So I'm going to be running CotCT for the first time ever in about a week or so! Which I'm very excited about. I have most of Edge of Anarchy outlined already but there's just one problem - Gaedren. I've seen threads on here saying that they feel the plot flows better to not kill him in essentially the very first session. I agree.
My issue is that I'm still not 100% sure of how to actually introduce him then. I don't feel like I should make my party wait TOO long to actually encounter him, I just also agree that killing him first session and then expecting the party to stay together for the sake of tabletop is silly.
I was thinking that maybe Zellara can't divine his exact location, but she can pick up on some associates of his (leading into the All the World's Meat and Eel's End plots) where I can maybe drop some clues that will then lead the party to the Old Fishery. Although doing things so out of order might mess up their connection to Cressida and the Guard. Any opinions on this would be really welcome!
What I did was run the first part as written except for the following.
1)Gaedren had a secret bolt hole in his small room in the under side of the Old Fishery.
2) Graedren had two home brew accomplices (rogues) in the under side of the Old Fishery. One a 1st level expert/2nd level unchained rogue, the other a 1st level unchained rogue. They used caltrops to control the party and keep them at range for a couple rounds.
3) Gaedren gave a little speech and then escaped out his bolt hole.
"So, you’re the little upstarts raising havoc upstairs…"
Looking at Carpian
"Carpian, I should have fed you to gobblegut instead of letting you live. That shall be corrected today…"
Looking at Septimus
"And you, you ugly orc, you’re another I should have fed to gobblegut, but I did not want to poison him with your foul meat…"
Looking at Urixi
"Urixi, the boys should have mangled that pretty face of yours to teach not to screw with me. Today, I think I will have them do just that…"
Looking at Nate
"I don’t know you, but obviously you have taken up with a bunch of losers. That shall be your undoing…"
Indicating Carpian, Septimus, and Nate to his to cohorts
"Kill them and fed them to gobblgut…"
"Capture her, I know someone that will pay some good gold for her…"
At that he slips through the door and closes it behind him…
I then set him up in a building in Old Korvosa. They party got a couple clues later, one from a group of thugs that Gaedren hired to kill the party. Another in the Dead Warrens, a letter Gaedren wrote to Rolth.
The party finally got to confront Geadren between the Dead Warrens and Trina's execution.
We had Zellara "feel the path" to him, seeing a destiny that would lead the party to him rather than a direct charge. Gaedran wasn't in the fishery, but getting the queen's brooch got them an in with the Korvosan Guard, and Kroft promised she'd let them know anything she heard about Gaedran in exchange for helping her with All the World's Meat. We replaced the mission to get the ambassador's letters from the King of Spiders with a mission to get a ledger containing Gaedran's financials from him instead, with Kroft tipping the party off to it.
That ledger pointed to a bunch of businesses, guards on the take, and other bits of Gaedran's operation. With the guards shutting down other businesses, the PCs took out Gaedran's main drug production facility (where a levelled Yargin Balko had been moved to) in a made up addition. We have it in podcast form (Episodes 13 aqnd 14 for the shudder den specifically) on our podcast thread here.
I'm planning on having Gaedran later in the books, but to make him the Book 1 boss, I'd put him in the Dead Warrens. Now friendless, alone, and cut off from his now-arrested criminal organisation, he's been forced to room with his degenerate son Rolth.
I fluffed up Edge of Anarchy with some other material to draw out the confrontation with Lamm. Started with a modified Murder's Mark (Pathfinder module), then ran as written for the most part, except that the party did not find Lamm at the fishery. They got a tip about a close associate of his operating in Old Korvosa (I used the stand-alone piece from Second Darkness called "St. Caspieran's Salvation"), which in turn led them to the Arkona warehouse where Lamm had shored up with three thug bodyguards. All in all, it took them 5 sessions to get to Lamm, and by then they were pretty invested in Korvosa (they had already met the king and queen to return the brooch and they were pursuing a separate investigation tied to Lamm).