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Thread: Rock Bottom: IC

  1. - Top - End - #1
    Orc in the Playground
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    d20 Rock Bottom: IC

    Chapter 1: Mystery at Rock Bottom



    You've been travelling for three weeks. You've walked through humid forests, and across dusty savannah, from the capital city of Richmand all the way out to the remote Gilith plains. Now, as you walk along the gravel road, you feel a sudden change in the air. The humidity of the grasslands is swept away by a cool breeze from the East. Not long afterwards you crest a low hill, and you get your first glimpse of the beautiful, remote, mysterious Crystal Lake.

    The lake seems enormous. Milelin knows from her map that it's only about eight miles across at its widest, but standing before it, with the far edge lost behind the horizon, it might as well go on forever. The only thing marring the glinting water is a towering rock formation rising up out of the waves - a pair of bare, rounded crags about three miles off the coast in the rough center of the lake.

    The town of Rock Bottom is sitting at the lake's edge, ten minutes walk away. It's a medium-sized settlement, fairly built up, and surrounded by a low wall made of dark gray rocks. You can see wispy smoke rising over the city from hearths and businesses, but you can't see any sign of people. There's a series of docks adjacent to the town, but all the fishing boats are tied up, empty.

    Your journey is over. You've arrived. You're all here for the same reason. Some of you were sent by the Trade Guild to represent their commercial interests, and in the surprise move, the United Temple offered to contribute some of its own people to the endeavour as well (you can each decide whether you were part of the Guild or Temple contigent). Regardless of your origin, your mission is the same: find out the cause of the troubles in Rock Bottom, and get the caravans flowing again.

    You were given very little information to go on. The Guild officials didn't include any of the wild rumours in their reports, and the accounts of traders and official messengers were too varied or conflicting to shed any light on the situation. They did give you the name of a contact in the town - Camden Llywelyn, the town's govenor, and you were instructed to meet with him on your arrival to be fully briefed.

    Party Inventory
    The Trade Guild outfitted your expedition with the following equipment, which you have with you now:
    - An open topped cart, big enough for three people to lie down in.
    - One draft horse, currently hitched to the cart.
    - Two barrels of hard tack.
    - A crate of 12 potions of Cure Light Wounds.
    - A barrel of lamp oil.
    - Two four-person tents.
    - A barrel of fresh water.
    - A satchel containing scrolls of Shocking Grasp, Enlarge Person, Feather Fall, and Arcane Eye (all arcane), and Produce Flame (divine) (it looks like they were just stuffed in there at random).
    - 5 spears.
    - A drawstring bag containing gemstones worth 50g.
    - A wand of fireball (1 charge).
    - Two ordinary lamps.
    - A leather-bound dossier on Rock Bottom and your mission.
    Last edited by pupaeted; 2018-01-28 at 09:34 AM.

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    Orc in the Playground
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    Default Re: Rock Bottom: IC

    Okay, that's the opening.

    You're all currently standing at the lake's edge. The walled town of Rock Bottom is about ten minutes walk away around the edge of the lake. You're surrounded by low, grassy hills, dotted by trees. The shoreline is banked by the same long, gently swaying grass. It's just after midday, and the weather is warm and dry, with a cool breeze coming off the lake.

    What do you want to do? Are you all headed for the town? Does anyone want to check out the environment before you set off?
    Last edited by pupaeted; 2018-01-28 at 01:02 AM.

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    Default Re: Rock Bottom: IC

    Milein searches the horizon for any interesting locations or landmarks, Well we are finally here. Let's go find the governor or are we just going to sit and do nothing?. She checks the dossier for information about the governor.
    And I'm getting tired of eating hardtack for breakfast lunch and dinner. Finally we can have some proper food.
    Last edited by Book Wombat; 2018-01-28 at 08:23 AM.

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    DwarfBarbarianGuy

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    Default Re: Rock Bottom: IC

    Nomomo enjoyed the view. It was the first time he saw Rock Bottom even as a member of the Trade Guild. Before he had some simple convoys to do.

    This was his first big mission. The guild put a lot of trust in him when they commissioned him with this assignment. At least this was what he thought.

    He couldn't await to see the town with his own eyes Hurry, lets go! We almost did it!

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Orc in the Playground
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    Default Re: Rock Bottom: IC

    Okay, Milein and Nomomo start heading towards the town proper, and (I assume?) the rest of you follow.

    Milein: you awkwardly try to read the dossier as you all walk, but unfortunately there doesn't seem to be much about Camden in there. He's listed as the town's governor for the last four years, and there's a really official looking letter of introduction for you to give him, but there's nothing written about his background or anything like that.

    You all follow the gravel road around the edge of the lake towards the town. As you get closer, you spot a wide wooden gate set into the town's low wall. The gate's closed, but there's a smaller wicket door set into it, which is wide open. This close you start to be able to hear sounds of activity from within the town. You can hear just general bustle, distant voices, and the clinking of a hammer from somewhere.

    There are two town guards standing at the gate, leaning back against it. They're wearing leather armour over long-sleeved white linen shirts, armed with maces and crossbows, and they're both wearing broad-rimmed straw hats. One of them is a short-haired muscular human man, and he doesn't even look at you as you approach, his eyes are darting all over the place at the swaying grass around you. The other is a short half-elvish woman, and she's looking you all over with a skeptical expression, with one eyerbow raised.

    As you get close the half-elf stands up straight and steps forward. She moves between you and the wicket door and addresses you.

    "Halt!" she says. She slowly looks you over from left to right.
    "Great. Another group of misfits. Just what we need. What's your story?"
    Last edited by pupaeted; 2018-01-28 at 09:21 AM.

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    DwarfBarbarianGuy

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    Default Re: Rock Bottom: IC

    Nomomo took a look left and right but after nobody was answering he stepped forward Misfits you call us young boy?
    You better watch out and listen when adults are talking!


    He turned to the human and said Greetings! We're asking for entrance to the city of Rock Bottom! “We“ are a group of members of the Trade Guild and of the United Temple. We're here to - and I quote - get the caravans flowing again.

    Let us in, we have a meeting with Camden Llywelyn!

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    Default Re: Rock Bottom: IC

    Audrey rolls her eyes at the presumptuous little thing. She tugs lightly at the reins of her horse to face her, and rests a gloved hand on the horn of her saddle.

    "Unless you'd like to disappoint the governor, Miss. He's been expecting us, and we'd hate to keep him waiting any longer than necessary.".

  8. - Top - End - #8
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    Default Re: Rock Bottom: IC

    Nomomo: The human man ignores you. He's still glancing around, his head twitching from side to side, looking out across the grass in different directions. The half-elf woman scowls and steps forward, putting herself between you and the human.

    "You're the one who needs to listen, half-man. I've got a list of problems longer than you are tall, and you're not getting in until I know you won't add to them."

    She turns to listen to Audrey, and her expression softens a bit.
    "The governor? He's not seeing anyone, far as I know. Are you and this crazy dwarf together?"
    Last edited by pupaeted; 2018-01-28 at 01:12 PM.

  9. - Top - End - #9
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    DwarfBarbarianGuy

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    Default Re: Rock Bottom: IC

    What? That's outrageous! We are sent by the Trade Guild!
    And don't you dare making jokes about my height, boy!
    I'm here to investigate. I will not make any problems! But I'll add myself to your list if you continue harassing me!

    Like I said before, we have a meeting with Camden Llywelyn. Let us pass!

  10. - Top - End - #10
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    Default Re: Rock Bottom: IC

    This is true, we are having a meeting with the governor so he could brief us on our mission. Milein interjects quietly.

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    Default Re: Rock Bottom: IC

    "Yes," Audrey answers with the stone-faced stoicism instilled upon her during her apprenticeship. "Llewellyn needs assistance from the Guild, and here we are."

    She dismounts and offers her hand to the young woman. "Audrey Knight, Rochston constabulary. If you'll allow us, my compnanions and I have been traveling three weeks now, and we'd appreciate seeing the Governor so we can begin our assignment."

  12. - Top - End - #12
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    Default Re: Rock Bottom: IC

    Milein takes the letter intended for the governor and shows it, This is our proof.
    Last edited by Book Wombat; 2018-01-28 at 02:10 PM.
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    Default Re: Rock Bottom: IC

    The half-elf guard takes Audrey's hand and shakes it. Her hand is sweaty and a little calloused.
    "I'm Kim Redd, ranger of Rock Bottom."

    "You might want to gag that one," she says, nodding at Nomomo.
    "I'm used to dwarves, but he seems like he's fresh out of the mountain."

    She walks over to you, Milein. She takes the letter, holds it up, then scans down it thoughtfully.
    "Oh I see. They didn't think we could handle it all, huh? Well I can't say they're wrong."

    She reads through the letter again, then thinks for a few seconds, and then says,
    "Yeah. Yeah, okay." She hands the letter back to Milein and turns to address the rest of you.

    "Sorry, I guess, for the not so warm welcome. We've had a lot of trouble in town the past few months, and a lot of it came in from the outside. We haven't had so many traders since the troubles started, and orders came down to put a closer watch on strangers. But yeah, if you're all together, feel free to head in."

    "Last I heard the governor was holed up in his quarters at the Town Hall. That's through the gate, keep right past the market, then across the river... [she gives you directions]. If you're looking for somewhere to clean off first, you could do worse than the Koch's Tale Inn. It's where the traders stay... used to stay, when they came through. Tell them Redd sent you."


    She steps out of your way and leans back against the gate.
    Last edited by pupaeted; 2018-01-28 at 02:13 PM.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Rock Bottom: IC

    Can understand if times are tough. says Milein, So lets get going to this inn, I could use a wash up and some food
    Last edited by Book Wombat; 2018-01-28 at 02:21 PM.
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    DwarfBarbarianGuy

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    Default Re: Rock Bottom: IC

    Okay, Kymredd, ranger of Rock Bottom, maybe we had a wrong start. I didn't know your partner is deaf! Nomomo offered his hand, too.

    Thank you for your help!
    Now we are taking care of this topic.
    I'm a bit curious, at what age are they recruiting here the boys?

  16. - Top - End - #16
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    Default Re: Rock Bottom: IC

    Kim accepts Nomomo's hand and shakes it, but after his question her hand goes to her forehead, and she gives a 'they don't pay me enough to deal with this' kind of sigh.

    "Wait, what? Deaf?" She says after a second, and she turns to the human guard and puts her hand on his shoulder.
    "Jace! Jace, are you okay?"

    The human guard's eyes finally settle on her, and he whispers something. Kim just sighs again, then turns back to you and says,
    "I think he's just a little twitchy. He's been on edge for a while. We all have."

  17. - Top - End - #17
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    What's the reason? I've heard some rumors but I'm not sure which ones to believe.
    Last edited by Book Wombat; 2018-01-29 at 11:26 AM.

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    She turns to you, Milein. Her eyes look really tired now, and she's got a weary, defeated expression.

    "We've had it all. We've got giant vermin in the warehouses, there's some problem with the fishing boats, the trappers are agitating for some reason or another."

    "My biggest problem's the groups of strangers harassing the townsfolk. We're the ones who let them in, so the Captain came down hard on us for that one. I thought they looked funny, but we've never turned anyone away at the gates before. Never needed to. We're just a simple trade town."

  19. - Top - End - #19
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    Well, we'll see if we can fix that. It is our job, at least to my knowledge.
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    Default Re: Rock Bottom: IC

    Anything we could help you with? Like taking care of big bugs or asking someone to leave?
    Last edited by Fliggl; 2018-01-29 at 03:31 PM.

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    Default Re: Rock Bottom: IC

    Kim looks back at the gate, and then at the human guard.

    When she's satisfied nobody's listening in, she says,
    "You didn't hear this from me, I don't have the authority to give out this kind of work, but there's this group of pale people in robes causing a lot of trouble in town. Most of the trouble's been around the North docks, but we don't have the manpower to track them down. If you could just find them for us, it'd be a real help to me personally."

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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    The very tall man in black leathers had remained silent throughout the conversation. At the half-elf's description of the pale figures in robes, he finally spoke up. "Can you tell us more about these pale people? What color are their robes? Do they all dress the same? Are they all men or all women or a combination of men and women? Did they have any symbols or devices on them as though for a religion or kingdom or duchy?"

  23. - Top - End - #23
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    DwarfBarbarianGuy

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    All we have to do is to find them? Should we arrest them? Or just tell you where they are? Nomomo asked confused.

    If they know that they are at the northern docks, why should we search them? he thought.
    Last edited by Fliggl; 2018-01-30 at 11:53 AM.

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    She listens to Quern's question. She pulls off her sunhat to scratch her head and thinks for a minute, then finally says,
    "Well, I didn't take that much note of them, just waved them through, but they were definitely all in dark gray robes. There were maybe five or six of them, mix of men and women, elves and humans, and they were all really, incredibly pale. They had a lot of cargo with them, and we thought they were just traders at first, until we started getting reports of criminal behavior."

    After Nomomo speaks she says,
    "No, don't arrest them! I'm in no way endorsing any violence. I'm just saying, if you found out where they were while you're doing whatever you're going to do for the governor, I'd really appreciate knowing. That way I could clean up my own mess."

    Then in answer to your question,
    "We don't know for sure that they are holed up at the North docks, that's just where a lot of the complaints are coming from."
    Last edited by pupaeted; 2018-01-30 at 01:26 PM.

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    Default Re: Rock Bottom: IC

    After Kim puts off her hat, her long hair falls down onto her shoulders. Nomomo saw this and took a second look at her body. He hasn't seen a lot of women - just a few dwarven and less non-dwarven. But he realizes that she wasn't a boy.
    And what was this? Kim stroked a strand of hair behind her ear. And then he saw it: a pointy ear.

    She wasn't a human boy - she was an elven woman! He hasn't seen an elf before.

    He caught himself staring at her body. Aah... Aaaaah... Sorry! Ok! Just gathering information. Good! he stuttered.

    The words of his old teacher echoed in his head “always know what you are saying, but don't always say what you are knowing“ I should have been quiet...

  26. - Top - End - #26
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    Audrey looks around idly, appearing more to be attempting to get her bearings than anything else. A group of eight people hanging around the gate to a town for half an hour is a great way to arouse suspicion and announce themselves to people to whom they would rather not announce themselves.

    Interesting that the soldier says the watch captain blamed the gatekeepers when apparently they weren't directed previously to deny entry to anyone. She makes a note of that, and the pale men and women in robes in her journal, and nods to the young woman. "Thank you, Miss Redd. it's been a pleasure, but I'm sure we shouldn't take any more of your time. We don't have plans to arrest these hooded folk, but we will remain vigilant and report anything suspicious." At least, they don't have sights on the hooded folk yet, anyway. The cargo they had, perhaps it's the cargo from the missing caravans? If they were smuggling it out, the docks would be where it goes. But then, that would be pretty brazen. She makes an effort to glide over Nomomo's display, offering a slight bow and mounting her horse again. "By your leave, we'll make for the Koch's Tale now, and clean up for our meeting. Thank you again for your time and directions."

  27. - Top - End - #27
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Quern imperceptibly tugs at the brim of his floppy hat in acknowledgement of the half-elf's description as he replies, "Thank you. Now we know what to keep an eye out for as we conduct our business here in town." Still astride his own horse, he waits for the others to mount up and then rides into the town proper following the directions to the inn.

    As they ride through the streets of Rock Bottom, the cleric remarks to his traveling companions, "While I would appreciate a hot bath and a cooked meal, I find it conducive to meet with our intended contact as soon as possible. It leaves them less time to hear of our arrival and thereby less time to make up a story for our ears."

  28. - Top - End - #28
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Ares snorts as he walks on. He looks up to the poetic priest. "They've had weeks to come up with a story. Do you really want to listen to some snivelling placeholder as he makes up excuses for his own incompetence? Better to listen to the people of this town to hear the real problems."
    He looks over his shoulder back in the direction of the town gate. "And as we've seen, they're more than willing to inform us of their troubles. We didn't even have to ask."

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    Audrey nods. Ares' instinct isn't unfounded; if anyone has to be to blame or take the fall, it's the town's leadership. "Yes, actually. He's the one with the most information on the problem and the most to lose, caravaneers notwithstanding, so you're right, he may have strong motive to falsify records or lie to us. However, if your hypothesis is correct and he's actively trying to hide something, don't you think that would lead to a pattern in the deficiencies of somebody's or some group's stories over another?" She pauses to take a long draft from her waterskin. "Those incongruities are where we begin to search for foul play or incompetence. You need to understand the story that's being told to discover the story that's being hidden from you. Right now, all we know for sure is that the caravans have gone missing, and at least one gate guard is surprisingly loose-lipped with information she knows she shouldn't be voicing. I think that's pretty interesting, myself."

    She pauses again, this time to twist in her saddle to ease the discomfort on her flanks. Isabella may be her favorite horse, but she'll still be glad to be out of the saddle for a while. "We don't even know for sure yet if anyone in town is involved, and it isn't productive to make those judgments ahead of time, even if they turn out to be true. For now, perhaps we should just keep our minds open, and take careful notes."

  30. - Top - End - #30
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    Default Re: Rock Bottom: IC

    As soon as you all agree to move forward, Kim takes the hint and disappears through the wicket door. You hear the sound of someone unbarring the main gate, and then it swings open, revealing the town of Rock Bottom spreading out before you.

    (I've got a rough map. You all just entered through the South gate, and I think you're heading for the Koch's Tale Inn?)

    On your left as you enter the town is a large stone building with a sign showing a golden sun and the words "Rock Bottom Rangers". A little further on you see a big wooden horse stables, and the courtyard behind it is full of empty carts and a few wagons.

    As you ride through the streets with your expedition cart trundling behind, you see blacksmiths, and weavers' shops, dyers, woodworkers. You pass one building that has an enormous corkscrew press inside. A lot of the traders and craftspeople are still active, but there are still plenty of empty, silent workplaces as well.

    A little way into the town you start having to manuever around people. The streets aren't empty, far from it. There's a smattering of older and younger people wearing worn clothes, they look like the kind of people you'd normally expect to be tending to errands in a town during the day. But you also see a lot of healthy young men and women with tanned faces, a lot of them dressed alike in blue vests and pants, and they're mostly lounging around in public spaces.

    To reach the inn you pass through the town's central market place. Right now there's only a few stalls open, most of which are dedicated to food and produce. You pass by a couple of city rangers patrolling the streets, and there's an argument happening between some people in leather jerkins off to the side, and there's a tiny stray-looking dog sniffing around near the central well, which has a wooden sign leaning against it crudely painted with the word "SPOILED".

    And so you pass through all of this activity, heading towards the inn.



    The Koch's Tale is a big three-storey wooden building, with leaded glass windows framed by shutters, and it has plants growing from baskets hanging from hooks on its side. The sign swinging over the door shows a closed book and a feather quill, and there's a chalkboard standing in front of the door with a few food options listed on it.

    Inside you find a really nicely decorated pub-restaurant area. There are about half a dozen big tables dotted around the edge of the room, some of which are filled by those blue-vested people you've seen throughout town. One of the walls has what looks like a long stone tablet hanging from it, carved with strange words in an unfamiliar language. Towards the back of the room there's a tall, clean, very highly polished bar with a row of stools in front of it, and the stools are of various heights to accomodate a variety of races.

    Behind the bar there are a couple of wooden doors. One of them's open, and clearly leads to a well equipped kitchen, but the other is closed, and the closed door has one sliding panel near the top and another in the middle, like viewing and serving slots.

    Also behind the bar is a slim middle-aged human with a wispy graying beard, and shoulder-length hair brushed back behind his ears. He's wearing a dark gray apron, and he's wiping what looks like an already perfectly clean glass in his hands.

    As the clatter of you passing through the door reaches him, he looks up and says,
    "Oh, strangers! Hey there strangers. You all traders? The caravans running again?"
    His voice is a little whiny, but friendly, and he has a rustic rural accent. He smiles over at you and keeps polishing the glass.
    Last edited by pupaeted; 2018-01-31 at 03:12 PM.

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