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6) Let's have some fun and tell a great story together! After all, that's what we are here for.
You have traveled by river boat up the East Sellen river to Restov, the capital of Brevoy. As you disembark, Marcos Farabellus greets you on the docks. He is a man of sturdy build with a bald head and a full beard.
"Ah, agents! So very good to see you! Welcome to Restov. I hope your journey wasn't too bothersome. This time of year the mosquitoes on the Sellen can be worse than falling face first and buck naked into a patch of poison ivy." Marcos punctuates his own jest with a bellowing laugh. "Let's get you all a bit freshened up before I get to the heart of the matter."
Marcos leads you to a nearby street vendor who sells fried fish and vegetables. He buys each of you a portion and buys himself a skewer of crayfish. While everyone eats and walks, he elaborates on the mission.
Go ahead and introduce yourselves
Steady blue skin and bold head and beady eyes, the hobgoblin in chain mail disembarks with his breaching pike and his backpack.
Thank you, captain. Horul, at your orders.
He takes the offer to get some fried fish.
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Norbwald is an armored purple haired gnome. They look a bit dishoveled and down on their luck, frequently drinking from a contained wrapped in a old canvas bag.
"Call me Norbwald. Need a few more coin to get through the week. Glad to get a real society mission soon." sulks the gnome.
"I used to run an orphanage for aspiring fighter children in Absalom, but ever since the new weight restrictions on the flickmace, business just hasn't been the same. The change literally killed me." jokes Norbwald.
He'll offer a sip of his hidden purple beverage to anybody that's polite enough to listen.
The quiet female android follows the others down the gangway. Her pale skin is so white that it almost looks silvery in the afternoon light, and the thin blue tattoos on her face and upper arms even glow softly.
She wears no armor, only a long robe slit up the sides with sensible pants beneath (think Vietnamese ao dai). She carries only a dagger for a weapon, but has a basic pack and a few small items.
"Thank you, Captain," she says in a soft monotone as she accepts and tastes the fried fish. "I am Locus-22," she introduces herself, running the numbers together so that it almost sounds like she called herself a locust. But surely not.... Though she does have a large prominent tattoo of a locust on her upper left arm....
She politely declines the purple beverage of unknown provenance, and nods to Tirx and Horul.
"Mosquitos are never bad, Captain," she chides the big man. "They only wish to feed. As do we all." She emphasizes the point by waving the fried fish in his direction before finishing it off.
A creature that appears to be some manner of overgrown cactus dressed in simple leather armor and a wide-brimmed hat ambles along after the rest of the group. A single pistol hangs holstered at the plant's side. Once the group stops for a bite, he nods at each of the other Pathfinders as they give their names.
"Name's Bugtussle. Nice to meetchoo folks," he remarks as he politely waves away the offer of food. "Thank ya sir, but just water and a little of this fine sunshine'll do me just fine. Not meaning any offense or anything - it's just wasted on folks like me what can't really appreciate it."
As the rest of the group enjoys their meal, the leshy carefully removes his hat before opening his waterskin and pouring a small amount over and around the appendages that pass for his feet. "Ahhh, that's the good stuff," Bugtussle sighs as he soaks up the water and the sun. "So anyway, Norbwald - you said you used to run an orphanage, right? All good and noble of you but how'd you make ends meet before the flickmace market went belly up? Orphans ain't known for their deep pockets and all..."
|Tinsley Tyler The Tamperer|
A tall woman with ponytailed hair in her subterfuge suit that hisses and ticks like the sound of gears, arrives at the scene and introduces herself. "Greetings! I am Tinsley."
"Well met, Venture Captain. What mission do we have here in Restov?"
"First off, thank you for coming. This is a bit of an unusual Â‘mission', so let me get right to it. I received a challenge recently from Orlaelia Aldori. She's an up-and-coming swordmaster here in Restov. Claims her students are capable of besting any of mine. Now, I get challenges like that all the time, and normally I ignore them. But this time? Well, there's a little bit more to it. A double-edged sword, so to speak." He lets out a small chuckle. "Which is apt, because one of these extras is a sword. Orlaelia has bet Inheritor's Fury, her old longsword, on this deal. She used to be a Mendevian crusader, you see, and the sword has seen the depths of the Worldwound. It's a relic in its own right and an item the Society would love to study in depth, not to mention a valuable piece of modern history deserving proper cataloging and preservation.
"[b]While the pursuit of a relic alone would not merit taking you away from your other duties, this challenge also gives us a chance to make new friends and acquaintances in Restov. It's been a while since the society had an active presence here. Rising to this challenge could give us a friendly rival at worst and some new friends at best."
"Orlaelia, though a veteran of many battles, is still Taldan at heart, from what I know at least, and still loves the arts. So! While this challenge will culminate in a duel between you and her students, she will most likely have a few other tests in mind that go beyond raw combat. Who can say what they'll be. From what I hear her style is quite practical, but old veterans like us see lessons in the strangest of places." He smiles, perhaps thinking of similar examples from his own past, though doesn't elaborate further. "I've opened up Birchwood Hall, our lodge here. Haven't managed to get all the damp and dust out yet, but that shouldn't bother us overmuch. I'm sure you've all seen much worse during your travels."
You arrive at Birchwood Hall just as Marcos finishes speaking. He leads you inside the building, through the main sitting room and into a wood paneled conference room. There's a faint smell of dust in the air that the open windows have yet to dispel.
Horul's Society (T): 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (18) + 7 = 25
Locus-22's PFS Lore (T): 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (13) + 8 = 21
Tinsley Tyler The Tamperer's Society (T): 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (19) + 7 = 26
Well fortunately many in Restov are eager to see the Society return to the city. That’s a good point to begin with.
|Tinsley Tyler The Tamperer|
"I remember Venture-Captain Alvar Hadrias greatly enjoyed fashion and collected many outfits and items during his time leading the lodge. Some of these have been brought to other lodges or museums due to their historical value, but many are still stored in the rooms on the second floor of the lodge. Maybe we can check that out." Tinsley is eager to go to the second floor.
Marcos leads you through the lodge. Once you've gathered in the conference room, he turns to all of you with a warning.
"Because you're all representing the society, I expect that you be on your best behavior. I will not tolerate any of you trying to undermine or sabotage these events. If the trials require you to use deceit, then by all means, do so. But I expect fair play from all of you. Is that clear?"
As Marcos delivers his warning, you hear a loud knock on the front door. Marcos bids you to follow him to the front sitting room and has you look impressive before opening the door.
Marcos opens the door with an air of nervousness. A party of five waits outside, led by a middle-aged woman with her dark hair pulled back into a simple knot. She wears woolen trousers beneath her sensible skirts and a thick leather jerkin with an emblem embroidered on the right side.
"Marcos Farabellus!" the woman grins widely and gives him a firm--and long--handshake. While this extended handshake goes on, you take note that the four students behind her wear similar jerkins. All carry a distinctive Aldori dueling sword strapped to their hips. "I thought you said there were five?" she asks. "Don't expect us to go easy on you," she adds with a competitive twinkle in her eye.
The leader of the group enters the lodge, trailed by her students. "I am Orlaelia Aldori, " she gestures to her students, "and these are my students. Introduce yourselves, please!"
The first to introduce herself is a half orc woman with long black hair in an intricate braid. She wears her school jerkin partially open to reveal a spotless white blouse underneath. Her pants are a light brown linen and don’t show a crease out of place. "I am Dura Aldori," she says and throws a wink at Tinsley.
A human man in his late twenties with short brown hair steps up next. "I am Halran Aldori," he says and gives you a fancy bow. He completes his school jerkin with riding pants and boots and wears a single pearl earring in his right ear.
"I am Rhenei Aldori," a white and gray furred ysoki says brusquely as they give an equally curt curtsy. Their school jerkin has a few extra pockets sewn on and they wear colorful layered skirts along with wraps around their back paws, leaving the toes open.
The final student, a gnome with golden hair in a bowl cut that looks as if she performed it herself, practically thrums with energy. She looks ready to explode into a thousand questions, but ends up saying, "Thisnabel Aldori! I am. Me. That's me, I mean." Her school jerkin looks as if it had several minor accidents with various substances and bears odd stains. She wears practical leather pants laced up down the sides and leather boots which have seen better days.
Marcos turns to you and says, "And my Pathfinders are..."
Norbwald gives a quick bow. his armor and cloak obscuring most of his body, but a copious amount of purple hair does flow out from his helmet.
"Norbald here." he tries to say respectfully as he holds his beverage containing burlap sack half behind his back.
|Tinsley Tyler The Tamperer|
Tinsley blushes when she receives the wink. Attempting to leave a lasting impression, she spins around as if she were wearing a dress and attempts a ladylike bow, but almost loses her balance in the process. With a timid voice, she introduces herself as "Tinsley" and tries to regain her composure, overcoming her embarrassment.
"Name's Bugtussle. Just Bugtussle," the leshy answers, giving a respectful tip of his hat to the students. "Looking forward to a little friendly competition for a change of pace!"
Locus-22 acknowledges the Captain's instructions and bows in a northern Garundi style to Orlaelia Aldori first. "I am Locus-22," she says, again slurring the digits into the name. She holds the swordmaster's eye for an uncomfortably long few seconds, looks over to Farabellus as if to speak then switches back to the Aldoris once more before finally settling her unsettling gaze on the Pathfinder Captain.
"Sir, how are these duels to be conducted? I myself am not a swordsman, nor I think are some others," she glances to Bugtussle and his gun (guns, plural?). "As a Pathfinder, I work best in Cooperation with teammates."
She pauses as she quickly catalogs her spell options to herself. "In addition, I have no options for dealing less than lethal damage with my mental and magical abilities."
"I would not wish to - as they say - 'fry someone's brain' in what is supposed to be a friendly challenge." Her soft, flat delivery and lack of smile makes it unclear if she's just joking about frying their brains or not. Probably not, though.
Noting Locus-22's glance his direction, Bugtussle can't help but chuckle. "True, I usually like to let my pal here," he pats his pistol, "do most of the talking when push comes to shove and things get ugly, but it ain't the only tool up my sleeve."
To illustrate his point, he lifts the flap on his pack just enough that you can see the curled shape of a whip lying at the very top of his belongings.
"Well met, Pathfinders. I have heard of your exploits. Although we will duel eventually, there are other aspects of your training I would like to test my students on. My experiences in the crusades fighting demons have taught me that to not only survive, but win decisively, one needs more than a strong sword arm and quick reflexes. I therefore propose three challenges. The third challenge is obviously the duel between my students and yourselves. I will let you choose the first two challenges."
Orlaelia hands you a list of challenges that she prepared:
The swordlord goes on to describe several tests of various skills both physical and mental. "A flyting, bragging, and insult competition to demonstrate each contestant's wit. Unnerving your opponent can win a battle before it is even fought." She explains the rules to you (Lie, Demoralize, Perform, or Make an Impression: get 3 successes before 3 failures, critical is double).
"A good poem can impress friends and allies and discredit an enemy, giving an advantage before a duel even starts. Each team could craft a poem." (You can write a poem as a team. There are four rounds/revisions. Each round, each PC gets to make a check. The first round, a PC--the first to succeed if multiple tries are necessary--rolls an Arcana, Nature, Occultism, or Religion check to define the topic of the poem. After that, none of the other skills on that list can be used. Subsequent rounds can use the topic skill to recall more facts, Society to improve the language, or Performance to improve the meter.[ooc])
To test everyone's physical prowess without resorting to duels, Orlaelia likes a good, old-fashioned tug of war. It not only tests raw strength, but also teamwork and steadiness.([ooc]Over several rounds, each of you makes an Acrobatics check to keep your footing, Athletics check to pull the rope, or Diplomacy or Perform to motivate your teammates.)
"During official duels and training matches there is always a first aid professional close by; however, by their nature duelists usually aren’t so lucky when accepting a challenge in the heat of the moment outside of such formal settings. I have seen enough of her friends and comrades die in the Worldwound before first aid could reach them. It’s always best to be prepared and have someone on your team trained to save your life." (You will treat "wounds" on a mock patient. Skills are Medicine, Crafting, or Perception. Simple majority of success to win.)
"Sometimes you have to take down an opponent in an unconventional way, without harming them." (You need to catch a house cat that will be provided. Stealth, Thievery, or Survival. Alternatively, you could cast a non-damaging (not just non-lethal) spell that reasonably aids in capturing a skittish cat by expending the spell and making a check according to the tradition of the spell cast. Simple majority of success to win.)
|Tinsley Tyler The Tamperer|
"Cat calling sounds fun!" Tinsley jumps in excitement. "Can we do that? And how about Battefield Conditions? It is fun too to be blindfolded just like when I was a kid, chasing friends while being blindfolded. Ah, such fun if we do that too!"
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"Huh. This just got a lot more interestin'," Bugtussle muses as it's left to them to choose the other two tasks. "Kinda like the idea of an insult contest...and it's hard to beat a good game of tug-of-war..."
The leshy glances around at his allies, considering what little he knows of them. "All that bein' said, I ain't afraid of trying a little field medic work or cat-wrangling or an obstacle course. But poems? Ehhh...I'd do my best but I ain't making any promises on that one."
Bugtussle has at least one relevant skill he can use for any of the challenges but his own personal priority would probably be something like: Tug of War, Battlefield Conditions/Insults, Cat Calling, Medicine, Poetry.
Locus-22 considers the options carefully and quietly before speaking.
"I lack the understanding of humanoid humor and feelings to contribute to the Insults challenge, and in fact, I feel I would be a liability."
"Are these to be done today? If not, I could change spells to help better."
Really only with cat-calling using mud-pit spell.
"I suppose I would not be a complete hinderance in a tug of war, nor in crafting medicines."
Can she use her familiar to guide her through the obstacle course? It's a class feature and it has Speech?
She's a little sad that no one else asked for poetry, but you'd never know it from her tone.
"As a translator, words are my forte. I would relish the chance to attempt the poetry challenge, but I understand that not everyone would be as enthused about it as I."
Rank Ordered: Poetry > Medicine > cat-call > Tug of War > Battlefield (w/ familiar). Opposed to doing Insults.
"Well, sounds like most everyone's game for some tug of war...or at least ain't opposed to it," Bugtussle remarks, nodding at Locus-22. "How's about that and either playing doctor or making a poem? Seems like it'd be a decent split."
Thinking along the lines of one 'physical' task and one 'non-physical/thinking' task, perhaps?
"شكرا جزيلا على اهتمامك المهذب, Bugtussle," Locus-22 says in Kelish. She's fairly certain the gunslinger is likely to speak it given where guns typically come from. And from his outfit. :)
"Thank you very much for your polite consideration."
She nods over to Horul as she continues. "The tug of war would be acceptable. And perhaps we can set a good example by showing how well we take care of each other and of the innocents that we encounter."
To be honest, my character wants to do Poetry. But the Player would have great difficulty composing in rhyme and meter. So I second Tug of War and Medicine.
Well, looks like tug-of-war will be first
Marcos and Oraelia produce a rope and bid you to follow them. They lead you to the garden where wwo lines are drawn in the grass in front of the lodge, 30 feet apart. A ribbon is tied at the center of the rope and the rope is laid at the midpoint between the lines. The students take up one end of the rope and you take up the other end. The goal is to pull the ribbon completely over a team's line.
The tug of war takes place over several rounds. Every round, each PC attempts one skill check, chosen from the following options:
Acrobatics to keep your feet firmly planted
Athletics to pull the rope
Performance/Diplomacy to motivate and coordinate your teammates (harder DC)
Any other skill ok if you can make it fit
Each round you generate "Pull Points (PP)" based on your skill checks:
CS: 2 Pull Points
S: 1 Pull Point
CF: -1 Pull Point
3 PP - move the rope 5'
6 PP - move the rope 10'
First one to move the rope 15' wins!
Marcos and Oraelia give the signal. "GO!"
Go ahead and make your checks!
At my orders… pull!
The hobgoblin pulls the rope himself to show to the soldiers how to proceed.
Athletics: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (5) + 6 = 11
|Tinsley Tyler The Tamperer|
At the moment they are instructed to pull the rope, Tinsley makes sure that she keeps her feet steady on the ground. "Yes! Pull! Come on, guys! We can do this!" she cheers while pulling.
Acrobatics: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (11) + 6 = 17
"Ei, cap problema, amic. No és tan divertit si la gent es deixa fora, oi?" Bugtussle rattles back; the dialect of Kelish is a bit unexpected to Locus-22's sensors but still perfectly understandable.
"Hey, no problem, friend. It's not as much fun if folks get left out, right?"
"Yeehaw! Here we go!"
Bugtussle grabs the rope and plants his cacti feet firmly on the ground, attempting to be an anchor for the team.
Acrobatics Round #1: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (16) + 7 = 23
Acrobatics Round #2: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (4) + 7 = 11
Acrobatics Round #3: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (12) + 7 = 19
He starts out strong, though he does stumble and lose his footing on the second round, only to regain most of his poise on the third and final round. "Ever try to move a saguaro?" he teases the other team, a wide grin on his face. "Yeah, well don't! Just wasting your time to try!"
Locus-22 picks up the rope and gets into the line just behind Bugtussle. She considers his comment about moving huge cactii, opens her mouth to speak, then realizes he is just needling (pun intended) the opposition. She elects to forego that activity herself.
Instead, she sweeps the long tails of her ao dai up to keep from tripping on them and plants her feet in the grass.
Acrobatics 1: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (16) + 7 = 23
Acrobatics 2: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (12) + 7 = 19
Acrobatics 3: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (10) + 7 = 17
Relying on her agility to shift her feet as needed rather than brute strength, she surprises even herself at how stable and steady she is.
The hobgoblin continues to pull.
Athletics: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (5) + 6 = 11
Athletics: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (19) + 6 = 25
|Tinsley Tyler The Tamperer|
Despite, Norbwald's struggle, Tinsley makes sure she is doing her best to win the team.
Acrobatics: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (10) + 6 = 16
Acrobatics: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (20) + 6 = 26
At the signal, you all begin pulling in earnest. Horul mimes pulling the rope to show how it's done. He doesn't quite make progress (Failure). Tinsley sets her feet and prevents the ribbon from moving further into the Aldori's territory (Success). Tirx almost slips but manages to regain his footing and hauls the rope back ((Crit Success). Locus-22 and Bugtussle also plant their feet and make progress (Success x2). Unfortunately Norbwald doesn't quite get a grip on the rope and makes no progress. (Failure)
Rd 1 - 5 PP
The rope moves 5' towards your side.
Bugtussle's cacti feet suddenly slip on the grass (Failure). He would have been dragged along had Locus not managed to plant his feet and stop the slide (Success). Norbwald tries to rally the team but the students' yells of encouragement drown out his encouragement (Failure). Horul tries again to grab on and pull but slips on the grass and makes no progress (Failure). Tinsley manages to plant her feet (Success) but Tirx slips and falls, ruining any progress made (Crit Fail).
Rd 2 - 0 PP
The rope does not move.
Bugtussle manages to find his feet and grips the ground, halting the slide (Success). Locus manages to also hold the line and keep his feet firmly planted (Success). Norbwald again tries hauling on the rope but can't quite get a grip (Failure). Tinsley becomes the Rock of Gibraltar and becomes unmovable (Crit Success). Tirx manages to recover from his fall and again grip the ground as the students lose ground (Success). Finally, roaring in anger, Horul throws his weight back, pulling with all his might. The rope suddenly grows slack as the students let go, sending all of you tumbling back as Marcos shouts in triumph (Crit Success).
Rd 3 - 7 PP
Rope crosses the threshold! Pathfinders win!
Good job, soldiers! Now we have another challenge to deal with. Let's stay together.
I voted for medicine
As the rope goes slack, Locus-22 slips out of Bugtussle's way lest she get poked by a cactus spine. She steps to the side, straightens her outfit and holds out a hand to anyone that may have fallen on their butt. But she doesn't cheer or "shout in triumph" like the Venture Captain did. Instead she simply remarks "Well done, Pathfinders," in her normal soft monotone.
See my Discussion Post. I think Medicine wins.