The walk back to Umberton is quick and boisterous. Your three companions are invigorated by the battle with the Kobolds and share battle stories (“and then that skinny little Kobold stabbed Frank right through the guts and he almost died!”). You return to town and head straight for your horse, and when you issue a gruff good-bye to the three of them, Sturm tells you that part of the deal with Proxy Sheldon was that they would have to travel to Redcourt for their pay. They all prove to be adequate riders and keep pace with you on the ride.
Your passage into Redcourt is quick, as it always is for member for the Church. Your entourage must pay the gate tax, and you ride on, leaving them behind without a word. Prelate Warron meets you at the stable, clearly he has been watching for you. He holds the lens aloft and beams with pride at your acquisition. For the first time you can see that the large purple lense warps and twists anything viewed through it, in different ways from different angles.
Prelate Warron tells you all the resources of the church well be thrown into translating the text on the tapestry, and that you should take a rest for a few days. He gives you a bag with 80gp in it, and tells you to enjoy yourself, because if this tapestry reveals what he thinks it will, you will be busy in the days to come.
Frank has the evening plus seven days to do as he sees fit. Warron sends a page with a potion of healing and note “to restock your stores” the first day of the the break.
Give me a run down on the week OR let me know anything specific you would like to do
Frank does the following over the week off.
(When in the streets of Redcourt I do not parade as a Avenger of Ioun, just a simple adventurer)
- Frank goes shopping, see my character.
- Frank trains every morning
- Arranges a cleric of Ioun to give Sturm, Cassi & Torg a tour of the Redcourt church. I ask the cleric to show the three Mercenaries the praises of Ioun.
- Spends a day looking up text regarding the Dragon in Mount Skewer.
- Investigates the wizard community. Try to make a few contacts. Looking for potion makers, wizards for hire, traders in esoteric wears.
Day One of Seven – Frank rises, trains and spends the day shopping for new gear. Early to bed.
Day two of Seven -
a page reports to you that your companions were invited for a tour of the church. Cassi and Torg took the invitation, Sturm did not.
Frank heads to the Hall of Lore, a large public library devoted to the history of the land and it’s peoples. Many old and valuable tomes of mundane qualities are available here for all to use, once they sign in and swear an oath to Ioun that they will disperse any knowledge gained in the library. How does Frank wish to approach his studies? This is a large library with lots of staff, and research of all kinds can be carried out. Will he INITIMIDATE the staff into doing the work for him, JUMP very high to get the least handled books or perhaps THIEVERY to steal a book and read it in his room?. All of these are utterly terrible examples of skills Frank should use. Your call. Skill check is on. Goal – Learn more about the dragon you saw in the depths of Mount Skewer.
I explain to the staff that I’m a where of a dragon lairing below Mount Skewer. I believe him to be hording lost items of knowledge, and I wish to uncover what these items may be and how old this dragon is. Through this knowledge I may eventually raise an expedition and retrieve these lost artifacts and knowledge in the name of Ioun.
I’m hoping this is how the skills play out…...
- I use knowledge religion (+8) to impress upon the staff the religious significance of retrieving lost knowledge. (Hoping for a bonus on my Knowledge history roll)
- Then using the resources of the library & staff, I begin my search of history of the region. Looking for texts about the dragon and possible areas he may have plundered. (History +5)
- With the research I hope to use insight +5 to link the info together to identify what significant items the dragon may have & how old the dragon is.
The staff of the library start their career as pages(often orphans), just like the ones who run messages from Prelate Warron to you. After time as a page they begin a long stint in the library. They all worship Ioun primarily, and they all have solid knowledge of the library and the books in it, as in their down times they are expected to read. They do not run the library, but are the floor staff so to speak.
Dressed as a simple adventurer but wearing some small icon of Ioun (small icons to all gods are very common) you enter the library and strike up a conversation with two of the young men working as pages. Citing classic examples of recovered lost knowledge being used for the good of the people, the pages are eager to help you find books that will help you. Skill check total 19 – no successes but you can have a +2 to your knowledge history for the rest of the skill challenge.
The pages overwhelm you with books however, and you need to choose where to focus your research -books about the history and geography near Umberton, books about Draconic Lineage across the land, or books about lost treasure troves.
Quickly skimming the spines and grabbing a few promising looking titles that should shine some light on the last few centuries on Umberton and it’s region, you settle at a table at the back and spend the rest of the morning skimming for information about Dragons in that area. Your skill check total is a 13, which is a success. Frank finds several passages about incidents and happenings with Dragons in the area. No specific information about items the dragon may have accumulated, but if you cross reference this info with any you may find in other relevant areas (see prior emails for suggestions) you should be able to make a clearer picture.
If is no high noon. That library remains open till the people of RedCourt eat their evening meal, which at this time of year (late fall) is around our 5:00. You have time to research two more topics OR go in a whole new direction.
Successes: 1 Failures: 0
I continue to keep studying!
I go back to the shelf and spend a bit more time going through the books, (I’m hoping for a Perception test +8) cross referencing lost works / items to the Dragon encounters.
When I find these books I settle back and go through these books looking for any indication of works / items that the dragon may of acquired. (history +5) (+2 help from staff) (and hoping for a bonus for spending more time picking books)
I’m assuming with the extra time spent picking books I’m out of time. So, I’d like to bribe a few scribes with take out to keep the library open for me, I spend 5gp on food. (Diplomacy +3)
If I get to study longer, I look up books about Dragon Lineage and see if I can get a better picture of who lives under mount skewer and how long he’s been their. (history +5) (+2 help from staff) (maybe a greater bonus for a good diplomacy roll)
I’m hoping with the three cross-references I can get a good picture of what the dragon may have and how the dragon is.
Encouraged by his morning success, Frank skips his mid-deal meal and dives deeper into the stacks. Deciding to focus his energy on researching lost treasure and their likely location, Frank ignores the topic of Dragon Lineage for the next few hours. He knows his research will take longer (+2 to the check), but as a worshippper of Ioun, Frank realizes that knowing is half the battle. The staff again point out a few choice tomes (+2)and Frank again realizes the benefit of the pious in this library.
The time is well spent (History check total 28. A success) as Frank discovers information on several red dragons that have plagued the land over the centuries. Frank is now aware that a fairly large amount of treasure is likely being laid up on by Red Dragons in the mountainous northern part of the kingdom. However, without an inquiry into Dragons themselves, and their lineage it will pretty much impossible to determine which dragon is sitting on which treasure north of Umberton.
A page comes to Frank’s side and tells him politely that it is time for the pages to return to their quarters for their evening meal and thus the library must close for the night. Frank’s offer to buy the pages a meal, a feast for that matter, is well received (diplomacy check result 20. Not a skill challenge success but Frank can have one more single block of research on this day). The five pages of the library feast on the meat and vegetables that 5gp can buy (pay it) and Frank returns to the stacks.
What’s his plan of attack? Obvious one is Dragons and their Lineage. Do whatever you want.
Successes: 2 Failures: 0
I look up books about Dragon Lineage and see if I can get a better picture of who lives under mount skewer and how long he’s been their. (history +5) (+2 help from staff) (maybe a greater bonus for a good diplomacy roll)
I’m hoping with the three cross-references I can get a good picture of what the dragon may have and how old the dragon is.
It only takes you a few minutes to figure out that this bit of research will be tough than the other two. The books pertaining to dragons tend to be vague and lacking in true specifics. Folklore, first person accounts of attacks, and some detailed histories of long dead dragons make the majority of the dragon related tomes in the library. Also, while appreciative of the feast, the table of food you provided is a sizable distraction, and they are not nearly as helpful with mouths full of quail and bellies for of boar. Your evening of research is fruitless (History skill check total 6. A fail).
However, given your high passive perception, you find it odd that the information on Umberton and it’s people was so detailed and specific, as well as research, while the dragon related material was so weak. As you leave the library in the late evening, you are sure that there is better information on Dragons to be had in the church.
Frank can do as he sees fit for the night. This skill challenge can continue at any point in the future (day 3 his week off, later in the week, or even further down the road).
Day 3, I continue my study at the church library.
I spend the first part of the day just looking around and familiarizing my self with the archives. (Perception? Looking for a history bonus to use later)
Then I settle down with my notes and the few choice tomes I picked out (History +5)
You spend the morning of day 3 in the church library familiarizing yourself with the whole of the collection – layout, range, depth, diversity of the books, you take a full four hours. (perception check result 15. Not an official success but…)
You can tell that while there is tremendous depth on mundane and “safe” topics here – agriculture, regional history, genealogy, military history, geography, and the like – the library is utterly lacking in anything even vaguely dangerous – the undead, worship of evil god (or even evil gods at all), specifics about lost ruins, ritual magic. You know for a fact that the knowledge of Ioun is much greater than presented here, and that only the most pedestrian interests could be sated by this body of knowledge. You can continue your research on dragon lineage here but you feel that it will be very difficult to get the last bit of knowledge from this source.
I go find prelate Warren & explain to him what I’m up to. I ask where I may find the information I need?
Your inquiries into Prelate Warron are not successful. The best answer you can get is from a page who has carried messages between the two of you before, who tells you on the down low that Prelate Warron is involved in the translation of the tapestry and those working on that project are not to be disturbed under any circumstances. The page does offer to slide a note into the Prelate’s quarters letting you know that you wish to speak to him, however the page is doubltful that the Prelate will see till late toinght. Do you wish him to do that? Also, what is Frank’s next move. Day three continues.
I don’t bother the Prelate.
I try to do the investigation for the missing information on my own. I do ask around to anyone of importance. Explaining simply I wish to study Dragon lineage. I’m up front that I’m an acolyte of Prelate Warren.
A couple pages refer you to some two more senior pages, who suggest you speak to Librarian Damian, who over sees access to “the deeps”, which is apparently some other library in the church. They direct you to a book repair room where he is likely to be found. You find the room after a bit of searching (this church is really really big. That’s one thing you’ve figured out). An older halfling works at a table sewing a book back together. He stops humming a song when you walk in, and with an unsure look asks how he can help you.
Before going to find Librarian Damian I ask a few of the pages what Librarian Damian is like. I’m looking for information how I can make the librarian happy with me.
IE bring him coffee, mention how all the books are in great condition. That kind of thing! Anything to stroke his ego a bit.
You ask the senior pages who direct you to Librarian Damian what would please him. (Diplomacy Skill Check result 13 – a positive result). They tell you that fine smoke (tobacco equivalent) will always make him happy. *
Great! I go off and purchase some good quality tobacco then go find him (How Much?) I introduce myself explain what I’m trying to do. As I get him talking I pull out the smokes and offer him some. I say “its the good stuff”. I ask him for his help or if he can point me in the right direction.
Your trip to the market is fruitful. You hurry to a smoke merchant in the merchant district and explain to the vendor your needs (good quality smoke – now). He begins to take you on a tour of his stock and the various imported smokes he carries. You cut him off and ask him to pick a good one and bag it. 5 gp – Old Stoag. Looks awful. Smells worse. Probably the most expensive smoke in a shop of expensive smoke.
You return and find Damien in the book repair room, working on a low table, humming a tune. When he notices you he stops humming and looks up. You introduce yourself and go through your spiel as laid out earlier, sliding the Old Stoag across the table, and say “it’s the good stuff”. He looks at the bag, says “indeed it is” as he carefully opens and smells the smoke sack.
“Bribes”, he says in an even tone, his face not giving anything away, “are of course forbidden in the halls of the church.” He pushes the bag back across the table towards you. “However perhaps we could step out into the courtyard and you could share a little of your fine smoke while we discuss the procedures one must follow to gain access to the deep stacks.
You don’t smoke, haven’t smoked, your body is a temple to Ioun, and while you’re not above defiling it with booze, this stuff smells like troglodyte feces, and is probably not the easiest place to start smoking.
You join Damien in a courtyard, sitting on some broad plaza steps that allow a view of the town. A fine fall day, the town is abuzz with commerce. Damien hands you his pipe now loaded with the vile smelling herb, clearly expecting you to start off the “sharing”.
I’m up front with Damien and ask for instruction on the finer points of the pipe. I use this as the conversation starter. Then I lead the talk over to why I’m there, and I explain to him I’m acolyte of prelate Warren.
Damien stop for a sec when you ask for instruction, then he shugs his shoulders and loads the pipe as you run through the rest of your spiel. As you say you are an acolyte of Prelate Warron, he is handing the pipe and his eyes pop wide when you reveal this detail. He settles, hands you the pipe and says “draw in as I light it”.
I do that….
Endurance check result 14. You lower Damien’s expectation by asking for help, but also lowered the range of outcome. 14 is a success.
You hold the horrific smoke in your lungs feeling more pain than that one six second span where you were stabbed in the ass by two spear traps and then speared in the chest by a kobold skirmisher. Your eyes water, your head hurts, but you inhale, hold and exhale. It’s awful.
Damian inhales deeply, blowing a few smoke rings, and clearly greatly enjoying the smoke. He takes a couple more puffs while you try not to vomit.
“The Deeps are the books that cover subjects and knowledge that could be dangerous in certain contexts. Can’t very well have every stable boy learning to summon undead hordes. Those who would use the libraries must be approved by a committee , and even after that are limited to the specified topics they stated at the beginning of the process. The process generally takes a week and even then you are given access at a very specific time slot. However, given your relationship to the church, I’m not sure this process is for you.”
“Tomorrow night a pious and educated merchant is using the stacks to research his family history that should not involve the topic you wish to look at. He owes me a favour, and should not mind your presence. Come to the deeps an hour after the street lights are lit, and you can have access for the night.”
Damien takes a couple more big puffs from the pipe, stands up, stretches, and says “see you tomorrow night”.
You’ve got the afternoon of day 3 and the day of day 4 before you gain access to the deeps. What are you up to.
I head off that afternoon and buy a few things. Thief tools (20gp) & writing supplies. (??gp)
The next day, I train in the morning, have a afternoon nap, then wonder around town in the late after noon. I then have a good sized dinner then head for the deeps at the appointed time.
I’m equipped with all my equipment except the following.
- Great Sword
- Climbing gear
- adventures gear
I few items of note I will have with me
- One sun rod
- short sword
I proudly display my holy symbol of Ioun.
You know it is a mature and sophisticated story telling system when players take their sword to a library.
Writing gear (a dozen sheets of paper, ink, a pen) will run you a gold.
Your time spent wandering Redcourt further increases your comfort in the city. You’ve seen temples and smaller shrine to all the major deities, merchants of all types of goods and bustling commerce all over on this clear cold late fall day.
You arrive at the church at the correct time, and a page directs you to the deeps. When you find your way there, you are quite sure you are at least two levels underground. Large double doors and two armed guards bar your entrance, but they are professional and courteous, asking if you are “Frank”, they let you past when you confirm it. A huge and dim multi-level library sprawls out before. Balconies, archways, spiral stair cases abound and wrap around wall after wall after wall lined with books (think the library from buffy season 1-3 but 50X bigger. Magically lit from wall scions, a few robed priests of Ioun move about, selecting books here and there.
Damien approaches as you stare in awe. He lets you take it all in, then tells you he is off for the night. He grabs you a senior page (30 something human) who will direct you to your books. Damien tells you that you will be on your own once your are shown your section as pages here are not as familiar with the books as they are in the public library. He tells you the next researcher will be here very early in the morning and that you have six hours at best.
The page takes you to a large section, almost a room which he referes to as the “Draconcic Lineage” section. He leaves you on the balcony, one story up from the main floor, with another level yet above you. You can spy a well adorned man across the library with piles of books strewn across a table taking notes.
Go time. whats the plan?
I introduce myself to the “pious merchant” and thank him for his shared time. I A. try get a look at some of the books he is studying from, using stealth if I have to (Per+8, Stealth +9). If he’s open about his studies all the better. and B. Not discuss what I’m studying “just church studies” I say.
I then spend about an hour familiarizing myself with the library in general. (Per+8)
This should leave me with about five hours to complete my task. I figure I’ve got two points to triangulate (history of Umberton, and lost treasure hoards) my study from so I should be able to find what I need in a reasonable amount of time. I spend a bit of time looking for the right books (PER+8) then a bit of time contemplating the best books I’ve chosen based on my notes (Insight+5) then dive in to the facts (History+5) (I hope this sounds reasonable)
As soon as you start to stray from your section the page is back at your side asking if he can help. When you start to answer he cuts you off and explains that access to the deeps in on a per subject matter and that patrons are expected to stick to the materials they were approved to study. When you point out you are trying to be friendly with another worshipper of Ioun, the page states that privacy and solitude are guaranteed when one comes to study in the deeps.
The merchant doesn’t appear to be up to anything shady. He’s in his books, taking notes, adjusting his glasses. He wears comfortable clothes, and modest icons of Ioun. You don’t think he is a Lich.
You get the feeling that you are risking your access or at least Damien’s favour and you are reluctant to blow this opportunity by breaking the rules and getting tossed out. From your balcony you can see some other areas clearly – not all books are in common. The books cover a massive range, often with titles or subjects that you don’t even understand. The small section you are in has over one hundred books that cover Draconic Lineage, maybe 50% of which are in common. There is a strong contingent of them in Elvish, and speaking that will give you a +2 bonus to any research in this section.
Narrowing the books down first by languages you speak (leaving about 60 books), then by Dragon colour (cutting out about 45 books), and then further eliminating those that seemed to have nothing to do at all with Umberton, you manage to whittle it down to five weighty tomes. You start skimming quickly, trying to whittle those down within an hour. Having narrowed it down to maybe 100 pages of relevant material, you settle in for the night.
History check total 5+2+die roll (4) = total 11. Success. You figure out how old the Dragon is (about 250-300 years – an Adult), a few documented attacks it has made, and a few pieces of treasure that it probably has in it’s horde
Tremadon’s Collar of Safety (Amulet of Protection +4), taken from Tremadon, Lord of Delvinghome.
A pair of fine magical boots (Eladrin Boots) worn by a member of an Eladrin adventuring band who sought to slay the dragon.
Skill Challenge complete. A total success. XP – 150.
It’s going to take me hours to merge all the info in this email chain into the wiki. Every campaign I ever run for the rest of my life will be Redcourt.
Frank gets a late start on day 5. He has half of day 5 and all of day 6 left. On day seven he will be summoned.*