DDEX01-09 Outlaws of the Iron Route (Inactive)

Game Master Dave Chua

Tier 1 AL game for Phlan.


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Cold rain falls over Podol Plaza, and a throng of citizens and merchants have gathered before the Stojanow Gate in protest of recent banditry and politics that has starved Phlan of vital supplies. A line of Black Fist militia is all that stands between them and Valjevo Keep.
“Does the Lord Regent fear this wild dog?” a bedraggled citizen yells, a soggy notice clenched in her fist. “Are his hired goons cowed by their own castoffs?”
Her accusations are joined with angry jeers.


Init +0 | Max HP: 21 | AC 12 | Saves: str 0; dex 2; con 1; int 5; wis 1; cha 3 | Insp: [ ] Current Damage: -0

The Half-Elf man moves through the crowd, where even the rain doesn't seem to be able to keep his spirits down. Stopping a random person, Shoun will say "Good morrow. What is this all about, if you don't mind my asking?"


Level 4 Tiefling Bard | Init +1 | HP 14/21 | AC 14 | S-/D+4/C+1/I+3/W-1/C+5 | Perc +0 | Insp [] | Bardic Insp 2/3 | 3/4x1st 1/2x2nd

Krissina keeps close to Shoun, intrigued as to the answer.


Male human paladin 5 | hp: 44/44 (used 0/5 HD) | AC: 16 (18 w shield) | Init +4 | Saves: S +1, D +4, C +2, I +0, W +4, Ch +5 | Insp [ ] | Spell DC 13, +5 spell atk | Slots 1st - 4 (0 used) 2nd - 2 (0 used) | Passive Per 14 | Lay on Hands used 0/25

The scarred young man stands quietly behind the half-elf, his leather armor creaking slightly with his movement, Aye, perhaps we can help.


Tiefling | Sorcerer (dragon) 3 | HP 23/23 | AC 15 (20) | Init +2 | Saves Str -1, Dex +2, Con +4, Int +0, Wis +0, Cha +5 | Spell Slots: Lvl 2: 2/2 Lvl 1: 4/4 | Spell DC 13 | Passive Perception 10 | Status None | Insp 1

Raeva's hooded form stays close to Krissina. He, too, awaits an answer.


You see this poster i the man's hands.

"The militia here are manned by cowards! They can't even stop this common bandit! And now we starve and prices are sky high! Only the rich can afford to buy bread!" one of the commoners shouts.

Something soft and stinking flies through the air and splatters on one of the guard’s armor. He and the others charge forward, cudgels drawn, and the plaza erupts into chaos. Mobs form, turning on one another and a covered merchant wagon nearby.

“These goods are going to waste,” snarls one of the thugs as he clambers atop the wagon. “Let us take them off your hands!”

A small group of five commoners break away from the main mob and attempt to rob the wagon. The merchant shouts for someone to help. The guards are busy with some of the other commoners.


Tiefling | Sorcerer (dragon) 3 | HP 23/23 | AC 15 (20) | Init +2 | Saves Str -1, Dex +2, Con +4, Int +0, Wis +0, Cha +5 | Spell Slots: Lvl 2: 2/2 Lvl 1: 4/4 | Spell DC 13 | Passive Perception 10 | Status None | Insp 1

Raeva does not like to step up in front of a crowd, but he can't just let the thugs take from the merchant. He casts Sleep over the commoners hoping to keep end the encounter before it actually starts.
Sleep: 7d8 ⇒ (3, 4, 2, 1, 2, 8, 6) = 26 using a 2nd level slot.


All the commoners abruptly fall to the ground, snoozing and snoring. The rioters seem more cautious, particularly after spotting Raeva. The Black Fist Guards use their truncheons and discipline the others.

The merchant thanks you. "My name is Braden Yil, a retainer of House Cadorna. Please come into my wagon and we will discuss matters. Perhaps you can help restore trade to Phlan... it seems the Black Fist lacks much force beyond the city and are unable to stop Sanhd Krulek."


Init +0 | Max HP: 21 | AC 12 | Saves: str 0; dex 2; con 1; int 5; wis 1; cha 3 | Insp: [ ] Current Damage: -0

Shoun nods in respect at Raeva's power and then says to the merchant "Of course, let us retire to your wagon and have a palaver."


Level 4 Tiefling Bard | Init +1 | HP 14/21 | AC 14 | S-/D+4/C+1/I+3/W-1/C+5 | Perc +0 | Insp [] | Bardic Insp 2/3 | 3/4x1st 1/2x2nd

Krissina gives a nod and a smile to Raeva, "quick thinking there." She follows the merchant back to the wagon.


Male human paladin 5 | hp: 44/44 (used 0/5 HD) | AC: 16 (18 w shield) | Init +4 | Saves: S +1, D +4, C +2, I +0, W +4, Ch +5 | Insp [ ] | Spell DC 13, +5 spell atk | Slots 1st - 4 (0 used) 2nd - 2 (0 used) | Passive Per 14 | Lay on Hands used 0/25

Rav lingers, looking at the commoners. As the others head off after the merchant, the paladin moves to the group and stands between the guards and the commoners defiantly, staring hard at the truncheon-armed men.

Enough!

Charisma (Intimidation): 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (1) + 2 = 3

Right. Figures.

Assuming they make no move to stop bullying the commoners, he turns his attention to the commoners, Patience. We will look into this, and one way or another, we will get you what you need.

Charisma (Persuasion): 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (16) + 2 = 18

I am fully expecting a guard to take a swing at me... :p


Ravvek gets pushed aside by a commoner. When he makes his speech though, some of them stop and listen.

"My family hasn't eaten for a week!" one of the commoner says.

I assume Ravvek resolves this and enters the wagon, where he hears what's next

Meanwhile, in the wagon, Braden addresses the group. "My bodyguards have deserted me, and I'm desperate for help."

The merchant has a proposition for adventurers willing to fight for justice. Braden reveals the following: Exposition dump incoming!
• Storms have driven trade inland, and caravans must use the Iron Route—a perilous road that skirts the northern coast of the Moonsea.
• A number of caravans have been lost to the Gray Patriots, a group of highwaymen led by the disgraced Knight Sahnd Krulek.
• Sahnd Krulek escaped from Stojanow Gate after being arrested, tried, and sentenced to hang for plotting against Lord Regent Ector Brahms.
House Cadorna recently learned that a second group of outlaws has begun operating along the Iron Route: a legion of kobolds headed by an insane dragonborn who routinely sacrifices her victims to dark gods.
• The dragonborn sorcerer is said to draw her powers from Tiamat, the god of chromatic dragons.
• A bloody feud exists between the two outlaws. The merchants are thankful for this dispute, as it has led to more caravans passing safely through the Iron Route.
• The Lord Regent refuses to send his Black Fists to stop these bandits, and so it falls on those who have an active interest in the Route’s safety to see the job done.
• Recently, a merchant caravan owned by House Sokol was ambushed. They were ready for the attack, however, and drove off the bandits, but not before capturing one.
• The bandit was sold to the Grimshackle Brothers, a pair of ne’er-do-wells who run a prison a ways up river. Outlaws sold to the Grimshackles are typically ransomed off to anyone who will pay—be it those who serve the law or those who operate outside of it.
• Braden suggests speaking to the captured outlaw. He is likely the best lead to Krulek and may have information about the dragonborn sorcerer as well.

"Hunt down Krulek and restore the trade routes. I suggest heading to Grimshackle Prison. I can follow you there; I'm afraid times have been hard. I can only pay you 75 gold for both of the bandit leaders."

He awaits your response.


Male human paladin 5 | hp: 44/44 (used 0/5 HD) | AC: 16 (18 w shield) | Init +4 | Saves: S +1, D +4, C +2, I +0, W +4, Ch +5 | Insp [ ] | Spell DC 13, +5 spell atk | Slots 1st - 4 (0 used) 2nd - 2 (0 used) | Passive Per 14 | Lay on Hands used 0/25

Ravvek nods to the commoner that speaks up, I will get to the bottom of it and get food for your and your family's bellies. This I promise.

Yes, Rav has resolved this quandry. Folk hero!!! ;)

--

Rav listens quietly, awaiting the others to talk first. He takes particular note of the Dragonborn and her kobolds, and that Sahnd Krulek turned against the Lord Regent.


Level 4 Tiefling Bard | Init +1 | HP 14/21 | AC 14 | S-/D+4/C+1/I+3/W-1/C+5 | Perc +0 | Insp [] | Bardic Insp 2/3 | 3/4x1st 1/2x2nd

"Well, I have little need of the coin at the moment, but trade is the lifeblood of many towns and villages, when it is not safe everyone suffers. We will visit this prisoner and see what he says."


Male human paladin 5 | hp: 44/44 (used 0/5 HD) | AC: 16 (18 w shield) | Init +4 | Saves: S +1, D +4, C +2, I +0, W +4, Ch +5 | Insp [ ] | Spell DC 13, +5 spell atk | Slots 1st - 4 (0 used) 2nd - 2 (0 used) | Passive Per 14 | Lay on Hands used 0/25

Rav speaks quietly and in an even tone, Do you know why Krulek turned away from the Lord Regent?


Init +0 | Max HP: 21 | AC 12 | Saves: str 0; dex 2; con 1; int 5; wis 1; cha 3 | Insp: [ ] Current Damage: -0

"Furthermore, do you know anything about the Dragonborn?"


"Krulek stole a shipment and sold it to an unscrupulous merchant! From there it was a swift fall as he began bolder and brought more to his cause.

I'm afraid I know little about the Dragonborn other than that it's incredibly cruel!" he says.


Male human paladin 5 | hp: 44/44 (used 0/5 HD) | AC: 16 (18 w shield) | Init +4 | Saves: S +1, D +4, C +2, I +0, W +4, Ch +5 | Insp [ ] | Spell DC 13, +5 spell atk | Slots 1st - 4 (0 used) 2nd - 2 (0 used) | Passive Per 14 | Lay on Hands used 0/25

Ravvek stands quietly in thought, waiting to see if his friends have any further questions.


Tiefling | Sorcerer (dragon) 3 | HP 23/23 | AC 15 (20) | Init +2 | Saves Str -1, Dex +2, Con +4, Int +0, Wis +0, Cha +5 | Spell Slots: Lvl 2: 2/2 Lvl 1: 4/4 | Spell DC 13 | Passive Perception 10 | Status None | Insp 1

"The people need relief. We'll help."


Init +0 | Max HP: 21 | AC 12 | Saves: str 0; dex 2; con 1; int 5; wis 1; cha 3 | Insp: [ ] Current Damage: -0

Nodding at Raeva's comment, Shoun says "Of course we will."

Shoun then cocks his lead like he just remembered something and says "I want to check something out. I will be right back."

Without waiting for a response, he moves back into the riot outside, finds a few different people, and speaks quietly with them.

GM:

So, I'm going to fulfill one of my primary objectives as a member of the Zhent: I'm going to try to destabilize the situation by finding a few "polar" voices in the crowd and insinuating that Krulek still works for the Lord Regent, who is planning to use the banditry of a "traitor" to lure the ruler of Phlan to the area, where his mercenary army disguised as bandits will attack and kill him. I ask that they not reveal where they got this information, as the group and I are secretly here in service to the ruler of Phlan; He will also play up the idea that each of the people he talks to are important to the operation and that the ruler sees them as a potential replacement Lord Regent.

Deception to convince said people: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (16) + 7 = 23
Insight to identify said people: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (5) + 3 = 8

After a few moments, Shoun returns to the merchant's wagon and says "Okay, that idea was a bust."


Shoun:

Spoiler:
You manage to convince a few commoners about Krulek. With distrust running high it's not hard to find some who would listen and be convinced by you, though right now who might take the Lord Regent's place is still beyond your ken...

You gain a point of inspiration for this.

"Good. You will need this." he says. He gives you a map. "The jail is only a couple of hours away from Phlan. Please save the city from itself," he says.

Any Lord's Alliance? If so, the following is for you.

Spoiler:
House Cadorna is a member of the Lords’ Alliance, and as a retainer of the house, Braden passes messages to other members. If any character belongs to this faction, Braden takes you aside and gives you the following assignment.
Recover the Stolen Necklace. House Cadorna has lost a small fortune to the bandits, but nothing compares to losing the Heart of Myth Drannor, the symbol of the house’s loyalty to the Lords’ Alliance. Retrieve the necklace and earn renown for your faction.

Anything else before the journey out to the prison?


Init +0 | Max HP: 21 | AC 12 | Saves: str 0; dex 2; con 1; int 5; wis 1; cha 3 | Insp: [ ] Current Damage: -0

GM:

What Shoun would ideally like to see happen is the peasantry revolts against the "tyrant" and they have to be put down hard, thus making the leadership here look like the tyrants they are accused of being. Then, the Zhentarim can (in theory) step in and "stabilize the region". Not that I expect this to happen in a living campaign, mind, but that's Shoun's intention, and his real value to the Zhentarim (since he doesn't worship Cyric or Bane and isn't a mercenary). He just hasn't been in a position to really do something like this before =)


Level 4 Tiefling Bard | Init +1 | HP 14/21 | AC 14 | S-/D+4/C+1/I+3/W-1/C+5 | Perc +0 | Insp [] | Bardic Insp 2/3 | 3/4x1st 1/2x2nd

Krissina raises a questioning eyebrow to Shoun's brief departure, but says nothing. "I think we're done here." she looks aroun her companions for confirmation.


Male human paladin 5 | hp: 44/44 (used 0/5 HD) | AC: 16 (18 w shield) | Init +4 | Saves: S +1, D +4, C +2, I +0, W +4, Ch +5 | Insp [ ] | Spell DC 13, +5 spell atk | Slots 1st - 4 (0 used) 2nd - 2 (0 used) | Passive Per 14 | Lay on Hands used 0/25

Ravvek nods to Krissina.

On the way out, sidles next to Shoun, What was that about?


Init +0 | Max HP: 21 | AC 12 | Saves: str 0; dex 2; con 1; int 5; wis 1; cha 3 | Insp: [ ] Current Damage: -0

"I wanted to see if I could locate the rabble-rousers in the crowd and get them to help disperse the mob, as it won't help us or anyone else get things accomplished, and peasant mobs have a rather bleak outcome usually."


How does the party want to get to the prison? You can go via land, hire a river barge and Braden can also provide horses


Init +0 | Max HP: 21 | AC 12 | Saves: str 0; dex 2; con 1; int 5; wis 1; cha 3 | Insp: [ ] Current Damage: -0

I would vote whichever way is fastest.


Level 4 Tiefling Bard | Init +1 | HP 14/21 | AC 14 | S-/D+4/C+1/I+3/W-1/C+5 | Perc +0 | Insp [] | Bardic Insp 2/3 | 3/4x1st 1/2x2nd

"I think I've had enough rafting, if you can provide horses?"


Male human paladin 5 | hp: 44/44 (used 0/5 HD) | AC: 16 (18 w shield) | Init +4 | Saves: S +1, D +4, C +2, I +0, W +4, Ch +5 | Insp [ ] | Spell DC 13, +5 spell atk | Slots 1st - 4 (0 used) 2nd - 2 (0 used) | Passive Per 14 | Lay on Hands used 0/25

Ravvek nods again, Good thinking, Shoun.

He chuckles a bit at Krissina's comment, Yes, let us take horses. We will return them when we are done.


Braden prepares the horses, and also gives you a pouch with ten gold "to ease negotiations.”

You ride your steeds out of Phlan. Fog rolls in from the sea, slowing progress to a crawl, though at least hides you from potentitla enemies. After a few hours riding, you arrive cold and soaked to the bone.

Grimshackle Jail clings like a drowning man to the rocky bank of the Stojanow River. Rotten timbers sag from the tower’s walls, and its outbuildings stand in ruin. Rooks nest in the crenels of the tower’s battlements.

Broad walls encircle the tower’s base, where a large gate house exits onto the towpath. A slatted peephole is fitted at human eye level in the stout, iron-bound door. You don't see any guards at the door.


Level 4 Tiefling Bard | Init +1 | HP 14/21 | AC 14 | S-/D+4/C+1/I+3/W-1/C+5 | Perc +0 | Insp [] | Bardic Insp 2/3 | 3/4x1st 1/2x2nd

"Well this is certainly cozy. Do we just knock on the door? We're not here covertly are we?"


Male human paladin 5 | hp: 44/44 (used 0/5 HD) | AC: 16 (18 w shield) | Init +4 | Saves: S +1, D +4, C +2, I +0, W +4, Ch +5 | Insp [ ] | Spell DC 13, +5 spell atk | Slots 1st - 4 (0 used) 2nd - 2 (0 used) | Passive Per 14 | Lay on Hands used 0/25

Ravvek shrugs, Hail! We are here to see the Grimshackle Brothers! We wish to speak to your prisoner!


Init +0 | Max HP: 21 | AC 12 | Saves: str 0; dex 2; con 1; int 5; wis 1; cha 3 | Insp: [ ] Current Damage: -0

Shoun dismounts and walks up to the door, then bangs on it with a fist "For the love of all the good gods, can you open the door please? We're here to see a prisoner and getting soaked waiting on you!"


Muffled footsteps are heard, drawing closer. They pause outside the door, and you hear somebody climbing a creaking foot ladder. The peephole snaps open, and a pair of glaring eyes confront you.
“What do you want?”

After Shoun and Ravvek speak, the voice says.
"You bounty hunters or paying a ransom?" the eyes glare at you.


Male human paladin 5 | hp: 44/44 (used 0/5 HD) | AC: 16 (18 w shield) | Init +4 | Saves: S +1, D +4, C +2, I +0, W +4, Ch +5 | Insp [ ] | Spell DC 13, +5 spell atk | Slots 1st - 4 (0 used) 2nd - 2 (0 used) | Passive Per 14 | Lay on Hands used 0/25

We just want information. We must speak with your recent addition.


"What does this look like? A tavern? BE off with you!" the voice says.


Level 4 Tiefling Bard | Init +1 | HP 14/21 | AC 14 | S-/D+4/C+1/I+3/W-1/C+5 | Perc +0 | Insp [] | Bardic Insp 2/3 | 3/4x1st 1/2x2nd

"What my friend here means, is we can pay an hour or two's worth of ransom, along with our gratitude, in order to speak with your recently acquired bandit." Krissina smiles at the voice behind the gate.
Persuasion?: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (1) + 5 = 6

Evidently they aren't impressed with Krissina's devilish charms...


Male human paladin 5 | hp: 44/44 (used 0/5 HD) | AC: 16 (18 w shield) | Init +4 | Saves: S +1, D +4, C +2, I +0, W +4, Ch +5 | Insp [ ] | Spell DC 13, +5 spell atk | Slots 1st - 4 (0 used) 2nd - 2 (0 used) | Passive Per 14 | Lay on Hands used 0/25

Would the offer of a bribe (that it seems that Krissina has given) grant her advantage? ^_^


Level 4 Tiefling Bard | Init +1 | HP 14/21 | AC 14 | S-/D+4/C+1/I+3/W-1/C+5 | Perc +0 | Insp [] | Bardic Insp 2/3 | 3/4x1st 1/2x2nd

Just in case Advantage?: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (9) + 5 = 14


Init +0 | Max HP: 21 | AC 12 | Saves: str 0; dex 2; con 1; int 5; wis 1; cha 3 | Insp: [ ] Current Damage: -0

Deception (Using Inspiration): 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (8) + 7 = 151d20 + 7 ⇒ (5) + 7 = 12

"Look, enough fooling around. We'll just go back and tell the Lord Protector that his word wasn't good enough for...What were you're names again, and who is your sergeant? I'd hate to get the wrong people named."


I'll allow Krissina's advantage roll
"How much we talking/?" he says. You hear the jangling of keys and the turning of tumblers, as you are let into the jail.

My hard drive is acting up, so will post a description later.


You see a filthy, bedraggled figure before you. There's the smell of a tavern in the morning about him. He has a club on a belt and jangles with keys.

"Where's the payment? 10 gold for a half-hour visit, and who are you looking for anyway?" he says, reaching out a big, dirty hand.


Tiefling | Sorcerer (dragon) 3 | HP 23/23 | AC 15 (20) | Init +2 | Saves Str -1, Dex +2, Con +4, Int +0, Wis +0, Cha +5 | Spell Slots: Lvl 2: 2/2 Lvl 1: 4/4 | Spell DC 13 | Passive Perception 10 | Status None | Insp 1

Raeva intercepts the guard's hand. "Not until we actually see the prisoner. An outlaw recently brought in by the House Sokol merchants."


The man grunts. "You can wait out here until you decide to pay," he says, getting ready to stomp off.


Level 4 Tiefling Bard | Init +1 | HP 14/21 | AC 14 | S-/D+4/C+1/I+3/W-1/C+5 | Perc +0 | Insp [] | Bardic Insp 2/3 | 3/4x1st 1/2x2nd

Krissina sighs and pulls out the coins, handing them over. This felt a little much like slave-trade for her and didn't sit well with her. She contemplates that a party like there's could likely just free the man through force... but that wasn't really a solution either.
"That okay for you?"


"Good. Me Bhavek. You get thirty minutes. More time more gold. Kapisch?"
A cramped spiral staircase punches through the heart of the prison tower. Archways open onto each floor, offering eerie glimpses of dank stone corridors, barred cell doors, and scurrying river rats.
Halfway up, you pass a cell door reinforced with iron bars and lengths of chain. Seeing you looking, Bhevek simply mutters “pirate.”

The bandit’s cell is at the very top of the tower, near a small guardroom. Bhevek unlocks the cell door and hands you his lantern. “Half a bell,” he snaps.
A half-orc clad in filthy rags is held in the cell, lashed to the wall by her wrists and fettered with heavy chains.
She winces at you through wet, plastered hair.
“You’re no jailers,” she croaks. “Why are you here?”


Male human paladin 5 | hp: 44/44 (used 0/5 HD) | AC: 16 (18 w shield) | Init +4 | Saves: S +1, D +4, C +2, I +0, W +4, Ch +5 | Insp [ ] | Spell DC 13, +5 spell atk | Slots 1st - 4 (0 used) 2nd - 2 (0 used) | Passive Per 14 | Lay on Hands used 0/25

Rav moves up to the half-orc and looks her in the eyes, Tell me about Krulek. Why did he turn against the Lord Regent?

Rav is taking the approach that there is more to this than people are letting on, and is using his Rustic Hospitality feature to gamble that these bandits are more of a Robin Hood type of band.

Charisma (If needed): 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (10) + 2 = 12


“I’ve no loyalty to Sahnd Krulek,” says the half-orc. “I can tell you where the bastard is right now. Tell you about that dragonborn he’s at war with too. But first you’ve got to earn it.
She whispers so she can't be heard.
“Get me out of here, or at least get me a better cell: one where I can see the sky. Then I’ll talk.”


Male human paladin 5 | hp: 44/44 (used 0/5 HD) | AC: 16 (18 w shield) | Init +4 | Saves: S +1, D +4, C +2, I +0, W +4, Ch +5 | Insp [ ] | Spell DC 13, +5 spell atk | Slots 1st - 4 (0 used) 2nd - 2 (0 used) | Passive Per 14 | Lay on Hands used 0/25

Wisdom (Insight): 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (8) + 1 = 9

Rav gives the half-orc a hard look, I'll do you one better, how much are you being ransomed for? If we free you, will you aid us in bringing in both of them to face justice?

Charisma: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (10) + 2 = 12

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