The Southgap Serpent

Having arrived in

Murder in Amarit×428.jpg
– dead crows at some point!

An item of great evil, that can change its form to be the most desired object to those seeing it, has arrived via a smuggler to Amarit – attracting murder in its wake.

The item is a living piece of a powerful entity that is dying in Dwindor Swamp. It seeks to absorb life – it manifests as a horrific vision or ultimate desire – feeding on the fear, lust, and hate of those that would possess it. It has collected enough life essence and it must now make its way back to the Tree like a wayward child back to its parent.

smuggler – dead (8 days ago)
Jacob, the first mate aboard the Black Osprey, is found dead in a street down by the docks. No apparent mark on him. No witnesses – just the girl sweeping a porch in the morning found him.
> difficult – a smuggler friend saw what happened (he appeared to be lifted high in the air by an unseen force and strangled!) but will be tough to find and costly to get a tale out of

fence – dead (5 days ago)
Guster, a well known fence in town, was found dead in his room above the Docile Mermaid tavern. Shouts were heard coming from his room at night, and his door had to be broken down in the morning when he did not respond to Tinis – his ‘girlfriend’. Not a mark on him, but it looks like he was drinking.
> Tinis will admit she was actually sent by an Warren – an appraiser – fence never showed up to their meeting

merchant – dead (3 days ago)
Elvin Frodrich the merchant, once a native of Oerdney and now a the local money lender and merchant, was found dead in his quarters by his mistress – in his bath. He was cut several times, horribly mutilated.
> servant of the merchant saw his bodyguards turn on him; the two of them will go on a “wanted” list – get to them before someone kills them to claim the bounty

#1 merchant bodyguard (Donal; who stole it) – dead (2 days ago)
> new fence (Albert) – only competitor to old fence can say the guard was looking to pawn something – some costly necklace of gold and rubies
> younger brother saw guard fight each other – cannot tell anyone he is involved, his brother was the one who died (he is afraid Isiah will kill him)

#2 bodyguard Isiah – also a watchmen (both – fought over it, the one let killed by thief; 1 day ago). He was found with his throat messily cut – the body fell and stove the head in – took a while to ID – a bartender 2 blocks down from the alley he was found in finally did
> bartender says He was getting married to – the wife to be will be at the funeral
> go to the funeral, talk to dead mans girl friend – she was just robbed of a locked coffer Isiah had her holding onto – he said it would change their fortunes. A man named “bill” asked her to sell it to him – she would not and the next night it vanished. She will give description – he seemed local to her.

> back to bartender to match description – he says it Nigel (a newcomer in the last 3 months) – get list of Nigels known associates
– Bill the Blade, Sammy Qiuetkill, Nadia Blaze (brothel worker and Nigel’s sister)

thief Nigel – the party is hired to track down whats causing the string of deaths

– a bone, a leg bone specifically (see Raef adventure) from the tree.

“Five people that we know of are dead in the last 8 days. Perhaps not something to notice among a large city’s population, but it is significant to our town. People are afraid to walk the streets even during the day, and merchants of stopped coming for fear a grisly death awaits them like their companion Frodrich. As mayor, I can no longer ignore the failure of the constabulary to solve and deal with this issue… trade is our life blood. You are outsiders and above local politics – perhaps people will talk to you. I entreat you to try and solve what is worth 5 peoples lives and the security of an entire town!”

a. His cousin is watching how he handles it to see if he can promote him
b. Its an escaped slave exacting his revenge on those that tried to imprison him
c. Malek worships have invaded the town and are randomly killing

There is a temple to Isis, the grain goddess/Celestial.
She will offer a charm or advice.
> advice = Stay away, the evil will seek to return whence it came and the party may be the vehicle for that.
> charm = to help protect them from desire (only 1 charm though)

Nigel can be tracked down
> he was ultimately trying to hire a horse, this very day. His body is under the hay in an unused pen in the public livery. He was disemboweled.

In the stable, it will try and charm the PC’s – its a WPR-4 + Iron Will.
Those failing will square off against their brethren.

In the nasty mess of a fight, it will disappear – taking the form of one of the PC’s weapons that was dropped or some item that it can disguise itself as. The party should just lost the other item or think it was already there and looks just like it. They will be lead to believe that someone slipped in during the fight and got away with it.

No more murders will happen.

One of the PC’s items will vanish when they get back to Dunstrand.

There are many sulphur springs in the hills… there are indeed horrible beasts though that call them home.

The serpent people still inhabit the ravines and caves – but the sulphur springs makes them lethargic. They awaken only once a generation, raid the communities of bandits and “free men” in the night and return to the deep – which perpetuates the myth of some great beast slumbering in the hills. Of course, there is a beast – Cruthnak D’chp – a foul denizen of the shadowrealms summoned forth by the Sea Kings thousands of years ago, a sea serpent which crawled upon the land, hidden away from its enemies my masking its stench among the sulphur springs. Like a dragon, it sleeps the sleep of ages, but its dream are powerful – having subjugated the will of the Ameni Apep – the snake people, who worship its ghostly dream-vision as a god. Only the High King’s rangers are known to walk among the people of this land without fear – for reasons known only to them.

The wizard has made a deal with Lord Black – he will use his powers to terrorize the coast and divide Southgap’s forces. All he wants is access to the new Shrine of Elancil to sacrifice for and commune with the goddess.
If the party explores this first, they must travel to Amarit, the only coastal city in Southgap.
There is a vessel, flying the flag of Tranicos – and ancient admiral of the Sea Kings, attacking coastal trade ships and raiding hamlets and travelers along the coast. The Tranicos was said to have buried treasure nearby, but no one has ever found it. He was said to be bloody and without mercy, and utterly ruthless in his quest for a cure for death.

If the party has killed Lord Black, these raid will stop 1 week later once word gets to Therajay. If the party has cleaned up Queen’s Hotvale, it will be attacked and sacked – all staff on the ship will have moved to that location and be guarding it in full readiness while Therajay tries to compel the serpent to give him the knowledge he seeks.

There are a few options for dealing with the “pirates”:
1. A “bait” ship
2. pPsing as merchant caravan on road to Cabella.
3. Wait at a hamlet for another raid.

Bait Ship – this is most dangerous for a party not good at fighting in boats.
Caravan – it may take a week or more before they are attacked; 5% chance in day, 20% chance at night but by deadlings.
Hamlet wait – happens in 3 days

They have summoned back the spirit of Tracino (a minor spirit they are using to control the voice – not really his) and risen a few platoons of “deadlings” (zombies). they present as Elancil in order to make the dead sea-king lord more fearsome and his spirit’s return more believable.

Dimitri Volashanka (Malek follower) bought a crystal in Karolak. In reality it is a portal/window to the dreamworld and spirits, but they spread the rumor it contained the soul of the pirate king Tracino. The amulet did contain a spirit – the spirit of Tracino’s wizard ‘Therajay’. Therajay was able to possess Dimitri – a minor noble and dabbler in the art of the magi from Karolak. He was cast out for his pursuit of darker spells, seeking knowledge of the shadow realms.

– dreams/nightmares (taps into the sleeping World Serpent’s power – the wizard in control of Dimitri knwos its there from olden times and that the shrine’s divine beacon/power would be his only way of communicating with the beast – he seeks knowledge of creatures and spells to summon them the Sea Serpents were said to use, taught by Elancil herself to her children)

3) Tracino – An ancient sea-king banner of a lord long dead

A defile leads downward into the earth. It is near a stream… the ground is wet and muddy. Under the overhang is a pool.

Pool: Bones

Sub Cave:
Tracino and his first mate Wykan and bosun’s mate Terry. Suspended in time and space – staring at a glittering stone, gaunt but not dead.

The root of the Evil – putting a stop to the Sea Serpent
The Lord of Southgap himself will receive the party in a banquet and personally ask them “To root out the source of this evil!” His scribes have translated the text, Valdeysian in origin (the tongue of the Sea-Kings), and it appears there is an ancient evil which dwells deep in the earth. He wants you to lead an expedition back into Ungaard to search for this person hiding there. Without the need to protect the roads anymore, his army of guards and mercenaries numbers some 250 that he will send. Such a show of force will quell any grumblings from the Balveeni – who he expects to submit to his will. Surely someone among them knows the name he is seeking.

Maiden (title of Isir, Celestial) Leiyos of Arundel
Shes tries to warn the party “You are uncovering that which the gods desire to remain buried! Evil awakened will fester like an open wound… leave it be.”

Visitations from the Apparition of the serpent!

You leave the reltive safety of the daylight and well marked roads of Southgap, entering into the forbidding shadows and crags of Ungaard. You guides have been selected by the representatives of those you wish to treat with to lead to arranged meeting places. The Lord of Southgap has allowed the party to determine the pace and schedule of the travel, taking as much time to search out the evil in Ungaard as they need (within reason). If they dont care to specify, have them go in this order:

Angry Boar Tradepost – A meeting place for the “Free peoples” of Ungaard
OmIicha and Peg still retain control of this place. The pay no tribute but host the gathering and send on the party’s retinue well provisioned. They have definitely heard the name somewhere. They believe that when Lord Black met with the pirate Dimitri, that the name was mentioned.

Basscrick – Central town to the Urop Balveen
> Llenygash is the new chief among the Balveen – he pays in a few otter pelts, salt, and amber. No one in the clan remembers hearing the name.

Stonedour – Home of the Shadowlie Clan
> Perem Dhal is the new clan leader – he pays crude tribute in gold and silver ore. He does not know the name the party is searching for but when the party asks, a PER check will allow them to hear the gasp of Ryingril – daughter of Ucaz – the last clan leader. She will be brought forth and the tale beaten out of her. She and her forbidden lover were using the lower reaches on night when Ucaz’s booming voice was heard. Her lover ended their tryst and ran, but she followed him. He and a stranger went deep into the caves, into the place where me are not allowed to go – where the darkness makes you swoon (The deeping). On the edges of this evil place, she swears her father met with a dark snake-like creature which had arms. The stranger with him translated for them and while she knows not what transpired there was some sort of pact made for the stranger gave a few leather packets to the snake person. She woke up in her room, believing it all to be a dream and never spoke of it. She can lead the party to the place

Rauch Gulch – Home of the Grey Ungarth clan
> Vormor is the new clan leader and will accept the peace – he pays in liquor, butter, some fine pelts of bear and obsidian.

Amorose Hollow – A meeting place of the “Free Peoples” of Ungaard

The party must venture into The Deeping, and find the kobold’s sacred chamber to commune with the beast.

Ryingril knows a secret path only the clan leaders know – it is a direct path through The Deeping (affects still may last beyond it though). It leads into a chute that drops into a corridor on the edge of the kobold ruins. There are 2 rubble chocked passages that need to have many rocks moved before someone can squirm through, including the initial one connecting to the Clan Chiefs private chamber area. Her father had ordered his guards out of the area for the night.

Holvist Na Bred’n – a Deepworth type construction favored by Kobolds (all Dumastorian really) is a ruin. It is a place where the snake people, Ucaz and Dimitri met. The name of the place is roughly “Place of Rest on the Edge of Sleep” – it is a circular, ring type layout. The rubble and unfamilair architecture make the Ameni Apep nervous and uncomfortable, but there are no kobolds left. The snake folk will try and prevent anyone from gaining entry… but will not follow them into the ruins.

4 snake people guarding entrance to the ruins. They will try and use guile, charm, and (sleep; lethargy if resisted) poison arrows.

Temple to Him Under the Mountain

Ducateon with the party can attempt to make prayers and offerings of silver and gold to invoke his power. For each synergy point spent