Throwing up a post for those who want to dot
My mutagen...ready! Hope I don't need it, I can't think clearly...
The human is seen fixing his goggles as he enters the room. His armor and gear are so polished you're certain this is either the first time he's been on an adventure like this, or he wasted his time buying a new suit.
"Kaye. Ginzel. Er, Kaye Ginzel, at your service!" Kaye looks around and realizes almost no one is there. He double checks his calendar. "Oh! I'm early! Time to think about my business."
You have been called together in the Grand Lodge, as seems to happen a lot in your lives. However, it's not at an ungodly hour, nor is it in some weird off-the-grounds location that could be best described as a dive bar or a ghetto, sooooo you're pretty sure the Venture Captain assigning you this mission is not Drendle Drang or Grandmaster Torch!
Ahem. Regardless, you have been called, and now you wait, outside the offices of the big and bearded Adril Hestram, waiting for the Venture Captain to see you.
You take a moment to look each other over, guessing, correctly, that you have all been called here for the same mission... perhaps the more civil among you even offer introductions....?
Have my nice ham-handed cue to say hi, folks!
Ma’Huuk stands awkwardly out of the way and against the wall. The massive black-skinned man—a bekyar jungle tribesman if his primitive armor and weapons are any indicator, though the iconic bekyar dreadlocks have been shaved—stands nearly seven feet tall with arms as thick as most men’s legs. His hide-and-scale armor is covered with fetishes and trophies. Bright feathers, animal teeth and claws, and much more. And a large, rune-carved animal tooth hangs from a leather thong around his neck.
The man leans on a crude, well-used spear as he watches you all with one dark eye … the other covered with a blood-red leather patch, the trailing edge of three scars running out from under it. He simply sits and watches, apparently comfortable to wait for others to speak or Hestram to invite them in for their briefing.
Wanted to get my intro post in, but Ma’Huuk isn’t much of a talker. :)
Nice to get this thing rolling, though.
Kaye finally awakens from his power nap to see others in the room.
"Ah yes. Kaye. Ginzel. Er, Kaye Ginzel, at your service!" He stands to attention and shakes anyone's hand who is willing. He then sits down, grabs a sheet of paper and starts working out some equations and formulae on it.
Hush answers the Society's call and reports to the Grand Lodge. Wordlessly he walks into the foyer outside the office to which he's been summoned. He stands of average height and build, though his features are almost completely obscured by his clothing. A large black cloak billows when he walks, revealing a shining chain mail shirt; the rest of his garb is similarly black but clearly designed for movement. At his waist are a pair of shortswords. His hood is up, hiding his hair from view.
His face, too, is hidden. What isn't concealed by the hood is covered by a wooden mask painted black. The mask has no nose or mouth, and only a single, star-shaped eyehole. From this, Hush looks at the others and at the rest of the room. He says nothing, folds his hands at his belt, and waits.
Wanted to get my intro post in, but Ma’Huuk isn’t much of a talker. :)
This might be interesting... Hush isn't a talker either.
Maybe I should have said "he's socially awkward because of his uncivilized bluntness, so when he talks, it can be a problem". :)
Ma'Huuk gives the newcomer a curious look, but says nothing ... instead turning his head to loom over Kaye's shoulder at the man's scribbling.
"I am Ma'Huuk," he says in a deep voice with the strange cadence of the jungle mwangi-men. He gives the scribbles a frown, then looks away, curious about the other members recruited for this assignment. "You will meet Moto later," he finishes with an ugly, scarred smile, his white teeth standing out against his ashen black skin, "I am sure."
A tall, lean half-elf listens intently. He wears his platinum blonde hair long, and it loosely frames his face. His hand, which bears a rough brand, rests on his chin.
He wears no armor, symbol of deity, or implements of magic-use. Instead, he is dressed in the fine, flashy garb of a noble. Aside from a pack resting nearby, his only possession seems to be a finely-crafted blade. This sword appears to be a bit over three feet long and very slightly curved. It is not the blade of a brute, but of a duelist. The half-elf's long limbs and agile build seem well-suited to be a swordsman.
When he speaks, it is with a tone full of hubris.
"I should think we deserve more respect. They should not make me...us...wait like this. Oh, I am Erevan Stormstride. I doubt I will be much at your service, but my blade ensures our success."
Oh, I forgot to mention that most characters would recognize Hush's mask (if anyone didn't recognize it themselves) as the holy symbol of Norgorber.
Hush makes no reaction to the others as they introduce themselves; he simply watches.
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A dark-armored man of indeterminate race sits straight and listens. he is dressed in dark black armor, though not yet full on hellknight armor, but the helmet is a dead giveaway.
He has a short gladiator's sword at his side, an odd choice for a hellknight
" I am glad it seems we are being sent on some more respectable business this time. I have had my share of helping lawbreakers for the good of the society"
Another half-elf joins the growing crowd awaiting Hestram. This one is tall and lean, but unlike Erevan, bears a far darker complexion and his hair is cropped short and bound by a colorful headband. Like Ma'Huuk, he is surely a native of the Mwangi Expanse. He wears studded leather armor and a worn pack, but the most unusual thing about him is his weaponry, a wicked-looking crescent-shaped blade attached to a coil of rope that hangs from his belt. "Greetings. I am Jararaca." He tilts his head at the mention of lawbreakers. "Really? I'm just back from the Kortos Mounts. Pretty straightforward mission except for the minotaur."
Wow 3 Half-Elves how did I not realize that
And 3 humans. Two of them are really quiet!
"Greetings, everyone. Looks like we have quite a crowd here." Kaye stows his notes away. "Some are more introspective than others." He chuckles. "But I'm sure we'll succeed at...um...whatever we're doing."
Ma'Huuk doesn't respond to Vargo's talk of respectable business, but raises his eyebrows at Jararaca's mention of a minotaur.
"Wewe kuuawa kubwa ng'ombe mume?" he responds in Polyglot, his tone clearly impressed. " Nasikia hii ni hakuna jambo rahisi."
"Alas countryman, I grew up among the elves of the Expanse and I do not know your tongue. But if you ask of the minotaur, it was a close thing. The Pathfinder who trained us fought it first. But it caught her with its axe and nearly killed her. We were fortunate. It was a tough fight, but we slew the beast and were able to save her in time."
This is reminding me of the times I've sat down at a table, heard our mission briefing, looked around at everyone else, and said 'The VCs sure picked the wrong crew for this one, huh?' ;)
The door of the office swings open, and a tall man with unkempt hair strides out-- not Hestram, much too lean to be him; some of you might know the Venture Captain Osprey, though he is very rarely seen at the Lodge itself, preferring to be large in the wilds of Avistan. He seems in a poor mood, and strides past the junior agents with little more than a glance.
Adril Hestram fills the doorway after him. "Ah, there's some agents-- come on in, all of you, let's see what we have here..."
Though Hestram finds his customary smile as you enter, it fades quickly; the Captain appears somewhat despondent as he returns to the other side of his big desk and starts looking through a number of parchments. He ushers you into the plain wooden chairs of his office then clears his throat. "The assignment I have for you all should be easy, but not joyous. One of our own-- a Venture Captain in good standing, a man whose exploits you may have read in the Chronicles-- has, after many years of faithful service, finally succumbed to the years. Targos Min-Katheer was a friend of mine, as well as an esteemed Pathfinder: we'll do right by him, and honor his funerary wishes. I wish I could go myself, but... well, business keeps me here. So it's on you to give the old man the care he deserves."
Adril Hestram pauses, and appears to fully take in each of you, eyes traveling from the hulking form of Ma'Huuk to the shrouded Norgorberite. Adril opens his mouth to say something, reconsiders, rubs at his forehead, and clears his throat.
"... right. Let's put it this way: Pathfindering's a dangerous business, and someday I may have to send out a group of young recruits like yourselves for one of your bodies. So try and treat Targos's remains with the same respect you would want yours treated with. Unlessyou're from some culture where corpses are left to rot where they fall. Don't do that.
"Anyway. The details: Targos's last wishes were to be buried in his home city of Katheer, Qadira's capital. Currently, Targos's body is in the oasis city of Lopul."
Hestram gestures at a large map of the Inner Sea region that adorns his study wall, showing you Qadira specifically. "Here's Katheer, on the Pashman River. Lopul's further inland-- hm, this map doesn't show it-- well, it's over here."
Adril's thick finger indicates a spot east of Shadun, and south of Khoka, on the map. "Lopul's a caravan city, semi-permanent, built around an oasis. The population can fluctuate greatly with the seasons. Targos has been there the last few years-- took a shine to the region, been trying to clean up the bandits that prey on the Silken Caravan route going east. Those desert jackals are probably happy he's dead," Adril grunts sourly.
"I've arranged ship's passage for you from Absalom to Katheer, and space in an east-bound caravan going to Lopul from there. On the way back, I strongly advise you to join up with a caravan coming west: there's a lot of dangers in the desert, from getting lost, to heat exhaustion, to bandits, to the wildlife. There's safety in numbers. I'll cover the costs of camels for you, as a favor to my old friend...
"So: the short version is to go to Lopul, retrieve Targos's body from his home, and deliver it, intact, to the Katheer Lodge. Any questions?"
Does Ma'Huuk know anything about the dead man or the region we'll be acting in that will be insightful or helpful for our mission?
Knowledge (Geography): 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (19) + 3 = 22
Knowledge (Local): 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (19) + 4 = 23
Ma'Huuk listens. As the briefing continues, his features darken into a frown. But when he finally speaks, his low voice is quiet.
"I have lost people. I will see this man's body delivered." His one good eye focuses intensely on the Venture-Captain. "Is there anything else you would have us do for this man. This friend of yours?"
Could have happened on my last mission. Jararaca muses. Almost happened to that other Pathfinder, Janira. "Venture Captain Hestram. Do we know anything else of this oasis city? Lopul? Perhaps Venture Captain Min-Katheer shared some of the things he learned in the area?"
Kaye rubs his chin as the Venture-Captain describes the mission. "Hmm, this will make quite a diplomatic gesture...We'll do what we can to ensure his safe arrival."
Kaye pulls out his notebook and flips to a seemingly random page. "Oh, this won't do. I'll have to get some better clothing if we're going to the desert. The finest of garments. Plus, it never hurts to be prepared."
Kaye buys a hot weather outfit (for 8 gp) and prepares his formulae very carefully.
So the Society wants me to help facilitate a funeral. Seems oddly fitting. Hush nods his acquiescence. I can't say I've handled dead bodies much-- the dark god doesn't much care what happens after a soul has been harvested-- but it sounds simple enough.
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Ma'Huuk: the Silken Caravan Route that Adril mentioned is the primary overland trade route between the wealth of the distant Dragon Empires and the Casmaron Empire, and the Inner Sea region. (Qadira itself, for all its wealth and merchant princes, is actually only the westernmost province of the vast inland Casmaron empire.) The Silken Caravan route is a corridor of east-west travel that is traversed hundreds of times a year by brave caravaneers willing to risk a journey of thousands of miles. Though you'll be traversing but a tiny section of its overall length, on the Katheer-to-Lopul-and-back leg, you'll no doubt get a sample of many of the dangers of desert travel: heat is a constant threat for any who try to travel through the day, while night-time travel has its own risks, as many of the fierce desert creatures can see far better in the dark than in the day, and make excellent nocturnal predators. From things as mundane as venomous snakes, to hunting sphinxes and man-sized scorpions, the desert has many natural and unnatural predators.
Additionally, the Silken Caravan is, of course, a ripe target for bandits seeking to profit from the risks of others. Gnolls, goblinoids, kobolds, and of course humans are all common raiders. Merchant caravans go heavily armed, but it's not unknown for the mercenaries who are hired to guard a caravan's wealth to decide, deep in the desert, that it might be worth more to rob their employers instead. Accordingly, all but the most desperate caravans are quite discerning in who they'll hire on as guards or additional companions-- often, letters of recommendation can make joining a caravan easier.
Situated not terribly far from the southern border of Taldor, this leg of the Silken Caravan route also suffers the occasional strike from hot-headed Taldans on quick horses-- striking without official sanction by Taldor's crown, but still with some tacit approval for anything that vexes their southern neighbors.
Though the Pashman River facilitates travel to a degree, once it enters the Zho Mountains it passes through deep gorges and over miles of broken rocks, meaning that overland travel by caravan through the mountain passes is a necessity.
Adril grunts and nods at Ma'Huuk's earnest words. "I appreciate that. As for anything further... well..." Adril drops his voice a bit. "...Targos was old, no doubt about it. All the same... call it a Pathfinder's paranoia... if you notice anything, hear anything... that would lead you to believe it wasn't just age that brought him down... let me know. Damn well few enough of us live to die of natural causes."
The Venture Captain seems briefly depressed by that, but Jararaca's question shakes him out of it. "Lopul itself..? Well, it's built around the Pool of Sibhon, a big, clean, reliable source of water even in dry years. Most of the structures are tents-- caravans watering and stocking up. Permanent buildings are few, from what I hear-- half a dozen inns, the 'palace' of a self-styled sheik who takes his cut in taxes... A few dozen homes for those rare permanent residents. Targos would have one of those homes as his own. He was a bit of a local hero, for fighting against the bandits, so I can't imagine it'll be hard to find. Beyond that, I don't know too much about Lopul itself."
He nods a little at Ginzel's words. "Aye, you'll want to dress for the heat. Wearing too much armor out there's like wearing your own personal furnace-and-forge."
Adril shuffles a few papers on his desk, and finds a purse with clinking coins. "This'll cover your camels from Katheer. Take care of the big beasts, they're more expensive than horses-- and for a desert bandit, a good healthy camel is a prize in its own right. Anything else? Your ship leaves in the morning."
Any purchases you want to make while still in Absalom are fine, of course.
At first Erevan listens skeptically, as if concerned the mission is a menial task.
In the end, however, he nods with satisfaction.
"An honor guard to retrieve the body of a well-known Venture Captain. This is a mission I shall take seriously, and I swear to you his body will travel with the greatest care and reach its destination unscathed."
Vargo considers for a moment before asking "Are there any unique laws in Qadira we should be mindful of during our time there?"
"Thank you," Hestram says gravely to Erevan's oath.
To Vargo's question, he gives a shrug. "None that come to my mind. Trade is king in Qadira: they frown on murder, sure, as any civilized nation does, but theft will really get you punished. Each local sheikh has a near-absolute authority over his little stretch of sand... but on the route of the caravan, you'll be in sections where the 'law' reaches as far as the tip of your blade, and no more. I'd avoid speaking any ill of Saranrae; worship of the Dawnflower isn't a state religion, but it's the next closest thing."
Hestram waits to see if there are any further questions. If no one has any more, he ushers you out the door with the bag of coins, and wishes the gods' speed and safe travel on your venture.
If anyone has any last questions for Hestram, feel free to stick them in. However, once you have done that and made any purchases...
The light ship Al-Zabir carries you swiftly across the Inner Sea. The Qadiran sailors have made a good profit delivering bolts of silk and great quantities of saffron and other valuable spices to Absalom itself; they are in good spirits for the eastward sail. Barely three days time sees you at the mouth of the Pashman, where Absalom trade-goods, and yourselves, are unloaded from the Al-Zabir and onto a shallower-bottomed river boat. The trip inland to Katheer contains no interruptions: this stretch of the river is heavily traveled, and every few miles a Qadiran watchtower rises, the vigilant guardsmen making sure that no enterprising bandit even begins to think about assailing this section of the route. At night, the barges making their way up and down the wide river all weigh anchor and hang out their lanterns; many of them belly up to one another, throwing down planks, sailors eager to spend an evening off their own deck and on somebody else's, throwing dice, drinking, swapping tales, and singing songs. There are so many such boats on the Pashman that the river's surface is like a little city, at night, with lights dotting the darkness marking out the river's shape both east and west.
The sailors keep a wary eye on the more foreboding among you-- the Hellknight and the man with the Norgorber mask chief among their worried prospects-- but share drink and dice with you as well as predominantly fishy meals.
A week out of Absalom, and you come to the golden city of Katheer-- extravagantly wealthy, one of the foremost centers of learning in the Inner Sea, with a port that is nearly the rival of Absalom itself. Anything on Avistan that can be bought or sold can be found in the city's bustling bazaar, but your destination is not yet here, alas. Adril's directions guide you to a caravanserai, and Adril's gold purchases you your long-legged camels, ready for the journey east, to Lopul. Poor Kaye Ginzel will have to wait until the return to avail himself of any of Katheer's fabled academies, libraries, and apothecaries.
I'll be GMing at my local PFS later today, so it likely won't be until late Sunday, PST, until my next post, but feel free to stick in any RP you want in the meanwhile.
The big man nods once to the VC, "I will keep my eye open for anything."
he relays what he knows of the area they'll be traveling in, as well as its dangers. "I will be able to provide water." He looks over at Vargo, "Your armor will make things difficult." He smiles, "I hear this is why these desert animals ... they have no metal on them, no?"
Ma'Huuk will pick up 4 Scrolls of Endure Elements and a scroll case to carry them. They could come in handy should someone's rolls go poorly.
Poor Kaye Ginzel will have to wait until the return to avail himself of any of Katheer's fabled academies, libraries, and apothecaries.
Kaye is amazed by the many shops and businesses in Katheer. He collects many, many names and potential contacts, but it's clear he doesn't have time for any business meetings or trips.
"Hmpf. Well, I guess I'll have more time to discuss when we get back. Business before...business!" Kaye laughs as he mounts the camel.
Long sea voyages are nothing new to Jaracara, but like Absalom a few months earlier, Katheer is a wonder to behold. As soon as the city comes into view, he moves to the front of the river boat and takes it all in. Away from the coast, he changes into the hot weather clothing. "A useful talent Ma'Huuk. To be able to conjure water. I have a feeling, we'll all be deep in your debt by the end of this journey."
Ma'Huuk is as awkward aboard the ships as he was in Skyreach, and spends most of his time with the scaled predator that you all assume is his Moto (an allosaur animal companion in leather armor with horrible burn scars along one side of its face).
In response to Jararaca's kindness, Ma'Huuk grunts a laugh. "Let us ensure we all survive before we consider who is in whose debt."
Will also buy a hot weather outfit.
At the news of the sort of climate they'll be traveling through, Hush decides, like the others, that a change of outfits is in order. He purchases clothing more suitable to a hot environment, trading his black cloak for a white silk head covering and his black clothes for lighter, thinner ones. The change makes his black wooden mask look somewhat out of place, but he keeps it. During the journey he accepts a drink now and then from the sailors, but maintains his stony silence-- at mealtimes (or to enjoy the drinks) he removes his mask enough that an onlooker sees a face free of scars, tattoos, or other markings (except a star-shaped tan line around one eye) and is otherwise undistinguished.
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Vargo's eyes light up at the sound of the lawlessness of the sands. "Ah so an opportunity to bring the Law to those than need...as well as accomplishing the Society's noble goals. I am ready"
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Moar montage time! Hey Eben, does the desert travel feel familiar? ;)
Joining up with the caravan with which Adril made arrangements is an easy affair. Predominantly Tiens returning to Goka, they are pleased to have more sword arms in their midst. On your first day out from Katheer, they tell you that on their inbound journey, they came across the scavenged remains of a caravan that had been hit by a notorious group of bandits known as the Scorpions.
On your first day out from Katheer, you also realize the wisdom of having purchased the cooler clothing: while the river travel was warm, with the sun glittering off the river, it is nothing compared to the heat once you enter the desert and get a few miles away from the river's greenery. Inland, the sun bears down like a hammer of fire, baking the brain and rendering steel hot enough to blister bare skin. Yet the Tiens risk traveling at all but the hottest times of the day, wishing to make as much time as possible on their dusty camels.
From Katheer you head east-by-southeast, leaving the river and farmland for pale dunes and a seemingly-constant wind that sucks the moisture from your lips and lungs. On the second day, you see the ominous lines of the Zho Mountains on the horizon, and throughout the long, hot day of travel, the mountains slowly, slowly get closer... and the terrain steeper. That night's camp is made in the foothills. Through the night, ceaseless wind plays through the stone spires of the lower Zhos, creating an eerie whistling that sounds at times like a woman's singing, and at others like the anguished cry of a dying bird. The Tien merchants stuff scraps of silk in their ears, in order to be able to sleep in something like peace.
The next day sees you traveling through the mountains themselves: a labyrinth of stone gorges and dusty canyons, long-dry riverbeds and sudden drop-offs that could spell death for a weary traveler not paying attention to the footing of their mount. The pass that your caravan friends have chosen is well-traveled; you occasionally catch glimpses, through the rock mazes, of other, distant caravans plodding ahead of you, or behind. Also, you see the detritus of things that never made it: wooden cabinets, perhaps beautiful examples of the woodworker's art when they left, but abandoned as weighty and cumbersome, and now pitted to worthlessness by stinging sand and wind. A dead camel's bones, sticking bleached from the red clay. A single boot, half-buried in sand, its owner a mystery now.
That night, the cries of jackals ring off the mountains, and the Tien merchants huddle closer to the fires and keep their weapons at hand. Still, the size of your group means that the predators, whether they walk on two legs or four, do not come close, that night.
Another day in the mountains, and then another, heading out of them, and a third more on open sand again-- before Lopul is on the horizon before you. It stands, a dot of startling green in the bleached tans and ochres of the desert. The Pool of Sibhon provides water and life, and around it has sprung an ever-shifting city. Ahead of you on the sands are at least a dozen other caravans, all moving to Lopul; drovers urge their weary beasts to more speed, eager to reach the city before nightfall and to know the comforts of semi-civilized life for the night.
The city lives up its description by Adril: there are no more than a score of permanent structures here, it seems, but hundreds upon hundreds of tents. Dusk is settling by the time you reach the first outlying tent, and the smells of roasting goat, spiced date wine, chai, and perfumes waft on the desert breeze towards you all. Palm trees line the single, main 'street' through town, but a dozen other cris-crossing roads have been created by common accord, marked off with rope between the tent encampments. Everywhere there are animals: camels, chickens, goats, pigs, cows, and horses are led, cajoled, herded, or caught. No less are the people: among the thousand or so souls here in Lopul tonight, you can find every one of Golarion's major races, and many of the minor ones. A man with hair that flickers like flames, and skin that gleams like molten bronze, is juggling flaming spheres for coins near the town's central courtyard; a small gaggle of travelers watch, eager for distraction from the monotony of travel.
The Tiens take their leave with the grave courtesies their people are known for, and wish you luck in your endeavors.
Okay. So, heat checks will matter, eventually, but as the scenario handwaves your arrival to this point, I'm going to assume that you traveled in such a fashion as to accrue no penalties at this point in time. You are in Lopul. You are looking for the house of Targos Min-Katheer. Kn: Local or Diplomacy are your best bets, though I accept other skills if you sell me on it. Of course, if you want to ask other things of the locals rather than just the house's location, feel free.
*dumps sand from shoes*
Love me some good ole desert travel.
As always, love the descriptions, Dien. :)
Something had changed about Ma’Huuk with every passing mile out of Katheer and into the desert wilds. He spoke no more, nor did he really do anything differently, but he shed his awkwardness. It was replaced with a quiet—if dangerous—confidence. A predator returning to the wild.
… only to be covered up once more with the edgy closed-offishness as the caravan approaches the small city of tents.
To know the location Targos’s house
Knowledge (Local): 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (6) + 4 = 10
As the big man dismounts from his camel, patting the creature idly before checking on Moto, he looks around in the waning light. ”We should also ask what these people know of this man Targos’s last weeks. Maybe we will be lucky and hear something to help put Hestram’s suspicions to rest.” He shrugs massive shoulders, ”Or confirm them.” He looks around, seeing if one of his more-social team members will take lead in the effort.
I’ll roll an Aid Another on someone’s Gather Info for the desired information.
Diplomacy, Gather Info, DC 10: 1d20 - 2 ⇒ (16) - 2 = 14
"Phew! That felt worse than the first time I tried to make alchemist's fire! I accidentally melted the door shut, and it ignited a bucket of olive oil! I baked for an hour at 300 degrees." Kaye laughs. "And then I had a huge hankering for bread." Kaye is glad to return to civilization.
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (8) + 6 = 14
"I also wonder what the people know about Targos, Ma'Huuk. I'll ask around, see what's up. Let's make some magic!"
Erevan wipes sweat from his brow with a handkerchief.
"Baked indeed!" he says, though he wears light and appropriate clothing befitting a wealthy man.
Erevan finds some cushions in a tent and reclines to rest from the heat.
"I suppose at some point we will need to find out where to find the corpse," he says. "But for now, a little rest."
diplomacy aid: 1d20 ⇒ 1 Sorry...got nothin'!
Kaye asks around, tapping the arm of an old Qadiran man who is carrying jugs of water; Ma'Huuk lurks silently behind him, adding a little Gravitas to the asking.
At the name of Targos Min-Katheer, the old man sketches a symbol in the air recognizable as a stylized dawnflower. "Saranrae take his soul to the highest of heavens!" the old man says. "He was a good man, even if his mother was a Taldan. Why, when my daughter was due to be married and bandits made off with the dowry, he not only tracked them down and brought back every coin of her wedding gift, but added on coins and jewels to double it! If only such men could stay with us forever... His home is west of the plaza; there were still mourners around last I heard, so follow the sound of the wailing and you cannot miss it."
When asked about his declining years, the water-seller confirms that Targos was a self-declared enemy of the numerous local bandits and raiders, but that over the last few years, age had rendered Targos less capable of taking the fight out to the enemy. The water-seller does not think anything other than old age laid Targos low.
Erevan finds some cushions in a tent and reclines to rest from the heat.
...a random tent? :P Just walk into somebody's tent and lay down? Well, that would explain the natural 1. ;)
As it becomes truly dark, you make your way through the streets to Targos's home. A decently-sized, mud-brick, domed dwelling lies at the end of a sandy street here in the heart of the caravan city. The scent of the nearby oasis still reaches you, and a hive of bees, attracted by the nearby water, hangs from a date palm next to the house. The wails of mourners and cries of women and children reach your ears, and you can see a small crowd gathered outside the house’s single door, its members crying and tearing their garments. Whether professionally hired mourners or sorrow-filled residents outpouring legitimate grief for the loss of a local hero is unclear, but the emotion seems genuine enough. The door of the house is currently closed.
After helping to track down directions, Jaracara joins everyone as we make our way to Targos's home. Seeing the mourners outside, he adopts a solemn mien. "Do you all think we should introduce ourselves to the mourners outside or go straight to the door?"
Ma’Huuk watches the hut and the mourners. ”Will this be a problem?”
Unless someone stops him, he moves to head into the hut, giving his companion a huk-huk command. Moto moves next to the door and sits back, watching the strange mourners curiously.
Command Moto to guard the door.
As the day heat drags on, Hush finds more and more reasons to remove his mask even for just a few moments at a time-- though his vow doesn't, strictly speaking, prohibit him from doing so, it's highly frowned upon in his order to spend more time than necessary without one's mask. At the same time, dying from heat exhaustion would be even more embarrassing.
All this to-do over a ripened soul? Hush thinks as they encounter the mourners. The Four-Faced God is pleased today, to have gained such a popular one. There's a certain poetic appropriateness to his being there, he decides-- a priest of Death walking among a crowd of mourners, and such a large crowd at that.
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Vargo looks horrified as the man recounts his story.
" That is so tragic for them. I can not imagine what would drive people to disrespect basic decency like that. They need to be taught a lesson! That man is a hero! "
As he approaches the door Vargo produces his weapon in a salute and pronounces in the doorframe " We have come on behalf of the pathfinder society to pay our respects to a great man. May we come it to attend to him properly?.
"I suppose we should take a look inside. We need to confirm his body is there, no?" Kaye strides behind the group into the hut.
Kaye faces the crowd and clears his throat.
"The great Targos protected this town to his final days. He was a sworn enemy to the various bandits, who kept clear of him. If they ever crossed him, they were wiped clean from the desert you call home. He is a Pathfinder, and we honor our fallen. We come to pay our respects to this great man and fulfill his final wish. Do not let his death go in vain: take the lessons he taught you and improve yourselves. You may be one tenth the man he was, but eleven of you can exceed his strength, his valor, his honor!"
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (16) + 6 = 22
Kaye finishes his impromptu eulogy. At the very least, he was a distraction for the rest of the party to sneak in. Also, he got to practice his speechwriting.
Sense Motive: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (9) + 2 = 11
Kaye glances at the crowd to see a reaction. Maybe they are just paid actors...
The crowd gives Moto a wary eye, but the fearsome-looking reptile seems well-enough in hand, at least. They part before the wake of the new arrivals. After Vargo's declaration-- and Kaye's nicely dramatic speech-- there is some nodding and muted cheering from the crowd. However, sneaking in is not exactly an option given that the eyes of the forty-or-so people are all on your little group.
From within the house, on the other side of the door, there's a man's voice on the other side of the door, "Oh... yes... give me a moment..."
It takes a number of moments, actually, but the door at last creaks open; the reason for the delay is apparent when you see the man on the other side of the door; he has no right hand, with that arm ending in a bound stump, and his other hand appears to have drastically shortened fingers. Much of his body is similarly covered in bandages. There's a dusting of ashes on his skin, but it doesn't conceal the fact that his face is pitted and bumped with dozens of lesions. The crowd draws back smoothly, making no big fuss about it but putting a good twenty feet between themselves and the rather grotesque figure in the doorway. He is clearly afflicted by leprosy.
Aside from the disfigurement caused by his disease, the man appears to be relatively normal-- human, mid-twenties, most likely Qadiran, with penetrating brown eyes that look over the odd lot of individuals at the door. "Lord Min-Katheer's Society friends, then. I confess, I was not so certain you would come. It's a long way from Absalom here to Lopul, after all. I beg your pardons, sirs, but you may wish to cover your noses before entering. Myself and the rest of the Accursed are paying our respects as well."
He gestures to the room beyond, where a number of figures in no better health than himself are each sitting on the floor, rocking back and forth slowly, ashes dusted on their faces, heads, and hands.
"The priests are in with the body... If you would prefer not to enter," his tone sounds slightly apologetic and resigned at the same time, "I could fetch the chief priest?"
Our roll 20 is here, and that link should let you join as a player. If it doesn't work for you, PM me your email address that you have used to sign up with Roll20 and I'll send you an invite manually. We are not in combat right now or anything, I just like to make sure that the maps and such are working before that point. Also, let me know if you can't move your tokens.
roll20's working just fine for me, thanks
Kaye turns to the man, managing to keep a straight face. Reminds me of some of my less fortunate schoolmates. Never let an explosion stop you, they'd say.
"Nonsense, sir. No distance is too far for Pathfinders. We'll travel to the Nine Hells and back to complete the mission." Kaye crows. Are there nine? I don't remember this religious stuff. "At any rate, you honor us with your presence. We would like to come in, view the body and speak to the head priest, if he is none too busy."
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (6) + 6 = 12
In one swift motion, Kaye grabs his handkerchief and pretends to sneeze into it. Really, he is covering his nose to block the scent of disease.
Bluff: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (5) + 2 = 7
I’m having trouble accessing Roll20, but it looks like it may be an issue accessing the server in general, not one of a permissions problem. I’ll keep trying and let you know.
Ma’Huuk scowls openly at the man’s appearance and scrunches his thick nose at the smell beyond. But instead of pausing or refusing to enter, he steps towards the much-smaller Accursed and takes a closer look at his lesions and wounds.
Does Ma’Huuk know if we should be taking any precautions against these men’s afflictions in order to interact with them?
Heal: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (6) + 6 = 12