Children of Sorrow


Nemo struggles to keep up with his companions, while also remaining as inconspicuous as possible while within the environs of Ravenswood. There are the occasional sneer and (happily badly) aimed kick, but walking in the company of such a tall and beautiful pair as the elegant dark skinned human woman (by appearances) and the very pale elfling, not to mention the massive and well-armed Guardian of the Ruby Spire stands him in good stead ... or at least better than he would fare on his own. He does see some less-than-friendly side glances at Jendi from some, the occasional cautious looks at Toriq and even Mylistra.

He thinks through the conversation he and the witch had earlier in the day, about friends and family, about loss, and about the two women needing rescue: his cousin Beppa and her friend and client Elena. Nemo hopes that he was not precipitous in trusting her with the identity of the organization his cousin founded and of which he is a member, The Children of Sorrow, and in suggesting that they might be of service regarding Elena if the group would reciprocate in helping to free Beppa.

In the marketplace, Mylistra quickly gathers the ingredients she needs to replace her tisanes and to make more of her mystic salves, as well as some sanctified incense for her new rituals. While she is making these purchases, Toriq takes the others with her to purchase foodstuffs to replace their rations and other supplies.

Early the following morning, Toriq takes Nemo with her to catch more squirrels and other small mammals in order to make more jerky. Importantly, it will leave Juniper House empty for Mylistra's study, since Jendi is also out at a coffeehouse, meeting a friend from Blackstone with news from the University. Nemo is curious about that because the warlock remains pretty tightlipped about why he left. How did this "friend" get in touch with him, anyway? he wonders.

There is no evidence of the friend when Toriq and the halfling meet her brother at the coffeehouse to strategize about the rescue. Nemo proposes checking his old haunts and his various sources for information about the wedding. He asks his friends if it's possible to purchase more of that wonderful potion that the dryad had given to him: it literally saved his life!

And that is how Nemo meets Shiogtelm, a very cranky and elderly goblin and somehow a friend to the Guardians of the Ruby Spire and - apparently - members of his own family. After following Toriq through the nondescript door and down a nondescript hallway, Nemo wonders where in the universe his friend's sister is leading him. Then, Toriq taps three times on the wall, pauses, taps two more times, and finally - after another pause - gives seven very quick taps. The wall slowly slides open in a dusty room filled with shelves. The young halfling stares at the myriad of objects, books, stones, etc. littered over every surface. In his distraction, he barely notices Toriq addressing someone else in the room. Then he hears an preemptive cough and turns toward what he now realizes is a desk with a occupant sitting behind it, regarding him sternly.

The generally intrepid halfling is dumbstruck as the rheumy eyes peer over the rims of very thick glasses to look him over. At Toriq's nudge, the young rogue stammers his desired purchase. When told the cost, Nemo takes out his pouch, counts out the coins, and hands them over meekly. Gnarled fingers take up the coins and subsequently hand over a dusty potion bottle. Meister Shiogtelm says, "I hope you don't mind the flavor of old socks, but, then, any nephew of old Rubee must be more than familiar with that!" and cackles madly at his witticism. In a more serious tone, the meister continues, "but do not come here without her. It is not safe, for me nor for you."

  • our intent (I think is obvious) is to try to rescue Elena - this seems more in keeping since two members of the group do not yet know Nemo very well.
  • per Nemo's suggestion, they will try to enlist the aid of his organization The Children of Sorrow in the intervention.
  • Mylistra purchases 40 gp of Mystic Salves & 60 gp of Sanctified Incense (uses Toriq's ring to pay for it.)
  • Mylistra will spend at least one day learning her new rituals and writing them into her own book.
  • Nemo's Streetwise check to find potion of healing: r6 +9 = 15 vs. 9 Easy DC (for common items purchased in Familiar Settlement and not Dangerous Situation) = Success. Cost 50 gp
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Okay, as we discussed on Discord when you were establishing your intents above, your decision to delay rescuing Elena yet another day results in stepping up the DC of the forthcoming SC by 1 to L+3. Here are some ideas for how the Children of Sorrow might aid you; first, though, convincing them to do so would be an at-level C1 SC (so 4 Successes before 3 Failures; DCs 9/13; 1 Secondary) with the proviso that you promise your aid in breaking Beppa free from prison afterwards (that should go swimmingly since Sherriff Davos, Elena's father, presumably presides over the prison!):

Possible aid from the Children of Sorrow

• Arrange for passage by ship for Elena out of Ravenswood (to Blackstone? Somewhere else?); Benefits: free ship's passage is 52 gp value (1/10 at-level magic item) + Elena’s freedom is secured; Complications: details of freeing Elena from her captivity and delivering her to the docks are dependent on your actions; Challenge: L+3 C2 SC (6 Successes before 3 Failures; DCs 10/15/22; 2 Secondary Skills; 1 Hard DC)

• Smuggle the PCs into the wedding venue ahead of the wedding; Benefits: skip the gate guards; go straight to the action! Complications: details of what happens to Elena once she is freed from her captivity are not resolved; Challenge: L+3 C1 SC (one obstacle is a guaranteed L+3 combat for 1 Success in the SC) (4 Successes before 3 Failures; DCs 10/15; 1 Secondary Skill)

• Provide a piece of blackmail the PCs can use against Sherriff Davos as leverage in a negotiation; this would be a purely social challenge (but with the threat of violence breaking out depending on fictional position and failure); Benefits: success would mean the wedding is called off and Elena remains in her home with greater freedom and autonomy; but Complication: Davos is your bitter enemy; Challenge: L+3 C3 SC (8 Successes before 3 Failures; DCs 10/15/22; 3 Secondary Skills; 2 Hard DCs; 2 Advantages (one of which is an additional advantage to the standard ones (see RC 160) to be deployed at your discretion: use the blackmail like a Daily Power for an autosuccess against any single skill check in the SC; the details of such will be entirely at your discretion at the time of deployment, based on fictional position established, etc; obviously, whatever this turns out to be might have (possibly serious!) consequences later in play)

So, respond with a bit of fiction wherein Nemo introduces the group to someone with authority within the Childen of Sorrow (consider developing a bit more detail about this group, its goals, membership, etc) and signal out-of-character which of the above you would like to pursue (or propose something else!).


Mylistra is glad that she heeded Nemo's suggestion to forgo any finery, as she sits in the basement of the dockside pub. Ravenswood's atmosphere is generally a bit smoky - due to their industrious manufactories - and she always feel as if she cannot breathe fluidly while in town. But here? Inside this room? The pipesmoke seems to have solidified, floating like the airboats of Blackstone that she's heard Jendi speak of (not that she entirely believes him, but...). She brings her attention back to the wizened old halfling sitting in front of her, Nemo's ... aunt? grandmother?

"Oba Rubee, you should have seen them! They are powerful! And they'll help us break Beppa out..." Nemo's eager voice peters out slowly. Rubee takes a deep toke from her pipe, holds it in, then slowly blows lazy rings with her exhale. None of the others seated at the long table - Nemo's brother Thierry, another (younger) ... aunt? Gelvira, a goblin ... Swishka?, and two other halfling women whose names the witch cannot recall - none of them speak. They all watch their elder intently.

Nemo squirms anxiously for a moment, then stills. Mylistra shares a glance with Toriq, who shrugs before returning to her study of their table companions, Rubee in particular. Jendi leans forward with a slight smile, glancing at each with an air of having met them before ... as perhaps he has.

Finally the old woman speaks in a deep raspy voice. "If we help you, how do we know you will keep your word? You big ones aren't known for helping our kind. Although ..." She considers Mylistra for a long moment before continuing, "I have heard something about you. That why you wanna help this chit? Solidarity of our kind?" She makes an inclusive gesture between herself, the witch, and some of the others seated around the table, one that doesn't include any of the males. Then she cackles.

Looking over at Nemo's brother, she gestures with her chin. At that, Thierry points to several of the others seated there, and they all stand up and head for the bar. Left sitting at the table are Rubee, Mylistra and her friends, Thierry, Gelvira, and Swishka the goblin (Mylistra is not sure she got her name right - was there a "v"?). Nemo starts to get up as if by habit but sits back down, as his brother places a hand on his shoulder to return him to his seat.

The party would like the third option - "Provide a piece of blackmail..."
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Skill Challenge, Convince the Children of Sorrow to assist your aid to Elena, L2 C1 (DCs 9/13); 0 Successes/0 Failures/1 Secondary Skill available.

Rubee leans back, just smoking for a minute or two. The silence grows louder. She relights her pipe.

"That question wasn't rhetorical-like," she suddenly croaks. "I understand the sorority the witch brings. She's an outsider, literally and doubly so. But what of you, Halforc? You have the freedom to do and choose as you please, to roam the forest, chase the stag, whatever it is you do out there. And you, Elfling. What stake do you have in our struggles?

"If you're as powerful as my nephew claims, what recourse would we have if you walked away after we helped you? Besides a sharp knife in the back some night in an alleyway, of course..." she trails off.

"Convince me that your bond with Nemo extends to his family, that your word is as good as your reported actions."

Moderate DC. What do you do?
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JENDI looks at Rubee for a beat or two silently. Then he leans forward, arms resting on the tabletop, face serious. "As your great-nephew no doubt has mentioned, I have traveled your son's bateau mouche, Serenity, a few times, down to Blackstone. The first time was because it was all I could afford..." The warlock pauses expectantly and gets the chuckle he is expecting. He continues with a grin, "it may not be the prettiest bateau mouche, but we both know it's the fastest. And that's important if you're not traveling fancy-like. That first journey downstream cemented my preference for Milo's hand on the tiller and at arms.

"Your son taught me to fish and to fling knives - although he couldn't help my poor aim! But he taught me much about protecting my back physically and figuratively. His nephew ..." Here Jendi nudges his halfling friend, "took me under his wing - despite his youth - he has always treated as a brother - even calls me one, which I honor. This last trip he decided he wanted an inland adventure and journeyed with us into the woods. He didn't back down when the going got a bit tougher than expected, and We fought as comrades in arms ... just as we had to on occasion on Serenity, as I hope Milo would testify.

"My sister," Jendi gestures at Toriq, and the warlock notes the lack of surprise in Rubee's face, "is ever on the side of those in need and is a particular ally of this woman's and of my mother, known as Juniper of Juniper House." Again, Jendi sees no surprise: Nemo must already have told her this information. He is simply verifying it for her. "For myself, I do not like many people. I do like and respect Milo and Nemo and the Gammidge clan, and to help any of their family would be a debt repaid - giving back some little of what I've received these past years."

Jendi makes a Primary Skill Diplomacy check to convince Rubee of his very real sincerity: +14 = Autosuccess vs 13 Moderate DC. Success.


Skill Challenge, Convince the Children of Sorrow to assist your aid to Elena, L2 C1 (DCs 9/13); 1 Success/0 Failures/1 Secondary Skill available.

"Sure enough, Elfling, your words is pretty, alright. Milo said you was a talker. Glib tongue. But he likes you, Milo does. That means a lot. But you, Toriq, you we don't know much of nothin' about. It seems to me, if what I've heard is true, that you have loyalties beyond yourself. Some secret order of hermits and treehuggers. Entrenched power like that don't much even think about the little folks. Got bigger concerns that take precedence when it's suddenly us who are in need--rather save a unicorn than fight against injustice in society. That so? Why would you help us here?"

This is directed at Toriq. (But another PC can use an SS for an aid, of course.) Moderate DC.
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For a long moment no one speaks, no one moves. The diminutive elder stares without blinking at the Guardian. The Guardian stares right back.

Then, Mylistra, placing her hand on TORIQ's arm, speaks softly and earnestly to her friend. "I know you don't like to talk much about the good you do, behind the scenes, letting Juniper and I take all the lauds, but this is a place where you must. She needs to know that she can trust you. If you share yourself, she will understand and will trust."

Toriq's lips tighten for a moment, then her body relaxes with a great sigh, and she finally answers Rubee's question: "I speak - albeit not always with actual words - for those who cannot speak for themselves. As you allude to, that often means creatures in the forest. But not always. I do what I can behind the scenes for Mylistra and Juniper ..." Here Mylistra interrupts, with "your mother..." "... yes, my mother," the warden gives an admonishing side glance at her friend and ally. "I do what I am able to for behind the scenes to help their work."

"And not only us," the witch asserts. Toriq, exasperated, asks if she would like to continue, as her voice. The two friends stare at each other, then Toriq glances around the table, particularly at Svishka, before meeting the eyes of Nemo's Oba Rubee once again.

"I am choosing to trust you, grandmere. I'll give you a name. If you need a reference, you can ask old Meister Shiogtelm. I believe you've met," the warden says with a small smile. Then, turning to Svishka, she continues with, "and is he not your grandpere?"

* Mylistra makes a Secondary Skill Insight check to intuit why Toriq is hesitant to speak: +10= Autosuccess vs 9 Easy DC, for a +2 SS bonus to

* Toriq's Primary Skill Insight check to trust Rubee and tell her what she needs to know: r13+4+2 SS =19 vs 13 Moderate DC
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Skill Challenge, Convince the Children of Sorrow to assist your aid to Elena, L2 C1 (DCs 9/13); 2 Successes/0 Failures/0 Secondary Skills available.

"Well, then," Rubee remarks, "if you are indeed a friend to the Gobbers, you'll have no problem helping our allies with one of their problems. You know of the Gray Cloaks? Group of constables on the take. More so than usual, that is. Extortionists, larcenists, roughnecks. Despicable crew.

"We've been 'tithing' them for years and years. But now that's not good enough. They've taken to mugging Goblinfolk working the docks for sport, breaking bones, stealing their wages, that sort of thing. No one's been killed yet, but it's only a matter of time.

"Tonight is Starday. Payday. If you want to demonstrate your sol'darity with the exploited, the abused, you'll use that brawn and power of yours to step in, show the Gray Cloaks we small folk have many allies and won't stand for this treatment. We may not be citizens, but we're people!"

* * *

Svishka leads the group of you out of The Leaky Barge and into the smoky streets of Ravenswood. Sea shanties and fiddle music spill out of taverns to fill the streets. Laughter. Shouted greetings. Folks of all type make their way in groups between entertainment houses. As you approach the docks proper, though, people are fewer and fewer. It doesn't take long to stumble upon the kind of scene Rubee described.

At the shore end of a long pier, a group of constables in their uniform of blue coats and tricorn hats is harrassing two goblins. One constable restrains one of the small folk, while another is pushing the other in the shoulder repeatedly, sending it stumbling back with each shove.

"I don't care if that's all the money you got! We require more this week. Inflation, don'tchya know? And you're gonna give it to me, or I'll take it out of your hide. And your lady's..."

What do you do? Should that be some kind of attack power, DCs are 16 AC/14 NAD. Failure here will result in physical violence (ie, a combat encounter).


A young voice calls out, "Yiorgos! Keep your hands - and those of your ... friends - off those good and honest folk." The constable in question turns in surprise. Then, seeing the small halfling step out of the shadows, his face turns to a sneer, the sneer growing as he sees the tall beautiful woman directly behind him. "What're you two gonna do about it? Stare at us to death."

Mylistra stares at him a moment, then down at the knife she holds. She begins to clean her finger nails with it, lips pursed in thought, then she holds up the knife in the Moonlight, and it positively gleams. Her gaze returns to Yiorgos, and she gives a small, wicked smile.

Then, Jendi walks into the light, Toriq's bulk stopping ... just ... in the shadows. "Yiorgos, is it?" Jendi inquires, cocking his head to the side. "You were perhaps mistaken. You and your fellows believed these good people to be without protection, but you can see that you are wrong. It's time for you to go about your business ... elsewhere."

The group of constables look at the small but dangerous looking halfling, at the tall woman with the sinister smile, and finally at the speaker, a youngish man or elfling with dark energy seeming to crackle at his fingertips. Yiorgos goes to step forward but stops short, eyes widening as he sees the towering figure of Toriq cross her arms, causing her muscles to bulge. He turns back to his comrades and shakes his head.

They make a Group Primary Skill Intimidate check to convince the constables to leave the goblins alone vs 9 Easy DC
  • Jendi: +10= Autosuccess
  • Mylistra: r20+5=25 Success
  • Nemo: r16+3=19 Success
  • Toriq: r5+2=7 Failure
3 out of 4 Successes on Group check = 1 Success in SC
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Skill Challenge, Convince the Children of Sorrow to assist your aid to Elena, L2 C1 (DCs 9/13); 3 Successes/0 Failures/0 Secondary Skills available.

The Gray Cloaks--Mylistra thinks it odd that indigo-attired constables should be so named, until she considers that a gang of crooked authorities can hardly go advertising the fact--grumble a few curses under their breath, then begin to back away.

"We'll remember your faces, boy," spits the one named Yiorgos, figuratively and literally, a huge gob of sputum spat at Nemo's feet. But the situation seems defused.

That's when a neighborhood do-gooder interferes. She's an elderly human woman leaning out of a third-storey window, beside which is mounted a large brass bell.

"Yiorgos, dear," she calls down in a creaky voice. "Are those folks giving you trouble? Should I ring the Watch bell?"

What do you do? Moderate DC, of course.

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