Anvilbender's Second Darkness

Part Two: Devil’s Elbow

Located 18 miles southwest of Riddleport and a mere 2 miles from the rugged and wild cliff shores of the Calphiak Mountains, the 5-mile-wide island of Devil’s Elbow appears on few maps. Its relatively remote location and notorious history have worked well together to ensure that it has remained mostly abandoned after an attempt to establish a settlement on its southern ridge.

Landfall on Devil’s Elbow

Repairs delay the initial plan to leave Riddleport for Devil’s Elbow, but the delay is only a few hours due to the PCs stopping the fire early. By early afternoon, the Flying Cloud is ready to set sail for Devil’s Elbow. The journey is short, and the ship covers the 18-mile voyage in a mere 5 hours, reaching the island about an hour before sundown.

The forested island is quiet as the ship approaches; no signs of life are immediately apparent. A low ridge forms a spine along the length of the island, its slopes covered with dense forest and its shores affording very few safe places to land. Two stone towers rise above the level of the surrounding trees along the top of the island’s ridge, one to the east and one at the island’s center. As they approach by day, a thin plume of smoke rises from a point about midway between those two towers at the height of the island’s ridge. Yet the most dramatic sight as the ship nears its destination is the immense crater on the island’s northeastern slopes. The crater itself is hundreds of feet wide and surrounded by an even larger swath of burnt trees that have been knocked flat in a burst pattern around the impact site. The region’s frequent rainstorms and damp conditions prevented the fire from consuming the entire island, yet in all nearly a quarter of the island’s forest was destroyed by the impact.

Captain Creesy seems unusually nervous as the ship nears the island; despite his bravado, the tales of Virashi’s Curse and the island’s history get to him, and the sight of the immense crater does little to calm his nerves. He tells the PCs that he’d rather not stay in the region, and he attempts to arrange for a pick-up date when they’ll be done and he can come back and collect them. As he speaks, a bright light suddenly flashes at the peak of the island’s central tower, a sparkling blast of pyrotechnics that lasts for several seconds before expiring. The mysterious flash of light seals the deal—Creesy will sail up to the old piers at the old harbor and allow the PCs to disembark, but he does not want to remain overnight within sight of the island.

Creesy is reluctant to dock anywhere but at the docks due to the dangerous reefs. Only a few minutes after the ship docks and the PCs are unloading any gear and mounts they brought with them, a voice calls out from the seemingly abandoned buildings: “Ahoy, the ship! Ahoy! Goldhammer’s Expedition requesting permission to approach!” The speaker is Gravin Goldhammer, leader of his eponymous expedition and official representative of the Gas Forges. As the dwarf nears the docks, followed by four others (two dwarves and two humans), it should be apparent to the PCs that they’ve had a rough time. Their clothes are torn and filthy and their faces are tired and haggard. Only these four of Gravin’s original dozen expedition members remain alive, and they’ve had enough of “this cursed island.” They seek passage on the Flying Cloud to return to Riddleport. Captain Creesy is only too willing to take the dwarves up on their request for passage back to Riddleport, since it gives him an excuse to leave the island in his wake. Fortunately for the PCs, the captain doesn’t intend to totally abandon them; he’ll agree to come back to the docks here at any point in the future the PCs request (which is in one weeks’ time).

As the PCs offload and the terrified men clamber up onto the Flying Cloud, Gravin is willing to answer some questions the PCs might have of him:

Who are you? “My name is Gravin Goldhammer, the leader of this fool-fated expedition. We’ve only been here a couple days, and this is all what’s left of the thirteen who landed.”

What happened to you? “Them stories about Virashi’s Curse are right—mostly. Only it ain’t ghosts what haunt this place, no. It’s monsters. Low-to-the-ground things, fast and lean. Never did get me a good look at one of them, even with them snatching a few of my men and dragging them off into the woods. A few others got bit or slashed, and their wounds turned bad. Some sort of sick got in them, and then, when they died, it came back out their faces. Torag’s scars, but that were a sight I’d like to unsee. Came right out of their faces like they were tongues, and then my own men attacked us. We put them down and burned the bodies just this morning. Whatever’s out there, it’s not fit for this world. You shouldn’t stay here. If you had any sense, you’d get back on that boat and head right back to Riddleport!”

Why are you here? “We came looking for skymetal, of course. Overlord Cromarcky hired my boss to send us out here. Unfortunately, we got here too late.”

Why were you too late?/How much skymetal did you find? “Not a speck. Plenty of craters around, but nothing in them worth taking. Either the other groups got it all, or there wasn’t any to begin with.”

What other groups? “There’s supposed to be three other groups here, but I only seen one of them so far—the cyphermages who are up in Witchlight. Slyeg and Zincher supposedly have men here too, but I ain’t seen any of them… although we did spot some smoke rising to the southeast, like maybe from campfires.”

What made that flash of light up on the hill? “My guess? One of them cyphermages. They settled in up there in the ruins of Witchlight and didn’t want company. They’ve been doing that light stuff since last night—I sent four men up the hill to investigate, but I haven’t seen any sign of them since. Whatever it is that’s been picking us off must’a got them, and sure as my beard it’s after the cyphermages too. Those flashes of light, I reckon, are calls for help. I’ve wasted enough of my men trying to answer that call, though. But hey, if you’re heading up there, do me a favor. You find any of my men, try to see that they make it back to Riddleport, will ya? I’ll put in a good word with the boss for a reward of a couple hundred gold if you do.”

Have you seen any dark elves on the island? This question causes Goldhammer to make an exasperated expression before he answers. “Nope. No leprechauns or two-headed donkey rats either. We haven’t even seen the Sandpoint Devil. You’re welcome to look for all three, and dark elves as well, but I ain’t staying here longer to see what other fanciful beasts this place has to offer.”

Nothing can convince Gravin to stay on shore, and as soon as the PCs finish questioning him, he retreats belowdecks with his men—he doesn’t come back up until the Flying Cloud’s safely back in Riddleport.

Exploring Devil’s Elbow

Harbor

When Yaris Neraken first attempted to settle Devil’s Elbow, the three piers and houses here were the first structures he built, since they would serve as the gateway between Witchlight and the rest of the world. Situated in the only safe harbor on the island’s shore, the buildings here once served as warehouses and homes for guards and laborers, but they are now long abandoned and partially collapsed due to the falling star; little remains of the buildings but heaps of rubble and a few leaning walls. Likewise, the piers themselves are falling into disrepair, with many planks missing from their lengths, especially at the ends where only a few leaning pilings protrude from the surf. There’s nothing unusual or particularly interesting in the ruined buildings, with the exception of several bright red, foot-long centipedes that scurry for cover as soon as anyone approaches.

Witchlight

Reaching Witchlight requires a difficult slog up a steep, overgrown trail that winds up the mountainous island, or an even more difficult slog up through dense underbrush. Witchlight itself is located atop the island’s highest peak, affording a peerless view of the Varisian Gulf. On particularly clear days, the distant haze of Riddleport can be seen to the northeast.

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Part Three: Witchlight

After the battle with the “zombies” the PCs hear, coming from atop the main tower, “Stop there! Say something so I know you’re alive.” This voice is recognizable as Samaritha Beldusk, cyphermage friend to the PCs. She encourages the PCs to come to the tower immediately, warning them to be quick, as monsters have been lurking in the nearby woods.

Once the PCs are inside the tower with her, Samaritha leads them into area B5d to speak with them. She suspects that the “monsters” have noticed the PCs as well and might be massing for another attack, so she sends one of her cyphermages up top to area B5f to keep a watch before she bombards the PCs with questions, particularly asking them if they’ve encountered any of the “monsters” yet. She doesn’t know what to call them, only that they’re ferocious, resistant to magic, probably venomous, and that those whom the creatures kill arise as zombies. She breathlessly and quickly recounts the story of her time on the island, and ends by practically begging the PCs to heal her injured companions and then lead them off the island to safety.

Samaritha and her companions are all wounded to one degree or another, but she’s quick to point out that none of them have been bitten by the monsters—an important distinction, she says, since those who were bitten and then later died rose as zombies. She points to the void zombies as an example if she saw the PCs fighting against them. Unless the PCs come up with a much better plan, Samaritha wants to remain holed up here in the relative safety of the tower until a ship arrives, at which point she’s willing to risk the journey downhill to rescue (provided the PCs are there to help protect her and her fellow wizards).

If the PCs ask Samaritha or the other cyphermages about drow sightings on the island, they shake their heads—they’ve seen no dark elves during their time here. Of course, no matter what the PCs decide to do, things change quickly when the monsters move in to lay siege to the tower one last time.

The Akata Siege

Suddenly, a cyphermage guard atop the tower cries out an alarm: “Here they come again!” Samaritha’s face grows pale with fear and she races downstairs to make sure that the door to area B4 is closed tightly, telling the PCs that the monsters have often launched attacks on the tower after anyone spends a significant amount of time wandering around outside. She’s not sure why the creatures didn’t attack the PCs earlier, but suspects that their activity cycles might have something to do with it.

The PCs rush to the windows. Garrosh moves to the main door on the bottom floor to help defend that area. Mr. M rushes to the top of the tower to view what is happening. A horde of monsters surge out of the surrounding forest. The alien monsters are unnaturally silent as they move,
and shockingly fast and limber, their bodies moving with a strangely nauseating grace as they gallop into the ruins. Some of the creatures stop to paw at any bodies or pieces of gear left outside. In all, two dozen of the horrific creatures participate in the attack, more than twice the number seen in previous assaults. The cyphermages respond to this unexpected increase in the
number of akatas with shock—but Samaritha admits she feared their numbers were growing.

As the wave of akatas reaches the tower, the beasts begin scrambling up the sides and scratching at its foundations. The creatures hammer and claw and bite at the tower’s windows and door. Its clear that the window shutters won’t hold forever, although they seem fairly strong for the moment. Suddenly a shutter near Erevis, in the room that holds the wounded cyphermages. Downstairs, near Garrosh, a window bursts completely, allowing the alien creatures to enter, albeit slowly and only one at a time. Garrosh moves up stairs to defend the entrance to the infirmary, with Inari at his back.

Shortly after the siege begins, a tremor shakes the entire tower. This drops Erevis, many of the Cyphermages and one or two of the monsters to the ground. The tremor lasts only a few seconds, but afterward the tower has a barely perceptible lean to the south. The sudden weight of all the dense-bodied akatas is finishing the job the meteor began—the weakened cliffside under the watchtower’s foundations is about to give way.

A few rounds later, a second tremor shakes the tower. It quickly becomes apparent that this tremor is much more significant. The tower sags southwest, causing everyone in the tower to fall to the ground. A terrible noise like endless thunder grows louder by the moment.

The next round, the ground gives way. The stone tower topples over onto its side, throwing every creature against the (now horizontal) western wall. This throws most everyone to the ground, again.

The round after the tower falls, it begins rolling down the steep slope toward the waters of the lagoon below. Immense cracks begin radiating up along the sides of the tower as it follows a landslide of rock and rubble downward. Everyone inside the tower are carried along for a harrowing ride, but the tower’s shape serves to help slow the fall somewhat. The aliens clinging
to the side of the tower scramble for purchase—some tumble away to join the rocks and dirt on the fall into the sea below, while others cling to the outside of the tower only to be crushed as it rolls over onto them.

Those inside the tower aren’t completely protected. As the tower rolls down the side of the ridge, a few aliens manage to get inside the tower, either through torn-open windows or via the increasing number of large holes appearing in the tower’s magically constructed walls as it continues its violent descent.

At the bottom of the slope, the tower plunges into the sea. The impact is softened by the water, and characters within the tower are automatically knocked prone unless they were bracing on the previous round. This final impact slays a number of cyphermages that had been injured during the harrowing ride to the sea. The tower’s magical construction prevented it from completely collapsing, but enough holes exist now that the waves swiftly rush in. The PCs have little trouble clambering out of the tower and onto the beach. The water here isn’t deep enough to completely submerge the fallen tower, but it is enough to damage the aliens, as the salt water acts as an extremely powerful acid on those creatures. The surviving and conscious aliens thrash
in freakishly silent agony as the salt water eats away at them.

Sam flies the PCs and remaining cyphermages up to the top of the ridge. After a short discussion, the group decides to head out to Zincher’s camp for the hope of shelter against the alien monsters…

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Children of the Void: Part One: The Great Metal Skyrush

As “Children of the Void” begins, Riddleport is on the mend from the destructive climax that closed out the previous adventure. The mysterious shadow in the sky is gone, and the strange events that have been plaguing the city have ended. The falling star that struck Devil’s Elbow is now accepted by both commonfolk and cyphermages alike as having been the cause of these disturbances, and now that it has fallen to Golarion, the feelings of nervous fear have passed.

Indeed, it was the effects of the relatively small (but still destructive) tsunami that hit Riddleport after the star crashed that have been on the minds of the city’s denizens recently. When the wave surged ashore, dozens of ships were beached, with several washed inland and left stranded as far as Wharf Street. Many of Riddleport’s piers were ruined, and several of the smaller buildings along the waterfront were damaged. Over the days following the event, the crimelords and overlord of Riddleport mobilized in a way rarely seen in the lawless city, working together to put out fires, save citizens who were swept out into the harbor, and kill angry and disoriented reefclaws, sharks, bunyips, and other dangerous sea creatures that suddenly found themselves stranded in the city streets.

In the aftermath, the cost of the damage to buildings and structures rises into the tens of thousands of gold, and the total number slain or swept out to sea by the wave may never be known (thanks to the city’s inefficient census practices), although the more conservative estimates place the total number of victims between 150 to 200. Yet despite the disaster, Riddleport is quick to forget the trauma. Those who weren’t directly harmed by the wave have little compassion for those who do, while those who were affected are universally quick to turn the event from disaster into opportunity. In the days and weeks to follow, the chaos on the waterfront makes for ripe grounds for smugglers, looters, and other violent criminals. Ships that were further out to sea return to find many of their competitors no longer in a position to work against them, and the balance of power among the various pirate captains has shifted dramatically (not that many outside of that violent subculture would notice much difference).

In addition, with each passing day, a new greed continues to grow among Riddleport’s citizens—a greed for skymetal. After the initial shock of the falling star and its impact subsided, the implications of the event sunk in. Skymetal, in any of its seven known varieties, is a valued and much sought-after commodity in any society, but with Riddleport’s Gas Forges being one of Varisia’s only public operations capable of smelting such difficult metals, the convenience of the fallen star has many of Riddleport’s groups eager for a chance at the easy money.

Yet the damage done to Riddleport’s waterfront and to many of the ships owned by prominent locals has retarded the burgeoning Skymetal Rush. As the days drag on, the race to be the first to reach Devil’s Elbow slowly takes the city by storm, with those who don’t have access to ships scrambling to secure deals with those who do. But the promise of skymetal is not the only thing that waits on Devil’s Elbow—for at the end of the previous adventure, the PCs likely learned that the falling star was called down by the drow, and that those drow might still be hiding somewhere on the island.

The Gold Goblin Gambling Hall

The adventurers decide, after much deliberation and weighing of options, to sell the Gold Goblin. They find a seller in less than a week who agrees to 8000 gp down and 300 gp a month in payments until paid off.

Kwava’s Request

Once word gets out that a drow was sighted in Riddleport, the Shin’Rakorath moves quickly. Kwava is
contacted by his superiors via animal messenger and is told to follow up on the drow, to find out what she was doing in Riddleport, and to make sure she was the only one active. Kwava’s first step in this mission is to contact the PCs and ask them to share everything they’ve learned about Depora and her plans. Why was she in Riddleport? Does she have allies?

As Kwava learns there are more drow on Devil’s Elbow, he reports the news quickly to his superiors via animal messenger. The reply comes in about 8 hours later via another animal messenger delivery—the Shin’Rakorath wants him to continue his investigation, but urges him to draw upon the PCs as additional aid, particularly in exploring the possibility of there being more drow on Devil’s Elbow. The message goes on to say that the Shin’Rakorath has even gone so far as to arrange for transportation to the island via a ship called the Flying Cloud. They’ll send more agents south to Riddleport to help as soon as they can, but for the immediate future their hands are tied with events in Celwynvian and the Mierani Forest—it could be weeks or even months before they can spare anyone to aid in the investigation of Devil’s Elbow.

Kwava would rather remain in the Riddleport hinterlands at this time so he’ll be available to his superiors should they need to contact him.

The Prospectors

Through excellent use of Diplomacy to gather information, the PCs discover the following information:

  • DC 10—Goldhammer’s Expedition: Since Overlord Cromarcky hired several dwarves to sail out to Devil’s Elbow to gather up as much skymetal as possible for him, everyone’s heard about the interest the dwarves of the Gas Forges have in the fallen star. The dwarves, led by a loud miner named Goldhammer, left for Devil’s Elbow 2 days before the start of this adventure on a ship named the Mithral Wave, which dropped the dwarves off and then sailed on to make a delivery to Magnimar—the plan is to pick up the dwarves on the return trip in a week.
  • DC 12—Slyeg’s Group: Avery Slyeg, Riddleport’s most successful smuggler and black marketeer, was the first to act on the promise of skymetal. With one of his ships not quite in port when the star fell, he was able to move quickly when the Black Bunyip returned to Riddleport. Avery outfitted her quickly, and his group of smugglers and thugs left for Devil’s Elbow 7 days before the start of this adventure.
  • DC 15—Cyphermages: Eager to investigate the island but frustrated by attempts to organize transport (due to a combination of internal bickering and the sabotage efforts of Zincher’s men), the cyphermages finally secured a small group of a dozen or so explorers and secured passage to the island on the Foamrunner, a merchant cog bound for Magnimar. The cyphermages left for Devil’s Elbow 3 days ago. Samaritha Beldusk is among those who travel to the island on the _Foamrunner.
  • DC 18—Zincher’s Group: Clegg Zincher didn’t have the luxury of a ship returning to port, nor did he have Overlord Cromarcky’s finances to rush repairs on one of his own vessels. Nor does he trust his men not to simply gather the skymetal and run with it. Zincher waited for the next pirate ship to pull into port, then personally led a hand-picked crew of toughs down to the waterfront that evening to attack the ship under the cover of night. After murdering the crew and feeding them to the hungry harbor denizens, Zincher and his crew sailed the stolen Dark Pearl out to Devil’s Elbow 5 days before the start of this adventure.

The Flying Cloud

The Flying Cloud is a four-masted vessel built for speed. With a narrow beam, sharply raked stem, and square rig, the distinctive design (itself based on the design of the larger Chelish clipper) gives the ship great speed on the waves when under full sail. The Flying Cloud flies the flag of Riddleport on her mainmast (although the captain keeps a dozen flags in storage and feels no real ties to any one port). Captain Josper Creesy, a relatively young man, seeks to make a name for himself and his ship by setting speed records all along the Arcadian Coast.

Flying cloud   low res

Captain Creesy invites the PCs to dine with him aboard the Flying Cloud the night before they are set to embark—he wishes to get to know them a little and find out why they’re heading to Devil’s Elbow, and during the dinner he all but interrogates them on their goals and plans once they arrive at the island. Captain Creesy’s initial attitude toward the PCs is indifferent—during the dinner Inari and Mr. M charm the good Captain with diplomacy and wit, and he warms to them and his interrogation swiftly transforms into actual conversation. He’s eager to talk about his desire to set sailing speed records between Varisia and Andoran, but admits he’s still months away from making the attempt. A local, Captain Creesy is well-versed in the stories of the region, and if the PCs don’t already know the history of Devil’s Elbow or Virashi’s Curse, Creesy is only too eager to tell them the story of how Yaris’s attempt to settle on Devil’s Elbow fell apart, it is said, due to the siren’s curse. If made helpful, Creesy befriends the PCs and he waives his 50 gp fee to transport them and their gear to Devil’s Elbow.

Creesy and the PCs dine belowdecks in the captain’s cabin, where he treats the PCs to a fine meal of fresh reefclaw and vegetables with warm bread and chilled wine. He makes a quip to them to not get used to such finery once the ship is underway, but for now they should enjoy the meal.

Unfortunately, the PCs’ preparations for the journey to Devil’s Elbow have not gone unnoticed. A group of six saboteurs employed by Clegg Zincher have taken note of the Flying Cloud’s preparation for sail the next morning, and after some well-placed bribes, they learn that it is bound for Devil’s Elbow. While the PCs and Captain Creesy eat, the saboteurs slip onto the ship and begin their dirty work, first subduing the two guards Creesy’s left up topside and then preparing to burn the ship’s sails and rigging.

Erevis and Mr. M hear the soft pop and crackle of a fire coming from above decks and rush to investigate. They discover the ringing and mast afire! There are six strangers standing on the deck, near the boardwalk and pier. The PCs immediately begin to form a bucket brigade with Inari using her newly acquired slippers of spider climbing to get water faster to the others by clinging to the side of the ship. Mr. M, Garrosh and Erevis use buckets to put the fire out. After a few minutes, the PCs and Captain Creesy manage to extinguish the flames with only minor damage, but not before the saboteurs cut the mooring lines and cry out, “Fire! Fire at the docks!”

Only minor damage to the rigging and sails is done to the ship, and repairs consist of a day’s work and 15 gp worth of repair materials.

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Shadow in the Sky: Conclusion

As the adventurers are studying Depora’s journal, a commotion is heard outside. The strange shadow in the sky is gone, replaced by a in the sky. A streak of light arcs down from the sky, a falling star traveling a southward course. Yet the star does not burn out—indeed, the streak lengthens and soon seems almost as if it were hurtling directly at Riddleport. As the streaming light draws near, panic grips the streets, but a moment later the falling star arcs over the city and out to sea, trailing behind it a smoky scar and the sound of thunder.

The star streaks out to the south, reflected by the sea below, and then a moment later it strikes the island of Devil’s Elbow out to sea. A strange false dawn seems to rise to the south as a brilliant blast of light fills the horizon. Several moments later, a tremendous explosion rolls through Riddleport as a powerful earth tremor strikes. This knocks several people to the ground. The quake isn’t enough to destroy buildings, but it is enough to knock some shingles from roofs, shake objects off of shelves, or crack the Sandpoint glass windows in several of the city’s more affluent structures. As the tremor continues, an angry orange ball of fire rises into the sky on the horizon over Devil’s Elbow, spreading in an ominous mushroom-shaped cloud.

By this time, much of Riddleport has gathered at the wharves and southern points of town for a better view of the distant holocaust. A few minutes later, the water of Riddleport Bay suddenly retreats into a bizarre and sudden low tide, revealing several sunken wrecks and flopping fish and more than a few stranded sharks. Inari and Erevis recognize the threat as an indication of an approaching tsunami from the impact. Fortunately the shape of Riddleport’s harbor minimizes the impact of the tsunami, but still, only 7 rounds later, the water comes rushing back in toward Riddleport, a 7-foot-high wall of churning froth that slams into the waterfront with incredible power. Luckily, no one in the party is too close to get slammed by the wave. Several smaller tsunamis strike Riddleport in the surrounding rounds, but these are not severe enough to do much more damage.

In the end, the tsunami deals more damage to Riddleport than the tremor. Dozens of ships are damaged, a few are sunk, but more are left stranded as far inland as Wharf Street. Many of Riddleport’s piers are ruined or damaged, and several of the smaller buildings along the waterfront are destroyed or partially collapse. Over the next several hours, the crimelords and overlord of Riddleport mobilize in a way rarely seen in the lawless city, working together to put out fires, save citizens who have been swept out into the harbor, or kill angry and disoriented reefclaws, sharks, bunyips, and other dangerous sea creatures that have suddenly become stranded in the city streets.

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Part Four: Under the Gold Goblin

The heroes are by now very curious about the stink of troglodyte in the wine cellar, the cooked books in the records room, the mention of smuggler’s tunnels in the deed, and the simple fact that Saul’s stump key opens a hidden trap door leading down into a dark cavern complex. The group decides to rest, recuperate, sell loot and purchase new armor, weapons, and other equipment.

Upon opening the trap door, a sturdy wooden ladder descends 15 feet into a cave.

Entrance to the Water Tunnels

A gaping pit drops away along the eastern wall of this cavern, descending twenty feet to a sloshing pool of water below. The pit’s sides are steeply sloped and slick with moss, but are also covered with many rough ledges and protrusions. A series of wooden ladders and ropes descends along these walls to a ledge below, just around the edge of the pool

The sinkhole descends 20 feet to another sea cave and darkness. The walls are rough and slick. The ladders appear to be fragile, but turn out to be sturdy enough to traverse, but are slightly slick. Luckily no mishaps occur.

Tidal Pool

A sandy ledge sits on the verge of a tidal pool that foams with the surf of the sea. Water marks on the cavern’s irregular walls and the collection of flotsam, small shells, and mussels embedded in the sand attest to the flooding that this cave periodically receives. A tunnel exits on the pool’s opposite side.

Underwater vents connect this chamber to the harbor, allowing changes of the water level as the tides rise and fall. A strong swimmer could navigate the strong currents in the underwater tunnel, but none of the heroes try. As the group travels cautiously forward, they are beset upon by two swamp barracudas that lurk out of sight, one in the southern alcove and the other in the southern passage. The group makes quick work of the barracudas and then march into the darkness…

Still Pool

This small cave holds a still pool. A lack of water marks on the walls indicates no tidal action, and the stony shore is unmarked by debris. Slumped against the wall facing the pool is a skeleton garbed in the rotten tatters of a navy coat. Its hollow eyes stair sightlessly into the pool, and its bony knuckles clutch at a rusty sword blade that protrudes from its sternum.

As the heroes approach, Erevis takes this opportunity to detect the presence of evil, which he finds! They assume the skeleton is animated and proceed cautiously. As garrosh approaches, with greataxe in hand, the skeleton does indeed rise, but its eyes burn with crimson fire, the sword still protruding from its chest as it lashes forward, screaming something inhuman about thieves, pirates and protecting its treasure! Garrosh is struck and feels his life force drained away!
“This is no mere skeleton, it’s a wight!” Inari says as she begins to describe the best tactics and methods of defeating such a monstrosity. Garrosh goes on the defensive as Erevis and Mr. M. use a combination of divine and arcane magic to destroy the wight. After its destruction the party searches the pool to discover a rotten chest containing 380 gp, two large rubies worth 500 gp each, an antique gold idol of an ancient Osirion cat-headed goddess worth 1,500 gp, and a crystal wand of levitate (9 charges).

Sentinel Cavern

This twisting tunnel is thick with hanging stalactites that glitter strangely. They seem to have crystalline veins running through them as well as larger nodes of translucent crystal. A musty, foul stench waf ts from the darkened passage beyond.

The stench is clearly recognizable as troglodyte. The stalactites refract and scintillate the heroes light as they approach. One of the stalactites suddenly flashes in a bright light, dazzling some members of the party and alerting the troglodytes that lay in wait. A huge melee begins. The heroes are astonished at the sheer amount of troglodytes that appear, there must have been more than ten flinging spears and swinging clubs. But the direst power the trogs have in their arsenal is their stench! The more of them there are, the harder it is to overcome. By the end of the battle nearly all of the party is sickened. But they heroes prevail through the liberal use of color spray, knocking the enemy out in large groups. They manage to defeat the trogs and their darkland sentinels (the aberrations that looked like crystalline stalactites). Garrosh makes sure the fallen enemies are slain, which brings a cry of protest from the virtuous Erevis, who believes that all life is sacred, and a debate begins. In the end, it was agreed that creatures such as these, creatures born evil with no possibility of redemption, may be eliminated for the greater good. Erevis later meditates on this question and receives agreement with his pantheon.

A quick search of the bodies reveals clubs, javelins and little else.

Troglodyte Guardroom

This small, close side cavern is heavy with a reptilian stench. A number of pieces of bone and shiny bits of quartz lie on the floor.

This room was empty of anything useful.

Midden

A foul fishy odor intermingled with the sickly sweet smell of rot fills this small cramped chamber. The floor here is uneven and ankle deep in fish scales, bloated clumps of pallid fungus, and a mixture of sludge and gristly bits of bone.

A fungal crawler, a creature that looks to be a mutated cross between a mushroom and a monstrous cricket, attacked Garrosh when he entered the room to search it. Its bite held a nasty poison that sapped Garrosh’s strength and constitution. Garrosh and Erevis defeated the thing with no further injury.

Troglodyte Den

The rough floor of this cave has been overspread with several strange, pebbly hides to form bedding of a sort. The general detritus of habitation covers the floor as well as a number of heavy (and quite empty) glass wine bottles. The same musty stench that pervades the tunnels fills this area as well.

The bedding is composed of darkmantle hide but is relatively worthless. The bottles are all empty wine bottles stolen from the Gold Goblin’s wine cellar.

Collapse

The northern portion of this chamber has collapsed in a tumble of rubble and earth. The collapse partially obscures the chamber but does leave room to access the tunnel exiting to the south.

Tunnel

The floor of the passage descends here in a series of gentle terraces and travels approximately 300 feet. This passage passes directly under the mouth of the Velashu River and then rises into the rocky promontory upon which southwestern Riddleport was built. The rock here is extremely dense, preventing the passage from flooding, but nonetheless the constantly dripping water and puddles seem more prevalent here, gathering in 6-inch-deep pools in many places before draining into tiny cracks in the surrounding rock.

A Piece of Home

This cavern is bathed in a strange orangish-purple glow that seems to reduce visibility rather than increase it, and in fact, seems to inhibit other light sources as well. The glow comes from a number of large rock nodules placed at intervals about the room. The eastern portion of the chamber is occupied by a still, black pool whose surface reflects the strange light.

The crystals provide shadowy illumination that interacts strangely with brighter light, reducing any such brighter illumination down to shadowy levels. Anyone attempting to cast a spell with the light descriptor within 30 feet of the crystal must make a DC 15 caster level check or the effects of the spell are diluted enough to be inconsequential.

Garrosh first enters the room and places his head in the pool, attempting to see how deep the pool is. He is immediately set upon by two gricks, which bite and grab with their tentacles. Inari uses her vast knowledge base of underground creatures and deduces that these aquatic varieties have extremely tuff, rubbery skin that resists any attack not enhanced by magic. She suggests moving to a choke point, so that the party is protected by Garrosh and his magical rapier he looted off of Saul’s body. Using these tactics and supported by the oracle and sorcerer, they manage to defeat the aberrations.

Personal Chambers

This cave is illuminated by strangely glowing crystals protruding from two stony outcroppings that rest on either side of a low natural shelf on the southern wall. This shelf has been converted into a bed of sorts, complete with a luxurious white fur blanket lying rumpled on it, a velvet pillow, and a platinum filigreed footchest. A pair of black boots rests beside the small ledge.

Treasure: The platinum coffer is locked (DC 25 Open Lock—Depora has the key) and is itself worth 1,200 gp. Within it are 12 pp, a black onyx worth 100 gp, a small bag of diamond dust worth 200 gp (for her saw—see area B12), a small bottle of mundane glue, and a brass perfume vial (worth 5 gp) that holds a strange-smelling, slightly unpleasant aroma. The boots are of fine quality drow manufacture, and while not magical, they provide a +2 circumstance bonus on Move Silently checks. The boots are worth 400 gp.

Excavation

This cavern appears to have been recently enlarged at the east end, where a massive, curving stone carving protrudes from the floor, wall, and ceiling. It is covered in runes that appear strangely familiar, and it appears that some of them have been chipped away. A table nearby holds several stoneworking tools and a thin book.

The curving stone symbol-covered wall is a portion of the Cyphergate that soars over the entrance to Riddleport’s harbor—the Cyphergate is indeed a ring that passes through the stone at either end of the harbor gate and travels under the Riddleport harbor to complete its circuit. In a small alcove to the southwest, a wooden ladder leans against one wall, leading up to a 30-foot shaft that leads up to a trap door inside the abandoned watchpost just south of the Cyphergate’s western “base.”

Standing at the table facing the Cyphergate is an elven woman with dark purple skin and silvery white hair. Her eyes are white, pupilless voids. She wears an intricately crafted suit of chainmail and equally exotic weapons, including a hand crossbow fitted with a pair of slender blades she can wield as a dagger.

The strange elven woman whirls around as she detects the approach of the heroes, Garrosh in the lead. She overturns her table and begins to pepper Garrosh with tiny crossbow bolts. Much to Garosh’s dismay, they are coated with drow poison, and he feels sleepiness enter his limbs and head, but summons the strength to resist. Two strange creatures also appear out of the darkness. These creatures’ bloated frames shudder with each heaving step, yet despite their shape, the things move with surprising quickness. Inari recognizes them as dretches, demons from the Abyss. They are resistant to all weapons not made of cold iron or have the holy quality about them. They are also immune to electricity and poison and have heavy resistances to acid, fire, and cold.

The heroes charge into the room, quickly trying to close the gap between them and the drow with the deadly hand crossbow. Inari shouts tactics and assists Garrosh and Erevis with well-placed cracks of her trusty whip. Mr. M., realizing his magic is useless against the unnatural resistances of the dretches, concentrates his dwindling arcane might on the drow. Erevis, low on divine healing magic, is gravely concerned that the group may have met its match. Garrosh does not care, he slashes on, enraged and relentless. His ferocity backs up the lithe drow warrior as she takes massive blow after massive blow of Garrosh’s axe. She quickly realizes that she is outmatched by the party, and retreats up the ladder entering the shaft to the surface. The party gives chase, abandoning the dretches, gibbering and drooling behind them. When the heroes break the surface they find themselves at the base of the Cyphergate, the drow quickly climbing up the side of the structure easily, unnaturally, in fact.

They continue to climb, but slower and deliberately as the climb is difficult and steep. The drow stops at the top, seemingly to wait for something. The group notices that a ship is leaving the harbor, passing directly under the Cyphergate. It will arrive in less than 3 minutes. It appears as if she is going to jump off the gate, 350 feet above the water! They hurry on, and almost as the ship is underneath the structure, Garrosh rushes to attack and connects with a mighty swing of his massive greataxe! The drow succumbs to the onslaught! They quickly grab her body and descend the sheer side of the Cyphergate. A crowd has appeared, watching with awe as the heroes return to the tunnels.

In the tunnels under the Cyphergate and the Gold Goblin, the party is relieved to find the dretches have vacated the area through some unknown means. The tunnels are now safe to traverse once again. Loot consists of a magical suit of mithril chainmail, a magical hand crossbow with poison tipped bolts, a masterwork shortsword, a ring of feather falling, and slippers of spider climbing. Also found is an adamantine chisel worth 1000 gp, and a book written in Undercommon, A journal written by Depora Azrinae. Some of the book seems to be a ledger of sorts that lists all of the money Saul had been funneling to her, along with several notes of what that money was spent on (mostly alchemical supplies, spell components, and exotic food to be shipped to Devil’s Elbow—these shipments were always made at night and by different sailors from whom Depora was careful to hide her true nature). Most of the book seems to be a list of all of the strange and exotic weather effects and other unusual phenomena that have occurred in Riddleport over the past several months. All of these, including the Blot itself, are indicated in the journal as “strange and eldritch side-effects from the charging of the glyphs on Devil’s Elbow,” and that “It would do to further refine the glyphs to minimize such blatant displays lest the enemy receive further warning of the impending apocalypse than we wish to reveal.” The journal goes on to theorize that as soon as the “glyphs are activated and the star is plucked,” the strange side effects such as the shadow in the sky should vanish immediately. The last journal entry indicates that Depora suspects that this event could occur as soon as tonight.

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Part Three: Hidden enemies and Unexpected Allies cont…

Under the Gold Goblin, The PCs follow Saul Vancaskerkin to the underground fighting pit. They encounter a prepared and angry Bojask, Saul’s most trusted pit boss and enforcer. In the ensuing battle, Saul attempts to move into flanking position to capitalize on his sneak attacks, but Bojask keeps trying to put himself in between his boss and the PCs. This provokes a series of curses from Saul. Saul also cusses Bojask out for leaving the boar Pigsaw loose in the sandy bottomed fighting pit below. When the battle is clearly on the side of the heroes, Saul jumps into the fighting pit while Bojask attempts to control the animal. This opens Bojask up to the mighty axe wielded by Garrosh, and falls to the ground, a bloody mess.

Meanwhile, in the fighting pit below, Saul is fending off Pigsaw. His boar makes short work of him, eliciting a number of comments on the irony of the situation. Saul Vancaskerkin is no more!

After the battle the heroes search the Gold Goblin top to bottom, discovering:

  • The Deed to the Gold Goblin in an Iron chest in the night vault. An examination of the deed notes something interesting—the deed specifically states that it does not grant ownership of any smuggler’s tunnels that might exist under the property. This is standard boilerplate text for Riddleport deeds—smuggler’s tunnels are a sort of secret “public works” owned by no one but utilized by many. Not all of Riddleport’s buildings have tunnels below them—but in the case of the Gold Goblin, there are. Note also that in Riddleport, possession of a deed is pretty much all that’s required to own a business—with this deed in hand, the PCs are officially the owners of the Gold Goblin. Also in the vault are 400 gp, nowhere near enough cash for the day-to-day operations for the casino.
  • Distinctive Stink: The wine cellar has a strange funk to it, identifiable as traces of troglodyte musk with a successful DC 18 Knowledge (local) check.
  • Larur’s Remains: Saul had Bojask feed Larur Feldin’s remains to Pigsaw. A DC 15 Search of Pigsaw’s filthy cage uncovers bits of bone and Larur’s signet ring (itself worth 50 gp) mixed in with the boar’s droppings.
  • Records: Area 26 contains the Gold Goblin’s financial records. Anyone who studies these papers for a few hours notes that the majority of these pages are in Saul’s handwriting, and something seems off. A DC 22 Forgery check reveals the truth—most of the profits from the Gold Goblin have been funneled to someone indicated only as “D.A.”
  • Saul’s Key: The key on Saul’s stump, contrary to popular belief, does not open the night vault or any locks within—in fact, its size makes it useless for opening ANY obvious lock in the Gold Goblin. The key unlocks the secret trap door buried under the sand in the fighting pit, which is discovered by Garrosh when he searched the area.
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Part Three: Hidden Enemies and Unexpected Allies

As dawn breaks the morning after the raid on the Gold Goblin, Saul’s prediction about the spreading rumors prove right on the money. Some of the more outlandish rumors even claim the raiders were disguised gendarme officers, which particularly delights the cyphermages, (especially those close to Elias Tammerhawk), who are quick to point out the possibility that some of the raiders might have been direct agent’s of Overloard Cromarcky, which forces the Overlord to come out and publicly denounce the raid on the Gold Goblin, and to assure Riddleport that he has not lent his army best governed by the city’s lords. Ironically, the failed raid seems to have only increased the Gold Goblin’s visibility and prestige in Riddleport.

Saul opens the Gold Goblin for business the next day, only needing minor repairs. Attendance is at its highest since the “Cheat the Devil” tournament. That night Saul calls the PCs into his office for a meeting. He says he has confirmed through his contacts on the street that, while Overlord Cromarcky did indeed make sure the gendarmes were not involved in the raid, he also adjusted their patrols the previous night so that the raiders would have a better chance. This is a sort of good news/bad news situation—it basically means that Overlord Cromarcky isn’t interested in protecting or antagonizing the Gold Goblin, but it also means that Saul and the PCs can expect no aid from him. The fate of the Gold Goblin is in their hands alone.

Vancaskerkin’s greatest fear, right now, is that in the light of the failed raid and the embarrassment caused to his enemies by that failure, those same enemies now have little to lose. If they don’t wipe out the Gold Goblin soon, their own prestige in Riddleport will be permanently damaged. Of course, with the number of thugs the PCs put down the night before, it’ll fortunately be at least several days before their enemies can gather up a new army.

Saul does have one bit of good news, though—his same contacts informed him that their enemies are planning a meeting to work out the final details of an even larger assault on the Gold Goblin—and the meeting is to be held that very night at an old meeting point in the Boneyard known as the Spar. Vancaskerkin himself has used the Spar before as a drop point in his early days and can provide detailed directions to it. He asks the PCs, for the sake of their partnership and their very future in Riddleport, to go to this meeting and scout it out. Saul’s man on the inside is
relatively certain that the meeting itself will consist of only a few capps and thugs, since the crimebosses themselves are worried about possible retaliation from Saul and are currently remaining ensconced in their hideouts. Thus, the meeting should be relatively small—the PCs can sneak up on it, listen, and if it seems doable, take out a few more enemies in the process.

Saul prvides the PCs with detailed instructions on how to reach The Spar and encourages them to leave at dusk so they can reach it unseen and catch all of the conspirators gathered together.

Bonyard Ambush

“The night winds have died and a light mist rises from the
marsh. Ahead is a flickering globe of light centered around a
bit of ship’s rigging protruding from the surface of the water.
This can only be the Spar. Dangling from this boom is a single
lantern providing the illumination for a group of dark-cloaked
humanoids huddled together in the muck beneath.”

Garrosh sneaks ahead and spies the group… He sees that the cloaked figures are actually dummies in disguise, and on one hill to the south, he spies a large swarm of cockroaches. He quietly retreats back to the PCs and informs them of the situation. They all agree to go ahead and confront whatever may be ahead.

Just before the group reaches the dummies, a lone elf appears from behind a bush, an eagle on his shoulder and shouts a warning, “Wererats! Watch out!” and shoots one in the chest. Garrosh charges ahead and quickly becomes overrun by the swarm of flesh-eating cockroaches. Two more wererats appear and sneak attack Garrosh, wounding him near the edge of death, only his orc ferocity saving him. Inari spews forth a tirade of tactics and information relevant to the defeat of wererats. She also creates illusory swarms of rival cockroaches which distract the flesh eating insects and buy precious seconds for the rest of the party to regroup. Mr. M. uses his Light spell to light up various locations around the battlefield, and Erevis casts protection from evil on Garrosh.

The battle is hard. Garrosh limps back to Erevis, the swarm of cockroaches slowly trailing behind. Erevis reaches Garrosh and heals him some, but he needs more, much more. The elven ranger sinks two more arrows into a wererat, dropping him into the marshy swamp face first. ‘M’ attempts to blind and stun the wererats, but two of them resist the magic of the color spray. Inari uses her whip to aid the strange elven ranger in scoring more hits. Apparently the wererats can shrug off any attack not made by silver weapons. They also carry the dreaded lycanthrope disease in their bites!

With the help of the elven ranger, they vanquish their foes. ‘M’ used his elemental rays to disperse the cockroach swarm, and the eleven ranger used his silver arrows to slay all of the wererats.

One of the wererats have a stained, folded piece of parchment in a pocket.
Handout 2

Erevis translates it and determines that it reades as follows:
Handout 3

A New Ally

The strange elven ranger introduces himself as Kwava, and his eagle Ganmeed. He apologizes for not contacting them earlier but grimly notes that now they should realize that they share an enemy—Saul Vancaskerkin. Kwava advises against rushing back to confront Saul about the ambush, instead inviting the PCs to accompany him to his camp, which is located on a low
hill in the copse of trees just south of the Burying Ground. (See Kwava’sentry for his background.)

When they reach his camp, Kwava offers the PCs a simple meal of fruits and venison, and over the meal he outlines his proposal. He explains to the PCs how he came to travel to the region, and what his purpose is in Riddleport. Kwava remains wary and unsure around human settlements,
but does not want to disappoint the Shin’Rakorath on his first important mission for them. He’s
been sneaking into Riddleport after dark for months now, listening to conversations on the streets from hidden vantage points, trailing suspicious characters, and in generally keeping an ear out for rumors of elf sightings. Recently, his investigations have begun to bear fruit, and he has come to suspect that Saul Vancaskerkin has allied with a mysterious benefactor. Yet he has no proof, and furthermore, he has such limited experience with human societies that he fears any attempt to interact with the folk of Riddleport would give his hidden quarry plenty of time to escape.

During his observation of Saul, Kwava has of course become familiar with the PCs. When he followed Saul on a late-night trip to meet with Ziphras to arrange this meeting, Kwava knew something was up. He hid near at the site Saul and the wererats had chosen for the ambush, intending to save the PCs when they arrived in an attempt to secure their aid. He hopes the PCs trust him, and assumes they will return to Riddleport to confront Saul, in which Kwava encourages them to do so. He hopes they agree to fill him in on any information they learn about any “renegade elves” Saul has been harboring or interacting with.

Kwava allows the PCs to rest and recoup at his campsite for a day. They then enter Riddleport to sell loot and purchase upgrades to weapons and armor. This takes another day to complete. On the morning of the third day after the ambush, the PCs head back into town to confront Saul Vancaskerkin!

Back to the Gold Goblin

The PCs head back to the Gold Goblin and march right up to the front door. The place looks closed and boarded up. The PCs then move to the back door, and pick the lock. As they enter they intend to go upstairs, but are confronted by some mercenary bouncers that Saul has hired to replace the PCs. The battle begins! Garrosh is in the front, swinging his greataxe wildly, spittle frothing on his lips as he rages onward. Inari followes with her whip and tactical information. Erevis is next, ready to heal the barbarian as needed. “M” straggles behind and is surprised when a Riddleport Thief drops down from the rafters and sneak attacks him from the rear.

A battle rages in the kitchens of the Gold Gobln. More and more bouncers rush in from the main floor of the casino. Above arrows rain down from thieves in the rafters, the gauzy silk hiding them from view, allowing them to make sneak attacks from above. The group forges ahead, striking down any who approach. They hustle upstairs as the last bouncer falls under the heavy swings of Garrosh’s axe.

Garrosh rounds a corner and is assaulted by the onslaught that is Han’s and Beyar, Sauls personal guards. At that moment, Erevis, who stayed on the first floor, sees (amazingly) Saul drop down from the catwalks above and make for the cellar doors. He shouts out a warning to the rest of the group, but stays back to heal. The group turns around and leaves Hans and Beyar to fight ‘M’. ‘M’ opens up with burning hands,and a fan of flame bursts forth from his open palms. This drops Hans, but Beyar still stands, although singed badly. Inari moves onto the catwalks, followed by Garrosh and try to remove the sniper threat. However, the thieves use the cover of darkness to maneuver into flanking positions, which cause Inari and Garrosh to drop to the safety of the casino floor below.

They then rush across the floor to find Erevis and ‘M’ bashing down the locked door to the cellars. After a few seconds, the door splinters and the party heads downstairs…

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Part Two: On the Job, continued...

The battle for the Gold Golblin continues in this post. The scene begins with the adventurers hearing another commotion in the kitchen area. Erevis was first on the scene to discover a half-orc snapping the neck of a Gold Goblin bouncer, grinning evilly in triumph. This opponent is wrapped in robes and wields no weapons. He is flanked by two humans wielding short swords and leather armor. They quickly go to work on the party. The enemy monk leaps across the room and strikes at Erevis Kail, but luckily Everis is heavily armored. Garrosh rushes to his healers aid, and, with the rest of the party, overwhelms the monk and his his rogue companions.

After searching the intruders, no identifying markes were found, however the group surmises that because there were humans and half-orcs present, that Boss Croat and, perhaps, Clegg Zincher were involved in the raid.

Saul cautions the group to not go after either of the crimelords, as they are still powerful and the failure of the raid will send a message and make them think twice before they try a similar attack soon. The best thing to do is go on as if the raid didn’t phase the Gold Goblin at all – to show Riddleport just how strong they have grown.

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Part Two: On the Job
Week one

This session begins with the PCs working for Saul Vancaskerkin at the Gold Goblin Gambling Hall. Every week each PC makes a few checks (up to 4 hours per day) completing tasks to help the profitability of the Gold Goblin increase.

The Profitability index on the first week starts at -2 gp/week, and falls to —5 gp/week after an abysmal start. In addition, midway through the first week, Clegg Zincher stops by to play a hand or two of Golem. When confronted as to his presence he claims surprise at being singled out, and states that he is here to only “check out Saul’s newest project and meet his newest pals”at which point he nods to the PCs and says, perhaps unnecessarily, “That means you.” He stayed around to play a few more rounds, and leaves a generous tip of 20gp at the door to be split amongst the bouncer and the PCs, “with Clegg’s best wishes.”

Later that night a scullery worker is bitten by a cindersnake that somehow gotten under a washing tub. The PCs rush to the kitchen and make quick work of the snake. Erevis assists the fallen dish washer with healing and first aid to avoid further poisoning. The kitchen maids find a scrap of paper hidden under the tub where the snake was hidden that shows a crude drawing of Saul Vancaskerkin, now with both hands missing and a brief threat scribbled below: “Looking to go two for two, Saul? Pack up, get out of town, and you’ll be fine!” When shown the note, Saul shakes his head but refuses to back down from the threat.

Near the end of the week, something strange happens: Small metal items (including weapons and armor) become slightly magnetized. This imposes a –1 penalty on attack rolls with metal weapons and a –1 penalty to AC to those wearing metal armor. The strange magnetism lasts for 9 minutes

Week Two

On week two, the staff performs better at the Gold Goblin, raising the profit rating back to -1, only slightly cutting into the pay of the PCs. In addition, a new friendly face appears at the door: one pretty and intelligent Samaritha Beldusk, Half-elf Transmuter. She is looking for a job and she is asked to be a waitress/greeter. Most enjoy her presence and she assists in the profitability of the hall.

Vancaskerkin approaches the PCs in the morning and states that the floor manager, Larur Feldin has apparently gone missing. The last Saul knew, Feldin was going to stop by the office of a local moneylender to pay off a chunk of debt that Saul owed. When Larur didn’t show up for work this morning, Saul sent a runner to Larur’s apartment only to discover that his one-bedroom flat was empty—the front door hanging open and its contents burgled, with no sign of Larur at all. Saul fears that Larur might have met with some sort of trouble, and suspects that trouble might have something to do with Lymas Smeed, the moneylender Larur was going to visit.

Vancaskerkin reluctantly admits that one of the ways he was able to finance the Gold Goblin’s refurbishment was by taking out a loan from Lymas Smeed, using the Gold Goblin itself as collateral. The loan itself, Saul sheepishly explains, was for 2,000 gp, and he’s barely been able to pay back any of it. Larur was to pay 500 gp of the loan yesterday evening, the largest payment yet—something Saul’s only been able to afford with the PCs’ help. He further muses that rumors hold that Smeed works for Clegg Zincher, and wouldn’t put it past the man to ask Smeed to do something to Feldin as a warning to Saul.

Vancaskerkin gives the PCs directions to Lymas Smeed’s townhouse on Rat Street, and advises that they begin their search for Feldin there. The PCs stopped by feldin’s house and find that the place has already been claimed as a home by a drunken squatter, the place a shambles, and no clues as to what happened.

The PCs arrive at Lymas Smeed’s flat on Rat Street and perform a quick search of the area around his building. Near the back door is a pile of barrels and old crates containing refuse and garbage. Erevis discovers a poorly hidden green cloak trimmed in sable – Larur Feldin’s cloak, instantly recognizable by the PCs. The cloak itself is slashed and bloodstained. The blood is still fairly fresh.

After much discussion about whether to bash the door in and exact revenge, or peacefully question Lymas Smeed, cooler heads win out and a direct approach is agreed to. Moneylender Lymas Smeed is a disgusting creature; constantly sweating, sporting a patchy beard, and fond of smoking expensive cigars. The interior of his home is far less glorious than one might expect of a man capable of loaning thousands of gold pieces to other businessmen. Lymas immediately assumes the PCs were sent here by Saul to kill him so Saul won’t have to pay back the loan, he refuses to let the PCs in and warns them to “Tell Saul that what he owes me is gonna double if he ever dares send his thugs to my place again!” Lymas doesn’t know where Larur is, and when confronted with the man’s bloody cloak, he denies knowing where it came from, but adds, “If it belonged to one of Saul’s cronies, I say good riddance!”

The PCs leave and another round of heated discussion ensues. Concerning what next to do about Mr. Smeed, the barbarian suggests that he could have smashed in the door by now and been done with all this business. It is finally decided to use subterfuge and disguise to open the door Much to Garrosh’s annoyance. Inari changes her appearance and tricks Smeed into opening the door, it works and Mr. M. stuns him with a color spray. Smeed’s pet baboon jumps into the fray and a small battle takes place on the doorstep to the moneylender’s flat. Of course the heroes are victorious, and search the flat for clues, none were found, and Smeed is questioned. The PCs charm Smeed and he spills the beans on Vancaskerkin’s background, painting a not to pretty picture of the heroes boss. The seeds of doubt are sown. The group decides to let Smeed go, and reports back to Vancaskerkin that Smeed is no longer a threat. However, Saul is disappointed and asks the group to go back and “take care of the problem!” As reward for removing Smeed, Saul will make the group full partners and increase their pay to 25 gp a week, and make one of them floor manager of the casino to replace Feldin.

The PCs ponder what to do next and finally decide to go back to Smeed and convince him to leave town. They use charm and diplomacy, and convince him it’s the best thing for everyone. Smeed leaves town that afternoon.

On their way back to the Gold goblin, all spells cast during a 79-minute period manifest a strange purple mist that incorporates into the magic of the spell – existing spell effects are not affected. The slight mist remains for 4 rounds before rising into the air and evaporating. A DC 20 Spot check is enough to note after several occurrences that the mist rises toward the Blot. The weeks profitability rating increases to -2 gp.

Week Three

About a week or so after the PCs handle Lymas Smeed, Vancaskerkin receives word that a shipment of exotic liquor has arrived at the docks, destined for the Gold Goblin. Saul placed the order many months ago, hoping that it would arrive in time for the Cheat the Devil tournament, but the shipment was delayed by several storms. It currently awaits offloading aboard the cog Foamrunner, which has docked at the wharves and waits for pickup. Saul tasks the PCs with coordinating the transport of the four casks of exotic liquor from the docks to the Gold Goblin—they’re welcome to take up to four of the Gold Goblin’s six bouncers for protection and labor. Saul urges the PCs to hurry, since once word gets out that the rare liquor is in port, he wouldn’t put it past several of the city’s other crimelords, or even the Overlord himself, from attempting to claim the shipment for their own use.

Upon arriving at the Foamrunner, they come upon a scene where a large burly ex-Korvosan Guard named Braddikar Faje, and in the process of bribing the captain to claim the valuable shipment. The PCs confront Faje and a battle begins! Faje blocks access to the boardwalk and slams into Garrosh with a mighty swing of his longsword. Inari jumps onto the liquor transport cart and directs tactics, while she disarms Faje and keeps the thugs busy with her whip. Everis keeps Garrosh healthy with judicious use of healing magic, and Mr. M again stuns and blinds the enemy with excellent use of color spray. The heroes emerge victorious and take home the liquor casks back to Saul and the Gold Goblin!

On their way home, a sudden tidal surge hits Riddleport’s harbor. The uncharacteristically large wave causes minor damage as ships are pushed against the piers and boardwalks strain under the sudden pressure. Water from the wave reaches Wharf Street, and several stevedores and beachcombers are washed out to sea and lost. The PCs rush to aid victims caught in the chaos, gaining some slight damage as they scramble amidst the rubble.

Also, flocks of sea gulls suddenly take to the air and begin flying in a growing cacophonous spiral. This continues for several minutes as large flocks wheel above the city in ever-gathering numbers. Eventually their erratic flight brings them into proximity to the Cyphergate, where they crash into it violently by the hundreds before the few survivors continue their ragged flight out to sea. For the next 2 days, crushed and broken bird carcasses wash up on the beaches around Riddleport and cluster as flotsam beneath the wharves creating a horrible stench over the south portions of the city.

The weeks profitability rating soars and increases to +5 gp/week.

Week Four

Samaritha receives word that a Cyphermage has agreed to take her on as a student. She quits her job here and moves in to the Cypher Lodge. She and the heroes throw a going away party and there is much merriment.

One night, a few days later, just after closing hours, after the last customers of the night are ushered out of the building and the help is cleaning up the mess, the PCs are in the private dining area having a drink and enjoying each other’s company. Suddenly a crash of breaking glass is heard in the main floor of the casino. Upon investigation they find the casino is under attack by humans and half-orcs! A massive battle royale begins! Garrosh wades in with his huge greataxe, swinging wildly and powerfully, enraged. Inari directs the heroes with expert tactics and her trusty whip. Erevis tends the wounded, and Mr. M. supports the fray with mighty magics! After the battle on the main floor is concluded, a second crash is heard as the back door to the scullery is broken down. Another raid group heads up stairs and the group gives chace. Garrosh wonders aloud if the attackers are after Saul and they hurry to aid him. Little do they know that Saul is in the casino vault, counting his gold. After vanquishing three thugs, they head downstairs to find another group of raiders entering in through the rooms for rent area. The group again quickly vanquishes the intruders. But the battle is not over yet! The group does not yet realize their greatest threat yet this evening has to yet enter the Gold Goblin!

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Part One: Cheat the Devil and Take His Gold!
Introduction

Date: 16 Arodus 4708 AR
The adventure begins with four characters, Garrosh Osk, Mr. M, Inari “Rill” Rilvachs, and Erevis Kail. The PCs arrive at the “Cheat the Devil and Take His Gold” Gambling tournament at the Gold Goblin Gambling Hall. Garrosh Osk and Mr. M arrive together as their backgrounds tie together, looking to enter “Into Enemy Territory”. Erevis is “Researching the Blot” while Inari is with Erevis because she is a “Fool for Friends”.

Many games of chance were played and personalities were developed as the evening wore on. Suddenly Erevis and Inari noticed that a girl in leather armor and an eyepatch over one eye dropped some chips on the ground. They also noticed “Eyepatch” wink to four thugs near her and all five of them tensed up and closed their eyes tight. Inari quickly looked around and happened to notice that one of the lavatory doors were open and a wizardly looking man was waving his fingers about. Suddenly a brazier on the other side of the room burst into a brilliant flash of light, blinding most everyone in the room.

“Eyepatch” begins to yell out orders, “All right, folks! Drop to the ground and don’t try anything stupid and we might let you live!” Thugs begin to punch out the blinded guards and the wizard in the lavatory moves to the large golden chest in the center of the crowded room.

The PC begin to act! Garrosh Osk wades in with his huge greataxe, sweeping all around him, enraged, unfortunately his blindness is making anyplace near his vicinity an extremely hazardous place to be. Erevis wisely closed his eyes before the flash happened and takes up his heavy mace to bash in the wizard’s noggin, but holds back a bit to knock him out, not kill. Inari shouts out tactical information and guidance as she moves to defeat a thug, while Mr. M. casts colorful sprays of light that mesmerize and blind anyone unfortunate to be in the area of effect. The battle is over swiftly with only one thug slain, the others captured, looted and interrogated. No PC were injured save for Inari, who ended up with many welts on her head caused by expertly wielded saps.

Interrogating revealed that the wizard, bard (Eyepatch), and thugs were hired by a mysterious stranger to steal the golden chest. They do not know his name, but they were to meet up with him at the docs later that night.

The thugs were hauled off to Maskyr’s Island to be held by Overlord Cromarcky’s men, the Gendarmes.

Saul Vancaskerkin, owner of the Gold Goblin Gambling Hall, is impressed with the groups courageousness, offers them partial partnership in the gambling hall, and sets them up with jobs to do. It takes the crew a few days to clean the hall up and start business again.

On 18 Arodus, the Gold Goblin Gambling Hall is up and running again. While on spot duty, Garrosh Osk spots some ruffians enter the establishment. These disgruntled thugs are drunk and feel jilted out of their losses in the tournament held recently and are here to cause trouble and demand their gold back. Erevis tries to talk them down, but the thugs are determined to stir up trouble and begin throwing punches.

Again, the PCs make quick work of the ruffians. Saul Vancaskerkin makes a speech, publicly declaring that the Gold Goblin is under new management and protection and that any spy of the other crime bosses needs to take note and leave the Gold Goblin alone.

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