GM SpiderBeard's Curse of the Crimson Throne

Game Master Barvo Delancy

Chapter 3: Escape from Old Korvosa

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.

"Oh, invisibility potions and tailing you," she chirps back. "Every thug went off to your big fight so it was pretty easy to hang back and follow you to Scream. I mean, a girl has to carry out her mission, right?"

She cheers as Thod speaks and Scream lets out a long sigh. "Leave me with the wine and that nice axe lady as a bodyguard and I'll talk with whoever this is. I've had enough weird fan questions. Go do your exploring." He looks over Laori. "Frankly after dealing with nothing but Pilts for a while, she's a right bit of change."

Laori rolls her dramatically. "Whatever gets me the interview." Ysania says nothing but instead fills a glass of wine and pulls out a hand-axe.

Donnell once more comes to the same conclusion about Laori - she doesn't seem to be trying to deceive anyone.

---

You set to exploring the rest of Pilts' Palace. Donnell leads the way into the south room, which appears to be Pilts' prop room for his grotesque plays. A quick rifling through the room with a detect magic spell reveals something useful - a magical ring.

Otherwise there are enough materials in this room to function as a disguise kit. Also a lot of costume jewelry if anyone is so inclined.

Pushing further on you come to a room that reeks to high heaven, and going through it you find evidence of gnawed-on bones and parts of corpses. An open window leads outwards and whatever was once in here seems to have vacated. Tucked in the rafters are some treasures; a bag of money, a silk glove inlaid with pearls, a hand crossbow, and a wand.

Finally you come to the art supplies room. There are several original works of Salvator's, but there is something interesting with them... they're just not as good as what you've seen of his other work. The artistry, use of colour, and inspiration seems a little drab.

---

Collected loot:

- magical ring
- magical wand
- 74 gp
- a silk glove inlaid with pearls (250 gp)
- a masterwork hand crossbow
- 11 paintings worth around 220 gold (you'd have to find a way to carry them)


Male CG Human Cleric 10 HP: 72/72 I AC: 22 (11 Tch, 21Fl) | CMB: 10, CMD: 20 | F: +8, R: +5, W: +11 | Init: +4 | Perc: +5 Speed 20ft | Channel 4/4 | Spells 6/6 6/6 5/5 4/4 4/4 3/3 |

There wasn't any need to say anything, or Sevenspawn assumed. He does so now, given the direction of the conversation.

Thod wrote:
"Oh, who cares? Screamie's an adult, and crazy skull-humper's also an adult... I think, can never tell with elves... Point is, we aren't Salvator's parents. If he wants to talk to her, he's allowed to. I don't even like him, and we got the info we need out of him. As long as she doesn't rip his skin off and dance in his guts, I don't care... You don't intend to do that, right?"

"It should be actively discouraged," Sevenspawn says flatly to the room, "because she wants it." He does not bother pointing at Laori. "The connection between her deity and his paintings alone should be enough to deny it." He pauses, half-stepping forward towards her.

"Which is what I am doing." He looks down at her, motioning towards the nearest exit. "Go, and leave this man untroubled."


Male CG Halfling Investigator 10 | HP: 40/57 | AC: 19 (16 FF, 14 Tch) | CMB: 6, CMD: 19, FF: 16 | F: +7, R: +12, W: +10 | Init: +7 (+9 urban)| Perc: +15 | Locate Traps +20 | Disarm Traps +20 | Speed 20ft | Inspiration 7/8 | Harrow Points: 3 | +6 vs Poison, +2 vs Fear, +3 vs Traps | Active effects: Heroism, Heightened Awareness (+2 attacks, saves, skills; further +2 Perception & Knowledge)

Will the paintings fit in the Bag of Holding we got from Vencarlo's house?

Flabbergasted, Donnell turns around to face the others: "I don't... what? That connection doesn't go away because you want it to - Laori or some other representative won't stop trying to find him. They think he's some kind of voice of their god, or something..."

But, seeing the determined look on his friend's face, Donnell reaches down to reset his crossbow, sighs, and silently signs: "Fine. If that's how you feel, there's only one way this ends - they both have to die."

If this doesn't end up in a fight, Donnell is curious to know if there's a significance to the time when the lesser paintings were created as opposed to the more inspired paintings that we found earlier.


NG Male Dwarven Barbarian 10 | HP 115/115 {145/145} | AC 21 (19 Rage, 12 Touch, 20 Flat-Footed) | CMB +14/+16, CMD 25/27 | Fort. +13/16, Ref. +6, Will +10/12 | Init. +2 | Perc. +15 | Speed 30ft | Rage: 25/25 | DR 2/- | Active conditions: N/A

"Whoa, Whoa, WHOA!"

Thod uses the butt of his halberd to push Donnell's crossbow down.

"What the HELL, Donnell!? I expect a bit more sanity from you!"
I'm assuming Donnell is being deliberately absurd to make a point, but Thod hasn't picked up on it.

"And Sevenspawn, you're just not going to let this go, are you? Look, it's clear Laori wants to talk to Salvator, and unless you intend to follow him for the rest of your life, and wipe his butt, and tuck him to bed, you can't keep her away forever. So your options are to chase her away now and she'll keep tailing us and him, you can guard Salvator for the rest of your life, or you can let her talk to him now while you can observe and make sure everything's on the up and up. Or you can just up and kill a woman who has done nothing to us. And with an ever-growing list of people who want us dead, I'd rather not go adding names we don't need to."

"And look at this guy's art. Don't want her to trouble Scream? He's plenty troubled already."


Male CG Halfling Investigator 10 | HP: 40/57 | AC: 19 (16 FF, 14 Tch) | CMB: 6, CMD: 19, FF: 16 | F: +7, R: +12, W: +10 | Init: +7 (+9 urban)| Perc: +15 | Locate Traps +20 | Disarm Traps +20 | Speed 20ft | Inspiration 7/8 | Harrow Points: 3 | +6 vs Poison, +2 vs Fear, +3 vs Traps | Active effects: Heroism, Heightened Awareness (+2 attacks, saves, skills; further +2 Perception & Knowledge)

Yeah, Donnell's being deliberately extreme to show Sevenspawn the way he sees this ending - babysitting Scream or killing him.

(Also, tbf, Donnell would only have pulled back the crossbow, not pointed it at anybody just yet)


NG Male Dwarven Barbarian 10 | HP 115/115 {145/145} | AC 21 (19 Rage, 12 Touch, 20 Flat-Footed) | CMB +14/+16, CMD 25/27 | Fort. +13/16, Ref. +6, Will +10/12 | Init. +2 | Perc. +15 | Speed 30ft | Rage: 25/25 | DR 2/- | Active conditions: N/A

In that case, assume Thod is keeping it down with the shaft of his halberd.


.

Okay, so exploration is held off for a moment.

Donnell Bluff: 1d20 + 8 + 1d6 ⇒ (3) + 8 + (4) = 15
Laori Sense Motive: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (12) + 3 = 15

Scream lets out a... well... scream as Donnell threatens them both.

"You're all maniacs! What is this? I haven't done anything and I just helped you!"

Laori looks at Donnell keenly for a moment before letting out a sigh. She ignores Donnell's crossbow and instead focuses on Sevenspawn. However, her tiny, delicate elven hand moves to her wickedly moves to her spiked chain as the conversation escalates. Ysania moves to her feet.

"Listen to the dwarf. I wanna be friends, right? And maybe you don't. That's okay - I won't take it personally. It's probably all the skulls. But right now, I know that you may want a revolution, and that you probably don't want to make enemies. Scream here... well he started painting stuff that just links up with my Dark Prince."

Scream cuts in. "Wait, I did?"

Laori smiles and nods. "Sure did, sweetheart." She readdresses Sevenspawn. "So aren't you curious? Don't you wanna know what's happened? I will ask my questions in front of you, with that cute lil halfling's crossbow pointed at my head. You don't like it, we can try to kill each other like I'm sure you wanna. But maybe, we both learn something, I pay a lot of money for those paintings he bequeathed to you, and we go our separate ways. The other options I see aren't as much fun for anyone."


Male CG Human Cleric 10 HP: 72/72 I AC: 22 (11 Tch, 21Fl) | CMB: 10, CMD: 20 | F: +8, R: +5, W: +11 | Init: +4 | Perc: +5 Speed 20ft | Channel 4/4 | Spells 6/6 6/6 5/5 4/4 4/4 3/3 |
Thod wrote:

"And Sevenspawn, you're just not going to let this go, are you? Look, it's clear Laori wants to talk to Salvator, and unless you intend to follow him for the rest of your life, and wipe his butt, and tuck him to bed, you can't keep her away forever. So your options are to chase her away now and she'll keep tailing us and him, you can guard Salvator for the rest of your life, or you can let her talk to him now while you can observe and make sure everything's on the up and up. Or you can just up and kill a woman who has done nothing to us. And with an ever-growing list of people who want us dead, I'd rather not go adding names we don't need to."

"And look at this guy's art. Don't want her to trouble Scream? He's plenty troubled already."

Sevenspawn looks flatly at Thod and the others. "Surely you jest."

"The servant of an evil god, on an errand for him, who fears no weapon pointed at her and who suggests that we do not want to make an enemy of her," Sevenspawn says carefully to his companions, "wants to speak with a painter who paints evil things, because there is a connection there she wishes to exploit in the Prince of Pain's service."

The priest looks plainly at the others. "Tell me how this serves our noble cause, or this man, or our safety, or the people of this city," he says as he crosses his arms, "and I will acquiesce."


Female Android Alchemist 8/Rogue 2; Init +2; Darkvision 60 ft, Low-light vision, Perception +16; AC 16 (+2 Dex., +4 armour); hp 70/70; Fort +8; Ref +11; Will +4

"Pass. I am neither a lawyer nor that flexible a philosopher," Raven Six says, dryly.


Male CG Halfling Investigator 10 | HP: 40/57 | AC: 19 (16 FF, 14 Tch) | CMB: 6, CMD: 19, FF: 16 | F: +7, R: +12, W: +10 | Init: +7 (+9 urban)| Perc: +15 | Locate Traps +20 | Disarm Traps +20 | Speed 20ft | Inspiration 7/8 | Harrow Points: 3 | +6 vs Poison, +2 vs Fear, +3 vs Traps | Active effects: Heroism, Heightened Awareness (+2 attacks, saves, skills; further +2 Perception & Knowledge)

Donnell's lip curls slightly: "I ain't exactly sure I'm the authority on nobility, but it don't seem exactly noble to cut down a priest and an artist who's just doin' ther jobs. Bad enough the Urgathoans are breathin' down ar necks. And anyway," straightening his shoulders, standing a bit taller, "is that the Everbloom's mandate? Taking out, or hindering, 'evil' gods? I thought your deal was leading revolutions against people in authority - you wanna explain how your accomplishing this noble goal here? From our perspective, you're just preventing a man and a woman from speaking - you aren't dismantling a political structure."

Deflating somewhat, Donnell continues: "I mean, whatever, Sevenspawn. You've asked us for reasons for why we should do nothing - I think the onus is on you to provide reason why you want to do a thing - but I'm not going to fight you over it. My own curiosity is piqued by the connection between Scream and Zon-Kuthon, but not so much that I want to further delay our mission. So, I'll ask again - do you have a solution to this impasse you've created? If not, my call is to satisfy your ethical quandary by sending Laori out that door, and Scream out by that other door, and we stop worrying about whether they 'accidentally' bump into each other on the street in two years or an hour."


NG Male Dwarven Barbarian 10 | HP 115/115 {145/145} | AC 21 (19 Rage, 12 Touch, 20 Flat-Footed) | CMB +14/+16, CMD 25/27 | Fort. +13/16, Ref. +6, Will +10/12 | Init. +2 | Perc. +15 | Speed 30ft | Rage: 25/25 | DR 2/- | Active conditions: N/A
Quote:
"... Wants to speak with a painter who paints evil things, because there is a connection there she wishes to exploit in the Prince of Pain's service."

Thod looks over to the most unpleasant looking painting, picking it up, and wiggles it a little.

"Unless this is going to animate and try to eat me, I don't see how this is evil. Creepy and disturbing, but not evil."

Quote:
"Tell me how this serves our noble cause, or this man, or our safety, or the people of this city," he says as he crosses his arms, "and I will acquiesce."

"Well, for one, we can actually get back to working on fixing the city instead of getting hung up on some people that want to chat and aren't trying to kill the city and us. And you haven't addressed my question. What, exactly, do you intend to do to keep Laori from talking to Scream? And how, exactly, is keeping Laori from talking to Scream going to protect the city? Or protect our lives? Or his life, for that matter?"


Male CG Human Cleric 10 HP: 72/72 I AC: 22 (11 Tch, 21Fl) | CMB: 10, CMD: 20 | F: +8, R: +5, W: +11 | Init: +4 | Perc: +5 Speed 20ft | Channel 4/4 | Spells 6/6 6/6 5/5 4/4 4/4 3/3 |

Sevenspawn raises his hands, palms out, to his companions. "As you wish."

He steps away from Laori and Scream, releasing them to talk.


Male CG Halfling Investigator 10 | HP: 40/57 | AC: 19 (16 FF, 14 Tch) | CMB: 6, CMD: 19, FF: 16 | F: +7, R: +12, W: +10 | Init: +7 (+9 urban)| Perc: +15 | Locate Traps +20 | Disarm Traps +20 | Speed 20ft | Inspiration 7/8 | Harrow Points: 3 | +6 vs Poison, +2 vs Fear, +3 vs Traps | Active effects: Heroism, Heightened Awareness (+2 attacks, saves, skills; further +2 Perception & Knowledge)

Pulling a stool over so that he sits between Laori and Scream, Donnell beckons to them both: "Well, come on then. Let's start this interview before he changes his mind. Perhaps the rest of you," indicating the rest of the party, "Could search the building?"

Donnell plans to keep a close watch on both the priest and the painter, interject with his own questions when curious, but mostly make sure he understands the undercurrents of the interview, as well as mediate if permitted.

Sense Motive?: 1d20 + 7 + 1d6 ⇒ (14) + 7 + (5) = 26
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 14 + 1d6 ⇒ (1) + 14 + (3) = 18


NG Male Dwarven Barbarian 10 | HP 115/115 {145/145} | AC 21 (19 Rage, 12 Touch, 20 Flat-Footed) | CMB +14/+16, CMD 25/27 | Fort. +13/16, Ref. +6, Will +10/12 | Init. +2 | Perc. +15 | Speed 30ft | Rage: 25/25 | DR 2/- | Active conditions: N/A

"Oh, no. For all the time this has taken us, I wanna be here to hear it."


Female Android Alchemist 8/Rogue 2; Init +2; Darkvision 60 ft, Low-light vision, Perception +16; AC 16 (+2 Dex., +4 armour); hp 70/70; Fort +8; Ref +11; Will +4

"Ysania," Blackjack says. "I have no interest in matters related to Zon-Kuthon, save they would allow me to purify or kill him. I could use your assistance in scouting."


.

Laori lets out a squeal of glee which is muted a little by the intensity of Sevenspawn's very, very unfriendly stare. Nonetheless, she pulls up a chair and plops across from Scream. Ysania and Salvator are just uncomfortable.

Laori smiles sweetly at him. "Alright cutie-bug this won't take a moment. I got the biggest fan question all you creative types get - where do you get your crazy ideas?" She gestures to his masterpiece
which depicts a man peeling off his skin to reveal blue scales underneath while in the shadow behind him are thousands of impaled humans.

Scream, settling into more wine, lets out a sigh. "All that for this? Well whatever gets me out of here faster. Before King Eodred's death I had intense, vivid dreams of the scenes you see before you. They were astonishingly detailed, but I never knew what they meant. I simply painted my dreams."

Laori's eyes go wide and she leans in. "These dreams, what were they like?"

He frowns a little. "I was never a part of them, more like I had borne witness. A handsome man with dark eyes or a terrifying blue dragon or... well like the scene before you was in them. Or scenes of a dark mountain, or a thin man with piercing eyes. It was all very intense but confusing. However it proved a great muse."

Laori's eyes are wide. "Do you still have these dreams?"

He shakes his head. "No... which terrifies me. I've had these dreams since I was a teenager, after father threw me out for my paintings. But the muse is gone - nothing I've produced since has been as good. Part of the reason why Pilts was so cruel." Salvator's eyes well up with tears and Laori sighs, looking disappointed.

"If the muse is gone I think the rest of my research won't need you - not like these folks would let me take ya anyways!" She pats him on the shoulder. "There there."

She points at the three magnificent paintings. "I want these. Four thousand for the lot and I'm out of yours, and Scream's hair. Deal?"

Regardless of if you sell the paintings.

"Well that wasn't so bad, was it? Too bad your muse is gone, that'd be way more useful to both of us but I've got something to work off of here. Thanks folks! Maybe we'll meet later."

And with that Laori leaves, her spiked death chain bouncing happily against her leg as she saunters off.

The rest of your exploration resolves as per above, and you can decide if you sell the paintings to Laori who will leave regardless.


NG Male Dwarven Barbarian 10 | HP 115/115 {145/145} | AC 21 (19 Rage, 12 Touch, 20 Flat-Footed) | CMB +14/+16, CMD 25/27 | Fort. +13/16, Ref. +6, Will +10/12 | Init. +2 | Perc. +15 | Speed 30ft | Rage: 25/25 | DR 2/- | Active conditions: N/A

"I'm good for her buying them. We deprive an evil church of valuable funds to pay for our heroism, and in exchange she gets a bunch of paint splattered on some cloth. Seems like a good trade to me. 'Sides, anybody we'd sell these two would be disturbed, so might as well sell them to someone disturbed already."

"But, uh, I'll defer to you on this, Sevenspawn. But wouldn't you like the opportunity to take some gold out of the pockets of a dark priest?"


Male CG Human Cleric 10 HP: 72/72 I AC: 22 (11 Tch, 21Fl) | CMB: 10, CMD: 20 | F: +8, R: +5, W: +11 | Init: +4 | Perc: +5 Speed 20ft | Channel 4/4 | Spells 6/6 6/6 5/5 4/4 4/4 3/3 |

"I mean no disrespect to you, friend Thod," Sevenspawn replies, "for you earn it wherever you go, and are adept at pointing out when I am being stubborn." He shifts his gear and shield, ready to move on. "But stubbornness has served me well and I cannot change. I do not need any gold, but I will say this and leave you to it without judgment: any dealings with the agents of evil, even if we benefit from them, are deals that we should not make. That they want something is enough to deny it to them."

Phaedran bows slightly to his friends in deference to their decision, turning away to drop to his knees and pray to Milani for guidance and in thanks for this day.


NG Male Dwarven Barbarian 10 | HP 115/115 {145/145} | AC 21 (19 Rage, 12 Touch, 20 Flat-Footed) | CMB +14/+16, CMD 25/27 | Fort. +13/16, Ref. +6, Will +10/12 | Init. +2 | Perc. +15 | Speed 30ft | Rage: 25/25 | DR 2/- | Active conditions: N/A

"So, uh.... how about you, Donnell? Let her buy them, and also let her handle the hassle of carrying those things out?"


Male CG Halfling Investigator 10 | HP: 40/57 | AC: 19 (16 FF, 14 Tch) | CMB: 6, CMD: 19, FF: 16 | F: +7, R: +12, W: +10 | Init: +7 (+9 urban)| Perc: +15 | Locate Traps +20 | Disarm Traps +20 | Speed 20ft | Inspiration 7/8 | Harrow Points: 3 | +6 vs Poison, +2 vs Fear, +3 vs Traps | Active effects: Heroism, Heightened Awareness (+2 attacks, saves, skills; further +2 Perception & Knowledge)

One of Donnell's eyes narrows, ever so slightly: "Double it."

Diplomacy: 1d20 + 14 + 1d6 ⇒ (16) + 14 + (1) = 31

Donnell's not particularly invested one way or the other, he just wants to pressure Laori - anything to knock her off track. If he can't get her to go to at least 6000gp, he'll tell her to go piss up a rope. Whether or not she takes the paintings, Donnell will draw a quick sketch of each (I dunno if you need me to roll - the closest related skill is probably Profession: Scribe), and a detailed description.

When Laori leaves, Donnell turns back to Scream: "When, exactly, did you stop having the dreams? Did they end around the time of some significant event (in your life or in the world)? Can you describe, or sketch the other paintings and visions? If you line them up, is there a story? Where can we find your other paintings from these dreams - who was your largest patron?"

Based on Scream's descriptions and his own research, Donnell will try to piece together the significance of the dreams.

Knowledge (Religion): 1d20 + 7 + 1d6 ⇒ (8) + 7 + (2) = 17

If this isn't high enough, will he be able to attempt it again following some research?


.

Laori looks Donnell in the eyes and suddenly grins. "I like you, you're practical. I don't have that much, but maybe we can sort out a deal. She pulls off a plan white headband, letting her hair flow free. This is worth a good penny. Helps ya concentrate. I bet it'd sell for four thousand. Take this with the four thousand and that's double."

Consulting your harrow deck you can see this is a headband of inspired wisdom +2.

-------

As Sevenspawn prays after the moral quandary he was just in despite destroying a local tyrant, the rest of the group moves in on Scream. He groans.

"Can't we just go to the Dead Kings place? I'm sick of those heads on the walls. I stopped having the dreams after King Eodred died, just like I said. Not sure why, he wasn't a very inspiring figure. And I had a few patrons, mostly nobility but notably Neolandus Kalepoplis who was a good friend of mine even though he was very secretive about it. My work is all over the city, but Glorio Arkona may have many. Neolandus had his fair share but I imagine the Queen has those now."

He frowns. "As for a story... no. Just themes. I can't find a narrative. Trust me, I think about my art a lot. It's just these fragmented images centred around those two figures."

Donnell can't really recall much of what either means. He's dimly aware that some of the images seem related to Zon-Kuthon, but it's a secretive religion with a lot of esoteric, weird texts.


Male CG Halfling Investigator 10 | HP: 40/57 | AC: 19 (16 FF, 14 Tch) | CMB: 6, CMD: 19, FF: 16 | F: +7, R: +12, W: +10 | Init: +7 (+9 urban)| Perc: +15 | Locate Traps +20 | Disarm Traps +20 | Speed 20ft | Inspiration 7/8 | Harrow Points: 3 | +6 vs Poison, +2 vs Fear, +3 vs Traps | Active effects: Heroism, Heightened Awareness (+2 attacks, saves, skills; further +2 Perception & Knowledge)
GM SpiderBeard wrote:
I bet it'd sell for four thousand. Take this with the four thousand and that's double."[/b]

Cost is 4000 to purchase, which means it sells for half that, right? I'm fine with this, I just want to make sure I got it right.

Btw, we never did find out what the set of pigments were that we found at Scream's house (we'd agreed to ask the Harrow deck to identify them).

Irritated by the niggle at the back of his brain — this must all mean something! — Donnell grumbles to the group: "Alright, let's pack it in, then. Search out the rest of this building, drop these two off at Eel's End, and then head to the Arkonas' palace."


.

You finish your survey of the place. The crowd has since fled the scene which allows you to take one more look over the place. It appears you've picked it clean of values. With Scream begging you to leave, you finally get out of Pilts' palace.

The neighbourhood is... noisy as you step out with Blackjack vanishing into the shadows to follow along as you escort Scream to the dock. While previously the place had a sense of being on martial law you see the incredible population of the area streaming from their homes as the local tyrant has been defeated. Notably, people seem to keep their distance though although you sense fear and gratitude. They know who you are, and they saw Blackjack in action.

A huge cheer sounds up from the Dead Kings as their siege is broken and you arrive with everyone intact and the most famous artist in the city to boot. Raven Six arrives as her old self to settle in with the group. It's been a long, very hard day, and the good booze is broken out to celebrate. Scream dives right into the ocean for a moment just to wash himself off before finding some flayleaf and hiding in a corner to enjoy his life for the first time in weeks.

As the Dead Kings celebrate around you, Ysania settles up to look over you all.

"What you said 'bout power vaccuums. I'm savvy. There's risk. We're gonna step up and keep peace, but let the folks sort things out as they need. Help folks organize. Make sure there's food coming in. Medicine. Keep tyrants like Pilts from getting too powerful. Find some damn members."

She looks to Sevenspawn. "We're no army and I'm not army commanders, but we'll find you some strongarms for when the time is right. Count on us."

Around you, the festivities go late into the night.

You get yourselves a full night's sleep. Will push onto the Arkonas next scene.


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NG Male Dwarven Barbarian 10 | HP 115/115 {145/145} | AC 21 (19 Rage, 12 Touch, 20 Flat-Footed) | CMB +14/+16, CMD 25/27 | Fort. +13/16, Ref. +6, Will +10/12 | Init. +2 | Perc. +15 | Speed 30ft | Rage: 25/25 | DR 2/- | Active conditions: N/A

"Lock up ol' Pilts, here. Got a place we can hold him for now? We'll figure out what to do with 'em tomorrow."

Thod enjoys the festivities more than usual tonight, possibly because it feels a bit more informal than previous celebrations. He tries to downplay his own achievements, though even with the appearance of Blackjack, many refer to Thod smashing through Pilt's goons, and Thod's ego is buoyed by the compliments.

-----

Sometime during, or perhaps after, the festivities, Thod will go to Sevenspawn, bringing a drink to offer to the priest.

"Hey, Sevenspawn. Uhh... I hope there isn't going to be any bad blood between us after the whole thing with Laori. I get you're a man of strong beliefs, which can be handy. Sometimes, though, you gotta know when a battle is worth fighting. You're not a Paladin who has to look all shiny and pure, after all. It's like my uncle said: 'Thod, you're as dumb as a mule and twice as ugly. Stick to the mines...' Wait, no, what did he say? I mean, he said that, and a lot of other things, which is probably why my family doesn't talk to him anymore..."

"Well, anyways, I'm sorry for making you angry. I can understand if you don't like me anymore, but I hope we can at least still stand side-by-side... Or you stand behind me, I'm cool with that, sort of my job... Either way, we still have a city that needs us, and I'm already in this far, so I'm willing to see it through to the bitter end. And I hope I can count on you as much as I have these past few weeks."


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Male CG Human Cleric 10 HP: 72/72 I AC: 22 (11 Tch, 21Fl) | CMB: 10, CMD: 20 | F: +8, R: +5, W: +11 | Init: +4 | Perc: +5 Speed 20ft | Channel 4/4 | Spells 6/6 6/6 5/5 4/4 4/4 3/3 |

Sevenspawn takes the drink willingly, hearing the dwarf out.

"I am as convinced that I was right to oppose her," he answers, "as I am aware of how stubborn I was in doing so. I cannot fault you for pointing that stubbornness out to me. I am sure it is almost intolerable." Phaedran smiles. "My high opinion of you has never waned, Thod: you are a credit to your people and your profession, and I consider you my friend. Friends that are made on the battlefield are the best kind."

The priests toasts Thod, clinking his mug into the dwarf's.


Male CG Halfling Investigator 10 | HP: 40/57 | AC: 19 (16 FF, 14 Tch) | CMB: 6, CMD: 19, FF: 16 | F: +7, R: +12, W: +10 | Init: +7 (+9 urban)| Perc: +15 | Locate Traps +20 | Disarm Traps +20 | Speed 20ft | Inspiration 7/8 | Harrow Points: 3 | +6 vs Poison, +2 vs Fear, +3 vs Traps | Active effects: Heroism, Heightened Awareness (+2 attacks, saves, skills; further +2 Perception & Knowledge)

Donnell thanks Ysania for her words - he's knows that he's asking a lot of the small gang; knows too that they would be reluctant leaders at best, preferring to remain in the background. Probably those are the best kind of leaders.

Most of the evening finds the small halfling sitting in a dark corner, brooding. Preferably sharing a quiet table with Sevenspawn, but he's not willing to push that too far. He knows that hard choices were made today and that, in spite of his supposed cleverness, he can't see his way to a 'good' solution. He hopes his friend can forgive him.

@GM: See questions above about Identify and the headband - thanks!


Female Android Alchemist 8/Rogue 2; Init +2; Darkvision 60 ft, Low-light vision, Perception +16; AC 16 (+2 Dex., +4 armour); hp 70/70; Fort +8; Ref +11; Will +4

Raven Six, who has returned to "normal" is holding a mug of ginger tea instead of alcohol, settles down near Sevenspawn and Thod.

"I hope we all still hold each other in good regard. I certainly appreciate you all. That said, does anyone know anytbing pertinent about these Arkonas...?"


.

Donnell takes a little bit to consult the Harrow deck to identify everything the group has found thus far:

- a pot of marvelous pigments
- a ring of chameleon power
- a wand of slow (13 charges remaining)
- a rod of wonder

Pilts' unconscious body is hauled into a room that Devargo once used as a cell so the Dead Kings can determine what justice he will face.

Knowledge Nobility: 1d20 + 7 + 1d6 ⇒ (16) + 7 + (6) = 29

Donnell happens to know a hell of a lot about the Arkonas, and with some time to sit and talk, he explains the house and its strange history.

House Arkona is a properly old noble family that predates the founding of the empire. A few notable stories are recalled about them. One is the fact the house faced financial collapse around two hundred and fifty years ago. Lord Garath Arkona and his brother Jenkson took out a desperation loan, and sailed for distant Vudra. Historians speculate some sort of monumental event took place then, as the Arkonas who went came back changed men. The shipment was an incredible success, and catapulted Arkona to new heights it has never fallen from. Jenkson and Garath sunk their wealth into incredible vice, becoming even richer as they purchased every tavern and brothel on Endrin. However, twenty years later, both disappeared without warning with previously-unknown children taking over the house. For two hundred years since, House Arkona has consolidated power, becoming the only noble house on Endrin and a true powerhouse.

Although Korvosa is controlled by the monarchy, Endrin belongs to the Arkonas.

The current lord of the house, Glorio Arkona is a noted philanthropist and has done a great deal to try and lift the poor of Endrin Isle to better heights. He is extremely popular among the poor (and less so among his family) and although has no formal dealings with the Dead Kings, there has been a respectful understanding of one another. Which makes Arkona shutting its doors feel even more the betrayal.

I'll push onto the next part but will want to confirm how you're approaching House Arkona. Show up and ask for an audience? Sneak in? Ride a dragon and drop bombs?


NG Male Dwarven Barbarian 10 | HP 115/115 {145/145} | AC 21 (19 Rage, 12 Touch, 20 Flat-Footed) | CMB +14/+16, CMD 25/27 | Fort. +13/16, Ref. +6, Will +10/12 | Init. +2 | Perc. +15 | Speed 30ft | Rage: 25/25 | DR 2/- | Active conditions: N/A

The only dragon we got I doubt could even carry Donnell.

"Well, might be worth knocking on the front door first. Not going to say it's a given, but we probably have enough prestige at this point they may let us in. May."

"And if that doesn't work, we'll have to sneak in. I'm sure Donnell knows, or can find, another way inside. They're not tyrants yet, though, so no killing guards. Our main object is to find Vencarlo, and hopefully Neolandus as well."


Female Android Alchemist 8/Rogue 2; Init +2; Darkvision 60 ft, Low-light vision, Perception +16; AC 16 (+2 Dex., +4 armour); hp 70/70; Fort +8; Ref +11; Will +4

"I find myself somewhat dubious as to the cause of this family's reversal of fortunes. Just what happened in Vudra?" Raven Six wonders out loud.

Then she blinks - 'click!' - and looks at Sevenspawn. "I have another concern which concerns the two of us, friend Sevenspawn. I worry that my alternate self has given you offense, and would resolve the matter before we move out."


Male CG Halfling Investigator 10 | HP: 40/57 | AC: 19 (16 FF, 14 Tch) | CMB: 6, CMD: 19, FF: 16 | F: +7, R: +12, W: +10 | Init: +7 (+9 urban)| Perc: +15 | Locate Traps +20 | Disarm Traps +20 | Speed 20ft | Inspiration 7/8 | Harrow Points: 3 | +6 vs Poison, +2 vs Fear, +3 vs Traps | Active effects: Heroism, Heightened Awareness (+2 attacks, saves, skills; further +2 Perception & Knowledge)

”Sounds good to me - I’m sure we can figure something out once we get there if the place is locked down.”


Male CG Human Cleric 10 HP: 72/72 I AC: 22 (11 Tch, 21Fl) | CMB: 10, CMD: 20 | F: +8, R: +5, W: +11 | Init: +4 | Perc: +5 Speed 20ft | Channel 4/4 | Spells 6/6 6/6 5/5 4/4 4/4 3/3 |

"I have no quarrel with... any version of you, friend Raven Six," Sevenspawn replies, the effect of his stubbornness on his compatriots dawning on him for the first time. "Quite the contrary.

"That we have disagreed on dealing with Laori," he says to all of them, "does not affect the kinship I feel for you all. I feel some shame at having made you feel otherwise. My goddess is a righteous one; her path is difficult for many to..." he waves his hand slowly in a small circle. "... put up with, perhaps." Sevenspawn offers a wry smile. "Or at least her priests, if not her path."

Sevenspawn rises and lifts the remnants of his glass to his compatriots in a toast. "To those who drink from the same canteen, my friends. Long may they hold company, and forgive each other their failings."

He waits a moment for everyone to drink, and, with a smile on his face, playfully pushes Donnell over with his boot as they do. "I am still right, however."


Female Android Alchemist 8/Rogue 2; Init +2; Darkvision 60 ft, Low-light vision, Perception +16; AC 16 (+2 Dex., +4 armour); hp 70/70; Fort +8; Ref +11; Will +4

"Oh, no," Raven Six says. "My sub-selves and I all concur; we wished harm upon that Elf and her patron. I follow the paths of Brigh and Pharasma; the creator of beautiful function and the true judge of final fates. The Kuthite's evil patron stands on the opposite end of the spectrum; hurting, breaking, twisting, and naming it enlightenment.

It is vileness incarnate.

No. Our concern is that we offended you by how self-a spoke of her reservations regarding the Dead Kings."


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Male CG Human Cleric 10 HP: 72/72 I AC: 22 (11 Tch, 21Fl) | CMB: 10, CMD: 20 | F: +8, R: +5, W: +11 | Init: +4 | Perc: +5 Speed 20ft | Channel 4/4 | Spells 6/6 6/6 5/5 4/4 4/4 3/3 |

Sevenspawn's eyebrows lift with realization. "Ah."

He considers his words. "I suppose I was. I was alarmed that you considered the possibility that I might support the Dead Kings as tyrants over the city, and confused that you did not know they already sought to help the denizens already. It is, well... it is what they do." He opens his hands a little. "The Broken Crown has already cleared this up, though. There is no trouble."

He pauses, and then speaks again. "I am confused on another matter, though. You speak of 'sub-selves', which I take to mean the... alchemically-altered versions of you. Is this... a normal state? I do not understand it."


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Female Android Alchemist 8/Rogue 2; Init +2; Darkvision 60 ft, Low-light vision, Perception +16; AC 16 (+2 Dex., +4 armour); hp 70/70; Fort +8; Ref +11; Will +4

"We trust you, Sevenspawn. We do not know the Dead Kings so well - and we have already seen how a flawed leader can undo their good works," Raven Six says.

She blinks once at the question. 'Click!'

"Normal is relative. My mutagen has the power to cause physical changes, but those transformations also cause the balance of my personality to shift.
Consider: each and every personality has traits which are dominant, and others which are not. When mutating, some dominant traits are shunted out of their usual position and some normally dormant ones are shocked awake. In effect, I become a different person than I otherwise am.
I find that as I mutate more often, the other sides of me take on greater reality. Their thoughts linger in mine, and I at times find myself to be a congress, rather than an autocracy. Our commonality of memory and purpose seems to be preventing conflict, thank Brigh. It may not be normal, but it has been most instructive to have access to multiple viewpoints. The phenomenon is an intriguing learning process in development, an alchemy of mind and body both."

Another blink.

"We all really wished to terminate Pilts and the Elf. Restraint was ... more difficult for some than others."


Male CG Human Cleric 10 HP: 72/72 I AC: 22 (11 Tch, 21Fl) | CMB: 10, CMD: 20 | F: +8, R: +5, W: +11 | Init: +4 | Perc: +5 Speed 20ft | Channel 4/4 | Spells 6/6 6/6 5/5 4/4 4/4 3/3 |

To be fair, the priest understands about half of what Raven Six is saying - which is to say the general gist of it. He nods slowly, taking this in and bowing thankfully for her explanation.

"I do not need to see either of them killed," he replies to her comment, "though I do not think I could effectively argue against it before a magistrate. But we must not make deals with evil again, friends! Do you not see? Let me explain further. Evil, at it's core, must be spurned as one spurns a rabid dog! For it is..."

Sevenspawn's preaching is drowned out among the groans of his compatriots.

**

Before we move on, I wanted to mention that 'Spawn bowed deeply as well towards Ysania, stooping to kiss her signet ring respectfully. She is his leader, after all. Small thing, but he does not take her for granted. Just wanted to say.


Female Android Alchemist 8/Rogue 2; Init +2; Darkvision 60 ft, Low-light vision, Perception +16; AC 16 (+2 Dex., +4 armour); hp 70/70; Fort +8; Ref +11; Will +4

"Evil is decay," Raven Six says, her voice a cold monotone. "It is a madness that urges creatures with the capacity for constructive behaviour to instead exploit and harm others, to erode trust and the sense of security otherwise offered by a structured society, all without any true need. A predator in the field is not evil, for it needs to eat and kills no more than it needs. The man who has others tortured for his amusement is, for he is already wealthy and powerful enough to get what he needs.

Evil is rot in the structure of life and thought."


.

Important detail worth mentioning, thanks!

You bed down and get ready for a date with the Arkonas the next morning as the Dead Kings celebrate into the night. Distantly, the wail of Pilts is heard as he wakes up in his cell and realizes that his empire has fallen and a grim fate likely awaits him.

----

The Old Dock is a fascinating scene as you awaken, gear up, and step out onto Wave Street, the main thoroughfare that runs parallel to Korvosa. People are now openly milling about the streets, talking excited with each other. Outside of Eel's End you see a growing pile of gifts for the Dead Kings, largely hand crafts. Stepping out into the street you are treated a little differently - your involvement in killing Devargo, stopping the plague, and now taking down Pilts with the Dead Kings is getting you a reputation. Unlike on the mainland under the gaze of the Gray Maidens, people are more open with their praise here.

Still, this is a place of poverty and desperation. People are trapped here and although the ocean provides enough to eat, the lack of many basic supplies is starting to show already. The desperation that lead people to embrace Pilts' madness is still present, and while today is a day of celebration, the air is tense.

The black marble of Arkona Palace dominates the skyline on Old Korvosa. Sevenspawn and Donnell spent their entire lives looking at it, and it is only grander up close. The palace is a breathtaking structure built in the Vudrani style, with golden pillars; high windows that rise to tapered points; minarets; and domes decorated with slender spires.

The gates to the grounds, traditionally open to the commonfolk, are closed but unlocked. You let yourselves in and are spotted by a patrol as you enter. Six guards in Arkona livery approach.

"Good day sirs and madam. The House Arkona grounds are not open to visitors at this time. Please let us know your reasons for visiting the manor and we will be sure to be what help we can."


Female Android Alchemist 8/Rogue 2; Init +2; Darkvision 60 ft, Low-light vision, Perception +16; AC 16 (+2 Dex., +4 armour); hp 70/70; Fort +8; Ref +11; Will +4

"Ah. Over to you, sergeant Thodjorir," Raven Six says, nodding to the weapon-bedecked Dwarf.


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NG Male Dwarven Barbarian 10 | HP 115/115 {145/145} | AC 21 (19 Rage, 12 Touch, 20 Flat-Footed) | CMB +14/+16, CMD 25/27 | Fort. +13/16, Ref. +6, Will +10/12 | Init. +2 | Perc. +15 | Speed 30ft | Rage: 25/25 | DR 2/- | Active conditions: N/A

"Huh? What? Me?"

Thod is clearly thrown off by Raven's beckoning. And wasn't expecting to have to say much of anything. Still, he plays his part.

"Oh, uh, Greetings. I am Thjodrorir Six-Picks, and these are my companions Donnell, Sevenspawn, and Raven Six. We are... Uhh... The Korvosian... Street Sweepers. We wish audience with the, uh, current... acting... boss?... of House Arkona. To discuss... important stuff. Because people as knowledgeable and respectable as House Arkona I am sure have heard of our tireless efforts to keep this city clean. Defeating a lot of... bad guys, and our tireless efforts to cure the plague that so recently ravaged the city. And now we believe that House Arkona can be good, er, valuable help, in our continuing efforts."


.

The guards stare at all of you before one lets out a sigh. "Can't expect them all to be eloquent. Very well, follow us and we'll see if Lord Glorio is available for an audience."

You are lead through immaculately landscaped grounds to the front of the palace.

A black marble arch depicting dozens of elephants standing one atop the other frames a great ebony door in the south wall of this wide and airy entrance hall. Above the door, an elephant looks out over the hall, its single eye a glittering bloodstone the size of an apple. Tall windows
grant a commanding view of the palace grounds, and a rich red carpet, ten feet wide and luxuriously thick, provides a pathway between doors to the west and north, and around a corner to the east. Each of these doors, as well as three smaller ones to the west of the northern pair, are decorated with images of a six-armed, four-faced woman who rides a tiger with human hands for feet.

A tall man in an eyepatch is already waiting for you. He smiles pleasantly as you approach. "I see our guards have brought a visitor to the house. I am Carnochan, the majordomo of Palace Arkona. Please, what brings you to us this fine day? I will take your request to Lord Glorio to see if he is available to meet."


NG Male Dwarven Barbarian 10 | HP 115/115 {145/145} | AC 21 (19 Rage, 12 Touch, 20 Flat-Footed) | CMB +14/+16, CMD 25/27 | Fort. +13/16, Ref. +6, Will +10/12 | Init. +2 | Perc. +15 | Speed 30ft | Rage: 25/25 | DR 2/- | Active conditions: N/A

"Greetings. I am Thjodrorir Six-Picks, and these are my companions Donnell, Sevenspawn, and Raven Six. We are... The Korvosian Street Sweepers. We wish audience with Lord Glorio of House Arkona to discuss... uhh... Important matters involving the safety and security of Korvosa. As people as knowledgeable and respectable as House Arkona, I am sure you and your master have heard of our tireless efforts to keep this city clean, from routing minor drug pushers, dethroning crime lords, and even working to cure the plague that infected this city so recently."


.

Limited activity from the rest of the group. I know that Donnell is on vacation. I'll hold off on pushing until Monday or until Sevenspawn/Raven get some posts in.


Female Android Alchemist 8/Rogue 2; Init +2; Darkvision 60 ft, Low-light vision, Perception +16; AC 16 (+2 Dex., +4 armour); hp 70/70; Fort +8; Ref +11; Will +4

"And even if you have not, here we are. We hoped the Arkonas would be willing to answer some questions for us," Raven Six says, her face maslike in its lack of expression.


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Female Homunculus Init +2; darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision; Perception +3; AC 14 (touch 14, flat-footed 12 (+2 Dex, +2 size)); hp 11; Fort +0, Ref +4, Will +1

"Yeah!" the homunculus chimes in - from on top of Thod's helmet.


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NG Male Dwarven Barbarian 10 | HP 115/115 {145/145} | AC 21 (19 Rage, 12 Touch, 20 Flat-Footed) | CMB +14/+16, CMD 25/27 | Fort. +13/16, Ref. +6, Will +10/12 | Init. +2 | Perc. +15 | Speed 30ft | Rage: 25/25 | DR 2/- | Active conditions: N/A

"What th... How many times have I told you I'm not your damn mule, you little naked weirdo!"
Thod swats R6-a off his head, only holding back slightly to avoid any causing serious harm.


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Male CG Human Cleric 10 HP: 72/72 I AC: 22 (11 Tch, 21Fl) | CMB: 10, CMD: 20 | F: +8, R: +5, W: +11 | Init: +4 | Perc: +5 Speed 20ft | Channel 4/4 | Spells 6/6 6/6 5/5 4/4 4/4 3/3 |

Sevenspawn pinches the bridge of his nose with a gloved hand, but says nothing and looks back at Carnochan with as much seriousness as he can muster.


Female Homunculus Init +2; darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision; Perception +3; AC 14 (touch 14, flat-footed 12 (+2 Dex, +2 size)); hp 11; Fort +0, Ref +4, Will +1

"Are you sure?" the homunculus asks while flitting about. "'Cos there weren't any pitchas in the book I read, an' you're always carryin' heavy loads an' makin' loud noises."


.

Hey activity!

The majordomo is clearly well trained, and so doesn't not so much bat an eye and the tiny naked lady.

"This is a very... general request but I endeavour to serve. I will be back shortly."

After a short wait, Glorio Arkona arrives, tailing his majordomo. His mouth drops as he sees you.

"Caronchan you brute, these are the slayers of that madman Pilts! I know you all of course - Sevenspawn, Thod, Raven -- Six? Yes. And Of course the Fox, Donnell. And Carnochan, you brought them no cheese nor wine. These are heroes who have delivered Old Korvosa back to law and order. A cause for great celebration."

Smiling broadly he looks over all of you. "You have been engaged in battle and hardship. Please - today you are honoured guests of the Arkonas. It is my custom to accept honoured guests in our baths. Carnochan will ensure you are well prepared and then we can meet on anything you wish to discuss."


Male CG Human Cleric 10 HP: 72/72 I AC: 22 (11 Tch, 21Fl) | CMB: 10, CMD: 20 | F: +8, R: +5, W: +11 | Init: +4 | Perc: +5 Speed 20ft | Channel 4/4 | Spells 6/6 6/6 5/5 4/4 4/4 3/3 |

Diplomacy: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (2) + 8 = 10

"Your gracious majordomo has served your House admirably, Lord," Sevenspawn replies as he bows, "and your offer is most kind. However," he adds, lifting his head again, "there is much work still to do, and many of our country-folk still to aid this day." The priest points at the ground with a finger as if to note the urgency. "Your custom would be most welcome, but I fear that we have the time only for the shortest of stays and were hoping to spend it asking for your Lordship's aid."

Sense Motive: 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (16) + 13 = 29

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