Dead Sea Almanac - May 8, 2019
A Westport Adventure
Welcome to today's Dead Sea Almanac! It's Wednesday, and we have a special treat for you: an adventure set in Westport and the surrounding region which features many of your favorite characters! Without further ado, let's dive in!
Ellen Wraithsform has stolen an item entrusted to the mayor by Melinda: a microcosm of the elemental plane of fire contained in a glass sphere. It's highly fragile and incredibly dangerous if broken. Naturally, Melinda wants it back, and so does the mayor, who promised no harm would come to it if Elecia could inspect it for a while. Roger Edsford II was wounded during the robbery, and failed to stop it, but he has a plan to get the sphere back, and together with Melinda, he reaches out to the heroes. Posing as the Jolly Grinsman, he'll arrange a meet with Ellen Wraithsform to discuss their mutual interests, and from there, the heroes will follow her back to her lair. To do that, they'll need several things.
The Glasses of Wraithsight
In order to track Ellen through the city, the heroes will need special glasses which Malfavhar alone knows how to make. These glasses will allow them to see Ellen as she wraithes through walls and goes invisible. To make the glasses, Malfavhar needs a special crystal, found only in the Dragon Mountains. Fortunately for the heroes, there's a merchant in town who sells them; though each pair of glasses (or pair of monoculars) will cost the heroes 120 GP. If they don't want to pay that amount, you can run a mini-adventure in the city of Helfire where the heroes must seek out a dwarf willing to risk customs penalties to sell them some at the price of 40 GP each. In either case, once the heroes obtain the crystals, they can take them back to Malfavhar, who will make the glasses free of charge because of a favor he owes Melinda.
A Skilled Tracker
Edsford also tells the heroes they'll need a skilled tracker on their team to find Wraithsform. He recommends Shadow, and on their way to see Malfavhar for the first time, the heroes are surprised in an alley by none other. She's been tracking them and keeping tabs on them for some time now, and she's not surprised that they need her help. She'll help the heroes in exchange for six orbs of fire - an item only Melinda can provide, based on her research into the fire plane. Each is worth 100 GP, but to an assassin, the ability to make fire rapidly on demand is priceless. Melinda will agree to the price, though these orbs are her last six; if the heroes want more, they'll need to recover the fire sphere successfully. When the heroes return to pay Shadow, they'll have a chance (DC 20) to notice Wraithsform following them, although she won't approach until the official meet.
The meet is straightforward - Wraithsform shows, talks briefly with Edsford, and then accuses him of luring her into a trap. She says that now she knows his identity, and threatens to reveal him if not left alone. Then she runs off, leaving the heroes to pursue (which Edsford encourages them to if they hesitate). After a chase in which Shadow can assist the heroes with any missed spot checks, the heroes arrive at a warehouse guarded by the Sharks, a gang from the cannery district.
The heroes can sneak, bribe, or fight their way past the Sharks, who are neutral to Wraithsform. If bribed, they'll even help look for her and block exits. In any case, Ellen is easy to pin down in the warehouse and appears in front of the heroes as they search, threatening to break the fire globe and burn the building down. The heroes now have a choice - they can try to talk her down, or try to take the globe and subdue her. In either case, Wraithsform doesn't really intend to break the globe except as a last resort, though that isn't to say it might not break in combat. If the globe is shattered during the encounter, the warehouse will burn and the heroes will make enemies of the Sharks, as well as earning Melinda's ire. If, on the other hand, they manage to recover the globe, Melinda will be grateful and give them two fire globes each, to be collected in a week's time. If the heroes manage to capture Wraithsform, she'll get locked up in the town gaol, where the mayor informs them she'll spend the next five years.
If the heroes captured Wraithsform - or if she gets caught offscreen for plot conveniences - she'll get locked up in the town gaol (by canon, the heroes capture her and recover the orb in this one). Shadow has special gauntlets that will prevent her from wraith-walking when locked on either wrist, so she can be held by walls for the first time since she gained her powers. The mayor will then offer the heroes a choice: because they can apparently deal with Wraithsform, they can pay the town fifty gold to have her released to them for the duration of her sentence, providing they can employ her talents in a more useful fashion and are willing to assume responsibility for her further actions during that time. Depending on how they dealt with her earlier, Wraithsform may or may not trust them; if she does, she insists on being called Ellen by her friends and is grateful for release. On the other hand, if she distrusts them, she'll almost certainly try to bolt. If she does stay, the party will have gained an NPC of slightly less combat efficacy and slightly more stealth and sleight of hand than their average; Wraithsform is a rogue of exceptional skill with the ability to walk through walls and turn invisible. She'll serve them for five years, and is free to go her own way after that, though she's not required to. The canon version of events is that she trusts the heroes and acquiesces to their request to adventure with them and put her talents to good use.