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Kulan: Knightfall's Crisis in Bluffside Game [IC]

Neurotic

I plan on living forever. Or die trying.
"Missing guard is either already dead or kept alive for some purpose. In both cases, half a day will not make a difference. Mani is alive and dangerous and will keep killing unless that is resolved. I would like to find the guard...but my feeling is that we should look for the Well of Dreams. If the story is true, it gives aditional weight to the fact that Bluffside as a whole is in danger. And The Five may take the threat of the renegade as part of a greater whole. And with the name like that...who knows...maybe we get some visions, prophecies, glimpses of the future."

Akos it seems has his priorities clear. Immediate things first, with knowledge trumping other considerations. Except he ran into the fog alone to save the boy. So...maybe not so clear after all.
 

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JustinCase

the magical equivalent to the number zero
Tuck treats the staff explicitly as people who happen to work here, rather than mere servants or part of the furniture. By his genuine interest in people, Tuck often gains more contacts in the City, and you never know when it comes in useful!

Back downstairs, the kobold eats simply, preferring bread and fruits to the more fancy things. He does make sure to be well sated before starting the day.

"I promised to help out someone with a recurring rat problem," the urban ranger states, almost reluctantly. "So if you can help escort the doppelganger to a safer place, I'll try to get my job done quickly and then we can reunite to find that Well of Dreams. It does seem probable that, if true, it can be of great help in our mission."

OOC: I just discovered I haven't leveled Tuck yet, so will do that today.

Do you want me to roll something for the interactions with the staff? I'll roll a Charisma check; if something else is more appropriate, feel free to add or substract the relevant modifiers.

Charisma: 1D20+1 = [15]+1 = 16
 

Scotley

Adventurer
Breva nods at Akos' logic and inwardly cannot fault Tuck for keeping a promise. Breva looks to the rest of the group. "Are we resolved them to seek this 'well of dreams' as soon as the matters of the doppleganger and rats are dealt with?"
 

Tellerian Hawke

Defender of Oerth
Tim nods, "Yes, agreed. Delivering Mani should be top priority, then head to the well. Hopefully, Tuck will not be long, and will arrive at the well at the same time we do. Tuck, are you ok with doing this alone? Would you rather have an armed escort, just in case?"
 

JustinCase

the magical equivalent to the number zero
Tuck nods.

"I should be fine," the kobold says. "They're just rats. Stubborn ones, but still, rats."

Then he gets somewhat anxious. "Unless of course they've come under the influence of larger, more vicious creatures. Wererats, or even a ratking."

He shudders. "Maybe just one of you," Tuck gives in.
 

Neurotic

I plan on living forever. Or die trying.
"I'll go with you. Mani is an interesting character, but there is no mystery anymore. And maybe we will be faster together so we can get to the well. The rest of you, don't let the Regulars and Elite and mercenaries start fighting over custody, that is just the chaos Mani is viable to get lost in."
Offers Akos
 

Scotley

Adventurer
Breva nods at Akos' advice. "You know where to find us if the rats turn out to be more than expected. Shall we deliver Mani?" He gathers his things and thanks the servants for their assistance during his visit before departing.
 


Knightfall

World of Kulan DM
Breva could not resist returning the the library and reading a bit of the tale of Sir Oswyn Tibborde when he should have been sleeping. He still is reasonably refreshed by the bath and good food and ready to face another difficult day. As always he begins his day in prayer. He prays earnestly that the damage from Mani's psionic attack be healed by the power given to him by his deity. He casts the spell which can restore such wounds.
During Breva's prayers, he gets a clear image of two crossed swords in his mind -- the symbol of the Purifier. Then there is the sound of fire burning in his ears and the two swords become engulfed in white-hot flames. There is the call to battle ringing in the distance and then a shadowy creature with tentacles rises behind the image of the swords and roars an unearthly wail.
Tuck treats the staff explicitly as people who happen to work here, rather than mere servants or part of the furniture. By his genuine interest in people, Tuck often gains more contacts in the City, and you never know when it comes in useful!
The servants quickly become at ease with the urban ranger and several of them offer to tell him bits of news they've heard about in the last few days.

"A lot of rumors swirling about just like that fog last night," a comely half-orc maid says to him. "There is talk that there might be a thieves' war brewing down in the Undercity."

JustinCase said:
OOC: Do you want me to roll something for the interactions with the staff? I'll roll a Charisma check; if something else is more appropriate, feel free to add or substract the relevant modifiers.

Charisma: 1D20+1 = [15]+1 = 16
OOC: We can make it a Gather Information roll. That's something Tuck is really good at. (16+14=30) If you choose to go that way, I'll post some of the latest gossip and rumors going around Bluffside in the OOC thread and who Tuck heard it from. Post any questions you want to ask the staff on the OOC thread, for more specific things related to the group's missions. The roll is good enough for Tuck to gain another contact at the manor. I'll come up with an NPC and short description and post it on the OOC thread once you've confirmed that you want to make the roll a Gather Information check.

Or we can make it a untrained Diplomacy check. (The bulk of the staff would be either Indifferent or Friendly, already. Tuck's roll would be good enough to make the Indifferent staff members Friendly.)

Scotley said:
Breva washes up and heads downstairs to enjoy the morning repast. Once everyone has made it down he addresses the group. "So my good companions, after a good nights rest have you thoughts on how best to spend our day? I suggest we wrap up the matter of the Doppleganger with a visit to the lord commander this morning and put that behind us. My personal feeling is that the missing guards should be traced before the trail goes colder, but I would hear what you all think we should do."
Gerey makes sure everyone has enough to eat and then some. The dining table is filled to the brim with fresh bread & flapjacks, honey & other sweets, the finest cheese, fruits & vegetables, and water, wine & mead, as well as fresh cooked meats such as bacon, sausage, and venison.

"Missing guard is either already dead or kept alive for some purpose. In both cases, half a day will not make a difference. Mani is alive and dangerous and will keep killing unless that is resolved. I would like to find the guard...but my feeling is that we should look for the Well of Dreams. If the story is true, it gives aditional weight to the fact that Bluffside as a whole is in danger. And The Five may take the threat of the renegade as part of a greater whole. And with the name like that...who knows...maybe we get some visions, prophecies, glimpses of the future."

Akos it seems has his priorities clear. Immediate things first, with knowledge trumping other considerations. Except he ran into the fog alone to save the boy. So...maybe not so clear after all.
"Yes, there is no way for us to know for certain whether or not those guards going missing has anything to do with the renegade," Vinccenzo says in agreement. "We did promise to look for them, but taking Mani to Lord Commander Oakfirst comes first. We can look for them after we've checked out the thicket."

"If you like, Sir Breva, I can have word sent to some discreet investigators I know who can look for these young guards and report back to me," Gerey offers. "While it might take some time, I can have the information to you in day or so, depending on how hard my old friends have to look for them. I promise that they won't engage with any villains that might be involves in the disappearances."

JustinCase said:
Back downstairs, the kobold eats simply, preferring bread and fruits to the more fancy things. He does make sure to be well sated before starting the day.

"I promised to help out someone with a recurring rat problem," the urban ranger states, almost reluctantly. "So if you can help escort the doppelganger to a safer place, I'll try to get my job done quickly and then we can reunite to find that Well of Dreams. It does seem probable that, if true, it can be of great help in our mission."
"If you feel you have to do that first, go ahead," Vinccenzo replies. "We'll meet you at the edge of the Jade Thicket."

Breva nods at Akos' logic and inwardly cannot fault Tuck for keeping a promise. Breva looks to the rest of the group. "Are we resolved them to seek this 'well of dreams' as soon as the matters of the doppleganger and rats are dealt with?"
"I think so," Vinccenzo says.

Tim nods, "Yes, agreed. Delivering Mani should be top priority, then head to the well. Hopefully, Tuck will not be long, and will arrive at the well at the same time we do. Tuck, are you ok with doing this alone? Would you rather have an armed escort, just in case?"
Tuck nods.

"I should be fine," the kobold says. "They're just rats. Stubborn ones, but still, rats."

Then he gets somewhat anxious. "Unless of course they've come under the influence of larger, more vicious creatures. Wererats, or even a ratking."

He shudders. "Maybe just one of you," Tuck gives in.
"I'll go with you. Mani is an interesting character, but there is no mystery anymore. And maybe we will be faster together so we can get to the well. The rest of you, don't let the Regulars and Elite and mercenaries start fighting over custody, that is just the chaos Mani is viable to get lost in."
Offers Akos
"I think the three of you should be able to handle some rats," Vinccenzo says with a smile while watching Mutt devour a piece of venison. The big dog gulps down the meat happily and then sinks his nose into a bowl full of fresh milk with honey.

Breva nods at Akos' advice. "You know where to find us if the rats turn out to be more than expected. Shall we deliver Mani?" He gathers his things and thanks the servants for their assistance during his visit before departing.
Tim nods at Breva, "Let's get going. I won't rest easy until Mani is under the watchful eyes of an experienced City Wizard."
"Agreed. I couldn't eat another bite," Vinccenzo says as he pushes the empty plate in front of him away. "Let's get going."

"I shall have the staff take the rest of the food and donate it to the poor in the Undercity," he bows to Breva and Big Tim. "You are always welcome here at Stormgrove."

"Thank you, Gerey," Vinccenzo says. The Sectarian Guard shakes the man's hand before heading out with Big Tim and Breva.

The three of you are soon on their way back to the Red Arch guard post. The three heroes find a small crowd gathered around the guard post and the guard Mariana and an another woman, who wears the uniform of a Regulars captain, are trying to keep the crowd back. The people in the crowd are demanding more information about the Old City Killer. It seems the news of the doppelganger's capture and incarceration at Red arch has gotten out.

"Please step back," the guard captain orders, clearly feeling overwhelmed. "We have the situation well in hand! Now return to your homes!"

There are more shouts from the growing crowd. "String him up now!" and "Kill the fiend!" and "It murdered my son!"

"Well, this isn't good," Vinccenzo says. "I bet that damn sergeant told someone."

Mariana notes your arrival and points you out to her captain. The woman nods and addresses the crowd. "The murderer will face justice, I promise you that but we have laws in this city! There will be no lynching of the prisoner!" She motions to you. "Look! The heroes that caught him have returned to take him to face justice at the Palace!"

"Gods! She just didn't do-."

The crowd turns to look at you and first notes Breva's attire as a paladin of the Purifier and then Vinccenzo's Sectarian Guard uniform. But soon all eyes are on the imposing figure of Big Tim. The crowd rushes forward and surrounds the three of you. Questions pour out about the killer and if the three heroes are sure it is the killer. The woman who lost her son weeps at Breva's feet and praises his god. The crowd starts to grow and Breva notes a look of relief on the guard captain's face. She sees Breva staring at her and mouths, 'I'm sorry'. She motions for Mariana to stay outside and keep watch on the scene and then heads into the guard post.

OOC: At this point, Big Tim, Breva and Vinccenzo all gain a +2 reputation bonus. Ákos and Tuck's reputation bonus will be only +1 since they weren't present for this encounter. (But they still gain reputation since they'll still be known to be connected to Mani's capture since knowledge of the deed has spread like wildfire [keep reading below]). However, these bonuses are +1 higher in Old City for the next month, as compared to the rest of Bluffside.
__________________________________________________

Elsewhere...
Tuck leads the ways to the old bakery with both Ákos and Mutt in tow. As you get close, Mutt sense where Tuck is going. He barks and wags his tail, hoping for a sweet treat once you arrive at Walther Kappel's bakery, The Rising Dawn. The streets of Old City are bustling as the three companions turn down side street and pass through an inner gate to a posh area with tons of food shops and fine homes. As you pass, Tuck senses many eyes on him and Ákos but not with malice. There is murmuring and a few waves.

Ákos clearly hears some one say. "That's them, I'm sure of it." Another person asks. "Really, are you sure?" The reply comes. "Of course, how many kobolds do you know of in Old City."

As they reach their destination, Tuck notes that the bakery is definitely closed and boarded up with an official notice on it saying "Rat Infestation. Stay Clear."

Tuck knows that Walther and his wife, Albina, normally live above the bakery but that they're not likely to be staying there now. Mutt barks at an old alley cat. It runs up a nearby tree and hissed at the big dog. Them Mutt's nose senses something else. He's soon sniffing around the exterior of the bakery and then grows at something under the bakery's crawlspace.

A young boy of no more than eight summers is soon standing next to Ákos in the street and pulling on the Loremaster's sleeve. He waits until Ákos notices him and then the boy smiles. "You're a hero right? My momma says you're a renown wizard who catches bad men and fights monsters."

"Adrian, come here," his mother says from a short distance. "I'm sure that Mister Ákos is quite busy right now."

"But momma," the boy complains. "I want to hear about how they caught the bad man last night."

Several other citizens are gathered nearby, listening and watching intently.
 
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Neurotic

I plan on living forever. Or die trying.
"It is fine, good lady, curiosity shouldn't be suppressed." Akos smiles and with a moment's thought silvery scales of his armor pull back revealing his robes and clearing his face. He bends down, picks up the boy, and walks toward the gathered citizens.

"I'll just be a moment, Tuck."

Studying the group, he shifts the boy to his left and strikes the staff hard on the cobblestones. He starts the sing-song tale of a trained orator. But even he was surprised how well it turned out, like the story itself wanted to be told.

"Listen, good people of Bluffside, and remember The tale of the Old City Killer and its captors. Yes, ITS, because it was no man, but a monster. Killing for 'his art' if you can believe such a tale. In yesterdays fog the group of adventurers led by brave Sectarian Guard Vincenzo d'Lucio and including such persons as a paladin of Purifier, Sir Breva, a foreign lord of great stature, Sir Tymbeck Valencia, great pair of trackers, and myself tracked the killer to almost catching him in the act. Confronting the monster, the group spread out to not allow it to slip away in the fog. In the calls in the murk, the monster was all but invisible, but his ego was his downfall. It congratulated itself on its last killing, but it let slip enough details that I recognized the place. Thus, the group fought, mighty swings of warriors failing to catch the elusive killer. Until such time the only one who was not affected by the fog, namely the great nose of legendary Mutt who can smell what you ate three days ago located it. With Tuck holding it in place the worthies of three places on Kulan and further away converged and finally subdued it.

While all that back and forth was happening, I was running like mad through the fog and after many encounters, you and I would find comical if I was not racing Death itself I found its last victim. I recognized the peril, the boy was not only cut, but poisoned too. He was doomed. But knowledge is power. And Titania herself blessed the boy, I found the berries I needed on the very building he was dying in. With death's shadow already cast over him, the boy was brought back to life, but the poison was just delayed and Death stalked him still.

Thus, the killer was brought to Regulars' outpost and the brave Captain of the outpost risked his and their outposts guard lives in containing the killer until morning. In the dead of the night, the heroes raced death to the only place that could cure the affliction in the short time remaining. The alchemist Spindle had just the right potion to save the boy's life. And you can see the boy in the morning, right at this moment there.

Thus ended the story of the Old City Killer and the blessed stable boy. Remember the nose of Mutt, great tracking of Tuck, mighty swings of Sir Valencia, righteous anger of Sir Breva, and great leadership of Sir Vecchi. Remember also the blessings of Titania whose summer palace opened its gates to save the boy in the stable with my hands as the conduit and blessings of The Great Teacher that gave us a way to remember those that came before us.

Remember, the killer wasn't killed, he will be tried. Thus the cart of civilization goes on on the wheels of justice. Go now, good people, with the blessing of the Summer Queen, talk to the stable boy. Make business with the alchemist and remember."


He gives the boy to his mother and says quietly to her as the group disperses.
"I am a priest, a loremaster from Cloister of Brigias, and representative of the Fey Court here in the city. Please, call me Loremaster Akos or just Akos if you can. The Mister part seems...too distant to my life. Adrian, keep the wonder alive, the world is a beautiful place and needs to be explored. But don't be stupid about it. You don't experience anything if you're maimed or dead. Listen to your mom. She knows things you are only now discovering."


OOC: phew, it became longer than I anticipated :)

Performance (Oratory): 1D20+3 = [20]+3 = 23
Diplomacy: 1D20+24 = [3]+24 = 27
 
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Scotley

Adventurer
Breva lacking the art for words of Akos, merely calls the blessing of The Purifier on the woman and promises her that her son will have justice and that this killer will bring no more tears to the good families of the city. "Now please, step back all and let us take this fiend to the lawful punishment he deserves."
 

JustinCase

the magical equivalent to the number zero
”What is it, boy?” Tuck says to Mutt softly when the dog seems to have found something.

The kobold listens a bit to Akos’ story while pondering where the baker could be. He checks the sign on the door, including the other side, then tries to remember if either Walther or Albina have family in the same street.

If he cannot think of anything, Tuck waits until Akos has finished his grand tale before taking one of the listeners aside to ask for the bakers whereabouts.
 

Tellerian Hawke

Defender of Oerth
The DM said:
"...Questions pour out about the killer and if the three heroes are sure it is the killer."

Tim half-way bows, and says, "Yes, we're certain. The killer is a shape-changing creature, which is why he has been so difficult to catch. When we tried to turn him over to the New City Regulars, he changed into the form of an old woman, screaming that we were madmen, and hurting "her," in an attempt to turn the guardsmen against us. That little charade ended when I clocked the deceitful cur with Rizvan here, knocking him cold." Tim raises Rizvan slightly, to show that it is the name of his shield. "This creature is far more deadly than his frail form would suggest; he is cunning, wise, and horribly cruel. Therefore, clear the way for us, do not provide him with an opportunity to escape into the crowd and blend in."

Despite the fact that Mani is bound in ropes and chains, Tim nevertheless tightens his grip on the creature.
 

Knightfall

World of Kulan DM
Outside the Rat-Infested Bakery:
"It is fine, good lady, curiosity shouldn't be suppressed." Akos smiles and with a moments throughts silvery scales of his armor pull back revealing his robes and clearing his face. He bends down, picks up the boy and walks toward the gathered citizens.

"I'll just be a moment, Tuck."

Studying the group, he shifts the boy to his left and strikes the staff hard on the cobblestones. He starts the sing-song tale of trained orator. But even he was surprised how well it turned out, like the story itself wanted to be told.

"Listen, good people of Bluffside, and remember The tale of the Old City Killer and its captors. Yes, ITS, because it was no man, but a monster. Killing for 'his art' if you can believe such a tale. In yesterdays fog the group of adventurers led by brave Elite warrior Sir Custodio Vecchi and including such persons as paladin of Purifier, Sir Breva, a foreign lord of great stature, Sir Tymbeck Valencia, great pair of trackers and myself tracked the killer to almost catch him in the act. Confronting the monster, the group spread out to not allow it to slip away in the fog. In the calls in the murk, the monster was all but invisible, but his ego was his downfall. It congratulated itself on its last killing, but it let slip enough details that I recognized the place. Thus, the group fought, mighty swings of warriors failing to catch the elusive killer. Until such time the only one who was not affected by the fog, namely great nose of legendary Mutt who can smell what you ate three days ago located it. With Tuck holding it in place the worthies of three places on Kulan and further away converged and finally subdued it.

While all that back and forth was happening, I was running like mad through the fog and after many encounters you and I would find comical if I was not racing Death itself I found its last victim. I recognized the peril, the boy was not only cut, but poisoned too. He was doomed. But the knowledge is power. And Titania herself blessed the boy, I found the berries I needed on the very building he was dying in. With death's shadow already cast over him, the boy was brought back to life, but the poison was just delayed and the Death stalked him still.

Thus, the killer was brought to Regulars outpost and brave Captain of the outpost risked his and their outposts guard lives in containing the killer until morning. In the dead of the night, the heroes raced death to the only place that could cure the affliction in the short time remaining. The alchemist Spindle had just the right potion to save the boys life. And you can see the boy in the morning, right at this moment there.

Thus ended the story of the Old City Killer and the blessed stable boy. Remember the nose of Mutt, great tracking of Tuck, mighty swings of Sir Valencia, righteous anger of Sir Breva and great leadership of Sir Vecchi. Remember also the blessings of Titania whose summer palace opened its gates to save the boy in the stable with my hands as the conduit and blessings of The Great Teacher that gave us a way to remember those that came before us.

Remember, the killer wasn't killed, he will be tried. Thus the cart of civilization goes on on the wheels of justice. Go now, good people, with the blessing of the Summer Queen, talk to the stable boy. Make business with the alchemist and remember."


He gives the boy to his mother and says quietly to her as the group disperses.
"I am a priest, a loremaster from Cloister of Brigias and representative of the Fey Court here in the city. Please, call me Loremaster Akos or just Akos if you can. The Mister part seems...too distant to my life. Adrian, keep the wonder alive, the world is beautiful place and needs to be explored. But don't be stupid about it. You don't experience anything if you're maimed or dead. Listen to your mom. She knows things you are only now discovering."


OOC: phew, it became longer than I anticipated :)

Performance (Oratory): 1D20+3 = [20]+3 = 23
Diplomacy: 1D20+24 = [3]+24 = 27
The initial crowd of onlookers aren't sure what to expect when Ákos strikes his staff on the ground, but once he starts speaking, the bulk of the citizens stop what their doing and listen to the Loremaster's tale. There is some recognition of the names of Ákos companions, especially Big Tim's since he's quite noticeable walking through the streets of Old City.

A murmur of shock goes through them once he reveals that the Old City Killer is a monster but then sighs of relief when Ákos mentions the Regulars taking charge of the 'villain'. When he mentions Tuck and Mutt, many eyes go to the two packmates inspecting the underside of the bakery. A couple of curious youngsters watch the kobold urban ranger intently as Ákos continues his tale.

There are a few tears when Ákos mentions the boy but then gasps of joy once he gets to the part where he mentions Spindle. More people gather around the Loremaster and even a passing patrol of Bluffside Regulars stops to hear the end of the tale. Soon there are more than 50 people gathered around Ákos listening in rapt attention.

Once Akos finishes his oratory, the crowd claps and cheers and good wishes and coins are donated to Ákos for him or his cloister. A local seller of fine meats and cheese offers him a bundle of food to share with the other Heroes of Old City.

The boy, Adrian, nods in assent to Ákos advice and his mother thanks him and introduces herself. "Loremaster Ákos, thank you for taking the time to tell us that ale. It was quite wondrous. I am Miss Elvire of the Rabinger Family. We are a small family of merchants. While we don't deal in gear for adventuring, we do make fine plates and other household goods. I'm sure my husband would be willing to offer you a good deal, if you ever need a house furnished."

"What is Sir Tuck doing?" Adrian asks Ákos, noting the kobold's interest in the bakery.

OOC: Akos earns 19 silver coins for his performance. It was a great performance and the story will spread throughout Old City.
Gained silver coins for Akos Perform (Oratory) check: 3D10 = [4, 10, 4] = 18
+1=19

One little nitpick, however... you put Custodio in your story (who wasn't with the PCs fighting in the fog) and excluded the Sectarian Guard, Viccenzo. (Scott DeWar's PC; I've been running him as an NPC since SD's Real Life is very busy right now.) Mentioning Custodio will give him an increase in reputation like the other characters but if it comes that he wasn't with them, it could make Custodio infamous not famous. Heh.

Also, I'm giving you a 500 XP ad hoc bonus for Ákos tale! (You can split it with JustinCase's PC, if you wish.)

”What is it, boy?” Tuck says to Mutt softly when the dog seems to have found something.
Mutt continues to growl at something under the crawlspace and Tuck can hear something hissing back at the big dog. Glancing into the opening, Tuck immediately sees half-a-dozen red eyes staring back at him. Rats, definitely rats! And they are really big rats!

The biggest one is almost as big as Mutt. It hisses at Tuck with anger in its eyes. These are not the same rats as before and Mutt continues to growl at them, but is hesitant to do anything else. The big dog could get under the bakery but he doesn't seem to want to challenge the rats.

When the crowd claps and cheers for the Loremaster's story, Tuck notes that the biggest rat's attention shifts to the noise, not with fright, but with curiosity. It seems to converse with the other rats and then the entire mischief of rats dashes to the other end of the crawlspace and disappears down a large hole in the ground.

OOC: You can try to roll a Knowledge check to determine the nature of the rats. While Tuck can tell the rats are not normal animals, he isn't sure if what he's seeing are wererats or something else. Ákos might know if Tuck describes them to the Loremaster. The DC is 5 higher than normal since Tuck didn't see them clearly, so DC 15 for easy, DC 20 for basic, DC 25 to 35 for really tough knowledge. One of these PCs would need at least a 20 to figure out anything useful about the 'not rats'.


JustinCase said:
The kobold listens a bit to Akos’ story while pondering where the baker could be. He checks the sign on the door, including the other side, then tries to remember if either Walther or Albina have family in the same street.

If he cannot think of anything, Tuck waits until Akos has finished his grand tale before taking one of the listeners aside to ask for the bakers whereabouts.
Tuck remembers that the last time he helped the couple, they took refuge with a friend that live nearly two blocks away. An old sailor who lives alone except for her trained falcon. He remembers that her name is Helisabeth. That's probably where they have gone or the old sailor might know where they are staying.

============================

Red Arch Guard Post:
Breva lacking the art for words of Akos, merely calls the blessing of The Purifier on the woman and promises her that her son will have justice and that this killer will bring no more tears to the good families of the city. "Now please, step back all and let us take this fiend to the lawful punishment he deserves."
"Thank you, Sir Breva. Thank you," she says. "I will say a prayer of thanks to the Purifier tonight and every night this week before going to sleep."

A few in the crowd step back but not all stop their questions...

Tim half-way bows, and says, "Yes, we're certain. The killer is a shape-changing creature, which is why he has been so difficult to catch. When we tried to turn him over to the New City Regulars, he changed into the form of an old woman, screaming that we were madmen, and hurting "her," in an attempt to turn the guardsmen against us. That little charade ended when I clocked the deceitful cur with Rizvan here, knocking him cold." Tim raises Rizvan slightly, to show that it is the name of his shield. "This creature is far more deadly than his frail form would suggest; he is cunning, wise, and horribly cruel. Therefore, clear the way for us, do not provide him with an opportunity to escape into the crowd and blend in."
The gathered citizens listen to Big Tim's story with some... hesitation. There enough nods of acceptance among the shaking of heads to put most of them at ease. The crowd parts for Breva, Big Tim, and Vinccenzo. There are a couple of naysayers, but they throw their hands up and walk away, not satisfied with the explanation.

"Do not worry," the Sectarian Guard adds. "We are taking him to Lord Commander Oakfirst. He will face justice for his crimes."

You enter the Red Arch guard post to find that most of the guards are deep in conversation about Mani. The guard named Mariana remains outside to watch the door and the citizens disperse. She closes the door behind you and all the guard's heads turn toward you. The guard captain who spoke outside is definitely in charge of the others. There is no sign of the guard sergeant from last night.

"Thank the gods you're back!" Wymond says. He is one of the guard from the previous night. "That damn thing downstairs has been driving us crazy all night. It won't stop talking and keeps trying to trick us."

"Easy, Wymond, it is secure," another one of the guards says. This one is also from the previous night but you never got his name. He speaks to the guard captain you don't know. "Captain Adalind, tell him."

"As long as what you've told me is the truth, then I don't think we have to worry," she replies.

"Aye, tis secure and has been all night," Odhran says. "I swear it."

"Where is Sergeant Lichefield?" Vinccenzo asks.

"I sent that drunken bastard home," the captain says. "I am Captain Adalind." She offers her hand in friendship. "I am sorry I wasn't here last night to greet you and that you had to deal with Sampson. The first night I take off in two months to be with my family and he drinks half the night away. If it hadn't been for Odhran and the others, it could have gone very badly after you left."

"He didn't seem drunk last night, just belligerent," Vinccenzo ponders.

"That's how he gets when he's drunk out of his mind," she says shaking her head. "If he wasn't the first son and heir of of the Lichefield Family, I'd have replaced him years ago. I've tried to get him reassigned to another post a dozen times but the paperwork keeps getting, lost."

"Aye, the sergeant has friends in high places," Odhran says.

"Who is watching the doppelganger?"

"Théodore, my third in command. He was stationed on the wall last night, so I doubt you met him." Captain Adalind looks at Odhran and he shakes his head. "That's what I thought." She runs her fingers through her black hair. "The other with him is Jaquan. He says he met you last night, but he didn't get to introduce himself before you headed off on another task."

"Aye, you mentioned somethin' about saving one of the killer's victims, right?"

"We did. The boy is okay."

"That's good to hear," Captain Adalind says. She sighs. "Let's get that thing out of here." She leads Vinccenzo and Odhran downstairs to take charge of Mani. The passage down is too small for Tim. He can hear the doppelganger whine and complain from the top of the stairs, however.

"Well, well, look at you! All prettied up!"

"Shut up!"

The doppelganger seems less ragged than the night before when Breva and Tim sees him. Vinccenzo notes the look on Tim's face and hands over the shapechanger to the large man's steady grip.

Tellerian Hawke said:
Despite the fact that Mani is bound in ropes and chains, Tim nevertheless tightens his grip on the creature.
"Ow! Not so tight!" Mani complains.

"By the gods, it never shuts up!" Wymond moans.

"I'll paint your face some day, young one," Mani hisses. The doppelganger laughs, which sounds like a donkey braying.

"Do you need any help?" Captain Adalind asks. "I can send Odhran or one of the others with you."

"I think we can manage, but if you're offering, Odhran or Mariana could come with us. We know them more than you and the others." He pauses. "No offense."

"None taken," she replies. "I can spare Mariana, as her shift is almost over." She looks at Odhran quizzically. "You okay to go with them?"

He sighs then nods his head. "Aye, I'll help take the bastard to the Lord Commander."

Mani giggles like a quacking duck being strangled but grows silent when Tim's grip tightens even more.

You lead the doppelganger out of the guard post and Mariana looks relieved to see the creature leave. Then the guard captain orders her to go with you to see the Lord Commander and she becomes tense once more. "After that, go home and get some rest. You've earned it."

Mariana nods and follows the three heroes and Odhran down the steps and out into the streets of Old City. Mani doesn't hide his form as you traverse the district. He hisses low at any onlookers that get close enough to see his visage. Most of the citizens stay away and any children on the street are taken inside. A small group of old men shout curses at the shapechanger and one of them throws a piece of rotted fruit that barely misses the doppelganger's head and deflects off Tim's shield.

"None of that!" Vinccenzo orders.

The old men grumble but back away.

Halfway through the district, the streets become quiet and semi-deserted. News has spread of the Old City Killer being taken to The Palace and the bulk of the people have chosen to only watch from shuttered windows or half-open doorways. A patrol of eight Bluffside guards appears at the end of the next street and marches down it towards you. They are dressed in the uniforms of the Bluffside Elite, carry shields, and have their weapons drawn. Once close enough, their sergeant steps forward and introduces himself. He wields a vicous looking saber in his left hand.

"I am Edmund Arrentyne of Bluffside Elite. News has reached The Palace that you have caught the Old City Killer. I have been ordered by The Five to personally escort the prisoner to the district's barracks. You are free to come with us, but it might be better for you to leave this matter to us. I understand you have other responsibilities to attend to."

Mani hisses at the man.

"Captain Adalind didn't mention anything about you coming to meet us," Vinccenzo notes. He looks at the Regulars. "Odhran, Mariana, did she say anything to you?"

"No," Mariana says. "And it wouldn't be something she'd leave out."

"She did not know," the sergeant says. "Frankly, this is above the pay grade of Regulars. You two should go back to your post and leave this to your betters."

"They are with us and Mani is our prisoner until Lord Commander Oakfirst says otherwise," the Sectarian Guard insists.

The sergeant looks at Vinccenzo with disdain and then sighs and shakes his head. "It seems these louts need to be taught a lesson. We're not being paid enough to play this charade any longer." He looks at Mani in Tim's grip. "Don't kill the creature. Phelix wants it for experimentation, after he finds out what it knows."

"Loyalists?" Vinccenzo steps back looking at Tim.

"Please, those fools can barely swing a sword," the 'false' sergeant laughs. "My real name is Castañon de Durgos! We are the Rising Swords and you are doomed!"

"Castañon, what about the other two and the dog?" One of the Swords asks his leader.

"We will find and deal with them later. Now kill these fools and anyone who helps them!" He shouts loud enough for anyone in the buildings to hear.

Mani laughs manically and bobs his head up and down. "Yes, paint each other to death!"

OOC:
Roll initiative!
 
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Knightfall

World of Kulan DM
Vinccenzo sees that they are outnumbered, but he knows if he can make Tim's weapon more dangerous that the foes will soon be overwhelmed. He mumbles the arcane words to one of his best spells, which fills the Sectarian Guard with a longing for battle. He moves next to the half-ogre knight and embeds the spell into Tim's greatsword. Vincenzzo's feeling for battle fads as a dull red aura encompasses the blade.

"You have picked the wrong fight," he says to Castañon. "With this magic, my friend's blade will cut through you like a hot knife through butter."

OOC: Vinccenzo casts Dolorus Blow. The threat range of Tim's sword is doubled (17 - 20) and its critical threats are automatically confirmed, so every threat is a critical hit. The spell lasts for 5 minutes. :D
 
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JustinCase

the magical equivalent to the number zero
Mutt continues to growl at something under the crawlspace and Tuck can hear something hissing back at the big dog. Glancing into the opening, Tuck immediately sees half-a-dozen red eyes staring back at him. Rats, definitely rats! And they are really big rats!

The biggest one is almost as big as Mutt. It hisses at Tuck with anger in its eyes. These are not the same rats as before and Mutt continues to growl at them, but is hesitant to do anything else. The big dog could get under the bakery but he doesn't seem to want to challenge the rats.

When the crowd claps and cheers for the Loremaster's story, Tuck notes that the biggest rat's attention shifts to the noise, not with fright, but with curiosity. It seems to converse with the other rats and then the entire mischief of rats dashes to the other end of the crawlspace and disappears down a large hole in the ground.

Tuck hesitates. These are certainly not common rats, and the kobold recognizes that luring them away with food will not work. Neither are Akos and Tuck formidable enough to defeat these creatures without help.

So it's either calling for backup, or inquiring with the baker about more information about these creatures.

OOC: Conflicted about what to choose, so I'm rolling to make Tuck's decision:
Backup or further inquiries: 1D2 = [1] = 1

Calling for backup it is!


"Akos," the kobold says softly as he walks back to the Loremaster, "These are not the same rats. They are big, as big as you and me, and they are intelligent. We will need help to root them out."

OOC:
You can try to roll a Knowledge check to determine the nature of the rats. While Tuck can tell the rats are not normal animals, he isn't sure if what he's seeing are wererats or something else. Ákos might know if Tuck describes them to the Loremaster. The DC is 5 higher than normal since Tuck didn't see them clearly, so DC 15 for easy, DC 20 for basic, DC 25 to 35 for really tough knowledge. One of these PCs would need at least a 20 to figure out anything useful about the 'not rats'.

Does Akos know more about these creatures?


Tuck turns to the gathered Regulars and says, "It seems there are extraordinarily large rats about, and quite intelligent, too. Have there been reports of such creatures in the area? And are you available to help us clear them out?"
 

Neurotic

I plan on living forever. Or die trying.
Listening to the short description, Akos rakes his brain trying to tease some relevant information, but there isn't much to go on.

Base roll:
Knowledge: 1D20 = [4] = 4 +5 if collector of stories applies (which I think it might)
Add one of the following - depending on what they are:
Arcana +13 (total 22)
Dungeoneering +8 (total 17)
Local +11 (total 20)
Nature +9 (total 18)
Planar +11 (total 20)
Religion +11 (total 20)

Alternative:
Bardic Lore: 1D20+11 = [2]+11 = 13 :D Akos is no good with terse descriptions
 

Knightfall

World of Kulan DM
Akos and Tuck:
Tuck hesitates. These are certainly not common rats, and the kobold recognizes that luring them away with food will not work. Neither are Akos and Tuck formidable enough to defeat these creatures without help.

"Akos," the kobold says softly as he walks back to the Loremaster, "These are not the same rats. They are big, as big as you and me, and they are intelligent. We will need help to root them out."

OOC:

Does Akos know more about these creatures?
Listening to the short description, Akos rakes his brain trying to tease some relevant information, but there isn't much to go on.

Base roll:
Knowledge: 1D20 = [4] = 4 +5 if collector of stories applies (which I think it might)
Add one of the following - depending on what they are:
Arcana +13 (total 22)

Alternative:
Bardic Lore: 1D20+11 = [2]+11 = 13 :D Akos is no good with terse descriptions
Akos is certain from Tuck's description of the rat creatures that they are dealing with magical beasts not normal animals. The lead rat could be some sort of shapechanger, but without seeing the creature, Akos cannot be sure. Besides wererats, Akos has also heard of another type of shapechanger known as a ratwere.

Perhaps the rat creatures are touched by the planes, but if so that could make them extraplanar creatures, which would be troubling. From the description, they are definitely not fey.

The Loremaster has heard of a magical beast known as a cranium rat, which have powerful mental abilities. They are thought to be the creation of mind flayers. (The last mind flayer being near Bluffside [on the surface] that Akos has heard of was defeated in the Dragon Sands by the dragori over 100 years ago.) Cranium rats have a very distinct appearance, however. It is unlikely that Tuck missed a cranium rats exposed and enlarged brain.

There are other dangerous rat-like magical beasts that become highly intelligent under the light of one of Kulan's two moons, but moon rats aren't as dangerous during the daytime, which makes him doubt that these magical beasts are moon rats -- unless the creatures are some sort of offshoot that retains its intelligence in the daytime. Akos has also heard of a rat-like creature known as as osquip. They are roughly the size of a small dog but are hairless. Osquips are very territorial.

Tuck turns to the gathered Regulars and says, "It seems there are extraordinarily large rats about, and quite intelligent, too. Have there been reports of such creatures in the area? And are you available to help us clear them out?"
The Regulars ponder Tuck's question and quietly discuss an incident before the patrol's leader, a bubbly halfling woman named Herleva Astagnory, turns to Tuck and nods her head.

"Yes, there was a complaint from Kimnal Slatescar about being attacked on the street by a swarm of animals that could have been rats, but he wasn't sure. The old dwarf's eyesight is going, and this attack was at night. They sounded like rats to him and he's lucky he trained to fight in the dark during his years as a Bluffside Mountain Ranger. He fought them off, but they hurt him badly."

"He's recovering in the Temple District, I think," another Regular says. A tall human male. "He's had to shut down his tavern, The Gray Bear."

"Yes, the attack was investigated thoroughly by the Elites, but they came up with nothing," Herleva adds. "That was nearly a month ago. In truth, with the Old City Killer on the loose, no one was very concerned about rats. Still, the Ratcatchers have been on high alert and every once in a while one of them snags a dread rat (*) in a trap.

"Those things are nasty," a short female Regular says.

"Dread rats are not that tough, Zaquiel, but a swarm of them could be deadly," she says to her underling. She turns to Tuck and adds. "The attack was close to Kimnal's tavern so the Elites and the Ratcatchers went through the place several times but saw no rats or even any signs of rats." She pauses at looks towards the Bakery. "I assume this has to do with Walther's bakery. The Ratcatchers have gone through the building. While they did find some large droppings, they didn't see any rats."

"Herleva, we really should check in with the main barracks if we're going to help them out," the tall human says. He seems to be the second-in-command of the patrol. "Vilmos is the fastest runner. We should send him ahead to let Commander Mildenhall know."

"Sensible," she replies. She turns to a lanky guard and nods to him. "Vilmos, go tell the commander we're going to help track some rats and that he should send the Ratcatchers to help."

The young guard nods and quickly heads off north towards the Masque Arch. He moves incredibly fast even in his armor.

"Now, how can we h-?" She pauses and turns her head towards the theater in the distance. "Roland, did you hear that?"

"No, what is it?" Her second-in-command asks,

She motions for silence and takes a step towards the theater. She then looks at the revelers in the Song Garden. "I could have sworn that I heard a man shouting. He sounded angry." She shakes her head. "Bah! I'm probably imagining things. Last night was so eerie."

OOC: *Dread rat is a local nickname for dire rat.

Tuck & Mutt (as well as Akos) can make Listen checks (DC 18) to hear the other PCs beginning to fight against the Rising Swords. I'm just going to assume that round one is well under way. Your PCs get a +2 bonus to their rolls due to Herleva making an "Aid Another" check. ;)

If either Akos or Tuck succeeds, they clearly hear the sounds of battle. If Mutt hears the noise, he'll begin to growl and begin to pace back and forth in front of Tuck. He won't rush towards the sound unless Tuck allows him to go.

It will take 2 rounds for Akos and Tuck to find the other PCs if they hear the battle.
 


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