Bostarg mulls before shrugging "There shouldn't be need for any but myself to expose to risk... Perhaps I will match words with their mayor... though whispers from the shadows would be sweeter."
Up to Alazandaru if you think the risk of dragging in Hogan is worth it... or if you think we should instead spot him elsewhere... or leave him till laters.
"I had just thought what a nice touch it would be if at the moment of the mayor's speech for calm... that Captain Barhold presented the crowd with the corpse of Hogan. Though I'm not yet convinced it could be done without too much risk. Alternatively we could attempt to sneak his corpse into the assembly area under cover of night so that it might be discovered during the speech."
Approaching the barkeep Bostarg is in the form of Jonas as he queries "Nasty nasty business this, where will the Mayor be giving his address on the morrow?" pressing very gently for the barest of details.
Just a rough idea of where the gathering would be, and where the mayor and lord are likely to speak from.
Once above and within their room Bostarg is anxious and tense "Soon, too soon? Perhaps not... but to quash any talk of rally... Soon, soon." bidding himself calmness before expounding upon his anxiety "Good initiative Alazandaru... we have the town at a worry, and by the gods it is an almost perfect chance to sink the despair deeper... but it is soon, can it be done without dislodging the base of our house of cards."
Wringing hands together he continues "The Mayor and the Lord Havelyn himself will be in one place... and all of the town will be there also. We have the raiment of their dear Captain, and the corpse of one of the most prominent of the Desnans... surely this can be a rock that could be used to break the spirit..."
Bostarg nods at Morthos' report asking "Very well, have you killed him?" moving to rectify that if he was not yet dead.
Afterwards he reconvenes with Tatya and Morthos in the widow's main room "Nothing lost even if little gained. This Nelson could be a lever, but I won't be sure if it will have traction before I push upon it. Do you wish to stay or away back to the inn?"
Bostarg looks down and mulls a moment before replying "I thank you for your choice then... unless you had hoped to be rejected and added to the White Ravens instead." a corner of his mouth curling with jest "The Cardinal is indeed an enigma that needs further enlightenment to understand. If not for he I would be dead... but still, the compact forced is one that gives pause."
"If events go as well as they could, perhaps the townsfolk themselves will do some of the work for us... but the road shows that we need be ready for the alternative also. Blood will cover blood once the wall comes down."
I'd assumed tied up... for the very short remainder of his life.
Bostarg offers Morthos a deep bow as he departs, leaving he and Tatya alone in the room. Bostarg makes for the front door... so as to get a sight out into the open, mindful of any potential for unwanted visitors. He allows some degree of relaxation and the adrenaline of the last few moments seeps out of his words and body.
With a wry smile he turns to the witch "If not for your touch... events may very well have turned differently today..." offering both earnest praise and thanks... as well as an avenue to open discussion if it was wanted.
Bostarg shakes his head "No, there is no need for that particular pretence... but similarly there is no reason for him to be aware of any other part of our design. I know not if the Iomedites are skillful enough to wrest answers from corpses - so it would be best to be circumspect. Let us keep the Desnan masquerade... and Morthos, unless whimsy leads you to extended digression with torture - there shouldn't be any real reason to force him to suffer too much before ending him."
Bostarg assists in seeing Hogan confined before asking the others "Morthos - would you care to extract what thoughts our new friend might have? Simple things such as friends among the Desnans, or anything we might find of use... unless we have further need of him we can likely end him after... no point holding him."
"Alazandaru - would you be willing to make for Barhold's estate? - we have a key and it would be useful to know if any efforts are made to safeguard it or otherwise.
Based on our schedule - we've got a spare day on the 30th to spend working on the Mott / Eddarly issue.
Bostarg nods "Aye, we should be away. We make for the widow's house..." before his mind begins to set to work. "If we move quickly we should avoid any followers... and there are ways and means to their distraction thereafter. Tatya, move before us and keep an eye for any who might observe. Morthos - cover our tracks as best you can and linger back from us... to better misdirect any who might come. Alazandaru and I shall manhandle the bodies as best we can."
Tatya advance scout, Alazandaru and Bostarg with the two bodies, Morthos and his +4 Survival to cover our tracks.
We can still hold the Barhold / Hogan gambit in reserve.
If tensions get high enough the appearance of Barhold would prompt something like this:
Desnan: Look it's Barhold doing naughty things.
Or something of the sort. We get them questioning each other enough, ain't no-one going to believe anything the other one says.
I must say, playing a game without any real morals is giving me a fresh appreciation for fascination.
FYI - Bostarg's plan is basically this:
Now that the guards have fallen, Bostarg thickens the tones and half-slurs his intonation. The words flow like liquid out of his mouth and cloud Hogan's thoughts "Good, now we will talk... I will tell you everything you want to know... but first I will start with the fate of Sir Balin..." a flicker of his eyes towards Alazandaru and the others passing a secret message that Bostarg wishes for them to approach Hogan from behind and secure him against flight.
Using bardic performance to invoke fascination in Hogan - since the guards are dead he should believe that the danger is over?
Leaps of faith with small chances of success are what gives you the rush of success :) I've had a barbarian do a charging leap off a cliff at a troll be rewarded with a greataxe crit and a one shot kill before :) Of course I've also gone through a ten round combat with only a single roll above 10... so it cuts both ways.
On the topic in thread... we need a horse... Bostarg has ideas... but he needs a horse to see them through.
Stunned at first by the casual almost effortless blow that came near to cleaving Alazandaru in twain... Bostarg regained his composure as the Captain succumbed to Tatya's foul wares. Left hand shaking and right hand whiteknuckled as he gripped his rapier tightly Bostarg channelled his will to casually walk forward and spin honeyed words at the soldiers and Hogan both "She speaks the truth Hogan, come with us... you know it not but these were to be your executioners."
Bluff: 1d20 + 16 ⇒ (13) + 16 = 29
His feet take him to interpose between the prone Barhold and the remaining soldiers... and his blade is readied.
Readied action to attack if either of the soldiers approach him.
If you ever feel the need to apply FMEA or break down the process and HAZOP it then I can likely help out :P Out of interest, given your background in QC... I assume you've heard of Kaizen?
No issues for me on the stealth debate... except to add that with us hidden we'd also need to rely on Perception to detect the approach of the patrol -> so there is a case where Morthos could have hidden himself so well he didn't hear the buggers coming :P
Overhearing stories, Jonas joined a conversation here or there - always adding circumstantial discussion... but also managing somehow to leave the listeners more certain that the truth of the stories were along the Desnan angle rather than any other.
At Alazandaru's confirmation that Captain Barhold himself had left the fort Bostarg was wary, yet hopeful. Nodding affirmation to Alazandaru "Aye, if we can get means to isolate him... opportunities must be seized where open and free."
He has no objections to the rogue's attempts to gain further information through subterfuge and observation. As Alazandaru returns he nods "Perhaps time to make use of the Widow's house? If he is going to speak to Marlowe... then I will draw him off and bring him to you there."
Jonas then situates himself within easy sight of Marlowe... and observes surreptitiously.
So Jonas convinces Barhold to follow him to the Widow's house through Bluff and Bluster. Then dogpile and assassinate him.
Atop the Tower:
Alazandaru stalks over to the sleeping figure... and perfunctorially slits it's throat...
Stealth: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (6) + 11 = 17
Tatya - go for it... Bostarg would probably give you marks for initiative :P
As evening was falling, Alazandaru found himself a lurk that was well enough away to remove any suspicion as well as provide vantage and access to the tower's wall. Once dark had arrived and the time was right - he approached the wall as stealthily as could be managed. Once able to put hand on stone, he quaffed the spider's brew and began to ascend...
Stealth: take 10 for 21 if possible? otherwise: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (11) + 11 = 22
Meanwhile in town, Jonas sought the ear of the recently arrived Marlowe, patiently waiting as he dealt with any admirers, but still yet searching to be able to exchange words.
King Mark - Roll20 works fine for me from home, but not from work. Should still be eminently doable, just might require a bit of interpretation at times if necessary.
You have it right re: lighting the birds on fire:
For step 2: prep work on the 30th; execute on the 1st
Right - got a post up in the main thread. Lets piecemeal this out:
During the time before to now, Bostarg clothes himself in as close a faxsimile of one of the small folk he saw giving homage to Desna and is less than discreet in his quest to purchase a potion of spider climb. If questioned by the shopkeep he is purposefully vague as to it's usage, and quickly leaves the shop once the potion has been obtained.
"Alazandaru - your quest will be to ascend the tower Balentyne and end the pigeons in any way you see fit. Fire, knife, I leave the means to your discretion - but we need to render their ability to commune with the outside world to naught. I have purchased a potion to help the ascent, but rope should be brought to make escape if needed. Leave this wooden butterfly upon the roof in a place where it will be found.
One hour you say? - how fortuitous I say.
Here's the brief - we do the stuff up thread to try and knock off some of the big names (taint Varning, ambush him and kill, knock off the pigeons by spider climbing up the tower and torching the birdhouses, see if we can get the dwarves into a barfight, etc.) then when the time comes for the play - Bostarg should be able to gather the vast majority of the soldiers into hearing distance to enthrall them for the hour it will take for the bugbears to come.
Will require everyone but Bostarg to go through the secret door - and Bostarg himself to stand alone before the masses - but that should work. Even if found out, he's got sow thought and similar tricks to try and keep out of danger.
How does that sound? - we have Marlowe's Production as the day that we act in earnest, with some bloody work done up front.