A World Asunder

Chapter 25- "Back to the Brothel"

After leaving the Shadowblades’ hideout, McTeague says: “Time is not on our side if these assassins are as persistent as Lilia said they are. We should go back to check out the brothel as soon as possible.”

At night, the Red Sapphire is considerably more lively. From the street you can already smell the odor of Lavender incense and far too much wine. Some guests are also being noisier than others.

Inside it is clear that attempts are still being made to preserve a civilized facade. Although they are failing somewhat. Half the atrium’s occupants are intoxicated and the other half are partly naked. Though blatant sexual acts still seem to be confined to the rooms. The desk matron is waiving to you.

“Hello again,” She says. “I’m afraid we’re all booked up right now, but if you’d like to make an appointment, I’d be glad to oblige.”

(players ask about Dagget)
“I’m sorry, I haven’t seen anyone like that. You could try asking the hotel staff. See, the Red Sapphire also operates an establishment dedicated to a less erotic form of hospitality. The hotel is conveniently located across the square and there is an underground hallway available for your privacy and convenience. I can have one of our girls unlock the door for you.”

(players ask about Lilac)
“She’s with a client just now, but she should be done shortly. Would you like some tea in the meantime?”

(players wait for Lilac)
The door to Lilac’s room opens and she walks out wearing her hair up and a short-hemmed party dress. “Hello again”, she says. “Anything I can help you with?”

“I don’t know anyone named Dagget, but I did have a client called “Jakren” a couple times matching that description. He was boastful, but polite. Paid well, never disrespected me. Never argued when I said something was off the menu. Kinda kinky, though. Said he got that scar on his thigh while intimate with an elf in Termalyn. Had me make a a house call to his room last night. Number 512."

The hotel, an establishment named “The White Ruby” is gaudy and extravagant even by High-Kaptalis standards. The atrium is about the size of a large two-story house and there is a chandalier made from a giant eagle’s skeleton. Gilded and gemmed, of course. You can see a desk clerk waiting behind a counter.

(players ask about Dagget)
“I’m sorry, we can’t give out information about our guests. Is there something else I can help you with? Would you like me to call a girl up to your room?”

(Bluff check vs +4 sense motive)
“Hmm. I suppose I can help you there. He’s in 512. I think he’s out for the evening, though. Would you like to leave a message?”

(Players check Dagget’s room)
Five flights of stairs and several disapproving aristocrats later, you find yourself on the fifth floor. A corridor about 100 feet long is ahead of you. 512 is near the other end. (average lock, can take 20)

The room is fairly well kept. The bed is not made, but there are no articles of clothing on the floor or dishes on the dining table. A fireplace is smouldering to the left. The room contains various candlebras and there is a sunlamp (immobile sunrod) on the ceiling).

Search check dc 20: While serching the room, you notice that there are scuff marks on the floor under the bedside table, as if it had been dragged repeatedly(end). Upon moving the table away from the wall, you see a small hole drilled in the wall and hastily plugged with a wine cork (end). Removing the wine cork reveals a scrolled up piece of paper which reads “Dagget: Since we lost shifty, I’m going to meet with our negotiator to get the price doubled. We can still pull this off, but we need more resources. I’m going to meet her in the mergchant’s guild courtyard on Thursday, the 5th at midnight. I’d appreciate some cover as I plan on being insistent.”

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Chapter 24: "We use the darkness to aid the light"

The sun begins to set over the rolling hills to the east and it shimmers off the sea. The clocktowers begin to chime 7:00. With all four assassination attempts investigated, it is as good a time as any to head to the light house.

The lighthouse is easy enough to find. Ever since sunset the flame has been lit and shining brightly. A brief walk through the Harbor district leads you to the front gate.

A feminine figure in black leather long-coat with red trim and a hood is seated on the porch steps of the light house.

She gets up and says: “I have seven snipers targeting you. All of them have lined up shots. Simply a precaution. You have two choices. Leave your weapons outside and follow me for a lovely dinner and the potential start of a wonderful friendship or walk away and never see us again.”

If asked, Reilly will say: “I think we should hear them out. If they wanted to kill us, they would have tried by now.”

(If players consent to disarm) “Excellent. Follow me. If this goes well, we can avoid this unpleasantness in the future.”

The woman in the black hood kicks a brick in the lighthouse and an area of cobblestone shimmers out of view, revealing a trapdoor with a very complicated lock. The woman places a key in one of 10 slots and says: “Hand me that medallion you got outside the chess shop.”

She places the medallion on one of the lighthouse bricks and whispers the word “Open” in a language you don’t recognize. The trap door opens and she says “Follow me” and jumps down the passage.

You plummet in a full drop for about 200 feet and your fall is slowed just prior to landing. The woman in the long-coat has removed her hood revealing dull lavender-colored hair about chin length and a pair of wood elf’s ears.

She offers her hand and says: “Lilia Fireheart. Assassin for the Night-Blades. Just a little farther to the dining room.”

She speaks to another man in the same long-coat: “Hey, Jacc. They totally bought the sniper play. Hook line and sinker.” She turns to you and says “Don’t flatter yourselves. We don’t pull seven snipers plus a veteran knifedancer on a group of six people who don’t know the entrance. You’re not that big a threat.”

You come to the dining room and see a modest recangular table with seats for 10. Food is already out. Roast mutton, cabbage and potatoes. Lilia takes off her long-coat and hangs it on a rack by the door.

You notice she was concealing a longsword and shortsword on her right hip, six throwing knives on her chest, two daggers at the back of her belt and a shortbow across her back She’s also wearing a leather and chainmail vest and has an array of complex tattoos on her left arm. Her right arm appears to be a construct of Kaptalis clockwork and some serious magic material, similar to a brass golem. She smirks and says “Those jackets aren’t just for show.”

She gestures for you to sit. “Now, down to business. As I’m sure you’ve figured out, we’re a fairly secretive bunch. Are you familiar with the Night-Blades?”

Reilly says: “I’ve only heard legends. They say you’re an group of assassins and spies who exclusively target the wicked, unjust or oppressive. Necromancers, tyrants and the like. I suspected a group like that was behind a few of the cases I had back in Caer’Daugh. Can’t say I always agreed with your methods, but I’ll admit that if I had ever found you it would have been a coin toss whether I turned you in or asked to join.”

Lilia replies: “Close enough. Much like you paragons, our people come from a wide variety of backgrounds. We have our roots in the followers of the Martyred Maiden, Saint Laerta. Although we no longer correspond with church Heirarchy, many of us still follow the faith. I myself used to be a paladin in service of Pelor. I specialized in Vampires and Liches. Took down about 10 powerful undead in my day. I was recruited into the shadowblades after I went undercover to take down a necromancer in Caer’Daugh.”

Lilia finishes her plate and starts stacking dishes: “Your turn, now. What have you learned about the attacks on Cecily?”

(players respond)

Lilia shakes her head and says: “Dammit. I was really looking forward to being wrong about this. They’re called the Daggermen. They used to be part of our organization. Let me explain. The Shadowblades were founded in Heptus a little over 300 years ago by runaway slaves who had followed the Martyred Maiden before she was killed in 442 ATS. For most of our history we operated in Heptus. Occasionally we’d send someone to another nation to knock off a Faskian general or a Termali brothel keeper, but the bulk of our operation was always in Heptus. About 5 years ago in response to the new alliance between Fask and Kaptal, myself and a host of fifty-ish came here to establish a permanent presence in Kaptal to try to keep the balance of power from shifting in favor of the alliance. It worked well for a time. A dagger here, some poisoned wine there. We even got some solid recruits. But Kaptal has 2 languages: Money and Gold. We were forced to take selective contracts for hire in order to continue operating.”

She pauses to sip her tea as if inviting you to respond

“I understand your feelings and I share them. We never killed anyone who had done no wrong. It was always one wicked man hiring us to kill another. Distasteful, but not evil. Unfortunately, some of our number began to think that with more money we could act more often and with greater precision. The corruption was slow. At first, we just saw extra money coming in from contracts. I started to investigate and I found out what was going on. I took a group of loyal comrades and confronted those who were a part of the plot. 20 of them. It came down to blades and I lost my right arm in the fighting. 19 of the 20 got away and one was killed. We thought it was over, but earlier this year we found out that they had started a new organization. We’ve been hunting each-other ever since. If they’re going after Cecily with this kind of clout, they must have a serious backer. I think we may have an edge, though. This sniper in the clocktower. I have a hunch on who he is.”

“If I’m right, his name is Dagget. He wounded my partner Jacc when we confronted the Daggermen about their operation. I landed a hit on his Femoral artery and for a while I thought he was dead. He’s a damn good shot and and expert with camouflage. He works with a Compulsion specialist and a doppleganger. The Compulsion specialist is the most diplomatic of the group so he usually handles meetings while Dagget covers him from a distance. Unfortuately, we’ve only been able to locate Dagget. He’s rented a room at the White Ruby, a hotel affiliated with the local high-class brothel. Unfortunately, we don’t know the hours he keeps or which of the hundreds of rooms is his. Try asking some of the women working the brothel. That may be a good place to start. Any other questions you have about us or Dagget?”

(Dagget is in his early 40’s with dark hair and Hazel eyes. He has a scar on the inside of his left thigh)

One of Lilia’s comrades places a large duffel bag on the table. “Your weapons are inside” Lilia says “Leave when you’re ready.”

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Chapter 23- "So what should we do with him?"

The clocktowers read 3pm by the time you’re done with. (mention two parts of the investigation). The streets begin to get quite crowded. Fetrian says “This is what shift change looks like. Many of these people are on their way to another job”. It’s difficult to avoid bumping shoulders down the busy streets.

You come to a large square about 10 minutes later. The crowds have thinned out somewhat now that there is a larger area. Reilly takes the opportunity to take some water from her waterskin.

(Opposed spot check vs sleight of hand +12) A man in a priest’s garb in the public square has a small, vague sword like shape changing the flow of his cloak

(Opposed sense motive check vs bluff +8) A man in a priest’s garb is going out of his way to navigate the crowd in your direction. He is attempting to conceal this fact.

(On success of both, players roll initiative with a +2 circumstance bonus)
(On Success of one, players roll initiative as normal)
(On success of neither, Assassin attacks in surprise round with a melee sneak attack)

Combat with Knife-shade assassin for 1 round

Within a few seconds of fighting, the crowd begins to panic. They flee the immediate vicinity, but are quickly jammed in the tightly packed streets, trampling one another unable to gain further distance. You have about 25×30 feet of solid ground to work with.

(The assassin will not surrender, but can be subdued with magic or grappling.)

If captured, the assassin will say this repeatedly unless coerced:
“I’ll take my secrets to the grave, as do we all.”

Reilly asks him who he works for. The assassin repeats: “I’ll take my secrets to the grave, as do we all.”

Reilly says: “Maybe we should try being more persuasive.”

If the assassin is interrogated (Intimidate check opposed to Will save with +2 circumstance bonus), he will provide the following information if questioned:

“Who are you?”
“My Title is knifeshade. My name has not mattered for years.”

“Who do you work for?”
“I’m an enforcer for the Daggermen. We’re a group of assassins who take contracts for large sums. We split off from the Shadow-Blades a little less than a year ago”

“Who hired you to kill Cecily?”
“I don’t know. That’s not my department. Negotiators meet with the client to discuss the price. The client gives the negotiator a sealed envelope which is passed on to the assassin. Inside is the information on the target. The assassin reports back to the negotiator to either confirm the deal or raise the price. The Assassin doesn’t know the client and the negotiator doesn’t know the target.”

“How do we find the negotiator?”
“Assassins never have identifying information on the negotiator. The only way to link Cecily with the people who want her dead is to catch the assassin at a meeting with the negotiator. From the information I have, you don’t even know how to find any of the assassins.”

Reilly says: “Now the question is what are we going to do with him?”

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Chapter 22- "Great, a talking knife"

Fetrian takes you to a storage room in the Morgue. Inside is a single metal box which looks extremely tough. The box is on a small stone table and chained down to both the table and the floor by adamantine chains. The box is about two feet long by 6 inches wide by 1 foot tall. A menacing metallic rattle is echoing loudly through the room as if a ricocheting shruiken is trying to break down the box.

Fetrian says: “If you want to examine the knife, I will open the box. Fair warning, though. It will be up to you to pin it down again, unless you want to examine it while it’s trying to kill you.”
The rattling inside the box gets louder.

(Knife has AC 29, 17 touch AC, Escape artist 9. DC 12 strength check to hold it down)
(Knife attack: +6 melee, 1d4
1 damage, 19-20/x2 crit)

(If Knife is pinned for 1 round)
An echoing, frenzied voice begins to emit from the knife: “Who are you that would assist our prey?”

“That name means nothing. Nothing! I must kill. I must kill NOW!”

Reilly says: “Great. A talking knife. Definitely among the weirdest shit I’ve seen with you guys.”

The knife continues to rattle and issue specific threats to your various organs.

Reilly says: “I don’t think the talking knife is in a helpful mood. Any idea why it decided to pursue a career in flying around and stabbing things? It looks like some serious magic.”

(Detect magic plus a DC 16 spellcraft check indicates that this is a partially-intelligent item. It can think for itself but it has one specific purpose that it will not deviate from, evidently to kill Cecily)

(Detect evil will inform player that the item is of inherently evil intent)

(if subdued) the knife clatters and thrashes as it is stuffed back in the adamantine box.

(if destroyed) The knife emits an earsplitting shriek and the blade cracks in half. The hilt shakes once, then lays still.

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Chapter 21- "Damn Shapeshifters"

The next part of your investigation takes you to the Morgue. Fetrian waves the undertaker aside and leads you to a small exam-room. In the center of the room is an exam slab with a humanoid figure draped in a white sheet. On the opposite side is a table with an array of belongings and weapons laid out"

Fetrian says: “Take all the time you need. The corpse has been magically preserved and the belongings laid out for inspection”

Fetrian removes the white sheet to reveal a gaunt humanoid figure with very pale skin and no hair. His irises are yellow and have catlike pupils. He is wearing a standard guard’s uniform, minus the armor.

His belongings, presented individually on the table, are as follows:
-A dagger with battle damage that was used in the attack.
-A pistol, empy and fired recently. Also used in the attack.
-A vial of Sassone leaf residue, a poison which causes external hemorrhage akin to battle wounds. Enough left for a single dose.
-A disguise kit.
-Guard’s armor, likely stolen from the guard that the assassin replaced.

(search checks):
DC 15: A tattoo is present on the palm of the assassin’s left hand. It depicts a skull with a knife sticking out of it’s mouth as would a tongue.
DC 18: You notice that the pommel of the dagger is loose and can be twisted. (see note 1)

(note 1)
(The pommel screws off with little effort. Inside is a rolled up note. The note reads: “Fellow Knifeshade, we have received a contract to end the life of Cecily McTeague. The payment is substantial and we’ve been guaranteed no interference or retribution from authorities in Fask or Kaptal. You are to pose as one of her bodyguards and kill her. Return to the Enclave upon success or return to the abyss upon failure. Nerull guide you.”)

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Chapter 20- "Damn that thing is ugly"

The chess-hall is nestled on the north side of the merchant’s guild courtyard. It’s a crowded area with many shops and tea-houses open for business. There is a rope fence around the chess wall with a “keep out” sign

On approach, Fetrian stops and asks you to stand back a moment. He whispers an incantation and waves his hand. A line on the ground that looked to be chalk disappears “Prismatic wall” he explains “modified to appear invisible, hence the rope fence. Don’t want anyone getting zapped, now do we?”

He leads you into the chess hall. It’s about 30′×25′ and two stories high. There is a balcony-style upper section as well with a sign at the base of the stairs saying “members only”. There are seven corpses total. Five bodyguards, one bystander and the Troll. All are magically preserved so they can be examined properly. The window is made of multiple panes held together with wood framing. It is smashed from the outside with a hole approximately 7’ tall and 6’ wide.

Fetrian says: “I was here when this happened, so if you have any questions about the event, please don’t hesitate to ask”

-“The troll entered by smashing the window down. Witnesses from the courtyard said it appeared out of no where. If we hadn’t heard their screaming, we wouldn’t have had time to get Cecily to safety.”

-“The troll was on a rampage. Like a rabid dog. Although it was an extremely precise rampage. It destroyed everything in it’s path, but it’s path led directly to the Mayor.”

-“I was the one to finally kill it. I’d been carrying ever since the Doppleganger attack. I took a shot and I got extremely lucky. Severed the beast’s spine at the neck. It’s lungs and heart stopped working and it died. We’re still not sure how it ended up being so precise.”

(Roll search checks to examine the room)

DC 18 (17 if specific): It’s difficult to see due to all the wound marks and embedded glass in the troll, but there are two ritual scars on the sides of the Troll’s neck. They depict the profile of a skull with a skeletal hand touching the temple of that skull. (DC 18 knowledge (arcana) check indicates that these brands are part of a permanent willbinding ritual).

DC 16 (15 if specific): The guards were all killed with single strikes to the chest or head or in one case a snap of the neck. (DC 16 knowledge (nature) check indicates that Trolls normally kill by simply pummelling their victims repeatedly or with the occasional bite.)

(Troll) DC 20 (19 if specific to head): You notice that the troll’s pupils are repeatedly dilating and constricting, despite the troll being dead (DC 15 spellcraft: This indicates that the spell is still active, despite the troll being dead.) (DC 18 spellcraft: An active willbind in a dead creature allows the caster to observe surroundings with the creature’s senses.)

Knowledge (arcana) DC 20: (Active will-binds have a range of 1 mile, from caster to affected creature).

As you leave, you (Irythan) notices some extra weight in one of your pockets.

You take it out and find that it’s a note wrapped around some kind of medallion. The note reads: “We’ve been shadowing your investigation and we’re impressed. Our interests seem to be aligned for now. Continue your investigation then meet me at the lighthouse at dusk. It may turn out to be mutually benificial to share information. Please don’t show this to Fetrian or Cecily. Come by yourselves or there will be no meeting.”

The medallion is blackened silver and depicts a dagger piercing a crescent moon. A slightly gold-colored corona surrounds the left half.

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Chapter 19- "That's one hell of a gun"

The sniper’s perch is in a clock-tower several blocks away from the Mayor’s office. The tower is two stories high with narrow windows between the clock faces. There are two guards at the entrance. Fetrian waves them aside and says to you: “Those two are trusted and receive regular screenings to rule out magical effects and abilities. The scene upstairs should be untouched. I’ve had the items we recovered from the sniper brought up so you can examine them on site.”

known information
(the clocktower is not open to the public.)
(the lock on the door showed signs of tampering on close inspection.)
(after the shot missed, the sniper escaped by rappelling down the side of the tower and fleeing on foot)
(The sniper dropped his rifle during the pursuit)
(The sniper lost the pursuing guards by dropping a pepper-smoke grenade in an alley)
(The sniper was wearing a black cloak and the guards never witnessed his face, but based on height and build they appeared to be a half-elf or human male)

A spiral staircase leads to the room at the top of the tower. The room is 15′×15′ in a square. On each of the walls is an identical array of clockwork. Above you, you can see a winch that is wound up by the perpetual sea breeze and loosened gradually to shift the clock’s gears. On the corners of the room are a series of two-foot wide windows that can be opened from the inside. Fetrian points out one that has a direct line of sight to the mayor’s office and one that he says was used by the sniper to escape. Several sets of average sized humanoid bootprints pepper the sawdust. Size 8 or 9, identical tread. Presumably the sniper’s.

Fetrian says: “We also found a sleeping bag and some crumbs. It appears the sniper camped out overnight to carry out the attack. His rifle is in that case if you wish to look it over.”

Reilly asks if she can take a look.

She holds it and says “Faskian Pin-cannon. Extra barrel length and powder-packing. Special issue for Faskian Snipers. It fires a special pin-shaped projectile designed to pierce plate-mail over long distances. I ran into these more than once when I was investigating Faskian infiltration teams. Took one in the left shoulder, too. Had to learn to use a sword right-handed. Effective accuracy up to 500 feet, but it takes an entire minute to re-load because you have to twist the projectile into place like a screw. These notches on the side represent confirmed kills. 27 of them. This rifle was either stolen or was used by a veteran Fask Sniper. Cecily got lucky.”

Reilly hands you back the rifle and says. Give everything a look-over before we head out.

(search checks)
DC 15- You notice a symbol etched into the pin-cannon. It is a skull with a dagger sticking out of it’s mouth as a tongue would.

DC 13- You notice that the vibrations from the clock are much weaker on the sides adjacent to the window that was fired from.

Reilly says: “Write down what you need to and let’s get moving to the next site.”

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Chapter 18- "We should probably go meet this Mayor"

The room Fetrian got for you is modest, yet quite comfortable. It’s on the top floor of an Inn called “Anchorman’s rest” in the Harbor District. Milo decides to return to the camp and try to wrap his head around the state of the war with the Arkali. Reilly decides to stay with you to help with the investigation and sends word with Milo that Myran is to assume temporary command of what forces you have.

You sleep well wake up in the morning with a few hours to kill before your meeting with the Mayor. Reilly has removed her armor and put on a button-down white shirt and a simple vest over a small chain-shirt which is hidden when she finishes doing the buttons. She carries a short-sword and concealing a double-barrel pistol rather than her usual weapons. “I’d rather go light for this one. I’ve found investigations easier when I’m not wearing a massive suit of armor. I’d recommend concealing your firearms. They’re still illegal in Kaptal if you’re not in the military.”

A bell tolls noon and the shops begin to close. Reilly says: “We should probably go meet this Mayor now.”

The Mayor’s office is located a 10-minute walk from the Inn you were put up at. It’s in a two-story stone building on the second floor, according to Fetrian’s directions. Fetrian himself is waiting for you at the door.
“Thank you for coming.” He says “I’m afraid you’ll have to leave your weapons in the atrium. Simply a precaution to reduce the potential routes of attack.”

(if players refuse)
“Listen” Fetrian says “I understand your reluctance. There is simply no way to know for sure that you are who you appear to be. Just the other week we had a doppleganger pose as one of the Mayor’s bodyguards. A mere two days ago, my own dagger flew out of it’s sheath and wounded her. Turns out someone had put a hex on it. If you will not leave your weapons here, there will be no meeting and you’ll have to find another steam-ship.”

(if players consent)
“I appreciate your cooperation and I understand your reluctance. There is simply no way to know for sure that you are who you appear to be. Just the other week we had a doppleganger pose as one of the Mayor’s bodyguards. A mere two days ago, my own dagger flew out of it’s sheath and wounded her. Turns out someone had put a hex on it. Thank you again for understanding”

(dc 17 diplomacy)
“I suppose we truly are so desperate. Fine, keep your weapons. But you will be under guard the entire time by men with shoot to kill orders. There is simply no way to know for sure that you are who you appear to be. Just the other week we had a doppleganger pose as one of the Mayor’s bodyguards. A mere two days ago, my own dagger flew out of it’s sheath and wounded her. Turns out someone had put a hex on it. Watch yourselves”

Fetrian leads you inside and down a spiral staircase. At the bottom is a reinforced steel door with a lock unlike any you’ve seen. Fetrian places his thumb on a steel pin and draws blood. The door opens and inside is what looks like a reception desk and a door on the other side of the room.

Fetrian is sitting at the reception desk and says “Good day, Madame Mayor.” You turn to see the person posing as Fetrian turn shape to appear as a woman with greying brown hair in a tight bun. She wears a loose white tunic and a pair of grey breeches with working shoes. “I apologize for the deception” she says “Mayor Cecily McTeague, pleased to make your acquaintance.”

(player response)

“Please, call me Cecily, and let’s talk in my office. Would you like some tea?”

Cecily picks up a kettle which begins boiling as soon as it is poured into the teacups. She places the tray on a coffee table, gestures to a pair of quarter-circle sofas and says Please, sit down. Pelor’s mercy, it took me months to convince Fetrian to let me do this myself. If I can’t run a city and still make my own tea, then what good am I? Now, why don’t I start from the beginning. If I miss anything important feel free to ask."

“Okay, without going through my life’s story: I grew up in the slums. Like most children there, my parents had debt. In the same way wealthy children inherit wealth, poor children in Kaptal inherit debt. My mother raised me by herself and when she died, her debt became mine at age 15. I got lucky around age 17 when I discovered a talent for magic. I used it to gain considerable wealth and eventually I won the election for Mayor. I used what power I had as mayor to improve life for those in the slums. We just recently finished construction on an underground sewer system so people wouldn’t have to walk in their own shit. But that meant I had to divert funds from a new horse-racing track and cut the budget for debt collection. Most of the people that angered simply tried to buy me off. More than a few filed official complaints with the Kaptalis board of Merchant-Lords. I suspect only one of them is trying to kill me. With me so far?”

“So far, there have been four attempts on my life. The first was a sniper using a Faskian flintlock. He managed to get away without being identified, but we have his weapon. He shot at me while I was in my office from a rooftop across the street. If my chair had been more comfortable, I wouldn’t have been shifting my weight and I’d be talking to you out of a new hole in my head. Since then, this has been my office and I’ve been travelling with a deflecting shield.”

“The second was a Doppleganger posing as one of my bodyguards. Pulled a pistol on me point blank. Since the shield blocked projectiles, I survived the initial shot and Fetrian managed to tackle him before he could draw his knife, which turned out to be poisoned. He was killed in the ensuing fight, but again, we got his weapons. After that, my guards were all subjected to tests before each escort.”

“The third attempt was about as subtle as a troll in a chess-hall. Actually, it was exactly that subtle. I was meeting a contact in a chess hall about a possible lead on the person behind these attacks and a troll burst through the front bay-window. It killed five of my bodyguards before Fetrian got off a lucky shot and severed it’s spine at the neck. Some of those guards were my friends, so of course they had to make it personal. Since then, I’ve been travelling posing as Fetrian and the Chess-hall has been closed down for the investigation.”

“The final attempt we’re still trying to piece together. This was only two days ago. Fetrian came into my office to update me on the state of the Arkali assault and to inform me that refugees were on their way from various places the Arkali attacked. His knife flew straight out of it’s sheath and took out my left Brachial artery. If I hadn’t dove out of the way, it would have hit my heart. The knife was also poisoned with black lotus extract, but my luck saved me again. I had taken a potion for Nausea earlier in the day and one of the side effects of the potion is counter-acting black lotus. Fetrian was able to pin the knife against the wall and help stop the bleeding. I got it healed, but my arm’s still stiff due to the after-effects of the poison. The knife is locked in an adamantine case. Last I checked it was still trying to escape.”

“I’m happy to answer any questions you may have about the attacks and naturally, you can examine anything related for yourself. I only ask that you bring Fetrian along. He’s worried sick and helping with the investigation will calm his nerves. He can also get you access to most of the city.”

Cecily stacks the tray and cleans everything with a wave of her hand. She opens the door and says “Fetrian will see you out. I’ll stay here and arrange for your ship to be ready once this crisis is over. If you like, I can also have an old friend make a flag for you. Come see me with a design when you have some information to share. I appreciate this. You’ll have a friend in Gildenport as long as I’m breathing.”

Fetrian asks where you would like to start your investigation.

(if asked, Reilly will recommend checking the Sniper’s perch)

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Chapter 17- "Fucking each-other bonkers"

Your cohort elects to set up camp on the outskirts of Gildenport to avoid causing too much of a stir with the local guard. Reilly and Milo offer to come with. Milo is insistant because he grew up in Kaptal and knows his contact best. Reilly offers her experience in urban combat and investigation. The others wish to stay behind and assist with preparations for shipping out. Reilly and Milo set off to prepare and agree to meet you at the gates in a half hour.

By the time you prepare and reach the gate, Reilly and Milo are waiting for you. Milo has combed back his hair and put on a broad brimmed hat. He has on a canvas and leather jacket and a long pair of tough trousers. His clothing is all dyed dark grey and black.

Reilly has shaved the sides of her head and cut the top short, It’s draped over one side of her head and she has a red hood up. She has changed into what looks like a modified faskian breastplate with the Weslyth tree and stars. A short, red cloak hangs over her shoulders. It looks to be one of Enfys’ designs. The raised fist of the Martyred maiden hangs from her belt.

“Well, then” Says Milo “If you’re done gawking at my glorious hat, we should stroll on in.”

The Class disparity in Kaptalis society is apparent at a glance. When you first walk in, you see slums and people huddled in the streets around hastily built fires. Some of the buildings look like they’ve been repaired recently and you can see storm drains leading to underground sewers.

Milo remarks “This area is destitute, but it was way worse when I was here last. I wonder what changed. Anyway, we should go meet my contact. She works at a brothel called ‘The Red Sapphire’ in the mercantile quarter. She goes by Lilac.”

Milo leads you down the boulevard to the outskirts of the mercantile district. The scenery changes quickly from grimy slums to large worker’s bunk-towers and factories and then to colossal mansions that look practically gilded. The Red Sapphire is nestled in the heart of an affluent residential district. It’s about the same size as the nearby mansions, with curtains over all the windows, though the sillhouettes are quite expressive. You can smell lavender incense wafting from the building. Milo opens the door and approaches the schedule keeper. “We’re here to see Lilac,” he says.

The keeper looks up from her ledger and replies “We don’t do groups here. You’ll have to make seperate appointments.”

One of the women gets up from the couch and says: “It’s okay, Molly. I worked something out already and Milo has worked out the payment.”

The woman is a half-elf who looks to be about 19. She has long black hair and green eyes. She’s wearing a black corset and a short red skirt that flares at the hem. She beckons you to follow her to a room adjacent to the upstairs balcony.

She closes the door behind her, whispers an incantation and says “Okay. Now that I’ve had a chance to cast that, everyone outside will hear just enough to think we’re all fucking each-other bonkers. Should give us some privacy to talk. Now, Milo tells me you’re in the market for a steam-ship.”

“In that case, I’m glad I can help. While you were on your way, another opportunity presented itself. Another client of mine, an aide to the local mayor, has asked me to keep an eye out for capable adventurers to solve a problem. Meet him in the square just south of this establishment. He’s been good to us here and the least I can do is point you in his direction. Oh, and be sure to come back after you’ve established a garrison. I’ll have another proposition for you. Now pretend to be out of breath when you leave the room. See you again soon”

The door to the room closes behind you and Reilly says “I think we should hear this aide out. It sounds serious if someone as smart as Lilac thinks the mayor will accept help from a known subversive group.”

The square Lilac told you about is surrounded by shops selling all manner of items both magical and mundane. The aide hasn’t shown up yet, so shipping may provide an opportunity to kill time.

As you look over a suit of armor that is WAY out of your budget, a man taps you on the shoulder and says: “Are you the adventurers Lilac told me about?”

“Excellent. My name is Fetrian, aide to Mayor McTeague. Please walk with me.” Reilly notices your looks and says “no relation”.

Fetrian continues: “Are you familiar with Mayor McTeague’s policies?”

“Well, without getting into specifics, Mayor McTeague has been making enemies by attempting to improve quality of life in the slums at the expense of projects such as the proposed horse-racing track. While this has made her extremely popular with the Masses, we believe that someone in the upper classes has plotted an attempt on her life. If you agree to help us, we will grant you a ship from the patrol fleet once the assassin is thwarted.”

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Chapter 16- "I'm done with this getting attacked bullshit"

Electing to cut your losses, you hike down the path toward Gildenport to complete Niles’ mission and secure safe passage. Before you leave, Enfys hands you a note with the description of the path.

You are to pass the site of the attack on Harxen’s squad, cross a stone bridge over a deep ravine and pass through a tunnel. From there, the path is a dirt road through thin woodlands until Kaptal, where it thins out into plains and farmland.

A brief ride takes you to the site of the attack.

When you reach the site of the attack, you find Cochran’s body still there. There are two large fang marks in his shoulder and you can see varicose veins extending from the wounds. One of his arms is gone and the shoulder it was attached to appears to be hyperextended.

Search checks

Dc12: You find one small spot of blood on the ground 10 feet away from Cochran. Next to it you see bits of chainmail and a broken arrow shaft.

Dc15: A small blood trail leads from the spot near Cochran down the road where you came from and ends 30 feet later. A small bandage wrapping is found at the end.

Dc16: You notice a broken branch on the northern side of the road and an assortment of small boot-prints.

Dc14: Behind the blood spatter, you notice a winding indent in the road. It looks like someone had dragged a body along it in a zig-zag pattern with considerable speed. (+2 bonus to track)

Continuing on for another 2 hours’ ride, you come to the bridge. It’s about 15 feet wide and 40 feet across. It is marked by both Fask and Kaptalis colors. There is a large construct blocking the path. It is constructed of clockwork with what looks to be a leather skin binding it together. It has aluminum plates and wooden planks stapled into the leather as armor. It is draped in a tabard with Kaptalis colors. The construct carries a steel shield and a spear.

As you approach, the construct jams the shaft of it’s spear into the bridge and says in an echoing voice “Identify yourself and submit to inspection on the authority of the Kaptalis empire.”

Combat with Kaptalis Light Sentinal

The construct begins to billow smoke from the slash-marks and holes in the leather casing while the gears and springs inside snap and grind. A shriek is heard from inside the construct and a whispy figure emerges briefly before dissipating in a blink.

With the bridge clear, you move forward down the road until you come to a tunnel. It appears to have fallen into decay and there are spider-webs lining the entryway. A sign is mounted next to it which says “Seek alternate route. Dangerous creature inside.”

Your sunrod Illuminates the passage in front of you as you walk into the tunnel. Inside you can see humanoid figures suspended from the ceiling and encased in spiderwebs. Some are on the floor or already half eaten. There is also a pile of desiccated corpses in a corner. All told, whatever inhabits this tunnel has taken at least 20 unfortunate travellers.

spot checks opposed to +10 hide

(on failure) You note that most of the corpses have a single stab-wound and that the dessicated ones have humanoid bite marks on the brachial artery.

Dc16 knowledge (dungeoneering): Based on your studies and experience, you can surmise that this is the lair of a Drider. A large creature with a spider’s thorax and abdomen which transitions into an elf-like torso and arms. You recall that driders are ambush predators with a poison that causes weakness and minor spellcasting ability.

After another step, you hear a sound coming from the ceiling not unlike a string snapping. A large creature which is an elf from the waist up, but with a spider’s body instead of legs pounces from the ceiling onto Brill

(reflex save opposed to melee attack roll, failure results in being knocked prone and taking 2d6+2 damage)

surprise round begins

(on success) You look up to see a large creature which is an elf from the waist up, but with a spider’s body instead of legs. It looks ready to pounce.

begin combat as normal, no surprise round

The creature squeals in pain and attempts to limp away. It is primed for a killing blow.

With it’s last breath, it scrapes with one of it’s spider’s legs at a chest hanging from the ceiling by a web.

Inside the chest are an assortment of gold and platinum artifacts, apparently even deadly monsters like money. (dc 12 appraise reveals that it is worth 10,000gp)

You gather up all your belongings and divide the treasure up, then exit the tunnel to a thin forest. From there, the path is clear and by the time you can see the lights of Gildenport, the rest of your cohort has caught up with you.

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