Friday 7 November 2014

Pathfinder Interlude - Part 1: The Dukes of Galt [amended]

Pathfinder interlude: if you’ve been following the Pathfinder write-ups, you’ll be aware that the main player party has just got back from a few weeks in the Abyss to discover 5 years has passed on Golarion. We’re now going to be playing through those 5 years as different, less powerful characters; in part because the GM wants to show us how much of an impact the actions of our main characters has had on this world.

One of the nice things he’s doing is making us keep in-character journals as part of our work for the Pathfinder Society – and the snippets he particularly likes will go up on his blog as part of our report. I don’t have the journal so am writing this up as a separate sort of journal.

Here’s Jvala’s story.

Back in Absalom for my great-niece’s wedding. It’s as crowded as ever, but since Cinder and Flash are both fully grown now I’ve noticed people tend to give me more space as I walk the streets. Relief that some of my youngest relatives were not afraid of them – and were gentle with them. Managed to get through it without losing my temper with my late sister-in-law’s family, at least. But it was good to get back to my room and find I’d been summoned by the Pathfinder Society – excuse to make a speedy exit from town.

Made way over – Flash and Cinder had to wait outside but spotted my friend Tanna’s hawk, Skydancer. Went in; went down to the depths. This place always impresses me. Would love to come 500 years after it’s been abandoned to really explore and make it mine. But enough digressing.

Went down and saw Tanna there, and Sam warming herself (himself? catself?) by the fire. Joined Tanna at the table and the reserved drow Zabeel skulked over to us – Sam and Vernus Umber joined when our venture captain, Ambrus Valsin came over. I’ve worked with Tanna, Zabeel and Sam before, but not Vernus.

Ambrus was accompanied by another man. Not seen him before – turned out to be the Master of Spells, Arum Zey. More forthcoming with information (and funds). Liked him. Basically, they wanted us to go investigate some new barons from Brevoy, who’d been involved in the problems Absalom had had to deal with recently. Not a huge amount for us to go on - a few locations to check out in the north: Galt, Mivon, Pitax, Restov (some big surge of magical energy reported there) and New Stetvon (again, some reports of a recent gathering of very powerful individuals). Should be a bit of an adventure, but made sure my cold weather gear was safely packed before we left. Boat north-east to Taldor. Not my favourite way to travel, but the simplest route in and out of Absalom.

Travelled north from Taldor into Galt. En route, passed group setting up on side of road in the mountain passes. Refugees from Galt. Wouldn’t open up to me, but Tanna got them talking. The Duke Cornelius had been killed and his brother let the country go to ruin so they had no choice but to go elsewhere. Plot thickens.

Northwards to Isarn, capital of Galt. Learn a bit more about Duke Cornelius. Seems he was a pretty good leader, country doing well under him, respected. His wife had been there when he was killed, had gone into shock. Duke Cornelius’s surviving brother, his twin Augustus, was running the country. Seemed he’d taken the death badly, too, though; was running the country poorly as we’d seen from the refugees on the road but also as we moved through Galt.

Isarn in particular showed signs of having had better days. Most of the city worn down, disrepair – like a temple, abandoned but once loved. Except by the palace where Augustus lived. Seemed all the effort (and money) was being spent on keeping this area nice. At everyone else’s expense.

Went to the square where Cornelius’s head was found. Brown stain on the wall: suspected his blood. Mysterious person appeared, ‘Sam Spade’ of Mythic Investigations. Possibly got some kind of cursed office: everything went sepia and he kept narrating. Irritating, but stopped when we moved away from his office. Using a few bits of kit I’d not seen before, he confirmed the stain was Cornelius’s blood, shed when his head was cut off. Also said he’d spoken to our barons, worked with them briefly in Absalom. Makes me wonder if we should have done some more investigating before we left the city.

Arranged appointment to see Duke Cornelius’s surviving wife, Duchess Caroline. Sam, pretending to be a small girl, snuck off past the handmaiden who greeted us and found her way to the lady. Not entirely sure what Sam got up to, but a bit later the guards raced out of the room, so I crept out after to find the lady sat with a bruise developing on her face and the guards poking with sticks under the bed. The lady indicated she was alright and didn’t need any help and I was pretty sure Sam could look after herself so I waited.

Sam led guards on a merry chase. Ultimately apologised to Lady Caroline for accidentally throwing a ball at her face and we headed back to the other room, where Tanna was continuing to try and negotiate with the handmaiden. Lady Caroline silenced them with a wave of her hand – and spoke.

She was kind enough to give us her eye witness account. Two men in crazy red armour. One was silent – but his bright blue eyes struck her. The other brutally slew her husband in their bed as he begged for mercy. She couldn’t understand it: the rightful ruler of Galt, murdered. His head left with a note suggesting he’d been involved in ordering a black lotus assassination attempt against one of our baron’s – half-orc Chester Goldhawk.

Explained Augustus was ruining country, wrecking the relations they’d built with other nations. She’d helped Cornelius (if Augustus was out of the picture, would she not be a better ruler?)

Cornelius had spoken to her of the barons we’re to investigate: good people, he felt, but trouble followed them.

Her description of Augustus and his ability to rule made me so angry I nearly burnt my Pathfinder journal as I wrote it up in the pub after.

Next thing we hear, Augustus is missing. Wanted to speak to him, so wondered if he’d legged it cos he heard we were investigating – maybe he ordered the death of his brother (something in the note: maybe Augustus arranged both assassinations; tried to blame the black lotus one on his brother then had him killed and didn’t want us to find out?)

Went to guard house to see if we could help – also because we were summoned just for being at palace. Couldn’t give much info – they were thinking kidnapping & waiting for note.

Left. Tanna went a bit quiet but didn’t really notice until she became very distressed – we turned back: someone had killed Skydancer. She’d noticed we were being followed, asked hawk to watch out and he’d been shot. Others raced to roof tops to try to find whilst I tried to calm friend with help of Cinder. Not sure exactly what she did, but with some oils consecrated the body and it melted away [reincarnate spell].

Epic roof top chase ensued – less fun than it sounds. Eventually discovered the guards were after us. Claimed they had evidence Duke Augustus had been killed and we were associates. Weren’t listening when we denied – ran before they could pin it on us in fake court.

Hope Caroline gets to rule but Zabeel doubts it.

Sam was missing as we commandeered a boat – fee is a lot less when you point a gun at the captain. Needs must and all that. Stowed us away. Hate boats. He rejoined us in his halfling disguise a few towns along the river.

Don't know who killed the Duke. Know I wanted to, listening to the people talk, seeing the ruin. Kinda thing I might have done, if he’d been there in front of me when everyone was telling me the worst of him. I wanted to.

May Desna forgive me.

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