Warrik gives the party some leads to start with. The local Brothel is a hotspot of underworld activity, so somebody there might know more about local events. They could also examine Jamie's body at the nearby morgue, or the Green Dragon Inn crime scene. The Marketplace district would be the place to go to find a Blacksmith, and the local Mage's Guild would have info on Ulric if he is a member. The group also asks if they can still use the Inn as a place to rest, and Warrik admits that the crime scene is technically just the downstairs area, thus the upstairs rooms are still clear.
With that, the group leaves the Jail and decides to start in the Marketplace, since they have a pocketful of gold to spend. The Marketplace is a big district, since Sutulak still functions as a major trade city. Within the district, the shops and vendor shacks are grouped by class. The party moves through the fine goods areas and goes looking for the shadier areas. Specifically, The Pilgrim is looking to acquire some thieving tools. After a couple shadowy alleyways, the party finds a small stand off a dirty road operated by a couple men garbed in tattered cloth and torn hide. Pilgrim asks if they have any "unconventional" wares, and after some negotiation he produces a shopping list. Lockpicks, footpads, a glass cutter, grappling hook, the usual tools of the trade. The traders put several items into a small burlap bag and hand it over in exchange for 80gold. This makes Pilgrim suspicious because the total value of all those items is more than what he's paying. However, he doesn't pass a Perception or Insight check to notice anything is amiss, so the sale is made and the traders find an excuse to leave.
The party decides to go to the Blacksmith next. However, on the way, a Passive Perception check is passed by Freyja, Azryn, and Clastoptera, who notice they are being followed by a couple of unrecognizable figures in the crowd. They inform the rest of the group, and Pilgrim chooses this moment to duck into a nearby alleyway to pee. The party continues down the street, and the figures follow Pilgrim into the alley. Pilgrim is standing against the wall in the middle of the alley as the figures approach him from behind...and from up ahead, boxing him in. Upon closer inspection they turn out to be a pack of goblins. Several lackeys, some thugs, a Bugbear for muscle, two lieutenants, and a gang leader. The gang had observed Pilgrim dropping gold in the Marketplace and they're looking to take what's left. Pilgrim (truthfully) informs the gang that he doesn't have much left, so the gang leader notes that his armor must be worth something, and orders him to strip. Now.
|I love easy maps.|
The party strips the goblins of weapons, gear, and gold, then flags down a nearby guard to explain the situation. The notoriety of the gang coupled with Warrick's letter makes it easy for them to handle the situation, so they're free to continue onward. The Blacksmith's shop is simple, a one-level building with a basement forge. The shop walls are lined with racks of weapons and armor, sorted by type and material, so that customers of different classes and styles can easily find what they're looking for. The shop owner is a stout old dwarf with dark hair and a trimmed beard, who eyes up the party as they enter from behind a long wooden countertop. First things first, the party lays down the collected weapons and gear from the goblin gang and gets it all appraised to sell it for gold. Among the weapons on the wall lays a large shining hammer behind the counter. Arcana checks by Freyja and Oizo notice that the hammer is enchanted, and bears an Arcane Mark with the name Bo Do. After a History check, they remember that there were legends of a small Dwarven village where a family of masterful weapon smiths lived. They had ancient knowledge of metallurgy and enchantments, and crafted weapons that tore through armies like a stone through wet paper. The process took months to turn out a single weapon, thus the demand far exceeded the supply. Fights broke out over the prized weaponry, leading to a riot that eventually destroyed the town. Many members of the Do clan were killed, and the rest went off to parts unknown. There's no way to know if the hammer was made by this particular Blacksmith, or simply acquired by him. Upon inquiry, the Blacksmith simply remarks that the weapon is not for sale. It hasn't been used in a long time, and he hopes never to use it again...
Changing the subject, the party produces Ulric's silvered dagger and asks the Blacksmith if he knows about it. As it turned out, the Blacksmith admits to having silvered this dagger for Ulric earlier in the month. Apparently Ulric needed it for some ceremonial purpose, but beyond that he doesn't know. Clastoptera lets slip that the knife was used to kill Jamie, and the Blacksmith is stunned silent. For a long moment, he has no words, lost in thought. Eventually he snaps out of it and informs the party that city law requires all weapon smiths to take customer information when deadly weapons are purchased, in the event they are used to commit crimes. Given that the party has Warrik's letter, the Blacksmith provides the party with Ulric's home address. As the group goes to leave, the Blacksmith adds two pieces of additional information. One, Ulric wasn't alone when he came for the weapon, and two, he smelled of meat.
The party's next stop is a Magic Shop. By which I mean potions and spells and wands, not handkerchiefs and trick cards. As the party approaches the shop, an easy Passive Perception check lets them catch some noises from within the shop. Specifically, angry shouting. "Put it down!" "You put it down!" "Drop 'em!" "I'll drop you first!" And so on. The party busts through the door, weapons drawn, to find a mexican standoff taking place between two wizards and a band of thieves.
|Did I mention I love easy maps?|
Pilgrim unleashes his Cloud of Darkness to conceal his attacks, preventing the bandits from coordinating their attacks and keeping the fights 1-on-1. Clastoptera takes an arrow in the arm from an elf archer, who catches a face full of hornets in response and is stung to death. Another bandit manages to get around the shelves and engage Freyja directly, who backs off from melee combat to blast him with her staff. Azryn chops his foe in half with his great axe and Oizo buries his blade halfway through a bandit's head. Pilgrim uses a non-lethal attack to take one of the bandits alive, knocking him unconscious. Editor's Note: As I later found out, you can't just call your attack non-lethal and do the same amount of damage whenever you like. You have to declare it before you roll, and you get a -4 to your attack roll. Also, during the fight Clastoptera makes Stealth rolls to steal random items off the shelf, grabbing an unidentified potion and book without being detected.
The fighting done with, the party announces themselves to the wizards, who are thankful for the assistance. The old wizard is Vink Sardo (bonus points if you get the reference), and the young apprentice is Aric Blacktree. The party wishes to question the survivor, and Sardo offers the party use of his basement lab.
At the end of the session, the party gained enough XP to reach Level 2. They'll be gaining a Utility power, extra HP, and they may choose to retrain one feat, power, or skill training if they wish. Here's hoping things keep going smoothly!