Session 12: What Lurks Beneath the Golden Tankard

The Golden Tankard Cellar2

(Note: This adventure was run in April 2017.  In terms of campaign time, this adventure took place contemporaneously with Session 11: The Jackdaws, the Raven, and the Rat).

While Tanin and Bao took on the mission of the Jackdaws in discovering the identity of the Raven, Kulo and Velnius were seeking to make new purchases to aid their adventuring life.  Velnius left Xerbo in the care of the potboy at the Weary Traveler.  As they walked past a rather derelict tavern near the edge of the wall that separated this poorer quarter from a merchant-lord quarter, the sign dangling outside by one remaining chain identified it as the Golden Tankard, they heard a woman crying for help.  She was sitting in the doorway of the tavern, cradling a small boy.  Kulo and Velnius moved over to the woman to investigate the commotion.  Three others–a female hill dwarf, a human woman, and a female half-orc trying to keep her identity shrouded by the hood of her cloak–also came closer from the busy street to offer assistance.  The boy appeared ashen and was delirious.  Kulo and Velnius could tell that the boy had a number of scrapes and bruises but were at a loss for what pained him so much.  A female hill dwarf who also answered the pleas for help, inspected the boy closer, noticing a puncture wound in his neck.  She believed he was poisoned from some bite.

As this was going on, a surly mountain dwarf emerged in the doorway, muttering “If I told them once, I told them a thousand times.  Stay out of the cellar!”  On seeing the state of the boy, his demeanor quickly changed and he looked about sheepishly.  The human woman from the street asked the mountain dwarf what was in the cellar.  He equivocated in his answer muttering something about a rat infestation.  The woman could tell he was hiding something.  A growing crowd was gathering at the doorway, which seemed to agitate the mountain dwarf.  The woman pressed him further about the cellar.

The dwarf grew angry, but quickly stifled his temper, and proclaimed to the gathering, “I, Martyn Fenns, proprietor of the Golden Tankard will pay . . .” he paused momentarily grimacing at the thought of having to spend money, “20 gold pieces to the stalwart ban of brave souls willing to kill the rats in my cellar that must have bitten this boy.  If any of you be brave enough!”  At this last statement, he directed his gaze on the original group that had come to assist.

Kulo and Velnius bristled at the insinuation that they lacked courage.  The original group exchanged looks of agreement and introduced themselves to each other.  Pabelle, the female hill dwarf, Mara, the human woman, and Lykopsis, the female half-orc, joined Kulo and Velnius in reassuring the woman cradling the boy in the doorway that they would find out what happened to him in the cellar.  The woman, a barmaid named Danyella, thanked the intrepid adventurers for helping her son, Theo.  In that instant, Theo came-to from his delirium and said, “They took Mallic!  They have Mallic!” before collapsing in Danyella’s arms.  A look of dismay spread over Danyella’s face and she said, her lips quivering, “Mallic!”

Pabelle gave Danyella a look filled with sympathy and said, “We’ll find Mallic too.”  So, the adventurers helped Danyella carry Theo to one of the Inn’s rooms so he could rest.  Afterwards, they were led to the cellar to take on Martyn’s claimed rats.  Martyn gave the party a lantern to light their way.  The cellar was dark, dank, and a foul odor permeated the room, a mixture of rotten foodstuffs, spilled wine, mildew, and the unmistakable smell of vermin dander and droppings.  Three barrels sat in the southwest corner and in the middle of the wall sat a large stack of crates and barrels.

The sound of scratching could be heard emanating from the large stack of crates and barrels.  The party prepared themselves for some vermin control and approached the crates.  Two giant rats emerged from behind the crates and began attacking the party.  A third giant rat emerged quietly from behind the barrels in the corner and attacked Kulo.

Golden Tankard Cellar Rat2fin

After some minor injuries, the party put the giant rats to the sword.  Not convinced their job was done, the party began searching the room.  They examined the two doors in the cellar.  One led to the street–the delivery entrance for the inn.  The other was an inner door, of substantial iron construction and seemingly out-of-place in the cellar.  Pabelle immediately thought out loud, “What is Martyn hiding in there?”  Kulo tried picking the lock, but failed.

Bothered by the stacking of the crates and barrels in mostly one location of the cellar, Velnius noticed that there were many scuff marks on the stone floor near the crates, as if they had been moved back and forth over the area many times.  Moving some of the crates aside, Velnius shouted to his companions that he’d discovered a tunnel.

Moving more of the crates and barrels to the side, the party inspected what appeared to be a very rough hewn tunnel in the wall.  The air felt cool and moist, but also carried the smell of more vermin.  Velnius, with his dark vision, could tell the corridor turned to the left, but could see no more.  Mara looked into the darkness and asked the group, “Well, shall we see what Martyn’s been up to down here?”

The party edged forward in rank, cautiously eyeballing the recesses for the beady eyes of giant rats, the beams of light from Kulo’s lantern illuminating the sides of the tunnel.  Near an opening and depression of the tunnel, their expectations were met with the yellowed fangs of five giant rats that launched forward for the attack.  Kulo’s lantern highlighted the melee, but more telling were the sounds: blades slicing the air and meeting mangy hides, the thwump of quarterstaff against skull, and the cries of pain as one of the rodent’s teeth sank into flesh.  In a moment of that flickering light, the aftermath was telling–five dead giant rats littered the corridor.

The adventurers continued down the corridor as it snaked to the right.  Pabelle suddenly realized Martyn’s intent with the tunnels.  She announced to the group, “Martyn was trying to tunnel underneath the wall into the richer quarter!”  They continued cautiously forward coming to an opening that branched in three directions, one heading back towards the cellar.  Kulo taking notice of this said, “His stonecunning has much to be desired.”  The group decided to take the branch that led away from the cellar.  It curved to a dead-end, but before the group could backtrack, beady eyes emerged from the darkness as four giant rats attacked!

Tunnels Tankard

As the sounds of struggle diminished, the giant rats lay skewered upon the stone floor.  At a dead end, the party doubled-back to the branching corridor turning to the unexplored area of the tunnels.  This corridor also led to a larger opening that branched in either direction but before the adventurers could gather their bearings, four giant spiders descended on them from the recesses of the ceiling, their fangs dripping poison.

The fight this time was more dire.  More than once poison added to the pain of wounds inflicted by the arachnids, but in mere moments the fighting ceased.  All of the spiders were dead and the doughty adventurers were tending to wounds.  Kulo needed to light a torch.  In the midst of battle he dropped the lantern provided by Martyn in order to unsheathe his rapier and the lantern shattered.

Peering down the corridor leading away from the direction of the cellar, Velnius could see a chamber covered in spiderwebs.  The party approached cautiously, cutting through the webs in order to reach the main body of the chamber.  No spiders emerged to attack , but the group noticed three forms hanging in the webs.  Cutting the first down revealed the remains of a shabbily-dressed man, clearly one of Cyr’s destitute denizens.  On the ground near his body was a crudely constructed club, seemingly made from a table leg.  Searching his body, the party found a potion of healing, a vial of what appeared to be antivenom, and a glass bottle of oil for a lantern.  A further search of the room turned up a lantern, still in good working order.  The second cocoon contained a desiccated giant rat.  The third cocoon held a boy, still alive, who came-to momentarily as they were cutting him from the webs.

Tunnels Tankard2fin

“Theo?  Where’s Theo,” he asked nervously.

Pabelle responded, “Theo is upstairs being looked after.  Do you know how many spiders there are down here?”

Mallic shook his head, but said with a shudder, “No, I don’t know how many, but there is a really big one, bigger than all the rest.  It inspected me before feeding on the giant rat.”

Looking him over, it appeared that while bruised, Mallic was not poisoned.

The adventuring party moved down the corridor from whence they came in the direction back towards the cellar.  They noticed one last branching corridor they had yet to explore.  Velnius and Kulo moved up to explore this corridor, while Mara, Lykopsis, Pabelle, and Mallic waited within earshot.

As they rounded a bend, Kulo noticed a cave-in that led to a finished room.  “The room with the iron door,” Kulo thought.  Meanwhile, Velnius peered down the final tunnel and noticed spiderwebs covering the walls, floor, and ceiling.  Velnius joined Kulo in the room, accessible through the cave-in.  Shelves lined the walls holding glass bottles.  Kulo held one of the bottles up to the light of his torch.  Inside he could see an amber liquid and at the bottom of the bottle, a dead spider.  He stashed the bottle in his pack and the two of them returned to the group and told them of their find.  Mara recognized the contents of the bottle as spider-wine, a particularly potent alcohol considered illegal in most civilized lands including Cyr.  They returned to the room via the cave-in and opened the iron door from the inside ready to reunite Mallic with his mom and brother, heal Theo from the poison coursing through his veins with the antivenom, and to confront Martyn about his contraband.

The party first found Danyella and Theo in an upstairs room.  Danyella was overcome with joy at seeing Mallic alive and well.  Pabelle cradled Theo in her arms, rousing him from his stupor, and then giving him the antivenom to drink.  She looked at Danyella and said, “This should heal him.”  Danyella smiled with tears falling from her eyes.  They left the family alone, suggesting to Danyella and Mallic to let Theo rest to give the antivenom some time to work.

Finding Martyn behind the bar counter rubbing a dirty mug with a greasy rag in some half-hearted attempt at cleaning, the party confronted him about his exploits below the Golden Tankard.  He appeared surly and defiant at the claims the group was leveling at him, bristling at the accusation that he would try to tunnel into the nearby merchant-lord district.  Instead he suggested he had widened a rat tunnel that led to his cellar in order to put a stop to his rat infestation and then questioned whether the party had even done anything about the giant rats.  He asked aloud whether they even deserved the 20 gold pieces he had promised them.

Kulo became incensed, pulled out the bottle of spider-wine, and waved it in front of Martyn’s face.  “We know about this!” he said.  Martyn’s eyes grew wide and he stammered, finally regaining his composure and asking Kulo to keep his voice down as he surveyed the two drunks staring into their mugs in the common room of the Golden Tankard.  Martyn then became compliant, dropping his sullen demeanor.  He admitted to trying to tunnel to into the wealthier quarter, but was cursed by his stone-ignorance, part of what led him to leave his dwarven clan years ago to settle among the humans of Cyr.  When that failed he concocted a plan to sell the illicit spider-wine, receiving a shipment of spiders from smugglers who claimed they had been stolen from a drow lair.  But his poor tunneling collapsed the back wall of his room where he stored the spiders and the wine.  The spiders that were still alive, escaped their cage into his tunnels.  He figured the spiders could help end his rat infestation.  After a few months, he hired a local drunk who owed him an outstanding debt to go into the tunnels and kill the spiders.

Pabelle was incredulous, “And you didn’t care whether Danyella’s boys would be harmed by these spiders?”

Martyn shrugged, “I figured as long as I was stern with them about staying out of the cellar, keeping the iron door closed and locked, and blocking the main tunnel entrance everything would be fine.”

Kulo grew irritated again.  He told Martyn that besides the 20 gold pieces he offered them, he was now going to pay them an additional 2 gold pieces for every rat and every spider carcass they brought him.  Martyn frowned and said he didn’t have it even if he was willing to pay the extortion fee.

Kulo slammed his fist on the bar counter and said, “Fine, we’ll end your spider and rat problem–there is one big spider left.  But we want 50% stake in the Golden Tankard.”

Martyn grumbled and clenched his fists.  Kulo continued, “And you’re going to pay Danyella double what you’re paying her now.”

Martyn tried to dissuade them from this venture, pointing out that the Golden Tankard hadn’t operated as an inn for some time because it had a leaky roof.  Only two of the upstairs rooms were habitable and they were for him and Danyella and her boys.  Kulo said the party would get the roof repaired.  Martyn, realizing he had no way out, reluctantly agreed.

Kulo vaulted the bar counter, pulled a dagger from his belt and poked it into Martyn’s belly.  “And your days of wild schemes like the tunnels and spider-wine are over, you understand!”

Martyn gulped and nodded deferentially, a dagger in the gut a clear attitude adjustment.

The party prepared themselves for their final fight, healing themselves with goodberries and bolstering each other’s courage.  They returned to the tunnels and the final corridor,  Kulo’s lantern lighting the way.  As they approached the final chamber, they cautiously made their way through the webs to avoid being entrapped.  But their movements gave away their approach and a giant spider emerged along the ceiling of the chamber.

Spider Queen3

As the party hacked and fought the foul beast, a swarm of newly hatched spiders crawled along the floor before enveloping Lykopsis.  Lykopsis managed to crush the last of the spider swarm just as the rest of the party slayed the giant spider.  The party searched the lair in case anything of value had been hoarded, but all they found were the bones of  giant rats.  Lykopsis noticed something glinting from the giant spider’s abdomen.  Looking more closely, the giant spider queen had what appeared to be a gem growing in her abdomen.  Lykopsis pried it out and placed it in her backpack.

Returning to the Golden Tankard, the party relaxed and had a mug of poor-quality ale or some cheap wine.  Although it wasn’t much, the adventurers felt good about this being their place.  The Weary Traveler had been good to them, but they clearly had enemies in the city and a less conspicuous home base would be good.

Kulo spoke with Danyella about getting an estimate on the roof repairs, giving her 30 gold pieces for the undertaking and a down-payment.  He also suggested she see if she could get Mallic an apprenticeship with a local roofer.  Martyn overheard this and told Kulo that Mallic is needed for odd jobs around the Golden Tankard, like bringing in fire wood or washing dishes.  Kulo responded that it would be better for Mallic to have his own income so that he could help Danyella pay the rent on the room they occupy upstairs.  Besides, Theo was now old enough to take over many of these tasks.  Martyn, still not used to his co-ownership in the Golden Tankard, reluctantly deferred.

Pabelle, Lykopsis, and Mara advanced to 2nd level.


(Full Disclosure: Some of the following links will take you to DriveThruRPG.com where I participate in the affiliate program. Any purchases through these links provides me with a credit at One Book Shelf sites (DriveThruRPG, RPGNow, DMsGuild, etc.). Your support is appreciated.)

Adventure based on a module from Nord Games: Creaking in the Dark

Cavern and Cellar Tiles: Fat Dragon Copper Dragon Caverns 1 and Fat Dragon Copper Dragon Basic Dungeons 1

Barrels and Crates: Fat Dragon E-Z Dungeon Deluxe Edition

Spider Webs: Fat Dragon Depths of the Drow

Giant Rat Metal Minis: Ral Partha/Iron Wind Metals Giant Rat

Original Art of the Spider Queen: Jody Monochrome

 

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Session 11: The Jackdaws, the Raven, and the Rat

The Raven Warehouse2

(Note: This adventure was run in March 2017.  In campaign time, this adventure took place two days after Session 10: Caverns of Calamity Part III–the time it took to travel back from the goblin caves to Cyr).

Before leaving the caverns, the party finally decided to try the strange glowing mushrooms they had found here and there throughout the caverns.  Going back to the room where they killed the rust monster, Belladore sampled a small portion of one of the mushrooms found there.  It tasted delicious!  Suddenly she felt healthier as the mushroom imparted a small amount of healing to her wounds.  The party roamed to the other parts of the caves where they had seen mushrooms and harvested the lot, placing them in their packs.

The party, with rescued prisoners in tow, traveled back to Cyr.  The two-day trek was uneventful but gave the party a much needed respite after such an intense series of battles in the caverns.  Kulo was on the mend and despite being healed by magic he still had a wicked scar across his torso from the cave roper’s terrible bite.  This scar will act as a reminder of this adventure thought Kulo, much like his more visible scar across his forehead from his mysterious past.  The tissue damage across his back in particular made his trip back to Cyr uncomfortable both in the saddle and especially sleeping in camp.

On returning to Cyr, Jana said her farewells to her companions.  With Dragomir dead, she felt her life could begin anew and she would need some time to herself to figure out where she went from there.  Despite her typical stoicism, her eyes filled with tears as she said goodbye to Kulo.

The party returned to their old haunt, the Weary Traveler, as their base of operations.  Belladore, Kulo, Velnius, and Xrax decided they really could use some rest and relaxation.  Some had interest in obtaining new goods with some of the loot they acquired in the caverns.

Tanin, originally from Cyr and connected to the shady thieves’ guilds in the city, received a message from one of these guilds, the Jackdaws.  Over the last month of his adventuring life, Tanin’s reputation had grown, and the Jackdaws, with spies everywhere, know when someone with a criminal reputation is ascending in power.  The Jackdaws sent a message via the potboy of the Weary Traveler for Tanin to meet at the Smoky Ale Tavern, located in one of the more downtrodden districts of Cyr.

Tanin, joined by Bao, traveled to the tavern, a run-down building that listed to one side as if it could collapse at any moment.  The place was quiet.  Scanning the tables, Tanin and Bao saw a drunk passed out at one table, a hulking barbarian at another nursing his drink, and a dark-dressed man hiding in the shadows of the back corner, who motioned to them with a nod of his head.  As they joined him at the table, the surly barkeep placed two dirty mugs of ale in front of them and held out his hand.

Tanin, smelling the sour-stench of the ale, winced and said, “Do you have any wine?”

The barkeep shook his head and scratched his greasy smock, “Tis all we got.  Two coppers.”

Tanin paid him, pushed the mug aside, and looked at his contact across the table.  The man looked to be in his mid-20s and had dark hair and a beard.  He began to speak, paused and looked at Bao.  Tanin said, “He will help with anything you need accomplished.”  Bao looked from Tanin to their contact and nodded.

The man handed Tanin and Bao a handbill from the city watch, a wanted poster for a slight man called “The Raven.”  The contact said, “This person has been stealing from the merchant-lords of the city and quite successfully.  The city watch wants to catch him, but the Jackdaws are also interested in finding out the identity of this person and stopping him since he has no ties to any of the guilds in the city.  And his frequent burglaries of the merchant-lords have created trouble for the guilds since the nobles have put pressure on the city watch to double-down on theft in the city.  What is more is that the Raven has started to extort merchant-nobles.  In exchange for a fee, the Raven will leave a merchant-noble’s manor alone.”

Raven Wanted Poster

The Jackdaw contact continued, “We have two leads on the Raven.  We believe we know who his fence is for stolen goods.  A dealer in curiosities in the Craftsmen Quarter.  We also believe we know where the Raven takes his bribes.  A food-seller in the farmer’s market in the Merchant’s Quarter.”

Tanin asked, “What will be our reward if we locate and capture the Raven?” His eyes lingered on the 500 gold piece bounty offered by the city watch.  The contact said the Jackdaws will give 250 gold coins, but more importantly, successfully capturing the Raven would increase their stature in the eyes of the guild leadership.  There would likely be many benefits to being a Jackdaw who completed this mission.  The contact gave Tanin instructions for how to communicate with him once they had successfully completed the mission.  He advised that like the city watch the Jackdaws would take the Raven living or dead, but living would be preferred.  If dead, Tanin and Bao would have to prove that the corpse really was the Raven.  The contact then left the Smoky Ale Tavern.

Tanin and Bao began to argue over the assignment.  Bao seemed miffed that the Jackdaws were only willing to pay half of what the city watch would pay and suggested they capture the Raven and then just turn him over to the watch.  Tanin impressed upon Bao the importance of being in the Jackdaws good stead.  As they were debating, the slamming of a mug of ale at their table startled them and they turned to see the hulking barbarian take the seat across from them.  He looked at them with icy eyes and said, “Count me in.”  Tanin and Bao looked at each other in doubt.  But Tanin inquired about the Barbarian.  He told them his name was Sareph.  That he was new to Cyr, in fact, he was new to cities and found them to be disturbing.  But he was here and he needed to find purpose in his life other than at the bottom of a dirty mug of sour ale.  And he held out his hand showing a couple of silver coins amidst more copper that his days of staring at a mug were coming to an end one way or another.

Tanin shared a hard look with Bao.  But ultimately, Tanin felt they could use another hand in this undertaking, especially a strong arm like this barbarian.  So it was settled; they would split the 250 gold pieces equally.  They discussed what would be the best option: to investigate the curiosities dealer or to stake out the market to locate the seller taking bribes on the Raven’s behalf.  They decided to stake out the market.

Market Cyr2

Tanin, Bao, and Sareph arrived at the busy market at the intersection between four streets.  At the center of the market-square, a fountain sprayed water into a central pool.  The market was busy this morning. People browsed the various food carts and stalls, buying everything from fruits and vegetables, to baked breads, from cheese to meats and fish.  After making a quick round through the market, the three decided to split up and keep an eye out from three different vantage points around the square, yet all within eyesight of each other.

Sareph stayed in the vicinity of a fishmonger, Bao near the fountain, and Tanin by the fruit carts.  Sareph noticed a well-dressed woman approach the fishmonger.  Her garb looked to be of much higher quality than what most people wear in the Merchant’s Quarter, although not entirely out-of-place since most commerce at shops occurred in this quarter.  Her movements grabbed his attention too, since she appeared to be nervous and out-of-place, her eyes darted about furtively.  She reached into her satchel and pulled out a pouch which she gave the fishmonger, who nodded as he took the pouch and secreted it within his cart.  Sareph noticed that she did not receive any fish in the exchange.  Sareph signaled with a jerk of his head to Tanin and Bao that something was up in his area of the market.  Tanin and Bao started to make their way to Sareph.

While Tanin and Bao were weaving among market-goers and carts, Sareph decided to confront the fishmonger.  Noticing the hulking form of this northern barbarian heading his way, the fishmonger whistled, signaling to a group of ruffians located in one of the nearby buildings that he needed help.  Six ruffians poured out of the building wielding everything from crude clubs to swords and axes.  Bao moved up to intercept them.  Tanin caught sight of the bandits swarming Bao with Sareph nearby and found himself in a dilemma.  The well-dressed woman had walked briskly to the edge of the market and she was on the verge of disappearing for good amidst the tumult of the city.  Tanin could give chase to the woman, but that would leave his companions to face off against tough odds with the ruffians.  He sighed as he watched the well-dressed woman disappear into the city, but the sounds of battle drew his attention to his friends.  Tanin moved up to help.

Market Cyr

By the time Tanin moved closer to engage the thugs, Bao and Sareph had killed one of them.  Bao was armed with his quarterstaff, a weapon he could easily carry in the walled city of Cyr with no worry from the watch.  Sareph on the other hand carried his sword hidden within his cloak and he did not have a writ to carry a concealed weapon.  If the city watch were to find him armed as he was, he was sure to find himself in the dungeons underneath the city.

The fishmonger meanwhile had squirmed his way past the ruffians and had entered the building from where they had emerged just moments before.  As the battle continued between the thugs and the party, both sides taking injuries, sounds of the alerted city watch could be heard a few blocks over.  Bao and Sareph continued to trade blows with the ruffians as Tanin gave pursuit to the fleeing fishmonger.  As the sounds of the city watch grew closer, the thugs seemed to melt away into the recesses of the city.  Tanin ran through the building finding the back door wide open and catching a mere glimpse of the fishmonger as he weaved his way through startled common-folk in the street beyond. Bao and Sareph looked at each other and the body of the slain bandit and realized they better leave the scene too or lest they would be tried for murder in the city.  Sareph wrenched a piece of the awning from the fishmonger’s cart, tearing a sizeable piece of the canvas and wrapped his sword in it as an improvised scabbard. They took off in the direction of Tanin and the fishmonger.

Tanin found himself dodging carts and weaving around commoners, but always the fishmonger was about a block ahead, occasionally looking over his shoulder to see if Tanin was still in pursuit.  But Tanin found his big break when a passing group of festival performers and the crowd they generated produced a road block that held back the fishmonger.  While the fishmonger pushed and clawed his way through the crowd, Tanin caught up to him.  The fishmonger drew a dagger and the crowd parted with gasps.  He lunged at Tanin, missing him.  Tanin in return drew his scimitar and using the flat of the blade gave the fishmonger a great smack across his face!  Dazed by the blow, the fishmonger dropped his dagger.  Bao and Sareph arrived to witness the outcome of the melee.  Sareph moved up and grappled the fishmonger in a bear hug and carried him into a nearby alley.  There they tied his hands and led him through a number of alleys and streets to a different part of the city to avoid the investigation of the city watch.

Near the docks in the Warehouse Quarter, the party led the fishmonger to a decrepit tavern even in more disrepair than the Smoky Ale.  Its name belied its condition, the Golden Trident.  The group sat the fishmonger down at a table and ordered a round of drinks for all, a fetid swill that made them all nearly retch called Dwarven Bane.  It sounded better than Barnacle Brew and Pickled Herring Mead.  Sareph pretended to be drunk, a muscled arm draped around the fishmonger’s neck, a dagger under the table digging into his belly.  Roustabouts and lumpers filled the small common room of the tavern, holding their noses at the revolting drinks in their tankards and cups.  Despite its smell and taste, the sour and bitter beverages would get them drunk.

The fishmonger’s name was Grady.  And with a dagger point in his gut, he seemed quite persuaded to help out the party.  Tanin’s charismatic appeals appeared superfluous.  Grady told the party that he did not know the identity of the Raven and that he gave the “protection money” to his boss, Lurch, who brought it to the Raven.  He mentioned further that Lurch ran a warehouse in the district and that he would be expecting his payoff today.  The party had confiscated the bribe money of 100 gp from Grady.  The party decided to pretend to be working with Grady to gain access to the warehouse to see if they could find the Raven and perhaps some of the stolen goods.  Grady mentioned that Lurch had a number of thugs working for him in the warehouse and that there is a code word to gain entrance.  The code word was “The Rat.”

Bao, Tanin, and Sareph decided to wait until nightfall and then approach the warehouse, gain entrance, and then see if they could infiltrate Lurch’s gang in an effort to find the whereabouts of the Raven and his stolen goods.  Grady led them to the vicinity of the building in the warehouse district and then pointed it out to them from a distance.  Bao, surreptitiously surveyed the building from all sides before returning to the group without much useful information except that there appeared to be lights on in the building and movement from a number of people.  Bao couldn’t be certain how many.  With Grady bound and gagged across the street, the three approached the door.  Tanin rapped on the heavy iron door and with the sound of metal on metal, a slit opened on the door and two eyes glared out at the group.  After a careful inspection from the thug on the other side of the door, a voice asked, “Who rules the sewers below the streets?”

Tanin replied, “The Rat.”

The sound of a strong lock clicked open, and the door swung inward for the three intrepid adventurers to enter.  Tanin entered and told the ruffian who opened the door that he and his companions sought employment with the gang.  The ruffian asked how they knew the code word to open the door.  Tanin mentioned that he had connections with the underworld of Cyr and that one of these connections suggested this warehouse.  The ruffian paused and seemed to think about Tanin’s explanation and suggested he wait by the door as he spoke with one of his associates.  The ruffian walked towards a group at a table at the far end of the building.  Meanwhile, Tanin eyeballed the stack of crates to his immediate right.  Seemed strange that they would be piled so high in one corner of the building when they had so much space to store goods.

The men at the table, about 100 feet away, seemed to be in the midst of a card game.  They dropped their cards as the ruffian approached.  One of the thugs spoke closely with the ruffian and looked in the direction of Tanin.  The thug looked up to the ceiling and then seemed to nod to the corner near Tanin behind the wall of crates.  Before Tanin grasped what was going on, the pile of crates came crashing down on him!  The party’s subterfuge had failed.

Tanin’s quick reflexes saved him as he just managed to jump out of the way of the crashing crates.  All the men at the table stood up drawing weapons and ran towards the party.  Tanin moved up to engage the ruffians running his way.  Sareph and Bao witnessed the ambush from the doorway.  Sareph pulled his sword from the awning he  was still using as an improvised sheath which he threw to the floor.  He delivered a mighty blow against the thug who had knocked the pile of crates onto Tanin.  Bao scanned the room and took note of a door at the very back of the warehouse.  He dashed for it.

The battle ticked up a notch as a thug hiding in the rafters of the ceiling started to snipe at the party with a crossbow.  Tanin was hit by a bolt before he realized where the shooting was coming from. Sareph traded blows with the thug at the crates, but the thug fell to the barbarian’s sword.  Bao dashed to the back door, momentarily ignored by the ruffians who were focused on Tanin.  He pressed his shoulder into the door and tried the handle but it was locked.  Tanin severely injured one of the ruffians who had moved up to engage him.  The man dropped his weapon and fled out the door of the warehouse.  Sareph meanwhile had worked his way around the pile of crates taking cover from the crossbowman.  He decided to try a gamble.  With a mighty roar, Sareph knocked over one of the barrels in this corner of the building, gave it a shove, and leaped on top of it.  He managed to stay on top of it for about five feet as it rolled in the direction of the crossbowman but at that point he lost his footing, crashing down on his back in an spectacular fall.  His plan to somehow reach the crossbowman or at least intimidate him failed miserably.

Bao moved back towards the ruffians and threw a dart at one of them.  The crossbowman in the rafters took another shot at Tanin but missed.  Tanin, tiring of the battle, cast sleep on the ruffians near him.  Two fell to the ground in a slumber.  Sareph stood back up, thankfully only his pride wounded, and charged one of the standing ruffians, delivering a deep wound along his arm.  The sniper in the rafters hit Tanin with another bolt.

Tanin directed a beam of crackling energy at the crossbowman in the rafters.  The sniper cried out as the magical force slammed into him.  The ruffian next to Sareph looked to his fallen comrades and decided to make a run for the door.  Sareph dropped his sword and aimed his bow at the sniper, his arrow piercing the sniper’s side.  Bao threw another dart at the remaining ruffian, who followed the lead of his companion and bolted for the door.  The sniper unleashed one last desperate shot at Tanin which flew wide.  Tanin and Sareph in return brought the crossbowman down.  A blast of energy and an arrow ending his life and bringing him crashing to the floor.

The three approached the locked door at the back of the warehouse.  Tanin knocked back a potion of healing to help with the pain and blood loss from the sniper’s bolts.  Listening at the door, the three heard the sounds of a man and woman arguing.  Sareph motioned for Bao and Tanin to back away and with a mighty kick, the door was wrenched from the frame.  Light from wall sconces revealed a staircase that led down to a narrow but long room 20′ × 50′.  Tanin charged down the stairs as Bao leaped from the landing at the top of the staircase to the floor, rolling as he landed.  Bao leaped up to his feet, his quarterstaff at the ready, displaying his intimidating martial prowess.  At the back of the room stood two figures, a rat-man and a woman dressed in fine attire.

The woman cried out, “Oh please! Please help me!” She fell away from the were-rat in an exaggerated performance of distress.  The were-rat snarled and then charged Bao, his short sword nearly dealing a mortal wound.  Tanin’s scimitar, the Blade of Dark Deeds, found its mark in the were-rat’s side.  The rat-man cried out and directed pure venom in his look towards Tanin.  Sareph leaped down from the landing, this time gracefully rolling to his feet and slicing the were-rat from collarbone to hip.  The woman-in-distress pulled a dagger from a scabbard on her thigh, stabbed Tanin in the back, and made an attempt to flee up the stairs.  Tanin cried out in pain, yet delivered a serious blow to her side as she attempted to escape.  Bao brought his quarterstaff down in a mighty crack atop the were-rat’s head, who crumpled upon the floor.  Sareph chased the woman to the foot of the stairs.  She looked back, her eyes wide with fear.  Sareph steeled his jaw for the bloodletting and with a mighty swing, severed the woman’s head from her shoulders.  Her head rolled ten feet to rest at the foot of Tanin’s boot.  Tanin recoiled and jumped slightly at the sight.

The were-rat in death reverted back to human form.  The party searched the two bodies finding a lute and a silvered rapier and silvered dagger and some coins on the were-rat.  The woman had a little money, 13 gp in a pouch, an unusual double-headed coin in her pocket, and numerous copies of the wanted poster of the Raven posted by the city watch.  Tanin quickly deduced that the woman was, in fact, the Raven!

Tanin and Bao argued over what to do with the Raven’s body.  They bickered back and forth about bringing her to the watch or to the Jackdaws.  At one point, they thought about bringing the head to one and the body to the other.  Then, the head to one and then the other, in an attempt to obtain the 500 gp reward from the city watch and the 250 gp reward from the Jackdaws.  Sareph, in disgust, and with a sense of unease at striking down a poorly-armed woman grabbed her body and head, wrapped her in the fishmonger’s awning, and headed for the door of the warehouse.  In the midst of their bickering, Bao and Tanin realized what had just happened and chased after Sareph, catching him right before he exited the warehouse.  They managed to calm him down and decided that they would stick with their original plan and bring the body to the Jackdaws.  They tied and bound the sleeping ruffians too to back up their story.

Tanin made contact with the Jackdaws.  They agreed to meet at the Golden Trident in the wee-hours of the morning.  Led to a back room by the tavern keeper, three members of the Jackdaws entered. When you show them the head of The Raven, the main Jackdaw agent’s eyes grow wide.

He says, “Mistress Thea Kellergis! A merchant-noble of the Lesser House involved in thievery! We suspected she was involved in some type of criminal activity since she had been so charitable to the poor of the city without it seeming to affect her own wealth, although her alms had ceased some time ago. Maybe her taste for theft got the best of her and she became greedy? Good thing you didn’t bring her head to the watch. They’d never believe Mistress Kellergis would be involved in such behavior. And murder of a merchant-noble is punishable by execution in Cyr. But she couldn’t have been working alone given the thefts taking place across the wealthier houses in Cyr. Her spies and cohorts wouldn’t have been capable. Do you know who she was working with? And where are the stolen goods?”

Tanin explained that they only knew of the fishmonger, Grady, who somehow had escaped his bonds while they were fighting the ruffians in the warehouse.  Tanin also explained that the warehouse did not contain any of the contraband the Raven had been accused of stealing.

The Jackdaws took the captives for further interrogation. The Jackdaws handed over a nondescript sack with 350 gp as payment, giving a 100 gp bonus for the job.  They also ask Tanin, Bao, and Sareph to take them to the warehouse for further inspection.  They tell the party that they will dispose of the body–making it seem that Mistress Kellergis was murdered in one of the poor quarters of the city when she was delivering aid to the indigent. In all likelihood, the Jackdaws will use Mistress Kellergis’s death as a way of implicating some foe of the crime who will be put to death. They remind Tanin, Bao, and Sareph to keep their knowledge of the Raven quiet.

Bao and Sareph advanced to 2nd level.


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Adventure based partially on “The Raven” from the supplement, Wanted: Part of an awesome bundle of 5th Edition supplements from Assassin Games (poster used with permission.)

Adventure also based partially on “Rats in the Street” by Embers Design Studio

Warehouse Map Tiles/Terrain by Black Scrolls Games: Modular Inn – Map-Tile Set

Market Map Tiles/Terrain by Fat Dragon Games: Fantasy Village Tiles

Crates and Barrels by Fat Dragon Games: E-Z Dungeons Deluxe Edition

Bandit Paper Miniatures: Bandit Warband by One Monk/Mayhem in Paper

Farmer’s Market Customers: Dryws Imperfect Crowd

Inspiration for the Jackdaws Guild: Nord Games Ultimate NPCs: Skulduggery