Swaggering into the briefing room and throwing herself into a chair comes an exotic female with exquisite snake like eyes and a mane of fiery ginger hair. Strange mutations mar her face, looking like shimmering blood red scales that surround her eyes, adding to her snake-like charm. She wears baggy trousers with only bandages around her feet in place of boots, with bandages also wrapped around her knuckles and forearms. Draped across her shoulders is a faded and battered royal blue coat, displaying the golden eagle of Andoran on its right shoulder.
Taking a drink from the table she smiles and sips. Wow, it feels strange to be the first one here, I am usually strolling in late!
Dressed in typical pirate's garb complete with bicorne hat, this stunning raven-haired beauty glides into the room of meeting. She carries most of her gear in her haversack except for the wands tucked into bandoliers across her check, the gleaming rapier at her hip, and the underwater crossbow at her back. Her armor is made of some sort of exotic material, as strong as leather, but made of a plant material that almost looks like seaweed when wet.
She takes a seat and puts her feet up on the table before calling for a strong drink.
Things you would likely know about Ursahla based on her reputation.
- She is the captain of her own seafaring vessel, The Nereid's Kiss. The vessel is believed to be a smuggling ship when hired by The Exchange rather that just simply a ship used for piracy.
- She is an undine, but rarely goes around in undine guise. She has the ability to change her skin tone from her normal blue to a wide range of human tones, and can magically change her clothes to match whatever ethnic garb she chooses.
- As a faithful of Besmara, she fights dirty and rarely is inclined to show mercy unless she thinks it could benefit her. Her actions don't always meet the approval of paladins, members of the Silver Crusade, and other like-minded individuals who might have a code of honor.
- One of her trade contacts in Absalom is Mahjub Madhi, who owns a shop in Absalom's Misery Row called Madhi's Chattel. Such a direct association with slavers has not garnered her any favors with members of Liberty's Edge. Given this connection she's been suspected by some of transporting slaves aboard her ship, but no one has ever proven that accusation.
- Besides being the captain of a pirate ship, Ursahla is said to dabble in barbering and wig-making, things she learned while as crew member of one of the infamous pirate ships of the Shackles. It is rumored that the wigs she wears as part of her disguises are made from the hair of humans she has slain in battle.
A red-skinned, red-eyed tiefling enters the briefing room, tail twitching.
He assesses the two Pathfinders already seated and cracks a wry smile. Silent, but exhibitionist types.
"Hello, ladies. The name's Devlin, but please call me "Red." A gal called me Ginger once. Till she realized I've a darker side."
He smiles as he takes a seat. "I hail from Varisia, though my mother was a Kellid, and my father, well, he might have crawled out of that hole the Crusaders call the Worldwound. Never properly introduced himself to Mom." At that, his face forms a bitter scowl.
He repeats a mantra to himself in a hushed voice, something about flushing demons back down dark, swirling holes.
Then he puts on his game face. "The Sczarni trained me to be a witch. No skill with the Harrow, but I can weave a mean spell and throw a wicked hex."
He pats his oversized codpiece. "Sorry to disappoint, but I've nothing out of the ordinary in that department to brag about. 'Keep your friends close; keep your familiar closer,' old Jaster Frallino used to say. Sting is on a short leash."
|Helikon Little Pregen|
A not so young man of varisian origin joins the meeting.
To say he is portly would be an understatement. But still he moves with a sureness rarely seen in a man with such a belly.
"Well met all and a pleasure to meet you indeed! May I introduce myself, my Name is Mavaro, and the obscure is my metier. I hope to join your adventure and learn many a wonderful thing!"
A rather portly halfling fellow in fashionably cut but gaudily coloured clothing arrives at the door of the briefing room "I've come to fetch you for an important announcement" and the fellow sighs as turns around without waiting for a reply and starts hurrying back down the hall.
You know that Pathfinders have been gathered from near and far to the city of Absalom and you also know that Councilor Hadrel Grayrain has recently passed away, and with things otherwise being reasonably quiet at the moment, you suspect there is a connection.
The warm daylight meets you as you join dozens of other Pathfinders on a lawn in the shadow of Skyreach. Many of the assembled agents hold fliers that appeared about the lodge the day before, hinting at a special announcement to be made here this morning.
The Halfling looks at the party and you can see him quietly counting and then look dismayed "I'll go fetch the rest of your companions" he sighs, then takes off again.
The Grand Council that rules Absalom is broken into two major components: the High Council of 12 leading citizens and the Low Council whose membership varies by year (but stays around 50 strong).
Each city district has at least one low councilor, and each of Absalom’s vassal settlements is guaranteed two such positions. The late Hadrel Grayrain was an esteemed son of Diobel with ties to the town dating back 23 generations, and when he died two weeks ago, he was halfway through his seventh consecutive year-long term as a low councilor.
"Pleasure to meet ya darlin'! Folks call me 'Lizbeth' and that will do!" The ex-pirate replies enthusiastically, revealing the harsh accent of one that hails from the Shackles. "Hello Cap'n, the wine is good!" She toasts the fellow pirate in the room, the Captain's training ensuring she doesn't show her disdain or the woman on her face. Lizbeth hated slavers and those that consorted with them.
As the Halfling rushes in and then out of the room, the Vishkanya hops to her feet and swipes the bottle she had been drinking from before following to the fields. Re-filling her glass and offering it around, she looks around and shrugs.
"Anyone know what's going on?"
Hailing from the Shackles, she is a devout follower of Besmara, more than happy to take the low blow if she needs too.
Draconian Blood manifests itself when she enters a focused rage state, preferring to close in with Claws and fists than any manufactured weapon.
First Mate aboard the Archon's Shadow Known to associate with the Andoran Privateer Fleet
Ursahla's voice changes to match the particulars of the Shackles accent herself. As a scholar of languages, she'd learn how to affect local accents in order to make her disguises more convincing. But for now she would drop the staccato rhythm of the Hallit-influenced Taldane common in the River Kingdoms.
"How many years has it been 'Lizbeth'? That epaulet on yer shoulder says it's been a long time, but the words from your lips says ya once called Port Peril home. Ya remember The Maids of Hag Island? That was always a favorite little shanty of mine. The name is Ursahla, though once we leave these walls, that like many things about me is up for reconsidering."
Drinking her wine and thinking back, Lizbeth ponders Urshahla's question whilst they wait for direction. "It has been a year since I last docked in the Port, but yea Peril was once home of sorts." she replies, looking at the faded eagle. "Like many on the Isles though, I'd call my Ship home and my crew family. As for the Falcons, well we have similar interests and we scratch each other's backs."
Laughing softly whilst Looking round the gathering and listening to the excited murmur, Lizbeth smiles and sighs in contentment. "An interesting trick! I wish I had the skill with voices and the like, but I do stand out a tad!"
"Well met, Mavaro." The tiefling extends his hand in a firm, friendly grip. "I'm Red, and these two sailors," he gestures politely at the ladies, "Are Ursahla and Lizbeth."
"You dance, Mavaro?" he grins. "'Cause these two ladies seem ready to lead."
Red looks around at his companions. "You lot know anything about the late Councilor Hadrel Grayrain? Never met him when I was passing through Diobel. Seven terms as a low councilor. Must have been an important, influential man. Wonder how he died. Wonder how it's connected the Society's planned announcement."
A tall ulfen male walks into the room unaccompanied. A greatsword carried across both of his shoulder, and wears heavily damaged breastplate with pride.
Sorry I was late, other priorities got int he way. Ah, an Andoran, Eagle Knight I presume. He give Lizbeth a quick salute like gesture, "I fight for the same cause."
|Helikon Little Pregen|
Venture-Captain Drandle Dreng emerges from the crowd followed by an assistant carrying a large stool that she sets on the grass. Dreng spryly clambers up to stand on the stool and addresses the small crowd.
“Thank you for joining me here, Pathfinders,” the milky-eyed Venture Captain shouts. “Absalom has a long and illustrious history, and today we add a little more to that ongoing record. The esteemed councilor Hadrel Grayrain of Diobel recently passed away, leaving a vacancy on Absalom’s Grand Council. We’re still many months away from the annual inauguration of councilors, and with numerous acts pertaining to Diobel on the schedule, the vassal city is eager to get a new representative. In fact, with Absalom’s assistance, Diobel’s Kortos Consortium has co-bankrolled a festival spread across much of the Foreign Quarter. Ostensibly, this is an occasion to honor the deceased and welcome his replacement. Virtually everyone also sees this as a chance to advertise and earn some new business.”
Drandle Dreng clears his throat and shrugs. “Well, the Society is no exception. We’ve already chipped in some gold to help this be a success, and in doing so we’ve received numerous invitations to the more exclusive events. With our recent work in Mendev, we’ve earned considerable goodwill. This is a good opportunity to consolidate those gains by seeing and being seen by the upper crust—as well as hobnobbing with the common people.” He chuckles and gives the crowd a smile. “All at the Society’s expense! Have a good time, keep an ear out for interesting leads, and represent the Society well!”
The venture-captain then hops off the stool and mills about the crowd, meetin gand greeting Pathfinders...
Red looks dumbfounded at the Venture-Captain's pronouncement. The tiefling approaches Dreng through the jostling crowd and shakes his superiors hand, a sardonic grin on his face.
"It's official then, sir. The Decemvirate has officially been replaced by a squad of Doppelgängers. Seriously, though, any thoughts on where we should start? The Exchange and the Sczarni have long had dealings with the Kortos Consortium and other trade organizations in all manner of markets, open, black, and gray. Overt competition might sour our sometimes tenuous relationship."
Red looks around at his companions, "What do you guys think? Where would you like to start?"
The Venture Captain blinks a few times as though startled at the thought, then catches that it was a dry jest "Err.... aha "Red" Devlin, of course, welcome back to the Lodge. We have a busy few days ahead, surely you can enjoy the festivities for a few days" he offers then pauses and thinks out loud "On the afternoon of day one there shall be a Grand Lodge Social - it will be an informal social gathering with drinks and appetizers to welcome visiting dignitaries and other people of note. That will be followed by a Commemorative Service at moonrise down in the Docks district, then most people will seek their lodgings in taverns down there or in the Foreign Quarter"
"The Preinaugural Feast will be held in the afternoon of the second day at a great hall in the Wise Quarter from late afternoon through the evening. It is semi-casual and heavily attended".
"Deliberation Day will be on the third day, and should be a bit of a rest day for you, with nothing scheduled.
"The Inauguration happens on the fourth day, around noon in the Wise
Quarter. That's the big one, and should lead to another enormous party."
Sighing as Valsin takes a stand ont he stool, Lizbeth prepares herself for another gruelling challenge from the Venture Captain. Would it be Demons from the Wound? Duergar in the depths of the Darklands? Or even Drakes in Mwa- "A party?! We have been gathered here for a party?!" she blurts out incredulously as he reveals their purpose for gathering here. Smiling broadly, the Vishkanya knocks back more of her pilfered wine as she thinks about the possibilities opening up before the group.
Hopping to her feet as Ambrus makes his way towards them on his grand tour, Lizbeth darts in for a cheeky hug before stepping back and throwing out her hand for the Captain to shake. "A pleasure sir!" she beams, "May I say you have always been my favourite Captain! So, any ideas on who the favourites are? Want us to rub elbows with 'em?"
Eramos whispers under his breath, This is not the type of missions they usually recruit me for. What a waste of talents, kissing ass to a bunch of rich snobs. With that he crosses his arms and fumes.
|Helikon Little Pregen|
"May I say you have always been my favourite Captain! So, any ideas on who the favourites are? Want us to rub elbows with 'em?"
"Why... thank you" the older VC seems pleased (yet slightly surprised) "There are dignitaries everywhere and no doubt you will bump into a few so keep your eyes open for the opportunity to talk, perhaps in such an atmosphere some new ventures may be opened. Keep your wits about you though, with so many revellers, things can get untidy"
The throng of other Pathfinders begin greeting the Venture Captain and wanting his time and attention...
Red grins and whispers in Lizbeth's ear, *"It's not everyday that a Pathfinder refers to Ole Cabbages as Ambrus Valsin. You definitely made the old man's day."*
"So should we hang out here, or ask around about the events and attendees?"
Diplomacy (gather information about the Grand Lodge Social): 1d20 ⇒ 5
A party, hmm... what to wear, what to wear...
Ursahla reaches into her haversack and begins to pull out an impossible number of wigs for a non-magical bag.
She begins trying various wigs, changing both her clothing a skin color to resemble the ethnicity and mode of formal dress matching the wig she has donned.
Perhaps they like exotic women from far-way lands, she says in an accented common tinged with Tien phonology as her clothing and skin color look typically Tien.
Or maybe someone closer to our home Lizbeth, Ursahla says suddenly taking the dress and look of a Mwangi woman.
Then again, maybe the will want to have a chat with a fellow woman of notable pedigree and refined charm, as she now takes on the look and mannerisms of a Taldane noblewoman.
I suppose it will all depend on what sort of company these dignitaries care to keep.
Giving Lizbeth a bit of the business for her incredulity, she needles her a bit. "If you aren't up for parties, then I suppose can do enough carousing for the two of us."
Ursahla will also mingle with the crowd afterward and see if he knowledge of the situation might give her some additional insights.
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (16) + 6 = 22
Knowledge (local): 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (15) + 13 = 28
Knowledge (nobility): 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (19) + 13 = 32
The crowd is already thinning out as people begin darting off to do their last minute clothes shopping ahead of tomorrows festivities and the Grand Lodge Social, where it is expected that a lot of the most important dignitaries will emerge.
Ursahla mingles most expertly and proves to be a real social butterfly. In passing, she manages to get engaged in a conversation with the handmaiden of Lady Darchana of House Madinani, the Second Spell Lord of Absalom, Archdean of the Arcanamirium, and a member of the Low Council. With a few knowledgeable comments and observations on the current political state of affairs, the handmaiden promises an introduction to Lady Drachana at the Grand Lodge Social tomorrow night.
|Helikon Little Pregen|
Helikon knows of a few decent taverns in the foreign quarter from his early days as a Pathfinder in training, and he notices that some of the early starting revellers seem to have encamped themselves at a nearby Inn, the Rampant Seahorse.
Map of Absalom up in the maps link. The Grand Lodge is in the Foreign Quarter.
So, you all brought your finest threads right...?
If by finest threads you mean Sleeves of Many Garments, then yes. I don't have any jewelry to go with them however, so any noble/courtier's outfit will be incomplete. What I had before I sold to buy my weapon upgrade.
Red takes great pride in pulling out from his handy haversack his neatly pressed courtier's outfit, a red Tian silk smoking jacket with a subtle firecracker-themed print and black Korvosan leather pants. A bespoke codpiece completes the bold ensemble and houses his familiar, Sting.
From a deep blue velvet pouch he draws forth a pair of gold Exchange cufflinks, matching earrings, and a signet ring, depicting what passes for a question mark in the Thassilonian script. The set was designed and crafted, per his specifications, by a talented Varisian artisan among the notorious Frallino clan in Magnimar.
"Eat your heart out, honey. Let's get glamorous."
So no swords or armor? Sounds like the usual Society Set up to me. Eramos will play along though
Fine, guess I'll go and wash my cloths to get some of the stink off of them
|Helikon Little Pregen|
Ha! I can't believe I did that. I even read the 'Milky eyes' comment and thought it sounded odd for Valsin! Oh well.
"Oh, I love a good shindig mi' dear, yet I haven't been to a fine ball before so will have to avoid looking an oaf. I know plenty of dances though!" She replies with a good-natured smile, "Just don't take so long deciding who to be that you are tardy!"
Deciding to mingle a little too before rushing off shopping, Lizbeth tries to get a connection- and a fine lady to dance with for tomorrow's festivites.
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 15 ⇒ (8) + 15 = 23
Smiling and chatting up anyone she can, Lizbeth decides it would be best to acquire a new Uniform that isn't threadbare and worn. Heading off to the Liberty's edge office within the Grand Lodge she smiles sweetly and asks nicely, eventually getting one promised for tomorrow.
"Ladies love a Uniform!" she laughs. She also purchases a fine golden eagle mask, in order to cover the warped scales around her eyes, yet still fit in with her new outfit.
Asking around didn't work out, so Red finds a comfortable seat and thinks about all the members of the Low Council he might try to schmooze with.
Those with a history of dealing with Gauril Karela or the Trade Prince would be a good start.
Knowledge (local): 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (20) + 11 = 31
Red knows of at least two people in town that Karela would have had dealings with - mostly because Gauril has his fingers in all the pies..
Alvalda is a statuesque woman in her late forties whose family co-operates the Kortos Consortium, a powerful guild of merchants in Diobel, with two other families.
Scion Lord Avid of House Arnsen:
Lord Avid holds the title of Teriarch of Diobel, making him lord-mayor of that city by the appointment of Lord Gyr, the Primarch of Absalom.
Whilst some of the group stay at a tavern enjoying cold ale and tall tales from all the corners of the Inner Sea, Lizbeth does her best to track down a new uniform and easily talks her way into the new replacement, even though uniforms are in high demand and Absalom is a long way from Andoran.
As she is unpacking it, she finds a letter inviting Lizbeth and Eramos (plus guests) to a dinner tomorrow evening, it is signed 'Major Colson Maldris'
Ah, a meal with Major Maldris. Have not seen him in some time. Eramos, Maybe he will accept me into the Eagle Knights today, I believe I have proven myself worthy of the title.
Ursahla makes sure her clothing looks respectable before her meeting with Lady Darchana.
@GM if it ever matters, assume Ursahla has taken 10 on putting together her human guises for a total disguise check result of 25.
Red's got a plan now, "Ladies and Gents, there are a couple of contacts I can try to talk to at the Grand Lodge Social:
Alvalda Margruel is a statuesque woman in her late forties whose family co-operates the Kortos Consortium, a powerful guild of merchants in Diobel, with two other families.
Scion Lord Avid of House Arnsen holds the title of Teriarch of Diobel, making him lord-mayor of that city by the appointment of Lord Gyr, the Primarch of Absalom."
He considers the party's strengths and weaknesses. "We could try to meet with our contacts separately, but we might be more successful working together as a team."
Red would prefer to work through the party's contacts as a team, enabling all of us to bring our skills to bear against the target.
Returning to her bunk, Lizbeth stops as she spies the letter, a tad deflated at her lack of dance. Reading the note she beams and rushes to tell Urshala, bursting into her room in excitement.
"We have a date with a Major!" she explains, handing over the letter. "And we are all invited!"
|Helikon Little Pregen|
"I know right? I haven't seem him in a long time, and then it was brief." Lizbeth turns to the friendly Maarvo. "Good job I just got a fresh dress uniform made!"
The next day comes all too soon, and it becomes a blur of preparing clothes, grooming routines, and general readiness for the afternoon and evening events.
Upon arrival at the Grand Lodge, you are treated to an informal social gathering on the lawn with drinks and appetizers to welcome visiting dignitaries and other people of note.
Several dozen relics are displayed on plinths, and people seem to move between them admiring the relics whilst engaging in friendly but casual conversation.
At one side of the reception space a man appears to be juggling various fruits, for the entertainment of a small crowd, by his dress you suspect he is a guest, not an entertainer... as he finished his performance there is a polite applause.
Knowledge (local): 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (1) + 11 = 12
"Anybody recognize the juggler-guest?" Red adopts the casual tone and demeanor of the other party guests. He provides similar polite applause at the juggler's performance.
So do any of you want to work together to accomplish these social encounters, or is it every man/woman/teifling/undine/vishkanya for him/herself? I'd still like to approach this as a team effort.
With the juggling done, the fellow returns to one of the groups of guests and they congratulate him and give further applause, there is a bit of a hubub from the crowd, and you realise this is simply guests showing off their various talents - perhaps if you had a party trick or performance piece, this would be an exceptional time to showcase it...
I think together is the best way, at least at the start.
Seeing how the function was informal, Lizbeth forgoes wearing her new dress uniform for the moment but does don a clean outfit fit for such a gathering. With high polished black boots over tight blue trousers and a swordsman's ruffled white shirt, a dark blue cloth wrap around her stomach and soft gloves finish the look. Lizbeth looks exactly like a noble pirate from a fancy tale and she enjoys the attention.
"No idea! I'll ask around. Might also find someworthy marks eh?"
gather info: 1d20 + 15 ⇒ (8) + 15 = 23
As realisation dawns upon her, Lizbeth looks for a suitable open space and begins to show off her own talents. Taking a deep bow, Lizbeth begins a slow, graceful dance, her body twisting and turning as she performs, getting quicker and quicker as time goes on until she is twirling and leaping in an acrobatic display.
perform dance: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (5) + 11 = 16
Acrobatics: 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (16) + 13 = 29
Lisbeth doesn't manage to get any particularly useful gossip, as most people were still arriving through last night and the day today - with this being the first scheduled event people are still finding their bearings.
Her dance routine got some polite applause, but when she gets right into the full swing of her acrobatic display the cheers become much less restrained and quite enthusiastic.
"More! More!" calls a less couth reveller, and there is a murmur of approval from the rest of the crowd.
Red uses his flight hex and gathers the dancing Lizbeth in his arms. He lifts her with him several feet into the air and twirls her before the onlookers. Then he returns her to her feet and takes an airborne bow.
Fly with Flight Hex: 1d20 + 15 ⇒ (12) + 15 = 27
Starting a brawl seems like a bad idea. I know that's something Ursahla can pull off. She's not really much of a performer though, so I wasn't really going to try. She'll just stand back and watch for now.
Red tries to cajole the swashbuckler into trying something. "Come on, Ursahla. A lithesome swashbuckler like you is probably a fine acrobat. You've demonstrated your skill with a variety of dialects and accents. How about a bawdy limerick? Some of these fine folk might be impressed with what you can do with a wig, too. Maybe all three skills at once?"
"To the Abyss with these swells if they don't like it. As long as *we're* enjoying it, right?"