Urgently summoned to the Plane of Water by the Pathfinder agent Zahra, you are approaching the city of Vialesk in a carriage drawn by giant turtles. A magically replenished bubble of air encases the party, allowing everyone to breathe freely.
As previously announced, the action will begin on September 9th, but please go ahead and introduce yourselves.
A broad coral structure dozens of stories tall emerges from the boundless sea. A steady stream of submersibles dock and depart, while dockworkers unload goods and carry them to carefully protected glass tunnels. Water mephits swim and flit about, surveying the new arrivals. The turtle-drawn carriage swims up to one of the tunnels. As the carriage’s bubble of air meets the tunnel’s mouth, fresh air flows into the carriage, carrying with it the smell of fish. Within the glass passage, an elf with teal hair, webbed fingers, and gills stares out at the sea. As the turtles come to a stop, she raises her pale blue hands in an unfamiliar greeting. A golden wayfinder is secured tightly to her wrist, and a pair of long coral daggers is strapped to her back.
"So, she actually did it," the elf comments, tilting her head and giving a small smirk. "I had heard Zahra was threatening to summon agents to investigate what happened, but I thought it might merely be bluster to save face. Still, whatever cause has brought you here, you are welcome in our city. I am Lileone Blacktide, and I wish you luck, but I warn you that there is no culprit for you to find beyond Zahra herself."
|Ecthelien the Grey|
Ecthelien bows to the elf and replies in elven Greetings Lileone Blacktide. Ecthelien the Grey at your service.
Switching back to common, he continues.
Well, whatever the reason, we are now here.
And since we are here, I will be so bold to ask, what is your relationship with Zahra,
and why are you convinced Zahra is a 'culprit' in this matter?
Knowing he is not an expert on the Plane of Water, he tries to recall anything that may be helpful.
kn:planes: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (13) + 7 = 20
Sitting quietly towards the back of a carriage is tall, granite skinned figure. His only clothing is a pair of light, loose-fitting trousers, which are of a light grey colour not too far removed from the hue of his rocky skin. The one flash of colour about his person are his brilliant blue sapphire-like eyes.
He looks across to his companions as the turtle drawn carriage draws to a halt and the water elf begins to address them. "What actually happened? Did I miss that bit?"
"I am Andy Applebottom. Thank you for greeting us personally. It is most kind of you to do so." says the smiling Halfling.
Knowledge(Planes): 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (3) + 8 = 11
"And greetings to you," Lileone replies to Ecthelien in Elven.
"Most kind of you to say so," she says to Andy.
Turning to Hildan, she says, "I'm not surprised Zahra hasn't told you the whole story. A week ago, we set out on an expedition towards a sea of jellyfish known as the Lambent Bloom. She believed she had made an incredible discovery: the remnants of one of the lost elemental lord Lysianassa’s servants, which might still hold a fragment of Lysianassa’s power. I was skeptical of her claims, but I joined her. If there was any chance she was correct, I thought it was worth investigating. I should have thought better of it. Not two days into our journey, Zahra steered our caravan too close to a patch of the Carmine Scourge, a poisonous red algae that drifts through the plane on the tides. They say it blooms in places where the elemental lord Kelizandri has passed, and it certainly shares his hunger. It sprung upon our caravan as if drawn by a magnet, sending everything into chaos and killing most of our precious whale sharks. Several members of our expedition are still violently ill, and I only survived myself because I was scouting when the incident occurred. Worse yet, though we managed to escape, the algae clung to us as we fled back to Vialesk. It broke off and settled among the coral reefs, and now the reefs have begun to die.
"Zahra has managed to convince herself some great conspiracy is to blame, rather than her poor navigation decisions and her inability to listen to anyone else. I have no doubt she truly believes she’s innocent; she has always been stubborn and arrogant, and it has always led her into trouble. The Society may have overlooked her errors in the past due to her superb mind and her talent for damage control, but this time, I will not allow them to slide. I warned her that the waters ahead didn’t seem right to me, but she couldn’t be troubled to listen. She has no excuse for the damage she has done and I will see to it that she is held accountable for her negligence. I look forward to your attempts to prove me wrong."
You can't learn anything more with Knowledge (Planes) at this point, but you can try Diplomacy on Lileone.
Throughout the journey, Las can hardly keep still. He moves around the carriage looking at everything he can affix his eyes on.
Las listens intently to every word Lileone says. Sense Motive: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (14) + 9 = 23 to see if the aquatic elf is hiding something.
Having become familiar with the rest of the party, Las figures the halfling might be the most persuasive, so he tries to set the table....
"Your highness, please hear us out. We come with the best of intentions."
Diplomacy (Aid Another): 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (7) + 9 = 16
"You mentioned errors from the past from Zahra. Perhaps you could elaborate. A clear pattern of behavior would be helpful."
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (12) + 11 = 23
|Ecthelien the Grey|
Yes, a pattern, or change in patterns...either would be valuable. Has rash behavior always been part of Zahra's makeup or just more recently? And while we are at this line of questioning, are any others in your community behaving illogically? the elf raises an eyebrow as he probes the elf for any additional information on Andy's request.
As the carriage carries the party through the water, Ferdrin looks about in rapt fascination.
Indeed, these are unusual environs...
knowledge (planes): 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (3) + 11 = 14
The mage is then disappointed to hear the petty dispute between Lileone and Zahra. He focuses in on details of the claims that might hold particular, personal interest.
diplomacy, aid: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (16) + 2 = 18
Back to her claims of the discovery of remnants of Lysianassa’s servants... what evidence did she offer to convince you that this was possible? Clearly you have your reservations about her, so I imagine the particulars must have given you some hope that it could be true.
|Ecthelien the Grey|
GM- would there have been time on the journey to transcribe spells from spellbooks? This is my first character with an actual spellbook, so I was not sure how much time to allow and if it can be conducted in a moving carriage - or even if Ferdrin is interested.
Ecthelien makes notes in his journal as the questions are asked and answered.
It's one hour per spell, followed by a check to see if you fully understand it, at which point you can actually copy it. You wouldn't have had enough uninterrupted time during the trip to this plane, but you would have time after the adventure is over. PF1 assumes you have infinite downtime to retry between adventures, so the check typically isn't rolled.
"You should ask Zahra for more details. I'd like to see this done properly," Lileone says. "But I'll show you where she lives, and if you need help later, let me know. Also, it looks like you're all air breathers, so take these."
Lileone gives you three potions of water breathing and shows the way to Zahra's residence.
At any point while exploring Vialesk, you'll be able to find Lileone within 10 minutes if you have requests for her.
Lileone doesn't stay to introduce you to Zahra, but Zahra welcomes you into her home. She is an undine (see slides). Though clearly upset about the loss of the expedition, she pulls herself together to explain the investigation so far.
She explains that all the evidence at the site of the disaster has been lost to the tides and algae, but she has been trying to contact the other survivors to find out what they know about external forces that could have attacked them. She lists them for you:
Honoke: Caravan master, provided the expedition’s whale sharks. I do not think him responsible. His sharks were his livelihood, and he lost most of them to the toxin. Investigate his whale sharks instead, something may have been done to them to steer them off course.Tsomo Qorra and the Murajau current-chasers: Tsomo’s murajau guides were responsible for mapping our route, and must be double-checked. Some of them had an unhealthy interest in the shell settlement and under the circumstances this is suspicious. It is also possible Tsomo failed to keep his maps up to date. As the Plane of Water is always shifting due to the tides, current-chasers are meant to keep track of these changes, but I have known things to slip past them.
Razethka the Scarred: A brine dragon who lives apart from the Brackish Empire, though I have heard claims that she is in exile. She worked together with Yuka to provide our supplies to his submersible caravan, so she would have had the same opportunities for sabotage that Yuka did. I have yet to think of what Razethka’s motive could be if she were responsible, but she is a dragon and I am certain she could find one with great ease.
Yuka Kannamen: A selkie engineer and alchemist from Mapailek who provided and maintained a number of submersibles to protect our expedition from the jellyfish stings. He may be a genius in his field, but he is rather self-centered and inconsiderate of others. He is one of two with the greatest opportunity to sabotage us, as the Carmine Scourge, like other algae, can be deliberately attracted and spread with iron. Yuka would have had ample opportunity to lace his submersibles
with that material, though I cannot argue that he would have the ambition for it.
Las looks over the list and volunteers to have a chat with Yuka Kannamen. On the way, he will stop somewhere to buy a magnet.
"We sticking together or splitting up?" Hildan mutters, the shy oread looking around to the others for guidance. "I'll come see Yuma too."
|Ecthelien the Grey|
|Ecthelien the Grey|
Oops - lost that part of the post and too late to edit.
Greetings, Zahra. Rest assured, we will find the information from these survivors. However, before we depart on this investigation, what will the success criteria be regarding this entire matter? To whom will this evidence be presented and to what end? A warrant? A trial? A record for future reference for the navigators?
I just want to ensure we capture the appropriate level of detail in our report.
Ecthelien will await her response before bowing and departing...
As Las is about to leave, he stops, and whirls back towards Zahra,
"Lileone had a version of what happened? We'd like to hear your version."
Las Lajas invokes his jade wayfinder as he listens.
Sense Motive (hunch that she's holding something back)(T10): 10 + 10 = 20
I'm perfectly content to have the party stick together if time is not a factor. Chances are one of these contacts is going to react negatively.
"I want to see the truth brought to light!" Zahra replies to Ecthelien. "Whoever sabotaged the expedition may sabotage another one, and cause more deaths! What I need from you is at least who, and how."
At Las Lajas's question, Zahra invites him to come back in and make himself comfortable, saying, "This may take a while."
"I started this expedition because I had discovered several promising texts hinting of a fragment of Lysianassa’s power. You know Lysianassa? She is one of the lost elemental lords. It was said that she ruled this plane, until Kelizandri imprisoned her. I located several sources claiming that she gifted her breath to a servant, a giant nautilus called Riam the Unyielding, who was sent to govern the seas in her absence. But Riam was lost, blast it all, due to Kelizandri’s witless brine dragons-- when they mortally wounded Riam, it dove into the Lambent Bloom and it could not be retrieved. I organized the expedition to pursue rumors of its giant shell, which was claimed to be a holy site until a few centuries back. I was unable to verify anything without traveling in person, as the shell proved resistant to divination and teleportation spells."
"Then, on the day of the disaster, I heard a rhythmic clanging in the distance, half an hour before the caravan encountered the algae bloom. I am confident this was a signal, though I have yet to ascertain who was signaling. As I have double checked my navigation and know I was not at fault, the noise must have been related to the disaster."
As far as Las can tell, she is holding nothing back.
Las seems intrigued by the details of the story.
"Was the sound coming from the caravan of some where else? 'Clanging?' Is that metal on metal? Was it a low frequency sound, like from something big, or smaller, like sword on shield?"
Invoking his jade wayfinder
K. Planes (on Kalizandri) (T10): 10 + 10 = 20 + Inspiration: 1d6 ⇒ 4
Assuming this wasn't all underwater....
Las turns to the halfling, "Apple, youve got an ear for music and sounds...any chance you might be able to figure out what was used? "
Las raises an eyebrow. "Is that something that was part of the caravan, or are there pipes out in that area?"
|Ecthelien the Grey|
”Interesting. Do you have any known enemies who would benefit from attacking the caravan? Or perhaps pirates? What was the monetary value of the caravan lost?“
Ecthelien continues to jot down notes in his journal.
"We were in the open sea, far from any habitations," Zahra says to Las.
Answering Ecthelien, she says, "There was no money, just lives! And the knowledge of the holy site we were unable to visit! I can think of no specific enemies, though I suppose there are those who would covet even a small memento of Lysianassa."
Rather than money, I presume somebody simply didn't want you to discover what you sought, or something else that you happened to come near to. More likely the former
knowledge (planes), details about the holy site: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (4) + 11 = 15
Hildan shuffles uneasily from foot to foot, gently stretching various parts of his body as he waits for the questioning to come to an end. The shy oread always felt a bit out of place when others more talkative than him got involved in lengthy conversations.
|Ecthelien the Grey|
Ecthelien stands next to the oread, while continuing to record notes in his journal, mostly about the mission, but some about whether skin lotion would even work on an oread or why they don't turn to mud when it rains.
I believe I have what I need now.
A few inquiries about where to find a magnet point you to Arrekin's Bazaar, Vialesk's massive marketplace and the lifeblood of the city. Las finds magnets being offered by a dealer of alchemical supplies for 1gp each.
Is anyone else buying anything?
As you make your way back out of the bazaar, a youth with ocher scales and a fishy head (a locathah) steps out from a booth stacked with jars to intercept you.
"You comin' to see the reefs, good sirs?" he asks you earnestly. "These're the best way to do it. Nothin' between you and the water but the air you need. Give you a group discount, twenny gold apiece." He holds up a jar, so you can see a translucent jellyfish floating in it.
These are bathysphere jellyfish. If you attach one to your head, it will provide a continuously replenishing air pocket that allows you to breathe and speak normally underwater. The air pocket will last 8 hours once the jellyfish is attached.
Las looks at them skeptically,
Invoking his wayfinder,
K. Nature (T10) + Inspiration: 1d6 + 19 ⇒ (5) + 19 = 24
Turning to Andy, "I don't know, 20 each seems waaaay too high."
Diplomacy (Aid Another for negotiation?: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (20) + 9 = 29
LOL, maybe I should be aiding you,
Sense Motive: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (17) + 11 = 28
"I think perhaps 10 GP for 2 each is more like it."
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (14) + 11 = 25
"Unless you have more to add to sweeten the deal. Perhaps some information?"
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (6) + 11 = 17
Las recalls that bathysphere jellyfish are native to the Plane of Water, and are frequently used by air-breathing visitors. While he can't remember exact figures, 20gp apiece seems like a significant discount from what other Pathfinders say they've been charged.
You can also ask two questions about hit dice, resistances, etc.
The locathah shakes his head. "No, no. If you're not interested, I don't bother you any further, good sirs." He turns back toward his booth.
|Ecthelien the Grey|
Wait right there. Ecthelien waves the lad down.
I will take one of the things. Do I have to do anything special to store it or does it endure in the jar until used.
He digs out the 20gp and pays it.
Las shakes his head,, "Wait. Shouldn't Zahra being paying for this?" Las checks the potions given to the party by Lileone.
If the potions are water breathing, Las will prepare his extract of Alchemical Allocation
"I'll be able to get a free use of one of the potions with this."
Yes, she should be paying.
Ferdrin concurs dryly. He fishes the twenty gold out of his belt-purse.
She can pay us back later for getting on-the-job equipment. These seem reasonable handy. I have a spell that does the same but it only lasts minutes.
"I want one of those too...er, please!" Hildan digs in his belt pouch for some gold coins, handing them over with his thick, rocky hand.
"Just keep it in the jar until needed," the locathah tells Ecthelion. His gives you a fishy grin as he accepts payment for each jellyfish. (There are enough for everyone who wants one.) "Thank you, good sirs! Pleasant travels!"
* * * *
Zahra has given you directions to Yuka Kannamen's workshop (and also to Honoke's home, Razethka's pool, and Tsomo Qorra's offices). It is a sturdy brick building at the edge of Vialesk's air bubble.
A handsome dark-skinned man answers the door. He wears goggles, gloves, and a thick eelskin jacket lined with many pockets. "Greetings! What can I do for you?" he asks, smiling brilliantly.
Before leave the vendor, Las is using his Craft(Alchemy) to determine the nature of the potions.
Craft (Alchemy) on each potion from Lileone (T10): 10 + 15 = 25
Ferdrin sizes up the selkie, knowing personally what it's like to think highly of one's own work.
We have to approach this tactfully, or Yuka may get indignant and shut off on us.
Well met Yuka, I'm Ferdrin. I hear you're the brains around these parts. We're investigating the incident with Zahra's expedition and we thought you'd be able to lay out most of the facts for us, in the most orderly fashion unlike others that we have and will talk to. I'm sure you have good ideas about what went wrong there.
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (15) + 2 = 17
"Come in," says Yuka, gesturing gracefully into the workshop.
At the center of the workshop is a small submersible, capable of holding a handful of people. It sits on a pair of tracks running to a much bigger door which opens onto an inlet where the other submersibles float. Workbenches line the walls, crowded with all manner of tools and parts.
"Here's what I do," Yuka says proudly, patting the submersible. "I can't tell you much about the algae bloom that hit the expedition, though. I was off duty, getting my beauty sleep."
Las listens, noting the man's demeanor, invoking his wayfinder.
"Submersible, you say? What's it made of?" Las walks forward and puts the magnet on the craft.
|Ecthelien the Grey|
Ecthelien is very interested in the craft and it’s cap
”Fascinating. Is there anyplace this submergible cannot travel? I am sorry, did you say how many it can safely carry?“
The elf continues to scribe into his journal
"It would help us if you could take us to where the attack took place and walk us through what you do know when you woke up."
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (16) + 11 = 27