Chapter 14: A Riddleport State of Mind
What Has Come Before
The drow successfully crashed a meteor into Devil’s Elbow, an island off the shore of Riddleport. Several expeditions left the City of Pirates seeking to recover the skymetal associated with such events. Most were killed by the alien horrors that hitched a ride with meteorite, but the Cypherguild and Clegg contingents managed to fend off the aliens and survive.
Meanwhile, the drow – having concluded their investigations – fled the island. The dark elves left behind a shadow demon to murder the survivors not killed by the aliens, but the allied factions of the Cyphers and Clegg were able to defeat the monster.
Investigation of the drow’s former lair revealed scattered notes and a discarded journal that indicated they were headed to for the ruined elven city of Celwynvian in the Mierani Forest. Once the capital of elvendom, the city fell into disrepair when the elves fled the planet ahead of the Age of Darkness. The drow are seeing out the “Armageddon Echo”. The nature of the echo – event? Artifact? Spell – is not clear, but it seems it will play a pivitol role in the drow’s ongoing research.
With the drow defeated and the alien menace killed, the heroes and their allies have returned to Riddleport. After a week of sheer terror, our heroes have returned to Riddleport aboard the Foamrunner, the sailing ship commissioned by the Order of Cyphers. This yields several rewards:
Clegg Zincher: Despite the fact that the heroes were unable to secure Clegg a live specimen of the tentacle-maned monsters, the gangster appreciates the fact that the heroes fought and killed the shadow demon. He pays the heroes 500 gp *each* for their good work.
The Order of Cyphers: The disaster at Devil’s Elbow saw half of the Order’s mages killed, including the expedition leader Fennela Bromathan. The elders of the guild have no choice but to admit that it was only the presence of Phil and Samaritha that prevented the expedition from being a total failure. In honor of this, Elias Tammerhawk reluctantly agrees to enter the two wizards onto the rolls as full members, and to grant them the title of “Field Researcher”. They also pay the heroes a bonus of 500 gp *each*, and a rare honor: they may each search the Order’s Lesser Vault for a single magic item worth 2,000 gp or less. This can be weapons, armor, wondrous items, etc. from the core rule book.
Our heroes met up with Clegg Zincher, who congratulated them on their good work, and invited them to a party at his wharf-side arena. Skender, Jorm and Phillymondiuspartigan Jones accepted the invitation, then went their separate ways. Meanwhile Kwava, concerned about the events at Devil's Elbow, announced he was going to send a message to his guild reporting in and asking for advice on what to do next.
A Love of Research
Phil joined up with Samaritha Beldusk and the two of them met with Elias Tammerhawk, who reluctantly conferred the title of "field researchers" on the pair of them. He then reluctantly explained that the research resources of the guild were at their disposal, as the end of the world was worth trying to avoid, even if two snot-nosed apprentices had discovered the plot. Phil asked Tammerhawk if he knew of any connection between the drow and the runelords; Tammerhawk dismissed the possibility of "dark elves", saying he'd need a body to believe *THAT* fairy tale, but said he'd never heard of any underground demihuman race experimenting with rune magic.
He also agreed with Phil's plan to use The Golden Goblin as a base of operations for the Order of Cyphers to study the lower reaches of the Cypher Ring. However, Tammerhawk didn't want this widely known -- he agreed to pay the Goblin 300 gp a month as "rent" but only if the gambling hall continued its regular operations and added more ... intelligent ... games to provide a cover for the mages working there.
Phil and Samaritha then spent the rest of the day researching their respective projects: Phil learning UnderCommon and Varsian; Samaratha researching the Rune Lords and their possible connections to the events of recent weeks. By day's end, Samaratha had a possible lead: Karzoug, the runelord of greed, was obsessed with all kinds of metal, particularly the rare alloys floating through the solar system.
His great fortress of Zavoraff was dedicated to studying and refining such ores from the lofty heights of the Calphiak Mountains. It fell into ruins long ago and is now known as the Citadel of Rust. The fortress might contain secrets that could help the mages understand how the drow are able to pull down the meteors. Unfortunately, it could also be very dangerous -- there are rumors of ancient constructs still roaming the citadel's stone corridors.
The two then had dinner, during which they split a bottle of Chelaxian wine looted from the Devil's Elbow and talked lovingly of their discoveries.
Skender, seeking to improve his skill with a blade, decided to seek out a teacher. He found one in the form of Doofer Bronzeman, a womanizing former adventurer who was more than willing to pick up some extra coin training would-be swordsmen. After meeting Skender at the Drunken Parrot Tavern (a popular watering hole for Clegg's men) he agreed to take on Skender as a student and told him to meet him in the Inner Harbor the next day for his first lesson.
They did indeed meet the next day, on one of the bridge's over the river running through Riddleport. The "weapon master" tried everything to throw Skender off his game -- throwing a javalin, lashing out with spiked gauntlet, and attacking him outright with a sword -- but Skender was able to avoid all of the blows. Doofer was clearly a has-been, but Skender could see that beneath the fat, the man did retain knowledge that could be useful to him.
The Esteemed Order of Metallurgical Mastery
Meanwhile Jorm sought out expert dwarven smiths to adjust the mithril chain he'd found on Devil's Elbow. He discovered that the magical armor *did* automatically increase in size to fit his dwarven girth ... but that the armor's plunging neckline just wasn't going to work.
He went to The Esteemed Order of Metallurgical Mastery, an elite cadre of dwarven metalworkers who setup shop next to Riddleport’s famous Gas Forges. Led by Master Artisan Duerak Silveroath, the order is renowned for being able to work with any type of metal, unrelenting perfectionism, and a propensity for adding undocumented features.
Silveroath is the eldest of the metal workers, and his work is in much demand around the region. Grimm Firebeard is a talented armorer known for becoming so absorbed in his work that his beard has caught on fire. As a result, the salt-and-pepper beard’s ends are often blackened and crinkled. Bokhan Ironsmash is far more intelligent than his surname suggests, and is an expert weaponsmith.
Firebeard agreed to work on Jorm's armor for a fee of 100 gp ... and some fine dwarven ale.
The Gang War
Skender, Phil, and Jorm went to meet with Clegg at his gladiator pits for a late dinner. After watching a man be disemboweled by a lion, the adventurers learned that Clegg had a job for them.
He explained that the events on Devil’s Elbow have had ramifications in the city. Smuggler lord Avrey Slyeg personally led his expedition to the Devil’s Elbow and was killed along with his men when the drow attacked his camp. This has created a power vacuum in Riddleport that Clegg immediately sought to take advantage of.
Knowing that Syleg’s organization will likely be in disarray as the man’s Riddleport lieutenants vied for powr, Clegg decided to seize control of the smuggler’s operation. His ultimate goal is to take the River Runner, the upscale inn that served as Slyeg’s base of operations. To do so though, he needed to secure the silver keys that will allow him to bypass some of the inn’s defenses ... and secure Slyeg’s all important journals.
Copies of these keys are kept in Syleg’s three major warehouses. Clegg already had teams assembled to seize two of the warehouses; he asked Skender and his friends if they wanted to take the third. He asked this as a personal favor ... but offered to pay the raiders 100 gp a piece.
The adventurers agreed. Skender and Jorm scouted out the warehouse in question the next day. Skender arrived at the Inner Harbor to find people in shock over an alleged sea monster attack that killed two fishermen and carried off part of a dock. Arriving at the warehouse in question, he handed out pamphlets promoting the re-opening of the Gold Goblin to the guards. The guards, shocked that someone so young would be handing out pamphlets at the docks, explained that there was a monster about ... and that it had killed two of their colleagues the night before.
Jorm missed the warehouse entirely after he caught a glimpse of ... something ... moving in the river.
The night, the heroes -- Skender, Jorm, Phil, and Emeryon Star-Seeker -- returned to the warehouse and decided to use the rumors of the sea monster to their advantage. Phil summoned ghost sounds of a roaring beast, combined with evil-looking globes of light, to scare off a number of guards. The illusion was further enhanced by Skender, who succeeded in tripping one of the scared guards with his whip, causing the man to scream in terror that a tentacle had him!
The faux attack lured out several guards from inside the warehouse. The four men fell to the ground thanks to a well-placed [i]grease[/i] spell (cast by Phil) and then were knocked unconscious (the leader via a dose of drow poison delivered by Skender's crossbow bolt, the rest via Phil's [i]color spray[/i] spell). Once inside the warehouse there were only two guards remaining. Jorm stormed past them while the guards looked on at the chaos outside. They finally came to their senses though, and one ran to a lever on the wall. He pulled it ... and sent Jorm plummeting through a trap door into water-filled room below. In the water was a pair of sharks, which the dwarf soon found himself fighting.
Phil was able to fish him out using a Rope of Climbing, while the other heroes dealt with the guards, knocking them unconscious. Emeryon Star-Seeker took the slumbering guards outside and locked the warehouse's side door.
Meanwhile, Skender broke into the warehouse office and found the safe. He missed a needle trap on the safe's combo lock, but was able to shrug off its poison when the needle hit him. He then opened the safe ... and the floor gave way beneath him. The second pit dumped him into an identical flooded room, also with a pair of sharks in it. The young rogue was nearly eaten alive before his compatriots were able to lower down the Rope of Climbing and free him.
After securing the floor trap, Skender checked the safe and discovered the silver key they'd been sent to recover. He also found a small treasure stash, including coins from around the region. In the warehouse below, Jorm smashed open a box and found a magic wand.
As they looted the safe, the adventurers began hearing ominous sounds from outside the warehouse. A man screamed, and suddenly went silent. Massive blows hit the side of the building, which began to groan ominously. They ran outside, and saw huge tentacles rising from the water, then grabbing the slumbering guards and tossing them into the air. Glowing red eyes followed their trajectory, and the impacts of the bodies with the water were followed by the sounds of flesh being torn apart. After the final body flipped into the water, the creature vanished beneath the surface of the water leaving nothing but waves behind.
Deciding discretion was the better part of valor, the heroes ran from the scene. They turned the key over to Clegg and told him of the sea monster. Clegg was impressed ... but didn't seem overly concerned about the creature. He accepted the key, and told the heroes they could keep the rest of the treasure found in the safe.
- Skender: 1500
- Jorm: 1500
- Emeryon Star-seeker: 1500
- Phil: 1500
- Jheru: 750
- Tholyr: 750
- Korlandril: 750
- Maturin: 750
- 100 gp per person (reward from Clegg)
- 10 Korvosa trade bars (100 gp each)
- 30 pp bearing a Magnimer stamp.
- 300 gp bearing a Riddleport stamp.
- Several potions:
- Elixir of Tumbling
- Vial of Silversheen
- Potion of Restoration
- Dust of Illusion
- A wand with the word "Blisto!" written on the side in Common
- Feather token: tree