You have left Absolom and the commodities of the Grand Lodge a few weeks ago, having received a request for aid from Valais Durant, leader of the Radiant Oath. The trip aboard your ship, The Merry Mayfly has been uneventful, but cloaked in secrecy. It's nighttime now, on 29 Pharast 4720. Above you, The Bridge twinkles ominously, perhaps a portent of what's to come. The Merry Mayfly is navigating under the cover of total darkness, with everyone under strict orders to keep noise to a minimum. The captain has kindly informed you that you will be transferring aboard another ship soon and sailors prepare the dinghy for your eventual departure.
It's not long before the silhouette of another ship approaches. After a few quick light signals, you are all sent aboard the dinghy and a sailor slowly rows you towards the other ship.
(Please feel free to introduce your characters on the dinghy)
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Barely an adult, this dark-haired Varisian girl pulls her cloak about her tightly as she shivers in the night air. She is dressed in the garb of an Arcanamirium student. She couldn't possibly be far into her studies at age, could she? But apparently she is advanced enough, or well-connected enough to have been given an assignment by the Pathfinder Society.
"My name is Marta Sanz. I know I may look young, but don't let that dissuade you. I am more advanced then many students who are quite a bit older than I am. But my age is not the only unusual thing about me. As you might not know, the Arcanamirium generally turns out we some call universalist wizards. They believe in a well-rounded education. Those who specialize in a particular study or school of magic are rare, but I am one of them. Still those who specialize in the schools of illusion or necromancy are almost unheard of as they are considered 'impractical,' but I am an exception there too. But none of that has anything to do with why I was chosen for this mission. The reason I am here is because I am a student of Thassilonian history. I'd been reading up on books about genealogy (the study of family ancestry) and I'd discovered that my family left Xin-Gastash generations ago. Thus, it led my interests in a different direction, towards ancient Thassilon. I was personally selected for this mission by Ms. Westyr as she told me my knowledge could be helpful.
Now you might ask 'how do I know Ms Westyr?' I'd always been a bibliophile. (That means I like books a lot.) But my parents could not afford books, so they sent me to live with my uncle in Absalom. Now my uncle had always dreamed of being a wizard, but he could never pass the admissions test, so eventually he settled for a job as a groundskeeper at the Arcanamirium. So to keep me occupied while he worked I was put into the library to be watched over by the librarians. Their idea of keeping me entertained was to give me stacks of books to put away, but I'd often find somewhere to hide and start reading. Still I'd learned so much that when my uncle had finally scrimped (that means saved) enough money, he bought me a seat at the entrance exam for my twelfth birthday. Of course I passed the exam (I was one of the youngest to do so). I thought this would make my uncle very happy to have someone in the family attend the Arcanamirium, but when I showed him the results of my exam he was very crestfallen. (That means sad because of shame.) He explained that though he knew I was smart, he didn't actually think I would pass. He'd figured I would get in eventually but right now he hadn't had time to save up money so that I could attend.
'But where does Ms. Westyr fit in,' you might wonder. Well, I'd met her several times before. She'd occasionally come by the library to look for books. The librarians would often send me to fetch them for her because they we're 'busy.' We'll this time when she'd come it, my uncle had just talked to me about how I couldn't attend the Arcanamirium and I was quite despondent (that is extremely discouraged). I'd explained my situation to her but all she left me with was a consoling hug. So you can imagine my shock when two weeks latter I'd received a letter that she'd arranged to have my education sponsored (that is paid for) by one of the former teachers. The only condition is that I had to continue to work in the library and fetch books for Ms Westyr and that some day she would have more important work for me to do that would take me away from the Arcanamirium.
As Marta looks up that feeling of wistful nostalgia that is written on her face fades as she plainly states.
"I guess today is that day."
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Quindul is a short little goblin, with little yellow eyes and light green skin. She wears cozy hand-knitted clothes and a floppy knit hat that looks like a bunny head but is too big for her, so it kind of blocks her eyes. She seems to like it, though. On her hip is a big jar filled with water, and a lightly glowing purple jellyfish named Jelly. She wears a knit backpack, bulging with yarn. It doesn’t like she has any weapons or armor.
"Wow," the goblin whispers. "You know lots, huh? But not meaning of quiet! That means not to be noisy." the goblin nods helpfully. "My name's Quindul. I come from the Sanos Forest. My family was friends with the gnomes and the fey and the animals. Then I started having strange dreams!" she waves her hands around mysteriously. "I dreamt about another goblin that glowed with holy light. He told me ‘goblins are good and pickles are magic.’ It was an amazing goblin-god! So I left to prove to the whole world that goblins are good and pickles are magic"
Quindul crinkles her nose. "If only I liked pickles…"
Quindul sneaks into the dinghy when its time and rides the boat quietly.
Iqupiaqti resists the urge to scold the talkative youths for their recklessness. She didn't know what their mission's purpose was, but she did know silence, when called for, was imperative.
"Iqu," she says, by way of introduction. "Now, hush."
She transfers to the dinghy with practised ease, then helps the other Pathfinders into the little boat. "If you fall overboard, don't scream. Don't panic. I will come for you."
Iqu is a weather-worn woman, compact and hardy, muscled from a life of living off the land. She looked Varki, by descent, with a wide face and braided black hair. Her clothes are practical, and her backpack bulges with the weight of her gear.
The human male, sitting in the dinghy's stern, had been quiet until now. Clearly uncomfortable from the talk, he has been scanning the water for enemies. He's visibly relieved when Iqu does the "shushing". "Aye!" he blurts.
By the dim light of the stars, you see now that he wears a suit of chainmail and is armed with sword and bow. What looks like a stag's head symbol hangs from a cord around his neck. His face is hidden by the night but for his weather-worn, lightly tanned skin and worried expression.
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Klaakz is a short, wrinkly goblin, with a gorgeous, regal, magnificent... white mouse on his head. He has a book hanging off of his belt, and a big backpack over his shoulder.
Klaakz listens to the others tell their backgrounds, then he joins in, too, being sure to whisper, since he was hushed. "Hi! I'm Klaakz! And this is Windy Bin!" He shows off his nice mouse. "I'm from the Goblin-love-mouse Tribe. We love mice." He nods, very proud of his explanation."Well, one day the Goblin-love-mouse Tribe joined up with a bunch of other tribes to burn down Sandpoint! Which was super fun! But, then humans got pretty mad about it, so the Goblin-love-mouse tribe ran for it, just like the wonderful mice would do!" He puts his hands on his hip and posing very heroically. "I'm pretty smart, so I learned some stuff and met a Pathfinder. Now me and Windy Bin are Pathfinders! We work out of the Magnimar Pathfinder Lodge."
He holds up his book to show Marta. "I like books too! I made this one myself. It's full of nice pictures that help me make magic. We match!"
Bryc is a deeply tanned dwarf, slight of build, with short black hair and beard. He wears pristine explorer’s clothes, a green and yellow cloak, and a variety of gold jewelry — a circlet, cloak clasp, and beard decorations. He’s outfitted for battle, with simple leather armor, a shortsword and clan dagger on his hip, and a bulging backpack. His left hand has only three fingers — the pinky and ring finger are completely missing.
Bryc grins at the Pathfinders around him and whispers, ”Hail and well met, my friends! The name’s Bryc—Bryc Eightfingers! Nice to meet you!”
"Huh. Magic's not really for me." He shrugs in disinterest.
A moment later her coughs and hacks violently, then spits a gob of phlegm into the water.
He turns his attention to the water, keeping an eye out for trouble. Iqu was right, if they were to be quiet, there's a reason.
As you reach starboard, a rope ladder is tossed to the side. Climbing along the hull, you can make out the name of the ship: Lightbringer. Just as The Merry Mayfly, the Lightbringer's deck is pitch dark. The goblins and dwarves can perfectly see an empty deck, amost as if it were a ghost ship in stark tones of black and white. The sea, especially is a dark inky stain that engulfs the ships.
The six of you are escorted by several silent sailors below deck. They place their calloused hands on the shoulders of Iqu, Bryc and Marta to avoid them hitting themselves. Once below deck the sudden change of illumination is dazzling. The ship’s interior is lit by lanterns that hang from the ceiling overhead, swaying back and forth along with the motion of the ship. There standing in uncomfortable silence is Valais Durant, leader of the Radiant Oath. Her and a man with thin mustache and untrustworthy mien.
Valais Durant begins. “I need your help for a task that requires both great risk and discretion.” The aasimar woman gestures to a green eyed Varisian man, who flashes a sly grin framed by a thin mustache. b]“This is Guaril Karela, a prominent figure among the Sczarni,”[/b] she continues. “The Sczarni maintain a smuggling ring, providing freedom to those chafing under the oppression of Belimarius, the Runelord of Envy and ruler of Edasseril. Demand for such services is high,” she pauses and casts a somewhat disdainful glare toward Guaril, “allowing the Sczarni to extracthefty sums from desperate patrons.
“I find the practice rather distasteful,” Valais sighs. “However, collaboration with his operations grants the Radiant Oath some measure of oversight in ensuring proper treatment of the refugees. Further, I have Guaril’s personal assurance that the Sczarni will not demand more in payment than their clients can afford.”
“Transportation’s expensive,” Guaril chimes in. “Not to mention paying off border guards and harbormasters. It’s dangerous work. Certainly, you wouldn’t expect my people to take such risk and not be properly compensated, would you? Or have you forgotten that Belimarius has placed a price on my head?”
“Not the first to do so, I’m sure.” Valais notes, before continuing, “Belimarius and her minions began to suspect Guaril’s intentions the last time he was in Edasseril. Now, they seek not only his head, but those of his known associates, including those among the Pathfinder Society. It is not presently safe for them or Guaril to venture within Edasseril’s borders.”
“I had a number of clients ready to go, before leaving Xin-Edasseril,” explains Guaril. “Most of the arrangements are already made. All you need to do is make contact with the clients. Give them the time and place for departure, then escort them out of the city—with their payment.” The Sczarni stresses. “You’ll get a hefty cut of the payment you secure as compensation for your hard work.”
“I prepared a client list,” Guaril says, handing over a sheet of scrawled paper. “Memorize it. Then, tear it up, burn it, chew it, swallow it—whatever you do, get rid of it! If Belimarius gets a hold of it, it’s a death sentence for anyone named on it.”
Valais next hands a set of legitimately obtained travel papers and a merchant’s permit to each of you.
“You’ll be entering Xin-Edasseril disguised as merchants,” explains Valais. “These papers will allow you passage in and out of the city for five days before they expire. At dawn on the fourth day after your arrival in Xin-Edasseril, the ship Rolanna’s Prayer will arrive in a bay just outside the city: Shard Cove. The boat can accommodate five refugees, providing an excellent opportunity to escape undetected. One of them, Flitch, knows a secret tunnel to Shard Cove."
“Once they are aboard ship, return to the city. Any remaining refugees that you weren’t able to smuggle out by sea will have to be smuggled out of the city with you, which means you’ll have to get them past the guards at the docks. Your ship, The Merry Mayfly, must depart the docks once your papers have expired.”
“The clients are expecting to deal with me,” cautions Guaril. “But as that’s not possible, and as it’s now a few days past the window when I was to make contact, the clients might need some reassurance to go through with the job.” Giving the Pathfinders a stern look, Guaril then warns, “While you’re in Belimarius’s back yard, be careful. You are foreigners in Xin-Edasseril, and Belimarius has eyes everywhere. Don’t do anything that would draw unnecessary attention to yourselves. The last thing you want to do is tangle with the authorities. The runelord’s forces are well trained and quite capable. Keep your wits about you at all times and your blades sheathed.”
“We cannot afford one of you being arrested or interrogated. Pay any bribe required to remain free. I don’t want to further expose any part of the operation,” says Valais. “Our goal here is to bring hope and freedom to as many souls as we are able. It is risky, but hope and freedom are worth the price.”
(Slides updated. You may ask Valais and Guaril questions if you wish)
Quindul thinks really hard. She wanted to prove goblins were good, and saving people sounded good, but she'd have to break the law to do it. That was bad. So was this good, or bad? Hmmm...
"I want to help the one's with kids first. And the one who knows the secret passage."
"Sure, but we can't let a mind like Daffrid get stuck here either."
"Mister Karela, if we are to be merchants, what is it that we are selling? Should we be carrying any sort of inventory with us?"
Klaakz nods his head. ”Yeah, yeah! Help the ones with kids first.” Klaakz thinks a bit more. ”Do they speak Common there? Or just Thazz-a-low-neen?”
"Ah, she called me mister, now you see, Durant? That's the kind of respect you should be giving me, eh?", he punctuates this by elbowing her softly. Durant is certainly not amused by this show of familiarity.
With a sly smile, he answers Marta's query."You are not selling, you see, you're exporters. That's the sweet irony of the permits we're giving you. You'll be exporting people without the authorities knowing, of course. Sadly", and he says this without a hint of sadness, "the family can't afford to give you money to acquire goods in Xin-Edasseril. You'll need to be creative there, and it's also something that a few bribes could fix if anyone is nosy enough. You won't be carrying any inventory as", he snickers, "merchants, but I do recommend you look the part."
"Oh, they speak Taldane, all right. You don't need to worry your little mousy head about that, my goblin friend."
"Ugh, rats", he thinks to himself.
Bryc studies the list. "So, payment is still owed, but how much is that exactly?" Bryc coughs, then takes a while to catch his breath.
"Belimarius? What do we know about her and her law enforcement?"
Looking to Guaril he asks, "Do you have any contacts in the city we can call on, if needed?"
Iqu reads the letter intently, attempting to memorize its instructions. "We'll get them all," Iqu assures the others. "I'll leave none behind."
"Look the part?" Iqu enquires. "Have you clothes for us to wear?" She doubts her hides and leather make her look like much of a merchant.
"Payment varies from client to client. Here, I'll give you a list."
Durant motions to one of the sailors. "Our quartermaster has several sets of clothes that should help you play the part. Just don't be so obvious about the armor. Your weapons more than likely will be peace-bonded, just please don't go over there walking around carrying everything you have or you'll arouse suspicions. It's a stealth mission, remember. Belimarius has eyes and ears everywhere. Be careful where you speak and what you say."
On hearing Bryc's question about the Runelord of Envy and her guards, his sleazy smile disappears and he looks annoyed by the question. "I think I just told you, didn't I? Well-trained guards, highly competent, but corrupt. Bribe them if you run into any trouble. You try fighting them and you'll all end up dead. She rules with an iron fist and executes anyone who dares oppose her or leave her city."
Durant quickly intercedes, "The refugees—"
"Clients", Guaril quickly asserts.
"The refugees", Durant continues, "depend on you to get them out. Quarreling with the guards or trying to liberate Xin-Edasseril is not the mission nor it should be. Those people depend on your wits to get them out. They're civilians and don't know how to fight."
"I'll say", mutters Guaril.
Durant just shoots him a look.
Turning back to Bryc, Guaril resumes his conversation. "There are no contacts,he responds while twirling his mustache. "We've all been flushed out. Kinda difficult to conduct business when the Runelord wants your head on a pike."
(Slides updated, last chance to buy things before setting out.)
Iqu looks thoroughly unnerved. Slowly, she unslings her backpack and places down her greatclub. She spends a while unpacking, then repacking, leaving much of her gear behind. She passes her extra gear to Valais. "You'll ensure it won't go missing?"
Iqu selects the a comfortable pair of clothing, that's layered enough to more easily hide the armour she intends to wear beneath.
"Nothing will go missing. You have my word."
(Do feel free to take weapons and armor, you'll need it, just don't expect to be carrying it out openly and not be stopped by guards questioning you why merchants are armed as if they're ready for war.)
Aloysius is taking this all in with a worried but resolved look.
"I have a concern. My good leader, are we certain that all of these refugees are legitimate? That none are spies of this runelord? It seems that, given the circumstances, we can;t be too careful."
"I would say we should assume anyone could be a spy, just as they will likely assume the same. That's why it won't be easy for them to be willing to deal with us."
"As Marta has stated, Aloysius, there is no way to ascertain whether they are spies or not, just as they won't be trusting you either as they're expecting Master Kerala. It's one of the reasons why you must only give them the time and place for each rendezvous before the extraction", Durant answers.
"You should be arriving in the morning to beautiful Xin-Edasseril, land of the free.", Guaril says dryly. Durant shakes her head, "Feel free to walk around the ship and come up with a plan. If you're above deck, keep your voices down and remember, no lights."
As the gravity of the mission sinks in your brains start connect bits of pieces of what you've learnt on your travels...
We will now roll two semi-Secret rolls. These can be done Untrained.
1) Recall Knowledge about Xin-edasseril or Shard Cove using Society or Warfare.
2)Recall Knowledge about Bellimarius using Society or Thassilon Lore.
To roll a Semi-Secret Check, place your roll in a spoiler and, ideally, do not look at it.
(If you haven't already, please slot your boons. Don't forget you all start with one hero point.)
It's the same modifier as my Society lore however.
Not sure if I did that right. I can't check or I might spoil. :P If not, am I supposed to nest the dice brackets inside the spoiler brackets?
You did not do it right. You should nest the brackets.
Replace curly braces with square ones.
Bryc takes off his backpack and shuffles a few things around, then leaves a few things behind. He hands it to the woman. "Can you hold this for me, as well? Thank you."
"Exports, hey? What are Xin-Edasseril's main exports?"
He coughs again, long and loud, then seems to have trouble breathing for a while.
Bryc wear his armor under the clothes he's given. He keeps his clan dagger and short sword, but leaves his bow and arrows behind. In his bag he keeps one week of rations, a holy symbol of Desna, soap, a waterskin, a scroll case, and a writing set. He hides his thieve's tools under his clothes.
Marta, Bryc, Quindul, Aloysius & Iqu:Edasseril is the western kingdom of the nation of New Thassilon, which was founded by the two surviving runelords of ancient Thassilon. Edasseril is the domain of Belimarius, the Runelord of Envy. Xin-Edasseril, the nation’s capital, is located on Peridot Isle.Klaakz:As much as you try, you can't recall any further information.
Marta:Belimarius became the tenth and final Runelord of Envy upon the murder of her predecessor. Over five thousand years ago, Belimarius ruled the Thassilonian realm of Edasseril, a nation of bitter rivalries, byzantine bureaucracy, and enslaved giants, until shortly before Earthfall. As the result of Belimarius’ efforts to avoid the catastrophe, the ancient city of Xin-Edasseril became trapped outside of time, allowingthe runelord and her citizens to survive the worldwide calamity known as Earthfall.
Klaakz, Quindul, Aloysius, Bryc:As much as you try, you can't recall any further information.
Iqu:You know for a fact that Belimarius jealously forbids the use of magic by anyone other than herself and her minions within Edasseril.
Durant takes Bryc's things with grace, while Guaril snickers at her role as quartermaster.
Guaril looks over to Bryc and offhandedly says, "Lumber, precious metals, fish and game and magic."
(Tomorrow, IRL, you'll be docking at Xin-Edasseril)
"Magic? I thought Belimarius allows only herself and her minions to use magic in Edasseril." Although it's a statement, Iqu clearly means it as a question to be answered.
Aloysius follows Bryc's lead and strips himself of his longbow, arrows, and light hammer. He looks to Durant. "May I leave these with you?"
"I believe I will need some extra large clothing to hide my armour. My shield can go on my back, under my cloak."
"Perhaps we can acquire some fish or lumber to use as our ostensible export."
"Belimarius became the tenth Runelord of Envy over five millennia ago after assassinating her predecessor. She ruled Edasseril, a nation of bureaucracy, strict laws, and much rivalry and intrigue. It was a land where giants were once enslaved. When the disaster of Earthfall was imminent, which means about to occur, not to be confused with the similar sounding eminent, which means above others in status."
"Now, what was I talking about. Oh yes, the ancient city of Xin-Edasseril, right before Earthfall was taken out of time itself, allowing the runelord and her citizens to survive. But now, she has returned to rule one of the two surviving nations that make up New Thassilon."
"I can't recall any particular restrictions against magic, Iqu. But since very few people can use magic and most of those here that could likely have allied themselves with Belimarius for their own protection, I could see how it might lead some people to believe that is the case."
Quindul looks at Klaakz and Windy Bin. "Can I call you Mr. Mousie? It's a cute name."
Durant seems impressed. "You seem quite knowledgeable about Xin-Edasseril, Miss Sanz. I'm glad you're a member of this team. As for the rest of you, leave all unnecessary equipment with me and make sure you change clothes. I'll gladly give back your possessions once the mission is over."
"...they better come back with my payment", mumbles Guaril.
On the morning of 30 Pharast 4720 you arrive at the city docks without incident. Xin-Edasseril is a city of gleaming architecture and beautiful vistas, although its skyline still bears scars from the events that brought it into the present day. Most of its structures stand as grand displays of the wealth and power of ancient Thassilon. Public construction projects dot the city, slowly erasing damage caused by its shift through time. Upon disembarking, you are immediately met by two human guards. Each guard is clearly well armed and well-trained, with gleaming magical weapons, armor, and equipment. Their visage is one of no-nonsense and without even a word of welcome, the left one barks while the other watches your moves carefully.
After a few minutes scrutinizing the documents, he thrusts them out to you and fall into the droning tones of a familiar spiel. "By order of Runelord Bellimarius, outsiders will endure curfew at her pleasure. You will have free travel, within limits, from 9am to 5pm. You must remain indoors at all other times. Weapons must be stowed at all times, and no more than one weapon is allowed on your person while on the streets of Xin-Edasseril. Carrying concealed weapons is punishable by a tour of the dungeons. Your papers expire in five days, leave the city by then. Am I clear? Ignorance of the law is not a valid defense. Welcome to Xin-Edasseril."
With that final statement, the guards move out of your way and the streets of Xin-Edasseril are yours to traverse.
(Slides updated. See Discussion thread on the mechanics of movement and curfew. Which person will you visit first?)
(Edit. You may do a semi-secret roll to spend two hours with a Diplomacy check to Gather Information about the Emerald Guard. Another option is to use Society, Thassilon Lore, or Underworld Lore to Recall Knowledge on the Guard. All of these can be done untrained.)
Klaakz nods at Quindul. ”Okay?”
I can't answer the rest right now. Will tomorrow.
"We should fetch Flitch first." Bryc says to the others when they're alone "We're not quite sure where he'll be, but he knows the directions we can use later." Bryc refrains from mentioning the secret path or ship or anything while in here. He hopes his companions understand...
Soon, his thoughts are interrupted by more coughing.
After the guards leave, Aloysius glares at them briefly. Then, he turns back to the others.
"Aye. Let's find this Flitch first."
Traveling to the east of the city is no easy task. People are constantly pressing around you and travel is slow. Guaril's map of Flitch's location takes you to a place called Envy Row East. Separated by stone walls, you can see ramshackle housing who have hunkered down to survive as a group. From time to time, you encounter Emerald Guards doing there rounds consistently try to enforce loyalty to the runelord through brute intimidation and bribes, and once you see a grey skinned giant ambling down the district and cleaning up morosely after a collapsed home.
When you reach your destination, you see a rundown flat that is typical of the residences you've encountered so far. A lock bars the front door and the windows are boarded over. There are fragments of a flowerpot lie beneath one windowsill.
(Map and schedule updated)
Quindul wants to say, 'Wow, this place sucks!' But, she doesn't. She's too scared the guards will hear her and she'll get in trouble! Instead she clamps her mouth shut and smiles.
At the house, she stares at the flower pot. "Where's the flower?" Suddenly Quindul gasps. What if Belimarius hates flowers?! Quindul looks like she regrets having spoken!
Perception: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (14) + 2 = 16
Klaakz goes up towards the door, looks for traps just in case, and if it looks safe he knocks on the door.
On approaching the doorway, you don't detect any traps on the lock or the door itself.
You knock on the door, *thump* *thump* *thump* but get no response.
Marta confers with her group.
"I'm sure I've heard something about the Emerald Guard, but I can't remember what it is right now. But I have a spell that I keep handy which will share my memories with you for a short time. Maybe if I spread that out among the smarter ones of you, one of you could find the facts I'm forgetting right now."
Marta has the spell share lore prepared. For 10 minutes, 3 of you would gain training in Thassilonian History Lore and could make the checks to figure out what I failed to.