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Human on Flying Carpet

MrVergee's page

930 posts. 1 review. No lists. No wishlists.


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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!

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Nice, I like it.

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.

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.

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 "

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.

"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.

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.

I listed my additions in this post.

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!

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 ...

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?

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.

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...

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.

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 ...

  • 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.

    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.


    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?"


    "Is he being held prisoner?"


    "Are Kalepopolis and Blackjack the same person?"


    "Is queen Ileosa Arvanxi a follower of Urgathoa?"


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


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


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


    "Are there Red Mantis assassins in the Castle?"


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


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


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


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


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


    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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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    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.

    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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    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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    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 ...

    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.

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

    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.

    These links might give you some inspiration if you decide to have the Shoanti go to war: Plans to wage war on Korvosa and The Shoanti going to war.

    Lictor Pat wrote:
    I have a player with a Shoanti character whose long-term goal is to lead the sklar quah. I was thinking of having Illeosa wage a war on the shoanti (I already have her committing genocide within the city since it helped get the Shoanti interested in city politics.) ... This would allow me to have my player unite the tribes after scarwall and drive her army from the plateau. Thanks in advance.

    Of course, there is nothing for Ileosa on the Storval Plateau: the land is barren, the Shoanti have no cities, they are nomads who can move around easily in a seemingly endless wasteland. It is also hot and dry on the plateau, which would make traveling and fighting in full plate very difficult. So I guess sending her army to the Cinderlands can only end in disaster for the queen. This would also leave her vulnerable in Korvosa. She might be mad, but she's not stupid, so this is not the way I'd have her go.

    If you want your player to unite the Shoanti tribes, I'd turn these war plans around. Although the AP as written does not elaborate on the theme, it does suggest that the Shoanti are gathering for war. I'll be using this element myself in my campaign, but in my case the PCs will have to convince the Shoanti to delay their war plans to give them the opportunity to take out the queen and retrieve the evil artifact before descending into a bloodbath. Depending on how well the PCs do that, the Shoanti will give them some extra time to end the AP before they lay waste to Korvosa (of course the 'defenseless' countryside will be the first to go, which will make a lot of innocent victims). This could be a motive for your PC to unite the tribes; you could also have the PC lead the tribes into Korvosa and to the gates of the city to threaten Ileosa. Your party could still choose to go in and follow the sixth installment of the AP, moving into the castle to take care of Ileosa without their army joining them. It is better to just cut off the head of the snake instead of sending hundreds or even thousands to their graves in an open war.

    Like this.

    You might want to check this thread.

    I'm really charmed by the way you portray Ileosa. I also think you improved the motivation behind what happens in Seven Days to the Grave. I can also appreciate the dramatic scene when Andaisin hurls herself through the window, too bad it was Eodred I and not Domina ...

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    Very compelling story so far. I'M a bit confused about Lamm's motives, though. Why was he doing all of this again?

    In my campaign the chaos in book one is the result of Glorio Arkona's actions. Using a number of bardic rabble-rousers, the nobleman undermined the young queen's authority until the PCs managed to restore it by thwarting his plans and boosting the queen's popularity in the city. The PCs still don't know that Arkona was behind it all, but when they'll meet him again in book 3, he'll tell them he was right all along in opposing the queen - and that actually the PCs were wrong in defending her. He'll offer to cooperate, but he doesn't really need the party, even fears they might spoil his future plans (to become king) and he's still mad at them for their earlier interference, so he'll make up an excuse to send them into his labyrinth to die. Should they survive, they might prove valuable as allies after all ... (A little sidenote, in my campaign Glorio Arkona is the real Arkona and not the imposer from Vudra, thus his claim for the throne as the head of one of Korvosa's most prominent families is actually justified.)

    Jason S wrote:

    This is kind of cool, but don't kill yourself for a game by sleep depriving yourself, seriously.

    I'm with you on this one, Jason, I really like it, but there's no way I'd do it myself.

    Another thing I really like about this blog, is the fact that a regular group of players introduces itself. I'd like to see that more often.

    I notice that you spell some names differently, like Citadel Volyshenek, Sabrina (Merrin) or the Shaoti instead of Volshyenek, Sabina or the Shoanti. Moreover, you seem consistent in this spelling; so I wonder, is that a conscious choice or does it stem from an early misspelling that you stuck to?

    Nice little (well, rather large, I'd say) background for Vencarlo, Kroft, Merrin and Grau.

    The material as written names a number of noble families, but suggests that there are even more lesser houses which are not mentioned by name.

    Apart from the king's house (Arabasti) there are officially five great houses: Arkona, Jeggare, Leroung, Ornelos and Zenderholm.

    Other houses mentioned are Bromathan, Endrin, Carowyn, Fordyce and Jalento (and most likely Kroft, although it is never officially labeled a noble house). I'm not sure, but the Fencing Master web fiction might have some extra names as well.

    This thread might also hold some information you like.

    In general, the information on the noble houses is quite vague, giving you the opportunity to develop it as you see fit. In my campaign there are seven great houses (Endrin and Bromathan plus the five official ones). Carowyn, Fordyce and Jalento are the small houses. I've limited it to these. The PCs have mingled with all of them, they've been to the council at the castle with the seven great houses, they've been to parties, they've performed for the nobles, they've assisted Lady Zenderholm in a personal quest and they've saved the nobles' children at the Carowyn party. You can read all about it in my journal on these boards.

    In my campaign House Arkona is not made up of raksasha's, they are the real Arkona's (although I made them tieflings to add a touch of the exotic). Glorio Arkona is behind the chaos in the first part of the AP, using some agents to incite rebellion in the streets. His objective is to prove that the queen is incapable of ruling and take her place as king of Korvosa. By the second installment the queen is in full control of the city (with the help of the PCs) and the plague keeps Arkona occupied, so his role fades to the background, until he offers the PCs the chance to cooperate in opposing the queen in adventure number three (which is still in my campaign's future). When the AP is done, I'm planning a follow-up adventure in which Glorio Arkona will try to seize the throne. He'll find a competitor in Aaron Endrin and hopefully in one of the PCs, since I'm setting one of them up to be Eodred's son.

    Anyway, like you I like using the noble houses more. They do not get much prime time in the AP as written, but you can certainly find ways to involve them more. If you develop some noble plots, I would definitely like to hear about them.

    The companions tie up Lady Andaisin and leave her in the room leading up to the sanctuary, with the green alchemic vats and the dead leukodaemon. Then they return to the cell block - where Rolth, Saulus and Alika are still locked up - letting the boy and girl they rescued earlier know that the priestess and her minions down here are all dead. They drag Rolth’s unconscious body to the hall with the huge basin and the catwalks and use a cure light wounds to wake him up. It takes the necromancer a while to realize who these young men are, who sarcastically address him as an old ‘friend’. It is not until they say that they used to ‘work’ for Lamm and imply that Balian is Alika’s brother, that he puts the dots together. The vile magic-user understands that his interrogators are imbued with an animosity for him that greatly surpasses their anger at him for being involved in the plague. Knowing that these men will have little patience with him, he willingly answers them when they start asking questions

    About two and a half months ago Doctor Saulus sought him out in his secret den in the graveyard, Rolth confesses. He adds that he no longer uses this hideout as it was discovered during his time away from the city. He is not surprised to learn that the companions were the ones who shut the place down and killed his derro friends. Doctor Saulus - or Devils as he preferred to be called - promised Rolth to help him build his flesh golem if the necromancer took him in and allowed him to use his laboratory. Seeing an opportunity to achieve his life-long ambition, Rolth quickly agreed. When Sjo and Balian tell him that the golem was not nearly as powerful as Rolth believed, since they destroyed it very easily, a twitch of disappointment sweeps over his blotchy face.

    Quint and Balian have trouble hiding their absolute disgust for their prisoner and tell him that his interrogation will determine whether he gets a quick or a long and painful death. They already butchered all the physicians and cultists in here, and they won’t hesitate to give him what he deserves either. Rolth nods and chuckles: “You may free Korvosa of the old Rolth, but it looks like there are four new Rolths ready to take his place, just as ruthless and deadly. I guess the city will be even worse off with the four of you …” Sjo grabs the necromancer by the head and pushes him in the foul water of the room’s central pool. Of course, this kind of torture only proves Rolth’s point, who no longer feels inclined to answer the companions’ questions if they will just kill him afterwards. Quint argues that the judicial system in Korvosa would only come to the same conclusion and condemn him to be hanged, seeing how he’s been wanted by the law for many years. Hanging judge Zenobia Zenderholme is famous for her harsh judgments, so someone with Rolth’s record would be judged very quickly.

    “Well, if you’re so sure that the judge will hang me, you won’t mind handing me over to the law. I’ll make you a deal, I’ll tell you everything I know if you can guarantee that I will get a fair trial. As you say, I’ll die anyway, so it hardly matters to you. Give me your word and I’ll tell you, but if you want to kill me here and now, you might as well do it now, for then I won’t tell you anything.” Quint leaves it up to Balian to decide, being Alika’s brother he harbors the deepest grudge. The ranger agrees, but the deal will be off if Rolth tells even the slightest lie, he says.

    After this promise Rolth continues his confession. He bought the young female lambs from Gaedran Lamm for himself, but gave them to Doctor Saulus when he needed test subjects for his experiments. He took Alika so many years ago and he somehow liked her enough to keep her alive. He did play mind games with her, constantly telling her that her brother Balian had abandoned her and that he was a coward and a traitor. He repeated this over and over until she ended up believing him and voluntarily chose to join him.

    As far as Saulus is concerned, the doctor looked Rolth up in the month of Gozran because he needed a place to brew a poison. Rolth did not know Saulus before that, but was willing to help out a fellow follower of Urgathoa. Although the doctor never told him what the poison was for, Rolth figured it was for the king. He does not know who Saulus was working for or who collected the poison, though. Then Saulus got a new assignment and asked Rolth to join him in Lost End, where they were joined by Lady Andaisin and her followers. These new allies all came from Cheliax and must have used teleportation magic to get there, though Rolth claims having no knowledge of who transported them. This was where the high priestess of Urgathoa enchanted the avian masks and she and Saulus developed the plague by experimenting on a number of people, including Rolth’s girls. The necromancer himself spent most of his days constructing his flesh golem. They finally returned to Korvosa aboard the Delivery, but they abandoned ship and landed their sloops on the shores south of the city, where they set up camp. Rolth sneaked back in to the city, only to discover that his hideout had been compromised and his derro associates killed. He rejoined the Urgathoans and came to the Hospice after they acquired the place. He also claims that the Urgathoans entered the city undercover and somehow got into the castle, where they were supposedly ‘teleported’ to. This suggests that at least someone in Castle Korvosa was in on the conspiracy.

    The companions tie up Rolth again and put him back in his cell. First they want to examine the three doors in the hall they used to interrogate Rolth, since they skipped those earlier. Two doors lead to storerooms, one with all kinds of trash and one with supplies. The other door opens into Andaisin’s office. Balian finds a chest with a top-notch alchemy set, while Quint and Sjo examine the many books and notes. Puk, who is still blind, has to limit himself to listening if no one else approaches. There seems to be a large collection of volumes from the Andoran Alchemical Society, as well as extended notes on the experiments that Andaisin and Saulus carried out. The scribblings are quite complicated, though, and would definitely require a trained mind to be correctly interpreted. Professor Sirtane Leroung could certainly use these in her quest for a cure. A secret door leads to a bedroom with a very luxurious bed. There is a traveling chest with woman’s clothes and a small box which holds some jewelry.

    Next on the companions’ interrogation list is doctor Saulus. They head back to the cell block to get the bastard, but they are stupefied to find out that Alika and Rolth are missing, and Saulus is dead, his throat cut! Stable boy Dalvun and Jaelle, who are both resting in the bedroom that leads to the prison, have seen or heard nothing or no one. Alika’s bonds lie on the floor of her cell, as if she slipped out of them. Damn those rogues and their slippery tricks! Balian also discovers two small iron needles, part of a thieves’ toolkit, which Alika used to open the locks. Quint finds a lingering aura of conjuration magic in Rolth’s prison cell, probably pointing at some kind of teleportation magic.

    The companions are very disappointed and swear never to make this mistake again. Fortunately, Lady Andaisin is still in their hands, as they kept her in another room. They drag her back into the inner sanctuary, determined to test out what effect the colored basins will have on her. Lady Andaisin, only smiles when threatened with submersion in these waters: “Urgathoa is at my side! I’ve done her proud with my work in this city, so I’ll be in her best graces when I cross over to the other side.” Sjo grabs the woman by the hair and pushes her face below the waterline of the blue liquid. In the process he gets his own hands wet as well and feels the liquid draining him. In reaction he drops the priestess to the floor, where she starts mocking him. Quint realizes that he and his friends are starting to behave irrationally, as Rolth’s words still ring in his ears: “four new Rolths ready to take my place”. Andaisin remains confident that she will be rewarded in the next life, and one of the many pleasures she will be awarded with, will be the power to create undead. She will make sure that the companions’ earthly remains will be used in such perversions. Quint gets quite angry with her while she claims she does not know who hired the Red Mantis. And even if she did, she would never tell them. Sjo also tires of her haughty behavior, she has nothing left to tell them, so he just bashes her skull.

    As morning is fast approaching, the companions head back up to the hospice. They lure the last remaining doctors into the backroom and dispose of them. Next they collect the books and the survivors downstairs and simply walk out of the building, telling the remaining guards and Gray Maidens to check downstairs, leaving them behind dumbstruck. First they head to the university to give the books and notes they found to professor Sirtane Leroung, who is very happy to get this vital information. Next they want to inform the Field Marshal, but for the first time since they’ve met her, they do not find her at the Citadel, but rather at home. After waking her from her bed, they bring her up to date. Quint gets quite angry with her for allowing her Guard to be used for evil. Aiding the enemy is a grave mistake and in this case, assisting the physicians resulted in many deaths.

    Well Inspectre

    You're writing up these sessions pretty quickly. Are you making them up from scratch or do you have extended notes that just need finetuning? I like it, though, so keep it coming.

    BTW, this is the 15,000th post on the Curse of the Crimson Throne boards, so that calls for a little celebration! Hurrah! Hurrah!

    Tels wrote:
    I like what you did with the statue. Any particular reason you seem to have dropped Adaisan's transformation?

    Yes, there is. I changed the daughter of Urgathoa for the statue (more or less using the same stats). I made the mini for the statue and then I decided that using it as an opponent would be fun. I also planned on using the colored basins more, but my statue only managed to land a hit once. Every time she hit someone, one of the fluids was supposed to bubble up and do ability damage. This would also involve those basins I crafted into the fight. Too bad she missed so much, often just by one.

    I also wanted someone to engage the PCs to give Lady Andaisin the opportunity to cast some spells unhindered. The fact that she was air walking was supposed to help for that as well, but Sjo's successful dispel magic really made a huge difference. Still, I'm not one to deny my players an "easy" victory. They never got in any real trouble during their raid of the temple, despite its many high-level opponents. Storywise this is actually a good thing. It would have been complicated if the PCs hadn't managed to clear the entire complex in one go and had to retreat to rest up. So I'm quite happy with the outcome.

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