You find yourselves in the gladiator city of Tymon, at Smine’s Weaponworks, famed smithy and clandestine Pathfinder lodge run by the friendly dwarven Venture-Captain Holgarin Smine
The din of ringing steel and the simmering heat of the forge makes Smine’s Weaponworks easy to find, beyond even its sterling reputation and its well painted sign. An open sliding door leads into a work area filled with apprentices, each toiling to fuel the ceaseless demands for weapons to feed the city’s famed Arena of Aroden. One of the workers, a grim-faced halfling woman barely taller than her own anvil, flashes a smile and points to a narrow staircase at the back of the smithy. Climbing the stairs provides a small respite from the din and the heat, with hanging bowls of cloves and aromatic bark making a heroic, if futile, effort to cover the smell of coal and sweat.
The Pathfinder Lodge above the smithy resembles an adventurer’s boarding house, providing an excellent cover for the comings and goings of the Society’s agents. A door to a kitchen opens, and a soot-smudged dwarf dressed in a leather apron steps out: Venture-Captain Holgarin Smine. The dwarf’s gestures brusquely to a table within the kitchen, his hands wiped passably clean of the ash and grease of his trade. An assortment of bread, cheese, and cider has been set out on the table for refreshments, as is a bizarre doll made of dried wheat stalks.
“Hope the journey went well.” Smine greets. “Dangerous these days. More dangerous further west, so suppose I shouldn’t complain.” His short sentences almost matching the staccato cadence of the forges below. “Won’t waste your time. Ever heard of the Mosquito Witch?”
Smine grins and leans across the table, picking up the grotesque doll. Beady, painted red eyes and a needle-like snout is barely visible through shaggy wheat-stalk hair, and six handless arms are clutched to the doll’s chest. “ Local legend. Ugly thing. People claim it lives near a town out here called Shimmerford. Hunters have been trying to catch it for over fifty years. No one has managed to. Villagers sell the failed hunters dolls and souvenirs instead. Fun for all.” He frowns and sets the doll down. “Not now, though. Mosquitoes and bloodseekers started plaguing the villagers. Killing livestock. Swarming people outside. Getting into food. Been happening for a year or so. People are starting to leave the town entirely. They blame the Mosquito Witch. I don’t. Doesn’t matter. It’s a problem either way. You’re going to stop it.”
Ghostbiter waves away the scent from the hanging potpourri bowls.
She fills a mug of cider and a handful of bread and cheese. Stuffing the bread and cheese into her mouth she asks, "All dolls look like that? Or all different?" and continues to chew away at the free grub.
The heat of the forge is warm enough for Mejarel to knot her hair up and away from her neck, a fruitless attempt at cooling herself down, as she climbs the stairs to the Pathfinder Lodge.
"The journey was pleasant enough," she tells the Venture-Captain, helping herself to a slice of bread and cheese. As he tells her of the 'Mosquito Witch', she pours herself a small glass of cider and takes a closer look at the doll. "It's the ugliest doll I've seen a while. You say it's a local legend? I know you said no ones managed to catch it, but has anyone ever seen it before?"
Cyne gets close to the table and grabs the doll, examining it with disbelief.
He turns to Mejarel
If it hasn't been found, then I would find it extremely amusing. Before I left Hermea, I read hundreds of books of Inner Sea fauna and flora, and let's say... you've been graced with quite a freakshow."
He plays with the doll in his hand and puts it back in the table.
How are we supposed to stop something that might not even exist and be completely related to climate conditions?
"Master Smine" Arak formally bows to the other dwarf "Is there anyone you suggest we talk to in order to discern the truth about what's happening in Shimmerford? And about this "Mosquito Witch" is there anything more you can tell us about her legend?"
Yergi stacks some cheese slices on bread, and before taking a large bite asks, "Sorry for piling on the questions, but you said you don't think it's the Witch. Do you have a theory on what could actually be doing this?"
Cyne looks at the goblin and raises an eyebrow, puzzled. Not wanting to dissapoint, he says:
Uhhh... well, sure, maybe if the witch has been dead for a while. But I wouldn't be surprised if SOMEHOW a live one turned out to be a ghost. I guess...
He turns to Yergi.
Nice to see we're on the same page regarding this whole Mosquito Witch issue.
The dwarf picks up his mug of cider and then begins to chew on some of the fruit as he answers.
"All the beastly dolls are like that mostly. But they have the variation a children's craft project. Different colors of grains, some are long and skinny, some a bit lopsided, but all the six arms and dress."
"The Mosquito witch legend is old. Missing the wings, though folks disagree about that piece. People claimed to see it a while back. Some claim they saw it more recently. No one’s proved it. No one’s caught it. No one’s sure what it is. Would be exciting if we found out!"
“Been fifty years since people spotted the witch. Plenty of time to do something like this. It hasn’t. Just sticks to the forest, scares people, gives omens. Doesn’t send things into the town. Maybe something riled it up. More likely it’s a Ghlaunder worshipper. Something similar, anyway. Probably heard stories about the witch. Took advantage of them to cause trouble.”
“Find a gnome woman named Galia. Not a Pathfinder. Knows me, though. Knows we fix problems. She’s the one who sent a letter about the situation. Would have a better idea of the situation on the ground. After that, find what’s causing the problem. ”
RC Array: 6d20 ⇒ (2, 15, 3, 20, 2, 19) = 61
RC Pointer: 2d6 ⇒ (5, 1) = 6
Cyne recalls Shimmerford’s Mosquito Witch-based dolls, which they sell to tourists, come from a legend that the witch herself is obsessed with little dolls. The tourist dolls are usually made of wheat stalks, but the witch herself supposedly prefers intricate paper dolls.
Mejarel also remembers tales about this Mosquito Witch was originally spotted almost 60 years ago in a forested location now known as Witchtop Hill. Most of the witnesses were teenagers.
"50 years from the last confirmed sighting is a long time but perhaps we can find some witnesses... I think we've better get going. How far is the town of Shimmerglow from here?"
Cyne changes his expression of disbelief to one of excitement once he contemplates the possibility of documenting a never before seen monster; be it Mosquito Witch or not, that could probably make him notorious enough to his Hermean family and he could be accepted back!
Heh... The Beast of Shimmerford by Cyne Walde... That sounds nice.
He says out loud, completely oblivious to the rest of the ongoing conversation.
Alongside with the rest of the group, a tall hooded figure greeted Smine with a Slight bow as he took seat in the less illuminated side of the table, put his longbow on his side and gathered just enough bread and cheese for a frugal meal, he then began to quietly listen the conversation between the Dwarf and the rest of his companions. While the first was explaining about the Mosquito Witch and how Hunters tried and failed to find and kill this "Local Legend", Bowen began to think that this mission would not be an easy task because all the current information were mere sightings and rumours, he then heard his partner Cyne talk about documenting the future encounter with the creature and whispered at him.
It will be nice if we survive the encounter against that Witch first Cyne.
Cyne smirks, arms crossed. His naivety a little too evident.
We WILL survive it. You got a Hermean Conjurer after all.
He winked an eye to Bowen.
Ghostbiter sniffs Yergi and drool visibly starts forming at the corners of her mouth. "Bite lots of things. Good at biting should-be-but-not-deads. Good at biting still-alives." She sniffs Yergi again. "You smell tasty... why you smell tasty?"
"Of course we will survive! Some of us, at least... perhaps only a few! But the important thing is we'll be furthering the cause of good!" Arak exclaims sounding full of enthusiasm as he claps Bowen on the shoulders
Yergi smiles a little nervously at Ghostbiter and replies, "Well, I had a bit of bad luck running some messages near the Gravelands ... I used to be a messenger before this Pathfinder business you see, went lots of places ... anyways, I ran into some bad luck and now I'm just a teeny bit dead." He holds up two of his fingers very close together to show the amount of deadness is very small.
Ghostbiter thinks on Yergi's tale... but that hurts and she smacks her head to move the thoughts faster. "Then you like little fish snack who isn't ready to be caught. Better to wait until you're big fish meal." She pats Yergi on the leg, "No worry. I eat you when you become bad. Save everyone. They safe. Until then you help, little-fish-snack."
Mejarel doesn't listen much to the whispers of the others, busy attempting to recall any information she's heard before about the Mosquito Witch. It definitely rings a bell. "I'm sure I've heard of this story before. It was seen near Witchtop Hill, nearly sixty years ago now. From what I recall, most of the witnesses were teenagers. Perhaps some of them are still in Shimmerford? Some eyewitness accounts might help us narrow down what this thing might be."
“I hired you a boat. Good ship. Good crew. They’ll take you down the river to Shimmerford. I’d stay inside while traveling, though. Clouds of mosquitoes are hanging by the shore and above the water. Doesn’t sound pleasant.”
Smine finishes his mug. "It seems you should easily have this in hand and you have some ideas already. I wish you luck"
Is anyone taking the doll?
After finishing your refreshments, you can make your way to the river docks.
Feel free for any last minute equipment adjustments. Also since it is an over night travel you can change any daily preparations
Shimmerford is a forested town located near the East Sellen River’s first fork, just east of Riverton. You travel to Shimmerford without any incident, though as you approach, thick clouds of mosquitoes hanging over the shoreline become more prominent, until the earth seems covered with writhing black masses of flying insects. The party arrives to find not the festive village that once was, but a suspicious settlement with empty streets and clusters of mosquitoes hovering over each puddle of water. As you disembark from their boat, a gnome with blueberry-blue hair and copper skin emerges from a tiny house that has been mosquito-proofed with cloth and wax crammed into every crack and seam. This is Galia Farrsmith, the contact that Venture-Captain Smine suggested to seek out in Shimmerford. When she sees the your group, she hurries over to greet you, wringing her hands and swatting away any mosquitoes that come near her.
“Oh, thank goodness! Oh, thank goodness! You actually came! Smine actually sent someone! You must be them, right? No one comes here a-anymore unless they’re planning to help! Do you want to talk inside? My house is mostly mosquitofree! Can I get you anything? My beet juice is also mostly mosquito-free! Would you like to sit down? A fresh haircut, maybe? Oh, thank goodness you’re here!”
Ghostbiter snaps at any mosquitoes that try to get near her. "Show bugs you boss. Bite them before they bite you." When that obviously doesn't work she starts flailing her arms at the bugs and run screaming toward the gnome's house. "We go inside? Bugs bite me more than I bite them. They bite me lots more than I bite them! Stop the biting, bugs!"
Arak observes Ghostbiter's antics with the mosquitoes and comments:"Does that mean they are showing you who's boss, then?".
Then the dwarf considers the gnome lady greeting them:"Well met miss Galia, you guessed right. We were sent by venture captain Smine to help your community. Now... we would like to hear the facts about this witch so that we can determine the threat she poses and devise a strategy to get rid of her..."
I'm taking the doll, if that's ok with everyone
Cyne clears his thoat and gets besides Arak, replying to him.
"Supposing there's even a Mosquito Witch to begin with..."
Cyne observes the gloomy village that surrounds him. He's torn in between being the first sighting of the Witch and claiming that glory for himself, and looking for a more plausible, even mundane explanation to such phenomena.
He shakes his head, cleaning his head from such toughts, trying to remind himself he's working with a team.
He takes out the doll and shows it to Galia.
Miss, I'm guessing this is the sort of stuff your people used to sell in the village, right?
Yergi amiably walks towards Galia's house, "Mosquito-free beet juice sounds wonderful! A sit would be nice, don't need the haircut though!" Yergi pats his ice-blue shock of hair as he says this.
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Galia's house is A1
The gnome takes you to her cottage. Galia is happy to offer her house for the you to stay, though it is extremely small and cramped, even for Small-sized creatures. The main room does have her barber's chair.
“W-well, you probably noticed the mosquitoes. There’ve been a lot of bloodseekers, too. Those are mosquitoes that are as big as your heads! The little ones are bad enough, but the big ones have been driving people out of the town. One even carried off poor Mrs. McClairby’s cat, and some of them killed all of Mr. Rujat’s prize cattle. It’s been really, really, really awful around here!”
“Most people think it’s…” Galia lowers her voice to a whisper. “…the witch. I thought that maybe it could have been a c-cultist of Ghlaunder, but that turned out to be wrong, so I don’t know what else it could be.”
“As to what they say started this?" Galis pours more beet juice as if to return to her role as town gossip. "[b]Um, let me see. Mr. Albi’s daughter ran off with the traveling postman, and there was a big fuss about Mr. Vernon’s rooster getting out to harass Mrs. Favam’s ducks. I don’t think any of that would have caused this, though. Even Ms. Lyons d-didn’t seem to think anything was wrong, until the mosquitoes showed up.”
Per, Ghostbiter: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (10) + 4 = 14
Per, Cyne: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (10) + 5 = 15
Per, Arak: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (11) + 5 = 16
Per, Yergi: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (12) + 3 = 15
Per, Mejarel: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (11) + 6 = 17
Per, Bowen : 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (20) + 7 = 27
A long the walk from the docks you notice a particularly large blood seeker that seems to be following the party. You think you see its eyes glow red when it watches you. But after a few seconds it buzzes off aimlessly and its beady eyes return to normal
The doll seems to not be in the pocket you though you put it it. But after checking quickly you find it one of your pouches, but not where you thought you put it
Ghostbiter is a blessing, every thing she says makes my day!
Cyne just walked silently into the hut and swallowed his words as he found the doll in another one of his explorer clothing's many pockets.
"Maybe it was Tsekani..." He mumbled to himself, trying to blame his tiny familiar for moving it, even though he knew that was extremely unlikely.
"I see..." Arak mumbles as he sips the "mostly mosquito free" beet juice.
"First, we shall not impose on your generosity. Your house very nice and confortable but it was never meant to give shgelter to a bunch of large people such as ourselves. I suggest we stay at the local inn and take the chance to ask around for information... those places are usually rife with gossip and rumors after all. Second... Second, I'm curious, why would you rule out cultists of Ghlaunder? Why did that guess turn out to be wrong? And third... I think we should start our investigation from the place where these bloodsuckers started their raids. Can you point us at Mrs. McClairby’s house and Mr. Rujat's farm please?"
Checking out the map I imagine the second one could be A11 but I've got no idea where Mrs. McClairby’s house could be
Yergi nods in agreement with Arak, "Quite right, we'll stay at the local inn, help drum up some business! And maybe I'll need a haircut while we're here!"
Religion to Recall Knowledge about Ghlaunder: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (4) + 3 = 7
Yergi taps his lip, "Ghlaunder... what is he the god of again?"
A1 is on the lower left hand side of the map
Responding to Arak: “Oh! Um. Yeah! Yeah! About that... um. So there was a Ghlaunder cultist who we found lived a little ways out in the woods! But when we found him the others got a teensy-tiny wee bit mad, and um... k-killed him. And then whacked him into pieces. And then burned his house to the ground with his body in it, and then salted the ground where the ashes were. But, um. The mosquitoes and bloodseekers didn’t leave. So I guess... it actually wasn’t him? I… I feel kind of bad about it now.”
“As for Allies? M-maybe! We didn’t find any others, though.”
"Rujart left but his farm is on the south side of town A11. Mrs. McClairby left a while ago and her house is now abandoned." She points it out but it is not a labeled point of interest
Then to Ghostbitter: “Ms. Mordha Lyons! You are so clever with your words, I should write those down. She actually saw the Mosquito Witch, back in the day! One of the first! She doesn’t much like strangers, though. I don’t think she much likes a-anyone, truth to be told.”
To Yergi: "Ghlaunder? God of parasites and disease. Likes mosquitoes. Likes bloodseekers. Cultists summon them a lot. Not a popular god.”
She then continues to all : “No one knows anything for sure about the Mosquito Witch! It’s a thing that shows up outside of town sometimes, b-but I’ve never heard of it causing this much harm! I even think the little dolls people make of it are k-kind of cute. We used to throw a festival every year for it. Anna always made the best witchbread for the festival…"
Hearing about the dead cultist the goblin gets excited and does a little dance, "It a ghost cultist! I bite it and eat it and..." Light reflects off a bauble across the room and she gets distracted for a moment and forgets why she is dancing.
Hearing about Ms Lyons Ghostbiter nods at Galia, "Sound like cranky lion to me. We ask questions of cranky lion. She may have thorn in foot. I heard that happens to lions and make them cranky. I find a mouse to fix it."
Looking into the cup offered her by Galia, Ghostbiter thinks outloud, "Why drink beet juice? It look like blood. Maybe bugs think you drink blood, too. Make them think this happy place for blood drinkers."
"I'm not a fan of evil gods and their followers, but I'm not a fan of unnecessary slaughter either miss... However, I know some curses linger even after the death of the caster, so I'd like to know where the lair of this man is, and in any case, where you buried it..."
Cyne pays attention to the words of his goblin fellow. He hasn't drank any of the Beet juice. Just in case, he plans to examine it a little closer.
I want to see if there's something suspicios about our drinks, better be safe than sorry! What do I need to roll?
@Cnye. Nature, Perception, any useful lore. Craft if you have Alchemy or something similar that could deal with poisons.
The gnome smile. "I know that y-you have some ideas and I will leave you to them. I will be here if you need me"
And now the open "investigate the Town" section. The Town Map has notable locations on it. Since this is PbP I am ok if you want to spilt. So place your token on the PoI you will head to.
Nature: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (19) + 5 = 24
Regardless of the outcome, I won't drink it. I don't even like beet! By the way, I see what Ghostbiter purposes, but I also find important to check whatever was going on with this cultist, just to make sure. Maybe we should split?
"Seems like we have a plan: Ghostbiter and Yergi will seek out Ms Lyons while I shall check out the abandoned farm, alone or with someone else of course. Also we need to investigate the place where the cultist of Ghlaunder was slain... and secure a place to stay at the local tavern"
Perception check (beet-juice): 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (1) + 5 = 6
Perception check (Galia - Sense Motive): 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (20) + 5 = 25
Yergi downs his beet juice without looking at it. "Yes! Let's go chase down a lion my little bitey friend. Oh, Ms. Galia, could you tell us where the local tavern is so Ghostbiter and I know where to meet everyone else later?"
Hello there, I'm very Sorry for the delay, i was unable to reply yesterday because i was working all day, now i'm back and ready
The uneasiness because of such creepy sight made his hand and body go on a halt for a moment before his common sense returned to his mind, as he unshouldered his longbow, the glow dissapeared from the eyes of the flying insect before it fled. The Ranger was rather uneasy and uncomfortable for such encounter and contnued his stride with his companions but now with longbow in hand, more watchful and alert than before.
In Galia's House
Bowen was a little uncomfortable in the reduced space that was the house of the female gnome, even a couple of times his head hit with the roof, he stood silent leaving the conversation to Arak, however he was interested about the events that occurred in Shimmerford, specially about the dead cultist of Ghlaunder that was killed long ago and how the plague of Bloodseekers and mosquitoes affected the population specially the farms and the cattle, definetly his tracking and hunting skills were needed in this place, and he was more than willing to make good use of them, he didn't touch the Beet juice that was served for him, he wanted to make sure first that it was drinkable.
I think Bowen would be rather suspicious at the beet juice so he will sniff at the liquid, so rolling perception too.
Perception: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (11) + 7 = 18
Bowen looked at his companions who were making plans about split in order to cover more terrain in their investigation, after what happened to him before enter to the house he decided to break his silence.
"If you are planning to separate, then i need to tell all of you about something important, i think you better know this before we go outside and start to explore the town."
The voice of Bowen indicated that it was a serious matter, his gloomy face was even more somber than usual. The Ranger then spoke to Galia, with a less grim expression.
"Could you give us a moment alone please Miss Galia? It will not take much time, I promise.
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Seriously blushing right now. I was scared I was going too far over the top.
I don't have any real knowledge skills for a lot of the exposition phase. I'm primarily just trying to pick up on whatever details I notice and let you guys roll on them.
The beet juice is just that. Though still slightly accented to the whims of gnomish tastes.
6d20 ⇒ (4, 11, 15, 16, 3, 17) = 66
2d6 ⇒ (6, 2) = 8
Bowen recalls bloodseekers, sometimes called stirges, are baseball sized parasites that can attach and drain the victim of blood. One isn't enough to drain a single person, but small number would could be fatal. There isn't any thing special that makes them easier to kill. Just bash or burn them like any pest.
Shimmer ford Investigation
A4 Lyons House: Ghostbitter, Yergi
A11 Abandon Farm: Arak
A6 Tavern: ??
???: Bowen, Cyne, Mejarel
I post the intro of the locations shortly, and for ease of play and timing, put you choose afterwards if needed
I spoke with my friend Aldath (Cyne) and he wanted to check on the burned house of the dead cultist of Ghlaunder, so i have in mind to go with him if is possible and watch his back. If i'm not wrong the burned house is in a place out in the woods, i think it would be good for the wizard if he goes with Bowen.
Shimmer ford Investigation
A4 Lyons House: Ghostbitter, Yergi
A11 Abandon Farm: Arak
A6 Tavern: ??
XXX Cultist house: Bowen, Cyne
While most of the young teenagers who saw the Mosquito Witch have left Shimmerford, one remains, too feeble and poor to escape the town. Mordha Lyons, now an old woman, resides in a small house in the west of town. The door to her home is opened by a young Tian man with dyed white hair. He greets you with an air of annoyance. And with out even asking he says. “[b You again! This is the third day in a row. Do you have no concern for a frail old lady[/b]”
You recognize the symbol on his robe as that of Tsukiyo, the Tian god of jade, the moon, and spirits, as well as a protector of the psychologically distressed and misunderstood
The figure blocks your entry to see Mrs. Lyons
The Abandoned Farm
The farmhouse has been abandoned for some time. The house is empty but when you head to the barn you find a calf lying on the ground and breathing shallowly as if waiting to die. The calf is covered with the bloated bodies of a mundane mob of mosquitoes that are draining the calf’s remaining blood