Iron Kingdoms: The Hand of Fate

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Jaspar Solvo, an agent of the Dorne and Fergurn Barristers and Imports Company (not his real name by any stretch) gathers the disparate characters who have been rooming and lodging within Five Fingers, the fates having brought them there. The company wishes to ‘test out’ these new people and to determine their worth and potential for future jobs. As such they have chosen them to tend to the needs of Thane Niccolo Mazini – a minor Ordic noble, well out of his depth in trying to recover his family’s fortunes.

Jaspar delivers a letter to each of them and informs them that the patron is currently staying at The Parson’s Nose. He’ll say no more than that, but will arrange to meet them there that evening to introduce them to their patron.

My friend,

The man who is delivering this note is my trusted agent. I have a task for you which must be accomplished as neatly and cleanly as possible. It is an honourable goal for any man in restoring the lost honour and dignity of a family and rumeneration shall be provided – appropriate to that cause.

Faithfully,

Thane Niccolo Mazini

***

The Parson’s Nose lies on Hospice Island, near to the meat market in the Wake Bridge Bourg. It’s a narrow, wedge-shaped building that is a terrible fire hazard and has no rear exist and only one narrow front door and narrow windows up the front. It has four stories, the lower floor being the bar and kitchen and the upper three floors being cramped common rooms with rank old straw beds. A gobber sitting by the fire burns bundles of cheap herbs (rosemary and time mostly) in order to mask the smell of the meat market. On the plus side, the drink and food is cheap – even if the rum is stained pink from badly processed beetroot sugar and the stew is ‘meat’, or – if a recognisible kind of meat – twice the price.

Mazini has paid out to take an entire common room for himself, though it is barebones and dimly lit to mask his poverty. He seems finely dressed, but the clothing is more than a little worn and threadbare. His luggage looks expensive but is virtually empty. His scabbard and holster are fine but the sword and pistol he wears are rusty.

He tries to act the noble and to negotiate the contract from a position of self-assured certainty, despite being in no position to do so.

The job is to recover a lost mercenary charter, belonging to his family some two-hundred years past. His ancestor, Thane Ordo Mazzini founded The Stone Bay Hullgrinders – a now defunct company – under the auspices of King Merin Cathor III – The Pious. In a skirmish in The Gnarls the Hullgrinders (dilettante second-son nobles for the most part) were humiliated by the Dragon’s Tongue Trading Company, destroyed to a man – save Ordo – and had their charter stolen by a captain of the Dragon’s Tongue Trading Company, Belton Vascal.

Vascal’s family have kept the charter ever since, as a trophy and Mazzini has recently discovered this past of his family (a source of shame) and has sold up everything and borrowed heavily from Captain Waernuk, in hock to his syndicate to the tune of 3,000 royals. 2,000 of which remains for him to offer to the characters – maximum – though he’ll make whatever promises are necessary.

All he knows is that Grigori Vascal is the descendant and nothing more about him. Belton was a great giant of a man with fierce ginger hair and a huge beard, but there’s no guarantee Grigori looks the same.

***

Grigori is just back from a trip, depositing a kidnap victim for the Dragon’s Tongue Trading Company, several days away from the city have left him hungry for its pleasures. His river boat – twin-engined steam boat The Shame – is only just in port and needs maintenance and resupply, which will keep him busy another day or two before he can leave the Dragon’s Tongue compound.

Grigori is fairly well known as a braggart and as the captain of that particular vessel, it won’t take too long asking around about him to get a description, but being too open about it is likely to get word back to the Trading Company who will send a man or two to see who is asking around and why.

The compound has several river boats docked at any time, plenty of guards, labourjacks and workers and is a walled set of warehouses and offices. It’s a fortress and is not going to be a productive place to raid by force – nor is the charter there in any case.

When Grigori leaves the compound – late at night – with two friends – he’ll stop at The Red Barrel for a few drinks and a meal and then stop at The Two Knocks (a mid-range whorehouse) to pick up a couple of dockmops (prostitutes) before rolling up at his house.

***

Grigori’s House

A three storey terraced house, the houses either side and along most of the terrace are split up into three separate dwellings each, cheap and cramped and suitable for dock workers. Grigori has the whole place to himself. There’s a small ‘patio’ front and rear, surrounded by an iron fence and it backs directly onto the river with a pipe from the second storey ‘toilet’ hanging out over the water.

Ground Floor

1. The front has a heavy, rusty, creaky iron gate with waxed envelopes hanging off it, pleading notes from his landlord Phinas Schlub, asking for him to pay the arrears in his rent. It’s pleas, rather than threats because of the power of the Dragon’s Tongue Trading Company. The front door is bolted from the inside.

2. The back ‘patio’ is also surrounded by an iron fence and backs onto the stinking river, full of flotsam from the docks. Two kennels here house Grigori’s pair of fighting dogs and the back door is open to let them in and out. They’re loyal, but not that well looked after. Crossbreeds between Ordic Pit Dogs and Khadoran war dogs. The back patio is full of broken animal bones and dogshit.

3. Inside the house there is a kitchen – that opens to the back door and is virtually empty and unused.

4. The front of the house has a sort of ‘reception’ room, bare bones apart from a bootscraper and a mirror.

5. The main living room is the largest room on this floor and houses the staircase. There are long couches in a three-sided bracket around the hearth and a low table. Grigori and his friends – and the dockmops – will be in here, drinking and fooling around.

Second Storey

1. Grigori’s bedroom contains old furniture from someone with far more expensive taste than he has, but perhaps fifty years out of date. There is a portrait of Grigori, a laving bowl on a washstand, a four poster bed and a wardrobe with his ‘civvies’. He keeps a spare pistol, loaded, under his pillow.

2. Grigori’s Bathroom contains a tin bath, a washstand with laving bowl and the toilet – a hole in a plank – that deposits waste out over the river, and any boats foolish enough to sale too close to the shore. The hearth for this room is in here.

3. Grigori’s trophy room is in here. It hangs with paintings and has a long table and chairs, there are also display cabinets. The cabinets contain a few skulls, claws, stones marked with runes as well as seal and signet rings and lockets (worth a total of about 750 royals full price, half that to a pawn shop, 75% of that to a fence). Pride of place is given to a painting showing a man with a broken sword, kneeling before a laughing, ginger-haired giant. The painting is painted on the back of the Hullgrinder Charter, a final humiliation, and the frame is trapped, the hook it hangs on a lever connected to a gas sprayer.

Third Storey

Two spare bedrooms and a storage room, full of miscellaneous junk.

***

Returning to Mazzini

Returning to Mazzini for the money they will find The Parson’s Nose closed. If they gain access they’ll find evidence Mazzini has been killed, his tongue cut out and left on his table, blood everywhere, a single silver coin resting on his tongue. His luggage is there, but empty and of him there is no sign.

Tired of his bullshit Waernuk has had him killed, though he hasn’t recovered the money (its stuffed into a nook in the edge of the island, out of sight of the bridge). It seems likely that Mazzini has ended up as sausages – apart from his expertly cut out tongue.

Waernuk will still want to recover the money, but for the time being the players have a contract, which they are now the clear and legal owners of.

Grigori Vascal
A lieutenant in the Dragon’s Tongue Trading Company, with a long history.
SPD 7, STR 5, MAT 6, RAT 5, DEF 12, ARM 14
WILL 9, INIT 15, DET 6, SNEAK 7
Sword POW 3 P+S=8 – Poisoned +1D damage Vs organic targets
Pistol RNG 9, POW 11
Intimidation 5
Vitality 10
Anatomical Precision – If damage fails to exceed ARM – still take d3 damage.

Dragon’s Tongue Smugglers
Grigori’s friends and ‘boatmates’.
SPD 6, STR 5, MAT 5, RAT 5, DEF 12, ARM 13
WILL 9, INIT 12, DETECT 5, SNEAK 6
Dirk POW 2, P+S=7
Pistol RNG 8, POW 11.
Intimidation 5
Vitality 7
Anatomical Precision – If damage fails to exceed ARM – still take d3 damage

Dockmops
Dockfront prostitutes, trying to scrape a living and find a gentleman – or what passes for one.
SPD 6, STR 3, MAT 4, RAT 4, DEF 13, ARM 6
WILL 8, INIT 15, DETECT 6, SNEAK 6
Stilleto POW 1, P+S=4
Pickpocket 5, Lock Pick 5, Streetwise 5
Vitality 5
Get Away – Missed by an enemy attack other than when advancing, instead of advancing 2”, make a full advance.

Jaspar Solvo
Spy/Investigator 10
PHY 6, SPD 6, STR 4, AGL 4, PRW 4, POI 4, INT 5, PER 5
WILL 11 DEF 15 ARM 8 INIT 15
Abilities – Astute, Language (Cygnaran), Battle Plan: Shadow, Cover Identity, Language: Khadoran
Connections: Intelligence network (minor criminals).
Hyper Perception
Vitality 11
Command 6, Deception 7, Detection 7, Disguise 6, Forensic Science 6, Gambling 6, Hand Weapon 6, Interrogation 6, Intimidation 6, Law 6, Lore (Five Fingers) 6, Medicine 6, Pistol 6, Sneak 6
Holdout Pistol (on an arm rail) +1 Initiative (16) on his first turn. Attack 7, Pow 8
Fine dagger – Attack 7, Pow 5

Thane Niccolo Mazzini
Assume a base of 6 for any important rolls, but he’s destined to die and not really THAT important.

Fighting Dogs
SPD 6, STR 5, MAT 6, RAT 0, DEF 16, ARM 6
WILL 7, INIT 18, DETECT 8, SNEAK 4
Bite: 6 Pow 4 P+S=9
Intimidation 7
Vitality 4
Powerful Jaws – If damage fails to exceed ARM – still take 1 damage

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