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Mask Golem

GMSmashtag's page

65 posts. Alias of Smashtag.


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Sorry about the huge delay. In the interest of moving things along a bit, I'm going to summarize some stuff and get us rolling again.

Ollysta listens to the story, her face hardening as the group enlightens her on Auntie Baltwin's various activities; the old woman herself, having gotten down from Turin, buries her face in the fur of her cat familiar as the litany continues. Four of Ollysta's sycophants have quietly drifted over to hear the story; as the group concludes, Ollysta, anger snapping in her eyes, turns to her subordinates.

"You two," she says, indicating the pair to her right, "Take Madame Baltwin into custody. She shall not be returning to the Orphanage."

She motions to the pair on her left.

"You two shall accompany these Pathfinders back to the Orphanage and take charge of the orphans there until we can find a thoroughly vetted and trustworthy caretaker for the children. Fail not this charge,a t your peril."

She then turns to the party.

"While you may have gone beyond the letter of your instructions, your empathy and willingness to see that the right thing is done does you all credit. Here is your reward. Now, I assume you have other tasks to be accomplished?"

She hands over a purse filled with gold and brusquely returns to the temple.

The purse contains 340gp. Game on!


Mai:

Spoiler:

Although Miltivus and the footman are still watching you curiously, nothing else untoward seems to be happening.

For the Justice Group:

As you re-trace your steps, Baltwin seems to have resigned herself to her fate; she rides along quietly, petting both anxious cats and barely looking around.

As you approach the Temple, Ollysta Zadrian emerges and gawks at the spectacle of Baltwin and the cats on the horse.

"What...did...you...DO?!" she asks the party, her entire demeanor showing her shock.

Jace and Passio:

The children, much relieved by Jace's stories, the children begin to chatter quietly among themselves and with you, telling stories of Baltwin saving her magic for the older kids who could work. They all liked the cats, though.

Sorry about the very brief update, folks. I should be back on my regular schedule next week. Thanks for your patience!


RL has been interfering with my ability to post the past few days. I will get in an update as soon as I can.

Sorry for the delay, folks.


Mai, your search of the crone's rooms uncovered several stashes of various herbal remedies; clearly they are other donations from the Crusade and other charities.

Jace and Passio:

The orphans respond gratefully to your attentions; the illnesses that they suffer from are a variety of nasty but treatable illnesses. Baltwin has obviously been letting the children get better on their own while she hoards the medicine.

Mai, Corbyn, Faeron, and Samara:

Auntie Baltwin follows silently, accepting Faeron's help to mount Turin and clutching her cats. She makes soothing noises to herself, and she tries as hard as she can to ignore the stares of Miltivus and the tall, pale footman, who are both now watching curiously from the street just outside the market and the manse.


Passio and Jace:

The scene upstairs is nauseating.

The stairs lead to a dormitory room, with wooden-framed beds on separate sides of the room. On one side, seven clean, well-made beds stand empty, with small footlockers at each footboard.

On the other side of the room, six beds contain coughing, sweat-soaked children, all human and all in various stages of illness. These beds are filthy, ill-maintained, and the windowless room is stiflingly hot and ill-lit.

As the two of you proceed into the room, the young girl in the first bed looks at both of you with feverish eyes.

"Hullo. Do you know Miz Baltwin?"

Mai, Samara, Corbyn, and Faeron:

As Mai leans over to check the old woman, she spits and jerks away.

"Don't you touch me! Haven't you people already done enough? I can take care of myself, thank you!"


Faeron's carefully measured strike loops in from the side, catching Baltwin in the back of the head!

The old woman squawks and staggers, her spell visibly fizzling, the mackerel tabby mimicking her with a yowl. She immediately drops to her knees, hands clasped before her imploringly, looking up at Faeron with watery eyes.

"I admit it! Don't hit me again! Please! I will go with you to the temple and turn myself in! I surrender!"

Combat has ended! You may now return to your regularly scheduled thread!


INITIATIVE COUNT:
Corbyn
Passio
Faeron
Samara
Jace
Mai
Auntie Baltwin

Faeron is up!


INITIATIVE COUNT:
Corbyn
Passio
Faeron
Samara
Jace
Mai
Auntie Baltwin

To clarify for everyone: Passio's skill checks both require a full minute of interaction to actually "take", and Diplomacy is generally unusable in combat; thus, I am ruling that his Diplomacy roll was pure RP with no game effect.

In addition, Society play forbids PvP. The skill description for Intimidate specifically states that it targets "an opponent"; thus, I am also ruling that his Intimidate is purely RP, so Faeron may choose to play along, but is not actually influenced by the roll in game terms.

Since I am striking these rolls from being in-game effects, Passio may take his full round as normal.

Proceed, Passio! Your turn has arrived!


INITIATIVE COUNT:

Corbyn
Passio
Faeron
Samara
Jace
Mai
Auntie Baltwin

Corbyn Osric wrote:

"Choose your actions carefully Auntie Baltwin. I should warn you that I dispense a very perverted brand of justice."

Spellcraft check to determine what spell Auntie Baltwin is in the process of casting.: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (7) + 1 = 8

You are unable to determine what spell Baltwin is casting; she is within your threatening reach, but is backing away defensively as she does so.

The Spellcraft check to identify a spell as it is being cast requires no action; it is your turn and you may take your normal suite of actions, Corbyn.


General Eldon Gorski wrote:
Greetings all. Received a PM to head over this way, and I must say it's pretty awesome that you all continued on! Even though I had troubles getting posts in last game, I loved reading it all! I'd love to join in if still possible.

Throw yourself in any way you see fit! Actually, a General's arrival right about now could be hugely beneficial, as the aristocrats have suddenly found themselves in a bit of a tight spot!


Auntie Baltwin shrieks as Faeron hoists her up on his shoulder.

"Put me down, you filthy creature! Guards! Guards! Someone help me!

She wriggles fearfully, trying to break loose from Faeron's grip.

CMB:1d20 - 1 ⇒ (20) - 1 = 19

The crone manages to pull herself free, and drops to the floor! Cursing and spitting, she begins to chant, making arcane gestures with her withered hands as the mackerel tabby buzzes up and hisses!

Rrrrroollll initiative!

Auntie Baltwin's Initiative: 1d20 - 3 ⇒ (5) - 3 = 2


The island suddenly begins to shift and shudder; the throes are not strong enough to herald an earthquake, but it is sudden, sharp, disconcerting.

From the coral shelf just outside the tide, giants arise.

The monstrosities are disgusting; ragged, sea-soaked, crab-torn grey flesh gapes in places, revealing scrimshawed clockwork internals. Eight of them stand tall, each towering over the trees, water sliding from them; pieces of meat and coral cascade down from the expressionless forms.

Each one opens a toothless, tongueless, gaping maw, and Baron Eichorn Von Ryuko's voice booms simultaneously from all points of the compass, issuing forth from the disgusting creatures.

"DID YOU FOOLS REALLY THINK THAT THOSE FEW PALTRY TRAPS WERE ALL THE PRESENTS I LEFT FOR YOU? DID YOU THINK I COULD NOT SEE YOU, SCURRYING UNDER MY WRATH AS ANTS SCURRY UNDER THE BOOT? DID YOU REALLY THINK YOU ESCAPE ME, ME, WHO SHOT DOWN THAT IDIOT DRAGON?"

The giants begin to slowly, inexorably, grind towards the shore in unison, maws still gaping wide, Ryuko's grating voice still echoing throughout the island.

"RANDOM CHANCE DID NOT BRING YOU TO MY ISLAND, AND YOU DARE TO THINK THAT YOU CAN STOP MY PLANS? YOU PALTRY FEW? YOU THINK DESTROYING MY REPLICAS WILL SOMEHOW HALT THE STORM? YOU THINK YOU CAN ESCAPE YOUR PASTS BY ESCAPING ME?"

His hideous laughter washes over the island, amplified eightfold.

"NONE OF YOU SHALL LEAVE THIS ISLAND ON THAT WONDERFULLY REPAIRED AIRSHIP. THE ONLY THINGS THAT SHALL FLY ARE MY CARBON COPIES! NOW, DO BEHAVE NICELY AND DIE, AS YOU WERE ALWAYS FATED TO DO HERE!"

The mouths of the dead giants clap shut, and, with the grinding of gears, sixteen fists are raised over massive heads.


"I do not consent to this search!" Baltwin screeches wildly. "You have no right to do this! I have tried to assuage your fears enough! If you do not leave me and my home be, I shall have Miltivus call the guards! I'll stop drinking so much, and you can take that worthless medicine back to the temple, but just get out of here already!"

The old woman looks around at the party with wild eyes, while the mackerel tabby hisses in protest.


I'm finding it very interesting to read, myself. It's really enjoyable to me to see all the different traits that were hinted at in Doug's game actually coming out in the story.

Plus, it's giving me all kinds of hooks to bury into THE PLAN for when that actually surfaces. :)

(Yes, I am around, and yes, there is THE PLAN. I haven't posted in the Gameplay thread because quite frankly y'all don't need me to jump in just yet. You're doing great on your own!)


Mai Lin wrote:
Mai watches the crone bluster, assessing her words and appearance.[dice=Sense Motive]1d20+8

Spoiler:

While Auntie Baltwin is telling the truth, she is lying about her motivations, and she is still hiding something.


Mai Lin wrote:
"It? Oh no, honorable lady, them! We have triplets! We may be able to come pick them up in a few years, just when they are old enough to be useful. They are a little sickly now, but I'm sure your tender care will bring them to health."

Auntie Baltwin begins to puff up, and a retort is readily apparent upon her lips, until...

Faeron Tathviel wrote:
Intimidate: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (14) + 6 = 20"Given my current feelings towards you, neighbor, I would recommend thinking about telling me the truth, and ALL of it. I would rather enjoy seeing every sordid little detail of your life dragged into the light of the Silver Crusade. So please. Oblige me."
Corbyn Osric wrote:
Corbyn walks up beside Faeron and stares Auntie Baltwin directly in the eye. Intimidate: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (9) + 5 = 14

Confronted by Faeron and Corbyn, Auntie Baltwin seems to completely deflate, all of her bluster gone. All of the cats flee the room save one, a mackerel tabby that twines anxiously around the old woman's legs.

Spellcraft or Knowledge Arcana DC15:

Spoiler:
The mackerel tabby is obviously a familiar.

"How... oh, curses! I've been taking care of sick children for 30 years! 30 YEARS! You think those piddly donations these so-called 'charities' make puts any kind of dent in that whatsoever? Yes, I hired out the older and healthier children, and yes, I sell some of the donations on the black market down at the docks. Some of the medicines, they're worth more in gold than they are worth here. I needed the money they made! And yes, I drink. Wouldn't YOU?"

She looks up pleadingly at Faeron and Corbyn.

"I'm sorry that I was rude to you, but you are snooping in my home! If the blighted Silver Crusade wanted to help, they'd send more than these silly baskets of medicine!"

She then regains a slight amount of her former arrogance, though it is tinged with fear.

"You can't take me away, anyway! Who would take care of the children if you did? That senile fool across the street? Miltivus, who can barely manage his own market? One of you oh-so-busy snoopy folk? So take the damn medicine back to the temple. Tell them whatever you wish, but leave me be!"


Passio Tempesta-Nato wrote:


"The children, sir! The children!"

The old man's Sense Motive: 1d20 - 4 ⇒ (19) - 4 = 15

The footman's Sense Motive: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (4) + 6 = 10

Really, dice? The senile guy sees through this? Okay then...

The old man harrumphs. "I wasn't talking to you, fancy-pants. You're not nearly as entertaining as the magician here!" he says, watching Samara's coin trick avidly. "I don't have a problem with Baltwin's kids! She usually leaves them behind when she comes over to gamble with me!"

Samara No'lien wrote:
"Tada."

The old man lets forth a high-pitched laugh at the conclusion of Samara's act, and even the footman almost cracks a smile.

"Fantastic, young man, just fantastic! My name's Master Trebb, you may have heard of me, been throwing up buildings around Absalom for 50 years! This is more fun than gambling!"

He then leans forward in his chair, peering near-sightedly at Samara and Passio.

"Say, you two remind me of them folks that sometimes come around to give Baltwin money. Of course, they're usually sneakier about it. And they don't cheat at dice! But she's nice anyway. Even if she does cheat, I guess, and even if I don't know why those young fellas from the docks sometimes come around at night to give her money."

He blinks, then turns to the footman.

"Who are these people?" he whispers loudly.

The footman rolls his eyes again, then finally speaks for the first time in a deep voice.

"I am sorry, Master Passio, Mistress Elf. It is time for Master Trebb's...nap."

He surreptitiously motions towards the gate, even as Master Trebb begins to snore loudly.


Jace Mercier wrote:
"I am a cleric of Caydean, I know you think me a meddler in your affairs. But believe me I see into your heart. You are a good woman aren't you? You wish to help these children, but it is so hard. I understand, they disrespect you. The nobles they disparage you and don't fulfill you're children's needs. We...I can help you. I can see how much you wish to help these children, despite the problems that have driven you to Caydeans bounty and I can help you."

Auntie Baltwin sighs, her bloodshot eyes tearing up.

"It's hard, with all these young 'uns. No one wants 'em, and they take so much care... no one but me seems to give a d*mn about their welfare. The drink...it's a comfort, yes. If that makes me unfit for charity, then so be it, but please, don't let my problems hurt these poor children."

Sense Motive DC10:

Spoiler:
Auntie Baltwin is not telling the whole truth.

Sense Motive DC15:

Spoiler:
Auntie Baltwin is too eager to admit to her alcoholism; it seems like she is copping to it in order to satisfy your curiosity.

Sense Motive DC20:

Spoiler:
Auntie Baltwin is not lying about her alcoholism, but she is most certainly admitting to her alcoholism in the hopes that you are satisfied; she is obviously hiding other, more serious, transgressions.

Before she has a chance to continue, another loud pounding at the front door interrupts the conversation.

"What now?!" Auntie Baltwin snaps, throwing the door open to reveal Mai Lin and Corbyn Osric.

"Oh. Great. Now the parents of half-breeds want me to take their spawn in too. Let me guess. The other children call it Pig, right?" she sneers.


Mai Lin wrote:
Mai nods briskly at Corbyn's words. "Well-spoken wisdom is always welcome. I will wear this so as not to attract undue attention, no matter how ill it may look. My thanks."

Miltivus smiles. "They actually suit you fairly well, miss. Thank you for the patronage!"

Mai Lin wrote:
"I am sure how the lady paladin would feel about orphans being farmed out to work for profit while the headmistress drinks away the food money and relies on charity for medicine! My assessment for this mission is complete. I will give her nothing of this charity if it will be misdirected."

"Wait, what?!" Miltivus exclaims. "I knew the old lady was hiring out the kids, but I didn't know she was soliciting medicine donations! I thought the fees she charged for the labor of the older and healthier ones was paying for the medicines for the sick ones!"


Samara No'lien wrote:
Samara watches the footman, and then looks towards Passio with a 'I hope we do not get eaten by undead' look, but follows after the footman once he beckons, eyes downcast as she wanders along with her arms crossed tightly.
Passio Tempesta-Nato wrote:

Passio watches impassively as the gate opens almost immediately after his rather exaggerated announcement. He leans in close to Samara and whispers, "I admit...I didn't think that would work."

Then with a bright smile and a confidant step, he enters the dilapidated grounds. He and Samara disappear from easy view as the gate creaks shut behind them.

Perception DC10:

Spoiler:

While the grounds themselves are obviously ill-tended, the manse is constructed of well-cut and well-seated stone; it is quite obviously a very professionally-built home.

The footman leads Passio and Samara through the blighted grounds towards the manse; a large porch overlooks the 'garden', and a truly ancient man sits in a wheeled chair, covered by a blanket despite the afternoon warmth. He peers nearsightedly at the pair while the footman ascends the steps to whisper in his ear.

"Eh? Eh? Visitors, you say? What? An appointment with a magician? Did I ask for a magician? Well, I must have, since he's here!" the old man says in an overly loud voice, pointing a crooked finger at Samara.

"Heh! Well, magician? Why did I make an appointment with you?"

The footman looks at the finger pointing at the elf, looks at Passio, and rolls his eyes behind his master's back, maintaining his previous silence.


Jace Mercier wrote:

"My dear lady! I am the Conte of Montaire, I have been sent here as an act of charity. Something you know all about."

"Now we are coming in."
"Of course the lady from the temple sent us Madam. You don't look well cold is not good for old bones. Let us get you indoors and on with your duties."
Diplomacy 1d20 + 6

The little crone is obviously unimpressed by Jace's display. "You must be some kind of arrogant little lordling, true, to be thinking you can just barge in on an old woman's home like this!"

She does, however, finally give way, allowing Jace and Faeron grudgingly into the waiting room; it is a dusty room with ancient furniture, and several cats lounge about.

Perception DC10:

Spoiler:

There is a sideboard by a chaise with several empty alcohol bottles.

Heal DC12:

Spoiler:

Auntie Baltwin's hands begin to shake as she looks at the empty bottles; her bloodshot eyes and the broken vessels in her nose are clear indicators of alcoholism, and she appears to be going through withdrawals as you continue to delay her.

"So, the people up at the temple are sending nasty little nobles and elves to do their bidding, now, eh? Tell me, why are you really here? People like you, you don't just run errands."

Auntie Baltwin: Sense Motive DC201d20 + 8 ⇒ (11) + 8 = 19

However, she seems to relax slightly even as she asks the question, and shakes her head.

"Na, they probably just called in favors. Maybe I'm just being a suspicious old biddy. Look, I don't need any help around here of your sort. I just need that medicine. I'll answer your questions, but please, make it quick."


In Miltivus' Market:

Mai Lin wrote:
"You wouldn't happen to have a simple traveler's outfit for someone of my stature, would you? People seem to think I dress oddly. Perhaps a change of clothing is in order. And how much can an orphan's day labor cost? I wouldn't pay more than a copper a week!"

"Sure, miss. There's some sturdy broadcloth wardrobes in the back room there. One gold should about cover it. Take your pick, and you can change in there too."

Corbyn Osric wrote:
"I'll have one of your finest please."

Miltivus smiles at the half-orc. "Certainly! I have this fine Varisian wine, just come in! It's an excellent red vintage, 10 gold for the bottle or 1 gold for a glass."

At the Orphanage:

Jace Mercier wrote:
"Oh my dear lady, I am astounded. I thought you might have needed help....especially after the late unpleasantness. But if you do not wish help from a brother of Caydean? I have heard how overworked a lady such as your self is, I visited many an orphanage and orphan in my Duchy.....none created by me. I would have thought you would need some help with the heavy lifting, a lady like yourself should not be used to such."

Auntie Baltwin's face begins to turn purple, accentuating the broken vessels in her nose and the watery, bloodshot eyes. "You. Are wasting. My. Time. If you're not here from the temple, shoo! If you ARE here from the temple, give me my package and get yerself off of my doorstep!" She is obviously ignoring the angry elf.

At the Manor:

Passio Tempesta-Nato wrote:
"Hulloo! The Magnificent Mancini of Marvelous Magical Mysteries has come for his appointment!"

At Passio's call, the gate swings creakingly open, revealing an ill-tended lawn and garden. A footman stands just inside the wall, tall, pale, silent, and garbed entirely in black. He stares unblinkingly at Passio and Samara before beckoning them into the blighted grounds.


Mai Lin wrote:
"I didn't see any kids when we got here. Isn't the orphanage nearby?" I'm surprised not to see any children running around. You should hire some to help you. That will keep them busy and teach them the rewards of hard work."

"Oh, the prices Baltwin charges to hire out the kids are too steep for me," Miltivus replies matter-of-factly. "You don't see any around right now because the healthy ones all got day jobs. Don't need any of 'em here, anyway; I'm all this store needs! So, did you need anything else? Some supplies, more drinks perhaps?"


Mai Lin wrote:
"Auntie Baltwin? Of yonder orphanage? Surely she cannot out-drink a warhorse?"

Miltivus laughs. "The horse is drinking ale. Auntie Baltwin calls that 'a light breakfast'. She's kept me dealing in whiskey these past 30 years. A good spender she is, but she's nasty and rude, and them kids and cats of hers get into just about everything."

He shrugs.

"What can you do though?"


Mai Lin wrote:
"Oh. Oh my. Turin is here,"

"Errrh...sure... erh.. that'll be two silver..." Miltivus says, obviously bemused at the thought of drawing a bucket of ale for a horse. He quickly shrugs it off, though, as Mai Lin re-enters.

"Well, I'll have to make sure to get more from my supplier before Auntie Baltwin comes around again, make no mistake!" he says with a chuckle.

Jace Mercier wrote:
"We have been sent here about a charitable mission. I believe you have been having trouble recently. You have been having trouble with your charges? I am here to help you. May I come in?"

The crone sneers. "Well, if you're meaning you're here with my medicine from the temple, hand it over, child, and be on yer way. The children are needing it! And no, you can't come in. I'm a busy woman raising foundlings! I don't have time for nosy adventurers!"

Faeron Tathviel wrote:
"Asking for an apple would likely be ill-advised, I presume?"

Aunti Baltwin snorts. "And asking for anything from elves and Pathfinders is like pulling teeth, so you're the worst of two lots. I'm a busy woman! If you're here with the medicine, complete your charge, sir, and be on your way!"


Faeron Tathviel wrote:
"How lucky for my kind's children, neighbor."

The crone puffs up, full of bluster, and begins to snap back at the tall elf until . . .

Jace Mercier wrote:
"Milady, I heard you were the proprietress of this establishment? Never fear we don't wish to sell you anything! I am Jace Mercier."

She grunts in response. "I'm Auntie Baltwin, child. What do you and your pointy-eared friend here want?"

Mai Lin wrote:
"Our thanks, Master Miltivis. We are looking for a quiet place to sit and have a drink for a time. Is there a table in the corner we might take? Also, er... we have been instructed to buy a drink for the warhorse, Turin. But there is water in the trough... do horses drink other than water?"

The fat man laughs. "Well, here's as good a place as any. Why don't you and your friends take a seat at the counter there and I'll serve you. As to the horse, there's water in the trough, and I don't know much else most horses like!"

Corbyn Osric wrote:
"You speak my language Miltivis. Are your greetings so polite with all of your customers?"

He turns from Mai to Corbyn. "It's a poor shopkeep what don't make his customers feel welcome! So, what brings you folks by today?" he asks, as he peers curiously at the strange female elf hiding in the corner, as well as the gentleman standing outside in apparent commune with a donkey.


Samara, Mai, and Corbyn:

The man in the apron smiles broadly as you approach with the animals.

"Hello, friends! I'm Miltivis! You can tie your animals at this trough here," he says, indicating the item in question. "Please, come in! I have all your basic necessities, plus some wayfarer's supplies, since you look like that type. Also, we carry some varieties of liquor if you're just looking for a drink!"

Faeron:

Your knock on the door is answered by, to put it bluntly, a haggard old crone. The small, bent woman is obviously blind in one eye and is missing several teeth; the rest are rotten. Her thinning, gray hair is pulled back into a severe bun, and she sneers up at you as she speaks.

"Eh? Eh? What do you want, elf? I don't take in your kinds' children; they grow too slow. Well?"


I won't spoiler this, because anyone wishing to take 10 to examine the street will be able to determine this information.

You and your party are standing in what amounts to a cul-de-sac. The Market is on the corner of the main thoroughfare and this side street. The entire west side of the street is taken up by the estate and mansion; the east side boasts the Orphanage and two other, smaller, houses. As you peer into the open doors and windows of the Market, you can see a counter with what appears to be bottles of various alcohols behind it, along with the usual staple goods; grain, produce, and the like.

The east side of the street is surprisingly quiet for boasting an orphanage. Several cats meander aimlessly around the big, wooden, dilapidated structure, and despite it being the middle of the day, no children are in evidence.


Madame Solstdat stands in front of her shop, arm around her calling boy, one fist filled with gold coins. She watches silently as the party re-organizes itself in the street and moves off to its destination.

The businesses of the Coins eventually give way to the residences of Eastgate. Most of the houses on the main thoroughfare are well-kept, some even with small patches of flower gardens, and the cobbled streets are bordered by surprisingly clean gutters. Economic prosperity is indicated by construction: a workman's house is whitewashed wood, while a more upscale abode might be well-cut stone.

As the group approaches Auntie Baldwin's Home for Recovery, talking quietly amongst themselves, the nature of Eastgate changes. The gutters are more filled with refuse, and fewer stone manses dot the neighborhoods. The clothing of pedestrians shifts from silks and satins to broadcloth.

The Home for Recovery lies on a side street, branching to the north from the main road you have been following. At the entrance to the side street stands Miltivis' Market, while the Home for Recovery and two other houses occupy the east side. Across from these humble houses lies a large, odd stone house on a small estate; it is surrounded by a four-foot wall and gated at the road.

As the party passes the Market, a portly man with a badly-trimmed mustache standing at the door waves a hello. He is wearing a stained apron and is clearly the proprietor of the establishment.


Nothing specific from my end! Knock yourselves out. :)


The woman pulls herself away from Jace, shrieking as Passio inadvertently lights a fire. She cowers away from the group, babbling hysterically.

"Please! I didn't do anything! Oh Sarenrae, save me! She comes in and buys dresses from me all the time! She was watching all of you, then when that horse went crazy she told me if I said anything she'd kill me and bolted out the back! I don't want to die! I don't want my store to burn down! WHO ARE YOU PEOPLE?! JUST GET OUT!"


The shopkeeper makes a strangled peeping noise and drops the cloth at Jace's feet, rushing over to the opened back door anxiously. She pushes against Mai, trying to see past her, showing no comprehension of Mai's Tian babble.

The alleyway is as empty as an alley gets. Other shops's back doors are rowed down each side, all shut firm.


Madame Solstdat bgins to pull a bolt of cloth from a rack, eyes gleaming, to show to Jace until she notices Mai moving towards the rear door.

"Oh no, dearie, that door just leads to the alley. Please, won't you look at this fine brocade your companion here has chosen particularly for his friend? It is a quite fine piece!"


The building is stuffed with textiles of all kinds, from cotton and linen to silk and satin. It seems to specialize in simple bolts of cloth rather than in finished goods.

Perception DC15 check (Jace and Mai have already passed and do not need to roll again):

Spoiler:

You entered through the door to the street; another unlocked door is at the back of the shop. There are a couple of windows, all too small for a normal person to fit through and quite dusty.

The shopkeeper smiles broadly as she enters her shop with you.
"My name's Misha Solstdat, and I'm happy to help you today! What can I show you? Bolts of fine red silks, perhaps?"

Sense Motive DC15 (Jace and Mai have already passed and do not need to roll again):

Spoiler:

She seems eager to keep you distracted, but not malicious.


She seems genuine, if a bit odd.


As Mai Lin strides purposefully towards the textile shop, the proprietor comes bustling out to meet her. She is a plump, flowery-smelling woman with graying hair, and she is wearing a wide smile.

"Welcome, welcome! Please, please, do come in! I have some excellent silks, just imported, that I am sure you will love!"

She shoos away her calling boy and tries to usher Mai into the shop.


Samara, please make a DC10 Ride check to avoid falling from your precarious perch. Faeron, you have no trouble staying in the saddle, but please make a DC10 Ride check to grant Samara a +2 Aid bonus to her Ride check.


The road to the Eastgate District leads you through the Coins; the entire district is dedicated to mercantilism, and the street vendors you have seen in other quarters pale in comparison to the shops' edifices that greet you here. Smithing wares, pottery, and carpenter's wares predominate, and it seems as if every shop has an urchin on the payroll to try to lure you into the door.

Make another Perception check, please.
Perception DC15:

Spoiler:
A human woman with an odd, almost otherworldly, cast to her features and a disgusting sneer ducks into the doorway of a textile shop, just barely too late for you to notice.

If you pass the Perception check, please also make a Sense Motive roll.
Sense Motive DC15:
Spoiler:
The woman was most certainly watching the party with ill intent.


Mai Lin wrote:
"Eastgate district extends our planned 'arc' by quite a bit. Lady Zadrian, is this an immediately urgent mission, or would we have time to attend to a couple of small matters nearby? The other matters can wait if need be, never fear."

Lady Zadrian regards the small woman coolly.

"If I did not feel it urgent, Pathfinder, I would send one of the Temple Acolytes to attend to this diversion rather than you. The sooner you finish this errand and report your findings to me, the sooner you can focus on your other matters."


Jace Mercier wrote:


"The Silver Crusade, what do they do other than charitable works? Is it for Sarenrae alone?" Jace asks.

The paladin smiles. "No, any of good faith can join the Silver Crusade. Our purpose is to ensure that the power of the Society is used for the good of all, and not just the Pathfinders themselves. We vehemently oppose any who would pursue purely glory to the detriment of the Society or to the people of Golarion."

Corbyn Osric wrote:
"I'm sure Plod will not mind the extra burden. Its what I bought him for and he does it better than any other."

Lady Zadrian relinquishes the parcel to Corbyn, and watches carefully as he stows it in Plod's saddlebags. She is obviously uncomfortable with his taciturn nature.

Passio Tempesta-Nato wrote:

"Hail, Lady Zadrian! I am Passio Mancini. I also have taken up the cause of the Silver Crusade. I am excited to meet you!" Passio pumps Ollysta's hand enthusiastically with a big grin.

"I am honored to be able to be a part of your goodworks."

She returns the sorcerer's handshake with gusto. "Excellent! We are always in need of others willing to serve a cause greater than themselves. If you need assistance in the future, please, do not hesitate to ask."

Samara Nolien wrote:
"I will keep my ears and eyes open for any rumours."

"That is exactly what I would like you to do," the Lady replies, cocking her head and frowning slightly at Samara's strange mannerisms. "Thank you for your diligence."

Faeron Tathviel wrote:
"A pleasure Mistress Ollysta, I am Faeron."

"A pleasure as well," she replies. "By your horse and bearing, I assume you to be Ordered. Go in peace, brother."

She then steps back, regarding the party as a whole, and nods in satisfaction.

"Now, then, Pathfinders, if there are no other questions, please attend the matter at hand. You will find the Orphanage in the Eastgate District, next to Militivis' Market. Fare you all well."


Though she notices the frown, Lady Zadrian still inclines her head politely to the Tian Xian.

"Our purpose in sending you is twofold, Pathfinder. First, we obviously wish the medicine, which is provided by the charity of the members of the Silver Crusade and by the worshippers of this temple in Her Light, to arrive safely."

She takes the package from her sycophant and dismisses her, then turns and lowers her voice.

"I shall not revel in hearsay, but we also wish you to determine whether the rumors we hear of Auntie Baltwin's Orphanage are true. I would recommend that you younglings make haste to the Eastgate District and...stir the rumor mill, shall we say? I am sorry, but I cannot say that I know more with any certainty of the Orphanage, and I must not pass on untruths."


Despite further efforts to the contrary, the possible threat has receded into the crowd with no trace as the Pathfinders enter the Ascendant Court. This quarter of Absalom is markedly different from the Foreign Quarter: the buildings are primarily edificed in gleaming marble, decorative columns abound, and it appears as though each building is striving to look as though it is a temple, a government building, or both. The rough cobblestones have become smooth, beautifully laid, and incredibly expensive masonry, often decorated with Absalom's crest.

The wide boulevard leads to the Temple of the Shining Star, your destination. This grand temple is dedicated to Sarenrae, and Her emblem shines proudly from above the entrance. A wide series of stairs lead up to the great central doors; however, as your group approaches, several priests and priestesses clustered by the entrance notice your appearance and part.

From their midst strides an armored woman with the grace and poise of a warrior...or a queen. She is young, and her unhelmeted visage is plain, but seems to shine with grand purpose. As she approaches, she breaks into a wide grin, running her gauntleted hand through short-clipped hair.

"Hail, Pathfinders!" she says, shaking each of your hands firmly in turn.

"My name is Ollysta Zadrian, and thank the Light of Sarenrae you have arrived! I knew Ambrus would come through for us in the Silver Crusade. I desperately need you to bring medicine to an orphanage and let me know if the headmistress, Gilga Baltwin, is deserving of our charity."

She begins to pace, frowning thoughfully to herself.

"Since our quest began, the needy have clamored for our aid, and I suspect some are abusing our generosity. It may sound cruel, but there are plenty of dishonest people out in the world eager for easy gold."

She then stops, appraising each one of you in turn.

"Do you know of the Silver Crusade? After discovering so many factions splintered the Society, a number of us banded together to proliferate the cause of charity and kindness using the Society’s resources. As it is said, ‘The Dawn brings new Light’, and I’ve made it my life’s work to use our recent darkness to bring a new light to the world and to the Pathfinder Society."

She gives herself a little shake and chuckles, then beckons to one of the priestesses, who bows and moves forward bearing a heavily wrapped packet.

"I apologize for straying off point. Will you bring this parcel of medicine to Auntie Baltwin’s Home for Recovery in the Eastgate district?"


As the aristocrats begin to assess the docking pad from the ballroom, the true extent of Ryuko's wrath becomes readily apparent. The bombardment was random, desultory, yet devastating even in its brevity. Giant, smoking craters dot the pad along with shards and fragments of collapsed hangars. Gigus' Tattered Flame is a completely unsalvageable wreck; a direct hit from a massive airborne artillery shell carved the airship in two and gutted it with incendiaries.

Shells also fell beyond the limits of the pad; the formerly pristine island has felt the brutality of the shelling. Trees are splintered and blown down, while great trenches have been carved into the soil.

In the distance, Ryuko's airship is a rapidly receding speck in the sky, the cannons roaring in anger periodically, as if giving voice to the madman's rage still.


This is a perfect opportunity for you guys to flesh the scenery out a bit more.

Feel free to use Cassie's random table for the condition of your airship if you wish.

However, if you'd prefer your airship was completely destroyed by Ryuko's bombardment or survived mostly unscathed, that is your call.

In addition, as the aristocrats leave the ballroom, feel free to describe the surroundings, building off of what has already been put in place.


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update later today! Stay tuned. :)


The streets of the Foreign Quarter are awash with peoples from all over the Inner Sea. A Qadiran merchant cries at passersby from his awning-covered stall to sample his perfumes. An Osirian, draped in finery, uses a fan to gently spread the smell of his spices over the street. Children of all races scramble through the crowd, laughing and batting at one another with sticks.

The crowd parts reluctantly around the Pathfinders as the combined bulk of warhorse and donkey help clear a path, only to close back in behind the group. It is a riot of sound, a cacophony of colors, as you follow the main throughway from the Foreign Quarter to the Ascendant Court, where The Temple of the Shining Star, dedicated to the glory of Sarenrae, lies.

Everyone make a Perception check please. Masters, make a Perception for your animals as well.

DC15 Passed:

Spoiler:

You feel as if someone is watching you... and you catch sight of an ill-clad halfling, an angry look on his small face, watching your party from the mouth of an alley before a swirl of people break your view. When they pass, he is gone.

DC15 Passed by Plod:

Spoiler:

The donkey whickers softly at Corbyn, his nostrils flared and his ears laid back. The animal cocks his head slightly at an alleyway, but it is difficult to determine through the crowd what has spooked Plod.

DC15 Passed by Turin:

Spoiler:

The huge horse suddenly grits his teeth and snorts, pointing his head towards an alleyway despite any tugging at his reins. He stomps a forefoot meaningfully against the cobblestones, his eyes narrowed.


As the smoke from the destroyed construct and the fired pistol drifts about the ballroom, twining itself around the stunned aristocrats, Baron Eichorn von Ryuko suddenly begins screeching.

"CURSE ALL OF YOU! You fools cannot even follow simple rules! This was easy, so blooming easy! All you had to do was choose! But noooo, you all had to try and play the high road, as if any of you, ANY OF YOU, can boast clean hands! YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT YOU HAVE DONE! YOU IDIOTS!"

Ryuko whirls and runs from the balcony, and you can hear an airship, his airship, starting its engines, and the massive BOOM of its cannons as it lifts away; the Baron had obviously been prepared for this eventuality. The shells land not on the ballroom, but amongst the other airships in a hurricane of destruction.

The aristocrats are left standing in the ballroom. The servants have fled as their master did.


Corbyn Osric wrote:


Corbyn walks up to the Chamberlain.

"I apologize Chamberlain. I am much more comfortable having Plod at my side rather than in the stables. With your permission I'd like to keep him close rather than return him. I will assume responsibility for Plod at any cost."

The Chamberlain scowls, but grudgingly acquiesces with a bow of his head.

"Just as long as you know that any damage that animal causes is your responsibility, Pathfinder! Including dung stains!"

The Chamberlain takes his leave, huffing to himself.

Don't worry about it!


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You can hear the Chamberlain yelling outside of the foyer.

"What kind of stable boys are you? How did that donkey make it all the way from the stables to the foyer of the Venture-Captain's office? Well, it's too late now, he found his master, but you'd better not let another animal just come wandering into the Grand Lodge or you'll be cleaning ship holds down at the docks!"


Meows, what you'll have to do before I send out the chronicle sheets is go My Account -> Pathfinder Society -> Edit -> Register a New Character and copy/pasta Samara over. It's the same problem Doug and Treppa ran into.

Don't worry about it for now. Just keep posting and playing and having fun. :) I'll give you a heads up when I'm about to start filling out the Chronicle sheets so you can get Samara ported.

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