A courier, her uniform emblazoned with a patch depicting a winged eye surrounded by three crowns, approaches you with a sigh and wipes the sweat from her brow.
"By the Scales, you're a tricky one to track down. Here, this is for you."
The messenger hands over a heavy, folded parchment, sealed with red wax. The seal depicts three stars over a closed gate. Opening the message, you see it is a letter written in a steady hand.
"I hope my agent finds you well. You have developed quite a reputation over the past few years, and I find myself in need of an operative as discrete as they are capable. My sources tell me that you fit that bill. Please, meet me at the Azlanti Keep three hours after dawn on the 12th of Lamashan. The city has need of your singular talents and is prepared to reward you for your service.
Acting Primarch Wynsal Starborn
Autumn mornings atop the Azlanti Keep are crisp and pleasant. Your arrival at the Keep was evidently awaited, as a soldier met you immediately upon arrival and whisked you up to a secluded spot atop the battlements. The Keep's steward made sure that you had a warm drink in hand and assured you that Starborn would be right with you. You're not alone at the battlements: Three capable looking features join you.
Please post an in-character introduction! Your host will arrive soon. (I'll put the first story post up either later tonight or early tomorrow, depending on when people are ready.)
Banjae shifts from foot to foot, a twinkle in her eye showing her excitement at a new mystery. The gnome woman dresses splendidly in a pristine blue suit trimmed with bright red and gold trim. A shock of red hair matching both the trim and the feather in her hat frames her face wildly. A basket-hilted rapier lies in a scabbard on her left side, and a gauntleted hand rests easily on it. She extends her bare right hand in greeting. "Well met. Name is Banjae. Banjae Roldo." she offers to the other strangers.
The tall, lanky Hobgoblin who next climbed the steps was dressed in the latest fashions from Absalom; Expertly cut black breeches and a silk shirt dyed the deep red, like one might find in an active volcano. This helped to accentuate the red in both his eyes, and complimented his red-tinged skin. His neatly cut auburn hair was topped by a well-constructed black top hat, and he walked with a wooden cane that ended in a handle carved from platinum in the shape of a word in Thassilonian.
Finally, a short cape hung gallantly over one shoulder, upon which sat a small cat with wings.
"You may call me Orvin Bloodsinger. A pleasure to make your acquaintance."
On the highest point of the highest tower of Abasalom, sees a dwarf. Looking at the courriers, he jumps falling by hundred of feets. He looks at the messager and takes the missive. "You must be someone of great talent to just being able to find me"
Bulky as a dwarf can be, one can sense that his balance is strong.
The dwarf enters the room. Without saying anything.
Banjae's gaze falls appraisingly over each of them as they enter. Her eyes flicker a bit as they wash over Orvin's staff. "Very pleased to make your acquaintance, Orvin Bloodsinger. I see your staff is of Thassilon. Been fascinated with the empire for awhile now, but haven't actually found the time to pick up the language. Probably should add that to my to-do list."
A fairly large half orc climbs up next. He is clad in large metallic armor, adorned with several yellow runes. Instead of a metal helmet he instead covers his face with what appears to be a red demonic face mask. He lifts the mask to show a more human-like face, but with golden eyes. His black hair is long but shown to be well groomed.
"Greetings and well met," the half orc says. "You may call me Aarius." Attached to his back is a rather large hammer. It appears to be phasing in and out of existence with each blink.
A tall man approaches you along the battlements, flanked by two woman. On one side, a pale woman with white-blind hair and on the other a a woman with the dark hair and manner of a native Taldane.
You immediately recognize the trio as Wynsal Starborn, the acting Primarch of Absalom; Brivit Nae, Head of the Forea Logos library, high counselor, and leader of the Scriveners' Guild, and Lady Darchana of House Madinani, the archdean of the Arcanimirium, Absalom's most prestigious school of magic.
The three prominent figures are well-known throughout Absalom, but movers and shakers in the city's society might know more obscure facts about them.
As the trio approaches you, Starborn looks the group over and gives a satisfied nod of the head. "By the look of you, my intelligence was good. You appear a capable lot. I apologize for the inconvenient meeting place, but you must admire the view."
Starborn turns to gaze out over the city, taking in Absalom's sprawling districts. The sounds of the city drift up even hear, on top of its largest keep, and the bustle of urban life is a constant buzz. The spire of the Starstone Cathedral reaches toward the heavens, the Grand Bazaar is a sea of multicolor tents at the city's heart, and the verdant splotch of Green Ridge breaks up the masonry of Absalom's architecture. "I love my city, but...Lady Darchana, if you would?"
The wizard waves a ringed hand and arcane runes rise around the seven of you. With a clearly spoken word of power, she completes the spell, and you feel you ears pop. The sounds of the city below fade to a mere murmur, and the acting Primarch continues, "I love my city, but leading it is a heavy burden, and one I'd gladly be rid of. Unfortunately, even talking of such a thing is enough to send every politician and guildmaster into a tizzy over instability. Not to mention plotting between the great houses over who will be the next Primarch. Therefor, Lady Darchana is providing us with some privacy. And Lady Nae is here to provide us with some information."
At this the Irriseni woman snorts, "Hardly a lady, Wynsal." She gestures out over the city with ink-stained fingers. "What we are discussing has never happened in the history of the city, so it piqued my interest."
Wynsal nods. "It is unprecedented. As I'm sure you all know, Lord Gyr, the Primarch of Absalom, disappeared several years ago, leaving me in charge of the city for entirely too long. The succession of the Primarch cannot be settled until he is found. I've decided to send you to bring him back."
"Surely you have questions. Unfortunately, Gyr's disappearance has remained a mystery despite the best efforts of many city officials--that is why we--" he gestures to encompass the three officials "--decided to call on outsiders. We will answer you as best we can."
"My best diviners could not determine his location," Lady Darchana answers. "And the High Priestess of Pharasma was able to personally confirm that he has not been judged by the Mother of Souls."
Brivit Nae continues: "So, he is alive, somewhere. It's quite the enigma. Gyr is a wily old fox, and adventured for years before settling in Absalom. He knows how to stay hidden if he wishes. But why would he hide? If he were in danger, he might go underground. But what could keep him in hiding for years?"
Starborn nods agreement. "I fear that a powerful enemy is involved. Either Gyr has been kidnapped and incapacitated or he is on the run from a foe powerful enough that he is afraid to even leave us a message."
Society on Wynsal: 1d20 + 18 ⇒ (15) + 18 = 33
Society on Brivit: 1d20 + 18 ⇒ (10) + 18 = 28
Society on Lady Darchana: 1d20 + 18 ⇒ (17) + 18 = 35
"Lord and ladies" said Orvin with a bow to each "Perhaps you can enlighten us as to the circumstances that you have uncovered about the Lord's last known movements and activities before his disappearance?"
Using Quick Recognition with Arcana to try and identify the spell she cast.
Arcana to Recall Knowledge: 1d20 + 22 ⇒ (16) + 22 = 38
Society 1d20 + 21 ⇒ (9) + 21 = 30 W.S.
Society 1d20 + 21 ⇒ (2) + 21 = 23 B.N.
Society 1d20 + 21 ⇒ (14) + 21 = 35 L.D.
"And is there any way we can examine his last known location?" Banjae inquires. "Not meaning any offense, but I find that what others find sometimes seemingly meaningless to be some of the best clues to a mystery."
Starborn answers, "As he disappeared during the siege, it's somewhat difficult to pin down those details. I was surely one of the last few people to see him. We discussed strategy near this very spot after he announced my appointment as Siege Lord, and last I saw of him was when he headed back into the Keep. We did not receive word that he was missing until hours later. I assumed that he was dealing with the emergencies at the docks or the Forea Logos."
"All powerful people have enemies," Lady Darchana interjects. "Gyr has been Primarch a long time, so he surely has his share. The man was a genius at consolidating power, however, and I don't personally know of any active feuds. Certainly no one actively opposed him on the Council. A political motive does seem likely, however, so it would certainly be worth investigating."
Nea adds, "Wynsal probably assumes it common knowledge, but Gyr kept a room here at the Keep where he could retreat for some quiet. I'm sure it's been checked," Wynsal nods, ""But you have all been brought here because you often see what others do not."
"I only have two more questions, and then I will be ready to get underway: first, I would like each of you to make a declaration that you were not involved in his disappearance; I'm sure that you were not, but I believe in covering all bases; secondly, if he were to head towards the keep, docks, or forea logos from here, what would be the most likely path he would take to each location?"
"A sensible precaution," Starborn answers. "I swear I was not involved. I was happily retired."
"Nor was I," agrees Lady Darchana.
"Nor I," concludes the librarian.
All of their statements strike you as sincere.
O: 1d20 + 14 ⇒ (10) + 14 = 24
A: 1d20 + 18 ⇒ (10) + 18 = 28
B: 1d20 + 21 ⇒ (16) + 21 = 37
K: 1d20 + 21 ⇒ (10) + 21 = 31
After these solemn declarations, Starborn adds. "It was so long ago now that it may be difficult to pick up his trail. There are many routes through the city, especially for someone like Gyr that has magic at his disposal. You might ask around the Keep or check if any of other notables in Absalom saw him after I did."
Sounds like you're going to Gather Information around the Keep. If anyone else has questions for these folks, feel free to post them, but I'll move ahead with the info gathering.
Starborn agrees that the Keep is a good place to start. "If you need me, any soldier in the Keep should be able to get me a message. Lady Darchana and the Guildmaster will be leaving us for the moment, but we can check in later, if needed. Outside these walls, please be discrete in your inquiries. As I said, talk of Lord Gyr's disappearance destabilizes the city."
A: 1d20 + 19 ⇒ (20) + 19 = 39
O: 1d20 + 17 ⇒ (19) + 17 = 36
K: 1d20 + 17 ⇒ (16) + 17 = 33
B: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (11) + 12 = 23
Canvasing the Keep, you are able to find several soldiers who saw Lord Gyr during the Siege. Most say the saw him on the battlements or walking through the halls with Wynsal Starborn. One soldier tells you that he was sure he heard Gyr mention that he was going to his private study for supplies.
Aarius, you run into an old cleaning woman with a sharp eye and sharper memory. "Oh yes, I saw m'lord during the Siege! Stands out in my mind because it was mighty peculiar! You see, I was doing the dusting on the western side of the third floor. I saw Lord Gyr hurry down and right in to his study. Well, not 15 mintues later on knocked on the door--Lord Gyr was mighty particular about being interrupted, but I'm the only one he trusted to dust in his study, you see, and with the Siege on, I didn't know the next time I'd be in to see to things!" The woman gestures grandly with her cleaning rags. "Dust waits for no man, I always saw, but when there's demons and ghost pirates in the street, I figure it's time to take a few days vacation."
She continues, "Well, I knock again, but there's no answer, so I let myself in. There's not many that m'lord trusts with a key to his study, but he likes things tidy and has told me many times how he appreciates my work. When I open the door, room's empty! Now Lord Gyr's a powerful man and I'm sure he has ways of coming and going that aren't available to me, but I know he didn't come out that door. I was cleaning the sconces outside it since he went in. If he left I would have seen it."
Before we leave:
"What can you tell us about Lord Gyr's skillset? was he a spellcaster? If so, what tradition did he follow? if not, where did his combat prowess lie?"
Basically trying to get an idea of his capabilities.
Lady Darchana answers Orvin "Gyr was a cunning old rogue (literally and figuratively), but he was skilled enough in arcane matters that he named himself first Spelllord. He wasn't a scholar of the arcane, but he had learned many...tricks...in his adventuring days."
A: 1d20 + 18 ⇒ (10) + 18 = 28
O: 1d20 + 14 ⇒ (17) + 14 = 31
K: 1d20 + 21 ⇒ (19) + 21 = 40
B: 1d20 + 21 ⇒ (6) + 21 = 27
You get the sense that Darchana respects Gyr's capability but dismisses his arcane studies as mere dabbling.
"You seem so nice. I'd be happy to" The little old woman leads you to a sturdy, but nondescript door in a lightly-trafficed part of the keep.
"I don't think anyone has been inside except me, and possible General Starborn. There's not many that has a key."
Banjae smiles. "Thank you." Looking towards her newfound companion, she says "If you don't mind, I'd like to enter first, so the room is the least disturbed. Give me a minute to prepare my senses,"
Bajae is taking the case on the room.
Banjae begins by examining the door thoroughly and then gently opens it, searching the room with her eyes before entering. Once she is satisfied with a visual examination, she enters for a closer look.
B: 1d20 + 21 + 2 ⇒ (11) + 21 + 2 = 34
The door is locked, but the cleaning lady is gracious enough to open it for you with her key.
Inside, you see a spartanly furnished room with a simple bed, a writing desk, and a large wardrobe. The bed is well-made, with high-quality sheets. On the writing desk, a neat stack of paper sits next to a ink well that has been long dry. The wardrobe looks very sturdy and of exceptional quality, carved from some exotic wood.
Banjae smiles. A trap means secrets and secrets mean clues. She speaks calmly. "There is a trap here. Best to stay back." She examines the trappings with a keen eye and removes a set of tools from a small pouch at her waist, allowing time for the others to back away if they wish.
Using a combination of tools, arcane signals, and her vast knowledge of both, she attempts to disable the trap.
Thievery 1d20 + 23 ⇒ (12) + 23 = 35
Banjae, you get the feeling that the trap would have modified your memory in some way--a non-lethal protection for papers that might be read by the staff.
B: 1d20 + 21 ⇒ (1) + 21 = 22
The papers appear to be fairly mundane in nature, detailing rather dry details about tariffs and duties.
Banjae hands the papers out to the others. "Please examine these thoroughly. Look for any indications of particularly low or high taxes, items that seem out of the ordinary, or encoded messages. Also, if someone could please ask the cleaning lady to confirm that they are in Lord Gyr's handwriting, There was a spell here to alter memories. Perhaps it was simply to keep details of private transactions fuzzy, or perhaps it was designed to keep someone from realizing the papers are fakes."
Banjae then searches the desk, the bed, the wardrobe. As she moves between each, she examines the floor. After, she searches along the walls. Finally, she does her best to inspect the ceiling.
Assuming that everyone who is able pitches in here:
O: 1d20 + 18 ⇒ (13) + 18 = 31
B: 1d20 + 21 + 2 ⇒ (18) + 21 + 2 = 41
B: 1d20 + 19 + 2 ⇒ (17) + 19 + 2 = 38
The cleaning lady confirms that it looks like Lord Gyr's handwriting, though she doesn't seem like an expert. (She's a bit scandalized that you are going through his things.)
Banjae, the room seems unremarkable, and you don't discover any secret panels, though the wardrobe catches your attention. It's pretty clearly a magic item. Examining it closely, you think that it is some sort of teleportation device, and you could activate it, if you wish.
Orvin, when you examine the papers, you pick up on a previously-unnoticed detail. The first page of notes incorporates a somewhat-complicated cipher. You probably couldn't reproduce it, but the gist of the encoded message is, Gone to Cassomir for "supplies." Will return presently.
"If there was a magical trap, I would ask you to wait a moment before entering." says Orvin before Banjae enters the room. He then begins chanting, and soon his vision is attuned to all things magic.
Casting Detect Magic.
"Perhaps we should examine it. I can get up close to check it out. Make sure nothing terrible is there instead."
Aarius will cast the cantrip Shield on himself as he approaches the cabinet to examine it closer, just in case it's booby trapped or something.
"Please remove the items from the wardrobe." says Orvin.
Once they have been removed, he will use Detect Magic to see if the items or the wardrobe itself is magic.
"It would appear that the cabinet itself is of a magical nature. Given that, I believe your hypothesis was correct Banjae. There is likely teleportation magic involved, unless perhaps the wardrobe summons things...."
"Orvin, you seem to know your magic. Any ideas what it could be? I only know divine magic and even then only the basics"
On the off chance it is divine I'm going to roll Religion
Religion: 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (1) + 13 = 14
starting the game off right
"I can attempt it, but it will take some time to try and pinpoint the culprit. Perhaps the rest of you should examine papers while I spend some time divining the aura?"
Identifying magic takes 10 minutes now, unfortunately. From the detect magic spell, can I determine what tradition of magic the effect comes from?