Chapter 14: Visionaries (OOC)

605 posts / 0 new
Last post
Fixxxer
Fixxxer's picture

It's little wonder that some people think Chuul and Alannah are a thing.

Board Rider
Board Rider's picture

My apologies. I have been moving and have only been online sporadically. Back at it gents.

As an aside is the previously divided loot still the same since the gnome is still in the party? I really need to update loot and get to buying stuff.

Talanall
Talanall's picture

I hope the move went well.

The gnome was an NPC while the loot was being acquired. So he's not counted into those totals, and will not be.

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

MinusInnocence
MinusInnocence's picture

Oskav misses all the best NPC interactions. Oh well, he's busy. But this is good news - this broad is saying it will take at least a week to dig anything up. Assuming there are no interruptions I should be just about done by then, give or take a day. And no matter how much everyone else agonizes over shopping decisions, the rest of the party should be ready to rock and roll when she's done too.

Talanall
Talanall's picture

MinusInnocence wrote:

this broad is saying it will take at least a week to dig anything up

She's saying that she's going to take a week's pay, and come back to report in a week or when she finds something notable, whichever comes first. So it might take her less than a week, but if she expected it to be a lot less one might think she'd just make you pay her every morning and do the job day-to-day.

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

Darker

I'm like to say before this or right after, Alannah returned to the temple to ask the temple researcher that Burke referred to about the libraries that she and Gallielle (and Oskav if willing when he finishes) were going to go spend some time in while the rest of the group snooped more or whatnot.

Talanall
Talanall's picture

Right after works. Do you want to do it in character, or out?

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

Darker

Though it has the potential for disaster, OOC works. Since Burke apologized, Alannah's opinion of the temple and the man himself has greatly improved. Being more or less a constant bitch means she doesn't get many apologies, so the effect was dramatic. Her opinion of gods and their followers still isn't much better, but she's going to accept help in this case regardless, so chances for interesting interchanges is reduced.

deadDMwalking
deadDMwalking's picture

Did Avar pay?

Board Rider
Board Rider's picture

Avar will pay. I will need to go back and get a better idea of how much money I have to buy something

Board Rider
Board Rider's picture

Talanall wrote:

I hope the move went well.

The gnome was an NPC while the loot was being acquired. So he's not counted into those totals, and will not be.


It did, thanks. Moved into my first house which has been a long time coming. As I am sure you know there are about a million little things to check off. I appreciate the clarification of your post.
Talanall
Talanall's picture

Darker wrote:

to ask the temple researcher that Burke referred to about the libraries that she and Gallielle (and Oskav if willing when he finishes) were going to go spend some time in while the rest of the group snooped more or whatnot

What specific topics does she indicate as areas of interest?

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

Talanall
Talanall's picture

Clarification: I know she wants to know about night hags, Merenstone Hope I, and maybe lycanthropes. But if there are specific questions in her mind, the librarian will want to know what they are.

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

Darker

Sure. She has some questions:

What happened to Merestone Hope I?
Who's this Virgil Cole Guy?
What happened to the others of their merry, cursed band?
What's the possibility of the Big Bad Zoro Hag being alive?
Is there magic that could trap a Hag?
Who has gone to her fortress since she was "killed"?
Any records of sages that studied it?
All about hag curses -- particularly, can they cause Lycanthropy?
Do Hags have a weakness?
What happens to their their heartstones when they die?
Can they go dead or dormant and what can wake them??
Are they tied to a certain hag?
What happened to Big Bad Zoro Hag's stone?
What kind of terrain is around the fortress and exactly how far is it and what kind of ground would be covered?
What supplies to take with them?
Any information on artifacts or magic specifically related to lycanthropes?
Anything about the necklace Virgil wore or any items or artifacts that were similar in appearance?
All about bone carving magic items.
Any records of rifts opening and big bad dragons coming out?
Any spells for protection or to damage lycanthropes (like the silver item making one?).
Are there any snake or lizard lycanthropes?
Anyone done studies about the local mob/wererats? A tell-all ethnography?

Talanall
Talanall's picture

Some of those questions appear under more than one heading in the listings below. Depending on the question, getting a complete answer may require successful checks under multiple Knowledge disciplines.

In all cases, the libraries noted below confer a circumstance bonus.

Research in a library is a function of its size and quality. Better libraries have more material, but it takes longer to find what you're looking for.

Knowledge (history)
The best library in the city for research pertaining to its founders and early history undoubtedly would be the archives at the ducal palace, since it contains original documents from the period. The Ducal Archive would confer a +8 bonus to Knowledge (history) checks for questions #1-3, below. For other inquiries, it is "only" capable of granting a +6 bonus. Finding pertinent material on a query takes 1d4+4 hours.

There also is a variety of private artwork which may include depictions of key figures from the early history of Port Hope. If this Cole person was a boon companion of the city's namesake, and he was known for his fancy bone necklace, then perhaps there's a picture of him in there. Getting access to the artwork may take some wheeling, since the palace is an official building that also serves as a private residence.

Coming in at a distant second place would be the Temple of Agon, which really is better if you're interested in genealogy [Knowledge (nobility and royalty)] or legal matters [Knowledge (local)]; it would confer a +6 bonus to either of those topics. But it also includes chronicles and things of that nature, and would provide a +4 bonus for Knowledge (history). Finding pertinent material takes 1d6-2 hours.

There's also a private library belonging to Sir Sirvian, a baronet who's got a reputation as a local historian, but it's kind of a hodgepodge of material and he's widely regarded as an eccentric. His library would confer a +2 bonus. Finding relevant material takes 6d20 minutes.

  1. What happened to Merestone Hope I?
  2. Who's this Virgil Cole guy?
  3. What happened to the others of their merry, cursed band?
  4. Anything about the necklace Virgil wore or any items or artifacts that were similar in appearance?
  5. Who has gone to Zoratadya's fortress since she was "killed?"

Knowledge (the planes)
The best library in the city for planar lore is privately held by Wist Howe, the Earl of Greyden, who is arguably the most skilled arcanist living in Port Hope. He usually has nothing to do with ordinary people outside of his household servants. Persistent rumors suggest that he has a habit of turning them into fish when they displease him, so that may be just as well. In addition to being maniacally focused on his arcane studies, the earl is an extremely old man. Most of the family's day-to-day business is managed by his son and heir, Wisten Howe, who isn't exactly a young man himself. The younger Howe is reputedly some kind of second-rate magus in his own right, but he's better known as an incorrigible lecher. There's also a grandson, who Alannah is pretty sure was being considered as a marriage match for her before she put a stop to such nonsense by running off. The Greyden Library confers a +4 circumstance bonus to Knowledge (the planes) checks. Finding sources takes 1d6-1 hours.

The library at the Temple of Derena is the next best resource, conferring a +2 bonus to Knowledge (the planes) checks. Checks require 6d20 minutes.

  1. What's the possibility of the Big Bad Zoro Hag being alive?
  2. Do Hags have a weakness?
  3. What happens to their their heartstones when they die?
  4. Can they go dead or dormant and what can wake them??
  5. Are they tied to a certain hag?
  6. What happened to Big Bad Zoro Hag's stone?
  7. All about hag curses--particularly, can they cause lycanthropy?
  8. Any records of rifts opening and big bad dragons coming out?
  9. What kind of terrain is around the fortress and exactly how far is it and what kind of ground would be covered?
  10. Who has gone to Zoratadya's fortress since she was "killed?"
  11. What supplies to take with them?

Knowledge (arcana)
The Greyden Library shows up here, as well, offering a +6 bonus to Knowledge (arcana) checks. Many of the volumes contained in Wist Howe's collection are reputedly unique, and rumor has it that he may even include some notable grimoires other than his own. Those would certainly be kept under lock and key. Checks require 1d4+4 hours.

House Alastar is reputed to have a library that's nearly as good as the Greyden. Alannah is probably gratified to note that the librarian doesn't know who she is; sadly the librarian also is right; her family DOES have an excellent collection. Getting access to it would require her to make contact with her family, but it would confer a +4 bonus to her checks. Checks require 1d6-2 hours.

Finally, various wizard, sorcerers, and lorekeepers scattered around the city have small, relatively unremarkable libraries that would confer a +2 bonus. Checks call for 6d20 minutes of research.

Often these figures are members of an arcane society that (in aggregate) has a much nicer collection, but getting hold of the specific sources you need is a lengthy process that involves much visiting, gossip, handshaking, and so forth. If you had more time, joining an arcane society and chasing down the best sources could yield a bonus rivaling the Greyden collection. But you're in a rush by the standards of arcane scholarship, so you hardly have 1d6+2 days to spend on each check.

  1. Is there magic that could trap a hag?
  2. Anything about the necklace Virgil wore or any items or artifacts that were similar in appearance?
  3. All about bone carving magic items.
  4. Any records of rifts opening and big bad dragons coming out?
  5. All about hag curses--particularly, can they cause lycanthropy?
  6. Any information on artifacts or magic specifically related to lycanthropes?
  7. Any spells for protection or to damage lycanthropes (like the silver item making one?).

Knowledge (nature)
People don't think of cities as being places that have druids in residence, but that's not really true. The Blight Wardens are a druidic order that concerns itself with fighting the spread of disease, which is often an urban issue. They have a chapter in Port Hope, and it maintains a surprisingly good library if you're interested in naturalism and related topics. Their collection would confer a +4 bonus to Knowledge (nature) checks, and would also be useful for inquiries for Knowledge (geography). Checks take 1d6-2 hours.

The Temple of Derena has a modest library on natural topics, conferring a +2 bonus for Knowledge (nature). Checks take 6d20 minutes.

  1. All about hag curses--particularly, can they cause lycanthropy?
  2. Any information on artifacts or magic specifically related to lycanthropes?
  3. Any spells for protection or to damage lycanthropes (like the silver item making one?).
  4. Are there any snake or lizard lycanthropes?
  5. Anyone done studies about the local mob/wererats? A tell-all ethnography?

Knowledge (geography)
As previously noted, the Blight Warden druids maintain what is probably the city's best resource for this topic, offering a +4 bonus on checks that requires 1d6-2 hours to obtain.

The Church of Oceus is another possibility; the solar god is concerned with travel even though his clergy are not itinerant. The local temple to Oceus has a reasonably good collection of maps, geography texts, and similar material, offering a +4 bonus after 1d6-2 hours of work.

The Church of Herenus also keeps a collection of maps and travelogues. It's poorly organized because it's maintained by whatever Herenar clergy are passing through the area, many of whom are not scholars, and it would be more appropriate for geography pertaining to nautical concerns and the weather, but it would still confer a +2 bonus. Finding what you want would be a real chore, taking 1d2 hours.

  1. What kind of terrain is around the fortress and exactly how far is it and what kind of ground would be covered?
  2. What supplies to take with them?

Needs clarification
Is "it" Zoratadya's fortress, or magic having to do with trapping a hag, or something else?

  • Any records of sages that studied it?

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

Darker

To clarify, "it" refers to Zora's fortress. Has any sage studied Zora's fortress? Mostly looking for maps, lists of dangers, unusual phenomena, etc.

Alannah will also take other questions that the party things are pertinent or interesting. This is just what I could think of off the top of my head, others might have questions as well.

I assumed the best strategy would be for each of the researchers to make their own checks to increase the chances for huge insights... but is there a benefit in doing aid another for the time to research? Like will it decrease the time roll? Gallielle and Alannah (and Oskav) all have such high bonuses, a +2 from aid another doesn't really seem like that much of a bonus... and most of them can get to a 10 without rolling with the library bonus counted in.

Also, does the use of a library count give additional checks? As in, each researcher can make one check per question per library or is it just one check per question per researcher?

Talanall
Talanall's picture

Darker wrote:

To clarify, "it" refers to Zora's fortress. Has any sage studied Zora's fortress? Mostly looking for maps, lists of dangers, unusual phenomena, etc.

Thank you. Noted.
Quote:

Alannah will also take other questions that the party things are pertinent or interesting. This is just what I could think of off the top of my head, others might have questions as well.

Again noted. If any of your characters think of stuff, please speak up so it can be added to the list.
Quote:

I assumed the best strategy would be for each of the researchers to make their own checks to increase the chances for huge insights... but is there a benefit in doing aid another for the time to research? Like will it decrease the time roll? Gallielle and Alannah (and Oskav) all have such high bonuses, a +2 from aid another doesn't really seem like that much of a bonus... and most of them can get to a 10 without rolling with the library bonus counted in.

Nothing that's readily available to the PCs will decrease the time expenditures for this project. The figures cited assume that the PCs are relying on whatever librarians and other assistants are available to help them navigate the stacks. In most of the cases I've described above, the librarian is really either the owner, or a priest or druid whose duties include keeping up with the collection. A "library" in this context really is a small room, or even just a large shelf, of texts references on the same general discipline.

Despite Markan's trick with the woodcut in the IC thread, Tolrea by and large is a pre-print world, so a library in the sense that we think of it today is quite rare. The ducal archive is the nearest thing to that, at the Mereflow Valley. Other rulers maintain similar repositories, and there are a few universities here and there which also have libraries in the modern sense.

Quote:

Also, does the use of a library count give additional checks? As in, each researcher can make one check per question per library or is it just one check per question per researcher?

If you fail in one library, you can go to a better one if there is one available and get a partial retry--calling upon the bigger library's resources, you spend the same amount of time as you would for a fresh check, but you don't re-roll the Knowledge check. You merely improve your result to reflect the bonus gained from the new library. It's potentially useful if your results in a smaller library lead you to think that you're close to a breakthrough.

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

Darker

Talanall wrote:
If you fail in one library, you can go to a better one if there is one available and get a partial retry--calling upon the bigger library's resources, you spend the same amount of time as you would for a fresh check, but you don't re-roll the Knowledge check. You merely improve your result to reflect the bonus gained from the new library. It's potentially useful if your results in a smaller library lead you to think that you're close to a breakthrough.

I want to make sure I have an understanding of this. Smaller collections are easier to look through, and it seems (with a few exceptions), have both smaller bonuses and take much less time to search before a check can be made. Though searching through all of them will take more time, it seems like the best tactic is to go to the library that is smallest, make a roll with its smaller bonus and see how well it turns out. If the roll stinks, it's not likely +2/+4 will make much of a difference, so spending more time at a larger library isn't likely to turn up anything. If the roll is great, it's not likely it's not likely +2/+4 will make much of a difference unless it bumps it to the next DC level (usually in tiers of 5). However, if the roll is mediocre, it may be worth the additional time, money, and favor investment to get to a better library.

For any particular question, I suppose it also makes sense if, for example, Alannah rolls a 1 for a religion knowledge check at a +2 library (for a total of 6) and spent an hour researching. She really isn't getting the subject matter. However, Gallielle rolls a 10 at same library, giving him a total check of 18. Now, at least Gallielle should go to a +4 library to take his check up to a 20. And while he's there, Alannah could research a different question at the better library during that same time since her own attempt failed so horribly it wouldn't make any sense for her to spend time improving her own check to an 8.

So many bonuses, checks, and decisions, its like combat. "I'll wield the Ducal library against the hag's hearthstone DC 20 question with a bonus of +6!"

MinusInnocence
MinusInnocence's picture

Until you know what your d20 roll is on the relevant Knowledge check, I think you're right. We would just be guessing about whether it's worth investing time, energy and maybe even money to secure the higher bonuses from the more comprehensive libraries.

However, unlike combat, we DO get to roll then decide whether or not we want to bother following up with a higher modifier after we see the result.

Darker

MI, is Oskav willing to help out once he's done with his own errands? And if so, what are his fields of expertise (that he's willing to speak about)? If he's down, I'm wondering if we should address questions that he's not going to be very good at first while he's still doing his own thing, or try to 3 rolls to research the questions we are all lower mods for, like nature or geography.

MinusInnocence
MinusInnocence's picture

He is more than willing to help out if after he's done in eight or nine days, the party isn't packed and ready to leave town yet. His strengths are arcana and religion and anything having to do with the castle Zoratadya lived in. The castle itself, specifically, although maybe some historical insights about who built it and what was there before or what surprises it might contain. He was apprenticed to a stonemason and knows all kinds of things about architecture.

Talanall
Talanall's picture

Darker wrote:

I want to make sure I have an understanding of this. Smaller collections are easier to look through, and it seems (with a few exceptions), have both smaller bonuses and take much less time to search before a check can be made.

You're tracking so far. The smaller libraries really are usually just a big bookcase full of essential reference works. Bigger collections have those, plus specialized material and a larger collection of general material (collections of letters, personal and professional journals kept by notable people, daily ledgers). The biggest collections have even more of this stuff. Your odds of finding something really useful are higher with a bigger collection--think about how often a history book quotes personal letters written between a politician and his family or friends, for example. But to find those nuggets, you spend a ton of time and effort reading about extraneous stuff that may be interesting, but isn't useful.
Quote:

Though searching through all of them will take more time, it seems like the best tactic is to go to the library that is smallest, make a roll with its smaller bonus and see how well it turns out. If the roll stinks, it's not likely +2/+4 will make much of a difference, so spending more time at a larger library isn't likely to turn up anything. If the roll is great, it's not likely it's not likely +2/+4 will make much of a difference unless it bumps it to the next DC level (usually in tiers of 5). However, if the roll is mediocre, it may be worth the additional time, money, and favor investment to get to a better library.

This is substantially correct. Using a library isn't going to turn Alannah into a highly competent theologian. However, keep in mind that although you can't take 20 on Knowledge checks, you CAN take 10. Alannah's intrinsic +4 to Knowledge (religion) checks is such that taking 10 normally isn't any good to her; DC 15 is a "basic"
question. A library makes it so she can reliably answer basic inquiries, since it lifts her to +6 and taking 10 gets her a 16. Most of the temples in Port Hope have better than basic libraries, though; the Derenar temple has one that yields a +6 bonus, for example. That would allow her to hit DC 20.

As a side note, although I do use tiers of 5 for Knowledge DCs, I often nudge the DC up or down by a point or two if I think that it makes sense in context.

Quote:

For any particular question, I suppose it also makes sense if, for example, Alannah rolls a 1 for a religion knowledge check at a +2 library (for a total of 6) and spent an hour researching. She really isn't getting the subject matter.

This result would typify what happens if Alannah were researching a difficult question and hoping to roll 20. She could just find herself adrift, confronted by her own stark inadequacy as a scholar. I fancy that she'd blame the shitty collection. If you're rolling a Knowledge check, that's an indication that you 1) need a better result than you can garner via take 10, and 2) have no other resources than yourself and the library's collection.

At this time I think it would be an unlikely scenario, since there are other PCs who have ranks in most of the major Knowledge skills. Her weaknesses are (mostly) covered now.

Quote:

However, Gallielle rolls a 10 at same library, giving him a total check of 18. Now, at least Gallielle should go to a +4 library to take his check up to a 20. And while he's there, Alannah could research a different question at the better library during that same time since her own attempt failed so horribly it wouldn't make any sense for her to spend time improving her own check to an 8.

So many bonuses, checks, and decisions, its like combat. "I'll wield the Ducal library against the hag's hearthstone DC 20 question with a bonus of +6!"


I would encourage you to think about this in terms of your overall priorities—what you NEED to know, versus what you merely would find useful or interesting. And orthogonally to that, which questions sound like they're the hardest to answer?

If it's an important question that you think is relatively easy (someone in the party could answer it by taking 10 at a basic library), then you may want to give that priority. At worst it takes you a couple of hours; at best it takes you literally a few minutes. Most inquiries will consume around an hour.

For Knowledge (planes) checks less than 25, it doesn't make sense to bother with a library at all; you both can hit 20 reliably. Gallielle can readily hit 25 with a basic library for this skill. The "why bother with a library" threshhold is different for different skills, of course, but I think the principle is clear.

If it's important and difficult, then maybe you invest the time to research it at the best available library, and if it's REALLY hard, maybe you actually roll the check. Or even double up. Example: Alannah has Knowledge (planes) at +11, and Gallielle has it at +14; there's a library that stacks +4 onto those for +16 and +18. If you suspect the DC may be 30 to 35, then one approach would be to have both Gallielle and Alannah roll checks; it's not an easy question for them even with a good library, but it's not a "cross your fingers and hope for a natural 20" scenario, either.

If it's not crucial and you think the DC is somewhere in the high teens or low twenties, then possibly you leave it until after you handle the pressing inquiries, and then decide how to proceed. Or, depending on the topic, you can refer the matter to Avar, Garren or Georgie. Between them, they have decent modifiers for Knowledge (dungeoneering, geography, local, nature, and religion). Mostly these are in the +4 to +6 range, but Georgie can actually hit 20 via take 10 on Knowledge (nature) checks if you put him in a basic library.

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

deadDMwalking
deadDMwalking's picture

OOOH! Question.

Can we take 10 on ALL THE QUESTIONS without a library to see what we already know? Then only go research the ones that we don't already have answers to (rolling the appropriate check at the library)? Or would taking 10 without a library limit us to taking 10 WITH the library?

Edit - Secondary question... Can we roll a check for each question and then take a potion of +4 Int (giving us an additional +2 bonus) allowing us to make a NEW check since our modifier has changed?

Darker

Ok, that all sounds good. One concern -- I understand the strategic importance of taking the 10's vs. rolling based on the question DC; however, I'm not very good at assigning such things as a DM and worse at figuring them out as a player. Based on the character's knowledge of the field of study in general (maybe by virtue of having ranks in the knowledge skill applicable), can you provide DC's for the questions? Or a range?

Talanall
Talanall's picture

deadDMwalking wrote:

OOOH! Question.

Can we take 10 on ALL THE QUESTIONS without a library to see what we already know? Then only go research the ones that we don't already have answers to (rolling the appropriate check at the library)? Or would taking 10 without a library limit us to taking 10 WITH the library?

Edit - Secondary question... Can we roll a check for each question and then take a potion of +4 Int (giving us an additional +2 bonus) allowing us to make a NEW check since our modifier has changed?

If you take 10 on a question, you're stuck with that. A library just changes the modifier combined with your 10.

And no, a potion of fox's cunning is no good to you for this. You can't re-roll a Knowledge check until you gain new ranks in the pertinent skill.

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

MinusInnocence
MinusInnocence's picture

Y'all some straight up cheaters

deadDMwalking
deadDMwalking's picture

A d20 is awfully swingy. I know Darker's an academic and I'm married to one - we have a professional interest in being as close to sure as finding out what we need to know. It's hard to apply for a new grant if you have to explain that you found nothing relevant with your last research trip.

In any case, if we have 2 or more people with a +5 bonus, I say each one rolls an independent check. They could both roll low (~25%), could both roll high (~25%), or one high/one low (~50%) so that gives us pretty good odds of getting a high roll. It's better with 3 people. We'd have a 65% chance of rolling a 15 or better.

Talanall
Talanall's picture

If you don't like the swinginess of a d20, then take 10.

I'm not going to give you DCs, but I'll at least offer some guidance in terms of difficulty, from "no brainer; practically common knowledge" to "I'm pretty sure I can work this out, but I want to check references" to "I have no idea if this is even knowable."

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

Darker

I was going to ask for that type of commentary, but that seemed pretty much the same as saying "Somewhere between a DC 20 to 30" once I assigned a value in my head to the qualitative measurements. So, sure -- give me the guidance and it'll at least help us figure out what we want to tackle first.

Talanall
Talanall's picture

Redux

Some of those questions appear under more than one heading in the listings below. Depending on the question, getting a complete answer may require successful checks under multiple Knowledge disciplines.

In all cases, the libraries noted below confer a circumstance bonus.

Research in a library is a function of its size and quality. Better libraries have more material, but it takes longer to find what you're looking for.

The difficulty of finding the information you want on a given question is denoted thus. Simple (probably doesn't require a library); Easy (reference works may be helpful to ensure a useful outcome); Advanced (reference works are necessary to be sure of accurate information); Complex (useful results aren't guaranteed even with reference materials); Obscure (finding a useful answer is unlikely even with the aid of a library).

For some questions, a higher result yields better outcomes. These are marked with a *; higher results yield additional pieces of usable information, typically based on increments of 2 or 5 points above the base difficulty required for success.

Knowledge (history)
The best library in the city for research pertaining to its founders and early history undoubtedly would be the archives at the ducal palace, since it contains original documents from the period. The Ducal Archive would confer a +8 bonus to Knowledge (history) checks for questions #1-3, below. For other inquiries, it is "only" capable of granting a +6 bonus. Finding pertinent material on a query takes 1d4+4 hours.

There also is a variety of private artwork which may include depictions of key figures from the early history of Port Hope. If this Cole person was a boon companion of the city's namesake, and he was known for his fancy bone necklace, then perhaps there's a picture of him in there. Getting access to the artwork may take some wheeling, since the palace is an official building that also serves as a private residence.

Coming in at a distant second place would be the Temple of Agon, which really is better if you're interested in genealogy [Knowledge (nobility and royalty)] or legal matters [Knowledge (local)]; it would confer a +6 bonus to either of those topics. But it also includes chronicles and things of that nature, and would provide a +4 bonus for Knowledge (history). Finding pertinent material takes 1d6-2 hours.

There's also a private library belonging to Sir Sirvian, a baronet who's got a reputation as a local historian, but it's kind of a hodgepodge of material and he's widely regarded as an eccentric. His library would confer a +2 bonus. Finding relevant material takes 6d20 minutes.

  1. Who has gone to Zoratadya's fortress since she was "killed?"
  2. Any records of sages that studied it?
  3. What happened to Merestone Hope I?
  4. Who's this Virgil Cole guy?*
  5. What happened to the others of their merry, cursed band?
  6. Anything about the necklace Virgil wore or any items or artifacts that were similar in appearance?

Knowledge (the planes)
The best library in the city for planar lore is privately held by Wist Howe, the Earl of Greyden, who is arguably the most skilled arcanist living in Port Hope. He usually has nothing to do with ordinary people outside of his household servants. Persistent rumors suggest that he has a habit of turning them into fish when they displease him, so that may be just as well. In addition to being maniacally focused on his arcane studies, the earl is an extremely old man. Most of the family's day-to-day business is managed by his son and heir, Wisten Howe, who isn't exactly a young man himself. The younger Howe is reputedly some kind of second-rate magus in his own right, but he's better known as an incorrigible lecher. There's also a grandson, who Alannah is pretty sure was being considered as a marriage match for her before she put a stop to such nonsense by running off. The Greyden Library confers a +4 circumstance bonus to Knowledge (the planes) checks. Finding sources takes 1d6-1 hours.

The library at the Temple of Derena is the next best resource, conferring a +2 bonus to Knowledge (the planes) checks. Checks require 6d20 minutes.

  1. What's the possibility of the Big Bad Zoro Hag being alive?
  2. Do [night] hags have a weakness?*
  3. What happens to their their heartstones when they die?
  4. Can they go dead or dormant and what can wake them??
  5. Are they tied to a certain hag?
  6. What happened to Big Bad Zoro Hag's stone?
  7. All about [night] hag curses--particularly, can they cause lycanthropy?*
  8. Any records of rifts opening and big bad dragons coming out?
  9. What kind of terrain is around the fortress and exactly how far is it and what kind of ground would be covered?
  10. Who has gone to Zoratadya's fortress since she was "killed?"
  11. What supplies to take with them?

Knowledge (arcana)
The Greyden Library shows up here, as well, offering a +6 bonus to Knowledge (arcana) checks. Many of the volumes contained in Wist Howe's collection are reputedly unique, and rumor has it that he may even include some notable grimoires other than his own. Those would certainly be kept under lock and key. Checks require 1d4+4 hours.

House Alastar is reputed to have a library that's nearly as good as the Greyden. Alannah is probably gratified to note that the librarian doesn't know who she is; sadly the librarian also is right; her family DOES have an excellent collection. Getting access to it would require her to make contact with her family, but it would confer a +4 bonus to her checks. Checks require 1d6-2 hours.

Finally, various wizard, sorcerers, and lorekeepers scattered around the city have small, relatively unremarkable libraries that would confer a +2 bonus. Checks call for 6d20 minutes of research.

Often these figures are members of an arcane society that (in aggregate) has a much nicer collection, but getting hold of the specific sources you need is a lengthy process that involves much visiting, gossip, handshaking, and so forth. If you had more time, joining an arcane society and chasing down the best sources could yield a bonus rivaling the Greyden collection. But you're in a rush by the standards of arcane scholarship, so you hardly have 1d6+2 days to spend on each check.

  1. Is there magic that could trap a hag?*
  2. Anything about the necklace Virgil wore or any items or artifacts that were similar in appearance?
  3. All about bone carving magic items.*
  4. Any records of rifts opening and big bad dragons coming out?
  5. All about [annis/green/night/sea] hag curses--particularly, can they cause lycanthropy?
  6. Any information on artifacts or magic specifically related to lycanthropes?*
  7. Any spells for protection or to damage lycanthropes*

Knowledge (nature)
People don't think of cities as being places that have druids in residence, but that's not really true. The Blight Wardens are a druidic order that concerns itself with fighting the spread of disease, which is often an urban issue. They have a chapter in Port Hope, and it maintains a surprisingly good library if you're interested in naturalism and related topics. Their collection would confer a +4 bonus to Knowledge (nature) checks, and would also be useful for inquiries for Knowledge (geography).

The Temple of Merthia's collection rivals that of the Blight Wardens, providing similar benefits. In either case, checks take 1d6-2 hours.

The Temple of Derena has a modest library on natural topics, conferring a +2 bonus for Knowledge (nature). Checks take 6d20 minutes.

  1. Do [annis/green/sea] hags have a weakness?*
  2. All about [annis/green/night/sea] hag curses--particularly, can they cause lycanthropy?
  3. Any information on artifacts or magic specifically related to lycanthropes?
  4. Any spells for protection or to damage lycanthropes
  5. Are there any snake or lizard lycanthropes?*
  6. Anyone done studies about the local mob/wererats?*

Knowledge (geography)
As previously noted, the Blight Warden druids maintain what is probably the city's best resource for this topic, offering a +4 bonus on checks that requires 1d6-2 hours to obtain.

The Church of Oceus is another possibility; the solar god is concerned with travel even though his clergy are not itinerant. The local temple to Oceus has a reasonably good collection of maps, geography texts, and similar material, offering a +4 bonus after 1d6-2 hours of work.

The Church of Herenus also keeps a collection of maps and travelogues. It's poorly organized because it's maintained by whatever Herenar clergy are passing through the area, many of whom are not scholars, and it would be more appropriate for geography pertaining to nautical concerns and the weather, but it would still confer a +2 bonus. Finding what you want would be a real chore, taking 1d2 hours.

  1. What kind of terrain is around the fortress and exactly how far is it and what kind of ground would be covered?
  2. What supplies to take with them?

Knowledge (religion)
The churches of Derena, Agon, Oceus, and Merthia all maintain libraries on religious and theological topics. The contents of the libraries are all roughly of equal quality, providing a +4 bonus to Knowledge (religion) checks. Checks conducted at any of these institutions require 1d6-2 hours of study.

The local shrine to Herenus includes a mishmash of ill-assorted texts on religious matters. For general Knowledge (religion) checks it affords a +2 bonus. This bonus rises to +4 for topics pertaining specifically to incorporeal undead, due to the Church of Herenus's involvement in the interment of the deceased. Consulting this library requires 1d2 hours.

  1. Any records of rifts opening and big bad dragons coming out?
  2. All about bone carving magic items.

Knowledge (local)
The Ducal Archive is the preeminent repository for lore having to do with lore having to do with local legends, laws, criminals and so forth. Consulting the Archive for Knowledge (local) checks confers a +6 bonus to the result, albeit at the cost of investing 1d4+4 hours of research into the task of sifting through its contents.

The Temple of Agon is a lesser but still useful source of commentary on topics of local interest, granting a +4 bonus to such checks at the cost of 1d6-2 hours of research.

The eccentric baronet and local historian, Sir Sirvian, maintains some texts on legal and criminal trials, mostly collections of old proclamations, personal journals, and court transcripta having to do with lurid crimes, scandals, and public upheavals over taxation and the like. It grants a +2 bonus to checks, requiring 6d20 minutes of research.

  1. Anyone done studies about the local mob/wererats?

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

Darker

Just to get the spread, I've compiled everyone's knowledge scores in another document. Looking at the first 2-3 days of research, I’ve come up with a plan that leaves most of the party free. I don’t know if untrained checks could be used to Aid Another or not, but if they can, others would be welcome to join the fun.

Knowledge (history) Alannah +7, Gallielle +11
Sir Sirvian's +2 library seems like a good place to start here -- researching all six of the history questions would only take a maximum of 12 hours (with an average of 6 hours and 18 minutes). Alannah and Gallielle would be the only scholars in the area, so they can do this while others are doing whatever. Alannah would put on her sweetest face and take a 10 on her diplomacy for a 24 to get access to the library. Gallielle can hit 23 here with a 10 (for most questions) and likely know if he needs to go to the temple of Agon or 27/29 at the Ducal archive for more info. He and Alannah could take 10s on the first 2 questions and split them up, cutting down the time. For question 3, Alannah could do an assist another check with Gallielle rolling with a chance to hit a jackpot. For the rest, Gallielle could take a 10 and Alannah could roll for the check for a chance to hit a higher number.

Knowledge (the planes) Alannah +11, Gallielle +14, Avar +2
The Temple of Derena’s library +2 library makes sense here, especially since access to it will likely be easy (and at the time Alannah is getting this info, she’s already there). So far, there’s 11 questions here. I’m guessing Chuul might be interested in some related to Cole getting back to our plane or us getting to him, so there may be a few more added. With what we have, could take a maximum of 22 hours to search here, with an average of 11 hours and 33 minutes. Doable in a long day, but could take two if rolls are poor. Alannah and Gallielle could take 10’s on 9 and 11 and split them up, saving a bit of time.
For the rest, the same strategy as before, with Gallielle hitting 26 with a 10 on most questions and Alanah rolling. If Avar was free and wants to help, he could succeed in an assist another roll 75% of the time to add a +2 bonus to either scholar. For question 1, Alannah could do an assist another check with Gallielle rolling with a chance to hit a jackpot.

Here’s the rest of the scores for the other questions. Nature and Acana will be big topics, the rest should be much quicker to cover and easier to answer

Knowledge (nature) Alannah +3, Georgie +8, Chuul +3, Garren +5
Knowledge (geography) Georgie +5, Gallielle +8, Chuul +1
Knowledge (local) Alannah +3, Oskav +6, Georgie +4, Avar +5
Knowledge (arcana) Gallielle +14, Oskav +13, Alannah +12
Knowledge (religion) Chuul +2, Garren +5, Alannah +3, Oskav +13, Gallielle +6, Avar +6

Board Rider
Board Rider's picture

Some housekeeping for Avar. Tal please review if this looks right:
Loot Share: 2227 gp, 5 sp
Tithe: 200
Copper Crosier Rent for 7 days: 14gp
2 meals at the CC each day for 7 days, drinks, and incidentals: 10gp
Markan: 88gp
Hoping that dropping 88 gold to Markan without blinking urges her to drain Avar's big, golden, balls: Priceless (couldn't help it)

Remaining: 1,915gp

Also, rolls to help.

Board Rider
Board Rider's picture

Hmmm...roller didn't roll.

K: Planes; K: Religion
I rolled 1d20+2, the result is 11, 2 = 13.
I rolled 1d20+6, the result is 9, 6 = 15.
Talanall
Talanall's picture

Board Rider wrote:

Loot Share: 2227 gp, 5 sp
2227 gp, 5 cp.

Quote:

Tithe: 200
Copper Crosier Rent for 7 days: 14gp
2 meals at the CC each day for 7 days, drinks, and incidentals: 10gp
This is correctly tabulated, but keep in mind that one meal per day is included with the cost of a room. If Avar is a 3 squares a day kind of guy, then by all means keep this total; if he is a two-a-day guy, drop the meals and incidentals down to 5 gp.

Everything else looks accurate.

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

Board Rider
Board Rider's picture

Noted. I will drop the food to 5gp.

So 1,920, 5cp.

Are you willing to approve the Healing Belt in the Magic Item Compendium pg. 110, the least Crystal of Arrow Deflection (pg. 25), and 2 vials of silversheen?

Talanall
Talanall's picture

The belt is a firm no. It's priced like a wand of cure light wounds but lasts perpetually, heals more damage per charge, and grants a skill bonus.

Ditto the crystal. It provides an untyped bonus to AC, albeit limited to work against only a certain class of attack roll, but it doesn't eat a magic item slot and it only costs 500 gp.

Silversheen's core, and therefore it's fine.

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

Talanall
Talanall's picture

Since it doesn't look like anyone has further Knowledge queries to add to our list, I guess we'll get started with the list. I suppose that your results might lead to further inquiries, but we'll deal with that as it comes along. What's the first question, and how're you approaching it in terms of rolling/taking 10 and choice of library?

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

Darker

Sir Sirvian's +2 library and the subject of History. (Alannah +7, Gallielle +11)

1. Who has gone to Zoratadya's fortress since she was "killed?"
Alannah will solo this with a 10, for a 19.

2. Any records of sages that studied it?
Gallielle will solo this question with a 10, for a 23.

3. What happened to Merestone Hope I?
Alannah will assist another and Gallielle will gamble with a roll.

4. Who's this Virgil Cole guy?*
Gallielle will take a 10 and Alannah will gamble with a roll.

5. What happened to the others of their merry, cursed band?
Gallielle will take a 10 and Alannah will gamble with a roll.

6. Anything about the necklace Virgil wore or any items or artifacts that were similar in appearance?
Gallielle will take a 10 and Alannah will gamble with a roll.

If Bardic Knowledge helps on any of these, let me know and I'll roll. For simplicity, I'd ask you to roll the time for each question, but I can do it as well.

Assist on 3; Answer 4; Answer 5; Answer 6
I rolled 1d20+9, the result is 13, 9 = 22.
I rolled 1d20+9, the result is 9, 9 = 18.
I rolled 1d20+9, the result is 14, 9 = 23.
I rolled 1d20+9, the result is 6, 9 = 15.
Talanall
Talanall's picture

I guess I also should verify that @Nofortunateone is still playing in this game. It's been weeks since I heard anything out of him in either the OOC or the IC threads, and if he's not going to participate actively in this game, then I'm turning him into an NPC.

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

Board Rider
Board Rider's picture

Talanall wrote:

The belt is a firm no. It's priced like a wand of cure light wounds but lasts perpetually, heals more damage per charge, and grants a skill bonus.

Ditto the crystal. It provides an untyped bonus to AC, albeit limited to work against only a certain class of attack roll, but it doesn't eat a magic item slot and it only costs 500 gp.

Silversheen's core, and therefore it's fine.


Groovy. What would he the cost to get Avar an item that allows him to comprehend and communicate in languages he doesn't know? There is a pearl in the Magic Item Compendium which may work but what are your thoughts on something custom?
Talanall
Talanall's picture

What kind of communication, and does it need to be two-way or one-way? In how many languages?
Unlimited use, or just X hours/minutes/rounds per day?

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

Darker

And it should be an enchanted pair of pants... so whenever it's functioning, it sounds like he's talking out of his ass!

Board Rider
Board Rider's picture

Darker wrote:

And it should be an enchanted pair of pants... so whenever it's functioning, it sounds like he's talking out of his ass!


Hahaha.

I was thinking telepathic would be cool but probably pricey. I would prefer two way communication. Practically speaking, I think two or three uses a day for minutes in duration would suffice.

If something like a cheaper version of the Helm of Comprehend Languages and Read Magic is available that would be great. I don't need the Read Magic or skill bonus. Maybe some similar with limited use.

Darker

The problem is that you are working with an item that can be made with the Tongues spell. A bard can cast it at 2nd level, but they aren't known for making magic items, so the price would likely be a wizard, who would be casting it at 3rd level. That means it'll be a 5th level wizard casting a third level spell, giving you a base multipler of 15. An item that could be used 3 times per day and take up space for an item, like a necklace, would be 1,200 gp I think, then times the 15 -- that'd be around 18k. It would last for 50 minutes a use.

Now, just to comprehend languages, you might do for 1,200 (its a 1st level spell, only need to be 1st level to cast it), and 3 times per day taking up an item slot. It'd last for 10 minutes a use. But you couldn't speak the language, just understand it.

Board Rider
Board Rider's picture

That may be enough.

Talanall
Talanall's picture

It would be relatively easy to get you a magical item that would allow you to speak and understand any language. The simplest approach would yield something along the following lines.

Sallet of Assimilation
This simple helmet has an open front that allows the wearer's face to be clearly visible, and is imbued with magic to improve his ability to understand the speech of prospective opponents and allies. When the command word is spoken, the sallet of assimilation allows the wearer to understand (but not be understood by) any creature that has a spoken language as if affected by the tongues spell. Speaking the command word a second time ends the effect. The helm may be used for up to 50 minutes per day, which need not be continuous.

Faint divination; CL 5th; Craft Wondrous Item, tongues; Price 1,700 gp; Weight 3 lb.

If you wanted it to work for just 30 minutes per day, I'd be willing to drop the price to 920 gp. In such a case, the activation would still be via command word, but you'd just use up the whole duration instead of turning it off and on.

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

Talanall
Talanall's picture

Edited the foregoing for clarity.

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

Darker

Ok, where in the world did my math go wrong?

Talanall
Talanall's picture

I've no idea. Mine was (3 * 5 * 1800)/5 = 5400. Pretty standard command-word activation for 1/day. I shuffled it up to make it discontinuous use instead of just duplicating the spell directly, because it seemed kinda dumb to waste almost an hour's worth of effect if the discussion only lasts 30 seconds.

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

Darker

Ah, I was doing an x3 per day... so three times that price.

Pages