A BAD SEED
When the party approach Dauntless Hall (see page 21), read or summarise the following:
As you thread your way through the streets approaching the Dauntless Hall, you hear raised voices from up ahead. ‘...of course this is your fault, you daft ox!’, a Duardin man, one of the two you saw at the wall, stands pointing a gloved finger at the other. ‘You’re soft, that’s your problem. Far too much kindness for what should be a strict job. ‘You have no idea, you don’t,’ the Duradin woman replies, ‘I’m not some soft-hearted twit. Some of those workers are already in the pocket of the Coil! If I pushed them any harder, we’d have twice the problems we already have.’Irina and Zadreh have nearly come to blows in the gardens of the Dauntless Hall. Their demeanour is one of irate anger, and it is clear that if someone doesn’t intervene soon, the argument will come to blows. Zadreh accuses Irina of being too soft on the workers in the defoliant production facilities. If questioned, either Duardin states large quantities of the defoliant seems to have been removed from the facility, leaving the cannons that defend the city without ammunition. Irina insists Zadreh, her assistant, simply does not understand the complex political situation involving the Blackscale Coil (see page 10). Should Irina have attempted to use additional security at the facility, or kept too tight a leash on the production facility, she believes they would have had the Blackscale Coil attempting to use the situation to their detriment by suggesting the Conclave was acting with too firm a hand. Should the party attempt to de-escalate the situation, the anger of the two Duardin requires a successful DN 5:2 Mind (Guile) Test to prevent the two from coming to blows. If this happens, read or summarise the following:
‘I always knew you were going to get us all killed!’, Zadreh shouts. Irina’s gloved fist is almost a blur. With a mighty crack, Zadreh’s head jerks to the side as blood and at least one tooth scatters on the garden’s paved floor. Zadreh spits blood onto the floor and snarls at Irina as the incumbent High Architect turns and paces towards the large doors to the meeting hall. Zadreh glances at you, embarrassed and with fury in his eyes, then follows his superior.If Irina manages to strike Zadreh, the two continue to be at loggerheads during the subsequent Conclave meeting. Neither sees eye to eye and voices are regularly raised despite the attempts at diplomacy and conviviality by other Conclave members. In this situation, if the party attempt to make a persuasive point, any Opposed Tests are made at Disadvantage as the meeting is more focused on keeping the peace than usual. Should the characters intercede successfully, they manage to stop any escalation. In which case, read or summarise the following:
Irina and Zadreh both stare at each other, and although Irina’s fists ball she manages to hold back from escalating the already tense situation. The High Architect, through gritted teeth, informs Zadreh they should both be getting to the meeting which has likely already started, turns on her heel and leaves towards the meeting hall. As you watch, Zadreh spits on the ground and follows her, making sure not to close the distance.If the characters’ intercession is successful, the Conclave meeting is tense, but Irina and Zadreh act with the level of decorum expected from members of the Conclave. Conclave Meeting When the party enter the Dauntless Hall, read or summarise the following:
Once inside the looming structure, you are asked to wait at the entrance by a pair of guards while Irina and Zadreh pass further through a set of inner doors. One of the guards asks your names then informs you he has to check with Morgan Kassan before allowing you entry and passes hurriedly through a set of large doors. When he returns, you can already hear the raised voices of the Grand Conclave as they debate the current situation. You are guided through to the large room, where the Conclave members stand around a stone table.Several Conclave members are asking High Architect Irina pointed questions about the nature of the defoliant cannons. She reports, to the dismay of the council, that the cannons have been sabotaged — their contents have been siphoned out and replaced with water from the harbour. Morgan Kassan, the Grand Conclave member tasked with securing Anvilgard, is able to introduce the party as
‘those who saved us from a greater incursion by the forces of Nurgle’.This grants the characters a level of respect from the Grand Conclave, who appreciate their insights, having fought against Nurgle’s daemons. As the discussion continues, the following incidents should occur in approximately this order, allowing for the party to interject and ask questions where they need to:
- The meeting is either tense or a shouting match depending on the party’s actions in the previous scene.
- Arina insists her security was as tight as it could have been, repeating her concerns about the defoliant production facility’s personnel potentially siding with the Blackscale Coil should she be a harsher overseer. She also states a new batch of defoliant will not be ready for several days, by which time the jungle could have breached the city walls. Time is of the essence.
- Zadreh presents a report to the Conclave showing he has sent operatives into the defoliant facility to test its security, and each one easily made their way to the production vats and could have tampered with them if they wished. Irina was not aware of this report and accuses Zadreh of purposely trying to undermine her authority. A character who reads this document, which the wider Conclave has no issues with sharing, may make a successful DN 4:2 Mind (Intuition) Test to determine the report seems wellresearched and honest.
- A=ibor Hallowgate, another member of the Conclave, asks Irina if Zadreh’s report is accurate, and she acquiesces that it appears so. He also asks the party to explain to the council the dangers they faced in the jungle, including those of Nurgle, so the Conclave are able to fully understand the situation.
- Zadreh overtly states to the council that Irina has been lax in her role, questioning why she would not increase security knowing the enemies of Order could be everywhere. To summarise, he finishes by stating ‘Maybe the Coil has gotten to you.’
- At the suggestion of being a Blackscale Coil member, Irina furiously berates Zadreh, but does not have any evidence to the contrary. Characters who attempt to calm the situation must succeed on a DN 4:3 Mind (Guile) Test or Irina storms out in frustration at Zadreh’s suggestion.
- Tibor Hallowgate suggests to Morgan that there must be an investigation into where the missing defoliant has gone and who has taken it, so the defoliant cannons are able to get back online as soon as possible. Morgan agrees. Tibor also suggests Irina be relieved of her position as her loyalties have come into question. Morgan Kassan attempts to defend Irina but is accused of being too trusting of her by various other Conclave members and Kassan quickly desists. Should the party attempt to suggest this is unfair toward Irina, a DN 4:3 Mind (Guile) Test convinces the Conclave this should be a temporary measure only while the investigation takes place.
- Zadreh states that, as Irina’s assistant, he is best placed to take over until at least the investigation is complete. If the party has not convinced the Conclave that Irina’s removal from office should be temporary, he insists he will not make any significant changes until ‘this whole mess has sorted itself out’.
- A vote is taken between the Grand Conclave, and Zadreh is put into position as High Architect in charge of the defoliant cannons for the meantime.
- If the characters ask about Theriel Kaltis and the recovered defoliant canisters and instructions, neither he or the Blackfin have returned to Anvilgard yet. After the group tells their tale, Kassan and the others wonder if the famous corsair was destroyed by the ships of the Isle of Ghouls.
- After the meeting, Morgan approaches the party. She asks the group to serve as her investigators. Morgan trusts Irina Heiksdotr and believes Irina’s work has been exemplary. In her mind there’s no way Irina is a Blackscale Coil agent as even the Coil wouldn’t take action to endanger the city, but states it would be prudent to look into Irina’s work around the Conclave to bring closure to the matter.
- Morgan suggests looking at Irina’s office near the Dauntless Hall for more clues, as well as speaking to Irina, then looking into the defoliant production facility, although she leaves the order of the investigation in the party’s hands. The most important result, she says, is the safe retrieval of the missing defoliant.