Table of Contents
- Adventure Background
- Adventure Summary
- Adventure Hooks
- Getting Started
- Act One - The Race Begins
- 1. A Raucous Night
- 2. Patronage
- 3. Preparation
- 4. Race to The Knee
- 5. Over The Knee
- 6. The Salt Mine (CR 4 or 6)
- 7. Two Trails to Take
- Act Two - Cherr's Landing
- Act Three - Return to Svest
- Future Adventures
- Experience Awards
- New Magic Items
Embroiled in a struggle between two rival merchant houses, the party races to assemble and escort a valuable load of cargo to a commerce-starved city.
Each year a trading caravel braves the strong currents and sea monsters around Vladen Point, making its way from Cherr's Landing to bring supplies and pick up the year's silk production from the isolated settlement of Svest. The normal trading routes over a mountain range, The Knee, make it difficult to carry goods in bulk into the Vladen Peninsula; the ship is a critical lifeline. Svest celebrates its arrival each spring with a festival.
This year's celebration promises to be the best ever. The discovery of elven ruins in the unexplored wilderness of the peninsula has attracted a number of adventurers, and the town is braced for a boom time. The two competing merchant houses in town each look forward to greater prosperity—along with more opportunities to frustrate their rivals.
Sadly, disaster has already struck—in the eye of a late winter storm, the yearly caravel was attacked by a colossal sea monster. Much of the ship's crew was lost to the beast's great tentacles; the survivors could not save it as the storm broke once again on the hapless vessel.
The town receives word of the tragedy from a lone survivor, blown hundreds of miles by the storm. The race is on to get word to the far side of the mountains and assemble a relief caravan to cross back over. The loss of the ship means that any goods that do make it over the hump will yield great profit. The survival of not only of the merchant houses but the very town itself is dependent on those willing to brave the journey.
After an overland journey that crosses the mountain range at the neck of the Vladen Peninsula known as The Knee, the PCs arrive at Svest with the spring festival in full swing. The exuberance with which they join the celebration determines how much information they collect, and what shape they are in the following day. News that the supply ship has been sunk arrives the following morning. The PCs find a merchant patron and make hasty preparations to leave town, immediately becoming aware that a rival group has been engaged by the competition. The PCs must balance time spent in preparation with getting on the road swiftly; all while the competition seeks to disrupt their plans.
In Cherr's Landing the PCs assemble their caravan, adding any enhancements they can afford. Roleplaying encounters with the caravan leaders, town officials and merchants—as well as moves by their rivals—put pressure on the party. Their competitors attempt to block their moves with assassination, economic and legal pressures, and outright attack as the PCs leave town for the return trip. As before, time is limited: tasks must be chosen carefully for maximum return.
The return trip provides an opportunity for the PCs to complete the side encounters bypassed on outward leg of the trip. Back in Svest, the PCs take their profit and their rewards.
An adventure flowchart is included to track the PCs progress, as well as player handouts to ease in tracking the caravan's cargo and end profit calculations.
- The PCs have heard the rumors of elven ruins discovered in the Vladen Peninsula.
A half-elven smith named Talenthal Bridaran resides in Svest. He is known to use ancient elven techniques to craft mithral arms and armor.
The young settlement of Svest and the unclaimed tracts of wilderness in the Vladen Peninsula provide opportunities for adventurers who wish to carve out their own territories.
The PCs arrive in Svest while the Festival of the Ship is in full swing. Their journey into the Vladen Peninsula took them over the low pass through The Knee.
A journey of many weeks comes to close as you arrive in the town of Svest. An earthen rampart and log palisade surround the town, but the front gates are thrown wide open. Banners, flags, and kites fill the air, and the sound of unadulterated celebration reaches your ears as you pay the gate toll into town.
Reynauld (the gate guard) sizes the party up and correctly identifies them as adventurers. He comments that the town is getting lousy with fortune hunters, and warns PCs looking to buy supplies or items to do so at this time. The craftsmen and merchants of the town are winding up the work day to join in the celebration.
Act One - The Race Begins
1. A Raucous Night
The festivities are in full swing as the yearly trade caravel is due any day. The townspeople speak of the supplies they will lay in for the coming year, and look forward to the luxuries the ship will provide.
During the celebration the party learn clues useful in assembling a profitable cargo, as well as information about the town itself. PCs succeeding on a DC 11 Gather Information/Diplomacy or Knowledge (local) check may roll on the Celebration Events Table once (plus one additional roll for every 5 they exceed the skill check by). Failure by more than 5 results in a random piece of information from the Town Background Table. PCs who fail by 5 or less may earn a roll by making a successful DC 15 Skill check on a random skill (representing being drawn into conversation, game or competition). If possible, relate the rumor earned to the skill check rather than rolling randomly on the Celebration Events Table. A PC may seek to test a specific skill by increasing the DC to 20. Some examples of skill check challenges are included, but are by no means comprehensive.
Scaling - Small Groups
For groups of 4 reduce the initial Gather Information/Diplomacy check DC to 9.
The mood in the common room of the One-Eye Blind Inn is subdued. Perhaps it is the pounding in your head, but the porridge is tasteless. Indeed, on closer inspection, it is simply boiled oats, without a even sprinkle of salt to season it. Quite unlike the fare from the evening before. When asked for bread, the innkeeper replies, "no flour for bread mates!"
News of the trading vessel's loss arrived in town while the PCs slept—a sailor from The Swiftsure drifted into town on a waterlogged hatch early in the morning. The settlement is already on short commons in anticipation of a hard year.
PCs who failed their Fortitude saves during the celebration begin the day fatigued.
As the PCs collect their wits, they are approached by each of the town's principal merchants. Both lost significant cargoes on the ship, and must reclaim not only their own fortunes, but those of the townspeople as well. They both seek to hire a band willing to assemble a relief caravan via the overland route, but the character of each man is decidedly different.
Mishka Edeernald approaches the party directly, seeking them out in the inn. He is a thoughtful, soft spoken man who truly cares about the future of the town (Sense Motive DC 15). He can provide the PCs with a 10,000 gp letter of credit for the task, and promises 500 gp each on completion of the mission—plus 50 % of any profit.
Ghraeme Kolder sends his bodyguards to fetch the adventurers (although if they refuse to come, he grouchily seeks them out)—PCs recognize him if they saw him shaking down the silk weaver the previous night. Kolder is falsely ingratiating and concerned solely with his own profit (Sense Motive DC 15). He holds a letter of credit for 12,000 gp, and promises the party 400 gp each on their return plus 60% of any profit.
Kolder's contract includes tricky legalese: PCs who fail a DC 18 Decipher Script/Linguistics check miss an important clause that causes them to forfeit their profit share at the conclusion of the adventure. If they succeed on the check Kolder sputters about it being standard language (+11 Opposed Bluff check) but changes the contract to a guaranteed 40% profit share.
Both merchants seek to steal a march on the competition and suggest the PCs balance their preparation time with a swift start to their journey—the first caravan to reach the beleaguered town will surely yield the best profits. They answer questions as best they can and offer some guidance on the possible preparations the party might make in Encounter 3.
The party’s success (profit) is determined by two factors: how quickly they return with a cargo and the total trade value of the cargo. Throughout the course of the adventure, the PCs may earn or lose speed and trade points.
By the time the adventurers have found a patron it is mid-afternoon. The party may leave immediately, or may take up to three blocks of time to make preparations (afternoon, evening and night). Each PC may attempt one task (or aid another) per block. Reminder: Both merchants speak knowledgeably about these preparations in Encounter 2 above. The players should be clear what preparations they may make.
The rival adventurers seek to confound the PCs in certain tasks.
Obtain Original Cargo Manifests: This document (see Player Handout 1) gives the party an overview of possible cargoes. Obtaining the manifest earns the PCs 1 trade point.
Availability: Afternoon, Evening, Night
Rivals: A DC 19 Spot/Perception check keeps the rivals under observation so they are unable to steal the documents before the PCs can get them. If the documents are stolen, an extra time block is required to compile a new list from notes and journals.
Validate Insurance Papers: A successful insurance claim in Cherr's Landing provides additional funds. A DC 20 Diplomacy check (-1 for every 100 gp in bribes) is required for the notary to expedite the process—if not, the claim takes two time slots to validate.
Availability: Afternoon, Evening, Night (completion of papers only)
Rivals: If this task is not accomplished in the afternoon, the rivals bribe the notary to delay other claims, increasing the starting DC to 23.
Change Money: The merchant's letters of credit can be exchanged for Klavekian Trade Scrip here in Svest.
Rivals: Their rivals hand out bags of coppers to a dozen teens to exchange into silver. Unless the PC convince the teens (DC 15 Diplomacy check) to let them trade out the copper (adventurers pay 50 gp and get back 2,000 cp), the teens gum up the line, and the money changer closes shop before the PCs can make the exchange.
PCs may attempt to break into the vault during the night (but not evening) with a DC 16 Hide/Stealth check followed by a DC 25 Open Locks/Disable Device check to enter the bank. The vault's lock is tougher (DC 30), and trapped. The vault contains 12,000 gp in Klavekian Trade Scrip and 1,500 GP in assorted coin. Removing more funds than the PCs have a note for is an evil act, and may have repercussions if the PCs are identified as the thieves.
Hire Horses: The party must make a DC 16 Handle Animal or Survival check to obtain the best horses on offer. PCs pay market rates to purchase the horses, although the hostler says he will buy them back when they return (minus 10%). The party might wish to purchase additional horses in case of loss or to carry extra gear or food—there are enough horses to purchase one remount or pack animal for each PC, and the purchaser may select a combat trained animal if he desires. Obtaining the best mounts earns the party one speed point.
Rivals: As the PCs make their way to the stables, one of their rivals rolls a barrel into the street and shouts "Last of the Firehouse Ale mates! It’s on me!" A DC 15 Escape Artist or Intimidate check permits a PC to move through the crowd swiftly—if not, they lose the race to the stables, allowing their rivals to obtain the best mounts. Adventurers that track down Shayla with a DC 12 Gather Information/Diplomacy or Knowledge (local) check can distract the stableboy during the evening or night and make off with the best mounts, turning the tables on their rivals.
Collect Information on Profitable Items: Roll again on the Celebration Events Table as per Encounter 2 (although no second chance skill check applies). The GM may need to reword the boxed text to reflect the ongoing anxiety in town.
Availability: Afternoon, Evening, Night (-4 to skill check)
Rivals: No Opposition
Carry Sample Cargo or Quilted Silks on Outbound Leg: A sample of goods produced locally weighs 50 pounds and helps convince the Caravan Masters to make the trip to Svest. Their patron also has 5 quilted silks (15 lbs. each) in stock. If the PCs can sell them in Cherr's Landing they can add the money to their caravan stake.
Availability: Afternoon, Evening, Night; it takes a separate action to prepare either the samples or the quilted silks.
Rivals: The rivals sabotage the pack containing the quilted silks or the sample case, requiring a DC 16 Handle Animal or Knowledge (engineering) check to keep the animals from panicking when it slips off or fix the problem before it comes to light—if not, the PCs lose one speed point.
Visit the Mapmaker: The party may buy maps of the area from the half-orc mapmaker. A DC 15 Knowledge (geography) or Survival check indicates the PCs purchase a complete set of maps—if not, their 50 gp spent yields them an incomplete set.
Availability: Afternoon, Evening
Rivals: If the PCs wait until evening to purchase the maps, their rivals have stashed the hogtied mapmaker in a closet and Brint impersonates an apprentice (Spot/Perception DC 36 vs Brint's disguise or Sense Motive DC 24 to realize he is hiding something—a DC 12 Will save is allowed following a successful Sense Motive check to penetrate the disguise; if successful the Spot/Perception check is reduced to 26) and sells the PCs a set of false maps for 50 gp. If unmasked, Brint jumps off the balcony of the mapmaker's third floor apartment. He wears a snapleaf, which cushions his fall and turns him invisible to make his escape.
Visit the Mage: The drunken mage is desperate to sell his supply of scrolls at 50% of their market price. PCs may resell them in Cherr's Landing for 70% (or more) of their market price, or simply keep the well-priced scrolls for themselves. The wizard has two 3rd-level scrolls, four 2nd-level scrolls, and six 1st-level scrolls (all CL 5th, market price 125 gp) available. There is a 75% chance per scroll a PC may specify the arcane scroll desired, otherwise roll randomly to determine the spell.
Availability: Afternoon, Evening
Rivals: No Opposition—but if the PCs arrive in the afternoon, it takes a lesser restoration or through the evening time slot to sober the wizard up enough to do business. He is totally insensible at night.
Delay or Sabotage the Competition: The GM may allow a creative player latitude to come up with a plan to delay their rivals—turnabout is fair play, after all. Using the above examples guidelines, allow a PC to make an appropriate skill check (DC 16-19) based on her role playing to gain one speed point. Note: Directly attacking their rivals will bring the law down on the party (Knowledge, local DC 5) and may result in total failure of the mission—even at night there are too many possible witnesses. If the players are bent on this course of action, a Knowledge (geography) check DC 5 informs them that if they get out of town, there may be a better place to ambush their rivals on the road (the first opportunity is after they cross the ferry).
Availability: Afternoon, Evening, Night
Rivals: PCs must make a DC 19 Hide/Stealth check to find an unobserved moment in the afternoon and evening to make an attempt; at night they must merely succeed on the appropriate skill check.
Rest: PCs may spend a time block resting to recover from fatigue. Each block spent counts as 4 hours of complete rest.
Availability: Afternoon, Evening, Night
Rivals: No Opposition
4. Race to The Knee
The first part of the journey sees the PCs race to the mountain passes at the neck of the Vladen Peninsula. Use the flowchart to track progress. The party should be aware that diverting from their path may cost them time. Some encounters include time for the adventurers to rest and recover from fatigue.
4-A The Wine Merchant
Preceded by: Exiting Svest in the evening, night or morning
Adjust the read aloud text for the time of day.
Smoke from [the flames of] a small fire is visible a few hundred yards from the trail. Its source is partially obscured by small grove of trees. A high pitched keening carries on the wind to your location.
The high-pitched keening is recognizable as a very off-key rendition of a local tavern song with a DC 22 Listen/Perception check, otherwise it echoes eerily. Bill Vintner celebrates in the small grove and welcomes the PCs to dinner, a drink and song, or breakfast as the case may be. He is slightly tipsy, and if questioned about his good mood he tells the PCs that this day he sold his wine. No longer will he be known as Blackstrap (a nickname for cheap red wine). After the festival, he left town dejected, but a few hours later a messenger arrived with an order for the year's production for a local wedding. Soon all in town will know that he has at last crafted a fine vintage.
PCs catch 4 hours of rest after speaking with Bill Vinter, or if approaching in the morning, 4 hours prior to reaching the jolly craftsman.
Development: Advance to 4-B.
4-B. The Ferry Chase
Preceded by: Exiting Svest in the afternoon or 4-A.
Following the Vladen River upstream, you estimate you are within a short distance of the ferry that will provide transport to the far side. As you round a bend, a trio of horsemen just upstream note your appearance. They spur their mounts and race ahead toward the ferry landing.
The team containing the initial winner of the chase may convince the ferryman to wait for any laggards. Opposed Diplomacy or Intimidate checks are required each round as party members continue to advance one card. A complete party gains a +2 bonus each round the ferry is delayed by slowpokes. The ferryman refuses bribes, saying it is no great loss to wait one's turn. Intimidation impacts the boatman's actions in The Ferryman's Revenge.
The GM's version of the chase cards includes the competition's skill check (including speed bonus) and dismounted options for PCs on foot if applicable. If skill modifiers for both checks are included, the NPC attempts to advance three cards. Mounts and led animals advance on the strengths of their rider's effort, using the PCs skill bonuses. The base distance per card and baseline speed of this chase is 40 feet.
Development: Winning the Ferry Chase advances the PCs to 4-C. Losing the chase advances the PCs to 4-D, as once across the river, their rivals sever the rope that drives the ferry, and the raft begins to drift downstream.
Note: If the PCs initiate combat with their rivals, statistics for the competition are provided in Encounter 5-D. Any violence witnessed by the ferryman adjusts his attitude during The Ferryman's Revenge as if he had been intimidated by the PCs.
4-C. A Head Start
Preceded by: Immediate exit from Svest or 4-B
Crossing the river is a simple matter. After negotiating with the ferryman, you and you beasts are loaded on a flat-bottomed raft. He and his son pull the raft across the river by hauling on a thick hemp rope that stretches from bank to bank. Once across the water, you realize that cutting the ferry rope will delay any who wish to use it until the rope is re-rigged, although it might be hard on the ferryman.
Development: Award the PCs one speed point for beating their rivals across the river.
Cutting the rope earns an additional speed point, but the ferryman will have his revenge on the return trip.
PCs may rest after this encounter.
Development: A few miles up river, the PCs find a likely spot to set an ambush for their rivals. If they do so, the statistics for Brint, Jillak and Freya are found in Encounter 5-D. PCs who successfully stop their opponents should advance to Scene 5 - Over the Knee. If one or more rivals escapes the trap, advance the PCs to 4-F. The PCs lose one speed point waiting in ambush.
If no ambush is set, advance the PCs to 4-E.
4-D. The Ford Crossing
Preceded by: 4-B.
After their rivals sabotage the ferry, the ferryman yells across the river that there is a ford half a day's ride upstream.
Finding the ford requires a DC 16 Survival or Knowledge (geography) check. PCs with a set of complete maps from the half-orc mapmaker gain a +4 circumstance bonus to the check while an incomplete set gives a +1 bonus. PCs with a false set suffer a -4 circumstance penalty to the check.
Failure on the skill check puts the party at risk as they attempt to navigate the river at a false crossing. A DC 15 Handle Animal or Ride check is required to prevent a mount or pack animal from being swept into the current (DC 15 Balance/Acrobatics check for dismounted PCs). Any creature in the water must succeed on DC 15 Swim check to make progress against the current—failure by 5 or more means being dragged under. Remember to apply the -3 and -6 check penalties for medium and heavy loads. Ponies have a Swim skill of +1, riding dogs, +2, light horses +3 and heavy horses +4. An animal that fails three consecutive swim checks is drowned —PCs (and animal companions) should play their struggle out round by round.
Development: Advance the PCs to 4-E.
4-E. Helping a Halfling (CR 6)
Preceded by: 4-C, 4-D, 5-B or 15.
Blood stains the trail ahead. A large number of tracks mingle with patches of drying gore.
Retreating from an ambush by a pair of bugbear teens out to make a name for themselves, the druid Kipya stumbled upon a bear trap and is now caught; the monsters are closing in.
PCs identify the footprints as a single halfling and three goblinoid creatures mixed in amongst various woodland animal tracks with a DC 15 Survival check; faiure by 5 or less does not allow the PCs to identify the creatures, but does reveal that two creatures stalked a small humanoid as it fled into the woods. A DC 15 Spot/Perception check discovers the corpse of a slain red fox in the scrub near the edge of the initial ambush site. The fox has green ribbons woven into its fur—any PC who watched Kipya's menagerie perform at the festival recognizes the fox as one of the diminutive performers, although the corpse is now normal sized.
The party must dismount to follow the trail under low hanging branches. They come upon the trapped druid surrounded by the three youths after 30 minutes travel. A DC 17 Listen/Perception check means the PCs hear taunts in both goblin and common (the bugbears are telling the halfling what they will do to her family while they make her watch) prior to reaching the confrontation. Forewarned adventurers may approach with Stealth.
There is a 30% chance a PC (roll for each character) will stumble upon one of the bear traps during their approach, although adventurers looking for traps or an ambush (or who have the trapspotter rogue talent) may make a Search/Perception check to avoid the trap. Springing a trap alerts the bugbears.
During the fight, the bugbears attempt to draw the PCs over any remaining bear traps using the Bluff skill (they have a -1 to their check); adventurers that fail to see through the ruse with their Sense Motive checks do not realize the danger. If a PC succeeds on the Sense Motive check, allow them to make a free Search/Perception check to avoid a trap (although the DC to locate the trap is increased to 20 due to the distractions of combat).
Scaling the Encounter For APL5 parties, add one bugbear and one additional bear trap to the encounter.
Development: If the PCs ignore this encounter, they gain one speed point (and Kipya makes a series of brutal concentration checks to entangle the bugbears and summon aid—eventually driving them off). Advance them to Scene 5. A second chance at this encounter follows Encounters 5-B and 15. Ignoring these second chances earns a speed point as above, but means the PC lose out on the treasure.
Development: If proceeding from 4-C or 4-D the PCs may rest in the Druid's grove, then advance to 4-F.
4-F. A Fork in the Road (CR 5)
Preceded by: Ford Crossing, Sabotage the Ferry
The road ahead forks. The more traveled path to the north takes you to the low pass over the mountains, with which you are familiar. A disused trail leads to the west, where rumors say a quicker way over The Knee may be found by those willing to brave the high pass. On a hill next to the fork, stacks of cut timber from a nearby logging camp are covered in a thin layer of late winter snow.
The rival band has set a trap in an effort to slow down the PCs as they reach the fork. Their intent is to kill, cripple, or lame the adventures or their mounts.
A DC 20 Search/Perception check notes a set of small booted tracks leading to the stack of logs, and that some of the snow is disturbed on top.
Development: After a night’s rest, advance to Scene 5.
5. Over The Knee
PCs attempting the high pass gain one speed point if they got directions from Kipya Mulberry. Otherwise they may earn a point by making a DC 16 Survival or Knowledge (geography) check. PCs with a set of complete maps from the half-orc mapmaker gain a +4 circumstance bonus to the check, an incomplete set gives a +1 bonus. PCs with a false set suffer a -4 circumstance penalty to the check.
PCs following the low road advance to Encounter 5-C.
Encounters in this scene should be run in the course of a single day, even if the adventurers end up doubling back. If the party rests, warn them that there is still plenty of ground to cover; if they insist, deduct one speed point and move on the following day.
PCs also have a chance to earn a speed point for this scene based on their current average speed.
Average Party Speed
|35 feet or greater||+1 Speed Point|
|30 feet||+0 Speed Points|
|Less than 30 feet||-1 Speed Point|
5-A. One-Eye's Vengeance (CR 6)
Preceded by: PC traveling the high pass.
The trail hugs the mountains into the heights. Its left hand side of the path keeps you close to the uphill slope. A mere 5 feet away to your right, the mountain falls off just as steeply. An occasional pile of loose rubble and dirt indicates erosion from the slopes above, although the roots of pines strengthen the bank—no major slides appear to have occurred on this stretch of trail in some time.
An alcove in the mountainside provides a lone cyclops a spot to ambush those intruding on his domain. The last of a line of giants descended from the Cyclops Raids a century past, it is bitter in his solitude and seeks vengeance on all who come within reach.
A large dead tree masks the alcove and tilts to expose the entrance. A DC 20 Search/Perception check calls attention to the tree, allowing action in the surprise round (the cyclops uses his action to tilt the tree).
If possible, the cyclops waits until half of the party has passed by his hiding place before striking, using Power Attack and Great Cleave to savage as many creatures—including horses—as he can. He uses his Flash of Insight special ability to "roll" a 20 on his initiative, netting a 19 after applying his negative modifier. When staggered and under the effect of his Ferocity quality he attempts to bull rush creatures off the trail onto the downhill slope.
Any unconscious or slain creature on the mountain trail converts its squares to difficult terrain.
Development: Advance the PCs to 5-B, or if the cyclops is encountered on the return journey, to Encounter 16: The Ferryman's Revenge.
5-B. The Rope Bridge
Preceded by: 5-A
A 50-foot chasm was once bridged by a solid stone overpass, but the ancient structure has crumbled away. A flimsy looking bridge consisting of a single foot rope connected to two hand ropes with crisscrossing support cables spans the gap.
Crossing the bridge requires a DC 9 Climb check. Winds whipping through the chasm prevent a PC from taking 10. Overburdened PCs may suffer a weight check penalty. Falling into the chasm results in a 60-foot drop to the bottom. Scaling the walls of either side is a DC 15 Climb check.
Four-legged animals may not negotiate the rope bridge or the cliffs. PCs have the option to abandon their animals, turn back to the lower pass, or use magic to get across the bridge. Spells such as spider climb or levitate allow a creature to negotiate the chasm, ignoring the bridge. Animals (and their equipment or cargo) may be affected by the reduce animals spell, allowing them to be carried across the bridge. If using the special scrolls from Kipya's cache, two reduce animal spells may be stacked on the same creature with a DC 17 Spellcraft check. PCs may carry up to two reduced animals at a time by creating a harness with a DC 12 Use Rope/Disable Device or Profession (sailor) check.
Development: Crossing the bridge advances the party to 5-D. Turning back costs the PCs two speed points. If they have already rescued Kipya Mulberry (4-E) advance them to 5-C. If they have not encountered Kipya, run encounter 4-E. If they end up rescuing Kipya and return to the chasm armed with magic to bypass the rope bridge, they earn back one of the lost speed points; otherwise advance to 5-C.
5-C. Bugbear Raiders (CR 5)
Preceded by: PCs choosing the low pass over The Knee or if turned back from 5-B.
Three bugbear raiders seek their overzealous sons. A DC 26 Spot/Perception check winkles them out from behind their cover as they launch their Javelins, allowing action in the surprise round. The bugbears start the combat with a +2 bonus to Hide/Stealth from cover, and +4 for distance, as they lie in wait 40 feet off the main road.
Development: If encountered on the outbound leg, advance the PCs to 5-D. If encountered on the inbound leg, for every round after 3 that the combat continues, roll once as per Stolen Cargo on the Random Caravan Events Table as additional raiders hit the caravan while the PCs are distracted, slipping past the guards and cutting some of the animals out of the pack.
5-D. Ambush (CR 6)
Preceded by: 5-B or 5-C
The trail widens ahead to a fair sized overlook. Stalled in the road are a number of horses, a human, a half-orc, and a half-elf. They are your rivals. The half-orc turns his head to you and says, "roight I say, that's enough of that!" before going for his bow.
Tired of delaying tactics, the rivals resort to direct force. The three are well schooled in hit and run tactics, and use whatever means they can to create a diversion in the first round (Freya casts obscuring mist or entangle, Jillak and Brint spook the horses to provide cover to make Hide/Stealth checks, taking to the wooded hills. The trio then uses stealth and sniping to split the PCs up and concentrate on single targets when possible. They come to each other's aid when cornered and are not above using an action to buff up rather than making an attack.
Advance the PCs to 5-E.
Preceded by: 5-D
A significant landslide blocks the path ahead. After testing the stability of the rubble, you pick your way through to the far side of the blockage. Halfway across the debris field an opening in the side of the mountain catches your eye—a tunnel has been revealed by the fallen rocks.
The tunnel bores through the mountain itself. It slopes slightly uphill, but PCs entering 200 feet into it see a small speck of light far off in the distance. Two halves of an iron casing (shaped like a three-foot long torpedo) lie discarded in the rubble. The casings are inscribed with arcane glyphs and are identifiable as an expended tunnel bore (new magic item) with a DC 20 Knowledge (arcana) check. This item was invented by the skilled mage-engineer Midya Merochek, a hero of the Cyclops Raids a century past. The wizard led a battalion of special troops instrumental in winning the war of maneuver against the enemy; the mage had a solution for every terrain obstacle. His troops were known to bridge chasms and rivers in the blink of an eye, clear roads through forests at the pace of a man's walk, and haul supplies far in excess of standard loads. The mage and the battalion were reported lost just as the final victory was at hand.
The tunnel clearly leads back into the mountain range the PCs have just crossed, away from their destination of Cherr's Landing. It exits into a hidden vale, deep in The Knee.
Development: PCs who elect to follow the tunnel through the mountain advance to Scene 6 - The Salt Mine. PCs who stay the course to Cherr's Landing advance to Scene 7 - Two Trails to Take and earn one speed point.
6. The Salt Mine (CR 4 or 6)
Once on the far side of the original tunnel the tattered remnants of half a dozen lost battalion uniforms lie buried in some disturbed rubble. Mixed amongst the human bones are the skeletal structures of three spider eaters, identified with a DC 17 Knowledge (arcana) check. Examining the remains of a skeleton wearing a mage's garb reveals that the deceased creature's ribcage was shattered—likely from within. Though aged, scorch marks on the cave entrance and rubble are identifiable as burns from magical damage.
Midya Merocheck and her followers tunneled right into a nest of spider eaters. A brief firefight ensued and a misdirected spell brought down the tunnel behind them (erosion and time eventually cleared this end of the tunnel in the same fashion as on the far side). The mage then succumbed to the venom of the spider eaters and without her arcane support, the survivors fled. Impregnated with a spider eater egg, the mage perished when the hatchling exploded from her chest some weeks later. A DC 15 Knowledge (arcana) or Knowledge (history) check gives the likely identity of the mage and her troops. A DC 12 Knowledge (nobility) check indicates that it is likely any survivors from this battle retreated to a more defensible position—a series of caves in the mountainside on the far side of the vale is a likely spot (a few hours march away).
From within one of the caves the final survivors of the lost battalion attempted to flee the valley by boring a new tunnel through the mountains. Their first tunnel drove into a vein of salt, and as they set up a second tunnel bore, a nest of salt worms burrowed out of the vein and attacked. The dried husks of the nine victims remain preserved in the dry air of the tunnel (along with their equipment).
A tunnel similar to the one accessing the valley drives into one of the cavern walls. 120 feet into the passage the walls shift from solid stone to a white mineral: solid salt—white gold. 60 feet ahead a dozen humanoid forms are visible at the blank face of the tunnel.
Hazard: After four hours in the salt mine a DC 16 Fortitude save prevents dehydration. A dehydrated creature takes 1d6 non-lethal damage and gains the fatigued condition. Consuming one gallon of fresh water (which takes 5 minutes) cures 6 points of non-lethal damage, but 8 hours of rest is required to remove the fatigue.
Creatures: Mining the salt attracts salt worms after four hours. Gauge how many creatures to include (1-3) based on when the PCs choose to mine salt. If the PC mine salt at the end of the day after a long day of combat, only one worm appears. If the PCs are mining salt on their return trip and this is the only encounter for the day consider sending 2 (CR 6) or even 3 worms (CR 7) at the party.
Development Mining salt costs one speed point for every day spent on site. Any mined salt not removed from the caves is consumed by salt worms unless stored in wooden containers. If the PCs have to mine salt a second time because salt worms ate their previous efforts, the aberrations may make a second appearance.
7. Two Trails to Take
Once over The Knee, the party must choose whether to take the inland road or the coastal road to Cherr's Landing. From what they know of the area, the coastal road is shorter than the inland road and skilled riders can travel it even more quickly. The inland road meanders and often requires good survival skills to avoid getting lost.
PCs choosing the coastal route advance to 7-A: Shipwreck. Taking the inland road advances them to 7-B: Boar Attack.
The party also has a chance to earn a speed point for this scene base on their current average speed.
|Average Speed of Party|
|35 feet or greater||+1 Speed Point|
|30 feet||+0 Speed Points|
|Less than 30 feet||-1 Speed Point|
7-A. The Sailor
Travel on the coastal road provides occasional glimpses of sandy beaches at the base of steep bluffs, but often detours inland for stretches of a few miles. After one such detour you come upon a body lying in the middle of the road about a quarter of a mile away from the cliffs and beaches below.
The corpse is that of a sailor from the Swiftsure, the trading vessel lost at sea. After the monster attack, the waterlogged vessel floated on the current for some weeks before washing ashore nearby. The sailor was one of a handful of survivors who grew weaker and weaker from wounds, exposure, and lack of water. By the time the ship broached the rocks, all but this man had perished. The lone survivor stumbled up the bluffs before his condition overwhelmed him.
The sailor has a tattoo of the ship's name on his back (which the PCs might recognize from the tales of its loss) and his torso is covered with huge red and black circles (giant sucker wounds—identified with a DC 15 Heal check). His tracks (found with a DC 10 Survival check) lead back to the cliff edge and beach below .
If they ignore the trail, award one speed point and advance the PCs to Act Two: Cherr's Landing, and treat this encounter as if they refused to investigate the ship (see 7-B below). Otherwise advance to 7-B.
7-B. Shipwreck (CR 5 or 6 plus hazards)
From the clifftops the party spies the ship on the rocks. The vessel is in imminent danger of being bashed to pieces by the surf, but PCs willing to risk it might find decent salvage in the cargo hold.
The adventurers may also think to take the ship’s bell (which weighs 15 pounds) as proof of its destruction for an insurance claim later on if they’re wise to business dealings in the area—known to any PC that succeeds a DC 15 Knowledge (local) check.
It takes 10 trips to recover 60 Units of Cargo from the wreck. A DC 15 Profession (sailor), Use Rope/Disable Device or Knowledge (engineering) check permits a PC to reduce the number of trips by one by crafting floats from wreckage (each PC may make one check) to a minimum of 5 trips. For each trip, roll once on the Salvage Random Event table. Treasure (including the bell) can be carried out as part of any remaining trips.
Salvage Random Events
|26-35||Ship Rolls in surf—Reflex save DC 14 or be slammed into bulkhead for 2d6 damage|
|36-45||Falling Rigging on deck smashes into 1d3 random PCs—Drop and lose cargo or take 4-D6 damage Reflex DC 14 for half damage|
|46-55||Huge wave washes PCs into surf—DC 15 Swim check to make it to shore or go under. Lose any cargo carried as you struggle in the surf.|
|56-65||Collapsing bulkhead buries 1d6 CU of remaining salvage|
|66-75||Ship's Log discovered floating in the hold—see Developments|
|76-85||Collapsing bulkhead reveals 500 gp of silver ingots (50%) or 200 gp of copper ingots (50%)|
|86-90||Shifting cargo reveals 1d3 1-lb. bars of mithral (25%), 1d4 1-lb. bars of adamantine (25%), or 10 lbs. of cold iron (50%)|
|91-00||Encounter triggered while PCs are in the hold—see below|
Creatures The other sailors who perished while Swiftsure drifted to landfall drank not only of seawater (driving themselves mad), but of each others' blood once the madness set in. Putrefying in the lower hold where the last man standing had stashed their bodies, they rose as powerful lacedons. The undead attack when the party completes their salvage, or in the cargo hold itself if indicated by the Salvage Random Events Table. If the battle takes place in the hold, increases the CR by one, as the ghasts can use the half-flooded chamber to drag paralyzed PCs under (and even into the lower hold) to drown. The stench of the ghasts is evident as they make their way stealthily through the waters (DC 18 Spot/Perception check) but does not affect the PCs until the creatures rise up out of the depths.
Scaling the Encounter The undead attack once half the salvage has been removed rather than engaging the PCs on the beach. They attempt to drag paralyzed PCs under water to drown them.
Developments PCs who recover the ship's log will more easily prove the loss of the ship for the insurance claim. A small cave on the beach provides a safe place to stash the salvaged cargo until the party returns.
If the PCs discover the wreck but do not proceed inside, the ship is totally smashed to pieces and all its cargo is lost. Use the encounter with the ghouls in Cherr's Landing as the party goes about their business (perhaps while negotiating purchases in the docks districts).
7-C. Boar Attack (CR 5)
As the PCs lead their horses through the inland forest (where low handing branches make riding difficult) they come upon a pile of fly-covered offal pulled off to the side of the trail. A DC 15 Knowledge (nature) check identifies the eviscerated organs as pig's guts. Tracking blood trails 10 yards into the forest (DC 9 Survival check) lead the party to wild boar carcasses hanging and draining from tree branches overhead. There are 6 such "gifts" scattered amongst the PCs’ route. The last three carcasses radiate a faint aura of transmutation.
Red Jansen (a local homesteader) sells the most succulent hams on the eastern coast. He does so by feeding his pigs apples laced with potions of bull's strength, cat's grace and bear’s endurance then slaughtering them while under they are under the spells’ effects. The magic interacts with the adrenaline, fat, and muscle of the beasts to provide Jansen’s hams a distinctive taste.
Jansen is experimenting by trying the process on wild boar that roam the woods near his farm. His experiment goes horribly wrong; a huge dire boar happens upon the tasty treats the farmer left in the woods, and is now far more powerful than Jansen's usual game.
The PCs spot Jansen ahead in a small clearing with a spear braced for a charge (pointing in the PCs direction). With a huge roar and rustle of brush the beast bursts out of the forest and charges the hapless PCs, caught between the creature and the farmer.
Development Jansen explains why the dire boar was so dangerous and invites his rescuers back to his farm for a meal and rest. If the PCs accept his request, advance them to 7-D. If they turn down his invitation, they gain one speed point and arrive in Cherr's Landing.
If the PCs bypass 7-D on the outbound journey be sure to give them a chance to make a detour on the return trip (Encounter 11).
7-D. The Homestead
Preceded by: 7-C
A snug homestead rests in a small dell surrounded by low hills and forest. Smoke rises from other farms nestled in the valley.
A small community of homesteaders develops the land here, and Jansen relates their good fortune—a bumper crop of grain graced the valley last fall, so even with winter just ending, the barns and haylofts are full to overflowing.
Fodder and foodstuffs may be purchased at the homestead, allowing PCs to top off their cargoes on the return trip.
Jansen's wife is a 4th level adept who brews up potions for those in the valley. She has 2d4 potions available at standard prices from the adept spell list with a base price of no more than 500 gp. A PC is able to specify the desired item 75% of the time.
Development On the outbound leg advance the PCs to Act Two Cherr's Landing. On the inbound leg, return to Encounter 11 for details on topping off the caravan's cargo load.
Act Two - Cherr's Landing
After two to three weeks of travel the PCs arrive in Cherr's Landing. If they took the coastal road, award them one speed point. If more than half the party makes a DC 16 Ride check (or DC 16 Fortitude save if dismounted) award them an additional speed point as they hustled most of the way along the easy trails.
If the PCs traveled by the inland road, a DC 19 Survival check avoids getting lost (and losing a speed point). PCs with a set of complete maps from the half-orc mapmaker gain a +2 circumstance bonus to the check, an incomplete set gives a +1 bonus. PCs with a false set suffer a -4 circumstance penalty to the check. Failure by 5 or more on the check results in the loss of an additional speed point before the PCs find their way.
8. Negotiations, Preparations, Assassination
The encounters below describe the preparations PCs make for the return to Svest. Reveal the speed points earned thus far: it costs one speed point to attempt a task. Certain tasks may be attempted more than once, and some require multiple attempts to complete. Unspent speed points provide a bonus to the success conditions at the conclusion of the adventure. Speed points may dip into the negatives to complete needed tasks. The group may not split up to attempt more than one activity at a time .
The competition's final agent, the gnome sorcerer Hippertook, arrives in town with a total of 5 speed points. Any speed points earned by the PCs in excess of 5 may be spent prior to Hippertook's arrival with no chance of interference from the arcanist. Once the party’s speed point total reaches 5 the gnome and the PCs alternate the spending of speed points until the adventurers leave town or the gnome spends all of his five speed points. A straight D20 die roll determines who goes first. Once the gnome's speed points are consumed, his caravan leaves town (PCs may continue to spend speed points if they desire).
Hippertook accomplishes his activities in the following order: Paying Respects, Hiring the Caravan, Enhancing the Caravan, and Haggling for Cargo. He spends his final speed point gathering mercenaries to attack the PCs on the road.
If the PCs do not pursue an insurance claim (8-F), use the encounter with the assassins some time after Hippertook arrives in town.
8-A. Paying Respects
Incoming merchants count on Renaldo's sage advice when it comes to the inner workings of trade expeditions. Local custom is to provide Renaldo with a gift, something a PC that succeeds on a DC 13 Knowledge (local) check will be aware of. For every 100 gp in value, the party may apply a circumstance bonus of +1 on any preparation activity (to a maximum of +5 on any single check) as Renaldo repays the gift by influencing merchants and officials in town.
Failure to pay their respects in a timely fashion hampers the PCs activities. A cumulative -2 circumstance penalty applies to each preparation activity in turn. The first time the PCs fail, the NPC they are dealing with informs them that it has gotten about that they have insulted Vasilly. The urbane Master of Caravans shows no annoyance with their tardiness when the PCs do appear before him, but the insult done to him can only be reversed by a gift that matches or exceeds the current circumstance penalty (at an exchange of 100 gp per -1 penalty). A lesser gift may offset some of the penalty and at the least keeps it from worsening in subsequent actions.
Regardless of the state of their gifts, Renaldo is generous in his advice. He gives a fair opinion (see Reputation and Risks in Encounter 8-D) of the breeders who can assemble a caravan (see Player’s Handout) and can speak to the various activities the PCs may indulge in Cherr's Landing. He can identify the tunnel bore or the torc worn by the cyclops—both items initiate a recounting of the tale of Midya Merochek and his lost battalion. Renaldo states that finding the final resting place of the lost battalion would surely provide magical artifacts for traversing the mountains. He does not accept this magic as a gift, saying that the party would do well to hold it close until they have completed their mission.
Renaldo suggests the PCs rely on the advice of their caravan master to select their cargo but advises them to use any rumors or information they may have picked up to fine tune their cargo selection.
8-B. The Money Changer
Bank drafts drawn on Svest merchant houses may be converted to trade scrip here. If the PCs neglect to do so, the cost of their caravan is increased by 10% and the value of their cargo is reduced by 10% to reflect the less negotiable letters of credit they bear from their patrons. The party may also change personal coin or treasure into Klavekian coin at an exchange rate of 80%. PCs increase the exchange rate on treasure by 1% for every point above 10 on a DC 10 Appraise check (to a maximum of 95%). Attempting to sell the cyclops torc reveals its history if the adventurers have not already discovered it.
8-C. Sell Quilted Silks
The party may sell quilted silks at full value and add the funds to their caravan stake. They may also sell any imported magic (including found treasure) during the same action. The purchase limit (7,500 gp) of the city applies to all transactions. Sold magic yields 70% of its market price with a DC 25 Appraise, Spellcraft or Profession (merchant) check. The sale price is increased (or decreased) by one percent for every point of difference from the base DC. There are no buyers for the unique items from the lost battalion's cache, although the broker promises to make inquiries and send word to Svest in care of the PCs' patron if he locates any.
8-D Hiring the Caravan
The three breeders of caravan animals in the city—Lev Valiery, Ivan Rostovak and Konstantin Grigiorovich—can each assemble a caravan from animals currently being trained to replace losses from the inbound Mohkba convoys and agree to serve as caravan master for the trip to Svest.
Player's Handout #2 gives the caravan's mechanical statistics. The PCs learn this information by interviewing each breeder in turn, or the Master of Caravans can illuminate them in one shot. Other than general reputation and risks, the party must discover each breeder's agenda and possible advantages through interaction.
It costs one speed point to interview and negotiate a potential contract with a specific breeder. A DC 15 Sense Motive check reveals his agenda. If the PCs have brought sample wares from Svest, they add a +2 circumstance bonus to this check. Exceeding the check allows the PCs to discern the agendas of the other breeders from information revealed in the ongoing interview. For every 5 points exceeding the DC provide the agenda of one of the competitors.
Regardless of whether additional agendas are revealed, more speed points are required to negotiate a contract with a different breeder. It costs no speed points to return to a breeder and close on a previously negotiated contract.
The total travel time to Svest is four weeks by mule and three by horse. Consumption of grain and fodder by each caravan has already been factored into the statistics.
Caravan Mechanical Benefits and Leader Agendas.
Caravan 1 - Lev Valiery's Mule Train: This caravan receives a +2 circumstance bonus on the Injured Animal and Grain Spoilage events on the Random Caravan Events Table.
Agenda: Lev is desperate to recoup his losses on the mill. Selling his animals early allows him to pay off his creditors and provides a small stake for him to invest in personal cargo to carry south. If the route is proven viable, Lev intends to set up a regular route which means he will be in the market for animals (as well as personnel). GM Info: Lev not only buys back his caravan (minus any adjustments for losses) at full price in Svest, he also picks up the second month's pay for personnel. PCs earn 2 trade points if they hire Lev's pack train.
Caravan 2 - Ivan Rostovak's Courier Horses: This caravan earns an extra speed point whenever a caravan speed check is made and receives a -2 circumstance penalty on the Injured Animal and Grain Spoilage events on the Random Caravan Events Table.
Agenda: Rostovak is certain he can make it to Svest and back in time to place his animals on the outbound Mohkba route and will organize his couriers to ship fodder to speed the way. GM Info: PCs gain one free extra feed enhancement. Rostovak lowballs the party when purchasing back his animals in Svest—the quality of horses mean buyers in Svest are uninterested. PCs lose 2 trade points as a result.
Caravan 3 - Konstantin Grigiorovich's Draft Horses: This caravan receives a +2 circumstance bonus on the Stolen Cargo event on the Random Caravan Events Table.
Agenda Konstantin has enough stock to service both his Mohkba caravan commitments, as well as providing a relief train to Svest; he is also willing to provide capital in the venture. GM Info: Award the PCs 2 trade points. The PCs may earn this investment even if they don't hire his horses as long as they discover Grigoioravich's agenda.
8-E Enhancing the Caravan
One speed point is required to locate, purchase, and assemble each upgrade type, although any quantity may be purchased for the expenditure of the speed point.
Masterwork packs: One set of 6 masterwork saddles allows lamed animals to continue to carry cargo when injured. Cost: 300 gp
Replacement animals: Four horses or mules to replace those lamed or slain enroute to Svest. Failure to have replacement animals may result in abandoning cargo on the side of the road.
Heavyload pack saddle: This magical saddle increases cargo capacity as per caravan statistics. Cost: 2,000 each
Extra Feed: Based out of Cherr's Landing these smaller pack trains deliver fodder and return to the city. This improvement allows the caravan to ignore the Grain Spoilage event on the Random Caravan Events Table.
8-F Insurance claims (CR 5)
The insurer Fydor Skioroski does everything in his power to deny, delay and otherwise wriggle out of the terms of the policy. This encounter has the potential to burn off many of the PCs' speed points; after they commence, the GM should indicate that the wheels of bureaucracy turn slowly.
One speed point is required to file a claim. PCs must present one of three items: the notarized affidavit from Svest, the ship's bell or the ship's log (from Encounter 7-A the Shipwreck) for the claim to be recognized. If they are unable to present any of these, the claim is denied outright. If they are able to present only one item, the insurer informs them there is a three-month waiting period before the ship is legally declared lost (and any claims paid).
If they present two out of three of these items the claim is acknowledged, but Skioroski agrees to pay only 5,000 gp in trade scrip up front. The remainder of the funds are provided in the form of Mohkba Caravan Shares, which are fungible only when the caravan arrives from Mohkba in 6 weeks time.
If the PCs are unhappy with any of these results, they may take Fydor to court. The Master of Courts, Nachek Pimonov is a legal sadist, and delights in skewering both plaintiff and defendant with arcane bits of legal knowledge and watching them twist in the wind. His court is well attended by the city folk; there is not a better free show to be found in the city limits.
Petitioning the court consumes one speed point for each petition and improves the PCs standing by one step. The PCs wage a legal battle with the defendant and the judge to advance their position with each petition until they are satisfied—the order below is presented from worst to best.
- The party use the court process to validate an un-notarized affidavit. This begins the three month waiting period to have the ship declared legally lost.
- The three month waiting period may be waived; Skioroski offers payment as stipulated above to settle the claim.
- PC may argue for better payment terms. For each petition, Nachek Pimonov forces Skiorski to pay out an additional 5,000 gp in Trade Scrip. PCs may make this petition twice. On the third attempt, Skiorski admits he is out of funds until he can cash his Mohkba Caravan Shares. The judge rules that the insurance broker must pay interest on the outstanding debt, increasing the PCs' trade points by 1.
Creatures: If the PCs take Skioroski to court he engages the services of two halfing assassins to disappear his legal troubles. The attempt takes place on the way to court.
Development If the gnome Hippertook is in town, the insurance man attempts to pin the assassination on him by using middlemen to hire the assassins. This information can be revealed with an appropriate Intimidate or Diplomacy check from the diminutive duo, but a DC 18 Sense Motive check indicates that the sequence of events doesn't quite add up. If the PC discover that the story does not check out and turns the pair into the town guard they receive a +4 circumstance bonus during their court appearance. If the party does not pursue an insurance claim, use this encounter some time after Hippertook arrives in town—in this instance the gnome does engage their services.
8-G Haggle Haggle Haggle (Buying Cargo)
Working with their recently hired caravan master, the PCs spend one speed point to assemble their cargo.
After engaging a caravan any remaining trade scrip and coin is invested in cargo. This investment is known as the Cargo Value and factors in determining the party’s success.
The adventurers can give specific suggestions (Player’s Handout #1 for reference) on what cargo to purchase based on the rumors they have collected along the way. Directing their caravan master to focus on the following cargoes earns the PCs one profit point for each item identified.
Space to record Cargo Units Loaded and Total Cargo Value are included on Player’s Handout #2.
Development If the PCs ignored Encounter 7-A en route to Cherr's Landing, this is a good place to insert the ghoul combat—the undead rise up from the harbor as the PCs negotiate in the docks district.
Act Three - Return to Svest
The return trip provides an opportunity for the PCs to complete the encounters or side quests bypassed on the outward leg of the trip (see the adventure flowchart to set the order of these opportunities.) The two key events—the Shipwreck Salvage (7-A and 7-B) and the Homesteader (7-C and 7-D) occur roughly one week and two weeks out of Cherr's Landing respectively. The events are detailed below and reference the appropriate encounters from Act One.
Some encounters require the party to make a roll on the Random Caravan Events Table. When a skill check is required, one PC should make the check—the remaining adventurers may aid another. Taking 10 is not permitted on these checks.
Random Caravan Events Table
|01-05||All Quiet—Subtract 10% from the next Random Caravan Events Roll.|
|21-30||Rich Grass—DC 15 Survival check ignores next Grain Spoilage Event.|
|31-40||Shortcut—DC 15 Knowledge (geography) or Survival check earns 1 speed point.|
|41-50||Thorpe—DC 15 Profession (merchant) or Appraise check earns 1 trade point selling cargo to an isolated settlement.|
|51-60||Stolen Cargo—4d6 cargo points stolen by deserters. A DC 20 Perception check halves the loss.|
|61-70||Injured Animals—1d6 animals lamed. A DC 16 Handle Animal or Heal check halves the loss. Lamed animals may not continue—cargo capacity of the caravan is reduced for each lamed animal unless replacements exist. Ignore this event by expending one Masterwork Saddles Upgrade.|
|71-80||Grain Spoilage—DC 15 Knowledge (nature) or Survival check or lose one speed point foraging for fodder. Ignore this event by expending one Extra Feed upgrade.|
|81-90||Scouts Slain—Scouts are slain by monsters. Add 5% to the next Random Caravan Events Roll. PCs must act as scouts from this point forward. The party must pay 250 gp to benefit the slain scouts’ families or future Stolen Cargo events incur a -2 circumstance penalty.|
01-15 1d4 dire bats
16-30 1d6 boars
31-40 1 owlbear
41-50 1 tiger
51-65 1d4 dire wolves
66-80 1 ettercap and 1d6 giant spiders
81-100 2d6 wolvesFor each round of combat in excess of 3, apply the effects of the Injured Animals event.
If the PCs are acting as scouts, failure on a DC 20 Perception check leaves them 2 rounds away from the battle at the start of combat.
9. Roadside Ambush (CR 6)
Hippertook the gnome prepares an ambush a few days beyond the outlying villages and farms of Cherr's Landing. He lies in wait on a small hill as the caravan approaches the plains road to the south.
Hippertook's intent is to cause as much damage to the PCs' caravan as possible and then flee. He targets the caravan with fireballs, only switching to the party if they are within 100 feet of him and aware of his position. He uses the buffer of his bandit archers to slow down the adventurers while targeting the caravan with magic. The bandits snipe with arrows until their foes close then engage in melee, hurling thunderstones at spellcasters, and tanglefoot bags at foes wearing heavy armor.
Hippertook's fireballs deal 15 damage per hit to the beasts of the caravan, but this damage is not applied individually (and saves have already been factored into this damage). At the conclusion of the combat for every 10 full points of damage from the sorcerer's spellfire, 1d6 animals are lamed or too wounded to continue. A separate DC 20 Handle Animal or Heal check halves the result of each 1d6 die roll. Animals that are still wounded after these checks may be made fit for travel with 10 points of magical healing each. Otherwise, lamed animals may not continue—the cargo capacity of the caravan is reduced for each lamed animal unless replacements exist. Any cargo the animals were carrying is assumed lost.
10. Return to the Shipwreck
One week after leaving Cherr's Landing, the PCs pass the beach where the Swiftsure ran aground. If the party did not trigger this encounter on the outbound journey, run Encounter 7-A (and 7-B if they investigate the ship). Their pack train has consumed enough fodder that they may easily carry the 60 units of salvage that awaits them at the wreck. After completing the encounters, roll once on the Caravan Random Events Table and advance the party to Encounter 11. If they do not follow the trail to the ship, award one speed point.
If the PCs already completed these encounters they retrieve stored salvage from the beach cave. If they ignored the sailor (or declined to examine the wreck on the outbound trip) the ship is destroyed and the cargo lost. Roll once on the Caravan Random Events Table and advance the PCs to Encounter 11.
11. Return to the Homestead
If the PCs took the coastal road on the outbound journey, run encounter 7-C and 7-D now. If they turn down Jansen's offer to visit his farm after defeating the boar, award them one speed point and advance them to Encounter 12.
If the party did not accept Jansen's invitation on the outbound journey, they may still detour to the farm now at a cost of one speed point.
If the adventurers visited the farm previously, they have already been penalized for speed and find it easily on the return trip to take care of any planned business.
After topping off their fodder, the PCs may load additional foodstuffs as cargo from the well supplied dale. Jansen's Homestead can supply 30 unit of cargo. By spending one speed point, the PC may collect an additional 30 units of cargo from Jansen's neighbors. This cargo fits on space previously occupied by fodder and grain that has been freed up now that the caravan is more than halfway to Svest. No additional funds are required to obtain this cargo - most of the goods here are foodstuffs that are relatively inexpensive, and the homestead has enough need for finished goods from the caravan's supplies that the profit on those items covers the additional cargo purchases.
If the party mentions purchasing Jansen hams, award them one trade point. PCs may buy potions from Jansen's wife as detailed in 7-D.
Once loaded, the adventurers leave the farm. Roll once on the Caravan Random Events Table and advance the party to Encounter 12.
12. Return to the Vale
By the time the PCs reach the tunnel leading to the Vale, their train will have consumed enough fodder that they may load up to 30 cargo units of salt. Add any mined salt to the total cargo load and award the party one trade point.
Details on mining salt are presented in the Treasure section of Encounter 6: The Salt Mine. Roll once on the Caravan Random Events Table as the convoy approaches the tunnel in the mountainside.
If the PCs have not explored the tunnel, their caravan master asks them about it and strongly encourages them to do so—relating the tale of the lost battalion and eager for possible magic left behind. If they do so, subtract one speed point and advance to Scene 6; the caravan remains on the far side of the tunnel until their return. They may then troop the whole assembly into the Vale to mine salt as above.
Once the PCs have completed all activity in the Vale advance them to Encounter 14: A Wizard's Legacy.
If the party ignores the Vale a second time roll once on the Caravan Random Events Table and advance them to Encounter 13: The Washed Out Trail.
13. The Washed Out Trail
Taking the low pass over the Knee, the caravan encounters a washed out chunk of trail from a late spring avalanche. An entire section of the roadbed has broken away from the mountainside—there is no way to get the pack train to the far side. The caravan master spots a difficult but possible route along the coast, however the caravan must backtrack to within easy reach of the Vale at a cost of one speed point. If the adventurers again decline to explore the hidden valley, they make their way along the coast at a cost of 4 speed points and two rolls on the Caravan Random Events Table. Advance to Encounter 15: No Monster Left Out.
PCs who negotiated the high pass on the outbound leg know that the rope bridge awaits them and there is no way to get such a large group of animals across except for magic. If the group took the low pass on the outbound leg and attempts the high pass here, instead of a washed out trail they encounter the rope bridge and must turn back as above.
14. A Wizard's Legacy
The washed out trail or the rope bridge are easily spanned by using the two stone spans discovered in the magical cache of the lost battalion.
The PCs also have a chance to earn one or two speed points and treasures by utilizing the tunnel bores from the wizard's tool kit. The caravan master curses the winding paths and points out a likely spot for a tunnel through the mountain to create a shortcut. A DC 10 Knowledge (geography) check is sufficient to locate the tunnel, and the use of 8 of the tunnel bores chews through the dirt and rock earns the PCs one speed point.
Alternately the PCs may attempt to site the tunnel perfectly—this requires a DC 22 Knowledge (geography) check. Failure by 5 or more on this check requires using all 10 tunnel bores to complete the excavation and yields only one speed point. Failure by less than 5 consumes all 10 bores but yields 2 speed points. Success consumes 8 bores and grants 2 speed points, and success by 5 or more results in a pile of gold ore worth 1,600 gp being left behind in the excavation process.
If the PCs do not carve a tunnel through the mountain, they have a chance to sell the tunnel bores at a vastly reduced price at the conclusion of the adventure.
Development: Roll once on the Caravan Random Events table and advance the party to Encounter 15: No Monster Left Out
15. No Monster Left Out
The PCs, scouting ahead of the caravan for the final leg of the mountains, encounter either bugbear raiders (5-C) or the cyclops (5-A): whichever encounter they did not face on the outbound leg of the journey.
After the combat, if the PCs have already encountered Kipya Mulberry (4-E) advance the party to Encounter 16: The Ferryman's Revenge. If they have not yet come upon the blood trail leading to Encounter 4-E, run the encounter as written with the option for them to bypass it and earn a speed point. If they have already bypassed the blood trail, run just the combat portion of Encounter 4-E (the PCs hear the taunts as they head back to the main caravan). In this case, if they skip following Kipya to her grove (and lose out on the reward) they gain a speed point. Advance to Encounter 16.
16. The Ferryman's Revenge
If the PC lost the race to the ferry (and their rivals sliced the rope to delay them) the ferryman seeks his revenge on their rivals. After repairing the rope, he constructed a second ferry; he and his son work through the night getting the PCs’ caravan across the river in record time, earning them a speed point.
If the party sabotaged the ferry themselves or intimidated or committed violence in front of the ferry owner, he takes his revenge on the PCs. The boatman waits until the first load of animals is en-route to the far side. He then signals his son to cut the hauling rope and dives in the river as the ferry drifts downstream. 3d6 cargo points are ruined in the "accident" (a DC 20 Search/Perception check halves the loss).
Additionally, the PCs must now find another way to cross the river. Repairing the ferry costs the party 3 speed points, or they may search for a ford (Encounter 4-D The Ford Crossing). The PCs need not swim the entire caravan across, they must simply prove it is safe to cross by making the crossing without incident themselves (with their mounts).
Once across the river the rest of the journey into Svest is uneventful.
If the PCs arrive in Svest with a positive speed point count, they beat the caravan assembled by the competition. On a negative count they lose the race, although the needs of the town still provide ready markets for their goods.
The party rendezvous with their patron and calculate the profits from the venture. Follow the steps below to make these calculations.
Locate the Column containing the Value of the PCs’ Cargo. For every 4 trade points (round down) earned, shift one column to the right.
Locate the Row containing the number of Cargo Units delivered by the party. For every two speed points earned shift one row down. For every two negative speed points, shift one row up.
Cross reference the selected column and row to find the final profit in gold pieces. The adventurers earn 50% of this total as an additional reward from Mishka Edeerneld, or 40% from Graehme Kolder (or nothing if they failed to detect the hidden clause in the latter’s contract.)
Final Profit in Gold Pieces
|Cargo Value (gp)|
|Cargo Units Delivered||< 5,000||5001 -8,500||8,501 - 12,000||12,001 - 15,500||15,501 -19,000||19,000 - 22,500||26,000 - 29,500||> 29,500|
After the profit is calculated and shared out a few minor items of business remain.
If the PCs broke into the Money Changer’s and took more funds then they had bank drafts for, Reynauld and the 4 town watchmen arrest them once the profit is calculated. If the PCs resist use Jellik's statistics (encounter 5-D) for Reynauld, and the Bandits (Encounter 9) for the guardsmen. If the party kills any of the guards, they will become outlaws in the region. If they go along quietly, criminal charges are waived because of their service to the town but they must repay any extra funds taken (even if they invested it in the caravan cargo) plus a fine of 750 gp. If they took just the coin they had bank drafts for they must pay only the 750 gp fine (which pays to have the trap reset on the money changer's vault).
Evidence of wrongdoing by the hirelings of the PCs' competition may result in Mishka Edeernald compensating the party as per the Sidebar: Rivals in Encounter 2. Ghraeme Kolder disavows any action taken by his employees—his influence in town is sufficient enough to survive the accusations, but the resulting scandal causes the selfish merchant to mark the adventurers as enemies worthy of vengeance at a later date.
The PCs may be in possession of 2 or more tunnel bores. Up to two may be sold at 50% Market Price. Fix the price of any remaining tunnel bores to bring the party’s wealth by level in line (It is likely the adventurers will level at the conclusion of the adventure). The total treasure awarded in the scenario varies depending on the success of the expedition. If the PCs come up short, the sale of the tunnel bores may make up the difference. If the party ends up over their wealth by level, any remaining tunnel bores are damaged and worthless.
A reckoning with Ghraeme Kolder may be required (especially it the PCs scandalized him with accusations of wrongdoing) or if the merchant cheated the party of their reward. PCs might agree to provide some service to the town to work off the 750 gp fine for breaking into the money changer’s.
The discovery of the salt mine in the hidden Vale in the crook of The Knee and the improvements to the routes over the mountains spur regular overland travel into Svest. The party may find adventure on the new routes, or even begin to carve a homestead out of the wilderness for themselves. The recently discovered elven ruins also promise adventure, and the island across the Stillborn Straights will not hold its secrets forever.
Award the PCs experience based on the creatures and traps encountered.
The following additional experience awards are available.
100 xp Encounter 3 : Each preparation activity attempted
1,200 xp Encounter 4-B: PC s Win Chase to Ferry
1,200 xp Encounter 4-D: Crossing the Ford
1,200 xp Encounter 5-B: Transporting 4 or more horses or mules across the rope bridge
500 xp Encounter 7-A: Salvage at least 30 Cargo Units
500 xp Encounter 7-C: Purchase hams or magic from Jansen's Homestead
300 xp* Encounter 8-F: PCs force payment of insurance claims
100 xp Encounter 8-G: Per Profit Point Earned
*300 xp per 5,000 gp in Trade Scrip collected plus 300 xp if the PCs earn profit points.
New Magic Items
Author - Michael Allen
Creative Director - Michael Allen
Art Director - Michael Allen & Jonathan G. Nelson
Cover Artist - Darran Caldemeyer
Interior Artists - Bruno Balixa, Jacob Blackmon, Public Domain Artwork
Cartographers - Todd Gamble & Michael Allen
Editor - Mike Myler
Playtesters - Chris Pearce, Dixie Landoe, Jesse Riggs, Nick Toptine, Bobby Nichols
Publisher - Jonathan G. Nelson
Twin Crossings OGL Section 15 Citations
System Reference Document. Copyright 2000, Wizards of the Coast, Inc.; Authors Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook, Skip Williams, based on material by E. Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Advanced Player's Guide. © 2010, Paizo Publishing, LLC; Author: Jason Bulmahn
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Reference Document. © 2011, Paizo Publishing, LLC; Author: Paizo Publishing, LLC.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Core Rulebook. © 2009, Paizo Publishing, LLC; Author: Jason Bulmahn, based on material by Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook, and Skip Williams.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Bestiary. © 2009, Paizo Publishing, LLC; Author: Jason Bulmahn, based on material by Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook, and Skip Williams.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Bestiary 2. © 2010, Paizo Publishing, LLC; Authors Wolfgang Baur, Jason Bulmahn, Adam Daigle, Graeme Davis, Crystal Frasier, Joshua J. Frost, Tim Hitchcock, Brandon Hodge, James Jacobs, Steve Kenson, Hal MacLean, Martin Mason, Rob McCreary, Erik Mona, Jason Nelson, Patrick Renie, Sean K Reynolds, F. Wesley Schneider, Owen K.C. Stephens, James L. Sutter, Russ Taylor, and Greg A. Vaughan, based on material by Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook, and Skip Williams.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Bestiary 3. © 2011, Paizo Publishing, LLC; Authors: Jesse Benner, Jason Bulmahn, Adam Daigle, James Jacobs, Michael Kenway, Rob McCreary, Patrick Renie, Chris Sims, F. Wesley Schneider, James L. Sutter, and Russ Taylor, based on material by Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook, and Skip Williams.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game GameMastery Guide. © 2010, Paizo Publishing, LLC; Author: Cam Banks, Wolfgang Buar, Jason Bulmahn, Jim Butler, Eric Cagle, Graeme Davis, Adam Daigle, Joshua J. Frost, James Jacobs, Kenneth Hite, Steven Kenson, Robin Laws, Tito Leati, Rob McCreary, Hal Maclean, Colin McComb, Jason Nelson, David Noonan, Richard Pett, Rich Redman, Sean K reynolds, F. Wesley Schneider, Amber Scorr, Doug Seacat, Mike Selinker, Lisa Stevens, James L. Sutter, Russ Taylor, Penny Williams, Skip Williams, Teeuwynn Woodruff.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game NPC Codex. © 2012, Paizo Publishing, LLC; Authors: Jesse Benner, Jason Bulmahn, Adam Daigle, Alex Greenshields, Rob McCreary, Mark Moreland, Jason Nelson, Stephen Radney-MacFarland, Patrick Renie, Sean K Reynolds, and Russ Taylor.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Ultimate Equipment. © 2012 Paizo Publishing, LLC; Authors: Dennis Baker, Jesse Benner, Benjamin Bruck, Ross Byers, Brian J. Cortijo, Ryan Costello, Mike Ferguson, Matt Goetz, Jim Groves, Tracy Hurley, Matt James, Jonathan H. Keith, Michael Kenway, Hal MacLean, Jason Nelson, Tork Shaw, Owen KC Stephens, and Russ Taylor.
A mercantile endeavor for four to five 4th level PCs.
Embroiled in a struggle between two rival merchant houses, the party races to assemble and escort a valuable load of cargo to a commerce-starved city.
The loss of the yearly supply ship to a late winter storm places an isolated town in peril. A lone survivor, clinging to a hatch cover and blown hundreds of miles by the tempest, brings the disastrous news. Two premier merchant houses make plans to attempt the overland route. The race is on to get word to the far side of the mountains and assemble a relief caravan to cross back over. The loss of the ship means that any goods that do make it over the hump will yield great profit. The survival of not only of the merchant houses but of the very town itself is dependent on those willing to brave the journey. Monsters, difficult trails, and unscrupulous behavior by the competition stand in the way of success—and profit.
Also included in this adventure:
- A flexible encounter sequence that allows the PCs to chart their own course over the mountains.
- Rich roleplaying opportunities and skill challenges that impact the party’s final success.
- Three new magic items including magical engineering equipment from a hidden cache.
- A new monster—the Salt Worm—that leaves naught but the desiccated husks of its victims behind.
- Notes on scaling the encounters for parties of six or more.