Dem-Dem'Aras

In the Black Blood Temple
Put on your Yamaka +3 before entering

The party spends some time to “adjust” the contents of a note from someone named I’ree to Whitescar as well as disguising themselves to appear as the proposed offerings to Whitescar. With this the party moves deeper into the mountainside, the Black Blood temple descends further into darkness. At the end of one tunnell you see a large heavyset (big boned) door blocking your path. The door appears to pivot on a central point and does not appear locked or trapped. Sounds of a large commotion are easily heard from the chamber beyond although the many differing sounds make it difficult do discern what lies beyond.



Opening the door proves easy enough for the heros who file into a room filled with small drakes and dragons of all colors. The party manages do defeat the dragons and Zax’Ran takes a lighning bolt to the face. The now quiet chamber leads further into the mountain.

Ever valiant, the party continues to explore the cavern that opens into a large chamber and statue of Gruumsh. Two red-burning torches flank the large stone statue.

From the darkness a voice intones “More visitors? What have you come to offer me? Gold this time, I hope. Make your offering and say the ritual.”

Astutely, the sage-robot An recalls a prayer that she thinks would be appropriate for making an offering to the Beast Lord Malar. With a nod from her team, she stands forward and delivers the rites. Shelldrax invites Whitescar to take the missive directly or not at all.

The ever-wary Avenger percieves the direction of the booming voice and lobs a light source up to one of the platforms revealing a large purple-tinted dragon looming over the party. Still convinced of his bluffing abilities, Shelldrax contintues to bait the dragon closer under the guise of civility. The party flinches as the dragon swoops from the perch and alights in front of the disguised party. Taking the note from Shelldrax and reading it carefully the dragon awaits the delivery of its meal. Patient much longer than anticipated, the Duergar cannot wait any longer and unleashes his attacks.

After the initial flurry of steel the party readies for the dragons attack. A powerful blast and swipe throw the party clear and the beast swoops back up to his perch. Scrambling back into position the party attacks from range and reforms their formation. Mobile beyond the expectations of the team, Whitescar rips into their flanks and rear until it is caught and knocked out of the air. The party lunges forward and unleashes their mighty attacks on the immobile target.

The prone and bloodied dragon recovers enough to blast the party and again fly to safety. Noting its extensive wounds, the monster hisses and phases through a solid wall. Waiting for another ambush, the party remains ready but Whitescar does not appear. The fight is over.

Outside the temple Daffyd and his “army” are amazed at your return and cheer your triumph over the monsters contained in the temple. Surely they would have been hard pressed to take the opening halls and many warriors blanch at the thought of facing a dragon.

The party turns its attention to the “delegation” from Silvergrove that is in Langmuir and to the safety and productive uses of the Island of Moray.

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Entry to the Black Blood Temple
We don't do Bar Mitzvahs

Short Short Version.

So the first room of the Temple had bunch of beasties in it: Werewolf, Wererats, Minotaur and two Drow. FIGHT

In the fight, one drow curiously blasts the party with cold… but as he falls his illusion is stripped away and reveals his dragonborn form. That leaves the other drow, who is not what he appears eaither. He is a cat-headed Rakshasa. The bad guys get dead all the way.

Further into the temple the party engages and defeats another mixed party of beastly enemies: Another Rakshasa (no illusions here), dragonborn, tiefling and a small green dragon. The party uses a large amount of resources, but emerge victorious. Among the possessions of the enemies the party finds two notes: one set of instructions for delivering the second note to “Whitescar” who is supposed to be in this abandoned temple.

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Return to the Island of Moray
Aka Shithole Island

Emerging victorious from the underground lair of the Necromancer, the party rests for a moment at the Hostel of the Sacred Stone. As usual, the topic of conversation turns to the events at Shithole Island and the limitless opportunities that running the island will bring. Determined to make a difference (for themselves) the party heads towards the mustering place of Daffyd Lyrr’s flotilla.

En route to the ship the adventurers stumble upon a skirmish in the streets of the Dock District. The streets run red with the blood of a number of fallen combatants (who some identify as members of the Fire Eyes). The victors turn their attention to the party and attack the seeming reinforcements without hesitation.

A brief and bloody battle ensues with the heavily armed party outmuscling the thugs. Fleeing into the streets appears a good option for the surviving Stone Bears, but one cannot get away from the fighter who roughs him up for some information before ending his life. Apparently the Stone Bears have not forgotten the incident at Alchemist’s Row and have standing orders to attack any Fire Eyes, or anyone in your party. With a moment to pick up some loot and help the fallen gang members the party heads off to the docks.

With no further confrontations, the party meets up with Daffyd Lyrr, who launches his warships for the Island of Moray. Daffyd has found an old map showing the location of a temple belonging to the Black Bloods. He thinks the temple houses the leaders of the cult and has prepared his expedition to wipe out the Malarites for good.

En route, the party takes stock of the warships and notices some of the recruits from thier previous expeditions inside and outside the city. Unfortunately, the three “Captains” appear to be the most experienced troops in the flotilla and most of the warriors gathered are inexperienced and would have difficulty against lycanthropes and ogres. Most appear ill-equipped to deal with any threat greater than wild game. This sentiment is echoed by Captain Vondal (shield) who remembers the ferocity of the werewolf Blood-Eye very well.

Arriving on the island, you note much of the destruction has been repaired and troops once again line the walls of the outpost. A delegation of merchants from Silvergrove are in town, and have been there for about a week. Despite the local grudges about the policies and history of Silvergrove, they have brought a large number of arrows and weapons for sale and have also been serving on the walls with the rest of the garrison. This has greatly improved the disposition of the locals. Choosing the overland route, Daffyd presses forth from the settlements with his army, his enthousiasm bolstering the morale of his troops.

Once outside the palisades of the city, the army encounters and disperses a number of small orc war bands. During those skirmishes the army takes a number of casualties and too many of the men get seriously wounded. Arriving at the forward base of a mining camp, the army has a chance to regroup in the shadow of the Orcskull Mountains. Captain Vondal once again voices his apprehensiveness of the current strategy, thinking the army should reinforce the towns and mines.

The party discretely apprises the entrance to the temple, scours the area for clues, and searches the nearby mines for any signs, entrances, or approaches to the temple. Finding little aside from the masses of footprint leading to the temple, the party musters to decide a plan of action.

Daffyd stoutly insists that he will lead the bulk of the army into the mouth of the Temple and he will gloriously destroy the monsters that are within. No amount of coercion or intimidation will sway him from his appointed course: this is to be his revenge, his moment of glory. However, An with the grace of a natural diplomat reminds the Lyrr that he will win no glory if his men are cut down in the entryway, and his revenge will be hollow if he loses the island. Reluctantly, the strong-willed man concedes control of the expedition and asks the party for advice.

The plan is this: To have Sheldrax and Zax’Ran enter the temple disguised.

Descending into the torch-lit depths of the temple, Sheldrax leads the way through the entrance: a gaping maw of some bear like creature. Wall carvings and gigantic statues line the approach, all of them obviously dedicated to evil. While Gruumsh, Auril and others are depicted, Malar is obviously the dominant god amongst them.

Entering the torch-lit antechamber the disguised Rogue and Wizard are confronted by a Minotaur, Werewolf, two drow and a handful of wererats. Aggressively bluffing, Sheldrax at first commands the lowly beasts with some success, but when he demands that the lord of the temple “Whitescar” come forth, the guards draw their weapons and advance.

Passive Insight At the mention of the name Whitescar the wererats cringe as if terrified.

A disembodied voice says “I am out of wine, roll for initiative”

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The End of The Necromancer
Fall of the Scion of Shevarash

The vast market stretches out before you, a chaotic maze of smashed stalls and overturned carts. Numerous bodies lie on the ground, chopped and mutilated as hundreds of short skeletal figures, rat-faced dogs, dwarven zombies in plate armor, and child-sized figures armed with razors fight the small, scattered, unorganized groups of City Watch and the few armed citizens while butchering the helpless. The numbers are too large for 5 adventurers to counter by themselves. But the City Watch and City Guard look for someone to tell them where to fight or what to do. Where do reinforcements need to go? Panicked citizens are unorganized and do not know where safety lies. Many are injured and need aid. Others are trapped with no place to retreat. In the chaos, dangerous adversaries may be struck from behind with proper scouting reports and stealthy approach. Will you accept the challenge of leadership in this large battle?

Yeah, you won

Descending into the place you know to go, you killed an fire-demon, 2 spine creep skeletons, and 2 marrowshriek skeletons. pretty good.

Entering the hallway you see ahead the tightly packed twists and turns of a maze. The walls are noticeably different than in the previous rooms as they are blackened, twisted and full of holes ranging in size to nearly a foot across. Looking closer reveals the stones that make up the walls and floors show signs of being dissolved with acid. The maze is only wide enough for a single file march.

The scarred walls to the north and west pour forth a mass of red and green oozes… they pour forth from multiple holes but reform eerily and seamlessly. A scan of the surroundings shows more of the multicolored slims pressing through the walls towards your position.

haha, you almost died

The cramped maze abruptly ends as you turn what seems to be the final corner. The corridor widens with a cool silvery sigil (a ward against acid) on the floor before a heavy set of doors. The symbol of Shevarash, god of retribution, is set prominently into the doors.

A cavernous room lies beyond. Intricate faerie fires line the walls. A wide chasm is cut into the floor with only a rickety sporewood bridge crossing the middle. Across the gap sits a large and impressive desk flanked by towering shelves. Every surface is piled high with books, scrolls, jars, and decanters of all types.

Two large skeletons carrying huge clubs and four undead drow ghouls prowl and guard the area before the chasm.

Azu Morn , clad in amethyst colored robes and flanked by two undead disciples, stands before the desk. The scar across his nose crumples as he sneers as you enter the room. He raises his arm, stripped of flesh and showing the naked bones of his hand and speaks to you: ”Why would you serve those retches? Those who would steal and kill for nothing more than a trinket? They would throw you away like an empty bowl. No matter now, you stand before me. You have a choice: Tell me what you know, serve Shevarash and his servants, punish those who deserve to be punished!”

“You are fools. If you will not serve me in life, you will serve me in death.”

Victorious, the party heads to the inn for an extended rest (cue Final Fantasy sleeping music).

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The Saffron Devil
And other spice related demons

The party warily heads out to follow the trail of symbols left by Keighten and finds themselves in what used to be the wealthy section of the city. Most of the estates in the area are run down, either from neglect or abuse. The trail markers lead to an alley across the street from a large gated manor.

Maelekos is volunteered to scope out the alleyway and is confronted by an angry looking, battered, and bruised drow weilding dual kukris. The man shouts a challenge (that nobody understands) and starts to back away warily from the heavily armed party. Just before he decides to make a run for it, Shelldrax remembers the identifying password given to the party by Orabii before they left Dem-Dem’Aras. Shouting “Fuuuuuck Yooouuuuuuu” stops the spy in his tracks and he raises one eyebrow warily. He tells the party to duck inside one of the hollowed out buildings to get off the street.

Keighten gives you some more information about his mission: He was ordered to track down the Saffron Devil, a wizard and spymaster for Undumor. The Saffron Devil is believed to be a major problem for Dem-Dem’Aras, he has been suspected of funneling agents, money, and information into the city and tracking him down has become an issue of great importance. He appears to be a humanoid (maybe human), but he disguises his appearance witha mask and heavy robes even within the city so nobody has been able to get a good look at him. Rumor has it that the Saffron Devil gets his name from his harsh treatment of his underlings and enemies. Drall Keighten has been watching the house from across the street for several days after watching the Saffron Devil go inside. He had not seen the wizard come out and was about to break in, but a roving patrol decided to have some fun with him and beat him to a pulp. The patrol left him for dead rather than just consuming him, probably thinking he was a resident.

Drall concludes “We are going to take the house, and with any luck we will get to see this Saffron Devil for ourselves.”

The party (scheming all the way) agree to send An to the door to request an audience with the wizard. The warforged marches stoically through the front gate and up to the entrance way to the manor. Curiously, none of the gates or doors have any knobs, levers or locks on them. When knocking does not bring out a response, and neither does a hearty “Is anyone here?” from inside the front door, the rest of the party bravely steps out of hiding and enters the manor. A search of the upper floor reveals some portions secreted away, but no sign of the master of the house or any servants (living or not-very-living). The bottom floor has a short hallway that opens up into a large two-story library dominated bya crystal tower running floor to ceiling. The bookshelves are tightly packed with various dusty books and scrolls. There is also a desk next to the opposite wall.

Maelekos warily eyes the crystal tower, and sensing a threat boldly tells Shelldrax that he should be looking at the tower as well. Zax’Ran inspects the papers on the desk, and not finding anything interesting tries opening one of the desk drawers. As the drawer opens, the room seems to waver slightly as the crystal tower pulses with blinding light. The party readies weapons as alcoves open around the room and mechanical constructs pour forth. Two marching hammers, two fire lashers, and one mechanical snake converge on the party as the crystal tower fires bursts of psychic energy on the party.

With psychic energy flashing, fireballs exploding, and hammers charging the party his hard pressed by the multiple enemies and nearly stumble as a party-unfriendly blast from the wizard catches the Avenger unaware and drops her to the floor unconscious. The bloodied party (with the help of the spymaster) are finally able to destroy the constructs guarding the library and revive the fallen Maelekos, who promptly kicks Zax’Ran in the testicles.

Turning their attention to the contents of the desk and library the party finds ritual scrolls, more potions, and more importantly the reports from the Saffron Devil detailing the activities of Lunken agents operating inside Dem-Dem’Aras.

Lyubomyr – Former instructor at the Scholar. Currently recruiting talented individuals to become necromancers to gain a foothold inside the city.

Pelykh – Sketchy details only

Azu Morn – Active agent, fully reported with plenty of details. (and the Necromancer from scene 24) Currently operating out of the Cold Spring region of Dem-Dem’Aras.

Armed with this info Drall seems delighted! He says "These documents need to return to Dem-Dem’Aras. We must escape this city at once. I have an extraction point outside the city. A mariner will be passing the point in two days, and he will be able to ferry us to Fort Chell, and from there back to our city. Not finding any reason to stay, the party agrees and exits the manor to see a beautiful elven woman wearing a black sash on the other side of the front gate. Hovering near her shoulder are a pair of black skulls wreathed in flames. Her pale, delicate features contort as she sees you.

As the party charges forward to engage the elf, all semblance of life is stripped away leaving only the desiccated husk of a pale reaver lord. Numerous other undead reavers phase up out of the ground and surround the party.

The crew aggressively dispatches the creepers and focuses its attention on the lord who tries to maintain mobility but is locked down by the Duergar. Finally, one of the flameskulls is able to blind the fighter which frees up the reaver lord to sink into the ground, eyes flashing with hate. The party dispatches the remaining enemies. Running low on resources the party still needs to exit the city to get to the extraction point.

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Behind Enemy Lines
300 Death Ave. Undumor City, Lunken 20036

The party returns to the Hostel of the Sacred Stone (where Zax’Ran has his students quarters set up) for a quick meal and to meet the contact Shelldrax has been talking about for so long.

The contact, Orabii, needs adventurers for this mission. You are to extract an angent who went to Undumor as a spy for the Council and is now presumed to be in trouble because he has not reported back in a month. He normally sends word of his progress weekly. His name is Drall Keighten and he serves Vummos Poe.

The standing army is hard-pressed to hold the line against the undead forces of Lunken, they need no food, no pay, and no rest. The benefits of bringing the army are too few to risk on this mission. Plus, the troops have no training in stealth or other specialized skills for infiltrating an enemy stronghold. Most recruitable soldiers in the city are nothing more than mushroom farmers and shit shepherds.

Keighten’s last message stated that he was close to his objective. Orabii does not know what the specific mission is, but that it is urgent and time-sensitive. You are given a description of the agent, coded markings to follow trail markers and a password to identify yourselves if you do find the spy. The intelligence reports on Undumor are also distributed. These detail the state of the city as well as some info about the residents.

Orabii suggest that most groups trying to infiltrate the Lunken city have been successful approaching by the river, and that because of your influence in the Travellers Guld, it should be possible to be smuggled in by ships sympatheic to Dem-Dem’Aras. He also states that Keighten’s communications may have been compromised, and that you should not try to send word back once you are in enemy territory. He stresses " you cant go in there wearing nice clothes or holy symbols or anything, so get prepared."

Hopping on to the Umber Wanderer the party is transported to shores of the enemy city. As the boat docks a robed figure standing on the dock calls out “By the authority vested in me by the great Regent stand down and prepare to be boarded for inspection!” The ghouls swarming the ship immediately attack once the inspector notices the holy symbol of the hated Raven Queen dangling between the ample, supple, … hold on wrong story …

Anyway, the party dispatches the patrol and acquires a set of collars used to identify and catalogue the residents of Undumor. Deciding on a somewhat familiar plan of action, the party enchants one extra collar and moves forward under the pretense of turning in captives. The party has trouble avoiding patrols of undead including scores of skeletons, some of which have four arms.

The trail markings lead you to a hollowed out Inn (Okayo’s Rest) near the center of the city. Although somewhat faded, the markings point to a location not far from the Inn. The location appears to be a small alleyway between two buildings off of a larger street. Hopefully the markings will lead you to the agent.

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Something Smells In Lowtown
Stone Bears

The adventurers (that have no cool team name) eagerly engage the Stone Bears guarding the captives in the Alchemical factory. Shelldrax and Rezworn Hammersmith charge to the back corner where the Alchemist is busy hurling explosives. Maelekos engages the Carrion Crawler while Zax’Ran dances just out of reach of the whip-bearing slavers. An and Zzareex occupy the thugs, freeing Shelldrax to eliminate the Alchemist and allowing Rez to pull attention to himself. Mopping up the taskmasters, the party frees (and attempts to seduce with glorious tales of Shithole Island) the slaves and searches the factory. A new member of the Stone Bears is found hiding in a cabinet and only his youth saves him from further punishment.

Edro knows that the Stone Bears never keep to one place for long, but have been hiding out at an abandoned city watch station. He provides directions, but will not go anywhere near for fear that he will be recognized as a traitor.

Arriving at the watch station the upper floors are empty and in bad shape, but a quick search reveals a set of stairs leading down into what once must have been the jail for this watch station. On the far side of the room is a well maintained set of manacles. A man (who nobody recognized immediately) is chained to the wall and is being aggressively questioned by several Stone Bears. The leader, Jorgan is torturing the man for information, specifically if he knows anything about the Stone Bears operations in the city. Most of the other thugs lean on heavy halberds, intent on watching the spectacle before them, urging Jorgan to further violence. From the body language of the interrogator, you can see he is fed up with the prisoners repeated denials. When he pulls his heavy flail from his belt, you know this interrogation will not last much longer.

A brief and bloody battle ensues, and the heroic luck of the adventurers keeps them standing strong even through a brutal offensive. The Stone Bears prove no match for the party.

Freeing the man chained to the wall, he reveals himself as Mazezka Degenhard, Knight Captain of the Whitecaps. He was looking into gang activities in Lowtown and Lookout Heights and specifically investigating the brothels: Passion, The Sultry Sin, and Magic Touch. While he was being questioned, a man in a domino mask arrived and inquired about the production rates at the factory. He did not seem pleased with the results. Mazezka thanks you heartily for your help, and tells you he intends on reporting his findings to his superiors at the Whitecaps, and vows to find and capture the leaders of the Stone Bears.

A Search of the abandoned watch station reveals shipping manifests that show raw materials originating from governmental stockpiles and being delivered to the alchemical factory. Other manifests chart the delivery of the finished items to locations inside the city as well as foreign locations. The authorization and signature blocks of the documents which usually indicate who in the government approved the shipments have all been left blank. The shipments do not appear to have any legitimate governmental purpose, and would indicate that there is a traitorous source on the Council of 8.

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Leander and the Stone Bears
Straight outta Lowtown

The party decides to return the Ojar’t Collection to the Whitecaps, leaving out all mention of the Travellers Guild, the murders, and the Necromancer. The Guild and the City sing your praises while the still-hidden Necromancer is greatly displeased at your choice to remain silent.

To discharge their duty to the resident Sage, the group heads to back to maze of cramped dirty streets that make up Lowtown. Arriving at Leander’s house you see a group of thugs vandalizing the house. The front and back doors have been smashed open. In the back alley you see an elderly drow being violently shoved into a waiting rickshaw. With a yell from the thugs, the rickshaw starts to pull away. The driver only gets a few steps before Shelldrax leaps atop him, rapier slashing.

The party wades into the gang of Stone Bear Thugs that vandalized the house, and although they get a few powerful blows in, the party is able to defeat the ruffians. The last two thugs drop their weapons and plead for mercy.

Mercy is not granted to one thug, who is dispatched. The other squeals like a stuck pig and is brought to the local Watch and handed over. The bored looking guardsman at the watch can identify the Stone Bears and gives the party some leads: Berronar’s Haven Orphanage (where the Stone Bears have been recruiting) and Old Jellain (a busybody who keeps tabs on the local gangs).

The woman in charge of Berronar’s Haven confirms that many of the orphans have been involved in the gang, but does not know where to find them. She says the Stone Bears have been taking over a lot of territory from the Red Ragers, a less violent gang in the area. She gives you directions to Cold Forge Street where the Red Rages hang out at an abandoned blacksmith’s shop. *Insert the thing with the thing here*

Old Jellain thinks the Stone Bears have been moving lots of stuff back and forth between Lowtown and the Docks but offers no other assistance so the party heads to Cold Forge Street. The graffiti laden slum hosts a dozen or so drow and duergar in and around the shop; one of which “Trinket” steps forward to see what the party wants. The gang wants no part of armed adventurers and they want you to go away with no trouble.

A fancy throw at “Mumblety-Peg” and the ruffian is willing to share what he knows. The Stone Bears were usually just involved in local thuggery but recently have taken to kidnapping people off the street. They hate arcane spellcasters, and they have been moving boxes to and from an alchemical factory on Reagent’s Row.

Reagents Row consists mostly of large buildings used for the processing and manufacture of alchemical items. The acrid smell and taste of an assortment of chemicals hangs heavily in the air. The entrance to one of the factories is flanked by two large stone statues of bears.

An’s Book Imp peeks inside the building and sends back a cryptic message about liquid fire and mean men. The party boldly stides into the factory. A wave of chemical stench and oppressive heat rolls out from the open door. inside the factory are bubbling and hissing vats of alchemical fire. Gaunt factory workers mindlessly stir the vats, their bodies scarred with numerous burn marks. Several cold eyed men walk th efloor of the factory, keeping an eye on the chained workers. A fascinating whirlwind of energy encomasses the ceiling and greedily sucks up the acrid vapors.

One taskmaster confronts the party and asks your business. A bold bluff and the party gains hesitant entry to the interior. The alchemist in charge reviews his listings and eventually sees the intruders for what they are. He shouts a warning to the guards, pulls a lever, and a creaking trapdoor opens and a carrion crawler slithers forth.

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The Ardent Purveyor

The party heads to Lowtown to figure out exactly where the Ardent Purveyor sank in Deepwater Harbor. First they check in on the “Spotted Man” who was spotted drinking at a tavern. While the Avenger shows compassion in alleviating the man’s spellscar symptoms, the Duergar makes sure his massive hammer doesn’t get left out of the conversation. He tells you he is a former treasure hunter, that he had located the Ardent Purveyor, and was about to launch an expedition to find it when he was stricken with the spellplague. He draws you a map that appears good enough to locate the wreck.

To ensure their dive is a success the party also contacts Leander, a middle aged drow scholar whose specialty is the commercial aspects of Dem-Dem’Aras. He willingly provides corroborating information about the location of the sunken ship in exchange for a future favor (regarding an ongoing investigation about the sudden rise of the Stone Bears). Reasonably assured of the Ardent Purveyor’s location, the party head to a dockside temple to Umberlee to meet with her Waveservant.

For a significant donation to the Church of the Bitch Queen the party procures not only a water breathing ritual, but six riding shark mounts to ensure the dive is a success. The Travellers Guild grudgingly pays these expenses.

Heading out to Deepwater Harbor, the party searches the bottom of a rocky trench covered in seaweed. Seeing the mostly buried hull of the ship the party descends into the trench to find a dozen sea wraiths swarming the trench. With the added mobility of the sharks, the party is able to dispatch the wraiths and searches the decaying shipwreck. Acquiring two large watertight chests and the Captains Journal among the bodies of the deceased sailors, Zzareex removes the Ardent Purveyors nameplate from the hull as additional evidence.

Heading back to the city, the chests are opened and the Journal studied. The chests prove to be watertight and the Ojar’t Collection was indeed the most precious cargo on the ship. The waterproofing enchantment placed on the Journal of Captain Morn had partially failed, and most of the pages are severely damaged. The legible portions of the journal detail the captain’s discovering of the plot to steal the Ojar’t Collection and smuggle it out of the city. He had sailed to recover it for the benefit of the city. It is also evident from the journal that Captain Morn had a son studiying the arcane arts, but he was too young to sail with his father.

By checking in with contacts at the Scholar the Wizard is able to determine that the Necromancer who enchanted the talking skulls was probably Azu Morn, son of Darden Morn. Azu had studied at the Scholar, but left the institution 14 years ago. No other more recent records of Azu’s activities exist, nor has he been recorded as deceased.

Daundratha Hornhand is dismayed by the news presented to her. Guildmaster Sabbar speaks up: “Traitors in our guilds, this is dark news.” The Lady Hornhand says “The Master Mariner and I must take a closer look at our respective guilds and weed out those who chose not to discharge their duties faithfully and profitably. We do ask a boon of you: would you keep what you have learned to yourself. We swear we will not rest until the corrupt in our guilds have been discharged.” Guildmaster Sabbar continues “Yes, we will look into these charges and act swiftly. Also if you did find anything that belongs to the city, you should return it to the Whitecaps.”

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The Mystery of Deepwater Harbor

The mad scene at the party is quickly controlled by the stalwart adventurers in attendance. Over a score of guests lie dead at the hands of the invading ghouls, but it is obvious the survivors owe a great deal of gratitude for having their lives spared.

Daundratha separates herself from the confusion and tangled mess of bodies, and along with one other, pulls you aside. She introduces Sabbar, Guildmaster of the Watermen’s Union. He is a short, heavyset drow with close cropped hair. He looks more than a little drunk, and his balled fists and angry eyes thinly veil his rage.

Guildmaster Hornhand continues: “In addition to the attack you witnessed, I’ve learned that both of our guild halls and several of our private residences were attacked by assailants this evening. People were killed, and the buildings themselves were severely damaged. The Travellers Guild would like you to investigate these attacks and determine who might be behind them. If you find them, capture the perpetrators and turn them in to the Whitecaps with whatever evidence you have. If you can’t find them, bring me back whatever information you can. It is very important that I learn as much as I can about who is behind this and what grudge they bear against us.”

Guildmaster Sabbar also says:”Just prior to the attack, when I went to retrieve the awards they were to give tonight, I found that three of the awards were swapped for tiny statuettes of skeletons stretched out on a torturer’s rack. There was also found a skull shaped brooch.” He unrolls a dark red cloth revealing medals, pins and the four grisly clues.

The statuettes contain powerful magic. Anyone holding a statuette gets a feeling of pain and agony. Each statuette contains a soul that is bound to the statuette so it cannot reach the afterlife. The binding inflicts pain onto the bound soul. Any attempt to disenchant the statuette or otherwise free the soul via a ritual runs a significant risk of damaging or destroying the bound soul.

The skull brooch is normal, with a variation of the magic mouth ritual cast on it. When the skull is picked up, it says in a mocking tone: “Good evening. I hope no one is enjoying themselves. I imagine you’re wondering about your three honorees. I have them. If you want to help them, you’ll need to convince them to confess. They’ve all been very naughty boys. Of course if they don’t confess, they’ll suffer for their crimes for a long, long time. You can find most of them on the ship, the Fugue, in Mistshore. Don’t forget to bring along the gifts I have left for you.”

Mistshore is located at the east end of Mistborne Lake. It has been a dumping ground for damaged ships, junk, and refugees. Winding rickety wooden pathways connect the wrecks. Some sections are more stable than others and conditions can change quickly. Poor, desperate people looking for cheap lodging built this ramshackle slum in, on, and around the wrecked ships. Mistshore is by far the mostly openly violent and lawless area in Dem-Dem’Aras.

The Fugue was beached in Mistshore 12 years ago. The mercantile company that owned it went broke, and no one wanted the ship because it was not seaworthy. A family of mushroom farmers used to live in the ship until about a month ago. Rumor has it they came upon some money suddenly and moved to Lowtown. Other groups tried to move in but were scared away by ghosts, and rumors started up that a sea wraith was haunting the ship.

The party also gathers detailed information about the three missing members and scouts out the area of Mistshore before heading there in force.

The buzzing sound of flies feasting on bloated fish carcasses serenades you as you make your way though the mix of wrecked ships and shacks that make up Mistshore. As you begin to get used to stench of decay, you arrive at the Fugue.

In the belly of the ship you see three victims, each killed by their own personal deathtrap. One trap flayed a man to death; something tore the second person limb from limb. The final victim apparently was gutted and then hung with his own entrails.

Scrawled on the wall, in blood, are these words: “For those demanding an understanding of this night’s unwholesome delights, follow the trail of betrayal starting with these turncoats. All I ask is that you complete this task to undo the theft which left me bereft of kin.”

The three tiny torturer’s racks you carry change in the presence of this gruesome sight. The mouths of the skeletons open up, and a fine mist begins to issue forth from the skeleton on the rack. The mist eventually resolves itself into three separate ghosts, each one resembling one of the victims. The ghosts attempt to move about the room but find themselves restrained by an insubstantial chain that links them to the tiny torturer’s racks you hold. The ghosts then turn to you.

Perceiving the tiny torturer’s racks not only bind the trap haunts souls but are also preventing them from speaking on their own, Maelekos steps boldly into the spirit that had its flesh stripped from its body. Her eyes roll up and she says in a disembodied voice “Speak”

In life, Daimion Nayal was an expert negotiator, but he was always willing to listen to a coherent argument. His belief that these events are noteworth enough to be recorded into history convinces him to reluctantly confess his sins. "Business can be messy, especially in a competitive environment like Dem-Dem’Aras. My humble beginnings were particularly messy. It was simple, really. I helped ruin a small, independent trading company, and in exchange I got the trading contracts of that company. The company traded exclusively with Silvergrove, and those contracts were quite lucrative. So I talked to some friends in the guild, and the next time the Red Diamonds Trading Company came into port, they were caught smuggling illegal goods. At least the city inspectors said they were. A quick trial and off to jail for the leaders of the Red Diamonds Trading Company. They died in jail soon after. Food poisoning, I heard. I was able to buy the company cheap. All I had to do for this deal was have one of my ships transport a couple of chests to Silvergrove off the books; no questions asked. It helps to have an Iron Eye on your side.” The spirit releases its grip on the Avenger and the tiny skeleton on the torturer’s rack closes its mouth.

Rezworn Hammersmith notices that the rest of the party is looking at him expectantly, and sullenly steps forward to be possessed by the second spirit. Daylor Korring never worked well with others and never liked talking, but was forced to confess by the party.

“I once implemented a hostile takeover in my early days. Worked out nice for me. So there, I confessed… Fine. You want me to say it, I’ll say it! I set up Scrimshaw and took over his trading company. All I had to do was vouch for a new guy to the guild as a master navigator with a magic item that drove off the sea wraiths that have been a problem in Deepwater Harbor. Well, guess that magic item summoned sea wraiths rather than repelled them for old Scrimshaw. Found himself smack dab in the middle of a sea wraith swarm. You could hear the screams all the way in Dock Ward. The widow signed over the company to me for next to nothing. That new guild member remained for six or eight months; I recall he left after another ship sunk in the harbor several months later.”

“Apparently old Scrimshaw wouldn’t do a job for one of the Iron Eyes; some chests needed to go to Silvergrove. I heard that the Ojar’t Collection was stolen; just guessing that’s what might have been in the chests. Curious, now that I remember, the second ship that sunk was said to have been returning from Silvergrove and lots of rumors that its Captain might have recovered the Ojar’t Collection.”

A small argument ensues about who will volunteer to be possessed by the tiefling spirit, the Wizard finally steps forward. With a mixture of threats and hard bargaining, the party convinces the haunt to confess.

“I rose quickly in the Watermen’s guild. It’s possible some people got hurt along the way. An Iron Eye visited me one evening 20 years ago, promising gold if I would do one tiny task for him. See, four Watermen working the night shift on the docks smuggled a couple of chests onto a ship bound for Silvergrove. Not a big deal, really, but the problem was a month or so later they got drunk and told a captain who was asking questions about some stolen valuables in the chests. Word is that captain set sail for Silvergrove the next day to find those chests. Anyway, the Iron Eye wanted me to arrange for those Watermen to go drinking in a certain tavern the next night. How was I to know that during a bar fight, all four would be stabbed to death? Yeah, I think the Iron Eye was covering his tracks, so I kept my mouth shut and started thinking about my faith. A month later, I got paid more gold and gained support for higher guild office for getting some new Watermen onto the guild rolls. ‘Course they weren’t much of Watermen, more like assassins. No harm doing a favor.”

The three spirits fade from view, the trinkets’ magic fades, and the party discusses the clues they have discovered. HEading out to the Travellers Guild Hall to find out more of the ships and voyages in question, An is able to quickly and efficiently peruse the documents to discover the ship that sank is most likely the Ardent Purveyor, helmed by Captain Darden Morn (who was a meticulous record keeper on all aspects of his ship and there are probably additional records like a ships log that may still lie in the wreckage). The Ardent Purveyor is listed as having sunk in Deepwater Harbor during a severse storm. All hands were lost. The records suggest the ship sank near Umberlee’s Cache, so no attempt was made to dive on the wreck and retrieve cargo.

By asking around, you also found that the Waveservant of Umberlee would be willing (and able) to cast the Water Breathing ritual.

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