Shattered Star at Redzeed

Shattered Star Session 5 12/02/13

Weary, worn, and wounded from the climactic battle against the last remnants of the Tower Girls gang, the heroes set about fortifying the room so they could rest and heal in peace. Thusly rejuvenated, they continued onwards.

The unexplored set of stairs that wound downwards emerged into another large hall. Along the walls sprawled the crumbling remains of ancient mosiacs. At one end of the hall stood an immense set of double doors made of silvery metal. Two burning eyes were inscribed into the surface of the doors, with two sets of runes set between them.

Setting about exploring the remainder of the hall, the heroes pillaged a couple of rooms that looked they belonged to the Tower Girls’ wererat leader, but their explorations soon led them back to the silvery doors.

The Thassilonian runes set into the door were quickly translated to determine that they spell: “LISTEN” and “THE EYES.” Billy, thinking back to the puzzle box at Heidmarch Manor, stepped forward to rearrange “LISTEN” to “SILENT,” but drew back in pain after only moving two runes, having found that the surface of the strange silver doors burns as hot as a branding iron.

After much discussion and debate as to how to best proceed and avoid getting burned, Kiara – tired of the vacillating – steeled herself for the pain and rearranged the rest of the runes. She drew back, her task complete, and her hands near-crimson from the door’s unnatural heat.

Torsten then spoke. “They see,” he said, indicating the other set of runes, but made no move towards them. Lelandra rearranged the second set of runes, earning herself a set of seared palms, and – with a grating shiver that rumbled through the tower’s very stones – the doors split open.

Now Torsten took the lead. The heroes moved through the age-decayed remnants of a well-appointed foyer, and down a set of stairs. Whereupon they found themselves in some kind of bathhouse. The thick air stank of bat guano, as the walls were slick with deposits. The bath itself was a murky green pool of still water.

As they moved deeper into the room, investigating the two passages leading onwards, the still waters of the pool began to move. Two hungering blobs of primordial protoplasm slid out of the water, their masses creeping towards the unsuspecting heroes.

However, amoebas are not masters of stealth, and as such, weapons with soon drawn and battle ensued.

Alwyn, seeing that the situation is well in-hand, decided to explore down a narrow side-passage that led deeper into The Crow. Lelandra followed to watch his back.

The passage opened into a deep cistern, with a small ledge on the side, on which was scattered the remains of hundreds of fish – their weak, small bones crunched beneath the heroes’ boots – along with a pair of unusual giant spiders. These particular spiders had long coats of hair, and bright crimson markings on their backs. The arachnids turned on the pair, hissing viciously, and spitting out gobbets of sticky webbing. Alwyn promptly found himself entangled in the binding threads. One of the spiders clattered up the wall to dangle above Alwyn’s head. Alwyn would have none of this, tearing away from what restricted him with a yell, and split the creature in twain with his greatsword as it moved forward.

Shattered star spiders

The other spider threw itself at Alwyn, all thrashing legs and biting pincers. Alwyn skewered it on his sword like an Underbridge kebab.

They returned to the bathhouse to find the amoebas hacked into tiny gobbets of goo. The heroes proceeded into the left-hand chamber, where – to the north – a set of stairs leads further downwards. A number of keen eyes pick out a poorly-concealed door set flush into the stone on the southern wall, and Lelandra pried it open.

Inside, a thin passage lend winding southwards, to another narrow ledge over sloshing seawater. A worn wooden plank rested at the end of the ledge, crossing over to a squat stone pillar, upon which sat a wooden bucket.

Lelandra moved across the ledge, edging towards the plank, but the stones beneath her – polished slick through sea and spray – offered little grip to her boots, and she went tumbling into the water, finding herself face-to-pincers with another of the black-and-crimson giant spiders.

Kiara dashed through, keeping her balance on the slippery ledge, but as she stepped upon the teetering plank, it slipped from the ledge. Throwing herself forwards, she managed to catch her fingertips on the rough surface of the bucket-topped pillar. Immediately, her nose was assaulted with the stench of rotting flesh, as through the gaps in the bucket’s boards she could see a pile of bat corpses.

The remaining heroes piled in, battling the water spiders, which skittered up the walls to harass them with pincer and claw. The arachnids were quickly dispatched, dropping back into the frothing, bloody sea with great splashes. Lelandra was hauled back onto the ledge. Torsten retrieved Gyro – who had slipped from the ledge during the battle – with a well-thrown lasso, just as she started to sink below the water.

Alwyn and Billy – hanging at the rear of the group – heard a shrill scream coming from the north, and turned to see a faint form disappear down the stairs. They gave chase, Alwyn popping the stopper to a freshly-prepared mutagen as they barreled down the winding steps.

Straight into a worn catacomb, its walls bare of bodies, but its floor a disturbed mess of dirt mounds. Out of which poured ants of the giant variety.

Back to back Alwyn and Billy fought, trying to hold off the insects until the rest of the group arrived, but a number of raking bites from giant mandibles put Billy on the dirt.

Fortunately, only moments after Alwyn found himself reinforced by his allies, and set to work butchering the remaining ants.
Afterwards, they moved to secure the position, as Billy would take time to recover. They quickly spotted that a secret door had been carved into the southern wall, while an obvious passage lead out of the room to the east.

Lelandra spotted the fresh footprints of a small creature impressed into the dirt of the ant mounds, and identified them as the tracks of a mite: a small, blue humanoid that often laired in abandoned structures such as these. And where one mite was, a whole tribe of them would be nearby.

Pzo1112 mite

What other dangers lie in wait for our heroes? Just how many mites are there, secreted away in the dank lower levels of The Crow?

Find out next week, as our heroes continue their quest for the pieces of the Shattered Star.

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Shattered Star Session 4 05/02/13

After their first foray into the Crow proved almost deadly, Alwyn, Lilendra, and Henric held their ground until a familiar scrape of keel on shore signaled the arrival of reinforcements: the rest of the party had arrived. Rested and ready to continue, the heroes moved deeper into the ancient pillar.

Having explored all the lower passages, they climbed upwards, and swiftly located a trap door that opened into another hallway. The route to the new door was treacherous: a narrow ledge along the side of the pillar. A sea-salt breeze stung the heroes as they ventured across, while over a hundred feet below, the waves lapped hungrily at the Crow’s stone sides.

Beyond the trapdoor was a lengthy hallway, whose oppressive gloom hid a number of crypts that lined the wall in regular succession. Each held the age-worn bones of creatures whose lives had been lived thousands of years ago. And weary lives too: as the remains showed evidence of hard labour having taken its toll on the bones of these ancient dead. Obviously these were the bodies those who had either built or maintained the structure, back when Thassilon thrived, and the Irespan stretched to the horizon.

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Billy – showing a trace of the cunning that had served him well in his recruitment to the Pathfinder Society – picked up one of the skulls, and rolled it down the hallway. The Tower Girls had a reputation for traps, and he had no interest in walking into one blindly. Bouncing and tumbling down the hallway the skull went, shedding teeth and fragments of bone. The clack of each tumble echoed through the tunnels, and the heroes held their breath, waiting for a call of alarm.

None came. The skull rolled to a halt, its pate coming to a rest against something stretched across the hall: a tripwire. With a harsh clanging noise, a bell began to ring out, its noise stretching further than the skull’s tumbling. Whoever had placed the trap knew that they were there.

Now, more cautious than ever, the heroes continued. After a few more twists and turns, they noticed a warm light up ahead: a hooded lantern hung in the centre of an empty room, casting light and shadow into strong relief.

Alwyn entered first, hand on his sword. As soon as he had crossed the threshold to the room, however, three Tower Girls dropped from the ceiling to surround him. Their enchanted harnesses had let them dangle from the roof both silently, and effortlessly.

A short and bloody battle broke out. The Tower Girls went down, but not before opening up wounds of their own. In the midst of the fray, a fourth Tower Girl was spotted running away down a set of stairs. Yet another reminder to proceed with caution.

Soon, the room was filled by the the fizz of healing magic, as those amongst the party who were injured set about gulping down elixirs to knit their wounds closed. Alwyn unstopped a concoction that stank of sulphur and rage, and pounded it back. Within moments, his body was wracked by mighty contractions and shudders, as his bones and muscles lengthened, his skin hardened, rough hair sprouted all over his body, and vicious teeth and claws unsheathed themselves from his flesh. He now stood over nine feet tall: more monster than man.

So encouraged by their fearsome ally, the heroes plunged forwards, down many twisting flights of stairs and into an immense hall. The ceiling towered overhead, the walls lined with sconced torches, and a set of chairs and tables stood empty, though possibly freshly vacated. To all appearances, they had discovered the main common room for the Tower Girls gang.

No sooner had they entered, but – pouring out from the three other corridors into the room – in charged a veritable horde of Tower Girls. Whooping and hollering cries of battle, tumbling across tables and chairs, running up along the walls, and darting between pillars, the gang moved to surround them.

The heroes were vastly outnumbered.

With a bestial roar Alwyn charged forward. Slamming his claws down into one of the solid wooden tables, he hefted the huge slab of oak into the air. Swinging it back and forth as a weapon of horrific destruction, he began to lay waste to the gang.

Emboldened by their companion’s strategy, the heroes joined the battle.

As the tide began to turn, and victory against the gang looked to be in their sights, a new foe joined the fray: another wererat, dwarfed only in size by Alwyn himself. Around her head and body she twirled a long grey scarf, with wickedly sharp blades attached to either end. Her leather armour, inscribed with whorls of silver, signified that this must be their leader.

Ayala javeski

Tumbling her way into the fight, the wererat sliced into the heroes with her scarf. Each time she lashed out – the scarf hissing its way through defences like a darting snake – the blades returned to her slick with blood.

The once-mighty table reduced to splinters, Alwyn tossed it aside and drew his greatsword. Enlarged along with him, the blade towered above the dead and the dying like an immense tombstone.

A tombstone with the wererat’s name on it.

Down came the sword, and the bloody scarf hissed no more.

Spurred on by the unnatural endurance of one infected with lycanthropy, the wererat still struggled to rise, but the heroes put her down for good.

Silence, once again returned to the innards of the Crow. The group looked around at each-other with bloody faces, torn armor, notched weapons, and haggard looks. The battle had been too close for comfort.

Exploring the rest of the level, they determined they were about ninety feet above the sea now. No more signs of the Tower Girls presented themselves. Only a set of foreboding stairs leading downwards. Deeper into the bowels of the Crow, and the earth itself.

What dangers await our heroes in those dank depths?

Find out next week, as our heroes continue their quest for the pieces of the Shattered Star.

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Shattered Star Session 3 - 29/01/13

Shattered Star Week 3.

With their new quest – to discover the remaining scattered pieces of the Shattered Star of Xin – weighing heavily on the heroes’ minds, they decided to rest until morning. Once the sun had crept its blazing face above the Irespan, they once more met with Sheila to discuss their mission, and discovered that Natalya was currently recovering in one of the manor’s many rooms. Upon questioning the ex-Tower Girl further, she revealed that she found the Shard of Pride on a skeleton inside a secret chamber deep within the Crow.

Natalya Vancaskerkin

The Crow is one of the ancient pilings of the great Irespan, the bridge that juts out into Magnimar’s harbour like a broken bone. Third out from the shore, on the left-hand side, the immense stone pillar is pockmarked with gaping windows, which betray the narrow corridors and ancient rooms that lurk inside.

She told the heroes that the Tower Girls have now taken over much of the Crow as their new hideout, to keep the gang safe while they explore the deeper regions of the pillar in hopes of discovering rare and powerful items, much as Natalya herself did. Their leader – Ayala Javeski – is a wererat, and has given her “gift” to a number of her favourite underlings: to strengthen them, as only silver-coated weapons can truly bite through the tough skin of a lycanthrope.

Thusly knowledged, our heroes went straight to the hustle and bustle of the nearest marketplace, and – after selling the small topaz from Natalya’s hideout, and the garnets from the puzzle box – they all bought sheaves of silver-tipped arrows.

Natalya had warned them that the Tower Girls kept a constant look-out for anyone approaching the Crow from the shore, so the heroes decided to infiltrate under the cover of darkness. Sheila had organised a boat for them, so they settled down in a murky Dockway tavern until nightfall.

Not but a few minutes after they had taken their seats, drinks in hand, Terisha Skiloni burst into the tavern, backed by a set of Varisian-looking thugs. She demanded that the heroes give her the Shard of Pride at once. No amount of well-crafted words would blunt her purpose, so a brawl quickly erupted. In a matter of moments, and with the aid of a well-timed Sleep spell and some magical Grease coating the tavern floor, Terisha and her thugs were subdued. The heroes bound them – after rifling through pockets and pouches for useful items – and left the criminals to the mercy of the city guard.

Seeing as it was still only early in the evening, the heroes elected to return to Heidmarch manor to rest, ready themselves, and prepare new spells for the coming assault. As the night began to shift towards morning, they were ready to set off once more.

Irespan Pilings

The air stank of brine and a chill wind gnawed at them as their boat crept out into the harbour. The Irespan’s spires loomed over them: towering monuments of a long-dead power. After slinking successfully past the first and second spires, the tugging currents drove their boat into dock against the Crow with a loud scrape. They waited there for a moment with bated breath, ears keen for the call of alarm from one of the Tower Girls’ sentries, but no cry was raised.

Venturing inside the formidable structure, they scouted the bottom floor, and found it clear of any opposition. However, when they reached the stairs winding upwards, they heard a small squeak, and saw a rat start bounding up the stairs with surprising alacrity.

They raced up four flights of stairs in pursuit of the rodent, but at every turn it retained its lead. Finally, they burst into a room to find it convulsing on the floor and growing bigger by the moment, until – in a matter of seconds – it had assumed the form of a wererat.

Glancing around, the heroes noticed that they had been led straight into an ambush, as two lithe women entered the room from either side, moving to surround them.

The ensuing fight very nearly brought about the heroes’ demise.

Henrich opened the battle with a Sleep spell. As his incantations and arcane gestures finished, one of the Tower Girls’ eyes fluttered, and she slumped to the rough stone floor. The wererat set about slashing at the heroes with her short sword, and biting at them with sharp teeth. Displaying an acrobatic ease akin to a circus performer, the awake Tower Girl leapt over the party and landed behind Lelandra, whereupon she sunk her blade into the ranger’s unprotected back.

Alwyn pivoted with a roar, using the momentum of his turn to bring his greatsword around in a deadly arc. The blade cut deep. The Tower Girl crumpled, blood rushing from her body to trace the grooves and crannies of the floor.

The heroes then turned their fury on the wererat. But, senses and reflexes heightened by her transformation, they couldn’t touch her. For almost a minute she danced between every attack: dodging, parrying, and lashing out with her own blade, and always creeping closer to the sleeping Tower Girl.

When within range, the wererat ducked under one more swing and woke her ally. The heroes tried to use this momentary distraction to strike home, but they could not touch her. The Tower Girl regained her feet, then slipped around Lelandra, trying to flank the ranger. Lelandra backed up to a wall to protect herself, but the Tower Girl’s blade slipped through the ranger’s guard, opening up a grievous wound and coating the wall with blood. Lelandra went down, bleeding out.

Within a moment, Alwyn had closed the distance between himself and the Tower Girl. His greatsword smashed her to the ground in a broken, bloody heap.

Now it was two versus one.

The advantage was short-lived. No sooner had Alwyn dropped the Tower Girl, but he felt a peculiar sensation: the wererat’s short sword protruded from his chest, sunk hilt-deep. The lycanthrope grinned at him, exposing wicked teeth.

Henrich, having maneuvered to avoid catching his allies in the blast, unleashed a torrent of fire from his hands at the wererat. The roaring flames blackened skin, melted fur, and filled the small room with the stench of roasting flesh.
Alwyn – his strength fading from his body – took one last swing at the wererat before collapsing to the floor. His blade sailed wide, and the creature turned its attentions to Henrich.

Only to receive another blast of flame, full in its rodent face. When the flames cleared, all that was left was a steaming – and rather dead – charcoaled rat.

Henrich rushed to stabilise his companions with magical potions of healing, and the heroes completed their search of this level of the Crow after blockading themselves in one of the side-rooms to recover for a full eight hours. There were no reprisals from the Tower Girls during this time.

Now they stand, at the mouth of a dank corridor, leading deeper into the winding, hewn tunnels of the Crow. What will they find down there, hidden in the depths of this Thassilonian ruin? What dangers lie in wait for them? How are the Tower Girls planning to avenge the deaths of their comrades?

Find out next week, as our heroes continue their quest for the pieces of the Shattered Star.

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Shattered Star Session 2 22/1/13

Shattered Star Week 2.

Where we last left our heroes, was an abandoned dockside tavern which once went by the name of the Puffy Pelican. Having heard that there were rumours of a meeting at this desolate place. With the information that this could be related to the disappearances of locals in the poor parts of the city, this seemed like the most obvious place to further their investigation.

What was found however, was an ambush by Fenster the Blight, and a sheepish looking man in oversized green coloured clothing which looked like something found discarded in an alley rather than something fitted at a tailor.

some of the more pressing members of the group identified this man as Plutivarch, one of the locals in Underbridge. After some convincing, he admitted to starting the rumours about Nidalese slave trafficking, instead merely wanting to attract Pathfinders to his secret meeting place, the Puffy Pelican, in order to knock them out, and make the local Aaspis Consortium branch aware of their presence in exchange for some coin.

Sobbing, he explained that he never meant for anyone to get hurt, and he only asked for Fenster’s help because he thought it would be safe, yet now the urchin’s scruffy head was left to roll freely on the floor of the storeroom of the Pelican, after Torsten’s axe freed it from the rest of the Blight’s body.

Plutivarch
- Plutivarch

Not wanting to cause any further casualties, but still knowing that they needed further information from this man, fearing that Fenster had died without letting loose all that he knew about the Tower Girls, there were threats of turning Plutivarch over to Sheila Heidmarch. At this point, Plutivarch had a miniature breakdown, and revealed an important secret, that he had hidden from his now deceased landlord.

An old warehouse, unused due to water damage from a storm that ravaged Magnimar the previous year, was one which according to Plutivarch, had recently become the home of a lady who fit the description the heroes put forth regarding Natalya. He said that he’d seen her come and go, and also that another lady with a whip and blonde hair regularly watched the place from a nearby rooftop. This was all our heroes needed, a hideout allegedly used by the very woman the party needed to find seemed too good to be true, but also a lead which could not be ignored. To make sure there was no funny business, Plutivarch was to lead the way – Arms tied.

The building which Plutivarch presented after a winding journey through the dockside, appeared as if it could cease being a building any minute now. The walls looked damp, and straining under the weight of the sagging tiled roof. It was a medium sized establishment, perhaps one that could hold the cargo of a small trading ship coming from the local ports around Varisia, at least when it was first constructed. The only signs of life around the decaying structure was a tall, dark skinned male, with two teeth jutting from his lower jaw, revealing the ethnicity of at least one of his parents. He was currently adding a stream of liquid to the side of the warehouse, and clearly yelling to someone inside, as there were long shadows peering out from the open door at the front. It wasn’t a lot of illumination coming from the warehouse, perhaps just a single lamp, but that was enough to know that this warehouse wasn’t as dead as it appeared from the outside.

Without pause, a smaller group of our heroes began to stealthily approach, and made their way to the door of the warehouse, once the half-orc had made his way back inside, closing the portal behind him. Quickly this turned into an altercation, as the group opened the door, only to be told that this was their house, and to “Sod off.” This must have hit a soft spot with at least one member of the group, as very quickly the two inside playing cards, and the two men coming around from the side of the warehouse quickly became either unconscious due to a timely sleep spell, or tied up.

It didn’t take long to realise that they didn’t have a lot of time, as the noise from the encounter must have awakened, or at least alerted anyone inside, which was especially important if Natalya was indeed the girl witnessed at this site. Through the side entrance the adventurers charged, to be faced with a site which made the outside of the warehouse look robust.

The floor of the chamber had completely collapsed into a pool of water some number of feet below. The earthen walls of the flooded room oozed with foul rivulets, and the smell was almost overwhelming. Two sewer pipes emerged from the side of the clay, giving meaning to the horrid smell. Looking up, what was a crawlspace on the second story of the warehouse had partially fallen in, revealing the wood attempting to hold up the tiles that kept the rain out of this place, not that it would help much. The only obvious ways to traverse the room were a rickety wooden plank over the filth, and a ladder up to the crawl space. This was all well and good, until half way across the plank, where Alwyn had begun to cross, an ambush of the worst sorts occured, from out of the sewer pipes camed dirtfaced green skined creatures, who emerged holding a large bag containing a large part of what made the room smell so terrible.

With a “Yipee!”, the creature who could only be a Goblin, let loose the bag of sewage, and with a thud, covered the alchemist in leeches, remains of rotten creatures, and excrement, sending him into a state of disgust.

Sewer goblin
- Goblin Ambush!

Swords were drawn, blood was spilled, and without much effort, the measly creatures lay in the pool of sewage. Maintaining a pace of action, Arial touched and channelled to keep spirits high, and wounds closed, as from the inside, it was obvious that there was light in the crawlspace on the second level. This is where she would be, if at all.

Climbing to the top of the ladder, and going through the crawlspace, it was apparent that someone had created a miniature fort up here, with food, and other such supplies, and when the final corner of the upper level was explored, the light revealed the face of a woman partially hidden by long brown hair.

“You’ll never take me, I take orders from no one!” she yelled, and fought with spell and sword for her life to get the party of 9 (and a dinosaur) out of her hideout. Another timely sleep spell, however, was the perfect end to that. With Natalya subdued, it was a race back to Heidmarch manor, as she had not spoken of a discovery, and all she had of interest on her was part of a copper blade, with a peculiar hemispherical hole in the side.

Shard of pride
- Recovered blade

When the heroes returned to Heidmarch manor, they were presented with a very tired butler, who was not impressed, until he saw the subdued Varisian lady, after which he brought them inside, back to the room which the Paradox Box, and the Pugwumpi messed up.

Sheila soon entered the room, filling it with a regal presence, despite the time of night. When she saw the copper blade however, her tone changed from official, to one of suppressed excitement.

“What you have found, my friends, is nothing short of a miracle. Varisia has seen its share of miracles of late — the discovery of Xin-Shalast and the defeat of Runelord Karzoug, or Korvosa’s release from mad Ileosa’s rule come to mind—but this discovery will soon be remembered as an equal to those events. This is a powerful Thassilonian artifact, a fragment of horacalcum and a portion of the Shattered Star of Xin: to be precise, the Shard of Pride. I suspect that the shard’s current carrier already knows more about it than I do, in fact…”

she was refering to a powerful curse, which surrounds the shards. Even as one simply picks up the shard, they are filled with a feeling of strength, that they should be in a position of leadership.

Quickly, Sheila exited the room, and returned with a scarlet and blue gem, and placed it into the hemisphere tarnishing the surface of the horalcrum. This quickly created a light which brightened the room, before dimming to a calm glow. When the arcanely attuned members of the group felt the aura of the shard, they were presented with a vision of one of the pillars of the Irespan, out in the harbour in front of the docks.

Sheila quickly explained that this was the location of the second shard of the Sihedron, and that an expedition out to such a location must be planned immediately.

So, ancient Thassilonian artifacts, a curse of pride, where will the heroes of Shattered Star go next? Find out at week 3 of Shattered Star.

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Shattered Star Session 1 15/1/13

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.

Pugwumpis
- 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.

Zograthy
- 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.

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- 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

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Prologue - A History Lesson
In the beginning, there was Thassilon: An ancient empire existing more than 10,000 years before your birth. It was governed by the mighty Runelords, and ruled by the powerful Emperor Xin. There are many old tales that tell of the fall of the Runelords. As they turned away from the seven virtues of rule, their paths twisted and corrupted until they resembled the seven deadly sins instead. Harnessing the power held in runes, they fuelled powerful magic to turn on their ruler, so that no man stood above them.


Xin createsthe sihedron by michalivan d5gnvei
- Emperor Xin

There are many theories over what brought Thassilon to its knees after Emperor Xin finally died. A common tale is that the power-hungry Runelords fought each-other in tremendous world-shaking battles, shattering the empire into disparate fragments of civilization. Others say that the Runelords discovered an evil power in their research of rune magic, one so strong that even they could not control it. Regardless of what brought its end about, the crumbling stones that dot the Varisian landscape serve as ancient sentinels bearing a powerful message: even the mightiest can fall.

Across the lands of Golarion, there are many remnants of the old Thassilon: from ruins spread across the land, to underground tombs and complexes beneath cities such as Kaer Maga. Even the great capital of Magnimar, where our story of the Shattered Star begins, is built upon the Irespan: an enormous bridge that stretches so far out into the Varisian Gulf that it passes across the horizon. It is told that the Irespan served as the main travel route through the mountainous realm of Bakrakhan, the nation of Thassilon ruled by Alaznist, the Runelord of Wrath.

Magnimar view
- Magnimar and the Irespan

The tale of the Shattered Star begins with apparent inauspiciousness: people are born – as they are wont to be – yet these people know not the path their lives will take. You all came from humble enough beginnings, yet every sight, every smell, every action you ever took has lead you upon this road of possibility. It brought you to Heidmarch Manor, when you scrawled your signature with steady hand upon the piece of paper signifying you as a Pathfinder of Golarion: a seeker of treasure, a delver of secrets, a chronicler of history, or – to use the common phrase – a murderhobo. You have completed a few odd jobs here and there, mostly minor tasks such as rooting out old relics in the collapsed and abandoned warehouses along the Dockway side of Magnimar. The glow of success from these menial tasks cannot compare with the flush of triumph you feel receive the following note:

Greetings, fellow seeker of adventure!

I am Sheila Heidmarch, Venture Captain of the newest Pathfinder Society lodge – and the only such lodge in Varisia at this time. You have come to my attention as someone who possesses the right concoction of skills and abilities that make you an excellent addition to my plans. I am forming a team of the most promising recruits for a matter of grave import, one that not only threatens the Society, but the whole of Varisia as well. Please report an hour before noon to Heidmarch Manor. You will be compensated for your time, but that reward will pale in light of the riches that may dot your path if you agree to undertake this quest that I have for you.

I look forward to meeting you soon.

- Sheila Heidmarch.

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