Veterans of Venitarri

Venitarri, City of Bridges
...but bridges to where?

A group of would-be slaves find themselves drawn up to port in Venitarri, the slavers who captured them are brutally (and mysteriously) slain. Word spreads of the would-be slaves who killed the slaver Ironbeard.

They are greeted by a courier bearing a message from a man, Goswrought, who brokered the contracts for the labor Ironbeard was ‘importing.’ Goswrought has no claim over them, the contract is incomplete and Ironbeard is dead, but the slave broker has more troublesome problems.

He asks the group to investigate the disappearances of three women, songbirds, he calls them. These women were each cast as Ariana in the tragic opera “Trinlor and Ariana.” Each woman disappeared one by one. A radical sect of the Pelorite church is suspect – the Order is staunchly and vocally opposed to mounting the opera.

Investigation reveals a strange ritual on the Via Transitus – a construction project in the city. The Via Transitus is a large triumphal arch and grand bridge linking the Central Circle – an area of town given over to parks and culture – to the rest of the city. It is funded by Nalazeeb.

One of the women is found swiftly, kept in Repose in a temple of the Raven Queen.

The group arranges a meeting with Nalazeeb, who pledges his help in finding the missing women. He is particularly interested to hear that one of the women has been discovered.

Late in the evening, the group splits – one goes to investigate the arch again and others go to investigate a barge sitting at a mooring in the grand canal directly beneath the arch. Within, another strange ritual is underway. One of Nalazeeb’s personal guards is in attendance at the rite. The barge is stealthily cut free of its moorings and drifts away as the party escapes.

Rattled by the implication that Nalazeeb is involved in the strange rituals, the group settle in for a night of restless sleep to begin their investigations anew on the following day.

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Where There's Smoke...

The party, suspecting Nalazeeb is not being forthright, seeks the help of the fanatical Pelorites (who turn out to be kindly and righteous, if stiff). The party fights off a gang of ruffian spies, disrupts a hellish ritual killing skeletons, cultists and necrotic goo. The day ends with a fight at the Opera house as the new diva begins her ill-fated aria. The opera itself is suspected as a part of the ritual and a fight breaks out in the operahouse.

The group finishes off Nalazeeb, his henchmen and two gargoyles during the opera’s aria. Their final act of heroism was to take down the dragonborn bodyguard and a zombie hulk – all this while navigating panicked opera crowds and waves of stampeding locals running for cover. Whew.


Epilogue: Black smoke rises from the king’s castle signaling the death of King Edward the Kind. With no heir, it will be to the local temples to count the votes to be cast by lords and wealthy merchants to select a new king.

Or… there is another way. The Book of Names lies lost in the ruins of an ancient temple. The book holds the name of all kings past – and those to come. The party is asked to travel with the king’s train to his final resting place as representatives of the temple of Pelor. Along the way, there are to sneak off, and journey to the Dark Mor swamplands in search of the lost temple and retrieve the book.

Surely this book is a threat to the power hungry. Any with a claim to throne will refute the validity of the book, and more likely want to see it not found and returned to venitarri, and even better to be destroyed.

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The Book of Names

The party ventures into the swamps seeking the Book of Names in a long abandoned temple. They withdraw quietly from the King’s funeral trail, struggle through the swamp to find that their contact – a wizened Ent named Green – is missing. They rescue him from lizardmen and he directs them to the temple.

Nearly spent, stinking and stinging, they arrive at the temple. While exploring the ruins they are attacked by a young black dragon. The dragon makes short work of the party, crunching delightedly into their delicious bones.

(TPK!)

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A New Hope

A new group of adventurers journey to the swamp, kill the dragon and return with the book. The next King’s name is listed as Fenris Olin of Riverberry. The party is sent by the church to collect Fenris Olin, next King of Venitarri.


The group ventures up the river to Bankedge. The townsfolk meet them with mistrust. Unsurprising, the group consists of a hulking bugbear, a un-undead Warlock, a goatman and a lone human. They learn from a broke prospector that Riverberry is to the north and east along a trail that he can show them.

They find a clearing with tall standing stones arranged into runic shapes.

Runes

No one knows what they might mean or what purpose the site serves.

They venture on to Riverberry and find it completely destroyed. They glimpse a young boy disappearing into a building just as they are attacked by a band of goblinoid creatures. The battle is bloody and goes poorly for both sides. The cleric flees hoping to stay alive long enough to help the others after the goblins leave, but doesn’t get far before a large explosion rocks the already destroyed village.

The boy seems to be the source of the explosions and is likely the cause of the town’s destruction.

Meet Fenris. Hail to the King?

The young boy doesn’t appear to be aware of the explosions or know how his village was destroyed. The group – hoping for insight – takes the boy to the standing stones. They are attacked by ghosts that call the boy ‘murderer.’ The ghosts shelter in the stones, evading attack, and the party leaves the site.

The party gets lost on the way back to town. The cleric secretly speculates that the gods do not want young Fenris to be king, whatever the Book might say. Her misgivings are further confirmed when the group is attacked by orcs in the night.

All survive the attack and the group is now faced with trying to stretch out their thinning rations while surviving the wilderness – without a guide or a clue.

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The Ghoulish End of Grodon Tubbs

Peregrina, Rucchio, Uthal, and the cleric escorted Fenris Olin, the new king-to-be, past Grimhill and his pet bear — and then a pack of wererats — to Venitarri. However, it seems the church of Pelor has not secured enough votes from lords and wealthy merchants to move forward with the coronation. The party was tasked with swinging the votes of three men: Grodon Tubbs, air-ship builder; Tomias, importer of iron from the north; and the son of Nalazeeb, the tiefling killed in the first adventure.

Setting out first to meet with Grodon, the party suspects foul play after learning of the ship-builder’s odd behavior. They find his dead body cast on the shore at Dead Man’s Rocks prepped for dinner by a gang of ghouls. Good night, ghouls.

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To Change a Vote

The party still had to change the 2 “no” votes against Fenris. At the shuttered air ship factory, they encounter villains stripping the place bare, including the previously thought dead Grodan Tubbs! Luckily enough for the party, they quickly find and rescue the iron lord, …(?) and earn his gratitude.

A fight ensues high up on the air ship docks that soon reveals Grodan to be nothing more than a despicable doppelganger in the thrall of another. Unfortunately, in the fight, one the party’s newest members, the half-elf Bro’ falls to his doom.

Later, social sparring occurs at the swanky party for the king. Face time with the second “no” voter, Nalazeeb San, is interrupted by crude and rude Duergar party crashers. Air ships race and clash, but the party can only limp away without being able to take out the dark dwarves, though they did their best against the dirigible.

Final scene: Nalazeeb’s only requirement to change his vote was a private meeting between himself and the child king. A worried party reluctantly agreed. Did they do right?
[please edit as you see fit, as I can’t quite remember all the details]

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Forty Acres, a mule...and holes?!?!
5 years later
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