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A New Start

Game Master sunshadow21

The untamed lands to the north and west present great opportunity, and also great risk, for those bold enough to make their own path.

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"It's a trade organization that has hired us to expand it's power and influence throughout the region. They gave us the wagon and a direction to start in but weren't overly clear with their directions," Garrett ponders aloud.

Sorry about the delays. Work schedule has been a bit wonky.

You all have heard of Tent City and Lookout Point. Lookout Point is the military outpost that overlooks the conjunction of two major trade routes that lead to other regions of the continent. Over the years, it has developed into a decent sized city as retired soldiers and their families have settled down there. Tent City is officially known as The Crossroads and sits in a triangular valley created by the two trade routes and a group of low lying hills. It's permanent population is that of a large village, but it's summer population peaks can make it one of the biggest cities in Quateros. There are a handful of permanent buildings along the main roads of the valley where business are run year round; the rest of the valley is filled with semi permanent shelters and campsites that fill up with travelers, merchants, entertainers, and curiosity seekers of all kinds in late spring until early fall to participate in what is effectively a fair and bazaar that draws in people from most of western Tora.

HP 12 | AC 14 | T 14 | FF 10 | CMD 14 | F +1 | R +6 | W +2 | Init +4 | Per +3

When I was with the troupe, did we ever perform there?

"I see. Well perhaps it would be a good idea to work out some sort of trade deal between the ATA representative in Tent City and this hamlet. The hamlet could benefit from the protection and money, and maybe the ankheg shells would be valuable enough to make it worth the their time. If nothing else, we can sell what we have and look for more work." He turns to look at the sheriff, "In the mean-time remember, we are agents of the ATA sir. So don't be too hard on them, the ATA just solved your problem." He smiles winningly.

The troupe most certainly has, spending a good part of the summer there and wintering there as well, as it makes a good base of operations for making a circuit through the region in the spring and fall.

"I've no quarrel with the ATA itself or the majority of it's people, just the self important moron that runs their station in Tent City."

"Does this 'self important moron' have a name? I'd very much like to speak with him or her on your behalf. Protection of your neighbors is paramount over any other matter. To think that he would go as far to call other things 'more import' is dastardly!"

You may want to say it's good for business, that is the nature of our mission around this area Garret...

"Yes, true. Let us waste no more time lingering. These people's lives depend on it."

Do you want to go to Lookout Point or Tent City first. You'll need to go to Tent City to talk to the ATA rep and Lookout Point to sell your ankheg shells, as the only businesses currently operating in Tent City are basic services (tavern, inn, general store), it still being early spring. Advance parties are starting to arrive to prepare sites for the upcoming season, but that is all the activity that is going on there presently.

HP 12 | AC 14 | T 14 | FF 10 | CMD 14 | F +1 | R +6 | W +2 | Init +4 | Per +3

My vote goes for Lookout Point first. Get rid of the shells, empty the wagon and then we can deal with the ATA rep. Tent City and Lookout Point are right next to each other right?

Basically; Lookout Point overlooks Tent City and the conjunction of the trade routes. During the height of the summer, many people in Lookout Point wake up in the morning in their own beds, spend most of the day in Tent City, and are back in their own beds to sleep.

I'd say we take the shells to tent city so that we have that bargaining chip readily available. Garrett and his alignment would vote for the same.

HP 12 | AC 14 | T 14 | FF 10 | CMD 14 | F +1 | R +6 | W +2 | Init +4 | Per +3
Garrett Snow wrote:
I'd say we take the shells to tent city so that we have that bargaining chip readily available. Garrett and his alignment would vote for the same.

Word. That actually makes a lot more sense. You've convinced me :P

I didn't even need to roll a diplomacy? A fine day indeed!

Tent city sounds fine to me, Garret has a point there.

Male Half-Elf Urban Ranger 5

What is fine with me.

Evrail shrugs after Garrett speaks making a look as to say that is the way some people are.

You travel up the road the next morning, and pass the road that turns up to Lookout Point, which even from here is an impressive sight. The point is at the very tip of the Barrier Mountains, and is a tall column that somehow got cutoff from the mountains (think Chimney Rock except big enough to build into and around).

Traveling on to Tent City, a sight Balmoren is at least somewhat familiar with, you reach the conjunction of the two trade routes, and take the road that has been built in between them to lead travelers into the valley proper. The majority of permanent building are along this road, and even those merchants who own permanent buildings elsewhere in the valley have small permanent structures here to provide a place to sell their wares during the off season when people aren't covering the entire valley. The ATA complex is on the north end of the triangular valley just under the hills that define it's northern edge, a good several miles north of the conjunction; as far as single complexes go, it's definitely one of the largest in the valley, and is active even this time of year, being one of the major hubs for men, horses, and wagons, only slightly smaller than the compound in Borentia. The rest of the valley is pretty quiet; there are some workers cleaning up the roads and repairing any winter damage done to the dozens of permanent frames and half buildings that will be filled with all sorts of wonders in just a few months, but not much else.

Balmoren can point out the small cluster of buildings owned by the troupe he was previously traveling with that serves as their base of operations, and even sees some folks who come out to ask him why he isn't with the troupe. It's just a bit off the main road, and the public area includes a small outdoor ampitheater, as well as several building and tent sites for side acts. There is also a small stable and barn and a converted inn for use by troupe personnel.

You reach the ATA complex about noon, and it takes all of a minute to guess at who the sheriff was talking about. In a group of men mostly wearing work clothes and ottdoor garb is a short, pudgy man who is dressed in fancy clothes that would be far more fitting in an office in Borentia than the middle of a working compound here.

HP 12 | AC 14 | T 14 | FF 10 | CMD 14 | F +1 | R +6 | W +2 | Init +4 | Per +3

Balmoren will tell the people about the fortune telling that led to his leaving the troupe, and wish them the best before heading on to the ATA with the others...

Upon sighting the pompous man in the group Balmoren stops and turns to his companions and says, "That must be the man in charge. He looks rather silly in those fancy clothes. I probably shouldn't be the one to talk to him, I'm not much for business and people like him are often put off by my strangeness." Squatting down he picks up Compy and holds the reptile like a cat in front of his body. Don't want him getting out of hand around here.

The simpleminded paladin nods his head as he listens to Balmoren's assessment, only offering a response of, "Strangeness? What strangeness?"

Studying the man's interactions with the citizens and visitors of Tent City before determining how to approach him.

Sense Motive (hunch) DC 20: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (2) + 7 = 9
Wow, awful.

He's a man of the law, Garrett thinks to himself. How could one ever suspect him of corruption or greed?

Merrily, Garrett marches to the overdressed and misunderstood sheriff and extends his hand, "Afternoon, sir. Might you be in charge of the contract dealing of this fine city? I ask only because I have with me a number of ankheg shells from the hamlet of (probably should have asked for a name) and the promise of many more to come if you're willing to broker an offer."

Diplomacy: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (10) + 11 = 21

"You are only as strange as you like to be perceived lad" as Einar looks at the man they are pointing at.

Einar is somewhat stupefied as how gullible or easy to trust strangers is Garret, by just spilling out all without being totally certain he is the man we look for "This one is going to be one hard journey... or it might be just me who thinks this was a bad idea... just keep playing your part" "Oi! Garret don't leave us behind" as Einar approaches and tries to judge the other man to get a feel out of him.

Sense Motive 1d20 ⇒ 19

"Watcha name there man" as Einar stretches his hand to him also "I won't bite, unless you are not what you seem to be" as he tries his hand on a simple joke and yet a threat used back at home.

Diplomacy 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (9) + 6 = 15

The hamlet's name was Hillvale. You would have gotten in over the course of your evenings there.

The man looks up as you start to speak, looking pleased until you mention ankheg shells, at which point he sighs visibly. "I am just the master of this complex, son. No need to give me any more credit than that. If you seek the leadership of this valley, you will need to go back down the main road to the main square. As for the ankheg shells, I have no need for them. I sit at the site of the largest annual gathering of merchants from all of eastern Tora, and have no need to deal with the local's concerns; there are others who are more than capable of doing that. I buy enough to maintain the quality of service expected from a major station of the ATA, and have no further need for local goods." With that, he turns back to his men, and continues giving them their orders for the afternoon.

He seems to be genuine, if very business like.

You could have found out a bit more about the guy from Balmoren's pals. His name is Lord Mathel, and genuinely cares about his people and doing the best he can for the ATA. His reputation amongst the locals is that of a pompous idiot, mostly because he knows exactly how much he needs in terms of supplies for his station, and will only buy more than that at the end of the fall after all the visiting merchants have left, but aside from that business first attitude and his insistence of treating Tent City as a permanent city, rather than a large campground, he is generally likable enough, and serves the ATA well in his position.

HP 12 | AC 14 | T 14 | FF 10 | CMD 14 | F +1 | R +6 | W +2 | Init +4 | Per +3

"Oddly enough, the man makes sense. It is unfortunate that Hillvale has problems with the Ankheg, but they seem to already have a militia system in place. Perhaps someone at Lookout Keep could be convinced to send some extra hands their way each spring during the planting. Strictly to help with any Ankhegs. They could take the shells along with food and board as payment." Balmoren says to his three companions. "Try as we might Garret, we can't make the world a perfect place."

Well I'm sure we can find a willing buyer of these shells. That militia is outfitted with pitchforks and shovels. If we could get them spears and leathers then I would be able to rest happy. Tell me Lord Mathel, do you know of a person who would be willing to part with a dozen of each of those items for one of these shells? The men and women of Hillval cannot even plow their fields without risk of losing a son or daughter to these beasts, we ourselves have witnessed such an event. It is of the utmost importance that we suit these simple citizens with proper protective gear."

Diplomacy: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (13) + 11 = 24

If someone knows the actual value of those shells, feel free to stop me from making such a deal.

Seeing that you aren't going away, Lord Mathel, reluctantly turns back to you after finishing his orders, although he looks relieved when it becomes clear that you have changed the direction of the conversation to something else. "If you seek materials such as that, you should be able to find it easily enough in Lookout Point. It is well known for the production of such things, though as I am not in that particular line of trade myself, I am not able to point you to any particular person. As for your suggestion of providing spring aid during planting, you should start with the garrison's community liaison, who I believe has been trying to push for such initiatives with little success."

Hearing this wonderful news Garrett smiles triumphantly and snatches the lord's hand to give it a vigorous shaking. "That is excellent to hear my friend. Point us in the direction of the liaison and we will be on our way."

HP 12 | AC 14 | T 14 | FF 10 | CMD 14 | F +1 | R +6 | W +2 | Init +4 | Per +3

"Looks like we should have headed to the keep right away after all. C'mon boys, lets get these shells up there and work things out." Blamoren starts to walk back to the wagon, and prepare it to travel up the escarpment.

"I suppose you're right," Cassian replies as he takes the reins and sits at the bench. "Evrail, you wouldn't happen to know the gold value of these shells by chance? Given your history and all..."

I'm pretty sure it has a nice price, I just have no idea, never fought this creatures before, I mean I've seen worst but can't put price on something I don't know as looks at the shells and the rest with a confused face over the price "Well let us move on then we do have something to do other than fetch a good price for the shells"

HP 12 | AC 14 | T 14 | FF 10 | CMD 14 | F +1 | R +6 | W +2 | Init +4 | Per +3

Balmoren elbows Einar lightly in the ribs a bit and whispers, "I think he was talking to Evrail." he then giggles a bit. Maybe that beard has grown into his ears? One of Balmoren's eyebrows raises up as his eyes go momentarily wide at some inner thought. He then giggles quite a bit more.

Appraise on the Shells1d20 + 4 ⇒ (11) + 4 = 15
Heh, that result should give me a 'wildly inaccurate' estimate of the value of the shells, according to the skill description.

Male Half-Elf Urban Ranger 5

Evrail shakes his head "My father and his hunters would use the material for their own weapons and armor, never sold them."

Looking at Balmoren "I like to voice my opinion regardless, don't understand some of this weird behavior sometimes, but will get used to it" as he smiles back at Balmoren and pats him in the back.

HP 12 | AC 14 | T 14 | FF 10 | CMD 14 | F +1 | R +6 | W +2 | Init +4 | Per +3

"They've got to be priceless then! Lets go boys!" Balmoren will set the cart going at a slow walking pace in the direction of Lookout Keep.

Garrett nods in agreement to Balmoren, seeing no obvious flaws in his logic. "In that case we should have no problem gathering proper supplies for Hillvale. Perhaps we'll even be able to keep a small sum of our own."

When you look closer to appraise the parts you have as you travel, you notice a small bag that you don't recall seeing before, not at Leroy's and not at the ATA compound. Inside is a number of gems and 4 matching rings. The rings have a intertwining gold and silver band, and in between the bands are 4 gems set even with the metal bands: emerald, diamond, sapphire, and ruby. The gems looks moderately valuable, but the rings look like nothing more than cheap carnival prizes, despite the gems. Still, there is something about the rings that keeps drawing your eye, as if you were meant to keep them.

Approaching Lookout Point is an impressive sight. Located a few miles west of the nearest peak, the spire that is the center of Lookout Point towers above the plains below. Having a long history even before the Confederacy was formed, it started out it's life in the Confederacy as military outpost. Eventually, as ex military members settled around the fortress at the base of the spire, and the trade routes formed, creating Tent City, a large town with two faces emerged. One face is the military face, and includes a reputation for artisans and experimenters for all kinds of military related gear: weapons, armor, alchemical items, engineers, etc. The other face is the ever present worker population that provide the labor needed to sustain Tent City and the local artisans. A bit rowdier, this group is still subdued compared to most such groups due to the heavy military presence. The military controls the spire itself, the artisans and city leadership live on the slopes just below it, while the workers have spread out on the plains below, with each new neighborhood starting out as a permanent camp, adding permanent buildings slowly until eventually it advances enough to be recognized by the city government of Lookout Point as a legitimate part of the city.

HP 12 | AC 14 | T 14 | FF 10 | CMD 14 | F +1 | R +6 | W +2 | Init +4 | Per +3

Once they find the rings and gems Balmoren is quite puzzled. "Now where did these come from? Hmmm...I wonder?" He begins waggling his fingers over the rings and muttering.
I'm casting Detect Magic and concentrating to learn the most possible about the rings. Will react to the results later.

Once they reach the slopes of Lookout Point and are amongst the artisans he turns to Garret and says, "You have a friendly face. Maybe if you asked around someone could point us to a craftsman who could use these shells."

"Good idea. We should ask around about those rings while we're at it,"

Diplomacy(gather info): 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (16) + 11 = 27

"Well let's see what we can find out then"

[ooc]Diplomacy 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (4) + 9 = 13

Looking closely at the rings, the only thing you can tell is that they look both ancient and like some new cheap carnival prize at the same time. There is no magic whatsoever on them, and the gem dealer you talk to is puzzled why the maker of the rings would bother with such low quality gems and the quality of the metal does not appear to be much better. He is willing, however, to take the other gems off of your hands, as they may only be moderately valuable to most, but are precisely whats needed for some of the experimenting alchemists in town, and therefore are extremely valuable to him.

Each of you gets 900 gp. Lookout Point qualifies as a large town for spending limits, with weapons, armor, shields, and unusual alchemical items being quite common. Scrolls and other magic services are also available if you wish to spend extra time in town to find and order them.

For the ankheg shells, there are several smiths that specialize in ankheg gear, but one name keeps coming up as the top of the line in that speciality. Shells and Shields, run by Master Alric Chard, is a family run affair which Alric hopes will become a multi-generational legacy that makes working with ankheg shells an artform. The shop itself is small, but the work area next to is visible and clearly busy. Examples of their past work line the walls, and a clerk sitting at the counter looks up as you enter and greets you warmly, "Welcome to Shells and Shields. How may we be of service today?"

HP 12 | AC 14 | T 14 | FF 10 | CMD 14 | F +1 | R +6 | W +2 | Init +4 | Per +3

"Hello. We've got a load of ankheg shells to sell. Possibly a regular supply if you're interested." Balmoren says cheerily as he wanders around the shop goggling at all the gear on the walls.

Is the piece mail armor rules in effect? I might order an interesting set :) (by no means something that I would abuse)

Einar shows interest in all the works of art displayed at the shop, by looking at the designs and how well made they are.

I want to see what you put together before I ok it. Post it in the discussion.

"Hmm, if you wish to sell parts, you will need to speak with Master Alric, as he insists on only the best. Let me see if he is currently busy." The clerk disappears into the shop area, and shortly returns with an older man in tow. Fairly large in size, clearly a member of the smith trade for some time now, and wearing working clothes, he looks you over quietly before speaking in a deep, quiet voice, "My clerk tells me you have wares you wish to sell. Pull around to the side, and we shall see if they are up to my standards." before returning to the shop area. The clerk motions you to lead the way to your wagon, and he will show you where to go.

Quietly abiding by the clerk's instructions, Garrett leads the wagon around to the offloading side of the artisan's shop. "As you can plainly see, we have two large and two small shells for sale this afternoon. We tried our best in avoiding any unnecessary damage to the creatures shells, though they didn't quite make it easy for us, haha." he laughs nervously, slightly threatened by the armor master's skill.

Diplomacy: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (16) + 11 = 27

I'm still trying to figure out how that variant system works and if I like it so anything you put up in the OOC would be appreciated.

He gives the small shells a quick glance before basically writing them off as average at best, but the larger shells hold his interest. Even though is cracked enough to have lost some value, it's sheer size still makes is noteworthy; the uncracked large shell seems to impress him considerably. After a few minutes of carefully looking them all over, he turns to the party, chuckling slightly as Garrett's remark. "They rarely do; like most living creatures, they find dying to not be a pleasant thing. The fact that you were able to keep this large one almost flawless is impressive; it demonstrates not only an ability for a quick and clean kill, but impressive skinning skills as well. Even the small ones are not entirely without use because of how well they were dealt with after the kill. All told, I think 1,800 gp for the lot is a fair price."

Male Half-Elf Urban Ranger 5

Evrail watches as the clerk looks over the shells.

HP 12 | AC 14 | T 14 | FF 10 | CMD 14 | F +1 | R +6 | W +2 | Init +4 | Per +3

1,800 O_O! Holy sh*t! Balmoren's eyes go wide when the craftsman names his price. I've never even seen that much gold.
Clearing his throat he says, "That sounds fair to me." and looks to the others for their responses.

I don't allow diplomacy to work it's full wonders in a single roll very often, but Leroy was that good at preparing the shells. And don't forget the money from the gems either.

HP 12 | AC 14 | T 14 | FF 10 | CMD 14 | F +1 | R +6 | W +2 | Init +4 | Per +3

I'm not complaining by any means. ^_^

"Yes, I think that's a price we can all agree on. I'm sure that these shells will serve your business greatly," Garrett replies merrily. "Now you wouldn't happen to know where the garrison district is? We have some pressing matters to attend involving the commander."

Wow! So we each take 900 + 450 (1800/4) = 1350. I can live with that :-)

Less anything you want to spend to help the villagers out.

True. I'll spare a bit from my share since it would be in character to do so. I'd say it's a decision up for individuals to decide.

HP 12 | AC 14 | T 14 | FF 10 | CMD 14 | F +1 | R +6 | W +2 | Init +4 | Per +3

I will buy ten Longspears (50 GP), and ten sets of Wooden Armor (200 GP) for the villagers. As well as 5 light crossbows (175 GP). For myself I'd like to track down a Wand of Cure Light Wounds (750 GP), and four Acid Flasks (40 GP). Total expenses are 1,215 GP.

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