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Thread: Fourth Prologue: Dirty Deeds

  1. #1

    Default Fourth Prologue: Dirty Deeds

    In a tidy opulent study in a grand manor house, two women from very different worlds size each other up.

    Aside from impressive wall-to-wall shelves with gold embossed tomes and sculpted aristocratic busts and wild animal carvings, their surroundings are unremarkable. Unless one counts the armor-clad gorilla leaning by the door.



    Or the life-size *Osirian [*think Egyptian] stone sarcophagi standing up.

    Or the huge iron-barred enclosure covered in a red damask cloth from which arises an occasional deep and melancholy woof.

    Lady Sheila Heidmarch, bearing the baubles and gold-trimmed silk finery and haughtiness of a queen, raises her sharp green eyes from the letter of introduction to the dark-haired woman standing opposite her desk. Her guest is attired in supple but drab typical traveler's fashion in somber slate and maroon shades.



    Well, not entirely typical. Instead of a wide-brimmed hat her guest wears a black one with a crooked point. A sign of power true enough but rather obvious for a witch really.

    And instead of a discreet leather belt purse she has a gaudy pouch strapped against her belly with a curious set of...teeth? No doubt to devour the fingers of impertinent thieves, that is more like it.

    When Shade catches the noblewoman smirking at Bizbee's enchanted pouch, she removes a hand from her walking staff (provided as part of her ensemble) to slide its front face around to her hip, little realizing how much its "feral" appearance has assuaged her hostess' doubts.

    OOC: (Out of Character)

    Continued in next post.

    @JB: I took the liberty of finding an image for Shade, but if you have one you want me to use instead, let me know?
    Last edited by magrat4; 02-06-2020 at 10:07 AM.

  2. #2

    Default

    In a sultry voice of *Chelish [*think Russian] accent, Lady Heidmarch begins, "So you are Mother Shade Renard, who survived being apprenticed to the fearsome Witch Queen Baba Yaga. And, as an independent investigator, you came to discharge the debt of the Vanguard to the Pathfinder Society which I represent, traveling all the way from..."

    She squints back down at the paper, where her correspondent Gertrude's neat tiny penmanship is marred by a (deliberate?) blot where it mentions the woman's and Baba's distant realm of origin. "...The Cleaved Lands, is that right?"

    It's unclear whether the question is about her purpose, or the (close enough) pronunciation of her current home, so the witch only nods.

    Lady Heidmarch silently reads the closing lines once more:

    "As an apprentice of Baba Yaga, you obviously understand Shade has an impeccable pedigree. That being said, her mentor feels Shade has an adventurous side that needs squashing. Nothing sets a witch on the right path like realizing how short the other path is. Shade will rise to the challenge and with any luck she'll limp back home at the end with a better appreciation of the benefits of a 'quiet life.'"

    [GM NOTE: @JB, you can roll a Perception check DC 15 to read the portion of the letter your hostess is looking at.]

    "Mother Renard, I hope the presence of my bodyguard, Mandali, does not make you uncomfortable," her hostess remarks. "It was not for you I required it."

    Behind her curtain of hair Shade feels a tiny foot stamp the nape of her neck. "How come the monkey gets an introduction before me?!" Peasblossom hisses. Her pixie familiar is about six inches tall and pink from head to toe and back to dragonfly wingtip, but with an ego better sized for an actual dragon.



    The lady of the house gestures at the standing stone coffin and the completely covered animal enclosure. "Also I hope you will not object to a small test of your abilities, before I confide in you the details of my organization's recent troubles. Examine what lies inside those, if you please, and tell me what you conclude?"


    OOC: (Out of Character)

    To roll a Perception check, first type in "roll tags" like this [roll] [/roll].Then type ' d20 ' by itself in between the tags like this [roll]d20[/roll].Then add a + sign and your modifier (for now, let us say it is +8), so it should end up looking like this (bold added for emphasis only) [roll]d20+8[/roll]

    You must enter the all of those brackets and numbers BEFORE clicking "Save" or "Post" the first time, in order to get the dice roller working.


    DECISION TIME: Which do you approach first, the sarcophagus (lid is heavy but opens easily), or the big cage (needs its cover cloth removed) ?

    If you approach the sarcophagus, roll me a Profession Skill check OR Perception Skill check.

    If you approach the animal cage, roll me a Knowledge Nature Skill check.


    ALSO DECISION TIME: If you want to cast a spell, tell me which one(s) and (for practice) whether it is a Standard action or Swift action. (And tell me whether you are trying to go unnoticed.) A few spells also require or enable a Skill check, listed in the spell description.


    ALSO DECISION TIME: On the other hand, if you prefer to post a reaction to what has been said BEFORE trying a spell or looking into either of these strange enclosures, do that!


    REMINDER: Please put all dialogue in Bold, all interior monologue in Italics. AND if you want to, you can choose a COLOR for your PC's and familiar's dialogue(s). Zeros uses dark blue, GT uses a kind of burnt orange-red.

    It is okay to ask the NPC questions in character, as well as me out-of-character.
    Last edited by magrat4; 02-06-2020 at 07:04 PM. Reason: tweak

  3. Default Ignore me!

    Deleted because the dice rolls didn't work the first time (probably because I tried to "preview" the post to see what they looked like). Reposted below and made the dice rolls work!

    #likeaboss
    Last edited by jblackstream; 02-06-2020 at 05:46 PM. Reason: messed up dice rolls so redid post

  4. Default I'll get it! (second attempt to make dice rolls show)

    Shade winced at her familiar's attack on her spine, then covered it with a polite smile for Lady Heidmarch. A test. She should have known there would be a test. What bureaucracy would be complete without busywork? It was just like being an apprentice again. She eyed the paper Lady Heidmarch was reading, trying to discern the section the woman was concentrating on.

    Perception Check: Authentic Forum Dice-roll(d20+7) [13]

    The sarcophagus looming over her offered little insight at a glance. Anything could be inside. The shape of the damask beside it suggested the material was hung over a cage of some sort. Pulling aside the material would let her get a look at what was inside, and then she could decide if she'd prefer to address that task first, or take her chances with what was in the sarcophagus.

    Shade made it one step before the pressure of two tiny feet against her neck warned her of her familiar's impending flight. Pressing her lips tightly together, Shade said a small prayer of thanks that her back was to Lady Heidmarch now, so the lady wouldn't see her expression of consternation as the pixie launched herself through the air to latch onto the damask. With no small amount of effort, Peasblossom heaved at the material and pulled it free of its hidden treasure.

    Knowledge Nature Skill Check: Authentic Forum Dice-roll(d20+19) [32]

  5. #5

    Default

    Lady Heidmarch makes an approving sound in her throat when Shade chooses the cage first and gets right to it.


    Then she lets out a soft exhalation at the pixie launching herself to weight down the cloth and drag it away. "Forgive my manners, I did not realize I was addressing more than one guest." Her tone hints at a suppressed smile. "I am Lady Sheila Heidmarch, and you are welcome to our home, Mother Renard and...?"

    Her visitors understand that if the city of Magnimar and the Pathfinder Society of explorers adhere to ancient tradition like the supernatural community of the Cleaved Lands (as is almost certainly the case), her mention of hospitality carries a binding reassurance of personal safety for guest and host alike.


    The cloth slides completely away to reveal a wooden cage with horizontal bars that contain the biggest fluffiest dog the pair have ever seen. It is leonine in size and appearance right down to the enormous ruff around its smooshed face.




    The dog's ears and tail are low as he sits, resisting the urge to sniff at them through the bars. His imploring dark eyes look from Shade and Peasblossom to the latch on the enclosure, even though he could surely bust through his prison with not much effort.


    [KnowNature 32, excellent.] Shade recognizes the male's distinctive rare breed as similar to one from mountainous Eastern climes of her realm, the "super mastiffs."




    The massive canine looks healthy and bears no marks of ownership or ill treatment. A half eaten bowl of potatoes, cooked fish, and carrots and a bowl of water sit in one corner. Nearby lies a thick gray bedroll covered in soft hairs and smears of what appears to be rust. No, not rust...


    Witch and familiar smell the blood matting the noble creature's brown fur at his neck and all four legs before they see it.


    His muzzle is clean and his body bears no obvious wounds or injuries, indicating however the blood got there it was not within the last 24 hours, unless he has received magical healing.


    "I may have called this a test," Lady Heidmarch speaks up in a voice laden with concern, "but the consequences of what you discover will not fall to you alone. Are you ready to see inside the sarcophagus yet?"


    OOC:

    Perception 13, fail.

    KnowNature 32, excellent!


    Over to you.
    Last edited by magrat4; 02-06-2020 at 08:54 PM.

  6. Default First Aid first

    Shade stares hard at the fluffy dog. His injuries aren't fresh, and he appears healthy, but his depressed mood and the fact that no one had bothered to clean the blood from his matted fur didn't inspire her with great faith regarding their first aid efforts. Lady Heidmarch seems ready to move on, and her dismissal of the wounded beast doesn't sit well with Shade. If the loud buzz of Peasblossom's wings is any indication, she isn't happy either.

    "This is Peasblossom, my familiar," Shade says, addressing Lady Heidmarch's question. "And before we continue, I'd like to know how and when this beast was injured and what medical attention he has received?" While she waits for an answer, Shade examines the dog more closely, careful to keep her distance even as she strains to see what wounds remain. Perception check: Authentic Forum Dice-roll(d20+7) [12]
    Last edited by magrat4; 02-07-2020 at 07:55 PM. Reason: put dialogue in BOLD and PRESENT tense ;)

  7. #7

    Default

    "I am pleased to make your acquaintance, both of you," their hostess says with a rote dutifulness that implies it is actually still up for decision.

    [Perception 13] Shade cannot see any signs of scarring or open wounds on the shaggy watchdog.

    [GM note: your Perception check was NOT too low. He has no injuries.]


    Lady Heidmarch spreads her hands. "This noble beast had no injuries when it arrived in its crate on the dock, so I am told. But the same cannot be said for the other occupant of the crate."

    She pales a little, and looks at the patient dog and frowns. "I would have rather bathed him, of course, to make us all more comfortable. But I was warned not to do so until the investigation was declared at an end. I persuaded other members of my Society to keep the investigation open until the Vanguard's agent arrived for a...second opinion."

    Her next look at Shade is openly hopeful.


    OOC:

    Over to you.
    Last edited by magrat4; 02-07-2020 at 08:04 PM.

  8. Default

    "So someone else was in the crate with him when he was found." Shade doesn't like the sound of that. That means the blood that covers the animal belongs to the other occupant. "Did they survive?"

    Peasblossom flies into the air, examining the dog from all sides, her tiny pink face twisting in concern. Peasblossom likes dogs. Well, more than cats. Dogs were less inclined to chase her. "What investigation?" she demands. "Are we supposed to find out who killed the person in the crate with him? No one told me we were here to solve a murder!" She looks at Shade. "We could have brought Andy. This is just the sort of thing to cheer him up."

    Shade winces. Andy, her human partner, was back in their world. And while she has no doubt his sharp mind would be pleasantly distracted by a new case to concentrate on, she doesn't think he would be interested in travel between planes.

    Suddenly a thought occurs to her. The occupant of the crate had been injured. Badly. Slowly, she turns to face the sarcophagus. Peasblossom follows her gaze, and she dips in the air, eyes widening.

    Heart pounding a faster rhythm, Shade takes a step toward the sarcophagus, studying the looming artifact with renewed interest. And horror.

    Perception check: Authentic Forum Dice-roll(d20+7) [23]
    Last edited by magrat4; 02-10-2020 at 02:34 AM. Reason: Other body was in "crate" not cage. Removed reference that was too modern.

  9. #9

    Default

    "This Gokan mastiff arrived in a crate on the docks of Oppara. He was to be delivered to our Society's official Lodge in that city. To the harbormaster's shock, she found a surprise occupant sharing his crate. It was---a tiefling, Mr. Zlatnik. He was---quite dead," Lady Heidmarch explains, sounding stilted. Peasblossom's outcry
    "No one told me we were here to solve a murder!"
    is met with an anxious clasp of her throat and a protest from their prospective employer, "I would not ask you to solve a murder as a test."

    Lady Heidmarch looks from Shade to the caged dog. "I merely hoped you could find proof that this fine fellow is innocent of killing Mr. Zlatnik, though he certainly ate some of his body. Although if you find proof of the opposite...I suppose I shall be forced to accept an awful truth."

    The case is strikingly similar to one of Shade's first, involving clearing a werewolf of murder charges despite his having chewed the victim.

    After allowing the pixie to finish her thought (involving some unknown third party called "Andy"), Mandali the Awakened ape in armor speaks up gruffly. "My Lady prefers animals to people, and who can blame her? She does not want this innocent beast punished for another's dirty deeds. On that we agree."

    The noblewoman shakes her head at the gorilla in a way that is both scolding and fond.Seeing the witch's new wide-eyed look at the sarcophagus, Lady Heidmarch says gently, "You will find what remains of Mr. Zlatnik in that sarcophagus, his body preserved by a spell that prevents decomposition. I would like to know what you can discern about him and the manner in which he died. If it would help, I could send Mandali for the crate where he was found?"

    She pauses and adds clumsily, "Please accept my sincere apology for not forewarning you about the corpse, or being more forthcoming about what's happened? I thought it best to leave you as much room as possible to examine and draw conclusions."

    Her gaze meets Shade's. "It is a dreadful thing I must ask of you, to look upon a mauled body from which life was cruelly ripped away. I should not have assumed because of your profession you would be accustomed to such horrors."


    OOC:

    Roll another Perception check to examine the corpse, in addition to anything else you wish to do?

    Perception 27 I do not know which of your characters made this Skill check, or what precisely they were looking at or for? I think it would be wise to save this for when the sarcophagus is open, so see below for what it gets you.



  10. Default Sick Things

    "I am quite accustomed to such horrors," Shade says calmly. "No apologies are necessary." Peasblossom settles on her shoulder as she steps up to the sarcophagus and removes the lid. Blessedly, the spell that prevents decomposition has also significantly muted the smell of the corpse.

    Perception check to examine the body Authentic Forum Dice-roll(d20+7) [18]
    Also Knowledge (Nature) check to look for cause of death Authentic Forum Dice-roll(d20+19) [22]

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