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

JustinCase

the magical equivalent to the number zero
Tuck merely nods to Mother Superior, feeling no need to remind her that their group consists of more than just Tim and Akos. Instead the kobold is grateful that she is helping out people in need, as is his own goal in life.

"Let's move on quickly before more spiders show up," he says, urging his companions to get this over with.
 

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Knightfall

World of Kulan DM
"I am he." Akos nods.
"That was a great miracle you just did, Mother. We can add the Street of Sorrows to our list of places to check. If you can spare anyone, Master Sylemis went to investigate Jade Thicket and might have use for a healer."

Akos is interested in moving the young noble out so they are out of that detestable obligation.
"I will go to Old City and check on him myself," she replies. "It has been too long since I checked in with the citizens of that district."

Tuck merely nods to Mother Superior, feeling no need to remind her that their group consists of more than just Tim and Akos. Instead the kobold is grateful that she is helping out people in need, as is his own goal in life.

"Let's move on quickly before more spiders show up," he says, urging his companions to get this over with.
Custodio senses the others desire to move on. No sense risking more spiders. "Time to go."

The Mother Superior heads back into the Temple District to gather the aid she will need to safely travel to Old City. The guards move to clean up the dead spiders that they and the PCs killed.

You all move down the road to where the carriage is supposed to be waiting for you. Hopefully, it didn't come under attack from spiders. You reach the spot and the carriage is not where it is supposed to be. Tuck easily finds signs that the horse-drawn coach rushed away down the road, but he finds no sign of more spiders. But, looking back towards the Temple District, it becomes clear that the driver likely saw the spider attack and didn't want to risk his horses.

Tuck notes not only the driver's footprints, but also the footprints of someone much smaller. The boots are oddly-shaped, so not a human foot, but the two are together and there is no sign of a struggle. Tuck's scales do not itch. Farther down the roader, Tuck finds an arrow drawn into the dirt road, which leads the Exemplars to a short path up onto a small hill. At the top is a makeshift fort made of spiked, wooden logs dug into the earth that point out and up.

You can see the carriage and the horses in the center of the small fort, which is no more that three dozen feet across. The driver is trying to calm the horses down. They obviously smelled the spiders. Several Elites and Bluffside Mountain Rangers guard the hilltop fort and one of them waves to you as you come up the hill.

"Glad to see the spiders didn't get you," the guard says. "Your driver had to get his horses away from those blasted things and brought them here. Did the spiders get anyone."

"One man perished, but the Mother Superior brought him back. Several others were poisoned but they'll live. We encountered more spiders on the road, so keep a sharp eye out," Custodio replies.

The guard nods.

"Get those horses under control," Nathaniel barks at the driver. "We need to go. Now!"

"I'm tryin', sir, but they are frightful," the man replies. "Those beasties scared them nearly to death."

"Let me try," Custodio offers. The Vanquisher cleric moves to the two horses and takes the reins from the driver. He uses a firm hand without being cruel. He pats the horses on the the side of their heads and speaks quietly to them in hushed tones. "It's all right. You're safe now."

The horses settle and the driver thanks Custodio.

Young Mr. Aceron doesn't wait for the others. He snaps his fingers and orders the driver to open the carriage door. The man startles and nods. He bows to Nathaniel and does as the nobleman insists. The young miscreant is falling back into his normal habits.

"Miles, is it safe to come down now?" A feminine voice rasps from on top of the carriage.

"Yes, get down here," the driver says. "This is your job."

A head pops up from on top of the covered coach and peers down at Miles and the gathered Exemplars. Her eyes settle on Tuck and Mutt and a toothy grin pops onto her face. "Unca Tuck Tuck!"

Tuck knows that face. It is a young kobold lass named Sobla that grew up in the Undercity. She is a dozen years younger than the urban ranger and isn't truly his 'niece', as humans would say. She is one of the clan, however. It seems she's found a profession.

The kobold girl bounds down from the top of the carriage and gives Tuck a big hug. She's grown since the last time Tuck saw her. Sobla is big for her age and some in the clan think her father might have been one of the lizardfolk living near the city. Mutt barks happily at her and she gives the big dog a hug.

"Sobla!" The driver snaps. "Worky first, catch up later!"

Sobla gives the man a pouty glare but nods. She helps Akos and the others into the carriage. There isn't room for Big Tim or Mutt and even Tuck won't fit inside the carriage once the others are inside.

"You can ride on top with me," Sobla whispers to Tuck. "Or ride on Mutt here. He should be able to keep. Right boy?"

Mutt barks.

She looks at Miles. "Can I ride with Tuck Tuck?"

"Yes, yes, let's go," Miles relents. "There isn't room for anyone else." He turns to Tim. "I hope you can keep up sir. My horses are quite fast."

"Move!" Nathaniel shouts from within the carriag. "Now!"

"Hey, you need to back off and let them do their work!" Custodio snaps at the young nobleman.

"Servants must know their place," Mr. Aceron replies coldly.

"Maybe you'd prefer to ride on... or in a spider," Falen mocks the young noble.

Nathaniel goes quiet.

Miles climbs up on the carriage and snaps the reins to set the horses in motion. Tuck and Sobla get onto Mutt while Tim prepares to run beside the coach. Falen is forced to get up and sit next to the driver, as there isn't enough room in the carriage and he doesn't want to be crowded in with Nathaniel.

The group is soon on its way down the other side of the hill. One of the Bluffside Mountain Rangers, a woman named Romi, rides as escort for half a mile until you are well out of sight of the chasm. She leaves you to continue on your way and nods to Tim as she returns to her post. The carriage stops so Tim and Mutt can catch their breaths.

"I'm too heavy" Sobla says.

The big kobold girl climbs onto the top of the carriage in her usual spot and hangs on as the driver sets the horses moving again. Mutt has an easier time of it without her weight. Miles drives the horses as fast as he can and Tim is forced to run well beyond what is normal. Only when the other Exemplars insist that the driver stops to let Tim and Mutt rest, does the man relent. It takes several hours of stopping and starting to reach the countryside estate of the Aceron Family.

Everyone is glad when the journey is over. The road was nearly empty the whole way to the estate. All there was were farmers and a small patrol of Elites that stopped them to ask their business.

The estate is nearly twice the size of Stormgrove Manor. The Acerons, it seems, have a significant amount of money. However, there are only a handful of servants there to great you as you arrive. A tall, distinguished pale man moves to the carriage to open the door after it stops.

"Master Nathaniel, it is good to see you're safe," the man says politely with a graceful bow. "We'd heard that you might have been killed or abducted."

"Evered," Nathaniel says mockingly. "I'm sure father is beside himself with worry."

"Lord Aceron is in Ambris," Evered replies.

"Of course he is," Nathaniel says. "Still seeing that... woman... behind my mother's back."

"Not at all," Evered says uncomfortably. "He is there on business. You should not speak ill of him."

"If I want you opinion, Evered, I'll tell you what it should be," Nathaniel snaps. "Now have the servants unload my things!"

"Yes sir, I will have them taken to your rooms," the man bows and waves the young noble forward. "I will inform Lady Aceron that you have arrived safely."

Nathaniel marches off towards the estate without another word.

"Are you staying for dinner?" Evered asks the Exemplars. He holds open the door of the carriage.

"Does anyone else have a bad feeling about this?" Custodio whispers to the others in the carriage.

 
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Neurotic

I plan on living forever. Or die trying.
After the first stop Akos talks quietly to the Aceron young.
"Master Aceron, you need to slow down your driver. I understand he wants to get you to safety, but your safety is largely with us and leaving the biggest protector around behind is not a good move. And please, treat your servants as people, they know their place and denigrating people without which your life would be much harder makes no sense. They do their work, you don't do yours and that's fine. But let them do it well, they don't need extra hardship. Remember how it was at that tavern where we found you...hiding alone. We agreed to keep you safe, but you need to work for it too and not run our knight ragged."

Diplomacy: 1D20+25 = [8]+25 = 33 - not great :(
 

JustinCase

the magical equivalent to the number zero
Tuck feels... naked... exposed... outside the City. Sure, he's looked at the countryside from the outskirts, but it still surprises him how few of anything but open space there is.

He is glad Mutt is there with him, and his big little niece, too! The urban ranger tries to get his mind off things by talking to Sobla about what she's been up to, what her job entails and if she enjoys it, and perhaps find out if she knows anything about recent goings-on, mostly avoiding the subject of the insurrection in the City.

Nevertheless, Tuck cannot help but notice the way Nathaniel treats his staff. He says nothing of it, but decides to approach both the driver and the servant later if the opportunity presents itself.
 

Scotley

Hero
Breva shakes his head as the young noble leaves them on the doorstep. He responds in a whisper to Custodio. "Nathaniel tries both my patience and my oaths. I do not feel I am doing the Purifier any honor by associating with this young man." He blows out a breath and takes in a deep one seeking calm. Once he has feels his anger subside he turns to the serving man. "Yes Evered, I believe we were offered the hospitality of this house for escorting Nathaniel home safely if it would not be too much trouble?"
 

Knightfall

World of Kulan DM
After the first stop Akos talks quietly to the Aceron young.
"Master Aceron, you need to slow down your driver. I understand he wants to get you to safety, but your safety is largely with us and leaving the biggest protector around behind is not a good move. And please, treat your servants as people, they know their place and denigrating people without which your life would be much harder makes no sense. They do their work, you don't do yours and that's fine. But let them do it well, they don't need extra hardship. Remember how it was at that tavern where we found you...hiding alone. We agreed to keep you safe, but you need to work for it too and not run our knight ragged."

Diplomacy: 1D20+25 = [8]+25 = 33 - not great :(
Nathaniel listens thoughtfully to Loremaster. He smiles at Akos and agrees to have the driver not run the horses or Tim so fast. "We wouldn't want to run your friend ragged." He seems less interested in Akos other suggestion to treat the servants better but relents nonetheless. "I will consider their well being, but they must know their place in society. We all must. You and I have a higher standing than simple underlings... but I will try to make their burden lighter, for now."

Akos isn't sure if the young noble is being genuine or simply tell the Loremaster what he wants to hear. Nathaniel does insist to the driver to slow down the carriage and he doesn't snap at the driver or Sobla, but by the time you all reaches his home, the young noble quickly falls back into his bad behavior.


Tuck feels... naked... exposed... outside the City. Sure, he's looked at the countryside from the outskirts, but it still surprises him how few of anything but open space there is.

He is glad Mutt is there with him, and his big little niece, too! The urban ranger tries to get his mind off things by talking to Sobla about what she's been up to, what her job entails and if she enjoys it, and perhaps find out if she knows anything about recent goings-on, mostly avoiding the subject of the insurrection in the City.
"Miles hired me as his assistant," Sobla tells Tuck. "Well, I guess I'm more like his apprentice. He has this carriage and two others, as well as a horse and tackle shop in New City. The Acerons are his patrons, but he can hire out his services to almost anyone."

She pats down the horses during one of the stopovers. "I'm responsible for the baggage and feeding the horses. They seem to like me well enough." She glares at Nathaniel while Akos has the man districted. "I don't like him. He can be more than just mean. He can be cruel. If it wasn't for his mother, Lady Talitha, Miles would have sought another patron years ago."

Breva shakes his head as the young noble leaves them on the doorstep. He responds in a whisper to Custodio. "Nathaniel tries both my patience and my oaths. I do not feel I am doing the Purifier any honor by associating with this young man." He blows out a breath and takes in a deep one seeking calm.
"I agree completely," Custodio agrees. "Let's hope he's better behaved around his mother."


Nevertheless, Tuck cannot help but notice the way Nathaniel treats his staff. He says nothing of it, but decides to approach both the driver and the servant later if the opportunity presents itself.
Tuck watches as the young noble walks away from the carriage in a huff. He seems to care not about the servant who greets them or grunt work left to Miles and Sobla.

Tucks' 'niece' notices the look on Tuck's face as she is forced to push Mutt away from her while she unloads the baggage. "He's always been this way," she says. "His mother... what is the word you used Miles?"

Miles waits until Nathaniel is out of earshot. "Dotes... it means she spoils him."

"You should not be spreading gossip, Mr. Drake," Evered insists to the driver. "Do not forget that Lord Aceron is your employer."

"It is Lady Aceron who is my patron," Miles retorts. "I am not one of your staff, Evered. You cannot order me to be silent about that man's many failings. He is vicious and you should worry about when he becomes your lord." Miles shakes his head. "On that day, I will have to find a different patron. I doubt Lady Talitha will be in a position to do so."

It becomes clear that the conversation is making Evered uncomfortable.

Miles turns to Tuck. "I will stable the horses and ready the carriage for your return to Bluffside. They will need time to recover, but I can get them ready before nightfall... depending on how long you stay here." He glances at Evered. "You can find Sobla and I either at the stables or my workshop on the far side of the estate."

Scotley said:
Once he has feels his anger subside he turns to the serving man. "Yes Evered, I believe we were offered the hospitality of this house for escorting Nathaniel home safely if it would not be too much trouble?"
The butler turns to bow to Sir Breva. "You are indeed most welcome. Follow me."

Evered leads the Exemplars towards Aceron Manor. When Tuck tries to bring Mutt inside with him, Evered shakes his head. "Absolutely not! You cannot bring that wolfdog into this house. There is an old kennel where he can rest but please keep him away from milady and rest of the family. She is not fond of dogs... her youngest, Lord Jadon, is 'sensitive' to such animals."

Sobla grabs a hold of Mutt. "I'll watch him," she says to Tuck.

Once the kobold urban ranger relents, the Exemplars enter the manor house. It is splendiferous. The Acerons have considerable wealth, it seems. The décor is baroque and there is excess on every wall and in every room. Custodio looks at the gaudy display and shakes his head. There is a look of disgust on his face that he hides only from Evered.

"This place is very overdone," he whispers to Breva.

Falen looks at the wealth on display and tries very hard not to look at anything intently. There is a fortune to be made in this home to a truly canny thief. Of course, he's not much for filching items off tables or walls, so it isn't hard for him to resist taking anything. In a home like this, a truly valuable piece probably would be missed right away.

Evered leads the way into the guest wing of the manor. The decorations aren't as resplendent but are just as gaudy. He leads them into a wide hallway with multiple doors on both sides. Two footmen stands at attention at the end of the hall. "Granville and Ivor will attend to you all while you are here," Evered says. "Unfortunately, Lord Azel Aceron took a large retinue with him to Ambris, so I cannot offer each of you your own manservant. I am terribly sorry, but we were not expecting guests."

Evered bows, apologetically. "I will makes sure to tell Lady Aceron of my lack of hindsight."

He motions to the various doors. "There are enough rooms for each of you with all that you may need. Please refresh yourselves before supper begins. I must insist on a bath for each of you to clean the smell of the road off. Your garments will be cleaned and our seamstress will repair them. Do not wear any armor carry any weapons on you while attending dinner."

The butler bows again. "If you need anything else, Granville or Ivor will help you. I must go speak to Lady Talitha and then the cook."

Evered leaves you to select rooms and clean yourselves. The footmen wait to be called upon, but they do watch you all intently while you are in the hallway.

OOC:
The group has several hours to prepare themselves for the evening supper at the manor. This place is very posh and there is a lot of stuffiness to the servants and the 'feel' of the place. Evered does his job very well and it doesn't take long to realize that he keeps firm control over his staff (without being cruel).

If any of you want your PCs to secretly carry a concealable weapon (such as a dagger) to the dinner with the Acerons, it will require a Sleight of Hand check. The staff will only be casually be watching for weapons, so the DC will only be 14. Basically, Take 10 (+4, as per p. 117 of the Rules Compendium).

What possessions do your PCs have with them? What possessions were left behind in Stormgrove?


baroque_ballroom_dark_wood_by_indigodeep_d2u4j0v.jpg
 
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Neurotic

I plan on living forever. Or die trying.
Akos nods
"Thank you, Evered. We'll leave you to your duties and we won't task your manservants too much. Assure your lady we will be clean and ready."

Once he goes away he pulls everyone inside one of the rooms.
"Let's mend the clothes first, give your best clothes to the servants to wash, they can wash traveling clothes later. I will dress as a priest."

OOC: casting a series of mending spells until everyone's cuts, holes, and other little shabbiness disappear.

"I know you know how to behave with nobility, but I will go through a bit of local history and rules so you can adapt to Bluffside elite."

OOC: aid with Nobility +8 and local history +11 so that everyone can adjust their expectations - in effect, I'm hoping to prevent penalties for foreign knights, paladins, spies, etc...to various skill checks.
 

JustinCase

the magical equivalent to the number zero
Tuck is ill at ease in the enormous mansion. Both the opulent luxury and the large, open rooms make the kobold urban ranger anxious, and he misses Mutt by his side.

Instead of taking a room to stay in, Tuck asks for a place among the servants, such as a kitchen niche or a broom closet. He undresses quickly, hands his rags to a servant for washing despite Akos' magical mending and cleansing, then still naked packs as much of his belongings as possible into his magical haversack. He places his weapons in the corner of his small place, then takes a lock and key to seal off his personal space later. After several moments of hesitation, the kobold takes out a vial of acid from his haversack, unstops the cork, then balances it carefully over the door.

Before closing the door behind him, he looks at his handiwork. His pack can function as a pillow, his weapons are far away from the door to be just outside easy reach, and a trap is set above the door. Satisfied, he places the lock on the door and takes the key with him.

Now wearing nothing but that key on a ring on his finger, Tuck makes his way to the bath. He seems oblivious that being naked is not usual for the other races, until he sees the servants' upset looks. Apologizing, the kobold quickly takes a towel and wraps it around himself; the size of the towel meaning that only his head and the tips of his clawed toes are uncovered by the soft white sheet.

After some smalltalk, Tuck tries to engage the bath servants in conversation about their lives and troubles. He is particularly watching their comings and goings, hoping to locate the inevitable hidden passages that servants everywhere tend to use.

If he spots such a passage, Tuck will later explore it before evening supper, where he intends to be present with only his simple attire, the key to his little corner of the house, and a dagger hidden in the leg of his trousers.

OOC: Alright, let's see if Tuck manages to find any hidden passages. First by observing the servants:
Spot: 1D20+7 = [13]+7 = 20
Then by searching himself:
Search: 1D20+17 = [9]+17 = 26
And finally, see if he manages to conceal a dagger (+2 on Sleight of Hand):
Sleight of hand: 1D20+6 = [13]+6 = 19 (success)

Also, he set a simple trap for anyone trying to enter his room (or whatever he found where he keeps his stuff):
Craft (trapmaking) with masterwork tools (+2): 1D20+8+2 = [2]+8+2 = 12
The lock on the door is of average quality, meaning it has a DC 25 to open.
 

Knightfall

World of Kulan DM
Akos nods
"Thank you, Evered. We'll leave you to your duties and we won't task your manservants too much. Assure your lady we will be clean and ready."

Once he goes away he pulls everyone inside one of the rooms.
"Let's mend the clothes first, give your best clothes to the servants to wash, they can wash traveling clothes later. I will dress as a priest."

OOC: casting a series of mending spells until everyone's cuts, holes, and other little shabbiness disappear.
Evered acknowledges Akos with a final bow before leaving to attend to the rest of the manor house.

While it takes some time, the Loremaster is able to mend the clothes of the rest of the Exemplars. Once Akos finishes with one of his ally's clothes, they head off to choose a room and clean themselves and prepare for the evening meal. The two footmen help the Exemplars with any request.

Big Tim finds the room he chooses to be lavish and large enough for him to feel comfortable without it being excessively spacious. Except for the gaudy décor, the room reminds him of his personal quarters back on his home world. He strips down and goes to see if there is a bathtub large enough for him. Instead, he finds that the manor has an expansive room dedicated to bathing in several deep pools. The baths are attended to by three washing matrons and a young lad who works vigorously to keep the room clean. The walls of the room are covered in frescoes that go all the way up to the ceiling.

Falen asks Akos to fix his garments after Tim's. Once the Loremaster is done, Falen is glad to get into his own room and strip off his grimy clothing. The smell of dead spiders and the temporal dungeon still clings to him and his clothing. He heads off for the baths after securing his items in his handy haversack, which he hides in the room by disguising it from casual observation.

He finds Big Tim already in the baths being scrubbed down by two of the matrons.

While the unseen seer is loathe to go to dinner without his armor and weapons, he has little in the way of legerdemain to conceal his meteoric knife on his person. Instead, he dresses in his scholarly clothes, jams the lock leading into his room, and gathers with Akos and the others after bathing.

OOC:
@Aust Thale:
Falen uses the Disguise skill to make his handy haversack blend into the background of the room. This comes from pp. 106-107 of the Rules Compendium under Disguising Objects. In order for anyone to find Falen's haversack in his room, they must make a successful Search check.
Falen - Disguise check (to disguise his handy haversack in his room):
1D20+2 = [14]+2 = 16
(I've added one rank to Disguise for Falen for level 7. He still has 9 other ranks that haven't been assigned yet.)
Since Falen doesn't have any ranks in Sleight of Hand, he will not attempt to hide his meteoric knife or his spell component pouch on himself.

He also jams the lock to his room...
Falen - Disable Device (Jam a Lock) (DC 10):
1D20+10 = [12]+10 = 22


Tuck is ill at ease in the enormous mansion. Both the opulent luxury and the large, open rooms make the kobold urban ranger anxious, and he misses Mutt by his side.

Instead of taking a room to stay in, Tuck asks for a place among the servants, such as a kitchen niche or a broom closet. He undresses quickly, hands his rags to a servant for washing despite Akos' magical mending and cleansing, then still naked packs as much of his belongings as possible into his magical haversack. He places his weapons in the corner of his small place, then takes a lock and key to seal off his personal space later. After several moments of hesitation, the kobold takes out a vial of acid from his haversack, unstops the cork, then balances it carefully over the door.

Before closing the door behind him, he looks at his handiwork. His pack can function as a pillow, his weapons are far away from the door to be just outside easy reach, and a trap is set above the door. Satisfied, he places the lock on the door and takes the key with him.

Now wearing nothing but that key on a ring on his finger, Tuck makes his way to the bath. He seems oblivious that being naked is not usual for the other races, until he sees the servants' upset looks. Apologizing, the kobold quickly takes a towel and wraps it around himself; the size of the towel meaning that only his head and the tips of his clawed toes are uncovered by the soft white sheet.
Akos fixes Tuck's clothing next before moving on to Sir Breva and then finally Custodio and Vinny. One by one, each of you chooses a room and prepares to bathe. The footmen gather up all of the soiled garments and heave them towards the manor's laundry.

"It will take some time to clean everything," Ivor says to them with a bow. "We will try to finish before supper begins. Take your time in the bath, good sirs."

Tuck finds that only the footmen are put off by his nakedness. The matrons aren't put off by him or any of the other Exemplars who appear in the baths without a towel. It seems they have seen much in their time. They do find themselves quickly outnumbered by the Exemplars and are amused by the 'smell of the road' coming off of them.

"Did you all roll in the muck," one of the matrons laughs. "You all smell like a muddy gully."

"Dead spider guts," Custodio says. The Vanquisher cleric cleans himself in a shallow side pool. "And other things."

Another one of the matrons heads out of the room to bring in reinforcements from the manor's short-staffed servants. She returns with two demure housemaids and an annoyed page boy. They are set to work scrubbing any grime from the room's floors and the edge of the baths, as well as opening a window and a set of double doors to allow fresh air to circulate into the room. The room is connected to a large garden on one side and a open courtyard on the other.

Akos is the last to enter the baths. He finds his companions either washing themselves in one of the side pools or being scrubbed by one of the scantily clad matrons. The baths smell of soap and other heady scents mixed with sweat, grime, and blood. The water of the main pool seems crystal clear even with the castoff from the other Exemplars. Probably a magical effect that purifies the water. The magic does not purify the air, however, and the Loremaster is glad for the open widow into the garden and doors into the courtyard.

JustinCase said:
After some small talk, Tuck tries to engage the bath servants in conversation about their lives and troubles. He is particularly watching their comings and goings, hoping to locate the inevitable hidden passages that servants everywhere tend to use.

If he spots such a passage, Tuck will later explore it before evening supper, where he intends to be present with only his simple attire, the key to his little corner of the house, and a dagger hidden in the leg of his trousers.

OOC: Alright, let's see if Tuck manages to find any hidden passages. First by observing the servants:
Spot: 1D20+7 = [13]+7 = 20
Then by searching himself:
Search: 1D20+17 = [9]+17 = 26
And finally, see if he manages to conceal a dagger (+2 on Sleight of Hand):
Sleight of hand: 1D20+6 = [13]+6 = 19 (success)

Also, he set a simple trap for anyone trying to enter his room (or whatever he found where he keeps his stuff):
Craft (trapmaking) with masterwork tools (+2): 1D20+8+2 = [2]+8+2 = 12
The lock on the door is of average quality, meaning it has a DC 25 to open.
Tuck doesn't note any sign of hidden passages leading out of the baths by the coming and goings of the servants. The matrons are happy to chat up the kobold and anyone else who wishes to converse with them. The other servants keep busy in the background. They are less amiable except for one housemaid, named Orchid, who ends up helping Vinny scrub the dirt and sweat off. She is soon laughing at his jokes.

The matrons confirm to Tuck that the Lord Aceron is, indeed, away in the city of Ambris. "Lord Azel often goes to the City at the Pines for business... and pleasure. He has a mistress there," the youngest matron, Norah, says. "Lady Talitha knows but doesn't seem to care, as long as he comes home after his trysts." She whispers in Tuck's ear. "Milady may have her own lover. None of us know for sure, but we suspect she has had at least one liaison with another noble."

"Life here is good," the middle matron says casually for all to here. (Her name is Bessie.) "Lady Talitha is a fair lady and she never mistreats us. Her sons aren't as kind but she keeps them in check. Lord Nathaniel can say cruel things but his mother doesn't let him get away with being physically cruel. Lord Jadon is lost in his own world of books and spells. He rarely says anything to anyone and doesn't let the chambermaids clean his room. Strangely, Lord Talitha's sons are better behaved without their father around."

Robina, the oldest of the matron, concentrates on getting all of Tim clean. She tells him about her life and that she's been working for the Acerons for nearly 30 years. "I've seen the best and the worst of them. Lady Rhouth was definitely the best of them. She ran away as soon as she was able to swing a sword and fire a bow. Her mother wishes to find her, but I fear that girl has run off to the east and will never return."

She scrubs Tim's back (and a bit lower), humming to herself. "I wish I could say the Acerons are kind souls. As Bessie has said, they are fair people who do not hold back wages and Lord Azel pays more than some. Of course, that is because the Acerons have more than most of their peers. Not they have the wealth of The Five or other old bloodlines of Old City. Their family wealth isn't due to adamantine. They grow grapes and make excellent wine, which they export to Ambris, High Morria, and the Eastwatch Barony. Sometimes as far as Oakenvale and Vinovia in the north."

The matrons continue to wash the Exemplars and tend to any cuts and bruises. They apply salves to those who are willing and bandage any wounds that have not closed completely. The noise from the baths turns raucous and Evered comes to investigate. He is surprised by what he sees and claps his hands to put the servants in their place. One of the housemaids scurries out of the central bath. She had been scrubbing Vinny down from head to toe. The matrons glare at the butler. It seems he doesn't have complete control of the manor house's servants.

"I would hate to have to tell Ms. Blagg of your behavior when she returns with Lord Aceron from Ambris," Evered chastises loudly. "Now, they are more than clean enough! I have other things for you to do! Move!"

The matrons head out of the room along with the rest of the servants. Evered leaves the Exemplars alone in the baths. He closes the double doors behind him. Tuck notes a wry smile on the man's face just before the doors close.

One by one, you all head back to your rooms and then, once again, gather together in the room that Akos has chosen. It is the cleanest that you all have been since being brought together.

Tuck explores the guest wing more carefully, looking for secret passages and hidden rooms. He finds an old safe built into a wall behind a dusty painting. It doesn't look like it been opened in ages. He also comes across a small hidden cloak room behind a grand piano. It looks to be used for storage, but there isn't anything worth taking -- old garments that have seen better days. He doesn't find any hidden passages out of the small closet.

Tuck finds a hidden passage that goes down on a winding metal staircase. It is in a gaudy games room with a billiard table. The passage is extremely dusty and full of cobwebs. It looks completely unused. As the kobold urban ranger peers down into the darkness, his scales itch.

Neurotic said:
"I know you know how to behave with nobility, but I will go through a bit of local history and rules so you can adapt to Bluffside elite."

OOC: aid with Nobility +8 and local history +11 so that everyone can adjust their expectations - in effect, I'm hoping to prevent penalties for foreign knights, paladins, spies, etc...to various skill checks.
Akos waits until everyone has come to his rooms. (Tuck is the last to arrive.) The Loremaster hopes that Evered will be discreet about just how relaxed the Exemplars became in the baths. Not that anyone did anything truly improper. He goes over what he knows about proper decorum around nobles, although from what the matrons told them, the two young Aceron sons aren't the best behaved themselves. He concentrates on how to greet Lady Talitha and proper table manners for a fine supper in the home of a noble. It is a good refresher on etiquette.

The Loremaster wracks his brain for any historical element that might come up based on the style of the home and what he knows of the region, but there just isn't anything helpful he can think of. The décor is just awful and distracting.

"We should be careful not to say anything that might set off her sons," Custodio adds. "We already know that Lord Nathaniel can be... disagreeable."

"He's an arrogant little pr-," Falen notes.

"Yes! We know..." Vinny quickly cuts the half-hobgoblin off. "Let's keep the insults to ourselves. This place might have ears."

"Yes, we already know that her other son, Lord Jadon, is a wizard," Custodio agrees. "And, I don't like the idea of going to this supper without my armor or my blade."

The afternoon slips into evening and an hour later, Evered returns to escort the Exemplars to dine with the Acerons. You follow him out of the guest quarters into the main part of the house. He leads you up a large winding staircase made of red oak. There is a touch of gothic mixed with the baroque on the second floor. The butler leads you into a grand banquet hall that is adorned from floor to ceiling with the most grotesque carvings and columns you've ever seen. A massive banquet table sits in the center of the room with eight chairs lined up on either side of it.

You see Nathaniel standing near the other end of the table near what looks like his father's chair. Standing next to him is a fine looking woman of indeterminate age. His mother, obviously. Standing off to one side of the room is a paper-thin young man who has his head in an old book.

More surprising than the Acerons are other nobles gathered in the room. There are half-a-dozen men and women of equal measure standing around Lady Talitha and each either has a drink in their hand or are nibbling on some sort of amuse-bouche. Servants are tending to the table with care and laying out everything for a fine feast.

"What did we just walk into?" Custodio whispers. "So much for not being prepared for guests."

One of the nobles sees the Exemplars and whispers something to Lady Talitha. he looks up and laughs. She raises her glasses to the adventurers and then goes on conversing with the nobles around her.

"Please sit," Evered insists. "We have set aside these seats for you."

The butler motions to the near side of the table away from Lord Azel ornate chair. The chairs put out for you are just as gaudy as the rest of the house but clearly of lesser station than those placed for the Acerons and other gathered nobles.

Lord Nathaniel grins at you like the cat who is about to swallow a flock of canaries.

One of the nobles glides across the floor towards Tim and introduces herself as "Lady Heather Devereux of Jurral. We have heard very interesting things about you, Sir Tymbeck Valencia... from beyond the the Great Veil. My father will be very interested in you. Yes, I think so."

She glances towards the others with mild interest. "Hmm, intriguing." She notes Custodio and Vinny who are wearing their official uniforms. "Do you work under Lord Nathaniel?"

"No." Custodio says plainly.

"I am a Sectarian Guard," Vinny says with a bow. "I'm not a member of the Elites."

She nods to Vinny and heads back towards the other end of the table. She sits next to a distinguished older man who wears the military uniform of one of the Gardes Rouges of Coeurdî. His insignia notes he is of very high rank. He carries a fine sabre at his side.

"So much for no weapons," Falen whispers to Akos and Breva.

"This feels like a trap," Custodio says to Tuck. "Stay alert."

One by one, the gathered nobles sit at the table. Lady Talitha sits in her husband's chair. No one says anything about it. Even her sons don't seem to care. Her seat next to his is left open. Her sons flank the table next to her although it takes a sharp word from her for Lord Jadon to abandon his book on a side table and take his seat. He looks very uncomfortable being around so many people.

There are just enough seats for the Exemplars to sit after the servants take away two of the chairs and replace it with a sturdy bech seat for Big Tim. The table is full with an empty spot at the other end of the table next to Tuck and Falen.

Lady Talitha stands and raises her cup in toast. "Welcome my friends, I am glad for your noble company. And welcome to the heroes known as the Exemplars who have returned my son to me. I know it was not an easy choice to make to flout the laws of The Five and let my son retreat from their grasping hands. You have my thanks."

Lord Nathaniel begins to look uncomfortable.

"Of course, he will have to be punished in some form, but I hopeful that with enough coin, The Five will allow me to find a suitable punishment for his actions. Perhaps servitude in the Bluffside Mountain Rangers might straighten him out!"

She glares at her son and he looks aghast. Then she laughs. "A joke, my dear. I would never dream of sending you to die in a fight against the hordes of Khogshk." She drinks down her cup as she sits. "But I must cut back your monthly allowance, I think. I can't have you taking bribes in Old City and not have you pay me for the privilege of keeping your head out of a noose."

She claps her hands and the servants begin serving the first course.

Across from Lord Nathaniel, his brother snickers at him.

OOC:
I'll post more details about the other nobles at the banquet table, later.
 
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JustinCase

the magical equivalent to the number zero
"Weapons aplenty," Tuck mutters back to his companions, briefly glancing at the cutlery and various plates on the table before them. He shrugs, settling into his chair but not quite finding the right way to sit on the decorative but uncomfortable seat.

Realizing this is not his world, the kobold easily falls back into his racial routine of appearing to be the least important creature in the room. As long as he manages to gain less attention than the others, he will survive.

Then he looks at Akos and the characteristic reptilian smile appears on his face. Tuck's faith in the Loremaster's words is well-earned, and the urban ranger feels himself relax. Akos can handle this.

Instead, Tuck looks around the massive room. Now that he knows there are secret passages, long unused though they may have appeared, he wonders if any of them run parallel to this chamber. Perhaps he can spot little peep holes in the usual places?

OOC: I think that is a Search check, but perhaps it's Spot. I'll roll both:
Search: 1D20+17 = [18]+17 = 35
Spot: 1D20+7 = [19]+7 = 26
 

Neurotic

I plan on living forever. Or die trying.
As the final preparation before going into the hall, he calls upon the luck of the fey to empower few of his companions. While he worries about having to fight Tim, he is more worried about the guards that could be subverted. And Breva is a paladin, he should be protected by the grace of the Purifier.

Thus, Custodio, Vincenco and Akos enter the hall with Tyche's touch.
Lasts for 24 hours or until discharged.

Gives +4 to the first saving throw, +3 to the second etc...no choice in the matter. If someone tries to charm, poison or otherwise influence one of us, he gets a surprise.
----

Akos bows slightly in general direction of the nobles as he enters the room and follows the usher toward his seat.
He sits as soon as it is offered, slowly, relaxed. He adjusts his robes and waits for the nobles to join them.

He smiles and nods as the nobles sit, by all appearances as if he's giving them approval or even permission to sit. The only exception is the lady of the house for whom he gets up and bows before sitting back.

"It seems we operate under some assumptions, milady, that may not be completely accurate. Whatever you may have heard of our exploits, things are worse than you think. We have a degree of independence of The Five, but flouting their laws would collide with paladins code, with Sir Tymbecs code of honor, with Sectarian and Elite guards...we can make a deal to get your wayward son out of the town since he was too afraid to come forward and admit he made a mistake. Thus, he gave us what he knew and we delivered him safely to his home. And we reported our findings and where we are going.

The Renegade...you may consider it a passing threat or even an opportunity to advance your own goals. But his goals, if realized, will render all scheming null and void since he works with demons and otherworldly beings incompatible with our forms of life. He had no problem throwing even his trusted henchmen into captivity once we defeated his demon. He also has no trouble keeping a slave and life power of other creatures for his own purposes. Nothing he promises is dependable since his goal is to return to power to his own city. And he will sack whomever he thinks he has to in that way.

I can openly say I don't agree with some of the laws, those limiting personal freedoms most of all. But working with that creature to temporarily gain power that may cost the one making deals all of his assets or even his soul...it is not worth it.

On the other hand, you, nobles already have power. Have influence. Have the riches."

Akos motions to the mansion around them
"When is it enough? You built this over generations. Is it worth throwing it all away?"

Loremaster raises his hands to prevent objections
"I know, I know, you, wiser and more experienced heads wouldn't do such a thing and recognize that he is a threat not only to The Five, but to your own power. But young hotheads, who think they have it hard if they cannot gamble and drink yearly pay of a craftsman in one wild night...they are a threat. I will presume much now in giving a small advice to you, lady, but you really should punish the boy. Not risk his life, obviously in some border dispute...but punish him so he feels it. He put your entire house at risk with his stupidity and cowardice."
As the speech progresses, Akos is getting progressively worse in describing the young heir and takes an opportunity to smile at him as his self-satisfied smile drops.
"The wise people here, your elders, boy, recognize that having the power and keeping the power are two separate things. And to keep it you have to use it wisely, not squander it."
Akos folds his hands in front of him and opens negotiations, giving the nobles hopefully exactly what they want to hear.
"Now that I garnered both good and ill will with my advice; when I've told you parts of what we discovered and told you where we stand...what do you need from us? And what do we gain from that?"
 
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Knightfall

World of Kulan DM
Akos bows slightly in general direction of the nobles as he enters the room and follows the usher toward his seat.
He sits as soon as it is offered, slowly, relaxed. He adjusts his robes and waits for the nobles to join them.

He smiles and nods as the nobles sit, by all appearances as if he's giving them approval or even permission to sit. The only exception is the lady of the house for whom he gets up and bows before sitting back.
One of the noblemen sits next to Lord Jadon and the young man seems intimidated by him, so he quits fidgeting. Jadon obviously knows him and the man bows respectfully to Lady Talitha and waits for her to be seated as Akos does. Next to him sit the half-elven woman and her lord. Across from them, Lady Heather and her father sit together next to Lord Nathaniel. Lady Heather sits closest to the young nobleman and she flirts with him, casually. Her father is more serious and he looks like he is ready to spring to life at a moments notice. The mysterious dwarf sits next to him.

I'm assuming that Akos takes one of the seats closest to Lady Talitha since he will be the main speaker for the party.

Akos - Knowledge (nobility and royalty) check:
1D20+8 = [15]+8 = 23
- The result is 25 for Lady Heather and her father.

Akos isn't familiar with most of the guests. He is certain, however, that the androgynous dwarf noble is from the city of Orra. He can tell by their attire. The nobleman and his half-elf lady are a complete mystery to him. The other human man is obviously a noble from somewhere to the north but the Loremaster doesn't know from exactly where.

He is aware of Lady Heather Devereux and her father, however. They are from the Thalassocracy of Coeurdî, which controls half of the Isole di Rysenet. (The other half is controlled by the Kingdom of Almadon.) Lady Heather is the fiancée of the Prince of Coeurdî, Octave Deniaud! Her father, a hard man named Lord Vespasien Devereux, is likely her official escort and protector while she is visiting Bluffside. He is the Lord Marshal of the Gardes Rouges and his rank is second only to the High Commander of that Royal Guard.

For her to be in Bluffside without a huge entourage is very odd. Of course, Coeurdîan nobles are known for being eccentric and sometimes outlandish.

OOC:
Breva - Knowledge (nobility and royalty) check:
1D20+2 = [15]+2 = 17
@Scotley, roll isn't high enough for Breva to know who the nobles are or where they come from.
- I'm putting Breva right next to the man named Lord Toren. (See below for my intro to Lord Toren.)

Big Tim - Knowledge (nobility and royalty) check:
1D20+3 = [20]+3 = 23
@Tellerian Hawke:
Okay, so the natural 20 becomes a 30, so the total for Tim is 33; 35 for Lady Heather and her father. You can read the spoiler I added for Neurotic, and I'm going to post more details about the various nobles in the OOC thread. ;)

"Weapons aplenty," Tuck mutters back to his companions, briefly glancing at the cutlery and various plates on the table before them. He shrugs, settling into his chair but not quite finding the right way to sit on the decorative but uncomfortable seat.

Realizing this is not his world, the kobold easily falls back into his racial routine of appearing to be the least important creature in the room. As long as he manages to gain less attention than the others, he will survive.

Then he looks at Akos and the characteristic reptilian smile appears on his face. Tuck's faith in the Loremaster's words is well-earned, and the urban ranger feels himself relax. Akos can handle this.
Tuck watches as Akos manages to capture all eyes in the room. The Loremaster is in fine form. Yet, one set of eyes can't help but notice the kobold urban ranger. The half-elven woman watches him keenly but without any signs of malice. She whispers to her lord and he glances towards Tuck for a moment and nods. Then, he goes back to listening to Akos.

The woman continues to keep one eye on Tuck and even gives him a wry smile.

Neurotic said:
"It seems we operate under some assumptions, milady, that may not be completely accurate. Whatever you may have heard of our exploits, things are worse than you think. We have a degree of independence of The Five, but flouting their laws would collide with paladins code, with Sir Tymbecs code of honor, with Sectarian and Elite guards...we can make a deal to get your wayward son out of the town since he was too afraid to come forward and admit he made a mistake. Thus, he gave us what he knew and we delivered him safely to his home. And we reported our findings and where we are going.

The Renegade...you may consider it a passing threat or even an opportunity to advance your own goals. But his goals, if realized, will render all scheming null and void since he works with demons and otherworldly beings incompatible with our forms of life. He had no problem throwing even his trusted henchmen into captivity once we defeated his demon. He also has no trouble keeping a slave and life power of other creatures for his own purposes. Nothing he promises is dependable since his goal is to return to power to his own city. And he will sack whomever he thinks he has to in that way.
Lady Talitha listens to Akos intently. She glances towards Lord Nathaniel with both disapproval and genuine affection. When the Loremaster begins speaking of Phelix Del Cannitha, she becomes engrossed in what Akos is saying. She is visible shocked when Akos mentions 'demons and otherwordly beings' and gives her son a chastising look.

He looks at her wide-eyed and shakes his head silently as if to say, 'I didn't know'.

"Your words trouble me greatly," she says. She looks to the nobleman and his half-elf paramour. "Lord Toren, my friend, Saltmarsh is closer to Sharn. Have your people had any problems with the Brelish? Have you heard of this Renegades family?"

He nods. "Indeed, I have heard of the Del Cannithas of Sharn. But I'd never heard of this Phelix person until we arrived in Bluffside a week ago. It seems your people are in a dire situation. I wish I could promise you help from Saltmarsh, but we must answer to our peers in Orra." He glances towards the dwarf. "What say you, Suzerain Kayden?"

The dwarf looks at the nobleman and then at Akos. "Let us wait to see what else this man has to say. I will think upon it," they say in a lilting voice.

JustinCase said:
Instead, Tuck looks around the massive room. Now that he knows there are secret passages, long unused though they may have appeared, he wonders if any of them run parallel to this chamber. Perhaps he can spot little peep holes in the usual places?

OOC: I think that is a Search check, but perhaps it's Spot. I'll roll both:
Search: 1D20+17 = [18]+17 = 35
Spot: 1D20+7 = [19]+7 = 26
OOC: It would be a Spot check in the current situation. A Search check would require Tuck to actively move through the room.

While Akos keeps the nobles enthralled, Tuck studies the room as best as he can from the far side of the table. He doesn't see any obvious signs of a peep hole, although there are four very large painted portraits hanging on the walls. two on one side of the room and two on the other. He knows one of them could easily have peep holes built into the eyes. The portraits are hanging at just the right height for human observers, but if there are peep holes built into a portrait's eyes, he doesn't notice them.

He does note that two other nobles also have discreetly hidden weapons. One of the human men has a dagger sheath built into his boot while the woman known as Lady Heather has a pair of long, steel hairpins holding her hair in place. They are longer than any normal hairpin and are obviously designed as a defensive weapon.

If the others also have weapons, Tuck cannot see them. He senses that the half-elven woman would never go into any situation unarmed. She has the look of a sleek cat who could pounce on anyone who threatens her lord.

Neurotic said:
I can openly say I don't agree with some of the laws, those limiting personal freedoms most of all. But working with that creature to temporarily gain power that may cost the one making deals all of his assets or even his soul...it is not worth it.

On the other hand, you, nobles already have power. Have influence. Have the riches."

Akos motions to the mansion around them
"When is it enough? You built this over generations. Is it worth throwing it all away?"
"It seems this renegade of yours is quite the villain," the intimidating man, next to Lord Jadon, says. He looks at Akos with a hint of respect but there is also caution in his gaze. "You may be right about too much excess but the noble caste is important both here and in my homeland." He looks at Lady Talitha as if she were his beloved sister. "Milady would never throw away her life or the lives of her children."

"Loremaster Akos, may I introduce Lord Cristoval Dey de Caulon of Tarminan," Lady Talitha says. "He is a dear old friend to both me and my husband."

The man nods to Akos.

Neurotic said:
Loremaster raises his hands to prevent objections
"I know, I know, you, wiser and more experienced heads wouldn't do such a thing and recognize that he is a threat not only to The Five, but to your own power. But young hotheads, who think they have it hard if they cannot gamble and drink yearly pay of a craftsman in one wild night...they are a threat. I will presume much now in giving a small advice to you, lady, but you really should punish the boy. Not risk his life, obviously in some border dispute...but punish him so he feels it. He put your entire house at risk with his stupidity and cowardice."
Lady Talitha seems annoyed to be chastised in her own house, but she doesn't overreact. Instead, she looks to Lord Cristoval, hoping he will react for her.

He shakes his head and glares at Lord Nathaniel. "Loremaster Akos is right, milady. You must punish him this time. Such behavior cannot be tolerated. If he was my son, I'd send him to Edanfort so that he can learn discipline fighting against Rezothix Clans. A few years of that will toughen him up and teach him to respect the laws of the land."

Lady Talitha listens solemnly to her old friend, but just as she looks like she might begin to cry, she bursts out laughing and pats her son's hand. "It's a good thing he's not your father." She says to her son. She shakes her head and points at Lord Cristoval. "I will not throw his life away or punish him beyond what is reasonable." She looks back to Akos. "I know you are having a tough time dealing with this renegade, but I will not destroy my son's future as the next Lord Aceron just because he took a few bribes from the wrong people."

Silence fills the room for several minutes.

"I am Suzerain Kayden Greatmane of Orra," the dwarf sitting next to Akos finally says. "I think we can all agree that this Del Cannitha person is bad for business and for the people we rely on for our continued wealth. Trade withers under the constant threat from this renegade. He must be brought down for the good of all." They look towards Lady Talitha. "While it is not my place to suggest a suitable punishment for your son, I do think you should do more than slap him on the wrist. Perhaps a few months of forced sobriety at Rockgrave Keep. The monks will toughen him up, but he won't face any real danger under their watchful eyes."

"Gods! I'd rather fight with the mountain rangers!" Nathaniel says, aghast.

The nobles all laugh, except Lady Talitha. She doesn't like the direction of the conversation. She clears her throat and the room grows quiet again. Only Lady Heather has trouble controlling her mirth but a quick look from her father makes her look down at her lap.

Neurotic said:
As the speech progresses, Akos is getting progressively worse in describing the young heir and takes an opportunity to smile at him as his self-satisfied smile drops.
"The wise people here, your elders, boy, recognize that having the power and keeping the power are two separate things. And to keep it you have to use it wisely, not squander it."
"I have already admitted to you that it was a mistake to get in with Phelix and his allies. No amount of money was worth the risk to my life. I see that now. But, I'm not the first guard to take the occasional bribe. I just took it from the wrong person."

"If this was Saltmarsh, your actions could have you swinging from the gallows, Lord Nathaniel. Be grateful that these heroes took pity on you and that your mother has enough wealth to pay back the The Five for your crimes." Lord Aerkin looks to Akos and then Sir Breva next to him. "That is likely what the Acerons will have to face as a family. Much of their coffers will be forfeit to The Five, and he will lose his place among the Bluffside Regulars."

"You should have him exiled to a remote island and force him to survive on his own," Lord Heather's father finally speaks up.

"Father!" Lady Heather snaps. "You should not say such a thing. He is just a young man who went astray. I'm sure Lady Talitha will admonish him appropriately."

Neurotic said:
Akos folds his hands in front of him and opens negotiations, giving the nobles hopefully exactly what they want to hear.
"Now that I garnered both good and ill will with my advice; when I've told you parts of what we discovered and told you where we stand...what do you need from us? And what do we gain from that?"
"What I need is assurances that my son won't hang!" Lady Talitha says abruptly and loudly. She sighs. "You have brought him to me, and I thank you for that kindness, and I know he will face some sort of discipline from my husband. I will have to discuss it with him and hope he sees reason."

"Mother..." Nathaniel finally seems worried.

"I will discuss it with your father!" she snaps. "Now tell them what you told me about the corruption in the ranks."

Nathaniel sighs and sits back in his chair. He looks towards the Exemplars and goes into a long litany of the corruptions among the guards of Bluffside. He accuses the Regulars of being completely corrupt and almost all of them being in Phelix's pocket or taking bribes from his agents or from others outside of Bluffside. The way he makes it sound is that you cannot trust any of the Regulars.

"There are many of them that have sworn their allegiance to the Rising Swords," he says. "Others follow the orders of ostracized commanders who gained too much power in Bluffside."

"Erwan Patenaude?" Custodio asks.

"I don't know that name, but anything is possible."

The young guards details the corruption among the Elites next. He is less specific about them but he notes that it isn't the rank and file who are corrupt but the those above them. "This is all specific to Old City, of course. I've never been stationed in New City or the Temple District."

"What about the Sectarians?" Vinny asks.

"I admit that I don't know anything about them, but power corrupts and your order has a lot of power in the Wizard District."

Falen considers asking again about The Dusk, but he is unsure of the motives of the nobles at the table, so he stays silent. There is something familiar about the half-elven woman but it is only a feeling.

"Surely you're not accusing all of the Elite captains and commanders of being corrupt," Custodio replies. "I can't believe that for one moment."

"Old Oakfirst, no," Nathaniel replies. "He so honest, it's painful to watch. But there are others like Angelina Merkatz, Christean Launceleyn, and Gregor Leventhorpe. And you already known about Lowenan Wearne."

OOC:
Christean Launceleyn is the Elite Captain of Riftwatch who ordered for the Iron Gate to be opened without permission. None of the PCs have met the Elite Captains known as Angelina Merkatz or Gregor Leventhorpe, but Knowledge (local) could be useful.

I'm taking a break. I'll write up the details for Big Tim's Nat20 Knowledge skill check result later today. Much later.🥱:sleep:
 
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Tellerian Hawke

Defender of Oerth
Tim surprises everyone when he begins to speak; he has been silent for the large majority of the conversation: "In my homeland, I am both a noble, and a knight, but I am no lord by any means, and have little wealth of my own. In my family, I am the 'black sheep,' the bastard son borne of the union between my mother, and an Ogre war chief. My 'father' claims to love me, but in the end, he is merely being polite, for he knows that he owes me a debt of gratitude for helping my mother to escape, and for returning her to her proper home, safely. Despite being my mother's oldest offspring, I hold the lowest rank, seeing as how both of my twin half-brothers have a legitimate and proper father. Both of them shall inherit a portion of my father's estates and wealth, and both of them are already Baronets by title, at the tender age of 7 years old. Perhaps they've turned 8 by now? No matter. I will inherit nothing, and my title, as knight and as lieutenant junior grade, were purchased for me by my father, to save face, and to ensure that the family line does not become tainted by the existence of a commoner within its ranks. Despite my bravery and success on the battlefield, and open devotion to king and kingdom, there are many whom have mocked me behind my back, calling me things like 'the charming savage,' or 'the lovely mongrel,' or 'the half-breed pretender.' I have had to fight, tooth and nail, for every ounce of respect that I have ever received, and although my commanders showered me with flags, pennants, and praise, I have always had to deal with soldiers in my unit who looked at me with silent disgust, through the corner of their eyes.

My point is, Lord Nathaniel, that you have been freely given a status that I can never even aspire to, and what have you done with it? Squandered it like a fool. Your actions are those of a foolish, untrained boy. Your mother coddles you too much, I think. The only way you can ever atone for your misdeeds is to grow up, and become a man. Take responsibility for your own actions, instead of hiding behind your mother's coin purse. But that will never happen until YOU are brave enough to cut the apron strings, and stand on your own two feet. Your future actions as a penitent man are the only means by which you can truly atone. You must stand up, and bring honor to your family, instead of having your family buy honor for you. Bought honor is a glass shield. Earned honor is a bulwark."
 

JustinCase

the magical equivalent to the number zero
Tuck tries to absorb all the information Nathaniel is spilling about corrupt individuals, but he can't focus. His mind keeps going back to that half-elf woman, the one who seemed to recognize him and whose gaze he can still feel burning on his scales.

He feels as if he should know her. Or perhaps recognize her cat-like demeanor as befitting, say, a burglar or a fellow urban ranger. But his mind is coming up empty.

Gods, he thinks to himself, is it magic she is playing on him, distracting his mind from what's important on this quest? Could she be a sorceress or priestess, creating mist in his mind to keep from discovering her identity? It doesn't feel like magic, but then, it wouldn't, would it?

Is it perhaps an attraction to her that makes him lose focus? The kobold tries to search his emotions, but even that seems difficult.

Fortunately he is torn away from his musings by Big Tim, revealing a lot about his family and origins. Tuck realizes he never truly asked about the man's history, and despite growing up without any of the priviliges of nobility, even bastard nobility, the kobold feels a new understanding to the knight's convictions.

When Tim is finished, Tuck looks at Nathaniel, curious about the young man's response.

 

Neurotic

I plan on living forever. Or die trying.
Akos listens to everything and tries to gain additional knowledge from references mentioned here. Just as Tuck, he tries to recall anything about the captains maybe mentioned by Lowenan or others involved with them. But also, he draws from the well of history, reading about nobles, cities and other political things may shed some light into the interpersonal power levels here.

neurotic: D20 + 11#akoslocalknowledge → 16(5 + 11)#Akos local knowledge
neurotic: D20 + 13#akoshistory → 27(14 + 13)#Akos history
neurotic: D20 + 9#akossensemotive → 13(4 + 9)#Akos Sense motive
OOC: my work policy was just updated and coyotecode is blocked now, I'm using rolz for the moment. If you have anything better, let me know
 

Knightfall

World of Kulan DM
Tuck tries to absorb all the information Nathaniel is spilling about corrupt individuals, but he can't focus. His mind keeps going back to that half-elf woman, the one who seemed to recognize him and whose gaze he can still feel burning on his scales.

He feels as if he should know her. Or perhaps recognize her cat-like demeanor as befitting, say, a burglar or a fellow urban ranger. But his mind is coming up empty.

Gods, he thinks to himself, is it magic she is playing on him, distracting his mind from what's important on this quest? Could she be a sorceress or priestess, creating mist in his mind to keep from discovering her identity? It doesn't feel like magic, but then, it wouldn't, would it?

Is it perhaps an attraction to her that makes him lose focus? The kobold tries to search his emotions, but even that seems difficult.

Even with the half-elven woman's distracting gaze, Tuck easily remembers Captain Gregor Leventhorpe. The orcish man is considered the backbone of the Elites who patrol the Undercity, especially in the Cavern Harbor and the Warehouse District. While his bloodline is considered to be tainted by abyssal ancestry, he is considered to be extremely honest by the citizens of the Undercity.

Tuck has never had dealings with the orc man personally, so he can't be sure if Captain Leventhorpe is as goodhearted as the people believe. For Nathaniel to lump Gregor in with other corrupt Elites seems to go against everything the urban ranger kobold has heard about the man.

Tuck has never heard of Angelina Merkatz, and he only knows of Christean Launceleyn through her actions in opening the Iron Gate. If they are are all as corrupt as Lowenan Wearne, they all could be in Phelix's pocket.

OOC: Captain Leventhorpe is a tanarukk.

Tim surprises everyone when he begins to speak; he has been silent for the large majority of the conversation: "In my homeland, I am both a noble, and a knight, but I am no lord by any means, and have little wealth of my own. In my family, I am the 'black sheep,' the bastard son borne of the union between my mother, and an Ogre war chief. My 'father' claims to love me, but in the end, he is merely being polite, for he knows that he owes me a debt of gratitude for helping my mother to escape, and for returning her to her proper home, safely. Despite being my mother's oldest offspring, I hold the lowest rank, seeing as how both of my twin half-brothers have a legitimate and proper father. Both of them shall inherit a portion of my father's estates and wealth, and both of them are already Baronets by title, at the tender age of 7 years old. Perhaps they've turned 8 by now? No matter. I will inherit nothing, and my title, as knight and as lieutenant junior grade, were purchased for me by my father, to save face, and to ensure that the family line does not become tainted by the existence of a commoner within its ranks. Despite my bravery and success on the battlefield, and open devotion to king and kingdom, there are many whom have mocked me behind my back, calling me things like 'the charming savage,' or 'the lovely mongrel,' or 'the half-breed pretender.' I have had to fight, tooth and nail, for every ounce of respect that I have ever received, and although my commanders showered me with flags, pennants, and praise, I have always had to deal with soldiers in my unit who looked at me with silent disgust, through the corner of their eyes.
JustinCase said:
Fortunately Tuck is torn away from his musings by Big Tim, revealing a lot about his family and origins. Tuck realizes he never truly asked about the man's history, and despite growing up without any of the privilege of nobility, even bastard nobility, the kobold feels a new understanding to the knight's convictions.
Tim senses that most of the nobles are paying attention as he speaks, although his isn't sure how some of them are reacting to his words. Lady Heather, in particular, seems enthralled by his speech and the look on her face shifts from playful to heartfelt. Her father's gaze is unmoving like the tall mountains surrounding Tim's homeland of Vrocia and just as cold.

Sir Breva listens to Tim's story with great interest. Fighting alongside the knight has been rewarding for him and his own convictions. He looks towards the nobles to see how they react. Lady Talitha listens to Tim intently, as does the lord named Cristoval Dey de Caulon. He seems to be a thoughtful man. Lady Heather watches Tim, but Breva senses she's more interested in his physique than his words. Her father, however, is listening to Tim's words very carefully.

The young paladin enhances his senses with his ability to detect evil in the room. He is quickly taken aback by the evil aura emanating from one of Lady Talitha's guests. The evil nature of Lady Heather's father radiates beyond that of Lord Nathaniel, and it nearly keeps the young paladin from sensing the other evil auras in the room. Lesser auras hang over both Lady Heather and Lord Nathaniel's younger brother. Sir Breva doesn't detect any other evil auras in the room. The young paladin keeps an eye on the old warior and grips the knife next to his plate tightly.

Lady Heather's father keeps his focus on Tim. He seems unaware of his daughter's desires for the large knight.

OOC: @Tellerian Hawke and I decided that this speech is going to be a Diplomacy check. This was his roll:
Diplomacy:
1D20+1 = [9]+1 = 10

He gains a +2 bonus for Reputation and another +2 bonus for having some renown. Originally, I hadn't planned on giving him the +5 bonus for dealing with NPCs that are part of his profession and/or social circle, but after thinking about it, I think it would apply to the 'warrior nobles' at the table. so, that will be a total of 19 for those nobles and 14 for the other NPCs.

@Scotley, The evil aura of Lady Heather's father is considered moderate. Lady Heather's is considered faint, as is Lord Jadon's (the same as with his brother).

Tellerian Hawke said:
My point is, Lord Nathaniel, that you have been freely given a status that I can never even aspire to, and what have you done with it? Squandered it like a fool. Your actions are those of a foolish, untrained boy. Your mother coddles you too much, I think. The only way you can ever atone for your misdeeds is to grow up, and become a man. Take responsibility for your own actions, instead of hiding behind your mother's coin purse. But that will never happen until YOU are brave enough to cut the apron strings, and stand on your own two feet. Your future actions as a penitent man are the only means by which you can truly atone. You must stand up, and bring honor to your family, instead of having your family buy honor for you. Bought honor is a glass shield. Earned honor is a bulwark."
Lady Talitha frowns as Tim begins to berate her son for his failings, but Lord Cristoval nods in assent with the half-ogre knight's words. The man keeps his eyes on Lady Talitha. His gaze seems to keep her from overreacting

"Well said, Sir Tim," Lord Toren raises his cup in salute to Tim. He seems highly impressed by the knight's speech. "You are a credit to your kin, even if they don't appreciate you."

JustinCase said:
When Tim is finished, Tuck looks at Nathaniel, curious about the young man's response.
Lord Nathaniel sits back in his chair. He seems surprised by Tim's words. It is doubtful that anyone has ever spoken to him in such a manner in front of his family. Yes, his superiors have probably given him a dressing-down on more than one occasion, but for Tim and Akos to admonish him so in front of his mother... that must be a new experience for him. But, instead of pouting, Nathaniel seems lost in thought, unsure of how to respond.

Could the knight's speech, and Akos' previous rebukes, finally got into the man's head.

Nathaniel sits in silence, looking down at his plate. Lord Jadon is almost giddy after listening to Tim tear into his older brother. Lady Talitha stares at her son, worried. She reaches out for his hand again, but he pulls back from her touch. She is shocked and turns and glares at Tim.

"Do not be anger at Sir Tim, milady," Lord Cristoval says. "The knight speaks the truth. Your son must redeem himself. He must not hide here away from Bluffside. He must go back and face the punishment of his superiors, no matter what that might be."

"I agree," Lady Heather says. She doesn't take her eyes off of Tim as she speaks. "Sir Tymbeck speaks as one who knows hardship and understands duty and honor. The boy must face punishment for his misdeeds. If he is isn't willing to face monks or fight alongside the mountain rangers, he must go back to Bluffside and face justice and help root out corruption."

"I still say he should be left on a barren island to rot," her father adds. His gaze shifts from Tim to Lady Talitha. "But it seems I am outvoted."

"I- I will go back," Nathaniel says hesitantly. "I will take whatever punishment the Tribunal sets out for me."

"No!" Lady Talithia exclaims. "I will not lose you!"

"Milady, do not overreact," Lord Cristoval insists. "I know Bluffside's laws. It is unlikely that your son will be imprisoned in the dungeon or sent to the citadel on Sordadon. He will probably only face ostracization from the city and your family will have to pay significant fines. But, if he wants to keep his place among the Regulars, he will have to do more than be a guard in Old City. Reassignment to work the Undercity or maybe out on Sordadon for a short time."

"That would toughen him up," the half-elven woman finally speaks up.

"Yes, see if you can get him six months working out on that flotilla port," Lord Toren. "It would be nearly as tough as fighting alongside the rangers but less dangerous overall."

"I worked out there for several months," Custodio adds. "It will keep him on his toes, and he'll either learn to respect the rule of law or wash out of the Regulars."

"It will be up to the Tribunal," Vinny notes. "If he is truly willing to go back and face judgement."

Custodio looks at Lady Talitha. "Even if he changes his mind, your family will have to pay significant fines for his actions. The Five might consider his dealings with the renegade to be treason. While it is very unlikely they will execute him, Lord Cristoval is right. He will probably be ostracized from Bluffside and will have to not only leave the city, but also the valley. He won't be able to stay here."

The Elite motions to Akos. "And as the Loremaster said, we sent a report to Lord Commander Oakfirst about your son's actions and that we were escorting him here... to keep him safe. The renegade might come for him. That man has many followers and deadly magical powers. It is better that Lord Nathaniel stay here, for now, until he called to the Tribunal. And, he will be. Bluffside's laws are clear and he must face justice, but first, he must live to face that justice."

Lord Nathaniel seems resigned to his fate while his mother looks as if she is going to start crying at any moment.

Akos listens to everything and tries to gain additional knowledge from references mentioned here. Just as Tuck, he tries to recall anything about the captains maybe mentioned by Lowenan or others involved with them. But also, he draws from the well of history, reading about nobles, cities and other political things may shed some light into the interpersonal power levels here.
Akos is a bit surprised by Nathaniel's willingness to go back to Bluffside and face punishment. The young man doesn't seem to be lying about that or what he knows about the corruption in the ranks of the Regulars and Elites of Bluffside's guards. Akos has heard of both Captain Gregor Leventhorpe and Commander Angelina Merkatz.

"Captain Gregor" is well known in both Old City and the Undercity and respected by many among the poorest people. Despite his demonic heritage, he has a reputation for being honest and law-abiding. Of course, Akos hasn't met the man personally, but everything he's heard about Captain Leventhorpe has been good. The man is not usually judged by his bloodline. Still, he has few friends among the dwarves of the Undercity, and he is not of noble birth. Akos knows nothing about the history of the captain's parents or if he has other family in Bluffside.

The Loremaster knows less about Commander Merkatz. He knows she has some connections to Old City but prefers to work on on Sordadon. She is a half-sea elf, after all. While the lineage of her human family is considered noble, her family doesn't have the ears of The Five like the entrenched noble families of Old City. Still, the Merkatz Family has a long history in the city. Her human father used to serve in Bluffside's Navy before being forced (due to an injury) to retire to teach at the Naval Academy in Sordadon's Sea District.

Captain Christean Launceleyn is known as the Second Captain of Riftwatch. This makes her the second-in-command of the Elites stationed at Riftwatch. (The First Captain is a secretive man only known as The Esteemed; he is believed to be either a dwarf or of another race from the Underearth.) Captain Launceleyn had been seen as a rising star among the Elites of Old City (but her actions at the Iron Gate may change that) and her mercantile family is well thought of in Bluffside. The Launceleyn Family has been in Bluffside for over two-hundred years and often gets involved with the politics of Old City and the Mining District.

Akos is fairly certain that none of the Exemplars told Nathaniel about Lowenan Wearne being in league with Phelix or that they have him in custody. So, how does he know about that? Does he know more than what he has said? Did someone else in the room already know and tell him?

Neurotic said:
OOC: my work policy was just updated and coyotecode is blocked now, I'm using rolz for the moment. If you have anything better, let me know
neurotic: D20 + 11#akoslocalknowledge → 16(5 + 11)#Akos local knowledge
neurotic: D20 + 13#akoshistory → 27(14 + 13)#Akos history
neurotic: D20 + 9#akossensemotive → 13(4 + 9)#Akos Sense motive
OOC: Whatever you can use is fine with me. :)
 

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