Jack in the Box

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182 posts. Alias of GM Jester.


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Friends, I have unfortunate news for you. I have taken a promotion at work, and that's good for me, but it really eliminates any free time I planned to dedicate to this game. Have been doing that work for several weeks, and even after the outbreak subsides, I will be traveling more, and have less time than I do now.

Unfortunately, I will have to fold these games before they really start. It makes me sad, but I don't think I can do them any justice at all with the circumstance change. It is unforeseen, or I likely would not have started a new game to begin with.

Sorry to let you down, but figured you should hear the bad news officially rather than a complete ghosting.

Best of luck in whichever direction your gaming takes you!

Friends, I have unfortunate news for you. I have taken a promotion at work, and that's good for me, but it really eliminates any free time I planned to dedicate to this game. Have been doing that work for several weeks, and even after the outbreak subsides, I will be traveling more, and have less time than I do now.

Unfortunately, I will have to fold these games before they really start. It makes me sad, but I don't think I can do them any justice at all with the circumstance change. It is unforeseen, or I likely would not have started a new game to begin with.

Sorry to let you down, but figured you should hear the bad news officially rather than a complete ghosting.

"First, allow me to apologize for that unpleasantness regarding the gremlins - but it does provide an excellent object lesson. The life of an adventurer is not one for the weak-hearted. That you not only took care of the gremlins but also got the box open in the first place is all the confirmation I need that my gut was right - you're the perfect group for the job I have in mind."

"You see - I've recently had trouble with one of my informants here in Magnimar, Natalya Vancaskerkin. She's a half-Varisian who recently approached the Pathfinder Society with an offer to serve as a street informant. She runs with the Sczarni - I'm not sure with which group. A week ago, Natalya sent me a cryptic hint that her gang was on the verge of uncovering an item that would be of great interest to the Society. Since the Sczarni's methods of uncovering something often involves an armed robbery or breaking into somebody's personal chambers, we thought it prudent not to press for further details and instead wait to see what it would produce. Suffice it to say, she hinted strongly that it pertained to Thassilon, and promised to meet with me to discuss this find three days ago."

"She never kept that promise - instead, she seems to have simply vanished. Initially, I assumed that the acquisition of this item was simply taking longer than expected, but now I'm hearing rumors that the Sczarni are looking for her as well."

"It seems likely that Natalya has absconded with this item she's discovered. And this is where you enter, my friends. I want to know what it was that Natalya and the Sczarni found. In fact, I'm more interested in that than in what happened to Natalya herself. For now, I'd like to keep all of this quiet - if you can find out what happened to Natalya without letting a lot of people know she was also working for me as an informant, that would be preferable - that's a big part of why I 'm coming to you, as new members of the Pathfinder Society, with this task. You don't yet have a reputation in Magnimar, and as such, the lowlifes and criminals you are likely to encounter may be more likely to talk."

"So ...go out there and look for Natalya. Find out what happened to her, and to this item she and her gang discovered. If you can secure the item, all the better - bring it back to me and I'll have a reward of 500 gold pieces for you. And if you can bring Natalya back alive for me to speak to, I'll double that!"

Know Local DC 15:
The Sczarni have been a part of Magnimar from the start - they're not the most dangerous or powerful of the city's criminal organizations, but they are the most visible. The Sczarni generally don't involve themselves in particularly violent crimes, and in many cases in Magnimar, they actually help to protect and police less fortunate neighborhoods, and as such are often well regarded by the lower-class. There are six major Sczarni gangs in the city: the Creepers, Doolun's Lads, the Gallowed, the Tower Girls, the Washside Wringers, and the Wreckwash Blades, with the Gallowed being the most powerful Sczarni family in the city.

The Venture Captain pauses a moment inclining her head to indicate it is okay to ask any questions from what has been relayed to you so far.

The VC's anger and martial tone evaporate as she hears your answers, and her snarl of a few moments ago is replaced with a grin. "You sea, Koriah, there is more to this group than meets the eye. I knew they would solve the paradox box and deal with the trap inside. They have earned their reward, and you owe me dinner..."

Koriah nods, looking over the group once again. "It seems your skills in evaluating talent are beyond reproach, Captain. I will see my debt repaid, but must attend other matters at present. If you will excuse me," the half-elf bows slightly and leaves the library for another part of the manor, leaving you alone with the mistress of the house.

"We also have other matters to discuss, young pathfinders. Please take a seat, and let us converse upon the real reason I brought you here." She motions to comfortable chairs around the table and after moving the magical box aside, she sits at the table's head.

Meanwhile, Timerus' magical evaluation of the items left in the box reveals that the ring is magical, while the silver dagger and garnets are not. The magical ring emits a faint aura.

Knowledge Arcana DC 16:
The aura the ring emits is transmutation.

Spellcraft DC 16:
This simple ring is fairly easy to identify even for novice casters. It is a ring of feather fall

At the Fatman's Feedbag

Stefan orders a cheap beer, and when the waitress returns, he asks her a question. She looks him up and down, noting Rudak's size and Shoanti heritage. "Not sure you're in the right place, mate. Don't think any of your friends are here, either." But you see her cast her eyes quickly on a door in the back of the public room that seems to lead to a more private area. One stoop-shouldered man stands near the door, leaning against the wall casually, but also keeping an eye on the place and any who pass near.

GM Screen:

Waitress Bluff: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (4) + 3 = 7
Sense Motive, Stefan: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (13) + 5 = 18

Father Zantus smiles through the barrage of questions. "Of course, feel free to look around," he says motioning around the expansive sanctuary.

To Gideon he says, "Few in Sandpoint worship the Inheritor directly, hence there is no altar for her, but her generosity and valor are respected by all, and her proponents are free to venerate her in this holy place. No offense is intended, I am sure, it is merely a matter of practicality." He smiles a weak, placating smile.

To Xenobia's questions about the prior church, he makes a shrug and long face. "I was not a resident of Sandpoint at the time, and may not know all the facts of the matter, but the old church burned some five years ago. The old rector, Father Tobyn, and his daughter, Nualia, died in the blaze. It part of the Recent Unpleasantness that locals speak of, but want to talk little about. I came here not long after the accident, and began raising funds and planning for this lovely masterpiece. Or course, Sandpoint is in a unique position to offer the stained glass, which makes this whole space so spectacular."

Know Local DC 12:
The Sandpoint Glassworks, located right here in the town, is known throughout Avistan for its impressive works of colored glass and other fine glass craftsmanship. It is owned by Longjiku Kaijitsu, the father of Ameiko, the owner of the Rusty Dragon.

Just a note about loot and other items found:

1)You will have to try to determine the value of art objects found along the way with a DC 20 Appraise check. A roll of at least 15 will get you partial value, less than that no idea of value. You can still sell items that are not fully appraised, but will only get a partial value.

2)Most items found (weapons, armor, etc) can be resold for 1/2 value of the purchase price per PRD. Art objects sell for full appraised price.

3) I will provide a from to track loot, but I will not distribute it. It's your team's job to sort things out and to evenly divide spoils. I will divide coins found evenly unless you direct me otherwise.

Now that the fight is over, you stand there recovering your wits, and cleaning your weapons and have a bit more clarity about things. Timerus can now see there are actually some small items in the bottom of the box. A silver dagger, three cut garnets, and an unadorned silver ring.

Sorry, I missed these items when you looked before...You may try an Appraise check on the gems and ring, if you wish. Or look for other magical dweomers.

Malt was the only one receiving a wound from the pugwampi battle, and that was just a slight bruise (1 NL dmg).

The party receives 600xp (150 per player) for opening the box an defeating the denizens. You each receive an additional 150xp for ending the fight before much collateral damage to the library was done. XP now stands at 300/2000 for each player or about 15% to level 2.

Not long after the fighting ends, Venture Captain Heidmarch and Koriah burst back into the room, weapons drawn. "I heard the sound of fighting in here," Sheila exclaims. "What on earth have you done? Explain yourselves!"

What's In the Box? - Round 2 - concluded

As the unlucky gremlin slips from Malt's fingers, Azari hacks at it with his elven blade. Once again he catches the deft foe, dealing it a serious, but not deadly wound, his own luck countering the aura of the pugwampi.

As the dog-like monster reels from the attack, Audri moves in and slices through the fey creature, killing it and ending the fight.

End of Combat

GM Screen:

Audri attack: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (17) + 2 = 19

I will try to sort out the order of the posts, but if we can try to keep it in the same round, that's be easier for everyone else. In this case, Malt's action is not taken, since the fight is over.

Stefan creates an opening for Rudak to exit the table with Banny and the sisters.

"I'll count on it," says Shayliss with a little pout as Rudak promises to see them later.

Stefan is baffled by the actions of the pretty girl, who could have any boys she wanted, and he can only shrug his own confusion to Rudak as they leave for the Feedbag.

Fatman's Feedbag is a dockside tavern not far from the Rusty Dragon. It is built right along the bustling waterfront with a long quay running from it out to ships loading and unloading cargo of various sorts. As a result of its location, many of the customers of the Feedbag are less-than-reputable sailors or stevedores or perhaps the shady types of the Varisian underworld.

The tavern is run by an enormous man named Gressel Tenniwar. He is perhaps as large as Rudak but gone way over to morbid obesity. He weighs 450lbs easily, hence the name of the establishment. The large man nods to you and beckons you to sit anywhere you like with a rather spotted dishtowel.

The inside smells like stale beer, piss, vomit, and seawater, but that doesn't keep dozens of tough-looking fellows and a few hardened ladies from sitting inside. Anyone who looks up at the pair of you does so without friendliness or acknowledgement -- mainly just scowls or a quick sizing-up.

A serving girl with a big tattoo showing on her her skinny chest barks for your order.

GM Screen:

Stefan SM: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (7) + 5 = 12

As Xenobia, Gideon, and Hasslo work their way up to the cathedral, they do peruse the wares for sale quickly. Most are mundane, but skilled, works of art, jewelry or the like. There are no real magical or even clockwork pieces, but Varisian scarves, brooches, and brightly colored clothing predominate.

It is a pleasant walk, filled with the bustle of commerce, and a dozen side conversations to overhear as they ascend from the dock area to the higher end of town. The white marble of the cathedral sparkles in the fall sun, and the light reflecting off the stained glass windows is a marvel, even from the outside.

Eventually, the trio arrives at the outer doors of the church itself. Several blue-robed acolytes bustle around the church, doing odd jobs or errands of some kind, but all are quite busy and red-faced with the effort. No one stops you from opening the heavy oaken doors and entering.

Inside the cathedral, the stained glass in the main sanctuary makes dozens of motes of colors and patterns turning the holy area into a veritable work of art. The interior is really 3 churches in one, with different altars at each end. To the south, facing the heart of Sandpoint, are shrines to the gods of commerce: Erastil and Abadar. To the the west, offering a dazzling view of the Old Light and the sea beyond are the shrines to Shelyn and Gozreh. To the east, offering view of the Boneyard and the rising sun, are the shrines of Sarenrae and Desna.

As you look around in wonder at the majesty of the place, a voice sounds behind you. "Impressive isn't it?" The speaker is also a blue-robed priest, but he is obviously much older with a thick mustache and beard, and weary-looking brown eyes. "I am Abstalar Zantus, high priest of this place. We welcome visitors, so please be at peace here as you will. But you don't look familiar to me, are you from out of town?"

What's in the Box - Round 2 - continued

Timerus expects that the burly half-orc has the remaining gremlin under control, so he takes a few seconds to inspect and clear the inside of the box, making sure no more surprises lie in wait. To his vision, both magical and mundane, there is nothing else in the box.

Malt uses his superior size to force the pugwampi to the tabletop, but as he does, he trips over his own shoelace and unfortunately, lets the slippery gremlin break completely free.

On the lose, the pugwampi attacks Malt with its dagger, scoring a hit even against the well armored attacker. The tiny blade cannot really hurt Malt, but it does leave a bruise.

Azari can still act, Audri is up to end the rounds. Sorry Malt, natural one on the luck re-roll and then a high roll by the pug. Just 1 NL damage though.

GM Screen:

Malt Pin CMB, guidance: 1d20 + 5 + 1 ⇒ (1) + 5 + 1 = 7
Pugwampi attack: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (17) + 3 = 20
Dmg to Malt: 1d2 - 4 ⇒ (2) - 4 = -2

The others leave the Rusty Dragon, and head back up to the upper town where the new cathedral and the main festival await. Along the route, shops, stalls, wagons and tents line the way, hawking all manor of fabulous and mundane things. Outside a small shop, an elderly Varisian crone sits with a crystal ball read to tell fortunes for the unwary. A dancing bear cavorts tethered to an iron chain just out of reach of the many spectators. Games of chance and skill are available to those who wish to part with their hard-earned coin.

In the churchyard, long tables are set up with many chairs, in apparent readiness for the town luncheon and the opening dedication ceremony for the new cathedral. Blue-robed acolytes scurry here and there preparing the grounds of the new church.

The scene is wild, joyful and riotous with noise and activity.

You may shop or try your hand at games or anything else your heart might desire. There are gambling games, an archery contest, a boxing ring, and other games to test your abilities if you have a mind.

"What d'ya want with Vhiski?" asks Banny Harker with the roll of his eyes."Tha' fellas nothin' but trouble. With a cap'tal T. Might wanna steer clear o' him no matter how big ya are. But if yer determined ta find him, I'd look at Fatman's Feedbag. Tha's where his crew hangs an' if he's not there, one a' his crew'll know where he's lyin' low."

Stefan is just saying his awkward goodbyes to the others, when he hears the man speaking with Rudak mention the Feedbag as well. That piques his interest, and he hangs for a bit, listening.

"Your not leaving are you?" says Shayliss with a bat of her eyes. "You only just got here, and you seem SO interesting."

"Let's get another round, eh?" says Banny snapping at the wait staff once again.

What's in the Box - Round 2

22 Azari
21 Timerus
20 Malt (grappled, guidance)
18 Red Pugwampi (grappled)
17 Audri

Malt has already posted his action, but will defer a moment longer to see if Azari or Timerus want to act first. Remember there is a luck effect in place, so most d20 will have to be repeated by me, in secret.

What's in the Box - Round 1 - concluded

Audri manages to get close enough to the bruising half-orc, who is mugging the remaining pugwampi, to cast a spell that sharpens his skill for very short time. Then she readies her own weapon, in case this gets out of hand or more foes appear from the paradox box.

End of Round 1

What's In the Box - Round 1 - continued

Whether its active or passive, Azari has his own luck, and it allows him to cancel out some of the negative effect of the gremlins. The silver-tressed elf acts instead of negotiating, sweeping the head clean off one of the dog-like fey in a single quick stroke.

We will roll the critical damage separately, I rolled it in this case, more than enough to kill the target.

Timerus sidesteps a bit and intones a quick spell as a simple frost ray zips from his fingertips. It hits the second pugwampi, it appears, but the icy blast seems to have no effect on the magical foe.

Malt quickly moves to snatch the second fey, and it nearly slips frm his arms, but the half-orc somehow succeeds on snatching the tiny foe, holding it fast, as least for now.

The little fey, even though grappled, is able to plunge its tiny dagger at Malt, but the half-orcs mail turns the blade aside, keeping the fighter intact.

Audri is up to end the first round.

GM Screen:

Crit dmg: 1d10 + 2 ⇒ (7) + 2 = 9
Timerus Ray: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (17) + 2 = 19
Spell Resistance SR 7: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (4) + 1 = 5
Pugwampi dagger: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (15) + 3 = 18

The others watch as Rudak steps over and sits with the group of townies. It is quite evident to them that the red-headed young lady is flirting heavily with the barbarian from the plains. Bethany rolls her eyes as their table orders ale in a rather rude fashion.

As you finish up breakfast, you each prepare to go to the festival or to the many vendors, shops, stalls, and tents set up along the roadways in Sandpoint.

You can move out as individuals or as a group depending on how you want to interact. There will be many interesting things to do, eat, or shop for, so explore as you like. If you have a particular interest, pipe up.

Harker smiles a crooked smile at the great Shoanti. "This is my girl, Katrine," he says wrapping his arm around the dark-haired young lady. "And this is her sister, Shayliss." Harker nods is head across the table to where the red-head sits. The hair coloring isn't the only difference in the two sisters. Katrine nods demurely, her eyes not lifting to meet yours, while Shayliss offers her hand to you and looks you dead in they eye, a little smirk on her face, barely concealing her amusement. "Charmed, I'm sure," she says, and slides over to offer you a place to sit next to her.

"Never too early for a pint, mate," says Harker with a laugh. "'specially if it's a free 'un." He snaps his fingers rudely at Bethany and orders a round for the table. "An' this big fella's gonna pay for it," he says without asking Rudak.

Shayliss grasps Rudak biceps admiringly, "I've never met a real Shoanti before. Well, the sheriff, but he doesn't really count," she says, tossing her red hair out of her face. "Tell me a story about the wilderness."

We have first "rounds" situation. I have set the initiative, and will recap actions in the order determined by the dice, but you can post your action or possible actions in any order you like. You don't have to wait for your turn to come, especially if in the active group. If you post ahead, and your action doesn't make sense by the time it comes around (target is dead etc) I will allow you to repost. Should speed up gameplay that way when in rounds.

Hopefully, we can keep to the daily schedule (or more) while in combat situations. I will adhere to a 24-hr rule if you are up, and have not acted, I will DM-PC you to your best advantage, hopefully. You can post a set of "bot instructions" if you prefer to suggest a course when you cannot post yourself.

There is a luck component to facing pugwampis, so I will be rolling those effects behind the screen. Your own rolls may be less effective than you'd hoped...

What's In the Box - Round 1

22 Azari
21 Timerus
20 Malt
18 Red Pugwampi
17 Audri
13 Blue Pugwampi

Looks like all the gentlemen can have first reactions against the sudden appearance of the dog-like critters.

Azari solves the anagram for possible words in his head, and as he explains what he is thinking, the others agree, standing back at Audri's warning.

As the last of the letter combinations is pressed to spell the word - LUCRE - the box bursts open with a cracking sounds and a burst of magical white light. Instead of a hoard of Thassilonian treasure inside, however, only a pair of tiny-sized dog-like humanoids leap from their confinement, each carrying a wicked looking steel dagger.

Tactical map is linked at the top margin. You should be able to edit and move your tokens, but LMK if I need to adjust settings. I will typically roll the initiative as well.

Know Nature DC 10:
These small creatures are called pugwampis- a type of fey gremlin. They often run with another dog-like humanoid, gnolls and are uncommon, but found usually in underground or ancient ruins. They revel in chaos and disorder, and enjoy pulling hateful and hurtful pranks on others.

Know Nature DC 15:
Pugwampis radiate an aura of bad luck and unfortunate things seems to happen when they are around. Gnolls and pugwampis are immune to this effect, as are creatures with an unusually lucky disposition.

GM Screen:

Red Pugwampi: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (13) + 5 = 18
Blue Pugwampi: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (8) + 5 = 13
Audri: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (14) + 3 = 17
Azari: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (19) + 3 = 22
Malt: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (19) + 1 = 20
Timerus: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (19) + 2 = 21

The smell of frying bacon greets all who rise in the Rusty Dragon. Breakfast, and a lot of it, greets any who come down to the common room in the morning. Ameiko and Lars are absent from the dining area, off to get the town meal prepared, but Bethany greets each of you warmly as you descend. She seats the out of towners together at the same public bench, serving a plate of eggs, bacon, sausage, fruit, and biscuits family style. The food is as delicious as it smells, and there is bitter coffee or warm tea for any who wish more than water.

The roof, complete with the namesake of the inn, is quiet in the early morning as Gideon does his daily ablations, feeling the inner peace that commune with the Inheritor instills.

Thoughts of her discussion with esteemed scholar Brodert Quink fills Xenobia's head as she prepares for the festival with her clockwork companion. There is a lot to see and do today, but her mind is a thousand years away, imagining the Old Light as a Thassilon tower.

Stefan is a bit unsettled as he tucks into breakfast, thoughts on the reputed shady dealings of his family concerning him. He had hoped for a clean start in Sandpoint, and doesn't want to get dragged into any questionable shenanigans. At least not right away...

Hasslo is concerned about his hygiene, which for a dwarf is unique already. He is pleased to see other visitors to town at the breakfast table, including those from last night, an elven woman and a giant of man. He sniffs himself one more time, and figures its good for one more day before a bath is required...hopefully

Rurik fills his plate as full as possible, wolfing down the vittles rapidly. Filling his belly always helped the mild hangover, plus the food was very fine. He was pleased to be a bit separated from the locals, more comfortable in the silence at the visitor table. From behind the big man, a voice calls out, "Hey big man! Good to see you again!" Rurik turns and sees the sketchy fellow, Banny Harker from the day before. He sits with two young girls, one raven-haired, the other a fiery red.

Hope all is well i that regard. Not a good time to be in the hospital at all....

I will try to carve some time out of my own work to post tomorrow to move the story forward. Again sorry for the scattergun approach.

thanks for the heads up. Just have time to stop by and say that I am sorry for missing this week. I will carve out some time to post tomorrow and move the story a bit forward. Again, sorry for the meddlesome delays.

The runes on the other surfaces of the box are all the same. They are the Thassilonian symbol for wrath (or kindness, hard to tell as those concepts are strangely interchangeable in that language) and as we have been told, are more about where the box is from than how to open it.

Only the underside has the magical, movable runes, and those runes are the replacement for the Common tongue letters for C-R-U-E-L. If you touch two at a time, they change places.

Since you have already thought of the idea of making anagrams using the same letters, might see what other common tongue words you can make with this set of runes.

The evening in the Rusty Dragon wears on, with some departing for bed early, and others staying late, either in conversations with new friends, or by themselves in pensive solitude.

The public room fills as the evening wears on with, perhaps, a less savory crowd than might be at the White Deer in the upper town. But it's not a criminal element, just working men and women, and a few more interesting sort, adventurers or vagabonds or others with a checkered past.

Ameiko plays another set on the stage, but this one is more common and lively music. Her skill shows, but her heart is not on the popular music the same as in the songs from her native Tien.

Eventually, the fires are banked, and the crowd departs and the lively room gets sleepy. If you strain, one can hear the music and dancing and merriment from the upper town, where wagon-loads of Varisians cavort until the sun rises, and many other merchants busily unpack and prepare for the festival which begins early in on the morrow.

Most of you sleep soundly, your bellies full and the tingle of intoxicating spirits buzzing in those who imbibe. The beds in the Dragon are not new and the bedding is not the latest style, but it is all clean, comfortable, and homey, and you drift of easily once you stretch out for the night.

Will give anyone who has any nocturnal plans a chance to pipe in, then will open on Festival Day itself.

If no one has anything else to allow for this in-game day, we can close the curtain quickly and move onto the Festival day itself if you like.

Audri can confirm the box is magical, much like Timerus had already discovered. The druid cannot determine anything else about the box from its dweomer.

DC 10 Linguistics or DC 12 Intelligence:
Having discovered the wording of the runes on the underside, spelling CRUEL and having determined that the letters can be rearranged magically by touching two at a time, you surmise that perhaps sorting the letters to make anagrams might be the way to unlock the box.

Anyone who has the proper stats can make the above check

Malt mentions something about runes on the underside of the box, and Audri's perusal of the papers seems to confirm that. She sees a crude translation of the runes on the underside into Common. They seem to spell out the letters: CRUEL.

Azari examines the box carefully, but he can find no place to even use his thieves tools. It appears without crack, seam, or lock or moving parts of any kind. He can recall nothing about this type of coffer from studies of Thassilon in the past but assumes the box must be opened by magical means.

Audri looks from the notes to the box, but her detailed once over seems to indicate there are no traps on the box. She also can discern no moving parts at all, though when she flips the coffer over, she notes that if you touch two of the runes at the same time, they magically flip places with each other....

Audri Wrenn wrote:
Did Audri's rolls reveal anything? I made two Perception checks -one on the stone coffer.

sorry, I just saw the knowledge check and missed the others. I will give you credit here.

The old man listens nodding along. "Well, you have read your Nisses, or your Ludwig?" The sage mentions two famous but rare texts, some of the masters of modern studies on Thassilon. YOu have heard of these books but never seen them.

"Also, if you are looking for local ruins, you needn't look far. The biggest feature of the skyline here in Sandpoint would be of interest to you, my dear. Not the Cathedral, mind you."

"Oh, boy, here we go," says Parooh with a comical roll of the eyes and shrug at Rudak, as if these two were speaking another language.

Oh, Quink, how you do go on about the Old Light," says a new voice. When everyone looks up they see the Tian girl who was performing earlier, now dressed in a red silk kimono, and charming everyone with a dazzling smile. "I've told you that place is nothing but an old Varisian lighthouse, but no. He insists it is an ancient ruin of enormous power or something. Daft old bird!" she teases him ruthlessly, stroking the cat wrapped round his neck. "And I thought I told you we have a strict no animals polcy at the Dragon!"

She leans in to meet both Rudak and Xenobia with a handshake and a grin. "Name's Ameiko, I run this place. Everything is good, I take it? Need anything else?"

Everyone can make another round of investigative checks, with perhaps, different skills? Aid another is allowed if declared before primary roll, and you can relate it mechanically into the story.

Your keen eyes spot that the underside of the coffer, which stands but a few inches off the ground on little legs, has some other kind of symbols printed on it, different than the rune for wrath (apparently) which has been written on all the other sides. Can't make them out, but there are several smaller runes under there.

Timerus looks through the notes as well as the runes on the box, which do seem to correspond with the Thassilonian symbol for Wrath.

Timerus lingustics:
The notes seem to indicate the symbol wrath might only mean the box was from the Thassilonian enclave of Bakrakhan, and that those runes probably have little to do with actually solving the paradox box.

Quink blinks his eyes several times behind his spectacles, which he takes off frequently, wiping them on his ink-blotted sleeve. "Why, yes. I am an expert on Thassilonian antiquity."

"A leading expert," chimes in Parooh helpfully.

"And yes, those kind of magical hijinks, like whispering in a stranger's ear, are the kind of things that gets my gnomish friend in trouble quite frequently. Thankfully, I am here to bail him out more often than not." He wipes his glasses once again. "But it seems this time he has...he has...Oh bother! What was I saying?"

The man looks a bit flustered at his own absent mindedness but sips his tea as if to cover.

The gnome covers for him. "Quink here may be the smartest person I know. The smartest non-fey person at least, and that's saying something. If only he could remember that he's so wise...That's his challenge."

Quink shrugs apparently recovering his wits a bit. "Thassilon eh? What specifically are you interested in? There is so much to tell. Are you also a scholar Rudak?" he asks, as the cat stretches and curls its tail around his face.

"Oh, a holy roller," says Ameiko to Gideon, rolling her eyes to the ceiling dramatically. "Well, I've had my bacon saved more than once by true believers, so I will withhold comment. The Cathedral is grand, no question. Better then the old church by a far cry. This town needs a happy place after the Late Unpleasantness and all."

After Hasslo tells his backstory, Hannah pipes in. "Nothing wrong with living in the forest -- or holy rollers..." which elicits a laugh from all present.

Ameiko pats the table and stands up. "Well, I must be checking on other guests, and then there's the fare for tomorrow luncheon to attend to. Enjoy your stay at the Rusty Dragon, and please tell us if you need anything. Anything at all."

So saying, she moves deftly to a nearby table, where a gnome, a very large muscular man, and a striking elf sit with a man wearing a housecat like a shawl.

Not sure if you have more to discuss with Hannah or Hosk, but feel free to do that or mosey on elsewhere. Or perhaps turn in and await the Festival itself.

I am unable to post tonight. Sorry! I will be back tomorrow night. Thx for understanding

I am unable to post tonight. Sorry. Back tomorrow.

The strange coffer is clearly magical. It emanates a strong aura, the strongest in the room.

DC 25 Know Arcana, to determine school:
The aura is from the school of conjuration.

The pile of papers and scrolls on the table appears to be the Pathfinder Koriah's notes about the coffer. The scrolls list translations of the significant runes on the box. One of the most oft-repeated symbols was the rune for "wrath," which Koriah also notes is associated with evocation magic, and in the earliest days of Thassilon with the word "kindness."

Please provide an investigative roll: Perception, Linguistics, or a proper Knowledge check (or other that might fit the situation) and you may be able to make more of Koriah's notes.

The Tien bard pats Hasslo on the shoulder after his sad tale. "I thought dwarves were a dour bunch, but you take the cake. Remind me not to invite you to my next party..."

To Stefan she says, "Oh! Where are my manners." She extends her hand to shake saying, "My name is Ameiko. Ameiko Kaijitsu. He's he's my father. No we don't get along that well, and I really know nothing about the business. I have my own gig, see." She shrugs in apparent embarrassment. "OK, well that's awkward. Yim Merula? I know that name, how do I know it?" Ameiko strums her fingers on her cheek while she ponders.

Know Local DC 12:
Ameiko is referencing her father, Longjiku Kaijitsu, who owns and operates the Sandpoint Glassworks. He is a master of the arcane art of stained glass making, and his creations are known throughout Varisia, and all of Avistan. The stained-glass windows in the new Cathedral are likely his doing as well.

Just then, one of the doors off the foyer slides open and two women emerge, involved in conversation. One woman wears a opulent black dress and a stunning set of diamond jewels. She is clearly the mistress of the manor, Venture Captain Sheila Heidmarch. With her is an attractive half -elven woman dressed in leather armor and armed with a distinctive-looking mithral-and-redwood aklys (a hooked club attached to a cord) and a bastard sword (both weapons are currently sheathed or hanging from her belt).

Know Local or Dungeoneering DC 18:
You recognize this woman as Koriah Azmeren, a famous Pathfinder and well-known expert on the Darklands, the underground lands below the surface of Golarion.

"Thank you for answering my summons, novice Pathfinders," says Sheila in an unusually deep voice and a no-nonsense attitude. "Koriah was just describing for me her latest mission to Nor-Voth via the Fogscar Mountains. She discovered a surprising number of artifacts, some from ancient Thassilon, and we must discuss the implications of these findings for a few more moments. I apologize for the further delay." The Venture Captain pauses a few moments as if deep in thought. "Please, follow me into the study." She motions to the adjoining room that they just came from.

The indicated chamber is the lodge's library and study. The walls are lined with bookshelves, while several tables in the middle of the room are heaped with scrolls and books. One table in the center, however, supports only a single object -- an ornate cubical stone coffer covered with Thassilonian runes. The Pathfinder leader motions for you to have a seat, though she and her companion remain standing.

"Again, I apologize for the delay, but I must continue my discussion with Pathfinder Azmeren. In the meantime, though, I thought you could help us with another minor issue. This stone coffer is an ancient Thassilonian puzzle, a cunning feat of magical engineering known as a paradox box. As you'll see from even a casual investigation, what appear to be seams on the sides are only shallow grooves -- there's no obvious way to open the thing. Each paradox box has its own secret method of being opened. Essentially, a paradox box substitutes hidden catches and magical triggers for a lock. Given time, anyone clever enough could figure out how to open a paradox box, just as given time, a locksmith can open any lock. This particular box was among those items recovered by Koriah-the scrolls next to the box are her preliminary notes on possible triggers or methods of opening it, but she's not yet had a chance to sit down and properly investigate the thing. So ... why don't you put your heads together and see if you can't do that for me? Even if the box is empty, as I suspect it probably is, knowing the method of opening it makes it a valuable find anyway. I'll return shortly, and I hope to see that box open! Think of this as an audition, if you will -- because the actual task I want to speak to you about soon will require as much wit as it will brawn!"

With that, the Venture-Captain, and the half elf, sweep from the room, drawing the door closed behind them.

Quink smirks and looks askance at Parooh. "This sounds like typically gnomish hijinks to me. It seems you have been waylaid by this good-for-nothing cartographer like so many others."

Parooh takes the ribbing good-naturedly. "I may be a scoundrel, but Quink here is a sage. A genius at that. Even if he forgets he is wearing a tomcat now and then. Brodert, I believe I heard our elf mistress here say she was looking for you anyway. Fancy that? I mysterious stranger with an eye out for you."

They both laugh, leaving the door open for Xenobia to say her part.

As Gideon prepares for the "free night" challenge, the locals call for the owner to come witness the story. Stefan, Hasslo, and Gideon are expecting Bethany the hostess to join them, but instead they are surprised to see the Tien woman who was playing on stage earlier, come an take a seat. She is wearing a red silk kimono, which has a motif of three yellow cranes embroidered on it. The woman's long dark hair is tied back, revealing a shock of white along the front. Her eyes are wide, brown, and expressive. She it not exactly beautiful, but fetching, in an exotic way, like the music, or the dress, or the food.

"Well," she says in a rich voice and in unaccented Common. "I hear someone wants a free room, eh? My guess is its the dwarf. We all know their kind is tight with a coin, amiright?" She laughs a melodious sound, but it is clear to all that her joke means no offense.

She is a bit surprised when it is the serious cleric who takes up the challenge, and she listens intently as he tells his tale. When it is over, the innkeeper smiles, which lights up her face dramatically. "If I had to say, and I am an expert on tales, that was just the end of the beginning, not the beginning of the end. Come tell me more as teh story is written, padre. But for now, I will grant a free night, and for your companions a round on the house!"

"Aye bonny lass," cries Davy Hosk in his garbled speech. "Wae will take a roond oon t'hoose, if'n yae'll stae an' share it wit' us, eh? It's noot everyoon can dine wit' a master o' her craft." The innkeeper laughs again merrily and nods her head, pulling up a chair from a nearby table.

"So tell me, strangers. What brings you to our fair village?" she address the three who obviously are not locals.

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I agree. Don't be afraid to mark a post you really like as a favorite. It encourages great RP and is a nice reward to your teammates for a job well done.

Hit the little + sign in the top right corner of post to "favorite" it.

Xenobia wrote:

The well-dressed elf assures the gnome, "I have no maps with me, I was hoping Brodert could guide me towards interesting places around here. Perhaps he has a few maps?"

Xenobia looks askance at Parooh, "What pranks have you been playing on poor Morris?"

Parooh shrugs. "I have seen all Quink's maps, and the Headmaster's. have traded or copied some certainly, but I was so hoping you would bring me something I had not seen before. Oh well, it can't be helped. But if you find some, you will let me see them first, won't you?"

He orders some tea service for the group, and then, after looking at Rudak across the table, doubles the order.

It is not long before another elderly gentleman, with bookish round glasses, mussed hair and an unkempt beard arrives at the table. To your surprise, he wears a large grey cat around his shoulders, it tail curled neatly under the man's neck like a kerchief. "Hallo Parooh! Sorry to be a bit late, I was just in the middle of transcribing...Oh, hello!" he notices the newcomers with a bit of start, his spectacles dropping down to the bridge of his nose, and the cat shuffling uncomfortably. "I didn't know we had guests. It is a pleasure. I am Brodert Quink."

After exchanging pleasantries, Quink sits at the fourth spot at the table, pouring himself a cup of tea. Parooh smiles at him. "Oh, Quink, dear," he says mildly. "It seems you have forgotten to shed yourself of Sid again." He points to the self-satisfied feline around the scholar's neck.

"Oh, it seems I have! Drat it, again!" says Quink with an absent-minded embarrassment. "Well, I am sure Ameiko won't mind this time." He looks about but quickly returns to meet you with a level gaze. "So you are an odd pair. Tell me how you came to meet my good friend Parooh the prankster?"


Provided Audri accepts the room for the night, she is shown into a neat and tidy bedroom that is comfortably furnished, if not exactly the latest styles. Coming from the woods, she barely notices, however.

A wash basin allows her to cleanse the dust from her face and hair, and the bed is much softer than any she's known. She sleeps long and heavily, much weariness from her travels lifting from her with the night's rest.

When she wakes in the morning, she is surprised to see the sun so advanced in the sky. It must be mid-morning already! Since she is unfamiloar with Magnimar, she had planned an early start to find the Alabaster District and Heidmarch Manor within, but now she must find a direct route to the Society headquarters.

Scurrying to get ready, the druid skips the morning meal and rushes outside, finding a cab driver dropping off another guest at the Green Apple. Audri commandeers the vehicle and rides quickly to the Manor, staring in wonder at the cities sights and sounds, including the ancient and cyclopean monuments.

Soon, she is paying the driver, and rushing into the lodge. The footman shows her to the room where three other fellows, a pair of elves and an orc by the look of it, are conversing.

She stops to catch her breath, her hungry stomach groaning a bit, then joins the others.

I'll give Audri a chance to catch up with that fast=forward, and then we will get started with the adventure proper.

I plan to get through the night into the manor in a quick post (or posts).


Self-satisfied and well out of sight of the St Regis shop, Malt stopped to roll a smoke of the fine tobacco. He put it in his pocket, rather than lighting up right here, but was looking forward to the satisfying habit.

It was not far for him to stroll to Heidmarch Manor which was also in the Alabaster District. The manor was bordered by a wall which provided both security and privacy but Malt found the gate at the front of the property wide open. Entering, he saw the main manor house and a few other buildings spread across a well-manicured lawn. Servants bustled here and there, and could hear the clash and clamor of sword-play from somewhere beyond, evidently training by the tempo.

He entered the house with is usual swagger, and told the butler who appeared of his invitation. The man looked him up and down, saying nothing, but eventually admitted him to a large foyer, where two other men, an elf and half-elf by the looks, were talking in guarded tones.

There is the third to arrive. We will get Audri there too. Discuss among yourselves.


Azari had only been waiting in the foyer of the Heidmarch Manor a short time when a sharp crack sounded, and then the rushing of wind like a cyclone. To his surprise, a golden-skinned angelic figure, and a half-elf appeared out of thin air. They spoke a few words and the celestial was gone again in another rush of air.

The Society's Manor was already a place of wonder, and things were just beginning. The man who just arrived approached Azari, and asked his name.

I will let you guys interact until the others arrive, which should be in short order.

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