In which we begin: “Scions of Punjar”
When last we left our heroes, Duke Farod had promised them a banquet for rescuing his daughter in time for her wedding, and boy, did he make good on his word. The gala event welcomed several prominent families of Punjar. (Though a visit from the Overlord was hoped for, and much-promoted by Farod himself, the sovereign was a no-show). Captain Thurg, Lucas and Gareth’s superior officer, was invited as well, since he was the mastermind of the rescue mission. He took all the credit. And drank most of the wine, too.
During the evening, however, a small nobleman took Gareth aside for a quiet chat in an empty hallway. Lord Dev’shir, patriarch of a lesser household in Punjar’s social strata, had a potentially embarrassing problem that needed the attention of some doughty (but discreet) agents.
Dev’shir’s son, Elam, discovered an heirloom of the Dev’shir family in a pawn shop of all places – more unnerving still, the amulet in question had been buried with a cherished aunt at the family crypt. Would Gareth and his friends consider themselves up to the task of quietly investigating?
Yes, they would. (I hope somebody wrote down what he promised to pay you…)
Armed with a key to the crypt and the name of the pawn shop, the party started the day in the neighborhoods of the Souk, at Oskar’s Pawn Shop, where the irascible Oskar proved a thorny subject for questioning. Before a fight broke out, sufficient coinage trickled his way for him to give up what he knew about the amulet:
- It had been pawned by a half-orc named Latimer, an ugly character with a gold earring and an identifiable facial scar.* He was a known gambler who frequents the Famished Froghemoth in the Devil’s Thumb district (Punjar’s “Vegas quarter”).
“To the Famished Froghemoth!” cried the party, until they realized it was only about noon. Since the city boneyard was just to west, they decided to kill time at the Dev’shir family tomb. Their key was useless, as the doors had been forced open and were now protected by a magical glyph. Inside, things seemed quiet at first, until the party discovered an entire undead army of reanimated Dev’shirs lying in wait. It damn near took them down. But not quite.
Jinkies, a clue! A mural of the Dev’shir family tree depicted the current Heads of House: Lord Abir (who initiated this quest)and Lady Noura were represented on smooth bricks, as was their son, Elam. To the left of Elam’s name were two blank bricks that showed signs of having being replaced.
Behind the mural lay another burial chamber, this one from the modern era. One of the tombs had been smashed open, and the remains within were not animated, as the others had been, but slung to the back and onto the floor. “Beware the ghost of Burr Oak!” advised Gareth, but it was only the ghost of Dugesia Dev’shir who approached them. She reacted first with fury, but calmed when it became clear the party were not tomb defilers.
She seemed lost and confused, unable to explain who or what had happened to her tomb, but it was the cruel treatment of her corpse that led to her return as a ghost. The party (probably) returned her bones to the slab—her remains had only been decaying for few years, which helped retrieval and repositioning of her corpse. The party also retrieved pieces of a shattered brick, which bore Dugesia’s name when assembled; it had been smashed on the floor here.
Jinkies, another clue! Red footprints in the tomb hint at iron-rich soil. As Gareth and Lucas surely know, Punjar had once experienced an iron boom many years ago, spawning a slew of mines on its outskirts. But the iron proved to be of poor quality, and the mines that sprung up overnight were soon abandoned, leaving behind a vast playground for every bandido, evil sorcerer, and lurking beast looking for a quiet spot to call home…
Licking their wounds, the party limped back to their quarters to rest up that day and night. What ever will they do for an encore?