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DM Flykiller's Council of Thieves

Game Master flykiller


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You emerge outside roughly 200 yards from the stoneworks, which are indeed being headed by a Hellknight - apparently your group is still somewhere on their priority list. Quietly you make your way back to the base, mulling over the events of the day.
Inside, you're greeted by Janiven, Arael, and some of the Children, notably Tarvi, who blushes at the sight of Ferrucio.
"Back at last! We were worried to death! Are you all right? Professor Westone, you look hurt! Have you encountered the Bastards?"
You sit with the others for a warm dinner, which feels long overdue, and the fatigue from a day of adventuring quickly overwhelms you. But you still have to decide your plans for tomorrow...
Feel free to talk between yourselves and chat with NPCs if you like. You still have two sidequests to pursue, the book-thieving bandits and the band of goblins. Each one of them would get you to level 2 and allow to go for the Bastards proper, if you like. You have over 1800xp each and are due for the third upgrade. Let me know when you're ready to advance the time.


Male Half-Orc Cleric of Shelyn 1.75[ABD] (hp 16/16; AC 17/10/17; F: +6; R: +2, W; +8)

Once safely back at the compound, Dracius will invite Dario to the small infirmary, where he will use half of his remaining channels to heal him (and any of the other Children who may be injured).

Channel #1: 1d6 ⇒ 4
Channel #2: 1d6 ⇒ 6
Channel #3: 1d6 ⇒ 5


Male Half-Elf Archaeologist Bard 2 [15/15hp | AC: 18/13/15 | F+2 R+7 W+4 (+2 vs enchant) | Init +5 | low-light vision; Per +7, SM +4]

"Right as rain now. Thank you, Dracius." He returns to a chair and lounges back in it. "We did, though only Bishop and Illithia can tell us exactly what happened. For some reason, we did not make friends."

"We did, however, give as good as we got. And we have these to show for it." Dario opens his pack and begins pulling out the various items the collected. In particular, he tosses the spellbook he took off the tiefling to Ferrucio for him to examine. Dario lays the rest of the items out on the table and then opens the journal to read it.

I think the complete list is:
Thin spellbook
Flask of Holy Water (Dracius took it back, right?)
Spell component pouch
Dagger
Two gold rings with empty sockets
MW Cold Iron Sickle
MW silver dagger
inkwell
quill
journal
spellbook
half-empty purse


male human conjurer 1/spy 0ACD

On the way back, Ferrucio will make Perception checks to ensure they are not being followed.

Perception: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (11) + 7 = 18

After accepting Dracius's healing, Ferrucio too returns to the common room, albeit lamenting the bloodstain on his trousers.

Ferrucio blushes in turn as he notices Tarvi's attention, although he tries to cover his reaction. When Dario throws the spellbook across to him, Ferrucio catches it and opens it, perusing its contents and absentmindedly heading to an armchair to read through it in detail--before he thinks better of it, and beckons to Tarvi.

Why don't you come and take a look at this with me? he says, heading instead to a couch in another corner of the room. If you're going to carry on studying magic, you'll need to learn how to read spells written in all sorts of styles.

Knowledge (arcana) or Spellcraft check to support lesson: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (18) + 9 = 27; attempt to teach her read magic

###

In conversation with Arael and Janiven:

Ferrucio relates what he knows. The Bastards are based in an abandoned temple in the Rego Cader. They have guards, and a watch, based in the belltower. I'm not sure how often they rotate the watch or the guards; I wasn't there long enough to observe that. If we go back during the day, we'll be attacking in broad daylight. If we go back at night, we will be at a disadvantage against the tieflings' darkvision, but their own sight will be reduced as well.

I did manage to discover, however, that they have additional entrances beyond the front door: there are four other entrances around the rear of the temple, through a carpenter, a tailor, a shoemaker, and a woodcarver. All the shops are abandoned, by the look of them, and one was boarded up--if we were able to get in quietly we might be able to avoid any guards.

As I was shadowing the thugs that attacked us on the way back, I heard one of them mention two names: Palaveen, and Sheila. Does anyone know who these might be? It sounded like Palaveen was some sort of devotee of Asmodeus, from the conversation.

Sense Motive DC 30:

Ferrucio's Bluff: 1d20 + 10 + 1 ⇒ (19) + 10 + 1 = 30
Ferrucio's assertions make sense--but he is glossing over things more than usual. Perhaps he has something to hide?

###

In discussions with the others about what to do tomorrow:

Ferrucio suggests that the best course of action might be to revisit the scroll seller, and see what additional information they can get about the banditry going on outside town. If they leave the city, though, he will insist that the remaining Children set up a proper set of watches and have people on guard all the time. It's unlikely that they were followed back to the hideout, but just in case, it's best to be prepared.


Pistolero 6/Martial Artist 2 Init: +6 Perception: +14 HP: 68/68 AC: 24/24/17 Fort:+12 Ref: +14 Will:+10 Grit 5/5

"Well I can tell ya, they pack a punch, literally. I think Sheila is the woman we talked to. She didn't take a shine to Illithia. Though she seemed to like me. Speaking of which, what happened while I was out?"


Male Half-Elf Archaeologist Bard 2 [15/15hp | AC: 18/13/15 | F+2 R+7 W+4 (+2 vs enchant) | Init +5 | low-light vision; Per +7, SM +4]

Dario looks up from the journal to see Ferrucio beginning to show Tarvi the basics of how to read magic. "Hey Tarvi, you'll be needing this soon too." He tosses the spell component pouch to her. "That's filled with little odd and ends we use when casting spells. You won't need it for what he's teaching you now, but pretty soon it becomes vital." He gives her a wink.

Then the Professor returns to his study of the journal and the second spellbook.


Male Half-Orc Cleric of Shelyn 1.75[ABD] (hp 16/16; AC 17/10/17; F: +6; R: +2, W; +8)

I did reclaim it, yes.


HP 18/18 (AC18/To11/FF17) Female Half-Elf Paladin of Shelyn 1.50AD

Nice bluff there Ferrucio :P, can't make that check.

"I had hoped the Bastards could be convinced that there was another way for them to live..." Illithia sounds despondent in light of the failure of diplomacy. "Maybe that one we spoke with will... go another path. Maybe he will take a few of his fellows too. It's the best we can hope for."

Illithia's lips are pursed as she listens to Ferrucio give the details of his shadowing. "They blame the Hellknights and the Dottari for their position, yet they are led by one who's interest aligns with House Thrune. Sad irony."

"Before we think about attacking the Bastards, we should look for other... less violent ways to improve the situation in Westcrown."


Pistolero 6/Martial Artist 2 Init: +6 Perception: +14 HP: 68/68 AC: 24/24/17 Fort:+12 Ref: +14 Will:+10 Grit 5/5

"Where do we start?"

Is no one going to answer Bishop's question about the events while he was unconscious?


Male Half-Elf Archaeologist Bard 2 [15/15hp | AC: 18/13/15 | F+2 R+7 W+4 (+2 vs enchant) | Init +5 | low-light vision; Per +7, SM +4]

"Not that much to tell, Bishop. Ferrucio and I wowed them with our magical prowess and Illithia showed the last one the end of her glaive. When Dracius healed you and woke you up is when we grabbed one of them to question. But that Bastard packed quite a punch, didn't he?"

"Either one, really. I wouldn't mind gaining some goodwill with the shopkeepers who deal in magical trinkets. But goblins are vile little creatures and it would be pretty satisfying to help clear them out too." Dario seems excited at both prospects. You realize his two halves are opposed in this. The academic professor would rather liberate the items stolen by the bandits, hoping to find something for himself too. The good-hearted free-spirit would rather see the poor quarter cleaned up and senses some fun in it.


Pistolero 6/Martial Artist 2 Init: +6 Perception: +14 HP: 68/68 AC: 24/24/17 Fort:+12 Ref: +14 Will:+10 Grit 5/5

"I wasn't bein' metaphorical when I said it, that's for sure." So she killed someone else. For me?" Bishop looks over to her and gives a nod as acknowledgement. "Whatever we decided to do, let's get drinks. My treat."


The game seems to get better every day I stay out of it :D Do you guys need me at all? Sorry I'm now swamped at work too, so didn't manage to post the journal contents before the mood got too cheerful. I'll spoiler it, then.

Dario's journal:

Dario find the journal to be a grim and mortifying read, since it's actually a diary of the possessed doll's creator. Ignatio Cornelius was a powerful and wealthy alchemist and a retired adventurer. While he settled down and had a family, he never completely let go of his former occupation, and conducted experiments in his house, often assisting the local Pathfinder lodge in Delvehaven.
Unfortunately for him, due to the profusion of the alchemical fumes in his house, when his wife became pregnant, the diviners told him that the child will be born with deformities, and the mother is unlikely to survive the event. The following pages show signs of Ignatio’s mind slowly shattering as he spends great money and effort in finding a cure that does not exist. Near the end, he mentions that it’s time for him to call on a favor from and old acquaintance of his among the Pathfinders, who has recently returned from an expedition to the Mwangi Expanse.
The remains of the journal contains little text, mostly in form of incoherent scribblings, but instead is full of arcane symbols and formulas detailing a ritual which could trap a newborn soul in a doll’s body, thus giving it a semblance of life. Apparently the ritual was only a partial success and resulted in the doll accepting part of mother’s soul and part of the daughter’s soul. The final page reads:
”I knew that the porcelain maker did not trust me, but I was too busy with the preparations I had to make to notice him eavesdropping on my house... Now he’s brought an angry mob to lynch me. They call me a child-killer and a necromancer, the fools! What can they possibly know! I may have lost everything except my love, but I will defend it to the last breath, for I have nothing else to live for. I will show them the true power of my love, and it will destroy them to ashes.”


Male Half-Orc Cleric of Shelyn 1.75[ABD] (hp 16/16; AC 17/10/17; F: +6; R: +2, W; +8)

Dracius nods at Illithia's comments, "We can hope that he might open his eyes to more than an ugly life."

He sits back for a moment to allow Dario to tell the tale, then nods again, "They are ugly, vile little creatures -- and I have some fear about who or what may have led them here. Though, I do think that removing them would also win us some goodwill of a large group of people who have little trust or faith in the Hellknights or the pretty much anyone else... and while they may not be the proprietors of magic shop, I will say at least a few of them deal in information."

He turns to Illithia and adds, "It may not be less violent, though goblins are usually evil by nature and not by choice, and likely eating innocent folk... and it should help win at least a few hearts and minds."

He then stands and says, "However, I do like the idea of planning over a glass of wine or a tankard."


Pistolero 6/Martial Artist 2 Init: +6 Perception: +14 HP: 68/68 AC: 24/24/17 Fort:+12 Ref: +14 Will:+10 Grit 5/5

"Or three."


male human conjurer 1/spy 0ACD
Illithia wrote:
Nice bluff there Ferrucio :P, can't make that check.

Mwahahahaha... But like I said earlier, wait until I have to roll a stabilisation check. Then my crazy rolling will desert me and Ferrucio will die on the cobbles of Westcrown's streets, alone, never having known true love... ; )

###

Note: I am assuming that the conversation below takes place either with only party members present, or only with Janiven & Arael in addition to the party members. Ferrucio does not want to scare the horses. At least, not yet.

Illithia wrote:

"I had hoped the Bastards could be convinced that there was another way for them to live..." Illithia sounds despondent in light of the failure of diplomacy. "Maybe that one we spoke with will... go another path. Maybe he will take a few of his fellows too. It's the best we can hope for."

Illithia's lips are pursed as she listens to Ferrucio give the details of his shadowing. "They blame the Hellknights and the Dottari for their position, yet they are led by one who's interest aligns with House Thrune. Sad irony."

"Before we think about attacking the Bastards, we should look for other... less violent ways to improve the situation in Westcrown."

Ferrucio licks his lips before speaking, trying to choose his words carefully.

Illithia, I know you prefer to avoid violence--I wish I could see what you see, to believe there is good in everyone. But...

He chews his lip.

Look, let me put it this way. Let's say you have a close friend--someone you respect and admire, who has always been there for you over the years, and who you trust with your life. One day, you discover that friend is using pesh. Over the following months, this friend becomes increasingly paranoid, increasingly violent, and increasingly emotionally unstable as the addiction takes them. They lose all sense of perspective to the drug--until eventually one day, you find yourself facing each other, your friend's weapon at your throat as they threaten your life.

At what point in that sad sequence of events do you intervene in your friend's downward spiral? When do you stand firm, say 'enough is enough', and demand that they change? This friend of yours is destroying everything they once loved with their addiction.

At some point, a direct intervention becomes necessary. At some point, you have to take your friend, slap them in the face, and tell them that you have had enough--that you will no longer allow them to harm themselves and others.

I believe the same is true with Westcrown. Ferrucio gets up, and begins to pace. The withdrawal of House Thrune nearly seventy years ago crippled this once-great city. It used to be known as the City of Nine Stars--did you know that? Now it's known as the City of Twilight, and its people are too frightened to go out after curfew, afraid some shadow-creature will take them in the night. He stops momentarily in his pacing and shivers, as he remembers their own encounter with the shadow creatures, but there is a fire in his eyes that none of you have seen before. He resumes his soliloquy, his voice forceful as he makes his key point.

A city that is so far steeped in misery and decay needs more than just a pat on the back and a reassurance that things will be all right. It needs decisive action--something that can't be ignored. It needs a slap in the face.

Ferrucio stops his manic oratory for a moment, surveying his audience. He drops the pitch of his voice, making everyone strain to hear his words.

I don't believe we can afford to take the noble path on this one. Neither in terms of being able to achieve our goal of bringing change to Westcrown, nor in terms of our own lives. Bishop's narrow escape from Pharasma's embrace has made that clear to me, at least.

While we can deal with these bandits and the goblins separately, I don't see how we can offer any quarter to the Bastards. As an organisation, they are a blight on the city, dead flesh that must be excised for the good of the body. There are no opportunities in this city for tieflings, and we are too limited in our resources to take them in. Leaving too many of them alive would only promote resentment--and from that resentment will stem anger, hatred, and more dissent and chaos.

Which is not to say we can't change the social fabric of this city as well--but to do so we will need to do more than take down the Bastards, or these goblins, or the bandits preying on merchants outside the city. I am reminded of an adage from my days at the Academy--'A summoned imp serves only minutes. A bound imp serves a lifetime.'

If we are to create real change, we need to consider what happens to the survivors of our war as well as the victors. We need to support the revitalisation of the Rego Cader. We need to find allies who don't see tieflings--who could be a great source of labour and skills for this city--as second-class citizens. We need to find a means to engage the city's citizens rather than alienate them.

And we need to do all of that without bringing the Order of the Rack or House Thrune down on our heads.

Ferrucio pauses.

None of this is going to resolve itself immediately. But we do need to decide how we intend to deal with the Bastards. Are we going to give them an opportunity to repent, or have they lost that right? I don't speak of individuals--anyone can turn over a new leaf given sufficient incentive. I speak of the organisation as a whole. Because if we really intend to offer them a chance to change, then we are obligated to inform them that we are coming--and in doing so we will lose any element of surprise we might retain.

We can talk about how we deal with the survivors if and when we have some. But if we believe in our vision for Westcrown, then we owe it to the city to do whatever it takes to survive--and that may very well mean killing every last Bastard we find in that temple.

Sometimes, it's kill or be killed. I know which I'd prefer.

Ferrucio sits down again, seemingly exhausted.

Perform (oratory) check: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (20) + 2 = 22

(All right, this is getting ludicrous now.)


Dracius:

When searching the doll room, you also found a pearl necklace. Have you decided to keep it to yourself, or just forgotten it?

The spellbook you took from the tiefling contains mostly cantrips, but rummaging through the pages you can find several of the more powerful spells:
4d47 ⇒ (28, 43, 43, 40) = 154
1d47 ⇒ 32
Mirror Strike, Ray of Enfeeblement, Silent Image, Unerring Weapon

The thick spellbook you found in the haunted house does not contain the normal arcane script. Instead, you find obscure diagrams, formulas, allegorical verses and drawings on its yellowish pages, covered with acid scars and minor slag spots where the book was subjected to intense working conditions. Equations, balances, and chemical notations mark the margins of the pages—with some formulae, it is difficult to tell where the notes end and the formula begins. Try as you might, no one of you can decipher anything usable from it.

The unusual discovery prompts interest from several of the Children, though: A glassblower Amaya says that some of her clients are alchemists and can probably find good use for it. Yakopulio insists with a sly grin, that Amaya's clients are stingy old coots and that she knows people who can pay top crown for something like this. Arael himself takes an interest as he spots some notes on potion-making which he believes he could put into practice.

Finally, as the drinks are proposed, Arael begins to protest:
Arael: "The curfew should be in effect any minute now, so I'm afraid the tavern will have to wait until..."
Yakopulio: "Nonsense, Arael! It's never too late for the Bruised Eel, and you can stay until dawn if you are so afraid of the patrols! Let's go quickly and we can still make it!"
A small uproar erupts, as some of the more sensible (or less sensible as may be in the case of a wannabe druid Vitti) insist on staying and the others insist on going. Finally the majority vote is in favor of the drinks, and most of you leave the church, leaving only the few disciples of sobriety behind.


Pistolero 6/Martial Artist 2 Init: +6 Perception: +14 HP: 68/68 AC: 24/24/17 Fort:+12 Ref: +14 Will:+10 Grit 5/5

"Practicing that speech for a while now?" Bishop jokes. "But in all seriousness, you got a point. We got a long harsh road ahead. We're gonna have to make some difficult choices. I'm all for giving the Bastards a second chance. Everyone deserves one. But if they don't take it, then they become a problem that we have to deal with. So far they haven't made that a likely option."

Bishop will lead the charge into the Bruised Eel as he intends on making good on his offer. "First toast is for our lovely Illithia here. Not only is she a beaut, but she's my hero. To Illithia!" He raises one of his mugs.


Male Half-Elf Archaeologist Bard 2 [15/15hp | AC: 18/13/15 | F+2 R+7 W+4 (+2 vs enchant) | Init +5 | low-light vision; Per +7, SM +4]

"This is like being in the mind of a madman." Dario tosses the journal away, and then he points to the 'spellbook'. "And this is proof of it. That evil doll was somehow the captured souls of his daughter and wife, trying to keep them forever. Arael, you can have it. Or give it to Yakopulio to sell. It's worthless drivel to me." He roots through the purse to see what it holds.

The Professor follows Bishop to the tavern and asks for some wine. Dario lifts his glass. "Here, Here! Illithia has Shelyn's own blessings. And in more ways that one, my dear." He winks at Illithia. "But you have saved our lives many times already when we get into trouble, as we tend to do." He takes a sip of the wine and from his reaction, it's far from the best vintage.


Arael takes a read from the journal, then puts it aside with an expression of disgust, as if he was holding a snake or a scorpion.
"I don't think such madness needs to persist. I say we burn it." No one seems to object.

Sense Motive DC15:

Yakopulio casts quizzical looks on the journal, as if in doubt about its fate, but hesitates to say anything in front of Arael and the rest.

In conjuction with the thick spellbook, the journal could serve as a golem manual for constructing the dolls. But it would require a crazy enough - or evil enough - spellcaster of considerable power to make one. Being a center of devil worship, Westcrown hardly lacks such spellcasters...

The purse is found to contain 5d8 ⇒ (4, 7, 7, 2, 6) = 26 platinum coins from before the days of Thrune. They have since changed, but a platinum is a platinum. And rumor has it, the Thrune coins are actually less pure than the old ones...


Male Half-Orc Cleric of Shelyn 1.75[ABD] (hp 16/16; AC 17/10/17; F: +6; R: +2, W; +8)

Sorry -- Forgotten. Dracius would assuredly have offered up the pearls when we were looking over our gains.

Dracius watches Ferrucio's speech carefully, his discomfort growing as he bites his lip and remains silent.

Finally, when Ferrucio's words cease, he says in an even tone, "I will not wrap my intent in lovely words, because that beauty is itself distracting, and more, there is a much deeper and elegant beauty in simple truths. You draw parallels and make equivalencies which do not exist, presenting the decision to do things right as a slippery slope to defeat. While I do accept a number of your premises, the conclusions do not necessarily follow.... and, at the end of the day, the simple truth is that if we must become evil to defeat evil, we have done no good, and leave the city as ugly a place as it was we found it... or maybe even uglier, as a result of the bloodshed. Simply, we must do better -- we must be better -- than that."

He takes a sip of his wine and winces, unsure if it's from the acidity or a distaste for the recent conversation.


After a pause, Arael breaks the uneasy silence.
"Your words have merit, signore de Angelis, but I find they lack vision."
Another short pause follows as he gathers his thoughts, then continues.
"We are not engaged in a vendetta with the Bastards of Erebus. The reason behind us dealing with them is completely different. We took an interest to them only after we found that the Hellknights are unable - or unwilling - to deal with them properly.

My dear Illithia had a good point here - they are led by someone who is not that different from the Thrune rulers in their core values. Is it a coincidence? Or is it the missing link to why the Bastards are on such an unprecedented rise lately? Our job is to find that out. Do what the Hellknights were supposed to do better than they do it themselves. But also, do it more efficiently. What we do NOT want to show the people, is that the only way to stop crime is to apply even more violence than the Hellknights already do. We want to show them that restoring order is possible with minimal force, that it's not as hard as the Thrune portray it.

But you are right, master Ferrucio, in that these tieflings will not just repent immediately upon seeing Shelyn's beauty. Unfortunately, it just doesn't happen in the real world. Not while they are led by fear and pain. We must curb that as hard as we can, we must aim ourselves at destroying the driving forces behind this evil, without spreading our efforts thin to stop each and every lowlife thug. When the evil loses direction, it consumes itself. It is my firm belief and it is also what the history of Golarion teaches us."


Male Half-Elf Archaeologist Bard 2 [15/15hp | AC: 18/13/15 | F+2 R+7 W+4 (+2 vs enchant) | Init +5 | low-light vision; Per +7, SM +4]

"A peaceful application of force, Arael? Is the city ready for that? I suppose it doesn't matter. Like you said, we need to show them an alternative to the Hellknights. We need to show them how the city governed itself back when Aroden was alive, when people looked forward to the future and it seemed inevitable things would always be better."

He looks around. "Hard to believe it in this time, but that's what the Westcrown of old thought. Aroden's faith inspired many to build a better future for the city." He sighs. "I don't know if we can ever get back there again. But trying is something worth fighting for. So what do we do, practically, I mean? We take the first punch? We knock them out, tie them up, and leave them for the Hellknights? It's mighty dangerous to assume an enemy if out of the fight just because he's down."


male human conjurer 1/spy 0ACD

Ferrucio frowns.

Perhaps I was not careful enough in choosing my words. If I gave you the impression that I am advocating the wholesale slaughter of the Bastards, I gave the wrong impression, and I apologise.

I am more referring to what Dario brings up--the fact that if we go in against the Bastards pulling our punches, or seeking to save every last soul, we will already be on the back foot. They are organised, they have patrols, they have spellcasters that may rival my own mastery of the arcane[1], they have a priest of the high prince of Hell, and who knows what other abominations they may have trained or co-opted to their cause. If they have had the time and dedication to connect their main hideout in the temple to four other shops, I don't think we can expect an easy fight if and when we confront them in their own domain.

What I'm seeking is an agreement between us about how we approach the Bastards. As far as I'm aware, Illithia is the only one of us who is capable of seeing into the soul of another creature to discern its intentions, but if we have to wait for her say-so every time we are fighting, we may quickly find ourselves overwhelmed. We need to agree how to approach this situation before we get into it.

So let me ask then--are we agreed or not that if we are individually in mortal danger, we strike back with lethal force? If we survive, and if there are wounded Bastards in need of assistance, I say we give it freely. We are not the Hellknights, as Arael points out. But what I want to avoid is a situation where we are overwhelmed and killed by a foe who does not share our compunctions about lethal violence.

As I said, the goblins and the bandits outside the town are a separate matter and we may have this conversation again concerning them--but as far as the Bastards go, do we really want to go in there with one arm tied behind our backs?

I would hope that in the first instance we may each act according to our own conscience. But in the main, Illithia, you are our most potent weapon against the danger and depredations we may face in the Bastards' lair. If you yourself are not fully committed, it puts the rest of us in danger too. I understand it is not an easy decision to make--I have seen what you go through when violence becomes inevitable. But that is why I want to have this conversation now, not when we are facing a half-dozen tieflings who are trying to rip our throats out.

[1]Ha! Good one Ferrucio...at least I finally get to tap into his inflated sense of self-worth. : )

Note: what Ferrucio is getting at here is that the logical extension of Illithia's preference for non-violence is--in game rule terms--to take a -4 on every attack roll so we are always dealing non-lethal damage, and for him to eschew the use of his most powerful spells. He thinks that's a bad idea, and wants a group consensus so that there are no recriminations later about going against what the group wanted.


Arael:"Something that I think everyone needs to keep in mind: The Bastards are not common thieves. While they refrain from wanton bloodshed, they may be doing so only to avoid bringing ruin on themselves. When they must kill, they do so without hesitation. Just recently one of their robberies resulted in a double murder when the unlucky owners woke up to check up on their valuables. Combined with their open display of worshipping archdevil Mammon, and recently discovered guidance by a disciple of Asmodeus, that makes them wholly evil as an organisation. It is reasonably safe to assume that most of their members are evil by nature, especially given their intrinsic connection with the Lower Planes. Their leaders and higher-ups are almost assuredly beyond redemption.
That said, most does not mean all, and if some of them beg for mercy, I say who are we to deny them that. Beheaded, the organisation will surely dissolve and if some of the common members eventually join the other gangs, we can let the official law take care of that. We must step in only where the law is obviously powerless, as in this case."

Janiven raises up. "Illithia, you have already been forced to take lives. If you feel that Shelyn does not take kindly to it, we are not ones to force you to abandon her grace. I can go on this assault instead of you."
Rizzardo immediately springs up. "If Janiven goes, I go too!" he announces resolutely. Janiven, Arael and Ermolos all glare at him and try to dissuade him, but he remains stalwart.


Pistolero 6/Martial Artist 2 Init: +6 Perception: +14 HP: 68/68 AC: 24/24/17 Fort:+12 Ref: +14 Will:+10 Grit 5/5

"Yea, I don't think we can afford to take it easy on these guys. I mean, if they surrender, then I say we let 'em go. Otherwise, we keep fighting. I'm not gonna let 'em take any one of us down for good. And I don't think any of you would want that either. But no matter what we decide, I'm in." Bishop knocks back his drink and wipes his mouth. "And I won't think any less of anyone who wants sit this one out." He looks worriedly at Illithia.


"In any case, assault on the Bastards' lair is not an immediate thing to worry about; you might want to tackle one or two lesser problems first before you feel confident enough to have a chance against them on their own grounds. Have you decided what you are going to do in the nearest days?"


Pistolero 6/Martial Artist 2 Init: +6 Perception: +14 HP: 68/68 AC: 24/24/17 Fort:+12 Ref: +14 Will:+10 Grit 5/5

"I say we go after the bandits."


HP 18/18 (AC18/To11/FF17) Female Half-Elf Paladin of Shelyn 1.50AD

Illithia was holding a glass of wine at the Bruised Eel. Bishop had insisted she have a drink. She wasn't expecting it to be so bitter. She had been mulling over what Ferrucio has said, back at the Temple. She takes another gulp of wine, wincing at the taste, before clearing her throat. "I won't be sitting out. I'm not naive, as much as you might believe. However, it is my belief that every soul in the world can be turned back to the Light. Even Zon'Kuthon himself, twisted as he has become, could be redeemed." (A common belief amid the church of Shelyn: Zon'kuthon was Shelyn's brother before he became twisted.) "However, as long as they harm those around them, they are not bringing beauty into the world. Time is not a luxury we have. Every moment we allow the Bastards and other evil creatures to continue to work, innocents suffer."

Illithia pauses for a moment, taking a sip of wine before continuing. "My oaths preclude me from striking the first blow, this is true. When innocent lives are at stake though, and there is no other way to protect them, and when peaceful solutions have failed, I am compelled to strike out to protect them."

The colour is beginning to rise in Illithia's face, even after only one glass of wine.

"Twice this has happened, my blade has cut a life short in order to protect the innocent. Both Bishop and Arael might not be here. And while I will have the blood of those I've killed on my hands forevermore. If I had not done what I have, I would have the blood of my friends on my hands. So no, you do not need for me to worry that I will... pull my punches when our lives are at stake."

"However, I will not condone the slaughter of those who wish to escape the life forced upon them. I will not refuse the surrender of any opponent, be he a bandit or a priest of the High Hells. Even the most corrupted soul can turn to beauty."

Illithia stands, obivously a bit wobbly. "If you'll excuse me, I have to use the washroom."


Pistolero 6/Martial Artist 2 Init: +6 Perception: +14 HP: 68/68 AC: 24/24/17 Fort:+12 Ref: +14 Will:+10 Grit 5/5

"That's our girl. And trust me, I for one appreciate your sacrifice. Even if it is was for a sorry S.O.B like me." Bishop's worried face turns into a big grin as he raises another glass for Illithia. "So I think we're agreed?"

He notices her awkwardness when standing up. "Ya need some help?"


Male Half-Elf Archaeologist Bard 2 [15/15hp | AC: 18/13/15 | F+2 R+7 W+4 (+2 vs enchant) | Init +5 | low-light vision; Per +7, SM +4]

"Watch it, my dear. This wine is far from excellent, but it's still is fairly potent." The Professor watches with some interest the Paladin's backside as she walks away.

After Illithia leaves the table, Dario looks around at the others. "I think there's little way around Illthia's oaths. No offense intended Dracius, but Shelyn's oaths could limit our effectiveness. If we accept that, however, then we can plan accordingly, and work around it. Illthia may not be able to strike first, but the rest of us can. And as long as we're not bloodthirsty about it, I doubt she would object too much." He pauses for a second. "Dracius, how much are you bound to the same limitations as Illthia? I understand you hold similar views, but aren't her vows more strict than yours?"


HP 18/18 (AC18/To11/FF17) Female Half-Elf Paladin of Shelyn 1.50AD

"I'm fine, thanks. Just a little tired from the day." Without her armor on, and no weapon to be seen, Illithia is a much less intimidating figure, as she makes her tipsy way to the washroom.


Male Half-Orc Cleric of Shelyn 1.75[ABD] (hp 16/16; AC 17/10/17; F: +6; R: +2, W; +8)

Dracius says, "We each follow in our own way. As I said earlier, I think we must be better than what we replace, and I fear Ferrucio's so-called pragmatism leads down a dark path..."

He sighs, and then adds, "But simply because I revere the beauty of the world around us and must defend it, does not mean that I am required to throw my life away needlessly in order to offer my opponents -- those I am defending others against, directly or indirectly -- a chance to strike me."

His voice grows a little more firm and he continues, "However, I will say that I will treat and stabilize the wounded of any group we ambushed without giving them a chance to surrender or redeem themselves, rather than let them die.... though not at the cost of our own lives."

He looks up and adds, "You might find Illithia more willing to strike first if we make that promise to her, also.... Or, we can always suggest in cases of ambush that she be the one who seals off the escape route.... I would think that the various evils of this city - or this world - might find themselves demoralized by the sudden appearance of a paladin of light."


Janiven sits down, and so does Rizzardo, both relieved and disappointed.
Janiven raises her cup: "Well said, Illithia, and actually quite reasonable..." she mouths the rest of the phrase right before gulping down the wine.

Perception DC15:
... for a paladin.

Arael smiles. "Well hopefully your modus operandi is defined. Now what about the bandits and goblins? Are you taking a day off tomorrow, or going straight away? Also, what do you plan to do with that formula book you retrieved?"


Male Half-Orc Cleric of Shelyn 1.75[ABD] (hp 16/16; AC 17/10/17; F: +6; R: +2, W; +8)

Dracius looks to Arael, "Since I doubt either the goblins or the bandits will be taking a day off, we'd probably best be about it... The only question is which group to strike at first, I think."

He then pauses and chuckles slightly, "Of course, that may depend on how big a headache certain people have in the morning."


Pistolero 6/Martial Artist 2 Init: +6 Perception: +14 HP: 68/68 AC: 24/24/17 Fort:+12 Ref: +14 Will:+10 Grit 5/5

"Alright then."

Perception: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (19) + 7 = 26

Bishop pauses his drink and shoots a glare at Janiven acknowledging he heard what she mumbled.

"I agree with Dracius, we should go right quick. I think beatin' up some bandits would be a nice confidence boost before we go takin' on the Bastards."


male human conjurer 1/spy 0ACD

Perception check: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (2) + 7 = 9

Ferrucio, blissfully unaware of the basis for the silent exchange between Bishop and Janiven, leans back in his chair while watching Illithia make her way across the taproom.

Whether it's the bandits or the goblins, I agree that we shouldn't waste time. As to which is more pressing, well, as far as we know the bandits are only stealing goods and possessions, whereas the goblins are said to be responsible for the disappearance of the people of Westcrown. Perhaps, then, the goblins should be our first target--it's much easier to recover items intact than the lives of individuals.

As for my pragmatism and dark paths, Dracius, I thank you for taking me seriously enough to consider my influence so seriously. There is a brief pause where Ferrucio chews his lip before standing, drink in hand. He raises it in a toast. To the bonds of companionship.

He downs the remainder of his drink, nods toward the washroom as if to take Illithia into account as well, and then sits down.

###

Without dragging things on too much, later in the evening Ferrucio will make sure to seek Illithia out--and if she's insensible, help her to get to bed, but if she's not, he'll thank her for her willingness to compromise for the sake of the group.

Other than that, I'm good to move on once we've decided whether we're going after bandits outside town or goblins inside town.


Male Half-Elf Archaeologist Bard 2 [15/15hp | AC: 18/13/15 | F+2 R+7 W+4 (+2 vs enchant) | Init +5 | low-light vision; Per +7, SM +4]

Perception: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (5) + 7 = 12

"Ferrucio's right. These bandits are only after property, and as much as I would love to see what they've stolen, the goblins actually pose harm to people. Their wild tendencies make them a menace to anyone they encounter because they're simply not reasonable. I say we look into that first."


Pistolero 6/Martial Artist 2 Init: +6 Perception: +14 HP: 68/68 AC: 24/24/17 Fort:+12 Ref: +14 Will:+10 Grit 5/5

"Alright, I guess. Was hopin' for the easy job, but y'all are right. We should take care of the goblins first." Bishop shrugs and pours himself another drinks, one of many to come that night.


HP 18/18 (AC18/To11/FF17) Female Half-Elf Paladin of Shelyn 1.50AD

Illithia returns from her business, her usual grace is distinctly not present, though she's not quite to the point of tripping over her own feet. Returning to her seat beside Bishop, Illithia tries to rejoin the conversation, butting in, distinctly out of character. "I agree. The goblins are the most direct threat to the people. As much as I hate the sewers, especially after the last time, we should deal with them."

Illithia will likely refuse any other drink offers - somewhere in the back of her mind she can tell it's not doing her any good.

She'll likely have at least some of her senses by the time Ferrucio goes to speak with her, and Illithia will say that it isn't really a compromise, but that it is, in fact, her duty.


The night is long and busy as you try to get your plans in order while going through varied stages of inebriation.
Eventually you settle on selling the goods you found through the channels of the Children of Westcrown. Tarvi gets the pearls, the gemstones and the rings. Ermolos gets the sickle to sell to a smithy for reforging. Amaya tucks the formula book under her arm. The black journal is thrown in the fireplace, where it makes the flame green and throws colored sparks to everybody's amusement, as the chemicals it's been soaked in burn and evaporate.

Janiven informs you that while you were away on your last mission, she went through the sewers again to renew the damaged arrows showing the location of the hideout, and hands you a map of the sewers. There is a mark on the map which shows a beginning of an unexplored tunnel leading north, to the ruined part of the city where you've been yesterday. Your best bet is to start your search from there.

It is well past midnight when all the business is settled, and the proprietor hands you the bill for 10d4 ⇒ (4, 2, 2, 2, 4, 4, 1, 4, 4, 1) = 28 gp. Yakopulio drags him away for a moment, after which he announces with a forced smile, that since you got him a full weekend's worth of revenue, he can either cover half the bill on the house, or clear the establishment for the night and let you sleep for the full price.


Pistolero 6/Martial Artist 2 Init: +6 Perception: +14 HP: 68/68 AC: 24/24/17 Fort:+12 Ref: +14 Will:+10 Grit 5/5

"I think half the tab is reasonable. I'll cover the other half. I probably racked up most of it anyhow."

Deducting the 14 gold


Male Half-Elf Archaeologist Bard 2 [15/15hp | AC: 18/13/15 | F+2 R+7 W+4 (+2 vs enchant) | Init +5 | low-light vision; Per +7, SM +4]

"Much obliged, Bishop" Dario raises his glass in thanks.

"I forgot we would have to be trudging through the sewers." He sighs. "Oh well, there's little glory without getting dirty, right?"


Male Half-Elf Archaeologist Bard 2 [15/15hp | AC: 18/13/15 | F+2 R+7 W+4 (+2 vs enchant) | Init +5 | low-light vision; Per +7, SM +4]

Bump, since I know the dots don't always seem to work for people


Apologies, work and family consume much of my time lately... In about two weeks I go on a business trip to London for 3 weeks, and if all goes to plan I should be able to post every evening while there.

Do you take the drunken scenic route through nightly Westcrown, or a drunken attempt to navigate the sewers? Also do you want to go on a goblin chase immediately or still get yourself some shopping time?

As Dario mentions the crossbows, Janiven nudges forth Yakopulio, who blushes slightly - a sight you've never seen before.
"I, umm... wanted to help you, master Westone. And I asked around and showed them to some old acquaintances and.. In short, here are 80" - nudge - "I mean, a hundred gold pieces which you can have."


Midterm week for me. Standby till friday night...


Male Half-Elf Archaeologist Bard 2 [15/15hp | AC: 18/13/15 | F+2 R+7 W+4 (+2 vs enchant) | Init +5 | low-light vision; Per +7, SM +4]

Sorry, didn't mean to rush, you GM. The game was at the bottom of my listings and I didn't want it to drop off. Take the time you need.

Dario smiles at Yakopulio and even chuckles when she shows him the 100 gold instead of the 80. "Well, thank you very much for doing that. I didn't have any luck at all when I tired earlier. So how about you keep that 20 gold for your initiative. Plus you had to know the right friends, eh?" He takes the 80 gold from her and divides it among the group.

16 gold per person


Male Half-Orc Cleric of Shelyn 1.75[ABD] (hp 16/16; AC 17/10/17; F: +6; R: +2, W; +8)

Dracius says, "I have some contacts -- assuming we wait until morning when the curfew's over, we could likely head over to near where the goblins have been attacking before entering the sewer... In fact, with a bit of coin to spread around, we might even be directed to the right part of the sewer to start from."

He pauses and then adds, "Of course, if anyone's a skilled tracker, we could always go back to where we met the goblins during our first flight from the Hellknights."


Pistolero 6/Martial Artist 2 Init: +6 Perception: +14 HP: 68/68 AC: 24/24/17 Fort:+12 Ref: +14 Will:+10 Grit 5/5

"I ain't the best tracker, but I've got some skill. Though I'd like to wait till mornin' to try."


HP 18/18 (AC18/To11/FF17) Female Half-Elf Paladin of Shelyn 1.50AD

Phew, glad that week is over xD

"Let's get the sewer done and over with." Illithia piped in. Her face was a little pained, perhaps a headache from the night before. "That is true Dracius, but Janiven was kind enough to provide us with an updated map of the sewers. Perhaps we can make use of that as well?"


Male Half-Elf Archaeologist Bard 2 [15/15hp | AC: 18/13/15 | F+2 R+7 W+4 (+2 vs enchant) | Init +5 | low-light vision; Per +7, SM +4]

"Ugh, as much as I hate to say it, we probably should get back and the sewers are the best way to do it without being seen. The goblins can wait until morning when we're all rested and not half-drunk."

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