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The Secrets of the Sunderlands

Game Master GM Netherfire

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Dungeon Master

It is the night of Year’s Turning, and the festivities are in full swing here in Kiffport. The streets are bustling with humans and halflings, with the occasional dwarf, half-elf, and half-orc mixing into the crowds as people dance, drink, and shout. On the road nearest to the coast, one side keeps three inns, with a cathouse and warehouses beyond that. On the other side of the road, one can hear the rocking of anchored ships at the docks and shipyards. Two of the inns are cramped with raucous patrons, but the third and furthest inn, though it appears open for business and cheerfully lit, no one seems to be inside. An external lantern spills amber light over a man wrapped in a dark cloak leaning near the door, his arms moving to keep warm against the cold. A smoldering pipe basket protrudes from his hood, with intermittent puffs clouding in front of him. He appears to be waiting as a very inebriated celebrator shuffles toward the door of the third inn. The cloaked figure holds his pipe as he addresses the drunk, who lazily stumbles in another direction. The regularity of the smoke puffs resume, and the smoker shifts his weight restlessly, his hood pointed to the docks and the shore.

As far as you can tell, these three inns are the closest to the docks.

SO. What do you do.

Male Dwarf Cleric of Irori 5

Glancing about himself, Bolgrith casts a kind gaze on the revelers. Though he doesn't join in the festivities, he is glad to see such merriment in uncertain times. Keeping a steady pace, he makes his way down to the docks keeping an eye open for local inns. Seeing the three side by side, his eyes naturally move towards the quiet unoccupied roadhouse. He approaches the man standing by it's doors.

"Excuse me sir, I'm looking for a man by the name of K-" The dwarf glances down at a sheet he's been clutching. "Karajhin? I'm supposed to meet him in this area."

Dungeon Master

The cloaked man nods, removing his pipe to speak. You cannot see his face from the cowl that shadows it, but the voice seems friendly.
"I am his associate, Simon Wyldote. Please, have a seat inside. I must wait for the others. If you are hungry or thirsty, inform the barkeep."

He steps aside and pushes the door open.

Male Dwarf Cleric of Irori 5

"Thank you sir, I believe I am." The priest sketches a slight bow and moves past Wyldote into the interior of the common room. Setting his travel pack on the ground near him he lowers himself onto one of the many empty benches. Speaking to the barkeep, "I've come quite a way, and have not eaten since dawn, may I perchance ask what you have available?"

Dungeon Master

The interior of the inn is much as it seemed from the outside: empty. The wood walls and furniture radiate a warm glow from the yellow lamps inside. The smells of baked bread, cooked beef, and spices fill your nose. The innkeeper was organizing wood mugs when you enter. He nods to your request, and offers you a large bowl thick beef stew, a fresh loaf of bread, and ale, wine, or cider: your choice. He informs you the expenses were prepaid by the gentleman outside.

Male Human Ranger

Balion hastily disembarks from a small boat piloted by a hunched-over old man. As he is leaving he places a handful of coppers into the palsied hand of the old sailor.
"Finally" under his breath.
Taking a quick look around he examines each inn to determine which is closest to the port. He marks out his steps from the port to the nearest inn and back to firmly establish which is closest. Having made up his mind he approaches the man wrapped in a cloak. Pausing in front of the hooded man for what many would consider an awkward amount of time he decides to to speak in a slow exaggerated manner. "Ka-ra-jhin"

Male Dwarf Cleric of Irori 5

Hearing voices outside Bolgrith turns to face the door. He thanks the innkeeper and requests ale and water with his meal.

Dungeon Master

A small chuckle escapes the hooded man's shadow of a face, but he says nothing. With an affirming nod, he opens the door behind him with a slight bow.

"I will join you in a moment. Make yourself comfortable."

Male Human Ranger

"Thank you" he replies in a small voice
Self-consciously Balion runs his hand along the brim of his hat and waits a moment before entering the door at a slightly skewed angle in order to keep the doorman in his periphery. Seeing a dwarf at a bench he sits at the opposite side of the inn with his back to the wall. Avoiding eye contact with the bartender in hopes of staving off an unwanted bill.

Male Dwarf Cleric of Irori 5

Bolgrith watches a man enter through the front door. He attempts to make eye contact but the fellow seems to be staring at the ground. The cleric glances around the room for the first time, taking stock of his surroundings. He checks to see if there are any other entrances to the room.

Perception 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (5) + 4 = 9

Dungeon Master

The cloaked man closes the door once Balion enters. The innkeeper sets down the dwarf's beverages, and looks expectantly to the human for a moment. But he does not wait long when it is clear the human is avoiding his eye. The innkeeper returns to the bar where he finishes organizing the mugs. Once finished, he disappears through a door in the left corner, behind the bar. The sounds of quick chopping and soft bubbling escape before the door swings closed.
You also notice another door in the middle of the right wall, and from the angle you sit, you can see lamplight cast over an upward staircase, presumably, to the rooms of the inn.

Male Human Ranger

After growing unreasonably impatient, unaccustomed to interaction with people, Balion begins unpacking his bag at his table. Unaware of the potential for being rude he pulls out a candle and lights it on the table. Starring at the lit candle, he begins to hum softly to himself. He stares after the bar keep, intent on discovering his motives.

Sense Motive 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (16) + 1 = 17

Dungeon Master

The innkeeper seems intent on the upkeep of his inn. He also seems to be in fairly good mood, though it is unclear why.

Male Dwarf Cleric of Irori 5

Bolgrith thanks the innkeeper and takes a sip of his water. Casting one last glance at the strange human sitting across the room, the priest settles in to wait. He rummages through his pack on the floor, eventually producing a worn and tattered old tome. The dwarf sets the book on the table before him and slowly, almost reverently, begins to read.

Dungeon Master

Well, aren't YOU TWO a wild pair.

Male Human Sorcerer 5

Stumbling with the weight of his pack, Aladdin glanced around at the festivities. Oh my..... What a welcoming sight. I bet THAT lithe creature and I would have loads of fun. But alas, business first. He cinched up the straps and walked over to what looked like the only available in. "Excuse me, friend!" Aladdin said as stepped beside the cloaked stranger to enter the inn. "Is the innkeeper in? I need to ask him a question."

Dungeon Master

The cloaked man turns to the traveler.
"Ah, indeed he is. But I am sorry, this inn is reserved. Unless you brought a summons with you?"

His tone is amiable, but he shifts his weight to stand in front of the door and crosses his arms.

Male Human Ranger

Having determined the nature of the innkeeper, Balion is no longer unsettled by the barkeep.
However after a while he becomes aware of the complete lack of customers on an otherwise busy street. Perhaps this is a job of an more sensitive nature than I originally believed. Growing once again more uncomfortable by the clandestine nature of his future employer, he stares at the burning wick of the candle.

Male Human Sorcerer 5

"My apologies, no need for that. It was written that I was to mention the summons to the innkeeper. Here, this is it." The summons appeared in Aladdin's hand.

Male Hobgoblin (Shielded) Fighter 4

Close behind, Rolg hears the interaction between Aladdin and the cloaked stranger.

The burly Hobgoblin loosens his swords in its scabbard and approaches once the fancy man as entered the inn.

Rolg strolls confidently up to the man, speaks the name, "Karajhin" and waits to be admitted.

"Very good," the cloaked man steps aside and opens the door graciously. He quickly closes it again and moves in front of it as the hobgoblin approaches. When the name is spoken, his shoulders visibly relax and he moves to the side once more. He gestures an invitation inside.

As the hobgoblin enters, the cloaked man says, "That seems to be everyone. Just as well, I am parched."

Following the hobgoblin inside, and noting that only the dwarf is eating, raises his voice across the room. "Innkeeper! Three more bowls of stew for these men."

In better lighting, you can see the man is of average build, and a clean-shaven, boyish face resides under the cowl. Pulling the hood back reveals long, light hair tied back, and silk beneath the cloak collars his pale neck. He offers a winning smile to the group.

"The innkeeper tells me he has ale, cider, or wine. Your meal and drink are on my coin, so please, make yourself comfortable. The wine is half decent, for being so close to seawater."

Dungeon Master

The innkeeper bustles out of the door almost immediately, balancing three large wood bowls and three loaves of bread. He sets them on the table in front of the two humans, and the hobgoblin. Reaching into an apron pocket, he clatters a few eating utensils onto the middle of the table. After this, he straightens, and looks to the young man.

"Your wine as usual, sir?"

At the young man's nod, he strides behind the bar and begins to pour from a bottle. He brings the wine to the man, who stands near the table where the rest are seated.

The innkeeper returns to the bar, listening for orders.

Male Human Sorcerer 5

"Splendid! This smells fantastic innkeep!" Aladdin sets his pack down next to him and plops down on an empty seat and digs in. "Either I'm extremely famished, or this is delicious! Well done." he says between slurps of stew.

Male Dwarf Cleric of Irori 5

Bolgrith watches as the men walk in, smiling and nodding when eye contact is made, but otherwise remaining silent. When the hobgoblin enters he stiffens, but it's only moments before he relaxes again. The priest takes note as the cloaked man Wyedote enters behind the hob. He's interested in why they've all been summoned here, but long days of training and longer nights of meditation have made Bolgrith a patient fellow. He carefully closes his book and places it in his bag, but otherwise does nothing other than finish his meal.

The fresh baked bread releases a moist steam when broken, the smell of which brings to mind warm days in friendly climes. It goes well with the hearty sailors stew, a savory mixture of potatoes, carrots, leeks, and roast beef. Bolgrith spoons each bite at a slow and steady tempo. It's obvious by the expression on his face that he is enjoying the food greatly. Between bites, the dwarf qwaffs generous swallows of the thick heavy-headed ale. Finishing the stew, he takes his last bit of loaf and runs it first through the wooden bowl to sop up any remaining nourishment, and then the holy-man drops it in his ale and drinks the concoction down.

Wiping his mouth and beard, Bolgrith carefully arranges his empty dishware in such away as to make it easier for the barkeeper to retrieve them. He then returns to taking small sips from his tankard of water, watching to see what Wyldote does next.

"Well then, I will explain myself. I am Simon Wyldote, youngest son of Jeremiah Wyldote, and I am here on behalf of Master Karajhin," he pauses out of habit, expecting a response that did not come.
He continues quickly, "I crossed the Far Sea to bring you to The Sunderlands. Master Karajhin said something about 'lifting the veil', and that he required your aid specifically. And so he sent me far west to Hamonreld –a land, I confess, I began to doubt its existence until I saw the mountains creep up the horizon a few days ago.
“But I digress. You were each promised pay, and pay you shall have. I am permitted to offer a small portion in advance, as thanks for answering the summons. It may be the case that the journey to Kiffport was costly, or your financial situation found you unable to acquire proper equipment for the journey. Now, as to the journey itself, we will be taking the same ship that borne me to your side of the world, The Wanderlust. I tasked Captain Ummer Rettley with keeping enough provisions for the return trip. We will embark the morning after tomorrow. For accommodations, I have rented this entire inn for this night and the next. Before I forget...”

Simon produces from his cloak four large coin purses and lets them drop onto the table with a weighty jingle.
“I am sorry for the strangeness of the mint, but the money-changers here were unwilling to exchange such a large amount; they did not trust it. I have found that most merchants and store owners will accept two of these bits as one of your round coins, though some might be hesitant to allow large purchases with such a foreign currency.”
Opening the purses, you find miniature, rectangular gold bars. They are about the size of the outermost thumb phalange, but very flat. Picking them out, they seem to have small runes engraved on opposite surfaces of the elongated sides. Two of them seem to weigh the same as the round gold coins you are used to trading with. Each bag seems to weigh enough to hold 180-220 bits. An Appraise check will narrow it down, or you can count it out later. See discussion board.

Each gold bit is rarely identically marked. One side either reads: Anvilhart, Fivestone, or Stormcall. On the other side is a series of numbers, probably the year mint. By comparing mint years, some of these are may be over five hundred years old.

"Now, my employer informed me of your race and relative skill, but did not give your names. Master Dwarf, you were the first to arrive, would you care to introduce yourself first?"

Male Human Ranger

Balion looks up from the burning candle, a blank expression on his face. He looks into the eye of the barkeep as he places his stew in front of him and nods slowly. After watching the Dwarf complete his meal he reaches for a spoon and methodically begins to eat. He takes half-spoon fulls at almost timed intervals in a feigned attempt to be polite. After putting away his candle he places the bowl at the edge of the contact and glances at everyone in the room eventually settling on the hobgoblin. Growing increasingly concerned he stealthily places his hand on his mace hanging from his belt beneath the table. Slight of hand 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (3) + 1 = 4 He then attentively listens to the proposal. As Simon finishes speaking Balion quickly grabs his bag of gold from the table and places it under his cloak with his off hand, keeping his fingers wrapped around his mace.

Male Dwarf Cleric of Irori 5

Bolgrith looks up from the currency he was examining. "What? Oh yes! My name is Bolgrith, Low Priest of Irori." He squints down at the strange custom in his hand. "And it would appear our employer is not only exceptionally wealthy, but of a distinguished linage hmmm? Yes?" He locks eyes with the young man, taking another sip of water and hefting the bag before him to test the weight.

Appraise 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (1) + 3 = 4

Heh, derp.

Dungeon Master

I won't require a Perception to see anything in the room, unless it is to oppose sneaky actions. Also, use of the Sleight of Hand skill requires at least one rank in it (it's a "trained only" skill). Balion has a point, though: please include a visual description with your introduction.

Male Dwarf Cleric of Irori 5

Ooops, that was my bad I thought it was untrained. Should have checked before I told him. Sorry.

The dwarf sitting at the table does not differ much from other dwarves. He is short, squat, and has more than a full beard, though a minor oddity is that his head appears to have been completely shaved. His clothes are well worn, but also well tended to, the tears they exhibit have all been skill-fully darned. The once blue robes have long since faded to a dull gray, and are currently covered by a suit of scaled mail armor. On his belt the cleric wears a rune-covered war ax, and on his back rests a stout wooden shield. A holy symbol of Irori, the pale blue hand held open, has been fixed to the front of the shield. The dark brown eyes that look back at you show signs of age and long-suffering. They are kind, but there is a level of weariness that rests behind their surface.

Simon grins. His teeth are markedly clean. "Wealthy he is, Bolgrith. Unfortunately, he is very private about his personal life, and truth be told, I began working under his coin not long ago. I simply do not know what lineage he belongs to."

Male Human Sorcerer 5

Aladdin looks around and grins at the introductions and waits for his turn.

Male Dwarf Cleric of Irori 5

"No matter, this should prove to be an interesting venture. I have decided I shall accompany you back to this, Sunderland you say?" The dwarf places the coin bag with his things and looks back to Wyldote. It is clear he is finished with his introduction.

Simon gives a silent nod in thanks to the dwarf and then shifts his gaze to Balion. "Sir Candle, you are the human mage, I expect? Surely with such power at your fingertips, mundane fire must be child's play for you."
With the admiring tone and a nervous chuckle, Simon shows his true age for just a moment, before he resumes a more serious face and watches the quiet human for a reply.

I'm not going to do this for every one of you. No turns, just introduce yourselves.

Male Human Ranger

Stiffening to a practiced professional posture Balion searches for a way to introduce himself smoothly. Coming up short, he quickly gives his name and occupation. "Balion Greyhands, Ranger and guide." Having finished his lengthy introduction Balion relaxes his grip on his mace underneath the table and waits for his host to resume speaking.
Balion is a barrel chested thirty-something year old human male. Despite his farmhand physique Balion possesses otherwise lean features. Under his wide brim hat his short cropped beard hides a collection of scars gained through petty tavern fights and close encounters. His rather large hands show the signs of a hard life bearing calluses and scars alike. Aside from a completely dull expression Balion's eyes reveal an otherwise masked intelligence. A dark weather-worn cloak obscures most of Balion's clothing from vision. However, a collared shirt is visible above the cloak. His dark leather riding boots rest firmly on the floor, nervously tapping.

Simon reddens a bit at his false assumption. "Oh, uh, pleasant acquaintance, woodsman."
Balion's terse introduction seems to have caught the young man off guard. Simon casts an anxious glance to the others.

Male Hobgoblin (Shielded) Fighter 4

Rolg toushes neither stew or drink and only eyes the stranger and the gold dubiously.

Only a great fool would reach for what he is given. I am not a great fool.

Perception 1d20 + 0 ⇒ (15) + 0 = 15

Rolg's eyes flash to Balion's hand as it slide to his mace.

"Don't. I'm faster than you in my sleep, and hobgoblins are dangerous boy."

A sarcastic chuckle rumbles from his bearded chin. Rolg wears a stained and patched brigandine that is in superb order despite its obvious frequent wear. Under that, a half-sleeved, deep red tunic of rough spun wool scratches at his hairy, well-muscled arms. His trousers of of supple black suede and a worn pair of deerskin boots climb up to his knee.

Rolg's eyes narrow at the stranger.

"What is it we're being paid to do, exactly? I do not take a man's coin without first earning it. I mean to know how you plan for me to earn this money before I touch any of it. I will be slave to no man."

His gaze is stern, but not hostile. Here is a creature shrewd in business: a hard earned lesson.

Male Human Sorcerer 5

Aladdin raises an eyebrow at Simon. The young man chuckles, smiling wide showing his white teeth. "Aladdin at your service." He gets up graceful and gives a slight bow to those seated at the table. Aladdin is wearing a cloak over some travel clothes, nothing fancy, but pleasing to the eye. He is fit but slender, with a perfect complexion. "I wonder if we can find someone to convert my current gold to these 'bits'. Could you perhaps take care of that Simon?" Aladdin asked as he picked up a sack and peered inside.

Male Human Ranger

Ignoring the interaction between Aladdin and Simon, Balion shows no reaction. Having grown accustomed to being threatened by strangers. His gaze hardens as he looks in the face of the hobgoblin. He then glances at the dwarf for reassurance, counting on the great hatred dwarves harbor towards orcs and goblin humandoids, having grown up around a great many dwarves.

Male Dwarf Cleric of Irori 5

The Priest meets Balions eye but makes no move. After a second of contemplation he only offers this to the group before him. "Lets not be hasty gentle beings, as the book says; 'A journey of many miles can only begin when two are at peace with themselves, and others.'"

With this the dwarf turns to the hobgoblin, "If it pleases you, let us not crave violence at this juncture. The poor boy is obviously nervous, I would have been too at that age. Besides, to fight with an ally you've only just met... well the idea boggles the mind. Some might say such a thing is...

... inconceivable."

Bolgrith again faces their host, "Please Simon, I believe the gentle-hob asked you a question."

"Thank you Bolgrith," Simon gives a slight bow to the dwarf, "But I doubt this hobgoblin would even be here if he were 'gentle'."

Simon shakes his head at Rolg's question. "Just so, you will not be enslaved in any way. The payment is compensation for travel expenses, to this port and onward across the sea. The first of our objectives will be to reach Hagglesport, a place very similar to this city, except bigger and dirtier. The journey will be long and dangerous, and once landed, Karajhin needs us to reclaim something, an artifact of some kind. He never tells me his plans, so I must complete the tasks he pays me for, and await the next."
Then he address the group, sensing some tension among them. "I am ignorant to the histories of these lands. I am unaware if old grudges have been stirred, but I ask that you find a way to work around it. That, or find yourself lacking employment."

Simon's last sentence is clipped with irritation. He gulps down the last of his drink. "Innkeep, more wine."

"Thank you, Bolgrith," Simon gives a respectful nod, "But I doubt this hobgoblin would even be here if he were a gentle creature."

He shakes his head at Rolg’s question. "Just so, you shall not be enslaved in any way. The payment is compensation for travel expenses, to this port, and onward across the sea. The first of our objectives is to reach Hagglesport, a city much like this one, except bigger and dirtier. Or perhaps Wheaton, depending on how the weather fares. The journey will be long and dangerous. Once landed, we must set to recovering something, an artifact of some kind. Karajhin does not tell me all of his plans, you see. So I must complete the tasks he pays me to do, and await the next."

He pauses, sensing the tension in the room. "I am a stranger to the histories of these lands. If old grudges have been stirred, I ask you find a way around them, or find another employer."

His last sentence is clipped with irritation. He gulps the last of his drink. "Innkeeper, more wine."

The man hastily fills another glass and exchanges the empty one in Simon's hand.

Male Dwarf Cleric of Irori 5

Bolgrith looks from man to hob and back again. "I have no quarrel with this one." He hesitates before continuing. "For my part I can assure you that my past will not be an issue." Having spoken he pauses, and then smiles at their young host. Visibly the priest relaxes and all tension in his body melts away into the recesses of the room. A calm composure surfaces and the polite neutrality reasserts itself in the dwarfs visage.

Male Human Sorcerer 5

"I find gold can be a very convincing reason to work together, eh?" Aladdin winked to the others around the table. Diplomacy 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (9) + 5 = 14

Male Hobgoblin (Shielded) Fighter 4

"You won't find me starting trouble, just finishing it."

Rolg takes a leisurely pull from his own wineskin, unabashed by the rebukes.

Simon tries to appear relieved. He smiles easily, but his gestures are stiff. "For that, you have my thanks hobgoblin. Shall I hang on to your coin until you desire it, Mister...?"

Male Hobgoblin (Shielded) Fighter 4

"Rolg. And no, I'll take that."

The hobgoblin lightly takes the bag and spills it's contents on the table; he begins to count.

How much is it?

Male Human Ranger

A look of puzzlement crosses Balions face as he realizes the dwarf may be telling the truth. He contemplates the situation carefully. What type of dwarf has no quarrel goblin-kind? Believing there will be no further conflicts tonight the human relaxes once again and attempts to put a passive look on his face. Looking at their host he pauses before briefly speaking, "I would not have taken the gold if I did not plan on accompanying you Master Wyldote."
What do I use to resist Aladdin's charm?

Male Hobgoblin (Shielded) Fighter 4

It's just a DC. It is commonly thought that Diplomacy has no effect from one PC to another, though the GM may rule otherwise. But to fully answer your question, Diplomacy must be a higher roll than the listener's Wisdom Modifier + Hit Dice + 10.

Male Human Sorcerer 5

I'm just trying to be a likable charmer dammit! This is all I have, don't take it away! I STACKED CHA, LOVE ME.

Male Hobgoblin (Shielded) Fighter 4

Things like Diplomacy take away a player's free will to play their character and is usually deemed by that player as "unfun". "Unfun" is badwrongfun so it's generally not allowed. Sorry. You'll be great at talking to NPCs though!

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