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Garif catches Rees’ subtle lift of an eyebrow, his own eyes widening slightly as the elf’s thoughts seem to flow through the little gesture. Wow, that was a lot of information in an eyebrow!
Garif shrugs back at his companion, clearing his throat once, as if to convey, It is difficult to know what the right answer is with this young buck. Do we give him a chance to prove himself capable of rearing such a creature responsibly, or would we simply be damning the poor beast to a lifetime of misery at the boy’s thoughtless hands? I hesitate to say it, but he has made reasonable decisions since we found him - perhaps he should be given a chance, but not before we seek the sort of reassurances you mention.
”I think that’s an interesting notion,“ Garif replies to Lander, ”and I’m pleased to hear you describe it in terms that show you recognize what a responsibility it will be, to raise a live creature - and a dangerous one at that - to care for it properly, and train it so it will serve you, but also live a fulfilling life itself.“ With a little nod at Rees, he continues, ”Perhaps we could help you select a trainer, which could benefit you and the chick you hope to raise.“
"Hm, an interesting idea. That sounds like a worthwhile pursuit to me."
Rees tilts his head ever so slightly to the left, as if to reply, An excellent idea, Dwarf Pathfinder and temporary companion! He has indeed made a few reasonable decisions in the time since his mother sent us to round him up and we in turn did our part to rescue him from the band of bandits who had captured him. I suppose if we were to assist him in selecting an appropriate trainer, we might take the opportunity to instruct him further in the care and training of such a creature. Yes, there is some wisdom in that bald head of yours, temporary companion.
The elf nods slowly, indicating his support of the plan and willingness to assist.
|Verrix the Pathfinder|
"I was raised by a parent not of my species -- at all -- and I think I turned out all right," Verrix says. "So, sure, learn how to train and handle animals and raise the bird."
"Hey, why not? You've got more monies than most t' be able t' take care of it," Shieara chimes in. "An' I've heard all sorts of things 'bout th' bond people have with critters they've raised - not just horses an' such but critters like Nico here. An' you'd certainly stand out a bit, havin' a critter like this around!"
"An' yeah, once we're ready t' let 'em go I'll give 'em a boost t' get their energy back," she adds in response to Garif's suggestion about healing the birds.
Lander is ecstatic that the group is willing to let him raise the bird.
“Thank you, and I promise that I will learn how to raise it. We can hire a trainer to guide me, but it will be my animal!”
“Garif and Rees, if you have time after we get back to Silverhall I would very much like you to help me find a skilled trainer.”
You find a spot far away from the roads that meets Phinellippa’s requirements. A source of water nearby, open terrain, clear view of area from the nest. You create a depression like the eggs had been in, lay the one egg there, and set the unconscious birds to either side and remove the bindings.
Lander takes his egg and is far away when Shieara awakens the two adult axe beaks. The whole group quickly retreats, leaving the two birds to defend their new nest.
The trip back to Silverhall is uneventful.
When you get back to the Estate, Lander brings the egg to his mother to show it off. She thinks a moment, then gives her permission for him to raise it. There is the expected parental talk about now being responsible for it’s well being.
She then invites the whole group for tea.
Settling into her chair, she invites you “Sit. Be comfortable. Tell me of what you found. I can see that my son is safe and returned to me in good health, for which I am very grateful.”
“I would like to hear about where you found him and how he came to have the giant bird egg — diatrymas is what he called it?”
"Well ma'am, he'd er...crossed paths with some of th' local bandits an' it didn't work out too tell for 'im an' they took him prisoner," Shieara explains. "We tracked found 'im at their camp; he was roughed up a little but nothin' what couldn't be fixed."
We'll skip the part about being in a trunk; she doesn't have to know *all* the details.
"On th' way back we ran across these birds bein' all territorial an' stuff over this bridge we had t' cross," she continues. "After talkin' it over a bit we decided t' try just knockin' 'em out an' movin' 'em since they were just protectin' their nest that was close by. Lander came up with th' particulars of our plan an' it went swimminly! An' he wanted t' keep one of th' eggs t' raise."
"The bandits were very confusing folks. At first they claimed to be ascetics, but if that's true, they certainly did a poor job of adhering to their philosophy." Kleines stands and scratches his bald head for a moment's contemplation before continuing. "Though his tactics facing the birds were quite sound, I think raising the hatchling may be a better hobby than adventuring."
"Oh! We should go tell Marek that we took care of the bandits! He seemed quite nervous about them."
Garif has little to add to the tale of how they found and rescued Lander, but he weighs in on the question of the rearing of the bird. "As my friend says, Lander wished to keep one of the eggs, in order to raise the bird. I've told him a bit about the responsibility that comes with that, and I'm hopeful he'll rise to it. Rees and I have also offered to help select a suitable trainer, as we know some of the ways of animals and how to work with them. And we might even check in from time to time, to see how fast the bird has grown and whether it heeds its master any better than Nico listens to me."
"I don't know, but maybe he can tell us about the note we found with them, the one addressed to 'M'" Kleines says, scratching his head. "Garif, didn't you say we knew someone who it might be?"
"Oh, hey...an' wasn't he a little squirrely-actin' earlier when we went by his shop?" Shieara asks, finally giving the note's contents some proper thought. "Anytime we asked about bandits he got all strange 'bout it."
|Verrix the Pathfinder|
Verrix says, "There is strong reason to believe that the 'M' who signed the note is in fact Marek. Here's what we have."
"First. Marek's name starts with M. Doesn't mean much by itself."
"Second, and more damning. The weapons used by the bandits had the 'eagle with arrows in its talons' maker's mark on them. Sure, they may have just bought them from him, or stolen them from somebody working with him. Still, it's a suggestion of a connection."
"Third, and most damning, is the reference to the 'lordly ...[young man]... hanging around your shop'. This describes Lander and Marek's relationship. With the other two pieces of evidence, I think it makes it clear that at the very least, we need to take a much closer look at Marek."
"Rocks are so much simpler than people..." Garif mutters to himself as he realizes the truth behind what Verrix and the others are saying. "Yes, Kleines, I had the same thought as you all, though the evidence is a bit more damning than I had understood. We should definitely pay our mare-milk drinking smith another visit."
"Oh sure, we got 'em right here..." Shieara remarks as she nods towards the others.
Not sure who would be carrying what but I assume we have the note at the very least.
I believe the group has the note and the weapons with the marker’s mark.
Dame Lebeda takes the note and reads it through. She then inspects the maker’s mark on the weapons.
Looking up, she says “I will be wanting the weapons as evidence, but will recompense you their value.”
Standing, she says “Sorry, this will take just a moment.”
She then calls out “Fredrick!” and moves towards the door.
Before she can take more than three steps, a man in Lebeda livery comes into the room. The two have a quick whispered conversation, she hands him the note, and then he takes that and a few of the weapons,
Dame Lebeda returns to the seating area where she has been conversing with you. “Sorry, just wanted to make sure things were taken care of promptly.” She smoothies her dress as she retakes her seat.
Within minutes another two servants appear and take away the rest of the bandit’s weaponry. One of them gives her a pouch, which she immediately hands to the closest of you.
“That should be sufficient recompense for the items.”
The servants quickly leave again.
Smiling, she says “I am satisfied that you have brought my son home alive and it seems found the person responsible for the bandit attacks against our caravans. For that I thank you.”
She opens a nearby hutch and pulls out a fancy wooden box. Opening the box, inside it is lined with velvet with a cloth over the contents. Dame Lebeda removes the cloth so you can see a silver horn.
“You may take this back to your society with my gratitude.”
She sets the box on the table where any of you can take it.
|Verrix the Pathfinder|
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Verrix opens the box to verify that the McGuf^H^H^H^H^H Horn of Aroden is inside— but, realizing that he wouldn't be able to identify it, decides that a silver horn is likely it.
Looking up, he says, "Thank you, Dame Lebeda. The Society appreciates your help. Hopefully, this will help us do some good in around Sarkoris, or what once was Sarkoris, as well."
He stands and looks expectantly at the others.
"I hope that Lander has had enough adventuring for the time being!"
CoCo immediately heads over to the shiny in the box, admiring her own reflection.
"Hmm, nice enough work," Garif remarks, gazing at the horn a moment. "I always think a bit of silver is improved with a stone or two to set it off. Doesn't have to be all tricked out with rubies, even a simple carnelian or a nice, golden citrine will do. Still, we'll take it along with us."
With a nod to Dame Lebeda, he says, "Do let me know if I can assist with selecting a trainer to help Lander in rearing the great bird, and perhaps I'll stop by some time to see how they're getting on."
"Silver's prettier'n gold anyway," Shieara nods as she peers over Garif's shoulder at the horn. "Blue an' silver, so...sapphires. That'd be my pick."
Turning to Dame Lebeda, she smiles. "Happy t' be helpful, ma'am. Glad we got Lander back in one piece an' maybe a little wiser for th' wear, too."
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"You'd rather he go free, arming bandits and serving weird milk? There's no shame in acting on new information."
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Rees frowns thoughtfully as the conversation turns to an area with which he is well-familiar. He glances around momentarily as if expecting someone else to speak; then, clearing his throat softly in human fashion, he shares advice from his direct experience — though the words sound somewhat rehearsed, as if he's heard and/or spoken them before. "It is rarely obvious to us when someone we care about begins to feel disloyalty to the community, especially if we ourselves are loyal and true. However, this person's disloyalty is now known, and you must do all in your power to distance yourself from it and from its source."
He pauses, then continues in the same tone. "Know that if you are arrested for your association with this person, the elders will judge you fairly. If you are not disloyal, you have nothing to fear and will return to us soon. However, examine yourself well! If you have been harboring disloyal thoughts or ideas, even a little, confess to the elders and throw yourself upon their mercy, and they will help you to cleanse yourself of such things and return to your place in the community."
I was mostly just trying to calm him down.
"His treachery only reflects on you if you let it. If you help to bring him to justice, then you look wise."
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (8) + 8 = 16
|Verrix the Pathfinder|
Verrix sighs. "Indeed. While it is possible to be blind to obvious information, I don't think that's what happened here. Marek was taking advantage of you and your family connections. You are not to blame. Nor are you a fool. Queens and armies have been brought low because of the treachery of trusted friends and advisors."
Diplomacy (Aid Another): 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (8) + 7 = 15
"Yeah, it's not your fault," Shieara agrees. "Don't know what his reasons were but they're prob'ly not anythin' you coulda known."
"An' for what it's worth, I'm sorry. I know you prob'ly counted him a friend," she adds, gently.
Diplomacy (Aid): 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (9) + 1 = 10
”Um, Rees? I don’t think Lander is going to be arrested for spending time with Marek! He’s the town smith, lots of people associate with him.“ Garif suggests, giving the elf a bit of a glare as if to say, Cool it, ya wacko! You’re scaring the stripling lord with stuff that haunts you from your past and has nothing to do with him or here!
With a reassuring smile at the lordling, he continues, ”My friends are right, it’s not on you. No need to throw yourself on anyone’s mercy.“
Diplomacy (aid) : 1d20 - 1 ⇒ (18) - 1 = 17
Rees' calm, confident demeanor breaks at Garif's words, and the elf frowns, clearly hurt and confused. That doesn't make any sense; of course they'll arrest him! But he doesn't have anything to fear if he hasn't been disloyal himself. Why are they trying to reassure him? What if he has been disloyal?!
Still, the elf gives a light shrug, having offered his advice and having little else to say in the face of such outright denial.
Diplomacy (Aid): 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (19) + 1 = 20
I'm not sure Rees is technically aiding the effort, so maybe I should be rolling a separate Diplomacy check to get Lander to turn himself in... :P
Edit: and what a beautiful roll it would've been for that!
Lander’s Kn: Local for laws: 10 + 6 = 16
Lander gives Rees a puzzled look when asked to turn himself in, but doesn’t appear concerned by what was said.
Having heard the discussion, Lander sighs and looking at his mother before saying “If need be, I will give testimony against Marek and what I know of the bandits.”
His mother smiles warmly and assures him “It is for the best.”
...and we can close this down at any point now, That was the last thing called for in the scenario. I’ll let you continue speaking with them if you want and give an epilogue after a couple of days.
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Shieara smiles; as rocky a start as things had gotten off to, it seemed like they'd really turned things around and maybe even made a little difference in Lander's life.
Maybe he'll turn out a halfway decent man after all.
However, her smile does slip a little as she glances over at Garif and Rees. She felt like she'd missed something, somewhere. But she had to remember that everyone else had already worked together for a few missions before she came along, too.
They've all got a little head start on getting to know each other, that's all. You'll catch up.
Dame Lebeda thanks everyone for their efforts and allows you to take the Horn of Aroden.
That afternoon Lander comes by with gifts for the group in thanks for their help. The gifts are a ring of swimming and boots of the winterlands. He is also excited about being allowed to keep the egg and raise the chick.
Mid-morning the next day, Lander finds Rees and Garif. He asks them to talk to the potential trainers he has found.
One of them was a fraud, knowing all the right words but obviously not knowing how to do the job. Two of them didn’t have quite the right experience. They would have been fine with a domestic animal. One of the two was quite good with horses and might be able to teach Lander something about mounted combat when the time comes.
Rees and Garif both agree that the last one is the best candidate. She was able to correctly identify the creature, had experience with raising other wild creatures including a dinosaur, and seemed like a decent person. She also insisted on seeing where the diatrymas would be raised and after seeing it requested some changes. She seemed well qualified.
The group hears talk of the battle Marek put up when the guards went to arrest him. He put up quite the fight. There is no question that he knew how to use a weapon. He is now sitting in a dungeon awaiting sentencing for banditry. Although Lander is still a little uncomfortable when the subject is brought up, he has been convinced of the need to prosecute him.
Marek seems completely unrepentant about his crimes. He was just taking back what the nobility take from the people.
|Rob the GM|
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05-22: Scars of the Third Crusade
Their mission complete, the Pathfinders receive word that they should not return South to Absalom, but head west, to Mendev, to meet with Venture-Captain Jorsal of Lanterbury, a VC whose star is rising as the Pathfinder operations in Mendev are growing.
A journey through western Brevoy and the northern tip of Numeria proves uneventful (except for the gigantic spider that spat plasma and killed you all, and the Technic League ambush squads that disappeared you into deep dungeon where you spent the rest of your long days in intense pain as subjects in unspeakable technonecromantic experiments). (No, none of that happened, but I do sometimes wonder how low-level characters are supposed to get safely from point A to point B in the northern parts of Avistan.)
The Pathfinders arrive in Nerosyan, the capital of Mendev, where they are waiting for Jorsal to arrive and brief them.
Venture-Captain Jorsal of Lauterbury is stoic yet shows signs of exhaustion as he strides into the room and places a piece of paper on the table. "Pathfinders, some weeks ago we received this letter from an anonymous source, advising us of the discovery of a Sarkorian site in rural Mendev, near the village of Dawnton. We sent three Pathfinders to perform an initial investigation.
"Word came to us two days ago that the entire team has been arrested for murder and is scheduled to be hanged in seven days’ time. I would appreciate your traveling to Dawnton, investigating the crimes, and finding any evidence necessary to clear their names."
He pauses for a moment, as if gathering his will or holding back strong emotion. "As much as it grieves me to think this possible, you may find evidence that implicates our comrades. If they are guilty of this crime, let them hang. It’s justice of a sort, and we must all remember that we are guests in Mendev and subject to all its laws. Your predecessors’ reputation has tarnished the Pathfinders’ name in Dawnton, so I recommend you not travel and investigate openly as Pathfinders agents.
"Be careful," he recommends, "and remember that three comrades are relying on you."
For those who know the area, or who hit the taverns asking questions either or before or after the mission:
Dawnton is a small village at the crossroads of the local trade highway and the Setian River, a tributary of the Egelsee. It has a small permanent population, but swells to many times its size on festival days and during
As with many small villages in the region, Dawnton has become distrustful of strangers since the fall of Kenabres. This distrust is especially virulent toward tieflings and others with demonic roots, influence, or appearance.
Tobias Luin is both the village’s sheriff and mayor. Local opinion holds that he is fair to the point of being soft. It is unusual that he would hold an execution, but local law calls for a vote of the citizenry to decide the fate of those guilty of capital crimes.
There are rumors of similar brutal crimes in other villages near Dawnton. When a guilty party was found in those cases, execution was always the result.
Jorsal would like your group to leave the next morning. You can do any purchases you want in Nerosyan.
Let me know how you proceed.
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"Pathfinders charged with murder?" Garif exclaims. "That's terrible! We'll have to get to the bottom of this. Do you have any more information about the nature of the crime they've been accused of? Did they just walk around murdering people, like mad hobos?"
Leaving Nico happily curled up by the fire in their lodgings, Garif joins his bipedal friends in asking around to learn more. He's not much for small talk, but he does his best to be agreeable and encourage conversation.
Diplomacy, Aid whoever is better at this: 1d20 - 1 ⇒ (16) - 1 = 15
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (6) + 9 = 15
After some time spent asking around, Kleines returns with a stack of bar napkins bearing his scribbled hand. "From what I hear, the people of Dawnton are fairly suspicious of outsiders, though the fact that none of us are particularly demonic in appearance may help. Now," he says, sifting through the pile of crumpled napkins, "I could have sworn there was something else..." but his Diplo roll was too low for him to be able to find it now.
Iovo is impatiently waiting for her sister In Nerosyan. When she finally sees her, she jumps up and runs over.
“Damiar! It has been too long! I hope everything went well where ever it was they sent you last.” She grabs her sister in a hug.
Releasing her, she looks her over and then smiles. “It is so good to be out in the field again. Zarta had me doing all sorts of little research projects, insisting I keep to some lesson plans she had made up.”
Looking over to Phinellippa, she adds “We will have to compare notes at some point.”
She chats a little bit more before settling down enough to listen to Jorsal tell them about their next mission.
“So we get to be investigators? Do you think they will give us badges?”
Kn: Local: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (1) + 7 = 8
She does frown at the suggestion of letting fellow Pathfinders hang. “I do hope they didn’t do it!” she whispers to whomever is sitting closest to her.
Then she goes out with her sister to try and gather more information about the place they will be headed.
Aid Diplo of Damiar: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (18) + 5 = 23
|Rob the GM|
"I don't know a lot about the murders, just the word that we have received," says Jorsal of Lanterbury. "It is a good thing you arrived when you did. As you know, there are quite an number of Pathfinders in this area of Avistan right now, but all of the others are busy at the moment. It is my hopes that you will get to the truth of the matter."
"It is safe to say, however," Jorsal continues, "that the Pathfinders did not simply burst into a place and start killing everything they saw. No Pathfinder worth his wayfinder would never behave in such a manner."
To Iovo, he adds, "Speaking of which, your wayfinder should serve as badge enough. You aren't there in any real official capacity, other than as representatives of the Pathfinder Society. I do not believe that the three agents I sent would do such a thing, which is why I want to send you to find the truth and clear their names. The three Pathfinders are Corwin Burke, a halfling scout, Torum Grunsch, a dwarven priest, and Dakota Spire, a dwarven warrior."
Rees' eyes go wide as the group's next task is described. Before Jorsal has finished his description, the elf blurts, "What about the Eld–" Realizing that all eyes have turned to him, he shakes his head slightly and stammers, red-faced, "Err... I meant... never mind."
They don't have the Elders out here, you fool. Their 'justice' is getting some unqualified regular citizens to pretend to be Elders, and somehow everyone is supposed to be okay with that. You're supposed to be okay with that. You're blending in here, remember?
A slight frown passes over the elf's face, but he remains silent. There's no way out of this. I'm going to have to pretend to be an Elder, and... and not tell anyone at home about it. For Mirima. And if the Elders find out...
Diplomacy (Aid Damiar): 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (18) + 1 = 19
"...No Pathfinder worth his wayfinder would never behave in such a manner."
”I should think not,“ Garif mutters, then pauses and catches himself, ”Wait, no Pathfinder would never...I’m confused.“
Catching Rees’ confusion, Garif turns to the elf and raises a thick eyebrow, the gesture carrying a question to his friend, Are you as puzzled as I? What did the venture captain mean by that comment? Does he believe that Pathfinders would do such things? Was it a slip of the tongue? After a moment a second eyebrow lifts a bit, as if to add, Or perhaps you have something else in mind?
Rees looks up just as Garif's meaning-laden eyebrows make their move. Blinking a few times in bewilderment, the tall young man tries to understand the dwarf's unspoken commentary in the context of Rees's own thoughts. Wait, what? Which comment? Has the "Venture Captain" caught on to me? He can't... how could he possibly know that I wasn't Chosen? Unless... His throat moves as he gulps silently, conveying more than words. Are you saying they... they tracked me down here, and... why would they tell him? No. It can't be that. So if that's not it, what's got you concerned?
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (17) + 8 = 25
Damiar grins as her sister hugs her. “Oof!” She hugs Iovo back fiercely, and says, “I am so glad you’re back. It’s not the same without you, you know!”
When it comes time to discussing the mission though, the bard is quite happy to share what she knows.
“Wait a minute. I’ve heard of Dawnton, and it’s interesting Mayor.” Damiar grins. “There were stories about him... He used to be some sort of adventurer before he settied down. Anyway, Tobias Luin is both the village’s sheriff and mayor. Local opinion holds that he is fair to the point of being soft. It is unusual that he would hold an execution, but local law calls for a vote of the citizenry to decide the fate of those guilty of capital crimes. So, he may be an ally of sorts.”
“There’s something else we might want to look into,” Damiar looks thoughtful. “There are rumors of similar brutal crimes in other villages near Dawnton. When a guilty party was found in those cases, execution was always the result. If those rumors pan out, they could provide reasonable doubt for the Pathfinders we’re trying to help.”
Then Damiar notices how much Rees and Garif are staring at each other.
Sense Motive on why Rees and Garif are exchanging meaningful glances: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (6) + 8 = 14
She casually gathers up Phinny, Iovo, Shiera and Kleines away from Rees and Garif and whispers, “I just realized something. You know how Rees and Garif are always staring at each other? And they never look that way at us? I think they may be crushing on one another!”
Iovo looks over at Rees and Garif, then turns to the others and quietly asks “Is that why Rees never showed any interest in us? I was afraid we had insulted him somehow.”
Shieara blinks, caught off-guard by Damiar's whispered theory. She turns and gives both Rees and Garif a rather curious, appraising look before turning back to the others.
"Um...I guess, mebbe? I've not been with you folks as long so's I'm not really sure," she whispers, shrugging slightly. "But if they are, good for them - even if they got a weird way of showin' it!"
The priestess coughs, trying to return her focus to the briefing they'd just received. "Hey, um...I know you said you're pretty sure they wouldn't do somethin' like that but then you said we might find evidence to say they did," Shieara speaks up. "Any reason why you'd say that or are you just coverin' all your bases?"
Iovo nods at Shieara's response, then looks to her sister and quietly asks "So what can we do to play matchmaker?"
Phinellippa racks her brain.
Knowledge (local): 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (18) + 8 = 26
"This is pretty serious. I know that people have been executed for similar crimes in the surrounding areas."
|Rob the GM|
"Covering all bases,", Jorsal says to Shieara. "I want to be clear that I'm not sending you in to fabricate evidence to get our people free. I'm sending you in because I strongly suspect that the truth has been obscured."
"I am not very familiar with Tobias Luin myself," he says to Daimar, "but I have heard a similar reputation. Still, things are tough here in Mendev. Many know somebody who has either been touched by demonic corruption, or who has been scammed by those who would take advantage of our tough situation. Sentiment for swift and sure justice in Mendev is strong."
"Okay, just makin' sure," Shieara nods, looking thoughtful. "Sounds like we'll need t' make sure t' do a thorough job then."