"We got a little trouble over at the Blakros Museum again," Venture-Captain Adril Hestram growled when you first entered the trophy hall in the Grand Lodge earlier this afternoon and gestured for you to walk with him. Between sheets of muscle and the layer of blubber he's packed on since retirement from field duty Hestram is a truly massive man with a wiry beard. The smell of booze on him makes it clear he's already several cups in by early afternoon. No surprise considering booze and arm wrestling top his favorite pastimes and he had never been shy about trying to rope his students into one the other or both. Hestram heads up exploration of the ancient siege towers and fortresses surrounding Absalom from ages past. Typically he runs new recruits through several towers cleared and set up as tests of skill for trainees so most if not all of you have trained with him in the past.
"The museum's curator, Nigel Aldain, came to me this morning asking for help. Apparently, a wayward daughter of his illustrious patrons, the Blakros family, has disappeared, along with a few of the museum's watchmen who went looking for her. The Society has helped him in the past, and he wants us to find her, before he loses his job, or worse. Now Nigel's an old friend, and a former Pathfinder, but this kind of missing person case isn't really our bailiwick and he knows it. Normally I'd tell him to find the district guard and leave the Society out of it."
Hestram stops in front of a preserved hydra sleek in shades of blue and green, posed as if ready to strike and laughs, "Matter of fact that is exactly what I told him, but then he made me an offer that was too good to pass up. Not only will he allow the Society access to the Blakros Museum's extensive and very private library, but apparently this same missing daughter just returned to Absalom with a pack full of ancient relics collected throughout Osirion and northern Garund. And Nigel promised the Society first pick of any of those pieces that catch our fancy. I don't need to tell you what those kinds of things might be worth, so it looks like you're heading to the Blakros Museum tonight as soon as they close."
"The missing daughter is named Imrizade Blakros— half-Osirian herself and a pretty successful adventurer and fortune hunter by all accounts. She just arrived in Absalom out of the blue a few days ago, after a couple of years' worth of tomb-raiding in the Osirian deserts, and carrying an odd metal cylinder covered in hieroglyphs, like nothing Nigel has ever seen before. Nigel says she went straight to the basement of the museum to do some research in the family's library, muttering something about 'whispers in the dark' and 'old tapestries,' or something.
"Well- he didn't hear from her for a couple of days, which isn't unusual when someone is deep into their research in the archives, but he got worried when strange noises started coming from the basement. He sent a watchman down there to investigate, and when he didn't return, Nigel sent a few more. That was last night, and they haven’t come back up either." Hestram fixes you all with a serious stare, but soon enough breaks into a gap toothed smile and shakes his head, "Say what you will about Nigel, the man never was one to stick his neck out as a Pathfinder, but he's kept his head sitting there plenty of years longer than many a field agent I've known. Heh- I'm willing to bet that he hasn't said a word to the Blackros family about any of this or first pick of the artifacts certainly wouldn't be on the table."
"The museum closes at sunset. You got a little time to pick up some gear if you need something specific but then I want you over there and Nigel will hustle you in. Find out what happened to Imrizade Blakros and the watchmen. He wants them alive, of course, especially the Blakros woman, but the Society is more interested in what she brought back with her. I've got a hunch it wasn’t just grave goods and pretty jewelry. Whatever she found, the Society wants it, or at the very least some information about it."
1d20 + 2 ⇒ (10) + 2 = 12 KN History roll
1d20 + 2 ⇒ (18) + 2 = 20 KN Local roll
(you'll have to tell me what those mean)
Noa studied the grain of her walking staff. Of course, she knew it already, but between the bands of light and dark were many good places to leave things she might want later. "Im-Ri-Zah-Dey", she carefully enunciated. "Alright, I have to let a certain landlord know I'll not be dancing; maybe he's time to find another act. But I'll be there to meet this Nigel. How much discretion is desired? Is it better for your Nigel if a dancer or a halberdieusse arrive? I could send my arms ahead...?"
|Marchello Aria PFS|
Knowledge (History): 1d20 ⇒ 12
Knowledge (Local): 1d20 ⇒ 17
Marchello thinks about the Venture-Captain’s words for a moment, then smiles at the thought of the task before them, his eagerness, if not his imprudence shining through. His heart warms in hopes that the Osirion linkage and perhaps the relics may grant some favor to Pharasma.
”Sir, Marchello Aria at your service. We will investigate and uncover the source of the disappearances and return the relics to the Society. We will also do our best to rescue their daughter if such an outcome is still possible. Did Nigel say anything else that might aid us in our search, is there anything else down in the depths of the library that he has suspicion of?”
In response to Noamuth Adril barks out a laugh, "Hah. Nigel called us for muscle and that's exactly what he's getting. He can worry about the discretion himself. Trust me, if there is one thing Nigel excels at in life it is covering his own ass. I suggest you show up ready to take care of business."
"Ahh Marchello- That reminds me.. I've got something here for you." Adril pats down his rumpled tunic pockets and comes up with a folded note sealed with the sigil of the open road. "From Valsin. To tell the truth I'm pretty sure Nigel hasn't so much as poked his nose down there so no. From what I understand the basement is storage for exhibits that aren't on display now and archives."
Kn History DC 10 - Blackros Museum
Kn Local DC 10: Blackros family
"We should make a pretty ballad...", Noa mused, her eyes dancing up from her staff.
"Into the old mad wizard's house
In search of lost Black Rose
Went grim Marchello, Noa quick
And strong-armed Jake Hargrove..."
She seemed to realize suddenly, "HOW many guards, were not enough? And how many are we to be?"
"Five, I make it, Lady" states the tall man from the corner. Dressed in armour covered with a dark trenchcoat, his hair and his eyes are both steel-grey, and his shield is plain, without heraldry.
"Sir Adril, can you tell us about the museum, or the library? This is your town, and you have known the family for some years, there must be some secrets or rumours you know.
|Omrax the Bold|
Omrax, a tall half-elf in Bandedmail and carrying a shield embossed with sword with starburst hilt, considers Adril Hestram's words carefully, but at the mention of a lady in peril, states:
"I am not sure I know much about this Museum or the family, not having ventured out of the Temple much until my recent training in the towers outside the city. But if a fellow Pathfinder is in need, or more importantly an innocent life at stake, you can count on my sword as well, Venture-Captain!"
1d20 + 0 ⇒ (13) + 0 = 13 KN History roll
1d20 + 0 ⇒ (3) + 0 = 3 KN Local roll
"And with the company of capable Pathfinders assembled here, I am only certain of our success."
...as Omrax respectfully nods to each of the others in the group with a genuine smile.
Adril belches and says, "Not a museum type of guy myself. I know, I know... you're shocked. I'll tell you what I do know. Women. And that Blackros family seems to have an endless supply of these daughters- every one more beautiful than the last. 'Officially' the family is Taldan by blood, but I don't reckon any of those daughters have married Taldan in the last generation or so. They've been married off to Qadiran trade princes, Vudran rajahs, a Tian noble or two. Hell, I heard they hitched one to a Mwangi chief. The dowry they demand is legendary and that is only the beginning. Blackros women only have one loyalty and marriages tend to be angled towards unions that get them a lifetime of access to valuable relics. That, my friends, is the secret of success for the Blackros family and Museum. Right now Imrizade is probably their most valuable 'asset' down there."
"How many guards? Nigel said six, but really we are talking night watchmen here. Not trained professionals like you lot. I specifically assembled a team based on skill with the blade and the ability to heal wounds. You have my full confidence."
Adril is a 9th level fighter. Let's assume he has enough ranks in Kn Local to take 10 and hit DC 15. No Kn History though.
None of you seem like the research types, but if you would like to pay one of the Society's librarians to investigate further into the history of the Blackros museum let's say 3sp will get one to drop whatever he is doing and do the research for you. He'll have Kn history +10 and a +2 circumstance modifier for the library. He can take 10 or roll at your discretion. You don't have time for him to take 20.
You could also attempt to access the higher than 20 DC level for the Blackros family through Diplomacy to Gather Info, but it requires 1d4 hours to make a check.
When Mordecai says 'five,' Adril shakes his head. "Six. I lined up another holy man for you. He ought to be along in a while, but I've got things to do and people to see. You'll fill him in. I'll running training sessions in the morning, but meet me for lunch at the Flying Goblin Alehouse and give me the run down. Alright boys? Make us proud!" He gives Jake a solid slap on the back and turns to head for the door.
(Do we have 1d4 hours?)
"I've got to go give Vin time to find another dancer.", Noa said. "I'll send my arms to Nigel, then see what I can learn? Adril called me in for the halberd, but I'm a fair hand with a rumor, as well." She grinned. "Besides, if these Black Roses keep marrying money, I wouldn't mind finding out how."
1d20 + 6 ⇒ (14) + 6 = 20 <Diplomacy Gather information
1d4 ⇒ 3 <how long it takes? If it takes longer than I have, ignore the d20?
|Belegorn of Erastil|
As Adril turns to leave, a sturdy dwarf meanders in with streaks of grey in his long hair and the smell of Ale mixed with the smell of tobacco smoke lingering in his beard.
Oye, you were right, Captain Adril, that Sprecher Ale you recommended is strong stuff! Oh, I see I’ve missed the briefing. That’s ok, I’m sure I’ll muddle through as we go along. You have more important things to get to.
He walks over to the gathered group. Top of the morning to ya! Belegorn, at your service. Where are we off to today? Someplace closer than Irrisen I hope...
For future reference, Knowledge History: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (14) + 7 = 21
|Marchello Aria PFS|
"Right." Marchello surveys the group and nods a welcome to the newcomers. "Looks like were all finally assembled, I'm up for the assistance of one of the locals who might know more about the library, but only if we have time enough to still get there before sunset. Otherwise I'm ready to go when you are."
|Omrax the Bold|
"Welcome good Belegorn and well met! Your assistance will be appreciated on this mission.
Unless needed elsewhere, I was just about to suggest picking up a few supplies like a sunrod or two and maybe some sturdy rope.
I would be happy to swing by the library to ask for someone to research on our behalf as well."
(Omrax can autoassist on the diplomacy (+11) if needed by Noamuth as well as paying 3sp to a librarian for the take-10)
Belegorn Kn History
Noamuth> I'd say you have 3-4 hours so you are good.
(Re: Omrax can autoassist, Noa's only +6, he's better off alone.)
"If we're going fishing for rumor, probably better to have more lines in the water.", Noamuth said. "And I've other errands to run, I'd be wasting your time if I took you with."
(And don't we all have to get alone for faction hooks? Newbie here, please do advise.)
|Belegorn of Erastil|
Ok, I’m going to assume someone filled me in ‘off camera’.
The Blakros Museum, you say? Well, that’s a might closer that the Witch’s Lands! You know, that reminds me of a story I heard while back about the Museum before it was a Museum. It was build a really long time ago by this Astrologer named Ralzeros, something. He didn’t have a full set of marbles, if you get my drift. Some say he claimed to watch, or communicate, with far away worlds! Dangerous stuff if you ask me. Anyway, he had a disagreement with this other Wizard in Absolom, and when I say disagreement I mean epic battle! They were slinging magic all over the museum, from the lower levels to the top spires! A duel for the Chronicles it was! Well, when the magic dust settled, Ralzeros was no where to be found. Some say he haunts the Blakros to this very day…
Boo! Ha! Hope I didn’t scare any of you young lads, and lady. But this story does have a lesson to it: Don’t go digging around in an ancient museum without a sturdy Dwarf to back you up! Ha!
After Belegorn is filled in on the Blakros daughter,
Well, rescuing damsels in distress is not my specialty, but if that is where the Ten are sending us, then that is where we go!
As you being walking, he breaks in to song.
oO "We will, go where they send us! How will they send us? The ten will send us six by six, six for the…” Oo
What Belegorn lacks in carrying a tune, he makes up for in enthusiasm!
"...six for the rest of us! Six for the best of us! For all to East and West of us, the Pathfinders go on!", Noa sings, joining Belegorn, each leavening the other's imperfect notes. Or so it was hoped.
|Marchello Aria PFS|
Marchello sprints a few steps to catch up to Jake, slowing to his pace once he is on his left flank. He looks over at him and purses his lips, 'To each their own, I guess' he thinks to himself. Truthfully though, he shares and admires Belegorn's zeal for his faith and his mission, though he is a little less outspoken about it, preferring to blend in a bit.
"This looks like it will be quite the adventure, lots of promise."
Belegorn's summons earlier today came with a note from the runner.
Noamuth parts ways with the group, ostensibly to let her employer know she wouldn't be making her shift tonight but uses her opportunity to stop in with her contact who as usual has a message waiting for her. After taking care of business she heads over to one of the pubs near the College of Mysteries. It takes some time to find a student who was willing to talk and knew anything useful, but eventually she gets what she came for.
Noamuth's Gather Info DC 20
In reality, it is the many daughters who bear the Blakros name that are responsible for the family's wealth. Although beautiful and amazingly fertile, wedding a Blakros daughter has significant conditions- the
daughters always keep their maiden name, all children must be raised as Blakroses, and the husband's family must offer a considerable dowry for the privilege of marriage. Once married, the Blakros daughters join an unparalleled spy network that keeps the family well supplied in secrets and priceless artifacts.
Shortly after the meeting another Pathfinder enters the Hall of Trophies to pass over a bundle of notes addressed to Omrax, Jake, and Mordecai. Mordecai finds his own note prefaced with an appeal from Ollysta Zadrian that he lend the Eagle Knights his full assistance on this mission.
A little more clumsy than I would have liked, but it was time to get those out there. If anyone has anything they want to purchase before closing time at the museum, make a note of it now.
|Omrax the Bold|
Omrax reads his note carefully and then likewise destroys it. He locates and pays 3sp to a librarian for the take-10 on research.
Finally, he will make the following purchases (Sunrod 2gp, Crowbar 2gp, 50' Rope 1gp, Tindertwig 1gp, wrist sheath-L 5gp)
"If my contact at the library has nothing else to aid our adventure, then I am ready to get started..."
Noa is found waiting at the museum, a very different figure in chain and leather than in the earlier dancer's skirts. She frowns, leaning on her halberd, but nods and smiles in greeting as each of the others arrives.
"Let's don't keep her waiting", she says, "Even if she did make the trouble herself, we cannot judge her until we see her, no?"
"Oh, I do not mean to cast her in shadow. But I have heard some things about the looting of tombs, strange workings and sorceries." She waves an open hand in a gesture of dismissal and surrender, and continues, "I know less than nothing about such magical things, but an ancient knight's tomb, plundered? How long, before a grave becomes a bank to be robbed, and how long, before the bank becomes a mine?" She had heated at her own rhetorical questions, and she took a deep breath, and then a second. "Perhaps forgotten is forgotten, and let the bold learn what they can, and take what they will. But Maramaxus is not forgotten."
|Belegorn of Erastil|
|Marchello Aria PFS|
Marchello welcomes the others as they arrive, he holds his heacy mace in his right hand and prepares himself for the journey. He surveys the exterior of the museum and keeps a watchful eye on the street as they prepare to enter.
Perception: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (9) + 10 = 19
|Omrax the Bold|
Omrax arrives at the museum and greets the others. He checks his new gear and ensures his sword is handy (but not yet drawn).
"Now that we are all here, anyone seen our contact, Nigel was it? He was to usher us in if I remember correctly. We should not enter uninvited, unless some ill has befallen him as well?"
|Belegorn of Erastil|
Bah! With a name like Nigel, what could possibly go wrong? Belegorn says in an ironic tone.
"Ha-hah!", laughs Noa, at Belegorn's jest. "Well, either he's locked the door, or he will, or he can't. So trying it will tell us something, yes?" Stepping to the door, she gives it a gentle push.
Mordecai looks up at the museum with a smile. "Wonderful places, museums... an enormous melange of thousands of different parts of the world, information discovered and waiting to be discovered." His smile growing somewhat more sardonic, he adds "And as a child I always thought museums had just the tiniest fraction of 'terrifying'. Well, good to know I was right, at least about this one."
Swinging his shield onto his arm, Mordecai points sternly and dramatically towards the door. "Onwards to Nigel!"
While the others are out Omrax pays a visit to the Library at the Grand Lodge and finds a librarian willing to handle his request. The paladin has to wait patiently for nearly an hour before the librarian calls him over to explain, "Thousands of years ago in the same place the the Museum stands today, a mad astrologer known as Ralzeros the Overwatched carved a stronghold from a single block of volcanic stone. His contemporaries speculated that he drew his power from otherworldly patrons, and built his observatory to hide a powerful artifact in the catacombs beneath the keep. After his disappearance there was some speculation that he might have been abducted by the alien monsters from other worlds that he had studied so obsessively. In any case even after he was gone, no one ever found any catacombs or hidden artifacts under his keep. Several thousand years later there was a protracted legal battle to acquire several plot of land that the Blackros family later built the Museum on. Together those plots cover what was once the grounds of the Observatory of Ralzeros according to ancient city plans."
Librarian Kn History 1d20 + 10 + 2 ⇒ (16) + 10 + 2 = 28 hits the DC 25 mark
I rolled rather than taking 10, because Belegorn had already hit the lower DC. 25 was the remaining mark and just beyond taking 10
The walk over to the Wise Quarter is a little far, but the camel drawn bench wagons pass every quarter hour or so and catching a ride cuts the transit down to twenty minutes or so. The Museum looms over the street like a shadow, its imposing architecture dominating the block it stands on.
Noamuth pushes lightly on the door and simultaneously it is pulled open quickly from the other side. A nervous looking older man with a gray mustache sighs with relief when he sees you all assembled. "Please, please come in. I can't thank you all enough, follow me please." Nigel takes off through heading through the museum's galleries.
With due care for both ends of her halberd, Noa follows the mustachioed stranger. "You know why we're here, then. We wanted neither to make a scene, nor to arrive any later than form demanded. It's like walking a razor." Faintly brandishing the halberd's head (with the aforementioned care), she smiles. "I prefer wielding one."
|Marchello Aria PFS|
Marchello bustles into the museum after their guide and Naomuth.
He engages the man in such a way as to accomodate his concerns, gain his trust and to elicit information. "A pleasure to meet you Nigel, and to be at your service. We've not had much in the way of details or expectations, so anything you might be able to advise us on would be greatly appreciated. We have a good group of Pathfinders assembled here, we'll do our best to bring resolution to your situation .... with the utmost discretion of course."
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (10) + 4 = 14
(If it's not too late to Aid Another for Marchello's Dip Check, Noa will. If it is too late, Noa makes her own (+6). I'll leave that conditional roll to the GM. This dialog dresses either circumstance, I hope.)
"Of course;", Noa agrees emphatically, "You are a Pathfinder. We are like brothers...", she grins, "But enough of that, or the dwarf might sing again." Her eyes dance comradely toward Belegorn, then Marchello, then settle on Nigel. "Tell us, everything you can. And what you think you can't, consider, it may help us save her."
|Omrax the Bold|
While following Nigel and keeping mental note of the order of the galleries traversed, Omrax adds "Indeed, do not leave out anything you know or suspect could be helpful. Of particular interest, we understand the lady returned with a pack full of ancient relics collected throughout Osirion and northern Garund. Obviously, those are of great concern and interest to the Society in this mystery."
Jake enters the museum, and he paces back and forth near to Nigel, with arms crosses, awaiting his disclosure of any relevant information that could pose a tactical advantage.
|Belegorn of Erastil|
Nigel bars the door behind you and nods thinking on what he should and could say while beckoning for you all to follow. The entry hall of the museum is bathed in cool hues from orbs mounted on the walls radiating arcane light. Basalt pillars line the carpeted path through the atrium toward the interior galleries where the skeleton of a dragon is poised as if clinging to the wall, wings spread across the hall, neck snaking down to observe those passing through the hallway beneath it. Nigel heads toward it unperturbed.
"As I told Adril, Imrizade has been away excavating an ancient Osirion tomb for the last seven months or so. She returned unannounced in the dead of night three days ago. None of her team returned with her. I thought that was a little odd as a woman of her means typically employs a porter at least, but then she may have dismissed her retinue before returning to the museum. Then again, she brought only her satchel and that cylinder covered in hieroglyphics, no clothing or any of the general gear I would expect her to return with. I asked her about it, but she didn't really reply. She walked right past me muttering something about a dark tapestry in the archives. To be honest she said a lot more, but she was slipping in and out of Ancient Osiriani so much that I couldn't understand her. She looked a little glassy eyed, but she had been traveling all day and night." Nigel shrugs, "It all sounds a lot worse in hindsight, but the Blackros daughters are peculiar- one might say obsessive about their studies. It wouldn't be the first time one has turned up alone in the middle of the night wanting access to the archives or scriptorium. I bid her goodnight and she hasn't been up since as far as I am aware. Last night I sent a handful of guards down to take her some food and a change of clothing, but to be honest I sent all six because I was worried. I've heard plenty of stories about curses found in the tombs of Osirion. None of the guards have returned. As you know I contacted Adril this morning and that is where you come in."
While he gives his recollection of events, Nigel leads you all down a long hall into a large open room dominated by a small replica pyramid in Mwangi style. Mock vines cling to the walls and the pyramid is surrounded by a grass huts. Tribal totems stand amid the huts and mannequins dressed as Mwangi witchdoctors or hunters are posed in action around the room. Atop the ziggurat a Mwangi shaman with an elaborate headdress and necklace of bird skulls holds a sacrificial blade poised above a bound elven prisoner's bare chest.
Nigel circles around the the back side of the pyramid and opens a hidden panel in the ziggurat. Once he pulls a section of the floor gently descends creating a ramp into darkness below the pyramid.
|Marchello Aria PFS|
Noa squats by the opening, peering down, and vocally recounts the information given. "She went, alone and glassy-eyed, three days ago. In her hand, a cylinder. A scroll case, perhaps?" Noa waves away her own question. "It is no matter. But the tapestry, what might she have meant? Where is that? You should not come with us; one must remain behind who knows the most. But you have known we were coming; what guidance have you prepared? Could you... draw a map?"