Shadows and Steel

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The adventurers were passing through the market square when they encountered a group of thugs accosting a market holder.

Protection Racketeers (Easy; tp 10)
2x Human Rogue (Human Bandit) 250 XP
1x Half-orc Thug (Orc Beserker) 175 XP
Total (each) 85 XP
  • Purse with 60 gp

The two rogues fled and the half-orc was killed. The stall holder thanks them but warns that the Cartel now has them marked and "every rogue, thief and common thug with enough coppers to buy a rusty dagger" will be after them. He says they should see Captain Jack at the Jellied Eel Inn.

The Jellied Eel is by the docks and frequented by sailors. The innkeeper is called Raith and he says that the Jack will be around in the evening.

The party wait for Captain Jack Tyron. Jack turns up flamboyantly dressed with two long dirks on his belt, his heavily armed crew crowds in after him.

Jack asks the party to retrieve a box from the harbour master's office in exchange for his co-operation again the cartel.

The party initially approaches the harbour master who says that Jack's goods will be released after a payment of 45 gold and 93 silver. That night the party break into the warehouse, disabling the alarms of the windows and drugging the guard dogs.

They return to the Jellied Eel where they discover the box (which is filled with strange metal ingots) is for Miranda. They agree to deliver the box in the morning. They find rooms at the Silver Hind inn on the market square.

Kava and Filica are woken during the night by two thugs holding blades to their throats. They, with the aid of the others, fight off the intruders.

Intruders (Normal; tp 8)
2x Human Thug (Human Guard) 300 XP
2x Elven Scout 250 XP
Total (each) 110 XP
  • Coins worth 170 gp

One of the thugs is captured and questioned.

Questioning the Thug (Skill challenge)
Complexity 1, DC 15 125 XP
Total (each) 25 XP

The party, having paid 10 gold and promised to help the thug flee the town, obtained the following information:

  • The leader of the Cartel is named "Spider".
  • Spider communicates with his or her underlings with messages sent via beggers.
  • The beggers working for Spider are identified by a copper ring in their left ear.
  • "The Cartel is sending a message. Don't mess with our business or bad things with pointy bits of metal happen."
  • The headquarters of the Cartel (where the Spider's lieutenants operate from) is in a old run down house in the docks.

After squeezing the man for all the information he has, the party return to the Jellied Eel bring the man along. They see the town guard are just leaving the inn after a raid, presumably in response to the theft from the harbour master's warehouse. Jack agrees to drop the man off at some safe spot and the man is taken to the Waveskimmer.

The party then go to Miranda's tower and drop off the metal ingots, on the way back the party is ambushed and nearly killed.

Wererat Ambush (Normal)
2x Wererat 300 XP
2x Dire Rat 200 XP
1x Imp 150 XP
Total (each) 130 XP

After returning to the Jellied Eel, Jack says that ambush was likely the work of the Cartel. He also says the password to enter the Cartel's headquarters is 'sharpeyes' and that he and his crew could stage a diversion and "Make it easier to slip into the hideout without them being suspicious."

The party use the password and Jack's distraction to gain entrance to the Cartel hideout. There are three mercenary groups inside and a few rogues and thieves. The Cartel is hiring mercenaries to track down and kill or capture the party but no one yet recognizes the party.

The party is directed to the lieutenant Tick's office deeper underground. Tick, a shadar-kai, begins to explain the job before he recognizes the party and attacks. Filica bolts the door to the office delaying the reinforcements.

Cartel Lieutenants (Normal; tp 1,5)
Tick (shadar-kair gloomblade) 250 XP
Might (shadar-kai chainfighter) 250 XP
2x Rogue (human bandit) 250 XP
Total (each) 150 XP
  • 290 gp
  • Shadowfell Gloves

The office door is barricaded by some furniture and the party escapes from the hideout via the secret passageway before the rest of the Cartel thieves and mercenaries reach the office (100 XP each for the escape). The secret passageway leads to a round chamber with five passages (four are secret passageways leading from other offices and a fifth leading deeper into the complex) and a rusty ladder leading upwards.

The ladder is leads to a manhole cover in a alley way watched by some rogues and two archers on the rooftops.

Alleyway guards (Normal)
2x Human Rogue (Bandit) 250 XP
2x Elf Archer 250 XP
Total (each) 100 XP

The party approaches a nearby begger wearing a copper ring marking him out to be one of Spider's. Altraminus questions and intimidates the begger until he agrees to lead the party to the location where he leaves a message. Messages are left in a wooden box in the tunnels beneath the alleyway. The party agree to leave an odd message which reads: "Dear Spider, we know where you live... to be continued. Love from your bestest fans x x x."

The party returns to the Jellied Eel where Captain Jack reports on the the progress by his crew. The pinned down on of the Cartel's lieutenants beneath some warehouses.

After about 6 hours a beggar brings a note from Spider which reads: "Your note was most intriguing. Be at the meeting place at midnight and we shall discuss your future. -- Spider". Rather than meeting on time, Altraminus persuades the others to arrive early. A beggar leads them to the meeting place in the tunnels at 10 pm. They interrupt a grick handler preparing a trap.

Grick (Normal)
Grick 300 XP
2x Half-orc Grick Handler (Orc Berserker) 350 XP
Total (each) 130 P

The half-orcs were attempting to conceal the grick in a hidden alcove with the remotely operated concealed door. The party hides the corpses in the alcove instead and prepares some traps of their own.

At midnight, am images of Spider, a female shadar-kai, appears in the room. She talks briefly and then attempts to spring her trap. The concealed door opens and the grick corpse rolls out. With a angry curse the image vanishes and one of her lieutenants and some mercenaries enter the the room.

Failed Trap (Hard)
Shadar-kai Gloomblade 250 XP
2x Merc. Soldier (Human Guard) 300 XP
Merc. Mage (Human Mage) 175 XP
Total (each) 145 P
  • Complex, precision cut metal key on the shadar-kai.

The key opens a door into an opulent hallway with deep, luxurious carpets, and fine painting. As the party attempts to sneak into the next room, Mordecai trips over a chair and two guards throw open the doors and block the passageway.

Spider Showdown (Hard, tp 9 (lvl 1), 4, 7 & 6 (lvl 3))
Spider (Shadar-kai Witch) 300 XP
Black Hound (Gravehound) 150 XP
2x Human Guards 300 XP
Total (each) 150 P
  • Lots of gold (570 gp)
  • Bag of Holding

Having defeated Spider (150 quest XP) the party search her hideout. On her desk (which is piled high in papers in a strange, unfamiliar language) is a black rectangular crystal. The crystal goes bing!

Kava touches the crystal and an image appears on the crystal. The image is the head and shoulders of someone or something wearing a hood concealing their face. The figure says (through the crystal) in a soft, male voice "Spider? Your report is overdue. What's your status?" The unknown person notices who he's speaking to and turns to someone off screen and says "Project compromised. Shut it down." The crystal goes dark.

The party resolves to investigate the plot by the (assumed) shadar-kai and head to the Miranda's tower. Miranda looks at the papers recovered from Spider and the black crystal. She concludes that the paper written in shadar-kai script and in code. The crystal is one of a pair of inter-planer communication crystals. She explains that the location of the other crystal of the pair can be found using a ritual.

The party agrees to gather the opal and magical beast (e.g., dragon) scales needed for the ritual while Miranda tries to decipher the coded papers.

The adventure continues in Opals and Scales.

Party Level: 3rd (2675/3750 XP)