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Lord Tobias has sent you with a small chest of silver ingots and a letter of credit from the Vedic bank for up to 10,000 gp backed by silver ingots held in their vault. You are supposed to meet a Pathfinder named Jonas <your orders describe him for identification purposes> at the Welcome Wench Inn near the border of the Vrath province. From there you are to proceed into Vrath and meet with garrison commander Bowen Miller at the provincal capital, Drellin (a small town by comparison to most of the empire). Eventually, you and Jonas are to assist Bowen in making some kind of peace arrangment with the orc slaves who have revolted.
You received this letter a few weeks ago:
I hope you have been doing well since leaving my service. Our noble deeds at Fel Mandon brought my name to the attention of Ilium's finest generals and they have honored me with another commission in the important task of securing the newly acquired province of Vrath from the orc slave revolts occuring there. Unfortunately, the funds, supplies, and men recquisitioned for the task were sorely needed to quell the rebellious miners at a silver mine I recently acquired. Their discontent would surely have spread chaos throughout the empire had we not acted quickly in securing the area and maintaining the flow of silver.
The garrison commander of Vrath has been sending frantic messages requesting the support he was promised. Unfortunately, though these messages have reached my ears they have apparently been intercepted before reaching the capital. Ever vigilant and mindful the task set before me I intend to solve this problem of the slave revolts in Vrath. Unable to bring enough forces to bear on this situation, I think negotiation would be the best course of action.
I realize that you are no longer on active service, Jonas. My commission does give me the authority to reactive Pathfinders for a new term of service. However, I think if you can assist me in this task your services will not be required here at the mines. Of course I will compensate you upon the completion of this task. The flow of ore from the mines is proving more than expected due to the diligent workers.
I am sending my most trusted Pathfinder, Saul Rowenson, with some funds to meet you at the Welcome Wench Inn near the main caravan route into Vrath. <The letter contains a physical description of Saul so you may identify him> Hopefully with these funds you two will be able to procure a settlement which will best serve my, and the empire's, interests.
Lord Tobias Ai'Panfeld
The Welcome Wench Inn sits along the main route into Vrath and caters mostly to the merchants and their guards taking goods into Vrath and the slave dealers coming from Vrath into the empire. The inn is quite busy and the common room is full of traders, mercenaries and a few locals. Both of you arrived late this afternoon. After locating each other according to the descriptions provided by Lord Panfeld you took a seat in the corner of the common room to discuss your mission.
Jonas spun the parchment in a tight spiral, and thrust it back in his brass mapcase. Next time, stay off the main roads if you donít want to be found, fool, did you forget everything from your time in the service? It had been a long time since Fel Mandon Ė why must he nurse this grudge? He had his health, his freedom from the service Ė temporarily anyway Ė and the last few months had treated him well as he traveled from tavern to tavern such as this one. Well, not quite like this one Ė the stables were cleaner than most, and the soup on the main boiling pot had that smell of too much fresh herbs that they used this close to the border to make up for the lack of salt. All of the sudden he was reminded of home in Eastern Glade -
But, there was business to attend to, and there was little point in trying to hide now. This Rowenson appeared to be every bit as good as Tobias said; heíd caught up with Jonas a full two days faster than expected. Jonas rolled the mapcase across the rough oaken table to his new companion, and with his other hand, flagged down a hurried barmaid who was darting between tables of armed men. She may be welcoming, but Iíve not been in the field long enough to want any piece of that. He dropped a few coppers into her apron with a wink,
Be a doll, lass, and bring my friend and I a round of something to celebrate this chance meeting.
Jonas lowered his voice as he tucked his legs under himself, in case he needed to beat a hasty exit.
You can get the next round - Saul, is it? Youíre welcome to read that finely crafted tale there, if you wish. Toby, that is Lord Panfeld, speaks highly of you; Iím sure itís well deserved. I take it from this your fresh from these mines he speaks of, must be good to be out in the sunlight again. What more do you know of this situation in Vrath, then, and how can I help? Always glad to be of service to Lord Panfeld, particularly in times such as these.
Roll Bardic Knowledge with regards to the military operations of Ilium in Vrath Ė 14+2+2+2 = 20
If needed, a Sense Motive Check on Saul Ė natural 1. that didn't take long
He takes the scroll which Jonas has given him and scans it.
Lord Panfeld flatters me. And may I be the first to welcome you back to the service.
Saul returns the scroll to Jonas.
I don't know that I have any information you don't already have, or couldn't deduce from your document there. You know what they say of the gods, though: they never give a man more than he can handle. I expect the same is true of Lord Panfeld, and our present task. We shouldn't worry ourselves.
I'd like to Sense Motive, just to get a read on my new companion. Does he seem irritated at having been roped back into service?
I'm also feeling frustrated and embarrassed that I allowed myself to bully the silver miners for as long as I did. The kickbacks were great, but I'm disappointed that I allowed greed to get the better of me.
Oh, Iíve found Tobias to be many things, but never much of a flatterer.
Jonas takes a long draught of his newly arrived ale.
And as far as the gods giving Ďmore than he can handle,í I imagine there are some hill giant skeletons in Vrath who might disagree with you. But no matter. Here we are, called to service yet again. I donít much care for traveling at night, but I imagine that the garrison would not be caterwauling so if it wasnít in dire need. Of course, if youíre tired and would rather eat hot food and sleep in a bed, Panfeld clearly thinks theyíll keep for a few more hours. We could ride out in the morning. I can ply my trade here in the hall, and maybe leave with heavier pockets; the slave traders look to be free with their money tonight.
Jonas strokes his mustache as he watches his companion intently from under the brim of his broad hat. He studiously tries to keep his face blank. You can learn a lot about a man by giving them choices. Will he see caution or alacrity as the greater good tonight, or does he have other plans?
Roll Bluff Ė just trying to keep expressionless and not indicate which I think is the wiser choice Ė 15 + 4 + 6 = 25
Hill giant skeletons? Is that what we're up against? Lord Panfeld hadn't told me. In that case, I think it prudent to get a good night's rest before we ride out. I think you're right when you say that the lord clearly thinks the garrison can hold out until then.
Caution it is; just as well. Paco was tired anyway.
The skeletons Iím speaking of are little more than a tripping hazard. But, I imagine the orcs will be plentiful enough if we arenít careful. Weíll make better time by daylight; itís less risky, particularly with the unrest. Agreed.
Jonas stretches as he stands up from the table, tugging at the bottom of his leather jerkin to take out the wrinkles.
Order us some food, if you would; not the soup, something with more meat. Iíll be back when it arrives. For now, to my aforementioned trade. Iím an improviser, you might say. Tobias certainly appreciated my improvisations previously, I imagine thatís why he asked me along on this one. Wonder what it was that got you sent out here?
Jonas strides over to the bar and upends an empty wooden basin before setting it in front of the fire. He tosses what little remains of his ale onto the flames, which sputter and smoke, drawing looks from the nearby tables.
Good evening gentlemen and gentleladies! I, Jonas AiíLenti, by the graciousness of the lords of Ilium, have traveled far to provide this eveningís entertainment!
As he bows, Jonas takes in the crowd. Slavers. Sell-swords. No children to speak of. Something violent then, but not Fel Mandon. The crowd will turn on me if I go with that one, as might my new friend back at the table. Something with local flavor, then, hill giants and maidens perhaps? As he stands up from his bow, Jonas flips his hat onto the nearest table, brim up, welcoming any who care to support the arts.
As Iím certain many of you good people know, the orcs of Krovang oft make treks into these regions, looking for sport and spoil. But as dastardly as your worst orc, the wrath of a riled giant would make even the stoutest man - such as that lad there! Ė turn pale. And it was an evening such as this one, not too long ago, when the Ö
Jonas returns to his seat in the corner, a full plate of vittles awaiting him.
That went well, I think. Iíll leave the hat over there for a bit longer, give those fellows in the back time to add to the pile. Ah, well done on the order, friend, a veritable feast.
Jonas eats a few bites in silence, before looking up with a wry smile.
So, your first time this far from the capital then? And not to pry, but I can guess what my role in this bargaining that Panfeld has for us is; Iíve played this game of his before. Whatís yours, then, keep me out of trouble?
Last edited by vanderbane : 01-22-2008 at 11:51 AM.
After counting the coins in your hat you are a bit disappointed in the take. You thought you gave a stellar performance but find only about 1 gold in assorted silvers and coppers. As you're pocketing the money a fat, drunken slaver stumbles over to your corner and slaps a platinum piece down on the table.
"That was a good yarn, bard," he chuckles to himself, revealing gums and yellowed teeth.
"Take this coin, I'll be getting plenty more. I've got a load of good orcish slaves; taking them to the emperor himself for some bloodsport. He's come up all the way to Calbolg* for a hunt and I'm going to give him one."
With that he takes his leave and stumbles upstairs for the night, aided by a pair of sell-swords.
The total take is: 1 pp, 4 sp, 60 cp. The innkeeper also comps your rooms, meals and drinks (they haven't had a bard here for a while).
*Calbolg is the provincal capital of the province you are currently in (Amery), and is about two days behind you on the road.
Jonas slips the currency into his purse as he walks outside to get a breath of air. Slavery was necessary business, but bloodsport always struck him as a filthy affair. Nothing to be done with it now, though, he had orders, and if Panfeld could be trusted Ė Hah! Ė many more lives hung in the balance than he could save here. Just keep telling yourself that, fool. He shakes his head, and wanders to the stable where gives a handful of coppers to the stableboy.
I want those two horses fed, watered and saddled by first light, lad. Thereís a couple more of these in it for you if their brushed.
With a momentís inspiration, he adds,
And here are two silvers each for you and the blacksmithís apprentice. See that large slave wagon there? Iíd like you boys to reshoe the horses or oxen that draw it, even if it takes you all day. Especially if it takes you all day. If anyone asks you about it, say it was a generous donation for a gift that was far too kind.
Maybe having to wait an extra day will turn the Emperor, Numa guide him, to less bloody entertainment, and our new friend will have to find another buyer. Jonas walks back in to the quieting main hall, and locates Saul.
Hereís your key, friend, complements of the finest oratory teachers of Eastern Glade. I suggest you lock up well; that blonde wench over there was eyeing you carefully throughout my story; you were quite the distraction. I, for one, have lost my desire for company this evening. No fault of yours, of course. Just the atmosphere this close to the border, Iím afraid. If youíre right about what awaits us in Vrath, we shall both need our rest while we can get it. We should get on the road early.
With that, Jonas heads up the stairs.
Diplomacy roll for the stable boy, I assume? 16 + 6 + 4 + 7 = 33
You get a decent night's sleep and ride out toward Vrath early the next morning before most of the inn's guests are stirring. As you pass the workshop you notice that not only are they re-shoeing the horses for the slave wagon, they've removed all the wheels and are repairing and replacing them as well.
Jonas tips his hat to the two lads, and begins whistling a capricious tune.
A few hours out of town, Jonas came to what was for him a rare realization - he had been monopolizing the conversation.
...and that was how I got out of Devinshire unnoticed. My left hand has never felt quite the same, let me tell you. But, there will be time enough for my stories today; tell me, how did you come to serve under the pathfinder banner?
Last edited by vanderbane : 01-24-2008 at 04:24 PM.
I follow certain schools of martial arts, schools in which it can prove difficult to find a suitable sensei. I was led to believe I could find one in the military, so I joined. And, to a certain extent, I found what I was looking for. I feel now, though, I've lost my way. Wandered from the path. That kind of experience can be valuable, but I'm ready to find my way back now.
Saul nods down the road.
This assignment is one step in that direction, I believe. I hope I'll be putting my skills to good use. Honorable use.
Jonas scans the horizon, his hand wrapping tightly around the grip of the leather whip at his side.
Guidance and redemption. I guess we aren't so different after all. You're the better man though, friend; I'd almost given up on ever finding them.
Jonas turns back to face his companion, relaxing.
Maybe you're right, this road we're on might do the trick. Either way, you owe me a drink and I hear there's an awfully nice tavern on Market street in Drellin. Or there was, before the revolts. If it's gone, drinks are on me.
Saul catches a glimpse of a rider cresting the hill to the right of the road in his peripheral vision. The rider's horse is enormous. The rider himself wears leather, carries a spear and shield, and seems to have somewhat bestial features though you can't tell for sure.
What the hell...?! That he should have a vision at such a time must mean something. But what? Did the riders cause it? The thing behind them?
Kren heeled Horatio forward at a gallop, aiming for the two humans. If they're enemies, at least I can see them. Within him, the Beast growls softly, not liking the ambiguity of the situation and anticipating a fight.
As he rides, Kren stands in his stirrups and yells. You humans know you're being followed? Look - you can see the dust.
Saul turns toward the rider on the hill who has started to descend. Saul sees the rider begin to speak but only hears ďHe..Ē before he is enveloped in utter silence. Suddenly, Saulís horse shudders and collapses, flinging him to the ground. As he is falling Saul sees the cause of his misery, a cloaked rider brandishing a wicked flaming scimitar has just sliced his horse virtually in two. Saul hits the ground hard but recovers quickly and assumes a defensive stance.
The first thing Jonas notices is his whistling go silent, he turns questioningly at Saul just in time to see a cloaked rider materialize from nothingness behind Saul and slice right through Saulís horse.
Kren thinks the pursuer must have seen him because whatever it is, it picks up its pace and charges the humans. Kren begins his descent and tries to shout a warning but gets the distinct impression that it is unheard as he sees the rider materialize and carve through Saulís horse. He hears no sound at all coming from the riders below and quickly descends the hill.
Saul fails ride check to not fall when the horse dies, takes 4 damage, makes balance check and recovers his footing quickly enough to be standing in the next round. Everyone is aware in the next round and can take full actions. Kren believes that the rider had a magical invisibility spell on himself and his mount and still has a magical silence spell on him. The horse is not only sliced nearly in half, but also charred. The rider is male, tall, wears a dark cloak with a red breastplate underneath, and carries a very long red scimitar. Thanks to Kren for this awesome map, 30 bonus XP!
The rider tries to parry the blow, but he is still off balance from his charge and brings up his blade too slowly. Saul's greatsword cuts a gash in the rider's left leg. The rider's mouth opens in pain but no sound is heard. Unfortunately, Saul's battle cry is also lost in the silence.
Attack roll - 22, damage roll - 11. I'm going to rule that since Saul's allies could only see the strike but not hear the battle cry associated with Leading the Attack, it only grants a +2 bonus to their attack rolls this round instead of of the normal +4.
The rider tries to strike back at the now dismounted Saul, but Saul easily dodges the clumsy slash. The rider then spurs his horse, rides forward 40 feet and turns the horse around to set up another charge. Saul takes another swing as the rider passes and connects right above the waist.
Rider's attack roll - natural 1, Rider's ride check - 17, Saul's attack of opportunity - 24 (18 natural), Saul's damage - 9. Rider moves 40 feet forward. Sound returns to the area once the rider moves forward.
Jonas likes to believe that, even in the stillness that surrounds him, Volcannon can hear every word that forms on his lips. He also figures that even his noble countenance would blush at Jonas' colorful language.
And then everyone could hear him, as the rider, now bleeding, bolts in front of him. Jonas spurs Paco to pursue.
Forward, for the Glory of Eastern Glade!
His arm slings out to the side, unfurling the whip with a quick snap of his wrist. Then with all the fury in his small frame, he lashes up in a smooth arc, sending the heavy hide forward obediently. The last few feet wrap tightly around the neck of the dark rider. While Jonas pulls hard to take up the slack, he throws a quick wrap around his saddlehorn for leverage and stands in his stirrups, stopping Paco suddenly to drag his assailant down.
Activate Art of War
Close to 15 feet. If he were to end in F16 (as I read your description) I want to be in E14 lets say on behind.
Ride check - DC 5 guide with knees 18 + 3 = 21 What A Waste.
Strength Check - 13 + n (circumstance bonus for leverage?) = A number which I hope is enough
In the unlikely event that I hit but fail the strength check and he tries to return the favor, let him. If he fails, I'll try again until someone ends up on the ground (my quick check of the SRD suggests I can do that - your call of course).
Assuming that someone on the ground is me, here is my tumble to avoid damage
Tumble - 7 + 5 + 2 = 14.
Jonas follows the wounded rider and his whip catches the rider's neck just as the rider is turning to ready another charge. Jonas uses the saddlehorn for leverage and pulls the rider to the ground.
The first roll, what you label the trip check is the touch attack. For that we add +2 Dex +2 LTA +1 BAB +1Mwk for a 22 as you say, which connects. Art of War applies to what I would call the trip check, what you call the strength check. For that we add +4 from art of war and +2 circumstance from the saddlehorn for a 19. The rider's strength roll is an 18 (I'm not kidding), so he goes down. The rider is lying prone on the ground in the square Ryan noted. This battle is sucking for the DM.
The rider hops to his feet and parrys a slash from Saul. He dismisses the silence spell spell and begins casting another. He completes the gestures quickly and without exposing any opportunity for attack. His voice is thin and reedy as he speaks the words in Draconic. He holds his hands forward and flames jet toward the party.
Stands up from prone, Saul misses AOO with a 13.
Dismisses silence spell.
Cast Defensively - 19
Kren identifies the spell as burning hands. Everyone notices the rider's gloves seem to glow red as he casts the spell.
Saul also thinks from observing his movements that he may have martial training from the Desert Wind and Shadow Hand schools.
Kren and Kren's horse fail the reflex save and take 13 fire damage.
Saul, Jonas, and Jonas's horse make the save and take 6 fire damage.
Next up: Kren, Saul and Jonas in any order
Saul, sensing the battle has suddenly taken a turn for the worse, decides to abandon the offensive momentarily to recover his maneuvers and his wounds.
Fortunately, for a warblade, abandoning the offensive involves attacking. The simple swing calms his mind, refreshes his marial instinct, and even closes and soothes his wounds.
I forgot to specify which maneuvers I had readied before this encounter. Shall we say that the two I've used are my only two readied maneuvers this encounter? (Usually I get three in addition to my stances.)
I choose to use my special Warblade ability that allows me to recover all my expended maneuvers by initiating a swift action, following it with a standard melee attack. Vital Recovery then restores 3 + character level (3) of my hit points.