"We are fairly well stocked with healing, but defensive and distracting spells would be very interesting to us. That entangling spell of yours sounded like it was very useful with the Hellknights, and spells that could keep us hidden from view or from being tracked would be especially useful as well."
Arael lets you know they'd be particularly interested in entangle, obscuring mist, and pass without trace.
Derek is going to spend the morning preaching to his flock, using all his oratorical skills as well as his genuine passion and belief in Cayden Caelian. Early afternoon will be spent with Amaya, first lesson will be to find out where here talent and potential lies, and to make sure nothing is overlooked he will ask a friend from the acting company who is skilled with wind instrument and percussion instruments to help gauge her skill.
At the appointed hour Derek will meet the others, he will in fact bring Amaya if she is willing, there is more to being a bard than just singing pretty tunes after all.
"Well, three people, assuming they are none too powerful can easily be put to sleep with a spell, the more dull witted the better, so if they are mere thugs it should be no problem."
Amaya is very excited to start her lessons with Derek, and participates in each lesson with enthusiasm and intensity.
Perform (act): 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (14) + 3 = 17
Perform (oratory): 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (13) + 3 = 16
Perform (sing): 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (8) + 3 = 11
Perform (string): 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (17) + 3 = 20
Perform (wind): 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (5) + 3 = 8
Perform (percussion): 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (14) + 3 = 17
The lessons show that Amaya is gifted with talent in several areas, as she catches on very quickly with acting, oratory, string instruments, and percussion instruments. She seems particularly fond of the string instruments. On the other hand, the wind instruments frustrate her to no end, and her singing is still only passable.
Having had such an excellent first day of lessons, Amaya is more than willing to go along with Derek to his meeting.
As the walk together to the meeting, Derek remarks to Amaya about the days lessons.
"It seems you have a lot of skill, what interest me is your obvious skill at Oratory and Acting, they are a good two edged sword, working well together, and you were very good with the lute. You need to relax more however for your singing, it's clear that you have a beautiful voice as your oratory proved. You should perhaps sing some songs from your home country, don't worry about the words, it's the familiarity that is most important for you to relax."
Derek thinks for a bit. "I will give you a part in the next play we perform at the company, that way you can hone your acting and your oratory. We will make it a musical role, something with a harp. And by extension you should learn to relax so your singing can improve as well."
Appario sets up watch at the Blacksmith's shop...spending time dreaming of a new blade that he hopes to have made out of the finest metal and adorned with the finest gems.
But all that, of course, will have to wait until he can pay for it...and that step starts with taking down the smallest of thugs.
Got to start someplace.
Eklektos will spend part of each day crafting scrolls for his new allies, leaving himself some time to help the other members of the group with any tasks he can assist them with.
He'll craft one scroll per day. In order, he'll craft Obscuring Mist, Entangle, Pass Without Trace. He'll have to spend 12gp, 5sp per scroll.
On the first day, once he's done crafting he'll head over toward the blacksmith's shop to help keep watch. Theron will accompany, and will attempt to keep still in a dark or shadowy place when they get there.
"Do you really think I could do well in a real play? Oh, this is going to be so exciting! I'll try to practice some of the songs my mother used to sing to me before my next lesson."
Amaya pays attention to what everyone is saying at the meeting, but doesn't speak up herself, figuring you are all more experienced with regards to tactics. Her good mood is obvious, though.
The blacksmith's shop consists of a 15x20 ft. building, where the smithy itself takes up the majority of the space (15x15 ft.). The remaining 5x15 ft. is separated from the smithy by a waist-high counter with a similarly sized door at the end. The front door leads to this section, while there is a back door (usually locked) that leads directly to the smithy.
There are 5 ft. wide alleys to either side of the smithy, as well as at the back. The front of the building lies by a 10 ft. wide paved street, along which there are several other workshops and stores.
At all times throughout the day, the blacksmith works in the smithy with one of his two apprentices. He (or an apprentice) halts his work whenever someone hails him from the front section, and goes over to the counter to address them. They also have a lunch break at the middle of the workday.
Within the smithy, a 5x5 ft. section in the middle of one wall is taken up by the forge, with two workbenches filled with ongoing projects and tools standing to either side. The opposite wall contains benches and stands with finished weapons and armor.
"I am going to make sure you get a role where you can get a good chance to practice, it will be a small one since this is your first play, but I will also make you the understudy of a more major role, that way you will be able to fill in should something happen to the regular actor. Our next lesson tomorrow will be to show you the secret of the Bardic trade, the magic of music and song."
Derek nods at Amaya, he is confident that she has the ability to follow in his footsteps, she already have sufficient raw potential to become skilled with music and acting, the true test of her ability will be to see HOW fast she can master magic in music.
Appario will ask the smiths to simply direct the thugs, if we don't already see them, to talk to me when they come in.
"Simply tell the thugs that that man (me!) outside has your money. If that fails, just simply hail me and we shall come in. I would prefer not to handle this business within the confines of your shop."
Diplomacy 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (20) + 6 = 26
Appario will await outside, easily visible from any road-facing window and door, but not directly outside the door. I shall set up watch from the time they open until the time they close.
Appario will have his shield ready, sword in sheath across his back, sap at his waist.
All: you're welcome to hang with me or nearby...whatever you think is best.
To all: "Remember this is just a business transaction, and not personal, so if we can resist maiming or killing that is preferred. That said, if they attack us with murderous intent, do not hesitate to defend yourself. Additionally, they may have information we seek."
The blacksmith goes along with Appario's proposed plan with no hesitation. He will also allow a group member to act as an apprentice for a couple of days, if that is what you decide is best.
The closest shops on that side of the road are a tannery and a candlemaker. On the other side of the road there is a tavern and a woodcarver.
After hearing Apparios plan Derek nods, it seems simple enough, and the simpler plan, the fewer things can go wrong with it.
Derek will be hiding in one of the nearby alleyways, looking out for Appario from the shadows.
He will also make sure to escort Amaya home first, before taking his position, until she has mastered the ways of song he doesn't want her to risk getting hurt.
Semenya will stand watch in the alley between the buildings, where her Darkvision provides the most benefit. She'll keep the message cantrip up, and will be communicating what she sees with Arodio and Appario through it.
1d20 + 8 ⇒ (18) + 8 = 26 Stealth
1d20 + 5 ⇒ (13) + 5 = 18 Perception
The woodcarver is happy to discuss his trade with someone so knowledgeable about trees and nature, and gives you an estimate of one week's work for a lifesize, roughly detailed version of Theron that would cost 40 gp. Alternatively, the same price could get you an intricately detailed pocket-sized carving. He is open to negotiations for both detail and size (and maybe even price).
About midway through the second day, your careful surveillance pays off. Three figures, two men and a woman, make their way down the main street, stopping briefly at several shops along the way. Every time, one of the men remain outside the shop as some sort of guard while the other two go inside, and every time they're back out after only a couple of minutes.
When they come closer, you see that the woman has two swords strapped to her sides, the hilts jutting out through seamed slits in her coat. The two men both wear a single sword. All three seem to wear some kind of leather armor under their coats. Approaching the blacksmith's shop, the same routine as before plays out. One man remains outside, while the other man and the woman enter. Unlike the previous stops, this one produces a loud argument inside the shop, and the two reappear on the street within the minute.
The woman tells the guard to remain there, before scanning the crowded street for something. Locking eyes with Appario, she and the other man walk over, hands on hilts.
"I'm told you have something that belongs to us?"
Derek smiled to himself, the stage was set and all the actors were present. Now it was time to raise the curtain and begin the overture.
Of course, the one who was holding the sheet music now was Appario, and so Derek waited for a signal, ready to begin casting a spell as soon as he got a sign.
"To all the gods watching from above, tis now the time to start the first act, enjoy the show, this is as good as it gets when one doesn't pay to get into the theatre" Derek whispers to himself.
Via the message cantrip, Semenya tells Derek to move so he can have a line of sight on the group. "Let Appario talk to them first."
(Semenya will be holding her action - a ready-to-cast Hypnotism spell - for when she hears Derek begin his incantation. Since her spell is a standard action and his is a one round casting time, it SHOULD keep them in a tight group.)
As the thugs walk to, Appario will try to commit each one's face to memory.
When they get close, Appario will present himself:
"Greetings, I am Appario Lind, trained Knight of the Temple of Abadar. I am glad to finally meet you all...I have heard much about you. Sadly, I have ill news for you three. Your 'protection' services will no longer be needed by this blacksmith. They have opted to engage the Church for their protection services. As a result, your services will no longer be required. Sorry, this is just business...nothing personal."
Appario will let this sink in. If they do not immediately react with combat, Appario will continue.
"In fact," Appario acts as if he is pondering his words carefully, "I have decided to put this entire street under the watch of the Merchant God, He of Balanced Scales, and I do not wish to see any of you on this street ever again."
EDIT: Appario will take steps to make sure none the thugs are able to get immediately behind him. If possible keeping his back to a wall or circling away while he is talking.
Looking both furious and incredulous at Appario's words, the woman responds. "Is that so, Knight?" Swiftly drawing her rapier (but leaving the other sword in its sheath), she continues. "Maybe you should let us conduct our business as usual, church man. Otherwise.. nothing personal, as you say."
The man already with her draws his longsword half out of its sheath, while the guard begins to walk over to the threesome.
Semenya steps out of the shadows, her hands moving rhythmically, her voice carrying peculiar undertones. "Really, let's be ... reasonable... about things. This can be discussed without resorting to bloodshed."
2d4 ⇒ (4, 1) = 5 HD affected
2d4 ⇒ (3, 1) = 4 Duration
DC is 14 since we're not quite in combat yet.
Leader: 1d20 ⇒ 17
Man #1: 1d20 - 1 ⇒ (4) - 1 = 3
Man #2: 1d20 - 1 ⇒ (16) - 1 = 15
The man closest to Appario drops his sword all the way back into the sheath and turns to watch the half-orc's approach with glazed eyes. "Maybe we should listen to her, boss. That sounds real reasonable to me."
The other man and the woman appear unaffected by the spell.
The woman briefly looks over to Semenya as she speaks, and draws her second sword in a fluid motion. Keeping that sword pointed in Semenya's general direction, but keeping focus on Appario with the rapier, she responds. "A friend of yours? I think you'll need more than one to keep true to that promise. Maybe your bravado served you well in your knightly training, but this is the real world you're dealing with."
Leader: 1d20 ⇒ 17
Man #1: 1d20 - 1 ⇒ (17) - 1 = 16
Man #2: 1d20 - 1 ⇒ (6) - 1 = 5
The approaching man falls asleep half-way to his leader's side, his longsword clinging as it falls on the road.
Seeing both of her men effectively unable to aid her, and now another two men appearing on Appario's side in the conflict, the woman's confidence falters. She takes a step back, while trying to keep an eye both on Appario and the other three. "You have many skilled friends with you today.. Perhaps this street is no longer profitable. I will take your offer to walk away, Knight."
If noone tries to stop her, she continues to back away while resheathing her swords. Reaching an intersection, she vanishes down the crossing street.
Everyone is within 20 ft. of everyone else at this point, with Appario within 5 ft. of the woman; I'll put up a coordinated map if combat breaks out.
"Well, that was a bit anticlimactic, if I had paid to get into this play I would have asked for my money back. And we didn't even bring in all the actors on stage..."
Derek grins and scratches the back of his head. "Shall we secure our "friends there" and see if we can get some information out of them?"
Derek has no problems with letting the woman escape at this point; she might come back and haunt them at a later date, setting the stage for an epic grudge match. Perfect for the type of plays he hopes to write out of this.
"Wait, if you would. This is only business...as long as your weapon stays in its scabbard, you will not come to harm. I would have words with you."
Appario will make no effort to chase her, but whisper to Semenya to ask Eklektos to follow her and see where she goes.
Appario will sheathe his sap and return his shield to around his back.
We have two of them that we can talk to.
Semenya, while not trying to stop her, will touch her cloak once. "I am sorry that we didn't get to talk further. And yes, I'd've preferred to talk than draw weapons."
(Prestidigitation; the part of her cloak touched now smells of valerian root.)
After the woman leaves, Semenya will explain to Eklektos that the woman's cloak will smell like this - and hold her hand in front of Theron's nose.
Valerian is also known as catnip, and smells like mint to humans...
Good information to have about the carvings.
"Seems that our not coming out to play may pay off this time. You smell this, Theron? This is your prey now. Now it is time to hunt. Go."
Theron, after sniffing the hand, will immediately set off into the crowd after the woman. Eklektos will follow, doing what he can to blend into the crowd one he catches sight of the woman.
Eklektos Stealth (when necessary): 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (8) + 3 = 11
Theron Perception (if necessary): 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (14) + 6 = 20
Eklektos Perception (if necessary): 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (12) + 10 = 22
With that handled, Appario will aid Semenya in getting info from the remaining thugs. Appario is keenly interested to know if they are a part of a larger, organized group and how big these thug's territory is.
Before letting them go, Appario will mention that they have an agreement regarding this street and, should they break it...it would be bad.
When they are finished, Appario will talk to the blacksmiths and let them know that if there are *any* new or recurring security issues at all, to contact him through the Church or Janiven.
In addition, Appario will spend some time making contacts with the merchants on this street, introducing himself, and offering his services should the thugs return.
1d20 + 6 ⇒ (20) + 6 = 26 thug #1
1d20 + 6 ⇒ (1) + 6 = 7 thug #2
1d20 + 6 ⇒ (13) + 6 = 19 blacksmith
1d20 + 6 ⇒ (4) + 6 = 10 merchants
Why I'm mortified, not using Derek for the diplomacy? My my! (I'm kidding of course *winks*).
"That was fun if over a little too quick for my taste."
Derek taps his nose in thought.
"Unless this leads to anything concrete, maybe we can turn our eyes towards the outside of the city for a bit? We should probably check this street our for a few days, say a week, to make sure it is truly over, then we can go outside the city walls. I'd like to have a grand stage for the next part of the play. Besides, a week would let me train with Amaya until she is ready to stand on her own for a bit."
After Appario does the "bad cop" routine to set up her "good cop", Semenya will work carefully with the two prisoners - making sure they're bound up.
She will deal with each of them in isolation - if the blacksmith is amenable to it, she'll do it in the back area of his shop, because a smithy is loud enough that they know they won't be able to yell for help, and at least implies that there might be the use of hot implements.
If necessary, I will switch to Intimidate.
1d20 + 10 ⇒ (14) + 10 = 24 Diplomacy, Thug #1 using Appario's good roll as an Aid Another.
1d20 + 8 ⇒ (8) + 8 = 16 Diplomacy, Thug #2 using Appario's poor roll as a clean slate.
Based on the results of the die roll, and if she thinks information is being withheld, she'll also use Hypnotism. Will DC is 16 for single target, out of combat. She can also use this to implant a suggestion in the first thug. (I'm open to OOC suggestions as to what that should be.)
Theron easily follows the scent of catnip through the throng of people on the streets. The woman weaves through the crowd with ease, frequently doubling back on her path and checking to see if someone is following her. After some time of this, she finally crosses the Canaroden canal, and makes straight for an old warehouse by the docks. Removing a large stone slab, revealing a hole in the wall, she darts inside.
A few minutes later the woman returns through the hole, now carrying a haversack over one shoulder, and sets off through the streets again. She leaves the stone slab where it lies, not bothering to replace it.
Appario and Semenya:
One of the thugs remains hostile throughout your interrogations, frequently cussing you out, but otherwise keeping silent.
The other thug is much more forthcoming. "There's only a few of us; The woman who was here, Jalki, is our leader. Then there's me, Kurd over there, and two others. Jalki took over the group from our old boss, may Pharasma preserve his soul, a few months ago. She seemed to have a vision for our group, and we've been trying to expand our turf ever since. So far we only have a few streets around here though. We kept an old abandoned warehouse over in the Blood Sector as headquarters."
Pausing to collect his thoughts, the thug continues. "I think Jalki had contacts within some other groups, but she didn't share any information about them with the rest of us. She certainly had no trouble getting us new and better equipment."
About half of the merchants you talk to are happy to take your offer of aid, while the rest either claim they have no problems or inform you they'll take care of any necessary business themselves.
After reconvening with Eklektos, are we able to verify that the "old abandoned warehouse in the Blood Sector" is the same place where there was the slab in the wall? I suspect so, want to confirm.
As the thugs leave, Appario will offer another stiff reminder to stay off this street, but otherwise will not hold a grudge against the men.
If the warehouse was recently completely vacated by Jalki, Appario would like to stop by and investigate it. Appario wouldn't mind having a hideout, if one was available.
With this handled for now, I am open to do whatever the party suggests...including going out to the countryside or doing some gardening. I'm really not sure what our next lead is...unless we want to start hunting shadowbeasts.
While the woman is inside, Eklektos will find a street urchin or other person who seems to need something to do, then give said person a silver piece to carry a scribbled note back to the others at the blacksmith's shop.
After the woman sets out from her hideout with her bag, Eklektos will continue as before. Theron follows her with a little distance between them, and Eklektos following Theron with a little distance between them.
"Hmmm, sounds like someone had big ambitions eh? If we are lucky, we might be able to scrounge up some information at the warehouse, some scraps of information with the names of some other groups."
Derek turns to the thug that is spilling his guts.
"Tell me, in your honest opinion, is Jalki ambitious enough to have organized such a come together herself? Or do you believe she might have been contacted by others?"
Diplomacy, using acting via versatile performer:1d20 + 9 ⇒ (19) + 9 = 28
The woman moves briskly through the streets, no longer checking to see if anyone is following. She makes her way through the city to an upscale inn called "The Gargling Gargoyle", not far from the Imperial Marina, in the same sector of the city as the shrine to Aroden. After some discussion with an unhappy-looking innkeeper money changes hands, and she continues up the stairs, apparently on her way to a room.
The man thinks for a moment. "While she is ambitious, I doubt she would have the necessary influence to organize a gathering of groups herself. I'd say someone else would have to organize it and call the shots."
Should the child come with the note from Eklektos, Appario will organize (with those who are willing, and when Semenya and Derek are ready) a quick trip to the abandoned warehouse.
After the thugs are gone: "Let us make a quick visit to this warehouse and see if there is any information that might be useful."
If and when we get to the warehouse, searching:
Perception 1d20 - 1 ⇒ (10) - 1 = 9.
Semenya will go on this scouting expedition, and will suggest (via Message) that she go in first, since she doesn't need a light source. She'll be using Mage Hand to touch things and move objects around in case she needs to set off traps, but the first order of business will be to look around the place without tipping off anyone still inside.
1d20 + 5 ⇒ (13) + 5 = 18 Perception
1d20 + 8 ⇒ (8) + 8 = 16 Stealth
Before following along, Derek steps into the middle of the street, bows deeply while sweeping his garish hat of his head and smiles, as if to an unseen audience.
"Please remain patient, we will begin act two after this intermission."
He then hurries of after the others, heading for the warehouse.
After some time of looking around the warehouse, you're fairly certain noone else is within. Near the middle of the warehouse there are four bedrolls laid out around a makeshift fireplace. There are signs that there was recently a fifth bedroll here. Near that space there is an open chest that appears to be empty aside from a few coins, the key still in the lock. Close to the chest, lying as if someone accidentally dropped them, there are more coins and a piece of paper with something written on it in Infernal.
The note reads: Those tiefling "Bastards" are making us all look bad. Find out what they're up to. V.
There is a total of 20 gp lying scattered around and in the chest.