Articulus Manipulus

A young human cleric of the church of Shalpa


Description :
Human male, 19yrs old, 160 lbs, black hair, brown eyes, Chaotic Neutral.
str 8.5
int 10.92
wis 18.82
dex 11.57
con 13.16
lks 12.50
cha 12.82

arcane lore 14
boating 28
climbing 10
current affairs 39
disarm trap 21
divine lore 37
first aid 33
gambling 40
glean info 30
hiding 23
id traps 50
listening 28
lock pick 24
observ 26
persuasion 32
pick pocket 27
recruiting 31
religion 41
religion own 46
resist persuasion 25
riddling 35
rope use 15
scrutiny 29
skilled liar 31
sneaking 31
swimming 26

languages Ranke 21%, Trade tongue 21%, Wriggly 59%
written Ranke 17%

Talent : tough as nails ( uses D12 vs D20 for top check )
Proficient : Short sword, Dagger, Sling
Luck points : 32
Honor: 37
Hit points: 32 Top check: 10 Top save: 6
base stats Attack: 0, Defense: 3, Damage -1, Speed 0
saves mental: +3, Physical: +1, Dodge: 0

Quirk/Flaw : Superstitious – The dead ( they just ain’t right and they
don’t always stay that way)
Family : Mother dead, Father alive, loving parents


Early life
Not every child grows up in a caring home, gets enough to eat or makes life long friends. In the city of sanctuary very few children have the opportunity to laugh and play and wonder what diversions they can fill the day with. .

Articulus grew up in a noisy home and learned early in life how to avoid being picked on. His lack of strength prevented him from being chosen for the usual games involving strength and speed. Unfortunately, he did not cut a heroic figure that inspired his peers. That does not mean that he did not want to be included or that he wasn’t a capable fighter. In fact he was quick and nimble, learned quickly and had an unexpected toughness. He fought to win when using practise weapons but was often physically bested by even the smaller kids.
He had to be content with watching from the shadows. And the shadows were good to him on more than one occasion. He could watch unseen from just about any shadowed area. This allowed him to get close and take advantage of opportunities others would miss. His small size and light step put him places of opportunity where he could sit and observe the dance of underworld players. The trade in information is a profitable industry in sanctuary. The money he made from his talents allowed him to stay away from home over extended periods. His father brought him up alone after the death of his mother.

Articulus’s father introduced him to the family business of thieving. Although the man was not particularly skilled at some of the finer skills such as lock picking and so on, he did impart a respect for the ethics of their business. His skills were more directed at physical intimidation. There came a time when Articulus was to be apprenticed to a confederate of his fathers so that he might learn the more elegant side of their shadowy art.

In time his skills improved enough that he was making a decent bit of coin. All went well until his first solo break and enter into a nobles house. He succeeded in entering the home and even managed to pick up a few things. His luck changed though when he went to place incriminating evidence into the purse of the home owners wife. Articulus knew that this sort of task resulted in a jealous husband challenging the owner of the evidence to a duel. Of course things were arranged that the husband was overmatched and killed.

The next day, he heard that the husband of the woman he planted the information on, had not only won the duel, but set a bounty on any who participated in the failed conspiracy. His master was implicated and tortured. There are no acts of sacrifice or loyalty in sanctuary in the face of such pain. Articulus was caught with the rest of those that trained under his master and dropped in a hole in the ground. What could only have been an ancient well provide no food, water or fresh air. The walls were too smooth and slippery to climb and no sound uttered from above.

The base of the well was muddy and slick with blood. How he managed to survive the fall is a tale he could not tell. He was unconscious from the beating he took. He may have been weak in strength but he had a very good constitution. To his good fortune he was thrown in last and landed on Hegran the Glutton. At first Articulus tried every way he could think of to climb his way out of the well. Time stretched out until several days had passed. There was just enough moisture on the slick walls to sustain him if he licked it off. The bugs brought in by the putrefying corpses satisfyed his belly’s hunger. The air continued to foul as Hegran’s and the others bloated forms exhausted their stinking gases. He lost consciousness several times and dreamed the corpses came to life and consumed him.

When he came to and took stock of his situation he realized he could probably fashion the garments of dead into an adequate rope. By stripping flesh leg bones and lashing them together he could make a crude grappling hook. It was a bold but grisly move that may just save his life. Weakened as he was he would only get the one chance.

When all was prepared he took time to rest and meditate on his situation. At times like this even thieves appeal to the gods and make promises they swear to keep. For reasons known only to the gods something appeals to them about the petitioner and they answer.

As is appropriate in this case, Shalpa, the god of thieves heard his plea. Between the echoing drops of water he could hear the whispered words " You interest me young one. Affirm your faith and dedication to Shalpa, give your oath to serve as my cleric and you shall have the chance to go free". Articulus did not hesitate and swore an oath that it would be so and that he is honored to be chosen. Feeling new vigor return to his limbs, he through the grapple up and out of the well. There is nothing so blessed as fresh air but he trembled and shook as he pictured the corpses clawing their way up the side of the well. Every time he sees a dead body now he hears them calling " You are one of us. Return.. return or we will come for you". It is very difficult for Articulus to remain long in the presence of a corpse. Even if he had killed it himself he will nervously loot the body and remove himself from its presence as soon as possible.

more to come . .

h3. Articulus’s first session .

Articulus was fixing himself a tea when he heard members of the gang returning to the hideout. His life began that evening when he gained awareness that he was on the roof of a building at the docks. From the shadows above he could see a small building where a wizard like character was chuckling as he locked the door securely. He cradled a small cube in his hand as he strode off laughing at some inner joke .

Near the corners of the end of the building small patches of flames ate eagerly into the dry wood. Without knowing what to expect he left the area immediately to gain a safe place where he could figure out what was going on. The roof tops are covered in shadow and safer than the streets if one has the skill. He let instinct guide him as he moved north and east into a better area of the city. It did not take long for him to reach an area in the merchants quarter that felt right. That cobbler shop looked and felt right so he took a chance and went in.

The proprietor went by the name of Tismith. He spoke with a familiarity and soon directed Articulus to the basement apartments to which his brass key unlocked. It was not long before the others found their way back as well. Once he saw them he recalled their names and that they were associates. Some memories fell into place but not enough to identify the object the others claimed the wizard took without payment, nor the wizards name. Tismith did say that as far back as a year ago such a man did in fact meet with us here at the hideout. He also told the others that we used to speak often of meeting at the Vulgar Unicorn at the edge of the maze. While he knew nothing of our work and preferred to keep it that way, the Vulgar Unicorn has a bit of a reputation as a meeting place with criminal elements of the maze.

Lacking any other plan we decided to go there and see what could be learned of our past and who we might be connected to. The trip was not far but along the way Arurex spotted someone following us. The rain made it difficult for her to track them but she managed to stay with him up until the edge of the Vulgar Unicorn. A very large man in an oiled rain cloak was already at the door of the Vulgar Unicorn when Roland and I arrived. He eyed us suspiciously as we stood there in the rain waiting for Arurex. Neither of us spotted anyone come around the corner before she caught up with us. It was if they disappeared into thin air.

Stepping into the tavern was like stepping into a library. Not a peep, music, shuffle of feet or voice of conversation lay on the air. It was a large room with a bar at the opposite side of the entrance. In the middle of the room there was three men nursing their drinks, heads bowed in quiet conversation. Along the side wall was a well dressed woman keeping her face covered from view. Perhaps a clandestine meeting for a liaison or the plotting of a husbands murder. Further back to the left a man sat alone at a table. From his bearing he conducted himself as someone down on his luck. A balcony higher up allowed another patron to look down into the tavern area. He was young and dressed more as a bravos. Considering the rest of the patrons he was entirely too cheerful to be sitting in this company.

I recognized Pegrin the bartender and Mynx the barmaid. That’s progress at least. I called for a round of drinks in a sudden loud and joyful shout. This startled the customers for I fear they had become accustomed to the sound of rain on the roof and the otherwise solitude of their thoughts. Come to think of it my partners seemed to jump a little and scowl at me. As I asked each in turn in the room if they would like a drink they all muttered a negative except the fellow on the balcony. He seemed to thankful for the free ale and waved accordingly.

As Roland, Arurex and I sat there quietly discussing general topics we hoped the surroundings might inspire a memory of past meetings at the Inn. The 3 men in the central table kept looking at the door as if they were expecting someone to show. Arurex decided to take her beer over to them and see if she could charm them into be a bit more talkative. Of course after in initial failure to move their spirits she accidently slopped some ale on one of them.

Within seconds a fight ensued. The usual threats of I’m goona knock your teeth in spoken to Arurex was met with the customary reply of “I’d like to see ya try”. Neither could seem to plant a good hit. I made a 1 silver wager with Pegrin at the bar that Arurex would win. The patron’s companions were attempting to calm him so he would not spoil whatever business they expected. Arurex was enjoying herself until her frustrated assailant pulled a knife. Her foot connected with his groin and that brought a quick end to the fight. That seemed to kill the mood for the other patrons and shortly thereafter the only customer was the woeful fellow, alone and hunched over his table.

Articulus strolled over to his table and offered him some ale or a meal. The man was very distraught though and would not be comforted. He mumbled on about how he was ruined by a bad investment in a ship. The ship disappeared at sea and therefore his fortune. This would be bad enough I suppose but he did not clarify whether he had borrowed the money to invest, taken it from family or used funds he had rightfully accumulated. He behaved as if he might take his life over the matter. Articulus continued to talk with him and seemed to be on the verge of getting more information as he opened up.

Arurex had drifted closer to the table and was almost there when the door burst open suddenly. At the same time the lamps in the center of the tavern were struck by something and went out. With the room pitched in darkness the poor fellow became frightened and started to move out of his chair. Arurex, sensing an attack, had ducked below the table. In the blackened room there was a loud thump next to the table and Arurex being Arurex slashed out with her dagger. We could hear a scream, some more shuffling then the thud of a body hitting the floor.

Pegrin the Ugly was quick about getting some light from the kitchen. It would have appeared to him that Arurex and Articulus were standing next to one of his patrons; presently dead on the floor. The only person standing around with a weapon in their hand was Arurex. What was immediately apparent to us was one wound across the victims legs and a second wound at his neck. Furthermore on his face and neck was a clear gelatinous goo. Next to the body was a set of wet footprints that seemed to begin in one spot and head for the door. They only remained visible for a few yards then they tapered off.

Pegrin the Ugly seemed to think that we did it. He was threatening us with the city watch and arrest. It was either a superbly played frame on us or we were on the verge of getting some dangerous information from the man. What no one else saw was the small slip of paper the dying man slipped to Articulus. Roland, Arurex and Articulus left the inn quickly and headed back home by a circuitous route. When there seemed no imminent danger they looked at the note and it provided them with evidence that in the event of his death that it was likely he was murdered. What it said was “ It is by the act of no blade or malice of man that I die this terrible death”.

At this time, consider as a murder suspect the shadowy figure that followed us through town. Arurex had tried to follow them in the rain but they disappeared as they slipped around the corner at the Vulgar Unicorn. Since we did not see them they may have gone up to the second story of the bar. That cheerful fellow on the second floor that accepted a free beer might have been the one she followed. We do know that we never saw him leave; he was above us; there was a thump as if someone dropped down, landing and creating the wet footsteps on the floor. The gelatin like goo on the victims neck could be a poison reaction from the wound.

It would appear there is more to the victim given the nature of his enemy. Perhaps, in the absence of the note we might consider that the real target was Articulus. One could imagine that the penniless man stood in the darkness, inadvertently placing himself in the way, and was subsequently killed by mistake.

Second session:

Articulus Manipulus , Arurex , Hoves , Roland the Red

After the incidence at the vulgar unicorn we had gone back to our digs in the cobbler shop. There were few options available to us until we knew more of what was going on. After a lengthy discussion we decided to head back to the bar where the fire took place. There was a chance someone might know us there so that might be the best place to start. I am presuming we chose that bar to begin with because we felt safe there.

Travelling the wide way was felt to be open and safe but at this time of night you walk thru a sea of drunks and addicts. There is always a chance of random violence but given our appearance there was little worry of that.

The bar is called ’ The Ape and Dog’. Plenty of patrons are inside gathered about their tables discussing business and pleasure. We take our places at the bar and gain the bartenders attention. Taking a chance that he knows us I call out, “we’ll have the regular”. The bartender responds that we can’t run up a tab considering what happened last time. He graciously accepted the silver I offered to clear the delinquent tab and added that he is also out one building. We are served two ales a wine and a water and a promise to discuss recent events after he is finished work. The bartenders name is Meezer. That name does not immediately lead to any associations in my memory but he seems friendly enough.

When a table became available we set ourselves up to drink out the night and see who comes to us. Before long a flashy young man bumps into Arurex and makes a pass her. His approach was not only boorish but is plainly rebuffed. Seeing as he is not wanted he leaves with a smile. After a period of observing the ever changing faces of patrons, in comes the that bold young man again. He was laughing and talking with people in the bar as if everyone knew him. Slaps on the back, smiles and nods to various tables you would think he owned the place. Eventually he angled his way over to our table again and sits down uninvited.

He calls himself Flip . Despite his forward behaviour we allow him to remain. Flip has plenty of stories to tell but over time he becomes less funny and less tolerable. I asked him what he knew of our friend Garak. He told us he was picked up by the city guard and for that information we owed him the use of our skills. That was an outrageous price to name after the fact for such a measly piece of info. When told he does not own the use of our skills he became threatening. I expect he thought he could because we seemed to be new at this. He went so far as to tell us that he learned much about us. His stories had included references to sanctuary which anyone that knew the city would have laughed along with or corrected him on. Since we did not respond as expected that makes us new, without affiliation and vulnerable. I was going to the bar to ask Meezer if he knew of this character when Flip kicked my chair causing me to reseat myself. That in itself is enough to end his miserable life.

We have had enough of this idiot and leave the bar. Flip darts out and away before we get outside. On the outside Arurex asks the revellers which direction he headed in. For a copper she learns that he headed off towards the west. It’s unlikely that we can catch him so we head through an alley to reach the back entrance of the bar. In the alley a pair of barely visible bodies carry on a private liaison. A pair of small boats are being loaded from the other building as a man holding a crossbow stands guard.

Meezer answers the door and whispers too us as curious bar patrons take veiled looks in our direction at the back door. Meezer does tell us that we work for Tismith and that the settlement for the building would be from him. He also informs us that it was Tismith that arranged for the smaller private outer building to be used as a meeting place. On hearing that we head back to the cobblers. .

Once we were at home we rested up and met with Tismith the next morning. He told us that yes he obtained work for us but he did not arrange that meeting at the Ape and Dog. In fact he had not known we were back in town yet until we showed up at the shop. After baring the doors and windows he looks us in the eye and offers us the chance to restore our memory. Throwing some leaves into a boiling pot on the stove, we are told the only way is to drink a tea that he was preparing. We all accepted the potion although Arurex was reluctant to trust someone she no longer knew. She did relent and drank.

Several days later when we woke up in our cots we realized it was not the cure we thought it was. I was the only one to remember parts of the process. Tismith, the kind grandfatherly man asking questions and Tismith the Homicidal maniac screaming questions blended in with hallucinations and visions that tormented my sanity. I can only assume the rest experienced much the same although they did not remember it. .

We tended to breakfast and made our way upstairs. Tismith was working at his cobblers bench as always and greeted us pleasantly enough. He seemed a bit more at ease and began to tell us some of our history..

Apparently our work takes us outside of Sanctuary. In the last year we have been working for young noble lady with red hair. She had come upon a map that indicated how to find Dur Vessa’s box. This box belonged to a woman that was said to be centuries old. It is also said that the box can take you to whatever you desire. Exactly how the box works or is controlled is something else entirely different. As the story goes, she had everything she desired; youth, long life, wealth, power. When she asked to be taken to the makers of the box she disappeared. Her pilgrims reported that she never came back. .

A wizard named Mallan Thursk heard of the job at hand and interfered with the delivery.

How he learned of this work is unknown. But Roland seems to think that I would reveal, through carelessness, details of our enterprise. The very notion is ridiculous.

The revelations did not end there. He told us a story about a gang known as the coin cutter co-op. They were the only gang to break into the palace and get away with it. The leader, a man called Ziric, stole enough gold to give every child in the maze a gold piece and bragged about it. Our relationship to that man and the Coin Cutter Co-op is simple. We of the Spinning copper gang are descendants of those gang members. We have been brought together to revive the name and reputation of the Coin Cutter Co-op. Public knowledge of the legendary Dur Vessa’s Box venture would have made us famous.

Our own Tismith was none other than the famous Arzuth. In his younger days he stole 6 royal rings right off the hand of the prince as he made a public appearance at some festival of the time. Did he keep the rings, no of course not. He nailed a ring to each of the 6 city gates as a testament to his skills. The reputation he gained was far superior to the monetary value of the rings.

For the moment we don’t have any solid ties in the city so we have to leave for a while. Tismith advised us that a small town outside sanctuary called Elkhod has an inn where we can meet with Ziric and learn all that we need to know.

The direct route if of course the easiest, most public and most expensive way out of the city. Obviously that is not the route for us now that some forces inside Sanctuary may take a mind to stick their nose in our business. Tismith suggested we take employment as guards protecting his shipment of shoes. Although slightly longer the journey that takes a more round about and less public route. His offer provided us with the best cover story, considering a well made shoe was a valuable cargo indeed. Knowing Tismith better now makes me wonder what else will travel with the shoes. Those thoughts are better ended there, for I believe Tismith is ever so much more than he seems.

Articulus Manipulus

Echoes of the Past Johnsr