The Saga So Far
Act I: The Threat from Below
A group of heroes that would one day be called “Platinum Expeditions” united to save a young boy from a random attack by goblins from beneath the city. When they retrieved the boy and slew the orcish leader, they uncovered evidence of a larger threat, and also recognized the benefits of cooperation.
The group was soon contacted by a Captain of the City Guard, and tasked with investigating the mugging of a Howlesian noble (in title, if not in nature), named Conor Damilus. They found the young man had been robbed outside a seedy establishment by a singularly large man with a similarly large hammer. The Laughing Man, leader of Kestral‘s theatrically benevolent thieves’ guild, also took an interest in the case, and tasked the group with bringing the rogue band of cutpurses to heel. Platinum Expeditions answered the call of both organizations, and soon discovered that Berrick was trying to sell the stolen goods to an agent of neighboring Carthia. The plot was foiled, Berrick was slain, and the goods recovered and revealed: detailed and highly classified plans for the defense of Kestral. Why did Conor have them, and why would Howlett’s supposed ally to the east be after them?
Platinum Expeditions returned to the undercity twice more at the behest of Captain Maler, uncovering more goblinoid forces, a draconic treasure vault, and more evidence of Carthian backing for the greenskin threat. Shortly thereafter, the Carthian agent that was discovered meeting with Berrick the Hammer captured a group of guardsmen, including the good Captain. With aid from the Jesting Shadows, our heroes bested the spy and revealed him as an agent of the Red Masks – a powerful group of murderers and cutthroats, and rival to the Shadows.
Carol left the group to pursue her own interests while the rest of Platinum Expeditions was hired by the Loreguard to recover a mysterious book from the ruined estate of a fallen noble family, one suspected of collusion with the Great Enemy. Besting the wards that protected the place, the party returned, only to be ambushed by the Red Masks and the sorceress Selia Tellare.
Carol, working with a team of Jesting Shadows, rescued an old acquaintance and uncovered a Red Mask plot to assassinate a member of the High Council during a gala in Kestral. Unfortunately, the murder was set simultaneously with a large-scale assault from the Goblinoid threat beneath the city, and the party was forced to choose between the Jesting Shadows and the City Guard. They choose the Laughing Man and stop the Red Masks from murdering the Carthian Ambassadors and implicating Howlett in the crime by involving the hapless Conor Damilus in the crime. The party stops the plan and captures Conor, although the Red Mask poisoner escapes. Maler, meanwhile, leads a group of his own men into the sewers to eliminate the leader of the goblinoid assault.
Platinum Expeditions attempts to come to the aid of the Captain, but are only able to avenge him. They defeat a bugbear champion of “The Reborn Talon” and escape the sewers, but the battle for the city still wreaks a heavy toll on the city and it’s defenders.
Act II: Growing Shadows
Loreguard Kaneda returns to his Cabal, and the rest of Platinum Expeditions accepts a mission from Queen Nerala Sathirin. In the wake of the assault, the city has suffered heavy losses and is still plagued by raiding parties and pockets of goblinoid occupation. The Queen sends the group to Mendoros, the capitol of Carthia, to discover why that nation has been increasing its presence on the border and to investigate the group known as the Reborn Talon. They are joined by an agent of the Lauging Man named Cyrus Corel.
On the road, PE fights a group of Bandits, capturing their leader, a scout named Dyne. He claims he was hired in Mendoros by Conor to raid and kill across the Carthian countryside. It appears that bandit attacks (with apparent Howlesian sponsorship) have been increasingly common in Carthia, and factions within the country urge the king towards open war. Dyne later escapes, but the party finds his information insightful.
The group takes a detour to explore some ancient draconic ruins near Dyne’s former base of operations. They see wonders that were lost for over a millenia, and free a prisoner from a magical oubliette. The woman named Craytzia claims to be the daughter of an ancient enemy of Athrintalec. She and Carol strike a bargain, and Craytzia is set free into the world. As part of this arrangement, Brundle entrusts her with a mysterious book for her to research.
PE continues towards Mendoros, and while they camp along the road, they find themselves caught in a titanic storm, just after a flash over the eastern horizon. The foul weather lasts for three days, and the party later learns that a massive explosion tore through a secret stronghold near Kestral. No bodies were found in the smoking ruin, but the party grows concerned when the Laughing Man confirms that the fortress was the home of the Loreguard Cabal of Illumen, the last known whereabouts of their ally, Kaneda.
The party gets to Mendoros, where they meet with Peony and learn about Laila, a lecturer at the Arcane University with a side business in smuggling and drugs. They suspect she might be “the Elf” mentioned by the Champion of the Reborn Talon. They meet with her and investigate her business, but when Brundle realizes the formidable defenses of her home, they avoid stirring the pot by asking about the Talon.
Feeling unwelcome among her allies, Vashara opts to return to Howlett, but the party is able to gain the assistance of an accident-prone former librarian from the university, and Brundle takes an intern (or rather, she takes him). With her aid, the group arranges an interview with Conor, only to realize that the man leading the bandits is not Conor, but rather an imposter who is working in association with the Red Masks. Brundle and Lilianna shake down a Red Mask cronie and earn faux-Conor’s trust. He offers them a place in their organization.
Thomadril receives a letter from Winsom Starling. It appears that Farian, an old friend that Merrilyn arranged to study at the Loreguard cabal, was growing increasingly obsessed with the book recovered from the Shale Creek Manor. The date on the letter places its writing shortly before the magical eruption that wiped out the Loreguard.
The group decides to take decisive action, and arranges another meeting with the false Conor Damilus, where they attack him. The battle is short but taxing, and the group kills “Conor” and his inner circle, leaving his operation leaderless and in shambles. With the major threat there eliminated, the party returns to Laila’s townhouse, only to find that it too has been attacked. It looks like the elven information broker was assaulted and forced to flee; there are freshly killed Red Mask agents, and the party follows a bolt-hole into the sewers.
Platinum Expeditions finds a Red Mask hit squad scouring the sewer tunnels, and is able to overpower them, kill their leader, and take a captive. The captured goon reveals that the Masks had Laila under surveilance, and when the party (known to have contacted her) attacked “Conor”, Mask leadership decided that the elf and her organization should be liquidated. Before Brundle finished him off, he cryptically warned the party that they should find Laila before “the Twins” do.
Utilizing Buttercup’s superior tracking ability, the party follows Laila, only to find her waiting in their rooms at the Boar and Cat. She blames the party for provoking the Red Masks, but also recognizes that she needs them if she is going to escape the city and survive. She offers to tell them her part in the Masks’ plans if they can get her to the harbor and out of the city. Cyrus, on behalf of the Jesting Shadows, offers her asylum in Kestral.
The party sets out, only to be attacked at one of the city elevators by a group of Red Mask agents who have infiltrated the Mendoros City Guard. They loudly proclaim the group under arrest, accusing them of murder, smuggling, drug-dealing and the practice of necromancy. The charges aren’t entirely untrue, but Marilyn is able to give an impassioned speech to defend their reputation among the people of the city, even inspiring a couple of bystanders to join the fight against the rogue guards.
During the battle, the party sees that two of the deputized thugs bear amulets strikingly similar to that worn by Conor Damilus during his unwilling role in the attempted assassination at the High Council. When one of them is killed, the amulet activates, turning his body into a powerful undead creature known as a Boneclaw. The fight is vicious, but the party prevails and captures the other amulet-bearing deputy alive, thereby preventing him from transforming into another Boneclaw.
The party continues their flight down the river, successfully removes the Boneclaw Amulet from their captive, and delivers Laila to her waiting ship. Once aboard and out to sea, the elf relays her story: Two months ago, she was hired by the Red Masks to smuggle a package into Carthia and deliver it to a fortress in the Spinestones. The package was an odd green crystal; the recipient a hobgoblin in a magical disguise. With a Red Mask blade at her back, Laila had no choice but to complete the transaction and keep it secret.
Just as she finishes her tale, a halfling in a Red Mask appears on the deck. He informs the party that he will not leave any survivors, and the Twins attack. The spellthieves are dangerous opponents and Brundle is poisoned, but the day is won by Platinum Expeditions, who are finally able to rest and recover.
The party sails the rest of the way to Kestral, noting the increased military presence and a ransacked halfling caravan. They meet again with Queen Sathirin and Ambassador Tuomon and share their findings and collect their promised payment. The Reborn Talon marches in open war in Northern Howlett and the Wychpines, an elf in white is leading attacks on halfling caravans, and Carthia has withdrawn its ambassadors to the High Council
After meeting with Dunphy and the Jesting Shadows as well, the group has a few options for their next course of action: find the Reborn Talon’s stronghold in the Spinestones, prevent the Red Masks from gaining a foothold in Kestral, , or join the war effort in northern Howlett or the Wychpines.
We shall see…