"I am very glad that you are willing to help. I had not met the moneylender, and I doubt that others in the carnival had either." He looks toward Talgil. "I do not follow the comings and goings of all of the members of the carnival, but I am certain that some were in the town. Feel free to question any that you'd like."
Durnim finishes reading the scroll, "Everything here appears to be in good order. I too accept your terms of employment, Lady."
He re-rolls the scroll and offers it to her, "Would you want to reseal it for the Sheriff?"
Whatever her response, "Gentlemen, should we find this Sheriff Feldane and introduce ourselves post haste?"
"I accept as well, and I agree with Durnim. We should get started as soon as possible."
Talgil focuses his eyes on Almara, becoming gravely serious, "Regardless of whether one of your carnival members did this, the townsfolk are going to be suspicious and scared. It would be prudent to keep them from going into town until we can get this sorted. We don't need another person harmed for no good reason."
"Before we go, how was the moneylender killed? Was it in a manner that cast suspicion on your people?"Azubah seems more lucid and focused when a conversation extends.
Almara reaches out and takes the letter to reseal it.
She begins speaking hesitantly. "I have not seen the body, but I have been informed by the sheriff that the nature of the murder implicates our sphinx, Jherizhana. I cannot believe that this could possibly be true, and again, this is why I'd like your help."
You all bid farewell to Almara, and head back into town. Asking around, it seems that Sheriff Feldane is in the jail, so you make your way there. Walking in, you see a petite woman with short, but fiery red hair sitting at a desk, reading a set of documents. When you walk through the door, she looks up.
"Yes? Can I help you?" she says, attempting to be pleasant but clearly stressed.
"Well hello. My name is Hornblower, Durnim Hornblower. These are my associates. We have been retained by Almara Delisen, the Master of the Umbral Carnival, to represent her in a murder investigation. We would like to speak to Sheriff Feldane, please." Durnim introduces himself politely.
Diplomacy to improve attitude: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (13) + 7 = 20
"Ma'am," Gareth says, tugging on his hat's brim. "We've no wish to step on yer toes, mind. It's just that the carnival's boss wanted fer some folks to do on her people's behalf, what with one thing an' another."
Azubah is conscious of his limitations in social matters so he keeps a polite silence and waits for the woman's reply.
Sorry everybody, I was at a Con this weekend and without Internet. Also, there wasn't a great avatar for the sheriff, but picture this one with red hair and you're pretty close.
"I'm Sheriff Feldane. I'm quite busy at the moment, but what is it exactly that I can do for you? If you're representing the carnival, I can be of some help. I would prefer this matter to be taken care of quickly and correctly, and if that means allowing others to investigate as well, so be it.
"Pleasure to meet you, Sheriff. Here are our introductions and representations," Durnim hands her the scroll.
"Would you please review the case with us: the victim, the location, evidence, and anything else? Please give us what you can at the moment. We can continue when you have more time."
The sheriff is here alone. I wonder how many guardsmen work in this town? Azubah silently thinks to himself as he waits for the sheriff's reply to Durnim.
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The sheriff takes the parchment, breaks the seal and reads. After a few seconds, she nods to herself and rolls it back up.
"This seems to be in order. Before I give you any information or allow you any access, I must remind you that you are now representing the circus, and thus any misconduct on your part reflects on the carnival."
After providing the warning, she turns to Durnim.
"A pleasure to meet you as well, my good dwarf, though these circumstances are not ideal. And a pleasure to meet all of you. I hope that we can bring a swift end to this whole ordeal.
"The deceased is a man named Archivin Walder, the town moneylender and sometimes pawnbroker. He owns...or I suppose owned... a local business called the Locked Box, which is where he practiced his money lending.
"Walder was found mauled while walking to his home late last night. Walder's wife Agnes, who went looking for her husband when he never came home, discovered the body. She informed me of the murder this morning, and also said that thieves had broken in to the Locked Box last night, killed the guard on watch, and stole many of the easily carried valuables in the place.
"Two other guards who had gone with Agnes to carry the body back to the Locked Box glimpsed two humanoid figures fleeing in the night as they carried the body to the building."
The sheriff, after rattling off the details of the murder in a quick, no-nonsense fashion, changes her tone.
"I have to be honest with you, lady and gentlemen. The mood in the town is sour. There are stories all over the place about a great four-legged beast flying over the town last night after the circus closed down, silhouetted across the moon. Of course, I'll be damned if I can find a single eyewitness who actually saw the sphinx. Now poor Walder is left dead in some bushes. It'd be one thing if these deaths were accidental, but the robbery angle has people thinkin' of a Sczarni heist. I'm not proud to say it, but this stirs a lot of unworthy opinions about Varisians.
"I'll be honest with you—I'm not entirely convinced a creature from the circus is responsible for the murder. But the people of this town—my town—are fiercely independent and reactive, and they believe the sphinx to be responsible. I will cooperate with you and with the circus, but remember that I must do what I feel is in the best interest of the town."
"Stealing money doesn't sound like Sphinx behaviour to me. May we see the body? And the scene of the crime?"
Depending on the state of the place where Archivin died, I might be able to get us some surprise eye witnesses. ;)
"Thank you Sheriff for the information. Would it be appropriate for you to give us something to show townsfolk that we are operating in an official capacity? I know we would want to interview the witnesses. And something from you would probably allay some of their natural suspicions of strangers." Durnim replies.
When everyone else's questions have been answered, Talgil asks, "Has anyone taken an inventory of the missing items?" And then, almost as an afterthought, "It seems odd that if Walder's murder was simply a matter of heist turned murder that they would go through the trouble of hunting him down in the street."
"An excellent idea, Master Dwarf. Let me write a letter on your behalf, giving you my consent to investigate."
She pulls out a piece of parchment and begins to scribble. As she writes, she turns her head toward Dennie.
"I cannot think of any enemies off hand. Walder was a well-liked man. He spent most of his time at the Locked Box, and so I suppose those that knew him best were the guards there and his wife, Agnes. I would talk to them if you're interested in why he might have been the target of the murder, if it wasn't just a random killing by a monster."
She finishes writing the letter, folds and seals it, and hands it to Durnim. She turns her attention to Gareth.
"I can have one of my constables take you to the scene of the crime. If you wish to see the body, you should try the Locked Box. That's where I examined it this morning, and as far as I know, Agnes and her guards are keeping it there for the time being."
Durnim accepts the document and tucks into his outfit. "Thank you for the hospitality, Sheriff. Unless there are any other leads that you can give us, we'll be off to the Locked Box. Would you please give us directions and a description of the widow?"
The sheriff obliges, giving you directions and a description of Agnes Walder. She bids you farewell, and then walk back through the jail to what looks like an office.
You make your way to the Locked Box, which ends up being a nondescript but sturdy building on the south end of the city. Two men, who look like guards, flank an older woman, clearly exhausted from the events over the last few days.
I'll have a map of the Locked Box ready tomorrow. It'll be on GoogleDocs, so if you don't have a Google account, you may want to make one. I'm not sure if it's a requirement to use a GoogleDoc.
What is the neighbourhood like where the victim died? Is it very well-to-do, or a bit run-down? ... Any sign of rats? ;)
When Durnim reaches conversation distance, he says, "Madame Agnes Walder? You have my deepest sympathies for the loss of your husband."
Diplomacy to improve attitude take 10+7=17
After a pause, he politely continues, "Please allow me to introduce myself. I'm Hornblower, Durnim Hornblower. My associates and I have been charged by the sheriff to investigate the death of your husband. I've have an official document from her if you wish to verify our credentials," he holds the sheriff's parchment in his hands solemnly.
"Where would be the best place for us to discuss what you know?"
Durnim negotiates social situations well. I doubt the widow would take much of a liking to me, considering the feelings toward Varisians right now.
Azubah studies the guards as Durnim speaks to their employer.
1d20 + 3 ⇒ (7) + 3 = 10
1d20 + 3 ⇒ (12) + 3 = 15
I am not really much of a people person. But I do understand them moderately well. Let the dwarf do the chatting up. If he leaves a question unasked, then I'll ask it. But otherwise, I'd serve better by just observing.
Perception 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (20) + 10 = 30
sense motive 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (2) + 7 = 9
and while we are doing informational stuff: Detect Magic
Denny intends to do just what she just thought. Unless she feels the need to speak, she will remain quiet. 'Feeling the need to speak' includes observing proper etiquette. If Durnim does not introduce the party, after a proper interval, she will intervene and do so.
"It's all my fault!" the woman begins, ignoring Durnim's introduction and question. "If only I had gone with him to the carnival, none of this would have happened! It just bothered me to think about his ogling that winged she-lion whatsit—all that prancin' around without a top on. But none a' that would matter if only Archie was still here with me!"
The women's eyes are stained with tears as she speaks. She recovers herself quickly, however, and replies to Durnim.
"I am glad that there are others working on this case. Come in, come in, and we can talk."
I forgot to mention before that the sheriff also said she'd have the constable take you to the scene of the crime, so if you'd like you can check that out after.
The Locked Box (Please only move your character around the map)
"Did your husband go alone to the carnival." Azubah blurts his question out almost immediately after Mrs. Walder finishes. It comes across as clumsy and a bit insensitive in tone.
Durnim listens to the widow and her answer to Azubah's question sensing any suspicious motivations. Since the widow appears to have no interest in their credentials, Durnim secures them within his outfit.
Sense Motive taking 10+8=18
I would appreciate the opportunity to place my character on maps. Perhaps, players could post where their character wants to be after the map is initially published. Cheers!
You're more than welcome to place your character wherever you'd like to. You should be able to edit it just fine.
Editing is good. However, I would have liked/thought Durnim would be in J14, directly in front of the widow. Unfortunately, Denny is there. I will swap places with HER, but I don't like moving someone's character either.
Perception: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (13) + 5 = 18.
"Ma'am," Gareth says, tugging his hat. "Condolences."
Gareth eyes the two guards as the group goes inside Mrs. Walden's house, but doesn't comment on them.
"That be the Sphinx you mean, ma'am?" he asks.
Perception: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (9) + 10 = 19
When Azubah and Gareth have been answered, "Can you tell us everything you know about the carnival and the Sphinx?"
Diplomacy (Gather Info): 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (3) + 7 = 10
Diplomacy (Gather Info): 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (8) + 7 = 15
Follow Up go to work!
She answers your questions as you follow her into the Locked Box (please do this on the map and place yourselves wherever you'd like to be.)
"Of course I mean the sphinx, or whatever you call it! And I know little of the circus, other than those damned Varisians can't be up to no good. Weird creatures walking around and flaunting themselves, I'll tell ya..." She trails off, muttering to herself.
Lamps illuminate this large showroom. Glass display cases, broken in a few places, line the walls, while two additional cases sit like islands in the center of the room. The cases contain an eclectic mix of valuables such as unusual tools, masterwork weapons, jewelery, fine china, antiques, and artwork. A set of merchant's scales rests on top of one of the display cases.
Directly in front of you, a large set of double-doors hang open, leading to a descending staircase.
Is much of the merchandise small and easily transportable?
Durnim looks around the Locked Box, "Was there a robbery? When did it happen relative to your husband's incident? Do you know what was taken?"
Perception: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (12) + 7 = 19
Sense Motive: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (10) + 8 = 18
Gareth: it's in the link.
The barbarian seemed ...well...bored. His blade was as sharp as it could get so eventually he entered the establishment after the others and casually glanced around. But the rogue and cleric were so busy examining every little detail, ilKhan just stayed out of their way. ilKhan took up a position much like a guard himself, the tip of his greatsword on the floor, holding the pomel with two hands.
One got the sense the barbarians was waiting for something.
Gareth also starts looking around, though oddly enough, his focus seems to be mostly on the walls and floorboards.
Perception: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (5) + 5 = 10: looking for traces of ratholes, but also - Survival: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (9) + 5 = 14 - for other tracks of interest.
I should probably have stated originally.
Talgil is paying particular attention to things related to a burglary, such as points of entry, broken glass or wood, if it looks like particular attention was paid to any of the stolen objects.
"We were robbed last evening, and I have to assume that it happened after the murder of my husband, because the thieves came in through the front door—they must have had his keys, because they were not on his body. Most of what was taken were gems and coins from people who defaulted on loans, but the most valuable items are in the vault, which was not opened."