Castaway Diary, days 34 and 35.

This session was a bunch of fun, even though there wasn’t much (but some) adventuring/combat turn/pc-vs-an unfriendly world. Instead, like last session, it was mostly setting the scene for what is to come. Which, involves 20% me describing stuff and 80% people discussing their character’s moral stance on this, that and the other and why they should A instead of B. WHICH IS AWESOME.  As a GM it is super fun listening to people twist their party in knots about a choice they can make (an important one at that, so they aren’t doing anything incorrectly) and then seeing how it all plays out.
How's this dinner going to end?

How’s this dinner going to end?

The amazingly awkward dinner that Uun set up last session was a good opportunity to change the deals a little and throw some spanners into the plans of the players to see how they’d react. What we ended up with was a party that wasn’t split, but they weren’t pulling in exactly the same directions either. Delicious. Of course, players are expected not to metagame, so those not involved in the… oh, let’s call them the Treacherous Cabal… are going to think one thing is going on, whereas actually a totally different thing is going on. Or might go on.

On board for this session:
Victor: Trying to keep everything above board and in plain sight as his party mates grow increasingly fond of under the table, hidden deals.
Orny: Spinning silken plots from his deceit spinnerets to form a web of intrigue. Just like goats do.
Percy: Proud owner of a suit of Chainmail of Grinding. Saving up for a Belt of Twerking.
Nobody: Now with 100% more barrels and 100% less bat features.
Floki: Ranger in a Strange Land, who really doesn’t seem to like the Pathfinders, but mostly just Gelik.
Orny and Nobody were curiously quiet the last couple of days, staying below decks of the Red Gull and not socializing with the others when they went to the Seven Palms. It turned out that they’d both been affected by a Curse, one that was painfully contorting their hands and feet into clawlike appendages and distorting their features into twisted and fanged nightmares. On top of this they had the growing sense that only blood could satiate an increasingly powerful gnawing sensation in their stomachs. Before it got to that though, the pair hobbled to a nearby temple, probably the nice big Iomedaen cathedral and sought healing there. The curse lifted, the effects reversed and they went back to being perfectly normal humans, except Nobody, who is a horned embodiment of his Infernal heritage at the best of times.
Nobody had some business to attend to at a gunsmith’s shop, namely stripping his shark-tooth studded pistol down to its basic elements, adding a second barrel and the workings to fire it and then making it safe. For him, safe for him. Fucking lethal for anyone else. That’s a thing all gunslingers get to do – dote over their weapons and tinker with them.
This pistol now comes with a "warning shot" barrel.

This pistol now comes with a “warning shot” barrel.

Orny, meanwhile, addressed the party’s cashflow problems, by selling the Candle of Truth and the Wand of Vampiric Touch, which introduced a considerable chunk of money to the party kitty. Floki had gone off to a quiet part of the city and created a small shrine to Gorum. There is a corner of a foreign field that is forever METAL.
However, after they were done with their chores these three got together to talk about the deal the others had decided on – Victor, Malicia and Uun having agreed to proceed with the Pathfinder Society over Floki’s objections. Floki maintained that the Aspis Consortium seemed like the best bet and Orny and Nobody were inclined to think that they could maybe get a little more out of this deal. So they plotted. Orny talked to Gelik a little, who seemed crestfallen that they may be seriously considering the Aspis Consortium’s offer. He believes that whatever Saventh Yhi is – ruin/deathtrap/mystical portal to a Buck Rogers style 70s space opera – if the snakewoman who was Ileana thought it so important and the Vampire cult of long ago though it so important, then it is probably too important to have a mercenary outfit like the Aspis Consortium attempt to strip mine the place of everything of value. The Pathfinders would be mindful of the significance of Saventh Yhi, not just the value of Saventh Yhi. The Society’s great strength certainly wasn’t deep pockets, but was the personnel it attracted. Gelik betrayed the Society’s plan by revealing that they had a Guide in mind to take them across the Sargavan countryside and a veteran of the original Tazion mission to help them find Tazion. The people who who would be attached to the party would be the best of the best – a strength the Aspis Consortium couldn’t hope to match, no matter how much cash they shelled out. 
Yet the lure of  access to the Aspis Consortium’s wealth proved strong – strong enough to get Orny, Nobody and Floki plotting. They got in touch with Dargan Etters and proposed that they work for the Aspis Consortium, while working for the Pathfinders – basically publicly take the Pathfinders offer, but secretly take the side of the Consortium. Dargan was intrigued. He wouldn’t give them money up front, but they could expect considerable pay for results. If the party would switch allegiances at Tazion, they’d have had the benefit of the top drawer Pathfinder personnel, but could then expect the free hand and big pay-off that the Aspis Consortium would give them. This robs the Aspis Consortium of their trailblazing team, but if the pay off is that one rival faction is eliminated by people on its own payroll, Dargan Etters is on board. He agreed to at least 2000gp reward when the Aspis Consortium expedition arrives at Saventh Yhi. 

I can’t tell if I’m posting this gif for Orny or Dargan… 

The next plan by the plotters was to convince the Pirates and the Pathfinders to work together, so that they could pool the resources and – presumably sell both out to the Aspis Consortium. This part of the plan (although not the reason) they floated to the rest of the group, who were talked around on the point.
All that intriguing left people with an appetite/need to get the taste out of their mouth, which is good, because Uun’s Awkward Dinner was fast approaching. Eating at the earliest hour seemly to eat dinner, the party converged on the dining room. Dargan Etters was the first to arrive, sitting down smug-like. Next through the door was Finze Bellaugh, immediately stiffening at the sight of Dargan Etters and taking the furthest seat from him. The two are obviously not friends.
Last through the door was Captain Lewynn, who – when she saw the arrangement – bust out laughing. She joined them at the table as aperitifs were served and the seafood starter brought out. Getting down to business, as evidently no introductions were necessary, the party proposed that the goals of the Pathfinders and Kassata’s pirates may be mutually attainable. Some appalling Diplomacy rolls were made next. No, said Kassata, they were not remotely mutually attainable since the Pathfinders would sit on top of all the interesting stuff, say it was “historically vital” and she’d be stuck there for months if not years waiting for them to catalogue and research everything they found. Looting the city and researching the city are not going to happen at the same time.
Kassata didn't become a pirate to babysit archaeologists.

Kassata didn’t become a pirate to babysit archaeologists.

They the attempted to strike some kind of accord between the Pathfinders and the Aspis Consortium, but that got nowhere quickly, with Finze Bellaugh angrily stabbing a finger in Etters’ direction when assessing what the Aspis Consortium would likely do to the city and accusing him of plotting to kill the party when they arrived at the city anyway. There was, at some point in all this a phenomenal stroke of good diplomacy from Victor, aided by Honeyed Tongue and a twist of fate that saw him unknowingly appeal to his subject’s core moral values… BUT I CAN’T REMEMBER WHAT IT WAS. The result was like 44 on a d20 skill roll, something amazing. Just can’t recall what it was… Holy shit, maybe Victor hypnotized me. *Rolland reminded me: it was for the Pathfinders to increase their pot of gold at the end of the traipsing across fantasy africa rainbow to 3000gp.
The negotiations ground somewhat to a halt after the main course and as dessert was served, a fruit sorbet that Nobody didn’t fancy dribbling down his newly cleaned shirt. So he took up his napkin to tuck it in and found something hard inside it. Carefully lifting the linen fold, he found a small knife, about the size of a butter knife, yet gently curved and wickedly serrated along the cutting edge; the same type of blade Malicia had seen at the sides of the Red Mantis assassin. Floki had also found the blade, but assuming it was just some sort of traditional mwangi fruit knife, he was using it to skewer the chunks of pineapple from his sorbet. Nobody reached out a foot under the table and aimed a kick at what he hoped were Orny’s shins. Orny and Victor looked up with a start at the unexpected shin barking and Nobody carefully showed them the knife while screening it from their guests.  Victor cast Detect Poison but found that everything was as it should be; i.e. not lethally poisonous. Although they wracked their brains to try to remember who had brought the napkins, they were fairly certain it had been one of the caravanserai’s liveried servants. 
Anyone need any more bread cut up?

Anyone need any more bread cut up?

The end result, after some away from the table consultation, was to publicly sign up with the Pathfinders. As far as Victor and Percy know (and by extension Uun, and Malicia unless informed of the plot) this is what the plan was, as negotiated at the table and information gleaned from Gelik:
The party will to go to the Pathfinder Lodge tomorrow morning, likely move in there, receive 500gp to equip themselves and then receive their first task from the Society. The expedition will be ready to go in four days time so they’ll set off then with a guide in tow. They’ll head across land, setting up resupply points, pick up the Tazion veteran then go to Tazion. They’ll discover the road to Saventh Yhi, go there and when the expedition joins them they’ll receive 3000gp (this was talked up, *then talked up again), potentially Pathfinder Field Commissions and then they’ll renegotiate a deal with the Pathfinders or leave and go do something else with their wealth.
However, after publicly agreeing to deal with the Pathfinders, Orny caught up with Dargan before they left. Dargan was visibly affected by the presence of the Red Mantis knife at their conversations as he knows from personal experience that the Red Mantis ain’t nuthin’ ta fuck wit. Nevertheless, the under-the-table deal still stands:
The party will to go to the Pathfinder Lodge tomorrow morning, likely move in there, receive 500gp to equip themselves and then receive their first task from the Society. The expedition will be ready to go in four days time so they’ll set off then with a guide in tow. They’ll head across land, setting up resupply points, pick up the Tazion veteran then go to Tazion. They’ll discover the road to Saventh Yhi, at which point the conspirators will renegotiate with Dargan Etters about which expedition they plan to take to Saventh Yhi. But at the very least if they end the Pathfinder expedition and get the Consortium to Saventh Yhi first, they can expect the Aspis Consortium to give them 2000gp each and let them have all the treasure they can carry away from the city.
Only Orny, Nobody and Floki are privy to this deal, unless they bring someone else into the plot.
"Should we tell the others?" "Nah, we've only got three sets of awesome secret plot hooded robes."

“Should we tell the others?”
“Nah, we’ve only got three sets of awesome secret plot hooded robes.”

Aaaaaanyway, the dinner concluded, the party took to their beds for the last time at the Seven Palms as their two days was up after this and they’d have to have their rooms vacated by tomorrow morning because none of them were going to put up money to keep staying in the lap of luxury. Not when there were several items of interest still for sale on the magic item markets of Eleder.
Bright and early next morning they engaged the services of Ilo’s porters and took all their stuff up to the northern end of Portside, where the Pathfinders maintained their warehouse/Lodge extension. Finze Bellaugh and Gelik Aberwhinge were there to meet them and Finze introduced them to Amivor Glaur, the man who would be taking the expedition’s caravan on the trail the party blazed for him. Bellaugh gave them their bags of 500gp and sent runners out into the street to publicly announce the names of the brave souls who would be delving into the wild of Sargava for the benefit of the Pathfinder Society and therefore the civilised world. Floki asked that his name be kept off that announced list.
Amivor Glaur

Amivor Glaur

Amivor sketched out a couple of details about the upcoming travel. Sketched out roughly their timetable: they had the afternoon to equip themselves, but should return here at night as he would give them a map that would show them how to get to their guide, an old man named N’Kechi. N’Kechi was sort of retired, he lived a hermit’s existence as a Cleric of Gozreh, the God/Goddess of the Sea and Sky. Prior to his retirement though, N’Kechi had taught just about every competent cross-country guide their Veldtcraft. Some of those guides would be working for the expedition with the caravan, and it would be a huge advantage to the expedition if they had N’Kechi on the trailblazing team as he would be familar with them all. Tomorrow morning, they should set out to find him. It should take just under a day to get to him. Once they find him, they should do whatever it takes to get him on the expedition. 
Portfolio: Sea, Sky, Awkward Pronouns.

Portfolio: Sea, Sky, Awkward Pronouns.

First things first though, they had a spot of shopping to do, so they went out and bought whatever they thought they’d need for the expedition. Returning northwards from the markets, they were put on edge by the sounds of people screaming. Moments later the market square they were crossing turned into a panicked rush of people as a crowd rounded the corner, running fearfully. The press of people fled down either of the side streets to the party’s left and right and for a second or two, the place was completely deserted. Then a pack of snarling dogs rounded the corner from the direction the people had fled, sprinting madly and snapping as they went.
Victor and Percy advanced, swords sliding out of their scabbards as Orny moved up behind them. Nobody sighted one of the dogs and pulled the trigger, killing it instantly and send it sliding across the hard packed dirt. The dogs skirted the well in the center of the open area and one chipped some teeth on Victor’s armour. Floki sent an arrow into one dog as his leopard, Thrima plunged into action against another. We talked last night about whether or not Leopards are stranglers, like most big cats (although Jaguars uniquely also bite down on the skulls of their prey to pierce the brains and Lions will sometimes pin their prey and put its muzzle in their mouth to suffocate it, both of which are fucking terrifying and rad) and they are stranglers. Except in the Paizo Bestiary, but that’s cool because it means we don’t have to do grapple checks.

Also not in the Bestiary, the Have To Nap For 18 Hours A Day rule.

Victor slew one of the dogs, then Nobody and Floki took out one each while Orny put one dog to sleep, in the literal sense. The dogs that weren’t dead or dying kept attacking and Floki cast Speak With Animals which doesn’t make you friends with an animal, but does let you converse with it. Floki asked why they were attacking and made placating overtures to it, but the dog just screamed “Kill you, I’ll kill you!” over and over again. Victor and Percy and Thrima put the last of the dogs down, while Victor put the dog that had been put to sleep, “to sleep”.
Percy stepped from the combat and went to the aid of an old mwangi woman who was cowering, out-of-breath, near some crates. Helping her to her feet,percy enquired as to what had happened. The old woman told him that the Freemen had driven the wild dogs into the streets and were inside the city, burning buildings. Sending her on her way, the party made haste to the north where they could soon see thick black smoke rising from warehouses. The thickest smoke was suspiciously coming from the direction of the Lodge Warehouse.
Picking their way through the eerily quiet streets, they came to the lane which housed the Pathfinder expedition’s home. Four mwangi men stood before the warehouse with torches and were hurling flasks and lit brands onto the nearby roofs, but seeming to concentrate on the Pathfinder building. 

You fuckers, if anyone is going to ruin the Pathfinder Society’s expedition, it’ll be Floki, Orny and Nobody!

Orny, quick of the bat and happy, probably, to have just a regular human being to put to sleep laid the Slumber Hex upon one of the torchwavers and he fell to the ground, dozing. Nobody let everyone know that this was a serious combat with the traditional shot in the air. The mwangi men responded by closing the distance and hurling the flasks at the party, missing Nobody but breaking the bottle anyway and splattering almost everyone’s legs with Alchemist’s Fire-napalm. Another hurled a flask at Thrima, hitting her and splashing Floki. Percy had Create Water prepared, so he cast that and created 10 gallons of water just above their heads, dousing him and Orny.
Orny took cover behind the corner of a building and then popped out to lay a Heal Hex on Floki as he continued to burn. Nobody stepped forward and gave his second barrel to the Slumber hex’ed mwangi, which woke him up. He stood up just in time to get gutshot by a quickly reloading Floki and died where he stood, clutching his innards. Floki and Thrima took down one mwangi, but by this time they had drawn clubs and were striking back, felling Thrima. Victor and Percy moved into combat and one of the Mwangi broke and ran while the other stayed and fought, only to have his legs swept off by Floki’s sword. Victor cast Knight’s Calling on the withdrawing man, but his honour could not be pricked so easily. Orny, on the other hand, could play people’s Circadian Rhythms like they were a steel drum tune and put that man down for a nap too.

Like that.

Percy cast Create Water again… what the fuck kind of spell list preparation is that by the way? Did Percy have a wet t-shirt contest to judge later? … but this time 35 feet in the air above the worst of the flames that threatened to consume the warehouse roof.  Floki grabbed the sleeping Freeman and kicked him awake at sword point. The mwangi spat at him and when asked why they were doing this, told them that the Freemen would not stand to be oppressed by decadent northerners would came to despoil his people’s lands, more spitting just before Floki ran his neck through with the point of his sword.
The doors to the warehouse opened and smoke and coughing Pathfinders billowed out onto the street. Amivor was there, lightly wounded and gasping for breath, but  more blood on his sword that from his own wounds. The attack had evidently come out of nowhere and the Freemen had grabbed Gelik and abducted him before setting fire to the warehouse. It looks like other buildings were set on fire, but none targeted as much as the Pathfinder building. Floki immediately set to looking for tracks and found the prints of a man wearing the same Freemen sandals, moving quickly but unevenly as though burdened, he didn’t have to go far before the track was embellished by a button, then another; the same small buttons that Gelik’s shirt used to sport. With a trail to follow, they set off in pursuit, the trail leading them to the quayside compound of the South Arcadian Whaling Company…

6 Comments on “Castaway Diary, days 34 and 35.

  1. That was so fun and BLAKKR is as good as its price tag insists it is. That was a great night of dungeoning and dragoning and I got to do EXACTLY the kind of sneaky bastardry I made Orny to do.

  2. This seems like a good place to remind you all that you have a ring and two scrolls that are unidentified.

    • Correct me if I’m wrong, but that’s just like 50gp per attempt, right?

      Orny will pay for one each on all of them.

  3. Or free, if you remember to make a new Spellcraft (+Detect Magic or Identify) once per day until you know what they are.

  4. I’d like to add my voice to the course of super fun session. It really was the perfect balance of role and roll playing. I’m pretty sure the 44 diplomacy was rolled to convince the Pathfinders to give us more money when we reach our goal.

  5. Okay, edited so that Sean has the correct information while he reads this at the table.