Curse of the Crimson Throne

Edge of Anarchy, Part 2
The Box, the Brooch, and the Bedlam

Gaedren’s abode is accessible only through a hole in the fishery floor that leads straight down to the Jeggare River. The party descends by rope and swings down onto the adjacent walkway, which sits about 5 feet above the water. In one direction, the the walkway leads to the rotting hulk of the Kraken’s Folly, an abandoned fishing vessel lashed to the pier behind the building. In the other direction, the walkway leads to a well-lit chamber beneath the fishery.

The door lies ajar, sending warm light spilling out onto the body of the gnome rogue—the one who stabbed Zandu and then leapt through the acid hole in the floor—who is lying facedown with a crossbow bolt in his back.

Ser Arlynn enters the chamber first. It’s a large, well-lit but chilly room with a huge hole in the floor that opens onto the river. Something large and menacing is swimming in the dark water. Across the room on the right-hand side up against the wall are heaps of scavenged junk. In the far corner across the pool is a small room, and standing in the doorway to that room is Gaedren Lamm himself. Bent and hobbled by age, he holds a hand crossbow.

Gaedren recognizes Ser Arlynn as one of his former child pickpockets and says he should have finished her off after the last savage beating. Arlynn tells him that justice is at hand. Gaedren responds by firing a crossbow bolt at the thing swimming in the water, which turns out to be an enraged crocodile—Gaedren’s pet “Gobblegut.”

Arlynn makes her way along the narrow walkway ringing the pool, making half the distance before Gobblegut surges up from the water in an attempt to drag her down. His snapping jaws fail to grab her and Arlynn follows up with a devastating blow from her greatsword. Ashla steps in to make the finishing blow, skewering the crocodile with her longsword.

His pet defeated, Gaedren takes cover behind the doorway and takes potshots at the heroes with his crossbow as Egan and Zandu enter the room. Zandu bargains with Gaedren, offering to stay out of the fight in exchange for a sum of coins. Gaedren heartily agrees as the rest of the party closes in on him and he shifts from his crossbow to a masterwork dagger. After some gritty hand to hand in the doorway with Arlynn, Ashla, and Egan, Zandu steps in to finish off the cruel old man with a well-placed magic missile.

Then it’s time to loot the room. The party had cornered Gaedren in his unkempt and foul-smelling bedchamber, with only two obvious places to store valuables: a large locked chest and a hat box that has attracted a swarm of flies. Zandu detects a moderately powerful magical item in the hat box and gingerly opens the lid, to discover the severed head of Zellara, the woman who sent them on this quest mere hours ago! A cursory examination of the poorly preserved head reveals that she has been dead for at least a week. Tucked beneath the neck stump in the hat box is a smaller box containing her magical Harrow deck.

The chest, meanwhile, holds the prize catches of Gaedren’s pickpockets: assorted jewels, gems, and knickknacks each individually wrapped in paper. Clearly the most valuable of them is a broken brooch which Zandu recognizes as belonging to Queen Ileosa. The party climbs back up to the first floor of the fishery and assures the elated orphans that Gaedren is dead.

For the sake of thoroughness, the party decides to investigate the Kraken’s Folly, the rotting ship behind the fishery. Ashla goes first, the rear deck creaking unsteadily beneath her feet. After Zandu casts light onto a dagger to illuminate her path, she creeps down into the rear cabin and disturbs the drain spider nesting there. She and Egan get into a lengthy battle with the critter, which is too small for them to pin down. Zandu tries to help them, but nearly plunges through the rotting deck. Finally, he finishes things off with a magic missile. Ashla peers into the hold, where more spiders await, and sees nothing of value. The three of them abandon the ship.

Ser Arlynn, meanwhile, has been growing increasingly alarmed by the sounds coming from the city. Smoke and bright flame is rising from several different points in Korvosa as the sound of shouts and clashing steel builds into an approaching rumble. The party retreats into the fishery and sends Ashla into the street to scout.

A riot has erupted that is drawing closer and closer. “The king is dead,” someone shouts, “long live the queen!” They’re shouted down by cries of “Hang the queen! The usurper whore must die!” A flight of Sable Company hippogriff riders swoops overhead, one of the badly wounded mounts crashing into a nearby statue. A squad of Hellknights tromps down a nearby street, pursuing would-be looters.

The party decides to hole up in the fishery for the night. Come daylight, the riots have subsided somewhat but the city is unstable. The party escorts the children to one of the city-run orphanages. Once the children are looked after, they return to Zellara’s apartment to get to the bottom of things.

The apartment now looks has if it has been abandoned for several weeks. As the heroes investigate, Zellara manifests herself. She explains that after Gaedren murdered her, her spirit began haunting her Harrow Deck, searching for some way to bring him to justice. She apologizes for misleading the party, but expresses pride in all that they have accomplished. She warns them that she has foreseen dark times ahead for the city, but believes they can rise to the challenge to save it.

Edge of Anarchy, Part 1
A Harrowing Time

Four strangers receive a mysterious summons to the home of the Varisian fortuneteller Zellara, who claims to have information on their mutual enemy, the petty crimelord Gaedren Lamm. They arrive at the appointed hour to find the house empty, with bread and wine on the table and a note from Zellara promising she would return shortly.

While they wait, the four introduce themselves to one another: Ser Arlynn, a Human paladin of Iomedae and the daughter of immigrants from the jungles of Mwangi; Ashla Blacktree, a Half-Elf ranger of the city streets; Egan, a Gnomish druid determined to rebalance the scales after Gaedren framed his father; and Zandu, a Human sorcerer of striking good looks and Varisian heritage. Each of them have been wronged by Gaedren in some fashion and all hope to see justice done to him.

When Zellara finally joins them, she reveals that Gaedren Lamm murdered her son after he tried to recover an item stolen from her. The fortuneteller says that she has located Lamm’s hideout at an abandoned fishery, but can’t risk approaching the Guard because their slow-moving bureaucracy is likely to give Gaedren time to escape. So instead, she used the divining powers of her Harrow deck to learn of others wronged by him and gathered them here. She implores the party to exact justice on the crimelord. Before they go, she performs a Harrow reading for Egan and Zandu (Arlynn and Ashla decline), predicting both unexpected opportunity and mass chaos in the near future.

The party approaches the fishery at night, with Ashla stealthily scoping out the place through the windows. She spies two sleeping forms, a human and a gnome, in a three-bed dormitory room and a guard dog stalking the fishery floor, beneath the swaying hammocks of the sixteen street urchins Gaedren forces to work as pickpockets.

After a lengthy debate, the party settles on a plan. While Ashla lurks outside the bedroom window, Ser Arlynn bashes open the front door and charges inside, followed by the other two. As the two sleeping figure stumble to their feet in confusion, Ashla breaks open the window to ambush them from behind.

But all does not go as planned. Zandu tosses a flask of acid at one of the henchmen, but only manages to burn a hole in the floor. Believing the ambush to be in good hand, Arlynn ventures deeper into the fishery to put down the vicious guard dog. This leaves Zandu vulnerable to being surrounded when the third goon, a flail-wielding half-orc, appears behind him. Dodging a blow from the half-orc’s flail, Zandu is skewered by the gnome and falls to the floor, bleeding out.

Ashla badly wounds the human thug, who flees through the building bellowing Gaedren Lamm’s name. Egan gives chase, but with his shorter legs is not able to keep up. The gnomish thug escapes from Ashla by leaping through the hole in floor and the ranger moves on to confront the cackling half-orc together with Arlynn.

Swords flash and flails swing, but few blows strike their mark as the half-orc pirouettes between the ranger and the paladin, who are unable to get past his shield and chain shirt. As the battle wears on, the henchman manages to land several savage hits, slowly battering down the two warrior women. Finally, Arlynn ends the fight with a decisive blow from her greatsword.

Once Egan stabilizes and heals Zandu, the party tracks down what became of the wounded human thug. They find him on the fishery floor, being drowned in a vat by a crowd of angry orphans. Zandu makes sure he’s dead, while Ashla reunites with Jestry, a kidnapped boy she had been asked to rescue. Ser Arlynn asks the orphans about Gaedren’s whereabouts, learning that the old villain lives below the fishery, a place from which no orphan has returned. Arlynn and Zandu convince the orphans not to simply vanish into the city and instead wait for the party to return from dealing with Gaedren.