8. An Almedia-controlled Smuggling Small Harbour (Non-Combat) 9
9. PoG Guards (Non-Combat) 10
10. Laughing Hill (Non-Combat) 10
11. The Sign of the Twin Lions (Semi-Combat) 10
12. A Ship’s Captain (Non-Combat) 11
13. A Storm at Sea [ROLAND ONLY] 13
14a. Cloud-Runners (Combat) [ROLAND ONLY] 14
14b. Cloud-Runners (Combat) [NON-ROLAND ONLY] 14
15. Ghost-Gums (Semi-Combat) 15
16. Dead Pirates 16
17. A Port Ship 16
18. Broken Guard 17
19. Scorpions 17
20. A Meddlesome Priest 18
21. Dust-Devils 19
22. Spirits of Breath 19
23. Emmanuel D’Artois 19
Remember to have Josiah Coronado apologise. 20
Blades and Feathers Introduction The revolutionary element in the Port desires the help of Niske D’Artois, because he’s very popular with both the people and the military of the Port, to the extent that he could probably get a sizeable portion of Broken Guard and city Guard officers on-side if he were to join up; also, he’s a fairly well-known D’Artois, and the more of them there are on the correct side of the barricades, the more likely the streets are to rise. Niske D’Artois is willing to help the revolution if they will give him what he apparently wants: to whit, the opportunity to win a duel with Emmanuel D’Artois. Or at least, that’s what they think. In addition, the revolution desires the death of Emmanuel D’Artois straight off; partly because he’s a damned fine fighter and a revolution would probably be a great deal less bloody (and glassy) if he weren’t running around slaughtering things during it, and partly because the death of Lemuel D’Artois’ favourite son would be a great boost to morale for the revolutionaries. Emmanuel D’Artois is currently in the Breathing Isles, helping on the front-lines of Lemuel’s campaign against Inigo Roberts and the other Isles-based pirates. It is ideal that the duel happen while Emmanuel is in the Isles: firstly, while he is there he is without the protection of his mentor Thaddeus, and secondly, it will be a great deal harder to prove anything if he’s simply another casualty of the war. The patriotic elements funding this mission want to help the revolution in the Port of Glass, because, well, Karl D’Artois is apparently a great deal saner than Lemuel, and if the White City can have a hand in his ascension, it’s a great deal less likely that he’ll suddenly declare war on them for no reason. Said patriotic elements, therefore, are hiring a team of discreet and experienced people psychopaths and pathological bastardsto escort Niske D’Artois to the Breathing Isles and, if necessary, aid him in killing Emmanuel. Bringing him back alive would be nice, but is not specifically part of the contract. However, if he is brought back alive, it is vastly preferable that he’s been allowed to kill Emmanuel himself, since this will make him better-disposed towards aiding in the revolution. Point being, if Niske comes out of this on the other side, the party are in Serious Trouble.
Today We May Be Calling Call Forth the Glass Tower
Cloak of Razors
Basic psyche & fatigue hits
Vitrify: unless specified, won’t start to affect stats until after the end of encounter, but feel free to RP vitrification, the more damage you’ve taken the more rapid it is.
Poison: X Poison Y is the damage, if X hits flesh then Y is Through damage to torso.
Pre-Game Brief The standard Shady Joe Bloggs, who may or may not be ex-Low Guard, is putting together a party for a discreet Southern mission on behalf of his employers, a group of “concerned patriots”. The employer will have a quick check over the party in a nondescript pub (Hedgehog and Inkwell) and give them their brief (see above, basically; with the addition that the death of Emmanuel has become immediately relevant, since there is a cadre of Broken Guard officers whose help with the revolution depends on a demonstration of capability on the part of the forces desiring revolution; the assassination of Emmanuel would be a very adequate such demonstration). He’ll then offer them 20Hx apiece advance and another 30Hx to all survivors. (Bonuses potentially negotiable.). If Fal-Kar is with the party, the Guardsman will indicate that he expects him to sort out transport, considering his family’s resources. If he’s not, the Guardsman will indicate that there’s a ship called the Youthful Indiscretion at the dock in the Port, which has been alerted to the party’s mission, and should take them to the Islands and back if they approach it with the pass-name William Silver. The Guardsman should also give them fair warning that the gates of the Port are no longer open, and that they’ll find it difficult to get in without a pass-port of some sort; apparently various Port-employed mercenaries on the Southern roads are known to carry such things. Information received says that Emmanuel is leading the fight at Frith Bay, on the Breathing Isle proper, but will only be there for another week to ten days and no-one knows where he will go after, so there is time pressure. Niske spends his evenings in a tavern called the Twin Lions, and the party are encouraged to be as discreet as possible when contacting him. [ROLAND PARTY ONLY] On the way out of the city, the party are hailed as they pass the High Temple of the Prince of Storms. Josiah Coronado, the High Priest of the Prince, is on his way to the afternoon sermons, and has heard about their mission. He tells them that his intelligence suggests that weather in the South is unspeakably bad at the moment due to the Maiden’s influence, and that they should be careful; he also indicates that he might be able to send them some help if things get rough, and they’ll know it if they see it. [/ROLAND PARTY ONLY] Notes: Tell the party that they have a choice of routes to the Port (if they quibble tell them that alternative routes are blocked by Port forces, unless they have particularly clever ideas, in which case be prepared to improvise) and that the shorter ones involve more fighting, while the longer ones involve less fighting. If they’re willing to risk potentially missing Emmanuel in order to have to fight less, then that’s up to them. Obviously the De Almedia port route is only open if they have someone in the party who knows about it.
Brief Summary 1. To the Port
In this section, the adventurers are hired, given their brief, and travel to the Port of Glass. Encounters: B1 E1, 2, 3 / B2 E4, 2, 5 / B3 E4, 6, 7, 8 2. The Port
In this section, the adventurers enter the Port, extract Niske’s sword, and charter a ship to take them to the Breathing Isles. Party Fuckup Syndrome may or may not cause Ferret Dance, being chased out of the Port by the Broken Guard, Glass Dragons, barfights, etc. at this stage. Encounters: 9, 10, 11, 12 3. At Sea
In this section, the adventurers travel from the Port of Glass to the Breathing Isles. On the way, they meet the Rattle-Prince disguised as Josiah Coronado, the High Priest of the Prince of Storms. Encounters: 13, 14a / 14b 4. The Isles
In this section, the party reach the Breathing Isles, find Emmanuel, and (hopefully) try to kill him without breaking his sword. Fal-Kar De Almedia may or may not cause Ferret Dance at this stage. Encounters: As many as we like out of 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23 5. The Journey Back
In this section, if necessary due to either plot events or needing to fill up time, the party have to travel back. They can choose to avoid, or pass through, the Port, depending. Encounters: Improvised. Note: When we write this bit, remember to have Josiah Coronado apologise to them, on their return to the city, for not being able to help them out at all. Encounter List Section 1: To the Port Branch 1: To PoG via the Garden Lands (3 days)
1. Bluebell Attack (Combat)
2. Mercenaries of the Port (Combat)
3. A lone Centaur (Non-Combat) Branch 2: To PoG via the Western Forest (7 days)
2. Mercenaries of the Port (Combat)
5. A Mad Hermit (Non-Combat) Branch 3: To PoG via the Almedia’s Western Forest ports (4 days)
4. Weavers (Semi-Combat)
6. Satyrs (Combat)
7. Almedia Caravan (Non-Combat)
Almedia Harbour (Non-Combat)
Section 2: The Port 9. Port of Glass Guards (Non-Combat)
10. Neara (Non-Combat)
11. Pub and Niske (Semi-Combat)
12. Captain of a Ship (Non-Combat) Section 3: At Sea 13. A Storm at Sea (Gribbly)
14. Cloud-Runners (Combat) Section 4: The Isles
Branch 1: Shipwreck
15. Ghost-Gums (Semi-Combat)
Any of 16-22 according to preference
23. Emmanuel d’Artois
Branch 2: Safe Harbour
16. Dead Pirates (Semi-Combat)
Any of 16-22 according to preference.
23. Emmanuel D’Artois Section 5: The Journey Back
24 and on: Improvise. Encounter Breakdown
1. Bluebell Attack (Combat) Monsters: Bluebells (2+6 / 5F / N/A / Doubles / Swarm1)
Summary: While travelling the Garden Lands, the party are attacked by a swarm of bluebells. No explanation is offered, though the monsters can feel free to RP being hungry for the party’s tasty human-flesh. They won’t stop unless they’re slaughtered to the last.
Post-Encounter Notes: If the party try and loot the Bluebells’ corpses, they won’t find anything useful or saleable, but will get sticky sap all over their fingers, which can lose them a parry if we’re feeling particularly cruel.
2. Mercenaries of the Port (Combat) Monsters: Mercenaries (4+4 / 7F / 7P / Doubles or Triples / Great Weapon OR Ambidex, Disengage) and one Mercenary Captain (4+6 / 7F / 7P / Triples / Large Shield, Disengage) Summary: The Port has hired mercenaries to stand guard on routes as part of the blockade that was set up during the troubles in the Garden Lands. These are some of them. They won’t TPK the party because they will have two break points:
If half the group goes down, Captain will call them off, they break and run.
Post-Encounter Notes: the Mercs will leave their dead behind. All the weaponry and armour is standard quality. Any given body will have 5hx on it, and a passport sealed from the office of Silvestre d’Artois.
3. A Lone Centaur (Non-Combat) Monster:Centaur ( Don’t Ask / Blood Sorcery 4, Visions, Astrologer, Divination )
Summary: A lone Centaur is sitting in the path, currently in the form of a man. If they stop to talk to him, he’ll morph back to his true form. He will tell Roland that the South Star will lead him astray but the Harlequin will set his feet on his true path. If Fal-Kar is there, the centaur will tell him that the Dead Knight stands in his way and the Smith will guide him home. If the group try to hit him, he’ll morph into an oak tree and drop acorns on them for halves.
Post-Encounter Notes: this is, quite clearly, prophetic head-fuckery. Monsters can be setting up Encounter 9.
4. Weavers (Semi-Combat) Monsters: Half are Weavers (1+4 / 5F / 5P / Singles or Unarmed Paralysing Singles / Dodge (1), Paralysis), half are Giant Spiders (4 / 7F / 3P / Doubles / Paralysis)
Summary: A group of Weavers are herding their charges through the forest. At the party’s approach, they will get tetchy and aggressive, and accuse them of spying for the Cristoforis in order to try and steal the secrets of steelsilk. The weavers won’t attack directly unless severely provoked; the party can either be placatory and offer reassurances (and possibly gifts/bribes) (if anyone in the party is Almedia, they’ll STFU and be nice) or aggressive, in which case a fight will probably break out, at the monsters’ discretion. The spiders will attack with their herders.
Post-Encounter Notes: The weavers are wearing steelsilk, which will almost certainly be quite battered unless the party are using Blood or Wind sorcery; if not, the resale value is ~20Hx, if so ~50Hx. Anyone investigating the spiders too closely without proper precautions will take a Through Half to one arm from ichor burns. Remember to take note of paralysis during battleboarding.
5. A Mad Hermit (Non-Combat) Monsters: One Mad Hermit (1 / 5F / 5P / Unarmed Halves)
Summary: A mad hermit stops to talk to the party on the road. He is confusing at them. Specifically, he tells Roland or whoever the party leader turns out to be that the Merciless Star favours him, but he must not trust the Watcher in the Garden. He will also tell another random party member (or Fal-Kar if he’s there) that the Wheel guides his steps, and the Merchant of Providence follows his intentions. This is all clearly bullshit. If they attack him, he dies. Quickly.
Post-Encounter Notes: The hermit is wearing very smelly robes and has nothing saleable on his person. If they don’t give him the Last Rites, he may turn up to comedically haunt the party, at the monster’s and GMs’ discretion. While this is going on, the rest of the monsters can be setting up Encounter 9.
6. Satyrs (Combat) Monsters: Satyrs ( 2 / 8F / 5P / Singles / Disengages: 2, Rural Stealth: 4 )
Summary:A family of satyrs are setting up in the bandit business. I’m not letting them use the Enchanted Music attribute as that is, fundamentally, an insta-kill on all concerned. Comedy Mafia accents are the order of the day. They will break and run if approximately a third of them go down.
Post-Encounter Notes: None of them will have particularly nice weapons, and they won’t have any money on them as they aren’t completely stupid. Also, you know, nowhere to keep it, due to the LACK OF PANTS!
7. An Almedia Caravan (Non-Combat) Monsters:Mercenaries, carters and a pair of ponies in the employ of the Almedia family, plus James FitzAlmedia, another young man of complex parentage. He is the grandson of Duke Vitalliano’s father, and serves the family as his father did before him. ( 4 + 6 / 7F / 5P / Triples / Blood Sorcerer 3, Duellist 3, Main Gauche )
Summary: These guys are just moving a cargo from one place to another. They’re not likely to talk about the cargo, they will be friendly once they’ve identified the party. As it turns out, James has hired some pretty naff caravan guards on this occasion, and if the party attacks them they will all immediately break and run, leaving James on his own. He will fight to the death to protect the cargo. If the party do this, they will discover that it is a cart filled entirely with full steelsilk ensembles. They can make of that what they will. If the party attempt to negotiate, and can convince James that it’s a good idea and will be worth his while (this will take some doing, but if there’s an Almedia in the party it’ll be easier), they might be able to talk a few bits of steelsilk out of him.
Post-Encounter Notes:Mind you, two of the mercenaries will make it back to the city, and the party will be arraigned on their return and tried for murder and grand theft. If they’re even remotely close to being this stupid.
Dockhands ( 7 / 10F / 5P / Unarmed Singles ) Summary: Again, combat stats are included in case the party are very, very stupid. A ship called the Flexible Demeanour has been laid on by the Almedia family to assist the mission. Bellman is to take them to the Port, lay up for no more than 24-hrs and, if they make deadline, take them to the Isles. He will wait there for no more than three days at rendezvous before sailing off. Bellman will attempt to convince the party that the ship has suffered some catastrophic rigging damage and that if they’ll only give him 20hx he can get it fixed immediately, but fixing it themselves will take several days. If he gets away with it, more power to him. He is, of course, lying, and if the party call his bluff, he’ll leave on time anyway, but with much whinging. The crew, who along with Bellman may well be around the party for some time due to the passage at sea, will attempt to purloin anything they think they can get away with. Bellman’s attitude to anyone who gets caught will be to immediately throw ‘em overboard, if at sea, and leave them on land if not.
Post-Encounter Notes: The same guys will re-appear as the ship that they leave the port on, so crew should be encouraged to develop named characters for this bit. Particularly, if Roland’s party are playing, there should be at least one Priest of the Rattle-Prince (obviously he’s not being loud about his ordination, though, since that’s the sort of thing that gets you thrown overboard by your party members). He should be, you know, shifty and stuff, and possibly make some sort of Sekrit Sign at Roland, or any other Priest of the Rattle-Prince who’s there.
9. PoG Guards (Non-Combat)
Monsters:4 mercenary guards, ( 4+2 / 7F / 7P / Doubles / Subduing Doubles )
Summary:These guys are either customs officers (Branch 3) or gate guards (Branch 1 or 2), depending on the route the players take. If they’re customs officers, it’s a simple job of looking suspicious and accepting a bribe of 1hx per head. If they’re gate guards, they’re going to be looking for the mercenary passes that were on the guys up the road. Not having those on them will cost 5hx per head for the party. If the party get turned away by gate guards, we can point out to them that they could go out into the woods and hunt mercenaries, but this would carry a time penalty of a day. Killing either customs officers or gate guards is an end-of-game, potential TPK offence, as they’re in the Port at the moment, and meant to be staying under the radar. If Branch 3, then the other monsters are playing standard civilians, merchants trying to dock, dockworkers, rumourmongers etc.; opportunity for a cameo for Alicia Fane if Ellie wants it.
10. Laughing Hill (Non-Combat) Monsters: Various denizens of the middle and upper classes of the Port. Let the monsters have fun with this one, stats shouldn’t be necessary but make up something appropriate if they are.
Summary: Unless Neara isn’t with the party, or has some particular reason not to let the party use her digs, they will probably be basing themselves out of her accommodation at Thaddeus de Verlay’s academy. They can get armour repair done for free at the Academy, and should generally feel free to just to wander around and soak up the atmosphere (and possibly food) for a bit pre-pubmeet. They have an afternoon to kill, and should feel free to spend it in interesting ways. If the party have had to leave anyone outside the city for whatever reason, either keep this as short as possible or split the monster party and find something interesting for the others to kill.
11. The Sign of the Twin Lions (Semi-Combat) Monsters:Niske d’Artois ( 4+6 / 7F / 7P / Glass 1, Ordained Vit, Ambidex, Duellist, W-M 1h Sword 3, thus: 3 Disarms, 5 Parries, 3 Dodges, Triples)
Tom the Barman ( 8 / 10F/ 4P / Unarmed Subduing Triples )
Drinkers ( 2+2 / 5F / 5P / Singles )
Glass Animals (1 global, shatter if hit, causing Ferret Dance) Summary: Niske’s brief is that he is drunk, belligerent, and not interested at all. He’s decided that he’s still up for the revolution if Emmanuel’s dead, but that taking on Emmanuel magic-to-magic isn’t a real duel and so he’s not going to go and play. But if they want to bring back Emmanuel’s sword – intact – then he’ll pay them 200hx for it. He’ll also hand over the Breaker of Broken Blades, though will warn them that he’s not quite sure what the consequences will be if they actually use it. He will, although with bravado, admit that his brother is nails and that they should probably try to destroy him through skulduggery rather than just twatting him head-on. He recommends a tiger pit, or magical equivalent. Tom should be slow, steady and reliable, a proper barman. The drinkers should be boisterous, and should sing Pirate Ship Inferno, raucously. They should feel free to try and start fights with the party. These fights, if they happen should preferably deal subduing damage only, at least from the drinkers; it is inevitable at this point that one of the party will get carried away and kill someone. At this stage, Niske will finish up and hurry them the fuck out of the pub before his Broken Guard officer friends get off duty. The glass animals should just try to annoy people.
Post-Encounter Notes: If the party are sticking around long enough to loot corpses, there is already Trouble. However, if purse-cutting happens in an otherwise peaceful context, I’m inclined to let them get away with it to the tune of 5Hx OR equivalent value in drugs per successful Lightfingers attempt.
12. A Ship’s Captain (Non-Combat) Monsters: Either Captain Bellman ( 6 / 9F / 5P / Singles / Blather 3 ) or Captain Scragg ( 6 / 9F / 7P / Unarmed Singles or Doubles with a telescope / Blather 2 )
And some Crewmen ( 4 / 7F / 5P / Singles / Light-Fingers 3 )
Among whom is a Priest of the Rattle-Prince (6 / 9 F / 5 P / Halves / Blather 3 / Lightfingers 3 / 3 Dodges )
Possibly a few Guardsmen (2+4 / 5F / 5P / Doubles / Waves ) Note: It is possible that the party will try and charter a ship through Honest Sebastian or Captain McKenzie, in which case we let them get away with it, and apply to Joff or James as to the honesty of the crew.
Summary: If the party have already chartered the De Almedia ship, this will be further RP as the ship casts off, a bit of GM description of the first part (calm) of the sea voyage and general roleplay opportunity for the monsters. Otherwise, the party will be chartering a smuggling vessel as below.
The location is the seedy part of the Docks; plenty of rotting hulks and bits of scrap around, a fair quantity of loading and unloading. Most of the business seems to be of dubious legality. There are plenty of layabouts lying around the docks, and the place smells of Silverleaf. The vessel that is recommended to them is called the Youthful Indiscretion, and is captained by Battista Scragg, a smuggler whose character I shall leave largely up to the monster who plays her. The party should approach the ship discreetly; if they remember to use the pass-name (William Silver), then she will welcome them with no trouble. If not, she and sailors may require more convincing and possibly a bribe before they’ll agree to take them aboard. At this stage, give the monsters and players time for some RP; let the monsters develop a few crewmember characters. It is again important that there is at least one Priest of the Rattle-Prince on the ship, as above, but only if Roland’s party are playing. Some monsters can play dockscum and layabouts, try and overhear conversations, whinge about the fact that all the good sailors/pirates/whores/soldiers/whatever are off in the Isles, occasionally shout “Long Life to Commandante Iarendo!” and get clubbed over the head by the assembled smugglers and shifty bastards, etc. If the party do anything which might attract the attention of the Broken Guard, which is highly unlikely, ad-lib. Unless they’ve monumentally pissed off Scragg, she’ll probably be willing to cast off with all speed with them aboard; the navy will give chase, but all the fast ships are in the Isles at the moment and won’t be able to catch up. If they have monumentally pissed off Scragg, make it up. 13. A Storm at Sea [ROLAND ONLY] Monsters: Bellman, Scragg and Crewmen as per 12
The Rattle-Prince (6 Body / Fatigue n/a / 35 Psyche / Doubles / Dodge (10), Disengage (10), Blather (5), Stealth (5), Shapeshifting, Wind Magic (5), Hard to Kill )
Notes: Be VERY prepared to shout “Time-Freeze!” a great deal in this encounter if anything even SLIGHTLY gribbly happens. Better to delay the action a bit than to risk making a terrible call at a critical moment and either fucking the setting, ruining the atmosphere or killing the PCs.
Summary: Begin with some GM description of the winds whipping up and the sea getting choppy about halfway between the Port and the Isles. Monsters should react to this as unnatural, since the skies were clear not all that long ago. Soon, a full-blown storm has gripped the ocean, with deafening thunderclaps and unnaturally high winds. The boat is in serious danger of capsizing, and the louder howls of the winds begin to sound almost like a woman’s voice. The monsters should be given a break for some quick RP, at which stage one of them will shout that the lookout in the crow’s nest has been swept right overboard. This will also be an opportunity for Roland and Fal-Kar to do various things; one example might include trying to raise a wind themselves to control the storm. They can certainly try to do this, but will discover that while their efforts can keep the boat stable for a time and earn the pathetic gratitude of the sailors and captain, the Tempest (and it is one) is just too strong to permanently affect. They might also try prayer; Fal-Kar’s prayers will gain a general sense that, yes, well, it’s a storm, if he has a problem with that he probably shouldn’t be on a boat; while Roland’s will gain a sense of sly laughter, shortly followed by the events TWO paragraphs below – i.e. skip the following paragraph.
If Roland doesn’t pray to the Rattle-Prince in this interval, there is a sudden commotion among the sailors, who have overheard the Priest mentioned above praying to the Rattle-Prince somewhere belowdecks; they’ll accuse him of bringing the storm on them (although a couple of sailors, including the captain, will quite reasonably point out that this storm is obviously the fault of the Maiden), and will then declare that even if the storm isn’t his fault, he’s a Rattle-Prince cultist and by no means to be trusted, and promptly throw him overboard. As his body hits the water… … a bright flash of lightning accompanied by a splintering sound suggests that the Crows’ Nest has just been lost. The singing sound in the air is joined by a second voice, quite different, male, and apparently chanting in counterpoint or opposition to the singing. The voice becomes more distinct as the storm apparently quietens, but only in the area immediately around the ship; the winds still appear to rage nearby, and the waves outside this eye of calm are still dangerously high, but an eerie quiet has settled over the ship. Lightning stabs in the air all around the mainmast, but never seems to quite reach the ship. As the party’s eyes clear from the lightning, they can make out a dark figure standing in the stern of the ship. The party will recognise the figure as Josiah Coronado, the High Priest of the Prince of Storms from the Temple in the White City. “Josiah” is rather more than six feet tall, wearing full ceremonial robes and armour, including the insignia of his Temple, and carrying a big stick. Roland, who has heard the voice of the Rattle-Prince before, will recognise it (or at least the one he’s speaking with). At least two invisible monsters should be lurking behind the monster playing Josiah, keeping up a quiet chant the whole time; players can be informed that they can hear this chanting, and it appears to be coming from Josiah in some inexplicable way. Josiah will introduce himself. He should be highly jovial and rather boisterous, referring to the storm as a “damned fine little breeze” and the Maiden as an “excellent young filly”. He’ll tell the party that he’s the one currently holding back the storm, and that he’s willing to help the party continue safely on their way, but he’s rather busy at the moment and would far rather the party handled it themselves – so he’ll call up a Tempest and hand it over to Roland (if Fal-Kar complains, he’ll explain that Roland’s more disposable), but Roland will have to maintain the thing himself. Of course, if Roland botches or pauses the chant, the Maiden’s storm will reassert itself and the ship will be ripped to pieces. (Cue Josiah laughing jovially.) If they don’t take the deal, Josiah will, after some complaining and blustering, see the ship safely to the Isles. If they do, Josiah will tell Roland to pick up the chant that he can hear on the storm, and keep reciting it along with them; once he’s got the rhythm, the other voices will drop, and “Josiah” will disappear in another flash of lightning. The ship will then begin moving unnaturally quickly, fairly skimming over the tops of waves which would easily capsize it, in the direction of the Breathing Isles. 14a. Cloud-Runners (Combat) [ROLAND ONLY] Monsters: Cloud-Runners (2 global / FN/A / P7 / Singles OR Subduing Doubles / Insubstantial, Flying)
Summary: Separate half, or a little more, of the monsters, allowing the other half to remain as crew. Give them a few minutes for RP while Matt keeps up the chant, then attack as Cloud-Runners. These are weakened specimens, due to the fact that the Maiden is having to fight the Rattle-Prince’s Tempest – note this to the monsters, who may be concerned about the low stats. They won’t be directly aiming for Roland, but if the party don’t protect him sufficiently and someone gets a strike at him, feel free to take it; if Matt’s RP of attempting to continue the chant while attacked is good enough, let him continue. If, however, the chant is broken, call a Time-Freeze and take Branch 2 for the next bit.
Post-Encounter Notes: The Cloud-Runners vanish into air as soon as they’re destroyed. If the party have successfully fought them off, describe their safe and suspiciously fast landing at the Isles and go to encounter 16. If not, go to encounter 15.
14b. Cloud-Runners (Combat) [NON-ROLAND ONLY] Monsters: Cloud-Runners (2 global / FN/A / P7 / Singles OR Subduing Doubles / Insubstantial)
Summary: Separate half, or a little more, of the monsters, allowing the other half to remain as crew. Give them a few minutes for RP while describing increasingly deteriorating weather as the ship makes it about halfway through the crossing to the Port. Soon, a full-blown storm is in progress – not so bad that the ship is endangered, but with plenty of dramatic winds and waves which look as if they’re about to swamp the ship. The Captain should stride about shouting nautical things and looking nervous, and the crew monsters should scurry accordingly. Suddenly, a flash of lightning half-blinds everyone aboard the ship; when their eyes clear, they will find themselves surrounded by flickering, jagged shapes which seem to be formed out of lightning. The Cloud-Runners are attempting to reach the rudder, with the intention of destroying it; the captain will notice this and point it out to the party, very loudly, if they don’t seem to have twigged. If the party successfully fight them off, more power to them; the ship rides out the storm and reaches a safe and quiet harbour in the Port – describe the successful landing, have the captain provide them with rough directions to Frith Bay, and take the party to Encounter 16. If not, there is a thunderbolt and a terrific crash of splintering wood as the rudder is destroyed, and FTB to encounter 15.
Post-Encounter Notes: The Cloud-Runners each vanish into air as soon as they’re destroyed. If the party have successfully fought them off, describe their safe and suspiciously fast landing at the Isles and go to encounter 15. If not, go to encounter 16.
15. Ghost-Gums (Semi-Combat) Monsters: Ghost-Gums (2 Body / 3 F / 3 P / Singles / 3 Dodges )
[ROLAND PARTY ONLY]
As Roland’s chant falls, the ship begins to slow, the winds begin to swirl around the ship with a terrible screeching sound, and the ship is torn to pieces. Everything goes black. Roland will find himself being borne out of the sinking ship by a sudden strong wind, and brought before “Josiah”, who is sitting on a throne of clouds, attended by spirits of air. The Rattle-Prince will express his disappointment with his priest for not keeping up, and demand some sort of recompense. Largely leave this up to whoever’s playing the Rattle-Prince, but we’re looking for either an exchange of some sort, or a game of chance – Double or Quits, effectively. Once that concludes, Roland will be dropped without ceremony along with the rest of the party…
[/ROLAND PARTY ONLY] The party are unconscious. They wake up on a barren shore; they’re awoken by being investigated by strange white-furred creatures, the Ghost-Gums. These will seem particularly affectionate towards Roland, and will attempt to steal anything visibly shiny the party have. They’ll defend themselves if attacked, but won’t get aggressive unless the party have a go at them. Anyone with a map and relevant skills – Divination, relevant Learned, or similar – can figure out that they’re on the right island, about twenty miles away from Frith Bay. Otherwise, they’re just… well… on a shore somewhere. The shore is covered in broken wood, which on closer investigation will prove to be the remains of the good ship Flexible Demeanour, or Youthful Indiscretion. There are a couple of washed-up corpses of sailors in sight. There is an obvious path leading further into the interior, which will lead them conveniently to Encounter 17. 16. Dead Pirates Monsters: Undead spirits (5 Psyche / Psychic Singles / Ethereal)
Summary: The party should be seeing this encounter as their first on the Breathing Isle if they’ve landed safely; because they have safe harbour and a map, they get a fairly circumspect route to Frith Bay, which should avoid the areas which are actually crawling with Broken Guard or pirates. A little way up the coast road from the safe harbour, the party come across the bodies of a group of rough-looking armed and armoured men and women. Any exorcist in the party will see that a group of angry-looking undead spirits are hanging around the corpses. If they immediately start performing the Last Rites, nothing happens. If they start looting the corpses, or hang about to investigate without Last Riting the bodies, the unquiet spirits will attack.
Post-Encounter Notes:Loss in Psychic Combat to one of these spirits will have the normal possession effect. The spirits will generally be psychopathically angry, but it’s possible that some fast-talking can persuade a possessing spirit that the party are not with their enemies, but are rather attempting to destroy them; in this case, the spirit will come relatively quietly, but as soon as a Broken Guard uniform is sighted will go berserk and do their utmost to destroy their murderer. From here, go to Encounter 17. If they try and Greyhawk, everything’s already been looted.
17. A Port Ship Monsters: Some Sailors (2+2 / Singles with blunt weapons / 5F / 5P / 1 Dodge) and some Broken Guard marines (4 + 2 / Singles with swords / 7F / 5P / 1 Parry), some of whom are wounded (1 + 0 on one location of monster’s choice).
Summary: The party are travelling along the coast when they sight a ship flying the colours of the Port. They can easily circumnavigate it if they wish to. Otherwise, if they approach, they will find that the ship is defended by a skeleton staff of Broken Guard, some of whom are wounded (see stats above). The sailors have been pressed, and are rather unhappy with their lot; if the party are subtle about things they might well help them to overcome the Broken Guard, but if they’re attacked or provoked they’ll fight back as expected. The Guard won’t surrender, but if all the Guard are killed, the sailors will. Any surviving sailors might take the opportunity to mention that Emmanuel was at one point travelling on their ship, and that he is fucking nails, just in case they hadn’t gathered.
Post-Encounter Notes:If the party take the ship, they can find about 100 Hx worth of saleable gear on board (which the sailors will expect to have an equal share in if they’re still alive), in addition to enough armour in all three weights to replace anything they’ve lost. In the captain’s cabin they will also find a recently updated map of the island, showing troop movements and Emmanuel’s current location (if the party have delayed heavily and we have decided he’s moved on from Frith Bay, otherwise it just shows his last known position at Frith Bay). The sailors, if left alive, are relatively honest Port types who’re pissed off with the military and the government in general, and will probably be willing to accept any sort of decent-sounding proposition from the party. If the party now know where they’re going, hit encounter 19, otherwise hit encounter 18.
18. Broken Guard Monsters: Broken Guard soldiers (2+4 / 5F / 5P / Singles), a Pirate Guide (5+2 / 8F / 6P / Singles, Throwing Weapons or Archer as preferred / 3 Disengages / 3 Dodges) and a Guard Captain (2+6 / 5F / 7P / Doubles / Leadership / 2 Parries).
Summary: The party run into a Broken Guard patrol. Unless they have a really fast talker and a really fast story, the patrol will challenge them to identify themselves, and then probably disbelieve them, rather believing that they’re more of Inigo’s mercenaries trying to trick them. Be prepared to allow them to just walk through this encounter if they have something very convincing, or Blather 3 or higher, though. The Guide is a member of the Pirate King’s faction (the ones who have trade links with the Almedias), and if the party actually get talking to this encounter rather than just killing it, they can discover that the Pirate King has made an uneasy alliance with Commandante Iarendo in order to try and drive out Inigo Roberts’ men from the Islands. The Guide will also recognise Fal-Kar if he’s with the party, and might be able to help the party persuade the Captain not to try and kill them. If it comes to a fight, however, the Guide is most likely to just try to get the fuck out of Dodge. If the party talk their way around this one, the Captain orders his lads to continue on patrol and lets them go on their way. Fal-Kar or a very convincing other will get a current location on the Pirate King in case they fancy a sidequest.
If they get talky with any of these at all: “We were on operations a couple of moons ago when, at full noon, the sky went dark and there was a sound of wings. The next thing we knew, the copse we’d been camping in wasn’t quite there any more and now there’s something… strange… where it used to be. It’s over there if you want to have a look.” If the party go have a look, it’s a Black Flame encounter. Improvise with help from Joe. Post-Encounter Notes: Any of the encounters from 19-22 can now be run, pretty much in any order, depending on time and inclination and what the party are doing.
19. Scorpions Monsters: Big Fucking Scorpions (1+4 / 8 F / 3 P / Singles Poison Doubles)
Summary: While trekking through some sand-dunes, the party see something black and scaly moving in a heat-haze ahead. On closer inspection, Something will turn out to be a bunch of really fucking big scorpions.
Post-Encounter Notes: Any of the encounters from 19-22 can now be run, pretty much in any order, depending on time and inclination and what the party are doing.
20. A Meddlesome Priest Monsters: Tobias Estefanza (2+2, Singles, 5 F / 9 P / 2 parries, Glass Magic 3, Disengage) and a bunch of Splinter-Men (3 Global, Vit Singles, F NA / P NA)
Summary: The party run into Tobias Estefanza, a small, unassuming, slightly supercilious young man (NPC Currall if poss.) who will introduce himself (if he gets a chance) as “no-one very important”. He is a Glass Sorceror and a Priest of the Never-Queen. He and his bodyguard of Splinter-Men have become separated from the unit of Broken Guard they were supporting, and he’s trying to make his way back to friendly territory. He is controlling the Splinter-Men through a gribbly artefact (see below), and they will follow his orders exactly; if he dies, they’ll wander off rather aimlessly, though will defend themselves if attacked. If the party don’t just attack as soon as they see the Splinter-Men, he might well be willing to make a deal with them in exchange for safe passage – for example, telling them where Emmanuel is (if they don’t already know), or any other reasonable favour, or piece of information, the party might be able to think of. His main priority is survival, and if attacked he’s quite likely to cast a Cloak of Razors and attempt to talk the party down from inside it rather than just laying about himself with Storms of Shards. He will, if possible, run rather than fight, with the Splinter-Men fighting a rearguard action to cover his retreat.
Post-Encounter Notes: If the party kill Estefanza and search his body, they will discover a letter of commission from Commandante Iarendo D’Artois naming the bearer (who is not named) acting Captain of the Broken Guard for the duration of the war, ten hexa, a small supply of silverleaf and a strange pendant around his neck, in the shape of a man formed out of splinters of glass. Anyone who examines the corpse and has relevant skills (Surgeon, R3+ First Aid, Learneds, etc.) will notice that there’s quite a lot more damage around the neck and collarbone than they’d expect from the locations of his death-wounds, and that – on closer examination – that his entire upper torso is covered with tiny razor cuts, which are still oozing blood slightly. Anyone with Arcane Lore: Glass can speculate that the pendant is probably a ritual component, quite possibly connected somehow to the creation or control of Splinter-Men. Anyone who tries to wear the pendant (just touching it won’t have any effect, as long as they’re sufficiently ginger) will find that the splinters which make up the man-shape immediately separate and begin burrowing under their skin, causing excruciating pain and preliminary signs of (very slow) vitrification (unless the wearer is Ordained to a Vitriarch, in which case they experience only a mild tingling as the shards bury themselves in their flesh). The splinters cannot be physically picked out, and one is already too close to the carotid artery to be cut out by the time the party think of that. A Purification Potion or any of the other standard purification tactics will destroy the thing, though the wearer will take an additional single to the torso as the shards are expelled from their flesh. If the wearer is Ordained to a Vitriarch, there will be some very very loud voices in the back of their head telling them that they should keep this thing rather than allowing themselves to be Purified.
The effect of the thing is quite simply that any Splinter-Men in the immediate area (i.e. same encounter) as its wearer will follow their orders, whether they want them to or not. 21. Dust-Devils Monsters: Dust-Devils (4 Global / F NA / P NA / Singles / Insubstantial)
Summary: As the party proceed through the dunes, a stiff breeze begins to get up, which soon turns into a wind serious enough not to require Raising the Wind for Wind-Magic. However, the wind is also serious enough to whip up the sand into the air, which gets into the party’s eyes and mouths, losing one Dodge from everyone who isn’t using gribbly sight of some sort. The whirls and eddies of sand begin to coalesce into almost humanoid figures, which at first harmlessly whirl about the party, plucking at clothes and weapons, but soon become a little too close and aggressive for comfort. Commend to Ash will work on the creatures, as will putting four hits into Blood of the Soil to grow grass to cover the dunes.
22. Spirits of Breath Monsters: Zephyrs (2 Global / Singles / F NA / P NA / Insubstantial, one Wave)
Summary: The party are approaching close to Frith Bay. Their route to the cove takes them over a clifftop pass and down a steep and winding trail to the natural harbour. The eddying breezes at the height of the pass are home to Spirits of the Wind. These demand something to take back to each of their respective masters (some are servants of the Prince of the Trade Wind, some of the Hushed Princess, some of the Princess of Stories) before they let the party pass; those serving Trade Wind will want a physical token (money will do, interesting items are better), those serving the Hushed Princess a secret, those serving the Princess of Stories a story (not necessarily a true one). The party can just twat these spirits rather than give anything to them – they’re really not that hard.
Post-Encounter Notes: If they accede to the spirits’ demands, they will each find themselves with two extra Dodges and a Wind strong enough not to require Raising the Wind in the next encounter (and possible further snacky bonuses if they give up really cool stuff ™).
23. Emmanuel D’Artois Monsters:Emmanuel D’Artois (6+6 [steelsilk] / Vit Triples [yes, he’s got harder] / 7 Parries / 3 Disarms / 2 Dodges / Fucking Nails), and from another side some Broken Guard soldiers (2+4 / 5F / 5P / Singles / as many waves as plausible).
Summary: I’m not even going to try and write this encounter, because it depends entirely on how the party play it. They could try and take him out from afar by magic, or dig a tiger pit, or something entirely unexpected. If they cause a lot of fuss taking him out they’re liable to attract the attention of the Broken Guard encamped nearby, though I have no problem with them coming on him training alone on the beach.
If Fal-Kar is here, then before Emmanuel comes into view, they will meet a very muscular young man in fencing breeches and a floppy shirt, with the finest rapier and main-gauche pair any of them have ever seen at his hip and a yellow rose in his hair. He will be pacing out a flat section of ground a little way above the high-tide line, and will be carrying four pieces of bamboo and some rope. He will greet Fal-Kar rather jovially, and say something along the lines of “Lovely day for a duel, isn’t it old boy? Damn shame you won’t be fighting, wot?”. The point is that the Rose-Prince of the South assumes that Fal-Kar won’t be involving himself in the duel because it has no point; Fal-Kar has had his chance at Emmanuel, and lost. He will seem disappointed – and genuinely “thought better of you” disappointed rather than lightning-bolts disappointed – if Fal-Kar seems to insist on fighting Emmanuel anyway. If, however, Fal-Kar is a good sport, he will gain the Prince’s favour and an invitation to fight a few practice bouts. The Prince of the South Wind might well turn up anyway in the absence of Fal-Kar if there’s the faintest hint of a duel in the offing. He’ll stand at the sidelines and watch, occasionally snarking everyone’s form in equal measure. Oh, and he’ll mention as an aside to the party that he gives his word that any of them who can convince Emmanuel to leave the worship of the Vitriarchs and follow him instead would gain his eternal gratitude, and any one boon that is within his power to grant. I have NFC how the party might persuade Emmanuel to follow the Prince of the South Wind, given that he’s so psychopathically loyal to his father and his fathers’ gods, but the party might be cleverer than me. Regardless, at some point the party may well want to head back, and if everyone’s still up for a few more encounters, below are some of the things they might meet. If we still need some encounters after this point in the plot, improvise. Remember to have Josiah Coronado apologise.
1Swarm is not actually an attribute in the rules, but I think it should be, as distinct from Insubstantial which it is currently a subset of.