Ambrus Valsin stares sullenly at each of you as you enter the room, waiting for the last Pathfinder to enter before speaking. ”Harrumph, alright, let’s get this quickly over and done with as you have some way to travel. The Pathfinder Society maintains good contacts with a number of academics throughout the Inner Sea Region, especially those who share our common goals to uncover secrets and unearth ancient artifacts. One such researcher is Dr. Quolorum, the famed gnomish professor of the occult in the Sincomakti School of Sciences, sited in Rozenport, Ustalav. Now, the people of Ustalav are a highly superstitious lot, and rampant claims of occult happenings abound. With that country’s tumultuous history, it is not surprising.”
”We have just received a missive from Dr. Quolorum requesting for assistance from our society. It seems he has recently observed a series of occult happenings that he suspects are tied to an Ustalavic noblewoman Lady Rena Illirigarde, an occult dilettante known for her edgy parties featuring backroom seances and amateur harrow readings. She disappeared mysteriously about forty years ago, and investigations into her disappearance turned up no leads. Now, however, Dr. Quolorum believes that he has discovered some hints that could uncover what she had been involved in prior to that, and perhaps explain what had happened to her.”
”In the limited time the professor has remaining before classes resume, he fears he is unable to investigate all the clues on his own, and has sought the support of a team of Pathfinders. He promises to share whatever findings with our society, and even let us keep whatever artifacts are uncovered. After he has properly studied and documented them, of course. This is an opportunity too good to miss. Due to the short notice, I’m cobbling your team together to set off at first light tomorrow. Don’t worry about supplies. Rozenport is a bustling town and you can get whatever you need there.”
”I know little more about situation, but I expect you are going to ask me questions anyway. But at the very least, introduce yourselves. You're going to be working quite closely with each other for the next few weeks, I imagine.” He looks impatiently at you.
In walks this big, rotund, almost flamboyantly dressed man, wind instrument case held at his side with pudgy fingers. Taking one of the available seats, it creaks when his large posterior sits on it. As the others enter he eyes his fellow Pathfinders with a shake of the hand and a hearty smile.
"Ambrus Valsin, when we arrive at Rozenport, where might we go, since classes aren't in session, to find Dr. Quolorum? Also, will he have the clues, or did he send them to you?"
Know(Local): 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (5) + 8 = 13 What do I/We know of the good Doctor?
Know(History): 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (1) + 8 = 9 What do I/We know of Ustalavic noblewoman Lady Rena Illirigarde
Apparently, not much
Walking in, a small individual of unusual skin tone looks around. He looks like a Halfling but his skin tone is charcoal in color, he has white long hair, and big yellow eyes. He wears black tanned leather armor and has a short sword at his side.
He listens to Ambrus mission statement. In a low voice, "Sounds interesting. I do enjoy a good mystery that involves the occult and other things that go bump in the night."
He then greets everyone, "By the way, I'm Lucifer. I look forward with working with all of you."
Know (Local): 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (1) + 7 = 8; Also what I might know about the Doctor.
lol.. know even less.
A 4' tall Dwarf sits to the side clad in chainmail. He absentmindedly touches the handle of his Dwarven Waraxe ever so often to make sure it's still leaning against his chair.
"I am Thorur Grundur, warpriest of Trudd, and I am glad to be of service. How long should the trip to Rozenport?"
Thorur does not have any Knowledge skills.
A half-elf with dark skin, black braided hair, and worn scale armor sits casually in a chair against a wall, one leg crossed over the other. She listens attentively to the mission briefing, and takes Ambrus at his word that he doesn't know more about the situation. I'll save my questions for this Dr. Quolorum when we meet him, she thinks to herself.
She nods when the others introduce themselves, then politely takes her turn. "I'm Caena Coldmoon. Pleased to meet you all. I'm sure we'll all do our best to look into this."
|Sira Ulo Ako|
Know Loco: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (12) + 5 = 17
Not really known for his social graces, a quiet Sylph speaks up,
His pure white hair flows down a bit past his shoulders. His skin, through the blue markings, is just as pale. Only if you knew sylphs well, would you know his eyes got a little flash of crazy in them. Even a bit more so than the average adventurer.
Ambrus lets us a deep sigh in irritation, his muttonchops vibrating rather noticeably as he does so. "If he did share something to me, do you not think I would already have told you? Believe me, I am just as curious about what he has found, but whatever he has uncovered, you will just have to find out when you reach Rozenport. The journey should take a couple of weeks. He had made arrangements for your stay at the Moaning Spectre inn. I trust he'll contact you there. "
Sira recalls a conversation he had with a visiting professor from the Sincomakti School of Sciences, who mentioned in passing that with Ustalav's violent past, occult phenomena is not surprising. However, in the last few decades, there have been increasing reports of disturbing dreams, flashes of red lightning, and strange voices carried by the wind, around the region where Illirigarde manor is located. Perhaps it is related to what the Dr. Quolorum is investigating.
|Sira Ulo Ako|
"It's just strange you should mention Quolorum. A visiting professor mentioned that in the last few decades...."
Sira proceeds to relay what he heard, not only to inform his party, but to rub his knowledge of the situation in the face of the rather brash "gentleman" briefing them on the situation-half-heartedly attempting to be diplomatic about it.
DIPL: 1d20 - 2 ⇒ (14) - 2 = 12
Sira shrugs, "I guess it's just a matter of being in the right social circles."
The door flies open as a stout man comes bustling in. The man, defintely to tall to be a dwarf, but with undeniable dwarven features, stops for a second to catch his breath. His long brown hair and beard are bound in a clearly varisian fashion but almost look as if the have a gree twinge around the edges. A small silver hoop glints out from where the base of his ear would be if it wasn't buried behind the beard and hair.
After his breathing eases, he brushes a few imaginary specks off his wine-red coat trimmed in gray and lined with what looks like layers of hardened leather peices. Breathing a little easier, he takes off his pack and sets it down before giving the venture-captian a deep bow. On the back of his coat is a stylized white jug and bunch of grapes outlined in the same grey as the trimming.
"Apologies for being late, I stayed up to late last night enjoying Halcamora's bounty that I overslept. I'll try to make sure it doesn't happen again."
Having made his report to Ambrus, he grabs his bag and shuffles into a seat. He fishes a handkerchief from somewhere on his person and mops up a few beads of sweat on his brow. With a jolly twinkle in his eyes he looks around the group. "It's still pretty hot this time of year, isn't it? Oh and if someone could fill me in on the details, I'd be very grateful. I'm Genryl Vinebrewer and, when not on Society assignment, I'm a pilgrim of The Lady of Ripe Bounty, Halcamora. Speaking of which, where are we going and, more importantly, does it have any good vinyards?"
Alright, I'll get us started then.
Ambrus frowns at the intrusion. "Well, I'm not about to repeat myself, so the rest of you are going to have to fill in this tardy one. The journey to Rozenport would be sufficient time." That said, the Venture Captain stomps out of the room, muttering under his breath, "Vineyards!"
Imagine a montage of bustling port, ship coasting over the sea, long tiresome caravan rides...
Chapter 1 - Harrow
You arrive in Rozenport and settle down at the Moaning Spectre inn, all comfortably arranged by Dr. Quolorum. You rest for a few days and purchase whatever supplies you need, but despite the wait, the professor never shows up. Instead, after resting your heels for three days, you receive a note one evening. (see Harrow note at maps and handouts)
So next morning, you set out for the village of Dunhob, less than half a day's journey. When you arrive, you find that it is a small wretched village with two rows of thatched roof buildings. Strangely, you find every building in town has a horseshoe nailed to the front door. Seldom receiving external visitors, a crowd quickly gathers around you gathers shortly after you arrive. Most are wearing rather tattered rags. They stare at you with suspicion but none speaks up. That is, until a crotchety village elder, parts the crowd and approaches you. When she gets within 20 feet, she begins lobbing horseshoes at you!
target who?: 1d6 ⇒ 2
Specifically, the first horseshoe flies in the direction of Lucifer. "Black spirit! Flee from our town!"
horseshoe vs Lucifer touch AC: 1d20 + 0 ⇒ (4) + 0 = 4
She yells, “I cast you out, evil spirits!” getting ready to lob another.
---While still in Rozenport's Inn---
Lucifer frowns upon receiving the letter, "I don't like it when the client fails to show up and contacts me through other means. Makes me believe the client might not be who we think they are."
Lucifer easily sidesteps the horseshoe and sighs. "Old bat."
Know (Local): 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (4) + 7 = 11
Speaking to the old woman, "Old bat, do I look like some type of ghost or demon... Er never mind." Reminded that he does look like some kind of demon to some people. He looks to the others to calm down the old bat.
Caena had wondered what Dr. Quolorum meant in his note by 'close-lipped and superstitious', but she is a little shocked when an elderly woman starts chucking objects at them just after they arrive. Never had a welcome quite like this before.
Even though the metal object goes wide of Lucifer, the woman does not look like she's about to stop. Caena puts down her shield on the ground at her feet and holds up both hands to show they are empty. She calls out, "Hold, friend! We are not evil spirits. We only have a few questions for you, if you'll hear us out."
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (8) + 3 = 11
|Sira Ulo Ako|
KNo Loco: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (19) + 5 = 24
Sira can't help but chuckle a bit,
"They must have something against short people here."
Gentry gives an exclamation of surprise when he reads the note, "Wait, How come noone mentioned we were dealing with Harrow users! I just so happened to bring my family's deck along with me, maybe I can give the village a reading if they want... I hope this Lady what's-her-face is okay, I'd really like to meet her." He pulls out a set of lovingly used harrow cards that have obvious been worn down through decades if not centuries of use and then meticulously repaired. In addition he pulls out a half empty bottle of cheap wine. He gives the bottle a shake while giving everyone an inviting smile. "Before we head out, anyone want to join me in a short prayer and reading?"
Genryl laughs at the small woman's poor attempts at threatening Lucifer. "You know Lucifer, she might have you there! You're black and you have a spirit!" He then bends down and picks up the horseshoe, dusting it off, he calls out to the gathered crowd, "I can most assuredly guarantee this man is not a 'Black spirit.'" With this he reaches over and touches the horseshoe to an exposed portion of Lucifer's skin. After proving the metal and shape do nothing to the man he saddles up the the old woman and hands back the horse shoe. In an angry commanding tone he, continues, "Now can someone tell me what is going on around here. I've traveled through a lot of different towns and this is the first time I've been greeted with a horse shoe!"
Diplomacy aid: 1d20 ⇒ 13
Genryl has an archetype ability that allows him to designate up to four traveling companions whom he can use his domain abilities on from up to 30 ft. He has the ability to enlarge someone ala enlarge person for a round, as well as granting endure elements for an hour. They only have to participate in a minute long prayer. Is anyone interested?
Rolling diplomacy untrained, (CHA -1), with guidance (+1) to aid Caena.
diplomacy: 1d20 ⇒ 16
"Rest easy there, my lady, there is no need to risk hurting yourself. We are here to help you and yours, not to hurt anyone."
|Sira Ulo Ako|
"You know Lucifer, the superstition they have comes from an old legend around here. The story goes that a demon took the form of a ashen-skinned child and started wreaking deadly mischief. Evidently, somewhere along it's path of murderous deeds, it was sneaking through a stable when it lost it's balance. It seems it's shriek of surprise spooked a horse that reared up and crushed it's head. I think if you balance the horseshoe on your head and take five paces in each direction, you will convince the locals that you aren't what you appear to be to them.
Bluff: 1d20 - 2 ⇒ (4) - 2 = 2
Diplomacy(+2 aid from Vinebrewer): 1d20 + 3 + 2 ⇒ (11) + 3 + 2 = 16
"Hey, Lady" Yu says in his characteristically energetic voice, "You want to hang those up to catch good luck, not throw them at people! I know the iron can repel ghosts, fairies, witches and other occult and supernatural creatures, but we aren't that!"
Yu looks at Sira and Lucifer "That is true as well."
The old woman glares you you, but her suspicions seem to have lessen somewhat, especially when Genryl held the iron horseshoe against Lucifer's flesh, and he didn't immediately combust in flames.
While the rest of the villager still hangs back, she takes the horseshoe back from Genryl. She looks as each of you in turn and growls, "I am Maricella Weath. We don't like strangers. What do you want?" The villagers, seeing that Maricella has not been gobbled up yet, slowly inch forward as well. Their eagerness to break out of the daily monotonous life has clearly overtaken their apprehension towards strangers.
Genryl gives a broad smile and, with a twinkle in his eyes, extends his hand for a handshake. "Well I can guess that from the reception, but no worries there, sometimes being careful can be justified. I'm Genryl Vinebrewer, and I'm a devotee of Halcamora, an empyreal lord if you don't have the pleasure of knowing who she is." After shaking her hand, or smoothly moving along if she doesn't take the offer, Genryl points out the rest of his team in order, "That large man over there's Yu khan. He sings a tenor something close to divine! The 'black spirit' over there is Lucifer Belthrue; he's a very deft hand at many things. The dour looking dwarf is Thorur Grundur. He follows the dwarven deity of Trudd and can use that axe to great effect. The dark-skinned half-elf there is Ceana Coldmoon, a bona fide paladin, which should be a good vouch for our intentions. Finally Mr. white-hair-and-even paler-skin there is Sira. He's probably smarter than most of us combined." The large man then returns his sights to the old woman. "And see, now we aren't strangers, just Genryl, Yu, Lucifer, Thorur, Caena, and Sira. Now if I may, Maricella, what's brought on this dislike of strangers?"
Nooooo! Ninja'd by the GM! *grumble*
The old crone indeed does not take the offered hand, although she does not appear as hostile as earlier. Well, for one, she seems to have forgotten about the horseshoe in her hand.
But there is still a deep scowl on Maricella's face, and she snorts before replying, "All ye fancy-mancy townfolk. Come here with ye almighty nose up in the air. Like that meddling Lady Illirigarde." She almost spits when she says that name, carrying heavy sarcasm at the word "Lady". Continuing with her tirade, "Ha! The spirits have their last laugh. She came, demanding to study the spirits around our village. Visit every few months and do frightful divinations for us. But one night ... Oh poor Veny. He was the best drinking buddy of me Bob (may Pharasma bless his soul). She did a harrow reading for old Veny. At The Lucky Lantern, and he died. Not so lucky, ha! They were foolish folk back then. We are wiser now." At this, she lifts up her horseshoe and starts waving it in the air. "She left Dunhob after that and never returned, leaving us a haunted tavern that we can't even tear down. Good riddance to her, I say!" This time, she really spits, her thick yellow sputum narrowly missing Genryl's fine boots.
Lucifer's ears perk up, "Haunted tavern, you say. How is it haunted if I may ask?" As he wonders if it is just unfounded superstition.
"Ye want to go there?" she asks, with an incredulous look on her face. "Not say I did not warn ya. A few years back, another one of ye fancy-mancy adventurer came just like ya. Named Wulfer. Said he will uncover the secret of the tavern. Went in, never came out." She says the last part with a smirk, as if proud of whatever the tavern had done to Wulfer. "It's down that way," she says as she points to the southern edge of the village. The village is not large and you can see part of the building she is referring to.
"That Lady," and here she spits again before continuing, "stormed out of the tavern, hair disheveled. I was just a wee lass then standing right here when she came running, fancy dress all hiked up. Said her harrow cards touched the mind of a dreaming evil. Left all her magic instruments behind. Promised to return when she learned how to drive out the spirits. But she never did. Guess she went home to her fancy manor, and forgot all about us wee folks." She snorts again, clearly not expecting much for this group of "fancy-mancy" townfolk.
She glares at Lucifer, as if he was crazy. "Are ye nuts! Ye expect us to go in to find out? Strange lights, low voices, followed by headaches and sleepless nights. No sirree, if you want to know, you go in yeself."
Any more questions? If not, I'll move you there.
"Thanks for the information, Mrs. Weath. Maybe six can be successful where one has failed." Caena nods her head politely to the elderly woman. No harm in trying to be civil, though I doubt we'll be making a friend here in any case.
No further questions. Also, Caena would totally have been up for Genryl's prayer that morning.
"Yup, we probably need to go there. We've been asked to take a looking in the Lady's disappearance as apparently it's been linked to recent...problems." Gernyl gives the old lady a bow and asks "Could you possibly show us how to get there?" He shuffles his bare and well calloused feet in the dirt, waiting for the woman's reply.
No questions, and Caena, Cool! Mind if I occasionally drop a short-term enlarge person on ya? Feel free to request it if you want it!
On a different note Kuey, I keep having this mental image that Gernyl goes around barefoot for the most part. I never mentioned anything about it before, but I think I'm going to make it official.
Go for it, if it seems appropriate. Just remember that I can't heal myself yet. I'll try to keep the option in mind too.
|Sira Ulo Ako|
"I was wondering, might you have an extra horseshoe that I may hurl at an evil spirit if I happen to come across one?
Lucifer grins mischievously as the thought of summoning his Ghost Sound right from the Old Bat's arse but decides against it. "Lets head to this tavern and expel whatever sleeping evil resides there."
No further questions.
Maricella nods sagely as Sira's request. "Yes, ye are wise, too, to seek the protection of the horseshoe. Here, ye can have mine. We have many more." She presses the rusty deformed horseshoe into Sira's hand. Then, seeing you headed towards the tavern, she hikes up her skirt and beats a fast retreat.
As you started walking in the direction of the tavern, the rest of the villagers similarly makes haste to return home, slamming shut their doors and windows. By the time you reach the tavern itself, the entire village is dead quiet.
The Lucky Lantern is a rundown building on the edge of town. An ornate lantern hangs from a post in front of this derelict building. The doors and windows of the tavern are all boarded shut. Dozens of horseshoes are nailed to the front door.
While the front door is not locked, strength checks would be needed to break the boards. Remember, you can take 10 if you like, and you may aid each other.
maps and handouts updated, but not that you can see much at this time.
"I shall not sully my gifted hands by such a dirty task" Yu states. "Instead, I shall assist by playing a tune to ease your burdens."
He pulls out his Flute and begins to play a speedy, and mostly happy, tune.
After picking up her shield from the ground and making sure her scimitar is loose in its sheath, Caena walks at the head of their motley crew towards the Lucky Lantern. "Not so lucky, indeed. This place has seen better days," she mutters to herself.
She casts an eye over the collection of horseshoes. "You got yourself one of those, Sira. There's enough here for everyone to take several. Maybe we should stock up." She's half joking, half serious. Caena hasn't heard anything about special properties of horseshoes, but these villagers certainly seem to value them. Sometimes there's a grain of truth in even the wildest villagers' tales.
|Sira Ulo Ako|
Sira steps up and takes a crack ay pulling one of the boards off.
STR: 1d20 ⇒ 2
Thorur casts Guidance on himself.
Strength check = +3 str, +1 guidance, -4 AC penalty for armor.
strength check: 1d20 ⇒ 2
Note: I have a Sky Key t-shirt and an unopened character portfolio if they are allowed for re-rolls in the future.
Well, that was embarrassing.
Lol! Should also have mentioned that there's really no time limit on this actually, so you can take 20 also. Don't need to blow your re-rolls for this. :) Separately, I don't think armor check penalty will affect the strength check. RAW, it only applies to skill checks. Not that it makes a difference in this case. :P
|Sira Ulo Ako|
Ok...I am gonna embarrass myself one more time trying this...do we need to go buy a crowbar?"
Come on Look Like A Man!: 1d20 ⇒ 15
Seeing her companions struggling to budge the door, Caena takes a step forward. She braces herself with both feet, takes up a position next to where Sira is still at work, and tugs at the plank to help him out.
Strength check: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (14) + 3 = 17
Lucifer draws his weapon as he watches Sira and Caena strain to pull the boards off the door. "You can do it. Unless you want the small me come forward and do it for you." He chuckles at his mild teasing of this two companions.
|Sira Ulo Ako|
Yu put away the flute and begins to sing: "Youuuuuuu areeeee gooooiiiiinnnnggg to open the door, open the door, open the door." He continues to ramble on, verse after verse, rarely making sense, but bringing a smile to your face.
Gernyl smiles as the Dwarf and Sylph both try and fail to pry planks off the door. Staying back for a moment he pulls his deck of harrow cards out and wraps them in a price of cloth before setting it down. There was no way he was going to risk the family deck if he could avoid it.
"You know if you tried to bash the door it might work better than just prying at the boards." He takes a moment to cast a small spell and prayer, dropping it on Caena as he moves up and showing her and Sira a better way to tackle the door. "See you angle your shoulder like this and then run into it, laying the back of your shoulder into it."
Strength: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (19) + 2 = 21
With the combined defforts of Caena, Sira and Genryl, the party manages to rip the boards apart. The raucous disturbance echoes throughout the village, which is otherwise completely silent, as in everyone is holding their breath.
When nothing immediately comes bursting out the door, the intrepid adventurers gingerly push the door which swings inwards with a load moan, its hinges unoiled for decades. You step in gingerly, ready for whatever undead denizens the tavern might throw your way.
What greets you is a musty common room that is coated with thick layers of dust. Dozens of black candles, animal skulls, and occult idols are arranged as decorations through the room. One table near the center of the room is decorated with human skulls and a crystal ball. A spread of harrow cards lies face down on the table and two chairs are pulled up to it. One chair sits empty and the other holds a skeletal corpse.
Although the room seems empty at first, after you enter, all the the candles spontaneously light and a robed figure appears in the empty chair at the harrow table. Heavy robes hide the figure’s features, but if you observe very carefully, you notice that the figure has clawed hands and hooved feet. (maps and handouts updated)
The illusion’s tentacled mouth wriggles beneath its cowl as it greets you. “Welcome, travelers. Have you come to seek the wisdom of my harrow reading? These are strange times and those without guidance risk great peril. Stand before my table and learn your fate.”
"And what is the cost of this "reading""
sense motive: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (11) + 5 = 16
Thorur moves forward a little to examine the corpse for possible signs of it's demise
heal: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (19) + 7 = 26
Know(Planes): 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (2) + 4 = 6
Yu, who doesn't believe in the silliness of the occult world, walks up to the table and states "What is my fate?"
Caena is suitably impressed by the self-lighting candles, but when the bard moves forward confidently she says, “Woah there, Yu, is that such a good idea?” She lowers her voice to fake whisper that everyone can clearly hear and points to the dead body sitting in the other chair. “I don’t think it worked out too well for the last guy.”
She stares intently at the strange figure, trying to discern its nature.
Detect evil on the robed guy