The plush red carpet and oak furniture upholstered with velvet lend this room an air of comfort, but it’s also clearly a place of official business, with several layers of administrative papers, staff memos, maps, and charts covering the wide surface of the solid desk in the center. From her tall-backed chair behind her desk, Mayor Sandra Trinelli looks up, shaking herself out of a deep concentration. A subtle look of relief flashes across her face as she motions to the oversized chairs in front of her.
“Normally, I’d exchange more pleasantries with my guests, but I fear there is no time,” she says. “The business that brought you here is quite urgent—it may actually be a matter of life and death.
"Let me explain. You may have heard that several young apprentices from various establishments in Saringallow have disappeared in the last couple of weeks. Every one of them has failed to show up to work, and nobody seems to know where they’ve gone.
“That’s not all. Rumors are spreading about sightings of enormous insects roaming about town. So far, the townspeople have chalked up such rumors to overactive imaginations, but I fear they might be real, and that they might have something to do with the missing apprentices. I have no proof that the situations are connected, but if folks get that notion into their heads, things are bound to spiral out of control.”
She shifts nervously, as if avoiding an uncomfortable implication, before continuing. “Please, I implore you to look into this matter quietly and thoroughly—find out where our apprentices have gone and discover the cause of our vermin problem. Don’t jump to conclusions until you have investigated every possible angle; we need to be absolutely sure that we know who or what is responsible before we take any necessary law enforcement actions.
“I suggest you start by interviewing the masters of every missing apprentice on this list I’ve compiled. I suspect that, collectively, they might shed some light on the youngsters’ whereabouts. That could in turn illuminate our vermin problem, but until we have more information, I caution you against suggesting to anyone that the two situations are connected. Beyond that, though, you have my full cooperation in this matter. If anyone gives you guff about your line of questioning, show them this letter.”
The mayor pushes a scrap of paper with several names scribbled on it across her desk, as well as a rolled-up, ribbon bound letter written on thick parchment.
“As far as an incentive,” the mayor says, “I’ve pooled together 50 gold pieces as a reward for each apprentice you manage to find and rescue, as well as an additional 100 gold pieces if you can determine the cause of our vermin problem—and eliminate it. Do we have a deal?”
Imojin speaks directly and with enthusiasm as she responds. "Of course I'll help out with your problems... Missing youngsters, giant insects... connected or not, they are serious problems... The money is nice, but the issues themselves warrant attention regardless."
After finishing with your questions for the mayor, you may attempt to gather information from the populous at large by spending 1d4 hours talking to various people and making a Diplomacy check to gather information. One of you may gain a +3 bonus to the roll by using the mayor's letter.
diplomacy: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (2) + 7 = 9
Imojin seems at her worst today it seems... and it doesn't help that with the idea of giant vermin near the town, everyone gets nervous seeing her and Whiskers... She sighs and lets someone else take over, moving back so she and her mount are not readily visible to the townsfolk.
Standing before you is an elf, standing lithe and tall. Takumi is dressed in long orange-brown flowing robes that some of you may recognise as the kimono of the distant Minkai. He seems to carry little with him, although what they might be is covered by the cloak. His hood that thrown back, showing of his high cheekbones, long ears, oak-brown hair and gray eyes. Although he carries himself formally, you can't help but detect a faint glint of impishness in his ever wandering eyes.
He states, "I would be honoured to make your acquaintance." Giving a bow, Takumi continues, "This humble servant is Takumi Kamizo, from Ayajinbo, the capital of Jinin." Turning to the mayor, he questions, "We have a saying back in Tian - without the wind, there would be no waves. Rumours often have an unfortunate propensity to reflect some underlying truth. Ma'am, what do these giant vermins purport to look like?"
Later, as Takumi wanders around the streets of the unfamiliar town, he is unable to get any of the townsfolk to open up to him. Perhaps his unusual demeanor and dressing has kept them away.
diplomacy: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (7) + 6 = 13
Zeldana sits at a table and smiles though old broken teeth at her fellow Pathfinders as she shuffles a timeworn harrow deck and listens to the mayor before agreeing to take on the job.
Later walking with Takumi
"There has been much going on to set the townsfollk ill at east. Goblins and haunted houses. Hopefully this is the last of their problems."
A man with skin a little too grey to be human, dressed in well-made clothing that attempts to be practical is seated in one of the chairs. All manner of horrors plague Golarion at night. Which flavor will it be this time? "I accept," he says as he offers his hand. Despite his slim build, the skin appears stretched dangerously thin over the bones in his hand.
"What can you tell us about the masters?" Everyone has a skeleton or two in their closet.
A small, puckish man, wearing a trim leather outfit and a fine cloth mask that leaves little visible flesh, plays idly with some marbles...floating about the air over his head.
"Perhaps these enterprising youths are making the giant insects? I hear giant insects are a GROWTH industry!" He cackles ghoulishly.
Once the meeting's over with, he makes his own way through town...
Diplomacy, Shadow Speaker, letter: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (17) + 8 = 25
...and with his ability to peer into the shadows of others' hearts, as well as the aid of the letter, actually learns a few things!
"That is a great relief," the mayor says to Imojin. "We've heard many rumors about the Pathfinder Society, and I wasn't exactly sure what to expect when you arrived to help."
Mayor Trinelli cocks her head to the side. "Well, spindly legs, sharp mandibles, and beady eyes. Oh, and much larger than normal, of course. I haven't seen one myself."
"The masters are all upstanding members of our community. They've never given me reason for concern. The worst you'll hear about them are the rumors about the cobbler and haberdasher, which I suspect they fuel against the other. They were once married, but they went through a rather acrimonious divorce. So take what you hear about them with a grain of salt. Alcie Krumptin--she runs the Witch's End tavern--can be a bit, how should I say, particular in her opinions, but she's not evil by any means."
Of course, upstanding and without a stain on their soul. Just like everyone else. "Very well. I shall be on my way and return to you when I have something to report," he Faust says as he rises. His rich, red cloak flutters as he does so, revealing an exquisitely crafted scimitar.
Later on when the group meets up again...
"Was anyone able to learn something of merit? People tend to find me... off putting, to say the least." Afraid of the dark by instinct, I suppose. "Which master should we speak with first?" While he waits for a response, he seems to be eyeing each of you up. Almost like a wolf would a sheep...
Xanac relates what he's learned from the local fixtures....
Go ahead and read the spoilers.
"We could start with the haberdasher, then move on to the cobbler.. going head to toe so to speak."
A blond elf woman rushes into the room a bit late, but in time to hear the overview. "I'm so sorry. I just got off the boat. I was finishing an assignment. My name is Shalendra. Is there a particular place where the large insects have been gathering? I'll look into this for you." She is not wearing any armor, and very lightly armed, a sling, a rapier and a dagger.
She wanders the village looking for information.
"We do need to speak to everyone. One is good as another as far as I'm concerned. It sounds like the youths were being well young, and might have gotten in trouble somehow."
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (15) + 2 = 17
Takumi almost cracks a grin at Imojin's joke, but catches himself in time. However, the glint in his eye is obvious to anyone looking.
Faust's face is void of humor as the others otherwise enjoy Imojen's joke. "Not my type of humor," he says flatly, likely bringing an awkward halt to the joviality.
"I'll follow your lead, mouse. I'm better suited to listening than talking," he explains matter-of-factly. Some of them look like a stiff wind would blow them over. Others look like they have seen some horrors themselves. Much will be learned here, but at what cost? Absentmindedly, he begins to worry at the amulet around his neck.
IMojin bristles slightly and pulls herself up to her full diminutive height. "I am not a Mouse! But you're forgiven... this time. Don't let it happen again."
A villager carrying laundry from the river looks over at Imojin's outburst, pales, and then moves on towards wherever home is at an increased speed.
You make your way to Petrello's Haberdashery. The storefront is small and poorly maintained, the carved sign hanging out front was clearly performed by an amateur signmaker. Inside the store is not much better. The shelving is poorly hung, the floor is littered with dust and bits of felt, there are cobwebs in every corner, and then there are the hats... if you can call them hats, they look more like upside down shoes at best.
Petrello--you assume it is Petrello as he is the only one in the store--is working on a hat of uncertain aesthetic. He looks up at you, clearly flustered, and shouts, "What!?"
He raises an eyebrow in response to Imojin's threat. Insecurities abound. A costly luxury.
Faust's face contorts in slight disgust at the hideous condition of the store and it's wares. People pay real currency to wear these... things? It's no wonder the apprentice has gone missing.
Unsure of just how deep he wants to go, he posts up to the side of the door and keeps an eye out for any unusual activity.
Perception: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (15) + 4 = 19
Shalendra gives Petrello a smile. "While your wares are lovely, I'm not in the market for a hat." She examines the wares as she moves next to him.
"We understand she has gone missing. Can you give us any information that might help us locate her and her friends? We have a letter from the Mayor offering assistance to you in return for your assistance to us." She moves into the shop holding out the letter.
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (19) + 2 = 21
Takumi almost turns up his nose upon entering the shop at the shoddy handicraft, but once again, he manages to control himself. Is this what passes for craftwork here in the west? Do they have no pride in their work?
Nonetheless, with a neutral expression, Takumi gives Petrello a bow. "Greetings, master haberdasher. My name is Takumi Kamizo. As a fellow craftsman, I respect the work that you do, for I know of the painstaking hard work and mind-numbing tedium that goes into each piece that we pour our souls into. Might I inquire of the state of your business? How goes your sales?"
diplomacy, aid: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (10) + 6 = 16
I technically already used the letter, if that matters.
"Forgive me for stating the obvious, but the more you assist us in finding your apprentice, the sooner she can return to work for you."
aid Shalendra's Diplomacy: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (1) + 2 = 3
This, of course, comes out more as an insult.
...She moves into the shop holding out the letter.
I think Shalendra did show the letter.
So she did! Missed it in text and didn't see a +3 in her roll. So you improve his disposition.
Petrello blushes a bit at Shalendra's attention and takes the letter. He reads it over quickly and then hands it back with a bored sigh.
"I told that girl, but she wouldn't listen," the (very bad) hat maker says. "I forbade Betrona from going off with those other youngsters. Gellion and Nolaria probably got everyone else into some sort of trouble. They were always playing at something in the orchard and graveyard."
The man actually looks like he's holding back tears when he says, "If she'd listened, she'd still be safe here with me and not missing."
Zeldana smiles "Perhaps just the proclivities of youth." and turns to a sigh by the end of her sentence.
She looks to her companions to make any last questions before they make their egress so she doesn't get stuck with a hat.
Orchard and graveyard? Ominous. Not much good clings to graveyards and the surrounding areas. What dark horrors will this one hold? "Where is the graveyard?" asks Faust, breaking the silence with his emotionless voice.
"Perhaps we should head to this graveyard... maybe after a one more stop along the way... Thank you, Master Petrello."
"Should we go directly to the graveyard or check out the cobbler too before we go.. Maybe she might have more information for us."
Back at the shop
Takumi gives a solemn bow. Ah, yes ok. The missing apprentice is his daughter. It is no wonder then that his craft has degnerated.
"You have my sympathy. We will do our utmost to locate her and bring her back to you. Gellion and Nolaria? Might you have more information about them?"
Out of the shop
"I would be more inclined to speak to the other craftsmen about the missing apprentices before we investigate the orchard and the graveyard. Mayhaps they might have more clues for us before we blunder into something."
"That was my thought too... "
Zeldana shrugs, "Let it be so, at some point I can ask my trusty harrow deck for its opinions on our actions. It takes a bit but it rarely lets me down."
At the Shop.
"We will do our best to return her. I hope that it's nothing more than youngling antics." She pats the man on the shoulder as she takes her leave.
On the way
"I agree lets talk to all the people on the list before we search the places. It might help to narrow locations down."
After a brief debate, the group of Pathfinders change their mind and head down the block to the cobbler, Dependable Drummandy's. This cobbler's shop happens to be situated across the street from the Witch's End tavern. A sign depicting a dark haired figure burning at the stake hangs over the tavern's door.
Inside the cobbler's shop, a stern faced woman stops muttering to herself and looks up from her work. "Yes? May I help you? Some traveling boots maybe? Or repair?"
Like the last place, Faust posts up near the door and tries to pick up what he can. Something is eating at her. Depending on her relationship, the missing apprentice is likely. It could also be the quality of her competitors hats... We could use her weakness to our advantage if we press at the right time. Let's see what she has to say.
Perception, DC 18: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (6) + 4 = 10
Sense Motive, DC 18: 1d20 ⇒ 19
perception: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (15) + 7 = 22
sense motive: 1d20 + 0 ⇒ (16) + 0 = 16
Takumi's sharp elven eyes catches her attempt to wipe the tears from from her eyes. His heart going out to her, he asks, as politely as he can manage, "This humble servant goes by the name of Takumi Kamizo. I apologise for disturbing you during this difficult time. Your craftwork appears to be of the utmost quality but we are unfortunately here today on other business. We are concerned about the missing young men and ladies of this village, including your apprentice Pavolus Laterna. We endeavour to do whatever we can to locate them but are seeking clues to their whereabouts. Whatever leads you may provide to us would be of greatest help." He then gives a solemn and careful bow.
diplomacy: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (17) + 6 = 23
"We have a letter from the mayor letting you know we are working for her on this issue and asking for assistance of anyone who may have information. Shalendra gives the woman a smile and a bow a well.
Diplomacy With Letter: 1d20 + 2 + 3 ⇒ (16) + 2 + 3 = 21
"The mayor?" Drummandy asks. "I thought Pavolus had just gone off to stay with his father. I don't know why he would--that man is far too strict with our children, he didn't approve of his friend, Gellion, at all--but a boy needs a father's attention sometimes. It's something worse, isn't it?" She barely holds back the tears.
"Who else is missing?"
Your Diplomacy check was successful. I will integrate the results in a more organic dialogue.
Speaking as gently as he can, Takumi adds on, "As is a number of other apprentices in the village. This does not appear to be a coincidence of the young deciding to play truant from work. Whatever information you think might be relevant would help us uncover what have happened to them."
"Gellion too?" Drummandy says with a soft gasp. "Pavolus had just made him a pair of yellow boots as a gift. They were best friends. If something happened, they were probably together."
She takes a moment to compose herself. "Gellion is a charmer. He was sort of the leader among Pavolus' group of friends. I would check with Pricknettle. She might know what Gellion had been up to lately. Whatever that was, it probably involved my son and his friends."