A World Asunder

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

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

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

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

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

The volunteers echo, “Agreed!”

“alright, let’s get moving”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

combat with checkpoint guards

(dc 15 strength check will topple the tripods)

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

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

combat ends

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

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

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

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

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

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Chapter 37- "A riot's the thing"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(players suggest using paragon forces to supplement)

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

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

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Chapter 36 - "There might be another way"

(players chalk on the lighthouse)

You mark the lighthouse and go about your day. An hour later, man in the familiar garb of the Night-blades approaches you and says: “I honestly didn’t believe it when they told me you’d showed up. My name’s Jacc. We met briefly in the sanctum, remember?”

“I’m assuming Fetrian gave you the run-down on the checkpoints, right? We have an alternative that would allow you to sneak past them. You’ve probably seen the wells around, right? They’re fed into directly from the canal. It’s a way to draw up water from the river without having to walk over to it. Cecily finally managed to get a well built in the Slums a month ago. We sent a crew in three days ago to try to smuggle in weapons, food and medical supplies. Only one of the five couriers returned. He said they ran into a Drowned Wight in one of the stonemason’s tunnels. We sent 2 clerics and an ex-paladin in to take it out, but they were forced to retreat. After that, we sent a scout, who returned saying he could not find an alternate route since the other tunnels were still under construction when the riots broke out.”

(players decide to sneak through a checkpoint) Milo says: “They won’t let us in if we don’t look like we belong. I’d suggest we look the part.”

You approach the checkpoint and the guard asks for your permit. He looks it over and says: “I’m reading on your permit you work at the steel foundry. Is that true?”

“Are you carrying any weapons or other prohibited items?”

“Alright, move along.”

Deeper in the slums, you start to see improvised barricades set up. No sign of rebel agents. A group of four kids approaches you. One of them bumps into you clumsily and asks if you have any food. Reilly hands them a bag of trail rations. The kid says: “Thanks, lady” and they run off.

An hour later, a man with a sword on his belt walks out of a tenement building and says: “Come with me, our people want to know who comes armed and armored into free territory. She’s waiting at St. Laerta’s Temple.”

St. Laerta’s temple looks like an ordinary chapel from the outside, minus some extra fortifications. The inside looks less like a place of worship and more like a public forum with amenities. There are now pews, but a series of chairs that can be moved around to suit the needs of the moment. Currently, most of them have been taken apart for barricade materials and splints for injured limbs. The communal kitchen is filled with volunteers making meals for those on the barricades. Clerics and Medics are doing what they can to nurse the injured back to health. Small groups are talking amongst themselves. In the back is a small group hunched over a map. One of the kids who bumped into you earlier is giving a report to a athletic-built woman with greying-brown hair in her early 40’s armed with a spear and wearing work clothes. She turns around and you recognize her as Cecily, though she sports a new bandage over her left cheek and she looks like she hasn’t slept in a while.

She practically tackles Enfys in an embrace. Looking at you, she chuckles and says “Damn, you all look like hell. Did you pick a fight with a dragon again?”

“Laerta’s last arrow, I was kidding. Promise you’ll tell me the full story. First, let me tell you what we’ve been doing here.” She hesitates “Where’s Brill?”

“Damn it, I’m so sorry.”, she says.

Enfys replies: “It was tough. I take comfort in the fact that he died knowing he saved all our hides. And that he didn’t die sober. He would have hated that.”

Cecily pours each of you a glass, plus one for herself. “To Brill,” She says “And hope that wherever he is, there are good fights, bad whiskey and worse hangovers.”

“Now, how about a tour?”

“You’ve already met our spy network. Kids can go unnoticed and even when they do get noticed, nobody remembers them unless they know them personally. Remember when the little kid bumped into you? He was checking you for weapons. We have barricades set up throughout the slums, but they’re unguarded at most times. We use them to delay incursion teams until we can set up an ambush. We worked ourselves into a good stalemate. It’s not worth the effort and risk for either side to make a move. On less bloody matters, the people here have practically formed their own society. They just look out for each-other. Those who can’t get a work permit help however they can. I’ve been teaching some rudimentary cantrips and I think I’ve patched about 3 roofs since this shit-storm began. This uprising forced us to depend on no-one but each-other. Whatever we build here will effectively be the governing body of Gildenport when we’re done.”

“For now, we need to kick the Internal Enforcement Guild out of the city. But to do that, we’ll need to break through their defenses. The first objective is to get a large host across one of the bridges. Problem is, the soldiers guarding the bridges aren’t exactly pushovers. They’re combat veterans from the war with Termalyn seven years ago. They’re experts at fighting infantry supported by spellcasters, so they’ll target anyone using magic first. I learned that the hard way duing our last break-through attempt” She says, pointing t the bandage on her cheek."

She draws a map of one of the bridges and it’s fortifications. “Every time people get let out for work, we get reports of the fortifications. We’ve managed to arrange for a workplace accident near the southernmost barricade. They’ll have to pull guards to respond to the resulting chaos. While that’s happening, we hit them hard and fast. I was hoping the heroes of Caer’Daugh would be willing to plan it out.”

(after players finish)
“Good. I’ll call in some volunteers to brief them. You may have to explain it to them yourself. They won’t agree if they think the plan is crap, but they know you by reputation.”

A scout stumbles in the door, badly wounded. Cecily catches him mid-fall and Enfys reflexively reaches for her healers kit. The scout says: “They sent in 20 soldiers and a war-golem. We set an ambush, like usual but with some extra kick. The golem tore right through and the soldiers split off and got away. Our arrows hit the golem, but we barely made a dent. We were forced to disgengage. The rest of my crew went after the soldiers, I came back here to warn you.”

Cecily tells the scout he did well and to rest up. She picks up her spear and backpack from the table and says: “I’m gonna take some friends and go break this thing. Any volunteers?”

“Right, then.” She turns to a shirtless elven teenager with boxing wraps, improvised bracers and a shortbow. “Slingshot, take all the other volunteers and go after the soldiers. Take Enfys Gwalchine and Sergeant McTeague, show them the way. I’m going to blow this machine sky-high and I don’t plan on being subtle about it. Lorraine, Dez, Irythan, Veil and Cade, follow me.”

Slingshot covers his face in a rag and hands two more to Enfys and Reilly before leading a group of fifteen fighters outside.

Cecily opens the door and signals for you to follow. As you run through the narrow streets of the slums, citizens point the way to the Golem. You can first see it from 200 feet away. It’s about 9 feet tall and shaped like a human. It’s limbs are cased in some form of leather armor with metal plates covering the chest and back with it’s head completely covered in an oversized IEG helmet. It has a repeating crossbow strapped to it’s left arm and carries a madu shield in it’s right arm. It’s left hand is carrying a large truncheon-style mace. Cecily points to two ladders leading to the rooftops on either side of the street and says: “If you want to take that position, now would be the time.” She scurries up the one on the left and says: “Most of my magic is used for a barrier to keep them from using trebuchets to target us. All I’ve got left is a scorching ray and 3 magic missiles. I hope you guys now how to blow stuff up.”

Combat with War-Golem

The war golem collapses in a heap of metal, held together only by the leather casing. Cecily approaches it and touches her hand to the head. She waits for a moment, then pulls her hand away and says: “Well, that’s just brilliant”

“War golems are not intelligent. When they’re activated, a mage has to give it a specific task that cannot be changed. This one’s task was to kill me. The guild is smart, they know that killing me now would only piss people off and create more rebels. This means they’ve figured out that I’m the one erecting the barrier that prevents them from using siege artillery on the slums. They kill me, they can target our barricades and infrastructure and use catapults to cover an assault. Let’s get back to the chapel. The others will need to hear our plan.”

The chapel looks untouched by the fighting. Slingshot and his crew have taken injuries, casualties and a prisoner. A soldier in IEG armor is tied up on a barricade, wounded. Enfys approaches you and says: “That soldier killed one of the volunteers in our squad. He ran off after the rest of his buddies were killed and Slingshot gave chase and tackled him. One thing of note is that Reilly didn’t try to blow his kneecaps off. His injuries are bad, but not life-threatening. How did you guys make out?”

(if players don’t mention it) Cecily says: “I was the golem’s target. They know I’m the one keeping the siege weapons from smashing our infrastructure to bits. Before we prepare our assault, I want to see if we can get this pig to squeal.”

Reilly asks for a word before you ask him questions.

“I’ve seen his type before. You remember Enfys said I didn’t blow his kneecaps off? That’s because it wouldn’t have done any good. He’s been trained to tolerate pain and he know’s we’re in the dark. He’ll resist and then he’ll give us a very convincing lie, knowing we have no way to verify it before we attack. I have another idea. He’s arrogant. Let him think we’re accidentally giving him valuable information. You can make that information whatever you want. Then we let him escape. If we make this convincing, we can make them do something extremely stupid.”

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Chapter 35- "It's a damn coup"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(if players ambush the ship in the fortress port)

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

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

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

(Players bluff without gold, dc 15)

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

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

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

(players intimidate, dc 17)

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

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

(players attempt to bribe, dc 12)

(Success) “Your terms are Acceptable”

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

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

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

(after combat)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Combat with Kartha

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

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

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

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

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

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

End of Combat

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

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

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

(players may assist)

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

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

Reilly, Myran, Harxen and Milo agree immediately.

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

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

Enfys calls a meeting in the war-room.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(swim check DC 16 to make it to shore)

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

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

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

(B1)
There is a trapdoor at the top of the ladder (dc 15 listen check will reveal the sound of shambling footsteps and a breeze).

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

(B3)
You enter a large Cistern 40ft by 40ft. Near the far corner, you can see a large humanoid creature sharpening it’s massive claws on the stone wall. It is borderline skeletal with a series of sharp teeth and spines extending from it’s head It has a tattered red robe with Termali symbols embroidered on it and it reeks of rotting flesh.

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

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

(B2)
After slaying the creature, you continue down another pipe adjacent to the cistern. A pile of rubble blocks the path forward, but you can see another ladder off to the left with a trapdoor at the top.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Chapter 30- "How many did we lose?"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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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