We’re visiting the rich part of town in Winter Estates as we come towards the end of the Brandt’s Landing urbancrawl. We still haven’t decided exactly what we’ll focus on after this, so this will be an adventure for everyone.
The rich people live here. It’s still the frontier and the houses are all wood, but they’re large and each has a sizable courtyard of its own walled off from both the large and well-kept street and its neighbors. Winter Estates is the size of Fireside Downs but holds a tenth the population. Across a bridge to the northeast is Wrenwrick Crik, and on the south the wide streets go straight into Oldtown.
Winter Estates Smuggling Den
Discovery TN: +10
Lead: An Arbites detective is snooping around the area. While Arbites enforcers make regular rounds to make sure one of the only law-abiding parts of the city stays that way, detectives are unusual. The criminals might try to rob this part of town, but they don’t live here. It’s hard to tell the difference between enforcers and detectives, but this one’s looking around a lot more and staring down servants a lot less.
Investigation: A Challenging(+0) Logic test after following the Arbites detective around a while will determine that he seems to be focusing his investigation on one house in particular. The Arbites will also gladly (in a dour way) accept help from anyone from a friendly Imperium organization, like the PDF, Ministorum, or especially other Arbites, with an Easy(+30) Charm test. The test is Challenging(+0) if they are not clearly from any kind of organization or if they’re from the Mechanicus or Administratum, and it is Hard(-20) if they appear criminal, including if they are visibly armed but do not appear to be law enforcement. A Challenging(+0) Awareness test will also detect a smuggler moving through the town, and if a character shadows him he will enter the house (opposed Stealth vs. Awareness test against the smuggler).
Confrontation: The house itself is completely empty except for a large obscura stash of about fifty kilos with a single shotgun-toting thug defending it, and also the smuggler if the characters followed him here. If the characters didn’t follow the smuggler here but wait around for a while after arriving, the smuggler will eventually show up anyway.
Defeating the smuggler completes the mission and earns one point of Influence. Recruiting the smuggler is worth 1d5 points of Influence. He doesn’t know any of the other smugglers’ exact location but does know which dens are still in operation and will tell the characters if they recruit him or they pass a Challenging(+0) Interrogation test. If asked about spook specifically, he’ll tell the acolytes about whichever of the Slut Row, Fireside Downs, and East Vale smuggling dens are still in operation, but he still does not know any exact locations, so the characters will still have to investigate.
Winter Estates Witch
Discovery TN: +10
Lead: Castella Baranoth hasn’t been seen in several days, and her house in Winter Estates has begun to stink abominably. Two PDF troopers went inside to investigate and never emerged.
Investigation: Players can roll Awareness opposed to the Nurgling or Cultists’ Stealth or a Challenging(+0) Psyniscience test to detect the witch avatar before either can get the drop on them. Other than that, there is no investigation in this mission.
Confrontation: The house is largely empty, but a powerful smell emerges from the kitchen. Upon drawing near, the Nurgling’s nauseating stench will stun any characters who fail their fear checks, and this is when the daemon and cultists will strike. Two Cultists of the Faceless, a Nurgling, and an avatar of the witch (mechanically, a spook witch with the telekinesis powers) will attack the characters, preferably from hiding and while they’re still reeling from the putrescent smell. The witch avatar remains in hiding, detectable only through Psyniscience, until after a fight between the daemon and someone else (probably the characters) has begun.
Banishing the witch avatar and the daemon are each worth a point of Influence if the characters take credit with the authorities. The cultists will crack only under a Very Hard(-30) Interrogation check, although taking them alive or even recognizably dead will reveal that they are distant cousins on the fringe of the Martinian family who rules Brandt’s Landing. If successfully interrogated, they will confess what they know: That Fireside Downs is a hotbed of activity for the cult, that they were recruited because of their involvement in the spook trade as part of the family. They know the location of the spook production facility in East Vale and can direct the characters there without any need for a lead or investigation, and likewise for the Fireside Downs witch avatar. They know that the cult is led by the faceless witch, who can be in many places at once, and that she was once a regular cultist who received her power from an even greater evil. The cultists are in over their heads and want out, and were summoning up a Nurgling as an attempt to contact another power that can keep them safe from the Faceless Witch and her master.
Winter Estates Nobility
Discovery TN: -40
Lead: If you get close enough to the walls of the Flavius estate, you can hear a pounding music faintly emanating from the basement.
Investigation: The Flavius estate is unreservedly off-limits to both the PDF and the Arbites without serious evidence of wrongdoing. They’re a minor noble family and the law doesn’t go snooping into their business unless they’re sure they’ll find something worth it. Fortunately it is not especially well-secured. It is a Challenging(+0) Security check to get through the locks on the doors. The doors themselves are only AP4 and the windows will break under even a single point of damage, although any forced entry will set off an alarm that will notify the law, who will respond with a chimera full of PDF troopers and a pair of Arbites.
Confrontation: Within the basement of the estate is a drug-fueled rave. Obscura and spook are both being passed around in large quantities. There are 4d10 obscura addicts and 1d10 spook witches in attendance. Most of them are minor nobles, including a few Martinian cousins, but a few are brought in from Slut’s Row. If the PDF or Arbites are summoned here to deal with a break-in or because of a report from a trusted source on illegal activity, they’ll attempt to arrest the partygoers (though they won’t disengage from a lethal fight with the characters to do so, they will focus on arrests over pursuit if the characters flee).
Captured Martinian nobles will break under an Ordinary(+10) Interrogation check and reveal the location of the Slut’s Row smuggler as well as the fact that Lord Martinian is aware of but has largely turned a blind eye towards their behavior.
Winter Estates Default Encounter
A PDF patrol of four troopers on foot flags down the party. If the characters appear to be Arbites, the PDF will heckle them about patrolling outside their usual routes, though they have no legal power to actually do anything about it. If the characters appear to be PDF, the PDF will ask them what they have to report. If the characters appear to be Ministorum, Sororitas, or Administratum, the PDF will ask them if they’ve seen anything unusual going on and wish the characters well. If the characters appear to be Mechanicus, the PDF will respectfully question them about their business in town. If the characters appear to be outcasts or mutants, the PDF will not at all respectfully question them about their business in town. If they are clearly mutated, the PDF will attack them on sight.
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