The Nizarian Bolt

1. The Nizarian Storehouse

The players arrive in Dowsgate, having responded to notice from the Lord Warden Francis Azeray that the city was seeking independent adventurers to join the campaign against The Nizarian Bolt, a group of bandits that has been raiding shipments of silver being transported from the Dowsgate mines to the provincial capital of Falhill.

As the adventure opens, the party is waiting in the barracks of the Dowsgate Guard to receive instructions from the Captain of the Guard, Richard Wykeham.

After a few minutes, the Captain arrives and after asking for introductions, explains that the party has been tasked with locating a storehouse in the marshlands beyond South Fort, which is being used by The Nizarian Bolt to hold stolen silver and potentially weapons or other supplies. The expectation is that there will be a handful of Nizarians guarding the storehouse and that the party will kill or (ideally) capture them. If the party observes a superior force guarding the storehouse, they are to return to Dowsgate and inform the Captain.

The Captain suggests that the party leaves with a military transport for South Fort that afternoon, but G’yest objects, noting that he has to meet an associate in Dowsgate that night to receive some property owed to him.

After leaving the barracks, the party reconvenes at a bar in order to get better acquainted and compare notes on the mission ahead. After some time, they separate to take care of business in town before leaving for South Fort the next day.


The party departs Dowsgate with the guard transport the following afternoon. The journey takes about 4 hours on foot. Toward evening, they arrive in South Fort, which is in a general state of lawlessness in the absence of any authority beyond the drunken soldiers. The party is sent to a separate barracks, where they spend the night.


The next morning at first light, the party is given some food by the soldiers and depart South Fort toward the marshland. While navigating toward the storehouse, they are set upon by a group of five humanoid creatures that attack with spears and some sort of poisonous vomit. Here, our adventurers achieve their first victory in combat.

With the creatures dispatched, the party continues through the swamp, eventually coming to the end of the path, where they find a dilapidated shack in a small clearing. On the north side of the shack, Torinn, discovers a concealed path leading toward a bowl-shaped depression in the ground. At the far side there is an entrance to a tunnel in the earth.

Inside the tunnel is an locked iron door. After G’yest disarms some sort of mechanism on the frame and picks the lock, the party enters an underground fortress.

Behind a locked portcullis, they discover what may have been the storehouse itself. Though the room is now empty, there are signs of heavy boxes or chests having been dragged out. Additionally, they find a broken necklace with a medallion depicting a raven. Matt recognizes it as the symbol of The Raven Queen.

Next, the party decides to explore through a caved in passageway. Despite G’yest’s warnings of threatening sounds beyond the rubble, the party climbs through the small crevasse and emerges on the other side to find a series of rooms covered in dust and full of long-dead bodies. Seemingly soldiers, the corpses are wearing armor and draped with mouldering bits of green cloth, which Torinn recognizes as the military color of Brau.

After fighting off giant rats in what appeared to be a barracks room, the party found a larger chamber with several empty chests, additional corpses, and a phrase in Draconian carved into the stone wall reading:

“Let no false understanding come between each and his true friend”

Additionally, there are several simple geometric shapes carved in various sections of wall throughout the room.

View
The Nizarian Storehouse (cont.)

We return to the Nizarian storehouse, where the party has decided that it has enough information to satisfy the Captain of the Guard, Richard Wykeham, and leaves the underground fortress.

Immediately upon exiting, Torinn is set upon by a large carnivorous plant. As the party tries to fend off the botanical menace, the sounds of battle attract several large bat-like creatures that latch on to the adventurers and drain their vital fluids through razor sharp proboscises. After a bloody fight, the party emerges victorious and returns to South Fort and then back to Dowsgate.

Wykeham is disappointed (to say the least) that the storehouse was deserted, especially after G’yest forced a day’s delay in starting the mission. However, he does take interest in the raven pendant and orders the party to detain Elder Patri of the local Temple of the Raven Queen.

A failed attempt at intimidation by Torinn leads Wykeham to assign a Dowsgate Guard escort for the party.

As the adventurers wait outside for the escort, Tkar reveals that he knows Patri from his home province of Nabil and will not assist in his capture or injury.

View
Arriving in Shorehold

Descending from the high, arid grasslands of central Huirg, the party arrives at the provincial capital of Shorehold. As a first priority, the party sells the assorted gems they’ve collected during their adventures further west and split the proceeds to better equip themselves.

Next, they search for their contact with The Nizarian Bolt in order to deliver the magical sword they recovered from The Ashen Keep. As the instructions for making contact with the Bolt slipped the party’s mind, they spend some time searching for some hint as to how one contacts an underground political organization in an unfamiliar city.

Eventually, Torinn remembers that they were instructed to contact the barkeep at the Baited Hook Tavern and indicate that they are looking to sell a parcel of land. Doing so, they are introduced to Oloramas, a member of the Bolt in Shorehold. In the secret back room of a fish market, they give him the sword and provide him some information regarding their run-in with the Sylvan Tide.

Oloramas also provides them with an update on Dowsgate, which is now under martial law following the burning of the treasury building. Much to the chagrin of Lord Warden Francis Acheron, the Margrave Hugo Balthus has sent a battalion of Gadrain provincial soldiers to maintain order while the Dowsgate city guard hunts down members of the Bolt.

Given the party’s success in tracking down the sword at the Ashen Keep, Oloramas feels comfortable charging them with investigating the disappearance of a ship that was carrying goods for the Bolt across the Cloven Sea from Fyria. The party returns to the Baited Hook and questions some sailors, discovering that more than one ship has gone missing on the northern shore route, and that others have had near-wrecks near The Lizard’s Claw – despite being long-time travelers on the Cloven Sea and the lighthouse on the Claw being operational.

The party leaves the Baited Hook with the intention of contacting Oloramas in order to secure passage to the Lizard’s Claw. However, as they are traveling along the dock, they hear cries for help coming from an alley. The person in distress actually ends up being the bait for an ambush, and the party enters a protracted battle with knife-wielding ruffians who push multiple stacks of wooden crates on top of them. At one point during the battle Torinn collapses, apparently near death, but is luckily revived by Noor. Meanwhile, Tkar hobbles one of the bandits with an Acid Arrow through the ankles.

With the rest of their enemies dispatched, the party takes their ankle-less hostage to an inn friendly to the Bolt, where the proprietor waves them quickly to a private room.

View
A Crone-y Death

The evening began with the questioning of the sole remaining robber from the group who had set upon the party as they returned from the docks. His feet burned away by T’kar’s grim acid, the thief was in shock, but was able to babble that the attack on the party was a simple robbery, nothing more. Despite the party’s suspicions that they were targeted for assassination, they were eventually convinced. Olaramus arrived and scolded the party for carrying a mutilated body in plain sight through a Bolt-friendly tavern. Although the party had resolved to turn the simple thief over to the police, Olaramus instead slit his throat, draining the blood carefully into a chamber pot, saying that the Bolt did not need stories of a dragonborn and a bunch of fey cutting their way through the underworld. He listened to the tale and agreed to arrange for a boat out to the Lizard’s Claw at first light.

The next morning, the party arrived at the ricketiest, eastern-most dock and met with Nahailthe red-bearded dwarf and two sturdy humans who would take them out to the Claw. They set on their way, talking about the geography and history of the area and even beginning to discuss the economics and union politics of the lighthouse workers. After a day and night of travel, the party was deposited on the shore for a short walk through a boggy swamp to the bridge leading to the Lizard’s Claw lighthouse.

Encountering a giant tangler beetle, the party confidently engaged it, and brutalized it fairly effectively. But the sound of battle drew a giant constrictor snake out of a nearby pool, and Torinn quickly found himself battling the bloody beetle buddy-less as the rest of the party surrounded the constrictor snake, which seized and nearly crushed T’kar before he was able to slip away. The snake then seized Noor and crushed her in its coils, leaving her perilously close to death before G’yest gutted it with his duelist’s blade. T’kar forced a healing potion down the blue-faced Noor’s throat, and the three of them charged to help Torinn (who was dripping with sticky fluid) finish off the beetle.

Finally the party arrived at the lighthouse. Observing Mervyl the lighthouse-keeper heading into his house, the party descended to the home to greet him, only to be met by the crone Hildebrand, Mervyl’s mother-in-law. Mervyl was nowhere to be seen—“out getting fuel for the light”, oddly, according to Hildebrand. His wife and child were “away visiting relatives in Furia”, and Hildebrand claimed to have seen nothing strange, no wrecked ships, etc. (and the party could find no debris on the point). Once inside, though, the party smelled an odd, awful, rotting smell. Noor “accidentally” opened the door to the bedroom whence the rotting came, but could see little in the dim light. Hildebrand offered the party some fish stew, but by this point everyone was too spooked to accept it. She then offered to lead the party to find Mervyl at the fuel depot and G’yest slipped away to “go to the toilet” while the rest of the party were led back towards the way they came, growing more suspicious with each passing moment. Finally, Torinn seized the old woman and roared in her face to stop toying with him. The old woman responded by crying…or was it laughing? She tore off her “face” to reveal a green, grizzled, monstrous face—a hag! Immediately the party fell upon her with weapons, but she teleported away and summoned a monstrous shambling mound from a painted circle on the ground.

The battle was long and hard. G’yest ran in from the north and joined the fray. The hag fell quickly, but the shambler kept healing the damage the party caused (when it was able to land a blow at all). Soon, all the party’s powers and energy were expended, yet the shambler fought on. It seized G’yest and dragged him inside its earthen body, feeding on him with horrible sucking noises and healing the wounds the rest of the party inflicted upon it with increasingly desperate blows. Finally, the awful moment came when the sounds of G’yest’s struggles ceased, and the party knew he was dead. A red haze fell over the party’s vision, and when it cleared the shambler was dead. They sadly cut their friend’s lifeless corpse from the compost heap that had slain him.

View
The Lizard's Claw, continued

G’yest is dead and drained by the shambling mound. After the remaining members of the party finished off the mound, the markings on the ground faded. Noor investigates the runes and ascertains that they were related to dark magics and the undead. The party also figures out that the runes have more to do with religion than the arcane. Hmm.

Merville is drawn out of the lighthouse by these phantom wraiths of his dead wife and child! Tkar recalls that ghosts of those who passed from traumatic deaths can return as corrupted souls with more malevolence. We battle the phantoms and they disappear.

Taking a moment to make a plan, the party decides to attempt to complete the mission and then immediately rush G’yest back to the ship so that he can be resurrected.

Merville seems as if he was enchanted. He recalls that the hag fed them apples which could have had something to do with his enchantment and loss of memory. He doesn’t remember our party- we find that the bodies are in the side room of the lighthouse are those of his wife and child.
The party investigates the lighthouse more- up in the tower there has been recent fire! We realize this could have be the cause of the missing ships. Torinn restarts the flame.

Torinn brings in G’yest’s body. That night, while the party rests, there is a mysterious scratching at the door. Tkar casts a light spell out into the light but can’t see anything through the window. In the morning, Merville buries the bodies of his family- Torinn plays a song on his flute, the other members of the party say prayers and express their condolences.
When asked, Merville hazily remembers a crashing ship. Tkar, casting a ritual spell, summons a steel disc for G’yest’s body to float on while the party attempts to complete the objective of their mission. Descending stairs behind the lighthouse down the Lizard’s Claw, we find a rocky cove with the wreckage of several ships!

There are two smaller and two larger ships. Using a combination of skills, the party successfully helps Noor make it to the ship. Tkar uses his nature skills to analyze the water currents for the best way across. Torinn uses his strength, and also beseeches Melora, sister goddess to his deity, for guidance, and she reveals a burst of light and a glorious rainbow, and a way across! Noor uses her agility and martial studies to swim and deftly leap to the Crow’s Beak. The rest of the party joins her, aided by rope, and go below deck.

In the gut of the now rickety ship, we look through crates and find two sets of markings that repeatedly come up, as well as several reinforced strong boxes. One of the markings is for the House of Eir, a longstanding merchant house of Gadrain. Inside the Eir boxes we discover the gleam of silver! There are five or six crates of these. Realizing it would be technically difficult and extremely dangerous to take much of the silver, Torinn takes one of the bars to bring back to Olaramus.

We also find an area secured with iron, just beyond some treacherous holes in the floor. The boxes in this section are marked with the Margrave’s seal. Noor, the lightest and most deft of the crew, makes her way over to it. Unable to pick the lock, she cleverly dislodges the whole iron gate and slips in. In these boxes are exciting treasure:

• One box of scrolls, though they are not magical.
• A crossbow with intricate carvings that resonates with magics.
• A finely woven set of clothes that is also resonant with magical power.
• An ornate rapier that does not have magic (this was discovered on a body).

Having acquired evidence of the silver and some promising booty, the party leaves the Crow’s Beak and makes our way over to a place on shore where the currents likely carried some more goods. There we find several wooden crates that yield:

• 100 gold pieces.
• A piece of aquamarine.
• A soggy ritual scroll for the Knock ritual.

We then say our goodbyes to Merville and hurriedly return to our own ship. However, on our way through the swamp, we are assaulted by panthers! The party kills them, guts them, and keeps their hides. We get back on the ship and return to Shorehold. The trip takes a few days, and Noor ascertains more specifics of the magical properties of our items:

• The crossbow is quite powerful. It is called the Targeting Crossbow +2. When it gets a crit, there is a 1D6 bonus & combat advantage. Additionally, as a daily power, when it hits an opponent, until the end of the next turn, other members of the party can roll twice on attack rolls on that opponent and choose which roll to use. It has a ~3000 gp value.
• The clothing is Repulsion Cloth Armor +1. As a daily minor action, if an enemy moves to an adjacent square, the wearer can push them back as an immediate interrupt- this lasts until the end of the encounter.

We also read the documents, which are addressed to the Duke of Huirg and signed by the Margrave of Gadrain. They appear to indicate some secret political alliance and portray antipathy toward Northern nobility and the Crown itself. This secret alliance seems to include Gadrain, Huirg, and Samia.

Back in Shorehold, we immediately meet up with Olaramus, who is pleased with our success and upset that G’yest fell in battle. He immediately dispatches fast ship to get the silver, and we also hand over the scrolls to him. Olaramus takes us to the ritual caster affiliated with the Bolt, and the old man says he can, indeed, bring our dear comrade back- though at a cost. The ritual requires 500 gp and some rare components, and we agree to help him in replacing these components after G’yest is returned to the land of the living.

Just as we are to leave, Noor remembers to ask the ritual caster to take a look at the runes she copied from the ground near the lighthouse on the Claw. The old man is immediately troubled- he explains that the runes are connected to the Cult of Vecna- the god of secrets and the undead. Years ago this cult troubled the Southern Kingdoms and brought dark days upon the land. If the followers of Vecna are indeed rising again, it would spell trouble for all of us…

View
One night in Andok

After studying the runes and informing the party of the potential resurgence of the Cult of Vecna, the ritual-caster begins to prepare G’yest for his return to the land of the living. The ritual is performed without incident and all seemed well for our adventurers for a change, until Oloramas arrived at the spell-caster’s shop in a frantic state with the lifeless body of a woman in hand. He then proceeded to inform the group that the Bolt’s position in Shorehold had been compromised and that there were a number of casualties as a result.
The key to finding out the root of this treachery, according to Oloramus, was to revive the very woman that lay dead before them. And this posed a problem because the spell-caster had just used the last of the most rare component in the revival ritual, the elusive Nightfern.
Being the only members of the Bolt that Oloramas could trust (our heroes were not in Shorehold at the time of the betrayal) he turns to them for help in collecting this rare shrub.
The group agrees to make a trek to the closest location known by the spell-caster to find the shrub… the mausoleums of Andok, ancient city of the dead, located just over the northern border of the province of Samia.

But leaving the city proves to be no easy task. Shorehold is overrun with city guardsmen looking for whatever remains of the Bolt. So our heroes are smuggled out in the false bottom of a carriage and taken north.

Guided by a hand drawn map that had been given to the spell-caster by a merchant who recently survived the horrors of Andok, they arrived at the large mouth of a cave, surrounded with concentric circles of runes that stretched back for hundreds of yards. Using his experience with the arcane, Tkar was able to identify these as symbols of protective rituals, probably designed to keep something from exiting the cave. The party was able to pass over them without effect.

Entering the cave, the three heroes slowly and cautiously made their way through dark, rough tunnels lined with broken patches of cobblestone. Midway through the decent they came across a large iron gate. The gate was ornamented with etchings that depicted the demon prince of the undead and lord of Andok, Orcus. The thought of Orcus possibly being around in a time when the cult of Vecna is poking its head up again and causing trouble seemed to be a recipe for disaster. But our heroes had more immediate matters to tend to and pressed on deeper into the city.

Beyond the gates, the city reached an underground avenue lined with ruined stone buildings, as well as smaller structures that seemed to be constructed out of bones. In the middle of this path, the trio was confronted with a giant blue sphere of light, surrounded by skeletons and zombies that seemed to gain some sort of strength from it, though when our heroes approached the light it seemed to weaken them. Luckily, the party was able to identify two piles of skulls as the sources of this ghostly energy and Torinn and Tkar were able to dispatch with the vile energy using brute and magical force, respectively. They then made their way to the mausoleums where hell hounds and more undead lay in wait. These ghouls where also dispatched and the Nightfern was successfully recovered in bulk along with:

• 400 gold
• A steel mace with beautiful carvings
• A black pearl
• And a wand with copper bands

Now our heroes are on the road to meet Olaramas in the outskirts of Shorehold to plan their next move and hopefully rejoin with their newly revived friend G’yest.

View
Resurrection G'yest

Signaled by a young boy along the road, Tkar, Noor, and Torinn were lead to the secret hideaway of Oloramas. There, sitting silently, faced drained of blood, yet living, was G’yest. Noor, in the full exuberance of her youth, pounced upon the recently dead man in a full embrace, thanking her goddess, Sehanine. “Sehanine”, G’yest mumbled, “that is who I expected, who I wanted to see on my death. But it wasn’t her, it was the raven. And then the raven became a woman, The Queen. She told me that I was to do her bidding in the mortal realm.”

“The Raven Queen”, Noor exclaimed in a shocked outcry, “why would she send you back? Doesn’t she seek the souls of the living?”

“No, she has other plans for me. She told me to seek her out in this world and deliver to her the souls of the wicked. I renounce Sehanine and all other gods.”

The party grew quiet in the midst of their friend’s unexpected conversion. What kind of zealot had their friend become – a dangerous cultist of death? Even G’yest could not say exactly, he knew little of his new found deity. After some discussion the group recalled the longstanding feud that the Raven Queen carried with the undead and their lords. While G’yest may have been transformed through death, his interests still aligned with those of his companions – they could only hope.

Upon the reintroduction of G’yest to the party, the discussion quickly turned tactical. The companions endured much horror to gather the Nightfern – it needed to be transported into Shorehold to be used for the resurrection of their comrade Girta. But, returning to the city would not be easy with the increased lookout for Fey and Dragonborn in and around the city. Entering the city together was out of the question, and alone was nearly as risky. Yet, Girta may have been the only remaining link to the traitor within the Bolt.

With the advisory of Oloramas the companions – save Tkar, who remained behind for a further discussion of the insurgent activities in Nabil – approached the city through the western market. Walking through the market with their eyes on the unbreachable city wall, they noticed a quiet entrance, used rarely by no more than a pair of well-dressed citizens at a time. As one of these apparent noblemen approached the entrance he would call out to a guard tower standing in front of, but apart from the gate. From the tower a bell would ring, signaling a guard from inside the gate to emerge, taking the man inside. Several other guards patrolled the area around the market.

The three companions decided upon a plan that would commence after dark, requiring guile and subterfuge. Noor, but a slight girl, took the afternoon to construct a manly façade to the amusement of her compatriots. As night approached, the three planned to fall upon a pair of guards who found themselves far from the guard tower. The best plan, of course, would be to tempt the guards into compromising their position even further. Noor, the temptress of the group (by default, that is), called out to the guards in their rounds, “Hey boys can you come over here, I seemed to have lost my… (giggle).”

The guards approached, and even in the dim light seemed to sense something amiss in the flirtations of the young girl. As their eyes became adjusted, the false mustache played strongly into their suspicions. “What is this then, aye? You’d betta’ get outta here.” Sensing the failure of her advances, Torinn appeared behind the guards, grabbed them by the collars and, with the full fury of his dragon soul, commanded them to silence. The guards collapsed into horrified submission – and not without soiling their breeches.

So far their plan had been successful. The two guards’ clothing and weapons were removed and placed upon G’yest and Noor. G’yest artfully bound the guards so tightly that only a master thief could ever hope to free himself. In full dress of the guard Noor and G’yest took Torinn as their supposed prisoner, and led him to the tower. Approaching the tower, G’yest called up, with conviction, “we found this drunken monster out in our rounds. He gave us chase, but we were able to subdue him. We seek to bring him to the cells.” The head guard descended the tower to inspect this new prisoner. After a convincing act of offensive insobriety by Torinn the guard called to his partner, who rang the bell, leading to the emergence of guards from inside the gate. These guards, like their brethren, were confounded by these unknown – and in one case, quite feminine – guards. After some convincing, the guards were convinced of the story, but attempted to take Torinn in on their own.

With no other recourse, but to fight, Torinn lashed out at the guards. Knowing that the charade was soon to be over, G’yest took his new found lust for life (that is, the lust to take others’ lives), and shot an arrow directly at the head guard, causing immense damage. A fight ensued, leaving three of the guards dead on the ground before the gate. Yet, one managed to escape and enter the city crying for reinforcements. The companions rushed in, but not without G’yest recognizing a strange, and potentially magical, garment draped over the head guard. Removing this cloak, G’yest and his friends dove into the city, and quickly sought to disappear amongst its people.

The three were able to make their way to the home of the ritual caster, Quoven, where Girta lay dead. The bounty of Nightfern that the companions possessed exceeded the wildest expectations of the caster. In his profound gratefulness Quoven gave the companions a potion of healing, each, and a powerful potion of vitality, which G’yest kept to ward off a premature return to his new goddess. To G’yest’s further surprise, the caster revealed a strong power in the cloak removed from the lead guard – seemingly, tailor-made for his benefit. Yes, the gods are good to those who do their bidding. While waiting for Girta to awaken, Torrin left to perform an unknown task in the city – drinking a face-changing potion that shifted his appearance from a mannish dragon, to a dragonnish man. After some time he returned holding a vicious-looking war axe, and an itch for a fight.

When Girta awoke they discussed the nature of the crime against the bolt. Girta was convinced that a man named Robin Goode was the most likely suspect. She had never trusted the man – the son of an adviser to the Duke of Huirg. Several years prior, Goode was dismissed by his father and Girta alleges he is now seeking a path to power through the Bolt. Perhaps this betrayal was his opportunity to return to the good graces of the royals? She told of a meeting place in the catacombs under the Temple of Avandra, in the merchant area of the city. Olaramas also spoke of this place. If Robin was anywhere, he would be found there. And if he was the traitor he required immediate, unmerciful judgment.

The companions traversed the city with great care and found the temple. Inside the temple a stairwell lead to the catacombs – dark and damp. With a glow stick lit from afar behind, G’yest lead his group through the catacombs until he espied a light from a room off to the side of the main corridor. With the stealth of a panther G’yest crept to the door, left slightly ajar, and witnessed a ritual of clear necromancy centered around a roting corpose elevated on a stone dais.

G’Yest snuck back and described the scene to his companions, at which point Torinn recognized elements of the ritual that called to mind the rituals of Vecna being carried out by the hag on the Lizard’s Claw. Calling his companions to back an attack, G’yest aimed his crossbow and bestowed a sudden death upon an unsuspecting cultist. Just as quickly, G’yest flew into the room and fell upon another minion with a slash of his sword, killing him instantly. When the others entered the room, only two cultists remained… until the body in the center of the room rose to attack. The clear leader of the cult attacked, dazing G’yest, and then retreated to a back chamber passing by a stinking pile of human remains. With a reckless fury, G’yest rushed to follow the leader, only to be wounded – nearly mortally – by a pile of undead remains lying at his feet as he passed. With little life to cling to G’yest was heartened by encouragement from Noor, and found himself able to heal and remove himself from danger. Once Torinn and Noor had dispatched with the remaining minion cultist and undead creature the three companions moved in to surround the evil cult leader. Again, G’yest was able to deliver the final blow in celebration of his new lord.

View
Liar Liar Pants On Fire

Fresh from a victory against Vecna cultists, the party prepared to press onward to find the traitor Robin Goode at the Bolt’s secret meeting-place in the Shorehold catacombs. Noor placed a dainty diadem on her head and muttered about how it was more suited for G’Yest. As they pushed forth, though, G’Yest stumbled and began to stagger—his recent resurrection was catching up to him, and perhaps the Raven Queen was drawing him a little too eagerly toward her bosom after the bloody death he had just sowed amongst the cultists.

But as G’Yest toppled backwards, a figure stepped from the shadow to catch him—T’kar! Having finished up his business, he had been smuggled into the city and been sent along to catch up with the party. T’Kar strode forward, letting G’Yest fade into the background to rest.

Winding through dark and crumbling tunnels, the party eventually approached the meeting place: a room behind an iron door, with VICTALYSSA written across the top of the doorjamb, with a statue of a blacksmith and a generic fancy person statue flanking it. Without G’Yest to sneak in, the party resorted to a noisy, Kramer-like entrance: T’Kar used his magic cantrip to open the latch and Torinn kicked the door in.

The party found themselves in a small crypt. Behind one of the sarcophagi crouched a single man, pointing a poisoned crossbow at the party. He boldly shouted for them to freeze and asked who they were.

It soon became clear that he was Robin Goode, the putative traitor. But he seemed to be taking refuge here, not waiting in ambush. And where were the thugs the party supposed would jump out at them at any moment? Nowhere to be seen. Goode, it seemed, believed the traitor to be Gertha. After some discussion, the party decided to disarm him and walk him out of the catacombs, quickly, in case foes were descending on their location. Goode reluctantly went along.

Because the party discussed sneaking out of the city, Goode led them towards a cache of documents they could use to safely pass through the gates. However, as the party approached the section of the catacobms where the documents were hidden, Goode stopped. “Why is that door closed?” he asked. “The Bolt always leaves the door here open.” Compounded with the foul smell coming from the doorway, the party knew some horror lay beyond and prepared for battle. Torinn threw Robin his rapier back and warned him that he better not betray them.

Kicking that door open, the party darted into a room full of staggering, rotting corpses, skeleton archers, and a hooded man riffling through spread-out papers on a sarcophagus. Whirling around and seeing them, the man snatched his papers, gestured at the undead, and fled. The monsters moaned and began to attack.

Noor leapt onto a dais to better position herself. Big mistake! That disturbed a horrid offalian, which wormed its way toward her and grabbd her with a mouth made of the teeth and jaws of many people.

While Robin and Noor struggled with the offalian, Torinn laid about him left and right with his holy axe, slaying zombies. T’Kar activated his repulsion armor and kept the monsters at bay, using his thunderwave to great effect to blow them to smithereens three at a time while being ventilated by shitty bone arrows fired by a skeleton archer. Finally, Torinn charged the archer and slew it while Robin and Noor finished off the offalian.

The hooded man had long fled, but had left some papers behind—scrawled with strange writing, nobody could make them out. The party retrieved the documents from another room and left the catacombs, wondering how they would figure out who the traitor was.

Robin led them through secret alleys toward Quoven’s place of business. Pushing in, they found Gertha still weak, and outraged that they had not slain Robin. The party pitted Robin and Gertha against each other, demanding they accuse each other to their faces and explain themselves with their accuser present. Robin claimed Gertha had betrayed the Bolt because she had been stealing from merchant houses using Bolt resources; Gertha claimed Robin was using the Bolt as a route to power and had been disowned by his father after being caught stealing. Robin admitted his father had disowned him, but said it was because he had stood up for the rights of peasants.

The party asked them why they shouldn’t kill both of them to save the Bolt. Gertha protested that most vehemently, saying she would claw out their eyes if they tried. Suspicion continued to grow that Gertha was the traitor. Finally, T’Kar suggested that Quoven use a magical ritual to help uncover the truth. They tied the two hostages together, back to back, and Noor told them that the ritual would cause unimaginable pain to the traitor and only the traitor. Torinn helpfully added that it would cause their limbs to burst into flame, hence the ritual’s name “Liar Liar Pants On Fire”. Gertha snorted at this, but once the ritual was complete, she found herself magically compelled to explain that she didn’t MEAN to betray the Bolt, that she had been caught by Lucas Clayacrell of House Fell and forced to return gold the Bolt had stolen from him earlier and then been used as a spy.

The party tossed Robin his rapier and told him to do the deed, since it was his life Gertha tried to ruin. He impaled her and she fell dead.

The party discussed the need to strike back immediately and visibly at the government, to show that the Bolt had not been broken. They discussed assassinating the Duke or his son, but that seemed like it might provde too difficult—and besides, T’Kar refused to kill families. They discussed burning the noble docks and the barracks, but Noor was worried that killing commoners’ husbands and sons would turn opinion against the Bolt. They decided to case the merchant houses of Fell and Gambon and find a high-ranking merchant they could assassinate, while G’Yest took the scraps of Abyssal writing they had found to the temple of the Raven Queen to learn more about the Vecna cult.

View
This isn't my beautiful house

G’yest returned to his companions after seeking wisdom from the temple of the Raven Queen. G’yest told his friends that the priest was only marginally familiar with the language, but could tell that the message generally pointed to some action of raising the dead. With more time the priest may be able to make a stronger interpretation of the document. G’yest would return to the temple to get further information. Regarding his own destiny, G’yest relayed how he was introduced to some rituals for the dead and the soon-to-be-dead that would clear the passage of their souls. G’yest seemed impatient to put his new rituals to use.

In the meantime Tkar, Noor, and Torrin had dug up information on House Fell. The patriarch, Luthor Creacril has a son, Mees, known for his debauchery and insobriety, as well as a nephew, Gregory known for his prudence and trustworthiness. While, the line of succession fell to the son , the nephew was a clearly more reliable choice. There was some word on the street that, in fact, Luthor would promote his nephew over his own son. However, if Gregory happened to be removed from the picture, Mees would be the only choice to take over Luthor’s seat – a turn of events which would likely set off an open revolt among the other council-members.

With this information gleamed from the streets of Shorehold, the companions chose to find and terminate Gregory. The nephew was known to stay late at the family business headquarters, deeply enthralled in the ledgers. At a late hour, when all had left but Gregory and a few of his guards, the companions would strike. With some thorough reconnaissance work, the companions were able to discover a disgruntled former employee who revealed the entire layout of the office building where “Z” would be located. This man revealed that the office was situated adjacent to the treasury, which was well-armed at all times. Connecting these two buildings was a single corridor that was raised above an alleyway. The corridor had doors at either end, which could be locked if necessary.

After much deliberation, the team decided to split into two groups. Torrin and G’yest would attempt to sneak into the office through the roof. Noor and Tkar would try to talk their way in from the front. While Noor argued for a role as an important business woman, she eventually fell to the persuasion of her companions, taking on the stereotypical strumpet role, again.

Arriving at the office Torrin and G’yest slipped down a side alley, and finding the darkest area, attempted to climb the side of the office building. In several failed demonstrations of physical prowess G’yest and Torrin nearly broke their necks – and alerted the guard to their position. Finally, Torrin was able to lift G’yest, until he could swing up to the roof. Upon reaching the roof, G’yest attached a rope to a tree, whose branches extended out from a small atrium, and extended the rope to Torrin, allowing him to climb up.

At this same time, Noor and Tkar met with the two guards in front of the office. With much gallantry, Tkar introduced Noor, producing deference in the guards. However, following this promising initiation to their discussion, conversation degraded substantially. Each thinly veiled lie put the guards at less ease. Finally, after nearly crashing the entire operation, Noor and Tkar retreated to the street where Noor began to sob.

On the roof, G’yest and Torrin found two chimney holes and took a look in each. On one side of the building G’yest could hear guards speaking casually. On the other side, Torrin saw the hands of a nobleman stoking the flames of his fireplace. G’yest and Torrin concluded that this must be Gregory. G’yest also convinced Torrin that he had no place roaming through the house, and would need to remain on the roof. With that G’yest slid down the tree into the atrium, put his ear to a door, heard nothing, and proceeded into the house.

Outside, on the street, Noor continued to cry, and wail, and then fall into convulsive waves. Though her sexuality did not move the guards, this sad display did. The guards approached and asked the two strangers to come into the house. One guard escorted them inside, while the other remained outside. A third guard joined the group from down the hallway. After calming down, Noor asked a guard if she could perform for Gregory as she had intended. The guards relented. Noor asked to be taken to a room to prepare herself, and was so escorted to a room at the far end of the building. Alone in the room Noor sang to distract the waiting guard, outside from his impatience. Tkar remained behind with a guard, entertaining him with erotic tales of the arcane arts.

After breaching the house through the atrium, G’yest carefully made his way into a library, filled with seemingly important documents. Walking through this room, G’yest was able to make out the sound of Noor and a guard walking by. With, the opportunity G’yest made his way out of a door, and found his way to the door separating the office building from the treasury. Quickly, G’yest locked the door, preventing the incursion of reinforcements.

Meanwhile, on the roof, Torrin was becoming bored – which is never good for a dragonborn. In a fool-hearty attempt to cause trouble with the guard below, Torrin tossed a roof tile at a pair of businessmen walking by. In the process, Torrin kicked an additional tile that fell just next to the guard, waiting below. However, with great aplomb, Torrin beguiled the guard into thinking that a pigeon was at fault. Torrin remained quiet on the roof of the house, grateful but humble from his near-miss.

After locking the corridor door, G’yest began to investigate the rest of the house on his approach to “Z”. In a room that was adjacent to “Z’s” supposed location, G’yest stealthily entered, hoping that an additional door separated the two rooms. Instead, G’yest found a shining sword locked behind glass, showcased in the center of the room – irresistible to any rogue. With no reproach, G’yest checked the case for traps, and proceeded to pick the lock separated him from his new found steel. The lock opened, and just as G’yest thought he was clear, the glass fell off the display table and fell to the floor in a mighty crash.

Immediately, an alert flew through the house. The strange guests, the noise on the roof, strange noises on the side of the house were all too much – the guards began the attack. Several guards rushed in from room, yet unvisited across the building. At this time, Tkar, who remained at the front entrance was the recipient of a volley of bolts. Torrin was able to swing down from the roof and attack from the entrance of the front door, and add to Torrin’s cause. Noor, readied her crossbow for the waiting guard, and upon his appearance cleanly sent him to his maker. She then disappeared through a wall, as she tends to do, and came to the front entrance, reclaiming her spear from Torrin’s back, and aided the attack. G’yest emerged from his room and began a fight with a waiting crossbowman.

While the companions sustained heavy damage in early rounds of the fight, with Torrin’s overwhelming force, directed at the clear leader of the guards, the battle swung to the side of the companions. As the fight began to dwindle Noor made a rush for “Z’s” room, with the protestations of G’yest unheaded, and gave Greogry a swift, fatal blow.

G’yest, clearly upset that his rituals had been overlooked, demanded the life of the one remaining guard. Following the guard into a room, G’yest convinced the guard to disarm, and lead him to the safe – although he could not open it. With the sounds of other guards attempting to break down the door from the treasury G’yest asked the others to leave so he could finish his work with the remaining guard. G’yest was left in the house with his crossbow to the head of the last remaining soul in the building.

View
Tiefling, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

The raid on House Fell successfully completed, the adventuring party recovers and regroups in their Bolt safehouse. G’Yest, having stayed behind to complete his ritual passing of the souls to the Raven Queen joins the group shortly thereafter.

Together, they examine the documents in the metal box hurriedly snatched from the merchant house as the flames were catching. The documents show an agreement between Merchant Houses Fell and Gambon on the topic of limiting the flow of goods to Helra while simultaneously establishing profitable underground trade routes. The party discusses these documents, interested and yet also puzzled by these brief windows into larger political intrigue in the Kingdom.

Most interestingly, the group examines a scroll with an intricate seal. It is recent, and indicates that there is some important cargo to be brought into the city. Specifically, the cargo is from Maleva, one of the Southern kingdoms, and contains a talisman to be delivered in Vyborg, a city in Samia province.

The party discusses these developments. Having completed the raid and assassination in the Fell library, the adventurers had earlier decided to continue their investigation into the unsettling stirrings of the Cult of Vecna, some concerns were voiced that the party was losing sight of the greater danger and enemy. Coming to an agreement, the group decides to do this one last job in Shorehold to further weaken the merchant house and sow distrust, and then move on to their other objectives.

That day, the adventurers check out the harbor. It is bustling with activity. Torinn recalls from earlier study that Malevan fashion features reds and purples, and the adventurers keep their eyes peeled for signs of those styles. G’Yest, stakes out the ship while the rest of the crew decides to knock back a few with some salty sailors to get word of this mysterious cargo and anything else that can be strategically useful.

G’Yest finds the ship, Gond’s Hammer, at the end of a dock. He notices four sentries on the deck, all armed with crossbows and wearing green cloaks with sigils of scales and a sword. He strolls back to meet the rest at the bar. At the tavern, Tkar buys a round for some sailors who are already good and drunk. He chats them up with some talk about the ladies and gets them to share what they know about the Gond’s Hammer and her crew. They claim that the Malevite soldiers drink harder stuff at the bar and are eager to get the cargo and its unsettling guards off their vessel. Tkar rents a rowboat from them for the evening and leaves them to continue their mid-morning consumption.

Our adventurers reconvene and strategize at the safehouse. They decide on a stealth attack, using distraction from the docks and sneak attacks from the boat. After night falls, Torinn and Tkar approach by way of the dock and Torinn loudly makes a scene regarding some financial dispute. Simultaneously, G’Yest and Noor deftly climb the ship using grappling gear, and G’Yest creeps forward silently sending their souls to his queen. Torinn bumbles a charge, nearly falling on his own weapon, and one of the guards screams out for help.

Good ol’ fashioned melee breaks out between our adventurers and the guards. Hatches fly open, and the bowmen are joined by two humans- though something is amiss. They are covered in bandages, and their skin has a sickly pallor to it. They attack with crooked fingers and growled words, sucking life energy from their targets, and at close range have a knack for using razors and cutting deep. With Noor’s rally cries, Torinn’s brazen front attacks, G’Yest’s nimble blade, and Tkar’s fiery sorcery the enemies are all slain. The bandaged men have mysterious tattoos on their chests, similar to the runes seen before. The adventurers go below decks.

Our heroes find a small wooden chest containing 500 gold pieces and a vial full of a purple and gray viscous liquid. Tkar takes a sniff of it and identifies it as a Gravespawn Potion, which bestows some special healing properties to be described in full detail later. The party also finds an Evil Eye Fetish 2 (2 to fort., refl., and will).

In another chamber below deck the crew finds an iron cage covered by a heavy cloth. Bracing themselves for the worst, Torinn throws off the cloth to reveal a creature of legend before their very eyes; a young Tiefling, in a cloak, looking out at them with alert, careful eyes. The Tiefling is Tio, and ze has been held captive on this ship. Is Tio the precious cargo? We think so.

The adventurers decide to free Tio and look further into the circumstances of Tio’s abduction. Who captured Tio? For what diabolical purpose? Torinn hands Tio hir knife, and the crew leaves the ship, setting it ablaze.

View

I'm sorry, but we no longer support this web browser. Please upgrade your browser or install Chrome or Firefox to enjoy the full functionality of this site.