A job is advertised in various places around Acryn:
The Spicer’s Guild seeks the services of competent and upstanding individuals to assist with investigations into recent thefts. Must be willing to travel. Up to 51 Riel is offered per head, dependent on results. Applicants should present themselves to Gregory Forrester at the guild headquarters.
The party are given a date and time to meet at the guild for a briefing. Among them is a young woman calling herself Kaitlyn, who claims to be a new adventurer. At the briefing, Gregory Forrester, the Spicer's Guild's “Head of Financial Security”, informs them of a series of issues they are to investigate: a series of break-ins at their headquarters, disappearing stock at their warehouses, caravans being raided, and even entire shipments being claimed by imposters. He gives them a letter to prove that they're working for the Guild, and directs them to where a recent break-in has happened.
The party examine the site of the crime and talk to the workers about what happened. One of the workers cleaning things up there finds a matchbook among the broken glass from a place called “Heavy Ness's'” (sic). A watchman present identifies this as a known dive for criminal types to hang around. Before going to check it out, the party decide to head to the warehouse to investigate there.
The warehouse workers are somewhat perturbed by a party including a monkey, a tree and a Tyrant Lizard coming to visit them, and despite the letter from Gregory are concerned about letting them in. Since things have been disappearing pretty much nightly, the idea of the staking out the warehouse is posited. However, the workers are sufficiently terrorised by the lizard that they flee and alert the Watch. Some of them show up, one of whom is a first lieutenant. Richardo talks to his superior officer and explains the situation, and is warned that the Watch don't want a Tyrant Lizard wandering around the streets and terrorising people. Whilst all of this is going on, Kaitlyn disappears for a while, though the others don't seem to notice.
Rather than hang around the city and potentially cause trouble, the party decide to leave the warehouse to its fate for the time being and investigate their third lead: one of the Spicer's Guild's suppliers out in Leafhaven, a small village on the edge of the savannah South of Margush. On the way they encounter some large colourful Flux flowers that try to eat them, and make their way though some long grass whilst being attacked by the local wildlife, including a Fluxy land-narwhal for some reason. In the process, Nice gets stung in the mouth by a wasp, and it starts to swell up. Bartholomew notes that something seems slightly unnatural about the swelling.
Reaching the village, the party talk to the Spicer's Guild representatives there. They aren't able to offer them much information about the imposters, only that they were different each time, and they seemed to have the right documents, and things only seemed amiss once the real trade caravans showed up. The party decide to ride along with the caravan back to Acryn, so that if it is attacked then they can encounter the bandits, and if it’s a fake coming to collect the shipment they’ll know, and if all else fails they’ll have escorted the delivery back to the city.
Meanwhile, Nice’s tongue has swollen up sufficiently that Bartholomew is prompted to try to help out by creating a remedy. Getting some herbs from one of the Guild members there including some “fairy dust”, he creates a salve which helps to reduce the swelling and heal things up a bit. It also makes Nice believe that she has grown wings and can fly.
Riding along with the cart, the party are able to fight the bandits who stop it and claim to be out to put an end to the Spicer’s Guild monopoly on rare spices. They largely emerge victorious, though when Kaitlyn is left to watch one of them they manage to get away. They finish bringing down their leader and Wayfinder, only to find that Nice has eaten one of them. Kaitlyn says she’ll watch over the leader whilst they deal with the aftermath of that and ask Nice just what she’s doing.
They argue over that for a while, with Nice not quite seeming to get why eating people is apparently bad, and start to interrogate the Wayfinder. A short while later they realise that the leader is missing. One of the others also then uses a hidden Smoke Bomb, and runs off, and whilst the Wayfinder tries to make a getaway, they slip on some mud and are caught again.
After some questioning, the Wayfinder reveals that he’s working with the “Spice Maidens” who are trying to end the Guild’s monopoly on spices and use them for their cooking, pointing out that they do charitable work. Unable to give them more information, the party prepare to take him and the others they’ve captured with them back to the city.
Quizzing Kaitlyn over the missing leader, she panics and tells them that she’s a Consumption Mage who ate part of her and then threw the body into a ravine. Not wanting to let a potential delicious body go to waste and still thinking that she can fly, Nice jumps down into the ravine to try to find the body, but is unable to. The force of landing clears up her head a little, and she wonders why she thought that she could fly. After a lot of confusion, the party head back to Acryn.
Met at the gate by Gregory and some of the Watch, come to invite them to lunch to discuss what they have found thusfar, Richardo reports in, hands over the captured bandits and declares that Nice and Kaitlyn are both criminals who should be tried for murder and eating people. Nice tries to get away, so the officers and some of the party try to stop her whilst Hardy, Senta and Kaitlyn flee into the Flux. There Senta expresses her disapproval and says that she wants to trust Kaitlyn, who admits that she panicked earlier and lied, and that she hadn’t actually eaten or thrown anybody into a ravine, she just thought that that explanation was better than the suspicion that would fall on her after the leader escaped.
The three return to the city to explain this, whilst the Watch bring Nice back in a cage and cart her off. After telling Richardo and the other Watch members that she’d lied, Kaitlyn is checked by Consumption Mages who determine that she hadn’t eaten anybody, but is still to face trial for potentially interfering with Watch investigations. The lunch goes ahead. Some of the Watch suggest staking out a warehouse again, but having beefed up security on their own the Spicer’s Guild seem to have put a stop to those problems. A flyer is brought up for a tournament of some sort being held by the “Iron Chef”, which mentions the “Maidens of Spice”, which potentially matches up with some of what the party learned from the Wayfinder.
However, most of the party are off to one side with one of the Watch members trying to work out their next move themselves at this point, and so leave Kaitlyn talking to the Spicer’s Guild and make plans to go to the Palace of Games to talk to the White Duke. When they go to get Kaitlyn, they are unable to find her. Their numbers thinning out what with her missing and Nice arrested, they enlist the help of one of the Watch members who goes off-duty.
At the Palace, the White Duke is willing to talk to one of them if some of the others help out in gladiatorial combat that was to be the evening’s entertainment. They do this whilst the officer who is with them goes and has a word. During the fight, Richardo accidentally kills one of those fighting after they aren’t given medical treatment in time. Afterwards he asks the other Watchman to be on-duty for a moment so that he can hand himself in for manslaughter. The Watchman tells him that a note will be made on his permanent record, but no further action will be taken for now. As they’re leaving, the Duke asks for a word with Bartholomew, telling him that he was impressed by his fight and would be interested in offering him more such work. However, Bartholomew declines. The Duke tells him that he should consider the offer.
Having been given an address by the White Duke, the party head there to find the back entrance to some kitchens. Sending some of the Watch to check out the front, they learn that it is the “School of Spice”, and that there is some sort of open evening going on, where anybody may come and eat extremely fine food. Going in the back, they deal with some junior chefs who try to stop them and go through to the main kitchen, where a number of chefs are hard at work.
However, the atmosphere is eerily calm as a woman identifying herself as the Iron Chef sits cross-legged in the centre, stirring a pot with one hand and chopping ingredients with another. Claiming that she is under arrest, the Watch officer asks her to accompany them. Claiming innocence, she agrees provided they can finish the meals first. She does so, and then goes quietly.
The Iron Chef is taken to the Watch. Along the way, Hardy expresses an interest in what she was doing at her combined cookery school/dojo, so she tells him to come and visit and learn from her some time. Statements are taken from the remaining party members. Richardo gives a thorough account with all of the details, whilst Senta and Bartholomew back this up, Senta also claiming that Richardo’s work has been exemplary and that the dead person was not his fault. Hardy’s report is made in somewhat less certain terms, and is somewhat less damning of the Iron Chef and her people.
The party are later informed that whilst the Iron Chef openly expressed a dislike for the Spicer’s Guild’s monopoly, there was no conclusive evidence to suggest that she herself was involved in things, and that it was rogue elements within her organisation that were responsible for the thefts. The Watch remain on the lookout for Kaitlyn and someone matching the description of the woman who escaped when the bandits attacked earlier.
Nice is put on trial. Without any legal aid, Blake Chase, a lawyer hoping that the trial of a Tyrant Lizard will be high-profile enough to get him some more clients, agrees to take the defence on pro-bono. Richardo, Senta, Bartholomew and Hardy are all called up as witnesses, and the whole case gets a bit disorganised. Whilst it is generally agreed that Nice ate a citizen of Acryn who was most likely still alive (if unconscious) at the time, the incident is determined to have occurred off Acryn soil, and whether or not Nice is an Acryn citizen having been ensouled near Liarus, albeit by a citizen, is called into question.
Whilst trying to clear up the facts, it becomes apparent that Nice is only, strictly speaking, a few weeks old. After a couple of hours of deliberation between the judge, Blake and the Watch, they have to throw the case out because she counts as a minor in the eyes of the law. The judge thus rules that she must be placed in the care of somebody who can guide her down the right path, and thus she is sent to Senta’s orphanage. Senta arranges for a separate dorm to be prepared for the lizard, whilst the judge despairs that the legal system needs an overhaul to cope with the fact that people have started just making random sentient.
A note is made in Richardo’s permanent record stating that he inadvertently allowed somebody to die whilst in the line of duty. The note is accompanied by some indication that this doesn’t seem to have been his fault and he probably shouldn’t worry about it so much.
Bartholomew uses a minor miracle of the Tender to heal a particularly nasty wound that Hardy received during the fight with the junior chefs.
The party return to the Spicer’s Guild, where for their efforts, given that they found out some useful information that the incidents seem to have stopped for the time being, Gregory offers them each 27 Riel. Though they dispute this somewhat, they eventually accept and take their pay. He also agrees to have the Guild write off Bartholomew’s debt to them for the herbs used to heal Nice’s tongue.
The Iron Chef returns to her kitchen/dojo, and resumes teaching people in the culinary/martial arts of the Way of Spice. Having had a chance to compare the methods of the different Maidens of Spice, she decides that the tricks of Cat Silverton, master of disguise and trickery, have the right subtlety to be sustainable, with a little improvement. Perhaps a few more ingredients in the pot… yes, a forged receipt here, replacement of the goods with inferior equivalents to hide the theft there… this could be a most spectacular dish.
And some time later, Hardy shows up and begins learning the Way of Spice himself.
You are a student of the Iron Chef, and skilled in the Way of Spice, an esoteric martial art based around culinary techniques that is just as applicable in the kitchen as it is in a battle.
You have trained within the kitchen/dojo of the Iron Chef and learned her cooking/fighting style. Provided you maintain good relations with her, this skill functions like the Contacts skill applied specifically to the School of Spice. It also means you're particularly skilled at cooking, and can generally prepare a good meal even with limited resources available to you.
Spices can change the flavour of a dish, but just as important as the choice is spice is its delivery, allowing the flavours to spread throughout.
Once per encounter you may throw a special blend of spices into the faces of your opponents to cause them substantial discomfort and blinding. To do this, you must be carrying a supply of the blend, which must be of suitable quality to have the right aerodynamic properties, the cheap stuff just won't cut it. You may prepare as much of the blend you like at a cost of 9 Riel per pack.
Using this skill allows you to call BLIND 10 at range once per encounter, but uses one pack of spices.
A capable chef is always versatile, and able to use variations on a technique adapted to suit different circumstances. Just as herbs are diced, ground, stemmed and torn, so are there different ways to face an opponent in battle, and a true master knows which to use and when.
Once per encounter, you may make one call of either REND, STRIKEDOWN, DISARM or WEAKEN by melee.
A hectic kitchen and a hectic battlefield are alike. Rife with distractions, to truly overcome all obstacles and prepare the perfect dish one must be able to dedicate oneself utterly to one's art, filtering out all that would stand in their way and finding the inner peace and power amidst this chaos that will see their creations are completed with perfection.
Once per adventure, with 10 seconds of meditation you may enter a serene, trance-like state in which you are utterly focused on your work and are capable to shrugging off things which would affect you personally. This state lasts for the remainder of the encounter, during which you become IMMUNE to REND, STRIKEDOWN, WEAKEN, BLIND, WOUND and FEAR.
Furthermore, with this level of training you have nigh perfected the culinary arts, and may call yourself a master chef. Few can prepare food at a level even close to your creations.