Pathfinder Kingmaker

Debate at Founders' Square

...and the truth shall set you free...

The crowd had gathered, larger than the day before, and included about 100 or more people. Rumor had spread that the Kings would make an appearance, or challenge Grigoryi to a battle of wits, or possibly a duel. The bard had implied to some of his fans that he might even be arrested, in an attempt to silence him. Regardless, as the noon hour approached, the crowd grew, with some people even watching from nearby upstairs windows and roofs. A pair of guards on the castle palisade turned their heads to see as they walked their posts.

The bard arrived with a small retinue of local malcontents in tow: Archibald Dresdenovitch, a trapper who comes through town regularly, and never turns down an opportunity to argue or be pessimistic; Sadie Shren Svenson, a laundry lady who’s been twice accused of stealing her clients’ clothing; and Barry Newman, a self-proclaimed ‘FreeLander’ and farmer who advocates for lower taxes and less government spending. There are a few others, too – friends of those three and Barry’s son, Grugtrov.

Grigoryi mounts the small platform near the center of the square and takes a moment to arrange his things: a small folding lectern, a notebook, and a goblet. Looking very focused and serious, he then makes his way to the small well nearby and makes a show of slowly pulling up a bucket of water and filling a pitcher carried by Sadie. For a moment he pauses, all eyes on him, and looks to his feet, then the sky, mutters a few words as if in prayer and tosses what appears to be a coin into the well. Slowly, purposefully, he walks back to to the platform, puts the pitcher on the lectern, takes a drink from his flask, and then turns to the crowd with a sudden, electric smile on his face.

“Every kingdom needs a song, yes? We’ll start then with ours!”

As these kings they strut on by,
knees bend as banners fly,
yet ask the people ’what’s the fuss?"
and none can tell you why

A year and some has passed,
since the Stag Lord’s head was bashed,
in by a thief or a brigand or the stairs
and his rapine didn’t last

Now you’ve got new lords,
with festivals galore,
see as the pomp and the splendor and the gold
right from your pockets pour

“With me now, lads!” he calls out to scattered cheers and applause.

Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeelllllllllll…there’s one that’s short,
and another is tall,
another with silver hair,
and the last he lives in the trees all day,
and leers at the maidens fair!

And no man’s purse is safe anymore,
as the self-made kings they rule,
while the streets and the homes all fall apart
and the people are played as fools!

Putting down his guitar, Grigoryi shuffles his papers and looks out at the crowd. “All is good and fun in a song, yes? And yet not all is good and well in this land. Come with me, fair people, as we take a walk down this road of despair, this lane of waste, and see what your future under these….these kings holds.”

A sound emerges from the crowd as people part to let Pik, the Grand Diplomat of the Mistmarches, through. Smartly attired in his town clothes, the gnome smiles and nods at people as they make way, and casts his gaze up at the bard, a wry smile on his lips.

“Hello there, hello there. Oh, you must be that Grigoryi fellow, the teller of tales we have heard so much about. Oh, pardon me, were you holding court here? It appears the land from whence you came, they do not have the same customs, when one comes forth for a court position, such as court jester, it is customary to seek audience directly with the employer, not bandy about with the populace hoping someone whispers in their monarch’s ear. No matter, we’re here now, and I have to admit, we are very interested… rather keenly interested in your view of our fair barony. We have heard about some of your rousing tales, even songs, describing our governance as nothing less than tyrannical. For, we are Rostlanders originally, and still under their Kingdom law. As a visitor, a guest one might say, we thought it best to give you the opportunity to speak directly with the leader of these fine lands, ruled by our hand, but with smart adherence to the law given to us by our Rostlandic roots.”

The muttering within the crowd is completely gone by the time Pik finishes speaking, and after a momentary pause, is replaced by laughter, aimed at the bard. The laughs, along with a few jeers and hoots, continues for a long moment as Grigoryi steps back and puts his hands on his hips and quickly covers a grimace with a smile.

“A job? No, sir, I seek no job…only the truth. On which I shed my light in order to expose that which some would seek to hide.”

The crowd is silent. It seems that even the birds have stopped chirping and the breeze has stilled, allowing the leaves to hang quietly, in deference to the moment. The bard and the gnome stare at each other, neither willing to break away, each probing for a weakness in the other…

Comments

Anton waits patiently, leaning on his sword, no indication of anything on his face except a serious stare at fezhead. Unmoved by his silly song, and listening, observing the crowd for reaction, and hoping deep inside that this whole affair will be settled by his fellow kings and not be left to Anton… for his solution would be sudden and brutal to behold…

Debate at Founders' Square
 

The bard speaks first.

“Why don’t you hear me out, yes? The truth needs not be hidden from the people, and so why not listen while I explain it?” Some people fall quiet in the instant after he speaks.

Debate at Founders' Square
 

Pik’s intent, to begin with is one of diplomacy with an edge. I am not bringing forth to discuss how the Mistmarches will acquiesce to his nonsensical arguments, but to re-affirm that we do have a good thing going and he needs to recognize that. Continuing the dialogue:
“If you are not here to offer your services as a Court Jester, then perhaps you consider yourself an adviser. It appears you are unhappy with the way we govern our people, but yet you have been here three days. Tell us what you have learned in three days! Tell us the truth that you’ve so cleverly disguise with your Bardic magic.”

Debate at Founders' Square
 

“Magic? Bardic magic you say?” Grigoryi asks, barely concealing a stutter in his voice. “PrePOSTerous!” he proclaims loudly, regaining his composure. He claps his hands together and mutters ‘the truth gives me strength’ before continuing, addressing the crowd at large, and only glancing at Pik occasionally.

“After the kings’ supposed defeat of the bandit lord, they took up residence in his former keep, yes? And from this base of operations began seeking settlers from the north to populate this new realm, starting with this humble city, yes? And as those settlers – freedmen in search of a better future I am sure! – came here to establish themselves these kings began to tax, yes? And no taxes initially, of course, and yet taxes – in just over a year! – have doubled, yes? YES, they have!” he booms as he gesticulates emphatically with his hands.

“And what of these taxes? Where has the money gone? Ah! Into festivals…not one, no fewer than six! Lavish affairs of wine and ale and mutton, dancing girls and music – entertainment for all, yes? Grand opportunities for enjoyment! And grand opportunities for distraction!” he makes motions of dancing and drinking, and ends, pointing directly at each of the kings in turn.

“Distractions abound as the kings forage across the countryside in search of what? Land? Subjects? Gold? All the above and more! You see them enrich themselves while sprinkling but a minor share on those who support their very lifestyles! Tell me – no, tell these fair people – that these are lies. Tell them that this is not so. Are not these numbers correct? Are not your wanderings regular? Speak the truth!” he booms again, ending with dramatic, pleading look on his face as he holds his hands out, palms to the sky as if to seek an answer from Pik.

Debate at Founders' Square
 

While the Great Debate continues, Zion will walk the crowd looking for familiar faces. Those we to elped in one way or another. Gerrad, the farmer. “How have your crops been since we cleared that gopher menace last spring?” Old lady USA “how has your arthritis been since going to see Jhod at the founding temple?” Mercdier another farmer “Has the extension to the road from your home to market we had built made your journey easier”
Zion wanders the crowd sparking memories of things we have done for specific people that normal rulers would not have done, or forced others to do themselves.
While wandering through the crowd, looking regal in his common garb, but wielding his spear with a penant of our fledgling kingdom flying proudly, he casts copious amounts of detect magic for grigoryi facinate type spells, or other compulsory charm magic. Also cast simple prestidigitation to mend and clean clothes, make people feel better about themselves. I’m no bard and I don’t have the inspirational ability, but we so have a good and prosperous kingdom.
Also, drop my own what if Michael Moore questions about Grigoryi. What land does be come from? What style of rule do they have? Are.their rulers able to field a military without funds from the populace? Build roads? Bridges? Homes without the assistance of the people they mean to govern? They must be powerful spell casters or fantastically wealthy in of themselves truly. Where did they get their power and wealth from???
That’s Zions activities while the great debate rages… Unless of course something more pointed happens that a reaction is needed.
Once the debate is over and fez head is disgraced, I say we arrest him. Take everything of value, put him on display in the town square in a jesters outfit, chain him to a post to entertain the people for a month before we let him go.

Also, if there are rolls involved, I will pony up a hero point to help.with any advantage we.could use.

Debate at Founders' Square
 

“The Stag Lord, yes, the Stag Lord. Bandit Leader” Looks around to the crowd and sees a couple of trappers in town “Bronn, Archibald, you remember how hard it was for you to ply your trade with Bandits running around, extorting money from you and stealing your skins? Let alone, running off the animals you could have trapped.” Seeing Barry Newman “Barry, Barry Newman, tell us how we found you holed up in your cottage protecting your family with your sickle. Remember how you were praying the Bandits would not come back to trounce your crops and steal your food or hurt your family… Again! You told me yourself they had threatened to take Grugtrov if you didn’t have what they wanted next time. Yeah, we killed the Stag Lord, killed him, took his loot, and took his fort. You want to know where the great Stag Lord’s helm rests? In the Treasury!”

Looking back to Grigoryi “Yes, the fort. We took the fort! The good citizens of Mistmarch understood and still understand the benefits of that fort. But let me spell it out for tourists such as yourself Grigoryi. The strategic locale of the fort provided a central fortified location, for which we were able to build upon. Not to mention the natural defenses of the caerns in the yard.”

Pik again looks to the crowd “Yes, the taxes have doubled in the last year, to a Normal level of taxation.” Turning his gaze back on Grigoryi with hands on hip and rolls Taunt for Intimidate “Again, training the tourist on kingdom building, any fool knows you cannot tax citizens who have just moved into a new territory. We were all building!” Turning his gaze back to the crowd and switching back to Diplomacy “We have a normal level of taxation, and what are we using the taxes for?” Pik see Billings Ahtur, rarely seen anywhere other than his Lumber Mill “Billings Ahtur! You have made a fine addition to our community, and we are thankful to have you!” Moves to Billings and makes a kind gesture to indicate him “I believe this good man can tell you about the Mill that was built by tax coins, and while you’re there I am sure he would be happy to sell you some fine lumber as well! And the sisters, Annalise and Evelyn who have not joined us for this forum, but their herbs help to soothe your aches and pains” makes a comical miming action of an aching back, or holding his tooth. He looks around at the people surrounding him, surveying their reaction before continuing. “Yep, taxes! Taxes and loot! These distractions as the charlatan called them, are adventures. Yes, we are adventurers at heart, and we adventure, by right given to us to open up all this land for all of us! We shed our blood, risk our lives, killing bandits, trolls, facing humanoids and monsters, for yoooouuuu” Dramaticaly holding his arm out across the crowd gesturing to the crowd. “So that all of you may be safer, and your children may play happily. We build roads… with taxes… we build farmland… with taxes… For I am sure that are charlatan tourist did not travel through the woodlands and forests the whole way to get here. We build roads to increase trade and commerce. We have festivals to celebrate life, to provide enjoyment for our populace. Just last January’s festival, Duke Relgev ventured from Rostland to help us celebrarte. If I remember right, spent quite a sum of coin purchasing wares from our fine merchants. some fine brew from our very own Brewery among other places.”

“Good people! Look at your Kings, some of us are here today, look at them.” Pik points out Anton, Zion “You’ve seen us in our business routine in town, and when we venture forth to protect the Kingdom. Do we strut around in the finest clothing?” acts like he is speaking quietly to the next person but loud enough to hear “do we have Fine Clothing?” Looks around seeing if everyone gets the humor. “Have you seen Sir Anton’s armor lately? There is no mirror finish on it…” Looks at the crowd allowing it to sink in the turns his gaze to Grigoryi “BECAUSE HE FIGHTS in it!” Claps his hand making gestures mockingly like Grigroyi “He does not wander about attempt to spread fear and discontent in Kingdoms he comes across.”

Pik turns his gaze back to Grigoryi, and continues in an even, mancing tone, intimidate in the form of Bluff due to Taunt Feat “Regarding your Magic, yes, you heard me correctly, I said BARDIC Magic!” Raising his voice with the word Bardic to emphasize it. “If you would like, we could create a Zone of Truth, to help ensure that we are all speaking the Truth. But that would be prePOSTerous as well, I am sure!” With that, he begins striding determinedly to Grigoryi’s perch…

Debate at Founders' Square
 

“You accuse me of deception? PrePOSTerous! I’ll have nothing of this, then”! he shouts as he grabs his papers and makes to step down from the lectern, moving back toward his small – and now reduced – group of followers.

“According to Rostlandic law, no man needs submit to the enchantments of another without due process of noble charter or letter of inquiry! As a holder of traveler’s papers with the realm of Brevoy, I hereby invoke my legal rights against this unwarranted and vile intrusion of my person, and a clear violation of my rights – good people, a sign of what’s to come for you all!”

Debate at Founders' Square
 

“Good point, VERY good point. Definitely no man need submit to enchantments of another without due process of noble charter of letter of inquiry. But, you’ve only spelled out part of your failure.” Dramatic Pause before announcing in a regal tone for all to hear “Grigoryi the Bard, I, King Pikandrozonomere, Curate of Irori, and Plenipotentiary of the Kingdom of Mistmarch hereby charge you with high treason against the Kingdom of Mistmarch! At this time, I place you under arrest until such time our council may convene to determine your fate.” Cast Hold Person on Grigoryi

Debate at Founders' Square
 

Grigoryi’s expression goes from one of arrogance to fear, his eyes widening at Pik’s comments and the realization of his own mistake. He leaps from the back edge of the platform and starts to run when Pik’s spell locks him in place, standing among his followers, who are now quickly dispersing.

Debate at Founders' Square
 

“Guards, bind and gag him, and put him in a cell. Anyone that wants to join him is welcome to be bound, gagged and put in a cell as well. Do NOT speak to him!” Pik turns to the crowd and proceeds in a calm, cool voice using Diplomacy “Good people, thank you for taking time out of your day to watch the demise of Gregoryi, but his shenanigans are over.”

Debate at Founders' Square
 

Akiros, keeping watch in the background, gestures to a pair of Watch troopers, who quickly step in and gag and bind Grigoryi, removing his weapon – a rapier – and patting him down. The crowd watches, muttering quietly – some concerned about how the bard is being arrested, most in favor, and all focused on either the bard or one of the kings. The Watch hauls him toward the keep, while another trooper joins the pair to help them clear the way.

Akiros addresses the crowd: “Citizens, this business is done for the day. Tomorrow, in accordance with the law, there will be a public hearing, on this spot, where the truth will be found out, in full, as stated by our King and Grand Diplomat.” With that, most people begin to disperse, while some linger, talking in small groups, or nodding at the kings and making way.

Within five minutes, the scene is clear, and all is returned to normal. The lectern and Grigoryi’s papers, as well as his water pitcher and flask, are all taken by the Watch, and the small cohort that accompanied him are informed that they need to stay in town for the night in order to be available for questioning, should that be necessary. Akiros, efficient as always, takes down names and hands out summons slips, which he carries as part of his kit.

And with that, the event is done. The lunch hour comes to an end, people go back to work, and the kings return to their business within the keep, including dealing with their prisoner.


Meta: I’ll write a new post to address the questioning of him in the Zone of Truth. Please add the questions you want to ask him as comments on THIS post so that I can incorporate them into a narrative in that post.

Debate at Founders' Square
 

And of course, we will never convene on the subject of fezhead. And so, he will rot in a cell until his care is quietly transfered to the Warden, Sly, who is always standing near the pit when his prisoners make an escape attempt and try to grab his boot!

Debate at Founders' Square
 

Actually, since Akiros is a stickler for legal procedure, and he made the statement out loud, and it is actually the legal tradition that fuels your charter…not having the public inquiry, using the Zone of Truth as stated, might annoy people. You’re the kings, however, so you can figure it out.

Debate at Founders' Square
 

are we kings, or barons?

Debate at Founders' Square
 

Either, or – honestly, it doesn’t make a difference to me. I think I’d prefer kings.

Debate at Founders' Square
 

Zone of truth questions. Why have you come. What is your purpose here? Who sent you? Did you receive compensation in order to sew discord in our city? What land did you come from?
More later.

Debate at Founders' Square
 

Pik and Anton can add their questions, or seek to clarify Zion’s, or whatever you want. I figure that you’d have done this already, and would show up prepared with these questions. Depending on their length, and the depth of answer he provides, you’re going to reach an upper limit of how many you can ask – you guys have 5 minutes of the ZoT, so choose your questions carefully.

Debate at Founders' Square
 

Technically, he can cast.it up to 3 times, so that is 15 min…

Debate at Founders' Square
 

Good point. So…which spells will Pik prepare for the big day?

Debate at Founders' Square
 

0-Level 4
Detect Magic x3

1st-Level 5
Abadar’s Truthtelling
Blessing of the Watch
Cause Fear
Command
Forbid Action

2nd Level 4
Early Judgment
Zone of Truth x3

3rd Level 3
Dispel Magic
Severed Fate
Unravel Destiny

Debate at Founders' Square
 

Honestly, I would prefer to interrogate him in private, asking him these types of questions:
Did you come here on your own accord?
Honestly, based on what he says, can really prompt two lines of questioning.
A) If not: 1) Who is employing you? 1-a) Where is he from?
2) What exactly was your purpose in creating dissent here?
3) For what purpose did you create it?
4) How much were you paid for this job?
5) Where are you from?
B) If so: 1) Why would you choose to destroy a Kingdom thus.
2) Where are you from?

Debate at Founders' Square
Lyle

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