A Game of Shadows – Port Vladovar (Episode 04 – Urban Adventures)

My apologies for the delay. New job, new place…anyways, here is episode 4 of the tale of the Enfield Eviscerator’s adventure in the Iron Kingdoms. Following the shenanigans of the volunteer-run session last time, I decided the party could do with a filler episode, which would also foreshadow various side-quest plot lines. Sadly, Raksha and Genpi were unavailable for this session too.

 

With Raksha still missing in the sewers and Genpi working on keeping information pertaining to his assassination attempt suppressed, Larkin and Olliver awoke early and set out to the Captain’s Daughter for some breakfast. Along the way, they came across a crowd of people clustered around the entrance to an alley. With such gatherings being rare this early in the morning, both men chose to investigate. They discovered the body of a young boy, one of the urchins who had been with them at the Church.

The top of skull had been removed, and his body had been slashed. A pair of Winter Guard kept the crowd at bay as an apothecary investigated the body before declaring it as another victim of the Claw. Olliver saw this as a potential threat, and wished to conduct his own forensic study. Using the Morrowan pendant he had relieved earlier in the week, he convinced the Winter Guard that he was with the local church, and for them to let him take the body there for it’s final rites. One of the Winter Guard was tasked with escorting him. Meanwhile Larkin asked one of the urchins in the crowd if they knew the dead boy. The little girl revealed the boy was named Petar and had a history of hearing voices no one else could.


The scene of the crime

Olliver wandered the streets towards the direction of the Church, Winter Guard in tow, and he pretended to stop in one of the alleys out of breath. Larkin had shadowed the pair as security when they left the crime scene. Olliver swiftly drew and dropped one of his knockout bombs, but to avoid suspicion he had not donned his gas-mask. As the Winter Guard coughed violently but stayed on his feet, Olliver lost consciousness. With a sigh of exasperation, Larkin put a rune bullet in the Guard’s head. After waiting for the smoke to disperse he smacked Olliver awake, looted the Guard, and the duo fled back to their hideout with the body.

Back in the hideout, Larking and Olliver investigated the body, and Olliver was the one who managed to learn much from it. The top of the skull had been removed with a bone-saw, and part of the frontal lobe of the brain removed. That part of the brain was commonly associated with madness by medical professionals. The slashes to the body were too clean and regular to be claws, leading Olliver to assume that a weapon that resembled a claw was used. With this information, the pair began theorizing why the Claw would remove the part of the brain responsible for madness. Whilst Larkin assumed it could have something to do with the Spark (trying to ignite it via eating the part of the brain potentially responsible for triggering it), Olliver suspected some bloodthirsty religious reason behind the removal of the frontal lobe – possible to induce insanity to communicate with a god.

Wishing more information, they went back to their tavern, and sent out their urchin gang (now understandably nervous) to find out what they could whilst the party interrogated the tavern keeper. From him they learned that the Claw – as the killer had been supposedly active in Port Vladovar for some time now, and earned himself quite a reputation – targeted the homeless and insane, and that fifteen deaths had occurred so far in the past year, starting just after the Cryxian assault. Whilst some assumed the Claw to be some kind of Cryxian monster, there has been no evidence to support this theory. With no way to predict the Claw’s movements, and no way to know if he would trouble their district further, Olliver declared it a problem for another time.

It was at this point that a thud was heard at the door. After investigating, Larkin discovered a letter addressed to the Burning Lead, telling them to take responsibility for their actions, signed by a Kayazy named Rurik Tonkov. This raised a fair few questions from the pair, but the party once more decided it was a problem to be dealt with later, once Genpi returned from his business. Heading off back to their lair (now the size of two basements, one of which was taken over by Olliver for his laboratory), the duo discovered the body of the urchin missing, the trail of blood leading to a large sewer grate that acted as the hideout’s escape route.

Intrigued, they set out into the sewers in pursuit of their quarry, eventually stumbling upon a pack of albino gatormen. Following a brief and vicious battle, they dragged the corpses of the gatormen and dumped them outside a Winter Guard outpost near the docks to alert them of the danger. And with that, the duo returned to their hideout, barricaded the sewer entrance, and went to sleep as dawn came, and the gatormen were discovered. Suitably alarmed, the Winter Guard were now made to patrol the sewers as well…

 

Another quick session, run mostly using the Urban Adventures supplement. Nothing groundbreaking, but it did give me a good starting point of what later turned out to be the main quest!

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