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DM-Camris’ Second Darkness Chapter 2: Children of the Void

Game Master Camris

A star has fallen and the rush is on! While the crimelords of Riddleport race to be the first to claim the mysterious skymetal, dark works are afoot at the crash site on the island of Devil's Elbow...


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DM-CAMRIS’ SD1: Shadow in the Sky

Preamble

The characters begin at the Gold Goblin Gambling Hall, where the grand gambling event “Cheat the Devil and Take his Gold” looks to be poised to bring the game hall back in business after a long decline. Yet the gambling tournament is not the only thing going on in Riddleport, for a strange atmospheric phenomenon lately manifested in the sky above the city. The strange blot has hung in the air for several weeks, moving slowly in what appears to be a random pattern in the sky. At first assumed to be a dark cloud, it soon became evident that it often moved at odds with the wind. The blot itself resembles nothing so much as a shadow floating in the sky, almost as if some large but unseen object were partially blocking the sun’s rays.

Riddleport already hosts a large number of scholars, but as word of the blot spread, additional investigators from locations as far as Magnimar came to witness the strange phenomenon, their numbers swelling the city’s population. Arguments over the source, nature, and implications of the shadow rage in areas where scholars congregate, but when it became apparent that the shadow was having little direct impact on the city itself, most of Riddleport’s citizens moved on to other concerns, leaving the matter to the bookish sages in order to get on with the business of doing business. Of course, the majority of the city’s residents find the influx of new marks to be quite welcome, and both pickpocketing and the confidence business are booming.

Zane Argentus:

Riddleport has a long history of mysterious phenomena connected to its infamous Cyphergate Riddle—the long-sought hidden purpose of the stone arch that rises over the harbor. Old accounts tell of strange lights moving in the sky and sounds issuing forth from it without explanation. The manifestation of a shadow in the sky is something new, though.

Knowledge (Arcana) DC16:

No known magical traditions explain the existence of the hovering shadow, and it does not vear the trappings of any known spell.

Perception DC15:

The Blot changes shape and size somewhat, but is generally ovoid in shape and hovers alternately over the harbor and gulf just south of Riddleport. It is dark like a shadow but does allow some light through, alveit dimly, and flying objects can faintly be seen through its obscuring haze. It casts a faint shadow on the ground beneath it depending on the angle of the sun.
The blot hangs at a fairly constant altitude of about 2,500 feet and appears to be roughly 250 feet long by 130 feet wide.


Wild Times at the Gold Goblin

The day is clear and bright, a warm but tolerable day in Arodus, with the only thing to mar the view of the sky is Riddleport's now ever-present Blot, the dark blemish that has made the infamous port even more well known.

You find yourselves in the run down section of town near the wharves that is also the home to the Golden Goblin Gambling Hall. As you approach the Gambling Hall, you see the following:

Exterior Description::

This grand establishment has seen better days. A wide veranda runs along the front between two short wings of the building. A massive, brass half-dome tops the building, but it is now tarnished and marred by the impact of years of weathering and bears a patina of greenish brown.

Standing before the main doors of the building is an 8-foot-tall statue cast in shining gold to resemble a larger-than-life goblin. It balances a golden dogslicer on a pile of gold as it smiles smugly down on all customers who pass beneath its gaze.

The doors themselves are of a strong dark wood imported from southern lands and are decorated with multiple panels depicting signs of luck and good fortune (four-leaf clovers, crossed fingers, and so on).
You can hear a great deal of activity within the structure, and for good or ill, what has brought you to the Goblin won't be found by standing outside of its doors.

For anyone that enters the Goblin::

Just inside the main doors, two sultry beauties scantily clad and wearing faux bat wings, devil horns, and tails play the part of
alluring succubi.

Both are employees of the Gold Goblin, and they cheerfully register contestants for the tournament and process entry fees. Armed guards stand nearby to either side of an immense treasure chest into which each patron’s entry fee is added. The guards are on hand to not only protect the money, but to prevent any overzealous admirers from trying to dare the infamous touch of a succubus.

Beyond the registration table is the hall’s game floor. Dozens of gamblers, waitresses dressed as succubi, and bouncers mill about the room, wandering amid tables offering various games while dealers shuffle cards, roll dice, and spin wheels. Moving through this throng are a dozen more of the barely clad, batwinged vixens serving drinks and batting coal-black eyelashes flirtatiously for tips. In the center of the chamber is a short podium atop which sits a massive gold chest affixed to the floor by similarly gaudy chains.

On either side of it stands a barechested bouncer in the exotic garb of some foreign sultan’s court. Each stands with muscled arms crossed over his chest and with a naked scimitar of prodigious size tucked through his waistband.

High above them, from the hall’s cloth-draped ceiling, hangs a brass birdcage within which crouches a small, bat-winged, pointy-tailed devilish creature that sulks as it gazes over the room and occasionally rattles the bars threateningly.

Nearby, you hear an attractive female greeter saying the following to another patron that has just entered the establishment:

"Welcome to the Gold Goblin, handsome, the hot spot for turning fortunes and winning wagers beneath the arch. Looking for the squarest games, most honest dealers, and prettiest blamed barmaids anywhere in the port? Well, you found ’em, sugar!
"Ready to be a rich man? Hope so, ’cause tonight’s your night.
"Belly up to a table and get to winnin’; we’ve got the gold to make your dreams glitter. Good drink, fine food, and warm company’s extra, but we’ve got all that too—at prices so cheap we might as well be giving it away.
"So find a spot, honey, order a pint, and leave it all to us, ’cause here, even a goblin could win his weight in gold!"

For Everyone::

Let me know what your characters are doing upon entering the Goblin, and once everyone has a chance to post their opening comments, we'll move on to what's going one next.


Male Human (Varisian) Inquisitor 2

Alexandu gasps as he enters this holy place, this temple to luck, and mutters a prayer to Calistria under his breath. The poor country boy has never seen anything quite like this, and it is all he can do to keep his mouth from falling open. He tries to blend in, though, knowing the adage of the fool's money.

Knowledge (arcana)1d20 + 5 ⇒ (14) + 5 = 19, Perception 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (10) + 7 = 17


Male Dwarf Rogue* 2

"Now this is my kinda place!" Exclaims Bor, mostly to himself, as he enters the gambling hall. He takes a few seconds to take in the room and all that's going on, then heads for the bar. A young "succubi" stands at the only open spot at the bar teasing the googley eyed man to her left. "Nice Tail honey! HAHA" jokes Bor, giving the girl a playful swat on ass to get some room to move up to the bar on her right. "Barkeep! he exclaims with his hand in the air.

Perception 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (14) + 8 = 22 outside
Perception 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (19) + 8 = 27 inside the hall

*Bor doesn't make the Knowledge:Arcana roll since it is a trained only skill and he has no knowledge of such things.


Male Human Cleric 3

Perception: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (19) + 4 = 23

Maelorn looks up at the Blot as he walks to the Goblin, frowning slightly.

"Bad times coming, I think."

As he looks back at the goblin, the smile returns, and he looks almost wistful, remembering when the dome gleamed. Entering, however, he is jolted by the faux demonic decor and costumes, and it takes him a moment to recover, until he begins to recognize some of the staff beneath their wild get ups, and he nods to one or two as he passes.

Seeing the creature in the cage, Maelorn studies it, before being distracted by a figure from his past.

Attempting to determine if they've got an actual fiend of some sort. Knowledge (The Planes): 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (15) + 5 = 20

Eros Tristil wrote:

When Eros enters the Gold Goblin Gambling hall, he immediately recognizes Maelorn, and shoves his way over to him not caring about who he has to shove out of his way to get there as quickly as possible.

"Maelorn! my lad!! it has been ages! I havn't seen you since you were barely out of diapers! Come lad lets belly up to the bar and talk about the good old days! I'm buying"

Maelorn's brow furrows..."Eros? It's been a loong time. Back in town just for the tournament?"


Male Half-Elf Ranger Level 2

Eros yells "Barkeep! two ales over here on the double!"

Eros then begins speaking to Maelorn "Well Maelorn...I have spent the last several years out in the wilds, and in that time I have learned that gambling is best left to life or death situations my lad. However, when I was passing by a few minutes ago, I thought I would come in and check this place out mostly because its a great place for rumors as I recall from our childhood. You know, I have been hearing rumors of late that are most intriguing. Maybe the two of us should pair up and look into these things. I'll bet that there is a tidy profit for the taking."

While Eros is talking to Maelorn, his mind is thinking about what (if anything) he knows about Bunyips (From the rumors). He is also thinking about what he knows about Sirens.

Knowledge (Nature): 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (20) + 9 = 29 (Bunyips)
Knowledge (Nature): 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (13) + 9 = 22 (Sirens)


Male Half-elf Bard 2

Perception 1d20 ⇒ 4
Knowledge (arcana) 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (11) + 3 = 14

Quote:
He tries to blend in, though, knowing the adage of the fool's money.

I believe that's Darcy's cue...

Darcy strides into the gambling den full of cheer (and possibly a little grog too...), resplendent in his finely tailored forest-green with silver trim jacket doublet, britches, matching cloak, and silver jewellery declaring his noble elven heritage for any with the sophistication and wit to recognise good breeding when they see it! The tree emblem on his clothes matches that on his signet ring, the crosspiece of his expertly forged longsword, and the coat-of-arms on the darkwood shield slung over his shoulder (and under the cloak, but still visible peeking out). His long raven-dark hair is expertly styled, as is his neatly trimmed moustache and goatee beard. Altogether a finer figure of a half-elf you never did see! As he enters he's singing a rather bawdy local song...

Song:
'Three abbesses in Riddleport
Were drinking a sherry wine,
Says one of them to the other two,
"Yours is smaller than mine."

"You're a liar," says the second abbess
"Mine's as big as the sea,
The pirate ships sail in and out,
And never a bother to me"

"You're a liar," says the third abbess,
"Mine's as big as the moon,
The ships sail in at the setting sun,
And never come out ‘til noon."

"You're a liar," says the second abbess,
"Mine's as big as the air,
The ships sail out and the ships sail in,
And they never tickle a hair"

"You're a liar," says the first again,
I'd blush to be so small,
Many's the fleet they sailed right in,
And never come out at all!"'

Perform (sing) 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (18) + 8 = 26

Tossing the gold piece entrance fee to the appropriate individual (as if such coins were as nothing to one with so much wealth as he obviously has) Darcy declares,

'Cards, drink, and wenches! Not necessarily, you understand, in that strict order...'

Darcy looks to make a striking first impression, as well as (hopefully) a charming one to any potential 'sponsors' for an elven noble unjustly exiled from his homeland...


INSIDE

Inside, after you pay your entry fee, you see a mixed crowd on the gaming floor.

Dozens of gamblers, waitresses dressed as succubi, and bouncers mill about the room. Efete nobles, tattooed sailors, towering half-orcs, gaudily dressed Varisian travelers, urbane Chelaxian businessmen, swaggering Swashbucklers, working dwarfs, several guys whom you just KNOW are mobbed up (they’ve got the look), tarted up “working girls”, a gaggle of young Cyphermage students with the look of kids who are absolutely certain they have a way to break the bank, and even a couple of wide eyed north barbarians.

The whole collection is bizarre, almost a circuslike; and you can’t imagine these people coming together like this without killing each other almost reflexively. But…

These people all have a certain look in their eyes; a look that they have been here many times before. To try their luck at the turn of a card, the spin of a wheel, the tumble of a die. The almost fevered hope of winning tempered by the nauseous despair of losing.

These people are gamblers.

There is a lot of drinking, carousing and conversations going on and the odd trubador or bard, though making themselves heard over the tumult is difficult, are welcome distractions.

Perception DC16:

You can see despite the operating gaming tables that very little actual gaming is going on; the people all seem to be tensely waiting.

Perception DC20:

Hm. Almost no pickpocketing. The bouncers must be doing an exceptional job.

Knowledge (Local) DC16:

Hey, that’s Lavender Lil! Hope Clegg Zincher isn’t here, that could get violent…

Alexandru:

You see a rough looking dwarf get slapped over at the bar. Looks like he grabbed one of the waitress/succubus’ in an inappropriate manner.
You also see a flashy half-elf swagger in toss a few coins around like they were nothing and give a darn fine performance of a ribald song.

Bor:

The succubus gives a squeek as you smack her bottom; then slaps you across the face and walks off as a bartender slaps a mug in your hand.
Say, isn't that "The Water Man" staring up at the ceiling? What's a holy roller like him doing in a place like this?

Maelorn:

The creature in the cage is almost certainly an Imp; a creature of the Hells. Despite it’s rattling it’s cage and angry hissing, it appears to be mostly observing the patrons below it.
Those cyphermage students are headed for trouble; they are going to cheat and they are going to get caught. You can see it like it's already happened.

Eros:

*Sirens are creatures who’s hypnotic singing lures sailors to their doom as they crash on rocks and sink. They can take over a sailor’s mind and turn him against his crew!
*Bunyips are said to be a kind of demented freshwater seal. But you know better--you are the sole survivor of a ferry that was swarmed by them. No one believes you, but you know; They’re organized! Even now you can’t think of them without sweating.

You see a rough looking dwarf get slapped over at the bar. Looks like he grabbed one of the waitress/succubus’ in an inappropriate manner.

Darcy:

You are certain that of the entertainer types here you are in the top two, even if that b~&@% Aliandra is playing here too. And your opinion isn’t colored by the fact that she knifed you that one time over who was going to play for the Overlord at the midwinter festival.
You spot Lavender Lil in disguise. You heard she got religion lately, disappointing many young and randy men about town. Hope Clegg Zincher [a mob boss] isn’t here, that could get violent…


Male Half-elf Bard 2

Perception: 1d20 ⇒ 1
Knowledge (local): 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (17) + 7 = 24

Smiling at everyone, Darcy makes towards his 'fellow' effete nobles, by way of Lavender Lil - whom he'll grab and spin into a few quick dance steps (whilst giving her a nod and a wink to let her know he recognises her, but isn't about to blow her cover). Reaching his 'peers' he laughs out loud as he observes,

'I don't know if it's the promise of gold or the promise of devils to liven up this town, but it looks like we've all sorts here! Well, there's nothing wrong with slumming it every now and then, right chaps?'


Male Human Cleric 3

Maelorn nods to Eros, a bit distracted, "Hrm, might be a possibility, I can use some better gear, and spare coin to spread around can do a lot of good. It certainly seems like remarkably little maoney is changing hands here, particularly considering the turnout."

His eyes focus a bit, "Have you seen our host? I'd like to discuss his choice of menagerie. Foolish to keep such a creature where if could influence one of the patrons."

Perception: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (19) + 4 = 23


Male Human (Varisian) Inquisitor 2

Alexandu keeps to himself, drinking in the environment, smiling at the dwarf's misadventure and keeping a tight grip on his coins for now.

Perception: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (3) + 7 = 10

Obviously he is far too distracted to notice anything going on.


Male Dwarf Rogue* 2

Forgive me ignorance, but. Who's the Waterman? replies Bor to the bartender, taking a long pull off his ale.

Perception 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (17) + 8 = 25


Darcy:

Perform (comedy): 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (6) + 12 = 18
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (5) + 8 = 13
Knowledge (nobility): 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (18) + 7 = 25

Lavender Lil looked startled and walked off in a huff after you let her go; but from the way she wiggled against you she seemed to promise to look you up later.

The nobles, who had clustered together drinking expensive Sandpoint Champagne, all laugh at your bon mot.

Darcy:

As it happens, you know this little group of the most prominent nobles in Riddleport.

Lord Cerdern Niktohal- Chelaxian
White haired, wears a monacle, deceptively kind, is an imperial diplomatic envoy of some kind.

Lord Afflon Ospar- Varisian
Tall, handsome, observant, a lumber baron. Seems a little jealous.

Lord Tessino Zakarn- Chelaxian
Grey haired, portly, shrewd bargainer, a very promiant shipping magnate.

Lady Tabithi Gothar- Varisian
Black haired, good looking, smokes long handled cigarillos, seems somewhat interested in you.

Lady Mehande Vildar- Chelaxian
Portly, gold haired, absolutely loves your work.

Lady Mehande's daughter Sennetta Vildar
Dark curly hair, 15 years old, seriously crushing on you.

Lady Sidara Wathmon- Chelaxian
Lovely middle aged red hair, you heard she has been widowed 7 times. Very friendly.


Alexandru:

A lady with wavy red hair, Varisian tattoos on her face and neck and an intelligent look in her eye accosts you.
"I don't suppose you've seen a man named Zane Argentus hav you? No? Well if you see him can you let him know that Samaritha has something for him? Thanks!"
She walks off.


Bor:

The barkeep comes on over.
"The Waterman? That's that priest what goes about making clean water and fix'n stuff fer people fer nothing. [He then describes Maelorn].
Damn, thats him over there. Wonder what HE's doin' here?"


Male Half-Elf Ranger Level 2

Eros replies to Maelorn "Ahh yes, I hear that the man you want to see is Saul Vancaskerkin. Although I think that if you will confront him, then you probably should not do it alone. He is likely to be quite dangerous."

Eros looks up and studies the crowd intently, and he tries to spot Saul.

Perception: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (18) + 6 = 24

Eros looks over at Bor and yells "Hey, over here master Dwarf! You look like a sturdy sort! What say you accompany me and my friend here on a little investigation?"

While Eros was studying the crowd, he recognized another face from his childhood. Apparently, the half-elf with the glass jaw that he used to call "Cream Puff" is still trying to get to first base after all of these years.....hmm maybe I should help him out a little...... hmm

Eros asks the barkeep for a pint of beer with a large foamy head on it, but he doesn't drink any of it.


Male Half-elf Bard 2

Laughing and jesting with his noble 'friends', Darcy pushes the urges stimulated by the lovely Lil to the back of his mind for the moment, instead chanelling those feelings into the smiles he offers the ladies present.

Quote:
"Hey, over here master Dwarf! You look like a sturdy sort! What say you accompany me and my friend here on a little investigation?"

The familiar sounding voice - not to mention the familiar crude manner in which it is being used - causes Darcy to glance over and see Eros. Swearing under his breath he turns his face away, addressing the nobles,

'Oh gods,' he begins, 'don't look now, but I think I know that savage-looking brute. One of my countrymen,' he explains, 'devoted to me in his way, I suppose, but his is a tragic tale... he was kicked in the head by a unicorn as a small child, never fully recovered... gets so confused sometimes - it's usually best to just humour him if he starts spouting nonsense...'


Male Half-Elf Ranger Level 2

Eros turns back to Maelorn "Excuse me Maelorn, I have some unfinished business to attend to.....please collect the Dwarf while I am gone....."

Eros Picks up his FULL pint of beer and he pretends to be drunk. He stumbles around until he bumps into Darcy. At which time he splashes most of his beer in Darcy's face. The beer quickly soaks into his clothes and drips off of his face. Eros tries to make the splashing look like an accident due to the fact that he bumped into him quite innocently.

Eros looks up at Darcy and smiles mischeviously at him and he declares:

"Ohh my! I am terribly sorry Cream Puff!! How clumsy of me!"

Eros scans Darcy's friends and says:

"Consequently ladies, in case you are getting any ideas about cream puff here, you need to know that he contracted herpes from a horse when we were boys that one evening when we broke into the stables. I came away with a new horse and cream puff lost his virginity all in the same night!!"

Eros lets out a deep belly laugh and slaps cream puff on the back roughly. There will probably bea bruise there.

Bluff: 1d20 ⇒ 17


Male Human Cleric 3

Perception: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (12) + 4 = 16 - Considering the weight of years, Maelorn doesn't recognize 'Darcy' at this stage.
"An inauspcious time and place for a brawl, " Maelorn thinks, watching Eros bait another half-elf for no discernable reason, "Some history there, I think."

Keeping half an eye on the developing situation with Eros, Maelorn attempts to catch the eye of the dwarf that he mentioned, and raises a glass to him in acknowledgement. Crazy or not, Eros was likely right that Saul could be prickly if offended, and it would be steadying to have one of the Folk at his side.


Male Half-elf Bard 2

Darcy's reaction to Eros' unprovoked assault is a simple sad shaking of his head as he calls for a cloth to wipe himself down with,

'Yes Eros,' he says with a sympathetic tone, 'you beat me fair and square and married that horse... well done, old chap, well done...'

He rolls his eyes at his noble friends as if to reinforce the 'just humour him' explaination he'd given moments before.

Versatile Performance, Perform (Comedy) for Bluff: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (8) + 12 = 20


Male Human Wizard 4

Zane gazed up at the blot as he walked towards the Golden Goblin, his mind percolating on the possible ramifications of the event.

As he made his way into the tavern/gambling hall, he was struck by the garishness of it, a deparate attempt to capture some lost or imagined greatness as the establisment clawed and scratched in its battle with oblivion.

Ridiculous as it was, he had to admit that he was most definititely entertained by the scantily clad staffers pretending to be succubi, some with great success.Amidst them gamblers and patrons from all walks of life roamed around, laughing, drinking, carousing an otherwise trying to forget the fear that the omen in the sky had wrought.

Knowledge Arcana 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (13) + 8 = 21
Perception 1d20 ⇒ 4
Knowledge Local 1d20 ⇒ 19


Darcy wrote:
One of my countrymen,' he explains, 'devoted to me in his way, I suppose, but his is a tragic tale... he was kicked in the head by a unicorn as a small child, never fully recovered... gets so confused sometimes - it's usually best to just humour him if he starts spouting nonsense...'

The nobles, all having family like that, all nod with sympathy.

Eros wrote:
He stumbles around until he bumps into Darcy. At which time he splashes most of his beer in Darcy's face. The beer quickly soaks into his clothes and drips off of his face.

The assembled nobles all look scandalized and mutter things like "Cad" and "How rude." The ladies and a couple of passing succubi/waitress all take handkerchiefs and bar towels to try to vigorously wipe up the spreading stains (especially Sennetta, who is very concered with Darcy's pants).

Eros wrote:
you need to know that he contracted herpes from a horse when we were boys that one evening when we broke into the stables. I came away with a new horse and cream puff lost his virginity all in the same night!!

The women all back off Darcy suddenly except for Lady Tabithi, who doesn't believe it, and Lady Sidara, who doesn't care. Sennetta, shocked, is dragged off by her mother. Lord Afflon mutters "I knew it!" This particular party is over and the nobles wander off.

You all see 4-5 bouncers winding their way through the crowd towards Eros and Darcy, professional mayhem in their eyes.


Those looking for Saul Vancaskerkin do not see him at the moment.

Zane:

You notice a drunk spilling a glass of beer on a noble off to the left. A local priest looking up at something ahead of you; and one of the Cyphermage students clearly with more time on his hands than he should with a look on his face that says that he is more intelligent than anyone here so he's going to win it all. A volatile combination.


Male Half-Elf Ranger Level 2

Eros quickly paints a look of calm civility on his face while he awaits the arrival of the bouncers. He also tries his best to project an aura of confidence as if everything is proceeding according to plan.


Male Half-elf Bard 2
Quote:
The women all back off Darcy suddenly except for Lady Tabithi, who doesn't believe it, and Lady Sidara, who doesn't care. Sennetta, shocked, is dragged off by her mother. Lord Afflon mutters "I knew it!" This particular party is over and the nobles wander off.

Uh? So Eros' Bluff of 17 beat Darcy's counter Bluff of 20? Unless the idea of Darcy getting a STD off an animal is a lot easier to believe to these people than the idea that Eros 'spouts nonsense' that doesn't seem possible... and if their opinion of Darcy was that low to start with, how come they even talked to him at all?

Totally confused by the bizzare reactions of his noble friends to Eros' obvious nonsense, Darcy scans the surrounding crowd for any sign of someone using magic... the only explaination he can think of...


Male Human Wizard 4

Zane shakes his head at the goings on and calls to a waitress, careful to ensure that his admiration for her barely dressed form, while clear, is hands free.


Male Half-Elf Ranger Level 2

Maybe most of the nobles did a full retreat not because they believed my ridiculous story, but because they suspect that violence may erupt at any moment between Eros and Darcy.


Male Human Wizard 4

That's as good a reason as any to walk away. Can't have blood spilled on one's new silk doublet after all. Stupid nobles,


Apologies if I was unclear.

Sense Motive DC12:

_You sense that the Noble Lords are somewhat allergic to violence,
which is what promises to occur with the large looking bumpkin
assaulting an aquaintence with bouncers closing in.
_The succubus barmaids left so that they didn't get caught up
in whatever is between Darcy and Eros and the bouncers, and
maybe get fired to boot.
_As to what motivated Lady Mehande into leaving, dragging
her daughter, you have no idea.

Sense Motive DC16:

There is something unnatural about Lady Mehande into leaving, dragging
her daughter behind her. She always loved Darcy's works. An
enchantment of some kind?

Perception DC14:

Off in the background you see a dark haired female bard waggling her fingers at Darcy in a most insulting manner before disappearing into the crowd.

Darcy:

Off in the background you see Aliandra smirking and giving an insulting wave at you; then walking off into the crowd. That weasly Bard DID something...


But before the riot can properly break out, the house lights darken and you realize that the windows show that the sun has set.

All eyes are drawn to the center of the gaming floor as several gamehall employees enter, carrying torches shaped like pitchforks skewering burning heads made of straw and cloth to light several large braziers, giving the hall a more infernal hue.

A hush falls over the gathered crowd as a short man climbs to the central podium, accompanied by two gorgeous “succubi,” and stands before the gold, chain-shrouded chest there with a demoness on either side. He wears a formal suit, and his thinning black hair is slicked back. His left arm ends in a stump just above the wrist, and affixed to it is a bronze cap from which protrudes an oddly shaped key.

Knowledge Local DC12:

This is Saul Vancaskerkin, the owner of the Gold Goblin and the host of the tournament.

After the man situates himself, he bows before the crowd and clears his throat before speaking.

“Welcome, one and all, to the Gold Goblin Gambling Hall and your chance to cheat the Devil and win back not only your soul but all of his gold as well.” He says this last as he pats the large chest before which he stands. “I hope you found your reception by the Devil’s lovely temptresses suitably entertaining.”

This is met by a general murmur of laughter and a few catcalls. “Let’s take this moment to thank Old Scratch himself for attending this event. Not only did he loan us these lovely, dark angels, but he also emptied the deepest vaults of Hell itself to provide the gold for this tournament.”

At the sudden attention, Old Scratch (apparently referring to the creature in the cage) flies into a flurry of rage, banging the cage bars, spitting, howling, and screaming vile epithets in a strange tongue at all assembled.

Language: Infernal or Linguistics DC16:
Some of the filthiest and most vile swearing you’ve ever heard. And you really wish you hadn’t learned it now…

His theatrics are received with guffaws and even a smattering of applause. As the crowd dies down, the man continues.
“Of course, he plans on replacing what he loses in gold with the souls of those of you who don’t win. The tournament rules are quite simple—as you play, you’ll earn more chips. And with those chips, you’ll be able to bribe your way out of the current Hell you’re trapped in, working your way down deeper until you get to Old Scratch’s treasury.
Currently, all of you are Old Scratch’s prisoners in the first of the Hells, Avernus. If you want to work your way down to the ninth circle, you need to win games. Each time you win, you’ll be awarded a golden eye. If you come in second, you’ll get a silver tooth. And third place wins a copper heart. These bits of flesh and bone are what the devils use in Hell for currency, and they’re what you’ll need to pay in order to bribe your way into the next layer of hell. The first player to win a game after reaching Nessus not only keeps his winnings for that game, but also earns back his soul and the ten thousand silver coins that the Devil put up for this tournament. You can, of course, decide to cash out your winnings at any time you want, but if you do, or if you run out of money entirely… well, that means Old Scratch gets you.”
The man grins evilly and the caged imp cuts loose with another profane tirade.

“And that earns you the Devil’s Mark and an escort out of the game hall until the tournament is over. What, you ask, exactly is this Devil’s Mark? Well, it’s something too utterly horrible to even contemplate. The forfeiture of your very soul, it is. But I suppose I can show you what it is—gods know I more than deserve the Devil’s Mark. In fact, better make it two, girls!”

With that, the two succubi accompanying him lean over and each firmly plants a kiss on Saul’s cheek with her ruby-red lips. When they pull away, their lip rouge has left clearly visible prints in the same shocking red on his cheeks.

The man beams as he cries out, “The Devil’s Mark, everyone!” which is greeted by a flurry of shouts, catcalls, and hoots. “Now, let’s cheat the Devil and take his gold!” which prompts one more rabid flurry from the imprisoned fiend above, and with that, the tournament begins.

For anyone that wants to sign up for the tournament::

The following "contract" is handed to you when you sign up:
I,__________________, do hereby sacrifice my immortal soul and the worldly sum of 10 pieces of silver to the Devil to hold in escrow against his own stake of 10,000 silver coins in the gambling tournament being held at the Gold Goblin Gambling Hall of Riddleport on this Oathday, 14th day of Arodus, 4708 ar.
I understand that my soul will be placed on deposit in the Hells’ deepest pit of Nessus. Furthermore, I understand that all winnings shall be catalogued in concordance of souls, to be represented by teeth, eyes, and hearts of the damned. By participating in the gambling tournament and beginning in the first pit of Avernus, my winnings shall earn my way deeper through the Hells on the following schedule:
Dis—1 gold eye
Erebus—3 gold eyes and a Badge of Dis
Phlegethon—5 gold eyes and a Badge of Erebus
Stygia—10 gold eyes and a Badge of Phlegethon
Malebolge—25 gold eyes and a Badge of Stygia
Cocytus—50 gold eyes and a Badge of Malbolge
Caina—75 gold eyes and a Badge of Cocytus
Nessus—100 gold eyes and a Badge of Caina
I understand that if I should lose my stake in the tournament I shall receive the Devil’s Mark and my soul shall be cast upon the rocks on the shore of the River Styx. I understand that if I elect to cash in my winnings before reaching the pit of Nessus I shall forfeit my soul and 50% of the cash value of my winnings for said early departure. If I am the first player to reach Nessus, then I am granted the redemption of my soul and the right to Cheat the Devil and Take his Gold in addition to collecting my winnings. In such a circumstance, all other players shall receive the Devil’s Mark and forfeit their souls. This is I do swear.
Witnessed by: --Old Scratch

Essentially, as the contract above states, to move to the next phase of the tournament, you have to pay the above amounts. Each badge costs one gold eye (i.e. a chip that costs one gold piece). As soon as you can afford it, you can pay for the badge and then entrance fee to the next "level."

If you cash out your chips, or if you go broke, you are "marked" and escorted out of the gambling house.

When you sign up, let me know how many "chips" you are buying, and I'll keep track of them. You have to buy chips and wager them before you can bet (in other words, you cannot bet actual gold pieces, you have to buy chips first, then gamble).

Gold eyes cost, and are equal to, 1 gold piece (and if you leave the tournament early, are worth 5 sp to cash out).

Silver teeth cost, and are equal to, 1 silver piece (and if you leave early, are with 5 cp)

Copper hearts cost, and are equal to, 1 copper piece (and if you leave early, are only worth 1/2 of a copper piece, and a single copper heart cannot be cashed in).

All of the games work the same way, utilizing a profession (gambling) check, but there are various games, described below, that are running at the gambling hall.

The game descriptions:

Bounder: Bounder is a dice game played against the dealer, using multiple dice, with the dealer rolling standard dice, and the players rolling 20 sided dice to beat his score.

Goulette: This is an odd game that is essentially roulette, but with a twist. There is an animated head that ridicules the players as they place their bets and comments on them and picks up on personal traits as the game goes on.

Golem: This is a fairly standard card game played against the other players as well as a "golem" hand that works against everyone.

Skiffs: This is an old halfling game that involves picking out racing boats from a bowl and choosing various boxes and advancing the skiffs until there is a winner.


Male Half-elf Bard 2

Sense Motive
1d20 ⇒ 8
1d20 ⇒ 1

Perception
1d20 ⇒ 6

Knowledge (local)
1d20 + 7 ⇒ (19) + 7 = 26

'Sorry, Eros,' quips Darcy, backing away from his childhood tormentor, 'but I have no time to fight a battle of wits with an unarmed man.'

Scowling at Eros he then announces in a loud voice,

'No! Of course I won't help you assassinate Lord Afflon! What sort of a monster are you to even suggest such a thing!'

Versatile Performance, Perform (comedy) for Bluff
1d20 + 12 ⇒ (13) + 12 = 25

Scooting away from Eros while he can, Darcy then looks for Aliandra and casts a quick cantrip: a Ghost Sound of a good, long (12 seconds) fart (as loud as eight humans shouting) coming from the rival bard's location.

Finally, once the host has finished his talk, Darcy will vault to the stage and start to sing,

song:
'There's a Riddleport lass with a devilish twist,
Who can kiss with remarkable skill.
From pauper to noble we all want a tryst,
With the girl named Lavender Lil.

Our Lil has those eyes of a lavender hue,
Fair skin and raven black hair.
When she passes by the boys all they can do,
Is dream about stripping her bare.

Now Lil has two horns of the devilish kind,
And a long tail with which she can tease.
With sweet words and soft touch your soul she will bind,
And your body she'll thoroughly please.'

Perform (sing)
1d20 + 8 ⇒ (17) + 8 = 25


Male Half-Elf Ranger Level 2

First of all I will attempt to understand the reactions of the nobles and to spot the interplay between Darcy and Aliandra. If any of the nobles or Aliandra are elves, then they are my favored enemies. Therefore I am entitled to a +2 bonus to perception and sense motive checks against them. These bonuses are not added into my roles since I dont know if they apply.

Sense Motive: 1d20 ⇒ 19
Sense Motive: 1d20 ⇒ 10
Perception: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (2) + 6 = 8

Quote:
'Sorry, Eros,' quips Darcy, backing away from his childhood tormentor, 'but I have no time to fight a battle of wits with an unarmed man.'
Pathfinder Core Rulebook, Intimidate skill wrote:
You can Intimidate to force an opponent to act friendly toward you for 1d6x10 minutes with a successful check. The DC of this check = 10 + Hit Dice + Wis Modifier. If successful the target gives you the information you desire, takes actions that do not endanger it or otherwise offers limited assistance

.

Eros speaks only loud enough for Darcy to hear him, and he proclaims:"George! you will verbally defend me against the bouncers, or I will beat you like the little girl that you are!"

Intimidate: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (14) + 5 = 19

DC to Intimidate Darcy = 10 + 2 = 12, which means that Darcy will probably not shout the bit about assassinating Lord Afflon since he is now offering limited assistance for: 1d6 ⇒ 2x10 or 20 minutes.

It says that it takes 1 minute to intimidate, but i probably have a minute since Saul is giving a speech and the bouncers havn't made it here yet. The bouncers will probably not interrupt saul's speech and cause a big scene just so they can take me down.


Male Human (Varisian) Inquisitor 2

Sense Motive1d20 + 8 ⇒ (12) + 8 = 20, Perception1d20 + 7 ⇒ (7) + 7 = 14

Alexandu is inwardly disgusted by this flaunting of devils in a place devoted to luck. "Heretics" he mutters under his breath. "Everyone knows that devils cheat. Nothing to do with luck there." Still the half-elf's song brings a smile to his lips and he watches the altercation closely.


Male Dwarf Rogue* 2

Sense Motive 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (7) + 7 = 14
Perception 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (10) + 8 = 18

Bor sits on his bar stool sipping his ale taking in the "festivities" with the nobles.."Humans...ha!...this day may just get even more interesting" he says aloud to himself and anyone listening.


Male Half-Elf Ranger Level 2

Darcy informs me that pc's cannot initimidate and bluff each other, and I think that he is quite correct. Therefore I will change Eros' actions.

Eros realizes that the treat of violence and flimsy fabrications will serve him no longer. Eros thinks it is time to go.

Note to self: Demoralize cream puff later. I have a feeling there will be ample opportunity in the near future.

Eros crouches down, and attempts to slip into the crowd using others that are bigger and bulkier as cover. Preferably some dumb farmer picking his nose or some fat noble sticking their nose in the air will do nicely.

Stealth: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (2) + 4 = 6

If Eros is successful with his stealth, he will try to slink out of the front door unnoticed.


Everybody:

OK, it's at this point that Darcy and Eros have thrown a monkey wrench into the proceedings, but also presents an opportunity.
Is anyone's heart dearly set on joining the tournament and gambling? Or can you forgo the pleasure?


Male Half-Elf Ranger Level 2

Should the 4-5 bouncers allow Eros to live, he is willing to front 50gp to someone in the group who has a good wisdom bonus. That money is to be used to gamble in the tournament. Since Eros is willing to part with the money, he will stand by the side of any volunteer and act as a second pair of eyes and as a personal bodyguard.

Hopefully this will move things along.


Male Human Cleric 3

Catching up on a sudden spate of activity...
Sense Motive: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (4) + 8 = 12
Perception: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (3) + 4 = 7

Maelorn will scowl at the contract, muttering "to even joke of such things...foolishness, pure foolishness."
needless to say, Maelorn has no intent of entering the tournament

Maelorn closes his eyes, takes a moment, and relaxes, "foolishness, yes, but Riddleport's particular brand of foolishness. Likely harmless. Still, I'd better warn the owner."

Much calmer now, Maelorn will mingle, doing his best to move closer to the man he presumes to be Saul, so that he can talk to him.


Male Human (Varisian) Inquisitor 2

Alexandu came here to enter the tournament but all the talk of devils has put him off. He'll do what it takes to blend in, though, trying to get a grip on what's going on.


Male Human Wizard 4

Noting the ridiculous commotion and the oncoming thugs Zane prepares to be entertained


Darcy wrote:


Scowling at Eros he then announces in a loud voice,
'No! Of course I won't help you assassinate Lord Afflon! What sort of a monster are you to even suggest such a thing!'

In the crowd you can hear Lord Afflon; "Assassin? Seize him!"

The bouncers close in on Eros, who tries to slide out of the way unnoticed, but fails miserably as the bouncers lay hands on him and start to hustle him towards the entrance.

Darcy wrote:


Darcy then looks for Aliandra and casts a quick cantrip: a Ghost Sound of a good, long (12 seconds) fart (as loud as eight humans shouting) coming from the rival bard's location.

You hear a shriek of humiliation from a familiar rivals voice and the stifled snickering of bystanders.

Darcy wrote:


Darcy will vault to the stage and start to sing,

You receive laughter and applause from the gamblers who have rushed to sign their souls away for the tournament.

Maelorn wrote:


Maelorn will mingle, doing his best to move closer to the man he presumes to be Saul, so that he can talk to him.

You can see Master Vancaskerkin go through a heavy door with a number of empty token trays, presumably to get more for the gaming tables.


Male Human Wizard 4

Zane erupts into laughter, granted a much better show than he was expecting.


You hear the clatter of someone dropping a clatter of chips on the floor.

Perception DC10:

You see a suspicious pattern of movement/behavior in the crowd.

If you make the Perception check,

Sense Motive DC15:

You see a number of people in the crowd who have stopped moving and have shut their eyes. You automatically save vs the blindness and may act in the surprise round.

Abruptly, the large sconces shedding a lurid red light over the gaming hall explode in a flashing, fiery, momentary burst of glowing, colored aerial lights. Will save DC14 to avoid being blinded. If you fail you are blinded 1 round.

Immediately following you hear a magically amplified voice.
"All right, folks! Drop to the ground and don't try anything stupid and we might let you live!"

Darcy or Knowledge (Arcana) DC15:

Whoever it is that's shouting is using a Bard's supernatural Inspire Courage ability.

Eros:

At this point you hear a clattering hissing sound as a smoking bottle skitters to the feet of the bouncers holding you. They let you go and turn around right when the light burst goes off. They start screaming about being blinded and staggering around.

Spellcraft DC15:

The flashing lights are the work of two Widened Pyrotechnics spells.


Male Human Cleric 3

Perception: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (17) + 4 = 21...Success!
Sense Motive: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (19) + 8 = 27
Spellcraft: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (19) + 5 = 24

Luckily noticing several patrons closing their eyes, Maelorn does the same, avoiding the worst of the effects of the flash. Unsure that he has identified all of the attackers, he begins to pray.

Casting: DC16 Spellcraft:
Shield of Faith

Surrounded now by a shimmering field of light, Maelorn clears his throat, "This is unwise. You are outnumbered here. Stand down and we can avoid bloodshed."

I'm assuming there won't be enough interaction time for a Diplomacy Check, as I expect the fewmets to strike the windmill momentarily :)


Male Human (Varisian) Inquisitor 2

Perception 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (18) + 7 = 25 Sense Motive 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (3) + 8 = 11 Knowledge (arcana)1d20 + 5 ⇒ (10) + 5 = 15 Will save 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (6) + 5 = 11

Temporarily blinded, Alexandu ducks under a table to try to assess the situation as he desperately tries to blink away the spots that swirl before his eyes.


Male Half-Elf Ranger Level 2

Perception:1d20 + 6 ⇒ (13) + 6 = 19
Sense Motive:1d20 ⇒ 11
Will Save: 1d20 ⇒ 10

Since I am blinded and unable to act in the surprise round, I do nothing. Although in a few seconds from now I will realize that something unsavory is a foot.


Male Half-elf Bard 2

Perception 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (7) + 2 = 9 (even remembered the racial bonus that time!)
Sense Motive 1d20 ⇒ 16
Will Save 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (12) + 3 = 15

Resisting the blinding light, Darcy frowns as he mutters,

'Really! Interupting my performance like that... some people don't appreciate good music I guess...'

Quote:
"This is unwise. You are outnumbered here. Stand down and we can avoid bloodshed."

'He's right,' pipes up Darcy, 'the gendarmes are moments away: cease this foolish assault and you can avoid being pigmeat in an earth bath!'

Bluff 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (6) + 12 = 18


Male Dwarf Rogue* 2

Perception 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (12) + 8 = 20
Sense Motive 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (11) + 7 = 18 automatic save vs. blindness

Whhhoooa! I don't think that was part of the show. laughs Bor, shielding his eyes, as he quietly draws his crossbow.

Stealth 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (11) + 7 = 18


Male Human Wizard 4

Knowledge Arcana1d20 + 8 ⇒ (5) + 8 = 13
Spellcraft 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (19) + 9 = 28
Perception 1d20 ⇒ 9

In staring into the spell being cast, Zane recognizes the pyrotechnic effect a moment before the light blinds him.

Will save 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (1) + 3 = 4


THE GOLD GOBLIN JOB

First a description of your surroundings.

The casino floor is a wide room carpeted in rich red that has been recently patched in many places. Spread througout the chamber are tables where different games are run.

Silken banners hang from floor to ceiling along the walls, and wide vertical blinds are drawn over the windows when morning light begins to peer in from the east. The chamber has a ceiling 20 feet above, draped in layers of horizontally hung, gauzy beige curtains. Light is provided by numerous chandeliers hanging below the ceiling as well as several large copper braziers spaced around the room with live coals to give the chamber a more hellish light for the tournament. At the back of the chamber between the kitchen doors is a small dais bearing a bust of Desna, goddess of luck.

CLICK for tactical map south side.

CLICK for tactical map north side.

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