Taming The Borders (Inactive)

Game Master Ryuko

Ryuko's Kirthfinder Game

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M Goblin Beer Snob 1/Freethinker 3

The dwarven still-master is suitably impressed, and hires you on the spot. You soon learn that the style of spirit they distill and serve on site appeals to mercenaries, but not to cops. In fact, on one occasion the still-master sizes up a new customer, sloshes half his drink on the bar setting it down, and overcharges him. When they guy refuses to pay and leaves, the stillmaster turns to you and mutters, "City Watch. You can spot a cop a mile away. Always expectin' their drinks for free, and they drives away all the regulars besides. Don't serve 'em if you can help it -- it's bad for business, bad for everyone -- they're all Canaries, you know."

Male Hill Dwarf Fighter 5

"Canaries? And how could you tell?" Kelgan does as he's told. He keeps his mouth shut and his ears open, especially listening for any mention of the Duke.

M Goblin Beer Snob 1/Freethinker 3

Part of the mystery of clan warfare is quickly resolved: the foreman gives you a pseudonym to use while you work there -- no real names or clan names permitted. "You're 'Donnegal' now," which is a lot like calling you "John Doe."

There's a tough-looking human mercenary who hangs out at the place; he wears a pair of swords, swaggers when he walks, and usually seems anxious to avoid trouble -- which you take to mean that he's proven himself often enough not to feel like he has to keep doing it. One day, as he's sipping the latest distillate, he looks around to see if anyone's listening, leans over to you, and says, "Canaries live in cages. Surely you've seen the people -- including the cops -- with the brass birdcage logo on their clothes?" He motions to some decorative work on his cloak, which seems to be a stylized key design. "And some people believe in freedom from bondage as well. You don't say much, but I'm assuming I'm not too far wrong if I guess you're one of the latter?" He lifts his glass, shouts "Gods save the Queen!" and finishes his liquor.

Watching him go, the foreman says to you, "That Corlan is a good friend to our people. Like the Emperor Talvar was..." he says reverently, and takes a drink of good liquor "... always made sure we were welcome, and could work hard for fair wages. Sad thing that he's gone. But his wife the Queen was fair to us also -- no lording it over us, none of this nonsense about everyone sticking to their own lands -- we could come and go as we pleased, with her. But the people in charge, now that she's imprisoned? Not so reasonable, are they."

Male Hill Dwarf Fighter 5

After Corlan leaves the bar, Kelgan tries to fit the new information gained into what he knows about the current political situation.

Is Duke Kolvir like-minded to the Queen with regards to segregation? The city watch seems to hate second class citizens. Do the Canaries have a leader or figurehead? There doesn't seem to be signs of rebellion, maybe the assassination threat is from radicals. Who would have access to the Duke's schedule? Where would he stay in town? Where might the assassination be attempted?

Knowledge (Lore) 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (15) + 9 = 24
Knowledge (Warfare) 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (18) + 7 = 25

Seeing that Corlan is a man of solid reputation at the distillery, Kelgan will try to meet with him somewhere private. "There's a delicate matter I need some help with. The life of a good man is in danger. I can't tell you all the details right now, but I can tell you this. There's going to be an attempt on the life of a visiting noble, and I suspect the city watch may be involved. Will you help me?"

M Goblin Beer Snob 1/Freethinker 3

So far, your abilities as a connoisseur and riddle-master have led you to believe that "Canary" is merely a derogatory slang term for people who wear the cage insignia. Given the legend that Queen Kacia is magically imprisoned in a pore 45 miles beneath the city, the cage would seem to be emblematic of the people who wish to keep her there.

Your Warfare check is more promising. You've heard a lot about Duke Kolvin -- he's supposedly the man who single-handedly tamed the frontier, a gambler, lawman, and soldier of uncanny talents and unbending toughness. Getting the drop on him would be near-impossible, and actually killing him though combat is unthinkable -- it is said that he is by far the greatest swordsman east of the Estren River. Successfully killing him would require a way to somehow inflict an irresistable amount of damage, instantaneously.

Your questions regarding his schedule and accommodations would require some knowledge of the habits of nobiility and genteel life (Diplomacy):
1d20 - 1 ⇒ (15) - 1 = 14

As far as the politics, radicals, and rebellions, Streetwise would be a good start: 1d20 - 1 ⇒ (10) - 1 = 9

Finally, in response to your query, Corlan nods, and suggests a walk along the river, where there are fewer ears. "Help you? I was going to ask you the same thing. There are some suspicious people just arrived in town -- a by-gods for-real mountain dwarf with a halfling retinue and an extremely tough-looking hobgoblin bodyguard. One of our guys, Mayarkh, goaded the dverge into a duel tomorrow -- we'll see what comes of that. I wonder if you'd be willing to stand in as witness."

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Male Hill Dwarf Fighter 5

"Truly? A dverge out in daylight? I suppose there's a shamble-man and one of the nine opal princesses tagging along too. Really, Corlan, I'm new in town but I didn't fall out of Grandmother Ruke's Tree yesterday." Kelgan shakes his head in amusement, and spits in the river. Looking back, he sees that Corlan isn't laughing. "Oh... you... you're serious?! Well I've never seen one of them before. I'd witness just to have a look at the fellow. Count me in."

M Goblin Beer Snob 1/Freethinker 3

Kelgan -- the violent events behind Jarnell's Forge occur as chronicled in the main campaign thread; as "Donnegal," you are there to witness the whole thing, including the arrest of the mountain dwarf and his friends.

Evidently these people were not the would-be assassins! Talking to the foreman, Burl, who seems to speak very freely with you, you learn that Mayarkh is executed nearly immediately, which seems odd to you. And you notice Corlan stops coming around -- "because the stinking pox-whore Watch has a warrant on his head," Burl explains indignantly. Also, police presence around the Forge over the next day drops to near-zero, while the preparations around the Forge for the Duke's visit (which has just become public news) become frantic.

One evening, Burl pours each of you a sample of his finest liquor, that's been aging in oak for years and has finally been bottled, and explains he'll offer a drink to the Duke -- but that it's important that you and he sample it in-house first, "to make sure it ain't poison." And, by all the gods, it's not! Your shop, at least, will help prove to the Duke that there's nothing wrong with hill dwarves settling where they please!

Meanwhile, the metalworking shop next door seems to have received a large shipment of crates; obviosuly they've got some sort of display in mind, because it's surely not possible for them to actually construct anything in the time left before Kolvin's arrival.

Male Hill Dwarf Fighter 5

"Burl, I'm very impressed with all you have built here. The Duke will be, too, I am certain." Kelgan is silent for a long time. "Have the city watch always been corrupt? I would help Corlan if I could. Do you know where I might find him?"

Kelgan wanders over to the metalworking shop, bringing some brew to smooth the way and tries to discover what's in the crates.

Since the strangers weren't immediately executed like Mayark, he looks into what happened to them. Perhaps they are in cahoots with the corrupt watch and are the assassins after all.

M Goblin Beer Snob 1/Freethinker 3

Burl grins, "Been a long time workin' on it, and my sons and nephews, too," he replies, motioning at the other workers there. "As far as the Watch goes," he replies in Dwarven, "Ye might remember that 'police' be naught but the word in the Common tongue that means 'corrupt bureaucrat.' Our people don't talk to them, don't trust them, don't go to them! That's forbidden -- even feuding clans will unite against any who breaks that! Although, now that I think on it, the Watch here seems a bit more sinister than most -- especially that new sergeant they sent in from the elflands."

In reply to your offer to help Corlan: "Yer loyalty does ye credit, but if you find him, so might the Watch, yes? Most likely he's gone to lie low in Morningswake or one of the other frontier cities. When word comes from some of the other mercenaries that things have cooled down and he's looking to return, ye can help smuggle him back." Then he looks at you for a long moment and nods kindly before adding, "But he's not one to back down, is Corlan, so my nose tells me he's still in the city somewhere."

The dwarves next door at first seem appreciative for the gift of brew, and, seeing your interest in their shop, they offer you a pair of fine mail gauntlets. This immediately puts you on guard; the gauntlets are worth a lot more than the brew, which according to dwarven etiquette would put you in their debt. Maybe they're just being friendly, though; a Bluff check might help to tell which.

Smith's Bluff: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (5) + 5 = 10

You do notice that the crates are nowehere in sight.

No one's talking about the strangers; it's like they disappeared off the planet.

Male Hill Dwarf Fighter 5

"From the elflands? That's either exile or putting a favored crony in position. What's his name, this new sergeant?"

"As for Corlan, where might I find other ... keys? I'm not of a mind to bring trouble on your clan by asking the wrong patrons here. Know of any spots that his companions might frequent?"

The mail gauntlets are sure fine, and he's hesitant to refuse them.

Bluff(sense motive) 1d20 - 1 ⇒ (3) - 1 = 2

"You must be terribly busy, to be so parched with the distillery just a step away, to offer me these for a drop. What do you want from me?"

M Goblin Beer Snob 1/Freethinker 3

Burl: "Not him -- her! And you saw her the other day, at the duel; she's the one who broke it up. As far as others, well, I think the Duke is one himself -- rumor has it he's sponsoring an expedition to assemble the artifact that imprisoned the Queen, and will use it to free her."

Smith Foreman: "Nothing at all! You look like a man who appreciates a good pair of gauntlets. Say, I'll tell you what -- things are busy now with such short notice before the Duke's visit, but afterwards, let's get together for a meal -- there's a restaurant near the canal, on Hedge Street, that serves an excellent roast sheep."

Male Hill Dwarf Fighter 5

To Burl: "Now that's something!"

To Smith: "Thanks a bunch. I'll see you then. Holler if you need a hand."

Not knowing where Corlan has gone to ground, and unable to make contact with any of his compatriots, Kelgan will try to investigate the watch. Under the guise of delivering a bottle of whiskey, he will try to get to see the sinister sergeant, to size her up.

Knowledge Warfare 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (9) + 7 = 16 to figure out which precinct she took the duelists to.

If I can locate it, will wait around till she's there for a while before I approach. "Got a box with some spirits, supposed to deliver them to the sergeant at watch." Kelgan says to the constable at the counter. "Supposed to bring it to her what stopped those murderers at the Forge day past before. I got the right place?" Kelgan lets his bumpkin accent leak out, and looks concerned and a bit worried.

Bluff 1d20 - 1 ⇒ (14) - 1 = 13

I'm glad that Lord Fenrift sent such a suave, charming fellow to suss things out. Who knows what disasters could have occurred if he'd sent a blunt, uncouth knave instead.

M Goblin Beer Snob 1/Freethinker 3

Which precinct would normally be a Streetwise question, and outside of easy answering for Kelgen -- but Kelgen is nothing if not resourceful. Doing some quick calculating, it's clear to you that, from a military logistics standpoint, they'd move the prisoners to the nearest, most defensible (escape-proof) area. Given that the mountain dwarf and his friends surrendered, prisoners' escaping en route probably wouldm't be the dominant consideration, so defensibility would trump it. However, given how many troops were committed to quelling the outbreak of violence there, and in light of the Duke's upcoming visit, you have a feeling that publicity trumps either of those considerations. So you start walking around the Forge in widening circles, looking for the nearest Watch station big enough to have holding cells in it. Walking up to the desk of a likely candiate with a box of whiskey, you make your pitch to the desk guy.

Opposed Bluff to Sense Motive: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (19) + 3 = 22

The guy looks up at you with a bit of hostility. He's chewing a toothpick and sort of talks out of the side of his mouth around the thing: "Look, pal, we ain't gonna let your scumball crook nephews or whoever outta jail just because you hand us some hooch. We ain't all dwarfs here, ya know. Those two young punks tried to rip off the crate in broad daylight with everyone watchin' 'em -- they're just gonna have to rot in there 'til the judge says we can deport 'em or hang 'em -- it's all the same to me."

He watches your face as he says all this, then amends it: "Or if it's some other favor you want, same answer, pal: get lost. Have a nice day."

Male Hill Dwarf Fighter 5

"F***ing canary," I mutter as I leave the watch station. I'll head back to the distiller and see if Burl has heard of any robberies lately. Or, any attempted robberies of crates in broad daylight by a by a pair of bungling burglars that are now in lockup.

"Also, how well do you know the smith" --points-- "over there? He gave me a good, too good, trade and invited me to dinner. He isn't a bum wrestler or something is he? Got the feeling he might be mixed up with some bad stuff for the Dukes visit. I hear tell some idiots are going to try and kill Kolvin when he's here in town."

M Goblin Beer Snob 1/Freethinker 3

Burl looks at you for a long time before he closes up the windows, pulls the blinds, and locks the door. Then he finishes his drink and carefully spits on the floor in the direction of the smithy.

"The smith was called Govanni, back in the Highlands, and he was no smith, then, just a backstabber and a murderer, and one that Kolvin's boys should have hanged years ago. He's not much better now even with his new pseudonym (he goes by "Gallo" now) -- only he's more careful about things here. He got the smithy by offering "favors" to the old master smith, and then seizing the business when the old man couldn't repay them. Luckily, the old man's apprentices do good work; he trained 'em right, so the shop keeps turning a nice profit -- most of which goes right into Gallo's pockets. If he met an "accident" and fell into the Forge, it would be a good day for the world -- but I wouldn't wish the likes of him even on the salamanders."

When you mention the attempted theft, Burl says, "A couple of idiot lads with no work and too much machismo decided they were back in the Highlands, and figured they'd become famous bandits by stealiing Gallo's shipment. Naturally, the wily old bastard caught them. I'm shocked he didn't kill them on the spot, but maybe he's wary of too much publicity this close to the Duke's visit, so he just filled out the police report and went on his business. I don't doubt he'll have their legs broken when they get out of jail, though."

Male Hill Dwarf Fighter 5

"This 'Gallo' is bad news. If he was a murderer then, could be he'd be part if one now, especially if the price was right." I look at the blinds, the door, and then back at Burl. "Burl, you've been square with me, and its time for me to cut to the quarry. I'm here because someone here in Kaiserburg knew the Duke was coming before it was announced. They knew and were making plans to murder him. Whispers of those plans reached my ears, and I came here to stop them. I can't seem to set my feet on solid stone, though. I've only got speculation and suspicion to point to. If you respect the Duke enough to stick your neck out to help him, then I'll tell you what I know. If not, I'll not think less of you. You'd be risking your life and livelihood if things go poorly."

M Goblin Beer Snob 1/Freethinker 3

Very Diplomatic! But does it sway a somewhat conservative shop owner?
He's already friendly, so it's DC 10 to move him up to Helpful. "Give dangerous aid" has a +10 modifier to the DC, but you're a fellow hill dwarf and still-master, dropping the DC by 2 each.
Overall DC: 10 + 10 -2 -2 = 16.

Diplomacy: 1d20 - 1 ⇒ (17) - 1 = 16

Burl nods knowingly. "I suspected that, although if you didn't want to say as much, far be it for me to call you on it. But a decision like this that affects the shop would have to be made by everyone, not just me. Let me assemble my sons and nephews tonight and put the question to them: if they agree to back you as well, then we're with you all the way." His face crinkles in a rare smile. "I have a feeling they'll vote my way, though."

"And, since we're airin' truths here tonight, as a token of faith I give ye my right name: I am Toto Firestall, of the Macriina Clan."

"Listen," he adds, "this advance knowledge smacks of the Watch. It might be best if ye leave us deal with Gallo -- we can always claim it's a clan vendetta; people always believe that of our folk -- and you focus on who in the Watch is responsible. Maybe see what's what with the dverge and his friends as well -- he and the big gobbo bodyguard look to be worth ten of me in a fight, so I don't mind sayin' -- ye've got the tougher job of the two!"

Male Hill Dwarf Fighter 5

"Well met, Toto. Kelgan Cragbelly, Fochlaad clan."

Its time to find the sinister sergeant. I'll go find some street urchins and give them each a copper a day and a watch station to watch. I'll promise a silver piece to the one that finds her and reports to me. The meeting point will be a fountain near the Forge. I'll check the couple times a day.

Will set up my still out back and start brewing. Making 10 boxes of Molotov cocktails, distilling for concentrated alcohol content. Will get some hardwood for long, hot fire, and save a coal in a small firebox to take it with me. The watch is going to suffer some arson soon.

Craft Alchemy with lab 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (7) + 11 = 18
1d20 + 11 ⇒ (14) + 11 = 25
1d20 + 11 ⇒ (6) + 11 = 17
1d20 + 11 ⇒ (20) + 11 = 31
1d20 + 11 ⇒ (18) + 11 = 29
1d20 + 11 ⇒ (1) + 11 = 12
1d20 + 11 ⇒ (12) + 11 = 23
1d20 + 11 ⇒ (8) + 11 = 19
1d20 + 11 ⇒ (18) + 11 = 29
1d20 + 11 ⇒ (14) + 11 = 25

Some of the batches are satisfactory, some are too weak, and one has true promise. Confirm 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (12) + 11 = 23

M Goblin Beer Snob 1/Freethinker 3
Kelgan Cragbelly wrote:

Will get some hardwood for long, hot fire, and save a coal in a small firebox to take it with me.

Some of the batches are satisfactory, some are too weak, and one has true promise. Confirm 1d20+11

You can tap into Jarnell's Forge itself, which if you haven't already guessed is essentially a permanent gate to the Elemental Plane of Fire. No need for wood, and you get a steady flame anywhere from white-hot (closer to the interior of the Forge) to ambient temperature (100 ft. or so away from the building). This is a boon for distilling operations that require exact temperature controls.

And, yes, one of your batches is some really bad-ass stuff. This is gonna be fun!

P.S. Outside game:

If you didn't recognize Burl's proper name, Toto Riina was a notorious Corleonesi mafioso from Sicily -- he wasn't very tall, so they called him "The Short One" -- it seemed appropriate for an ex-bandit hill dwarf! Burl is an altogether nicer person, though.

Male Hill Dwarf Fighter 5

Excellent. The forge will suit my needs fine. The coal in the firebox was to have a source of flame to light the rags from. I will set aside the rest of the boxes for Burl's men, and keep the best for myself.

I scope out the watch stations. I have no sympathy for those who ally themselves with bigots and tyrants. Tonight, they are going to burn. I sketch the areas around, drawing up plans for the men to fire bomb and then flee. I don't need them to fight, just to cause mayhem.

Knowledge Warfare 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (6) + 7 = 13

I anxiously wait for the urchins to locate Sergeant Sinister (as I've come to think if her). If things go according to plan, the other watch stations will be in disarray and unable to render aid. The fire will cause a panic, and I'll take advantage of it to storm the station. I prepare a wet cloth to stave off the worst of the smoke while I go over the plan in my mind. If only Corlan were here. Well, I'll just have to tell him next time that Mayark was avenged.

I rehearse what I'm going to tell Burl. "Gallo had some sort of crate shipped in recently. The same one those lads tried to rob. The watch has some connection to the crate. The travelers that Sergeant Sinister arrested in the duel are involved somehow as well. She's hidden them somewhere. I think the crate could be explosives or weapons. Perhaps she has suborned the travellers into being her scapegoats, or hired them. If I wanted to kill a Duke and get away with it I'd make sure it couldn't be traced back to me. Mercenaries or explosives, that's how I'd do it.

In addition to skinning Gallo, I need your boys to set some fires. Here's maps of the areas, the bottles are here. Just light the rag and toss through a window or onto the roof. That'll be after dark. Don't stick around, just get the hell out.

I'll be dealing with Sgt Sinister at the same time. I'll need a lad or two along with me, just to throw some fire in. They need to be your best, this part can't fail. Once it catches fire, I'll be busting inside to find her. I'll get my answers and end her. All goes well, I'll find my careful way back. If not, it was good knowing you. See that my bones make it home, if it comes to that."

Male Hill Dwarf Fighter 5

"Also if you can see to it that Corlans people get word of this. Only ones you know we can trust. Just tell them about the station where I'll be. Could be Corlan comes out of hiding to help get revenge."


That's pretty cool. Never heard of him but neat story nonetheless.

M Goblin Beer Snob 1/Freethinker 3

Your stakeout does its job -- you're there when a carriage pulls in behind the place; looking into one of the windows, you see the the sergeant's face inside. Two of Burl's nephews are with you, holding sacks of incendiaries, A lone crow circles overhead, like an omen of death.

You've caught up with the ongoing action at this point.

----Transfer to Aviona campaign thread here----

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