The Once And Future King

Natalya's Hideout
Fireday, 10 Gozran 4715 AR

Following the directions given by Fenster the Blight, it doesn’t take long for the Pathfinders to come across the building the vile man described – a small hovel whose clapboard sides are dark with mildew and marred by scorch marks. In places fire has gutted portions of roofs moss­ covered tile shingles, but the building appears to be structurally intact. It stands near the wall of Seacleft, and several decades of minor rockfall has piled up along its southern face.

As the group scopes out the building’s perimeter, a door burst opens and two thugs charge forth to assault the group.

Now possessing the advantage of numbers, the thugs are little match for Roland’s gunfire and Dorsavnil’s blade and the threat is quickly dispatched.

Entering the building, the party is greater by a chamber whose entire floor has collapsed into a pool of sewage-filled water five feet below. A wooden plank balanced between both doors makes a precarious bridge over the sludge put to a door on the opposite side.

While the larger party members attempt to carefully walk across the plank, Fijit downs a strange concoction from a large vial and her skin takes on a chameleon-like quality as she proceeds to climb up the wall like a spider, climbing up into the rafters and peering into the next room where she spots two goblins hiding behind several small crates.

SewerGoblin.jpgQuickly whipping up a bomb from a combination of chemicals and reagents in her pouches, she tosses the makeshift explosive down at the goblins which lands with an explosive burst that sends one goblin tumbling into the sewage below, while his now-charred companion returns fire by tossing a bag of filth at the gnome.

Bursting into the fight, Roland opens fire on the remaining goblin with a kill shot, as two insect-like creatures make a beeline for Fijit, with one attaching itself and quickly beginning to drain blood.

The minor, albeit unexpected, secondary threat is quickly dispatched. Meanwhile in the first room, a comedy of errors finds several members of the party floundering in the waters below while two more goblins rush forth from some sewer pipes to attack, though their assault is short-lived.

Continuing through the complex finds several additional rooms with missing floors and exposed rafters.

GoblinSnake.jpgIn the hovel’s last room, a massive fireplace sits opposite the door, inside of which a strange serpentine creature attempts to hide. From the rafters above – several goblins, waiting for the party’s entry, toss makeshift weapons and a raven-haired woman wielding a cutlass and holding a green glowing shard, prepares to fortify their position with magic.

Dorsavil attempts to climb a ladder to the rafters above but his hands, covered in nervous sweat fail to grab ahold. Roland fires into the room at the snake-like creature while Eran and Fijit provide support.

Nearly half a minute into the battle, Dorsavnil manages to clamber up the ladder and, imbuing his sword with hellfire, cleaves a goblin in half as he moves towards the woman orchestrating their foes. Below, Eran feels himself overcome with a feeling of kinship for the woman as he falls victims to her magic.

As Roland and Fijit clear the rafters of goblins, Dorsavnil attempts to strike the sorceress with the flat of his blade in an attempt to subdue her, though the awkwardness of the attack causes him to miss and nearly tumble from the rafters as the woman counters the attack.

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Not willing to miss his foe again Dorsavnil swings and lands a mighty blow, cleaving halfway through the woman’s ribcage and felling her in a single blow as she drops the shard and tumbles into the waters below, landing with a huge splash.

Seeing the shard dropped, the serpent dives into the water after it, but is dealt a killing blow by Eran Merripan as it attempts to acquire the item, fishing themselves and the body of the woman from the water, the heroes take a moment to catch their breaths and cursorily heal themselves.

With their mission half successful – Sheila had indicated a desire to speak to the woman known as Natalya Vancaskerin (but at least they had located her!) – the heroes prepared to return to Heidmarch Manor

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Natalya's Hideout Revealed
Fireday, 10 Gozran 4715 AR

Relying on Roland’s knowledge of the city, some cursory questioning leads the group directly to the home of Fenster the Blight – a partially collapsed warehouse building. The entrance to this hovel consists of a pair of skiffs leaning against each other to create a triangular “arch” from which a moldering remnant of a ship’s sail hangs like a curtain. Sitting next to the entrance is an old sea chest with a broken lid. A sign leans against the front of the chest – “LEEVAGIFTANDWATEOUTSID."

A dented tin platter sits on the ground before the sign and the Pathfinders approach and place a total of 8 pieces of gold on the platter and then move back.

Several moments later, a wretched man covered in filth stumbles out of the structure, looks around and waddles over to the platter, gurgling on a wet, hacking cough as he moves. Examining the gold, he sticks it into a pocket and looks up, gazing with one good eye and a second that is clouded over and motions for the party to approach.

“What yew want Fenster ta’do?” -Fenster the Blight

FensterTheBlight.jpg When asked about The Tower Girls, Fenster informs that they had been hiding out in his warehouse until recently and that while he doesn’t know their current whereabouts, he’s confident they’ll return. (“They always come back ta ’ol Fenster!”)

On the subject of Natalya, the wretch claims knowledge of her whereabouts but explains that information will cost more. After a quick haggle, he admits that he’d seen her lurking in a nearby building – and that she’s no longer hanging out with the other Tower Girls. In fact, she seems to be doing her best to stay out of sight but that he knows about everything that goes in the Underbridge.

“Nuthin’ in th’Shadow gits by me good peeper!” -Fenster the Blight

After directions are given, the party is quickly on the way to Natalya’s hideout…

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The Investigation Continues
Oathday, 9 Gozran 4715 AR

Returning to the Amazing Zograthy, the party offers him two garnets for information to which the old Varisian agrees, telling them that while he knows nothing about any supposed “discovery” she may have made, but does confirm that she hasn’t been heard from recently among the Sczarni.

He adds that many folk along waterfront, both here in Beacon’s Point and over in Dockway and Underbridge, have been disappearing of late – a few each week, in fact, with many simply vanishing out of their very beds at night. He suspects Natalya is among those who have disappeared in this manner, and bitterly adds that as long as only poor Varisians and other destitute folk are being targeted, chances of the city doing anything about the disappearances is non-existant. The leading theory on the street is that the vanished folk are the victims of slavers who then secretly sell them offshore at night to Nidalese ships – but Zograthy doesn’t put much stock in such rumors.

With the exchange of information nearly complete, the old man clears his throat and extends his an palm. After much debate, the party gives him a single gold piece after which he quickly adds that Natalya was, at least until recently, a member of a Sczarni gang known as the Tower Girls, a group of cat burglars.

The Tower Girls themselves searching for Natalya, and word is that when they find her, she’ll be in deep trouble. He doesn’t know exactly what is going on with them but has heard them say that Natalya went mad before her disappearance.

The party inquires about where The Tower Girls can be found and Zograthy informs them that they have recently moved their hideout but were previously staying in the Underbridge with an unsavory character named Fenster The Blight.

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Back on the Streets
Wealday, 8 Gozran 4715 AR

After two days in prison, the party is informed that they have a visitor – as they rise to their feet, in strides Koriah Azmeren, who chides the group for their actions.

“Its good for you that I intercepted the message about your arrest and that word didn’t reach Sheila… I sure hope she wasn’t wrong about you. Nevertheless, perhaps I’ll need you to return the favor someday” -Koriah

Now freed, the heroes re-equip themselves and are reminded of the three garnets they picked up at Heidmarch Manor – the perfect bargaining chips for getting information from Zograthy.

The party holes up for the night at a well known inn for adventurers, The Old Fang.

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Dockway Aftermath
Moonday, 6 Gozran 4715 AR

The party awakens in a cell, having been arrested for disorderly conduct (not wanting any undo attention brought to the unsavory activities in Washer’s Row), the locals remove the bodies of the slain thugs and make no mention of their deaths.

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The Investigation Begins
Sunday, 5 Gozran 4715 AR

AmazingZograthy.jpgThe group arrives at a squalid setup consisting of little more than a series of rundown sideshow booths and carts with assorted games and amusements. To one side, urchins pitch pennies at lily pads floating in a small, scum-covered fountain while a bored carnie looks on. One of the locals points them to Zograthy’s tent – a small, well-patched hovel crudely painted with mystical symbols and decorated with chicken bones and other adornments. Within the stuffy, cluttered tent is a table covered in blue velvet stitched with moons, stars, and arcane symbols. A dusty crystal ball and a dog-eared harrow deck sit upon it. Behind table sits an aged, bald, Varisian man with threadbare purple robes and piercing eyes.

“The Amazing Zograthy sees all and knows all. A double fist of silver for a turn of the cards or a vision in the crystal; a treble fist of gold for the secrets of the multiverse.” -Zograthy

SzcarniThug.jpgUnfortunately, the encounter quickly goes downhill as the party refuses to meet Zograthy’s price for information and tries to leverage his (somewhat obvious) pesh addiction. Dorsavil igniting his weapon with hellfire and threatening the old man are enough for him to shout for reinforcements, causing a dozen thugs to leap to his defense, engaging the party in a desperate battle.

The Pathfinders manage to kill three of their foes before being overrun….

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A Game Afoot in Magnimar
Sunday, 5 Gozran 4715 AR

One by one the four fledgling members of the Pathfinder Society arrive at Heidmarch Manor, in response to the summons they received. They are greeted by Canayvan Heidmarch who asks them to wait in the lobby.

The four introduce themselves to one another – Fijit, the gnome alchemist and treasure seeker; Erin Merripan, cleric of Serenrae who aims to use the resources of the Society to restore the abandoned shrine to his diety in the city; Roland Kaddren, a devotee of the strange art of firearms and black sheep of one the city’s noble houses; and Dorsavil, a half-elven bloodrager and former member of the Sczarni gang Doolan’s Lads.

SheilaHeidmarch.jpgAfter the introductions, they are greated by two women, one in a regal blue and green gown with a no-nonsense attitude who introduces herself as Sheila Heidmarch, Venture-Captain of the Magnimar Pathfinder lodge. The other woman needs to introduction to Fijit or Roland, but Sheila introduces her anyway as Koriah Azmeren, a well-known Pathfinder who has just returned from the Darklands with several Thassilonian artifacts.

Informing the group that the two would need some additional time to confer, Sheila asks them to try to figure out how to open a Thassilonian artifact known as a paradox box that Koriah brought back from her expedition.

“This particular box was among those items recovered by Koriah – the scrolls next to the box are her preliminary notes on possible triggers or methods of opening it, but she’s not yet had a chance to sit down and properly investigate the thing. So… why don’t you put your heads together and see if you can’t do that for me? Even if the box is empty, as I suspect it probably is, knowing the method of opening it makes it a valuable find anyway. I’ll return shortly, and I hope to see that box open! Think of this as an audition, if you will – because the actual task I want to speak to you about soon will require as much wit as it will brawn!” -Sheila Heidmarch

Leaving the group in the room, the would-be heroes peruse Koriah’s notes and focus on five runes that spell out the word “CRUEL”. Tapping the symbols causes them to switch positions and Roland quickly organizes them to spell “LUCRE”, causing the box to tumble open in a cloud of smoke that heralds the sudden appearance of two tiny dog-faced creatures who immediately begin tearing around the room and destroying items with claws and daggers.

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Attempts to apprehend the creatures prove futile and in so doing, the heroes find themselves stumbling and knocking over books, decorations and the like. Roland takes aim at one and with an explosive bang, he grazes the creature but lodges a bullet solidly into the wall.

Dorsavnil swings his mighty greatsword and instead cleaves a table in twain.

Suddenly the doors burst open as a stern Sheila Heidmarch demands in explanation before bursting into action and kicking one of the creatures while Koriah dispatches the other.

Angry at the destruction, but equally angry at herself for overlooking the potential danger, she composes herself, bids farewell to Koriah and turns to explain the purpose behind her summons – that she would like the party to help her locate a missing person named Natalya Vancaskerin.

Natalya had come to her recently and offered to work as a double agent, informing the Pathfinder Society about the goings on of the Sczarni. She informed Sheila that she had found an item and then hadn’t been heard from since.

Sheila tells the group that Natalya had been in contact with a man known as the Amazing Zograthy and that he might have some information. In addition, there have been rumors of kidnappings – word on the street is that there are slavers from Nidal taking people in the night – although it is just is likely that she was possibly picked up by the city guard.

In any case, Sheila offers a reward for information about Natalya, even greater if they can bring her in for questioning. While she wishes to study the Paradox Box further, Sheila allows the party to take three garnets, a ring and dagger that were contained within the box.

“Go out there and look for Natalya. Find out what happened to her, and to this item she and her gang discovered. If you can secure the item, all the better-bring it back to me and I’ll have a reward of 500 gold pieces for you. And if you can bring Natalya back alive for me to speak to, I’ll double that!” -Sheila Heidmarch

With that, the party heads down into the lower section of the city, making their way to the Dockway in search of the Amazing Zograthy.

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An Invitation to Heidmarch Manor
Wealday, 1 Gozran 4715 AR

In the small coastal town of Sandpoint, along Varisa’s so-called Lost Coast, the residents celebrate “Heroes Day” for the 8th straight year – a celebration of the adventurers who saved their town an multiple occasions and, it is rumored, perhaps even saved all of Varisia itself from an ancient threat….

But our story unfolds in Magnimar, a few hours south of Sandpoint and their celebration, where that morning four adventurers and recent recruits to the Pathfinder SocietyRoland Kaddren, Eran Merripan, Fijit, and Dorsavnil – receive separate invitations for an audience from the Venture-Captain of the Magnimar Pathfinder Lodge, Sheila Heidmarch

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