Chapter 0: Welcome to Riddleport
What Has Come Before
A dark blot has appeared in the skies over Riddleport. This strange phenomenon -- not a cloud, not a portal, but something stranger -- hovers unmoving above the city. The city -- the third largest in the region of Golarion known as Varisia -- paused to observe the blot when it first appeared, but then shrugged and when about their business, be it commerce, thievery or the age-old art of piracy. Into this city have come a number of young individuals seeking new lives and new adventures. Little do they know that they'll find both in the devil-haunted halls of the Gold Goblin Gambling Hall...
Sixteen-year-old Skender (Nate's Rogue 1) met a potential mark -- Joseph Dearborn, an elderly businessman in the city on a trade mission -- in Riddleport's River District. He could have cut his purse and taken a nice haul of silver and gold, but instead decided to become his guide.
He reconnected Dearborn with his bodyguard Carter Areson (who'd lost track of his absent minded ward in the city's crowded streets) and recommended a better inn for him to stay at (moving him from the Green Griffin Inn in the Harbor District -- excellent eel stew, but constantly smelling of the wharf) to the Inn of the Black Hart (owned by the grieving widow Susanna Jaeger but serving excellent beef and sauerkraut dinners).
It also happened to be the inn where a young elven musician named Korlandril (Damon's Sorcerer 1) was trying to eek out a living. He's performed the last few nights and earned a handful of coppers in addition to food and lodging, but his discordant elven death durges weren't going over well with the inn's crowd. He decided to put on his most epic performance yet, using a variety of spells and cantrips to augment the performance. He was aided by Skender, who decided to help the forlorn elf by convincing Jaeger's elder daughter to dance. A few of the other patrons joined in, but the performance ended on a sour note with Korlandril unleashing a dour rift that cause the entire inn to look on in startled silence.
He was subsequently fired ... but Skender realized that the elf just might fit in at another inn...
Together they headed down to the Gold Goblin, a rundown tavern, inn and gambling hall that was looking to make a big comeback with a major gambling competition. It was called "Cheat the Devil and Steal His Gold" and the owner -- Saul Vancaskerkin -- was going to need all the help he could get.
Together the two headed to the Golden Goblin. Skender talked Saul into giving Korlandril an audition, which went well enough to land the elf a job. Saul was impressed by Skender's eye for talent, and asked him to find two women to act the part at succubi at the upcoming competition. Skender, who grew up in a brothel, had no problem completing that job.
Phillymondiuspartigan Jones (Lance's Wizard 1) was jumped by two thugs while studying the lesser, inset runes of the Cyphergate at the entrance to Riddleport's harbor. A midget human named Stilts and his musclebound companion Red tried to kidnap the gnome, thinking that they might be able to get a pretty penny for his rune-inscribed hide.
A melee ensued in which Phil unleashed color sprays, arcane missiles and other magical tricks to try and subdue and/or outwit his opponents. He was aided by their own incompetence: Stilts' successfully snuck up behind the gnome, but slipped in the mud while trying to hit him with a sap. The midget ended up sprawled in the mud. Meanwhile Red landed an impressive initial blow with his sand-filled sock, but was knocked unconscious by the gnome's color spray.
The nearby gendarmes -- armed guards who are loyal to Riddleport's overlord, and are what paces for the City Watch in Riddleport -- observed the skirmish, but chose not to get involved. Instead, they started making wagers on who would win the engagement.
Phil was able to win the fight, driving off Stilts and Red with a final flourish of wizardly might, and returned to the Cypher Mage Lodge. There he discovered he was no longer welcome at the lodge because his master had passed on. With his teacher dead, and no one else willing to take on a new apprentice, the lodge's steward -- a dour, slow-speaking wizard named Danidral -- demanded that he leave.
He suggested that he look elsewhere for employment and lodging, and informed him that another would-be apprentice -- a half-elf named Samaritha Beldusk might be able to help him in that regard. As luck -- or perhaps fate -- would have it, Samaritha entered the lodge at that moment looking to check its announcement board for openings.
After being bruskly informed by Danidral of the lack of said openings, Samaritha glanced at the gnome, reasoned that anyone who annoyed Danidral had to be alright, and agreed to help him find a job. She explained she'd just been hired on as a greeter at the Golden Goblin and knew the owner Saul Vancaskerkin needed more help to run his big "Cheat The Devil and Steal His Gold"" tournament. She agreed to put in a good word for Phil, and together the two set off for the Gold Goblin.
- Skender: 150 xp
- Korlandril: 150 xp
- Phil: 150 xp