The anteroom of Sir Jorsal of Lautebury's office in Starrise Spire is a simple affair. Comfortable enough, with pillows and chairs, refreshments and fruits, but not extravagantly so. After all, this is a warzone, even if the war has gone north. The Venture-Captain of Nerosian still seems to be busy addressing some concerns raised by the crusader army, leaving you to your own devices... At least momentarily.
A stout, yet strangely well-muscled wayang creeps into the room, for some reason trying his best not to be seen. His efforts, however, are negated as a wallaby slightly larger than a human stomps loudly in after him. "Hush, Friz," the little man rebukes the marsupial. Noticing no one else is in the room, he sidles further in, no longer attempting to be silent, and begins to sample fruit. Upon closer inspection, he wears the regalia of a Taldan noble, complete with jewelry, under a fine breastplate.
|Guisseppe "Lil Frankie" Franko|
A Halfling adventurer looks up from his deck of cards, seated at a table in the corner. The cards are splayed out in front of him, playing some sort of game. A steaming mug sits beside the game as he smiles and hops down out of the chair to greet the new comers. He's wearing what looks like finely crafted studded leather armor with a rapier at his side. A backpack lies propped up against the wall behind him.
He clears his throat a bit before speaking up "Hey there! Name's Guisseppe. Here for the mission? Me too... The Captain is a bit busy I guess, said we should wait, keep ourselves busy... You like cards? Umm either of you?"What are those things!! I've never seen either in my whole life!
"Gah!" Arnold yells, stepping a few pages back. "Oh, sorry. I didn't think anyone was here, I wasn't looking very closely. I'm Arnold. And yeah, I'm also here for the mission? Do you know anything more as to what we're going to do? I'm still in the dark about that." The wayang grins weakly at his joke as he grabs a few more pieces of fruit and takes them with him to the table.
Sense Motive: 1d20 ⇒ 14
|Guisseppe "Lil Frankie" Franko|
An elegant woman in fine clothing enters the lodge. She walks with a quick movements, with just a ceremonial star knife at her waist. Her face is one of unearthly beauty - and surely she is no ordinary human - the blood of angels flows strongly in her veins.
"Hello everyone" says a voice the flows like liquid honey over your ears. "I am Fargrim Arikfind. Student of human nature, diplomat, and recently returned from the Mwangi expanse."
sense motive: 1d20 + 18 ⇒ (2) + 18 = 20
She smiles at the "boy" "Why hello there Guissppe. Are you here with one of your parents?" she asks
Another child? I may have joined up willingly, and perhaps so has he, but I'm beginning to question the Society's employment process...
"Hello there. My name is Arnold, Arnold Perlstein, and my main strength lies on the battlefield. I also love knowledge of all sorts, especially that of times and places past, although I don't have much of a head for it. And this-" Arnold waves a hand at the wallaby, who is sloppily devouring some fruit, "-is my friend, The Friz. She's also someone you'd want on your team, when it comes to a scrap."
|Guisseppe "Lil Frankie" Franko|
Frankie gets a bit upset at the accusation "I'm not a child, I'm a Halfling! Its just how it is, my voice is high and squeeky and my hands are tiny, and yes I have to hustle to keep up with big people if they aren't wearing big armor. BUT! I'm more than capable in holding my own in a fight, and I'm great at puzzles. And old women LOVE ME!"
He takes another sip of his steaming mug off the table and tries to calm down a bit "So is The Friz friendly? The Society always has such cool pets hanging around!"
"She's pretty friendly, although she can be in the mood for a fight somewhat often. I've heard of some people with talking pets, I'm glad she can't do that, it seems kind of creepy. I can get a general read on her emotions, but I can never tell what exactly is going on in her head..."
An average looking Varisian man follows shortly after the beautiful woman, wearing worn traveling clothes and carrying a handsome walking stick. He seems to have a slight smile on his face and a closer look shows his tanned face is lined with smile-wrinkles. He slips his well-made, but weathered pack to the ground and leans his stick against it. "Well met, fellow Pathfinders. I must apologize for tardiness, seems my wandering feet wandered in the wrong direction. I am Falshin, pleasure to meet you all."
"A Halfling... right, of course. My mistake. Please accept my apologies Frankie." smiles Fargrim.
"And I'm glad you are all capable warriors. I prefer to avoid direct conflict if I can. Though from time to time I've found myself unable to do that."
The doors open and the Nerosian officials that had been meeting with Venture-Captain Jorsal of Lauterbury file out ponderously, leaving the man seated behind his desk, delicately massaging his temples as subtle signs of exhaustion appear on his face. "Do come in Pathfinders", he says in his sonorous baritone. Once the agents are all seated, he produces a piece of paper which he puts down upon his desk. "Pathfinders, some weeks ago we received this letter from an anonymous source, advising us of the discovery of a Sarkorian site in rural Mendev, near the village of Dawnton. Piked, we sent three Pathfinders to perform an initial investigation." he shakes his head sadly as he continues. "Then, word came to us two days ago that the entire team has been arrested for murder and is scheduled to be hanged in seven days’ time" he states gravely. "I would appreciate your traveling to Dawnton, investigating the crimes, and finding any evidence necessary to clear their names."
He pauses for a moment, seemingly rephrasing what he would like to say several times before finally adding "As much as it grieves me to think this possible, you may find evidence that implicates our comrades. If they are guilty of this crime, let them hang. It’s justice of a sort, and we must all remember that we are guests in Mendev and subject to all its laws" he intones with a sad shake of his head. "Your predecessors’ reputation has tarnished the Pathfinders’ name in Dawnton, so I recommend you not travel and investigate openly as Pathfinders agents. Three of your comrades are relying on you. Be careful Pathfinders."
Diplomacy (Gather Information) checks are also available to get the information in these spoilers but each of those takes 1d4 hours. So we'll deal with them later if you fail these.
stealth: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (10) + 7 = 17
A cloaked man steps forward from the corner of the room after sitting quietly and observing the group interactions.
Knowledge(Local): 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (15) + 7 = 22
"Are we certain that this is he right group to be sending? That one there," he indicates Arnold with a nod, "could certainly pass for a demon-blood among the locals. And that is without the help of that diplomatic blood monster of his. If the Mayor Luin is looking to execute someone, then we have a real problem. He's usually soft, but judgement will come from a citizen vote, and I'm not sure that thing," he nods towards Friz, "is going to convince them in the direction we want."
"I apologize for my tardiness," the rather plain looking soldier says as he enters the Venture-Captain's office very shortly after the other four. He places his greatsword against the door frame and takes a seat. He listens to the mission intently, his brow wrinkling deeper as the Venture-Captain continues.
"I" smiles Fargrim "have probably been included in the team to help with smoothing over problems with local officials. I have also a bit of a knack for asking the right questions... eventually. That said I know know the locals at all - so Marcus, your knowledge of the conditions on the ground is going to be invaluable."
She turns to the VC.
"So... our mission is to clear the Society of involvement in this, and hopefully help our fellow society members win free of their unjust incarceration. Not to spring them from the claws of an evil local magistrate?"
|Guisseppe "Lil Frankie" Franko|
Frankie's eyes go wide as the VC describes what their going into "Did you say 'to be hanged'? Like till their dead kind of hanged? For MURDER? Well that sounds pretty serious!"
Frankie takes his mug off the table again and finishes it, leaving behind a bit of a chocolatey froth on his mustache "We'll be extra careful over there, find out if they did any murdering or if its a set up!"
Knowledge:Local (untrained): 1d20 - 1 ⇒ (4) - 1 = 3 I wonder if they have any weird laws there I should be worried about...
Frankie looks up from his pondering and wipes off his face on his sleeve, obviously in some deep thought "Not travel as Pathfinders? Hrmm. I've always been told we Pathfinders were the good guys, showing up to help people. I'd never think that people wouldn't want us around.... 'cept maybe those Aspis people, they don't seem too fond of us.." He trails off a bit back into thought.
After a moment he blurts out "Maybe they were framed by Aspis people! Framed for murder! We best hurry, I'll come up with a disguise so I blend in better, wouldn't want anyone suspecting I was a great Pathfinder!" He rushes over to the table and picks up his cards and stuffs them into his belt pouch before going to his pack and rummaging around in it.
"Pathfinders tend to stick out, but we'll do the best we can," Arnold says nervously. "Hopefully they're innocent, I'm sure they're innocent. We'll get to the bottom of this. And I can't do much about that-" the wayang responds to Marcus, "-But she can get a bit smaller." The wallaby suddenly shrinks, but it is still about as big as he is.
"These lands are full of crusaders and demon hunters who aren't pathfinders. Traders brining in cold iron might not be looked upon poorly either." Marcus looks over at Fargrim. "The locals don't like outsiders, but they especially hate tieflings. I reckon a number of them won't know one type of outsider from another, so you'd better be careful."
"Traders would not be a bad cover, though we are a motley crew." The Varisian soldier nods. "I'm Quentin, by the way. I'd say we should go as a traveling circus, but I doubt they'd have any more love for a circus," he adds with a wry smirk.
"True you can't hide your true self," he agrees with Arnold, "But you might want to cloak yourself as best you can. They already have three Pathfinders in line for the noose. I'd rather they not add a fourth if we can help it."
"I tend to find my heritage gives me a hand rather than a hindrance, especially when dealing with the more ignorant of people. " smiles Fargrim.
"Pilgrim's are probably also common here, so that would be another guise we might take, and one that wouldn't involve carting a large amount of heavy ore through the wilderness."
She looks to the captain.
"Are there any local festivals due to happen soon that the village celebrates?"
Falshin listens intently to the Venture-Captain's description with a frown. "Should we also try to solve this murder? Locate the true culprit, if it is in fact not our own? And what if we cannot find anything to prove or disprove their involvement? Do we let three potentially innocents hang simply to avoid besmirching the good name of the Society?"
When talk turns to their cover, Falshin does not have to change much of his own role. "I am simply a healer that comes to Dawnton to spread some goodness in a land filled with despair."
"They aren't ignorant. They have just seen outsiders bringing a lot of bad things, no matter what side they are fighting for. Crusaders come for the war. The small town folk would rather the war leave them alone. Every soldier or especially every outsider reminds them of their problems, and may foreshadow a fight coming to their homes. I didn't grow up on this battlefront, but the one I come from was much the same in many ways."
-Posted with Wayfinder
Falshin nods. "Understood. Although I think it is beyond me to not at least try to find the true culprit. I think simply proving our Agents' innocence and then leaving the locals to figure out the rest would like leave them nearly as upset."
"That's a noble goal," Quentin concedes, "and should definitely be on the table, I agree. Hopefully, the true culprits will be revealed as we sift the evidence against our fellows. I think we should also be mindful to not push our noses in too deeply and risk offending them in other ways."
|Guisseppe "Lil Frankie" Franko|
Frankie looks up out of his backpack as his search seems to be fruitless "How 'bout I just pretend to be someone's kid? I'd be a great kid! I'll just shave this itchy mustache and beard off and maybe hide this nice sword.. hrm..."
As the conversation turns to the actual mission Frankie throws in his two coppers as well. "Well of course we're going to find the real murderers! That's what Pathfinders do! I still think its them Aspis people, buggers always trying to stab us in the back!"
"I'll leave the details up to you, but know this: it will take you three days to get to Dawnton on horseback. I have horses you can ride there if you care to do so. It might also prove useful if you can find whoever wrote the warning that came to us about our agent's plight" he continues, pushing forward another slip of paper from his armor. "Finally, if you have anything you'd like to do in Nerosian before you leave, do so with haste. Our brothers and sisters have seven days."
If you want to try gathering information, now is your chance.
As your first heads up before I get confirmation that you are leaving, I'm going to start talking about some of the mechanics involved in this investigation. Your time is broken into phases; one in the morning, one in the afternoon and one in the evening. During each of these phases you will be able to split up without fear of me brutally murdering you should you wish to, and you will be able to gather rumors from the locations you are at. This rumor gathering can be done with the usual suspects but also with skills that will be location dependent. Also, you can be creative in both where and how you investigate; these places are guidelines. As long as it can reasonably be conceived of as investigating, you will have my blessing. Meeting up to talk with your fellow pathfinders and sharing information is considered to be a "non-phase". At the end of any phase, but only once a day, you can attempt to try and "throw the locals off your scent". Dawnton is a small community and like most rural villages "they don't like strangers yaknow, 'specially them askin' questions". This can be accomplished with a DC 15 Bluff,Disguise or Stealth check, but 3 people must succeed in order for it to have any real impact.
"I suggest we get going as soon as we can. I suspect we will need as much time as possible if we are to get to the bottom of this before the investigations."
Thanks for the mechanics heads up.
Yes, thank you for that. In my opinion there is nothing worse than having special mechanics in a scenario that work differently that the players expect and the GM doesn't give you a heads up. My first PFS character died before his time due to that exact situation to a murder of tengu attacking a certain settlement in Tian Xia... Poor GMing and very bad luck on our part for rolls in everything.... Left a bad taste in my mouth for that scenario.
"Yes, let us waste no more time. I fear that perhaps more than just the lives of our companions are a stake if a murderer is on the loose in that town."
"I appreciate the horses. It would be a slow march for me." Quentin rises from his seat and bows to the Venture-Captain before retrieving his greatsword from the wall.
He turns to the others. "I only need to replenish my ration stock and then I'll be ready to set forth."
Diplomacy, Gather Information: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (7) + 4 = 11
|Guisseppe "Lil Frankie" Franko|
"Wait up Quentin! I need some more snacks for the trip too. Oh, do you know how to ride a horse? Its pretty easy right?" Frankie hurries off with the man with the big sword to town. While in town they do some asking around.
Diplomacy (Gather Info): 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (18) + 8 = 26
Frankie seems to be better at buttering up the right people it seems.
"It isn't very hard, Guisseppe. It's been a while since I've ridden on a horse or pony proper, but it's not too hard to master and pretty fun." Arnold collects his backpack, checking his supply of rations. When everyone else is ready, he quickly vaults into the Friz's pouch. "What?"
I have an exotic military saddle, it's just...that flavor. Previous GMs haven't minded my riding into a fight in a pouch with a lance.
"No, riding a horse isn't difficult." He chuckles before continuing, "Falling off correctly requires some skill, though."
Quentin looks to Marcus. "I'd assume there is a corpse to go with the accusation of murder, but I guess we'll find out."
"These two notes..." says Fargrim. "are slightly suspicious. "
She taps the two bits of paper. "Firstly an unidentified 'friend' drops a slightly too inviting proposition, then the team sent to investigate are arrested, and now they are trying to have another team turn up as well.."
She tries to identify whether the writing on the two documents is the same or different.
perception: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (20) + 10 = 30
"I'm not much of a rider." she admits, when the horses are introduced. "But it is probably better than walking. Do we really have time now to gather more information here, or would it not be better to get to this village as soon as possible?"
@Falshin. I was in that game with you. While my character was one of the two that survived, I was left somewhat bewildered by the scenario. I replayed it without credit later on and while tough, it was nothing like as bad as when we did it.
"That is rather paranoid conjecture, although not outside the world of possible." Quentin affixes his pack and his sword to the saddle and hoists himself into the seat. "Certainly better than walking. Especially when you need to run away from demons," he adds with a chuckle.
@Frankie: you can open up the last spoiler
How long did this take?: 1d4 ⇒ 2
As the pathfinders get ready to leave, Frankie the child-agent takes a few moments to talk to the locals and see if they have anything to add to this sordid tale of woe. As the moments stretch into hours, lady Arikfind takes a look at the messages sent to Starrise spire. Was it a stroke of insight? Or pure luck? Whatever is was, the aasimar is certain of it; despite efforts to the contrary, these two letters where penned by the same person.
With Frankie and Fargrim left to mull over the information they just uncovered, the pathfinders finally leave. Three days later, as the sun sets into the distance, the group arrives in Dawnton proper. While it does seem that the town only harbors a couple hundred souls permanently, there are far more people present now.
Another brief moment to allow you to share any information you desire and prepare yourselves to ride into town. Which gives me the perfect opportunity to present another portion of this system we will be using.
Now as I mentioned, there are many ways to get information in this town, but your appearance, and what you say matters, doubly so in fact. When you are in a locale, you must make a check as determined by both yourselves and me (which we covered in the previous GM post). Because it works well for PbP and I'm a big fan of it in general in the low tiers, I will count the highest check as being the lead, with everyone else rolling below that check but above ten as an assist (+2 to the highest score). From that, I will be giving you rumors you stumble upon. The number of rumors you will find in a locale will never be greater than the number of player-characters at that location. Now there is a map of the town, which I will get to in my final post before turning you loose upon this town. But know that you will be placing your tokens in the are you want to investigate. Now, remember how I said your words would be doubly important? Well they are. Locals will be taking note of you, with a tracking bar that will fill as you stay in town. It will fill faster or slower depending on what you say and do.
Also, please feel free to put any questions you have in the discussion section; I'm always paranoid that these subsystems don't work in our format, so help me make it as painless as I can for you and don't hesitate to ask me for further clarification.
"Call me Suspicious, but with the writing the same... this is looking more and more like a set up. I agree we should not make any allegiance with the Society plain while we are in town. A disguise is certainly called for."
"I'm sure you guys can do this better than me, I'll try to assist in any way I can, however. My appearance is suspicious, but I was recruited into the Society by two senior agents, one of whom an is Erastilian crusader who led a direct attack on the Worldwound. Perhaps I can use that as an explanation as to why such a strange individual is here."
|Guisseppe "Lil Frankie" Franko|
Frankie returns to the group after his time spent greasing the locals for information. He looks a bit different. His mustache and mini-beard is gone, his hair combed back and parted to the side. His rapier and buckler are no where to be seen, and his studded leather armor looks to be maybe tucked away under his traveling clothes? He waves at the group and hops up on Fargrim's horse, right in front of her. "Hey Mom! I'm ready when you are!" Now free of his disguise you see Frankie as he is in his avatar.
As you ride he fills you in on what he heard around town. "Sorry to keep you all waiting, but everyone in town was so friendly. No one can resist buying me cocoa and cookies. Its amazing how much old people like to talk to young people.. most young people just don't take the time to ask! 'Cept that old guy in the General Store, sitting near the window? He's a grouch."
He fidgets a bit to get comfortable, obviously hyped up on too much sugar and caffeine from all that cocoa. "So! Regina, she works the deli counter at the General Store, told me that Tobias Luin is both the village’s sheriff and mayor. Local opinion holds that he is fair to the point of being soft. It is unusual that he would hold an execution, but local law calls for a vote of the citizenry to decide the fate of those guilty of capital crimes." He nods along with everyone, whether they are or not. "Pretty sad isn't it?"
He continues "Now Harold, his brother's son's wife... she works in the town office, she keeps a good eye on people's mail it seems... and I guess there are rumors going around of similar brutal crimes in other villages near Dawnton. When a guilty party was found in those cases, execution was always the result." His mouth drops open a bit at the surprise of the news too. "Wicked! We best be careful, sounds like there's an awful lot going on out there!"
Sorry Fargrim, but your hair color and being a pretty woman makes Frankie's disguise easier. Who could resist or harm such a pretty Mom and her young son?
"If anyone needs help with a disguise let me know, I've got a few things I picked up... some makeup and fake hair and stuff. I'm not sure what I could do for you Arnold. It would take a TON of makeup to get that color down... but I could try!"
"I am as disturbed that your suspicions on the notes proved correct, Fargrim, as I am that there have been so many murders in the area."
Quentin looks down at his plain armor and asks Frankie, "I don't know. Do I need to look anything but a simple soldier, weary of battle?"
|Guisseppe "Lil Frankie" Franko|
Frankie spins around in his saddle to now face Fargrim, he twists and turns his head around to see past her, looking Quentin over. Acrobatics: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (10) + 8 = 18 He makes it obvious that he's nimble at least. "You sure do look like a soldier, big armor and one of those giant swords. Why does everyone use those things anyhow? They're taller than me! And sooo heavy!"
He continues along with the group discussion from his current position, face first with Fargrim's chest, but he doesn't seem distracted. "So are we going to be sticking together as a big group? Seems a bit suspicious. If we do we'll need some sort of reason to be together the 6 of us... well 7 counting Fritz there." I wonder if I could ride in that pouch thing? I could totally take a nap in there!"
Frankie pulls out a snack from his belt pouch and starts chewing on what looks like a dried biscuit, dropping crumbs all over as he goes on "Maybe we should split into smaller groups? 3 or 2 per group?" He goes as he counts on his fingers while pointing at people.
"Maybe people will be more friendly and less nervous talking to smaller groups. People seems to act more safe when they aren't staring down a half dozen people with armor and weapons. We could divide up based on what we're doing or how we act maybe? Sneaky people and maybe soldier people? Or I dunno, maybe you guys do other jobs like... make weapons or armor? And go to those places to talk to the owners. Those types of people don't usually like talking to me. I like the old people." He gives a sly wink and smile.
"I am a trained librarian.." notes Fargrim.
"However that may be a little too close to what the Society is known for to evade suspicion. And why would a librarian be travelling here. However I am also an ordained priest, able to bring the blessings of Desna. My type are always travelling."
"When balanced properly, the extra weight grants force to the blow, making it easier to cleave through armor and end a fight quickly, Quentin answers the halfling's first question before Frankie carries on.
I wonder if he's taking any breaths.
"Splitting up in town sounds reasonable, though if someone is hunting Pathfinders or simply strangers then it is a risk. We should certainly plan to meet together at a given time and place." He nods. "However, I don't think there's a way to disguise all of us arriving together. A town that small? Even if we came on different days, it would be suspicious. I don't think we have that much time, besides."
Quentin chuckles to himself before he answers Frankie's final inquiry. "I am something like a priest. I tend to the dead. When not on assignment, that is."
Sorry for my lack of posting... I've had an incredibly busy week/weekend that just seems to never end.
Falshin ponders the situation. "Considering the area that we are traveling through, it would be more likely to have a group passing through together for protection against wandering demons. Arriving together does not seem like it would draw as much attention. I am Varisian, so my meanderings would not draw much speculation as some of the others. I also offer skills as a healer and may spread the good word of Sarenrae along the way. Also, I think that splitting ourselves up would be much less likely to draw attention than if we moved through the town as a large group of 'travelers'. Whoever is behind this ruse is quite cunning and we should expect that they would be on the lookout for additional Pathfinder agents. If we move together as a large group, that would easily draw their attention."
"What say we stagger our arrival time in the town before Dawnton by a few hours. We meet up there, and then agree the share the road together for protection." suggests Fargrim, adding detail to the plan that Falshin proposed.
|Marcus Voralius RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16|
"We'll need a way to trade information. We don't want to run all independent investigations. Fargrim and Frankie, I suggest the two of you start with speaking to the sheriff. See what kind of case we are up against. I'm thinking I may find what local drinking establishments I can drum up some rumors in. We should probably find out what the prominent religion is and more information on how the trial will work."
"I'm sure someone said there were heaps of people in town for a festival. So our numbers probably won't cause a surprise. And murders are always interesting things for locals to talk about. I'm happy to stick with Frankie, but suspect that if we all try different places, we may learn more faster. And time is of the essence."
|Guisseppe "Lil Frankie" Franko|
Frankie follows the conversation back and forth, nodding frequently, sending bursts of crumbs out even more frequently. He stops and picks the larger ones out of Fargrim's lap and eats them quickly. "Six second rule!" He blurts out with a smile.
Once the plan has been decided he spins back around and proceeds to take a little nap.