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The Fall of Smenk

Age of Worms Adventure Path

I was just curious how you all are handeling the fallout for 3FOE. What would happen to Smenk's property, mines ect when he is outed. In my game it looks like the garrason is going to take him in (The paladin is an NPC at the moment.)
Would the Geryhawk goverment federalise the mines? Would they go up for auction? Would they close? (not likely for the devistating effect on the economy of thew town and the flow of ore to the free city.)
I know the answer for my game is whatever works best for me but I'd also like some input or examples of what y'all did.


Do you mean Smenk or Dourstone?

3FoE says the PCs can turn in Smenk and he'll be convicted of hard labor. However, it doesn't really explain what Smenk did to break the law. Conspiring with cultists? He was simply selling them food. I don't really see what he did.

Dourstone on the other hand was under the control of the cult. Is it really fair to convict someone who was under magical control?

Takasi wrote:
3FoE says the PCs can turn in Smenk and he'll be convicted of hard labor. However, it doesn't really explain what Smenk did to break the law. Conspiring with cultists? He was simply selling them food. I don't really see what he did.

It doesn't sound bad when you say that he was selling food to a group of cultists, but that's not the whole issue.

As members the Ebon Triad, their purpose is to bring to pass the Age of Worms. Their goals are not known outside of their own circle. Selling food to them would seem as "harmless" as selling food to a cult that thinks they can destroy the sun and have never-ending darkness.

However, this isn't just some group of crazed cultists. This is a concetration of three evil cults that are known to subvert governments, incite rebellion, spill blood for the sake of spilling blood, and are considered (at least in Greyhawk) enemies of the Free City.

In this light, and the light that everyone in Diamond Lake and the Free City will understand, Smenk is selling food to a terrorist group. I see very little reason not to have him arrested, have him found guilty of supplying said enemies of the state, and levying harsh punishments against him.

The one thing that can get him "off" is that he has connections, like the adventure says. But those connections may not be good enough... I certainly don't intend on letting him go free in my campaign, if the PCs are able to connect him to the cultists.

As for Dourstone, yes... he was under magical control. But first he would be arrested for his connection with the cultists and probably held until it can be proven that he was not acting under his own free will. I guess that's "guilty until proven innocent," but the cultists were in his mine, seemingly with his permission. The circumstantial evidence would probably be enough to have him arrested until they discover that he may not have been willingly involved.

Sovereign Court

Info from TSR 9577: Greyhawk the Adventure Begins
Smenk is a "paragon of coruption". in my campaign he has been a constant thorn in the PC's sides. a halfling rogue started the game in his employ and has now gone into business for himself.
Smenk hired Filge to help with the "worm business" in the southern hills. Filge animated dead bodies, a town taboo stated earlier in the wee jas temple section "clerics patrol the graveyard keeping the grounds clean and the bodies in the ground"
Filge owning the skeletons would constitute 3 counts of "possesion of an unlicensed monster" a major crime in the domain and city of Greyhawk, diamond lake's patron city.
Smenk selling goods to monsters is most likely "tax evasion" to avoid city tarrifs. A major crime.
Smenk's connection to the ebon triad in dourstone mine constitutes "conspiracy to possess an unlicenced monster" ie the ebon aspect (especially if the aspect has slain any townsfolk).
"Importation of dangerous items or creatures" is another major crime that can be attributed to Smenk because of the existance of the Kenku and the Grimlocks(they came by themselves, but Smenk is harboring them by giving them assistance). Also, bringing Filge into town could fall under this charge because some judges and ex-Lawyers from the guild of Lawyers consider necromancy dangerous magic and necromancers monsters.
And finally there is Bribery. Smenk is already established as a "paragon of corruption" and he has used Bribes to attain the possition he has.

all of the above crimes listed are punishable by heavy fines or hard labor.

Now the worship of Vecna and Erythnul may constitute "banned religious worship" a crime punishable by death.

In my campain we have just finsished killing Dr. Doom aka the faceless one, and they are getting ready to leave. Theldrick has escaped and taken one of our party hostage (he escaped fair and square, why would he stay to die aganist 5 PC's who have him cornered when he had a perfect escape behind him, and the player being held hostage went on vacation) so they are going to find him as soon as they leave the labrynth were he is threatning to push the hostage into the black pool. They kill Thedrick, save the hostage and hightail it out if there with enough info to incriminate Smenk and Dourstone (one of the PC's father works for Dourstone). So the Ebon Aspect rampages out of the mine, killing a bunch of workers. It turns out Dourstone is dead. After Valkin Dunn looks at him it is certian the monster did not do this. The father is framed.... (In reality Smenk did this but my PCs are not really good at politics, so they might not even discover this). So Smenk gets even more power.
If he is caught, (like we want him to be) he ends up going to prison, and his lands are redistibuted by the Mayor, who takes pleanty of bribes and gives the mines away to people who have been faithful etc. If he can get the garrison to play along that is...

Dark Archive

Smenk could use the warning letter by the cult as an evidence that he was blackmailed to trade with them.
He's a clever guy, otherwise he wouldn't have aquired a position like this in Diamond Lake.
If the PC's get it done to prove that he was involved free-willing and that he cooperated with the cult just for the sake of profit, i'd try to let him get away.
He'll know the right time and a good way to vanish from the scene.
He'll propably relocate to the Free City, fueled by the lust for revenge and will show up again in a future adventure.
Smenk is a very cool villain and could be a threat to the PC's for some time to come while they're trying to prevent the coming of Kyuss.
Hell, at the end of AoW they'll hate him even more as Kyuss...:)

All of the allegations against Smenk are very difficult to provide proof against. Other than the note ("forgery" cries Smenk), what other "proof" does the party have? Also, I keep reading quotes of laws in the Free City, but who enforces these laws within Diamond Lake?

My party is having a tough enough time figuring out what to do with Filge. They just ransacked the Old Observatory and they don't trust the local authorities. I'm encouraging the lawful party to just turn him in, and if the law doesn't provide justice then they can worry fighting the town's corruption another day. I'd rather DM a game of Dungeons and Dragons rather than an episode of Law & Order.

The way I see it, Smenk has very few friends. Most of the people under his sway seem to be there due to blackmail. My group certainly wants to see Smenk get worse than hard labor, and I think that the many people Smenk has exerted his control over would like him gone for good. This would be a great chance to make just that happen. Combine that with the justice the Hieronean chapel and even Cuthbertines will want to mette out, and I think Smenk is facing death in my campaign (provided the party can take on the Free City adventurers, whom I'm having Smenk pay to confront the party once they leave the Dourstone mine so that the party can't expose him). The PCs will like this, escpecially as two of them used to work for him, and considering the circumstances, I might be able to logically get one of them to be able to deliver the death-blow himself (something he's been looking forward to for a long time).

Takasi wrote:
I'd rather DM a game of Dungeons and Dragons rather than an episode of Law & Order.

Brilliant! Like Takasi, I'm not looking at too technical a solution to this. I'm just going to find what makes the better story and dream up the proper mix of justice, black mail, and paranoia that causes that to be.

I'd prefer to see one of the implacated managers getting arrested with the other one fleeing arrest out of the city to haunt the party later. I think it'll depend on which one the party hates more. If they come out despising Smenk, he'll be arrested and sentenced to hard labor, with Dourstone fleeing the town (just like he did in Greysmere) never to be seen again. Imagine the party's surprise when they return to Diamond Lake to find Smenk cleared of all charges, back in power, and despising the PCs...

In my game Smenk convinced the PCs to go stop the Triad "becuse i may want a @#$% town, but the @#$% cultists want the whole @#$@ realm". So the PCs are slowly gathering evidence, but my Smenk is too smart to have them gather evidence on him. Smenks gotta know he's got boxes with his mark on it. So he has sent some of his crew to wait and "finish off" the PCs if they should exit the mine. Which would give a reason for Allustan to get his adventures out of Diamond Lake tell he can sort this mess out with his corrupt brother. Leaves a possible showdown between the bro's that the party will never see, Allustan rallying the Heriounites to arrest Smenk, or the party attempting to kill him. The party will determine the outcome.

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

In my campaign, it was Smenk who set the party on the trail of the Ebon Triad in the first place, claiming they threatened his life, he is the lesser of two evils, etc, etc. Also, he threatened the life of the Heironean (Tyrite) paladin, Melinde, who is a close friend of one of the PC's, an aasimar favored soul.
To infiltrate the mine, the group enlisted the aid of a couple of disgruntled miners from the Dourstone (Ironeater) mine. These guys created a diversion, ie...started several fires in the main mine compound, and the PC's snuck into the mine. They ended up spending several days down in the cathedral, dealing with the cultists. When they finally returned to the surface, it was to find the mine abandoned, the door barred, and a sign reading "Closed until further notice." Back in town, they discovered that Dourstone (Ironeater) had claimed an accident at the mine (similar to his previous one at Greysmere), which killed most of his workers (ie, any witnesses), and had subsequently left town.
When the PC's reported back to Smenk, there was a mutual agreement that their business together was concluded, and each would stay out of the other's way. Shortly after, Allustan (Delfen) recruited the PC's for Blackstone Keep. On the way there, the PC's were ambushed by Kullen and his boys, sent by Smenk to eliminate any "loose ends" tying him to the Ebon Triad. Unfortunately for him, the PC's cleaned Kullen and Co's clocks, and plan on getting some payback from Smenk if/when they return to Daggerford.

Takasi wrote:
All of the allegations against Smenk are very difficult to provide proof against. Other than the note ("forgery" cries Smenk), what other "proof" does the party have?

There are the boxes in the mine that have Smenk's emblem on it, the testimonies of any of the miners that saw Smenk go down the new elevator (if you provide any), and the testimonies of those that made the deliveries, to name three more.

Takasi wrote:
Also, I keep reading quotes of laws in the Free City, but who enforces these laws within Diamond Lake?

Generally, the town guard. Even though the mayor is lazy and border-line corrupt, even he couldn't try to ignore a discretion of this magnitude. If he did, he would stand the chance of being removed from office by the governing council of the Free City.

In this case, the town militia would most likely be involved as well, because these cults are considered enemies of the Free City.

Takasi wrote:
I'd rather DM a game of Dungeons and Dragons rather than an episode of Law & Order.

Then simply gloss over the details of the trial, and limit the party interaction with the proceedings. You can have them role gather information checks, then tell them what they've heard about the fate of the mine managers. It would be pretty easy that way to say (with a good sense motive check thrown in) that they notice some resentment towards them for the disruption of the mining operation, which cuts into people's money and livelyhood. Thus, again a good reason for them to go out of town with Alustan in the next adventure.

Bah, testimonies and emblems can be faked.

Your suggestions for simulating a trial are good though.

One issue I have with the premise is why in the world would Smenk send a group to infiltrate and destroy the cult in the first place if he's going to be convicted afterwards? I just want to portray this without my players rolling their eyes. Can he really be that stupid? Why wouldn't he just hire the players or another group as bodyguards? Or sell his mines and leave town to start a new life? He's a rogue after all, shouldn't he be able to slip into another identity? Or at least try? Anything's better than sticking around town, waiting for a group of do-gooders to either defeat a crazed cult only to end up prosecuting him or fail entirely and manage to tick off the cult even more. It just doesn't seem believable.

Can someone help explain Smenk's motivation to me?

It would be far more interesting IMO if Smenk upstaged the players. He could have sent (or forged) a secret letter to the Governer-Mayor, informing him that he has been blackmailed by the cult and that he hired a group of adventurers to infiltrate the area. He even risked his life by scouting the area, posing as their supplier of food and goods. After the players are successful, he'll end up smelling like roses. In fact, he even offers to buy Dourstone's holdings. After all, Ragnolin was the one who killed his own miners, not Balabar. As much as the dwarf will try to feint innocence against the cult's doings, he can't escape his past. Balabar would gladly forfeit blackmail evidence regarding the mine collapses in exchange for Ragnolin's conviction.

Of course, the PCs know that Balabar is a rotten slimeball. However, you can't right every wrong right away. They've got 17 more levels for that! :)

"Bah"? That's funny... a good friend of mine always used that word. So I feel inclined to group you with him. Don't worry though, he's an excellent DM and player (and one of my best friends over the past 14 years), so you're in good company.

I'm always amazed at how my opinion sways after reading other people's takes on things. I was pretty dead-set to stick it to Smenk (and I probably still will), but I like your idea as well. Smenk could fairly easily snake his way into owning another couple of mines by the time this is all done.

I'm pretty sure that in the long run, it would serve my campaign better to have hit bottom first, then see what I can make of it later.

I havn't decided whether or not Smenk is going to get prosecuted, I like both ideas. Unfortunately in my campaign I have a Drow Elf Rogue/Assasin working as an agent for the Shadow Thieves, and Smenk knows the PC has connections and is trying to blackmail him with it. Considering the reputation of the Shadow Thieves and the Drow, I think its fairly safe to say Smenk is not going to survive much longer.

I had Smenk get away with his dealings with the cult and through his influence aquire the mine. I wanted to have the players really end up hating him and then created my own sub adventure that deals with removing him from power. I'm certain my players will take great enjoyment outta finally bringing Smenk down.

In my game Smenk has been conspiring with the head priest of The Silver Flame ( St.Cuthbert) to taint the supply of Ore with psionic energies. The Priest is actually An Inspired Agent of the Dreaming Dark ( A secret species of Dream Spirits that can possess bodies) and uses his strange practices to currupt Diamond Lake. The PCs are already suspicious of the Priest and his Self-Flaggelation and to bring Smenk down only to find out that the Priest was involved will be quite interesting.

Woah. Laws in alot of your campaign settings are really advanced.

I don't see the question of Smenk or Dourstone's involvement in the cult activities as important at all. It seems like most of you take the matter as like a modern court case. I figure it would be more like a salem witch trial.

Basically, everyone in town blames Smenk and Dourstone, so they get punished. Simple.

Flava wrote:

Woah. Laws in alot of your campaign settings are really advanced.

I don't see the question of Smenk or Dourstone's involvement in the cult activities as important at all. It seems like most of you take the matter as like a modern court case. I figure it would be more like a salem witch trial.

Basically, everyone in town blames Smenk and Dourstone, so they get punished. Simple.

I could maybe see it going that way if the Cuthbertines were in control but with Diamond Lake being associated with the Free City I tend to think their laws would be more advanced than the Salem Witch trials were. After all Greyhawk is a free city with laws that were probably inspired by those found in the former Great Kingdom (think Rome), so their legal system would likely be fairly complex.

You could also look at it this way. Smenk is currently the big man in town, and a lot of people owe him. They also probably don't _like_ owing him. So, if something comes up that could take Smenk down, the law won't really trouble themselves with "the truth"... it's all an excuse to become the new top dog.

"But, but, they were blackmailing m.." "Shut up!" <smack>

Dark Archive

I think that blackmail is the key. I envision Smenk either threatening to unload the "dirt" on his accusers, the jurists, or the local constabulary -- anyone with as much to lose as himself.

Alternatively, Smenk's probably clever enough to know that if Dourstone can possibly get off because he was magically compelled, well then maybe Smenk was compelled as well.

Even better, I envision a scene reminiscent of the Salem witchcraft trials where Smenk claims that his accusers are currently magically compelled to ruin Smenk's name. That argument might even work if he can make it after Dourstone makes his case. Then Smenk can cast his lot with Dourstone (and hopefully at least one more upstanding member of the community). Heck, the town might even hire the PC's to find the true killer a la OJ. All the while, Smenk's using his influence to destroy evidence and make problems disappear...

Anyway ya wanna look at it... every DM is gonna run it which ever way he thinks would be best for his campaign.

I figure the Free City might have a lot of complex laws. The "Free City" in my homebrew, is part of a capitalist-republic that is really, really strict on contract-law, especially.

But, there's so much corruption that just can't be avoided. I see it as a matter of Smenk's bribes vs. public opinion. If the whole deal is exposed to the public and they wanna see Smenk sentenced to hard labor in the mines (formerly Smenk's mines), then Governor-Mayor Neff would likely accept his bribes, and appease the will of the masses. For Neff, it's a win-win situation. But, if the citizens of Diamond Lake are mostly ignorant of the whole affair, then Smenk's bribes see to his "innocence." But, that's just my campaign.

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