The Battle for Taltos

Session 3: Vedayn's view

My new companions and I began our investigation at the lighthouse. The guards that had been posted there warned us that the room and victim above were a gruesome, bloody mess and they were spot on in their description.

The lighthouse keeper had been murder in a horrifying manner. He was flensed alive by someone that must have considered the act one of either artistic or religious signifigance, perhaps both. We determined that the keeper had been alive for a long time throughout his ordeal.

We believe that a spell of holding was used to still the living victim as there were no ligature marks on his limbs. Further he may have been silenced by another spell, though I have my doubts since the nearest people were likely 20 minutes away and might have been too far to hear screams if he could even do that under the effects of the holding magic.

Gripped in the victms right hand was a white rose, each petal had been gently bitten to leave impressions from the assassin’s teeth.

Despite the massive amount of blood shed, it seemed apparent to those with more expert eyes that some was missing, obviously taken by the perpetrator, to what end we did not know.

As to the magial light, it had been cast onto an enourmous copper band delicately inscribed in an alphabet I did not know though obviously one of power. Onto it had been cast the powerful light magics or miracle if you prefer the religious nomenclature. A powerful counterspell had been used to permanently extinguish the bright emanations from the band.

Some searching revealed a very well prepared piece of vellum, made of human skin, that when examined proved to have recently held magic, perhaps the spell that doused the light.

Further investigation about the town brought us additional bits of information.

The ship that grounded on the reef and then was set ablaze was name Pride of Anhur and was likely carrying an item of power that would be of great harm to demons and those of demon blood. The Oder of the Ivory Crown were anxious for it to arrive and hoped to escort the artifact to Denelspire, the grand archive and home of archmage Vallendyl.

The information we gathered also led us to conclude that the assassin may be part of a cult known as Dark Spawn and maybe in league with Kardullis, a god of evil.

The Dark Spawn are also known as Isiry and most of them are elves, though they do have humans as thralls and wannabes.

We are discussing our next options for tracking the perpetrator.

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Session 2: Vedayn's view

As I sat thinking in the loft of the tavern, a ruckus arose more focused than the usual low rumble associated with a crowd of drinking fishermen and sailors. Grabbing my things and a candle, courteously provided by the tavern keep, I joined the growing crowds along the docks.

I found myself among a group of people, whom I guessed by their demeanor and accoutrements, were likely travellers and explorers much as I was. All of us were drawn by our curiosity to discover what had aroused such interest of the locals.

Across the narrow bay on the barrier islands was supposed to be a lighthouse standing ever vigilant, its light a magical everburning beacon. All was dark.

The group I was standing with began discussing finding a boat and going to investigate and being that I was not tired enough for sleep and genuinely curious, I asked that I be allowed to accompany them to offer what help I may.

Hiring a local shore boat, we set out for the island. While in route the beacon tender set fire to the backup signal.

We arrived to find the islanders quite disturbed, scampering about busily like a hive of ants whose mound has been carelessly toppled by running children. Inquiring of them we learned that the beacon was indeed magical and somehow had been extinguished by a source as yet undetermined.

Knowing that any inbound vessels would be at great risk of foundering on the reef, we borrowed another boat and rowed out to where we thought a ship had indeed grounded itself in the brief time no beacon shone.

We arrived shortly behind a couple of other would be rescuers or salvage seekers some of whome had already worked their way aboard the striken vessel.

I and three others stayed in the boat while two of the more vigorous members of our party crossed the reef and board the ship. As they were approaching the rope lines just behind the bowsprit, two screams in short sequence were heard, each quickly silenced.

We would later learn that what was left of the crew along with the first two salvage seekers had been beheaded, their heads tied into the rigging as a gruesome warning, and their bodies dragged below decks to become the fuel for a deadly blaze.

The attackers, who according to description were aquatic elves, departed the ship after setting firetraps that our intrepid investigators stumbled into, barely escaping with their lives.

We returned to shore only to be escorted to the office of a man named Jacko. A gruff sort who seeminly knows his business and tolerates little nonsense, he offered us 500 platinum as a group for the head of the person responsible for snuffing the beacon.

One of the travellers, Jonas by name, insisted that once our task was finished he would like to learn information from Jacko about the slave trade. I think I will attempt to sit in on that disc ussion as I too am interested in the topic.

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Session 1

GM’s NOTE: Given that this is such a large group, rather than trying to keep track of every little thing people did in the session and get it all down here, I’m going to “hit the highlights” in a condensed form and let the players edit and elaborate as they see fit.

PCs arrived in Port Gangrel by ship one afternoon and obtained rooms at the Whore’s Elbow. The druid had some difficulty convincing the innkeeper to let her keep her animals there, but won her over in the end. Some exploration of the town revealed that there are distinctive neighborhoods, some less savory than others.

The town is effectively run by various “bosses” who control different turfs. There is no central law or government, but residents and businesses pay their “dues” to their respective bosses and things get done.

Meanwhile, back at the inn, some thugs tried to kick the PCs out their rooms, wanting them for themselves. A brawl ensued, but the party managed to overcome the thugs without bloodshed and the toughs fled the inn.

Later on, some characters visited another tavern farther from the waterfront called The Rose. There they spoke with a few adventurer types and continued to get the lay of the land. Rafiqua encountered a few of her countrymen (Jalahandrans) who claimed to be tracking a tomb defiler.

By that time, it was growing late and the party decided to work their way back to their rooms.

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