Novice sleuths

The players will now have spent some time in Barta, at the very least they likely have taken a short rest. They may have gone straight to investigating the incident or just rolled up at the Dragon’s Bucket. After a nights rest you can introduce Captain Govlen, info below, who directly tasks them with investigating the incident. He needs some boots on the ground to help out and everyone else is involved in making the town safe. 

Captain Govlen arrives meeting the characters whether they have ended up. He’s been briefed by Vottin and Kinswal. Weary and tired having been out of the town checking on the nearby settlements he wants to get some rest but needs to talk to the players first.

The gruff dwarf tasks the players with finding out more about the crime, asking around at the places that were hit to see what they had to do with the monster. With the guard stretched thin he doesn’t have the man power to look into this and wants feedback while people’s memories are still fresh.

He offers the players some pay and a safe place for them and the caravan to stay if they can get him any substantial information. The pay is 5gp per player to ask some questions, with a bonus of 30gp for the group if they find some concrete evidence of who or what might be to blame.

Role playing – Captain Govlen

Description: Govlen is a towering dwarf at over five foot tall. His neatly braided hair is shot with grey, his face wrinkled and tanned. He is nearly always seen in heavy plate armour that while clean and well kept has the dull, battered look of constant use. A set of javelins sit on his back along with a shield and axe.

Motivation: Govlen is a consummate career soldier and is willing to do what is necessary to install order short of committing evil acts, though this is mostly following the law he sometimes prefers to trust his own judgement. 

Personality: Quite abrasive Govlen will suffer no fools and expects everyone to give their best. While not overly concerned by conventions of rank he does expect respect deserving of the second in command of the town’s defence’s.

Past: Arriving many years ago, alongside Lady Parrax , he has been her faithful right hand the whole time. Originally an exile from the Goldmarrow Clans he was kicked out for political reasons having to do with his birth and station. He is himself a rightful heir to a small estate in the north of the Alterlands but cannot reclaim it.

Knocking on doors

The characters have been tasked by Captain Govlen to find out information about what ties those other buildings that were hit last night to the monster. He just wants them to gather information and collect information from all three places. Though he has offered a bonus if they can put together a clear idea of what links them. In the town three buildings have been hit. The Sword’s Shadow, Tin’s Shop and the house the merchant Wislin. The is no specific order that the characters need to go visit these buildings but they may find themselves visiting the same building more than twice in the search for clues.

In the Sword's Shadow

Going to the damaged Smithy you can hear a constant stream of curses in Dwarf tongue even outside the building. If the players knock or otherwise introduce themselves Reyar will talk with them enough to ask their business before retreating inside. She’ll offer to talk more if they help her clean up as they talk. Inside is a mess of broken tiles and wood, it appears that the monster forced its way through both the roof and the floor above, leaving a gaping hole that fills the room with light.

Looking around

The players can also examine the shop for clues.

Inside: A DC15 survival or investigation check shows that the monster moved around the building, as if pacing.

Outside: A DC13 investigation check will find that the nails and other metal items from the roof which has been pulled open have been dropped here.

Role playing Reyar Steelstrike

Motivation: Reyar Steelstrike wants an easy life, she’s happy to offer smithing to all those who visit Barta. Her only interest is in maintaing her business so she can move back to the Goldmarrow halls. She is happy to help anyone in authority as long as she feels it will show she’s supporting Barta.

Personality: Reyar is quiet and calculating, often pausing before answering so as to think if her reply is the optimal one. She is more a smith than a saleswoman and would rather everyone be as forthright as possible so she can go back to her work.

Past: Reyar moved to Barta so she could engage with her great passion smithing away from her home in Silverpeak which didn’t respect female smiths, no matter there skill. She is determined to return rich and skilled and set up her own forge. She is a respected and admired citizen of Barta.

Reyar will talk to the players as long as they stay on topic and if they annoy her they will need to pass a DC 15 persuasion check or be very helpful in cleaning up.

  • (WV) She is very pleased only a handful of gold stolen as it went for the register not the strong box.
  • (WV) The attack came through the cieling, where she stores much of her equipment, little of this was taken and seemed to have almost been brushed aside.
  • (ARQ) She came up the stairs from the basement in which she sleeps to see a hand of black pitch absorbing her register.
  • (P-DC14) All the money in the register generally gets transferred to a strong box in a couple of days hadn’t done it in two days.
  • (ARQ) She’s had lots of customers in the past few days. She can’t list all of them off the top of her head but can offer to run through any names the players might have.
  • (ARQ) If pressed on Targus she remember he paid entirely in gold coins with a pattern of a wolf’s head on them.

If the players come to her with the list of names from Tin or ask about Fainen Reyar confirms that Targus brought something from her. She does also recall that Conrad the guardsmen also paid for an engagement ring to be resized.

 

Tin's Kit & Provisions

Despite the gaping whole in the roof a sign proudly proclaims that the ‘We’re open’ in beautiful flowing script. The interior of the shop is claustrophobes worst nightmare, shelves are close and piled high in a cluttered and chaotic fashion, you get the feel that this is the normal state of things. Behind the counter which appears to have the only clear path between it and the door is a rack of weapons and other dangerous goods seemingly unattended.

Then Tin appears.

Looking around

The players can also examine the shop for clues.

Outside: A DC12 survival or investigation check shows that the monster barely slowed it’s pace outside the shop and tore through it while moving.

Inside: Tin won’t let them go to his storeroom to look at it but should they somehow enter a check for nails and other metal pieces show’s these were unaffected.

 

Role playing Tin

Motivation: Tin wants to sell things. That is his driving passion. (He know’s what things are worth but is poor or indifferent at judging customer’s desire for them.)

Personality: Tin is very intense and driven, he mostly tries to redirect any conversation to selling his goods.

Past: Tin got lost in the half world and was placed under a compulsion to sell items for a fey lord. While he managed to escape the experience warped him and has left him with the drive to sell sell sell.

Tin is relentless in his sales and will only engage in conversation with the players if they humour his obsession.

  • (WV) Tin explains that the his strong box was stolen but the till was left untouched.
  • (ASR) Tin explains he deposits money in the strong box every night and every few days then goes to the bank. The strong box had money from the last two days.
  • (WV) There’s been a lot of people in the shop over the last few days.
  • (P-DC15) Tin will share a list of people who purchased items from him for the last two days. This list includes what they paid and who they were, but not what they brought. If they fail to convince him he will offer to sell the information for 3sp. Tin doesn’t ever seem to remember what he sold, he seems to find the experience of selling far more exciting.
  • (ARQ) If they have the list Tin will point out three weird purchases.
    • Damlin helps run the brewery and spent a lot, far more than is normal. (For DM’s info only- He brought a lot of incense, the help hide the flavour of some badly brewed beer.)
    • Targus came in and spent money on a rush order. (For DM’s info only- This is the guy and he brought some fine clothes to impress Wislin.)
    • Conrad is guardsmen and spent more than a months wages on something. (For DM’s info only- He brought a ring for his fiance.)
  • (ARQ) If the player ask about wolf’s head coins Tin does remember that Targus’ paid entirely in gold coins with wolf’s heads on them.

The home of the late Wislin.

The house is gaudy, the monster perhaps attacking it for it’s assaults on good taste and modesty. The is gold filigree in worked into the wood work and the walls are painted a luxurious purple. With large windows that were once a sign of prosperity lying broken on the ground. The top floor is torn open with a four poster bed jammed halfway out of the building.

From far outside the house mournful wails can be heard and a cluster of men and women in sober clothes gather around the entrance speaking in polite whispers.

Role playing the interaction at the house

The home, a mansion compared to those around it, is surrounded by mourners and confused house staff. This somber group are not all as innocent as they might seem. A DC13 investigation check shows that while some are genuinely concerned for the family others can be seen surreptitiously checking the floor around them and whispering to each other.

If the group tries to push through the mourners become very offended and stop them, asking why they are here and what they want. No matter the answer the group doesn’t accept it and a DC16 persuasion check is needed for them to relent. If they roll DC12 or above on the persuasion check will prompt a staff member to recount the events of the night. If not one staff member may approach and will for a small bribe of 1gp to tell the players what happened.

If they do get through a butler will stop them and politely and genuinely inform them that the ladyship isn’t meeting anyone but close friends and family. He will then explain what happened.

Trying to push past them will result in the staff blocking them from entry and threatening to call the guard.

 

Information

However they get the information this is what the staff know. It comes either from the Butler or one of the maids looking to make a bit of coin.

  • (WV) Wislin returned in good spirits, he’d made a good sale that day.
  • (P-DC12) He went to bed drunk though, after some disturbance in the evening motivated him to drink.
  • (WV) Then late in the night a monster attacked pulling the bed almost clear out the window and consuming him.
  • (ARQ) He had money stored under his bed and that was flung across the street. While the servants got most of it the is probably a small amount lost or in the pockets of others.
  • (P-DC 14) The disturbance was a lady, a teifling named Fainen, who was fired by the master two days ago apparently under suspicion of theft coming to the door and bothering him. It seemed to work though as she was rehired.
  • (ARQ) The master is deeply distrustful of the banks and most others. Even the butler didn’t know about his bed stash.

Coming to conclusions

The are numerous ways to come to the conclusion that the maybe this Targus guy is up to no good. If they visit all three shops it should be fairly obvious. That being said it’s important to find other ways to make sure the characters don’t find themselves haring off down the wrong past or completely stumped. Below are three ideas on how to help the characters solve this mystery.

Conrad the Guardsman

Conrad is a very tall thin young man. He doesn’t look to old and seems quite nervous. If the players locate him, or you can have him be a random guard they bump into he can offer some very helpful insight into both his own recent purchase at Tin’s and The Sword’s Shadow.

  • He brought a ring and diamond for his fiancee
  • While in Tin’s he saw Targus spending a lot of cash on some nice clothes and apparently some fine cigars and brandy. He felt it odd as the Svel family can barely keep afloat most months.

Vottin the Gatekeeper

The sergeant now his gates have shut for the day is heading back to the keep and may encounter the players. He enquires after what happened to Jaf and will knows that Govlen has hired the players. He can offer some extra info

  • The town is guarded by strong magical wards. These stop spells from outside affecting those inside.
  • If asked about who in town he expects he has a long list. Though if they mention a Teifling he’ll immediately spit and curse the name Targus. Claiming the teifling has done dealings with the fey.

Other townsfolk

The players may talk to other towns folk. looking for clues. While it is up to you what they know, most just woke up to screaming and panic, you can drop some extra info in as well.

Use any of the topics discussed in this whole section but have them muddled by being rumour.

Talking with Govlen

The dwarven captain is angry that Targus brought this curse down on the town. He’ll pay the characters as promised though. The captain asks the group for one more job, he can’t go straight for Targus, the scoundrel knows all the guards and is likely to bolt. The captain tasks the group with finding the scoundrel. He recommends starting at the family house, Svelhome. He’s not likely to be there but his sister Fainen might be.

If they already went and talked to Fainen then they may know he’ll go to the show. Should they have not asked where Targus is or failed to get the info the Captain will have a list of likely haunts. He’ll recommend talking to Merrick the owner of XX and to say that Govlen sent them. Merrick will reveal that Targus was just in the pub drinking and has headed off to see the travelling play.

 

Svel family home (This may happen before or after they talk to Captain Golven.)

This humble home is in poor repair, the roof has missing tiles and a couple of the small windows are cracked. Still it is well scrubbed and cared for. A teifling woman with a tear stained face beneath an explosion of red hair that all but covers the tips of her horns answers the door cautiously.

Role playing Fainen

Motivation: Fainen wants to be someone, she cannot stand the idea of just being a simple bystander. Despite this drive she retains a strong connection to family including her brother and her nephew, his son.

Personality: Strong willed Fainen is very defensive and often over compensates to try and prove her point. She takes offence poorly and has no trouble retorting to any insult with one of her own.

Past: A long time resident of Barta she has always struggled to succeed despite the racism and her brothers antics. she is now effectively the mother of her nephew as Targus is so rarely here.
Information

  • (WV) Targus arrived two days ago saying the was a big payday coming.
  • (P-DC16) (Fainen will also reveal this if the players explain they know she was fired by Wislin.) Fainen suspects Targus stole something from Wislin’s rooms though, apparently a set of gold studded keys for the reliquary in the church of Talan were taken. Though the next day they turned back up.
  • (WV) He came round with gifts the yesterday day for her their ageing mother and his son.
  • (ARQ) She went and talked to the merchant Wislin to try and get her job back. He was in a good mood and seemed to imply my brother had paid him lot of money for something. Said I was rehired as obviously my brother didn’t need to steal the money.
  • (WV) Targus is always trying to look out for the family but he’s often not the best at thinking things through.

The players can also convince Fainen to tell them where Targus is, threats of violence are tough (DC18 intimidation) not work and will get them kicked out. However, convincing or threatening her that if word gets out that Targus brought the monster down on the town she and her entire family are likely to be exiled if she is seen as aiding him. The players can either pass a persuasion or intimidation roll (you decide the DC based on how well they make their case), or if they fail she’ll agree to tell them where Targus is if she get’s the word of Captain Govlen that the family name will be kept out of it.

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