Jump to content

Errand: I.I - Karev & Sons


Recommended Posts

Neither Larisa nor Mikołaj have any trouble paying a visit to the premises of Karev & Sons, one of the more well-known auction houses specialising in the everyday needs of a thriving economy. While outrageously expensive art does change ownership under auspices of Juliana Karev and her family every now and then, the usual merchandise is less grand. Often more sizeable though. The Karevs handle everything from the contents of cargo holds to entire clippers, from more mundane art to entire private libraries, and from local production to colonial imports.

 

The most extravagant feature is a large conservatory. Originally built to house exotic plants imported from the colonies, this annex to the building is now also used as a verdant backdrop for the auctions. And as a quiet show of wealth, because even in the deepest winters the conservatory maintains its small, tropical ecosystem. Now, in early autumn, the rain often drums heavily against the glass panels, forcing everyone to speak a little louder to be heard.

 

Conservatory01.png.a67cbe149f0ee11fbca4048215911844.png

 

Larisa mingles easily with the guests on two evenings, allowing her to get a good understanding of how the Karevs handle their business. All auctions are conducted by a length of candle, meaning that the bidding ends the moment the auction candle's flame is extinguished. There is no great showmanship involved, but the auctions always happen in the evenings or even late at night to ensure that the flame can easily be seen against the background of a dark window. Some people seem to enjoy this kind of auction as a visitor sport of sorts. They only rarely bid themselves and clearly come to see and be seen while partaking in the refreshments offered between auctions. This is not high society, but it is comfortably part of the upper middle class.

 

The store rooms and offices in the main building are off limits to visitors and Larisa has no low-risk opportunity to sneak up the stairs from the entrance hall that takes up the entirety of the ground floor. Downstairs seems to be at least a small kitchen and upstairs are clearly offices used by the Karevs and their clerks. Storerooms for smaller auction pieces are also maintained while larger pieces and lots covering entire cargoes and ships are kept at other sites.

 

Mikołaj's intelligence gathering is somewhat less successful. While he manages to get information that confirms Larisa's observations, his dedicated studies of the notice boards draw the attention of the Karevs' resident insurance against magic meddling: the magebreaker they keep on retainer has pegged him as a sorcerer and will keep an eye on him should he see him again. There are no accusations voiced or threats made, but Mikołaj clearly falls within his remit and he will remember the face.

 

The lot that needs to be acquired is listed as the estate of a certain Vakaris Dabulis, recently deceased on his way back from a visit to the colonies. It entails various pieces of furniture, wardrobe, and private possessions, including his correspondence, lepidoptera collection, and sketches of various statues, women, and ships. Your superiors in the house unfortunately could not narrow their request down to a specific item, so you will have to ensure that the entire lot comes into your possession.

 

Game Mechanics

  • Use the planning thread to figure out which plan type you want to pursue and what the missing detail would be.
    • Assault: Point of attack
    • Arcane: Magical means
    • Deception: Method
    • Social: Connection
    • Stealth: Entry point
    • Transport: Route
  • You may instead use your house feature Our Reputation Precedes Us to automatically start a Social engagement in a risky situation. Your connection will be a contact who fears you. This contact cannot be one of the decision makers of Karev & Sons, but someone involved with the auction process is permissible.
  • Select your Load Limit: Discrete (1-3) or Loaded (4-6)

 

 

Edited by Sorcery (see edit history)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The visitors, both those looking to conduct business and those there for appearances, are slowly congregating under the glass roofs of the conservatory. Canapés and drinks are left behind for the time being, albeit reluctantly by some, as the focus of attention leaves the social jockeying in the entrance hall. At least for a while. People move towards the greenery in small groups, slowed down by the need to file through a single entrance. Further holdups are created by those planning to partake in the auctions, who need their names entered into the ledger after paying a participation fee intended to disincentivise fraudulent bidders. Of course, this is only aimed at those who came for the spectacle, to ensure that they do not drive up prices merely for a better show. Determined interference, however, will hardly be discouraged this way.

 

Kamila, the clerk, manages to pass a hastily scribbled replica of the auction schedule to Mikołaj as he shuffles towards the conservatory doors, a young woman hanging on his arm. She clearly has had a little too much to drink already and is very busy taking in her surroundings, looking around with wide eyes and frequent, almost inaudible giggles whenever she spots a friend or someone she knows mingling in the distance.  Even though the sorcerer is unsure why Ana has chosen him specifically as the recipient of her immediate company, she seems to know a number of the other young men and women drifting from one group to the next.

 

The order of lots being auctioned is secret, to increase tension and to encourage people to stay for the entire event, thus exposing them to more lots they might want to bid on. With the schedule however, Larisa and Mikołaj can quickly figure out what is supposed to happen when. Better yet, they still have some time to strike up conversations with other guests, as assistants are still busy meticulously lining up an array of candles on a table. The process of laying them out and checking them for defects is a very public affair, intended to build trust into the auction format and assure people that the perfect candle will make for a genuinely random end to the auction.

 

Ana clearly has no interest in or listens to the quick consultation between the two retainers, although Larisa's presence and evident acquaintance with Mikołaj has her a little pouty until the blonde moves away once more. With the crowds it is easy to miss someone, but Larisa is reasonably certain that Kazimir has not arrived just yet. Whether he is running late or already playing an angle beyond these walls, only his eventual arrival will reveal. Judging by the drumming rain and the occasional rumble of distant thunder, he will be able to have a dramatic entry, should he want one.

 

Clocks

Other Bidders Outmanoeuvred 0/8

 

Auction Begins 0/4

 

Lot Secured 0/6

 

Suspicion 0/6

Agenda

The clocks should be fairly self-explanatory, but to ensure everyone is on the same page: No. 1 limits the options for other parties by encouraging them to spend their funds on other lots, discouraging them from partaking in what you are interested in, etc. The fuller this clock, the easier it will be to fill up clock No. 3, your win condition. The other two are timer/fail condition clocks that will be ticked on bad rolls or to move the story forward.

 

You can now try to nudge other participants into directions opportune for you, run other sorts of interference, and generally prepare the battlefield for the auction itself. Feel free to come up with NPCs you spot and strike up a conversation with, but try to avoid direct speech and stick to the broad strokes of what topics you touch upon and what you are trying to get them to do. Dialling this in for the right speed of play may end up taking a little time, but for now I'm leaning towards "it's better to barrel through the first errand than to bog down", especially for a game that has so much of its potential during the downtime phase.

 

If you want to mess with the lots (or anything else), you can do so either by flashback or by stealing away during the auction.

 

Light loads only for those present on the premises. Kazimir can come with heavier kit depending on the kind of entry he wants to have when his arrival... arrives.

 

Write up and post your fluff now, we'll then discuss the specifics for the rolls in the ooc thread, add the rolls, and move on to resolution. Similarly, you can ask about flashbacks in ooc first and once we are happy with the angle, commit them to writing.

 

Edited by Sorcery (see edit history)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Larisa is dressed in a plain-looking, but well-tailored gown made of cotton. It was knitted in a pattern that made it unusually flexible. Someone had decided, once upon a time, that women should wear clothing that constrained their movement to the point of infirmity. This did not agree with Larisa, so she had had her wardrobe custom-made to allow for such eccentricities as breathing and moving. Her long blonde hair was braided and tied up. To the casual observer, she would look like a well-to-do merchant's young wife.

 

Her first task for the evening was figuring out who was their competition. She spends the time before the auction wandering around, eavesdropping on the assembled groups of would-be buyers, exchanging pleasantries when needed and probing their intentions when possible. Mikołaj had warned her that he was under observation, so she kept her distance as much as possible. Besides, the way the harpy hanging on his arm glared at her every time she got near meant that she was liable to cause a scene if Larisa showed too much familiarity with the other retainer. It was odd, to be the object of jealousy. It was not something Larisa was used to and spoke volume about the other woman's insecurities.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The first conversation of interest Larisa's keen ears pick up on is one between a small group of men, one of whom she immediately recognises: Dominyk Mateikis, a well-to-do merchant specialising in the import and export of luxury furniture. He is the exact kind of person this auction event is targeting and the way he is greeted by passers-by and greets them in turn indicates that he is a regular guest. The other men clustering with him seem to be colleagues of his, other merchantmen of similar wealth but likely other business interests that ensure their friendships are not imperilled by competition.

 

Larisa is already almost out of eavesdropping range of the group when Mateikis touches upon what he is here for today: he wants to pick up a new pastime, something that is convenient for a busy man and can be put aside for a while whenever necessary. Something with an aura of scholarliness, because he is a man of science after all. There is some back and forth about possible options, but most of them are quickly shot down by Mateikis. He does not want to try painting and rare books are too dusty and boring to him. Then one of his friends suggests collecting butterflies, sounding as if he is making a joke, but the idea seems to have struck a nerve. Some quick skimming of the auction brochure later, the merchant finds three lots of interest to him. Ones that contain starting points for his future butterfly collection. Unfortunately, one of them is that with the name of Vakaris Dabulis on it.

 

The other group that catches her attention is not unlike your own coterie. Two men and one woman, who seem to fit in perfectly with their surroundings, but appear ever so slightly off to someone in a similar trade. These three are not wealthy merchants or lesser nobles, they are here with a lot more purpose than the people who came here for light entertainment and possibly a, more or less spontaneous, bid or two. Their conversation is too hushed for any eavesdropping, but there is no doubt that their presence poses a threat to your own task. Whether they are here to acquire the same thing or for something unrelated, their interference could turn things upside down at any moment. Worse, with their allegiance unknown, there is no way to tell how ruthless they are going to be in pursuit of their goals.

Edited by Sorcery (see edit history)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Larisa makes her way to where Mikołaj and his harlot are standing. She pretends to examine a nearby lot while she briefs him on what she's noticed. "Mateikis is interested in lepidopterology. It might be possible to convince him that it is a distasteful pastime, but he seems rather taken by the idea. I suggest we instead talk up the other lots. As a scholar, I'm sure you can feign knowledge of the matter and laud them for their superior contents."

 

She glances at the other coterie, turning back with a pout similar to Ana's in obvious mockery. "The others are a bigger nuisance. Perhaps Kazimir can find cause to challenge one of them to a duel when he finally deigns to arrive. Otherwise, maybe we can arrange for some contraband to be found on their persons. It would be such a shame if they had to be expelled before the auction began..." Larisa sighs, looking positively mournful at the thought.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

Kaz smiled a small smile as he bowed and presented the tray. "Carrot tart with ricotta and almond filling, sir?" He thought, 'not as good as the caviar and creme fraiche tartlets, but passable.' He sighed. 'Looks like things are getting ready. Not enough time for another circuit - I'll have to use what I have discerned so far.'

He made his way back to the kitchen and handed off the serving tray, then slid into the cloakroom. Emerging a few moments later in his uniform and hat, few would recognize him as the obsequious server of moments ago. No one ever notices servants, except other servants. He slid into the crowd, then grabbed one more caviar tartlet while he did a final assessment of the battlefield.

Name
Kaz pushes a Survey roll
3
1d6 [[3]]
Kaz pushes a Survey roll
6
1d6 [[6]]
Kaz pushes a Survey roll
6
1d6 [[6]]
Kaz pushes a Survey roll
7
3d6 [[2,2,3]]
Link to comment
Share on other sites

√ó
√ó
  • Create New...