I'll assume you depart, then.
Without further interruptions, you make your way back to Anemora's house in time for the dinner. The matronly mermaid greets you warmly as you return. "I hope you're all hungry. I've taken the liberty of inviting some other guests who are eager to meet you all!"
Anemora leads you to her dining room. A long, stone table, piled with platters and large scallop shells full of freshly cut fish and other undersea delicacies, fills the center of this rectangular room. Aside from Drecissa, three other people are around the table, snacking on hors d'oeuvres. "May I introduce you all to Merysyd, an up-and-coming poet," Anemora says, gesturing to a sullen-looking mermaid with purple hair, "Osarte, a bounty hunter who hunts down criminals and threats to the city," she continues, indicating a stern-looking aquatic elf, "and Tolajo, a local storyteller and songwriter known for his historical epics," she finishes, pointing out a smiling aquatic elf.
"My chef is putting the finishing touches on the main course as we speak. In the meantime, please feel free to mingle!"
Simon plasters a smile on his face, pretending to understand the need for social engagements. His interest is piqued by the variety of guests invited to dinner.
He nods as pleasantly as possible to the guests. Skipping small talk, he steps closer to Osarte. "So, Osarte, you are a private investigator of sorts, or do you prefer the term bounty hunter?"
Nodding to the response, he adds, "Is the city usually very dangerous?
We have only been here for a day, but we have already been attacked by a venomous jellyfish, a massive worm, and just now were set upon by a group of thugs sent by an underworld crime boss set on starting a war between two of the noble houses and thinking that attempting to kill us was a way to get on our good side."
"Bounty hunter's just fine," Osarte answers. "Nothing gives me greater satisfaction then stalking a known criminal to bring him in and face justice."
He laughs darkly when Simon tells him of your recent troubles. "There's always an element of danger in Talasantri, especially when you're dealing with the folks from the Undertow. But it's usually not that bad. Something--or someone--has been riling things up lately, and I don't think it's just that crafty octopus, Jurix."
Nodding at the echo of Ema's suspicions, Simon considers the bounty hunter for a moment. "Perhaps you have heard some of the chatter caused by the incident outside of city hall?
We have come here in search of a Veiled Master. That may sound like simple conspiracy theory to you, but we have reason to believe that these are actual creatures, more powerful than an aboleth.
This type of disruption of society would be in line with what we expect, and well within its power. Have you ever heard of a Veiled Master before?"
"Only in whispers," Osarte says, concern evident on his face. "A regular aboleth is cause enough for concern, but if a being even more powerful is snaking its tentacles into our city, then I fear this is only the start of Talasantri's problems. Put the possible reawakening of Ruinquake on top of everything else and you've got a recipe for disaster."
"Well, whatever dangers are lurking in the water, I'm sure you all will be able to handle it," Drecissa says cheerfully. "I've seen firsthand what great heroes you are. I definitely feel safer having you here!"
Smiling at Drecissa, Simon deflects. "We will do what we can, certainly. We won't be able to do it alone, though. Someone like Osarte here, with his fingers on the pulse of the underworld would be a great resource."
Returning his gaze to Osarte, he becomes very serious. "Can we count on your assistance, sir?"
Ema was greatly relieved when they were away from all of the freaky octopus people and Jurix in particular. She had no desire to deal with them ever again if she could avoid it but she somehow suspected it wouldn't be the last time they ran into the crimewoman's group.
When they returned to Anemora's Ema made sure to tell their hostess about what had happened and what they'd been asked to do. The simple fact was that while they had refused another might not so she felt it was in everyone's best interests that at least one of the intended victims be informed. She secretly made plans to let the other victim know as well, just in case. Who knew, maybe it would even help the matters between the two at least a little bit.
When the guests for the dinner arrived Ema noticed Simon go speak with the bounty hunter and she figured he would appreciate speaking to the historian himself so she decided to be nice and let him. Ema's gaze went to the mermaid poet Merysyd and made her way over to her. "I'm Emalliandra," she said, "it's a pleasure to meet you." After exchanging any niceties Ema then asked, "So what kind of poetry do you write Merysyd?"
Anemora thanks Ema for letting her know about the plot. She promises to keep alert for any attempts at sabotaging her work.
Merysyd gives Ema a blank stare when the arcanist introudces herself. "Yeah, it's a real joy," the poet says blandly. "What kind of poetry do I write? Cheerful stuff. Real uplifting verses, yeah. Stuff that people like you probably eat up." There's no disguising the cynicism in her voice.
Taking some liberties with this NPC since I'm betting she doesn't have much description or importance beyond the dinner itself.
Ema found the mermaid's sullen response odd for a poet. You'd think someone who wrote uplifting poems would be upbeat, or at least fairly cheerful, but it seemed that Merysyd was quite the opposite of what she claimed to write. Ema couldn't help but smile a bit naughtily when she leaned in and said quietly enough to not be easily heard beyond the two of them, "Or maybe I'd like to eat you up instead Merysyd. You are certainly attractive enough to draw any number of predators I would think."
With Merysyd and Osarte occupied, Victrix decides to become better acquainted with Tolajo.
"Nice to meet ya, Tolajo. And I gotta say, I never imagined I'd ever see the day I could see the streets of such a beautiful city beneath the ocean."
Merysyd flushes slightly and gives Ema an appraising look. ”Oh, I didn’t know you were into seafood,” she whispers back. ”Have you ever made it with a mermaid before? It’s a bit different if you’re not used to a tail.”
Meanwhile, Tolajo grins at Victrix and offers a hand to shake. ”Nice to meet you, too! Talasantri is quite a lovely place, isn’t it? It’s got quite a storied history as well. I’d be happy to tell you the story of its founding, if you’d like to hear it.”
Ema giggled at the Merysyd used the term "seafood" and said back, "I don't know actually, I've never tried any." She gave Merysyd a look over from head to tail and then said, "But I enjoy new experiences when I can find them." She laughed slightly as a hand drifted up to brush Merysyd's hair back and asked, "Have you ever tried a person with legs before?"
"Sure, I'd be up for it." Victrix finds a comfortable spot to sit.
”I have not, but there is a first time for everything. So let’s get through dinner, and then we can have dessert,” Merysyd murmurs.
Meanwhile. Tolajo smiles and begins to recite the legend of Talasantri:
A merfolk community on the outskirts of sahuagin territory, led by the druid Seyskellin, fought against the sahuagin at every opportunity. A great coral bed lay between the two forces, and Seyskellin used a powerful artifact to shape a hidden bunker within the coral growth. The merfolk used the bunker as a place to conceal troops, and peaceful traders learned they could find shelter with the merfolk in their hold. The merfolk forces welcomed traders, offering them protection in exchange for weapons and supplies.
Skirmishes between the merfolk and the sahuagin continued for over a year, until a massive tremor interrupted the fighting. A huge rent opened in the seafloor several miles from the merfolk base, displacing a community of aquatic elves. The fleeing elves explained that the quake had released a terrifying living ruin—the plankta Ruinquake—that could easily destroy all living creatures in the area. Seyskellin offered the aquatic elves sanctuary, and the two forces remained hidden while the plankta brought destruction down on the sahuagin.
When the plankta’s rampage ended, the creature sank down into the rift once more, and the merfolk and aquatic elves emerged from their bunker. The sahuagin forces had been broken and scattered, and Seyskellin seized the opportunity to destroy the remaining troops in the area. With the region now secured, the merfolk and aquatic elves worked together to expand their bunker into a settlement. And that settlement grew into the city of Talasantri!
With a fork halfway to his mouth, Simon's head pops up and his eyes dart toward the kitchen.
Pushing back his chair, he stands and makes a quick apology. "Pardon me, everyone, but I think I just heard a scream from the kitchen. Perhaps the day's events have set me on edge, but I must investigate."
Grabbing his spear, he heads toward the kitchen to see what the problem is.
You quickly rush through the kitchen and into an adjacent storeroom filled with crates and barrels. There, you see a deep merfolk assassin with his sabre buried in belly of a merfolk chef! Frowning over his shoulder, the assassin yanks his blade free of his victim and turns towards you as the unfortunate chef begins to bleed out!
Simon: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (13) + 3 = 16
Valentin: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (8) + 2 = 10
Victrix: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (10) + 1 = 11
Yutpan: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (20) + 11 = 31
The assassin makes a beeline for Simon, slicing him with his sabre!
Sawtooth Sabre, Studied Target, PA: 1d20 + 19 ⇒ (5) + 19 = 24
Damage, PA, Sneak Attack: 1d8 + 16 + 6d6 ⇒ (6) + 16 + (1, 1, 1, 6, 6, 1) = 38
38 damage to Simon. Everybody may act!
When Ema saw what had happened she quickly began to chant a spell, her eyes flashing as she finished and amplified it's power, as the shadow of a barbed hook punched through the deep merfolk's shadow to try and keep him from moving very much.
I cast shadow trap and amplify the dc with a reservoir pt. DC 19 will negates, otherwise entangled and can't move more than 5ft from his current location.
"Oh, for f*'s sake..." Victrix growls in exasperation before launching herself at the assassin, the red rage fuelling her strikes.
Raging Power Attack (Furious Focus): 1d20 + 18 ⇒ (18) + 18 = 36
Damage?: 1d12 + 19 ⇒ (4) + 19 = 23
Channel: 3d6 ⇒ (5, 1, 2) = 8
Channel: 3d6 ⇒ (1, 4, 3) = 8
Channel: 3d6 ⇒ (5, 5, 2) = 12
2 CLW zaps for Simon. Not sure where Victrix was at, so I'll cross off 6 zaps for her.
"Reveal who hired you and we will let you live!"
Not waiting for a response, Simon steps back to get some room, Simon studies the assassin and stabs with his spear.
Longspear,Study: 1d20 + 12 + 5 ⇒ (12) + 12 + 5 = 29
Damage?,Study: 1d8 + 7 + 5 ⇒ (2) + 7 + 5 = 14 (and Sickened)
Longspear,Study: 1d20 + 7 + 5 ⇒ (13) + 7 + 5 = 25
Damage?,Study: 1d8 + 7 + 5 ⇒ (7) + 7 + 5 = 19 (and Sickened)
"You lot certainly do get injured a lot. Perhaps it was a good thing I tagged along."
Stepping behind Simon, Valentin transfers Spiritual Weapon into healing.
CMW: 2d8 + 6 ⇒ (3, 4) + 6 = 13
That brings me back up to 68. Six zaps it is!
Will: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (17) + 8 = 25
The merfolk resists Ema’s spell. Simon lands two strikes, sickening the assassin, while Victrix moves in and slashes him with her axe. The merfolk shifts his focus to the aasimar, feinting to throw her off balance before slicing her across the belly,
The assassin’s victim continues to bleed out...
Bluff to Feint: 1d20 + 22 ⇒ (17) + 22 = 39
Sabre: 1d20 + 19 ⇒ (13) + 19 = 32
Damage, Sneak Attack: 1d8 + 16 + 6d6 - 4 ⇒ (4) + 16 + (4, 3, 6, 6, 5, 3) - 4 = 43
43 Damage to Victrix after DR. Everybody may act!
Victrix keeps on swinging like mad!
Raging Power Attack *Furious Focus*: 1d20 + 18 ⇒ (4) + 18 = 22
Damage?: 1d12 + 19 ⇒ (7) + 19 = 26
Raging Power Attack: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (10) + 10 = 20
Damage?: 1d12 + 19 ⇒ (11) + 19 = 30
Seeing her spell be resisted by the assassin Ema changes tactics and instead casts a spell to make her friends move much faster.
I cast Haste, given when I go in init this should apply to everyone this round IIRC.
Assuming I can 5-foot step into a flanking position. If not, deduct 2.
Moving to flank the assassin, Simon continues his frenzied attack.
Longspear,Study,Flank,Haste: 1d20 + 12 + 5 + 2 + 1 ⇒ (17) + 12 + 5 + 2 + 1 = 37
Damage?,Study: 1d8 + 7 + 5 ⇒ (6) + 7 + 5 = 18 (and Sickened)
Longspear,Study,Flank,Haste: 1d20 + 7 + 5 + 2 + 1 ⇒ (7) + 7 + 5 + 2 + 1 = 22
Damage?,Study: 1d8 + 7 + 5 ⇒ (1) + 7 + 5 = 13 (and Sickened)
Longspear,Study,Flank,Haste: 1d20 + 12 + 5 + 2 + 1 ⇒ (19) + 12 + 5 + 2 + 1 = 39
Damage?,Study: 1d8 + 7 + 5 ⇒ (5) + 7 + 5 = 17 (and Sickened)
With the final strike, he unleashes his Studied Strike.
Strike: 4d6 ⇒ (6, 5, 4, 1) = 16
I assumed the cook was already dead...
Using his heightened speed to skirt around the battle, Valentin kneels and casts a minor healing spell.
CLW: 1d8 + 5 ⇒ (3) + 5 = 8
Victrix Hasted Attack: 1d20 + 18 ⇒ (10) + 18 = 28
Damage: 1d12 + 19 ⇒ (4) + 19 = 23
Valentin moves to heal the chef, stabilizing the dying man. Simon moves to flank the deep merfolk, stabbing him twice in vulnerable spots. The extra speed from Ema's spell along with the flanking maneuver allows Victrix to land two brutal strikes, and the would-be assassin groans and goes limp, blood clouding the water around him as he starts to bleed out.
The assassin is dying at negative HP. You can stabilize him if you wish. He has the following gear: potion of cure serious wounds, potions of invisibility (2); stalking armor (water), +1 sawtooth sabre, ring of protection +2. He also has a single hobnailed boot and a waterskin, things a merfolk would have no use for.
"I will stabilize him, if anyone actually thinks they can get him to talk.
Based on the fact that he chose not to attempt escape when he was clearly outnumbered, I have doubts personally."
"A boot and a waterskin? It would seem he intended to leave these behind to frame a surfacer.
I have to wonder where he managed to get mountain climbing equipment, though it is only curiosity. The incongruity of placing an item none of us has ever used may not have mattered much to people with no experience with boots."
With the fighting over Ema considered what to do about the assassin. After the mention of getting information from him Ema said, "I suppose I could try to charm him into talking with magic. I'm not sure how well that will work but it might be worth a try."
Stabilizing the man's wounds Heal: 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (19) + 13 = 32, Valentin steps back so the others can remove his weapons and tie him to a chair.
Once everything is ready, he heals him just enough to make him conscious. CLW: 1d8 + 1 ⇒ (3) + 1 = 4
I don't imagine smelling salts are going to work underwater
When the assassin refused to speak Ema couldn't help but grin viciously as she said, "Well, I suppose the easy way isn't going to work out then." She looked at the failed assassin and sighed, "You know, it's a pity you won't tell us who sent you, I mean if you had we would have kept quiet about it, and it's not like there aren't other ways besides you speaking that we could have found out the answer. that would have left you blameless and able to try again later." Her eyes showed sorrow as she continued and said, "But now, well, we'll just have to let everyone know how helpful you were when we questioned you. That we don't know your name is no issue, your guild or whatever would know you were sent and they will know who betrayed a contract." She tsked as she continued to look at him, "I've been around long enough to see what happens to snitch assassins, I'm afraid your death will be very long and very drawn out as an example to others."
Ema looked to their hostess, "Do we have a place he could be safely held for a few days? Or a way to smuggle him out of town for a bit so we can start the stories of his helpfulness? It would be a shame if they found him too soon."
Bluff: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (2) + 5 = 7
Yeah, sadly no ranks in bluff. Here's hoping I roll really well.
Victrix snorts. "I hope for your client's sake, you didn't get paid in advance. I mean, that was just bloody amateurish. You didn't even get killing the chef right. Bloody shameful."
Intimidate?: 1d20 + 16 ⇒ (12) + 16 = 28
Neither Ema’s ploy nor Victrix’s glowers get the assassin to open up.
Anemora bustles in once the commotion has died down, her indignation fearsome, indeed. "An assassin? In my household? This simply will not stand! I deeply apologize that such a pleasant evening has taken a dreadful turn. I will leave no stone unturned until I find out who is responsible for this and make them pay! We will keep this ruffian under lock and key until we can make him talk.”
Simon eyes Anemora with some interest after her expression of anger. "Wouldn't that best be left to the authorities a this point?"
Sense Motive: 1d20 + 12 + 1d6 ⇒ (3) + 12 + (6) = 21
Considering the assassin for a moment, he adds. "He looks like a professional to me, and is unlikely to give us anything he knows without magical compulsion.
He may not even know who hired him.
Regardless, this attempted assassination seems to be the type of situation that would be in line with what Jurix intended."
Shrugging, Simon turns to the felled Chef and kneels down. He will feed him a CLW extract, if needed
Easing the man up, he attempts to soothe him. "Easy, now. You're safe and the attacker is restrained."
Once the man is calm, he tries to get his attention. "Now, try to tell us what happened."
"Fine, fine. That is as I expected. I simply hoped for a little luck."
Standing, he helps the chef to his feet. "If we were on the surface, I'd suggest a brandy and a pipe to calm your nerves. I fear I don't know what is customary here."
Turning to the hostess, he adds. "I suppose resuming dinner is out of the question after this level of excitement?"
If the party is breaking up"
Before the guests leave, Simon steps up to the historian. "Mr. Tolajo, your story of the founding of Talasantri was intriguing. There are questions I would like to ask to learn more.
Would it be possible to call upon you tomorrow for a bit of quiet conversation?"
Indeed, the dinner party disperses in the aftermath of the attack. Tolajo nods at Simon. "Of course." He gives the half-orc his address that they might speak further. Medysyd meanwhile invites Ema to spend the night at her house if she so desires...
Fortunately, the night passes without further incident. Reflecting on recent events, you feel stronger and more prepared to face the challenges to come.
Everybody has reached level 11!
In the morning, you receive a summons from Rillikamati. The oracle is ready to speak to you at city hall at your earliest convenience.
"Ah, splendid. Perhaps he has learned something that will aid our search.
I am sure whatever he finds, we are going to need to find a way to pacify this titan. Hopefully we'll find some clues toward that as well."
You make your way to city hall to speak to Rillikamatai. The elf leader welcomes you into his office. On his desk sits a round stone tablet marked with a spiral of symbols. “Thank you for coming,” Rillkimatai says with a weak smile. “I have heard some people of our city say that you are an ill omen, come to bring misfortune on us all. I believe the opposite. I think your appearance here is the best of luck, and that you might be able to save us from an impending disaster.”
Rillkimatai shows you the tablet and explains that it tells the story of a hero from the surface who saved the city of Talasantri almost a century ago. “The hero was a traveler and a stranger, much like yourselves,” the seer says. “He gave his name as Wavewalker. He was here in Talasantri when the plankta named Ruinquake attacked.
“We were caught off guard when the plankta attacked. Our guards fought against it but were quickly overwhelmed. Then Wavewalker appeared, a gleaming spear in his hand, and fought Ruinquake alone. He wounded the beast with his enchanted spear and drove it away, back to the depths, but his heroism came at a price. As the plankta retreated it struck a final blow against Wavewalker, and he died before our healers could reach him.
“Wavewalker deserved a tomb to honor his sacrifice. My predecessor, the former ruler of Talasantri, preserved Wavewalker’s body until a passing ship could be hailed. The ship’s crew was paid to construct a tomb on a nearby island, a place where Wavewalker could rest on the land he had come from. He was entombed with the spear, Seaspike, which he used to protect our city.”
Rillkimatai sets down the tablet. “That tomb still stands on an island not far from here. The enchanted spear lies within. Messengers have come to tell us Ruinquake has returned, wakened from a century-long sleep. That spear may be the only thing that can stop it. Will you help us recover it so that we can hope to save the city again?"
With the excitement over the assassin calming and the party breaking up Ema looked to her friends and said, "I've been invited to go home with Medysyd for the night so I will see you in the morning." Ema went upstairs to get what she needed and when no one was looking cast a spell. A mark appeared on the floor for a moment before shimerring and vanishing like it had never been. The mark was still there but invisible and would give her a way to home in on this room should she decide to telelport back to it.
When she came back down with her pack she called out, "See you in the morning," and headed out the door with Medysyd. While they were out Ema got Medysyd to show her a place to buy arcane scrolls and purchased on that she was going to find a great deal of use for. When they returned to the merwoman's home Ema complimented her on it before they began to enjoy each other's company.
The idea is to use the arcane mark to act as a partial "beacon" for teleporting back if I need to in the morning.
When she awoke in the morning Ema looked over at Medysyd and said, "That was very fun last night. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did." She trailed a hand along the mermaid's cheek and kissed her before getting out of the bed and beginning to dress herself. When she finished Ema sat down as best she could with her spell book and said, "If it's alright with you I'm going to take the time to prepare my spells before I leave. I need an hour of focus and preparations once I begin. Would you like to get some breakfast on the way back to the manor?"
Back at the mannor:
When Ema arrived it was just to find out about the summons from Rillikamatai and, as she was only just getting in, it wasn't a problem to go right back out again. When they arrived and listened to what he had to say Ema was pleased to hear his views of their presence in such a positive light. As he explained his request she nodded and said, "I'll do what I can to help. I don't want to see this beautiful place destroyed and if it was our home will likely be next. Do you happen to know what deity this hero worshipped or what his actual name was?"
Medysyd's tail fin brushes affectionately against Ema's legs as the arcanist slips out of the weighted kelp blanket and puts her skimpy clothes back on. "It was a singular experience, to be sure. I think I've an idea for my next poem now," the mermaid says with a smirk.
She accompanies Ema to get breakfast before bidding farewell, hoping to see her again before she leaves Talasantri.
"I know not those things, alas. Wavewalker desired to keep his origins a mystery. I can only guess as to the reason."