A Pathfinder Society Scenario designed for levels 1-2.
The Aspis Consortium pays well, but few can stand its underhanded tactics for long. One operative fed up with the Consortium's practices has contacted the Pathfinder Society with a tempting offer: assist her in leaving the organization, and she will supply the Society with years of insider intelligence about their longstanding rival. It's up to the PCs to navigate Diobel—a proud town run by cutthroat smugglers—earn the defector's trust, and deal a telling blow to their Aspis foes.
"The Consortium Compact" is an evergreen, replayable scenario designed to help introduce players to the Pathfinder Society, the Isle of Kortos, and one of the Society's longstanding rivals.
Written by Mike Kimmel.
This is a closed game:
The following players have been invited:
A beautiful young lady awaits the briefing cheerily. Her masterwork parade armor is adorned with ornate heraldry of Shelyn. In her hair are 2 large colorful feathers.
A closer look reveals she is not quite human. She also rarely stops smiling. To pass the time, she performs for the crowds and passerby - sometimes with interpretive dance, and others with a riveting tale with an underlying lesson on Inner Beauty.
A handsome man with skin the shade and sheen of obsidian walks through the square, giving a curt nod to the beautiful street performer as he walks by, followed by a brief and bold up and down glance.
Beneath his leather lamellar armor are well sculpted muscles - chiseled as if from stone. Atop his head you see a most peculiar sight. Where one would expect hair, instead protrudes sharp sapphire blue crystals, catching the sun and gleaming in beauty as he walks by.
He stops by a near building and assumes a military style guard post. Still as a statue he waits for something. Occasionally you catch his eyes move slightly as he observes the street performer from afar.
crap its Lya.. I shall leave my weapons at home and bring some tea and honey to talk more hehehe
With a frantic mad dash (for a gnome mind you), Prizm comes stumbling out between two children desperately trying to capture a dodo bird.
"Someone stop the bird! He nabbed a pickle from a street vendor and he has been completely deranged ever since!"
Gathering his things as they constantly fall out of his poorly stowed backpack the gnome looks up. "Oh! Hi Lya! Hi Okzat! Did you get told to come here as well? I was told I was supposed to help protect someone? But... well that's not really my strong suite.... being a small folk and all that."
Hearing a rustle he then remembers Bert, just as the dodo comes racing by nearly knocking him over.
"Confound it Bert! Calm down!"
|Bert the DODO|
Bert narrows his beady little avian eyes as the enemies around him seek to remove the precious pickle from his keeping. They will not succeed.
The small ninja fowl darts this way and that, avoiding the grasps of the slower creatures of this city. As he plots his next move, he grips the pickle in his tiny beak tightly. The delicious juices fill his tiny mouth...
Feeling the excitement he explodes forward dashing for the safety below a table - just then he captures a glimpse of color and some familiar music.
Coming to an almost immediate stop suddenly at the feet of the familiar street performer - he looks up... and if a bird could smile he would.
Greeting one of his favorite tall folk the only way Bert knows how.. he does his dodo dance.
Perform Dance: 1d20 - 2 ⇒ (17) - 2 = 15
Lya laughs softly at the antics of her friends. "Shelyn's blessings Prizm. Wonderful to see you again!"
As the Dodo nears, Lya smiles wide, pulls out a couple finger clappers and begins a slow hip sway, leading into her lead of the Dodo dance. "You've been practicing Bert!" she says in a slightly elevated tone similar to the Dodo's squak.
Perform dance: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (6) + 10 = 16
A nearby flower vendor shouts out as a young woman bumps into his cart, nearly toppling several pots. "Oh my! So sorry! I didn't see you there." Zavra exclaims. Her hands are full, one with a map of the city, the other clutching a note, while she holds a book under her arm and carries a backpack that seems to heavy for her. The half Orc wears ill fitting leather lamellar covered with numerous belts and bandoliers holding various potions, pouches and other containers.
"Do you know where I can find... Oh! There they are!", she leaves the flustered merchant and waves at the other Pathfinders, tripping over a loose stone and losing her book. It takes her a few moments of readjusting her armor, bag and papers and gathering her belongings before she can finally approach. "Hey everyone! I'm here. Am I late?
Prizm will wave vigorously at Zavra. "Hi there Zavra!"
"Hello Prizm! Hello Bert! Hello Lya!", she looks around to see if she is missing anyone, "Hello quiet Oread guy!", she directs to Okzat, whom she is pretty certain has never spoken while she is around. "I sometimes forget who I have actually met in the society, and who I think I met, but really didn't because someone lost the paperwork."
"Oh I know what it's like to be lost. Being as short as us gnomes are, well you get a pretty good view of all the kneecaps in down. That being said - Bert and I are in agreement that you have nice kneecaps Zavra!"
Prizm tents his small fingers and snickers at his little dodo friend.
"Soooo what are we waiting on? What's a gnome gotta do to get some fun outta this place?"
|Ancel Le Cerfbeer|
The sweet and sultry whine of a horsehair bow across fiddle strings grabs everyone's attention. A small crowd of dock-workers, worked up into a mild protest surround the fiddle player and moves slowly toward the berth where everyone is waiting.
The fiddle player, a slender man dressed embroidered lamellar leather and carrying an old rapier at his hip, bright red, flowing hair on his head and pointed beard on his chin, emerges from the crowd shouting in a thick Galtan accent:
"Mes Amis, do not let your slovenly stewards treat your concerns with contempt, raise yourselves up to meet the challenge of your rivals... eye of the tiger mes amis!"
And with a flourish of his bow, he plays a quick melody and extricates himself from the union rabble rousers and quickly bends at the hip toward you all, brandishing his wayfinder.
"Mes amours, it is I, Ancel Le Cerfbeer, at your service. Please do not hesitate to tell me your troubles and I shall teach you how to rise up against those that would repress you into service under duress. Come, listen to me play a jaunty tune!"
And Ancel breaks into a common local, happy tune with a bit of angsty overtones.
After a bit of awkward silence following the comment on her legs, Zavra is happy for the distraction. She approaches Ancel, knees locked so as not to draw further attention.
"It's a pleasure to meet you Mr. Cerfbeer... Le Cerfbeer, sir. I am Zavra.", she reaches out a hand to shake his, dropping the book tucked under her arm. Quickly picking it up, a fur hat and undergarments fall out of her backpack. She allows her knees to bend as she quickly scrambles to gather her things, ending with a hasty half curtesy while her hands are full.
A female separates herself from the crowd that gathered to listen to the fiddler and watch the antics of the Dodo. As you look at her, dressed in worn traveller clothing made of nondescript shade of browns and tans, she seems familiar. Then again, the aura of familiarity may just be because she looks so like everyone else in the area.
Soft-spoken, she nods her head at the assemblage. Been watching you awhile. Looks like you all enjoy attention. That will work in our favor, it will. Names Kiv. I'll watch your backs, while you draw the focus of attention. Don't worry, I know what to do with this.Her hands caresses the pommel of a rapier hanging from her belt.
She steps away from the group. Pulling her hat low over her eyes, she slouches against the wall and watches for abnormal behaviors from the assembled crowd.
Water laps steadily at the pier as sailors, laborers, and merchants rush busily around Absalom’s port. The venture-captain’s summons called for a meeting aboard the Sixwing Drake, a sleek sailing ship. The Drake’s captain, a Varisian woman and fellow Pathfinder named Zarah Zendrani, stands at the helm of her vessel. “It’s not like Valsin to be late,” she mutters, furrowing her brow. As if on cue, a tall and meticulously groomed man pushes his way through the crowd and up the gangplank, cursing audibly. “Whoever supervises this mess of a port needs to be dumped in the sea!” he grumbles.
The tall man looks around at those gathered before him. “Just the group I requested. Perfect. I’m Venture- Captain Ambrus Valsin, and I took great care in selecting just the right Pathfinders for this assignment.” Valsin reaches into his belt pouch and withdraws a small, folded paper before continuing. “A few days ago, I received a curious note from a rather unexpected source. It’s not every day that I get a request from an agent of the Aspis Consortium.” Captain Zendrani’s eyes widen, and Valsin smiles knowingly. “But Magali Delroya does not appear to be your typical Aspis agent. As you surely know, the Aspis Consortium pursues a variety of activities across the Inner Sea that the Pathfinder Society finds abhorrent. It seems that Delroya has been working with them for some time, but can no longer stomach the snakes herself. She wants to stop a shipment of an experimental drug from leaving Diobel later this week. It’s bound for a number of locations across the Inner Sea region. According to Delroya, she can’t ask the local authorities for help, because the Aspis Consortium has already struck a deal with a faction of the Kortos Consortium, a powerful merchant collective. Her hands are tied, so she’s come to us for help. In this note, she outlines three different tasks that would help to disrupt the Aspis long enough for her to move the shipment to a secure location, out of the clutches of the consortium. Once you accomplish two of these tasks, she’s willing to meet with you, but not before.
“Normally, I wouldn’t trust an Aspis agent at any hour of the day. But our sources in Diobel have confirmed the Aspis and Kortos consortia’s activities. Everything checks out, so we are presented with a unique opportunity. If we help Delroya, we might not only strike a financial blow against the Aspis Consortium, but we could also reveal their dealings with the Kortos Consortium—and possibly prevent their arrangement from turning into a more formal alliance. Furthermore, we hope to stop this drug from spreading across the Inner Sea region, and if we—if all of you—do a good enough job, we might even convince Delroya to join the Society. A turncoat agent would be a valuable asset in our ongoing run-ins with the Aspis Consortium.
“Take some time to look over Delroya’s note and the tasks she has set for you. If you have any questions, now is the time to ask. Remember, the Aspis Consortium is a long-time enemy of the society, but the Kortos Consortium, while certainly suspicious, is not our enemy. It is a complex organization with many factions, and we should avoid antagonizing any of them, except when necessary to oppose the Aspis Consortium.”
Delroya's Note: Handout #1
Venture-Captain Ambrus Valsin, I write to you out of desperation, and I can only hope that you hear me out, though you may consider me an enemy. Our paths crossed years ago, and though we did not see eye to eye, I trust that you will do what is necessary—what is right—regarding my request to you today.
I am an agent of the Aspis Consortium operating out of your neighbor city, Diobel. The Aspis Consortium has long been active in Diobel, but now its foothold is stronger than ever: House Locosta of the Kortos Consortium lends aid to the Aspis’s smuggling operations in exchange for valuable alchemical ointments from across the Inner Sea region.
For years I have worked as a broker and go-between for the Aspis Consortium, but my employment with them will soon come to an end. I recently discovered that the consortium is experimenting on the poor and destitute of Diobel with a vicious and unpredictable drug called whip. Next Fireday, Aspis agents will send a large shipment of this drug to many cities across the Inner Sea region, with the intention of expanding whip experiments and perfecting the drug. I intend to stop them, but I need your help. I cannot go to the authorities—the Aspis’s arrangement with the Kortos Consortium offers it too much protection.
I have made arrangements to move the shipment to a more secure location, where it can be disposed of properly. You will forgive me for not trusting you with the location immediately—first, I need proof of your Pathfinders’ skills and their willingness to help me. The three tasks I describe on the attached note will each thwart the Aspis agenda. Perform any two of these tasks and the consortium should be sufficiently delayed as to allow me to enact my plans—and I will know that you are serious about offering aid.
When I joined the consortium, I did not know the extent of its evil—their members’ willingness to do anything for gold, no matter the harm caused. I cannot stop the group, but I can be a thorn in its side. Lend me aid, Valsin. Send me your Pathfinders. Prove that you are better than the Aspis Consortium.
Delroya's Plans: Handout #2
Thank you for giving me the chance to explain myself, and agreeing to help me stop the Aspis Consortium’s foul plot. As it stands, I do not have enough time to stop the shipment, so I have compiled three tasks that would each delay the consortium’s operations. Please select two of the three tasks to perform. Two disruptions could be a coincidence, but with three disruptions, the consortium will almost certainly suspect sabotage.
The first task is to disrupt a meeting between two agents, one each from the Aspis and Kortos consortia. Somehow, a snooping Kortos agent caught wind of my plans, and has set a meeting with an Aspis agent to reveal me and ruin everything. The bad news: I do not know the identity of either agent. The good news: I know that they intend to meet at a tavern called the Overflowing Oyster at noon on Oathday—the day before the shipment of drugs is to leave Diobel. If you can disrupt this meeting, you can prevent the Aspis from taking a closer look at my plans. However, you must be discrete. Killing either agent, or revealing yourselves as Pathfinders meddling in the Aspis’s operations, would only cause them to grow more suspicious. It may help to know that the owner of the Overflowing Oyster is involved in creating fake pearls and selling them on the black market.
The second task is to steal the shipping documents from the smuggling ship that the Aspis Consortium intends to use for this operation. The ship is called Blue Dragon’s Bite , and it is scheduled to offload its current cargo in the Trawl district all day on Oathday. The documents should be in the captain’s cabin. Find a way to get aboard and obtain the documents without causing too much of a disruption, and you will cause a significant delay in their plans. Remember, the Aspis Consortium is our enemy, but the dockworkers are merely citizens of Diobel. If possible, they should not be harmed.
The third task involves the alchemist responsible for engineering the drug called whip in the first place. He has picked up the unfortunate nickname Laszo the Leper because of the drug-induced lesions and rashes that cover his skin. Laszo operates out of Diobel’s sewers beneath Rat Street. Find his lab and bring back samples of unrefined whip, along with the alchemist’s notes. These we can use as undeniable proof to the authorities that the Aspis Consortium is experimenting with the drug in Diobel. Laszo is a cruel and despicable man. Do what you must to obtain the evidence.
Complete any two of these tasks before the end of Oathday and I will give further directions the following morning, assuming you were successful. Good luck, Pathfinders.
Zavra's eyes go wide as she reads over the last piece of the letter, "a hidden alchemist lab under the city? I think that should be the first stop!", she considers for a moment that maybe she seems a bit too eager. "If we can shut down the manufacturer, we could set them months, or even years behind in their production and research, even if we were unsuccessful at the other tasks."
"If we hit the lab early in the morning, we would still have time for the other two tasks on Oathday. Plus, assuming Laszo is either an Alchemist or Wizard, he may not have had a chance to prepare his extracts or spells for the day yet."
What knowledges are appropriate at this time? Anything for information on Whip?
Know Local on Diobel: 1d20 + 14 ⇒ (6) + 14 = 20
"The lab seems like a sound idea Zavra! But we may not want to invite trouble... Lya is with us as well as a new bard, it may make sense to let them try to parlay with him. Maybe we can make him see the light and get a sample of this drug as well."
Looking to Mr. Valsin "Do we know anything about this alchemist? Can he be reasoned with? Does he have any vices that maybe we could play off of?"
Prizm nods eagerly at the half-orc, then catches a look at Bert who is shaking his head in disapprovement.
"What is it Bert? Do you have a better idea?"
|Bert the DODO|
Bert shifts from one foot to the other hearing his master chatter about peaceful means.. Fluffing his feathers he gestures in what could only be construed as shadow boxing - he bobs and weaves.
"bert! bert! bert"
As Prizm takes notice of him, the little dodo does his best to look menacing.
Lya frowns at Zavra's outburst. "I must say i do not approve of the automatic jump to violence. Surely we could accomplish two tasks with stealth and ingenuity.
Of the other two tasks - i believe disrupting a meeting at a tavern would be less risk than stealing documents from a ship in harbor."
Whip must be a relatively new drug on the streets, as Zavra has not heard of it before.
The venture-captain addresses Prizm's question (but not Bert's). "Prizm, unfortunately I do not know much about the specifics of the listed tasks. You currently have all the information I have on them. However, I may be able to help you with information on the larger mission, such as the fact that Diobel is often called the ‘Doorway to Absalom.’ Shipments to and from Absalom often go through Diobel, which has lower taxes than Absalom. Trade with Diobel is an important part of Absalom’s economy—which is why we must tread lightly around the Kortos Consortium, given their influence in Diobel."
kn:local: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (2) + 6 = 8
"how would we know if we were dealing with a Kortos agent? How would we recognize them?"
"Good question, Lya. That might be hard to do, because The Kortos Consortium pretends to be a legitimate merchant guild dedicated to stamping out smugglers, but it participates in its fair share of illegal activities. It is powerful enough to rival Diobel’s teriarch, or governor, Lord Avid. A fair number of prominent people in Diobel are in the Kortos Consortium’s pockets, or are prominent members of the guild themselves. If possible, try not to get on the group’s bad side."
"But, to answer your specific question, as far as I know, the Kortos Consortium doesn't hand out badges like the Aspis Consortium does... or have anything like the Wayfinders that identify Pathfinders as belonging to the Pathfinder Society." He looks closely at each of the various Pathfinders assembled in front of him.
Sense Motive: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (6) + 1 = 7
Kn:Local: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (12) + 12 = 24
"Lya, House Locosta are slave traders - the drug whip is likely an aid to their enterprise. The house likes to hide its true purpose under the guise of spice traders.. shady sorts!"
Prizm continues reading thru one of his small guidebooks, then looks up and over at the rest of the assembled folks. "Given that they are harming innocent people and selling them to slavery, I think Zavra may have the right idea. The lose of the source of that drug may hinder the Aspis momentum while we attend the other tasks."
Closing his textbook. "I vote we investigate the alchemist lab"
Lya smirks at the Captain's observation take ten
She makes no effort to pull the device from her pocket, though the shape in the fabric is visible, and accompanying chain hangs loosely in the open.
"The sewers will not be the worst place we have been sent.
Captain - what else can you tell us about Diobel's sewers?"
|Ancel Le Cerfbeer|
Ancel prominently displays his wayfinder as a rich man might display a pocket watch
GM: What day is it right now, and what day can we expect to be arriving in Diobel?
Ancel speaks, again in his heavy Galtan accent, "Mon Capitaine, do you know which slip the Blue Dragon's Bite will be docked? And do you know of a good way to determine who will be at the meeting at noon on Oathday, # days from now?"
With a flourish, he accents Ambrus Valsin's answers with soft silky notes from the fiddle.
Okzat reads over the note carefully, respectfully listening to his companions "I vote the sewers first. Investigate this lab - clean up that filth."
Okzat scans his fellow Pathfinders, eyes settling on Prizm and Bert for a moment before continuing.
"As for the second task. I'd say we're better suited to attempt to disrupt the meeting at the Overflowing Oyster. I dare say we may lack the... stealth to accomplish discreetly acquiring the notes from the ship..."
"Ancel, you should arrive at Diobel at dawn on Oathday. You'll be sailing on the Sixwing Drake. As for the actual slip that the Blue Dragon's Bite will be in, your guess is as good as mine.
"As for the meeting at noon... I would assume that your training and other preparations will enable you to correctly determine the identities of the two who are meeting at noon. Be resourceful!"
The venture-captain continues to look over the group, shaking his head when he looks at Ozkat, Zavra, Prizm, and Kiv. "What do they teach these fledgling Pathfinders these days? Only two have wayfinders? Did they not pass their confirmations?" he mutters under his breath.
"Remember, The Aspis Consortium is a ruthless mercantile organization. While some of its operations are aboveboard, at the end of the day, profit is its only concern. It considers no business venture off limits, from the trafficking of slaves to war profiteering. The consortium storms through priceless historical sites, caring only for how it can translate their history into wealth."
He shakes his head again. "Was there anything else that you needed to know? Perhaps about your contact, or your mission?"
"Oh I don't know about that... Bert and I are pretty good at being sneaky when we want to.. And if it goes poorly I can always just
Bert has +12 stealth and Prizm has +8 - we are just chaotic and.. well fey
"Oh, I know you're good at being stealthy if you so choose" Okzat smiles at Prizm. "That is of course, unless something shiny appears that needs investigating.."
Okzat pauses a moment, recovering. "No offense intended Prizm. You have a great many useful talents. Such as creating a useful distracting scene to help us sniff out who the agents are at the Overflowing Oyster, perhaps?" Okzat finishes, trying to pique the Fey's interest.
To the venture-captain's comment about wayfinders Okzat pats a pouch on his belt. "Wouldn't we want to keep these hidden during our investigations, though?" Okzat asks, like the fledgling he is.
|Ancel Le Cerfbeer|
"Mes Amis, I am of agreement that we use our wiles to subvert the meeting and our brawn to remove the source of dangerous drugs from this realm!"
|Ancel Le Cerfbeer|
Stepping out of the shadows, she looks around the group and then at the venture-captain.
If we head to the dock master right after landing, we may be able to get work as laborers unloading the Blue Dragon's Bite. At least, some of us might.
She looks over Messier Ancel and Bert.
Zendrani, is the Overflowing Oyster on the docks like it sounds like? If so, we may be able to split the group and try to do both activities. I believe those that cannot pass as dockhands do make a good entertainment troup. If either group is unsuccessful, there is still time for us to drop in on the alchemist's lab.
The Venture-Captain turns to answer Ozkat, first. "I don't know that you should worry about operating in secret. It is a rather well known fact that the Pathfinder Society opposes the Aspis Consortium. You don't need to be waving your wayfinders around, especially since some of your missions seem to be ... covert. But having them shouldn't be a problem. We are welcome in Diobel."
To Ancel he says, "I met Magali several years ago, when she was barely a grown woman. It must have been just before she joined the Aspis Consortium. She’s a wanderer, never comfortable in one place for long. I saw great potential in her as a Pathfinder, but she always preferred to work alone and felt that the society was a poor fit. Had I known that she would wind up with the Aspis Consortium, I would have put more effort into recruiting her."
Finally, to Kiv he states, "As for trying to complete all three tasks, I agree with Magali’s judgment. It doesn’t mean much if you succeed at all three tasks and fail your overall mission."
Finally to the group he says, "Remember, once you arrive in Diobel, you'll have only a day, two at most, to complete your tasks and meet with Magali. I suggest you take an hour or two to make any final purchses you'll need, and then board the Sixwing Drake. Good luck, Pathfinders. Explore! Report! Cooperate!"
With that, he excuses himself, and leaves.
"Interesting notion Kiv! Tho is infiltration and subterfuge are required I may have a couple tricks up my colorful sleeves. I am at your disposal! Bert also!"
Looking up at where the venture captain was sitting the gnome muses. "Welp, I don't really need anything.. cept maybe pickles for Bert... are we going sailing on the Drake?"
|Bert the DODO|
At the mere mention of the word 'pickles' the small dodo starts to drool and foam at the beak.
"bert! bert! bert! bert! bert!"
Perform Dance: 1d20 - 2 ⇒ (15) - 2 = 13
Zavra adjusts the bag she was carrying. "I'm ready! Unless you are saying I need to bring a wayfinder, if so I can run back to the lodge and pick one up. I haven't really called in any favors other than this wand.", she pats carved aspen stick readily at her hip.
"Anyone have maps of Diobel? I could grab a blue book while I am there."
Valsin looks at Zavra, and says while shaking his head. "Well, it is the symbol of our Society; the badge that we wear to proudly declare ourselves Pathfinders. While it is not a requirement to have one when you go on missions, I would strongly recommend it."
Zavra beams, "Well then, I absolutely need one! No one has ever put it like that before.". Without another word, she downs an extract (ant haul), easily lifts her bag onto her back, and trots off toward the grand lodge.
"Be right back!" she hollers as she turns briefly to salute at the end of the gangplank.
Lya will follow the group to the sewers, continuing to argue in favor of disrupting the meeting at the overflowing ouster as the second task.
Almost forgotten in the confusion, Valsin remembers to address Prizm, "Yes, you will be sailing to Diobel on the Sixwinged Drake, a fine ship, from what I understand, not the pirate ships that many venture-captains seem to prefer these days.
"And Zavra, I am sure you can pick up a blue book on Diobel from the quartermaster. Perhaps some maps, too, if you need "
Suddenly, seemingly out of no where, a pickle can be seem bouncing along the docks, towards the water.
Zavra returns, out of breath, about an hour later. She holds up a Wayfinder, victoriously. "They told me I could get one of these anytime after my confirmation, but I haven't been on a mission yet that we needed a compass. I'll need to wait until we get back to have my initials carved into in. Oh, and I grabbed some other supplies!" she rummages through her bag and pulls out a jar of fat pickles, opens it and tosses one to Bert.
Prizm quickly in a panic catches the jar of pickles just before something terrible happens.. Looking over to lecture Bert - the Dodo is nowhere to be seen.