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Magnimar Special Investigations Unit One (Inactive)

Game Master Nazard

A serial police drama set in Magnimar - unit One.

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therealthom wrote:
Combined with a vague feeling that I was over-posting and crowdnig people out.

Heward's been put in charge, and there's no longer anyone on the team to question his authority. Everyone's just sitting around waiting for orders rather than taking initiative to do their own thing. Driving the narrative forward is all on you now. ;)

Heward Wallas wrote:

He can always use his audience with Percival to persuade the Captain it's a security risk to allow an outsider so much access and try to get her kept at arm's length from the team. He's gotten the tidbit of information he didn't have now, for what it's worth, and there's no indication the investigation will take them back to the Bazaar and into the Princess' sphere of influence. :)

Honestly, he might already be in a position to get chewed out for bringing her on in the first place without getting permission.

Better send Laya and her +6 Diplomacy with Calatin and let her take the lead on questioning Veers; Calatin has a +0 Diplomacy, and Awgin has a -2. Or are we letting Awgin Intimidate the mage into talking?

So, even given the prolonged absence I am loathe to do this, but I think it's time to find another player to replace Garidan (ProfPotts). Obviously, if the Prof returns, we'll make do with seven characters, but in the meantime, we need some player/party stability to get the enthusiasm for this game back up and running, so hopefully, this will be the last player swap for awhile.

Is there anybody from this vaunted Serpent's Skull game that would be interested in a spot to make some sort of support character like Garidan and Markiv were?

I always vouch for Wander Weir as both talented and reliable. LoreKeeper, as well. Don't know if either of them has the time for another game right now. You know them both from Jade Regent and can judge accordingly.

Dragonborn3 is the only player in Serpent's Skull who's not in Jade Regent. His ability to post regularly seems to fluctuate, depending on what's going on in real life.

Grand Lodge

I agree with Joana'a assessment.

Cookie Jar Pilferer 7

If you guys vouch for them, I'm perfectly happy.

Okay, so all three declined. Any other suggestions?

Honestly, most of the people I'm in games with seem to be at their absolute limit right now, to the point that they're cutting back some of their PbP obligations. Everyone seems to have gotten busy since the holidays. :(

Cookie Jar Pilferer 7

Totally relate to "busy since the holidays", but there are options. I play with so many excellent players on the boards, any of them would be fine choices, but two stand out for a total lack of posting limits and absolutely no need to sleep. Dabbler and Set.

Ooh, Set's good. I've never played with him, but I've admired his work.

And the names keep coming! AK had to decline, but suggested Mark Sweetman, as Joana did, so I have contacted him. If he too declines, I will try Set.

Nazard has extended an invitation to join your intrepid crew of crime fighters, and if you would have me I would be more than honored to do so. I've only begun to read into the adventures that you've had thus far, and will continue to do so over the next few days; however I do have an abiding love of police procedurals, so to have the chance to PbP one out makes me smile.

After getting a run-down on the characters in the game at present, I've an initial character proposal to pitch:

A Half-Elf Bard (Buccaneer archetype) who was recently of Riddleport, but has come to Magnimar to escape his past and seek a more legitimate lifestyle. An ex-Pirate, he had a bad experience on his first major voyage that both left him scarred and did not sit well with his inner moral compass.

Personality will be generally foppish and fancy free, unflapped by conflict and calm with honeyed words despite the circumstance. Skillset will cover social skills as well as the trappings of piracy (sailing, appraise, sleight of hand, etc).

Details on Buccaneer archetype:
It is in the recent Pirates of the Inner Sea book, but the primary swaps are below:
Hilt Bash: Can deal non-lethal damage with any weapon without penalty (replaces bardic knowledge)
Song of Surrender: @ 4th, can use bardic perfomance to force a single enemy to surrender (go prone and drop weapons). (replaces suggestion)
Knock Out: @5th can attempt to KO a target by getting a +Cha on attack and + buccaneer level on damage for single strike. (replaces loremaster)
Can do a mass surrender at 15th level too

If that taster tickles your fancy I can put up a more fleshed out build with fluff and crunch to match soonish :)

Sounds good. There might even be a chance to use sailing knowledge, though not on the open seas. Make him up.

Excellent good :) - will work on the crunch and have something up tomorrow night my time (GMT +8)

You could still approach Set about the 6th spot. Khismia's not going to be a long-term solution. I don't like her, and she'll never transfer her allegiance to the Watch.

Joana wrote:

You could still approach Set about the 6th spot. Khismia's not going to be a long-term solution. I don't like her, and she'll never transfer her allegiance to the Watch.

If you'd like Joana. We'll be sorry to see you go. If I approach him now, perhaps he and Mark would be interested in combining back stories somehow to make their two characters a packaged deal.

Well, it's a catch-22, isn't it? If Mark and Set join, the thread will get back to the faster pace and more RP-rich environment it used to be when it was so much fun -- but then there's no room for me. And Mark's bard will be filling the niche I've tried and failed to fill twice, leaving the team with absolutely no need to put up with either Khismia or Auriel with their rougher edges and extra baggage. Once Heward has a social-skills guy on his team who will follow orders, there's no reason for him not to show Khismia the door, as she has nothing to offer that Mark's PC won't. Her Diplomacy bonus was all she had going for her.

Khismia was never anything more than a placeholder anyway, to keep my slot in the game while I tried to come up with a new PC. But if I'm honest, I have to admit Auriel's always going to be my first love. I kept holding out hope that if the team ran back into her, she might have reason to pick up her badge again. But could MSI find a place for two non-lethal damage, social skills bards?

In most games, no, but in this one, probably yes. The dichotomy between the two could be quite interesting, actually. In addition, I really don't mind having seven PCs. It's certainly safer, given the party's love for splitting up.

I've pretty much decided that the PCs will bump into Auriel again, and fairly soon. I'm assuming at this point that Auriel has gone to find out about the temple of Calistria and chat with people there, and hanging out with Teeka and Lyeban.

But it's a moot point, as Set has declined the invitation.

Cookie Jar Pilferer 7

Where to start:

Welcome aboard, Mark! Ex-pirate sounds good.

Police procedurals -- they always split up. There's too much ground to cover to drag the whole team from place to place. It would take too long to do everything in serial.

Bummer about, Set.

Joana, as Nazard indicates above, the number of players is flexible and the nature of this game requires social skill characters. Even Heward the big dumb fighter is bumping up Perception and Sense Motive. (I'll probably bump intimidate up slowly too. DIplomacy is obviously not his forte.) And Nazard is custom designing the game. He can pitch to the party's abilities. Frankly a whole party of bards might be optimal for this type of game.

If you bring Auriel back, I'd be all for it. I loved Auriel. (without a whip even) Heward could temper his attitude. He's temporarily mellowed on the PE requirement. (Which is partly a copout on my part, partly strategy on Heward's part. He's still determined to get Calatin to self-defense training. He's just got to figure out how. I had planned on talking to Calatin in the lab while he examined the body, but the game moved on too fast.)

Cookie Jar Pilferer 7

Speaking of the game moving too fast. This is not a big deal, but I felt a kind of temporal displacement with Calatin's examination of Datedy. That should have taken hours and been balanced by a rash of other actions by the other PCs, but that kind of simulationist approach would sideline Megan for long periods. Not too much fun.

The issue could be solved by giving Calatin a lab-rat NPC assistant whom he supervises. Calatin can swoop into the lab periodically to analyze the data the NPC produces. That way Calatin doesn't get bogged down in large tracts of game time and remains a technical genius.

I'm just tossing out the idea. This is an issue between Nazard and Megan, and I'm fine with whatever they want to do.

To be honest, I advanced things as it seemed the pace was flagging and interest was waning. Sometimes, a spurt of action is what a game needs to renew enthusiasm. With Garidan and Laya both silent, the game was feeling a bit vacant, but Laya is back now and Mark's pirate will soon be joining (I'm thinking early the next game day would be perfect, and as it's almost supper time, that won't take long, so build fast Mark!), so the emptiness should disappear.

What kind of wealth are you going to give Mark for equipping his character, Nazard? You had me build Khismia at WBL, but that was before the majority of the party proved too moral to profit off an item that could come back to bite Magnimar in the future and destroyed it instead. Everyone else just has standard 1st-level wealth or a little less, depending on how many consumables they used in the first case.

Joana wrote:
Honestly, most of the people I'm in games with seem to be at their absolute limit right now, to the point that they're cutting back some of their PbP obligations. Everyone seems to have gotten busy since the holidays. :(

+1 for me too being busier after the holidays. I was going crazy with the pbp games for awhile, but then starting up a new business organization stretched me a bit thin (by the way, if anyone's looking for a good way to build up some monthly income working from home, send me a PM :)). Things have settled down for me again, though, so I'm back into the pbp swing of things. I've also been going over the ghoulish enjoiner case, attempting to write it up in a standard published adventure format (mostly just for kicks, but am also considering running a parallel MSI game in the future), so if anybody has any suggestions (beyond nerd the summoner:)), I'd love to hear them. I'm also willing to share the finished product if folks are keen to take a look at it for additional comments.

There are still items left to be distributed. Masterwork chain shirt and masterwork crossbow for two, plus some alchmemical items.

Oh, and did you tell him about the two traits or bonus skill-bonus feat?

EDIT: Auriel's total wealth, according to HeroLab, is 135 gp. 2nd-level WBL is 1000 gp.

I didn't tell him about the feat or traits bit. Thanks for the reminder.

As for the wealth, moolah has been added in to make up for not selling the enjoiner fragment.

Heward should have the masterwork chain shirt. He already wears a chain shirt as part of his uniform, and people need to be able to tell at a glance that he's more important than the rest of us.

Awgin's got the best BAB + Dex for the crossbow. I don't know how in character it would be for him to use a ranged weapon, but it's a good back-up for the next time we have to fight a guy standing on the ceiling. Heward's only +1 behind him, though, so he could requisition the masterwork crossbow as well on the grounds that it's more important for a sergeant to stay our of melee and alive to keep issuing orders than his more expendable right-hand lackey. :)

Grand Lodge

Awgin is a melee guy, but he's not averse to having a decent ranged weapon.

Well, it's too big for Laya and Calatin's most likely better off with ranged-touch-attack cantrips, so you and Heward can split up the chain shirt and crossbow.

EDIT: Okay, I finally found the treasure in the game thread.

A chain shirt of exceptional quality, Veristan's crossbow (also of exceptional quality), a pouch of small clay spheres (3), another pouch of coarse grey powder, and three glass bottles with liquid inside. He also finds a long thin box which seems heavier than it has any right to be. Opening it, Garidan finds that it is lined with lead and contains six potion vials, all of which glow with magic at Garidan's spell.

Did Garidan or Calatin ever identify the potions? And is there a way to identify alchemical items? (Also, it amuses me that Mrs. Brigglespan has a better crossbow than a level 5 character.)

Speaking of which, did Auriel ever return that crossbow, or just walk off with it?

The potions would have been identified. I'll get that up tomorrow. Identifying alchemical items would require an alchemy check and a lab.

Auriel Minick wrote:
Auriel walks out, leaving her badge on the table, and heads up the stairs to grab her bag. When she comes back down, she hands the crossbow back to Mrs. Brigglespan. "Thanks, but ... I'm not going to need this anymore," she says a bit shyly.

Psh. She's not a thief.

Nazard wrote:
Identifying alchemical items would require an alchemy check and a lab.

Sounds like that's up Calatin's alley. Is the lab at MSI suitable, or does he need a special alchemy lab?

Joana wrote:
But could MSI find a place for two non-lethal damage, social skills bards?

I'd have zero issues with it from my side. I've had a quick look over Auriel's profile and I can't see why her and my Buccaneer can't get along. We'd complement each other well, and having two members with good social / stealthy / sleight of hand skills just means that we'd work to complement each other rather than detract.

Questions for Nazard:
1. Would you mind if I swapped out proficiency with the rapier for the cutlass from Pirates of the Inner Sea? The cutlass is a 1H martial weapon which does (d6, 18-20/x2, S), so has the same stat line as a rapier (except is not finessable) - but seems more fitting to the character.
2. I have a vacant Profile from a defunct game that I'd like to use, but it has a fairly mundane name Phillip Hargreaves. I think that it fits reasonably well, but if you'd prefer a more Varisian influenced name then I can script up a new profile.
3. I'd like to select a spell from AP #50 if possible, summary below:

Aspect of the Nightingale:

School transmutation (polymorph); Level bard 1, cleric 1,
druid 1, paladin 1, ranger 1 (Shelyn)
Casting Time 1 standard action
Components V, S, DF
Range personal
Target you
Duration 1 minute/level
You take on an aspect of a nightingale. Your voice becomes
clear and pleasant. You gain a +2 competence bonus on
Perform (sing) checks and a +2 competence bonus on
Diplomacy checks. Once per minute, if you are subject to a
charm effect that allows a saving throw, you may roll twice and
take the more favorable result.

I'm still thinking on the background, appearance and gear, but here's the skeleton that it will hang on:

Basic Crunch:
Str: 14
Dex: 13
Con: 12
Int: 13
Wis: 12
Cha: 16

Racial Traits:
Medium: no bonuses or penalties due to size.
Normal Speed: base speed of 30 feet.
Low-Light Vision: see twice as far as humans in conditions of dim light.
Adaptability: Skill Focus: Perform (Sing) as a bonus feat at 1st level.
Elf Blood: count as both elves and humans for any effect related to race.
Elven Immunities: immune to magic sleep effects and get a +2 racial saving throw bonus against enchantment spells and effects.
Keen Senses: +2 racial bonus on Perception skill checks.
Multitalented: two favoured classes – Bard and XX.
Languages: Common, Elven and Orcish.

Inner Beauty (Shelyn) (from Faiths of Purity): 1/day can gain a +4 trait bonus to a single Bluff, Craft, Diplomacy or Perform skill check. Can choose to use the trait immediately after making the skill check.
Stealthy Escape (from Adventurer’s Armory): can make a Sleight of Hand check instead of Escape Artist to escape from manacles, rope or similar restraints. If freed, get +2 on Bluff checks to pretend that I am still bound.

Skills: 16 (2 x (6 +Int +FC))
Acrobatics (Dex): 5 (1 +3 Class +1 Dex)
Climb (Str): 6 (1 +3 Class +2 Str)
Diplomacy (Cha): 7 (1 +3 Class +3 Cha)
Knowledge (Local-Int): 6 (2 +3 Class +1 Int)
Perception (Wis): 8 (2 +3 Class +1 Wis +2 Racial)
Perform (Sing-Cha): 11 (2 +3 Class +3 Cha +3 Feat) (through Versatile Performance, can use for Bluff and Sense Motive)
Profession (Gambling-Wis): 5 (1 +3 Class +1 Wis)
Profession (Sailor-Wis): 6 (2 +3 Class +1 Wis)
Sleight of Hand (Dex): 6 (2 +3 Class +1 Dex)
Stealth (Dex): 5 (1 +3 Class +1 Dex)
Swim (Str): 6 (1 +3 Class +2 Str)

Skill Focus: Perform (Sing): +3 on Perform (Sing)
Combat Expertise: can take a -1 penalty to attack and CMB rolls to gain a +1 dodge bonus to AC. Can only use if making an attack with a melee weapon.

Spells Known:
0th: daze, know direction, light, prestidigitation, spark
1st: aspect of the nightingale, cure light wounds, timely inspiration

Class Abilities:
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: all simple weapons, plus the longsword, rapier, sap, short sword, shortbow, and whip. Bards are also proficient with light armor and shields (except tower shields). A bard can cast bard spells while wearing light armor and use a shield without incurring the normal arcane spell failure chance.
Hilt Bash (Ex): can deal nonlethal damage with any weapon with no penalty.
Versatile Performance (Ex): Sing (Bluff, Sense Motive)
Well-Versed (Ex): +4 bonus on saving throws made against bardic performance, sonic, and language-dependent effects.
Bardic Performance

M Human Wizard (Divination School Specialist)/2

I am quite happy pottering about in laboratory or library, no worries if you lot seem to get all the running around and brawling bits, no worries at all :)

And welcome to a nautical bard. Sounds fun. Still would like Auriel back, though. She was sweet.

Hey Mark. The cutlass and spell are fine. As for the name, that's totally up to you. I have no problem with Phillip Hargreaves, or if you want to make a new profile, that's okay too.

I forgot to mention that instead of two traits, you are also welcome to take Skill Focus in something, though I see you've picked two traits that work quite well for the character. Alternate racial abilities and favoured class bonuses from the APG are also fine, if you wanted any of those.

I'm not sure if the PCs are wrapping up for the day or not. I definitely think I'll introduce the ex-pirate early the next game morning.

Male Halfling Inquisitor of Calistria (Heretic archetype)

Nazard - thanks for the quick responses :) As evidenced by this post and the dot I'll run with Phillip as a name. Avatar is subject to change though...

I was aware of the ability to take the Skill feat instead of traits; but I find traits very flavorful and as you say the two I've picked work in quite well. I looked over the alternate racials in the APG, but nothing leapt out at me.

As to exactly how to weave me into the story, I'm open to just about anything. All that I've set in stone for the character is that he is only recently arrived into Magnimar - and he is on the lookout for more legitimate work.

I'll work on the alias to get it up to scratch with all things inserted and complete

Phillip Hargreaves wrote:
Avatar is subject to change though...

With a 16 Cha, I would hope so. ;P

Glad you were willing to join us, Mark. Very much looking forward to being in another game with you. :D

Oh, hey, what day is it, and what day is the team supposed to meet that councillor at that dive in Rag's End? I'm sure Khismia doesn't have the security clearance for that....

As a newcomer to Magnimar, I assume Phillip will start at 0 prestige in all the districts and just take the MSI bonuses and penalties when he joins the team?

Ooh, good point, Joana. Thanks.

Mark, can you PM me your e-mail address so I can grant you access to the campaign website. On it, there's a Players' Notes document that gives the house rules and custom investigation mechanics we're play-testing, as well as a little bit about the setting.

One thing is the Prestige Point mechanic, which represents how well known and liked your character is in different areas of Magnimar. Once your character becomes affiliated with MSI, he'll gain a -1 Prestige score in District A, and a +1 Prestige Score in Lowcleft (District D, I believe). Someone will correct me if I got the letter designation wrong.

It's currently the 14th of Rova, 4710. The meeting is scheduled for the next day at 7pm at the Ogre's Breath pub.

I've got Lowcleft as E; Bazaar of Sails is D.

Male Halfling Inquisitor of Calistria (Heretic archetype)

Email PM'ed - and yeah I'd expect Phil to start off with a clean slate.

Joana - also looking forward to another PbP with your good self as well. I can promise that Phil will be a more open and personable soul than Qhude ;)

Welcome aboard Mark! Looking forward to meeting your character!

Cookie Jar Pilferer 7

Given Phillip's background, perhaps he deserves a bonus prestige point on the waterfront?

Actually, I could see Phillip having a +1 in Underbridge, with a -1 in the Bazaar, if his pirate roots are at all obvious. Most of the pirate activity in Magnimar hides out in Underbridge, and the Bazaar is death against pirates, who harass their citizens, yet lie beyond the reach of their control as they have no naval presence at all.

Male Halfling Inquisitor of Calistria (Heretic archetype)

That's fine with me - Phil would not be hiding his piratical history over much.

So my Prestige breakdown would be:

Phil's Prestige:
A: Alabaster District, Marble District, and Vista: -1 (0 -1 MSI)
B: Capital District, Naos, and Bridgeward: 0
C: The Bazaar of Sails, Dockway, and Beacon's Point: -1 (0 -1 Pirate)
D: Silver Shore, Kyver's Islet, and Ordelia: 0
E: Lowcleft and Keystone: 1 (0 +1 MSI)
F: Rag's End: 0
G: The Marches: 0
H: Underbridge: 1 (0 +1 Pirate)

Nazard wrote:
Most of the pirate activity in Magnimar hides out in Underbridge, and the Bazaar is death against pirates, who harass their citizens, yet lie beyond the reach of their control as they have no naval presence at all.

Oh, good. Khismia can be extra hateful then.

On the plus side, the more unpleasant she is, the happier everyone should be to see Auriel again! ;)

EDIT: Nazard, your list of districts in the Word document on the website is completely different than the one Mark has. Which one are we going with?

Mark's list:
A: Alabaster District, Marble District, and Vista
B: Capital District, Naos, and Bridgeward
C: The Bazaar of Sails, Dockway, and Beacon's Point
D: Silver Shore, Kyver's Islet, and Ordelia
E: Lowcleft and Keystone
F: Rag's End
G: The Marches
H: Underbridge

website version:
A. Alabaster and Marble Districts
B. Naos, Irespan and Bridgeward
C. The Capital District, Grand Arch and Vista
D. The Bazaar of Sales, Dockway, Beacon's Point
E. Lowcleft and Keystone
F. Rag's End and the Marches
G. Silver Shore, Kyver's Island and Ordelia
H. Underbridge

Ack! One of those is out of date. I can't remember which by looking. Will check file time stamps tomorrow.

Joana wrote:
No, actually I was referring to the Players' Notes document in the Library. The subpage (which I hadn't noticed before) is the one Mark has....

You ninja'd my edit. See above.

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