The team are sent to Breachill aboard a trade barge that is travelling down the shipping canal. Passage has been arranged and paid for by the Pathfinder Society.
[GM: For our adventure world, Age of Ashes’ Breachill has been merged with the port town of Saltmarsh from the old Dungeons and Dragons adventure. A second squad of three characters (played by the same three players) will arrive later in the timeline and take part in Ghosts of Saltmarsh from the same location, which will be adapted for Pathfinder 2e).
[GM: The Breachill map from the Adventure Path has been adjusted to merge with Saltmarsh and reformatted for the new town to fit two Paizo flip mats: The Docks and the Urban Tavern. Using post-its, with area references, I transferred all of the main buildings to the map.
- I relocated the Temple of Desna to the lighthouse on the clifftop, like a beacon to travellers, surrounded by a beautiful clifftop garden, with plants to encourage butterflies.
- I decided that the Town Council of Breachill would use The Wizard’s Grace (the very centre pub on the tavern interior map) for their public meetings, using the platform for speeches, whilst the public mingle in the main area. There is a second platformed area that is reserved “just for them.”
- The map provided a well just near to the tavern, now the city well from the Adventure Path. There is also a statue on the flip-mat, that serves as the Statue of the Founder.]
The captain of the trade barge is named Rune Sembalin. He has a single crew member who cooks and acts as a general dogsbody, called Mate. Rune is old, gentle and talkative. Mate keeps to himself, always to be found sharpening a knife and brooding darkly – he has perhaps been betrayed too many times. He has, however, taken a liking to the three passengers over the journey. Rune works for Posandi Bros, bringing in marble from distant lands by request.
[GM: It was my intention to make Rune a little too kind to be an aged sea captain – to make it seem not quite right. There was not much time to bring in the thread at the start, although I will continue to feed this in. The truth is that he works for the Pathfinder Society as a Scroll and Mate is his Sword. Their Spell has been lost to someone linked to the Posandi Bros and they hope for revenge. They are keeping tabs on Posandi and the hints of dark practices within the merchant’s family.]
[GM: Spells disappearing from the three person teams is something I want to develop as a theme – and as a homebrewed subplot that links my two interwoven mods together. This should be interesting as the Spell is played by a different player in each of the campaigns.]
The team have been given instructions that on the dockside they will find a selection of small fishermen’s huts – one of them will have their contact inside; the password to gain entry, when asked, is “sewer king.”
The first thing that the team notice is that there is a guard outside Posandis. All of the windows are shuttered and the door has huge bolts on it. They locate the correct fisherman’s hut soon after.
The party make their introductions and find that their handler is a Scroll named Shay, closely guarded by her Sword. They have lost their Spell (who was also their field medic) and therefore cannot currently safely work in the field. Shay explains that they were posted here to complete a survey of Citadel Alterean, however, when they were approaching the crest of Hellknight Hill just under two weeks ago, they felt a huge boom and a tremor under their feet. Her Sword had made her return to the base and call for backup. She is a scribe and his job is to keep her alive. He still smarts from the loss of their comrade and blames himself. The team are able to deduce this from the tension between the two characters.
[GM: The tremor was the Lotus Portal being destroyed in the depths of the hill after the Mwangi cultists had tried to bring further forces through the Hunter Gate, causing a malfunction and expulsion of energy towards the Lotus Gate opposite. Thus their plans to invade this new continent were brought to a calamitous halt.]
Shay gets back to business. They have been trying to find out more about Hellknight Hill from their sources in Breachill instead. As part of their investigation, they have gotten word that a halfling named Calmont is preparing to set off a stolen fire mephit scroll. Calmont has gone to ground and they fear for the town’s safety. The team have proven their worth in seizing criminals – can they repeat this and track down Calmont before it is too late?
[GM: Because my players had already worked through the set piece of Call for Heroes and Capturing Calmont as part of playtesting Pathfinder 2e, I reworked the Adventure Path with this new take on the Calmont altercation and the rescue of the goblins.]
The team split up. Hal sets off for the Wizard’s Grace. He buys a drink and immediately falls foul of a few of the more lofty members of the Town Council by taking a seat in their private area. The tavern is getting busier by the moment and he is able to watch the locals and learn a little about them.
Meanwhile, Hax talks to Warbal, who is pacing back and forth outside the Wizard’s Grace. With a little encouragement and empathy from Hax, she points out a greyish smoke emanating from Citadel Alterean on Hellknight Hill. She fears this is a warning or distress signal from her goblin tribe, who have been late in making contact with her this month.
John circumvents the tavern. Around the back, he overhears a guard yelling out to someone who is running away. John, who has served as a guard before joining the Pathfinders, manages to get the guard to open up by encouraging his grumbling over shift hours and lack of appreciation. In turn John gains details concerning a halfling, who has been loitering around the back window of the tavern. The guard is frustrated that he has had to send the halfling on their way several times.
Chapter 2 (part 2) coming soon.
See previous: Chapter 1, Sewer King