The Black Vial

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Party Level: 3rd (3576 XP)

The docks in Rozdolny were quiet, the ships that were docked weren't being loaded or unloaded and their were just a few sailors and dockers working on minor maintenance tasks. The party learnt (from Daryna the sailor) that there is a feud between the Merchants' Guild (which includes all the wealthy ship owners, merchants and money lenders and is lead by Isidora Vira) and the ruler of the island, Lord Varlam Denis. Both of the leaders are looking to independent adventurers to help up and gain an advantage.

The party headed for the Wheel and Barrel where the local tradefolk go after their day's work. Along the way the party resolves a dispute between two of the town guard and two members of the guild. The guards said they're permitted to stop any guildmember and search them for poisons. The guildmembers said that the guards arrest people on false charges and they're just looking to avoid an unlawful arrest. Elora persuaded the guildmembers to empty their pockets (they were only carrying papers) and then convinced the guard to let them leave. Elora did notice that the papers were encoded.

Arguing Guards and Merchants (Normal)
2x Human Guard 300 XP
2x Human Bandit 250 XP
Total (each) 137 XP

At "The Barrel", some information on the suitation was gathered:

It all started two month ago with the unexpected deaths of two leading money lenders. Lord Varlam Denis ordered an investigation and turned up evidence of poison and hints that a foreign assassin was involved. The Lord's attempts to access accounting information held by the Merchant's guild was denied by their leader, Isidora Vira with accusations that Lord Varlam was really looking for signs of tax evasion. An old law allows the guild to have almost complete autonomy on its finances and the leading guild members claim this is why the town is so properous and rulers should not meddle. The general opinion is that the Lord's crackdown on guild activities is heavy handed but most people also think the guild is too secretive and is hiding something. Whether its simple tax fraud or something darker no one has any real idea. What is clear is that neither side is willing to negotiate or compromise at this point.

That night the party were attacked in the inn while they slept by a gang of thugs.

Thugs for Hire (Normal; tp 6,7)
1x Hobgoblin Commander 200 XP
2x Human Bandit 250 XP
1x Guard Drake 125 XP
Total (each) 144 XP
  • Leather pouch containing 565 gp.
  • A letter on quality headed notepaper written in a neat hand. The letter head is almost torn off can can't be recognized except by comparing it to an undamaged copy. It says: "Four adventures in the Barrel asking questions. Make sure they don't ask any more."

Despite not wearing their armor the party killed or drove of the attackers. The hobgoblin commander, trying to escape, crashed through the window and was nearly killed by the fall to the street below. The remaining rogue manged to escape and was last seen heading towards the docks. The unconscious commander was tied up and left for the town guard to deal with.

Party Level: 4th (3857 XP)

The next day the party headed to the Guildhall where they met Isidora Vira. The notepaper on her desk doesn't match the note. Ms Vira stressed that the guild is not involved in assassinations or poison smuggling and asked for assistance in an investigation. She said that whoever is responsible could not operate without the collusion of the town guard and asked you to search one of their watchhouses for any evidence of this. She mentioned a rumor of a safe house within the docks district.

The party visted Lord Varlam in his great hall next. He initially offered 500 gold pieces to prove the "damned guild is rotten to the core" but later agreed that the payment would be for the investigation and not the results. He suggested searching the secret archives beneath the guild hall for suspicious shipping records or transactions. He also mentioned the safe house within the docks district.

The party decided to search the docks district for the safe house and spent some time looking for clues in likely places and intimidating passers-by. They did eventually find it but not before alerting the people inside. Barnabas kicked the door open to gain entrance.

Assassin Safe House (Normal; tp 4,5,6,7 & 10)
1x Human Berserker 175 XP
2x Dwarf Hammerer 200 XP
1x Fey Panther 175 XP
1x Imp 150 XP
1x Howling Hag 300 XP
Total (each) 300 XP
  • Bashing Shield
  • 175 gp
  • In the best room of the building:
    • 1000 gp in a small chest.
    • A leather satchel lined with velvet containing 5 vials: 2 blue (potions of healing) and a red, yellow and black (all poisons of some kind).

There are two short notes in code. One reads:


And the other:


Helena searched the room carefully and found a scrap of torn paper with an incomplete sequence: ".. SG TH .. VJ ..".

The party then returned to the Barrel to consider their next move.

Party Level: 4th (4157 XP) — (DM Notes)