A World Asunder

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Begin combat with dragon turtle

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(melee combat, 1 round)

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

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

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Chapter 28- "I'm a dead woman"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

players describe their homes

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

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

“What did you find out?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Chapter 27- "It's rude to interrupt"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Chapter 26- "Well, that complicates things"

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

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

(once players can see the courtyard)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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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