GM Granta's War for the Crown

Game Master Granta

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Sovereign Court

War for the Crown

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Sovereign Court

War for the Crown

After several months of odd, seemingly meaningless tasks, you have finally been invited to meet your employer, Martella Lotheed. The message said simply to learn what you can about the upcoming festivities and the royal family, and then to meet her at the Pixie's Picks in Oppara.

The Grand Day of Exaltation

DC 8+ Diplomacy or Knowledge (local or nobility):
The Grand Day of Exaltation is the one day every year when the emperor can elevate a commoner of unusual skill or service to the ranks of nobility.

DC 12+ for nested spoiler.

Spoiler:
Because people travel from all over the empire to witness the exaltation, many balls and political events take place in the preceding week, and the senate usually votes on matters of national importance immediately beforehand.

DC 15+ for nested spoiler.

Spoiler:
This year’s noble-to-be is a wide-eyed weaver from the village of Breezy Creek, whose beautiful tapestries have adorned the royal palace and many other royal homes for a decade.

Grand Prince Stavian III

DC 5+ Diplomacy or Knowledge (local or nobility):
Grand Prince Stavian III is the emperor of Taldor.

DC 14+ for nested spoiler.

Spoiler:
Grand Prince Stavian III has no male heir, and he has refused to have any further children since the tragic death of his only son, Carrius, in a riding accident 20 years ago. With the emperor getting on in years, some people worry how this will affect succession.

DC 18+ for nested spoiler.

Spoiler:
The emperor has made no secret of his disdain for Princess Eutropia’s social crusades, especially her efforts to overturn primogeniture so she can inherit the throne, but he has been uncharacteristically quiet about it this past year. Rumors abound that his health is slipping and he has accepted her efforts.

Martella Lotheed

DC 11+ Diplomacy or Knowledge (local or nobility):
The wealthy Lotheed family has been a strong supporter of the Stavians for almost 100 years. They have a long family tradition of arcane magic, adding to their wealth and prestige.

DC 14+ for nested spoiler.

Spoiler:
Martella is the black sheep of her family, being a result of an extramarital dalliance with a Qadiran diplomat. She lacks her family’s gift for magic as well, adding to their resentment.

DC 20+ for nested spoiler.

Spoiler:
Despite her family’s disdain, Martella still commands some wealth and has extensive contacts, having attended the Sinora Academia, Taldor’s most exclusive girls’ school.

Princess Eutropia

DC 7+ Diplomacy or Knowledge (local or nobility):
Princess Eutropia is the adult daughter of Grand Prince Stavian III and has a scandalous reputation for making trouble and fighting in the streets.

DC 15+ for nested spoiler.

Spoiler:
Eutropia is a social reformer, eager to establish schools and other public resources for the poor, and remove political or family restrictions for women and various minorities. Rumors have circulated for a decade that her ultimate goal is to overturn primogeniture—Taldor’s ancient law stating that only male heirs may inherit the Lion Throne—and become the first empress of Taldor.

DC 18+ for nested spoiler.

Spoiler:
The princess’s reputation for “fighting in the streets” largely hails from her skill as a fencer, a sport she excelled at during her schooling at the Sinora Academia. Many times in her twenties she matched blades with chauvinistic politicians who would otherwise refuse to let her speak or act within political circles, and those early public duels helped her win unexpected support for her later social reforms—as well as a reputation as an impolite, unladylike brute.

You each received a private note, and have not met each other yet.


CG Male Human Ranger 2 | AC 18, T 12, FF 16 | hp 25/25 | Fort +5, Ref +4, Will +1 | Init +1 | Percep +6 | CMD 17 | Spells & Abilities 0/0 | Conditions: none

A hooded man stands in the street for a moment looking at the sign. Pixie's Picks. This must be it. After double checking his reading with the notes clutched in his hand, he steps inside.

His hood comes off with his entry, revealing a dark beard and a pair of shallow scars on the side of his face. Wonder how long it'll take for her to show up. A drink will make however long it is better. Approaching the bar, he orders his usual. "How're ya doing? I'll have a double whiskey. Neat. As long as it ain't whatever you've got in the well and doesn't run me a mint, it'll do!"
________

Rolls:

Local (Gambler), DC 8: 1d20 + 5 - 2 ⇒ (4) + 5 - 2 = 7 Failure
Local (Favored Enemy, Gambler), DC 5: 1d20 + 5 + 2 - 2 ⇒ (4) + 5 + 2 - 2 = 9 First
Local (Favored Enemy, Gambler), DC 11: 1d20 + 5 + 2 - 2 ⇒ (6) + 5 + 2 - 2 = 11 First
Local (Favored Enemy, Gambler), DC 7: 1d20 + 5 + 2 - 2 ⇒ (17) + 5 + 2 - 2 = 22 All

Assuming the Pixie's Picks is a bar! Tiber's information is written down on the back of the private note he was given.


CN Female Human Wizard 2 | Speed 30 ft. | AC 12 (temp: 16), T 12, FF 10 (temp:14) | hp 14/15 | Fort +2, Ref +2, Will +4 | Init +6 | Percep +3 | CMD 11 | Dazing touch 7/7 | Conditions: none

A woman, pale-skinned but dark-haired and dressed in an expensive, black dress is walking on the streets among all the visitors recently arrived to the city. She moves from one merchant to another, checking half-heartedly various over-priced items before continuing to seemingly random direction. With a closer look, it becomes clear what she's following: Words in conversations. "Stavian" or "Eutropia" seem to interest her most, and after locating the speaker, she encourages them to continue with a quick sign of interest, often just "Really?" or "Can't be".

Rolls:

Diplomacy The Grand Day of Exaltation: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (14) + 3 = 17
Diplomacy Grand Prince Stavian III: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (1) + 3 = 4
Diplomacy Martella Lotheed: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (15) + 3 = 18
Diplomacy Princess Eutropia: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (9) + 3 = 12

She finally comes to a sign "Pixie's Picks". She pets a snake that has climbed on her shoulder and says to it: "Finally! I hope what she has in mind is better than these last months, I'm bored out of my mind". Then she chuckles to herself. "And going crazy, I'm talking to snakes now" she says and enters the establishment.


CG Male Human Bard 2 | Speed 30 ft. | AC 15, T 12, FF 13 | hp 17/17 | Fort +2, Ref +5, Will +2 (+4 vs. bard, sonic, language) | Init +2 | Per +4 SM +9 | CMD 15 | Performance 12/12 | Conditions: none

Dice:

Knowledge (nobility), Grand Day: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (2) + 9 = 11 First
Knowledge (nobility), Stavian III: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (7) + 9 = 16 Second
Knowledge (nobility), Martella Lotheed: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (8) + 9 = 17 Second
Knowledge (nobility), Eutropia: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (20) + 9 = 29 All

A young nobleman enters the Pixie's Pick with a cock-eyed smile on his lips and a thin sword on his hip. He casts a wink at the women he passes as he strides over to the bar. Removing his hat, he signals a server with a simple gesture.

For those with the inclination to pay close attention, his signet bears the crest of the Kastner family.


NG Male Human (Taldan) Oracle 2 | Speed 30 ft. | AC 16, T 12, FF 14 | hp 17/20 | Fort +3, Ref +2, Will +3 | Init +2 | Percep +2 | CMD 13 | Spells per day used: lvl1 2/5 Channels per day: 3/3 | Conditions: none

Rolls:

Diplomacy@Grand Day: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (8) + 7 = 15
Diplomacy@Stavian: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (19) + 7 = 26
Diplomacy@Lotheed: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (8) + 7 = 15
Diplomacy@Europia: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (5) + 7 = 12

Thalasou spots the open doorway to the Pixie's Pick just a few dozen paces down the street on the right. Under normal circumstances he wouldn't even think about how to get from here to there but with the Grand Day coming up, the surge of people into the city has made even the less traveled parts of the city crowded and clogged with people. In his normal, jovial manner he jostles himself through the crowd until he finally steps through the doorway into the relatively dark room.

It takes his eyes a moment to adjust to the lower light but then he finds an empty table and takes a seat. A few other patrons seem to be minding their own business so Thalasou decides to keep to himself as well. Eventually, he expects, Martella will show up or provide additional instructions.


CN Female Human Wizard 2 | Speed 30 ft. | AC 12 (temp: 16), T 12, FF 10 (temp:14) | hp 14/15 | Fort +2, Ref +2, Will +4 | Init +6 | Percep +3 | CMD 11 | Dazing touch 7/7 | Conditions: none

The woman in black shows little interest in the people wearing common clothing, but when the young man with a large signet ring enters, she smiles and keeps checking him at the bar.

After formulating a plan for a while, she decides to move. "Let's play a bit", she mutters to herself and sits next to the man at the bar. She introduces herself: "I am sorry to bother you, but I recognized your ring and so know you must be a honorable man. My name is Lady Aurelia Gatoriana, and I am in need of assistance. I am traveling to be wed in Yanmass, but unfortunately my father died just before I left, and his heir, my cousin, wouldn't give me enough money or servants for the trip. I suppose his decision was wise, even though he is only five. So I am now turning on respectable nobles, to help me fulfill my duty to my father."

Rolls:

Bluff: 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (10) + 13 = 23

Sense Motive DC 23:

There's not a word of truth in the story.


Female NG Human Bard 2 | HP: 15/15 | AC: 16 (12 Tch, 14 Fl) | CMB: +1, CMD: 13 | F: +0, R: +4, W: +3 | Init: +1 | Perc: +4, SM: +5 | Speed 30ft | Bardic Performance: 8/11 | Spells: 1st 4/4 | Active conditions: None.

Rolls:
Diplomacy (Grand Day of Exaltation): 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (10) + 10 = 20
Diplomacy (Stavian III): 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (2) + 10 = 12
Diplomacy (Martella Lotheed): 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (18) + 10 = 28
Diplomacy (Eutropia): 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (6) + 10 = 16

Upon receiving the note, dark-haired Ayalina took care to ensure her mother was preoccupied before snagging a hodded cloak and slipping out and into the streets. While she didn't often go out at the beck and call of others, she didn't need her overly-protective parent getting in between her and opportunity.

The Grand Day of Exaltation was coming and she wanted to see as much of it as she could - the festivities were always interesting and she'd always been working the previous events, so she'd never actually gotten to simply relax and enjoy them. She wasn't sure that she'd get the opportunity with this new job either, but even getting a bit closer to the main event certainly couldn't hurt her odds of actually seeing some of the more interesting parts of the day, right? From conversations with her many customers, she'd learned that this year's noble-to-be was a young weaver whose work had been seen around the royal palace and other noble homes for well over ten years. What wasn't exciting about that?

And anyways, given the close relationship the Lotheed family had with the Stavians... Well. Martella might be an exception, but the Lady probably wouldn't be doing quite as well as she was if she weren't the type to keep her bargains.

Oh, and here she was.

The venue was interesting. She'd done some work in bars before, but not without supervision.

Slipping through the open door behind the a man, she considers the present clientele. It looked like a nice place so far, but... Where was Martella?

There were some people here, but none of them looked to be the Lady Lotheed. Suddenly unsure - she, too, moved for an open, relatively isolated seat. She felt awkward about it, but not everyone could be suave as they charmed their way through the bar, right?

After a moment, she lowered her hood. Her features were fair. Her eyes were properly spaced and her nose unbroken. Her cheeks were properly full and her lips a plump red. Appearances were half the battle when it came to pulling in money for song, after all! The most interesting property about her would likely be the odd, violet color in her eyes.

After a moment of just sitting there, she gets up, restless. Moving towards the scarred man at the bar, she tries for some conversation, too. "You look like you've got a lot of stories," she says cheerfully. "Are you looking forward to the festivities?"

Oof, I promise they won't all be this long. x_x I got away from myself!


CG Male Human Ranger 2 | AC 18, T 12, FF 16 | hp 25/25 | Fort +5, Ref +4, Will +1 | Init +1 | Percep +6 | CMD 17 | Spells & Abilities 0/0 | Conditions: none

Tiber raises an eyebrow from behind his drink as he takes another long sip from his drink. "That I do! Ask for one and I'll tell the tale!" he admits, before leaning closer. "Is this some sort of trick or joke? Did Randall put you up to this?" As though to confirm his suspicions, he stands on the crossbar of his bar stool and looks around the bar for someone.

With a skeptical frown, he takes his seat again. Or, maybe this is my lucky day! Taking another generous sip, he brings his attention back to the beautiful woman. "What sort of festivities are going on exactly? I've noticed the hub-bub, but I've been a little preoccupied with my own business to pay it any mind. Oh! But where are my manners!" he says, extending a hand. "My name is Tiber. What may I get you from the bar?" he asks with a smile as he waves the bartender over.

Sovereign Court

War for the Crown

@Tiber: Favored Enemy doesn't apply. You are rolling Profession, not Knowledge.

Tiber and Pavo arrive first, the others stopping numerous times along the way to speak with the locals. Though the Pixie serves wine, it is most definitely not a bar. The charcuterie boards, enormous wine menu, and lack of music or shouting clearly set this establishment above its common competitors. That, and the fact that they do not ask for payment first.

#1:
“I hear tell the emperor’s going to exalt another of his Ulfen bodyguards like he did for Baron Vinmark. Last thing we need is another barbarian lording it over us.”

#2:
“Ah, I got to see Mr. Smiles at Duke Talbot’s reception this week—the one where Baronet Jivarus got into a row with the servant—and that jester is delightful. Whimsical and biting all at once, and such grace. A tad off-putting, though.”

#3:
“My uncle is a merchant. Says he’s getting coins from all over the old colonies this Exaltation week. Maybe some of the colonies are starting to regret leaving the empire.”

#4:
“I would love to be inside the senate gala. You know the building has been rebuilt five times? They have rooms they didn’t even know they had!”

#5:
“My uncle is in the Lion Blades, and he says the Qadirans are planning to kidnap Princess Eutropia tonight to ransom!”

#6:
“High Strategos Pythareus is back in the capital. I guess that means the marriage between him and the princess is back on. He’s so handsome; he’ll make a lovely emperor.”

#7:
“People claim Duke Centimus is a gentleman, but he gave me the dirtiest look for asking about his accident.”

#8:
“Lady Morilla is back in town from Absalom. I wonder if she’s performing for the Exaltation Gala.”

#9:
“The senate is taking on a bunch of new staff to prepare for the gala.”

#10:
“Ugh, Eutropia brought that disgusting mutt of hers to the Elbistan Tournament last spring, and the wretched beast drooled on the silk table dressings. She’d never get away with such impropriety if her father weren’t pulling strings to protect her.”

@All: Roll a DC 15 Diplomacy check. If you make it, roll a d10 and read the corresponding spoiler to determine which rumor you overhear at the bar. Pavo and Tiber may roll twice, since they arrived earlier.

Martella will appear tomorrow. This is the last set of rolls for now.


Female NG Human Bard 2 | HP: 15/15 | AC: 16 (12 Tch, 14 Fl) | CMB: +1, CMD: 13 | F: +0, R: +4, W: +3 | Init: +1 | Perc: +4, SM: +5 | Speed 30ft | Bardic Performance: 8/11 | Spells: 1st 4/4 | Active conditions: None.

"Randall?" she repeats, puzzled. She keeps her voice down in mimicry of him as she attempts to figure out what he means. Ayalina puts the moment aside, though, as he appears to answer his own question.

Going with the flow of things, she chooses to answer his question: "The Day of Exaltation! Well, it's really more like a week of fun and politics leading up to it. With the preparations and such that happen before it, it's certainly longer than just a day or a week."

She gives him her hand and notes his name before replying with her own. "I'm Ayalina. I would appreciate some fruit juice." She grins at him before admitting, "It's easier on the throat than alcohol. Seeing as I spend most of my time working on song, I figure it's better safe than sorry." Remembering the mention he'd made, she asks, "Did you mean to say you run a business? Or were you just minding your own? I know it can be busy here, but you should definitely try to make some time to visit some of the parties and celebrations about!"

She glances around the room and takes in the smaller details that she'd missed earlier. The place smelled decidedly delicious. It smelled nearly as good as the kitchens at home when the cook was really on a roll.

Diplomacy: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (4) + 10 = 14
Alas, she's too flustered to pay attention to her surroundings! @GM: I realized I made an assumption about when it is, but... What time of day is it actually?


CG Male Human Bard 2 | Speed 30 ft. | AC 15, T 12, FF 13 | hp 17/17 | Fort +2, Ref +5, Will +2 (+4 vs. bard, sonic, language) | Init +2 | Per +4 SM +9 | CMD 15 | Performance 12/12 | Conditions: none

Dice:

Diplomacy: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (17) + 8 = 25
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (19) + 8 = 27
Rumors: 2d10 ⇒ (1, 1) = 2
Rumor Duplicate Re-Roll: 1d10 ⇒ 5

Pavo smiles pleasantly as the woman introducing herself as Lady Gatoriana approaches and sits next to him. "Pavo Kastner," he says, interrupting after she gives her own name. "A most honorable man," he interrupts again after she first declares her need. Afterward, he leans forward and listens to her tale without interruption. He nods interactively as she speaks, but his gaze is noticeably askance and toward the snake on her shoulder.

"That is a frightfully long way for a young lady to travel alone," he remarks once she has finished her tale. "Can I get you a glass of wine? So are you betrothed to a knight or one of the elephant legionaries? Or the house of Kustios?"

The last of the questions is asked with an eager raise of his eyebrows.


CG Male Human Ranger 2 | AC 18, T 12, FF 16 | hp 25/25 | Fort +5, Ref +4, Will +1 | Init +1 | Percep +6 | CMD 17 | Spells & Abilities 0/0 | Conditions: none

"It is a pleasure to meet you," Tiber concludes warmly, before speaking with the waiter. "Some real fruit juice for the lady and I'll have some port. And perhaps a charcuterie board for us to share, if you would? Thank you," he orders.

"How wise!" he continues with a chuckle. "Well, Ayalina, are you a singer? Or perhaps an actress? I've no business of my own, I work for one of the nobles in town. However, I could make some time for a party or two. Which will you be attending?" he asks with a playful smile.
________

Rolls:

Diplomacy, DC 15: 1d20 ⇒ 7
Diplomacy, DC 15: 1d20 ⇒ 2

Gotcha, thanks GM! Lol, Tiber is a little distracted too :P


CN Female Human Wizard 2 | Speed 30 ft. | AC 12 (temp: 16), T 12, FF 10 (temp:14) | hp 14/15 | Fort +2, Ref +2, Will +4 | Init +6 | Percep +3 | CMD 11 | Dazing touch 7/7 | Conditions: none

The woman notices the glance at her snake. "Oh, don't worry about her. She isn't dangerous, but does keep some unwanted advances at bay."

"A wine would be lovely, thank you." She sighs, and continues about her problems: "Yes, the journey is hard, but what can I do? We all have our responsibilities, what would Taldor be if we broke our ways? Oh, and no, he isn't from the high families. Just an accomplished knight who got a lordship as a reward".

Rolls:

Diplomacy: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (10) + 3 = 13


NG Male Human (Taldan) Oracle 2 | Speed 30 ft. | AC 16, T 12, FF 14 | hp 17/20 | Fort +3, Ref +2, Will +3 | Init +2 | Percep +2 | CMD 13 | Spells per day used: lvl1 2/5 Channels per day: 3/3 | Conditions: none

rolls:

Diplomacy: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (12) + 7 = 19
choice: 1d10 ⇒ 7

Thalasou stays content at his table. He takes a moment to order a small bit of cheese and meat and then eats by himself.

Sorry for the short post. Long day today...

Sovereign Court

War for the Crown

@Ayalina: late afternoon

About 10 minutes after the last of you wander in, a waiter asks you all to accompany him. He leads the way to a large table in a back corner. Martella sips casually from a steaming mug, dressed in an elegant but reserved gown—at least by Taldan standards. A hand-sized brass cricket buzzes quietly on the tabletop beside her.

She tells the waiter to put your refreshments on her bill, then turns to the rest of you, “I’m so pleased you could join me this evening,” she begins. “Please order whatever you like; the fig jam is particularly lovely here. And feel free to speak candidly. I’ve taken measures to ensure our privacy.”

Time for full introductions!


CG Male Human Bard 2 | Speed 30 ft. | AC 15, T 12, FF 13 | hp 17/17 | Fort +2, Ref +5, Will +2 (+4 vs. bard, sonic, language) | Init +2 | Per +4 SM +9 | CMD 15 | Performance 12/12 | Conditions: none

"Well, tell me his name, and I am certain my family can arrange an advance on your dowry in order to ensure yo--" he begins before being interrupted by the server. He moves to rise from his seat and prepares to make an apology when he notes that the server includes the lady in the invitation. His eyebrow rises slightly and the faintest of dips at the corner of his mouth signal his thoughts.

He says nothing as he follows the waiter to the back corner.

"Lady Lotheed, a pleasure to serve and beautiful as always," he says with a smile and moves to a seat. He waits for 'Lady Gatoriana' to sit before sitting himself.

Eyes slightly narrowed but smiling just as pleasantly, he turns to 'Lady Gatoriana' and says, "I take it that there is no betrothed waiting in Yanmass for his lovely sorceress to forge her way through the wilds of northern Taldor."


CN Female Human Wizard 2 | Speed 30 ft. | AC 12 (temp: 16), T 12, FF 10 (temp:14) | hp 14/15 | Fort +2, Ref +2, Will +4 | Init +6 | Percep +3 | CMD 11 | Dazing touch 7/7 | Conditions: none

The woman in black graciously accepts Pavo's gesture and sits at the table, placing her umbrella against the wall. The snake slithers quietly into the umbrella to rest. She smiles mischievously, and says: "Oh, he will be devastated! His marriage to a most talented lady ended before he even knew it was supposed to happen."

"Lady Delena Procella, also lady dowager Satorus of Tribulation. I was trying to check out your opinions, either to find an ally or discover weak points of an enemy. Aurelia is my escape if you would have been too eager in helping, a wrong name does wonders in a city this big. But it seems I was wasting my time, even more so as you didn't fall to my little traps", she explains herself. She takes a sip from the wine given by Pavo, and nods to him. "And you have an excellent taste of wines".

She turns to Martella. "So, finally time for the real work? How can we start helping each other to gain what we want? Or did you just invite me to feed crickets to my Disriana?" she says, with a hint of sarcasm in her voice.


CG Male Human Bard 2 | Speed 30 ft. | AC 15, T 12, FF 13 | hp 17/17 | Fort +2, Ref +5, Will +2 (+4 vs. bard, sonic, language) | Init +2 | Per +4 SM +9 | CMD 15 | Performance 12/12 | Conditions: none

"A pleasure to meet the Lady Procella," he says. "I actually am Pavo Kastner. No need to call me lord unless the task suits it."


NG Male Human (Taldan) Oracle 2 | Speed 30 ft. | AC 16, T 12, FF 14 | hp 17/20 | Fort +3, Ref +2, Will +3 | Init +2 | Percep +2 | CMD 13 | Spells per day used: lvl1 2/5 Channels per day: 3/3 | Conditions: none

Thalasou smiles at the waiter as he invites him into the back room. This is exactly the sort of meeting he expected. Following into the backroom, he spots Martella at her table. "Good evening, Miss Lotheed" he says politely and nods ever so slightly at her. His dark, curly hair is an unruly mess on his head but somehow it makes him look all the more handsome. A tan colored leather vest fits nicely over a blue shirt and matches well with the darker brown woven pants that he wears. He doesn't look exactly dapper but he doesn't look like a dock worker either.

He pulls a chair out from the table and sits. "Good evening to the rest of you too. My name is Thalasou. Since Miss Lotheed called us all here, I assume we'll all be getting to know each other."


CG Male Human Ranger 2 | AC 18, T 12, FF 16 | hp 25/25 | Fort +5, Ref +4, Will +1 | Init +1 | Percep +6 | CMD 17 | Spells & Abilities 0/0 | Conditions: none

Both of Tiber's eyebrows riase when the waiter has addressed both him and Ayalina. "Well, it appears we've been summoned!" he jests. As the trio heads to the new area, he takes a moment to appraise her before following in earnest.

"Of course my Lady," he greets with a nod of his head before taking a seat. "I'm sure you know your fancy foods, fig jam and a cheese that'll pair nicely, if you'd be so kind," he orders from the waiter. "So," he says, clasping his hands together, "What'll it be?" he asks their host.


Female NG Human Bard 2 | HP: 15/15 | AC: 16 (12 Tch, 14 Fl) | CMB: +1, CMD: 13 | F: +0, R: +4, W: +3 | Init: +1 | Perc: +4, SM: +5 | Speed 30ft | Bardic Performance: 8/11 | Spells: 1st 4/4 | Active conditions: None.

"I'm a singer," she replies to the man with equal warmth. "Though I do play the violin and dabble in some other instruments now and again. It depends on what's in demand for the season!" At his question, she grins. "I can think of a few, but I suppose it all depends on the schedule of events. I don't want to miss too much for work!"

When they are interrupted, she pauses, a bit surprised. She'd expected this to be a brief one on one meeting, but given the path the waiter took after, she realized it was more of a group thing.

"So we have," she murmurs. "So we have." She follows the waiter without pause, unwary.

Once at the table, she seats herself beside Tiber, neatly spreading her skirts to keep from wrinkling them. When the nobility announced themselves, Ayalina found herself unsure. What kind of task would involve nobility as well as the likes of her? Or perhaps it was something else altogether?

Still, when her turn comes around, she speaks up all the same: "I'm Ayalina, a musician." Her lips slip into a wry smile. "Or Songbringer, if you're a fan. But I rather prefer the name my mother gave me."


CG Male Human Bard 2 | Speed 30 ft. | AC 15, T 12, FF 13 | hp 17/17 | Fort +2, Ref +5, Will +2 (+4 vs. bard, sonic, language) | Init +2 | Per +4 SM +9 | CMD 15 | Performance 12/12 | Conditions: none

"Ayalina Songbird?" Pavo asks rhetorically. "I have never had the pleasure of one of your performances, but your name is not unknown to those of us with a love for art and performance. When this business is over, maybe you will invite me to one."

He sips from his wine glass sparingly and when not drinking, rests his fingers across the rim protectively.


Martella Lotheed places five metal badges on the table. Each pictures a serpent grappling a unicorn in combat, and has a pin to hold it in place on clothing. Her own lapel sports a similar, but fancier badge. "Those are senate aide badges, belonging to the staff of the long dead Senator Voritas. Such defunct badges are traditionally used to identify guests rather than sitting senators or their staff.

"Additionally, they will allow us some limited communication during the Exaltation Gala. Keep them visible on your persons at all times."

Spellcraft DC 24:
This brooch features the heraldry of a Taldan noble family, marking the wearer as an aide to the associated senator. All senate aide badges are part of a set, attuned to a single master senator badge during their creation. A creature wearing the pinned brooch can receive telepathic communications sent from the wearer of the master senator badge. Once the wearer of the senate aide badge receives a message, she has 1 minute to send a telepathic reply of up to 25 words. Sending a reply requires a full-round action of concentration. The wearer of the master senator badge can send up to 10 telepathic messages per day, targeting either a specific badge or broadcasting to all badge wearers, and knows the approximate direction and distance to all wearers of senate aid badges attuned to the master badge.

When a Spellcraft spoiler is in italics, that means it requires detect magic to be cast.


NG Male Human (Taldan) Oracle 2 | Speed 30 ft. | AC 16, T 12, FF 14 | hp 17/20 | Fort +3, Ref +2, Will +3 | Init +2 | Percep +2 | CMD 13 | Spells per day used: lvl1 2/5 Channels per day: 3/3 | Conditions: none

Thalasou reaches for one of the badges. "Interesting. I love these kind of historical things." Turning the badge over in his hands a few times, Thalasou seems entirely enthralled with the little gadget before he pins it on the front of his vest.

"You said they allow for limited communication. Do you mean they are magic?"


CG Male Human Ranger 2 | AC 18, T 12, FF 16 | hp 25/25 | Fort +5, Ref +4, Will +1 | Init +1 | Percep +6 | CMD 17 | Spells & Abilities 0/0 | Conditions: none

Tiber takes a badge as well and places it safely in his pocket. "Is there any meaning behind the design? Seems rather specific, eh?" he inquires between a bite of fig jam and aged goat's cheese. "A gala, you said? Can't say I've ever been to one, nor do I have the clothing for one... yet. Are there any rules of conduct or something I should follow while we are there?" He fidgets just a little in his seat while he asks and waits for a response.


CG Male Human Bard 2 | Speed 30 ft. | AC 15, T 12, FF 13 | hp 17/17 | Fort +2, Ref +5, Will +2 (+4 vs. bard, sonic, language) | Init +2 | Per +4 SM +9 | CMD 15 | Performance 12/12 | Conditions: none

"Clever. How do they work?" Pavo asks simply.


CN Female Human Wizard 2 | Speed 30 ft. | AC 12 (temp: 16), T 12, FF 10 (temp:14) | hp 14/15 | Fort +2, Ref +2, Will +4 | Init +6 | Percep +3 | CMD 11 | Dazing touch 7/7 | Conditions: none

"Well, well, let me see then" Delena says and picks up one badge, and begins to examine it closely. She runs her fingers along the object, and softly utters a few words of magic.

Actions:

Cast detect magic

Rolls:

Spellcraft: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (13) + 8 = 21

"Magic, and not the simplest. I would need a bit more thorough examination to decipher it." She attaches the badge on the front of her dress. "This is already looking better," she says and smiles slyly to Martella.


Female NG Human Bard 2 | HP: 15/15 | AC: 16 (12 Tch, 14 Fl) | CMB: +1, CMD: 13 | F: +0, R: +4, W: +3 | Init: +1 | Perc: +4, SM: +5 | Speed 30ft | Bardic Performance: 8/11 | Spells: 1st 4/4 | Active conditions: None.

Ayalina watches as each of the others takes one of the metal decorations for themselves. She's not entirely sure how the manners work when you've got a mixture of lords, ladies, and common folk. Better to err on the side of caution, right?

Feeling as though she has to say something, she adds, "I think they're quite pretty, but which story does this particular image belong to? There are several stories of snakes and unicorns, aren't there?"


NG Male Human (Taldan) Oracle 2 | Speed 30 ft. | AC 16, T 12, FF 14 | hp 17/20 | Fort +3, Ref +2, Will +3 | Init +2 | Percep +2 | CMD 13 | Spells per day used: lvl1 2/5 Channels per day: 3/3 | Conditions: none

From the corner of his eye Thalasou watches Lady Delena as she examines the trinket. He senses a tingle and recognizes it as the same feeling he gets around his friend at Alseta's temple when she's using magic.

Tentatively he reaches inside himself, in some indescribable way, and tries to replicate the same intangible resonance. To his astonishment, he feels something from the device. Almost like it is alive. Before he can fully comprehend it, it fades back to nothing more than a pretty trinket.

Actions:

Cast detect magic

Rolls:

Spellcraft: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (17) + 6 = 23

"You said this is magic?" He approaches Delena. "I think I felt it too. But I can't figure out what it does."


CN Female Human Wizard 2 | Speed 30 ft. | AC 12 (temp: 16), T 12, FF 10 (temp:14) | hp 14/15 | Fort +2, Ref +2, Will +4 | Init +6 | Percep +3 | CMD 11 | Dazing touch 7/7 | Conditions: none

Annoyed, Delena stares at Thalasou. "You think you felt it? You don't feel magic, you do minor triggers at the object, and the response tells you where the flows go, then..." she starts lecturing, but then stops, realizing something. "Ah, but you do feel! A natural. Both a blessing and a curse, so much power but you don't control it, it controls you", she says and smiles at her realization. She gently runs her nails along Thalasou's arm. "Poor boy, but maybe I can teach you about control", she says, the tone making it clear the teaching wouldn't be pleasant.


CG Male Human Bard 2 | Speed 30 ft. | AC 15, T 12, FF 13 | hp 17/17 | Fort +2, Ref +5, Will +2 (+4 vs. bard, sonic, language) | Init +2 | Per +4 SM +9 | CMD 15 | Performance 12/12 | Conditions: none

Pavo arches a brow and quickly suppresses an amused smirk.


CG Male Human Ranger 2 | AC 18, T 12, FF 16 | hp 25/25 | Fort +5, Ref +4, Will +1 | Init +1 | Percep +6 | CMD 17 | Spells & Abilities 0/0 | Conditions: none

Tiber shifts in his seat, increasingly uncomfortable. Well this took a turn. "Waiter, more wine please. Actually, make it a small pitcher," he asks. Once it arrives, he downs a whole glass before he begins sipping on another one.


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CG Male Human Bard 2 | Speed 30 ft. | AC 15, T 12, FF 13 | hp 17/17 | Fort +2, Ref +5, Will +2 (+4 vs. bard, sonic, language) | Init +2 | Per +4 SM +9 | CMD 15 | Performance 12/12 | Conditions: none

"Wine worth drinking comes in bottles," Pavo advises Tiber.


@Delena & Thalasou: Remember that you can try to identify the items again tomorrow. Also, that is the old style spoilers. We decided a while back to combine actions and rolls into one spoiler.

"It was the symbol of House Voritas, though what it signified--" Martella stops speaking and tilts her head slightly. Once Tiber finishes his drink, she finishes her answer, "I hope you have not changed your mind about working for me in an hour?"

She pauses for a couple of seconds, then says, "I haven't studied House Voritas' history to answer your questions. Quite honestly, they are unimportant other than for the fact that their badges outlasted the family itself. To function, they simply need to be kept on your person. But senate rules require them to be worn at all times. If you receive a message from me, you will have one minute to send a short reply."

The lady pauses to eat for a minute and let others talk, then continues, “Overall, tonight promises to be a historic evening, but an evening of work nonetheless. And in the sort of work you’re embarking upon, the line that divides success and failure is drawn by the people you know. You will each have your own tasks to accomplish, but I’m counting on you to support one another to ensure success and discretion. If you need assistance, kindly ask for it. If your assistance is required, give it. And if I’m to be blunt, I would like just once in my adult life to simply enjoy a gala I attend, rather than scamper about with clandestine busywork. If you all complete your work without need of me to clean anything up, I will happily double my promised fee.

“I trust your activities won’t occupy your entire evening, so by all means, enjoy the party and make friends. This is an excellent opportunity for you to begin your own political ambitions, but do be discreet.”


CG Male Human Ranger 2 | AC 18, T 12, FF 16 | hp 25/25 | Fort +5, Ref +4, Will +1 | Init +1 | Percep +6 | CMD 17 | Spells & Abilities 0/0 | Conditions: none

"Of course, just something to take the edge off of... whatever that was," Tiber responds before listening intently to her mission briefing.

"How loudly do we need to speak for you to receive the message?" he asks as he fishes the emblem from his pocket and pins it prominently to the front of his cloak.
________
GM, are there any names that fit into my backstory that might be important for the event tonight?


CG Male Human Bard 2 | Speed 30 ft. | AC 15, T 12, FF 13 | hp 17/17 | Fort +2, Ref +5, Will +2 (+4 vs. bard, sonic, language) | Init +2 | Per +4 SM +9 | CMD 15 | Performance 12/12 | Conditions: none

Pavo takes the badge and affixes it in place. "Simple enough," he says.


CN Female Human Wizard 2 | Speed 30 ft. | AC 12 (temp: 16), T 12, FF 10 (temp:14) | hp 14/15 | Fort +2, Ref +2, Will +4 | Init +6 | Percep +3 | CMD 11 | Dazing touch 7/7 | Conditions: none

Delena notices Tiber's worried expression and bursts out in a musical laughter. She gently pats Thalasou's shoulder and comforts him: "Don't worry, I'm not going to hurt you. Martella has assured me that everyone here will benefit from cooperation along her plans, for one reason or another. That is enough for me now, and there will certainly be numerous possibilities for everyone to strengthen that belief." She smiles at Tiber, charmingly enough to match even Ayalina's, and blows Tiber a kiss. "I'm an enchanter, minds are my playground. Doubt everything", she explains.

"I wouldn't mind extra pairs of eyes to find appropriate targets. In exchange, I can help you steer people's thoughts to the right direction" she agrees with Martella's suggestion. "I suppose we don't have to hide our identities in the Gala? Is there anything or anyone we should worry about there?" she asks Martella.


NG Male Human (Taldan) Oracle 2 | Speed 30 ft. | AC 16, T 12, FF 14 | hp 17/20 | Fort +3, Ref +2, Will +3 | Init +2 | Percep +2 | CMD 13 | Spells per day used: lvl1 2/5 Channels per day: 3/3 | Conditions: none

"Uh. A natural... I'm not sure what you mean by that." Thalasou is puzzles by Delena's response. She is obviously a powerful magic user herself. Why would she not feel the same tingling energy he feels. Before he can pursue further questions, Martella continues.

When she finishes giving her instructions, as brief as they are, Thalsou follows Pavo's lead and pins the historic badge on his vest. As he's finishing, Delena tells him not to worry.

"I'm not worried." He puts on a smile. "In fact, I look forward to learning some new little tricks. Lytha says I have some talent for it. I guess."

"So? We're going to meet some people huh? And we each get our own tasks. Sounds like fun."

Sovereign Court

War for the Crown

@Tiber: Not at the moment. You have a PM.

"The communication is telepathic. Even a whisper could potentially be overheard."

Turning to Delena, Martella answers, "How and who you present yourselves as is up to your own judgment. However, your employment with me should remain a private matter."

She pushes her plate away from the table edge, "Any last questions before I assign your individual missions?"


CG Male Human Bard 2 | Speed 30 ft. | AC 15, T 12, FF 13 | hp 17/17 | Fort +2, Ref +5, Will +2 (+4 vs. bard, sonic, language) | Init +2 | Per +4 SM +9 | CMD 15 | Performance 12/12 | Conditions: none

Pavo shakes his head and makes a little shrug. "Not that I can think of before we get down to the specifics of the assignment," he says. "Well, maybe the name our scarred friend with desperate need of oenological education would like for us to call him if we need his attention or assistance."


CG Male Human Ranger 2 | AC 18, T 12, FF 16 | hp 25/25 | Fort +5, Ref +4, Will +1 | Init +1 | Percep +6 | CMD 17 | Spells & Abilities 0/0 | Conditions: none

When the room's occupants slowly begin looking at Tiber during the following silence, he realizes that Pavo was referring to him. "Oh, my name is Tiber," he says a little sheepishly.


CN Female Human Wizard 2 | Speed 30 ft. | AC 12 (temp: 16), T 12, FF 10 (temp:14) | hp 14/15 | Fort +2, Ref +2, Will +4 | Init +6 | Percep +3 | CMD 11 | Dazing touch 7/7 | Conditions: none

"And as Pavo knows, I might go with other names if I'm unsure of the people, or if I know they would oppose me. To make it easy, I'll try to keep with Aurelia Gatoriana, but if the situation requires don't be surprised if the gala seems to have a suspiciously high number of ladies with similar descriptions", says with a cunning smile.


Female NG Human Bard 2 | HP: 15/15 | AC: 16 (12 Tch, 14 Fl) | CMB: +1, CMD: 13 | F: +0, R: +4, W: +3 | Init: +1 | Perc: +4, SM: +5 | Speed 30ft | Bardic Performance: 8/11 | Spells: 1st 4/4 | Active conditions: None.

Ayalina giggles at the man's introduction before grinning at him. "And we're happy to learn it!" Pocketing her own badge for the moment, she notes, "I'm glad to hear we'll be working with each other and not at cross-purposes."

Given the way the Lady Delena spoke, she couldn't help but feel just a bit uncomfortable. She wasn't sure if it was intentionally produced or simply a part of who she was, but the Lady Delena seemed to enjoy being dangerous. Ayalina didn't want to give her any reason to turn that cunning on her.

Aurelia Gatoriana, she thinks to herself. Tiber, Pavo, Thalasou. She repeated the sequence in her mind several times to remember the names.

"Well, then, let's work hard to make this a successful night for all of us, shall we?" Ayalina spoke brightly. She stole a dab of Tiber's cheese and noted, "I think I've heard enough for the time being." Popping the bite into her mouth, she asks, "Are these individual tasks private or shall I step away with you for the moment?" Or will you use telepathy? she thinks, curious.

Truly, all of these people were interesting to her. They must all have something about them, or Lady Lotheed wouldn't have decided upon them. She herself was still unsure that she'd be able to pull off her own tasks, but she'd certainly do her best.


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Martella meets briefly with each individual to assign their tasks and answer questions, then provide directions to a market along the way to the senate. "You still have a few minutes, if your resources need resupplying before the gala."

Ayalina:
Spy (Rising Star): Martella needs someone to keep tabs on political rivals and update her if they change their tactics, most notably High Strategos Maxillar Pythareus. This agent must stay close to the military commander, watching for unusual behavior or listening for snippets of conversation, and warn her if he takes any unusual actions, all while remaining unobtrusive.

Spying requires a total of three Perception or Sense Motive checks, but to approach close enough to attempt one of these checks while remaining unnoticed requires the agent to first succeed at a Disguise or Stealth check (this check is not considered part of the PC’s social action).


Delena:
Fraud (Disgraced Noble): Martella needs to discredit a few prominent senators backing primogeniture—not necessarily to sway their votes, but to undercut their influence after the vote.

This agent must create a scandal surrounding one of the major opponents to the repeal of primogeniture. Doing so requires first identifying an opponent, either with a Sense Motive check or by coordinating with another PC (such as one taking the Discovery mission), and then by spreading rumors with a Bluff check and manufacturing or co-opting damning evidence on the fly with a Linguistics check.


Pavo:
Sabotage (Young Reformer): Some senators are too powerful or stubborn for the PCs to influence their votes, but that doesn’t mean they’re beyond some petty revenge. Martella would like to exact some retribution against her more powerful half-brothers, who have contributed a large bottle of rare, 150-year-old red wine from family holdings in the Opparos province, now held in the senate’s kitchens. Martella provides a single syringe filled with a putrefying agent to render the wine embarrassingly undrinkable but warns her agent not to steal the bottle and to conceal any signs of tampering; it must be drunk at dinner and appear to be of terrible quality or—even more scandalously—a forgery.

Recognizing the correct bottle in the crowded kitchen requires an Appraise check or Knowledge (nobility) check, while injecting the putrefying agent without leaving any trace of tampering requires a Disable Device check.


Thalasou:
Discovery (Taldan Patriot): Martella is confident Eutropia has gathered the votes necessary for her cause, but she hates loose ends. She tasks this agent with uncovering the true dedication of two senators: Duke Centimus and Countess Abrielle Pace. It is unknown if either supports Eutropia’s bid to end primogeniture, and while their votes will be apparent after the senate convenes, Martella wants the PC to discover their positions in advance, as well as the reasons each noble holds that position.

Divining each noble’s motivations requires a Sense Motive or Perception check after at least one member of the party has put the noble at ease with one or more successful Influence checks.


Tiber:
Aide (Athletic Champion): In addition to spies, Martella legitimately needs a senatorial aide as both a cover for her other false aides and to run communications between allied politicians. This is by far the easiest job available, but also the most time-consuming, requiring the PC to run messages between various politicians.

Navigating the crowded senate floor to deliver messages quickly requires an Escape Artist or combat maneuver check.

I was supposed to give the missions before we started, so that you could purchase equipment accordingly. You may therefore resell items at full price right now, as well as making new purchases to aid in your mission.


CG Male Human Ranger 2 | AC 18, T 12, FF 16 | hp 25/25 | Fort +5, Ref +4, Will +1 | Init +1 | Percep +6 | CMD 17 | Spells & Abilities 0/0 | Conditions: none

Tiber cracks a small smile at Ayalina, but otherwise remains quiet during their instructions.

Once they have concluded, he rises. "Thank you for your time Lady Lotheed. If you will excuse me, I have some quick purchases to make and I shall meet you at the gala!" He waits a moment to see if anyone rises to join him, sparing a quick glance at the Songbringer, before taking his leave.
________
Purchases: 3 Inkpens, Black Ink, Red Ink, Scrivener's Kit, 30 Sheets of Paper. Tiber would also like to buy a folder of some kind that has many pockets and can be sealed (dropping it doesn't send papers everywhere). How much would such a thing cost, and would he be able to find one on short notice? His scrivener's kit comes with a small leather bag that could work, but doesn't strike me as something paper would last long in without getting crumpled/creased/etc.


CN Female Human Wizard 2 | Speed 30 ft. | AC 12 (temp: 16), T 12, FF 10 (temp:14) | hp 14/15 | Fort +2, Ref +2, Will +4 | Init +6 | Percep +3 | CMD 11 | Dazing touch 7/7 | Conditions: none

"I guess I'll need something to write my fake stories on", Delena says and joins Tiber on the shopping trip.

Oh dear ink is expensive. I'll get the kit, ink, pen & 10 sheets of paper. 14,1g out of my 15 remaining.


Female NG Human Bard 2 | HP: 15/15 | AC: 16 (12 Tch, 14 Fl) | CMB: +1, CMD: 13 | F: +0, R: +4, W: +3 | Init: +1 | Perc: +4, SM: +5 | Speed 30ft | Bardic Performance: 8/11 | Spells: 1st 4/4 | Active conditions: None.

"Let me know if you have need of a distraction," Ayalina says to the group, getting to her feet as well. Grinning, she adds, "I'm not exactly famous just yet, but I'm not unknown either - maybe I can help with a song or two." At the word song, she winks at the man that had called her a songbird - Pavo, she recalls.

Then, she follows Tiber, considering her present kit. Perhaps she would find something she needed at the market?

Of course, she'd also have to go home and get ready - trying to dodge her mother all the while.

Gotta double check a cost when I get home!


CG Male Human Bard 2 | Speed 30 ft. | AC 15, T 12, FF 13 | hp 17/17 | Fort +2, Ref +5, Will +2 (+4 vs. bard, sonic, language) | Init +2 | Per +4 SM +9 | CMD 15 | Performance 12/12 | Conditions: none

"Ah, my lady Ayalina, I already have a use for your song," he says, standing as the women retire from the table.


CG Male Human Bard 2 | Speed 30 ft. | AC 15, T 12, FF 13 | hp 17/17 | Fort +2, Ref +5, Will +2 (+4 vs. bard, sonic, language) | Init +2 | Per +4 SM +9 | CMD 15 | Performance 12/12 | Conditions: none

He looks around the table at the others and asks, "Before we set out, do any if you possess reasonable skill in forgery?"

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