The Freeport Chronicles

Throwing Down the Gauntlet

How not to keep a low profile

Summary

  • an ornamental construct is activated, it attempts to pull an unseen object along a path of runes
  • a key with a chain motif is located, along with a note that mentions Pier 23
  • a confrontation between a member of The Flaming Trunks and a street urchin is resolved amicably, several unique coins are entrusted to the group’s care
  • intel is gathered at the local tavern, including the location of Pier 23
  • friendly arm wrestling and drinking competitions lead to a lighter purse
  • the companions travel to the old docks in search of Pier 23

Details

The golem threat vanquished, the companions investigate the constructs diligently. Romica, a knowledgeable engineer, is impressed with the quality of the golems’ construction, a masterful blend of magic and engineering. He estimates that each body contains about 500 gold pieces worth of mechanical devices and gear, and probably weights about as much to boot.

The companions continue to the next room, which is assumed to be some sort of preparatory area for the golems. Work benches stocked with chisels, hammers and other stone-working devices, along with walls of gear and mechanical devices adorn the room. In addition, there are 4 “docking stations” for the constructs complete with winding engines. The team searches the room and work benches and find some useful equipment, including a full alchemist kit, masterwork stone-cutting tools, candle rods and armour ointment.

With the pedestal mechanism busted, all the stone doors remain ajar, allowing the group to continue on to the next room. A strange series of runes mark the floor, a shimmering pattern that draws a line to, and seemingly through, the end wall. A grandiose construct, more ornamental than utilitarian, stands inert in the midst of the glyphs. There is a keyhole in the body of the construct similar to those seen on the pedestals in prior rooms. Behind it, a plaque on the wall reads “Draw 9 men inward”.

After investigating the plaque, the companions insert their key in the golem. As it turns, light immediately fills the room, the walls reverberating with energy. The runes alight, beginning at one end and working towards and through the wall. The construct begins to move, pulling an unseen object in slow motion. A sudden snapping sound draws your attention to the plaque where a slot has opened to reveal another key. A key similar to the one found by Anton in the secret box compartment, this one with a chain motif on the key ring.

A jolt rocks the room announcing trouble. The ceiling begins to descend with a lurch, matching the pace of the construct. Anton grabs the key and also notes a piece of parchment in the drawer. The parchment is old and mostly illegible, although it does make mention of a Pier 23. The team turns the key in the construct’s body in the opposite direction to no avail as the ceiling continues to descend.

Unwilling to tempt fate, the group rushes from the room to return to the ladder. On the way, Lando casts grease on one of the construct’s nets, and the crew uses the make-shift travois to take the mechanical bodies with them. They make it to the ladder as the ceiling crushes the maze behind them.

Returning to the building above, Martin Hawks is happy to see everyone. The entire building was shaking as the roof collapsed, and he was worried about what that might mean. He is excited to see the mechanical constructs, assumed to have been built by Ironjack, and agrees to pay 500 gold pieces up front. Anton advises that a potential buyer has already been found, which Martin is happy to hear. In terms of lining up future buyers, Martin provides a letter of reference that purports a gentlemanly reputation.

In terms of Pier 23, Martin has no direct knowledge of the area, but advises that his brother might, as he frequented an ill reputed establishment called The Honey Pot in the old docks district. He offers to set up a meeting during his next visiting session at the jail if the group have interest in learning more about the area.

The team continues on to visit Garvey, who is delighted to have the opportunity to purchase the constructs, which he pays full value for, even dipping into his own personal reserves. He views the mechanical golems as proof of concept for his research and believes it will help him acquire further budgetary resources. He has no further insight to assist in the investigation, but offers to provide introductions to several of his contacts in the city, including relationships that he has at Gregor’s Brewery, an alchemical shop, as well as the Fortress of Justice, the jail that Martin’s brother is imprisoned. He also provides 4 alkali flasks courtesy of his good friends at the Brewery.

Leaving the shop, an altercation is witnessed between a well-dressed pirate and a pre-teen street urchin. A logo on the pirates vest, that of a flaming treasure chest, identifies him as a member of the Flaming Trunks, a local gang of thugs. The pirate has the youth firmly by the collar, shaking him profusely, while the young elf vigorously denies a prior accusation. The companions immediately involve themselves in the confrontation. Stepping closer, they note that the youth is not actually elven. In fact, the companions are unable to identify his race, although their intuition guides them towards a magical one. The youth wears an eye-patch over one eye with the logo of a stylized bomb, the fuse set. The image of a skull adorns the bomb, the eye-holes shaped like a magnifying glass on one side and a key on the other.

Conversing with the two, the group is able to ascertain that the young lad was in the employ of the pirate as a cabin boy until recently. The lad is accused of stealing coins from the pirate’s ship and will not released until the property is returned. The young lad, visually shaken, does not deny taking the coins, which he identifies as the property of his patron. Given the conflicting reports, the companions decide it best to confiscate the coins to hold for safe-keeping until the rightful owner is determined.

The youth is happy with this outcome. His patron, the owner of the coins, will find the group if the youth is provided safe passage and protection from the pirate, which is amenable to the group. The coins are transferred to Anton’s care. The pirate is not happy, and advises that he will track down the team. Not trying to hide from him, Martin’s letter of reference is provided along with the name of the inn that the companions are staying. In a diplomatic gesture, it is agreed that everyone meet later at the tavern to discuss this situation more amicably. He will set up a tab at the tavern.

The pirate bulls his way through the crowd as he exits, and the youth is relieved. He advises that, should guidance be required, spend the coin; if aid is required instead, flip the coin. As the coins are examined, the youth vanishes into the crowd. The coins have the eye-patch symbol etched on one side, and the other looks like local currency. Whether counterfeit or magically altered, the group is unsure.

Famished by the days events, the companions visit the agreed upon tavern, The Bard & the Bastard, the very same pub where the group first met. As offered, a tab for food and ale has been established. Speaking with the barkeep, he mentions that someone has recently visited the tavern, splashing currency around for information about the group. He recommends that a low profile is kept and they the companions not get involved with the Flaming Trunks. Although basically a neighbourhood extortion ring, they have influence in this part of Freeport and have the support of many of the locals. Further, the Flaming Trunks have family connections within the local guard, who tend to look the other way when the gang is involved.

Instead of keeping a low profile, the group canvasses the locals for information about Pier 23. Some fisherman point the group in the direction of Scurvytown, far from the commercial docks. The first 30 docks represent the old docks, which are mostly washed away. The area is known as a rough place and is used primarily by freebooters – any captain with an ounce of pride won’t go near. Its known as the place to go if you need to dump bodies. It is relatively easy to find, just hug the coast from the city docks, there is a wooden walkway that will lead the way. It is also recommended that the crew not enter The Honey Pot, which is also in that area. It has a reputation for strong drugs and beautiful women – many that go there never leave and become indebted forever.

The pirate from earlier, along with his crew, enter the tavern and appropriate a section of the bar. In a feat of bravado, the pirate challenges the crowd to arm wrestling and drinking competitions. Several locals accept and are easily bested. Unable to resist, Freight challenges the pirate to a drinking contest and Romica to an arm wrestling match. Money is wagered and both are defeated. The pirate has his fill, and his sea legs in fine form, wobbles from the tavern supported by his fellow compatriots.

The locals are fired up and looking for blood, and the companions, with the help of the barkeep, are able to sneak out of the tavern without incident. They set forth for the commercial docks and continue on along the coast to the old docks.

Pier 23 in the distance, a flurry of activity sends the companions for cover. There appears to be two groups in communication with each other. The pirate from the tavern is recognized, it appears that he and his colleagues are planning to protect the pier from prying eyes. The companions formulate their plan of attack.

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