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GM Birch33’s Urban Campaign (Inactive)

Game Master Birch33

An urban campaign for two PC's

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The area known as the Shingles is a relatively new addition to Korvosa's skyline. It has been created over the last few decades when urban renewal projects pushed most of the cities poor into the area known as Bridgefront, located in Old Korvosa. 

Styled after similar structures in Kaer Maga, the Shingles are built upward towards the sky, their foundations on the roofs of other buildings. Most homes in the Shingles are shacks and lean-tos that create an impromptu third story on many of the ward's buildings and as much as five stories on some others. Some of Korvosa's poorest and most desperate citizens reside in the shacks above the city streets.

While the majority of these rooftop homes can be found in the Bridgefront section of Old Korvosa, over time other structures and settlements have been built through out the most crowded parts of the city. No accurate map of these areas exist as the neighborhood by definition is in a constant state of change. Imps, stirges, large spiders, and creatures known as chokers prowl the roof top settlements. 

It is in the Shingles that Pedrach the alchemist has a shop with an apartment above.  Torr lives rent and board free in return for helping Master Pedrach (with free tutelage thrown in for good measure).

Of late, the shop has been quieter and the quality of their evening food has diminished.  Finally, Master Pedrach informs Torr that they need to take an additional lodger in order to pay the bills.  He informs Torr that a young half-elf that also frequents Twitcher's (the most well-known bar in the Shingles) has taken a shine to the young noble and has agreed to meet up to discuss becoming the third occupant of the building.  Torr has worked out this would mean sharing a room with the bard.

Not wishing to offend Pedrach, Torr accompanies him to Twitcher's soon after dusk, to meet the bard.  The warmth of the bar is a welcome change to the chill outside that signals autumn's arrival.

Pedrach scans the bar and spies Fawkes alone at a table, nursing a pewter tankard.  "Head over and say hello lad," barks Pedrach, slapping Torr on the back and then  striding to the bar.

HP 13, AC 14 (T 12, FF 12), F+3, R+3, W+0, CMB 3, CMD 15, init +4, perc +4 human Barbarian(urban)/1

Torr looks from Pedrach to the young half-elf and seems at a loss for a moment. His social skills are not what they once were and have grown a little rusty over the years. Finally, he shrugs and heads over to Fawkes' table and slides into a seat across from the bard.

"Hullo there. I'm called Torr. A pleasure to meetcha, I'm sure. I'd offer to maybe buy you another drink, but I'm not sure if perhaps you've had enough. Still, if you're up for it, I'd be happy to buy the next round."

He waits a moment for a response, hoping the half-elf isn't put off by his scarred face and hands. He keeps his head down, longish black hair falling forward, half-hiding his face to help alleviate the shock of his visage. Nothing but gloves would hide the horrid scarring on his hands and he doesn't have a pair.

I hope he isn't one of these foppish elven types that want everything around them to be beautiful and perfect. If so, we're going to have problems... It's been a long time since I was anything but hideous.

Male Half-Elf Bard (Street Performer)

Fawkes stares into his tankard, as though searching for something that lies hidden at the bottom. Ale has such a strange color. Under the pale head it's a rich brown, like dirty water. But ale looks so much fuller and richer! Brown is a color you only get by mixing lots of other colors together, so brown is the color of all the colors. And ale inspires such different reactions in us all, from outbursts of joy to bouts of manic sorrow! Ale is like a magic potion, brewed from the distilled emotions of the one who drinks them, making them more powerful, all-encompassing. But it's such a cheap potion, the most inexpensive of elixers...brewers must truly be some of the most gifted alchemists. Yes, there's something in that, I think. That would make a good title: Ale-chemy! I'll have to rememb-

His thoughts are interrupted as a smallish figure takes the seat that was to be taken by his potential landlord. He can't help but be immediately struck by the appearance of the creature (man?). He leaps out of his seat, gripping the table to support his weight as he leans in for a better look. He gazes at the figure, his full green orbs probing the depths of the curtain of hair, taking in as much of the man's grotesque visage as he stomach. "By the gods, you, my friend, are a divine work of art! Those scars are magnificent! Desna has left her maker's mark on you, to be sure!" Pushing off the table, he begins gesticulating wildly as he prattles. "You must have quite a story to tell, a ferocious battle with monsters of acid slime, or - NO!"With one hand he slaps the table, raising the other, pointing skyward as if having made a profound discovery. He levels the pointing finger at the man sitting across from him, a look of awe and reverence settling on his face. "You must have bested a black dragon in single combat! Tell me, friend, how did you do it?! Please, have a seat, allow me to--" He turns, looking for a wench. "WENCH! The dragon-slayer requires ale! At once, please, his thirst knows no equal!"

HP 13, AC 14 (T 12, FF 12), F+3, R+3, W+0, CMB 3, CMD 15, init +4, perc +4 human Barbarian(urban)/1

Torr grimaces at the attention, a grimace turned by scars into a twisted ... was that a smile? or something far worse? He lowers his head further, bringing the curtain of hair down over his face, and glares at Fawkes through the bars of his lashes.

Has he no sense or sensitivity at all? I thought half-elves were more circumspect than this one. What an imagination too! Acid monsters? Dragonslayer? He must have been suckled on tall tales and weaned on fairy stories as a lad.

He speaks softly, "Magnificent? You don't have to live with them... and I am no dragon-slayer, just a humble warrior and alchemist's apprentice. Please don't call attention to me here." He looks embarrassed slightly, glancing from side to side, to see who might be peering their way. "You have quite an imagination, given to flight's of fantasy, I see. That can be a good thing, I suppose, but before you draw another into your fancy, you might seek some compliance."

Then he pauses, sighs and shakes his head. "I'm sorry for reacting so badly, you couldn't know... let us begin again... Thank you for the offer of an ale, that's much appreciated." He lets his own offer to refill Fawkes' glass go unanswered for now.

"My master recommended we meet." He nods over toward the bar in Pedrach's direction. "It seems he's rented you lodgings and we are to share a room. But you simply must get over the notion that I am any kind of romantic figure. I am simply Toric d'Landry, the third of that name, but you may call me Torr.

Idiot! He might know who you are by that name! Well, it's out now, not that it matters these days with the family so destitute. No one remembers the d'Landry name anymore, except as a joke among the nobility. Damn them all for squandering the family fortune and lands.

"I work for your new landlord, earning my room and board in exchange for my work as his assistant. I hope you won't be offended by sharing a room with a lowly apprentice."

He bites his lower lip slightly as he watches Fawkes for his reaction to the sparse introduction, glad for the timely interruption of drinks being delivered by the barmaid.

"Thanks, love," he tosses off casually to the barmaid, as if used to the easy exchange with her. He takes the ale and drinks a deep draught, pinning his slate grey eyes on Fawkes through the curtain of his hair, which is still down over his face, despite it's obvious inadequacy as a veil to hide his scars.

HP 13, AC 14 (T 12, FF 12), F+3, R+3, W+0, CMB 3, CMD 15, init +4, perc +4 human Barbarian(urban)/1

"So... I don't even know your name. Please tell me a little of yourself, if you don't mind sharing. I'm afraid I've talked your ear off a little, and said little myself, but I'd like to learn somewhat about you, especially if we're going to be roommates. I must admit, I've never shared a room before so this is all new to me."

He must think me a right bugger for talking about myself so much. I hope he likes me. This isn't going to go well if we can't be friends, I think. I just hope he isn't so excitable all the time.

He waits silently now, waiting for Fawkes to respond...

I wonder if we have anything in common really. He is half-human, so surely there must be some common ground. Does he like sports? music? women? oh by all the gods, I hope he likes women. He glances over at Pedrach for a moment then looks back to Fawkes. Old man, I know business has been slow lately, but what have you gotten me into? If you were so interested in renting out a room, why didn't YOU take the roommate?

He tries to give Fawkes a friendly smile. While it looks more like a grimace through the scars, it is obvious he's trying to smile.

Male Half-Elf Bard (Street Performer)

Allowing Torr to finish, Fawkes quickly realizes his mistake. He surveys the room, hoping the commotion he caused has passed. Slumping back into his seat, he stammers out a hasty apology. "Torr, my deepest apologies, I hope you can forgive my insensitive bluster." His piece said, all pretense of shame fades, as though the preceding scene had never occurred. With a grin and a fluorishing bow (not easily managed sitting in a chair) he introduces himself "I am The Bard, Fawkes, teller of tales and player of songs! I find myself well-named by my dear mother, for with red hair and sly grin there is no finer fox bard than I! I play for my dinner, and I play for love, for the love of dinner is a strong urge indeed, mark me." Leaning back in his seat now, Fawkes casually lays one leg over his thigh, taking a deep draught of ale. Wiping the foam from his mouth, he continues to jabber. "Torr, I am delighted to meet your acquaintance, but I assure you, all of us are romantic figures! The trick is to find the romance in the mundane and, mark me, I'll teach you to find it yet! You said you were a brewer? How wonderful! The ale-makers are true magicians, and I'd say theirs is a damn tasty potion! Nothing like the foul-smelling poultices of witches in the woods or simmering cauldrons of Nethys-knows-what simmering in the wizard's study." Leaning forward again he looks Torr straight in the eye. "Torric d'Landry, from where d'you hail? Myself, I come from Riddleport, only been in good Korvosa for two and half moons. It's a damn fine city, and a good sight better than the dregs of civilization of which I find myself accustom, mark me. The Shingles have the most marvelous sunset! Truly, Sarenrae has blessed Korvosa's destitute beggar-caste." A wistful film glazes over the eccentric green orbs as more wild thoughts no doubt begin to coalesce behind them, and he props his head up on his hand, lolling a bit to the side.

Pedrach arrives at the table with three tankards of ale in his hands and a broad grin on his face. "I think I'm on a promise with Bessie there," he jerks his head in the direction of the barmaid - a rather plain looking woman with an ample bosom.

"You two chat amongst yourselves and make your own way home, I may be a little late tonight." With that he gives you both a conspiratorial wink and stands up again. "Oh, Fawkes, ten gold a month or twenty full board - it's your choice." With that, he's back off to the bar, a leer rather than a grin now adorning his face.

HP 13, AC 14 (T 12, FF 12), F+3, R+3, W+0, CMB 3, CMD 15, init +4, perc +4 human Barbarian(urban)/1

Torr smiles his in his own twisted way and nods to Fawkes. "Apology accepted, you couldn't know I guess. A bard you say? No wonder your mind goes first to flights of fancy and tall tales!" Torr glances over at Pedrach as he approaches and nods to the man and sighs...then turns back to Fawkes.

"Ah, an ale-maker, me? Sadly I know little of their art, and art it is to make a fine brew. I am an alchemist, or someday will become one in my own right. I guess now you could say more that I am an apprenctice still, not up to Pedrach's skill... not yet. So sadly, what we make is more in the line of those foul-smelling cauldrons of witches and wizards, though without the touch of the arcane involved. Someday, though... who knows?" He gets a wistful look on his face as he contemplates what he might do if he learns enough and the look in his eyes is one of passion for a brief instant.

"I've traveled a bit, never been to Riddleport though. I've heard it's a fine place to reinvent oneself though. I was born and raised here in Korvosa though, traveled as far as Sandpoint and Magnimar. Now I'm back in my home town, though not quite at home, perhaps never to be, who knows? The shingles are something new to me and I find the freedom of the life here something refreshing and uplifting. Perhaps not as soft as the life I'm used to, but most definitely the more independent."

Torr takes another deep draught from his ale, nearly draining it. He looks about the room for a moment, his eyes glimmering out from behind his 'veil' of hair, watching for trouble as an ebb in conversations calls his attention. When it begins to flow again, he visibly relaxes and turns his eyes back to Fawkes.

"So you say you're new to Korvosa, only here two months and a bit more... so where have you been plying your art until now? I haven't seen you here before, neither as patron or performer. Although in truth, you would make more money most likely at just about any other establishment. This one doesn't exactly attract the city's wealthy, now does it?"

Male Half-Elf Bard (Street Performer)

Pedarch's interruption brings Fawkes back to the present and the conversation. He makes a mental note not to confuse alchemist and brewer in the future. I really must pay closer attention to delineate between reality and the multitudes of fiction in my head.

"One month, actually, or a bit more. Sorry, I've been at sea for awhile; it's taking some time to re-adjust to the solar calendar." Sighing, Fawkes shakes his head to clear it. "I've been playing here and there; mostly on the street or in any old tavern. It's lucky I was, too, or I wouldn't have met that bartender friend of Pedrach's, and subsequently I would likely still be out of permanent lodging! I've never actually been in this establishment; these Shingles are tough to navigate, and if I'd been here before I doubt I'd ever find it again!" He barks a short laugh before a thought strikes him. "Now that you mention it, I've been trying to find the places where the nobles take their drink and dalliance. Y'see, performing on the street is all well and good, but the real money is in noble patronage." Shifting his weight, he leans in with one arm on the table, dropping his voice to a conspiratorial hush. "Maybe they're just cheap tricks, but I've learned that I can produce magical effects with my lute! If I could afford to sit and work on these talents, I suspect I could produce more than a simple song; imagine a song about a knight fighting a dragon, but the song is so real that you begin to actually see the story happening in front of your eyes! It seems just the sort of show that the nobility would indulge great sums of money into, don't you think?"

HP 13, AC 14 (T 12, FF 12), F+3, R+3, W+0, CMB 3, CMD 15, init +4, perc +4 human Barbarian(urban)/1

"Aye, I've known many who would enjoy such a display, especially if you could weave them into the story in a heroic role. Most people, I've found, not just nobles, are vain creatures who like to imagine themselves greater than they are. In truth, noble patronage might be a good thing, but not all nobles are as wealthy as you might think. Many a mighty merchant clan has far greater wealth than some nobles. Be careful whose patronage you culture." He pauses a long moment to finish his ale. Then leans over and whispers, barely audible over the sounds of conversation elsewhere in the tavern.

"Perhaps I could help you find the right inns and taverns to find the kind of folk you'd like to perform for. It's been a while since I've frequented such places myself, but I still know where they are and can lead you there. It's been too long and too much has happened since for me to enter with you or provide introductions, but I can at least get you to the right places. With a little cash or some charm, you might be able to get yourself in to get an audition or something."

He sighs and his thoughts turn inward for a moment, his storm-grey eyes clouding over with pain. In truth, I do miss my old life, and old friends... but none would want to see me now as I am... nor would they deign to pay attention to someone in my state. None would recognize me, and were they to find out who I am, I couldn't bear their pity or to be shunned further by them. Once was enough.

He flips a bit of his hair out of his eyes slightly, giving Fawkes a momentary view of the scarred face, before the hair falls back again. "Not tonight of course... it's late but since you're taking up lodgings with Master Pedrach, we'll have plenty of opportunity to get you to the right circles."

Male Half-Elf Bard (Street Performer)

The half-elf's freckled face splits in two at Torr's offer. "That would be splendid! I couldn't thank you enough for that!" Leaning back in his seat again, he takes another drink, making mental notes. Now just what would a 'lowly alchemist's apprentice' be doing frequenting noble circles? I suspect there's more to this d'Landry fellow than he likes to let on. I'm beginning to like this fellow quite a lot! Setting his drink down, he crosses his arms, tapping his cheek with one finger. "I hadn't ever really thought about the wealthy merchant class. Now that I do, I believe you're on to something! Men are quite vain, and the nobility have long looked down on the rest of society. I suspect that these merchants, which undoubtedly outnumber the nobility, would be quite willing to deal with someone who treats them with the respect an flattery they feel they deserve. Mark me, I think this will work out splendidly!" Leaning forward, he offers a hand to shake. "Well met, Torr, very well met indeed! I dare say we'll be slaying dragons together yet!" Shooting a glance in the direction Pedrach had sauntered off to, he quips, "I think our landlord may be slaying a dragon himself tonight!"

HP 13, AC 14 (T 12, FF 12), F+3, R+3, W+0, CMB 3, CMD 15, init +4, perc +4 human Barbarian(urban)/1

Torr seems reluctant at first to shake hands... and finally reaches out, revealing his hands are as scarred as his face, and he's missing the tips of a few of his fingers. Still, he shakes hands and his face cracks into a brief smile. "Men are indeed vain and love to be flattered. I wish you the best of luck in your endeavors to find a worthy patron. As for Pedrach, you could be right. Then again, with enough drink in him, he might just be incapable of drawing his sword... in which case both he and the dragon might be highly disappointed. He chuckles at the jest at Pedrach's expense.

Male Half-Elf Bard (Street Performer)

At Torr's retort, Fawkes lets another short, barking laugh skyward, throwing back his head. "Hah! Now wouldn't that be a sight! The impotent knight and dismayed dragon!" A thought strikes, and he cocks his head in wry bemusement. "D'you think there's a potion for that? Or maybe a balm or salve? It seems just the sort of thing an alchemist might be able to produce, don't you think?"

HP 13, AC 14 (T 12, FF 12), F+3, R+3, W+0, CMB 3, CMD 15, init +4, perc +4 human Barbarian(urban)/1

"Interesting idea. I'd never thought of that, but there'd be a market for it, I'm sure. Hmmm... I wonder..." His eyes glaze over for a moment as he considers the concept. Then he shakes his head slightly. "Not quite sure how to go about it, but I'm sure there's got to be a way. I'll bet there are lots of old, overfed, overweight rich men would pay a pretty penny for such a concoction. I will have to start work on it! You are a bright one, that's for sure."

Torr glances around the room momentarily, gauging the patrons as he does from time to time, sensitive to the crowd mentality. He seems edgy whenever tempers flare and only calms when the crowd calms again, as tavern patrons seem to do from time to time, their moods subject to quick changes.

"Perhaps I can get some time away from my work for Pedrach, so I can begin study on this project. Shouldn't be too much of a problem, he does tend to drink a bit from time to time and not be too demanding of me during those periods."

Male Half-Elf Bard (Street Performer)

Pedrach's a drinker, eh? I suppose it's not that surprising, butt it may be useful to remember.

"Well, he's certainly busy tonight! If you were inclined to begin work, there's no time like the present! But, if you'd rather spend the evening relaxing, I have a few ideas." A sudden mischievous gleam replaces the laughter in Fawkes' eyes, and he leans forward again. "Mark me, if you can run with that dragon-slayer story, we may be able to find our own evening company. What say you, friend? Work or play? The night is young and I've a mood for merriment."

HP 13, AC 14 (T 12, FF 12), F+3, R+3, W+0, CMB 3, CMD 15, init +4, perc +4 human Barbarian(urban)/1

"While I relish the idea of having the lab to myself for the night, it wouldn't be my last opportunity to do so, and a night off might be fun. What did you have in mind in terms of 'play'?"

I hope he doesn't mean finding ladies of our own for the night. I have no desire to see the look of revulsion in another woman's eyes when she sees my face and hands.

Male Half-Elf Bard (Street Performer)

The gleam in his eye transforms into a full-blown manic grin and he throws his arms wide. "Women, of course!" Leaning back in, he lowers his voice. "I grew up in a Calistrian temple, and I've learned a thing or two about women. Y'see, Torr, women don't care about looks so much as they care about status, power. Those scars may be hideous, but if you can convince women that they're symbols of power, the world will be your orgy! That's where the story about the dragon comes in. Throw in a bit about how you donated the entire hoard to an orphanage for orphans of dragon attacks! Or maybe you don't like the dragon story. Maybe you tell them about how you turned lead into gold! As long as you come up with some reason why you aren't fabulously wealthy, you're in the clear." Shrugging his shoulder and finishing off his ale, he continues his pitch for the evening's activities. "Though if you'd prefer a more transparent relationship, I'm due for a visit to the temple. The Savored Sting finds few things more irksome than faithful who don't worship regularly." Fawkes' eyebrows knit together and his grin becomes a thoughtful frown as something else occurs to him. "Actually, come to think of it, this will be the first time I'll be worshipping as a member of the laity. I wonder what things are like on the other side."

HP 13, AC 14 (T 12, FF 12), F+3, R+3, W+0, CMB 3, CMD 15, init +4, perc +4 human Barbarian(urban)/1

Torr grimaces a moment and sighs... "Ah but they do care. My beautiful Sharlaine left me after the accident. She couldn't bear the sight of me... wouldn't even answer my letters afterward. Women do care, or at least the one that mattered to me did... does." He sighs again, realizing he's said too much. I've told this man more in one evening of drinking than I've ever even told old Pedrach. He sure does spin a web, that he does. Maybe it's just the drink... I've had too much perhaps, myself.

"It seems you know more about these things than I, Fawkes. I will follow your lead, but if things go badly for me, don't worry about me, I'll be fine... you can still have a good time."

Male Half-Elf Bard (Street Performer)

The weight of Torr's story sobers Fawkes' mischief. Letting out a long, low sigh, the rascally young half-elf is silent for a moment, taking his first glimpse into the soul of his tragic new friend. The hearts of men are very different from those of elves. But by the gods, what tragic beauty lies in the depths!

Staring into his tankard, Fawkes finds himself wishing he had more ale. Looking back to his forlorn roommate, he grimaces in commiseration. "Shelyn is a goddess more caring than most know. Her patrony of beauty goes beyond the superficial; she appreciates the art in tragedy, and knows that even the most horrific visage can belie a caring soul. Desna laughs at you, Torr, but Shelyn offers her smile. Calistria will make sure that you never lack for physical carnality, but I sense that's not what you need, not this night. I'll spare you counsel; it would be dishonest of me to pretend that I've been in your place, or that I know where you're coming from, but perhaps I can offer your troubled soul some measure of solace." Standing from his chair, Fawkes retrieves the lute slung over its back and fishes some coins from his purse, tossing them onto the table. "Tonight, my friend, I play only for you. Join me, won't you? I'd like to see a bit more of these Shingles if they're to be my home."

HP 13, AC 14 (T 12, FF 12), F+3, R+3, W+0, CMB 3, CMD 15, init +4, perc +4 human Barbarian(urban)/1

"Ah, now you see I've put a damper on your good mood and plans for fun... my apologies I'm afraid are all I have to offer in exchange. But of course, I'll join you... shall we go then?" He rises as well, looking down in consternation at the coins on the table for a moment. And I offered to buy him a drink, and here he is paying for them... I owe him a good night on the town... but since we're to share a room, I'm sure the opportunity will arise.

"Shall we have a walking tour of the Shingles? Not the safest place to wander alone at night, but together, we shouldn't encounter any problems. Or did you have something else in mind?" He smirks slightly. Neither of us cut a very imposing figure, but still, I've a reputation in the area for being tougher than I look, and two of us together shouldn't get in too much trouble. And besides, even the most hardened rake knows better than to harm a bard.

Male Half-Elf Bard (Street Performer)

Pushing open the door, Fawkes somberly says, "Desna's wind shifts quickly and often, and foolish is the one who does not shift with her." As they step outside, a twinkle returns to the half-elf's eyes in the moonlight, and the corners of his mouth twitch upwards. "Fear not for me, Torr. Tonight, I am the song on the wind and in the whispers of the night. Come, now. It is a night for moonlit wandering!" Slinging the fraying leather strap over his shoulder, his fingers begin to pluck at the strings. After a few slow dirge-like bars, the tempo picks up a bit and a whispery undertone begins to weave itself into the music, almost as if he were playing the wind itself. As they walk, the half-elf's face seems to change without changing. The slight curve of his ears seems more pointed, his lazy smile becoming a wily grin. The green orbs take on a yellow tint, and soon the moon beams down on the Fox Bard in truth.

Ghost Sound for music effects, Prestidigitation for everything else. Here's a check in case it's needed for anything.
Perform (string): 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (18) + 7 = 25

HP 13, AC 14 (T 12, FF 12), F+3, R+3, W+0, CMB 3, CMD 15, init +4, perc +4 human Barbarian(urban)/1

While he walks along with the bard, TOrr watches the transformation in Fawkes in the moonlight, fascinated by both the changes as well as the music. He forebears to comment on Fawkes' new mien so as not to interrupt the music though. Still, he notes the alterations all the same, noticing even the smallest and most subtle of them, being of late more observer of life than participant since his accident. There is far more to this young half-elf than first seeming. He is aptly named, as he said. Fox indeed!

He notes the undertones to the music, but not yet schooled in magics, he doesn't recognize it for what it is, chalking it up to incredible skill or perhaps some kind of haunted instrument. Once the first song is ended but before a second begins, he does comment finally. "You have uncanny skill, Fawkes. That was incredible! I believe you are far too talented for the Shingles and should indeed be playing for a more appreciative audience. Not that those in the Shingles wouldn't appreciate your playing, I didn't mean that at all, I just meant you should be playing for a public who can SHOW their appreciation... in more lucrative ways."

He scowls slightly as he realizes he's just insulted all the inhabitants of the Shingles slightly and is glad it is just the two of them here at present. I really need to hold my tongue sometimes... but it's true.. he wants noble or wealthy patronage and that will only come if he plays for the rich... and people in the Shingles are simply not what he is looking for, that's the truth of it.

As you turn a corner, you are aware of movement ahead. At first glance, it appears to be a hafling - but you both notice it's arms and legs are both too long and appear floppy and boneless.

Perhaps drawn by the music, you are aware this is your first face-to-face encounter with a choker. Typically subterranean, you have heard stories of them coming above ground in this area.

Initiatives please..

As you turn a corner, you are aware of movement ahead. At first glance, it appears to be a hafling - but you both notice its arms and legs are both too long and appear floppy and boneless.

Perhaps drawn by the music, you are aware this is your first face-to-face encounter with a choker. Typically subterranean, you have heard stories of them coming above ground in this area.

You are at the entrance to a typically narrow lane, with the choker approximately six feet ahead of you. It has certainly noticed you but for the moment is stationary.

Initiatives please..

HP 13, AC 14 (T 12, FF 12), F+3, R+3, W+0, CMB 3, CMD 15, init +4, perc +4 human Barbarian(urban)/1

Torr peers into the darkness, trying to see what might be approaching and tenses as he realizes it's not actually a halfling or child.

init: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (10) + 4 = 14

Male Half-Elf Bard (Street Performer)

Initiative: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (17) + 5 = 22

And the order is: Fawkes, Torr, Choker

Male Half-Elf Bard (Street Performer)

Wary of the potential danger, Fawkes realizes that he can't very well put down his lute to retrieve his dagger, so he tries a different tack. Taking a step back, he begins to strum. He plays a simple phrase, repeating over and over, throwing in a few variations now and then, in an attempt to keep the creature's attention. In a tone he hopes is soothing and unprovocative, he coos to the creature in Elvish. "Yes, that's it, just listen to the music. There's no need to attack, just follow the music."

5-foot step back, standard action to use bardic performance - fascinate. Requires a DC 14 Will save or else be fascinated for as long as I keep up the bardic performance. Obvious danger or hostile action taken against it ends the effect.

HP 13, AC 14 (T 12, FF 12), F+3, R+3, W+0, CMB 3, CMD 15, init +4, perc +4 human Barbarian(urban)/1

Hearing Fawkes words to the creature, he pauses and with hands on the hilts of his weapons, he pauses a moment to watch the creature's reaction. (Readied action to draw and attack if the creature moves up to attack

He watches the creature most carefully go gauge it's reaction to the song.

The choker takes half a step forward and then falters. It's head begins to sway, only slightly at first and then more pronounced - keeping pace with the rythm of the lute.

Male Half-Elf Bard (Street Performer)

Keeping up the distraction, Fawkes whispers, "I can't keep this up all night. I could try putting it to sleep or something, but my bag of tricks is a bit empty tonight. Any ideas?"

HP 13, AC 14 (T 12, FF 12), F+3, R+3, W+0, CMB 3, CMD 15, init +4, perc +4 human Barbarian(urban)/1

"We could run... or fight... which would you prefer?" Torr grins then shrugs... "I don't know much about this thing, except it's a choker and aptly named, so it's your call really. How good are you in a fight, young Fawkes?"

The choker remains swaying in front of you both, showing no signs of moving.

Male Half-Elf Bard (Street Performer)

Fawkes continues playing, switching to scales and arpeggios. "My wit is sharper than my knife, but my notes are sharper yet. A sleeping enemy may waken, but dead ones tend not to stir, and I suppose I haven't had my exercise today. The first strike is yours; I'll keep it busy until you're ready."

HP 13, AC 14 (T 12, FF 12), F+3, R+3, W+0, CMB 3, CMD 15, init +4, perc +4 human Barbarian(urban)/1

Torr walks toward the choker casually off to one side, non-threatening, with no weapons drawn until he is just past the creature. Then he whips out his blade, spinning and pouring controlled rage into his strength and strikes at what he hopes is an undefending, flat-footed opponent.

to hit: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (19) + 5 = 24
to confirm: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (12) + 5 = 17

damage: 1d6 + 4 ⇒ (6) + 4 = 10
addl damage if roll confirmed: 1d6 + 4 ⇒ (1) + 4 = 5

well hopefully that worked... first shot as a crit would be sweet!

Torr's blade sings as it slices through the air, it's speed unaffected as it connects with skin and bone and re-emerges into the evening air once more.

A second passes and then the choker's head topples forward, no longer connected to its body. A few seconds later, it's body follows suit and crumples to the dirty cobbles.

HP 13, AC 14 (T 12, FF 12), F+3, R+3, W+0, CMB 3, CMD 15, init +4, perc +4 human Barbarian(urban)/1

Torr grins at Fawkes across the distance between them, his eyes and teeth gleaming in the moonlight as he drops the controlled rage that fueled his strength for the attack. "That worked beautifully, you keeping it stupefied with your music while I attacked. What do you call that ability of yours? It was amazing!"

He looks around to make sure it had no companions (and assuming there are no more of them), then bends down and does a quick search of the body for any coins or treasure it might carry.

perception: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (17) + 4 = 21

He looks up at Fawkes while he awaits an answer to his initial question, then comments, "Perhaps you should take a look at the body - I'm not so observant as I'd like to be and have no way to detect things like magic for instance... perhaps you do?"

Gruesome, perhaps, but he cleans his blade on the body of the creature he killed before sliding it back into its sheath.

"Well, no one ever said the Shingles were a safe place, especially at night. But it seems this night at least, we were the more dangerous inhabitants."

Your review of the area shows that this choker was alone. Checking the body over, you find nothing of note.

Male Half-Elf Bard (Street Performer)

Fawkes' eyes widen at the clean kill, clearly impressed and perhaps a bit terrified. As the choker's body crumples, blood pooling around it, he returns to his senses. Taking a bow, he answers the query. "I call it...improvisational self-preservation. He laughs another quick, barking laugh. "It seems we make a good team, you and I. Remind me not to get on your bad side," he says with a smirk.

Approaching the corpse, he kneels down for a closer look. The inky puddle gleams in the moonlight, and Fawkes feels a wave of unsettling discomfort course through his body. Struggling to keep possession of the contents of his stomach, he stands before he can examine the body closely.

As the wave of nausea passes, the bard wields his lute again, flexing his fingers in preparation to play. "There's a technique I learned from a minstrel who visited the temple some years ago; he was a bit like me, I think."He blinks and sighs, and when he speaks again, he sounds uncertain of himself, as though he isn't sure how to express his thought. "I can detect magic, in a way... I haven't been able to study it as well as I'd like, but it's as though I can feel nearby magical energies resonating inside me if I play certain sequences of chords." Demonstrating, he plucks a few strings in a queer fashion that doesn't resemble his usual playing style at all. His fingers bend into unnatural positions, playing chords and notes that are, like many things about the half-elf, somehow more. Closing his eyes, he tilts his head left and right, his eyebrows quirking and arching in concentration, a slight grimace or twitch of the lips accompanying some especially strange-sounding notes.

Casting detect magic.

Perhaps disappointingly, you cannot detect any magic. The most likely explanation is that you happened across a choker that for some reason was above ground and that was intrigued by your music.

Male Half-Elf Bard (Street Performer)

As the last strains of the arcane notes fade away, Fawkes opens his eyes again. "I didn't feel anything. If there's any residual magic in the area, it's too weak for me to detect." He replaces the lute over his back, evidently finished playing. "I suspect that it was drawn to us by the music; in any event, I should have realized how easily it gave away our position. I think it best if I save the songs for a safer place." Slowly, the fox-like features on the half-elf's face fade, changing without changing, leaving him as he was.

HP 13, AC 14 (T 12, FF 12), F+3, R+3, W+0, CMB 3, CMD 15, init +4, perc +4 human Barbarian(urban)/1

"Fascinating change of mien there... " He cocks his head to one side, eyebrow lofted. "Well, where to now? If I were more of a drinking man, I'd say find another tavern and drink until we're too far gone to whore it up, then stagger home... If I were a rake, I'd say find us some women and THEN drink... but I'm neither really, and would just as soon finish our walk and culminate back at your new lodgings. What say you... which idea appeals to your fancy?"

Male Half-Elf Bard (Street Performer)

Fawkes grins at the ideas. "I'd say I'm both a drinking man and a rake, but tonight seems a poor night for drinking and whoring. There's clearly more excitement in the Shingles than I'm equipped for just now, and..." A yawn cuts him off, effectively getting the point across. "Goodness me, tired already? What would my mother think of me, going to bed so early? But the night drags on, and it's a lazy sort of night, I think. Let us retire to our room."

HP 13, AC 14 (T 12, FF 12), F+3, R+3, W+0, CMB 3, CMD 15, init +4, perc +4 human Barbarian(urban)/1

Watchful for other dangers, Torr leads the way toward the alchemist's shop and lodgings (I'm assuming they are all in the same building as was typical in the middle ages)

"So tell me, Fawkes, if you don't mind, about your mother, who named you so aptly and who you think would be scandalized by you going to bed early. She surely sounds like an interesting person." He casually makes conversation while they walk but his tone betrays an avid interest in the topic.

Male Half-Elf Bard (Street Performer)

Walking along, the green eyes look to a point in the heavens, unfocused in memory and thought. He clasps his hands behind his head as he begins, talking freely and uninhibited. "Not sure how much there is to say, really. Mum's a Calistrian priestess, in every sense of the word. Growing up in a temple dedicated to the Savored Sting, I had many mothers, and all of them were Calistrian priestesses of one sort or another. She loved me, fed me, clothed me, like any mother should. She told me stories and made sure I took lessons, and she's responsible for making me the man I am today, or at least the part of me that's man." Something about this strikes Fawkes as funny and he laughs a bit, talking through the laughter. "She couldn't really do much for the elf in me except let it run free." Dropping his arms, he sighs with a shrug The note of laughter in his voice is gone, replaced briefly by one of solemn confusion. "I don't know much about my father, except that he's an elf, and possibly from Korvosa." The solemnity passes almost as soon as it appeared, and the carefree tone returns to the half-elf's exposition. "She always encouraged me to be whatever I wanted to be, or whoever I wanted to be. She wanted me to make my own choices in life; I suspect that she didn't have much choice in hers. She never even told me when to go to bed. In fact, the Calistrians believe that night-time is the more important half of the day." He gives Torr a glance from the side of his face, explaining, "Lust and revenge are more easily indulged under the cover of darkness." He's quiet for a moment before sighing deeply. His eyes unfocus again as he picks up another thought, and the melancholy returns, building with each sentence. "I feel badly about leaving the way I did. No good-bye, just disappearing one day. I miss all of them, but I miss Mum the most. I know she'll be fine without me, and she always told me to follow my dreams above everything else. I just couldn't stay in Riddleport, and she knew it too! But I still wish there had maybe been another way..."

Fawkes slows his pace before stopping near a ledge overlooking the city, the moon bright in the sky. He picks up a pebble and rubs it for a bit, looking down at it with unfocused eyes. He frowns suddenly, his face contorting in uncharacteristic anger and disgust. Whipping his arm back, he hurls the pebble into the darkness above the city with a frustrated cry. He breathes heavily, his shoulders heaving with every breath that escapes his nostrils with a snorting puff, and he shakes his head, staring down into the streets, looking without seeing, as he'd done since the start of his soliloquy.

HP 13, AC 14 (T 12, FF 12), F+3, R+3, W+0, CMB 3, CMD 15, init +4, perc +4 human Barbarian(urban)/1

Torr listens avidly to Fawkes' tale, nodding from time to time as they walk along. Though in truth, while he understands what Fawkes says, he can muster little empathy for the lad. His own upbringing so very different, he can only imagine what Fawkes' life must have been like as a child.

When Fawkes stops and throws a small stone over the night city, he scowls in a mix of confusion and concern. He stays silent for a while, letting Fawkes have his moment of rage and contemplation.

Finally, he taps the lad on the shoulder lightly, making sure to break him out of his reverie slowly. "It sounds like she loves you very much, to have raised you into such a fine young lad. I do envy you the relative freedom of your upbringing. You are indeed a fortunate son."

"So do you mind if I ask... why did you have to leave Riddleport? I've heard some tales about the city and those who truly run the place. Did you run afoul of one of the 'families'?" he asks curiously.

Male Half-Elf Bard (Street Performer)

Torr's contact brings Fawkes back to the present, and he realizes that he'd forgotten himself. Or perhaps I've remembered myself...

Shaking his head, partially in answer and partially to clear it, he says, "No, it... it was nothing like that." All of a sudden, sharing seems to come much less easily, as though the free-flowing river has been dammed. "I left because I wanted... I didn't want to be a Calistrian priest. I didn't want to be a rumor-monger or a secret-merchant. I knew where my life was going if I stayed, and I knew it wasn't the life I wanted. I fled Riddleport in pursuit of my own foolish dreams." He looks back up at Torr and laughs a little, some spark of mirth restoring him. "I suppose you could say the Unquenchable Flame couldn't light my fire! And now the Moth and the Wasp laugh at me together." He laughs again, a bitter sort of yip. "Damn the gods, Torr! Damn the Wasp, damn the Moth, and damn all the rest! May the Rough Beast eat well and often, for all I care! I'm still here, and I can chase a new dream if I must." Clapping Torr on the back, he laughs again, with a renewed zest for life, a note of triumphant challenge creeping back into his voice. "You can't keep the good ones down, Torr, and mark me, we're some of the best! I reckon the gods have sent you more than your fair share, but together we'll show 'em! Tomorrow's a new day, and the dawn brings hope! D'you know what I'm saying, Toric d'Landry? This is the start of something new, something great!"

HP 13, AC 14 (T 12, FF 12), F+3, R+3, W+0, CMB 3, CMD 15, init +4, perc +4 human Barbarian(urban)/1

"I feel that too, somewhat... there's something about you that seems to spark something in me, a new hope for the future perhaps as you say. As far as being the start of something great, only time will tell."

He encourages Fawkes to walk along toward their lodgings while they talk. [/b]"I don't know about you, but my dreams have seen changes since I left home... the realities of life outside the security of home have a way of changing your desires. So tell me while we walk... what was this foolish dream that you pursued when you left home? And are your dreams wiser now?"[/b]

Male Half-Elf Bard (Street Performer)

The question elicits another sigh from the half-elf, once more dampening his mood, though only somewhat. "When I discovered my magical talents, I had delusions of grandeur. I thought that surely, powerful blood must flow in my veins! For awhile, I thought that it may have had something to do with my father, but experimentation proved that my abilities were more focused, that they required music and action as well as intention. So I thought that I might have some talent at wizardry, and I sought out someone who would take me on as an apprentice." He shakes his head in solemn resignation and sighs. "None of the cyphermages were interested in the prospect, nor were any other wizards that I came across."

His mood lightens again, as he remembers happier times. "When I was younger, my mother told me stories of Korvosa, and I remembered her descriptions of the marvelous wizarding colleges and arcane universities, tales of pseudodragons clashing with imps high above the city streets! It all seemed rather fantastic, and I thought myself the sort to fit in at a place like that. So, with my head filled with notions of untapped potential, I set sail for Korvosa to attend the Acadamae!" He laughs, shaking his head again, perhaps at his own foolishness. "It was stupid of me to leave with such a vague notion in my head. I should have remembered that nothing in life is free. I can't say why, but I was completely unprepared to discover that the Acadamae, in fact, charges tuition! So here I am, fresh off the boat from Riddleport, with nothing more than the clothes on my back, the lute in my hands, and a small sack of earnings from the trip, still smelling like the salty sea breeze, walking right up to the doors of the Acadamae. There are some people milling about the gates, and I ask them, 'How do I enroll?' I got some strange looks, but eventually a generous soul directed me to the administrative building, where all my hopes and dream were subsequently dashed on the cobblestones."

He laughs again, before finishing, "And that is the story of my time as a hopeful wizard. I've been here a bit over a month now, and I'm still playing for my dinner. Really, it's not much different than the life I left in Riddleport. Now I just have less people looking after my well-being." Shaking his head again, he turns his eyes on Torr, and smiles. "But I'm doing alright. I'm alive, I've got coin in my purse, and new friends!" Spreading his arm out wide in a sweeping gesture, he gazes over the city. "And there's a whole new city to explore! Asmodeus can have his infernal Acadamae, I'll keep my lute. Things are going to get better!"

Smiling at Torr again, Fawkes cocks his head to the side, suddenly inquisitive. "And what about you, Toric d'Landry? I've done an awful lot of talking; what's your story? Where'd the scars really come from? And who's this beautiful Charlatan that left you so sad?"

HP 13, AC 14 (T 12, FF 12), F+3, R+3, W+0, CMB 3, CMD 15, init +4, perc +4 human Barbarian(urban)/1

"I've heard the Academae can be difficult to get into. As with so many things in a city like Korvosa, it's not always what you know, but who you know."

Torr grows quiet when questioned about himself... sighs. "Sharlaine, my precious Charlie... she was the love of my life. We were to be wed, you know. It was the talk of the city, from what I heard. She was to gain a title as my wife, and my family would get an influx of cash from hers. But more important, we were deeply in love, or so I thought. We shared so many common interests. I thought we were soul-mates... a love that transcended physicality, but she turned out to be like all the others. After the accident... she refused my efforts to contact her, she never responded to a single letter and her family wouldn't even admit me to their home at her request. Just like all the other vapid and brainless hussies of the city, while she wanted my title, she wasn't willing to put up with this hideous mask of a face and mutilated hands." His voice chokes a few times as he talks and finally he grows quiet and shrugs.

"I guess it's to her credit that she wasn't title-hungry enough to marry me for that, regardless of my appearance, and spurn me after. I'm not sure which would have been worse."

"After my face and hands healed as much as they were going to, I left home. I was another mouth to feed, and the family couldn't provide what I truly wanted - training in alchemy. I was no longer a 'sale-able asset' so I left to travel and seek training. Finally, I ended up here in the Shingles and took up as Pedrach's assistant and apprentice. I work for him, make simple alchemical items in exchange for room and board and further training in the art."

He glances at Fawkes to gauge his interest in the tale he rarely tells. "My family has since fallen on harder times and live in the ancestral home with almost no servants and no money. My father passed away while I was traveling, leaving me his title. It's no secret that my mother is seeking a wealthy match for herself, and will likely try to recover the family title to bestow on her new husband if she finds one. She's welcome to it, I won't fight her for it. Until then, I remain Count Toric d'Landry, at your service." He gives a little courtly bow and then laughs, but with only a hint of mirth in the sound.

"Goodness, I haven't told my tale like that before... not in so many words. Even old Pedrach doesn't know so much about me. But there's something about you, Fawkes, and I feel I can trust you. I'm not sure why, but there is, as you say, a magic about you."

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