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Takeover" may be posted with questions or
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Introduction, background, and PCs
Part One: The hook, the party splits up, the mystery.
Part Two: The adventures of Group A in the upper Gate Level.
Part Three: The Adventures of Group B in the Lowest Level.
Part Four: An unconclusive conclusion
I am very grateful to Angus and Emanuel Sacchi who preserved these files, and sent them to me when I announced that I had lost them. Since my original introduction seems permanently lost, I will write another for this reposting of "Hostile Takeover" (Originally "The Four-Way Door")
I posted this story originally as a response to an assertion by Brad Milton ( firstname.lastname@example.org ) that psionicists were "not powerful". Brad could not concieve of a powerful psionic villain. I offered to tell the story, and Brad took me up on it, and asked me to tell it from the player's PoV.
TSR's spectacular Compete Book of Villains (which I cannot recommend too much) presents another psychoporter villain (even set in Dark Sun, believe it or not) that DMs really should look at, but the psychoporter villain in this adventure uses her abilities and antagonizes the party through very different, more large-scale means.
Early in the adventure, the PCs unfortunately split into two groups:
MARKHAM, 8th level human preserver
KHANJI, 4th level human gladiator
OLGA, aka "Lady Scorchwater", a human dual-class 5th level water-priestess/6th level preserver.
BRANDT, Olga's half-elven half-brother, a 7th-level psionicist
Another PC is relevant to the adventure, although he does not participate in the Fort Ianto portion: Corvin, a 8th-level fighter/psionicist.
For background, let me sum up two previous adventures that tie into this one. Both come from David Cook's Road to Urik
1. The PCs were asked to "encourage" a noble family to send troops to support the war with Urik. They chose a blackmail tack which proved quite effective (though it made them a powerful enemy); they bribed one of the Noble's aides to tell them the incriminating information about the Noble Tyrthiani. All of the above was Dave Cook's idea. The incriminating evidence that I developed was that Tyrthani had hired starving peasants to till his fields, offering them good wages, and then turned around and sold fifty of these volunteers into slavery; to a Vordon Caravan headed to Gulg. The PCs had kept this a secret since Tyrthiani had ceded to their demands.
2. The PCs were asked to gather false evidence and frame someone for Kalak's murder. One of the PC's, a Mul F/Psi who had fought in the arena and served in Tyr's guard, was mad the King's official "messenger" in this task. This mini-adventure gets only one page in _the Road to Urik_, but I find it completely brilliant (Go, Dave C!). Dave Cook set this up as an opportunity for the PCs to collect bribes from factions aware of the official charade and not wanting to be blamed. Humorously, the messenger refused every single bribe that he was offered (!!!), then told the bribing party that they were not under suspicion at the moment, but that DOTE MAL PAYNE, (Kalak's disappeared former Chief Necromancer) was the chief suspect. The messenger refused the bribes but asked each of the potential bribers to help him gather "evidence" to implicate DMP. Of course, his refusing the bribes alarmed the bribers, and some of them actually did really help fabricate a lot of the PCs evidence.
I won't go into the details, but the PCs put together such an excellent case that they convinced half the city, and even bewildered some of the people that knew that the investigation was a sham. Corvin's (the chosen PC messenger) singular refusal to take bribes strongly added to the party's mystique and credibility.
Names are hard to follow, so I capitalize names or references to major NPCs:
IANTO = head of merchant house Ianto, which owns a fort just in the shadow of the mountains below the Tyrian mines.
BERN = son of Ianto, who offers to bring the PCs into fort Ianto via his dream travel wild talent.
WAXY = VORDON = head of merchant house Vordon, (see Dune Trader)
HALFLING, Vordon's deadly bodyguard.
OLD MAN, a military strategist employed by VORDON to train his troops
MOUSY = TROIKA = head of merchant house Troika,
TWILE, a street urchin associated with Tyr's Veiled Alliance (see VA supplement.) An obvious tribute to Les Miserables' Gavroche, Twile does not accompany the PCs in the adventure.
DMP = Dote Mal Payne, Kalak's former necromancer (see City State of Tyr)
Some of you may dislike my choice of format. I will add notes to the DM as I go, but I will not format this as an adventure, since to me it's only worth that effort if I can submit it to TSR, and I have learned from bad experience that the Dungeon Staff will not even look at my work. (If any TSR staff read this, then correct me if I am wrong. If I think I have a chance of publication in Dungeon, I will gladly rewrite it in any format that the editors wish.)
Begin Part One: The hook, the party splits up, the mystery.
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