In Week 1 of Shattered Star, our heroes: Torsten, Arial, Kiara, Lalendra, Alwyn, Svetlana, and Billy, made their way to the illustrious Heidmarch manor, where they made the acquaintance of one of the most influential citizens in Magnimar: Pathfinder Venture-Captain Sheila Heidmarch. Unfortunately, she had another urgent meeting to attend to, but in the meantime, presented the party with a puzzle, and an audition.
A paradox box: a grey stone cube covered in ancient runes and patterns with no apparent means to open it was brought into the room. Luckily for the group, Lalendra had a vested interest in the writings of Ancient Thassilon and was able to make out a series of 5 letter-runes on one side of the cube, which simply spelled the word “L U C R E.” The most significant part of this was that the letters could be manipulated, and the box would reposition the letters in another area of the sequence. Combined with the knowledge that this was most likely a box from the domain of Bakrakhan, Lalendra identified that the word most likely had to do with wrath, and spelled “C R U E L” with the letters. This caused one side of the box to begin to disconnect, and move away from the rest.
Excited for what could be inside this relic, Alwyn looked at the air in-between the two parts of the box, and at that point, a spell triggered, causing four foul-looking beasts (quickly identified as Pugwumpis by Svetlana), to leap out of the box.
- A Pugwumpis surprise in Heidmarch Manor
The creatures quickly began stomping around and trying to tear both the room and the party to shreds. A messy brawl ensued, leaving the room in disarray: smashed windows, toppled bookcases, and pricy fabrics stained with blood topped the list of casualties.
When Sheila returned, it was a matter of diplomacy to convince her that the events which occurred after the box opened had been handled in the most professional manner. She seemed un-phased by the state of the room, merely requesting her servant to get others to begin cleaning the mess.
It was then that Sheila revealed her reason for inviting the group to the manor: an investigation of sorts. Natalya Vascaskerkin – a petty thief running with a local Sczarni gang called the Tower Girls – was acting as an informant for her, and had mentioned that the gang were on the brink of a discovery which would be of great interest to the Pathfinder Society. Sheila offered 1,000 gold (in Magnimar golems), for information about what the discovery was, with double that if Natalya could be returned safely.
After accepting this contract, our heroes set out with the only lead that Sheila had: that Natalya was often aided by a fortune-teller on Washer’s Row of the Dockway district. Trying to look as inconspicuous as possible in the poorer parts of town, they finally found the tent where The Amazing Zograthy had set up his permanent residence.
- The Amazing Zograthy
He was cordial enough, if a little coin-hungry, and was able to tell the group that he had no idea of a “discovery” that Natalya had made, but that she hadn’t been heard from for quite some time. He wasn’t surprised: many folk along the waterfront, not only in the Dockway, but Beacon’s Point and the Underbridge had been disappearing of late; just up and vanishing from their beds at night. He finished with a rant about the uncaring guards, who only poke their nose in once someone worth protecting is in danger.
Feeling that this was enough conversation with fortune-tellers for the day, the party left. As they departed, Zograthy mentioned that Natalya would be in trouble if the Tower Girls ever found her, but upon questioning, the man wouldn’t open up any more about the subject.
Next, the Pathfinders headed along the Dockway, trying to get a feel for the place, and to see if there was anyone from one of the local Sczarni gangs that they could get information about the Tower Girls from. Along the way they were approached by a figure asking if they knew about the meeting at the Puffy Pelican: an old abandoned tavern in Underbridge. Apparently, rumour on the street was that Nidalese slavers were causing the disappearances, and the stranger warned them that he didn’t think they should look into the matter further.
The rest of the day was spent talking to Kasedei, of the City Guard, who claimed knowledge of Natalya, but that she hadn’t been picked up by patrols in the last week. She also mentioned that the Tower Girls had moved hideouts, but the girls temporarily being looked after by a man in Underbridge named Fenster the Blight, during the relocation.
Naturally, the next thing for the party to do was to stroll into the poorest and most dangerous part of the city – Underbridge itself – to see Fenster. He claimed that he was the Tower Girls’ landlord, but that they weren’t staying with him currently. His broken Taldane proved difficult to understand, and after he claimed to be behind all the disappearances (and by the smell which enveloped anyone within an arm’s length), it was obvious that he was a few cards short of a Harrow deck.
- Fenster the Blight
Thanking him, the group waited until midnight, as their next goal was to sneak into the Puffy Pelican, to discover the cause of its night-time occupancy. Within, they discovered an ambush. As Fenster – with a local spellslinger in tow – were there waiting for them. The fight was short and glorious, As Torsten quickly relieved Fenster’s neck of its heavy head-shaped burden, and the group overpowered the poor sorcerer.
Still, unanswered questions lingered, just like the foul odours emanating from Fenster’s corpse: why had he set up an ambush? Where were the disappearing people going to? Why didn’t the guards seem to care?
Those answers – and much more – await the party in Week 2 of Shattered Star.
XP this week: +720
Total XP: 720
Current Level: 1