The People’s Militia of Acryn (a fairly recently formed body created by “concerned” citizens looking to keep the streets of Acryn safe) has been placing the following posters across town:
We, the People’s Militia of Acryn, are looking to recruit “capable” individuals to investigate and resolve matters potentially connected to a series of “concerning” incidents that have occurred over the past “several” months. A sample of the incidents are presented below.
The rampant overgrowth and then recession of the eastern forest. A giant mechanical spider seen escaping from the Clockmakers guild. The appearance (and then disappearance) of numerous “Rifts” in space. The overrunning of the streets by monsters during a recent festival. Disappearance of the bay of acryn. Sprouting of a “giant” tower. The giant “cube” which appeared (and remains) above the Warehouse District. The disappearance of creatures in the fortress Blackthorn area. The frequent calamities that have struck the colleges. Sightings of Arcane green fire floating around the top of the Opera House. Suspicious “cloaked” figures roaming the streets. Bizarre lightning “storms”. The two blood comets which appeared above the city 2 weeks ago. Three flayed corpses with no sign of “arcane” symbols anywhere near them. The devastation of magical task force, which occurred two days ago. In the Church of the Founders, the Sacred candles burn low.
It is felt that these “events” are indicative of a much greater problem in our society at large. Those of a Solid Constitution and an Analytical “mind” should present themselves to the People’s Militia of Acryn for further details on the resolution of the underlying problems.
The People’s Militia of Acryn accepts no responsibility for accidental injury or death resulting from the investigation of these matters. Payment in lieu will not be provided in the event of death.
After discussing what is expected of them, the party head to investigate their first clue, the green fire atop the Opera house. On their way they are jumped by what appears to be a crowd of simple citizens of Acryn. While initially assuming the hit was planned as part of some bigger attempt to stop the party it becomes apparent that a group of muggers has simply found a quick way to easy pickings, hitting wealthy opera-goers with overwhelming numbers.
Having defeated the muggers, the party heads to the Opera House, mingling with the Opera-goers to discover a bit more about what is going on. Among other rumours, they learn the Opera-goers have been going missing, of a secret passage into the opera house, and of the architect who still haunts the rafters waiting for their lover to return.
After the opera has ended, the party sneak into the opera house via a hidden entrance, fight their way through giant-spider infested crypts and up into the tower, again fighting their way through a number of alchemically-infused corpse-creatures. At the top of the tower they find a crazed alchemist intent on returning her dead girlfriend to life, surrounded by the ghosts of the opera-goers she killed to fuel her research. The party eventually defeat her, although only a few ghosts remain, the rest consumed by the alchemist to fuel her powers as she fought against the party. While some of the party try to work out what to do with the ghosts, other members of the party investigate the wards around the tower and choose to break one to see what will happen, the result being the ghosts burning away in green fire. In the aftermath the party decide to hand the alchemist over to the watch and follow up on another lead they have discovered from the alchemist: the disappearances near Fort Blackthorne.
Once the party arrive at the spot of the disappearances they start to look around to see what they can find, quickly running into some cowled corpses animated with wounding magic, who immediately attack the party. After a particularly tense fight where several members of the party were dropped and nearly dragged away, the last creature is finally defeated. Investigating further, the party manage to track the route in and out of the city which these creatures have been using, and sneak past the less-than-observant corpse guards in order to follow the trail.
The trail eventually leads the party to a temple of the builder, located a few miles outside Acryn’s walls. Samuel Skye sneaks ahead to investigate the Temple and catches a massacre in progress, a lone individual taking out a number of Wizards. The party quickly move in to investigate, catching the individual still standing in the midst of the bloodshed. He claims to be J. Abrams working for the Council of Acryn (dept. of Public Works), and while claiming that his mission has been completed informs the party of another nearby mad-wizard who really needs dealing with. Not believing his story, as Samuel is convinced Abrams speed comes from an alchemical potion which he found upon the Alchemists person, Samuel and Mark follow him as he travels back to the City and into the Council Building. The two conclude that whatever it is they have stumbled upon, it goes all the way to the top. Meanwhile, the rest of the party free the priests of the Temple, discovering that the Wizards took control of the temple at about the same point the the Alchemist began her experiments atop the Opera house, and that kidnapped citizens of Acryn have been moving through the Temple and onwards to some other location.
Not really having the slightest idea what is going on, the party conclude that the only sensible option at this point is to investigate this “other wizard” as they might have some clue as to what Abrams and his bosses (either the Council in general or possible Arcus Blackthorn) are planning. After talking their way through a band of flux-rebels, travelling to the location they have been provided, and getting through a magical barrier guarded by a riddling stone face, the party are confronted with a rift, a wizard, two concerned individuals, and some creatures which clearly do not conform to standard biological practices. The Concerned individuals claim that the wizard is using his power to keep the rift open, that it leads into a prison of some kind, and that the wizard is throwing innocent people in as part of magical rituals to free prisoners from inside. The Wizard, on the other hand, claims that he is keeping the rift under control, that he is trying to close it, and that anyone claiming anything else is simply out to get him. The creatures claim nothing, and simply attempt to kill anything which gets too close to the rift, party, concerned individuals, wizard, and all. For a long while nothing but talking happens, but eventually the party decide the Wizard is a threat and incapacitate him. The instant this happens, chains writhe from the rift, attempting to drag the Wizard inside. As all hell breaks loose Henry Haldran accidently finds himself on the wrong side of the rift, witnessing the large numbers of chain individuals found close to the rift and a large number of predators stalking towards him - he decides to quickly return himself to the correct side of the rift. As the rest of the party deal with the chains, the two concerned individuals conduct a ritual to gain control of the rift, sealing it and taking its energy within themselves. The party realise something has gone terribly wrong and attempt to incapacitate both of the concerned individuals as well. After an extended fight, they are dropped but attempts to keep them alive prove difficult - they are also corpse puppets, but cleverly disguised with makeup. As the players look at the recently-moving corpse, a voice intones from all around them “Weak as you are, you have seen too much and my plans are not yet fool-proof. Prepare yourselves for your demise!” The player party are pleased, as finally a mad-wizard is coming to them.
On their way back to Acryn (captured wizard in tow) the party discover a colossal construct of blood moving towards them. Initially a seemingly easy fight due to the creatures slow movements, the party start to worry when their blows appear ineffective, however some quick thinking by Mark Carter blows the creature into smaller (and more manageable) pieces. Having finished off the construct, the players lay a trap for the Wizard coming for them, catching several of its agents by surprise and quickly disposing of them. The party finally come face to face with what appears to be a well-off Acryn Merchant with a growing pattern of scales across his face, which the party quickly identify as Harlon Quirk, mad arch-wizard of Acryn, Murderer of the Magical Task Force & Drowner of Cities. A fight ensues but despite the villain's confidence he is eventually defeated. Unfortunately it seems he is determined to have the last laugh, claiming “Even in death you shall not win. My master Vecron walks the earth again, even now his power grows. Soon he shall be UNSTOPPABLE!” as he slips from consciousness. The party, not willing to let the wizard get his way, ensure that he survives and deliver him to the Acryn City Watch, along with the other Wizard.
When the party return to Acryn they immediately hand over the two prisoners, declaring that they have successfully captured Harlon Quirk, and they’d like their reward. Upon hearing the name (and confirming that the captured wizard does infact match the description of Harlon Quirk), the watch immediately send for help from the College of the Stars in order to secure him. The College of the Stars faculty members quickly confirm that the captured lizard-man is not, in fact, Harlon Quirk. However, they do confirm that the other wizard is none other than Francesco DeWitt, one of the founders of the college, presumed dead for several hundred years, and by all accounts a raving whack-job. The College and Watch eventually come to a solution for restraining the two prisoners, and the party are given leave to go report their findings to the People’s Militia.
The People’s Militia are incredibly concerned to hear that whatever it is the party have discovered goes “all the way to the top”. Promising that the Militia will certainly be keeping an eye on the council for any signs of dodgy dealings.
Henry Haldran attempts on several occasions to contact the people in charge of J Abrams, getting no response for quite a while, before one day coming home to discover a simple note left on his bed: “If we need you, we’ll come to you”.
In the weeks that follow, other rumours start to pass among Acryn’s adventuring community. That one of the leaders of the True Council has undergone a bizarre lizard tranformation and is being held by the City Watch. That the Council has managed to round up other ancient and long dead wizards. That some grand metaphysical prison has been broken. And of course, that Harlon Quirk was somehow responsible for what happened. Other rumours suggest that the Clockmakers guild, a giant mechanical spider, and several other adventurers were also somehow involved, but most agree that Harlon Quirk is a much more likely explanation.
Iain - Alchemical “Time Skip” preparation. Can be consumed to return the drinker to the start of the encounter they were in, with full knowledge of what had happened. Alchemical analysis will reveal a potion of unknown function, which has something to do with “Speed, but not speed”.