Rats' Alley

The First Adventure
Wherein the group makes several poor decisions

For their first assignment, the team is sent to Silvervine, a wealthy manor in upper Sharn. There, they meet the no-nonsense Kaelys Tela, a wealthy elven noblewoman and collector of fine art and curiosities from the past. She tells them of a recent break-in that not only circumvented all her magic traps (except for one) and killed the guard on duty without raising an alarm, but also completely bypassed artworks and curios worth thousands of gold pieces in order to steal nothing more than a memento: a delicate marble hand recovered from the former district of Godsgate (now called Fallen) after the collapse of the Glass Tower devastated the area. The apparent oddity—and uncanny precision—of the theft has left Kaelys determined to unravel the mystery, but Fallen is no place for a noblewoman.

So she called in a favor. Officially, the group is charged with learning what destroyed the Glass Tower so that the Twelve can learn how it was done and therefore how to prevent it from happening again. Unofficially, Kaelys has promised them 600 gp is they return the hand to her—and 6,000 gp if they recover the entire statue.

As a starting point, Kaelys reveals the body of one of the thieves: clad in a nobleman’s ragged castoffs with abstract tattoos covering much of his skin (what there was of it after he apparently wandered away from the others and triggered one of Kaelys’ magical wards), including a strange drawing on his palm of two hands clasping what looked like a rock or a plate. Since a cleric had already been in to question the corpse, Kaelys already knew where the robbers were from: Fallen.

Off the group went, navigating down into the squalor of the Low District and entering the devastation of Fallen proper. Envious glances and murderous mutterings accompanied them along their way, but Shen was able to find a fellow Cyran among the crowd and, drawing upon their shared bond, managed to wrangle a clue: if there was one person in Fallen who knew most of the gangs, it would be Faela, priestess of the Silver Flame and the only remaining cleric in Fallen.

After obtaining directions, Shen returned to the group and they started toward the Silver Flame’s temple. But they were not alone, having picked up a tail of some 7-8 local toughs. Shen spotted them and did a quick fade to get behind them while the rest of the group, paralyzed by indecision, quarreled briefly before electing to try approaching the men. They promptly scattered in different directions and, not wanting to risk running into a trap or splitting up, the group cut their losses and resumed journeying toward the Silver Flame’s temple.

Built like a fortress, the massive temple was only all the more imposing for its weathered scarring from the Glass Tower’s destruction and it loomed impressively dark above Fallen’s squalid ruins. Inside, however, the church was dusty and devoid of most furnishings. A young human woman with a calming aura, Faela met the group inside the nave, while Shen hung near the door keeping an eye out for any other unwanted followers. After asking a few questions and yet more internal squabbling, the group learned that the tattoo of two hands came from either the Night Bringers or the Stone Keepers, both gangs that were particularly vicious and isolated.

Impatient at the lack of clear answers, Vala lost her temper and intimidated Faela into revealing that the Stone Keepers—clearly the more likely of the two culprits, given their theft of part of a stone statue—lived at Colrac Hall, which was pierced by one of the Glass Tower’s spires. Leaving a token donation to make up for her social faux pas along after several protestations (all after the fact) from other group members and even a manufactured “beating,” Vala led the rest of the group to the Stone Keepers den.

Arriving without incident, the group once again struggled with what they wanted to do until Shen, employing his impressive ninja skills, ran up the side of the hall to occupy the roof and keep an eye out for displeased locals. Meanwhile, Katrina used her magic to become invisible and go scouting. After hearing a dog’s bark off to her left—and concerned at the magical emanations she detected in that direction—she took the corridor to the right, but then thought better of it and went back for the rest of the group.

Vala followed the group into Colrac’s entry hall, but changed her mind and went to find Shen, who had decided to climb the remnants of the Glass Tower’s spire to see if he could find another way in. Using her impressive jumping skills (and with some help from Shen’s rope), Vala soon joined him.

The group reorganized itself with Courtney in the front, despite her continual proofs that she was clearly a firm believer in discretion over valor. While hiding behind her shield and straining her nerves to avoid any unwelcome surprises, Courtney missed the yawning crevasse at her feet and dropped 50 feet into a dank pit. Through the exertions of the other three party members present, she managed to make her way back up, but upon considering their options (and swayed quite a bit by Katrina’s apparent fear of dogs), they all decided to descend into the pit, which turned out to be a slimy, long disused corridor. Exploring cautiously, they followed the corridor down and to the left (which was the only direction available), only to run into a massive, quivering Ooze blocking all forward progress. The adventure ended with them trying desperately to decide what to do next as the Ooze began advancing implacably toward them.

Shen and Vala, meanwhile, were having more success with entering the keep from the top of the spire. Entering a pillared room, they found Kaelys’ missing artifact—now attached to the rest of a 9-foot, beautifully detailed marble statue of a toga-clad man apparently in the midst of casting a spell. Shen managed to disarm a wicked acid trap guarding the statue while Vala began to examine the room and found, to her surprise, a small boy sleeping next to a wide-awake dog. After tossing the dog a bit of jerky and watching it greedily snatch it up, Vala decided to try approaching the pair with another piece of jerky in hand only to have the dog and the boy abruptly vanish!

Unable to do anything with the statue just yet, Shen and Vala cleared some debris from a stairwell leading further into the manor and Shen climbed down to scout around. By the skin of his teeth, he managed to avoid walking into a curiously constructed maze of low hurdles and walls which a couple of dogs—similar to the one Vala had spooked—were racing through.

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