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Sembian Merchant in Suzail (Part 2)

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Continuing on with the story I used for the campaign. One of the things I tried to do with the adventure was give the players clues about what the merchant, Deskyr, was using. As I said he was not meant to be an evil person, just naive and overconfident; but the items he was using were extremely evil. I wanted to see how the players would react to this, if they would simply accept the jobs and trust Deskyr, or if they would decide that no good could come of using such things and put a stop to his work. They had to decide if it was worth the risk of the evil artifacts getting out of control and killing innocent Sembians, worth the potential gains of driving out the Shadowvar who are the evil oppressors of those people?

The NPC that went along with the party had already informed Deskyr of the answer before they left the ruins. When the party returns Deskyr is elated that they were successful in finding the location of the Mask of Blood. He disregards their concerns over the oracle spirits warnings, assuring them that he's taken every precaution. He's already arranged for a paladin and his team of nights to fetch the mask, and they've already departed. With their divine will will they'll be more than able to ensure its evil doesn't escape. He also decides that the party is trustworthy and explains part of his plan to them, not all of it he still keeps a few secrets. He tells them that their are a few magical artifacts he can use to liberate Sembia from Shadowvar rule. Removing them and their deity Shar will be beneficial, not only to Sembia, but the entire region. With these items he can avoid a costly war, and save lives. How the items work and his intentions on using them he still withholds.

He felt that the party should get more than just gold for their efforts, so he made arrangements at the wizard academy to have their equipment further enchanted. He felt the value of the enchantments would have enough value, furthermore it will improve their effectiveness in the future jobs he has in mind for them. As it happens this is the same academy that he has researching the vessel containing the ancient evil sorcerer's soul. While the party is at the academy he asks if they could return with the vessel and the research report.

I threw in this reward because I had no ideas what items to give the party as a reward. I figured with this I could dump that responsibility on them. Besides I needed a quest hook to send them to the academy, so it was a win-win solution. For some reason they came to the conclusion that Deskyr was playing them for fools with this request. I'm not sure exactly where this came from, but since I wanted a few seeds of distrust between the party and Deskyr it served my purposes beautifully.

As the party arrives at the academy they quickly should discover that something has gone wrong. Many of the magical wards protecting the students have broken down. The magical constructs used for training are attacking and injuring the students and faculty. Being good hearted adventurers, and realizing that with things as they are they won't get their payment, they offer to help restore order to the academy. What they discover is that while the vessel was being researched it managed to dominate the wizard studying it. Slowly it was moving through the faculty until it reached the headmaster which gave it full authority and control over the academy, and it was using that to wreak havoc throughout the school.

After the party frees the headmaster from being liberated, the party is able to collect the report, the vessel, and get their enchantments. The faculty of the academy was livid with Deskyr because of the trouble his request caused, and despite the party gave them they are displeased with the party since they are acting as his agents. They don't immediately throw them out, but they aren't willing to fulfill any extra requests.

At this point my party had decided that Deskyr wasn't to be trusted, obviously he didn't have the ability to control these evil artifacts. What they decided to do was to have the wizards at the academy disenchant the vessel for them, this way the evil soul would be released and couldn't cause any more harm. This definitely destroyed Deskyr's plans.

The party again returns to Deskyr to tell him what happened at the academy. Before they arrive, he's already distraught about something. The paladin he sent down to fetch the Mask of Blood was sending him updates on the search, but abruptly all communication stopped. With what happened at the academy he's concerned that the same fate may have befallen the paladin and his knights. He beseeches the party to look into the matter and see if the paladin needs rescued, and if so to save him as well.

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