Chapter 1: Cheat the Devil and Take His Gold
What Came Before
Skender, a Riddleport orphan, came across the elf Korlandril performing in at the Inn of the Black Hart. The elf was playing a collection of elven death dirges that weren't going over well with the local crowd. When Korlandril lost his job there after a failed performance, the orphan rogue suggested he try getting a job at the Golden Goblin Gambling Hall as an entertainer. Skender introduced him to Saul Vancaskerkin, the hall's owner, and after a short audition, the gambler offered the elf a job. Meanwhile, Saul was impressed by Skender's recruiting abilities, and asked him to find young women who could masquerade as succubi at the hall's upcoming "Cheat the Devil and Take His Gold" event.
Meanwhile the gnome Phillymondiuspartigan Jones was investigating the runes on the great Cypher Gate that looms over the entrance to Riddleport's harbor when he was nearly mugged by two thugs. He drove them off, and then returned home to the Cypherlodge. He was surprised to learn that the recent death of his cyphermage master meant he was no longer an apprentice, and thus, no longer welcome in the inn. He was forced to leave, but fortunately he ran into Samaritha Beldusk, another would-be cyphermage. She mentioned she'd gotten a job as a greater at the Golden Goblin, and suggested he might be able to get a job there as well. Saul Vancaskerkin, eager to bulk up his staff with competent adventuring types, agreed to hire the gnome as a security consultant.
Cheat the Devil and Take His Gold
The night of the "Cheat the Devil and Take His Gold" event at the Gold Goblin Gambling Hall found two new customer at its front door. The first was Jheru, a monk from across the Crown of the World. The wandering mystic had arrived in Riddleport to learn more about the strange lands of the Inner Sea. Also arriving for the event was Emeryon Star-Seeker and elven cleric of luck and travel who'd been tasked with his family with tracking down Korlandril. The elven wizard had been acting strangely and acquired strange new powers before deciding to leave his elven homeland, and his family had asked Star-seeker's to find their son in the human lands. Finally there was Tholyr, a dwarven rogue who'd arrived in Riddleport seeking to discover the true nature of the Blot, a mystical darkness that appeared in the skies over the city a few weeks ago. His first task in the city was to look up his cousin Jorm, who was working as a bouncer at the Gold Goblin.
Not long after the event began -- and with Jheru and Emeryon Star-Seeker having sold their souls to participate in the event -- a group of thieves tried to rob the Gold Goblin. Skender was the first to catch wind of it, having gone into the bathroom to "re fill" a customer's silver flash with something other than alcohol. While there he overheard a man in the next stall muttering to himself in a language the orphan didn't understand. He waited for the man to leave and then cautiously watched him enter the hall. As the door fell shot behind the man, a massive explosion rocked the room outside. When Skender emerged he found a heavy smoke floating near the ceiling and most of the patrons reeling from some kind of explosion.
Near the center of the room there was a human woman speaking loudly to the crowd, saying "All right, folks! Drop to the ground and don't try anything stupid and we might let you live!" All around the room thuggish warriors stood near patrons, swords in one hand, an empty loot bag in the other. Meanwhile the man Skender had seen was making his way toward the center of the room, where a chest containing 10,000 silver pieces -- the Devil's "gold" -- stood on a stage, flanked by two scimitar wielding guards. The woman's companions attacked the "guards" near the chest, who proved to be little more than actors, and bad ones at that -- they both died under the attacker's swords.
The employees of the Gold Goblin sprung into action. Phil unleashed a color spray that took out one of the thugs, but did not harm the spellcaster. Meanwhile Emeryon Star-Seeker uttered a single divine command to the woman leader of the bandits: "fall". She did, collapsing to the ground. Seeing his opening, the dwarven rogue Tholyr attacked the fallen villain, stabbing her through the heart before she had a chance to react. His cousin Jorm quickly moved to the stage to defend Saul and the treasure, fending off the thug warriors as he did so. He was soon helped in this regard by Phil, who unleashed a sleep spell to drop another of the enemies.
The man from the bathroom mounted the stage and approached the treasure chest. He read from a scroll he held in his right hand and reached out with his left to touch the chest. It instantly shrunk to a considerably smaller size, so small that the wizard was able to pluck it up and put it in an inner pocket. Seeing this Skender fired a crossbow bolt, but the firing mechanism malfunctioned and strummed against the boy's knuckles. The wizard prepared to make good his mistake, but before he could Tholyr was on him. Another well placed stab of the dwarf's sword was enough to kill the wizard outright. He recovered the chest, and returned it to the stage.
With their leader dead, the surviving thugs decided to flee the hall rather than fight and die. The remaining thug, who'd been stunned by the gnome's color spray, explained he'd been working for Agnvar Thestlecrit (the wizard) and his girldfriend, Thuvalia Barabbio (the woman) to rob the gambling hall, but that he had no idea who hired htem.
After the fight Saul asked Tholyr, Emeryon Star-Seeker, and Jheru, as well as the rest of his employees, to join him in his office. Once there he praised them for their good work in defeating the attackers and recovering the chest. He gave each of them a 25 gold piece reward, and then offered them a proposition. After years of being a two-bit criminal and earning the ire of many in the city, he was trying to walk a more ... legal path. He spent what money had left to buy the gambling hall, and is now hoping to get it to turn a proper profit. He still has enemies -- as Agnvar's attack showed -- but as the fight tonight showed, he also has potential allies. He offers to make the heroes junior partners, pay them a 10 gp a week salary, and offer them a cut of the profits. They all agreed.
The following night -- their first on the job -- four half-drunk sailors from the Vesicant arrived at the Gold Goblin. Led by a man name Sarn, the belligerent men alternated between demanding a refund, and insulting the dwarves. A fight broke out that saw two of the sailors die under the bouncer's hammer. After the fight, Jheru made sure to talk to the survivors and to tell them that while the Gold Goblin's debts would be paid, they would not tolerate violence.
Saul picked up on this speech and began addressing the entire hall. As the smattering of customers watched, he praised the heroes and declared that the hall would no longer tolerate violence, and that patron weapons were no longer allowed. He also called out his competitors agents -- should they be in the audience -- declaring that interference form them would not be tolerated. Jheru looked on in growing horror and urged Saul from the stage before he could do too much oratory damage...
- Jheru: 230
- Skender: 230
- Phillymondiuspartigan Jones: 230
- Tholyr: 230
- Jorm: 230
- Emeryon Star-Seeker: 230
- Wand of Shocking Grasp
- Bracers of Armor +1
- The Spellbook of Angvar Thestlecrit
- 0th: Detect Magic, Flare, Ghost Sound, Open/Close
- 1st: Hold Portal, Magic Missile, Shield, Grease, Identify, Magic Aura, True Strike
- 40 gp (loot)
- 25 gp each (payment)
- 20 gp divided between Tholyr and Phil.