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Strange Salve: Mage’s Game

Upon arriving on the docks of Mohkba, the note the PCs acquired during their passage across the river becomes noticeably warm and the next time it is looked upon or read, the adventurers find an address emblazoned on it: 531 Ripkorski Way.

Mage's GameTraveling through the metropolis isn’t easy for people new to Mohkba and finding the address on the note is difficult indeed. A DC 10 Knowledge (local) check or DC 13 Diplomacy check to gather information narrows it down to the Mariner’s Quarter, but only a result of 25 or higher (in either check) finds the place within the party’s first day there. For every additional day spent in the Mariner’s Quarter, grant PCs a cumulative +1 circumstance bonus to skill checks to find 531 Ripkorksi Way (located smack dab in the center of this part of the city).

After their first day in the city the party start to get glimpses throughout the day at more P.R.A.N.K.S.T.E.R. Thugs but each time the dubious criminals utterly disappear around alleyway corners or the lips of rooftops, curiously leaving no tracks. Every day these sightings increase in frequency, generally becoming more and more common the closer adventurers get to the center of Mohkba’s Mariner’s Quarter. Even curiouser is the lack of knowledge most people have about the address the PCs are searching for—almost as if there is some great conspiracy going on, or as though the street the party is searching for wipes the memories of those who walk upon it.

When the PCs finally find 531 Ripkorski Way, read the following:

After no small bit of footwork you’ve acquired the directions to the address on the hitman’s note, carefully following them to a run down theater in the center of the Mariner’s Quarter. The street around it is similarly dilapidated and only the faded shadow of “531” appears beside the building’s ramshackle front doors. Further within its darkened interior are the vestiges of a far greater past, an eloquent room and hundreds of empty seats that have fallen into disrepair and inspire a sense of fear. Sitting in the center of a proscenium stage is a small, crooked hat, but otherwise the chamber is unremarkable, if unsettling.

mage's game theaterNothing happens until someone touches the hat (with a weapon, their hands, or magic) at which point an opsjena [tomorrow’s Statblock Sunday! -MM] appears, attacking the party! When the creature is defeated or one of the adventurers is brought below 0 hp, the monster disappears.

After defeating the creature, Jesker the Great—invisible and sitting up in the furthest seats from the stage—begins clapping, shouting, “well done!” and appears amidst the PCs in a puff of voluminous, brightly colored smoke. Before anyone can protest he doles out 2d4+4 potions of cure serious wounds and congratulates the party on their prowess and cunning, exclaiming that the stars truly were aligned and that they are indeed the ones he was waiting for.

Apologizing for his duplicity, the mage explains that he represents the Sideribus Volunt (a benevolent organization that opposes the chaos wrought by the P.R.A.N.K.S.T.E.R.S. at every turn) and that he requires truly devious and experienced adventurers to take the criminal cabal to task. The network of ne’er-do-wells are up to no good again, secretly transporting something into the city to undoubtedly nefarious ends. Jesker overstayed what little patience and welcome the metropolis had for him long ago, and he is well known to the society of thieves, actively opposed by their coterie of spellcasters. The mage is unable to act freely and stop the P.R.A.N.K.S.T.E.R.S.; though the PCs are on their radar the adventurers still have some level of mobility and can strike back without the whole of Mohkba’s city watch responding in force. Worse yet, he suspects the disappearance of Ullast has something to do with the criminal network and that their presence in Mohkba is related.

Jesker the GreatThough it will take him some considerable doing, Jesker promises the PCs each 5,000 gold pieces and one limited wish provided by the Sideribus Volunt should they bring an end to the P.R.A.N.K.S.T.E.R.S. current plot, offering up half of the gold up front to fund their mission. After the party accepts the deal, he tells them of the latest shipment his informants have discovered, one arriving in the docks adjacent to the Trade Yard a few hours before the next sunrise. Unfortunately the wizard doesn’t know any more than that, unable to pierce through the cabal’s magical defenses to find out more.

If a PC falls while fighting the opsjena the creature disappears in a puff of smoke and the party fails the mage’s game. Jesker the Great doesn’t reveal himself just yet, cunningly sending them on various smaller quests until he feels they are prepared for the dangers ahead.

5E Rules

Finding out that address on the note is somewhere in the Mariner’s Quarter requires a DC 8 Intelligence (Knowledge [local]) check or DC 11 Charisma (Persuasion) check. The initial DC to narrow down the exact location of 531 Ripkorski Way is 20, and PCs gain a cumulative +2 bonus to skill checks to find it each day they spend in the Mariner’s Quarter.

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