|Tao Lin Chen|
"Greetings fair lady, my name is Chen."
He makes a wide gesture with his arm towards the rest of the party behind him.
"And these are my associates, we are helpful business contacts of Daffrid. We would like a private word with your husband away from the streets, preferably without disturbing your children."
The lady looks shocked and immediately opens the door and ushers you in. "Yes, please, come in. My name's Daffrid Chaverly. Did we do something wrong?"
"Did Mommy make the Prunelord angry," the girl pipes up.
"Hush, child, I told you not to call Her Grace that. I'm sorry about Taffrit, she picked that up from somewhere and we can't get her to stop saying it."
"But you always-," says the boy before Daffrid interrupts him.
"Now's not the time for details, Maffree. Please, go see what Daddy's doing, this is grown-up talk."
You've arrived in Daffrid's office. There aren't enough chairs and Daffrid remains standing and leans against her desk, still not entirely sure what to expect.
Feel free to interact with the children, by the way. I'm just moving to the next part of the scene. If I had to wait until everyone was done interacting with every single NPC, this would take forever.
When everyone is seated, the Petite Chenille looks around to see if there is anything suspicious in the room (eavesdropping people, a suspiciously opened window, anything). Perception: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (15) + 7 = 22
When he thinks it is safe to talk, he gets up from his chair and gives a short bow. "Lady Chaverly, it is a pleasure to meet you. I'm the Petite Chenille, hero in the making. And this colorful company has been send in stead of the "gentlemen" that you have made an exchange-student arrangement with. The papers stated a "field-trip" for four, I believe?"
The Petite Chenille gives a smile. "Due to unfortunate circumstances, our tour operator is not present himself. But rest assured, we will be more than able enough to hold up our end of the agreement."
In case I need to make a diplomacy check to put her at ease or something, I'll just roll one.
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (20) + 5 = 25 Edit: Please tell me this does something!
The ever-wary Petite Chenille looks around the office for spies, interlopers, and other unwanted people. He does find several things that are out of the ordinary.
First of all, there's what appears to be a rock garden suspiciously nearby the window. As in, a big heap of boulders sitting just outside the garden window. Petite Chenille's caterpillar-senses are tingling...
A crumpled piece of paper that seems to have been used as drafting paper is actually a scroll of remove disease. I don't know how, but it's random treasure. Daffrid doesn't mind you taking it.
Daffrid is immediately put at ease when the Petite Chenille mentions the field trip. "Oh, thank goodness, so we are still on track for extraction. When that lovely gentleman Guaril Karela stopped contacting us, I feared the worst. Such a great person, selflessly risking his life to help poor people such as ourselves.
"You see, apparently we've been re-living the same week over and over for five thousand years! As a professor of religion, I'm dying to know what has happened in the five thousand years I've missed, but Her Majesty," you notice a clear tone of sarcasm, "still has this city on a tight leash. Hardly any information goes in or out, and I fear my research is woefully out of date by now. I think we all deserve to know what's changed in the meantime, right?
"Oh, as for payment: I've given mister Karela an advance, but I suppose you're also here for the rest of it, right?" She rummages in a drawer. "Here it is."
She hands you a gold nodule aeon stone and a scroll of air bubble.
The aeon stone is worthless for this adventure, it's simply treasure. The air bubble scroll allows someone to breathe air normally for one minute.
Society: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (18) + 3 = 21
Knowledge Society: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (9) + 5 = 14
The Petite Chenille also quickly looks through all the books in this room. They're mostly historical and religious books, but they're all vastly outdated. Not much useful you can do with this, though.
|Tao Lin Chen|
"Thank you very much, my lady. We will make sure that the tour will go as planned. It will start in a few days." The petite Chenille contineus to browse a bit through her books and then states with a smile: "Also, if these are the most up to date books your ladyship has in her possession, then I can guarantee that you will find the tour most satisfying.
He then gives becomes more serious, as if he had spotted something. "Lady Chaverly, mind if I ask what this rockformation is doing right out of your window? It is a strange place to create a zen garden, and something about it seems a bit... off." Petite Chenille says while putting back the books he was browsing through. "Maybe it is nothing, but my budding hero senses are tingling, stating that there's more than meets the eye here,"
the Petite Chenille is going to leave Guaril out of the conversation. If he told her how he thinks about him, it might change her coöperative nature.
|Ulfar the Trickster|
On the mention of strange rock formation, Ulfar moves closer to the window, in case intervention will be required. He peers intensely into the rock formation for any signs of movement, dropping his hand to the smaller hatchet on his belt.
Perception: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (10) + 5 = 15
"Oh, religion front is as good as ever, me lady. Plenty of fools are dying for their gods on regular basis, at list that remained consistent."
After finishing investigation of the garden. Ulfar grumbles:
"Do ye have everything prepared for ye 'Field trip' in a couple of days? I hope ye not planing to drag this whole library with you? Noisy children is distracting enough for me liking"
|Tao Lin Chen|
A ZEN garden and a ROCK formation outside of the window ? For a mountain stance monk this is just irresistible !!
Not even awaiting the answer of Daffrid, Chen rushes to the window. Tries to open it and jumps on the pile of rocks, digging through it with his bare hands.
Koredrel has been silent, giving Petite Chenille the chance to introduce the group and their goal. While he listens, he teases the children with winks and making strange faces. On the mentioning of the strange rockgarden, he gets curious and walks over to the window, looking at the strange rocks with a frown on his face.
nature: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (14) + 4 = 18
"Oh yes, mister Ulfar, we've been preparing for this trip for weeks now! Only the very necessities: some spare clothes, food for on the road, and maybe a trinket or two. We're quite ready to leave everything here behind. We won't slow you down, I promise you."
Daffrid's attention then goes to the activity near the window. Chen jumps outside and starts rearranging the feng shui of the place. Koredrels frowns and starts to yell out a warning, but it's too late. Chen tries to move a boulder that seems to be really stuck, but then...
"Ow, I'm sorry! Little man stop pushing big toe, it doesn't bend that way!"
To everyone's amazement, what you thought was a particularly rough patch of rocks unfolds into a giant scarred man, his skin tone and texture nearly perfectly blending into the background. He's currently lying on the ground, but if he was to stand up, you'd think he'd reach about 12 feet high. Picture in link.
Daffrid sighs. "Ah yes, I see you've found Seddothrum. He lives here on campus. Don't worry, he's completely harmless. He's been bullied so much by the Emerald Guard he's lost the will to fight. Maffree and Taffrit have adopted him as a pet of sorts."
Daffrid turns to the giant. "Seddie, could you please keep it down? This is a... delicate conversation."
Seddothrum turns to look at Daffrid through the window, his entire face obscuring the view. He whispers back, the sound of his voice still rumbling through your bones.
"I'm sorry miss Chaverly. I'll behave now. Heard you were planning to go away, I want to come too! Guardspeople keep throwing rocks at me, and I don't appreciate the irony. Life miserable here for me, but also not allowed to leave!" Tears start welling up in his eyes.
Come to think of it, you've seen a few giants around the city as well. They're quite rare, but they seem to be mostly used as pack mules and the like.
|Tao Lin Chen|
Chen stumbles backwards as he is trying to form an idea of the proportions of this giant.
"A mighty creature of the mountains, enslaved by these Thassilonians... I had heard rumors, but it pains my very soul to see these creatures captured."
He clenches his fist in anger, fiddles with his own manacle and speaks out in perfect Jotun :
"SEDDOTHRUM, WHO'S COMMANDS DO YOU FOLLOW ?"
Chen turns around to his companions who are staring at the pair through the window.
"Perhaps we could use him as carrier, hide the kids in sacks and let Seddothrum carry them... on our tour. Kill two birds with one stone, we can sell it as an extra feature !"
Seddothrum startles as he hears his native tongue spoken, then calms down again.
"I'm a free giant, but I wish I wasn't. I was once employed and had a home, but I accidentally broke a house and I got whipped. Then," his voice starts to tremble a bit, "the fear of the lash made me tremble. Accidents happened more and more often. I dropped a cart full of fruit and had to go without food to pay it all back. The hunger didn't help, and I became weak, no longer able to do my job. I got whipped more, and finally dumped here, left to die on my own. The students and teachers left me scraps out of fear I'd steal from them. Gradually I recovered. Even if I had a job again, I'm too insecure to be of any use. And the stupid guards won't let me leave, because giants are too valuable in this city to let go."
Seddothrum actually starts crying now. It's a strange sight to see such a big creature moved to tears like this. A creature of this size and strength could easily crush you underfoot, and yet here he is. He is also very well-spoken. He clearly has no formal training, but the sterotypical view of giants being big dumb oafs certainly doesn't apply.
Maybe I'm doing too much interpreting, but I kinda fell in love with him as I was writing him, and he has an INT of 10, so he's not stupid or anything.
Daffrid leans out of the window and pets him on his face. She says to you, "I don't know what they did to him, but Seddothrum lost all the will to fight. He's now a good-hearted fellow, and surprisingly good with the kids. He's now more or less the Arcanium's unofficial mascot, but I wish we could do more to help."
She looks at you, unsure what to do. Then, she whispers, "Obviously, he isn't included in the 'field trip,' just my husband and our children. But I'm not sure if Maffree and Taffrit can leave him behind here..."
You know that Stone Giants are, for some reason, ridiculously good at hiding, and even better in rocky terrain. They typically don't have any special movement options or spell-like abilities.
You don't know this in-game, but it's fun to share: they have a +14 Stealth, to give you a picture of how good he is.
Whelp, a soul in need...
"Whipping?!? Bullying?!? Starvation ?!? This will not stand! I, the Petite Chenille, will find a way for you to leave this wretched place good sir!". He jumps up and down in fury.
When he calms himself, he starts to think out loud. "Hmmmm, you are rather large. Buuuut, loke Tao Lin said, as long as you're carrying something you wouldn't stand out. We could disguise you as a hired porter, maybe get some "legal" documentations to show to any nosey villain. We should take your size into account when it calculate the boat's capacity..."
He turns to the others. "What does the rest think? Our tour, or the prepped tour?"
|Ulfar the Trickster|
"Bah, just imagine how much space it will take on the ship, that creature! And who gonna pay for the transfer?"
Evaluating the giant, Ulfar strokes his beard comprehending the options
"Well, ye good at looking like a pile of rocks, lad. If anything, we can disguise you as one and put ye on a cart. If we are merchants, we may as well haul some resources."
"I'll be blunt with ye, first we need to know if there will be a place on the boat, and if that place will be paid for. For one Giant we can fit 3-4 medium-sized creatures, so the odds for ye, Seddothrum, are not the best ones."
Seddothrum's face falls when Ulfar tells him he possibly can't come.
"I guess you're right," Seddothrum mumbles, "If Lady Daffrid paid for her escape, it's only fair. I'll just stay here, then. All alone. By myself. With no friends."
He slinks off and curls into a foetal position in a corner of the courtyard.
The Petite Chenille now turns his anger towards Ulfar. "Blast you Ulfar! Have you no heart?!? Has it closed to righteousness and compassion?!? If you really wish that greed instead of kindness controls your actions, then let it be known that his payment can be discussed after the fact.”
He calms himself before adding. ”Now, it is true that the arranged tour only has prepared for the company that was known, but remember: we are not on that tour. We go back on our own to minimize the suspicion of these villains. Which means that our big friend here can be disguised as porter or even, if we put him in a cart, as rocky “merchandise””.
Suddenly, the Petite Chenille has an epiphany. ”That’s it! We disguise our kind fellow as a stone formation that we “merchants” have bought. That way, our own tour becomes even more believable! I mean, what merchants don’t try to buy stuff from an empire that suddenly came back after thousands of years. It would be suspicious if we only sold stuff, and not try to acquire something ourselves.” He turns to the others. ”What do you people think? It’s a good plan, right?”
|Tao Lin Chen|
"Ulfar !" Chen speaks out.
"Your words are as sharp as your axes."
Chen listens to the words of Petite Chenille and nods.
"There is wisdom in his words, I support this plan"
Chen will follow Seddothrum, crouch next to him and speak in hushed tones -like you would talk to a pouting toddler-, it will take a little while but the message is :
'It is better to die by the whip then living in fear of it'.
|Ulfar the Trickster|
Ulfar glares at tiny halfling
"Hey, stop je bragging little one. It is not me compassion that gets giant on board, and not me heart to pay the bill for transfer! So shut ye scream hole, and think reasonably."
Calming down, Ulfar faces the giant again:
"Ey, no need to be that gloomy, big fella. I've just voiced over the facts."
He looks frustrated, how such a big and powerful creature can be so helpless and weak hearted. He shrugs and adds
"If anything else fails, maybe if not by coin, but by service ye can pay for ye passage? If ye pledge ye service to Guaril and his cause, maybe they will take you in for it. I mean, working with smugglers and such is much better than suffer these guards"
Seddothrum stops sobbing and cracks a shy smile.
"Thank you, Ulfar. I know you're just trying to help. If I can be of assistance to you in return for freedom, that'd be much appreciated."
He rubs his face against your body. You think it might be some kind of nuzzling as a token of affection, since hugging wouldn't quite work.
|Ulfar the Trickster|
Ulfar starts to feel uncomfortable and alarmed with a huge giant face bumping into him. He throws concerned look to Tao for an answer, as he proved to be an expert on rock-giant topic.
After a second and seeing no terror on the faces of other, Ulfar slightly pets Seddothrum on his head
I suggest we visit Flitch next. I would like to know what the escape route is before we get to the day of departure (especially if we need to clear it first).
"As I said before, we can take the gentle giant on our own trip, after we took care of the other 'organized' trip. First to Flitch it is next. Than a good meal and some rest will come in nice."
Turning to the lady Daffrid:
"We haven't seen your husband yet. He is ready for departure too? We will give you more information on your departure shortly before we leave, so you can't tell someone unwillingly something you don't know yet."
|Tao Lin Chen|
|Ulfar the Trickster|
Daffrid turns to Koredrel. "Yes, my husband is at home and he knows of the plan as well. No need to worry about him. And that's a good idea about the information. The less we know, the less likely the information can fall in the wrong hands. I love my children, but they have no internal filter."
You say goodbye to Daffrid, the kids, and Seddothrum and head for Flitch's location. More more hours through a bustling city later, you've definitely come to a seedier part of Xin-Edasseril. Flitch's location is a rundown flat. His apartment's windows are boarded over and a poor lock prevents people from entering.
I know I said it was 12:00 when you entered the city, but let's switch to chunks of two hours now. The scenario's vague on time on purpose. You've now spent 4 hours traveling through Xin-Edasseril, and spent negligible time at Daffrid's house. Not sure if I'm supposed to track that as well, but given that you have five days, I think it won't matter much.
Hiya guys, sorry, busy life, and trying to regain something that moderately approximates sanity.
Anyway, little bit of ret-conning if you don't mind:
During the walk up to Daffrid's house, Lilly Ann continues to pout at Ulfar and Tao Lin, while weaving her new-found flowers into her hair. Occasionally she goes off to pick some more.
When Daffrid sends her kids away to their dad, Lilly Ann runs along with them, clearly quickly making some new friends. She catches up with the group again when they leave the house.
"Well, those kids were plenty nice. We even had a screaming match, and only got told off by two guards!" She giggles. "So, what'd I miss?"
"Ah, Lilly. We have confirmed our first tour group. We also made a purchase, so the say." The Petite Chenille gives an elbow nudge assuming Lilly-Ann gets it, forgetting that she wasn't in the room during the talks. "I thought you vanished to be on lookout, although keeping the kids busy during business was indeed a good idea!"
When we get to Flitch's apartment
The Petite Chenille looks around a bit if he sees or hears anything strange around/from the apartment. Perception: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (11) + 7 = 18
If all seems clear he knocks on the door. Come on, man. Open the door. Your uncle wants his slippers back. They're his most comfortable pair and you have had them long enough."
|Tao Lin Chen|
After the Petite Chenille's summary, Lilly Ann responds: "Purchase? Any case, I promised Maff and Taff that we'd bring along their pet, Seddie. He's apparently really cute! That should be fine, right?"
At Flitch's place, Lilly Ann takes a quick look if she sees any other possible ways of entering.
Perception: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (12) + 6 = 18
If she doesn't see anything, she grabs some lock-picking tools out of her beltpouch and moves towards the door.
"I thought it was only KIDS that attract to much attention." She sticks her tongue out at Tao Lin over her shoulder.
The Petite Chenille would open the lock, but he doesn't own Thieves Tools... I know, I know, I have a Thievery of +7, but I didn't have the money to buy those tools AND a Medkit. And I rather have that Medkit.
Lilly Ann starts messing with the lock while humming in a very eerie manner.
Thievery: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (12) + 4 = 16
Thievery: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (10) + 4 = 14
If I fail, PC can borrow the tools and give it a (probably) more competent shot ;).
Lilly Ann makes a few quick hand movements and jimmies the lock open slightly, but it's not quite open yet.
In this edition, the better the lock, the higher the DC, but also more successes needed to open it. A fail is just that you don't succeed, a critical fail means you break parts of the lockpick.
Lilly Ann makes a pouty face. "No fair! Annoying thing won't budge... Does someone else wanna try?"
She's still standing by the door, head down and face turned a bit away. Some of the lock-picks are still in the door, others are in her open palm.
The Petite Chenille looks around and thinks for a minute. "Breaking and entering... is not really hero-like... But then again, smashing down the door really isn't better."
He scratches the side of his head. "Then again, we are sure that this is the place, AND he isn't responding..." Suddenly, Petite Chenille's eyes grow wide. "Oh sweet Black Butterfly, he could be in danger!"
He then sees Lilly-Ann holding out the Thieves Tools, asking if someone else wants to give it a try. He quickly accepts them from her and swiftly starts to work on the lock. "Thanks Lilly-Ann, I'll try to get it done quickly."
"Don't worry Flitch, the Petite Chenille will save you!"
I'll roll several times, don't know how many successes are needed.
Thievery to open lock: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (1) + 7 = 8
Thievery to open lock: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (10) + 7 = 17
Thievery to open lock: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (12) + 7 = 19
Edit: Whelp, I think I might have broken the lockpick...
Yep, a natural 1 is a critical fail.
The Petite Chenille takes over from Lilly Ann, but doesn't seem to have the same knack for it as she does. Within seconds, you hear a loud snapping sound as Petite Chenille now only holds half of a lockpick.
Broken lockpicks can be fixed with a Craft check, or simply swapping out spare parts.