The Dying City: DM Norv's "Curse of the Crimson Throne"

Game Master The Norv

The classic story of intrigue, magic, and strife in Korvosa, and of five figures caught in the balance of greater forces than they know.

Current Date: Starday, 10th of Lamashan, 4708

Current Map | Flex Time | Loot Tracker | Floorplan for the Rosa in Fiore

Harrow Points and Uses:

Current Harrow Points:
Callie: 3
Korriban: 2
Lantressa: 4
Matoska: 2
Teodor: 3

Flash of Insight: You can spend a Harrow point to attempt a skill check that normally requires training for a skill in which you have no ranks. You gain a one-time +5 bonus to that skill check.

Intelligence Rerolls: You can spend a Harrow point to reroll any one Intelligence-based check. You must abide by the new result, even if it's lower (but you can spend more Harrow points to reroll again if you want to).

Focused Thought: You can reattempt a Knowledge check that you have previously failed. On this attempt, you gain a +10 bonus on the check.


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Female Human Brawler 2
Spoiler:
HP: 22/22 // AC: 15 (16 CE), touch: 12 (13 CE), flat-footed: 13 // Fort: +5, Ref: +6, Will: +1 // Init: +2 // Perception: +6

The conversation about whether or not to go to the Queen, or the actual logistics of everything going on, is rather dull to young Raina. She's much more interested in her proudly-procured sweetbread, as well as trying to entertain Celia with silly jokes (and dirty ones if she can do so while Imperia's distracted - anything to wear down that uppity private school edge the young girl was developing!)

"Let's go. I'd rather get this over and done with sooner rather than later. Let's drop by your mum's house, and maybe drop Celia off at your home," Raina glances to Imperia, "unless you'd rather her come with us?"


Male

As the seven of you (assuming Celia comes along) head out, the city seems quiet, on edge...waiting. But as you head further north, into the Hill district, you start to see more people on the streets. Everyone moves with furtive, harried looks--some guilty, some just paranoid--but still, it's reassuring to see that some normal people do still live in Korvosa. Several times on your walk, you get the idea that things are starting to go back to normal, that the strangeness is over; but inevitably, before much time has passed you're confronted with a sight that reminds you that terrible things have happened, and that more lurks on the horizon. A madman raving about the end of the world on a street corner; the shattered glass of a looted shop's windows spilled into the street; a young man sprawled din an alleyway, drunk, unconscious or dead is impossible to tell.

As you make it over the bridge into Old Korvosa, these signs become more numerous, but so do the people. Life here has always been chaotic, and so in this time of chaos life goes on much as it always has. You make your way to the Rosa without incident, and, once again, Falko opens the door and ushers your group inside. "Glad to see you all made it home safely last night," he rumbles. "Things got a little hairy up here for a while early this morning, but nothing that we couldn't handle. And besides, the Guard and the Sable Company cracked down pretty hard on any rioters they saw...to say nothing of the Hellknights." The brawny Shoanti man's mouth twists at the thought--clearly he admires their efficiency, even if he doesn't like the paramilitary group.

Lialda is back in her office, and the establishment's employees seem less on edge today. "Ah, Korriban," she says with a smile, looking up as Falko leads the group in. "I'm glad that you're still well, my son. The city seems to have calmed slightly, no?" Her eyebrow raises as she catches sight of Celia--well dressed and younger than all of you, clearly not part of the group--and she glances between her and Imperia. "Your sister, I'm guessing?" Lialda smiles and stands, giving a small bow to Celia that the little girl returns with a shy nod. "Welcome to the Rosa in Fiore, young miss. Now, what can I do for you all?"


Male Human (Varisian) hp 45/56 | AC 22/T 17/FF 15 | CMD 22 | Fort +4 | Ref +7 [+8 v traps] | Will +2 | Init +6 | Perc +13 (+15 to locate traps) | SM +17

Korriban looks at Falko with concern. "What happened here, Falko? Rioters? Looters? Thieves? Drunk, unruly early morning customers?! What?! What?!" he asks in a panic, but with his joking manner. Looking outside, he says, "Well, the Queen's forces helping protect Old Korvosa... I give it a week."

Korriban smiles at his mom. "Good morning to you, too, Mom. Just stopped by to see how everyone's holding up. We also wanted to warn you to stock up on food because, odds are, food prices are going to raise quickly." He says hello to everyone in his family, asking if they're all right. He shows genuine concern about them.

Korriban looks out the window. "Yeah, things seemed to calm down. But then again, it's only waiting for the next spark to ignite it. Falko says that the Guard and Sable Company are cracking down in Old Korvosa. Like I told him, I give it a week before things to return to the crappy, unlawful status quo."


Female Human Brawler 2
Spoiler:
HP: 22/22 // AC: 15 (16 CE), touch: 12 (13 CE), flat-footed: 13 // Fort: +5, Ref: +6, Will: +1 // Init: +2 // Perception: +6

"That must be another member of your church," Raina mutters to Teodor as they pass the raving lunatic enroute to the Rosa; normally she loathed speaking to the twisted old man, but making light of the situation around them seemed to be the only way to not become absorbed by the strange sense of despair about the city.

She nods to Falko and again to Lialda when they arrive, but this morning she has little to say to the two of them apart from idle small talk. Korriban's warning would suffice... and the possibility of spiralling food prices was far less terrifying a thought to Raina than their next move - heading on up with the Queen's stolen jewellery. The young wrestler seems kind of distracted the entire time they remain at Korriban's home.

Not sure there's much we need to do here, so I think we can keep moving on to the castle.


M Human (Ustalavian) Cleric of Groetus 3/Slum Shaman 1/Evangelist of Groetus 5

"That was the bishop, I believe," Teodor deadpans.


Male

Falko just rolls his eyes at Korriban's antics.

Lialda raises an eyebrow at the news about possible food scarcity. "Indeed? Hm. It's certainly not out of the question, I suppose. We're pretty well stocked at the moment, what with the festival preparations, but I'll make sure the cooks have enough food in the larder to last us out. Thank you for the warning." She hesitates slightly. "Are you home now, Korriban? Or are you all dashing off again? And if so, is there anything you need?"


Male Human (Varisian) hp 45/56 | AC 22/T 17/FF 15 | CMD 22 | Fort +4 | Ref +7 [+8 v traps] | Will +2 | Init +6 | Perc +13 (+15 to locate traps) | SM +17

Korriban looks at his mother. "Going to be dashing off again, unfortunately. But don't worry, I'll be safe. I can't think of anything I might need." He turns to his team. "Do you guys need anything?" An idea comes to him. "Do you think I could get someone to make those boots? Or is it too soon?"


M Human (Ustalavian) Cleric of Groetus 3/Slum Shaman 1/Evangelist of Groetus 5

"A pleasure as always, madam but we must an once. Your son seeks audience with our ...beloved queen."

diplomacy: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (9) + 7 = 16


Female Human Brawler 2
Spoiler:
HP: 22/22 // AC: 15 (16 CE), touch: 12 (13 CE), flat-footed: 13 // Fort: +5, Ref: +6, Will: +1 // Init: +2 // Perception: +6

"You really reckon anyone's gonna be doing regular business with this kind of nonsense going on?" Raina mutters to Korriban with an arched brow. "That pastry vendor tried to over-charge me something fierce; I reckon your cordwainer'd do the same."


Male Human (Varisian) hp 45/56 | AC 22/T 17/FF 15 | CMD 22 | Fort +4 | Ref +7 [+8 v traps] | Will +2 | Init +6 | Perc +13 (+15 to locate traps) | SM +17

Korriban shrugs at Raina. "Just thought I'd ask."


Male

Lialda gives Korriban and Teodor a sharp look at Teodor's mention of the Queen. She frowns, then turns to her son. "You're a big boy, Korri, and your business is your own. So I won't ask what you're doing with the Queen...though I hope you'll tell me if you're in any trouble. I agree with Raina about the hide, though," she adds firmly. "Leave your...trophy..." she wrinkles her nose slightly. "Leave it here. Wait until after things have calmed down a bit before you go looking for a tanner who's willing to work on suspect crocodile hide."

As you all get set to head out again, Lialda disappears and reappears with some books for Celia. "Here, child. I think it best if you stay with me for today, all right?" Celia just nods shyly and goes to read in a corner of the office.

The six of you set out again, and head straight for Castle Korvosa. It's impossible to miss it; the huge, black, neo-Chelaxian edifice towers above the city atop an ancient earthen pyramid. As you thread your way through the Heights district, you see more and more people out and about, though they all look rather harried and nervous. When you reach the great square that fronts the castle itself on the northeastern side, though, the street suddenly seems deserted.

All around the square lies evidence of the violence that took place last night. Smashed windows, battered doors, and even a few scorch marks from fires and arcane detonations mar the once-scenic square. Under normal circumstances, petitioners to the throne like yourselves would approach the castle up the Great Ramp, straight ahead of you--but that, clearly, is not to be. The Guard has cordoned off an area thirty feet around the pyramid itself, and several pairs of them patrol the light, waist-high wooden fencing.

"Ho!" one calls as you approach, clearly somewhat nervous. "Hold there, and state your business at the castle. Otherwise be on your way." He spits. "We got no use for loiterers here."


Male Human (Varisian) hp 45/56 | AC 22/T 17/FF 15 | CMD 22 | Fort +4 | Ref +7 [+8 v traps] | Will +2 | Init +6 | Perc +13 (+15 to locate traps) | SM +17

At the Rosa in Fiore

I'm just going to do this now.

When there is still free time, Korriban tells Lialda of yesterday's events. He then explains to her: "When I opened the lockbox we found this." He pulls out the brooch. "Imperia said that it belongs to the Queen. So, we figured that we'd return it. If I kept this, then at some point the guard might come here and put everyone in danger. I don't want that. I care about you and this place far too much to see it ruined." He grabs his mother's hand. "Of course I'll come to you when I'm in trouble. When haven't I? I'll see you later."

Before leaving, he kneels down to Celia's height. "You'll be safe here. Trust me."

At the Castle

Seeing the castle, Korriban whistles. "Fancy. How much gold do you think it took to build this place?"

At the guard's call, Korriban smirks and says, "Time to go to work." He walks in front the group. "Hello! How are you today? We're here to return some formerly stolen property of the Queen! We would be most gracious if you let us in. After all, the Queen must miss her brooch very much." He pulls out the brooch to show the guard.

Diplomacy: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (12) + 10 = 22


M Human (Ustalavian) Cleric of Groetus 3/Slum Shaman 1/Evangelist of Groetus 5

"Rather important to include the fact that we discovered this and did not steal it ourselves, o mighty guardsmen."diplomacy: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (12) + 7 = 19


Female Human Witch 3
Stats:
hp 7/20 | AC 16 | FF 14 | T 12 | CMD 12 | F+2 / R+4 / W+3 | Init +2 | Per +5

Gadriel stays quiet for most of the morning, following the group to the Rosa and beyond. She nods politely at the Rosa's staff, while Abu gives a more formal bow.

As the castle is approached, you can hear her say quietly to herself "The view from the castle's roof must be spectacular."


Male Human (Varisian) hp 45/56 | AC 22/T 17/FF 15 | CMD 22 | Fort +4 | Ref +7 [+8 v traps] | Will +2 | Init +6 | Perc +13 (+15 to locate traps) | SM +17

On the way to the Castle
He walks with his group. Sensing the tense atmosphere, Korriban decides to sing a song to lighten the mood.

Perform (sing): 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (19) + 7 = 26

He chooses one of the songs that he's heard the dockworkers, fishermen, and sailors sing. He lightly begins, not loudly vocalize like he's heard said dockworkers, fishermen, and sailors do.

"Now we are ready to sail for the Horn,
Weigh hey, roll and go!
Our boots and our clothes, boys, are all in the pawn,
To be rollicking randy dandy-O!

Heave a pawl, O heave away!
Weigh hey, roll and go!
The anchor's on board and the cable's all stored,
To be rollicking randy dandy-O!

Soon we'll be warping her out through the locks,
Weigh hey, roll and go!
Where the pretty young girls all come down in their frocks,
To be rollicking randy dandy-O!

Heave a pawl, O heave away!
Weigh hey, roll and go!
The anchor's on board and the cable's all stored,
To be rollicking randy dandy-O!

Come breast the bars, bullies, heave her away,
Weigh hey, roll and go!
Soon well be rolling her down through the Bay,
To be rollicking randy dandy-O!

Heave a pawl, O heave away!
Weigh hey, roll and go!
The anchor's on board and the cable's all stored,
To be rollicking randy dandy-O!
"

At the Castle
Hearing Gadriel's voice, Korriban looks at the roof of the castle. He chuckles. "Yeah. I bet you could see the whole city from up there."


Male

At the sight of the brooch, the guard's eyes widen. He whacks his companion in the ribs, who runs off as the guard who spoke stares at you. "What, all of you come to return this? The gutter rat too?" At your nods, he shrugs uneasily. Just then the second guard returns with a grizzled Guard captain who looks at you all, squints at the brooch, and confers briefly with the two guards. Then they open a small passage in the wooden fencing.

"In you lot get, quickly now," the captain says gruffly. As Korriban passes he grabs the brooch, examines it closely, then passes it back to you with a satisfied nod. "Very well, then! You'll have to leave your weapons with these louts--don't worry, you'll get it all back. But no weapons are allowed in the Queen's presence." He eyes Abu uneasily. "And you best make sure that monkey behave himself, if you ain't gonna tie him up out here."

The guards do not seem at all willing to let you in carrying weapons.

Once everyone has dropped their weapons with the guards:
A group of nervous-looking guards is called into formation, and they quickly escort you up the Great Ramp and into the keep proper. As you pass through the portcullis, it becomes clear that the Guard and the Sable Company are taking no chances--you can see men patrolling all along the curtain wall with pikes and crossbows. The castle fairly bristles with weaponry.

In the main courtyard, you are met by a magnificently beautiful, raven-haired woman in full plate mail (I mean...officially...), who carries a massive falchion strapped to her back. She appraises your group coolly, looking supremely unimpressed. "My name is Sabina Merrin," she says with a nod of her head. Despite her regal bearing, her voice suggests a common birth. "Greetings. They tell me you have something to return to the Queen. Is this correct?" When she sees the brooch, she smiles slightly and steps aside, indicating that you should precede her up a wide flight of stairs that curve up from one side of the courtyard into the main keep. As the guards start to follow you, she stops them. "You may return to your posts. These heroes pose no threat to the Queen." The guards glance at each other uneasily, but do as they're told.

As you climb the stairs, Sabina overtakes you one by one, her long legs helping her make the climb. "Tell me," she says curtly as she overtakes the foremost of you, "What are your names? How shall I present you to Her Majesty?"

Knowledge (Nobility or Local) DC 20:
You've heard of Sabina Merrin--her position next to the Queen pre-dates Eodred II's death. She was supposedly once the student of famed Korvosan swordmaster Vencarlo Orsini, but left the school under some dubious circumstance. After leaving, she joined the Guard, and her skill and ferocity quickly caught Ileosa's eye. The Queen requested her as a personal bodyguard, and Merrin has filled that role--as well as handmaiden and confidant--ever since.

Knowledge (Nobility or Local) DC 25:
Rumor also purports--though only rather quietly--that Merrin may be Queen Ileosa's lover.


Male Human (Varisian) hp 45/56 | AC 22/T 17/FF 15 | CMD 22 | Fort +4 | Ref +7 [+8 v traps] | Will +2 | Init +6 | Perc +13 (+15 to locate traps) | SM +17

Korriban pockets the brooch for safe keeping. He then takes off his rapier and hands it to the guard. He does the same for his daggers, his crossbow, his bolts, his acid, his thunderstone, and his brass knuckles. At the presence of Sabina Merrin, Korriban thinks if he has heard of her.

Knowledge (local): 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (11) + 6 = 17

Nothing seems to come to mind. Korriban smiles. "Sabina Merrin. A pleasure to meet you. My name is Korriban Balros. That's all you need to present me as. I have no fancy titles or bearings."

Diplomacy to get on Sabina's good side: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (10) + 10 = 20


Female Human Witch 3
Stats:
hp 7/20 | AC 16 | FF 14 | T 12 | CMD 12 | F+2 / R+4 / W+3 | Init +2 | Per +5

Gadriel nods at the guard. "Abu will behave better than others." She places no weapons down, carrying nothing weapon-like on her person, though Abu does give a mocking formal bow to the speaking guard.


Female Human Brawler 2
Spoiler:
HP: 22/22 // AC: 15 (16 CE), touch: 12 (13 CE), flat-footed: 13 // Fort: +5, Ref: +6, Will: +1 // Init: +2 // Perception: +6

Raina is wise enough to know when to keep her mouth shut - well, sometimes - and she happily lets Korriban's sweet-talking convince the guards of their mission here today. Actually, she's more than a little surprised that it went so smoothly, and she arches a brow at the rogue as the guards demand their weaponry.

Four daggers are deposited with the guards: one from the back of each of Raina's boots, and two kept buckled to her belt. One - the one Korriban had given her, noticeably different in make to the rest of hers - is slipped into a side pocket of her backpack, and she hesitates to hand over.

Sleight of Hand: 1d20 + 2 + 2 ⇒ (4) + 2 + 2 = 8 Yeah, ain't no hiding that one.

Alas, the guards are far too keen-eyed to let that one sleep, and Raina sulkily hands it on over. Well, her belligerence is more of an act than anything; better to let them think she's unarmed and helpless rather than simply mildly inconvenienced...

Knowledge (Local): 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (14) + 3 = 17

Raina eyes up this Sabina woman with an arched eyebrow. She doesn't recognise her, but the odd mix of ritzy rich attire combined with a commoner's accent is a bit strange. Perhaps it was true after all that one could rise through the ranks by merit in this place... the young wrestler snorts at the thought. Yeah, right. So long as you're pure-bred Chelaxian, maybe lucky enough to go through school.

Feeling more than a little cheeky at this point, Raina responds to Sabina with a spurious lie. "Call me Lady Raina d'Avarre of Westcrown."

Bluff: 1d20 ⇒ 16

She's pretty straight-faced about it, too!


M Human (Ustalavian) Cleric of Groetus 3/Slum Shaman 1/Evangelist of Groetus 5

Outside
"I know he smells oddly but Korriban is hardly a rat ...tsk."
Then inside
"I am but a humble priest, spreading my Lord's grace, my lady. What else could be said? I am honored to even be here."
Bluff: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (9) + 11 = 20


Male

Sense Motive: 1d20 - 1 ⇒ (8) - 1 = 7

Sabina nods, taking in the names at face value. "Korriban Balros, Lady Raina d'Avarre," she repeats. "Do you have a name, father? And the rest of you? Speak quickly."


Female Human Witch 3
Stats:
hp 7/20 | AC 16 | FF 14 | T 12 | CMD 12 | F+2 / R+4 / W+3 | Init +2 | Per +5

"We are Gadriel. This is Abu," is said quickly by the child.


Male Human (Chelish(Nobility)) Cavalier of the Cockatrice 4
Spoiler:
hp 40/40 // AC 18/T 12/FF 16 // F +7/R +3/W +1 // Init +3 // Perc +3

At the castle gates, Adoros disarms himself from his extensive arsenal of weaponry. He gives the guard a long, hard look before handing over his musket, "This is quite priceless. I expect it to be returned in the same quality as I leave it." When the group is lead up the ramp toward the castle and to their 'host', Sabina, Adoros gives a crisp salute of a fist across his chest before dipping into a bow to the raven-headed beauty, "Lady Merrin, I am Adoros Porthis of Egorian. We bring back treasured belongings and our deepest condolences to her Majesty in this stressful time of sorrow. However, many congratulations go to her Majesty's loyal guards, as well, as it seems they have done a masterful job at putting a swift end to the unrest plaguing the city."

Bluff for the name: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (3) + 7 = 10

Diplomacy to win over Sabina: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (18) + 7 = 25


Male

Back from the voyage! I'm just going to assume that Imperia gives her proper name and move forward.

All at once the staircase opens onto a huge, brightly lit hall: unmistakably, the throne room. Along the eastern wall, stained glass windows of past monarchs let in the sunlight. On the opposite wall, crimson silk tapestries hang above an empty (given the warmth of the season) fireplace. The high, vaulted ceiling makes your footsteps echo as each of you step forward--the hall is empty, which would be odd were it not for the events of yesterday.

"Your Majesty," Sabina says in a loud, declamatory voice, sweeping a low bow. "May I present yeoman Korriban Balros; Lady Raina d'Avarre of Westcrown--" Sabina either doesn't hear or ignores Raina's snicker--"Gadriel, and her pet Abu; Adoros Porthis, of Egorian; Imperia Videlia Aspexia Winthrune; and a local priest."

The woman seated on the only chair in the room raises her head from the small silver coffer she holds in her lap. She beckons you near with a smile, and as a group you proceed down the long, plush red carpet, Sabina stepping forward to take up her place beside the throne. Even now, in her mourning clothes, it's clear that the young Queen Ileosa is a vision of loveliness, with soft white skin and fine red hair. She watches closely as Sabina takes the brooch from Korriban and presents it to her with a flourish. Ileosa takes the brooch, examines it closely, then looks up at you with a smile.

"Good citizens, I hardly know what to say. This brooch was stolen from me some time ago--I had not expected to see it again, truth be told. And yet here, on my darkest day, you come before me with kindness. The return of this brooch is much more than an honorable deed. It is inspiration. It is hope.

"I love Korvosa, as my husband did before me. His death has shocked me, as it has the city, but I will not see his legacy destroyed in death, and I shall not see Korvosa torn apart. All Korvosa stands on the precipice of a disaster wrought by her citizens--these riots cannot continue. Already today more have broken out in Old Korvosa, on the East Shore and the Midlands. You have already done me a great service by returning this bauble to me on this dark day, and you shall be rewarded. Yet perhaps you can serve our city more.

"As you know, the Korvosan Guard is stretched very thin of late, and I have ordered them to begin commissioning the labor of upstanding and capable citizens like yourselves. If you so choose, I shall have Sabina see to it that you have an escort of guards when you leave here--they can see you safely to Citadel Volshyenek. I shall send word ahead of you to Field Marshal Cressida Kroft to let her know you are on the way--the Guard can certainly use the aid of heroes such as yourselves. Now, I need to retire to my personal quarters: my grief has drained me. Again, I thank you for the kindness you have shown me, and I hope your days of serving the crown are only just beginning."

She turns to Sabina. "Sabina, if you would?" Sabina lifts the silver coffer from the Queen's lap and presents it to 1d6 ⇒ 5 Raina. It's heavy, far heavier than you would expect. Queen Ileosa rises, giving each of you a small, sad smile and a personal nod, and then is gone, the hem of her mourning dress whirling as she leaves through a small, barely-noticeable side door beside the throne.

Sabina looks you all up and down. "Well then?" she says gruffly, "Do you need an escort or no?"


M Human (Ustalavian) Cleric of Groetus 3/Slum Shaman 1/Evangelist of Groetus 5

sense motive: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (10) + 6 = 16


Male

The Queen seems honest, if a little distant and formal; but then, she is a Queen (and her husband just died). Certainly her offer of work seems sincere, and she clearly wants you to take it--she must think the Guard really needs help.

DM future dice:
1d20 + 14 ⇒ (17) + 14 = 31


Female Human Brawler 2
Spoiler:
HP: 22/22 // AC: 15 (16 CE), touch: 12 (13 CE), flat-footed: 13 // Fort: +5, Ref: +6, Will: +1 // Init: +2 // Perception: +6

Despite her amused snicker and cheeky lie-telling, presenting herself before the Queen quickly drains Raina; she feels incredibly, incredibly small before the massive throne and the ostentatious displays of power inherent in the chamber. She thus meets the offer of work with a mixture of surprise and disbelief.

To the Queen, Raina merely nods; there was no question about Ileosa's words, after all. It was a statement, though gilded with fancy words that made it seem like a choice. 'You will help the Korvosan Guard. That is your reward.' The young wrestler struggles to swallow her immediate bitterness, her quick mind seeing the potential opportunity here despite the ill taste of such a demand from the monarch. Private merc jobs were her forte, but sometimes the work could simply dry up; the Guard, though? That was a lifetime position, and, as rumour had it, paid quite nicely. Getting into the Guard at the word of the Queen would certainly allow her to bypass some of the worst rookie positions (such as working in the Shingles)...

So distracted by the cogs ticking in her mind, Raina is honestly shocked by the sudden depositing of the silver coffer in her hands. "Th...thank you?" she responds meekly. Once Ileosa has left the room, she peeks inside the coffer just for a moment... though of course she knows in her heart it must be quite a hefty sum of money.

Raina merely shrugs at the offer of an escort. "You think we need one?" she asks the others.


M Human (Ustalavian) Cleric of Groetus 3/Slum Shaman 1/Evangelist of Groetus 5

"You are a most generous Queen. My Lord has felt this generosity and I know he watches over you especially,"diplo: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (15) + 7 = 22

Later ...

"Escort? Why, that's Korriban's family! Heeheehee!


Male Human (Varisian) hp 45/56 | AC 22/T 17/FF 15 | CMD 22 | Fort +4 | Ref +7 [+8 v traps] | Will +2 | Init +6 | Perc +13 (+15 to locate traps) | SM +17

Korriban just stares at the Queen, some underlying fear creeping in on him. A fear that hasn't shown since his younger service in Lamm's Lambs. He's shocked at her offer. All he can do is nod. Since there was no question, he can assume that it was a command. At the offer of an escort, he shrugs. "I think that we wouldn't need one. But I wouldn't oppose having one."

Bluff: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (19) + 9 = 28

At Teodor's quip, Korriban laughs. "Yeah! And they do their jobs splendidly! The best in the business!"

Sense Motive DC 28:
You can tell that Korriban's been unnerved. The sweat on his brow. His faintly shaky smile. His shaking hands. Deep down, you can tell that he wants to leave. Preferably without an escort.


Male

Sense Motive: 1d20 - 1 ⇒ (16) - 1 = 15

Raina:
When you peek into the coffer, you're stunned to see that it doesn't contain cash at all--rather, it's filled with several small but very heavy bars of gold, each stamped with the royal seal of Korvosa. They must be worth a hefty sum each, and there's at least a dozen, probably more.

Sabina seems wholly oblivious to Korriban's discomfort, and after another moment of foot-shuffling awkwardness all around, she nods curtly and says, "Very well--in the interests of your security, then, I shall arrange an escort for you. Follow me." Without even looking to make sure you're follow--though it seems quite certain that she's listening to make sure you do--she leads the six of you back downstairs, across the court, and to the ramp outside the curtain wall where you entered. There, the guards on duty return your weapons and gear to you as Sabina rounds up another detachment--six guards in all--and gives them curt orders to see you safely to the guards' headquarters, Citadel Volshyenek, and Field Marshal Croft. Once you've all got your gear squared away, the group sets off.

The guards aren't prone to talk much as you head southwest through the city's streets, the mid-afternoon sun high in the sky. Small wonder, too; the looks some of the townspeople give the uniformed guards are less than welcoming, probably due to the Guards' part in quelling the riots. People are going about their business as normally as possible, but tension fills the air, thick enough it seems you could cut it with a knife.

You're only about halfway to the Citadel, headed down Field Marshal Avenue, when a hoarse voice and a reeling figure stop you in your tracks.

"Neffie!" a man bellows, staggering out of an alleyway and weaving dangerously. He seizes Adoros by the arm, shaking his hand (or, rather, attempting to) vigorously. "Neffie, by all the gods! I thought you'd gone to Shandpoint to try your luck with the country lasses there! Don't tell me you're back in Korvosa! Cayden's teeth, man, this callsh for a drink! *hic!* C'mon, I know just the place...still serving the good stuff, even though the poor king's dead and the city's gone to pot..." He throws off your escort's attempt to lay hands on him wildly. "Back off, you louts! I'mma guard myshelf, don't you shee the unifirm?"

The drunken man is, indeed, wearing a Korvosan Guard's uniform; but he reeks of ale and sweat, and clearly hasn't washed or shaved recently. He starts trying to pull Adoros down a nearby alley to a tavern.

Knowledge (Local) DC 18:
You recognize this man as a Watch Sergeant named Soldado assigned to the southern stretch of the Midlands. He's very popular among the locals, who consider him quite steady and honest (not to mention happy to share a mug or a few coins). Something must've happened, to set him as off-kilter as he is.


Female Human Brawler 2
Spoiler:
HP: 22/22 // AC: 15 (16 CE), touch: 12 (13 CE), flat-footed: 13 // Fort: +5, Ref: +6, Will: +1 // Init: +2 // Perception: +6

Raina's eyes immediately bug out upon spying just what gift lies in the rich silver coffer for them; she's so shocked she very nearly manages to drop the whole thing on the spot. "... holy s%~%," she mutters, struggling to keep her composure. That kind of wealth was... insane. That could probably set her up for life. Even split six ways...

The young wrestler swallows heavily. And this is just pocket change for royalty... this is like the equivalent of the two gold reward for returning a lost dog.

She's happy to leave the massive castle and all its opulence, and even attempts to start up a friendly conversation with Sabina's hand-picked escort. (Of course, considering that they're guards from the castle, they're probably not too talkative.) Raina is honestly feeling a little excited as they head towards Citadel Volshyenek, still daydreaming of the potential of this opportunity...

Kn. Local: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (2) + 3 = 5

... until she's rudely awakened by some drunken sot mistaking Adoros for... someone else.

"Hey. Wine-breath. I think you've got the wrong guy," Raina says, grasping the drunken guard's arm firmly and attempting to pull him off of Adoros. "And I think you might have already had enough booze for one day!"


Male Human (Varisian) hp 45/56 | AC 22/T 17/FF 15 | CMD 22 | Fort +4 | Ref +7 [+8 v traps] | Will +2 | Init +6 | Perc +13 (+15 to locate traps) | SM +17

Knowledge (local): 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (16) + 6 = 22

Korriban walks in eerie silence. Seeing the man, he instantly recognizes the drunkard. "Hey, you're Watch Sergeant Soldado, aren't you? What are you doing, wandering around, drunk as skunk? Come on, let's take you back to the Castle so you can sober up. It's okay, we're friends that are concerned for you." He gently takes Soldado's arm and places it over his shoulder, giving him support. He turns to the escort and says, [b]"Do you mind if we head back to the Castle or is there somewhere else we can take him?"

Diplomacy on Soldado: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (19) + 10 = 29


Male

Soldado tenses against Raina's grip, but Korriban's use of his name distracts him. "Watch Shargent? Yeah, I'm that...I mean that's me...I mean..." he gulps, breathing hard. He might be about to vomit, or cry, it's hard to be certain. "I'm...shorry. I'm not usually...like this. But it'sh just hard...with the losh of the king..."

The leader of your little guard contingent wrinkles her nose, but she nods reluctantly. "I've heard of this'un. He's not assigned to the Castle; better to take him to Citadel Volshyenek, put him in the barracks there, let his mates sort him out. C'mon, Sergeant," she says, taking up the position opposite Korriban, "Let's get you going now."


Female Human Witch 3
Stats:
hp 7/20 | AC 16 | FF 14 | T 12 | CMD 12 | F+2 / R+4 / W+3 | Init +2 | Per +5

Gadriel stays quiet during the sitting with the queen, her eyes continually wandering over the lavish opulence of the royal chamber. She skips out of the chamber following the escort, somewhat relieved to be once again outside in the open air. As the group heads towards Citadel Volshyenek, she asks aloud "Abu wonders if we could stand on the roof of this Citadel. We would like to see the city from it."

As the inebriated man stubles up to the group, Gadriel instinctively ducks behind a rain barrel, Abu chittering in a warning tone. As the others visibly relax and help escort the man back to the Citadel, Gadriel asks Korriban "We do not understand why others use this drug. We would not like acting like this man, and we think Abu would chastise us if we did." She doesn't really wait for an answer, shrugging her shoulders and starting to skip along again.


Female Human (Chelish) Conjurer (Teleportation Focused School) 2
Quick Stats:
Init +8 | AC 12, t 12, ff 10 (16/12/14 Mage Armor) | 14/14 hp | Fort +1, Ref +2, Will +2 | Perception +3

Knowledge (local): 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (13) + 10 = 23

Seeing the drunken man, Imperia frowns slightly, but her expression rapidly changes from disapproval to worry when she determines the man's identity.

'Could he be... Sergeant Soldado? But... He's known to be honest and responsible! Why would he be... Like this?... Because of the King? Uhmm... Something's not right...'

Patting Gadriel affectionately on the head, Imperia nods her approval - "Absolutely. 'Your mind is the most powerful tool you have. Don't let it get clouded, or you may find yourself lacking it when you need it the most!'... Well, or at least this is what old professor Quinsworth used to tell - She whispers to the young girl, chuckling lightly - "In any case, Abu'd be right to chastise you if you did... You are far too young to drink, and in any case no proper lady would ever be seen in public like that!" - she adds with a gentle smile, obviously enjoying trying to help the young witch with her advice.


Female Human Brawler 2
Spoiler:
HP: 22/22 // AC: 15 (16 CE), touch: 12 (13 CE), flat-footed: 13 // Fort: +5, Ref: +6, Will: +1 // Init: +2 // Perception: +6

Raina snorts at Imperia and Gadriel's conversation about alcohol. She seems to be trying to put up a bemused front, but there's a touch of sadness about her eyes as well.

"Sometimes... people feel like they don't have much choice in the matter. It's either drink a tonne of booze, or be forced to dwell on things you'd rather forget. A clouded mind is sometimes better than a clear one." She sighs heavily. "Gods forbid you ever feel that way, Gadriel. Gods forbid..."

She follows the guard escort somewhat sullenly from thereon.

And welcome back to Imperia! Hope real life gets better for you soon. :(


Female Human Witch 3
Stats:
hp 7/20 | AC 16 | FF 14 | T 12 | CMD 12 | F+2 / R+4 / W+3 | Init +2 | Per +5

"We would not want our mind clouded. We would have a hard time hearing the wind's whisper. There are spirits all around if we pause." Gadriel stops short, tilting her head to the side for a brief moment before continuing on. "Sometimes they say bad things, whisper darkness and threats. Othertimes they warn of danger, of change. Abu says they are shouting today. Abu is worried for us, for Korriban and Imperia. Raina and Adoros. Even Teodor, though many of the spirits whisper to him of final change. We don't care though. We are... wanting to stay with all." She blushes slightly at this, and skips ahead a little faster.


Male

With Korriban and the guard helping Soldado along, you manage to make good time, and before too long you find yourself approaching the squat, fort-like Citadel. Two nervous-looking guards are manning the gate, but they visibly relax when they see that you have an escort of guards with you. One of them recognizes Sergeant Soldado.

"Grau!" he says, clearly shocked. "Thank the gods, man we thought you might have been killed in the riots! Nobody knew where you'd gone!"

"Lenny?" Soldado says blearily. "'Sh'all right, man...'snot time for my shift yet..." Then, with a retch, he vomits all over the gate. The local guard skips out of the way, and the one leading your escort shakes her head.

"Best get him back to the barracks," she says with a sigh. "This lot are to see Field Marshal Kroft--Her Majesty's orders. If you two can get the Sergeant in bed, my men will hold the gate while I take them to see the Marshal." The gate guards nod, and take Grau Soldado from you while your escort leads the way across the courtyard and into the short, squat keep. You can distantly hear Soldado's voice raised in some sad, drunken song.

Inside the keep, you find an attractive, dark-haired woman on the earlier side of middle age poring over maps of Korvosa spread out on a table, several with little pins stuck to them. She wears red armor and carries a sword, and when she looks up at your entrance you see she has bags under her eyes--clearly she hasn't slept in some time. The leader of your escort salutes, then steps outside the door. Field Marshal Cressida Kroft looks you up and down for a moment, then sighs.

"So you're the ones the Queen's sent, eh? Welcome to Citadel Volshyenek. I normally would have more guards on hand to welcome you, but...." With a wave of her hand and a shrug she indicates the riots and general unrest that are going on around Korvosa. "My name is Cressida, and heroes of your caliber are exactly what Korvosa needs now. You’ve been on the streets. You know better than me how bad things are out there. It’s breaking my heart to see Korvosa tear herself apart like this. Every little bit of aid we can get from upstanding citizens like you helps, and if you’re willing, I’d very much like to retain your services as agents of the Guard. Formalize the help you've already been giving us, as it were. I don’t need to say, of course, that you’ll be well compensated for these services. I've worked with free-lance groups like yours before; I know how to treat them.” A ghost of a smile flits across her face and she leans back against the table. "So what do you say? Would you be willing to lend the Guard a hand?"


Male Human (Varisian) hp 45/56 | AC 22/T 17/FF 15 | CMD 22 | Fort +4 | Ref +7 [+8 v traps] | Will +2 | Init +6 | Perc +13 (+15 to locate traps) | SM +17

Korriban waves to the leaving Watch Sergeant. "Bye, Grau! Hope you get better!"

Korriban smirks at Cressida. He moves a chair up to the desk and props his feet up, being careful not to disturb the maps. "We'll help. But I'm not going to launch head first into danger unless I know what I'm dealing with. So, what's the job? And... what type of compensation are we talking about here?"

Diplomacy: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (8) + 10 = 18


M Human (Ustalavian) Cleric of Groetus 3/Slum Shaman 1/Evangelist of Groetus 5

"I will not lie to the girl. Gadriel, you have been ...incompletely informed. Alcohol does not turn men into this fool guard. Excess may, certainly. But excess of anything is awful ...moderation in all things, girl. Including moderation."

Later in the citadel ..."Are there ...wounded ...near death ...I should see?"


Male Human (Varisian) hp 45/56 | AC 22/T 17/FF 15 | CMD 22 | Fort +4 | Ref +7 [+8 v traps] | Will +2 | Init +6 | Perc +13 (+15 to locate traps) | SM +17

Korriban turns his head to Teodor. "No singing!"


M Human (Ustalavian) Cleric of Groetus 3/Slum Shaman 1/Evangelist of Groetus 5

Teodor looks at Korriban with honest confusion."Not much of a singer, young brother. Just s priest who can try to heal."


Male

Cressida looks with some confusion between Korriban and Teodor, but then shrugs and moves on. "No wounded here, though thank you, father, for thinking of it. We have a good relation with the Temple of Abadar, and they have been lending us their aid in this time of trouble. As for the job..."

Cressida crosses back around the table, and rests the tip of one finger on a pin sticking out of the map in the Northgate ward. "Korvosa’s got enough troubles as it is without my own men losing their way and going rogue. As much as it pains me to admit, though, this has happened several times already. Many guards have deserted their posts, more concerned about friends and family than the city. I can understand this, yet not all of the deserters have family--some of them are simply using the riots as an excuse for personal gain. One such man is Verik Vancaskerkin. Worse than a lone deserter, he’s convinced a small group of fellow guards that Queen Ileosa is going to ruin the city. Whether she does or doesn't isn't the point--right now, we've got a city-wide crisis on our hands, and I need all of my guards working with me to see us through. A deserter is worse than a lost resource-—it’s an infection. I can’t afford to pull any of my other patrols off duty to deal with Vancaskerkin, and I’d rather not expose any of them to him anyway, since I neither want Vancaskerkin to infect more guards with his talk of secession, nor do I want some overly patriotic guard killing Vancaskerkin outright. I need impartial, skilled talent. Like you.

"Vancaskerkin and his men have holed up in an abandoned butcher's shop up in Northgate—-the place was called All the World’s Meat. I need you to check out the place. Try to avoid killing any of the deserters if you can, but if you must, they brought it upon themselves when they threw in their lot with Vancaskerkin. For him, I’d really prefer it if you could capture him alive and return him to me for interrogation, but if he makes that impossible, I’ll accept his body as well. Finally, see if you can find out why Verik deserted—if there’s more to it than simple personal politics, I need to know immediately. Bring me Verik alive, and there’s a thousand gold in it for you. Dead, he’s only worth half that." She eyes your group. "Of course, I'm willing to put you up in the barracks here, if you need a place to stay--but I'll also put in a good word for you with Theandra Darklight, who runs the Three Rings Tavern up in Five Corners. Give me until tomorrow and you'll have a healthy line of credit there, regardless of the state of the city. Thea owes me one." She sits heavily into her chair with a sigh, and tents her fingers. "So, what say you? Is that a worthy cause and a worthwhile price?"


Female Human Brawler 2
Spoiler:
HP: 22/22 // AC: 15 (16 CE), touch: 12 (13 CE), flat-footed: 13 // Fort: +5, Ref: +6, Will: +1 // Init: +2 // Perception: +6

Raina nods brusquely to Field-Marshal Cressida upon entering, doing her best to stand straight and tall and seem genuinely worth her time. In other words, treating this like a strange kind of job interview. Luckily, Korriban was on top of things, and all she had to do was listen as Cressida set to answering all the questions on Raina's mind.

"... I won't pretend to speak for the others here," the young Korvosan answers eventually, stepping forward as she begins to speak, "but I'm down for this. It's a little, uhm, dirtier than the typical merc jobs I usually take, but nothing I can't handle. Scumbags like this Vancaskerkin using the misery of the city to his advantage certainly deserve a few things comin' their way." Raina pointedly cracks her knuckles to punctuate her point. No doubt Cressida would get her drift very quickly. Korvosa was a cesspool of a city at the best of times, but the common folk hardly deserved to be forced indoors and suffer through times of fear because some idiot got his jollies by lambasting the Queen.

"The gold's a nice benny for sure," she continues, tentatively testing the waters with this next part, "but if we come back with all the loose ends tied up nicely... you reckon there'll be any more jobs down the line?"


Male Human (Varisian) hp 45/56 | AC 22/T 17/FF 15 | CMD 22 | Fort +4 | Ref +7 [+8 v traps] | Will +2 | Init +6 | Perc +13 (+15 to locate traps) | SM +17

Korriban smiles. 'Nice benefit, indeed. I'm up for it. Tell me about this Vancaskerkin. If we're going after him, then we need to know just how skilled he is. Also, how many guards does he have in his employ?"

Diplomacy: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (18) + 10 = 28
Knowledge (local) for Vancaskerkin: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (10) + 6 = 16
Knowledge (local) for Northgate: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (3) + 6 = 9
Knowledge (local) for butcher's shop: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (15) + 6 = 21


Female Human Brawler 2
Spoiler:
HP: 22/22 // AC: 15 (16 CE), touch: 12 (13 CE), flat-footed: 13 // Fort: +5, Ref: +6, Will: +1 // Init: +2 // Perception: +6

Kn. Local for anything relevant: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (17) + 3 = 20


Male Human (Chelish(Nobility)) Cavalier of the Cockatrice 4
Spoiler:
hp 40/40 // AC 18/T 12/FF 16 // F +7/R +3/W +1 // Init +3 // Perc +3

Head toward the Citadel...

Adoros is somewhat taken back by the drunken guardsman whom approaches him. The Chelish man catches the guard's arm to steady him as a few others in the party seem to recognize him, "No trouble my fine sergeant, all a case of mistaken identity. I'm sure the last couple days have been quite harrowing for those in your profession. Next time we meet and you're off-duty, a round is on me. How does that sound?"

In Field Marshal Kroft's office...

Adoros notes the nervous guards manning the citadel's gates and the general weariness of all the personnel within as they are escorted to the Marshal's office. Within, the attractive, if tired, woman in uniform commands his attention as he stands a bit straighter. After Cressida congratulates them then lays out the much needed assistance and relief her troops need, Adoros steps forward, "Of course we're ready to help as you need, Field Marshal. It falls on each citizen of this great city to stand up and defend her from the dangers both external and internal when her honorable guards find themselves stretched too thin. Consider this Vancaskerkin as good as returned for summary punishment, ma'am."


Male

Cressida nods her thanks at Raina and Adoros with a smile. "There certainly will be--assuming that this time of trouble lasts longer than just a few days, that is. I'd hope it doesn't, of course, but it's not feeling that way to me...and I've lived in Korvosa all my life."

To Korriban, she adds, "Vancaskerkin's a decent spearman, though a better archer; I would've said he wasn't a half bad sort, before this. Bland; ambitious, but not too aggressively so. A bit of a charmer...I suppose the king's death brought out the worst in him. As far as I know he's got just a handful of sympathizers at the moment; no more than a half-dozen or so fellow Guards."

Kn. (Local) DC 10:
Northgate is the ward of Korvosa that sits at the top end of the main island, named (appropriately) after the gate that most visitors to Korvosa come through. It's a middle-class neighborhood, with some poorer sections and a few wealthier.

Kn. (Local) DC 15:
As above, but you also know that Vancaskerkin is a Watch Sergeant stationed in the Northgate ward.

Kn. (Local) DC 20:
Vancaskerkin is moderately well-liked by the people in Northgate, and the butcher shop is one you've heard of: its owner was arrested for tax evasion a year ago, and subsequently died in prison, leaving the building in escrow and unoccupied.


Female Human Brawler 2
Spoiler:
HP: 22/22 // AC: 15 (16 CE), touch: 12 (13 CE), flat-footed: 13 // Fort: +5, Ref: +6, Will: +1 // Init: +2 // Perception: +6

I'm assuming I can use my 20 above :)

"You know," Raina says suddenly, apparently having remembered something she'd previously forgotten, "I had this mate that lives over in Northgate. He was telling me about how this butcher shop across the road from his house got raided; heard the owner was nabbed for tax evasion and left to rot in the prison. He was complaining that the place was a real eyesore with nobody to take care of it. This might be that same place..."

"Wonder why a well-liked sergeant would go off the wire like this," she adds with a frown.

I'm ready to set out when you guys are.


Male

Cressida frowns. "I can't honestly say--though he has always been ambitious. Perhaps he just saw an opening, and...took it." She shrugs. "Regardless, I'd like him back to find out."

Anyone else have anything they'd like to contribute? It's getting late in the (in-game) day; if you guys would like to rest before heading after Vancaskerkin, you can avail yourselves of the barracks Cressida offered. Or, there's always Zellara's house. Otherwise, it's off to Northgate!

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