Background Lore

The captain of the city watch, Lord Arennis, is worried and overflown with work due to the recent rampage of robberies, assaults, and public unrest. There are new players in town. Word on the streets about a new kingpin spreads in the low-class neighborhoods. A despicable, cruel, and merciless underworld leader known as Jar’Kunni is the scapegoat, claims the state. They have spent all kinds of resources to bring the kingpin to justice.

The gossip about Jar’Kunni goes from mild to insane depending on whom you ask. Some say he is just a cruel top dog with a knack for inspiring others. Others say he is so far removed from humanity due to his crimes and evil deeds that his skin became scaly and green, his eyes yellow and elongated, and his teeth pointy and sharp. A description worthy of a demon among men. It pains Lord Arennis to admit that some of these stories were started by his men. Many times small groups of city guards have been ambushed by Jar’Kunni and his lackeys in an attempt to scare the guards off or kill them outright. The few that have managed to escape alive from these guerilla ambushes come back with such tales of a lizard/dragon/demon overlord.

Lord Arennis has not had the opportunity to confront the crime lord yet. But he plans on pursuing this matter personally from now on. The population grows restless with each passing day, and the city watch loses its standing with the townsfolk.  Besides, Lord Arennis finds it particularly difficult to conscript new guards with so many of them dying nowadays. A guard’s salary isn’t much to lust for anyway.

Jar’Kunni and his motley crew of criminals and wrongdoers move fast and about the city in small groups. They are a mobile organization with no face and no name. They pillage, break into houses, rob establishments, and bounce stolen objects from petty criminals too. They focus on material goods and how to sell or resell them. If Jar’Kunni had it his way, there would be no casualties or blood on their hands. It is all about taking stuff and then finding someone willing to pay a good price for it. But, such is the life in the city, people want to defend their belongings and they don’t take it kindly to be stripped from their wealth. Unfortunately, Jar’Kunni is not a merciful person. He cares not for people, especially the wealthy citizens who believe that everybody else is beneath them.

NPCs

Lord Arennis

Lawful neutral human

Lord Fallaster Arennis is a middle-aged war veteran who climbed his way up the hierarchy of the city guard and became a captain. He wears a breastplate that brandishes the city seal at all times, but even the metal plates of the armor can’t hide his ever-growing belly. Despite his physical condition, Lord Arennis (knight) is still a fearsome opponent in battle. He spars with recruits and soldiers often at the barracks and only a handful of veterans can best him.

Personality. “I don’t speak much because I learn about others when I let them speak their minds”.

Ideal. “If all people worked and contributed their fair share. Our world would not need heroes”.

Bond. “I am bound by my duty to the city and its wellbeing”.

Flaw. “I often get distracted by food, more than I care to admit”.

Jar’Kunni

Chaotic evil lizardfolk

Jar’Kunni came to the city a few years ago on a ship and started as a dock worker, the only job he could get. People feared him because of his lizard-like appearance. Some said he was a kind of dragonkind individual. People fear what they don’t understand, and Jar’Kunni was ready to take advantage of that fear. He found out that he could intimidate his way in and out of almost any kind of situation. As far as he knew, he was the only lizardfolk in the city. He started wearing hooded cloaks to create an aura of mystery around his persona and got together with some petty criminals in the area. At first, they went for easy targets and small jobs, but over the course of months, their organization and confidence grew so much that the city guard is now a little more than a nuisance. Jar’Kunni’s reptilian heritage and customs place little worth on people’s lives. His lackeys fear him and obey his commands without question because the lizardfolk overlord is known to have rage fits that often end with blood-drenched floors at the hideout.

Personality. “I shall hoard the gold we get from sales. Just like a dragon would. The lives of those who oppose me are worthless”.

Ideal. “People should fear me enough not to stand in my way. They don’t have to die if they just let us work”.

Bond. “One day I will return to the motherland as a leader”.

Flaw. “I am prone to overconfidence and rage when things don’t go my way”.

Adventure Hook

Captain Arennis is sick and tired of the current situation. He has managed to convince a local noble to contribute with a reward in gold to hire sellswords or adventurers because the city guards have shown to be useless in this matter. When such a group of valiant warriors shows up at the city, Lord Arennis summons them and offers them the job: they must find Jar’Kunni the evil crime lord and bring him to justice. The Captain would rather get Jar’Kunni alive, so he can proceed with a public execution. But he doesn’t mind if the adventurers bring his corpse. He is a man of arms so he understands that the heat of the moment can sometimes force one’s hand.

He is content as long as the crime waves stop altogether and the city returns to its former state of peace.

The Lead. Captain Arennis has one clue about Jar’Kunni’s whereabouts. His officers noted a concentration of the gang members in Garret Street. There is nothing of notice in that street as far as the captain knows. It is a low-class residential neighborhood and the only establishment there is a general store owned by a woman.

Jar’Kunni’s Lair

The lizardfolk criminal employs about forty people in some form or another. Most of them are muscle and infiltrators, but others are spies, bouncers, informants, and merchants. Jar’Kunni has a lair in the city. His lair is hidden behind a secret door in a store’s basement. This is where Jar’Kunni and his bodyguard live. The rest of his gang live in other places in the city but come here often to deal with Jar’Kunni.

The establishment is a general store that Jar’Kunni owns. It is not a front. The store operates normally and turns a profit. The storekeeper is a woman named Diranna. She is aware of the criminal operations and the lair in the basement. Diranna disagrees with Jar’Kunni but she is unable to oppose them because the cruel crime lord threatened to kill her family if she does not comply and keep her act as the “nice store owner”.

Area Description

Floor. The store and the basement have store plank flooring. The wood is moldy and crunches when stepped on. The lair features stone tile flooring. Areas partially occupied by a piece of furniture are considered difficult terrain.

Doors. All doors in the complex are made of pine wood. The doors bear a medium-quality bas-relief of the city flag. They used to be painted but someone removed the color from the flags a while ago. A character using thieves’ tools can bypass a locked door with a successful DC 14 Dexterity check. The only exception is the vault door (see area 6).

Tracks. Jar’Kunni’s distinctive reptilian feet have left tracks on the floor outside the store and on the moldy wooden planks of the storefront and basement. A character can detect such footprints with a successful DC 15 Survival check when close to the general store or inside.

1. Storefront

The walls are packed with shelves and showcases with plenty of everyday use items. The store sells food items, household stuff, farming implements, fertilizer, and a limited selection of traveling gear and weapons. The store owner is a woman named Diranna. She is kind, amicable, and loves to converse with travelers and merchants. She offers fair prices for the location and is a good merchant overall.

The adventurers will undoubtedly come asking questions here and might see Jar’Kunni’s footprints outside and inside the shop. When questioned, Diranna drops her friendly façade and denies all involvement in the affair. She tries to convince the characters to leave if their only intention is to come and discomfort her and the other customers. A successful DC 14 Wisdom (Insight) check reveals that she is nervous and hides something. Perhaps she is acting under duress. Diranna never admits to anything but does not oppose the characters if they wish to search the place.

2. Basement Storage

Large wooden crates and barrels line the walls of this otherwise uninteresting storage space. There appears to be an overstock of items of the same kind that Diranna sells. A single torch on a sconce lights the room. There are no crates or storage of any kind directly under the sconce.

Three gang members (bandits) stand guard next to the sconce. They ask any unwanted visitors to leave at once or else. If confronted, they fight back.

Secret Door. A passive Perception score of 15 or higher or a successful DC 14 Intelligence (Investigation) check reveals a fake wall section that slides inward when a sconce is pulled. The hidden passage leads to a set of descending stairs to area 3.

3. Trapped Hallway

A large 50-feet-long hallway leads to a single door on the far side. There is nothing of value in the hallway. A trap in the middle section of the hallway may help deter unwanted visitors (see below).

Secret Door. A lever on the wall at the top of the stairs opens the hidden passage to area 2.

Swinging Axes Trap. The trap is triggered when a character steps on the pressure-sensitive plate on the floor (see map). When a person steps on the plate, two large axes swing down from the ceiling and cut the person stepping on the plate. The character must roll a successful DC 14 Dexterity saving throw or take 13 (4d6) slashing damage. The trap must be reset manually. A successful Intelligence (Investigation) check reveals the presence of the trigger plate.

4. Jar’Kunni’s Hideout

A large chamber with sparse furniture is the lizardfolk’s hideout. A reinforced steel door stands out at the far end of the room (see area 6). Part of a wall collapsed to reveal a natural tunnel that branches out of the lair (see area 7).

Jar’Kunni (lizardfolk king) is in the room with his bodyguard (bandit captain), two bandits, and a bouncer (commoner). They grab their weapons and fight back as soon as the characters enter the room. If things go badly, Jar’Kunni attempts to flee through the tunnel (area 7) and hide in the sewers.

Treasure. A leather pouch on the desk contains 15 gp. Jar’Kunni wears a gold bracelet with embedded rubies that is worth 34 gp.

5. Larder

This is a small chamber with wooden crates and barrels with food, water, and ale. If needed, Jar’Kunni can lay low and stay in the lair for months without needing to go out for food. It is enough for one person to survive over four months.

Treasure. There are 10 travel rations in the larder and 1 potion of healing.

6. The Vault

The vault door is sized like a regular door but it is made of reinforced steel and features a high-quality combination lock system. A character using thieves’ tools can bypass the vault door with a successful DC 20 Dexterity check. Alternate methods include dealing 25 acid damage to the locking mechanism to disable it or forcing Jar’Kunni to disclose the combination code with a successful DC 16 Charisma (Intimidation) check (if Jar’Kunni is arrested).

There are two unlocked wooden chests inside the vault full to the brim with valuable objects of illicit origin.

Treasure. The two wooden chests contain an assortment of gold and silver pieces, fine silverware, platinum bracelets, two gold candleholders, one ornate wooden box, powdered diamond dust, and a large number of fine silk items. The whole hoard has a collective value of 190 gp. These valuables belong to the cityfolk. Some of them come forward two days after the raid and claim 130 gp worth of it.

The characters should surrender all treasure from the vault to Lord Arennis for management. After two days, the characters can keep the rest (60 gp) unless they want to double-cross Lord Arennis.

7. Emergency Exit

This tunnel continues in the same direction for half a mile and then connects to the city’s sewers system. There is nothing of value along the tunnel.

Development

If the characters bring Jar’Kunni alive, Lord Arennis arrests him and puts him in jail for the night. The lizardfolk is given a swift trial and is sentenced to death the day after. The execution occurs early in the morning of the second day after his arrest. Jar’Kunni is beheaded in the main square in front of an enraged mob of angry people. If any other criminal from Jar’Kunni’s gang survived, they receive the same sentence.

If Jar’Kunni dies during the fight, the captain thanks the adventurers. Jar’Kunni’s head is put on a spike and publicly shown in the main square for two weeks to make an example.

Either way, the wave of crimes and the public unrest decrease and the city goes back to normal. Captain Arennis pays the characters 10 gp each for their valuable service to the city. He also assures them that any material good retrieved from Jar’Kunni’s vault which is not claimed by someone in the city belongs to them now.

 

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