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Alright. Let's get started!
Gavirk brings you a room where a stern looking older human woman waits, wearing robes of faded blue. She looks you over, seems to find you acceptable and instructs you to stand together, each person touching another. As soon as she nods, Gavirk bids you good luck and suddenly the world drops away...
The forest thins out ahead, revealing a wide river valley cleared of trees. The path descends for a quarter mile to a single stone bridge that spans the river, and then continues up a small hill. Atop this barren hill sits a small, two-story fort surrounded by a thick, partially collapsed outer wall. Slipping close to the fort, you can see a bit more.
The land immediately around Fangwood Keep is predominantly low grass and bushes that slope up with the terrain’s steady grade, and all foliage and obstructions appear to have been cleared from the hill long ago. Countless shallow pits have been dug into the dark river valley soil. More alarming, however, are the signs of recent combat all around—dozens of corpses are littered throughout the courtyard, most human, but some of hobgoblins as well, and all bear signs of an intense battle. The human bodies have been stripped of their equipment, and if not for the broken swords and bows lying about, one might be inclined to think that the dead soldiers fought with the shovels and pickaxes leaning against the inside of the outer wall.
So many things in this room! Actually, too many to format properly. I've posted them on the Google Slides.
The documents contain information on Cheliax’s numerous political targets extracted from the Nail’s interrogation sessions. Some of these documents provide blackmail material (useful to Sovereign Court PCs using Faction Journal Cards), but any Pathfinder would take interest in three documents in particular.
The first two are interrogation reports filed in the section marked with the Aspis Consortium’s sigil (Player Handouts #3 and #4). The other is in a chest that stores a mound of Zefiro’s unaltered Chelish histories, including one annotated lineage amendment torn from its binding and left atop the pile (Player Handout #5). The former two reveal that Ianareth Alazario collaborates with the Aspis Consortium, that an Aspis agent named Kitio Aspenthi is active in Thuvia, and that the Bell of Obedience stolen from the Society years back was recently sold to the Hellknight Order of the Rack; this is exactly the kind of information Zarta Dralneen wants Dark Archive faction PCs to recover. The third document reveals that, although she was raised a Dralneen, Zarta is in fact the last known blood descendant of House Davian, former rulers of the greater Hellcoast region and the most powerful noble house to oppose the rise of House Thrune (and thus be obliterated after Thrune signed its infernal pact).
The corner chest stores the Nail’s monetary assets for covering basic expenditures, holding an assortment of Chelish-minted gold and silver coins.
"Make your purchases and as soon as you're done, I'll have my wizard send you there." Gavirk looks relieved that you're taking this mission on and eager to see it over with.
Make any purchases you'd like and let me know if you're ready to dive it! This is basically a dungeon crawl and it'll be pretty thick here forward.
Blan steps forward and spins the dial to the numbers he indicated.
And it opens!
Dozens of carefully organized codices and scrolls fill the stone shelves carved into the walls, each labeled with names and sigils hammered into small brass placards over each niche. Two statues of humanoid fiends holding red-flamed torches monitor the room from the corners. Two open chests on either side of the door hold jumbles of unsorted documents, but a third chest in the far corner remains closed.
You head across to the Vault, not seeing Galvar at all now. The guards in the area walk their circuits as usual and nod at Krima.
Steel beams reinforce the walls of this chamber, which is accessible only through a round iron door with an inset wheel. The numerals one through nine embellish the wheel’s edge, with the number one set in the uppermost position beneath a stone arrow.
Alright, wheel with numbers 1-9 on it. You need to figure out the correct 9 number sequence. Your hint was that Krima thought the answer was on a piece of paper found in the office.
Gavirk looks thoughtful for a moment. "I have... certain contacts in the Molthuni army. We've been at war so long, that, well, men of war often recognize honor across the battlefield. We may differ, but I trust him. He tells me that this band are renegades. They'll receive no aid from Molthune. But Molthune cannot openly evict them, not from a Nirmathan fort."
A sudden chill wind, perhaps driven by the ghost's presence here, passes over you and you remember the brief detour you took before setting out to stop Iramine and the cult of Razmir!
Forest Marshal Gavirk looks tired and weary as he calls you into the small dining room. Forest Marshal Weslen Gavirk heard of the Molthuni incursion against Fangwood Keep through his Chernasardo scouts, and is looking for a small group to fix the problem before it gets out of hand. Much blood has already been spilled over Fangwood Keep, and Gavirk hopes that by sending a neutral party to reclaim the castle, he can stem further violence surrounding the fortification.
Gavirk has learned that a rogue Molthuni commander has taken Fangwood Keep and slain numerous Nirmathi soldiers in the raid. He informs you that the Molthuni soldiers bore the sign of a mailed fist grasping a broken arrow, but otherwise possesses no clues as to the troops’ specific station within the Molthuni military. His scouts report that the force was about 30 strong, and that its apparent commander is frequently seen alongside a changeling spellcaster of some sort. He advises you to use stealth during their mission, since taking on the entire Molthuni force all at once would almost certainly result in defeat.
He does inform you of secret entrances on the keep’s northern side (areas A2 and A4), and tells you to look for a stone engraved with four interwoven circles as a marker for one of the secret entrances. Once you eliminate the Molthuni force occupying Fangwood Keep, Gavirk gives you orders to hold the fort for several days while he and the other Nirmathi leaders organize a larger force to garrison the base.
As a bonus Gavirk gives you two elixirs of hiding, a scroll of knock, and a scroll of hold portal, and allows you to purchase additional supplies from the quartermaster before embarking upon your quest. When you're ready he has a wizard standing by who can teleport you near the Keep. He's apologetic, but he needs good men and you're the best he's got.
Any prep before you go?
Krima nods. "I can't outright help you, not in front of Galvar and the others; my orders are to remain undercover until told otherwise. But I think your friend was in the middle of interrogation when the others were called away. He's probably still in there, in that machine the interrogator uses. Also, I think there's a couple others who I suspect are also Bellflower agents. If you can get them out, please do. When your man was imprisoned, all his papers were secured in the vault. I don't know how, but I know it's trapped, but I think the interrogator keeps some sort of written memo for accessing the vault in his office. I have a key I've made of the door key for there. It's not a perfect copy, but it ought to get you in there. She has no idea you've already been in there. Listen, I can go with you, maybe if Galvar thinks I'm watching you he won't follow you around too closely?"
The "play up" option only applies if you're within the tier range and there's a lower and upper tier option, like in a tier 1-5, there's a 1-2 and 4-5 option. In this, if you're outside the tier range you have to play a pregen and apply the credit to the character, to be applied when your character legitimately gets there. So Mikhail could play a level 4 pregen and apply this to his Mikail character when it gets to level 4, at which point he immediately goes to level 5.
Hoshiko has just noted something I should have caught. City is a tier 4-6 module. I believe we may have an issue with some players being only level 3.
I'm open to other ideas, or options or rude noises.
Heading out of the office you can see Galvar in the staff break room, talking to a couple of the other guards. He glances up for a moment, spots you, before casually closing the door. Sense Motive?
Galvar looks suspicious and now that he's talking to his own men without you there to gently bluff him into believing this was some sort of sabotage, he's clearly re-evaluating that theory.
You open the door to the vaults. Hundreds of manuscripts and prison records fill this room’s shelves, many bearing labels such as “Accounting,” “Calendars, and “Discharge Logs.” A human woman in her early 20s sits at a desk, pouring through stacks of files. She looks up as you enter. "Hello. You're not the usual staff. What's going on here?" She stands up, crossing her arms in front of her.
Perception or Sense Motive check, please.
The woman is doing something strange with her left hand as they're crossed over her chest, a sort of rhythmic tapping. You suddenly recall you saw Tamrin Credence doing the exact same thing whenever he spoke to you about the Bellflower Network. It could be a recognition signal.
Rolls: 3d100 ⇒ (15, 9, 39) = 63
Over the course of the day you see several fishing boats and trading vessels on Lake Encarthan, as well as what you believe is a Razmiran Faith Barge, a boat known for hijacking other vessels for the glory of Razmir. However today they stay away and knowing your time crunch, you don't pursue.
As the evening falls, however, Captain Walren aims the boat toward the stormy horizon and you're soon engulfed by heavy rain and storms. "Should take about a day!" The Captain calls over the noise of thunder and the crashing waves. You head into the captain's cabin marked by the yellow rectangle on the map to wait out the worst of it. However, you've barely fallen into a storm-tossed sleep when a moan wakes you.
Standing in the doorway is the shape of a man. He's soaked to the skin, pale and shivering. He looks like death, which is appropriate, because you can clearly see that he disappears from the knees down... It raises one hand toward you and water flows from its mouth, disappearing as it hits the deck.
Ferabras: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (14) + 1 = 15
Hoshiko: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (6) + 5 = 11
Mikail: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (8) + 5 = 13
Soran: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (6) + 3 = 9
Zolarus: 1d20 ⇒ 20
Ghost: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (18) + 5 = 23
The ghost throws its head back and moans loudly, a sound that drips with smothering lake water and despair. I need a Will save vs Fear, DC 18. Failure means you're panicked for 2d4 ⇒ (2, 4) = 6 rounds!
Heroes are up!
Blan's archival eye catches several documents in the pile that Garret missed.
One is a copy of The Asmodean Disciplines, bookmarked to a chapter on crime and punishment with a handwritten note included. It reads:
The second document is a twine-bound set of instructions for activating the prison’s soundproofing mechanism. The manual notes that the prisms emit light when active, and they create a wall of magical silence between any two prisms with an uninterrupted line of effect to one another. No sound passes through this border, but if an object, creature, or wall disrupts the border, the entire effect ends until the obstruction is removed.
The third is a letter addressed to the interrogator from the Nail’s ranking officer addressing the declining efficacy of reports exposing political enemies provided by Zarta Dralneen. It reads:
I will tell you this: the last three prisoners about whom you requested information were apprehended using intelligence provided by Paracountess Zarta Dralneen in Absalom. Following a recent political misunderstanding, the paracountess’s reports have grown increasingly vague, lacking their past detail and proving to be nearly useless. Those above my station assure me that this change is being investigated, but I have seen this pattern before. To me, Zarta’s contributions are purposefully misleading, as though she were attempting to shield her own informants—or worse, actively sabotage House Thrune’s rule. There is also the possibility that as she works more closely with the Pathfinder Society, her loyalties there grow stronger than those to her homeland. Until I can convince my superiors of her true motivations, work with what we have. I have moved our latest shipment of documents to the vault for further processing.
Good fortune with your continued service to the glory of Cheliax and the noble House of Thrune,
In an hour you're standing on the docks meeting Captain Walren once more. "Aye, I'd heard ye might be needin' a ride again, lads. And since I'm not workin' at the moment, figgered I oughta give ye a ride to the Isle. Still, usual rules apply. Do as yer told and we'll be fine, eh?"
Walren takes the helm and you bid adieu to Reginar, who waves as you take off. Walren tells you his plan is simple: hug the coast until he can't anymore, then head straight into the storm.
Anything you'd like to do while aboard?
A smoldering fireplace illuminates this room, casting red light over a massive corner desk littered with disorganized papers. A seven-foot-tall statue of a four-horned fiend with a burning crown overlooks the desk from the corner.
The desk hosts a jumbled mess of interrogation schedules, prisoner transfers, and Loyalty Day agendas. There's simply too much here to be sure what's important and what's not. You find the key hanging on a rack by the door.
Galvar looks at Blan as he slurps stew and then back to Pinball. He sets the bowl down and nods, still looking distracted. He rushes into the cantina where two men are facedown on the table while three others stand and stare at them.
"Sir! Thrick were making the stew, do ye think he put somethin' rotten in it? He passed out and Inetra drops a second later sir! I ken tell ye, they ain't been drinkin', sir. " Galvar moves over and examines the nearest man (Thrick).
Galvar sighs. "Passed out cold. And you men felt nothing, saw nothing?" He stares at the other three, who shake their heads. Galvar sighs. "Leave them here, but spread word that the others are to be on alert. Something's not right here."
1d20 ⇒ 11
Pinball stirs the stew and she's reasonably sure no one saw her slip a little extra spice into the mix.
Galvar looks at the stew and smiles. "Well, I was planning on taking a break before this whole riot situation... Don't mind if I do, thanks!"
1d20 + 4 ⇒ (16) + 4 = 20
Others: 5d20 ⇒ (16, 18, 12, 19, 9) = 74
He slurps down half the bowl and doesn't seem to suffer any ill effects... But you suddenly hear a cry of alarm from the cantina! "Somethin's wrong with Thrick and Inetra! They just passed out!" Galvar looks suddenly down at the bowl of stew, suspiciously...
Reginar is as good as his word, and puts you up in accomodations while the Forest Marshall rounds up crooked guards and cultists over the next three days. On the morning of the fourth day, you're called down to an early breakfast. Reginar looks flushed and it's clear he's been working for a while.
"I have chartered a boat to take you to the Isle of Terror. You leave in an hour about the Black Mist. But first, there are things I need to tell you about the Isle." He sits down and begins to lecture.
The Pathfinder Chronicles state that the City of Golden Death was once a thriving metropolis called Kestrillon, a shining beacon of magical research. Tar-Baphon himself led an army onto the island, conquered the city, and renamed the city Xin-Grafar after the Thassilonian style. He stored his wealth there, protecting it with a nefarious trap.
Later, the Chronicles say, Tar-Baphon used the city as a base from which to build the Wizard-King’s Pit, a trap for the god Aroden. Tar-Baphon lured the Last Azlanti to the island in the hopes that he’d be able to force Aroden to descend into the pit. Aroden would then be sucked to the bottom and deposited on the Negative Energy Plane, where he would succumb to that plane’s energies. When Aroden successfully thwarted the wizard-king’s attempt on his life, Tar-Baphon was destroyed, though he would later rise again as the Whispering Tyrant, one of Golarion’s most feared nightmares. The Wizard-King’s Pit was never destroyed and lies open, connecting the lush, forested island to the Negative Energy Plane—a connection that, over time, has laid waste to the land around it and given the island its current name and reputation.
Reginar is well versed in Isle of Terror lore and warns you never to let your guard down while you are there. He talks of great, island-encompassing, negative energy storms that periodically wrack the middle of Lake Encarthan for months at a time and describes warped wildlife, twisted terrain features, and poisonous streams. Many Pathfinders have explored the Isle of Terror but very few have returned—those who have are often changed by their experience and speak only of dark things that hunted them in the night and bolts of pure negative energy that hounded their every waking moment.
Reginar explains that he needs you to go to the Isle of Terror aboard the Black Mist, find Iramine, and recover the amulet before she can use it to plunder Xin-Grafar in the name of the Living God. Once you have the amulet, Reginar instructs you to seal the city behind you so that no one else can access the city’s treasures. Afterward, you should return the amulet fragments to the Crypt of the Everflame and finally put Kassen’s spirit to rest.
Where is everyone at for treasure? Could you add up the value of everything you have and let me know?
On Malthus, the werewolf betrayer, you found a +1 mithral chain shirt, +1 bastard sword, masterwork dagger, cloak of resistance +1 and 163 gp.
It's not a lot of treasure. Let me know about where you're at on the wealth by level chart and I might need to grant you all inheritances from suddenly deceased elderly relatives...
Taking up horses and supplies, you begin the trek to Feldgrau. You travel for a couple days through woods, then onto lonely moors and finally into rolling hills. As you approach Feldgrau you can see it's in ruins, and only some small lights in the windows betrays any life at all. You approach a ruined farmhouse on its outskirts, your horses' sides heaving with breath.
On the outskirts of the town stand the ruins of a small farmhouse and two outbuildings, their roofs long collapsed, exposing splintered frames of gray timber. Beyond, a sodden, unsown field stretches to the edge of the shattered town of Feldgrau. The barren earth is scarred with muddy trenches and covered with a perpetual wash of low, swirling fog. Dead trees, like pale and wiry skeletons, grasp at the gray skies, casting their long, ghostly shadows over the crumbling ruins.
Map will be up on Google shortly.
Sorry, got a little distracted by Pokemon and my son...
Gathering the things you've found, you head cautiously downstairs, but discover the Temple deserted. Following orders you head over to the Forest Bounty, where Reginar is gladdened to see you. Looking swiftly over the ledgers he nods slowy. "This is... this is incriminating, for sure! I'll inform Forest Marshall Gavik immediately. This should see that damnable cult outlawed for sure. But, this letter and the reference to the amulet troubles me. This 'City of the Golden Death' and the treasure? What evil could these cultists do with such resources? I need a stout band to head there and set things right. How about it? Are you game?"
I love you guys.
Galvar begins talking to Blan about benefit packages and advancement in the fruitful world of Chelish prison guarding. Turns out, it's not so good, actually. He completely misses Garret slipping away. Garret, you can see the door is locked, with an average looking sort of lock.
As the conversation drones on, Pinball asks him about interrogations and shift changes. "Well, we got about four hours before shift's changed and we're able to finally get out of here and enjoy the day. Interrogations? Well, the interrogator was one of the men who left to take care of the riot, so it's whenever he gets back, I suppose things will start up. Honestly, I try not to pay much attention to that side of things."