|Zac Freelan 3|
Already sitting in the room, having arrived very early, is a kobold. He is currently sitting down sipping tea but rises when Zac walks in. He has a silver sheen to his scales, is wearing studded leather, a dagger on his waist and a hand crossbow on his hip. A staff leans nearby. He wears a large necklace that appears to be a silver dragon peering into a well or portal of some kind.
"Greetings! I am Eltis. Please, have some tea!"
A goblin in a faux, "dragon-like" onesie strides into the already-assembled Pathfinders and announces himself loudly.
Hey friends! I'm Arfsnarf! Hi Zac! You look serious, like the kind that reports back to gods when somebody doesn't say their prayers right!
He turns to the kobold. Hi there. Pretty sure I have a little dragon in my family too. That's how I become powerful magic user. The fortune telling is all training and talent though!
He proceeds to blow a kazoo and roll a large, stone die on the ground in between them.
Clacky rock: 1d20 ⇒ 20
His eyes light up at the result. Wow! Only half of us here but our fortune is looking great already! We must be loaded with talent. This mission be no problem at all!
Panarug the half-orc strides into the room, a immediate frown coming onto his face when he sees a kobold and goblin. Panarug is small in stature and slight in build. Dressed in the traditional Kellid tribal wear, yet a necklace carved in Sarenrae's symbol hangs around his neck. Strange smells of herbs hang around him, while a stoat of the blackest fur rest peacefully on his shoulder.
He takes a deep breath and sighs, muttering something about being open--minded and stuff. He introduces himself and his familiar in a deep rumbling voice, one you do not expect from such a small figure. "Greetings. My name is Panarug, of the A'thom tribe from the north." Gesturing to his stoat, he continues, "And this is Fharan." He then grunts and stays silent, trying and failing to hide his stares of suspicion at the two. Fharan, however, seems curious and climbs down drawing towards the stone die.
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.”
A coppery and green scaled kobold enters the room, not really in a rush even though he's clearly late. He holds a wooden shield on one arm and a stout cudgel tucked into his belt. He's hunched a bit, though you can tell that he's actually rather tall and lanky. He's dressed in simple leatherskins, but his eyes have a wild intensity.
He bows formally to Venture-Captain. "Pardon my tardiness, sir. The wilds kept my focus too long. But they rarely understand appointments. Rhaegal Dragonkin. It is good to see you again." He turns to the others, noting another kobold and then the goblin...dressed like a kobold? He gives a questioning look at the goblin, then simply nods in his direction.
Turning back to the VC, he asks, "Who competes in these races?"
“No Linnorms, but there are new competitors. The Varki 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, there are two new teams joining the race this year. First, Nankou has hand-picked a group of Varki to compete. This is the first time Varki have competed in the race and from what I’ve heard, 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.
An elf joins the conversation accompanied by his hawk companion. "Sounds interesting! A race honoring the feats of a legend. I'm getting fired up just listening to the details."
Ooooh. So if we win we becomes Linnorm Kings? But we neither Varki or Ulfen, so if that happen they in for serious shock.
Rhaegal is surprised that the Pathfinders have been entered. "Us? But why? We hold no ancestral claims in this land. We will be seen as outsiders, yes?" He shivers a bit at the cold, pulling a cloak closer to him. But then he releases it seemingly trying to simply endure the chill. A dragon does not fear the cold.
"You are correct, Rhaegal. Many diplomatic hours were shed in the creation of your entry. But I have assured them it will be worth it." Bjersig smiles. "The Ulfen know of our many efforts to aid the world over the years, and they know the more we learn of them the more we both stand to gain from them."
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.
society: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (14) + 3 = 17
Eltis looks at his new friends. "Anyone know what kind of race this is? A foot race? Wagons or sleds or some other kind of vehicle?" He looks to Rheagal, " I share your concerns as well. My knowledge of these people is very limited but I know they are proud and outsiders may not be welcome, no matter what upper level diplomacy occured. Plus, let us be honest, scales, different skin colors and long ears abound in this group to further differentiate us from the people who have traditionally run this race.."
Yes, Panarug has the Legacy of the Gorget boon.
Panarug snorts rather audibly upon hearing the customs of the Ulfen. While the Kellid tribes might live in somewhat similar environments, the idea of expending precious time and energy on a race is just wasteful. Of course, this just goes to prove that life in the Lands of the Linnorm Kings is nowhere as tough as the Realm of the Mammoth Lands. But he keeps these thoughts to himself. One thing the Pathfinder Society has thought him, and particularly the Envoy's Alliance, is that all cultures think the highest of themselves, no matter how contrary to evidence that is. Still...
Society: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (3) + 8 = 11
|Zac Freelan 3|
Nice. Mindartis also has Legacy of the Gorget boon and will slot it in along with his Horizon Hunter Champion boon.
"Yes, this is the first year for the Varki. I don't know too much about them- they tend to stay amongst themselves. The Varki themselves are nomadic and follow the caribou. They didn't follow or believe in the linnorms until caribou herds thinned and they had to begin trading with them."
"Any other questions, or do you want to prepare for the race?"
Hmph. "Friendly". We'll see. Goblins know how flexible definition of "friendly" is. Just you watch, they sabotage our camp or sled at first chance!
He looks around at the group, noting their attire.
Most important, it be cold up here! Everybody have warm winter clothes? I think it time to prepare for race...
"While I think your trust is... lacking, do be careful out there." With that, the Venture-Captain excuses himself and Mahki follows him, keeping a wide berth from the goblins.
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.
On the other side of the sled, you see an athletic older woman siting up straight and quietly answering another human's many pointed questions. Two halflings scamper about, checking her armor and equipment. Rhaegal recognizes the group immediately - this must be the Wyrding Wayfinders, and the woman must be Faegrim Axebringer.
Before they are dismissed, "Just how long is this race, is it a day, a week?"
He laughs at Arfsnarf, "Good point! that and some food for sure."
Will have to check my character sheet tonight. Will buy cold weather gear and some rations if I don't already have them.
Before they go, Rhaegal asks the Venture Captain if there's any information on the race itself. "What will we be expected to do? Or what is the course like?"
Rhaegal nudges one of the other Pathfinders. "I believe that is Faegrim Axebringer. I think she won last year, though she was drunk on the final day and had to be dragged across the finish line by her allies..." He glances at the others. "Perhaps we should approach and get to know those racing."
Arfsnarf, agreeing with Rhaegal remarks Yeah, we should go check out the competition. Maybe trick them into teaching us things about the race!
The goblin approaches Faegrim Axebringer, hoping to win some sympathy.
Hi there brave axe woman! Gots advice for lowly goblin out-of-place in cold North?
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (6) + 8 = 14
Faegrim looks down to Arfsnarf and opens her eyes. "Pause." The woman next to her stops writing and the halfings grow still.
"You must be the rumored newcomers. Welcome to the Balgirdtrek." Arfsnarf can smell the ale. "The most important part is to stay warm. The weather gets nasty out there. We're too used to city comforts." She leans back and Arfsnarf notices the symbol of Cayden Cailean on her belt. "Also, there are checkpoints along the way. You should rest there at nightfall. Getting caught during the cold night could spell doom for all of you. And we wouldn't want that." She grins. You hear a chuckle from the people at the end of the cart. One of the halflings pauses and shudders.
"Rikkun here decided to go hunting one night, because he was bored. I took a half day detour to rescue him. Thosse fell in a river along the way. I had to drag them both across the line. Fun stuff. Had a big keg of ale waiting for me, though!" She smiles and extends her hand. "Good luck to you."
Eltis smiles, "Thank you for the information. We were just informed about our participation and are mostly ignorant about the race. Your wisdom will help us for sure. I wish you luck as well. While I feel our team can finish, I doubt we shall win racing against veterans."
"We would need shelter as well. Tents. We have to procure those ourselves?" Panarug grunts.
Faegrim nods. "Oh yes, you'll have to buy some equipment. Our starting point has the shops you'll need for the race. Don't want to freeze out there."
The sleds come to a stop. 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 second 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.
Faegrim stands up. "Good luck to you all." The halflings follow her and the scribe begins scribbling. "Now give a round of applause for last year's winners! 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 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? Tooth-Chatter Society?"
Before they exit the sled, Arfsnarf blurts out a sudden idea just loud enough for the team to confirm. Team Bigby's Fleeting Foot!
He looks around at each of them. Eh? Eh?
"Team Bigby's Fleeting Foot!" 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.
The other sled arrives and the driver begins introducing the teams.”The two pairs of lovebirds are at it again! Meet Two Houses!” The bystanders cheer as two pairs of Ulfen hold hands and help each other out of the sled before giving each other a high five and getting into position.
"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 focusing on the Wyrding Wayfinders.
Faegrim's picture as well as the team names are on Slide 1.
Yeah! See, those four burly guys think our name is funny!
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The half-orc rolls his eyes so hard that he almost feels his eyeballs being wrenched from his skulls, but other than a grunt, doesn't say a word.
”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.
I'm assuming that list is per person?
"Yes, a refresher on the rules would be helpful. I'm told this is a friendly competition, yes?" Rhaegal read through the list and mutters something about bringing civilization to the land, but he finally decides that the guidelines might be helpful for the race rather than just living in the wild.
After purchasing supplies, Rhaegal will try to Gather Info from the clients. Diplomacy +5
Eltis Diplomacy1d20 + 5 ⇒ (7) + 5 = 12
Rhegal Diplomacy1d20 + 5 ⇒ (13) + 5 = 18
Rhaegal gains a +1 circumstance bonus to checks made for overland travel between Kalsgard and the first checkpoint.
"Definitely friendly." Dahlia slowly scans the crowd. "No attacking the other parties, trash talking is allowed. And no meddling with team equipment or the events."
"You're going to make an overland trek to each checkpoint. You won't see civilization again until the end of the race, so take it in now." She grins. "Each checkpoint has some kind of obstacle to overcome. I'll tell you what they are when you get there, so don't worry about that."
"The winning team not only gets there the fastest but also completes the tasks successfully. Two Houses technically crossed the finish line first a few years ago, but Faegrim's squires did really well on the river crossing, earning them the victory. So don't feel terrible if you fall behind."
Arfsnarf purchases winter clothing and a pup tent after perusing the list.
He has 50' of rope, and if enough others have it we should easy have 150'-200' between group members. He's trained in neither medicine nor crafting so healers tools and repair kit do him no good. I'll assume others trained in these have the kits.
FTR his school item is a minor healing potion too. We can't have enough of them.
The goblin then makes the rounds, chatting up other teams in his usually, not-self-aware but charming way.
SeCrEt: Gather information (Diplomacy) +7
Arfsnarf gains a +1 circumstance bonus to checks made for overland travel between Arfsnarf and the first checkpoint.
Panarug purchases a pup tent from the merchant, but otherwise, he spends the rest of the time packing his gear properly. He is self-aware enough to know he is not the best person to go hob-nobbing around (Diplo -1) and does not attempt to do so.
After chatting with other entrants, Arfsnarf compares notes with Rhaegal and seems to have obtained some of the same notes about the geography of the initial stretch of the trek.
As you travel among the merchants and purchase equipment, you notice Faegrim leading the Wryding Wayfinders through the market. She's also dealing with the many fans who beg for her autograph. Her squires have to work overtime to form a perimeter to give her breathing room. The human woman following her is squeezed out of the crowd, sighs, and approaches you all.
"Team Bigby's Fleeting Foot, is it? I was so busy writing down Faegrim's stories I didn't get a chance to properly introduce myself. I'm Sassa, a scribe working for Golarion's Finest, a newspaper that reports information across the world." She scans your equipment. "Some of your tastes in winter clothing are... fascinating." She grins slyly. "I admire your bravery."
You notice some of the officials are already sledding out of town, en route to the first check point. Others are returning to the town square to officially begin the race.
Arfsnarf notices officials heading out early and, with Sassa present, observes Huh. Those officials have to be everywhere before us? Technically that mean they always win the trek! At the very least it mean they clear the way of extreme danger for us? Nice!
Eltis purchases winther clothing and a tent, unless larger group tents are being purchased.
As they are regrouping at one point, "One of the merchants told me a team of lycanthropes tried one year but apparently the moon phase got to them. The biggest concern for his story seemed to be light for the dark nights though..."
As the human approaches, "Greetings. We are purchasing clothing and equipment now. One might say we were unprepared for this venture. Have you covered this race before? Any advice for a group who just found out they were competing a few hours ago?"
"My honest opinion?" She leans forward a bit. "Be wary of sabotage. I wouldn't be surprised if some of the teams get a little too anxious about securing the victory. Or preventing outsiders from ruining the event." You can hear the eyes tumble in the back of her head as she says that word.