City of Coin/Under Town
The party head for the Watch House for their morning briefing with Captain Hughmont. There they meet Guenièvre (Gwin), a well-dressed city local. The captain outlines the ongoing and escalating conflict between two rival gangs in Low Town (centered around the river side docks). The Black Feathers lead by someone known only as the "Crow", and the Red Hand lead by "Mickey". The watch need intelligence gathered but previous attempts to infiltrate the gang have failed -- a new team from out-of-town is needed. Gwin gives some background information on the two gangs. The Red Hand operate out of the "Old Boot" tavern on the docks, and the Black Feathers from a gambling den in an old warehouse on the docks.
A criminal act is suggested as a hook to get the gangs interested in some new "recruits". Morlac refuses to commit any actual crime and a discussion on how to fake a crime ensues. Eventually, it is agreed to "steal" the official seal of the previous watch commander, from the locked cabinet in the watch commanders office.
With the seal in hand, the party picks the Red Hand as the first gang to contact. Mortlac attempts to get friendly with the barkeep while dropping hints about the teams criminal prowess. The barkeep suspects the party are undercover watch officers and four thugs are summoned to turn out their pockets. The seal is found and the party's story of their crime is believed. After some negotiation a meeting is arranged with the gang for the following morning back at the "Old Boot".
The party spend the rest of the day exploring the city, seeing it main sites. At the Old Oak in the market square they view the notices pinned on it. Amongst the out-dated and uninteresting are requests for guards for the trade barges, an angry note saying: "The monster is killing in Low Town and the Watch does nothing!", and a job offer on university headed notepaper: "Wanted: Brave explorers for a rare opportunity. Contact Esmer Bobbins, Professor of History for details".
Intrigued in the party heads over to the university, finding Esmer in her cluttered office. There are papers and archeological artifacts everywhere. Esmer explains that the university is conducting an expedition to an undisclosed location. Security is needed and the pay is 5 gp/day with a 250 gp completion bonus, as well as a share of any objects recovered. Esmer is cagey about the destination and insists on the signing of a non-disclosure agreement before it can be revealed. This is explained as a standard contact limiting the discussion of specific details of the expedition (location etc.) until after the research is published. The party are interested and let Esmer know that they will be back once they are available.
The party meets a Red Hand lieutenant who asks them questions to try and size the strength and skills of the party. When finally convinced that they might be of use, she gives them a mission to retrieve a document at the university (the "Historical Tax Status of Guild Leaders by Prof. Fredrik Gallows, room 208), and asks them to make sure that as they do so, the theft may not at any time be traced back to them.
The party goes back to the university through Undertown and meets a party of Black Feathers thugs which they defeat in a jiffy, earning a set of masterwork armors in the process. Two of the unconcious thugs are left in an alley, stripped of their equipment and boots. As they continue their journey towards the university they hear a commotion in a back alley and hear someone screaming "Monster!". They are suddenly faced with a rather large (some say enormous) serpentine creature dragging a body through the back alley. The party engages with the creature which disappears in a crack in the wall, apparently leading into the town's sewers.
The party cases the university's ecomonics deparment building and formulate a bold plan for daylight thievery. Barros using his connections with the university bribes a student to lure the professor away with a tale about a illustrious visiting ecomomist. With the office clear, Gwin picks the door lock and cabinet while Barros keeps watch. There's a tense moment when a student nearly catches them but Barros distracts them for long enough for Gwin to make it out of the office with the document.
The party goes back to the Old Boot delivering the document to the Lieutenant, makes it into the Red Hand. They are led into Under Town and affected to guard Point Q while the Red Hand is doing a raid on the Black Feather. The party encounters a few humans and lizard-like creatures and dispose of them. Clara their guide comes back bruised and brings them back to the Red Hand HQ. Mickey welcomes the party to the Red Hand officially and tells them that the Red Hand is trying to take over Under Town agains the Black Feather. Mickey mentions that part of Under Town, the Lower Levels is under the power of the King Rat. As the party laughs about the King Rat, thinking it is a myth, Mickey very seriously explains that they've been paying tribute to the King Rat for decades.
The party return to the surface, passing a squad of Red Hand members with long spears guarding the HQ from the _Sewer Serpent_. Once they're back in Low Town, the party debate what to do next. Do they report their findings to the Watch? Or try and gather more intelligence? Being known to the Black Feathers as associates of the Red Hand, the party decides that the best way to gather more information on the Black Feathers and their leader is to work with the Red Hand for now.
The Red Hand is in disarray when the party returns. There are reports that the rat folk have attacked in contravention of the agreement with the Rat King. Mickey asks the party to investigate and they head off to the site of the ambush. There they encounter two rattish humanoids and defeat them. They seemed to be searching for food supplies. The party returns with the corpse of one of the rat creatures and the body of one of the slain gang members. Mickey identifies them as wererats and agrees to lend the party silvered weapons to assist in injuring them when they're in their hybrid form. He asks the party to enter the lower tunnels, the Rat King's domain, and find out what's making them attack. The party suggest that a Red Hand spokesperson accompany them in case negotiations are needed. Mickey agrees and sends his lieutenant Clara with the party.
Clara leads the party to the underground. As they reach a hollow cavern lined by a constructed wall with narrow windows. Light flickering from behind the windows shows silhouettes of rattish creatures inside, as a squeaky rattish voice shouts "Humans are attacking!". The party and Clara attack them and take them down. The party explores the tunnels, avoiding another part of wererats also travelling the tunnels. They eventually find themselves above the wererat settlement. Some two dozen flat-roofed houses in a vast cavern. A small river flows through the cavern and there are flat areas of cultivated grounds. A grand entrance flanked by blazing braziers leads into (the party presumes) the palace of the King Rat.
The party backtracks to the junction were Clara alerts the group that something is approaching. It's a lone wererat who is swiftly incapacitated and captured. The wererat messenger is carrying a note: "Entrance attacked. Send reinforcements."
After some intimidation and negotiation with the captive the party learns that the wererats are out of food their mushroom crops having failed. The messenger is persuaded to lead the party to his squad leader at the entrance to be escorted to King Rat to offer assistance. On the way the party pass through the settlement and see that the non-military wererats are all emaciated and starving.
The King Rat is a enormous, old rat with patchy white fur. He's hold his staff of office in a withered paw. He is untrusting and reluctant to accept offers of assistance but is soon persuaded. He agrees to pay for essential supplies and reveals his treasure room which is heaped with gold, silver, copper coins and other shiny metal objects and artifacts. 20,000 gp is handed over for purchasing supplies and to pay for the party to investigate what disease or infestation is afflicting the mushroom crop.
The party inspects the fields of blackened and withered mushrooms before leaving. Mushroom, soil and water samples are all collected.
Clara returns to HQ with 18,000 gp to purchase supplies while party head to the university with 2,000 gp to find a professor to study the samples. It's dark outside -- having been underground for a while the party lost track of time. They return to the HQ to rest overnight to find supplies already being collected.
The party finds Dr Edith Potts in the universities Natural Sciences department (a modest building in comparison to the history, economics and magical studies buildings). Dr Potts is intruiged and excited by the samples and studies them carefully through a microscopes. Their are clear signs of infection but she is unsure of their origin and says she would need to consult with her colleagues at the Univeristy of Moyamba. The party debate options or a while before deciding to head back to the King Rat with their findings so far and to ask for additional funds to teleport Dr Potts to and from Moyamba.
Funds acquired, Potts teleports away and she is soon back. The infection source was quickly identified as serpent in original.
The party discusses how to track down the serpentine monster they fought before, concluding that it is the source of the disease. They visit the rats, who tell them that the monsters comes from tunnels downstream. They meet some Red Hand lookouts who says the monsters has been see traveling up the sewer. The party travel down the sewer, choking and gagging on the fumes.
The sewer opens out into a large swampy cavern with lush greenery and ferns growing densly on the mounds of muck. The serpent is spotted and a fight ensues.
The serpent is defeated after nearly slaying the wolf Vitemar. The serpent's head gets the party a reward of 2000 gp each from the Rat King.
Magically cleaned of the sewer filth the party discusses plans with Mickey, He asks for intel from the Red Hand's contact in the Day watch, *Sargeant Ross*. The party plays along, meeting with captain. A plan is formed: The party will return to Mickey with some low-level intel on lookout locations and encourage Mickey to take out the Black Feathers and turn legit (using the Rat King trade as funds). After the attack the Watch will sweep up any Black Feather members and leaders.
The party returns to the Red Hand HQ and convince Mickey to follow their plan. He sends the party off to guard the Black Feather's escape route while he, Clara and the rest of the gang attack from the front.
While infiltrating the Black Feather's lair, the party come across a room will dozen's of crows in cages. They decide to kill them, thinking them messenger birds. The cawwing and flapping of the crows as they are butchered, attracts the attention of two lookouts who are swiftly dispatched.
Futher into the lair, a Otyugh feasts on a enormous pile of refuse. It too is slain.
In the next chamber the party prepares an ambush. The high alcove is oiled with vegetable oil and the barrier is weakened, the ladder is loosened, and crates are stacked to form a barrier in front of the exit. The party takes concealed postions and waits.
Crow with her two raven companions and four of her gang burst into the room in a hurry. One thugs slips and falls over the edge. One tries the ladder which breaks and topples, pinning the hapless thug under it. Crow and the two remaining thugs fight desperately but are defeated and Crow is captured and handed over to the watch.
With the street conflicts between the Red Hand and the Black Feathers resolved, the party decide to join Dr Esmer Bobbins mysterious expedition. With NDAs signed Esmer reveals that the expedition is to a caverns beneath the city, beneath Under Town and even below the King Rat's domains.
The adventure continues in the Under Forest.