Only a handful of other Pathfinders, most of them initiates, walk the halls near the office of Venture-Captain Ambrus Valsin.
The Grand Lodge's chamberlain sits behind an organized desk, reading a recently printed chronicle, and tapping his finger on an elaborate open envelope, the only sound in the eerily silent Pathfinder Society headquarters. "Can you believe this place?" Valsin calmly asks, keeping his eyes squared on his chronicle. "Almost every agent worth her salt is off in Varisia right now. I bet you the Heidmarchs' manor has more Pathfinders in it than this place."
Valsin finishes his reading and places the document on the desk, while sliding the envelope forward.
"Desna smiles upon us that I have you fine agents here, as I doubt anyone else in Absalom is better qualified for this mission. I won't lie, this is probably one of the trickiest tasks I've ever had to send a group of Pathfinders on, and much rides on its success. I need you to attend a wedding. And not just any wedding, mind you, but a Blakros wedding."
Valsin looks back at you trying to assess the kind of pathfinders he really has in front of him.
Feel free to give some short presentation or just state the presence of your character in the briefing room
A young dark haired women, who appears to maybe have just come of age recently, sits poised in imitation of nobility upon her chair as she listens to Venture Captain Valsin. She is dressed in a fine green dress embroidered with gold brocade along the cuffs, neckline, and hemline. A jade wayfinder hangs from the sash that is cinched around her waist.
"A wedding and not just any wedding but a noble wedding at that. This must be truly a great affair to include Pathfinder agents amoung the invited guests. I do believe I have heard of the Blackros family. One of them is married to Nigel, the cureator from the museum if I remember correctly."
Knowledge (local): 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (11) + 10 = 21
Knowledge (nobility): 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (4) + 7 = 11
A rather slender medium height elf stands in the corner pretending to not listen to Ambrus Valsin vent. He turns his bright green eyes on the captain as he finishes. "Well, I am glad to be here and will attend the wedding as long as I don't have to get married."[b] [b]"As an elf, I have not attended too many weddings much less noble family weddings. We just pledge our love under the moonlight and that is that."
know local: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (13) + 8 = 21
know nobility: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (7) + 8 = 15
"Do we need a gift or something?
Khouri, a stout dwarf dressed in half-plate with shield and dwarven waraxe, raises a skeptical eye towards the elven wizard. "Abadar smiles on noble weddings, as those deals may carry the fate of many peoples or nation tied to their unions. I would be honored to represent the Society at such a gathering which serves to further proper civilization and opportunity for enrichment for all involved. Including us!" A greedy little glint appears in the dwarf's eye for a moment, soon replace again by the stoicism with which he began this briefing.
A lightly armed male Nagaji bows to the group.
His skin is banded dark and light green.
His serpentine eyes are bight yellow, almost metallic looking.
"My name is Ss'alat. And this is Aashsaa."
A small viper pokes her head out of Ss'alat's shirt and nods to everyone else in the room.
And then slithers back into her hiding place.
"She is rather shy. But intelligent."
He speaks with a pronounced Osiriani accent.
"Forgive me for asking, honoured Captain, but what dangers would a wedding pose?"
"I doubt we would be called upon if it was pure routine."
"I know nothing about the name Blakros, I must admit."
Ambrus coughs at Ss'alat pronouncement "The Blakros family is one of the wealthiest families in Absalom -in the entire Inner Sea region, even- and we've cultivated a good working relationship with them over the years." Ambrus makes a pause and looks Corrella "In two days, Michellia Blakros is getting married to the former Hellknight Damian Kastner, and because of security concerns, we only got our invitation this morning. I won't bore you with specifics, but sufficed to say, the Society has a lot of interest in this wedding, as some of our agents had a hand in helping it along."
"The wedding is taking place on a secluded summer retreat on nearby Pariol Island, which the Blakroses own. There are two boats heading there before the first wedding festivities. One is a small supply runner set to leave in an hour that could get you there early tomorrow morning." Ambrus makes a longer pause for you to think about it, then looks at Khouri "The next is a larger ship that will transport the majority of the guests in the morning. Your travel is paid for of course, but you'll need to get on one of those two vessels. Which one, that I leave for you to decide"
With a grave nod, Valsin passes over the envelope containing the invitation, and continues. "Also, you'll need to peace-bond any weapons when you arrive on the island, and I'd recommend only wearing your finest armor, if you wear any at all. We're not too concerned about security at the wedding, but making a good impression on the Blakroses and their guests is key to your mission."
Finally looking at Giladref Ambrus explains himself "You'll need to mingle, and get on the good sides of as many people as you can. I can't stress this point enough:" Ambrus makes a pause and looks at you grievously, trying to make sure you do understand this point "This is a social gathering, and the Society could really use the extra clout with all our current efforts being so far abroad. I don't care if you save the wedding from a dragon, find out the bride is a doppelganger, or discover some grand plot to take over the Inner Sea-I only care that you leave this wedding having made people happy and improving our standing among the attendees! Are we understood?"
"And regarding your question Giladref, the Society has already sent its present. You are discharged from those duties" he then looks again at you waiting for your answers to the briefing in order to make sure you have understood the main goals and variants.
"I understand Venture Captain. I believe it would be best if we were to larger vessel along with the majority of the other guests that will be in attendance. This will give us a chance to socialize and get to know at least some of the other attendees and also to perhaps get a better sense of who both the bride and groom are as people."[b]
[b]"Thank for having already seen to the gift for the newlyweds. May we know what it is that the Society has given them?"
A gaunt human man with sunken features ambles into the office. "I am Hervey, pleased to meet you all." He doesn't look that pleased about anything.
"It will be good to meet the Blakros family. I attended the recent Solstice event at their museum which was certainly memorable. Tell me, is there anyone else at the wedding we should speak to or try to impress? Besides the Blakros family, I mean? And is there anyone within the Blakros family it would be particularly important to befriend?"
Happy to be playing, thanks for the PM GM! :D I need to update my character with my Solstice Scar chronicle but the site doesn't want to let me save my sheet right now. So I will try again tonight.
"That's an interesting point of view" comments Ambrus in response to Corrella "Taking the fist ship though, would probably allow you to check the island before anyone else arrives"
Ambrus looks serious at the woman "To be frank, I have not been informed. But I do know the Decemvirate has arranged the details of a proper present. They have just preferred to keep it private"
Then turning to Hervey, his face contracted as so often happens to Valsin after a couple of questions "As I said before, this is a highly relevant social event with high class members of Avistan's society and beyond. We do foresee very important people to our goals to participate. I do hope you cause a good impression to them on behalf of the Society, so we can further pursue our goals in the future"
"So now, if there are no more questions, you will perhaps start working and let me do so as well" Ambrus pads a pile of documents on his desk.
You might know or might be able to research later at the Grand Lodge's library more information about the Blackroses
The Blakros family originated in Taldor, and made their initial fortune trading with both Qadira and Taldor during the nations' centuries-long conflict. Today they are one of the most influential families in Absalom and the greater Inner Sea region.
A requirement of marrying into the Blakros family is a dowry of some note. In many circumstances, these dowries are secret to all but the families involved until they are formally presented at the reception.
"There might be 500 people there. Surely there are particular names of folks you want us to concentrate on? Is it just the family? Are there any rivals we should look out for?"
Giladref pummels Capt. Valsin with question hoping one will strike a nerve and get a response.
Corrella gracefully rises from her chair. "Come friends let us be on our way. We have a wedding to prepare ourselves for. Please be sure that you bring along your formal clothing for the event." Corrella exits the office and moves to gather her gear for the trip to the wedding and for the attendance at the wedding itself.
Khouri rushes back to his lodgings and oils and re-braids his beard in the fine manner of his people. He picks out his best non-work clothes that are appropriate for the event without being too ostentatious. He wears his arms and armor for the trip with plans to change to the more formal attire once they arrive and the party begins in earnest.
Once everything is packed and made ready, he sets off for the appointed wharf to catch the appointed boat. Once their he inhales the salt air, refreshed and remind of his own days sailing the waves before being called to the Grand Lodge.
Giladref has traveler's clothes a plenty but nothing nice. He hustles to a tailor within the Society and picks up a courtier's outfit and a signet ring. His amulet should also help adorn him as a guest.
30gp and 5gp provided there is time.
Valsin looks serious at Ss'alat and Giladref "Do you mean you are not aware about Grand Lodge politics?" You do understand by his reluctance, Valsin is also not informed about whom exactly is attending.
Corrella and Hervey show differing opinions about what vessel to catch. You do reallize if taking the first, Giladref and the others would have no time to go shopping as the party will need to hurry up to the docks.
It seems we have a vote for fist vessel and a vote for second one. What do others think?
Giladref will make do with his traveling clothes. They are clean and well maintained. He realizes he will be a little "exotic" no matter how well dressed or not well dressed he can get. "As for boats, I would like time but I can manage without."
I prefer the second, but will go with the groups decision.
"Myself, I'd prefer to go on the first boat."
"A little more time to prepare and get to know the surroundings first."
"Every advantage, no matter how small, is worth seeking."
Sorry, I didn't mean to imply a vote for the first boat. I was just picking up that vibe from everyone else. I would actually appreciate the chance to do some shopping and pick up some nicer clothes and stuff. And we could get a jump on interacting with other guests if we go on the second boat. So that's actually my vote.
"I'm afraid these old rags won't impress the types who will be there. I will likely need to be fitted for some new clothing."
If we do decide to wait for the second boat, I will buy a noble's outfit, signet ring, and jewelry worth 100 gp for a total of 180 gp.
Are we 3 to 2 with second boat winning?
"Well, the extra time would be nice, but I am not sure how it helps with a party, unless you pitch in to help set up." "We are not setting up an ambush afterall." Giladref seems to ponder the issue."Arriving early would ensure you did not miss any events while still on the water."
"I wonder what we will be allowed to have on us for weapons." "I did hear something about safety lashings." "My longbow with its arrows is probably out."
"Yes, I still think the second boat is best."
"Well of course the second ship is the obvious choice. With that we arrive with most all the rest of the guests and get a chance to see who all is in attendance before the ceremony starts."
Corrella will purchase a nobles outfit (75 gp), a signet ring (5 gp), and jewelry (100 gp) for a total of 180 gp.
Ss'alat won't buy a fancy outfit. Being a Nagaji, he's going to stick out like a sore thumb.
Once the group settles about taking the second ship they split buying each of them the better outfit they see fit.
The next morning, the group meets at the docks with the invitation in their hands. The Blakroses' galleon floats next to a large pier where the rest of the Absalom-based guests are entering. As you all can see the guests are all fancily dressed. You do spot just few people armored, and all of them seem to pertain to some military group or be highly known nobles of the high society.
Several guards strictly inspect the guests as they move in. Once you reach the galleon gangway you are stopped by the first guard "Your invitation please sirs" he makes a gesture to receive the invitation the venture captain provided you with.
He then looks up and down your dressing "Only light armor is permitted, unless you can prove you have a meaningful title" he makes a signal and another guard starts peace-bonding your weapons.
Drawing a peace-bonded weapon is a full-round action
that provokes attacks of opportunity
I will need a clear list of armor, weapons and wands you bring into this adventure. Only the listed ones will be usable through the adventure regardless of your character sheet possessions. Please, refer to the guard words with respect to armor dressing code
Anticipating the bit about armor, Khouri left his plate and shield at home, no matter how much it pained him to be away from it. He wears his finest outfit instead, but still carries his dwarven axe, which he allows the guards to peacebond. That is the only weapon he brings.
If allowed he will also bring his 2 wands, one is Cure Light Wounds, and the other is Protection from Evil.
Giladref left his composite longbow at home. He does have two wands with him , a wand of shield and a wand of grease. If the guard questions him about them he will reply, "They are for defense only. One to protect and one to disarm until able bodied guard such as yourself can get the situation under control."
Giladref's only weapon is a dagger. Which he will gladly allow to be peace bonded.
He also has his components pouch and backpack with change of clothes, his spell book, and a potion of clw. He also has 3 scrolls in it as well.
"My, you fellows are being quite through with your searches and protective measures. Does royalty happen to be attending the wedding?"
Corrella will show that she carries no arms or armor and only has a Wand of Cure Light Wounds with her. She is also bring along her harp, her flag, and her spell component pouch. She is dressed in her nobles outfit (with a set of Sleeves of Many Garments underneath) and carrying her jewelry, signet ring, and jade wayfinder in her belt pouch so that they do not get lost in the initial search by the guards. Everything else she has, she leaves behind at the Grand Lodge.
"I wear no armour. And only light arms, as you can see", Ss'alat says to the guards with a polite bow.
diplomacy: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (15) + 9 = 24
He shows them his modest collection of arms: a dagger, a sickle, and a light crossbow.
Hervey presents himself dressed to the nines in his brand new threads. The jewelry suits his demeanor surprisingly well and he looks every bit the dour aristocrat. His magically enhanced chain shirt peeks out from under his cravat.
"As you can see, gentlemen, I have brought no weapons aboard at all. I do have a small selection of magic items here- wands of healing and protection and a simple potion. And of course my light armor."
Bringing my +1 chain shirt, wand of CLW, wand of protection from evil, and wand of lesser restoration and my potion of invisibility. No weapons needed due to my lashes.
"Tell me, my good man, have you had much trouble with contraband? I can't imagine any of these fine folks would cause any problems for you."
Giladref turns to Hervey and asks, "You know, I don't remember it being said, but do you know who exactly is getting married?" "It might be rather difficult to gossip an nose around without that piece of data." "Current, if asked if I am a friend of the bride or groom, I can only say, 'Yes'."
"Ambrus told us that Michellia Blakros is getting married to the former Hellknight Damian Kastner. I have never seen either of them to my knowledge, let alone befriended them. I doubt anyone will ask that at this wedding though- the Blakros family seems to consume everyone else so we will just be presumed to be their guests."
The guards nod affirmatively as the Pathfinders show their weapons and allow them peace-bonded "You can pass those wands, but you must expend a charge showing us their real functioning so we know you are not trying to mislead us" The guards show firm about this and do not allow any type of negotiation.
Short after entering the galleon you are accompanied to a small private dependencies where you are allowed to leave things or rest if you so please "The guests are currently in the main deck. You can show yourself if you wish to interact with them" explains the majordomo sailor who receives you.
Once at the main deck, the first person that catches your eye is a male elf. Some of you might know him from running the Blackros Museum. Nigel Aldain is a tall, thin elf with long, dark hair pulled back in a ponytail, wearing fine clothes and silver-rimmed spectacles Nigel looks the part of an academic dandy. While he fidgets with his glasses he is involved into a conversation while one hand calmly holds a glass of wine.
The elf is talking with a Taldan of relevant muscular build.
WEaring his ceremonial finery, Khouri spies Nigel Aldain on the main deck. Having participated in two different adventures at Nigel's place of work, Khouri approaches the studious but error-prone elf and bows low. "Khouri Saltbeard, at your service! We had the opportunity to meet at your museum a time or two. Glad to see you on this cruise. Tell me, who is this you are speaking with?" Khouri also bows, a bit lower, to the muscular Taldan man and introduces himself once again.
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"Well, that is a waste." He uses the shield wand on himself, but looks around confused as to who or what to grease. "What exactly would use like me to 'grease'?" He waits for an answer and cast the wand on whatever the guard wants.
He continues his conversation with Hervey, "Now that you mention it I do remember those details being said. It is fun, you know, my life often depends on me remembering the most bizarre and arcane symbols and pronunciations, yet names seem to fly away on the wind the second I hear them."
He spies a fellow elf and his burly friend and motions to Hervey that they might talk with the museum owner. "Let us ease into the party with a warmup. A fellow fair born might be able to shed valuable light on the mood of things here." "Do you know the fellow from your recent adventures?"
Corrella does as instructed by the guards and then boards the ship. She puts on her jewelry after boarding so that she is properly attired for socializing during the journey.
Corrella strolls through the ship seeing who is already aboard before spotting Nigel. "Greetings Curator. I hope you are having a fine day thus far and that all is well at the museum. Pardon me, I do not believe we have been formally introduced." Corrella says as she turns towards the Talden man. "I am Corrella DeVille from Oppara and you are?"
Knowledge (nobility): 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (1) + 7 = 8
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (6) + 13 = 19
If the unknown Talden man is nobility or royalty Corrella will immediately curtsey upon him being introduced.
After finishing with the guards:
Ss'alat has one want of CLW, but uses one charge, as requested.
"I agree with you, Giladref. That was rather a waste."
... Later, on the main deck:
After his colleagues introduce themselves to Nigel and the Taldan, Ss'alat will also introduce himself:
"Greetings", he says with a courteous bow.
"I am Ss'alat, from Sothis, in Osirian."
diplomacy: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (13) + 9 = 22
"Goodness! We have descended on the only friendly face. Perhaps we should try to split up."
He scans the room for anyone else that might be easily approachable.
takes a 10 on knowledge local for a total of 18. Anyone else interesting to approach?
To Ss'alat,"I have heard of greasing palms, but whole guard?"
The guard points to one large wooden can "You might leave the grease there inside"
"Oh! Khouri... Khouri... of course Khouri Saltbeard! I do remember you... and all the smashed antiquities left after you and your group" Nigel shakes hands with the warpriest then turns to Corrella "Very nice to see you will be around. I do hope having as much Pathfinders around the boat does not fill all of a sudden with evil outsiders wanting to take control" the elf grins at the woman then nods to Ss'alat in recognition.
Nigel turns to the Taldan and makes a gesture with his hand "Ok, let me introduce you to Alexander Bedard, member of Andoran's ruling People's Council"
Bedard has a muscular build and despite his short stature, he's an imposing presence among the guests. The Taldan dresses in the finest of tailored garments and wears navy blue for the festivities which show his patriotism. No matter how much he grooms, however, the politician has a permanent shadow of stubble on his chin, giving him a rugged and somewhat dangerous demeanor.
Bedard makes a slight reverence before starting to talk "This arrangement remembers me to the discussions preceding the election of the assembly president. A lot of talk on something already decided"
For now, avoid Diplomacy and similar checks. We will proceed with that stuff once all remarkable guests are presented and you can choose whom to influence (exact rules will be explained later).
While you talk with the two males, you do observe another couple of guests talking at your side.
Jeon Raeng-Woo, a male Tian man in his early thirties, known as Blakros family trade liaison to Tian Xia and childhood friend of Michellia a Blakros. He is well-dressed and easily recognized by his unkempt black hair and slightly dazed smile.
Talking with him is Commander Rubaani Shafar, a tall and muscular Garundi woman. She looks out of place in her ceremonial half-plate armor. A scar covers the right side of Rubaani's face.
Khouri makes small talk with Bedard about his homeland of Andoran, and then excuses himself to introduce himself to the other two newcomers. He continues greeting the strangers with low bows in the dwarvish manner and many "at your service" and "by your leaves" as he can possibly manage.
Giladref thinks about what he knows of nobility in this area. The Garundi commander and the tian liaison would be fun to meet. He tries to remember anything useful.
knowledge nobility: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (16) + 8 = 24
"Greetings, Master Raeng-Woo and Commander Shafar. I am Giladref. I hope you both are having a pleasant day so far." Giladref nods to Kouri. "So far no sea monsters, so I guess we have that going for us." "I wonder how long until we arrive at our destination." "I do enjoy ferrie rides, for very limited durations."
Knowledge (nobility), Take 10: 10 + 7 = 17
Corrella moves around the gathering guests making small talk where she is able to and generally just listening to the varying conversations going on around her.
She steers clear of the Commander as she is not knowledgeable on military matters and does not wish to embarrass herself by saying something inappropriate.
Ss'alat just listens on the conversations around him to learn what he can.
Read: no knowledge(nobility) skill
Hervey greets all the dignitaries as affably as he can. "Jeon, you are an old friend of the bride-to-be? What can you tell us about her? Any cherished memories you care to entertain us with?"
Bedard seems to not understand Khouri is not interested in the conversation and keeps going and going about his stories about Andoran "This is lovely weather indeed. The salt in the air makes me remember the old days in the shipyards in Andoran. I would wake up in the morning and have a couple of eggs with potatoes, then walk all along the docks until reaching the shipyard. The workers there were formidable patriots able to raise a ship from nothing else than tree spoils. Working from day to night. Those were real patriots. We helped our nation to be a real maritime power. And walking there in the half made decks you would smell the salt in the air in a day like this and know you were helping to build up a great and free nation, without oppressors of any kind. Just you, your companions, the wood and the salt..." he keeps talking and talking about the topic but it seems difficult to maintain the attention on his words.
Raeng-Woo nods to Giladref and shows a wide smile "Oh pleasant so far. Yes." he smiles even wider as Giladref cites the monsters. He sips from a cup of wine "He he, yes monsters. We have you here too, the Pathfinders and Commander Rubaani Shafar. I am well defended here. Yes. You have strong military organizations you too. What do you do within the Pathfinder Society sir Giladref? What are your responsibilities within?"
Rubaani looks at the guards, then at the Blakros family members in the deck, and remains observant "I do not enjoy ferrie rides" he answers succinctly to Giladref.
"Oh Michaella is a lovely bride. We have lost most of contact as we grow older, but trade interest have helped maintain some contact with us" answers Jeon to Hervey "I do just hope business become even stronger now that she is getting married and can focus the Blakros efforts on commerce. Have you seen her recently? She has always been the softer of the twins."