By Jeff Quick
Thentia, which is considered by many to be the most open city in the Moonsea
region, the nobility's currently elected watchlord, Gelduth Blackturret,
lives with his family in the Watchlord's Keep near the water.
is filled by a person elected by the nobles of the city. Although most
of the power in Thentia resides with the noble families, the watchlord
has several real duties. One of them is keeping political prisoners and
rabble-rousers in a dungeon located within the keep until trial and sentencing.
The dungeon is empty more often than not, but every few months, Blackturret
or one of the nobles finds it expedient to have somewhere dark and quiet
to put troublemakers until they come up with more permanent arrangements.
is a smart man in a tricky spot. He knows how quickly political leaders
can become political prisoners, and this awareness is heightened in the
suspicious Moonsea region, especially with Zhentil Keep so nearby. Gelduth
has pockets of magical "insurance" scattered around the Watchlord's
Keep, in the form of glyphs hidden behind tapestries and portraits, and
under carpets. He also has an escape route for emergencies.
the aid of one of the more powerful wizards in the city, Phourkin One-Eye,
Gelduth has installed a one-way portal from the dungeon. The command
words for the portal are the phrase "Joya deliver us,"
spoken with a proper thick Damaran accent. (Joya was Gelduth's grandfather,
a man he admired greatly for his forethought and decisiveness.)
deposits travelers inside a farmhouse a few miles outside of Hulburg around
the coast to the east. The farmer there, Katka Czornya (LN female human
Com1/Rog3) is a loyal retainer to the watchlord, though her husband and
four children don't know exactly how loyal: Hidden under the floorboards
of the house are three masterwork longswords, two masterwork short swords,
a set of masterwork plate mail, three sets of studded leather armor, and
half a dozen potions of cure serious wounds. Katka can produce
these items in minutes if the watchlord, or anyone who knows his password,
suddenly appears in her house.
and Katka are supposed to be the only people outside the Blackturret family
who know about the portal's existence. Gelduth knows the power
he holds is fickle, and not his own. Every secret he can keep is one more
little bit of power he has access to later when something goes wrong.
young adult middle son, Koyich (N male human Ari2), is quite taken by
the glamorous skullduggery that comes with his father's position. He frequently
brags about his family's activities to his sycophant friends while carousing.
When the portal was installed two years ago, he went on at length
about a secret he couldn't tell for reasons of Thentian security.
he did tell at least one person, Drela Casplardann (N female human Ari1),
a noble girl he was seeing at the time. Drela and Koyich were supposedly
betrothed, but Koyich's wandering attentions spelled doom for the relationship.
About four months ago, he spurned her for another girl. The breaking of
the betrothal caused some discomfort between the families, but things
have settled down. The Casplardanns always knew Koyich was a wastrel and
are quietly happy he's out of the picture. The Blackturrets are dismayed
at the loss of a politically advantageous marriage, but Koyich's behavior
is nothing new to them.
sweet Drela, however, still burns with the rejection. She has had revenge
in a few social situations, making Koyich look bad, but Drela has a spiteful
heart and long memory. She's not done making Koyich pay yet.
know how she's going to use the information she has against Koyich, but
she has the beginnings of a plan. She's been flirting with a dashing young
Zhentarim merchant lord who has set up shop in Thentia. Irolna Mesilvik
(NE male human Sor2/Rog5) is a Zhent spy-in-training. His ties with Zhentil
Keep are well known, but Irolna is handsome, friendly, and well mannered.
Even when people know he's not to be trusted, they still want to.
and Irolna have been seen together at two social functions now. Drela
is mainly using him to get back at Koyich, and Irolna is completely using
her to spy on Thentia economic and political weaknesses. Drela might have
her best revenge by telling Irolna how to escape from the Watchlord's
Keep in the event that he is caught in a compromising situation.
the next time that an exciting band of adventurers, comes to town and
stirs things up, she might cozy up to one of the handsome men of the group
and let her knowledge slip out in a private moment.
to Incorporate the Dungeon Escape Portal Into Your Campaign:
- The PCs do, in
fact, run into Drela, and she makes an effort to get on one male PC's
good side. When she tells the PC about her secret, what does the PC
do? Is there a "long talk" in Drela's future, or will it end
up being in Gelduth's future?
- One of the PCs
falls victim to either mistaken identity or to suspicion of having done
something very badly wrong. He or she ends up in the dungeon with Irolna,
who was taken in at the same time or shortly thereafter. Irolna, in
return for helping him get free of the bind he's in (and what may lie
at the other side of his "escape route"), offers to let the
trapped PC go with him. What does the PC do?
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