Routine Maintenance (It's All The Fucking Goblins Fault)

Mike GM (1/24/2018)

The Stuffy Stagecoach

All of you are sick of being on this goddamn caravan. The journey has been long and the winter cold refuses to give in to spring just yet; that coupled with the cozy accommodations which includes four armed guards doesn’t provide for much space except grumbling from the rest of your party.

That party includes Tedrick, a human rogue who is well known in your circles for being not so much a daredevil as dead broke. And so here he finds himself on yet another dangerous job, asking few questions unless they relate to his per diem.

Another human, this one far less poor looking than the Ted who sits next to him, is Franz, who fancies himself a knight and has made the decision to wear his full armor and adventuring gear, not so much for warmth but because he likes to imagine himself conducting himself when he was a knight in service of Lady Primerka, before her marriage to Prince Decard of the Kingdom of Orast. Franz still wonders if things would have gone so wrong if he had still been around for the lady…

Across from Franz, a tiefling paladin wonders about nothing except the vengeance of his that is long past due. Oh, and he hates gnomes.

Next to him clipping his toe nails in a rather lewd position sits a gnome wizard. He doesn’t know exactly how he came to be on this caravan, but he probably insulted someone throughout the work week and this assignment from his wizard’s guild Trubur Stone fell to him. When he gets back he’ll make sure to brag about the wonders he saw to those idiots, of which the two dwarves bickering will not be one.

The gnome is not the only one who has wished that at some point in the last three hours of this leg of the trip that Rikki Jankus, their dwarf cleric regretfully assigned to this adventure, would stop badgering one of the guards who also happens to be a dwarf. It was quickly established that neither Mr. Jankus or the dwarves guard had anything in common other than race; growing up on different sides of Taern, never having worked with or made any acquaintances that either knew, and even seemed to differ greatly in their taste in food. But Jankus would just not let up when he recognized the dwarven guard wearing the sigil of, in his mind, a famed group of Vikings from ages ago.

“Dammit, man… why did you people stop fishing?!” Jankus brings the subject back to fishing for (EVERY PLAYER ROLLS) the TOTAL DICE NUMBER time.

“I already told ya, DONE WITH FISH!” The exasperated dwarven guard barks back.

EVERY PLAYER ROLLS

As annoyed as you are with Mr. Jankus the subject of food, at this point in the journey, is one not far from your mind.

Tederick notices the guard closest to him appears to be more than a bit underfed. His scraggly beard, and general odor suggests a man that hasn’t seen a decent meal or a comfortable bed in some time.

Franz can’t tell much about the guard closest to him as he is in very fine armor, but strangely the steady gaze and general calm he exudes has the opposite effect of being quite unnerving.

Hans notices for the first time that the lazy tiefling guard closest to him is asleep on the damn job. But he does smell nice.

ShaneGnome finds the choice of footwear on the gnome guard close to him to be appalling, as does the lack of personal hygiene. This sonofabitch seems to want people to steer clear of his stench, and wouldn’t you know it… the bastard is smiling at ShaneGnome this very moment.

That moment is interrupted, mercifully, by a loud WHOA as the caravan comes to a stop and the dwarven guard, “THANK GOD. Now GET OUT!”

Maybe It’s Fortunate That No Friends Were Made

You exit the stagecoach onto ground that seems to be taking more than its rightful share of snow. Is the North really this bad at this time of year?

Your thoughts are interrupted by a young elf, whose looks suggest someone just entering adulthood, but whose eyes look like that of an old man at the end of a long and tiring trip. “Alright! I hope you enjoyed your trip; we know the trek up here isn’t the most comfortable so we try to provide a crew that can converse with you at some length.”

At this the dwarven guard groans.

Taking notice of this the elf shuts his eyes for a moment, “Of course sometimes we are less successful than others in making for appropriate travel companions.”

The dwarf grunts, as if this small acknowledgement is all he needed, and he wanders off to a small cottage behind the elf. This seems to be a cue to the other guards as they also head inside.

“I’m sure you’ll remain pen pals,” the elf mutters and then continues with his business. “You’ve been assigned, or hired out, by various guilds and job postings across Taern for a bit of business that requires your skills as adventurers, but really what’s most important is what none of you possess. That is, any relevant experience in the land of Rose Pike. None of you have been to Rose Pike before, correct?” The elf finally lays eyes on your group. “Oh for fuck’s sake why is that gnome not wearing any shoes?”

AT THIS A FIGHT ENSUES WITH VARIOUS GUARDS (though none of the ones from the trip)

The Mystery of Gnome’s Feet

After the fight, all of the party will be interrogated separately and each left with a different question that is asked of them repeatedly which they will interpret as the question their interrogators want answered. HERE PLAYERS WIlL WRITE DOWN WHAT EACH NATION WANTS.

Tederick: The Cindkit Thieves Guild wants this question answered. Do you know the underground passage in Rose Pike? And can we trust the Dragonborn?

Franz: The Order of Gloryshard wants this question answered. Who or what is the true ruler/power in Rose Pike? And what happened to the previous two knights sent into Rose Pike to answer this?

Hans: The Nation of Arkthos wants this question answered. Who is funding the sale of Tiefling slaves in Rose Pike? Does the second son of Karvir have a new bride in return?

Mal Fizzlespark: The Wizards Guilds of Manmin wants this question answered. What type of magic are they hiding there?

After the interrogations are resolved, the players are apologized to, asked to bathe, and then warm themselves by a huge bonfire outside. They see the tiefling guard throwing the final remnants of their clothes and weapons onto the fire. He turns and smiles at them. Oddly, the skinny human guard stands behind him weeping as he gazes into the fire.

“Don’t mind them,” the elf says as he approaches your party, “The people of Rose Pike do not allow for any outside interference. Clothing. Weapons. And usually people, especially people, are not allowed the possibility to tamper with what they have built. But you, your group will be one of the few allowed in. There is a reason for the random nature of your party configuration; many would and many have tried to get inside Rose Pike. We had to be extra careful that none of you had been compromised, and in this case, any prior knowledge of Rose Pike would compromise what you are about to see… or do.”

The party is then attacked from the woods by arrows and it is revealed that their dwarf companion has just barely escaped with his life. So who is the dwarf that has been with him? Is he the real Rikki Jankus or this wounded version?

When the party investigated the house they find that it is some time loop, and much to their chagrin they can not seem to get the right combination of events to keep everyone alive. They decide to let the elf leader of the waystation remain dead from his combat with their attacker’s who reveal themselves to be women… but NOT the women of Rose Pike. Apparently they have been fooling the people at the way station for some time, misdirecting them with false information but have decided to reveal themselves once they became aware of the fact that your party planned to enter. And so all of you go off into the woods on the way to and underground tunnel that these Rose Pike imposters promise will lead you to the city.

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