Queen Ileosa Arabasti

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That's what I did.

How did they get the time to craft the Periapts? Making 3 of them would take 24 days and pretty much the entire 7 Days to the Grave plot would conclude in Ileosa's favor within 24 days. At a minimum Old Korvosa would get cut off enabling you to run Escape without any issues.

You'd also need access to Remove Disease spell which is a 3rd level spell so 7th level caster. PCs are like 4th level when the plague hits.

As for Trinia, my players tried to get to her window to block off her escape but the Shingles proved too difficult for someone unfamiliar with it to navigate and by the time the party triggered her Alarm spell she was out the window (with an illusion left behind) and running away. Eventually they captured her and handed her over to Croft then showed up at her execution and ensured she would never escape with Blackjack while winning major points with Ileosa as they carried out the execution of her personally.

Thanks for keeping the great ideas coming. Love your journal of your campaign as well!

MrVergee wrote:

You’d need to make sure that Endrin knows about Ileosa’s manipulation of captain Maeca. When he is called in and accused of treason for the Sable Company’s involvement in the Hospice and the evil temple, he feels cornered and strikes out at the queen. I’d strongly urge you to keep the arrow hitting the queen, because it is a very powerful moment in the story. An arrow that would have felled an ox, seems like a pin prick to the queen. Yeah, invincible Ileosa makes a tremendous impact.

As for having the PCs be present at this time; I chose to do that in my campaign. I just went into storytelling mode (a ‘cut scene’), making it all happen so fast that the PCs can’t really intervene. Endrin suddenly shouts accusations at the queen and fires an arrow into her temple, she pulls it out, grabs him off the ground, smashes the arrow into his skull and throws him away like a ragdoll. The next moment her new royal wizard (and seneschal) Togomor steps forward and teleports them away, while the Gray Maidens herd the visitors out.

One possibility i just thought of is to have the encounter between Endrin and the queen occur after the party gets Neopopolis back from the Arkonas. When the party brings Neopopolis to Croft they find Ileosa there conducting a re-organization of the military style meeting with some of the higher up officers including Endrin. Endrin makes his move against Ileosa and shoots her with the arrow failing to drop the queen. The party could then join in a fight perhaps to try and save Endrin from capture (I don’t think his actual torture at the hand of Ileosa in chapter 4 really has much story implications) and a wounded Ileosa would be less likely to viciously kill the party and more likely to flee to safety after a few rounds of combat. I like the thought of the book ending with the party fleeing Citadel Volshyenek the vengeful gaze of Ileosa firmly on them.

MrVergee wrote:

I like this idea. In my campaign Ileosa was responsible for Kroft disappearance as well, but the story was completely different.

I love this idea. How the Grey Maidens go from nothing to replacing the majority of armed forces in a city the size of Korvosa in under a month really bothered me too. Would go something like this….


Grey Maiden recruitment drives underway (already worked into my campaign)

Starts off as a personal honor guard for Ileosa near the end of Edge of Anarchy

Grey Maidens grow in numbers and influence swelling to around 200 in total size by the end of Seven Days to the Grave

Croft captured just after the start of Escape from Old Korvosa (after she tells the queen that she sent the party after Neopopolis)

Ileosa starts making Croft clones using ancient runelord magic. By the end of Escape from Old Korvosa she has enough Grey Maidens to replace the Sable Company Marines and take over the Korvosan Guard

This should also give Marcus Endrin a better reason to go after the queen. He knows something is up and has discovered that Croft was taken prisoner and is incarcerated in some infernal prison.

MrVergee wrote:

My main issue with book 3 was the role of Glorio Arkona. I had some trouble with the adventure as written, both involving his true identity and his motives.

Think I'll keep him as a rakshasa. Something new for the party to fight and plays well with one of the characters backgrounds. One of the players is playing an impersonation / charlatan type character that got Glorio's "son" (a student at the Acadamae) accidently killed and then used his skills to impersonate the son. Since most of his time is spent at the Acadamae and he has likely never actually been to the Arkona Estate so I don't think it will be an issue when the party infiltrates it. Glorio of course knows that the character isn't his son. In reality the "son" was never Glorio's son but someone Glorio planned to kill and take on his persona in a few years anyway. Should make things exciting when they get to Escape from Old Korvosa and things come to a head.

MrVergee wrote:
Of course, now you have me wondering how and when the PCs will learn that Ileosa is the evil puppeteer. Starting from book 3 in the AP, the PCs’ main motivation is trying to stop the evil queen, so how will you swing that?

I haven't figured out fully how Escape from Old Korvosa is going to flow. There are some changes that need to happen and a few issues I need to resolve.

By the end of Chapter 3 the party should realize that the queen tricked them and they are partially responsible for her rise to power. They should also start to realize there is more to the queen then meets the eye. She isn't just a fragile woman but has powerful magical powers at her disposal.

I am unsure if Marcus Endrin still attempts to assassinate Ileosa? If so I need to add something that makes it actually make sense to do. I also don't like the idea that it happens off camera. It's risky if the PCs are present when it happens but adds more weight to things. If it does happen I'm pretty sure that it won't be invincible Ileosa absorbs a killing blow. I want her to still seem like a fragile woman growing into being a queen. Most likely Sabina will jump in front of the arrow, taking a mortal wound that Ileosa is able to heal with her magic. Just need a realistic reason for Marcus to attack that isn't completely out of place for a military leader in a LN aligned city.

The Korvosan Guard aren’t going to be a gutted organization. I don’t see any way that the Grey Maidens could possibly have enough numbers to replace the guard AND the Sable Company in such a short period of time. Most likely a number of guard captains will be replaced with Grey Maidens but the guard will be mostly still intake. Croft, though, is definitely feeling the strain under all the new regulations she has to deal with and feels her power over the guard eroding.

Book 3 will still start off with Croft learning that the missing seneschal Neolandus Kalepopolis has been spotted in Old Korvosa. The information coming in from her long time friend Vencarlo Orisini. Eager to know why he is hiding out in Old Korvosa but unable to send in her own agents to find out she turns to the party.

Another possibility is having the party go to Old Korvosa at the queen's request. Frustrated that her Red Mantis haven't been able to kill off Kalepopolis she turns to the party to do the deed for her.

I also don’t see any reason why Croft keeps this information form Ileosa. By telling Ileosa the appearance of the Red Mantis assassins make more sense. Also telling Ileosa that the party is going after him creates a bit of panic in Ileosa that starts her plans to end the involvement of the party in the affairs on Korvosa. Finally, Ileosa sees the need to remove Croft from her position leading the Korvosan Guard and replace her with someone more loyal.

The bulk of book 3 I see playing out exactly how the module suggests with the party going into Old Korvosa (still under quarantine) to track down Kalepopolis. The major changes aren’t going to be about what encounters happen (though I’ll need to read through all the encounters to see if they are internally consistent with the story changes.)

The major changes I see revolve more around Ileosa and her continued grab at power in the city.

Ileosa has Croft arrested and incarcerated in Citadel Vraid by the Hellknights (in my story the Hellknights are still aligned with Ileosa for the time being.) Part of the changes to book 4 would include the party breaking into the Citadel to free Croft.

When the party extracts Kalepopolis and brings him to Croft for questioning they find Ileosa there instead. This leads to a confrontation with Ileosa where she reveals her true infernal nature to the party and a fight breaks out. Ileosa is well beyond the ability of the party to beat and just the number of guards on her side would make for overwhelming forces. Kalepopolis and Orinsini would urge the party to retreat and regroup. There is always the danger in any encounter like this but I think it lays a better Ileosa turns heel moment then if the party learns about her turn off camera. (Note that this entire encounter would need a lot more work from me to make it feel right.)

I want to add something that hints to the horrible fate Ileosa has in store for the party. I think the best way to handle this is for Kalepopolis to get an indication that Ileosa is after something related to Sorshen, the Runelord of Lust. That would help foreshadow Ileosa’a plans in book 6 to consume the lifeforce of Korvosa to fuel her immortality.

From this point on the adventure shifts from helping Ileosa solidify her base of power to stopping Ileosa’s plans for Korvosa.

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Session Two
Our second session started with six eager players, though not the same six players as the first session. The elven crusader Llana hung back with Kressida Croft at Citadel Volshyenek while the dwarven fighter Ziri Zanulbar joined the party, momentarily, as they made preparation to visit Verik at All The World’s Meat. (Later to be replaced by Fole, Priest of Abadar.)

All The World’s Meat

    After a bit of recon work the party easily finds All The World’s Meat arriving around mid morning to a line of poor eager for their daily cut of meat. Through Diplomacy checks the party learned a few things…

  • Verik Vancaskerin and a four ex guards run the joint. Known as the Cow Hammer Boys they hired a few local muscle to help out.
  • The Cow Hammer Boys take in shipments of livestock most mornings, butchering the animals and handing out meat to the poor.
  • While the source of the deliveries isn’t known to anyone, they have been showing up daily for the past five days now.
  • The local population sees the Cow Hammer Boys as heroes feeding the hungry while the queen sits in her palace unconcerned about the welfare of the less fortunate.
  • There is also rumor that the Cow Hammer Boys are very helpful in solving other problems and one need but ask for the “Night’s Special Cut” to get an audience with them.

    The party starts off asking how they can help feed the poor. The Cow Hammer Boys, not willing to divulge much information, confide in the party that livestock supplies are low and anything they could do to bring in more livestock shipments would be a huge boon. The party, unsure if these people are on the level or nefarious, regroup to think about what to do next.

    At this point the party splits up with Stone and Grayson continuing the conversation with the boys up front while the rest of the party sneaks around the backside. Stone and Grayson start to ask about the “Night’s Special Cut” while Ostiver, Soul Eater, Liam, and Ziri head around back.

    Around the backside of the building the party quickly removes the obstacle of a locked door from their way, break into the hold pens, and plan to steal a few chickens only to offer them back to the Cow Hammer Boys in a ploy to win over their good graces. Such a plan is sure to work??? but curiosity gets the better of them and they press into the shop proper once again removing locked door leading into the Killing Floor.

    Up front Grayson and Stone make little progress as they tank Diplomacy roll after Diplomacy roll but keep up an effort that is obviously starting to irritate the Cow Hammer Boys.

    In the Killing Floor it doesn’t take long before one of the Cow Hammer Boys stumbles upon the party. Ostiver hides, Ziri tries to talk, and Soul Eater charges. The fight is quick. Poor Baldrago lost only his head while his twin brother Malder is knocked unconscious and hung from a meat hook in the Meat Locker. Liam uses a Message spell to get the attention of Grayson and Stone and the party regroups in the back of the shop. With one Cow Hammer Boy dead and a second serving time in the Meat Locker the party doubles down on their mission to bring Verik back to Croft.

    Searching the Killing Floor yields an important clue. While looking around Ostiver found traces of human blood mixed in with the animal blood being drained into the sewers below. Perhaps there is more going on! Ostiver decided sampling the wares might be a horrible idea.

    Stone sneaks up the hallway leading into the Shop Front and arcane locks the door closed while the party stealths up the staircase to the living quarters above in search of Verik. By stealth I mean everyone BUT the new party member Ziri makes a stealth check. Ziri bangs into everything in sight, stumbling into a room with four armed henchman ready for battle. This fight is quick and a decisive victory for the party as they dispatch the four mooks. The biggest issue they had was maneuvering six people around a small room full of axe hungry henchman. Down below the rest of the Cow Hammer Boys continue to throw themselves against a door that just won’t open in a futility only multiple sub 5 rolls could make.

    As the battle winds to a close the door to the south quarters opens Verik standing in the doorway glaive at the ready with Ilyana, a voluptuous sorcerous a step behind. Annoyed at the disturbance Verik lashes out with his glaive while Illyana fills the room with lightning. This fight turned deadly when two party members fell to Illyana’s lighting attacks and Verik beheaded the poor dwarf Ziri with a x3 glaive crit. Those things hit like a truck! Grayson ended the fight, though, when he landed a color spray on poor Verik followed by Soul Eater cleaving a poor Illyana in half with such force that she shattered through the window and landed in the middle of a crowd of hungry peasants out front.

    The party quickly bound Verik, looted the room, and rushed out in the ensuing confusion. Included in the loot they found was a letter written by a mysterious woman known as Meliya. The letter said…

    Verik my love make all haste to the abandoned butchery All The World’s Meat in Five Corners. The time for preparations is upon us. Gather your crew. I’ve arranged a number of shipments for delivery but I fear they may not be enough. It’s always been your ability to improvise that I love the most. Though it will be a while before I see you next I often think of you. When the time is right Rolth, an associate of mine, will contact you. Do as he says and we will be together again. Soon the corruption that plagues this city will burn in the fires of purity and the whore of a queen consumed by the flame.

Blackjack and the Hellknights

    On their way back to delivery Verik to Croft, the party stumbled across a group of Hellknights publicly executing looters while a crowd of horrified people watch. Accused of looting, the Hellknight captain convicted each looter to a punishment of beheading, their heads to be strung up as warning to others lawbreakers. Just as the first looter would be executed Blackjack makes his appearance, shooting the captain in the shoulder while yelling out “Hellknights you have failed Korvosa for the last time!” In the chaos Blackjack frees two of the looters (who flee) and then runs as the Hellknights give chase. One Hellknight remains summoning in a trio of legion devils for support and prepares to continue the executions.

    Unwilling to let the looters be executed, the party approaches the lone Hellknight unsure exactly how to act. What ends up happen perplexed even me.

    Grayson decides he cannot allow the executions to continue and calls the Hellknight to stand down.

    Ostiver hides.

    Stone uses Disguise Self to take on the appearance of Blackjack and calls out the Hellknight.

    Souleater charges!

    The legion devils prove tough to take down but eventually the party bests the devils and Hellknight.

    At the end of the fight there is a concern from the party at killing the Hellknight given the lawful right of the Hellknights to dispense order in Korvosa. Those thoughts are laid to rest, though, when Ostiver darts out of hiding and shanks the Hellknight a few times ensuring he won’t tell anyone how the party stopped the lawful Hellknights from punishing looters stealing from local shops… And then there was Blackjack… And Blackjack again…

Ambassador’s Letters

    A week or so later, back at the citadel, Croft had another mission for the party. Cheliaxian ambassador Darvayne Gios Amprei was being blackmailed by Devargo Barvasi, a local crime lord, to provide funding for an anarchist movement preparing to move against the crown.

    The party asks Croft how they came across this information and she introduces them to Vencarlo Orisini, a long time friend with many contacts around town. Vencarlo, looking into who this Meliya might be at the request of Croft, learned about Amprei and the blackmailing. Vencarlo is pretty vague about exactly how he got this information and the party doesn’t really press him for it.

    At the Eel’s End, Stone disguises himself as a wealthy noble seeking an audience with Devargo. Stone tries to barter for the letters with Devargo asking for a huge sum of money in return for them (something like 5,000 gps.) Stone promises to return with the money.

    The next day Stone comes back to Devargo with an empty chest he claims has the gold in it. When pressed to open the chest so Devargo can check the goods combat ensues, the trap door to the Ettercap flings open, and a bunch of wannabe gangsters die to party attacks and spider venom.

    Devargo quaffs his potion of invisibility and jumps below.

    The party also jumps below, kills a bunch of spiders and the Ettercap, then search the area but don’t find Devargo who gathered up his magical items and fled the ship. Still the party recovers the letters for Croft.

To Kill a King

    After things settle down a bit the party is ushered to a meeting with Queen Ileosa on a matter of utmost urgency. In the castle the party finds an enraged Ileosa yelling at the servants. Something is definitely up! Calming down to talk with Croft and the party, Ileosa lets the party know that she is impressed with the actions they have taken to ensure order in Korvosa following the unfortunate MURDER of her husband. That’s right! Ileosa lets the party know that it wasn’t natural causes that led to her husband’s death as previously suspected but an elusive poison administered by a skank painter Trinia. Just a week before falling ill, Trinia was hired to paint a portrait of the king. During those painting sessions Trinia slipped slow acting poison into the king’s wine that masks itself as a disease thus making diagnosis and treatment extremely difficult.

    The party asks how this information was uncovered and Croft lets them know that a few days ago one of the guard captains in the castle reported a pair of guards missing. A search of the guards barrack uncovered letters between the guards and an unnamed person instructing the guards to hand over the poison delivered to them to a painter named Trinia to be used in poisoning the king. The guards have been found and apprehended, captured while trying to fence some expensive jewelry at a local pawn shop.

    A furious Ileosa begs with the party to bring Trinia back, alive if possible, to her. Ileosa wants Trinia to answer for her crimes but does promise a full trial before any action taken against her.

    The party wants to speak with the two apprehended guards before heading off after Trinia but Croft insists they get Trinia first then she can arrange to speak with the guards telling the party it would take a few days to arrange for them to interrogate the guards.
    The party is unhappy with that answer but bureaucracy takes time Croft tells them.

    The party finds Trinia’s residence without too much trouble. Once there they send Liam and Ostiver around to keep an eye on the backside while the rest head up.

    Trinia, upon hearing the party approach, bolts. It takes Ostiver a few rounds to spot her running away from the apartment but he jumps into pursuit with the rest of the party a few rounds behind. Eventually Ostiver’s skill at maneuvering through an urban chase prevails and he tackles Trinia.

    With Trinia captive, the party rushes back to her apartment thinking of what to do next. So far the prevalent party thought is Trinia must be framed. Possible plans include hiding her away at the fish factory, sneaking her out of town, or handing her over to the authorities (this being the least popular option.) Liam reminds the party that the apartment is under watch by the Sable Company Marines so they already know she’s been captured.

    Unconvinced that Trinia could be guilty but seeing no way to smuggler her to safety the party decides it best to interrogate her at her apartment then decide the best course of action. Trinia, having just been chased from her home and tackled on a rooftop has no desire to cooperate and refuses to answer questions. Soul Eater tries to intimidate Trinia with threats of bodily harm should she fail to answer their questions. Trinia grows more stubborn! Finally the party decides the best way to get the truth is through a Zone of Truth spell the newest member, Fole a priest of Abadar, has memorized (this being the new character that replaced the recently beheaded dwarf.) Trinia fails her save and the questioning starts. When it’s all over the party learns that Trinia is a staunch supporter of anarchists, hates the queen something fierce, is glad the king died, is familiar with Meliya, and treasures the day the government topples. She never admits (or denies) that she poisoned the king so the party is sure she must be innocent! Unfortunately the Sable Company Marines come for her and the party has no option but to hand her over.

    Of importance, the party learns Meliya is a Vudrani leading an anarchist revolt against the throne. Some investigation into the Vudrani reveals that almost all Vudrani in the city are link with House Arkonas.

Dead Warrens

    The final encounter for the night led the party to the Dead Warrens deep in the Grey District. The two apprehended guards were broken out of prison while the party went after Trinia and escaped the citadel. Croft is pissed and asks the party to see if they can track them down. A few Survival and Diplomacy checks later the party learn of eye witness accounts of the guards disappearing into the Grey District at a place called the Dead Warrens.

    In the Dead Warrens the party fights crazy Derro, learns that the guards were butchered by someone called Rolth, and that Rolth is in leagues with Meliya. After defeating Rolth’s derro apprentice, the party finds a note from Meliya

    Rolth I pray your preparations are in order. Our “superiors” expect results and I will not disappoint. Better to be one of your experiments then fail. Bring your shipments to the staging area. With the muscle you provide and the cattle I’ve gathered from the streets we will bring low this dretch of a city so our masters can remake it in their glorious image. I can barely contain the excitement to come. Oh how blood will flow like water down the street.
    PS I expect to see you personally when you make your delivery.

    Written hastily on the note in a different hand is an address “47 High Lane off Field Marshal Avenue” and a date “Rova 13 Oathday!” and a note “Bring backup” Rova 13 Oathday is two days away.

Appreciate the feedback. It's spurred some new ideas on how to tighten up the story.

MrVergee wrote:

I do have a harder time understanding why she would want to involve the party. It would make more sense to have her unleash the plague, have it wreak its havoc and then come forward with a cure, making her the city’s hero. Calling in the party to help risks uncovering her involvement or messing up her plans, since the party are somewhat of a wild card that she cannot fully control. What does she gain by hiring the party? I’d rather have her send out her own private guard, the Gray Maidens, to uncover the ‘evil Sable Company plot’ and then offer the cure. At least Ileosa is in full control of her guard and in the eyes of the public the queen will be synonymous to her guard, so again she would be their hero.

How I see this.

First, it plays with Ileosa's manipulative personality to convince a group of heroes to further her goals.

Second, it grants Ileosa third party validation so that other's won't be able to point at her setting things up. It wasn't her Grey Maidens that uncovered a plot by the Sable Company Marines and put an end to it only to then replace the Sable Company but a well regarded group of heroes that have already prevented an anarchist plot against the crown (in chapter one.)

Third, it gives the party a reason to trust in Ileosa more instead of feed the instant suspicion then have because "the queen must be the bad person."

Ileosa likely sees herself as so far above the party that they are but pawns for her ploy. Sure that will come back to bite her in the ass.

MrVergee wrote:

Who is this man? What role did he play in the ploy? You don’t need to answer that because there is no follow-up. I’m not a big fan of that element in your story. So I’d urge you to come up with some background and involve the PCs in the story: maybe this man was an Urgathoa fanatic who became a sort of slow suicide bomber (plague spreader). Maybe the PCs caught him before he died and interrogated him.

I could see the man living to be interrogated. The purpose of him dying wasn't so much to limit the party from having access to him as much as it was to keep him in the background, some information passed along from Croft that she didn't think much of at the time but now has more meaning. Either way I would prepare a background for the person assuming that the party would try to investigate who he was and would want to provide them some info for their efforts.

MrVergee wrote:

You lost me here, the avian masks are not Urgathoan masks, they are plague masks and make perfect sense. Of course nowadays, the iconography of plague masks is something we associate with horror and bad guys, so I could understand you wanting to skip them for that reason. The party will immediately feel suspicious of these masked doctors. On the other hand, keeping the masks is a pretty strong and exciting story element, simply because they are so iconic.

The plague masks I think are too much of a tip to the party that the Queen's Physicians are bad people and will cast immediate suspicion on them. I think the mask's primary purpose is to prevent alignment detection and thus the physicians wear them at all times. I don't really understand why else the physicians are wearing masks while meeting with Croft in a circumstance that has no real chance of infection and I think the party will come to the same conclusion. I can easily see the party going straight to the hospice and skipping everything else. Rather then open up that possibility it's easier to remove the masks entirely. To work back in the masks I'd probably have the physicians at the hospice wearing the masks as an aid to prevent infection while treating people. That makes a lot more sense.

MrVergee wrote:

Okay, so where was the good doctor when the king was dying?

Good point. I am trying to avoid the immediate suspicion that will get cast on Ileosa because hiring Davaulus was her idea so this would give her a reason for bringing him on. It's possible she doesn't really need the reason. I would like to flesh out his backstory in a way that doesn't tip the party off to what's going on. Looking into who Davaulus is would be a logic path for the party to follow. Croft, I imagine, would also immediately try to dig up as much on Davaulus as possible. Maybe he has regional fame for preventing plagues in other cities giving him a bit of a reputation? A doctor that engineers a plague, lets it loose on a city, then shows up and offers to assist the rulers in fighting it off for a pretty bit of coin.

MrVergee wrote:

Okay, now I’m confused. The note was written by Carowyn? He’s informing the enemy? So, he is a double-crosser? Or does the note say “Rolth must know they are close to a cure at the Carowyn manor”? I think the latter makes more sense.

The idea would be that Vendra learned that Carowyn is working on a cure for Blood Veil and wrote a note down to inform Rolth of this. Like a memo or something. The actual note would probably be a letter addressed to Rolth asking for progress on dealing with the Carowyn problem that she hadn't had a chance to deliver to Rolth before the party shows up.

MrVergee wrote:

Here’s what I would do. Carowyn is a skillful alchemist, who offered to look for a cure, hoping to save the city and at the same time improve the standing of his house. He approached Kroft with this idea, who decided to accept, but keep it under the wraps, because she doesn’t trust Davaulus. She also sent six guards to the manor to watch over lord Carowyn and two priests of Abadar, who are assisting him in his research. The guards had to stay inside, out of sight, because they were on a ‘secret’ mission. One of them sold the information to the bad guys.

The bad guys send Jolistina to kill Carowyn. She kills the guards and the priests and raises them as zombies, but Carowyn locks himself in the basement, or even better, in his safe, so she cannot get at him for the moment. When Kroft sends six guards to replace the ones in the manor, they are killed by Jolistina and her zombies.

When the PCs bring Vendra’s note to Kroft, she sends for one of the guards who was just relieved of his duty in the manor to brief them on the alchemist’s progress. Apparently, none of the guards have returned yet. This is reason for concern, so Kroft asks the PCs to go to the manor themselves to see the alchemist and at the same time, check out if anything is wrong.

Thanks for these great ideas! Most of the things leading up to the Carowyn estate, while not really related to Blood Veil, at least seemed plausible to happen. The Carowyn party was just so random that it felt like it was added in as a filler encounter to get encounter numbers up.

MrVergee wrote:

Kroft sends the PCs to the Hospice without informing Ileosa because she has no proof against Davaulus. That makes sense. Replacing the Gray Maidens with Sable Company marines does not. Guarding buildings is definitely not on the company’s list. Are these marines dominated as well? Damn, that is a lot of overpowered domination. I’m not a fan of that.

There are a few things that really bug me that I'm trying to fix.

First, if the hospice is teaming with Grey Maidens and the hospice is uncovered as a cover for the Cult of Urgathoa why wouldn't the entire city revolt when Ileosa replaces the Sable Company with the Grey Maidens in chapter 3?

Second, in Chapter 3 why does Ileosa disband the Sable Company? It just seems she is acting without any cause and a smart manipulative villain would try to ensure that her actions had just cause.

Third, why does Marcus Endrin try to kill Ileosa at the start of Chapter 3? Didn't make any sense to me.

I agree with you that charm person / domination shouldn't be overly used. How about a different take on things.

Ileosa, using her non-magical charming ways is able to corrupt one of the higher ranking Sable Company Marine captains. This would be one of the direct reports to Marcus Endrin. We'll call this person Captain Maeca Salus. The seduction could be a combination of philosophical corruption and bodily seduction but the result gives Ileosa a high ranking Sable Company Marine captain.

Maeca works to manipulate marine assignments so that the people reporting under him are those more inline with his way of thinking (probably the more LE nature members of the Sable Company Marines.) Ileosa could have started putting this plan in motion before Eodred even died giving her years for Maeca to prepare.

Maeca probably thinks that Ileosa is preparing for him to replace Endrin as the commandant of the Sable Company Marines. In actuality Ileosa is looking for a fall person to take the blame that allows her Grey Maidens to ascend to power.

Blindly dedicated to Ileosa Maeca doesn't question when ordered to place guards at the hospice. Maeca might even know what's going on though I don't know it's important he does.

Probably some of the Sable Company Marines stationed in the hospice are hesitant to help what is obviously a group of doctors showing no interest in curing the disease but as military people they are use to following orders even if they don't understand them. This could give the party a source of information if they can convince the less eager Sable Company guards to talk. All indications of why they are here and what they are doing would point back to Maeca and not Ileosa as the rank and file Sable Company Marine probably has no idea that Maeca is involved with Ileosa.

To pull things off I'd have to have Maeca as an encounter in the hospice. A confused party that comes across a fanatically loyal Maeca seems a must. Having Maeca some off stage character the party hears about but never meets undermines the involvement of the marines and leaves a pretty big plot hole.

I think this solves most of my problems?

It gives a reason for the Sable Company Marine to get disbanded due to their involvement spreading the plague under the leadership of a high ranking marine captain while allowing the core of the marines to still be of use when the party finally acts against Ileosa in the future. I'd see it like a Three Musketeers moment from the movie when the disbanded Sable Company Marines comes out of "retirement" to take up arms against the queen.

It gives a reason for the Grey Maidens to take over for the Sable Company Marines and not be the ones actually defending the spreaders of the plague at the same time.

And it gives Ileosa her pawns to enact her plan without needing to dominate half the city to do it. This allows Ileosa to remain removed from suspicion for as long as possible.


Overview of Changes

    My Ileosa is a master of manipulation playing the PCs in her bid to solidify control over Korvosa so she can enact her plan and ascend to immorality. As such she is depending on the party to help her end the threats to her beloved Korvosa. The fact that she is the one engineering these threats isn’t evident yet and shouldn’t come to light for a long time.

    Ileosa is a Lawful Evil person and the thought that she would commit genocide without a good reason seems out of place to her alignment. That seems like the actions of a Chaotic Evil person. Ethnic Cleansing that cements her rule over the city though, that seems more in line with her alignment.

    The events as written in the module don’t have much to do with stopping the spread of the plague. Most of the encounters before the Hospice of the Blessed Maiden have nothing to do with the plague at all and there is no path that really leads the party to conclude that they need to be at the Hospice besides Croft telling them to go there.


    Six to eight weeks after Blackjack abducts Trinia from her execution.

    City returned to normal though heavy patrols still searching for remnants of anarchist cells.

    Arkonas refute the accusations of involvement and lacking hard evidence Ileosa doesn’t take direct action against them. Still Arkonas largely withdraw to Old Korvosa to regroup.

    Party given opportunity to explore the city, craft, shop, find rumors, and other activities.

A Queen’s Request

    Early one morning the party receives a summons from Croft to meet with Ileosa.

    Ileosa fears a plague unleashed on her city that threatens the very people she rules. She asks the party to investigate matters before they get any worse and report back to her what they learn.

    Croft takes the party back to the citadel. Party meets Grau and learn his niece Brienna fell ill a few days ago with symptoms that match those turning up around the city.

    Croft informs the party that plague not of natural origins. Two Korvosan guards, during a routine patrol in Old Korvosa, apprehended a crazed man thought a remnant of the Anarchist cell. The man, sickly and near death when arrested, blabbered on about an engineered plague released into the city as punishment for Ileosa’s sins against Korvosa. Occurred over a week ago but with no signs of a plague or any other information no follow up. The man died shortly after integration but before passing said this. “Slow to start … soon the real threat will consume you all.”

An Introduction to Blood Veil

    Party meets Ishani while checking on Brienna. Ishani confirms other sick match symptoms and most sick are poorer citizens.

    The party learns about the disease through Heal checks or magic and can cure Brienna.

    Ishani invites the party to the Temple of Abadar if they wish to learn more about the plague from the priests.

    At the temple the party sees first hand the scope of infected as hundreds of diseased citizens beg for healing from the overwhelmed priests.

    The party also learns about the missing Arbiter, Zenobia but with little context to make it meaningful.

The Queen’s Physician

    When party reports in to Croft they meet Dr Davaulus and his attendants (priestesses of Urgathoa that are not wearing masks because really if they were wearing masks the party would probably kill them on the spot after making their Religion check to identify the masks.)

    Party learns some information about Davaulus; he was someone always highly spoken about by the now missing Seneschal Neolandus as a medical genius and often times called upon by Eodred and his mother in times of need.

    Davaulus based out of Hospice of the Blessed Maiden. Hospice was an Arkonas warehouse just a month ago when it was gifted to a mysterious benefactor and made a hospice in an unexpected gesture by the Arkonas.

    Party should make frequent reports and visits with Ileosa. Ileosa desires to build rapport with the party as valued pawns for future use.

Crash of the Direption

    Crash of the Direption meant to be less red herring and more a mechanism of contamination equally providing an alternative way to spread the plague and divert attention from activities happening within the city.

    The night the party meets with Davaulus the Direption crashes into the harbor, shot down by the cannons protecting Korvosa harbor. While unusual for an unidentified ship to get shot down, heighten tension from the plague and lingering anarchist fears led to increased security.

    No immediate leads pointing to the Direption, Croft welcomes the party to investigating if they want. After a few days Croft mentions, in earshot of the PCs, that the people she sent to check out the ship never returned and preps another team to look into things. Eventually Croft asks the PCs if they have time to check into it.

    Add encounter in the Captain’s Quarters where Rois Vindmel has returned to unlife as a ghost haunting the Captain’s Cabin howling the name “Andaisin.”

    The ship had a number of canisters of Blood Veil rigged to explode when the ship contacted the harbor docks. The explosion would have propelled Blood Veil into the dock district spreading the disease. Instead the canisters exploded when the ship was sunk leaving the interior sections of the ship exposed to Blood Veil.

Quarantine of Old Korvosa

    The PCs are contacted by Ileosa asking their opinion on a mater of public policy. In the room with Ileosa are both Croft and Davaulus.

    As most of the plague is being spread in Old Korvosa, a place with higher concentration of poor people, Ileosa must decide if Old Korvosa should be quarantined or not. Croft favors a quarantine to limit exposure (she is LN and not good aligned) while Davaulus opposes it for fear that it could condemn hundred or even thousands to death (in reality he doesn’t want to prevent the spread of the disease and realizes a quarantine would do just that.)

    Ileosa asks the party for their input but absent of any compelling argument by the PCs goes forward with the quarantine, mentioning it’s justice for the Arkonas after what they put her through.

Riots in the Street

    Not long after the quarantine goes into effect the PCs come across a riot happening.

    A group of locals, not happy with increased curfew laws and the quarantine of Old Korvosa start to violently protest the blockade point. This prompts a reaction for the Hellknights that wipes out the rioters unless the PCs can intervene and bring about a more peaceful solution.

Wererats Pushing the Plague

    Investigations into the plague reveal one recurring clue. Many of the early sick people became so after coming into contact with large amounts of silver they “happened” to find in back alleys.

    Additionally rumors of mysterious silver drops left by cloaked forms crop up in the poorer sections of town with many poor people on the look out for these “cloaked’ saviors.

    If investigated the PCs stumble upon one such silver drop leading to a confrontation with wererats.

    Tracking back the wererats to their lair puts the PCs at the sewer entrance.

    This investigation ends with the party finding a cache of tainted silver and a reference of more shipments on the way from the “Toy Shop.”

A Cure! Or is It?

    Rumors of a cure to the plague quickly spread through the city. The rumors lead to Lavender’s Perfume Boutique.

    Vendra is in the shop selling “a cure” for Blood Veil that promises to not only cure those infected but prevent the uninfected from contracting the disease.

    In reality Vendra works for Davaulus, though all her contact has been with the Rolth.

    The “cure” Vendra sells is actual contaminated with Blood Veil and provides another way to spread disease through the city.

    Notes found in the shop point to the “Toy Shop” as the source for her cure and also note concerns about an actual cure that could be in development with a note that reads “Rolth must know they are close to a cure! Carowyn.”

The Infected Undead

    With large number of poor dying to the plague, plague carts pulled by those under the hire of the priests of Pharasma roam the city gathering up corpses to transport to the Grey District.

    One such cart, full of corpses headed for disposal in the Grey District, encounters a problem when the corpses on the cart awaken as undead plague ghouls and start terrorizing things.

    The party, not far from where the trouble is, can investigate and put down the undead plague ghouls.

Distribution Center

    A number of clues point towards a Toy Shop, the distribution center for Blood Veil. The location of the Toy Shop can be learned from an interrogation of Vendra Loaggri, or through the use of Gather Information checks related to recently abandoned or closed toy shops in the area.

    The vampire spawns in the toy shop work for Ramoska Arkminos and are responsible for supplying Blood Veil to the various distribution channels that will unleash it on the city.

    Clearing out the vampire spawns, the party finds a ledger that details all the ways for distribution of the disease (both those that have already happened and those planned for the future.) With this information Croft can start prevention of the plague spreading in the city.

To Stop a Cure

    Under the authority of Croft and in conjunction with the church of Abadar, a cure to Blood Veil is under the works at Carowyn Manor. So far Croft has kept the cure a secret to everyone, distrustful of Davaulus. Secrecy is the reason to develop the cure with the assistance of house Caroywn, a prospect the power hungry house Carowyn is eager to entertain.

    Should the party show the note from Vendra to Croft, she confides in the party about the cure and asks them to check on Carowyn Manor. Alternatively Croft will eventually approach the party when she admits to having lost contact with the manor for a few days and is worried something might have happened.

    The encounter plays out mostly as written with a few exceptions. Jolistina arrives with assistance from the Sable Company Marines to butcher everyone in the house, mask their wounds, and make it look like they succumbed to the plague while researching a cure.

    Add encounters with priests of Abador raised as undead to assist Jolistina.

    In the Cellar of the manor the party can learn valuable information from Ausio Carowyn. Ausio recalls Sable Company Marines assisting Jolistina killing everyone in the house. He also remembers mention of a Hospice but cannot remember the full name just that it was “blessed.” He also lets the party know that many of his servants were taken away by the Sable Company Marine instead of being butchered though he cannot fathom why.

Hospice of the Blessed Maiden

    At this point all signs point to the Hospice of the Blessed Maiden. If some prodding is needed, Croft confides that she doesn’t trust Davaulus and thinks he might be up to something though she fears bringing it up to Ileosa without proof.

    The only real change required to this encounter is replacing all Grey Maidens with Sable Company Marines.

    After the party defeats Andaisin, a detachment of Grey Maidens under the authority of Ileosa secure the place.

What Really Happened?

    Ileosa, wanting to cement her own authority over the armed forces while also enduring herself to the city as their savior, coordinated the spread of a disease to create a pandemic. This creates a threat that she can then save the city from. It also allows her to replace the Sable Company Marines, an order not loyal to the crown, with her own loyal Grey Maidens. Using compulsion magic on a number of the Sable Marine Company Ileosa dominates them and places them in the Hospice of the Blessed Maiden so that when the party puts a stop to things there is proof that the Sable Marines are heavily involved.

    Ileosa then hires the Red Mantis and brings in the Cult of Urgathoa to engineer a plague to spread across the city (as well as a cure her chosen heroes will find to save the city.) Fearful of a plague that would actually cause harm to herself she is ensured that the plague can be engineered to exclude those of Cheliax blood from infection.

    With things in place Ileosa dominates Major Maeca Salus of the Sable Company and uses him as the “orchestrator” of things. As far as key villains are concerned Maeca is the one calling the shots. She is determined that the party discovers the role of the Sable Company Marines in what is going on and plans to use this as the perfect opportunity to disband the Sable Company, replacing them with her Grey Maidens.

    Ileosa then ensures the breadcrumbs are laid that will tip off the Korvosan Guard to the nefarious nature of the plague and calls on the party to assist her in stopping it.

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Val'bryn2 wrote:

I have to disagree with you about the legality of the sacrifice. You fail to consider that, since the queen agreed with the sacrifice, that made it legal. As for the girls being charmed, people vastly overrate what charmed means. They treat the caster as a friend, it doesn't override their personal choice. At worst, they are willing to be sacrificed to another deity, just maybe not Asmodeus. Furthermore, their resurrection proves nothing more than 9 of them had no issues with coming back.

People riot for any reason or no reason. The presence of rioting says nothing more than people objected. As an example, the American Revolution began in part as riots against the actions of Britain, despite those actions being fully legal.

I agreement with Val'bryn here. It's pretty clear that, had the sacrifices been willing, they would have been legal and even had the blessing of the queen. The only thing that questioned their legality was the notion that multiple woman seemed to be under a compulsion or charm effect.

Now, making that kind of sacrifice illegal in someone's campaign is totally cool. If you use the source material as a basis for legality though the law seems to indicate that willing vs unwilling is where the line gets drawn.

I've been lax in updating. we had one other session I'll detail soon that included All the World's Meat, the capture of Trinia, and the Dead Warrens. Update will be in my other thread dedicated to the Edge of Anarchy specifically.

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MrVergee wrote:

Necromany is not forbidden within the walls of the city, but stealing corpses, killing people or having undead wander the streets certainly is. So necromancers still have to abide by the rules and laws of the city. The same goes for Asmodeus priests. They cannot make human sacrifices, but they are allowed to operate in the city, sticking mainly to the contract side of their deity (at least openly, Ornher Reebs might develop some very illegal schemes in your campaign behind the screens, if you want him to).

The question then is: why was Rolth expelled from the Acadamae? For doing 'normal' necromancy stuff but breaking the laws of the city (e.g. stealing corpses to experiment upon)? That would never be a necromancy headmaster's judgement. In my campaign the PCs learned that he did not only experiment with flesh golems, he also tried to graft undead flesh upon living tissue, which went too far, even for the Acadamae's standards.

Point of clarification. Human sacrifice (or elven / dwarven / halfling / etc) is not illegal. Sacrifice of unwilling people is illegal. At the opening of the newly created temple to Asmodeus there was a sacrifice of 13 virgin woman offered up. I believe this is detailed in the Guide to Korvosa. Since the 13 virgins were suppose to have been "willing" it was legal.

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While I haven't gotten to this point with my group yet I already plan changing the contents of the adventure dramatically. Instead of focusing on the Shoanti at all this chapter is getting replaced with an adventure where the party frees Kroft from being captured by the Hellknights and unravels more of the mystery of what is going on with Ileosa.

Scarwall is probably changing as well to take place in the dungeon under Castle Korvosa or one of the other dungeons under Korvosa. For a city sitting on a mountain of ancient ruins it's disappointing that the adventure path doesn't really incorporate them much.

Yossarian wrote:

I would have some plan B's in case the players spot the various enchantments and deceptions via a lucky roll or smart spell.

I'm about to start the AP also, am in the middle of making adjustments at the moment, and working on backstories with the players. The biggest change i've made so far is to tack a level 1 module on the front of the AP, in order to provide some 'normal Korvosa' before things get messy. I'm using the Murder's Mark adventure for that, which can be fitted neatly and provides some extra hooks to go after Lamm in chapter 1.

I'll have some plan B in place but I'm pretty sure things will be fine. Actual interaction with the queen is pretty limited and her bluff skill is through the roof so she can probably succeed even if she rolls a 1 against a party member 20. The act of casting spells in her presence would probably cause the offending party member to be tossed in jail (not legal to cast spells in the presence of the ruler without permission) and I'm sure she has something in place to mask her true intentions (the adventure even goes to length to talk about some ways she does that.)

The key is going to be building a rapport with the party so they don't think she is behind it all.

Session One
Note: We usually play monthly in 10-12 hour sessions so are able to get through a decent amount of stuff.

Campaign kicked off with six eager players sitting around the table ready for the Curse of the Crimson Throne. The game is using a modified 3.5 ruleset that replaces the core 3.5 skill system and combat actions with the Pathfinder skill system and Combat Maneuver system (including all feats and reduced power of all class abilities related to Combat Maneuver checks.)

I started the campaign at 2nd level and adjusted early encounters to bump the difficulty. Primarily this was done to make characters more resilient. Since I’m doing the “level when I say level” system of XP it shouldn’t be a problem.

Before our first session, I sent the following email out to the group to set things up.

    The time is upon us, the prey in sight, Gaedren Lamm must die!

    Why you say?

    Each person has their own reasons to want petty crime lord Gaedren Lamm dead but dead they want him.

    Each of the characters, minding their own business around Korvosa, fond themselves in possession of a letter under the most unusual of circumstances. A character could have found the letter hidden in the pages of their spell book, tucked under the altar of their deity, at the bottom of a tankard of ale they swore they just drank, or hiding innocently in the pocket of a person they just picked. How the letter came to your possession, no matter how unpractical, is less important then what the letter says. This letter, sent to so many vastly different people says the same thing.

    I know what Gaedren had done to you. He has wronged me as well. I know where he dwells, yet cannot strike at him directly. Come to my home at 3 Lancet Street at noon tomorrow. Others like you will be there. Others with the same want for Gaedren you do. Gaedren must face his fate, and justice must be done.

    However impractical the situation seems, each of you finds yourself on the way to 3 Lancet Street for a meeting that will shape not only your future but the future of Korvosa herself.

The first session starts with the following characters showing up at Zellara’s abandoned abode.

    Zorach Grayson, Blademage and Ubreakable Stone Fist is a human Warblade / Wizard. Zorach is a native of Korvosa. Once a Lamm’s lamb, Zorach escaped Gaedren and eventually enrolled in Orisini’a Academy (modified into a school that teaches Martial Adepts focusing primarily in Swordsages and to a lesser extend Warblades.) With his blossoming arcane talents, Zorach is splitting time between Orisini’s Academy and Theumanexus College. Zorach fights primarily with a glaive, using his magically powers to enhance his combat abilities. He plans to eventually become a Jade Phoenix Mage.

    Soul Eater is a human Barbarian / Crusader. Little is known about the “savage” Soul Eater though many suspect a traumatic childhood. Soul Eater fights with a greatsword, wears a suite of grotesque spiked armor, and paints his face before battle to instill the fear of the Soul Eater in his foes.

    Ostiver Northgale is a halfling Swashbuckler / Rogue. Having grown up on the streets of Korvosa, Ostiver is well adept at the arts of stabbing people in the back, picking the pockets of nobles, and an important sense of self preservation.

    Llana is a female elf Crusader. A champion of the people Llana specializes in the protection of her companions and the less fortunate around her. Llana fights with the traditional sword and shield and utilizes her Crusader abilities to impede enemies foolish enough to ignore her in battle.

    Stone is by far the biggest enigma in the party. A human Beguiler / Conjuration Specialist Stone is a student of the Academae as Cheswin Arkonas, son of Glorio Arkonas. In reality, Stone is a highly skilled at impersonations. About six months ago, Stone was involved in an accident that resulted in the death of the “real” Cheswin Arkonas (placed by Glorio for his next succession) and has been impersonating Cheswin as a way to gain access to the Academae and further his arcane schooling. Stone has already been “found out” by one of the Arkonas, a distant cousin Emiliana, intent on dethroning Glorio and plotting how to use Stone as part of that plan.

    Liam Stone is the last member of the party. A human Rogue / Cleric, Liam is still unsure his character’s direction.

Zellara’s House

    The party gathered at Zellara’s house making introductions and partaking in the food and wine left on the table. I gave each character that interacted with items in the house a chance to see through the illusion and only Ostiver saw things for what they were (though he didn’t inform the party of this.)

    Zellara showed up and pleaded her case with the party. She knew Lamm’s location and, after explaining her story about how Lamm stole her harrow deck and murdered her son, the party agreed to take him out.

    I skipped the harrow deck reading entirely. While flavorful I just went through the Curse of Strahd adventure that relied heavily on a Tarot deck and didn’t want to repeat themes as much. I think just removing Zellara after Gaedren won’t impact the story in any meaningful way.

Gaedren Lamm

    Finding Lamm’s hideout was an easy task for the party. They wait a few hours until the sun started to set and businesses in the area closeed down before heading in.

    I made modifications to this encounter as a whole (using the same map) to adjust to party size and having a 2nd level party. Gaedren had an additional three dogs roaming the interior. Additionally Gaedren, Yargin, Hookshanks, and Giggles all got upgrades to make them more formidable. Finally a female bard was downstairs with Gaedren.

    The assault on Lamm’s hideout went without much incident. The party sent Liam down the right side boardwalk towards the boat to act as lookout while the Ostiver picked the front door lock and the party headed in.

    Yargin and Hookshanks were the first to fall. The party stumbled into Yargin catching him by surprise as he was beating on a pair of Lamm’s Lambs. After the surprise round Yargin and his dog put up a feeble effort but despite his upgrade to Alchemist, Yargin easily fell. During the fight, Hookshanks rallied the Lambs in the Upper Workroom and they rushed to flank the party making feeble attacks. Hookshanks was able to get in a few good blows disguised as a Lamb before a Color Spray ended him. The party took care not to harm the Lambs instead resorting to diplomacy and intimidate to keep them at bay. Finally defeated the party left Hookshanks and Yargin tied up and freed the Lambs. Zorach supplied the Lambs with some coin and a place to stay.

    The party set up a three prong attack on the Fishery Floor using the entrances from inside the building (they failed to pick the door off the left side boardwalk.) Giggles was prepared for the party. The boardwalk door, right side door, and left side door each had a dog ready to pounce on anyone coming through it while Giggles stood prepared at the middle door into the Fishery Floor.

    Stone opened the door to the fishery first and thus became the first party member to drop into unconsciousness (though didn’t die.) Giggles stood ready and in surprise (Stone made no attempts to see if anything was on the other side) it took just one mighty blow from Giggles flail and Stone lay on the ground. This fight was a bit tougher for the party but eventually Zorach ended Giggles decapitating the half orc, whose head flew into the vat of fish stew.

    With the majority of the complex secured but Lamm nowhere in sight the party questioned Hookshanks as Yargin was unconscious having taken a large dose of nonlethal damage. Hookshanks cut a deal with the party. He’d spill the beans on Lamm if the party let him walk away. An agreement was made and Hookshanks let the party know Lamm was hiding out in a room beneath the building accessible by the boat.

    At this point we had the first signs of party conflict! Hookshanks felt he provided his end of the deal and demanded to be let free. Stone decided to question Hookshanks on a number of other things related to Lamm’s operation and clients and such to which Hookshanks didn’t answer pointing out that wasn’t part of the deal. Stone grew upset and lobbed a few Acid Orbs (from the wand found on Yargin). Having been captured at nearly full hit points Hookshanks wasn’t too phased by the d3 damage done to him Soul Eater cut him loose (to the shock of Stone). Hookshanks bolted out the door calling the party “oppressors!”

    After that there was a brief discussion about waking up Yagrin to get more information. Some quick math determined it would be hours before Yagrin healed enough nonlethal damage to awaken and the party lacked any sort of healer. The ask from Stone to use one of the cure light potions the party found was quickly rebuffed in favor of healing injured party members.

    Then started the discussion on how to reach Lamm and why the party doesn’t just hack up the wooden floor between them and Lamm. That went on for about a half hour of real time before the players gave up when they realized the amount of HPs and hardness they’d need to overcome.

    Fearful of the shark Ostiver kept seeing circling the fishery, the party tossed Giggles into the river to distract it, effectively removing it from the fight. Still to add a bit of suspense during the final encounter with Gaedren, I had a die I referred to as the “Shark Die” That I would tick down while I made comments about how the shark seemed a little closer each round. In reality the die didn’t mean anything besides adding a bit of tension to things.

    Finally the party headed for the boat and made quick work of the spiders that Hookshanks neglected to inform them of (though someone in the party did mention he might not have known about them…..) The party headed down the cramped boardwalk to Gaedren’s Playground taking care to send people in spaced out.

    By the time the party headed into the room Gaedren and the mysterious female bard were ready. Both had invisibility spells active allowing Gaedren to get in sneak attack and the bard to hide before making a suggestion on Llana (in heavy armor) to jump into the pool with Gobblegut. This fight was fierce and in the end the party killed Gaedren though the mysterious bard managed to escape down the boardwalk before the party could stop her. I’ll be sure to use her again later in the adventure (probably in the warehouse raid.)

    With all threats neutralized the party looted the place finding the treasure mentioned including Zellara’s head, her deck, the ledger book, and the queen’s brooch.

Visiting Royalty

    First of all the party stopped at Zellara’s house interested to see how they could have found Zellara’s head weeks dead when they spoke to her just that day. At Zellara’s the party found an empty one room house and a mention from Ostiver that “oh yeah it was all an illusion.” Soul Eater became sad when he realized that also meant his dinner was an illusion too.

    A quick visit to Gemshare Jewelers and the party learned they had a piece of jewelry that belonged to the queen. Deciding the proper course of action involved getting a reward for returning the jewelry, Stone grew excited to use his clout as an Arkonas to secure an audience with the queen and return the jewelry. Getting an audience with the king and queen proved a simple task though the actually introduction ended up pretty hilarious.

    Before being brought before the king, the court attendant asked each member of the party what they wanted to be introduced as. Stone attempted to take over the show informing the attendant that they should be introduced as “Cheswin Arkonas of house Arkonas and entourage.” Zorach spoke up providing his own title as Zorach Grayson, Blademage and Unbreakable Stone Fist and Ostiver preferred to just be known as Ostiver. Llana and Liam each accepted they would be the entourage while Soul Eater wanted to be called what he is. Soul Eater! So the introduction went something like this….

    In a loud and clear voice the attendant of the court announced “You Majesty I announce to you Zorach Grayson, Blademage and Unbreakable Stone Fist, Mister Ostiver, Cheswin Arkonas of house Arkonas and entourage and the Soul Eater.” The look of horror on Cheswin’s face started when he wasn’t announced first and grew when Soul Eater got announced. It was priceless.

    Regardless, the party met the king who thanks them for the return of the jewelry and rewarded them with a chest of gold bars for their effort. The king then mentioned that there is still work to be done and the party could help. He gave them a contract to end the delays plaguing a road built through the mountains that would better connect Korvosa with Chelliax to the south. The road ran into issues in the Bloodsworn Vale.

    After the contract, the king started coughing and is ushered away by the queen. The queen also turned to thank the party for what they have done and say she looks forward to hearing about their success in the Bloodsworn Vale. She then turns back to the king expressing her worry for his health and how she couldn’t live with the thought of anything happening to him.

    Seneschal Kalepopolis escorted the party to the castle quartermaster where they can gather supplies for their journey to the Bloodsworn Vale.

Bloodsworn Vale

    The journey to the Bloodsworn Vale took a few days but was without incident. During this time Stone read over the contract provided by the king bemoaning a clause in the contract requiring the party to surrender 10% of all treasure found as tax to the crown.

    Arriving at Fort Thorn, the party learned they aren’t the only visitors. A group of Hellknights from the Order of Nial rode through the vale two days ago and were contacted by the fort and offered payment if they could end the threat to the road workers. Disgruntled by the competition for the job, the party met with Sir Gyrad Tolgrith, head of Fort Thorn and the one in charge of the road construction. Tolgrith told the party that construction fell behind schedule as workers had recently gone missing on multiple occasions. At first only one or two would vanish but just two days ago an entire work crew of eight failed to return. Tolgrith sent out scouts to investigate but hasn’t learned any more then the location of the missing crew’s camp about eight miles to the east.

    Some investigation turned up a few leads including

  • Where did these attacks occur?
    “About eight miles from here, just off one of the finished parts of the trail. I can give you a simple map.”

  • Weren’t the men armed?
    “Of the eight, six were workers and two were my soldiers. The scouts reported that it looked like they put up no fight, and there were no other bodies found.”

  • What should we do with the attackers?
    “We do not have a jail or even a magistrate here in the vale. Nonetheless, I want these butchers brought to justice. If that means they must be put to the sword, so be it.”

  • How long do we have?
    “I would like you to leave as soon as possible to solve this problem. The road must be open in two months’ time and delays like this one make that deadline seem unlikely. Perhaps we can catch up, but only if you solve this problem quickly.”

  • What other creatures inhabit this vale?
    “A group of goblins hold up in the east across the Petal River in a cave complex while a tribe of lizardman have a village on the western shore of Mist Lake. While neither have been hostile towards Fort Thorn or the workers working on the road, I wouldn’t put hostile acts past those kind. If I had the troops I wouldn’t mind seeing them routed out of the vale entirely.”

  • What of the Hellknights here?
    "The Hellknights happened to cross through the Vale just yesterday and offered assistance for the right amount of coin. I took them up on their offer fearful Korvosa would not send aid in time. Between the two of you, though, I'm now confident we will get to the bottom of this!"

  • Is there anything else we should know?
    “Now that you mention it, there is one other thing. The people of this community do not yet know the fate of the workers. I ask for your discretion in this matter until it is resolved.”

    The party decided to start off at the camp after learning that the Hellknights intend to visit the lizardman and goblin camps but pretty sure those are just dead end leads. The abandoned camp is in disarray with tents torn open, food supplies riffled through, and tracks of a large sized animal leading off to the west. Before following the tracks the party investigated the camp and learned a few things. The tracks of the animal to the west were more recent then the disappearance of the camp workers. The workers wandered off to the north along a river bed. Finally the party found a rose thorn fletched arrow shot by a small sized creature sticking out of one branch.

    The party decided to follow the tracks left by the workers. These tracks went north along the river bed then across the river and ended up in a grove of rose thorn bushes.

    At the Fey Court of the Roseblood Sprites half the party succumbs to a sleep trap and are dragged underground into the sprite lair while the rest of the party attempted to communicate with the sprites and figure out what’s going on. Llana and Liam followed the sprites dragging Soul Eater, Zorach, and Stone underground while Ostiver caught movement out of the corner of his eye from a copse of trees to the north. He went to investigate.

    In the sprite lair Zorach, Stone, and Soul Eater were roused awake and joined by Llana and Liam for an audience with the Roseblood King. The Roseblood King offered food and drink to the party of which only Soul Eater partook. The extremely biter food reacted with Soul Eater’s failed Fort save and he got enraged demanding answers from the king as to why they are there. The king mocked his weak stomach and Soul Eater raged then charged him rolling a 1 on his charge attack. The king then used suggestion on Soul Eater to calm down and return to his friends. Soul Eater rolled a 1 on the save! The king let the party know he was delighted they showed up and has just the thing for the party to do!

    Meanwhile in the grove Ostiver investigated the copse of trees he saw movement by and found a nymph (who had graciously suppressed her blinding aura.) The nymph and Ostiver had a little conversation where the nymph took a liking to Ostiver and informed him that it was her that charmed the missing workers in hopes that they could help with a matter of grave importance to the roseblood sprites that worship her.

    About this time the rest of the party was brought up to the nymph who can hardly contain her excitement. The party then learned the truth of what’s been happening. For the past month a family of Owlbears had been attacking the Roseblood Sprites in search of new sources of food. The Rosebllod Sprites beseeched upon the nymph to save them. Glad for the newly enthusiastic worship, the nymph instructed the sprites to kidnap the humans that have recently come to the Bloodsworn Vale. The sprites would then bring the humans before the nymph who would charm the humans, arm them with spears, and send them to either kill off the owlbears or satiate the owlbear craving for food. Either outcome worked for the nymph as it kept the owlbears from harassing the sprites. Horrified at the cruel disregard for life the party finally agreed to put an end to the owlbears (bringing back proof of their deed) in return for assurances that the nymph or sprites would leave the humans be. To assure they would return with proof the nymph demanded something left behind and the party decided to leave a magical kukri they got off Gaedren Lamm with the nymph.

    The owlbears put up some fight but died a quick death. In the caves the party found the remains of a dozen mostly eaten humans as well as three owlbear eggs. They took the eggs hoping to sell them back in Korvosa and returned to the nymph with the heads of the owlbears.

    On the way back there was another heated party debate that took a good 45 minutes of real world time centered around what to do with the nymph. Sending humans to their death wasn’t a good aligned thing to do (nymph are usually CG) so the party surmised that this nymph must have been corrupted to evil. They didn’t want to let a nymph that would charm and slaughter humans off the hook and thought of plans to attack the nymph. On the side of slay nymph stood Zorach Grason intent to end any threat to evil in the land while on the side of “WTF this nymph will kill us all!” stood Ostiver not wanting to mess with a nymph that was three times the level of the party. In the end team Ostiver won out and the party decided the best course of action would be informing the fort about the sprites and suggesting they stay clear of them. Personally I thought this encounter had a great conclusion. I love challenging my players with morally difficult decisions like leaving behind an evil nymph because they lacked the means to deal with it. In reality a fight against the nymph would have been extremely difficult. The blind aura alone could have ended the party (DC 26 save for 2nd level characters!)

    Back at Fort Thorn, the party learned that the Hellknights investigated both the goblins and lizardman leaving burnt camps and slaughtered villages at both locations. It turned out that the Hellknights idea of investigation involved a purge by fire. The party took an instant dislike towards the Hellknights.

    The party also ended up selling the owlbear eggs to Tolgrith for a few hundred gold each (a fraction of their black market value) after deciding that the bureaucracy required to sell them in Korvosa wasn’t worth the effort. Got to love LN cities!

    That night, the party awoke to sounds of the Hellknights hastily pulling out of Fort Thorn and heading at all due speed west. No one at the Fort knew why they did so and the party decides to return to Korvosa and claim their pay for a job done.

The King is Dead! Long Live the Queen!

    With their job in Bloodsworn Vale complete, the party headed back to Korvosa. Rounding a turn the party got their first sign things were not as they should be when plumes of smoke rose from the city.

    Getting closer they started to make out flying forms zooming over the city then fireballs exploding in the sky. Finally reaching the city gates they learned that the king had died five days ago sparking mass rioting and calls of anarchy with one guard mentioning “those damn anarchists trying to make Korvosa a hell like Kaer Maga.”

    In the city the party made their way to Citadel Volshyenek to cash in on their completed contract. The journey to the citadel went without incident though the party did see a troop of Hellknights obliterate a group of rioters and protesters without any mercy. This just reinforced how much the party hated the Hellknights.

    At Citadel Volshyenek the party met with head of the Korvosan Guard Cressida Kroft. Tired after multiple days without sleep, Kroft secured payment for the contract and asked the party if they were interested in any additional work. She mentioned that both the guard and Sable Company Marines were overwhelmed trying to keep order and each time they stop one uprising they learn about another two.

    About this time a priest of Abadar entered and cast a spell to remove fatigue from Kroft. Kroft thanksed the priest then mentioned to the party, after the priest left, that Abadar sure is making a heft profit off the riots.

    She then went on to tell the party about a situation that needs a delicate hand to resolve. A former guard captain Verik Vancaskerkin deserted the guard and took a few members of the guard with him. They have been holed up in a place called All the World’s Meat. Kroft wanted the party to capture Vancaskerkin alive and bring him back to Kroft so he could be questioned about why he deserted.

    The party agreed and the session ended.

If the PCs never meet the queen in the first chapter doesn't really impact things. The only important thing is that the PCs start to work for the Korvosan Guard. You can still have Kroft reach out to the PCs, impressed that they cleared out Lamm's hideout and offer them additional work.

Meeting the queen is nice to set attmosphere but isn't vital to anything that actually happens.

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I've started the Edge of Anarchy with my party. Getting ready I made a number of modification (many can be see in my previous post). This thread will contain the outline for the Edge of Anarchy module that I'll be using along with the per session breakdown of how things played out. I've made a good amount of modifications to how things flow making changes to the backstory to better link all the modules together.

Curse of the Crimson Throne – Edge of Anarchy Outline

Pre Campaign
Ileosa Arvanxi….

    Minor noble of House Arvanxi in Cheliax.
    A devil worshiper of Mahathallah learns about Sorshen, the runelord of lust, and a device deep beneath the backwater “colony” of Korvosa that would grant Ileosa eternal life.
    Knows that the Everdawn Pool will require the blood of Korvosa to activate.

Five years ago….

    A young 19 year old Ileosa made her way to Korvosa and manipulated her way into the King’s bed and his heart.
    They were married in under 6 months.
    Over the next four years Ileosa gained a reputation amongst the city as a promiscuous spoiled rich brat more interested in her life of luxury then the king or ruling Korvosa.

Two months ago….

    Ileosa stumbled across the Fang of Kazavon.
    Imbued with the strength of Kazavon’s spirit and emboldened by his cruelty Ileosa decided the time was right to seize control of Korvosa.
    Worked with the Red Mantis and tricked the king’s own brother Venster into poisoning Eodred with an illness neither medicine or magic could cure.

Campaign Starts
Meeting a King….

    King Eodred on his deathbed, though he takes all efforts to convince others to the contrary.
    The party dispatches Gaedren Lamm, recovers the Queen’s brooch, and in returning it to the palace gains an audience with the king and queen.
    Get the impression that Ileosa is a loving wife worried about her ill husband and grateful for the party for returning her jewelry.
    The king acts the part of a gracious king, rewarding the party for their efforts.
    King provides the party with additional work, a mission to the Bloodsworn Vale to uncover activity that threatens the completion of a major road that promises to bring in more trade from Cheliax.
    The party spends a week or so in the Bloodsworn Vale uncovering who is killing off the workers building the road through the mountains towards Cheliax.

Back in Korvosa….

    King has pasted away and the crown now sits on the head of his “Whore Queen” wife Ileosa.
    King rumored to have died from advanced leprosy that resisted all attempts at healing.
    Rioting dominates the streets providing opportunities for criminal elements to thrive and bringing in a swift and cruel response from the Order of Nail at request from the throne.
    Ileosa calls upon her Red Mantis allies to dispose of the Seneschal Neolandus Kalepopolis, eager to replace him with someone more akin to her disposition.
    She also has Venester murdered to prevent him from talking about Ileosa’s role in killing the king.
    Party meets Cressida Kroft who hires them for a series of missions.

All The World’s Meat

    Party sent to deal with a group of Korvosan guard deserters.
    Let by Verik Vancaskerkin leading a gang that calls themselves the Cow Hammer Boys.
    Cow Hammer Boys, under the orders of Verik, hire themselves out to deal with “problems” using he bodies at food to feed the masses of starving people.
    Verik is working under orders of his lover “Meliya” to recruit a peasant army capable of going all French revolution on the throne.

Ambassador’s Letters

    Kroft sends the party to retrieve the embarrassing letters of Cheliaxian ambassador Darvayne Gios Amprei.
    Amprei blackmailed by Meliya to provide funding and support for the revolution.
    Letters stored at Eel’s End by crime boss Devargo.
    Amprei comes clean once he gets his letters back regretting that he doesn’t have much info to share just that he was making anonymous gold drops every over night to avoid embarrassment.

King’s Murderer

    Ileosa learns that the death of her husband may not have been natural causes but murder.
    A guard captain comes forward with information that two guards under his duty recently went missing.
    Letters found in the guard’s barrack led the captain to believe that they were supplying poison to a painter Trinia Sabor to use in poisoning the king.
    Queen reaches out to the party to find this painter and bring her alive to the castle so she can face justice for what she’s done.

Finding the Guards

    Kroft gives the party mission to find the two missing guards that were supplying the poison.
    Track the guards down to the Grey District and the Dead Warrens.
    Party learns that Rolth has an agreement with Meliya to supply constructs to assist in her attempt to overthrow the throne.
    Guards are found dead, their body parts used in a pair of carrion golems Rolth intents to deliver to Meliya.
    Party finds reference to where Meliya is staging the attempted coup.

Preventing revolution

    Kroft lets the party lead a detachment of guards with the support of the Order of Nail and Sable Company Marines to raid the warehouse and put an end of the threat.
    During the fight Meliya gets away but the party is able to put down the resistance.
    Party finds evidence that Meliya was working for House Arkonas.

Justice be done

    Ileosa thanks the party for their efforts and invites them to the palace for a party in their honor.
    At the party the trial of Trinia Sabor occurs.
    The trail is overseen by the high priest of Asmodeus.
    Trinia admits guilt, insults the queen, and cries out that only anarchy can free Korvosa from corruption.
    Headsman arrives and the execution gets underway.
    Blackjack appears from nowhere and saves Trinia, giving his speech against the queen, and escapes.

What Really Happened?

    Meliya is actually Ileosa.
    Ileosa planned the revolution and laid the seed to place blame on rival house Arkonas.
    The guards didn’t actually supply the poison and Trinia didn’t actually administer it. Ileosa used her strong enchantment powers to force the confessions out of them as a way to strengthen her own position with the public and place more suspicion on house Arkonas.

After the chaos of the failed execution, things in Korvosa return to normal. The Hellknights from the Order of Nail return to their castle outside the city and the state of anarchy returns to the law and order the city is known for with Ileosa behind the throne.

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First session coming up on Saturday and narrowed in on all the modifications for Chapter One.

Adventure starts off as per the Adventure Path. Party meets up at Zellara's house (before the campaign each player has already been sent the message from Zellara to meet up at her house.) The message specifies a meeting at noon to reduce the chances the party busts up the Old Fishery at night.

Old Fishery is mostly unchanged. I added some additional mobs and used beefed up versions of the named mobs I got from Skeld.

I've also used the idea that Skeld had to send the party off to the Bloodsworn Vale. The king (still alive) commissions the party to investigate delays in a road to Cheliax at the behest of the Sable Company Marines. I've taken parts of the Conquest of the Bloodsworn Vale adventure modifying it to suit my desire for a short excursion from the city (3-4 days would be perfect.)

Bloodsworn Vale will have the party look into road workers that have recently gone missing and include four main encounters

  • There is a goblin and lizardman villages in the vale. Though they have never been hostile towards Fort Thorn or the workers they are the first suspects. Both tribes are innocent and should the party travel to visit them will find a group of Hellknights recently brought to the vale cleaning them out.
  • A drake was spotted around the vale and investigation of the worker's campsite indicates that the drake might be involved in the attacks. The party can track it back to it's lair and dispose of it. No sign of the missing people show up in the drake's lair though.
  • Deeper investigation into the worker camp site will lead the party to a grove of roseblood sprites that worship a nymph that lives near their village. The nymph made a deal with a family of owlbears to provide tribute, in the form of living sacrifices, to the owlbears in return the owlbears would leave the nymph and her sprite worshipers alone. The nymph uses the sprites to lure in workers that then get charmed and shipped off to the owlbears for dinner. A nymph and village of sprites is a bit much for a 2nd level party to clear out so hopefully they offer to dispose of the owlbears in return for the nymph to call off stealing workers!
  • Owlbears are the ones eating workers as snacks and the party can lay the smack down on them!

Once done the party returns to Korvosa to find the place in utter chaos.

From here I'll run things mostly by the book just adding in a few encounters.

  • Hellknight Justice - This encounter consists of four Hellknights stopping a dozen looters from ransacking local villages. When the party comes across them the Hellknights have the looters tied up and the leader of the Hellknight patrol is pronouncing judgement on them. Ofcourse that judgement is execution with plans to string the dead bodies up along the street as a warning to any other would be looters. Before the executions happen the Hellknights get attacked by arrows and run off in chase leaving just one of their patrol behind to complete the executions. That lone patrol will be aided by a pair of Legion Devils that show up. The party can intervene, ignore what's happening, or attempt to speak with the Hellknight and even convince him to allow the party to take the looters to the Korvosa Guard.
  • Marine Down! - This encounter I've stolen from Turelus and you can find it here.
  • Dusters - In this encounter the party runs afoul of a group of Dusters looking to shake down the party for some quick gold. This could set the stage for move involved Duster action in later chapters.

I'll post how things went next week! I expect we'll get about half way through the Chapter One material over the weekend (we usually play 10-12 hour sessions.)

Think when my party gets to History of Ashes I'm going to keep the party entirely in the city. The assault on the Grey Maidens in the Mantis and Maidens section of History of Ashes is pretty good and I'll run the party through that. I think I'm going to include proof around what Ileosa is actually doing in the compound.

To make up for the cut material I've got an idea. Croft gets taken into custody by the Hellknights and taken away to the Hellknight base of operations within Korvosa (or perhaps Citadel Vraid.) The party needs to get her back. This probably involves infiltration into the Hellknight compound she is held in.

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Lanathar wrote:

What is VITAL is that they craft characters that are likely to stick together after the fishery and have a deep love and connection to the city (ideally family or something). Anything that is not going to make them jump on a ship and sail to Magnimar (or Absalom) at the first sign of trouble

My solution to this was to tell the players that the campaign would be about saving the city of Korvosa from bad stuff about to happen to it. I then gave them to details of the city (recaps from the Guide to Korvosa book) and told them that whatever characters they made, it would be up to them to create characters that WANT to save this city. In that way I'm forming a social contract with the players in the game so we have a shared understanding of what to expect from the campaign.

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My idea was to have Kazavon erupt out of the slain body of Ileosa and their fight against him the ultimate encounter of the campaign. Since one of my players is basically playing the reborn soul of one of the original party to contain Kazavon in the first place I think this makes a lot of sense and should bring closure to that character's personal story arc.

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Finished up with book six and I've got some work ahead of me.

The part about aiding the rebellion is great stuff but I'll need to elaborate on this. Has anyone come up with a system to track party progress towards aiding the rebellion or any other Adventure Paths that introduce such a system?

Initial idea is to break down the city into logical groups. This could include...

  • City Guard
  • Sable Company Marines
  • Hellknights
  • Shopkeepers
  • Cerulean Society
  • Shoanti
  • Noble Houses
  • Etc

Then as the players interact with or do things either favorable or opposed to the various organizations around the city they will earn a reputation score with that group. When the times comes to rally the troops in the final act this reputation score will play a key role in how successful the party is at finding missions and allies to oppose the queen.

Next up....

Was anyone else put off about the introduction of Sorshen, the Runelord of Lust, in chapter six? I don't think she was mentioned or alluded to anywhere else that I can remember in the book but all of a sudden she is the driving force behind what the Ileosa is doing in chapter six. I don't want to remove her. Most of my group is playing through Rise of the Runelords now (one of my players is the DM and I'm playing in the game) and I think they will love the little things that link the two adventure paths together (they are going to love the part Vorel Foxglove plays in the plague) but as is I feel Ileosa just randomly learning about Sorshen in the final chapter and making her grand plan right at the end of the adventure path lackluster.

I'm thinking of ways to introduce Sorshen from the start. Most likely Ileosa found the book before the campaign starts and has coveted eternal life but lacked the guts to actually do anything about it. She knew all about the Everdawn Pool and lusts to activate it knowing the sacrifice required but it wasn't until Kazavon's influence she could act on those desires.

How can I lay the seeds of this from the beginning without giving away the queen as a vain unlikable person. She is savvy enough to manipulate a party of low level adventures without breaking a sweet after all.

Any ideas? Maybe there is a spread of Lustful crimes around the cities as the riot happen caused by a runewell of Lust activating in the vaults under the city when Ileosa tapped into Kazavon?

I'm also pretty sure I need to move the Sunken Queen portion of the adventure to occur in the Pyramid under Castle Korvosa. This just makes to much sense. The idea of Ileosa activating a machine that will wipe out the city of Korvosa from under Korvosa makes way more sense then activating the machine from hundreds of miles away....

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MrVergee wrote:
I don't know if you've read my journal, but it contains similar elements to the ones you're planning on using, like the PCs working for the seemingly innocent queen first, more focus on Korvosa, more foreshadowing, clearer introduction of the Gray Maidens, the king dying while the PCs are out of town, so the riots have time to grow ... I also kept the PCs more in Korvosa (I skipped Scarwall and had an alternative storyline in Korvosa instead). Anyway, you're welcome to mine my log for inspiration, although it is quite lengthy to read.

I started reading through your campaign journal. Some really good stuff there!

Skeld wrote:
I also did something similar to this: the King was alive, but sickly, and the Queen appeared concerned about him and his condition.

Your thread is the one that gave me the idea!

tonyz wrote:
As far as getting the Hellknights on your side goes, that's Neolandus' job: the seneschal has the ability to depose the monarch. So that lets the Hellknights act. Of course, they still may have to be convinced to act, which might involve some negotations... maybe even a sidequest or two.

I've got some ideas about the Hellknights. One option is to have the party uncover records from the queen that she has no intention of paying the Hellknights for their services rendered. As an organization purely in it for the gold that should cause them some second doubts.

Chapter Six: Crown of Fangs
Haven’t gotten this far but I know I want to involve the Hellknights and an opportunity for the party to convince the Hellknights that Ileosa is actually stringing them along and they can switch sides to bring her down as her chaotic vision is an affront on lawful order or something like that.

Chapter Five: Skeleton of Scarwall
Haven’t gotten this far. 

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Chapter Four: A History of Ashes
I already know Chapter Four is going to need significant work. I want the party to start in Korvosa for this chapter. The Hellknights are going to play a larger role here. Possibly Croft will be arrested by the Queen and held by the Hellknights. The party can break her out and learn more about what’s really going on. Croft still isn’t convinced the queen is evil yet but she’s learned about Deathhead Vault and knows the answers to who is behind it all is there. The party can assault the place, learn about the truth of the Grey Maidens, and find evidence that Ileosa is really behind it all.  

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Chapter Three: Escape from Old Korvosa
Real real rough thoughts. The party won’t be forced to flee Korvosa at the end of Chapter Three. I want them to stick around for parts of Chapter Four where the real Ileosa gets revealed. 

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Chapter Two: Seven Days to the Grave
I’m not at the point where I’m planning encounters for this chapter yet so this is going to be more generalized thoughts that will develop as we get closer to running Chapter Two.

Initial Thoughts
I want to use this chapter to create the circumstances under which the Grey Maidens come to power. To that end I’ll change the motivation of why Ileosa brought the plague to Korvosa. This plague is meant to accomplish three things. First, create a state of chaos in the city focused in an area that Ileosa doesn’t care about (the poor). Second, provide the answer to the chaos so she can publicly declare victory and establish order under her leadership. Third, replace the Sable Company Marines with her own Grey Maidens.

Ileosa will be the one that brings in the party to investigate what is happening as a personal favor for the queen. Doctor Davaulus and the Queen’s Physicians will have evidence planted by the Red Mantis (working for Ileosa) pointing blame at the Arkonas family. This will cause the Arkonas family to cry foul and lead to their actions in Chapter Three. In reality the doctor and physicians were working for Ileosa as written.

The Grey Maidens present in the Chapter assisting with the plague will be replaced with Sable Company Marines that Ileosa charmed to do her deeds (she is suppose to be a high level enchanter after all!) The Grey Maidens are going to make an entrance right at the end of the Chapter supporting the party in their final push to deal with the temple and then to deliver the antidote to the city that the party develops. This will give the Queen the perfect reason to disband the Sable Company Marines and replace them with the Grey Maidens in Chapter Three without anyone suspicious as to why she is doing it.

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Chapter One: Edge of Anarchy
Heavily influenced by the amazing work of Skeld and ideas of others on the forums I plan to make the following changes to Edge of Anarchy.

Story Changes

  • The king is still alive after the party deals with Gaedren Lamm. When the party finally returns the brooch to the queen they have an audience with both the king and queen that will portray the queen as a very loving and worried wife scared of the thought of ruling should anything happen to her husband. The queen makes it a point to personally thank the party, perhaps even taking an interest in one of the party members she plots to build a deeper connection with in the future.
  • The party will be introduced to Marcus Endrin who has need of a party of adventurers to investigate some disappearances plaguing a small mining town to the east of Korvosa. He hires the party for the job and sends them on their way. The primary purpose of this is to get the party out of the town such that the descent into anarchy feels less sudden on the party. Thanks to Skeld for the great idea and basis of the side adventure! In addition to removing the party from Korvosa as the city falls to chaos this gives the party a great opportunity to interact with the Hellnknights while learning what law and order from a LE organization is like. I plan for the Hellknights to play a large role throughout the entire campaign.
  • The Dead Warrens encounter will see some minor modifications. Instead of retrieving the body parts from the murdered Shoanti, the party is sent to retrieve an amulet he wore. This amulet will bear the symbol of the Jade Phoenix Mage providing a link between the ancient Jade Phoenix Mages, the Shoanti, and the Cinderlands that becomes centerpiece in later chapters.
  • Intertwine NPC appearances from key players in later chapters and lay the foundation for the Grey Maidens recruitment drive. These could be mentions in passing or mini encounters designed to give the party a deeper involvement in Korvosa and the people that shape it.

Mechanics Changes

  • Given the size of the party most encounters need to be modified to accommodate for the greater party power. To do this I’ll be adding to the number of opponents in each encounter as well as improving the ability of key opponents the party faces. Each change I’ll document when I recap the party exploits in the coming months.

Keys to Accomplish in Chapter One

  • Have the party learn more about and build ties with Korvosa. This could be a favorite bar or restaurant, getting in good with the Korvosa Guard or the Sable Company Marines, developing commerce ties to sell looted items, discover shop keepers that can assist them in finding rare magical items, or building relationships with underworld elements.
  • Introduce future NPCs with key story roles early and allow the party to interact with them before their time in the story comes.
  • Keep the queen seeming innocent through the chapter so her turn later in the story has more meaning.

The Mining Town (Rough Outline)
Party arrives at the Mining Town and learns that the Hellknights have also just arrived. Learn that the town has had a number of disappearances over the past few months (5 total occurances).
The Hellknights heard about the problems and offered the leader of the town to solve the problem for a nominal fee to which the leader agreed.

Party uncovers a few leads.

  • There is a tribe of goblins and lizardfolk that have both been neutral towards the town historically but have recently started to squabble with each other. About a month ago that squabble lead to a mining cart carrying ore back from one of the mines in the mountains getting attacked and damaged. No one was seriously injured but the town has always disliked having fowl creatures like goblins and lizardfolk so close making them easy scape goats. In reality neither the goblins or lizardfolk have ever caused problems for the town before. Should the party investigate they will learn that the Hellknights eradicated one of the villages ( the first the party visits) and is laying siege to the next one the party visits. The Hellknights are vicious in their assault leaving no goblin or lizardfolk alive even going out of their way to track down and kill anyone trying to flee.
  • Tracking the nearby area will uncover some bear tracks the party can follow back to a cave of bears. Though vicious the bears don’t actually have anything to do with the disappearances.
  • Deeper into the mountains past both the goblin and lizardfolk homes lives a nymph worshipped by a small coven of pixies. About two months ago a pair of owlbears migrated into the area and has been causing all sorts of problems for the nymph. Eager to server their goddess, the pixies learned they can satiate the owlbears if they drop off unsuspecting humans every week or so. Here the party can either wipe out the pixies and nymph or make a deal with the nymph to kill the owlbears in return for her promise to leave the mining town alone.

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The Party
So far I only have concrete information on one party member (still lacking a name)

Player #1 Human Warblade (Book of 9 Swords) / Wizard / Jade Phoenix Mage (Bo9S). The first player to submit his character idea wants to play a character that started off training in magic at the Theumanexus College and swordplay at the Orisini Academy. He wanted to stay true to the fluff of the Jade Phoenix Mage but adapted to something relevant to Golarion. This all worked out perfectly!

  • Having a character with ties to Theumanexus College would help the party out with their arcane needs while ties to Orisini Academy would give the character greater positive relationship with Grau and Vencarlo.
  • The Jade Phoenix Mage backstory was also easy to adapt in such a way that this character could feel central to the unfolding story. For those that don’t know the history of the Jade Phoenix Mage, heavily abbreviated, involves a great evil that the original 13 Jade Phoenix Mages contained when they learned that it wouldn’t be possible to destroy the evil. The souls of the 13 Jade Phoenix Mages are reborn again and again (a Phoenix like cycle of rebirth) in new Jade Phoenix Mages to ensure that this great evil never wakes again. I made Kazavon the great evil that the Jade Phoenix Mages contained giving the character a great conclusion to his personal story arc at the end of the campaign.

Player #2 Possibly Halfling Rogue going Whsiperknife (Races of Wild)

Player #3 Possibly Barbarian / Crusader (Book of 9 Swords) This player likes to pick class combinations that seem counter to each other and make them work. Last campaign he played a Paladin / Monk.

Player #4 Human Beguiler (Player’s Handbook 2) / Wizard / Ultimate Magus (Complete Mage)

Player #5 Talks about being some kind of skill monkey and threatens me with Spellthief (Complete Adventurer) but that class sucks!

Player #6 Can’t make up his mind

Player #7 No clue

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I will be starting my Curse of the Crimson Throne campaign in a few weeks. The party consists of 5 to 7 players (depending on who shows for a session.) All players have played extensively with each other over the past 10+ years so there is good player synergy at the table. We are all friends at the gaming table and outside of gaming.

Goal of this thread

While I like the CotCT adventure path a lot there are some modifications I plan to make (both small and large) to tailor the experience to my players and the type of game I like to run. My hope is this thread will help me work through those modifications, document how things turned out, and get feedback from the larger community.

Overarching Story Vision
I want to accomplish a few things with the story that will drive all the changes I make.

  • Queen Ileosa is a master of manipulation and should be played as one. She isn’t going to let slip the horrible things she plans for the city. Instead she should use all of her skills to manipulate the party into being her pawns and only be revealed as the villain she is after considerable effort by the players to find out what is really going on.
  • The campaign should focus primarily on the city of Korvosa with adventures happening outside of Korvosa only if there is a very compelling reason why those things couldn’t happen within the city.
  • Korvosa needs to come alive as a city of people living honest lives trying to better themselves. Korvosa is a LN city meaning most of the people in the city are law abiding and on the level with those they deal business with. This is a city worth saving not a den of scum and villainy best left to burn.
  • NPCs and factions introduced over the course of the campaign should be recurring and meaningful to the party and story unfolding.
  • The story should weave in character backgrounds whenever possible giving the characters a greater connection to the events unfolding around them.

Game Mechanics
I’m playing this as a 3.5 campaign with moderate Pathfinder influences.

  • We will be using the Pathfinder skill system with modification to how class skills work. At character creation each character can select any skill to place their skill ranks in. They gain training in all those skills. While this makes it easier for a character to gain training in a skill (such as a Stealthy Fighter.) I feel this gives players more flexibility to make flavorful characters without the need to multiclass to make skills work.
  • The Pathfinder CMB / CMD system will get adapted for the campaign. Feats related to combat maneuvers (Trip / Sunder / Grapple / etc) will use the Pathfinder version over the 3.5 version and all bonuses from 3.5 material related to combat maneuvers will be halved.
  • We will be using a few subsystems such as Intrigue, Contacts, and Reputation to track how the characters relate to and can interact with the various factions that operate in Korvosa.


I just got my order for the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game Skulls and Shackles set today and noticed that I got two sets of the cards that run from middle spells though middle blessings and did not get a set of cards that includes most of the monsters, all the barriers, all the weapons, all the armor, and half the spells.

How can I rectify this problem and get the correct set of cards?