Since being hired as caravan guards a few weeks ago by Silas Gribb, your journey so far has been pretty uneventful. After picking up a supply of timber from the Gnomish city of Wispil you've spent the last few nights camping out in the woods as you travel through the Verduran Forest.
For tonight the caravan will be stopping in a small fishing town called Belhaim, on the edge of the Verduran Fork river, where you'll be able to get a better nights sleep along with some good food. Silas has even agreed to pay you all a few gold pieces to cover your work so far when you get there.
The caravan stops at the edge of town just past a small farmhouse and Silas tells you all to wait with the caravan while he heads off to speak to the innkeeper and arrange for getting the caravan secured in the back.
You've been waiting a while now though and Silas hasn't returned.
Happily, Galessa joined Shondra. She was neither fast, nor strong. She couldn’t shoot a bow to save her life, and she was just as likely to hurt herself with a sword than an enemy. Nor could she sneak, or cook. In fact, she had a bad habit of constantly misplacing things. It was almost like she was cursed!
But she was a self stylized priestess of Desna. Meaning that her prayers were often answered, and that she was deceptively dangerous with a Starknife. Though just a Starknife. Anything but her goddess’ sacred weapon was all but useless in her hands. And part of being a follower of Desna meant that she had trouble sitting still. So the prospect of getting up and poking around was something she could not resist.
Ludvick had been humming a tune as he tended to his armor when he spotted the others debating on heading to the inn. He quickly grabbed his weapon to follow along.
"Hey, mind if I join you? Always nice to join in a little bar song if they are enjoying themselves!"
With Gribb gone, Halders spends some time casually poking through the caravan they’ve been guarding. Not to steal anything, that would be unheard of! The ‘right-honorable’ merchant Isgood would never cheat anyone out of coin and the fact you brought it up such an idea is insulting. That is to say- unless he was cheated first. In which case, to make fiscal amends (revenge) you must hunt them down and extract a pound of flesh. Literal or metaphorical, Halders hadn’t figured that last part out yet.
He pokes his head out from the pile of logs; ”Gribb isn’t back yet- hang about, where are you all going? Gribb said stay and I’m not leaving ‘is trade goods to get pilfered by any sticky fingers. By Abadar, this is a right & ‘onourable exchange of goods and services...” he grows silent and watches everyone walking away. ”ofcourse, if you wanta go and find ‘im, I’m right behind you. At least bring the pay chest- it’s under the false floor beneath the cart seat."
Ragnar stands up from his seat on his cart and shakes his head. "Where do you think you all are going? We are being paid to guard the caravan, not go carousing! At most only two of us should go and then, be back within the hour.I am staying put and you all should keep your eyes sharp!" The dwarf adjusts the straps of his armor and straps his buckler into place. "I didn't get this old by taking unnecessary risks."
How far away is the farmhouse?
You're about 40ft from the farmhouse and 200ft from the inn
With Halders and Ragnar staying behind to watch the caravan, the rest of you head over the bridge and into town.
Once over the midpoint of the bridge you can see that Gribb is being held by a pair of town guards while another, presumably the local Sheriff is reading out loud from an unrolled parchment. Three other guards stand nearby looking over a growing group of locals who appear to be drawn by the commotion.
searching the cart: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (18) + 4 = 22
Looking, but not taking anything.
Halders stands in front of the cart, hands on his hips, addressing Ragnar; "c'mon old-man- 'ow'bout we take the cart with us into the town, we can look for Gibb and then get paid and have a meal and a kip." He swings himself up to sit next to Ragnar as the rest of the party disappears down the road.
Watches the Halfling poke, prod and dig around in the caravan master's cart with a scowl on his face.
When the Halfling suddenly jumps up to join him in the narrow seat of his own personal donkey cart he lets out a thunderous Dwarven oath and glares at Halders. "Get off of my cart you loudmouthed upstart!" He jerks his thumb over his shoulder at the unoccupied caravan cart. "So who is going to drive the other cart? Certainly not yourself! Even if you could reach the reins, I think you have poked about the Master's cart enough for one night. HMPH! We have our orders and orders is orders."
Upon seeing the commotion he will quicken his pace until he is near enough the guards to speak. Holding up his arms, he will show that he currently is not holding the weapon strung to his back.
"Good evening officers. I am sorry to bother you but this is our employer. May I ask what is going on?
Halder's face drops. "By Abadar, y'are a grumpy ol'coot." He climbs off the cart and slinks back to the caravan, muttering to himself; "could be on me way to 'aving a drink and a kip... make some coin, easy..."
Does Ragnar or Halder hear or see anything down the road?
The Sheriff turns towards Ludvic. "Your employer is Silas Gribb, a man wanted in Cassomir on charges of smuggling, and I have a warrant to arrest him and confiscate his caravan". He glances back to the warrant, "it doesn't say anything on here about accomplices though, who are you?"
The road is clear with just Halder and Ragnar about.
Galessa walked through the door, a smile on her face...which quickly faded. Was this man threatening them? Did he want them to give up their employer? Was that even a real warrant?
Sense Motive: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (1) + 6 = 7
She had NO idea whatsoever. So she held her tongue and waited to see if Ludvic had any idea.
"I'm happy for you to have a look once you've identified yourselves. As potential accomplices you may be joining him in the charges anyway" the Sheriff replies.
His mood brightens a bit and he smiles. "Although by the look on your faces I have a feeling you may not be wholly aware of the shadier side of his business arrangements - in which case I advise you to quickly distance yourselves from him before he can get you into trouble."
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (6) + 8 = 14
”Well, if you insist. My name is Galessa.” She thought about sharing her last name, but thought better of it. She was already enough of an embarrassment to her family as it was. Becoming a scandal so soon after running away from home? That was a bridge too far. Though she supposed the running away was scandal enough.
”And I am a priestess of Desna. And I’ll have you know that we travel with a Cleric of Adabar. We would never be a party to any such crime. Speaking of which, what did you say he was smuggling?”
Appraise Felwil: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (7) + 2 = 9
Halders glances again at the Felwil, whatever it isn't worth very much. He leans out to speak to Ragnar but pauses, his mouth open. Grumpy ol' coot.
took me such a long time to figure out if Halders would take it or not.
Halders will surreptitiously take the drug and secret it amongst his person, in one of the many folds of his pickpocket's outfit. Perhaps he could flip it for some coin once they get to town.
He'll saunter towards the farm house, about 20 feet away from the caravan. If anyone comes out to talk he'll have a chat with them.
Ragnar Perception:: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (20) + 7 = 27
Ragnar looks around making sure no one is sneaking up on the lightly guarded caravan. Upon seeing Halders heading towards the caravan again he peers in the halfling's direction.
He frowns deeply as he sees the Halfling concealing something in his clothes.
The cleric hopes the halfling has a good explanation, he really hopes this isn't one of 'those' caravans again. He walks up to Halders as he approaches the farmhouse. "Wait up a second there lad."
How much gold were we promised for guarding the caravan the entire journey?
Gah! the crafty old coot! Even with my +7 I can't roll high enough, what with your nat20!
Halders regards the approaching dwarf with caution.
"oioi Ragnar, come t'chide me again for wanting to find Gibb? We can't leave the wagon 'ere, must take it t'town, look after it.
"A priestess of Desna eh, we don't get many Desna worshippers passing through here, however one of the two temples here is dedicated to Abadar". The Sheriff seems a little more convinced that you're not associated with Gribb's illicit activities.
"Mr Gribb here has been known to smuggle Felwil out of Wispil, amongst other unsavoury things." He turns to Silas, "he isn't all that keen on paying the correct trade tariffs either. Gribb's head drops slightly.
The Sheriff turns back to the party. "If your friend wishes to read through the warrant he's free to do so, but I can assure you it's genuine.
You were promised 150gp each for the guard work
As Halders approaches the farmhouse he can see a string of herbs dangling near the doorway. There is a woman working in the field just past the house harvesting grain.
Ragnar places one hand on Halder's shoulder and holds the other out palm up. As we are nearer the house he lowers his voice."Show me what you 'found. You seem a nice enough lad, but no true follower of Abadar would EVER steal from his employer." The dwarf gives the halfling a level look.
”Well I, for one, don’t want to be part of anything illegal. And I’m sure the dwarf would kill us with a look if we suggested that, anyways. Let’s go to him then. Let the Adabarian look at this document, and we’ll see if there is anything he was trying to smuggle. If there is nothing, then we send off the lumber and get paid. If he is smuggling something, then we’ll have helped the law.”
Diplomacy to get him to not just demand that they hand everything over and walk away: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (9) + 8 = 17
Halders looks forlorn... he dodges Ragnar's gaze, kicking the dirt up with his dusty boots. He reaches into the layers of his clothing and pulls out 2 gold coins...
bluff: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (17) + 6 = 23
"I... I found't amongst the timber pile... theres a coupla' other knick-knacks too... I reckon Gibb was deliv'rn more'n just the wood but... noth'n illegal."
You'd have seen that there was a pouch, pretty much full but wouldn't have seen what's inside it.
"I have no issue with your friend looking over the warrant" the Sheriff agrees. "But if he's anywhere near as disgusted by the affronts to Abadar on this page as our Priestess Eupaphenia was it may not bode too well for your employer. I'm happy for a search to take place, however with the evidence the Taxmasters have already presented to the courthouse in Cassomir there's little I can do now other than reporting whatever we do or do not find to them when I bring him in."
The Sheriff leads you back to the caravan with Gribb in tow, one of the guards has pulled out some manacles and bound his hands behind his back. As you head across the bridge, a small crowd follows, Belhaim hasn't had anywhere near something this interesting happen in a long time.
Free Action Trade Subdomain Power +1 to Sense Motive
Sense Motive: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (18) + 4 = 22
Plus whatever modifier for actually seeing the pouch.
Rangers face turns red. He reaches into Halder's cloak/clothes for the pouch he saw him stash. "No more lies, stealing, or offering pitiful bribes! Give me the pouch you took from the caravan or you will face the justice of the town and temple!"
Confronted with the red faced cleric Halders blanches and quickly pushes a pouch into the searching hands of the dwarf. "Was-only-this, honest to Abadar an' all that. I havn' opened it or nuffin."
As voices call from the road Halders bobs and bows to Ragnar. "me ol'mum will murder me if she 'ears about trouble wi'th'temple..."
He grins nervously if the Dwarfs anger is satiated; "can I 'ave me 2 gold back?"
Rangar goes still when he opens the pouch and views its contents, almost too still.
Appraise: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (16) + 4 = 20
Out of curiosity how much is the contraband worth?
The sight of the proto-mob following his companions and Gribb in manacles brings a brief but genuine smile to his face. He absently replies to Halders "No, consider it an offering." At Shonda's request he looks over the warrant soberly and nods."This looks just perfect." He cant but help think to hmself ..maybe the Keeper does guide the boy afterall... Posture errect as he offers the pouch and writ to the sheriff."Just the man I wanted to see. This Felwil was found in the caravan, takes him away so justice can be done!" His attention turns to Gribb for a moment and he growls a curse."This is an egregious breach of contract you slag sucking coprolith!" After taking a breath to steady himself he gazes hopefully at the sheriff."We took this job in good faith and are due 150 gold a piece. It would be ill done if we were to be stuck far from home and empty-handed."
Silver Tongued Haggler: Free action +1 Diplomacy
Diplomacy to get paid at least some of what we are owed: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (15) + 4 = 19
1 dose of Felwil is worth about 20gp and theres enough in the pouch to make up about a hundred so worth about 2000gp
Sheriff Benhovy takes the pouch and sizes it up "Thank you for handing this over, the more evidence we have the easier it will be to see justice when we reach Cassomir. I'm sorry but the coins in the caravan are also evidence and so I cannot allow you to take any, even unknowing you were aiding a criminal unfortunately."
The Sheriffs men move to get the caravan ready to leave as soon as they're ready, loading their own bags onto the carts and placing yours on the ground nearby. They're mostly ignoring you now that they have Silas in custody.
A young dark haired woman from the growing crowd approaches you "I'm sorry about Benhovy, he's a likeable enough man once you know him but won't bend the rules at all, even when it means leaving people without coin, although I suppose for an Abadaran that's just how life goes." She smiles "I'm Talia Orem, I run the Wise Piper inn where you were due to stay tonight. If you'd like to I can offer you room and board for the next few nights while you can relax and figure out what to do next, it's the least I can do after your boss was dragged out of my inn in chains. Gets you away from the crowd here too."
Ragnar nods to her words,"He does what is right and just so a good man at that." He leads his cart and donkey along by the bridle."A most generous offer, Abadar bless." The wind goes out of his
sales sails now that the excitement is over. Doing the legal thing and following Abadar's will comes almost second nature, but the loss of over 2750GP and opportunities gives the dwarf pause as his drive for profit shows all he could have had in his mind. His bluster subdued and for the moment looking very old indeed as he trails behind.
Alone among the group, Galessa seemed unperturbed. Up until recently she had lived in the estate of her parents, and a few thousand gold didn’t seem like that big of a deal. Granted, she didn’t have anything *now* but the concept of being poor still hadn’t really hit home. If anything, ‘roughing’ it had been fun, so far. She didn’t think far enough ahead to consider what it would be like when she had nothing and didn’t have anyone to fall back on.
Halders follows along sullenly. The thought of a drink and bed doesn't seem so enticing now. He kicks at the dust and stares daggers at the cleric. Me mum is going ta'hear about this, ya old coot
Talia leads you across the bridge to her inn, the Wise Piper, and shows you to your rooms before showing you to a long table in the common room where her staff have laid out a meal of fresh bread and cheese with honey and some watery mead. You're just finishing off when the walls of the inn rattle as if shaken by thunder.
Galessa Perception: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (15) + 5 = 20
Halders Perception: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (12) + 4 = 16
Shondra Perception: 1d20 + 0 ⇒ (17) + 0 = 17
Ludvic Perception: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (8) + 4 = 12
Ragnar Perception: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (13) + 7 = 20
Talking to Talia, Halders asks for a pencil and paper to write a letter to his mum about his experiences and the crotchety cleric of Abadar. He distances himself while writing the letter and hands it back to her with a couple of gold for postage.
Joining the group, he once again has a broad smile on his face.
"Oi oi friends, whats th'good word? Now that me pay has been safely secured behind bars with now way of recompense, I'll need to find something else. Can I count you in for anover job?"
he gestures to most of the companions on the table.
As he speaks a rumbling rolls through the tavern and he looks up wide eyed.
"Thunder? no. Orc stampede? maybe. Giants, hopefully not..."
He follows Sondra out the door to investigate.
Those looking outside see that there is a huge plume of dust rising to the northeast of town.
A man bursts into the tavern, almost tripping over Shondra, he manages to get out a few words before sitting down out of breath. The Witch Tower has Fallen!
Map updated to a zoomed out one of the whole town and shows where the dust is coming from
can I roll a Knowlege local to know what the witch tower is?
Know(local): 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (9) + 6 = 15
"hol'up- we can't go running off wiv out a propa overtime agreement..."
Halders starts running after them.