Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Flashpoint: Not One Conversation, But Two

Proteus may start in a nice tavern but, as you might expect,
ends up in a seedy one.  (Spyros Kapsaskis)
This was another session where we didn’t have very much focus (me, particularly) so we didn’t get through very much in our two hours of gaming.  The crew returned to Rickety Squibs.  Lunjun made a Circlet of Intelligence over the journey (well, more a collar of Intelligence) that Lhye put on his giant wasp so that it was intelligent enough to be trained.  While technically a wasp normally has intelligence – rather than intelligence 0, I thought it made enough sense that it could go from being pheromonally controlled to capable of making its own animalistic decisions.

They then returned to Bloodcove.

Proteus led them to one of the fancier clubs in town which was built into a naturally occurring hole in the giant mangrove tree whose floor was sculpted red tree sap and whose furnishings had been grown from the wood.  The group split off once inside as though they didn’t know each other.

Lhye quickly met up with a few women wearing Calistrian designs in their outfits who were subtle prostitutes.  Lunjun mostly kept to himself.  Archer started up conversation with the barkeep while he looked about in search of ... well, something that might provide a clue.  It was this very perceptive mood that enabled him to hear what happened with Proteus’ conversation.

You see, Proteus insinuated himself with a group of likely lads and ladies and started chatting to them.  The conversation began well enough but then Proteus’ player rolled a 1 on his Gather Information check.  We go with botch rules for 1s on skill checks due to the sheer level of interest that such a sudden spike in bad luck can cause so we all knew something bad would happen.

I told Proteus’ player that his character spoke to them in a cheerful enough manner but that his audience began to look askance at him.  He made an effort to repair the conversation which only caused them to look deeply worried.  He tried to distract them from whatever faux pas he made with a jibe at the bartender, which led to a few of them scraping their chairs back and reaching for the pommels of their swords.

I then took Archer’s player aside and told him what had actually been said.  Proteus had been having an entirely different conversation from what he thought he had done.  He had been cheerfully mentioning his worship of Zon Kuthon and the need for non-consensual pain to enlighten the masses and bring reality’s truth to the mind’s eye of the residents here.  When he had made that jibe at the bartender, he had actually pointed out one such cruelty he could do to that man.

Archer acted quickly (remind me to give him one of the Spin Me A Yarn Cards, players-o-mine-who-read-this) and snapped at Proteus for owing him coin.  He battered Proteus about as he threw him out the pub, exacting his ten gold coins.  He then apologised to the group, stating that Proteus was a con man who would pretend at being a Kuthite to convince people to believe in certain scams.  Then Archer returned to his seat.

Lhye managed to gather a little information from the whores on Kitzy’s ex-boyfriend – Carnegie apparently took up with a Captain Sudholz of the good ship SudScraper which was apparently a merchant ship with a piratical bent. 

Lunjun had rolled a natural 20 on his Gather Information check so he overheard two Tienese women who had been eavesdropping.  The women giggled at how Carnegie was still in the city and surely would never make such a big point of joining that ship if he had really done so.  Lunjun went over to them with drinks and introduced himself – hoping to gather more information from them.  He offered a 10gp bribe.

The women laughed at him.  One declared that her shoes were worth more (they were – they were magical).  She asked to know why Lunjun wanted Carnegie.  He explained that Carnegie owed them.  She declared that anyone who would go to such effort to find someone was after a bigger slice of loot.  He offered her 100gp.  She offered him a tip per 100gp.  He agreed – but only if it were a good one.

(At this point, no one had cottoned on that anyone who would scoff at 10gp and see 100gp as only enough for a tip might be of a moderately high level.)

She told him that there was a price on Carnegie’s head and that the Mantis Assassins had been commissioned to take that price by killing Carnegie.

Lunjun stated that he already knew that and wouldn’t pay for information he already knew.  Having thought this was quite a good piece of information, the woman stated that he could say as much about any of the tips she had and refuse to pay her at all.  The two reached a stalemate and Lunjun withdrew to the counter with his gold.  He explained the situation using a whisper spell to the others.

Lhye decided to have a shot and decided to go with intimidation.  “Hello,” he said.

They pretended they couldn’t speak Common and spoke Tienese at him with blank expressions on their faces.

Lhye cast Hold Person on one of them and her friend drew a dagger.  The friend said: “Get out, before I gut you” and made an Intimidation check of 24.  Now I don’t make PCs do what NPCs tell them with successful NPC social checks.  It’s more to give an indication that a person actually is a bit scary, or not.

So Lhye cast a Sleep Hex on her and down she went.  He went to bundle the sleeping one up but the bartender ordered him to unhand her.  This was a decent establishment and he wasn’t going to have a kidnapper destroy his reputation.  Lhye tried to threaten him by stating that it was better than having the shop destroyed.  The subtle prostitutes also moved into position – leaving nine potential combatants.

Archer defused it by snarling: “What the hell are you doing off the ship?  I never gave you leave!”  He cajoled Lhye into putting the girl down and cast a curse on the sleeping girl so that she would suffer from Mania towards him.  The two of them left the club.  Lunjun followed soon after – knowing the girls would soon snap out of the spell and could identify him.

The crew returned to find Proteus at a seedy tavern not far from the ship.  Archer accused him of his Kuthite words and Proteus was genuinely confused as he didn’t remember saying that.  They thought he might be possessed so they marched him to the nearest church – rock pools held sacred to the Gozreh worshippers – and he sat in one such rock pool to prove the point that if he were possessed before he wasn’t anymore.  The animals in the pool seemed not to find him a threat.  A hermit crab even walked over his hand though he wasn’t particularly still.  A butterfly landed on his forehead.

They then left the site and purchased one of the few legitimate holy water vials from the so-called ‘priest stalls’ that lined the street near the Gozreh site.  Proteus drank it without an issue.  Proteus was then bothered by a kitten for food.  It seemed he had gone from marked by Zon Kuthon to being a friend of the animals.

Archer let the issue drop.

For now.

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