Investigation: 1D20+3 = +3 = 19 Not sure where to go to see the faction members interact with each other but I would like introduce myself as a member of emerald enclave, giving the proper greeting, report my findings and seek assistance
Usually as a member of a faction you will notice subtle hints that an establishment is friendly towards your faction, or a certain way that people great you as well.
JV notices that the sign for the bath house is held up by a pair of antlers, the name, Excellent Elutriate, is another clue as the initials EE are styled a certain way that only a member would notice. After ordering a bath a certain way, you are upgraded to a private room, where you can talk in private to the proprietress.
She is delighted to have another member in town and is all too keen to soak up any information you can give. She picks up eagerly on your discovery of the Mirabar bodies. "Mirabar will be most interested in those. I hope that the rest fared better, it would appear that they have been captured for some reason. That is not good for Mirabar nor for us. There was a moon elf carrying some magical seeds as a gift for the abbey of Goldenfields - that is a little south of the Bargwright Inn - we were hoping to curry favour with them.
Once done with his bath JV can find the closest thing to a book shop or library in Red Larch at Valivoe’s Sundries. Valivoe stocks a bit of everything and looking at the store the only reason you couldn’t find what you wanted here is because you don’t have time to look. He takes a dim view of you using his books as a library at first, but some friendly chatter peaks his interest and he allows you to stay and do your research, on your honour that you tell him what you find.
Looking through the books takes you most of the night, as there is no system to how he stores them or index to suggest where to look. You do manage to find numerous references and stories of strange cults that flair up occasionally then either fade away or get killed off, sometimes by the law sometimes by bandits and in one reference apparently by another cult. The cults worship the elements, air, water, earth and fire. judging from the probable dates of the various books it would appear that there is rarely more than one or two different cults at any one time. Each has a symbol representing much that same function as a religious symbol.
How much you want to tell Vallivoe is up to you, but if you want to hold back a deception roll will be required. The more you hold back the harder it'll be to lie.
I'll post info on the other things as the rolls come in, I think that might help avoid a huge wall of text post by me.
There are four of us, I believe, so each PC will get 5gp from Harbuk? Ilvelious will spend about 1 gold on buying drinks and greasing palms with locals in general to see if anyone has seen any of the strangely armored people around. Anyone with really interesting information will be rewarded with a gold coin of their own. I'm hoping that [MENTION=6801311]KahlessNestor[/MENTION] will be willing to roll the checks, and that my assistance and gold will provide him with advantage?
On another note, I apear to have not copied a paragraph into my previous post.
JV also finds a new book at Valivoe's, written in dwarfish, it is of exceptional quality. Leather and guilt bound with beautiful illumination and calligraphy. It stands out from any other book in the shop. When Asked about it Valivoe can't offer much except that he took it in trade from a traveller from Womford.
The book is clearly one of several volumes detailing the genealogy and history of Mirabar.
Returning to Red Larch, Errol and the others reported the information they had found to Harbuk and the Mirabarran delegation for retrieval of the bodies. As several others went off to do some research, Errol followed Ilvellios to the tavern. They shared drinks and talk with the locals, trying to gain more information.
Sorry to be pedantic about this but I can foresee a lot of confusion if I don’t clear this up at the start. There is a delegation from Mirabar, who set out around three months ago as a political mission to the region, they are the ones who are missing and no one has seen them in about two weeks. There is also an envoy who has been dispatched to track down the delegation, he is the one who was haranguing Harbuk and is available to talk to.
Camped outside of town are two caravans, each within their own defensive ring. Between them and the town is a much smaller campsite consisting of three tents, each capable of sheltering six people. Around a dozen horses are hobbled nearby, nibbling on the grass.
As Erol and Ilvilious approach they are challenged by a dwarf guard who, after assessing that you aren’t a threat, takes you to see the envoy. He introduces himself as Agrathan. He is initially sceptical of your claims, thinking that you are just rogues looking for easy coin, but after some details convince him otherwise his excitement is evident. It takes some convincing from his escort that they should wait until morning to retrieve the bodies, but he starts to see sense and then volunteers some more information on the delegation.
“The delegation represented a number of factions within Mirabar, all with trade interests in the south. It consisted of twelve nobles or high level guild members, each representing their respective faction interests, and was escorted by around forty five soldiers; shield dwarves, cavalry and archers. If it has been attacked, as your find would suggest, this is not a bunch of bandits but an act of war or a determined attempt by a large group to make it look like one.
They had planned to travel to Westbridge, then on to Beliard, from there south through Womford and to Greenfields. I was planning to head directly to Greenfields and work backwards from there, but it would appear they may never have gotten that far.”
He offers you 20GP for your trouble then says, “We are traveling too light to carry much gold with us, so I can’t offer you much in the way of reward if you find anything else. I can assure that the Mirabar army looks after its own and will pay a reward for rescued soldiers – though the consequences for those who take them prisoner are usually more severe, it may be hard to do anything this far into foreign soil though. The nobles and guild members will most certainly pay a reward for their rescue.
Returning to town, Erol and Ilvelios head to the tavern to enquire about the strange armours they saw. Ale proves to be a good social lubricant, but many of the locals are too concerned about their loss of livelihood, with many of the town business owners arrested, they aren’t sure what to do.
A number of townsfolk seem to think the feathery armour may be linked to Feathergale Spire. The knights there rarely come through here, preferring to fly directly to the spire, but the occasional wagon that has come through Red Larch has been escorted by men in light blue robes with a feathery mantle.
One group of quarry workers do think that they saw the symbol Earth on some trouble makers that were scaring them off at night. For some time the quarry workers have been trying to do some extra work at night, but sometimes a group of strange men were scaring the workers away. The strangers never did anything, just loitered in the shadows and calling out or chanting, but the quarry workers are fairly sure they saw the symbol on the breast of some of them. They didn't wear serious armour though, possibly just a leather shirt.
"Well, this all seems very suspicious," Ilvellios addressed the others
(assuming at some point we meet up and compare notes)
"Talking to the envoy means that we now know the planned route, and could possibly go to Westbridge, Beliard and Womford to see how far the delegation made it. What puzzles me is that there was no sign of what happened to any survivors, and the delegation was large enough that it would be hard to move all those captives with none escaping and leaving no tracks. Makes me wonder if that was the actual battle site or the body we found was a survivor from an earlier battle?
Certainly it looks like the strangely armored ones were the other side, though we have nothing to indicate yet who started the fight.
I think, while we're still in town, that I'd like to interrogate the town elders, because we know that the Earth symbol was found in the cavern, and we can also ask them what the people in the quarry were doing!"
How far outside Red Larch is the quarry please TallIan? And what is the current status of the elders - have they been accused but not yet tried? Tried and sentenced to death?
We probably don't have a lot to influence them with:-( Maybe a charm spell or ruse of some sort would be more effective than simply asking?
The timeline atm is JV will be tied up with his research at Valivoe's until the very early hours of the morning. Erol and Ilvelios will be in the tavern until around midnight. Snikkelfitz hasn't said what he's doing yet.
The elders have been arrested and are awaiting trial, part of the problem the town is having is that most of what passes as a judiciary in town is in the stocks. As the town elders are in the stocks they are outside so you can approach them whenever you like. Due to the problems their arrest has caused, none of them seem to be getting much sympathy from the townsfolk (eg very few people are offering them water or warm clothes).
You certainly can use a spell, but you can also persuade or intimidate them (roll as appropriate) and you can try to use an insight roll to gauge which roll would be best for which person.
J.V. divulges all he can to the proprietress and takes note of the moon elf and ask for a description. After his meeting a quick bath to wash the wear of the road off he heads over to Valivoe’s Sundries where he introduces himself as a member of the Purple Dragon Society Cloister and explains his mission. Glancing through Valivoe's lack of an index system makes J.V. cringe and he offers to sort the books as he goes through. Finding the finely bound book prompts a cry of "Eureka! from J.V. as he stands triumphantly, knocking over a few books he had in his lap. His inquiries about its origin and authenticity return little. He does however, set the book aside and continue organizing the books well into the next morning.
Errol leaned back, considering what they had found. “I still think the residents of the tower know might know something about the attack,” he said. “After all, seems like some of those bodies were theirs.” He indicated the rolled up feather cloak they had procured. We can check on the quarries, sure, but I’m not sure how much we’ll find during the day. Why don’t we question the town elders what they were about down in that cavern?” he suggested.
Errol got up and headed outside to the town well, He drew a bucket of water and tossed the cup from his mess kit into it before walking over to the stocks where the men and women were shackled.
“You lot look like you could use a drink,” he commented, going up to one of the women. He dipped the cup to fill it and moved her hair out of the way, helping her to lift her head as he fed her the water.
Ilvellios nodded at Errol's comments, and while he was at the town well, Ilvellios tossed a silver at the innkeeper, "Give me a flask of your sourest vinegar, and some rotten fruit too! I've a mind for a little fun.."
Taking the items, he went over to the stocks, and appraised the elders for a little while from the shadows to see how they responded to Errol's kindness.
Ok, Insight check to see who will fall for the good cop, bad cop routine:
Wait to see if Errol's kindness gets any results, if not Ilvelious will interrupt and start to mistreat them (slightly).
Erol approached the imprisoned elders with the water. Most of them were getting what sleep they could, but discomfort and the cool night air made it difficult. “You look like you could use a drink.” Erol offered one woman. She looked suspiciously at Erol before gulping down the offered water. “Thank you,” She said, “Harbuk’s lads come twice a day with water and bread, but it’s not really enough.”
With some small talk Erol managed to steer the conversation to what the elders were up to. “Most of the prominent business owners in town have been part of the believers since they were kids. Our grandparents found the cavern and the Tomb of Moving Stones beneath the town. It was made by the Delvers many, many years ago. Since Red Larch discovered it, they have met every full moon in the Tomb to read the stones and debate the meaning of the new position. We have always used our readings as a way to guide the town.”
As she opens up two of the other prisoners get agitated, shouting at her to “shut up” and “stop dishonouring the Delvers” a few more prisoners grumble in agreement. A few well aimed pieces of rotting fruit from Ilvellios silence most of the desenters, but the first two won’t be stilled.
Erol’s confidante continues, “Around three months ago a priest named Larak turned up. No one knows how he found the Tomb but he was just there one day. The stones also started moving more often, we took it as another sign. Larak started living in the Tomb and would preach to us. Telling us of the sanctity of dirt and stone and how all things eventually end up in the ground.
“Under Larak’s guidance the readings became ever darker, telling us to not just intimidate and scare unwanted but to maim and kill them. Three travellers were murdered by the Believers. Targets specially chosen by Larak and killed using a ceremonial dagger he had. Two Believers at a time were assigned the murder. It was always kept by the statue of the Delver in the caverns underground.
“Larak also had some henchmen staying at the boarding house pretending to be itinerant labourers, though really they were his muscle, he mostly used them to spy on the town and to scare away the quarry workers at nights when we used the quarry entrance to the Tomb.”
The two Believers shouting continues to build, their impotent rage causing quite a scene. Nothing Ilvilios does will silence them.
“A couple of days ago a group turned up and stumbled across the Tomb, Larak’s henchmen attacked them but the group fought back and killed them and hunted Larak down. Larak caused the cave in in the Tomb. He either escaped before the cave in or is still under there, along with the group.” The cooperative prisoner finishes.
One of Harbuk’s lads, what passes for the town watch, comes over, “Hey, whatcha doin’ to the prisoners? Best you move along b’fore someone gets ‘urt.” With the nervousness of someone with authority who sees he is locally outnumbered he ushers you away from the prisoners. The two agitated ones continue to shout about the betrayal for some time after you leave.
"Well that was very interesting, wasn't it?" Ilvellios commented to Errol as they walked away.
"Maybe we should tell Harbuk how helpful the woman was, you know? Put in a good word for her sentencing? I believe there are magics which allow people to walk through solid earth - possibly Larak used such a spell to escape, possibly the Mirabar captives were taken in such a manner and that is why there were no footprints of them leaving the area!
I know you want to go to the tower, and that's fine with me; but before we leave, it occurs to me we should check out the boarding house, maybe Laraks henchmen left some things behind, or the owner might recall hearing them talking about Delvers?"
Want to give the other players time to respond But before we leave Red Larch, Ilvellios will check out the boarding house, with anyone else who wants to come.
“Just giving them some water, and trying to figure out what is happening,” Errol told the town guard. “We are investigating things around here.”
As they walked along, Errol nodded to Ilvelios. “Checking the boarding house might be worthwhile,” he said, “though it sounds like they are no longer there. In any case, we can’t leave town until tomorrow. And yes, we should put in a good word for her. It seems like their little organization got co-opted by some evil,” he said with a scowl.
The boarding house is closed up for the night. In the morning the party find the proprietess going about her business. She is a friendly welcoming lady who introduces herself as Yolantha. Yolantha is very helpful, openly saying she wished that whole business was dealt with so life could get back to normal.
She allows the party to see the room the group was staying in. There are 10 bunks, each with a small foot locker attached. Only six have been used. All that can be found is bedding, clothing, a stone chess set, a deck of playing cards and a purse containing 14GP.
Talking to Yolantha about them she reveals, "They mostly kept to themselves, did a bit of work in the north quarry, but were mostly out of town for a day or three at a time. Paid for the whole room, not that strange - some people like their privacy - but usually the labourers that come by just want a cheap bed. They did all wear the same stone medallion though I never asked about it."
“I suppose so,” Errol agreed with Ilvellios. “I think the town has that cavern complex and the quarries well in hand, it seems, and the strangers have fled. Let’s gather the others.” They headed back toward the inn.