System is Pathfinder, story so far:
A party consisting of an Oakling Magus(now retconned to paladin, because he didn't like the class), Human Ranger, Human Paladin(now dead), and Mousefolk Cleric all awoke in an inn they had taken up while traveling separately. A noise in the bar downstairs led them to find that the barkeeper and his daughters had been killed by bandits. After the cleric healed the barkeep, the party accept his quest for revenge. Some unimportant encounters with bandits and monsters in the forest later, to help the players learn the system later, they came upon a camp. In the camp, the thieving Ranger took three items that, unbeknownst to her, were sentient, and magic. The inhabitants returned, and lo' and behold the samurai campers had slain the bandit encampment in a drunken rage(and had drunkenly invited their fellow bandit slayers to a party at a local settlement). At a party that night, the mayor was killed by fast-acting disease, and the evil sentient magic item dominated the Ranger to separate itself from the neutral and good item, by having her place them in the pouches of the Magus and Cleric.
The party, being newcomers, are suspect/taken into custody(along with some other party goers to include the samurai, a new-money noble, and an ambassador elf, for questioning at the capital by Hellknights. The Paladin was not among them, however, because he hadn't attended the party opting to spend the night helping a blacksmith on the work of forging a new +1 bastard sword. He enlisted the aid of a local informant(a new PC, a Human Rogue) to discover they had been shipped off to the capital, and they acquired a boat to pursue them.
Meanwhile, on the ship, the prisoners awoke after having been knocked out, and attempted to escape using the Cleric's small size to slip through the bars of their cell. There were no guards or crew on board, just clothes. As the Cleric found the keys, the ship found itself under attack.