Curse of the Crimson Throne

Fortune Favors the Bold

Crown of Fangs, Part 12

Midday of 12 Erastus, 4708

Dungeon Crawl

After his adventures against the boggards, a mud-caked Nox trudges back up to Castle Korvosa to reunite with the party as they prepare to venture into the lower levels of the keep to find Venster’s bones. Zandu cleans him off with prestidigitation before they go further.

A hidden staircase takes them down to the castle dungeons. In an adjacent room, they find a strange gray-green pillar that is cold to the touch. Egan determines that it is not actually made of stone. He earthglides to follow the pillar down hundreds of feet, where it connects with an entire vault made of a similar substance. The druid realizes that the pillar is some kind of plug or seal and the party decides to leave it alone for now.

Beyond the pillar room, tunnels extend off in several directions and the adventurers agree to split up so they can cover more ground. Nox, Flint, Laori, and Irabeth head down a long hall to the right, while the others proceed straight ahead.

Arlynn cautiously advances into a room full of statues of salt, triggering a trap that sucks the moisture from the air. Protected by her goddess, the paladin retreats as the salt statues burst apart, revealing the undead bodaks lurking within. Although the bodaks scrable up the walls and ceiling to get past the party, they are unable to cause much harm to the adventurers—particularly once the heroes realize their foes are vulnerable to daylight. At the sound of fighting, Nox’s group charges back up the hall only to arrive just as the last few monsters are being cut down.

Empty Coffers

Disappointed about missing out on the action, they head back down the hall until the find a room that once serves as Korvosa’s treasury and is now little more than a repository for empty crates. They realize to their horror that the city is broke!

The other noticeable feature of the room is the secret door hanging half open in one corner. The adventurers take a peek inside and then move on—save for Nox, who lingers to investigate the secret room. It is complete bare save for a stone plinth rising from the floor, on which rests a small stone coffer. Lying on the floor nearby is a simple mason’s hammer. Inside the coffer, the outline of several fangs has been scorched into the stone. A queer feeling passes over Nox and he stows the hammer in his bag of holding before leaving.

Elsewhere, the rest of the party has stumbled upon the royal crypts. They open King Eodred II’s sarcophagus to discover that the body has been stripped of any valuables and the coffin stuffed with dead stirges, a final insult to the man known to his critics as the “Stirge King.”

Gift of the Ghosts

As they finish combing the dungeon, they come across a recently bricked off area. Smashing it down, they find Venster’s remains—it looks as if he was walled up alive in there. Venster manifests, thanking then for finding his bones and urges them to rebury him under the sun.

He explains that he helped Ileosa to murder his half-brother Eodred, only to be betrayed and murdered himself. His guilt and shame has bound his spirit to the castle. And it has also given him a connection to Ileosa that lets him glimpse her mind. He explains that she intends to use an ancient blood magic ritual at a location called the Sunken Queen to sacrifice a good portion of the city fuel her own ascendance to immortality. He warns that she is there now, and entering the final stages of the ritual.

He urges them to visit “Mother’s Tower,” where Ileosa often had her strongest flashes of inspiration and malice. Accessing the tower requires pressing an object with the Arabasti crest to the ceiling.

He offers them a final gift to strengthen their hand against the Queen: the grace of the spirit world. He and Zellara offer to channel power from the spirits of Ileosa’s many victims into the Harrow Deck, to transform it into a Harrow Deck of Many Things. Doing so also causes them to finally pass on, leaving behind the deck.

The adventurers decide to draw their cards now, rather than wait.

The Choosing

Nox announces he will draw four cards. His first is the Paladin, which transforms into a Harrowed Holy Avenger sword. Unable to take full advantage of its power, he lends it to Irabeth. His next card is the Rakshasa, an ill-omened card whose effects are not immediately clear. His next card after that is the Desert, granting him the power to teleport up to ten people anywhere in the multiverse at a time of his choosing. His final card is the Mute Hag, causing his most private secret to be revealed to all who look upon him.

Zandu draws next, announcing he will draw three cards. His first is the Inquisitor, which grants him the power to force a single creature to answer one question completely truthfully. Next, he draws the Hidden Truth, giving him the one time power to call upon a source of wisdom to solve any single problem or fully answer a question at his request. For his third card, he draws the Cricket, which allows him to draw up to three more cards and increases his swiftness with each draw. His next card is the Mountain Man, which causes him to grow to the size of a hill giant. He then draws the Juggler, which fortifies both his mind and his body. Finally, he draws the Marriage. This card summons forth a comely Marid genie, who offers him her hand in marriage. Zandu glances at Kyra and then politely declines, which outrages the Marid. She disappears, promising vengeance from her family.

Arlynn then steps forward to draw from the Harrow Deck of Many Things. Her first card is the Queen Mother. Upon drawing it, the ground shakes and an armored Formorian warrior bursts forth into the dungeon corridor. The ant-man then scuttles over to Arlynn and bows formally. The paladin realizes she has a new follower and senses that should the current Formorian ever perish, a new one will take his place. She draws again from the Deck, this time drawing the Trumpet. This summons forth the trumpet archon Armaitya, who pledges her service to Arlynn. The celestial can be summoned for a short time once per day, to assist in battle or to help with a task. Next, Arlynn draws the Publican, a good-omened card whose effects are not immediately apparent. Finally, Arlynn draws the Survivor, a card which will restore her to life immediately should she ever perish through violence or sorcery.

Flint takes his turn drawing cards, beginning with the Owl, which grants him the power to scry anyone anywhere for 1 minute, thought the target is also immediately aware they are being scryed upon. Next, Flint draws the Fiend, an ill-omened card that he fears has drawn the attention of a powerful evil. For his third card, Flint draws the Waxworks, which has no immediate effect. Finally, he draws the Empty Throne, a neutral card which once again has no immediate effect.

Ashla reluctantly draws two cards from the deck. The first is the Foreign Trader who appears and offers her the opportunity to trade years of her life in exchange for magical artifacts. She declines and the Foreign Trader departs. Her second card is the Vision, which will grant her two visions of the future—one true and one false.

Egan draws the Courtesan, which awakens his headband of wisdom as an evil intelligent item. The gnome also draws the Bear, which immediately turns him into a natural werebear. And he draws the uprising, which brings forth nine clumsy Korvosan commoners, who are eager to follow and serve the druid. Egan senses that if anything happens to these eager if bumbling followers, it would not reflect well on him. He sends them to help the druid circle care for the wounded.

Irabeth draws the Theater, which will allow her to draw on the strongest ability of the next creature she kills. Laori draws the Midwife, which causes her to suddenly feel more powerful. Kyra draws the Keep, which summons forth a small castle that she sites at the mouth of the Jeggare River, just across from Old Korvosa.

The adventurers take stock of those boons and curses that they receive and wonder about the effects they have yet to experience.

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