It's a brisk morning, just the kind that Manahath likes best. I should head over to the Hall. They must have Lamashanfest on tap by now.
The young man steps outside. At a hand under six feet and twelve stone, Manahath doesn't stand out in a crowd. His square jaw and cerulean eyes contribute to a certain comeliness, but his unkempt hair obscures those features.
With a quickly exhaled puff and a snap of the head, he gets his dirty blond hair out of his eyes. His scaled armor creaks a bit, and a couple of buckles need untwisting, but the armor is serviceable. His rapier, however, is well oiled, highly polished, and largely unbloodied.
He closes his eyes, turns his face up to the sun, and gives his morning prayer. While he speaks aloud, and there's no one else on the balcony at the inn, he whispers nonetheless Cayden, it's a good day. Hope you're doing alright. If you're in the mood, send me something fun today. If not, I'll toss one back to you in the Hall. I'm going to hit the Grand Lodge soon. Do me a favor and bless me with the luck to not run into Farabellus today. I'm not feeling it. Thanks."
With that, he heads out to start the day. If Manahath had his way, people would mistake him for Cayden Cailean himself. His smile is ever so slightly crooked. His eyes are bright and open. The rapier at his side bounces with the syncopated rhythm of a bard's bodhrán.
Pathfinders! You have been invited to a celebratory gathering at the Grand Lodge to recognize the successful completion of the new Pathfinder initiates’ training and confirmation trials. An invitation from Head Initiate Janira Gavix has been delivered to you!
I’ll give everyone a chance to dot in here, feel free to RP your arrival at the Grand Lodge in the throes of a large celebration.
Jaqard's eyes snap open almost as soon as the sun breaks the horizon for dawn, ready to face the day. After what seems a lifetime of training, he is ready to begin down his new road as a Pathfinder.
His eyes fall on the invitation from Janira resting atop his backpack. Under normal circumstances he would eschew such frivolous, jocular tropes; but he is aware that attendance for initiates is expected, and it would be very unlike Jaqard to not so what is expected. Besides, it is hardly the first time he has been a postulant.
I was gonna link to Kentucky Fried Movie and its Bruce Lee parody, but thought better of it. No need to be intentionally insensitive while trying to be humourous.
With invitation in hand, each of the Pathfinders arrives at at one of Skyreach Tower’s convocation halls for the festivities. It seems as though the entire Grand Lodge has the air of a celebration. The great gates are flung wide, and the phoenix trees lining the entryway are in full flame. The halls of the main tower of Skyreach, normally somber and reserved, echo with the sound of voices and music. The great ballroom is decked for a celebration, with colorful banners and bunting along the walls, tables replete with food and drink, and a jovial cacophony of conversation rising from Pathfinders of all ancestries, nations, and backgrounds.
After a quick scan of the room, it’s obvious that many of the attendees have gathered in small groups here and there. A half-orc woman in an iconic ship captain’s hat stands near the punch bowl, handing cups to anyone who passes within reach, and a dark-skinned half-elf leads a small group of new agents around the room, introducing them to other attendees. Several senior agents stand in quiet conferral with a dark-haired Taldan man with a distinctive chin strap beard, while a scholarly dwarf tells a rousing tale to a growing audience.
A familiar blond halfling woman bounces over, bubbling with excitement. Janira Gavix, Head Initiate of the Pathfinder Society, grins, “Oh, I’m so glad you made it! After all, the celebration is for you. Have you gotten drinks? Snacks? Be sure to spend some time getting to know everyone—it’s best to be on good terms with the movers and shakers in the Society, that’s how you learn about the latest opportunities. I’ll be here if you need me to help you with anyone’s names or to make an introduction. Just let me know how I can help!” Janira gestures everyone forward into the room, beaming all the while.
As we wait for the rest of the gang to post here, feel free to RP the arrival at the party, meeting each other, chatting with Janira, whatever comes to mind. For now, we'll hold off on going to talk to the other folks described.
A raven-haired dwarf in dark-colored scale mail arrives. She isn't wearing her usual spiked gauntlet out of deference to the festivities, but she looks around nervously, eyeing each Pathfinder carefully. She lights a cigar and tries to move to the edge of the crowd.
"Drinks you say? Don't mind if I do. So Janira, when I a teen growing up in Almas, I heard all manner of tales of intrigue within the Society, but everyone seems to be enjoying each other's company. Are we really all on the same team now.... even when the doors close?"
Manahath grabs a drink, offering only a warm smile and nod as he takes it. "So Dorrance, Darlinger, and Jaqard is it? The pleasure is mine!"
Jaqard bows. Indeed, the half-orc says, taking the proffered ale and taking a sip, its essence clearly foreign to him. I, too, am pleased. Janira has told me little about you, I confess. As he speaks, his eyes continually drift over — not as casually as he would like to think — to the dark-haired Taldan man speaking with senior agents. Jaqard clearly regards the man with awe and deference.
Janira spots Dorrance slinking to the edge of the crowd and calls out in a kindly tone, "Hey there! It's Dorrance, right? I remember you doing quite well in the stealth training course. But tonight is about seeing and being seen, making connections within the Society! Have a little punch and pick someone to say hello to - or I might have to pick someone for you!"
Turning away with a friendly laugh, she finds that Manahath has a question for her, and a meaningful one at that. "It's true, there have been some troubles in the past, power struggles and differing agendas," the halfling replies, her broad smile flattening slightly. "But some big changes have been made, and I'm an optimistic sort - I think the Society has really turned a corner, and we'll be able to do our work with our core philosophy in mind, 'Explore, Report and Cooperate.' Especially with such a promising class of new initiates!"
Dorrance reluctantly follows Janira to the group.
"I'm Dorrance Silvernail. It's nice to meet you. I haven't met any of you before, have I? On one of your previous missions?"
At the mention of "previous mission" Manahath gives a laugh. "My last mission was pulling an all-nighter for my final in Tian Xia Geography."
Jaqard smiles slightly. I have not yet undertaken a mission for the Society, he says, but I am pleased to meet. His hands deftly snag a trio of sweetmeats from a passing tray and he silently offers one to Dorrance and to Manahath.
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Dorrance gratefully accept the hors d’oeuvre and starts eating.
It’s fine. It’s fine. These are all new Pathfinders. No one you would have encountered while you were still Aspis.
|Pregenerated PF2S Character|
An ungainly fellow of medium build blinks and frowns down at Dorrance for a moment, having barely avoided running into her. It's clear he wasn't paying attention, and following his prior gaze leads one to Jaqard.
The rough-looking man's frown clears and he mumbles something vaguely apologetic, side-stepping the dwarf and continuing toward the half-orc. Arriving at Jaqard's side, he leans forward and speaks conspiratorially. "Hey! You an orc?"
Noting the mug of ale in the other's hand, the young man nods. "Good taste," he comments, before pausing as if he's just remembered that he asked a question.
Having made another lap of the party, Janira rejoins the assembled Initiates, giving an encouraging smile and tipping her head towards the various venture captains nearby. Her wordless message is clear, 'Go mingle, network, impress! Go!'
Who would you like to talk to first: Calisro Benarry, Fola Barun, Eando Kline or Gorm Greathammer?
A tall bonuwat mwangi man walks quietly into the room. Looking around, he does a double-take when he spots Dorrance. Huh, so she actually went through with it too, huh? Well, at least that's one 'friendly' face. He makes his way through the crowd to the group to introduce himself. "Silvernail" he says with a nod. To Janira, he adds "Apologies for my tardiness. I recently traveled home to tie up some loose ends, and my ship from Bloodcove encountered some...administrative trouble with the harbormaster, and we were only just now allowed to disembark." Turning to the rest of the group, "It's a pleasure to meet you all. My name is Chumwi."
"Yes, yes, you have to be the center of attention. Everyone, this is Igi."
Going to talk to Kline sounds good to me, as well.
Society Lore, Manahath: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (17) + 3 = 20
Society Lore, Darlinger: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (9) + 3 = 12
Society Lore, Dorrance: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (9) + 5 = 14
The new Initiates decide to act on Janira’s urging, and move towards one of the faction leaders to strike up a conversation. As they cross the crowded chamber, Manahath recalls some tidbits he’s heard about one of the other likely attendees at the celebration, the lizardfolk Urwal.
The mysterious lizardfolk Urwal has made himself a fixture of life at the Grand Lodge. He is best known for his unrequested yet benign intrusions, whether it be breaking into Kreighton Shane’s office to drop off stacks of Pathfinder Chronicles riddled with corrections and commentary, rearranging disordered collections, or drawing insightful astrological maps on the ground outside of the Lodge. Besides his appreciation for order and accuracy, Urwal feels a deep connection to nature and his place in it, from the smallest insect to the mysterious stars above.
Getting a bit closer, it becomes clear that Eando Kline is engaged in a conversation of sorts with an elven man with long blond hair, who must surely be Kreighton Shane, the Society’s Master of Scrolls. Shane holds a strangely twisted scrap of pale blue paper, that is covered in characters in multiple languages, as well as a series of tiny black and white squares. ”I feel I’ve almost got it, with just a few pieces left to complete,” he is saying to Kline. ”I’ve filled in many of the white squares that go across, and nearly all the ones that go down, but the inverse order of the letter sequencing rotation makes filling out the last bit devilishly tricky. But won’t it be a fine thing when we’ve completed it!”
As the party approaches, Kline catches their eyes and rolls his own eyes in mild annoyance – he is clearly much less interested in the puzzle that has captured the Master of Scrolls’ attention than Shane himself is. Giving a little sideways nod at Shane, and then a meaningful glance at the blue twist of paper, Eando Kline gives a silent plea to the new Initiates to get him out of this tedious situation.
We’re now going to embark on a series of skill check conversations. If you wish to engage Shane in conversation, to free Eando from dealing with him and his puzzle, the relevant skills to get Shane interested are Occultism, Society, Fortune-Telling Lore, Games Lore, or any Lore skill not covered by the Common Lore Categories (listed in the sidebar here). You can also make a Diplomacy or Deception check at a higher DC. Another PC can Aid on this check, but each PC can attempt only one check per NPC (meaning it is generally more efficient for a PC to attempt their own check, than Aid).
Do I actually see Urwal?
Society: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (11) + 4 = 15 "Eando Kline, yes? Please to meet your acquaintance. I'm Manahath, an Acolyte of the Drunken God. Hey, I once heard a story about you and some misadventures in the Mwangi Expanse. Something about a serpent folk god getting himself resurrected. Rumor has it we made a lot of changes to Pathfinder agent support after that. I'd love to hear the story." He turns slightly and subtly to Shaine, "You know, because we could learn a lot from what NOT to do."
Jaqard remembers Kreighton Shaine from his time as an initiate.
He does not remember the Master of Scrolls fondly.
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (9) + 3 = 12
The presence of the Eando Kline ties Jaqard's tongue somewhat, as he stammers out, Master Shaine. Puzzles are, er, puzzling, are they not...?
The human male covered in a variety of garish silk clothing steps up to Kreighton.
"Hello! My name is Darlington, and I'm originally from Jalermay, but I decided I want to see the world. The Pathfinders seemed a great lot to throw in with, as they do all kinds of interesting things. Say, what is that you have there. Could you show it to me?
diplomacy: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (10) + 7 = 17
"It's a pleasure to see you again Master Shaine. I wonder if you might help me make sense of something that I recently heard about. You see, a friend of mine from Bloodcove wrote to me about some ancient tablets they found. I suspect are related to the Twelve Rites tablets that the society recovered from that region a few years ago, but I'm hoping you can help me verify my hypothesis."
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (12) + 3 = 15
Shane seems to pay no mind to Manahath’s references to the Mwangi mishaps, but his eyes brighten when the Caydenite mentions what not to do. ”Of course!” Shane mutters excitedly as he gives Manahath a glance, then twists the blue paper so its ends meet to form a ring and scrutinizes where the boxes and letters line up. ”Well, isn’t that clever! What not to do is always important!”
So intent is he on how to fold the paper puzzle, and how not to, that he seems not to even hear Jaqard, Darlinger, or Chumwi as they attempt to engage him. As if hearing the awkward silence from across the room, Janira skips up to the small gathering and says brightly, ”Well hello there! How is everyone? Having a good time? Anything I can help with?”
As mentioned, the Diplomacy DC is higher. Janira might be able to Aid on an upcoming check in this conversation, in Diplomacy or other skills.
Dorrance breaks out her first genuine smile of the evening at the sight of an old friend. "Mtiwa! You too, eh? I haven't seen you since my last trip to Bloodcove. Man, that bar you took us to, I think my hangover lasted a week..." She trails off, remembering where she is. "Igi! I remember this guy." Dorrance plucks a basil leaf off the top of her canape, and offers it to the leshy.
"Mr. Shaine, I, uh, read a case study about an Aspis stronghold that used a similar puzzle as a door lock. The important thing is that the white and black squares invert in different sections."
Aspis Lore: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (8) + 5 = 13
You guys can’t hit the bonus goal on the skill checks for this particular conversation at this point, so I’m going to move us along.
Shane pays no attention to Dorrance, both her excited greeting of her friend and her puzzle-solving suggestion. Fortunately, he is now so focused on how not to fold the puzzle that he’s bothering Kline a little bit less.
Eando’s brown eyes give the new Initiates a stern look, a bit like a disappointed father, and his tone matches as he says, ”I had hoped for better than that, given that all you had to do was distract an eminently distractable person.” He rubs his distinctive chin-strap beard in thought a moment, then continues, ”Still, I’m hopeful you can handle a little task I’ve got for you. I believe in our agents, and that they can make the right call about how to handle what they find, rather than Society leadership having to decide everything.”
He waves a hand as if to put this broad line of thinking aside and says, ”Here’s the story. A researcher from the College of Mysteries, in the Petals District, has unearthed some sort of esoteric lore and has begun experimenting with some of the rituals she found within. These rituals seem particularly dangerous, to the extent that some of her colleagues are concerned about her efforts. I want you to track down this researcher and determine whether the rituals she is studying are under control, or if they are too dangerous and need to be stopped. Her name is Tavvar Hamavsi, and she's been planning to test the ritual at the Blakros Museum - of course. Get down there and sort this out. Got that?”
Kline waits a moment to be sure his request is clear, then glances to his right. Seeing that Shane is still intently focused on trying to twist a two-dimensional strip of paper into three dimensions, or perhaps four, Kline slips away before the Master of Scrolls attempts to speak to him again.
Who would you like to visit next? Benarry, Barun or Greathammer?
Not one to cry over spilled milk (it's not beer after all.) "Yeah, sorry about that. I'll try another approach next time. As for this kerfuffle with the unknown in the Petals, that's likely more our speed."
Manahath nods at the pirate captain, "Benarry. Let's do it!"
He walks over, smiling.
The small group of Initiates – which seems to be forming into a group not unlike a typical team of Pahtfinder agents, though attending a party rather than executing a mission – makes their way over to Calisro Benarry.
The former captain of the Grinning Pixie and faction leader most likely to be mistaken for a pirate, Bennary commands the area near a large punch bowl with a boisterous air, serving any who come near with generous cups of deep red punch, adorned with floating golden berries. As the party approaches, her face breaks into a wide grin, accented by her fine white tusks, and she calls out loudly, ”Welcome, new Pathfinders, to yer celebration! Always a pleasure t’see such an able crew coming aboard!” She slips a handsome silver hip flask from her jacket and holds it up, revealing a detailed engraving of a sizeable sailing ship, and says in a voice only very slightly lower, ”I’d be happy to spice up a cup of punch for ye, so it’s got the proper kick! And then we can talk a bit about a…curious proposal I have for ye.”
Before anyone can accept her offer, a tall, tan man with meticulously groomed hair and mutton chops clears his throat vigorously and intones, ”As I was saying, it would simply be more efficient if we assembled all the Initiates for larger, rigorously structured training courses, rather than the free-wheeling approach you seem to take. And then we have the entire class available to task with some getting some real work done around this place.” He finishes his little speech and adopts an air of someone waiting to be told he obviously has the right answer to whatever question has been asked – which clearly annoys Calisro tremendously.
Same drill as last time, only you can engage Ambrus Valsin with checks for Acrobatics, Athletics, Crafting, Labor Lore, or another Lore tied to a trade involving manual labor. Diplomacy or Deception can be used also, but the DC is higher.
Athletics: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (15) + 5 = 20 Knowing the man to appreciate a strong handshake, Manahath, smile intact, offers him the mother of all handshakes! "It's good to see you sir!"
Dorrance joins Manahath, trying a handshake of her own.
"It's nice to meet you, sir. I appreciate the structure of the Pathfinder Society."
Athletics: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (2) + 6 = 8
Acrobatics: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (8) + 6 = 14
Jaqard endeavors to get Valsin's attention by Acrobatically emphasizing his words as he speaks. Yes, SIR, you've got the RIGHT IDEA about we Society INITIATES!
Chumwi chuckles at the antics of his new acquaintances, but prefers to stay silent on the matter, lest he embarrass himself. I suspect I'm more likely to crit-fail than to help, rolling a +2 untrained Athletics.
The Steward of the Grand Lodge responds to Manahath’s firm handshake and hearty greeting with a tone that manages to be friendly and self-important at the same time, ”And you, initiate! You’re exactly the sort of Pathfinder I like to see…though you Caydenites are not exactly known for efficiency and precision.” Valsin barely gives Dorrance a glance as she offers her more lukewarm greeting and, as Jaquard puts the emPHAsis on surprising sylLABles, Janira pops up and tries to help the half-orc make a good impression, gesturing a bit wildly as she says, ”Yes! As the Chief InitiATE, I hearTILy CONcur!” Unfortunately, her awkward delivery makes it sound more like she’s making fun of Jaquard than agreeing with him.
Janira, Aid Jaqard: 1d20 ⇒ 9
One success from Manahath. Darlinger and Valeros still to make checks, or opt not to.
|Pregenerated PF2S Character|
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Valeros sets down his mug of ale quickly on a passing halfling's tray, coughing slightly as the Society leader criticizes Caydenites. Recovering fairly quickly, he shoos the halfling away and steps forward. "Ah, er, greetings to both of you, and all that. Master Valsin, uh, I was wondering if you'd settle a little dispute between um... my friend here and me, about the proper rigorous...ness... of a uh... push-up. See now, here's how I do them..."
Dropping to the floor in the middle of the room, the young man demonstrates a few push-ups, then calls up to those standing, "and here's how my friend over there does them..."
Athletics: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (14) + 7 = 21
”My, that is some impressive form in your pushups, Initiate!” Valsin exclaims. ”You’re a proper plank of wood, good and straight! I don’t need to see how your friend does pushups, I’ll tell you now that you’re doing it right.” He reaches down and gives Valeros a hearty clap on the shoulder, before turning to address Darlinger. ”What keeps me busy? Why, it’s agents who don’t do as they’re told! If our agents would simply follow instructions, whether it’s in the execution of a mission or how to properly wax the rafters on the ceiling of the Great Hall without falling to their deaths, it would be smooth sailing. But too many agents seem to seek out trouble! I can tell that you’re not that sort, and I appreciate your asking. If more of the Society would just listen to me, things would run a lot more efficiently around here.”
Interestingly, though Calisro was clearly enjoying herself previously, she seems to truly relax as Valsin’s attention is caught by the new Initiates. She laughs loudly and merrily distributes drinks to a couple of senior agents passing by, then waves the Initiates over, saying, ”Thanks for getting him out of my hair, hard to enjoy a party while getting lectured about efficiency, no? Now, I can see you’re a clever lot, I’d like your help with something.”
Pausing for a slug of punch, she continues, ”I’ll start by saying I have made some pretty weird friends in my travels over the years. One of the weirdest—a long-lived naga with unparalleled occult knowledge—was unjustly accused of a crime, and punished with the Charge of the Gorgon. You know about that? It’s a longstanding Absalom tradition. To deal with overcrowding in the city’s prisons, nonviolent offenders were allowed to compete for a pardon in a race to outrun an angry gorgon along the streets, if ye can believe it. Anyone who ran fast enough went free; the slower ones now line the streets as bizarre decor. The ethics of the game were dubious at best, and it was recently outlawed, but Statue Street is still full of petrified folk, including my friend.”
She actually lowers her voice below a deckhand’s bellow now, and says, ”I’ve managed to spread a little money around, to get permission to restore my friend, but it’ll look a lot more official if a third party takes care of the details, and you all are a perfect fit. You can use this on her to restore her, but don’t use it on anyone else, just my naga friend – and she should be the only stone naga on Statue Street.”
She hands over a a greater salve of antiparalysis, chuckles and slips a small, unmarked hip flask from a side pocket, saying ”And here’s a little a pick-me-up for when you really need to get back on your feet.”
Some proper successes there, getting you some additional aid from Benarry, and 1 Treasure Bundle! Who would you like to visit now, Fola Barun or Gorm Greathammer?
Benarry raises her glass and gives a friendly nod of farewell as the party moves on to network with another senior Pathfinder, this time aiming to speak with Gorm Greathammer. Throughout the party, Gorm has been joking and chatting up a storm, appearing to tell the occasional tale, but mostly listening intently to what others have to say. Though he is leader of the Grand Archive, he comes across as more of a lively, fun uncle than a stuffy sage.
Unfortunately, Gorm seems to have been caught by someone whose stories are less interesting to him – Lady Gloriana Morilla. Though the Taldan noblewoman must certainly have some exciting adventures she could share from her successful effort to help Grand Princess Eutropia achieve the throne of Taldor, Lady Gloriana seems instead to be focused on helping the new empress consolidate her rule.
”Gorm, don’t you see?” she says, her tone insistent and even impatient, ”If you throw the resources of the Grand Archive behind the empress, the vast knowledge available, from documents as well as scholars, will ensure that her rule is enduring and great. And a strong, stable Taldor does much for a safe, secure Inner Sea.” Gorm responds with a watery smile, then a longing glance at a group not far away who can be heard laughing uproariously as one of them says through tears of laughter, ”And the whole time he never got out of the bathtub!”
You can get some time to chat with Gorm by making skill checks to engage Lady Gloriana in conversation, in Performance, Society, or any Lore skill related to a specific city (if that city is Oppara, you get a +2 circumstance bonus on the check). Diplomacy and Deception still apply, with the higher DC.
Society: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (11) + 5 = 16
"Of course, we need to think about the world beyond the Inner Sea as well. Tian Xia, the Mwangi Expanse, we need to start think globally."