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Saturday, April 19, 2014

#MtG's #Zendikar plane as a #13thAge setting - Part 5: Story Hooks

From the moment I read +Philippe-Antoine Menard's article on +Critical Hits titled “13th Age” Musings: Story Hook-Based Adventure Prepping, I knew (and I told him) I would have used this method for my Zendikar project. And here I am!

I am well aware that half the genius of the ChattyDM's idea was that with this method you can turn those often-forgotten loose threads of adventures into new and exciting side treks, or even new courses for the entire campaign, but since the other half of the geniality is just the simplicity and quickness of the method, I decided to write a post providing these Story Hooks as possible campaign or adventure starting ideas for Zendikar, without actually referring to any loose threads of a pre-existing campaign (since we're talking about starting, of course!)

So this will be my list of Story Hooks, which in a fashion similar to all my latest post, will be a growing list that I will update over time. I decided I will only add Hooks based on the Locations I already described in my Locations list, With an additional "sub-focus" on one of the organizations or authorities present in the location.
I'll also link every first occurrence of an Icon or Minor Icon in each hook to the relevant section, if I've already written it.

So we'll start from the continent of Tazeem, which non-coincidentally is also the best land-mass in Zendikar to start a low-level adventure or campaign, since it contains the highest amount of civilized population in stable settlements, with the exception of the even more highly populated Guul Draz. Although around there, 90% of the civilized population enjoys sucking blood of intelligent humanoids, and must also do so to survive, making it probably a little less than recommendable as a starting place...

Note that, to keep the spirit of ChattyDM's Story Hooks, I purposely choose less-than-obvious and less-than-epic hooks here. Even more than to keep the original spirit of the method, because since the obvious and epic ones are already quite clear when reading the Locations or Icons lists, it would be redundant to also describe them here in this fashion.
Actually, I go a bit far from the original model in terms of length and detail: I can't help being as prolix as always!




Tazeem Story Hooks

Hook #1: The Uncatalogued Specimen

"Hedrons perplex minds both great and small."

- The Enclave: The Academy detachment -
  • Pitch: The Academy detachment in the Enclave is analyzing with interest a cubical hedron, described to be "as baffling as it's diminutive". But the specimen is not cataloged, and nobody knows where it comes from, or who brought it in a first place.
  • Challenge: Investigate the specimen and interrogate everyone until you get clues about where it comes from.
  • Interested Parties: The Enclave Cryptologist is the one currently studying the object. The Tazeem Expeditionary and The Halimar Expeditionary are bidding for being selected as the House being sponsored by The Enclave to take care of the matter (hiring the PCs). The Ruin Sage already heard the rumors, but he can't get there in person for obvious reasons (at least not in his natural guise...). For some reason, the Vindicator wouldn't like anybody to know more about it, and he's managed to have some of The Council members to think his way. Even the Lightcaster is opposed, having had a partial flash of insight about a general negativity surrounding not exactly the object itself, but the quest to find more about it.
    The Acquisitor is very probably also interested in the specimen: will her supposed friendship with the Cryptologist be enough to stop her kleptomania? 
  • Outcome: The PCs go on a quest around many arcane locations around Tazeem, especially above and beneath it.
  • Potential Trouble: The interested parties could get in the way, or the bad omens of the Lightcaster about the quest may turn out true, as it's nearly always the case with her foretellings.
  • Bad Guy Agenda: The Ruin Sage could send some mercenaries to steal the object, or some spies to join the quest, the Vindicator may apply so much political pressure that the Enclave itself could forbid the Cryptologist from giving sensible information about it (making it more difficult to track it), and the Acquisitor could stalk the characters invisibly just to watch the object more closely, and to find out where to find more of them, although she might turn out to be too attracted by that specimen in particular, which would lead to a bitter clash with the Cryptologist, who trusts her so much... And this could actually be in the interest of figures such as The Lord of Cliffhaven and The Stoneforger, who would do anything to change the opinion of the strongest legal defendant of the Acquisitor, so they might seize the occasion to actually set the Acquisitor up, putting the PCs in the center of a delicate balance of power!

Hook #2: Who "Lightmined" the Field? 

"If you want to kill a lot of goblins, just make sure your defenses look like fun."

- The Enclave: The Elite Corps -
  • Pitch: The Enclave Elite found a scintillating surprise this morning: someone conjured a huge lightmine field along a section of the Umara river, including a good portion of its banks on each side, making The Enclave forbid navigation after more than a few vessels were blown to pieces with their occupants.
  • Challenge: First of all, dispel the lightmine field. Then find out who put it, why, and why there.
  • Interested Parties: The Loremaster and The Chronologist have been putting pressure on The Enclave Elite to investigate the technical aspect of the lightmines (The Loremaster), and to solve the problem as soon as possible (The Chronologist), by hiring every capable adventurer to help. The Council is worried about the Merfolk communities inhabiting the cliffs in that area. The Tuktuk clan's numerous Tazeem members are extremely fascinated by those glittering lightworks... The Treespeaker has sent animal messengers very quickly, stating that she is particularly worried about the unchecked appearance of such lightmine fields in Tazeem, and beyond, so she wants to be updated on the subject with the maximum urgency.
  • Outcome: After finding a way to dispel or navigate the field, the PCs won't fail to notice that the Merfolk settlements within the cliffs that were mined, are also connected to cave complexes, which maybe the perpetrator wanted to block, at least for some time, with the lightmines. Exploration and investigation ensues.
  • Potential Trouble: The Tuktuk goblins could interfere too much in the operation, risking to blow everything up, PCs included. The Treespeaker's strange interest in the matter could hide some secret agendas of her and the elves. The mysterious perpetrator could try to directly thwart the efforts of the Enclave Elite and the PCs.
  • Bad Guy Agenda: Whoever mined that large area was really serious about not having anyone enter there for at least one day, and possibly more than that. He or she surely succeeded in blocking it for some time. What happened within that lapse? And why is the Treespeaker so interested? Is it really just a "technical" interest in the arcane bombs? Or is there more? Also, the unexplored caves of the Umara ara said to be home to demonic creatures. Could that mean that at least one of The Five could be involved in all of this?

Hook #3: If they can't debate on the gender of

"The merfolk call the sky goddess Emeria. The kor call her Kamsa. The two races agree on little except that she offers many blessings to the faithful."

- The Enclave: The Council -
  • Pitch: The gender of angels in Zendikar seems to be rather clearly defined... But that doesn't stop theologists to debate a lot on them and their patron deities, in particular Emeria/Kamsa. When the Vindicator proclaimed The Great Merge, stating that the Kor and Merfolk faiths and deities should be unified, many members of the Council lit up like matches in endless fiery debates.
  • Challenge: The PCs will have to choose whether to tip the balance towards one of the theories, or find a way to stop the debate without having any of the parties prevail.
  • Interested Parties: Iona, The Shield of Emeria, doesn't care much about mortals' businesses, but she strangely recently spoken on this one, apparently stating that the scholars of "The Realm Beneath" should stop worrying about this matter. This has made the Vindicator extremely proud of his Great Merge, but has actually started the most fiery debate in The Council, where some cynical and overly-analytic Merfolk scholars have concluded that the angel has something to hide on this subject, if she wants mortals to stay away from the truth. This in turn infuriated some of the honorary human members, who sympathize more with the Vindicator, and his "sacred" Great Merge, so much so that they accused the Merfolk theo-analysts of blasphemy, and, more importantly, heresy. In the mean time, The Chronologist is worried that the splitting in The Council may paralyze Sea Gate's political and administrative authorities too much, and bring chaos and anarchy to the beacon of civilization that the city is.
  • Outcome: The PCs could either find the right archaeological proofs to either make one side "win" or both of them "lose", or try a diplomatic approach involving all the interested parties.
  • Potential Trouble: The Vindicator could go as far as sending troops to "keep the order" (and hunt the "heretics") within the Council, if the tones are raised too much and if they reach too far. In addition, the city of Sea Gate undergoes multiple order problems without a functional Council, since both the court of laws and the Administration Committee depend on the Council's votes, and since the start of the debate, the votes don't reach the constitutionally-required quorum, being thus ineffective.
  • Bad Guy Agenda: There are many parties interested in causing chaos within Sea Gate, and by extension all the civilized parts of Zendikar. The Bloodchiefs come first, but the Treespeaker wouldn't mind much a shift towards chaos either. The Vindicator could instead be waiting for chaos to be "too much", in order to make a coup and replace the sophisticated republic-like government with an authoritative monarchy, with the monarch being, for example, himself...

Hook #4: The Strange Young Journal Keeper

"Cast out by my tribe, I am a pariah trapped in this mammal's carcass. Only my true kin hear my cries."

- The Magosi Portage: The Merfolk Community -
  • Pitch:
    The Magosi Portage is abuzz. Apparently, a young merfolk that was famous for being the prodigious new journal keeper of the Tazeem Expeditionary, has been cast out from the Merfolk community under the waterfall. He had been previously accepted there as the adoptive child of a Merfolk wayfinder from that tribe, Raya, a respected and famous member of the expeditionary house, very close to Piqua, its leader. "His eyes began to radiate an evil light: he may be the prophesied cursed offspring of an ordinarily-sterile Cosi trickster." This the verdict of the tribe shamans. The youngling, that for years generated far less curiosity than admiration, is now so much under the spotlights, that his adoptive mother Raya is considering sending him away from Magosi, and finding him a new life in Sea Gate.
  • Challenge: Since the PCs are not likely to leave such a tasty gossip unchecked, they feel compelled to investigate the truth on the "merling", and the reasons behind his adoptive tribe's leaders' decision. Finding reliable sources and discovering if they say the truth is the main challenge.
  • Interested Parties: The shamanic leaders of the Merfolk Magosi community are more and more wary, seeing how the outcast is not yet departing on his "necessary" exile. Raya and Piqua, who raised the child like two mothers, find themselves to be of different opinions on the matter. Being Piqua an outisder to the Magosi Merfolk community, she advises Raya to just ignore the matter, and let the boy continue the marvellous work he's doing for the House. Raya, being the adoptive mother of the child, is much more conflicted, because she wants to protect him from the bad reputation he's building up, but she also doesn't want to risk being cast out by the tribe herself as well. What's more, she doesn't believe much in Piqua's good faith, because she might be too interested in the good publicity that the journal keeper was bringing to the House.
    The Loremaster has stepped in the matter from Sea Gate, offering Raya to give her son a safe passage to the city and a place in the Halimar Expeditionary, far from the rumors that are spreading within Magosi. The youngster, at first not enthusiast about the change of life proposed to him by the mother, has become particularly eager to go after he met at the Portage the famous priest known as Father Rami, the Kabira Evangel, a man of great charisma with whom he has had long talks, far from the eyes and ears of Raya.
  • Outcome: The PCs will discover that the past of the journal keeper is so murky and weird that the fear that dictated the tribe's leaders' decision is starting to be justified in the eyes of the adventurers. Apparently, as a younger kid he displayed very strange powers, and some witnesses have heard him speak of a "true kin of his", and then negate such borderline-crazy lonely talks, saying he didn't even remember speaking at all, and he was not able to even speculate on what this "true kin" could be.
    If the PCs have some good relationships with the Tazeem Expeditionary, they could also influence Raya's final decision on the life of the boy, and then they could involve themselves more in his life to try and understand who or what exactly is he. A terrible mystery unfolds...
  • Potential Trouble: Maybe the boy's nature is really meant to not be messed with, like the Magosi Merfolk leaders differently implied... Maybe his powers are really dangerous, and investigating them could prove just as dangerous. Plus, he now seems quite decided to go to Sea Gate. Secretly, he also thinks that his adoptive mother has stopped loving him, and he's undergoing an emotional crisis that could make his strange latent powers grow in the wrong direction...
  • Bad Guy Agenda: Apparently there are two parties interested in the boy: the Loremaster together with the Halimar Expeditionary House, where Raya has some long-time friends, but Piqua has some long-time rivals, and the charismatic Father Rami, who evidently offered something to the boy that he found even more interesting than working for one of the best expeditionary houses of Zendikar. But the PCs might not know this detail, at least not until the boy actually moves to Sea Gate, and gets involved with the cleric, who is said to have one or more dark secrets to hide.

Hook #5: The Ruins of Ysterid

"You want to go to Ruins of Ysterid, huh? The sages know they lie at the bottom of deep cave near Magosi Falls. But I don't recommend it. The pit will poison you, boil you, and regurgitate your body up to the surface to be eaten by bloodbeaks."
—Piqua, Tazeem Expeditionary House

The Magosi Portage: The Tazeem Expeditionary House -
  • Pitch: There is one ruins site near Magosi, where the Tazeem Expeditionary has always refused to adventure: the Ysterid Ruins. Piqua, the house leader, has lost an entire team of relic hunters back in her early adventuring days, and she refuses to have anything more to do with the cursed place.
  • Challenge: Make it to the Ruins of Ysterid alive is already a challenge, since the passage lies within one of the most ravenous Pit Caves of the region: a portion of the terrain that resembles very closely a living organism, of which the pit opening would be quite literally its gigantic toothy maw. But the adventurers don't know this, at least not until it's too late, of course.
  • Interested Parties: As soon as the PCs rise up tot he challenge, many parties become interested. The crazy Tuktuk goblins offer themselves as "expert guides". The reckless Murasa Expeditionary House sends a delegation of sell-swords and explorers to "help" the PCs, and try to beat the Tazeem Expeditionary in its own ground. The Loremaster offers to send funds and magical help, but refuses to involve the Halimar Expeditionary, for untold reasons. The Enclave Cryptologist scries from afar, interested in the outcome, but fearful to participate in person. The Surrakar living near the pit cave become strangely active when the expedition starts. Some Ghet vampires show up in secret at night near Magosi, offering the PCs the favor of their Bloodchief if they will be allowed to join the party, and promising a literally bloody rivalry if they're not, since apparently the Ruins of Ysterid "belong" to the Bloodchief of Ghet. A claim that the Ruin Sage, originally a Ghet noble, seems to know about, because he shows up as well, telling the adventurers that the Bloodchief will never know a thing if they refuse the Ghet in favor of his associates...
  • Outcome: In less than healthy conditions, the PCs manage to get to the ruins, but there, a violently competitive treasure hunt begins among the interested parties, and what appeared to be a lucrative and interesting dungeon crawl becomes a paranoia-filled dilemma of who to trust (less).
  • Potential Trouble: As with many ruins in Zendikar, even succesfully plundering Ysterid, and returning alive from it, could actually bring more trouble than it solves. If Zendikar itself wanted to prevent any being from going there, wouldn't it had a good reason to do so..?
  • Bad Guy Agenda: The Bloodchief is too interested in the ruins to be there just for money. Apparently, for him and the Ghet it's a matter of power. And as with every deep place of Zendikar, the influence of The Five is always lurking in the shadows.
"That would have brought shame to you as a mage. Tell you what—I'll keep your secret."
—Noyan Dar, Tazeem lullmage

Sea Gate: An Aristocratic House -
  • Pitch: The night in Sea Gate can turn out wild, but this time it kind of went too far. You wake up in an aristocratic house, furniture destroyed, expensive wallpapers torn, glasses shattered. And you don't remember anything about what happened.
  • Challenge: Finding out what happened in an aristocratic house should be simple, but this time it isn't, for a simple reason: the owners are nowhere to be found! And predictably, so are their riches. Only the angrily sleepless neighborhood can be listened to for comments and clues.
  • Interested Parties: The Enclave Elite could be called to investigate, and in that case, the affair is going to be big, with high chances of the law retorting against you, especially for narcotic consumption, which is illegal in Sea Gate, but easily diagnosed on your persons, due to your current state, which clearly indicates you somehow ingested or smoked some illegal substances. The Kabira Evangel, if found, advises to not make the matter any bigger than it already is, in order to limit the publicity (and thus the spreading) of these narcotics-based parties. Or does he have other interests? The Acquisitor is suspected of being the robber of course.
    [Optional: Hook #4, "Journal Keeper" sub-plot/sequel (if the young merfolk ended up in Sea Gate after the previous events)] In addition, trying to go unnoticed, the new young journal keeper of the Halimar Expeditionary seems to be strolling a lot around the place. What is he up to?
  • Outcome: If involving the Enclave Elite, a huge investigations starts, but leading probably nowhere. There are no traces of violence against the occupants, no ransom requests, and the neighbors, awaken by the loud music and commotions during the night, seem to agree that they didn't see the owners go out, even less restrained by someone. The Acquisitor is of course nowhere to be found, and even if she is, she denies any involvement (and not without regret). The journal keeper diverts questions regarding his interest in the matter, and if the Halimar Expeditionary for which he works is questioned, they have no clue about what he could be up to: that noble house was not known for supporting the Halimar Expeditionary, the contrary was true, so they had requested him to not write about the issue, because it could look like they could have been interested in taking those nobles out.
    If searching the house thoroughly, a secret passage to narrow underground tunnels is found, but a few magical protections seem to hold strongly, preventing access beyond a certain point. What would the Enclave Elite think of that? It seems these nobles might have been linked to the never-found underground thieves' guild! It could even be the way they disappeared without going out.
    [Optional: Hook #4, "Journal Keeper" sub-plot/sequel] During the following day, pamphlets regarding the matter, and uncovering a lot of dirt about the noble house, are posted by the organization boycotting the Halimar Expeditionary, and then hastily removed from the walls of Sea Gate's streets, by the same usual scoundrels that had posted them. What kind of contradiction is happening within the secret organization?
  • Potential Trouble: Delving in too deep may of course result in trouble with the underground criminal organization. Also, the Enclave Elite could have to fine or briefly incarcerate you, just for the involvement in the illegal event of this mysterious night; so both sides of the law could be trouble.
    [Optional: Hook #4, "Journal Keeper" sub-plot/sequel]
    Even the young journal keeper could get into trouble with them. But why? If the Enclave Elite is mobilized, and the journal keeper is interrogated, some strange links with obscure people known only by nicknames are found. What trouble was he getting into, this time, after he had just been saved from a nearly violent ostracism at the Magosi waterfalls?
  • Bad Guy Agenda: Of course, the Kabira Evangel was knee-deep into the matter from the start, and his secret organization risks of being uncovered, something that he will go long ways to prevent.
    [Optional: Hook #4, "Journal Keeper" sub-plot/sequel] It's ironic that the uncovering could end up being made mostly by the same prodigious investigator and spy that the Evangel hired to thwart the Halimar Expeditionary from the inside: the young journal keeper! Now the adolescent merfolk finds himself an enemy of the same organization that he was secretly serving. This could mean he is at risk of disappearing, just like the nobles before him. Especially because the link that between Father Rami the Evangel and him could be uncovered, and it could be more than just proof against the organization: it could be extremely compromising for both, in unexpectedly very personal and morally ambiguous ways..!

"There was a door in each wall, each one with a different symbol engraved in metal. Above, there was a window in each wall too, but unreachable to humanoid hands. Even though they were wide open, the light was trapped in the upper section of the room, unable to reach the ones that were sitting around a five-cornered table."
— Veritatis, of the Magnificent Order of The Planeswalkers

Sea Gate: A new guild-house in the city -
  • Pitch: Patronized by the ominous (in Zendikar) number of five famous adventurers, one for each major race and said to include The Acquisitor among them (or behind them), the Covenant of The Forgotten Relics is an adventuring guild born as an alternative to the stagnating Expeditionary Houses. It attracts the adventurers with the promise of fortune and fame, and proposing a difficult but apparently extremely rewarding quest for a Khalni Gem, in a secluded ruin hidden within the Vastwood, not so distant from Sea Gate.
  • Challenge: The quest for the Khalni Gem has revealed itself to be a deathly trap for the previous party put together by the Covenant, or so it seems, since they never returned. The underground and forest-overgrown temple revealed itself to be a dungeon full of traps and formidable guardians, almost too protected to be normal, even in Zendikar...
  • Interested Parties: The Acquisitor patronizing a relic acquisition guild? It doesn't sound right, and the burned smell can be sniffed out from far away, especially when the latest party never came back. Could it be that the Five Famous Adventurers patronizing the Covenant are actually interested in getting rid of competitors? Or could this whole thing be the tool of someone else wishing to do so, avoiding blame by redirecting it towards the patrons?
  • Outcome: The protagonist adventurers might be the first party to actually succeed in the Covenant's proposed quest, and they could find out that the Khalni Gem is better not left into the hands of the Famous Five...
  • Potential Trouble: If the adventurers smell the danger and decide to keep the Khalni Gem for themselves, they may discover that far more dangerous adventurers than the ones sent for the latest quest attempt are allied to the Covenant, and they could be trackers and assassins, more than adventurers..!
  • Bad Guy Agenda: A link could or not be discovered between the Five Famous Adventurers and The Five, the demons of Zendikar. The Acquisitor could then be an allied of them, or just being played. If the demons are not linked (or not directly), who's actually behind the Covenant?
    A powerful aristocrat, the famous Lango D'Ajalkarth, a former adventurer suspected of criminal activities but surprisingly "clean", and with connections both with the Halimar and Bala Ged Expeditionaries, may be responsible of the set-ups to eliminate other adventurers, and may be doing this due to the whims of his spoiled daughter Naiqur, said to be a half-elf either extremely insane or extremely powerful, or both. In fact, Naiqur is a member of the Covenant that strangely never participates in quests. She shows up only in case of adventurers stealing the relics for themselves, along with a bunch of very dangerous bounty hunters, to stalk them and make sure they never try to play the Covenant again... A connection with the underground Organization that is boycotting the Halimar Expeditionry and is basically running a criminal guild from some hidden "undercity" of Sea Gate may or may not be involved with Lango, and Lango may or may not be involved with the above case of the Aristocratic House being left devoid of its occupants, over night.

"A devil's hands are never idle."
— A not-so-common saying among summoner mages.

Sea Gate: The Great Lighthouse Library -
  • Pitch: The Five be unnamed! The Great Lighthouse Library is being overrun by devils and imps, keeping The Loremaster trapped at the topmost level!
  • Challenge:  Devils and imps are creatures better not underestimated, and their sudden appearance may mean some kind of summoning magic is at work, if not worse! The challenge though is not (necessarily) killing all the devilish creatures that got hold of the sky-scraping Lighthouse, but freeing The Loremaster!
  • Interested Parties: Freeing an icon as important as The Loremaster from this indirect imprisonment is sure to draw some attention, and a few adventuring parties with different planned strategies report to the local Enclave Elite constable, who has called for help. A bounty has not been raised yet, but The Chronologist himself has publicly and hastily endorsed an intervention from "any adventurers who think they have enough resources to perform the rescue on time"; so at deed completion, any party can expect a big reward coming from the most important figures of Sea Gate, in person, other than a lot of visibility, fame, and glory! This of course means lots of interested parties (literally), and lots of competitiveness, possibly even dirty double-crossing among the various groups..!
  • Outcome: The Lighthouse may or may not be freed from the devils, but the Loremaster must be freed from the Lighthouse, or the whole city may be at risk, without his guidance!
  • Potential Trouble: The sudden appearance of so many devils and imps may imply some summoning magic is at work, likely either by some misguided summoner apprentice of The Academy studying the wrong tome, or from a mistaken portal of some kind. And it is possible that a portal might have created a continuous wellspring of devilish forces somewhere in the Lighthouse! There's a lot of potential complications, enough to make this hook a big, ascending mega-dungeon-crawl, and a bit of a campaign of its own!
  • Bad Guy Agenda: What if it's not a mistake? Could The Five be involved? Or some planeswalker..?

"Before I hire new recruits, I test how long they can hold their breath. You'd be surprised how often it comes up."
— Zahr Gada, Halimar expedition leader

Sea Gate: Halimar Expeditionary House & Halimar Sea Caves -
  • Pitch: The Halimar Expeditionaty House wants to kill two birds with one stone. On one hand, they want the next expedition to be one that is truly useful to the city, by aiming at the sea monsters that plague the nearby waters, thus avoiding the obstacles and the spread of bad public reputation that the unnamed organization trying to boycott them would bring in case of relic hunts or other "classical" expeditions. And on the other hand, try to discover some criminals' hideouts that could prove that the boycotting organization is led by an extended criminal network! To do this, they are recruiting brave adventurers to have a deep look at the Halimar Sea Caves, practically next door to Sea Gate...
  • Challenge: As Zahr Gada says: "The Halimar Sea Caves are both the breeding ground of giant squids and the dumping ground of hardened criminals." So the expedition members must expect dangers of both types!
  • Interested Parties: The Treespeaker has expressed the interest of Speaker Sutina of the Tajuru to have an observer expedition member, and Zahr Gada, after a consultation with The Loremaster and The Chronologist, didn't refuse the "offer". Evidently, the sea monsters found in the Halimar Sea Caves could be related to The Tidemaker, friend of Sutina. Another mysterious adventurer is said to have been recruited under some kind of pressures, and it's not clear from who, but the independent party he comes from has some ties with Zulaport, which could mean many things or nothing... In any case, while the Tajuru observer will depart from Sea Gate along with the recruited adventurers, the other unnamed warrior will apparently join the expedition on location, at the Sea Caves. A ind of mysterious move...
  • Outcome: The expedition is bound to find some criminals' hideouts and also some sea monster breeding grounds, but the outcome is hazy, because of the following open questions...
  • Potential Trouble: Will the desired links with the Expedition Boycotters be found, or not? And will the Tajuru envoy permit the extermination of the squids, or will she threaten a war with the elves if such an action is proposed..? And what about the Zulaport mysterious warrior? Is he there to protect the interest of some criminal, maybe tied with Indorel, the vampire who basically runs Zulaport? Will he double-cross the expedition members to try and save Indorel's interests?
  • Bad Guy Agenda: The adventurer sent by the private and unknown party is apparently acting against his will: he is tired of being the pawn of pirate and criminal traders, and he may actually double cross them, instead of the adventurers, but this could mean additional trouble, either from Indorel "The Trade-Mistress", Father Rami "The Evangel" ,who runs the Expedition Boycotters, or even one of the Bloodchiefs, if the links run deep enough into vampire territory...!
    [Optional: Hook #4 and Hook #6, "Journal Keeper" sub-plot/sequel]
    The Zulaport warrior already has some stormy relations with the pirate traders that are founding the criminal guild led by Father Rami, and apparently he has also freed the Journal Keeper from a servitude in their ships, which may have happened if the young merfolk got "busted" in the events of Hook #6. In this case, a "grown-up" Journal Keeper may be following the Zulaport adventurer and may be a secret (because
    ) member of this expedition, with various implications! The story in-between could be played in one or more of the following Story Hooks...