Society - Ish

City of Strangers, Part 1: The Shadow Gambit

3,246 gp

Items:
Scroll of invisibility (150 gp)
Scroll of silence (150 gp)
Cloak of resistance +1 (1,000 gp)
Scroll of dimension door (700 gp)
Headband of alluring Charisma +2 (4,000 gp)
Necklace of fireballs, type I (1,650 gp)
Potion of cure moderate wounds (300 gp)
Ring of protection +1 (2,000 gp)
Scroll of gaseous form (375 gp)

Summary:
The scenario begins with the PCs’ arrival at the Twisted
Door, the entrance to the quickest but most dangerous
way to access Kaer Maga, the City of Strangers. Here
they meet the city’s famed Duskwardens who, for a small
fee, escort travelers up the dangerous and diff icult
Half light Path, a series of tunnels, underground ruins,
and cliff side paths that wind slowly and steeply from the
bottom of the immensely tall cliffs, called the Storval
Rise, on which the City of Stranger’s thick, alien walls
rest. The Duskwardens pride themselves on providing
safe passage, so they are surprised when, halfway up
the path, the caravan is set upon by a screaming mass
of smelly goblins. The PCs are quickly divided from
the group and must battle the goblins in a side cavern,
even while they hear the Duskwardens defending the
remainder of the caravan in the nearby passages. Once
the goblins are defeated, the Duskwardens express
incredulous apologies—goblins are not a typical foe in
the Half light Path, and the area they attacked from has
been sealed for years.
Many hours later, tired and worn out, the PCs finally
reach the top of the path and enter Kaer Maga, the City of
Strangers. Built within and between eight-story-tall and
massively thick ancient walls, the city is a cacophony of
outcasts, outsiders, and misfits gathered together in a city
of wildly various sights, sounds, and smells. The PCs head
for the home of the merchant Horis Collgardie high atop
the district known as Bis, a district built mostly within
an enormous cavern eaten from one of the city’s walls. At
Collgardie’s home, the PCs find the merchant slain, but
before they can investigate are attacked by a gang of goons
hidden in the home’s back rooms, seemingly waiting for
the PCs. Once the goons are put down or captured, the
PCs learn that a man named Besel Ardoc hired them.
This is the only clue the PCs have at this point about the
death of Collgardie.
After spending most of a day asking around Kaer
Maga about Besel Ardoc, the PCs find him at the Augur’s
Entrails. Guarded by imposing iron golems, Besel is
amused to discover that the PCs are Pathfinders and
not the Shadow Lodge assassins he was sure murdered
his friend Collgardie. At this point, Besel tells the PCs
that he asked Collgardie to send the letter to Dreng
after the mysterious leader of the Commerce League, a
man known only as Dakar, offered Besel a favor to do so.
Inferring that the letter Collgardie sent and
his death soon after were linked, Besel hired
the goons to wait for the Shadow Lodge
to return to ransack the cloth merchant’s
home. When the PCs arrived, the goons
simply assumed the PCs were the Shadow
Lodge assassins.
At this point, Besel tells the PCs that if
they want to learn more, they’re going to
have to try to find Dakar and ask him what’s
going on—the Ardocs are not involved
and won’t be. He adds that finding Dakar
will likely be impossible.
Once the PCs begin directly asking
for Dakar, the response is swift: the
PCs are approached by a large group of
toughs claiming to be Dakar’s men. They
inform the PCs that Dakar, completely
unlike his normal self, has asked for the
PCs directly, and that they simply cannot
refuse Dakar’s rare and generous offer to
speak with the PCs. There’s a catch: the PCs
must agree to have bags placed over their heads and be
driven around in a blacked-out wagon for an hour before
they meet Dakar. His location is a closely-guarded secret,
and this is the only way in which anyone visits the head of
the Commerce League.
Once the PCs agree, they are bagged, stuffed into a dusty
wagon, and driven around for an hour or more. Then they
are dragged from the wagon, led through a series of hallways,
and brought before a backlit screen, where the bags are
removed from their heads. Here, the PCs “meet” Dakar, who
spends the entire conversation behind the screen. He tells
the PCs a great deal about Collgardie, Besel Ardoc, and their
entanglement with the Shadow Lodge. He then agrees to
make things very easy for them: should the PCs agree to owe
Dakar a favor, he will gladly point the PCs at the one known
hideout of the Shadow Lodge. Should the PCs agree, Dakar
tells them of a theater in the Bis district that the Shadow
Lodge has been using to plan missions and organize their
goblin minions. Oh yes, explains Dakar, it was the Shadow
Lodge who assaulted the PCs in the Halflight Path.
After the meeting with Dakar, the PCs are removed
from his presence the same way they came in, and head
for the Naderi Theater in Bis. Should the players have
time, a Shadow Lodge sorcerer and a gang of goblins, who
have been hunting the darkened streets for the PCs all
day, may ambush them on the way. After the ambush, the
PCs arrive at Naderi Theater, where they find a Shadow
Lodge bard and his summoned creatures. Defeating the
bard only unlocks more mysteries about the Lodge and
Kaer Maga; the scenario ends here on a cliffhanger with
directions for the players to continue the scenario arc
with Part II, The Twofold Demise.

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