A World Asunder

Chapter 74- "As long as we're breathing, there's hope"

You reappear in the woods immediately outside the cave. You can see Falan on the other side of a blue-tinged wire mesh, shaking his head at you. He says “I think that’s enough, don’t you?” He nods to a blonde half-elf woman on your left in aristocrat’s field garb. “Do it, Meridat.”

Tilani taps the mesh, which flashes right before you go unconscious.

You wake up in an open air cage on the back of a cart in a military convoy, the four of you are all in the same cart, shackled to the cold iron bars along with a stranger who’s still unconscious with a bag over his head. Everything but your shirts and pants have been removed, exposing a chill in the air. The cart in front of you is identical, and you can see a number of Partizans, including Benavin, bound in a similar fashion.

The road widens and your cart pulls up alongside the other cage. Benavin puts her index finger over her mouth and whispers to you:

“We’re being taken to a hard labor camp in the far north, near the Kaptalis border. We should be there by nightfall. Used to be they’d just kill us, but with the war on, they can’t spare the labor.”

A different voice from the other side of your cage speaks: “Uncharacteristically pragmatic for Fask, wouldn’t you agree?”

Tilani is next to your cage, riding a barded white horse. “Do you remember the last time we met?”

(players say yes)
“Good. I want you to know that when an envoy was requested to help our Faskian allies intercept a unit of Paragons and take over their labor camp program, I volunteered. I was hoping to see you again. Failure isn’t in my nature and there are scores to be settled. I’m to take command of the prison in which you will spend the rest of your lives, lives which I intend to make long, productive and painful.”

(Players ask about mesh)
“Wraithsilver. Opposing how cold iron blocks magic, wraithsilver conducts it. Termalyn has been issuing it in crossbow bolts to their expert marksmen to tag our seige engines for bombardment. With a little Kaptalis ingenuity, we found out how they made it and started experimenting with applications. Thank you for the field test. Magic can be unpredictable and it’s difficult to know whether something will work in real encounter.”

(Players ask about her presence)
“Surprised? Is it because I’m a half-elf or because I’m a mage?”
players answer
“Even the most rigid nations are prone to fits of pragmatism in wartime. I’m good at what I do and they needed an expert. Jerath is smart and an expert tactician, but he’s used to putting down open revolts, not long-term guerilla campaigns. Gildenport was my first failure and I’m here to correct that.”

Tilani rides off to the front of the convoy.

As soon as she’s out of earshot, Benavin whispers to you:
“Do you know bitch?”

“Small world. Let’s find a place to talk when we arrive. I don’t plan on dying in prison and I doubt you do, either.”

Players await arrival

It takes about an hour before you crest the hill and see the prison camp. The holding block part of the camp is divided into four identical sections, each consists of a block of huts surrounding a four-story watchtower 20 feet wide on all sides. The huts are surrounded by a fence of wrought iron bars, which also divides the sections. The top of the fence is lined with jagged blades.

Behind the holding block are 3 other enclosed areas. The one in the center is a mining and smelting facility. The ground is littered with mine entrances, furnaces and prisoners carrying mining tools and massive crates of ore and ingots.

The one to the west has two large buildings, unlabeled. One is significantly more ornate than the other. The one to the east has two long buildings and two shorter ones with guards moving in and out of them. Every section is surrounded by watchtowers manned by snipers.

You arrive at the gatehouse and the prison carriages split off and carry you inside, flanked by armed escorts on foot.

One of the guards, a sergeant, opens the gate of your carriage and orders you to step down.

Players step out

The hooded stranger is still unconscious. The sergeant climbs in the carriage and kicks him awake. The sergeant removes his hood and kicks him into the cold mud. The man lifts his head up. He looks to be in his late ‘20s and disheveled. The tattered remains of a Faskian military uniform are showing under his cloak and a nasty scar is climbing up his neck that looks like it was from an infected wound that didn’t heal properly. His mud-stained black hair is forming a veil in front of grey eyes that look a decade older than the rest of him.

The sergeant clubs him in the shoulder with his musket and barks: “Get up, deserter! You get to work yourself to death with these degenerate subversives.”

Chapter 73 -"A revolt doomed to fail to keep the flame alive"

As the last of your weapons clatter to the floor, the door swings open to reveal a large chamber containing five statues and a banner in the center of a the room.

The banner is of a single black rose growing from a rock. Next to the rock is a hand, face up, with a broken sword in its open hand.

The statues on the sides are all warriors.
-One is a human woman in full-plate armor hefting a shield and a longsword, whose inscription reads: “Gwynad, The faithful defender”.
-One is a human man in Faskian uniform bearing an arquebus, whose inscription reads: “Stauben, The valiant betreyer”.
-One is a halfling woman in servant’s attire, ripped back to reveal a leather chestguard and a shortsword tucked in her waistband. Her inscription reads: “Marianne, the righteous thief.”
-One is an male elf in a field scholar’s outfit, stretching his hand to let fly a fireball. A gleaming amulet hangs around his neckHis inscription reads: “Athelan, the defiant scholar”.

To the very rear is a statue of an elven woman, kneeling and wounded, clutching a bow. Her hand is loosely formed around an antique arrow sticking out of her chest. The inscription reads:

“Laerta, the Martyr, who with one last arrow took her own life to repel the Faskian assault.”

There are further inscriptions on the pedestals of the statues and a story written on the wall.


At Gwynad
“Gwynad was raised in a house divided. A Weslythan father and Faskian mother birthed her shortly after the end of the War of Blood and Ash. She was raised as a knight, but grew to be a rebel. While her parents fought on opposing sides of a conflict, hoping to never see each-other, Gwynad ran south to join the Army of no Nation. As a childhood friend of Laerta the martyr, she was the first to join the Army of no Nation and an honored member of the Valiant Five.”

At Stauben
“Stauben was a soldier who talked little of his past. All that is known is that he learned of a planned attack on the camp of the Army of no Nation and deserted his post to warn his former enemies. Laerta convinced her comrades to spare his life. During the preparations for evacuation, Stauben volunteered to stay behind and buy time for the escape. Though little is known of his motives, we can only hope that history will remember his example.”

At Marianne
“Marianne grew up in the slums of Caer Fathis and was employed as a servant from the age of eleven. When the Army of no Nation seized territory along the new border with Fask, Marianne left to join them. She never retired her servant’s uniform, instead wearing it as a reminder of where she came from and of those who still wore it by mandate. She stole funds and supplies for the army and for herself. By the time of the assault came, the Army was all the family she had and she volunteered for the rear guard.”

At Athelan
“Athelan often said they proud to be two things that were forbidden to exist in Fask. An elf and a Wizard. To willingly pursue magical talent as an elf is a death sentence. A sentence that time and again was put off until Athelan decided that it was time to stop running. It is said that their final words were: ‘Finally, I learn of what comes after’. Their wards and suppressing evocations made the last stand possible.”

At Laerta
“Laerta never revealed from whence she came. Perhaps it was to create a sense of awe, or to protect her loved ones. Laerta’s ability to inspire others not to follow, but to lead, was what made the revolt so initially successful. People came to her, not as individuals looking for a savior or a leader, but as participants in their own salvation. The truce of 21 ATS allowed Fask to focus their efforts on the rebels. Laerta took her own life with one last arrow and with her sacrifice brought down the wrath of the sun and sky on the armies of Fask. That final arrow now rests in the breast of her likeness.

Story on the Wall
“It was the third day of the 22nd year After the Scourge. The Settlement Wars were winding down and the Army of no Nation was at its peak. The armies of Fask were preparing to attack and crush the revolt. Faskian forces caught up with the retreating rebels in camp at Bulwark Bridge on the river Gerrian. A Faskian soldier named Stauben had deserted his unit the previous day to warn the Army of no Nation. The Valiant five; Laerta, Gwynad, Athelan, Stauben and Marianne; volunteered to stay at the bridge and hold off the Faskian army as long as they could. A gathering of Nationless soldiers watched the battle from a distance. Stauben was the first to fall, having sowed some measure of chaos by slaying officers from far off. Marianne’s traps and sabotage of equipment overnight had delayed progress and taken casualties of their own, but she fell to a bayonet in the first charge. Gwynad broke up five bayonet charges, felling untold scores. She fell in the 6th charge, weakened by exhaustion and shot in the throat at point blank range. Athelan made the defense possible with magic wards that held back projectiles and evocations which thinned the numbers of attacking troops. They were cut down at swordpoint on the seventh charge after expending the remainder of their evocations. Laerta was the last to fall. On the 8th charge, she emptied her quiver. She took her own life with the last arrow. As she fell, a great flash of light engulfed the bridge and the surrounding area, as though the sun itself had crashed down from the sky. The bridge had been scorched and the attacking forces incinerated. The scouts went down to retrieve their fallen comrades for burial, but their remains were nowhere to be found. All that remained was the forest, the weapons of the valiant five, and the last arrow of Laerta, undamaged by the burning light. The valiant five gave their life for a revolt doomed to fail, that the spark of desire for a free world might one day flare to life. The instruments of the great last stand have been interred here in the hopes that a new generation of heroes might take up the banner of the Army of No Nation.”

(Laerta’s last arrow, Laerta’s Bow, Stauben’s Arquebus, Gwynad’s sword, Athelan’s amulet, the banner of the Army of No Nation and Marianne’s knife can all be retrieved)

Players leave Temple

As you reach the top of the stairs, you can see sunlight coming in. A voice bellows down from outside:

“This is High Marshal Jerrath Falan! We have you surrounded by a full company of dragoons and and a squadron of Snipers. My Sappers have planted enough explosives to obliterate the temple. Come out one by one with your hands above your head and place your weapons on the ground! If you fail to comply, we will bury you alive! Surrender as my prisoners and you have my word and honor as an officer of the Faskian Army that your lives will be spared! Do you understand?”

Chapter 72- "Entropy is Fate"

You wake up just before the sunrise after an adequate, but uneasy, night’s rest. The most dangerous thing seen at night was a creepy looking squirrel.

(To Irythan)
Your comrades were able to resuscitate you and you wake up feeling stiff and groggy, but able bodied nonetheless. Your mental state leaves something to be desired, however. You feel as if two competing forces are pulling at your mind from opposite sides and concentration is difficult.

Players enter the tomb

What twilight remained from outside dissipates as you descend into the pitch-black passage.

players light sunrods
The sunrods flicker and dim. The light from them dulled to that of a torch.

The same form of black, oily sludge that saturated the soil above seems to be flowing up the staircase from the passage below.

The staircase ends at a masonwork archway that opens into a large natural cave chamber. A shallow puddle of the sludge ripples at your feet as you walk. It remains a consistent depth of about a quarter inch. The floor itself is quite slippery. The chamber itself splits off into two natural passages. The sludge seems to be flowing from the passage to your right and lapping up against the passage to your left, as if being held back by an invisible levee.

Room 2
The sludge falls off your boots as you walk into the raw tunnel. The passage ends in a doorway with rusted hinges and fittings littering the ground near it, among a smattering of large splinters. The room beyond the doorway looks almost like a chapel.

To the back of the room is a statue of an elven woman kneeling and supporting herself on a bow. Dangling from the ceiling is an orb painted gold with an arrow sticking out of it. The pedestal of the statue reads “The valiant last stand, in defiance of fate.” The entirety of the room is scorched.

A skeleton is sitting on the floor with its back to the statue. Its left hand is gripping a sword where its gut once was and its right hand holds a holy symbol on a chain.

On the floor next to the skeleton is a note, written in an old faskian dialect.

players read note
The note reads:
“If you’ve found your way to this note, then my sacrifice was not for nothing. I don’t know for certain how, but a foul entity has found a way into this world. It was the first day of summer, 113 ATS. Sister Maydine rushed to the chapel door and bolted it shut with me inside. I only saw a frightened look on her face before the door was closed. I thought it was the Faskian army, that they had finally found us. Instead of soldiers and gunfire, I heard cries of pain from Sister Maydine and Brother Jakob. When their cries finally ceased, I heard an unnatural voice from outside say “Entropy is fate”. That was three days ago. Now I’ve heard something pounding on the door, trying to break in and some kind of sludge has begun leaking under the door. I’ve prepared a spell that I hope will banish the foul influence. The spell requires a sacrifice from the caster and I’ve nothing left but my life. It doesn’t matter. Evil must be kept from the reliquary at all costs. May the gods take notice of my defiance in the next world."

room 3

The passage emerges into a small cave chamber with signs of artificial tunneling on the walls. Stalagtites line the ceiling. In the center is a large chest flanked by dead Faskian soldiers gripping the handles. One of them is also holding a pistol with the hammer still primed. Their skin has started to decay where it is in contact with the sludge. The one with the pistol drawn a line of decaying flesh across his neck that reaches down to the Carotid artery. The one without her pistol drawn has a large gash across her chest.

Black sludge appears to be flowing down from the ceiling and cascading over the chest into the puddle that permeates the floor

(DC 20 spot check, free if players choose to inspect the source of the sludge)
Clinging to the ceiling is a bulk of gelatinous sludge that rolls and writhes as would a restless infant.

Players approach chest
As you reach toward the chest, the sludge violently withdraws toward the chest and up to the ceiling as if sucked through a straw. You hear a rumbling sound from above and a mass of gelatinous sludge lashes out from above (surprise round)

Combat, Entropic sludge

players defeat sludge
The sludge dries up into a solid mass and scatters away in what little wind is generated by the final movements of combat. Your sunrods flicker back to their usual light. In the rear corner of the room, you can see a large hole in the cave floor that looks like it was blasted open by Faskian blackpowder. From the hole, you can hear anguished moaning and the distinct sound of metal hitting masonry with almost mechanical regularity.

Players open chest
The chest contains two kegs of gunpowder and 10,000 gold worth of Faskian currency. A note at the top reads: “You should have more powder than you need to widen the stream enough to send a squad down. I have given your unit a vast sum in case of operational expenses. Spend as much as you need to get the excavation started as soon as possible. I expect regular updates and an itemized list of all expenses.”

The note is signed by High Marshal Falan.

Players approach hole
The hole is pitch black. The illumination from your sunrod does not reach the bottom.

Players drop illuminating object
The (whatever object was dropped) plunges down about a hundred feet and clatters on the ground. Within 10 seconds of reaching the ground, the light from it is pulled away and out of sight.

Players descend by rope (DC 15 use rope check, person who sets up rope may aid another)

You slide down the rope like a vertical pole. Your feet splash lightly in a trickle of water on the cave floor. Behind you, you can see a passage leading upward, but it has since been closed off by a collapse. The pounding of metal on stone has ceased.

A great beast steps into the light. It’s humanoid in shape, but it crawls on it’s hands and feet, save for its left hand which bears a massive greatsword emitting a black fog. The creature is gaunt, with an open ribcage. It has long claws and a gaping maw with two rows of needle-point teeth. Imprisoned in the ribcage is a tiny humanoid figure of an human male, shrieking in agony. An arrow has pierced the creature’s left eye. Over the creature’s head, blocking its right eye, are the bursted remains of a faskian helmet. A Sergeant’s Gorget still hangs around its neck.

Combat, Entropic Devourer
(Greatsword attack 16/12, 2d8+11 damage +2d6 damage vs good)

Players defeat Entropic Devourer
The beast briefly braces itself on its sword and swipes feebly before succuming to its wounds. The figure in its ribcage sighs and closes its eyes as if at peace.

(to Noah)
You feel the last of your energy fade and you feel like you’re being pulled away by forces unknown. The end is near, what would you like to say?

Noah bids farewell
You slip away into the unknown, having made your second chance count.

Players go down the hall

The passage ends in a doorway with a message carved in old Weslythan. The text reads: “No force of arms may breach this place of rest, yet those of righteous intent will require none within.”

Chapter 71- "And from the arrow, I watch"

Benavin and the remaining Partizans rendezvous with you five miles north of the estate. You are still close enough to see the glow of the blaze against the low-hanging clouds.

High Marshal Falan is still unconscious on one of the horses. Benavin looks more relieved than happy.

“You got the bastard. We’ll make sure our people didn’t die for nothing. Thank you.” Benavin rips the unconscious officer from the saddle with somewhat more force than necessary.

“Did you get what you came for?”

players answer

“Good. We’ll go our seperate ways for now, but you can consider us allies. I’ll find a way to sail to Polaris when I have the chance.”

Players go to the tomb
It takes a two-day ride to reach the woodlands described in the map. Soon the treeline begins to tighten and the undergrowth thickens. The horses, save for Irythan’s mount, spook and refuse to go any further.

Players go deeper into the woods
The woodland floor is thick with thorns dead shrubs. It takes several hours to go a single mile. Night is beginning to fall, though the difference is scarcely noticed under the dense canopy. Black, leathery vines reach up the trees like tendrils. The vines reach higher up the trees the deeper in you go and an unsettling black fog begins to obscure vision like a whisp of charcoal dust. At the edge of your vision, just poking out of the fog, is a ruined archway covered in leafy vines.

Players approach archway
The top of the archway is almost entirely covered in plant growth. Poking through it is a tarnished gold seal depicting an arrow piercing a sun disk, the holy symbol of St. Laerta.

(Spot DC 35)
You note that some of the vines have gathered themselves into a roughly humanoid shape and wrapped themselves around the ruined archway.

Someone attempts to grab the seal (Probably Sam. If I’m right, he’s buying Pizza next time)
The vines lash out at your wrist.

Players enter tomb
As you pass under the archway, you hear shifting in the vines above you. A large clump of them drops down from above, having formed into a roughly humanoid shape, sans head.

Combat. Corrupted Vinemass.

Players defeat Corrupted Vinemass

The creature lets out an unsettling shriek, despite having no discernible vocal chords. It seems to dissolve into a fog that looks more like a gaseous sludge and scatters into the wind.

Players enter tomb

Despite the massive size of the entrance, an overwhelming sense of claustrophobia begins to gnaw at you. Christine lights a torch and tosses it into the void.

Chapter 70 -"We're sending 3/4 of the High Marshal off this balcony""

Benavin is waiting for you at the treeline with a group of ten. You’re on a hill overlooking the High Marshal’s garden across the river. It’s about an hour until sunset.

A group of farmhands is still working to round up the pigs that were released the previous night. The guards are still at their posts, looking somewhat amused. Benavin reports that she only saw two of them come out to catch the seven pigs that escaped. As you wait for darkness, Benavin pulls you aside.

“I know you have your own aims in this, but if you get a chance to capture high marshal Falan alive, it would be an enormous help to our cause. If you can’t capture him, make sure he’s in no position to pursue us ever again.”

Players wait until dark
The guards change shift at sunset, with the new guards taking their posts before the old leave. By the time night falls, the farm hands have returned the pigs to their pen and gone home. The estate grounds have sparse torch light, and two squads patrol it with no discernable pattern.

players use rat swarm
The chirping of a massed swarm of rats attracts one of the patrols. After noticing what they were up against, they begin waving torches at the ground and shouting for assistance. Five guards emerge from the house bearing torches and two guards leave their posts to assist in driving off the rats. (Roll d8 to determine if guards are in room, rather than d4)

The door opens up into a marble-floor entryway flanked by two wide-turning staircases. Weapon plaques and paintings line the walls. (roll for guards twice)

Kitchen The servants’ entrance opens to a kitchen. There is a large butcher block in the middle under a rack of cooking tools and pots. Embers are still smouldering in two fireplaces. (no guards)

Servants’ quarters
The door creaks open to reveal a small room with 8 bunk beds. Five of them are occupied by sleeping figures. (order move silently checks).

Dining room
You enter a dining room with a long table in the center and a fireplace on each of the long walls. The table is meticulously set with silverware and delicate ceramics. (roll for guards once)

(see above)

trophy room and armory
You enter a room with racks of weapons and trophies mounted on the wall, as well as various suits of armor on mannequins. A stuffed dire bear is positioned on its hind legs in the center of the room. (roll for guards twice, one on balcony, one on ground)

(if players diverted) The next room is approximately the same size and has two columns of bunk beds with footlockers, most of the beds have folded Faskian military uniforms on them.

(if players did not divert) The next room is approximately the same size and has two columns of bed with footlockers. There is a group of Faskian soldiers playing poker at a round table on the far end of the room. (call for hide/move silently checks)

The staircases crest to a balcony overlooking the atrium and a wide bridge leading to an outdoor balcony. The walls are lined with busts of men in military attire.

Guest Bedroom
You enter a small bedroom with a carefully made bed and mirror on the far side facing a basin.

You open the door to a small library with a desk in the center, the shelves lined with Faskian literature and texts on military theory, history, and post-scourge archaeology. (roll once for guard)

Child’s bedroom
You see a bedroom with a pair of small beds occupied by a young boy and a girl, sleeping soundly. Toys are scattered at the floor.

Master bedroom
You enter a large bedroom with an ornate four-poster bed in the center and an empty arrmor rack next to an oak dresser. The bedding has been tossed aside and the room is un-occupied.

The door creaks open, revealing a room with a few small bookshelves and a fireplace on the wall. In the center of the room is a large scattered with maps, journals in various languages, and archaelogical texts. At the far end of the room is a desk with the chair pushed aside and a man in dress-armor facing the window, the moonlight reflected off of his salt-and-pepper hair.

“My guards were ordered not to disturb me and my servants have all retired for the night, would you care to tell me who you are and why you’re in my home?” the man asks.

allow players to answer

The man turns around, revealing a gaunt face that looks to be in its late ’30s, with eyes that look a good two decades later.

(if players deployed rats)
“I see. And the rats in my fields, that was you as well?”

The man tosses a book on the table in the center of the room and says “I’m no fool, and I do not relish killing, even that of elves. If you’re looking for the saint’s tomb, you’ll find what you need in there. Take it and leave my home.”

Players ask why he’s giving it
“That tomb has a tendency to find itself new occupants. If those who would threaten the security of Fask would add themselves to it, I would be happy to have helped. Gods know it’s taken enough of my men.”

(players refuse to leave)
“A shame. If I must die, I will die on my feet like a soldier. Let us avoid guns if you find yourselves honorable, I’d prefer not to wake the children.”

(Players leave)
As you walk out, the man says to you: “That tomb has a tendency to find itself new occupants. If those who would threaten the security of Fask would add themselves to it, I would be happy to have helped. Gods know it’s taken enough of my men.”

Combat, High Marshal Falan

Players read book
The book contains glyph rubbings and scribbled notes detailing a search. Near the back is a map of a location near the northern section of the Faskian-Weslythan border and a sketch of the entrance to a tomb that was never supposed to exist.

Chapter 69- "I'll grieve in Wyrlat blood"

You’ve been tracing through the woods for the better part of a day when you reach a ruined structure half buried and covered in roots. Benavin signals you to stop.

She says “Standard Practice is to shoot anyone we don’t know. I’ll go in ahead and tell them you’re okay.”

A little over a minute later, you hear her yelling: “Alright, come on inside”

players enter

The inside is a large atrium, not unlike that of a temple. The mansonry is overgrown with roots and moss. About 40-50 rebels are inside, many of them resting, some practicing archery on captured sets of Faskian armor, others fashioning tools, weapons and arrows or passing the time with a book or a card game.

One of the rebels asks Benavin “What happened?”

Benavin replies, more to the room than to the individual: “We lost Tharil and Maqin, but we got the bastard.”

The rebels show no sign of reaction to the news, as if that kind of result happens on a routine basis. Benavin gestures to you to follow.

Benavin leads you into a small room with a makeshift table in the center, the table is scattered with maps, documents and faskian propaganda posters. Benavin says: “Listen, we need a favor. I don’t want to ask after you saved our hides back there, but we’ve lost a lot of people trying to handle this ourselves. If you get it done, you’ll count on our full support in searching for Laerta’s remains.”

“One of the oldest justifications for hatred of elves is visual similarity to vampires, what with our slender forms and pointed ears. The claim is that we’re barely a step removed, that we’re a lesser form of vampire that can walk in the light. The stories say we have an alliance and that we drink the blood of humans to please true vampires in the hope of becoming vampires ourselves. The latter part is often dismissed as an old nursemaid’s tale, but many people still believe that there’s an alliance.”

“Dawstyn has become the hunting ground of a vampire, and the bastard has been smart enough not to hunt elves. The townsfolk and the guards believe it’s the prelude to some kind of uprising. The magistrate we killed came up with a plan to deal with ‘the elf problem’. He started rounding up elves and branding them with holy symbols. Many were tortured to try to find out where the vampire was, but naturally none of them knew. That was likely what awaited you if that guard had brought you in.”

“With the guards chasing their shadows, the real vampire has had free reign at the expense of our people in Dawstyn. We managed to track the bastard to his lair, an old orcish wayfort in these same woods. He keeps killing our people if they get close and we’re short on hands as is.”

“As a show of good faith, we can start setting up for whatever plan you come up with. We’ll be ready by the time you come back with the vampire’s head. Let me get you the information we’ve got on that officer.”

“He has an estate outside the Great Capital. It’s no fortress, but there are a lot of guards. The man’s paranoid, so all his food is grown on the estate and he harvests it himself. He and his wife are the only people who cook for his family. He’s got two sons. Ages seven and fourteen. We’ve been looking for a way in but no luck, and unfortunately we don’t know anything about the layout inside the house. A frontal assault would turn into a stalemate until Faskian reinforcements showed up. That would take an hour, maybe two if the roads are muddy.”

(players don’t want to hit his estate)
“That might be the safer option, but there’s no guarantee he’d have any useful information on offer. If you want your answers, you have to get into his study.”

(improvise answers to questions)

Players finish planning

You leave the room. Benavin waves over one of the rebels, an elf barely an adult, and says: “We need someone to guide the Paragons to the vampire’s fort. Can you take care of that?” The elf nods his head and waves for you to follow.

players reach the wayfort

It is late afternoon by the time you see the wayfort. The structure is the size of a small cottage, with a large stone watchtower on the end. The ancient orcs used to station small forces in these to protect nomads as they travelled. The structure itself has aged quite well. The clay brickwork covering the windows is considerably more worn than the ancient stone masonry of the walls roof.

Players try door
The reinforced wooden door won’t open, but you see no sign of a lock.

players get inside
The cottage is one large room supported by hexagonal stone columns five feet thick. What little light shines through the door provides a fairly clear picture of the layout. Whatever it was before, it is currently arrayed like a dining room. A long, well made wooden table straddles half the room. A human corpse in farmers’ garb is shackled to the table near the single dining chair at the head. His skin is pale even by corpse standards.

(Spot DC 27 failure)
There is no sign of the vampire in this room. (vampire gets surprise round)

(spot dc 27 success)
You see female humanoid figure, athletically built and wearing the hunting outfit of a Heptusian noblewoman, perched on the ceiling. The figure bares its’ fangs, locks eyes and draws a kama.

Combat, Vampire Shadowdancer

Chapter 68 - "I'll need to see your papers"

“Laerta’s left tit, Harxen. Fish or cut bait.”
Harxen puts his hand down and shoves a small pile of silvers in Christine’s general direction. Christine puts down her cards, face up. King high Flush. Hearts.

“Good call, Jethrali. Better luck next time.”

You hear a bell from the deck, signalling a port in sight. After two days on a fishing boat, everyone is eager to get off. Having the cart taking up space hasn’t helped the conditions.

You disembark on to the cleanest pier you’ve ever seen. The picturesque village of Dawstyn slopes up a gentle hill toward a somewhat spartan looking manor home at the top. Terrace farmland and cottage homes advance up the hill with steep staircases. The stonework railings along side the terraces have firing parapets at regular intervals. It seems that even the gentle villages are fortified in Fask.

An officer in the Faskian Home Army approaches you with a ledger. A pair of pistols are prominently displayed on his belt and he is flanked by two Faskian Halbardiers.

“Purpose of your visit to Fask?”, he says.

“I’ll need to see travel papers for you and your workers, and my soldiers will search your vessel.”

Players do not have travel papers

The officer has gone from bored to Irritated: “We’re at war, foreigner. You’re lucky I have more important things to do than detain you. The magistrate of Dawstyn lives in the house at the top of the hill. He has the authorization to write you new papers. Go be his problem before I change my mind.”

Christine says: “We’ve got time to get the papers. I’d rather go to the Inn first. My contact sent someone there to watch for me.”

Players get new travel papers
The magistrate’s manor is even more imposing up close and looks more like a keep than a mansion. A guard outside the main gate asks you to state your business.

Players state business
The guard replies: “The Magistrate is currently occupied. I can issue temporary travel papers free of charge. You will have to return tomorrow with the appropriate fee. And I would leave your thorn-ear hirelings behind. The magistrate finds the lesser races to be… Unsightly”

Players go to the Inn
The local inn is positioned on the north end of a market square. There is a sign outside it that says “No elves, no gnomes, no gambling”.

Christine says, in a somewhat rude tone: “Wait outside by the cart. I’ll be back.”

The tavern door closes behind her as she walks inside.

Players Wait
The market itself is arrayed in rows circling a monument depicting what is described by a plaque as “The Liberation of Dawstyn”. The depiction is of a human in full plate bearing a pistol and a sword. Some kind of musky incense is fed into the pistol so that it is always smoking. The same figure is striding over three dead elves.

The crowds are wearing an even mix of farmers’ garb and Militia uniforms, though many of the uniforms are hemmed with matching shades of dirt. The Militia members are all carrying flintlock carbines on their backs and shortswords on their hips while they browse. Most everyone who passes gives a look of either apprehension or disgust.

After about a minute, a group of guards approach looking more hostile than disgusted. One of them, an officer, levels his carbine and barks in Faskian: “Stay where you are, all of you. Face the cart and put your hands in the air.”

Players disobey
“I said put your hands in the air, you scum! You’ve got three seconds! Two”

Bang! A gunshot echoes across the plaza. The guard that was counting collapses. A hooded figure at a nearby fruit stand drops her pistol and hurls a bread basket at an expensive looking carriage that is traveling along the edge of the plaza. (Combat. Refer Below)

Players obey
(to Sam) The guard in charge, a sergeant, addresses you directly “What’s your business here, Skippy?”

(if not answered) he asks you as a group “Are you all together.”

Players answer yes
He says, half to you, half to the four guards with him:
“Well, you know what they call more than two treefuckers in one place? A conspiracy. Round them up now. I don’t want them around when the magistrate’s carriage comes through”

(refer to interrupt below)

Players answer no
“I’ll need to see some identification papers”

(players do not have ID)

“No papers?” The officer looks irritated and gestures to hist retinue.

The guard on his left pulls a set of wrist irons from his belt. As you assess your options, you, and apparently the guards, hear a crash on the edge of the plaza. A stall has been tipped over in the path of a carriage and the horses have spooked. The carriage comes to a halt. Then it explodes, sending splinters flying and a broken wheel rolling in front of you.

Combat, 4 guards, plus or minus an officer

(One player action)
The crowded market quickly erupts in a panic as citizens run away from the blast. Militia members move to draw their muskets and orient themselves in the chaos.

(another player action)
Several militia members are caught off guard by people in the crowd wearing assorted green cloaks and masks. They’re armed with knives. The five or so attackers leave their knives in the soldiers’ throats and take their weapons.

(one round in)
Christine bursts out the door of the inn. She looks around and draws a hidden pistol. “What the seventh hell did you do?”

(next player action)
A group of three elves near the edge of the market drop their hoods, pull weapons from under their cloaks and walk toward the wrecked carriage. A man in a dress uniform is clawing himself from the wreckage. He looks at the approaching group and begins looking around for a weapon. He finds nothing, so he puts his hand up and starts pleading. One of the elves, a woman in her 30’s or 40’s with short, black hair, says “Beg all you want, tyrant scum. My dead brother says hi” and drives a crossbow bolt into his left eye.

(next player action)
One of the cloaked attackers fires a stolen musket at the stone statue, taking a chunk out of its’ face. The black haired elf shouts: “Forget the monument. We got the real one. Let’s get out of here before more Wyrlat show up.”

(next player action)
Christine fires her pistol at a militia soldier, wounding him in the arm. “My guess,” she says, pointing to the attackers “These are the last arrows and one of them is our contact.”

players ask Christine about attack
“Yeah, they told me all about it. I thought it would be a nice surprise ‘welcome to Fask’ party. I even ordered a cake and a keg of ale. NO! They neglected to mention this part.”

(Next player action)
One of the rebels that approached the carriage checks the horses and starts undoing the tack. “This one’s wounded. She’s not going anywhere soon.”

The dark haired elf shouts back “Dammit, We’ve lost two people already. We can’t stay here.”

(next player action)
One of the rebels retreating toward the destroyed carriage bellows to the dark haired elf: “We can’t all fit on one horse. Any ideas, Benavin?”

(Christine’s turn)
Christine (describe combat action), then turns to you and says: “Without these people, we’re not finding St. Laerta’s remains.”

Combat ends
As you clear the market and soon, the town of Dawstyn, the dark haired elf offers her hand and says: “Thanks for getting us out of that one, now who the hell are you?”

Players Answer

“Benavin. You already know what I do. So you’re looking for the remains of St. Laerta?”

“Well, we’ve got no idea where they are. We think the Faskies have some kind of lead, though. One of the colonels in their Homeland Army has developed a very public obsession with finding them. The kind of obsession that could get him fired or shot, were he not so good at his job. He’s probably the one they’ll send to hunt us down after that stunt we pulled in the market, which makes finding him a fairly simple matter.”

“It’s going to be a few days before he gets to Dawstyn to start his search. For now, we’ll need to ditch this cart and disappear to throw off the garrison chasing us. We’re camped out in some old ruins in the forest.”

Chapter 67: "We have to go now"

You arrive back at the fort to find Christine waiting for you at the Eastern gate, cleaning her Pincannon. Fetrian and two Fusiliers are with her.

Fetrian approaches and says: “We heard about the attack on your people. I convened a meeting of the Freeharbor Guard and we voted unanimously to devote all available necessary resources to finding the bastards responsible. Thirteen healers came with us and are already at work.”

Christine slings her pincannon over her shoulder and approaches. She hands you a message written in Faskian and says: “It’s long, so I’ll summarize: The note details a Faskian plan to find and seize the first temple of St. Laerta. I was unable to determine the location of the temple or what the Faskies plan to do with it. What I WAS able to do was arrange to meet a Partizan commander with the Last Arrows in the coastal village of Dawstyn. Unfortunately, the meeting is in two days so we don’t have time to go after Lantis just yet.”

(What is the Last Arrows)
“They’re a group of Partizans in Fask. Freedom fighters or bandits, depending on who you ask. The group has been inactive and in hiding for decades. When Fask declared war on Termalyn, they saw an opportunity and started targeting supply depots and hijacking arms caravans. The former nuisance became a serious problem in a short amount of time.”

(Knowledge check DC 15)
-Faskian cities have checkpoints at every gate and anyone within Fask’s borders is subject to search.
-Swords are banned for civilians.
-Bows and axes may be carried in wilderness areas, but no more than 10 arrows may be kept at any time.
-Daggers, quarterstaffs, sickles, picks and hammers are not banned, but can still raise suspicion in some cases.
-Armor stronger than leather is banned.
-Spellcasting is illegal.
-Everything listed is punishable by jail time in varying amounts.

players plan journey to Fask

Chapter 66- "Remind me never to piss off Farens"

Farens is halfway through transforming and is already rushing at the assassin.

Combat Ends, Farens survives
Farens, still in a rage, begins raking his claws at the corpse of the assassin, shredding her armor, limbs and torso.

Players attempt to interrupt Farens
Farens snarls at you and adopts a defensive posture, like a feral dog protecting his dinner.

Players do not attempt to interrupt Farens
Farens tears open the assassin’s abdomen and removes her liver, dashing off into the woods on all fours carrying it in his mouth.

Combat ends, Farens dies
The assassin falls dead, her blood draining toward the sea and joining the pool of dark lycanthrope blood around Farens’ remains.

Players search Assassin’s body
You find a blood-stained note that reads: “We’ve been hired for hush job. Your assignment is to meet with a group of people under the employ of “Four-Finger Lantis”, a gang lord based in Gildenport. They have been told to expect someone to transport them off the Island. You are to pose as their way off the island, find out what they know and who they’ve told, and eliminate them. Collect your payment from their corpses. If there is any less than 24,000 gold present, you may collect the difference from our contact at the Red Diamond.”

Players return to Freeharbor

The Dawn of Orthalyn is still undergoing repairs. Reilly sets you up with a single-mast caravel that should arrive in comparable time. You reach Freeharbor in two days’ time. From the sea, you can see 3 massive Tebuchets erected in the old slums, dwarfing most of the two and three story tenements. More of them appear to be still under construction. You can see campfire smoke outside the city and the burning wreck of a seige tower half a mile from the walls.

Chapter 65 -"Four-finger Lantis"

You make your way to the docks to trace the path of the box. Reilly informs you that she has already had someone she trusts gather the shipping manifests. It has been 12 hours since the attack began. During that time, a temporary infirmary has been set up in a tent in the mid-ground courtyard. The weather has been mostly favorable, save for a dump and done rainstorm seven hours ago. The sea gate has been closed and all outer cannons and ballistae have been loaded in preparation for an attack.

(To sam)
As you walk pas the makeshift infirmary tent, you can see two exhausted nurses sitting on the ground with their backs up against a tree. They’re sharing a flask of whiskey with the label “Oakenhearth Distillery”.

Players talk to nurses

(Where did you get that?)
“We found it at the west beach, by the woods when we were evacuating a wounded soldier. I knew what kind of shift we were going to have, so I slipped it in my pocket and held on to it until we were done treating the wounded. Good thing, too. The rain might have washed it back into the sea.”

Players go to the beach
The western gate opens up directly to the beach. The sandy beach tapers off to the north and is bordered by jagged granite cliffs. The south side of the beach goes up a hill and is broken off by a treeline leading to the woods.

(call for search and spot checks)

(Spot DC 20)
You see a faint line of smoke rising from beyond the treeline.

(Search DC 20)
You find a scrap of torn cloth stuck on a thorny vine, with a smattering of mostly-dry blood. One of the thorns has some dried-up blood on it.

(heal check DC 20)
Given the comparitive age, it would seem that the blood on the cloth came from the same source as the blood on the thorn. In addition, the drying of the blood given current humidity would indicate it is between two and three hours old.

Players delve into the woods
(If players have Robyn)
Robyn goes to work, following footprints and blood drops. Whoever it was was alternating between running and a brisk hiking pace. Along the way, you find scraps of a cleric’s vestments which were removed. Robes, circlet, cloak, sandals. Robyn stops a mile in and points out where moss was scraped from a fallen trunk. Combined with a cluster of bare footprints and bootprints leading away. There are at least four distinct pairs of feet. Robyn ventures a guess that whoever made the trail changed clothes here and met with co-conspirators, then continues on down the trail of bootprints.

(If players do not have Robyn)
Without a tracker, you must spend extra time searching for more obvious clues. Make a search check.

(DC 18 search, nat 20 skips a step)
-You find a discarded circlet of Pelor’s clergy a few hundred feet behind the treeline.
-A robe and a cloak are found in rapid succession a half a mile in
-You find a pair of sandals in the center of a small clearing and a pair of footwraps on the southern edge of the same clearing. One of the footwraps is smeared with blood that is beginning to dry.
-A few hundred feet into the woods from the clearing, you note a scene that even an untrained tracker would notice. Moss is stripped from various trees and cigarette butts line the pete-covered ground. Several distinct pairs of feet have all made their mark on this spot. Everyone present appears to have gone the same way, trampling the wet ground and leaving obvious bootprints behind them.

Players tracked with Robyn or succeeded in all search checks
Following the large group of footprints, you soon begin to smell the smoke of a campfire and hear mumbling voices (DC 20 Listen check below).

Players successfully eavesdrop
You hear a frantic, but hushed argument. One voice says:
“Where the seventh hell is that boat? We were told to expect pickup before dusk and the sun is already starting to go down.”

Another one retorts: “I don’t even think that boat is coming. Lantis is just going to hang us out to dry. Maybe if Kyran had disposed of that whiskey properly instead of just dumping it.”

“Hey!” Another voice, presumably Kyran, retorts. “I risked my neck going back there. Not my fault those damned vestments are such a trip hazard.”

(if Robyn is with them) Robyn snickers and remarks: “Something tells me we’re not dealing with professionals.”

Players approach the cove
You eventually emerge from the woods to see a small, sandy cove dotted with boulders. Four people are gathered there around a fire, huddling in the damp, cold air.

Players enter the cove and are discovered
One of the conspirators curses under his breath and kicks the dirt “Dammit, Kyran. You led them right to us.”

Players Draw Weapons
Three of the conspirators instinctively raise their hands. One of them says “Please, don’t shoot. It’s not what you think.” A fourth, Kyran, takes off running.

Foot chase

Players talk to the conspirators

(Who sent you)
A gang lord in Freeharbor. Goes by Four-finger Lantis. Paid us 6,000 gold a piece.

(What did you think you were doing)
Lantis said we were placing Scrying beacons for a client. We didn’t know they were going to explode. If we had, we would have turned the job down.

(Who’s Lantis’ client)
He doesn’t give out that kind of information. We didn’t need to know and we had 6,000 shiny reasons not to ask.

Players failed a search check
You eventually emerge from the woods to see a small cove. It took longer than expected to arrive. There is a small catamaran beached near the treeline tied to an oak. In the cove, you see the smouldering embers of a fire and four bodies with blood pooling around the sides. Two of them are quite near the fire, lying face up with their throats sliced open. The other two are farther away, sprawled on the ground with a single arrow in each of their backs. A masked woman in dark clothing is pulling an arrow from the back of one of the dead men. A dagger in her left hand is still dripping in blood.

(Players succeed on hiding)
She makes no sign of having noticed you. (allow players to set up)

(Players fail hide checks)
She is scanning the treeline, but makes no sign of having noticed you. (Assassin gets a surprise round)

Combat with assassin

Combat ends

(There is a note in the Assassin’s pocket)
You find a note that reads: "We’ve been hired for hush job. Your assignment is to meet with a group of people under the employ of “Four-Finger Lantis”, a gang lord based in Gildenport. They have been told to expect someone to transport them off the Island. You are to pose as their way off the island, find out what they know and who they’ve told, and eliminate them. Collect your payment from their corpses. If there is any less than 24,000 gold present, you may collect the difference from the usual location."


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