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Sidequest Saturday (Duty in Drak’kal): Lair of the Bard Monkey

lair of the bard monkey mapDrak’kal’s newly minted tax collectors are called into Antonio Casta’s office with an urgent request (after dealing with Rabblerouser and the Klavekian Mob outside, of course, though some parties may do so reluctantly). Dispensing with the usual niceties, the Dockmaster gets straight to the point.

Friends, a golden opportunity has arisen with the two skinflints, Mason and Roberto: quite a sum of overdue taxes. These two are some of the Three Sisters’ most prominent merchants and purveyors of fine goods—that they should withhold any taxes at all is scandalous, but in this case I think we have some leverage. You see, each of them lost an entire barge and crew, their shipments ruined and likely at the bottom of the Serpent’s Tail! This is a sore blow for them indeed, and I doubt that either can afford for another catastrophe like this. Were the docks rebuilt and all the debris from the river removed, the chances of their turning a profit this quarter is far greater; this is the perfect time to convince them to pay up their taxes so we can get on with cleanup and rebuilding operations. The sooner we collect the coin, the sooner we rebuild and safer river commerce prevails.

Antonio Casta - Rick HersheyWhen the PCs ask for more information, Antonio knows a little and is happy to share. The two barges were loaded with exotic cloth, foodstuffs and other perishables. Yesterday around sundown, the vessels veered towards one of the storm exits in the sewer and struck debris, causing them to sink along with the entire 4-man crew of experienced rivermen on each barge—something must have been awry. The route through the river can be dangerous, but not for experienced rivermen such as these, and an eyewitness reported that shortly before sinking, the ships were overrun with rats and a strangely attired monkey was seen screeching at the disaster before returning inside the passages beneath Drak’kal.

The offices of Mason and Roberto are quite easy to find; the two offices are nestled in an upscale business district and share an entrance. A single receptionist sits behind a large desk which mostly blocks a door that allows interior access to the rest of the offices. When the PCs ask to see either Mason or Roberto, they are politely asked if they have an appointment, and if they do not, they are politely rebuffed and told that both merchants are unavailable for the foreseeable future.
A DC 20 Diplomacy check convinces her to let the party in right away. Adventurers who mention that they are here to collect taxes receive a -4 penalty, but mentioning assistance in dealing with the barge incident grants PCs a +10 bonus. Otherwise, the party can trespass into the office straight away (she offers no physical resistance) and quickly find both men; this course of action, however, incurs a -2 penalty to all social-based skill checks until the adventurers leave the premises.

human-male-klavekianBoth men are distraught about losing their barges, genuinely listening to and contemplating what the PCs have to say. When the party is done with their sales pitch, Mason offers to pay the taxes on one condition: he wants a thorough investigation of the crash site to discover what really happened to the sunken ships. Adventurers that can verify what happened and keep it from happening again get paid a bonus 10% of the taxes collected from both traders. Since the area is difficult to navigate to from land, they also offer the PCs the services of a small skiff big enough to hold the party.

Getting into the river and near the sewer is pretty easy but navigating a vessel within 30 feet of the sewer exit requires a DC 10 Profession (sailor) check or DC 20 Acrobatics check at the end of each turn to keep the skiff from being drawn towards the sewer entrance at a rate of 20 ft./per round. Failure on any of these checks forces creatures on the vessel (including the PCs) to make a DC 20 Reflex save when the boat strikes the sewer entrance or be tossed into the water. Due to the turbulent nature of the current here, a DC 15 Swim check is required to stay afloat (allowing 5 ft. of movement per round + 5 ft. for every 5 points exceeding the DC). The gate around the storm exit is easy to enter and once inside, a single DC 10 Swim check pulls a creature from the water and onto the stone platforms that run along each of the sewer tunnels beneath Drak’kal. A successfully controlled skiff can be tied near the gate, and from there a simple DC 10 Swim check takes a creature into the subterranean passages.

While all of this occurs the party is being watched from inside the sewers of Drak’kal. Once the skiff gets within 30 feet of the storm exit a DC 20 Perception check reveals a small, oddly dressed monkey wearing a red fez [tomorrow’s Statblock Sunday! –RT], screeching softly and watching the party from just inside the gate with uncharacteristic interest. As soon as the adventurers try to control the boat, the little simian conjures a hypnotic pattern (DC 12 Will save, 7+2d4 HD affected) in the middle of the vessel before running down the tunnel a moment later.

When the PCs follow (DC 15 Survival check to track) they find that the monkey has fled to the very back of the sewers, to a large, cross-shaped complex that was once a casual place for the detritus of Drak’kal to relax in concert. As the party enters they see two tunnels that lead off to small side chambers and a tunnel ahead that leads to a larger chamber. In the center of the cross chamber are several small boxes of valuable goods (about 300 gp worth) all stamped with either Mason’s or Roberto’s logo.

shadow-ratJust inside the western tunnel are two rat swarms that use Stealth to hide from and then surprise the party. Once the rat swarms have engaged the PCs the bard monkey appears at the entrance to the northern tunnel and uses its spell-like abilities to create chaos for the adventurers! It runs away when damaged, trying to get past the party as it does so (as it is cornered in this area).

At the end of the northern tunnel are more goods (another 300 gp worth) and what looks to be the lair of the bard monkey.

Recovering the goods and returning them to Mason and Roberto causes the merchants to pay 200% of their taxes (as now there are quite a few more valuables to claim) and as a result, Antonio Casta pays double for this week of work (and with a DC 15 Diplomacy check, the traders cough up the extra 10% owed to the PCs as well).

If the bard monkey is returned to its owner alive (Otto lost him during the recent Disaster in Drak’kal) the thankful old man teaches the PCs a secret tune only known to carnival folk; when performed by a bard (three full-round actions), it grants a number of temporary hit points equal to ½ the singer’s hit dice (minimum 1) for 1 hour (usable once per day).

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Sidequest Saturday (Duty in Drak’kal): Klavekian Mob

Klavekian Mob mapThrough a friend, posted signs, or by catching the right conversation in the right tavern, the PCs have found that one of the Three Sisters (settlements in the Klavek Kingdom south of its capital, Mohkba) is looking for tax collectors—an easy gig for great pay.
Recently a showing of the Broztavya Circus went awry in Drak’kal and the resulting destruction has weighed heavily on the settlement, as a particularly large and out-of-place aquatic sideshow attraction tore apart the city’s docks. Summer is right around the corner and it is vital for repairs to be made, so the pay for tax collection right now is extremely high (and for good reason; Klavekians are quite hardy, can be incredibly stubborn, and are generally not terribly fond of taxes.)
As the PCs arrive in Drak’kal there’s some commotion outside of the home of Dockmaster Antonio Casta—they may soon find out just how violent and dangerous a Klavekian mob can get!

As you near the middle of the Three Sisters the bustle of a city reaches your ears, but something else comes along with it on the winds—the sounds of dissent. Drawing nearer you make out a mob of common folk outside of one of the settlement’s nicer homes, a panicked looking fellow frantically pleading for help from inside the dwelling. Just outside is a huge Klavekian with the kind of face one only earns through many, many brawls; he’s shouting loudly, inciting the crowd to violence. It seems that if someone doesn’t do something soon, this might become a most unhappy day for a certain someone in Drak’kal.

Antonio Casta, the man responsible for gathering the taxes from Drak’kal’s citizens to repair the damaged docks (something for which he is complicit), is frantically waving and pleading for help. A Perception check (DC 10 + 1 per 5 feet away from the house) overhears his shouts for aid (“along with an increased salary if you like!”), but if no PC notices he resorts to crude, hastily made signs instead.
The man leading this small rebellion, Ivan Creed [or “Rabblerouser”, tomorrow’s Statblock Sunday! —MM], is a retired Klavekian soldier. Unlike his angry peers he’s stayed in shape adventuring, but all of them are upset with the unexpected tax (as there are normally some exemptions for those who’ve served in the Klavekian army).

If the PCs deal with Ivan quickly enough or manage to diffuse the situation without resorting to violence, they receive experience points as if they had defeated both enemies, but otherwise they face the harsh wrath of the people of Aventyr’s cold northern climes!

JC-ANGRYMOB-SMKLAVEKIAN     MOB CR 2
XP 600
Human (Klavekian) commoner 4
N Medium humanoid (human, troop)
Init +0; Senses Perception +5

DEFENSE
AC 13, touch 11, flat-footed 12 (+2 armor, +1 Dex)
hp 28 (4d6+12)
Fort +5, Ref +1, Will +1
Immune grappled condition, single-target spells, multiple-target spells
Weaknesses vulnerable to area effect spells

OFFENSE
Speed 30 ft.
Melee troop attack (1d8+2)
Space 20 ft. (contiguous 5-ft.-squares); Reach 5 ft.
Special Attacks chaos of combat

TACTICS
Before Combat A Klavekian mob only seems to be a bit rowdy at first, but not overly aggressive—although not an intentional deception, it often leaves those lacking social awareness (DC 14 Charisma check) wandering directly into the center of the creature’s space as it forms.
During Combat Klavekian mobs move into enemy squares and grapple, pummeling foes into submission. Never keen to authorities, after an opponent is felled they ignore them, moving on to other targets. Anyone who survives is severely humiliated afterwards, but left alive.
Morale A Klavekian mob disperses when reduced to 5 hit points or less (becoming 5 commoners without the troop subtype, each with 2 hit points left).

STATISTICS
Str 14, Dex 10, Con 14, Int 9, Wis 10, Cha 8
Base Atk +2; CMB +4; CMD 15 (cannot be bull rushed/tripped)
Feats Armor Proficiency (light), Great Fortitude, Toughness
Skills Climb +6, Craft (common items) +3, Perception +4, Profession (common career) +5, Survival +4, Swim +6; Racial Modifiers +2 Survival, -4 Charisma checks with non-humans and non-dweorgs
Languages Common, Klavek
SQ Klavekian proficiency (longsword), skilled
Gear leather armor (15), longswords (15), slings (15), sling bullets (150)

 

Once the adventurers have successfully driven off the Klavekian mob (through force or silver tongues), Dockmaster Casta thanks them profusely and offers them lucrative (10 gold a week!) jobs as tax collectors, assuring them that even greater opportunities await anyone who will come to know the people of Drak’kal so quickly!

 

 

Into the Wintery Gale - game set

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Sidequest Saturday: Redemption

A sidequest for four to five 2nd-4th level PCs.

INTRODUCTION
Long ago Sir Regenold Baraman fought alongside his close friend and comrade, Sir Marak Moldune, in a glorious, legendary battle. Both men should great courage and fought with honor, but though their side won the day, it was only Regenold whom walked away from the battlefield—Marak sacrificed his life to save his comrade, stepping into a mortally dangerous blow. Upon returning to their lord victoriously, Sir Baraman and his fellow knights were aptly rewarded with enough gold and silver to live out the rest of their lives comfortably.
In a show of respect for his fallen ally Regenold delivered Sir Moldune’s cremated remains and monetary reward to the fallen knight’s family. It was the least Sir Baraman could do to assure his friend’s remains made it home, and that the widow Moldune and her young daughter would have the means to sustain themselves in the absence of Marak. The Moldune family lived in a hamlet several days travel from the capital city and mere days after the great battle, Regenold found himself on the road, making his way southward to his old friend’s homestead—except the brave knight never arrived at his destination.
Redemption knights - Image_Portfolio_Platinum_Edition_13_Juan_Diego_DIanderas_Page_4_Image_0001Once news spread of Sir Baraman’s disappearance, several of his fellow knights joined in a vast and fruitless search for their comrade. As weeks passed without trace of Regenold, rumors began to mull, and many (if not most) came to assume that he had intentionally disappeared, claiming both rewards as his own. The widow Maldune assumes, and her children spread the tale as well.

When the king heard of what had happened, he ordered the disgraced knight’s name stricken from the records of heroes, unceremoniously stripped of rank. When the absconded warrior is mentioned it is always accompanied by dishonor, and he has come to be known as “Sir Regenold Baraman the Disgraced.”

SCENARIO
As it turns out, Sir Baraman did not betray his honor. During his journey southward to return Sir Moldune’s remains and share of treasure he was waylaid by a sudden and violent storm; seeking a place to take shelter, Regenold discovered a cave nearly completely obscured by overgrowth at the edge of a forest.
Hail pummeled down from the heavens as vicious winds snapped and tossed about tree limbs, and Regenold rushed into the cavern with little heed. Unfortunately for him, the cave was the opening to an ancient mass grave—an unholy site wherein 8 + 1d4 wights dwell.
Caught unprepared as he sheltered from the storm, the wights made quick work of slaughtering the brave knight, ending both his life and his mission. As a victim of a bloody and violent death, and with such an important task left unfinished, Regenold’s spirit clung to the world of the living. His ghost haunts the accursed cavern, unable to leave its confines to complete the quest and restore his honor.
In the Redemption sidequest, the PCs happen across the same cavern while seeking shelter from yet another violent storm—unaware of both what transpired here ages past and the dangers that still lurk within.

Redemption sidequest map - accursed cavern - JAMSetting the Stage: A Call to Arms
When the PC’s first enter the cavern they notice little other than it provides ample shelter from the raging storm outside. As the adventurers begin to explore their surroundings they hear the deep-voiced, distressed shouts of a man coming from down the winding tunnel within the cavern; it sounds as if someone is being violently bludgeoned to death.
As the PCs investigate, they come across a cobweb-covered greatsword and suit of half-plate armor housing a dusty skeleton. When either is approached or disturbed, Sir Baraman’s Rousing Haunt triggers and the knight’s ghost manifests before them. [See tomorrow’s Statblock Sunday for full details on the ghost of Sir Regenold Baraman JAM]

Sir Baraman’s Rousing Haunt    CR 4
XP 1,200
LG persistant haunt (within the winding tunnel)
Caster Level 5th
Notice automatic
hp 30; Trigger proximity; Reset 1 hour
Effect When this haunt is triggered, the ghost of Sir Regenold Baraman manifests. In this state he has limited memory and believes that the PCs are his fellow knights, come to aid against the approaching evil. He refers to the party as “my comrades,” and tells them to bear their arms and fear not the darkness. PCs can recall the story of Sir Regenold Baraman the Disgraced with a successful DC 25 Knowledge (history) check or DC 30 Knowledge (nobility) check.
All creatures in the haunt’s area gain darkvision 60 ft. and a morale bonus to attacks and saving throws for the next 24 hours (anyone that does not venture deeper within the cavern takes a -3 penalty to attacks and saving throws instead; DC 21 Will save negates).
Destruction To permanently end the rousing haunt, the wights must be destroyed.

redemption - wights - JAMIt is only as the ghost steward points his greatsword down the dark and winding corridor that the PCs become aware of the approaching 8 + 1d4 wights. With his presumed allies at his side, Sir Baraman engages in combat alongside the adventurers to help fend off and destroy the vile undead creatures.

When the haunt is destroyed, the knight’s ghost remains, no longer suffering from the delusion that he is living and that the party are his fellow soldiers. When Regenold regains his senses and memories of his long ago death, he realizes that the PCs, though complete strangers, have fought by his side (and should they still be unaware of whom he is, Sir Baraman introduces himself and tells the story of his demise).

There are several rows of shattered sarcophagi in the chamber at the end of the winding tunnel. These vaults once stowed the bodies of the wights, but these have been destroyed and looted by grave robbers even long before Sir Baraman’s fateful discovery of the site.

Regenold leads the PCs to an extremely heavy burlap sack hidden in a narrow crevice in the winding tunnel. Inside are gold coins (5,000 gp), 3d4 gems, and a golden urn (500 gp value) containing the ashes of Sir Marak Moldune. Sir Baraman’s soul cannot rest until his mission has been completed and as his spirit is bound to the accursed cavern, he implores the PCs to assist by delivering the assets to the Moldune family that lives in the hamlet one day’s journey south of the cave, and to let them know that he never betrayed his lifelong friend.

The ghostly knight requests the PCs complete this task then return to the cave to inform him that it has been finished, and to bury his remains so that he may finally find peace. In return they will have his gratitude and he promises to share with them the location of his share of the king’s treasure before his release, so the adventurers might claim it as their own.

Completing the Knight’s Quest
If the PCs attempt to return the urn and treasure to the Moldune family, they locate the knight’s middle-aged grandson, Orik, who in turn leads them back to the family’s run-down homestead where they meet a frail and elderly woman by the name of Hattie. Though she was a young child when Sir Baraman disappeared with her father’s remains (revealing how long ago the knight died), she remembers the story well and explains that her family had always cursed the Baraman name. She is thankful for the return of her father’s remains, and his treasure which—more than enough for her son to repair their farm. When told the truth of what happened to Regenold, Hattie seems relieved and is almost brought to tears.
Gary Dupuis - Onarra-COrik vows to deliver message to the capital city and tell the order of knights there the truth of Sir Baraman’s disappearance so that they might honor him once again, and though she is too aged to make the trip herself, Hattie gives to the PCs a golden ring bearing the crest of the Moldune family (the last memento she had of her father), and requests they deliver it to the ghost steward along with her heartfelt gratitude.

Upon returning to the accursed cavern, the adventurers find the ghost of Regenold eagerly awaiting. After providing him the ring from Hattie and being told that his mission is finally complete, Sir Baraman kneels next to his scattered bones and begins to weep.
Through ethereal tear-filled eyes he profusely thanks the PCs for their aide, promising to carry tale of their deeds with him into the afterlife. He asks as a final favor that his remains are buried outside the cave entrance along with his armor, sword, and the Moldune’s ring.

When they agree to this last request he dictates to the party a map that clearly leads to his buried treasure, two days to the north. The treasure consists of 5,000 gp and 3d4 gems. In addition, he asks that each of the PCs claim one of the finger bones from his body as a keepsake, so that his restored honor may watch over each of them from this day forth.
As his spirit disperses and fades into thin air after the burial of his remains outside, Regenold uses the last of his energies to infuse his spirit into each of the tiny bones claimed by the PCs, turning them into ignominious icons [the next Magic Item Monday details these keepsakes from the dead! –JAM]. Each provides its bearer with a +1 sacred bonus to Sense Motive.

For returning Sir Marak Moldune’s remains and treasure to their rightful place, the PCs should each be awarded an additional 500 XP. For every 1 gp worth of items taken, reduce that PCs reward by 1 XP.
If the PCs attempt to deceive Regenold in any way, he makes a Sense Motive check. Should he suspect that they are lying to him about having returned both the remains and treasure, Sir Baraman assumes they are little more than petty thieves and immediately engages the party in combat with the intent of killing them for their dishonesty.

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