Konnorith

The Takedown
Session 3, Part 2

The next day, the party arrived at the street of the Board & Blade to find Snakebite and Ogranak already there, accompanied by a large group of grunts from both gangs. They stood huddled together in an alleyway, safely hidden from the view of the Griffon base. Seeing them approach, Snakebite waved them over to where he stood with the Black Hammer boss, looking over the papers that Papalonius had delivered to them.

“We have a problem,” he announced. “The leaders of the Griffons are holed up in the hideout under the Board & Blade, but they have another outpost very near by—a former guard barracks, well-fortified and teeming with Griffon men. As soon as we make a move for Pegason, they’ll swarm down on us and we’ll be backed into a corner.”

“We should split up,” Ogranak continued. “We’ll need a group of warriors to hit the guard barracks. They will draw the attention of the Griffons away from their headquarters, and hold them off for as long as possible while another group goes after Ian Pegason. The Black Hammers will gladly volunteer for the barracks attack.”

“That won’t be enough,” Snakebite argued. “That barracks houses every Griffon in the district. The Wyvern’s Sting will assist you. All we need is a small strike team to take Pegason out…and I’ve got a few people in mind for that task.” He turned to the party. “Ogranak and I will be splitting up as well. One should handle the barracks, and the other will come with you. Who do you want?”

After some deliberation, the party chose Snakebite to accompany them. Ogranak led the gangs off in the direction of the Griffon barracks, while the others casually entered the Board & Blade.

Heart of the Griffon

Amorion smoothly walked up to the counter, where the shopkeeper stood eyeing them. “We’re looking for work,” the sorceror said nonchalantly.

“We ain’t hiring.”

“That’s not what I mean.” After some thought, Amorion changed tactics. “Tell me about Ian Pegason.”

Andreus shot him a look, but Amorion ignored him, staring down the shopkeeper. The man behind the counter returned his stare, then sized up the group of them, one by one. Finally, he muttered, “Come with me.” He exited the shop through a door behind the counter, which appeared to lead to a storeroom. Pushing aside some crates, he revealed a wooden trapdoor, which he opened and descended down through. The party followed, with Snakebite in the rear, trying to avoid eye contact with anyone.

The shopkeep led them down into a cold, stone passageway lined with doors. After a moment of weaving through the underground base, three heavily armed Griffons pushed past the group, running towards the exit. The party shared a knowing look—the barracks must be under attack. Their guide was noticably unnerved, but continued nevertheless.

“He’s suspicious,” Damathus warned the others under his breath. “He’s leading us into a trap, I bet.”

Amorion decided to quickly remedy the situation, drawing his dagger and pressing it against the man’s back. “We’re not idiots,” he stated. “You’re going to take us straight to Ian Pegason, and nowhere else. Understand?” The man gulped before hesitantly nodding. They continued into the base.

As they neared their destination, the guide opened the door in front them and promptly threw himself to the ground. Several crossbow-wielding guards stood in the large room ahead, and made the connection immediately, opening fire. The party dove into the room, eager to get out of the narrow, vulnerable doorway. Gorgalac stormed straight towards the guards, hacking at them with his greataxe, with Andreus not far behind. The others lobbed spells at the Griffons until the last enemy fell, spectacularly beheaded by Gorgalac. There was only one other way out of the room, which led to the heart of the base—Pegason’s office.

The Truth Comes Out

“Don’t move!” he screamed as they entered. He was a human, dressed in fine clothes that didn’t match his ugly face, which was contorted with a mix of anger and fear. He was flanked by half a dozen well-equipped guards, their weapons drawn.

Amorion stepped to the front of the group after retrieving the severed head of the guard they had killed in the room behind them, holding it up for the Griffons to see. “This is what happens to people who stand in our way,” he warned, his voice dripping with menace. “If we got this far, why would you fare any better than this guy did? Now…” He tossed the head towards Ian, where it landed with a sickening plop on his desk, rolling until it was staring the Griffon boss in the face with its dead, haunting eyes. “Drop your weapons.”

GM’s Note: This is what happens when you roll a natural 20 on an Intimidate check ;)

Half of the guards complied, leaving their positions and sprinting past the party and out the door. Pegason hesitated, then ordered his men to attack before dropping to the floor behind his desk. The party made short work of the remaining guards before turning to the man cowering behind the desk.

Snakebite strode up to him, lifted him from the ground, and threw him against the wall. He pulled out the stolen Griffon orders and thrust him in the human’s face. “Start explaining,” he commanded.

Pegason fidgeted nervously as he spoke. “Okay, okay! Oh, gods above…I’m a dead man anyway. I had to warn my men against you and Ogranak, because I knew you’d come for me eventually. I knew you’d want revenge.”

Snakebite punched him in the gut. “Revenge for what?”

“For setting you up!” Ian confessed. “I learned about your meeting with the Black Hammers that night, and tipped off the guards. It was too good of an opportunity to pass up. With both of you out of the picture, the slums would lose its two biggest powers, and I could get the Griffons to take over in your absence. I had more power over this city than you or Ogranak ever did! I don’t regret it…you would have done the same thing, in my position!”

Snakebite scowled, refusing to give Pegason the dignity of an answer before driving his dagger into the coward’s throat. “We’re done here,” he told the party.

After finding their way out of the underground base, they headed for the barracks to assist Ogranak with the assault. It turned out to be an unnecessary endeavor, as they arrived to find Griffon bodies scattered around the premises and Ogranak standing outside, unharmed.

“The Griffons were even weaker than I expected!” announced the half-orc. “We had no trouble. Our men actually made a pretty good team.”

“That’s good to hear,” Snakebite responded. “We found Ian. He was the one who turned us over the to city guard during our meeting.”

“I hope he got what he deserved.” Snakebite nodded.

“Now that this is over, though,” he said grimly, “the truce is off. Things have to go back to how they were before.”

“Do they?” Ogranak asked. “If you didn’t sell the Black Hammers out, and I did not sell the Wyvern’s Sting out…perhaps we could find an agreement. Perhaps even-”

“Settle this on your own time,” Damathus interrupted. “We did our part. Now you need to get us out of the city.”

The gang leaders turned to the gnome. “Very well,” Snakebite answered, slightly annoyed. “Follow us.”

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Griffon Diplomacy
Session 3, part 1

After recovering a cryptic note from a Griffon boss, the adventurers are pointed towards the eastern slums, where Snakebite is rumored to be setting up shop. Wandering in that direction, they encounter two masked men who approach from a shady alleyway.

“Who are you?” they demand. “More Griffon thugs? This is Wyvern’s Sting territory…I suggest you leave.”

The party members look at each other, then decide to show the note to the masked guards. They look it over, speaking in hushed tones to each other. “Wait here,” one of them orders before disappearing into the alleyway for several minutes. He eventually returns, saying nothing but “Come with us,” and striding into the darkness again. The party is led through a series of twisting alleyways until the guards enter a nondescript side door into a small building. Further inside, they proceed into a small office, where Snakebite is seated.

“Well now, if it isn’t our friends from the the Imyur!” he says happily. “What can I do for you?”

“You read the note,” Damathus says bluntly.

“Right. It’s very…interesting. I hear you want the Black Hammer to help you get out of the city. I can help. But you’ll have to help us one more time. I need more information on the Griffons. We captured a patrol of thugs yesterday snooping around in our territory. They were…persuaded, and now we know where their boss is hiding out. He should be completely unprotected. Find him, and learn everything you can about Ian Pegason and where he commands the Griffons from. Bring that information to me, and we’ll talk.”

The party agrees, following Snakebite’s directions to the Griffon hideout. It’s a warehouse filled with dozens upon dozens of crates filled with assorted weapons, armor, and general supplies. After busting the front door down,Damathus and Amorion search the crates for useful items, while the others move through the warehouse to a hall in the back. They move forward until the hallway splits into two paths. Gorgalac takes one way, while Andreus and Papalonius take the other.

The paladin and ranger follow their path to a large iron door at the end of the hall. The ranger slowly turns the handle and stealthily opens the door, and promptly recieves a crossbow bolt to the gut. The Griffon boss had heard them smashing through the front door, and prepared according. He was a human, crouching behind an overturned table for cover and fumbling to reload his crossbow. Andreus charged.

Meanwhile, Gorgalac walked through the alternate route with all the caution befitting a half-orc, singing a simple tune to himself along the way. Suddenly, he felt a slight twang beneath him, at his feet. He saw the broken tripwire just as the floor beneath him gave out, dropping him into a 20-foot deep pit. Trapped and rather badly hurt, he resumed singing.

Andreus chopped a portion of the Griffon boss’s cover clean off, while Papalonius treataed him to an arrow in the thigh. The boss backed into a corner, panicked.

“Drop your weapon,” commanded Andreus. The crossbow was dropped before he even finished speaking.

“Please don’t kill me,” the Griffon pleaded. “I’ll give you anything. Money. Weapons. Whatever you want!”

“We want information,” Andreus growled. “Who are you, and what do you do here?”

“M-my name is Tarmikos. I’m not very important, I just direct a few members of the Griffons from here.”

Papalonius spotted a letter on the ground near the toppled table, identical to the one they found on the other Griffon boss. “You know Ian Pegason,” he stated. “Where is he?”

“Oh, gods, I can’t tell you that! He’d kill me!”

“Take your pick,” Andreus said. “Him, or us.”

After hesitating, Tarmikos gave in. “Fine…Ian sends out updates to us bosses from a Griffon base about fifteen minutes south of here. It’s hidden beneath a weapons shop, called the Board & Blade, as a front. As far as I know, he’s in there right now.”

The two adventurers decide that they’re done with Tarmikos, leaving him with a promise that if they saw him again, they wouldn’t be so merciful. They pocketed a few papers and maps from the pile of parchment on the floor, for good measure, then left to find the others. Upon regrouping with the mages, they realized that Gorgalac was still missing. They found him in the pit, waiting idly for them. After hauling him out with rope (which took considerable effort from the four of them), they returned to Snakebite’s hideout.

“This is great news,” the boss of the Wyvern’s Sting told them. “This is the information we need to rid this city of the Griffons. If they lose Pegason and their base of operations, we’ll have the slums back under control in weeks.”

“The Griffons are strong,” warned Papalonius. “I took these papers from the boss we interrogated. They’re very well fortified. Maybe you should ask the Black Hammers for assistance.”

Snakebite took the documents. “You’re right,” he said, sounding dismayed. “I may not respect Ogranak and his gang, but at least they follow some misguided sense of honor. The Griffons…they aren’t like that. They’d burn this whole city to the ground if there was a silver piece in it for them. They have to be stopped. I’ll send some people to share this information with Ogranak. Hopefully, we can mount a joint attack by tomorrow.”

The party agreed, and were given rooms to rest up before assault. Tomorrow would be a busy day.

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Slummin' It
Session 2

The sun shines bright on the capital city of Kuldor when the party awakes. Their brief stay in the comfortable high-class inn has been pleasant, but they must get back to resolving their dilemma. Andreus, Damathus, and Gorgalac head towards the city slums to scout the area and see if they can find any information that might help them, while Amorion and Papalonius stay in the inn, knowing it would be too suspicious for all five of them to travel together.

Papalonius overhears an interesting conversation from two other patrons of the inn:
  • “Did you hear about that new gang in the slums? The Immortal Dawn, I think it was called.”
  • “You mean that crazy cult? Those freaks are disturbing, but I don’t think they’re really a gang. Not like those Griffon thugs. They robbed my brother’s shop last week!”
  • “Really? They weren’t that bad before, but ever since the Black Hammer and Wyvern’s Sting went down, they’ve gotten out of hand. The city guard needs to put them down before they get even worse.”
  • Scum and Villainy

    The scouting party barely makes it into the poorer side of Fire Den before several Griffon gang thugs ambush them from the alleyways, demanding all their gold. After negotiations fail, Damathus conjures a cloud of Obscuring Mist, and the other two leap into battle. The Griffons are caught by surprise, fighting pathetically in the blinding fog, and are quickly taken down. The party hears approaching footsteps and shouting coming from behind them, so they run further into the heart of the slums before the mist disperses. They duck into an alley unseen, waiting for whoever has behind them to move on.

    After hearing about the strong gang presence in the slums, Amorion and Papalonius decide to try to follow the scouting party. Shortly after passing the thoroughly looted remains of the muggers, they meet up with the others in a run-down bazaar of sorts. Merchants peddle their wares from stands that are barely holding together. While the party discusses their next move, a crossbow bolt strikes Gorgalac in the back—more Griffon thugs are in cover around the bazaar, surrounding the party! Targeting the scouts who killed their fellow Griffons, other criminals move in wielding scimitars.

    The party takes cover behind merchants’ stands as the bazaar bursts into chaos. Just when they are pinned down, a new combatant enters the fray—a half-elf takes one of the marksmen by surprise, cutting him down. While the attackers are distracted, the party makes short work of the rest of them.

    The half-elf notices their wounds and tells them to follow him to his home, where they can rest. Injured and in a dangerous place, they agree. He introduces himself as Black Dog, a nickname with a long-forgotten origin. When they reach his house, he tends to their wounds and explains that he works for the Fighters’ Guild in the city, combating the gangs that are a rising threat to order. He asks them what they were doing wandering through the slums, and they tell him that they are in desperate need of a way out of the city. He says that he knew this already, and takes a large piece of parchment from his pocket—a wanted poster with the names and descriptions of all five of them, with a 10,000gp reward offered for their capture. The party is worried, but he assures them that he believes that they are innocent. He explains that the city guard did not trust the mercenaries they hired to provide protection for Gromnir Ironbrow’s speech, so one member of the Fighters’ Guild was assigned to watch over each guard post where the mercenaries were stationed. Black Dog was assigned to their post, and he knows that the party was not planning the assassination, since they were just as shocked as he was. Though he cannot get involved in their escape, he allows them to rest up in his home and points them in the direction of the abandoned warehouse where both Ogranak and Snakebite were captured. The building is untouched by the other gangs, but it’s too close to the slums for the city guard to check very often. Black Dog suggests that if the gang leaders escaped from the Imyur, they might have gone there. In any case, it would be a good places to start their search. The party thanks him, rests, and leaves late that night for the warehouse.

    Helping the Hammers

    The warehouse sits on the far western end of the slums, just outside Griffon territory. Rusted by years of negligence, the large metal doors have fallen clean off their hinges. The interior is pitch black.

    Entering cautiously, the party is greeted by two tall half-orcs. Amorion announces that they are there to speak with Ogranak, and the guards lead them to the back of the warehouse, where the Black Hammer boss waits. He is glad to see them, and agrees to help them find a way out of the city if they can help him restore the Black Hammers. The party accepts, and he gives them a simple job—he needs a secure location to use as a base of operations. The warehouse is bound to be searched soon, but everywhere else is under the control of the Griffon gang. He gives the party directions to a nearby hideout, recently occupied by Griffon thugs, and asks them to clear it out.

    Arriving at the specified building, they find it in no better condition than any other building in the slums. Andreus, Papalonius, and Ogranak enter through the front, while the two mages scale the walls with a grappling hook and rope. They work their way through the place, storming both floors of the building simultaneously. After regrouping and taking out the boss of the thugs there, they find a very interesting note on his body. It reads:

    To all Griffon bosses,

    Ogranak and Snakebite are back on the streets. Keep an eye out for Black Hammer or Wyvern’s Sting gangs. If they find out what we did, they’ll be coming after us. Stay where you are until told otherwise.

    Griffons forever.

    -Ian Pegason

    Unable to make any sense of the cryptic note, the party returns to Ogranak and shows it to him. He too is unsure, but he does recognize the name of Ian Pegason, who he says is the leader of the Griffons. He states that Snakebite might know more, since the note mentions the Wyvern’s Sting as well. He rewards the party for their success before pointing them towards the eastern slums, where members of the Wyvern’s Sting have been sighted. Perhaps Snakebite is hidden there somewhere, and perhaps he will know more about this Ian Pegason and what the Griffons are up to.

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    Escape from the Imyur
    Session 1

    High Treason

    Konnorith. A land a riches and opportunity. A prospering nation where hopeful adventurers can make their fortune or find their doom. Our adventure begins in this bountiful island nation, in the grand capital city of Fire Den. Seated in the charred mountains of Kuldor, the Fire Den is a fortress-city where King Gromnir Ironbrow makes his home. Loved by his people, he prepares to make a public speech in the massive Arena.

    The city guard are on high alert while the king makes his public appearance. Guardsmen watch every entrance to the Arena, scanning for trouble. Because there are simply not enough guards to adequately protect the aging king, Guard Captain Jakob Parvus posts a call for mercenaries and adventures to fill out the ranks. Five unrelated, inexperienced adventurers answer that call and are tasked with watching the western entrance to the Arena floor. Unbeknownst to them, this seemingly mundane job will throw them into a wild adventure that would change Konnorith forever.

    Andreus the paladin, Damathus the wizard, Papalonius the ranger, Gorgalac the barbarian, and Amorion the sorceror were ordered to guard the western entrance the Arena. After trading introductions, they took up their posts. A movement in a shaded alleyway caught Andreus’s eye, but when he turned to look, it was gone. Damathus slipped away to use the bathroom and returned shortly afterwards.

    Suddenly, screams erupted from within the Arena. The group spun around and, to their horror, Damathus was gone! Panicked civilians spilled out of the Arena entrance, shouting and crying. The party dashed into the building’s interior and saw the king—face-down on the ground, with Damathus standing over him, bloody dagger in hand. The wizard sprinted towards the rest of the party, stunning all but Papadonius with a Hold Person spell. The ranger pursued him into the streets, but he immediately vanished into the crowd.

    Hours later, Guard Captain Jakob Parvus interrogated the party. After the party confirmed that Damathus had been with them at his post, Parvus motioned for two other guards to enter the room, dragging Damthus behind them, bound in chains. Parvus mentioned that because of their proximity to Damathus, he would have to search their gear. When he did so, he discovered a crumpled note in Amorion’s bag, which read:

    Amorion,

    The poison is ready, and Papalonius has acquired a dagger for us. The documents that Andreus forged for the city guard have placed us very near to the site of the speech. If anything goes wrong, we have Gorgalac. Our plans tomorrow should go off without a hitch.

    Tomorrow, the king will fall.

    -Damathus

    Despite their protests, the evidence against the party was undeniable, and they were swiftly arrested and sent to the Imyur, the most secure prison in Konnorith. They were told that they were scheduled for execution in one week’s time, and locked in individual cells. Things looked bleak. From a dark cell across the corridor, a wicked cackle broke the silence…

    The Plan

    The other prisoner revealed himself to be Loughlin Hale and offered to help the party escape. When they were skeptical, he admitted that he had failed to escape several times before, and as a result, the bars on his cell had been replaced with new ones made of a magic-resisting material. The other cells, however, were only barred with iron, because the guards did not think Loughlin capable of helping anyone but himself. Loughlin agreed to unlock one of the party’s cells with a Knock spell and render them invisible for a short time, but only if they could find a way to recover their old gear (to defend themselves from the guards) and also create some sort of distraction to make their escape easier. If the party could do this, and then unlock Loughlin’s cell, he would lead them to a hidden escape route. Having no other options, the party agreed.

    When the prisoners were herded into the cafeteria for lunch, the party split up and went to work figuring out who the power players were within the Imyur. They quickly learned of the two rival gangs that made up the bulk of the inmates: the Wyvern’s Sting, led by a shady halfling called Snakebite, and the Black Hammer, led by a powerful half-orc named Ogranak. Various members of the party spoke with each gang leader, and eventually they earned a bit of their trust.

    The following day, they hatched a plan. They were able to persuade the leaders of both gangs to cooperate with each other for long enough to organize a coordinated breakout, on one condition—the gangs refused to take such a dangerous action unless all the inmates could be armed with weapons. Later that day, while the prison warden was on his lunch break, Loughlin Hale opened Gorgalac’s cell door and cast invisibility on him. The half-orc bolted for the warden’s office and swiped his key ring, using it to unlock the guards’ armory and steal dozens of high-quality swords. He carried them throughout the cell block, quickly distributing a weapon to each prisoner to be hidden in their cots. He also used the stolen keys to unlock every cell door. The inmates had been instructed by their gang leaders to act casually until the guards came to release them for dinner. Gorgalac returned the keys to the warden’s office and jumped back into his cell just before the spell wore off.

    Escape from the Imyur

    Hours later, the guards began to unlock the cells to move the inmates to the cafeteria. To their surprise, the doors were already unlocked, and before they could react, the prisoners charged with their newfound weapons. The riot broke out instantly. Soon, inmates were pouring through the halls of the Imyur, making a break for the courtyard and the outer gates. The guards were caught completely by surprise.

    The party split off from the swarm of criminals and headed for the prison’s administrative block, where confiscated goods were held until they could be moved elsewhere. After a brief struggle with two trained guards who nearly subdued them, they looted the warden’s office but could not locate the keyring Gorgalac had used before. What they did find was a collection of records on each prisoner in the Imyur, from which they pulled Loughlin Hale’s file and discovered his background. He was unfazed by their obvious desire to kill him after learning of his crimes, reminding them that he alone knew the safest path out. The group moved on to the storeroom where their gear was being kept, only to discover that the door was locked. In frustration, Gorgalac threw his weight at the wooden door, bashing it clean off its hinges. They quickly grabbed their equipment and followed Loughlin to his escape route.

    To the surprise of no one, Loughlin dashed through his secret exit the moment they neared it, slamming it shut behind him and sealing it with a Hold Portal spell. The party heard him laugh from behind the magically locked door, and he thanked them for buying him some time to make his getaway. After an outburst of anger, the party recollected their thoughts and snuck back through the administrative block and up a staircase to the prison ramparts.

    From atop the walls of the courtyard, they had a spectacular view of the riot going on below. Hundreds of prisoners fought with just as many guards in the wide-open courtyard, with casualties increasing by the second. With no desire to stick around any longer, they lowered a rope off the outer wall and slipped away unnoticed, casually leaving the area as inmates burst through the gates behind them.

    Moving at a brisk walk, the party proceeded to the city gates, eager to get out of Fire Den as quickly as possible. Unfortunately for them, the gates were shut, and the guards informed them that the city was on lock-down until the prison outbreak was under control. The party decided to head for an inn in a rich part of the city (so as to avoid the patrols that would undoubtedly be sweeping the slums) and rented a room. There they considered their options, and realized that their best bet lay with the only contacts they could trust—Snakebite and Ogranak.

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