The Bull Prince and the Murdered Wit
Murder is a messy thing; when Valg Bad-Eye murders young Pathfinder Charlotte Fortias and steals journals in her care, the pathfinder venture-captains send a group of its members to retrieve the papers and avenge her death.
Recently, explorers returned from Kortos’s interior with samples of mineral wealth: bloodstone and iron ore. The find is currently worthless, for it is within a minotaur clan’s territory. Torch arranged a meeting between Nuar Spiritskin and a Qadiran trader, Pasha El-Muudharra. Torch expected a hefty finder’s fee from both parties on completion of negotiations; however, disagreements paralyzed discussions.
Rather than see his efforts wasted, Torch has arranged events so that Nuar will sign the agreement, allowing future mining rights to El-Muudharra.
Acting through proxies, Torch hired Valg Bad-Eye, an infamous hunter renowned for his love of hunting minotaurs, to kill Charlotte (ensuring that Valg’s will dies, so his crimes will not be linked to Torch), then capture and hold Nuar.
Torch, well aware that Valg cannot resist hunting Nuar, contacts the PCs, offering them information about the killer’s location if they will rescue Nuar for him.
However, Torch’s proxies paid Valg with bloodstone from the expedition, unknowingly linking Valg to Grandmaster Torch.
Now Valg Bad-Eye holds Nuar within a condemned tenement building. Can the PCs save Nuar, before Valg finds a prince’s skull worth more to him than Torch’s payment and patronage?
The adventure starts with the PCs investigating the now haunted scene of Charlotte’s murder. This quickly leads to a dead end, possibly attracting the attention of Valg’s friends, who harass the PCs.
As despair sets in, Grandmaster Torch’s envoy approaches the PCs. She explains her master’s and the party’s mutual problem, Valg Bad-Eye, the hunter responsible for Charlotte’s murder and Nuar’s kidnapping. The envoy asks the PCs to rescue Nuar, promising Grandmaster Torch’s favor for this.
The PCs must then venture into the heart of a condemned tenement on the Little Inner’s edge, through the waters of the Puddles. There they face Valg’s beaters and hounds, before confronting the hunter within a long-forgotten shrine to Aroden. They must dodge crossbow bolts, as Nuar bleeds to death. With Valg dead, the characters must return Nuar to the Taurean Embassy. Grandmaster Torch uses the opportunity to press his advantage; short of PC intervention, he convinces Nuar to sign El-Muudharra’s proposal.
A last laugh:
The adventure begins with the PCs surrounding the body of a fallen comrade. The gallows humor-inspired haunts left by Charlotte's death complicate their investigation. Her dry wit has taken on an unlife of its own. The investigation reveals information that will aid in the fight against Valg.
An intervention of friends (optional):
If the PCs investigate clumsily, they attract the attention of Valg’s associates, Skinsaw cultists from a group called ‘The Honorable Society of Blessed Huntsmen’.
Jagged smiles and cutting words:
Shortly after the trail runs cold, an envoy of Grandmaster Torch approaches the PCs. This shark-toothed messenger provides information regarding Valg’s location, explaining that he has captured and intends to kill Nuar. She promises that Torch will look on them favorably in future if they rescue Nuar. The PCs can question the envoy to gain additional information and improve the PCs’ odds in the final encounter.
Hot on the trail of Valg, the PCs must battle his beaters and hunting dogs, while avoiding drowning in a partially submerged ground floor of a Puddles tenement.
At the heart of the maze, they must find a way to save Nuar, as he lies close to death in the middle of an abandoned shrine to Aroden. Valg defends a fortified and elevated position with his crossbow.
A master’s ploy.
The PCs return Nuar to the Taurean Embassy, and there witness a meeting between those involved in the deal, as well as preparations for the trade agreement signing. The PCs can argue for or against the deal, and can present Nuar with any evidence they might have of Torch’s involvement. Doing so will earn them Torch’s lasting enmity.
The repercussions of the adventure are not felt immediately, but it will shape future trade in the inner sea, and shape future relations between the Pathfinder Society and Grandmaster Torch. However, the PCs regain Charlotte’s journal and see to it that a colleague has a chance at rest.
While he is able to ensure Nuar’s rescue, the Minotaur Prince never again trusts Grandmaster Torch. The place of Charlotte’s death is ever more haunted by bitter laughter.