A Pathfinder Society Scenario designed for levels 1–5.
A powerful ally of the Pathfinder Society has disappeared, and no one but the Pathfinders even remembers that she ever existed. Can the PCs discover the fate of their missing associate, or will all memory of her be erased completely from history?
Written by Jonathan H. Keith.
Private CORE game by invite only.
Several days pass as Ringo returns to Absalom, now wearing a slightly less abused suit of chainmail and wooden shield, both emblazoned with a tree pierced by a sword.
Now where is that place located again that I'm supposed to go for the next mission he wonders, appearing somewhat lost in the Merchants Quarter.
"What the hell, elf?" yells out the priest of Gorum, as he pats down his waste, as if looking for his coin purse. "I knew I should never have trusted him!"
Dragos stomps off, looking for the elf that just took him for all of his gold.
Reporting to the Venture-Captain is a tall, thin, pale elf. He is an interesting contradiction in his gear, as he has a variety of weapons that would seem to be more at home on a fighter, but wasn't wearing any armor, and the shape of a spellbook could be seen in his backpack.
He looked nervous, always looking around, as if someone was coming to get him.
The gala inside the Chelish embassy appears to be in full swing, and as the faint light from the building falls upon the alleyway outside, Venture-Captain Ambrus Valsin’s mission briefing is hard to forget.
“Pathfinders,” Valsin boomed but hours earlier in the briefing chamber within the Grand Lodge, “Zarta Dralneen no longer exists. She never existed. She’s never worked for the Chelish embassy here in Absalom, and she’s never been in charge of the Chelish Pathfinders. At least that’s what I was told, repeatedly, to my face, through three layers of Chelish bureaucrats. I know those people, and they all knew Zarta. They didn’t just forget about her. She’s been ‘disappeared.’
“I don’t know where she went and I don’t know who took her. What I need you to do for me is to go into the Chelish embassy and find out as much as you can by snooping around for a bit. I want to know where Zarta is, I want to know who took her, and I want to know why she was taken.
“We can’t afford to offend Cheliax, so you’ll have to infiltrate their embassy quietly. I’ve devised a cover story that should get you in the side door with orders to see the new Chelish ambassador. An ongoing diplomatic gala scheduled for the same time and a clever ruse by Venture-Captain Amara Li— who is also attending the gala—will keep the ambassador busy, but you’ll have to act quickly if you want to secure the information we need before he arrives to meet you. You must get into the embassy, get what we need, and get back out of the embassy without the Chelaxians ever catching on that we’ve been rooting around.
“Here is a packet of information that bears on Chelish interests in Sargava. It’s legitimate intelligence that we probably would have passed on to Zarta eventually anyway and that we’re willing to give up for free as our ticket into the building.
“You’ll enter the embassy through the north entrance of the residential wing, where Chelish imperial security receives all of their informants. Even if you have a good cover story, you might have difficulty getting past the guards there—if necessary, you’ll have to resort to bribing your way through. Once you’re in, the guards will likely make you wait for the ambassador when you tell them you have important information for him. Don’t give it to anyone else, since once they have the information there will be no reason for them not to show you the door.
“Amara Li will keep the ambassador pinned down at the gala while you break out of the waiting room and snoop around. She will also meet you just before you enter the gala to cast a message spell on you, just in case you need to keep in touch during your mission. You just need to make your way to Zarta’s chambers—they’re in the southwest corner of the residential wing, but you’ll have to find a route that doesn’t intersect with the gala’s attendees or residents of the embassy. Try to get in and out in less than an hour. That’s my best estimate at how long the gala and Li can keep the ambassador preoccupied. Once you’ve got the information and made it back to the waiting area, you just have to wait for the ambassador to find time to see you.
“My informants tell me that Ailenia Hospar, one of the clerks you’ll likely run into at the embassy, is addicted to shiver. I’ve procured some of the drug for you to slip her if she initially proves less than accommodating. You may also have to deal with Anstrella Trelax, the pompous night-duty officer. Beyond that, what you’ll face is beyond my knowledge. I’ve ordered for you to receive several tools that might help you in your mission. Good luck, Pathfinders.”
The satchel he handed you contained two scrolls of disguise self as well as two elixirs of hiding.
Lugrok listens to the job they were being given, then looks at himself and Urk. He raises a brow at the captains words, then simply nodded.
"We will get in there some way. I am sure there is plenty of openings unwatched..."
Urk snorted once, his fur neatly trimmed from a recent outing with a pair of barbers shears. His smell however has not gotten any better.
Ringo's hands come together under his chin, "This should be interesting, definitely different from our last mission." he states calmly. "Is there anything known about this new ambassador's political views, personal tastes, or the like? Any additional information about the Anstrella?"
Ambrus doesn't have any further information that would be helpful to your mission.
The so-called “spy’s entrance” is a nondescript entrance in an alley that runs along the north side of the Chelish embassy. The only feature distinguishing the spy’s entrance from other doors piercing the alley walls is the presence of a guard in Chelish imperial livery.
Looks at the rest of the party, his face furrowed in thought.
"So.. who gets to talk to this one? Or do we just kind of muscle our way in?"
Lugrok was not known for his subtlety. To be honest, neither was Urk.
"Fat Penguin would probably be our best, first attempt, to talk us in. I should be able to have a decent read for subtle cues on how the guard is responding."
I'd like to try to get an initial read on the guards demeanor, etc
"Depends on what you are planning on saying. Fat Penguin, eh? That's a different sort of name. By the way, my name is Ver'Yanion. Been around the Society for a few year, but they don't seem to let me go out on missions very often. Don't know why.
"But this one seems tailor-made for me."
Ver'Yanion thinks about the guards, wondering how to get by them. "Maybe the direct honest approach on this one? Say we have something for the ambassador?" suggests the elf. "Wait... who said that?"
|Wrofyx Kesgalna Nackl|
"Pleased to meet you Ver'Yanion, the name's Wrofyx but these folks call me Fat Penguin due to a joke gone wrong on our first meeting."
Wrofyx looks around at the guard & entrance.
"Unless someone else has a better idea I think just telling the guard we have something for the ambassador is probably the way to go."
"Welcome aboard Ver'Yanion! I'm Ringo, and yes, expect Fat...er Wrofyx, to test out some of her new material on you, from time to time. Ringo says, ending with a wink towards Wrofyx.
"Even with the truth, some haggling might bear fruits otherwise unforeseen. Agreed otherwise, I'll keep an eye on things."
Leaning closer to whisper to Wrofyx, "Also, the guard looks bored, maybe one of your jokes will help us out?"
”Fat Penguin? That must be an interesting story. Ringo, have you been a Pathfinder long?”
He thinks about the situation. ”No, I don’t have sleep ready today, nor do I have charm person. Probably would have been easier than talking ”
"This is the second time I've been detached from Tamran to assist the Pathfinders. Previously, this blue gnome had some of us go find a friend lost in a tower, that's where several of us met."
Ringo's face suggests he's recalling events from the mission referenced, his nose wrinkling and a small gag escapees his lips a couple times.
"I should think there wouldn't be any troglodytes within the embassy..." his voice trails off.
Glances over at Ringo, a wry smile on his face.
"Well, that depends. Some humans I have met smell worse than troglodytes do..."
He turned his gaze back toward the guard down the alleyway, furrowing his brow a bit.
"Didnt the Valsin man say something of bribes?"
|Wrofyx Kesgalna Nackl|
Wrofyx looks at his companions, "Well, let's try this. I'll see if I can entertain the guard, then talk our way in. Hopefully, bribery won't be needed but if it is, I have some coin But first..."
He trails off as he walks over to Urk and after making sure he is out of sight of the guard casts a spell on the boar.
casting prestidigitation to add a touch of cedar & leather scent to Urk. He still smells but just slightly less boar & a touch more earthy. Hoping it is just enough for the guard to let him in with us as I doubt boars are normally permitted in the embassy.
That done he walks smiling up to the guard. "Hello good sir, looks like you are having a quiet nice. A good thing but a little boring am I right? Well, let me add some whimsy to your evening, Why were the baby strawberries upset? Their parents were in a jam," Wrofyx laughs heartily and calps the guard on the back. "I love that one. Now seriously we have some information, intelligence if you will, for the ambassador. I know there is a gala happening, I mean who doesn't did you see the outfits walking up to the place talk about bling, so we understand we may have to wait for the ambassador to be free but we got the time to wait if you could just show us to a waiting area."
perform comedy: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (9) + 7 = 16
dipo: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (4) + 3 = 7
At least the joke went over well...
The large Kellid man remains quiet during Valsin's briefing, appearing to perhaps be nursing a hangover after an adventurous night at the Wounded Wisp. He remains dressed in scale armor, carrying a great axe and javelins on his back. Unlike others he does not appear to have upgraded his equipment much after their recent excursion to the Cairnlands.
He appears to be quite interested in their new elven companion and takes the opportunity to strike up a conversation as the gnome heads in to chat up the guard.
"Ver'Yanion, it is good of you to join us, it appears you may be a man of many talents. I am Gronak of the old lands of Sarkoris. While my people have become used to fighting by sword and axe, I have come to the Society to learn the ways of your wizards, to find all the tools we can use to keep the demons of the Worldwound from breaching the last defenses of Gundrun. If you have anything to teach, I would look forward to the lesson."
”Yes, that would be interesting. My people often blend magic and blade. I am experimenting on a style of that, for sure.”
He looks over the arms and armor of his compatriots. ”Say, wouldn’t you like to get into some quieter gear? If this is to be a stealth mission, perhaps rattling around in noisy metal armor won’t be the best choice. Worst case, I suppose I could let you use a charge from my wand once we get in... only lasts an hour, but that’s all the time we will have. ”
’Wait, what? I worked hard for that wand. Well, at least it will be better than being found out because “big dumb fighter” doesn’t know better.”
Gronak looks skeptical.
"You mean to say that a magical stick can replace a full suit of fine steel armor? If that was the case, why would all of these wizards bring legions of armored knights to keep themselves protected?"
"If your wand can do half of what this armor can do, I would be happy to try this!"
Watches Fat Penguin tell his joke to the guard, his own face snorting in a fashion of amusement. Hearing the newest elf who has joined them speak, he leans in a little but never takes his gaze off Penguin.
"While being quiet would help, a boar is still a boar, and likely Urk will be noticed walking about the halls or room. Still.. he might be a good distraction..."
He scratched his chin in thought....
|Wrofyx Kesgalna Nackl|
Guess it's time to offer up that bribe
Wrofyx gives a quick glance at his companions for assistance and continues addressing the guard.
"I understand your position but this is information is of vital importance and we were told to give it directly to the ambassador even if we have to stand around in a waiting room until he can step away from the gala. Are we not at the correct door, is this not used to receive those of us that deal in information? Of course, I'm sure there are procedures to be followed..." He trails off as he adjusts his belt pouch allowing the coins inside to make a noticeable clink.
'I wonder, can I pick their pockets after we bribe them? That might be fun.'
"What is wrong with the pig? Look at those muscles, that snout! Why, it'll be absolutely the perfect addition to the main course of the banquet!" Ringo declares with as much professionalism as he can muster.
Lugrok shoots a glare at Ringo. If looks could injure, this would have left a scar.
|Urk the Boar|
Urk hears the words of the one who likes to get injured often, turning his head just to stare at the humans shins.
"He sleeps. I bet he tastes like beef jerky. I like jerky. Im hungry."
Urk takes a step back, his eyes looking upward at Ringo, locking the humans' gaze.
Gronak approaches, sizing up the guard as he steps to the gnome's side.
"I have heard that Chelish imperial guards hold firm to their duties, it is good for you to ask questions. The information we have will be quite valuable to the ambassador, and I am certain that your duty officer Trelax would be disappointed to have this opportunity walk away."
Aid Diplomacy: 1d20 - 2 ⇒ (13) - 2 = 11
”Yeah, we were given this mission by the ambassador directly. He’s waiting for us to give him the information. Vital to the Empire and all. You wouldn’t want to be the one to have denied him his information!”
Bluff: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (15) + 4 = 19
The guard looks very confused at the multiple conversations... stream of consciousness?
After taking a moment... he looks at Nackl, grinding his fingers together. "I see and feel no reason to let any of you in right now, let alone the pig."
|Wrofyx Kesgalna Nackl|
"As I said I understand there are procedures to be followed," the gnome hands over a platinum piece and waits.
taking 10 on SM for a total of 10
diplo: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (18) + 3 = 21
Sense movie: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (11) + 4 = 15
”Good job, Fat Penguin.” says the elf.
He turns to the Druid, ”You sure we need him? We are just dropping off some papers. ”
SM: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (19) + 1 = 20
Gronak grunts, digs around in a pouch, then gives the guard a firm handshake.
Handing him 10 more gp.
”You Cherish are always so keen on handshakes and talking. It is no wonder we see so few of you in my home, it is a very different place.
Lugrok stares at the elf, then narrows his eyes as he speaks.
"I trust Urk. I know him. I do not know you. We go along together. That being said, if need be, I can stay out here with Urk and keep the guard company..."
His gaze shifted to the guard, a hard stare and crossed arms following it.
|Urk the Boar|
Urk listens to his friend speak, almost nodding at the elf as he did so. With almost no hesitation and seemingly one mind, his head shifts to stare at the guard as well as Lugroks does, his mouth opening into an almost child-like smile as it did so.
I wonder if this human knows games?
The guard takes the two bribes, and eyeballs the party one more time before turning to open the door. "Watch yourselves and your... service animal."
He directs you to the reception room. The red paint that covers the walls of this high-ceilinged chamber does little to hide the raised outlines of ancient religious mosaics that once decorated this former temple. Behind the chamber’s large and imposing desk sits a woman in clerk’s clothing.
"You don't have an appointment do you..."
|Wrofyx Kesgalna Nackl|
Wrofyx nods at the clerk and looks for a nameplate on the desk.
If we are lucky this is Ailenia Hospar, the clerk addicted to shiver
"We have a package for the ambassador perchance you could show us to the waiting area, Ms...?
”Damn, it is cold out there” says Ver’Yanion, while holding himself while actively shivering. ”You know what I mean? Glad to be inside so that we can talk to the Ambassador ”
Bluff to pass info : 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (2) + 4 = 6
Moves his hand down on to Urks back, seemingly using him to guide the ork through the doorway into the room. Lugrok then simply stares off into a general direction (away from the desk), his head swaying a bit as if he is actually blind.
A pat on Urks back keeps the boar from running off quickly, allowing the big pig a moment to sit down and rest.
Ringo waits in a corner, watching the exchange between the clerk and the party.
Looking for telltale signs of drug use/withdrawal symptoms from the clerk
Perception: 1d20 + 6 + 2 ⇒ (19) + 6 + 2 = 27
Sense Motive: 1d20 + 7 + 2 ⇒ (3) + 7 + 2 = 12
Heal: 1d20 + 6 + 2 ⇒ (12) + 6 + 2 = 20
"Protocol has its place, of course." Ringo comments. "Alas, we cannot part with our package, it has special, um, restrictions, placed upon it that cannot be fulfilled by just anyone."
He casually walks up to the desk, lowering his voice some while leaning a little closer to her, "There are oftentimes, exceptions, to protocol..." he produces the pouch of shiver, lowering his voice more, "You look like you could use a little of what I have here..."
|Wrofyx Kesgalna Nackl|
Wrofyx moves such that he makes sure no one can see Ringo handing the incentive to the clerk.
"Yes as my companion said our instructions are that this information package must be handed directly to the ambassador.
Wrofyx drops his voice to an almost imperceptible whisper "Please enjoy the gift we have brought you."
diplo: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (15) + 3 = 18
At first, the woman feigns shock and sneers... before her eyes and mouth ease into a lustful face... before looking back and forth and pocketing the proffered package. "I can't summon the ambassador directly... but I can call the duty officer. one moment."
She knocks on a closed door and a finely dressed woman in red and black steps out to whisper to Ailena. Her face shows annoyment with the secretary before turning to you and saying "Very well. I will take the package to the ambassador."
Gronak remains quiet, perhaps acting as if he is disinterested in the conversation, or perhaps just completely disinterested in the conversation, but he does pay attention to what is happening as the new gatekeeper approaches.
Sense Motive: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (5) + 1 = 6
He stands taller when they are told the package must be left, ready to step to the side of the first of his allies to speak.
Assist the next Diplomacy or Intimidate by showing a unified front.
Charisma Assist: 1d20 - 2 ⇒ (15) - 2 = 13