Murder in Kha'r
Navigating this AdventureThe main meat & potatoes of information is located in this column. Maps and fun tidbits are previewed in the righthand sidebar. An index of characters you may meet, NPCs, and the premade player characters is located at the bottom of the page. Links that look like this are true links that will open a different article, image, or map; if you don't want to navigate away from the adventure, you should right-click to open a new tab or window. There are that take you to a different part of this adventure. Links that look like this
The PartyWhile this adventure can be tackled by any combination of characters, a set of 5 pre-made adventurers to get you started. The instructions and text are provided for the GM assuming that the party will be using the provided characters. While some suggestions are made for substitution, a GM wishing to run this adventure with fewer than 5 players or a different set of characters entirely will need to plan ahead for modifications. If you are running this adventure with your own characters, you should keep an eye out for mouseover superscripts like this for DCs or other information you may need.
The SettingFor play optimization, everyone should read at least the homepage and world meta. Players should brush up on any articles and lore directly related to their characters' species, homelands, etc. Suggested reading for premade characters is included in their bios. The GM should read through the adventure to the end and make sure to check out any recommended or supplemental reading as the adventure goes along.
Set the Scene
The amphitheater floor is round, made with blocks of Mare'n's famous Hillstone that have been worn smooth with centuries of use, and an inlaid Vasati design. The terraced levels rise all around the floor, built of the same stone, and landscaped with soft grass and towering jungle trees that offer shade. Water flows downwards alongside the terrances and disappears into drains along the edge of the ampitheater floor. It is a green oasis in the arid Mare'n plains. It's crowded, but you find a seat after some searching.
Act 1Tyrell and Rina notice about halfway through the performance that there are city guardspeople starting to systematically work their way down the terraces, looking for someone or something ***. If they choose to investigate further, it will be a roll for insight. For anyone who is familiar with Kha'r and Mare'n (Isha and Halim), the DC to notice something unusual might be happening is 12. For anyone unfamiliar with with Kha'r and Mare'n (Tyrell, Rina, and Lucky) the DC is 16.
If any member of the party chooses to lie, that player should roll deception. If all necessary deception rolls are 16 or above, move to . If anyone rolls below a 16, move to .
The Arrest of Halim WildwalkerAfter the party either truthfully tells the guards who they are and why they are in Kha'r, or successfully deceives them about it, the pair of guardspeople arrest Halim, for questioning about the murder of Hadosh Nightweaver, member of the First Council. The guardspeople will not answer any more questions, but tell the party they can meet them at the guard station to speak to their captain. If anyone resists or attempts to fight, the rest of the guardspeople will come to aid the pair and take everyone into custody. If only Halim is arrested, it is up to the players why everyone chooses to go to the station. Have they bonded during the performance? Rabid curiosity? Sense of responsibility? The guardspeople will not answer any questions on their way to the guard station. Proceed to .
The Arrest of the PartyWhen someone attempts to deceive the guards, the male guard raises a hand to summon reinforcements and the entire party is taken into custody for questioning about the murder of Hadosh Nightweaver, member of the First Council. The guardspeople will not answer any questions on their way to the guard station. Proceed to .
You don't have to go very far. The Guard Post is tucked into the second story of a nearby building, above a bakery that is quiet now but shows signs of doing bustling breakfast and lunch business. You are escorted up a narrow set of stairs and into a tiny vestibule, and then through heavy double doors into a waiting room filled with chairs, where they leave anyone who hasn't been taken into custody. Halim, as well as anyone else who has been arrested, are taken further. You're swept quickly along but manage to see that the first room was a work space, filled with desks, tables, and chairs; the next was a cozy and inviting space full of couches and chairs and a kitchen (and two guardspeople in it and then you arrive in a room with three holding cells, the middle one of which you are deposited into. Before you're locked away, you see that the leftmost cell has at least one other occupant, who is peering curiously at you. Without saying much, the guards leave.
The Guard StationOpen the spoiler buttons below as needed for detailed descriptions of the rooms of the Guard Station. 1 - Vestibule
Investigation by the FreeNow that they have their person(s) of interest in custody, are more willing to gossip with the party. If the party is being non-confrontational, all but the pair of guards who came to their terrace in the amphitheater will return to their patrols; if the party has resisted arrest to been otherwise troublesome, the GM can choose to have one or both of the other pairs of guards stay as well. The rest of the party can, of course, be arrested at any time...well. Anyway. Information from the guards as listed below can be obtained by characters who make a DC10 check in persuasion or investigation or a DC15 in deception. Isha*** can roll with advantage.
- This is one of six guard stations in the city: there is a second in the Trade District, one in the Gate District (this is the headquarters), one that serves the Open Market, one in the Great Library, and one in the Formal District.
- The Guard Captain is on her way from her station.
- The guards have both a sketch and a written description of the person who supposedly murdered Hadosh Nightweaver, and Halim matches both descriptions.
- There are 30 guards assigned to this station, broken into three shifts of 10. For each shift 6 of the guards are on active duty, two are on station duty unless called to answer to an emergency, and two are off-duty.
- The three shifts are day, evening, and night. Each shift is 9.5 hours with an overlapping 15 minutes at the beginning and end of shift except night shift, which has an extra 15 minutes. Day shift is 7:45 until 17:15, Evening is 17:00-26:30, and Night is 26:15-8:00. These are the shifts across the city.
- The guards' names, Juma and Firat Rathdin. They are of the same Tribe but not otherwise related.
- The two guards from this station on station duty are in the station somewhere (but won't appear unless the characters cause a ruckus).
- Guards came over from the other Trade District guard station to help with the raid on the Amphitheater.
The Stranger in HoldingMeanwhile, Halim and anyone else who was arrested can speak to the other person in holding. A DC10 check in persuasion, investigation, or DC15 in deception will allow them to learn the following:
- Her name is Evri (she doesn't give you a tribal name).
- She is also a person of interest in the death of Hadosh.
- She thinks Hadosh was a "useless old birdbrain".
- She "doesn't think you look like the suspect at all".
Arrival of the Guard Captain
"No, ma'am," Firat answers for them both. "We thought it would be better to wait."
She nods, and then gestures at the door to the next room. "Bring them to the workroom, then, and we shall see."
"What about her?" Juma asks, somewhat hesitantly, and the Captain's mouth thins. "No. She can contemplate her choices a while longer."
"I am Captain Faidra Nightweaver," she drawls. "You match the description of a man standing accused of the murder of Councilman Hadosh Nightweaver. My officer will be casting a truthspell on all of you," she glances up to include the rest of the party, "I suggest you do not resist it. If you, I will assume you have something to hide." There is the briefest of pauses, and then the man at her shoulder makes an elegant gesture and speaks the spell, closing his eyes in concentration.
Faidra will interrogate the party, most particularly Halim, about the murder. Some questions she might ask depending on how the conversation goes include, but are by no means limited to, the following:
- Did you murder Hadosh Nightweaver?
- Did you ever interact with Hadosh Nightweaver?
- Have you had any recent dealings with the Nightweaver tribe?
- What is your business in Kha'r?
- Have you been involved in any plot or conspiracy to harm or murder a member of the First Council?
- Do you or did you have any ill-will towards Hadosh or any member of the First Council?
- Do you have any reason to suspect any of your companions of having any ill-will towards Hadosh or any member of the First Council?
- Have you committed any crimes while you've been in Kha'r?
- Have you ever visited Sara's Apothecary?
- What do you know about the Circle of Eyes?
And with that, she turns and sweeps out of the room, her companions following, leaving the rest of you standing in awkward silence.
Investigate Further at the StationWhile the guards are happy to discuss inoffensive things such as current events and how Kha'r operates with the party, they will be extremely reluctant to devulge any other information specifically about the investigation at this time. They will not voluntarily allow the party into any rooms beyond the workroom they are already in, or allow them to speak to Evri again. If the party wants to try to attack them, a generic Guard
Medium Any Humanoid Race Usually guard (may be formerly military/mercenary), Any
SpearMelee or Ranged Weapon Attack: +3 to hit, reach 5 ft. or range 20/60 ft., one target. 1d20+3 Hit: 4 (1d6+1) piercing damage 1d6+1 , or 5 (1d8+1) piercing damage if used with two hands to make a melee attack. 1d8+1
Visit the Ugly Pony
The Ugly Pony is a two-story building, with the tavern and kitchen on the ground floor and the inn rooms on the second floor. The tavern is divided into several cozy rooms, each with its own fireplace and seating area. The bar is located in the center of the main room, and there is a small stage for live music and entertainment in one corner. The inn rooms are located upstairs and are comfortable and well-maintained, coming in various sizes and layouts. The group settles in a quiet corner booth to converse and plan, but before they can do much, they're interrupted by Evri dramatically flinging herself into their booth. "UGH," she laments, "I thought you would NEVER get here. We have SO MUCH to discuss."
Evri has a proposal for the party to work with her organization, the Circle of Eyes. She is very interested in helping them prove Halim's innocence, and in conjunction, her own. She offers some information to the party freely, while other tidbits they must mine from clever interrogation. Whatever the party decides, when they go to leave the Ugly Pony, they are ambushed by a trio of cloaked assasins
Medium Humanoid (any race) , Any
Trained in the use of poison, assassins are remorseless killers who work for nobles, guild masters, sovereigns, and anyone else who can afford them.
Assassinate. During its first turn, the assassin has advantage on attack rolls against any creature that hasn't taken a turn. Any hit the assassin scores against a surprised creature is a critical hit. Evasion. If the assassin is subjected to an effect that allows it to make a Dexterity saving throw to take only half damage, the assassin instead takes no damage if it succeeds on the saving throw, and only half damage if it fails. Sneak Attack. Once per turn, the assassin deals an extra 14 4d6 damage when it hits a target with a weapon attacking has advantage on the attack roll, or when the target is within 5 ft of an ally of the assassin that isn't incapacitated and the assassin doesn't have disadvantage on the attack roll.
Multiattack. The assassin makes two shortsword attacks. Shortsword. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit d20+6 , reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 6 1d6+3 piercing damage, and the target must make a DC 15 Constitution saving throw, taking 24 7d6 poison damage on a failed save, or half as much on a successful one. Light Crossbow. Ranged Weapon Attack:+6 to hit d20+6 , reach 80/320 ft., one target. Hit: 7 1d8+3 piercing damage, and the target must make a DC 15 Constitution saving throw, taking 24 7d6 poison damage on a failed save, or half as much on a successful one.
Visit Sara's Apothecary
If the party came with Evri, the girl behind the counter is happy to see her friend; she locks the front door and takes them to see Sara in the back room. Evri and Sara address the marelis girl by the name Imele; Sara and Imele are married and very affectionate. Sara does know the plant used to kill Hadosh; however, she says she has not sold any. It is very rare, and she thinks she could help you find the source if you brought her a sample. She says guards have been by to see her, describing the very pale guard that was with Captain Faidra, but she doesn't think they knew what they were looking for and she didn't tell them. She says the pale guard's companion (who was not the truthspell mage in the guard station) was aggressive and xenophobic.
Investigate the Crime SceneIf the party tries to investigate the crime scene by themselves, they will have to sneak or fight past a rotating two-person guard shift, unlock the spell-sealed door, and then face the challenges inside. If they have collected Evri first, she will take them back to the guard station, to enlist the aid of the guards who are also members of the Circle of Eyes, who with her vouching for them are willing to get them past the guards on duty as well as divulge more information about the investigation:
Hadosh Nightweaver was murdered in his office in the Formal District. The only evidence of foul play was the presence of the deadly plant known as Moonfire Flower, so named because if too much of the pollen of the night-blooming flower is inhaled, it feels like your lungs are on fire, and if you do not get immediately treated, your lungs will seize up and you will die. It is unlikely that Hadosh, a plant enthusiast whose home and office are full of rare plants, would have not recognized the plant, which is why foul play is suspected.
Hadosh's Office Map (Player Version) | Hadosh's Office Map (Revealed/GM Version)
Clues (found in office or divulged by guard, as appropriate):
- The plant has a pretty bow on it.
- In the trash can, there are several partially-written and then disposed of letters to the person who will be taking Hadosh's place with the First Council. They aren't friendly.
- There is a secret drawer in the desk (DC12 to find), and inside, the party finds lots of letters to Hadosh from what seems like a small radical sect who want to force all foreigners out of Kha'r, and drafts of legislation he was planning to introduce that would do so, as well as documentation of supporting or covering up hate crimes and other discrimination. He has an encoded list of names and addresses (DC 15 or appropriate time to decode if decoded, they are a list of those who were helping him, including other councilpeople and guards. There is also a strange list of books.
- If for any reason anyone moves the Moonfire Blossom plant, a trap is triggered, locking them inside the office.
- Once the trap is triggered, writing appears on the locked door that says: ""In this room, secrets hide. Behind the books, a passage to find. Rearrange them, left to right, and you'll escape before the night."
- When the trap is triggered, roll a d4. That is how many hours the party has to solve the riddle before the plant starts emitting poisonous pollen.
- The plant has been magically altered so that it will grow new flowers and 'spit' the pollen into the room if triggered.
- They must put all of the books on the bookshelf in the list order from the paper in the secret drawer. If they do so, a secret escape passage will open behind the bookshelf.
- If the time elapses from the earlier dice roll before the puzzle is solved, characters must make a DC 10 constitution saving throw or become incapacitated and take 5 damage. Each 5 minutes after that, incapacitated characters take another 5 damage and unaffected characters make a DC 15 save or become affected.
The FinaleWith all of the information gathered, the party and their allies must decide: who murdered Hadosh? What more is there to this story? When they are confident in their answers, they should present them to Captain Faidra, and persuade her that they are correct and she should close the investigation. Based on your party and their roleplaying preferences, you can choose how this happens mechanically. If they persuade the Captain of a wrong answer, or correctly solve the mystery, they receive a formal apology from the City Guard. More satisfying, they're invited to the headquarters of the Circle of Eyes for a celebratory feast, which the Circle is hosting to celebrate the safe appointment of Hadosh's replacement, who just happens to be a Circle member.
Other information you can give out, plant in locations, or have characters discover that might be helpful: