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Scarred Lands: Fire in Rahoch Session Recap 2

Posted on November 25, 2019 by Flames

A Land Where Legends Walk

    Drawing enthusiastically on Greek mythology, the revised and re-imagined Scarred Lands nonetheless retains its place as a modern fantasy RPG setting. This is a world shaped by gods and monsters, and only the greatest of heroes can expect to be counted among them. The most populous continent of Scarn, Ghelspad, plays host to vast unexplored regions, hides unsolved riddles from ancient cultures, and taunts adventures with the promise of undiscovered riches hidden among the ruins of older civilizations.

    Yet the myths of the Scarred Lands are relatively recent events. The effects of the Titanswar still ripple through the world, and the heroines and villains of many of these stories are part of living memory, if not still living.

    The following continues the recap of the Scarred Lands campaign, Fire in Rahoch. It follows the adventures of Stromm, Manuc, Rostum, and Lliese as they navigate the politics of Calastia while at the same time trying to appease the secret societies that they are each a part of.

    Session Two: Something Rotten in the Sewers

      Manuc’s hideaway smelled faintly of unwashed rat and saltwater. While the place was littered with cushions, barrels of food, and furniture meant to make it feel cozy, it was still undeniably in the sewer tunnels and was both cold and damp. Lliese took one look at the place and immediately made an excuse: She had to meet up with her trading company, the House of Salir, at a pre-appointed time. The others encouraged her exit, hoping that she’d be able to gather some more information for them. Manuc himself offered to lead her to the docks, taking a few twists and turns as he did so in an effort to prevent her from finding her way back.

      This left the two Legionnaires alone in the sewers and while they were, technically, in a safe location—they decided that staying there wasn’t going to further their investigation. Unfortunately, neither of them were familiar with the tunnels, and so they spent some time wandering through them.

      Eventually, Stromm pointed out that following the water downstream would lead to the ocean—which is what they wanted to avoid. The cliffside ocean was known to be treacherous and could easily smash two wandering adventurers against the rocks. They were about to follow the water in the opposite direction (and hopefully toward an exit into the city), when Rostum spotted a partial footprint pressed into the fetid mud that had gathered at the bottom of one of the tunnels.

      Intrigued by the fact that someone was wandering the tunnels, both Stromm and Rostum followed the trail. It ventured toward the ocean, and they soon smelled saltwater and fish as they crept through the dim tunnels. The trail led them to a side passage, which seemed dryer than the rest of the tunnels. They paused for a moment, peering down the passage, which was lit with what looked like a singular candle flame. A gust of wind brought the smell of brine and the sickly sweet smell of rot.

      They prepared themselves. Stromm held up his shield while Rostum prayed to his god. They walked forward, armored and ready. What met their eyes was something horrific.

      The tunnel opened up into a wider chamber. At the center of it was a flickering candle surrounded by a circle of runes, written in blood. The wavering light cast shadows among the body parts that had been pushed against the sides of the walls—at least a dozen or more bodies that had been hacked apart. The smell was almost overwhelming—rot and decay and too much blood.

      Stromm and Rostum stared, knowing that necromancy had been performed there, hidden in the depths of Rahoch to avoid repercussions. They took a moment to collect themselves, and then began putting the bodies back together as best they could, lining them up. As they did, they noticed that pieces were missing—an arm there, a leg there; a hand and a torso elsewhere. In fact, as many pieces were missing as it would take to construct another body. Not one that, but the bodies all appeared to be human rather than other races.

      As they sifted through the bodies, they also discovered what appeared to be a journal of some kind, written in a strange language. Stromm quickly recognized the language as Titan, though refused to read it within what was clearly somewhere dangerous.

      They quickly discussed what they should do next, and decided burning the bodies was the best course of action. Perhaps cleansing fire would clear the taint that had collected. As Stromm glanced around for any wood, he noticed a table against one of the walls. He quickly grabbed it to break it apart for firewood, and found that shifting the table actually opened a wall behind it. It revealed a set of stairs, leading upward into the darkness.

      Scouting ahead, Stromm found a door at the top that led into a dusty basement. After making sure it was safe, he headed back down the stairs to help Rostum set the bodies alight.

      The bodies went up with a whoosh of flame, which is exactly when Rostum remembered that certain gases produced by sewers may be more flammable than expected. The two raced up the stairs into the basement as flames licked behind them, and then rushed into a dusty room above. It was clearly unused and ill-kept, though a few meagre belongings remained in one corner. After making sure the upstairs was also empty, the two exited and found themselves in the streets and near the dockyards.

      It was only moments before there were cries of “fire!” from around them. The two hesitated for only a moment, before working to make sure that the flames didn’t spread to the other buildings near the abandoned one. Once the fire was out and the building burned to ash, the two questioned a few of the locals to find out if anyone lived in the house that burned. They were able to find out that an Asaatthi with dirty scales tended to stay there from time to time. They tracked down the Asaatthi and, for a hefty bribe, were able to find out that a noble tended to go into the house from time to time—though the Asaatthi didn’t know his name and said that he always “wore a dark cloak.” However, the Asaatthi did know that nobles in the area also tended to frequent the Red Velvet, and was also able to say that the noble had an insignia that appeared to be a golden leaf in a circle.

      At that point, Stromm and Rostum left the Asaatthi and decided to head toward the brothel, trusting that they could question a few of the workers there. The building was a two story one, though as shabby as the rest of the buildings that surrounded it. Red curtains hung in the windows, made of cloth that certainly wasn’t velvet. A balcony above was surrounded by candles, acting as a small stage to help entice customers inside. While the place probably looked spectacular in the evening, the morning light showed it for what it truly was—a broken down building that had seen better days.

      The two pushed open the door painted with red, flaking pain and entered to find men and women preparing for the evening. One woman tested a musical instrument while another set up a gaming table. The entire bottom floor seemed to be set up as a place for entertainment and vice. Couches were scattered on the edges of the walls with low tables to accommodate drinks. A raised stage was located on one side, though no one yet performed. A wooden staircase lead upstairs to what were presumably private rooms.

      That’s when an older woman sauntered up to them, waving a hand, “We’re not open yet! You’ll need to come back later.”

      Rostum stepped forward with a quick lie, “We’re here on important business…we’re looking for a noble that may come in here at times…he’s missing. He had an insignia that happens to be a golden leaf in a circle.”

      The woman narrowed her eyes slightly and Stromm spoke up, “We would like to keep everything as private as possible. It’s no good for anyone’s business to have rumors floating around.”

      The woman replied staunchly, “Yeah, of course. Well, let me question a few of my girls and lads. They may know something. Stay here for now. Shiren there will keep you company,” she gestured toward one of the dice tables where a snake-like Asaatthi stood with a smile, her red robe complimenting her dark scales, “Come. Let’s play.”

      A twitch of his lips was the only sign that the Legionnaire, Stromm, was thinking of smiling. He walked over and played dice with the woman—winning every single time with a little sleight of hand. After a bit of negotiation, he was able to secure her as an informant within the Red Velvet.

      Once the older woman returned, she led the two upstairs and into a private room. There, they found a human woman by the name of Azari, who claimed to have met with the gentleman described by the Asaatthi and that he was one of her best clients. With a bit of questioning, however, the two Legionnaires found out that another individual instead paid her to say that she was bedding the noble on a regular basis—something that was clearly meant to be an alibi if his true dealings were found out.

      At that point, both Stromm and Rostum knew that they had to discuss the situation in private. Deciding to go to the nearest temple, they walked into a religious center for Manawe, goddess of the sea.

      The temple had a roof that looked like an overturned ship, and sea glass was strung from the ceiling. The high windows above caused natural light to dance in glittering patterns through the temple, as if it the entire structure was underwater. Benches made of driftwood were laid on either side of an aisle, which led to the altar in front, studded with seashells. A priest spoke with a few of a devout, but otherwise the temple was empty.

      Stromm and Rostum took a seat one of the benches, bowing their heads as they murmured to one another, discussing what had happened. Stromm took out the journal and scanned through it, noting that it was clearly a religious book dedicated to the Titans—possibly Mormite in nature. After a moment, Stromm saw that part of the binding was torn. By ripping it the rest of the way, he saw a gold circle with a tree inside—very similar to the symbol of the elven city of Vera-Tre. They were interrupted when Manuc sat down behind them, munching a large fish that he grasped between his two hands.

      The two paused and glanced behind them briefly, slightly annoyed by the interruption. Stromm spoke tersely, “Have you ever wondered why we were chosen for this task?”

      Manuc continued to eat his fish, juices running into his grey fur, “Because our bosses all have a stake in it?”

      “No,” Stromm replied. “If they wanted the best person for the job, I doubt they’d send you. It’s because we’re expendable—or are so adherent to the rules, we wouldn’t hesitate to kill everyone here if we were ordered to.”

      Manuc’s eyes widened slightly, “Who here would kill everyone?”

      “Me, for one. Though I imagine there are others,” Stromm glanced sideways at Rostum, who looked away. “The fact is that there is apparently a commoner-based uprising against the king—and a noble who may be dealing in necromantic arts. It doesn’t add up. More likely, there’s some false information being given somewhere. Add that to the fact that people were apparently attacked by something with claws and teeth and then were locked belowdecks after a fire was started? Seems strange. And why would soldiers be set to guard the ship? I imagine that it was to cover up a theft, potentially.”

      Manuc nodded and then hopped off the bench, placing the remains of his fish inside his robe, “Then let’s get to it! No time to waste. I have an idea of where we can check for what might have been stored on the ship.”

      The three left the temple and headed toward The Black Dog, a tavern located across the street from the burned docks and right next to the Red Velvet. As they entered, they noticed that the establishment was just beginning to get busy as afternoon edged toward evening. A few sailors joked on one side of the room while another crew shared mugs of ale. Candles lit the dim interior, causing flickering shadows to move over everyone. A Manticora with a leather apron served drinks at the bar, self-assured as she passed out wine and ale.

      The group went up to the bar and spoke with the Manticora, named Majira. She smiled cat-like at them before asking what they wanted. After ordering drinks, Rostum asked if he could ask her a few questions. She, in kind, said that she’d trade information for information. After trading secrets back and forth, he found out that the burned ship had been holding cargo that had been meant to be sold on the black market—and that it hadn’t been recovered after the burning.

      In the meantime, Manuc had spotted a few people he had sailed with in the past, including his Captain. Swaggering over, he chatted with them and drank. He was able to find out that a woman by the name of Meesha may have some information about connections to the local black market—and would be happy to help as long as Manuc made sure to say what crew he came from.

      After gathering as much information as they could, the group decided to leave and head to another inn, unwilling to stay in the one that they were investigating. They rested for the night at the Fair Sail, and prepared for the next day.

      ~

      Check in next week for Session 3!

      The Scarred Lands Player’s Guide, The Wise & The Wicked, and Scarred Lands d6 Dice are available at Studio 2, Indie Press Revolution and your local game store.

      Interested in creating and publishing your own Scarred Lands adventures? Check out the Slarecian Vault Community Content program at DriveThruRPG!

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