In the Chapter 1 of Ashes of Athas, the PCs arrived in the town of Altaruk after escaping a purge of Veiled Alliance members and affiliates in Tyr by a group calling themselves “the True.” In Altaruk, the governor of the town, Lord Arisphistaneles (hereafter called Lord Aris), showed himself to be a Veiled Alliance sympathizer. Unfortunately, Lord Aris was assassinated and the PCs framed for the murder. The PCs were able to clear their names and catch the real assassin. The PCs also foiled a plot of the True to turn an ancient elemental temple into a place that would serve the True’s evil plans.
Approximately four weeks have passed since the assassination, and Lord Aris’ daughter Sartaj has claimed leadership of Altaruk. While some have happily accepted her leadership, the town of Altaruk exists for the betterment of the merchant houses there, particularly House Wavir, House Tomblador, and House Rees. Without the backing of these houses, no one can hold power in Altaruk for long.
Each house maintains a contingent of guards that helps the Watch maintain peace. Since Sartaj’s ascension, each of the houses has drawn back its guards, keeping a closer eye on house investments. Indeed, each of the merchant houses is somehow complicit — knowingly or unknowingly — in the troubles currently threatening Altaruk and Sartaj’s rule.
Andropinis, at the request of Tomblador, has sent a templar to investigate the situation in Altaruk and make recommendations on who should govern it. Praetor Verzonious has a useful psionic wild talent. He can change his features, something he uses to look just like his scribe. This allows his scribe to pose as the templar, which they do when traveling.
In AOA2-1, while en-route to Alataruk, the templar’s caravan was attacked and saved at the last minute by the PCs. The PCs have escorted the templar to Alataruk.
Meanwhile, they discovered unknown enemies poisoning the water supply of Altaruk, and thwarted it. Crime is on the rise in the village and things are not looking good for Sartaj.