Check for Traps

Hit the Devil
Echo's Journal

Now it’s day and night the irons clang, and like poor galley slaves
We toil and toil, and when we die, must fill fiery graves
But some dark night, when everything is silent in the town
I’ll shoot those tyrants one and all, I’ll whip the flogger down
I’ll give the land a little shock, remember what I say,
And they’ll yet regret they’ve sent us all in chains to Brimstone Bay

Tanjari, my dear sister,

I don’t know if this letter will ever reach you, or how old you’ll be when it does, but I wanted to get this down on paper while I have the chance. I’m sure you’ve heard it said that we tieflings are the daughters of hell—that we’re kin to the types that crawl through the Abyss, hungry for little children who misbehave. I want you to know that no one’s ever told a fouler lie. We share nothing with the things that dwell below.

I’ve been a prisoner twice now, Tanjari. You might be about to grow up in a free city, and I can’t tell you how happy that makes me. In a city or in a cell, there isn’t anything you can compare to being a prisoner, and I don’t want you to ever go through that. More than once now, I’ve come too close to never seeing you and your sister again—I don’t want to hide that from you. I love you with all my heart.

The world outside the city walls has been no less cruel to us than the orcs were, so it’s up to us to make a safe place for ourselves. Union City is the closest thing to that we’ve got, so don’t get any funny ideas about leaving any time soon. I’m not so great at the ‘parenting’ thing, and if you’re my sister I know you’ll break any rule I lay down, so here’s a few things I wish I’d have heard at your age:

1) Debts are made to fuck you over.
2) Deals are usually made to the benefit of the one offering, so if you have to take one, make it on your terms.
3) There’s nothing good at sea.
4) You can usually trust elves.
5) If you meet someone with her hands cut off, y
5) No such thing as a fair fight.

I’ll see you again. Your mentor is a fortune teller who used to make a ton off tourists in District 3. If he turns out to be a phony, steal back his down payment and I’ll split it with you when I get back.

Love,
Echo

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Metal Friends
Echo's Journal

I’ll be damned, they did it. Well, we did it, but I don’t want my name on the record.

I guess I’m the Molly leader now. What do they call that? Chief Molly? Head Mol? Mollnarch? Gonna go with Mollnarch for now. I’m the boss, after all. Haven’t written here for a long time, on account of I didn’t think I’d be alive, but it turns out the rain was killing off any magical folks. Anyone with magic on ‘em, too. Lucky for us, a few innovating minds in the city whipped up a grease suit to keep dry. It’s a lot less fun than it sounds.

City was a mess the day after. Still is. Turns out, we’re in open rebellion. The Mollies proper are insurgents, and we came across some especially bad blood, but it sounds like the main bunch didn’t have anything to do with the rain (could be lying, for all I know). Bunch of half-breed orcs led the rebellion with the Mollies backing them. It was all a little too grand for my liking, so I did a little scouting with the team, and together, we hit one hell of a jackpot.

Keys to the city. Magic weapons. The Mollies’ charter (they used to be royal agents!). Nine hells, I’d never thought I’d even SEE a magic weapon, much less haul a trunkload of them down the street.

Picked up on a few correspondences between the Mollies that said they were to meet at town hall. Well, I never got the memo that there’s an old town hall and a new one, so we show up at this big old place I’ve never been before and waltz right in with the keys we found expecting a grand entrance. What do we find? Nothing but a bunch of old bones. Oh, and one other minor thing—a portal chamber leading to dozens of cities across the world. Nothing special.

Anyway, we headed out of there and to the NEW town hall, I uh, introduced myself to my subordinates (they were ill-prepared for my arrival—so hard to find good help these days), and we learned about the orcs’ plans to have a meeting at the local museum. Big-wigs. City warchiefs, clerics, a proper sorcerer, and even the Great White Orc himself (named postmortem).

The ranger came up with the plan: we hit the sewers, knock out a few pinchpoints and back up the water system, get the whole place nice and wet. Then we let loose a few of those nasty vials that killed off all the magic users.

The plan handled like a dream. The sewers were the easy part. Definitely no hangups at all. There CERTAINLY isn’t a dragon with more gold than I’ve ever seen in one place in my life, not to mention untold magical treasures that make up three hundred years of this fine city’s history. That would be absolutely ridiculous. And even if there WAS such a thing, it DEFINITELY wasn’t all destroyed in a painfully beautiful eruption of spells we set off. Yeesh, I’d lose my mind if something like that happened.

Anyway, the plan killed all but the high priest. He was a piece of work, but we put a nail in that coffin. Gotta say, we’re shaping up into a pretty decent band of scoundrels.

The regime fell apart after that. The metal mayor and her friends have the rest of the orcs in disarray, and now all that’s left to do is mop up. Kids around the city are using some overgrown plants to purify the water, too. After that…well, I guess we’re free to do whatever we want. It’s weird, I’ve never really had to deal with that kind of situation. No debt, nothing hanging over my head, no orcs waiting to whack me at the first slight. Feels nice. Think I’ll keep it this way. All I’ve got to worry about is making sure my family gets a comfortable place to make a living—and as it happens, I think there are a few abandoned orcs’ officers houses that might fit the bill pretty nicely. My district could use a nice bed and breakfast. Might give the little one a safe place to stay. Maybe even study something?

As for us, the orcs aren’t going to take open rebellion lying down. If we want to keep what we swiped out from under their noses, we’ll need friends. I’ve hardly ever been out of the city, but hell, if I can fool the Mollies into thinking I’m a leader, playing diplomat to a bunch of people out there I’ve never even thought of before a day ago can’t be too much harder, right?

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Not Feeling Well
Echo's Journal

The orcs killed a bunch of people last night, and I have no idea what’s left waiting for us up there.

The Fates aren’t big on cutting us a break, are they? One month ago, I’m thinking about how to spend my little nest-egg, now I’m wondering if I’ll ever see the light of day again.

Mollies are rotten. Or are they? I don’t really know, and it doesn’t really matter at this point. One day they seem like a tough ally to fall back on, and the next, we reckon they’re trying to get us to poison the city wells. We were given a bunch of vials to plant in the water supply. That doesn’t sit well with the worst of scumbags, so I had a few questions—questions nobody was too happy about answering. So we kept ’em, and it seems like the Mollies cut ties with us, for better or worse.

Or maybe I’m the Chief Molly now? Hard to say. More on that later.

Whatever the vials were meant to do, there was a hard rain last night, and now people are dying. Were the vials meant to kill even more people? I can’t shake the feeling that it might have been an antidote, but fuck, there’s no way we could have known that! You don’t just hand over a bunch of magic vials that seem to kill magic users on contact and expect a team like ours to follow orders without a word or two more—we’ve stuck our necks out far too much for that!

And what’s with all this new machinery coming from the docks? Whatever, doesn’t matter to me. The humans want to consort with the orcs, that’s their problem—twice the number of hits to rob, the way I see it.

I’m sick of the orcs, and I’m sick of getting jerked around. From now on, we work independent. No more taking orders from a hundred different middlemen, and definitely no more ass-kissing when we’re asked to take a blind leap. I’m head of the Mollies and I’ve got the documents to prove it, damnit! Whatever’s on the other side of those doors tomorrow, we’re gonna face it as a team. Everything’s up in the air—I want the biggest nets to catch it when it comes down.

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Hazard Pay
Echo's Journal

We’re a little better at this than I thought—never expected to break into an orc barracks, much less without it ending with all of us hanging outside the district gates.

I’m starting to trust these Mollies less and less. They had us get in and out of this compound that was built like a fortress, all to rescue a contact who got caught. Security wasn’t as tight as I’d expected, but then again, they didn’t expect us to tunnel in through the bathhouse. Wonder how many times we can pull this kind of thing off before patrols start showing up in the sewers?

Anyway, we got in and out with our guy intact…mostly. The orcs may not have thought anyone would come after him, but they sure weren’t gentle in interrogating him either. Guy comes to, and before we can get a word in, he has us fetching his replacement.

He took care of himself after that. Dunno what he knew that was so important, but the Mollies have another thing coming if they think I’d do the same for them.

The new informant is green. Really green. Just as well, though—the boys were getting a little tired of taking orders from a seasoned wise guy like James, so we might be closer to running our own gig with someone like Ga’lin here.

Did I just write that? Gods, I sound like I’ve been doing this for years. It’s been what, two weeks? Three, tops?

Keep telling myself this ain’t me, but hells, it isn’t like I can go back to locksmithing.

Then we had last night’s ordeal. Our new eyes and ears told us we had a double job to take care of. Orcs had an engineer holed up and working on a new project for them, and they had a few of his kids locked up on a farm not far away as hostages. We had to spring the kids with no bloodshed, then clean house at the fortress and rescue our brainy friend.

Thought it would be a routine jailbreak—my cellmates used to fantasize about it, some heroes tunneling us out in the middle of the night, all of us scampering off before the orcs were any the wiser…

Didn’t go down like that. I don’t want to think about everything that happened under that farm again. Used to be a little wary of how bloodthirsty our toot-playing accomplice is, but after what I’ve seen, if he wants to get buckwild on the pigs, it’s just as well. Any one of those kids could have been one of my sisters.

But we did the best we could and got a fat payload out of it, to boot. And by Asmodeus’s angry asshole, I don’t think I’ve ever seen so much in one place—no way in all the hells I want it any longer than I have to.

If I sent my young sister’s foster family THAT much gold, they’d just as likely use it to skip town as invest it. I want to bad to just use the gold to buy a little run-down house for us, move to a different district, and support us as a locksmith again. But it wouldn’t be that easy. Good intentions or no, the Mollies are still a gang of sorts, so I’m in it for a longer run than that. Besides, it wouldn’t be long before the orcs caught our trail if we tried settling while we’re so weak.

Our sister can’t be near us while we’re…active, like this. If she were living under the same roof as us while we’re pissing them off like this, it would be too easy for them.

I wonder if there are any schools I could send her to? Damn the ban on magic, if the stories about the old wizards are true, she’d make a brilliant one. Maybe the bards have a school somewhere in the city that would take a tiefling with enough money. Disappear all ties to me and send her off to learn quietly, out of all this shit and on to a real future.

Maybe one a little brighter than what we’re dealing with.

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Good Behavior
Echo's Journal

There’s more criminals outside prison than inside, seems like.

I’m out of jail for barely a week, and already things are worse than I could have imagined. Part of my debt to James Monroe was cleared by the time I got out, but only because my sister Furia’s been working for him the whole time. Worse yet, our youngest sister’s in foster care growing up under gods-know-who’s parentage. Mom and Dad would be proud, but I’m sick to my stomach.

James still runs the Broke Imp, but his luck’s been awful. Besides my sister, he’s had a drunk bouncer working for him, along with a smooth-talking tiefling and some toot player from the deserts overseas. Don’t know where he picked them up, but the Pate gang hit ’em pretty hard before I got back to them.

So my first job out of jail was to join that bunch on a raid to get our shit back. About 200g and the deed to the inn went missing. They had it locked away in a safehouse under one of the warehouses, we learned. Got the beggars working for them as lookouts. They’re good, but we’re better.

We were in and out in a few minutes. The place was rigged alright, but between my sister and I, there weren’t many surprises, and it turns out our new friends know how to throw their weight around. We busted in on the guards having a game of cards, and we cleaned house. Soon after, we’re making a getaway with 400g and some painting we found out is a forgery. Ledger says the Pates were expecting a BIG shipment. Like, 15k big. Can’t help but wonder what this forgery might have to do with that.

Guess it doesn’t matter to them now—the Pates are history. We got tipped off that our next heist was going to be a set up. Pate himself tipped us off, in fact, but I won’t go into detail how. Just remember to make friends if you’re ever behind bars. Never know which one of them might have relatives in high places.

Pate had kidnapped James, though. We took care of that, and that took care of my debt. Turns out Pate was planning a hostile takeover of the Broke Imp. Can’t imagine why he wanted that dump so bad, but our friend from the desert set up a trap that caught all the fish in one barrel. His bar, the Blood Gem, is empty now, as far as we know. The place might be hot, but it’s prime real estate. I think we’re a little more than James can manage, personally, so I keep thinking the Gem might have some potential. Needs a new name, though.

Oh, and we got inducted into some kind of “social club.” Not sure what to make of them, but they’re more secretive than anything I’ve run across so far. More on them later, though. I’ve got some locks to change.

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Housekeeping, Part II (and Epilogue)
  • A lost Simulacrum claiming to belong to Royce Yondale presents himself to the party after they begin a series of compulsory tests on the populace. He offers to lead them to Royce in hopes of finding out what became of his lost caster.
  • The adventurers venture into the storms that churn over Roak in hopes of quelling the disturbance and the kidnappings.
  • In the eye of the storm, the party finds a large and hideous coral isle jutting out of the waters, and they venture inside.
  • Within, the party faces down more slaadi, killing off the hatching grounds and fighting their way deeper into what soon reveals itself to be a seemingly derelict dragon’s lair.
  • In the main chamber of the coral fortress, the party is confronted by the owner of the lair: a shadow-infested dragon who identifies himself only as Loyal to the Waves. Once a noble guardian of the waters, the dragon succumbed to the spiraling despair of the Shadowfell, and he turned his dolor against all the waters within his reach. His are the storms.
  • Loyal attacks the party, turning against them mirrors that conjure wraiths of the dead souls the party has left behind, souls from Ravenloft.
  • While some of the party faces the dragon, riding it around the chamber in a fierce battle of seismic proportions, some of the party splits off to strike down the mirrors—with the Moonstone mirror as a weapon.
  • The mirrors shatter, and the Moonstone mirror’s prisoner is released—a powerful marid who joins her liberators in the battle, particularly against Camilla Yondale, her former warden who hid among the dragon’s prisoners.
  • The party slays the dragon, and they return to a heroes’ welcome on Roak.
  • In the throes of jubilant victory, terror strikes again. The horrors of Barovia rear their head again, and the undead break out in a flash on the island. As the party struggles to recuperate, there appears before them an old foe: Strahd of Ravenloft.
  • Strahd claims to have freed himself from the Demiplane of Dread, and he has come to test the party in a “fairer fight.” With little choice, the party storms Ravenloft again.
  • Fighting against the sorrow of the Barovians and time itself, the party races to the Dayheart Chamber, and history repeats itself as the party shatters it and viciously fights Strahd and his forces.
  • Strahd and the party are flung from the tower chamber, and having survived falling through mist and wolves, the heroes emerge victorious after a long and bloody battle.
  • Strahd von Zarovich, now the Darklord of his realm, releases Agia from the chains of the Shadowfell, and the heroes and their world are free to build a new future for themselves. The future they want…for once, with no strings attached.
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Housekeeping, Part I
  • Having rescued the forgemaster, the party finally cashes in on its stock of magical metal, upgrading their equipment and beginning work on a magical barrage. One of the party’s number takes his leave of the party after an unscrupulous bit of treachery within the party.
  • Equipped with greater weaponry, the ships they long sought out, a couple of new companions, and eagerness to return to Roak, the party prepares to leave Union City.
  • In a bout of debauchery, one of the party’s number wakes up with a curious silver mirror inlaid with a large moonstone. Upon investigation, he learns strange properties of the mirror: it appears to be intelligent, replaying things it has seen, as it chooses. The party member the mirror seems to be attached to uses it to great amusement.
  • As the party sails east, they encounter some friendly priests and roving merchants, both of whom they trade with.
  • Storms rage around the Makatanga, the party finds, and mermaids appear to be fleeing the area with downcast spirits.
  • On Roak, the party finds people in equally poor spirits. Drear and gloom seem to be pervasive, and the party investigates the coincidental disappearance of a well-liked but loose bard on the island.
  • The party’s investigation reveals that the bard has been seeing a lover by the shore, and upon heading that way, the party finds another stranger meeting that same lover—a slaad in disguise. A fierce battle ensues, and the party kills the surprised amphibians, left alone with but one witness: another amorous islander.
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The Un-Climax
  • The party ventures into the Yondale Manor to find Sabrina, entering from the west wing—the waterworks.
  • After fighting their way through gelatinous traps, fungal growths, and irksome traps, the party drains the wing and makes its way to the bathhouse, where a marid, Orash, greets them and informs them that he has been commanded by his masters to halt their progress.
  • Some time and a lot of water later, the party has vanquished the marid and his minions…only to start another fight among themselves. The druid and the paladin quarrel over the druid’s source of healing, and the paladin is slain; none of the other party members attempt to intervene, and his body is raised by the necromancer as a new pawn.
  • Ahead, the party tears through more animated warriors and slave-blacksmith duregar, finally reaching the prison cells. There, they find Sabrina and an imprisoned gentleman of dastardly repute, both of whom come along with the party.
  • Sabrina is eager to leave the manor, and the party leaves with her. Behind them, they leave large swaths of the manor untouched, and troubling questions unanswered—besides the party’s death, what are the Yondale twins after? What is of interest to them in Roak? How vast is their influence? Why in the world would they go so far as to work with drow? What other treasures were in the manor? But the party left all that behind, content to withdraw with Sabrina to tend to the Mage Forge, having replaced one of their number and eager to proceed with their projects.
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A Party and a "Party"
  • Enjoying their victory over the orcish navy, the party returns home briefly to Roak, where they discover that he long-weary Barovian and Welkish folk are deciding to revive the long-dead tradition of Jarila, the springtime festival of love, revelry, and good spirits (and food).
  • The people of Roak put on various shows for the festivities, including a plum brandy contest won by the reigning champion Hosek, a reenactment of the people’s most recently cherished event the Daybreak of Ravenloft, innumerable bawdy songs, the conception of many bastards, and the sharing of many stories.
  • Sir Ulric the Raven Knight takes the party on a hunt to the northern island, a trip sanctioned by the natives, to go after Queen Anne, a great cat that kills for sport.
  • Suspicion plagues the party as they head north. They privately blame Sir Ulric for the people’s trespassing onto the island in the first place, and they already suspect Ulric’s “eventual betrayal,” as foretold by a being from another plane.
  • The hunt goes without a hitch, but upon returning to Roak, the party delivers a chilling warning to the youth of Roak—a death threat on venturing to the northern island. It is not a threat the people of Roak are likely to forget, for better or for worse.
  • The party returns to the Trade Confederacy to do business with the Mage Forge.
  • The Defense Minister of the Trade Confederacy distributes the prize money from the battle, but as the party plans to deposit it into a local bank, the Minister warns of a crime spree—bank robberies, targeting the banks that funded the mercenaries in the war effort. The Minister suspects the Molly Rang, a crime syndicate deeply entrenched in the nationalists of Union City who are unhappy with the Confederacy and its building of the capital on Thlassian land. Mollies resent all foreigners, and the party is the biggest figurehead of them all.
  • Sabrina, the forgemaster of the Mage Forge, is found to have been abducted. Forge activity is halted while the investigation is ongoing.
  • A highly convincing conversation with some Mollies at a local club informs the party that the crime spree was committed by Mollies, but they aren’t acting with the consent of the rest of the syndicate. Camilla and Royce Yondale are fingered as prime suspects, and one of the Mollies notes that he participated in the abduction, and that while few know the importance of Sabrina, she’s likely holed up at the Yondale Manor.
  • The players take a small boat by night to the Yondales’ seaside manor.
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The Part where the Party Blows Up the Whole Orcish Navy with Some Mines
  • The party blows up the whole orcish navy with some mines.
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