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grimbold
Tolling Bell Cultist
(2/13/04 2:51 am)
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Actions of the authorities in Verbobonc?
I need some advice on handling the following situation:

While on a "magic item shopping trip" in Verbobonc, the only wizard of my playerīs group, Katala, was assassinated by Bethe.

The other characters, who were eagerly waiting for her return in the burned remains of Rastor, have found out (via commune and other divinatory magicks) that their comrade is dead, has been killed by the forces they oppose, and that her body is in Verbobonc.

As the assassination took place in broad daylight on the market (Bethe did not want to take any chances of losing her target by following it to a "safer place", as she had been informed that this wizard could teleport), there was no time to loot the corpse. Bethe quickly disappeared in to the crowd and used her magical and mundane abilities of evasion and disguise to foil any attempts of the city guards to follow her trail.

Katalas corpse was searched by the town guard and brought to the temple of Boccob (as she was wearing this godīs holy symbol on a chain, along with a sign of the Greyhawk wizardīs guild and some magical items). I decided that the clerics of Boccob would at least cast a gentle repose on the body of this stranger (she was carrying enough gold with her to cover the expenses), so there would be more time to have it identified by her family or friends.

Basically, my questions are:

- How would the city guards of Verbobonc investigate this assassination? Would they just interrogate witnesses or would they use magical means? Would they post "wanted for murder" signs in public places or the like?

- What would the clerics of Boccob do to have this body of a stranger identified? Would they just post signs in public places describing her apperance and bidding her relatives to come to the temple within 7 days or would they use magical means (e.g. speak with dead) to find out more?

- What would Verbobonc city officials do with the gold pieces and other valuables (magical items) found on the body of the stranger?

Basically, I am thinking of something like "if this body, kept in the temple of Boccob, is not identified within 7 (14?) days, all her valuables (after paying the cost of a burial on a public cemetary) will become property of the Viscounty of Verbobonc". Any suggestions?

By the way: Her comrades have found out that she is dead & in Verbobonc 3 days after her death. It will probably take them more than 9 days to get there from Rastor, as they have no horses or other quick means of transportation...

JRedGiant
Tolling Bell Cultist
(2/13/04 6:46 am)
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Politics
As for the guards, you'll have to determine the state of law enforcement in Verbobonc. Is the citizenry enraged that a visitor, a tourist, can be murdered in broad daylight? Or are they just more concerned that their own affairs are protected. If there is no pressure to investigate the crime from either the upper or lower classes, then they probably won't make more then a token effort.

Secondly, does the temple itself have any influence within Verbobonc. If so they can probably put a block on the investigation, possibly even going so far as to point the finger at someone else...the other PC's perhaps?

As for the church of Boccob, I think it's very likely that they will attempt a Speak with Dead spell, "charging" the deceased as they did for the Gentle Repose. If the PC is faithful and desirous, they may even go so far as to have her raised.

A Speak with Dead spell is almost mandatory in any case. Otherwise some bilker will almost assuradely claim to be a relative or loved one and make off with the loot. If it happened in the real world post-9/11 (and it did more than we'd like to admit), trust me, it'll happen in your world too.

As for the delay before Verbobonc lays claim to her gear...what's the prevailing alignment of Verbobonc in your campaign. Basically, the closer you get to the LG side, the longer the delay...possibly up to 90 days. The closer to the CE side, the more likely that they'll grab it quicker...if it happened in ToEE Nulb for example, I'm thinking of a number between 1 and "Finder's Keepers".

Infiniti2000
Brother of Venom
(2/13/04 6:47 am)
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ezSupporter
Re: Actions of the authorities in Verbobonc?
Some issues I see:
  • One thing you should clear in your mind is how did Bethe get all the way (maybe 300mi) to Verbobonc and back again. To get back, she could have used a refuge stick. To get there, maybe Hedrack used word of recall twice. This is useful in case the authorities or the party does use commune/divination. You'll have answers ready.
  • Divination is very expensive. It is not likely the authorities will use it without good reason.
  • Remember that it's Boccob the uncaring. It's time for the wizard to understand the nature of her deity. I'd say that the Temple would store her body on the side for a week or two, then sell her items for donations (or keep and distribute them), and bury the body. I mean, really, who cares?
  • The guards would definitely question everyone. Make a couple of rolls, they might even get some information from a passerby, "I saw this male dwarf (DM note: alter self) with a red beard slip away towards that herb shop right there, then pull out a little black stick and break it. He said something as he broke it, sounded like 'darkness', and then he disappeared in a puff of violet smoke!"
  • If you really want the Temple to do something (maybe the rest of the party can't), they could take stuff for a speak with dead, and then a raise dead if the answer to "Did you want to get raised if killed?" comes up positive. Remember to be liberal in taking payment. Afterall, they don't care. ;)
  • The city officials would give all the items and body to the Temple. However, it's definitely conceivable that a bad seed or two helped transport the body. If the body's missing a minor magical item or some money, no one will notice, or care.

grimbold
Tolling Bell Cultist
(2/13/04 7:42 am)
Reply
Temple of Boccob
Thanks for the advice!

@ Infinity:

Hedrack has the party scried at regular intervals ... and Katala rolled a"1" on her will save, so I ruled that some distinguishing landmark of Verbobonc (or a well known sign of a Verbobonc inn) could be seen in the distance.

As Katala was apparently alone and Hedracks actions taken against the whole party had been fruitless in the past (Ukemil had his lions killed and had to flee, Victor had just failed two times in a row, the second time even as a vampire), he had Bethe teleported to Verbobonc via the nifty teleportation circle device at the cultīs disposal.

Within a day, the resourceful assassin had tracked down the wizard in the city and killed her.

I have not yet made up my mind whether Bethe is still in Verbobonc or not when the other characters arrive, maybe her mission was an open-ended one and she will return by normal means in a few weeks (thus giving the PCs a chance to find her).

Nice advice about the "uncaring" aspect of Boccob.

But then, his clerics will definitely be intersted in some of the magic items of Katala so they might just cast a few spells "in the deceasedīs best interest", taking those items as payment.

The party has the means to raise their comrade (Torgar is a L10 cleric of Clangeddin Silverbeard), but they need to get to the corpse in time.

Infiniti2000
Brother of Venom
(2/13/04 8:55 am)
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ezSupporter
Re: Temple of Boccob
"But then, his clerics will definitely be intersted in some of the magic items of Katala so they might just cast a few spells "in the deceasedīs best interest", taking those items as payment."

Beautiful idea, that. ;)

"...he had Bethe teleported to Verbobonc via the nifty teleportation circle device at the cultīs disposal."

The Tourbillion is not easy to use, however, if you run it according to the module. I've modified it a little (read Session Forty, Part 4/4 of my log if you are interested) myself, giving Hedrack access to it, but no one else besides the Triad can use it because of the guardian golem. Not even the other Doomdreamers.

Infiniti2000
Brother of Venom
(2/13/04 12:17 pm)
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ezSupporter
Re: Temple of Boccob
LOL! It works like you say, but it's the result of casting the spell refuge. In particular, Varachan has four refuge sticks tied to the keyword "darkness."

fjeTheNarrator
Ebon Hand Cultist
(2/13/04 1:45 pm)
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Re: Temple of Boccob

I would suggest the compiled Verbobonc data at This Verbobnc Site by Marc Shamle. "Overview" has a rather exaustive PDF on Verbobonc that was collected from several places.

--fje

grimbold
Tolling Bell Cultist
(2/19/04 8:06 am)
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Speak with dead results
I (a.k.a. a cleric of Boccob) just had a "speak with dead" interview with Katalaīs player by email (I did not tell her who was interrogating the corpse, but that her answers could be "short, repititve and cryptic):

Q: Who are you?
A: A wizard.

Q: Do you have relatives or friends in Verbobonc?
A: No.

Q: Who should be notified in the case of your death?
A: The local temple of Boccob. They should help me, I would compensate them.

She has 2 magic items worth 8.000 gp each, and some minor ones on her. The spells cast upon her would add up to 5.800 gp.

As magic items can normally only be sold at about 50% their value, I am very tempted to have the clerics charge one of her 8.000gp items and 1.800 gp in cash...

Does that seem very unfair? Or would they, being clerics of the Archmage of Gods himself, demand all of their payment in magic items?

Infiniti2000
Brother of Venom
(2/19/04 8:30 am)
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ezSupporter
Re: Speak with dead results
Well, I'm sure the temple plans on keeping the items, so an argument could be made that she would get full value. So as to lessen the potential anger of the player, I would take just one of the items and perhaps consider actually giving her some money back. But, it depends on how evil you want to be and how you think the player will react to the Uncaring nature of Boccob.

fjeTheNarrator
Ebon Hand Cultist
(2/22/04 10:34 am)
Reply
Re: Speak with dead results

Yea, in a world where gods are real and worshipping them gets you visible and immediate results ... like bringing the dead back to life, etc etc ... it's probably a bad idea to rip off your parishoners.

Because they can always convert to another god ... one a little less likely to have priests who jack you up for all your wordly goods.

Why worship Boccob The Uncaring if his priests shanghai the faithful and he otherwise does nothing for you that you couldn't get on your own?

--fje

Caedrel
Crimson Coil Cultist
(2/22/04 6:25 pm)
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ezSupporter
Re: Speak with dead results
You're assuming that Boccob cares about his parishoners - I'd say he doesn't. He cares about magic: if a wizard stops worshipping him, are they going to stop practicing magic? I don't think so. They'll keep on doing spell research and casting spells and creating items, which would be enough for him.

Rather, the priesthood of Boccob is for those with an interest in magic; a forum for discussing it, researching it, working with it. People are drawn to it for these reasons and not because of the reassurances they get from him. I'd say none of the common people are part of Boccob's church; all of those people follow the deities that do care more about them, like Pelor, or the ones about the things that are relevant to them, like Ehlonna and the nature deities. The church of Boccob is probably more like a wizard's guild or academy than a regular church as we tend to think of them.

GM Nemo
Tolling Bell Cultist
(2/22/04 11:26 pm)
Reply
Re: Speak with dead results
Most cities in the Flanaess do not have the resources to have divinations cast to solve cases. Verbobonc in particular has a strong nobility to whom all land theoretically belongs. Things tend to happen in Verbobonc especially when a noble of some kind takes an interest. If you are interested in a lot of expanded information on the Viscounty of Verbobonc, my local region of the RPGA's Living Greyhawk campaign is responsible for the Viscounty of Verbobonc and has a Wayfarer's Guide in their public yahoo group: Verbobonc.

If your typical campaign standard is that items can be sold for half value, take one 8,000gp magic item in return for services rendered. If she complains, have the clergy remind her that the item has a market value of 4K, the spellcasting services would normally cost a worshipper 5.8K, and that they gave her a discount. If she would like them to not do such things in the future and instead cast more spells in order to divine the exact negotiations before performing spellcasting, she can make such arrangements with their temple in the event of future deaths.

Yes, she could convert to some other god, but she really wouldn't get a better deal there.

Once she is raised, make sure to have her interviewed by the local law enforcement, the Gentlemen of the Watch. They may incline to question rather aggressively, growing outright suspicious if she claims not to have any idea why she was killed, but raising all kind of ultimately disadvantageous alarms if she mentions the Cult of Elemental Evil or Tharizdun, as this is likely to catch the attention of powerful people in the Viscounty, who WILL pay for divinations, and who will be displeased to, per the effects of divinations cast for this purpose, learn that your wizard is more or less lying.

Infiniti2000
Brother of Venom
(2/23/04 10:01 am)
Reply
ezSupporter
Re: Speak with dead results
"If your typical campaign standard is that items can be sold for half value, take one 8,000gp magic item in return for services rendered."

The point I was making though is that assumes you are selling the items quickly, to a retailer, who must be able to make a profit on reselling them. If, however, you sell the items directly to the end-user, an argument can be made that you should get full value, or close to it. If the clergy of Boccob intends to use the item, they might very well 'pay' full value.

GM Nemo
Tolling Bell Cultist
(2/23/04 4:34 pm)
Reply
Re: Speak with dead results
IMO, neutral clerics probably wouldn't be inclined to give a better deal than the 72.5% that she's already getting as return on it when it is used to cover a 5.8K debt, unless she's already done something for the church within the scope of the campaign. But that's just my take. After she's raised, if she has a big beef with their decision, I'd certainly allow some roleplayed diplomacy followed by a check. They might give her some potions or divinations to try and get at the source of her attacker, if she wants.

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