(Roll an Easy (+40) Perception test. Perception is based off your I, so you are rolling against a 69 with the bonus).
“Reuters barges? No I don’t think I’ve had the pleasure. A pitty you had to sell them, but all to fund this grand project I’ll bet. A new town on the river, very exciting! Do you have a name for it yet? The town?”
Gert keeps a good face for the poor sap with the money, but his heart sinks when he hears about the sale of merchant boats. That, combined with the poor quality materials and lack of organisation suggests someone with more money than sense.
d100: 32 against 69
“It is far from being a town yet, but hopefully once the mill is completed we can continue to develop the area. My partner and I have never got as far as dicsussing anything like a name. There are bound to be opportunities for those that know the riverways.”
“It was good to meet you all, but I have some paperwork to complete before we arrive, so please excuse me.” He wobbles a bit on his way back into the cabin as the barge rolls to tey starboard, calling out “Make yourselves useful during the journey and I’ll notice, and I will remember!” before dragging the curtain closed again.
Else, you get a clear look into the cabin before Rutger closes the curtain. There is indeed a colection of scrolls scattered across a battered looking desk, and an upturned inkwell that wasn’t secured properly, creating a nice mess which Rutger curses at seeing. A closer look at the crates and cargo show them to be exactly as mentioned - various building materials, tools and miscellaneous supplies for a work camp.
Hmmmm, maybe nothing, but Else still has that itch between her shoulder blades that says something is not quite right.
Meanwhile, old habits die hard and, while she is travelling incognito for now, she is what she is and she will make a tour of the boat, closely observing any crew member for any hint of corruption. The crew probably don’t like it and she doesn’t much care as long as they don’t try and interfere.
(If nothing happens as a result of this tour, she’ll return to her previous perch before Rutger appeared)
Gert will try to intercept Else on her tour of the craft. “Hey, you look capable, give me a hand restacking these crates.” And in a lower voice “it’ll give us a chance to talk at least.”
He sets out reorganizing whatever supplies are nearby into something more shipshape and talks quietly for as long as Else is willing to listen.
“I’m not saying our merchant employer is up to anything, but… look, with these supplies, a boat with this little paint, talk of having to sell his family’s boats, and an unnamed partner it’s… well it might just be a case of a fool and his money right? Or it might be us on a boat to the middle of nowhere with more work and less pay than we thought. Now I’m not saying we don’t give him a fair shake and see if he’s as good as his word, but if anything should start to go south as it were you look like you can hold your own in a fight. I can throw a punch or two, but I’ve never used anything like those pistols you’ve got there. So if you can help get me to a boat, I’ll make sure we get somewhere safe. I know these waters like the back of my hand. Just if anything goes down you understand?”
(A bit more background that is common knowledge to everyone in this region. Ubersreik is currently experiencing a period of political crisis. The noble House Jungfreud, which used to exercise a withering degree of control over the region, has recently undergone a fall from grace. Currently the city is under governance by the forces of the Emperor himself, with State soldiers from Altdorf now commonly seen patrolling in the streets. The reasons for this state of affairs is unsure, and a matter of much discussion by all classes. The Jungfreuds never welcomed the increasing power of merchants, and some rumours suggest this has contributed to their current woes.)
The elderly Strigany woman at the prow certainly gets Else notice. She sits with her head bowed, not interacting with anyone. She rocks to and fro on a little three-legged stool, muttering away to herself, the words not audible enough to pick out from the ambient sounds of a barge in motion.
Seeing Else start to give the crew a bit of intense scrutiny, one of the Strigany breaks off from giving instructions to the pilot, and comes over to introduce himself. His black hair is tied back in a tail, and he sports a moustache and gold hoops adorn his ears.
“Hello friends, welcome aboard the Trandafir. I am Reiko, the master of this barge.” He’ll give Gert a happy smile on noticing that he is intending to help rebalance the cargo “We’re a little shorthanded since Aishe fell sick and had to stay back at Ubersreik. If you could see you way to helping around the barge, it would be much appreciated.”
(Gert can make another Average (+20) Sail test to see how successful he is at reorganising the cargo.)
(If anyone else wants to help out on the barge, describe what it is you end up doing.)
d100: 47 vs sail 68
“I am no boathand, Master Reiko, tho I fear not the hard work - I know nothing of boats, their sailing or their care. I suspect I would just get in your way.”
Else gives Gert a searching look, as if looking into his soul, before seeming to make a decision. She briefly nods her assent.
“Well, your friend there seems to have a good handle on what needs to be done.” Reiko remarks, seeing Gert start to get to work securing the load in more professional manner. “I’m sure he can point you at things to moved.”
“Mebbe she can keep an eye out for the Beast “ mutters one of the other Strigany as he bustles past, receiving a dark look from Reiko and a cuff alongside his head as he passes.
Gert keeps himself busy and manages to resolve the haphazard situation with cargo. The impact is fairly noticeable to the obvious appreciation of Reiko, with the barge no longer rolling quite so severely, and a slight portside list has also been corrected. Although his hands are busy, Gert can still chat away freely whilst he works.
“Well, good. I’m glad we’re in agreement at least. I’m Gert by the by, in case you didn’t catch that with Rutger. Here, give me a hand with this will you?” He says gesturing to some of the heavier construction material.
When any of his reorganizing takes him near any if the crew, Gert would try to strike up conversation. “So have you been up to this camp before? Got much in the way of hot food there?”
Reiko is propped up on a crate packing a pipe whilst watching his crew at work, and he replies to Gert’s question.
“Been doing the supply runs from Ubersreik for a whiles now. Camp’s mainly tents an’ wagons for the partners and workforce, plus the work site. You’ll be right welcome to share a meal for your help here.“
Else’s head snaps up at the mention of a ‘Beast’
" What did that man mean by his words? What Beast is this?"
Reiko waves away the Else’s concern “Ignore them. The crew’ve been listening to grandmother’s tales of beasts in the marshes, and it has made them skittish as deer.” He glances towards the old lady at the front.
“We Strigany are a superstitious folk, though some are worse than others. Best to pay grandmother’s mutters no regard. We just got to press on, build their mill or whatnot, and trust in our ancestors.
Reuter seems like good folk, the silver is good and pay is regular, which is right welcome. Me wife died last year and I’ve felt the pinch since then. This job came along just when me and my girls need a good break, and it makes a change from being chased out of every town just 'cause we’re Strigany."
Meinrad is going to try and find something useful to do next to the grandmother and see if he can catch anything she’s saying. If not, he’ll engage in small talk with her.
“How are you doing madam? You seem at ease on the prow. I get it, I’m not very used to boat, but I love seeing up the river. I’m Meinrad by the way”
You are simply ignored by the old woman, her shawl covering her head making it hard to pick out her features, let alone her muttering.
“You should just leave Mother Vadoma, leave her to her prayers” says one of the crew.
(Roll a Challenging (+0) Perception test to see what you can hear)
Ok so rolling Perception
d100: 52 vs Perception 26
“Yeah, no problem, I will leave her alone. Who’s she praying to?”
“You know, we once had Strygani on our field; I was only a kid. I once played with them, but my father would forbid me, saying they are dangerous. Never seemed dangerous to me! Anyway, they were chased out of town, people thought they were harboring undead people, vampire and the like…”
The crewman spits with feeling over the side of the boat. “Typical slurs spread by honourless dogs who resent us because of our rich cultural heritage. Mother Vadoma is praying to her ancestors.”
“Thank you! It’s always good to share a meal with new people. And the camp sounds like a fine place if partners are welcome. Do you know what they’re building at the moment?”