Session the Second
April 30, 2017, was the true start of this campaign, where our heroes were brought together, given a task, completed it (somewhat) successfully, and then given a quest.
Before the session even started I got a call from Richard (PC: Tapuaki) - he was sick as a dog and wouldn't be able to make it. So he sent me a link to his online character sheet, and I would just have to muddle along with our 1st level Summoner as a temporary NPC.
A summons from Sheila Heidmarch
Early in the morning, a courier approached each of the PC's and handed them a letter sealed with the mark of Sheila Hiedmarch, the first, and only, Pathfinder Society Venture-Captain in Varisia.
Each PC was invited to report to Heidmarch Manor (also the Varisian Pathfinder Society Lodge), an hour before noon, to discuss a "matter of grave import, not only to the Society but to Varisia as a whole."
Arrival at the Varisian Pathfinder Society HQ
About a quarter of an hour before 11 in the morning, Tapuaki arrived, with the weird, disturbing form of his eidolon, Mate Ora, at his side. The Varisian serving woman who answered the door was initially taken aback by the sight of his unusual companion but invited them in when shown the summons letter. She requested he, uh they, wait in the foyer until "the others" had arrived.
There was a single bench in the foyer, though it was (of course!) sized for humans. Mate Ora provided assistance so Tapuaki could reach seat without having to struggle and then settled down by his feet.
Ten minutes later, [[:darvo] and Rehn approached the manor gate from opposite directions, looked each other up and down, both briefly and somewhat warily, before heading up the front path together. As they were knocking, Zaz, his huge tower shield strapped to his back, came in the gate and jogged up the front steps just as the door opened. The same serving woman opened the door, ushering them in when they presented their letters, where they were quick to notice the small, highly tattooed Tapuaki sitting on the bench with a … black? … dog? … thing? … lying on the floor at his feet.
Once they were inside the front door, the serving woman turned back to let them know that they would have to remain in the foyer for a bit longer than expected as Venture-Captain Heidmarch was just finishing up a meeting with an important visitor who had unexpectedly shown up earlier in the morning.
Darvo moved across the room to sit on the arm of the bench on the opposite side from where Tapuaki was sitting, took out his pan flute and started to play on it softly. Zaz leaned on the wall near the bench and the open door leading further into the manor, and Rehn just stood in the middle of the room, using a dagger to clean his fingernails.
A few minutes into their wait, a house cat stalked into the room as if she owned it, took three or four steps and then froze, a low growl in its throat as it looked right at Mate Ora. Zaz, deciding that he didn't want to see a yowling fight start, knelt down, put out a hand and tried to settle the cat's nerves. He was successful and able to pick the cat up and pat it soothingly for a few minutes before letting it jump down and run back into the main part of the manor.
Another 10 minutes passed with none of the PC's talking to the others, each keeping to themselves and their thoughts. Finally, Sheila enters with her guest, an attractive half-elven woman, at her side. This woman is introduced as Koriah Azmeren whom Rehn and Darvo recognize as one of the country's most famous Pathfinders and an expert on the region known as the Darklands. Sheila apologizes for the delay so far and says it will be a little longer before she can explain why she called them in "as I must conclude my business with Pathfinder Azmeren before we meet." But, she adds, there is a task she hopes they might be able to help them with.
The Paradox Box
She takes them to the library where a stone box, a little larger than one cubic foot, covered in carvings sits on a table. She explains it is called a Paradox Box, an ancient Thassiolonian puzzle and that although there appear to be seams where the top might come off, they are only shallow grooves. "Each paradox box has its own secret method of being opened. Essentially, a paradox box substitutes hidden catches and magical triggers for a lock. Given time, anyone clever enough could figure out how to open a paradox box, just as given time, a locksmith can open any lock." It turns out that this particular box was just brought in by Koriah and while she has taken some preliminary notes she has not had time to investigate it thoroughly and so has not yet figured out the trick to open it.
"So…" she says, "why don't you put your heads together and see if you can't do that for me? Even if the box is empty, as I suspect it probably is, knowing the method of opening it makes it a valuable find anyway. I'll return shortly, and I hope to see that box open! Think of this as an audition, if you will—because the actual task I want to speak to you about soon will require as much wit as it will brawn!"
Left to their own devices, the PC's finally start talking to each other, with Darvo and Zaz taking an up close look at the box. They read Pathfinder Azmeren's notes, discover some oddities about the device and, in fairly quick order, figure out what to do to make it open …
Which immediately causes two Pugwampis Gremlins to be summoned into the room!
The pugwampis are more interested in causing destruction and mayhem than hurting anyone and immediately jump from where they appear to tables and bookshelves along the side of the room, one starts to chew on candles and rip up scrolls lying on the table, the other starts pulling books out of a bookshelf, ripping out pages and tossing them into the air. They are also screaming what can only be obscenities at the top of their lungs (no one understands the language).
Quick little buggers, the pugwampis rip up and toss around a second set of scrolls and books before anyone can take a breath.
Rehn steps in and tries to hit the one closest to him which is on a table at the back of the room gleefully ripping up scrolls and chewing on candle sticks. Swinging his heavy mace his attack is defeated by the pugwampis' unluck aura and instead gouges a deep line across the top of the mahogany table. Zaz tries to grapple the creature nearest to him which is jumping around on another table in front of a bookshelf. He successfully grabs the creature, his size relative to the little gremlin having helped significantly. Darvo, standing just to Rehn's right and wearing spiked gauntlets attempts to punch the loud little bugger Rehn had tried to hit. Darvo manages to land his swing, but it doesn't seem to do as much damage as he'd expect.
Meanwhile, Tapuaki directs mate-ora to bite at the pugwampi that Zaz has grappled. The Eidolon connects, tearing into the creature's left hand but this attack also appears to do much less damage that expected. Tapuaki himself readies an action to attack either of the pugwampis with his bolas if they move out into the room, away from the general melee.
The pugwampi on the table at the back of the room blatts a raspberry at Rehn, pulls out a sharp little dagger and jumps at the alchemist with an even louder scream of defiance. Both feet land in the middle the young man's chest and the gremlin slashes the dagger down as he pushes off with his small but powerful legs, landing back on the table and knocking a beautiful vase crashing to the floor. Crowing in delight, the creature holds the now bloodied dagger over his head. Rehn really annoyed at this point, swings again, misses again and, this time, his mace takes a huge chunk out of the front edge of the table.
The pugwampi Zaz is grappling squirms and wriggles, attempting to escape, but gets nowhere. Zaz then pins the creature between himself and the table and yells out "Hey! Someone grab the rope from my bag so I can tie this thing up!" Darvo , taking a cue from Zaz's success, jumps at and grapples the gremlin in front of him who is still brandishing his dagger overhead. Responding to Zaz's request for rope, Tapuaki directs Mate Ora to step away from the melee and goes to search Zaz's backpack.
Both pugwampis continue to squirm and wriggle in attempts to escape from the grappling adventurers, the pitch of their screeching epithets rising towards ear-splitting levels at the same time. Rehn, seeing that Tapuaki is getting rope from Zaz's bag, goes to his own pack and rummages in it for some rope to tie down the one Darvo is grappling.
Zaz, still holding the squirming beast tightly attempts to subdue it into unconsciousness. He does get a hit in but, sadly, it remains fully conscious. Darvo also swings another spiked punch at his opponent and clearly connects with the side of the small creature's head, crushing it. Immediately, the volume of screeching drops by half as the summoned gremlin disappears, returning to the plane from when it came.
With one pugwampis out of the picture and the other grappled and about to be tied up, the ordeal is soon over. Darvo is dismayed by the damage that has been done to the library, especially since quite a bit was actually caused by Rehn's weapon. He decides to try mending some of the damage and, realizing the table is far too large for him to fix, he collects the pieces of the smashed vase and starts casting mending .
A few moments of silence descend except for Darvo's spellcasting and then both Sheila and Koriah dash into the library. [[:sheila | Sheila]]'s face shows a look of dismay which then turns into a resigned eye role on seeing the, now tightly bound, pugwampi. A moment later, she raises an eyebrow at Darvo who indicates the smashed vase while he continues to work on the casting. She looks thoughtful for a moment, then nods before asking for the full details about what had just happened.
After hearing the tale, she admits she is glad they have successfully opened the box, and though she's sorry about the "unpleasantness" that happened as a result, it shows that they can think things through, react when situations change and work together, a perfect combination for the task she has for them. It also turns out the box is not empty, and she generously offers the items it contains to the group for their troubles.
Sheila then explains that she needs them to find out what happened to Natalya Vancaskerkin, a local Sczarni double agent/informant for the Pathfinder Society who had gone missing. Natalya was supposed to meet with her three days ago about a strange Thassilonian artifact that her gang had supposedly located and was about to acquire. Because of the delicate nature of Sheila's relationship with Natalya as an informant/double agent, she doesn't want it generally known that she is the one looking for her. This is also why she selected four neophyte members of the Society – without much in the way of a reputation in the city yet, it's more likely that any criminals or other such who might have information will actually speak to them.
Sheila is able to give them three possible leads where they can start their search:
- Visit the "Amazing Zograthy" in Washer's Row – a known middle-man between outsiders and the Sczarni crime families, of which the missing informant is a member.
- Check with the City Watch to see if, perhaps, Natalya has been picked up for some petty crime and is simply stuck in a jail cell.
- She has heard rumours of Nidalese Slavers kidnapping people off the street. If it's true, this could explain Natalya's unexpected disappearance.
Sheila readily admits that she's far more interested in the artifact that Natalya was supposed to bring to her than in what has actually happened to the girl and she offers them a 500 gp reward if they can find it and bring it to her. That said, if they can also find the girl and bring her back alive it would certainly be appreciated and she will double their reward if they are able to do so.
XP Earned: 1000 total (250 each)
- 2 x Summoned Pugwampi Gremlins
- Paradox Box Contents
Spells Cast & Items Used
- mending cantrip used to fix broken vase
- detect magic cantrip used to identify ring of feather falling
- rope used to tie up pugwampi (returned)