Support my channel via Patreon!
Mannix, level 2 Human Rogue
Khaless, level 2 Half-Drow Rogue
Therin, level 2 Hill Dwarf Druid
As the only major city in the entire campaign, Port Nyanzaru has a lot to offer. Shopping, hiring guides, racing dinosaurs, and lots of interesting quest hooks. I’ve read and seen many reports of players getting out of Port Nyanzaru as fast as possible to begin their jungle excursion, but I was ready to relish this unique city by throwing several major events and quest chains for my PCs.
In this week’s session we learned about the various guides the PCs can hire, teased the upcoming dinosaur race, and visited the Temple of Savras, which lead to multiple quest chains – including a rather thrilling rescue mission around Executioner’s Run.
The PCs reached level 2 after their first long rest in Port Nyanzaru. In the lobby area of the Thundering Lizard Inn, they found a notice board that included details on the guides, the dinosaur races, and the Temple of Savras.
I showed each guide’s handout, with the option to follow up with the innkeeper on each one. Obviously Hew Hackinstone is of particular interest to my group, since I made him part of Therin’s backstory and personal quest. I told them the guides would be available later for proper interviews.
My PCs don’t have much money (or so I thought) so there wasn’t much shopping to be done around the marketplace or Grand Souk. They went towards the Temple of Savras since they’re all looking for something or someone, and Savras’ divination could prove useful.
I had an encounter planned en route. When passing by an alleyway near the docks, they heard the sounds of a struggle. A jockey was beating beaten by a group of goons from Merchant Prince Ifan, and his hadrosaurus was in the middle of being repo’d.
Khaless went stealth mode while Mannix and Therin actually strode right up to them.
We were short two players this week. I made the decision to simply keep Gillian and George out of the session. It was easy story-wise since we were in the middle of a city and with milestone XP we don’t have to worry about anyone missing out on progress. It also very much changed the power level of the party, and how they approached different situations in this session.
All three of them engaged in some diplomacy as they learned of the situation. Dengo owed Ifan the tidy sum of 40gp, and failed to win in any recent races to earn the money.
After a bit of back and forth, Khaless simply threw a coin bag with the full amount at the goons, shocking everyone – including me! Poor Therin and Mannix had literally thrown all their money at the dragon turtle encounter, creating an apparently huge wealth disparity between the party.
With the full debt paid, there was neither a fight nor CHA checks needed. The four goons left, and Dengo was quick to relinquish his racing dinosaur to the party. Not only does the party now own a hadrosaurus, but Therin was quick to use his druid skills to gain a new beast shape. They have several interesting options for the upcoming dinosaur race.
At the Temple of Savras the PCs met the head priest Grandfather Zitembe. He was in a heated discussion with a trio of rogues who left in a huff after he couldn’t find Artus Cimber for them.
Mannix stopped them and offered his own services as a detective, but they remained coy and suspicious. One of them did stop and slip a message to Mannix. His name was Rokah, and he told them to meet him back at the Inn later that night for a possible job.
Grandfather Zitembe was grateful for the intrusion, though he didn’t entirely warm up to the PCs (and their newly acquired dinosaur). In exchange for his divine guidance, he offered them a quest: to find a missing acolyte, Inete. The only lead was a patron whom she had gone to help.
The patron’s name was Viplo, a halfling merchant with a stall in the Grand Souk. Mannix did some detective work and learned a location in Old City by a ziggurat. They dropped off their dinosaur at the pens, picked up Undril from the Inn, and headed out of the city gates for the first time.
Like all the areas outside the walls, Old City was a poor district with practically its own system of law and order. In this case, criminals were thrown into a 100-ft gauntlet of a pit. They could earn their freedom if they made it to the other side.
A worried man ran up to the PCs begging for help. His husband, Draza, had been caught stealing, but he professed his innocence. He was being thrown into the pit along with a cage holding a pair of velociraptors. Dozens of people were cheering and taking bets at the poor man’s expense.
The party sprang into action. Therin cast Speak with Animals to get the raptors’ attention. Khaless distracted the nearby guards, while Mannix ran toward the other end of the pit, fastening a rope and signaling to Draza to escape.
The tension mounted as the guards quickly realized that Therin was some sort of dino-whisperer, and clearly interfering with Executioner’s Run. When the nearest guard attempted to arrest, then attack him, Therin morphed into a Giant Bear, and chaos erupted all around them.
The chaos helped Mannix finish rescuing Draza and secure his escape. Mannix cleverly pointed everyone in a different direction, sowing even more chaos.
Meanwhile the bear was causing a localized panic. One guard retreated from a vicious mauling while the other found himself wrapped around a vicious bear hug. Therin surprised everyone by rolling into down into the pit and using Speak with Animals to tell the raptors to have at it.
The raptors pounced gleefully, killing the poor guard while Therin-bear rolled away and climbed out of the pit.
More guards were approaching. Therin had the clever and heroic idea to split their egress, letting the others flee in a different direction while he drew very obvious attention to himself. He rounded a corner and de-morphed, effectively escaping the city’s wrath.
I was really impressed with the way the party handled this entire situation, using a combination of skill checks, deception, heroics, and some vicious violence. There wasn’t much of a reward for them – the two men lived in Old City and had only a few dozen silver to their name. But they did get a more exact location for Viplo’s residence.
I also loved that each of the three players got to shine this session: Khaless paying off the goons to buy the dinosaur, Mannix doing detective work to find Viplo, and Therin doing both beast-speak and morphing in a very chaotic situation. Everyone definitely earned inspiration.
Hopefully next week we’ll be back up to a full crew as we continue the search for Inete in Old City.
Support my channel via Patreon!