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Sense Motive Again: 1d20 ⇒ 4
"Wait here, I'll go tell Kossrani you're here." he says, briskly walking into the back office. A few minutes later, a muscular dwarf dressed in armor emblazoned with the star of Asmodeus emerges from the back office area. His hair is a fiery red, and his beard reaches down nearly to his waist. He looks over the group with the dispassionate stare of a practiced killer.
"Mister Vashnarstill, I presume. I hear you're in the market for some salt."
Lou looks at Corian with a sneer. "Naw, I'd say he's about average for one of you lot. I just ain't fond of him, that's all."
"Lou isn't fond of much of anyone except barmaids, and that's only if they're bringing him a pint." adds the younger man.
Inside the building, you see a large round drying chamber to the right, and an open area with a few scattered tables and a broken wagon. Men are playing cards at one of the tables, but pause to look up at you when you step inside. One of the men, a tall, broad-shouldered Tiefling with broken horns, addresses you.
"What's your business here?"
The worker doesn't exactly look up, but he nods and jerks his head towards the entrance. He appears to be in his 40s with a stout, heavy build, barrel chest, and thick fingers. A greasy black moustache covers most of his mouth.
"You'll be wantin' to speak with Kossrani, he's in charge now, 'ol Scaletti weren't payin' his taxes and the Thrunes came for him a few weeks ago. Dumb sod tried to fight off the Dottari, gut himself split right down the middle. Now Kossrani runs this place." he says, huffing while he and his partners lug another load of wet salt down the road. He pauses for a moment to rest.
"You can't miss him, he's a dwarf, red hair and beard, Asmodean. Kind of an a%@$%!#, really."
"Don't let him hear you say that, Lou" says one of the other men, a younger, lanky man with scruffy whiskers.
"If that bloody dwarf don't like what I got to say he can lug this salt up here by his damn self!" says the first man, and he turns to spit, as if to emphasize his point before picking up the load again.
Arriving at the Salt Works by day, you find an aging, salt-stained building just outside the "Salt Gate" in Old Kintargo. As it is still daytime, workers are present, transporting wet salt from the brine springs to the South into the salt works for processing. If the workers notice your group (and your weapons), they appear to be keeping it to themselves, averting their eyes from your gaze and keeping a respectful distance.
Morrigan's Detect Magic spell, after a period of reflection, reveals a dim magical aura surrounding the paper.
Corian's Sift reveals no additional details (Sift is used to closely examine things that are far away; it's not much help when you're close enough to examine normally, I'm afraid).
Rexus frowns. "Well, I guess that leaves us with heat and lemon juice."
The night's watches pass largely without incident; Morgar is initially reluctant to being sequestered in the Wasp's Nest, but remains cowed by Wilhelm's intimidating presence.
Faint pipe music is heard during the night, but searches for the culprit are unsuccessful. In the morning, Rexus looks in on your group, looking a bit perplexed.
"So, it's a little weird, but I've found an odd discrepancy in these papers that I've been trying to decode. This paper here..." he says, holding up a sheet of richly textured vellum that appears completely blank, "...doesn't match any of the rest of the papers, and I can't find anything written on it either. It makes no sense; everything in that coffer had a purpose, but this...it just doesn't match. How did it get in there?"
Morgar shrinks away from Wilhelm's withering gaze, his mouth trembling as he stumbles for a reply. Bacon bares his teeth at the man menacingly.
"Someone was killed? Oh no, I never wanted for...look, there's this voice, I know it sounds crazy, but there's a voice down here that speaks to me sometimes, last time it was a rat, and it won't leave me alone until I do what it says..."
Over the course of the next day or two, you approach each of the Silver Ravens' supporters to have Bacon sniff them and compare with the scrap of cloth. The process is long, and a bit awkward, but with delicate care (please elect someone to make a Diplomacy check) you can smooth things over with everyone and convey how important this is to group security.
Near the end of the second day, Bacon squeals accusingly at a young man named Morgar Manthai. He chuckles and pats the pig on the head.
"Hahaha, he must smell my lunch on my hands. Everyone loves my mom's garlic sauce!"
If you intend to interrogat Morgar, please make a separate diplomacy or intimidate check.
After a thorough search of the Wasp's Nest, the group finds no hidden assailant, but you do take note of the following:
- An increased number of rats in the area.
- A scrap of clothing near the collapsed wall, likely torn from whoever performed the sabotage.
- A tiny set of pan pipes hidden in a small nest lined with old clothing and straw.
Wilhelm examines the wall, his familiarity with stonework drawing his attention to a group of small markings consistent with stoneworking tools. This would appear to have been caused intentionally.
Meanwhile, Korva lays a hand on Treep's shoulder to comfort her. "Thank you for your offer, Ignati, but we should tend to her ourselves. We will carry her out the back way and burn the body outside of town."
"We came as soon as we heard the crash. We've had some of the Ravens' supporters down here, but I think we're the only ones down here right now--"
Korva's voice cuts off suddenly as Voreni, aided by Ignati, manages to lift the largest chunks of the rubble away, revealing the crushed remains of Maggie, one of her sisters. Korva, Jay, and Treep choke back their sobs and rush forward to check on her, searching for some sign of life, but it's a lost cause. Maggie is dead.
Ignati quietly asks around about the Saltworks situation; as it turns out, Laria is quite familiar with the situation.
"Yeah, they grabbed Forvian Crowe and his boys about a week ago, got 'em held at the Sallix Salt Works. Forvian is a decent enough guy, and he trains his mercs well - not a bad guy to have as an ally, if you catch my meaning. From what I hear the guards are all mercs as well - no Asmodeans or Dottari there, so I the blowback shouldn't be too bad. Still, I'd be careful if I were you--"
You are both interrupted by the sound of a loud crash that shakes the ground beneath you. Laria vaults over the bar and runs towards the storage cellar.
"That sounds like it came from the Wasp Nest. C'mon!"
Morning finally arrives; sleep wasn't easy in the cramped interior of Zea's flat, so you may want to recover back at the Longroads Cafe.
Ignati does recall the location of the Salt Works, and it's possible that more information could be gathered at the cafe, or through other contacts on the street.
The cafe seems more or less as it has previously, with a bustling morning crowd of students and regulars. Laria smiles broadly when you arrive and greets you, carefully sliding a small envelope to Voreni.
"This came for you; I found it last night while I was cleaning up, it's addressed to the Silver Ravens." she whispers.
When at last you are all rested and can read over the letter together, you find the following:
You are not alone in your fears for the nest we share, but for now, my Flock and I must remain quiet and hidden. The time will soon come when we must meet, but until then, keep building your contacts and resources. Do not rush into opposition against our common enemy. The time to retake Kintargo will come, but to strike too soon will be to lose the war before it even begins. Recruit. Prepare. Remain strong in your patience. We shall speak soon.
-- The Rose of Kintargo
Zea lives in a small, single-room flat in a building that looks like someone converted a single-family house into an apartment building. There is a small stove in the corner, and a small storage area beneath the floorboards act as her pantry. She retrieves a bottle of some type of spirits from the pantry along with a block of hard cheese and offers it to everyone.
"This is uh, just a temporary spot for me. Sorry if the place is a bit of a mess" she says, pouring the liquor into wooden cups and passing a dull knife around along with the cheese.
Once you're all settled in and talking, she begins to answer your questions.
"Shensen? Of course I've heard of Shensen, everyone has! Nobody has seen her in weeks, though. I bet the Thrunies picked her up. Happened to a lot of people, actually. The way I hear it, Barzilai hired mercenaries for a lot of this work, because he doesn't trust all of the Dottari. Those Chelish Citizens Group thugs are always walking around here like they own the place, but they always get scarce after dark. Cowards. Oh, and there's some other group of mercs he hired, I heard they kidnapped some independent mercenaries and have been holding them over at the old Salt Works. I can't imagine why, though."
Back at the makeshift morgue, Zea declines to inspect the child's body, but thanks you all profusely for your help in bringing the killings to an end.
Two less-squeamish Tieflings, who normally burn the bodies here, take the young tieflings remains and, after a brief prayer, place them into the furnace.
Zea then offers to put you all up in her flat until the curfew has expired.
"After all you've done to help us, it'd be a shame if the Dottari got to you on your way home."
Sorry about the lack of updates during the weekend; it was busier than I expected. I can, however, offer the following movie reviews:
Zootopia: Perfect mix of kid-friendly and palatable to adults. Valuable lesson for children regarding the complexities of living in a diverse community and not falling into a pattern of judging other people by stereotypes. Great setting, almost guaranteed to get a sequel.
The Brothers Grimsby: Really, really funny. For love of god, do not take your kids (or your parents, for that matter). Breaks new ground in scatological comedy, if that's you're kind of thing.
Deciphering the runes would require more expertise than even your combined efforts can apply, but it would seem that this child was used in some kind of ritual, perhaps intended to bring these foul creatures into Kintargo. Who would do such a thing, and why, isn't clear. Moreover, the trail appears quite cold.
Anyone examining the area who speaks Aklo may make a Linguistics check.
Sadly, there are many street children in the Devil's Nursery, and few if any are reported to authorities. Upon retrieving the body, you find that Wilhelm's grim prediction was correct: the child is certainly dead, and their body has been carved with strange, alien runes. All of the teeth are missing, and the face is severely disfigured, making identification nearly impossible.
Will save 1: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (6) + 5 = 11
Both fairies fall to the ground, unconscious. Wilhelm easily dispatches one as soon as it falls to the ground, and prepares to finish off the second.
The night seems quiet now, and inspection of the hole reveals a very tight space underneath, no more than 10 feet deep, and never widening more than 5 feet.
A closer investigation of the hole reveals ghoulish patterns on the walls made of teeth of varying sizes; one tooth glitters with the sheen of pure gold. Deep in the hole, at the very tend, is what appears to be a small humanoid, possibly a child or halfling.
Round 2 turn order:
On their turn (should they survive), the fairies will each attempt to steal a tooth from one of the sleeping Silver Ravens (to be randomly determined)
Target 1: 1d100 ⇒ 57
Target 2: 1d100 ⇒ 64
Assuming a 33% chance of Ignati (1-33), Voreni (34-66), or Valleria (67-100), it looks like they'll both be going for Voreni. Save his teeth!
To clarify: Yes, Corian would have detected them; you were already certain that they were inside the hole, however. I apologize for overlooking this.
Corian, Morrigan, and Wilhelm all get to act prior to the Tooth Fairy's action, as their initiative was higher, and you were all prepared for the attack. Ignati and Voreni both go afterwards, and are put to sleep.
As Morrigan approaches, she can see (and hear) one of the remaining Tooth Fairies begin pounding on the illusory wall, his tiny fists passing through harmlessly, causing him to fall over. Behind him, the other survivor sees this and zooms out of the hole.
Initiative: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (4) + 2 = 6
Its wings shimmer in the dim light of the city, and waves of pixie dust envelop the group. Please make will saves.
Chasing the fairies through the twists and turns of the Devil's Nursery, Wilhelm rapidly finds himself lost in an unfamiliar part of the city, but is too focused on the pursuit to take much notice.
Meanwhile, Corian's figurine leads the secondary team of Morrigan, Valleria, and Voreni to join them in the pursuit. What the reunited group finds is a partially-collapsed tavern with a small hole about 5 feet wide leading into what looks like a very tight chamber within (roomy enough for Tooth Fairies, presumably). The fairies were seen rushing inside, and are certainly hiding within.
Do you guys really not have any way to signal each other? Err...remember your figurines?
Wilhelm's spear is just barely able to reach the creatures as they gain height, but he does manage to drop one more. Of the last two remaining, one takes an arrow to the leg from Corian. Wilhelm knows that the creatures will likely not be able to become invisible again for quite some time, so following them should not be too difficult.
Ignati, Wilhelm, and Corian repel the initial charge, with Wilhelm cutting down one as it moved in to attack, and another before the group could retreat, while Ignati quickly dispatched another with two quick thrusts of his rapier.
The five remaining Tooth Fairies squeal in terror and withdraw as fast as their wings can carry them. Wilhelm easily cuts down the remaining fairy that attacked him, and one of Ignati's assailants as well.
The remaining 3 fairies are now ~120 feet from the group.
60% chance of encounter due to failed stealth roll: 1d100 ⇒ 75
Group A's Tooth Fairy encounter chance: 1d100 ⇒ 46
The first night of patrolling ends quietly, with no sign of the vicious fey creatures you seek. Perhaps it is too soon after their last hunting party.
A second night's patrol:
Group A's Tooth Fairy encounter chance: 1d100 ⇒ 4
Without warning, the air shimmers in front of Ignati, Wilhelm, and Corian, and a squadron of eight tiny blue fairies with ragged ears, horrible teeth, and cruel black eyes break into attack groups, their bloody pliers glistening in the night.
Attack group 1 attacks Ignati:
Attack group 2 attacks Wilhelm:
Attack group 3 attacks Corian:
Due to the size of these creatures, each of them will provoke an AoO upon moving into your space to attack. Most of you only get one AoO per round, but Wilhelm is about to have a party ^_^
Ignati suffers 2 points of non-lethal damage, Wilhelm suffers 3 points of non-lethal damage, and Corian suffers 1 point of non-lethal damage as they are all assaulted with pliers.
They must have done something to fix things, I've been able to download several of my books! Well done, Paizo!
Just tried again...still won't go past "personalizing...". going on a full 24 hours now that I've been unable to download anything, including the Hell's Vengeance Player's Guide :(