The session recap posts so far have been quite long, longer than I think is useful for an ongoing series. I did want to provide rationale for the design choices and my thought processes, and this lengthened the posts significantly. As we go through the next few session recaps, I anticipate they will be much shorter as the major and minor premises of the story are now established. I will still provide links to useful sites and supplements in case there is interest in pursuing some avenue I used.
This session started immediately after the conclusion of the chase scene. Girl rescued, hero status to be confirmed, everything is good, or so they thought. However, as I summarized at the end of the session 3 recap, there were numerous annoyed individuals to deal with. Luckily for the party, a man in blue and yellow robes approached with two bare-chested men with leather bands tied around their biceps. The robed man introduced himself as Kores, one of the senior aides to Merchant Prince Zhanthi. Kores had observed the heroics of the party and offered an audience with Zhanthi at their earliest convenience, implying that a group so adept at helping the young girl would be able to provide assistance to initiatives important to Zhanthi. Kores then proceeded to address the locals, pressing coins into palms both to help offset the damages but also to impress upon them that Zhanthi was on their side.
Departing from Kores and the locals, the party headed to the Thundering Lizard for a meal and to find lodging. The hardcover adventure mentions the Lizard, as it quickly became called, but without a great deal of detail. Luckily, there is a fantastic supplement at DM's Guild to flesh it out. For less than two bucks, the supplement provides some interesting proprietors, a nice map, an intriguing plot hook, and a great menu. I highly suggest picking this up if you think your party will visit the Lizard.
During dinner, they recognize that two of the official guides are dining in the Lizard. Isa approaches Musharib because his intriguing posting on the Message Board. Musharib's promise of adventure with a subtext of glory at Hrakhamar was the first hint of what is really important to Isa. In the discussion with Musharib, the possibility of fighting fire newts was a huge draw for Isa.
Sold on Musharib's quest, Isa attempted to convince the rest of the party to proceed. The desire to meet with Zhanthi and the reluctance to move on the first opportunity that was presented to them won out, and the party stayed in Port Nyanzaru.
They decided to visit Zhanthi the following morning. Strider was unclear of his role, but Del offered up another 1 GP for his services for another day. As a result, Strider joined them for the reception with Zhanthi, something that was completely foreign to Strider.
In the meeting, Zhanthi offered 10 GP to each member of the party for their efforts to rescue the girl. This included Strider which clearly was a serious windfall for the guide. Zhanthi offered the party additional work, including a request to have the party cast Zhanthi as a leader that cared about the commoners in Port Nyanzaru.
This was an opportunity to tie back to the notice on the Message Board that requested help in Malar's Throat. "Clear the undead out of Malar's Throat. Inquire at Temple of Tymora." was posted on a note on the Message Board, and Zhanthi suggested that they provide assistance to Screaming Wind, an advocate for the poor in Malar's Throat. Zhanthi agreed to pay the party 50 GP for their assistance, and an additional 100 GP if they were to get Zhanthi's assisstance mentioned in the broadsheet news daily.
The broadsheet was something I created to provide hooks to local news stories that would be of interest to the party. As they walked up the pier, I described two rail thin boys shouting something. The lesson learned with this was that there was no reason for the party to approach the boys. Two screaming boys is not something one typically seeks out. In the future, this plot element needs to directly interact with the party. They should be able to catch phrases from the boys, which would then draw them over to buy a copy of the broadsheet.
Back to the party, they quickly jumped on the opportunity to make Zhanthi looked good and brainstormed ideas on how to do that. They settled on asking Strider to find a scribe and an artist to come with them as they battled the undead in Malar's Throat. In other words, the fantasy RPG equivalent to embedded journalists. The resourceful Strider quickly found two individuals to assist, a writer named Kara and an artist named Philo. Bolstered with the additional people, the party headed to Malar's Throat.
At the Temple of Tymora, the head priest Lateef Heyns introduced them to Screaming Wind. I borrowed the name and inspiration for Screaming Wind from the Adventurers League supplement, "A City on the Edge". This is another supplement available on DM's Guild. There are some good hooks in this supplement and in an Adventurers League with a requirement to play a specific story with specific objectives, I can see this to be useful. However, I did not use anything from it beyond borrowing the name for Screaming Wind. Your mileage may vary, of course.
Conveniently for the party, Screaming Wind was about to head out to search for undead so she suggested they would head out southeast if the party wanted to go southwest. After a short walk, the noise of the jungle silenced and the party was beset by a few zombies. In addition, a yuan-ti pureblood joined the attack. The undead and abomination were no match for the party, and the battle was soon over.
The end of combat signaled the end of the session.