A tall golden skinned humanoid dressed in armor enters the room. He carries a shield and a large sword hangs at his waist.
He looks around with a blank look on his face.
A gnome steps into the room, his deep maroon-colored eyes shine exitedly as he shakes everyone's hands.
"Nice to meet you! I'm Jezu."
|Talriss the Toxic-Fang|
A gray skinned lady with sharp eyes and long, gorgeous hair steps in to the room with an outfit that is a little revealing. She holds a deadly air about her as she gives a little smirk that makes her look both cunning and dangerous. "I suppose you are my team for this mission. I am Talriss the Toxic-Fanged. It is a pleasure to meet you. Let us do hope that you are all prepared."
Let me know if you want me to tone down Talriss at any point and I shall comply.
Squinting as he steps into the room, a balding human with deeply weathered and tanned skin grins and reveals he's long overdue for a dental visit.
"Howdy ya'll! 'Been buzzin' like a junebug in Summer heat waitin' to meet my next team!"
The man's accompanied by a heavy odor of whiskey as he quickly closes to shake the hands of Marutson, Jezu and Talriss. He seems to have no qualms about sharing details about himself and gets right to it.
"Can't believe they let me inta' this Society with ya'll given I hadn't had much experience but that Janira gal said me n' my bug passed all them tests real good, so here I is!"
|Talriss the Toxic-Fang|
Talriss tries to hide her obvious disgust at the strong odor of whiskey. "Oh... It is a pleasure, certainly.." She coughs a few times before holding a handkerchief up to her nose. "If I know anything about where we are going, I believe you should fit right in."
This adventure starts us out on a boat I believe.
This adventure does indeed start on a boat! That said, as we're not allowed to give any actual box text before the 26th, we're advised to start play either at the lodge or in a shuttle. I've decided to interpret that thusly:
The lot of you currently sit, stand, or (in Pete's case, most likely) sway drunkenly aboard the Main-Gauche de Renard, a small transport vessel with a cabin set aside for the Pathfinder Society. Some of you who were outside Absalom at the time likely returned to the port via this ship; the rest of you are here to retrieve them en route to your eventual destination, The Sixwing Drake.
Anyone who has not already, feel free to make introductions! Open roleplay will continue until the 26th, at which point I'll railroad you to the next ship.
Jezu, out of things to say, idly twirls his fingers, a few pebbles floating in the air above his fingers move in tune with his fingers as he moves them.
"Mmmmm. Your command of the cosmic force is subtle."
Another gnome enters the deck. He hobbles along with the aid of a stick. His skin is green, and his hair wild and white, partially braided.
"Gnoda you seek, and Gnoda you have found."
Your party assembled, you leave the Main-Gauche de Renard and head onto the docks.
Water laps steadily at the pier as sailors, laborers, and merchants rush busily around Absalom’s port. The venture-captain’s summons called for a meeting aboard the Sixwing Drake, a sleek sailing ship. The Drake’s captain, a Varisian woman and fellow Pathfinder named Zarah Zendrani, stands at the helm of her vessel. “It’s not like Valsin to be late,” she mutters, furrowing her brow.
As if on cue, a tall and meticulously groomed man pushes his way through the crowd and up the gangplank, cursing audibly. “Whoever supervises this mess of a port needs to be dumped in the sea!” he grumbles.
The tall man looks around at those gathered before him. “Just the group I requested. Perfect. I’m Venture-Captain Ambrus Valsin, and I took great care in selecting just the right Pathfinders for this assignment.”
As Zarah raises an eyebrow in Pete's direction, Valsin reaches into his belt pouch and withdraws a small, folded paper before continuing. “A few days ago, I received a curious note from a rather unexpected source. It’s not every day that I get a request from an agent of the Aspis Consortium.” Captain Zendrani’s eyes widen, and Valsin smiles knowingly. “But Magali Delroya does not appear to be your typical Aspis agent. As you surely know, the Aspis Consortium pursues a variety of activities across the Inner Sea that the Pathfinder Society finds abhorrent. It seems that Delroya has been working with them for some time, but can no longer stomach the snakes herself. She wants to stop a shipment of an experimental drug from leaving Diobel later this week. It’s bound for a number of locations across the Inner Sea region. According to Delroya, she can’t ask the local authorities for help, because the Aspis Consortium has already struck a deal with a faction of the Kortos Consortium, a powerful merchant collective. Her hands are tied, so she’s come to us for help. In this note, she outlines three different tasks that would help to disrupt the Aspis long enough for her to move the shipment to a secure location, out of the clutches of the consortium. Once you accomplish two of these tasks, she’s willing to meet with you, but not before.
“Normally, I wouldn’t trust an Aspis agent at any hour of the day. But our sources in Diobel have confirmed the Aspis and Kortos consortia’s activities. Everything checks out, so we are presented with a unique opportunity. If we help Delroya, we might not only strike a financial blow against the Aspis Consortium, but we could also reveal their dealings with the Kortos Consortium—and possibly prevent their arrangement from turning into a more formal alliance. Furthermore, we hope to stop this drug from spreading across the Inner Sea region, and if we—if all of you—do a good enough job, we might even convince Delroya to join the Society. A turncoat agent would be a valuable asset in our ongoing run-ins with the Aspis Consortium.
“Take some time to look over Delroya’s note" (which is prepared for you on Slide 3) "and the tasks she has set for you." (This is on Slide 4.) "If you have any questions, now is the time to ask. Remember, the Aspis Consortium is a long-time enemy of the society, but the Kortos Consortium, while certainly suspicious, is not our enemy. It is a complex organization with many factions, and we should avoid antagonizing any of them, except when necessary to oppose the Aspis Consortium.”
Pete holds his knees close to his chest and rocks slightly as Valsin delivers their briefing.
"Whoo! I almost thoughtcha selected me for accident on this one, but I gets ya now!"
He gives Valsin an exaggerated wink.
"Got them shipmentsa' whip we gotta stop. I think I hearda' that stuff before, right? A little like pixie-dust, frost, shiver, snowflake, coo-coo-ca-roo and snoodle isn't it? Nah, that stuff's no good. Lost my brother, well not my brother but coulda' been to stuff half that hard!"
Pete nods to the others, smiling.
"Sneakin' on some ship as a big group sounds a bit hard, so maybe we first disrupt this meetin' before Del-roya's all figured out like a squirrel caught stashin' a winter nut, and then get ourselves a bit dirty by divin' inta' them Rat Street Sewers to find ol' Laszo. Betcha with a street name like that, we find some good eats too while we're down there, eh Bug??"
Pete leans forward and rubs the chin (?) of an oversized cockroach that chitters excitedly at his side.
"Mmmmm. A trap, this could be. Highly suspicious circumstances. But this drug should be stopped, its makers and distributors also.
Not keen to go into a sewer, am I! And the lair of a leper, even worse! But if soap I can find, then perhaps...
Gaining entry to a ship seems easier. Dockworkers and sailors are not known for their force of will, and can be easily persuaded.
As for disrupting a tavern meeting - " Gnoda regards Pete with a furrowed brow - "I am quite certain this team could accomplish that one way or another."
Entering the sewer lair of a leprous alchemist is too dangerous by far - what foulness and decrepitude awaits therein!
Gnoda shudders at the thought of the sewers, and automatically takes a step back from Whiskey Pete and Bug.
|Talriss the Toxic-Fang|
"Hmmmm Gnoda, if you tell about your insecurities you'll never get very far." The Vishkanya teases. "Though you are right. A sewer is hardly a place for one as delicate as myself. I suppose I will follow you... This time."
Reminder; if ever you are uncomfortable with this character, let me know and I will tone it down immediately.
"I have to agree as well. Stopping Them from finding out what Magali is doing to stop them is important."
"No questions, then?" asks Venture-Captain Valsin as the captain shuffles off to make preparations. "If you want to make any last-minute purchases, now's the time; you'll only have a day or two, at most, once we arrive in Diobel, and Captain Zendrani tells me there's still an hour before cast-off."
Feel free to let me know of any purchases you might be making at the beginning of your next posts; in the meantime, we'll move forward.
The next morning, you are each roused from your bunks while the sky is barely catching the light of dawn. The paladin among you moving just as much as a construct as he did the previous day, and is nearly as talkative. Regardless of whether this speaks to an undercaffeination, a rough night's sleep, or just his personality, the five of you make your collective way onto the deck.
Captain Zendrani and the crew of the sleek Sixwing Drake steer the ship up to the massive barrier of broken war-barges, crumbling walls, and jetties of iron and wood that protect the port of Diobel. “Well, here we are,” says the captain. “I’ll make sure everything is in order with Diobel’s inspectors and charter you a barge to the port. You aren’t carrying anything particularly valuable, so you shouldn’t draw much attention from the inspectors or pilots, so long as you don’t run your mouth. My crew and I will wait here with the ship. You can return here to rest, if you need to, but remember—there isn’t much time!”
As if on cue, a wide, flat-bottomed boat pulls up beside the Sixwing Drake. Its captain is a stocky, middle-aged man with weather-beaten skin and calloused hands. Some words are exchanged, and Zendrani drops a few gold pieces into his hand.
"Markus Karbie," he says by way of introduction as you pile into the barge. "Cap'n Zendrani asked me to stick around the port and keep an eye out for ya if you need to get back to 'er ship, so that's what I'll do."
With that, he turns back to steering, and it's not long before you're ashore.
|Talriss the Toxic-Fang|
Knowledge Local: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (12) + 1 = 13
"It is a bit of rumor and hearsay, but one confirmed detail is that the Kortos and Aspis aren't officially allied. Their motives just sometimes happen to align." Talriss muses. She decides to purchase a potion of cure light wounds and a wand of Enlarge Person.
On the shore...
"Perhaps we should make our way to the tavern? The smell of the sea and fish is a bit unpleasant." Talriss suggests, but will ultimately agree to where the party wants to go.
Gnoda buys some soap before setting off.
This Diobel sounds wretched...
Know.local: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (15) + 8 = 23
"Hmmmm. Know these consortia, I do. There present arrangement is unstable, for they are disparate and disunited organisations. Causing a major disruption in their operation would very likely sever ties between the two groups. The Apsis faction concerned is House Locosta; they claim to be spice traders, but their main income is from the slave trade. Mmmmm. A force for darkness, they are."
"Mmmm. The tavern we must find."
Pete seems to enjoy the ride to the shore, clapping his hands excitedly as he leaps from the vessel.
"Hoo! I just love all the things we're gettin' to do as Pathfinder agents! So, the tavern first! This'll be fun! I suppose we shouldn't all be goin' into the Oyster all at once - a couple'a gnomes, our sorceress and uh, goldie here... I dunno 'bout you folks but that screams Pathfinders to me!"
Pete rubs his hands together.
"Whatch'all think? Prolly this Kortos fella frequents the place if he set the meetin' up?"
Pete takes a quick swig from his canteen, all this planning stuff being hard work.
The Overflowing Oyster is a dirty, broken-looking building that barely fits between the fishing tackle shop to its north and the junk shop to its south. Hanging over the door is a creaky sign that shows a painted oyster with pearls spilling from its gaping shell.
"I suppose we shouldn't all be goin' into the Oyster all at once - a couple'a gnomes, our sorceress and uh, goldie here... I dunno 'bout you folks but that screams Pathfinders to me!"
Do you enter as a group, or per Pete's question, consider alternate possibilities?
"Mmmm. Entering a couple at a time is wise." Gnoda surveys the party. "Jezu and I shall go inside. It is our destiny."
Gnoda invites the other gnome to accompany him.
"Disrupting a meeting is our goal. But how shall we do this? Start a brawl? Accuse the tavern owner of selling us fake pearls, mmmm?"
|Talriss the Toxic-Fang|
"You two going in and finding out what you can will help us come up with a better plan." Talriss agrees.
"I'd be happy to go in there, too. I can do come things, make pebbles appear in their shoes, put dirt in their ale, and if it comes to worse, I can blast some rocks at a pretty high speed."
Jezu agrees to enter with Gnoda.
With a roughly general agreement that the group won't go in all at once, but with little else decided in terms of their approach, Pete decides to "wing it" as he's often done in life.
"C'mon Bug. Let's see what kinda scraps they waste around back."
Pete guides his oversized roach along the alley that straddles the Oyster and the junk shop, his eyes open for anything discarded that could still be usable.
Jezu and Gmaster Gnoda
The interior of the Overflowing Oyster displays a mix of rickety furniture and gaudy decorations, from strands of obviously fake pearls hanging over the kitchen’s entrance to wooden carvings of sultry mermaids and cheap paintings of ships at sea.
The Overflowing Oyster is not, however, "overflowing" in any capacity, nor is it "full" or even "reasonably busy." Despite it being prime time for a dockworker's breakfast, its only customers are a few local laborers hunching over a sausage mash that smells a bit off. Behind the bar stands a man who looks every bit the barkeep of a seedy local tavern, who looks up from a plate of breakfast with a welcoming smile.
Whiskey Pete (and anyone that may choose to follow him)
What Pete finds doesn't seem like much to most, but one man's trash is a hobo's treasure. Food scraps make up the bulk of the area outside the tavern's back entrance, filling a few wooden buckets.
Pete, care to give me a Perception check?
|Talriss the Toxic-Fang|
"Wait, where are you going?!" The young Vishkanya says to Pete, before throwing her arms down in frustration and following the drunk, stomping in her heels. Upon seeing all the garbage and buckets she gags. "Ugh! Disgusting!"
|Talriss the Toxic-Fang|
Perception: 1d20 - 1 ⇒ (10) - 1 = 9
Talriss is clearly too frustrated to pay attention.
Gnoda turns to Jezu as the two gnomes are enter the tavern:
Gnoda approaches the barkeep, hobbling with the aid of his stick. He fixes the man with a steely gaze Hypnotic/Painful Stare.
Gnoda speaks, being sure to be heard by all of the clientele: "Barkeep! We are field operatives representing the Gnomonicon Incorporated Gem-cutters and Jewelers Guild, out of Absalom. We have tracked a supply of counterfeit pearls to your establishment. My associate and I are here to make you a most generous offer: cease trading immediately. The flow of counterfeits must stop. I am obliged to inform you that we have the most stringent Asmodean barristers on retainer, and considerable wealth to throw at assorted mercenaries and thugs should the need arise." Gnoda pointedly looks around the tavern. "You, on the other hand, have nearly nothing. You lack the ability to oppose us. Make the sensible choice."
bluff: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (4) + 9 = 13 that could have been better :o
Pete clicks his heels and gestures toward the garbage hoping Bug will be impressed by their discovery.
"Hoo! Look at all this perfectly good stuff!"
Bug doesn't seem particularly responsive but without orders otherwise, the oversized roach skitters to the nearest pile and begins to consume.
"Hey! Hands off that corncob! It's half-good and you know them's mine!"
Pete's eyes dart about the alley hoping to find another "treasure" before he loses it to Bug's voracious appetite.
Perception: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (14) + 7 = 21
Jezu and Gmaster Gnoda
The corners of the barkeep's mouth go from pushing up his mustache to trying to hide in his beard. He looks from Gnoda to his regulars to Jezu and back again before swallowing hard.
"Of-- of course, the j-- what did you say it was, the Gnom... Omgnomgnomicon?-- are welcome here! Now, I don't know what they told you about fake pearls, but I assure you that the ones I sell are very much more authentic than the ones I use to decorate my shop with! I, Pal Flynter, would never fleece my clientele in such a way, and pass every bit of the savings from my own shop to my loyal customers! Why don't we, uh, go back into my office and maybe discuss this away from my customers maybe?"
He waves them back behind the bar and toward the kitchen.
Whiskey Pete and Talriss
While Pete doesn't find any other treasures, Bug's rapid consumption of food waste reveals something interesting: the insides of the buckets have a silvery-white coating, as if they were painted.
"Misunderstood, you have Mr Flynter. We did not come here to negotiate." Gnoda raises his voice. "We came here to close you down. Now, I am ordinarily a polite, erudite sort of gnome - that's why I do the talking. My associate on the other hand..." Gnoda indicates Jezu. "Go ahead, Quakecaller. Break something. Start small - a table, maybe the bar."
"Only the vanguard, we are. Nobody crosses the Gnomonicon Incorporated Gem-cutters and Jewelers Guild."
bluff?: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (8) + 9 = 17
I think realistically I have to call this an Intimidate check, at this point. Jezu mentioned being unable to post, so I'll bot.
Jezu almost boredly raises a stone bowl off of an abandoned table, sending it flying across the bar, sending other dishes and utensils flying. He fixes Flynter with a glare.
Intimidate: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (17) + 1 = 18
Oh dang, well done Jezu!
Flynter puts his hands up. "I'm sure we can discuss this like gentlemen! But in the meantime, yes, of course, of course, I can cl--"
It is at this precise moment that the door flies open, and two more gnomes step in.
"Paltus Flynter! We are field operatives representing the Gnomonicon Incorporated Gem-cutters and Jewelers Guild, out of Absalom. We have tracked a supply of counterfeit pearls to your establishment."
The operative who was speaking casts a concerned glance around the state of the place; two stunned-looking patrons, bowls and cups littering the floor on either side of the bar, and a smear of sausage mash on the wall beside the kitchen entrance. "Have we come at a bad time?"
The barkeep looks between the two, looking very confused... and suspicion begins to grow in his face.
Gnoda's eyebrow raises at the additional gnomes...
What the? Aaah, most likely illusory support from an ally.
"Agent Barrington, you are early." Gnoda addresses the new gnome speaker. "Flynter has wisely agreed to close up immediately." Gnoda looks to the barkeep. "Agent Barrington and his accomplice are second-line support, Flynter. Get everyone out, and put up a closed sign. Then we might talk."
bluff?: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (11) + 9 = 20 Intimidate is only at +4 if more apt.
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Mmmmmmyeah I'll accept a bluff here.
The lead gnome (who, it should be noted, was not present in the room when Gnoda identified himself as a member of the Gnomonicon Incorporated Gem-cutters and Jewelers Guild) stares in confusion at Gnoda.
"Barrington? Why, I'm Agent Fezzlewick, and my associate here--"
"--Charmed!--" she pipes.
"--is Agent Kettlebrew. Now, I wasn't informed of an advance party, and I demand an explanation!"
"What is it, Kettlebrew?"
"Barrington's the new guy."
"The new-- oh, him? With the blue mustache?"
"Half the department has blue mustaches, sir."
"But he does have one?"
"Hrm. And of course he would have left out key information--"
"--being new, yes, sir."
"I see." With that, Fezzlewick turns on his heel back to Flynter and the definitely-legitimate-members-of-the-GICaJG. "Regardless, I was led to believe that Kettlebrew and I would be in charge of this; as such, I have all the appropriate forms, fees, bylaws, and whatnot here. If it's all the same to you, I do quite enjoy this part of the process-- do you mind if I step in? Flynter, if you are as quick with a quill as you are with falsifying jewelry, you may yet have your shop open by tomorrow!"
Flynter makes a face that can best be likened to a waterskin whose contents have suddenly evaporated.
I think we can call this a success!
Hearing the commotion from within, Pete sagely scoops up the paint-laden buckets before Bug can ingest the likely toxic contents.
Upon hearing the blue mustachioed showdown within, he shrugs towards Talriss and realizes that they'll be plenty successful disrupting the business this way.
Knocking and stepping in, he hoists the pails.
"Hey, uh, hello? Me 'n my bug here were lookin' for some scraps but found this white pearly lookin' paint outside? Whatcha tryin' to do? Poison us hungryfolk? Kill a few of the City's otyughs?"
Pete smiles and resists the urge to wink in Gnoda's general direction as he hopes he's adding to the confusion.
Bug chitters excitedly as Pete waves the bucket around, seeming to say hold it still, boss, I'll just eat the whole pail!
|Talriss the Toxic-Fang|
Well that was easy. To the docks then?
"Mmmm. Welcome to the paperwork, you are. Don't forget to catalogue the evidence." Gnoda indicates the buckets that Whiskey Pete brandishes, and then stalks out as best a gnome with a walking stick can manage....
...to the docks!
Shouldn't have gone nearly that smoothly, but Gnoda and bot!Jezu had strong rolls and/or good modifiers!
With all that swiftly tucked behind you, you move on.
A maze of broken ships forms an artificial reef blocking Diobel’s harbor. This treacherous and erratic terrain teems with laborers, barge masters, pilots, and port inspectors, who busily conduct their business ferrying goods to and from the Bristles. Beyond the Trawl, seagoing ships wait their turn to offload cargo or pick up new goods. One ship stands out among the others—the freshly touched-up paint on its hull, blue with streaks of white lightning along the hull, marks it as the Blue Dragon’s Bite. It sits moored to a dock jutting from the Trawl, with several crates already offloaded nearby, and many more waiting piled on its deck.
Also on its deck are two silhouettes who don't seem to be moving crates, who appear to be conversing. It's too far to get a good look at either of them.
At present, you're still a fair distance away; what's the plan, Pathfinders?
"Hmmm. Fake an inspection we could. Bodyguards wear armour, as do enforcers. Or, if we have a stealthy pathfinder amongst us, we need only cause a distraction to draw the attention of those on deck for long enough."
Gnoda muses aloud.
Pete grumbles a bit as they catch sight of the Blue Dragon's Bite.
"Hoo! Them's probably the dockworkers we ain't supposed to hurt too much! Too bad we didn't pick that sewer trip -- betcha we could've found some swell treasures down there!"
Pete removes his hat and scratches his head before returning it.
"Might be we could just wander up to the ship if it's crew ain't there and just some schmucks unloading it. We just can't let 'em know we're Pathfinders. Might be as simple as tellin' em we're Aspis?"
Pete looks at Bug as he continues to think.
"Might be able to sneak on, and if I get caught tell 'em I was just lookin' for a snack."
The hunter flushes.
"Wouldn't be the first time..."
I can distract them as long as I have earth to work with and I'm close enough, but seeing as they're on a boat I don't think we'll have much luck on that. However, I am pretty stealthy." +11 to stealth
"Consider this a search for evidence, Marutson. If we find what we expect to find, it is evidence of criminal wrongdoing by the Aspis Consortium and will be used against them.
Marutson and I will go aboard and create a diversion. Pete and Jezu can use that to sneak aboard and find the captain's cabin to search it. Talriss - as you prefer."
"Marutson, in case of violence I will bolster you." Implanting mesmerist trick Psychosomatic Surge in Marutson if he agrees - Gnoda can trigger this whenever Marutson takes damage to give him 1d8 temp hp.
Gnoda concentrates, and creates a long rolled-up scroll in his hands. Silent Image spell. 'A prop."
He approaches the gangplank, hoping to overhear the figures on the deck: perception: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (13) + 5 = 18
As the Pathfinders approach (those of you who are doing so head-on, anyway-- Talriss, let me know), the silhouettes on board come into better focus. One-- a human man-- crosses his arms, standing tall; he has the look of a sailor about him, with the added professional touch of one with rank. The other, a human woman, insistently punches at a clipboard.
"The fees haven't changed since you last came into port, Bellarion! I'm tired of having this argument with you every time your Blue Dragon's Bile--"
"Blue Dragon's Bite!" interjects the man.
"Blue dragons are less of a pain to get rightful fees out of than you! I'll need the customs paid, in full, or this ship will not leave the harbor!"
+11 stealth! Sneaking into the captain's cabin is all you then! Pete will be on standby in case extra reinforcements are needed.
Almost losing the gnome kineticist during their planning, Pete willingly defers the search of the cabin to his fellow Pathfinder.
"Bug n' I'll just be meandering the docks in case somethin' gets fishy."
Making sure to keep a safe distance from Gnoda and Marutson, Pete rummages around through some debris on a nearby dock, effortless looking the part of a vagrant foraging for scraps.
He'll approach closer playing the part of a nosy onlooker given the woman and man are already causing a bit of commotion even before Gnoda gets there.
stealth: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (11) + 11 = 22
Jezu sneaks aboard, his blue hair somehow blending in with the blue paint on the boat.
I mean, the name has blue in it. I assume it's painted blue.