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Scarred Lands: Fire in Rahoch Session Recap 3

Posted on December 2, 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 Three: Truth and Lies

      The Fair Sail was quiet in the early morning. There were no bawdy tavern songs or music drifting from below. The inn prided itself on providing clean, quiet, and suitable rooms for sailors and merchants. It was a place where you were less likely to find thieves and more likely to find businessmen. In other words, it catered to the more discerning members of the public.

      Below in the streets, crewmen and merchants began to set up their wares and haul cargo to and from ships. There was the faint creak of wood and the gentle lap of the waves in the harbor. Yet it looked as if there were fewer people around than normal, and more guards. They wore the uniform of the city, glancing around as they patrolled the streets. A few of them questioned some sailors while others knocked on doors to talk to the inhabitants within.

      Lliese prowled down the cobblestone streets, cat-like ears twitching as her slit eyes flicked one direction and then the other. There was a strange feeling in the air, and she didn’t like it. She had gone to the Merchant House of Salir to receive her orders, and planned to meet back with the rest of the investigators in the Fair Sail. However, it looked as if there may have been trouble on the streets—or perhaps would be trouble on the streets.

      She turned a corner and found herself outside the tavern. It looked neat from the outside—front stoop freshly swept and shutters latched against the chill morning air. She knocked at the door and a young boy greeted her. She explained who she was meeting, and he quickly ushered her inside and up the creaking, wooden stairs. Once she was shown the entrance, the boy returned downstairs.
      What she found waiting inside the room on the landing was close to what she was expecting. It was a neat room with well-kept beds and small trunks meant for storing items. The two Legionnaires were
      speaking quietly, the one in greenish armor with symbols of Corean looked more worried than the one wearing grey metal. Sprawled out on the bed was Manuc, the Slitherin. He snored loudly, clearly
      sleeping off whatever foul substance he’d imbibed the night before. Lliese sniffed the air and noted that it seemed that the rat had actually had a bath.

      The Legionnaire in the grey armor, Stromm, glanced toward Lliese and said calmly, “Good morning. Did you learn anything from visiting the merchant house?”

      Lliese sighed, leaning against the rough wooden wall, “Unfortunately no. They had no records of what the shipment was, and weren’t forthcoming on who it was going to. Did you learn anything while I was away?”

      Stromm nodded slowly, “Yes. We found out that the items being shipped were likely connected to the local black market in some fashion. I recommend we go to the local docks again to check around that area before going to the upper city.” Lliese nodded and then glanced toward Manuc, still snoring. She reached over to prod him once. There was no reaction.

      The follower of Corean, Rostum, quickly spoke, “Leave him. He’ll eventually sleep it off. We gave him some dwarven ale last night.” He paused for a moment at Lliese’s quirked brow before continuing to explain, “We thought it’d be the easiest way to give him a bath. We expected to potentially deal with the nobility today.”

      Lliese snorted in response, holding back laughter. There was more than one way to bathe a rat—and the plan they chose seemed as good as any. She spoke, “He can catch up. Let’s go.”

      ~

      The docks still seemed quiet for this time of day. Rostum couldn’t help but inch his gauntleted hand toward his weapon, wondering briefly what would cause things to feel this tense. He glanced at his other two companions—Lliese and Stromm. They both seemed similarly on edge as they walked through the cobblestone streets. The sailors they passed wore frowns rather than smiles, and there was more than the usual amount of guards.

      Lliese paused for a moment, and glanced toward Rostum, “Someone’s watching us.”

      He quirked a brow, glancing around slowly. He hadn’t seen anything, but he supposed that Lliese had finer senses than him, being a Manticora, “Who?”

      She shrugged. “Don’t know, yet. You two go on ahead. I’ll be right back.” With that said, she slipped away, making her way down a side alley away from the docks as Stromm and Rostum continued
      forward.

      As they walked along the docks, Rostum’s sense of unease only grew stronger. Fortunately, Lliese returned quickly, nodding to both of them, “Not sure who she was, but she was very skilled at observing others. She wasn’t a run-of-the-mill street urchin, that’s for sure.”

      “What did she have to say?” Rostum asked, still glancing at the guards that seemed to be watching them.

      “She said that there was a ‘gathering’ the night before…of the New Rising. She said that if we wanted more information, we could contact someone in there,” She nodded toward a ramshackle building. It looked as if it was held together with rusted nails and good intentions, and was an obvious residence rather than a place of business. It looked like the sort of place where you could probably find several families living together in cramped quarters as they tried to make ends meet.

      Stromm nodded in response, “You two go over and talk. I’m going to go get our resident guards some breakfast…no need to alert them.” He smirked and walked off. Rostum saw him approach a bread cart
      and purchase a few sweet rolls before he headed toward the nearest set of guards. Soon, he was surrounded by a group that obviously hadn’t had breakfast yet.

      “We should go while he has them distracted.” Rostum turned his attention back toward Lliese and nodded in response, “Let’s go.”

      The inside of the dilapidated residence was surprisingly cozy. There were the remains of breakfast on a short wooden table, with a fire crackling nearby in the fireplace. Dishes were neatly stacked on shelves along the walls and a doorway lead out into a second room beyond the kitchen. A halfling woman in an apron busied herself cleaning up around the kitchen, and what appeared to be her son sat at the table, legs swinging as he played with a wooden toy. Older children could be seen in the back, tying their boots and donning coats as they prepared to go to work. Lliese was somewhat surprised that they had been welcomed inside so warmly. The woman didn’t act like she had anything to hide. In fact, she looked like any other halfling mother who was making sure
      that her sons and daughters had a good breakfast before their workdays. Of course, any sailor would have gone to work far before now, and it was strange that none of the halflings had actually left, even though they were dressed and ready.

      The halfling woman smiled at them, gesturing toward the table, “I’d offer you breakfast, but it was eaten almost faster than I could put it down. My children have wolfish appetites.”

      Rostum smiled slightly, “That’s all right. We were wondering if we could ask you a few questions. Someone told us you could help.”

      “We don’t want to get anyone here in trouble,” Lliese added, as a precaution. They needed the information, but the halfling wasn’t likely to talk if she thought she was going to be arrested for it.
      The woman shrugged in response, busying herself with scrubbing a pot in a wash basin, “Can’t promise I can answer everything you ask, but I’ll try. Heard about you folk…questioning people down by the docks. Looking into the fire, are you?”

      Rostum looked surprised, and Lliese narrowed her eyes, “Yes…we were wondering if you’d heard anything about that.”

      The halfling shrugged again, still washing up, “A friendly birdy told me that someone was trying to pin it on something called ‘The New Rising’ to wrap it up nice and neat. Also heard that they didn’t do it and it’s something being covered up for those higher up.”

      Rostum and Lliese looked at each other for a moment. It confirmed what Lliese had found out from the tail earlier—but it still left the question who actually set the fire. Unfortunately, it seemed the interview left more questions than answers.

      ~

      The group met back outside on the cobblestone streets. After being joined by a very hung-over Manuc, they decided to head to the upper city and speak with a few of their contacts. At this point in the investigation, it looked as if this was a larger plot involving the nobility. While they did know of a contact in the black market who might yield information, there was a greater concern that the nobility wouldn’t want the actual truth told.

      Stromm headed toward the house of Commander Rizzen while Rostum headed toward the Noble House of Etharen. Manuc and Lliese instead journeyed toward the temple of Manawe that was located in this
      half of the city. Manuc knew the temples of the city like the pack of his paw, and he knew he didn’t like the temple located in the upper city. It was too clean, too perfect. The ocean wasn’t perfect; it was always in turmoil. As they ascended the marble stairs and passed through the columns carved to look like twisting coral and shells, Manuc had a firm frown on his face.

      The temple itself was a wonder. Glass had been carefully sculpted to hang down in blue, green, and white points from the ceiling. With light filtering in from the high windows, it looked as if the entire space was underwater. A large fountain in front bubbled water into two channels that were carved down the length of the temple. Near this fountain was an altar, inlaid with mother of pearl. Above was a stained-glass depiction of Manawe herself, rising from the waves.

      Manuc grumbled to Lliese as they walked between the pews, carved of driftwood, “I hate this place. It’s not how things should be.” He glanced to the front of the temple. The high priest was there in white robes, sewn with countless shells so that as he moved, they swished and rattled in a way that mimicked the sound of waves on a shore. Manuc grumbled again, “I hate that guy, too.”

      Almost as if he sensed their presence, the high priest glanced up from his conversation with another acolyte. He smiled graciously at them and walked forward. When he finally stood in front of them, Manuc couldn’t help but grimace. The high priest looked the part; his grey, grizzled beard hid a weatherworn face that had seen its fair share of sea and storm. Grey-blue eyes, ringed with laugh lines, peered from beneath hair kept long.

      Manuc couldn’t have said what it was, but there was something about the high priest that he didn’t like. However, he knew better than to show too much of his dislike. He plastered on a neutral expression as the high priest spoke in a gravelly voice, “Hello, my son. How are your investigations going?”

      Manuc sighed, “Fine. We were wondering if you had any information you could give us about it. We’re looking into the shipment that was on the ship when it burned…do you have any leads on that?”

      The high priest’s brow furrowed as he looked down at Manuc and Lliese, “I would have thought you would have gotten some of your own, considering where you’re from…but no, I don’t. I’d imagine that
      the shipping company probably has records, however.”

      Lliese shook her head in response, and Manuc replied, “Apparently they don’t…or someone got rid of them.”

      The high priest sighed in response, “Ah, well. That is the nature of things sometimes. I have full confidence in you as an investigator, my son. I’m sorry I can’t be of more help.”

      Manuc grimaced again, “Of course, high priest.” The high priest smiled again and nodded, heading back to the front of the temple. Manuc glanced at Lliese and grumbled, “Let’s go. Might as well meet up with the others.”

      The meeting with the rest yielded very little in the way of information. Most of them got the sense that their superiors wanted this investigation solved as quickly as possible—or perhaps hushed up. Already they had stumbled into necromancy and potential black market dealings. However, the question was who actually committed the crime, and why? And what was on the ship?

      The group decided to retire for the evening, planning on further investigations in the morning.

      Check in next week for Session 4!

      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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