Mission 2: Keseth’s Curse
The party was chosen for another, seemingly simple, mission: protect the cargo of the Shimmering Amazon from possible hijacking. Captain Keseth had already been singled out for piracy twice in the last three months, and rumors abound that her ship was cursed. It was up to the party to make sure her curse was finally broken. This time, Borador was not in attendance, but they did have two new members: a fistfighting woman named Malina, and a half-elf investigator named Jeffrey.
Unfortunately, after stopping the inevitable hijacking and taking a surviving pirate prisoner, disaster struck. The party discovered the cargo was actually an experimental new weapon: a pistol modified to carry six rounds instead of one, and lots of blackpowder. During the night, the prisoner escaped his bonds and detonated the blackpowder, destroying the ship. The party barely survived, but Keseth was not so lucky.
After washing ashore on a jungle island and surviving the sahuagin inhabitants, the party finally made it back to the mainland to make their report. After some investigating, they discovered the weapons were stolen goods in the hands of one Darion Pallbane, who was intending to sell them to the Volgan States for a tidy profit. Though they searched Pallbane’s mansion, they found no evidence of the man’s whereabouts. In a moment of inspired pettiness, Robin stole all the doorknobs in the mansion and Jeffrey left some “homemade sausage” in the icebox.
Side Mission 1: Robin and Feyred
Robin and Feyred were tasked with finding the missing daughter of the mayor of a small village to the southwest. She had been kidnapped by cultists and taken to an abandoned temple in the woods to be sacrificed for some horrible archaic ritual. During the fight, Robin discovered for the first time that his sack of doorknobs taken from Pallbane’s mansion could be used as a surprisingly effective weapon.
The two managed to stop the ritual, but Katrina was left in a coma. They brought her to Freeport, where the Church of the Waking Dawn agreed to do what they could to heal her.
Side Mission 2: Malina and Cendred
Malina and Cendred were grouped with three others—Borador, a cleric named Cora Highhill, a gnome alchemist named Linni, and a young witch named Sierra Arcturus—to clear out a previously abandoned fortress of any “current residents” (read: monsters) so that it could be recommissioned for use. During the mission, Borador secretly rigged everyone’s backpacks with explosive satchels. After clearing the fortress of monsters, he detonated everyone’s packs. Linni and Cora were killed outright, but Malina, Sierra, and Cendred were simply rendered unconscious. When they woke, Borador was gloating over them. He informed them that his only target was Sierra, but getting to kill Cendred was an added bonus (he suffered a great deal of humiliation at the hands of him and Robin due to his string of mishaps during the Nesmeth Mine mission). Through the clever use of a grease spell, Sierra managed to help everyone escape their bonds and fend off Borador, but it was Cendred who delivered the final blow, gutting the dwarf so deep he nearly cleaved him in half.
Sierra admitted she’d been on the run from her father for the past year. She was the only witness to her mother’s murder at her father’s hands, and he had been trying to tie up the “loose end” ever since.
Mission 3: Reaver’s Unrest
The party’s next mission was to investigate undead activity in the cemetery of the nearby city of End-Vaald. The party entered the church’s long-abandoned catacombs to discover the source of the problem and eventually found a strange magic item animating corpses, guarded by none other than the demon-touched assassins who had harried them on the road during the Nesmeth Mine mission. During a fight with one of the more potent undead, Malina had been blinded. In a most unusual fit of generosity, Feyred offered to have her eyesight restored at Freeport’s church of the Waking Dawn.
Mission 4: Invasion of Freeport
Not long after, guild intel determined that the kobold forces who had captured Nesmeth Mine were holed up in a nearby forest. Nearly every guild member geared up in preparation to assault the kobolds. The mission was to be led by none other than the High Commander of the guild, Axl Blayde.
The party’s unit leader was a guest at the guild and apparently an old acquaintance of Axl’s, a tall, gaunt, and hideous man named Deimos Phenom. On the morning of the mission, when nearly all of the guild was gathered at the city’s North Gate to march on the kobold army, a sudden barrage of arcane fire fell from the skies and portals opened all over the city, spewing forth the kobold horde. In the chaos, the Aspect District and the guild chapter-house were both obliterated, and zombies sprang up in the wreckage to aid the kobolds in their destruction.
The party made their way to the ruins of the chapter-house, just in time to see a marilith demon dispatch Axl Blayde with little trouble. The demon disappeared, but the party’s troubles were just beginning. A mysterious figure rose from the wreckage holding the strange orb they’d uncovered in the Nesmeth Mine. He summoned more zombies for them to contend with, and disappeared.
Eventually the invasion was quelled and the zombies dispatched, but the city was in a bad state. Many of the guildsmen were dead or missing, thousands of civilians were killed, and the High Commander was dead. Blade Commander Alturin, a paladin of the Aspect of the King’s Crown, stepped in to lead in the interim. The party holed up at the Sleazy Waif Inn to await further orders. After a few days, rumor began to spread of more zombies springing up all across the city. Panic began to bloom in the streets, until one day, the city received a new visitor: The Mithral Mask, Archmage of Seers, who declared Freeport was hereby quarantined. None could leave, on pain of death.
Mission 5: Return of the Archmagi
The party was tasked with finding a cure for the plague. The problem was thus: the Archmagi had erected a prismatic barrier around Freeport, barring travel both mundane and magical until the plague could be curied. Unfortunately the Archmagi were splitting their attentions between two such barriers; they had also erected one over all of Echinea so that the undead horde there could not escape. They could only hold both barriers for so long. If their strength failed before the plague was cured here in Freeport, both barriers would fail and undead would sweep the world.
The party did what they could to quell the unrest in the city and investigate leads to find a cure. Eventually they learned of a powerful magic rod held in the deepest vaults under the ruins of the guild chapter-house. It would eradicate the undead plague, but it would also cause catastrophic damage to the bodies of anyone currently infected but not yet zombified.
In the end, the decision fell to Blade Commander Alturin, who had the only key to the vaults. She was finally persuaded against her better judgment to use the rod. The plague was cured, but at a terrible cost. Thousands more died from the “cure,” leaving a city of 75,000 reduced to less than 40,000.
After that, the barrier was lifted. Blade Commander Alturin soon left the city. The party later discovered she had lost her paladin abilities due to her decision to kill thousands in order to save the world.