The Pathfinder Society’s Master of Blades, Marcos Farabellus,
rarely assigns missions himself. Rarer still do those orders
come directly from the Decemvirate.
“You bold few are in for a journey,” the towering wall
of a man states. He rubs his beard for a few moments, as
if physically searching it for the right words. “There’s a
problem in Ustalav. An embarrassing one. Most of you have
probably met Vonran Vilk, the old man who used to work in
the library. He was the Master of Blades well before my time;
the man lived more stories than you or I have even read. A
few months back he returned to his homeland of Ustalav
to write his memoirs for the Society. Something happened
along the way. Now, a serial killer stalks Vilk’s hometown of
Ardis, killing off all his old enemies. Under the full moon. I
think you get the drift.
“Look. I’m not going to blow you a lot of smoke. Vilk defined
what it meant to be a good man in his day. More importantly,
he’s still got secrets buried up in that geriatric head of his that
the Decemvirate doesn’t want spilled on the cobblestones by
some superstitious Ardisian’s silver ax. Even worse, Ustalav
sees the Pathfinder Society as a band of mercenaries and grave
robbers. If anyone finds out that as prominent a Pathfinder as
Vilk stalks their streets and murders their nobles as the man
they’re calling the ‘Midnight Mauler,’ that might be enough
excuse to have the entire Society expelled from Ardis’s borders
without any debate."
“Ideally, you are to stop the murders without killing Vilk.
But if push comes to shove, access to all the history of Ustalav
outweighs any one man. Stop Vilk, whatever it takes. Our man
in Ardis will meet you at the docks.”
What do you remember about...
Ustalav and Ardis? Geography
a varied nation of dark forests, high
mountains, and superstitious locals.
moved to Caliphas, Ardis’s glory and
wealth steadily faded. Today, nobles with
long lineages but little money or influence
squabble endlessly fighting to rise to
positions in the courts that only they
care about. Many estates and city blocks
lie empty and crumbling.
parts of the city, and the common folk bar their doors at
sunset to keep out the wild things.
Gather Information on the situation: Diplomacy or Local
criminals, Sczarni, and wild animals claim common folk
regularly. But this new killer, the Midnight Mauler, kills
merchants and even nobles. No one is safe.
Everyone knows the Midnight Mauler is a werewolf, and
anyone with sense has a silver knife or wolfsbane by now.
Though the city guard won’t admit it, they spend the
days before each full moon rounding up outsiders and
expelling them from the city.
Midnight Mauler evolved into outrage. The last full
moon saw a young Sczarni boy lynched, and the coming
full moon will likely bring more mob violence.
sniffing around the murder scenes. Pathfinders never take time away from their grave-robbing to investigate a
murderer. It means something, but what?
and brutal maulings in Ardis point to
lycanthropy. A werewolf likely bit Vilk
on his journey to Ardis, and he now
transforms under the full moon—
typically 3 days every month.
silver, and silver weapons penetrate
their unnaturally thick hides. The
herb wolfsbane—also called aconite or
monkshood—may cure a victim but is also
poisonous and can kill a werewolf just as easily.
bearer of the curse of lycanthropy,
and cannot infect others. Only those
born with lycanthropy spread the
disease to their victims.
Any questions for Marcus before you set off?
AIUI, Knowledge (Local) is the appropriate skill for the lycanthropy spoilers, since lycanthropes are humanoids of the subtype shapeshifter. It doesn't matter, since Ilarien doesn't have any of those skills.
Untrained Diplomacy check to gather information: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (11) + 1 = 12
The witch's prickly disposition doesn't get her far with the locals.
Before heading into the briefing, Zandu takes out a small wand and uses it on himself.
Using a charge of Heightened Awareness to give myself +2 on all knowledge checks
Once in the meeting, he listens intently and his eyes widen as time goes on.
Know(local): 1d20 + 2 + 2 ⇒ (17) + 2 + 2 = 21
Know(local): 1d20 + 2 + 2 ⇒ (19) + 2 + 2 = 23
Rather than copy/paste, going to assume I pass along all information in the spoilers I pass. Feel free to read the first two under Gather Information and all under Lycanthropy at your leisure.
The lithe man pushes off from the wall he was leaning against, a frown on his face. "So, am I understanding you correctly that you are sending us to try to deal with a former Master of Blades who is likely now also a werewolf? I would assume a Master of Blades to be a formidable opponent without the curse's help, even when retired. Let us hope he can still be reasoned with. Do you have an idea of Vilk's combat capabilities, if it comes to that?"
|Sakura Kian Fane|
kn geography : 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (16) + 4 = 20
diplomacy : 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (1) + 10 = 11
kn local : 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (10) + 9 = 19
"That is, indeed, the situation, Zandu," Farabellus says. "Vilk served in my role for many years. If it comes to a confrontation, be careful. He's not a young man anymore, but I'm sure he can still carry himself. He favors a light blade and is skilled at catching his opponents off balance. If he is afflicted with lycanthropy, I can only assume that the wolf's ferocity is supplementing his own training."
Does everyone have a silvered weapon or two should things turn to outright combat with no hope to resolve peacefully?
He looks at his buckler, I’m told they make a powdered silver one can apply to your weapon or ammunition to give it a temporary silvered coating. It’s fairly inexpensive too if I remember correctly
weapon blanch silver is 5gp, coats 10 ammo or single weapon and the weapon counts as silver for one successful attack
"Might be worth picking up for my arrows. They weren't much good against those skeletons, last time," Shenendril comments.
"Still, hopefully, it won't come to that."
Diplomacy (Gather Information): 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (10) + 10 = 20
You should feel free to make whatever purchases you think you might need.
The journey north is by river and the accommodations are comfortable enough, if a bit slow. If the former Master of Swords is indeed a werewolf, you'll have to get to him by the next full moon. As chance would have it, you arrive in Ardis on the morning of.
The sky is grey and a mist rises off the water as the barge pulls in. An excited young man meets you at the dock.
“Well met, my brothers and sisters,” the young man says as you unload your gear. “Thank you for coming so quickly! I am Ryado Erudyta.”
Despite his youth, Ryado approaches with a limp in his left leg.
“I have a coach waiting to take us back to the safe house. We
can speak more freely away from these crowds.”
The rented cab is small but well appointed, and after a
moment of securing the luggage, Erudyta continues. “By now
you must have heard of the unfortunate circumstances of
Master Vilk’s… condition. I ran into him by chance six weeks
ago at the library of a mutual friend. I was researching the
Dracora family’s lineage, but that’s neither here nor there.”
He glances out the window, peering at the long, orange
shadows cast by the late afternoon sun. “To my shame, I
didn’t put all the clues together until the most recent round
of murders, but now I see it all… Vilk’s overland journey into
Ustalav under cover of darkness, the low profile he maintains,
and the identities of the seemingly random victims.”
He shakes his head, showing more years than his rosy cheeks
would suggest. “I wish I could stop him myself, but fighting a
werewolf would’ve been well beyond my skills even before the
ghouls got to me.” He knocks gently on his left leg.
“The full moon starts tonight, along with Vilk’s next
round of murders. I beg you to cure our wayward master
if at all possible. You’ll find curative magics scarce in Ardis,
but I believe a powerful dose of wolfsbane may reverse his
condition, should he survive it. There might even be enough
humanity left in his bestial soul to reason with. The guards
grow wise to the beast, and the locals are on edge as well—if
the guards or an angry mob beat us to Vilk, the Society’s
relationship to the Midnight Mauler will be exposed. We
can’t let that happen. One way or another, Vilk’s rampage
must end tonight.”
"Greetings Ryado, I'm Shenendril and these are my companions," she says, introducing each of the people travelling with her.
"Unfortunately, we don't have a lot of time and, if things are as desperate as you say, we're going to have to work fast. Do you have any idea where Vilk is? Or where he might be?"
"I wish I knew. I've spent the past few weeks looking for him, with no success. All record of his life in Ardis from before he joined the Society was purged when he was exiled, so I don't even have the official traces of his former life to help. The only thing I can suggest is the name of an old lover, a half-elf noble named Markov. I've tried getting an appointment with him, but he won't see me. Maybe you'll have more luck?"
"The other thing I'd suggest is that you definitely want to get some wolfsbane if you can. Things might get hairy when the sun goes down."
|Sakura Kian Fane|
Sakura remains quite.
“This mission is important. I’m here to follow orders Venture Captain!“ she just says.
"I've always found politics and nobility a bit hard to follow myself," Shenendril says, sheepishly.
"At least Golarian politics and nobility. It's almost a shame he's not a demon. I know about those."
|Sakura Kian Fane|
kn nobility: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (8) + 4 = 12
In Qadira, he would definitely wish to meet me, says Zeta, rubbing a ring of greater importance both in Qadira and for all worshippers of Sarenrae. But this is a different country and different rules. Can we come up with something to look more solid in Markov's eyes? Any ideas? She smiles slyly. Or shall we go straight there and improvise?
|Vellestir the Wise|
Pfft! Okay, okay. The tavern can also be quite interesting. Wine, sluts, rumors... Brawls by the way... Let's go!
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (18) + 8 = 261d4 ⇒ 3 hours
> I get the RP, but maybe we can do without terms like 'sluts'?
I'm sorry, I'm embarrassed for this. The connotation of a word is not always obvious to me because it is not my native language. In fact, I was trying to find a softer word, but as I see I failed IRL linguistics check. It's better to avoid such experiments .) Sorry again.
No worries, and thanks for being cool about it.
After a lively few hours in the tavern, you decide to head to the manor of Markov Rutowski. Although it's in an expensive part of town, the manor and its grounds have seen better days. A scraggly hedgerow and a thousand storms’ worth of water stains mar Rutowski’s otherwise beautiful townhouse. Wellworn marble steps lead to oaken double doors and an ornate,
yellow bell pull.
After a few moments, a man answers the door wearing coattails and a powdered wig. He has the condescending attitude of a long-tenured butler. A quirk of his lips registers a hint of distaste at seeing you (I'm assuming you're not all dressed like Ustalavic nobility.)
"Good afternoon. How can I be of service?" he says, though it's pretty clear he does not want to be of service.
Shenendril is largely quiet at the tavern, enjoying a single drink and watching the crowd and her fellow Pathfinders.
She eyes the self-important butler thoroughly but quickly, sizing him up and plastering a faint but equally condescending smile on her face.
"Yes, do be a good man and tell your master he has visitors. And be quick about it. This weather is doing less for my health than it is for my mood. Well? Show us someplace we can wait. Preferably with a fire, even more preferably with some beverages," she says.
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (6) + 10 = 16
Shenendril's commanding presence seems to take the butler back a step before he stiffens and says, "I'm sorry, but Master Markov is not taking unscheduled visitors. Time is money, you know."
|Sakura Kian Fane|
“We understand that!“ and she hands over 20 gp to the butler.
I thought I had given you that he holds a grudge against the society because Vilk, who was an agent at the time, got himself exiled from Ustalav. You weren't able to turn up exactly what he did to get himself exiled, but it should give you an angle you can work when you meet him.
The butler weighs the coins in his palm and crooks an eyebrow at you. You get the sense that you're on the verge of giving offense, either for offering a bribe or for not offering enough of one.
Shenendril gets the sense that this butler has put up with a lot over the years and he's tired and embittered from seeing the estate to which he's attached in such a reduced state. He seems to be regard taking a bribe as simultaneously being beneath his dignity and a small act of defiance against his employer. A bit more coin would probably get you what you want.
"Ah, welcome guests," the butler smiles, the coins disappearing into his worn livery, "Right this way. The master of the house will receive you."
The butler whisks you into a sitting room, then promptly disappears. A fine-featured Ustalavic gentleman reclines on a fainting couch, though his pointed ears and upturned eyes betray an even more exotic ancestry. He
gently lays aside the book in his hand.
“You’re clearly not locals, nor are you expected. I know only
Pathfinders to be so bold. Your fearless little Society has already
taken enough from me. Leave or I will call the guards.”
Feel free to try and get a read on him before opening the discussion
Sense Motive: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (18) + 7 = 25
"The Pathfinder Society is only interested in doing what is right for people. Unfortunately, there are always those in power, whether politically, socially or magically who prefer things to go wrong for most people. You are right, we are fearless when we stand up to those people, but unfortunately, sometimes people we care about who do not have our calling are hurt in the process," Shenendril says.
"But right now, all we're really worried about is finding and helping Markov. It hardly matters what has gotten him into this situation, all that matters is getting him out and we have the skills to do it, so the faster you help us, the faster we help him and the faster you can go back to your life with him."
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (15) + 10 = 25
After taking in Shenendril's eloquence, Rutowski sighs and retakes his seat, gesturing to the other
overstuffed chairs and divans that fill the room. “Forgive me.
I sometimes forget that it was Ardis’s machinations that took
Vilk away from me, and not the Pathfinder Society
itself. I shall try to help you however I can.”
Potential questions you might have:
turned a daughter of the Moulot family into a Pathfinder,
and then she died on one of those damnable adventures of
hers. Graverobbing is a crime in Ustalav, but banishment
is a sentence reserved for those with enemies.”
left in Ardis I’m sure Vonran bears a grudge toward,
though the worst offenders moved on decades ago to
Caliphas. Of all his remaining accusers, Judge Cevianna
Pradowca is the worst. She bore a grudge against Vonran
for refusing to wed her and so turned her courtroom into
a weapon against him. She’s the one who handed down
his banishment. I wager he’ll hunt her next.”
She’s long-lived for a human. The story I prefer to
spread is demon-blood, but more likely she simply buys
ointments from the Varisian vagrants. They have a gift
for preserving crones.”
in Ardis—my experience, my clients, all my family’s
property. It killed me inside to lose him; I’ve never known
a man like Vonran Vilk before or since, but my work and
my life were more important then.”
What other questions do you have for him?
"I'm quite sure it is him. All of the victims of the werewolf had some connection to his banishment all those years ago. It's the only thing that unites them. Then there's the timing: he returned to Aldis only recently, around the time the murders began. He came here, you know. I spoke with him. He was changed. He was distant, severe. The anger burning inside him was incandescent. I was afraid, to tell you the truth. Imagine being afraid of Vilk. I once shared everything with him."
|Sakura Kian Fane|
Sakura looks at Rutowski and nods.
diplomacy : 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (15) + 10 = 25
“I am sorry to ask this, but is there anything that you are not telling us which could at the end really help us to find him and cure him? Do you really want to help us? Please, we need your assistance!“