Cairnholm ep.1 – Fools Rush In

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Well! The first session was a blast. We started out with the “Fools Rush In” intro adventure, which I slightly altered to take place in Cairnholm. If you plan on running this adventure then there will be spoilers ahead. If you’ve already run it then read on, some rather interesting things happened… Here goes.

Our sessions begins by introducing the headquarters of our yet-to-be-named mercenary company which is a modest apartment on the second floor of a squat stone building in Oldtown. The first floor is taken up by an exotic food hall, where Nyss, Trollkin, and Rhullic cuisine are sold at various stalls.

Upstairs, our mercs are killing time. Cap’n O’Hare , the leader of the group, is sitting behind his desk, cleaning his gun, when footsteps are heard coming up the stairs outside. As soon as the knock rings out the door opens. An exhausted young human hands O’hear a bound letter, salutes, and leaves. The group has been summoned by Watch Captain Rourke, who is their last hurdle to getting their Mercenary Charter made official.

The party all wanders down to the Outer Wall where Rourke’s Guard tower sits and are ushered inside by his right-hand man, Sergeant Hill. Rourke tells the group that his family has been kidnapped by Thamarite cultists and that he needs them to track down an iron lockbox to make an exchange. The lockbox is held in the workshop of an alchemist named Jorvis Torm in Lowtown and the party sets off at once, eager to help.

Outside the workshop a quartet of guards are standing watch. Closer inspection reveals them to be members of the Order of the Golden Crucible. Keen to get inside, and avoid confrontation, the party comes up with a devilish plot. (And sends my plan off the rails!)

Lalrii (our Nyss Ice sorc/Soldier) hides in a barrel, which is then carried by Palindrome (our Stone sorc/Man-at-arms). The resident alchemist (and thief), Dib, walks confidently up the road flanked by O’hear and Pal. He tells the guards that he has a delivery for the resident alchemist and although they believe him the guards reveal that Jorvis Torm is under investigation and the workshop is off limits. Thinking on his feet Dib uses his knowledge of alchemy to convince the guards that the substance in the barrel is volatile and must be kept indoors. Dib and Pal (with Lalrii) are accompanied inside by two guards while the last two stay outside to watch O’hear. Meanwhile Alexis (Llaelese warcaster) and Zee (Rhullic Mechanik) creep around the building and situate themselves in the adjacent alleyway.

There is no immediate sign of the box inside and the noise coming from upstairs suggests that someone is violently searching the premises. It is clear that the workshop has been tossed over and Dib pockets a strange looking bone fragment. The barrel is set down and the guards are about to escort the crew out when an explosion rocks the building. Something has detonated on the second floor and everyone inside is forced to dodge falling timber or be knocked to the ground. Funnily enough Lalrii is safe in his barrel, but soon rolls out and dives through a window to escape the blaze. Dib, Pal and the two guards make for the door while patting out the fire on their clothes.

Outside, the guards turn on O’Hare , thinking that his friends have set off the explosion. Zee hears the fighting and brings himself and his gun-bunny into the fray to even the odds. Alexis, having no idea where her friends are inside, climbs into the inferno to check. Seeing no sign of them or the lockbox, she books it for the exit, taking severe fire damage as another detonation goes off.

Some of the guards escape in the commotion, while two others are beaten into submission and tied up for questioning in a quiet alley. Being lower ranked soldiers, the guards don’t know much about the reasons for Jorvis’ disappearance, but they do seem to think he has Thamarite connections. The party regroups to plan their next move and Dib presents the strange bone he found. The runes carved into it are in fact necrotic, the kind used to create undead thralls, apparently another group arrived at the workshop before even the Crucible. The party searches the area and finds some heavy cart tracks in the mud that lead away from the alley next to the workshop.

The trail leads them down to the docks where a barge sits calmly in the water. A figure is seen dropping down behind the railing and the party prepares to board.

As they try to rush on deck the party is bottle-necked on the gangplank and a dozen deckhands jump from hiding positions to engage them. The two Golden Crucible guards who fled the scene earlier are tied up by the barge’s cabin and one is summarily executed before the party can reach them.

A furious fight takes place, with Pal and O’Hare pushing their way on board while Alexis and Zee fire from the dock. Dib even manages to shoulder a man overboard and Pal imitates this trick with a magical blast. Soon the ruckus draws a large Ogrun from the cabin, wielding a shield and halberd. As the last few deckhands go down Pal and the Ogrun crash together. O’Hear flanks him but his trench knife finds it hard to penetrate the Ogrun’s armour. Lalrii joins the melee quite spectacularly by giving Pal “the signal”, running up his back, and jumping over the Ogrun, hacking at him while he flies through the air.

While the others are distracted with the brute a shady figure steps out of the cabin and casts a green light over the barge. The fallen deckhands begin to rise up and the party once again has to hack at them before they fully return. Gun-bunny fire and grenades make sure the deckhands stay down while Pal, Lalrii and O’Hare finish off the Ogrun.

The surviving Golden Crucible guard is very grateful for his rescue and warns the party not to open the lockbox, which they find in the cabin. He reveals that it is in fact Rourke who is the Thamarite and that he was simply using the party to get the lockbox. He tells them it contains a foul Cryxian cortex and that it should be returned to the Order headquarters for disposal. The party agrees and straps the box to the top of the gun-bunny.

Back on the streets the party hasn’t gone far when a familiar face steps out of the shadows and blocks their path. Sergeant Hill and several city watch surround the party and demand they hand over the cortex. It is clear that these men are all corrupt. When the party doesn’t respond Hill commands his men, “Arrest them.”

Next time on…

Our heroes decide to fight their way out of the corrupt watchmen’s ambush. Dib throws a grenade at something. Zee smacks someone with his wrench. And the crew must venture into a seedy nightclub, complete with a trollkin exotic dancer.

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