DM Build Doc – Cult of Riverton

The Cult of Riverton


 Overview


            Shortly after the siege of High-Guard Fortress, Mengst sent Lieutenant Willie Melvar over the Masaan Mountains on a mission to discover the identity of the Kisharan Lord who aided him in the battle of Westergarde and enlist his aid.  Melvar moved into the Southlands, set up a small but effective contact network, and began his search.  Jakob Dain was one such contact.  Dain comes from a long line of Aluvian priests whose family has survived out in the wilds southwest of Riverton.  Melvar recruited Dain’s assistance in acting as an observer and safe-house in the central Southlands area.  Melvar, following a lead concerning a small guerrilla band of terrorists operating within Riverton, entered the city through the sewer access and hasn’t been heard from since. 


            When Melvar entered the city, he stumbled across Shara Tev, who was a large supporter of the resistance movement.  Though her, he arranged a meeting with Harfur Stoutfoot – the Halfling leader of the, ironically enough, largely Halfling resistance movement.  Stoutfoot informed him of his suspicions that a powerful person in the city had made a pact with a demon to increase their own personal power.  Melvar began to investigate, and as he’s a soldier and not much of a sleuth, was quickly picked up and thrown in chains, to be transferred to Whisper at Tablenhelm Keep to be interrogated about Mengst.


 


What’s Really Going On


Jakob Dain is worried over the disappearance of Melvar, and, through prayer, has gleaned the names of a few friendly souls and has dispatched letter to them to draw them in and go after the missing soldier.  This is where the PCs come in.  Dain doesn’t know a whole lot about the inner workings of Riverton, but he does examine a lot of the comings and goings of the city, and knows a bit about the Tev/Avanti shipping rivalry, but nothing substantial.


Shara Tev is worried sick about losing the family business.  After her father was slain by the Peacekeepers for smuggling Halflings near Misthaven, Shara is constantly watched by the Kisharans.  Nevertheless, she’s sympathetic to the Halfling plight, and has a deep-seated hatred for the Kisharan regime and will do what she can to aid.  She doesn’t know if Melvar’s alive, or where he’s being held, but she knows someone who does:


Harfur Stoutfoot is actually quite glad Melvar got caught, but is worried the man will talk after he’s shipped to Whisper.  Stoutfoot knew that Melvar didn’t stand much of a chance of discovering much on his own, and is glad the damage that was done didn’t expose his little resistance cell.  Based in the sewers, Harfur’s War – as the cell has come to name itself – really hasn’t accomplished much in the way of being a resistance cell except for a few assassinations and some subtle political manipulations, but his people are loyal, and he’ll keep going until a better opportunity comes along.


Thaddius Hardeman is in a world of hurt – and the world doesn’t know it.  Several years ago when the Riverton economy was failing, Mayor Hardeman’s friend and confidant, Fritz Avanti, came to him with an offer he couldn’t refuse.  He informed the mayor that he and a small group of people, including Gustav Snigglewit and Sylus Artul had the power to help the man out of his plight, but he would have to take a small departure from Kisharan law to carry it out.  Hardeman happily agreed.  Avanti, Snigglewit, and Artul – all who had been in power in the city long before Hardeman came along, were presiding members of a small cabal working for – and not a small bit worshipping – a Balor Lord named Tan’Arle’Kin – who also poses as a member of the cabal under the guise of Gideon Nell, an aide and advisor to the mayor.  Hardeman has long since realized he has no power of his own, and has been living out his life being the prosperous puppet of the cabal.  No one’s terribly sure what Tan’Arle’Kin wants with Riverton, and he certainly isn’t telling.


 


Globals


·          It’s possible for the PCs to stay friendly to the Peacekeepers the whole game provided they don’t attack any and don’t ask about Harfur or Melvar – these actions will reduce the faction to the Peacekeepers.


·          Peacekeepers attack Halflings on sight but don’t modify faction unless, again, they take damage from the PCs.  Need to test faction mod persistence between areas, etc.


·          PCs attacking anyone near a guardpost will spawn a Peacekeeper encounter.  Not sure how to script this yet so the PCs don’t see them spawning in.


·          Test what happens if a new player without journals comes in at a later item is assigned.


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


The Outline


 


1.       The PCs begin the game in the Riverton Environs (Dain Journal 1) a distance south from Jakob Dain’s cabin.  They go and talk to Jakob Dain and Termin Eikenberry who give them their mission. (iConvDain = 1).  They also meet Darnes Notter, a ranger on a quest of revenge who’s been resting up at Dain’s place (Dain Journal 2).


2.       The PCs proceed to the caves and run into a horde of goblins.  Hopefully they kill the scout or else the fight will be a lot harder.  We need to test to make sure this won’t kill the poor fuckers.


3.       Out of the caves through the locked door (iConvDain == 1) they can go kill some spiders for loot or proceed.  In one of the hallways is the entrance to Harfur’s War and a twitchy little Halfling Dram who’s asking for the password (Harfur’s War Journal 1).  They don’t have it yet, but it shows up in conversation if iConvShara == 2.  Once the password is given it sets iConvHarfurPassword = 1 and allows the doors to be unlocked – Chumley’s conversation in the sewers works the same way.  Maybe we can script them to open the door?  The PCs have access to an exit that brings them into the sewers where they can meet Chumley – who responds about the same as Dram. All the other doors are locked (var TBD) and the only access they have out of the sewers is a staircase that leads to Shara’s compound in the Warehouse District.


4.       The PCs are greeted by the compound guards and told to go inside to see Shara.  They can’t leave the compound until they do, the gates are locked and only people with a key may open them. (SHARAGATEKEY).


5.       Shara Tev knows that Dain was likely going to send a rescue party, and after some brief questions – which, if the PC’s don’t answer to honestly could cause them a lot of trouble in the future – she’s fairly forthcoming with what she knows about Melvar.  She mentions that Harfur may know Melvar’s whereabouts, but she won’t give the password out – the players need to perform a job for her to prove that they’re really on the side of the ‘War.  (Dain Journal 3, Harfur’s War Journal 2).  The things Shara needs done are as follows:


a.       Shara’s in the middle of a fierce shipping rivalry with Avanti Trading, and Fritz Avanti’s men have been snooping around and threaten to uncover her connection with Harfur’s War.  Shara asks the PCs to assassinate Fritz Avanti.  (They Got Fritz! Journal 1 iQuestAvanti = 1).


                                                               i.      If the PCs are actually willing to kill a prominent member of the Merchant’s Council and friend of the Mayor, they’re going to need a bit of help.  First, they need to figure out how to get into the Avanti Compound located directly south of Shara’s.  The easiest way would be to find Morton Lentz, a recently fired Avanti thug who can be found drowning his sorrows and trying to find work in the Spinning Coin in the Market District.  Lentz has a key that works in the wall gate and the front door of Avanti’s home. (AVANTIGATEKEY iConvLentz=1).  The PCs can get the key from him by getting him a job with Shara (iConvLentz = 2) or simply rolling the drunken oaf for it.  If the PCs wait around long enough, Lentz will eventually leave the inn in the morning and go wandering about.  Shara will also freely offer the guy a job escorting convoys if the PC’s ask her.


                                                             ii.      Hopefully, the PC’s will be smart enough to enter the compound under cover of night, if they’re not they bring the Peacekeepers down on their heads and have to deal with twice the guards.  (AVANTIHOUSEKEY for interiors) Upon entering Avanti’s home, they scuttle about, taking out various guards and servants until finally getting to Avanti’s chambers and…he’s not home.  However, they find a few things of note, pointing them to Avanti’s membership in Tan’Arle’Kin’s cult (They Got Fritz! Journal 2) and implicating Snigglewit in the same.  Avanti’s also been trying to negotiate with Dorin Oakenfist to get some mithril from Karak Fel (Unermountain Hop Journal 1).  For the moment, Avanti can not be found, and the quest is put on hold.


                                                            iii.      If the PCs return to Shara and ask her about the letters, she’ll reveal information about the cult. (The Cult of Riverton Journal 1).


b.       Shara mentions there’s a boat docked at the pier that had recently arrived with supplies for the Peacekeeper company.  Shara has reason to believe that the captain of the boat – Daniel Keefer – possesses an all-access key to the southern half of the Riverwall.  She sends the party to the ship and has them roll Keefer for the key (iQuestKeefer=1).  They can also get some substantial loot from Keefer’s stateroom.  When the PCs return to Shara with the key and have infiltrated Avanti’s compound, she sends them to give the key to Harfur personally and gives them the password to Harfur’s War. (iConvShara = 2, Harfur’s War Journal 3).


6.       Undermountain Hop – OPTIONAL


a.       When the PCs investigate Avanti they get a journal entry about how Oakenfist is getting mithril from Karak Fel – which has been closed to the rest for the world for centuries.  There’s a number of ways they can investigate Undermountain Goods, those are laid out below:


                                                               i.      The PCs can ask Oakenfist about it directly – he can be found wheeling and dealing in The Laughing Oak in the Civic District.  If the go this route and are smart, they can get a job receiving the next shipment from his supply line through Misthaven.  If they take the job, they can make a bit of coin and witness the convoy of orcs showing up to deliver the goods.


                                                             ii.      The PCs can sneak into Undermountain Goods in the dead of night (UNDERMOUNTAINKEY) and find it guarded by humans and orcs.  They can find proof that Oakenfist is receiving supplies from the orcs inhabiting Karak Fel. (Undermountain Hop Journal 2)


                                                            iii.      There are two ways the PCs can resolve the situation, they can go to Peacekeeper Captain Thames with the evidence – their faction with the Peacekeepers will rise and they’ll be given a job to go kill Oakenfist (his faction will change to one where no one will help him out) (Undermountain Hop Journal 3).  OR they can collect all the evidence, go on the job and then kill Oakenfist themselves.  This will probably prove to be impossible as Oakenfist stays in the open quite a lot and doing so would probably get the PCs arrested – evidence or no.  Best bet is to go on the job, collect the evidence, and then turn Oakenfist in.


7.       The PCs go to meet with Harfur and deliver the all access key.  They find out that Harfur’s war is a resistance movement dedicated to removing the cult from Riverton and maybe even the Kisharan presence as well.  Harfur has a plan for taking the city, but it’s a long and bumpy road.  He knows that if the city’s defenders can be taken out fast enough that Riverton could, for all intents and purposes, go on being free without the remainder of the Southlands knowing – at least for a time.  Harfur offers to hire the players and have them help carry out the tasks required to secure the city.  The first: eliminate the merchant’s council and the cult, second is securing the Kisharan temples and clearing out the Riverwall, and finally securing the civic center.


a.       Approach Teribor Snee – Master Snee is a personal friend of Shara’s, and doesn’t much like the Kisharan loyalists in general, so he’s not likely to turn the PCs in, but he’s going to need some convincing before he’ll be willing to stick his neck out.  As a prominent member of the Merchant’s Council and having a hand in nearly all trade that moves through the city, Snee has a good thing going and doesn’t want anyone ruining it by overthrowing the city government.  There are two ways this can go, outlined below:


                                                               i.      The PCs take an “If you’re not with us, you’re against us” attitude.  This would be remarkably bad.  Snee is an incredibly powerful man, and taking such a stance will activate scads of thug encounters throughout the city.  He’ll also warn the rest of the Merchant’s Council – which will result in his own death and the cult being notified of the impending threat.  This will cause a lot of trouble in later modules, as a messenger will be sent to Tablenhelm Keep and Whisper will bring a sizable force and retake the city.


                                                             ii.      The PCs try to find out what they can do to ease Snee’s fears.  He wants the PCs to deliver a letter to Shara inviting her to a meeting.  The PCs return to Shara, and take her return message to Snee, where they are attacked by a group of peacekeepers.  Everyone fights off the invaders, and Snee agrees to go along with the scheme since someone saw fit to sick the Peacekeepers on him.


b.       Neutralize Joseph Phanan – Harfur knows Phanan’s not a member of the Cult, and he also knows that he’s a pretty fair and honest man, but he’s deeply rooted in Kisharan Law, and couldn’t possibly go along with the plan to overthrow the Riverton power-structure.  Harfur would prefer not to kill the man, so he’s sending the PCs to go hog-tie him until Harfur can figure out what to do with the man.  The Order of Legalists in Teribain won’t miss him for several weeks, so there’s plenty of time to talk the man into Harfur’s plan.


                                                               i.      The platformed area in the Market District where Phanan lives is fairly well-guarded by Order of Legalists guards.  However, the tight security is also a weakness – as none of the guards will question anyone who actually makes it up to the houses.  The key to the lower door can be palmed off any of the men guarding it – or I suppose they could all be killed, provided the Peacekeepers don’t notice.


                                                             ii.      Once the PCs enter the main building, the Legalist guards become hostile, but if the enter the other house before then, they’ll have free reign of a hefty amount of loot and documents that may aid them later, if they go in later they have to deal with hostile OOL thugs.


                                                            iii.      In the main building, there’s a number of OOL guards and Phanan himself, who, when confronted, decides to fight for his life and will eventually surrender. Maybe, if I can figure out how to code the bitch.


c.       The next step in Harfur’s plan is to take out the cult itself.  He’s gotten word that Artul, Snigglewit, and Avanti are meeting in Artul’s chambers in the Moneylender’s Guildhall.  The PCs sneak in and find the place empty, but find a way into the sewers and hopefully into the Temple of Tan’Arle’Kin.  This is a classic, but small, dungeon crawl where the PCs get to interrupt a dark ritual and kill everyone – except Gideon Nell, who transforms into Tan’Arle’Kin and leaves his people to die while he flits off to parts unknown.


d.       Next, the PCs need to clean out the Kisharan temples.  Things are starting to get obvious, so it’s necessary to remove the Kisharan magical element as soon as possible.  Both temples are connected by a series of passages, and provide a general slugfest.


e.       The Riverwall is the last big obstacle to taking Riverton.  The PCs enter the north half of the wall while Harfur’s people take on the south half.  Once again – big ol’ slugfest – but it gives the PCs access to the Peacekeeper jail area and they find that Melvar had been transferred out just that morning.


f.        Finally, it’s time to take city hall.  With few peacekeepers left, there’s little to do here except take Harfur to Mayor Hardeman and enjoy the conversation.