Arcanis: Gonnes, Sons, and Treasure Runs (COMPLETED) - Page 50
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    The Madman: Conclusion

    They met back at The Last Resort.

    Kham looked terrible. He had bags under his eyes. Sebastian sat across from him, equally haggard. He wore a heavy cloak over his shoulders. “There’s been another death at The Tombs. A man committed suicide.”

    “Not that uncommon in The Tombs,” said Kham. “What of it?”

    “My contacts don’t believe it’s a suicide. They think it’s a murder.”

    “Great,” said Beldin. “As if there aren’t enough deaths to go around.”

    “That’s not the interesting part,” said Sebastian. “The boy’s name was Frederick Haddon.”

    Ilmarė froze in mid sip of her tea. “Haddon? You’re sure?”

    Sebastian nodded. “Yes, that Haddon. Federick Haddon was Aljandros Haddon’s eldest son.”

    “Looks like you should have used some of your pixie dust on more than just Aljandros’ wife,” said Kham wearily.

    “With a family like that, I’d kill myself too,” said Ilmarė.

    Kham picked up his mug and abruptly shoved off from the table.

    “Was it something I said?” asked Ilmarė.

    Vlad looked over his shoulder at Kham. “He still hasn’t heard from his father.”

    “And judging from the looks of it, he hasn’t’ been sleeping well,” said Beldin.

    “I will investigate the boy’s corpse,” said Sebastian. “If it hasn’t been cremated yet.”

    “We’ll talk to…” Ilmarė’s lip curled in a sneer. “My contact.”

    Vlad scratched his head. “So, I don’t mean to bring up a sensitive subject but…is anyone going to pay us?”

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    Chapter 27: The Consequences of Vice - Introduction

    This is a free download set in the Freeport setting, "The Consequences of Vice," written by William Simoni. You can download this adventure at: http://64.17.155.164/gr_files/freepo...uence_vice.pdf. You can read more about Arcanis at http://www.onaraonline.org. Please note: This adventure contains spoilers!

    Our cast of characters includes:
    • Dungeon Master: Michael Tresca (http://michael.tresca.net)
    • Beldin Soulforge (dwarf fighter) played by Joe Lalumia
    • Ilmarė Galen (elf bard/fighter) played by Amber Tresca
    • Kham Val’Abebi(val rogue/psychic warrior) played by Jeremy Ortiz (http://www.ninjarobotstudios.com)
    • Sebastian Arnyal (dark-kin sorcerer) played by George Webster
    • Vlad Martell (human fighter) played by Matt Hammer
    This adventure is more of an outline, so there was a lot more freedom to modify the NPCs and events. That said, the PCs were surprisingly “on script,” visiting the Crematorium first (before even speaking to Aljandros) and even chasing Hayden Judson on cue.

    Even the ambush by the rival mercenary group was a close fight. This NPC vs. PC battle is probably the most climactic sorcerer vs. wizard combat to date, and it illustrated the inherent advantages of being a sorcerer. Although the PCs were nearly defeated, even with the odds stacked in their favor the PCs were not able to press the advantage. Just to clarify how the fight matched up:

    • Garadon the elven urban ranger vs. Ilmarė the elven bard
    • Glinfield the Altharian wizard vs. Sebastian the dark-kin sorcerer
    • Thaim Hammerforge the Nol Dappan dwarf cleric vs. Beldin Soulforge the Solani dwarf fighter
    • Marta the Milandisian fighter vs. Vlad the Milandisian fighter
    • Rooster the gnome rogue vs. Kham the val rogue
    At heart, this adventure is much more about street politics. At one point the PCs wondered just how this all fit in with Lucius, but then one piece of information is dropped that makes Kham forget all about him.

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    The Consequences of Vice: Prologue

    Kham sauntered up to entrance to The Tombs, much more confident than before. One of the guards exchanged words with him. He flashed the Order of Drac hanging from around his neck. Then the portcullis winched open. There was no crowd at night, driven off by the night air and sharp encouragement from the Sea Lord Guardsmen.

    “Where did you get that medallion?” asked Ilmarė. She touched her own just to confirm it was still around her neck. “I thought Finn took yours?”

    “He did,” Kham ducked under the portcullis. “But that’s not important. We’re getting in, aren’t we?”

    “I don’t know that we even want to be here.” Ilmarė followed him in.

    “Well if i' ain't my girlfriend!” shouted Price. He was dressed in a nightshirt and cap.

    Ilmarė pinched the bridge of her nose between forefinger and thumb. “Osalian help me.”

    “I knew yew couldn't stay away from me! I was abaaaht ter get right angry wiv whoever i' was what comes 'ere knockin' at night, but when da mates told me who i' was I 'ad ter greet yew myself.”

    “That’s great.” Kham patted Price on the shoulder. “And I’m sure my elorii friend will thank you appropriately later. But in the mean time we need to know about this new suicide.”

    “Right, I figured. Well, 'is body turned up aaaht by The Docks. We got a suicide note what same day. Somethin' abaaaht not livin' up ter expectashuns an' all that. Sad, really. Doesn’t make da farfer look an' all good neither, what wiv 'is Council bid an' all.”

    “Aljandros is trying to join the Captain’s Council?” asked Ilmarė.

    “Aye. I plan ter take a posishun there myself once I get back on my feet. You stick wiv me, love, an' you’ll see what I’ll be quite a wealthy man. Then I’ll dress yew in somethin' becomin' a lady an' treat yew right.”

    Ilmarė twitched. “I’m going to kill him…”

    “What she means to say,” interrupted Kham, “is that you’re killing her with kindness. Any chance we can see that note?”

    Price looked at Ilmarė.

    Seeing this, Kham looked at Ilmarė too.

    The pretty elorii sighed. “Oh, fine. Price, would you please let us see the suicide note? I’d be ever so…” she swallowed hard. “Grateful.”

    “There now, that wasn’t so 'ard now was it?” Price grinned and pulled the note out of a pocket in his nightshirt. “I thought yew might wan' ter see dis. Always prepared, I am.”

    Kham examined the note, then handed it to Ilmarė. “Amazing penmanship for a suicide note.”

    “Well, 'e was a studen' at da Freeport Institute,” said Price. “Honestly, you’ll get further if yew look at da body. But it’s probably an' all late fer that, you’ll never get over there in time.”

    Kham nodded. “We’ve got people on it.”

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    The Consequences of Vice: Part 1 – The Crematorium

    The Freeport Crematorium was located on a rocky atoll a half-mile west of the city. Its purpose was simple: make sure the dead of Freeport were disposed of in an effective and sanitary manner.

    Vlad and Beldin paddled a small boat closer to the atoll, with Sebastian at the bow.

    “Actual burning of corpses is done only once a day,” said Sebastian. The moon shone brightly overhead, reflecting off of the surrounding ocean. “Hopefully, we’re not too late.

    “How could we even tell?” asked Vlad. He coughed into his elbow. “It smells like they’ve been burning bodies all day.”

    “A boat from the Crematorium visits Scurvytown every day at noon,” said Sebastian. He seemed blithely unaffected by the stench of burning flesh. “They pick up the newly dead, as well as fuel for the furnaces.”

    Most residents of the city avoided the Crematorium workers, and the entry of one of them into any bar in town usually ratcheted the jocularity level down a few notches.

    For the most part, the grim dedication of the Crematorium staff kept the dead of Freeport out of sight and out of mind. The winds still occasionally shifted badly, though, sending the faint smell of burning flesh wafting from the furnaces through the streets of Scurvytown.

    As they arrived at the island, a figure exited from a large mausoleum.

    “That’s a Nerothian temple,” said Beldin. “I’ve never seen one before.”

    An insect-like figure approached the dock as they disembarked. The man’s features were completely concealed underneath a black hood with two large lenses. A mouthpiece pulsed as the man inhaled and exhaled.

    “You are not velcome here,” he said, muffled by the mask. “Ve do not receive visitors.”

    “A fellow Cancerite,” said Sebastian with a slight smile. “We are conducting an investigation. We’d like to view a certain corpse, if you haven’t burned it.”

    The only response was the figure’s mouthpiece pulsing in and out.

    Sebastian nudged Beldin. “Show him the Sign of Drac.”

    Beldin reached for the medallion around his neck and held it up.

    “Is dis a joke?” said the figure.

    Beldin looked at his medallion. Someone had replaced it with a symbol of the Undir Benevolent Association.

    “Damn you, Kham!” shouted the dwarf.

    Vlad pushed Beldin aside. “I have a Sign of Drac.” He flashed the medallion. “Let us in.”

    After a few more moments of silence, the priest wordlessly turned away. They followed after him.

    The rhythmic beat of a furnace and bellows grew louder. When they entered the mausoleum, the darkness was replaced with flickering fire from a gigantic iron contraption. Men similarly accoutered to their guide worked massive bellows.

    At the center of the room were ten corpses, splayed naked on a conveyer belt. A large winch and lever was at the front of the belt.

    “You have ten minutes.” The masked man stumped away.

    Sebastian leaned over the corpse. Frederick was a twenty-year old male with black hair and brown eyes. He was about six feet tall.

    “Anything?” asked Vlad. He kept one hand on the hilt of his blade, watching the grim taskmasters attend to their work.

    “A quick look shows some minor scrapes and bruises, but nothing obvious that indicates foul play,” said Sebastian. He gently lifted the boy’s head and turned it. “Well, this is interesting.”

    “What?” asked Beldin.

    “There’s a scrape across the left side of his face, along with a light bruise.”

    “Like he was punched?” asked Beldin.

    Sebastian nodded. He wrenched open the corpse’s mouth.

    “Hmm. The tongue’s gray. And the canines are slightly extended.”

    “A vampire?” asked Vlad.

    Sebastian shook his head. “There are no puncture wounds on his neck. No evidence of blood drain. Something else is going on here.”

    He continued to poke and prod at the body. Sebastian lifted one of the boy’s hands and squeezed it in several places. “That’s odd. All of the bones in his right hand have been broken.”

    “Sounds like he owed someone money,” said Vlad. “Any guesses who?”

    Sebastian and Beldin exchanged glances. “Finn,” they said in unison.

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    The Consequences of Vice: Part 2a – The Freeport Institute

    The Freeport Institute was located in a large building in the western-most end of Drac’s End. In fact, it cut off most of the rest of Drac’s End from the Merchant District, with the exception of the houses in the Cluster.

    “You sure this is the place?” asked Vlad.

    Sebastian nodded. “I have a contact with one of the professors here.”

    They stood in front of a series of small buildings gathered together at the far west end of Drac’s End.

    Ilmarė peered down one of the tight passageways between buildings. “You humans call this place an institute of higher learning? Calling the passageways between the buildings here streets would be laughable. I wouldn’t even refer to them as alleys.”

    “I agree.” Sebastian craned his neck, looking for his contact in the bustle of students moving to and from the dorms. “It makes the tunnels in Solanos Mor look roomy.”

    Beldin grunted. “I rather like it. Reminds me of home.”

    A spectacled, middle-aged woman dressed in simple clothing approached them. She acknowledged Sebastian with a nod. “It’s good to see you again, Sebastian.”

    Sebastian bowed his head. “The pleasure is mine, Wilimina. I apologize for bothering you, but we are looking for an acquaintance of Frederick Haddon. We’d like to search his dorm room.”

    Wilimina Gertz frowned. “I heard the news. Of course, I will be happy to help however I can. You might want to speak with his roommate, Hayden Judson.” She pointed at one of the buildings and began walking towards it. “Right this way, Room 510. Hayden’s never been a very good student. He’s a bit of an idiot, actually.”

    Sebastian chuckled.

    After climbing some steps, Wilimina rapped on the door labeled 510.

    “Hayden? It’s Professor Gertz. Open up, there are some people here who would like to talk to you.”

    There was no response.

    “Hayden?” Wiliminia adjusted her glasses, agitated. “I saw him go into the dorm just a few minutes ago, I know he’s in there.”

    Sebastian sighed and tried the knob. It was locked. “I don’t think he’s going to open the door. Do you mind?”

    Wilimina took a deep breath and stepped back.

    “Beldin, knock on the door please.”

    The dwarf stepped forward. “I’ve been wanting to hit something all day.”

    The door splintered open, nearly wrenched off its hinges from Beldin’s impact.

    They caught sight of a short, thin young man with long brown hair and a scruffy-looking beard. With a yelp, he disappeared over out the window. A rope tied to a bedpost near the wind went taut.

    Wilimina stamped her foot. “Hayden Judson, you come back here right now!” She turned to Sebastian, apologetic. “I told you he was an idiot.”

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    The Consequences of Vice: Part 2b – The Freeport Institute

    Vlad and Beldin huffed along behind Hayden, weighed down by their armor and short legs, respectively. Ilmarė kept up an easy pace with the fleeing student.

    Trailing behind them, Sebastian walked along, whistling to himself.

    Hayden turned hard and elbowed a food vendor’s cart over. It teetered precariously and then dumped its contents into the street, spilling twisted bits of pretzel and salt everywhere.

    Ilmarė hopped up onto the side of the cart and then, with another bound, cleared it. Vlad skidded to a halt while Beldin swept aside the cart with one blow from the flat of his axe.

    Sebastian kept on walking.

    Hayden ducked into one of the many classrooms on campus.

    “Now,” said a stuffy professor from Canceri with frizzy white hair and bushy eyebrows, “Vhen you mix de two components—“

    He was cut off by Hayden’s entrance. The student barreled past him, spilling alchemical solutions hither and yon. He launched himself through an open window.

    The mixture of chemicals on the floor began to sizzle and pop.

    A second later, Ilmarė skidded through the room. The elorii slid along the slick floor without losing her balance and then hopped up, clearing the window with ease.

    Vlad stomped into the room, looking around for his prey.

    “Oh no!” shouted the professor. “If de saltpeter mixes with de charcoal and sulphur…”

    He didn’t need to finish. Vlad tore Grungronazharr from its sheath and held it before him. “Get behind me!”

    The students and professor scrambled behind Vlad as the sizzling transformed into a menacing hiss. There was a loud pop, and then a deafening explosion.

    When the smoke cleared, the Vlad, the students, and the professor were unharmed, if a little blackened.

    Sebastian poked his head in. He patted Vlad on the shoulder as he passed, silently congratulating him for his efforts. Then he kept walking, whistling as he went.

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    The Consequences of Vice: Part 2c – The Freeport Institute

    “Get your beads here!” shouted yet another cart vendor. “Get your shiny beads here!”

    Ilmarė couldn’t see the vendor but knew what was going to happen next. Sure enough, beads went flying in every direction. She leaped over them.

    Hayden had fled into Scurvytown. Prostitutes and drunks were everywhere.

    “The Sea Lord’s Guard!” shouted Hayden. “Run for your life!”

    Ilmarė cursed as a mass of panicked bodies fled in all directions. Some of them slipped and fell on the beads, piling up on top of each other. She could leap over obstacles, but it was impossible to navigate through the panicked throng.

    “Stupid humans,” she snarled. They’d stomp each other to death just to get away from the Guard.

    “That’s enough,” said Sebastian. He pointed towards the sky. “Incendiaries globus!

    A fireball burst into the air overhead, suffused with red and black flames. The crowd shrieked and collapsed to the ground. People covered their heads and prayed to whatever gods they thought might save them.

    “You!” shouted Beldin, picking through the cowering crowd. He kicked one brown haired student’s prone form. “Get up!”

    Hayden slowly rose to his feet. He wouldn’t make eye contact with Beldin. “Don’t kill me! I swear, I don’t know what Frederick owed Finn but I don’t have it!”

    “Finn?” asked Ilmarė.

    Kham sauntered out of a bar, a mug still in his hand. “Finn. You remember, the guy Egil owed money to? Nice fireworks by the way. Since when did you learn that spell?”

    Sebastian looked embarrassed. “Wilimina is an excellent teacher.”

    Kham slurped from his mug to hide his grin. “I’m sure you’re an excellent student.”

    Beldin was shaking Hayden. “You nearly got a lot of people hurt, boy. Why did you run?”

    “You mean you’re not with Finn?” Hayden asked sheepishly.

    “No.” Kham looked at his companions. “Well, they’re not, anyway.”

    “We just came to talk.” Beldin shook the boy again. “So start talking.”

    “I swear,” said Hayden. “All I know is that Frederick was in to Finn’s Syndicate for big money after losing on some recent bets. He went to see Finn at the Undir Benevolent Association in the Eastern District the night he died.”

    The crowd slowly dispersed, realizing that the danger was over.

    “So he was poor and desperate. Sounds like Finn’s kind of operation.” asked Ilmarė.

    “Well, he seemed to have another source of income.” Hayden glanced around nervously. “He was living it up for awhile there.”

    “His father is Aljandros Haddon,” said Kham. “He’s not exactly poor.”

    Hayden shook his head. “They didn’t get along, so it couldn’t have been him. Frederick must have had a side operation going on. But I have no idea what it was.”

    “Fine,” said Beldin. “Then it’s back to our original plan.”

    “What’s that?” Hayden’s eyes were wide.

    “We’re going to rip your dorm room apart,” said Ilmarė with a smirk.

    Hayden gulped hard.

  8. #498
    NNooooo!!!!


    I caught up.

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    Yes, the horrors of...

    Adults finding your copies of Playelf!

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    The Consequences of Vice: Part 2d – The Freeport Institute

    Sebastian oversaw the ransacking of Frederick and Hayden’s room with a trace of worry. “My apologies for the mess, Wilimina.”

    She smiled sweetly at Sebastian. “It’s not a problem at all, Sebastian. I’m more concerned about the damage this young man inflicted on the school.” She whirled back to resume her dressing down of Hayden, who looked properly chastised.

    Ilmarė put one ear to a dresser as she rapped on it with a fist. She pulled out a drawer full of socks and tossed it aside. Reaching into the dresser, she pulled out a leather purse.

    “Gold doubloons.” Ilmarė jingled the purse. “Hayden wasn’t kidding, whatever Frederick was doing on the side, it was lucrative.”

    Beldin grunted. He looked up at the ceiling. Then he looked down at the floor.

    “What is it?” asked Vlad.

    “Floorboards are all wrong,” said Beldin. “Takes a dwarf to notice.”

    “Which floor—“ was all Vlad got out before Beldin bellowed and slammed one foot down onto a board. The floorboard snapped upwards, flinging a small leather case with it. Sebastian snatched it out of the air.

    Kham reached into the wastepaper basket. “Best way to find out what a man does with his time is to search his garbage.”

    Ilmarė wrinkled her nose at him. “You sound like you speak from personal experience.”

    After fishing around for a moment, Kham pulled out a crumpled piece of paper. He smoothed it out. “Come with the money you owe us tonight,” he read aloud. “We will meet in the usual place. Don’t be late.”

    “Sounds like Finn to me,” said Vlad.

    Sebastian opened the leather case. Four vials of a syrupy gray liquid were within. He uncorked one and sniffed at it. “Strange. I’ve never seen this before.”

    “Potions?” asked Beldin.

    “Alcohol?” suggested Vlad.

    “Poison?” added Ilmarė.

    “Oh for Althares’ sake, give me that!” Kham snatched the vial out of Sebastian’s hand. “Here’s how you find out what a man’s been drinking.”

    He took a swig. And then the world went sideways.

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