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Inner Sea Sandbox: Suspicious Minds

Game Master Garden Tool

A sandbox-style Inner Sea campaign featuring a suspiciously-non-good-aligned party of five antiheroes.

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Male Human Barbarian 1 - Rogue 2

"Never heard of it. Is this a good or a bad thing?" Farid pauses for a moment then answers the question, "What am I thinking I am sure this is terrible". Farid says no more and just watches the sea roll out before him awestruck by its beauty.

Cheliax

@ Jelani: Long story short, you opted out of this whole mess. There are no leads to be had in distant lands with regards to your cousin's failures, and no reason to risk your neck for these strangers. Imagine your surprise, then, when you were picked up by anonymous mercenaries and hauled aboard some gilded vessel that you'd never seen before in your life.

Whoever these men were, their boss - their mistress - was a woman of obvious power. Stranger still? You'd seen her before... in the form of a sandy visage worn by a shape-shifting elemental. Some family member of the late Syndir Apep? And even stranger - the vessel was extravagant, even by the standards of the modestly-wealthy House Apep.

And strager yet? She was looking for the elixirs. One of them, at least. You know this, because she grilled you to no end. She restrained you - which you took to mean that she wanted you alive (a good sign). She questioned you. She threatened you, in that ominously understated way that only members of the aristocracy so elegantly manage to do. You held up just fine until the telepathic prying started. Until very recently, you'd never had your own thoughts invaded before. It wasn't kind. It wasn't, or she wasn't - you're not sure which. It was not kind at all, and it did not feel the way you'd always imagined that it would. It left you feeling shaken. Afraid. Even violated.

Then, seemingly unafraid that you had seen her face, her vessel, her crew - she promised to let you go. It was then that you knew that you were going to die. You determined escape to be nigh-impossible, so you elected to die with dignity. Then the day came that you were scheduled to arrive in port. Aristizobel called you to the captain's cabin, and you went resolved to die well, and standing up.

...

@ Syndir & Jelani: Only moments before making port in Eleder (a solid day ahead of the Wicked Wench), Aristizobel summons Syndir to the captain's cabin (though the captain is strangely absent). It is there that he is re-acquainted with someone he did not expect to see again... the diviner, Jelani Guldis. The half-elf looks... shaken.

"We have nearly arrived at our destination, Syndir," she begins. "and I have just been... convinced of a course of action which I had not previously considered. This priest of Nethys - your former acquaintance - will continue to accompany you. I picked him up thinking to determine whether or not the church of the so-called "All-Seeing Eye" was against me, or simply incompetent."

Aristizobel casts a short glance at Jelani.

"It continues to baffle me that everyone associated with the disappearance of my... shipment seems to know nothing. To have committed no crime or conspiracy. Not you, who burned one of my many estates to the ground - the sole, anonymous, address at which my inconspicuous delivery should have arrived, without fanfare. Days - maybe hours - before it ought to have been signed for. And not this priest, who both hails from the very city that my package ought to have left from, and who belongs - after a fashion - to the very house responsible for its delivery. Were he worth anything to House Guldis... and were I interested in coin, I might even ransom him for a promisary of recompensation."

The noblewoman sighs.

"But, as it stands, he - like you - is of no particular worth to anyone and knows absolutely nothing. Therefore, you shall both set out to change one or both of those things. Not that it needs to be said, but if you are successful in aiding Kamlann or the Consortium in the recovery of my shipment, you shall become very wealthy. And... not that it needs to be said... but if you are discovered to be in any way responsible for the package having evaded me... you shall be very, very sorry. Now get off of my ship and go be 'useful' somewhere else."

Watching the vessel - The Red Lady, as it turns out - resupply and sail away, the man and the half-elf are left to wait for the Wicked Wench to make port.

...

@ Farid, Kamlann, & Seamus: After what seems like a tremendously long journey, the Wicked Wench makes port in the capitol city of Eleder, on Sargava's western coast. The city is a defensive marvel, to put it lightly - and there is a surprising amount of harbour activity here - both merchant and military. The largely-Mwangi population regards you with no real curiosity at all - and upon a second glance you can discern no small number of Chelaxian and other Avistani men and women going about their business in port. Among the many faces is a familiar one... and the very last face you expected to see - here, or anywhere else. At least, not on this side of the Boneyard.

The face belongs to Syndir Apep.

Less shocking (but nearly as perplexing) is the presence of Jelani Guldis - who surely wasn't on the Wicked Wench - who stands next to Syndir on the dock. The man and the half-elf seem to be waiting for the three of you.


Male Human Barbarian 1 - Rogue 2

Farid will break away from Seamus and Kamlann approach Syndir warily, "How is it you are alive?" Syndir sees that Farid is carrying his pack along with Farid's own pack.

Cheliax

Male Human Magus 3

Kamlann's expression - never clear at the best of times - darkens to thunderous levels at the sight of the waiting pair. "Devils curse you all, there is something behind all this. Or someone," he murmurs.

Strings. Strings everywhere, tugging us along. Someone with resources, and for whatever reason, someone who wants us together. Someone who wanted Haggrathy's trail cold, someone who wants the Qadiran alive, someone who wants Guldis with us. Someone... who wants us to succeed... He frowns, watching the reunion between Syndir and Farid. But who? And perhaps more importantly, why?


HP: | AC: | T: | FF: | CMD: | F: | R: | W: | Perc: | SM: | Init:

The Qadiran greets his friend Farid warmly despite the man's hesitation.

Ah Farid, it is so good to see you again, and in the flesh at that. You ask a question that deserves an answer and an answer you shall have.

Looking around at their group reassembled once again by somewhat less than coincidence this time.

Im sure we all have questions and I think its time we all gave answers to those questions. Dont you think? Lets find some wine and a very discreet place to discuss the most recent events.


Male Human Barbarian 1 - Rogue 2

Farid and Syndir in Qadiran:
Farid will ask Syndir a question in Qadiran which only he should know the answer to making sure it is his friend and not some sort of doppleganger.


Male Human Gunslinger (Mysterious Stranger) 3

Seamus didn't feel any real emotion at seeing the two men standing there on the docks waiting for them. A certain amount of apprehension sure, it's not an easy task returning from the dead and he'd given up on seeing the other man again. But he wasn't connected to them in any way so it was hard to care more than the immediate needs warranted.

I see you two dodged the headsman's axe it seems.


Male HP:9/17, AC15/To11/FF14, F4/R2/W9 Half-elf (Half Garundi) Diviner 2/Cleric of Nethys 1

Jelani was still recovering from his ordeal aboard The Red Lady. It seems his cousin was able to torture him even with his failures.

"I think it is closer to say that the axe came down, but didn't cut all the way through." The priest responds to Haggrathy, though is still visibly shaken by his ordeal. "And the executioner is still close by. Personally, I do not wish for another turn on the block. Syndir and I's host wasn't exactly informative. Talkative maybe. It seems she wants the pair of us to be grouped with you gentlemen. So. Do you have any idea what we're to do?" Jelani's lack of knowledge of the situation is making him almost as uncomfortable as the intrusion into his mind, and this comes across in his quick, jumbled sentences.


HP: | AC: | T: | FF: | CMD: | F: | R: | W: | Perc: | SM: | Init:

Qadiran to Farid:
It was a bright red thrush and barely had enough meat to stave off our hunger. You insisted on wearing its feathers for a whole week.

Syndir looked around the dock and shook his head.

I do indeed know what we are to do and so does Kamlann but again this is not the place to discuss such matters. Lets move.

The dark skinned man started moving off.

Cheliax

Male Human Magus 3

Kamlann's eyes narrow.

This is about the elixir, then.

His gaze shifts to Jelani. Of course they'd want him back. And me with him. And the others... Just here to help? Or is there more to it? What's their link?

Aloud, though, the Chelaxian merely says, "I think that's a very good idea," as he falls into step with the Qadiran.


Male HP:9/17, AC15/To11/FF14, F4/R2/W9 Half-elf (Half Garundi) Diviner 2/Cleric of Nethys 1

"I'd recommend finding an inn, but given our last experience with inns... perhaps we should avoid them."

Cheliax

As you discuss where you might head off to, your party notices a group of two men and one dwarf striding toward you. They wear expensive and colorful longcoats over light armor, but wear no insignia or badge - noble, mercantile, political, or otherwise. One of the human men hails your party with a half-wave.


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Syndir sighed and waved back reflexively.

Looks like our talk will have to wait gentlemen. Lets try to refrain from overreacting to whatever these men have to say.

to the approaching men How can we help you sirs?

Cheliax

Male Human Magus 3

Overreacting? Kamlann thinks. We'd have to know what the proper reaction was before we could overdo it, Qadiran - and I doubt any of us have enough information to figure that out... He watches the oncoming group warily, hand on the hilt of his blade.

Cheliax

"Seamus Haggrathy," says the dwarf. He meets Seamus' eyes, correctly identifying him among the members of your party.

"You-you-who welcomes you to Sargava. Let's go somewhere private and get right down to business."

Then, nodding toward Seamus' companions: "These yours?"


Male Human Gunslinger (Mysterious Stranger) 3

Seamus shrugged towards the men around him. Some more than others and not all happy about it but I'd say so at this point. We'll see how many decide to come with us.

Seamus motions to the dwarf and his entourage. Lead the way sir.

Cheliax

The above post should have read "you-know-who," by the way. D'oh!


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Syndir was thankful to not be the subject of attention for what felt like once and wasnt even mildly surprised that someone was waiting for them. He waited for the men to lead the way like the pirate asked and fell in line motioning to Farid for his haversack with an appreciative nod.


Male Human Barbarian 1 - Rogue 2

Farid hands Syndir his pack, "Uh thanks for the crossbow and the beets".


HP: | AC: | T: | FF: | CMD: | F: | R: | W: | Perc: | SM: | Init:

Syndir regarded his one and only friend quizically and muttered...Youre welcome?..

he couldnt remember having such things in his pack but it didnt really matter. A man that gained another shot at life realized the absurdity of attachment to material things.

Cheliax

The dwarf and his human companions invite you to be seated in a dark corner of the World's End Inn & Tavern. The tavern is huge, busy, and populated by no small number of sailors, adventurers, and pirates.

"This won't take long, the dwarf promises.


Male Human Gunslinger (Mysterious Stranger) 3

Seamus takes a seat at the table, glancing around the tavern. He'd seen many establishments similar to this one and felt almost a little at home. Seamus smiled at the dwarf's words. Well I'm in no rush, but as you will.

Cheliax

Male Human Magus 3

Kamlann maintains his scowl, and does not sit with his back to the door.


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Syndir let the pirate and mercenary take their seats before choosing one of his own. He didnt know if they'd be there long enough for a drink so he refrained from ordering.


Male HP:9/17, AC15/To11/FF14, F4/R2/W9 Half-elf (Half Garundi) Diviner 2/Cleric of Nethys 1

Jelani was certainly growing more interested in this venture by the minute. With the sharp memory of his captivity slowly dulling, he was finding himself slowly growing more excited. Sargava was next to the Mwangi Expanse, a treasure trove of magical knowledge and lore. Whatever reason they were here, surely some good would come of this for him.

"Good, our time is precious." Jelani responded to the dwarf. He was trying to reclaim control of the situation.

Cheliax

The dwarf clears his throat.

"You can call me Hagar. I'll be your point-of-contact, and you can leave any correspondence you wish me to receive with any of the regular barkeeps here at The World's End. You know who you're working for, and you know that Sargava owes its independence to the Free Captains. As such, you'll be seeing to the affairs of your new... patron with regards to certain Sargavan affairs."

The dwarf gestures at your party, as a whole.

"Now I wasn't expecting a... retinue. But if you're with Haggrathy... well... it's not my business how the pirate gets his business done, or how many ways he splits his attention. Now I don't mean you any menace, and if you folks are an... adventuring company, or Aspis hires, or whatever, then that's your business. Just understand that Haggrathy is dead - and if he leaves Sargava, or even tries to leave Sargava - he's gonna get a little bit deader. And so will anyone that helps him."

The dwarf gives your party a grave (but apologetic) look.

"Are we all, eh, clear on these matters? So far?"

Cheliax

Male Human Magus 3

Kamlann looks sideways at Haggrathy, trying to see if he "knows who you're working for," since Kamlann has absolutely no idea. Otherwise, though, he maintains his scowling silence.


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Syndir wished to move the conversation past the not so idle threat stage and get to the meat of the matter as it were. He raised and wondered if this dwarf also worked for his 'mother' but would never speak such a question aloud.

Yes, Id say that its quite clear. Do carry on.


Male Human Gunslinger (Mysterious Stranger) 3

Seamus simply nods. Oh belive me, I know who I work for and what that means for my future health. So what's next? What's the task?

Cheliax

The dwarf nods, curtly.

"Shelyn monestary up in the Bandu Hills - near the city, and the mines. Civilized part'o the hills, you mind. Monks pay their taxes to the Baron and their tithes to the Captains just like everyone else. 'cept they haven't, this month."

Hagar clears his throat.

"Now we don't expect they're holdin' out - and Abadar knows they ain't got much - but these are trying times for Sargava, and the Baron's got to collect his taxes even more'n the Capn's will be wantin' their tithes. All the same, you're going to find out why neither has been submitted. If there's a problem with the monks; fix it. If the monks have got problems of their own, you fix those, too. However you work it out so as they can pay. It's called a protection racket for a reason. And mind you - I don't know how you think this works, but the Free Captains don't shake down Shelyn monks for jollies. Piracy is business; never think it isn't. Less they give you trouble, you treat the monks with respect. They ain't never treated no man - pirate or otherwise - with any less'n that. And that's somethin'."

The dwarf raises his eyebrows. "Questions?

Cheliax

Male Human Magus 3

"Skipping past the threats," Kamlann asks dryly, "what do we get out of this? I'm rather fond of things like food, drink and a roof over my head. There some kind of payment in all this?"


Male Human Gunslinger (Mysterious Stranger) 3

Sounds simple enough which probably means it won't be. Is there a specific monk I should be speakin' with who handles these things? Also, being new to the colonies I'm not completely familar with the layout of the area yet. Can you recommend someone to show us the way up there or provide directions?

Cheliax

"Damned if I know, Haggrathy - but here's a map."

The dwarf stands.

"And yes, human. Your room is upstaris, and ye'll be gettin' paid. Don't ye bother t'ask how much because that's not my department and you haven't got a choice in the matter of whether t'work or not, anyhow."


Male Human Barbarian 1 - Rogue 2

Farid sits next to Syndir and considers Hagar's information, "If these Captains provide protection why do they need outsiders to do their work for them?"

Cheliax

The dwarf and his companions - having turned to leave - halt in mid-stride.

"Outsiders!?" repeats the dwarf.

"Lad. y'stepped off that boat knowin' you were here to pay Haggrathy's bill. If you're with Haggrathy, yer a pirate - or yer doin' a pirate's work. No outsiders here, boy. Just you, and me, yer boss, and my boss. You do your job, and your boss gets ya paid. Same as anywhere."

The dwarf leans in, and lowers his tone.

"Paperwork's a little lighter, sure... but th'only real difference's that ye can't afford t'get fired from this here job. Never think it."


Male Human Gunslinger (Mysterious Stranger) 3

Seamus watched his companions' faces as the dwarf spoke. He'd seen many a sailor pressed into service the same way in the Shackles and it was always a toss up of how they'd react. After all most people never chose to be a pirate, least not the sane ones he thought with a chuckle.

Still, he'd known his fate as soon as he stepped foot on that ship and it was no weight on him that the others had decided to tag along. Some were probably regretting that decision but they'd just have to learn to live with that.


Male Human Barbarian 1 - Rogue 2

"A pirate eh? I have been called many things but never a pirate". Farid grins then frowns, "I will have to learn to swim. How big is this bill that Haggrathy has to pay?"

Cheliax

The dwarf strolls over to the bar, to pick something up from the barkeep. "Big as the boss wants it to be," Hagar says. He chuckles.

Heading back to your table to collect his retinue, the dwarf leans in again, and speaks low.

"Haggrathy knows right well he didn't kill the woman. Boss knows it, too. But the dead girl's Free Cap'n of a father doesn't know any such thing, a'course, and neither does his fleet of experienced pirates."

Hagar winks. "Yer done when the boss says yer done."

Seamus has never heard it spoken so frustratingly plainly before. He was set up in order to be pressed into service out on the Sargavan frontier? Whatever happened to paying a guy for his gun?


Male Human Barbarian 1 - Rogue 2

Farid regards the dwarf darkly, "You speak of slavery, slavery I understand".

Cheliax

"Call it what you want, but y'get paid in the end," Hagar mutters over his shoulder, as he takes his leave.


Male HP:9/17, AC15/To11/FF14, F4/R2/W9 Half-elf (Half Garundi) Diviner 2/Cleric of Nethys 1

Jelani had never really had a choice in the matter. Nethys was guiding him to this fate, that much was clear. He just wished that Nethys had decided to guide him elsewhere. Whimsical Shelynites weren't exactly on the top of his list of people to meet. Ah well, he set out to see the world and learn from his experiences. Better than being stuck with his cousin.

What time of day is it?

Cheliax

About noon.


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Syndir laid a calming hand on his friend's shoulder.

Easy Farid. You knew such an existence but dont now nor shall you ever again...but indentured servitude is something we all better get used to for a while...

he trailed off as thoughts of just how far Aristizobel's plans went.


Male HP:9/17, AC15/To11/FF14, F4/R2/W9 Half-elf (Half Garundi) Diviner 2/Cleric of Nethys 1

"Well, if this is to be our goal, let's get to it. Let me see that map, perhaps we can get to this monastery before dusk." Truly, Jelani would like to stay in the city a while longer, but the sooner this is done, the better. His face is a mask of determination.


Male Human Barbarian 1 - Rogue 2

"Should we not first understand how you both came to be here?"


HP: | AC: | T: | FF: | CMD: | F: | R: | W: | Perc: | SM: | Init:

Of course but we can have that talk once we're out on the road and away from anyone's curious ears.

Cheliax

Male Human Magus 3

Perhaps surprisingly, Kamlann doesn't seem terribly upset by this arrangement (not any moreso than his usual sour demeanor, anyway). He does chuckle a little, though, at Syndir's description of the situation as "indentured servitude." "Sounds like merc work to me," he shrugs. "I'm a merc. I've certainly had less pleasant employers, I can say that much already. As long as I'm getting paid, there's nothing to complain about." He looks over at the map. "Anybody got some idea which way to head?"

Cheliax

According to the map, it seems that - on foot - the monastery ought to be only a three hours' hike outside of the city. It'll take you another hour to get ready and leave Eleder. Best case scenario is that you get there by 4PM (if you want to leave today).


Male HP:9/17, AC15/To11/FF14, F4/R2/W9 Half-elf (Half Garundi) Diviner 2/Cleric of Nethys 1

"Well, I believe we should leave today. Right now would be best. Unless someone has particularily pressing business in town that is." Jelani says crisply.


Male Human Barbarian 1 - Rogue 2

"Agreed, we waste daylight while sitting here".

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