Curse of the Crimson Throne

Adventure Background

Korvosa
Korvosa began 300 years ago when the Empire of Cheliax expanded north into Varisia. Here, the Chelaxians found a large tribe of Shoanti barbarians dwelling around an immense pyramid on the shores of a deep bay — a perfect site for a city. After much bloodshed, the Shoanti were defeated and driven back to the harsh Cinderlands, and the new city was named after the field marshal who led his army to victory here. Few people bothered to wonder why the Shoanti had settled on this particular land, and Korvosa flourished.

The King
king_eodred.pngToday, Korvosa’s reigning King Eodred Arabasti II is feared by all the right people. His rule is steady, even if his insatiable appetites drain the city’s coffers. His ability to navigate the rocks and shoals of Chelish diplomacy earned the city favorable trade agreements with the Old Empire. Rumors of the King’s womanizing habits has to date produced no heir to the throne. Edicts proclaim Eodred II the “Saffron King,” likening his reign to one of abundance, in which honey and spice flood the markets. You, however, are likely to have heard him referred to by another name from the city’s downtrodden: The Stirge King — a man whose squandering ways are slowly bleeding the city dry.

Whispers of the King’s taste for scandalously young companionship have dogged him throughout his reign, so it was no surprise that his bride was barely a third of his age and of breathtaking beauty. Queen Ileosa has red hair like the sunset, chaste alabaster skin, and features so fetching that many claim her mother must have been a nymph queen, as surely no mortal woman could give birth to a beauty such as she.

The Queen
queen_ileosa.pngThe Queen was born Ileosa Arvanxi to one of Cheliax’s more successful noble families. When she came of age, she scandalized her family by abandoning Cheliax and sailing to Korvosa. Ileosa did not see herself as the wife of some important Chelish dignitary or noble; she wanted to be a queen.

Ileosa knew much of Eodred II’s tastes and desires before she arrived, so that when she presented herself to him, he would fall in love quickly. The two were wed after a scandalously short courtship, and the King shocked the entire city when he turned out his entire harem in favor of his new Queen. Ileosa was barely 17. Over the past 4 years, the Queen has managed to shift much dislike and disapproval away from the King and to herself with her open distaste for Korvosa (which she’s been heard to call “a backwater colonial village” more than once). While she may not appreciate Korvosa, she does appreciate its riches.

The King’s Health
The King has recently suffered a serious illness that resembled leprosy. Attempts to cure his illness have failed, and rumors swirl among the populace as people notice that he has spent the last several weeks in seclusion. Perhaps the curse has begun.

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Haunted Fortunes
Justice is Done

The_Old_Fishery.jpgSummary
Hodge, Penumbra and Wren each receive a mysterious letter invitation to the Gilded Butterfly (Tarot Card Reading Service) at sunset. Hodge and Wren notice each other at the Creaky Hammock, and decide to spend the day together, eating and casing the Gilded Butterfly. Having seen no one enter or exit the shop all day, Hodge and Wren try the front door (locked) and peak through windows into a dark lower level.

At sunset, Hodge and Wren try the door again, and find it unlocked. They enter, and a silent Penumbra drops behind the duo and follows. His sudden presence, when noticed, causes Wren to stumble backward and refer to him as “Creepy” for the rest of the evening.

The group is approached by Zellara, a fortune teller whose son had been murdered by Gaedren Lamm. She tells the threesome everything she knows and sends them forth to dole out justice at an old, abandoned fishery.

Upon arriving, Hodge finds a boarded-over door he can break into, and the three enter an empty bunkroom. As they explore the fishery, the group manages to knock out Yargin Balko, Gaedren’s right-hand man, accomplice and accountant. Penumbra scares Hookshanks Gruller (the gnome taskmaster in charge of the Little Lamb’s daily chores) so much that he stumbles off a ledge and is knocked unconscious. The group must enter hand-to-hand combat with Giggles, a half-orc thug watching over the rest of the child workers.

Tsaba, Wren’s missing niece, is among the Little Lambs. Wren instructs the children to wait in a safe corner of the fishery while the threesome slips below to search for Gaedren.

And there he was! The group catches Gaedren as he was sorting through piles of confiscated goods and preparing them for fencing. His pet alligator, Gobblegut, attempts to bite the would-be adventurers as they try to circle around a large opening in the floor. Hodge, Penumbra and Wren focus their efforts on Gaedren, and are rewarded with his demise. They throw his body to the alligator, whom they then kill.

In Gaedren’s filthy bedroom, Penumbra find Zellara’s rotting head in a hat box. Beneath the stump of her neck is a small wooden box containing her Harrow deck. When Wren announces that she wants to keep the old, hand-painted deck, Zellara’s spirit appears. She asks for her head to be buried beside her son’s body in the Gray Ward cemetery and vows to help the party as much as she is able.

The group turns over Yargin and Hookshanks to the Korvosan Guard, along with 4 Little Lambs who know where their parents are. The Guard will return them to their parents as quickly as possible, and keep them safe in the meantime. Tsaba and 3 other children travel with the group to a local inn for the night. The oldest child asks to be placed in a city orphanage, where he can get training to join the Guard. The two little girls ask to find foster families, and Wren and Penumbra agree to take them to Desna’s shrine in the morning to see if the cleric can help with this task. Hodge – not accustomed to sleeping in beds – returns to the Creaky Hammock for the evening. All three agree to meet around noon at the Citadel to relate their story and speak with someone “higher up.”

Experience
Earned XP: 1,055
Story XP: 1,800/3
-——————
Total XP per PC: 1,655

Treasure
From Yargin: Wand of acid splash (28 charges), 3 vials (unknown), 2 tanglefoot bags, thunderstone, 6 crossbow bolts, garnet amulet (100 gp)

Fishery cabinet: 4 small pouches (50 cp each), 2 small pouches (50 sp each)

From Gaedren Lamm: MW dagger, MW hand crossbow, 8 crossbow bolts, teak cigar case inlaid with bits of jade (25 gp), 20-lb gold ingot with Cheliax coat of arms (100 gp), miniature gold crown (350 gp), fist-sized scrimshaw carving of a kraken w/garnet for eyes (200 gp), silver ring (150 gp), ivory figurine of two entwined succubi (450 gp), MW shuriken, adamantine arrowhead, abalone-shell holy symbol of Shelyn (300 gp), glass tube containing oil of keen edge, an obsidian wand of magic missile (23 charges), decorative crystalline vial containing silversheen, bejeweled brooch w/broken clasp belonging to queen, and Zellara’s Harrow Deck.

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A quick update ...
August Summary 2018

1 – Edge of Anarchy

You were drawn together by a common thread—a cruel old criminal named Gaedren Lamm. Given the chance to bring him to justice or avenge yourselves against him by a mysterious Varisian woman named Zellara, you confronted Gaedren in the old fishery that served as his hideout. Therein, you found two surprises—a brooch stolen from Queen Ileosa and Zellara’s severed head. Zellara had been dead for weeks, and now her Harrow deck serves as a receptacle for her ghost, creating a strange but helpful ally that follows the PCs through the majority of this Adventure Path. Wren was the keeper of this deck.

When you emerged from the fishery, you learned that King Eodred Arabasti II had died, and the city of Korvosa had plunged into chaos. After meeting with the grieving queen to return the stolen brooch, you were recruited by the Korvosan Guard to help bring the city back under control. Starting with an investigation of All The World’s Meat, where you meet the repentant Vaskerkin who acted in malice due to his wayward love of an evil woman, your fun time at Eel’s End playing knivsies and meeting Devargo Barvarsi, and your harrowing adventure in the Dead Warrens (do you remember Rolth’s fancy necromatic experiements?), this portion of your travel ends with you returning Gaekhen’s corpse to Field Commander Cressida Kroft. After dealing with guards gone rogue, handling a delicate political situation involving a local crime lord, and coping with all manner of chaos in the streets, you were asked to apprehend a woman named Trinia Embereye, who is an artist suspected of assassinating King Eodred II. After capturing her and hearing her story, you decided to hide her at Zellara’s house for a short while before finding her a place of safety. The guards then asked you to recover the missing body of a Shoanti warrior before his kin declare war on the city. The adventure ended with you attending the supposed execution of Trinia Sabor (an innocent look-alike to fool the public), only to become caught up in the chaos of her unexpected rescue by one of Korvosa’s most legendary heroes—a masked man named Blackjack.

2 – Seven Days to the Grave

What began as a simple favor for a recent acquaintance (Vencarlo Orsini) quickly drew you into a battle against a rampant plague that threatened to consume all of Korvosa. Becoming unofficial agents of the desperate church of Abadar, you did all you could to halt the progression of the plague and save as many infected citizens as possible. Through the course of your work, you gradually discovered the sinister groups responsible for the plague’s outbreak and the deaths of thousands: the criminal Red Mantis, the disease-worshiping church of Urgathoa, and Korvosa’s own genocidal queen.

3 – Escape from Old Korvosa

The leader of the Sable Company attempted an assassination of Queen Ileosa—an attempt that backfired horribly as the queen revealed the extent of power granted by the Crown of Fangs. In the aftermath of this event, you received word that, in the now-quarantined Old Korvosa, your friend Vencarlo might have discovered something of great import regarding the queen. You braved the anarchic streets of Old Korvosa only to find Vencarlo missing and his home transformed into a Red Mantis ambush. In the aftermath of this battle, the party discovered a tiny compartment containing a metal iron lockbox containing a black hooded cloak, everal black masks, a dozen masterwork daggers with a stylized “Be” engraved in their pommels, a black leather suit with matching boots and gloves and a mithral rapier. You now suspected your friend Vencarlo was Blackjack! Following a trail of clues, you learn that a strange artist named Salvator Scream likely knows where Vencarlo went, as well as what information sent the teacher into such a state in the first place. Unfortunately, Salvator was securely in the hands of a petty warlord who calls himself the Emperor of Old Korvosa.

After dealing with the Emperor and interrogating Salvator, you learned the secret—the seneshal of Korvosa still lives! He, and likely Vencarlo now, was in the clutches of the notorious Arkona family, the self-styled rulers of Old Korvosa. You visit Palace Arkona only to learn that its patriarch has secrets of his own. To rescue Vencarlo and the seneschal and learn the awful truth behind the queen’s mysterious power and rising cruelty, you braved the infamous Vivified Labyrinth below Palace Arkona … and you ultimately managed to escape from Old Korvosa alive. Hodge decided to return to his beloved bar in Korvosa and paused his adventuring lifestyle.

4 – A History of Ashes

You fled the city of Korvosa to seek shelter in the village of Harse, where you soon learned that Queen Ileosa had fallen under the influence of an ancient evil known as Kazavon. Yet few people remember much about Kazavon—and unfortunately, the only ones who might know how to defeat the evil are the Sun Shamans of the Sklar-Quah. Unfortunately, because the Sklar-Quah were readying for war on Korvosa, getting them to share this information required you to travel into the Cinderlands and seek out the Skoan-Quah shaman Thousand Bones—a man you met while recovering Gaekhen’s body. With his advice, you undertook a series of trials and tasks of increasing difficulty, culminating in the Trial of the Totems which granted you membership in the Sklar-Quah Shoanti tribe.

Along the way, you encountered several characters, from suspicious local barbarians to sinister cultists of Zon-Kuthon to a band of assassins sent into the Cinderlands by the queen herself to see that your meddling ways are put to an end once and for all. You were caught in an all-out assault on the Shoanti of the Flameford camp by these assassins.

5 – Skeletons of Scarwall

After securing an audience with the Sun Shamans of the Sklar-Quah, you discovered that you must travel through the orc-held lands of Belkzen to an ancient fortress called Scarwall—once the lair of Kazavon, the evil spirit currently granting Queen Ileosa unholy and potent powers beyond life and death via a powerful artifact called the Crown of Fangs. You are instructed that if you hope to defeat Ileosa and her Crown of Fangs, you must first seek out an ancient magical weapon—the bastard sword Serithtial, last known to lie in Scarwall.

Upon arriving at Scarwall, you discovered the reason no one else had succeeded in braving the ancient ruin. It was under a potent curse. Undead, dragons, and devils stalk the castle’s halls, and the fell haunting bars entrance into the inner sanctum in which Serithtial laid hidden. To retrieve the sword, you were forced to lift the curse and exorcise a castle that had been haunted for over six hundred years. Wren chose to continue her traveller ways and has left Zellara’s Harrow Deck with the party for safekeeping as she searches for her relatives.

6 – Crown of Fangs

You are now heading back to Korvosa … and the story continues …

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Kazavon's Hoard
Exploring Castle Scarwall Post-Curse

After freeing Castle Scarwall of its curse, you travel back inside to collect the various trinkets and coins you found during your search. You realize that part of Kazavon’s ability to successfully rule over his humanoid subjects lay in the fact that very few realized his true nature as a dragon. Maintaining his huge army as well as his extravagant needs and lifestyle prevented Kazavon from amassing an immense treasury. So instead, he satisfied his dragon need to hoard by hiding it in plain sight in the Lord’s Tower.
scarwall.jpg
“The interior of this tall, hollow tower is silent and menacing. A full 40 feet overhead, an opening at the tower’s peak lets in light, as do the arrow slits set into the walls, yet nothing seems capable of dispelling the gloom of ancient evil that once loomed here. A shallow pool of stagnant water from past rains has formed in the center of a floor that is largely empty of furnishings. Near the far wall slumps a wide bed swathed in rotten and moldy bedclothes. The bed hangs a few feet off the floor, supported at its corners by chains hanging from a series of iron support beams above. To the side, a large gilt throne stands upon a short dais before a series of manacles inset into the floor. A nearby fire grate, long cold, holds a collection of branding irons and other torturer’s tools. A series of alcoves climbs the walls of this tower in an ascending spiral. Within each stands a statuette, art object or polished skull.”

Here is what you find of value:

- The gilt throne is embedded with 200 gemstones worth a total of 20,000 gp.

- The gold that covers Kazavon’s throne looks expensive, but would take a considerable amount of time to scrape off.

- Upon touching it, you discover that the down-stuffed mattress is actually filled with coins. You collect 460 pp, 15,500 gp, 24,200 sp and 796,800 cp. (I’m assuming you leave the heavy cp unless you tell me otherwise.)

- There are 80 alcoves in this room. 34 hold polished and brittle skulls. 42 hold statues, jewelry, paintings and other valuables worth a total of 17,800 gp. 4 alcoves hold magic items: a bejeweled +2 icy burst light mace; a rod of splendor; a scarab of protection (fully charged); and a gold-and-ivory, gem-studded lantern of revealing. When you touch a skull, you find that each one states its name when touched. Notably, one skull says, “Andachi of Tamrivena.” While each skull would be worth about 100 gp to the right collector of the grim and grisly, they would be difficult to transport due to their brittle nature.skull.jpg

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