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Subject: PFS 2-23 & 2-24 - Shadow's Last Stand IC rss

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Kendall Merriman
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The hills ringing Almas, capital of Andoran, slope gently toward the harbor cradling the Hornet’s Nest, the red sun rising behind them. This morning the ship’s activity rivals its namesake as Pathfinders and their agents bustle here and there inside the ship’s hastily constructed command post.

You have all been sent here with a mission to complete, though no details were provided. You were told to wait for instructions from the local officers. In the meantime, feel free to introduce yourselves to one another.

I'm adding just a tiny bit more delay, so Desmond can finish his character. Have some banter, describe your characters, and see if you have any common ground. The venture captain will be along shortly.
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whiskey tango foxtrot
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Grandfather Frost strolls through the city handing out toys to children, before heading to the command post. He smiles and warmly welcomes and greets all he see.
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Kris Vanhoyland
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“The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.” ― H.P. Lovecraft
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I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night.
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An exotic looking woman, dressed in sturdy, colorful traveler's garb, is surrounded by several sailors at the docks, as she sits on a blanket on the ground. Long tussles of midnight black curls fall well past her shoulders, she's in the process of laying out cards from a deck, while a young man sits in front of her, giving her an expectant look.

The woman's arms are bare, and reveal several tattoos, including numerous stars, and a blue butterfly on the back of her right hand. She turns over one of the cards, revealing an old man pointing down towards a thick book. "Ah, this is The Hidden Truth, a very good omen indeed. I can see that you are a very cunning individual, and you will uncover a grand secret somewhere in your future," the woman says to the man, in an incredibly thick Varisian accent.

One of the older men that stood near the edge, looking down on the whole situation, scoffs loudly, and expresses his skepticism loudly to the man to his right. The fortune-teller, meanwhile, gathers up her cards with slender, practiced motions, and gets up from the ground, the jewelry she wears tinkling softly. She offers the man a slight smile, and speaks up in a thickly accented voice again, "You think they're just cards? Just meaningless pictures and words, only suited to fake people out of a few coppers? Go ahead and think that—I don't mind. My cards know where you've been and where you're going. Go ahead—walk away. Or mayhap, do you seek a reading of your own? You might learn to turn the remaining pages of the story of your life into a novel worth the telling. Or not, suit yourself. After all, they're only cards," she says with a wink as she strides away.
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whiskey tango foxtrot
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cocuzzi wrote:
Grandfather Frost strolls through the city handing out toys to children, before heading to the command post. He smiles and warmly welcomes and greets all he see.


A small raven glides through the air, cawing as it lands on Grandfather Frost's outstretched arm.

In Elven
Spoiler (click to reveal)
"What have I forgotten, Listor?


The bird replies in Elven
Spoiler (click to reveal)
Arrows


"Oh my, you are certainly correct, Listor. I'd best remedy that situation. Perhaps we can hand out additional presents as we find a fletcher."

yep... forgot to buy arrows...... whoops.
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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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A weathered elf in desert garb lounges on some crates nearby, watching the fortune-telling with undisguised bemusement. Every so often, he tosses a piece of wood up into the air, where it floats at various speeds and directions until an owl swoops down from the ship's rigging to snatch it up and drop it at the elf's feet.

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Kendall Merriman
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You all make your way to the Hornet's Nest galley, where you were told to meet up. After a short wait, Venture-Captain Dennel Hamshanks rolls into the ship’s galley, his face scowling and dark eyes bloodshot. “You lot again? The Decemvirate promised better, but I suppose we have no time to waste. You have likely heard the rumors— which, unfortunately, underestimate our danger.

“The Society’s lodge in the former Cathedral of Aroden here has thrived of late—they say thanks to Venture-Captain Brackett’s grand parties, which seduce the weak-willed leaders of this so-called ‘democracy’ into permitting the Pathfinder Society unfettered access to the resources in the nation’s interior. Not likely you lot were ever invited, though. Needed to be of the presentable sort, after all.

“Last night, Brackett threw one of his most extravagant fetes yet to celebrate the recent return of a team of Pathfinders up near Falcon’s Hollow on a diplomatic mission to the region’s fey. Fillian over there claims that all the sparkling light made the Cathedral’s windows a stunning sight. Everyone was having a grand time until the trouble started. At the stroke of midnight, a dozen guests drew their swords and methodically massacred the others—poor, drunk fools. A moment later the lights went out. Fillian had been admiring the windows from the dome’s walkway and ran upward, to the belfry. Says he hid there until daylight and then crawled out to my ship here. He heard many others flee underground, followed by screams of agony.

“Shortly before dawn, several bands of what looked to be hulking, cloaked hobgoblins left the Cathedral, taking off in different directions into the city. Not only do we need to retake our lodge and rescue any survivors, but whatever those monsters plan to do in Almas, it’s got something to do with the Cathedral. I imagine even you understand how that might look for the Society if something bad were to happen to the city at large, centered on our local headquarters.

“You can probably guess who’s behind this—the Shadow Lodge, source of endless trouble this past year. We need that Lodge back, and we need Brackett alive. Time is not on our side here, and I fear it may already be too late for whatever those monstrous brutes left the Cathedral to do.

“According to Fillian’s tale, the best way in is the belfry. So your job is to get in there, kick the Shadow Lodge out, and keep Brackett alive. And put a stop to whatever ongoing plot you manage to uncover.

“Good luck. You’ll need it.”


Feel free to ask any questions you'd like about the mission at this point. Both Captain Hamshanks and Fillian are here to answer anything you need.

BTW, even though they are no longer used for prestige, there are faction special missions in this scenario. I'm going to post the secret mission notes for those factions represented among the players. Mainly because they're fun.
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John Morgan
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Standing quietly to the side of the room, one could be excused for thinking the still, granite-skinned figure of Hildan was some sort of interior statue, even his brilliant blue sapphire-like eyes, although looking a bit out of place, not really giving him away. His only clothing, a pair of light, loose-fitting trousers are of a light grey colour not too far removed from the hue of his skin.

Looking a little closer one can see, however, that the figure is quite alive. A measured blink, a slow stretch of a limb or the unclenching of one of its hands, the only discernible movements.

During the briefing he remains placid, clearly paying attention to the words but not showing any sign of being moved or concerned, avoiding any direct eye contact with anyone in the room and seeming a little uncomfortable in the presence of such a diverse and outgoing bunch of adventurers.
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whiskey tango foxtrot
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While Listor scans the room, eyeing the other Pathfinders, Grandfather Frost listens attentively before asking, "What can you tell us about the thugs and hobgoblins we're likely to encounter? And, if the Shadow Lodge is to blame, how are we to stop them while bringing them back to the side of Good?"

His rosy cheeks contrast with his white beard, and Grandfather Frost looks around with a twinkle in his eye before asking, in Elven
Spoiler (click to reveal)
Listor... how do we fare for this adventure?


Listor replies in Elven
Spoiler (click to reveal)
I though there were to be more of us.
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Kris Vanhoyland
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“The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.” ― H.P. Lovecraft
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"How do you suggest we reach the belfry? We can't hardly fly up there," the Varisian woman says, and nearly all sign of her accent is gone.

Turning to the others, she introduces herself. "Greetings, strangers, from a stranger. My name is Shaniah, a traveling cleric, and I look forward to working with you all."
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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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Sandurel grins at Shaniah and wiggles his fingers at her. "I foresee a bit of rope-climbing in your future!"

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the good times are killing me
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Having grown up in a house of commerce, Drago finds himself surprised to be taken slightly aback by the wide array of people on the ship. Confident in himself, he's determined to eventually make his mark in the Society and among this group of adventurers. Until that time though, he happily stays to the far corner of the room studying everybody and trying not to be overcome by the state of the local Pathfinders Society whom he'd always assumed were upstanding.
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Kendall Merriman
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Fillian speaks up at the question of getting to the belfry. "You can climb the building without too much trouble. The back wall has some handholds you can use - that's how I got down."
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Kendall Merriman
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You also see some contacts you recognize milling about the ship, either from home or from training.

Hildan, you are slipped a note as follows:
Spoiler (click to reveal)
Loyal Scion of the Emperor!
Your jaunt in Almas shall not be without benefit to Taldor, despite the troubles it causes for the Society. The Emperor feels especially curious about this Cathedral of Aroden, thanks to Aroden’s long patronage of our fine nation. Legends say that the cathedral’s famous southern window hides a coded prophecy about Taldor’s future, one we hope is more accurate than the Starfall Doctrine but whose contents have remained thus far hidden. The code is intricate, but copy it for us, and perhaps it will aid us in recovering our nation’s glory.
I close with a personal request of your honor. One of Taldor’s finest youths, and a distant cousin of mine, was also an apprentice to Brackett’s lieutenant wizard. The boy, Greudemoffit, attended the gala last night—rescue him, and you will have my deepest gratitude.
For Taldor!
Lady Gloriana Morilla


Drago, you receive another note, and your contact informs you that you may wish to share it with Arakor and Shaniah, who could be of aid in your task:
Spoiler (click to reveal)
Honorable Servant of the Ruby Prince,
I write this in great haste, for there is much to be done in Almas. The Cathedral of Aroden holds fabulous knowledge in its walls, but surprisingly enough some of its most unique knowledge emerged in our own age. Wystorn Telfyr, the Lodge’s librarian, has learned a great deal about homunculi, surpassing even our sages. The key, we suspect, lies in the creatures’ incubation fluid. Take this opportunity to extract some, and the Ruby Prince will be most pleased.
I also beg of you a personal favor—a close advisor to the Ruby Prince traveled to Almas recently and attended Brackett’s gala. This woman, Ramenophesa, is truly a font of wisdom. I beg that you rescue her if you are able.
For Our Ancestors,
Otoneraphim, Humble Scribe of the Ruby Prince


Sandurel, you find a note in your pocket, which you didn't even notice showing up there:
Spoiler (click to reveal)
Faithful Servant of the Satrap,
My sources tell me that you head into Almas, that strange city where the unwashed masses try to rule themselves! Indeed our esteemed traders have not yet penetrated its obtuse markets—an odd place indeed. One of our agents—a bear of a man, with unforgettable scars atop his bare pate—was finally making headway, but we fear he is lost after attending this fool Brackett’s ill-fated gala. Fortunately, this man Fuha was a renowned note-taker. Perhaps he left a list of his contacts, either on his person or in his quarters. Find it, and all may not be lost.
We must, however, ensure that Fuha is never discovered as one of our agents. Stealthily destroy any items that could connect him with the Satrap, if you can, and you shall be richly rewarded.
Do not tarry!
Trade Prince Aaqir Al'Hakam


Grandfather Frost, there's someone who recognizes you, though you don't recognize him... after a moment's conversation, during which he idetifies himself as an agent of the Andoran peoples and asks for your help, he slips you a note:
Spoiler (click to reveal)
Hail Freedom Fighter!
May the warm winds of Almas find you well, friend. I have heard news of the terrible tragedy in the Cathedral of Aroden. But perhaps from such horror some good will arise. Attached to this note is a small ledger that another of our agents liberated from some smugglers bound for Katheer. It contains evidence that a Qadiran agent used the Almas Lodge to launder their ill-gotten slave money in Andoran. Give it to Brackett, and the slavers will henceforth be most unwelcome in the Almas Lodge!
We have also heard rumors of hobgoblins inside Almas. Perhaps coincidence—but most likely not. The Society cares little that such creatures have penetrated our fair city, but we must protect the citizens as best we can. Learn where any of these creatures hide, and we will move quickly to neutralize them. If you have reason to believe the forces are sizable, do not risk yourself to eliminate them; stay focused on the task at hand, for Andoran’s betterment.
May freedom always reign,
Captain Colson Maldris



There are your faction missions. As mentioned, these don't provide prestige as they once did, but they do add a bit of fun to the scenarios.
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Phillip Wood
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Arakor greets his fellow pathfinders "Hail fellow pathfinders, my name is Arakor and this is my trade" while patting the huge bow he has slung across his back and shoulders. "May our enemies feel it's sting"
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Grandfather Frost pulls back his hood to reveal twinkling, ice-blue eyes.

"There are many who call me Grandfather Frost, though in other areas I am known by a few other names, hoho! This magnificent beast on my shoulder is my oldest friend, Listor. Say hello, Listor."

The bird speaks in Elven
Spoiler (click to reveal)
"No."


"Delightful. I make toys for poor children to provide some joy in an otherwise dauntingly challenging life, and tend to travel a lot as a result. Hoh! It is a peasure to meet you all, hohoho!"
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"If no one has any more questions, then you should get going. I've got other things to deal with today, and only so much of my day can be spent hand holding a bunch of agents who also have important work to get done."
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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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personwholives wrote:
"If no one has any more questions, then you should get going. I've got other things to deal with today, and only so much of my day can be spent hand holding a bunch of agents who also have important work to get done."

Sandurel chuckles. "I am curious as to why you think the Shadow Lodge is behind this. And why you think Brackett is alive at all. But I don't suppose that really matters. We will evaluate and respond to the situation as we find it."

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Kendall Merriman
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Ignore me... I mixed up my threads. And I'm usually so very careful about that kind of thing...
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whiskey tango foxtrot
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sounds like you meant to post that here
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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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Woodenman wrote:
Arakor greets his fellow pathfinders "Hail fellow pathfinders, my name is Arakor and this is my trade" while patting the huge bow he has slung across his back and shoulders. "May our enemies feel it's sting"

Sandurel grins at Arakor, and then passes the grin around to the other Pathfinders as well. "I'm Sandurel, and Cadence here is my assistant." He looks around for the owl and fails to spot her. "Er...she's around here somewhere. But never mind.

"I've been thinking about taking service for Cayden Cailean in a more formal manner. But I've run into some opposition from the powers that be due to my inability to tolerate alcohol. So my trade is...a little ambiguous at the moment. I've been around. Several times."
He grins again.





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Kris Vanhoyland
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“The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.” ― H.P. Lovecraft
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"I go where the path takes me," Shaniah winks at Sandurel.

"Before we set out, I would like to say a prayer to Desna, will you join me," she invites her fellow pathfinders.

The woman spreads her arms out in front of her and to the sides, palms raised upwards as she lifts her head to the sky and closes her eyes, reciting a prayer as if by memory. "Hail, bright maiden of quicksilver delight, shine upon us. Thy morning blessing, which, like the new dawn, refreshes our spirit and lifts our hearts with song. Blessed be. Grant your safe journey on the road and thy luck be with us. Newness fills the air, potentialities untapped yet ready and waiting to burst forth. The energy is infectious and gives new hope to those in need. The goddess understands the hurts of the heart and lends her aid. Beginning again we grow in dignity as we wax toward fullness. In the Name of Desna: I am open to trying new things, travelling new roads and aim to change the world for the better. Thanks to thee, bright maiden for thy care, for green laughter and fire-edged dew, and for thy blessing, a most precious jewel. Blessed be thou, lady of dreams."

Anyone joining the prayer will be able to benefit from:
Caravan Bond (5 companions)(Su) At 1st level, by leading a group prayer for 1 minute, a Varisian pilgrim can select a number of traveling companions equal to her cleric level + her Wisdom bonus. She may use her domain-granted powers on any of these traveling companions as if they were her. She can use these abilities on her traveling companions at a range of up to 30 feet, even if the ability normally requires her touch. This ability replaces the cleric’s proficiency with medium armor and shields—she retains proficiency with light armor only.
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John Morgan
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As the group make their introductions and just before Shaniah's prayer, Hildan hesitantly steps forward and speaks. His slow, measured voice is deep and gravelly, like loose stones being rubbed against each other or crunched under foot. "Hil...dan!" Tentatively raising his eyes from his feet to the group he then adds one more word. "Hel...lo!"

As Shaniah leads the group in prayer, he instinctively steps back a little, the woman's confident, exuberant nature clearly unsettling him somewhat. Sensing her good intent, however, he smiles, producing the faintest sound of a stone being cracked in half, closes his eyes and accepts the prayer with the rest of his new travelling companions.
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After participating in the prayer, Grandfather Frost glares at Listor and whispers, in Elven

Spoiler (click to reveal)
He is not a statue, Listor. No target practice.


Listor cocks his head and ruffles his feathers, unamused.
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the good times are killing me
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Feeling compelled to speak up, slightly, and introducing himself Drago with a clear frog in his throat "The name's Drago." It's hard to tell if sound of his voice has cracked from adolescence or recent disuse.

Clearing his throat he says, with a little more vocal steadiness than before, "Sounds like all is not well here and that we have work to do. I'm ready for the action as soon as everyone else is."

He joins in the prayer.
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Kendall Merriman
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Brent Johnson wrote:
Sandurel chuckles. "I am curious as to why you think the Shadow Lodge is behind this. And why you think Brackett is alive at all. But I don't suppose that really matters. We will evaluate and respond to the situation as we find it."

Fillian shrugs at the question. "I can't be sure Brackett is alive, but I heard them dragging off captives while I was hiding out before I made my escape. As one of the more well informed individuals there, he's probably been taken for questioning, if he survived the initial attack. As to the Shadow Lodge, such questions are outside my knowledge."
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