Liberportus

Introduction


The year is 898 A.U.C. (145 A.D.) and on the Mediterranean island of Avalia lies the wealthy city of Liberportus. It is one of the grandest cities in the Empire but it holds an eldrich secret- for under the sandaled feet of the citizenry the inhuman cultists of The Unspeakable One bide their time to unleash madness upon the world.

Characters:
Lucius Aemilius Rufus: A successful wine merchant.
Etrusicus Superbus Invicti: A quaestor.
Marcus Corvus Rutilius: A lictor, now deceased.
Gaius Severus Commodus: A prefect of the vigili urbani of Magnus Larcius.
Titus Decius Pullox: A former legionnaire and vigili, now captain of the Feroxi collegium.
Zahur Quaashie: An Egyptian and former scout for Legio II, Adiutrix.

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Epilogue
Credo Quia Absurdum Est

After years of horror and madness two Romans find themselves alone in the unforgiving wilderness of the Imaus. They are cold, hungry, and bloody. The return journey takes over a year's worth of hard travel through hostile territory and unforgiving wilderness. Stealing, begging, and borrowing just to stay alive; their lives once they return to Liberportus are not easy.
They have seen things human minds ought not to comprehend. They have cut down star steeds, felt the tentacle lash of a child of the Great Mother, bargained with ghouls, read horrendous books of forbidden lore. They have seen the Yellow Sign.
They have seen the Yellow Sign.
Their lives are bitter and lonely. They are completely alienated from friends and family. They dread the day when the King in Yellow claims his vengeance.
A handful of months after their return Lucius gets sick. It at first  appears to be severe jaundice but within days he shrivels and shakes. In his sleep nameless nightmares gnaw on what is left of his mind. Then he dies.
Two years later Gaius passes the same way.
What is know to only those two men individually, is what they heard in their minds at the very instant of their deaths. A cold calm voice stretching over impossible aeons of time and space:

You have achieved nothing.


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XXI Tatters of The King Book III
The Upper House

AVGVSTVS XXV DCCCXCVIII

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XX Tatters of The King Book II
Thracian Gods

AVGVSTVS VIII DCCCXCVIII
The PCs are shadows of their former selves when Titus begins having intense dreams of Athens and becomes convinced that they must return to Greece. The PCs, without Zahur who left Avalia under mysterious circumstances, arrive on the Greek mainland four days later.
AVGVSTVS VII
Upon arriving in Athens they hear of a the impending trial of Tiberius Haterius Datus for burglary and assault in a temple of Magna Mater. They make for the courts and witness the trial. Afterwards they meet up with him and offer to buy him a drink, he suggests The Harpy. Tiberius explains that he was sent to Athens to infiltrate the cult of Hastur by the elder and high priest of his village. He broke into the temple, he explains, to celebrate the end of his stay in Athens. He and his village also worship Magna Mater but his village, he says, practice the old ways. Says he, the folk of his village have been worshiping the Great Mother of Black Goats since the sinking of Atlantis. He was preforming a ritual when a slave interrupted him. He beat the man but was apprehended shortly after. As the wine flows and the night grows later he tells the investigators more about his homeland, the small, ancient, village of Erikaitos. He also mentions “That damn woman of Proculus’” and how shes causing more trouble than she can handle. A very drunk Datus bids the PCs a good night and thanks them again for their part in the destruction of the cult of Hastur in Athens. The next day the Romans set out for Thrace.
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XIX Tatters of The King Book I
The Madman

NOVEMBER IV DCCCXCVII
The Viri of Liberportus (Titus Decius Pullox, Gaius Severus Commodus, Lucius Aemilius Rufus, Zahur Quaashie, and Etrusicus Superbus Invicti) receive a letter from their acquaintance Abudius Pupius Eucharis urging them to come to his villa outside Athens. There he is running a rest home for the mentally insane called the Villa of Mania and wishes to the PCs to give their opinion about the ravings and stability of a patient named Alexander Pulcher. They arrive on the XI.
NOVEMBER XI
After arranging an inn stay in Athens they head to the villa to investigate and examine Alexander. He was sent to the villa V years ago after the murders of his father and sister to which he confessed. Usually Eucharis would do the evaluation himself but there are some peculiarities to the Pulcher case which made him consider the PCs. Pulcher suffers from intense nightmares during the winter months and often speaks of completing his work for a “King in Yellow.” Currently he is sedated with laudanum but is able to converse. After a minute of prodding he speaks.
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XVIII The Queen and The Stranger
or All the World's a Stage

SEPTEMBER XXX DCCCXCVII
At Hortensius Vinum, Lucius receives a parcel by courier. It is an invitation for Lucius and his wife Quinta Isidora Hortensius to Estus Talbus’ latest play, Carcosa: or The Queen and The Stranger, showing this very night at the Pellecian Theater. Lucius informs Etrusicus, Zahur, Titus, and Gaius of the play and they all dine together before venturing out for an evening’s entertainment.
The play is moving and dreamy, ethereal and disconcerting. Some of the audience leaves during the intermission but many more stay, transfixed. As the curtain falls the minds of the players come to grip with what they have witnessed as the final lines of the play peter out and distort. The audience erupts into a riot as some members of the crowd begins to viciously attack themselves and others. Vigili arrive only in time to haul off the already subdued attackers. The rest of the crowd departs as the cast and crew assemble in the theater atrium for an opening night reception.
The PCs confer with Talbus about the play and he relates how he crafted the play from a draft he received from Livius Carbo. The reception ends soon after and the PCs make their way home, minds full of worry of Carcosa.

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XVII The Lost Temple of Yig
or Out of Space, Out of Mind

IVLIVS XXV DCCCXCVII
Outfitted with supplies and three guides, Zahur, Titus, LuciusGaius, and  Etrusicus make their way into the vastness of Africa. They brave strange sights, weather, and beasts before arriving at the clearing at which the temple of  Yig appears in all its alien splendor, a green stone mountain, every inch covered with images of serpents of all sorts and kinds. They go boldly into the temples only entrance, leaving their guides and all safety behind them.
AVGVSTVS XVII
Upon entering the temple the PCs find it very dark and humid. The passage winds downward in a corkscrew and they travel until they have lost all track of time. By the light of a torch they notice changes in their form; their hair thins, finger nails fall out, their eyes yellow, and their skin becomes scaly. Because of this horrid transformation they avoid looking at each other or themselves if it can at all be avoided. Within the temple they encounter a shifting maze filled with traps designed to deter any who would violate the sanctum of Yig’s house. Although the party is temporarily forced to abandon Titus they eventually make their way to the center of the temple to the horrendous altar of the serpent god.
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XVI Chuma Invictus
or A Darker Continent

IVLIVS XVI DCCCXCVII
Titus Decius Pullox, Gaius Severus Commodus, Lucius Aemilius Rufus, Zahur Quaashie, and Etrusicus Superbus Invicti, with their families, arrive at Alexandria to meet with the serpent man K'Stalloss and to organize their expedition into the wilds of Africa to find the lost temple of Yig. Having been told that K'Stalloss would contact them, the PCs wait for his summons.
Day II
Having spent another restless day waiting for contact from K'Stalloss the PCs finally receive a notice by courier of the serpent-man's location. Arriving at the shabby room rented by K'Stalloss where they find the serpent-man's unnaturally dessicated corpse. The room appears to be thoroughly searched but left open, on the desk directly in front of the body, is a bizarre map written in Valossan. Mustering all he knows of the dead alien language, Etrusicus can make out that it is a map leading to the lost temple of Yig. K'Stallos’ map includes the phases of the moon, giving the Romans a basic calendar, and trail which they are to follow. Meandering down the Nile to Syene, they then must head westward into the wilds of darkest Africa. Accepting that they must venture forth without their reptilian mentor, they hire on as extra swords on a diplomatic trade mission headed to Axum and leave their wives and children in Alexandria. On the voyage back from Meroë they will disembark at Syene, hire guides and march boldly into the unknown.
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XV Dark Wings Over Liberportus
or Death from Above

IVNIVS XVI DCCCXCVII
Having pity on his friends in their hour of need, magistrate Magnus Larcius asks Lucius Aemilius Rufus, Gaius Severus Commodus, Etrusicus Superbus Invicti, and Titus Decius Pullox to investigate the curious drop in Liberportus' vagrant population. The Docks, the Aegrotatio, and Dracs End have all been scoured of beggars and no one seems to know the cause. Accepting the task of investigating they repeatedly run into dead ends. With sun setting and seemingly no one left to question they notice that every rooftop around them is crowded with birds. Gulls, crows, pigeons and sparrows silently watching them. As soon as they notice the birds the PCs are engulfed by the horrible flocks as the animals scratch and peck them to shreds. And as quickly as it began the birds end the attack and fly off towards parts unknown.
Feeling confused and overwhelmed they decide observation may be a better tactic and spy on on beggar whom they have bribed to remain stationary with wine. After some time of waiting the beggar is approached by a man in filthy, bird feces covered robes who sometimes walks and sometimes hops. The beggar and the man begin to leave but but the brave PCs demand that the robed figure halts. The robed figure, in turn, demands that the PCs disperse. It is then that Titus Decius Pullox notices that the roofs surrounding them have many hundreds of black crows perched on them, silently watching the proceedings. The PCs allow the robed figure to leave with the beggar in fear of their lives.
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XIV Adventus Regis
or "The Stranger tells me that The King lives anew!"

IVNIVS I DCCCXCVII
VI years of safety and prosperity has made the PCs soft and content. With this mindset they vacation with their families to the resort town of Vestalanium in Southern Italia. The resort is run by Gaius Phillipus, a former legionnaire, who does all he can to make the party and their wives and children comfortable. After a day of relaxation and exploring the town they are to join Phillipus on his pleasure barge for dinner and entertainment and tomorrow evening they have the exclusive privilege of be invited to see the latest play by Livius Carbo,
Adventus Regis (Arrival of the King). With this happy schedual the placated PCs leave their children at the villa of Phillipus and explore the town with their wives in tow.
In the sprawling town gardens they find a lost little girl who has been repeatedly smashing a dead kitten on a rock while whispering "Mother, there is a stranger in the city." The girl is left with the town's
vigilies and the PCs try not to let the event ruin their day. A trip to the town augur, Vettius Dulius Decula, settles their minds as he assures them that the future will only bring success and good fortune.
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