|GM Ultra Plus|
All hands are on deck at Absalom's Grand Lodge of the Pathfinder Society, as several hundred Pathfinders gather to see a presentation on the main stage of the Grand Coliseum. Master of Blades Marcos Farabellus and Castellan Ambrus Valsinp sit on stage. Prominent Pathfinders can be found sitting in wait. More than a few eyes flick to the front row where Zarta Dralneen sits. Dralneen, the former liason from House Thrune looks on impassively as her replacement takes the stage.
Ianareth Alazario is a tall, heavy woman, wearing a black breastplate with a crimson cloak. She rests a hand on a gold-enameled pommel of a greatsword. "I am Ianareth Alazario, and I come to you with words spoken by Her Infernal Majestrix, Queen Abrogail II of the Thrice-Damned House of Thrune. Pathfinders, your exile is at an end. Cheliax welcomes you once again." Farabellus leads the group in round of applause, some of it enthusiastic, some of polite. Careful students of human facial expressions can see that Alazario's smile stiffens and her eyes glint dangerously when she meets the gaze of Dralneen. "With your help, I would mend the rifts between us and forge an enduring friendship. I have entrusted your Master of Swords with several promising leads found within our borders. To that I add only this: Pathfinders, the glory of Cheliax is placed in your care."
Farabellus stands and announces “I’ve gathered a handful of teams to lead these initial expeditions, and I’ve posted those outside with times to meet me in my office for more details. There’s rewarding work ahead, so don’t be late!” Yet-to-be-Confirmed initiates post pieces of parchment at several places around the coliseum.
Before anyone can react, Dralneen stands up and swiftly walks out the door, towards the personal office of Farabellus. The assembled Pathfinders go to the postings to see their assignment, just a team number and a time to meet with Master Farabellus. Seen here, unfortunately, the scrivener spilled some ink, and the last name is a bit hard to see, though it'll get straightened out sooner or later. Master Farabellus's hasty handwriting shows that you have little time before you need to enter his office, where tempers seem to be running high.
"You're getting us into bed with a Chelish diplomat, and I can tell you, they're never what they seem. Who do you think we answer to when we work with Abrogail's infernal masters?"
"Caution is warranted, but you shouldn’t let past follies color your opinion of this opportunity, Zarta. This is our chance to freely operate within Cheliax again. The doors of Delvehaven may still be closed, but we can start to mend soured relations.” Marcos turns to the recently arrived agents. “I expect everyone who takes an assignment to conduct themselves as diplomats as well as explorers. We don’t need a public debacle to ruin our welcome, again.”
"Folly, a folly?" Zarta sneers, One day you will look between the sheets and see you’ve climbed into bed with a snake, Marcos. I sincerely hope none of your agents find themselves in desperate need of a retrieval team; I remind you that devils work quickly to strip one of their hopes." She clicks her heels, turns, gives a small nod to the assembled agents and strides out the door.
Farabellus massages his temple for a moment, and then gestures to the assembled agents to take seat. He then takes one himself behind an ornate darkwood desk "Lady Dralneen assumes that we take Cheliax entirely at its word. Ianareth Alazario provided me an incomplete history of a small keep in the Eismonts called Emberhold, once property of House Davian. The reason we don’t hear much of the Davians anymore is that they led the resistance against House Thrune during the Chelish civil war, and her infernal majestrix is not known for showing mercy. I’m sending you to explore the site, learn what you can about what happened there, and bring back any information about the Davians."
He leans forward and lowers his voice before adding, “You’ll be traveling through Corentyn, and I’d like you to pay a visit to the Museum of History there first. The curator, Zefiro Balinger, is an acquaintance of the Society and may have details not available in the official records. Get Balinger’s help, then visit Emberhold.” Marcos presents a small folded map. “You’ll leave Absalom aboard the Sea Sylph in two days—Society’s picking up the tab.”
A tall, lithe half-elf, his face obscured by an all-encompassing great helm, but who is otherwise dressed simply in a well-worn explorer's outfit, with a lovingly-cared-for bow across his back, nods thoughtfully.
"Right. So we we should expect that what we have been told is definitely not the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth... Nevertheless, the theoretical goal seems simple - go to Corentyn, talk to this Zefiro about any insights he may have into this Keep, then move on to explore the Keep itself, before reporting back with what we have found."
A muscular human female stands with the others, wearing a breastplate and traveling gear. Her straight black hair falls to her shoulders. She carries a variety of weapons, the most prominent of which is a large axe. She tries to hide her disappointment as the mission is explained. Explore a place and learn. Her memory is still hazy, but what she can recall of devils agrees with Dralneen's assessment. They do what they want, but also have the insufferable tendency to pretend that it's what you want. "Are we reclaiming it for the Society?"
A young isgerian man eases into the room and slips into the group in the back trying not to draw attention to himself but failing miserably. He leans over to the muscular female and whispers, "What did I miss?" "Sorry to have to ask, but I took a wrong turn. Absalom is such a big place."
"I caught Cheliax and Emberhold Keep by way of some museum in Corentyn, a contact named Zefiro who might know something useful, and a ship in two days called the Sea Sylph." He smiles but seems really nervous.
"This is my first assignment. I think they really wanted someone else, but they couldn't make it. That leaves me." still smirking. "Lucky, right?"
"Master Farabellis, sir, not that I want to highlight my newness to the pathfinder society and all but, what do we know of the restrictions for moving about in Cheliax? Are we allowed to go where we please and speak to anyone? They all of the sudden think we are a good partner after a cold period?" "What caused the split anyway? Something to do with Lady Zarta?"
|GM Ultra Plus|
"Reclaiming it?" Farabellus's eyes widen, "No, we have no claim to Emberhold in the first place. Investigate it, find any useful information you can in there, especially regarding House Davian. But to claim it for the Society would most likely be seen as an act of war against the Empire of Cheliax, which is expressly not part of your mission."
"Now Cheliax is a nation of bureaucracy beyond what a Pathfinder is most likely used to. Your documentation will be provided for this first leg will be provided for by our scribes and diplomats. Be extremely careful about going outside the lines. Our negotiations with the Chelish throne have been extensive."
Delvehaven, a prestigious Pathfinder Lodge in Westcrown, has been sealed since 4676 AR, when a terrible tragedy in its halls threatened the stability of the city.
"Fair enough. I was just concerned that we might be expected to spend most of our time navigating the byzantine maze of Chelish bureaucracy, but if most of the heavy lifting has already been done, so much the better!"
"What is the ty in of house Davian?" Lybram asks hoping for more from Master Farabellus.
Lybram confirms the sail time and location of the Sea Sylph and listens to the remainder of the meeting. After the meeting he heads to the library and asks questions of anyone who will pay him attention.
diplomacy to gather information: 1d20 ⇒ 4
"So what is the history behind the pathfinder fallout with Cheliax?"
"What can you tell me about the Emberhold Keep and house Davian?"
But he does not get much help.
Iladora nods. "Explore and report back. Any idea what we might find in there? Has anything possibly taken up residence?" The last time I was tasked with exploring a ruin, we weren't the only ones there.
A well groomed Chelaxian man enters the room, holding a riding crop and a pair of deerskin gloves in one hand. With his other, he wipes a bit of sweat off his brow. His clothes match recent trends in Chelish fashion, with the addition of a pair of deerskin riding boots that match his gloves.
"Cheliax isn't quite the dry comfort of Hell," he chuckles, "but some call it 'home'."
He nods to the assembled group. "Darius, of House Leroung. My family has worked with the Thrunes over the generations and used their finances to fund numerous scholarly expeditions..."
Kn.Local: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (8) + 1 = 9
Kn.History: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (20) + 9 = 29
"...House Davian, on the other hand, challenged Thrune for control of Cheliax at the Battle of a Hundred Kings. It devastated Corentyn."
"The house’s holdings included much of the nation’s west coast. Thrune retaliated by utterly crushing the Davians. Numerous revisions of Cheliax’s official history have downplayed the Davians’ role during the civil war, such that many don’t even remember the Davian name, much less that the great house almost defeated Thrune."
"When I heard tale of this expedition I requested a seat immediately! How often is it you can use your career to find out about the history of your homeland?"
He smiles, but there's just something about his mannerisms that's unsettling.
"This should be glorious, yes?"
In the distance, through the open doorways and halls of the Grand Lodge, you hear the sounds of a horse neighing and several voices attempting to calm it down.
"Well, that just about sums it up." "Your name good sir?" Lybram pauses to here the answer and then continues, "I am Lybram Tendras, happy to make your acquaintance." "I am glad to met you all and get to work with you." He looks each of you in the eye and nods, "Only just got to Absalom a couple of months ago." "Don't reckon I know too many people yet."
There are some low dc's for gather information up there. It doesn't hurt to try, anyone can have a lucky roll.
Even the horse has more hit points then Lybram. We are mostly human. I have light as an orison. Do we have other sources of light? I also have detect magic. Have we got all the bases covered? I have one acid flask.
"Well then, I will see you at the docks morning after tomorrow."
Do we have other sources of light? I also have detect magic. Have we got all the bases covered? I have one acid flask.
Darius has some things; but he is not a socialite.
Scroll of Faerie Fire: 2
Oil of Magic Weapon: 2
Alchemist Fire: 2
Acid Flask: 2
Flask of Oil: 3
Holy Water: 2
Bottle of Fine Wine: 2
1st Level: Longstrider, Produce Flame, Shillelagh
Plus he has a Wayfinder for light (from back when they used to be printed in the Guide)
|GM Ultra Plus|
Hope you all had a happy holiday. On the second slide of the slide show that is available both at the top of this thread and in every post I make, please put yourselves in a marching order. Due to map constraints, I might make you guys be in a 2 by 3 grid, but people in the front of the marching order will be in the front, people in the back will be the back.
The assembled team of no doubt professional and veteran Pathfinders have a little more than a full day to make any purchases and preparations that they need. The morning before the Sea Sylph is set to sail, you each recieve a letter, delivered to you by one of Master Farabellus's aides de camp. please see slide 3 of the slide show
The Sea Sylph takes off from the port of Absalom shortly before noon. Those who can tell their left from their right notice that the ship is heading south away from your port of call, Corentyn. Captain Zaerim assures you that the Society knows about the scheduled stop in Merab, and that this is necessary to avoid Chelish Naval Patrols that often press-gang ships suspected to be of Andoren loyalty.
The trip to Corentyn is rather uneventful though it takes a few days. Perfect for the assembled agents to get to know each other.
Go ahead and make any introductions that you want. If there's anything that you want everyone to know about your character this is the time to say it.
"My name is Bacleive, and I have been a soldier and pathfinder for a total of 5 years now. This is my 5th mission as to date."
Bacleive has banded mail and small, metal shield. Usually wields a longsword with a everburning torch, when needed, along with the shield.
Besides a dagger, handaxe, and 2 flasks of alchemist fire, he does not posses ranged combat capability.
He is skilled, (ie. +5 or better), in climbing (has climber's kit), knowledge(dungeoneering), and perception.
A muscular Elven woman stands towards the back of the room as the esteemed Captain speaks. Her curveblade hangs on her back, While her shortspesr dangles her her waist. She wonders silently to herself of potential threats that await her in the land of demon lover no Cheliax. She lets a small grin out as she think nod of the battles that await her as well. She’s never backed down from a good fight, regardless of if she was the underdog in the fight.
Hello all, I’m Entorra and I know how to fight. I use my blade to solve things, not my mouth. I hope one of you may be a talker, otherwise this may be tougher than we had thought
front line fighter, not much in way of consumables as of now. Will purchase potion of CLW (50gp), silvered gauntlet (22gp), cold iron spiked gauntlet (10gp). Sell my spiked gauntlet (2.5gp), sell gauntlet (1gp)
"I believe I have introduced myself but if you are like me names often don't stick in the grey matter. Lybram Tendras, acolyte of Erastil, the father protector. I am partial to the longbow but of only average skill. I have a little training in healing, and some knowledge of religion. I employee mostly protection spells. I am a novice pathfinder with this being my first assignment."
Back row for me please. I am on a phone until late tomorrow when i will be able to add icon.
Darius will purchase 5 days feed for Ariaan (2 sp, 5 cp).
While on the ship, Darius conducts himself more as a military man, setting up a routine watch and patrol. He begins every morning by brushing down Ariaan and performing a ritual prayer to Asmodeus. During conversations he prefers to talk about his homeland and speaks highly of Chelish culture and military traditions. You get the sense that he errs on the side of justice and honor.
When the inevitable conversation comes up regarding Hellknights, Darius is clear that, although he was never accepted as a member of any order, he certainly grew up seeing their lawful guidance as a strength of Cheliax, and not a hindrance.
"I prefer to remain astride Ariaan while traveling over country. Jousting was a popular sport growing up, and the Lance is my preferred weapon. When we inevitably reach more cramped quarters I can rely on my sword. Asmodeus has blessed me with some minor magical talents, but they are not my strength."
Ariaan proves to be a rather feisty beast! More than once he kicks down the weak stable door penning him in on the ship, to which Darius obligingly offers to help repair. When the two are together, they both seem more at ease.
Iladora says little during the trip unless asked, but does her best to help when help is needed. She takes a clear liking to Darius's militaristic lifestyle, though she shies away from both his and Lybram's prayers. "Iladora. Front line. I'm a soldier by trade, in the officers' corps-- or I was, anyway." She avoids questions about her past, saying only that "It's complicated," but seems to know a great deal more about the higher and lower planes than a common soldier would.
Iladora is a switch-hitter, preferring the front line but can use her bow when needed.
"The name is Kent. Kent Allard. I'm a decent shot with a bow, and have some skill with cunning devices, spotting things, and moving stealthily. I can also have some passing skill at talking with people, although I am not a great liar."
Icon paisted in now. My thanks to whoever put me on the marching order sheet. Slot 6 is perfect.
"It is good to see the experience here. I am comforted by being surrounded with such capable agents." "What do you make of master Farabellus's note about someone named Cassian?"
"We are supposed to look at that note. Correct?
I copied the remaining icons to the chart deck. I also took the liberty of adding names to slots in the marching order. Please confirm that you are okay with the positions.
Being aboard a ship does not seem to be enjoyable to Lybram. He seems rather restless and fidgets about a lot. He tries to help where he can and is constantly volunteering to take tasks for the group. Being busy seems to help his discomfort. He tries to pick up knots and other sailing skills, but with little hope of any mastery.
I don't see a map yet to post icons. I can create one for Ariaan and Darius when the time comes.
|GM Ultra Plus|
Lybram, in his duties, does come across the man named Cassian. He's a tall, lanky Mwangi man with his own cabin, who keeps to hold of archaeological equipment that the Society has sent on the Sea Sylph.
Relevant pieces of contraband include (un)holy symbols and texts dedicated to chaotic gods. While visitors are allowed to worship whomever, such items are considered tools of proselytizing
scrolls and potions of spells with the chaos descriptor.
more than 150 gp worth of poisons
more than 50 gp worth of drugs
Large weapons—an uncharacteristic string of attacks has resulted in a crackdown on citizen weaponry that most assume will end in the next month or two. Until this resolution ends, only light weapons are permitted in the city limits. The PCs can declare and leave larger weapons on the ship at no cost and retrieve them when they depart for Emberhold.
As the Sylph travels on, the horizon holds massive warships with the black-and-red flag of Cheliax. "Chelish naval patrols," Captain Zaerim spits. They do not seem to pursue the Sylph as you're on a protected trade route and you're not flying unfriendly colors. A few more days pass, and more and more ships with the ominous flag can be seen.
The last fiery golden rays of daylight silhouette the towering monument known as Aroden’s Arch, which reaches out from Corentyn’s southern wall to divide the Arcadian Ocean and the Inner Sea. Corentyn’s numerous fortifications rise behind mighty gray and brown limestone walls. Masts of ships both in port and at sea rise in the hundreds, like a legion pointing their spears toward the heavens.
As the Sylph glides into port, Captain Zaerim has all but the most essential sailors line up and begin carefully categorizing and organizing the ship's cargo.
"Any contraband they find can get the captain 20 lashes," Zaerim snarls, "So take care that everything is above board.
As the Sea Slyph lowers a gangplank to the docks, a halfling with a weathered face and dirty blonde hair along four armored human deputies come on board. The halfling with a strained smile greets the captain and they begin efficiently and quickly going through the ships manifest.
Sense Motive: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (4) + 9 = 13
sense: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (2) + 2 = 4
Entorra watches as they persuade the crates for whatever they are looking for. She waits silently, not wants my to draw attention to herself.
She’s never been one to pay attention to other cultures nor their customs or rules and unless she stopped she carries all her weapons/gear off the dock with her
Lybram will let his fellow pathfinders know of his discovery of Cassian. He attempts to keep an eye on the gentleman but does not attempt to confront him.
|GM Ultra Plus|
When the agents come to the assembled Pathfinders, they call in their supervisor, the weathered halfling. Darius, do you have your wayfinder displayed?
"Yes, well, your papers are in order but even adventurers must obey the laws. You'll need to sign over your weapons, the curve blades, the axes, et cetera. You'll be able to retrieve them when you leave Corentyn. Order of the lord mayor, and such."
"Likewise, I know the society employs mages and magic priests. Any unauthorized arcane spells more powerful than a cantrip within city limits is logged by the wards of the Esoterium. You can apply for a temporary license with them. Likewise, the Esoterium can't log divine spells, but we do ask that anyone with the power of the gods with 'em to register as well. Punishment for breaking these rules is the destruction of any offendant's spell book and/or holy symbol along with one of your hands, so let's be honest chaps, then, right?"
Divine Casters can register for no cost.
"Luckily, Corentyn's a safe town, and there's plenty of Hellknight patrols to make sure it stays that way."
Darius believes we're here on invitation from the Chelish government, so he wouldn't hide it.
Odds it's out, Evens it's not: 1d20 ⇒ 16
Lybram asks to register as a divine caster.
"Good Sir, I would like to register. I am an acolyte of Erastil." Plus, are hunting weapons like bows exempt?" "My axe is also my tool as a wood cutter, do I still have to surrender it?"
Give up our weapons? All of them? "Our profession is a dangerous one. We don't mean any trouble, but I hardly think it would be a good idea to wander about unarmed. Makes me feel... naked."
Darius, without hesitation, begins unstrapping his arsenal.
"You'll find my Lance secured with my steed, unless you would allow me to entertain myself with some of the local jousting scene."
He then pulls out a golden unholy symbol of Asmodeus.
"I trust I can hold on to this? I will of course record my name. House Leroung. I should already be on the registry."
Darius still wears his heavy gauntlets.
"I do not like being unarmed, but orders are orders." Bacleive turns over his longsword; morning star; dagger; handaxe; and alchemist fire (2). "Don't drop those." He says as he hands over the two vials.
"Are daggers included in the weapons restriction? They are a necessity for eating meals."
Lybram will acquire a quarterstaff as soon as possible once on shore. Assuming Longbows, battle axes (even if used for employment) are not allowed he will turn them over. If the restriction extends to daggers he will turn his two over as well. He will register as a divine caster.
"Darius, this seems to be like your back yard. Are you from this area originally?"
Just passing time waiting for the bureaucrats file our paperwork.
"By chance do you know the way to the Museum of History?" He asks one of the friendlier looking guards. "This is my first time to Corentyn and I want to get in some site seeing. What would you suggest?" "I have limited time though."
diplomacy on guard: 1d20 ⇒ 16