The Festival – Day 1
The Larian World Festival has begun in Homen and the marks are plenty! People from all over the world, carrying treasures from all over the world, have gathered in this small town. Some of them are now leaving without their possessions. Even the festival itself has reported a robbery of one of the game booths. But the real talk about town is the Exotic Familiars trader who didn’t properly secure his merchandise and they escaped into the crowd. A few people were bitten by Scarlet Spiders or pecked at by Ravens, but a local priestess who wouldn’t leave her temple and the Festival Committee are making sure everyone is attended.
Luckily, a few (anti)heroic people didn’t run from the fight and put the Festival back on track. The Festival Committee is very gracious to people who help them keep incidents discrete, so the Heroes were rewarded with a free night at the Blue Lobster Inn, including free food and drinks!
A New Friend
The Heroes enjoyed their reward and took full advantage of the hospitality that evening. The first day of the Festival ended with fireworks over the Bay. While watching the show outside, the Heroes hear a growling coming from a nearby alley. It turns out to be a goblin, naked and bloody, who isn’t what he seems. He says he was once a Halfling named Dr. Elcrist “Skully” Skelane, an archaeologist and hunter of ancient relics.
His current specialty is the Leylines, ancient pathways that the Fey and Giants once used to travel the world. While investigating the Leylines, he says he was ambushed and blacked out. When he awoke, he was a goblin stranded in the wilderness. He boarded a ship as a stow-away and ended up in Homen. As he exited the ship, he stashed his valuables below the docks and tried to find some help. His first attempt left him beaten and robbed of the money he tried to use to get fixed, just before the fireworks began. Skully needs help. He doesn’t intend to stay a goblin forever, but he is broke and the city is full of too many people for him to walk around as a goblin. Luckily though, he has a plan to fix both problems.
The Heroes get Skully cleaned up and hear his story. He offers an idea on how he can get the money he needs to get cured, as well as setup the Heroes with more money than they’ve ever had in their pockets. A nobleman named Coleman Stuart’s estate was built on the ruins of an ancient Fey temple. The stone foundation of the house is actually part of the original temple. But Mr. Stuart has refused Dr. Skelane access to his home to find the entrance to the temple and doesn’t believe the story. If there were ruins under his house, surely he would know about it by now. Skully believes they are still untouched, or someone would have announced the finding by now.
Skully believes that underneath the Stuart Estate is actually a Leyline Beacon, a place where multiple Leylines cross and form a power center. He’s been trying to prove their existence for many years. If he’s correct, a Fey temple that hasn’t been looted will surely be full of treasures and relics that will be quite valuable. Skully can get cured and the Heroes will have enough money to start their own lives.
Festival Day 2 – The Noble District – Recon Day
Getting into the Stuart Estate to find the temple entrance proved to be a challenge in itself. Given a choice to go over the wall or through the sewers, the Heroes decided to check out the sewers in case they needed that route to get in or out later. They confirmed what the students of Homen Magical Academy always joked about. There was a large ooze monster crawling around the sewers that slowed them down a bit, but was easily dispatched. After a not-so-stealthy exit from the sewers, the Heroes checked out the patrol routes of the Town Guard and found out that 3 Captains regularly patrol the Noble District on horses, while each checkpoint has two guards. The Stuart Estate seems to be very lightly guarded because of the Festival.
Festival Day 3 – The Secret of Gol’Mithrin
The ruins under the Stuart Estate were just the entrance to something greater. The portal in the back of the old temple was still active and opened to another world unseen for over a thousand years, Thaea, the realm of the Fey. Stories say that is was once a world of greaty beauty and wild magic, but it has been growing uncontrolled for a very long time. Plants and wildlife have overgrown and become deadly. Any trace of civilization is quickly wiped out by the great beast called Moon Gazer.
It turns out that it was once a village of giants called Rudash that acted as a travel hub between the Fey and people of Laria. After King Daijast marched his army into Laria, most of Thaea fell under the shadow of Moon Gazer and the village was destroyed. Only a few buildings and an old Cyclops named Beoskull remain. The old Cyclops is the groundskeeper for the two great trees that grow in the Temple of Gol’Mithrin and stays to fulfill his oath.
It turns out the ruins weren’t the actual Temple of Gol’Mithrin, but just the travel hub for the Larian side of the portal. The real Temple was here in Thaea, buried deep in a jungle of hostile wildlife. With some advice from Beoskull, the Heroes were able to make it into the Temple and found it was already occupied. Two Dryads named Ladis and Asta are bound to the trees that grow in the temple and have been enslaved by the two-headed troll Ashmog and Kroshar (Ash’Kro) who has taken it over. The Heroes set a trap for Ash’Kro before “they” return from their trophy hunt and catch him by suprise. He leaves his cockatrice pets to fight while he makes a run for the Sanctum within the temple. The Heroes kill Ash’Kro just as he reaches to open the door.
The Power of Leylines
Inside the Sanctum is a pool of concentrated wild magic, a result of multiple leylines converging in one place. It seems there’s a connection between Laria and Thaea where these “beacons” are created. It explains why the Fey chose these areas to build their portals. The Heroes experiment and investigate the pool until an impatient rogue takes a chance and drinks from the pool. The green glow of magic engulfs him and he is empowered. Soon after, all of the Heroes follow suit and absorb the magic from the pool. The magic leaves the area, now a part of them. The pool itself was adorned with large emeralds. The Heroes take them and give Skully one as his cut for the job. Skully also collects relics from Thaea and the temple to prove his discovery to the world.
The Heroes give the Dryads enough of the water from the pool to restore their trees in the temple and they decide to stay and rebuild. With his purpose renewed, Rudash stays to remain as groundskeeper and try to reclaim his village.
Back in Homen
The Heroes arrive back in Homen just in time to enjoy the last hours of the World Festival. Skully immediately goes to the Universal Temple to get restored. He pays for a restoration with his emerald and is turned back into a Halfing. He wasn’t lying after all!
While having celebration drinks at the Blue Lobster Inn, the Hostess lays a silver coin on the table and says that it was delivered by a courier for the Heroes with no message. The coin appears to be Altin currency, but slightly altered. After careful inspection, the coin opens and there is a paper note inside. Someone noticed the Heroes rob the game booth at the World Festival and wants to meet with them. The note instructs them to go to the Emperor Tavern in the Commons to have some drinks tomorrow night and wait for futher instructions. The Heroes agree to go and see who is sending them messages.
The Mining Job
The Emperor was very busy the night the Heroes arrive. The Galloway Mining Company had sent all the miners home for 3 days and the miners are celebrating. While having drinks, the Heroes decide to investigate what would close down the Mining Co. by buying some miners a drink and eavesdropping on other conversations. It turns out something valuable (and deadly) was found in Mine A and the Mining Co. is making arrangements to sell it. One miner was killed excavating the prize. Business has been closed until the prize has been moved from the safe in the Mining Office to the Homen Bank Vault in two days.
After an hour or so, a barmaid brings more drinks to the table. Kimzen’s drink has another silver coin under it with another message. This note instructs the Heroes to walk across the street to the Highwayman’s Flask and order “something deadly” from the bartender. Just walking into the Flask is deadly since it’s a known haven for thieves and assassins. The Heroes cautiously enter and place their order with the bartender. He takes them into the back storage room and moves some boxes to reveal a secret door and some stairs leading down.
The Thieves of Homen
The Heroes are invited into the Thieves Guild of Homen and soon meet their leader, Locke Finlay, a charismatic Half-Snow Orc who sent them to the Emperor as a test to see if they would pick up on the Mining Job. They passed his test and he makes them an offer. Steal the prize from the Mining Office and bring it to him for a bag of 24 Black Pearls worth over 10,000 gold. It was an offer the Heroes found too good to refuse.
Locke wasn’t the only member of the Thieves Guild that the Heroes met that day. There was a young woman code named Hummingbird and a very large man simply named Beater. It turned out that the barmaid, Christine, at the Emperor who delivered the second coin is also a member.
Galloway Mining Company
Sneaking into the site wasn’t a major challenge. Zoka, Tarek and Kimzen quietly moved through the mining camp while Kat, Silas and Darr kept watch outside the fence and prepared for any trouble. The stealth team climbed onto the Office roof and looked opened a skylight to find that the safe was missing. There was a hole in the floor instead.
The safe didn’t go far. In the hole, the Heroes found the safe opened and empty. There was also a tunnel leading north into Mine B which had been closed due to recent flooding. It appeared that some of the miners decided to steal the prize for themselves and tunneled into the office from the nearby mine while it was empty. Unfortunately, the deadly prize wasn’t finished taking lives.
As the Heroes investigated the tunnels, they found other miners who had died in terrible ways. Only one miner managed to make it into Mine B, where he met with his buyer and quickly tried to give away the prize and collect his payment. The cloaked, tattooed buyer took the prize and quickly assassinated the poor miner just as the Heroes arrived on the scene. In a scene of poetic justice, the Heroes assassinated the assassin before he could escape or pull any tricks.
The Geodon Crystal
It turns out that the prize that was found in Mine A was a Geodon Crystal, a rare cursed object used by dragons at the end of their days to halt the effects of time. If a dragon consumes a Geodon Crystal, it can suppress the rage and insanity that comes with Twilight for one year. Great Wyrms covet Geodon Crystals almost more than treasure. Unfortunately, the Geodon Crystal has a negative effect on all other races who come near it. It can turn the most intellectual and peaceful beings violent and simple. The miners learned this the hard way.
Zoka was almost immediately affected by the Geodon Crystal. His speech and mannerisms changed and he even attempted to stab Kimzen on the way out of the mine. Luckily, the monk was too fast for his blade and didn’t hold it against him. He knew he was being affected. On the way out, Tarek also fell victim to the effect, but managed to keep his weapons sheathed.
During the events in Mine B, guards realized the safe was missing and stormed into the tunnel. Silas summoned a Dire Badger distraction and gave the stealth team enough time to jump the fence and make it out undetected. As far as the guards know, the miners stole the Geodon Crystal and made off with it. Mission Accomplished!
The Meeting With Locke
The Heroes met Locke in a neutral location outside of town and handed over the Geodon Crystal. Locke was given a bag made of golden dragonhide leather that seemed to neutralize the effects. It was clear someone had paid Locke to retrieve the crystal who already knew how it worked. There was no sign that Locke himself knew of the dangers, so the party concluded their business and received their payment of black pearls.
The Tattooed Assassin
Locke also ordered his crew to leave so that he could speak to the Heroes privately. He offered them another job. A job that he couldn’t allow his people to find out about. The assassin they had killed in the mines worked for a larger and much more powerful guild in Altin, the capital city of the Vanda Empire. This guild forces Locke and his crew to pay part of all their profits in fealty and repeatedly steals larger jobs for themselves. They cross into Homen territory for business without honoring Locke or even notifying him and he is tired of it. He wants to see the Altin Thieves Guild dismantled and replaced with one more aligned with him.
Locke knows the leaders of the Altin Thieves and offers the Heroes his information if they agree to travel to Altin and eradicate the guild. He even offered his assistance to help the Heroes replace the Altin Thieves with their own guild as long as they agree he gets full control of the Homen territory and that they will not take jobs in his area unless he gets a cut. He also gets to keep all profits from jobs his crew runs from now on.
Skully was able to show his relics to some of his colleagues and collect some investments in future discoveries. He offered the Heroes a chance to join him on future Leyline adventures and they happily accepted. Skully and the Heroes agreed to start a new Adventurer’s Guild in Altin and use it as a base of operations. Skully says he has some leads on buildings that would be a great start, even for the shady dealings of a Thieves Guild.
The Heroes agreed and set themselves on a path to Altin, start an Adventuring/Thieves Guild and destroy another Thieves Guild.