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A trail like a thick snake shoots straight up the snowy hill straight for Iceferry Lodge.
As the other PCs arrive at the summit, at first it's difficult to discern what left the plowed pathway, but reaching it's terminus, some realize that in looking down they see a very small goblin dressed in a shirt and trousers dragging an oversized crossbow behind it, passed out at the top from exhaustion at the added drag the unwieldy instrument likely created, and snoring.
It carries a modest dogslicer at it's side, and a kid's backpack, out of which has spilled some bottles of unknown substances, what looks to be a coloring book, and 1d6 ⇒ 5 crayons of various colors... 1d6 ⇒ 11d6 ⇒ 51d6 ⇒ 11d6 ⇒ 61d6 ⇒ 5
1 > blue
2 > periwinkle
3 > barf green
4 > red like fire
5 > yellow
6 > actually that's a piece of beefstick
With sharp eyes and a narrow focus Junior holds his arms across his body and pulls his cloak tight against the frigid winds of the north west shore. A land like this has lots of hidden history, let's hope that's the reason we're here. Not some glorified head hunting mission or lost damsel in distress.
Junior follows the path up to the lodge overlooking the harbor and leans over to see the unconscious goblin in the snow Huh, guess they have a goblin infestation here too, pity. He skirts the lowlife and continues trekking to the hopefully warm fires of the Iceferry Lodge.
"Wine, white and
chilled room temperature please. Some herbed toast with cheese on the side." He orders as he finds the closest chair to the hearth as possible, passing up on an open one near a snoring Dwarf. Odds are he's here for the same reasons, doesn't look much like a sailor or a local.. well, could be local. Best not to wake him just in case.
There the Elf sits, warming his thin frame while he reads through the local publication of Uncle Henry's offering up for sale all manner of used, refurbished, and likely
stolen salvaged goods from the area.
Junior would have purchased a set of winter clothing before he boarded the ship to travel north. -.4g
A simple dwarf with an ornately braided beard and a noticeably receding hairline trudges up the path left by the goblin. His hair is a deep red, his eyes all but hidden in wrinkles and even more unfathomable given his fierce scowl. The traditional weapons of his ancestors, clan dagger and war axe, are strapped to his belt and back.
When the trail ends he spits thoughtfully into the snow then squats down giving the goblin a few shakes then a couple of light smacks on the face to see if he can awaken him.
It's the third SMACK that wakes the young goblin.
Popping up, Briney the goblin, small even for a goblin, dwarfs the dwarf by at least a significant figure. Shivering, he slunks his oversized crossbow laden with strange mechanical bits o'er his shoulder and explains "Gun Gun heavy but when trouble finds Briney" he mimicks shooting it here "Wallop!" even faking recoil and knocking himself back tumbling into the snow. Then quickly catches back up with the dwarf, and looking at his Waraxe, now points to his own Dogslicer "Yeah I know what you mean" wait did he just reply to a comment that was never verbally spoken? He drops the heavy crossbow and pulls out the sharp blade "Skewers dogs, yes, and horses, yes, and silly longshanks, and cats too, and skeletons, and, well, all of the enemies of Briney!"
While the two walk up to the hill together, Ulfgar quickly discovers that Briney takes up as much space as he is given in a conversation - even all of it - going so far as to anticipate his conversing partner's responses or reactions, and replying thoughtfully...
A tall, heavy set man with bronzed skin and a shaved head makes his way up the hill. He pulls a thick cloak around him to ward off the chill. A young woman, much shorter than him keeps trying to get him to put on a hat to Keep your ears warm you big buffoon!. He objects given it is bright green in colour with a large yellow bobble. The two bicker incessantly as they approach the lodge and nearly stumble over Ulfgar.
Oof, sorry about that sir, didnt see you there he mutters as he fends off the young woman once again.
A half-orc dressed in a thick wool tunic, hide pants and furred boots greets you. He motions you into the lodge with a simple grunt. A small gnome named Lirall nods. “He wants you to come inside. Come on. Come on, Mahki!” A black and white furred dog follows and leads you all to a calming fireplace.
The Half-Orc Venture Captain sits down in a large wooden chair and waits for everyone to sit by.
Venture-Captain Bjersig Torrsen sits upright in his chair, waiting until he is certain he has the attention of everyone in attendance. “Thank you all for coming.” he signs, his words interpreted as necessary through Lirall, the gnome sitting beside him. “I expect your travel to Iceferry was safe, if a bit cold. I am very excited to have you all here for the upcoming event. I expect that you will find it an excellent test of your capabilities, and not one many Pathfinders will be able to boast of.”
Bjersig draws a small bundle of scrolls and a journal from his bag and lays them on the table, allowing the contents to unfurl and spread across the tabletop. “This handful of documents is all the information the Society has collected on the Balgirdtrek up to this point. I doubt it’s something you’ve heard of unless you’re from the area. It is an overland race some 200 miles long, from Frostgarten in Icemark to Kalsgard, just over the river. It is performed each year, honoring the deeds of Balgird Bluetongue when he slew a tarn linnorm centuries ago, but this year’s race promises to be quite unique.”
Briney seems to have found the perfect conversational partner. Ulfgar doesn't speak, at all, leaving the goblin plenty of space to talk. Only the occasional quirk of an eyebrow, indiscriminate grunt or eloquent expectoration suggests that he might even be listening as they make their way along.
As the tall guy bumps into him and apologizes, the dwarf just gives a forlorn shake of his head as though that act of inattentiveness is a commentary on the state of the entire world.
When they get inside, he takes a seat on a human sized chair, actually gaining an inch in height when he does so. But as soon as the maps and scrolls come out, he's on his feet again, looking at them closely.
He whistles appreciatively when the length of the race is mentioned then raises both eyebrows at Bjersig's cliffhanger.
"Looks like your Dwarven friend here enjoys a story!" Bjersig laughs. "The Varki are competing for the first time this year."
“They have been the source of quite the commotion among the Ulfen lately, largely in positive ways. Their ranger, Nankou, slew a linnorm some time ago and has been officially recognized as a linnorm king. A new linnorm king is always newsworthy, but a Varki linnorm king is unprecedented. In recognition of Nankou and his diplomatic efforts between the Ulfen and Varki peoples, the officials have decided that the Balgirdtrek will be held in reverse this year. The Varki have always bristled a bit at some of the ideas inherent in the Balgirdtrek. Ulfen have often discussed it as a race from the ‘savage wilderness’ back into the arms of civilization, not something that has promoted constructive relationships between the two. It’s good that the officials seem to have broadened their horizons.”
“What’s more, Nankou has hand-picked a group of Varki to compete. The Ulfen participants are excited to see what they bring to the competition. If you haven’t guessed by now, you all are the second new team. I’ve managed to secure your entry with the approval of the race officials. You can thank me later.” Bjersig smiles broadly.
"---so then it turned out that a Halfling Dood was responsible, and so Oggie and I we had to---" just as the goblin was telling Ulfgar the story about Ogren and the Lions as they walk together into the hall, Briney spots Mahki and instinctively draws his Dogslicer!
It takes him a moment of swiveling the little neck supporting his big head looking between Bjersig and Lirall - perhaps 1d6 ⇒ 2 full back-and-forths - to realize how the communication is being mete. But then he mostly figures it out.
Stowing his blade, he hops onto the table and walks towards the bundle, eyeballing it suspiciously "That's Odd" he thinks to himself, then turns to address Bjersig, opens his mouth, stops, turns towards Lirall, and says "Briney the Younger" then turns towards Bjersig once more and approaches him to shake his hand, walking right over the map of the 200 mile race to do so.
After the first exposition
"Let Briney deduce: This is the journal of a silly longshanks who has discovered all the shortcuts winning year after year..." indicating the bound book near the scrolls now unfurled across the table "...but he's gone missing and you need Briney to find him!" he whirls on the rest of the party now as if expecting them to stand in awe of his predictive genius, while Pursing a Lead on the journal to as to begin at once.
Hopping down off the table, he grabs an overly-large magnifying glass, and begins looking for footprints on the ground, important clues in the fireplace, or secret messages carved into the underside of the table itself...
After the second exposition
"...Ah that's what I was going to say - this isn't a 'missing person' at all!" he backpeddles here to retrofit his first theory into a developing second: "Just in case someone were to go missing, Briney will enter this race alongside the other racers, of course!"
"Briney thank you now!" hopping back on the table, he rushes over to shake Bjersig's hand, then looks towards Lirall and asks "Can Briney take the journal for keeping-safe?" still assuming all the shortcuts - per his first theory - are contained therein!
A dark-haired and olive-skinned Garundi male shifts his stance in the back of the room. Maybe he just arrived or he's been there the whole time. Judging by the scratches on his arms and legs, the dromaeosaur camped out in the yard is probably his. The man wears studded leather armor and carries a rune carved sword and light mace. For some reason you recall his name is Azu, but you're not sure why you know that.
Braegor steps up to the table and begins scanning the maps and journals. He scowls in concentration but doesn't seem to make much headway with them. With an exasperated sigh he turns and asks, What other teams will be taking part, what's the competition like?.
Mara wriggles under Braegors arm to get a good look at the table. Ooh, a race, how exciting and into the untamed wilderness at that. These maps show all sorts of exciting opportunities. Think how trade could flow so easily here, here and here she says, excitedly pointing to various places. She pauses and becomes more serious. Now Braegor, you have to make sure you dont get lost. Remember when you wandered off into that dig site when you were twelve and fell down the old well. You were stuck down there for hours and mother thought you had been eaten by lions. Make sure you take your wayfinder, you are always forgetting where you put it!
Before the meeting starts there's a constant sound of something skittering around on the roof of the building followed by a muffled "EHEehehehehehe~". The sound always ends with a loud *POOF* asid something just buried itself into the snow outside. This repeats a good 5 times before a middling, for a goblin, height goblin tramps into he room, dripping snow and snow melt. He takes a long moment to shake off all the snow he can from his freshly shined full plate padded in fur as a concession to the cold outside. He removes his helm and dumps four good handfuls of snow out of it as well.
He then moves into the room, giving everyone in it a smile that almost beats out the plate for luminescence. He gives a wave and then trudges over to a place near the fire and digs through his bag he apparently had the foresight to not take off the roof and digs around finally pulling out a clearly self bound book titled Wise Monks on Mountains with Monkeys and the Monkey are Flying and Cute and on Fire and Teaching Little Goblins How to Fly! A Journal. Flipping to a blank page he starts to write...
When Venture-Captain Torrsen appears and takes a seat, the goblin's snaps his
journal holy book closed and approaches, give a whip snap salute and announcing in a loud almost dwarvish military voice, "Ogren Bound, adopted son of the the Deepwall Clan, 'prod-a-gull' son of the Crookedtoes Tribe reporting for duty, Sir!" He then takes a seat positively bouncing with excitement.
After the first exposition
Ogren pauses a moment as he takes in the rest of the group, and his eyes widen as he takes in a smaller goblin and his relatively massive crossbow. " BRINEY!" Ogren the bounds over to the other goblin and tackles him in a hug as he starts looking for clues. "It's been, what? Months? since we last met! How have you been? What have you been tracking? Have you gone flying recently? I just got to jump off the roof here! Snow makes landing easy!" Ogren then gives the investigator a blinding smile.
After the second
Ogren pauses for a moment before raising a hand and waving it like a small child in class really wanting the teacher to call on him. If he gets the go ahead, he asks, "Soo this 'Naan Co.' is a Var- var... Varsity company making Vudran bread? And killed a Lin... Lin... Linoleum? Wow! That's amazing!"
"Sooooooo, why shouldn't we let the Company win? Is there some prize that we want? But it'll be fun to race! I wonder if someone there can make me fly?"
"You'll be outside for several days, usually no more than four. The race consists of physical feats, being in touch with nature, and building a friendly reputation with your opponents. I do know you'll have to cross a freezing river at some point, but the other events change each year." Bjersig looks at Braegor.
A picture of the Venture-Captain is on Slide 3.
He stands and places a sealed envelope and a small purse on the table. “There you’ll find your entry letter accompanied by my letter of introduction for you. The purse contains a few coins to help you purchase some gear. Once the race is over, you’ll also be compensated by the Society for your efforts. Expect a hefty bonus if you actually manage to win! There is a sleigh carrying the other teams to the starting area. It will stop here in Iceferry to pick you up in an hour, don’t be late. To be allowed to compete is a great honor, so please remember that you represent the best qualities of the Pathfinder Society at all times. Take notes, learn whatever you can from the other teams. The Balgirdtrek is supposed to be a friendly competition after all. If you have any questions, make them quick, otherwise good luck to you all. I don’t expect you to win, but I hope you’ll at least make a good show of it.”
You can make a Society or Ulfen Lore check to learn more about the Balgirdtrek and its history.
Everyone gets 1 Hero Point.
If you have the Legacy of the Gorget boon from Pathfinder Society Quest #3: Grehunde’s Gorget, it has a special benefit in this scenario.
You can slot your boons now.
The Elf watches in silent horror as things unfold in the Lodge, focused mostly on the presence of two goblins in their team, and then a bit less so of the possibly mute Dwarf. I best get over there before they sink this ship while its still in port...
A slender Elf with an eternal scowl gets up from his seat near the fire and approaches the table, turning his scowl into a smile of greeting. "Greetings fellow Pathfinders, I am Mr Peppers.. Junior." He adds with a slight bit of distaste at the sir name.
"Sounds like we've got a great opportunity ahead of us here, to expand the good name of the Pathfinder Society to this frozen land of the Ulfen. Let's be on our best behavior yes?" He tries to recall what he knows of the Ulfen and Varki people, and of course in the race itself, calmly reaching down to collect the envelop and purse from the table.
Expert Society vs Ulfen: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (20) + 10 = 30
Expert Society vs Varki: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (3) + 10 = 13
Expert Society vs Balgirdtrek: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (1) + 10 = 11
"Oh, maps, excellent. Mind if we take these with us?" He inquires, facing the deaf man and enunciating his words fully.
Ulfgar eyes the ceiling the second time there is the thumping across the roof. That's not a squirrel. He scowls as the second goblin comes in and exuberantly greets the first. He rolls his eyes good naturedly and then focuses on the briefing.
He grunts when it is finished and stomps out of the building, heading for the nearest shop to buy some winter clothing. He really wishes he would have bought it before his last trip.
Well before the hour is up, he reappears at the lodge with his new, fur lined clothing on under his armor.
Buying a winter outfit.
To the uninitiated, an "unbreakable" goblin hug is a sight of pure unfiltered joy unto it's own.
Most creatures hug with a static motion: holding still to ground the embrace. The way Ogren and Briney hug uses that initial wrapping of arms as a launching off point, for the hug quickly becomes a coordinated series of jumps, bounces, and bounds, bashing into a wall here, knocking over a chair there, flying over a dwarf or dog yonder, laughing and jumping and almost losing grip but regaining it again multiple times - maybe grabbing an ear, a thumb, a helmet - tumbling and cackling and wrecking until at last, the hug reaches critical instability, breaking the clutch, and the whole thing comes crashing down. What seems a long 10d6 ⇒ (2, 5, 3, 2, 6, 3, 3, 2, 5, 1) = 32 seconds of spontaneous energy blossoms and dies within it's short-lived span.
And, as energy is conserved, it transmutes now into conversational energy "Briney happy to see Oggie - was telling Nice Dwarf about Catslicing" he picks himself up here "Knew you coming because Oggie strongest goblin, Briney smartest goblin, help Silly Longshanks with Race" he adds "Briney no fly" answering his question "But Briney now make Boom Booms!" he pulls out some vials containing alchemical fire bombs, and shows his goblin friend "Burn Burn! And this? Briney Surprise!" now sharing with him a couple acid flasks "And also this" he pulls out the 1d6 ⇒ 2 bottled lightnings he prepared earlier this day "Buzz Buzz!" sharing with him his entire collection, he clarifies his daily process "Boom Booms always Burn Burn and Briney Surprise, every day maybe Buzz Buzz different" explaining to him how he likes to keep fire and acid always prepared, but randomly selects a third bomb type from among his known formulas.
They chatter a little more, catching up on the months, before Briney walks over to the elf "Peppers... Junior" he must think the dramatic pause is part of his name "Briney always do best behavior" he assures the elf innocently "You familiar - met Briney before?" perhaps there is a vague or unconscious memory of when the elf walked by earlier - indeed the young goblin's brain often remembers things the goblin himself does not...
...he looks over at Azu Azan and says almost accidentally "Oh - didn't see you there" and running over now, introduces himself loudly and confidently...
Junior greets everyone with a smile and a handshake "Sounds like we have a lot of getting to know you ahead of us over the next four days." His attention is quickly distracted though.
Junior tries to look away as the two goblins embrace, but his insatiable cultural curiosity won't let him. I'm not sure if that's a consummation ritual, a highly developed greeting, or some sort of struggle for dominance.. maybe a combination of all three.
"I can't say we've met before Briney, but I'm glad to hear you're always on your best behavior." He pats the energetic creature on the head before taking an interest in all of the odd trappings that look like alchemical creations they created.
"So, are you an inventor of sorts? What's going on with that large crossbow there? Maybe you can fill me in on the way to the market?" His offer is two fold: he is definitely interested in all the oddities around the small goblin, as well as keeping Briney close at hand just in case a slight correction in judgement is in order.
As far as shopping is concerned, I guess I'll need to know what we are expected to supply of our own. I have the winter clothing, and I do have the normal camping gear, as well as a pup tent.
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Briney gladly demonstrates.
"Oh Gun Gun?" he draws his Alchemical Crossbow "Briney show you: easy 1, 2, 3"
Hefting it onto his shoulder, he takes aim at the fire place "First Briney think about who he shoot at" closing one eye and sticking his tongue out to draw a bead.
◆) Devise a Stratagem @ 1d20 ⇒ 14
"Then Briney put in Boom Boom" he loads a worn alchemist's fire into the large mechanical bracket, twists a valve that locks it in with a rubber seal, and pushes a lever which sends a thin pointed mallet perforating through the cork in the vial, causing it's volatile contents to dribble into a clear reservoir chamber "Briney show you Burn Burn"
◆) Interact to Load Bomb
"Now Briney hit fire with more fire!" he tilts his oversized head back sideways to align his eyeball with the line of sight, and nearly falling backwards as he does so, rights himself just long enough to depress the heavy trigger using two small fingers.
◆) Strike w/ 30-ft Range Increment @ (14) + 9 = 23 @ 1d8 + 1d6 + 1d6 ⇒ (8) + (1) + (4) = 13
Briney's aim is true, and the flame-catalyzing bolt strikes the burning log in the fireplace with a combustive blast (8 piercing precision, 1 precision, 4 fire), spurning the fire to roar with renewed vigor, and spooking Mahki at the sudden explosion!
The force of the recoil knocking the small goblin over, he stands again, and pointing the crossbow at the elf, asks "You try? Fuel enough for a couple more Shoots!"
The Two Houses team won last year. The two couples crossed the finish line in the early hours of the third day, slept at a local inn, had breakfast later that morning, and walked back to the finish line before notifying officials that they had crossed. One person from each couple is related to the Grehunde family.
Two Houses "barely" beat the second place team, the Wyrding Wayfinders. Ulfen athletic hero Faergim Axebringer crossed the finish line on skis carrying Thosse under her arm and towing the skald and Rikkun in a sled behind her.
You get a +2 circumstance bonus when interacting with these teams.
Mahki yelps as the logs explode in a more fiery burst than before. Everyone in the lodge pauses to turn back at Briney.
Except for Ulfgar, who has already left and is busy haggling with a very lazy shopkeep.
"Briney, please exercise crossbow safety while indoors." Bjersig signs. "I did like the warmth, though. Er, any more questions for me?"
He walks over to the purse on the table, snatches it, and promptly gives it to Mara "You responsible one" he declares.
Then walks over to the fire, pours out the remaining two "shots" by untwisting a screw with his pinkynail to open the slightest crack in the reservoir chamber, draining it of it's reddish color until it is empty and clear again, once more causing the fire to choke on the added fuel "Briney always exorcise safety" he says to Bjersig, all the while cutting his eyes at Mahki a little, ever wary.
Society (Trained) +9 to Recall about Balgirdtrek and its history
Mara grabs up the purse and gives Briney a big hug. You two are soooooo adorable!. I will make sure we have everything we need. If I left it to Braegor he'd probably trek out into the snowy wilderness in only his breeks. Really he is just so forgetful! Remember when you turned up to the tournament in Niswan but forgot your Gi and you had to wear fathers but it was like three sizes too big and the pants fell down when you were getting beat up by that big bloke from Nex!
With that Mara skips out into town and heads off to buy any supplies anyone needs.
So thats winter clothing, ski's, snowshoes, tents etc for anyone who dosnt have them.
Braegor simply drops his head into his hands and groans.
This is going to be a long trip
As Mara heads out he looks up and sighs, What are the rules of the race, what sort of things can we expect?
Junior watches Briney work the crossbow and nods, clearly impressed "Impressive. Maybe I'll try it sometime.. but outside instead."
"Oh, I've heard of this race before today, and actually know that two of the teams competing were first and second place last year. The Two Houses team won last year. The two couples crossed the finish line in the early hours of the third day, slept at a local inn, had breakfast later that morning, and walked back to the finish line before notifying officials that they had crossed. One person from each couple is related to the Grehunde family."
He comments before adding " Two Houses "barely" beat the second place team, the Wyrding Wayfinders. Ulfen athletic hero Faergim Axebringer crossed the finish line on skis carrying Thosse under her arm and towing the skald and Rikkun in a sled behind her."
When it comes to a name I'm not good at that, but Junior would prefer something not overly flashy or disrespectful, he's hoping to mostly blend into the race to study it.
"The trials vary from year to year, but there are some favorites that return frequently. Besides Whitegold River crossing, the trials will test your strength, wits or will in some way related to the journey of Balgird. The only advice I can offer from what I know is that the officials are open to creative solutions so long as they do not put anyone in undue danger."
With your questions complete, the Venture-Captain wishes you all good luck. Then the waitstaff arrive to begin inspecting the fireplace...
Two bright, open-topped sleighs wait along the side of the street, adorned with ribbons and cedar boughs. The driver of the second sleigh hops down, waving the group over. He instructs the team to move to the rear of the cart and assists with boarding. Inside, two groups sit, anxious for the sleighs to get moving. At the far end of the cart, several Ulfen rangers and a cleric glower, sighing before mumbling to one another.
Junior Peppers recognizes the other team. Last year's winners, Two Houses. The two couples are busy chatting, not even acknowledging your presence. Peppers knows Leif is a descendent of Hlavard Grehunde.
Junior makes his way into the sleigh, seeing Leif he chooses a seat closer to the man "Leif, of House Grehunde?" The Elf interjects himself into the couple's conversation at the first chance to introduce himself.
"My name is Junior Peppers, some months back I had the privilege of assisting with a recovery mission involving your late relative Hlavard Grehunde." He recounts the mission with great detail, making sure to describe how it looked like the man's final, heroic battle played out.
"I must also congratulate you all on your victory last year, an amazing race time." He then goes ahead and introduces the rest of the Pathfinder team, as he tries to get to know the group.
"Who the- oh! It's the Pathfinder Peppers!" Leif gets up and gives Junior a backbreaking hug. "Come on, come on sit down!" He turns to his friends. "Oluf, move over, you're always hogging the bench like you hog the bed!" Oluf rolls his eyes and slides over to make room.
"This is the love of my life Oluf. Across from the bench are my second best friends (sorry,) Steen and Unn. Steen's good at breaking locks with things besides his head, and Unn runs the local apothecary when she's not bandaging his head!" He slaps his knee as Steen groans.
"So, these are yer Pathfinder buddies, eh? What are you doing here? This year will be race number 6, and... oh wait. You're the surprise team?"
"Seems like we are." He squeaks under the duress of a strong hug. "I'm really hoping to hear some of the great history involved in the race and its racers. Maybe when you've got some time you could fill us in on some?" He reaches out for a handshake to the other three team members and then pulls out a journal and pen, if it seems ok.
"Sounds like you four are masters at this thing by now, how about Faergim Axebringer, are they competing again this year?"
Mara's story about Braegor's Gi malfunction has the young goblin in stitches, as he giggles uncontrollably for several moments, but he finally recomposes himself. Soon enough, Mara is handing everyone Winter Clothing, and when the monk attempts to put on his jacket, Briney reprises the joke "Those trousers too big for you longshanks?" and once again he is writhing on the floor in a fit of laughter.
When the coach arrives, the small goblin - who is small, even for a goblin - plunks himself down between the two closest Ulfen, and introduces himself. "Briney the Younger" he says sticking out his hand and grabbing the closest one by the thumb, and shaking "Peppers... Junior here says you win last year. Tell Briney everything!"
Make an Impression (Diplomacy): 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (12) + 7 = 19
Mara clambers into the sled and wriggles in next to Unn. Its damn cold around here, come on, lets huddle up for warmth Wrapping herself in her furs she buries herself up to the top of her head. From inside her muffled voice calls out, Name's Mara, glad to meet you. We are joining the race too and I'm sure its going to be great. Have you competed before?
Diplomacy to Make an Impression: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (7) + 8 = 15
Mara's story about Braegor's Gi malfunction has the young goblin in stitches, as he giggles uncontrollably for several moments, but he finally recomposes himself.
Braegor simply glowers at the little goblin before jumping into the sled and slamming himself into a seat. Mara giggles at him and throws him a hat.
Azu commands his animal to his side as he exits the building. The ranger seems to ignore the parties banter as he adjusts his weapons and takes a seat in the sled near the front alongside his small raptor.
Ulfgar mounts the sled directly from his return trip from the store. He climbs in and sits at the back, crossing his arms over his chest and tucking his face down into his beard. The effect is that of just a nose sticking out and eyes peering out of a mass of red hair.
He doesn't join in the conversation or introductions but gives a brief nod to the other competitors. He shows no sign of it, but you get the distinct impression that he's paying close attention to everyone, especially the other teams.
Ogren bounces, tumbles and rumbles around the room with Briney excitable as ever. He actually does seem to squish and squeeze a bit more than would be healthy for most other humanoids, though.
He oogles and oohs over the various things Briney shows him, all things that are positively SURE to pull a goblin's interest. "OOOOHhhhh, can you show me a Boom Boom?"
He gives a happy series of claps over the explosion in the fire place and then pops up out of his seat. "Since last time we met, I learned how to move air!" With this he screws up his face, partially closing one eye and opening the other wide and with a shout of something that might be dwarven if you didn't think too hard about it, gives a big clap. The air rushing out of the clap quickly gains speed and force as it buffets into Briney and past him into the fire place, overpowering the fire some.
Assuming that Briney's player is okay with it (it could be considered hostile but doesn't do any damage) Ogren is going to cast Pushin Gust on him.
Later on, after having meditated some to regain his focus, Ogren springs out of the lodge and up to the sleds. He picks up a set of clothes and furs from Mara, adding them to his armor and then a set of snow shoes clearly intended for much larger feet and then waddles into the sled. He grins at everyone in it and extends a hand. "Ogren Bound! Nice to meet you!" Grinning madly, he listens to the various conversations going on around him before looking at Ulfgar and waving. "Sooooo Mr. Silent Dwarf! Where you from? What clan? I lived for a few years with Meemaw and Deepa in Kraggodan after my parents disappeared! I tried learning dwarven but everyone says my accent is TERRIBLE."
Unn smiles as the bundle of clothing murmurs in her direction. "Last year was our first victory, but we've been competing for the last five years. Lines up with our anniversary."
"Every year, the tasks change slightly. Sometimes we're climbing trees, sometimes we're moving through Caribou herds. We always cross the Whitegold River at the halfway point of the race, though. I hope you're ready for the rugged outdoors. Leif is the ranger of the group. He can be silent, when he chooses."
"BAH! I'm always quiet!" Leif breaks his conversation with Briney for a moment. "Faegrim Axebringer has never missed one of these races ever since she became the newest Chosen of Cayden Cailean. She's won a lot of them. This year some skald is following her and her two squires around, to record her journey. Hope she doesn't mind recounting another second place finish!" He laughs, then corrects himself. "Well, third place finish after you Pathfinders mop up!" He then goes back to discussing his hunting patterns with Briney, amazed about the size of his crossbow. "Remember it's not the size, it's how hard it hits the target!"
Oluf harumphs and stays closer to Ulfgar, where it's nice and quiet.
The sled comes to a halt, and Steen gets up first. "That's our queue. Come on." He turns to the Pathfinders. "Good luck, everyone." Leif, Unn and Oluf get up first.
The driver's voice is heard booming through the sky. ”The two pairs of lovebirds are at it again! Meet last year's champions: Two Houses!” The bystanders cheer and you can feel the warmth wash over.
Before you have a chance to react, the riders at the end of the sled stand up and move right past you. The driver helps them out of the sled. "Last year they came in third place, and they've been training ever since. They never give up and they are Without Trace or Fail! Give them a round of applause!" The crowd livens up and you already hear sidebets forming over how many officials they will rescue this year.
The driver turns to you and urges you forward. "And now, newcomers from around the world. The Pathfinder Society explores, cooperates and reports. But no fancy books are going to save them this time. They've got to hoof it to win it. May I introduce... the... err..." The driver's voice comes to a whisper. "What's your team name again? Pathfinder Pups?"
Ogren, sensing an opportunity, grabs Briney's hand and strive forward loudly proclaiming with his and Briney's fist raised, "We are the Patfinder's Finest Gobbos!" After a second he takes a look back and quickly adds "... And Others!"
Ulfgar just gives a nod to Ogren's question. Maybe that means he's from Kraggodan, maybe it means that he was also orphaned, maybe it means that he nodded off for a moment. In any case, it seems clear the goblin isn't going to get much Dwarven practice with this particular dwarf.
When they get to their destination, he gets on his feet and jumps down from the sleigh, clumping down into the snow.
He looks around at the crowd as the announcements are made, his eyes narrow and searching.
They go to Ogren as he pronounces their team name. There is a slight pause then he shrugs and nods, coming up to stand just behind the two goblins with his thumbs hooked in his belt.
"The Pathfinders is fine with me" Whispers Junior, not wanting to create a big boisterous show and take away from the history of the race.
He climbs out of the sleigh and into the snow, standing quietly in the snow next to Ulfar as he tries to mentally corral the two unruly goblins. Be on your best behaviors.. please, plenty of time to be crazy during the race and away from onlookers!
Fortitude vs Ogren's Gust (DC 16?): 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (9) + 7 = 16
Briney's little body flies right into the air, and if it weren't for his oversized crossbow anchoring him to the ground while he desperately grabs it but otherwise flips upside down, he would have simply blown away.
Laughing "Oggie make Briney fly!" he now understands what his friend was talking about earlier.
"You smart longshanks!" Briney tells Lief, listening to his hunting stories, and agreeing with him about size of his crossbow (though, probably misunderstanding the advice for praise) "Briney mop good" he points at Azu here "Him our ranger" then at Ulfgar "And him" adding "I didn't know rangers talk - you talk a lot!" as he continues to participate in a conversation with someone nearly as talkative as himself!
Hearing Ogren Bound's name suggestion, Briney nods. "Or, 'Finest Pathgoblin Friends'" he suggests.
Ogren looks over at Briney when he makes his own suggestion, nodding vigorously to the point his helmet almost falls off. "OHHHH, that's even better! Let's go with that! You really are super smart!"
Braegor jumps down from the sled and moves up behind the two goblins. He is about to say something when Ogren shouts out and then snaps his mouth shut and shakes his head.
This is going to be a long trip
"Finest Pathgoblin Friends!" The driver shouts. Some of the Ulfen stop clapping and glare. Some laugh. There are enough who politely clap. The driver escorts you to the stage while the others make it.
"Now give a round of applause for last year's second place! You know their leader, Faegrim Axebringer! Give a warm welcome to the Wyrding Wayfinders!" The crowd erupts with praise as Faegrim stands tall and quietly looks among the crowd, her squires dashing ahead to clear her path of obstructions.
The driver of the other sled climbs out. "Next up is Bluetongue's Brawlers. Hopefully they won't freeze this year. With the new groups, maybe they won't be last!" Four burly Ulfen climb out of the other sled, laughing just as hard as the crowd.
"Finally, let's give a warm Balgridtrek welcome to our racers from the Varki, hand selected by the newest Linnorm king! Say hello to the Fangs of the Remorhaz!" Three humans and a half-orc awkwardly climb out of the sled, blinded by the large crowd. The crowd falls back to polite applause and backs off, some wearing disgust.
The two drivers join hands and raise their voices in perfect sync. "Welcome to the Balgridtrek!" The crowds cheer on their favorite teams, mostly split between Two Houses and Wyrding Wayfinders.
Faegrim Axebringer's portrait and your team names are on Slide 1
Ulfgar takes the stage then crosses his arms again. He slowly scans the crowd, though it doesn't seem that he's looking for anything in particular.
The chill of the Ulfen's welcome for the Varki sparks a scowl on his face and a look of disgust at their disgust.
It seems he's more annoyed by that than by the laughter at his own team and name.
That's a name I can stomach at least. Junior gives a slight nod to the spectators as he tries to ignore the jeers. Sure looks like we, nor the Varki are welcome sights in the race.
"We're going to have to work to win over some of these people if we want to keep the Society involved locally." He whispers to the other team members.
"Oh, Briney, my clothes are big from all the cold weather gear underneath. I hope Mara got you a set, and you too Ogren." He checks up on the pair, knowing full well goblins can sometimes be.. forgetful, to be polite about it. The others of the group he's far less worried about, although he does take a glance to make sure they are properly geared.
Briney shares Ulfgar's disgust - but it arrives upon him more like a dull chest pain than seething anger.
He walks over to the dwarf and holds his hand "Briney not like mean crowd" he says to him, sniffling here, narrowly fighting back the urge to cry.
”Greetings, Pathfinders. I’m Dahlia, the host here.” The gray haired woman strides towards you. ”Every team racing in the Balgirdtrek gets a starter pack. Even if they don’t start the race.” She snaps her fingers as an elf runs up and offers you a bag.
You receive a race pack containing three minor healing potions, a single climbing kit, vouchers for lodging in Frostgarten, flint and steel, a signal whistle, and a list of supplies. She eyes each of you as you look through the bag and read the list.
”Here’s a list of equipment you might want to purchase. You should definitely make sure you have some of the winter clothes, tent and a hatchet. You’re going to be out there for 4 days. Every year one team gets buried in a snowstorm, or they wander from the checkpoints at night and need rescue, or they lose their supplies in the branches of a tree they can’t cut down. But I’m certain that won’t happen to newcomers like you, right?”
The list reads:
- winter clothes
- healer's kit
- 100 feet of hemp rope
- repair kit
”You have about 3 hours until the race begins. Feel free to buy supplies from the merchants here.” She pauses. ”Do you need a refresher on the rules, or can I deliver supplies to the other teams?”
You can spend 1 hour to make a secret Diplomacy check to Gather Information from the clients. You can either spoiler the skill check or provide me the bonus and I’ll roll for you.
Ulfgar holds the goblin's hand for a while but then becomes plainly uncomfortable. He extricates his appendage only to pat Briney awkwardly but earnestly on the back.
When Dahlia finishes speaking, he has no questions (surprise, surprise) and only nods to indicate she can continue on to the other racers.
Azu makes his way into town, purchasing the winter clothes. Azu also purchases a Dusty Prism aeon stone for his wayfinder. Finally, Azu gathers as many healing herbs as he can. Used fro Natural Medicine.
Mara heads into town to buy any of the equipment the group doesnt have with the money provided. As she moves through the crowds she chats with merchants, vintners and drovers, getting a feel for how trade flows through the region and what might be met on the route of the race.