Pic in slides
Venture-Captain Arvin stands at the head of a long conference table. “Greetings, Starfinders. Thank you for arriving so quickly.” He gestures to several comfortable chairs situated around the table, inviting everyone to take a seat.
“Yesterday, I purchased an interesting painting from a local contact. It’s valuable, certainly, but that’s not my main concern. I’m interested in its origins.”
“According to my contact, the painting was acquired in the Drift, at the site of a large extraplanar disturbance. I’d like you to pick up the painting and question its owner. Find out everything he knows about the painting and where it was discovered. Speaking of my contact,” the Venture- Captain’s upper lip curls slightly. “He’s a vesk pawnbroker by the name of Julzakama. He runs a shop in the Downlow district called Julzakama’s Loans. He’s brash, greedy, and certain to give you a hard time. Don’t let him push you around. And no matter what he says, don’t pay him anything! I’ve already wired him the promised funds.” Arvin presses a hand to his temple, massaging it for a moment as if trying to rid himself of foul memories. “I make no claim to like Julzakama, but he is useful. He has a habit of acquiring interesting objects and information, which he has shared with the Starfinder Society on more than one occasion. When you’re done speaking with him and retrieving the painting, return to me. I’ll see the painting is properly appraised and treated while you select a starship, requisition supplies, and travel to the coordinates where the painting was discovered. When you arrive, I’d like you to track down the painting’s source and collect any other art pieces or objects at the site before they’re lost. I’d also like you to uncover what you can of the site. What plane was it pulled from, what purpose served, and so on. Context is an integral component of any exploration.”
Arvin nods, gesturing with an incline of his head at a circular device resting on the table. “This is a null-space chamber. Use it to collect and store any delicate objects and art you find. I expect it returned when your mission is complete. Any questions?”
Whilst questioning Arvin, please feel free to finish slotting your boons. There are no specific boons tied to this adventure, though you should be prepared for Drift travel, starship combat, and exploration.
"Hullo hullo hullo everyone!" A small violet moth-like alien floats near the ceiling of the room and shimmies about in the air with excitement. Her long antennae reach all the way over to brush Arvin on the face, and her fuchsia wings flap lightly to keep her aloft "So glad to be here again! Everyone is so very somehow surprisingly nice out here, so different from what you see on the vid news!"
She drifts down to about shoulder height, and pipes up with "I'm Kippi Longfeeler, by the way."
As Arvin explains the mission, she comments "A painting from the Drift? Maybe from what people call the First World, maybe? Wouldn't that be interesting! Don't worry about that Julzakama person, I don't let any, or many, or most people boss me around. We'll get that painting for you and ask all the best questions too. Prove our mettle to the Society!"
She flaps over to the circular device and picks it up with two of her six legs before stowing it in the pouch hanging from her torso. "We'll take great good wonderful care."
She pauses to think about the mission and asks "Do you know anything about that painting so far? How it looks like? What it tastes like? We don't want Jules to give us some other painting, and pretend its the one that you paid for."
“I have a hunch this painting is quite valuable, much more than Julzakama suspects. Perhaps even of historical significance. Irrelevant of its value, the fact that Julzakama has come to us with this object, instead of an art dealer, has me intrigued. As much as I hate to admit it, Julzakama hasn’t brought us anything that didn’t warrant further investigation.”
"A picture of a vesk, you'll know it when you see it"
"I'm not suggesting you take Julzakama out to lunch or buy him flowers, but at the end of the day we'd prefer to retain the relationship on good terms, even if he tries pulling fast ones if he thinks he can get away with us. He still brings us good pieces, and better to us than someone else"
Kippi notes the device is a mk 2 null-space chamber
|Zapp Brannigan, Nameless Man|
A tall, blond human enters the briefing room. He wears a military uniform of red velvet, cut short. A tricked-out comm unit is wrapped around one eye, the sort of model an infomercial would sell the uninformed or elderly because it looks like it would have more features. A large bandage, practically a turban, takes up most of his remaining face.
"We're working with that oaf again? There must be another contact for this sort of thing, we could go to them rather than suffering fools. Oh, but I'm being rude. Zapp Brannigan here," he introduces himself to his fellow agents. "I've talked to that lizard before. Hopefully under my guidance, that won't be the bulk of our mission. We'll work out the secret of this painting or die trying! Was anything else recovered from the same place it was?"
"That oaf again. However he was the person who obtained the artwork and is now brokering it to us, so we're stuck with him"
"We have no information about other items that may have been collected, but we have the coordinates of where the item was obtained but no other real information I’m afraid. The coordinates lead to a location in the Drift that contains material torn from another plane of existence. Further details I leave for you to uncover. Julzakama’s sure to know more than he’s told me.”
A pale skinned, pale haired, pale eyed dwarf woman enters the room. Her armor definitely has a military air about it and a holy symbol of Angradd is centered over her chest.
She scowls at the mention of art and it only gets worse when she hears that it comes from the Drift. "We ought to leave things from the Drift in the Drift. Our plane is fine as it is, we don't need anything from another," she comments.
"But then we might need to destroy it since it's probably dangerous. Let's go talk to this Julzakama to see how bad it is," she continues.
She barely waits for the rest of the group before heading out of Arvin's office.
"Sounds like you are ready to head off"
Diplomacy (Gather info)
Downlow is the largest district in the Spike, hundreds of levels of access corridors and machinery that descends below Absalom Station’s radial plane. The poorest of Absalom Station’s citizens make their home in the slums of the Spike, as do countless gangs and criminal enterprises.
Julzakama is a pawnbroker and loan shark whose shop sells a wide variety of useless junk. He makes most of his credits on loans and information. Typically, only the desperate deal with him, but he has provided the Society with several impressive leads in the past.
Julzakama is a domineering and overly proud vesk. He respects aggression, bravado, and power, and considers diplomacy a sign of weakness.
|Zapp Brannigan, Nameless Man|
Zapp looks meaningfully at one of the long table's empty chairs. A sigh issues from it, and a bulbous-headed green man appears like a chameleon. "Everyone, this is Kif," Zapp proclaims. "A middling assistant, but he'll accompany us, take some stray laser fire if need be."
Gather Information: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (3) + 8 = 11
Kif shakes his massive head and rattles off some possibly relevant information he has gleaned from an infosphere search. All he got in this short time was basic knowledge about the Downlow. Nothing too useful, although Zapp may need to be reminded of such things.
"Woo, lets do this mission, operation, violence-fest!" Kippi loop-de-loops in the air and waves her antennae goodbye to Arvin. "Be back soon with the fancy painting!"
As soon as she's out of the meeting room she starts asking around for info on the Downlow and Jules.
Diplomacy (gather info): 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (12) + 6 = 18
Once Kif has said its part, Kippi adds "Seems like Jules is kinda famous for getting leads for the Society. Who knew? Oooh, and maybe we'll be able to find some interesting useful junk there!" feel free to open spoiler 15+
The journey to Julzakama’s Loans takes less than an hour, through the claustrophobic slums of the Spike to Downlow. Julzakama’s Loans is located on a crowded, filthy alley lined with metal and concrete buildings that are universally caked in oilsoaked graffiti. Trash fills the street, and the stench of bodily waste is thick in the air. A metal door located under a red neon sign that reads ‘Julzakama’s Loans’ is the only entrance to the pawn shop.
Julzakama’s loans is a run-down, crowded shop with shelves crammed full of worthless junk. In between teetering piles of out-of-date comm units, coils of mismatched wires, and broken appliances are jugs of unidentifiable liquids and heaps of broken metal. It’s humid, and the entire place reeks. At the back of the shop is a desk topped by a series of metal bars that reach all the way up to the ceiling.
Behind the desk stands a muscular vesk in a greasy, torn muscle shirt, watching a vidscreen. The image displays a new interview with a white-furred female ysoki from AbadarCorp gingerly snacking on an apple while answering questions about the insufficient screening measures employed by AbadarCorp colonies. At the sight of customers, Julzakama smiles a toothy grin and shuts off the vidscreen.
“You know, I really like that Datch lady. She speaks her mind and I think AbadarCorp could use more leaders like her,” the vesk exclaims before bellowing at his new arrivals. “Anyways, you Arvin’s pets? Come in, then. No need to hide.” Julzakama chuckles, giving his scaly neck a good scratch. “Well, what do you want?”
Julzakama was watching as a fringe Absalom Station news agency that reports on outlandish topics. The ysoki woman is a rising member of AbadarCorp known as Datch, who has risen to prominence through her ability to impress media outlets and in standing against the Starfinder Society for their recent actions over the past several years—namely, the events of the Scoured Stars.
Please indicate in your next post if have met Julzakama in the past, such as in Starfinder Quest: Into the Unknown, or Starfinder Society Scenario #1–10: The Half-Alive Streets
|Zapp Brannigan, Nameless Man|
I have met Julzakama in Into the Unknown.
Culture: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (13) + 6 = 19
"I can't say I like her...for the following reasons," Zapp replies, as the reasons scroll down his comm's screen. "The Scoured Stars incident was as well handled as was possible, and to say otherwise offends my pride. But I digress!"
The man strides across the store to lightly slam his hands against the vesk's desk. "You know why we're here, I can think of no other reason for one to grace this glorified landfill! The painting our Captain Arvin discussed with you, if you please! And we will be taking it for free, of course. Unless your policies have changed to match the antiquity of your wares, vesk-ling."
Intimidate, Veiled Threat: 1d20 + 1d6 + 8 ⇒ (3) + (3) + 8 = 14
Culture: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (2) + 6 = 8
"Ooh, some other Starfinders told me about Datch on my last mission. They used some very extremely super unkind words. I think she might've snuck into their apartments and eaten the last pudding in their fridge - that's how mad they were when she showed up."
Kippi floats down to Julzakama's face height and adds "Please and thank you!" to make up for Zapp's rudeness.
Never met Julzakama on this character.
Culture: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (7) + 4 = 11
Darakwinn won't admit it, but she's rather impressed with the way Zapp handles things. Sugary and sweet is good enough for Kippi and breakfast cereal, but when it comes to handling a Vesk, you have to put your boot on their throat and press down any time it wiggles.
"Yeah, don't try anything on us. If we wanted any of your garbage, we'd take it off these shelves," she chimes in.
Intimidation (Aid): 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (9) + 4 = 13
Ryu has met Julzakama.
"You seem to have a way with folk, Julzakama. As mentioned before, we're here for that painting. I believe it's already paid for."
Intimidate aid: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (7) + 5 = 12
Julz almost howls with laughter "My old pals back with a couple of their new Starling friends, and they seem to have got a little backbone and spice by now, almost brings a tear of pride to my eyes"
Ryu and Zapp seem to have got a bit of a promotion, the word pal wasn't even said with condescension!
He hands over the painting, slipping the stinky, mud-encrusted, framed painting through the metal bars with a grin and the words, “Pleasure doing business with you, star-lings.”
With that done he turns back to Ryu and Zapp, "Here, want a drink?" he offers a 'Thirst Burst' energy drink. Clearly not offering anything to Dara or Kippi.
Pic in slides
"Why is it sticky?" Darakwinn questions, holding the picture gingerly. It appears she's going to tuck it under her arm for a moment but then she thinks better of it, given its dirty state and holds it with as few fingers of each hand as possible.
She eyes the drink offered with as much disdain and makes no protest at not getting the offer.
|Zapp Brannigan, Nameless Man|
"Oh, gladly!" Zapp drops his previous attitude entirely and accepts the drink. "So, who sold this to you? Sounds like a mess, wherever it came from."
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (16) + 8 = 24
While the others enjoy their energy drinks, Kippi looks over the painting. "Ooooh, this veskie looks positively definitely absolutely like a little cute baby! Look at those big eyes~ Dawww. And the soft little tusks?"
"Did you drop the thing in a whole big bucket of Thirsty Bursty? Is that why its all gross?"
Julzakama hands over the drink to Zapp and gets a sly look in his eye as Kippi and Darakwin comment - "Ten credits for the drink old pal, and several more for info on the painting, did you see a sign out the front that said 'free tourist information' or something? Does this look like an art gallery?"
The painting is a portrait of an austere vesk soldier with a commanding presence.
You identify the vesk soldier as Major Sifkali, a Veskarium war hero who distinguished himself on the battlefield against the Swarm.
You realizes the portrait is a priceless work of art by Aelon Vimariss, a verthani artist that became famous for painting Veskarium war heroes.
Darakwinn spares Kippi a quizzical look then glares at Julzakama. "After all the Society has done for you...?" She assumes, anyway...it's not as though she actually knows who this guy is.
There's something familiar about the man in the painting, though. She studies it closely.
Profession (Mercenary): 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (2) + 8 = 10
Not familiar enough, though.
"Here, do you want to hold it?" she asks Kippi, holding the painting up for her and already looking around for something to wipe her hands on.
First Culture Spoiler: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (8) + 6 = 14
Second Culture Spoiler: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (5) + 6 = 11
To Kippi's compound eyes, this fellow in the painting still looks like a cute vesk toddler. When Darakwinn offers the painting, Kippi doesn't take it. "Nope! But you can put it in the Null Space if you'd like." She taps the device now strapped to one of her legs and the opening yawns large enough for a painting to be put inside.
|Zapp Brannigan, Nameless Man|
Zapp falls into the vesk's trap, and grudgingly forks over ten credits. He doesn't go for extra information yet, though. Instead he trusts his own razor-sharp wit.
Culture: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (15) + 6 = 21
Culture: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (3) + 6 = 9
"That's Major Sifkali of the Veskarium! The Swarm would have quailed before him, if they were so able. Some vesk would likely pay through their snouts for this sort of keepsake."
"Good thing this very super extra valuable painting is now ours then, huh Zapp?" Kippi looks over at Julzakama, then flaps closer to him and starts waving long feelers in his general direction.
"So you look like you want to tell us AAAAAALL about this painting. It's got a good story, right? And you know about it? You're an information broker, and the Society paid for the information already, probably? "
Diplomacy, trying to tease more info out of him: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (6) + 6 = 12
Bah, anyone else want to try?
Darakwinn happily puts the painting into the null space then finds the nearest absorbent piece of junk and wipes her hands clean on it.
She shoves the piece back in place and isn't too careful about it, pushing a pile over in the process to make a loud, clattering mess.
"Oops. We Starfinders can be a bit clumsy but we really can't leave until we know more. How are we going to entertain ourselves until some interesting information comes along? Maybe just browse the shelves," she says, starting to lean on another pile that starts to shift under her weight.
Intimidation: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (20) + 4 = 24
"The dwarf-ling found her voice and her backbone eh?" Julzakama lets out a boisterous laugh at the Dwarf, but in a warm and almost collegiate way.
“The portrait’s of a Veskarium soldier that fought against the Swarm. A major, I think. Don’t know who painted it, but it’s worth every credit your boss paid for it. More than he paid, I’d wager. I ought it off a rat-ling named Winks. She’s the captain of the Clutter Collector. That’s a salvage barge that picks up junk from the Drift. Only this ain’t junk. It’s good stuff. You’re welcome.”
He takes another slug of his energy drink and watches you all very closely with an almost predatory half-grin.
Ryu tries to recall something about the painting, but nothing comes to mind.
Culture: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (7) + 5 = 12
He takes the offer of a drink. When Julzakama puts his hand out for payment, Ruy just looks at him in the eye as he takes a long drink. "So the captain of a salvage barge just sold you this valuable piece of artwork for little to nothing and you offered it to us for a 'small' profit? What aren't you telling us?"
Intimidate: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (19) + 5 = 24
"Oh my old pal has found his backbone too, it's a minor miracle, once the first person pipes up, the rest of you all chime in behind them. Better late than never I suppose" the vesk seems rather pleased with the display of toughness by the party members.
"Winks sold it to me for the same reason everyone sells me their stuff, star-ling: desperation. The rat-ling reeked of it. She was scared of the portrait. Kept saying it was corrupted or cursed or some nonsense. Swore up and down the vesk in it was rotten and burnt!” Julzakama shakes his head and chuckles. “Painting looked fine to me. Still does. If I‘d seen signs of a curse, I would’ve charged your boss extra!”
|Zapp Brannigan, Nameless Man|
Not entirely trusting of Julzakama's ability to find curses, Zapp makes to stuff the painting in the extradimensional chamber. "A curse? I'm sure our trusted sources back at the Lorespire Complex can further verify. That'll be all, I assume. Unless our temporary affectations get you to give up more information you said wasn't free, or there's a t-shirt cannon to sell us." The last part is said with at least some sincerity and a straight face.
"Floating swamp in the Drift? Is that where you came from, Jules?" Kippi giggles to herself as she loops through the air.
"Everyone ready to go back? Or is this the bit where we beat up Julzakama for no reason at all? I heard on the news that the Society is all about beating people up!"
Kippi is far from intimidating, so I'll leave squeezing any remaining info out on you guys. I *think* we've got quite a bit and should be ready to go.
“No star-ling, It's the one I sent your boss the coordinates to. Look it up. You want me to do your job for you?” Julzakama laughs, then takes a deep swig of his energy drink. “It was in a big hunk of swamp floating in the Drift. Not sure what plane it’s from, but there was gravity, and the atmosphere was toxic. The rat-ling’s that found it called it the Drift Bog. They tried exploring it, but they were attacked by bugs, and the rat-ling said they saw bigger beasts stomping around in there. Not sure what kind and frankly, I don’t think the rat-ling even saw ‘em. She was sick when she got here, seeing things. Even said she saw a big old house in the distance. One of them old fashioned wooden ones, like you see on the history vidcasts.” With a sudden frown, Julzakama quickly adds, “Not that I watch those things…” Clearing his throat he continues, “The rat-ling said the house was real fancy, but it was flooded and sinking into the swamp. Like I said, she was fevered. Probably dreamt the thing. Whatever’s really there, something made her sick. Could be poison, disease, or worse.” With a wide grin he adds, “Have fun.”
With that he turns the TV back on and jacks up the volume, clearly signalling he's finished talking.
Darakwinn is just as happy to be exiting the shop and leaving Julzakama to his holovids.
She waits until they get outside and a little ways down the street before turning to talk to her companions and replan.
"So, I guess we could just go rushing out into the Drift to find this swamp or bog or whatever it is. But do we want to try to find this 'Winks' person, first? Delusional and hallucinating though she may be, we might be able to get some more information out of her. Maybe even find out what kind of poison or toxin there is waiting for us," she says.
|Zapp Brannigan, Nameless Man|
"We should also let the Society's data-gatherers give it a once-over," Zapp says, propping his empty drink against Julzakama's sign. "Historia-7, among others, can probably tell us if it's cursed. We'll ask Sir Arvin if there's time to track down Winks."
"Take care, sir." Ryu warns. "The pawnbroker hinted that it might be cursed or have some other negative effect placed upon it. He said that Winks, the salvager that sold it to him, claimed that it was taken from a 'spooky house in a swamp'. He also said that Winks was only too eager to part with it."
Kippi pulls the painting out of the Null Space while Ryu is talking. "Feast your jelly peepers on this!"
"A swamp out in the Drift sounds a teensy tiny huge bit strange. But that's what he admitted to after Zapp and Darakwinn got him talking." Kippi waggles her antennae "Do we have any people who could work out if its really cursed? Zapp said Historia-7 might, but isn't she some super busy and important person?"
|Zapp Brannigan, Nameless Man|
"Apparently the rat-ling - er, Winks seemed to have contracted something from her time there," Zapp chips in. "No one was sure if that was certain, or of the particulars. How long do you think the experts will take before we depart? I doubt our preparations will take as much time."
"Before you depart? If Winks has cut and run there's no telling how many people have heard the story of a potentially highy-valuable slice of something floating in the drift and where to find it. I'll have some medical supplies provided to your ship as a precaution too in light of the warning Winks may have contracted something"
"Do your shopping, grab your ship, and get out to that location so we can find out what is going on, it might also provide some context for the experts so they can fully understand what the situation is"
Venture-Captain Arvin provides six medpatches, six brown hypopens (Armory 106), and arecovery aegis (Armory 115).
Darakwinn grins as Arvin decisively sends them on their way. She pushes off from where she's been leaning against the wall.
"Right then, off to the spooky house inside the weird space bog floating in the barely understood demi-plane. And I thought being a Starfinder was going to be boring."
She tosses a wave to the Venture Captain over her shoulder as she exits his office.
She doesn't have anything to buy so she makes a beeline for the hangar.
Kippi happily accepts a medpatch and a hypopen, and also gives Arvin some more detail. "The story was that there are angry ysoki eating giant bugs, and maybe also some bigger beasties. Jules thought that maybe they weren't real and it was all from sniffing too much swamp stuff. Or maybe she got a disease or something."
"But don't worry, we're going to be really careful! And punch and weird strange odd diseases RIGHT in the face!" Kippi swoops through the air, ready to go after Darakwinn. Before she leaves though, she asks "What kind of fancy ship have you got for us?"
Kippi will also buy 1x Tier 1 Antitoxin, because none of these wimpy medical items seem particularly proactive.