Golaripalooza [1e, Rotating GMs]

Game Master dien


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(Open for dotting)

Shadow Lodge

Dippity dot


Plaguestone Map | Gallows of Madness Combat Map

Saringallow! The city where the power of devil-worshipping nobles was tried and tested-- and found lacking. Even today, the name of Sarini is a curse word on the lips of the inhabitants. Despite its location in Isger, Saringallow townsfolk have a strong antipathy towards diablerie, and the town stands therefore as something of a refuge of anti-Chelish sentiment. Her people are fiercely independent, and don't look to help from 'outsiders' if they can avoid it-- where 'outsiders' means anyone from outside the town's famous wall, including even their own national government. As far as Saringallowers are concerned, they helped themselves through the Goblinblood Wars just fine, and officials from Elidir, the capital, often receive a very cool welcome (especially if they're there to collect taxes).

Despite the Saringallow reputation as a firmly self-sufficient place, however, a call has gone out for aid. Traveling mostly by word of mouth, the news has spread that the Lady Mayor of Saringallow is looking for mercenaries to assist with unspecified trouble. This isn't so unusual, as many local authorities of Isger often recruit sellswords to help them fight off the bandits that are a constant plague once you're off the major trade routes...

..but of course, Saringallow IS on a major trade route. Curious, indeed.

Whether a local or an outsider, whether for the promise of coin or curiosity, altruism or boredom-- you've answered the Mayor's call, and now stand with a motley group of others in the foyer before the Mayor's office, waiting to be invited in. You eye the others present, wondering at their stories, wondering in turn what they see when they see you....

Let's do this! Character introductions/descriptions, go.


Female Human Paladin | Alignment: LG | AC: 20 ; FF 20, T 10 | HP 26/28 | Fort+7 Reflex+3 Will+7 (+1 vs evil outsiders' spells/etc) | Init +0 | Per +0 | Active Buffs: -| Conditions: -

Glancing at the others gathered here, Emma Blackford takes a breath and hopes that her nervousness isn't too obvious. This is, after all, her first real adventure outside of Piren's Bluff. Her first chance to prove her worth, to see if she has what it takes to be a true adventurer and help others. When the call for aid went out, Emma was eager to help.

"Hello," she nods to the others with a friendly smile. She has no idea what the others might make of her. She doesn't exactly cut an imposing build, standing there in her scalemail - she'd given it a good cleaning the night before, in the hopes of looking like a proper adventurer should. Sometimes the knights and paladins at Piren's Bluff would roll their eyes at her attempts to emulate how her mother had been. Emma knows she pales in comparison to the kind of Paladin her mother had been - a righteous figure, with long flowing hair and an even, tempered voice. Emma's hair is kept short, for she doesn't have the patience to maintain it and keep up her fighting prowess. She lacks the fancier equipment of her mother, equipped with only scalemail, a shield, and a longsword. How simple must I seem to these others here? I must look no fancier than a common foot soldier. They may not even realize I'm here to answer the call! Oh Iomedae... Emma brushes her mousy brown hair out of her eyes and clears her throat, glancing around at the gathered group, struck again by nervousness. To think she'd actually practiced giving a speech to a combat dummy - that was information that was decidedly going to stay private until the end of her days. Focus, Emma! "I'm glad to see others here as well. I'm Emma Blackford, a Paladin of Iomedae. I'm eager to work with you on whatever tasks may lie ahead."

Was that too formal? she wonders to herself. Too much information? Not enough? Iomedae, give me strength. If only my mother had lived long enough for me to ask her these kinds of questions.


Init: +8 | Per: +7 LL | AC 16 T 12 FF 14 | HP: 32/36| F +5 R +6 W +5 | Active Buffs: | Conditions:

"Why, do my ole eyes deceive me or do we have a right Goddess on the team, mates?" Roger strides in a fashionably late, just in time to hear Emma's introduction. A mug sloshes in his hands, conspicuously carrying pointy hat'd sigil of the Witch's End. After a quick sip, he continues. "Longsword and shield, and those fearsome eyes, why they could use ya when they're makin' statues of the Valorous Lady."

"Lemme tell ya what, they'd do a sight fair better with ye than who they were using down in Garund." He shakes his head and wipes his beard.

He himself doesn't seem equipped for adventure, beyond the outlandish nautical garb. The only thing he seems armed with is a parrot. Albeit, a stuffed parrot, but it does have a nasty glint in it's eyes that one'd better watch out for.


Talon AC:16 (FF:13/T:13) CMD: 16 HP: 12/12 Saves-FO:+3 RE:+5 WL:+1, Ranger1 M Half-Elf, Defenses: +2 vs Enchantment, immune: magic sleep, Senses: Percep +10, Low Light Vision

Leaning his back against the wall, with his arms crossed casually across his studded leather vest, the half-elf gives an amused smile and nods at Roger and then aims a welcoming one at Emma as well. "Haven't spent much time in Garund myself, but I'm sure that the skills of a paladin of honored Iomedae will be welcome for this group...whatever the task."

The ranger pauses, and then adds, "I'm known as Talon."


Male Human Cleric (Asmodean Advocate) | AL: LN | Init: +3 | Per: +11 | AC 17, T 11, FF 15 | HP: 10/18 | F +6, R +1, W +6 | Active Buffs: None | Conditions: None

Portrait

One of the other visitors sticks out mainly due to the color of his dress. Though his pentagram and familiar are beneath his traveling cloak, the red and black of his clothing identify him as a member of Asmodean Clergy. His black eyes and blacker oiled hair evoke the stereotypical image of a diabolist, but he is also clearly not of pure Chellish descent, as he is not quite as pale as those of pure blood. He glides into the room regally, despite his clinking mail. Though he is clad in armor and bears a morningstar and a hellknight sigil on his shield, he doesn't have the menace of a fearsome killer. He’s clearly not an inquisitor come to bring down the Archfiend’s rule, only a priest. He has a perpetual smirk that isn’t quite taunting, but could easily be interpreted as such.

He appears much less nervous than he should in a town with a reputation like Saringallow’s. A man of the Devil’s Church was clearly an annoyance here at the very least. But part of him enjoyed being annoying. He was as excited as everyone else, but he’d had to suppress the feeling. It’d be unbecoming of him if we were to ever become a Hell Knight.

He gives an unimpressed glance to Talon, a look of disgust at Roger’s excess, and an appraising look over Emma. ”Sirio Regilianus.” He announces by way of introduction.

Sirio continues, ”Don’t worry friends, this is not an inquisition, there’d be far more brimstone involved. We’ve merely heard the town had a spot of trouble and came out to be of service.”

He turns and says smoothly to the Paladin, ”Ms. Blackford, it is always a pleasure to work with a servant of The Inheritor. There are so few who understand discipline as She.”

He addresses the half-elf, ignoring the... privateer, ”I’m sure you’re very good at what you do, Mr. Talon.”


Female Human Bard (archaeologist) 3 | AL: NG | Init: +3 | Per: +7 | AC 18, T 13, FF 15 | HP: 17/27 | F +3, R +6, W +3 | Luck 1/6 | 1st level spells 0/4 | Conditions: -3 Str

Eyeing up the rest of the group, Hannelia patiently waits for them to introduce themselves before rising from her seat. Flicking a loose strand of hair behind her ear, she nods in greeting at Talon, recognising the half-elf from around town. She doesn't know him but does at least know of the ranger. The rest of the group are all unknown to her.

One cocksure, one in control, one full of doubt, she muses, taking in the stranger's greetings and interactions. And if I were a betting woman - which fortunately I'm not - I'd wager that at least half of of us are here because we're all dealing with personal trauma one way or another. Quite the collection we must be. The ghost of a smile passes her lips.

Hannelia Venator, she says, simply, offering a handclasp to each of them in turn starting with the armoured girl. So does anyone have the inside track on what we're here for? Trouble for sure, that much we know, but personally I'd prefer to know a little bit more.


Talon AC:16 (FF:13/T:13) CMD: 16 HP: 12/12 Saves-FO:+3 RE:+5 WL:+1, Ranger1 M Half-Elf, Defenses: +2 vs Enchantment, immune: magic sleep, Senses: Percep +10, Low Light Vision

"But that's usually the way it goes, eh, Mistress Venalor? Though from what I've heard, you're usually the one to know what's what." The half elf grins as he takes Hannelia's arm in greeting.

To Sirio, Talon says,"Decent enough to garner an invitation, sir."


Init: +8 | Per: +7 LL | AC 16 T 12 FF 14 | HP: 32/36| F +5 R +6 W +5 | Active Buffs: | Conditions:

"As pleasant as a warm sun and cool breeze to meet ya, Hanna! Roger's the name." Roger wipes his hand good and proper off on his coat before taking the fair lady's hand.

"Well, imagine it's some sort of rollicking adventure or he wouldn't put out the call to us-folk, nor hide it way canny-secret." Roger muses thoughtful for a moment before taking another drink. "If t'was some simple endeavor, they'd not be calling on the great likes of the Hellknights and Iomedeans." He gestures towards Sirio and Emma.

"Not to mention good ole Oakheart here, not a finer man of the wilds to be found in Saringallow. If he's on the job, we'd best be sure our tallboots are well shook for the hiking to come." Roger tapped one of his heels to the floor for effect.


Human (Chelaxian) Male Haunt Collector (Occultist) 3 | HP 19/27 | AC 20 Touch 11 Flat 19 CMB +6 CMD 18 | Fort +5 Ref +3 Will +4 (-1 vs fear) | Speed 10 ft | Init +2; Per +6, SM +4 | Focus (Abjuration 2/4, Transmutation 3/4) | Spells (Lv1 2/4) | Active: Lead Blades, Legacy Weapon, Slow

Observing the round of introductions is a man in a rust-red, rigid-looking leather coat with straps running up and down. Like Emma and Talon, he wears a longsword at his side, and also like Emma a heavy steel shield. There are chips of paint on the shield, but it is old, most of the paint having faded away (either with time or effort). His hair is a shade nearly between Sirio's and Emma's: dark brown, but not yet black, and slightly disheveled at that. His jaw juts out prominently, set and strong. His face isn't necessarily set in a scowl, but his resting expression certainly isn't cheerful.

He watches the others, but his gaze is set primarily on the Asmodean. His brown eyes flick to the others as they speak, but revert back in any moment of silence.
"Constantine," he adds. His voice is light, and his manner of speech precise: the plosives have just enough touch and air to pierce without any punching over-articulation.

Constantine considers what, if anything, to add. His lip and cheek twitch slightly, and his gaze wanders for a moment. "Could be ghosts. Could be goblins. Could be gremlins, ghouls, or gargoyles. Pray not gallows. Guard your goings, gallant guests." A faint smile crosses his face.


Plaguestone Map | Gallows of Madness Combat Map

No sooner has Constantine's alliteration been voiced then the door to the office beyond opens. A human woman in her probable 40s, wearing fine, dark clothing, stands there, her serious gray eyes raking over the six people who've answered the call.

She takes in the Asmodean's obvious iconography with a slight thinning of her lips-- and the other two outsiders with a neutral nod of greeting. For those from Saringallow, there's a longer pause, and the woman nods as if placing each of you against some mental registry of notable townsfolk. Talon and Hannelia each get a fractional nod of recognition....... Roger gets a fractional sigh.

But fractions aside, the woman smiles politely after a few second, and steps back from the door that leads to her office. "Good day to you all. Won't you come in? I am Lady Mayor Sandra Trinelli, elected by the will of the good people of Saringallow to lead, as best I can. Thank you all for coming-- some of you from further away than others, by the looks of you. Please, come inside my office."

The mayor stands at the door, giving each of you a moment's bow or courteous handshake as you pass inside, and finally closing the door after you're all inside. The office's plush red carpet and oak furniture upholstered with velvet lend this room an air of comfort, but it’s also clearly a place of official business, with several layers of administrative papers, staff memos, maps, and charts covering the wide surface of the solid desk in the center. With the door shut, the mayor walks back to her side of the desk, settling in the chair with a small sigh.

"My clerks collected your names already, but you'll pardon me that I won't take the time for individual introductions. Business always presses-- both the ordinary, daily, official business of Saringallow, and also, the sort of trouble that is best solved outside of official channels. As I imagine you can deduce, it's the latter that concerns us today.

"Perhaps some of you, our locals-- I see three of you, thank you for responding to the trouble within our community-- have heard something about missing apprentices. Perhaps you haven't. Either way, and for the benefit of those new to our city-- six young people have all recently failed to show up at the trades where they are apprenticed. An apprentice choosing to ditch their tasks for a few days isn't cause for alarm; six of them doing so in short succession, however, seems... unusual. And by this point it has been weeks, not days. Even if they'd all decided to go do something young and foolish together, it's concerning that they are still gone. I pray they have merely run off, but it seems unlikely.

"At the same time, I hear rumors in the town of, of all things, giant insects. I don't know if there's any truth to them. My own eyes and ears about the city have not seen what others claim to-- beetles the size of hounds, flies that could carry away a housecat-- so perhaps it's merely some nonsense that is getting magnified in the retelling.

"But perhaps it's not. Perhaps the two are connected. I don't know. And I very much do not want to send the town guard marching through our city, hammering on doors, looking for giant bugs and missing apprentices. Rumor flies faster than truth, and Saringallow..."

The mayor looks out the window a moment, at the bustling town below, frowning to herself before she continues. "Saringallow has a certain history of letting fear and paranoia run away with its inhabitants. Some in the city see devils in every shadow," (she pointedly does not look at the Asmodean priest when she says this) "and it's a shameful part of our past that innocent people have been slain before by the 'justice' of a mob. I won't have a repetition of that on my watch.

"So: I am hiring people to investigate this matter-- quietly, if at all possible. For every one of these six missing souls who is found and returned-- a reward of fifty gold crowns. If they are dead.... if they are dead, which we pray they are not, the reward shall still be given if the matter of their disappearance is solved, and some closure thereby granted to their family and friends. Additionally, I shall give another hundred crowns if this nonsense with the insects can be investigated, and either proven or disproven satisfyingly."

She hunts a moment through the papers on her desk, and finds two pieces of parchment. "Here is a list of the names of the missing, as well as their places of employment. This other document will certify you as my agents, and instruct people to cooperate with your requests for information.... I ask that you not lead with it, however; again, we are attempting a quiet investigation. But you may run into resistance-- some might even think you are meddling outsiders who need to have the guard called upon you. It should smooth over that level of resistance, if necessary."

The mayor pauses, then smiles slightly. "Not that every single merchant in town adores me. I was elected, yes, but many voted against me, too. In any case, use it at your discretion."

The slip with the names of the apprentices is a short list, written in a strong, slanting hand:

List of the missing apprentices wrote:

Betrona Pindlion—apprentice of haberdasher Petrellano Pindlion

Gellion Vazarro—apprentice at Pricknettle’s Potions and Poultices
Morvinarr Albusin—apprentice at Witch’s End tavern
Noemi Tauralio—apprentice at Gunty’s Hearty Breads
Nolaria Wintren—apprentice of the temple and Father Ildris Ruvarra
Pavolus Laterna—apprentice of cobbler Dependable Drummady

The other parchment is a thicker roll, more formal looking, tied with a ribbon in the town's colors of red and white, and sealed with a wax seal.

The mayor looks you over. "Well, then: do each of you accept this task? If you have questions, ask them of me, though I may not know much."

Wow, long post! Exposition much. Some of you already know (some of) the locations mentioned, as per being a Saringallow local. If you're a Saringallow local, you have probably also heard some gossip about the two things in question, though nothing very solid, but at least it's not brand new news to you.


Male Human Cleric (Asmodean Advocate) | AL: LN | Init: +3 | Per: +11 | AC 17, T 11, FF 15 | HP: 10/18 | F +6, R +1, W +6 | Active Buffs: None | Conditions: None

Sirio traded a curt smirk for Constantine's glare, and an almost imperceptible nod.

______

"Lady Mayor, it is a pleasure to be in your presence. I'm sure those that voted against you were only envious of your beauty and cleverness." Sirio says dipping his head in a slight bow.

"Naturally I accept. You could have called us sooner. There are few things worse for peace and order than the death of youths. And no matter what you may think of Him, Asmodeus and his true followers want nothing more than peace and order."

Sirio looks over the list and adds, "And, Lady Mayor, is this list of the missing children in order of disappearance?"

And, after a pause he also asks, "And who should we talk to who knows more about the insects?"


Female Human Bard (archaeologist) 3 | AL: NG | Init: +3 | Per: +7 | AC 18, T 13, FF 15 | HP: 17/27 | F +3, R +6, W +3 | Luck 1/6 | 1st level spells 0/4 | Conditions: -3 Str

Listening intently, Hannelia absorbed the mayor’s information with a serious expression on her face. Of the two issues, the missing people concerned her far more. Giant insects or indeed other weird creatures could be anything and, while unusual, couldn’t truly said to be uncommon. The missing apprentices, however… two could be a coincidence, half a dozen would make that possibility considerably less likely. She could picture at least a couple of them based on their place of employment and felt for their parents, no doubt beside themselves with worry.

Following Sirio’s lead, These ‘prentices, she asked, what else do we know about them? When exactly did each of them disappear? What is their family situation? Who reported them missing and who saw them last? We should be thinking about patterns or connections, or at least being able to eliminate the possibility. I appreciate you may not have all of this to hand but I trust someone - your clerk? - has a record of this?


Init: +8 | Per: +7 LL | AC 16 T 12 FF 14 | HP: 32/36| F +5 R +6 W +5 | Active Buffs: | Conditions:

"Oh aye, giant insects? Not a thing of myth, I assure ye. One time as we were paddling up the Korir, heard a frightful buzzing we did. Tangled ourselves all up in nets, so the mosquito swarms that can drink a man dry like locusts can devour a harvest couldn't get us. But aye we misheard, and t'was not a swarm but a single giant bug what swooped down on our lead jolly boat and lofted it away. Old Thomas was a bit hard o hearing and hadn't finished his nets, so he managed to get free and jump from the boat before it got too far from the river, only breaking an arm on the landing, but never heard from the others again we did." Roger is always quick with a tale.

"But this be no jungle, nor a noble court, so if there truly be giant bugs, can only be the work of foul magic I says. Why if Morvinarr's been fed to some bugs, I'll chuck whoever's responsible all the way to the Worldwound so they can be with the biggest bug of 'em all!" Roger heartily declares.


Female Human Paladin | Alignment: LG | AC: 20 ; FF 20, T 10 | HP 26/28 | Fort+7 Reflex+3 Will+7 (+1 vs evil outsiders' spells/etc) | Init +0 | Per +0 | Active Buffs: -| Conditions: -

"That's quite the tale, Mr. Roger. We've never had such giant insects at Piren's Bluff, or at least, if we had, it was never noteworthy enough to be spoken of. Just as well, I think - the poor shopkeep would've fallen dead from fright had any giant bugs wandered near his store." Emma has noted how the others have regarded Roger so far, but she feels it's always best to give people the benefit of the doubt. After all, she knows not a single person here - it's too soon to tell who is and isn't reliable. Emma nods to Hannelia. "Prudent questions, my lady. I agree, we should know as much as possible before venturing forth. And of course, my sword and powers are at your disposal, Lady Mayor." Emma inclines her head respectfully. "Rest assured, should foul magic or unholy forces be at play here, they will not last long against us! On this, Mr. Roger, we are in full agreement. Iomedae shall guide us, of this I have no doubt."


Female Human Bard (archaeologist) 3 | AL: NG | Init: +3 | Per: +7 | AC 18, T 13, FF 15 | HP: 17/27 | F +3, R +6, W +3 | Luck 1/6 | 1st level spells 0/4 | Conditions: -3 Str

Thank you, Hannelia acknowledges Emma. She turns to face Mayor Trinelli. In case it was unclear from my response, I too am at your service.


Plaguestone Map | Gallows of Madness Combat Map
Sirio Regilianus wrote:

"Lady Mayor, it is a pleasure to be in your presence. I'm sure those that voted against you were only envious of your beauty and cleverness." Sirio says dipping his head in a slight bow.

"Naturally I accept. You could have called us sooner. There are few things worse for peace and order than the death of youths. And no matter what you may think of Him, Asmodeus and his true followers want nothing more than peace and order."

Sirio looks over the list and adds, "And, Lady Mayor, is this list of the missing children in order of disappearance?"

And, after a pause he also asks, "And who should we talk to who knows more about the insects?"

The mayor offers a tight, brief smile at Sirio's silver tongue and compliments, but nods grim agreement with the rest of his words.

"No, I don't believe that's the order they've gone missing in," she says with a small headshake (because that would be too organized on the part of the scenario writers). She glances at the list for a moment and consults some other notes on her desk. "I received word that young Morvinnar failed to show just a few days ago. The first to be absent was Betrona. Beyond that I'm not entirely certain of the order.

"For the insects... I'm also not sure. That's been part of the difficulty in getting confirmation-- it's always 'my cousin's brother's friend saw them' - nobody claims direct knowledge. Perhaps just keeping an ear to the ground in the city's busier places might be useful."

Hannelia wrote:
"These ‘prentices, what else do we know about them? When exactly did each of them disappear? What is their family situation? Who reported them missing and who saw them last? We should be thinking about patterns or connections, or at least being able to eliminate the possibility. I appreciate you may not have all of this to hand but I trust someone - your clerk? - has a record of this?"

Mayor Trinelli grimaces lightly. "Those are good questions, which drive home how relative little investigation has taken place so far. I think..." she looks through more cluttered notes, "...that several of them actually apprentice with their parents... and that others, well... as you know, we have many in Isger who grew up without parents, sadly. As for officially missing-- there haven't been such reports, exactly. If there had, I'd feel more comfortable sending the guard around. I suppose one of the things you may be learning is why the parents or employers didn't go to the town guard."

The mayor listens with a carefully blank face to Roger's tale-spinning, and only nods soberly at the end of it. "I-- admire your-- enthusiasm. Let us hope no... no trips to the Worldwound will be required.

Emma's zeal and promises also earn a brief, tired smile from the mayor. "I hope that all will turn out well. If my office can be of further assistance in your investigation, let me know. Should you need directions to any of the listed places of employ, my clerk in the lobby would be happy to assist you with a map of the town."

With that, the mayor turns her attention to some of the other stacks of paper upon her desk.

If you have more questions that you'd ask the mayor, or her clerks, feel free, but as far as what occurs to her to tell you, she has now said it. Where would you like to start your investigations?


Init: +8 | Per: +7 LL | AC 16 T 12 FF 14 | HP: 32/36| F +5 R +6 W +5 | Active Buffs: | Conditions:

"Well, I'm bout finished, I think I should return this to the Witch's End, so I can ask around there." Roger gives his mug a deep stare to gauge how much remains within it.


Human (Chelaxian) Male Haunt Collector (Occultist) 3 | HP 19/27 | AC 20 Touch 11 Flat 19 CMB +6 CMD 18 | Fort +5 Ref +3 Will +4 (-1 vs fear) | Speed 10 ft | Init +2; Per +6, SM +4 | Focus (Abjuration 2/4, Transmutation 3/4) | Spells (Lv1 2/4) | Active: Lead Blades, Legacy Weapon, Slow

Constantine has little to add to the questions for the Mayor, as locals and strangers alike have plenty to say. There is some posturing and jostling for some manner of leadership in the investigation. Constantine somehow doubts the veracity of Roger's story, or at least elements of it, but chooses not to needle the man. After all, Constantine hadn't visited the region.

"Thank you, Mayor," he says as she excuses herself. He walks out of the room towards the clerk, but holds back to wait for the others.

"I don't know how time-sensitive this is, but perhaps it would behoove us to split up and seek some information. A posse of a half dozen knocking on a single door could cause alarm and suspicion, beside the point. Perhaps pairs: a local and an outsider, could help put people at ease. Or trios. I don't think each of us striking out on our own would be as successful."

He shrugs, not wanting to give the appearance of authority.


Female Human Bard (archaeologist) 3 | AL: NG | Init: +3 | Per: +7 | AC 18, T 13, FF 15 | HP: 17/27 | F +3, R +6, W +3 | Luck 1/6 | 1st level spells 0/4 | Conditions: -3 Str

Hannelia's grimace mirrors that on the mayor's face as she absorbs the answers to everyone's questions."Indeed. Thank you, Mayor Trinelli," she says, inclining her head towards her in a show of respect. "That definitely helps, though clearly there's much for us to find out."

She raises her arms in a slow stretch to loosen up before following Constantine out of the room. "That sounds prudent," she agrees, her mind clicking into gear. "We can cover more ground that way too and the less attention we can draw to ourselves the better. Assuming there is some malign intent here, I'd always prefer to know more about it than it knows about us and right now we don't know a whole lot."

Looking at the group, she acknowledges the even split among those who know Saringallow and those new in town. "Pairs, then? Roger, great idea - sounds like you know a lot of people there so please do lead on the Witch's End." Figuring that the two holy champions may draw more attention accompanying the old sea dog, she suggests to Constantine, [b]"Perhaps you would accompany our friend here?"

She takes a deep breath, overcome with a brief sense of foreboding about the conversations to come. I'm not looking forward to this, she realises. Whatever's going on, it doesn't feel right.

"I know Petrellano Pindlion, I'll pay her a visit. And..." she pauses briefly to consult the list the mayor provided, "I'll take the temple unless anyone has any strong objections?" She turns to Sirio and Emma, asking Would one of you care to join me?


Male Human Cleric (Asmodean Advocate) | AL: LN | Init: +3 | Per: +11 | AC 17, T 11, FF 15 | HP: 10/18 | F +6, R +1, W +6 | Active Buffs: None | Conditions: None

"Hmmm yes..." Sirio murmurs as he sizes up Hannelia. His snake flicks it's tongue at his ear. Better her, the snake seemed to say to him. Not in so many words, more of a feeling of affirmation. Then in a clearer voice he says, "Yes you'll do. Conscientious at the very least. We can work together Ms. Venator. You can give me the tour." he smiles and points a hand to the door, "Lead the way."


Talon AC:16 (FF:13/T:13) CMD: 16 HP: 12/12 Saves-FO:+3 RE:+5 WL:+1, Ranger1 M Half-Elf, Defenses: +2 vs Enchantment, immune: magic sleep, Senses: Percep +10, Low Light Vision

"A moment?" Talon, who'd been listening throughout, taking in both the questions his new companions were asking, gauging them, as well as the mayor's answers, had been quiet during the discussion. "Since no one else has asked, Madam Mayor...however odd or paranoid these rumors of giant insects may be, if we expect to investigate them as well, we need a starting point. Could you point us in the direction of anyone specific who has made claims as to having seen them?"


Plaguestone Map | Gallows of Madness Combat Map

"I'm sorry-- as I said to Mr... Regilianus, is it? ...it's been quite hard to find anyone who admits to seeing these insects in person. It's always 'I heard it from someone who heard it from someone...' Perhaps just keep an eye, an ear, out in the course of your other investigations? Frankly, I'm more worried about the missing people."


Talon AC:16 (FF:13/T:13) CMD: 16 HP: 12/12 Saves-FO:+3 RE:+5 WL:+1, Ranger1 M Half-Elf, Defenses: +2 vs Enchantment, immune: magic sleep, Senses: Percep +10, Low Light Vision

"Understandably." The ranger concedes her point with a nod.

Then to Emma, Talon shrugs and says, "I am afraid I do not know any of the families of the missing apprentices, Lady Blackford. However, it would seem that we would be paired up for this, by the process of elimination."


Human (Chelaxian) Male Haunt Collector (Occultist) 3 | HP 19/27 | AC 20 Touch 11 Flat 19 CMB +6 CMD 18 | Fort +5 Ref +3 Will +4 (-1 vs fear) | Speed 10 ft | Init +2; Per +6, SM +4 | Focus (Abjuration 2/4, Transmutation 3/4) | Spells (Lv1 2/4) | Active: Lead Blades, Legacy Weapon, Slow

Constantine's eyes drift slowly from Hannelia to Roger. He regards the parrot with a tilt of the head and walks towards the man. Roger gives off the bluster and look of a pirate, but Constantine isn't sure he's...all there. Then again, what kind of person who had set sail with that kind of regularity, knowing the treacherousness of the shallows and deeps alike, would be fully sane?

Constantine lingers looking at the bird for a while. If Roger is talking, Constantine is only barely paying attention. After an almost uncomfortable amount of time (depending on Roger's patience), Constantine finally speaks up again.
"What is your bird's name?"

Let's go to the old watering hole!


Plaguestone Map | Gallows of Madness Combat Map

Don't let me derail any get-to-know-each other RP you want to do; I'm just going to get this post up to be engaged with when Hannelia and Sirio are ready, and will work on the others as I have time.

Petrello's Haberdashery

The haberdashery is neither on the best nor the biggest street in town (Location #9 on the map). On a small street with cramped homes and a few other small shops, a crooked sign proclaims PETROLLO'S over a painted hat.

On entering, the shop seems crowded and messy-- merchandise is stacked haphazardly on tables, and the hats themselves are, well, uh, they're hats, you suppose. They look cheaply and shoddily made.

No-one is immediately apparent, but the door's little bell brings the sound of footsteps. After thirty seconds, a thin, exhausted-looking man of middle years steps out from behind a curtain to stand behind the counter, looking at both of you with a sort of blank surprise, as if trying to process there are actual customers standing in front of him.

"I.... ah, hello, can I.... can I help you?"


Female Human Paladin | Alignment: LG | AC: 20 ; FF 20, T 10 | HP 26/28 | Fort+7 Reflex+3 Will+7 (+1 vs evil outsiders' spells/etc) | Init +0 | Per +0 | Active Buffs: -| Conditions: -

"So it would seem, Mr. Talon. I'll be happy to work with you on this. I'm afraid I'm not overly familiar with this town, having only been here for a few days before the meeting with Mayor Trinelli. I do believe several of the missing apprentices have already been claimed by our fellows in this matter. Do you have a preference on where you would like to begin our search? I'm afraid I don't have much experience myself with doing investigative work, unless you count the time I helped Farmer Elkin track down his missing sheep." Emma blushes, realizing that it might have been best to keep that last bit to herself. She clears her throat and tries to push past the potential blunder. "Ahem. Anyway, I also wanted to suggest that perhaps it might be prudent for one of the pairs to do a general walk through of the town as a whole? Seeing as I'm not overly familiar with the town, something that people who are from the area might not notice could potentially stand out - and of course, should anything look suspicious, I should be able to detect if there's anything evil going on."


Plaguestone Map | Gallows of Madness Combat Map

The Witch's End (Constantine and Roger)

A sign depicting a dark-haired figure being burned at a stake hangs over the doorway of a large building that occupies a bit of prime real estate right at the juncture of two busy streets. Though it's still relatively early in the day, music and conversation spill from the doorway... and, as you approach, so does a skinny fellow, who sprawls on the paving stones wheezing for breath.

The source of his quick, involuntary exit fills the doorway-- a woman who stands at least six feet tall, her skin green-tinged, her heavy jaw set, and her eyes glaring at the man on the ground.

"Try any !$%&*$ magic in my pub again and next time it won't be your $%^&!@ing stick I break," she snarls. Rogers knows this is Alcie, the formidable owner and proprietor of the Witch's End.

She brushes her hands off, gives Constantine and Jolly Old Roger an absent look, which then turns sour. "You! If you're comin' to drink, you'll be paying your outstanding tab FIRST, you salt-soaked dog, do you hear me?"


Plaguestone Map | Gallows of Madness Combat Map

GM fiat, I'll just say that Emma and Talon head for the baker's first. If you two do want to just wander around town keeping an ear out, that is also an option, but it may be more time consuming than targeted visits.

Gunty's Hearty Breads

The aromatic smell of baking bread lets people know they're getting close to Gunty's. The bakery has a small shopfront, with a few people coming in and out, and a young man manning the counter and selling loaves of bread to the townsfolk. There doesn't seem to be any cake or pastries on offer: just bread. The decor is slightly unusual- on the wall behind the counter, above the racks of bread for sale, hangs a nocked battleaxe and a split shield.

The clerk nods at you both when you come in. "Hello, what can I get--"

"BY EVERY DARK GOD FROM HERE TO THE ABYSS, ARE YOU DEAF OR MERELY A FOOL? YOU! MUST! FLOUR! THE! DOUGH! FIRST!" bellows the voice of a man who must be quite angry, from behind the staff-only door. The clerk visibly cringes, then summons a wan smile. "S-sorry about Mr. Gunty. H-how can I -- help you people today?"


Init: +8 | Per: +7 LL | AC 16 T 12 FF 14 | HP: 32/36| F +5 R +6 W +5 | Active Buffs: | Conditions:

"Named him Patrick I did." Roger answers Constantine with a nod. "Not quite as pretty as the birds I did see down there, but I saved me a few feathers to make a nice toy. Gives the kiddoes something to gawk at when I'm story telling, aye."

~~

"Not to worry dear, just returning a mug I may have accidentally misplaced, and showing a new friend around town! Constantine's introduction to the town wouldn't be complete without an introduction to yer fine establishment." Roger presses forward, gifting the mug into Alcie's hands as he quickly sidles past her into the building, giving a keen eye out.

After 'finding' what he had been looking for, Roger exclaims, "Why, whatever became of that kiddo Morvinarr? Not seen 'em round of late."


Female Human Bard (archaeologist) 3 | AL: NG | Init: +3 | Per: +7 | AC 18, T 13, FF 15 | HP: 17/27 | F +3, R +6, W +3 | Luck 1/6 | 1st level spells 0/4 | Conditions: -3 Str

"Thank you," replies Hannelia, taking the compliment at face value and repaying Sirio's appraisal of her by carefully looking him up and down. Again, she is struck by how the man seems to know himself, appearing as someone in control and comfortable in his own skin. She nods approvingly to herself. "I have a feeling this could prove to be the start of a fruitful partnership. And you may call me Hannelia. Sorry," she cringes slightly and corrects herself, "that sounded awfully formal. Hannelia is fine." She follows Sirio's gesture and steps lightly out of the town hall complex.

As the others pair off and split up to follow their own leads, she calls out, "Let's reconvene for evenfeast and debriefing. The Witch's End at sundown, ok?"

Setting forth in a southerly direction, Hannelia begins to walk with the assured stride of one comfortable in her surroundings. As they walk, she points out landmarks to Sirio, assuming that he would be appreciative of the information and help to get his bearings in the city.

"So when I said I know Petrello's, perhaps I should say I know of him, and the business. His reputation as a clothier is... fine. By point of comparison," she continues, "most people in town know Gunty's and Drummady's, and indeed the aforementioned infamous tavern." She pauses, a neutral smile playing across her lips, "Though perhaps not everyone knows it as well as Roger appears to."

As they walk alongside the orchard, she asks Sirio, "Tell me, what brings you here?" She hesitates a moment before continuing in a direct manner, "You've demonstrated courtesy and a diplomat's tongue and the mayor clearly believes you will be able to help here. For my two copper's worth, I think she's right, though I'm more intrigued by what's motivating you."


Male Human Cleric (Asmodean Advocate) | AL: LN | Init: +3 | Per: +11 | AC 17, T 11, FF 15 | HP: 10/18 | F +6, R +1, W +6 | Active Buffs: None | Conditions: None
Hannelia Venator wrote:

"Thank you," replies Hannelia, taking the compliment at face value and repaying Sirio's appraisal of her by carefully looking him up and down. Again, she is struck by how the man seems to know himself, appearing as someone in control and comfortable in his own skin. She nods approvingly to herself. "I have a feeling this could prove to be the start of a fruitful partnership. And you may call me Hannelia. Sorry," she cringes slightly and corrects herself, "that sounded awfully formal. Hannelia is fine." She follows Sirio's gesture and steps lightly out of the town hall complex.

Sirio frowns slightly, then gives a tight smile, "Very well, Hannelia it is. I suppose you should call me Sirio then. Formality is what separates us from the beasts Hannelia, I wouldn't worry about sounding formal. But if you prefer it, I can accommodate a more familiar tone."

Hannelia Venator wrote:


As the others pair off and split up to follow their own leads, she calls out, "Let's reconvene for evenfeast and debriefing. The Witch's End at sundown, ok?"

Setting forth in a southerly direction, Hannelia begins to walk with the assured stride of one comfortable in her surroundings. As they walk, she points out landmarks to Sirio, assuming that he would be appreciative of the information and help to get his bearings in the city.

"So when I said I know Petrello's, perhaps I should say I know of him, and the business. His reputation as a clothier is... fine. By point of comparison," she continues, "most people in town know Gunty's and Drummady's, and indeed the aforementioned infamous tavern." She pauses, a neutral smile playing across her lips, "Though perhaps not everyone knows it as well as Roger appears to."

As they walk alongside the orchard, she asks Sirio, "Tell me, what brings you here?" She hesitates a moment before continuing in a direct manner, "You've demonstrated courtesy and a diplomat's tongue and the mayor clearly believes you will be able to help here. For my two copper's worth, I think she's right, though I'm more intrigued by what's motivating you."

Sirio beams and says, "Well my dear, I'm glad you see it that way. I was led to believe that the people of this town were a bit narrow minded, but you've proven those rumors wrong."

"I aim to bring order to a chaotic world, if you'll excuse my grandiosity. Let me ask you a question before I finish answering yours. We seem to be of similar age, who did you lose to The War?" His tone is melancholic and empathetic as he asks.


Human (Chelaxian) Male Haunt Collector (Occultist) 3 | HP 19/27 | AC 20 Touch 11 Flat 19 CMB +6 CMD 18 | Fort +5 Ref +3 Will +4 (-1 vs fear) | Speed 10 ft | Init +2; Per +6, SM +4 | Focus (Abjuration 2/4, Transmutation 3/4) | Spells (Lv1 2/4) | Active: Lead Blades, Legacy Weapon, Slow

All right, so at least the pirate recognizes that his bird is stuffed. Constantine makes a mental note that he will not have to pretend otherwise to flatter the pirate and keep him from losing his mind. Good. That would have been a hassle.
"You do seem...quite the storyteller," he says with an appraising nod before following Roger across town.

* * *

Constantine appreciates different landmarks that Roger points out as they walk through the streets. It seems like a nice enough town, all things considered. Larger than most. People keep sending strange looks his way, though he isn't sure who is attracting more attention: him or Roger. He's quite pleased when they get to the Witch's End.

It seems prudent at first to let the local take the lead, but Constantine almost immediately regrets his passivity as Roger swaggers in past the presumed half-orc proprietor of the Witch's End. With a few glances at the grisly mark of superstition hanging over the place, a cautious warning nod at the lad thrown out for using magic, and a wince at Roger ignoring the usual pleasantries of social decorum, Constantine almost wants to pretend not to know the man. But Roger shoves a mug in the half-orc's hands and pushes past her, pointing to Constantine in the process. He shrugs, wondering how much of a tab one could possibly work up in a local tavern. He also points out his coin purse, which jingles with a few coins.
"I can pay for my drinks," he says. "And I'll make sure he does, too."

Diplomacy, Make an Impression: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (12) + 7 = 19

Before he goes inside, Constantine excuses himself to walk over towards the man who was thrown out.
"Are you all right?" he asks, looking him over. "That was quite a tumble."


Female Human Bard (archaeologist) 3 | AL: NG | Init: +3 | Per: +7 | AC 18, T 13, FF 15 | HP: 17/27 | F +3, R +6, W +3 | Luck 1/6 | 1st level spells 0/4 | Conditions: -3 Str
Sirio Regilianus wrote:


Sirio frowns slightly, then gives a tight smile, "Very well, Hannelia it is. I suppose you should call me Sirio then. Formality is what separates us from the beasts Hannelia, I wouldn't worry about sounding formal. But if you prefer it, I can accommodate a more familiar tone."

"Sirio's good with me, but only if it is with you. Your comfort should take preference," she holds her palms open in a show of apology.

Sirio Regilianus wrote:


Sirio beams and says, "Well my dear, I'm glad you see it that way. I was led to believe that the people of this town were a bit narrow minded, but you've proven those rumors wrong."

"I aim to bring order to a chaotic world, if you'll excuse my grandiosity. Let me ask you a question before I finish answering yours. We seem to be of similar age, who did you lose to The War?" His tone is melancholic and empathetic as he asks.

"Hmm," Hannelia muses, "in my experience most of us can be a bit narrow-minded and set in our ways. And in my line of work I deal with a lot of different people so I suppose an element of pragmatism is necessary," she shrugs.

Taken aback slightly by Sirio's ambition, she replies "I suppose it depends what we're talking about here. On a personal level and local level yes; on a bigger scale... that's a pretty tall order."

Do I really want to go into this? she wonders. It's not like it's a secret, I suppose and there must be few among us for whom it doesn't weigh heavily in one way or another. And if I can look around a group of people like that and already make that assumption, I'm probably not the only one.

Waiting for a while before answering, she says quietly, "My mother. I don't really remember her." She pauses again. "Thank you for asking, it's something that casts a pall over the whole land. Judging by the question, it probably affected you too. I'm guessing you're a church orphan?" she asks softly.


Male Human Cleric (Asmodean Advocate) | AL: LN | Init: +3 | Per: +11 | AC 17, T 11, FF 15 | HP: 10/18 | F +6, R +1, W +6 | Active Buffs: None | Conditions: None
Hannelia Venator wrote:


"Sirio's good with me, but only if it is with you. Your comfort should take preference," she holds her palms open in a show of apology.

"Sirio should do fine. Comfort is the last thing a Hell Knight aspires to. Even an Armiger like me." Sirio laughs.

Hannelia Venator wrote:

"Hmm," Hannelia muses, "in my experience most of us can be a bit narrow-minded and set in our ways. And in my line of work I deal with a lot of different people so I suppose an element of pragmatism is necessary," she shrugs.

Taken aback slightly by Sirio's ambition, she replies "I suppose it depends what we're talking about here. On a personal level and local level yes; on a bigger scale... that's a pretty tall order."

Do I really want to go into this? she wonders. It's not like it's a secret, I suppose and there must be few among us for whom it doesn't weigh heavily in one way or another. And if I can look around a group of people like that and already make that assumption, I'm probably not the only one.

Waiting for a while before answering, she says quietly, "My mother. I don't really remember her." She pauses again. "Thank you for asking, it's something that casts a pall over the whole land. Judging by the question, it probably affected you too. I'm guessing you're a church orphan?" she asks softly.

"Yes, I am." Sirio answers, matching her volume. "And I am sorry for your loss."

"As you say, it's hard to even say how many you've lost. Everyone in this nation has experienced loss like yours and mine. My village was wiped out. We lived as communal homesteaders from what I remember. But Elidir sat comfortably until the goblins arrived at their walls. The Church rescued us, Asmodeus offers what Elidir and the Steward will not. Power. The power to protect our own borders. That is why I'm here Hannelia. Saringallow was able to protect itself from goblins without the help of Elidir, but how long will it be until Molthune, Taldane, Andoran or even Cheliax gets hungry? How long until the goblins can regroup? I hope to one day see Isger capable of repelling that tyranny. But we cannot do it alone. Elidir remains soft and idle, but Asmodeus offers power and unity. I'm here to help, Hannelia, and I hope Saringallow accepts."

"One might think I would have better manners than this, talking politics and religion with a new acquaintance." Sirio laughs facetiously "But since I've already shared so much, what drives Hannelia Venator to accept mercenary work? You've got some personal stake obviously, but I think there's more to you than that."


Female Human Bard (archaeologist) 3 | AL: NG | Init: +3 | Per: +7 | AC 18, T 13, FF 15 | HP: 17/27 | F +3, R +6, W +3 | Luck 1/6 | 1st level spells 0/4 | Conditions: -3 Str
Sirio Regilianus wrote:


"Yes, I am." Sirio answers, matching her volume. "And I am sorry for your loss."

"As you say, it's hard to even say how many you've lost. Everyone in this nation has experienced loss like yours and mine. My village was wiped out. We lived as communal homesteaders from what I remember. But Elidir sat comfortably until the goblins arrived at their walls. The Church rescued us, Asmodeus offers what Elidir and the Steward will not. Power. The power to protect our own borders. That is why I'm here Hannelia. Saringallow was able to protect itself from goblins without the help of Elidir, but how long will it be until Molthune, Taldane, Andoran or even Cheliax gets hungry? How long until the goblins can regroup? I hope to one day see Isger capable of repelling that tyranny. But we cannot do it alone. Elidir remains soft and idle, but Asmodeus offers power and unity. I'm here to help, Hannelia, and I hope Saringallow accepts."

"One might think I would have better manners than this, talking politics and religion with a new acquaintance." Sirio laughs facetiously "But since I've already shared so much, what drives Hannelia Venator to accept mercenary work? You've got some personal stake obviously, but I think there's more to you than that."

"Thank you," Hannelia murmurs, looking into the man's eyes, a look of shared understanding, pain and sadness present beneath the surface.

She listens to the passion in Sirio's voice as he sets things out, not knowing quite what to make of it. With this in mind she decides to keep her counsel and think it through properly later.

"Politics and religion are indeed weighty subjects for the time of day," she concurs. "As for me, on one level, I'm here because the mayor thinks my skillset will be an asset in unravelling these disappearances. And from my point of view, knowing more people and knowing more things makes me better at what I do. But that's not really what you're asking. I help," she continues, searching for the right words as she leads him off the main thoroughfare towards their destination. "I help because I can." Hannelia looks at him seriously as she says this, trusting that he understands what she means.

She allows the silence after she finishes speaking to hang in the air for a brief period before switching easily back into professional mode. "We're not far away now, it's just the next street over," she says as they walk past rows of small buildings and houses that have seen better days. "How would you prefer to approach this? Usually the more I know going in, the more I'm likely to learn going out or the better the deal I strike. We don't know much and given the circumstances, my inclination is to play it straight. I'm open to suggestions though, and more than happy to follow your lead if you like. But I'd much rather go in with a plan."


Male Human Cleric (Asmodean Advocate) | AL: LN | Init: +3 | Per: +11 | AC 17, T 11, FF 15 | HP: 10/18 | F +6, R +1, W +6 | Active Buffs: None | Conditions: None
Hannelia Venator wrote:

"Thank you," Hannelia murmurs, looking into the man's eyes, a look of shared understanding, pain and sadness present beneath the surface.

She listens to the passion in Sirio's voice as he sets things out, not knowing quite what to make of it. With this in mind she decides to keep her counsel and think it through properly later.

"Politics and religion are indeed weighty subjects for the time of day," she concurs. "As for me, on one level, I'm here because the mayor thinks my skillset will be an asset in unravelling these disappearances. And from my point of view, knowing more people and knowing more things makes me better at what I do. But that's not really what you're asking. I help," she continues, searching for the right words as she leads him off the main thoroughfare towards their destination. "I help because I can." Hannelia looks at him seriously as she says this, trusting that he understands what she means.

"Just so." Sirio assures her. ”Admirable nobility” It seems to be as much a recitation as a compliment.

Hannelia Venator wrote:


She allows the silence after she finishes speaking to hang in the air for a brief period before switching easily back into professional mode. "We're not far away now, it's just the next street over," she says as they walk past rows of small buildings and houses that have seen better days. "How would you prefer to approach this? Usually the more I know going in, the more I'm likely to learn going out or the better the deal I strike. We don't know much and given the circumstances, my inclination is to play it straight. I'm open to suggestions though, and more than happy to follow your lead if you like. But I'd much rather go in with a plan."

Sirio looks thoughtfully at Hannelia and responds, ”Well, presuming all we know is that he’s a simple haberdasher, I don’t think I can plan any more than this. Well, let me see, do you have any ideas about his personality and his individual attitude towards the church? I can disguise my colors if you think it might make it smoother to interview him.”

He adds, ”I can take the lead, but would you introduce us? It'd be a good way to put him at ease in front of a stranger. We can ask him about what he remembers about the disappearance and the time surrounding it. We can also inquire about the girl’s character and general goings on… we can at least ask him as much as he knows to try to see if there’s a pattern between the missing children.”

As an afterthought, he asks, ”And ask about the insects as well? It couldn’t hurt anyway.”


Talon AC:16 (FF:13/T:13) CMD: 16 HP: 12/12 Saves-FO:+3 RE:+5 WL:+1, Ranger1 M Half-Elf, Defenses: +2 vs Enchantment, immune: magic sleep, Senses: Percep +10, Low Light Vision
Emma Blackford wrote:
"So it would seem, Mr. Talon. I'll be happy to work with you on this. I'm afraid I'm not overly familiar with this town, having only been here for a few days before the meeting with Mayor Trinelli. I do believe several of the missing apprentices have already been claimed by our fellows in this matter. Do you have a preference on where you would like to begin our search? I'm afraid I don't have much experience myself with doing investigative work, unless you count the time I helped Farmer Elkin track down his missing sheep." Emma blushes, realizing that it might have been best to keep that last bit to herself. She clears her throat and tries to push past the potential blunder. "Ahem. Anyway, I also wanted to suggest that perhaps it might be prudent for one of the pairs to do a general walk through of the town as a whole? Seeing as I'm not overly familiar with the town, something that people who are from the area might not notice could potentially stand out - and of course, should anything look suspicious, I should be able to detect if there's anything evil going on."

"Well, there's certainly no shame in helping a farmer recover livestock. I'm sure he'll remember your assistance fondly. 'Probably made a lifelong friend that day." Talon offers a genuine smile, listening to her thoughts on individual assignments.

How about this, Mistress? We keep an eye and ear out while we head to the bakery, and see where that takes us while the others check in with some of the other apprentice's masters? " A pause, then he adds, "Just wandering about the woods looking for a wolf before checking out to see if it's in it's lair might end up taking longer than needs be..." The ranger frowns slightly, wondering if the analogy makes him sound too "folksy", and then decides it doesn't matter. It works.

"In any case, I'm sure our willingness to look into these matters counts more than any previous experience."

------

GM Dien wrote:

GM fiat, I'll just say that Emma and Talon head for the baker's first. If you two do want to just wander around town keeping an ear out, that is also an option, but it may be more time consuming than targeted visits.

Gunty's Hearty Breads

The aromatic smell of baking bread lets people know they're getting close to Gunty's. The bakery has a small shopfront, with a few people coming in and out, and a young man manning the counter and selling loaves of bread to the townsfolk. There doesn't seem to be any cake or pastries on offer: just bread. The decor is slightly unusual- on the wall behind the counter, above the racks of bread for sale, hangs a nocked battleaxe and a split shield.

The clerk nods at you both when you come in. "Hello, what can I get--"

"BY EVERY DARK GOD FROM HERE TO THE ABYSS, ARE YOU DEAF OR MERELY A FOOL? YOU! MUST! FLOUR! THE! DOUGH! FIRST!" bellows the voice of a man who must be quite angry, from behind the staff-only door. The clerk visibly cringes, then summons a wan smile. "S-sorry about Mr. Gunty. H-how can I -- help you people today?"

The half-elf sniffs the air with pleasure as the duo enters the establishment, fond, as are most people, of all things baked and delicious. Hmmm. JUST bread? That's a bit of a disappointment...but...

And then the yelling starts. Talon actually flinches a bit, stopping just shy of letting his hand drop to the hilt of his dagger. He then casts a quick, embarrassed look over at Emma to see if she noticed.

Collecting himself, the archer says to the clerk, "Well, before we leave, I'll likely be purchasing a loaf of your fine bread...but on a more somber note: At the urging of the Mayor, we're here, looking into the disappearance of the young Tauralio girl. Noemi, I believe her name is?"


Human (Chelaxian) Male Haunt Collector (Occultist) 3 | HP 19/27 | AC 20 Touch 11 Flat 19 CMB +6 CMD 18 | Fort +5 Ref +3 Will +4 (-1 vs fear) | Speed 10 ft | Init +2; Per +6, SM +4 | Focus (Abjuration 2/4, Transmutation 3/4) | Spells (Lv1 2/4) | Active: Lead Blades, Legacy Weapon, Slow

Rolling back slightly to get in some more intro!

As they walk and Roger points out various sights, Constantine gets curious.
"You speak much of travels in Garund. I have been able to travel around reasonably well, but not yet south of the Inner Sea. What brought you to a town like Saringallow? Retirement? Escape? Family?"

Any number of reasons seem feasible, but again Constantine is trying to get a feel for this man and how tall his stories truly are.


Female Human Bard (archaeologist) 3 | AL: NG | Init: +3 | Per: +7 | AC 18, T 13, FF 15 | HP: 17/27 | F +3, R +6, W +3 | Luck 1/6 | 1st level spells 0/4 | Conditions: -3 Str
Sirio Regilianus wrote:


Sirio looks thoughtfully at Hannelia and responds, ”Well, presuming all we know is that he’s a simple haberdasher, I don’t think I can plan any more than this. Well, let me see, do you have any ideas about his personality and his individual attitude towards the church? I can disguise my colors if you think it might make it smoother to interview him.”

He adds, ”I can take the lead, but would you introduce us? It'd be a good way to put him at ease in front of a stranger. We can ask him about what he remembers about the disappearance and the time surrounding it. We can also inquire about the girl’s character and general goings on… we can at least ask him as much as he knows to try to see if there’s a pattern between the missing children.”

As an afterthought, he asks, ”And ask about the insects as well? It couldn’t hurt anyway.”

"Fair point," concedes Hannelia. "I meant mostly in terms of how we play it - most likely is that he doesn't know much and sympathetic is the right call; considering the other disappearances we probably shouldn't be treating him as a suspect. All I really know of him is the reputation of his business, nothing on a personal level. You'll find worshippers of Asmodeus throughout the city. Perhaps not as loudly or obviously as other parts of Isger but present so I think you'll probably be fine."

"Of course," she continues, "and sensible questions. My hunch is we're not necessarily going to get lots of useful information from everyone, or even anyone. We're probably going to need to piece things together from all of our sources. And perhaps to pay attention to what isn't said as much as what is."

Preoccupied by the disappearances, Hannelia had given considerably less thought to the insect question. "Agreed, can't see that it could hurt. It is quite the change of subject though, and we are already dealing with a sensitive subject so maybe best to simply imply that they might be connected." She smiles tightly, "There's even the chance that in some way they are."

"Right then," she says, eyeing the sign bearing the owner's name, "this appears to be it." She indicates a modest shopfront sandwiched between equally modest houses.

GM Dien wrote:


On entering, the shop seems crowded and messy-- merchandise is stacked haphazardly on tables, and the hats themselves are, well, uh, they're hats, you suppose. They look cheaply and shoddily made.

No-one is immediately apparent, but the door's little bell brings the sound of footsteps. After thirty seconds, a thin, exhausted-looking man of middle years steps out from behind a curtain to stand behind the counter, looking at both of you with a sort of blank surprise, as if trying to process there are actual customers standing in front of him.

"I.... ah, hello, can I.... can I help you?"

"Mr Pindlion?" asks Hannelia softly. "My name is Hannelia, daughter of Cammus Venator," she continues, laying out her credentials as a Saringallow native. "This is Sirio Regilianus. She pauses for a moment. "We understand that Betrona has not been seen for a few days. This must be really worrying and you have our sympathies. I know this must be a really troubling time and we're sorry to bother you, but yes, we are hoping you might be able to help us by answering some questions. In return, we sincerely hope that we will be able to find Betrona."


Plaguestone Map | Gallows of Madness Combat Map

The Witch's End (Constantine, Roger)

Roger's attempt to gladhand with Alcie like an old friend earns him the mug snatched back with a growl, and Alcie's narrow-eyed gaze settling on Constantine as an associate of Roger's. The immediate presentation of coin softens her only fractionally.

"Get Roger to pay his tab!? I'll believe that when I see it, ya look like a scraw--" Alcie pauses, her default insult trailing off as the reality of Constantine not actually being scrawny, but instead fairly muscular. "...hmf.

"So you think you're any good at getting the no-good bums of this town to pay their bills, do ya? You good at givin' a threat and makin' it sound like you mean it? You know where to find them when they're hidin' from me, to badger 'em at home until they actually pay?"

Alcie respects shows of strength, which can be accomplished via Athletics or Intimidate, and also an awareness of the town, which can be done via Kn Local. Despite the fact that she's Pointedly Ignoring Roger right this second, he can also attempt these checks. ;)

(Almost forgot)
The skinny fellow who Constantine helps up grimaces. "Fine, fine, I was only using a little prestidigitation to return my cup to the counter... won't make that mistake again..." He shakes himself off, and limps off down the street. (There's nothing to learn from him, he's just color/flavor, and I'm letting you know that plainly rather than risk a red herring chase. ;) )


Plaguestone Map | Gallows of Madness Combat Map

Petrello's (Sirio, Hannelia)

The hat-maker sucks in a harsh breath at Hannelia's introduction and gives a short flick of his eyes over Sirio-- if he has distaste over the Asmodean symbolism, it doesn't show, not as it clearly has on the faces of the other townsfolk.

"It isn't troubling, my daughter's run off, most likely with some no-good boy," he says, biting out the words with some venom. "And leaving me to do all the work! Well, when he's had his fun, and she wants to come back, we'll see what's what, then, won't we. It's a private, family matter and I'll thank you to stay out of it!"

He turns briskly away from you both, and starts trying to straighten some of the shoddy merchandise. Judging by the dust between some of the stacked hats, business is not booming.

Sense Motive DC 15:
Despite his harsh words, you get the sense that there is paternal worry there as well, disguised by his critical nature.


Plaguestone Map | Gallows of Madness Combat Map

Gathering Information en route to the Bakery (Talon, Emma)

1d4 ⇒ 2 hours

Emma's Diplomacy: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (8) + 8 = 16

Talon and Emma make their way through the town at a leisurely pace, stopping for Talon to point out local landmarks, and for Emma to deploy an earnest smile and equally earnest speech. For the most part, they don't hear much, but two graybeards throwing dice with each other muse about the rumors of missing apprentices.

"The younguns today are too trusting, not like how we were. Used to be you wouldn't so much as talk to someone from out-the-wall, meanin' no offense, miss. But the youth these days, eh... I'd wager they've just run off of their own accord, some prank or mischief... but if they haven't, then most likely they trusted someone they oughtn't, that's what I say..."

"Well, I say they probably got et by spiders the size of houses. I was in the orchard the other day grabbin' me a nice crisp'un, and I saw spiderwebs thick as me wrist, I did. And you know we used to go use the orchards to meet up with the lasses, why, I can still remember I kissed Bonny Sulliano beneath the trees in the southwest corner, I did--"

"Oh you never did, you old fool, Bonny wouldn't have given you the dirt from her slippers--"

The two descend into a tedious argument that seems to have more to do with when they were both teenagers themselves than anything currently happening in the town.


Plaguestone Map | Gallows of Madness Combat Map

Gunty's Hearty Breads (Talon, Emma)

By the time you manage to reach the bakery, you realize you've lost a fair bit of daylight to ambling and listening for rumors. After the bakery, you'll likely need to head back directly to the rendezvous point with the others.

The clerk looks a bit askance. "Oh... probably you should talk to Mr. Gunty... I'm sorry..."

He disappears through the staff door to fetch Gunty, and a moment or so later a large, bald-shaven man stomps through the door with a rhythmic clanging-- one leg has clearly been replaced with a metal-and-wood prosthetic. Old scars ripple across his shaved pate and muscular arms as he regards you both. "I've no time to jaw," he snaps. "The girl has her feelins hurt because she burned a full tray of rolls to charcoal and I gave her an earful over it. Damned over-sensitive children! They'd never have made it in the war, I tell you.... If she can't stand the heat then she'll have to find some other work than a kitchen," he says brusquely. "Now, off with you-- I'm down a pair of hands and the damn delivery cart's thrown a wheel, so buy bread from the counter-boy or get out, but that's all the time I have to talk!"

Offering to fix the wheel could be useful, and could use Craft or a relevant other skill; Kn History or another relevant skill might be useful to speak flatteringly of his obvious military past...


Male Human Cleric (Asmodean Advocate) | AL: LN | Init: +3 | Per: +11 | AC 17, T 11, FF 15 | HP: 10/18 | F +6, R +1, W +6 | Active Buffs: None | Conditions: None
GM Dien wrote:

Petrello's (Sirio, Hannelia)

The hat-maker sucks in a harsh breath at Hannelia's introduction and gives a short flick of his eyes over Sirio-- if he has distaste over the Asmodean symbolism, it doesn't show, not as it clearly has on the faces of the other townsfolk.

"It isn't troubling, my daughter's run off, most likely with some no-good boy," he says, biting out the words with some venom. "And leaving me to do all the work! Well, when he's had his fun, and she wants to come back, we'll see what's what, then, won't we. It's a private, family matter and I'll thank you to stay out of it!"

He turns briskly away from you both, and starts trying to straighten some of the shoddy merchandise. Judging by the dust between some of the stacked hats, business is not booming.

** spoiler omitted **

Sense Motive: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (3) + 3 = 6 (Should have been +5, but an 8 is not gonna cut it either)

Sirio glances at Hannelia before responding to Petrello, "Are you familiar with the boy in question? I ask because there have been similar disappearances throughout the town. I'm afraid it's not merely a family matter any longer. It is possible your daughter is in grave danger. I know you are angry with her right now, but perhaps this isn't her fault. You can start by just telling us the last time you saw her."

Maybe with sympathetic approach, he could get the old man to open up.

Diplomancy: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (5) + 8 = 13


Female Human Paladin | Alignment: LG | AC: 20 ; FF 20, T 10 | HP 26/28 | Fort+7 Reflex+3 Will+7 (+1 vs evil outsiders' spells/etc) | Init +0 | Per +0 | Active Buffs: -| Conditions: -
GM Dien wrote:

Gunty's Hearty Breads (Talon, Emma)

By the time you manage to reach the bakery, you realize you've lost a fair bit of daylight to ambling and listening for rumors. After the bakery, you'll likely need to head back directly to the rendezvous point with the others.

The clerk looks a bit askance. "Oh... probably you should talk to Mr. Gunty... I'm sorry..."

He disappears through the staff door to fetch Gunty, and a moment or so later a large, bald-shaven man stomps through the door with a rhythmic clanging-- one leg has clearly been replaced with a metal-and-wood prosthetic. Old scars ripple across his shaved pate and muscular arms as he regards you both. "I've no time to jaw," he snaps. "The girl has her feelins hurt because she burned a full tray of rolls to charcoal and I gave her an earful over it. Damned over-sensitive children! They'd never have made it in the war, I tell you.... If she can't stand the heat then she'll have to find some other work than a kitchen," he says brusquely. "Now, off with you-- I'm down a pair of hands and the damn delivery cart's thrown a wheel, so buy bread from the counter-boy or get out, but that's all the time I have to talk!"

Offering to fix the wheel could be useful, and could use Craft or a relevant other skill; Kn History or another relevant skill might be useful to speak flatteringly of his obvious military past...

Knowledge(History): 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (19) + 5 = 24

When dealing with angry people, her mother had told her, it's best not to engage directly with the anger. Nothing good will come of it. It will only fuel their anger and stoke your own.

Of course, that was easier said than done when faced with the battle-scarred burly man in front of her. It seemed wrong to have such a grizzled looking man working here in a place that gave off such wonderful smells. She felt a wave of sympathy towards the clerk for having to put up with such an attitude all day. She'd seen Talon reach for a weapon when he'd first started shouting - she would be lying if she didn't admit she'd thought of doing the same. It was too bad that rudeness wasn't considered evil - if only a Paladin could have the ability to smite such rudeness away.

Still. She'd been around enough veterans at Piren's Bluff to have picked up on some of their stories, and she had done some reading on the goblinblood wars. She could sympathize somewhat with some of what this man had potentially seen. And perhaps she could reach out. Knowledge before ignorance, her mother had said once.

"Pardon me, Mr. Gunty. we didn't mean to intrude on your time! Forgive me for asking, but your injuries, and your reference to the war - if I'm not mistaken, you're referring to the Goblinblood Wars, yes? I knew several soldiers who served in it - they stopped by Piren's Bluff on their way through Andoran and would often talk with my parents and myself about what they had seen." Emma glanced at Talon apologetically, hoping she wasn't overstepping her bounds here. If this didn't work, it would be pretty embarrassing. Still, there was nothing to do but forge ahead. "There was one man, Alain Gwerin, who served in that particular war. He lost an arm, and an eye, and he was as battled forged as they come. He was one of the men who taught me how to wield a sword, in fact. Never mind the fact that he only had the single arm. He could still fence with the best of them, and beat me nine times out of ten. Anyone who could make it through that war is definitely made of hearty material." She didn't necessarily agree with the man's grumblings, but this wasn't the time or place. She continued on, mentioning a few of the battles that Alain had spoke of, and agreed with Gunty that it was true that most of today's generation would be ill suited for such a war. The only thing that remained to be seen is if it would appeal to the grumpy baker or only stoke his anger even more.


Female Human Bard (archaeologist) 3 | AL: NG | Init: +3 | Per: +7 | AC 18, T 13, FF 15 | HP: 17/27 | F +3, R +6, W +3 | Luck 1/6 | 1st level spells 0/4 | Conditions: -3 Str
Sirio Regilianus wrote:


Sirio glances at Hannelia before responding to Petrello, "Are you familiar with the boy in question? I ask because there have been similar disappearances throughout the town. I'm afraid it's not merely a family matter any longer. It is possible your daughter is in grave danger. I know you are angry with her right now, but perhaps this isn't her fault. You can start by just telling us the last time you saw her."

Maybe with sympathetic approach, he could get the old man to open up.

Sense Motive: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (13) + 4 = 17

Slightly taken aback by the harshness of the man's tirade, Hannelia inclines her head slightly at Sirio's glance as the man moves to the fore. The opening gambit had been rebuffed but perhaps by adding context the man might be more forthcoming. She has the impression that beneath his bluster, Petrello is concerned for his daughter, but waits to see how he'll respond to Sirio's questions.


Human (Chelaxian) Male Haunt Collector (Occultist) 3 | HP 19/27 | AC 20 Touch 11 Flat 19 CMB +6 CMD 18 | Fort +5 Ref +3 Will +4 (-1 vs fear) | Speed 10 ft | Init +2; Per +6, SM +4 | Focus (Abjuration 2/4, Transmutation 3/4) | Spells (Lv1 2/4) | Active: Lead Blades, Legacy Weapon, Slow

Constantine makes a note not to attempt any magic in the Witch's End, even though his particular brand of casting would not have the traditional somatic and verbal components that most people were used to observing. He wishes the man well and once again darkens the door were Alcie waits.

To her query, he looks back out the door. Threats were not his usual parlance, and he didn't like resorting to violence. But he considered himself reasonably knowledgeable.
Knowledge (local): 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (12) + 8 = 20

Thankfully, between Roger's tour and Constantine's pre-reading before coming to the town, he found himself rather comfortable in his knowledge. He rattles off several points of useful information based on his observations, geared towards answering her question about finding people who are hiding.
"I find that a well-presented argument can soften even the hardest of minds, if you know how to reach the person. Honey, vinegar, carrot, and stick--all useful, depending on the need."


Talon AC:16 (FF:13/T:13) CMD: 16 HP: 12/12 Saves-FO:+3 RE:+5 WL:+1, Ranger1 M Half-Elf, Defenses: +2 vs Enchantment, immune: magic sleep, Senses: Percep +10, Low Light Vision

Gunty's Hearty Breads (Talon, Emma)

Well, isn't HE pleasant. Talon does his best to keep his face neutral, and keeps his mouth shut, finding himself almost in awe of how easily Emma takes control of the situation and the level of empathy she exudes while dealing with the angry baker.

In truth, there wasn't much he felt he could offer in the conversation. His own father had also been active during the goblin wars, as an archer and a scout. And horrifyingly, as a traitor. If the stories he and his mother had been told were true, then the half-elf's father had taken bribes from enemy soldiers to lead his own unit into an ambush. The shame was enough that the ranger answered to his mother' maiden name, in honor of her family rather than bearing his father's surname.

And none of that was going to help the baker's temperament or aid them in their investigation. Most likely it'd turn him against us...

Talon shook off his own distracted thoughts, focusing on the conversation before him, which Emma so obviously had well in hand. In the end, all he felt he could offer was, "Perhaps, Master Gunty, I could lend a hand in repairing your wagon? I've never done it before but I could offer a little more muscle if needed."

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