Although he does not add to the conversation, Ulfgar comes close enough to the gathering of Pathfinders and Captain to listen in.
You might think his scowl is one of displeasure or disgust, but those who went on the previous mission with him know that's just how his normal expression.
Once the First Mate finishes his stories, Jakob wanders around the decks striking up conversations with any sailors resting. He offers to trade stories and tales for any the sailors have about their destination.
Anyone else willing to share rumors with us?
Sorry for the delay. It's been a busy week, and you also asked plot hole questions. Also note I'll be busy from Friday UTC 17:00 - Monday UTC 0:00 and unable to post during that time.
The first mate responds, "The challenge is held e'ery 10 years. The Monestery of Untwistin' Iron won the previous two b'fore the last."
One of the other crew members pipes in, "She wasn't a pleasant guest on the ship. Insisted we call her 'Master Sanvara' all the time. She had some big thing wrapped in fur that she put into the cargo hold herself. Wouldn't let any of us touch it."
"And no idea where she went upon arrival?
Did you not see which way... as this unpleasant guest left?"
"Som big thing wrapped in er coat, ya say?"
Brogag says with a curious look on his face.
"Any idea wat dat ding was by chance?"
Assuming you have no further questions for the crew, you dock on Vedeesha. With the information you obtained from the ship's crew, you can gather from a dockworker that "Master Sanvara" has setup a small martial arts school in an an abandoned dojo not far from the central market area of town.
Vedeesha is well past its prime. The central market area that looks to have once supported a prosperous city is now nearly desolate. Very few others walk the streets, and those who do keep their distance and a wary eye focused towards you.
The dojo the dockworker described is a single-story structure with walls made of limestone and basalt, intended to provide contrast to each other, but now darkened with time and lack of care. The structure is topped by a pagoda made of thatched bamboo. The ground floor is easily accessible and no one is around. Moving through the structure, you find an abandoned stone courtyard, two crumbling shrines to Irori, a massive training yard littered with rusty athletics equipment, and several chambers filled with musty bedrolls. The largest bed chamber has an obvious opening in the floor connected to a set of winding stone stairs that descend.
"Down we go!
'Twas stolen from a vault below, I guess we get it back from the depths below."
Ulfgar is as chatty as normal as they make their way through the city. He examines the abandoned dojo carefully, giving small obeisances to the shrines to Irori.
He nods to Milord's statement.
Squatting down, he looks as far down the stairs as he can before straightening up and drawing his waraxe and javelin. Unless he sees any danger there, he steps on the first step.
Perception: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (2) + 6 = 8
Milord looks around for tracks, to see if anyone has been coming up and down recently--
Survival, Trained: 1d206 ⇒ 11
--and then, with his shortbow in hand, he will move one down.
"I'd be happy to move along behind the person taking point... I guess I'm a bit paranoid, I just feel traps!"
(I have Trap Finder, so best be close to front to spot them early on)
Milord will move Stealthily along, trying to Avoid Notice.
"Down we go... probably to meet her excited apprentices in battle if she does not want to give back the proceeds of her theft!"
"Agreed Milord. This is a fighting school... We should proceed careful." Jakob rests his hand on his sword, "Shall we creep in, or try a more diplomatic approach?"
"I could open with a display of my considerable prowess in the marrial arts, yeah? Sort of an ice breaker, if you will?" suggests Ott
Ulfgar waits for the others to answer Jakob's question. His gaze travels over each of them then back down the stairs in almost equal time, though he might be paying a little more attention to the latter.
He doesn't voice his own opinion, but he also doesn't put away his weapons...
"I will do as all wish... whatever you choose, I'd rather remain in a corner, and not talk too much."
”Me bash heads. Be leavin the little things to the rest of ya.” Brogag speaks up.
Sorry my live game ran late last night. I’m good now.
Bow in hand, Milord goes to place himself behind the person opening the door, ready to slip inside, hiding behind that person...
Jakob moves to the doorway as the others take their positions.
Waiting to alert the NPCs until all PCs have placed themselves on the map.
"Greetings students, we'd like to learn more about your school and master. May we enter?" Jakob tries to gauge the response of the students, he presents firmly while trying to not appear threatening.
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (18) + 6 = 24
Perception/Sense Motive: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (9) + 6 = 15
Ulfgar moves up next to Jakob. He presses his shoulder up against the wall so that he won't be visible to people in approximately half of the room.
He squints his eyes as though concentrating.
Ott takes up a stance behind Jakob and bows respectfully, recalling years of training that seem like a lifetime ago.
The room you see is filled with several small 4 ft. high stone pillars topped with a fire pot containing re-hot coals. The pillars are carved with sayings such as, "Forgiveness is weakness." and "Do not suppress your anger, for it is the flame that burns forever."
The woman (red, see slide 1) stands barefoot atop the coals in the center of the room calmly saying to the others, "...channel your anger to unleash the flaming talons of vengeance." Two men and two women stand atop their own fire pots around the room, replicating her movements with varying degrees of success.
As you walk into the room, she hops down from her column and says, "There's no need for those weapons. Welcome to the Temple of Unforgiving Flame. I am Master Meleeka Sanvara. These are my pupils Yute, Uskrani, Kulan, and Bor. I am teaching them the ancient techniques of the Rain of Embers kata. What brings you here?"
As Milord sees the words on the walls and listens to the speech he feels this will not go well... but still puts hope into his comrades with silver tongues.
Ulfgar's only sign that he has the same reaction to the written and spoken words is a raising of his eyebrows before he glowers all the harder.
He seems to half listen to the woman's words, putting away one weapon, though he keeps his waraxe in hand.
He keeps close to the wall, for the moment, after all, it sometimes seems he doesn't have a tongue, at all. Let alone a silver one.
Jakob looks over the training room and mantras on the pillars before continuing, "Actually Master Sanvara, you do. We both want to learn more about your dojo, and wish to inquire about a statue that has gone missing. We don't want to interrupt your lessons though. Shall we talk now or wait until your students have gone?" Jakob will describe the stolen statue, but not share that they are Pathfinders.
Trying to avoid any embarrassment for Sanvara and get the other potential combatants (the students) out of the area if I can...
Diplomacy (if needed): 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (19) + 6 = 25
Channel your anger. No problems dere.
Brogag follows the group and relies on there diplomatic skills.
He clenches his axe tightly in case he needs it.
”Pardon me, but dere is always a need for weapons.”
"As 'ey're no doubt properly trained, then yer students are weapons, yeah?" comments Ott. The halfling, unarmed, flashes a smile.
"If you have something to say to me, you can say it to them. The Rain of Embers style was developed by my ancestors to honor the phoenix Pyralisia - the Rain of Embers, who sacrificed herself during the Second Mendevian Crusade to prevent hoards of demons from escaping the Worldwound to overrun Golarion. When she was reborn, her allies had abandoned her to die. She made patrolling the Worldwound the new focus of her life, hunting crusaders and demons alike. The Rain of Embers kata teaches students to never forget hou they've been wronged and harness that rage into explosive martial arts."
"If you come seeking the One-Who-Waits, you must prove yourselves worthy of obtaining it. You will compete against my disciples in the Trial of Embers."
Recall Knowledge, trained: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (9) + 5 = 14
Milord is slightly bored by the big talk.
"Okay, let's try those embers out!"
Ott ponders the mentor's tale.
Society to Recall Knowledge: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (9) + 6 = 15
"Nice story, skimmed a little on the details there though. Just few minor mistakes, really. No biggies. Just that Pyralisia was morr corrupted by evil energy pouring from the Worldwound, rather than just abandoned by her allies. Not then wronged so much, more just rage for rages sake, you know?"
He looks at the instructor and her students and concludes, "Still, if you want to go then, ole Ott here'll be sure to bring it.". The halfling assumes a fighting stance.
Society: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (2) + 5 = 7
Jakob shrugs his shoulders at the mention of Pyralisia. he looks over the students practicing in the dojo, "Interesting, what would the rules of such a contest be?"
"Just that Pyralisia was morr corrupted by evil energy pouring from the Worldwound, rather than just abandoned by her allies."
"That is a lie spread by the enemies of my family."
"There will be three challenges to determine if you are worthy - Cinderpalm Strike, Iron Talon Grip, and Soaring-Ashes Style. If you need me to explain them before you attempt them, I can do so. I will also provide you the advantage of choosing the order you wish to perform each of the tasks."
As Meleeka is talking, you notice that a key hangs from a necklace that she is wearing.
Ulfgar spits out of the side of his mouth before saying "Is it a sacrifice if you're just going to come back to life?"
He makes no comment about the challenges, just waits for them to begin.
Society Tr.: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (6) + 5 = 11
Milord does ask to learn more: "I would be happy to know what those three challenges entail, yes."
Underworld Lore (same as Criminal Lore?) or else Society: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (13) + 6 = 19
"She teaches bandits." Ott says to Milord, "Bet 'er explanation'll be easy 'nuff for you to understand, too."
Two of the disciples grimace slightly at Ott's declaration.
Meleeka explains, "Two of you will compete against two of my disciples. To Cinderpalm Strike, you must show that you can grasp cinderwisps from the air. To Iron Talon Grip, you must strike that gong with a heavy object, while maintaining complete control. For the Soaring-Ashes Style, you must leap while balancing fluid to light a torch."
A Diplomacy check to Make an Impression on, Deception check to Lie to, or a Intimidation check to Coerce Meleeka, could get you a bonus and more details of the skills involved in each encounter.
Milord tries his best to Make an Impression, mimicking grasping at... cinderwisps! And leaping at fluids.
[b] »It would have been wonderful to train with such a Master as you! We will never compete with your disciples. They are so lucky! »[/dice]
Diplomacy, untrained: 1d20 + 0 ⇒ (20) + 0 = 20
Society/Make Impression: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (17) + 6 = 23
Jakob listens to Meleeka explain the challenges, raising an eye brow here or nodding for emphasis there "An intriguing skills set your style offers Master." He eyes the criminal students warily, "Master Sanvara, while I believe your honor is impeciable I do worry that you students may not be as enlightened... Can you tell us more, so we can be sure there's no misunderstandings on the rules for each competition. What of the use of magics?"
Ulfgar's bushy eyebrows raise quizzically then he frowns and snorts derisively.
"Sounds easy enough for actual warriors," he growls.
Intimidation: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (10) + 3 = 13