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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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The Cryptmistress stops her departure, her shoulders slump slightly, and she turns back, features stern. "Very well," she replies. She walks over to the side of the tomb and seats herself against it, arranging her robes. "At least allow an old woman her rest."_


"What can you tell us about these vargills? What would one be doing in a tomb?" While listening, Heward retrieves and reholsters the nearest javelin, making a note to recover the other one later. He picks up his halberd and walks to the tomb entrance. He examines the outside of the tomb.

Perception: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (4) + 6 = 10 looking for signs of the break in.


"What does it matter? It was there, now it's gone. You need to find it before it infects any more people."


Female Halfling Bard (Archivist) 1

"Don't worry," Laya says. "We have people out tracking down anyone it's infected. Hopefully we'll find them all. Heward and I came here hoping to find out a bit more about it. If we know how it got here and what it was doing here, we might be better able to figure out where it's gone."

She walks slowly over to Heward by the tomb entrance, keeping a watch back on the Cryptmistress the whole time. "Something's not right," she whispers to Heward. "Though I suspect you already realize that. There's no way the Cryptmistress didn't recognize me when we arrived. I'm hardly incognito in this getup." She indicates her colourful clothes and feathered hat.


Heward nods once in agreement with Laya. "See anything around here before I open the door?"

What about signs of the break-in? Maybe my roll could be an aid another for Laya?

To keep the Cryptmistress talking he says, "What kind of place do these vargills like?"


Sorry, Perceptoin 10 doesn't show anything about the break-in. It can serve to help Laya, though if she wants to make a roll.


Nazard:

Spoiler:
I feel like the other players are waiting and we're hogging time. While I love RPing everything, in the interests of speeding stuff up, I'll sketch Heward's plan and you can consult Laya and rule as you see fit.

Heward thinks the Cryptmistress doesn't smell right. He wants a look inside the tomb. He's looking for confirmation of the tomb-robbing story and evidence against the tomb-robbers. He wants to keep the Cryptmistress nearby. Keeping her talking is just a stall. After having a look in the tomb, he wants to start asking questions like

1)Why down here alone? There's safety in numbers with vargouilles. He'd probably lead in with you're very brave to come down here alone, but ....

2)Why looking at the tomb yourself? Why not a minion? It makes more sense someone so important would send a minor priest and some help to look over a despoiled tomb.

3)Why did you run? This really bugs him. Especially given the upscale neighborhood, she shouldn't be worried about getting jumped here.

And one for Laya after he's done with round 1 on the cryptmistress -- can she confirm deny anything about the story? What was the plan for meeting Pharsmin here?


Heward, I understand the worries about hogging the spotlight, but this confrontation is important to the story-line, both now and in the future, so I don't mind spending the time. As for the others, think of it as a perfect opportunity to role-play inter-personal interactions and get to know each other better. It's safe to assume that the group is going to stick together until Calatin arrives with the fruits of his research.


Male Halfling Inquisitor of Calistria (Heretic archetype)

All except for poor Phillip... who is still wandering around talking to hobos and junkies :P


Female Human (Keleshite) Rogue (investigator) 2

And Khismia, who is alone, having left the library en route to MSI. And Calatin who is busy researching and thus not talking to Awgin. With research and Gather Information checks, not much you can do but make your roll and wait your xd4 hours. (When you're told to guard the person doing the research, there's even less to do.) The rest of us aren't "sticking together" at all and won't be together again until after Heward and Laya catch up closer to our timeline; Phillip and Khismia are alone in different parts of the city, and Awgin is watching Calatin read books in a library. :P


I'm ok with waiting. Our propensity for splitting up will sometimes require it due to differing times for events to unfold.


M Human Wizard (Divination School Specialist)/2

I'm fine in the book stacks, thank you - I get plenty of entertainment reading about what other folks are up to. Anyway I sent Awgin to get pies...


And I got some. Oh! Did you want some too?


Laya Perception: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (18) + 5 = 23

Looking about, Laya notices a leather cord sticking out from behind the Cryptmistress, as if she's sitting on something. As she watches, the cord moves like the Cryprmistress is stealthily trying to pick it up.


Female Halfling Bard (Archivist) 1

Wow, there's a whole bunch of OOC chat here that I never saw. Sorry to keep people waiting.

Laya nudges Heward and then goes back over to the Cryptmistress. "Can I help you back up, Cryptmistress?" she asks. "I couldn't help notice you were fidgeting and I know how uncomfortable it can be sitting against a wall."

How thick and/or long did this cord appear to be?


the Cryptmistress stops pulling the cord in as Laya turns to her. If looks like the kind that would hold something around one's neck.

"I'm quite fine. Go help your friend."


Trusting that Laya has an eye on the "cryptmistress", Heward eases the door to the tomb open and peeks inside.

Perception 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (13) + 6 = 19 looking for anything really, but particularly signs from the break-in. Hopefully there's four or five sets of footprints on a dusty floor and he can see how far in they got and where they stood.


There are five sets, only one of which goes any further than a few feet inside. The fifth set made its way to a stone coffin, the lid of which is askew. Looking inside, Heward sees skeletal remains...missing its skull.

The name on the brass plaque reads Sir Mital Cobbers, the Sir in a different etching than the name.


Heward skirts the existing foot prints as he steps inside to look at Mital's coffin.

After a few moments of observation he returns outside.

Nazard:

Spoiler:
Relative shoe sizes of the foot prints? Heward's thinking the four robbers get frozen and kissed just a couple feet into the crypt. So the fifth set is our Cryptmistress? Do the footprints go straight to Mital's coffin? The etching on "Sir" is different how? Amateurishly cut? Not as deep?


The footprints that go in far are much smaller and go straight to the coffin and come back out.

The etching is different in that it looks like it was added by a different person. It's equally professional, but like it was added after the name.


"Cryptmistress, tell me how the tomb was when you arrived."


"Why, the door was open and one of the coffins had been opened. Who knows what those grave robbers stole."


Female Halfling Bard (Archivist) 1

"Unless what they stole has some power over vargouilles," Laya says, "the stolen items are our least concern at the moment. Cryptmistress, can you show us where in the tomb the vargouille would have most likely lain in wait? Here, let me help you up." She offers her hand to the Cryptmistress.

If the Cryptmistress takes her hand, Laya will use her lorekeeper ability. By touching a creature, she gains information about that creature as if she made a Knowledge roll of 20 (base 15 + cleric level + Wis modifier). Basically, she's hoping to find out if this really is the Cryptmistress or if a vargouille has taken her over, or if she's something else entirely.


Well, Laya learns that this is a middle-aged human woman, and all sorts of useful information about the strengths and weaknesses of humans. I guess since it would be Knowledge (Local), she learns that Wynoma Pierce has been the Cryptmistress for almost ten years now, and that she used to work in the birthing division of the order of Pharasma.

Nothing to suggest she's anything other than what she appears.

The Cryptmistress sighs, but stands and accompanies Laya inside the tomb. She seems to have managed to secrete that leather cord before she stands, however. Once inside, she looks around and shrugs. "The vargouille could have been hiding anywhere. How it got in..." she trails off, gesturing helplessly.


"The head is missing from that corpse," Heward observes. "We saw you come out of the tomb. What did you do inside?" Are those your footprints? He points at the smaller prints going to the coffin.


The Cryptmistress, who has been avoiding looking at the coffin, glances down at the footprints, approaches the coffin, running her hand gently (almost tenderly) along its edge. "Oh, Mital. I'm sorry," she says sadly.

Ignoring Heward's questions, she turns and slowly makes her way back out into the sunshine, her eyes gazing off into the distance.


Female Halfling Bard (Archivist) 1

"I think she took something from the tomb before we got here," Laya whispers to Heward before following the Cryptmistress back outside. "We're very sorry to upset you, Cryptmistress. We're just trying to protect the people of Magnimar, you understand. Did you know the person buried here well?"


The Cryptmistress ambles to a nearby bench and seats herself, picking leaves and grass from her robe in an attempt to reattain her former dignity, a task at which she is moderately successful.

"Yes, Laya, I did for a time. When I was just a young thing, younger than you, I was a midwife, as green as they come, too, with my head in the stars. I was a typical foolish girl who mooned over handsome young men, and there were none handsomer than Mital. He was a knight, at least in name, and he rode the lands around Magnimar helping the weak and protecting justice for all, assuming the "all" could afford his bar tab, of course. He was far from a pure and chivalrous knight, but I didn't know better. He was fond of me, and I him, and when a young knight as handsome as Sir Mital tells you he loves you, that's all you need to hear. When you're young and foolish."

"Of course, I know now he was just using me, for tending his injuries after one of his 'campaigns', and for...other things, though even now, I still believe that he had fond feelings for me too. We continued on such for several years, me advancing within them temple as a midwife, he trying to find that one big score that would leave him secure enough to marry me, at least, so he said. Then one day, he came to me, excited. Some wealthy noble had discovered some ancient ruins on his estate when excavating for a new barn. His workers had opened the ruins and released some sort of fiendish monster, and now he was prepared to pay Sir Mital a handsome reward for vanquishing it. He left on his quest, and was gone for several days before I got a message at them temple to come here, quickly. If the fool had just come to me at the temple, one of the other clerics, the ones more powerful than I at the time, would have been able to save him, but his foolish pride and melodrama could only think of making sure he was properly laid to rest in his precious family tomb. I arrived and foundhp him, hair gone, tentacles grown out of his head, his ears large, leathery wings. I suppose I shouldn't judge him too harshly, as the mental draining had probably already taken hold on his mind. I didn't have the magic then to save him myself, but I knew enough to know there wasn't time to get help. In his one truly selfless act, he didn't want for himself to turn into a scourge on Magnimar, so with me there to perform his last rites, he plunged his dagger through his own heart. I performed the ritual immediately to prevent his rising, hoping that it would serve to prevent him becoming a vargouille. Obviously, it didn't work."

She pauses her tale to gaze back at the tomb entrance. "All I can figure is that he must have been closer to his change than I thought, so that even though his body died, his head lived on long enough to complete his transformation. Which could be an even bigger problem."


That answers a lot.

Heward fumes while he listens. He's got other questions he needs answered too. "Cryptmistress, I'm sorry for your loss, but we've got to move fast. I need to figure out what happened here last night. I've got two men under arrest who are going to die tonight as vargouilles unless we can save them. I need to track down this vargouille. Can you answer my questions?"

If she needs prompting: "We saw you come out of the tomb. How was it when you arrived? Are those your footprints going to the coffin? What did you do inside? Why did you come alone? Why did you run? Can you cure the vargouilles in waiting?"

"What kind of place is a vargouille likely to hole up? Do vargouilles remember their past life? Would they be drawn to their old places? "


"My my, young man. So many questions. Vargouilles don't really remember their past lives, not normally. They have a cruel cunning of their own, but not their previous intelligence, which gets drained away. But I've thought about it many times over the years, about how the process might have interacted with the requiem ritual if they happened at the same time. It's what got me interested in the Crypt side as opposed to the midwife side. And when Laya said some grave robbers had released a vargouille, well, I came running to make sure those random nightmares weren't actually coming true. And they are."


Female Halfling Bard (Archivist) 1

Laya pats the Cryptmistress's hand comfortingly. "I'm sorry we've had to dredge up such terrible memories. I don't know what I'd do if I lost my Chal. Was the necklace special to the two of you?"


"Necklace? Oh, this." She opens her hand to reveal a holy symbol of Pharasma on a leather cord, the name Wynoma engraved on the back. It looks quite weathered, like it's been outside for many years.


Heward looks sideways at Laya. Chal?


"Anyway," she says, pulling herself together, "I fear that if the ritual did interact with the transformation, it's quite possible that Mital may have retained some of his former self-identity. Normally vargouilles operate out of a basic instinct. They are smarter than animals, but still adopt predictable patterns. They hole up somewhere and build a power base, as well as a food supply. What Mital may do...I don't know. I suppose, in some ways, you should treat him as if he'd risen as some sort of intelligent undead, like a vampire."

"As for the two you have who are infected, I will come and tend to them. I grabbed a wand of remove disease before I left. In many ways, this whole mess is my fault. I may be ruined now, but the least I can do is help prevent an epidemic."


Heward looks guiltily grateful. At least they don't die on my watch, but they'll probably hang if this vargouille thing gets out of hand.

"It's back to headquarters then. We'll see if we can get a cab. Time's imnportant. We need to report to Captain Percival and organize a search for today and a curfew for tonight."

After retrieving his thrid javelin, and falling in step with the Cryptmistress on the way out of the graveyard, he says, "I wouldn't worry about being ruined. You've broken no laws that I can see. He died ugly, but he was trying to save others from more trouble. You gave him the rites and planted him as fast as you could. And you're doing the right thing now. The only other question I've got is 'why did you run when you saw us coming?' I could have easily tried to gut you with Brienne here ~ shakes his halberd~ or put a javelin in your back instead of tackling you."


"That's nice of you to say, young man, but you don't really understand any of the political currents within the Church of the Lady of Graves."

She gives Laya an unreadable look before falling silent.


Heward shrugs away any interest in religious political currents. He returns to his question, "Why did you run?"

Sense Motive 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (4) + 7 = 11 Because I can. It's not because I don't trust any NPCs. Really it's not.


Uh huh.

"It's hard to explain without giving a proper explanation of temple politics. Suffice it to say, it doesn't look good when the Cryptmistress is found to be personally involved with a restless dead incident. I didn't want..." she cuts off, giving Laya another unreadable look. "I didn't want to be found out. I was on edge ever since I left the cathedral, and I panicked. I swear to you I would never have hurt you, and your concern for me is kind, but all I wanted to do was get away."


Heward seems to soften a little more. "I understand your position, but when you run from the Watch it doesn't look good at all. And coming down here alone was not a good idea. These vargouilles can paralyze you with their scream. Then you're helpless and then dead and the next day there's one more of these flying freaks. You've got to have back up. Pairs at a bare minimum. Groups of three or four even better. You might want to tell your people that when you get back to the temple."

***** I think that's all H wants out of this conversation. On the way to MSI HQ he'll ask the Cryptmistress if she would mind coming to visit Capt.P with him.

**** Back at MSI HQ ****

How do we stand on the timeline? Is Phillip or Khismia back yet?

Heward greets Mrs. Brigglespan as he comes through the door. Then he leads the Cryptmistress to the roof. (Presumably where the prisoners are.)

He takes Wizzo aside for a quick word. "The trail at the crypt's gone cold, but we met the Cryptmistress there. She's agreed to heal these men so we don't need to worry about them changing. We can throw them into cells and forget about them. At least that will free up you and your squad."


Heward and Laya: 12h00 Heward and Laya arrive back at MSI from the cemetary

Khismia: 12h15 when she arrives at MSI to report Calatin's findings

Calatin and Awgin: 14h30 when Calatin finishes researching the intoxicant

Phillip: 13h00 when he finishes canvassing the area in Rag's End

The Cryptmistress does indeed heal the prisoners of their affliction and pronounces them cured. However, the spells do nothing to reverse the physical changes and mental drains they've already suffered. The Cryptmistress seems to think those suitable punishments for tomb robbing.

With the threat neutralized, Wizzo escorts the men back to the MSI cells, muttering something about getting more info on this Mig Tanris out of them, if that's okay with Heward.

Khismia arrives back a short time later.


Female Human (Keleshite) Rogue (investigator) 2

Hm. The information I just spent 24 days to deliver is completely redundant now, isn't it? Typical. :P

As she hands over Calatin's urgent note, Khismia is annoyed to find that Heward simply glances at the information contained within, then tosses it aside as old news. "What does the Watch intend to do?" she demands. "There are already more infected than you have to command on your whole team. The full resources of the Watch will have to be put on the streets to deal with this matter. You must hand the matter over to your superiors."

Calatin's findings:
Remove disease, remove curse, or break enchantment will all cure someone infected by a vargouille. Sunlight or a light spell of third plus level will pause the transformation, which typically takes between 4 and 24 hours to run its course.

Vargouilles can spread their taint quite easily and as often as they wish, making an epidemic very likely, especially in a place such as Rag's End. Assuming a very modest infection rate of only 10 people in the first night, that would make for 22 vargouilles by tonight, 220 by the next night, 2,200 by the 17th...the entire population of Magnimar could be vargouilles in a little under a week.


Khismia, where are you getting that Heward has dismissed Khismia's information as old news? In fact, Calatin is the only one so far who has calculated the possible infection rate, and that you have a roughly twelve to sixteen hour window where you can possibly still stop all this from getting out of hand. Yes, they did find out the means of curing the disease from another source, but I didn't see the post where Heward dismissed the note, unless it got eaten by the boards before I saw.


Female Human (Keleshite) Rogue (investigator) 2

No, I was just assuming: "Here's the valuable information we spent all morning looking for to cure those guys."* "Oh, those guys? Yeah, we already did that; they're fine now." ;)

*:
Which is, after all, what Calatin was sent to research. The infection information is just gravy he picked up while he was looking up how to stop the transformation like Heward told him to.


Female Halfling Bard (Archivist) 1

During the discussion of temple politics, Laya says to the Cryptmistress, "Don't worry about what I might say. I'm devoted to Pharasma's prophecy aspect. The rest of you all think we prophets are mad and you never listen to us anyway, so we don't generally get involved in politics. I won't say anything."


Khismia wrote:


... "What does the Watch intend to do?" she demands. "There are already more infected than you have to command on your whole team. The full resources of the Watch will have to be put on the streets to deal with this matter. You must hand the matter over to your superiors."

Heward reads the note and frowns. Way worse than I thought. He tucks it into his belt pouch while he hears Khismia out. Then he answers, "That's just what I'm going to do. I'm headed to the Pediment Building now. I'm going to recommend a curfew after dark and that all Watchmen travel in groups of at least three. What about the Princess? She should be alerted too. Would a note from you suffice or would you need to report in person? I'd rather keep you close in case we need to send more messages."

[ooc]No orders for Laya, although Heward would prefer she stays with him. Hopefully the Cryptmistress comes with.

**** Regarding Wizzo and the prisoners, ***

Heward tells him that they've probably given as much info as they can. They were well motivated witnesses when they thought they were going to die and only intervention by the Watch might save them. If Wizzo wants to give it a whirl, he's welcome. Or, he could take his squad to Magnimar Memorial Gardens and canvas the neighborhood, looking for the vargouille. He shows Wizzo, the remains in Calatin's lab.

Heward takes time to see the prisoners himself. He asks them to confirm the time of the robbery/kissing incident. He explains that if the vargouille plague gets out of hand, they'll probably hang, so any accurate, truthful help they can give represents their best chance of surviving.

Before leaving for the Pediment building, Heward asks Mrs. B to send a messenger to the Stone recalling Awgin and Calatin. Phillip to wait here on his return.


Female Human (Keleshite) Rogue (investigator) 2

"The Princess has already been alerted," she responds. "I stopped by the Bazaar between the Stone of the Seers and here. The Princess's Court is at high alert for signs of infection."


"And you said this wasn't worth our time!?" Heward jokes. Then he sobers up. "I'm glad to hear it."


Female Human (Keleshite) Rogue (investigator) 2

"I still say the timing is suspect," Khismia snaps. "What better way to throw the Watch off a few random murders than by starting an epidemic they will have to drop everything to deal with?"


"Sometimes time and fate do not always march to the tune we would wish, my dear," the Cryptmistress speaks up from the side of the room. "Laya would know the truth of that. I do not know anything about these random murders you speak of, but I assure you, only cruel chance has brought the two events together, and unless the random murders were committed by a thirty-year-old vargouille. The so-called Princess excels at instilling paranoia in her subjects. It's how she keeps control over you, though I know you would be unable to see it, as you no doubt legitimately believe that serving her is the only way you can keep yourself safe from whatever you imagine is out to get you. At least, that was the way of it with the other Bazaarites I've been able to help escape over the years. If you ever come to the revelation that you're being used for someone else's gain, come and see me. I promise you that whatever danger you imagine outside of the Bazaar is not nearly so grave as you've been told."


"Ladies! We can debate politics in the cab to the Pediment building."

Unless someone's got more to do here. Heward gives Mrs. B a quick rundown of where things stand and what we've learned so that she can tell Phil, Awgie, and Cal when they get back.

Phil Awgie and Cal, sounds like a set of outfielders.

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