the bridge was closed, are still on the ground Their cadavers have been left to rot. This sight makes the halfling sick to the stomach. He can only pray that his appetite returns by the time he gets back to the villa, since he left a note for the boys: "Days in Korvosa always get me hungry, mountain man scale!"

    ---

    Quint spends the rest of the afternoon spying on the castle, where nothing happens until early in the evening. Three hippogryphs carrying Sable Company marines land on the castle's terrace. From his vantage point in the street Quint can't make out what they do. Half an hour later they fly off again.

    When the sun starts sinking towards the horizon Quint decides to take his chances at the stables. He addresses two boys who are filling troughs with water. "I beg your pardon, friends," he says, "I'm looking for master Jacob." One of the lads runs off and quickly returns with strapping man, who looks about 45. "You wanted to see me, good sir?"

    "Good evening, master Jacob. My name is Marcus. I live in Old-Korvosa, or at least I used to, before the quarantine." Quint produces a sad puppy look on his face. "I'm actually looking for a job on the mainland and some of the neighbors told me to talk to you. Could you use an extra pair of hands around the stables? Or somewhere else, I'm flexible and I'm a hard worker ... I don't ask for much ... just enough to get by, you know."

    "Well, I am actually short a few hands at the moment. I lost three of my men to the plague and three more are in the hospital. I can't promise you it'll be forever, but for now I could definitely use the help. Why don't you come back tomorrow, at sunset? We'll give it a try ..."

    "That would be great, sir ... or should I call you master?"

    "Master Jacob is fine. I'll see you tomorrow, Marcus. Don't be late. I run a tight shift."

    "I'll be there, sir ... erh, master Jacob. You can count on me." Quint makes an awkward bow and walks out. That went well. Satisfied he returns to the villa.


    Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

    With a couple of days off, the PCs are free to pursue some of their personal quests. We're playing this mostly ad lib, as I've found that my players want to use every moment that is available to them. In order not to waste too many sessions on this at the gaming table and also to allow me some extra time to come up with a coherent response and check all my resources, I've decided to play out part of this by mail. The following report is the result of these mails.


    Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
    Haladir wrote:
    Stuff about Hangman's Noose

    I agree with Haladir that you could pull off this module in a ten hour session. The adventure is fantastic, it runs smoothly and while the PCs are looking for clues at the site, several NPCs get picked off one by one. Still, the encounters and fights are short and can be played at a good pace.

    Two things though:

    • You should read and prepare the adventure carefully. There are a lot of NPCs which you'll need to bring to life, certain areas spawn visions and you'll have to keep track of the timeline carefully to time the NPC deaths. This module is great, but it is a challenge for the GM.
    • The adventure as written is brutal, especially if you play it with newly created level one PCs who have no resources to speak off. They will need more healing than a level one healer can provide and since they are on a timeline, there is no opportunity to rest. I'd recommend giving your players a wand of cure light wounds or something, or chances are that they won't survive (which might cut your session short). I actually played it when the PCs were level 3 and I upped the opposition a bit, but survivability rate is much higher at this level.


    Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

    8 Erastus 4708

    The next morning Sjo pays his girlfriend Larella a visit in the medic force hospital ,which is overflowing with the extra patients who were brought over from the Hospice of the Blessed Maiden. He helps out for a while, taking care of the many sick.

    Quint has set his mind on infiltrating the castle as a servant and decides to stake out the place for a couple of days to get a picture of the every-day comings and goings at the palace. He dresses up as a commoner and hangs around Castle Korvosa for the rest of the day.

    Meanwhile his friends head over to the temple of Pharasma to sell off some of the loot they found. Brother Cedrik, the priest they saved from the undead in the catacombs under the mortuary, is the acting accountant they have to deal with. Sjo asks him if anyone in the temple would be able to find out if a certain person has already passed through Pharasma's Boneyard or not. Cedric is no expert on the matter, but says that the Lady of Graves is not known for sharing such knowledge with mortals. Strange as it may seem, divination is much more the domain of wizards than priests, especially if you have specialists on the subject. The Acadamae definitely has an accomplished diviner, as every school of magic is taught there by an experienced professor. Of course, the Acadamae has never had an open-door policy and since the death of the king they have secluded themselves even more from Korvosan society than before. So getting in touch with this person might prove very challenging. Sjo uses some of the new funds to pay off last month's tax debts and buys two magical bucklers for Quint and himself. He also gets a potion of remove blindness for the next time Puk gets robbed of his sight. Better safe than sorry, he figures.

    At the university of Korvosa, alchemist Sirtane Leroung is still working on a cure for the plague. She is very hopeful: the books and notes which the party brought her from the temple of Urgathoa, prove a big help in her research, even though they do not mention a remedy as such. She is also performing tests with the immune Varisians' blood. Puk pulls out the vial he filled with Nesia's blood last night and asks professor Leroung to take a look at that too when she has the time. He does not tell her where it comes from, though. Sirtane says that her priorities lie with the cure for now, so it may take a while before she can spare a moment, but when she does, she will be glad to examine the blood. She also refers the companions to Tepest Geezlebottle, the gnome professor and headmaster of Theumanexus College, Korvosa's smaller school of wizardry, for advice on divinations.

    Puk, Sjo and Balian make a quick stop at the Citadel and ask Field Marshal Kroft to have a wanted poster made for Rolth. They agree to put up the reward money of 1,000 GP if the necromancer is brought in alive. Afterwards they head to Geezlebottle's school. The gnome wizard is no master of divination, explaining that the most efficient spell to get an answer to the question if someone is still alive, is contact other plane, but such powerful magic comes at a high risk: the wielder of this magic runs a substantial chance of losing his mind for a couple of weeks, the worst fate a magician can suffer. Moreover, Geezlebottle does not know this spell, as far as he knows, only Norva Allesain, the head of the divination ward in the Acadamae, does. The gnome does master the art of scrying, which might indirectly prove that someone is still alive. He agrees to study two of these spells for tomorrow.


    Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

    Upon returning to the villa, the companions find that Madam Nesia's condition has grown worse. She is delirious, suffering from high fever and hardly aware of her surroundings. Our friends decide to summon Zellara's ghost from the Harrow deck to consult her. Maybe she can find out if the girl is cursed. The ethereal gypsy bends over the sick woman and holds her hands over her head and body, sinking into an intense trance. Her face betrays the effort it costs her and Balian is sure he sees drops of sweat dripping down her ghostly face. After what seems like an eternity Zellara gets up again, obviously exhausted. She states that she has trouble finding the poor girl's soul.

    "Does that imply that she has no soul?" Quint wonders.

    "There is something there," Zellara replies, "but it keeps slipping out of my reach."

    Having heard stories of people who sell their souls to devils, Sjo immediately suspects the church of Asmodeus to be involved. Balian suggests to take the girl there and have the priests of the Prince of Hell look at her. It might be risky, but it seems like the most direct route to an answer. The others agree and prepare the carriage to transport Nesia across town. However, when they try to lift her from the sofa, her arm bruises badly from the slightest touch. Using the sheet on which she lying instead to carry her, the party gets her to the coach and takes her to the steps of the Archfiend's house.

    Sjo knocks on the door and is met by Mallas, the highpriest's grim personal bodyguard. The stern warrior does not feel inclined to help the Shoanti who once came to the temple as an aspiring acolyte and then betrayed this 'contract' by turning his back on the Lord of Oaths. It takes some convincing until he finally agrees to let them in. The heroes gently place Nesia on the altar, which is conveniently shaped to support a person's body, and wait for highpriest Reebs to arrive. Reebs does not understand why the party brings him a sick girl, he is not the city's prime authority on healing and his contract with the medic task force - which the companions helped negotiate - has already cost him all of his healing magic for the day. Sjo explains that they are not here for his medical expertise, but rather for his extensive knowledge on the nature of souls.

    When Ornher Reebs turns towards the girl Sjo detects a hint of surprise on his face, which the man quickly hides. He gives her a fairly shallow look-over while Quint explains how they found the girl in the street, devoid of any memory. Reebs looks at the companions and chuckles. "She's naught but an empty shell", he claims. "Just take a dagger and prick her with it".

    Puk draws his blade and carefully sticks the point in Nesia's upper arm, where the bruises are. Blood pours profusely from the tiny wound, while the girl starts shaking badly. Her body jerks upward in a sudden, spastic motion and completely turns into blood. The fluid spatters the bystanders and falls down on the altar and floor, leaving no trace of any person: no body, no bones, no skin, nothing but blood. The companions are flabbergasted and even Ornher Reebs regards the spectacle with a shocked look in his eyes.

    "Well, that is a new experience, all right," the highpriest utters, breaking the silence. It is obvious that he's never seen anything like this either. Quint's mind races to find an answer: Was Nesia ever human? Maybe she was some kind of simulacrum, a copy of someone else, although those are normally made of snow and ice, not blood. Reebs claims not to be familiar with the concept of blood clones, but supposes that it could be possible. Of course, this might mean that the original version of Nesia is still around somewhere. Puk takes a bit of the blood for later examination and the companions leave after making a contribution to the temple's coffers of 50 gold pieces - which Mallas finds insultingly low.

    Before turning in for the night, the young heroes get the sole surviving plague doctor from the old fishery and hand him over into the custody of the Sable Company.


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    Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

    So, community manager and - judging by your drawing - a nice artist to boot ... color me impressed. It truly is an honor. It fills me with a warm feeling to know we now have a guardian angel watching over us. Congrats to Paizo for its successful boards and congrats to you for landing this wonderful responsibility.


    Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

    Nice to see that you also integrated Trinia's trial into your actual game. I think that the AP as written misses out on some nice scenes by leaving something like this out. Okay, granted, in my game the PCs were simply spectators at the trial, so their interaction was limited to observing and making perception and sense motive checks. But even so, it is an important point in the story, so I preferred to have my PCs present.

    The same goes for the opening scene of book 3, with the confrontation between the queen and commander Endrin. I'm planning to have my PCs witness that as well. Key moments should be in the game if they can.


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    Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
    Inspectre wrote:
    “Uh, yeah Paizo, I kinda didn’t like your AP, so I basically rewrote the whole thing . . .”

    In my book rethinking, reworking and rewriting an adventure is a sign of respect; it means you like the scenario very much, but you want to adjust it to your personal taste and the playing style of your group. There is nothing wrong with that.

    That being said, you did manage to turn the deadwarrens into truly deadly warrens. I loved the markings and the signs the derro left for the PCs. It adds an element of humor, while it shows at the same time that your dungeon is dynamic, not static. Very well played, sir.


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    Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

    Well, cap'n, for someone who lives in the past like you, it shouldn't be a problem answering an ancient question, now should it? Lol, no seriously, these boards still get used by people who are playing the AP right now and who have certain questions, so there you'll find the merit in answering really old questions.

    And there is also the having fun and going nuts part, of course ...


    Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

    The sun is already rising over the horizon when the companions finally get home. The kids greet them enthusiastically and want to know everything that happened, but Sjo just tells them that he and his friends have completed their mission successfully and want to go to bed. The Shoanti quietly sneaks into his bedroom, where Madam Nesia is sleeping in the other bed. He noticed that her breathing is heavy and she's coughing. The tall healer puts his hand on her forehead and feels that she has a temperature. He pulls out his wand of remove disease and heals the ailing woman without waking her up. When her breathing eases, the weary warrior quickly slips between his own sheets for a couple of hours of overdue rest.

    Our young friends get up in the afternoon, slightly surprised that no one came to get them out of their beds to ask them about their deeds last night. Madam Nesia is still sick, despite the fact that Sjo was sure he cured her last night. Her eyes are red and she is feverish. Sjo examines her and comes to the conclusion that she is not suffering from the plague. He wonders if she might be cursed and shares his concerns with the others.

    After a hearty meal the companions head over to the temple of Sarenrae to get Puk's blindness removed. There they learn that the patients of the hospice of the Blessed Maiden are all being moved to the hospital of the medic temple task force, after the Queen's physicians have been exposed as traitors who were spreading the plague in the name of Urgathoa. Fortunately the Gray Maidens discovered this deception and took care of the problem, permanently! Quint is shocked by these rumors: so now the Gray Maidens, who were foolish enough to let themselves be tricked by the doctors, think they can steal the glory of solving the problem?!? And no one even thought it necessary to consult the true heroes about this fabricated story?!? Quint is quite upset and wants to confront the Gray Maidens, but Sjo convinces him to go to Kroft first. After all, Puk figures, if the companions want to keep a low profile, this story is the perfect cover. It wouldn't be smart to shout all over town that they are the ones who really cleared the Urgathoan temple of its cultists. Those Red Mantis assassins might still be out there and it wouldn't be wise to call too much attention to themselves, the rogue explains. Field Marshal Kroft already knows the truth, so talking to her might be smarter. Perhaps she can shed some light on the Maidens' motive behind this lie.

    In the Citadel Quint first apologizes for his outburst this morning, when he accused the Field Marshal of - unknowingly - aiding the enemy. Kroft is happy that he is not angry at her anymore, but says that he was right: she feels bad about the Guard's involvement in the physicians' foul plans. When the bard asks her about the reasons why the Gray Maidens want to claim the honor of clearing the temple of Urgathoa, Kroft replies that she was not consulted in that decision either - she is never consulted anymore; she is just told what to do. If she has to guess, she would say that the Maidens feel ashamed as well for assisting the cultists in spreading the plague, so maybe they want to make up for their mistake in the eye of the public by claiming to be the saviors who solved the problem. Kroft and her guards who were present at the Hospice this morning, have been ordered to keep quiet about the true heroes' involvment.

    Quint starts wondering who is behind all these evil schemes. The list of possible suspects is just too long. Is Ileosa herself evil? If she wanted the throne for herself, she could be responsible for having Eodred killed, but why would she kill off half her subjects by ordering a plague to be brought down on Korvosa? Sjo utters the possibility that she is an Urgathoa fanatic herself. Or is Sabina Merrin corrupted? As commander of the Gray Maidens she has certainly moved her own troops into a position of power. Maybe one of the noble families is involved: they killed the king, hoping his queen would prove incompetent and one of them might step up to take the empty throne. Or are the banished Porphyria's engineering a return to Korvosa and its highest seat?

    According to Kroft Ileosa also has a new advisor, a wizard from the Acadamae. Is he the puppeteer who controls the queen and her entourage, possibly working in the service of the Ornelos family? And what is Selena's role in all of this? The manipulator has always claimed that the queen is evil and that she is working for someone who wants to save Korvosa. There are so many options. One thing is sure, someone in the castle has been compromised. They worked with the doctors, allowing them inside the castle and then making up some story that the physicians were teleported in from Cheliax. Still this knowledge makes reporting to the castle a risky venture. How can you figure out what goes on in the castle without being in the eye of the traitor? Field marshal Kroft says that this has always been the task of the seneschal, but with Kalepopolis gone, there is no one to keep an eye on things. She could possibly get an audience with the queen herself if she insisted, but what would be her goal? She could never find out anything about the traitor without raising suspicion. Maybe commander Endrin of the Sable Company could be of more help, since the seneschal always comes from his ranks. Moreover, the Company is not tied down by the Gray Maidens as the Korvosan Guard is and Commander Endrin has been known to question the castle's recent politics before.

    The companions decide to pay the commander a visit. Sjo is still welcomed in the Great Tower with open arms and immediately gets an audience with Marcus Endrin. The commander is pleased to see the Shoanti and thanks him for saving his stable boy Dalvun last night, but he is also baffled by the Gray Maidens' claim that they cleared the Urgathoan temple. Still, just like the young heroes, he cannot tell whether this Gray Maiden lie is inspired by treachery or a feeble attempt to mask their own incompetence. Sjo comes clean and informs the commander of everything he and his friends found out over the last couple of months. He also presents the commander with the evidence they uncovered: the Red Mantis letters to Doctor Devils, ordering him to first concoct a poison for the king and then to bring down the plague on Korvosa. Endrin is definitely on the same page as his visitors. He has no love for the queen, fearing that she is the evil behind all of Korvosa's recent trouble, and even if she is not, she allows herself to be manipulated, which also makes her incompetent to rule. If only the seneschal were here to take control: he could remove the monarch from power to regain control of the city and weed out the evil at its heart. Endrin has pleaded for a new seneschal before, but his request has been countered with the uncertainty of the last seneschal's fate. Is Kalepopolis really dead or is he still alive, and if so, where is he? Quint and Sjo wonder if his fate could be determined magically? The commander encourages them to enlist the help of one of the temples and try to find out. He will also resume his efforts to see the seneschal replaced with a new Sable Company man. First he will appeal to the queen herself to install a new seneschal and if she refuses, the council of nobles could enforce it. Quint fears that a new seneschal might quickly be manipulated himself by the evil force in the castle, but the commander argues that this new seneschal could act immediately. He feels that there is enough evidence to remove the monarch from power, permanently of temporarily, to regain control of the situation. Quint doubts that this law-abiding approach will succeed, but cannot offer a better alternative. He and his friends will continue their efforts to find out more while the commander exhausts all legal ways to see order restored. The two parties agree to keep each other informed of their progress.


    Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

    After reading all these posts I was really surprised to find this set in my local gamestore yesterday ... living in Europe is an advantage for once, wow!

    BTW, the mini's look great. The quality is a serious step beyond the usual standard.


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    Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

    I would like some small terrain or scenery element, like an orc hut, a gypsy (Varisian) wagon, a sloop, a shrine, a fountain ...


    Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
    Nargy wrote:
    Can somebody show me how to add SPOILERS to this?

    When you make a new post, there is some text underneath your window. Look at How to format your text and click on the Show button. It will teach you some formatting tricks.

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