A World Asunder

Chapter 35- "It's a damn coup"

The next day is smooth sailing, with the exception of some annoying seagulls. At sunset, you lay eyes on Gildenport and see scattered columns of smoke coming from the city. Five military vessels are anchored off the harbor, flying Kaptalis guard colors and yellow sails. Milo hands you a spyglass and says: “See the Figurehead on the bow? The two headed bird of prey with an eagle head and an owl head? It’s the symbol of the Internal Enforcement Guild. Looks like they’re here in force. I don’t favor our chances head on.”

(players attempt disguise) The crews of the Enforcement ships offer casual friendly gestures as you pass.

After you disembark, a Halflling identifying himself as the harbormaster approaches you and says: “I’m afraid that due to the uprising, docking fees have increased. It will cost you 30 plat to dock and an additional 5 plat per day. Otherwise, you’ll have to turn around.”

(players ask about the uprising) the Harbormaster says: “Yes, an unfortunate affair. An upstart mayor decided she didn’t have to play by the rules. The merchant lords sent the Enforcement Guild to remove her from power and ensure a fair election for her successor. Instead of leaving with dignity, she fled into the slums like a rat and started her own little peasant uprising. I’d admire her gumption if she weren’t costing me a small fortune. Now, are you paying or not?”

Reilly slips the crew and combat unit a smattering of coin and tells them to wait at the anchorman’s rest. She explains that in her experience it’s best not to attract attention until you know what’s going on.

(players go to the slums)
The slums are seperated from the rest of the city by a river. At each of the 11 bridges is a series of fortifications manned by guards and repeater ballistae. You can see snipers deployed on nearby rooftops as well. All their weapons are pointed toward the slums. All the rope bridges have been cut down. The main bridges are gated and guarded by 15-20 guards each, plus five snipers and 2 repeater ballista crews. Each guard is armed with a longsword and a repeater heavy crossbow. Three guards at the gate are armed with longspears and carry a bandolier of ceramic flasks. Most of the guards are human, but the snipers are halflings and the ballista crews are dwarves. There are signs posted at each gate which read: “No entry or exit permitted without valid work permit. No weapons permitted.”

(if players ask about permits) The guard informs you that you can acquire a work permit from the merchant’s guild office in city hall for a fee.

(players go to city hall) Since your last visit, city hall has been hung with Kaptalis national flags and IEG heraldry. You also note a slightly higher guard presence. Inside, there are signs leading to a permit office on the second floor.

(permit office) The office has three booths, but only one of them is staffed. You recognize the staffer as Fetrian. He waves you forward and says: “One at a time. Name and occupation?”

“It looks like selected for an additional interview. Please follow me to my office.” Fetrian gets up from his booth and walks to a door. He opens it and says “please step inside”

Fetrian closes the door behind him and says: “Laerta’s last arrow am I glad to see you. Cecily asked me to stay behind after the uprising started. I managed to convince them that I was in it for the coin, but they didn’t trust me enough to give me back my old position. So here we are. We have a very small window before the guard outside realizes that this is not standard procedure.” Fetrian spills a coin purse on the desk. “If anyone asks, this is a bribe. I’ll have to share it with the guard outside if he comes in. Now, let me tell you what I know. About a week ago, the morning after you left, the IEG showed up in force by sea to demand Cecily’s resignation. Cecily declined to resign willingly and went public with the information you uncovered about the attempts on her life. The information started a riot which lasted two days and gave her and some of her friends from youth time to organize a resistance and secure the slums. Halfway through the second day of rioting, IEG reinforcements arrived by land. They quashed the riots and locked the slums down. You probably saw that on the way over. It’s a stalemate. Every time the guards send a patrol in, they get ambushed. Every time the rebels try to break out, they get slaughtered. For two days, nobody went in or out of the slums, then the local merchant’s guild began complaining about the lack of a workforce. So, they began letting people in and out for work. Everyone is patted down for weapons and notes on their way out and visually checked on their way in. Both ways, their permit is checked. So far, I’ve been unable to make contact with Cecily or anyone else inside the slums. I can get you a permit, but you’ll be on your own to get your equipment inside. You’ll have to look like workers, so any visible armor or weapons are out of the question. Although you could probably smuggle a few small ones in. Any questions?”

Fetrian hands you several permits and says “We know we don’t have enough power to take on the entire Kaptalis Empire, but if we can take the city, there’s a good chance the rest of the empire will cut it’s losses and call a truce. We’d have a free city. Find Cecily. She’ll have some ideas. I need to kick you out now, otherwise the guard will get suspicious and I really don’t want to bribe him.”

Once outside, Reilly says: “Okay. Of course this shit got complicated. Just once, I’d like to kick in a door, remove the left kneecap of exactly the right evil bastard and go home for tea. So, what do you want to do?”

Chapter 34- "Next time I get to save your hide, Okay?"

(if players ambush the ship in the fortress port)

After setting the signal beacon, Enfys says: “How do you want to do this? We can use the guard uniforms to bullshit them or we could point weapons at them and force a surrender. Keep in mind that if they don’t believe we’re prepared to sink the ship, it’ll turn into a stalemate fast and likely end badly, though the same could happen if we can’t convince them we’re guards.”

Milo says: “If we look like guards and have gold, their backsides are covered and they might not care whether they believe us or not. The trick is getting our hands on enough gold or making them think we have enough gold.”

Reilly takes a look at the schematic of the Ironjack and says: “I want that boat. Once we have an army, we’ll need a transport vessel if we hope to bring our forces to bear. If we can find a way to seize it, I’ll vote for that.”

(Players bluff without gold, dc 15)

The captain comes off ship and says: “We brought you the prisoners. We’d like to get home as we’ve been at sea longer than we thought we would. So let’s skip the usual pleasantries and go to the part where I get my gold.”

(Success) Pleasure doing business with you. We caught a special batch near the Faskian border. Rebels calling themselves the “peregrines” or some shit. We managed to “convince” a few of them to divulge the mission. Since they’re a library full of open books now, I’ll give you the information for free. They aim to take this fortress, so be on the lookout."

(failure) Now it makes sense. We managed to coax some information out of your comrades. If you had been a better liar, we’d have bought your line. Now we’re leaving. With our hostages.

(players intimidate, dc 17)

(Success) The captain of the vessel yells from the deck. “We’re prepared to negotiate a release. Send the sorceress aboard, unarmed and alone and we’ll talk.” (they will release the prisoners in exchange for safe passage)

(Failure) You’re bluffing. You wouldn’t sink this ship with your friends aboard! We have hostages. You have until sunset to open the gates or we start killing your friends. Starting with the gnome. (warning shot will allow re-check)

(players attempt to bribe, dc 12)

(Success) “Your terms are Acceptable”

(bribe or intimidate)
The captain of the vessel screams: “The prisoners are escaping!”, then goes below deck. Shortly after, Declan and a host of others walk onto the deck. Many of them look as though they’ve been beaten or worse. Some have a vacant expression on their face. Declan looks to have had the worst of the beatings, though his expression is one of vindictive determination. The captain looks at you and says: “What a tragic state of affairs. A riot broke out aboard the ship and we were powerless to stop the prisoners from escaping.” Declan walks up to him and kicks him in the shin. The captain buckles and Declan grabs his finger, twisting it for leverage and bringing the captain to his knees. Declan smiles sweetly, says: “Just making your story convincing, you sadistic piece of shit.” and promptly knees him in the face. Declan walks off the gangplank and says to you: “That felt good. Next time, I get to save your hide, deal?”

Combat with guards
The ship’s captain bellows: “To arms, we’ve been boarded! Jettison the cages and send for the warden!”

Reilly draws her sword and pistol and says: “Enfys! Take Robyn, Milo and Harxen to the lower deck to rescue the captives there. Myran, get to the aft and disble the engine. We’ll take this deck! Let’s see how much these goons value their kneecaps.”

(after combat)

After both the guard commander and the ship’s captain fall dead, the remaining crew surrender. Reilly orders a squad of soldiers to, in her words, “Find our new guests some accommodations. I want them healthy in case we need them for a prisoner exchange in the future.”

You disembark from the ship and Enfys gives each one of the prisoners a check up and reports back to you: “There’s 28 in total, there were others, but they didn’t survive the journey. 17 of them are combat trained, though it will take a couple days of training to get our Weslythan and Kaptalis troops to adapt to each-other’s combat styles. As for injuries, everyone has clotted lacerations and fresh scars consistent with heavy flogging and some have broken bones. Declan had his left pinky cut off, apparently for speculating on the size of the captain’s genetalia. I’ll let you picture that image at your leisure. Everyone in the group is on track to make a full recovery and the ship is ours. Personally, I’m okay with calling it a win.”

Reilly comes up to you with a ledger and offers a report on supplies and equipment: “We have enough weapons to arm a full battalion and the Dawn is being fitted with broadside cannons as we speak. Although the Dawn is seaworthy, we found several parts of the armor that were damaged quite badly. I’d like to take the Ironjack or a Dinghy while we work on repairs.”

Reilly, Robyn, Milo and Enfys come aboard the ship to accompany you to Gildenport, Myran, Declan and and Harxen stay behind to train new soldiers and make sure the Fortress is up to scratch. The 15 soldiers from Caer’daugh volunteer for the journey, while the new recruits ask to stay behind and help clear the rest of the fortress.

You set off with cohort and crew at full sail. Milo serves up a fish chowder and pours ale for the entire crew. The meal is spent trading war stories and showing mementos of husbands, wives and children. Partway through, Robyn Niles stops writing in her journal to refill on Ale. She leaves it open as if to deliberately allow you to read it. It says:

“Growing up in Bastion, I was taught that it was the duty of every soldier, sailor, scout and spy to protect Irythan not only from the grey wastes, but from it’s own temptation to return. I was assigned to a scouting unit and a week ago, we were ordered to the Faskian coast to confirm rumors of an Arkali landing party. We were ambushed by a War-dragon and I was the only survivor. My unit was shattered. I wandered in Fask until I found the Paragons’ camp. They were not what I expected from the briefings. They risked everything to save Caer’Daugh from Arkali assault while Bastion was still assembling forces. These were the dangerous radicals I had been warned about. They were the terrorists who took refugees into their midst and the villains who saved Caer’Daugh from the slaughter. These are the enemies who I know from first hand experience will leave not one soul behind. These are the heroes who would open wide hell’s gaping maw and charge headlong in with bared steel. They won against an Arkali assault which broke a city not by numbers or skill. They won because they showed the people that they were fighting to live, not just to survive. Amidst all the despair of this invasion and all the uncertainty that comes with it’s resolution, these impossible survivors bring a vital message which will change everything: We are not alone in the world. Our struggles are shared by our neighbors and by those we did not know even existed. And as we sail into the unknown among trusted friends, that is all I need to know.”

Chapter 33- "I'm sick of being on the defensive"

After the battle in the main Yard, Reilly approaches you and says: “We’ve taken the main yard and the Armory and set up fortifications. Next, we’ll go structure to structure and clear them out one at a time with traps and ambushes. Two soldiers were badly wounded in the fight, but they’ll both live as long as they rest. We’re not finished yet, but we’ve got it under control. I’ve ordered some of the builders and smiths to begin turning the ballistas and guns out toward the sea and I should have the Dawn equipped with four broadside cannons and six ballistas by the time you leave, though it should stay moored for a while longer so we can complete the repairs.”

Milo emerges from the main tower and says: “Come on upstairs, I’ve already turned the warden’s office into our new war-room.”

The bottom floor of the tower has been made into a temporary shelter until the fortress is completely clear. The Caer’Daugh volunteers are milling about unpacking their gear. Some are playing cards for first pick of living quarters, while others are assembling mementos of people they lost at sea or left behind in Caer’Daugh.

Upstairs, the war-room has the same setup as before, though with a larger table and a section curtained off as sleeping quarters for you and the others of the de-facto inner circle.

Once everyone is gathered, Enfys begins by saying: “Let’s do a quick run-down of the den of ghouls we’ve just walked ourselves into. And no, I’m not talking about this fortress. We’ve made a lot of enemies in the past couple weeks. The governments of Fask and Kaptal, the Bastion inquisition, a new wave of Scourge Worshippers, a Lich-Necromancer with a powerful army and a cabal of assassins are all going after our heads. In addition, we have our own problems and several requests for aid. Cecily wants our help back in Gildenport, Kartha has gone off to fuck knows where, Lilia has a proposal of action that could collapse the alliance between Kaptal and Fask, we know of Arkali war-dragons that are missing from battle and finally, we still need to translate this book.”

Reilly adds: “Let’s not forget that the Arkali are still on a war-path. There will be food shortages, orphans and refugees. I think we should open our gates to refugees. We have plenty of room in the fortress and there’s good soil nearby for farming. We could make a city out of this place.”

Milo says: “Somewhat petty, but hate the name Gorch’thul. This place needs a new one.”

Myran pounds her fist on the table and says: “We can name it later Milo, right now we need to decide our next course of action. Fast.”

Enfys brings up a Diagram of the Ironjack and says: “It seems like that Lich swapped the beacon’s signal. The ship is coming here. If we want Declan back, we’ll need to secure a release.”

Reilly places a Kaptalis guard uniform, a cannonball and a coin purse on the table and says: “Bulllshit, Bluffing or Bribery. Pick one.”

Chapter 32- "This is not what we're about!"

(from Barracks) The door leads down a 5 foot wide emergency tunnel. On the other side, you can see a spiral staircase leading up.

(from the Yard) The front door of the tower is locked with a simple internal deadbolt. The keyhole indicates it can be picked. It is an iron door reinforced with adamantine slats.

(inside the tower, from the yard) you open the door and slam it shut behind you. The room inside is an octagonal chamber 30 feet across on all sides. There is a spiral staircase around the inside of the tower which goes up for about 40 feet before it disappears into a passageway through the ceiling.

(up the staircase) At the top of the stairs is reinforced wooden door. It is slightly ajar. (beat). The inside looks similar to the bridge of the Dawn of Orthalyn. It is lined with levers and wheels. Enfys asks you to watch her back and inspects the console. “Shit.” she says “The gate mechanism needs a special key to work. I hate Kaptalis machines.” The room also has strong reinforced windows on all sides overlooking the entire prison. In the corner is another spiral staircase leading up to an ornate wooden door.

(at the door) The door has no readily identifiable lock but it won’t move. (dc 12 strength check to break down)

(door opens) The door splinters at the knob and swings wide open. On the other side is a half-elf woman in mage’s battle-robes. Her hand is extended at you and you can see small lightning arcs between her fingertips. As soon as she sees you, she lowers her hand. “Orthalyn’s breath, Enfys! I nearly put a lightning bolt between your eyes. What the hell are you doing here?”

Enfys nocks an arrow and replies: “That’s all you have to say to me, Kartha? You practice necromancy and slaughter every single person on this island and you have the nerve to put the paragon’s crest, OUR SYMBOL, on all of it?”

Kartha walks around the desk and leans forward onto it: “Enfys, you know better than most what we’re up against, better than anyone alive if what I’ve heard about Caer’Daugh is true. Our enemy knows no fear, no tire and no hunger. They are perfectly disciplined and fight as one mind. Just like the undead. Don’t you see? The perfect army has been right in front of us this whole time and we just haven’t had the stomach to use it until now.”

Enfys moves away from the door and levels her bow: “And you know that there is always a price to be paid for the use of necromancy. The magic itself is designed to inflict misery on a massive scale. Necromancy started the scourge. Even if it ends it, what kind of world will be left in it’s wake?”

Kartha draws a pistol and intensifies the sparks in her hand. She says with a determined look: “One with no scourge, and that’s worth any price!”

Combat with Kartha

(On enfys’s turn)
Enfys lands an arrow straight in Kartha’s heart. Kartha staggers back with a look of pain, but continues fighting. Enfys goes wide-eyed and says “Kartha what the ninth hell have you done?” Kartha replies: “Like I said, worth ANY price. The enemy we face knows no fear, hunger or tire. Neither will my army and neither do I!”

(On Kartha’s turn)
Kartha shouts a brief incantation and a wave of intense sound blasts you. She turns to Enfys and says: “Do you not see the power I wield? My philactery has made me nigh immortal and I can give you the same strength. With the army I’m building this could accomplish everything we ever hoped for. Let go of your antiquated morality and we can work together. Come on, we were sisters once. Would you kill your own family?”

(On Enfys’s turn)
Enfys says: “Kartha Norallis is dead. I would gladly kill the foul Lich that took her from this world.” and charges Kartha.

(on Kartha’s turn)
Kartha grabs Enfys by the throat and smashes her down on the desk in one fluid motion. She pins her down and says: “You see what I’m capable of? I could have killed you a thousand times over. I can see you’re still in shock. Perfectly understandable.”

(On Enfys’s turn
Enfys says “How’s this for shock” and Jams a dagger into Kartha’s left eye. Kartha reels back and says: “Very well. I’ll give you some time to think it over. See you again soon”

Kartha breaks a glass orb on the floor and vanishes from sight with a loud crack.

End of Combat

Enfys gets up from the desk, staggers for a few paces and slumps into the chair. Her hands shaking, she fumbles and lights a cigarette. She says to you “I’ll be alright. Just give me some time alone.”

You see a key on the desk with a note pinned next to it by dagger. It says “Enjoy your new fortress. Leave the light on for me.”

The key unlocks the gate mechanism. You hear the telltale screech of steam-pulleys and the gate opens. The Dawn of Orthalyn sails through the sea-gate and opens up on the undead in the yard with Gun, Ballista and every archer they have on board. Reilly dismounts with a sword in one hand and a Weslythan Paragon flag in the other and leads the soldiers downstairs in seizing the fortress.

(players may assist)

Chapter 31- "Here's how we get in"

After a dinner of turtle stew, Milo’s idea of a joke, Enfys says “I hate to bring this up now, but we still have a two-day voyage to Gorch’thul and the bodies of the fallen will soon start to become risks to everyone’s health. Since we can’t bury them in home soil, I will work with some of the clerics to give them all a burial at sea. Will you join me? It would mean a lot to the survivors.”

Reilly, Myran, Harxen and Milo agree immediately.

(if players attend)
Two other clerics and a host of volunteers have already laid the bodies at the stern for burial. Enfys steps behind the helm as a makeshift podium and speaks: “Friends and Comrades. We gather here under sunlit blue to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice for the good of Irythan and the world we all hope to find. The fallen who lay before us did not know their fate when they walk out the gates of Caer’Daugh or when they boarded the gangplank of the Dawn of Orthalyn. They knew what it was worth to them and their children and they marched ever forward into darkness knowing that whether they would see it or not, there was a bright future on the other side. I know not the faiths of the dead, but the Sun father and the Martyred Maiden would welcome the righteous gentile and the pious hero to their arms in equal regard. They who stare into the abyss and falter not in aims nor in resolve are they who will be remembered on earth and in the stars, for this world and the next belong to the daring. We now commit them to the sea, with the full honor deserved by all martyrs of a worthy cause. May they rest knowing that we, their comrades carry ever forward for a new world.”

One by one, other clerics say the names of the fallen and slide their shrouded bodies off the ship. Enfys leads a group of archers in a volley of arrows burning brightly with incense and oil. The ceremony then concludes and the attendants file off the deck.

Enfys calls a meeting in the war-room.

Inside the room is a table laid out with an ancient map of the fortress. Myran speaks up: “First some history. Gorch’thul was built before the scourge by the ancient Orcs. Now, the Orcs lived semi-nomadic. They built permanent cities, but would regularly leave en masse to hunt, trade and gather resources on route to another city. This allowed them to build massive structures without worrying about resources. Whenever they left a city, they would depend on a very small group to stay behind and guard it against attack. Orcish cities are the pinnacle of military architecture for this reason. Even the mighty Faskian army couldn’t take Orcish strongholds. During the scourge, the Orcs abandoned all the cities they had in Irythan in order to assist the beleaguered settlements. Two of them remain, Gorch’thul and Chak’tarral. The latter is the primary fortress of Bastion’s forces. Kaptal purchased Gorch’thul from the Bastion navy a few decades ago in exchange for a fleet of steam-dreadnaughts. It’s been a prison ever since. The good news is, it’s massive and nearly impossible to seize. The bad news is, it’s massive and nearly impossible to seize.”

Enfys chimes in: “Luckily, we have an edge. I know of a tunnel that will take us straight to the foundry. Myran and I used it to escape a few years ago. We covered our tracks after our escape so the guards wouldn’t find it, so it should still be intact. If we can get to the main guard tower, we can open the gates and let the ship into the dock. Reilly will stay behind and command what combat forces we still have in the initial assault. After that, it’s a matter of clearing the place keep by keep. Any questions?”

“The tunnel is accessible by sea. Although it’s too well illuminated to guarantee we won’t be spotted by boat. I’d recommend swimming. Since we don’t know exactly what we’ll be up against, try to be ready for anything. We should reach Gorch’thul just before dawn. Get some rest and prep your magic. I don’t want us getting caught with our pants down.”

You are awakened after midnight by the smell of strong tea. Milo has already poured several cups and leaving to brew more. Enfys is already up preparing for the attack. She says: “We’re about a mile away from Gorchtul. I’ve ordered all deck lights extinguished. The rowboat can drop us off a quarter mile off, but then we’ll have to swim. If you wear armor, I’d recommend stowing it until we get to shore. The sun will be up in an hour, so I’d like to be on the rowboat within 20 minutes. Once we get to shore, we’ll have to climb into a sewer pipe. Last time I was there, it was a slippery climb. After that, it’s a dungeon crawl. Veterans like you should know what that means.”

(players elect to send Veil’s Eagle to do surveillance) The eagle communicates that it saw several dozen bodies in gold-colored uniforms that had been ripped apart by tooth and claw. Some of the uniformed bodies had not been ripped apart and seemed to be walking around or feeding on the corpses. The eagle also reports the strong scent of decaying flesh coming from the yard.

(if Enfys is told of the eagle’s surveillance prior to boarding the boat) Enfys replies “Sounds like undead. Good. I like killing undead. Feels like closure. As an instrument of St. Laerta’s free crusade, undead are a personal specialty of mine.” Enfys passes each of you a steel cast of the Martyred Maiden’s fist, a holy symbol of St. Laerta. She also hands each of you a vial of holy water and holds up what looks like a grenade. She tosses the grenade up and down in her hand and says “This is an incense bomb. I’ve blessed the herbs inside so that any undead who smells the incense is temporarily weakened. Who wants it?”

“Solid. If you have any questions about killing undead, let me know.”

After prepping your gear and downing several cups of tea, you head to the rowboat. Myran is already on board at the oars.

(if Enfys is told of the eagle’s surveillance after boarding the boat) Enfys replies “Sounds like undead. Good. I like killing undead. Feels like closure. As an instrument of St. Laerta’s free crusade, undead are a personal specialty of mine. I just wish you had told me earlier. I left my extra gear on the ship. If we go back for it now, we blow the element of surprise. I have one extra holy symbol and two vials of holy water I can spare if anyone wants them, though.”

Myran slows the boat down about a quarter mile from the shore and says “This is as far as I can go without the risk of being spotted. We won’t be able to see the gates open from the ship, so how do you want to signal that we should move forward?”

“Got it. Safe travels. I’m heading back to the ship to help prepare for the assault.”

As you prepare to swim to shore, Enfys says: “Wait a fucking minute. I know that symbol.” She points to an icon that depicts a silhouette in mages robes jumping over a wall into a sea of red with his staff and sword drawn. The icon has been painted on several large war banners on the battlements

“That’s the icon for the Paragon chapter in Termalyn. What the fuck has Kartha gotten herself into?”

“Kartha was a friend of mine from Termalyn. She and I escaped the Conclave in Sethralis together. It was her who told me to seek out the Paragons in Weslyth. She was an enchantment specialist and ended up as the de-facto commander of the Termali Paragons. She’d better have a damn good explanation for this.”

(swim check DC 16 to make it to shore)

Once on shore, Enfys leads you to a rocky outcropping and points to a hole in the wall about 20 feet up. “That’s our entry point,” She says. “Start climbing”. (DC 20 climb check).

At the top is a sewer pipe about 10 feet in diameter. You can hear a gutteral snarling sound echoing down the passage and smell the distinct scent of carrion. Enfys whispers “Gear up, but be quiet about it. Once we’re set, you need to decide who will take point.” (move silently, opposed to +5 listen).

The sewer pipe is running with a mix of blood and fetid rainwater, though it is impossible to guess in what ratio. After about 20 paces, you see a ladder off to the side. The passage appears to continue on ahead of it in a fork. Enfys says that when she escaped, she took a right at the fork.

There is a trapdoor at the top of the ladder (dc 15 listen check will reveal the sound of shambling footsteps and a breeze).

(peek through the crack, +2 to hide check vs 5x +1 spot check) You can see a multitude of shambling corpses in Kaptalis guard uniforms and prisoner’s tunics. Some still have a modicum of decayed flesh and dessicated skin, while others have been chewed down to the bone. A few are roaming around on all fours eating corpses that are not moving.

You enter a large Cistern 40ft by 40ft. Near the far corner, you can see a large humanoid creature sharpening it’s massive claws on the stone wall. It is borderline skeletal with a series of sharp teeth and spines extending from it’s head It has a tattered red robe with Termali symbols embroidered on it and it reeks of rotting flesh.

combat with boneclaw
After the abomination falls, Enfys kneels over the body and dumps a vial of holy water while whispering a blessing. She explains: “My code demands that the dead must be released from their mundane trappings. I’m curious how this thing slipped past Kartha. She taught me half of what I know about killing undead.”

(players voice suspicion)
“I’ll let that slide because you don’t know Kartha. She’s one of my oldest friends and she saved my life more than once. There is no way in any realm that this is her doing. It’s just not possible”

After slaying the creature, you continue down another pipe adjacent to the cistern. A pile of rubble blocks the path forward, but you can see another ladder off to the left with a trapdoor at the top.

(open the trapdoor)
(Trap: DC18 spot check. DC12 disable device. Reflex save 18 half Damage 2d8 ballistic)

(trap detected) You spot a thin wire affixed to the top of the trapdoor. Further inspection finds that the wire leads to a flintlock trigger affixed to a barrel that has been placed in a hole deep in the stone ceiling.

(disable succeeds) The wire is snapped and held in place while enfys moves ahead to defuse the flintlock trigger.

(trap not detected or disable device fails) You hear the telltale metallic ring of a flintock fuse and hear a sparking sound from just above the trapdoor. (reflex save)

(trapdoor opened) You emerge into an armory with a large number of weapons on the racks, ranging from simple maces all the way to Faskian muskets, as well as a variety of chain-shirts, scale male and a few suits of half-plate. Several crates of ammunition also line the shelves, including a small keg of gunpowder. There are two exits. One of them is a steel door with three heavy deadbolt locks. The other is a basic wooden door under which you can see flickering torch-light.

(steel door leads to yard, see (B1).)

(wooden door)
Behind the wooden door is a 10’ wide corridor which turns to the right (beat). Around the corner you see another door labelled “main barracks” (listen check dc 16: You can hear a gutteral snarling sound coming from the other side of the door and more than one set of humanoid footsteps).

Combat with two wights, a third may appear You can see two gaunt humanoid figures with desiccated flesh and clawlike fingernails. Multiple rows of needle-like teeth stand out among their skeletal faces.

There is a door on the opposite side of the barracks which is labelled “main tower and warden’s office. No entry without escort by captain”

Enfys says: “Okay, now I’m sketched out. A DreadClaw in the cistern is one thing, but she would have known about these wights. Shit, I think she may be in bad shape. We have to go find her.”

(players are still suspicious) Enfys is fuming: “I told you, it’s not possible. She hated undead and we took down more than one necromancer together. Tell you what. If she’s behind this, I’ll put an arrow in her throat myself.”

Chapter 30- "How many did we lose?"

As you survey the damage to the deck, Myran approaches you with a ledger. It has an summary of damage to the ship. The creature took out two ballistae and punctured several holes in the armor. There was one hull breach below the waterline, but it has since been repaired. Beyond that, the damage was mostly done in casualties.

Enfys emerges from below deck. She’s up to her elbows in blood and has an exhausted look on her face. She says in a solemn tone: “I have a casualty report if you’d like it”

“We had about 70 injured in the attack. 50 of them serious. I ran out of healing spells after the first five patients. The rest I had to work with by hand. Two of our combat specialists are dead and three are still touch and go. I’ll probably have to amputate on one of them because the flesh in his leg was cooked by a steam-gout. Two of the engineers we picked up in Kaptal were killed stabilizing the steam pressure in the engines. They saved all our asses. All told, we have 34 people dead and another 6 will be permanently disabled short of some intense healing magic.”

Reilly and Milo approach you, both wearing a determined expression. Reilly says “Milo and I have an idea that might make this whole affair easier.”

Milo chimes in "I didn’t want to say anything before because I wasn’t sure. That prison ship, the Ironjack? We know they’re awaiting a signal that Gorch’thul is clear to recieve them. We also know that the ‘stay the fuck out’ signal is coming from a termali-designed beacon glyph inside the warden’s office. I propose we infiltrate and give them the “Clear to recieve” signal. Once we’ve taken the fortress, we can trap them inside and force a surrender."

Enfys approaches and says: “We should discuss this in the war room. And there’s something else.”

Everyone else is waiting inside. Harxen has placed what looks like a gland on the table. He says “I’ll be brief with my bit because there’s another thing we have to discuss. This is the pheremone gland from the leviathan. Even intelligent beasts get horny, so if you want to attract it somewhere to cause chaos, let me know.”

Enfys says: “I’ll try to be brief, but I make no promises. An hour ago, Dez came down to the infirmary complaining of a headache. Another hour after, they said they had started hearing voices arguing about what to do with the turtle’s corpse. Got any thoughts…”

Chapter 29- "Pelor's testicle, that thing is massive"

The ship is about 60 feet long by 20 feet wide. It’s powered by a pair of steam engines which power a pair of rotating water wheels on either side of the stern. Three large triangular sails extend from the deck in a diagonal pattern. The ship is not designed for war, but it is armed with two swivel-type cannons at the stern near on either side of the helm and a Kaptalis repeater gun at the bow. Reilly has seen to affixing six light ballistas to the broadsides. Enfys approaches you at the bow and offers you a cigarette. She lights her own and says: “We’re meeting in the war room in a few minutes for a briefing. Any part of the ship you want to check out before hand?”

(The galley is equipped with two wood burning stoves and an oven along with an array of cooking equipment)

(The armory has racks built in, but your cohort lacks the weapons to stock it fully. The racks are stocked with enough weapons to arm 10 people for melee and 5 for ranged combat.)

(In classic Kaptalis fashion, the officer’s quarters are quite large. A captain’s cabin and two luitenant’s cabins are built at the stern. Petty officer’s barracks are built in the bow with bunks. General crew don’t have their own quarters, but an array of hammocks are set up in the crew-deck.)

The war room is in a cabin just behind the helm with a view of most of the sunlit deck. The familiar war-table is already littered with maps and Myran is busy dragging a stool so she can reach the notice-board. Enfys shifts one of the maps to the top of the stack and places weights to keep it flat. The map is a vague deptiction of the island holding Gorch’thul and of the surrounding archipelago.

Milo lays a stack of paper on the table and says: “My contacts have gotten back to me about the Arkali invasion. At this point we probably know about as much as the Bastion Inquisition. This information is not verified, but it is corroborated by multiple sources. About a week ago now, there was a naval battle in the Heptusian channel between Bastion Naval forces and an Arkali landing force. Normally, these engagements all go the same way. The Arkali attempt to run the blockade and make landfall. This time was different. The Arkali engaged the Bastion fleet directly. A survivor of the assault managed to make it to shore and claimed the Arkali used Dragons to support a boarding party. The Arkali took heavy casualties, but eventually they broke through. Currently, The Arkali have overrun the cities of Seahammer in Fask, Marinthes in Heptus and Caer’fathis in Weslyth. Bastion’s army is laying seige to all three, hoping to prevent them from gaining a foothold. Arkali warhosts are engaging in sieges of their own. The cities of Sethralis in Termalyn, Thesna Gor in Heptus and Whitecliff in Kaptal are holding out against Arkali forces. Informants in both cities were barely able to get a message out. Outside of cities, Arkali raiding parties have been attacking villages and caravans. From what I’ve been told, the scourged War-dragons like the one you killed in Caer’Daugh have left the siege forces for some other purpose I haven’t been able to determine. The only silver lining I can gleam is that the Arkali seem to be keeping the Bastion Inquisition too busy to bother us, so once we take Gorch’thul, we’ll have some breathing room to operate for the time being.”

Enfys places a model of a steam-ship near one of the adjacent small islands and says: “Remind me to buy Cecily a beer when she gets back. Intercepting that message to the Merchant Lords’ military advisor not only got us the precise location of the vessel’s anchor point but she also managed to pull up some diagrams of the ship’s plan.”

Enfys Lays out a small design of the detention ship. “Good news first,” she says “We outgun them. If this were a straight ship to ship fight, we’d sink them with minimal damage and casualties. The bad news is sinking them is exactly what we don’t want to do. The reason they’re so poorly armed is so they have nothing of value aboard. Boarding them in a straight fight isn’t an option either. We may have the firepower advantage, but we can’t take all their guards in a straight fight. Icing on the cake? Our comrades are effectively hostages. The cells are modular and designed to sink so that in the event they get boarded, they can roll the cells into the sea and drown the inhabitants to death. Questions before we plan?”

“Kaptalis wardens only start dropping cells when they spot a boarding party. Otherwise, they know it will do no good because a party that cares about the prisoners’ lives wouldn’t risk sinking the ship.”

“A rowboat would be large enough that they would see it coming, but a small group swimming to the boat could conceivably board it undetected.”

“Attacking the ship would cause a significant diversion, though we’d have to put it at risk of sinking in order to make it believable.”

“Putting a hole in the ship below the waterline would draw significant manpower away from watch to plug it up.”

“We have enough capacity on our lifeboats to ferry 20 people from the ship. Cecily gave us a manifest with 50 people aboard. You’re the ones who will be boarding, so it’s your call who to take on the boats and who should chance the swim.”

Enfys chimes in: “What if we set one of Lorraines charges under the hull. The ship would sink but it would be slow and the guards would be distracted trying in vain to plug the hole and ready the lifeboats.”

Milo says: “We have firebottles. What if we strapped a few to Ballista bolts and started a deckfire. Everyone would scramble to put it out.”

Reilly points at the diagram and says: “We’re more than a match for them. If we engage them at range directly and corner them against one of these reefs, they’d be forced to fight us. It would buy a boarding party some time.”

Harxen says to them: “Those are risky. Granted it would distract them, but there’s no way to guarantee the ship won’t sink before our people are off it. I say we go full stealth. We get to the cell decks, pinch the keys and let everyone out before they know we’re there.”

Myran asks: “Remember the escape from the Armory? These guys are a lot harder, but we could chokepoint and bail out like that time.”

They begin to talk amongst themselves trying to make sense of each-other’s suggestions. After a minute, Enfys says: “Whoever’s on the strike team is taking the biggest risk, they should make the decision and we don’t need to make that decision until we get closer. If we have to use bolts and cannonshells to fend off Pirates or Arkali raiders, we may end up with fewer options. I can get us into Gorch’thul the same way Myran and I got out, but the challenge will be taking it and we won’t know exactly how to do that until we can see what we’re up against. I just hope to Laerta’s last arrow it’s not Arkali.”

Myran chimes in: “I’m more concerned about what we do after we’ve taken Gorch’thul. We’ve got a request from the nightblades in Gran Heptan. Cecily has asked us to return to Gildenport. And to top it off, we still need to have someone decipher that damn book you brought over.”

Harxen adds: “I’d also like to know where the hell those damn War-dragons have gone. Them leaving the battlefield with no indication why scares the life out of me.”

Milo says: “Whatever you chose to pursue, choose sooner rather than later. It takes work to fish through all the information I get and the information is always better if I request it in advance. We should all get some rest. I’ll be sure we’re awake in plenty of time to prep for the rescue boarding.”

Another dream hits you in the night: In the dream, you are sitting around a table with three other people in what looks like a mage’s study. On the table sits a charcoal staff with an obsidian head. Inscriptions are etched in the shaft. Outside you can hear swords clattering and orders being barked in Termali. The distinct sound of muffled fireball spells is echoing through the windows in the stone walls.

A man in a battlemage’s uniform emerges through a doorway. “Have you discovered anything?” he says. One of the mages, an older gnomish man in conjurer’s cloak, says “Maybe. The artifact is Faskian in origin, dating back well before the scourge. The few checks we’ve been able to run on it indicates powerful extraplanar energy. The Arkali soldiers who made it through the wall made a beeline for it before we roasted them. Beyond that, we’ll have to send it to the Mage’s college to find out exactly what it is, but it has a strong connection to the scourge.”

The man in the Battlemage’s unifrom says: “Find out what you can. This Siege has come to a standstill. I can’t pull mages off of food production to break the siege unless I can Guarantee victory. If that twisted relic can give us an edge, I’d like to know.”

The Battlemage leaves. As you approach the relic, another mage says: “I know we’re desperate for answers, but we must tread carefully. We’re dabbling in very dark, very volatile magic. It could come back to bite us if we’re not careful.”

One of the other Mages says “Agreed, but if we can’t save Sethralis all our work will have been for nothing. Where’s Bastion when you need them?”

You hear a crashing sound in the distance, but the mages seem undisturbed.

“Get up!” Milo screams “Something’s attacking the Dawn” You hear another crash and the ship rocks abruptly to one side.

From the top deck, you see a turtle-like shell with spines poking out of the water in the distance.

Begin combat with dragon turtle

After a few seconds, the beast emerges from the water. It has long, scaly flippers with massive claws and a thick, long neck ending in what looks like a turtle’s head with a dragon’s horns and crest and it has a row of jagged teeth extending from it’s powerful beak.

Milo says: “Pelor’s left one. That thing is massive!”

(breath weapon) The leviathan mounts the ship directly and latches on with it’s claws. It roars and releases a gout of superheated steam from it’s gaping maw.

(retreat) The leviathan swipes at Veil with it’s claws. After attacking, it releases it’s hold on the ship and dives into the sea. (dc 15 spot check, 10%miss chance while underwater)

(attack) You hear a crash from below deck and the ship lurches abruptly to the starboard side. (ship takes 4d6+8 damage) (repeat until breath weapon ready)

(snatch) The leviathan bursts from the water and lands with the front half of it’s body on deck. It snaps at Irythan with it’s beak.

(hit) The beast bites into your shoulder and attempts to grab on. (grapple check)

(grapple) As you struggle with the leviathan, Brill kicks down the door of the galley and steps onto the deck. He is visably drunk and is holding a whiskey bottle in one hand and a battle-axe in the other. Hell yells at the leviathan with a slurred voice “Hey. Thass my friend. Get Yer own!” He takes a swig from the bottle and smashes it against the railing to make a crude stabbing implement. He charges the leviathan and swings with his axe.

The leviathan screeches and flails trying to loosen Brill’s grip, Letting go of Irythan in the process. It exhales a gout of steam from it’s nostrils which hits brill square in the torso and neck. The leviathan flails harder, leaving it open for attack. Brill’s grip fails and he is flung limp and burned off to the sea. He floats away south face down in the sea.

(melee combat, 1 round)

(Leviathan survives round)
The leviathan dives back into the water and swims deep out of view. It leaves behind a fading trail of blood in it’s wake that quickly dissipates from sight. The deck is still littered with the beast’s blood and you can see a small gland next to the Port side swivel gun.

(Leviathan is killed)
The levithan screeches and belches steam into the air. It’s wounds stain the sails and deck of the Dawn of Orthalyn with blood and various organs. It flails briefly before sliding limp into the sea.

Chapter 28- "I'm a dead woman"

Fetrian says “No. No no no. NO! This is bullshit! I know the merchant lords aren’t happy with Cecily, but they’d at least stop short of killing her. Dammit. I suppose she’ll want to see this regardless.”

Fetrian walks with you back to Cecily’s office. He leads you downstairs and opens the reinforced door. Cecily’s office door is wide open and you can see her slumped over her desk (beat.)

Cecily wakes up and says “Shit, I must have dozed off. As you can imagine, I haven’t slept much since these attacks started.” She gets up and brushes crumbs off her shirt with her left hand as her right practically lunges for a tea kettle. As she walks over to put water on for tea she says: “I’ve found some information on your captured friends. I take it you’ve found some information on the assholes who want me dead. You go first.”

She stops in her tracks when she hears what you’ve learned. She says “I’m going to need something stronger, then."

Cecily puts the kettle back on her desk and says “Can I get some details, please? I want to know everything” She walks toward a decanter of whiskey on top of a short bookshelf and pours herself a glass.

“So,” Cecily says after a sip of whiskey, “These Daggermen are in the employ of one of the most elite spy guilds in Irythan. They have unlimited resources and a payment I don’t even want to think about. So much for the shining ideals of democracy." The downs the rest of the glass in one gulp.

“My turn to share. Your friend Declan and the others are being held at an Internal Enforcement Guild prison ship. Since Gorch’Thul is off limits, they’re in a holding pattern waiting for word to deliver prisoners. I’ll get you the map at the end of this meeting.”

Cecily approaches her desk and pulls a ring of keys, a map and a book from the drawer. She hands them to you and says “Though I lament the fact that you are currently unable to help me further in stopping these assassins, you have fulfilled your end of the bargain. These keys open the doors to your ship, which I have anchored for you in the harbor. The book is a manual for operating it and the codes for engine-start are in on the inside of the back cover. Milo used to work on a steam ship, so he should be able to make sense of it. I imagine you’re eager to continue your journey, but allow me to ask you one question first. What’s it like south of the wall? We’ve only heard myths and legends of some sort of hellscape, but only the bastion shieldwalkers who guard the wall have ever laid eyes on it.”

players describe their homes

“I see. It’s hard to believe that anything could exist down there. I hope I can see it one day, but for now I must focus on staying alive and continuing what I started. I have to do some serious thinking, though. I had to make myself rich just to get elected and now even with the powers of an office, I can’t change the lots in life of my old friends without being shot at. That’s how corrupt Kaptalis governance is. It forces even the best of us to stoop to the level of despots to inch ahead and then forces us to leave our friends behind in the muck. If I can’t change anything, it will be rioting and civil war with little chance of victory and certainty of bloodshed. But that is my fight. Regardless of the future, as long as I’m breathing you will have a good friend in Gildenport.”

It is almost dawn by the time you reach the docks. As you pass the Anchorman’s rest, Lilia approaches you, wearing civilian clothes and wearing a short-sword on her belt. She asks if she can walk with you for a minute.

“What did you find out?”

“Figures as much. We’ll protect Cecily as best we can, but it would be best if you could return one day to help resolve this mess. I have to return to Gran Heptan to tell the other Night-Blades of this development.”

“One more thing,” she says as you approach the boarding plank “If you ever make it to Gran Heptan, hang that medallion on the statue of the monarch in King’s Garden Plaza. I’ll come find you. I can’t tell you any details yet, but we have a plan that could end the Faskian-Kaptalis Alliance. We’d like your help if you can manage.”

You hear Enfys shouting from the crow’s nest: “Come on, let’s get this tub moving. Declan’s lazy ass needs saving again and that prison ship isn’t going to raid itself!”

Milo is already at the helm when you reach the bridge. “We’re loaded with passengers and about to push off. Anybody got a name for this ship?”

Milo replies “Seriously? Okay, fine. Engines are kicked in, Paragon frigate (ship’s name) is setting course to intercept detention ship Ironjack.”

The engines begin to wail and steam pours from the chimneys in massive gouts.

As the ship begins to push off, you can see Fetrian off to the side. He breaks a wine bottle on the side of the ship and turns to leave. You can see his red hair briefly shimmer to a slivery grey as he walks away.

Chapter 27- "It's rude to interrupt"

It takes about 20 minutes for the second person to show up to the meeting, he is wearing a large long-coat colored black and blue and has a broad brimmed hat. His face is also hidden in shadow.

(listen check dc 15, 20 if players are not in the courtyard)
The hooded figure who was waiting says: “You’re late. Regardless, I held up my end. Our clients have promised us that resources and money are no object. In exchange for this, they have made an additional condition. Cecily must not die a martyr. I assume you can handle that.”

The person who showed up says: “We can manage.” and exchanges envelopes with the negotiator.

(if listen check failed)
The two people exchange a brief conversation and exchange envelopes.

(if players wait for the end)
The meeting breaks up and the two parties begin to leave seperately. The compulsion specialist casts some form of teleport spell, while the negotiator leaves through a door to an adjacent tavern. (players may attempt capture or tail)

(if players tail) Roll a move silently (opposed to +7).
(success) The woman walks through the tavern and out the opposite door, dodging various drunks. After exiting, he turns down the boulevard toward the Harbor. She walks for another mile, then approaches The Anchorman’s Rest Inn.

She turns around to check for followers (hide DC 25 or disguise DC 30. All must pass).
(if hidden) the negotiator shakes her head and walks inside (beat). You see her walk up to the balcony where the guest rooms are and enter #4, taking her cloak off on the way in.

(if detected) The negotiator looks right at you and bolts down the street. Reilly instinctively begins to pursue. (refer to chapter 26 and foot chase rules).

(if players interrupt the meeting) The newcomer says “Didn’t your mother teach you it’s rude to interrupt?”, whispers a rushed incantation and tackles the woman who was waiting. They both disappear into thin air with a flash and the sound of a muffled door slamming (spellcraft dc 18 will tell players that the spell is a “dimension door” teleportation spell). A rolled up note falls out of the pocket of the person who was waiting (beat).

(sniper’s first shot hits) A crossbow bolt whistles though the air and embeds itself in your shoulder. You notice a fast fuse burning alongside the shaft. The bolt explodes, taking a small chunk out of your shoulder.

(sniper’s first shot misses) A crossbow bolt thuds into a bench behind you. You turn to see a fast fuse burning along the shaft. The bolt explodes and splinters fly at you (1d6 piercing, reflex half)

Encounter, Dagget
(Dagget is positioned on the roof of a building peering over the edge with improved cover. Dagget has +30 hide, AC +8 while in his position. Dagget will ready actions for a clean shot rather than attempt a shot at a disadvantage. Dagget will stay in his position unless outflanked in which case he will jump down using his cloak of featherfall.)

Chapter 26- "Well, that complicates things"

It takes a rushed pace, but you manage to reach the Courtyard before midnight. You take a moment to figure out your approach.

The courtyard has one street entrance at street level, the pedestrian corridor you took to examine the chess hall. In addition, there are several buildings that have doors and windows to both to the boulevard and to the courtyard. You also see a few potential handholds that could be used to get to the second story rooftop surrounding the courtyard. You see a multitude of windows, balconies and rooftops that could make for a sniper’s perch, but no sign of Dagget so far.

(once players can see the courtyard)

There is one person in the courtyard, a hooded figure with their face obscured. They are sitting on a bench alone. No sign of anyone else so far. (players may choose to attempt capture or kill or to wait. Attempting capture or kill will cause the figure to flee)

(if players capture) The hooded figure stops struggling and says: “Are you going to tell me what you want?”

(players ask who hired the Daggermen) The figure laughs and says: “You mean you actually figured it out? Hah. At least I’ll die laughing. You’ll be dead soon anyway and I know you’re smart enough to search me for my orders, so I’ll tell you just to see the look on your faces. We were hired by the Kaptalis internal enforcement guild. The highest governing body of Kaptal wants Cecily dead. We always finish our work and you’ll never take down our clients. Give Cecily this message: When we kill her, her legacy and work will be buried next to her.”

(players kill the negotiator) A brief search of the negotiator’s corpse yields an note inside a sealed envelope (end). The note reads: “Daggermen: In response to your request, money is no object. You will have the payment you require and whatever resources you need. Make sure of one thing, though. Cecily must not become a martyr. Kill her in public if you have to, but do not kill her in front of an audience.”

“Well,” Says Reilly “That complicates things.”

(see chapter 27 if players wait for the meeting).

Foot Chase rules:
round by round, as combat.
Chase begins when parties are aware of each-other and one party flees.
Note the distance between the two parties at the start of the chase.

Consistant modifiers:
20ft movement speed -1 to all chase related checks
40ft movement speed +1 to all chase related checks, additional +1 for each 10ft speed.
abilities negating difficult terrain: +1 to all chase related checks
run feat: +2 to all chase related ability checks
elves get +1 to chase related jump checks
halflings get +1 to all chase related skill checks
Ranger favored enemy bonuses apply to chase related skill checks
paladins get +1 to chase related skill checks vs. evil creatures.
armor check penalty applies for medium and heavy armor.

Circumstantial bonuses:
taking damage during pursuit applies a -4 penalty to chase related checks for 1 round.

chase round by round:
first round: opposed initiative checks. (fugitive gets +4 circumstance bonus).
second-fourth round: opposed dexterity checks.
fourth-6th round: opposed strength checks.
6th and thereafter: opposed constitution checks
tenth round and thereafter: additional fortitude saves to continue pursuit. failure means 5 foot chase penalty. Fortitude DC=number of rounds in chase

closing distance:
the winner of an opposed chase check gains 5 feet of relative distance. If the victory is by 5 points or more, they gain 10 feet of relative distance.

Ending a chase:
A pursuer can end a chase sequence by disabling the fugitive’s ability to flee. Damage, grappling and spells are all ways of accomplishing this.

A fugitive can end a chase by breaking line of sight and foiling attempts to reestablish. Disguises, hiding and the like can all do this as normal.

Either party can give up at any time. Failing two subsequent fortitude saves for running fatigue will force a will save to continue pursuit. (Will save dc 10 + hit dice of fugitive)


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