Encounter 2.2.2: Asking Around Town Plot in The World of Cartyrion | World Anvil

Encounter 2.2.2: Asking Around Town

The party has arrived at Spirit Lake, and before them now is the task of actually investigating the poaching. They may have already contacted Two-Twist the satyr, and are now looking into how to find a boat. Or they could start asking around to see what the villagers know about the poaching operation. Or both!
There are many options open to the party not that they have arrived in Spirit Lake proper. They may use some or all of these, and they may execute them in any order. The Gamemaster should select the appropriate section below depending on the party's wishes.   Looking for a boat to borrow or rent
Looking for a Boat
If the party decides to pursue access to a boat, they will ultimately end up in one of two places: either the Fishing Rigs shop run by Tomis Cardwyck, or the Crying Spirit Resort, where room rental includes use of a small boat for recreation. Any villager they ask will mention both.

If they go to the Resort...
If they decide to head to the Resort (where they may also encounter the Brownies), they will be able to rent a room that comes with use of the resort's small rowboats.

You follow the path away from the village square and the Crying Spirit Resort comes into view. It's a bit larger than most of the inns you are familiar with, and there's practically no activity at all outside the place right now. The front of the building faces a carraige path that circles around a well-tended garden of flowers and decorative plants, with a few natural trees as well. You can see that the back of the building faces the lake. There seems to be a large expanse of bleached sand along the shore - more than would be natural. From your vantage point, you also see a large cabin boat moored along a dock; its sail stowed.

As you go inside, you see a middle-aged human woman standing behind a counter in the center hall. There is what appears to be a small tavern common room opposite her, and another space adjoining with tables laid with table-cloths and dinnerware.

"Good morrow, Gentlefolk! Can I help you?" asks the woman.

The woman is Sybyll Jenforth, the co-proprietor of the Resort (along with her husband, who is either puttering around fixing something or other, or else out fishing). The following information can be obtained in conversation with Sybyll:
  • If the party asks about rooms to rent, Sybyll will offer the party a "family suite" for their stay in Spirit Lake. The suite is one sitting room with two bedrooms - each with two beds. There are comfortable chairs and a sofa in the sitting room. Rooms at the Resort come with breakfast delivered to the room each morning; the party would be on its own for dinner, though there is a wonderful restaurant and tavern in the Resort. A room rental will cost 2gp, 5sp per week, payable in advance. (That's half the high-season rate, by the way.) You are also free to use the small rowboats whenever you wish - there are four and it's a first-come-first-served basis.
  • Presently, there is nobody else staying in the Resort.
  • Sybyll knows about Button and Bow, the Brownies. They live in a burrow somwhere underneath the Resort, though she and her husband aren't sure where the entrance is. She's convinced they move it around to keep the "big Folk" guessing. Kids that come to the Resort with their families all seem to have no trouble finding the pair, though they almost never show themselves to adults. In fact, the only time she ever saw them herselft, they were talking with that elven singer in the Traveling Troupe.
  • Sybyll, like everybody else in town, it seems, ha heard of the pixie poaching thing. She admits she's a bit scared. 'If the forest Elves and the Greater Fey wished to, they could make life truly miserable for us Human-folk. Drive us out entirely... or worse... she supposes.
If they go to Fishing Rigs...

As you enter the shop, you see a small service counter in front of you, and some sort of workshop off to the right side. There is an elderly human sitting at a bench and intently focusing on the fishing fly he is currently tying. The old man looks up at you as he hears the door open and close and, turning back to his work, calls out "Be right with you. Gotta finish this thread first." After a few minutes, he gets up and ambles over to the counter.

"Ah... strangers! Bit early for the summer rush. But if you're in town for the a bit of lake trout fishing, you're in luck. They're running pretty big this year. So what'll you need?"

Let the party ask questions and inquire about the boat. Potential responses to various questions include:
  • Renting a boat is either 4cp per hour, or 2 sp for a full day, plus a 5gp deposit returnable when the boat comes back (intact). The boats have seats for 1 rower and 2 passengers. (But halflings, gnomes, and goblins are small and may be able to double up). Tom has 2 boats available.
  • Yes, Tom is aware of the whole poaching scandal, but he doesn't give it much thought. "Pixies and Sprites are in the Forest... my living is in the waters of the lake. Now if the naiads were disappearing, I'd really be worried!"
  • The only other place to get a boat is at the Crying Spirit Resort, but you'd have to rent a room there.


Looking for the Merchant with the Cages
If the party took the "over the road" route to Spirit Lake, they will have encountered a merchant on their last road night before reaching the village. That merchant had a wagon that contained small cages. They were empty, but they were suspicious. Parties may wish to find out what the merchant was doing with those cages.

The merchant left the campside ahead of the party, and had the benefit of mounts and wagon for travel, so they definitely arrived in town ahead of the party. if the party side-tracked (for example, to see Two-Twist), they will be about half a day behind the merchant - plenty of time for the merchant to have unloaded.

You recall the merchant mentioning that he did business with the general store in town. Asking a random villager or two as you come into town yourselves, you find out there is only one general store: Duncan's General Goods, on the far (western) edge of the village. Making your way there, you see no sign of the wagon. What you do see is a decent sized shop with a porch in front. There are two rocking chairs on the porch with price tags hanging on them. There is a barrel out of which handles of various garden tools protrude.

Entering the store, you see tables everywhere, piled high with all sorts of goods. There are rolls of fabric on one, a collection of cast-iron cookware on another, pairs of leather work-gloves and folded aprons on a third. A fourth has several hooded lanterns available for sale. More tables form a sort of U-shaped counter around the outer edges of the room, and behind those you see shelves filled with small sacks of salt and flour, jars of dried herbs, flasks of lamp oil, and countless other things are apparently for sale here.

You also see a small stack of three cages at one of the corners of the counter - each one contains a small songbird that appears to be happily singing/chirping away. About a dozen more empty cages are on a shelf behind these.

An elderly, baldiing gentlemen comes into the store space from a back room. He's got a load of small canvas pouches cradled in his arm, and he doesn't seem to be paying too much attention to you. He starts to stack the small pouches under a sign that reads 'Tabac - 5cp' on a shelf where other such pouches already sit.
If the party approaches and starts asking questions, Amaric will answer without stopping what he's doing - as long as the question has nothing to do with cages or disappearing fey. If any topic related to the poaching comes up, he will stop and turn. Anyone with a passive Perception DC of 16 will notice what might have been a very slight hesitation before the shopkeeper turns around.

Amaric will, of course, claim no knowledge of the poaching. If asked, he will explain that capturing and keeping songbirds has been a popular thing in this town for many years - almost every household has at least one. Some of the locals capture the birds; he then sells them and they split the profits. When denying knowledge of the poaching, he will mention that he was aware of it because he's on the Council of Elders. He will not deny that the merchant unloaded, nor will he deny that he took possession of the cages - but they're for songbirds. To the best of his knowledge, the merchant is staying across the street in the Roadhead Inn.

At the end of the interview, have everybody roll a Perception. Anybody who beats a DC20 will come away with the impression that he wasn't telling the truth - or was at least hiding something.

  Questioning Grisela Bladewell in her Bakery
Questioning Grisela Bladewell
If the party decides to look up Grisela Bladewell, they will find her in her bakery at the southern tip of the village square.

You enter the bakery and your noses are immediately engulfed in the aromas of freshly baked breads and cakes mingled with hints of aromas of fresh berries, honey, cinnamon and nutmeg toat make up the frostings and flavorings of the offerings of the shop. A counter before you is stacked with small frosted treats on one side, and loaves of bread on the other. Behind the counter, you see the back of a middle-aged woman wearing a chef's/baker's toque who is shouting at somebody through a small window into a back room. She turns quickly as she hears you enter, her long, tightly braided and strapped beard whipping around as she does so. She's obviously a Dwarf!

"What can I do for you strangers?", she asks.

Let the party interact with Grisela and ask whatever questions they want. As far as pertinent information is concerned, here is all she can offer:
  • This poaching thing started a little over a year ago and in her opinion, it's the most dangerous thing that's happened in the village since she moved here 15 years ago and set up shop. In her words, "The Forest is Not Amused - and that's a bad thing in the Feywood."
  • She knows that the Village Council of Elders has looked into the accusations that a poaching ring is operating in the village, but they weren't able to discover anything. She knows this because she is on the Council.
  • She'd be happy to arrange to have the party meet with the entire Council if they desired it.
  • If asked about Button and Bow the Brownies, she knows of them. They live in a burrow underneath the Crying Spirit Resort. That place rents rooms, too, though they're a bit pricier than the other inns in the village (it being a resort, after all). Oh... and the Brownies love the berry-frosted cupcakes that Grisela makes. She sells them to kids of families staying at the resort all summer long. (She will point to the stack of cupcakes on the counter beneath the sign that reads "3 silver pieces each".)
  • If asked about obtaining a boat, Grisela has two options: Old Tom Cardwyck's shop called Fishing Rigs is one. The Crying Spirit Resort makes boats available to guests as well.


Questioning Random Villagers

Infiltration - Looking for Work

Cover image: The Inn from the Bridge over Daphinia's Stream by RPGDinosaurBob (with Flowscape)


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