A World Asunder

Chapter 46- "Eye for an eye"

Time slows to a crawl as you look around for where the shot came from. (spot checks, -14 penalty)

(success)
You see a humanoid figure in the 3rd story window of a building around 140 feet away from your position. He is barely obscured by a telltale cloud of gunsmoke.

(failure)
You can’t see the shooter, but you are able to determine that the shot came from one of the buildings to the north-east, there are two potential sites. Around 140 feet away.

While you search for the sniper, Tilani finishes her incantation. Her image begins to fade and she says: “If you survive, we will meet again.” Her image disappears in a flash of bright light and out of the flash steps a muscular humanoid figure. It has the head of a noble hound, short red fur covering it’s body and a greatsword slung over it’s back.

It draws the weapon and says to you: “I have been summoned from the heavens to vanquish those of the scourge. Stand and fight!”

Combat begins. Dagget and Hound Archon.
You can see Enfys escorting Cecily back to friendly lines, covering her with her bow.

Dagget’s nest is booby trapped with a shaped charge (spot dc 17, 3d6 ballistic dmg, ref dc 15 half)

(hound archon falls first)
The outsider succumbs to its wounds and falls unconscious. You can see it taking shallow breaths

(Dagget captured first)
You manage to bind Dagget securely. He is struggling, but he shows no sign of being able to escape.

Combat ends
Dagget and the outsider are both incaptacitated. By the time you meet back in the square, Enfys has returned and Jacc is waiting. Enfys is tending to the outsider’s wounds. She motions for you to come quickly. When you get close, she says: “He’s a hound Archon. They defend the heaven planes from demonic influence. He wants to speak to you before he dies. We can report back to Reilly later.”

The Archon speaks in a soft, raspy voice. He is clearly in pain. He says “I am afraid I owe you all an apology. I have been deceived. I was summoned here to smite agents of Necmasth in the mortal realm of Materrian. I detected the scourge inside you, felt the dark magic coursing through your blood and your soul. I do not know how it came to pass that you could remain such agents of good in spite of the evil inside you. There is much you should know, but I am not long for this world. The foul demon Necmasth no longer relies on the dead or dying to be turned.”

The Archon exhales deeply and then begins to shimmer away into the ether. There is no sign of Tilani. You can see your Weslythan comrades approaching with the representatives of the IEG and the Merchant Lords at swordpoint. Cecily is approaching from the other side with a tattered flag holding the barely recognizable insignia of the merchant’s guild. The last time you saw it, it was flying above the northern tower of the guild headquarters. She approaches the two captive diplomats, throws the flag at their feet and says: “Our forces have captured the merchant’s guild hall and are currently moving on the grand estates. We are prepared to accept your offer of withdrawal from Gildenport.”

The diplomats sigh deeply and follow Cecily back to the table. Harxen and Robyn approach with Dagget bound and at gunpoint. Dagget spits out blood and says: “So, what now? Interrogation? A sword through the neck?”

(players answer)
“Of course. Well, go on then. Take me to them. It’ll give us time to talk.”

While you walk to the Hexagon, Dagget appears cooperative. Reilly is waiting for you when you arrive. She tells you that the Nightblades are on their way over and then turns to Dagget. “Remember me?” she says.

Dagget nods and says: “So. I assume Lilia told you about our falling out. The grand tale of slow corruption? She was always dramatic. I imagine this may come as a surprise, but I harbor no ill will toward you or the Nightblades. In order to set up operations in Kaptal, we needed funds. Lilia by admission took contracts for hire. But we all know that picking and choosing contracts on morality will never net enough money to truly expand operations. So we took contracts of more questionable ethics. How do you think we got that hideout under the Lighthouse? A polite request? You, McTeague. Or is it warmaster now? You’re no stranger to doing the wrong thing for the right reasons. We heard about what you did with the Doppleganger we sent. I must say, removing kneecaps to worm out information is hardly becoming a woman of your station.”

Reilly crouches next to him and responds: “I know full well what I did to him was wrong. I thought it necessary at the time. I’ve figured out now that there are lines you don’t cross. Dagget of Fask, your greatest betrayal is not that of your comrades, but that of yourself and everything you stand for. You became the very sort of evil you swore to defend against. It’s Vile. I could dome you with my pistol right here, but I refuse to follow in your wake.”

“Well said”, another voice approaching from behind replies. It’s Jacc, flanked by two assassins. The two assassins grab Dagget by the arms and bring him to his feet. Jacc says: “We’ll bring him back tonight. Cecily sent us a message to pass on. The IEG has agreed to withdraw it’s forces and mercenaries from Gildenport. She’ll be speaking tomorrow at what is left of city hall. If you have time, it would mean a lot to her and others for you to be there.”

(players respond)
“Good. I’ll see you there and we’ll pass Dagget to you afterward. Your old friend Lilac called in a favor. You’ve got rooms waiting at the Red Sapphire, but she said to tell you that room service would be unavailable for the night due to celebrations. See you tomorrow.”

The Red Sapphire is less crowded than the last time you saw it. A small group of people are sitting around a coffee table with a keg of beer. You recognize Lilac, Cecily, Fetrian, Slingshot, and the Paragons who accompanied you to a fight. Slingshot sees you first and walks over quickly with a grin on his face. He ushers you inside and says: “Glad you made it. Lilac noticed that all the other companions were out with friends and family, so she set up a party for us. Come on in. I’ve finally broken open my latest brew.” He pours several mugs from a keg labelled “Sneaky Orc Stout” with an image of Brill’s face that is significantly less ugly than you remember. The rest of the celebrants walk over to you. Lilac raises a glass and says: “To absent friends. Without their sacrifice, we would not be free.” Her violet eyes shimmer as the glasses clink. The others echo “To absent friends.”

The rest of the party is a whole lot of “What will you do now?”.

Lilac tells everyone she plans to continue her current profession, but on her terms. She and some of the others plan to run the red sapphire themselves.

When slingshot is asked, he merely taps the keg and says: “Some old friends and I have a few more ideas to try out.”

Fetrian says he plans to work in diplomacy for a city that is effectively it’s on sovereign nation.

Cecily is the only one who can’t say. She tells you that she honestly didn’t expect to survive the uprising given the target on her back.

Eventually the keg runs dry and each of you either falls asleep or passes out from drink.

When you wake up, you can see Lilac strapping a Kukri in her Garter under a skirt. She notices you’ve woken up and says: “Good timing. We can walk to Orthalyn Square together.” Harxen and Enfys are standing at the door.

The streets are damp and puddle-ridden from an apparent rainstorm the previous night. You see a lot of abandoned barricades and rubble as you walk, as well as some smouldering buildings. Enfys remarks: “A broken city on the mend, reminds me of where we met.”

There is a large crowd by the time you reach Orthalyn Square. You can see Cecily standing atop one of the barricades facing the crowd. “Friends and Comrades,” She begins “When I was elected mayor, I took the office with the goal of doing myself out of a job. Now I have done that. But the credit does not belong to me. It belongs to every single person who took to the barricades. It belongs to those who stood behind treating the wounded or gathering supplies. We are free from those who hoarded the wealth of our city and we now enter a new day in a new city. Gildenport, a city defined by gold, is dead. Today we welcome a new age of working for our neighbors. Long live Freeharbour, a beacon of hope in a world crushed by tyrants.”

Cecily steps down and approaches you.. She hugs each of you while saying: “We all owe you our thanks. I didn’t mention you in the speech because it is now time for us to stand on our own. I hope you understand. Here. I’ll walk you to the docks.”

She continues while you walk: “Rumor is the Bastion Army has finally began routing the Arkali. This good news puts you at a disadvantage, though. Once the Arkali threat has been eliminated, Bastion’s focus will turn to you. When that time comes, you will have safe port and sanctuary in Freeharbour.”

As you approach the dock, you recognize Veil’s eagle perched on a lamp-post, a note lashed to it’s talon.

The note reads: “I was unable to track the Arakli dragons by conventional means, so I elected to investigate what caused them to leave. There have been sporadic sightings since they fled the battlefield, but never twice in the same place. They must be searching for something. My search led me to Termalyn. I won’t risk too much information to a single note, even in Orion’s care. I’ve booked a room on the Termali border at an inn called ‘The Red Pegasus’. Meet me there and bring Declan with you. I’ll be waiting there to explain everything in person.”

The note bears Veil’s signature.

(players elect to go to termalyn)
Cecily offers horses for you Journey and tells you that on horseback, you can make it by nightfall.

As you approach the gate with Declan, Lilac comes up along side you on a grey mare. She asks “Do you mind if I accompany you? I need to get away from Gildenport for a while and I’m familiar with Termalyn.”

Reilly asks to stay behind to train volunteers in Freeharbor. Cade takes the helm of the Dawn of Orthalyn, wearing a hat that he stole from the captain of an IEG frigate and vandalized to an image more suitable for piracy. Milo approaches you as you leave and says: “I’ve given Lilac information on all my contacts. She can help you out in Termalyn if you need to know anything. I’m heading back to Polaris to help Harxen train urban scouts” He hands Lilac a notebook and says: “That’s got the latest information on the state of Irythan. It seems like now that the Arkali are pissing off, people are starting to fight each-other again.”

You ride down the narrow road east toward Termalyn with your cohort. Lilac dives into Milo’s notebook and Declan plays “Laerta’s Last Stand” on his fiddle as you ride.

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Chapter 45- "You are always welcome in freeharbor"

You and your comrades, prepare for the coming day. After you finish preparing, you spend uneasy minutes waiting and pacing before the tension sets in again and you feel the urge to prepare all over again just to keep busy. Reilly has been gone for some time now after leaving to make contact with the Nightblades. Robyn had thought about going with her, but eventually they decided their time was better spent going with Harxen and slingshot to check out the meeting site. Enfys spent a good half hour trying to convince Reilly to rest before giving in and sending the “Mithril Bitch”, as Reilly had since been nicknamed, with a half-dose of cure light wounds. Milo and Cade are still in the harbor. Cecily is still preparing spells.

After quite a long wait, Robyn comes back with Slinshot and Harxen. They have a none-too-pleased look on their face. Robyn drops pack and says: “Have I ever expressed my frustrations over the Kaptalis obsession with windows and balconies? Because they’re everywhere. The buildings surrounding the square are peppered with potential perches for a sniper. The only thing about that square that might work in our favor is the chance that it will give Dagget a Priapism and mess up his shot. Any questions?”

Cecily says: “I could put up a personal abjurant to deflect a single shot, though I wouldn’t bet my life on it’s success. Dagget’s a clever bastard and he’s likely developed a countermeasure since he first took a shot at me. If you can find another way to pinpoint his perch or foil a shot, I’m all ears because otherwise, one of us is getting shot.”

(players discuss options)

“Alright” Robyn says “We’ll need to get moving soon. Reilly is going to meet us on the way with whatever Nightblades are helping. Take some time to check your gear and count ammo. I’ll meet you outside.”

Enfys, Robyn, Slingshot, Cecily and Harxen have elected to join you in the negotiations. Cecily asks you for a word on the way out.
“Listen”, She says “I appreciate everything you’ve done but I want to be sure we’re clear on one thing. Whether you choose to support us or not, it is not your decision whether or not to accept the terms of an agreement. It’s not even mine, I’m only there to make a judgement call about whether the terms are likely to be broadly accepted. Of course, if things go the way I think they will the IEG will spring a trap and the negotiations will become irrelevent.”

You’ve walked for about a half mile when you see Reilly turning the corner with a group of five nightblades in tow. The nightblades have swapped out their traditional red and black longcoats for basic civilian clothes. You recognize one of them as a rioter from the previous night and another as Jacc. Jacc passes Reilly to speak to you and says: “Your Warmaster has told us about the situation. I don’t know whether you plan to kill or capture Dagget, but it may be beneficial to capture him. He knows everything about the Daggermen. Numbers, Identities, Clients, Supply cache locations. Everything. If you capture him and allow us to interrogate him, we will be able to pull back the agents who are currently devoted to gathering information on their outfit and we will have the resources to pursue a full alliance with the Paragons. Once we’ve got what we need, we’ll turn him over unharmed to you. We’ll defer to your judgement on what to do with him. In the meantime, we’ll devote our agents to slowing down any reinforcments that come your way if the negotiations go south.”

Jacc rushes down a sidestreet out of sight and you see the other Nightblades fanning out down the streets and alleyways.

It takes another hour to arrive at the meeting point. When you get there, you see an array of rioters lined up on a barricade brandishing bricks or weapons. They wave as you pass by and you get the impression that they’re ready to fight if needed. Cecily approaches them to explain the terms of the meeting and asks them to pull back five blocks. The rioters discuss it briefly and then move back. On the other side of the square, you can see the IEG doing the same.

In the middle of the square is a large tent with two tables underneath. One has chairs, the other has food. Tilani greets you as you approach. “Take your pick from the buffet. I’m sure you have the presence of mind to test it for poison.” Enfys gives you a thumbs-up and pours a cup of tea.

Once everyone is seated, Tilani begins: “Why don’t we start by understanding where we are now. Your band of rebels has taken over more than half the city. Eventually our reinforcements will arrive to quell this rebellion, but until then we remain locked in a stalemate. With Arkali forces still roaming Irythan, the Merchant Lords would rather have those reinforcements used in aiding the Bastion Army. In exhange for an end to hostilities, we will offer the lower class of Gildenport half again their original wages and addition of 3 wells inside the worker’s housing district.”

Cecily lets out an exaggerated laugh, regains her composure and says: “You can’t be serious. Maybe that would have passed before you tried to have me killed. The people out there on the barricades have sacrificed so much for a free city. They’ll settle for nothing less than a free city. We’re willing to work with you on an orderly withdrawal of IEG forces and subsequently a program for our former employers to work for a living like everyone else, though no one will be toiling as hard for as little as we once did. Pull back now and there will be no further casualties. That is our offer.”

Tilani whispers in the ear of the Merchant’s Guild represtantative, who shakes his head. She then turns to Cecily and says: “May I have a word with alone with the Paragon delegation?” Cecily appers hesitant, but tells you: “I’ll take a short walk. I trust you hold the best interests of Gildenport at highest priority.”

Cecily walks off toward the rebel barricades. Tilani turns to you and says: “Now we can speak freely. I commend you on your progress. Despite our emnity I admire your ingenuity. The midnight raid on our ships and the destruction of city hall were inspired. However, they have had a negative effect on your reputation. The Merchant Lords and the Governing Houses both consider you to be a terrorist organization, where the Paragons were once only considered a nuisance. You can’t really blame us for that after blowing up a government building. However, there is a way to repair that damage. Since the rebels are clearly not interested in making a deal, I will ask you for one. You’ve gained the trust of the rebels and you currently hold all the naval power in the harbor. Use that trust and that power to help us quell this rebellion. It would be the first step in repairing relations with Kaptal. You can be Terrorists or you can be Heroes. The choice is yours. I suggest we take a brief recess for you to consider what has been said.”

The session breaks up and Enfys comes toward you. She says: “We’re not considering that offer, are we? I know it would grant us immediate resources, but it would mean betraying those we swore to protect. Tilani is right, our reputation will be determined here. But not just that. If we support the IEG, people who fight to free themselves from oppression would never trust us again. That includes some of our current volunteers. I owe you my life. For that reason only I would support your move to back the IEG, but that would be the end of our relationship and our friendship. I implore you to become Liberators of the working people, not the traitorous tyrants that kept them under Kaptalis boot.”

players decide to back the rebels
The session continues a half-hour later. Cecily is seated next to you with an almost pleading look on her face as though she knows what you were offered. Tilani asks: “Have you considered our offer.”

(no)
“Unfortunate. Are there any reforms at all that would sway your decision?” Cecily takes a deep breath and says “No”.

Tilani sighs, finishes the last sip of her tea and says: “I’m very sorry it had to come to this.” She rolls up her sleeves and mutters a brief incantation. You are unsure what exactly happened until you realize you can see the back of her chair. Tilani has turned incorporeal. She leaps back from her chair and begins muttering a second incantation. While she is casting you notice that there is a distinctive tattoo on her right forearm. It is a skull with a dagger blade sticking out of it’s mouth.

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Chapter 44- "Of course it's a trap"

You lie down on cots and eventually fall asleep from fatigue shortly after sunrise. You wake up to someone pounding on the door. It’s afternoon by that time. You recognize Harxen’s voice saying “Open the door. I’m escorting a messenger from the IEG.”

(players open the door)
You open the door and see Harxen with one hand on a woman’s shoulder and one on the pommel of his kukri. Harxen says: “I checked her for weapons. She’s unarmed, but she’s got a note and he said she wants to talk.”

The woman removes her hood revealing blonde hair and a pair of half-elven ears with very expensive looking earings. She takes off her cloak, showing an even more expensive blouse, vest and trousers and says “Do you mind?” Gesturing to a coat rack by the door.

(players consent)
“A good start. I suppose you’re not complete savages.”

(players do not agree)
The woman lets a furrow briefly cross her brow before regaining her composure and draping her cloak over a chair.

“My name is Tilani Meridat of house Sartolis, Third heir to the Sartolis estate of Aurentis and chief diplomat of the Merchant’s Guild branch of Gildenport. Am I correct that you are the leaders of this rebellion?”

Cecily responds: “We’re more like advisors. Our authority extends only as far as the trust of the people of this city.”

Tilani replies: “Well, from the looks of things, that’s a fair distance right now. I am authorized to negotiate the terms of a meeting with representatives of the council of merchant-lords and the Internal Enforcement Guild and to arrange a temporary ceasefire to ensure clear-headed negotiations. As for a location, I suggest meeting at one of my family’s estates near the northern end of the city. It is far from the fighting would provide a calm environment.”

(players respond positively)
Reilly walks over and says: “Well, I don’t agree to it. It’s deep inside IEG territory and I’m not yet inclined to trust the merchant lords. We do it in neutral territory or not at all.”

(players respond negatively)
Reilly walks over and says: “I agree completely. It’s deep inside IEG territory and I’m not yet inclined to trust the merchant lords. We do it in neutral territory or not at all.”

Tilani replies: “Of course. I know of a large public square on the edge of the factory district. So far, neither side has been able to cross it, so it remains no-man’s-land. I’ll suggest it and see what I can do about making it presentable. You are all combat trained, so my superiors will insist on having an additional six veterans as an honor guard. You may bring a retinue of 4, along with yourselves if you wish. Agreed?”

“Good. Now I’ll need your assurances that the ceasefire will be honored until negotiations have concluded. This includes affiliated rioters. Can you promise me that?”

Cecily nods to you as if to say “We’ll make it work.”

Tilani offers a handshake and says: “I will make the arrangements. I look forward to ending these unfortunate hostilities under acceptable terms. We’ll meet in the morning, at 9. I’ll have a breakfast prepared. No reason we can’t be civilized during the ceasefire.”

She puts on her cloak and walks out the door, with Slinshot escorting. As soon as the door closes, Cecily says: “I don’t like it. It could be a trap.”

Myran says: “Of course it’s a trap. I got caught in a similar one a few years back before I joined the Paragons. But they won’t spring it unless negotiations fall apart.”

Reilly joins in: “So if we’re assuming it’s a trap, which we should, we go back to the original plan. Lucky, what was that plan for dealing with a trap again?”

“Exactly. And we have an advantage. We know what the trap will be and what kind of ammunition it will be shooting at us from long range.”

Cecily interjects: “Unfortunately, we can’t leave the negotiating table without arousing suspicion. That means searching nearby buildings is off limits. Other than keeping an eye on the rooftops, I don’t know how we’ll see Dagget before he pulls the trigger. And he’s not known for missing.”

(The square is surrounded on all sides by 3 and five story buildings, as well as an array of religous steeples and clocktowers)

(if asked)
Enfys says: “I don’t know a lot about foiling a sniper, but I’ve seen what a pin-cannon can do. I had a patient back in Caer’Daugh. A soldier. He got hit while on patrol near the Faskian border. The pin ripped clean through his plate armor without even slowing down. Took out a chunk of his leg. I’d wager Irythan could take 3, maybe 4 hits. And his armor would be useless.”

Reilly says: “I’m not much use in a fight right now, but I can contact the nightblades and ask them to meet us on the way to the square. They may have input we should consider.”

Harxen says: “I’ve noticed slingshot is pretty sneaky. He and I can position ourselves nearby as spotters without raising attention. If either of us spots Dagget, I’ll have freefeather circle his position and screech.”

Robyn says: “It may be prudent to set a trap of our own. If they spring theirs, we can spring ours and if we win, we may strike a decisive blow. Let me take 10 good soldiers and position them for a surprise attack at your signal.”

(players make the plan)

“Alright,” Cecily says. “We’ve got our plan set. Once they show their hand, we show ours. We win, we lose or we compromise and whatever happens, tomorrow will decide the fate of Gildenport for generations to come. I want to thank all of you for what you’ve done for this city. Get yourselves set. Tomorrow, we finish what we started.”

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Chapter 43- "I want to kill that bastard myself"

(to Lucky)
After 10 minutes at full gallop Irythan’s horse tires and slows to a trot, you finally reach the hexagon an hour later. Reilly has gotten worse since then. Her skin is hot to the touch and she’s slipping out of consciousness. Enfys, having heard the thundering hoofs, comes out to investigate. Seeing Reilly slung over the saddle, barely conscious, Enfys approaches at a fast walking pace. She instinctively looks for wounds as she approaches and by the time she’s at your side, she has a rag soaked in alcohol ready to go.

Enfys presses the rag on what’s left of Reilly’s arm as two assisting healers approach with an improvised gurney. Reilly screams from the sting of the alcohol, calling Enfys by insults she usually reserves for Weslythan politicians, as she is lowered onto the gurney by the healers. Enfys places her index and middle finger on Reilly’s neck, leads them inside and motions for you to follow.

Enfys asks you: “You saw this happen, right? The bone splinter patterns look ballistic in origin. Was it shrapnel from the explosion?”

(Lucky tells Enfys)
Enfys tells the healers “Heart rate at 110, heat an iron.” and then says to you: “A pincannon? Did you see the shooter?”

(no)
“I think I know who did this. Help me cauterize the wound while I catch you up. Rixie, (Enfys motions to an elf in ripped healer’s garb) go find Irythan. We need him here now.”

One of the healers approaches and hands Enfys a red-hot iron. Enfys says: “Okay, I’ll need you to hold her down. She’s unconscious now, but as soon as this iron touches her, she’ll wake up with a vengeance.”

(lucky holds)
Enfys presses the iron into Reilly’s arm and you being to smell cooking flesh. Reilly jerks momentarily, but stops struggling when she sees Enfys’ face. Enfys removes the Iron and washes the wound. Enfys says: “If I’m right, the sniper who did this is Dagget. The shot you described is nearly impossible to make, especially in the rain. We’ve dealt with his kind before. They’re called the daggermen, although he’s definitely one of the most dangerous, even among assassins.”

Enfys puts away her supplies and continues: “We’ll have to deal with him eventually, and his daggermen. As long as they’re free and armed, the people of Gildenport will never be safe. Irythan should be on his way back soon. I just hope he can handle the infection in Reilly’s blood.”

(to strike team)
You move at a rushed pace for a few blocks before a group of mounted volunteers approaches and dismounts from their horses. One of them says to you: “Courtesy of us stable-hands at estates of people we don’t like. Goldcrotch pricks don’t deserve horses they don’t feed themselves. We were told you need to get to your injured comrade, so mount up.”

(strike team mounts)
You spur the horses and gallop down the street. It takes a half-hour to reach the hexagon. Lucky and Enfys are sitting outside on a sofa that was “borrowed” from an expensive dwelling. Enfys takes a last lungful from a cigarette, tosses it aside and approaches you. She tells you: “Irythan, come inside. Reilly lost an arm and there’s an infection I can’t handle.”

(Irythan uses cure disease)
Reilly’s fever subsides and her face returns to it’s normal light brown shade. She begins to stir and says: “Ugh. I feel like the morning after a drunken boxing match. Can someone tell me what happened?” Before you can answer, Reilly reaches for her waterskin. With her missing right hand. She smashes her head into the pillow and says “Laerta’s left tit, someone tell me I’m hallucinating. I’m pretty sure my right arm is gone.”

(players give her the news)
Reilly appears for a second to take it well, she then bolts upright, stands on her feet and flips over the cot she was on, screaming with rage. She hyperventilates for a few seconds, then begins to collapse. Enfys catches her and says: “Have a seat, Reilly. You’re still weak from blood loss.” Enfys then guides Reilly into a chair. “Take it easy. And try not to destroy my infirmary until you’ve healed.”

Reilly says: “Fine, but I’m missing half my right arm, not half my good sense. I can see that ‘what do we do now’ look in your eyes. Don’t you dare leave me out of this. Set the war table up here if you have to.”

By the time you finish setting up, Cecily, Slingshot and Myran have arrived. Enfys practically tackles Myran in an embrace. Cecily approaches the table and stabs a knife into the map where the port district is with a dramatic “thump”. Cecily says: “Damn that felt good. Rebels effectively control the port district. We’ve taken nearly a hundred mercenaries captive and we’ve set up a naval blockade, cutting off access to and from the sea. They no longer have the option to level the city and the prospects of them re-taking it are grim at best.”

Myran chimes in: “They’ve lost most of their advantages. Rioters are creating too much chaos to handle while rebels who are better at fighting engage their soldiers and take advantage of that chaos and confusion. They’ve had to divert official resources to digging up the gold that’s been buried and to securing key buildings, so the only soldiers who are fighting the rebellion are mercenaries. Finally, we’ve secured not only the largest weapon stores in the city, but also seized their naval power. Normally, this is where the losing force would attempt to negotiate an armistice and cut their losses. Usually in Kaptal, they try to buy off the leaders. In the case of this rebellion, they’re more likely to offer reforms.”

“Well” says Enfys “Seeing as how I just spent the last 24 sleepless hours watching good people die and nearly die for a free Gildenport, I think the only question we need to answer is in which orifice we tell them to stick their reforms.”

Myran says: “I want this struggle to matter just as much as you do, Enfys. These terms may allow us a victory without further bloodshed, even if it is a smaller victory.”

Reilly says: “You’re both assuming the offer of reform is genuine. They know they can’t buy us off, so they’ll draw us into a trap and kill us. Problem is, we’re not so easy to kill. My vote: Go to the meeting, if there is a trap, poke holes in it until it stops moving, then deliver terms of your own. One request, though. If dagget’s there, bring him to me alive. I want to kill that bastard myself.”

Enfys says: “I’m with Reilly, but there’s no sense in staying awake. You all look as tired as I feel. Get some rest, healer’s orders. Once we have the offer, we’ll make a plan then.”

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Chapter 42- "I think Piracy suits me"

What the unknown voice said to you was troubling and mystifying in equal parts, but you put it on the back burner to focus on the naval dogfight at hand.

By the time you’ve readied weapons, the IEG marines are 60 feet away and rowing at combat speed equal to an unarmored human (30ft). The nearest frigate is 100 feet away directly ahead. It is facing you head on. The other IEG frigate is 300 feet away with its broadside facing you on an intercept course for the Ironjack. You can barely make out the Dawn of Orthalyn flickering in the lantern light of the Ironjack. You can’t be certain you would notice it if you didn’t know it was there.

(naval battle)

After the IEG ships have been neutralized or taken over, Cade maneuvers the Dawn into position alongside the ship you took and extends a gangplank. Harxen, Myran and Declan are already onboard. Milo hands the helm off to a volunteer sailor and crosses to the Dawn.

(players cross over)
Cade says: “We’ll talk soon, right now Cecily needs our help. Harxen sent freefeather to find out what’s going on at the barricades. Enfys had to return to the Hexagon to tend to a new wave of wounded. Cecily and a group of volunteers are still fighting at the barricades blocking access to the docks. If they retreat, the IEG will overrun the district. I’ve got an idea, though.”

Cade then addresses the deck: “Gun Crews! Load Broadside cannons and prepare to target the IEG barricades on my signal! Ballista crews! Load Ballistae and wait for my signal! You’re going to cover the advance of the street fighters when they attack.”

It is still dark when the Dawn of Orthalyn enters cannon range of the Barricades. Cade gives the order to target the barricades and open fire one after another. The cannons fire and the sound of the blast echoes loudly off the multi-story warehouses. The cannonballs impact the barricade and cover the nearby air in dust and smoke. The next thing you see is dozens of rioters pouring out of the smoke wielding improvised weapons covered in blood. Cade gives the order for ballista crews to begin firing at IEG lines. Though still too far out for bows and crossbows to be effective, the Ballistae strike soldier after soldier as the IEG lines collapse. Cade moves the ship closer to the shore, barely an elf’s height from the docks as the ship matches pace of the advancing rioters. Finally in arrow range, you and any soldiers who are not using the ballistae begin firing arrows at any soldiers that attempt to form lines to stem the tide of advancing rebels. After an hour of fighting, any IEG mercenaries that remain have either been captured or forced to retreat. The combined assault of a rebel charge with naval support quickly overran the docks. Cecily runs to the end of a dock and beckons for you to come ashore. Even from a distance, there is a visible look of urgency on her face.

The sun begins to rise just as you approach the shore and she says: “Now that we’ve taken the docks, the rebel volunteers can finish mopping up any IEG forces in the warehouses and tenements. As it stands, the guild district and the grand estates are the only areas still under IEG control. A messenger came by just before we broke into the harbor district. His message was rushed, but apparently Enfys wants to regroup at the Hexagon. He said something else, too. Reilly’s been hurt. Bad.”

View
Chapter 41- "This is so much more fun than being guard captain"

(to lucky)
You burst through the cellar door and haul ass up the spiral staircase adjacent to the lift. At the top of the stairs is a temporary storage area with a set of double doors. You throw them wide open, revealing an atrium full of guards whose faces say, in no uncertain terms: “What the fuck?”

You make a beeline for the nearest exit, a side door leading to a large alley. A guard nearby attempts to block your path. You can attempt to go through him with an overrun or around him by tumbling.

You pass by the guard and run through the rain-washed streets to the rendezvous point with Reilly. Two guards are in pursuit, 40ft and 50ft behind you.

(foot chase, 2 level 2 guards)

You can see the stables half a block away with Reilly waiting on the back of a horse and holding the reigns of another under torchlight. You approach Reilly and she asks “Did you set the charge?”

Boom

“never mind,” Reilly says. “Get on the damn horse and let’s go!”

You mount the horse and you and Reilly gallop off toward the harbor. As the guards fire insults and bullets at you from behind, Reilly looks at you and says “This is so much more fun than being guard captain. Come on, I want to see if we can find a way to join tonight’s other festivities.”

Crack You hear an abnormally loud gunshot. Before you even have time to turn around, you see Reilly on the cobblestone street, missing her elbow and everything below it. Embedded in a wall nearby is a steaming steel rod, about a foot of it is sticking out. You remember seeing this type of ammunition before and you recognize it as a Faskian Pin-cannon, A flintlock weapon famed for it’s accuracy, power and long reload times.

(if asked)
Reilly travelled without armor or pack in order to remain inconspicuous. Reilly’s normal weight is 152 lbs with her gear, minus her right arm, she weighs closer to 145. She has normal clothing, a chainmail vest and a short-sword concealed under her rain-cloak. Her chain vest weighs 15lbs.

(if approached)
Reilly is conscious and alert but has become weak from blood loss. She tells you “I’m in no shape to walk. If I don’t stop the bleeding in what’s left of my arm, I’ll be in no shape to breathe, either. I’m pretty useless right now. If you can’t stop the bleeding, just get your ass out of here.”

(bleeding stopped)
“Thanks, get me to the Hexagon. Enfys should be on her way back after the explosion. She’ll know what to do.

(successful strength check, dc=weight/10)
You hoist Reilly up onto the horse and then mount it yourself. The sound of the explosion left a ringing in your ears that just begins to fade as you whip around the corner at full gallop.

(to strike team)
Even from where you are, a barrel of gunpowder bursting through a stone cellar gives a deafening bang. You see a column of smoke, illuminated by whatever fire it came from coming from the guild district. Shortly after, a flare comes up and you hear a voice from the ship yell: “Reinforcements requested on shore! Marines to the landing craft!” You immediately begin to hear the scurrying of heavy boots and the squealing of pulleys coming from above. Various voices are bellowing orders involving weapons and lifeboats.

(players avoid)
You see the landing craft being rowed toward shore away from you. Two from each ship, each carrying 15 marines a piece.

You then hear a voice in the back of your head: “This Cade Greybarrel at the helm of the Paragon Frigate ‘Dawn of Orthalyn’. Can anyone respond.”

“Good, I was beginning to think you were indisposed. I saw a massive explosion. What in Pelor’s name did you do?”

“Of course you did. Regardless, we’ve dropped anchor a mile away from those ships and snuffed all lanterns. We found a few broadside cannons and ballistae at Polaris and we’ve fitted them to the Dawn. What’s the plan?”

“Alright, we’ll wait for your signal. It looks like all the remaining crew are looking at the shore and starting fires in the steam trebuchets. If you still plan on boarding that ship, now would be the time.”

(players board)
With the Marines heading to shore, the remainder of the crew is ill equipped to defend against a boarding attempt. Most are completely unarmed or armed only with a dagger. The few that do carry swords don’t appear to be proficient. Seeing a host of 20 soldiers coming out of the water armed to the teeth puts a scare in everyone aboard. Several of them yell for the marines to return. A man in an officer’s uniform emerges from the captain’s quarters below the helm and says: “What the seventh hell is… Oh, shit. Sailors, to arms! defend the ship!” The crew appears hesitant and the fear of death by sword is abundantly apparent in their eyes.

(players demand surrender)
What few crew members are armed drop their weapons and raise their hands in the air. The rest simply raise their hands in the air. Your soldiers take them to the brig and signal the sailing crew to come aboard.

(players slaughter crew)
The veterans you brought with you object to slaughtering defenseless sailors without offering surrender and refuse to participate. (to Irythan) As these are military personnel, attacking would not permanently change your alignment, but you would lose your paladin abilities for a day if you participate.

combat with level 1 sailors

The last sailor falls dead after begging for his life. Your soldiers take their bodies below decks and signal the sailing crew to approach.

The sailing crew ascends the portside ladders. Milo immediately begins giving orders and takes the helm. He says: “I need one of you by me to navigate and direct weapon crews. The rest of you, pick a weapon and start loading. One of you tell Cade he’s clear to approach.”

The frigate you’re on is equipped with one swivel gun, two broadside cannons and three ballistae on each side. It is also equipped with three steam trebuchets, which are ineffective at combat range. You can see one of the rowboats of marines returning to the ship. One of the marines aboard lights a pair of bright-red torches and begins waving them at the remaining frigates.

(players pick weapons)
You get to your stations and prepare the weapons for a fight as the two Kaptalis frigates and a rowboat of IEG marines approach you. The rainfall slows and then stops and as you begin to aim your weapons and select targets, you hear another voice in the back of your head: “You have perverted a power you cannot begin to comprehend. You toy with magics beyond that of mortal domain. These frivolous ventures into the mundane that you attempt to steer to your favor will be your undoing. Know you this, the ash lord will have his reckoning for that which you flailed from his grasp.”

View
Chapter 40- "I've got two barrels of gilded coast whiskey"

Milo steers the cart down a nearby alley and motions for you to come over. He opens one of the barrels and says: “Okay, Lucky. You’re up.” Inside the barrel you can see Milo has placed some snacks and a water skin. Milo motions for Lucky to pay attention. “When you want to use the bomb, empty out the whiskey in the compartment and remove the tap. Place the primer charge where the tap was and cut the fuse to the desired length. I suppose light it and run is a bit obvious, but it’s important enough to deserve a mention.”

Reilly says: “Milo will be with the infiltration team. He knows how to avoid being killed but he’s… unpracticed in combat” Milo makes a gesture in response suggesting that Reilly has increased rectal turgor. Reilly ignores him and continues “Slingshot will be with the secondary boarding party awaiting your signal from a rowboat. Enfys and Cecily will be supporting the rioters with abjuration and healing while they finish fortifying the factories and making the most of whatever Chaos the explosion causes. I Will stand by with two horses so Lucky can make an escape. Lucky, I’ll be five blocks away at an abandoned stable I noticed on our first visit here. Cecily tells me the IEG mercenaries likely won’t know it’s abandoned. You’ll have to make it that far on foot.. Irythan, it would help if one of them was yours.”

(Irythan responds)
“Alright,” Reilly says, with a grin.“Let’s go blow up an official building and steal military equipment. Last clock-tower chime was 4:00, we should get into position.”

(to Lucky)
Milo tells you that one knock means continue as planned, two knocks means abort. You enter the empty barrel and Milo closes the lid. It is pitch-dark inside and sound is muffled, but you can make out the words of nearby conversations. You hear the mule snort and then feel the cart rolling off down the cobblestone street.

(to strike team)
The rest of you make your way to the docks on foot. Reilly, Enfys, Slingshot and Cecily walk with you. It is around sunset when you make it to the edge of the factory district. By this time, Rioters and Mercenaries have fought to a stalemate. As you walk west looking for an opening in their lines you see that both sides have set up opposing barricades on every street, distance between the barricades ranges from 30 up to about 100 feet apart. Patrols on the IEG side of the barricades are stretched thin. After passing five of these barricades, Slingshot asks you to stop for a moment. He says: “There’s no way we can break through their lines without opening the factories up to a retaking. I used to play hide and seek around here as a kid.” Slingshot points to a warehouse and says “That warehouse is used to store goods that have to remain dry. In the basement, there is a tunnel that leads to one of the dockhouses. Used to be used to keep goods out of the rain. I doubt these out-of-town mercs know about it. If we feign an assault, it should tie up their patrols long enough for you to swim out of their patrol routes. We’ll wait for Milo to get back, then make our move.”

(to Lucky)
Lucky, you’ve been in the barrel for about an hour now when you feel the cart stop. You can hear Milo outside. “Guard, I’ve got a delivery. Two barrels of Gilded Coast Whiskey for a Fetrian Hawkins. Tell him the Legacy of Gold Distillery sends their apologies that they could not send the full quantity and their assurances that the remainder will be sent as soon as this unfortunate uprising is quelled.”

A few minutes later, you here another voice: “Ah, mister Brinneth. I was beginning to think you weren’t going to make it. The acting mayor is expecting to meet with the commander of a new mercenary company tomorrow. I’m told this commander has quite the whiskey habit. I’ll have it brought down to the cellar.”

You hear jangling buckles and the shifting of armored feet, then a mule sighing with relief. You hear a small hand knocking once on the barrel. Milo says, “I’ll return for the cart tomorrow” and you hear soft hoofbeats fading away as a clock-tower chimes 5pm. The cart is rolled forward and you then hear a squeaking pully and feel yourself softly being lowered down. The pully stops and you are rolled forward further, a short turn, then rolled again. The voice that greeted Milo says: “Thank you, Guardsmen. I’ll handle the inventory.” Armored feet shuffle away. The voice then says: “Tell Cecily she owes me a real barrel of whiskey. Wait a half-hour or so, then emerge at your leasure” You hear a door close and then silence.

(to the strike team)
After an hour, Milo approaches riding a mule. The sun has set and given way to a dull twilight. Slingshot has been explaining the plan and gathering volunteers. Milo gets off the mule and says: “I want to make it a matter of public record that that crazy bastard Fetrian will drink for free as soon as I build a new bar.”

Slingshot approaches and says: “I think we’re as ready as we’ll ever be. Go on inside and make your way through the tunnel. When the clock-tower chimes 11, we’ll make ourselves the IEG’s most pressing concern for as long as we can”

(strike team enters tunnels)
The tunnels are well-maintained and refreshingly clear of undead. After an hour’s delve, you reach the door that Slingshot described as opening up into an outdoor loading bay with it’s own rain-shelter. It is a wooden door with a built-in lock. Your perception of time is not perfect, but you remember hearing a clock-tower chime a muffled 9pm shortly after entering the tunnel

(players detect evil)
No evil auras are detected.

(players peak under door)
You see a series of wooden crates and barrels scattered across the floor.

(listen check)
You hear an ocean tide and a soft wind whistling under the door.

(players open door)
You see a series of docks, most of them are vacant as far as the eye can see. The closest boat that is not being guarded by IEG mercenaries is a 10-seat rowboat 3 piers down, clearly lit by torch, about half a mile away. You can see sentries between you and the rowboat. One is stationary guarding a fishing trawler and two are mobile (spot check dc 16 will reveal a route by water that sentries cannot see). The closest artillery Frigate is just over a mile offshore and has dropped its aft-starboard anchor.

(players escort sailors to the boat)
After avoiding the sentries, you successfully lead the volunteer sailors aboard the rowboat and push off. Do you wish to remove your armor before swimming? You are all equipped with chain-shirts which take a full-round action to don. You and the Weslythan veterans swim toward the IEG frigate.

(players begin swimming to the ship)
Do you wish to remove your armor before swimming? You are all equipped with chain-shirts which take a full-round action to don. You lower yourselves into the temperate water and begin swimming toward the IEG frigate. Behind you, you can see Milo chopping up barrels and crates and handing pieces to the volunteers. The group of Weslythan veterans follows behind you.

(Swim check dc 10) The last thing you hear as you swim away from shore is the clocktower chiming 10:00

(to Lucky)
Your best guess tells you it’s been a half hour and the barrel is becoming increasingly uncomfortable in tension and odor. (exit barrel) You kick the lid off the barrel and hop out on to the floor. You are in a dimly torch-lit room with heavy brick walls and an imposing vault door on the opposite side of the room. The cart is just as it was when you entered and you can see a pocket-watch on a nearby shelf with a note that reads: “This was my mother’s watch. I’ve synchronized it with the clock-tower in the factory district. Lose this watch and you lose your left social finger. Good hunting, -your friendly neighborhood bartender and spy.” The watch reads 5:20 PM. You have over six hours to set the bomb. (inform kindra she can take 20).

You work meticulously for the next six hours, checking and re-checking your work and taking breaks to avoid drops in attention span. All that’s left is to cut the fuse to the desired length for timing. From experience you have in the city, you know it will take you 3 minutes at full sprint to get from the front door of city hall to the stables where Reilly is waiting. By your estimate it will take 20-30 seconds to get out of the building. The way you set up the bomb, any windows within a quarter-mile will be shattered and any person within 200 feet of city hall could be knocked flat. It will take a full minute to escape that zone. How long of a delay do you want?

You cut the fuse and ready yourself to light it. You’re equipped with all your carried gear. Any further preparations you’d like to make in the next half-hour?

(Lucky lights fuse)
You light the fuse and begin your escape.

(strike team)
It began raining shortly after you started swimming from shore. The clocktower in the distance reads 11:30pm. You are currently 200 feet away from the IEG frigate and you can see sentries patrolling the upper decks and five landing craft on the visible side of the ship and two on the stern. How do you proceed?

(players dive)
You dive below the water and swim toward the ship. It takes a full minute for all of you to make it. Once you surface, you see that the side of the ship you are on has 2 affixed ladders, 40 feet apart from each-other and each 20 feet from the stern or bow. One of the Caer’Daugh veterans approaches you and says: “So, what’s the plan?”. The clocktower says 11:50

By the time you finish explaining the plan and answering questions, the clocktower chimes midnight. Time comes to a standstill as you wait for the blast and the rain continues to fall.

View
Chapter 39- "The factories are ours"

You hug the walls on either side of the door that no longer exists. Your forces, 15 veteran city guards from the Battle of Caer’Daugh, stand ready on the flanks of the door to assault the Hexagon. The smoke and sawdust that was the door is obscuring your view of the inside.

Combat with 30 enforcers and one dusk-blade

Once inside, you see yourself in a large corridor, about 30ft wide. 40ft down, you can see a force of Mercenaries lined up in a defensive formation. They are all wearing scale-mail and carrying round metal shields and spears. Just behind their lines is a man in chain-shirt carrying a larger shield and a spear of higher quality. He looks about 50 and is a half-elf. Reilly informs you that she recognizes his fighting style as that of the Weslythan Duskblades, a unit of elite war-mages whose craft originates in ancient elven tradition.

Your soldiers instinctively line up in an attack formation and await the command to attack.

(duskblade is below 1/4hp)

The duskblade drops his weapons and says in a Weslythan accent: “Fuck it, I’m not being paid well enough to die for this. I surrender.”

Reilly finds a pair of manacles and binds his hands to an empty weapon rack. When she’s done, she hands Irythan the key and turns to all of you saying: “What should we do with him?”

(players elect to kill or extract information)
“Wait” he says “Seeing as a mercenary is a businessman with a sword, how about we make a deal? In exchange for safe passage out of the city and all the gold my dead hirelings had, I’ll tell you how to paralyze the IEG. Do we have an accord?”

(no)
“Fine. If you’re going to kill me, get on with it. I don’t have all day.”

(yes)
“Very well. You’ve seen the mercenaries hired by the IEG, yes? Well, mercenaries are skilled, equipped and organized. No need to fuss about mobilizing an army when you can hire who you need on a few days’ notice. The catch is, as soon as they’re no longer being paid, they piss off to find another contract. They get paid daily in gold.”

(players ask another question)
“Slow down. Unchain me and get me a cigarette. Sign of good faith.”

The mercenary takes a puff and says: “Right then. The gold is kept in a vault in the city hall basement. The former refuge of the mayor in rags.”

(if asked)
“I’m not telling you a damn thing more until I have some guarantees. You, elf with the big fucking armor (beat). Yeah, you. I want your oath as a paladin that I get to walk out of this city.”

“Satisfactory. I don’t know all the details, but the streets around city hall are heavily patrolled. They’ll probably have new fortifications since the riots started.”

Cecily considers for a moment and then asks you for a word. “It’s a good Idea.” she says “But I’m concerned that once taking the city is no longer an option, they’ll elect to destroy it and set an example. The ships they have in the harbor are equipped with steam-catapults that can hit anywhere in the city. If they’re still up and running when the merecenaries desert, they’ll pound and burn this city to smoking rubble and maybe even launch diseased corpses to spread a plague among the survivors.”

Reilly says: “Okay, so we blow up their ships. The Dawn of Orthalyn will be here by midnight along with the Ironjack. We’ve also captured the repeater ballistae from the checkpoints. With siege support from those ballistae, our ships could take them in a naval battle.”

“Your plan sucks, McTeague” Cecily and Reilly both turn to Milo, who continues. “Oh, I was talking to both of you. Cecily, your plan sucks because there’s no way we can cart out a vault full of gold bars. Reilly, your plan sucks because it would get people killed and risk both our ships. Not to mention Gildenport will probably need them in order to defend itself.”

Reilly and Cecily begin to argue with Milo. After a few rebuttals you hear a gunshot.

Slingshot is holding a smoking pistol. “Hell yes,” he says, admiring the hole he made in an IEG helmet “And you three, stop arguing, put on your adult pants and make a plan that doesn’t suck.”

(players plan)

You finalize the plan and break into the supply cabinets. Most of what was in the building has been taken for use by the forces in the streets, but in addition to an impressive supply of mundane weapons, there is a barrel of Faskian gunpowder in the armory as well as 2 potions marked “for serious injuries”.

As you distribute supplies and think of all the wonderful things to blow up with the gunpowder, Enfys walks in the door, hands covered in blood, and says “We’ve taken casualties. And the district. The factories are ours and the fighting has died down. Wounded will be here shortly, help me set up to receive the injured.”

While you move tables and find blankets, Enfys begins scavenging what she can for supplies. She sterilizes curtains with magic and pieces bits of broken armor together to make splints. A brief respite after setting up tables, then the injured begin to pour in. Enfys directs people carrying patients to set them down on improvised cots and tells you “This is my clinic now. Help or get out. You don’t need to use magic if you’re low on spells. We need them breathing, not fighting.”

The injuries before you range from whacks on the head to what look like acid burns, along with the usual assortment of battlefield wounds and embedded projectiles.

(players must make heal checks, real knowledge grants a +4 bonus)

You save who you can for a good half hour. At that point, Enfys approaches you and says: “Thanks for that. Me and the other healers can handle it from here. Go do what you have to do, or this will all be for nought.”

You step outside to the familiar smell of burning buildings and bloodsoaked cobblestone. Reilly remarks: “This feels different than Caer’Daugh. Instead of a desperate struggle to survive, it is a desperate struggle to truly live before their time is up. Let’s go make it worth it.”

View
Chapter 38- "Let's see who really runs this city"

The next morning, you wake up to see Cecily reading from her spellbook. Enfys is changing a bandage on slingshot’s left arm. Everyone else in your cohort is still asleep. Enfys sees you waking up and starts to wake up the rest of the group. Milo wakes up grumbling and says: “Whatever scourge-warped voodoo makes you all wake up together at the ass-crack of dawn needs to stay the seventh hell away from me. Got it?”

Cecily puts down her spellbook and starts waking up the rest of the rebel volunteers. Once they’ve gathered around the table, Cecily asks you to come over.

“Alright, let’s go over the plan one more time”

Cecily starts passing out weapons and ammo to the other volunteers. “Alright,” She says “We know the plan and we know what’s at stake. Put on your work clothes and conceal your weapons. Slingshot has stashed some equipment near the checkpoint that you can retrieve when the time is right. The paragons are going to punch a hole in their lines and weaken their defenses so we can rush through. Don’t wait for them to kill every guard. If you see an opening, take it. Agreed?”

The volunteers echo, “Agreed!”

“alright, let’s get moving”

On your way to the checkpoint, Enfys asks for a word. She lights a cigarette, takes a puff and says: “Listen, I’m going with slingshot and the other volunteers. They’re going to get their asses kicked and I think they’ll need healing more than you do. I’ll meet you back at the hexagon once the barricades are operational.”

Veil catches up with you afterward, smoking a cigarette she bummed from Enfys. She’s wearing wilderness gear. “Listen”, she says, “I need to do something. The Arkali wardragons have pissed off to who knows where. I don’t know about you, but that scares the shit out of me. I’m leaving to track them down. Whatever made them flee the field, whether they’re going after a larger threat, massing for another attack or fleeing from something. I want to know. I expect I’ll be gone for a few months.”

When you reach the checkpoint, you see a wall with a narrow gate just large enough for two people to stand abreast in. On the other side, you can see three snipers on platforms suspended in tripods 30 feet off the ground. There are two repeater ballistas crewed by two dwarven engineers a piece. You can also see ten guards in studded leather with large metal shields and longspears. The shields are specially designed to balance the spear for one-handed use.

Cecily signals to stop and says: “Wait for the diversion” Slingshot leads a group down a nearby alley. ten minutes later, as the crowds begin to form lines for the morning commute, Slingshot and his crew come back with a collection of improvised shields, some of them more like mobile barricades large enough for 3 people to hide behind.

You hear a muffled explosion in the distance, everyone turns their head. Two minutes later, a messenger in IEG uniform comes on horseback and says: “Accident at the distillery on Oakbarrel street. They need reinforcements.”

A guard in full-plate with sergeant’s rank pins turns to the soldiers and says: “You four come with me. The rest of you, stand at full readiness. I don’t want these gutter-rats getting any ideas.”

As the sergeant’s squad runs down the street in formation, the remaining five soldiers line up in formation and point spears. The snipers load and draw their repeater crossbows and the ballista crews aim and ready.

combat with checkpoint guards

(dc 15 strength check will topple the tripods)

(after 2 rounds) The crowd begins hammering on the fence, attempting to break it down.

(ballistas can be disabled as a full-round action that provokes attacks of opportunity)

combat ends

The rioters cheer as (last thing players did) and slingshot climbs to the top of the ruined fence. He addresses the crows: “Friends and comrades! For too long we have toiled under bootheel for the wealth of other men while we settle for scraps. Too long we have been a city of starving farmers and homeless carpenters! No longer! Today we take to the streets! Tonight we take to the barricades! And tomorrow we take our city!” He turns to face the line of guards gazing nervously at the sheer volume of the forces arrayed against them. He draws his axe and yells: “For a free Gildenport and a free Orthalyn!”

Slingshot, Cecily and Enfys join the charging lines and smash into the kaptalis line. The line of IEG forces is overrun in seconds and the rioters scatter into the streets.

As you make for the hexagon, you see crowds of rioters quickly overrunning and beating city guards and IEG forces alike to a bloody pulp. You see groups breaking into mass-bakery shops and looting bread for themselves and for their friends. Barricades and fortifications at the slum entrances are torn down and reconstructed to fortify the district against IEG assault. Finally, you come to the hexagon. The guards have already withdrawn inside the fortified building and barred the thick reinforced doors. The veterans from Caer’Daugh are waiting for you with eager looks on their faces and freshly sharpened blades.

Cecily steps forward with a sack smelling of gunpowder with a fuse sticking out. She puts it in a guardsman’s helmet and nails it to the door. “I’ve been saving this for a special occasion. Lorraine, why don’t you blow something up for us?”

Time seems to crawl as the fuse burns down and disappears behind the helmet. There is a short delay and then BOOM!. The door is reduced to splinters and a cloud of dust is all that stands between you and whatever forces were cowering behind the door.

View
Chapter 37- "A riot's the thing"

Inside the chapel, Cecily approaches the far wall and draws a diagram of the second bridge and it’s fortifications.

Cecily begins: “This report is accurate as of one hour ago, when we were briefed by a group returning from shift at one of the weaving mills. As you can see, there are 10 guards at the gate, 2 ballista crews and three snipers. A group of distillery workers has offered to arrange for a workplace accident. This accident would create an opening for workers to loot the distillery’s safe. In order to stop this, the IEG will have to pull guards from the second bridge. This will give us an opening to attack. I’ll stay behind to provide abjuration support against seige weapons. Paragons, you’ll need to plan the assault and also the defense of citizens crossing the bridge. We’ve been preparing for this for a while, I’ll let slingshot brief you on some of the ideas we came up with.”

Slingshot points to one of the rooftops adjacent tot he bridge and says: "Early on, we hid a ballista in one of the buildings facing the river. We have one bolt that we were planning to use to create a zipline. We also thought of swimming across under the water to access their flank undetected, but you’d have to climb the lip of the canal in order to access the street. Whether you want to use them or not is your call.

Slingshot speaks up: “You’re forgetting something, Cess. What do we do once the fortifications are taken out? So we cross the bridge, then what?”

Milo, whose been silent the whole time, says: “A riot’s the thing. I’ve seen enough of this place to know people are looking for an excuse. If we do this during a major crossing for a shift-change, people will see the fortifications taken down and go for it.”

Slingshot says: “Okay, I like a riot as much as the next rebellious peasent. But we can’t just depend on a riot taking the city. Eventually, the guild will rally their forces and quell the uprising just like last time. How will this be any different.”

Cecily grins, points at a spot on the map and says “We go right to the IEG’s doorstep and gouge out their eyes. The hexagon used to be the headquarters of the city guard. Now the IEG has taken over and all but a few of the guards are in their pocket. Any guards that aren’t are too afraid to act, at least for now. The hexagon’s main spire has a view of almost everything in the factory district and it’s filled with weapons caches and ammunition stores. From there, we can take the rest of the city, district by district.”

Reilly says: “It’s a good idea, Cecily, but I don’t think these volunteers are going to be enough to take and defend the hexagon, especially if you factor in the casualties we’ll take fighting our way through the streets. Not to mention that our assault on the bridge will give them plenty of warning to set up defenses in what is already a fortress.”

(players suggest using paragon forces to supplement)

Reilly agrees that supplementing the volunteers with the 15 combat veterans that came with you would make a significant difference.

Cecily rolls up the map and says: “Alright, tomorrow during the morning crossing, we’ll assault the bridge and then take the hexagon. Make sure you’re prepared because once we attack the bridge, we’ll be committed to the battle to take the city of Gildenport for those who actually run it and we don’t know when we’ll be able to stop. For too long we’ve chosen between eeking out a meager survival or leaving our friends behind to join the class that keeps us in the slums. Tomorrow we will discover a third option: Risk everything to take the wealth we create and not leave a damn soul behind.”

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