In our third episode, the party seeks information about a passage censored from a book once owned by Orianna Selestine, Ember’s deceased Druid master. We meet a bard named Miv over dinner and are treated to a demonstration of their skill at playing the mountain dulcimer; attempt to connect to our own inner divinitory potential; terrify yet another gnome (this time in a city park); and formulate conspiracy theories about the monarchs of Kyonin and Brastlewark being romantically involved with the same dragon. With minds like ours, who needs tabloids in Golarion?
Content notices for this episode include: strong language; discussions of offscreen character death; and implied violence to an Awakened animal as part of backstory.
For updates and sneak peeks, follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr @Chromythica, or visit our website at www.chromythica.com.
This episode was recorded and produced on unceded Lisjan Ohlone land. We give our great respect to the Lisjan Ohlone and the Indigenous peoples of all the places that you, our audience, are tuning in from. The lands that we are on have always been and will always be Indigenous lands. For more information about how you can support Lisjan Ohlone land reclamation, please visit https://sogoreate-landtrust.org.
Chromythica Team Members:
Justin Brown (Ember): Artistic Director
Fairuz Rougeaux (Temerity Vane): Producer & Creative Director
Alex Rudy (Professor Z): Technical Director
Esther Wallace (GM): Creative Director, Lorekeeper, and Executive Producer
David Yamashiro (Oom Gildrose): Production Advisor
What is Chromythica?
Two gnomes, a tief-elf, and a talking dog walk into a bakery. This is their story.
Chromythica is a Pathfinder 2e actual play campaign about belonging, community, and the process of making meaning out of complex situations. Come for friends having boisterous fun, stay for the journey we go on together!
Esther: This episode was recorded and produced on Lisjan Ohlone land.
To learn more about Lisjan Ohlone land reclamation and rematriation
efforts, please refer to the information in our episode description.
Content notices for this episode include:
Strong language; discussions of offscreen character death; and
implied violence to an Awakened animal as part of backstory.
Transcripts for all our episodes are available at our website, chromythica.com.
Hello and welcome to Chromythica!
We are a Pathfinder 2E actual play, semi-homebrewed and set in the world of Golarion.
And I am your GM, Esther Wallace.
I use she/her and zhe/zher pronouns, and I am so excited to be with you all today!
Before we dive into today's game, I'm going to ask my
wonderful players to go around and introduce themselves.
Fai: I am Fairuz Rougeaux.
I use she and they pronouns and I will be playing Temerity Vane, our Rogue.
Justin: I'm Justin Brown.
I use he/him pronouns and I will be playing Ember, our Barbarian Oracle.
Alex: I'm Alex.
I use they/them pronouns and I will be playing Professor
Z, a gnomish professor and his contraption, Buster.
David: Hi, I'm David.
I use he/him pronouns, and I play Oom, our party's gnome Sorcerer, who uses any combination of
she, him, or they pronouns and Oom's pseudodragon familiar Nommie, who uses he/him pronouns.
Esther: It's good to have you all here.
Fai: It's great to be here.
Esther: So I thought we could start today with a warm up question.
And that warm up question is: do you have any daily rituals or routines?
And if so, what are they?
Justin: I can go.
Fai: You got to!
Justin: I know.
"When I wake up, I stretch and yawn and when I am hungry, I go eat.
And before I travel, I sit and I stare for a moment because that is what my master did."
Fai: Uh, I'll go next, I guess.
Morning routine is the question, right?
Esther: Any kind of daily rituals, morning, evening, something you do every day.
Fai: "The most important parts of the morning routine is oral hygiene."
Esther: You know, Temerity makes a really compelling point there.
Fai: It's true.
It's one that I wish I could better internalize.
That's all I'm saying!
Alex: So Professor Z in, academic fashion always has to, you know, read
a good paper in the morning, but he does so, on his walk to the bakery,
and there he picks up a breakfast item and then goes off to the office.
David: I think for Oom and Nommie, it's, it's really
being in touch with their emotions, for both of them.
They don't have a set ritual, but it's all about feeling where they are in
that particular moment, and just recognizing that it's okay to feel that way.
So, for Oom especially, I think sometimes, she just
attributes a certain color to how she's feeling for the day.
So, you know, sometimes you feel a little strawberry red, sometimes a little bit cabernet.
All just depends.
Esther: I love it.
Well, on that note, let's revisit what's been going on in your lives over the past day or so.
You all came together in the city of Brastlewark, which
Professor Z is your home and Ember, it has been your home.
And now you've come back to it.
And you gathered at Selestine Bakery where you all learned that either
you recognized and had previous associations with Ember and his former
master Orianna Selestine, or you were somehow connected to this story.
And you began to wonder how Ember who had previously been a regular dog, a very good boy,
but a dog who couldn't talk or have sentience in the way that we think about sentience,
how he came to be awakened and how his former master Orianna came to die at the same time.
And what the relationship of those two events might be, what it all might mean.
So you journeyed to the Selestine Cottage on the outskirts of Brastlewark, where
you took in a beautiful mural that Orianna's wife, Mira had painted on the wall.
And this was a mural of various locations that had been important in
Orianna's research into leylines and nature and balance in her druidic work.
You understood that she had a particular sort of cipher or series of marks she
would make that indicated when she had been to one location, a location she
wanted to visit, and when she wanted to return to a location she had visited.
And while you were at the cottage, you also met with, uh, Orianna and Mira's
nephew Tavi, who is the current proprietor of Mira's bakeshop in her absence.
Tavi's told you that his Aunt Mira, who was filled with grief and rage and a powerful gumption
in the wake of her wife's death, has begun visiting places that Orianna went to in life, in
search of clues about who could have taken her wife's life and how she might locate these people.
He thinks she will be writing or returning in person in about
two weeks or 10 days or so around the Festival of Flight.
So you've all decided to hang around Brastlewark until then to see if Mira will be sending word.
Tavi was also a little suspicious of Oom and Oom's previous relationship
with Ember, but seems to trust you enough after some conversation.
And Tavi asked Professor Z to look after Ember.
I think it was Oom who also took a book from Orianna's
library, with Tavi's permission, about the Whisperwood.
And we'll get to that in a moment.
So on coming back into town and passing The Scholarium, which is this academic
institution that kind of, oversees and administers all the other many institutes
of learning in Brastlewark you discovered that various academics and community
members were being set upon by a Cobbleswarm and several Ooze Mephits.
You really swiftly dealt with these disruptions and were thanked by
Parmenius Revenill, who Professor Z knows is the Chair of The Scholarium.
And Parmenius took an interest in Ember and invited you into his
office to discuss how exactly Ember might have been Awakened.
Ember, you told Parmenius that you met "Friend Dragon" when Orianna
died, and that Friend Dragon smelled of smoke, fire, and death.
The rest of the party was able to inform Parmenius that you were awakened in the Whisperwood.
He suggested that your awakening may have something to do with, in his words, 'the powers of Hell.'
He had a few theories about what might've happened.
He said that it's possible a powerful dragon might have performed an Awaken ritual.
That a powerful spellcaster could call on particular magics to do something like Awaken an animal.
Could have been a spontaneous magical event-- you were in the right place at the right
time with the right combination of things happening, and that's hard to replicate.
Or it could have been some kind of powerful entity: a god, a demigod, a fey or elemental being.
And Parmenius said it's unclear what their purpose would be for Awakening a dog.
He said, "my guess is that someone did this for some
purpose, that there was some kind of ritual involved."
And he promised he'll see what kind of research he can do, but that his schedule is busy and
he may not be able to spend too much time on this, so he invited you to use the libraries of
The Scholarium and all its affiliated institutions to do your own research and suggested that
you might be asked to do a few favors for people in exchange for access to these libraries.
But he'll spread the word that you're gonna be around.
After you met with Parmenius, you decided to do a little research in The Scholarium building itself.
Temerity, you looked at leylines, and you learned not every leyline in the world has been mapped.
There were some leylines traced on the map mural in Orianna and Mira's home.
And the Whisperwood is rich with leylines.
Some leylines are fainter than others in terms of magical energy they put into
the world and certain places on leylines may have ties to a particular Plane or
type of magical energy, and it may not span the whole line, but sometimes it does.
The Whisperwood lines are particularly Infernally attuned.
Oom, you looked through some books on the Whisperwood and you learned it
is a forest in Cheliax, a few hundred miles to the west of Brastlewark.
It's home to various monsters and a rumored portal to Hell itself.
It's odd, there was a footnote, a little, uh, asterisk in this book,
with a word blurred out and the footnote has also been blurred out.
Something about "while there has been rumor of the dragon" and it's
like a name has been struck from the book and whatever information
about this name was contained has also been wiped out of the footnote.
And that's where we left things.
Oh, one more important happenstance.
Ember, you smelled a sandwich and you really wanted this sandwich.
The librarian caught you in the act.
You were scolded.
You were not able to obtain the sandwich, and it was a sad moment.
So you've taken a few hours to comb through these books...
try to get the sandwich...
it's probably getting late in the afternoon.
Let's have everybody roll a Perception check as the first roll of the game.
Esther: Yeah, actually it doesn't really matter for this one.
I'm still waiting on Temerity's, but everyone else, you
will notice Parmenius himself coming down the stairs.
He has some very thick books, like a stack of books in one arm.
And, sort of in one, one hand is a little pouch and he'll make his way
to your table and say, "I forgot to pay you for your services earlier.
And this should be enough to get you started in Brastlewark with some research and some materials."
You will get 20 gold each.
"These, these books are some of the literature reviews that
Z was asking about last time on dragons and Draconic Studies.
Now I don't have my way -- time to make my way through all of them, but if
you want to begin looking through them, I was able to locate a few materials.
Now I will do as much as I can for you.
I'll be in touch or you can drop by and see me.
You have my assistant schedule some time between my many meetings.
I wish you luck in your investigation and I will do what I can to help you."
Justin: Did we get 60 gold or 80 gold?
Did he count me as a person?
Esther: He counted you as a person.
I will give my gold to Temerity.
Just kind of like, drop the, like, slobbering coins in his hands.
I lack things like coin purses and/or hands.
Fai: And probably the ability to do math...
Justin: Many mercantile things I cannot do.
But with the money where it is, I will spend whatever
rest of the time we have with my head in Oom's lap.
David: I will enjoy giving pets.
Alex: What is, What is our plan...
Are we just sitting around here?
Justin: "If it is late, we can go back home."
Alex: "Which home would we go to?"
Justin: "There is only home."
Fai: Didn't the nephew--
Justin: Tavi, yes.
Fai: --tell Ember that, in sort of a rather pointed way, YOU
are welcome to stay here, but that didn't include any of us?
Fai: Well, somebody has a home.
It's just not the rest of us.
Well, somebody lives here, but two of us -- I mean,
I could probably just sleep in the woods or whatever.
It's where I'm from, so.
Alex: Well, are we looking to go to somebody's home for the night?
Like I'm legit asking, what are we trying to accomplish this afternoon?
Fai: We're still in afternoon times, right?
Esther: Late afternoon.
It's getting to be like 4:00 PM.
You're looking towards the evening.
Alex: Do we want to go rustle up some dinner?
Justin: "I like food."
Fai: Sure, I guess we could probably, we could probably talk, uh, theories over dinner.
Alex: What's the finest dog, food purveyor in Brastlewark?
Esther: Well, roll Society.
Esther: Alex asked, so I'm assuming Professor Z wants to know.
David: You would have the best knowledge of society in the area [giggles]...
Alex: Tell Justin what he knows first!
You were fed many meals by Orianna and Mira at home.
You would sit like a good boy by your bowl waiting for them to feed you.
And sometimes you would have to be told to sit down again because you
were so eager, but eventually they would always give you your food.
And it was very good.
Alex: I'm disappointed that that's not a story about, like,
a chicken bone Ember found once in a dumpster somewhere.
Justin: [Justin laughs]
Esther: You would remember going to the butcher, but, uh, that's--
we'll say, yeah, you just, you remember this one glorious dinner where
there was like a particular shank of meat and the smell was amazing.
You nommed it right up and then you kept that bone for a long time.
It may have been one that you were digging up in the yard.
That was a good meal.
"I do remember that once there was meat," he says very resolutely
Esther: Professor Z, in terms of, like, pet food, you would be familiar with the
butchers giving castoff scraps to owners of canines and various kinds of animals.
If you were thinking of an establishment that is
likely to feed a, an Awakened dog, you would probably--
Alex: I was thinking of an establishment that would feed all of us, really, but...
That would be willing to entertain an Awakened dog happily, no
questions asked, you're definitely thinking of Lilyfrost Inn and Tavern.
It's not that the fancier institutions in town would necessarily be UNwelcoming
to Ember, just, you feel like Lilyfrost Inn is, is a safe bet in this case.
Alex: Prof Z will suggest to the party that we, uh, get some dinner at the Lilyfrost Inn and Tavern.
Esther: Incidentally, Oom, that is where you stayed last night.
David: Sounds good to me.
Justin: Ember will stand up under the table and hit his head against it and make his way out.
Esther: There's nothing too remarkable on the way to the inn.
I mean, there's the hustle and bustle of Brastlewark, which
is always a wash of colors and interesting sensory input.
But no Cobbleswarms on the way!
So you can make your way there without much of an issue at all.
And you will see that the inn is close to the main bridge into Brastlewark across the River Brastle.
It's in the Riverside District, and it's a comforting looking building,
less-- less imposing than some of the stone academic institutions.
It's just a bit more homey.
Like wooden beams, making up some of the outside and a nice shingled roof.
And as you make your way in, you can notice the owner Vivi Lilyfrost,
standing behind the bar, probably gearing up for the evening dinner rush.
And, there will be many tables, wooden tables, low, mostly
the height of gnomes, but several larger sized tables as well.
And a staircase leading up to the beds and the more inn part of the Inn and Tavern.
Fai: I would never be so presumptuous as to make these gnomish folk sit at a table
that's too big for them, so if they head to a smaller one, I will follow them to it.
What say you, friends?
Justin: I know that to be a good dog inside, I should stick next to the side of a, an individual.
So...[Justin chuckles] I will stay kind of glued between Oom and Temerity.
Alex: Professor Z would not think about the consequences of a shorter
table and just point to a shorter table and be like, "What about that one?"
Fai: "Sounds good to me.
Lead the way."
Esther: Vivi will make her way out from behind the counter.
She -- right now -- has dark hair, about shoulder length, and deep golden eyes.
And she's dressed in clothing that looks comfortable and
practical for the owner and operator of an Inn and Tavern.
And she says: [Esther begins to speak in a light Irish accent] "Well, good evening, Professor Z.
I believe it was Oom and Nommie?
And, ah -- seems you've brought two friends with you."
Fai: "A pleasure to meet you.
I'm Temerity Vane."
Esther: "I'm Vivi Lilyfrost.
I own and operate this establishment.
It's a pleasure to have you with us."
Fai: And rather than introduce Ember, I'm going to allow him to introduce himself.
I'll just look at him.
Justin: Ember has, many times today, introduced himself and had a lot of
people get very freaked out, so I think he's just gonna pretend to be a dog.
"And this is our dear friend, Ember."
Justin: He will wag.
" Esther: Well hello, Ember!
I'm so happy to have you here.
Is there anything special I can get him?"
" Fai: Meat...?"
Justin: [Justin laughs]
Esther: "I have just the thing, and the rest of you?"
Fai: "What do you have to offer us?"
Esther: She'll descri--
Alex: "I really love the Shepherd's Pie here!"
Esther: "Professor Z does describe one of our specials, we make a great Shepherd's Pie.
Ah, but we also have, ah, somewhat lighter fare.
Vegetarian food, if you're doing that right now..."
She'll describe, a, a wide range of menu options.
Fai: I will gratefully accept the Shepherd's Pie.
Esther: "Well, I'll get that for you.
And, Oom, can I get anything for you?"
David: "I think Nommie and I will also try the Shepherd's Pie."
" Esther: All around.
Let me know if there's anything else I can do.
If you have any questions about town or anything in it, I'm always happy to answer for my guests.
Be back in a, in a jiffy."
And she will hustle off to go get your food ready.
Justin: I will curl up under the table.
out of character question: what have we established for
ourselves other than leylines exist, his owner's somewhere...
is that sort of the, the long and the short of it?
Justin: I think we know the--
Alex: And there's a dragon in the Whisperwood.
Fai: Oh yeah--
Fai: --there's a dragon
David: Yeah, there's a
Fai: Oh, there's dragon with a mystery name.
So if we can find another edition of that book, we might be able to...
maybe see who the dragon is.
So maybe, maybe that should be our first place to go?
That sound right?
Do you guys have a
Justin: Also potentially a portal to Hell.
This is not something Ember would think about, but portals are often connected to Conjuration magic.
So that might be a reasonable place to start, would be the Conjuration school...
not something you would have gotten from your research.
Fai: Oh, okay.
Esther: I'm not saying that it's wrong, just, it's, it's not
something you would have gotten from the research you did.
Fai: I love how Esther says, "Bitch, you're metagaming!"
Without saying metagaming.
I'm a dog.
Alex: So it sounds like we want to research leylines some more, the
Whisperwood some more, dragons some more and portals some more, right?
And the connections between those four things?
Like that's sort of what we have to go on, those are the four--
David: It sounds like those are the four main things.
Fai: Very well.
I guess we can discuss this inside of character and not just out of it.
I suppose I probably could have just asked her that question in character.
Esther: [imitating Ember's voice] Somehow, I know that leylines are connected to Conjuration magic.
Fai: That's a pretty good Ember!
Justin: Yeah, that was good.
"Well, my friends, I'll tell you, I'm very interested in the dragon without a name.
I think if we can maybe find the same edition of this book somewhere else, we might be
able to find out the name of this dragon and see if it's connected to anything else.
Seems like all we have right now are crumbs, and we want to know where the crumbs come from and..."
Maybe we should go speak to some more dragon experts at the, one of the many institutions."
Would I have another-- should I roll something to
understand what I know about dragon experts, or...?
Esther: Yeah, that would -- do you, do you have Lore: Academia?
Alex: Yes, I do.
I would take Lore: Academia or Society.
I'm not sure if they're the same for you or one's better.
Alex: They're the same.
Esther: So as you recall, Parmenius, is kind of known as the guy who really likes dragons, and
it's not his primary field of study, but you know that he really enjoys studying them on the side.
You think your friend Wolfbert Rumblebelly might be a good person to talk to.
And you assume that there's various people at a lot of the institutions who know things
about dragons due to their studies of the arcane, but it's actually a little strange.
There aren't many draconic experts in Brastlewark.
You might've thought of Orianna back in the day.
Alex: I think given that, I will suggest that we pay a visit to Wolfbert Rumblebelly.
Also, I guess -- so something else -- this is not in character here -- do we want to strategize
about people we want to try and meet or, or ways to make connections during the Festival of Flight?
And how would we go about doing that?
David: Out of character, would I have known that Orianna was also a dragon expert?
Esther: You would have known that she had practical knowledge of dragons.
You have studied them in a very academic sense, and you have some experience.
Orianna had traveled pretty widely, and you got the sense that she met with
some dragons in her time, and as a Druid was maybe tapped into some of the
more natural knowledge about dragons and their ways and their habitats.
David: If this book actually has something scratched out, do you think
it might also be worth it to look at the study again and see if any
other books have either pieces scratched out or, would reveal something?
Esther: Have Oom roll me a Secret Arcana check.
It's not clear.
You spend a moment thinking about this, this word that's been obscured and it's just...
really a mystery.
Does anybody else have, Arcana trained?
Fai: I do!
Esther: If, if Temerity would like to roll me a Secret Arcana check...
Alex: I have Arcana trained, too.
Anybody who has Arcana trained and is thinking about this problem can roll a Secret Arcana check.
Justin: Did Orianna ever, like, bring me into work?
Like, is there like a, did, did she have an office?
Esther: Her office was the great outdoors.
Fai: She's a Druid, bro.
I know, I know.
Fai: [Fai giggles]
Her office is a tree.
Esther: I will say she brought you with her on many of her journeys.
She primarily used the little study in her home to do her, her own work.
She didn't have an office with any of the major institutions.
She would sometimes consult with them, but, she didn't really go into work in a particular place.
You're also just not sure, but Professor Z with your Natural 20, you...
you know that this would actually be Divination magic.
The ability to obscure this word or phrase in a particular way, it's familiar to
you because it's a practice sometimes of House Thrune, the wonderful overarching
rulers of the nation of Cheliax and it's annoyed scholars on more than one occasion.
You would know that to figure out how one might undo this, you
would need to talk to someone whose specialty is Divination.
Justin: One of the places -- of the towers here -- is, is Divination, right?
You told us that last time.
Esther: Convocatia Mysterium.
Alex: So I think I will say to everybody in the group, "Well, perhaps if we want
to understand this footnote, we should seek out some experts in Divination."
David: "Sounds good."
Fai: "Sounds like a good idea.
Is it too late in the day to do so right now?
Should we do it tomorrow or tonight?"
David: "How late do academics work?"
Esther: In a gnome city, it's a little unpredictable.
It's it's probably a better idea to wait until tomorrow.
Alex: "So is that what we want to do tomorrow, then?
We want to go ask about Divination and this blurred-out
footnote before we go to Wolfbert Rumblebelly, or...?
I think we ought to go to Wolfbert Rumblebelly, too."
Fai: "If we're able to determine anything from the Divination
expert, we would have more information to give to, Mr.
Is that his name?"
Alex: "Yes, Professor Rumblebelly.
I just call him Wolfbert.
Fai: "So tomorrow: the Mysterium and then your friend."
Fai: "For more information!"
Alex: "Sounds great."
Esther: So Vivi comes back with your food: shepherd's pies, steaming, they smell wonderful.
She has, in a bowl for Ember, I'm assuming lightly cooked meat?
I've never actually cared for a dog in an era without dog food.
So I, I don't know exactly.
David: You can feed dogs chicken and things like that.
Justin: Yeah, it's
David: It's perfectly fine.
Justin: [Justin laughs]
Justin: [Justin and Esther laugh] Yeah, not a problem.
With some lightly cooked, prepared meat for Ember.
And she will say "Is that all I can get you?"
Justin: Ember will happily, will, like, wait patiently for the bowl to be put down.
And then once it is...
[Fai laughs, then Justin laughs]
Justin: He is well trained.
Esther: "What a very well-trained dog this is.
Oh, good boy!"
Justin: Well-trained but mischievous.
" Fai: He's a very good boy.
This is a beautiful meal, thank you.
Would you-- personally, I'm new in town.
Would you care to tell me anything about the area?"
Esther: "What would you like to know?"
Fai: "What are your favorite places to go?"
Esther: "Well, I love walking up and down the river.
And, oh, I love walking to the Palace District, especially when the trees are beginning to bloom.
It's absolutely beautiful.
And there's a little, little sort of an avenue, with lavender that blooms on either
side as you go up towards, Mysterium and Juratio, you know, the wizards' places.
I, I love that.
Honestly, the Temple of Shelyn is always so pretty and they do beauty treatments there.
It's very relaxing and when I'm too stressed out and
I need a massage I'll go and get myself worked on.
And, um, well, I, I like walking up into the hills and
looking down over the river and the plains from the hills.
There's a vineyard up that way.
It makes good wine.
And just some pretty paths as you get into the foothills of the mountains."
You notice she sounds a little wistful when she's talking about this.
Fai: "Has it been some time since you've been able to get away?"
" Esther: I don't get away there as often as I'd like to, but it would be difficult."
Fai: "You're very busy here?"
Very busy here."
Fai: "What makes it difficult?"
Esther: "Ah, well, you know, I have a business to maintain and my, my husband,
he's off wanderin', like we gnomes tend to do from time to time and...
well, I don't have anybody to help me.
My, my sister's family is all scattered right now, too.
So it's just, just me managing the business."
Fai: I'm like, hmm.
Should I take up a bartending gig while I'm in town?
Might do, maybe not.
"Well, you're clearly doing a beautiful job."
And I eat my food.
Esther: "I don't mean to be rude.
are you an elf?"
Fai: "An unusual one yes, but yes."
Esther: "Where might you be from?"
Fai: "Oh, I'm from many different places, but the ones that I call home are --" Where?
The Crying Wood?
No, Crying LEAF and Greengold, right?
So proud of myself for remembering that!
That's what I tell her!
I list all of those places as my home.
Esther: "You don't say!
Well, I have a niece in Greengold."
Fai: "Perhaps I've had the pleasure of meeting her."
Esther: "Do you meet many gnomes there?"
Fai: Have, have I met many gnomes there, boss?
Esther: No, not many.
A few who might've been traveling through, but, you, you would know that in
Kyonin, if you want to see gnomes, you would go to Omesta, the gnome and elf city.
So in Greengold, not really.
Fai: "Well they're, they're a bit rare, but that means more memorable.
What's her name?"
Esther: "Her name is Nyra.
Fai: "Ah, alas, more's the pity.
I don't know her."
Esther: "Well, she really likes it there.
Says all sorts of interestin' people come through, and I guess she would know."
Fai: "What does she do there?"
Esther: "She describes a variety of different things.
You know, it's like, like she works in a library and also in a bar.
Her letters are fascinating.
I'm just happy...
seems like she's keeping her colors bright."
you know, pleasantly chit chat with her while I eat my food.
Esther: After a while, she'll, she'll make her way to other customers who are trickling in.
And you may notice in the corner at a table, there's an
interesting individual who has been eating by themself for a while.
There's a gnome dressed in somewhat worn, but very colorful travelers garments.
They have fuchsia hair and very deep brown eyes and don't appear
to be carrying too much on their person except a large instrument.
It sort of needs a place to sit itself.
And they're really enjoying what also appears to be a Shepherd's Pie.
At times have sort of perked up their ears at different pieces of conversation.
Not like they're eavesdropping on you, just like enjoying
snippets of things that are coming in from various people.
Fai: How far away are they from us?
Esther: They're a couple of tables over.
Justin: Do they smell suspicious?
Esther: No, they smell really interesting.
I will finish my meat for the time being, and then possibly attempt to...
David: What does interesting smell like?
Esther: Many different kinds of earth.
They've been around -- like they have been walking many different
places and the dust has sort of settled into their clothes.
They're not dirty clothes.
Just the scents of a lot of different places have permeated in.
And they, they actually smell like they've been walking along the river
bank -- Ember you would be familiar with, kind of, the smell of the earth
down there -- and also maybe up into the hills a little bit of the way.
You would also know the smell of that earth, having been there with Orianna many times.
Justin: So they actually probably smell a bit like Orianna then...
I'm going to finish my meat and then, like, sit up and kind of
like, look over at Temerity as though asking for permission.
Fai: To do what?
[Fai and Justin laugh]
Justin: That's all I think I can convey with a glance.
Clearly like some kind of desire to do something.
Fai: I'll just kinda lean in a little bit.
"What's up, buddy?"
Justin: "That person smells interesting."
Fai: That's good enough for me.
I mean, you said that they've occasionally been kind
of chuckling along with our conversation or whatever.
Mostly minding their own business is what I've noticed of them?
Like, like when you asked Vivi about like places in
town, you might've gotten a little prick up the ears.
Like, ooh, that could be useful for me, too.
But they're not, like, making eyes and ears all in your business kind of a thing.
Esther: They're minding their own business.
Fai: Do we...
is this a big enough table for another person to join us?
A little intimate, but not uncomfortable.
Fai: All right.
I'm just going to invite them over.
"Excuse me, my friend?"
Esther: [medium Appalachian accent] "Yes?"
Fai: "Would you care to join us for a meal?"
Esther: 'Well, that's mighty nice of you!
That's awful nice of you.
I wasn't meanin' to eavesdrop on you or nothin'.
I-- I'd love that."
Fai: "Join us."
Esther: "Now, I don't know.
Will there be room for the dulcimer?"
Fai: "Is that what--?"
No, that's ME thinking 'is that what that is?' "I believe we can make it work.
There's room for me, after all."
Esther: "I mean, she's, she's a big, she's a big dulcimer, but I love her.
Fai: "She's very beautiful."
Esther: They will make their way over, picking up the du-- it's a gnome sized dulcimer.
So it's not like as big as we might imagine, but it's, it's still pretty hefty.
"Well, howdy there, I'm Miv."
Justin: There was a lot of syllables in that.
Fai: "It's a pleasure to meet you.
I'm Temerity Vane.
This here's my friend Ember
Justin: Ember will, you know, kind of do the thing of just like, new person!
And just kind of like, you know, tail wagging, like not jumping up on them, but...
Esther: "Well, howdy!"
David: "I'm Oom and this is Nommie."
Reckon it's mighty nice to meet you."
Alex: "Professor Z, local academic.
Delighted to make your acquaintance."
Esther: "Oh, I'm pleased as punch to meet you!
Local academic, you say?
Now, what exactly is it you do?"
Alex: "Well, I study ways to, um...
really solutions to gnome society's problems."
That sounds pretty fancy.
What exactly d'you...
Alex: "Well, I've been looking for, uh, various ancient cures
and alterations that can help gnomes live a happier life."
Well, Z, I would love to hear more about that.
What brings you all here?
Myself, I come to the Festival of Flight.
Now, I'd never been before, but I heard really good things about it.
And I thought, why don't I make my way up there?
See what it's all about.
So, I guess I got into town little early for it, but, uh, I am fascinated to see this place.
I mean, I've heard about it.
They say nobody ever loses their colors here.
Now ain't that interestin'?"
Fai: "Very interesting.
Are you from here or from nearby?"
Esther: "Oh, I'm from here, there, and everywhere.
Not, not from, not from this place.
Fai: Is there anything in the accent or anything that tells me anything?
Esther: I suppose that would be Society?
Fai: That's what I was thinking.
Is that secret or not secret?
Esther: You don't have to roll secretly.
It's a little bit hard to place it first, but you feel
like this accent might be placed somewhere from Andoran.
I will tell them, "Well, I, myself, am a bit different traveler myself.
I already said myself.
I'm very interested in this Festival of Flight.
What do you know about it?"
Esther: "Well, I hear tell they have all kinds of fabulous contraptions go up in the sky.
They have these huge balloons.
That's what the rumor says anyway.
And they have people who fly on giant kites and everything.
And they may have wizards doin' the flight magic.
Maybe people are going to turn themselves into a bird and do, do the flying 'round.
I don't know.
I'm excited as all heck to see it though.
I even hear they may be making a ship what goes up in the air to fly 'round.
Ain't that excitin'?
That would be a sight for sore eyes."
Fai: Esther, is that the kind of thing that does exist?
Or is, would that be a brand new technology?
Esther: Hmm How old is Temerity?
Justin: Ember will chortle.
They exist, but they're very rare.
To build one is a big deal.
Fai: So that's super exciting!
So I've definitely never seen something -- I've heard of them...
Fai: I know they exist, but I've never seen something like that.
Fai: Not me, a humble country boy.
"That sounds amazing.
I, look, I look very much forward to seeing that."
Esther: "I do too!
I'm tellin' you!"
Fai: "Professor Z, you've lived here your whole life?"
Alex: "Not my whole life, no.
I moved here to join the, the academy."
Fai: "Have you, have you ever seen one of these flying machines?"
Alex: "Well, the Festival of Flight is wonderful every year.
So there's great flying machines."
Esther: For the record, you have not seen an airship.
Fai: No, but that's still tracks for our dear professor, doesn't it?
"They've had an airship before, or this is the first year of the airship?"
Alex: "Oh, this, this may well be the first year of the airship, but you know, the
Festival of Flight, every, every time it happens there are wonderful flying contraptions.
It's just, you know, something new every time."
Fai: "Is there a, is there a cultural reason for flying being the focus of
the Festival or is it more just because flying is interesting and cool?"
I look at all of the gnomes.
Justin: Ember is just kind of muttering under his breath "Ships do not fly."
Esther: Actually, that's kind of an important question.
Is Ember actually muttering?
Justin: He's muttering, yeah.
He's like kind of laughs a little bit at the mention of like ships flying and he's like, "Hm!
Ships do not fly."
Fai: I've been waiting for him out himself this whole time.
Esther: Are you trying to keep people from hearing you?
Justin: Not particularly.
"Well, there, there ain't nothin' in gnome culture -- at least, the ones I've been
to -- particular about flying, but, um, it is awful interestin.' You know, we gotta
keep on livin' an interestin' life in order to keep all the colors bright, so why not?
That's, that's what I always guessed it was.
Maybe the Professor could tell us different or better."
Fai: We turn to the Professor.
Alex: "Well, I think the Festival of Flight is just a, you know, one of
the many Brastlewark traditions for something, something interesting.
And, you're right.
Maybe it does keep us, you know, colorful for a little bit longer, but really it's all part
of the great academic search, especially here in Brastlewark, that House Thrune supports,
that we search for a way to not ever have to worry about the Bleaching in the future."
" Esther: Is that what you're doing?"
Alex: "Well, that's what all academics in Brastlewark are doing in one or fashion or another."
Well ain't that good to know!
Now, I feel like I heard somebody else talking a second ago...
[Esther peers and points at the camera]
Is this animal...?
Is he one of yourn?
You know, like those animals that can talk because their people can do magic?"
They're looking at Nommie too, like...
Justin: [Justin laughs]
Esther: ...trying to put some puzzle pieces together.
Fai: They're looking at the person probably least likely to lie about it.
Justin: Ember will just look up at Miv and just say, like, "I am Ember.
But other people today were upset when I said that I am Ember.
So I did not say that I am Ember."
Esther: They stick out their hand.
Like they want to shake your paw.
Justin: I will...
I will do that [laughs].
Like, I will shake.
Like dog shakes.
Esther: They shake your paw.
"Well, it is mighty nice to meet you, Ember.
Well, it ain't every day you run across a talking dog!"
Fai: "No, you came here for interesting things and you find them."
" Esther: I certainly did.
Well, y'all are a fascinating bunch.
How did, how do you know each other?"
Fai: "We've all fallen together.
I met Ember in Kyonin doing some travels.
We've become very good friends, I think.
Are we, are we good friends Ember?"
Justin: "You are a friend."
Fai: "You are my friend.
Ember had some business he wanted to attend to.
And so we came here, where we met our new friends."
David: "Ember's just a really special dog.
So, you know, that's how, that's how we met him, too.
Just crossed paths with him a while back.
And it's just been a reunion."
Fai: "He's brought us all together.
He's very special."
" Esther: I can tell."
Justin: "You smell like you travel a lot."
Esther: [sounding delighted] "Do I?
Well, I imagine that's one of the benefits of having a really good nose.
I do like traveling a lot when I can.
Oh, I'm-- I have a wanderer's soul, and I love going around
and seeing new places and people and learning new songs.
I can sing on the dulcimer, play on the dulcimer and sing along, too.
It's my passion."
Fai: "Are you are bard?"
Esther: "Well, after a manner of speaking, yeah, I am."
Fai: "You know, my mother is a bard.
If you would be so kind, I would love, to, to hear maybe, you know, your music."
Esther: "I'd be delighted.
I don't want to disrupt anybody.
You know, I don't know if they have house entertainment or something.
Delighted to play you a tune on the dulcimer, though!
Fai: Does it look like there's house entertainment here?
Esther: Not yet, no.
Fai: Are there any other people here?
There's people slowly trickling in for dinner.
It's-- it's a weeknight, so it's not the busiest, but there, there
are people coming in to have a dinner or a drink with friends."
Fai: Is there any manner of like a place where entertainment would normally...
if such a thing were to happen?
There's like a, a small central little stage, actually, in one part of the tavern.
And it's, there's beautiful, like huge flowers painted
around it in the background and even some curtains.
There's really, definitely a spot for entertainment.
Fai: Well, I mean, that sounds pretty promising.
Is, I can't remember the, our proprietor lady's name.
Fai: Is she around?
Esther: She's taking care of some customers, but she will be in a moment.
Well, whenever she comes around, I'm going to try to suggest to her that our friend
here would add to the ambiance and, see if we can see if we can get them the hook up!
Get them a couple of coins up in here!
Esther: She absolutely will be happy for them to play.
So they can take the dulcimer to the stage and start plucking out a tune.
It-- if you've never heard a dulcimer, it's a little hard to describe what it sounds like.
I, I think of it as like a harpsichord guitar kind of an instrument, and they will sing a folk song.
A beautiful folk song about some mountains and two lovers
and a river that carries their tears away down to the sea.
Fai: [singing]"Two lovers..."
Esther: [singing in Applachain folk style] Two lovers, forbidden from one another...
Fai: Thank you.
Are they singing in Common or like Gnomish or?
Esther: They'll clock the audience and sing in Gnome.
Fai: Can't understand it, but it's beautiful.
Fai: Take that language next level.
David: Would this song, help narrow down like region
or, if it's, if it's from a particular like genealogy?
Esther: Well, they'll -- they'll play a few different songs,
and sing most of them in Gnome, but probably a couple in Common.
And...roll me Lore: Genealogy.
It takes you a little while of listening, but as you've done extensive
research on different gnome cultures and family trees and lineages, these songs
really do sound like maybe they come from a region in the Andoran mountains.
Fai: Also I should probably, whenever I talk to Ms.
Vivi, ask her for a room for the evening or for howsoever long I might need a room?
Esther: [light Irish accent] "I'll be delighted to let you a room."
Justin: "Other people are putting coins in the case, is that things we should do?
He like picks up the bone from the meat, he's like, "Should I put the bone in the case?"
Fai: I'm going to give Ember a couple of his coins.
Fai: Like two gold.
Justin: Ember will go over and put the two gold into the dulcimer case.
I thank you kindly, Ember.
That's an, a right generous tip.
Not every day.
I see something like that."
Justin: He will just wag, contendedly.
Fai: Ember's so special.
Justin: I don't know what money is.
What am I going to do with money?
David: He'd probably just buy more bones.
Justin: Turn money into bones, what?
Esther: After Miv finishes playing, they will pack up the dulcimer case for the night.
And if you would like to make your way home in the case of Professor Z, I'm
guessing, and to rooms for everybody else, this might be a good spot to take a break.
So you've made your way to rest for the night, either at the inn or at home.
You will all wake up refreshed in the morning, ready to get to the day's
business, which I believe is: following up on the censored text in the book,
and then tracking down Wolfbert Rumblebelly and asking questions about dragons?
So tell me which of those you would like to do in any particular order or anything...
Justin: I assume we're meeting back at Selestine Bakery to, you know, pick up breakfast.
Or did we decide to meet back in the Tavern?
I don't know.
Fai: Well, would they do breakfast at the tavern?
Esther: They do breakfast at the tavern.
Fai: But we have previously established that Professor Z goes to the bakery every day?
Fai: We can meet him there.
Having realized that we didn't arrange that last night, we
can probably be like, oh, well, we'll just meet him there.
So, um, Professor Z, you can make your way as you usually do to the bakery and
Ember, Oom and Nommie, and, ah, Temerity, you can all make your way there as well.
How early do you get there?
Justin: Ember is pretty used to waking up at, you
know, before dawn, so he'd be ready to go pretty early.
And I imagine he will attempt to be well behaved and not wake up
the rest of the people, but you know how well that works for dogs.
Fai: I don't think Temerity is probably a super early riser, but if there's noise
and people are up and about, he'll get up and perform his oral hygiene rituals.
Justin: Ember will be on the lookout for bad smells on the way to the bakery.
Bad people smells.
Esther: For bad people smells...
why don't you roll Survival.
Justin: Oh, okay.
Esther: You don't notice any bad people smells.
Justin: No bad people smells.
Esther: No bad people smells!
Justin: "We are safe.
There are no bad people afoot."
Esther: We'll say you get there...
not -- you managed to get there just before the big morning rush at the bakery.
So, you will be ahead in line and you will see Tavi and
Keturah working behind the counter and they'll both greet you.
He'll say [ light Irish accent], "Oh, it's good to see you all!"
And she will say, [French accent] "Oh yes, welcome back.
I see you made it and met with Tavi.
What can we get you?"
Justin: "I like bread."
David: Do you have a favorite bread?
Favorite breads all around!
Justin: I'm fine with water.
Ember's bowl, bowls will have been set out again.
Oh, that's adorable.I happily munch away.
You can eat breakfast.
Tavi will say, [light Irish accent]"Did you, did you make it any further on what was...
what's happening with Ember?"
David: "There were a lot of different possibilities.
We're still trying to track down which one seems the most likely.
And so Professor Z has been helping us with the experts that he knows."
Esther: Keturah leans over to Professor Z and whispers [French accent] "Professor!
Do you think the dog is possessed?"
" Alex: Well, I think, I think it's a little early to conclude that.
You know, we just can't be sure.
But, uh, we, we've got some good leads, something to do with the dragon and the Whisperwood.
Esther: [sounding distressed] "Oh!
I hope that you are fortunate and it stays far, far away from the bakery."
Alex: "The dog?
Esther: "No, no.
The, no the dragon and the Whisperwood.
These things, they frighten me.
Ember is welcome here."
Alex: "Oh, it's all quite exciting, isn't it?
I mean, many great discoveries will come of this."
Esther: Tavi says, "Yes, I'm sure they will."
And then you hear this-- another little prayer murmured
in Gnome: "Oh please, Nivi Rhombodazzle, let it be so!"
Fai: These poor people.
They are not ready for all this.
Justin: No, we should...we should, uh, head to the Divination -- the, what was it?
Fai: Yeah, we should we should get the hell out of here.
Justin: Convocatia Mysterium.
Before, you know, I get holy water thrown in my face.
Esther: [Esther laughs]
David: Traumatize them forever...
Esther: So Mysterium is up on the northeast side of the city,
and you're kind of in the southwest area right now at the bakery.
So you just will make your way up along one of the main roads.
If you look on the map, you can see there's -- in very Brastlewark style, a
few funny obstacles in the way, but you can like wind your way through little
paths in between houses and, uh, through grassy parkland, and then out onto
more main thoroughfares, until you make it over to Convocatia Mysterium.
Fai: Do we, on the way, see the lavender that we were told about?
Esther: You, you will.
It'll be on your left as you are making your way up towards the institution and...
it is lovely growing lavender.
Like on either side of kind of a long strip of green, green
grass, a little park on either side of two major roads.
Justin: Is it in bloom?
Esther: It is in bloom.
Fai: I'm gonna take myself a little sprig.
Just pop it in behind a horn.
Alex: How much of it gets unintentionally trampled by Buster?
Esther: There's quite a lot of it.
Buster could stay on the road fairly easily.
We will say it survives.
There's a few
Esther: --ill-placed clonks, but it bounces back.
Convocatia Mysterium is a large stone building with two wings and
a circular tower and a spire on top that connects those two wings.
And as you make your way up the stone stairs and inside,
scents of herbs and flame and beeswax and incense greet you.
You step into a foyer, which is lit through windows and skylights, but also by candles.
These walls of the institution are inlaid with beautiful
metals that are forming the shape of obscure runes and letters.
And all along the central hallway -- when you kind of walk into this round chamber,
you're going to walk into the circular tower spire area, and then there's a sort
of a row that goes down the middle and you can break off into both-- either wing.
So there's a few low tables and very plush, comfortable
chairs, again, mostly gnome sized, but some larger as well.
And on the tables are decks of cards and books, tea leaves and tea
sets, some throwing runes, couple of orbs that one could gaze in.
Star charts, candles, water.
Not all mixed together in a terrible mess, but enough implements on these
tables that you get the idea you could sit down and work with some for a while.
There are a few people quietly looking these things over.
You get the sense that maybe the scholars are working in
either wing, and a tall individual will come in to greet you.
Well, tall for a gnome.
I should make a note of that.
"My name is Indigo Pollentwig.
Welcome to Convocatia Mysterium.
Professor Z, it's been a while since you've sought out the divinitory arts.
What brings you to us today?"
Alex: "Well, you know, I'm not usually a scholar of divination,
but Oom here found something interesting in a, in a book.
Oom, do you have the book?"
I'll hand over the book.
Esther: "And, um, who might you be, Oom?"
" David: Just a passerby.
Nommie and I were here to see the Festival of Flight and just see the different things around here.
But we ran into Ember, an old friend of ours who we're just trying to help."
Esther: "I see, I see.
Well, as chair of Convocatia Mysterium, I do not usually provide these resources for
free, but I am willing to do so if you will all show me how connected to Fate you may be.
I like to get a feel for the divinitory proclivities of those I work with.
See what objects you are drawn to.
We shall see what happens."
Justin: Ember sits.
Just in place.
Esther: She's motioning to the rest of you, like towards these big plush chairs.
Fai: Can I, can I get-- is it Perception?
Fai: Can I get one of those on her?
Justin: You also said there was like candle and like the smells of fire and like smoke?
Esther: Incense and, specifically, beeswax candles.
She is tall for a gnome.
She has dark hair streaked with silver and silver eyes.
And she's wearing these layers of floaty gauze-like material in, like,
purples and pinks and golds over the single dark sheath garment underneath.
It's very ethereal.
Fai: I'm mesmerized by her beauty, clearly.
And I don't get anything other than that.
I wanted to know so much, but all I know is that she's very tall and very pretty.
And she's got it.
Esther: Very tall for a gnome.
Still shorter than you, but taller than Professor Z or Oom.
Alex: Could I roll something to figure out, like, what I know about this person?
Esther: Yeah, yeah.
Society or Academic Lore.
Esther: Ooh, Indigo Pollentwig, the venerable chair of Convocatia Mysterium.
She likes to play the part of a diviner, hence the air and the dress.
She's very formidable academically.
She has transformed what some people sometimes laugh at in terms of a field of research.
Like not, not mock, but sometimes with divination, there is a sense of the dramatic.
And especially since the god Aroden died and prophecy got broken, like,
it's had a little bit of a rough time when it comes to the future.
But she's really made something of this institution, and people respect her very much.
She's very good at what she does and very competent.
And she likes it when people play along with her.
David: Does her tall stature or her last name, Pollentwig, does that
trigger anything from like either a society or genealogy standpoint?
Esther: Roll and find out.
You know, it doesn't ring any special bells.
Seems like a, a last name she could have adopted.
Pollentwig isn't, like, a famous gnome last name from anywhere.
Could just be her name.
She could have taken it on at some point because she liked it.
You're not really sure.
Fai: I'm just thrilled that you said she likes it when people play along.
Because I was just like, well, if I don't know anything about her
and she's beautiful, I'm just going to go ahead and roll with it.
This is what we're doing.
Are we doing the woo-woo thing?
Let's do it.
Esther: "Make yourself at home with our tables and see what you are drawn to.
See what you may divine about your own life.
Some people think that you must train steadily in the arcane arts of divination to use them.
And that is true, but we believe everyone has some inner potential to connect to this work.
I invite you to be my guest.
As I will watch for awhile."
She just sort of gestures to everything on the tables.
So the, the incense and candles.
Justin: I kind of want to make my way over there and
have Ember just, like, put his chin up on the table.
Justin: And just like-- so is the incense lit?
Esther: We'll say no, in this particular case.
Justin: I would like to light it.
I'll say we'll treat this not as like a, a Hardcore Skill
Challenge skill challenge, but as like a little skill challenge.
So tell me how you want to do this.
And, and that's relevant if you want to use hero points in some of the ways we've talked about.
Justin: Sure, sure.
I would just like to, you know, use Produce Flame and light the candle.
It might be a little bit of abuse of produce flame.
I like it.
Justin: And then I want to just like stare at the smoke that the incense makes and just see.
Esther: She comes to you.
She hasn't heard you talk, has she?
Justin: No, I haven't spoken yet.
Esther: She, she does note that you light this candle, and she will make
her way over to you very regally and say, "You have some magical ability."
Justin: "I can light things on fire."
Esther: "You can talk and light things on fire.
She's going to reach out and put her hand, like, on your body.
She will draw it back a little quickly and then, and then put it back once she realizes
that she's not going to get burned, and she will say, "What do you see in the smoke?
Does it reveal anything to you?"
Justin: Can I roll Religion?
I'd like to roll Religion.
Is it Secret?
Do make this a Secret check.
Justin: Oh dear.
There you go.
Esther: You, you stare at it for a moment.
And at first, to you, it seems like smoke, which is kind of a strange
thing in and of itself that you can understand what smoke is, but begins
to take the form first of the figure you saw when you first Awakened.
This figure seems to grow a pair of large wings, which spread till they're
almost touching you as it sort of slowly turns in the way that smoke does.
And you hear for the first time since Orianna's death, you hear a voice in your mind.
It's like a faint whisper.
It says, "My Ember..."
Ember will look confused.
Very, very confused and say, "My master would stare at the smoke and then say things.
Does the smoke normally talk back?"
Esther: "Did it speak to you?"
Justin: "It said 'my Ember,' which is silly because I am Ember."
Esther: "And did it take a form for your sight?"
It looked like smoke, but like smoke that looked like other things."
Esther: "And what other things did it look like?"
Justin: You said it looked like a dragon, right?
A figure, then became a dragon?
That's a little complicated.
Fai: Did it look like your dragon friend that you had mentioned before?
Justin: It did look like my dragon friend, except this time the dragon friend had wings.
The dragon friend did not have wings before.
Fai: I want to be looking at the stuff on the tables or whatever, but...
"When you saw your friend, the dragon, the first time,
they looked like, like a human or an elf or an orc?
Like that shape?"
Fai: "But when you saw them this time, they looked like
that with wings, or they looked like a dragon with wings?"
Justin: "They looked like smoke."
Fai: "They look like the shape of a person with wings or the shape of a dragon with wings?"
Justin: Ember definitely doesn't understand the question.
To him, dragon is more of a scent than a shape.
So the question-- that's, that's interesting.
I was just asking, 'cause I wanted to know how he knew it was the same dragon, but
I guess the smell of the dragon is a dragon, is a dragon, no matter what form it is.
Esther: "The divinitory arts are mystifying even to those of us who study them.
But I can tell that you, you are in tune in a powerful way.
There is a mark of destiny upon you, perhaps.
We will speak more of this.
I wish to see the rest of you.
Who will go next?"
Fai: Have you described to us what items are around?
Esther: Yes, but I did so quickly and I will happily do so again.
Immediately on the tables that are around in this foyer are decks of cards, books, tea
sets with leaves and strainers and such, some, like, bone fragments or stone fragments with
runes on them that one could, like, cast by throwing up in the air, or throwing someplace.
A couple of orbs that one could gaze in.
Star charts, candles, and vessels of water.
Alex: Prof Z is probably attracted to the star charts or the books.
David: I'd like to look at the orbs.
Fai: I would like to look at the cards.
Esther: All right.
So describe to me what you would like to do and then we can think about-- and, and if you know
what you'd like to roll, if there's a particular skill, you're like, I want to use this, we
can go with that, or we can talk about what skill to use when you-- when it's time to roll.
Who wants to go first?
David: Well, just for a little bit, I'd like to pick a nice spot to just lie down
with my, with my back to the ground and just sort of look up first for a bit.
And just, take in the, the incense that was lit by Ember and
just look at the smoke for a bit as Nommie sort of flies around.
Fai: I know what I would like to do.
Well, first of all, let me ask you a question about the cards.
What kind of deck is it?
Like, what kind of imagery?
Are there people in the deck?
Esther: Yes, it's a Harrow Deck.
I would like to describe to you what I would like to do,
and then you tell me how I can accomplish such a thing.
And what of my bank of Hero Points I can use to aid myself
in such a thing and you know, if it's reasonable or not.
Presumably I've, I've seen a deck of cards like this before.
Esther: I would assume so, yes.
Fai: And even though I'm not like, you know, intensely
aware of all of the symbolism and all of that stuff.
I know a little bit.
Is that fair?
Esther: Yeah, that's fair.
So what I would like to do is pick up the cards, shuffle them, shuffle them,
shuffle them, and use-- do we have sleight of hand, or is it just Thievery?
Fai: I'd like to use that to, when shuffling it, shuffle it in such a fashion--
and you know, if I had to peek at them before, whatever-- shuffle it in such a
fashion that the top four cards that I lay out are going to be cards that represent
my mothers, myself, and my cousin, whether it's imagery wise or something else.
That's the cards that I pull, and the order will be mother, mother, me, Zorzi.
Esther: And you're, you're very intentionally going for specific cards.
Well, roll Thievery.
Can I use a Hero Point to roll twice?
Is that the thing?
Esther: Yes, you can.
Fai: I would like to do that.
I don't need to do that!
Esther: Yeah, that succeeds!
You expertly note some markings on particular cards, and you're
going to lay them out just as you wanted mother, mother, you, Zorzi.
She will take in the cards that come up and say, " And do these represent something to you?"
Fai: "They do.
Would you like me to tell you, or is that--"
Esther: "I want to see your capacity for the divinitory arts and how this magic speaks to you.
So you tell me, what do you see here?"
Fai: "I see my family."
I'll go ahead and be a little more specific and I'll point to them.
"Mother, mother, myself, my cousin."
Esther: "And what does that mean?"
Does that maybe get into what the cards are?
Temerity, can you clarify for me which mom you wanted to
go in card Number One slot in which mom is card Number Two?
Fai: Ooh, damn.
Let's just say, Bard mom is Number One and Rogue mom is Number Two for the sake of it.
Esther: Terevaniel is Number One, Ailuin is Number Two.
Esther: All right.
So for the first slot you are going to draw The Midwife.
The Midwife is a card that can represent creation or creativity,
though she doesn't always necessarily create of her own volition.
She represents life force and knowledge that is flowing from one source
to another and giving life, and represents a heart that sees good, even in
very difficult situations and welcomes new arrivals and unexpected things.
Esther: Your other mother, Ailuin, is going to be represented by the card The Locksmith.
Esther: The Locksmith represents keys to destiny, keys needed to unlock a
destiny, tools that are giving you access to a new location or area of knowledge
or something that you felt restricted from but now it's, it's opening up to you.
This doesn't necessarily tell you how or where to use these tools,
but it represents the ability to have a portal open and it can often
represent a particular strange ancient, magical object and obscure relic.
Temerity: for you, the card you draw to represent yourself is The Wanderer.
Esther: It is a card that represents collecting things.
It's often a centaur and the centaur appreciates things that others might discard easily or discount
as not important, uh, sees value even in things that others might label as junk or worthless.
The Wanderer tends to come up for those who are observant enough, clever enough
to find the worth in something others ignore as worthless or treat as worthless.
And lastly, Zorzi -- your cousin, Zorzimril.
You draw purposefully the card, The Twin.
Fai: [sounds of delighted emotion] It's so perfect!
Esther: The Twin signals duality of purpose or identity, someone who is a multiplicity of things.
Can mean indecision or, uh, a multitude of different directions one could take in life.
It often makes people a little wary, because it can mean an entire spread of cards has a
hidden meaning or a reversed meaning, but it can also excite people because of its opportunity.
Fai: Oh, what a great job I did, me all me alone by myself.
Esther: [Esther giggles]
Would you like to give her any particular words on the subject?
Fai: Um, you know, I'm gonna let it be what it is.
Everything that you just explained was so like on the
head that I don't feel it needs any further explanation.
I would've told her "A wise woman such as yourself -- I think
you can see what what's laid out here is, is very clear."
And I tell her who, who each one is.
And, you know, maybe I'll maybe I'll demonstrate that I understand what the cards mean in, so doing.
Let's say you do.
I think that will, um, help your cause.
Who is next?
Alex: I'm going to start studying the star charts and like putting
my fingers on various different stars and tracing out constellations.
Esther: All right.
What would you like to roll?
Alex: Maybe Occultism?
Esther: Yeah, I like that.
Go for it.
You want to keep that one?
Fai: Hero point?
Esther: You want to Hero Point it?
Alex: Yeah, let's Hero Point it.
You notice as you trace your finger from point to point
on this star chart, at first, it seems a little random.
Like an interesting, but kind of odd exercise.
But as you begin to trace you, you notice that you're tracing patterns
that maybe look a little bit like draconic figures in the stars.
It's like your, your fingers are outlining the shape of three great dragons.
As soon as you notice it, and the pattern becomes apparent, it kind of begins to fade a little bit.
Oh, and there's something that's like a teardrop that's coming out of one of their eyes.
Alex: So there's three dragons?
So you just-- trace your fingers from point to point on these star charts.
You find that the directions your fingers are moving, you, you feel
called to move them -- you're tracing out something like three dragons.
And from one of them, there's like a little teardrop shape coming down from them.
Indigo will say "And what have the stars told you, Z?"
Alex: "They've shown me the dragons."
Esther: "How many dragons?"
Alex: "Three dragons."
Esther: "And did they tell you anything about them?"
Alex: "Well, one of them appears to be crying."
David: I'm going to use my emotional connection with Nommie
to just ask Nommie to land on one of the orbs at random.
David: That's the one that I'd like to pick up and use Dragon Claws while holding it.
Does Dragon Claws give you a particular special ability
or is it just a cool aesthetic thing you can do?
David: Good question.
I don't know.
[laughs] I think it lets you do damage, but that wasn't my goal.
And then also dragon scales
Justin: [indistinct] damaged, but you know, you do you.
Esther: Oom, you focus on your connection with Nommie, who
alights on the fourth of five crystal orbs in the area.
And you can use your dragon calws to take this in your hands.
And tell me, what do you do once it's, once it's in your hands?
David: Well, I'm, I'm kind of curious to see if the fire
either reveals anything in the orb or if it breaks...
I'm actually gonna try to use Color Spray on the shattered glass.
Esther: So are you just like, driving your claws into it or, or holding it, or...?
David: Yeah, just holding it as the, yeah, as the Dragon Claws activate.
Um, and what would you like to roll?
I have no idea what would make sense for this.
Esther: You could do Arcana -- yeah, I was going to suggest that.
You can gaze into this sphere for a while.
And the smoke patterns do seem to swirl around the surface.
And then the swirling depths of the orb seemed to come alive.
And it's going to be a very familiar story one that your Auntie Nia told you long ago.
You see come to life in this smoke two parents who argue over their child.
A body of fresh water and a body of salt water arguing over the spring that is their baby.
And there is a great separation of the two and the saltwater is crying.
That's what you see.
Indigo says "And what has this or revealed to you, Oom?"
David: "Just an old story that someone who was, was
dear to me once shared, just a child's tale, really."
Esther: "A significant child's tale?"
David: "One that's popped up in everyone's upbringing where I'm
from, but this particular version had a lot of importance to me."
Esther: "It seems you all perhaps have a strong connection
with fate, with the reading of patterns in life.
I will be honored to help you in the ways that I may.
Come, come to my office.
We will discuss the matter at hand."
She will happily invite you all to her office.
And she will say, "I can tell that you all have strong ties
to the Divinatory Arts in a way that is not always seen.
How long have you all known each other?"
Fai: "Well, Ember and I have known each other for..."
How long was it?
Two or three months.
Is that it?
Esther: At least two months, I would say.
Justin: Yeah, I think at least two months.
Fai: "A couple of months I've known Ember.
And my new friends here, I met yesterday."
" Esther: And Z, how long have you known these, these travelers?
Alex: "I had seen Ember around the bakery many times, but everyone else I met yesterday."
Esther: "Well -- seems that perhaps Fate has drawn you together for a purpose.
You wish me to have a look at this book...
may I see it?"
David: I'll hand over the book.
Esther: "What is your purpose in studying the Whisperwood?"
Justin: "I would like to find my friend."
" Esther: And who is your friend?"
Justin: "Friend Dragon."
Esther: "Is it this dragon that appeared to you in the smoke?"
I would like to find my friend."
Esther: "And you believe you will find your friend in the Whisperwood?"
Justin: "I believe that these people are very smart and they know many things."
Friend who lives in the Whisperwood is an interesting friend indeed.
But I will not question your purposes.
I must tell you -- all of you -- the Divinatory Arts are not set in stone.
Because you have seen one thing, it does not necessarily mean it will come to
pass, or that it will come to pass in the way you expect based on the revelation.
Sometimes the signals we receive refer to things long in the past, or in
our futures, or the tendrils of those two that intertwine in the present.
This is why it is a delicate art, a difficult art.
Go with the knowledge you have gained and make of it what you can."
She will take the book in her hands, run her fingers over it, and say: "Mmm.
This passage, it has been obscured.
I do have a spell that may help us in determining this information.
Please wait while I make a few preparations."
She's going to get out a large book and start looking through some things.
She will begin to make some preparations and sort of trace her fingers along the book,
flip through some more pages to see if there's any information; mutter something that
the caster among you and those who were around magic might, might gather to be a cantrip.
You could easily guess she may be trying to determine whether the book itself
is magical in nature, and she'll just nod to herself a couple of times.
She's going to stop, breathe deeply, make some motions with her hands, say
some words in Gnome and then Draconic and then smile and say "As I thought.
It is likely this was censored by the agents of House Thrune
upon, um, a certain date after its printing, I would guess.
This is a technique that many have refined in order to regain access
to information the Agents of the House would not like us to have."
She will hand the book back to all of you.
"Make of this what you will."
And who particularly takes it?
Fai: I'll take it.
You will be able to read "Though we have heard rumor of the dragon Athervox
abiding in the Whisperwood, we have not been able to confirm such rumors."
Fai: The dragon "Ather-fox?"
A T H E R V O X.
Justin: Oh wow, I got it right!
Fai: Me too!
Esther: And there's a footnote, which will describe Athervox: "An adult -- or
older -- Green Dragon, who is the daughter of the famous dragon astronomer Gartheris."
Esther: Like Garth Brooks and then E R I S.
Justin: The goddess of discord...
Esther: Yes, the goddess of discord.
Garth Brooks and the goddess of discord.
Fai: [Fai laughs]
Justin: That's an album I'd like to listen to.
[Fai and Justin laugh]
Esther: For real, though!
Justin: I know...
Her, her parent was a dragon astronomer?
An astronomer who is a dragon?
Not an astronomer who...
Esther: An astronomer who, who WAS a dragon, yes.
Fai: Got it.
Did she, has she passed this over to me?
Just to like, to be coolsies?
Or like for the dramz?
Or like, am I not supposed to say this out loud?
Esther: You get the sense she was handing your book
back to you, in her way, which is very stylistic.
Fai: Oh yeah, so it's for the dramz.
I will, I will accept this with, um, appropriate reverence.
And I'll say to the party, "She has done it."
And I'll pass the book over.
"We now know the name of the dragon.
Is anybody familiar have, has anybody heard tell of this Athervox?"
" David: Professor, if this is a famous dragon astronomer, do, does anyone in your circles know?"
Alex: That's possible?
What should I roll to...?
Fai: Oh, is there, I mean, should we roll to see if any of
us have ever, other than Ember have ever heard of this name?
With love Ember, I don't think you've ever read a history book.
Justin: I don't think I've read a book.
What would that be?
Esther: I would say Arcana or Society.
- Esther: or if you happen to have Draconic Lore, that too.
Fai: I do not happen to have that, but maybe Oom does?
Justin: Is that like Gladiator Lore?
Esther: No, not for this situation.
Justin: Oh, Temerity...
Fai: Oy oy oy!
Alex: I got you Temerity.
Fai: I've never heard of this dragon before.
Alex: Have you heard of dragons?
Let me show you-
Fai: I think they're big lizards.
Alex: 'The thing that follows Oom around, that?
That's a dragon.'
Fai: 'I see.
Esther: Temerity you begin-- so are you looking for the name Gartheris or Athervox or both?
You begin thinking about this name and it occurs to you that you once heard in a
certain sector of Kyonin an absolutely salacious rumor about Queen Telandia Edasseril,
that at some point she had escaped or, you know, gone off on her own accord from
the palace in Iadara, and taken a dragon as a lover who was in the form of a human.
It's like tabloid fodder, extreme tabloid fodder in an Elven way.
Esther: And you dwell on this salacious idea and you're
pretty sure the name of that dragon was Athervox.
It was probably that dragon.
Esther: That's what you get.
Professor Z: this name weirdly does ring a bell.
You're not exactly sure where you've heard it before.
It doesn't come up in Brastlewark.
You've never had a conversation with any colleague here about a dragon named Athervox.
And yet you feel like in your travels, occasional as they are
outside the city, you've heard something like this before.
It seems, it seems like a valid thing, as far as you can tell.
A dragon who lives in the Whisperwood who loves the stars: it definitely rings a bell.
Alex: Does this narrow down things or are we still going to Wolfbert Rumblebelly?
Esther: Yeah, actually.
So Wolfbert if you want to talk about dragons in general -- he's
certainly traveled, he loves animals, and magical beings and creatures.
He, he might be a good bet.
Honestly, going back to Parmenius -- you might expect,
would have knowledge about something like this.
Orianna is the person you would have gone to about a dragon living in some forest nearby.
So you might have to think for a little while about who
else you'd go to, but there may be a couple other people.
But those two people are the ones that would continue to stand out.
Fai: I'm just thinking about like, I'll probably, I
will probably be a dragon's lover if I had the chance.
So like, obviously I'm not judging this lady, but...
You know, just kind of going off in my mind and not knowing what's going on...
Justin: By this lady - you mean your queen?
Fai: Oh yeah.
I thought she said it was the princess or something.
Esther: Queen Telandia Edasseril.
Fai: Oh yeah.
The queen of, you know, the place.
David: The heart wants what it wants, right?
David: So it's okay.
Fai: You know what?
I'm no royalist, but she did what she had to do.
She did what had to be done.
Justin: Ember will think "If you all want to meet this Athervox,
maybe we should go to the Whisperwood, this place you call it."
David: "If that's, if, if that's who you want to meet and it's Friend Dragon, you should meet her."
Justin: "I would like to meet with Mira.
I need to give her something."
Fai: Do we have reason to believe that Mira's in the Whisperwood,
or she's just out and it could possibly be in the Whisperwood?
Esther: She has been back to the Whisperwood, but you
don't have reason to believe she's there right now.
Justin: You all seem very interested in this dragon.
So Ember is like, Ember wants to help you with this thing.
David: Sounds good.
"So we should wait for word from Mira, then maybe see Friend Dragon?"
Fai: The Friend Dragon is definitely a different dragon than
the dragon that we're talking about right now, is that correct?
From the information that we have, the dragon Athervox is in where?
Justin: The Whisperwood.
Fai: I thought she was in a whole different- okay, cool.
Oh, so it's, it's possible that this dragon in this book is the same dragon as Friend Dragon?
David: We're inferring.
Justin: I've been wanting to ask if the Friend Dragon was Green before remembering
like six times that I have colorblind and would not be able to tell you.
Fai: So, so basically, sorry for being slow, but this is a solid lead that -- it's
in the realm of possible that this dragon that has been struck from the book by House
Thrune is the same dragon that potentially maybe hooked Ember up with sentience?
That seems reasonable.
It probably would make sense to, to get a Wolfbert's opinion.
Fai: Is that the assumption that the non-canine members of the party are currently under?
David: Well, actually - also, so GM question: would my imprecise
scent allow me to know if, uh, Green dragons have a particular smell?
Like that, plus I don't know Draconic Lore and something?
Like if I described it to, to Ember, would I be able to narrow down a scent?
Esther: You, you probably could, yes.
There's also other things you might be able to gather about
this particular dragon, if you wanted to roll Draconic Lore.
There's -- I would say they have a scent like, like petrichor, like leaves after a strong rain.
And perhaps if you've ever smelled a fire on like, a
damp day, like a misty damp day in the woods --like that.
So like, like a peat moss, like-
David: Like a -- okay.
I'll I'll describe this scent to Ember.
Justin: Did my Friend Dragon smell like peat moss?
Ember will say "The Friend Dragon did not smell like that."
"So we have established that his dragon friend and this dragon in this book are different dragons?"
David: I mean, it doesn't necessarily
Justin: That's a very confident statement.
Fai: "We have established nothing, we know nothing...!"
David: [cast laughs]
I don't think we can just go by scent...
Justin: [inaudible] this dragon doesn't smell like peat moss, that's what we have established
Fai: I mean, he can't see what color it is!
What I would like for you to do, Oom, is to now -- after having described what a Green dragon smells
like -- continue to describe what the other dragons smell like until Ember gives you a confirm!
Or until he says no to all of them!
And that's the scientific method, babies!
Esther: Well, I, I actually think I can help us a little bit.
We asked this question somewhat last session and you established that the
dragon smelled like a very pure kind of flame, like think Azula's blue flame.
If you could give that a scent, it smelled like that.
And if any dragon is going to be associated with that, it's a Red dragon.
And Oom you, you kind of figured that out.
I think you rolled Draconic Lore -- I think you rolled Draconic Lore?
But you definitely had that realization and I think communicated it to the group.
David: Yeah, I will -- yeah.
I'll communicate that to the group.
So, all right.
Justin: Possibly not Athervox...
David: They may know each other, I mean, if, if Athervox does call the Whisperwoods home.
So it may still have value to go there.
How many dragons could there be in the Whisperwood?
Fai: Might be a whole dragon community we don't know about!
Justin: So many dragon friends!
Alex: So does this mean that we want to go off to the Whisperwoods already?
David: Well, we still have to wait for the letter, but...
Fai: Temerity will say yes if you guys say "let's go to the, those woods."
I think that's a very dumb idea right now.
I think we -- there's a lot to do in this town before we,
at Level Two or whatever, go tromping into the Hell Woods.
Alex: That seems reasonable.
Fai: But again, me and Temerity are different people.
David: Oom would suggest it just to gauge response, but I wouldn't like, yeah.
Fai: I'm just saying.
Alex: I think Professor Z, in character, would be more
interested in going to talk to Wolfbert Rumblebelly.
Justin: I think we should go talk to Wolfbert.
Fai: Well the, do we have anything else to ask this nice lady?
David: Pretty much just say thank you, because her main skillset was, was to help us read this book.
Fai: Yeah, that's true.
I lost her name Indigo Pollenntwig.
Fai: "Madame Pollentwig, you have been so helpful.
And I hope that we can come to visit you again sometime."
Esther: "It would be my honor to perform Divinitory readings for all of you.
May I suggest you are judicious in the way you share the information you have gained?
If House Thrune wanted this stricken from a book, it is likely that you spreading this
name of Athervox would draw attention to you in a way that might become unpleasant.
I suggest caution."
Fai: "We'll be sure to not mention where do we found
this information, or anyone aiding us in doing so."
Esther: "My gratitude."
She bows to you.
So, gonna go see Wolfbert?
Alex: Let's go see Wolfbert.
Esther: You know, that he's usually in like a park, kind of on the other side
of the circle that is right in front of you as you exit Convocatia Mysterium.
You can make your way through the Palace District to this little park
that's kind of near the Temple of Brigh, near a residential neighborhood.
He's usually hanging out there.
If not, there's a few other places you can look for him, but can make your way over.
Justin: I'm going to get very distracted by the park.
Are there other dogs in the park?
Esther: Oh yes.
Justin: I want to play with the other dogs!
David: As we head over, actually, can I, can I think about it a bit more?
Like if I do recognize the name.
Uh, I'm not going to share this information.
Esther: Yes, you can.
Would you like me to share with you what you know
right now, or would you like me to send it secretly?
David: You can send it secretly.
Esther: So you make your way to the park.
Ember, there are a couple of other dogs there.
A large Golden Retriever-esque
Justin: I'd like to roll to play with dogs.
Esther: Oh, okay.
Justin: Golden Retrievers are the best friends!
Uh, a little dog.
That's um, more, more little terrier-esque, very peppy.
What would one roll to play with dogs?
You can just play with the dogs.
You sniff each other's butts.
Justin: Excellent, I will do that.
Esther: And it's, it's, it's good.
Justin: Yes, we do.
Esther: They are full of smells that I don't even want to describe.
So, Ember takes off and begins to play with these two other dogs rolling around with the grass.
But, Professor Z, you can make out your colleague, Wolfbert, a small gnome with
short green hair and large round eyeglasses, like, creeping up on a little squirrel.
And, uh, Buster's like clank, clank, clank, and the squirrel runs off and Wolfbert's like, "Oh!
Oh goodness, Z!"
Alex: "Hello, Bert!
How's it going?"
Esther: "Oh, it's it's all right.
I, um, I was just trying to look at this little squirrel fellow over here.
You know, I, I'm really fascinated by wondering what
they might be able to tell us about certain things.
Anyway, you know, they say in the home plane squirrels can sometimes talk!
What can I do for you today?"
Well, I'm on a little bit of a, of a, um, you know, a research diversion here today.
Justin: Ears perk up and like, bound over to you.
Esther: "Well, hello
Justin: "There are many Friends here."
Esther: "Oh my!
Well, that's not something I run across every day!"
Alex: "I know, right?
Ember here used to hang out at the bakery all the time, but then he
went missing a little while ago with Orianna and now he's back...
and can talk?"
Well, that sounds like an Awakening to me."
Well, Ember, tell, tell Wolfbert what you told us about, uh, your, your friend, the dragon."
Ember will do so.
I will avoid reiterating that story again.
Smoke and death."
Esther: "I don't suppose you could see any sort of chromatic evidence?"
Justin: "Chromatic means color.
And Oom said it was probably Red, but I do not actually know what red is."
Esther: "Well, then it would be a little difficult to describe.
so what you're asking me is...
Alex: "Well, so, so we've been trying to, to understand, you know, what happened
to Ember and, and, uh, whether we can find Orianna and, and find this, this dragon.
And so we were looking and, and we did some research and we learned about Athervox the dragon.
Do you know anything about Athervox?"
Esther: His face changes.
Fai: Are there other people around?
Esther: Oh, a few scattered around the park, yeah.
Nobody like, up in your business listening.
Fai: Nobody in, in hearing distance?
Esther: Uh, I wouldn't say nobody in hearing distance,
but no one who's like, clearly eavesdropping on you.
professors, perhaps this may be a discussion for a more private area?"
Alex: !Ah, yes.
You probably don't know the culture of Brastlewark,
that we just, it's a very research- centric town.
And so people, people have all sorts of conversations out in the park."
Esther: "It's true.
We, we do.
Um, but I've never heard that particular name.
I don't know anything about any such, ah, dragon entity."
Alex: Can I try to see...
Justin: Insight check!
Fai: First of all, that's a lie.
I don't need Maury to tell me that's a goddamn lie!
But we literally were told moments ago to be judicious with this information!
David: Yeah, you scared the crap out of him!
Alex: Well, we were told moments ago to be judicious with how we got it, right?
Esther: Roll Perception
Fai: She said
Esther: Roll Perception.
Esther: Anybody who wants to see if you can tell what's going on with this little gnome.
Z, this seems totally like a normal thing you would talk about, like not a big deal at all!
Why wouldn't you ask him?
Yeah, Temerity, you're just not quite sure, but he seems a little nervous.
And um, Oom and Ember, this gnome is terrified.
He's shuts down -- it's like, mmmm!
You can definitely tell that he is probably not telling
the truth about this and he just not want to say more.
Talk about someone who is trying to shut down a particular line of conversation!
Justin: "You should not feel sad."
Esther: "Oh, I don't feel sad.
I don't feel sad!
Is there, um--"
Justin: Ember's like, ears go back a little bit.
Fai: "Professor Z, perhaps it might not be good for just
anybody to know that we are looking for this information."
Alex: "We're among research colleagues!"
Fai: "We are among colleagues, but your colleague is pissing his pants right now!
At the mere mention of this name!
And we have other people in the park that we are unaware of, who maybe could possibly hear.
So let's go to a place where your colleague can feel a little bit
more comfortable so that we can get some accurate information.
How does that sound?"
Justin: "This word makes Friend Gnome sad."
Alex: "Wolfbert are, are, are y-- is what they're saying true?
Like, do we need to go somewhere?"
Esther: "No, no, I, I'm -- I think better -- eh -- it would just be better for me to go on home.
I have a busy day.
Is there anything else that's not related to this particular topic?"
Alex: "Oh, but, but we really want to understand
what's going on with the, dragons and with Ember and.."
Esther: Roll Diplomacy.
Esther: Professor Z, who is making this ask.
Esther: Would you like to assist him?
Fai: I would certainly like to.
Fai: Should I roll it myself or does that give him another roll?
Esther: Yes, roll it yourself.
He looks a little terrified, but says, "Look, Z, I like you.
I don't want to get in trouble."
And will like, motion you over to a corner of the park and look around.
"What is it exactly you want to know?"
Alex: "Well, we're just, we're curious about Ember's history."
Esther: "I don't know anything about Ember's history.
I don't know anything about-- it's possible a powerful dragon could do this.
Some of them know how to cast spells, and they're very good at it.
They could probably Awaken an animal through a ritual or maybe even something
else, but I've never heard of any dragon doing that particularly before.
And I don't know why they would."
Fai: "But you've heard of this dragon before.
And you know why she was stricken from the books?"
Esther: "I've worked very hard to get this job.
I've worked very hard to keep out of their business.
I don't want to say much more.
She's a dragon that lives in the Whisperwood, and we're told not to mention her, or researc her.
To pretend like she doesn't exist."
Fai: "Told by House Thrune?"
Justin: "Temerity you are making Friend Gnome upset."
Esther: Temerity roll, roll me Diplomacy one more time.
Alex: Can I assist Temerity?
Esther: You can.
You, you can also Hero Point, if you have Hero Points left.
Fai: I do.
Alex: I do!
I'll Hero Point.
Esther: So do you want to roll with advantage?
Esther: That's worth it.
He just looks at Z and, and the group of you and will sigh.
His shoulders hunch.
And say: "I don't know anybody in House Thrune.
Don't even --the Temple of Asmodeus, not really.
This, this order comes from the king.
King Drum Thornfiddle."
Z, you would know, you would know this.
Not that the order of -- like, you don't know the specific situation, but you know who the king is.
Alex: "Why, why would the king be involved with this?"
Esther: "I don't know."
Alex: "It doesn't really seem like him to be meddling in research, and..."
" Esther: All I know is, we're not allowed to talk about her, not
allowed to go visit her for any field work, nothing like that.
He doesn't even like people studying dragons intently in town.
I mean, haven't you ever wondered why there's not more of us?"
So for those of us who are foreigners: can you give me like
an overview of what I know about their monarchy please?
Esther: Roll Society.
Justin: It is well beyond Ember's capacity, for example, to draw conclusions
like 'the king doesn't appear to like people studying Draconic Lore,
and then of course the eminent expert in Draconic Lore is murdered.'
It's a lot, that's a bit of a leap.
I don't think Ember would figure that out.
Esther: Temerity and Oom, you aren't really sure.
It's kind of weird that in Cheliax, which is ruled by an Infernal monarchy of
a family that made a deal with the powers of Hell, that there's anybody else
titling themself 'king,' it doesn't really add up and you don't quite get it.
Fai: I'm going to ask Professor Z.
"Uh, Professor, I'm not very familiar with this area.
How is there a king when there's already a King?"
Or is there already a Monarch?
There's already a Queen?
Esther: Infernal Majestrix.
Fai: "How is there a king when there's already a monarch that rules over the..."
Alex: Well, I'm sure I would know this, but I have no idea how to explain it.
Esther: Let's say you would have gotten the sense over the decades, possibly from the
king himself in your early days in Brastlewark, that a deal had been struck with House
Thrune, that allowed the King, Drum Thornfiddle, to establish a city where Brastlewark is
where gnomes would be welcome, where there would be minimal oversight from House Thrune.
And that there is speculation among a lot of people to
this day about what that deal was and what the terms were.
Fai: Gonna add that to my 'to ask my Mummies list.'
"Well, that seems interesting.
rumor has it -- everybody knows if you, if you go anywhere
and study in other books, her father loved studying the stars.
It's a family thing.
She did, too.
Haven't you ever thought it's weird, the project of the King's up on the Hills?
Nobody's really allowed to go up there?
Some kind of an institution, but it's not incorporated in any of the Scholarium things.
We don't know exactly what they're doing.
Isn't that strange?
I mean, I'm just saying."
Fai: "It's very strange.
Do you have theories?
Esther: "It looks like some kind of facility to observe the heavens."
Fai: Secret astronomy facility!
Esther: Secret observatory.
Esther: I mean, it's a visible -- I mean, it's, it's, it's not Secret-secret, but like it's, ah--
Esther: Exclusive is a good word, yes.
Fai: Exclusive observatory.
And this, this is located where the palace or whatever is?
Esther: No, the palace is actually fairly close to
you in the very middle of the city of Brastlewark.
This is at the foothills of the mountains, on a particularly high foothill.
Justin: "Do you think they're doing bad things in the observatory?"
Esther: [small voice] "I don't know."
Justin: "Bad things should not happen."
Esther: "Well, yes, that's true."
Fai: Hm, hmm, hmmm!
Justin: "My master would not want bad things to happen here."
David: Do you know, besides, y'know, the dragon you're not allowed to talk
about, are there other dragons that venture through the Whisperwoods?"
Esther: "Certainly none that are in residence there.
You know, it's possible someone might fly in from time to time, but not that I'm aware of."
David: "If you had to guess, um, what dragons might have ventured through there?
Would there be any Reds that came to mind?"
Esther: "No, my my guess is frankly, Brass, Copper, and Bronze.
Lot of them have been involved in the various [whispers] rebellions here.
And, um, have fled from time to time.
But sometimes they come back to try to make contact
and, uh, with their, you know, resistance groups.
That would be my guess."
David: "Would you be able to share any of those names?"
Esther: "I can look through my materials."
Fai: "Is Athervox's father -- Gartheris -- does he still live?"
Esther: "Oh no, no.
He died centuries ago."
Fai: "But Athervox potentially still lives, or definitely still lives?
Esther: "Nobody's heard from her that I'm aware of in quite some time.
But Green dragons are...
they have their ways of, of moving through the world and serving their own purposes.
So it's -- doesn't mean that she's gone if nobody's heard from her."
Fai: Okay, okay, hold on.
I think I'm starting to cook a theory.
David: "Is it as, um, off-limits to talk about Gartheris?"
Esther: "Mmm, I prefer we don't."
here's the theory that I, myself am personally cooking.
It might be completely baseless, but let's go for it.
So: we know that the king made a deal to have this little kingdom-city.
We know that nobody in this little kingdom-city is supposed to talk about that dragon.
We know there's hinky wonky stuff in the Whisperwood.
Is she -- is the dragon contained within the Whisperwood?
And was that -- did -- what was the deal something to do with
containing the dragon, and then you can do whatever you want to do?
Justin: We also know that the king was meeting with Tavi for baked goods.
That's another thing we know about the king.
I don't know if it's important.
Fai: That's true.
I mean, like, they're great baked goods.
Are they, are they, are these the best baked goods in the city or not?
If they are, it's circumstantial evidence.
If they're not, it's much more compelling.
Esther: Who are you asking?
Fai: Oh, are we, are we having an in character or out of character?
Esther: I don't know, I was wondering
David: I was wondering, I was like, are you saying this
out loud to us, or is this, like, internal dialogue?
Fai: That was all me talking, but if you want to retcon it and be Temerity talking, absolutely.
I stand by it.
Justin: Ember would not have pointed out the thing with Tavi.
But I'm happy to have remembered Tavi in my Charlie, conspiracy boarding, if that's, if that works.
"So the question is, or a question is, is--" what's the name of that bakery again?
Esther: Selestine Bakery.
Fai: "Is the Selestine Bakery the best bakery in the city?
Yes or no."
Esther: "Isn't that a matter of taste?"
Fai: "Oh, now you sound like an academic.
David: You're asking the dragon expert about baked goods?
Fai: I'm asking the people who live in this city if this is regarded to
be the best spot in the city, or if this is just a spot within the city.
Esther: "Well, I-- I guess I would say that or the Featherstone Inn.
What about you, Z?"
Alex: "I certainly prefer that bakery, but I'm not a-- I wouldn't say that I'm a food critic."
Fai: "Is the bakery reputationally well-regarded or just....
" Esther: Oh, well-regarded."
Fai: "More well-regarded than the other places or less well-regarded?"
Esther: "I mean more well-regarded as a standalone bakery, but the Featherstone Inn is
where a lot of the important people who come to town will stay if they're not able to stay
in the palace or if there's a big to-do going on, and they serve fancy food, expensive food.
So I guess it just depends.
I prefer the bakery."
So out of character, I'm asking: so the Featherstone is like the bougier place?
Fai: Nominally or significantly?
Fai: So then it's not circumstantial.
Esther: I mean, it's not that their food is like way better than the bakery.
It's just, it's
Justin: No, no I'm liking the conspiracy.
Fai: No, I stand by it because if that place is La Madeline or whatever, and
the other place is McDonald's, then it's weird for the-- you know what I mean?
Like, if we're talking about--
Justin: Ember is really distraught at calling Selestine Bakery like McDonald's!
It is like, at best, like the mom and pop bakery, okay!
Esther: The Featherstone Inn is like more like the Michelin Starred restaurant and resort in town.
Selestine Bakery is the really good local bakery that everybody goes to that is affordable.
It's really good.
It's just not Michelin Starred.
Fai: You haven't, you haven't thrown me off my trail completely, but partially.
So it it's, it's within the realm of reason that though they could afford the
higher status bakery, they would be looking to establish some sort of connection...
I'm turning this into a whole thing.
I had to go, I had to go where my mind takes me.
David: I mean, we can totally return to Tavi and interrogate him.
Fai: I mean, we might have to.
All right, okay, okay.
So it makes, it makes sense.
It's a beloved local place versus the higher-scale place.
It makes sense for either.
It's not like totally what-the-fuck that they would choose this-place.
It's not totally what-the-fuck they would choose this place.
Temerity will simmer slightly down.
"Okay, I understand."
Esther: Wolfbert just looks a little befuddled and like mildly overwhelmed.
Fai: "Have, have either of you ever met the king?"
I think we've heard that Professor Z has, right?
Alex: I believe I've met the king.
Esther: You have.
Fai: "Any interesting insights?"
Justin: I haven't met the king
Esther: Roll Society.
Justin: Negative 1.
Esther: Negative 1.
Esther: It's really hard to say, you'd have to smell him.
Justin: Just, I don't know, if Orianna happened to meet with the king at some point.
I would have to smell him.
Esther: For Professor Z-- and then I want to turn attention to maybe closing
here in the park-- you would know that the king is overall a nice guy.
He does like his title and he does like to put on a certain degree of like,
airs, but it's kind of like, everybody's invited to pretend along with him, like
he takes himself less seriously than House Thrune does, but like, seriously.
He's a little evasive if he's ever asked about his whole life story, but he never says
anything that makes him seem like, overly suspicious, just that he's traveled around a lot.
And he wanted to make a city for gnomekind to live in a
place where they could always keep their colors bright.
Fai: So we've gathered a pretty decent amount of information but only enough to make
me create a conspiracy board and not really enough to do anything practical with.
Does that sound right?
Justin: Well, no.
'Cause we-- now there's the secret observatory.
Fai: Oh that's true.
Justin: Which is totally investigatable.
That, that one's completely actionable, I think.
Alex: Well, maybe that's what we need to get up to next time?
Justin: Yeah, that sounds like a good plan.
Esther: Wolfbert will add one more thing if Temerity has a moment about like, the
establishments and the bakeries and the king ordering things, he will say: "Well, my, my
cousin's sister's boyfriend's niece's best friend works-- who is also a friend of mine,
it's a small city, sort of-- works at the Featherstone Inn as one of the line cooks.
And, um, apparently, the king has been ordering even more than
usual for the palace and, and Foxwink Academy outside the city.
And, uh, nobody knows why and well, I don't know what that means,
but if it goes into your formula, you take it and run with it."
"Do you know, do you know what kind of things?"
Justin: "I am certain that he likes bread."
Esther, what do dragons eat?
Or are they like, meat eaters?
Esther: I-- it would depend on the form they're in?
Esther: I mean, in, in draconic form, they could eat a lot of things.
New ideas cooking!
The dragon is hidden in the castle, and he has to feed this dragon, but she's in person form!
That's where I'm at right now.
But like, it takes a lot of calories to maintain person form or like, you know, whatever.
So she has to like eat a lot, but like she a dragon.
And so she has a lot of varying interests.
So if they're ordering stuff that's not food -- you know what I mean?
I'm just saying, I'm just putting that out there.
Justin: There's a secret dragon in the palace.
I like it.
Fai: There's a secret dragon.
David: Is this internal?
Justin: Temerity's just sitting there, like, eyes widening, just like connecting dots?
David: I just wondered if this is an internal dialogue
or like, you're just now just conspiracy theory-ing.
Um, yes, it, the conspiracy theories are all out loud.
"What, what's he ordering?
Lots of food?
What do dragons eat?
So maybe the dragon isn't in dragon form.
The dragon is in person form, but you know, it takes a lot of, it
takes a lot of energy to maintain all this magic, I don't know!
So, 'cause, if you're a big dragon and then you turn yourself into
a smaller form -- so he has to order all this food for the dragon
to eat and, you know, all of these other things for entertainment.
I don't know.
Here's the other question: how long has the name of the dragon been discouraged from being spoken?"
Esther: "Oh, a long time.
Ever since I've been here."
Fai: "How long have you been here?"
Esther: "Oh, 30 years or so?"
So that's a while, 30 years.
No dragon talk.
David: What does Draconic Lore tell me about dragon metabolisms?
Justin: Yeah, Esther.
How much bread can a dragon digest?
Esther: You would guess that if they are feeding a full grown dragon cartloads
of bread, it would take-- the bakery is going to have to produce a lot of bread.
Fai: Uh, what about a, dragon in personoid form?
Esther: I mean, I think it would be safe to assume that if the dragon
was in perma-humanoid form, it would metabolize more like a humanoid.
Fai: That's fair, but I like my theory.
That makes sense, Oom.
Thank you for the information.
Is the king married?"
Justin: Secret wife dragon.
Fai: You're with me, Justin.
You're with me.
You're on the wavelink, babe.
David: It does match with the tabloid, you know.
This dragon is just courting multiple nobles.
Fai: I'm on some gossip shit!
Justin: High-profile scandal dragon.
Fai: Oh no, I lost the other question I was going to ask.
Justin: Not satisfied with Queen Edasseril.
Fai: "Where-- You, you seem like a very studious professorial type.
Are you one to be aware of the gossip that's happening in the, in the palace?
Esther: "No, not really."
Fai: "Do you know who might be?"
Esther: "Well, um, the innkeepers, some of the other academics.
Um, some of the storekeepers in town.
They're, they're often really good.
Uh, oh, the beauticians at the temple of Shelyn."
David: I'm good with mani-pedis.
If we're all good with mani-pedis.
Justin: I really need to be groomed.
Like, really badly.
Fai: "I think it sounds like perhaps we should go to where the gossip is.
That's what you do in any new town you go to."
Justin: Get mani-pedis.
Fai: "You know, I've been to the Temple of Shelyn in many other cities, and it's, it's always
a beautiful, serene place to really learn something about yourself and your own beauty."
Alex: "I suppose, if you think you'll learn something there, I don't mind following along."
Fai: "Ah, well, you know, in life you have to go to many different
places if you, if you really want to learn many different things.
We expose ourselves to, to the widest variety that the world
has to offer and only then may we find true knowledge."
Alex: "Well, I do like to look under any possible rock--"
Fai: "And, you know, if you like to get your toenails painted.
That's nice too.
They take it very seriously their work there.
It's a very beautiful thing.
And then maybe if we have enough time, we can
go investigate the--" What's the word I was looking for?
Fai: "--the observatory.
But maybe afterwards we'll be too relaxed, so who knows?"
Justin: Sounds like a plan.
Temple of Shelyn and secret observatory.
Fai: Sounds like a party, dude.
Justin: It does.
I'm waiting for my Wizard of Oz, like scrub, scrub, scrub.
Well, let's, uh, let's leave the group here for now with Wolfbert Rumblebelly
in the park, and we'll resume next time, where I guess it's going to be a
beauty parlor day at the Temple of Shelyn and investigating secret observatory.
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