Pre-Protest Exposition


Hell's Rebels


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In my Hell's Rebels game, I am going to be running a month of downtime, prior to the Aria Park protest. The PCs will be able to do some sandbox roleplay with the city and roll skill checks to build capital towards their houses (each player starts with a little house using Ultimate Campaign rules). Hopefully, it gives them a semblance of life before Barzillai Thrune, cements their connection to the city and helps them gain an idea of what they're fighting for.

I also plan to give them a lot of the background info for the AP with little roleplaying set pieces instead of just having them read it in the Player's Guide or something. I will post these set pieces here in case any of you have use for them.


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Part One: The PCs meet some important NPCs and learn about the Glorious Reclamation. This occurs 27 days before the protest.

Spoiler:

As the sun sets on a frigid evening, the people of Kintargo gather at Andos Hall. Upon the stage sits a large rectangular table. Under a large painting of Queen Abrogail II Thrune, flanked by Chelish and Kintargan flags, a high seat is positioned at the center of the table. Three lower seats are placed to either side of the central chair. Oil lamps line the walls, illuminating the crowd of Kintargans. Rumors of the horseman from Kantaria and his startling news have flown through the city and the auditorium is filled to capacity. The noise of the crowd quiets as a city official mounts the stage.

“Welcome countrymen, to your seat of government, Andos Hall! By the grace of Asmodeus and in the name of Her Infernal Majestrix, Abrogail Thrune, Second of Her Name, Queen of Cheliax, I call this meeting of the City Council of Kintargo to order!”

As a handsome noblewoman with a resolute face enters the stage and takes the central seat behind the table, the official announces: “I present the Lord-Mayor of Kintargo, Her Honor, Jilia Bainilus. Welcome Your Excellency!” The noblewoman gives a warm smile and bows to thunderous applause before taking her seat.

Next, a severe looking older man with immaculately coiffed snow white hair and chest length goatee enters the stage. His red and black robes and ruby studded golden unholy symbol leave his identity unmistakable. “I present Arch-heathen of the Church of Asmodeus, Corinstian Grivenner. Welcome Your Unholiness!” The man gives a flourishing bow before taking his seat to the mayor’s right to polite applause.

A square-jawed man with close-cropped rust red hair and penetrating gray eyes, dressed in ceremonial armor with an aquatic motif enters the stage. “I present the commander of the Hellknight Order of the Torrent, Lictor Octavio Sabinus. Welcome sir!” The crowd applauds while the soldier salutes the portrait of the Queen before taking his seat to the mayor’s left.

Following the knight, a lithe elven women with bright crimson hair in a long braid enters the stage. She wears a black cloak over dark gray robes bearing a small unholy symbol in the shape of a skull. Oddly, she seems to be cast in shadow, despite being upon an illuminated stage. “I present the Umbral Archon of the Church of Zon-Kuthon, Aluceda Zhol. I welcome you, Lady.” The representative of a foreign god gives a slight nod as she sits next to the Arch-Heathen, to subdued applause.

Next, a well kept half-elven man enters the stage. His hair is dark but graying at the temples and kept in a short, tidy braid. His clothes are white, trimmed with gold and a large golden key hangs at his belt. “I present the Arch-Banker of the Church of Abadar, Mhelrem Gesteliel. Welcome good sir!” The man puts his hands together and bows as the crowd gives polite applause; he sits next to the Hellknight.

A clean-shaven younger man enters the stage. He wears finely tailored clothes with a brooch bearing the rainbow tailed bird sigil. He removes a brown tricorne hat with a rainbow hued plume in it, revealing brown hear and crystal blue eyes. “I present High Chorister of the Church of Shelyn, Zachrin Vhast. Welcome good sir!” The man places the hat over his heart and bows to the crowd to loud applause, then seats himself beside the elven woman.

Finally, a youthful looking half-elven woman in a sensible robe and woolen cloak enters the stage. She has alert hazel eyes and dark hair and upon her head sits a circlet with a butterfly motif. “I present the Chancellor of the Alabaster Academy, Professor Iylvana Desdoros. Welcome good doctor!” The woman takes a bow and then sits beside the Arch-banker.

The official leaves the stage as a Dottari officer in ceremonial armor emblazoned with the symbol of Cheliax and carrying a gilded spear enters the stage and rings a bell. She then stands at attention to the side of the stage.

The Lord Mayor stands, addressing the audience. “Welcome my fellow Kintargans. Thank you for coming out on such a frigid evening. I believe this is the largest number of people we’ve had in attendance at a council meeting in quite some time.” She smiles. “No doubt your curiosity has been piqued by our visitor from the Archduchy of Menador to our south. He has come bearing some truly startling news and we present him now to you, so you can hear his words directly. Sir Morvius, please step forward.”

A weathered fighting man mounts the dais. He has a well-trimmed beard and wears a tabard bearing the sigil of House Nerikopolus and a longsword at his waist. He clears his throat and looks over the gathered crowd, who falls silent as he begins to speak. “Thank you, Your Honor. Greetings, people of Kintargo. I have rode north from Kantaria to deliver the following news. A month ago, an army of Iomadean zealots calling themselves the Glorious Reclamation, laid siege to Citadel Dinyar. Against all odds, these warriors breached the Citadel and laid low the Order of the Godclaw! Some are even saying that several border villages have risen in revolt! It is unknown what their intentions are, but Her Infernal Majestrix is marshalling our forces. I have been bade by my master to warn you…”

Suddenly the crowd's rapt silence is pierced by a commanding shout. “I have heard enough! Duxotas! Place this man under arrest!” The messenger turns to face the Arch-Heathen, pointing down at him from the table. The Dottari officer at the stage turns to follow the cleric’s order. Hellknight Sabinus snorts. Lord Mayor Bainilus says: “Hold, Duxotar Trex! Upon what grounds do you order this arrest, Arch-Heathen?”

The white haired priest looks supremely miffed as he turns to the Mayor. “This man has no writ from the Throne to carry these tales! His words will cause nothing but worry and derision in our citizenry. For all we know he very well could have been involved in this treasonous attack!”

The messenger looks horrified as he interjects: “Your Unholiness, no! I am no Iomadean, nor was I there! I am a loyal man of House Narikopolus!”

The Lictor speaks, his voice clear and loud: “Speaking as a Hellknight myself, our orders are not monolithic. Neither are we an extension of the Throne. If these warriors have attacked the Order of the Godclaw, they have not necessarily attacked Cheliax!”

The Lord Mayor next speaks: “Furthermore, Citadel Dinyar is in Isger. I would say that this currently falls outside of our jurisdiction to act upon. Although Sir Morvius bears no writ from the Queen, I certainly will not fault him for acting upon the command of Archduke Narikopolus. I see thin justice in it, Arch-Heathen. He has my protection and I will not hinder him from traveling on to Vyre upon the morrow.”

Grivenner seats himself, looking rather vexed. “This is carelessness, Lady Bainilus. I will be forced to report this to my superior in Egorian.”

Jilia Bainilus clasps her hands. “But of course, Arch-Heathen. Hm. There you have it, my countrymen. These are certainly interesting times, but I trust our Queen to keep us safe from any zealotry. I am going to call this council meeting to a close early. I fear this excitement will prevent us from accomplishing anything else tonight. Be safe and stay warm. Duxotar, if you will.”

With that, the Duxotar rings her bell and the meeting is adjourned. Dottari open the doors to Andos Hall and usher the people out into the frigid evening. The excitement is palpable. Many find it inconceivable that a Hellknight citadel could be conquered, let alone attacked. People begin rushing to find shelter and warmth. This is shaping up to be the coldest night in recent memory.


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Part Two: The PCs learn of Barzillai Thrune's immanent arrival. This occurs 20 days before the protest. Parts of the mayor's speech are taken from page 58 of In Hell's Bright Shadow.

Spoiler:

For a second time, the streets of Kintargo are abuzz with rumors and excitement. The Starday previous a party of outriders arrived at the Rust Gate. It was said they came bearing a message for Lord-Mayor Jilia Bainilus. While the content of that message was not public knowledge, what was known is that the outriders wore tabards emblazoned with the sigil of House Thrune!

Word spread throughout the streets like wildfire that someone important was coming to pay the Silver City a visit. At the Chained Devil Inn, one of the most conspicuous buildings in Jarvis End and a hotbed of Chelish patriotism, it was said the proprietor, Pavo Alazario, was no longer satisfied with the large Chelish flags posted at each corner of his building. Thrune pennants now flew from every window of the building and the word was the old man was having an even larger painting of the Queen commissioned to replace the already sizeable one in his tap room.

While many were proud to host a visit from a Thrune, even more were quietly pensive. It was always believed in Kintargo that no news from the Capitol was good news. Was House Thrune sending an actual member of the royal family to the city? They had always considered Kintargo a back water. What could they want with the Silver City?

Town criers traveled through the districts announcing that the Lord Mayor would address the townsfolk that afternoon. At the appointed time, people begin making their way to the steps of Andos Hall. It is cold, but the sky is filled with fluffy clouds. As the sun sets over the Arcadian Ocean, the light filters through the clouds, bathing the cold dusk in warm orange light. Jilia Bainilus stands before her people in a blue-green cloak, flanked by Dottari.

Her voice trembles ever so slightly as she speaks, but her bright blue eyes are as defiant as ever. “My countrymen, I address you today to inform you that Barzillai Thrune, a cousin to our Queen and Inquisitor of the Church of Asmodeus rides north from Menador Keep and shall be here within two days. He has been sent by the Throne to advise us regarding the Glorious Reclamation. I know some of you may feel concern over this news, but I urge you to take heart.

For you see, I am Kintargo’s lord mayor, yet Kintargo is not my city. Nor is it Cheliax’s city. Kintargo belongs to no one person, but to all who live here and make it the greatest city in Cheliax. We call it the Silver City not only for the gleaming waters of the Yolubilis, but for its purity. Kintargo is unique in the nation of Cheliax in this way.

We are not the nation’s largest city, nor its strongest. We may not have Westcrown’s history, Ostenso’s naval superiority, Corentyn’s trade dominance, or Egorian’s power, but nor do we have Westcrown’s decay, Ostenso’s violence, Corentyn’s slave markets or Egorian’s damnations! Kintargo is our own, and as Cayden Cailean as my witness, I intend to do all that I can to ensure our silver shall never tarnish under Thrune’s touch!”

Many in the crowd cheer loudly at this, but these cheers are far from universal. The lord mayor withdraws to the interior of Andos Hall and the Dottari stand before the door. Tonight’s city council meeting shall not be made open to the public.

Grand Lodge Contributor

Shaun wrote:

In my Hell's Rebels game, I am going to be running a month of downtime, prior to the Aria Park protest. The PCs will be able to do some sandbox roleplay with the city and roll skill checks to build capital towards their houses (each player starts with a little house using Ultimate Campaign rules). Hopefully, it gives them a semblance of life before Barzillai Thrune, cements their connection to the city and helps them gain an idea of what they're fighting for.

I also plan to give them a lot of the background info for the AP with little roleplaying set pieces instead of just having them read it in the Player's Guide or something. I will post these set pieces here in case any of you have use for them.

This is a great idea. I wish I'd done something like this, but we're two sessions in already.


I had a pre-campaign roleplaying session at the Tooth and Nail the afternoon after the Night of Ashes; I used this session to recruit my six players here on the boards. Ended up having one of the players I chose organize a post-prelude, pre-campaign meeting at her abode. Great way for all of the players to meet each other, and we explained that although she invited numberous other characters, the only ones who decided to attend were the ones I picked for the campaign.

I also later had Rexus state that he spied on the meeting, which is why he chose to contact them for the protest. Worked out perfectly.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I intend to do the same thing, and have at least one PC encounter a pre-Kintargo Barzillai Thrune strutting his prize-winning pooches at a Chelish Dog Show.


Same here, I'm using it to cover things like the Glorious Reclamation, news of Martial Law in other cities, the repression of Iomedae worship and various other things.

Plus I feel the campaign pre-timeline is a bit squashed, so I'm stretching it out a touch to give time for Thrune to actually get himself established.


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Part Three: The PCs witness Barzillai Thrune's arrival. This occurs 17 days before the Aria Park protest.

Spoiler:

A frigid wind blows down from the north on Fireday. The streets along Veritas Plaza are hung with the flags of Cheliax, their red and black whipping in the wind. Despite the cold, many people have gathered to get a look at this visitor. At just past noon, a song can be heard upon the air. As it gets closer, all recognize the sounds of the official anthem of Thrune, The March of the Thrice-Damned House Triumphant. The Rust Gate winches up and the great doors are thrown open.

An honor guard of Thrune cavaliers ride at the forefront, bearing flags of Cheliax and House Thrune. Following the mounted warriors, the troubadours march along, playing their horns and drums. A column of Thrune household soldiers and sworn agents come next. Just barely perceptible over the din of the band, the tolling of the Devil’s Bells seems to join in as a cadre of Asmodean priests makes their way through the gate. Wearing their rich crimson and ebony vestments, they swing censures belching out black and red clouds of incense which smells of sandalwood and brimstone. The priests stop in their procession to offer a few lucky bystanders of the faith maledictions against their foes.

Next, a baroque monstrosity of a carriage comes into view. Nearly too wide for the street and pulled by a team of twenty horses, it’s a small wonder it fit through the Rust Gate at all. It is festooned in leering devil faces and cavorting gargoyles. In golden filigree on the side is emblazoned the sigil of House Thrune. Crimson velvet curtains are pulled aside and within you spy a man. As the crowd peers to see him, he seems to be surveying them as well. An imposing man, dressed in fine red, orange and black clothing, he is middle aged with short, dark hair. His eyes seem to take in much as he meets your gaze. You think he gives a wry, half grin and the slightest hint of a nod before drawing the curtain closed.

Finally come the Hellknights. At the head of the column rides a woman with short blonde hair and hard blue eyes like dirty flecks of ice. To either side of her ride knights bearing banners with a spiked wheel. There must be at least thirty of them, and they are followed by nearly twice as many armigers. These knights look different than the Order of the Torrent that you are accustomed to. While the Torrent wear royal blue cloaks and their armor has a majestic, almost fanciful sea creature motif, these knights are different. Their armor is clearly designed to sow fear, making them look like flayed men cast in iron. Their cloaks, if they can be called such, look tattered at first. Upon closer inspection however, the cloaks are intentionally cut to resemble long strips of flayed skin. Each warrior carries a long sword on one hip and a whip on the other. Following this intimidating column is a long procession of seemingly unaligned free riders and foot soldiers, who may even be sell-swords. The parade continues north towards the Castle District and the music fades until you’re left with only the song Devil’s Bells.


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Part Four: The PCs learn of the disappearance of Jilia Bainilus. This occurs 10 days before the Aria Park protest.

Spoiler:

It is another frigid Fireday in the month of Abadius, but the piercing winds are mercifully light today. It has been a week since the arrival of the man who the city has come to know as Barzillai Thrune. In that time, he has shown himself little to the people of Kintargo. He seems to have turned down several invitations from Pavo Alazario to inspect the Chained Devil Inn, causing the old patriot no end of consternation. Rumor has it that he has visited several noble houses in the Greens but which ones precisely have been inconclusive. Furthermore, he has been spotted several times in private prayer with Arch-Heathen Corinstian Grivenner at the Church of Asmodeus. It is said that he is a particularly religious man.

The nobleman has made one rather large impression amongst the theater going public, however. For the past week, he seems to have taken up residence at the Kintargo Opera House, one of the city’s most famous landmarks. Unfortunately, his occupancy has caused the cancelation of all upcoming performances, including that of the much anticipated Huntress of Heroes. Needless to say, the director and his cast were crestfallen, not to mention the public at large.

No one has seen nor heard from Lord Mayor Bainilus all week, which is very much unlike her. Last Toilday’s city council meeting was canceled as well. The citizenry are beginning to talk but by noon, criers begin circulating throughout the districts, bearing a message from the Lord Mayor that should reign in much of the speculation.

A crier at a nearby intersection unfurls a scroll and reads in a booming voice: “Hear me, citizens of Kintargo! Lord Mayor Jilia Bainilus has written the following for your edification: ‘My fellow Kintargans, it is with a heavy heart that I inform you that Her Infernal Majestrix has determined that my administrative talents are needed in our colony of Anchor’s End. Governmental turmoil has arisen and the Queen believes a lord mayor of my experience is needed to put things to rights. I have been commanded to leave upon the H.I.M.S. Incubus which will have unfortunately already set sail by the time this message reaches your ears. In my stead, Paracount Barzillai Thrune shall hold stewardship over Kintargo at the Queen’s pleasure. Please, extend to the Paracount all of the trust and cooperation you would give me. Show him that the Silver City is indeed a jewel in the crown of Cheliax. Until I return to you, best regards, Jilia Bainilus.’ The proceeding was presented to you at the behest of Lord Mayor Paracount Barzillai Thrune. Asmodeus keep the Queen!”

Upon his reading of the scroll, the Devil's Bells give a single, baritone peel and then fall silent.


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Part Five: Some descriptions of what the PCs experience on the Night of Ashes. I broke this up by neighborhood the PCs live in. I have one more of these to add, but this is all for tonight. This occurs 7 days before the Aria Park protest.

Spoiler:

Jarvis End
You awaken in the wee hours of the morning. As your eyes adjust to the dark room, you become aware of a faint, flickering orange glow through your shutters. You lay there for a time and become aware of the smell of smoke. Fully awake now, you realize something must be burning outside! Jumping to your feet you go to your door, opening it to the freezing air outside.

A building is burning a block to the southwest! A plume of smoke arises from a smoldering ruin. Standing in the middle of the street is a man in full armor, a tattered-looking cloak swaying in the chill breeze. His back is to you, his eyes turned towards a group of people coming down the street to the east and heading towards the Castle District. Four more men in armor matching the first are leading a line of six tieflings, shackled to each other.

What is going on?
“These six knaves broke into the Silver Star music store to rob it, but they did not count on the Order of the Rack patrolling the streets and were caught red-handed. When they realized they were surrounded, they set fire to the building, hoping that their unnatural resistance to fire would protect them and deter us. They were mistaken!”

A tiefling with bulging eyes and forked tongue lolling from his mouth makes eye contact with you. “But we did not do that! I am inno…” His plea is cut short by the crack of a whip cutting into his back. He cries out in pain. The armored man walking behind him grabs the collar of his newly torn shirt, wrenching him around. “Whether you get a trial or die in the street makes no difference to me, creature! Therefore I advise silence!”

The Hellknight who was addressing you turns back to you. “Return to your sleep, citizens. The villains have been apprehended. There is nothing more for innocent men to see tonight.” You cannot mistake the menace in his tone.

Yolubilis Harbor
It is the darkest part of the night when you awake but are surprised to see your room seems illuminated nearly as bright as day. You smell smoke. You hear bells and shouting. Is your house on fire? Jumping to your feet, you run to your door. It feels cold. You throw it open. A squad of men are running down the street. A horse pulling a massive keg of water on wheels is being driven hard by a group of Dottari. A man in armor reminiscent of a flayed man and carrying a lantern is slowly walking down the sidewalk, seemingly peering in the houses. He approaches you. Down the street, you can make out the Thrashing Badger, engulfed in flame, the smoke spreading throughout the block.

What is going on?
The Hellknight stops when he notices you. You cannot see his face under his horrific helm; two dark pits regard you. “A cult of Rovagug is active in this neighborhood. They have set fire to this tavern to spread fear and sow chaos, as is pleasing to the Rough Beast. Fear not. We shall ferret out these demoniacs and bring them to justice. You are innocent. If you love our Queen, you should return to your bed and not interfere with me.” His hand moves slowly to the hilt of his long sword. “You do love our Queen, do you not?”

Red Roof
You think you hear something. Was that a woman screaming? No, it was too quiet. In the haze of half-sleep, you think it was probably just a dream. Your fitful sleep is disturbed again. Did you hear a knock at your door? This is no dream! Someone is pounding on your door!

Opening the door you see the halfling Dolly that you have met in the neighborhood before. She is in great distress, tears pouring from her eyes, her breath coming in billowing clouds of steam. “I’m sorry! I woke Hetamon. I thought you should know too. Some of those armored knights abducted Strea Vestori! And… and they killed poor Brutus!” She sobs. “I saw everything. They hanged Brutus from the Nursery gate! He’s dead! He’s dead!”

What happened?
After some comforting, Dolly pleads with you to go with her to the gates of the neighborhood called Devil’s Nursery. As the two of you go out into the frigid early morning, she tells you her story, broken with intermittent sobs. “Manius and I had an argument. It was nothing, really, but I decided that I wanted to see Strea. I went to the Cloven Hoof Society and drank a little too much. She let me sleep in the common room. The only other one there was Brutus who was helping her fix something. I fell asleep. I don’t know how much later, but I awoke to someone kicking in the door! It must have been a long time because Strea and Brutus weren’t there and all the lamps were out. The door fell in! I was awake and scared so I hid under the bed. All these men I didn’t recognize ran into the common room along with one woman, wearing that hideous armor. They dragged Strea from her room and put a hood on her head and shackled her.”

You turn west at the Red Roof Market. “I heard shouting and then Brutus running. His hooves… they don’t sound like boots. Strea screamed. ‘No Brutus! Lay down on the floor! They’ll kill you!’ she said. His rage must’ve been upon him though. He’s so terribly strong, you know. I heard struggling. One of the men fell to the floor right next to me. I… I think Brutus tore his throat. He made this horrible rasp and there was so much blood! I lost sight of what was happening after that and there was so much noise. But it didn’t take long before it was quiet again. Someone took the man laying there by the ankles and pulled him out of the room.”

She leads you down a winding alley. “I laid there for a long time before I felt brave enough to move. It had gotten dark in the room and I remembered that the men had torches. I lit a lamp and the room was a mess of broken furniture. The door was on the floor and it was getting cold. I went out to find some help and when I got to the Devil’s Nursery gate. I saw… this.”

Before you stands the rusty gate of Devil’s Nursery. A rope is tied around a lamp post and thrown over the arch of the gate, suspending a motionless teifling by the neck. His hooves hang three feet above the street as he slowly sways to and fro. This face is obscured by a bloody gray beard but two short horns are clearly visible atop his head. You see ten tieflings standing silently around the body. At your approach, they turn towards you, the lamp light causing their eyes to reflect red.

Hetamon Haace, the tiefling tailor, nods to you. Addressing the others he says in a hoarse whisper: “Help me cut him down. We will take him to my house to sit a vigil and bury him in the morning. The sun is setting on us, brothers and I fear we’ll face a dark night indeed.”


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Part Five, B: This is the last of the descriptions of what the PCs experience on the Night of Ashes. This is a two part piece. The PC is a young woman at Mistress Docur's whose parents in Old Town were disappeared during the Night of Ashes. Villegre happens the night of and Old Town happens the next day. My hope with this is to show the Dottari as not monolithic in their allegiance to Thrune.

[spoiler]
Villegre
“You’ve looked long enough! Let me see!” You’re startled awake by the sound of young women squabbling over something. That isn’t out of place in the dormitory that you remember that you’re sleeping in. Looking to the end of the hall, you see a lamp and three girls huddled around the window, the drapes pulled back. “It’s MY spyglass, after all!” says the young noblewoman, Druvalia Jarvis. She is one of the few humans attending the school, no doubt in keeping with her family’s liberal reputation.

The half-elven girl who relinquished the spyglass, Asmodea, looks over and notices you’re awake. “Hey, come here! Something is burning in the Greens! Come look!” Asmodea, you recall, grew up singing in the Infernal Chorus in the Church of Asmodeus and hopes to be an opera singer one day. She does have a beautiful singing voice.

Druvalia gasps. “Oh… oh my! That is a lot of smoke. See how it blots out the starlight? I think that’s the Victocora Estate! Asmodeus stay your wrath! Lady Victocora is so kind, and Rexus is so sweet! I hope they’re safe!”

Looking out the window, you see across the neighborhood of Villegre. From the high vantage point of the tower which houses your dormitory and with the aid of Druvalia’s spyglass, you can clearly see the walls of the Greens. A orange-yellow glow is visible at the north end of the enclave and a massive plume of smoke rises into the otherwise clear, starry Abadius sky.

The third girl, another half-elf named Lorceli, moves to the window. The young woman excels at dance and is normally lithe on her feet, but not tonight. In her excitement, she knocks over a pitcher, which falls to the floor with a crash. Druvalia, lets out a cry of surprise. Asmodea hisses: “Quiet you dunce!”

Momentarily, the room is flooded by light and Mialari Docur, headmistress of the school is at the door, holding a lantern. It’s always struck you as odd, how utterly silently the doors in the school seem to open. The elven woman glides into the room with nearly supernatural grace. “What are you doing my young friends? You should be asleep.”

Mistress Docur’s lilac eyes scan the street. Below, a brigade of Dottari drive a horse pulling a massive cask on wheels towards the Greens. “A fire you say? And in the Greens no less. I have just heard word that fires have broken out in Jarvis End and Yolubilis Harbor as well. This seems a shocking coincidence. My young friends, your parents have entrusted me with your safety, therefore you are to remain here tonight. No one is permitted to leave. I am going to cancel classes for this week. I want you to go home to your families in the morning. We will resume classes next week. Now please try to sleep. You are safe with me. I am sure everything will be fine.” With that Mialari Docur exits the room, closing the door behind her. You are left alone with the other girls. However, it doesn’t seem that anyone will be sleeping tonight.

Old Town
You return to your home in Old Town. It’s a venerable but well-maintained old house that your parents have always taken great pride in. You reach to the door and find it unlocked. Not unlocked exactly, the door latch seems to in fact be broken and the wood of the door split. Fear grips your heart and your stomach tightens as you push open the door.

Inside, you see an absolute mess. Your mother’s artwork has been taken off of the walls and piled up on the floors. The bookcase is empty! Your parent’s books are nowhere to be seen! The fireplace looks like it was left to burn out. Your mother would never abide that. Your father’s large chair in front of the fireplace has been cut open, its stuffing pulled out. The whole house is ominously silent. You run to your parent’s room, calling for them. There is no answer. Their bed has been disassembled. All of the drawers pulled out and up ended. Your room is the same. Your hope chest has been broken open and emptied. You stagger backwards into the hall. What is happening? All of a sudden you feel the presence of someone else in the house.

You look towards the door. A paunchy middle-aged man stands there. He has a crooked nose above a bushy moustache. He wears the uniform of a Dottari and has a club in one hand and a pair of shackles in the other. You don’t know whether to run or not. You notice that your father’s long sword is still above the mantel. You consider running to grab it. The man slowly crosses his arms over his chest, regarding you. You stare back at him, not sure what to do.

After what feels like an eternity, he clears his throat and speaks. “How old are you, young lady?”

“You are the same age as my own daughter.” He shakes his head, returning his club and shackles to his belt. “I cannot do this. It is too much.” He almost chokes. “Asmodeus take me, it is too much. Listen to me: When I came by to find you, you were not here. Do you understand? Keep a low profile. Don’t give anyone a reason to come back here.” He turns to leave and then pauses. He looks over his shoulder and almost whispers: “Do not wait for your parents to return, young lady. I am sorry.” With that he puts his head out the door and looks to see if anyone is watching before quickly letting himself out. You are left alone with the ruins of your young life. What are you supposed to do now?
[\spoiler]


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Part 6: Two days after the Night of Ashes, Barzillai Thrune makes his proclamations known. In my game, this occurs five days before the Aria Park protest and is the last of these I will use before starting the game proper.

Spoiler:

It has been two days since the devastation that the people of Kintargo have begun calling “The Night of Ashes”. When all was accounted for, it was found that three buildings had burned to the ground and some people have found that their neighbors have simply disappeared. Confusion, fear and anger have spread amongst the people of the city.

Questions are being asked and topics debated in the taverns, the academies, guildhalls and the streets. “Why was lord-mayor Jilia Bainilus sent to Anchor’s End?” “What are Barzillai Thrune’s plans for the city?” “What has become of the opera diva Shensen who disappeared?” “Why has the Order of the Torrent been so quiet and why is the Order of the Rack here?” “Where have those who disappeared two nights before gone?” “What is happening to the Silver City?”

It is announced that Paracount Barzillai Thrune will address the city this afternoon. Not from Andos Hall, as was always done in the past, but from the balcony of the Kintargo Opera House, overlooking Aria Park. It is on a frigid afternoon under a crystal blue sky that people gather in the park. Looking around you see people huddled together in blankets, many looking resolute and defiant as they wait for the lord-mayor to make an appearance, but you count less than 100 people. The wintering park is eerily quiet. A gaunt, particularly unattractive woman stands on the steps before the closed door, surrounded by a squad of dottari. A murder of crows noisily alights from a nearby tree as you see mounted Hellkngiths close in from either end of the avenue. They reign their horses to a stop, about 100 feet away and seem to stand there silently regarding the crowd.

Finally, the silence is pierced as trumpeters begin sounding from the windows of the Opera House. The March of the Thrice-Damned House Triumphant echoes across the park and the doors of the balcony slowly open to reveal an imposing, middle aged man, wearing an ornate breastplate emblazoned with the pentagram of Asmodeus and the cross of Cheliax. Smiling, he gestures with an open hand across the park, bowing to those gathered below.

“My dear countrymen, thank you for braving these positively Cocytean temperatures to come and visit me so I might share with you my plan to combat our recent troubles. I will not lie to you. The fear engendered by the threat of zealots such as those of the Glorious Reclamation often pushes men to acts of depravity. We saw the results of this the night before last. Foul cultists of Rovagug burned down a beloved drinking establishment! Tiefling knaves sought to burglarize and destroy the home of a talented diva! Ungrateful and envious house servants burnt down the home of the noble Victocora family! Luckily for us all, the dottari of this fine city acted quickly and decisively with our gracious friends and allies in the Order of the Rack. Many of the blackguards were apprehended and many more falsehearted individuals have been taken in for questioning.” He smiles widely as he leans over the railing. He raises a fist. “I have been sent by our Queen to guide you along a loyal path and guide you I shall!”

“It has become clear to me that I must take an active hand in affairs to keep us safe before the march of the Glorious Reclamation and the chaos their very name engenders! Until I can be sure that you, my charges, are safe, I must enact martial law in this city. You must obey any official deputy of the state without question! Furthermore, as lawlessness can only flourish in the shadow of darkness, I am forced to enact a curfew from 9:00 pm until 6:00 am each night. Please assist us in protecting your homes and cooperate! I have also devised seven other proclamations. Take them to heart and you shall lead a more virtuous life.” He regards the crowd for a moment and then, putting his hand to his heart, he declares: “Fear not my countrymen. I am a son of House Thrune who brought order to this land after the death of Aroden and who bends even Hell itself to our will! I speak for our Queen when I say we shall protect this land no matter the cost!”

With that, he bows before the audience again and retires to the interior of the Opera House. The people are taken aback. Some mumble, some shout and curse. The Devil’s Bells begin to toll while the gaunt woman at the door unfurls a scroll, reading from it Thrune’s seven proclamations. When she finishes, the Hellknights part to let the people pass. Many tell each other this cannot be allowed to stand. Others proclaim that it’s about time the hand of justice reign in this town’s libertines. As the attendees see criers have already preceded them, spreading the news to the city, the feeling that a time of turmoil is brewing is unmistakable.

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber

First of all, thanx Shaun, for this work!

I tried to get actual dates to those happenings.
I started from this line in Part 4: "It is another frigid Fireday in the month of Abadius"
So I decided, it's the second Fireday of 4715AR. Taking a real world calendar, this Was the 9th of January (Friday) 2015. From there on, the following came to be...

22.12.4714AR (Moonday)
Part1: Council about the News of the Glorious Reclamation

29.12.4714AR (Moonday)
Part2: Learn about BT's imminent arrival

01.01.4715 (Oathday)
Part3: Witness the arrival of BT

09.01.4715AR (Fireday)
Part4: Jilia Bainilus goes missing

11.01.4715AR (Sunday)
Parts 5a+b: Night of Ashes

13.01.4715AR (Toilday)
Part6: Proclamations are made known

18.01.4715AR (Sunday)
Aria Park Protest: Start of Campaign

Sure, AP's start in the same month of the year as they come out, but as I had already sent those infos to my players, I went with it, and having BT arrive on new years day is pretty cool!
Maybe this helps some of you out...


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

@Shaun (and @Dryder): Thank you very much for your excellent work. Very helpful.


Scharlata wrote:
@Shaun (and @Dryder): Thank you very much for your excellent work. Very helpful.

Thank you. I'm glad you found value in it.

I will say that when I did this in my game, after a little while, it began to drag a little. If this could be condensed into three or maybe even two weeks, you might find it a little more action packed. My players didn't hate days where they just wandered the town and rolled to generate capital, it just felt like it could've been more fast paced.

On the other had, they vastly preferred this to just being dropped into the protest with all of these events being reduced to backstory.


Dotting for later. Cool stuff!


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Here is a little bit of exposition for the beginning of Turn of the Torrent.

Spoiler:
It is the first day of Pharast, and the air is beginning to warm, ever so slightly. In the streets outside of the Kintargo Opera House, people gather to hear what the Lord-Mayor has to say. People speculate whether he will address the news of the Glorious Reclamation’s victory to the south. To the east, the sound of carpenters at work in Veritas Plaza may be heard. Upon the steps of the Opera House, the Lord-Mayor’s majordomo, Nox, stands guard with a number of arimgers of the Order of the Rack, scanning the crowd.
When the now familiar sound of The March of the House Thrune Triumphant can be heard, Barzillai Thrune emerges from the interior of the Opera House to take his customary position on the baroque balcony. He wears a grave expression as he surveys the people below him.

“My dear countrymen, I address you today, with a heavy heart. Although we have taken care to shepherd you down a path of loyalty to your Queen, we have been stymied by the chaos endemic to the hearts of men. Ne’er-do-wells have attacked us in our work, flaunting the curfew. Arsonists have attempted to set fire to the neighborhood of Red Roof. As the wolves of the Glorious Reclamation howl at our very door, what are we to do?

I must have those by my side who will keep my charges safe and under control! I have no time for those who will not pull their weight in the defense of our Kintargo! While the dottari patrol our streets with the guidance of the Church of Asmodeus and the support of the Order of the Rack, where is the Order of the Torrent? I say to you, if these Hellknights shall not commit their resources, limited as they might be, to our efforts, then they shall have no resources! Lady Nox, if you please…”

Nox, standing upon the steps, unfurls a large scroll and reads the following: “By order of Lord-Mayor Barzillai Thrune, the congress of Hellknights known as the Order of the Torrent is from this day forward stripped of charter! All of its holdings and possessions are confiscated, its privileges and entitlements revoked and its members declared outlaws. Steadfast citizens are commanded to turn over those members who have slipped the net of justice!”

With that she rolls of the scroll. Barzillai Thrune, looking particularly pleased with himself scans the crowd before seemingly remembering something that he had forgotten. “Thank you, Lady Nox. And one more thing: Her Infernal Majestrix requires a steady stream of gold from her arch-baronies in order to properly chastise these Glorious Reclamation upstarts. Three copper pinches per crossing will no longer suffice. .Therefore I am forced to raise the Bleakbridge toll. From this point forward, the toll for crossing shall be five silver shields. Asmodeus keep the Queen!”

With that, Barzillai Thrune turns and disappears into the Opera House. The hammering and sawing a block away continues.


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Shaun wrote:
I will say that when I did this in my game, after a little while, it began to drag a little. If this could be condensed into three or maybe even two weeks, you might find it a little more action packed. My players didn't hate days where they just wandered the town and rolled to generate capital, it just felt like it could've been more fast paced.

I used some of this great exposition material when we started our HR, so thanks a lot for posting it. However, I did suspect that my players wouldn't like just listening to me talk, regardless of the quality of the text (I don't read room descriptions straight from the adventures either, so I guess I've made them all box text attention deficit). So I added small RP things for the PCs to do during these events, to give them some agency. I didn't use them all but here's a couple:

1. A halfling that's selling mintcakes from a tray held by a neck strap passes you. A drunk woman steps up, grabs a few and sneers, "slip slaves like yourself don't deserve my coin, so stop eyeballing me, or I'll kick ya teeth in." Two dottari stand about ten yards away, talking, but seem to have missed this event. What do you do?

2. A man dressed in finery and sporting the Chelish colours black and red prominently, drops his purse just in front of you. No one seems to notice. What do you do? (The man is the owner of a prominent pro-Cheliax inn, and will be very thankful if the PC returns the purse. He will wave and smile and/or embrace the PC regardless of their company every time they see each other from now on.)

3. A small but viscous-looking dog wearing a studded collar walks around the crowd, sniffing and growling. People are looking at the happenings at stage and no one notices. The dog sets his misaligned eyes on a small child standing alone, staring at the mutt as if transfixed. The animal slowly advances on the little boy, a deep growl contradicting the dog's size emitting through yellow fangs. (The dog belongs to the rat catcher Giggs the Ratter, who sweeps his dog Mauler up in the last second if the PC does nothing. If they attack Mauler they'll earn Giggs' animosity. And Giggs nevah forgets, no sir-eh...)

4. A beautiful woman accidentally bumps into you, dropping her mink hand warmer to the ground. Strangely enough she's wearing gloves underneath. She looks at you expectantly, one eye green, one brown. What do you do? (These are cultists of Mathallah out looking for suitable victims. If the PC doesn't suit the profile she'll move on.)

5. A muscular woman, arms crossed over her chest, sneers with a little too loud voice, "About time we get some change around here! We need something done - permanently - about all these damn freaks spreading like diseased rats." She spits loudly in front of an adjacent figure, hooded, but no hood can hide the cloven hooves they have instead of feet. The hooded figure pulls something, maybe a knife, but makes no other move. What do you do?

6. A drunk man shoves his way just in front of you, and starts heckling the proceedings. Suddenly he turns around and vomits, mostly missing the pavement to instead hit your boots and legs. (Reflex save DC 12 for half damage - just one leg.) What do you do? (This can be Varl Wex, or someone else who shows up later in the AP).

7. A group of young girls and boys, simply clad but clean and neat, walk around selling black and red lapel flowers (5 cp each). A boy steps up to the PC, and whispers shyly, "Dear sir/madam, would you please consider buying a Crimson Hellflower? All proceeds go to repairing the leaking roof at The Dark Immolation Orphanage, were my sister and I now live after our family died in the yellow pox. Thank you." What do you do?


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Razcar wrote:
3. A small but viscous-looking dog wearing a studded collar walks around the crowd, sniffing and growling. People are looking at the happenings at stage and no one notices. The dog sets his misaligned eyes on a small child standing alone, staring at the mutt as if transfixed. The animal slowly advances on the little boy, a deep growl contradicting the dog's size emitting through yellow fangs. (The dog belongs to the rat catcher Giggs the Ratter, who sweeps his dog Mauler up in the last second if the PC does nothing. If they attack Mauler they'll earn Giggs' animosity. And Giggs nevah forgets, no sir-eh...)

If you were a player in my campaign I would give you 100 xp for that WFRP reference


Handsome Gracchus wrote:
If you were a player in my campaign I would give you 100 xp for that WFRP reference

I'm glad someone noticed, despite that vicious misspelling! (Guess a viscous dog can be scary as well though... ) Our Enemy Within-campaign was the best rpg:ing I've ever been part of. Great times.


An introductory exposition for the tenth proclamation.

Spoiler:
Noon has recently passed and the streets outside Citadel Vaull, located in the Castle District, are crowded. A detachment of armigers surrounds something under a great tarp in the middle of the intersection of the streets, halting the normal flow of traffic. Curious onlookers stand around as peddlers move through the crowd, hawking food and other wares. Men in hideous armor stand vigil upon the rampart of the Citadel and can be seen peering through its arrow slits.

It has been said through word of mouth that the Order of the Rack shall be giving some manner of announcement today, possibly regarding the Order of the Torrent. Many are curious about what has been going on since the Hellknights were declared outlaws. Rumors, hearsay and half-truths are all anyone has had to go on. Suddenly, he Devil’s Bells can be heard peeling across the cityscape, taking people by surprise.

The great winch above the entrance to Citadel Vaull begins cranking and the great cold iron portcullis begins to rise. Then, the massive oaken doors behind it are thrown open. An honor guard bearing an icon reminiscent of a spiked wheel heads a procession of warriors encased in hideous armor resembling flayed bodies and trailing tattered cloaks march into the plaza. Ultimately, a similarly armored individual emerges from the citadel, astride a dark, strikingly colored horse. The Hellknights form a circle around the tarp and push outward, while the mounted knight reins up before it. The figure removes its helm, revealing a woman’s stony face with sunken, dark-rimmed eyes and tangled blonde hair. A man in a strange helm with no apparent eye slits approaches her, as she brushes her hair out of her face. She looks down to the man and gives a nod of her head. The man waves his hand and intones some magic syllables.

The woman speaks, her voice a hoarse rasp. You wouldn’t think that he voice would even be audible in these conditions, except that it sounds like it has been supernaturally amplified. “Good day, Kintargans. I am Kyrre Ekodyre, paralictor of the Order of the Rack and commander of this contigent of Hellknights. In light of the betrayal of the Order of the Torrent, it falls to us to help the Lord-Mayor keep order in the name of our Queen. I have spent the past month here amongst you and have come to the conclusion that you are a willful people, on the verge of falling into anarchy. Action must be taken before you destroy yourselves. As those of my Order say: ‘The venoms of the mind poison the body’. With the authority vested in us by the Lord-Mayor, we shall draw the venom from you.”

She motions to a Hellknight nearby. That Hellknight draws forth a parchment, unfurls it and reads: “Possession of poetry or prose written by the following authors is hearby forbidden and punishable by a fine of 100 gold pieces of imprisonment: Boswyth the Bard, Charletta d’Vanep, Ghenrail of Vyre, and the anonymous coward who calls him or herself the Poison Pen of Kintargo. All documents bearing the writings of these miscreants must be turned over to the dottari for destruction by sundown.”

The Paralictor then points to the tarp, which the armigers pull away, revealing a pile of books, scrolls and parchments. The man in the eyeless helm strides forward, gestures towards the pile and intones three words. A cone of flame bursts forth from his hand igniting the books. Kyrre Ekodyre speaks once more: “This pyre shall remain alight day and night until the venom of libel has been burned from the mind of Kintargo.” People begin rushing off to their homes while others surge forward offering paper to the blaze as a plume a black smoke begins to rise in the sky.

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