"Indeed," Garif weighs in, also impressed by Kleines' efforts to line up his thoughts in a semi-logical order, "if you're open to some help, since there is so much going on here in town, we'd be happy to lend a hand, as it's easier to move a pile of stones as a team than alone. Perhaps you could tell us if there's anything you feel still needs looking into?"
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Perform Sing and/or Bluff: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (20) + 8 = 28
“Yes, of course were sisters, and we have the most amazing sister act ever!” Damiar grins as she starts singing for the tent garden.
♫ We’re a Sister Act,
Don’t you see?
We do everything together
With flips and quips
We work for tips
‘Cause it ain’t for free! ♫
Damiar gives a saucy look to the crowd and starts them clapping as her sister goes leaping about. On breaks, she happily hangs out with fellow performers and admirers, listening oh so attentively.
Rees watches the suspicious-looking woman through narrowed eyes, ready to duck behind a corner if she turns his way. Soon, however, he realizes that she has no intention of doing her duty and controlling her animal; her head is too full of stories. This is just the type of person the Elders would question! How could someone like that possibly be a loyal citizen of the community? She can't be. And that means there's no telling what she'd do; perhaps she committed the murders herself!
Stepping smoothly out from his observation point, the tall elf catches hold of the donkey's halter and adopts an appropriately-stern expression as he looks in the woman's direction.
Guessing you'll want a Handle Animal, but will toss it in a spoiler just in case it's not needed. If you actually want a different roll, let me know whether you'd like to use this result or a new roll. (I have not viewed the result at time of posting.)
Edit: Shoulda taken 10! :P
|Rob the GM|
In the Market Square
Well, you could do whatever you wanted, but I did kind of telegraph Handle Animal there. I figured if you were out for a few hours, you might try to take advantage of a situation that came up that spoke to your skills. Alas, the dice hate you. (It's not personal. They hate everybody, except for, right now, the Elf Twins.)
Rees tries to get a hold on the donkey, but ends up with dirt kicked at him as the donkey gets even more ornery. Eventually, Rees, with the help of a couple of others, get the donkey calmed down and returned to the woman.
Chatting a bit with the folks who helped him get the donkey under control, Rees does hear this tidbit:
Word on the Street Rumor #1: When the Pathfinders were arrested, the accused halfling had blood all over his hands and clothes.
At the Fairgrounds
So, as Iovo was tumbling, Damiar was singing, and the whole thing was a gigantic hit with the crowd. Both of the Elf Twins are offered free drinks at the beer garden later in the day, and a couple of folks from other towns approach them asking if the sisters will come and perform in their town.
Mechanically speaking, Damiar and Iovo now get a +2 bonus on checks to learn information at the beer garden.
During the ensuing conversation, they are able to pick up this additional tidbit:
Fairgrounds Rumor #3: Some aren’t sure the prisoners are guilty, but it’s hard to get anybody to speak his mind with that inquisitor throwing accusations and the whole crowd screaming to see some necks get stretched.
At the Sherrif's House
"Well, truth to be told, we do have a decent amount of seriously incriminating evidence against the prisoners," Tobias says. "Holding them downstairs now, until the time of the election."
"First, the murders began the same night the Pathfinders got into town, and stopped as soon as they were locked up. Circumstantial, yes, but it is suggestive. And, it's not the only thing we have."
"Second, I found a dagger at the scene of the second murder which belonged to one of the Pathfinders. This is quite incriminating."
"All three of the Pathfinders were seen at Otto's farm just hours before someone found the first victim there. This places them at the scene of the crime at least close to the time of the crime."
"Finally, there is an inquisitor of Iomedae visiting-- Ekira is her name. Very serious and dour, but crusaders who follow Iomedae are often like that in this part of the world, for obvious reasons. Seeing as she follows the goddess of honor and justice, I would expect her to be quite reliable. She received an anonymous letter from a concerned but frightened citizen identifying the Pathfinders as the murders."
"In fact," he says, standing up. He turns and goes to a locked cabinet on a bookcase behind his desk. He gets out a ring of keys, unlocks the cabinet, and pulls out a piece of paper. He puts it on the desk in front of you. "This is the letter."
You recognize the handwriting of the letter. It's the same hand as the one that wrote the letter Jorsal of Lauterbury showed you, the letter was sent to the Pathfinder Society telling them that there was a newly-discovered Sarkorian site near Dawnton. It was this letter that brought the first team of Pathfinders out to the site.
If the rest of you guys are OK with a pause, we'll probably want to continue what's going on at the Sherrif's house.
I’m good with waiting for the Sheriff’s conversation to complete before we move on.
Continue on. Damiar is flirting outrageously, and trying to see if there are any cute boys or girls on these fair grounds.
Rees puts on his most serious glare, staring down at the donkey woman disapprovingly. "In the future, see to it that your mind remains on your duty to your community, and does not stray into temptations of disloyalty."
Having delivered his speech (That's what an Elder would say, right?), Rees surveys the street for a few minutes longer before returning to the inn to await the others.
No worries. :)
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Perception: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (14) + 10 = 24
Wait, I recognize that handwriting! It's the same hand as the one that wrote the letter Jorsal showed us, the letter was sent to the Society saying there was a newly-discovered Sarkorian site near Dawnton...the same letter that brought the first team of Pathfinders out to the site. What can be going on here? Should I tell the sheriff this, or wait to discuss it with my friends? Hmm, I think I should say something now, or else it might be suspect later. But we're not to make it known that we're Pathfinders...
He makes an effort to catch the eye of either of his companions, hoping they've noticed the handwriting as well, and continues to chat with the sheriff, "That does sound like a lot of evidence. Can I ask, about the dagger you found - was it bloodied? And were the victims killed by a blade, or something else?" Running a hand down his beard in thought, he adds, "If it's not too much trouble, could we talk to these Pathfinders? And perhaps we should talk to this Ekira, to see if she has learned anything beyond what the letter communicated."
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Perception (DC 18): 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (1) + 3 = 4
"Huh...we'd heard 'bout the inquisitor but didn't know she'd been directly involved in part of th' investigatin'," Shieara frowns, throwing a curious glance at Garif as he makes a strange face at Kleines and herself.
What? Is there food on my face?
"Might be good t' pay her a visit if she's still around an' feelin' amiable," she continues, rubbing at her mouth. "Know much else 'bout her or these Pathfinder folks?"
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Perception: 1d20 - 2 ⇒ (14) - 2 = 12
Kleines glances at Garif and frowns. What, is there food on my face? He reaches into his pocket and pulls out a bar napkin. Examining it, he finds that it already has writing covering half of one side, so he returns it to his pocket and fishes out another, blank napkin, which he uses to wipe his face.
"Hm, yes, it would be good to speak to her. Perhaps she can help us to find this eye witness, who we could then speak to directly."
|Rob the GM|
At the Sherriff's House
"The murders were grisly," the Tobias Luin says with a grimace. "The first one, at Otto's farm, was hanged... and worse. Otto was the one who found the body; you might want to talk to him. The second one was less grisly; it happened on the street outside Orug's store. It was a stabbing, although the murderer did take the time to slice down the victim's front and allow some of the innards to spill out. Here, the murderer had to leave the scene quickly."
"The dagger was in fact bloodied."
"As for Ekira," Tobias says, "She's about. She's staying a the Heath and Harvest, the one inn in town. She cuts a striking figure; tall, red cape that has a tendency to swirl dramatically behind her, silver holy symbol of Iomedae, very nicely made chainmail armor."
The halfling stands up. "Come. If you wish to speak to the prisoners, I will take you to them."
He leads the three of you back out into the hall and through another door, which opens on to a set of stairs leading down into a basement (or, shall we say, dungeon).
It's dark. You might be eaten by a grue.
Fortunately, Tobias isn't a monster, and has some lamps burning downstairs so the Pathfinders aren't locked up in the dark.
There are three Pathfinder prisoners. They look healthy and well-treated, although they are locked up. When you come towards the cell where they're held, they stand up and look at you, a mixture of trepidation and hope in their eyes.
You recognize the three, and were given the names earlier by Jorsal (even if I didn't tell you that....). There's a halfling, Corwin Burke, and two dwarves, the male Torum Grunsch and the female Dakota spire. The two dwarves look like they could be sister and brother. Both have black hair worn in long braids, and thick eyebrows under furrowed brows.
The halfling, Corwin Burke, is short (even for a halfling) and thin, with a shock of red hair on the top of his head. As you appear, he stands and moves towards the edge of the cell. Despite his rather dire predicament, he cocks a half-smile and says, "Ah, Sherriff Luin, I suppose these fine folk are the real murderers, and we're now to be set free?"
Let me know how you proceed.
Before Sheriff Luin leads the group down into the 'dungeon', something else occurs to Shieara.
"Hey, Sheriff? Mebbe it's a dumb question but did any of th' murder victims have any sort of connections t' each other? Or t' this Pathfinder group?" she asks. "From what I've heard 'bout 'em it seems a little strange even for them t' just roll into town an' start slicing an' dicing, y'know?"
Although she can appreciate Burke's sense of humor, Shieara does her best to keep her expression neutral as she studies her imprisoned fellow agents. "Ah, no, but nice try. We're just some interested parties tryin' to make sure justice is done - especially since th' good Sheriff here's got a lot on his plate. An' since he's nice enough t' let us come down here an' talk with you folks, I hope you're feelin' chatty."
Shieara looks around for a moment before pulling up a nearby stool (or sitting on the floor in front of the cells if there's no other seating) and turning her attention back to the three prisoners. "So...what's your side of th' story?"
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (5) + 5 = 10
"Yes, it would be most helpful to hear your own version of the events." Kleines pulls out a napkin and a pencil and readies to take notes.
|Rob the GM|
Corwin loses his lopsided smile and his face falls a bit. Shaking his head, he says, "As I told the sheriff, we don't really know anything, but nobody will believe us. We got here investigating a report of a Sarkorian ruin that had come to our Pathfinder lodge. We hadn't found anything, and were arrested in our beds the second night we were here. In fact, we were already in our beds when the second murder occurred, but as we were there alone, we don't have anybody to corroborate the story. I suppose there's a lesson in that...."
"We didn't resist arrest, nor have we tried to escape, because we knew that would just cement our guilt in everybody's minds. It seems that that has happened anyway. But, also, we don't want any innocent bystanders to get hurt."
He regards Shieara carefully, before continuing. "If you're asking, then you must think there's some possibility that we're telling the truth. Please, look into it more closely! We didn't do it. We were arrested after the sheriff got an anonymous letter; that's what finally convinced him, I think that we were guilty. See if you can see it; maybe you will see something in it that he didn't."
Let me know how you proceed.
"And what contact had you had with the victims, prior to their deaths?"
Shieara sighs inwardly; she wished she could give her fellow agents some sort of reassurance but she didn't want to risk trying to communicate anything lest it blow their cover with the sheriff and everyone else in town.
"Look, we'll do what we can, alright? Mebbe you an' your friends are innocent an' mebbe you ain't," Shieara remarks. She gives the sheriff a sidelong glance. "Got to admit though, does seem kinda odd fer strangers t' a town t' just go an' start murderin' people. What's th' motive here? Did that letter say?"
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Garif scratches his bald pate in thought, the sound of his rough fingers on his skin like two stones rubbing together, then speaks, "It does seem, sheriff, like you've got some important information, but perhaps some confounding information as well. It's like trying to follow a vein of gold, working away at the ore body, but sometimes you find you're chasing fool's gold. Not saying you're a fool at all, sir, just that pyrite and the real thing can be tough to distinguish sometimes. If, er, I make myself clear."
I hope I haven't offended him...never does to call the sheriff a fool. Sure would be good if we could reassure the prisoners that we're Pathfinders too, but I'd get caught sure as sure if I tried to tell that to 'em with the sheriff standing here.
DM - I know you said the letter matched the handwriting, does the scenario actually provide the letter, so we could read it? I'm guessing not, but wanted to check in case it's filled with creamy, delicious clues.
|Rob the GM|
The scenario doesn't actually provide the letter, alas.
"No contact at all," the halfling says in response to Kleines' question.
Heading back up to the ground level, the Tobias tells Sheiara that the letter didn't say anything about motive, it just identified the Pathfinders as the murderers. Together with the other evidence, it was enough to arrest them.
In response to what Garif says, Tobias blinks a few times before responding, "I think I catch your... vein. I agree that it's troublesome, and the Pathfinders are not acting the way you would expect criminals to act. And, while we seem to have them dead to rights, and while a lot of folk around here are suspicious of adventuring types-- adventuring types stir up demons-- you're right that the motive isn't clear. If you can find evidence that the Pathfinders aren't the murderers, please don't hesitate to bring it to me."
The three of you head back to meet with the others.
I am going to post this, and dig to see who already made a "avoid making too much of a scene" check... although the impressive performance at the Fairgrounds are likely to have attracted some notice, as is a visit to the sherrif's house. Another post coming shortly.
|Rob the GM|
It may be nothing, but as you're leaving the sherrif's house, you spot a stork standing on a nearby rooftop. You get the strange sense that it might be watching you.
So far, I only have one roll to blend in, a Stealth-14 from Rees. Could the rest of you please give me a Stealth, Disguise, or Bluff check? The point of this is to reduce the obviousness that there are strangers in town asking a lot of questions.
So far, the town hasn't taken particular notice of you poking about and asking questions. Of course, the flamboyant performance at the Fairgrounds has attracted some notice, so some folks are definitely aware of some of your group, at least as performers. Doubtless busybodies in town will notice that three of you made a visit to the sherrif's house.
The day heads towards the afternoon of Day 4. You get the sense that there are still rumors in town to learn, if you find the right way to establish rapport with the folk there. As before, places where you could go to try to do this include the fairgrounds (tent city), the beer garden, the general store, and just out and about to get the word on the street. However, your most recent investigations have turned up a couple of other leads that might be worth investigating. One is the site of the first murder, which was the farm of a man named Otto. This farm is a few miles down the main road from Dawnton proper. (You can make the trip out there and back in one phase.) You've also heard in a couple of places about an inquisitor of Iomedae, named Ekira, who is in town and who was involved in the investigation and conviction of the other Pathfinder team.
Feel free to discuss as you wish, and when you think you know where each of you want to go, let me know.
Stealth : 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (5) + 2 = 7
Perception : 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (14) + 10 = 24
Leaving the sheriff’s house, something catches Garif’s attention out of the corner of his eye. As he and his friends walk away, he gestures with a tip of his head and says, ”I could swear the stork standing on that roof nearby is watching us. This is a strange place indeed.“ A few steps later, he draws up short, scratches his head again in thought, then says, ”Oh, yes, that was it! Did either of you notice that the handwriting on the letter the sheriff showed us, that was sent to that inquisitor, was the same as the handwriting on the letter Jorsal showed us, about the newly-discovered Sarkorian site near here?“
With a shrug, he continues, ”I can’t claim to make sense of any of it, though I’m fairly sure the two letters were not written by that stork. But maybe we should go talk to that inquisitor, since she’s clearly pivotal to this whole scenario, er, story.“
I did a Bluff of 19 (plus any modifier for it being a believable lie) to pretend to just be a normal performer. Sure people are talking about the elven performers, plus many of the other performers in town.
Iovo relates all that they learned during the performance and mentions they have several invites to the beer gardens. “I would like to investigate this farm, but if we are to pick up rumors now is probably the time for the two of us to do it.”
She listens with interest to what was found out at the Sherrif’s.
“So the two letters were in the same handwriting? Someone is setting us up!”
Perception (DC 24): 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (18) + 3 = 21
Bluff: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (11) + 1 = 12
Shieara tries to act nonchalant as the three of them make their way back to their lodgings from the sheriff's home, though her cool slips a bit when Garif quietly points out the strange stork perched on the roof nearby.
Once back where they can (hopefully) safely talk out loud, the cleric nods in agreement with Iovo. "Sure sounds like it t' me," she scowls. "Glad Garif noticed th' writin' was th' same for both letters - totally missed it myself. But anyhoo yeah, someone's settin' up Pathfinders an' th' whole Society for some reason. Wish we knew what but mebbe it'll all come clear before th' end."
"Personally, I'm real curious 'bout this inquisitor we've been hearin' tales of," Shieara continues. "Seems mighty coincidental that th' so-called incriminatin' letter got sent t' a so-called holy woman of Iomedae, y'know?"
“There was a rumor about the inquisitor (Beer Garden #2) causing a string of murders. It would be nice if we could find out if there have been other murders, and if the inquisitor was in the area.” Iovo says.
“Can anyone think of a way we might be able to determine if there were other murders?”
Stealth: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (3) + 5 = 8
Despite her best efforts, the gnome sticks out like a sore thumb.
Kleines Disguise: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (3) + 2 = 5
Kleines Perception (pointless): 1d20 - 2 ⇒ (10) - 2 = 8
"What stork?" Kleines loudly asks as he turns and looks around, drawing surprised and quizzical looks from townsfolk on the street. "Anyway, I would be interested in meeting this inquisitor."
"Um...well, th' sheriff seemed to more or less have a level head on his shoulders," Shieara replies to Iovo. "Might be able t' ask him if we can't get a straight answer from anyone else. Otherwise I'd say we'd just need t' keep talkin' t' folks an' see what we turn up."
Rees listens to the discussion quietly, waiting for a pause before looking at Kleines and Shieara and commenting, "Perhaps you ought to go and meet the 'inquisitor'. It seems likely that she is not the loyal citizen she appears to others. I will go to the farm which Otto is tending and search for information there."
Frowning, Iovo says “I am not comfortable with someone going to this farm alone.”
Looking to Ress, she explains “It seems that was one of the locations used to trap the other group, so we should be cautious approaching and investigating it.”
"Sure, I don't mind goin' t' meet with this inquisitor lady I guess," Shieara remarks with a shrug of her shoulders. "Normally those Iomedae folks are kinda stuffy an' borin' but maybe this one'll be different?"
"An' I think Iovo's right, no one should go t' th' farm alone," she adds quickly. "I know it slows stuff down but at th' very least we should probably go places in pairs - I don't fancy gettin' shanked myself or windin' up stuck in the slammer with th' other agents!"
Sounds like Kleines & Shieara are going to meet with the inquisitor and Rees is going to the farm; not sure what everyone else is wanting to do.
Working on a summary of rumors and locations.
Are you sure splitting the group is a good idea? The farm doesn’t fit on the map we have of Dawnton.
Yeah, I agree that we may want to stick together at this point. I'm fine switching to go to the farm first, if that's what folks want to do.
That'll work for me as well, I'm easy to get along with :)
I'm okay either way, but would point out that we've got limited time, and we know that going places in groups attracts attention. DM: does that "attracting attention" apply to the places outside town as well?
Mostly just trying to get us moving some way. :)
Garif had also suggested going to see the inquisitor (hours before Shieara and Kleines hopped on that bandwagon), so he'll go along if there's a contingent heading that way. In general, it does seem that we've been encouraged to split up in this investigation, but I can't help but feel that the farm is an exception to that.
I'm not especially anxious to split the party! Should we all go to see the inquisitor?
If the group goes to the farm, Iovo will go with them.
If the group stays in town, Iovo will go to the beer gardens where this phase she has a bonus as a result of the performance.
For Beer Garden, you’ve mentioned Diplomacy and Fort saves. Sing should work as long as they are drinking songs. Are there other obvious options?
Damiar is happy to sing in the Beer Garden, or go to a farm. It is all good!
|Rob the GM|
So, I fail to detect a consensus.... To help you decide. You believe you can get out to Otto's farm without being too conspicuous. However, you also suspect it'll be harder to get him to let things spill if too many people go at once. Folk are more likely to let rumors slip to a couple of people than to a whole collection of them all at once. (The guy at the bar vs. announcing to the room.) So, if you want to get some rumors out of Otto, you want to limit the number of people who go-- unless you think you're aid another's on the attempt to impress him can overcome it. HOWEVER, that's not all there is to it. This is the scene of one of the murders, and it's likely less trampled than the street out in front of the general store. As such, you might be looking for physical evidence, and it's probably a good idea to have as many eyes as possible there.
In other words: there are benefits and drawbacks to going all to the farm as a group. So, what do you want to do?
If the GM says it is alright to split the group, then I withdraw my objections to it. Iovo will wander the beer gardens while others investigate the farm.
Kleines will go to the farm.
In that case Shieara will stick with going to see the inquisitor with Garif, assuming he doesn't mind the company.
Garif would be very pleased to have company visiting the inquisitor, since he'll just step all over his own toes trying to speak to her properly. (If you can step on your toes in a way that relates to speaking. Which Garif probably could.)
Well, I can't promise that Shie will do much better but gosh darn it, she'll try just the same! :D
Is Kleines the only one going to the farm? In that case, he'll go with Sheiara and Garif to see the Inquisitor. I don't want to split us into three groups.
I thought that Phinellippa and Rees were going with you, Kleines.