With a few of the Crown's agents now dead (The Magpie and Jasper,) the party decided to regroup, meeting at a tavern where a couple more barbarians from the northlands had come to relax. One, a tribal shaman that had been convinced to pursue study at the Academae to better serve his tribe, and the other a shaman harnessing the powers of nature, itself. Both greeted Shao Goth in the proper manner of their peoples (except the woman was trying to mate with everyone) and began talks of working together for coin and other gains.
Before too long, another personage, also seemingly of the barbarian tribes, but an elf, was brought in on the talks, and it was agreed that the three barbarians would help Shao Goth in his missions to aid the Crown and help restore order to Korvosa. Upon arriving at Citadel Volshyanek, however, nobody with any authority had time to meet with us, for which we were to gain more employment opportunities, so we did the next best thing, (after a certain messenger crawled into some windows,) we went to see the King of Spiders!
Once in meeting with him, he explained to us that if we were to do a small favor for him, he would reward us greatly for the service. A ship carrying some recently acquired cargo of his was behind schedule, and believed wrecked somewhere along the coast. To add to the frustration for our patron, he had already sent a crew to retrieve the ship and/or its cargo, but had yet to hear from them, either.
Needing the work (and money!), Shao Goth gathered us and went down the coast on a chartered skiff. A day or so into the voyage, into the night, we came upon the wreck, as expected, though no sign of the Spider King's skiff was found, though another craft was moored against the larger ship that carried the cargo. We hailed the boat and made our intentions to come aboard known, then were met with three faces over the deck railing, all of elves, save with skin the color of coal.
Some banter between the two groups ended in both calling the other pirates, and then a crossbow bolt was fired, sparking combat, giving the dark elves the advantage of higher ground and cover, as we had yet to gain purchase on the deck of the larger ship. Shao Goth climbed up swiftly, but everyone else sputtered about a bit in the water on the way to the boat while he cleaved down our foes. Once they were dispatched, though, everyone was able to regroup on the target vessel, and a short exploration commenced, uncovering more of the dark-skinned elves, who also quickly fell to the party swiftly.
A further exploration brought us to the lower hold, where we came across a room with magical wards, into which the druid stepped, and I tried to haul him out before he got hurt, just to be bitten by the phase spider lurking within, myself. The poison of the creature overtook our young mage, and no efforts of the group were able to stave off his death. (Notice how bad things happen to me in holds?) This was a bittersweet ordeal, as the group was able to skeleton crew the ship into Korvosa, uniting the King of Spiders and his cargo, and being rewarded handsomely with the cache of valuable items The Magpie had on her body when she died.
After this mission, and a period of rest and restocking, when en route to Citadel Volshyanek, the party was surprised when a vile creature (an otyugh!) burst from the sewers, waving barbed tentacles and gnashing with its hideous maw. In their endeavor to restore peace to the city, they leapt into action, along with an unknown bystander, to put an end to this thing. The battle was quick, but dangerous, and in the aftermath, Shao Goth offered the bystander, a former Honor Guard of King Eodred, a place within his company, which the warrior accepted, having no place in the current regime.
An entertaining drunkard was met a short while after this, and upon resting a day, the group headed the to Citadel and were contracted with bringing to justice one Trinia Sabor, whom the Crown suspects of the recent regicide of King Eodred II. Simas suspected this was to quell the rising prominence of rumors that the Queen had something to do with the King's death, but kept his mouth shut for safety's sake. Regardless, if this proved to be true, the girl, an artist that had painted the King's portrait not long before and knew the lay of the castle somewhat, needed to be brought to justice for her crimes.
Her whereabouts were well known and upon finding her, a thrilling rooftop chase commenced, with Shao Goth managing to snatch the girl up right before she was able to shake the group. Gildor, perhaps being afraid of heights, stuck to the street level, keeping the chase in view, and surpassing Simas, who had found a secret passage upon the roofs and was trying to map its course for future reference. *nods*
Trinia captured, we returned victoriously to Volshyanek, where we were met with praise of our patrons there, and from an emissary, later, of House Ornelos who had word from his master (The Headmaster of the Academae), that we excelled as hired specialists for certain discriminating jobs. The Headmaster offered us 10,000 gold coins to restore a familial manor to a livable condition, by exterminating certain "pests" from the property, which an ancestor of his did summoning rituals in long ago.
The place was, indeed infested, but with denizens of the lower planes. Vile creatures made of amorphous flesh, hounds seemingly from hell itself, and a manner of pestilential dwarf that managed to make Simas very ill, but had less of an effect on the others, thankfully. All of these beasts on the lower floors of the manor, we dispatched with haste, and are steeling ourselves before venturing upstairs to ensure we exorcise the place of otherworldly taint!
Cast of Characters
Shao Goth, Orc Barbarian 3 - David
Simas VanCaskerkin, Human Cavalier (Honor Guard) 2 - Me
Selene Adivina, Elf Witch 2 - Angela
Fanta, Half-Orc Druid (Urban Druid) 2 - Richard
Gildor, Human Fighter 1 - John
Zero, Human Bard 1 - Koree
The game is still going great, despite some heavy character deaths (2 me, 1 Richy), and doesn't seem to suffer from either missed sessions or alternating attendance from some of the group. Taylor has obviously read the adventure and has prepared well for running it, making it seem seamless, even when things may be glossed over or added.
Speaking of additions, those familiar with the printed adventure will note that the King of Spider's Cargo and the Headmaster's Manor are both side quests that Taylor added himself, to help the party's newer PCs catch up some on xp before sending us further into the adventure path. As stated before, these scenes are transitioned perfectly, and I have to give Taylor much due credit for putting the time and effort into these side quests.
That, and he gets bonus points for the Manor's map being the one from the original Resident Evil.
Edit: Remembered Koree and Richard's character names.