Zeitgeist - The Gears of Revolution

Chapter One: Canvassing the dock

It is spring of the year 500 A.O.V. (After Our Victory). Seven years after the end of the Fourth Yerasol War, the shipyards in Flint have completed the first Risuri warship powered solely by steam engine, not sail. Your monarch, King Aodhan, has come to Flint to witness the official launch of this mighty vessel. Woodenhulled but with a heart and skin of iron, the Royal Naval Ship Coaltongue will act as a deterrent against future aggression from Risur’s enemy across the sea, the nation of Danor.
The Royal Homeland Constabulary has been called upon to provide security, and you have spent the past several weeks working to make sure this event goes off without a hitch—canvassing the docks, performing background checks on the guest list, coordinating with the local police to set up a perimeter around the royal docks, and following various directives of your superiors.
Now, as a warm breeze off the sea mingles the scents of elaborate floral decorations with the pervasive coal soot that always hovers over Flint, you’re at the first of two checkpoints, working with Flint police to let in a crowd of local citizens who just want to line the streets and cheer their king.
GM: And the very first thing we do? A skill challenge, because nothing says “Welcome to 4e” like a skill challenge.
GM: Skill challenges in zeitgeist are split into “Goals” you have to pass each goal to move onto the next one, making a complete skill challenge, for each goal I shall give you some fluff and some possible stuff that you can do (Although don’t feel you’re restricted to this at all, you can do anything, and if it works, then great, if it doesn’t, then.. well also great)
A crowd of hundreds wait at a security checkpoint. In half an hour they’ll line up along streets to cheer the king’s arrival, and you must make sure no one dangerous gets through.
You can’t just question the whole crowd. You need a clear idea of what appearances or mannerisms might be clues that someone’s a threat.
In their preparation for today’s event, the Royal Homeland Constabulary determined that four groups in particular are likely to cause trouble. The fastest way for you to search for threats is to figure out who in this crowd of seven hundred people fit any of these profiles.
Dockers, angry because of how the city treats them.
Primalists—i.e., believers in the old druidic faith—angry at all the new industry.
Agents of the fey terrorist known as “Gale,” who might try to sabotage the ship.
War veterans, who might target the ship’s tiefling designer.
GM: First order of buisness is to create a threat profile (History of Streetwise) Since Magdaline is a docker you +2 get to the roll and another cause Weylen is a Yerasol Veteran
[TURN] Laerdir of Runewood
GM: You spend some time trying to make a threat profile, but you cannot get a clear enough picture. (Fail)
[TURN] Weylen Crane
GM: Weylen successfully makes a threat profile, and you get the following information:
Dockers are usually burly working men with eclectic fashion. Primalists have particular hairstyles, wear sandals, and adorn themselves with druidic religious icons. Fey saboteurs are typically elves or half-elves with impeccable grooming from their rituals, though they often try to hide this by dressing in soot-stained clothes. War veterans will usually be either in the mid- to late-twenties, or late-fifties/early-sixties, usually in better fighting shape than common citizens.
GM: Goal 2
You have to look for possible threats out of hundreds of men, women, and scampering children. Work together and with the police to canvas the whole crowd.
GM: Some options – Mingle with the crowd (Insight) Recruit the cops (Diplomacy) Recruit some Rascals (Streetwise) or Scan the crowd (perception)
GM: Obviously if you think of other ways, go ahead and try them out
GM: The crowd is split into four quadrants.
[TURN] Magdaline – [RESIST: Lightning 5 | RESIST: Thunder 5]
The crowd is currently waiting idly and people chatter amicably.
Magdaline spreads some copper points in a effort to get some information from the local varmits.
GM: Success
GM: (You wont know the results till you’ve succeeded this goal)
[TURN] Lucius
Your intimidation gets a few angry looks from the crowd, but it doesn’t look like it did anything to help you identify possible trouble makers.
Lucius crosses his arms and scans the crowd with a piercing gaze
[TURN] Beth
Beth: attempts to mingle with the crowd, overhearing some conversations and observing the actions of people.
GM: Success
[ROUND 2]
[TURN] Laerdir of Runewood
Laerdir of Runewood moves among the crowd, badge flashing, and judges the reaction of the different people to a representative of the crown as he passes by.
You have so far spent 10 minutes, a half-dozen messengers have begun to hand out lyric sheets of the royal anthem, to make sure people get the later verses correct.
GM: Success
GM: 1 more success needed for this particular goal
[TURN] Weylen Crane
Magdaline begins to hum the anthem while she meanders through the crowd.
[TURN] Magdaline – [RESIST: Lightning 5 | RESIST: Thunder 5]
Magdaline speaks to the local police force, as well as attempting to work with her partners to liason the profiling.
You trip over your words
[TURN] Lucius
[TURN] Beth
Magdaline ends up getting distracted by a friend she hadnt seen in such a long time, momentarily forgetting about the task at hand.
Beth: After observing the conversations and actions of the crowd, she decides to scan the crowd for any suspicious looking people.
GM: Perception :)
GM: …Well that didn’t succeed
[TURN] Hunter
[ROUND 3]
[TURN] Laerdir of Runewood
The excitement builds as people begin pressing against the ropes, and various unsynchronized groups start singing the anthem or other festive sounds.
Laerdir of Runewood moves to the back of the crowd, walking slowly forward, listening to conversations as he moves up for anything suspicious, especially whispers.
GM: Success
You’ve picked out about twenty people of interest, but you need to separate the innocent parade-goers from actual threats.
GM: Options are – Confrontation (insight) Deception (Bluff) Observation (Perception) and Yank them All (Stealth)
[TURN] Weylen Crane
[TURN] Magdaline – [RESIST: Lightning 5 | RESIST: Thunder 5]
Magdaline offers to bring a select few guests to a private viewing area where they will get to see the festivities away from the rest of the crowd.
During your deception, you discover someone named Coulton.
GM: This opens up, Good Cop, Bad Cop (Diplomacy or intimidate)
GM: That requires 2 people
GM: Or just straight up diplomacy or intimidate
[TURN] Lucius
Magdaline stumbles over her words, but catches herself mid flub and seems to work out a smooth catch.
Lucius nods to Weylen and approaches a suspicious character to begin interrogating
Coulton failed to be intimidated by Lucius, but the smooth talking from Weylen managed to get him to give up two more men, Mercliffe and Iscalio. However, after interrogation they let slip that there could potentially be a fourth man.
[TURN] Beth
From direct confrontation, you discover the fourth man, Dafton, and not a moment too soon as the police begin letting people through the checkpoint.
Dafton: What do you want? I wasn’t doing anything wrong.
Laerdir of Runewood glances at the man… “Why are you so nervous, then?”
Lucius: You look like someone that is doing SOMETHING wrong.
Lucius: Your hair for example, is your barber blind?
Dafton: I’m nervous because you and the police have it out for us Dockers! You’re always splitting up our gatherings.
Dafton shows you a bruise that he sustained in a little scuffle with police arlier in the week.
Lucius: Well maybe if you were a little less seditious we wouldn’t have to break up your little pity parties now would we?
Lucius: We know the sorts of things you lot get up to and we’ll have none of it today!
Magdaline: Likely your up t’ throwin’ t’ kin’s works in his own face. Better yet that you cool your heels and leave this engagement t’ people that arent likely t’ stir t’ pot
Lucius rests his hand openly on the handle of his pistol tucked into his belt and looks pointedly at the man.
Dafton: Whatever, so what’ya gonna do? Arrest us? We did nothing wrong.
Weylen Crane: “Hm… public intoxication.” Weylen sniffs the man.
Lucius: Oh yeah, I smell it too. Add public stupidity on top.
As you’re talking to the men, a fifth man comes up to you.
Grimsley sighs
Grimsley: I apologise for these men officers.
Lucius: You volunteering to share a cell with them?
Grimsley: Ah, but where are my manners, I am Thames Grimsley
Laerdir of Runewood looks to the man.
Lucius: I don’t much care who you are, sir, get off or we’ll have you done for interfering with RHC business.
Grimsley: And I assure you, I am not. You must forgive these fools, my men are restless, they’re raring for a riot and I am trying my best to keep them calm. But I can only do so much
Weylen Crane holds up a hand to Lucius. “It’s all right.”
Weylen Crane: “Grimsley, right? You should get your men out of here before they raise the ire of people with far less patience than my friend here.”
Laerdir of Runewood keeps an eye on the rest of the crowd as he others talk to the men.
Lucius: Alright? This man has just admitted to being the ring leader of this nest of sedition!
Magdaline frowns at Lucius.
Grimsley: I have done no such thing, I have just told you I am trying to keep them calm.
Lucius: I think I’ve heard enough out of you sir, come along peaceful like now so nobody has to get hurt
Weylen Crane glances at Lucius, then looks back to Grimsley. “See what I mean? Even less patience than that.”
Lucius moves to put shackles on Grimsley
Laerdir of Runewood turns quickly to Lucius… “Stand down and let him speak.”
Grimsley backs away
Weylen Crane reaches to grab Lucius’ shoulder. “You’ve made your point. Really.”
Lucius: Hey, where do you think you are going, don’t even think to try running now.
Beth: attempts to stop Lucius, “This man hasn’t actually done anything wrong, Lucius, you can’t just arrest him.”
Lucius grabs for Grimsley
Grimsley: There is no reason for me to run, I have done nothing wrong.
Grimsley: I have come to help you! And you wonder why my men wish to riot.
Lucius: You’ll help us by cooperating and coming along peaceful like
Lucius: We’ll bring in your men too, you won’t be lonesome
Magdaline: I think Lucius be the reason most think the RHC is daft.
Weylen Crane speaks to Lucius in a hushed tone. “Stop this now. You are going to incite an actual riot by bringing in people on a whim with no evidence.”
Laerdir of Runewood brings Grimsley a little to the side, putting himself between himself and Lucius…“What can we do to help keep the peace?”
Grimsley nods
Grimsley: Thank you, finally someone who is willing to listen.
Magdaline: Docker’s ain’ be needed another reason to rail against the govrment, boyo. Ye be worse than the troublemakers. Speak Mr. Grimsley.
Lucius: Talk, talk, talk, we aren’t going to get anywhere by listening to this fellas mewling
Weylen Crane: “Lucius, right now you are more of a danger to this city than anyone here. Stop it.”
Lucius: His men already admitted they were up to something and pointed each other out to us
Lucius: We have enough to bring them in for questioning
Grimsley: I shall take these idiots away from here so that they can do no harm, in exchange I would like you to deliver a message to the governer when you can. My men are tired of the local police harassing them just because a few of the city’s nobles don’t like being made fun of in tavern songs. Worse, some dockers have been arrested in the past few weeks because they refused to work sixteen hour shifts loading and unloading industrial cargo.
Lucius: I don’t think you understand what our job here is, it isn’t to stand around in the crowd and having a nice little social visit
Magdaline shakes her head, “Daft.”
Grimsley: As I said, my people are restless, and they’re raring for a riot. If stanfield can’t take some pressure off, I fear there’ll be blood in the streets. I will do all I can to stop it but… I fear it wont be long.
Grimsley: Although I can hardly do much from a jail cell
Magdaline: I ‘eard about that. Bad mojo, that/
Lucius: We should make an example out of the ring leader, show his lads who is in charge around here
Magdaline: Y’d end up with a knife in yer back, boyo. Might more of them than there are you.
Laerdir of Runewood nods to Grimsley… “Of course, we do not want incite anything further, but we would not be doing our duty by just letting these men walk off during this event.”
Lucius: Your men are conspiring to disturb the peace. This is a serious matter.
Beth: Lucius, please, calm down. As it is, you’re making this worse. Mister Grimsley hasn’t actually done anything wrong, and we have no right to arrest him just because he is associated with the conspirators.
Lucius: Shit rises to the top, if his men act out of line I’ll hold him responsible!
Grimsley: You have the message… I shall take my men and be off, they will not trouble you.
Grimsley grabs Dafton by the ear
Grimsley: Come on
Beth: We’ll deliver your message, Mister Grimsly. Take care.
Lucius: You do that, don’t let me catch you fellas loitering about here again today.
Beth: smiles and waves as he leaves with his men.
Lucius turns and looks over his companions with a frown
Magdaline: Got both black en white in this crew…. not a shade o grey in the bunch…
Weylen Crane: “…from now on, let us do the talking.”
Lucius: What is wrong with you lot? We had them dead to rights plotting to disturb the peace and you go all wavy and smily at them?
Weylen Crane: “They made jokes about nobles in a tavern, you ass.”
Lucius mutters to himself “Where’d Delft find these jokers?”
Beth: From what they told us, there wasn’t actually any sort of conspiring or plotting.
Magdaline [Elven]: [REDACTED]
Gonna hang from the yardarm, that one is.
Lucius: They were here to harass the nobility, which is disturbing the peace, which is against the law
Laerdir of Runewood: We stopped them before they could do anything, and how many other Dockers would there have been in the crowd, Dockers tired of police harassment, and you’d just give them the reason for a riot, compromising the King’s security…
Beth: Not to mention that Mister Grimsley was completely innocent as far as I could tell.
Lucius: You are aware we are here to uphold the law
Lucius: Yes?
Laerdir of Runewood: Keep the peace…
Laerdir of Runewood: Which we did…
Magdaline [Elven]: [REDACTED]
Beth [Elven]: [REDACTED]
Weylen Crane: “We’re here to defend the crown, not make the man under it look like an asshole with a bunch of paranoid twits under his thumb.”
Magdaline scowls in frustration at her outbursts and her switch to her native tongue.
Lucius: Arresting individuals conspiring to break the law is entirely within our duties.
As you are talking, an officer walks towards you.
Laerdir of Runewood: Had to think of the bigger picture this time.
Lucius: ‘What is with her? If she isn’t singing she is spouting off gibberish!
Officer: The first noble carriage will be arriving shortly, you may wish to cross over the checkpoint before it arrives.
Weylen Crane: “It certainly is. They weren’t conspiring. Be a better constabul. Now, come on before you find somebody new to embarass.”
Beth: Right. We should get going, everyone.
Lucius: They admitted to be conspiring to harass the nobility, were you struck on the head?
Magdaline moves across the checkpoint away from the group.
Laerdir of Runewood nods and goes to the checkpoint.
Beth: Lucius, just leave it for another time, please.
Lucius throws up his hands in frustration and moves along to the checkpoint
Weylen Crane heads to the checkpoint.

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