Curse of the Crimson Throne

The Vivified Labyrinth
Where Nothing is as it Seems

Moving further in, they find the secret door leading to the Labyrinth, but before they tackle this, they discover an illusory wall hiding the torture chamber and underground gears running the labyrinth. Here they dispatch an asura called a Beatific One, and in the process find and rescue Neolandus Kalepopolis.

Headed into the labyrinth proper, they quickly find traps and deadly tricks meant to cripple and harm. They are able to overcome most of the disabling ones and are lucky enough to only have to move through two rotations of the dungeon before finding the guardian darksphinx’s lair and their friend Vencarlo. Having both their intended rescues, the heroes decide it is likely the best option to high-tail it out of dodge in order to keep them out of harm.

On the way out, they happen to come upon a frightened and suspicious Melyia Arkona, who claims that her cousin Glorio sent her down here to die. She believes that he is some tiger-headed monster and he sent her down here to keep her quiet. Melyia is skittish and doesn’t trust the group, expecting it is another trick by her cousin to get her to trust a paladin, and after much discussion she agrees to let her thoughts be read by the sorceress. Nothing untoward is ‘read’ at this point and Melyia looks as if she could be actually telling the truth, though where this leaves our intrepid heroes is up for debate. Melyia makes it out on the Arkona barge and disappears into the night, and our heroes precariously pile into their borrowed boat and do the same.

End Chapter 3

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Into House Arkona

After dispatching Pilts’ men, the group takes time to loot their gear and search for treasures. Then they make their way up into Pilts’ apartments. There they run into Rolth the Necromancer again, with new carrion golems and some resident chokers. They handily dispatch him (or do they?!) and finally encounter Salvator locked in a small room off Pilts’ bedroom. He has been beaten, malnourished, and generally mistreated during his imprisonment here. Ali befriends him and as they escort him out of Old Korvosa he confides in them that he did speak to Vencarlo about his friend Neolandus, who came to his home early in the morning that Eodred 2 died. He nursed him back to health and then gave him over to the Arkona family for safekeeping, a choice which Vencarlo was not a fan of.

The group then decides to attempt a scry attempt on Vencarlo, to see what may have happened to him. They see him unconscious and chained to a statue of a tiger headed man. The surroundings don’t give much of a clue as to his actual location, so they locate object on his clothing and find they point toward Arkona Palace. The group decides to head in during the day and request an audience with Glorio to see if he will peaceably hand over Vencarlo. They meet with the rich and successful noble, and it is quickly insinuated that Glorio has become a prisoner in his own home. He is able to convey that his cousin Melyia is trying to take over the family business by getting rid of him. He tells them that their friend(s) are most likely being held against their will in the Vivified Labyrinth below palace Arkona and the two ways they can try to make their entrance. He tells them to be cautious, and sends them on their way.

The group opts to enter via the smuggler’s tunnels, and quickly finds there is more to this dungeon than meets the eye. In particular there seems to be some kind of temple housing two King Cobras and a Cobra-headed rakshasa. Something wicked seems to be going on!

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Into Old Korvosa

After witnessing second-hand the Queen’s murderous address, and then receiving a harrowing reading from Zellara, our heroes meet with Cressidia Kroft. After some time to herself, she enters the room with the group red-eyed but composed and carrying a small box. She had been looking ragged in the past weeks helping keep order after the plague – now she looks positively haggard. She tells them of her fears of going against the queen, and asks for their help yet again in finding a way to stop her that won’t destroy the Korvosan Guard. Cressidia received a note from their friend Vencarlo quarantined in Old Korvosa. He mentions something of importance regarding the queen, and asks that the heroes come to his home there so they can help him. They tie up any loose ends in town, and head out there to see what’s up.

When they arrive in Old Korvosa, they find that Orsini Academy has been burned to the ground. At his home Vencarlo doesn’t seem to be there, but the fires are still burning. The party walks into a Red Mantis ambush but are able to subdue their opponents and charm them into answering their questions. It is then they find out that the Red Mantis suspected Vencarlo of being Blackjack, and thus the most likely person to be hiding Neolandus Kalepopolis, the presumed-dead Seneschal of Castle Korvosa. It seems that the Red Mantis were hired to kill him, and have yet to complete their task successfully. Shortly after entering Vencarlo’s home, a young man approaches, and turns out to be a noble the group rescued during the initial riots following Eodred II’s death – Amin Jalento. He is a student of Vencarlo’s, and got trapped in Old Korvosa when the Quarantine was initiated, and was invited to stay with Vencarlo until it was lifted. He tells the group that he saw some strange comings and goings in the night, and a few strange meetings with a painter named Salvator Scream. After their last meeting, Vencarlo seemed upset, and shortly thereafter the Red Mantis came to the Academy and Amin was forced to flee before they set fire to the building. He’d been in hiding pretty much ever since, and Vencarlo seems to be missing.

The party helps Amin back to the mainland, then proceeds to look for the painter Salvator to ask what he may know of Neolandus’ whereabouts and the disappearance of Vencarlo. They arrive at his home, and are set upon by three hungry Otyughs. During the fight, a lovely elf emerges from Salvator’s house and giddily joins the fighting. She seems quite excited to help, and the ladies’ men in the group start arguing over who gets to pursue her until Gidion decides to detect evil and ruin their fun. She isn’t shy about her religion, and doesn’t deny her ties to her Lord Zon-Kuthon. She doesn’t openly perform evil acts however, as she knows how to behave around a Paladin of Iomedae. She tells them she has been here a couple days, finding what happened to Salvator, as it seems he was kidnapped out of his home by the self-proclaimed Emperor of Korvosa, a vile but charismatic man named Pilts Swastel. He rules Old Dock with a great amount of fear. The elf, who introduces herself as Laori, explains that she finds Salvator’s art particularly fascinating and wishes to speak with him about his inspiration, but doesn’t elaborate much more on the topic. She does however ask that she accompany the party in their pursuit of him.

As the group, plus a sadistic cleric of Zon-Kuthon, enters Old Dock, they see the terror and oppression that has occurred there under Pilts’ ‘rule’. Bodies of beaten and tortured people are laid out for all to see, and Laori comments on the lack of skill in their torture techniques. It isn’t long, however, until the group runs into a patrol of Pilts’ army. They are pretty full of themselves and do not comprehend the danger of a paladin, and therefore do not back down to his intimidation. A fight ensues and all but the leader is quickly dispatched. The leader is coerced into leading them to Pilts’ palace, which he does, and the heroes are granted an audience with the douche. Favoring diplomacy this time, the heroes try to seek audience with Salvator without violence. Pilts suggests they entertain him first in order to gain an audience. The entertainment is in the form of a violent game called blood pig. After a few bouts and several sleeping captains later, Pilts grows upset at the party’s tactics and orders them killed instead of continuing the game. His captains unfortunately are either killed or rendered unconscious, and Pilts himself flees the scene.

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The Harrow
Chapter 3

Third Harrowing

Zellara manifests herself at the table, and begins shuffling the deck with ease. She spreads the cards out and allows each person to take one card, saying that this card will be special for them in the coming reading. She notes each choice, then shuffles again and lays out the cards.

For the Past, Zellara reveals The Empty Throne, The Idiot, and The Courtesan. The Empty Throne is a true match in its position.
The Empty Throne represents a loss that is palpable. The city lost its king and then plague ravaged our great city. Then we saw the loss of a strong protector to the city. This magnitude of loss is difficult to rebuild, and will take time to heal. The ghost in this card signifies that those who are gone will always be with us. They taught us important lessons, if only we chose to listen. Yet, the past feels deeper than even this – passing time to despotic overlords and cruel dictators, and a connection to them we may not yet comprehend.”

The Present is next, and Zellara reveals The Joke, The Twin, and The Rakshasa.
The Twin – a true match on the spread and a very confusing card indeed. It signals a duality of purpose or identity, but also of divided loyalties. Beware those with a hidden agenda. They may wish to help you, but only to serve their true purpose. If you were to learn of their purpose however, it could mean your deaths.”

The Rakshasa represents a growing sense of dominance and oppression over the city. The women of ashen skin and blank faces seem prominent in this card and I think we understand why. The creature sitting on the back of the slave indicates a force imposing itself upon another beings mind. This slavery can be literal or mental enslavement to a force or idea. The Queen has shown that those who oppose her will be dealt with most severely. Be wary for your lives may be in danger even now.”

The Joke – This card shows a terror that cannot be overcome by physical means. This monster can only be overcome through trickery and artifice. Combined with the Rakshasa, I believe the cards are suggesting that the evil that opposes you has grown too powerful to confront face-to-face at this time. You must find another way to defeat it or you will fail.

The final three cards representing the future bare then turned over: The Rabbit Prince, The Snakebite, and The Hidden Truth. The Hidden Truth is in an opposing alignment.

The Hidden Truth confirms my fears of The Twin. You may indeed learn one or more dangerous secrets. Perhaps it is the knowledge to defeat the Queen that you seek. How you handle this knowledge however could prove deadly.”

The Snakebite – A vile, poisoned weapon, representative of the death of ideas and freedom, as well as the ability to turn friends against each other or poison the minds of the virtuous. Death will be used as a tool for advancement of an idea or particular power structure.”

The Rabbit Prince is battle personified and the capriciousness of combat. In this spread, the Rabbit Prince reminds us that any combatant can fall in battle, no matter how brave or skilled. It may also represent a powerful household.”

“Moving forward in this next chapter of your journey, you will be faced with numerous situations where reasoning, logic, and attention to detail can save lives. Disabling deadly traps, discovering hidden clues, and being able to recognize threats for what they are can make all the difference between success and failure. Take my blessing of the Harrow, and may the gods watch over you.” With this she fades back into the Harrow Deck.

Harrow Point Uses

During this adventure, you can spend your (5) Harrow Points in the following ways.

Intelligence Re-rolls: Spend a Harrow Point to re-roll any one Intelligence-based skill check. You must abide by the new result (although if you have additional Harrow Points remaining, you can use them to attempt additional re-rolls).

Flash of Insight: Spend a Harrow Point to be able to make a skill check in an untrained skill you don’t normally have ranks in. You gain a one-time +5 insight bonus on this skill check.

Arcane Wrath: Spend a Harrow Point to increase the strength of an arcane spell as it is cast. This spell gains a +2 bonus on its save DC, a +4 bonus on its caster level check to overcome spell resistance, and a +2 bonus on any attack rolls needed to strike the target.

In addition, the card a PC draws during the choosing has special qualities during this adventure. Each of these cards is tied to a specific encounter in “Escape from Old Korvosa,” and when a PC who drew that card reaches that encounter, he gains a +2 bonus on all rolls modified by Intelligence, and all arcane spells cast by him manifest at +1 caster level. These bonuses last for the encounter’s duration. The GM will notify that PC when his card is relevant.

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The Queen's Address
In which the Queen reveals her power

The day of the address, you meet up and head over to Citadel Volshyenek. When you arrive, only one guard stands at the Citadel entrance, and none train in the large inner courtyard. Grau meets you to lead you to the meeting room. The halls of the Citadel are silent and empty, with refuse and trash scattered here and there, dust gathering in empty barracks, and an overall state of creeping neglect hanging like a pall over the place.

Once in the room, Grau leaves you to wait for Cressidia’s return, saying he has many duties to take care of. When you are alone, Zellara appears and indicates the Queen is about to arrive and asks if you are ready to begin. At your assent, the room transforms in a swirl of color, and the PCs are suddenly amidst the crowds near the front of the plaza watching the address. It seems that many citizens showed to hear what the Queen has to say.

After several more moments, Queen Ileosa arrives on stage with much pomp and ceremony. In attendance at the queen’s side are her bodyguard Sabina Merrin (clad in her breathtaking and intimidating suit of Gray Maiden armor), her new Castle Seneschal Togomor (an obese and sweaty man in voluminous red robes), the commander of the Korvosan Guard Cressidia Kroft, and the commandant of the Sable Company Marcus Endrin.

Queen Ileosa announces triumphantly that the plague has been defeated, yet unfortunately Korvosa remains wounded. She goes on to report that the Order of the Nail has showed its true colors and fled like cowards into Citadel Vraid. Worse, both the Korvosan Guard and the Sable Company have suffered terrible losses over the past weeks. Neither group is fully capable of continuing as Korvosa’s protectors, and thus, to shore up this fault, Queen Ileosa names her newly created order of Gray Maidens as the new protectors of Korvosa, appointing Sabina Merrin as the new General of Korvosa. As a ripple of concerned whispers spreads, Queen Ileosa continues her speech, saying that she has decided to dissolve the Sable Company and that the remaining marines will be folded into the Korvosan Guard. At this point, she asks Commandant Endrin to step forth to surrender his badge of office.

As Endrin does so, he trembles. He reaches for his badge, but instead of handing it over, he throws it at the queen, striking her in the cheek with it. Everyone (queen included) is shocked into paralysis for a few moments, long enough for Endrin to bellow out, “Your shameful reign ends now! Korvosa will be free again!” An instant later, his crossbow is in his hands, aimed at the still-shocked queen. Endrin pulls the trigger. His aim is true. The crossbow strikes Queen Ileosa in the temple.

Yet she does not fall.

With incredible speed, she regains her composure and yanks the bolt from her skull. Before the blood from the wound has time to run all the way down to her shoulder, she’s standing before Endrin. Her free hand whips out and seizes him by the throat, lifting him off the ground as she holds him up for all to see. An instant later, she buries Endrin’s own bolt between his eyes with a single powerful blow.

As Endrin’s lifeless body crumples to the ground and Ileosa imperiously shakes his blood from her hand, she cries out in a strong, clear voice—“This shall be the fate of all enemies of Korvosa! Mark well his death! It is only the first!” A moment later, Togomor steps forward, taking Ileosa’s hand and teleporting her back into the Castle. The resulting riot is being quelled quickly and brutally by the Grey Maidens as the images fade and you find yourselves back in the meeting room at Citadel Volshyenek, the silence almost as deafening as the crowds had been.

Death of sable co

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Gifts of Thanks
Seven Days

Grau and his sister-in-law Tayce invite you out to Trail’s End for a small get-together to thank you for saving young Brienna. When you arrive, you realize the get-together is a bit larger than you expected. Tayce and her three children are present, as well as Grau, Ishani, and a couple dozen townsfolk. Each one greets you and thanks you for your help in ending the plague.

Tayce and several of the Varisian women made quite a bit of food, and for a few hours children’s laughter is heard throughout the block. When most everyone has arrive, Tayce makes a show of gifting your group with a cloak that once belonged to her husband, Grau’s brother. (Cloak of Resistance +1)

A young woman thanks Gidion for healing her sick child at the onset of the plague. Without his help, her son would have died. She had a small trinket her uncle had left to her, and she wants the heroes to take it in payment for their aid. (Pearl of Power 1st level).

Ishani also wished to show his appreciation to the group for all their help. He tells you he got a good deal on some unique items he feels will benefit the group in their adventures to come. He gives a small vellum each to Gidion and Katarina. (2 Guiding Vellum 1st level, Iomedae and Shelyn)

A timid man approaches, and the party recognizes him as the cart puller who almost died in Racker’s Alley with his friend. He is very happy to be alive, and says that your efforts have helped steer him on a more ‘honest’ path. He offers two small vials and hopes you will have more use for it than he. (2 vials of Silversheen, Silvered for 1hr).

An older woman approaches this time to offer her thanks. Her grandson had caught the plague and she had been ready to spend an exorbitant sum to get ahold of Lavender’s Luxurious Linament, before you exposed her for a sham. Her grandson still died, but at least she didn’t empty the family’s coffers for false cures. As thanks, she gives you a small glowing stone. (Ioun Torch)

A young, grungy looking boy who has been lurking on the fringes approaches the first PC to move further from the center of the attention. He introduces himself as Samp, and thanks the PC for their help in preventing a certain ‘warmonger’ from starting a war with the ‘surfacers’. He then hands you a small pouch and makes his exit. (Dust of Illusion – disguise self 2hrs).

Deyanira and Ruan make an appearance at the party, wanting to show their appreciation for your help. Ruan surely would’ve died had you not bargained for his life from the…creature. They offer you a season’s worth of free passes to the Marbledome, and a vial they bartered for ages ago and hadn’t had a use for yet. (1 Elixir of Firebreath, Breathe Fire 3x 4d6 to single target)

The last and most unlikely person is an Ulfen woman you recognize as the woman who had been at the entrance to the Hospice of the Blessed Maiden, and had barred your entry. She had no idea what had been going on in there, and felt terrible for not realizing anything was amiss. She hopes these bandages (2 Bandages of Rapid Recovery) will be a small token to help you help others in the future.

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The Conclusion of the Plague
Seven Days to the Grave

With the Cult of Urgathoa culled, the plague doctors unmasked, and Dr. Davaulus and Lady Andaisin dead, the party emerges from their trials heroically. With the notes on the plague from Davaulus, Rolth, and Ramoska, the PCs are able to help quickly find a cure to blood veil and save hundreds more lives.

The PC’s revelation that Andaisin hinted at the Queen’s involvement, coupled with what they already know, has made Cressidia and Marcus quite worried and cautious. They cannot comprehend that the Queen, however vain and unpleasant, could be the source of such evil, and they believe that no one else would easily believe it as well. No evidence was found within the temple or any of the accomplices’ notes to tie the evildoers to the Queen. It does not mean they cannot see the uncanny connections either, they just don’t know how they could legally gain any ground against her.

Cressidia and Marcus both agree to start their own investigations to try and dredge something up, but if the Queen was involved, she has covered her tracks well. The only people the crimes can be pinned on at this point were the Cult of Urgathoa (a very reasonable judgement, based on their love of death, undeath, and so forth) and the Red Mantis – and all those involved are either now dead or at large.

End of Chapter 2, see Chapter 3 for more wrap-up.

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Into the Heart of Evil
Seven Days to the Grave

The next chamber our Heroes reveal is that of several large glass tubes containing what looks to be large dead creatures with horse skeleton heads and black wings. Only a few priests dwell here, with a hallway leading further down. The priests aren’t much of a match for the party, but before they are taken out they release the last living creature to take care of the interlopers. This turns out to be a Leukodaemon, a creature of pestilence. After a few close calls, the heroes dispatch the daemon and prepare to head further into the temple.

A long passageway finally opens up into the inner sanctuary of the temple. Here they find Lady Andaisin ready and waiting for them. A terrible and near-fatal battle ensues with the Lady Andaisin. The Heroes kill her finally, and as they search the room, they feel the wrath of a goddess imbue the fallen priestess with power. The fallen Andaisin rises again as a Daughter of Urgathoa, and the battle continues!

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Temple of Urgathoa
Seven Days to the Grave

Underneath the Hospice, the PCs make a shocking discovery: a secret temple dedicated to the goddess of undeath. As they disarm vile traps and make their way from room to room battling cultists and plague doctors as well as a small contingent of grey maidens and undead, the PCs find several more Varisians being held in cells who aren’t showing signs of blood veil, including Ali’s brother Andi! They heal him up and equip him before heading further into the Temple.

Past a set of double doors, they find a large room holding vats of pure blood veil for infecting the masses. They also find the bulk of the priests of Urgathoa, Plague Doctors, as well as Dr. Davaulus and their enemy Rolth ready for them. The Heroes, however, are also ready. They hit the entire contingent with a series of fireballs, killing most of the cultists in a matter of fiery seconds. Next to quickly go are the plague doctors and Davaulus. Rolth, tired of being backstabbed by Black Ivan, dimension doors away. After the battle, the PCs clear the adjacent side-rooms.

One room, however contained many strange devices, including an operating table with an unconscious Ruan. He is being experimented on by a strange looking fellow named Ramoska. Ramoska is a Nosferatu (vampire) from Ustalav, sent to Korvosa by his master to help the Cult of Urgathoa and Red Mantis with the spread of blood veil. He is more preoccupied with seeing how the Varisians who seem to be immune to blood veil could be used to find a cure for vampirism, a goal he is most interested in. When the PCs enter, the nosferatu was first most displeased with intruders, but recognized the threat the PCs must represent, as well as the fact that one of the interlopers happened to be a capable looking Paladin. He was most displeased in having to abandon his current hopeful project, but understood that a deal with a paladin was going to be most tricky, so he went with what he knew Gidion would agree with and teleported out of Korvosa with a minimum of his supplies with the understanding he could leave without a deadly fight. Having freed their friend, the PCs continue into the Temple, for they know they have yet to have seen the High Priestess….

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Hospice of the Blessed Maiden
Seven Days to the Grave

Our Heroes move in to investigate the hospice, and are met with immediate resistance by Grey Maidens and Plague Doctors. When all resistance on the main floor is neutralized, Ali is curious of these mysterious masked warriors and takes off a helm…then another….and another. Each of these once beautiful women is physically scarred or disfigured in some way, but otherwise whole. More interesting is that when Gidion detected evil on them during the fight, they indeed were so.

The heroes made their way upstairs in the warehouse, where they find many varisians strapped to beds being experimented on. They are not showing signs of blood veil, and the heroes heal and release them. Then they find Dr. Davaulus’ office and sift through there looking for information regarding his operation here. There’s no sign of Davaulus himself.

They make their way to the elevator, and are fortunate to discover a missing button they believe will lead them to a different level. Ivan rigs the button and the heroes make their way below the warehouse turned hospice, not knowing what to expect….

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