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Living ENWorld:Adventure:Urn Your Pay

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Urn Your Pay

DM: covaithe Judge: Rae Ardgaoth PCs:

  • Gildrim (Trouvere), a dwarf divine bard 1.
  • Cyian (Jerrand Redband), Human bard 1
  • Ter-raen (serow), human barbarian 1
  • Erf (Halford), a gnome druid 1

Volidar's Tale:

Alvar Thorne enters the Red Dragon Inn, seeking to hire discreet adventurers for a task of some risk. When he has the adventurers gathered, he explains that he has uncovered evidence that he may be descended from the Counts Mordren, a noble family who lost their lands and were presumed wiped out when the Grellgo Fens flooded. Alvar has discovered that Mordren Manor, the family seat, was on a tall hill and may have survived the flooding. He offers a large reward for the party to go there and find a certain ceremonial funeral urn, on which births and marriages were recorded as well as deaths. Alvar provides a hand-drawn map to the approximate location of Mordren Manor. Gildrim talks Thorne into agreeing to provide the reward if the party go there, search the area thoroughly without finding the Manor or the Urn, and report as much under truth magic.

The party gather supplies, and in the morning set out for Cragger's Rest, the nearest village marked on the map. They travel for several days before being stopped on the road by Carlos Coldsong, who attempts to waylay them, but ends up fleeing into the swamp.

They continue on to Cragger's Rest, where they take rooms for the night. They meet Soren Burwood, a lad at the inn, who fills them in on various useful people around town. They go to visit Sister Anemone, a cleric who lives in a small temple of Galatea near the edge of the swamp. There Sister Anemone warns them that the swamp is inhabited by lizardfolk, and that, while relations used to be good between the town and the lizardfolk, that changed when Cardith Burwood tried to cheat them, failed, and swore revenge. On his revenge trip, he died, and his body was chewed on by something lizard-like, before it was recovered. Eventually the party persuade Sister Anemone to admit that she still has contacts in the swamp, and to arrange a meeting between them and a lizardman who could guide them through the swamp. She promises to do so in the morning.

They return to the inn, where with minimal prompting, an old man named Haskell tells a harrowing and clearly much-exaggerated tale of Cardith Burwood's expedition. Just as harrowing, though probably far more truthful, is his account of the punitive expedition mounted by Corvin Tanabar, the town's sheriff. They ask Corvin for advice on the swamp as well, and he urges them to stay out. Cyian, in an effort to get on Corvin's good side, blurts out that they've been hired to clear the swamp of lizardfolk for good. Corvin is thrilled, and immediately offers to round up a posse and join the expedition. Erf's hasty backpedaling gets him out of it, but Corvin is angry enough that, when the tale of their defeat of Carlos Coldsong comes out, Corvin disbelieves it and won't give them the bounty. They manage to escape the evening without further mishap.

In the morning, they sneak out of the inn, wary for Corvin Tanabar, and go to meet Sister Anemone. She introduces them to Apikotoa, a scout and tracker for the lizardfolk, who speaks understandable Common.


Items:

The People:

Alvar Thorne

A successful merchant, headquartered in Orussus. Employer of the PCs. Has appeared briefly in other adventures. (reference?) He has offices at the north end of Merchant Street.

DM: The man is tall and burly, with close-cropped brown hair and a neatly trimmed beard with a generous sprinkling of gray. His tunic features a subtle geometrical pattern in brown on gold, and looks both new and expensive. He surveys the room with a disapproving scowl. "I'm Alvar Thorne, entrepreneur and..." He stops and grins wolfishly. "Well, maybe more, but we won't get into that just now."

Aurelia Higgenbottom

Alvar Thorne's mother's aunt. Deceased 10 years ago.

Fewtrell

A halfling who serves as Alvar Thorne's personal secretary.

Carlos Cloudsong

A bard and highwayman who attempts to rob the party. It goes badly for him, and he flees into the swamp.

Soren Burwood

A boy who helps at the inn.

Haskell

The town gossip, an old man with a penchant for tale-telling. Not terribly concerned if the tales are true.

Sister Anemone

A cleric of Galatea who lives in a small temple at the edge of Cragger's rest, near the swamp.

DM: Given directions, the temple is easy to find. It's a small round stone building in the shadow of an elderly willow tree. There is a pond of clear, fresh water nearby, as well as a large, orderly garden with fruit trees, vegetables, herbs, and the occasional flowerbed. There is a stoutly built female halfling working in the garden, dressed in a simple blue robe. As you approach, she stands and removes a pair of gloves from her hands. When you get close, you can see crows feet around her eyes and streaks of gray in her hair.

Cardith Burwood

A man who died in the swamp. Some villagers blame his death on the lizardfolk.

Sister Anemone: "We used to be close to them, we of Cragger's Rest, until that fool Cardith Burwood took it into his head to go trading with them, taking nothing more than cheap glass beads and a string of empty promises. He came back empty-handed and swearing that if they wouldn't give him his due, he'd take it by force. He took a rusty sword, a tin-pot helmet, and a couple of rowdies lingering at the inn on their way through town, and went back into the swamp." She scowls again, clearly reliving unpleasant memories. "I found his body a week later, not two hundred paces from here, just lying on his back like he was laid out for burying, at least what was left of him was. His... There were stab wounds, like from a knife or a spear, but there were pieces missing, too, and it looked like he had been chewed on. By a lizard."

Corvin Tanabar

The sheriff of Cragger's Rest. He is convinced that the lizardfolk are a pack of murderous, bloodthirsty savages, and is frustrated by the town council's refusal to pay for an expedition to clear the swamp of lizardfolk.

Apikotoa

A lizardfolk scout. Introduced to the party by Sister Anemone, and hired by them as a guide through the swamp.

DM: a scaled figure leaps lightly down from its lowest branches with a tiny splash. It is about six feet tall and entirely naked save for a greenish leather bandolier with pockets sewn in, but without external genitalia, it is difficult to tell what gender the creature is. From the back of the bandolier protrude several slim javelins, and it carries a sharp-looking spear with negligent familiarity.

Cragger Tanabar

Knowledge(local) DC 10 Cragger's Rest grew up around the inn, which was founded by a retired adventurer. DC 15 Times haven't been good for trade along this route recently, and travelers are few. The inn was founded by Cragger Tanabar

DC 20 Cragger made his fortune fighting goblins in the Stonespike mountains.


Bardic Knowledge DC 12

Ever since you heard the name Cragger's Rest, it's reminded you of a tune you once heard. As you walk into the town, the chorus suddenly springs into your head
Oh, Cragger, he staggered
down from the mountain,
looking like yesterday's hat.
Maybe he'd better
Rest and recover,
Here where the land is flat.
If only you could remember how it started...
DC 17
You remember the rest of the tune, and could perform it if you wanted:
Cragger went up in the Stonespikes, the leader
Of dozens of men, with a month's worth of beer,
A shiny new shield and a large chest for treasure,
And a face with a bloodthirsty leer.
Hey, a face with a bloodthirsty leer.
He combed the crags for goblins and trolls,
Leaving a copious banquet for crows,
But his trail of slaughter was brought to a halt
When it suddenly started to snow.
Hey, it suddenly started to snow.
Chorus:
Oh, Cragger, he staggered
down from the mountain,
looking like yesterday's hat.
Maybe he'd better
Rest and recover,
Here where the land is flat.
O Cragger, he led his men to a cleft,
A cave that gave shelter from snowfall outside.
They stacked up their kegs by the wall and they slept,
'Til the snow began to subside,
Hey, 'til the snowfall began to subside.
They rested three days in the sheltering cave,
Counting the gold that they'd seized from their foes,
And drinking their ale by way of ignoring,
The case of frostbite on their toes.
Hey, the case of frostbite on their toes.
Chorus
The third night of drinking, the snow was still falling,
And Cragger expounding on exploits of old,
When all of a sudden his men up and scattered,
Running out into the cold!
Hey, running out into the cold!
Cragger jumped up and stood, arms akimbo,
And gaped in amazement at his fleeing band.
'twas then that he spotted an extra-large Yeti
with an empty ale keg in each hand!
Yes, an empty keg in each hand!
Chorus
A mountain of muscles, white fur, and bad breath,
Wrapped 'round a core of malice and stink.
Cragger resolved to fight hard to the end,
When the yeti, she gave him a wink.
Hey, the yeti, she gave him a wink.
Cragger stood helpless, rooted with fear,
As the yeti beckoned and started to sway,
smiling with teeth like festering daggers:
Cragger, he fainted away.
Mighty Cragger fainted away.
Chorus
Well, Cragger, he never spoke of what happened,
While alone in the cave, but suffice it to say,
That if she hadn't happened to glimpse a young dire bear,
He might have been there to this day!
Hey, he might have been there to this day.
And when he came down, some three months later,
He swore that never, through thick and through thin
Would he ever set foot near the smallest of mountains:
"I quit, I'm starting an inn.
Hey, I quit, I'm starting an inn."


The Organizations:

The Places:

Grellgo Fens

Alvar Thorne: "Two hundred years ago, the Grellgo river -- you all know the Grellgo? It's the big river running north towards Orussus from Lathim and points south. Anyway, two hundred years ago it was a much smaller river, and the lands along its banks were good farmland, not festering swamps. And the owners of that farmland ... Well. Since Orussus is ruled by a mayor and a council, you may have wondered -- I certainly have -- where all these lords and countesses and barons come from. It turns out that they are landowners, or were. They owned farmland. Good farmland." He smiles nastily. "About a hundred and fifty years ago, some nameless river in the Badlands shifted course and became a tributary of the Grellgo. Overnight, the Grellgo tripled in size, jumped its banks, and flooded most of that good farmland. Family fortunes tracing back generations were wiped out in days. When the river settled into its present course, most of the best farmland had turned into swamplands: the Grellgo fens. Many of the noble families lost everything, and their names are mostly forgotten. A few managed to survive, much diminished, on other holdings: lesser farmlands, trade ships, gold stored elsewhere, and so forth. Those are the ancestors of our current crop of lordlings."

Cragger's Rest

A village on the edge of the Grellgo Fens. Sits on the main road running from Orussus to parts south.

DM: Cragger's Rest is a small town, consisting of perhaps a hundred small houses, clustered around a large, well-appointed inn. The inn, and the smithy and general store across from it, are much larger than this small town would need, even if it were to triple in size. Still, the prices listed on a small, glass-framed sign near the door of the inn are quite reasonable.

DM: The inn's common room is clean and spacious, with many empty tables. At one end is a large fireplace with a brick chimney. At the other end is a small raised dais, where an entertainer might perform for a crowded room. Along the back wall is a long bar with somewhat bare-looking shelves, a pair of doors, and a stairway leading up.

Mordren Manor

Deep in the Grellgo Fens, this ancient home still stands at the crest of what was once a tall hill.

Alvar's map: A quick glance at the map reveals that it indicates an area about 100 miles south of Orussus, east of the main southern road, near the Grellgo river.

The Quests:

Recover the Urn

Alvar Thorne: "By referencing several old maps from before the flood, he has managed to present me a fairly convincing argument that the 'family home' she describes is the manor house of the Mordren family. The Mordrens were counts, and, if Fewtrell isn't mistaken, were among the most successful and respected of the noble families of the era. Their lands were entirely within the flooded lands, and the family was thought to be lost completely. But, if Fewtrell's theory is correct, my great grandmother might actually be the daughter of the last Count Mordren." He directs this mockingly towards the halfling.

"As genealogical evidence goes, this is pretty flimsy, and if I were to put myself forward as Count Mordren based on this, I would be a laughingstock. Even the fact that I'm thinking about it would be mildly embarrassing, which is why I'm asking all of you not to mention it, please. Now, I normally wouldn't give two bent coppers for the title to some land in a swamp, but it so happens that there are some business opportunities coming up which will be easier to capitalize on if I can call myself a count, so I've asked Fewtrell to look into the matter further, to see if there is any more evidence that might be found, and he's come up with something."

"Some other genealogical records of the time say that the Mordren family had a tradition of recording the births, marriages, and deaths of all the children of the current Count Mordren on a ceremonial funeral urn. When he died himself, his ashes were placed in the urn in the family crypt alongside the ashes of former counts. At first Fewtrell and I thought this wasn't helpful, since the urns would all be lost by now. But it seems that, according to my great grandmother's journal, the Mordren family manor house was actually at the crest of a small hill overlooking the surrounding area. Thus, it's quite possible that the house is still intact and the urn might be found." He leans forward and places his hands on the table.

"This is where you all come in. The swamps are dangerous enough that I can't just send one of my usual errand runners, and I can't spare any guards for the foreseeable future. But this is exactly the sort of task that you adventurers claim to be good at, so I thought I'd give you a try. My offer is this. I'll give 1500 crowns to whoever fetches me that urn. You can divide it amongst yourselves, however many of you there are, as you see fit. I'll provide maps indicating my best guess as to the location of the manor, but then you're on your own."

The Rewards:

Treasure

From the bodies of Carlos Cloudsong's men: two sets of studded leather armor, two short swords, two shortbows, 37 arrows, and two coin pouches containing a total of 30 gold.


XP

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