Rova hesitates. He suddenly seems awfully open to her plan. What's his game? Puffed!
Still, eventually she realizes if he wants to play along, well, she's just going to have to beat him at his own game. She gets up and heads to the parlor, making sure he doesn't get behind her.
"The parlor sounds like an excellent place to begin." Kennari follows Rova into the parlor.
"Naturally, I must ask that you be respectful of poor Mr. Huttonfell, but do feel free to search the rest of the room."
An elaborate wooden bier takes up the center of this chamber, with a wide, bricked fireplace occupying the wall directly behind it. A number of uncomfortable-looking chairs are arrayed around the room, interspersed with small end tables. A gray carpet covers the floor, and stained-glass windows of deep reds and blues create somber patches of light upon it. A sliding double door stands in the north wall.
Perception, Rova: 1d20 + 17 ⇒ (20) + 17 = 37
PErception, Corkas: 1d20 + 15 ⇒ (18) + 15 = 33
Perception, Niksi: 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (1) + 13 = 14
Perception, Unset: 1d20 + 14 ⇒ (14) + 14 = 28
Perception, Kennari: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (10) + 12 = 22
There is indeed a body laying out for viewing, and nothing seems strange about it.
You quickly spot an end table that is turned so that its drawer is facing toward the wall, rather than allowing the drawer to be accessible.
You find a stack of funeral service related documents. Most of them are fairly recent, but at the bottom there a letter from the Kerrick Grange thanking Vandy for his generosity in taking care of the burial expenses of a drunkard named Yungor Swinten, dated 7 years ago.
Rova ponders the document, wondering why it might be mixed in there -- and why the table is backward. Mallow ... marsh ... stay ...
"Who's Yungor Swinten," she wonders aloud.
If someone else wants to question Vandy, that probably makes sense. I just don't trust him!
"Don't know a Master Swinten, I don't." Unset replies as he takes in the sites of the parlor, unaware of what may have prompted Rova to ask.
|Corkas 'Prism' Warfiz|
Prism continues to scour around, looking for any sign of clues. "If you want me to search the body, I can go invisible?" She whispers to Rova.
Continue searching first floor.
"It's no use," Rova whispers back. "He'll know what you're thinking."
She hesitates for a minute. Letting one hand fall to her side -- where her fork is, just in case -- she decides if Vandy is going to try to play coy at her question, direct confrontation is the way to go. Enough of these Sarenite-style games!
"Who's Yungor Swinten?" she demands. "And why is his paperwork in with these more recent ones? And why is the drawer facing toward the wall? What did you do with the real Opper Vandy? How long have you been pretending?!"
The man seems very confused.
"I...am the real Opper Vandy? I turn the table around just in case any mourners turn out to have sticky fingers. Why I've kept that around...I'm not sure." He sighs.
"It was such a sad situation. Yungor's father Rogor was a good farmer and a good man. He died in a farming accident, but the gods just couldn't leave the family alone. Rogor's wife and daughter were both taken by plague about three years later, and Yungor, was, well, a bit of a wastrel. Under his management, the farm went into arrears and had to be sold off. Yungor then died by drowning after he had been drinking. A sad end to a great family. Taking care of the final funeral was the least I could do."
Prism, meanwhile, quietly searches the rest of the first floor: the foyer, the dining room, the front room, the privy, the kitchen, and the cold and dry storage areas for food. She doesn't find anything of note. She also goes down the stairs to the cellar, where she sees a septic tank, broken and discarded furniture, incomplete coffins, and a number of discarded gravestones that appear to have been broken in the course of being constructed or with engraving errors chiseled into them.
Search upstairs or more questions for Vandy?
Can I Sense Motive, please? Not that I trust this lousy doppelganger -- or maybe because of that -- but I wonder if he was responsible for Yungor's death in some way.
"His daughter? Was she the age of the mysterious girl you claim is haunting you?" Rova asks, eyes burrowing into Vandy's, as if she could sense his thoughts in return!
|Corkas 'Prism' Warfiz|
Prism looks a bit shocked, but also intrigued as Rova begins to accuse the man. "You don't want me poking around some body but you accuse him of being a doppleganger?" She giggles and heads upstairs to poke around.
Sure! I'm actually fine with people rolling their own Sense Motive checks whenever they would like to make one.
"Yes, more or less the same age, I think. I'm afraid I never actually met her."
Rova doesn't think that Vandy is lying about anything, including cause of death for each member of the Swintons. However, she does pick up on a sense of guilt connected to this family somehow. He also truly seems baffled about the accusation that he is not the real Opper Vandy.
Will update with upstairs search soon! Is only Prism searching or everyone?
Not much of a conversationalist, Unset will follow the giggling gnome upstairs and assist with her search.
Kennari stays with Rova, trying to figure out what in the world she is getting at. Opper Vandy seems like a perfectly respectable civic leader!
"If you never met her, why do you seem like you're guilty, huh?!" Rova asks, foregoing diplomacy. Vandy already knows that she knows, and knows that she knows that he knows that. There's no reason to hide her
"Um...I'm sure what my friend here meant to say is that this all seems to have deeply affected you" Kennari says, glaring at Rova. This is the guy responsible for bringing the circus here, why are we antagonizing him?
Niksi, Prism, and Kennari search upstairs as Rova and Unset keep talking with Opper Vandy.
PErception, Corkas: 1d20 + 15 ⇒ (12) + 15 = 27
Perception, Niksi: 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (12) + 13 = 25
Perception, Kennari: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (14) + 12 = 26
There is an upsatirs bathroom as well as several guest rooms that contain nothing of interest.
The master bedroom has a large four-poster bed, a comfortable sitting chair, a chest of drawers, and a small writing desk. His wardrobe hangs in a closet on one side of the room.
Prism finds a scrap of parchment under the desk blotter. It is a handwritten receipt for funeral services for one Rogor Swinten dated 12 years ago and marked as “gratis.”
You found out earlier the Vandy provided services for Yungor Swinten for free; this is the first you've learned that he also provided free services for his father Rogor.
There is a large office which features a heavy antique desk and wall shelves packed with books, ledgers, and folios to run his funeral business as well as to tend to many of his duties with the Kerrick Grange.
There are years of mundane records, but you also find a small tin box that is empty. It seems like it might have been recently disturbed.
The office also has a door that would seemingly lead to a large closet. It is locked.
Downstairs, Vandy continues to insist that he is not a doppelganger.
|Corkas 'Prism' Warfiz|
Thievery: 1d20 + 19 ⇒ (19) + 19 = 38
Prism's curiousity gets the better of her as she gets to work on opening the closet. "He does a lot of free work. Wonder why?"
Prism finds what seems to be Vandy's secure storage. There are boxes of sensitive documents, as well as gold and jewelry, about 4000 gp worth by your estimate.
PErception, Corkas: 1d20 + 15 ⇒ (5) + 15 = 20
Perception, Niksi: 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (11) + 13 = 24
Perception, Unset: 1d20 + 14 ⇒ (15) + 14 = 29
Unset looks around and finds a handwritten note dated 15 years ago that indicates a debt to someone named Rogor Swinten in the amount of 750 gp. The due date written on the note was 10 years past. There is no indication that this debt was ever paid.
Niksi focuses on the desk herself, looking through the papers with a dry reserve. She holds up the tin box so the others can see. ”Well, something was here, and now it is not. Unless the tin itself is the treasure. I doubt that, though.”
Is the box small like for holding a ring or bigger?
Unset shares what he has found. "Does the name 'Rogor Swinten' mean anythin' to ye?"
|Corkas 'Prism' Warfiz|
Prism shows Unset. "Seems a debt was owed to him." Though her eyes keep going back to the 4000 gold coins and Prism imagines lining her pockets to the brim with all that coin.
The box is slightly bigger than a box for a ring.
Rova continues to wait downstairs, keeping an eye on the VandyGanger and a less-than-tight control over her thoughts.
I'm going to love it if I turn out to be right about him! Sure sounds like he may actually be a monster of some sort, at least!
Same, Kennari is downstairs with Rova, trying to stop her from insulting our host too badly. I'm fine with that plan (or whatever else the folks with the notes want to do).
Just to keep things moving, I'll proceed with you all confronting Vandy with the things you found.
He first looks at the box, puzzled. "My extra house key should be in there. Perhaps one of the staff needed it?"
He sees the two notes, one with the terms of his debt and the other indicating he covered the funeral services for Rogor Swinten.
He slumps down at the table, his head in his hands.
"Well, you've found it. My ever-lasting shame. The money Rogor lent me allowed my to start my business. He died before the bill came due. I covered his funeral expenses but didn't tell his family why. I realized that no one else knew about the loan so I simply...didn't pay it. But then as tragedy took the rest of the family, it has greatly weighed on my mind. What if I had paid the family that money? Would things have turned out differently? Would they have lived? Am I responsible for their deaths?"
He sighs. "It would make sense for this shameful secret to be the cause of my haunting. But what can I possibly do to make it right? The family is gone now; there's no one to pay the money to."
He looks at you forlornly.
"Aha!" Rova exclaims. "I knew it!" She knew nothing of the sort, but something clearly had to be wrong here. He's still probably a doppelganger too, though she tries to avoid thinking that, just in case.
"Is there anything they care about? Or anything the grange should have done? If they were haunting you, why are they killing other people?"
Rova isn't an expert on ghosts either. She never met the Swintens so doesn't know what they might want. It seems odd if they're killing people they want to help them, but ... people are odd. Look at Pharasmins -- they claim to be helping people, but they keep attacking the beneficent Groetans who are trying to warn everyone of impending doom. So, maybe?
"I guess you could try. If that stops all the hauntings, I guess it's right. If not, you'll need to figure out something else."
Also, a doppelganger probably isn't really going to contribute the money anyway!
|Corkas 'Prism' Warfiz|
Prism thinks on all that gold. "I am not sure how to help either. Perhaps it doesn't matter who you give the gold to as long as you don't hold onto it anymore."
"Well, I suppose it can't help as a place to start. I suppose with interest it should be around 1000 gp? I can set up a program through the Grange to help farmers in need. I hope that it does stop the hauntings, but I will let you know."
Anything else to do with Vandy before you leave? And is there anything you want to do in town before your show here? We won't use the full subsystem, you can schedule acts for the show as you wish and then make some checks of your choosing.
|Corkas 'Prism' Warfiz|
Another day passes and open your big show in Kerrick! The town is abuzz with excitement and crowds gather early. Vandy looks on the smiling faces, pleased, and lets you that that he started setting up the farmer's assistance fund with the Grange that very day.
I'll give you a couple of days to describe/make checks for your circus performance, then we'll move on.
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Niksi calls a meeting of the circus to announce the idea for their next show narrative. She brings everyone into the big top with her standing in the middle, a sheet draped over a sign. She waits until everyone is seated and ready before calling attention. After a dramatic pause, she pulls off the sheet to reveal a title written in scrap metal and illusory lights: “Numerion.” Written underneath it as a subtitle, in the same style: “Prism and the Obelisks of Light.”
”In the far-off land of Numeria, a place of metal and light, life is dying. The colorful gnome acrobat and entertainer, Prism, a bright flash of color to everyone she meets, runs into the doomsayer Rova, an archaeologist who has seen first-hand that the Millennia Obelisks that allow flora and fauna to sustain life are failing. Sweet Prism is the only one who believes poor Rova and decides to seek out these towers for a method to fix them. Rova, believing the task impossible, comes along as well not out of hope, but to bear witness to the End. First, Prism seeks out a scholar specialized in the study of these Obelisks, Unset, who has withdrawn from the outside world due to the scorn he receives for his appearance. The bright gnome has to convince him with the beauty of her performance that as much as he resents the world, it is beautiful, too. They travel to each of the towers, meeting and saving many new people from the natural disasters brought on by the failing Obelisks. As they visit each obelisk, they find that the rainbow disks that provide them with power are missing. With no clue how to replace of find them, they carry on the search with increasing desperation. As they approach the last tower, they meet a strange alien construct from the sky—a robot—Niksi. This robot has been sent to retrieve the disks by her masters in the sky, who detected their powers with their “technology” and decided that the humble residents of Golarion were unworthy of them, and she has already claimed all of them. Prism and her companions know they cannot fight the metal being, so they try instead to move her to recognize their plight through performance. Exhausting themselves, they manage to move the metal woman enough that she says she can leave them a single disk, but any more would be noticed by her masters and they would bring otherworldly armies down from the sky to claim them. She can tell her masters one disk was already broken and unsalvageable. Exhausted and at their limit, Prism and her friends accept the offer, but they despair at the choice of which Obelisk to place it. They look to the will of the people of Numeria to decide.”
Niksi clears her throat. ”So, we do up the place with lights and metal-looking structures spread throughout the big top. Kennari can help behind the scenes with that. We have the “obelisks” pre-built when the audience enters, each as its own kind of athletic or acrobatic challenge. When they are visiting each of the obelisks, we will have different performances at each of them depending on the night, and we can take the obelisk and associated performers that the audience chooses at the end as a kind of contest to excel amongst ourselves. We will keep it random and shifting who is where to avoid any emergent factionalism. As you can all guess, I took heavy inspiration from the circumstances of the xulgath, but putting it in a nee context divorced from as many preconceptions as possible.”
"What a fascinating story! I'm curious, though, how the audience will experience the broader story of Prism and Rova? Is the idea that they visit the obelisks first, and then observe the main story as a floor show?"
Kennari aids in constructing the obelisks according to Niksi's design. Knowing that the circus already has experienced set-builders among their ranks, he focuses on constructing intricate mechanisms that the performers can activate as part of their act to represent the obelisks and their ongoing degeneration.
Crafting: 1d20 + 20 ⇒ (14) + 20 = 34
During the show:
Kennari focuses on being available to make quick repairs to the elaborate obelisks as needed. When not at work on the equipment, he adds details about Numeria learned from years of reading and finds time to add magical effects here and there to enhance acts as well.
Crafting: 1d20 + 20 ⇒ (6) + 20 = 26
Society: 1d20 + 15 ⇒ (10) + 15 = 25
Arcana: 1d20 + 20 ⇒ (13) + 20 = 33
|Corkas 'Prism' Warfiz|
Prism helps set up a few mirrors alla round the tent. These will reflect and set off her rainbows and magical color sprays in all directions. "We have so many ewcomers to the show, perhaps we shift to the background to give them their chance to shine."
Acrobatics: 1d20 + 17 ⇒ (17) + 17 = 34
Acrobatics: 1d20 + 17 - 5 ⇒ (17) + 17 - 5 = 29
Thievery: 1d20 + 19 ⇒ (14) + 19 = 33