Palaxia, Corva, and Asriel each receive 1,876 experience.
Believed to originally be a cursed variant of the eversmoking bottle, the discord bottle has been adopted by less scrupulous folk as an effective weapon against large groups of creatures.
This black metal urn with a lead stopper bears the image of countless gaunt humanoids piled on top of one another in a torturous melee. When the stopper is removed, an invisible and odorless gas pours from the bottle, covering a 50-foot-radius area in 1 round. If the bottle is left open, the gas billows out another 10 feet per round until it has covered a 100-foot radius. This area remains filled with gas for 5 rounds, after which the gas dissipates naturally.
Each round, a creature within the area of the gas must succeed at a DC 14 Fortitude save or attack the nearest creature on its next turn. This condition lasts long as a creature is in the cloud and for 1 round after it leaves the area or after the gas dissipates. Any creature that succeeds at its save is not subject to the same gas again, whether or not it remains within the area. This is a mind-affecting poison effect.
A moderate wind (11+ mph) disperses the gas in 4 rounds; a strong wind (21+ mph) disperses it in 1 round.
Once opened, a discord bottle must be restoppered and recharge for 24 hours before it can be used again.
Part 1: Tuesday (Toilday)
Since you were badly torn up after the attack of the shredskin, you decide to take it easy the rest of the day. While Maledictus and Regina stuck around the Little Uskwood to keep up the appearance of acting as bodyguards for Loredana Viorica (much to Loredana’s chagrin given Maledictus’ sour personality and Zebub, Regina’s giant wasp companion), Palaxia, Asriel, and Corva wanted to continue getting to know the members of Kantaria’s governing council. They began with a trip to Valor’s Fastness.
The guards atop the high white-washed walls of the fortified temple would have forbidden your visit had Asriel not made the clever and convincing claim that Loredana had sent them to speak to Oppian. You were allowed in and met with Oppian in a small office on the first floor of the temple.
The interview went bad nearly immediately. Caught in your lie, you confessed that Loredana had not in fact sent you. Asriel offered the party’s assistance to the thinly-stretched ranks of the Glorious Reclamation presence in Kantaria as a way to “further protect Loredana”, but Oppian was not willing to trust some odd travelers who had appeared in town only three days ago with Reclamation business, particularly after you had lied to get in to see him. He stresses that you should stick to your business of acting as Loredana’s bodyguards and leave the town’s safety to him.
Palaxia countered by saying that if something should happen to Loredana, wouldn’t it be Oppian’s fault for not allowing them to help. Oppian immediately stood and demanded to know if you were threatening Loredana. He told you he would be reporting this behavior to Loredana and had you escorted off the grounds of Valor’s Fastness.
Your second stop was the Narikopolus Manor, where you knew Faydreth, a rassophore of the Glorious Reclamation, was living. You first purchased some fine elven tea in Inheritor’s Square to offer as an olive branch. You were challenged at the entrance, but flashing the tea and a wand that Palaxia claimed she wanted Faydreth to look at, the guards, aware of their master’s predilection for tea and examining magic items, allowed you inside.
A tea party was swiftly prepared in the breakfast room complete with cucumber sandwiches and ladyfingers. Faydreth was aloof at first, although discussing the wand loosened his tongue, and he became positively gregarious after Palaxia showed him some of her unique psychic magic. He asked her many questions and even pulled a blank roll of parchment and quill out of his robes so he could take notes on her facial expressions, gestures, and the effects of her magic. So fascinated was he that he was only slightly bothered when Palaxia gave into her more chaotic side and sent a fork flying at top speed through one of the large expensive glass windows of the house.
Part 2: Short People Got No Reason to Live
Palaxia, Asriel, and Corva returned to the Little Uskwood for the afternoon and evening, only to be approached by the only other people staying there, the merchant and his burly bodyguards. The merchant introduced himself as Nicolae, a slaver out of Nidal.
“Loredana tells me that you helped her out with a sticky bit of business and kept your mouths shut. I’m looking for that kind of help myself. This ridiculous Glorious Reclamation business has cost me a pair of Halfling slaves I bought fair and square. My masters back in Nidal are expecting them, and they won’t go easy on me if I return without them. I’m biding my time for now – Thrune can’t look the other way for long, and things will eventually return to normal – but there would be a good bit of gold in it for you if you can get them back for me sooner.”
He explains to you that since they had been freed, the halflings, siblings called Jed and Leora, had been making a living fishing on the Sedna for the labor guild. “400gp to you if you can bring them back alive. Two dead Halflings to you if you don’t.”
Not wanting to tote a pair of unconscious halflings back to town under the eyes of the Glorious Reclamation, you tell the merchant to leave town tonight and make for a location known to all of you. You promise to capture the halflings for him tomorrow morning and meet him with them at that location for the exchange. He happily agrees and checks out of the Little Uskwood, taking with him his two bodyguards and donkey.
The night ends with Palaxia lamenting Bob’s poor health since the fight that morning. “Look away, Bob,” she says, both hands on her scythe. Just as the phantom turns around, she plants the blade in the back of its head, leaving nothing but a scattering of shadowy particles. “Good night!” she says and goes to her room, completely ignorant of the horrified stares around her.
The next day, you leave the town by the south road, loop around to the north, and stealthily and skillfully track the halflings through the forest northeast of Kantaria; however, you find your skills are unneeded, for the happy halflings are whistling and singing joyfully, kicking their feet in the river. “Gee, brother, it’s a great day to not be a slave in the sadistic Zon-Kuthon-worshipping nation of Nidal!” says Leora to Jed.
Her words are cut off as Palaxia sneaks around a tree trunk and whacks her in the back of the head with a sap. The two halflings scream and reach for their slings. Leora swings her fishing pole impotently at Palaxia as she backs away, and Jed sends a wild slingstone over the kayal’s head just before he is knocked unconscious by a well-aimed arrow from Asriel’s bow.
“Please stop! We are free Halflings! Let us go back to town and discuss this with the governor without violence!” Leora begs as she runs to her brother’s body. Bob – under orders to grapple anyone who tries to flee – wrestles her easily to the ground as she passes by and Palaxia begins singing a catchy song.
“Don’t want no short people! Don’t want no short people ‘round here!” she finishes as Corva’s heavy boot smashes down on Leora’s face, leaving the Halfling motionless in the dirt. Corva efficiently ties up both halflings and you go to meet the man from Pangolais.
Nicolae is delighted the slaves are returned, and he happily hands over a bag of gems and gold coins as well as a strange black metal urn bearing the image of gaunt humanoids engaged in a torturous melee. “As a tip,” he says. “I think you could put it to better use than me.” With that, he heads off north on foot with his two bodyguards.
As they head out, Corva says in a low voice that you should kill them and take whatever else they have. Asriel and Palaxia shrug, “Sure, whatever,” and Asriel calls out to the merchant that there is something you’ve forgotten to tell them. The merchant is cautious and only comes within about 30 feet of you; you can see there’s some math going on in his head as he counts himself and his two men against the four of you. His caution is wise, as you attack the nearest bodyguard.
Nicolae flees immediately, followed by his second bodyguard as she sees her master leave her. The closer bodyguard tries to flee as well, but he is tripped by Bob. As Bob pounds the bodyguard’s head repeatedly against the ground until the dirt is stained with his blood, Asriel and Corva take down Nicolae and then his other bodyguard at range.
Once the bodies are gathered, Corva stomps through them in order to coat her boots with blood. The other party members look on as she stamps in a circle around the pile, leaving a trail of bloody footprints. She pauses when she completes the circle and moans orgasmically. Everyone is uncomfortable.
You decide that leaving the scene will make the town believe that the bandits are back, which is sure to cause the Reclamation forces to be stretched even thinner as patrols are sent out to guard the lands outside of town, as well as strike fear and despair into anyone travelling to or from Kantaria. However, fearful that the clerics and paladins of the Glorious Reclamation may attempt to speak with the dead to find out what happened, Bob knocks the teeth out of each corpse and crushes their jaws.
Part 3: Wednesday Afternoon
With most of the afternoon stretching ahead of you and adrenaline running through your veins after all the murders, you seize the day and visit Hardship’s Hearth, the prison camp to the south of town. Commonly known as “the Pen,” this camp once housed groups of slaves awaiting transport to the Menador Mountains. The Reclamation forces have since defeated the camp’s garrison, freed the slaves, and are now using the site to house Chelish soldiers and Thrune loyalists captured during the assault on Kantaria.
The camp consists of an 80×80 foot camp proper enclosed within 15-foot-high wooden walls. A command post stands outside the front. Jalila is delighted to have visitors and she welcomes you into her office. Jalila sympathizes with your stated goal of wanting to do more around town to help the Reclamation – she, too, longs for more action, but she recognizes it is her duty to head Hardship’s Hearth. She tells you about the notable prisoner they are holding there – a Hellknight of the Rack.
The religiously-knowledgeable among you know that the Order of the Rack is dedicated to destroying wasteful knowledge and indolent idealism before it can affect the simplicity of what they consider traditional values. They accomplish this by burning books and controlling the spread of information.
Jalila is warm and willing to chat. You learn that she was born a slave in Katapesh, rescued by the Pathfinder Society, and raised by a local church of Iomedae. She led an insular life until the Glorious Reclamation’s call to arms, when she joined the forces sent to Cheliax. After the conquest of Kantaria, she was entrusted by Oppian Nevilindor to oversee Hardship’s Hearth.
When asked about Oppian Nevilindor, she looks sad. “He is stretched thin. I believe he feels a great deal of guilt about killing the blacksmith, Groat. They were close friends before the Reclamation. It is a hard thing to choose between your god and your friends. I wouldn’t wish that choice on anyone.”
As evening blooms, you return to town. You decide to make another visit to Faydreth Zaine at Narikopolus Manor. To ply his patience, you decide to bring takeout from the Sweetest Drop. “You can visit Jana, Asriel,” someone says. “Who?” he responds, and he is reminded of the attractive bartender he had spent the weekend canoodling with.
Jana had not forgotten him, judging by the long looks she threw him before and after laughing conspicuously loudly at everyone’s jokes and leaning extra-far over to lay down tankards of ale. Faydreth is delighted with the takeout and the new magic item that Palaxia has brought to show him. As you leave, he shoots her a quick wink which she seductively returns.
Part 4: Oathday Market
Thursday dawns bright and clear, the perfect day for the weekly market. You are gleeful to use your new discord bottle on some unsuspecting victims, but first you take care of some financial business and scope out the place. There are around 60 people total in the square – farmers bragging about the freshness of their produce, fisherman crowing their catch, and people quarreling over the price of goods. A hound archon walks among them, shaking hands and exchanging words with passers-by. Two Glorious Reclamation knights also patrol the area.
Palaxia casts Invisibility on herself and positions herself in the northeast corner of the square with the bottle (hoping that the gas would also affect Linton Demeer and Pious Pete) while Asriel and Corva act unassuming. She pries the lead stopper out of the bottle. Nothing appears to come out, but suddenly a nearby farmer buries his dagger in the back of his wife’s head.
The gas spreads. About half the square falls victim, attacking the nearest person with sickle, dagger, hammer, or teeth. Those who are not incapacitated in the attacks flee. There is a flash of silver in the center of the square, where one of the Reclamation Knights, madness in her eye, swings her longsword in a deadly arc. Limbs and heads fly as she cleaves through the unarmored peasants. The remaining knight attempts to usher the unaffected away while the hound archon engages the rogue knight.
After a minute, the gas dissipates. Those who were affected return to themselves, looking around as if they are lost. The survivors lay groaning and crying. One man gapes silently at the stump where his arm used to be, and a woman rocks silently over the body of her husband. The rogue knight drops her dripping longsword and falls to her knees, sobbing into gauntleted fists. Too late, Oppian Nevilindor and Faydreth Zaine come running up with a patrol of knights. They investigate, but there is little left to do besides heal the wounded, carry the dead away, and try to scrub the blood off the cobblestones. As a final insult, Asriel undermines the healers by quietly and quickly using his magic to cause the unconscious people in the square to resume bleeding.