We regret to inform our avid readers that the AaWBlog is being retired (sans Tales from the Tabletop). We would like to take this opportunity to recognize the entire AaWBlog team: Mike Myler, Justin Andrew Mason, Rory Toma, Lance Kepner, Tim Snow, Stefanos Patelis, Brian Wiborg, Jonathan Ely, and the rest of our fantastic contributors.
AAW Games would like to thank Mike Myler for all his hard work managing the AaWBlog and contributing to many Adventureaweek.com projects including the Aventyr Campaign Setting. Going forward Mike Myler will no longer be working with AAW Games but will continue to be a driving force in the roleplaying game industry, AAW Games wishes him well in his future ventures.
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When the royal canines have been dealt with it seems like the party is no longer in danger, but 1d4 minutes after the encounter ends a storm of hail begins raining down on the city—at their reduced size, the weather may be a deadly hazard for the PCs! Taking cover in the nearest building brings the PCs to a large common hall for palace workers, a 40 ft. by 60 ft. hall with a large table surrounded by tree-stump stools and supplies lining the far wall.
A cursory search of the barrels and crates with a DC 14 Perception check reveals that one of the containers is a contraband cypher, a sure sign that the P.R.A.N.K.S.T.E.R.S. are nearby! Any PC that exceeds a check result of 25 also finds a piercing needle stuck in the crease between the floorboards and the wall. Though the adventurers might want to immediately track down the nearest criminal agent, a DC 12 Intelligence check deduces a few reasons not to; with their reduced mobility the adventurers won’t be able to search very quickly or effectively and moreover, at their reduced stature, the chances of being overwhelmed by the ne’er-do-wells are much greater than normal.
1d4 hours after finding this room, a servant appears with bowls, cups, and spoons in hand, setting the huge table for a meal attended by eight palace workers. A DC 20 Sense Motive check notices that one of the individuals—a woman named Vesra, a menial laborer in the Red Palace—is acting slightly out of sorts. If the PCs fail this check there’s a 50% chance she accidentally drops a PRANKSTERS coin onto the floor for a few seconds; while it is unlikely any regular-sized folks see its face, the party instantly recognizes the criminal token for what it is.
Today happens to be Vesra’s turn to clean up after the meal and after the rest of the workers file out of the room, she makes several trips with used dishes before approaching the contraband cypher. The party has ample time to try and block the doorways out of the chamber and with no means of escape, a criminal they can interrogate to learn more of the cabal’s plans in Mohkba—provided they can subdue the prattling PRANKSTER! [Tomorrow’s Statblock Sunday, folks! —MM]
A DC 13 Intelligence (Geography) check confirms the party’s location in Mohkba. A DC 11 Wisdom (Perception) check notes the presence of a contraband cypher. A DC 9 Intelligence check deduces that waiting for a moment to strike may be a better tactic. A DC 16 Wisdom (Insight) check notices Vesra’s out-of-place demeanor.
The PCs have tracked the P.R.A.N.K.S.T.E.R.S. operations to the Grave Morass and sure enough, floating out on the lake of tar and sludge is a fortress where the criminal cabal has been hard at work. Now is the perfect time for the adventurers to disrupt the manufacture of a deadly biomechanical threat soon to be unleashed on Mohkba, the Klavek Kingdom, and the whole of Aventyr!
This island in the Grave Morass is 250-ft. in diameter. On its southwestern shore is a 20-ft.-radius shed made from recycled metals (Bleirvar’s Workshop), on its southeastern shore is another almost identical building (slightly smaller and more angular, 15 ft. by 15 ft.) where supplies are kept, and on the north side of the landmass is a much larger shanty (40 ft. wide and across) that serves as the barracks for P.R.A.N.K.S.T.E.R.S. agents.
Anyone approaching the northern shore of the island risks alerting the guards in the barracks (PRANKSTER Hirelings and PRANKSTER thugs) and while approaching from any other direction is stealthier, there is a 50% chance the PCs trigger a tar pit trap when doing so. A patrol of one hireling and two thugswalk the perimeter of the island on a leisurely lookout every 30 minutes, keen for anomalies coming from Bleirvar’s Workshop or the intervention of the meddling adventurers that have plagued the cabal’s plans for some time now. When the party is detected, P.R.A.N.K.S.T.E.R.S. pour out of the barracks at a rate of 1d4 hirelings and 2d4 thugs every round (in total there are 6 hirelings and 12 thugs on the island).
The primary targets of the PCs are the Storage shanty and Bleirvar’s Workshop. Within the former the party finds two contraband cyphers—though one is empty, the other is filled by a screaming cesspool of abominated heads and limbs about the size of a children’s doll. The biomancer spends most of the time in his Workshop, carefully tending to a vast array of esoteric equipment and machines that synthesize magic and science. These devices are quite fragile and in some cases volatile; if even one device is utterly destroyed (beyond the reach of mending) or lost in the muck of the Grave Morass, the entire production process will be halted for weeks as the P.R.A.N.K.S.T.E.R.S. restart the operation.
As soon as he becomes aware of trespassers on PRANKSTER Isle, Bleirvar ceases the rituals required to incubate skurgxon in the pool of alchemical reagents outside of his Workshop (heated by the Transgression and catalyzed by mentis quie blooms taken from the Vast Swamp) to face the intruders. If his desk hasn’t been raided and emptied by the PCs already, he grabs his crystal ball and wand of animate dead (CL 7th, 7 charges) and fills the battlefield with undead to supplement whatever PRANKSTER underlings are still fighting.
Between Bleirvar’s boasts in combat (sure of his victory, he has no compunctions or modesty regarding the age of chaos and destruction his twisted creations herald) and inspection of his Workshop, the party easily conclude that skurgxon have been prepared for a terrorizing assault in Mohkba! Anyone able to detect magic easily recognizes that powerful conjuration magic—almost certainly teleport spells—was recently used several times recently, and records in the biomancer’s desk (a DC 14 Perception check) confirm that as many as 3 agents have already received their shipment of biomechanical horrors.
A few minutes after the battle ends, Jesker the Great arrives via teleport to share what he’s learned—all information the party has recently uncovered for themselves. With such a dire threat looming ahead the wizard wastes no time, casting conjuration spells in a flurry to rapidly bring the party to Mohkba to stop the P.R.A.N.K.S.T.E.R.S. Unfortunately at the last minute he mumbles, “oh no, they were expecting me! Hold onto your helmets!” just as the world dissolves in white and the adventurers suddenly find themselves with a very, very big problem. [The players are in for a big—or rather small surprise. Tune in next week as the party find themselves in Mohkba! —SP]
Searching Bleirvar’s desk for his records regarding skurgxon deliveries requires a DC 11 Intelligence (Investigation) check.