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Circus of the Stars

Summary

A sleepy lakeside village wreathed in fog, rumors of a lake monster, local disappearances, a band of assassins terrorizing the city, and a travelling circus sideshow that seems to be at the center of it all. “Come one, come all to the greatest show in the world! Step right up, ladies and lords, to see the wonders of the natural and unnatural world! Trained monstrosities from across the globe have been gathered for your amusement and examination! Strongmen, jugglers, acrobats, and sword swallowers join exotic acts and foods from the four corners of the known world and beyond! You, my friend, have the privilege of witnessing the spectacle, the amazement, the wonder of the circus of the stars! Step right up and buy your tickets now before they're all gone! Limited seating is available and no one will be seated once the show has begun!”

Plot points/Scenes

ENCOUNTER 1: ASSASSINATION ATTEMPT Easy Encounter 3,500 XP Once the heroes enter the village of Locksport and have begun to orient themselves in the narrow streets and thick fog, they come upon the magistrate, who has heard that strangers have come to town and makes his way out to greet them   SEWER ENCOUNTERS The people of Locksport use a system of natural caverns crisscrossing beneath the village as their sewers. They have added metal pipes and drains to address rain runoff and lake flooding to protect their town and remove waste. Denrick has taken to using these caverns to launch hit and run attacks on Locksport. These are always in retaliation to attacks against him. To protect himself from the townsfolk and their hirelings, Denrick uses traps since he is all alone down here and has no “guild” of assassins whatsoever. This is a complete fabrication devised by the Council of Elders to disguise their own nefarious schemes. Below is a list of possible encounters (both naturally occurring and devised by Denrick) the heroes can have while searching the sewers and caverns for Denrick.   ENCOUNTER 4: BRAWL AT THE BIG TOP Hard Encounter 8,000 XP Once the heroes arrive at the Circus, they find it deserted, since there is no show today. The village elders have warned the Circus freaks about the heroes and have tasked them with destroying them should they survive the attack on the road. All Circus cultists are ready and waiting for the heroes and will not hesitate to fall back if things don't go their way.   ENCOUNTER 5: CAGED BEASTS Hard Encounter 8,400 XP As the heroes emerge from the rear of the big top, they see a large gravel lot ringed with wagons. A second ringmaster (or both if the first one escaped) is quickly loosing monstrosities to fight them. A Gorgon is already free and charging, others will soon follow.   LOCKSPORT DESERTED When the heroes return to Locksport, they find the village deserted and locked up. Once the heroes explore Granny Goodberry's basement, they will find an open secret passage disguised as a huge honey mead keg, leading deep beneath the lake.   ENCOUNTER 6: END OF THE ELDERS Deadly Encounter 12,800 XP The heroes have arrived at the culmination of the ritual. The village elders have set it up to look as if they intend to sacrifice Denrick and the Olamarsh family to bring their master from the Far Realm into this world, unleashing its madness upon us all. In actuality, the only way the Star Beast of Telgeuse can be summoned is through the sacrifice of the Elders themselves by someone not associated with the cult! The Beast needs the release of psychic energy that comes with their deaths to complete the ritual. Denrick and the Olamarshes are meant to be the Beast’s first meal in this world. The Elders are aware of this fact, but can’t let on to the heroes or the entire thing will be for nothing. Do your best to help the players come to this realization by describing how the Elders make sweeping misses with their weapon attacks and are careful not to attack characters who look badly hurt (at ½ Hit Points or less). If the players begin attacking the Crystal, the Elders will attack them in earnest and must be subdued. If the players are knowingly complicit in killing the Elders and thus completing the ritual, the crystal shatters, the Beast of Telgeuse comes fully through the rift to destroy them as well as the bound villagers (see Beast of Telgeuse, page 18).


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