This is where the gameplay of this campaign will be.
You sit in one of the great reading rooms of Candlekeep at a large table covered in dusty old tomes and scraps of moth eaten paper. The room is warm and dry, despite the wind and rain howling past the window, which overlooks the craggy coastline of ancient volcanic rock and the presently storming Sea of Swords. As you sit you reflect on the wonders of the keep’s magical heating system, which keeps it a comfortable temperature without the need for a fire. Enchantments on the keep magically extinguish all flame within the great library, except for candles, which when lit burn heatlessly and cannot spread to anything. The imagery of the candle is in the seal of Candlekeep - a tower topped by a lit candle. Many of the books surrounding you are stamped with this seal.
It is late fall in the year 1375 DR, in an era scholars will eventually refer to as the “Time of Troubles” - a time of great upheavals when the gods were forced to walk the earth. Outside the fortified walls of Candlekeep the world has gone mad - cults to dark new gods have arisen - reliable deities of old have been slain leaving their clerics without power.
Candlekeep is one of the few beacons of light and reason still left in the world. At times, being a Seeker for the scholar-monks of Candlekeep can be boring - times like now. Although the work of finding and preserving knowledge is noble in an era when many would as soon burn a book as read it, your present task is undoubtedly drudge work.
You’ve spent the last three weeks poring through 400 year old shipping ledgers and old documents about trade routes. You were assigned the task because the particular ledgers you have been searching through are in elven. The trunk of documents were uncovered by more senior Seekers, who are now back out in the field hunting down new texts - you were left with the task of searching through and cataloging the documents. Although it’s not an ideal assignment you’ve taken to it diligently.
Another junior Seeker was also assigned to the task, a flighty young human woman with silvery hair named Yuki. Although she speaks the elven language nearly as well as you, she’s been a little unfocused and restless in the task. You’ve heard rumors that she was recently nearly gored to death by a wild boar on a routine plant gathering assignment for one of the alchemy scholars. You privately suspect that Ulruant, the Keeper of the Tomes and ruler of Candlekeep, may have assigned for her to work with you on this as a way to keep her out of trouble.
Still she’s been mostly helpful, in sorting and cataloging the documents, if not as diligent as you in reading them. However, your hard work has paid off and you had a breakthrough a week ago. The documents belong to a now long-dead harbormaster of Waterdeep, who while not an elf himself, kept meticulous logs and cargo manifests in elvish. You found records of the sinking the Nightingale, a ship that called Waterdeep home. Although the sinking of the ship was not itself unusual in the 20 plus years of records you are sorting, the cargo manifest was unusual - as it mentioned that the ship was transporting the skull of a long dead ancient dragon. A few Candlekeep scholars prize ancient skulls - as a few are skilled enough mages to cast spells allowing them to speak with the dead spirit the skull belongs to. You realized the skull of an ancient dragon would be an invaluable artifact as the dragon’s ghost will undoubtedly know secrets long lost to the world.
By searching through other shipping logs and exhaustively comparing them to maps gathered from Candlekeep of shipping routes at the time you are able to learn that the ship sank in the Moonshae Isles. You finally pinpoint it’s exact location by triangulating differing reports of ships that sighted the Nightingale in the days before the storm that sank it.
Today, you have finally found confirmation of the location in the harbor master’s exhaustive logs - notes from the navigater of a ship that helped rescue the Nightingale’s crew. You look at your map of the Moonshae Isles and casually draw an “X” of the location of the Nightingale.
You lean back and sigh heavily thoughts of telling Ulruant about your find, and of leading an expedition to track down the Nightingale in your head.
You’ve been frustrated and bored for three solid weeks. Your latest assignment, to catalogue some boring 400 year old shipping logs has made you seriously consider leaving Candlekeep. The Avowed, the name the monks here give themselves, have been nice enough, but since the incident with the boar attack you’ve been given a series of assignments you suspect are mostly meant to keep you out of trouble.
Your instincts keep telling you to be outside in nature, not couped up in a stuffy library. The other Seeker assigned to this task has taken to it with a lot more gusto than you have. He’s an elf names Stanizlaus, and is so dark skinned it would be easy to mistake him for a drow. He’s not talked about himself much, but you suspect from the dangerously graceful way he moves that he, like you, might be a hunter by nature.
You’ve noticed him becoming increasingly obsessive over the last week, checking and rechecking ledgers that seem mundane to you. He doesn’t speak of what’s caught his attention and you don’t ask. Whatever it is it all happened hundreds of years ago and you’re not interested in it.
You watch as he continues to read enthusiastically comparing the book to a map. You stand to go look out the window and knock over a book, disloding a piece of paper tucked into the pages. As it tumbles out it catches your attention because the writing on it is in Sylvan.
You pick it up and read it. It describes an ancient druids grove in the Starspire Mountains. As you read it you become excited as you read about a spring that flows up in the center of the grove - which the text describes as the “Waters of Life” - a water capable of healing any injury or sickness - even for someone near death.
You stand excitedly as you look at the paper and its description of how to find the grove. You begin to think about convincing Ulruant, the Keeper of the Tomes and ruler of Candlekeep, to let you go in search of the grove.
Fascinated by her findings, Yuki Midori imagines what thrills could await her just on the other side of these walls. She traced her finger up her arm, brushing away a coat of dust that had settled on her skin. "I need a change of pace," she thought. Though her injuries have mostly cleared up, humiliation left a much larger scar. "If I present my findings to Ulruant, I doubt he will let me go out, after that boar incident... I will see this through on my own, to show that I am capable." She attempts to slip the note into her clothing. Sleight of Hand: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (4) + 8 = 12
Yuki looks up at Stanizlaus for a moment, noting his departure.
Would sense motive be appropriate in a case like this, to discern if he is simply getting up to look for yet another ancient book or if he may have something of concern to me on his agenda? if so... Sense Motive: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (17) + 1 = 18
Sense motive is appropriate in a situation like this.
Also, I like how you are writing the internals of your character's thoughts. It's good role playing. Good on you for italicizing internal dialogue.
Noticing the woman making a poor attempt to be subtle, Stanizlaus makes careful note of the type of footwear she is wearing (if visible) just in case he is asked to track her down should she run off on some fools errand. Exiting the room, he continues on to find Ulruant to report his findings.
Dice roll just in case:
perception: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (15) + 5 = 20
Stealth, attempting to make sure that she does not know I was aware of her actions: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (11) + 6 = 17
Taking one last look out the window, Yuki takes the tome that fell from the shelf and looks for anyone who might know who last looked through it. Perception? 1d20 ⇒ 12
She also browses through the book for any clues as to why it was placed specifically in this book, and to determine what page the note was in. Separate perception rolls?
Why this book:1d20 ⇒ 10
What page:1d20 ⇒ 6
Stanizlaus is able to take note of her boots, the size, style and materials making it easier to track Yuki, if necessary. This will result in an extra +4 on checks to track Yuki while she is wearing those shoes.
Ulruant's office is near the reading room where Yuki and Stanizlaus have been working in the large central keep of the fortress-library, but is up quite a few stairs. Stanizlaus moves carefully while carrying the books and is not noticed by anyone. By hurrying he is able to arrive at the exterior of Ulruant's office in 1d10 + 10 ⇒ (10) + 10 = 20 minutes.
Sitting at his desk outside the office is Reynolds, the First Reader of Candlekeep and Ulruant's personal assistant. Although he's not had very many interactions with Reynolds in the past, Stanizlaus knows Reynolds has a reputation for being a bit stuffy, but is generally well liked.
Unless Stanizlaus tries to avoid being seen as he approaches Ulruant's office, Reynolds will look up and greet Stanizlaus with a slightly formal Greetings Seeker Jachemirus. How fair you this day?
A quick glance through the book that reveals it to be a shipping manifest, like all the others that Yuki and Stanizlaus have been sorting and filing for weeks, dated during the busy summer months of 897 DR, some 400 years ago. She notices nothing about the ledger to separate it from any other she's seen, and is unsure which page the note fell out of.
Yuki pauses to consider actually sitting down to take the necessary hour of reading time necessary to properly search through the book.
A Profession: Researcher check would be a more thorough way to search the book, but it would take Yuki an hour of searching to do. I don't think we added it to your character sheet, but I made Profession: Researcher a class skill for both Yuki and Stanizlaus, and gave them a free point in it. By my math, Yuki should have a +4 to make a check with that skill. In this situation, a quick look through the book would require a lot of luck to spot anything unusual about it, but a thorough search would require a lower dice check to be successful.
Theo - The spoiler text I've been using is to indicate stuff that only one of the characters knows. If you'd like to address stuff specifically to me, the spoiler text is a good way to do it, although, the other player(s) can read it pretty easily. Out of Character text works too, but really large chunks of that can be distracting if we get into rule discussions and explanations. Matt has been hiding his dice rolls in spoilers, which keeps things clean, but it is by no means necessary. As far as I'm concerned you are welcome to read the text addressed to the characters you are not playing and to the DM. Since there are two separate plot threads here, the only way you get the full story is by reading the other character's text. You, as a player are allowed to know things your character doesn't - as long as you don't base your character's actions on things that she doesn't know (that's called metagaming, and for players (like Ryan) who metagame a lot I may penalize them XP). If you need address me privately about some question you can direct message me or call/text/whatever.
Ah yes, Reynolds replies to Stanizlaus, standing. Although he is a middle aged human he is extremely short, and is very, very bald. You and Seeker Midori have been looking through the Waterdeep cache, yes? The Keeper and I were wondering if anything would come of that.
Reynolds stands and opens the door to Ulruant's office, gesturing for you to follow him in. You've met Ulruant before but have only rarely been into his office. For such a prominent man the space is surprisingly chaotic, and the room is bursting with books. The shelves of the office are so packed with books they look on the verge of collapse and every surface of the room is covered in large teetering piles of books, scrolls and papers. The only thing that marks the office as anything other than that of a typical bookish scholar is the number of wicked and dangerous swords and other exotic weapons mounted on plaques on the walls of the office.
Ulruant himself is a middle aged human, but he couldn't contrast with Reynolds any more. While Reynolds is fastidious, rail thin, short and meticulously groomed, Ulruant is a bear of a man. He's tall and wearing the typical robes of the Avowed of Candlekeep and has a large and very bushy beard. He's a powerfully built man, but has clearly let himself go slightly to seed and he has a beer belly that has steadily grown over the last few years. As you enter he is reading a from a large illustrated account of a settlers repelling an incursion of drow from the Underdark in the Icewind Dale region. He looks up at the sound of the door opening.
Stanizlaus, he booms pleasantly. What's brought you to my office today?
Would someone be able to remove a book of this age from the study to their private quarters at least, or would be it be so fragile that it is for review only?
Yuki's mind wanders and dreams of the possibilities of where the note originated from, and where it could take her.
DM roll 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (10) + 4 = 14
Yuki looks down at the book. Although hundreds of years old it, she knows that it was sealed in a trunk for most of its life and she can remove it from the library without risking damaging it. However, she can see Stanizlaus has already logged the book in an inventory detailing the contents of the collection. She knows someone will eventually realize that the book is missing when the collection is shelved for long term storage in the warren of interconnected library rooms at Candlekeep.
Yuki has spent enough time in Candlekeep to know that the librarians responsible for shelving spend most of their time fetching and reshelving a huge volume of books for the library's scholars and scribes and the shelving of newly acquired books is a sporadic and chaotic process. The books are unlikely to be shelved until they are completely sorted and logged, which will take several weeks at the current rate. Beyond that they could be shelved immediately or boxed up and ignored for a hundred years.
Stanizlaus steps into the office.
Master Ulruant, I have made a discovery that I thought you should be made aware of. A ship called the Nightingale, sailing out of Waterdeep, was carrying the skull of an ancient dragon when it sunk; and I have managed to cross reference various reports to pinpoint the location of the wreck near the Moonshae isles. The shipping manifest is here, as is the map of its location. Upon saying this, he hands Ulruant the book with the map marking the page of the manifest, and without hesitation, he continues speaking. I also bring news of something I find troubling. While working with Yuki I caught her attempting to discreetly pocket a piece of paper that she may have found during her work. I do not have reason to believe she knows I am aware of her actions.
DM Rolls 1d20 - 1 ⇒ (18) - 1 = 17, 1d20 - 1 ⇒ (9) - 1 = 8, 1d20 - 1 ⇒ (19) - 1 = 18
Hmm. says Ulruant thoughtfully in his booming, deep voice. Curious behavior from our troublesome young Seeker. Reynolds would you please bring Yuki to speak with me?
Of course Keeper. said Reynolds with an obsequious bow.
As Reynolds leaves the room, Ulruant says No need to scare the girl Reynolds. We have no idea what exactly she's done yet, or why. Ulruant's eye's begin to flicker downwards towards the texts and map in front of him and he is clearly distracted as he adds Innocent until proven guilty and all that...
Ulruant murmurs, sounding impressed, as he looks over Stanizlaus's documents. This is solid work Stanizlaus. A skull of an ancient beast like that could bring us secrets from ages lost to the memory of even your long-lived people.
Ulruant looks thoughtful for a second.
There is the problem of all the water though.
No applicable knowledge skills apply for Stanizlaus; However, three intelligence checks in previous post influence below:
Stanizlaus has been thinking about how to get to the ship for weeks, and he has two ideas for how to get to the ship:
The castle alchemists make a potion that combines the effects of the spells touch of the sea and water breathing. He's heard that some of the stronger potions can last for as long as 12 hours. However, Stanizlaus is aware that the cost of the potion's components and the time required to make them worth hundreds, perhaps thousands of gold.
He's also aware of a slightly mad gnome artificer working in the keep named Roscoe who has constructed diving suits that have an air hose to the surface. Roscoe has been begging for test subjects to try the system in the field, and even though the suits require a person to operate a bellows at the surface to give them air, it would undoubtedly be cheaper than the potion option. However, Stanizlaus knows Ulruant hasn't exactly been Roscoe's biggest fan.
Stanizlaus knows that either option would require some effort to convince Ulruant.
There are other potentially successful approaches to this situation besides these two options and you are welcome to be creative here - I'm just giving you results of knowledge rolls
I've posted a "how's my DMing?" post on the discussion, if either of you have any initial comments on how the game is going
Yuki comes to the conclusion after a short while that she will take the book to her quarters to look it over after the sun goes down, when she has more free time.
Yuki is not deliberately trying to be be sneaky about it, more nonchalantly leaving with it. In case needed: SoH1d20 + 8 ⇒ (7) + 8 = 15
She plans to look for Stanizlaus, to ask of his findings, after securing the tome in her quarters.
dm roll 1d100 ⇒ 67
DM roll: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (11) + 1 = 12
dm roll 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (11) + 4 = 15
Yuki takes the ledger that the note fell out of with her as she leaves, bouncing pleasantly down the stairs of the keep. She initially starts to take the quickest route back to the tower her room is in, which involves exiting the keep into the small northern courtyard. Unlike the larger eastern and southern courtyards, there are no shops or other buildings in the northern courtyard, and it mostly just serves as a garden during the warmer months of the year. However, as Yuki approaches the northern door of the keep she is reminded of the raging storm outside by the sound of the wind and reconsiders taking the route through the courtyard.
Instead, she decides to take one of the underground passageways that connect most of the buildings in Candlekeep. Yuki discovered the underground passage connecting the tower she lives in while exploring in her first few weeks in the castle. The route is slower from most areas of the keep, so she hasn't been in the habit of taking it on a regular basis. However, with a driving storm outside it seems a much nicer alternative than crossing the courtyard.
As she heads back towards the corridor where the entrance to the passage back to her tower is hidden, she unexpectedly hears a voice she recognizes as Reynolds, Ulruant's fussy assistant, echoing to her from around a corner.
Have you seen Yuki? he asks. After hearing a negative response from a voice Yuki recognizes as one of the cooks, Reynolds says Well if you see her tell her I'm looking for her and that the Keeper wants to see her.
Reynolds hasn't spotted Yuki yet but she hears him walking towards her. She feels a twinge of guilt looking down at the book she's absconded with. The corner she heard Reynolds voice coming from is about ten feet in front of her. About 30 feet behind her the hallway splits and goes in three separate directions (one straight back the way she came, one to curves away to the right towards what she knows is one of the oldest sections of the stacks, and she's not sure where the one to the left goes).
The hallway she's standing in has a variety of large tapestries depicting ancient battles hanging loosely from the wall and a few suits of ornate plate mail standing at attention and holding pikes.
Thinking back to his time in the special forces of Evereska after Ulruant's musing about the water, Stanizlaus remembers an item that was put to use for a special mission.
While I was in the special forces in Evereska, there were a couple of missions we were sent out on that required us to infiltrate an enemy port by means of the sea. While I do not know the specifics of how this item worked. We were given a mask that covered our nose and mouth, but still allowed us to breath normally. Perhaps someone here has the talent to create such a device.
[ooc]Think bottle of air as a wearable mask, if you are not sure what I am thinking of. But I did take a little liberty in how I chose to advance the story. Hope you don't mind, seemed within the realm of what spec ops would do.
A panic fills Yuki Midori's body. Concerned about the book she has borrowed from the study, Yuki hastily runs possible scenarios though her mind. "It is not like I stole it, I will bring it back" she reasons. Surely no one will care." Yuki's heart begins pushing blood at an alarming rate, "But what if I do get punished? I can't bear another embarrassment! I will be locked away for good!"
In a nervous flurry, Yuki looks at the book in her hands, then looks to the nearest tapestry. "Got it," the panicked fox-kin shouts in her mind. With a new-found confidence, Yuki mutters a chant under her breath.
She attempts to hide the book between the wall and the tapestry. She intends to hold it there until she is in the clear. (Assuming book is < 5 lbs.)
Cast: Mage Hand 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (14) + 1 = 15 1d20 + Caster Level?
Stealth 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (8) + 8 = 16 (if needed for any reason)
Sleight of Hand 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (7) + 8 = 15 (to maintain concentration if being watched)
Disguise: Human Persona1d20 + 7 + 10 ⇒ (14) + 7 + 10 = 31 (in case you feel simply being stressed about casting is affecting - see below)
I think it would add to the experience if this could be implemented in my character. Something that gives bonuses to onlookers of the embarrassment to determine she is using disguise? If she discovered her flaw, she could maybe use Sleight of Hand to hide it? I put this into your hands to determine how severe each situation is... Hopefully we can implement?
Ulruant's slow rumbling voice speeds up as his mind races through the details. We'll have to hire a ship of course. It'll be expensive; you'll be at sea for weeks even just to reach the Moonshae Isles. Still, even a chance at an artifact like this is worth it...
Ulruant trails off as his mind leaps to another thought.
Have you thought about who you want for your team then?
This is a big moment for Stanizlaus. He's never been asked to lead a mission before. He knows that Seeker groups are typically limited to small 3-4 member groups, and being offered a leadership position on a team gives him a big chance to prove himself. His mind races through a few of the Seekers who are available right now. He mentally skips over most of the more experienced Seekers who would likely be needed for other missions and all the Seekers who are already out in the field.
Stanizlaus knows the following Seekers might be available for this mission:
Or'aw - a surprisingly bookish half orc fighter with a reputation as a cunning warrior and devoted researcher. He was attracted to Candlekeep in the first place by their tomes of strategy and battle craft, and eventually became a Seeker. The last time Stanizlaus talked to Or'aw, Or'aw talked endlessly about a recent fascination with engineering.
Etov - an apprentice mage, a transmuter with a crow familiar. A young human, Etov came to Candlekeep after a falling out with his teacher. Ambitious, a Etov came to Candlekeep to continue to study magic on his own. Unable to afford the required donation of a rare and valuable book to gain access to the library, Etov became a Seeker as a way to gain access to the library. Despite his ambition, Etov still has a long way to go as a caster.
Denkim - A dwarven barbarian, Denkim roamed the sword coast for many, many years drinking and fighting, and sporadically finding work as a blacksmith, all of which he did while mostly drunk. In a particularly bad bender, Dugmaren Brightmantle, the dwarven deity of scholarship came to Denkim in a vision and told him to reform his ways and study and explore the world in order to find deeper meaning in it. Since then Denkim has turned his passion to the defense of knowledge and learning as a Seeker for Candlekeep.
Veiq - an elven ranger who found the highly mysticized teachings of his fellow rangers on nature disappointing and sought out Candlekeep to begin more formal studies of taxonomy and biology. He's new to being a Keeper, but has already distinguished himself in his training with the guards and is well known as a deadly shot with a bow.
Aildi - a halfling druid. Stanizlaus knows little else about her.
Awine a half-elf cleric of Oghma, the god of knowledge. She's a very traditional Seeker, in that she views knowledge for its own sake as valuable enough to risk her life to protect. She's a passionate Seeker and sees her work as a sacred calling from her god.
And of, course thinks Stanizlaus almost as an afterthought, Yuki.
These characters are being offered as DM controlled background support characters. They'll mostly be relegated to the background (by the story), but they should be of some minor usefulness, unless we add someone else who wants to take one and convert it to being a PC.
I'll think about how we use this shapeshifting thing. I'm not sure yet, but could be interesting story point.
Yuki is able to maintain her disguise, but she has a tense moment as Reynolds' footsteps come ever closer. She places the book behind the tapestry and casts mage hand, which she uses to hold the book up against the wall. She's quiet enough as she does this that Reynolds is almost startled as he sees her when he rounds the corner. Although the curtain is still askew, Yuki is able to bump it back into place with a subtle flick of her foot.
There you are! said Reynolds in his most officious tone. I've been looking all over for you. I'm to take you to see Ulruant.
The rolls above worked fine. Just a couple rules related information: You don't need to role a concentration check to maintain a spell if you are only talking or doing other simple actions. Getting attacked, hurt, or casting another spell do require concentration checks but it doesn't really apply here. Also, just a reminder on stealth - it doesn't make you invisible. Your character needs to be doing something to conceal themselves i.e. hiding behind something. The roll tells us how successful your attempt to hide yourself and/or avoid making sounds is. Ryan always used to say "I go into stealth mode." Remember - there is no "stealth mode" - if your toon is standing in broad daylight right in front of the badguy it doesn't matter how high your stealth skill is. You did fine here, because there was a wall between you and Reynolds to give you concealment. If he were in the room you'd have to describe Yuki as using various things in the room for stealth i.e. hides behind a tapestry, etc.
I figured that was how stealth worked, as opposed to simply becoming ethereal (thats kinda what Invisibility is for right?)
Yuki is taken back that she is to be escorted. I just want to be free again... I can't stand being so confined. She fidgets a bit, and steps facing away from the tapestry she has lifted the book behind. This sounds urgent. I wonder if Stanizlaus' findings came through. I may have to leave this book here, if I cannot convince him to let me return to my room... At least maybe I will see some sunlight soon. The young seeker attempts to find out how serious this is, and if she can get a moment alone to return the book to her quarters. I see. Do you know what this is about, Reynolds?
Diplomacy (Gather information) 1d20 + 7 + 1 ⇒ (12) + 7 + 1 = 20
Reynolds fidgets uncomfortably. A mixture of emotions play across his face, but ultimately Yuki's earnestness persuades him to the truth. He sympathetically replies. Stanizlaus came to report some of his findings to the Keeper, and he said you had pocketed a piece of paper from the collection. I don't think you're in serious trouble, but we're curious about your actions. The easiest thing to do is to come with me to see Ulruant so you can explain yourself.
I would like to accompany the scribe as the item in question is prepared for use. I always prefer to personally ensure my gear is combat capable.
Stanizlaus pauses and crosses his arms in deep thought.
So, on to personnel... Veiq most assuredly would be a welcome addition, and for a second member I would say the druid Aildi. I do not know much her, but I do know that druids are masters of gaining tactical advantage in any terrain, which is good enough reason for me to include her. Now, fourth member, I don't think this will be a sort of mission limited only to combat; and seeing as the only type of negotiation I have ever conducted was convincing Orcs and other invaders that they should take up residence 6 feet under, I think it would be valuable to have someone who can take care of any sort of diplomatic need that may arise.
Stanizlaus pauses to think,
That girl, Yuki, you sent to work with me in the study. What are her talents?
Ulruant laughs at Stanizluas' first comment. Of course he says. I'll have someone take you to the vaults while your passage is being arranged, which should take a few days. I appreciate your thoroughness, Seeker.
As the conversation shifts to the team Stanizlaus is interested in Ulruant listens with a sly look on his face. Adding Veiq to the team shouldn't be a problem, he's never comfortable being cooped up here. Aildi's already been assigned to Bendsby's team for the excursion to Melvaunt. They're likely to be on the road for months.
Stanizlaus knows that Bendsby's team is one of the best and joining it is a sign Aildi is really moving up.
Ulruant smiles as he begins to talk about Yuki. Yuki's a bright flower and has enough charm to sweet talk a gruff old man like me, so she might be good to have a long, and she has more poise and manners than she lets on. I won't betray any of her confidences and speak of why she came to Candlekeep, but I know enough of her true motives to trust her. She may seem unfocused, but that one has a heart of steel.
Ulruant continues: As for her talents, she's a girl after my own heart: she's a real sword and spells type. However, while I approach combat with all the subtlety of a meat tenderizer, she relies quite a bit more on cunning and finesse. She's a blade dancer, makes using a sword look like an art - I mostly just hit things until they stop moving. While I myself follow the noble old tradition of the Magus, Yuki is trained as a bardic spellcaster. She won't be slinging fireballs around but she knows enough spells to be useful.
Aww such nice things to say about me :P
Understandable. Very well, but could I have a moment to return to my chambers? I can meet you at the entrance to Ulruant's? There is a... personal matter I must attend to. the white haired beauty leans in toward Reynolds and give an enormous grin.
Bluff (Lie): 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (20) + 8 = 28
It's that time in the moon cycle. The young Midori winks to the messenger. Give me ten minutes?
ROFL Theo's post - not just because of the subject - but because of the natural 20 roll. Also, Theo, I direct messaged you a while ago with ideas for how Yuki came to Candlekeep - I've already RP'd Ulruant as knowing Yuki's true motives for coming to Candlekeep so that's a detail you should include. I think the details may come up soon in her conversation with Ulruant, so you may want to work that out.
About half the names I use I come up with and the other half come from a random fantasy name generator. Awine is a random name generator one. I didn't even consider the "A wine" thing. I suspect that the character has heard her share of jokes about it, it may come up in game... :)
Ulruant takes out two scraps of paper and begins to scratch out notes on them. As for your equipment he says This will authorize you to have access to all the mundane equipment you need. He speaks a spell and a glowing seal with Ulruant's personal seal appears on it - The candle-topped tower that Candlekeep uses, but with the addition of a sword and book in front of the tower. He hands Stanizlaus the first paper and repeats the spell on a separate piece of paper. And this authorizes you to four bottles of air for your expedition. He hands Stanizlaus the second paper with the glowing seal of the Keeper of the Tomes.
He then takes a key from around his neck and uses it to open a drawer in his desk. He pulls out a tattered old sheet of parchment, and neatly tears it into two equal pieces.
Here he says and hands Stanizlaus one half of the paper. This is sympathetic paper. You write on your half and it will appear on mine. I can write back and my words will appear on your paper. I won't be able to offer much help, but... He trails off letting the thought hang. Use it carefully though - only so much text will fit on the paper.
Ulruant stands and Stanizlaus gets the impression the conversation is winding down. Well, you've got preparations to make, and I've got to arrange a ship for your voyage...
He turns to walk away and trips over the carpet. He splutters, embarrassed, and stands and walks off hurriedly in the direction he came from.
Sorry about not having more about my past up. I have written it a couple of times but it seems Paizo auto logged me out each time and I got disheartened. I will write it again, likely in an external editor so I don't lose it again. Yeah, I chucked about the 20 too. :) I couldn't think of a good excuse that would allow the privacy I had wanted so I went all out haha.
DM Roll 1d20 - 1 ⇒ (7) - 1 = 6
Because Stanizlaus' plot line is moving a bit faster than Yuki's (not a bad thing just the way the story is developing) I'm going to make the retrieval of the bottles a little more interesting.
How is Stanizlaus dressed and equipped? In addition to the gear that you listed Stanizlaus has wardrobe of good quality clothing for a variety of weather conditions. Is he carrying his weapons? It is not unusual for people within Candlekeep to be armed, and the guards are well armed and armored while on duty. Candlekeep is mostly safe in the commonly occupied areas, but labyrinthine stacks of books in the lower library and the artifacts in the vaults attract dangerous, and occasionally otherworldly things. It is not unusual for mages to carry basic component pouches and for everyone to carry daggers or other very light armaments. For the work Stanizlaus was doing (research in a very tame part of the upper library) it would be a little unusual for him to walk around in full battle dress with a two handed battle axe. More cautious people (especially Seekers, guards and anyone with much experience in combat) might wear a light armor under a scholarly robe. For realism, I might say that most people find it uncomfortable of fatiguing to wear armor during all waking hours.
I ask because Stanizlaus just failed a intelligence check (he doesn't have knowledge (local (Candlekeep)) as a trained skill which would be what I'd normally roll) to know the vaults where he is headed are a good area to be better armed and armored. I'd have let him go gear up otherwise just for this, with that failed roll he only has what's on him
Even if Stanizlaus did choose to spend all his time armed and armored he wouldn't have a full travel pack, and I think it's safe to assume he would only have items that can reasonably fit on his person.
Stanizlaus leaves Ulruant's office above the upper library where the most commonly used books are. He descends down many stairs, navigating the library's haphazard layout. The design of Candlkeep's halls and stairways is unorganized because the keep has been expanded and remodeled over more than a thousand years, and each remodeling made the place more confusing, not less. Some parts of the keep have stood for 1400 years. Other areas were torn down and rebuilt, and often torn down and rebuilt again later.
Stanizlaus eventually descends below the surface and the walls change from humanoid made walls to ancient carved rock. While the upper buildings are made from white stone hauled from inland the area under the keep is of the porous carbon-black volcanic rock that Candlekeep is built upon. The rooms are lit by magical lights glowing on the ceilings. Some of the passages Stanizlaus travels down were obviously cut from the rock. Others take odd turns that seem to indicate the space may be a natural tunnel that was shaped for humanoid uses.
Eventually he reaches an a large opening where the ceiling soars hundreds of feet in the air. Although the walls and ceiling have been smoothed and polished by magic over centuries, to the point where they gleams like black glass, the room's irregular dimensions make it seem that it is definitely not a natural opening. Several passages lead to the room, but the center is dominated by a massive sculpture of an astral deva holding up an open book in one hand and a massive sword with the pommel up and the blade pointing towards the ground.
The deva is at least a hundred feet tall, and the pommel of the sword glows intensely brightly causing the polished walls to gleam.
The deva faces towards the passageways entering the chamber looking down sternly. Stanizlaus feels a nervous feeling of being watched as he enters the room. Past the deva is a large tunnel that leads to the vaults and museum.
Stanizlaus passes two iron golems standing guard by the museum. The giant metal automatons are solid metal shaped to look like a solid suit of wicked spiked armor The helmet shaped heads of the golems have no eyes, but Stanizlaus again feels like he's being watched. Stanizlaus has heard the 15 feet tall behemoths have enchantments that will detect if an item is being taken without permission and attack - but they also serve another purpose - to keep the things - or beings - from escaping the vaults.
As he passes the golems he enters what is known as the mirror museum. The museum contains many of the most storied and beautiful relics of Candlekeep. Stanizlaus looks around in wonder at the set of rooms packed with artifacts.
On one wall there's a gleaming sword that's blade looks like the stem of a glass rose and a hilt shaped like a red rose - complete with two protruding leaves as the cross guard. Mounted on another wall, a spear pulses alternating rainbow colors. A pedestal has fragments of a crown that are miraculously emitting smoke. Another has a dagger sunk into a still beating human heart. Another pedestal has a large book chained shut atop it. The book has realistic, moving people painted onto its cover - screaming in abject terror for all eternity. Cases filled with jewels and ioun stones line the walls. Mounted on a mannequin is a suit of exquisite armor crafted of black dragon scales so dark they seem to suck in all the of the room. Sunk into a rock in the center of the room is a beautiful, gleaming broadsword with elaborate gold shapes adorning its hilt.
Every direction he looks Stanizlaus sees items of immeasurable power and historical significance. He even notices a bow, bearing the insignia of Aladar the Mad considered to be one of the greatest, and most terrible, kings of ancient Evereska. The bow is rumored to transform fired arrows into bolts of lighting powerful enough to kill a god, and was believed lost or destroyed after Aladar's death when he attempted to invade a demonic plane in a mad grab for power.
However, as he reaches out to touch the bow his hand passes through it without touching it. Stanizlaus knows, of course, that the items on display are only illusional images of the least dangerous items in the vaults. The more dangerous items are kept so secret that few beyond Ulruant and Reynolds even know they exist. As he looks around the wealth of kingdoms spread around him Stanizlaus feels a sense of wonder at the implications of what these weapons, and the other deadly secret artifacts, could do if unleashed. Destroy kingdoms, at the least. Perhaps the world, as more and more would-be conqueror's started endless wars and attempted to ride the power of these artifacts to personal glory.
Stanizlaus sighs a little as he walks through the museum thinking about how the illusions in this room represent just one of the dozens of vaults buried underneath the keep. At the other end is the curator, a weaselly dwarven wizard named Grumman. He's generally unpleasant and unpopular, but he has a natural inborn resistance to magic, which makes him a better person than any to handle all the dangerous artifacts in storage in the vaults.
Stanizlaus hands Grumman the note. Grumman glares at it and says: It says'n here that you want to go into the vaults with me to get the bottles o'air.
Stanizlaus is a two decade veteran of a special forces group. For someone like him to be without a weapon would be like going out without any clothes. Lamellar armor is a light armor and would not really be much of a hassle to wear day to day underneath another garment. Probably also worn out of habit. So when I think of what would most personify someone like Stanizlaus I think of a pretty stern character who is habitually prepared for combat out of growing up in constant danger and from years of combat service. Obviously like you said a large pack is out, I doubt anyone would willingly walk around with a heavy pack for just day to day sort of stuff. That said, his kit right now would probably consist of the Wakizashi, shurikens, the light armor, and 4 belt pouches (2 with marbles, 2 with caltrops).
Stanizlaus replies matter of fact to the dwarf.
Yes, lead the way.
DM Rolls: 1d20 - 1 ⇒ (1) - 1 = 0, 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (12) + 5 = 17, 1d20 - 1 ⇒ (15) - 1 = 14 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (15) + 5 = 20
Grumman stands up grumbling. He'd been reading a book as Stanizlaus entered and he bookmarks it casually with a scrap of parchment and set it down. He then turns sharply and walks through the wall.
Feeling odd, Stanizlaus follows. However, the wall, like many of the contents of the museum, is illusional. He feels nothing as he passes through the image of the wall. He follows Grumman through to a large broad hallway with elaborate tapestries hanging from the wall and a rug with fascinating geometric patterns stretching from wall to wall on the floor, to a chamber behind the mirror museum. They pass through an ornate door with a surprisingly simple lock that Grumman opens with a fairly typical key he has on a chain around his neck. The room beyond has locked display wooden cases with glass fronts lining the walls filled with wands, potions and spellcasting rods. Stanizlaus knows that both the alchemy labs and artificer's workshops manufacture items like these and have large stores of them for use, so these must be unusually powerful, rare, or historic items.
If Stanizlaus has any actions along this walk we can RP them, and assume that they happened before Stanizlaus follows along
At the end of the long hallway with the potion and wand cases, Grumman stops. Stanizlaus hears him quietly cast a spell. Stanizlaus knows that there are invisible magic barriers to physically repel people spread throughout the library. There is a simple cantrip that temporarily allows people to pass through a barrier, but the spell is specifically designed to work with Candlekeep's magical defenses and the only the most senior residents of the keep are taught the spell.
Beyond the barrier is another ornate door that Grumman again unlocks with his rather mundane looking key. the floor drops out sharply about five feet past the door. The room is dim, but Stanizlaus is able to see that there is a steep drop about 40 feet down, and the floor of the room has a steep downward slant towards the center of the room and malicious looking obsidian spikes sprouting up in all directions like a bizarre garden.
Grumman grins and says Watch. He picks up a stray rock from the floor and throw it out over the pit. It flies normally for about ten feet and then sharply and unnaturally is pulled towards the ground.
Grumman continues to grin and puts his finger over his mouth to indicate Stanizlaus should stay quiet.
There's a scrapping sound from the floor in the center of the room, which is obscured by the obsidian spikes. Then, silently drifting up from the floor Stanizlaus first sees two glowing green eyes. As the float closer it becomes apparent that the eyes are two large gems in the eye sockets of a skull which speaks in a low otherworldy voice.
Grumman I had let my mind wander the planes and you summon me back by throwing rocks? it says in mock outrage. Didn't I ask Ulruant to tell you to summon me by my name?
I believe he may have said somethin 'bout not throwing rocks Grumman admits with a wink towards Stanizlaus. I find it so hard to remember things these days.
Oh, so do I It responds, completely diverted from its original purpose and chattering now in a much less intimidating voice: I've forgotten so much. Where I am, what century it is, what the price of tea was in Cormanthyr in 75 DR... what my name is...
Your name is Gresh says Grumman in an exasperated way that makes Stanizlaus convinced that they've done this routine before.
Gresh the Great, and don't you forget it - because I probably will! the floating skull responds. So hard to keep details straight. What about you? asks the skull looking at Stanizlaus. Have I forgotten you too? So sorry. My mind isn't what it used to be you see, but that happens when your brain has turned to goo and dribbled out your ears a thousand years ago.
This is Stanizlaus said Grumman. We're looking for some items in a vault on level 2. He's coming with me today to collect some things.
The floating skull's eyes flair A thief are you? Come to raid the vaults of Candlekeep and risk the wrath of Gresh?
The effect of the glowing eyed skull's threatening words and glowing eyes is undermined somewhat when he notices a fly buzzing around him and begins doing some aerial acrobatics trying to chase it off. Finally, the skull catches manages to swallow the fly and squeals in momentary triumph before realizing the fly has buzzed out of the skull again.
The escapade complete the skull refocuses on Stanizlaus. So what's your deal Mr. Might-be-compensating-for-something-with-that-big-sword?
Nah, no actions, and big sword? A wakizashi is pretty small compared to most swords... No more than 2 feet long.
Stanizlaus stares a little bit dumbfounded at the events that transpired before him trying to make sense of it. He certainly had access to most if not all of the secret areas and knowledge of Evereska due to his line of work. And certainly he was no stranger to being in the presence of the powerful, as his organization often had a team assigned to very senior officials within the Evereska military and government who would send them on special missions. But nothing ever like this. Stanizlaus' is brought back to the present by the skull apparently addressing him which snaps him back to attention even quicker than any high ranking official in Evereska ever could. To which he then in his practiced, and formal tone, replies.
Master Ulruant wishes for me to retrieve an item of some interest to him, and consequently we have need of some equipment in the vault.
Okay, let's assume he called it a knife not a sword. It is big for a knife.
Oh he's a serious one isn't he? Gresh says to Grumman.
Maybe he's just not sure how to react. Most people don't have that much experience talking to obnoxious demiliches. Grumman replied.
Gresh's jaw drops (literally he lets his jawbone drop to the floor and then swoops down and bites at rocks trying comically to get the jawbone stuck back the skull). Fool! The plural of lich is lichens. he laughs manically at the comment and his jawbone nearly becomes unhinged again. You'd be obnoxious too if you had to spend eternity guarding a pile of dangerous magical toys. I used to be feared! I was a terror, scourge of the earth, master of fowl magics so black...
Grumman interupts So black even death feared your wrath, etcetera etcetera. I've heard this before.
Gresh looks to Stanizlaus But he hasn't! He should know of mighty Gresh! Gresh the Terrible. Gresh the Conqueror. said Gresh his glowing emerald eyes flaring at his words.
You never conquered anything! You were a bookish little wizard who hid in his tower for eighty years and died alone. Grumman interrupted.
Gresh makes an insulted sound and says I'm not talking to you any more. Hmph!
That'd be a nice change drolled Grumman sardonically. Just go get the bridge.
Yes, the bridge Gresh says enthusiastically completely forgetting the insult, and begins floating and bobbing through the air singing tavern songs as he goes. He disappears into the spikes in the center of the room and a beam of green light emanates up from the floor. Unexpectedly it bends in the air and extends towards where Grumman and Stanizlaus wait. It spreads out and forms into a semi solid looking platform about a meter wide stretching out across the large room, beyond where Stanizlaus can see.
We'll have to go one at a time said Grumman. And I should go first so I can get the vault doors open. Wait five minutes and then walk across.
Grumman then steps out onto the solid light bridge and walks across it as if it were nothing. He disappears into the distant darkness of the room.
DM Rolls 1d20 + 0 ⇒ (2) + 0 = 2
1d20 + 5 ⇒ (8) + 5 = 13
1d20 + 6 ⇒ (17) + 6 = 23
1d20 + 0 ⇒ (12) + 0 = 12
1d20 - 1 ⇒ (4) - 1 = 3
I hope Matt enjoyed that seen more than Stanizlaus did. :) It was fun to write - I didn't really plan Gresh - he just kind of happened.
Stanizlaus waits patiently and starts across the light bridge. He feels a bit odd about walking over a pit of razor sharp obsidian on a semi-transparent bridge that appears to be made of light. However, the bridge is surprisingly solid and although it appears perfectly smooth it actually has a very nice texture to prevent slipping. As Stanizlaus nears the middle of the bridge there is an unexpected drip that splatters on his face. Surprised by the wetness he inadvertently wipes it from his face - as he looks down he sees it is a thick pearly-blue goo. Even as he looks at it the goo fades from existence as if it had never been.
Alert now, Stanizlaus looks around on his toes and he backs up from the spot of the drip a few paces and looks up. He spots the source of the strange drip immediately: emerging from the ceiling high above is a strange writhing mass of the same pearly blue. With each pulse the blob gets larger, and it is soon the size of a person. As it reaches full size it drips from the ceiling and splatters on the bridge in front of Stanizlaus. It writhes for a second and becomes a more distinct shape - a vaguely human shape.
The blob wriggles and becomes more humanoid - but it still looks more like a human made from melted wax than the real thing.
Still shuddering through its transformation it is very distracted. 15 feet from the thing on a bridge about a meter wide, Stanizlaus crouches down silently in the shadows. The thing is completely unaware of him.
Although he has time to think about the throbbing failure of a thing sitting in front of him, Stanizlaus has no idea what it is.
Stanizlaus, crouched low to avoid detection, slowly and quietly backs away to the corridor he just came from stopping in the shadows. Carefully reaching into one of his belt pouches so as not to make a sound, he picks out a single marble and throws it at a wall on the opposite side of the chasm in a direction least likely to cause it to impact against the creature. Still crouched low, Stanizlaus focuses intently on the creature with his sword hand gripping the hilt of his wakizashi, ready to draw in an instant if it approaches.
Sorry for delay. Life caught up with me for a bit. :) I'm missing the quicker game too so I'm gonna reply more quickly.
DM Rolls: 1d20 - 1 ⇒ (4) - 1 = 3
Stanizlaus tosses the marble far across the pit it drops of plinking audibly off the obsidian spikes. The writhing spectral mass fails to notice the sound.