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Mendacious Materials: False Findings

False Findings mapAfter proving their worth to Jesker the Great by overcoming the opsjena, the mage gifts the party a special gift—sideribus sanabit salve [which can be a great gift to make alliances with Baroness Grandaj or can literally save the party an arm or leg! Next Magic Item Monday! -MM]. The old man tells the adventurers of a shipment of some kind belonging to the P.R.A.N.K.S.T.E.R.S., said to be traveling through the Trade Yard early the next day, before sunrise (PCs that need a rest may be hard pressed to get one, depending on the time of day they found 531 Ripkorski Way!)

Unfortunately Jesker is unable to decipher the note (though if asked, he confirms that he wrote on it from afar, knowing it was possessed by the party) and has yet to overcome the cabal’s magical defenses. The mage (CG Male human wizard 17) is quite powerful, however, and willing to cast as many as 1d4-1 (minimum 1) spells on a PC to aid them in the approaching conflict.

Looking throughout the Mariner’s Quarter of Mohkba isn’t easy and though a DC 15 Diplomacy check uncovers exactly when and where the contraband is coming into Mohkba, this is intended by the P.R.A.N.K.S.T.E.R.S.! Only a result of 34 or higher reveals that it is an ambush, one meant to catch the party unawares (also yielding the name of the ship it arrives on, as well as when it’s expected to take harbor), but failure on this check leaves the party wandering about the Mariner’s Quarter until they find it hastily and by chance an hour after dawn.

false findingsThe appointed time and place of the shipment leaves one excellent place to get the drop on the smugglers and their two wagons (filled with large barrels marked by prominent red Xs): a long, narrow stretch of Kassofi Street, just west of the Trade Yard, making it easy for the PCs to drop on either side of the contraband in ambush and flank their opponents! The buildings on either side of the alleyway are each 2 stories high, their roofs’ 25 feet above the cobble brick ground.

Read the following as the appointed time arrives (an hour after dawn):

Chilling winds blow off of the Mohkba River, across the Trade Yard and the rooftops here in the Mariner’s Quarter. So close to a center of commerce there’s quite a bit of buying and selling going on in the street, but something stands out as you gaze over the assembled cityfolk—far down the way are four shrouded figures, paired onto wagons they drag behind them. They wouldn’t be so noticeable if it weren’t for the large red X on each of the barrels; exactly what you’ve been looking for!

The shrouded figures are four P.R.A.N.K.S.T.E.R. Thugs, indeed the ones the PCs are looking for. What’s in the barrels, however, is another matter entirely—four of their compatriots (if any survived the Ambush on the Water sidequest, those individuals) have been turned into blood thralls and meant solely to destroy the meddling adventurers! [Tomorrow’s Statblock Sunday! -MM]

2d6+4 civilians are milling about on the map, fleeing away (up and down the street) as soon as combat breaks out. Unbeknownst to the adventurers, enemy forces (each comprising 1d4+2 P.R.A.N.K.S.T.E.R. Thugs) wait to flank the party, appearing on the map and moving in to fight 2 rounds after the battle with the visible opponents and blood thralls starts.

When the battle is over, PCs that search the wagons and make a DC 16 Perception check find it has false bottoms, hiding strange magical containers [Magic Item Monday, folks! -MM].

Where were these meant to go? What purpose do the false findings serve? What are the P.R.A.N.K.S.T.E.R.S. up to? Keep following the AaWBlog 2015 Adventure Path to find out!

5E Rules

Finding more concrete details on the schedule of the P.R.A.N.K.S.T.E.R. shipment in time to take a short rest requires a DC 16 Charisma (Persuasion) check. Only results of 25 or greater yield more information than above, and failure on the check means the party only hears about it at the last possible moment, arriving with the first level of exhaustion should they fail a DC 10 Constitution (Athletics) check.

Discovering the false bottoms in the wagons requires a DC 12 Intelligence (Investigation) check.
[Thanks goes out to Mick Hand for help with the 5E version of this sidequest!]

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