The party awoke in their accommodation by a knock at the door. It was a small portly guard with rusted, badly fitting armor. He told them that the Queen and her advisors were waiting for them and to follow him when they were ready. The group gathered their supplies and readied themselves and set off following the guard through the streets of the capital.
They reached the castle and headed into it's central chamber. The guard took them off into a side room. As the entered they discovered it was the castle's war room. In the center of the room was a wooden table with a map of Carcerem etched into it in high detail. Surrounding the table where four figures. Three of them were the Queen's advisors. The war hero Zarachiel. The ranger Dillon. The wizard Ximun Gael. The final figure was taller than the rest, wearing exquisite plate mail, with gold running through it. The figure took of it's helmet as the group approached and revealed itself to be the Queen.
The Queen and her advisors informed the party that they were to serve as her ambassadors. They were to use Ximun Gael's magic to teleport to the various villages, towns, and cities of the Shattered Empire, and convince them to rejoin the empire, via whatever means necessary. They recommended that the first place the party should visit is Jester's Crossing. It's a small town, but it sits at a vital point. It lays where the Eastern and Western roads of the Empire meet. Any traffic that would help to the capital, would have to go through that town.
The players agreed with the choice and set off. Ximun Gael chanted some ancient words in a language nobody understood and a large portal appeared at the side of the room. The players hesitantly stepped through. They appeared on the other side in a field covered with snow. A small distance away they saw a town, one in disrepair, with few people walking the streets.
The group entered the town and headed into it's Tavern. The building was almost empty, there was only a few people in it, and they were spread out, each one drinking alone. The town had an atmosphere of struggle and despair to it. The group spoke to the barkeep and he explained that the town had struggled since the fall of the Empire. They relied heavily on the trade that passed through their town on the way to the Capital. Once it was gone, they soon realized that they were not self sufficient, there supplies dried up and they fell into poverty and desperation.
He directed the players towards the town's blacksmith. Who the town looked to as their unofficial leader. As when the Empire collapsed and the Jester's Crossing fell into ruin, he was the one who kept their spirits up, the one who kept them together as a town. Before they went however, Micolash asked the tavernkeep if he knew of Kos, Micolash's god. The tavernkeep immediately urged him to keep his voice down, then gestured for Micolash to follow him. He led Micolash and Arnold to a door, which he unlocked and opened. Behind the door were a set of stairs leading down into a basement. As the three of them went down, they saw a group of people down there, sat around a table. This group of people were happy and jovial, in complete contrast to the rest of the town.
The tavernkeep introduced Micolash and Arnold and said they were asking about Kos. The group treated them with immense distrust at first, and were almost hostile towards them. Micolash said he was the chosen of Kos, but the group just laughed at him and told him to prove it. So he did. His long tentacles erupted from the tattoos that covered his body, not only that, but they also erupted from the women who question his devotion to Kos, killing her in the process. Seeing his power, and recognizing it as a gift from Kos the rest of the group immediately bowed down to him. Pledging themselves to him. He told them to rise. He asked them if they thought the town would be better off if it rejoined the Empire and they reinforced what the tavernkeep had said, so Micolash and Arnold went back up the stairs and rejoined with the rest of the party, and the group headed to the blacksmith.
There they first inquired with the blacksmith as the the state of the town. He once again confirmed what the tavernkeep had told the group. Eventually the group revealed themselves to have been sent by Rowena. Once he found this out, he agreed that the town could rejoin the Empire, but that they would need something from the group in return. He said that if the town was going to rejoin the empire, they would need to become self sufficient first. To make sure the same thing never happened to them again. He said that to become self sufficient, the town would need access to a food source, wood, ores, and stone. The party agreed to help find this stuff and set out.
The first thing they tried to get access to was wood. So they headed to the Sunderpines, south of the town. The Blacksmith had warned them of this forest, saying a monster lived inside. The group entered and felt like they were been watched. After walking for a while they came upon a deer, and one of the group tried to kill it. They failed to do so, and a voice told them to stop. From out of the forest emerged a tall almost bear like creature known as an Alaghi, a close relative to the Yeti. He checked the deer over and made sure it was okay, before sending it deep into the forest. He approached the party and conversed with them. They told him what they had come to the forest for. He agreed to allow to town access to the wood, as long as in return, they gave him metal tools when he asked for them, as he had no ability in metalworking. The party thought this a fair trade and decided to leave, but not before learning a bit about the creatures past, finding out that he once lived with a tribe but was exiled, refusing to say why. As the party turned to leave the forest a group of monster hunters turned up to try and kill the Alaghi. The party defended him and defeated all of the monster hunters. The Alaghi thanked them, and the party headed out of the forest. Wood had been secured for Jester's Crossing.
The second thing they did was to secure food for the town, so they headed north of the town to a local river. The blacksmith recommended this place to them, but said that a tribe of creatures had set up camp there. When the group arrived there, they found a small village of Bullywugs set up along the side of the river. The Bullywugs that were outside saw them approaching and ran over to greet them. Bullywugs are a small humanoid race resembling frog people. They wield short spears, but are a mostly peace loving race. They could not speak common, but were evidently happy about seeing the group. They kept smiling and pointing at them, and chattering away in happy tones. Eventually Micolash spawned his tentacles from out of his flesh, and the Bullywugs changed in demeanor. They took Micolash and lead him to the largest tent in the village. Inside was the elder of the village, larger than all the other bullywugs. He started to approach Micolash when Micolash asked Kos what he wanted him to do with the Bullywugs. Kos told him he was surrounded by enemies, so he caused tentacles to emerge from the elder. This caused the bullywugs to panic. They took both Micolash and the elder to tables that were on the edge of the room and laid them down on it. Two of them pinned Micolash down, whilst two others pinned down the elder. They took Micolash's sacrifical dagger, and drove it through the elder's temple. They believed he had been corrupted, and wished to free his spirit, so he could live happily in the after life. They then moved over to Micolash to do the same to him, but he caused the one holding the knife to also grow tentacles. The remaining bullywugs rushed him over to a table and did the same to him as they had to the elder. At this point Shank entered the tent as well, with the rest of the group following close behind. One of the bullywugs approached her, gave her the knife, and pointed at Micolash, gesturing to stab him. She refused. At this point, Micolash whispered to one of the bullwugs, and drove him into a frenzy causing him to attack his fellow Bullywugs.
From this point on the chaos just continued. Micolash and Arnold set off on a path of destruction, wiping out the remaining Bullwugs. Shank did her best to try keep the peace, but didn't want to get in the way of Micolash or Arnold. Bruce tried his best to save the Bullywugs, embracing one of them and reassuring it, but Micolash used one of his tentacles to kill it in his arms. With the village of Bullywugs totally decimated, the use of the river for fishing had been secured, although not everyone was happy with the methods used. The people of Jester's Crossing were however, they viewed the Bullywugs as beasts, and got to raid the Bullywug village for supplies.
The last thing left for the group was to get access to stones and ores. They headed towards the mountain range, following the river west. At the end of the river where it rose up into the mountains, they found a cave. The cave was a shallow one, and wouldn't take long to fully explore, however the group had no way to light up the cave to venture inside. They tried for a while to light a stick on fire using Bellax' fire breath, but to no avail. Frustrated and needing to rest and heal, the group returned to the town. They rested for the night, and whilst they were there, they got a torch from the blacksmith, so they could enter the cave.
However, it was not uneventful. During the night, a young man booked the room in the tavern next to Arnold, entered his room, and stole his armor. Arnold awoke to find his armor gone, he immediately rushed down the stairs and spoke to the tavernkeep. The tavernkeep told him about the young man renting a room, and said he saw him leave with a suit of armor in tow. Arnold immediately ran out of the tavern. Once out on the street he saw the young man at the blacksmiths, talking to the blacksmith, and pointing the the armor. Arnold ran over. In one move he snatched the armor back off the young and gave him a backhanded slap to the face. However, Arnold is still not used to the new strength that Kos has given him. His slap killed the young boy.
The guards were called and approached Arnold. Arnold stood there with weapon in hand and tried to explain the situation to the guards. They just kept yelling at him to drop his weapon. Eventually he realised he would not be able to convince them of the young mans theft, so he readied himself for a fight. The guards had him surrounded however, and he did not plan to kill them. A small fight broke out. Arnold was managing to hold off the guards, but his allies couldn't stand by and watch him outnumbered. When one of the guards stabbed Arnold in the back Bellax got involved, running over and punching the guard for using such a cowardly tactic. This whole time as well, Micolash was watching from his room in the tavern, and after Bellax punched the guard, Micolash whispered into his mind and broke his sanity, causing him to stand aimlessly, babbling nonsensically. The other two guards quickly realised how the situation was deteriorating and agreed to listen to what Arnold had to say. He explained the entire situation and that the young man stole his armor. The guards were hesitant to believe him, as he had no evidence at all. Arnold convinced them to follow him into the tavern, where the tavernkeep backed up his story and confirmed that the armor was Arnold's and that he had seen the young man leave with it. As the tavernkeep was telling the guards this, Micolash decided to keep playing with the guard left outside babbling and whispered into his mind once again. This time truly breaking his sanity. The guard immediately flipped out and charged a peasant woman who was walking by. The guards inside the tavern heard a scream come from outside. Hearing this, and hearing the tavernkeep back up Arnold's story, they decided to let him go, but warned him not to cause any more trouble.
Following this dramatic event, the group immediately left the town and went back out in search of the cave. Once they arrived, they lit the torch with a tinderbox and headed inside. They soon explored the entire cave, and confirmed via veins in the walls that there was accessible ore. However before they could leave they were attacked by a group of large insects that came out of the walls. They would burrow out of the wall, attack one of the party members, then re-burrow. The party managed to defeat the insects in a somewhat quick fashion.
They returned to Jester's Crossing and went and saw the blacksmith once again. They told him that they had secured the three resources, so the blacksmith assured them that the town would once again be a part of the Empire, and he would send a diplomat to the capital to negotiate the details of the arrangement with the Queen.
The group left the town and once they had walked a distance out of the town, a portal appeared in front of them. They stepped through it and found themselves once again in the war room. The Queen thanked them for their service and let them go and rest before their next mission.
Jester's crossing rejoining the Empire brought 50 goods, 50 labour, and 30 influence in.
Raiding the Bullywug camp after it's inhabitants were killed generated 20 goods.
For their service to the empire, each member of the group gained 3 honour.
For helping the Alaghi against the monster hunters, the party gained 2 fame each.
For killing the Bullywugs, Micolash gained 5 fame, for following his gods instructions, but Bruce lost 5 fame, for failing to protect peaceful creatures.
Arnold lost 10 fame for the chaos he created in Jester's Crossing.
Using their new found resources, the players constructed a Pier (animal pen, dock, office, two storage) and a Tavern (Bar, common room, lavatory, office, storage) in the capital.
Animal pen: gp, goods, labour +8
Bar: gp, influence +10
Bonus on checks to gather information
Common room: gp, influence +7
Dock: gp, goods, influence, labour +12
Lavatory: Bonus on checks against disease
Storage: gp +2