Ela: 1d20 + 0 ⇒ (15) + 0 = 15
Jon: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (20) + 2 = 22
Kae: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (11) + 10 = 21
Kat: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (1) + 4 = 5
MrG: 1d20 + 8 + 1d6 ⇒ (5) + 8 + (5) = 18(* Insp)
Shi: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (19) + 1 = 20
Kat: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (12) + 8 = 20
MrG: 1d20 + 8 + 1d6 ⇒ (10) + 8 + (1) = 19(* Insp)
Shi: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (20) + 5 = 25
From the back of the group, Ela speaks so that only her group hears it.
I think they're just doing their jobs. Traveling more swiftly sounds nice now.
Jon doesn't own a wayfinder yet.
I didn't do to well trusting that old woman... but these Blackjackets seem more trustworthy, and they do seem to be expecting us, specifically.... He looks to his companions, seeking warning on one or another of their faces. Not seeing any, he speaks up. "We are an expedition from the Pathfinder Society. Is that the name you were waiting to hear?"
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (19) + 5 = 24
|Kaepora The Shadowcaller|
"That's half of what I was waiting to hear. It'll have to do."
He turns and barks over his shoulder, "Hanz, Gretchen, fetch the horses! These are the friends of Temel Passad we've been expecting." With that two riders at the rear of the group turn and peel across the plain.
"Our outpost is just over that ridge, it won't be long. The horses will bring you to Petitioners Port, where a ferry is waiting to escort you down the Profit's Flow river to Kerse, where the auction is being held. But you should get a good look at Alabastrine itself from the boat because it is itself an island in the river."
As promised, the riders soon return, each with 3 white horses training behind. Each horse's mane and tail have been braided and the gold colored saddles look well padded. One even seems to have a pet's bed attached to the rear.
Your new found thoroughbred companions tear up the miles with ease. A mere three hours later you find yourselves in the small settlement of Petitioners' Port. Much like Alabastrine itself, Petitioners was originally conceived as a hub of immigration. But when the flow of new people never happened, the town managed to survive instead as an intermodal hub, providing smooth transition between land and river travel for cargo and passengers alike. Your horses draw the locals' attention and they eagerly aid you in finding your boat without even needing to ask. The dock is bustling with porters who quickly help transfer your gear to the Sapphire Star, a single-paddle steam driven river boat. Smaller than your first vehicle, however it's double-deck interior provides luxurious cabins and a well appointed dining room. Above this a viewing deck provides comfortable lounge chairs and an unobstructed view of your surroundings.
Jon: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (4) + 7 = 11
Kae: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (17) + 4 = 21
Kat: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (12) + 9 = 21
MrG: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (12) + 8 = 20(* Insp)
|Kaepora The Shadowcaller|
Discussing your plans and destination, the captain suggests getting underway as soon as you've finished boarding. All the amenities you could need are on board and he will do his best to gain back a little of the time you lost having to hike over the mountain. It is nearing dusk.
Ela tries to listen to conversations of other passengers onboard to see if they would be participating in Alabastrine.
Diplomacy, gather info: 1d20 ⇒ 13
The boat is reserved just for your group
The setting sun casts a warm orange glow across the waves as you set out. Hours later a faint orange glow still lingers behind the western horizon, but you all notice a faint blue-ish glow to the east. As you travel down river, in that direction, that glow becomes more pronounced. Eventually the river widens significantly as it makes a broad sweeping bend. In the middle of the bend is the source of this strange glow. A large island sits here, light emanating upward and outward from its southern end. Your captain explains this is Alabastrine. You are not scheduled to dock at Alabastrine, but he offers to pass by as close as he can without disturbing any local traffic (which turns out to be none). He tells you that he will need to make port quickly in Macradi to refuel and that Alabastrine would take days to explore. Any further delay will seriously jeopardize your ability to arrive in Kerse on time. He is however at your service and will do as you request. Shi and Boris can easily survey the city's layout from the air as you pass by. I've added the district map to the google slide. Temel will have info on each district by number.
As you approach the southern edge of the island, you can easily see where the Luminous Wharf (#2) gets its name. Five enormous globes of continual flame hover about 80ft above the docks. The tranquil blue light floods the area and much of the neighboring districts, as well as your boat and the night sky itself. You can easily see, reading a ship's manifest or inspecting cargo would be just as easy as if it were daylight.
Graves can only shake his head sadly, at all the excess.
"Does anyone even live here?" He muses, at the lack of any sort of activity one would usually associate with a city of this size. "Its like a picture of beauty. But just a picture... a drawing, with no actual life to make it truly shine."
Ela watches the island intently.
Maybe folks are just in at home for the evening? The people we talked to before we got on this boat said it was eerily empty, but somebody has to live here, right?
She fixates on the globes as their boat approaches.
When Alabastrine comes into view, Katswiri will take a moment to summon her second sight, peering into the future for danger.
"I believe someone should be living here, yes. There has been a previous auction, won by a woman named Namazamo I believe. She would have been in charge of the city the last five years, and surely it has been used for something."
Katswiri begins to unpack her painting materials and flips to an open page of her journal next to the painting of her previous vision, and begins to paint the docks. "It might be lacking in life, but I think you have it exactly right in a way. This beauty deserves to be captured in paint."
"What kind of wealth to have such amazing... works here!" Jon is completely unable to hide his awe at the display. The sign outside of town was remarkable, but this... this is something like nothing I've seen before. Not even the wonders of Absalom had prepared the Shoanti for something like this. And completely unused!
|Shi no kage|
Scanning the area, Shi and Boris literally got a birds eye view of the city as they flew over it. Heading back to the grop, Shi lands, shaking his head. "For a place this big, there should be a lot more activity, even if it is dark. I think somethings up. he said.
The folks at the last dock said it would be this way. It’s still just so striking when you really see it.
Ela frowns at the desolate scene.
You also see a tall spire-like building along the northern edge about mid-way east/west (#3). It is illuminated externally top to bottom. Made almost entirely of glass with the occasional gold trim and a gold dome at the top. It seems structurally very impractical but is impressive visually. Taking a closer look, through the glass you can see a massive desk on the top floor. The surface is clear except for a single bottle of ink and a golden fountain pen.
After passing by Alabastrine, you enjoy 2 days of uninterrupted rest and relaxation.
90%: 1d100 ⇒ 37
You close your eyes, attempting to visualize the path to your destination. The gentle rocking of the boat soothes your mind. In fact you see your riverboat, but rather than being on a river, you see it as a tiny speck in a huge ocean. The sun hangs low, off to the right. Not sure if it's a morning sun to the east, or evening sun to the west you look around searching for any other point of bearing. But nothing is there, the massive ocean spreads to the horizon in all directions. You feel like you should be panicked at this, yet the vision has a strong feeling of peace and tranquility. After a short while, a shape appears on the horizon, straight ahead of your vessel. A tall structure of white marble with a gold dome rises into view. Five white spires with gold cupolas surround it. It sits on a tiny, isolated, island framed by stone walls but a large bridge extends behind it. Beyond the bridge, the details of an impressive city vaguely form just before the vision fades...
slide #3 on the google link is for you.
As you approach Macridi, A second river, the Great Goldpan, merges with the Profit's Flow. The water grows very wide and you notice several freshly hewn logs dotting the surface. Every dozen logs or so, skilled lumberjacks deftly hop about. Humans, gnomes, and even a gathlain, tend to their 'herd' of lumber. Expertly rolling or steering them towards their destination. As your boat pulls up alongside an auxiliary dock, you see the main dock and lumber mill is a flurry of activity. The air vibrates with the screaming of saw blades.
Captain Hensa shouts over the din, "I need to restock my supply of firewood for the boiler. Karland sells me scraps for next to nothing. I couldn't afford to operate if it weren't for that." She points toward the sawmill at the mention of 'Karland'. "It shouldn't take more than a couple hours to complete the transaction and fill up. Then we'll get you on to Kerse at top speed! The river picks up its pace from here on, which'll help too."
slight backfill because I didn't have this detail on my phone at the time I introduced it
Your captain for this leg of the journey is Hensa Scafsworth, a jubilant half-orcish woman. She has the swagger of a fearsome pirate, but otherwise her attire and mannerisms are very professional. The elaborate rapier draped from her left hip tells of some experience as a swashbuckler.
Ela laughs as she watches the lumberjacks hop back and forth between logs on the river. She yells out to them, partially in amusement but also purely curious.
Hey! How often do any of you miss a log and fall in the water?
When they get to the restocking station proper, Ela singles out a gnome who could teach her at about the proper size and balance.
Who wants to hold my pistol and black power horn while I try this? I'm pretty sure I'm going to miss at least once.
Ela kindly asks him to teach her to hop over logs. In the back of her head she's definitely trying to show off her light nimbleness to the team.
Yeah, nothing specifically I need to do before arriving. Ready to proceed to Kerse.
|Kaepora The Shadowcaller|
...Ela singles out a gnome who could teach her...
The first 'gnome' you approach giggles, "Oh, I just cheat, hehe!" And with that it unfurls the strangest set of wings, seemingly made of wooden branches and twisted vine, yet a living part of its body.
Ela: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (7) + 10 = 17
Kae: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (17) + 4 = 21
Kat: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (19) + 12 = 31
MrG: 1d20 + 8 + 1d6 ⇒ (19) + 8 + (2) = 29(* Insp)
Kat: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (5) + 8 = 13
MrG: 1d20 + 8 + 1d6 ⇒ (15) + 8 + (6) = 29(* Insp)
Kat: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (6) + 9 = 15
MrG: 1d20 + 8 + 1d6 ⇒ (17) + 8 + (3) = 28(* Insp)
You're not quite sure where you are at the moment, but looking around this dense forest it seems like compatible habitat for fey.
Gathlain usually enjoy playing tricks on any other Material inhabitants. Simply for their own amusement. It's extremely unusual to see a Gathlain working, cooperatively, with a human run industrial activity.
However, you've heard that what is collectively referred to as the Palakar Forest is actually home to three distinct fey 'Courts'. Naturally subdivided by the confluence of two rivers, the fey in each section pay fealty to the royal court of that section. These courts often squabble with one another and typically do not cross the rivers.
You've also heard rumor tho, that an enterprising Kalistocrat in Macridi has somehow made pacts with each of these three courts. By harvesting only the trees that the fey allow and by reseeding the forest to their liking the lumber gained has been very lucrative from what would otherwise have been rather hostile territory for humans.
Ela finds an actual Gnome on the second try who explains, "The hop is th' easy part. Just jump about two feets more than ya think ya need to on account of th' log'll roll away from ya when you push off. It's the landing what's gonna be the tough part. The log starts ta roll th' second ya touch down. Gots ta be ready fer that!"
Acrobatics DC12 to jump. DC20 Reflex to land.
As you approach Kerse, Capt. Hensa explains, "Your buddy Temel lives right on the shore of Lake Encarthan. Beautiful property. He's not far from the mouth of one of the canals. You'll be there soon."(slide#2)
After passing thru a gate in the city's walls, you see many residences as you travel the canal. The dense city provides no room for sprawling mansions, so the residents flaunt their wealth in excesses of material. The simplest of structures are made of fine marbles and gold. The more elaborate homes are made of such impractical materials such as vines, glass, or seemingly, air itself. Anyone sensitive to magic can feel the powerful enhancements without even needing to cast detect.
At long last, on the evening of the tenth day, you pull up to Temel's private dock...
The setting sun gives a glimpse of colorful flowers covering much of the view before you. Just beyond, up a short hill, is a large two-story dwelling made of white marble.
Approaching you is a tall man with carefully groomed hair and an oiled beard. He wears pristine white clothing heavy with gold embroidery and gems. He clasps his white-gloved hands in front of him, and bows respectfully in your direction.
"Ah, my esteemed friends from the Pathfinder Society, and not a moment too soon. So good of you all to join me. You had me worried, but finally you are here. The auction begins tomorrow, we have much to go over. Oh where are my manners. Welcome to Druma, welcome to Kerse, and welcome my home! Please make yourselves comfortable. I hope your journey was delayed by the sheer relaxation and beauty of our abundant nation?"
Ela's eyes widen as the Gathlain's wings spread, causing her to realize her chances at doing this well aren't what she thought they were.
Oh, yes that must be nice when your feet slip up a bit! But... um, I don't have those.
However, after politely excusing herself she does find a real gnome. She enthusiastically follows him out onto the logs, and on her first jump...
Acrobatics, jump, DC12: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (5) + 3 = 8
She doesn't push far enough and "sticks" a landing... in the water about a third of the way short of the log she targets. She paddles back to shore for another attempt.
Acrobatics, jump, DC20: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (19) + 3 = 22
Acrobatics, land, DC12: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (2) + 3 = 5
This time the jump is good but her clothes being wet, almost like a heavy wet kite on her light frame, causes her balance to be completely off on the landing. Sploosh!
Okay, that's definitely harder than it looks!
”Not relaxation, sadly. We fell into an ambush by bandits, but we bested them and are no worse for wear.” He describes the encounter at the bridge if Temel asks, then proceeds to examine their host’s home.
Perception: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (7) + 3 = 10
"Bandits?!? Here in Druma??" As you describe the events in detail he seems far less surprised. "Ah, I see. You were attacked by bandits in Isger, near Dustpawn. I hope no one was seriously hurt? This should not have been dangerous travel. I'm thankful the Society sent capable agents though. It's intolerable the criminal activity Isger allows to go unchecked. It sounds to me like you are describing the Commencement Path bridge. A gift from Druma to Isger many years ago, meant to be a welcoming sight for immigrants. Some welcome! The Mercenary League normally patrols Commencement Path, even though it is in Isger. Sadly the politics in Isger are complicated by the ever present influence of Cheliax, who doesn't like the idea of such a well equipped force 'encroaching' on their buffer zone. Did you happen to mention this attack when you met with the Mercenary League? Did they investigate this crime?"
Perception=10, This guy is really really rich.
|Kaepora The Shadowcaller|
"The only ones seriously hurt were them. If I return and find them at it again, their condition will only worsen." Kaepora grimly jokes. "Perhaps we should have mentioned it to them, but it didn't cross our minds at the time. I don't suppose we could send a sending or messenger?"
Ela stretches as she gets off the boat.
Enough about raggedy bandits. Let's get to work on this auction briefing. I think we're going to need a lot of prep in the social interactions area... at least I am.
"Ah yes, the auction. Of course. The bid for Alabastrine is unlike probably anything you've seen before. It is not uncommon for an auction to be turned into a social event, particularly in Druma. However, this one promises to be one of the biggest events in some time. The auction process will take place over the course of three days. There are five registered bidders, each of us will be putting on an event of some kind during those three days. So as you might imagine, simply registering to bid is an enormous commitment of time and funds, even before the bidding begins. It is an unparalleled opportunity to talk and discuss business with other prophets and merchants. I suspect some of the other bidders may not even be that interested in Alabastrine itself, but desire the exposure."
"I cannot compete on that level. I chose to offer the first event. I'll be hosting a humble brunch here at my estate tomorrow morning. I need to not embarass myself, but I've kept things conservative. This will be one of my largest investments to date if I am able to follow through with it. I needed to keep my funds liquid."
"This will also give me a chance to introduce you to the other play makers early in the process."
plz see discussion
Ela pays attention as Temel downplays his own involvement in the actual auction. She's not sure if he's invoking a subtle brag, fishing for compliments or otherwise.
Sense motive: 1d20 ⇒ 8 she may never know...
|Kaepora The Shadowcaller|
Kaepora studies Temel while he is talking, looking over the man and understanding a little bit more about him.
Sense Motive: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (8) + 11 = 19
Temel's eyes remain fixed on Ela, "I can't help but notice Trade Prince al'Hakam has assigned some of his most trusted agents to attend this event. I hope he didn't cloud your minds with the past. While it's true I have not always liked the decisions Pathfinder Society has made, I have grown to appreciate your organization's skills and wisdom. We share a common enemy. I don't trust Mirosype at all, and don't want her setting up shop in Druma. You don't want her financing Aspis Consortium operations with Drumish wealth. This is why I reached out to Aaqir. I trust in him to know the right people for the task. I hope I was not mistaken."
|Kaepora The Shadowcaller|
"Of course. I believe you will see that your faith in Aaqir was well placed. Many in our group have very diverse and capable talents. The Aspis have much to fear from the Society, whether or not they acknowledge it." Kaepora bows, trying to affirm a higher sense of confidence into Passad.
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (7) + 11 = 18
Yes, we definitely don't want them being funded here or having another place to openly setup shop...
Diplomacy: 1d20 ⇒ 4
Ela continues to look for signs beyond his apparent distrust of the Exchange.
Sense motive: 1d20 ⇒ 2 alright then, the RNG is making it rain...
When they meet up with Temel, Jon takes a pair of goggles out of his pack and slips them over his eyes. Other than his answers about the bandits, he remains silent, studying Temel as he explains the auction and answers questions from other Pathfinders. After about an hour, he removes the goggles and places them back in his pack before re-entering the conversation.
Check: Once per day, you can examine the natural aura of a creature or object to discern the subject’s alignment, emotions, health, or magic. This requires 10 minutes of concentration, after which you attempt a Perception check. Each time, you must pick one of four auras to read: alignment,Read Alignment Aura: You attempt to read the alignment aura, learning the alignment and its strength. An alignment aura’s strength depends on the creature’s Hit Dice or item’s caster level, as noted in the description of the detect evil spell.
emotion, health, or magic. The result of the check applies only to the selected aura. You must be within 30 feet of the subject at all times during the reading. ... The DC varies depending on the aura, as shown on the table.
Task Read alignment Aura DC 15 + creature’s HD
or item’s caster level
Perception, aura goggles: 1d20 + 3 + 2 ⇒ (15) + 3 + 2 = 20
These leather goggles have dark, purple-hued lenses coated with a special alchemical substance that reveals particular psychic spectrums. To provide any benefit, the goggles must be continuously worn for 1 hour, during which time the wearer takes a –2 penalty on all sight-based Perception checks. After this 1-hour period, the user can remove the goggles to gain a +2 circumstance bonus on Perception checks for the read aura occult skill unlock. This benefit fades after 1 hour.
Getting a hint from the other Pathfinders that their host has some concerns with their arrangement, Jon tries to determine more of that those concerns may be.
Sense Motive: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (18) + 2 = 20
He nods at Kaepora, but seems to keep eyeing Ela with suspicion.
"All right, sounds good. I probably should explain what the prize is that everyone is bidding on."
"Alabastrine, if fully functional, would be the 3rd largest city in Druma. It's divided into five districts. Each is available separately during this auction."
He hands you a map...
The map is Slide #1. I'll get the description of each district when I get home this evening.
"Are any areas more desirable then others?" Graves asks, as he peers at the provided map. "If we have to prioritize, it might help picking which ones are of more import. And do we know who the bidders will be?"
"We passed the city on the way here, it looked deserted." He adds, absently.
Sense Motive: 1d20 + 8 + 1d6 ⇒ (11) + 8 + (1) = 20 (same as Jon's =))
"The first district is the 'Courts of Abstinence'. Numerous massive apartments fill this tightly packed district. While the other districts of Alabastrine are sparse and opulent, this one is strictly utilitarian. The labyrinthine streets and alleys provide a mind boggling residential capacity, but no one to live there. I have reliable information that the government of Cheliax along with several Hellknight Orders are seeking an area to improve their urban fighting skills, which the Courts could easily provide."
"Next is the so-called 'Luminous Wharf'. Since you came that way in your travels I've no doubt you've seen the light display for which it's named. Intended to assure those seeking refuge from the tumult of the rest of the world that Alabastrine was 'always open'. Now, the lights just remind passing ships of the existence of the city, which they might otherwise crash into having forgotten it's there."
"The center of the island was never completed, leaving an abandoned patch of land with no clear purpose. When High Prophet Kelldor acquired the city, he invested heavily in creating a grand municipal district in the previously blank space. It's unofficially been dubbed 'Prophet’s Burg' and never officially named anything else. The most ostentatious structures in the whole of Alabastrine reside in this district. For Kalistocrats seeking to live within the city, that equals prime real estate. Also, the city’s ruling council meets in the central building, known as Kelldor’s Spire. Anyone with political aspirations may find that of interest."
"Fourth is the 'Scriptum'. This district houses dozens of titanic libraries, containing innumerable treatises on the history of the Prophecies of Kalistrade. The largest of which is, confusingly, also called 'the Scriptum'. Other libraries detail different religions, but from a clinical examination devoid of the usual religious fervor. The architects of Alabastrine intended to indoctrinate new arrivals, by providing free access to these texts. Expecting an influx of refugees bewildered by the death of Aroden and having lost faith in divine worship, these libraries would help speed the transition to life as a Prophet. Many of these same ideas were later employed successfully in the settlement of Twingate."
"Last, and for many definitely least, we have the 'Working End'. Much of this section of the city was meant for industrial purposes. Vast warehouses fill the majority of the district with some additional support structures. Most are assumed empty, but it has been used in the past as hosting sites for despicable illegal trade. Or occasionally the long-term storage of goods from other nations, probably legally. One of this district’s bidding attractions is that any goods not specifically removed from the warehouses by the completion of the auction are forfeit to the new district councilor."
"Are any areas more desirable then others?"
Well I suppose 'to each their own' is applicable here. While Myrosype has flaunted her interest in the whole package, the other bidders have been far more private. But they must be interested in something. What little rumors I've gathered, there's been some discreet interest in all but the Wharf. You may need to call someone's attention to it if we don't want Myrosype to pick it up cheap."
"And do we know who the bidders will be?"
“Well, there's Myrosype. She’s no prophet, nor does she even hail from the Inner Sea. I have heard that she hails from the distant land of Iblydos. I have no reason to hold a grudge against Myrosype, though I know your Society does, and that concerns me. She’s always been pleasant in our interactions, and she does have a reputation for always keeping up her end of a bargain. She has enough clout to have made her way into the bidding, and is poised to take the lion’s share of the districts if left unchecked.”
“There's the current lord-councilor, Irith Nomazamo. I can barely get close to that woman; what, with all the eccentric clothing she wears. If she speaks more than ten words a day, I’d be surprised. Can’t help but feel sorry for her though; Irith made a good run of ruling Alabastrine since the last bid, and now that trade looks to be on the upswing, her time is running out. I’d be surprised if she's recouped enough to acquire more than a single district.”
“No one really knows much about Cyran Androtus. He’s an elf; perhaps one of the longest lived devotees of the Prophecies. He is said to traffic outside of Golarion, supplying extraplanar factions with raw materials and facilitating negotiations among them. He possesses considerable magical abilities. If you can learn something from him, you’ll do better than most.”
“Then we have Vayde Petronax. He’s a damn skeleton of a man. Some say he adheres to the strictest tenures of the Prophecies when it comes to the consumption of food and drink. I can barely stand listening to his hoarse voice for more than a few minutes, but it’s clear the wizened elder of the Petronax family knows much about the city. After all, his family’s servants and soldiers have been working the streets since before High Prophet Kelldor enacted the bidding process.”
“And of course, there's me, Temel Passad. What can I say about myself? I’m a devout follower of the Prophecies of Kalistrade. I only hope to carve out a single district, though I remain unsure if I possess the wealth to contend with the likes of Myrosype and the other attendees.”
there's a who's who cheat sheet on Slide #6