Defense of Brookside

Game Master caster4life

The farming hamlet of Brookside has suffered some violent and mysterious attacks.

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Female UC Rogue (Phantom Thief) 8, Warpriest of Ostara 1, HP: 91/91, AC: 24:17:19, CMD: 26 Saves: 10:12:9 (+2 vs enchantment), Init +5 (+3 when bluff/SM involved); Status:
Skills:
Acro +13, Bluff +4, Climb +6, Diplo +12, Disg +21, Escape A +11, Heal +20, Kn(arc, nobles) +13, Kn(loc, planes) +21, Kn(nat) +16, Kn(rel) +17, Kn(others) +12, Ling +7, Perc +20, Sense M +8, Stealth +27, Surv +5, Swim +6

Mel immediately unties Túrion, listening to Isabella speak. Once he's free she tends his wounds, easing his hurts with now-practiced fingers. Her hands leave green light where they pass over him, which seeps in, causing his injuries to fade away.

Heal: 1d20 + 20 ⇒ (11) + 20 = 31

Túrion gets 61 hp back, plus he heals 4 ability score damage if he has any. Plus an equal amount of nonlethal damage. Considering his total HP are only 52 I think he should be fully healed at this point. I don't think anyone picked up his gear yes, so it's probably still on the table.

"Two of them plotting to pit their own people against one another? That's ... that's monstrous." Mel feel physically ill as she takes it in. "You say you couldn't get to the book. But do you know where he keeps it? And who is it on the Concordat end of this vile partnership?"


Brookside Campaign Journal

Isabella nods. "I was not particularly pleased, either. I believe he keeps the book on his person at all times, a difficult lift to perform. But maybe someone with the right skill. Or if there was somehow, EVER, a royal order to search him, confiscate it, and translate it." She shrugs, wondering what leverage it would take to so move the gears of government. "On the Concordat end is their Magister of Divination. She likes to appear all-knowing, I gather." Isabella chuckles. "I heard she was very upset when I called in a favor in the Concordat to give her false information on disposition of Concordat troops on their border which she traded to Beaumont. They barely trust each other now."


HP 52/52| AC 17(16)/FF14/T13(12) | Saves 7(6):10(9):11 | CMD 18 | Init 2 |Perception +11 | FS 2/2 SS 2/2 | Pearl1 3/3 Fund 140/500 Grtr Magic Aura

Hal nods at Isabella's words, reluctant to look too approving at a trick well played.

"Hmm. Reminds me. We should knock up a way ta talk ourselves. Somethin' doesn't put either gang at risk. Meself I reckon it's hard ta go past a good dread drop in a public place, but we'd need a cipher. Combine the two, maybe? Otherwise could use a common person we all trust - but I can't think of anyone... Hey - there's a newssheet, right? How 'bout the cipher is the letters in the sheet fr'm five days ago, reversed?"
I'm happy to gloss over the details, but a way to pass messages to Isabella's group makes sense.


Brookside Campaign Journal

Isabella raises an eyebrow. "That would be wise but you'll have to explain the cypher a little more fully than that."


HP: 52/52 | Arcane Reservoir 5/13 | Hero: Spent | AC: 15 / T: 15 / FF: 11 | Fort: +5, Ref: +9, Will: +10| M. Touch: +3, R. Touch: +9 | CMB: +3, CMD: 18| Init: +12, Perception: +11 (Low-Light-Vision) |
Active Effects:

"Thank you.", Túrion responds to Mel healing him, not saying anything else. While his equipment was placed on the table, he still suspects foul play, and remains seated.
Being bound that long, his joints ache, and his feet are numb - it's not like he could stand up and walk away right now.
So he remains seated, and broods, waiting for enough feeling to return to his body to not immediately fall over when trying to undo the plate mail.


Female UC Rogue (Phantom Thief) 8, Warpriest of Ostara 1, HP: 91/91, AC: 24:17:19, CMD: 26 Saves: 10:12:9 (+2 vs enchantment), Init +5 (+3 when bluff/SM involved); Status:
Skills:
Acro +13, Bluff +4, Climb +6, Diplo +12, Disg +21, Escape A +11, Heal +20, Kn(arc, nobles) +13, Kn(loc, planes) +21, Kn(nat) +16, Kn(rel) +17, Kn(others) +12, Ling +7, Perc +20, Sense M +8, Stealth +27, Surv +5, Swim +6

Ah yes. The plate mail.

"Khaz, you're more familiar with armor than the rest of us," Mel says. "Maybe you could help him out of that? I wouldn't know where to start."

"A dead drop and cipher would make good sense. As long as everyone is clear how it works."

"Do you know anything about Beaumont's defenses?" she asks Isabella. "Security measures he takes to secure his person or his estate? Plus anything else you think might be useful to know about him."

I think we should wrap up this scene and move on to planning our next moves, elsewhere. Just fishing for whatever information we might be able to get.


Brookside Campaign Journal

Isabella nods. "Yes we know a bit about his defenses from trying to get at him. Beaumont is more canny than I would have guessed. He sees the average pickpocket or flattering liar coming from a mile away. And his home is well-guarded by a mixture of meatheads and book-toters."

Fighters and wizards.


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Dwarf 10HD Sentinel (4) Buffs (n/a) Wounds (24) HP (103) AC (33/13/30) Saves (14/9/7, +2 Hardy) Initiative (+6) MF (3/4) HP (1/1) CMD (28+4 trip and bull rush, +2 vs grapple, +1 disarm and sunder) Battlefield Protector (Sp) sanctuary (3/3) shield of faith (1/2) prayer (1/1)

Kazador went to it, quietley singing a tune as he did so. ” No light in the darkness, we've opened the gate. No chance to turn back, it's far too late. Onward through blackness where eyes cannot see… The ancient realm of the dwarves entered we. Magic still lives where they carved for the gold. Caves long forgotten yet great to behold. The silence and dark fills our hearts full of gloom…all that was won falls into doom…” Having forgotten the rest of the lyric he hummed along as he worked.

It was no a song he had made, of course, but he enjoyed it nonetheless. In but a few minutes it was off. ”…and, done. And too bad, it was a good look.”

Not my song but enjoyed it enough to use it


Female UC Rogue (Phantom Thief) 8, Warpriest of Ostara 1, HP: 91/91, AC: 24:17:19, CMD: 26 Saves: 10:12:9 (+2 vs enchantment), Init +5 (+3 when bluff/SM involved); Status:
Skills:
Acro +13, Bluff +4, Climb +6, Diplo +12, Disg +21, Escape A +11, Heal +20, Kn(arc, nobles) +13, Kn(loc, planes) +21, Kn(nat) +16, Kn(rel) +17, Kn(others) +12, Ling +7, Perc +20, Sense M +8, Stealth +27, Surv +5, Swim +6

"All right then," Mel sighs, once Hal has finished explaining the proposed cipher and Túrion has dressed and recovered his gear. "In retrospect, I wish we had made more definite efforts to contact you earlier. The circumstances of our meeting would likely have been better. But ... no sense lamenting over might-have-beens. We have business to tend. Let's be about it."

She puts her hat back on, the smiling features of Melia sliding into place. She gives an effervescent smile. "Toodles!" And so saying, heads for the exit.


HP 52/52| AC 17(16)/FF14/T13(12) | Saves 7(6):10(9):11 | CMD 18 | Init 2 |Perception +11 | FS 2/2 SS 2/2 | Pearl1 3/3 Fund 140/500 Grtr Magic Aura

sorry, I did a post with the linguistics check, but it seems to have been eaten
linguistics: 1d20 + 23 ⇒ (3) + 23 = 26


HP 52/52| AC 17(16)/FF14/T13(12) | Saves 7(6):10(9):11 | CMD 18 | Init 2 |Perception +11 | FS 2/2 SS 2/2 | Pearl1 3/3 Fund 140/500 Grtr Magic Aura

Hal nods to Túrion "C'mon mate. We got one more to pick up, then we can head out, and y'can clean up."


Brookside Campaign Journal

Nice song, Kazador! I like it too.

You head out, watched by members of the Resistance as you leave. They keep an eye on Turion in particular. As you are heading out, a the head dockworker offers Turion some normal clothes and a hat so he doesn't completely stick out in Bannerhold. Then you slip into the street and move away while trying not to draw attention to yourselves.

A block away, you see a guard sergeant interviewing three dockworkers. "An elf? Falling from the sky? Just over there?" They nod vigorously, gesticulating and spouting garbled stories that contradict each other a little bit. "He cast a spell!" shouts one. "He must have teleported away because I didn't find him when I went to go look where he would have landed" shouts another. "An arrow got him!" shouts a third. The sergeant looks concerned and orders them all to calm down and speak one at a time.


Female UC Rogue (Phantom Thief) 8, Warpriest of Ostara 1, HP: 86/91, AC: 24:17:19, CMD: 26 Saves: 10:12:9 (+2 vs enchantment), Init +5 (+3 when bluff/SM involved); Status:
Skills:
Acro +13, Bluff +4, Climb +6, Diplo +12, Disg +21, Escape A +11, Heal +20, Kn(arc, nobles) +13, Kn(loc, planes) +21, Kn(nat) +16, Kn(rel) +17, Kn(others) +12, Ling +7, Perc +20, Sense M +8, Stealth +27, Surv +5, Swim +6

I presume we collected Nelly on the way out.

Before leaving the premises, Mel takes a moment to adjust Túrion's disguise, trying basically to make him as inconspicuous as possible.

Disguise: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (8) + 11 = 19

Outside, Melia gestures the others to casually keep moving.

"Let's just go for a walk," she says quietly. "We have some planning to do -- but first let's make sure we're not followed. We seem to have an agreement with them, but no sense leading them straight to where we sleep at night."

She keeps a sharp eye out for anyone who might be following them.

Perception: 1d20 + 20 ⇒ (17) + 20 = 37

GM, do we need to do anything in particular to avoid that crowd or can we just walk the other direction?


HP 52/52| AC 17(16)/FF14/T13(12) | Saves 7(6):10(9):11 | CMD 18 | Init 2 |Perception +11 | FS 2/2 SS 2/2 | Pearl1 3/3 Fund 140/500 Grtr Magic Aura

"Walk, sure. Then to a safe spot where we can check for trackers. Right?"
looking for spell auras with soulsight goggles.


Female UC Rogue (Phantom Thief) 8, Warpriest of Ostara 1, HP: 86/91, AC: 24:17:19, CMD: 26 Saves: 10:12:9 (+2 vs enchantment), Init +5 (+3 when bluff/SM involved); Status:
Skills:
Acro +13, Bluff +4, Climb +6, Diplo +12, Disg +21, Escape A +11, Heal +20, Kn(arc, nobles) +13, Kn(loc, planes) +21, Kn(nat) +16, Kn(rel) +17, Kn(others) +12, Ling +7, Perc +20, Sense M +8, Stealth +27, Surv +5, Swim +6

"Right."


Brookside Campaign Journal

The group easily walks around the crowd and in a different direction. Hal does not detect any spells on your group other than your own. After a few minutes of walking, you come to a much quieter stretch of street. For the moment, you are alone.


HP 52/52| AC 17(16)/FF14/T13(12) | Saves 7(6):10(9):11 | CMD 18 | Init 2 |Perception +11 | FS 2/2 SS 2/2 | Pearl1 3/3 Fund 140/500 Grtr Magic Aura

Hal slumps against a wall "Well. She seemed nice. My last job taught me not ta trust nice. If I push m'self I reckon I can port any of us ta somewhere I know well enough. That's not the list it used ta be, but I've got a couple." He looks to Turion "No offense mate, but I'd like you to avoid castin' till we can check ya out. Better safe than sorry. I reckon we skip town altogether f'r the day - lots'a tricks fail if ya get far enough. C'n I interest anyone in a sojourn to a scenic cell I know?"


Brookside Campaign Journal

Narratively, it's not a big problem if you guys want to teleport far away for a bit then come back.


Brookside Campaign Journal

Bump


HP: 52/52 | Arcane Reservoir 5/13 | Hero: Spent | AC: 15 / T: 15 / FF: 11 | Fort: +5, Ref: +9, Will: +10| M. Touch: +3, R. Touch: +9 | CMB: +3, CMD: 18| Init: +12, Perception: +11 (Low-Light-Vision) |
Active Effects:

Túrion throws the cloths and hat back at the Dockworker, not willing to take anything, and answering the watchful gaze with glares of his own.
He was compelled by his word, given under threat of murder, to do their bosses dirty work, but nothing compelled him to pretend to like that one bit.
Regarding sticking out, he will insist on invisibility, despite Harolds suggestion to not cast anything just yet. He will readily agree to be thoroughly checked out once they are in whatever is considered a safe spot.
Amusingly enough, I do have Teleport prepped and 3 charges ready to go - having expected to deliver the girl to Count Aral. So yeah, we can without much effort just jump far, far away - in theory. If Hal has reason to expect something would go wrong, he can take the lead on that.


Female UC Rogue (Phantom Thief) 8, Warpriest of Ostara 1, HP: 86/91, AC: 24:17:19, CMD: 26 Saves: 10:12:9 (+2 vs enchantment), Init +5 (+3 when bluff/SM involved); Status:
Skills:
Acro +13, Bluff +4, Climb +6, Diplo +12, Disg +21, Escape A +11, Heal +20, Kn(arc, nobles) +13, Kn(loc, planes) +21, Kn(nat) +16, Kn(rel) +17, Kn(others) +12, Ling +7, Perc +20, Sense M +8, Stealth +27, Surv +5, Swim +6

"Janus here has had a rough night," Melia says. "He clearly needs at least a little time to recuperate before we go diving in again. So yes, let's get out of sight, check for any tracking, then lay low for a night."

"For the first part, let's just return to that vacant house. The one that formerly had a pickle barrel in it. Obviously not the happiest spot, but it's well away from our usual haunts, and it will get us out of plain view of the street while we check ourselves out. Also, assuming we're clear we can teleport away from there without anyone observing us."

I'll leave it up to Hal and Túrion to check for any magical effects/items that might be problematic. Mel just does a Perception check to search each of us for any more mundane things, like objects that might be scryed on or similar.

Perception: 1d20 + 20 ⇒ (13) + 20 = 33


HP 52/52| AC 17(16)/FF14/T13(12) | Saves 7(6):10(9):11 | CMD 18 | Init 2 |Perception +11 | FS 2/2 SS 2/2 | Pearl1 3/3 Fund 140/500 Grtr Magic Aura

Hal argues with to Túrion "Just lemme check you over proper 'fore ya cast. I want ta see if I can pick up any whif 'a illusion magic that might be hidin' somethin' on ya. It'll only take a minute, then ya can Fade as much as ya like."

mechanics:
using the glasses and Read Spell Traces. I suggest a secret Spellcraft roll, if needed at all. +23, -10 for lingering traces, but frankly any illusion traces will be suspect.


Dungeon racing rules and FAQ

Hal determines that Turion was subjected to quite a few cure light wounds spells but nothing else is detected by magical or mundane means.


Female UC Rogue (Phantom Thief) 8, Warpriest of Ostara 1, HP: 86/91, AC: 24:17:19, CMD: 26 Saves: 10:12:9 (+2 vs enchantment), Init +5 (+3 when bluff/SM involved); Status:
Skills:
Acro +13, Bluff +4, Climb +6, Diplo +12, Disg +21, Escape A +11, Heal +20, Kn(arc, nobles) +13, Kn(loc, planes) +21, Kn(nat) +16, Kn(rel) +17, Kn(others) +12, Ling +7, Perc +20, Sense M +8, Stealth +27, Surv +5, Swim +6

"Clear as far as I can see," Melia says.


HP: 52/52 | Arcane Reservoir 5/13 | Hero: Spent | AC: 15 / T: 15 / FF: 11 | Fort: +5, Ref: +9, Will: +10| M. Touch: +3, R. Touch: +9 | CMB: +3, CMD: 18| Init: +12, Perception: +11 (Low-Light-Vision) |
Active Effects:

"Well, how about we move, and I can teleport us towards the woods I was hunting with Nelly in, before we arrived in this cesspit of a city. You can check me out more thoroughly there, before we move on to our destination.", Túrion suggests after preliminary checks are performed.


Dwarf 10HD Sentinel (4) Buffs (n/a) Wounds (24) HP (103) AC (33/13/30) Saves (14/9/7, +2 Hardy) Initiative (+6) MF (3/4) HP (1/1) CMD (28+4 trip and bull rush, +2 vs grapple, +1 disarm and sunder) Battlefield Protector (Sp) sanctuary (3/3) shield of faith (1/2) prayer (1/1)

"Right, let's do it then. Unlikely that the woods would be warded to know when someone teleports in."


HP 52/52| AC 17(16)/FF14/T13(12) | Saves 7(6):10(9):11 | CMD 18 | Init 2 |Perception +11 | FS 2/2 SS 2/2 | Pearl1 3/3 Fund 140/500 Grtr Magic Aura

Hal nods. "Sensible. I reckon so long as we end up at least 3 leagues we should be fine, though I'd prefer the traditional 7." he nods slowly "Ya look clear ta me. Next step'll be a scry-proof zone, minor alterations ta your stuff, and a round o' magical cleansin'. Then ya get some sleep, we disguise ourselves, and we can come back 'round sunset. We need ta check Nell as well - everyone really."


Female UC Rogue (Phantom Thief) 8, Warpriest of Ostara 1, HP: 86/91, AC: 24:17:19, CMD: 26 Saves: 10:12:9 (+2 vs enchantment), Init +5 (+3 when bluff/SM involved); Status:
Skills:
Acro +13, Bluff +4, Climb +6, Diplo +12, Disg +21, Escape A +11, Heal +20, Kn(arc, nobles) +13, Kn(loc, planes) +21, Kn(nat) +16, Kn(rel) +17, Kn(others) +12, Ling +7, Perc +20, Sense M +8, Stealth +27, Surv +5, Swim +6

"Agreed. Let's go."

Melia takes out Count Aral's book and pens a quick message in it: There have been developments. We are teleporting to the woods outside your country estate. Look for us in an hour or two at most. We would like to confer on steps going forward.

"I hope he gets that before we show up knocking on his door," she says.


Brookside Campaign Journal

As you are in the woods preparing, Mel gets a response in Count Aral's book. "Very good. I will prepare rooms for you. I always have a place for old friends I met at a diplomatic council in the Bishopric twenty-three years ago."


Female UC Rogue (Phantom Thief) 8, Warpriest of Ostara 1, HP: 86/91, AC: 24:17:19, CMD: 26 Saves: 10:12:9 (+2 vs enchantment), Init +5 (+3 when bluff/SM involved); Status:
Skills:
Acro +13, Bluff +4, Climb +6, Diplo +12, Disg +21, Escape A +11, Heal +20, Kn(arc, nobles) +13, Kn(loc, planes) +21, Kn(nat) +16, Kn(rel) +17, Kn(others) +12, Ling +7, Perc +20, Sense M +8, Stealth +27, Surv +5, Swim +6

"Ah, good. He got the message. Count Aral is expecting us. Our cover story for visiting is that we are old friends of his whom he met at a diplomatic council in the Bishopric twenty-three years ago."


HP: 52/52 | Arcane Reservoir 5/13 | Hero: Spent | AC: 15 / T: 15 / FF: 11 | Fort: +5, Ref: +9, Will: +10| M. Touch: +3, R. Touch: +9 | CMB: +3, CMD: 18| Init: +12, Perception: +11 (Low-Light-Vision) |
Active Effects:

"Works for Hal, I'd reckon. Kaz, maybe. I believe I'd look a tad too young to have been at some council 20 years ago, and the same is true of you - if we attempt to pass as non-elves. Humans age incredibly fast. Rather than try to appear older, maybe we should be proteges or relatives of Hal.", Túrion suggests.


Having added a little bit to your cover story, you teleport to just outside Count Aral's grounds then walk up to the main gate. The guards look a little confused to see guests of the powerful count arriving on foot and call for the steward, who is also confused, and goes to fetch the Count. The Count comes, laughing, and exclaims "You always were eccentric, my old friends! Taking thirty mile walk through the countryside? Well come in, come in!"

You are treated to a baths and a fine meal with excellent wine served in moderation. Afterwards, Count Aral invites you all to walk in his gardens with him. Some guards watch just out of earshot and he speaks "Gesture as if we are still reminiscing. I try to keep my poor guards in the dark about any matters of state. They would really rather not know. It seems you all have been extremely busy in Bannerhold."


reusing an old avatar, hope no-one minds. Sticking to the variant on the Hal name, sortof.
"Indeed my lord." Hal's act slips a little once they are away from the servants, uncomfortable with such familiarity with a noble he has never met. "Honoured to meet you in person."


Sphere Oracle HP: 10/10 | SP 5/5 (Magical Signs, Wild Magic) | AC:12 / T:12 / FF:10 | Fort: 2, Ref: 2, Will: 3(diverse boni) | CMD: 11 | Init: 4, Perception: 1
Ongoing effects:
none

"Yes. Busy. Beyond reason.", Túrion just worded, not keen on adding detail.
He had left home with an open mind, but the more experiences he made in this city, the lower his esteem for humans had gotten. There was only plotting, corruption, an utter lack of morality, and the one he had been interested in getting out turned out to be the worst offender.

He held no illusion that Aral was only doing all this because the Status Quo was more beneficial and convenient to him than a war, and Turick most likely only meant to strengthen his own position by weakening rivals.

He was here, stuck playing a role, again, because no doubt showing his true self would lead to one of these hairless monkeys betraying his master and causing undue trouble for personal gain. The whole race was so thoroughly morally corrupted it was frightening. The only ones that stood out as integer and praiseworthy were those human companions he had travelled with, and all had been eccentric or outcasts from regular society in their own way - something that made a lot more sense now.

But Mel had decided to make her home among these humans, so she was well suited to dealing with them, and Túrion gladly let her take point.


Given the very brief replies from Sir Chalest and Janus (or whatever persona Turion is presenting as there), Count Aral chuckles slightly. "From what I here, you've toppled half of the king's council. He is looking into replacements and the gossip is he might just be willing to consider some of his late parents' councilors since his younger crop has been proving problematic. Perhaps the council will develop a thread of moderation. But Duke Beaumont still poses a problem and he will seek to maneuver any new councilpersons into his own fold."


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Sorry. I've been on a two-day long road trip for work.

During the walk to the Count's estate, Mel used her Hat of Disguise to take on a new, previously unseen persona: Mala, formerly a diplomatic aide to a now-retired ambassador from Helm. The hat takes on the appearance of a headband taming a mane of black hair -- tinged here and there with a strand of silver. Grey eyes twinkle out from skin a few shades darker than her usual preference.

Mala laughs lightly. "Oh, yes. We have been exceptionally busy."

She quickly recaps their adventures in Bannerhold to date, including the recovery of most of the treasury, their dealings with Turick, the investigations into and downfall of Cust and Harcourt.

I'm curious as to what questions, if any, Count Aral has regarding those phases. I think we kept him tolerably well informed, but you never know.

"... and finally, we made contact with the 'Friends' -- a resistance group. Due to a series of misunderstandings, the circumstances of that meeting were highly unpleasant for Robin. I don't think the details are relevant here. Suffice it to say we made an uneasy accord with them. We're going to send a message to the Bishop of Helm on their behalf; beyond that, all we agreed to do is stay largely out of their way. They want to see Beaumont taken down just as much as we do. In exchange, their leader gave us some information about Beaumont."

She smiles slyly. "It's bad. Brace yourself. Pretend I'm telling a really funny joke."

After giving him a moment to ready a reaction, she leans forward, cups her hands around her mouth and whispers to him: "Duke Beaumont has been swapping state secrets with Amrynn Faedi, the Concordat's Magister of Divination, using a Book of Whispers."


Brookside Campaign Journal

Oh shoot, folks! That was a way longer silence on my part than I realized. Profuse apologies. Life is busy but I gotta check in better for times like that when I mis-remember having replied already.


Count Aral is extremely curious to hear of your adventures ranging from kidnapping to infiltration to treasury heist. He shakes his head, pretending to be chatting but disappointment is clear in his eyes. "I warned the King about the character of his flattering new friends. Cust and Harcourt have shown their true colors well enough. But I am sorry to hear about the downfall of Madame and young Master Harcourt. I will look into their affairs and see what I can arrange discreetly."

Then he raises an eyebrow. "I would have thought Baron Cust would have had teleportation available to escape the collapse of his lies in a hurry. Most powerful nobles plan for such and he was as self-centered, paranoid, and rich as any. What happened there?"

Finally, he tries to keep his cool, thanks to Mel's warning, but anger and shock flash through his micro-expressions as Mel drops the bomb of Beaumont's secret. "That is... hideous... I hope both of those hypocritical war hawks find their just end quickly. In fact, I will do what I can to personally see to it. Should I apply my resources to Beaumont or to Faedi? Faedi will be somewhat more difficult for me but you seem busy with Beaumont and I do not want Faedi to go unpunished. I believe I could arrange something."


"I would be grateful if young Master Harcourt could be put on a good path in life," Mala says. "He seems a good lad, but neglected by his parents. And I played cruelly on his trust in the course of bringing his father to justice."

She thinks a moment, and adds "He seems much taken with ships and seafaring. For what it's worth."

"Yes, Baron Cust was indeed prepared to escape magically. But he also had defenses against incoming teleportation spells, and we contrived to reverse those. In essence, we trapped him in his own trap. That was a group effort, but Sir Chalest here deserves the lion's share of the credit." She nods gracefully at the bearded knight.

"As for Beaumont and Faedi, we're not entirely sure how to proceed on that front. If we could lay hands on his book of whispers that alone would be evidence enough to see him hanged for high treason. But he keeps it on his person at all times, and he's exceptionally difficult to trick or bamboozle. What little intelligence we've gathered suggests that his estate is highly secure and patrolled by accomplished mages and soldiers. There are certain to be locks and alarms to contend with, and possibly traps or magical defenses in some key locations, but we don't know where or what or even what the layout is like."

She sighs. "I would give a great deal to be in possession of Faedi's Book of Whispers. I imagine we could contrive to feed Beamont some false information that way -- trick him into doing something unwise. At the very least, her book would be sufficient evidence that the King might see fit to order a search of Beaumont's person and estate to find its other half. But we know even less of her than we do of him, no good way to quickly reach the Concordat, and I imagine planning acquiring her book would be even harder. She is a diviner, after all. I imagine that means she's good at seeing things coming."

"So we were hoping you might have some suggestions on possible approaches to getting that book from Beaumont."


"You are too kind, Madame." Chalest gestures with his hand, as if talking about the estate, and continues "I understood that Beaumont had already been fed false information? If so, I suspect such trickery would be significantly more difficult."

he coughs once, politely. "Would the book be sufficient? Could not the Duke simply claim it a forgery? Would a noble of the Beaumont's status be subjected to truth-telling spells?"

Chalest fakes a laugh for possible eavesdroppers. Thoughtfully he continues. "I wonder if perhaps the mutual betrayal by esteemed councillors might be a way to nudge the King's policies back towards peace?"

"Also, forgive me my lord, but to be clear; we have evidence the Reaps are involved in these matters. If you, hypothetically, intended to hire specialists to see they meet their just ends I urge you to extreme caution. Again, please forgive me my lord, I doubt such is your intention, but I would be remiss not to give warning."


The count listens carefully, as you can see from his eyes, though his overall manner communicates relaxation and a pleasant conversation among friends to any watching from a distance. He raises an eyebrow at the description of the reversed teleport trap. "That is an astounding accomplishment indeed, and one that will raise great alarm if it is known in general. Given the frequency of both teleportation traps and teleportation escape routes to protect high officials, I strongly urge you to inform the crown of your discoveries. Perhaps a protection can be built into the crown's defenses against such meddling. And I expect you would be discreetly rewarded for this information." As an afterthought, he adds "I, of course, would wish to adapt my own security as well but it would not be nearly treasonous for me to have this information before the king's security."

After he addresses the teleportation topic, he moves on to the two traitors. "Yes I will take my time in bringing Faedi to justice. I will hire agents carefully over the next few months, no assassins or Reapers of course. And eventually I will collect enough evidence to feed to one of her rival magisters to ensure her destruction."

DC 20 K local, +4 circumstance for Mel and +2 circumstance for Turion:

The Universalist Magister of the Concordat has a particularly bitter, century-long rivalry and feud with Faedi.

"As for Beaumont, I can give you some information regarding the layout of his estate from my visits there. In addition, my intelligence suggests one secret tunnel in from the sewers, which you may be able to uncover. The Book or other evidence would be sufficient to bring divination magic to bear on Beaumont's person if both Viscount Turick and myself endorsed it."


Dwarf 10HD Sentinel (4) Buffs (n/a) Wounds (24) HP (103) AC (33/13/30) Saves (14/9/7, +2 Hardy) Initiative (+6) MF (3/4) HP (1/1) CMD (28+4 trip and bull rush, +2 vs grapple, +1 disarm and sunder) Battlefield Protector (Sp) sanctuary (3/3) shield of faith (1/2) prayer (1/1)

"The sewers." Kazador muttered. "Of course." Looking to the Count, the dwarf said, louder "A layout of his estate would be very useful. And while the sewers are not the most glamorous way to make an entrace, it would certainly catch them by surprise."


"Potentially even with their pants down," Mala quips.

Mel passes that Knowledge (local) even on a nat 1.

She nods thoughtfully at the plans for Faedi. "Faedi has a longstanding rivalry with the Magister Universalis, as I suspect you know," she says. "I imagine he would be most interested to learn things to her disadvantage."

I'm not sure I follow the last sentence. Is Count Aral suggesting that we need to obtain the book first, after which he and Turick can get Beaumont put into a Zone of Truth or similar? Or is he suggesting that he and Turick could swear out a magical search warrant on Beaumont in pursuit of the book?


HP: 52/52 | Arcane Reservoir 5/13 | Hero: Spent | AC: 15 / T: 15 / FF: 11 | Fort: +5, Ref: +9, Will: +10| M. Touch: +3, R. Touch: +9 | CMB: +3, CMD: 18| Init: +12, Perception: +11 (Low-Light-Vision) |
Active Effects:

"As far as the teleportation trap is concerned...I admit the specific approach he had choosen was something I would not have considered. But the difficult part, then, was to make sure it still operated normally after disabling the regular safety override.", Túrion adds in a low voice. "What I am saying is...Using that method, it should be rather manageable to...scramble the trap. If you don't need people to survive it. Not sure there is much in terms of adaptations to defend against that, but it does require an active intrusion into the weave at the exact time you attempt the spell...maybe just adding a rider effect that lets you know if anything was compromised might be doable - anything more...difficult."

1d20 + 12 + 2 ⇒ (1) + 12 + 2 = 15

"As for Faedi...I know little of her. But if her choosen specialisation is any indicator, then your agents best know how to stay in the shadows - the issue with Beaumont will be resolved sooner, and it will no doubt spook her."

On the matter of Beaumont, he remains silent. They HAD gained some intel on the man, including the book, but Túrion was absolutely not going to trust that intel without further verification, or assume it was more than an elaborate setup.
If it was true, great. If not, he would not allow himself to be caught unaware.


"Sewers?" Sir Chalest complains, shuddering "I hate sewers. If we're doing anything with the sewers we must keep an eye on the clouds - and under no circumstances will I enter during a storm. I learned that lesson when I nearly drowned in one when I was young."


"There were no sewers where I grew up," Mala offers. "It was a comparatively small town, and pretty spread out. We just didn't have the density for sewers to make sense."

"I have since become all too familiar," she adds wryly, thinking of "Daisy" and her pet snake in the sewers beneath Helm.


Aral means that the book or other strong evidence give him and Turick plenty of justification to use their influence to push for magically enhanced interrogation of Beaumont. So the evidence does not necessarily need to be foolproof; it just has to be strongly suggestive of Beaumont's crimes

Aral nods. "Ah yes. The Universalist. Thank you for that advice. I will happily employ it. As for the plans, I have an agent in the capital who can hand them to you when you return. I do not keep such thorough architectural records here on my personal estate."

Then he focuses on the issue of teleport traps that seized his attention. "Fascinating. I would appreciate any information you could provide, again, perhaps directly to the Crown instead of to me, on when such interference can be achieved and how to incorporate detection of such."

I would like two checks, spellcraft and K arcana, with the total mattering for how good your advice is. I'm happy to take the highest roll as primary and other rolls as aid attempts. This is not plot critical but Aral or the Crown are willing to reward you for this valuable intel.


Leaving those two checks for Hal and Túrion. Also, happy holidays all!


knowledge:arcana: 1d20 + 16 ⇒ (6) + 16 = 22
spellcraft: 1d20 + 23 ⇒ (10) + 23 = 33
bluff: 1d20 + 28 ⇒ (2) + 28 = 30 to make it sound as if he's using common language rather than technical terms to make it clearer for Count Aral, rather than because he doesn't know them.
With some reluctance Sir Chalest expounds upon the mechanisms used, concluding with "So as you can see it is not so much that this is a way of co-opting all teleportation protections so much as cleverly taking advantage of a weakness with this particular type of setup. The real lesson here is to ensure that security set ups are tested for weaknesses by highly skilled experts - but this in turn requires one to trust the experts in question." He shrugs "The eternal dilemma in the creation of all complex security systems."


I'm back from Christmas vacay. Let's do this!

Count Aral nods, following as closely as a lay person could be expected to. "Very good. Here is a receipt from me. Please see my steward and provide him with the essential schematics. He will reimburse you for your work." He hands you a note that orders fifty-five counts of platinum to the bearer.

A "count" of platinum is 30 coins so this 16,500 gp for the party's invention of teleport trap subversion.

DC 20 sense motive:

Count Aral is slightly perturbed because he has repeatedly suggested you take this highly sensitive and profitable information to the Crown, not to him, but it seems you don't want to bother with that extra step.

So pass a pleasant evening and back to Bannerhold or do you have other plans?

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