DESCRIPTION These surprisingly light gauntlets are made from supple sleeve-length leather gloves inlaid with gold.
Though they look expensive, inflatable gauntlets are plated with pyrite (fool’s gold) and are actually far less valuable than most folks initially believe them to be (DC 14 Appraise check). Activating a pair of inflatable gauntlets requires the magic items to be completely submerged. When active, the wearer of inflatable gauntlets becomes incredibly buoyant, floating to the surface of any water at least 5 feet deep. So long as the wearer is swimming atop the water, they gain a +5 circumstance bonus to Swim checks but should they attempt to submerge themselves while using inflatable gauntlets, the wearer takes a -10 penalty to Swim checks. Once activated, inflatable gauntlets continue working for one hour, at the end of which they become inert and practically worthless. Removing or putting on inflatable gauntlets is a full-round action.
CONSTRUCTION Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, ½ lbs. of pyrite, buoyancy; Cost 150 gp
DEFENSE AC 17, touch 11, flat-footed 16 (+6 armor, +1 Dex) hp 30 (3d10+9) Fort +5, Ref +4, Will +0 Defensive Abilities orc ferocity
OFFENSE Speed 30 ft. Melee mwk kukri +10 or +8/+8 (1d4+3, Crit 18-20/x2) Ranged dagger +7 (1d4+3, Crit 19-20/x2, Range 20 ft.) Special Attacks sneak attack +1d6, studied target +1
TACTICS Before Combat The P.R.A.N.K.S.T.E.R. Thugs gradually move to surround the doorways leading into and out of the room the party is in. If possible, each chooses a different studied target. During Combat Using flanking, P.R.A.N.K.S.T.E.R. Thugs cut opponents down with critical hits from their kukri, sneak attack damage, and the studied target class ability. Morale When reduced to 5 hp or less, a P.R.A.N.K.S.T.E.R. Thug briefly retreats to drink their potion of cure moderate wounds, returning to the fight as soon as possible. The second time they are damaged this severaly, a P.R.A.N.K.S.T.E.R. Thug leaps into the water, swimming as far away while submerged as their lungs allow before activating their inflating gauntlets.
STATISTICS Str 16, Dex 13, Con 15, Int 10, Wis 8, Cha 12 Base Atk +3; CMB +6; CMD 17 Feats Double Slice, Power Attack, Two-Weapon Fighting Skills Acrobatics +7, Bluff +7, Climb +7, Intimidate +3, Perception +5, Sense Motive +5, Stealth +7, Survival +3,Swim +7; Racial Modifiers +2 Intimidate Languages Klavek, Orc SQ slayer talent (ranger combat style [Two-Weapon Fighting], track Gearpotion of cure moderate wounds; Other Gearinflating gauntlets [tomorrow’s Magic Item Monday! –MM], mwk breastplate, mwk kukri (2), daggers (5), 42 gold
Use the “Spy” entry from the Monster Manual but grant each P.R.A.N.K.S.T.E.R. Thug half-orc racial traits (darkvision 60 ft., Relentless Endurance, and Savage Attacks) as well as a potion of healing.
By the time the PCs arrive to catch their boat 2 hours after the sun rises, the remainder of the ships in the pier are gone and the only viable option for crossing the river into Mohkba is their chartered vessel; any enterprising adventurers that show up early in an attempt to book other passage, are rebuffed as readily as they were the previous night. Though the party didn’t learn the name of Mazidri’s boat, it’s easy to find—there’s only one ship on the docks, the Sorrowful Plug. As the PCs climb aboard read the following:
Despite the warmth of summer, a cold wind rolls down the Mohkba River as you walk down one of Enixam’s rickety wooden piers and toward the only ship in sight: the Sorrowful Plug. One of its sailors hollers in the ship’s direction, prompting Mazidri to appear from below deck. “Greetings, friends!” he says, clearly in a more chipper mood than late last night. “Please, come aboard, file in; down the steps and into the room under the masthead, if you would.”
There’s certainly something strange afoot; PCs that succeed a DC 17 Sense Motive check can discern that the 8-man crew of sailors don’t seem exceptionally familiar with the vessel. If questioned about it, Mazidri explains that they are new crew as his previous employees have since retired—an opposed check against his Bluff +10 reveals that “retired” is an extremely cunningly chosen word—but a result of 22 or higher on the initial check reveals that the workers on the Sorrowful Plug are clearly not sailors at all (PCs receive a circumstance bonus to the initial check equal to half their ranks in Profession [sailor]).
A DC 13 Perception check recognizes that aside from Mazidri, every one of the sailors is a half-orc. Though that might seem strange, a DC 12 Knowledge (local) check confirms that it’s actually the norm in Eximan; a result of 20 or higher on this check, however, notices that they all have visible tattoos of various kinds, each conforming subtly to one emblematic style that matches with the motif of one of the town’s thieves’ guilds.
The Sorrowful Plug leaves port 1d4+1 minutes after the party climbs aboard, giving the adventurers some time to mingle and get their bearings on the vessel. Interactions with the crew are extremely short but with every passing minute Mazidri becomes more and more nervous, noticeably so with a successful Sense Motive check (DC 20 – 2 per previous check). When confronted he quietly reveals that his former crew was murdered, replaced by ruffians early last night—any refusal on his part would have meant an instant death.
Once the boat is moving the PCs have 1d4+1 minutes of sailing away from Enixam before the false sailors launch their ambush on the water. Parties that have already uncovered the trap and heard Mazidri’s confession are able to move about the vessel and prepare themselves for the inevitable battle, but otherwise, the adventurers are in for a surprise when the 8 P.R.A.N.K.S.T.E.R. Thugs attack! [Tomorrow’s Statblock Sunday, folks! –MM]
When the last blade is sheathed and the corpses of these brigands are thoroughly searched, the PCs find a cryptic note. The code is nearly impossible to break with only this message (a DC 34 Linguistics check) but any Aventyr adventurer worth their salt easily recognizes the symbol of a much larger organization: the P.R.A.N.K.S.T.E.R.S. criminal cabal. Once they reach the shores of Mohkba an address magically appears on the parchment, but otherwise it remains inaccessible even to magic[The contents of the note are a secret to everyone for now—keep an eye out in future posts for more clues and remember the party has it! -MM]
Realizing that the sailors on the Sorrowful Plug aren’t familiar with the ship requires a DC 13 Wisdom (Insight) check. A result of 18 or higher recognizes that they are not sailors at all (any PC with the sailor background gains advantage on this check).
A DC 10 Wisdom (Awareness) check reveals that all of the sailors are half-orcs. A DC 10 Intelligence (Knowledge [local]) check notifies a PC that this is quite common in Enixam; a result of 17 or higher makes the connection to the town’s thieves’ guilds.
Noticing Mazidri’s nervousness after the ship is away from the docks requires a Wisdom (Insight) check (DC 17 – 1 per previous check).
The impossibly large bartender shrugs his shoulders for the seventh time, looking at Mykail with the same curious expression that was plastered onto his face from when the bard first asked about passage across the Mohkba River. “No Common. Only drinks. Want ale?”
With his retinue of languages readily exhausted, the half-elf relented. “Yes, want ale. All the ale. Why don’t you just bring a barrel of it over here, I’ll bathe in the stuff, and then we can share it together, or better yet, visit the Mohkba zoo and hand feed it to the tigers, you oversized half-wit?” The simpleton returned the insult with a broad smile and filled up the first of many flagons with something vaguely amber colored. Mykail didn’t care—it had been a long night and much to his surprise, hiring anyone to sail a party of adventurers across the river to the Klavek Kingdom’s capital was proving to be prohibitively expensive and exasperatingly difficult.
Every hour another of his companions trickled into the tavern with similar tales of failure and despite drinking enough ale to drop a mammoth, Mykail was still extremely irritated with the whole venture. His mood did not improve when Stephni sauntered in, chest puffed out and clearly full of herself again.
“I’ve found us a boat for the princely sum of 4 gold coins a piece.” She grinned maliciously, overwhelmingly pleased with having shown up the bard yet again. “He prefers the peculiar drinks at Vylki’s Alchemy and wants to meet us before shipping out tomorrow, so finish what’s in your flagon. And no, Mykail, just finish it or hand it off to Justahn—I want all of us rested before heading to Mohkba and the dwarf handles his liquor better than you ever will.” With that she turned on heel, waiting by the door and glaring sternly at the party until everyone sallied up for a walk through Enixam.
“Tell me, oh fearless leader,” Mykail began, drawing close to avoid the attention from any nosy passerby, “how exactly do we know this isn’t just an ambush waiting to happen, hmmm? I’m a little inebriated but I don’t think we need Vic’s sixth sense to tell us this is a bad idea.”
Stephni sighed, pulling out a silk cloth to polish her gauntlet, spitting on it to punctuate her dismissive tone. “A few reasons. Vylki runs a fine business that caters to many of Mohkba’s elite, and if people got mugged there it wouldn’t be very encouraging for her customers. Then there’s the fact that we aren’t children with sticks—I doubt anyone in this town of outcasts could really get the drop on us. Finally, if you’ll shut up, I won’t make you sleep on the floor in our room?”
The rest of the walk was decidedly quiet, aside from the faint chuckling coming out of the dwarf and halfling.
Vylki’s Alchemy’s lanterns weren’t lit, but three knocks the front door opened to reveal a disheveled looking hobgoblin woman in its darkened interior. “Come in, quickly. I’ve no disguise up and it’s nearly time to turn in. People in this town talk, you know.”
A figure leaning against the counter looks up wearily from the beakers and flasks strewn about, clearly quite fatigued. “You are the ones seeking passage, yes? I am Mazidri and have a boat with a little bit of extra space in the hold.” He peers out the doorway to see Tekkittir, his eyes widening slightly as he notices the tree in the half-orc’s arms. “Tree will cost extra but…I think we can fit you all on my ship.” With that he stands up briskly, nods to the hobgoblin, and quickly shuffles outside. “We leave 2 hours after dawn and the smell of booze on you is overwhelming—I need to sleep and suggest you do the same.”
Just as rapidly Vylki pipes up, “good, great, done. That favor is paid, Mazidri! We’re even!” She looks around at the adventurers and begins waving her arms toward the entrance, pushing Mykail and Stephni back out onto the street, “thanks for stopping by, please visit again during regular hours and enjoy your trip,” before slamming the front door shut.
All told perhaps 20 seconds passed in the exchange and even a bullete would be able to see the tension in the air—aside from Tekkittir, of course.
“Well,” Mykail hushedly asks, briefly breaking the silence, “I guess we’re allllll good then, huh?”
Enixam is where the detritus and disenfranchised of Klavek Kingdom’s capital often find themselves shuffled off to. Lepers, pariahs, and outcasts find new lives here, supporting one another and providing ample labor for the busy piers across the Mohkba River. Criminals make efficient use of Enixam and provide the hidden backbone of its economy, disguising themselves and blending in with its populace in order to dodge out of the way of Mohkba officials and guards.
Baroness Grandaj’s Estate The leader of Mohkba’s sister settlement across the river lives to the northeast; all civil concerns in Enixam go directly to her, though important announcements and town meetings are held in the House of Comedic Anguish.
Denziddir’s Despicable Ale While there are several merchants that stock ale and wine in Enixam, there’s only one legitimate watering hole. Located on the water and accessible only by boat or wooden bridge, Denziddir’s Despicable Ale is cunningly named to detract young nobles from across the Mohkba River. Its proprietor Denziddir (N Male ogre rogue 3) claims to be a half-orc with some giant in his blood and the truth of his lineage is a well kept secret among the settlement’s longest-lived citizens, one protected by the criminal element—the drinking establishment is a locus of illegal activity that prizes the physically gifted barkeep.
House of Comedic Anguish The sole survivors of a terrible theater fire, Mohkba’s finest acting duo were severely burned, marred beyond the reach of healing magic. Rather than retreat from the public eye, the two moved across the river to Enixam and with Baroness Grandaj’s patronage, built the settlement’s sole house of the arts. The truly cultured nobility of the capital often travel to these shows, hiring on bodyguards to accompany them the entirety of their time in the Refuge of the North.
Vykli’s Alchemy Only slightly less well known than the town’s leader, Vykli (LN Female hobgoblin alchemist [grenadier] 8) is arguably the finest alchemist in the proximity of the Klavek Kingdom. At the (extremely profitable) behest of Baroness Grandaj, the scientist disguised herself and traveled to Enixam, working to “cure” the noble of her “deformities”. Unfortunately Vykli has had little success at that task, but a strong customer base of Mohkba’s elite have kept her here. Keen to finally complete the miraculous feat requested of her, the alchemist sometimes employs adventurers to acquire increasingly rarer reagents for her unorthodox concoctions.
The Uncommons and Rogue Collectives The majority of Enixam’s citizens live in the Uncommons, clustered on the inner-bay’s paved streets. Those that don’t live in their own homes share rooms in one of the various collectives, though these are little more than fronts for the town’s criminals. The three gangs squabble over territory for pickpocketing, racketeering, and the best ships to take west across the river and into the more profitable alleyways of Mohkba.
XP 1,600 Persistent CN haunt (unnatural shadow in 10 ft.-radius circle in town square) Caster Level 5th Notice Perception DC 20 (to realize one’s shadow is unnatural) hp 22; Trigger touch; Reset 1 day
Effect When the deforming shadow haunt is triggered, creatures traveling through its squares develop unnatural shadows that follow them for 1d4+1 hours, incurring a -1 penalty to Charisma-based skill checks. When creatures touch a deforming shadow or otherwise attempt to physically interact with one, it draws up to cover the creature’s body and face. Creatures that fail a DC 15 Fortitude save are mutated by the deforming shadow, taking d4 Charisma damage as their expressions become difficult to read and understand, and then 1d4 Dexterity damage and a -10 penalty to movement speed as the creature’s legs warp and twist
Destruction The deforming shadow haunt’s area must be doused with 6 vials of holy water and rubbed down with a dose of serafin salve.
Adventure Hook The first settlers of Enixam were lepers cast out of Mohkba. Many died in the settlement’s first winter, victims of the dreaded chill of Klavek snows—it became very common to curse the nobles of the city across the river with one’s last breath, and those who did remain, creating deforming shadows to force those they hated to experience their pain.