"Finally!" The gangplank slams into the dock with a definitive thud. "Welcome to Ekkeshikaar!"
You arrive in the island-city full of iruxi (sometimes called Lizardfolk), alongside Venture-Captain Eras the Needle and Calisro Benarry herself, leader of the Horizon Hunters faction. As ship hands begin moving supplies and arguing with the quartermaster, a delegation begins to lead you to the embassy suite. Mirian Raas set up the expedition but she's an explorer, not a politician. She quickly bids her goodbyes and best wishes as she points you at the embassy.
A palace of white stone reaches above the city line and gives you a beautiful view of the sun-soaked island. The conference room is just large enough to fit all of you. Eras the Needle begins preparing documentation while Captain Benarry pulls out her favorite rum. Eras waits for you to finish introducing yourselves to your teammates before speaking about the mission.
Feel free to introduce yourselves.
Does anyone have the Ally of the Iruxi boon?
With a flourished bow a male human presents himself. Greetings! I'm Bronz... I'm Patfhinder Agent Kamil Durus, Connoisseur of both Arts and Blade.
Kamil is an handsome well dressed human male, and at his side a unusual blade of Tian origin. Being clearly of chelaxian heritage he, strangely, has the tan skin of people more accustomed to jungle and sun than a Cheliaxian climate.
He moves gracefully into the room, his armor clinging lightly as he walks. His eyes are cold, despite the warm of his smile.
An iruxi wearing not much more than a modesty cloth and a belt full of freshly-caught fish is sitting in the room. "Hey all, the name's Thrass. I guess I was sent on this mission because I'm a fellow iruxi? Though I'm not very diplomatic, so if it comes to me to do the talking, I guess things have gone pretty far down the drain. Fish, anyone?"
He unhooks a fish from his belt, takes a big chomp off the head, and offers anyone who is interested a bite.
That's a raw fish isn't it? says a female aasimar. I think I shall pass thank you but I appreciate the offer. As for the diplomacy, don't you worry about that. I may have enough for the both of us. She smiles at Thrass before looking around for some tea.
My name is Celestia Sol, and, as it happens, I was an Emissary before becoming a Pathfinder. I am an Angelic Sorcerer of Desna so I tap into the Divine for my magic. My bloodline is, however, Azata.
She wears white, light, cotton, knee length robes, adorned with a holy symbol of Desna and no visible weapons.
And greetings to you too Kamil. I guess it will be my job to keep you all alive.
Sylvia Dyspell straightens her long black hair before nervously adjusting her glasses.
"Hello fellow Pathfinders, I can hardly believe I've been a field agent for almost four years now... I used to work in the Mortuary in the Grand Lodge, after defending my station during the waking of the Whispering Tyrant I got promoted to field agent. It's been exciting, but scary too."
Sylvia is unarmored and has a large reinforced tome attached to her belt via several brass rings along with numerous other magical trinkets and supplies.
She does keep her distance from the chewed on fish.
No 1-09 credit here.
A swarthy male human makes himself known. He seems to be accompanied by a dromaeosaur.
"Greetings. The name is Azu and this is Ako."
The man is clearly a Ranger. He carries a light hammer, longswords, a and shortbow. He's dressed in a cloak and leather armor.
"Greetings, everyone." Eras the Needle clears his throat. "Tomorrow is a very important day. The Pathfinder Society hopes to negotiate trading routes with the Ekkeshikaar council. While some of the Iruxi here are willing to listen to us, others are more reluctant-" Calisro burps and takes another swig from her bottle.
Eras continues. "First and foremost, we need you to recover some documents from the city’s Hall of Records. We’ve already identified the documents we need, which outline some of the finer points of local law, as well as the details of the original trade agreement with the people of Vidrian. We put in a request for the documents days ago, but we have continued to be met with red tape and bureaucratic delays. Without these documents, we’re essentially going into the negotiations blind."
"We do have an in, so to speak." He tilts his head towards Calisro, who raises her bottle in appreciation. "By happenstance, we’ve already agreed to send a stack of Pathfinder Chronicles to the Hall of Records to be transcribed. These particular chronicles come with a rather complex index written in Hallit, which is not a language known here. Someone will be spending a fair deal of time assisting the clerks in translating, organizing, and otherwise sorting through the chronicles. If it’s you, you’ll have plenty of time to get to know these bureaucrats—and perhaps learn a bit about the iruxi yourselves.”
Calisro kicks her feet off the table and produces a wooden box. "I have a faster way. See this stamp on the box? Taldan coat of arms, labeled ‘Voinarum Glade Winery: 4700 ar’. She grins. “I’ve never known a bureaucrat who would say no to a good bottle of wine. Just offer it as a thank you gift for ‘expediting our request,’ and try not to wink or nudge them with your elbow as you do it. That way, you don’t have to spend the whole afternoon sorting papers.”
Eras sighs. "Again with the bribery... I won't ask about your methods, as long as it is accomplished quickly. We have other tasks for you to accomplish, and the less time it takes the better."
Are there any questions you'd like to ask them?
You can make a Society or Iruxi Lore (Recall Knowledge) to recall knowledge about iruxi culture and society.
You can make a Iruxi or Mercantile Lore (Recall Knowledge) to recall knowledge about the Vidrian's trade history and the iruxi nations to the south.
You all have 1 Hero Point. Feel free to make your purchases now before heading off to the Hall of Records.
Before the briefing starts:
He unhooks a fish from his belt, takes a big chomp off the head, and offers anyone who is interested a bite.
"Hmp. Sure, thanks." A half-orc woman with a perpetual hunched posture and a resting-grouch-face reaches a long skinny arm across the table to accept the fish, biting into its flank like corn on the cob. Pulling a small piece out of her mouth, she stuffs it into her pocket. A squeak of thanks follows. "Hmp. Good fish. I like you already." She has a voice like boulders grinding over gravel. Her well-worn travel clothes are more practical than stylish, hanging loosely over her frame. Like Celestia and Sylvia, she's clearly not a brawler; the only weapons she has on her look like they've never been used.
And back to the present:
Licking the last of the fish bits off her fingers, Itka grunts: "Hmp. I don't know Hallit. Let's try the wine. Can't hurt, especially if we don't wink. Hmp. So, some iruxi are reluctant to listen. Do you know why?" Fear of change (cultural or individual)? Cultural differences/misunderstandings? Past wrongs, perceived or actual? Theories spin through her mind, all hanging in limbo for now.
Celestia thinks about iruxi society and makes a critical discovery.
Although they are referred to as “lizardfolk” by most other humanoids, the name they use for themselves is iruxi. The simple villages that most outsiders associate with iruxi are the homes of migrants in outlying regions. In true centers of iruxi civilization, such as Ekkeshikaar, they build impressive complexes of glass and stone. It is rumored that a vast empire of dinosaur-riding iruxi, known as Droon, dominates southern Garund, in territory beyond any maps common to the Inner Sea region.
Various forms of divination, but especially astrology, are of vital importance in iruxi culture. However, while they often have one eye on the future, they are patient and cautious, with strong ties to tradition that occasionally make them seem slow to act.
That's all of the information you can learn about iruxi culture and society. You may make an additional Society or Mercantile Lore check to learn about Vidrian's trade history.
Mirian Raas speaks up, not keeping her eyes off the jungle. "Jekka and I can be there to translate Hallit if you need it." She sighs. "The sooner the better. That way I get more time to explore the lands outside the city limits."
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"So," Thrass begins, counting off three clawed fingers, "the mission is basically, get paperwork done, gather more paperwork, and join the negotiations tomorrow? Will we be part of that? That doesn't seem like it'd take six people. Maybe I can make fish sandwiches for everyone."
He doesn't seem too enthused about doing paperwork or being part of a diplomatic circle.
"You said there were other tasks as well?" Thrass looks for any excuse to not be part of the first group.
Inspirational image, by the way. Though maybe slightly derpier than that. Thrass isn't the brightest of the bunch.
Also, great pictures, everyone! I'm getting major She-Ra vibes from Celestia. :)
Wand of Mage Armor(1) : AC 21
Wand of Longstrider(2) : +10ft movement for 8 hours
Wand of Teeming Ghosts(2) : 10 temp HP (If I have any hp left I can sacrifice them to upgrade a frightened 1 I apply to frightened 2.
Society: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (9) + 12 = 21
Sylvia adjusts her glasses a trio of wisps now slowly orbiting around her, "I .. I think I read something about Vidrian..."
Sylvia has dubious knowledge.
Sylvia and Kamil confer notes and come to the same conclusion about Vidrian's history.
When Cheliax established its colony of Sargava, now overthrown and replaced by the nation of Vidrian, it redirected all trade in the region northward. Chelaxian troops drove off iruxi traders during the early years of colonization, seeing the iruxi as monsters, and the iruxi ceased sending trade vessels into Sargavan waters.
Unless someone makes a critical discovery, that's the extent to their knowledge.
"Other tasks, yes." Miriaan sighs. "Knowing Eras, he wants you all to focus on this one first."
"You're correct, Miriaan." Eras glares at her then looks at Calisro Benarry for support. She uncorks a second bottle in response. Exasperated, he focuses on the mission. "Normally I'd have a list of instructions for you and you would scurry off until your primary objective is complete. But we really do need those documentations first. You can do the other tasks while we look them over."
Feel free to purchase equipment, aim for a critical on Recall Knowledge, or ask more questions.
Once everyone is prepped, we can move on to the next location. Everyone starts with 2 hero points because of the GM glyphs.
So it seems that we have two options to get the documents?
One is to offer gifts to expediate the process of getting the documents.
The other is to help translate some documents we brought to get into the good grace of the person in charge.
Am I right?
I have no problem with the first option, but I've not joined the Society to follow the same tricks from my former employer. The second option is, in my opinion, better to start a strong relationship with the local population on the long term.
Itka works her jaw like a cow chewing cud as she mulls over the Sylvia and Kamil's knowledge of Vidrian's trade history.
Society: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (4) + 11 = 15
Unfortunately, she hasn't studied it much. But one question does pop into her head. "Hmp. What are the common languages here?"
Jekka pipes up. "Ah yes! Currently, we're speaking Taldane, often referred to as the Common tongue." He rolls his eyes and flicks out his tongue. "Luckily many people still speak this language - a holdover from Chileax. But you will also find the commonly used language of the Mwangi people around here, usually called Mwangi." His frills shoot up. "The iruxi of this region have their own language but we won't find much of it in the capital, unless someone's mocking you behind your back."
"Thanks brother. I'm certain you bored them half to death." Miriaan finishes collecting her adventuring gear. "But since they can speak Hallit, they don't need your help. Which means it's time for a jungle hike!" She waves good bye to everyone. "See you at the meeting!"
Jekka quickly turns after his sister and doubles his pace. "W-wait!" He gives a quick wave before giving chase.
Calisro Benarry burps again. "Get that paperwork, please."
The Ekkeshikaar Hall of Records is an imposing stone building with a massive central dome made of blue-green glass. Surrounding the main building are a number of tall, spiraling minarets that transition at the highest levels from smooth stone to gleaming glass. The interior is no less impressive, with the glass-filtered sunlight creating beautiful patterns on the stone floors, themselves engraved with different patterns, that complement and seem to change with the light as it moves across the floor with the time of day.
You are soon directed a female iruxi named Narsha. "Ah, greetings... Pathfinders." She briefly looks up from her seat before returning to her documentation. "As I told your superiors, your request was added to the queue and will be processed in the order it was received. There are many others who would like their requests processed."
If you critically succeeded, read the spoiler below.
You have a few options here to speed up the request.
- You could offer Benarry's wine. You might have to drink it, though...
- You could offer to help her with the documents, although this will take a long time.
- You could try to Intimidate her, although word travels far.
- You could try to distract Narsha and steal the documents at the same time. Don't get caught!
perception: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (6) + 9 = 15
Isn't that always the case? Celestia grins. Everyone wants their requests done first. Still is there anything we can do to help? We were told that you had received a bundle of our Chronicles but the index is in Hallit. As it happens, we could help by translating that for you.
diplomacy: 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (17) + 13 = 30
Back during the briefing.
"I can speak iruxi, and talking to people in their native tongue usually helps, right? I'll be on the lookout -hearout, I guess,- for anyone giving us a bad name."
In the office.
Perception check: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (15) + 12 = 27
Thrass swings his tail in what he hopes is an amicable fashion.
"Yeah," he agrees with Celestia, "we've got some real smart people with us. I'm sure the paperwork will be done in no time."
He starts unhooking another fish from his belt and points with it at the small stack of paperwork. "That to-do list will be gone before you know it. Can I interest you in a fish? Freshly caught this morning."
Before hand Celestia would have asked Thrass for some simple Iruxi words such as the translations for Please, Thank you, Hello, Sorry, Goodbye, and Help. She believes that when in a new land, it sometimes impresses the natives if you at least try to speak their language.
Perception: 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (15) + 13 = 28
Azu's eyes notice that the Pathfinder's request is the only one on the pile. Closing his eyes and focusing on her voice, Azu makes Narsha is prey, listening for further deception.
Perception: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (9) + 8 = 17
Kamil fights to not follow his first instinct to coerce the iruxi as he's used to. Instead, he stays behind Celestia and smiles.
With a flourish bow he says, in Mwangi without an accent Pleasure to meet you, I'm Kamil. Where do we start?
With a sigh, Narsha takes the Pathfinder bundle and unwraps it. "Right here. The preamble is in Hallit. Something about radishes or rutabagas, I'm not certain..."
Over the next few hours you learn about vegetable trade routes, humidity and soil, exotic spices and harvest traditions and ceremonies.
Each of you may attempt a single Deception, Diplomacy, or Society check to attempt to win over Narsha. An appropriate Lore skill check (such as Academia, Accounting, or Library) can be used instead. This is optional, so please tell me if you decide not to roll.
Celesita is able to pick up on a bit of iruxi language, and critically impresses Narsha, although she tries to appear neutral.
Celestia rolled already, so she doesn't need to roll again.
Kamil puts his best smile and play the perfect librarian.
Look! This treaty on how to grow pink radish in the jungle is quite interesting. It will go perfectly with Difference between radishes and carrots on the Mwangi Expanse!
Deception: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (13) + 12 = 25
Thrass keeps himself busy by offering to fetch drinks, haul stacks of books to and fro, giving (kinda rough) massages, and generally being a menial labourer.
Not trained in any of these skills, sorry. Don't wanna botch it for the rest.
Perception DC 22: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (17) + 9 = 26
Hmp. There's something more going on here. I can't be the only one who noticed that. Itka's a little annoyed that no one offered the wine, but perhaps they're saving it as a back up plan. Once she's giving a section of Chronicles to work on, she finds a place to sit, casts Comprehend Languages on herself, and gets to work. Each time she finishes a section, she checks in with Narsha and tries to engage her in conversation about the sociopolitical structure and machinations of iruxi society.
Society: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (15) + 11 = 26
"Yes, yes, the Droon Empire has been allies with us for years." Narsha mumbles inbetween paragraphs of text. "We are loathe to upset such a large neighbor, as they provide us access to many goods and services Sar- Vidrian has ever had."
"But pink radishes? I've never heard of that..." She lightens up a bit throughout the day and opens up a bit more about iruxi culture. She can't wait to watch the rematch between the national champions and the dreaded Globtrotters. They seem to win every game with minimal effort.
All of you learn a few things about iruxi society that they otherwise wouldn’t have, granting you a +1 circumstance bonus on further checks to interact with iruxi bureaucrats and politicians.
You return to the embassy with a handful of papers. Eras nudges Calisro as she bolts awake, managing not to spill any liquid from her ceramic mug. "Wha-? Oh! Good job Pathfinders, I knew you could do it!"
“Yes. Wonderful,” exclaims Eras as he sets the papers aside after a quick glance through them. “I’m sure these will be invaluable tomorrow. But our work is far from over. There is a visiting diplomat of some renown, known as Kesstraka, who is visiting on business from further south. If we could convince her to help represent Vidrian’s interests, or at least argue in favor of the trade deal, her words would certainly carry a great deal of weight during the negotiations.
As luck would have it, she’s staying here in the same embassy building we are. She’s asked to meet with you in her garden quarters just outside.”
Calisro speaks up, waving a drink in the air as she speaks to underscore her point. “If you ask me, your best bet is the old ‘stick and carrot’ approach: talk some big talk about the last guys who didn’t want to trade, maybe drop a few hints that Vidrian’s navy is a bit bigger than it really is, and get her to agree to help out. You can always smooth things over later by holding a couple minor trade concessions up your sleeve.”
“Alternatively,” Eras interjects, mildly frustrated, “if you don’t want to risk starting an international incident, you could simply tell her a few tales of derring-do and adventure, and once she’s warmed up to you a bit, broach the topic of her aid then.”
“The important thing,” says Calisro, lounging back and taking a long sip of her drink, “is to get her on our side and come right back here, because there’s still one more job we have for you today.”
Calisro scratches her chin. "Well, she likes to talk about her mother, who was also a diplomat. Eh, technically she was born parthenogenically." Eras pauses, clearly impressed. "What? I know a bit about biology."
"Most of you here took a little bit from your mom and a little bit from your dad when you were born. Kesstraka took everything from her mother. She looks exactly the same, sounds exactly the same. They even both became ambassadors from Ekkeshikaar to Droon, a large iruxi empire even further South." Benarry pours herself another drink. "Don't let the identical blood confuse you, they are different people."
"Anyway, she's a famous diplomat. She wants to hear about other societies and cultures. She wants to know about people's homelands and their lives beyond their jobs. Keep your ears open."
"Hmp. I have some pocket bacon if you want it. Seems like sharing about our homelands could pique her interest. Grease the rails, so to speak. Hmp." Itka glowers darkly at the prospect; she hates being reminded of Nidal.
"I have an aunt who's partnergenic," Thrass pipes up out of nowhere. "It makes family reunions a bit awkward. Family members confusing them for each other and stuff. Just be careful who you give a kiss on the cheek."
An awkward silence follows.
"Anyway, I'm not sure my hometown's that much different. Though we have much less impressive architecture. Not sure that's a good thing, though. So, be nice, talk about how cool we are, then come back. Would that bottle of wine be a good present?"
Doesn't seem like I'd be of much use here, either. Sorry I didn't bring a more social character!
Better not confuse her with her mother then. says Kamil.
But I'm sure that between us all, we will be able to tell her stories she never heard! That will be enough to entertain her and make sure she will be on our side.
The interior of the embassy is home to a sprawling and luxurious courtyard and garden, including several chairs and tables on a terrace overlooking a stream. Although at first glance the area seems peaceful and idyllic, with no sign of anyone else in the garden, a loud hiss draws attention to a hideous lizard-like creature with eight legs and an unsettling gaze.
The iruxi woman stares directly into its eyes. "Oh. That's not good..."
Standing in front of the creature, slowly backing away from it, is an iruxi woman, whose faded green scales quickly turn to grey, and then her body completely transforms to stone.
A total of five of them quickly crawl onto the garden and set their sights on you.
Azu: 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (15) + 13 = 28
Thrass: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (2) + 12 = 14
Sylvia: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (12) + 12 = 24
Itka: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (16) + 11 = 27
Celestia: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (2) + 9 = 11
Kamil: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (11) + 8 = 19
Hiss: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (18) + 11 = 29
The creatures quickly close in on you. The lizards with White and Purple frills spend all of their effort to get down the stairs, while the one with Red frills manages to critically bite Celestia.
Even is Celestia: 1d2 ⇒ 2
Red Bite: 1d20 + 15 ⇒ (18) + 15 = 33
Piercing Damage: 2d8 + 4 ⇒ (4, 7) + 4 = 15
The Green and Yellow frilled lizards move forward but keep their distance. They immediately lock their gaze and their eyes emanate an unhealthy shine. The Yellow one stares at Sylvia, while the Green one looks at Kamil.
1 is Itka, 2 is Sylvia, 3 is Azu's dino, 4 is Azu, 5 is Celestia: 1d5 ⇒ 2
1 is Celestia, 2 is Azu, 3 is Kamil, 4 is Thrass: 1d4 ⇒ 3
The lizards are quick to react to any of your movements.
Yellow reacts to: 1 is Itka, 2 is Sylvia, 3 is Azu's dino, 4 is Azu, 5 is Celestia: 1d5 ⇒ 5
Green reacts to: 1 is Celestia, 2 is Azu, 3 is Kamil, 4 is Thrass: 1d4 ⇒ 1
1 is Itka, 2 is Sylvia, 3 is Azu's dino, 4 is Azu, 5 is Kamil, 6 is Thrass, 7 is Celestia
White reacts to: 1d7 ⇒ 5
Red reacts to: 1d7 ⇒ 3
Purple reacts to: 1d7 ⇒ 3
Azu (Azu's dino must make 4 Fort Saves DC 20 at the start of their turn)
Sylvia (Fort Save DC 22 or Slowed 1)
Kamil (Fort Save DC 22 or Slowed 1, must make a Fort Save DC 20 at the start of your turn)
Celestia (30 damage, must make 2 Fort Saves DC 20 at the start of your turn)
You are slowed 1.
You turn to stone and are permanently petrified.
Yup, these are basilisks. If you can see them, their gaze can turn you to stone. The good news is you can bathe a recently petrified victim in freshly-killed basilisk blood to reverse the effect. 3 medium sized people can restored with one dead basilisk.
"Er... This isn't good. Are these things supposed to be loose? I don't wanna cause problems by killing some ambassador's pets."
Thrass goes to stand on his tippy-toes in order to react swiftly to any danger. He lifts one leg up in the air and raises his arms wide, ready to lash out with his limbs.
Action 1: Crane Stance. AC goes up to 24.
His raised leg lashes out quickly twice, connecting with the face of the lizard right in front of Celestia.
Action 2: Flurry of Blows.
+1 Striking Crane Wing attack: 1d20 + 14 ⇒ (8) + 14 = 22
Nonlethal bludgeoning damage: 2d6 + 4 ⇒ (5, 1) + 4 = 10
+1 Striking Crane Wing attack: 1d20 + 14 - 4 ⇒ (5) + 14 - 4 = 15
Thrass quickly grabs his healer's tools from his backpack and tries to disinfect Celestia's wounds.
Battle Medicine, DC 15: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (19) + 11 = 30
Healing for Celestia: 4d8 ⇒ (5, 6, 7, 2) = 20