The Laughing Goblin is a large dark old tavern that has seen better times. The woodwork is worn, the plaster, once white, it now yellowish and crumbling and the chandeliers and lanterns rusted. The furniture shows the signs of heavy use and the scars of various brawls.
A thin human female with long, black hair is cleaning tankards behind the bar while chatting with a bald, overweight human male in the tavern's livery that is sitting on a bar stool. The sounds of cooking and the strong smell of cabbage soup comes from the kitchen. At this time of day, there are few guests, but it is not completely empty, with customers sitting quietly in various corners.
You were pointed in this direction by the locals as on of the more famous old taverns in town. The common room has two floors with a large, open space in the middle that contains the bar, a stage, and a large fireplace.
There are a number of booths line the walls, and tables fill the rest of the room's open space. The only decoration in the common room is a large carved totem resembling a laughing goblin. The totem is clearly very old and well-worn.
As you enter, the waiter (the fat man at the bar) calls for you to sit anywhere that you please, except the second floor. "I'll be there soon!" he says with the booming voice of someone used to speaking over the din of the crowd on a busy night.
Right now, only Ceidith and Ander know each other from my previous AL module, so we will assume that they are sharing a table. You may all describe your characters for each other, and strike up conversations, either with each other, or either the barkeep or the waiter.
There are a few other patrons in the tavern:
- A half-orc, nursing his drink in a dark corner.
- Two halfling merchants that are enjoying their lunches.
- Two female human mercenary-types sitting in a booth speaking to each other in hushed tones.
A tall half elf with black hair and pale skin walks through the door. His hair pulled back away from his face, he looks around the room confidently seeming to note the location of everyone in room. His gaze lingering slightly on the barmaid and lady mercenaries.
Wearing a dark leather tunic over a fine set of clothes, the elf is carrying a backpack with a crossbow hung from it and a dagger is sheathed at his side. He walks to a barstool puts his backpack down at his feat and takes a seat, seaming somewhat weary from travel.
A young woman with green hair and blue skin enters the tavern. She is wearing a simple cloth outfit dyed with natural colors that covers her torso and legs, but leaves her arms bare. A pack adorns her back, with a wooden shield strapped to it, and a curved sword hangs at her belt.
She smiles as she looks about, then finds a table to sit at. One there, she drops her bag and pulls out some papers to read while she waits to order some food and drink.
The sound of the tavern door shutting marks the entrance of an obviously pious man, dressed as he is in the white vestaments of some esoteric order. Removing his hood you can see the onset of time in his face, marking the man to be of around 40 years of age.
As he makes his way across the common room, short strides hidden by the full length robes, there is a distnct chime of steel on steel - The mace now clearly visible on his back making contact with the heavy shield emblazoned with a rusted image of the dawn's sun rise.
"Peace be with you barkeep."
|Yarroth the Younger|
The barkeep looks at the three of you as you enter, and nods politely, "Good day to you and peace be with you, as well, Priest."
As Raina makes her way to a table, the fat waiter kicks off the stool and makes his way over, his eyebrows raising a little as if he has never seen a genasi before, "What'll you be havin', little lady?"
Meanwhile, the barkeep continues cleaning mugs, and asks, "What'll you be drinking today, gentlemen?"
|Yarroth the Younger|
The door to the tavern swings open and a young man, maybe in his late twenties, walks in. He is wearing dusty leather armor and has a well tended pack over his shoulder. A longbow and quiver of arrows can be seen attached to the pack, and strapped around his waist are two short swords. His short brown hair is held with a stained bandana, and the stubble from a few days growth covers his face. He wears a tabard that announces him as a Road Warden, a guard who travels the major byways of the area ensuring traveller's safety.
"Ah Fat Mar...Imizael...it is great to see you both. The Iron Road is a dry and thirsty place to patrol. I dreamt of your delicious ciders my whole time out. Come, do not leave me waiting....ah, I see you have other customers. My apologies friends. When you have a moment Mar a pint of some ice cold cider, if you would please!"
The fellow sits down and drops his pack beside the chair. He smiles and looks around the room, taking in the occupants and nodding to them each.
Sitting at a table with another man is what appears to be a half-elf, although it's a bit hard to tell, as a mask is covering most of his face, and his hood is up. He appears to be talking about something very confidential, as he is leaning in close to his companion. He backs off and downs his mug of ale, before leaning in once more.
You're a guild member, correct? Ceidith asks in a somewhat friendly tone
"Now how can I try anything but a cider after our new friends endorsement." Kairon nods at the bartender in a "make it so" kind of way and puts a gold piece on the table. "Something for it to wash down as well." if an average meal is more than a gold piece adjust what was put on the table accordingly that it would be plenty.
While he waits, Kairon tries to non chalantly listen to the conversation of the two female mercenaries and the two men talking in hushed tones.
Perception: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (7) + 1 = 8
Deception: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (16) + 5 = 21
A final tug on the hempen rope earns the creaking acknowledgement of woven fibers on polished wood. Largo squints up into one watery hazel eye as his mule duly regards its new berth, at the hitching post several steps - or two sleeping drunks laid end to end - away from the handworn door to the Laughing Goblin.
Largo probably didn't need to go to such lengths to secure this beast each and every time, loops on top of knots on top of hitches. Shandy had never shown the merest inkling of escape, and even a one-armed mule-thief would never need more than a few hacks of a hatchet to liberate his apathetic transport, no matter how many bends and splices he wove. But then, a few months of observation was hardly enough to judge the intentions of mule or man. And hadn't he been greeted, one morning the week past, with a few frayed hemp strands jutting from the bundled knots that hadn't been there the night before? Yes, the sounder judgement erred on mistrust, he decided for the fiftieth time. Largo let the hitch fall.
He uncurled his other fist to reveal a stunted carrot, and watched as the treat was quickly abducted between flares lips and long incisors. A small price for loyalty.
Largo jostled the pack across his shoulders, and satisfied at the integrity of the leather straps, drifted towards the door of the tavern.
Fat Mar scowls a bit at Yarroth's use of his nickname, "A pint fer Yarr, a pint and eats fer the half-elf, and a pint fer the... lady."
He smiles sheepishly at Raina, still a little unnerved by her odd appearance.
A very ordinary-looking human man in his thirties sits back in his chair, a pack at his feet and a sword on his hip. He listens to the whispers of his tablemate with one eyebrow raised.
"You're an odd one, Ceidith," he says at a normal volume. "You whisper as though you're trying to be secretive, yet you advertise your presence by wearing a mask and hood indoors in the middle of the day. Makes no sense."
Ander takes a swig of his drink before adding, "Anyway, yes, I'm a member in good standing of an artisans' guild. Why do you ask?"
Fat Mar seems just as intrigued as he brings everyone their drinks, hesitant to leave to get Kairon's meal for fear of missing something juicy...
You see him take another ale to the half-orc, taking away the three empty mugs. Anyone can see that the guy is drowning his troubles in ale.
The two halflings seem obviously disgruntled about something, with only their meal keeping their spirits up.
The two female mercenaries seem worried? Concerned at least about something, but to know what would only be gleaned by sticking your nose in their business...
Ceidith leans back on his chair and smiles. You make a good point sir He whips of his hood, but leaves his mask on. The hoods just here to cover my head, but my mask....that gives me character! As for the guild, I'm wondering if you could ask some of your friends if they saw a few of my.....colleagues.
Seeing the masked elf isn't going to elaborate any further, Raina gets up and takes her drink over to the half-Orc.
She sits down across from him and smiles. Drinking away our problems, huh? What's going on, big guy?
Ceidith watches the genasi head towards the Half-Orc, and attempts to listen to their conversation while simultaneously attempting to listen to Anders response.
Perception, if needed: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (10) + 2 = 12
He downs his drink, before taking yours, then takes a deep breath, "Where to start... No doubt you have heard that the beacon at Sokol Keep went out. No? Well, I guess you look like you are from out of town. Sokol Keep has been used like a lighthouse, of sorts. You know, to guide ships in through treacherous waters? Well, I been working guard shifts there, and I swear there're a pack of vengeful spirits down there. Living below... or UNliving below the keep. Seen them walking the walls sometimes, like they running guard shifts of their own."
He looks at Raina side eyed, "Willing to bet theys the ones put out the beacon. The extra pay ain't worth them ghosts, not by a longshot!"
One of the halflings pipes in at that, "That beacon better be lit again soon! We've been a-waitin' our ship fer a day now! It ain't been arrivin' and each day is costin' us coin!"
|Yarroth the Younger|
"What's that? The beacon's is out? How did that happen...was there not a unit of guards stationed there? I have to go and see what I can do to help! Without the beacon, any ship trying to get to the harbour is in terrible danger."
Yarroth pays for his drink and starts to head out the door, but stops suddenly and turns to everyone else in the room.
"Not sure if any of you might be interested, but I am sure the town council could use a hand during this time of trouble. If you want to join me, I can make no guarantees, but you might find work...if you are looking for it!"
He waits to see if anyone is willing to take him up on this adventure.
Yarroth turns back to face the room when BANG! The door is violently thrown open as a half-dozen burly, drunk dockworkers barge in and walk past the ranger. They seem quite angry. Without sparing anybody a glance, they march toward the two mercenaries moping over their drinks.
"Your friends in the Keep are costing us work! Where are they hiding?" one bellows at one of the women at the table.
With a drunken belch, one of the sellswords growls, Sod off, Thirus." Clearly in no mood for a chat, she spits, "Crawl back into the hole you came from before you and your friends get hurt."
Perception (Wis): 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (10) + 2 = 12
'Extra pay' - as soon as the words stumble out from the sot's flushed lips, they slip into the halfling's ear and shove aside any plans of joining the man in tap-numbed leisure. He slips back off the bar stool and tramps up to the arguing mercenaries.
"Some friends need finding," he interjects, flitting his attention between the one called Thirus and the spitting sellsword. "In my experience it's easier to find enemies. But if you've had your fill of those, save yourself a few scars and I'll take the coin you would've spent on tomorrow's sticher."
Persuasion (Cha) to defuse the situation: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (2) + 5 = 7
Raina calmly and quietly gets up and moves towards her table. She grabs her bag and walks towards the door. Upon reaching the ranger, she whispers in his ear.
With that, she palms a gold coin in his hand.
Afterwards, Raina steps outside and starts putting on her armor, keeping an ear to the inside.
Insight: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (16) + 2 = 18
Ceidith watches the mercenaries stiffen as the half-orc talks about Sokol Keep, and watches the dockworkers lumber in. He strides off towards the table and smiles. Ladies, ladies. Calm down He signals to the bartender for a few drinks, and tosses a few coins his way. We're all friends here aren't we?
Persuasion: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (1) + 4 = 5
|Yarroth the Younger|
Yarroth looks over at the blue-tinged woman and nods in agreement.
"Fellows, lets not worry about what has transpired. We are heading to the council chambers right now to try and solve this problem...would any of you like to join us?"
He keeps his hands away from his sheathed swords, but makes sure the dockworkers can easily identify his tabard.
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Ceidith, no one can see you smile with that mask on. :)
lol I was thinking the same thing
Kairon leaves the the money on the table for his food and drink. Picks up his back pack, downs the rest of his cider, and grabs the food bowl. As he's walking toward the door he looks to the barmaid and says with a wink "No worries dear, I'll bring the bowl back just to be able to see you again." Still eating his food, he walks by Yarroth and nods.
Raina gives Kairon a sidelong glance. "If this were platemail, I'd think you were offering genuine assistance. But I think I can put on a leather jacket by myself, thank you."
She pauses as she overhears the conversation inside; "Did that guy just tell the women to calm down after they were accosted by those drunk men? The gall of him! Come on, grab the Warden and let's get going."
Ander takes a moment to heave a deep sigh and rub his temples, then finally gets up, puts on his pack, and walks over toward the commotion. In a deadpan tone reeking of emotional fatigue, he asks, "May I be of any assistance?"
|Yarroth the Younger|
The leader grumbles, "Well, if you investigators'll look into it... we'll wait a bit longer, but if she's not fixed soon, somebody's gotta pay... C'mon boys, let's get us somefin' to eat."
Imizael, the barkeep nods in appreciation and soon, Fat Mar has drinks refreshed on your tables. "On the house," he says with a nod toward the barkeep.
Yarroth, Largo, Ander, Ceidith and Grigor, the two mercenaries look up and the shorter one, the one with the mouth on her (so to speak), gestures for you all to join them. "If'n you are going to be looking into this affair, you'd best be knowing a thing or two. Our friend, Guard Sergeant Grim is the commander of the guard crew that patrols the Keep. He's the foolhardy sort, you the kind that has debts all up and down the Sword Coast."
"As a result," her compatriot speaks up, "he is usually looking for some quick coin. That's where Sokol Keep comes in. Grim recently befriended Igan Sokol, the quartermaster for the Keep. By all accounts, Sokol is somewhat naive, though enthusiastic, and eager to make a name for himself."
The first mercenary starts up again, "Now this is where we started to get concerned. Grim mentioned something about a treasure trove beneath the Keep and that he was close to finding it. I think he was full of-- it. Spinning them tall tales, as is his wont. It seems that the Black Fist has been openly recruiting because of some kind of spirit ship attacking coastal villages. We haven't heard from Grim since."
She sits back, spent. It is almost as if she had been holding it in and a weight has been lifted from her shoulders. Her friend looks to you all, "Maybe Guard Sergeant Hurn at the Black Fist guard post has more information, but we ain't been able to get it from him."
|Yarroth the Younger|
Yarroth listens to the women tell their story and thanks them for their tale.
"Thank you for the warnings. We will try and see this Sergeant Hurn before we speak with the council. We don't want those dock workers running rampant through town, so maybe keep a low profile for awhile...at lease until we can look into this problem."
Yarroth turns to the rest of the group and shrugs.
"So what do you think? Go see this Hurn first, or go straight to the council and see how we can help?"
You know that a woman named, Liela is House Sokol's administrator and has an office by the docks. She's usually the one that dockworkers will go to for work, so she might know a thing or two.
The bard sucked his teeth thoughtfully. In recent days it had been nearly impossible to find a decent solo contract. At the first mention of peril or mystery, all manner of adventuring types seemed to burst out of the shadows like sewer rats onto a discarded chicken bone.
"Where's a fella find the guard post from here?" he asks the second mercenary. "If your friend's in as deep as you say, a haunted quest for secret treasure's the right kind of tale to be throwing around. You find a corpse of the right carriage a few weeks on, all of the talk's of 'poor reckless Grim,' and he's snug as a fat hare in some Cormyr hidey-hole."
|Yarroth the Younger|
"That is good. We can talk to this Hurn, as well I know one of the administrators from house Sokol who has an office down on the docks. Her name is Liela and perhaps she can helps us gain entry to the keep."
The Road Warden thanks Mal and Imizael for the free drink and gathers those others who are willing to join him and heads towards the docks.
Hello, Raina says as everyone comes outside. I'm Raina. And I'd like to help with this ghost problem.
|Yarroth the Younger|
"Hi Raina. I am Yarroth, called the Younger. Named after my father who was also a road warden. Sorry, I should have introduced myself earlier. And you are?" he asks indicating the others who are now standing with him and Raina.