Saturday, July 19, 2014

Shattered Star: Bribing Your Way To Victory

Game Date: 7/19/2014
Location: The Game Cave
Campaign: Shattered Star, Session 1
System: Pathfinder
DM: Rusty

The Party:
Bjertha Brawlbaker (Matt) - Dwarf Fighter
Bugg (Daniel) - Goblin Alchemist
Toad the Toad Summoner (James) - Human Barbarian/Wizard
Henric Slidell (Thomas) - Human Oracle

The Session:
We each received a letter summoning us to Heidmarch Manor in the city of Magnimar.  We were to meet with Sheila Heidmarch of the Pathfinder Society, who had a proposition for us. Upon arrival, Sheila greeted us, and asked us to wait in the library while she tended to other matters.  To give us something to do while we waited, she gave us a puzzle box to figure out.

This "Pandora Box" had runes etched on some of its stone sides.  One side had runes that spelled out "CRUEL", but the letters could be rearranged.  Bjertha tried changing the word to "LUCRE", and the lid popped open.  Two Pugwampi (dog-faced gremlins) suddenly appeared, and started tearing up the library.  We tried to restrain them.

The Pugwampi weren't very powerful - their attacks did 1d2 minus 4 damage, so we weren't very scared.  But they did manage to damage Toad's weapon.  During the battle, Henric noticed some treasure was in the box, including three garnets, a scalloped ring, and a silver dagger.  (I wonder what would have been in the box if we'd spelled "ULCER".)  He stuffed everything in his pockets while the rest of us dealt with the gremlins.

We killed one of the pugwampi, and knocked the other out.  As we were tying up the survivor, Sheila came back into the room.  She was pleased that we had passed her test, and briefed us on our mission.  There was a missing informant named Natalia, who is connected to a gang called the Sczarni.  Rumor has it that she recently found a rare artifact, then disappeared.

It's possible Natalia wanted to keep the artifact for herself, and ran off with it.  Or perhaps the artifact had magic powers and disintegrated her.  Maybe someone else killed her and took the artifact.  It's our mission to find out.  Our party will receive 500 gold if we return the artifact.  If we also return Natalia alive, we'll get an extra 500.  And if possible, we're to try not to out Natalia as an informant.

Sheila also gave us a lead.  A fortune teller called The Amazing Zograthy had a business over on the poor side of town.  We headed for the docks, where we paid a kid some copper for directions to Zograthy.  We finally reached the seer's shop, and paid him 20 gold to tell us what he knew.  He told us that many people have been disappearing.  The Sczarni is also looking for Natalia, and there's rumors that she had gone mad.  Natalia had also been seen hanging out with a faction called the Tower Girls.

Once we'd learned all we could from Zograthy, we started looking for other people to ask.  Henric failed a diplomacy check and got mugged.  As he tried to flee his attackers, we tried out a card game mechanic that used skill checks to flee.  It was a pretty interesting game style, though it didn't work out very well for us today.  The muggers caught up to Henric and beat the crap out of him.  When the rest of us tried to help him, we got arrested by the town watch.

The guards took us back to police HQ to sort things out.  Eventually they let us go, and we stopped by the Heidmarch Manor.  We left a few of our valuables behind this time so we'd have less to steal, and all wore cloaks so we would look more impoverished.  We headed back to the slums to follow our next lead.  We met with Fenster the Blight, the disease-ridden landlord for the Tower Girls.  He required a bit of bribery before he would talk at all, and he still wants more before he'll tell us anything useful.  This is shaping up to be an expensive quest. 

We ended the session there. It's hard to say whether we'll acquiesce to his demands next week, or try threatening him.  Perhaps we'll find a third option.

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