"Hello everybody!!" says a charming Kitsune with a sly smile.
He looks a little scrawny but quite agile. His red fur with auburn streaks looks fabulously styled and he is wearing a casual but trendy blue shirt.
Resting on top of his chest, an amulet showing the holy symbol of Sarenrae is visible.
He has a natural confidence and presence that only few can project at such a young age.
He wears light leather armor that looks like it has been recently oiled and carries a Scimitar at his hip that is attached to his wrist with a very fine chain.
"I hope that we will have a challenging adventure that we have can enjoy together!" he continues.
I've already tried posting twice with different alias, but I'll try just leaving the post instead of deleting it.
Nope, still not seeing it. Make sure I'm marked as active?
I've already tried posting twice with different alias, but I'll try just leaving the post instead of deleting it.Nope, still not seeing it. Make sure I'm marked as active?
All the characters appear to be marked as Active. Not sure what else to try.
|Gorak 'The Touched'|
Maybe if you remove him from active and let him try to post again?
Did you potentially manually hide this campaign when we couldn’t inactivate campaigns?
|Gorak 'The Touched'|
Here as well!
After the trials and tribulations of their last mission, it is undoubtedly a relief for the pathfinders to be sent on a journey that promises to be peaceful and uneventful. It appears that Venture Captain Drandle Dreng is remarkably devoted to his aged grandmother, and never fails to send her a greeting card on her birthday. "Yes, I suppose I could send it by post," he tells you, "but then how would you spend the next several weeks of your time?" He gestures to a weathered map of Avistan and points out the small village in northern Varisia where his grandmother will be eagerly awaiting her card. "Now don't be late! Granny places great stock in punctuality. I'm counting on you! Never forget that you are pathfinders, so I'm sure that nothing could possibly go wrong!"
The trip from Absalom takes several weeks - Dreng didn't offer to teleport you there and muttered something about "blasted paperwork" when the subject of requisitioning a boat was mentioned - but now you are finally nearing the end of your journey and you are pleasantly surprised upon your arrival in the sleepy settlement of Ilsurian, an independent township of Varisia, to discover that a carnival is in town. "Come on, outlanders!" grins an eager boy running past you in the direction of the fairgrounds and its colorful collection of tents and wagons, "the Umbra Carnival is here!"
The sight of the crowds all moving in that direction, with the excitement and noise, is enough to make the pathfinders hungry for some funnel cakes, and it is easy to be swept along in the same direction. It all reminds Cortland of something he read in the Grand Lodge's library:
“Never underestimate the importance of carnivals, my boy. People need entertainment—some reward for their daily toil. The circus brings its own rules and order, and for a coin you catch a glimpse of the larger world. Then it departs, taking its wonders and strangeness with it, and your average soul returns to the fields content. You see? For just a week everything changes, but then everything returns to exactly the way it was, and no one expects or demands otherwise. They see the width and breadth of creation, but remain unburdened by how small they are in comparison.”
—Paracount Marcellus Thurvian of Belde, to his eldest son
Please introduce yourselves and chat. This is a roleplay heavy module so I encourage you all to give everyone flavor about your PC to work with. We'll get going once everyone is ready.
Cortland is intrigued by the carnival. He sets about securing lodgings for himself, leaves his gear then begins to wander the carnival taking in the new sights from far flung lands.
A new face is accompanying you.
The female human Eltran Katsu appears more vibrant to you than most mortals would look like. Her hair is bright, her skin seems to glow, and her teeth are a pearly white.
She has a buckler in her always gloved hands that look frail and weak. and wears a breastplate armor that looks like it has been recently oiled.
She is sitting on a military saddle on top of a war horse. A low growl rumbles up from the horse’s chest. It is clear that this horse can fight while carrying a rider and Eltran is not really fully in control.
"Dreng is really unbelievable ... that we are following his orders is also unbelievable!“ she says and eyes you to see your reaction.
”And now we arrive here and find a carnival! A Varisian carnival! Fate might not be on our side! Let’s find his mother and get out of here!“ she says with a quivering voice.
You see her perform a spiralling gesture to the lady of graves.
Worshipers of Pharasma—as well as most commoners—trace the goddess's spiral-symbol on their chests, typically as a form of prayer when hearing ill news or a spoken evil, in response to blasphemy, and before or during an event that is dangerous or has an uncertain outcome.
You now also see her touching the pendant on her chest which shows a spiraling comet, the holy symbol of Pharasma.
|Gorak 'The Touched'|
"Let's go see the carnival, mates! I bet they have all sorts of treasures and bobbles... Seems like quite the grand time, if you're asking me."
Without waiting for a response, the tall half-orc strides off in the direction of the tents, and towards the smell of roasting meats. He wears a worn red, double breasted jacket- but it is now just barely pulled over a very heavy and clunky piece of Tian Xia styled armor. Purchased Oyori heavy armor, sold agile breast plate
He wears a top hat, which is usually a deep crimson red, but quickly shifted to yellow and oranged hooped at the mention of the carnival. A shield and greatsword are strapped to his back- bobbing along with each step.
To Eltran Katsu "I'm just happy to get my first mission under my belt. Even if it is just a delivery mission. I was getting so tired of the training hall." To the group as he examines the carnival before him. "Holy funnel cakes and games of chance, here I come!" and he just about skips to the fairgrounds following Gorak 'The Touched'.
"That's right Robbin, but always be on your guard. Carnies live on the fringes of society masking themselves in anonymity and peddling deception for a living. More than one person has run afoul of a greedy hand at these events."
The Umbra Carnival is quite the spectacle and it's clear that the locals of a small town like Ilsurian are thrilled by the prospect of such entertainment. The fleet of circus wagons has apparently only just arrived in town the day before and all of Ilsurian is talking about it. Some of the carnies are to be seen in town, coming to restock the carnival's store of food and supplies, or to hang up colorful posters. Some townspeople wander out to the fields where the Umbra Carnival is setting up, hoping to nose around and get a sense of this year’s attractions—a common event tolerated by the circus as long as the locals stay out of the way.
The Pathfinders have no difficulties securing lodging and the following day circus folk hold a parade that marches through town in a spectacle of sights, music, and drumming. Banners and streamers herald a procession of clowns, stilt walkers, and tumbling acrobats, all of whom wave to the townspeople. Carnival barkers call out to people on the streets, promising thrills, chills, and delights for people of all ages (at the modest price of a few copper coins). The entire procession is a formal declaration of the carnival’s opening, and seeks to draw out the curious and idle to follow along to the procession’s end, the parade grounds.
The Pathfinders join the crowds streaming into the carnival's Parade Grounds (Area 1 on the map). This vast, open field serves as the carnival’s heart. By day, this space offers dozens of free shows and events to lure in the cheap and idle, and by night crowds gather to watch displays of magic and reworks imported from distant Vudra and Tian Xia. Vendors wander the area constantly selling food, streamers, and flowers, though the carnival’s guards aggressively repel outside peddlers.
Directly ahead of you, stands the Big Top (Area 2 on the map) which houses an astonishing assortment of shows, from traditional clowns and acrobats to music recitals and dramatic plays. You hear passerby mentioning - with a mixture of excitement and fear - the ferocious performing sphinx only barely held under the ringmaster’s magical control.
To your left, to the West of the Parade Grounds, you see the carnival's Midway (Area 3) where games of chance and skill abound. Prizes are cheap but memorable: paper dolls, dried flowers, ribbons, and sweets from distant lands. You can hear the hubbub of laughter and jeers and curses as the carnival barkers entice the locals into wagering their hard-earned coppers on all manners of contests: challenges of strength, of wit, and of everything in between.
To the north of the Midway, the carnival's Zoo (Area 4) proclaims itself as the "finest collection of rare specimens this side of the Mwangi Expanse" and the barker at the entrance is practically in a frenzy urging would-be-customers to "come see the baby dragon!" Shrieks of excitement and terror - many of them seemingly the voices of children - can be heard from within.
To your right, to the east of the Parade Grounds, the carnival's Freak Show (Area 6) promises spectacles, such as a sword- swallower, a fat lady, and a tattooed man, and SO MUCH MORE!
Lastly, the Winding Market (Area 7), is not exactly a part of the Carnival itself, as much as it is a sort of 'shakedown street' where local merchants pour out of their shops to set up stalls in this snaggled, disorganized knot of tents and walkways adjacent to the festival to take advantage of the crowds it draws.
Welcome to the Umbra Carnival! What would you like to do?
Eltran is suddenly entranced by the spectacular performances.
”I ... I didn’t know a carnival could be so mesmerising! I admit that it makes sense to enjoy the festival. Let’s go to the Big Top (Area 2 on the map) first!“ she says, and after binding her horse with her frail hands, walks to the tents.
Robbin eyes the massive tent first from left to right and back to the middle again, then from top to bottom. HO-LY WOW! . . . That tent is HUGE. He looks around to the other locations making mental notes to go see the smaller attractions before the carnival leaves. The chatter about the sphinx caught his ear and sounds exciting. Looking back to where the rest of the group tarries with obvious excitement in his eyes, Let's go watch the sphinx show! Then he quickly turns around without waiting for an answer to follow after Cortland and Eltran.
Xeveos didn't really care for carnivals all that much so he just followed the group along to keep an eye on them.
|Gorak 'The Touched'|
Gorak has already begun heading down the midway, looking for a game a chance to catch his fancy, when he realizes that the others have started to go towards the large tent. He stops walking, and slowly turns and faces down the exited street before glancing back to the group.
The expression on his face is pained, as if torn between two important and competing interests. Sighing heavily, he turns and heads back towards the group- catching up with them right before they reach the entrance.
Once again, my apologies for the long delay in posting. Thanks for your patience.
The pathfinders arrive in the Big Top along with what seems like half the population of Ilsurian. Everyone is chattering excitedly about the chance to see a "real live sphinx!" After waiting on a long line to purchase an entry ticket (one silver piece, each!), the group jostles with the crowds to get good seats in advance of the show. Vendors wander up down the aisles, offering everything from pickled reefclaw nuggets to the fabled - or at least the busy saleswoman says it is - Mwangi Mead.
At last, however, it is time for the show to begin. The ringmaster calls the audience to attention. She is a tall and striking Varisian woman (See updated slides) - quite different in appearance from the ethnic Chelaxians who comprise the overwhelming majority of Ilsurian's population - who introduces herself to the crowd as "Almara Delisen, Mistress of the Umbra Carnival! It is our great honor to be here with you, and to share some small entertainments, in hopes of waking a sleeping heart or two. Our Carnival contains all manner of marvels, carefully brought hither to you from the furthest corners of Avistan and beyond, but none is greater than that which I am about to show you." She pauses and shoots a dirty look at drunken fellow who appears to have overindulged in Mwangi Mead.
"Fair citizens of Ilsurian, I beseech you, for your viewing pleasure I shall bring forth a fabled sphinx - a gynosphinx to be exact, for the learned among you - captured in far off Osirion, and held in check only through the power of my magical arts. A creature such as this is powerful beyond what most of us shall ever see in our lifetimes, and thus it is essential that you - the good citizens of Ilsurian, the fine citizens of this place - do your part to keep her happy. In a moment I shall call her forth and ask her to show us some small measure of her capabilities. Though she is bound to me by occult rituals so ancient their names have been forgot, no such bond exists between herself and your august selves and thus --- " she pauses for dramatic effect --- "it will be most essential, if you value your husbands, wives, and progeny, that you treat her with the respect she deserves. You have been warned."
The crowd responds to these foreboding comments with even greater excitement, tinged perhaps with fear, though of course everyone knows that it is all a show and nothing could possibly go wrong! Could it?
With a drumroll, Almara Delisen calls forth from behind a curtain, "Jherizhana, the sphinx!" (See image on slides) The performance that follows is perhaps best left to the imagination - Delisen engages the sphinx in a variety of mundane tasks, all designed to showcase her awesome power, and Delisen's control over her - until, perhaps bored by the lack of disaster, the same drunk as earlier shouts out a series of uncouth and ungentlemanly remarks at the awesome sphinx. Jherizhana has, until this point, performed all her tasks dutifully and with little show of emotion, but she now roars with rage, flies up to the top of the tent from whence she calls out "Little man, I shall devour your very heart!" before diving down towards the terrified drunk and the equally terrified audience all around him!
At the last possible moment, Almara Delisen cracks her whip and shouts out several possibly-arcane-sounding phrases, her voice straining with tension, and the sphinx pulls up short, just shy of eviscerating the obnoxious fellow.
The show is hurriedly brought to a conclusion with a few stammered remarks from Delisen: "Good people of Ilsurian, our sphinx is clearly overwrought and must now rest, at least until the morrow, when I assure you that she will be nothing but gracious. For now, I encourage you to explore the rest of our Carnival. Some games of skill and chance, perhaps, at the Midway. What is a copper, or even two, when you have just nearly faced death itself!?! Don't forget to tell your friends and neighbors, for a chance to see the Umbra Carnival does not come often! And be sure to return yourselves, early and often! We thank you for your patronage."
Knowledge (Arcana), Inspiration: 1d20 + 8 + 1d6 ⇒ (7) + 8 + (2) = 17
Oh well. I know nothing :)
Robbin watches the show with the rapt attention of a 7 year old human, head turning side to side to look between Mistress Delisen and Jherizhana. When the drunk yells out, Robbin looks his way only to look back again when Jherizhana roars. When the sphinx starts her dive Robbin looks back at the drunk and surrounding crowd before jumping up as if to help the poor souls. He turns to the sphinx just before she pulls out of her dive.
Holy flying cat-lady! Did you see that! Mistress Delisen saved those people.
sense motive: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (9) + 3 = 12
Cortland wracks his mind trying to recall what he's read about sphinxes but comes up blank, while Xeveos and Robbin both seem quite convinced that everything they just saw was - honest - on the up and up.
The big top is soon emptied of all but a few carnies sweeping up and the pathfinders find themselves carried along by the raucous crowd. It's not long before they stand at the entrance to the Midway (Area 3 on slide 6) Here there are booths with pavilion tent tops that provide shade for the games of skill and chance played beneath. Behind them are circus wagons, some clearly only for transportation and equipment, while others are attractions and portable shops for merchants.
Just inside the entrance, a carnie tries to lure the group over to his booth. A heavy, long-handled mallet leans against a 3-foot-wide and 12-foot-high wooden tower crowned with a stuffed lion’s head. At the base is a lever attached to a puck that slides up and down a pole running the length of the tower up to the lion’s head.
The carnie is Ulfen by the looks of him, and clearly quite muscular. He looks the group up and down, seemingly trying to decide which of you is the strongest. "Welcome to the Umbra Carnival! Care to wager yer hard earned coin at Narthi Vangkot's booth? Who among ye can prove yer power and passion to me by taming the savage beast on yonder pole."
|Gorak 'The Touched'|
Know Arcana: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (8) + 9 = 17
I guess I don't know anything about the sphinx either...
Leaving the tent, Gorak is impressed by the command offered. He seems simply giddy at the concept of the carnival and the spectacle of it all.
"I ain't one to be wasting my coin, old chap. The beasts don't bother me any."
Sorry for the time off. I didn't want to get too invested with Gorak until I knew he is who I would be playing.
Narthi Vangkot looks a bit disappointed when Gorak refuses the challenge but he looks hopefully towards the others. "Right then, any among ye got the strength to be King - or Queen - o' the Carnival!?!"
If you wish to play, please make a Str check
Robbin knows strength is not his game. He looks around for a game more his style.
perception: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (7) + 9 = 16
The carnie shrugs his shoulders and turns to the next likely
marks customers, singing the praises of his contest of strength. At the carnival, there is always another customer waiting in the wings, silver pieces waiting to be liberated from their pockets.
The pathfinders wander further into the Midway, and soon find themselves before three raised runways which meet at a point like an arrow beneath a brightly colored pavilion tent. Where the runways meet sits a tall, rectangular box covered in mirrors. Off to one side is a raised speaker’s podium. Posters on makeshift signs depict an attractive woman in a provocative gown and silver mask, with the words “The Lovely Madame Masque” in bold print.
Step right in, step this way, that's right, step right in!" cries another carnival barker. Care to test your powers of observation? To see Madame Masque is to love Madame Masque! But which Madame is the true Madame!?! Ah, the wonders of the Umbra Carnival! Step right this way... Only a single silver piece..."
The curtain beckons invitingly.
|Gorak 'The Touched'|
"It is the objects and relics I want to see! Not some grimey contests. Show me the things collected from the far reaches of Galorian! Why would I care about some Madame?!"
Gorak's original enthusiasm for the carnival appears to be fading, as what he initially hoped they would find has failed to present itself. He crosses his arms and frowns at the "spectacles".
"Bloody robbery, this place"
Cortland (and anyone else who wishes to join) enters the tent of Madame Masque. A number of other passerby are already there, awaiting the chance to play with some anticipation. With the arrival of the pathfinders, there are apparently enough players to proceed, as the carnie collects each person's silver piece bet and whistles for Madame's entrance.
Madame Masque is a shapely woman in a provocative Varisian costume gown of red and black silk held together by ribbons. She is adorned with all manner of scarves, necklaces, earrings, and other decorative costume pieces, but her face is concealed by a finely crafted silver mask showing only her playful brown eyes. She remains mute, but nods and waves to the crowd.
Madame Masque struts down the center runway and poses for 1 minute, flirting silently with the crowd. She then saunters to the mirrored cabinet, steps inside, and closes it behind her. After a flourish from the barker, the cabinet is opened to reveal three different Madame Masques. Each figure walks down a different runway, while four guards prevent anyone from grasping at them. Each Madame Masque wears an entirely different costume from the original, but - the barker advises the crowd - one wears a single piece of jewelry, item of clothing, or flower only the original wore. "Which is it, my friends? Have we a lucky winner here today?"
Make a Perception check if you wish to compete.
Meanwhile, Gorak is soon accosted by an older woman in an adjoining tent. "Well dearie, suchlike ain't to your tastes, am I right? No matter, Pharasma musta brought ye to me fer a reason, fer ain't many with the sense to open themselves to the art of Hajek. But ye, dearie, I reckon yer special. Ye got questions, ain't ye? Bring them to me, for the All-Seeing Hajek bin waitin' fer ye." She shuffles a deck of cards and beckons to the entrance of her ragtag tent. "Only a small l'il gold piece, dearie, 'n yer future'll be here with ye now..."
Do you wish to enter?
Both Cortland and Robbin demonstrate that the senses of a typical farmer are no match for trained pathfinders. Cortland is a hair faster shouting out that the real Madame Masque wore a distinctive brooch which is now worn by only one of the three, and he is declared the winner of the competition. The other two Madame Masques now vanish - seemingly illusions to begin with - and the remaining image walks back to the mirrored cabinet from whence the real Madame Masque reemerges. Both compare the item in question, demonstrating the game is not rigged. Cortland's speed and confidence in winning the game has apparently captured the attention of Madame Masque herself. She walks on the runway toward him and slowly pulls a single scarf from her costume, allowing it tumble into the winner’s grasp. The onlookers regard Cortland with envy, and Madame Masque gives the winner a final flirtatious over-the-shoulder glance before disappearing into the tent.
Cortland holds the scarf lightly in his hand as Madame Masque moves away. When she favors him with a look over her shoulder he smiles shyly but there is a twinkle in his eye.