DM Notes 1.03 (Blackmoor Supplement)
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Into the Belfry
Bard has spent several days in the company of Zorax, deciphering the texts and exploring The Belfry in search of an alternative entry into the riverside area of Blackmoor. Finally they feel that they have a breakthrough with the discovery of a passage that will lead them into the offices of the Riverwarden - governmental tax collection authority that are on the border of Squires and Keyhole on the riverside.
Access into the building is through the chimney that leads up from a sealed off basement to the building. The basement pokes through the ceiling of Wunderland and can be accessed from below. Unfortunately there are residents incumbent, a nest of giant spiders:
The basement has accumulated some treasures including a withered corpse wearing a rather ragged set of magical leather armour:
Repellent Leathers of the Exterminator: This unfashionable and rather coarse suit of leather armour was built for hunting and handling vermin. The leather is bristled and carries a repllent smell which makes it unpleasant to wear and to spend time in the company of anyone wearing it. +1 Spider Leather Armour; Stealthy: +2 to stealth rolls; Once per day you may reroll a save versus poison.
Access to the chambers above involve climbing into an ancient iron furnace, through the chimneys and either up onto the roof or out through a fireplace into the (occupied) offices. If the infiltrator is silent then it is possible to overhear conversations within the offices and these could be commercially sensitive.
The Squires syndicate have been extremely interested in the access to tax free income that the Mollies have been enjoying and have even permitted Molly to begin to rent riverbank sites to set up fish farm franchises. Another gang's good fortune does bring much pleasure however and they are looking for a larger piece of the action. The Mollies are not a widely recognised gang and certainly have few allies amongst the great houses of Blackmoor and so events are set in play.
The Squires do not want to reignite old turf wars with The a Stones Hearts and so a direct takeover is not going to fly. Instead they want to let the Mollies do the work and pay a secret tribute. In order to do this their plan is to get some kind of hold over Molly herself, and with the current fervour over magic and consorting with demons, the easiest route is blackmail. Evidence that can be held against good behaviour is hard to come by, a sworn statement by a witness of any kind of repute is difficult as they would not wish to associate themselves with something so toxic.
Cobalt Squires has settled on a plan to financially implicate Molly with someone who can be set up to take a fall as a magic user. The association would have legal paperwork accompanying it and that's what can be held against her. In order to set this up, a field of reed beds that lie on the border of Keyhole and Squires districts is to be used. The owner is Ryan Shilling and he has been persuaded that if he were to expand some of his land he could convert it to a fishery, sublet it to the Mollies and thereby earn an income with which to repay some of the interest on his significant debts to The Squires.
In order to develop the land, Shilling needs some capital and Molly has been persuaded to put this up in return for a favourable rent agreement. If it could be made to look like the monies were being used for some kind of quasi magical purpose she could be implicated. Shilling's wife, Ma Shilling is a herbalist and medic, she sometimes deals in potions and has occasionally dealt with arcanists, though lately she has kept out of this business.
Molly might ask her trusted right folk to go and sniff out the Shilling Hides and see if it looks like the monies are being spent on what they were intended for. It is not a huge investment and she is not extremely concerned but it is a matter of pride that she sees it through properly. Saint Sebastian's Abbey
Beneath the crypts of Saint Sebastian's church at the heart of Parish district lies the remains of a two hundred year old abbey. Though the above ground remains are long since built over, the order of monks developed extensively under ground. The highest levels were set aside for the living space with extensive cells and meditative spaces, below these levels are the working spaces, workshops, scriptoriums and a library. Finally the great hall where Saint Sebastian is interred.
Longfellow has explored the abbey's remains extensively before sealing it from the crypts of the upper church, however he has not returned there for many years. He was satisfied that it was secure and best seals away, however in recent years he has been concerned that there may be an evil presence that has infected the place.
Below the great hall there is a secret that even Longfellow does not realise. In the years when the Abbey was functioning, a great plague affected the city through the winter months and the monks took a great many dead and dying in. Unable to bury the dead, the young Abbot, Sebastian, undertook a great task to mummify the dead and inter them in crypts beneath the great hall. The city survived the plague but fearful of the dead it was decided that the great hall would be closed off. Sebastian chose to remain there and care for the souls of the dead who, without proper burial rights were not restful.
The Abbey slowly declined until all that remains is the church and half remembers stories of what lies beneath. The remains of the sainted abbot were found by Longfellow lying on the floor before the altar, and upon the stone slab that sealed the crypts from below. Longfellow Suspected that the remains were of the saint and out of respect, took the remains and put them into a coffin upon the altar. The saint's presence on the stone tablet had the effect of sealing the restless dead below, now they have managed to gain entrance to the abbey where they restlessly wander looking to return to their homes in the city above.
Resolution of the situation would require the slab to be replaced and the abbot to be placed upon it. Alternatively, each of the dead could have the Sanctus Pax burial rights read over them, which takes three rounds of uninterrupted concentration by someone who can read. The Plague Mummies are from all walks of life and are of all ages, they are not filled with hatred for the living but will become so if attacked.
In the library mildew and insects have destroyed much of the paper but what remains has some significant academic and intrinsic value. Two documents are magical and have resisted the depredations of time, both scrolls are arcane spells, Misty Step and False Life. Amongst the other documents are a great many on healing and herbalism - for a literate herbalist the library would give a +2 equipment bonus to their laboratory.
One of the cells was Sebastian’s and in it there is a leather bound journal. Too respectful to go poking around the monk’s quarters, Longfellow never found this though he would dearly love to have it. The document tells of Sebastian’s efforts to save souls of the dead and contains a handwritten copy of the Sanctus Pax incantation that can lay the mummies to rest. Als o within the room is a hidden door (DC 12 perception to spot) that leads to the abbey’s treasury, within which are several reliquaries that belonged to the abbey and have a small cash value, though of significant value to the church.
Also alongside these things are a series of hessian sacks into which have been placed the most precious remains of the citizens that were interred, all carefully labelled with the family name. Finding a home for these trinkets would be almost impossible, though they could be sold for a fair sum. Amongst them is a single magical trace - a silver coin of an unrecognisable currency, it is a Ferryman’s Shilling.
Ferryman’s Shilling: The Ferryman’s Shilling is a rare magical item that will convert a final failed death saving throw into a critical success before disappearing.
Within the mid-levels of the abbey there is a well that was once covered by an iron grill but has since been removed by pack of ghouls that climbed up the well shaft from Wunderland. The ghouls have been depleted by Mismatch as he passed their way (and left through the well shaft) and only two of them remain. They are more wary of visitors and will try and wait for the party to be weakened by the mummies before striking.
The Elverton trade has had some difficulties that need ironing out, it seems that despite promises to the contrary, they are unable to honour their volume commitments and will have to reduce what is being sent up.
The difficulties arise through pressures brought to bear by both the Ice Queen and the Faerie Court. Both parties have a dependency on the food coming from Elverton and hostilities are threatened if they continue to raise prices. The Faerie Court trades silver for the food whereas the Ice Queen delivers a mixture of trade goods from deeper beneath the ground and recovered scraps of arcana, ancient scrolls and occasional magical items.
There are a larger presence of spies from the Ice Queen in court and they will be openly hostile to the party if they hear where they are from. Mousetrap
Incensed by Elverton’s Council of Four, and driven by the necessity of securing their food supplies, agents of the Ice Queen have paid lizardman mercenaries to ambush The Dormouse. Unfortunately the ambush, timed to hit just as the barge comes down the Sighing Gate has led to disaster, the barge has sunk within the locks, damaging a gate and several Lizardmen corpses have been trapped in the sluices. As well as effectively blocking the lock stair, this has also led to a discharge of Blackmoor sewage down the stairs and into the eel pools contaminating them and causing an evil miasma to fall across the town.
Efforts to refloat the barge, unblock the sluices and set everything right are underway at the moment. Most of the townsfolk have been working continuously for some time to resolve the situation but they lack any clear leadership.
Resolving the situation requires first clearing the remains of the ambushers raft which is holding the secret doorway open and allowing sewage to enter the system. The corpses also need to be chopped free of the sluices which can only be done from underwater. Finally the lock needs to be emptied and The Dormouse unloaded and righted so that it will float again (it has capsized) in the lock.
Through this there will be harrying attacks from the remainder of the Lizardman mercenaries:
The monk receives a note telling him that the honour of his Dojo must be defended that evening. The Skipping Stone Dojo has only twelve members under an elderly sensei and is one of the smallest in the town. Nevertheless, its inauspicious situation in a small wooden shack on the water margin of Gallows Reach means that it does not generally attract too much attention.
Tonight however, there is a fair crowd of fighters, bookies and enthusiasts - The Falling Mountain has come to town with five of their best to test the mettle of this smallest of Dojo’s. Unfortunately, Sensei Goto has had to summon his least favoured son to make up the numbers. He will have the penultimate fight, the least honoured.
When the fight comes however the scores are two wins to the visitors and only one to Skipping Stone, if his fight is lost then so is the tournament.
Falling Mountain Monk: AC 14, HP 26 (4d8+8) Fist: +4 (1d6+2); Multi-attack: Makes two fist attacks as an action; Stunning strike: If both fists hit then save (Con DC 14) or target stunned, all attacks at disadvantage, save once per round; Second wind: if missed by stunned target then may take an action to gain 8 temporary HPs
After the bout if there is a win then there is much celebration at the dojo, otherwise the party leaves town and there is extra training. Either way as the players leave in the early hours they see lights near to the Shilling Farm where Molly has been financing the development of a new Fish Farm. Heading over there the party spy a contingent of soldiers bearing the Inquisitor’s livery and sure enough Majister Laurent, Inguisitor General is present.
Acting on a tip off the inquisitor has arrested Ryan and Ma Shilling - they are both bound and gagged and look to have been ill-treated. The farm has been raided and in a canvas tent the Inquistor is looking through papers and a book. He has discovered Ma’s recipes which she uses for her herbalism and is making extensive notes as he works his way through them.
Later he will discover the “Soloven Guide to Fisheries” which Cobalt Squires has carefully shepherded into Ryan’s illiterate hands. His agent has told Shilling that the guide shows the secrets of creating the most fertile pools but in fact he has been fooled into putting a pentagram into the floor and generally reciting scraps of black arts. Squires has ensured that his agents have preempted the Inquisition and taken the papers linking this affair to Molly - he will use these once the case has been resolved to get a hold over her.
If the party get close enough to get entangled they might have a scrap on their hands, they are the sort to shoot first and ask questions later if surprised in the dark fens about Gallows Reach:
If the players are brought before the Inquisitor General he has a nose for magic - if gets a sense that there is any about then things will go bad very quickly, however he is totally unconcerned with any other illegality. Majister Laurent has had some political difficulties with elves before, he wil be wary of entanglements unless provoked.
Once Molly has been told she will make plans to leave immediately - she knows that this must be a set up - if the papers have been discovered then they will be at The Crab imminently, if they have not then they are in the hands of whoever set this up. She charges the players to find out who it was and get the papers back as soon as possible.
The Inquisitor was summoned by the sheriffs office, where a deputy, Harry Bind, was told by one of his confidants (he is in fact in the pay of Squires). Harry will not say who his informer is, and if he pressed then he will say nothing but afterwards head straight to Squires district. If followed he will lead the players to Coveney’s a candle shop, and it should be known that the Squires clan make their name as Right Folk making candles.
Travelling in Squires is no problem for the Mollies, they are on good terms and would normally make the correct signs and be allowed passage. They may however choose to travel incongnito in which case they could get into trouble as strangers.
If the party get into trouble they may get rescued by Deputy Chains, who takes them for luckless visitors and will offer to guide them to their goal. Chains knows the Stones well and despises them, and if the players can spin him a likely sob story then he might reveal that the most likely person to be setting up the blackmail is Sob Story, Cobalt Squires most able player. If it is him then he is likely to be holed up at the Cat and Canary on Qeens's Street.
Sob Story is the culprit and he is currently at the pub however he is not easy to get around and he carries the papers on his person. Sob will probably be in the company of a few thugs most of the time.
Listening in on his conversations it is clear that he will be meeting with Cobalt in the morning to deliver an important package. He is being cautious this evening and staying off the sauce just in case. In the morning he will will make a big score.
If the party do not meet Deputy Chains then they will have to track Sob down with pretty slim evidence. They could try speaking to Right Folk - Cobalt's strategy is not widely known so they might be persuaded to make a suggestion but it is skating on thin ice. Any mistake and word will get back to Cobalt in which case an ambush is the likely response.
Finally it might be possible to assume that Cobalt is responsible and watch his house for visitors. This is not a promising strategy but if there is no other chance then a confrontation in the street with Sob will have to resolve very quickly before reinforcements from the house arrive.
It is quite likely that the party will fail to intercept the document before it gets to Cobalt in that case there is little that they can do and we move to a different situation.