Brent Johnson
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This is the in-character thread for Table 2 of my First Steps run. We will use this thread to tell the story.

The out-of-character thread is here: Brent Johnson's First Steps Part 3: Table 2 OOC Thread

Players are:

Nathan Lewis
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Serious? Lee
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Lost in thought.
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Arslanian
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Please post in third person, and include the name of your character somewhere in each post. Dialog should be in bold, and OOC content should be in gray.

If you are not playing in this game, posting in the OOC thread is welcome, but please refrain from posting here unless you are answering a rules question.

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Brent Johnson
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Fleeting memories rise | From the shadows of my mind | Sing "nonomori" - endless corridors | Say "nonomori" - hopeless warriors | You were there | You were there
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Summoned without explanation to Skyreach, the largest building within the Grand Lodge, the Pathfinders are ushered into a receiving room containing two people: a wiry old man with a wild gray beard and glinting eyes who they recognize from their training days as Venture-Captain Drandle Dreng, and a finely dressed, full-figured woman unknown to them.

Dreng greets the party warmly and introduces the woman as Lady Gloriana Morilla. She tilts her head slightly in acknowledgement of the introduction, but otherwise makes no move to greet anyone. Indeed, she looks as though she doesn't think this meeting is worth her time. Dreng ignores her attitude and addresses the group. "I know that you have worked together before, and I have it on good authority that you can be discreet. An urgent little matter has come up which requires discretion, and I thought you would be just the folks to handle it!

"Recently, a contact from the Low Azlanti embassy in Escadar approached us with an offer. It seems they have discovered a unique relic of Azlanti origin on the Inner Sea’s floor that we have a unique opportunity to add to our collection for study. In return, however, we must deliver one of our catalogued items to Escadar in exchange. The Low Azlanti drive a hard bargain, so we need you to escort a relics broker to Escadar so he can authenticate the Azlanti item and mediate a fair deal on the Ten’s behalf.

"There is, however, a complication. It seems that the Aspis Consortium have also tendered an offer, and the Low Azlanti have decided to accept the Consortium's deal if the Society cannot finalize its agreement within 30 days. That in itself wouldn't be a problem, except that an Aspis-funded warship patrols the waters just beyond Absalom's harbor, specifically to prevent Pathfinder agents from sailing to Escadar unmolested.

"Fortunately, Lady Gloriana and I have put our heads together, and I believe we've come up with a solution."


At this, Lady Morilla stirs from her silence and speaks in a strong, authoritative voice. "I have used some of the Empire of Taldor’s most skilled operatives to plant a false crew manifest and course plans with the harbormaster, ensuring that the Aspis Consortium spies who certainly keep an eye on such matters believe we are moving our relic to Escadar on a ship tomorrow morning. This decoy should occupy the Consortium sufficiently for you to travel overland to Escadar with plenty of time to make the final agreement with the gillmen before the Society’s window of opportunity runs out."

Dreng laughs to himself absently, for no apparent reason, and says "Everything has been arranged. First, go to the Siphons in the Puddles and meet with Grandmaster Torch. He'll give you a map for a smuggler's trail going right through the center of Kortos to a village called Pier's End. You'll need to hire a ferry from there to Escadar, where you'll take lodgings at a tavern called Grindylow's Goblet and send word to the Low Azlanti embassy to arrange a meeting.

"We've hired an appraiser and relics broker named Nester Rees to go with you and handle the negotiations. Your job is simply to escort him and keep him safe. Come back here to your rooms at the Grand Lodge after you've gotten the map and done whatever you need to prepare for travel, and I'll send word when Rees has arrived."


He laughs to himself again. "I think that covers it! Any questions?"

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Monte
You find some humor here? You know something else you'd like to share? I could detect no humor. You sure the joke isn't on us?

He looks over to the full figured woman, smiles and says.
You heard of us? Hear about what we just did, our exploits?
He winks.
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Brent Johnson
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A pained expression crosses Lady Morilla's face. "I'm sure Master Dreng is quite capable of answering any questions you may have." With that, she sweeps from the room.

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Dreng laughs yet again. "Nothing humorous? Nothing? Well, I suppose we all have our blind spots, eh?"

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Monte
Watches the love of his life leave the room, and sighs.
Then address Dreng,

Actually only thing somewhat amusing is Siphon in the same sentence with Puddle. Wouldn't take very long.. he snorts proudly.

Say, fill us on what to expect. I'm a chap who needs to know the enemy, the terrain and how to exploit it.
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Fahl
"I remember the outside of Absalom being a plain covered with ruins of siege machines and remains of historic armies, some of them undead. Is this what we should expect on this journey?"
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Dreng laughs. (Is anyone surprised by that?) "Expect the unexpected! That's what I always say. But you really should study up on your geography. Yes, the area surrounding Absalom is a badlands. But the mountains in the center of Kortos are wooded and can get quite cold and snowy this time of year. You'll want to bring some warm clothes, I'll warrant! There shouldn't be much in the way of danger, but...you never really know, do you?" He laughs again.

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After a pause for thought, Dreng adds "Swamp! Yes, that's right. North of the mountains there's a swamp. A pretty big one."

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Fahl
Fahl looks at his friends. He's not sure he knows exactly how to approach a swamp, and he hopes to see someone who looks calm and confident.
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Nathan Lewis
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Norrel listens calmly and confidently keeps his mouth shut as he takes in the entire interchange.

While deceit is not my favorite way to complete tasks, I can see that it can be a useful tactic. Are we the only ones who know of this secret plan, or is it possible someone else will find out what is going on and thwart our efforts with this deal? And if we fail to reach a deal, what then?
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Dreng laughs. "Secrets are hard to keep, are they not? And so many walls have eyes and ears! But to my knowledge only those of us in this room - ah, who were in this room - and Grandmaster Torch knows the plan for having you take the smuggler's trail.

Of course, many more know of the decoy ship. But they don't know exactly what they are being decoys for!

"The deal itself is not your responsibility. If it falls through, your only responsibility is to protect Rees and our relic.

Oh! And yourselves, of course!"
He laughs.

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Monte
I'll be honest with you, gov'. This whole affair seems very serious and people's lives are at risk, the very people you are conscripting for this job, I might add. Yet, your presentation is riddled with laughter and a painful lack seriousness.

He steps closer, looks into his eyes.

I don't know the game being played here, and I wont be sucker to a fool's errand. Out with it...what's so amusing?
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Dreng's eyes twinkle. "At the moment...you are! There's no need to take life so seriously, son, even when life gets serious. I assure you, the situation here is exactly as I've presented it. If you don't believe me, by all means talk to Grandmaster Torch. He's about as humorless as you are, so perhaps you'll get on well!"

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Rothul finishes ruminating on the details of the task and then speaks up. "This mission seems simple enough, clandestine though it be. We can protect Nester, but if somethings goes wrong can he protect himself? How handy will he be should we find ourselves in a fight?"
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Fahl
"What are the relations between Grandmaster Torch and the Society? I heard he was an... independent agent?"
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And, if the Aspis Consortium shows up early can we expect a fight from them, or will they use subterfuge to try and retrieve the relic?
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leemc13 wrote:
"We can protect Nester, but if somethings goes wrong can he protect himself? How handy will he be should we find ourselves in a fight?"
"Not so handy as you might like, I fear. Master Rees tried going on field missions as a Pathfinder in his youth, but his weak constitution limited his ability to travel. You can count on him keeping his wits about him in a fight, but not much more than that."

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schizoid wrote:
"What are the relations between Grandmaster Torch and the Society? I heard he was an... independent agent?"
"Indeed he was! However, he has come back into the fold after he was persuaded that his goals would be more effectively served by working from the inside."

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samus98 wrote:
And, if the Aspis Consortium shows up early can we expect a fight from them, or will they use subterfuge to try and retrieve the relic?
Dreng laughs. "Mostly likely both! It is the Aspis Consortium, after all!"

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Monte
Brent Johnson wrote:
Dreng's eyes twinkle. "At the moment...you are! There's no need to take life so seriously, son, even when life gets serious. I assure you, the situation here is exactly as I've presented it. If you don't believe me, by all means talk to Grandmaster Torch. He's about as humorless as you are, so perhaps you'll get on well!"


You have a devilish way about you. I am by no means haughty nor a humorless person. I would never snicker nor be so crass when describing plans such as these. What type of person did you think would keep silent while you giggle yourself to

He stops himself from offending any further but his countenance is clear what will follow.

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Fahl
"In other words, we are excited!"
Fahl hurries to squeeze something into the conversation before the Venture-Captain gets offended. Which seems unlikely with all the giggling, but who knows.
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I'm still feeling my way around. I wasn't sure how to finish the insult, but if I knew what one would NOT to be, by gum I'd have TYPED it.

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jarslan wrote:
You have a devilish way about you. I am by no means haughty nor a humorless person. I would never snicker nor be so crass when describing plans such as these. What type of person did you think would keep silent while you giggle yourself to...
Dreng's eyes brighten. He puts an arm around Monte's shoulders and gestures dramatically as he speaks. "What kind of person would keep silent? Why, a prudent person! A person who prefers to blend into the background instead of drawing attention to himself! A person who...oh, excuse me, aren't these yours?" He releases Monte and hands him his thieves' tools.



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Monte
Do you do kid parties?

He walks away before waiting for answer.
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