"So everything that was stolen has been recovered and it's not broken or damaged? Sounds like a prankster or maybe a ghost could also be responsible then. Is there any chance we can examine the last item found so that we may examine it for traces of magic use or tampering?"
I wonder if there are any bored groups of kids around here wanting to be future rogues, or maybe a cemetery in the woods that a playful ghost could haunt from?
"Are there any grave sites or known last resting places of anyone in the woods?"
Zau looks back toward the group.
"Does anyone else have any other ideas? That's all I can think of right at the moment."
The sheriff shrugged briefly, "If you can get him to talk to you, you're welcome to see if old Elkas Bronzefoot of The Red Oak will let you examine the steins we recovered from the forest just before your arrival, assuming of course he hasn't already cleaned them and put them back to use among his normal patrons."
The mayor spoke now, adding his two cents, "We have thought ourselves that this seems like a game to these crooks, if it was about the thefts then why steal such small things and then leave them lying around the forest? All the children and normal suspects have been questioned, none seem to give us any further reason to suspect they are behind the thefts, in fact they have all been victims at one point or another as well. As far as I am aware there are no burial sites in the forest, but you never really know if elves or some other forest dwellers had settlements within these woods before we set up here generations ago, they may have ancient burial grounds we know nothing about."
A small grin spread across Khetarin's face as the sheriff and mayor described the thieves' actions. "It's no game," he said, "At least not to them. They're looking for something."
He paused momentarily to order his thoughts. "Perhaps it's something hidden inside an innocuous item, or perhaps they don't know exactly what is is they're trying to find, but from the pattern they've established: take an assortment of items, keep them for a short while, then discard them in the forest, I'd say they're looking for something specific and don't know where, precisely, to find it."
Khetarin looked from one face to the next, judging reactions to his theory. No one seemed to think it was preposterous, so he continued. "Since they're dropping items off once they've finished with them, I suggest we patrol the nearby forests. If items are recovered just about every time some ventures into the woods, perhaps we can find something before it's been returned to its owner and put back into regular use."
Posted on 2010-10-04 at 07:22:24.
Edited on 2010-10-04 at 18:56:40 by Deucalion
Kordar sat back and listened to the whole conversation between their group and the sheriff. Kor wasn't one for asking too many questions. He did like where the conversation was going. It seemed Khetarin was indeed onto something here.
The robberies did seem random but nothing that was stolen was not returned shortly after. This didn't seem like a game to whoever was doing it. There had been on encounters with anyone from what the sheriff had said. He was sure someone would have reported it if there had been laughing nearby when someone was recovering one of the items. If the robberies were just that, random, then why only leave them in the forest, there was plenty of other places to leave them: in the plains on the other side of town, in other people's houses, on other houses. No, they were left in to be easily found within the forest close to the town.
They were definitely looking for something and they don't know what it is yet. Maybe the thieves aren't the ones looking for the item. Maybe they are only helping someone else look for the item and haven't been told what it is or what it can do. Kor was beginning to wonder if there was anyone else that had moved here recently that might have brought something important with them, maybe even they didn't know what it was.
"Sheriff, if I might ask. Has anyone else moved in here recently besides the widower, or has someone just made it back from a long trip shortly before this began. I'm wondering if someone unknowingly brought some item into town that these thieves might be after. From what everyone else has said, I'm assuming all parties involved might not even know what the item is or what secret it might hold."
With that, Kor looked around to see if any of the other party members were thinking along the same lines as Khet or himself.
After listening to Khet and Kor chime in Zau adds his 2 coppers worth.
"Hey sheriff or mayor. Who would be the best bet in town to ask about what kinda creatures you have living in the nearby woods? If the possible prankster isn't from town maybe its from the woods. And just to clarify were the items stolen one at a time or were several items stolen at once but only found one by one in the woods."
Zau turns to face Khetarin.
"Sorry Khet, but I don't think we are dealing with normal thieves here. If they were wouldn't they have kept the items to sell even if it wasn't for much. And the adventurers shield most likely would have been ransomed back to the person wanting it not just quietly left lying around. I don't think thieves would leave things lying around to be found that would give away where they were either."
Zau just turns to shake his head no at Kor.
(( OoC I understand Zau could be totally wrong about things but he's convinced he's on the right track ))
Before the sheriff can address any further questions a voice can be heard calling out from across the square where you all have gathered.
"Mister Green, Mister Green!!" the voice calls, a voice you soon come to realize belongs to a young human boy no older than 11 years of age by your best guesses. The sheriff turns his attentions to the distraught boy and asks him, "What is it Jonas?" The boy, slightly out of breath, pants out his reply, "Papa's tools have vanished again, we was working in the workshop and next thing we know the tools is just gone!"
The sheriff sighs heavily, the expression on his face tells you this has become a rather annoying norm lately with things just vanishing. He turns his attention back to you, "Well friends, it looks like you get to investigate the latest theft first hand, that is why you were called for after all." He then looks back to the boy, who is staring up at the hobgoblin in awe, hints of fear in his young face, but mostly curiosity, "Jonas, lead these men to your father's workshop, they have been sent to help and need to speak to him about the theft." The boy pulls his gaze from the goblinkin and gives the sheriff a small salute like children will, and turns on his heels, leading the way to his home, assuming you will be following close behind.
Khetarin followed the boy to his father's shop in silence, watching the towns-people's sideways glances. He never understood the small-town paranoia of outsiders. Perhaps it served them well.
He broke his own silence only once to ask, "Boy, you said your father's tools disappeared while he was using them. Do you know if they vanished out from in front of his eyes, or did he turn his back to do something else and they were gone when he returned?"
Arriving at his home the boy throws the door open and yells, "Papa, Mr. Green sent these men over, he said they would help!" The boy's father comes to the door, scans over your ragtag group and fails to hide a grimace. He speaks in a solemn but steady tone as he addresses you, "If the sheriff sent ya I s'pose you can't be too bad.. please come in and we can talk."
The warlock, who has been trying to spot magical auras since he came into the village, picks up on a very faint aura, nearly impossible to identify and barely present at this point, but there was clearly something magical in this room at one point.
As you follow the man into his home and then to his workshop it becomes apparent that the man is a carpenter as you spot the scattered signs of his craft, wood shavings, saw dust, and unfinished projects. The only tool you see however is a mallet, the other tools one would expect to find in a carpenter's shop are missing. He turns to you again, "I had my chisel and such sitting there on the work bench, turned my back to grab this piece of wood, and when I asked Jonas to hand me a knife he informed me the tools were gone. I've looked all over the shop, and not found any sign of them." You can see obvious signs that things have been moved in an attempt to locate the tools, but to no avail. "This isn't the first time my tools went missing either, about two and a half weeks ago they vanished on me, but that happened overnight, not while the boy and me were in the room. What if this time they don't turn up, what if the game is over and things start staying missing?"
Posted on 2010-11-08 at 06:30:30.
Steelight Sage of the Realms Karma: 44/9 1024 Posts
(OOC: In order to keep this game going I'm going to start making my posts here instead of via PM to Shield. Even though I am seperated from the group.)
Rath'sharr creeps across the roof tops to one across the street from where the rest of the party just entered. He could not see the group itself, but he had a good view of the surrounding area. From the shadows he searched for other observers and anyone amongst the crowd who seemed out of place.
While doing this he was cycling through possible culprits in his mind. Goblins were a possibility. They tended to live in forest caves when not enslaved by drow. Or perhaps kobolds. They were small and cunning enough to go unnoticed, particularly by humans.
He didn't care as to their motivations. They were the prey. It was that simple.
Khetarin scanned the workshop evaluating the possible routes a thief could have taken to get the tools quickly. "And neither of you heard anything when the tools disappeared?" he asked, still looking at the room and invoking a small portion of his power to increase his visual acuity, allowing his eyes to pierce even a veil of invisibility. After his first, quick scan of the workspace he started a second, slower inspection looking for any trace of magical weavings.
"Sir," said Khetarin, turning back to the shop's owner, "Are your missing tools enchanted in any way? I ask because there is a faint trace of magic here. Either your tools are enchanted and their being here for such a long time has left an impression in your shop... or whoever stole your tools has powerful magics about them or they used a very potent spell to steal some incredibly common items."
The carpenter gave the warlock the strangest look, perplexed by the very question he had asked, "Of course my tools were not enchanted, we have nothing like that in this town, and even if such services were available to us I could not afford to have a Mage enchant my tools. This is the second time my tools have been taken, as you may have gathered from earlier, and I would appreciate if they were returned to me for good this time. You have to put a stop to these thefts!" The carpenter seems to have no useful information to give, or perhaps he is just overly upset over the loss of his tools, but no new leads are to be found here.
Meanwhile, from his perch atop the buildings that make up this small community, the Dark Elf, Rath'sharr, notices something odd at the outskirts of the village. Just at the border of the forest he swears he saw several branches move as if pushed aside, but sees no figure who could have moved the branches. However he is fairly certain that someone, or something, just left the village and headed into the forest.
"I assure you, sir, recovering your missing items and ending the thieves is our intent."
Khetarin back-pedaled to the door, taking in the entire shop. "Please, sir, humor me one moment longer and then I'll take my leave. Mime for me what you were doing when the tools disappeared. Pretend they are all still here and place yourself and your son as if you were working. I want to examine the sight-lines, see how close the thief could have crept before... well."
Waving away the increasingly incredulous look the carpenter was giving him, Khetarin turned the man to face his workbench.
"This will only take a moment. I assume you were here, like this? Good. And boy, where were you? .... You were there, 'you guess'? Do not guess, be precise. Take a breath, close your eyes, and imagine your father is working at his craft. You hear the sound of the rasp shaving away the wood. Now, in your mind, take a step back and see yourself watching him. Where are you standing? .... Very good. Stand there now."
After a few minutes of being shown how to focus their minds, the carpenter and his son were able to calm enough to run through the routine of working in the shop. Khetarin tried to sneak up behind the father from several different angles, but the pair of them together could just see too much of the shop.
"Thank you for your effort today. I believe the thief must have used magics to conceal himself before even entering your shop, if not well before even entering the town. There's no way he could have conjured in and out again without being seen. This will help narrow our search." Khetarin lied to keep their spirits up.
There were still too many types of magic to get around the father and son. It could have been a charm to make them forget the thief they saw, or illusion to keep them from seeing the thief at all. Despite what he'd said, conjuration paired with divination couldn't be rules out either. Or it could be a thief who had discovered similar tricks to what Khetarin himself used, and the residual magic was from something the thief carried, or it could be completely unrelated.
The warlock sighed at the number of possibilities and left the carpenter's shop to find the others. Hopefully they had found something more substantial.
Posted on 2011-01-29 at 03:53:06.
Steelight Sage of the Realms Karma: 44/9 1024 Posts
(If possible I wish to signal my dark elf companion prior to this action)
Moving quickly and quietly the watching elf raced across the rooftops, keeping to the shadows as often as possible, towards where the movement was seen. Though the forest was not his element, beneath the trees there was darkness and shadows, and those were his domain.
(He will try to follow the movement if possible. If not he will drop to the ground (as stealthily as possible) and search for tracks.)
Let's see if we can't get this ball rolling again...
((I'm going to NPC Dreen for the time being, if he comes back he can take over again, if he isn't back before I get ready to start the next mission he'll just be reassigned to a new group within the guild and be explained away..))
As the group was exiting the workshop a strange call arose into the silence of the town around them, a call Nefarion recognized as a signal he and Rath'Sharr had long since agreed on should they need to get the others attention. Scanning the area from which the sound had seemed to come, he only barely spotted his companion signing something to him, though the details were lost on him between the distance between them and the light of the sun still shining overhead. He did however manage to gather that his companion had spotted something in the distance and was going to investigate further.
Turning to the rest of the group he announced that Rath had apparently seen something and they should also head in the general direction of the forest where he had indicated in case things got out of hand. Rushing to the edge of the forest Nef once again spotted his rogue counterpart, having a much easier time seeing into the shadowy cover provided by the trees. Pushing on they manage to catch up to Rath in a small clearing where he has apparently found the stolen tools already abandoned on the ground.
Something seems off about the whole situation, but before anyone can realize that they have walked right into a trap they are bombarded by magical energies that assault their minds. The two Drow and the Tiefling seem to suffer no adverse effects from the spell, owed to either spell resistance or successful saves. The Hobgoblin and Human however reel in pain as they are subjected to overwhelming mental stress. (9 points of nonlethal damage each)
Whipping around, you spot the source of the attack, a figure clad in what appears to be ninja garb, but is a deep purple rather than the normal black one would expect. Flowing from his face is a bright blue scarf tied so as to hide the lower half of his face. What is visible almost resembles an elf in the point of the ears and the fine features, but the Drow are quick to notice that this thief is not an elf, his oversized eyes are a quick giveaway of that.
With a hiss he addresses the group, "The humanses were not satisfied with destroying the forest, now they sends assassins in too?!" With that he leaps to the next tree and vanishes into the canopy waiting for his next chance to strike.
((Not ideal, and sure not how I expected the encounter to start, but I failed to account for the Drow Spell Resistance when designing the encounter, live and learn right? And yes, for the encounter I did stage you all in a pretty close group for dramatic effect, not nearly as dramatic as I had hoped though. Anyhow, your thief has been found, and he's apparently a slippery one. Have at it!))