Monday, June 11, 2012

Iron Reforged pt. 4: Before the Ball, Baldin Islewright and the Mage's Spectacle

Before the Ball of Bravos: Baldin Islewright and the Mage’s Spectacle.

The Lady’s visit ends and the players are escorted from the premises.  If you desire the players may run across any of the Widows along their way out, the Master of Mirth, or friends, allies, or enemies who may have come to the event to seek glory and gold.  Events to try skill and standard carnival games in the setting abound, and anyone seeking thrills will be happy to find most anything the members would seek. 

Old Mage from Sinto-Risky on Deviantart
Many of the children of Fiddler’s Crown and some of the ladies walk around with animated balloons, made by Baldin Islewright, the old Master of the Green-Cup and the old man speaking with Lady Ruiva about the coin needed for the festival.  The effect on the balloons is a simple series of color changes and rough animations.  The children’s balloons are shaped in the form of the Hawken hawks that fly without tethers, bears that walk along the ground, and fish that swim through the air around the kids. 

Baldin is seen wandering around the festivities, speaking to guards, vendors, and adventurers with a confusion that leans towards senility.  If spoken to Islewright cryptically speaks of things he must do after rattling off a broken version of the rhyme contained in Brasslegged Eric’s missive, in Sylvan, mumbling more as he continues to scrawl on his slate tablet.  The tablet’s symbols appear to be the writings of a child, with sailboats, dancing maidens in a circle, and drawings of the four animals listed in the rhyme. 

Heal, Knowledge (Arcana/Religion),  or Spellcraft:

DC 20: Baldin seems to be suffering from a magical exposure.  The spell residue of his extensive work may have finally gotten to him, leading to his illness.
DC 32: Baldin’s absentmindedness shows the signs of an extremely intricate but equally subtle enchantment gone awry.  Suggestions this deeply hidden can cause senility or general insanity if they are not acted upon. 

If the higher DC check is passed the subtle signatures of the spell may be seen via Detect Magic or similar if Baldin is stripped of all of his magical items.  The spell itself has been linked to his cloak and trinkets.  If observed off of Baldin’s body a small sympathetic item can be found.  Bringing back Baldin’s memories and making him lucid changes Sir Filo’s Escape later in the module. 
If Islewright is not engaged by the players he will continue on his way, leading to the triggered event Fighting the Darkness

The party suffers one of the following Random Encounters during their trips through the bizarre streets of Fiddler’s Crown (roll d6):

1: A Bard singing the Tale of the Disappearance of the Four Lads of Green-Cup.  His unearthly singing is accompanied by a skeleton that plays a rousing stringed instrument overlay under the tale. 
2: Marcus Foulweather, a merchant of Rockston, is chasing after a group of thieves.  A man who looks a cross between a scarecrow and a sallow fish, Foulweather offers the party a map to an island of legends for the retrieval of the item stolen.  The item, an axe that has seen better days, makes an appearance in A Case of Crabs and Daggers. 
3: A bareknuckle brawling contest is occurring off the street, and the current leader screams for the blood of the player with the most obvious physical prowess.  If they win, the brawler, a thick-set man known as Millstone, can provide information on thieves, pirates, and the underworld about the Seas.  The warrior is judged by the guards in the audience, who report back their skills (+1 Favor).
4: Two skinny children fight over a dropped purse of coppers.  A commoner comes to them, claiming the purse and begins to beat them with his staff.  If the players intervene the guards take notice, providing +2 favor.
5: Ruiva’s daughter is among the crowd, and approaches the Party or single member who has a Favor of 10 or above.  She can be wooed and dined, but if the members become too forward they are reported to the Widow (-2 Favor for getting her drunk, -5 for sexual imposition).
6 – Fire in a tent begins to spread.  A rogue sorcerer attempting to show off has called up a couple of Common Salamanders, who have begun spreading their flames.  The guard’s one mage attempts in vain to protect the tents from flame and damage, but the party’s assistance causes a hubbub (4 tents involved.  If prevented from burning down (10 rds/tent, 20 cold damage or water-based spells and Caster Check (DC: 14)) the party gains favor and a gift of 1d4 random potions from the chagrined apprentice.

Gather Information:

DC 12: The taverns of Fiddler’s Crown are providing one free drink per head per day by bounty of the Three Widows.
DC 16: The Mages of Fiddler’s Crown are sponsoring a show of illusions and merriment on the Widow’s Walk Cliffs tonight. 
DC 22: Old Baldin Islewright is wandering around again; the voices in his head are legion, but he makes such pretty toys for the peasant and noble children alike.  
Encounter: The Mage’s Spectacle and Rogue Spellcraft

The Mage’s Spectacle is a grand affair, and the party will be sad if they miss it.  The following shows two encounters: One for if the majority of the party has attended the Spectacle and other if the party has stayed away.

Attending the Spectacle:

The Mage’s Spectacle is held within an area that is manipulated by the magic of the Green-Cup to appear as a beautifully-appointed greenscape on a scrabbly area of the Widow’s Walk.  Hundreds of men, women, and children gather around to treat themselves and watch the show.  The tale told, the Crone and the Archmage, is a classic Punch and Judy style drama with magic used instead of mallets.  The Crone is always getting the upper hand through her quick wits and the Archmage’s underestimation.

Around 10 minutes into the Spectacle something goes wrong.  The spells, previously shaping into a battle between a little old witch and a master mage, tangle together and begin falling to the ground (Read Below):

Angry Mob from Bloke and Coke
The crowd retreats as the strands of energy fall and begin to gather just in front of the cliff.  After several moments the energy disperses, leaving behind the old crone and the mage, still locked in battle, but those who approach begin to disappear, being replaced by frogs or burned from the flames of the Mage.

The Crone and the Archmage: Creature: Living Spell (Baleful Polymorph/Fireball) [See: Eberron Campaign Setting pp. 293-5.  You may also use the rules for the  Living Ice Storm here, replacing Ice Storm with the two spells listed and increasing the HD by 2.

The spell will roll down the cliff if undefeated, going into the streets of the Crown.

Fail to Attend:

The living spell has been quashed, but the streets are filled with its leavings.  The creatures left behind by the spell are angry and powerful, and the sound of a thousand humming whispers reaches out to the party even as they attempt to sleep.  In the streets the people are stampeding, attempting to get away from the swarms of these malformed beasts.

If viewed:
The street is filled from corner to corner with frogs in a multitude of hues.  The frog’s bodies are topped with the twisted faces of men, women, and children and the streets are filled with people trying to escape the onslaught.

Scourge of Creepy Toads: Treat as 1d2 Hellwasp Swarms, replacing their Inhabit ability with a poison (DC: 18) which deals 1d6 Con/Frog.

During the battle each round roll d100.  If 40 or lower a Mob of men rush through the scene, possibly trampling, damaging or dragging the party along with them in their rush to leave behind the scourge.