Orin sizes up the guards as they glare at the travelers, then looks around the deck of the ship while the others discuss the posted notice.
Unnatural History Museum? Fascinating. I'd like to take a look around there, but when you speak to the guards I'd like to accompany you as well. I'd rather not exacerbate rumors of my involvement in any theft after only a few minutes being on-world.
Once at the Mako, Jayse takes a fairly serious look around. No sense NOT being thorough…
Perception - to notice if anything's been tampered with (or even evidence of other people on the Mako) 1d20 + 16 ⇒ (10) + 16 = 26.
Jayse looks back down the dock and into the city. "Checking in with the Watch might at least give us some more information on what's been going on. Though maybe we should ask about it from… less legitimate sources first? The stableboy may have a thing or two to say about it. Actually, you know who we should ask? That 'merchant' i got my belt off of… what was his name? Rafael? From odd Bits? I'm guessing he wouldn't mind earning another coin or two, and merchants tend to have ears."
Jayse can't help getting in on the fun. "Honestly, I was briefly concerned that we'd interrupted one of her dates with Rumblestone. Then I realized there was no way our Ushari would date him." He leans over towards Orin with mock-sincerity. "Not enough hair." He gives the man's white hair an appraising look. "I'd say you should watch out, but you're not… um… bestial enough from what I've seen."
So we looking into the Musem thing? Or should we just head back to the Fish for a quick respite?
Usahri's gaze shift between Orin and Jayse, as if sizing up each one of them and mentally weighing them in her own mind. "Checking with Kilcrist would not be a bad idea as well, assuming he is there now." She grins at Jayse's comment, "It is a pity too...Jayse is quite bestial, maybe we can see if Bit can provide some hair tonic for you." She represses a giggle, "I would be willing to chip in..."
The FISH gets my vote.
So, the name of your ship is the Mako, but there's another ship called the "Fish", or is that an inn?
Ushari, you must be quite resilient to endure being the only girl in this group. You're like the big sister of a family full of boys, trying to keep them all in line, aren't you?
Orin then turns to Jayse, and says matter-of-factly: Yes, outwardly, but some beasts disguise their outward appearance to catch their prey. Camouflage, if you will. The greatest weapon I possess is that my enemies underestimate me.
Some sites of local interest:
Old Fish Inn aka the Fish - where you have rooms
Brazen Strumpet aka the Strumpet - a reasonably high-end brothel, bar, and eatery.
Odd Bits - a store that sells clean and some 'grey market' items
For a list of people you should know and links - check at the bottom of the Campaign Tab. I've organized them all by City.
Jayse examines the Mako stem to stern. It appears untouched.
Anxious to find some answers (and change into fresh clothes after a week) our heroes roam back up the main road from the wharves, pass the gaudy pink Strumpet, take a left, and travel another 10 minutes along the border road between Old Towne and the Merchant Quarter until they see the familiar sight of the Fish - the open courtyard where they have breakfast, and the wrought iron gates (now open) to the Stables behind it.
The muted bang of a hammer on iron tells you Kilcrist is at work. As you round the corner into the stableyard, avoiding a couple of fresh piles from the latest occupants, you spot the stable-boy Kilcrist in his usual smudged leather apron shoeing a horse. Parked close to one wall is Bit's merchant cart.
Kilcrist nods as you approach. "Back, huh?"
Orin - a Perception check, please.
Jayse nods and smiles. "We are. I'm finding there's more and more to love and hate about your gnome merchant friend." Jayse can't help but give Bit's vacant cart a hard, curious look.
Perception (anything worth noting on-board?) 1d20 + 16 ⇒ (20) + 16 = 36.
"So, after a week of being gone, any news in town?"
Kil releases the horse's foot, wipes a hand on his smock, and sheaths his shoeing hammer. He stretches his back and snorts a laugh at Jayse's comment about Bitiborium.
"Yeah, he's got that effect on everyone." Kil watches Jayse eye the cart with a mischievous smile. "I wouldn't get any ideas about that. It doesn't pay to poke around the old man's gear... News, eh? You missed a fair piece, I reckon." He continues on with obvious delight. "A few thieves busted into the History Museum maybe five days ago. Stole a Allosaurus skeleton from the third floor. Damn thing was on display and they swiped it! Had to be 20 foot long, maybe a thousand pounds of bone! They stole some other stuff too - but it looks like the skeleton is what they were after." He chortles, "But that ain't the best bit. They took out the eight guards in the building. Drugged some by swapping their dinner and caught the rest. Before they left, they staged all them guards like they were playing cards - even left the drugged meal on the table for 'em! Then they walked the skeleton out of the building, I hear. Some of the guards saw them. Said it was two men and a small boy done it. Can ya beat that?" He laughs in clear delight.
"Lemme tell ya, the Watch 's been whipped up like hornets. They brought out their mages and couldn't find nothin'. Looks like the thieves had a boat waiting and covered their tracks good. Word is the Guild denies doin' it but there's been heat on them for sure. An' the high-n-mighties are all up in arms. They got fliers stamped to every building in town wantin' information."
Jayse - the cart is in 'travel mode' so it is all buttoned down and appears to be an overstuffed and sealed cart.
So a natural 20 doesn't bestow x-ray, huh? ;P
"Allosaurus bones, huh? Would me knowing what an allosaurus is give me any insight into why someone would steal its skeleton?" He thinks about the story for a few seconds before scratching his ear, "Does the thieve's guild usually deny their gigs? Or you reckon they actually didn't do it? I'd think that'd piss them off a bit… having someone pull a job like that in their turf." He shrugs it off, "And I'm not sure I can beat that… unless Crossroads means something to you?"
"It's a big-ass lizard... and I got no idea why someone would want one pinched. Maybe a collector? Had to be a new mob in town or a set of lone wolves that pulled that job. I'm sure the Museum pays protection to keep the Guild out of their hair. So you can bet as hard as the Watch is asking questions, the Guild is asking'em a whole bunch harder. Someone made them look bad. They don't like that."
"Bit tol' me about that Crossroads place, but he never took me yet."
Knowledge Nature? to ID Allosaurus 1d20 + 16 ⇒ (12) + 16 = 28
Orin ponders the information a bit, then answers Jayse's question matter-of-factly:
It seems like an awfully risky undertaking for a lark. I can only think of one reason why someone would want the skeleton of a Great Lizard, and it's not good news. Do you have any necromancers nearby?
The teacher half bows to Kilcrist and strides forward, extending a hand in greeting.
Pleased to meet you, I'm Orin Vanderwhal, new to these parts.
You definitely know what an Allosaurus is. Feel free to peruse the stats I linked to.
Kil wipes his hand hastily on a clean patch of his pants and returns a firm handshake. "Kilcrist, nice ta meetchya! I'm old to these parts." He looks the teacher over curiously. "Bit has mentioned you, I think. You're from out of town, right? Welcome!" The way he says it, you read it as not from this world.
He scratches his ass, "Can't say as I know of any necromancers about."
Ushari's eyes turn an icy shade of blue when she hears about the audacious theft of the allosaur skeleton. When Kilcrist mentions the three perpetrators, her hands visibly clench.
"Well, Kilcrist, I doubt the two men were taking their child along for the ride, as it were. So, all three of them were part of it. It would not surprise me at all if the young 'boy' was the one who animated the skeleton.
She chews on her braid for a moment. "We need to see if we can gain access to the crime scene." She turns to face the others, her look direct. "Considering our history with necromancers, I cannot believe this is a coincidence." Even as the words leave her mouth, she starts feeling her cheeks flush.
If any of them mention Eustus...I am gonna make sure he WILL have something ELSE in common with Kilcrist!
"I got no idea why someone would want one pinched. Maybe a collector? So you can bet as hard as the Watch is asking questions, the Guild is asking'em a whole bunch harder. Someone made them look bad. They don't like that."
"It puzzles me why they hold this corpse in such reverence, yet don't return it to the earth. I suppose we could offer to track the thieves for them discreetly. They could save some face, and we could earn a bit of coin."
Jayse looks over at Ushari, an old annoyance painting his features. "While I have no idea how we would know if the 'boy' is the one who animated the bones, I sure as hell don't think we 'need to see if we can gain access to the crime scene.' Why is this our problem? Seems to me like mucking around in someone else's back yard -- especially an organization like the guild -- is just a good way to make a few enemies where we don't want to." He nods over to Jofram, "They offer us that job, and I say we take it. Heck, if the Watch offers us that job, I say we take it and approach the guild on the sly letting them know of our intentions. But no way I'm doing it pro bono… not sure there's enough charity in my body for that."
He looks over at Kilcrist, "You know if the guild is looking for some outside consulting on this one? Or would they just see that as poaching?"
Jayse is kind of hoping to gauge how much Kilcrist actually knows about the guild, without seeming to do so. If you want a roll for that…
Bluff (to do it subtly) 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (15) + 13 = 28.
Sense Motive (to pick up anything unspoken or shifty) 1d20 + 15 ⇒ (8) + 15 = 23.
Jayse - I'm giving you a circumstantial bonus based on what you know about Kilcrist...
Kilcrist comes across as a hayseed who knows things based more on solid rumor than any practical experience. With just the odd clueless look, subtle gesture, and hushed reverence at the mention of the Guild, he has you all but convinced that while his information is solid, he has no personal knowledge of the criminal organization. It is a masterful performance... if you didn't have some suspicions about his skill-set.
"I steer clear of those folks as much as a body can. But I hear that they settle their own affairs mostly. A person wanting to join up might try to impress'em by bringing in someone they was after... but I don't imagine they hire out too often. Folks might take them as being weak if they can't handle their own business. Things in Orfallen ain't always about getting the best man for a job, it's about keeping a reputation or a relationship."
Bluff v DC23 - redacted
Sense Motive v DC28! - redacted
Me likey da situations boni!
Jayse nods, adding a subtle emphasis to his words, "I can respect your perspective. It always seems big organizations like that wanna handle their own problems. Makes the little guys appreciate friends where they can get 'em."
Secret Message (DC 15) 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (3) + 12 = 15.
Wow... guess that subtle message aint so subtle. WAy to make an impression, there, Jayse!
Kil nods subtly, acknowledging the message. "Anyhow, that's about all that's been going on here. I know Bit vanishes at times, and I knew you was with him, so I made sure your rooms and your boat were paid up." He waves off any mention of payment, "It's on Bit's tab. You can chat with him about repayment." He looks to Ushari. "By the by, I think you got a cricket in your room. I've heard it cheepin' from time to time o'er the last couple of days."
Ushari stares at Kilcrist, a confused look on her face. Chirping? What could he mean by that? I don't have anything that chi--SKITTER! Oh son of a...
"Excuse me, everyone," Ushari stammers with an anxious look on her face, "I need to check up on someone! I'll be back in a little bit!" She exclaims as she heads to her room.
I hope Skitter doesn't take it personally, he can be sooo...sensitive about being left behind!
I thought you had Skitter with you... but we can play it through either way.
Ushari races upstairs and into her room. There is no sound of crickets. She is greeted, once she has closed the door, with Skitter who clings like a vengeful crab above the doorframe - guarding the room. He hits her with a shrill set of squeaks.
:: Leaving for a week? No warning? That wasn't so bad... but that Witch's box started chirping at me. I don't like it. ::
Timing is Everything 1d100 ⇒ 34
Jayse grins as Ushari heads inside, "Paid or no, it was nice of you, Kilcrist." He stands looking at Kilcrist's work for a few heartbeats before looking around at Orin and Jofram definitively. "Welp. Fun as shoeing horses looks, I have some cleaning up to do." He gives the stable-hand a nod before heading inside, asking for some hot water to be brought up in about half an hour.
Jayse regards his door without opening it immediately. He spends a full minute seemingly just staring at it. A week away. Us being new to town. Having a disguised thief as one of our few friends? And a big heist going down by an unknown thief crew? Too much for my comfort… Bone-deep suspicion and precaution drive him to scrutinize every detail of the door, reconciling it with how he remembered it looking before they left, particular around the hinges, edges, floor, and knob.
If he finds nothing, he unlocks the door and heads inside, duplicating his thorough search of his entire room -- especially at points of entry -- before stripping down and waiting for his bath.
Not sure that I expect anything, but Jayse is a cautious, thorough guy.
Perception (taking 20) 20 + 16 = 36.
Other than changing and making sure everything is in order, I don't have anything particular for Jayse to do…
Ooof sorry about that. I just assumed it was Skitter behind all the racket, he he.
Ushari chitters back to him, ::Trust me, it was an unplanned trip. Anyway, when did Isolde's box start to chirp at you?::
Not bothering to wait for a reply she moves to her pack, carefully unwraps the box and opens it.
"Isolde? It's me, Ushari. Is something wrong?"
Jayse you can only Take 20 when there is no price for failure and no imminent threat... GHOST PIRATE NINJAS spring from the walls!
Jayse sees signs that his room was cleaned and his gear (what little there is) is stacked a bit more neatly, but other than that the room appears as it should. His steaming bath water arrives in due time.
As the others head up to their rooms, Jofram sends Vaelos into the air to stretch his wings, and slips into the inn's common room. picking an inconspicuous table with a view of the room, the half-elf appears to dwell in his mug of ale, while actually gathering a sense of the inn's patrons.
Paranoia time. Just checking to see if we've attracted any unusual attention, from the watch, or anyone else.
Perception: 1d20 + 16 ⇒ (1) + 16 = 17 (+2 vs human/undead)
Bluff?: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (4) + 7 = 11 (+2 vs human/undead)
... grumble grumble damn ghost pirate ninjas grumble grumble ...
Jayse -- neatly steamed and pressed -- wanders back into the tavern's main room, grabbing a seat next to Jofram.
Just simplifying things. I don't really have much I want to do, and if nothing presents itself from Ushari's convo with Isolde (which I'm thinking it will), this is as good a place as any to plan our next move.
The gnome takes the proffered chair and thinks deeply on this important subject, pondering what minor villainy they could get into. "It seems Ushari wants to see the crime scene. I say we bust into that Museum... because I'm sure they haven't tripled their guards. And they couldn't mistake our earnest attempt at information gathering with another robbery." He jokes.
He amends, "As I recall, the ladies at the Strumpet wanted to show us their ample uh... appreciation... from that debacle with the Were-rats. We could certainly head that way. Perhaps I can see my old friend 'Bent-Nose' again."
I don't really have much I want to do, and if nothing presents itself from Ushari's convo with Isolde (which I'm thinking it will), this is as good a place as any to plan our next move.
Your instincts serve you well, Luke, but remember they can be made to work for the Emperor. (Yeah, beyotches, I AM the Emperor) :)
Just to refresh your memories on the balls you were juggling:
1. Naladoria was planning to give you a trial run at a Shaudran ruin before you go to recover her artifact. LINK
2. You were debating a treasure hunting expedition in search of Amratt's Pearls (Invisible Ink Treasure). LINK and LINK
3. Play with Kilcrist - midnight run
4. Find Bent-Nose - This was an idle idea that I think you guys have decided against.
5. (Ja & Jo) Tie-breaking rematch to settle the Bag-Multiple-Babes game from Shiv?
Hey, I was fully prepared for that little revelation not to be a plot-push, I just thought that it might indeed be one. :)
Jayse chuckles, "I'll take the fun at the Strumpet… Bent-nose or no before I choose to go waltzing into some other schmuck's problem. Those ladies did seem awful sad to see us go…"
So, why does the stable girl dress like a boy? Is she on the run from someone?
Jayse suppresses a wince as he looks around to make sure no one overheard the white-haired man's question, continuing in a voice pitched not to travel beyond the small group. "Might wanna be a bit more circumspect, man. She's taking pains to look the part she plays here. Unless you want to needlessly piss off one of the potentially-better-connected local contacts we have, let her keep her secret." He takes a drink from his glass as he collects his thoughts, then continues in the same quiet tone, "I don't know much about her, but for a few things." He begins ticking points off on his fingers, "She's really good at seeming what she's not. She's likes her gig here with the animals, a job she got with the help of our mutual gnomish acquaintance. They have a very unique relationship, it seems… hovering somewhere between friendly and business. She knows A LOT about this city, its movers-and-shakers, and its on-goings. And she's not above using the thieve's highway… the city's rooftops." He looks down, realizing he's run out of fingers, then adds one more. "And she claims not to be a part of the local chapter of light-fingered professionals union." He shrugs. "For the time being, I'm inclined to believe him, until he proves that he can't be extended that trust."
He grins at Orin before dropping his hand and taking another swig, "Of course, we've only spent a handful of days here in Orfallen, so I could be way off. Say, where's Ushari?"
And if this call from Isolde isn't something we need to move on, my thoughts have been (and continue to be)…
1) Shaudran run when we hear from our benefactress.
2) PIIIIIIIIIRATE TREASURE! YAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRR!
3) Everything else… nothing has really jumped out as all that motivating for Jayse, and pirate-treasure hunting should give us all kinds of fun if we're sand-boxing it.
Sorry, was trying to post quickly from my phone, but I intended that to be more of a whisper to the group. I didn't mean for Orin to loudly ask everyone in the bar, hehe.
Well, it only took a few seconds of traveling with you to get attacked by Rumblestone. I suspect you lot can witness a fair amount of excitement in a handful of days. As for Ushari, she went off to her room--something about a chirping noise emanating from there...
Hey guys, I'm working from a coffee shop. We're having an Open House right now so we had to bail casa de SR... so I can't do the full update now. Let me just say that I assumed Orin was being circumspect about his comments regarding Kil. I figured the comment didn't carry beyond the table. So no worries.
"Isolde? It's me, Ushari. Is something wrong?"
Out of the box drops an acorn. You are quite sure it wasn't in there before. After a moment, Isolde answers. Her voice sounds oddly tinny coming from the small box. Her tone is unsettling. For a woman that was unconcerned about Reavers or hoards of Goblins, she sounds genuinely concerned in her odd, clipped way.
:: What has happened? The Higher Planes, the Gods have gone silent. I ask of this Naladoria and get no answer... none. This is... unprecedented. Did you get the acorn? If you are in great need - plant that acorn under an open sky. ::