Savage Tide 4E

Parrot Island I
Information Gathering

Lavinia pales at the evidence that her brother has been stealing the family fortune. She invites the party members to dinner to discuss these developments.

At dinner Lavinia gives the party some background:

I was sent to the Thenalar Academy to live out my next five years of life, and Vanthus was shipped out to work on a plantation. When we returned a year ago we were both changed. I feel I really benefited from my time at the academy. But Vanthus was changed too. Gone was his comedic style, he was always bitter. He spent his nights with inscrutable characters. Eventually he moved out of the house altogether.

I think he took up with a lover in the Azure district. When our parents died, Vanthus returned for one week to live at the manor. He was even more changed than before. Gone was the easy sense of humor I recalled fondly from our childhood. After several arguments Vanthus left. But only after he struck me with his fist. I was shocked, but I think too he was shocked, but then a moment later that bitterness returned and he scowled and he gathered his belongings and left. I haven’t seen him since. I know something profound happened to change him. I think he has fallen in with a bad crowd. Perhaps smugglers or thieves or even killers. I hope to save him before it is too late. I am certain I can convince him to come back after I talk some sense into him before he forever passes out of my reach to help him. Can you help me to track down Vanthus?

The party agrees to help and asks where he may be found. “The only things I know are that he was seeing a girl in the Azure district. I doubt he’s in the Noble’s District as someone would have seen him, same with the champion’s district, but even there might have some clues,” Lavinia replies.

The party asks about Vanthus in a bar in the Shadowshore and learns that he was seen in the company of a known smuggler named Penkus. Penkus and Vanthus were spotted a few weeks ago at a boat shop called “It still floats!” where they got into a huge argument with the proprietor. A dwarf named Panchi.

Panchi reveals that Penkus and his friend bought a boat. “They seemed excited, loaded it up with a lot of lamp oil, lanterns and rope before they left… only thing… they didn’t pay me for the boat! They sailed off to the west, don’t know where; lost sight of them” He adds.

A few people remember seeing Vanthus at taverns in the Azure District, often in the company of a woman named Brissa Santos, a notorious pickpocket turned semi-legitimate artise who’s had her fair share of brushes with the law.

In the Sunrise District the party runs into Shefton who reveals that Vanthus Vanderboren is hiding on Parrot Island. At last a solid lead. For a few coins, Shefton agrees to show the party Vanthus’ hiding spot. Parrot Island is a short row away and as promised Shefton shows the party to a hidden trap door leading down into the island.

A rope is rigged and everyone climbs down into a damp room. As the last person descends to the bottom of the rope everyone hears an exclamation of surprise from Shefton. Then the rope come funneling down from above. Suddenly a familiar figure appears in the opening 40 feet above, it’s Vanthus. He throws down Shefton’s body, a dagger firmly planted in his back. “Say hi to Penkus’ ghost for me while you’re down there!” he shouts.

The island hideout is populated with zombies and undead sailors. One corpse floating in a pool has a tattoo of a lotus flower and a dragon. It is large and covers his entire shoulder.

A Noble in Need II
A Dead Construct is a Good Construct

Lavina was overjoyed with the group that they managed to recover the Blue Nixe and find her father’s signet ring. So pleased that she in fact offers to hire the group at the rate of 100 gp per month to act as her personal troubleshooters, agents and bodyguards. She implies that there may be other benefits given their service to one of Sasserine’s noble families beyond this monthly wage.

Lavina informs the group that she already has a task; she needs an escort to her family vault located beneath Castle Taraknian. She has never been to the vault and does not know what to expect, but she has heard rumors that some family vaults are quite extensive and guarded by traps – based on things she overheard her father say through the years, she suspects that the Vanderboren vault is relatively small and safe, but that there may be a construct guardian. She would like the group to accompany her to Castle Teraknian and provide protection and aid in investigating the vault contents in two days.

Two days of shopping follow, and the group meets at the Vanderboren estate. Two coaches are awaiting the group, which are then taken to High Market in the Noble’s District, and then by ferry over to Castle Teraknian. They spend little time in the castle itself; stopping only to speak to a clerk who verifies Lavinia’s identity and her signet ring, and who then escorts the group down a spiral staircase into a large circular chamber under the castle.

Over a dozen five foot wide hallways radiate out from the central vault chamber; each of these hallways is ten feet long and ends at a single iron door—the entrance to the family vault. The clerk does not accompany the group and Lavina into the vault; he bids them a good day and ascends the staircase. The Vanderboren door bears a strange 8 pointed star and a silver nameplate with the name “Vanderboren”.

Lavinia inserts her ring into a mark on the door, which swings upon slowly. Within, a small chamber with five pillars, all snakelike in appearance. While searching the room a metallic snake slid out from behind a pillar and moved to attack. Cursing Glimnock the whole time, the group beats down the snakes. After a short search, a secret lever is found that caused the pillar in the north of the room to animate and writhe out of the way to form a short passageway.

The newly exposed room was octagonal in shape, supported by a single large pillar with dozens of deep grooves along its sides. The seven walls of this room each bear fantastically detailed bas-relief carvings of exotic monsters in threatening poses. Staring with the wall immediately to the west of the entrance, the carvings depict a tentacled monster with a glaring red eye and a mouth full of teeth, a looming dragon, a fish-like creature with three eyes and four tentacles, a two-headed giant wielding a pair of immense clubs, a spherical creature with four eyestalks and a bulging central eye over a drooling maw, a gorilla like beast with a fanged maw and six eyes, and finally a towering black spider with seven eyes. Each monster’s eyes consist of a glittering red stone. The ceiling above is only ten feet high, with a now-familiar eight-pointed star pattern radiating out from the grooved pillar. The arms of this star are black, save for the one pointing south towards the entrance, which is red.

Rua quickly hits on the solution and the pillar retracts. In the room that is revealed stand 20 chests. Nineteen, however, are essentially empty and one is filled with gold, gems, some ledgers and a chest containing a journal. The ledgers show that Lavinia’s parents did many jobs for local merchants. They did not collect the rewards though. The debts therein should pay off Lavinia’s debts. In the chests are a series of scientific journals, written in Sylvan, that contain maps of tropical climes as well as sketches of exotic animals.

On the way out, Lavinia asks the clerk if anyone else has visited the vault and finds that her brother Vanthus-who was supposed to be missing for a month-had visited many times.

A Noble in Need I
In Ship Shape

In Sassarine, each character received a letter, hand delivered by a wizened-looking halfling named Kora. We are invited to meet with Lady Vanderboren. Kora awaits the reply of each of the party members, and informs them of the appropriate time to meet.

Vanderboren Manor is located in the eastern section of the Merchant District; the seven-foot-high stone wall that surrounds the estate is impossible to miss, as is the towering, gothic, three-story house that dominates the grounds within. Leering gargoyles and capering nymphs festoon the eaves of the manor’s roof, and several trees give the manor grounds a nice buffer from the bustle of the city. After a few moments, a familiar face answers the door; the same wizened Halfling woman answers the door. She asks the group to wait in the atrium, claiming Lady Vanderboren shall be with them shortly.

Just before being called into the private dining hall, four figures emerge from the hall and head toward the group. Kora races behind these figures, which include a jaunty male half-elf dressed in leather armor and armed with a half-dozen daggers of different shapes, a dark-skinned dwarf with a sour expression dressed in green and brown robes and clutching a large curved spear, an attractive but haughty-looking woman dressed in dark purple robes and with a tattoo of a crescent moon on one cheek, and lastly, a tall and handsome man dressed in polished breastplate carrying a bastard sword.

The other party passes by the group, but the one wearing the breastplate stops a moment to size up the group “Hmm, you must be the help Lavinia’s bringing in to do the chores. Best of luck to ya!” After a bit of conversation it is revealed that they too are in the employ of Lavinia and on a mission to Cauldron for her.

The group is then invited into the private dining hall. The dining hall is comfortable and cozy, softly lit by wall-mounted lanterns. A window overlooks the manor’s central courtyard where the group first met, and the carpet is thick and soft. A large portrait hangs on the wall, a fine work depicting a handsome young man with a short beard. Standing before the portrait is an attractive human woman wearing a long, flowing blue dress. She smiles as the group enters, introducing herself as Lavina Vanderboren.

“As you may have heard, I recently inherited my parents’ estate. Along with this fine house, unfortunately, came a fine amount of debt owed the Dawn Council, the harbormaster, and quite a few guildhalls. It seems my parents, for all their success as adventurers, were not as skilled at finance as one might expect. If I’m to get these taxes paid, I’ll need to access my family’s vault under Castle Teraknian.

And that’s the problem, you see. The vaults are magically locked—keyed to special signet rings. Both of my parents had these rings, at least, until recently. My mother lost hers a few months ago. She arranged for a replacement, but it won’t be done for another month or so, too late for me. Which leaves me with my father’s ring. He never wore it—he had a thing about men wearing jewelry. He kept it hidden somewhere on his ship, the Blue Nixie. The problem there is that the harbormaster’s seized the ship until someone pays for the last four months of mooring. I’ve paid the fines to the man the harbormaster’s put in charge of my ship, a brute named Soller Vark. Yet when I went to claim my ship, Vark’s men wouldn’t let me board, claiming I hadn’t yet paid the fines. I spoke to Vark again, and he denied ever receiving my payment. My complaints to the harbormaster have fallen on deaf ears—he’s a doddering old fool who trusts his man and won’t relent.

Vark and his men are up to something on my ship, I know it. What I need is to find out exactly what there’re up to. Unfortunately, Vark’s not the type to react well to diplomacy of logic. I need someone who speaks his language… which is where you come in. If you can find out what he’s using my ship for, or even better, recover the money I paid him, I’ll pay each of you 200 gold in return once I’ve access to my vault.

What say you?”

The group after some negotiating agrees to aid her for 300 gold, and to not throw the first punch. Also they are to keep the Vanderboren name out of any discussions if comes to violence.

The group went to the harbormaster of Sasserine, a large, sickly man who seemed to be buried in paperwork and not terribly interested in what was happening on the Blue Nixie. He did peer through his telescope and see the ship being loaded in the middle of the night, but stood by his man Soller Vark as being an upstanding and respected member of his team. Besides, he hasn’t the resources to investigate every complaint, thanks to the Dawn Council turning down his budget requests. The party left in disgust.

Just outside the Harbormaster’s office the group stumbles—literally—upon a dragonborn Paladin. He is so well mannered that the group offer to buy him his meal. It turns out he is a long way from home, with few prospects for honorable employment. The group spin their quest to retrieve a ring as gallantly helping a Lady and Zakar joins the Company.

The group decides to check things out tonight to see what is going on. After securing information that the ship is docked at pier five in the Merchant District (the long one between the Merchant’s Guildhall and the Smith’s Guildhall). Alas, upon arrival it becomes apparent that the Blue Nixie is not docked at the pier at all, but in fact moored to a float about 100 feet from the pier’s end.

The party rents a rowboat tied up to the dock and rows out toward the ship to confirm that it is indeed the Blue Nixie and try to get a closer look. The party row stealthily to the boat and start climbing aboard. Three climb up but the fourth is spotted by the watchman. The watchman shouts an alarm, followed by the ship flooding with men from below not long afterwards. A melee ensues. In the midst of combat, Soller called down into the hold “Burn them, burn them all!” which was followed by smoke and the sounds of screeching animals. Not long after that, there was a loud crash, a eerie high pitched shriek, and then a woman’s scream (who was down in the hold). Soller was cut down while trying to make his escape.

What was down in the hold quickly revealed itself. The creature, a Rhagodessa, thought to be extinct until recently, is a prehistoric ancestor to the monstrous spiders found in the jungles to the south. Only in recent times have the been spotted again, and then only in the possession of smugglers. It was surrounded and destroyed.

After a search of the ship, a bag was found containing 100 pp, likely Lavinina’s payment to the harbormaster, as well as a Signet ring bearing the Vanderboren family crest, and a scrap of rolled up parchment threaded through the ring.

Chimera looks to sunrise.

Cyclops looks to sunset.

Medusa looks to sunrise.

Umber Hulk looks to sunset.

Basilisk looks to sunrise.

The party bed down on the Nixie for a good night’s sleep. Next morning, Edbek stays on the ship to guard it while the rest of the party tells Lady Vanderboren the good news.

Relics of Gond
Never Trust a Gnome

One of the fringe benefits of the adventuring life is that you rarely have to buy your own drinks. The common folk are always eager to hear an exciting tale of adventure and danger. We were comfortably ensconced at the local watering hole, with a hot meal and cold tankard close to hand, ready to tell a tale to those who lead much more mundane lives than you. Edbek’s story is just beginning when we suddenly felt a strange sensation. The hairs on the back of our neck stood up. A low humming noise filled the tavern. There is a green flash of light and a whiff of ozone before the world starts spinning. An instant later we found ourselves back in a tavern… but not the tavern you were in moments ago. And the tavern is full of angry pirates!

In the ensuing melee we save a gnome from certain death. It turns out the gnome is a priest of Gond named Glimnock who—instead of golems—summoned us to his rescue. As we are halfway across the continent with no way to get back, he proposes we accompany him to a sunken island to retrieve some artifacts of Gond. After learning that the island will, in fact, be above water for a few hours we agree to help. Another salvage mission!

All we need is transportation. We have the bad luck to be in a harbor that is full of pirate ships…except for one vessel the Singing Star. The ship’s captain, Inder Kloom, agrees to take us to Gond Island if we help crew and repair his ship. We agree and soon set off for the island. On arrival, we find a temple in ruins yet defended by very dangerous constructs. Glimnock is enraptured by the things even as they nearly kill everyone. As the last one is destroyed, he finds a way to disable them. What a help. We find some holy scriptures of Gond in a puzzle-altar and sail back—but are intercepted by Cowled Wizards. They refer to our captain as “Leadbottom” and accuse him of smuggling. This one time, he happens to be on legitimate business and is therefore let off. Only after the two ships are parted do we learn that the worthless gnome stayed on the other ship. With no particular destination in mind, we set sail for Sassarine.

Vessels in Thesk
Mad halflings and angry orcs

After a few days revelry in Suzail, the party members get wind of someone else that needs an item retrieved. Sensing a business opportunity, the four adventurers decide to form the Lucky Coin Salvage Company and Mutual Aid Society. This time, they are pointed to the maddest halfling in the Realms, Jonster Yate. When we encountered the halfling he was sitting, legs folded, on a raft—although there was no water within several miles. “The flood is coming,” said the halfling as an introduction. “The signs are all there, and I am prepared. However, I have learned of a radiant vessel in the land of Thesk. It is said to not only float, but also to have healing powers. And smite your enemies. And mend pottery. I want you to go to Thesk and get it for me. Except it may not be an actual seafaring vessel. It might be a cup – a wonderful gold and silver chalice. Also, one who I talked to claimed that it was a boot. But that is just crazy talk.”

The party agrees to retrieve the vessel, it is what they do after all, and travels to Thesk. Thesk is inhabited by a large number of rather civilized orcs. There has been some recent tension with the human population, however due to the recent kidnapping of a young girl. It turns out that the orc band blamed for the kidnapping was led by an orc who had a relationship with the young girl, Sibbya. The orc chief, Bhral, was under the evil influence of a minor fiend. With the fiend dispatched, Bhral saw reason and allowed the party to help Sibbya, who was even then trying to give birth to a large-headed half-orc, Bhral’s son. Elbow-deep in gore, Edbek helps deliver the baby and earns Bhral’s thanks.

You mercy towards Bhral the orc mercenary does not go unnoticed. In future dealings with orcs of Thesk, your kindness and reputation precede you.

Trials of the Lucky Coin
The Beginning

The party members: Edbek a dwarven fighter, Rua a half-elven warlock, Dek’hart an elven ranger, and Oriundûs a watersoul genasi artificer, meet at the house of down-on-his-luck noble Deskyr Thanterim. He needs the party members to recover his family fortune from the city of Urmlaspyr in Sembia.

The party agrees and soon find themselves trying to sneak into the Forbidden Zone in that luckless city. With Tymora’s help, they find the vault and return Deskyr’s legacy—or what is left of it.

As a reward for returning some scriptures sacred to Tymora the party receives Tymora’s Token.

Tymora’s token is an octagonal golden coin about 1 inch in diameter. One side depicts three rolling dice and the other the head of Tymora. The coin glows softly as long as in the hands of the person who earned the token. When the coin is tossed by its owner, it always land on the side predicted. When shown, Tymorans treat the owner of the coin more favorably. Enemies of Tymora’s faith tend to react less favorably instead. The exact effects are up to the DM, but it should never generate automatic success or failures unless specified otherwise in the adventure.


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