20th day of Rova, 4712 AR
Just as some untested youths were getting their first taste of adventure in the Varisian coastal town of Sandpoint, not entirely coincidentally another group destined for great things was finding adventure farther south, in the grand city of Magnimar…
Six adventurers sat around the lobby of the opulent Heidmarch Manor, in answer to a summons from Sheila Heidmarch, the Venture Captain of Magnimar’s Pathfinder Lodge. It was the first such Lodge in all of Varisia, established to send explorers out to investigate the mysterious giant monuments of ancient Thassilon that lay scattered throughout its untamed wilds. The six were chosen for their extraordinary talents and experience:
- Alfonso, a human gunslinger who owned a waffle shop in Magnimar’s most notorious district, the Shadow;
- Clover, a half-elven soulknife who had the extraordinary ability to create weapons from her psychic energy;
- Gawfungus Fluffykins, a gnome summoner who was bonded with an extraplanar mount named Bill;
- Grog, a human (more specifically, a Tian-Dan) barbarian, who hailed originally from the faraway eastern continent of Tian-Xia and now has found that his physical abilities promise him steady work in Magnimar’s underworld;
- Lilian, half-elf who is trained much of her life to hunt dragons; and
- Louis Mantis, an elven magus who melds magic into his martial art.
Venture-Captain Sheila Heidmarch greeted her guests and apologized, for she had to finish a meeting. She asked them to open an ancient Thassilonian Paradox Box while they waited. When Grog, meaty-brained and hopelessly stupid, raged about the room in frustration, the rest of the group noticed the Box shudder. They took the hint and had Grog bellow in anger before the Box until it magically opened, and three small gremlins jumped out and attacked.
Heidmarch returned to find the gremlins dispatched and the room and some of its relics in shambles. “I never should have left the Box and exposed you and this room to danger,” she said. “Nevertheless, this only proves to me that you have the wit and muscle I seek, for the task I will ask of you will require both!”
She explained: “A young lady named Natalya Vancaskerkin approached me recently, offering to serve me as a double agent with the Sczarni gangs and that linger about town. I thought it a useful arrangement, and agreed. She then said that she had found a valuable relic, and appointed a time and place for us to meet to examine and discuss this relic. But she never arrived, and seems to have disappeared. Even my contacts among the Sczarni have no idea where she could have gone. I fear that what she found turned out to be very valuable, indeed; she may have absconded with the artifact.”
“I ask that you seek her out, and find this artifact and return it to me. In all truth, I am more interested in the artifact than in Natalya. Still, she may have valuable information as well. Seek her out, and bring what she found to the Pathfinder Society. If you do this, the Society will reward you with 750 gold pieces. If you bring Natalya back alive, we will double that!”
The adventurers agreed, and despite an over-eagerness by Grog to challenge Sheila Heidmarch for the Paradox Box, cooler heads prevailed.
Before pursuing one of the leads — going to the town guard in Magnimar’s towering Arvensoar — they chose to take a diversion to the city’s Dockway District, where they settled down in The Old Fang, the neighborhood’s most popular pub. Alfonso drank himself under the table, while Ol’ Mam Grottle enticed Grog to take up the challenge of downing “Mammy’s Stew,” a mysterious green concoction that swirled with chunks of pink meat. The meat won.
At the Arvensoar, they spoke to the town guard, who told them that Vancaskerkin ran around with The Tower Girls, one of Magnimar’s notorious seven Sczarni gangs, and that The Tower Girls once stayed in the home of Fenster the Blight, in Magnimar’s most notorious district, The Shadow.
This was foreboding — only Alfonso was familiar with Magnimar’s most crime-ridden District located underneath the gigantic Irespan. Here, the sun’s rays never shone
There, they met Fenster the Blight, a revolting man, who revealed (not without the encouragement of a hefty amount of coin) that Natalya had been staying in a nearby warehouse.
At the warehouse, the party was assaulted by some Sczarni thugs, which they dispatched easily. But nothing prepared them for what awaited them behind the sagging door — a structure whose floor was almost entirely hollowed-out and was located directly above an underground reservoir of The Shadow’s sewer system, where water stagnated with overpowering reek. They tried to cross the first room by balancing on a narrow beam, but were soon assaulted by goblins that crawled out of an adjoining sewer pipe. Some of them fought off the initial assault, while others scrambled to the room beyond; here, they found more goblins that stood on a ledge on the opposite side of the room and peppered them with arrows. Behind them, in the first room, one resourceful goblin knocked down the beam and hurtled the remaining adventurers standing on it down into the water’s filthy depths.
Diseased water engulfed their bodies, now cut open with fresh wounds. Just hours into their first adventure, they began to doubt they would come out of it alive.
XP at the end of the session: 679.