Monday, September 26, 2005

Secrets of the Jaguar

This is the first adventure's title of the new planar campaign. We played it yesterday and I had a blast (and think everyone else did too). Here's the rundown of whacky PCs--air mephling, tiefling, neraphim, hound archon, centaur, a spiky race from the Planar HB (spiker?), and my kenku NPC (a last minute change from the githzerai). I started them off as if they were already on a mission searching a "tomb" of unspeakable "horrors" on Oerth. This was played out in the Protectorate Embassy's "danger room" which is an illusionary-based extradimensional pocket where the environment is programmed and run from a set of control crystals on the outside. They floundered around inside to most comedic effect for about an hour before I had their commanding officer walk into the simulation and ask if they were through fooling around yet.

Then they were handed their first mission--someone stole a jade jaguar statuette from a curio shop merchant in Sigil. Tannen (a person and locale ripped from MEG's Urban Blight) gave them the basic info and suggested that it would turn up where almost all stolen merchandise does in the Gatehouse Night Market. The PCs were distrustful of Tannen when a Sense Motive check revealed he was holding something back. As it turns out, he was simple holding back miscellaneous information on the jaguarfolk since the PCs didn't really ask about them. [Jag-folk are my own race modified slightly from the cat folk in WotC's Races of the Wild. They were an expansive empire on the their home planet until finally overthrown by a goodly coalition half a century ago. The jade statuette was one of six such precious cat figures that, when brought together, would open any of the treasure vaults hidden away by the jag-folk emperor. In this module, a small band of jaguarfolk happened to locate all of the statuettes and they were opening the vault of a small imperial outpost udiscovered by the rebellion]

So the PCs headed to the Night Market. En route, an alleyway detour turned into an ambush by three wisplings (Fiend Folio demon-halflings) who had stolen the statuette from Tannen's. They would not be paid in full until their employer at the Market sold the cat to the jaguarfolk who tapped him to get it, hence the ambush. This trio was handedly defeated. At the Market, some information gathering led to the tent-stall of a githzerai named Raz'jik. He claimed to know nothing about the statuette but some tells from his body motions and the fact that two jag-folk were watching the stall from afar tipped off the PCs. One jaguar took off down an alley with the jade statuette while the other shot Raz'jik with an arrow and tried to hold off the PCs pursuit. This jag-folk was slain but the first escaped into a sewer grate-turned portal to jaguarfolk homeworld.

Taking a jade-piece necklace from the slain jag-folk, the PCs were also able to activate the sewer portal and follow the other to a ruined village next to a ziggurat. Inside, the force of jag-folk were placing all six statuettes in the necessary positions to open the vault. They were defeated as was a feline-headed obsidian quasi-elemental (Tome of Horrors II from Necromaner Games). In the best of tradition of adventurers, the PCs opened the vault themselves and took the jag-folk's treasure back to the Protectorate Embassy. After a 15% cut of the find, they were handed the rest. A module well played!

In other news, it's good to sit back and start enjoying my vacation. Maybe I'll play around with the outline to my sequel Medieval Player's Manual adventure. Maybe not. There's a lot of reading I can catch up on and with the overcast skies today, that seems like a good course.

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