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Will do.

I hate to say this, but I don't think I have the time to get this game going at this point in time - things are getting even busier at work, and will likely to remain so until summer holidays at least... and the one post I might manage per week just doesn't cut it.

Would it be OK for you guys to take a bit of a break and see if we can continue from here once I manage to finish a few of my current work projects?

The Sharn Inquisitive has certainly featured Victor any number of times, so it's a good bet they'd have his address so they could go ask for comments concerning future articles more conveniently. Since both suggestions kinda lead towards the same conclusion I will have you follow Baran's idea unless I hear something definitive about you wanting to try your luck with the Clifftops residents instead.

Yes, you do not have much in the way of clues... there are ways to get more information about the prisoners, since so far you have only used the gather information method - ie. as the man in the street is they have any juicy rumors. They did, in plenty, but little that was actually useful. If you want more, you need to figure out who or where to ask and go do the asking, not just make a roll and hope for the best.

As for Victor's office... Lupi gave you the district. Once there, eventually, you could find someone to give you the exact address. It's no secret, but the man doesn't advertise anymore. Indeed, people rarely go for him with their troubles, but he chooses a crime he thinks fitting and then goes out to offer his services (which will almost certainly be accepted).

Also, apologies for the snail-slow pace. Seems it's harder than expected to get back to regular posting schedule after a longer break, and things remain busy at work and thus not refuse to help matters along.

Lupi: that’s plenty to know that the master inquisitive keeps his quarters in an abandoned water tower somewhere in Clifftop he’s purchased from the City and renovated into an office. You do not, however, have an exact address and a district is a big place to search, even when the streets aren’t in absolute chaos like they are now, and will continue for a few days more.

Baran: that perception roll was mighty good, and the way you went about it extremely entertaining. You do find several hollow spots and not-too-well attached planks. Assuming you take the time to inspect each, most turn out to be just oversights in construction – small empty places with nothing but a thick layer of dust inside – but one of the spots, seemingly actually well hidden rather than just accidentally placed somewhere out of sight does turn out to contain a small pouch of coins and a scattering of small gems. Not a clue, but perhaps a little getaway fund hidden but easily accessible if you just know where, and how you are supposed to pop out the panel hiding it, in case you need to vacate the City very A total of 320G in various coins and gems.

As to how to find any of the escaped prisoners… you did try to find leads about them earlier, but there was no luck – they had vanished seemingly without a trace. Clearly they had a place prepared earlier, by them of for them, or people ready to aid them staying out of sight. On the other hand, the City is big, and absolutely full of people, many of them strangers, for the festival, so hiding in plain sight if you just don’t draw attention to yourself has never been easier.

Phin the Raccoon wrote:
Did her poking around in the fire reveal anything?

Nothing in the forge, except cooling remnants of coals of the stand-by fire the smith had been maintaining before his untimely demise.

Lupi: nothing new learned with those rolls. Grimgraj’s chosen religion had never been mentioned to you, and it’s not something you could possibly learn by a roll – you’ll have to find someone who knows to ask for the answer if you want to know.

Baran: love that post! As for the scene being staged… not that. It does really seem like a scene of battle, where some unfortunate sod had been thrown into and through the furniture, not like it had been destroyed by someone looking desperately for something. But the roll is good enough to realize that even the silversmith’s body isn’t battered enough to have been the blunt instrument used to cause all that damage, and there’s nothing to suggest the smith put up much of a fight. So you believe there have been more than one battle in the shop, recently, with little to no cleaning up between.

Alua: no worries about anyone having heard, except perhaps next-door neighbors if anyone was home – the ongoing revelry outside is plenty loud, you could scream until your throat bleeds and it’s doubtful anyone as far as the street would hear a thing.

Righto. Best of luck to you, and quick recovery.

the Grand Goblin wrote:
(does kingfisher represent anything in Sharn)

Well, nothing in official capacity, but since the roll was good and the topic has been discussed on and off recently... Kingfisher just so happens to be the symbol one Victor Saint-Demain has chosen for himself. He's no noble and thus not justified to have a heraldic crest, but many a wealthy commoner does enjoy imitating the aristocracy in that fashion.

Alua did in fact find a ledger, with details about orders made, delivered and paid, but after a while of leafing through it she began to suspect it was intentionally partial – these seemed to be an inconsistency between materials bought and item made, suggesting at the very least the smith had been engaging in a bit of tax evasion. But then again, the Baron had had reason to believe the man was involved in purely criminal enterprises at well – if so, it would not be a smart move to write down details about those transactions, certainly not where some casual burglar might find it.

Phin’s searching did not come up with any remarkable clues, but then the general mess in the shop made finding things difficult – a concentrated effort to shift all the loose and broken things into piles would help, but would take considerable time. There was something strange about the chaos in the room, she realized, but couldn’t put her finger on what was bothering her.

As Lupi joined the others crowding around the silversmith’s corpse she did find what she had expected – many of the bruises on the body suggested the killer had been wearing heavy rings on his fingers. Rings, or, indeed, piercings.

That speculated timeline would be within possibility as far as you can tell.

Lupi quickly determined the molds were for casting metals – spoons, forks, the smith had clearly had an extensive set of tools considering his small shop. Only one of the molds showed recent signs of usa, however – an extremely elaborate piece for casting a handle for a cane, this one depicting a kingfisher spreading its wings. The details in the mold were quite impressive, showing the smith – assuming he had made his own tools – had been a master of his craft.

The forge was cooling, as Phin had noted earlier. It was impossible to tell for certain when the forge had last been used to smelt metals, but what Lupi could tell was that it had not been used for the 8-10 hours at least – likely the smith had just kept a small fire going, so he wouldn’t need to start with a cold forge if a sudden order came in.

Nope, no signs of life here. The body is as dead as it can be while still in (mostly) one physical piece. As for the other roll… result isn’t the highest, but then again, the skill itself is the best possible for this job so taking that into account…

As Baran knelt next to the body and began his examination, two things became clear to him. One, the victim had been brutally beaten with bare knuckles, and the beating had continued way, way past the point of the victim’s death. It couldn’t be just to make sure the deed was done – no, the killer had wanted to keep on going, perhaps enjoying the act of taking a life, perhaps because they had some personal reason to loathe the victim.

Second, the man had been killed quite recently, certainly not more than four hours ago, as the body was still in the process of cooling.

No, you did not ask for a description, but that seems like a good guess.

Also, I was thinking about Lupi's rather nice Arcane roll and I guess it could do the trick, if you think of it like this: what substance might there be to be found near a place warded by alarm spells from which something was stolen without anyone noticing? Lupi can't be certain (the powder is no longer magical in any way, as it has been used so there are no auras to try and identify), but she knows there is a thing called "Dust of Silent Passage". It's used to temporarily disrupts an active alarm spell or arcane seal and would certainly explain unnoticed robbery. It's reasonably simple for a skilled alchemist to make, but possession of it is illegal in the City - after all, there is very little reason to have the stuff on you if you are not comtemplating committing a crime and need something to get past minor wards.

While the others tried to find a way to remain inconspicuous while hovering on the tiny platform before the silversmith’s shop’s door or on the stairs leading up to it, Phin crept inside on soundless feet… well, as soundless as the situation allowed, considering the sheer amount of discarded possessions and shards of broken glass and wood and ceramics littering the shop’s floor. She thought she managed relatively well, however – at least nothing sprung from behind toppled tables to assault her, nor did she hear any sounds of sudden movement beyond her line of sight.

It didn’t take her long to declare the small shop safe to enter. The boot she had spied belonged to a body of a slightly-past-middle-aged man whose features suggested to some orcish blood in his ancestry. Not that it was easy to tell, as even a cursory glance was enough to tell the man had been beaten to death and then someone had decided to make sure not to risk leaving the job half-finished.

Most of the shop is one open albeit cluttered room in rather severe state of upheaval. There is a tiny little personal space at the back, containing one room with a bed and some other necessities of simple living. There are no other entrances and the only windows (inside the shop part) are not meant to be opened.

Phin the Raccoon wrote:
Is there a way to analyze the powder now? I just assumed we'd need specialized materials. Regardless, only Erix or Lupi can do it...

Pretty much the only thing you could do to try and analyze it here is to taste it, and I somehow doubt you'd be able to recognize the stuff by taste. So either Erix takes an hour with his Alchemy kit and makes a moderately difficult roll or someone gives me a straight Divine (with the capital letter and everything) Knowledge Arcane roll to guesstimate correctly. The chances of that happening are rather slight...

Analyzing the powder later… check

Lharvion (July) 21, 998 YK, late evening. Cassan Bridge, Middle Menthis Plateau,

Cassan Bridge was a fairly unremarkable shopping district, unique only in the small community of human immigrants from the Shadow Marches who made their homes and livings there and had done their best to emulate their native architecture, showcasing shops and small houses built on often rickety-looking wooden stilts above the streets. But now, with the streets filled with festivities and people enjoying a chance to blow off some steam, and traditional wide-brimmed straw hats and knee-length platform boots were a distinct minority. Not so the usual sellers of snake-blood wine, fried toads and roasted lizards-onna-stick – they were clearly making a killing, selling their exotic wares to the people filling every major street.

It took you nearly two hours to make the way down from the lofty heights Dragon Towers down to the middle levels of Menthis Plateau, and night was fast falling when you finally located a sign depicting a somewhat faded star with the words “Shining Star Silver”, next to an ascending stairwell, leading up to a building rising 20 feet above the street level on a set of stilts.

As you made your cautious way up – both the stairs and the wooden platforms supporting the building proved rather sturdier than they looked to an untrained eye – you saw a faint glimmer of light shining through a grimy window and a placard claiming “Yes, we are open!” handing from a nail next to the door. There was no answer to a knock but the door proved unlocked when you tried the handle. Inside, however…

The shop looked like as though a team of horses had galloped through it. Fine silver spoons, bowls and knives were strewn about the floor. A display case laid broken against one wall, with glass, splintered wood and silverware spilling out like the guts of a disemboweled enemy. Towards the rear of the shop was a small black iron furnace with glimmers of fire still burning inside. Tongs, small hammers and other tools sat on a table next to it, along with many wooden and clay molds of various sizes and shapes. The air was filled with a strange mixture of smells, of hot metal and… something more. From behind one overturned table, at the back of the room, peeked a boot, but whether it had been separated from its wearer you could not see from your vantage point at the entrance.

26 is plenty…

Baran’s running commentary did indeed catch the attention of several servants and clerks, much to the bemusement of the sentry tasked to escorting you out, but at least her efforts were not fruitless. To Phin’s keen eyes, it was clear that the area had already been extensively studied – her nose caught the dusty smell of the powder often used by inquisitives to test for fingerprints. As she leaned closer the silence left by Baran’s now whispered monologue was suddenly broken by a source-less sound of silvery bells, causing Phin to start, knocking the pedestal out of its set place – a persistent alarm spell woven around all of the display pieces, your temporary guide explained as you waited for the noise to subside.

As Phin reached out to move the empty pedestal back to its proper place she made a lucky discovery, however – a pinch of grey powdery substance on the ground behind the pedestal, previously hidden by the marble stand.

Just a FYI, I don’t believe criminal science in Eberron has got to the point of people figuring you can actually positively identify people by their fingerprints, but the Inquisitive kit does provide chemicals for the purpose of detecting fingerprints, among other things…

Craft Alchemy or a more difficult Knowledge Arcane check can be used to identify the powder, although only properly after taking some time to use an Alchemy kit/lab to do it. Otherwise, both the rolls become a magnitude harder.

*Chuckle*... every time a bard performs to boost skill checks I think about this little gem ;^)

Would it set your heart at ease if I confirmed where the statue came from does not have an impact on the plot? It just so happens to be one of the Baron’s most valuable possessions (gift for solving his first major solo case), a symbol of his House and stolen so close to his office that the theft could be seen a challenge… or a threat.

Phin the Raccoon wrote:
Then there was still the issue about whether this was an inside job or not. The elf did have another question that hadn't been asked so she dared to make her own voice heard in the room, "Baron, do you have any reason to think that Saint-Demaine may be involved in the theft?" And possible kidnapping? but she left her second question unsaid. "Maybe he thought that you'd turn to him again since you did the first time."

”Victor?” the half-elf exclaimed in surprise. ”Girl, the man has his issues and carries an ego large enough to dwarf the Argonth itself, but he’s made a career of catching criminals, not committing crimes,” the Baron scoffed, shaking his head at the very absurdity of the suggestion.

Phin the Raccoon wrote:
As they were getting ready to take their leave she made a request, "If you would allow, Baron, may we take a look at the area where the theft occurred? I'm sure your people have been very thorough but a few more pairs of eyes may not hurt."

”Help yourselves,” Trelib d’Medani agreed, waving his hand to suggest the meeting was coming to a close and he had other pressing matters to attend to. ”The empty pedestal is right outside the door.” His hand made some motion behind his desk, hidden from sight and mere seconds later there was a respectful knock on the door, followed immediately by one of the Medani guards opening it, ready to escort you to the front door. ”These people will be taking a look at the crime scene on their way out,” the Baron said to the guard. ”Now get on with it. You aren’t paid by the hour, you know.”

The crime scene itself is quickly investigated – one empty pedestal among several others still holding their display pieces, along a busy corridor. The Baron’s door is at the end of the road, but there are no doubt any number of servants and aides (and the occasional visitor like you) who walk up and down the corridor day and night. But there may be something to be learnt here regardless… Let’s get at least one Perception check from you to begin with.

A nice holiday season on the novels front as well... Erikson's "The God is Not Willing", Corey's "Leviathan Falls", Butcher's "Battle Ground", got started with Sanderson's Mistborn era 2 books, and got introduced to the ye' ol' Bank's Culture series.

Gotta love a sci-fi series with AI space ships with grand names to strike fear into enemy's heart like "Unfortunate Conflict Of Evidence", "Of Course I Still Love You" and "It'll Be Over By Christmas" ;^)

Baran 'Elmswright wrote:
general events of 50yrs ago? not expecting hidden treasure on this one, just some context

Nope, whatever problem Trelib d’Medani solved never made it into the headlines – just the way the client wanted.

Baran 'Elmswright wrote:
Baran waited for the Baron to reply to Erik's comments and then, with his heart in his throat, he spoke. He asked his question as if thoughtless of any break in decorum and it came out as sort of a blurt, "Did you object to Saint-Demaine's rough upbringing? Is that why he wasn't accepted into the family?" Baran watched d'Medani's reaction to that last phrase then quickly looked to Alua as if remembering himself, "Oh, I beg your pardons." His apology was meant for both the Baron and his boss. "It isn't related to the case, it's only that it was rumoured Saint-Demaine was applying to the Warning Guild ... and I was curious ... my apologies." Baran didn't expect the Baron Trelib d’Medani to answer such an impertinent question but whatever split second reaction he had might hint at a truth.

”How did you…” the Baron muttered, clearly surprised at Baran’s insight, then sighed and leaned back in his chair. ”My compliments to your sources. Yes, Victor did seek employment among our elite inquisitives, but the way he handled himself in a personal interview with me… Hosts, the arrogance in that man! Yes, he might be the best there is, but anyone who demeans my master inquisitives to my face just to prove a point, that he’s better than them… well, needless to say, I refused his petition on the spot! He didn’t take that very well, and on hindsight perhaps I should have handled the matter in a different way, but as things stand, I doubt he’d andwer even if were to send for him.”

Not the smoothest way to ask the question, so the Baron doesn’t get the suggestion that a failed marriage might have been in question, but your sense motive is plenty to figure out Baron’s reluctance come from pride in not being able to back down on his earlier decision to deny Victor’s application.

Thanks, holidays will be interfering with everyone's schedules, so let's just get posts out whenever it happens to be convenient. This is a hobby, after all, not a 8-16 job ;^)

And on that note, very merry christmas to everyone!

Erix Thorn wrote:
Erix nodded "As you say sir. That'd be major surveillance, or an inside job sir." Erix stared off into the distance for a second "I'm thinking you'd prefer we assumed not an internal job, as you'll be checking that end yourself. Can I assume that in the highly unlikely and hypothetical case where that bore fruit you'd let us keep chasing a dead end rather than risk any exposure of your internal security's operational details?" he sighed "Hypothetically, of course. Can I then suggest that - while we have security here in this room - we work out a code phrase to call us off, and a code phrase to keep us going? And that if either phrase is used we just quietly follow the instruction and don't ever raise it again?"

”We shall indeed be looking into the possibility of this being an inside job. If that turns out to be the case, you can expect me to tell you that much and nothing else. But even thought there is a compromised asset within my House, that does not mean I won’t find my daughter and the stolen statue both found, so you may focus on those tasks,” the Baron said, sounding well pleased at Erix’s offer of discretion. ”If our internal investigation results in useful leads, you can trust me to let you know.”

”As for passphrases… assume that you are to keep going until told otherwise. And in case I need you to stop and we are somewhere that is not secure, I will find a way to include the words “Brelish honor” into the conversation. Or to a written message sent to you.”

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Anyway... seems the holiday prep work takes more time than I assumed, now with one less pair of hands in the family for the first time. Will try to get things rolling a bit by bit.

So, just as a reminder, you have a couple of leads to go with at the moment... first among them is the disreputable silversmith the Baron’s daughter went to investigate, as the single most likely person someone might try to sell such a hot stolen item as the statue. Second are the dangerous prisoners, since one of them just so happened to have stolen the exact same statue once before. Little in the way of leads where to find where they are hiding, though. Third, there is something more to be learned right here if you play your cards right. And fourth, perhaps. Victor Saint-Demain, the master inquisitive who caught those dangerous criminals the last time they were loose.

Baran 'Elmswright wrote:

kn arcana - the common basilisk - Is that enough to have heard about how to cure a basilisk's petrification

kn nobility - organizations that use the basilisk as a symbol

No easy cure as far as you know, only some very powerful magic (or perhaps equally expensive alchemies) can reverse petrification… both beyond the means of people like you – it would be some challenge to even find a caster strong enough to manage the spell, assuming you had the money to pay for the service. As far as basilisk as a symbol… House Medani just so happens to use a basilisk on its heraldic crest ;^) One reason why such a statue was gifted to them, one supposes.

Baran 'Elmswright wrote:
Baran cleared his head and spoke directly to the baron and ended with a great deal of tenderness, "That must have been an interesting 'particularly sensitive' case. Is there anything we may know about it? As you know, even seemingly insignificant information may be important. I believe Miss Riversong will confirm that in a missing persons case it is best to find the individual quickly."

”I’m afraid I’m not at the liberty to share any details about that case, but all of that happened almost 50 years ago, and I’m confident the people who may have taken offense are no longer an issue, nor their progeny.”

Erix Thorn wrote:
Erix coughed reluctantly. "Begging your pardon, sir. How predictable was it that you'd send your daughter? I think it's safe to assume anyone who can pull this off knows enough to know who she is and that she's a prize - but I'm wondering if the target of the Heist could've been her all along? Rough rule of thumb is most criminals are dumb" He recited "But anyone who can hit you, and do it here, is not most criminals."

”Well…” the Baron took a moment to think before answering. ”If, and this is a major if, someone would have managed to keep tabs on our team movements they could have realized there was only one team available to give this case to. But that would require someone with an in-depth understanding of our assets and operation procedures. Anyone with the resources and motivation to do that would indeed be an exceptional kind of criminal. It is improbable, but I cannot say it’s impossible.”

Alua Riversong wrote:
"Before we begin," Alua said, "there's the matter of our rate. To keep it easy, we'll charge whatever the going rate is for one of your teams, half up front, and half once we find and return your daughter."

”To equate pay to that of our teams, we’d first have to establish your level of skill and seniority, and besides, the wages for missions – on top of pay for days between active assignments – are determined after the mission, taking into account level personal danger, the importance of the task and other factors,” the Baron countered. ”I’m prepared to offer you a flat rate of 1000 Galifars, not including reasonable expenses and a bonus for a speedy resolution of the issue – do recall the time limit of day and a half before I have to leave the City.”

Righto. Good luck, then. And hopefully it will stay in schedule, the plague situation being what it is again and all that...

Right, finished with some invasive and very uncomfortable medical examinations, but got good news. Now, with that worry dealt with and a month of winter vacation about to start, I will try to get this game going again, assuming you haven't lost all hope and grown bored waiting for me to return;^)

After a couple of specialist visits and a bit of tweaking to medication I'm feeling a bit better (and have that big morale boost of knowing there's no particular reason to suspect anything really dire is going on)... Will see if the trend continues.

Interesting speculation and some good questions... Will get to them once I feel a bit better.

Alua Riversong wrote:
Alua's pale eyebrows went up. "The statue was stolen soon after the previous thief escapes captivity? That hardly seems coincidental. If Victor Saint-Demain was the one who retrieved it last time, we should certainly speak to him this time."

”Mr. Saint-Demain is… unavailable as far as this case is concerned,” the Baron replied, clearly uncomfortable with the topic. ”But if you want to try your luck with him, I won’t be in a position to stop you.”

Alua Riversong wrote:
She thought a moment, then added, "We'll start with the silversmith. We'll find her and bring her back, Baron d'Medani."

”Excellent. Do be aware that I will be taking the Lighting Rail to Wroat at 5:32 AM the day after tomorrow. I really cannot delay the trip, even for my daughter’s sake… such are the burdens of leadership. I would prefer if you could resolve these issues by that time. Now, if there is nothing else I can help you with…”

Alua Riversong wrote:
After Baran asked his questions, she asked her own. "Who are the other members of your daughter's team? Who else knew of her intention to visit Calinto Mulhar?" She thought a moment, then added, "Is it usual to deploy your teams away from Sharn? It could be that this theft was specifically timed. How many teams do you have, and where are they currently?"

”Joherra Riston and Toli Ovion are the two members of her team – both long-time employees and privy to a host of sensitive information. Meaning their trust has been tested time and time again, if that was your concern. And yes, it is very normal for our teams to be sent all over the Five Nations… although it’s not often so much of your people are deployed at the same time, with no teams on standby or even resting between missions close by,” the Baron said. ”As to the names and current locations of our other team members… that, my dear, is classified.”

”Concerning the silversmith, the facts that our people were considering him a person of interest is not a secret among Guild agents and officials, but I do not believe Zelina told anyone about her intentions to investigate him at this point.”

the Grand Goblin wrote:
"Ummm... was the statue... ummm.. magical?" She also eyed the baron looking for any hidden inaccuracies.

”No, nothing of the sort. It is exquisitely done, a reward for a particularly sensitive case I completed when I was younger. But… this isn’t the first time the thing has been stolen from me. In fact, one of the prisoners who escaped the caravan, the one-eyed freak, was the one who stole it the last time. And yes, it was Mr. Saint-Demain who caught him. One of the first jobs he did as an independent contractor to the Guild, as a matter of fact,” he said, nodding to Baran.

Alua: you do get the sense that the Baron is being too coy with any and all details, offering little when not questioned, even though he seems to be honestly worried about his daughter. But as to why that might be… he does seem particularly stringy when Victor’s name comes up.

Not feeling particularly well. Sorry about that. Will post when I feel up to it.

Re: how to address a Baron’s daughter… “Baron” in this case isn’t really an aristocratic title but rather what a regional manager of a Dragonmarked House is known by. Or, rather, the “first among equals” of said regional managers. The title is not hereditary and I believe it’d be reasonable to refer to such person’s daughter simply as Miss/Mrs, or if you want to be a bit more gallant, “Lady” would certainly work as well.

Re: who could rob a Dragonmarked Baron… someone who has solid brass family jewels. Someone like Baron Trelib would not take such an insult lying down, and House Medani is uniquely skilled at catching criminals, as that is one of their major trades. So either someone who knows they can run faster or hide better, or is too powerful to touch… or is plain mad and doesn’t care of the consequences. No single names spring to mind (or, rather, I do not know of any master criminal NPCs – you can invent some particularly infamous NPC who would be good enough to do the job if you want), but mainly one would suspect either one of the major criminal organizations – Boroma Clan, the Daask, the Tyrants, perhaps. They’d have the resources and might be able to hide away the actual perpetrators. Those, or another Dragonmarked House might be working against the Medani for some political reason.

Re: Zelina… not good enough a roll to really learn anything… there are too many Dragonmarked nobles in Sharn for one to easily keep track of everyone, particularly if said person isn’t really in the limelight all the time. That 12 is basically enough to recall that you have heard the name before, but that’s about it.

Baran 'Elmswright wrote:
"What may we know about the lead Miss d'Medani was following? Did all of her team disappear with her? Who was the last to speak with her?"

”She was investigating the theft of a silver basilisk statue, that used to stand on the empty pedestal just outside the doors to this office – meaning the thief snuck in all the way to the heart of the manor, unseen, and left the same way. The statue itself is distinct enough that it would be quite difficult for the thief to get off their hands. But we have been keeping tabs on a certain silversmith of questionable repute, one Calinto Mulhar from Silver Marches who has recently set up shop in the city. Zelina believed Calinto would be a likely middleman to help the thief get rid of his stolen goods and went off to interview the man. And was never heard from after. The last anyone heard from them, to my knowledge – and believe me, I made as sure of that I as could – was when she announced her intention to meet with that smith.”

Feel free to poke holes, you might notice something I have missed. But yes, unfortunately some suspenders for one's belief might be needed at times ;^)

Partly, the issue is that the module's timeline is a bit wonky... I have tried to make some field repairs but there's only so much to work with here.

The Baron’s polite smile twisted into something more resembling a sneer as Lupi asked for a commoner’s drink, although he recovered quickly enough that you were left wondering if you had just imagined the momentary lapse. But a beer Lupi got – a bottle of nightwood ale, the renowned Karrnathi lager, the dark liquid streaming with tiny golden bubbles. He poured himself a small glass of thick, almost syrupy brandy before seating himself but left the glass sitting on the desk instead of drinking.

Alua Riversong wrote:
Feeling sedate, she thanked the Baron for the offer of a drink, but refused. After his opening statement, she said, "I'm glad to hear we have trusted people vouching for us. You have my word that anything we learn here today, whether we take the case or not, will not be taken advantage of, nor spoken of to any outside our group."

”Good. I will hold you onto that, you understand.” He waited for a second to let that sink in before nodding briskly.

”To business, then. I hear that you played a part mitigating the disaster that befell one of our prisoner transports. For that, you have my gratitude, but it was not what brought you here today. Really, that is the least of my troubles at the moment.”

”It is not often we call out for outside help, you understand, but this week finds Sharn’s chapterhouse of the Warning Guild fresh out of inquisitives – each and every team is currently deployed away from the city, and I find myself with a pressing issue. Last night, a thief snuck in to this very building and stole a certain item of not insignificant value. The loss of the item is irritating, but the very nerve of the rogue to target my House and person… that is inexcusable. But not in itself enough to bring you in.”

”In truth, my Guild had one team available, and they took the case. The team is led by Zelina d’Medani, my daughter. She uncovered one lead almost immediately and took off to chase it down. But, since then, we have lost all contact with her and her team, and she knows better than to ignore communications protocols like that. Something has happened to her, and I have to find out what. That is where you come in.”

Baron Trelib, bluff: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (13) + 12 = 25

Good, but Baran’s Sense Motive was better. The Baron is keeping up appearances well, but you realize he is somewhat more desperate than he appears. Clearly, his daughter going missing like this is having a great effect on him. Also, there was something you believe the Baron was leaving unsaid about not having any other inquisitives to turn to except you but it’s naturally impossible to say what…

Lharvion (July) 21, 998 YK, evening

It took you longer than expected to make the trip to Dragon Towers, but luckily you had prepared and left early enough not to miss the appointment. Quite. Finding the Baron’s opulent mansion wasn’t difficult, and the streets were generally less crowded once you got into the richer, higher districts. Outside, you were met with an entourage of Medani sentries, a somewhat greater force than what you had expected to see stationed outside any of the district’s buildings – the security in general was always higher on the upper districts, the Watch responding remarkably fast and with furious zeal to any transgression. But House Medani seemed almost geared to repel an armed assault that night.

You presented your invitation that were waved through with remarkable speed – it was clear the guards had been told to expect a group of visitors matching your description and bearing a letter signed by the Baron himself. A pair of the sentries detached themselves to escort you to the meeting, one leading the way while the other trailing behind to ensure none of you “got lost” on the way. Inside, the mansion was just as richly furnished, although with apparent good taste – every piece of furniture and decoration was well made, out of exquisite materials, but all of it served a purpose. The decoration was not meant to overawe or to show off its owner’s great wealth. The mansion was also a nest of frantic activity, with clerks and servants hurrying purposefully this way and that, clearly in preparation of some event.

A minute later you were led into the Baron’s private offices, past an inconspicuously empty marble pedestal. The sentry knocked on the door, waited for a breath for a voice inside to grant you leave to enter and then stepped aside to gesture you inside, staying outside in the hallway with the other sentry and closing the door after you.

Baron Trelib d’Medani’s office was spacious, made double so by the somewhat spartan decorations. A large office table behind which the Baron sat, and five comfortable-looking upholstered chairs arrayed before it, awaiting you. The half-elven Lord of the House was past middle-aged with a slight paunch, a full head of jet black hair and a brazen mustache to match. His face looked weary with cares as he regarded you, gestured you to seat yourselves and inquired if you wanted something to drink while maintaining an affected air of aristocracy, his blue eyes studying you and seeming to file away details for later use.

If so, the Baron serves you himself – he has quite an extensive bar set against the back wall of his office.

”Now then, to the business at hand,” he said, seating himself and leaning forward in his chair. ”First things first. You do come to me recommended by people whose judgement in these matters I trust, but I want to make it clear that what we are about to discuss is of a sensitive nature. I require your explicit agreement not to misuse what you may learn here.”

Right, will write you into the Baron's office once I get a bit of time to do so.


You can add to the shifter trivia that there are 11 different tribes/clans/families that each have a different shifting ability. Also, shifters are quick on their feet and see well in darkness.

For that, you won't get any mechanics information, but the common knowledge:

With both humans and lycanthropes among their distant ancestors, shifters posses just a small portion of their forefathers' shape-shifting abilities. They cannot transform wholly into an animal but can instead shift parts of their body to become animal-like for short periods of time. In 832 YK the Church of the Silver Flame led an inquisition to wipe out all lycanthropes in Khorvaire, and Shifters got caught up in it. The inquisition lasted fifty years, killing most lycanthropes and driving the survivors deep into the Eldeen Reaches.

Lharvion (July) 20, 998 YK - after the incident

Baran 'Elmswright wrote:
While he did he spoke with those who would listen, "I'm with ir'Brock. I'm not affiliated with any of the houses and I don't share secrets. My agency knows that the people on the street have to be practical, we have to take care of ourselves. My boss, the healer who was just here, she wants us catch these monsters. I don't want you to do anything you're uncomfortable with but did you notice anything strange ... any new people wandering about ... just before everything went down? I swear, anything you say dies in my ear."

The issue here is, most anyone who was there to see the escape happen ran away for dear life and never came back (or were unable to run away… and do anything else because they were too busy being dead). The people who are there after things have calmed down came there to gawk at the latest piece of Sharn’s street theater. After Baran’s urging they will tell him all sorts of things, and swear they know it to be true, but you can be pretty sure it’s all just things people have convinced themselves happened because they have heard any number of half-rumors already, as everyone and their pet lizards is speculating just what took place.

Now, there were those few wounded civilians, some of which have left the scene to seek proper medical attention or just go home to ache. A couple may well be here, mixed with the crowd, but picking those voices from the eager speculators isn’t easy. The best you can get that might be of some use is:

”Wasn’t much to see, really,” one shop owner with a bandaged head said. ”Didn’t pay the wagons much mind – prisoners don’t have coin to spend and the Guards lack the time to browse while in duty. But between two glances… all the cage doors were locked, and then suddenly one of them was open, with half dozen or so brutes charging the closest guards while others went around opening the other cages before the guards got their act together. And then the bloody giant was out, and suddenly everything else was last day’s news.”

Re: Mind reading. Could work. Depends, and you do not yet know the setting. But if you get caught casting mind magics at the Baron of a Dragonmarked House, expect to be summarily executed. Player plot armor won’t shield you from what’s basically an assisted suicide ;^)

Re: Daask. Decent roll. Daask is a criminal enterprise peopled by the many "monster races" of Eberron. Its Sharn cell is organized under a goblin leader, Cavallah. The members of the Daask cell commit crimes in broad daylight and in neighborhoods under the protection of the Boromar Crime Family. They have also been known to attack patrols of the Sharn Watch while they conducted their rounds, using guerilla tactics to great effect. Their bases are renovated Dhakaani Empire subterranean strongholds, to which outsiders are almost never permitted access. Instead, each Daask cell has one location above ground where one of their spokespersons can be found. In Sharn, this is Shamukaar in Khyber's Gate, a tavern and butcher shop for Droaam refugees. In Sharn, they do treat the “monster” underclasses of the City somewhat better, as they always hope to expand their ranks for some future purpose. But they are no knights and protectors of the goblinkind either, even if they don’t target them quite as often as they do the proper citizens of the Five Nations. Partly, perhaps, also due to Sharn goblins and their kin having very little to steal.

That's some comeback, Baran!

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Lharvion (July) 20, 998 YK, evening

Deathsgate Guild, located on the district bearing the same name, was a well-established part of Sharn’s landscape, having existed for over 200 years in one form or another. Erix made his way to the guildhouse, passing the many shops and markets of the adventurers’ district, avoiding the spots of greatest trouble he knew from past experience. He walked up the steps leading to a heavy door guarded by two armed guildsmen, taking their turn to provide the daily service, exchanging nods with the one he recognized.

Through the door was the familiar mix of a gentlemen’s club and lounge was the Guild. The air was warm and gently scented with the aroma of hot, fresh food, drink and the musty scent of old books. A small token flame burned in the giant hearth, more for ambience than warmth during the hot summer months, adding another layer of soot on the rich mahogany wall panels and high stone ceiling. Erix could see a dozen or so members present, gathered in pair and trios for quiet concentration, some browsing the wealth of knowledge printed on the pages of the books the Guild was known for, and a few more relaxing over a hearty meal (available for the cheap for the members).

You spent some time greeting familiar faces and got introduced to a few new ones in the process. When the talk turned to the escaped prisoners you found many theories but few real answers. Some members had expressed interest in the hunt, but only a few – the six were known for being slippery targets, after all, as the Sharn’s own master Inquisitive had been needed to finally run them to the ground. The general feel was, it was better to wait and see if the bounties went up before committing to the chase.

When you began asking about Scrimshaw specifically, there was something new to be added to what you knew.

”Aye, that bastard,” Turana Laranak, a dwarven hunter who was known for his expeditions into Xen’drik, grunted. ”Bane of healers and priests – hear he goes out of his way to kill one of those types every chance he gets. Sniping from the air. One moment, you walk on the streets, peaceful as you please, and suddenly bam! An arrow through the top of your head, and by the time everyone stops gaping at the cooling corpse, the white-faced menace is long gone.”

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Erix Thorn wrote:

Lharvion (July) 20, 998 YK, daytime

Erix shook hands with the various guards. Awkwardly he handed out some "Ir'Brock Inquisitives" cards. "Boss is thinking of trying to take those bastards down. If you hear anything, pay me a call? Also... are you going to be alright with your boss? Want us to play up the danger, or claim they just got lucky?"

As expected, Erix got mixed responses from the Medani guards – several simply ignored him or pushed roughly past him, as they had had a very bad day already and knew it was far from over yet. A few accepted the card with silent regard or a quick nod of gratitude for the assistance during the fray and put it away without looking, but a couple lingered long enough to exchange a few words with the impressively muscled brawler.

”The ettin getting loose is proof enough of danger, and nobody’s not going to notice that,” one younger fellow said, scratching a bandage wrapped around what seemed a minor wound on his upper arm. ”Going to burn a prayer with your folks’ name on it come evening,” he added, shaking Erix’s hand. ”No idea how this clustercrap happened, but if you hadn’t happened to be here… well, a lot more of us would have left the scene feet first.”

Lharvion (July) 20, 998 YK, evening

Phin the Raccoon wrote:
Phin finished her set and made her way to the bar to chat with some of the locals. She started out by asking if anyone had heard of the ruckus that had happened earlier that day on the streets of Sharn and then followed it up with the story of the fall of the ettin. She didn't do it justice like Baran would have but she felt it was serviceable to get people engaged. She wondered out loud where the escapees may run to and offered her own opinion of where she may go if she had to lay low from the authorities. She watched the crowd around her to see if anyone's reactions warranted her speaking to them more one on one away from the others.

”Vrinn? Why would you want to know about that scoundrel?” asked Carlot Faldren, one of the Elk’s regulars, looking at the tavern’s brightest star over a foaming tankard. As Phin launched into her version of the tale of the prisoner escape half the patrons within hearing distance gravitated around her table, all suitably impressed with her retelling of the recent events – a few had been close enough to hear some of the commotion, and several claimed to personally know someone who had been there to see it and escape with the scars, but Phin took that for an attempt to curry favor with the singer… or just a chance to get their small share of the limelight by being able to contribute to the conversation with wild speculation, invented details or complete hearsay.

”Heard ‘bout that one-eyed freak from a sister-in-law in the Watch,” Carlot half-shouted, to get in a word edgewise into the conversation that was getting out of hand. The claim was answered by the usual jeers and laughs, but Phin’s sudden interest forced the other participants to quiet down and reluctantly allow the spotlight to shine on someone else.

”Called himself a cyclops, he did – claimed to be part giant of all things, heir to the past masters of Xen’drik of all things, the little runt that he was. But that’s not interesting. What is, she said the fellow was getting all talkative behind bars. Let it slip he had ran with the Tyrants in the past, but parted company after some disagreement or the other. Story goes, the creeps are still hunting for Vrinn.”

Knowledge Local DC 15 and above would be enough to let Phin recall the Tyrants are perhaps the most secretive criminal organization in Sharn. Changelings one and all, according to rumor, dealing in forgeries, long cons, identity thefts and other crimes like that.

Lharvion (July) 20, 998 YK, evening

Alua Riversong wrote:
Of course, those poor enough to end up at the Temple in Fallen were not the types to have many options in life, and they merely nodded resignedly. Few here would die of old age, and many would die violently. But forwarned was forarmed, and if this information could save one life, that would be enough.

Things had not changed much in the Fallen during Alua’s absence, but her return was marked with warm welcomes – the temple never had enough hands to help all those who needed assistance, and the oracle had always been well enough liked by the people she had worked with. As you exchanged stories over a bowl of the evening’s soup the priests cooked for those too poor to afford a warm meal for themselves, you did hear one interesting tidbit – the ever elusive Ravers had become even rarer of late, apparently retreating deeper into their own claimed territory and venturing out to hunt less often than usual.

As for the Rrregla…

”A nasty piece of work,” Castar Sil, a gnome grocer who donated supplied to the temple every so often grunted, spitting on the floor between his boots. ”She loves to strangle people who make it their job to protect others – Watch officers, private guards, boyfriends shielding their lasses… doesn’t seem to care much about the details beyond that common denominator. Loves smoking spice-flavored cigarettes – heard that was one of her trademarks, a butt left by the corpse’s side. Might have something to do with her voice – story goes she didn’t get the Gasper nickname for the stranglings after all, but for the rasping and wheezing voice.”

No reason she couldn't ask for more than one inmate, but I guess that'd limit the time finding people who actually knew something... I see this less just shouting "anyone know something about X!" and more about finding information about someone who knows someone else who might have useful information about one of the targets. Less time spent on any single line of question, less chance of actually finding anything you could use.

Let's say a cumulative -2 penalty for every additional inmate you fish for information about during a given day.

For whom was that roll intended? I do require one per target in thus case, so no rolling for "anyone saw anything about the escape?"... but you need not waste that roll: as a special one-time offer you get to name the inmate after the fact :-)

Fair enough, life gets like that, as my own recent absence proved.

Erix: guards’ tie to Sebastian’s prison: the Medani do run most of the prisoners, so the House is connected. No way of knowing if these particular guards would be rotated to prison duty, and if so, if they would end up / would already have ended up serving in that work camp.

Heist possibility: could be. Five rather violent bruisers could play the part of muscle, and the sixth is a skilled burglar. If someone’s broken them out for such a purpose, that someone would most likely be taking care to keep them under wraps until the crime gets into motion – in that case, finding them without finding who is protecting them first would be quite difficult, as the inmates themselves wouldn’t be running around and talking with people.

Phin: Being known and well-liked certainly can't hurt when digging for rumors and secrets, and Phin seems the extrovert and likable sort (and a pretty face can't hurt either). Sure, let's give you a +4 bonus for the rolls made in your usual haunts. It will also mean that people will remember it's you who's been asking questions about the prisoners, though... assuming it will matter ;^)

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