Fresh off your induction into the Society and having completed your basic training as Pathfinders, you find yourself in the office of Ambrus Valsin, a Pathfinder Venture-Captain who is in charge of Grand Lodge daily operations. The Venture-Captain greets you all, and tells you to have a seat before he gets straight to the point.
"All right, Pathfinders! Listen up. I know you are new recruits eager to make names for yourselves in the organization, but first we need to make sure you are up to snuff and won’t get yourself killed out there. I have a number of small assignments for you and your team, and it would be best if you could finish them before the day’s end.
"Every day we get some doe-eyed hopeful or some sniveling bootlicker willing to do anything to join up with the Pathfinders. Most of them are good kids, but not all of them have the salt to make it in a world like this. It’s rough out there and I’m not just talking about the ruins, tombs, and wilderness Pathfinders find themselves in on missions. We’ve got people who look down their noses at us, folks who think we squander our resources, and agents who want to take everything we have collected. This wealth of knowledge and these items of lore make us the most powerful organization on the planet. That said, since we are fractured and widespread, it’s difficult for that power to light on anything for too long. For every friend of the Society, there are two enemies.
"Your first mission, to test your mettle and loyalties, sends you to meet a few people important to the Society living here in Absalom. These are other venture-captains or close allies of our organization, so follow their orders as you would mine. I’ve prepared a list of things I want you to do. They’re not arranged in any particular order of importance, but I want them all completed as quickly as possible. Only report to me once you complete them all. Included in the envelope you hold in your hands is the list, complete with the name of your contact, and directions to the meeting location."
Venture-Captain Valsin hands the closest new Pathfinder the envelope he was referring to, which contains the list of tasks.
 A man named Guaril Karela runs a curio shop in the Docks called the Pickled Imp. Go to him and fill his request as a favor to the Society. I believe it has something to do with a set of rare books.
 Ollysta Zadrian requested aid and is expecting you at the Temple of the Shining Star in the Ascendant Court. She needs someone to deliver a parcel of medicine and curatives to a needy orphanage and verify the character of the recipient.
 Visit the offices of Osirian nobleman Dremdhet Salhar in the Wise Quarter. The Pathfinder Society needs to obtain permission to delve the Salhar ancestral vaults beneath Sothis. He has made a verbal agreement, and your visit makes it official. You will receive an official charter and detailed maps. Do not embarass the Society in this matter.
 Chelish Paracountess Zarta Dralneen possesses an item loaned from the Vaults. Meet with her in her estate in the Ivy District and retrieve the item in her possession.
There is also a map of Absalom hanging on the wall: map
The simply dressed dwarf looks just plain wrong. He is wiry while dwarves are supposed to be stout. He has plain clothes, an overly plain face leading to homely, and he is uncomfortable in large crowds and fidgets nervously. Unfortunately for him a large crowd is more than three people.
The only thing that is not plain about him is the wicked composite longbow strung over his shoulder with a massive draw weight.
Jory looks at the envelope in his hand as he would a poisonous spider. Then Jory reads to himself. As the drama builds he begins to speak and then thinks better of it and closes his mouth. He hands the envelope to the next in line.
He stammers, "I-I-I'm Jory. I can read."
Great, what a first impression.
Talhaearn accepts the envelope from the clearly nervous Dwarf and skims its contents. He wonders if he'll be able to trust this lot. Probably not. Everyone he has ever fallen in with has betrayed him at some point...why would these blokes behave any differently?
"I'm Talhaearn. Some find it easier to call me Tal. I can read as well." Damn...that sounded more cynical than I meant it to. Better pass this envelope on before I give anyone a legitimate reason to hate me.
Valsin eyes Jory warily. "I would hope so, if you've gotten this far. The Pathfinder Society is about knowledge, I'm pretty sure we would have figured out by now if any of you were illiterate!"
The Venture-Captain stands and chuckles, and gives Jory a pat on the shoulder. "You'll do fine son, you've all passed your basic training."
|Ice Glen Inlet|
The Elf dressed in robes, takes the envelope and smiles down at the most awkward of Dwarves.
Jory, my name is Ice, you have no need to feel nervous noble dwarf, we are, Or rather soon will be I imagine, all friends.
Ice then proceeds to read the letter out loud to his fellow pathfinders.
Rare books... Fascinating...
The black haired young woman listens to Ice while trying to suppress a giggle. She is perhaps a little tall for most humans, and has a medium build. Her black hair is short, falling to just above her shoulders. At one hip is a sheathed scimitar, the other a light crossbow. Gird in the whites and reds of Sarenrae, she reads the letter while referencing the map.
She gives a reassuring smile at Jory. "And you wouldn't have made it this far if you couldn't. I'm Tiann, though you can call me Tee if you like. Or hey, you," she says, with a grin. Tiann draws her hand over the map, finding the various points of interest while listening.
Jory speaks up again.
"Well, since we can all read, why don't we do task number 1 and get the books. It fits my nice sense of order. Plus I have never visited any place like the docks--it sounds exciting."
Jory looks somewhat nervous.
"We wouldn't have to get on a boat would we?"
Jake takes the list in his hand and peruses the contents. His eyes seem to rest on the bottom of the list a little longer than the rest. The youth has a very stern expression, and his size and Greatsword slung on his back are a bit intimidating. He speaks in a calm but deep voice.
I concur with Jory. The first task will be fine. The list does not seem to require a specific order of completion.
He hands the list back to Tiann, and after a brief smile in her direction, he looks to the others.
Shall we then, friends?
I have to agree, rare books are very important. Who knows what secrets they hold... They may have the cures for children needing medicine. Without knowing their contents, we can not let them disappear into antiquity.
Ice is hopeful that he is persuasive in encouraging his chosen task, he would much love to skim the books contents while they are in transport, and he truly fears their information being lost.
Karzak grunts at the mention of books, even going so far as to snort and shoot a troublesome glob of mucus onto the floor. Books! Why books? My hammer doesn't have a thirst for books and nor do I; my vote is for the vault.
He turns a sour look of disdain on Jori, his eyes wide and angry. His hair and beard, disheveled and wild, make him look more like a wild beast than one of Jori's descent. No self respectin' dwarf that I know'd be lookin' for books when I fine dusty vault's waiting for him!
I cannot believe what I'm hearing… Tiann narrows her eyes at Jake and Karzak. "Did you not hear, or read? There are children who need their medication. Surely, if you were in their position you would not want the people delivering it to prioritize some dusty books or moldy vault, neither of which are affecting anyone's immediate wellbeing, over you. How is this even up for discussion?" She breathes, trying to keep her composure, and crosses her arms on her chest. Her eyes widen a bit, and a small smile crosses her face, "Besides, this looks like it will be the quickest item on the list. Then we can spend the rest of the day looking through books and vaults. How's that sound?"
|Ice Glen Inlet|
Ice looks down, and then surveys the faces of his new compatriots.
I hope they aren't making a mistake... The knowledge in those tomes... It could be anything...
In interest of haste, and to preserve this fellowship, I will agree to deliver the medication to the children first. Perhaps in return you will honor my plea to investigate and deliver these books. There may be unfounded knowledge between their covers.
Turning a face to Karzak, realizing he will likely be opposed to this plan, Ice continues...
Who knows, the books may even contain maps or otherwise mention more tombs, vaults, crypts, and other stonework marvels for us to explore as we begin our career with the pathfinders
Let's focus, shall we? If the consensus is to help the needy children first, then that is fine. The important thing is that we get moving. All tasks need to be performed, and our Venture-Captain was quite clear that they must be done as soon as possible. I will vote in favor of the medicine for the kids, so long as it gets us moving without further bantering.
Talhaearn nods to Tiann in a gesture to thank her for joining him as the voice of reason.
Fear not Ice...whatever is written in those books is not likely to be unwritten in the time it takes to deliver a single parcel. Shall we set off then?
The party seems to reach a slightly grudging agreement to deliver the medicine first, over the objections of a couple of holdouts.
You begin travel to the Temple of the Shining Star, the Ascendant Court's huge temple of Sarenrae, to meet with Ollysta Zadrian, a retired Pathfinder now operating the Silver Crusade, an effort to use the Society's resources to help those in need and spread good deeds throughout the world.
How do you travel, and are there any stops anyone needs to make on the way?
Karzak growls at Tiann like a feral dog, then seems to blink away his anger and regain a small sense of composure. He opens his mouth, undoubtedly to protest, then slams his mouth shut as Ice tries to placate him. His eyes light up at the mention of maps, and he finds himself nodding.
Fair 'nuff; let's just make it a quick job
I'm good; no stops necessary; Karzak would want to trust in his own two feet to get him there, though that may make getting all of these done in one day a bit difficult.
|Ice Glen Inlet|
No stops necessary for me.
Tiann takes a step away from the... growling dwarf. Turning to Ice, she brightens and nods. A hurried tone creeps into her voice, her eagerness to get going obvious.
Yes, a carriage would be a wise idea. I'm certainly willing to help ensure we can all take care of things as quickly as possible.
That, and it will be good to see the Temple. I've heard so much about it, and the paintings back at home cannot possibly do it justice.
|Ice Glen Inlet|
You manage to hail a second carriage, easily accomplished as the Grand Lodge is always busy with traffic coming and going on Pathfinder business.
Your group instructs the drivers to take you to the Temple of the Shining Star, in the Ascendant's Court. The carriage journey is relatively uneventful, and morning traffic is fairly light.
Ice Glen Inlet: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (3) + 4 = 7 (low-light)
Tiann Ceriagh'u: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (5) + 4 = 9
Jory Redcap: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (11) + 8 = 19 (+2 vs stonework, auto)
Talhaearn: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (12) + 10 = 22 (low light)
Jake Hargrove: 1d20 ⇒ 13
Karzak: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (7) + 4 = 11 (darkvision 60')
Jory quickly makes eye contact with Talhaearn and graps some parchment and a quill he dips quickly in ink.
To Talhaearn, "Quick, while his face is fresh in our minds."
Jory closes his eyes and quickly writes down what he remembers about the spy. He then makes a quick sketch asking Talhaearn to fill in details.
To the others--Jory smiles, "I can write too; someone was spying on us."
Karzak howls at the jest, enjoying it even more after Tiann's dressing down earlier. He slaps Ice on the shoulder - nearly hard enough to jar lose some teeth, then climbs into the second carriage, the head of his monstrous hammer seeming to slam into every available surface.
Talhaearn smiles at the sketch offered to him by Jory, partially due to the Dwarf's ability to have noticed such a thing, but mostly because the sketch was spot on.
"I have nothing to add. If the person who was watching our departure were to look at this drawing he would think he was looking in a mirror."
Perhaps there is more to this little fellow than meets the eye.
When you arrive at the Temple of the Shining Star, your party is immediately noticed, and directed to Ollysta Zadrian. This paladin of Sarenrae is young, but holds herself with the poise of both a queen and a warrior. As she notices you approaching, she strides forward, addressing you all:
"Thank the light of Sarenrae you have arrived! I knew Ambrus would come through for us in the Silver Crusade. I desperately need you to bring medicine to an orphanage and let me know if the headmistress, Gilga Baltwin, is deserving of our charity. Since our quest began, the needy have clamored for our aid, and I suspect some are abusing our generosity. It may sound cruel, but there are plenty of dishonest people out in the world eager for easy gold.
"Do you know of the Silver Crusade? After discovering so many factions splintered the Society, a number of us banded together to proliferate the cause of charity and kindness using the Society’s resources. As it is said, 'The Dawn brings new light' and I’ve made it my life’s work to use our recent darkness to bring a new light to the world and to the Pathfinder Society. I apologize for straying off point. Will you bring this parcel of medicine to Auntie Baltwin’s Home for Recovery in the Eastgate district?"
Once you conclude your interaction here, before you go enter the Home for Recovery, you may want to ask around in that area about the orphanage and its owner's reputation. You can use Diplomacy to gather information, or Knowledge(local). If anyone will be assisting others roll instead of rolling it themselves (DC10 to give an ally +2 on their roll), please specify that BEFORE making your roll.
But before any of that, I'll give you all a chance to do whatever you'd like here at the temple.
Tiann greets Ollysta warmly, with a bow and a bright smile. She tries not to be too distracted by the splendors of the temple, but can't help being a bit wide-eyed.
Greetings, sister! We came as quickly as we could. My name is Tiann Ceriagh'u. It is so lovely to see the faith represented in Absalom. I hope things are well for you here? I would ever so love to see the rest of the temple when we have some time. But we have many errands to perform today for the Venture Captain, and I'm afraid I won't have the pleasure of returning today.
"Ollysta, you almost make me glad we didn't get the books first. I mean I might have wanted to come here first had I known you would be so nice."
Jory scratches his head. I think that came out better than bragging about being literate.
Jake half bows in the presence of the Paladin.
Ollysta, we will see to your task with the utmost degree of care and efficiency. If there are issues with Headmistress Baltwin, then we will set things right.
Jake turns on his heel and returns to the rear of the group, examining the temple. He makes every effort to peer outside to see if the particular trailer is present again.
Perception: 1d20 ⇒ 1
Ollysta smiles at Tiann. "All are welcome in the Temple of the Shining Star, but we are especially happy to see devotees of the Goddess here. I am gratified to see that the ranks of the new Pathfinders still includes people such as you, sister. Please return any time, Tiann, I would love to share stories with you about my time as a more active operative of the Society. Perhaps you might even decide to dedicate yourself to the Silver Crusade, we have many of our members working on missions for the Society."
She raises an eyebrow at Jory, but is not offended. As a representative of a large and busy temple, she is used to interacting with people of all kinds.
In response to Jake, Ollysta looks slightly concerned. "Don't get me wrong. I am not looking for an inquisition here, but I want to know if you find anything untoward about the orphanage or its owner, so that we can decide if we need to pursue it further."
|Ice Glen Inlet|
Jory will show his sketch to Ollystra and mention that this someone is obviously spying on Pathfinder business.
"Ollystra, can Tal and I peer out of any windows facing front to look for our spy without being observed?"
Jake furrows his brow then after contemplating a moment, responds.
Understood, Ollystra...simply investigate. I am sorry if I overstepped. I tend to be a person of action.
|Ice Glen Inlet|
Zadrian smiles. "No harm done, Jake. We seem to all be on the same page."
Addressing the group, "I'm not sure if Gilga Baltwin is honest or not, but I hope this delivery by Pathfinder agents will confirm whether the orphanage is operating on the up and up. Please be observant and report back any evidence that Baltwin isn't worth of my organization's aid."
Tiann is rather visibly bothered by the possibility of a spy. She asks to see the illustration and tries to assist those searching to uncover anything unusual, particularly by listening for anyone trying to remain quiet or hide beneath windows or the like.
Perception: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (18) + 4 = 22
"How about I show up as a homely monk that has a story of two young children orphaned by a natural disaster and ask if the orphanage has any room? Obviously I would have to disguise myself to appear homely. Probably wrap my bow, that shows I have means."
"Maybe we could pay a young child a silver for a days work to make the disguise complete?"
I like using trickery to achieve good. Let's call it goodrickery.
"i'm fairly certain our potential spy wouldnt have been able to secure transport quickly enough to have followed us here; yet he could be along shortly if he was aware of our destination. We should probably get moving."
Tiann nods to Talhaearn. She takes a moment to offer a prayer of gratitude and guidance before fetching the parcel from Zadrian.
Once again, it has been a pleasure meeting you and seeing the temple. I would very much be interested in hearing about the Crusade.
She gives another bow and turns to her compatriots.
Now, gentlemen, if this spy knows our destination then perhaps it would be wise to take two separate paths. That is, send one carriage in one direction to the orphanage and the other along a different route. This way we can try to confound him into thinking we're taking a detour. Does that sound reasonable?
|Ice Glen Inlet|
Jake shakes his head...
May be a bit to complicated, Tiann. I say we just go about our business and catch him red-handed. We have the advantage of knowing he is on our trail. Talhearn should be able to catch him unawares at some point in time.
I think Jake has the right of it. Between Jory and myself we should be able to spot our shadow if he reappears. Besides I'm reminded of an ancient piece of wisdom about never splitting the party...
Karzak grunts in acknowledgement, edging back to make it out of the temple rather expeditiously as well. Shiny and fancy and all, nut a bit too much preachin' for me.
Good 'nuff, then. Let's be on our way in the carriages again. Jus' make sure ya' catch the spy before I do, if ya' want any information outta him.