IX Gangs of Liberportus
AVGVSTVS XXVII DCCCXCI
Asked to guard a ships cargo while being transported across the Docks to the Warehouse District by Julius Fulvius Lydon, the PCs think they have an easy job. While en route to the warehouse the two cart caravan is attacked by organized gang members.
After the would be thieves fled and the parcel had been delivered to Julius' warehouse the PCs were drawn into an alley by a cloaked man with an insistant hiss. The PCs go with this stranger to the apartment of Etrusicus to speak with him in private. The cloaked man introduces himself as Cirgal the Briton, a member of the Liberportus gang the Novaculae. He explains that since the introduction of a new narcotic in Liberportus the various gangs of the city, the Novaculae, the Feroxi, the Cani, and the Ereptori, have been working together to cause organized menace in the city. Cirgal goes on to tell the PCs that even he was attacked by his own gang members for not taking the new drug and for questioning the union of the gangs. He asks the PCs to investigate this for the good of all the honest criminals in Liberportus.
The PCs begin their investigation with Burrus Pallas, a dealer who specializes in the new drug: "white smoke." Burrus is extremely high when they find him in a dockside tavern in the Aegrotatio. Through intense grilling, the PCs are eventually able to get a location of the drug lab from Burrus and head eastward down the coast looking for a boat moored up on the sand.
After an hour trek the party reached a merchant vessel that has been flipped upside-down and beached. Into its side are small windows and a door.
After failing to convince those inside the ship that they were there for legitimate drug purchasing buisness and after being warned by an arrow shot that if they didn't leave immediately that they they may loose their lives our heroes attack the ship. Gaius, in an impressive display of dexterity lept through an open window despite being under heavy fire and assaulted the ship from the inside. Etrusicus, Titus, and Lucius outside the boat, bash the door in and begin a new front of combat. Inside the PCs are confronted with various armed thugs which whom they kill in short order. Another man who fights by flinging acid into the faces of his foes is killed by a sword thrown by Gaius which imapled the man. Whilst searching the vessel they find an alchemy lab used for the production of white smoke as well as a letter from Paramezzus Sullo to Bassas Hamaluk (presumably the man skewered by Gaius) detailing the routes of the vigilies urbani and the times of their watch, thanking an old friend within the guard.
The PCs return to the Aegrotatio to again search for Burrus Pallas who they find does not remember them from their earlier encounter. They jog his memory with threats and he leads them to a shack known as The House of Smoke where the Novaculae sell drugs. They force the youths, who turn out to be the very same brigands who assaulted Cirgal, to tell them where they can find Paramezzus but the youths seem to be terrified of "the black shadow of the Alchemist." Without any independant avenues left they seek out the help of the vigili urbani.
After a brief interrogation of a member of the Ereptori Gaius and Titus visit their superior officer Statorius Novanus to reveal what they have discovered so far. Statorius, infuriated, begins questioning all the men within the Fortress of Justice. The names of two vigili, Gaius and Gneaus, come up as men who are known to be faithful to the former Prefectus Vigilum, Duccius Sittius Thurinus. These men are already on their rounds are spied on by Lucius and Titus. They see the men rendezvous with a figure in rags and are sure of their guilt. Statorius confronts the two vigilies with V others he is sure are loyal to him as well as the PCs. When he charges the men with conspiracy the two vigilies and the V he brought with him all attack Statorius as well as the PCs. Although VI of the betrayers are killed, Gneaus escapes and flees to a house in the Merchant District. The PCs regroup and barge into the house to find Duccius Sittius Thurinus and Paramezzus as well as members of the Ereptori, the Feroxi, and the Cani. After throwing a few small bombs Paramezzus flees and the PCs are left to deal with Duccius and an overwhelming number of cutthroats. Fortunately Cirgal and the Novaculae arrive and the PCs and the gangs of Liberportus engage in a massive street fight as dawn washes over the city.
Duccius is slain and the city is returned to its former state of only semi-chaos.