Jan 20, 2022 9:06 AM
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" - sure sounds like something in the church, sir, and I expect they'd know, or you could talk to the man who sets the numbers on the bounties, when he comes by, 'cause he must employ at least one of them if he isn't one himself. He comes by most mornings, though not all of them; sometimes none of the numbers have much changed."

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"I'd as soon not dawdle about my - about his way, if the bounty-setter is not here and not known to be here soon.  I will inquire of Abadar's Church if you believe they would know... what bounties are these of which you speak?"

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"The Church does all kinds of things, but most of interest to adventurers they do death insurance, and if you go and die insured they'll run a bounty for someone to bring your body in, to save them the fancier kind of diamond on the resurrection. So they post dead people and the bounties and their estimates of how likely someone is to succeed at bringing them in, though of course if you're very good your odds will be higher, and if you're very lousy they'll be lower, but it's useful to know which ones are chasing fish in the sea and which ones are solid money."

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Money is long since meaningless to her, who bears no magic arms nor magic armor and uses magic items only as an admission of temporary failure.  Derrina regularly donates excess wealth to some good cause or another, and does some needful act Pharasma calls Evil to restore the balance if she finds her alignment shifting.

"Not my calling, at this moment... but I admit, I do not see the connection between that and the gamblers I am to seek."

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"Not much of the Church where you're from, hmm?"

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"I know well enough that Abadar's Church acts as a bank in many places, but I have little use for banks.  If I have so much money I can no longer carry it about myself, it is time to give some away."

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" - as suits you, I suppose. Anyway, I'm not a religious, but - it's all the same currency, information and money. The insurance company, when they notice someone's gone and died, has to guess how much trouble it'll be to return their body, to set the bounty. If they're bad at guessing then they're going to set the bounty too high, or too low, and lose money, next to an insurance company run by people who know how to count. And they've been at it a while, so they're not bad at guessing, and no one would take a bounty from a place that didn't guess, or didn't tell you their guess. It's gambling, but not to win some copper off your friends, and if you win, then in the long run, everyone wins, 'cause death insurance is cheaper and this pack of fools can go out and do more dangerous stuff."

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"An interesting Way.  I do not think I have fully grasped it from your description alone.  The people I am seeking, no doubt, have understood it much better."

She finishes her lemonade, sets down the empty glass.  "Where may I find such a Church of Abadar as would be able to guide my next steps?"

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"Here in Sothis? Practically every street-corner. The nice symmetrical buildings with the golden doors, and the symbol of Abadar on them."

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"You don't think it worth trying a larger one, or some particular one?"

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"From your description I don't know if your information is something they'll buy at the first temple you come to, or something for some very secret group of people who bet on spies or something like that. But if it's the latter, you'd want the temple in the Black Dome, and you can't get into the Black Dome without a recommendation, so either way you might as well start at the first temple you come to."

 

Someone else comes up, wanting wine; he pours it for them.

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She is already curious as to what silly thing she shall have to do to earn a 'recommendation' to the Black Dome's temple, but she is perhaps getting ahead of herself.

"I'll be on about the way, then," she says, and departs.

She will enter the first temple of Abadar that she comes to, as instructed.

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It's clean and busy; there's a line of people waiting for service at a polished stone counter, and a teenage boy scrubbing the polished stone floors, and a teenage girl carrying boxes of records back and forth from the counter and up the stairs to the next floor. There's a sizable altar beyond the front room, where people are laying candles and burning incense, but it's not at all the focal point of the space. Down some narrow stairs, there's a glimpse of a classroom, full of boys who are age five to ten or so. 

 

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She shall inquire then of the teenage boy scrubbing the floors.  Where can she find a cleric of Abadar to guide a foreign traveler bearing information, for ones pursuing gambling as a great calling?  Or just a cleric of Abadar if that seems overly specific.

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There's a cleric on staff here; the price of her time is six silver for a quarter-hour, after which she'll quote a more specific price for further questions in the same vein. Her specialty isn't gambling, but she'd probably know whose specialty is.

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Silliness, but silver is meaningless to her.  If this is how Abadar's clerics choose to conduct themselves about His business, that is between their own selves and Abadar, and none of her proper concern.

Well then, Derrin shall go and pay six silver to consult one of Abadar's for a quarter-hour.

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The cleric is younger than her, and veils her face, and wears a fairly absurd amount of jewelry. She's cheerful enough, though. 

"What can I help you with?"

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Most people are younger than her, in fact.

"I am sent to this land bearing information for certain people who are of interest to Abadar, perhaps His clerics, or answerable to such.  They are gamblers excelling in their art and aspiring to excel more yet, slicing their odds as finely as a blade's edge or a hair's width.  They are considering a question of some importance; the one who sent me wishes for them to have information pertinent to it.  How may my steps be guided onward to find those I seek?"

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" - ah. Sent by who, may I ask?"

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"Someone of some importance.  Forgive me, but I would avoid speaking too much of such details until I have gone as far as I possibly can without speaking those details, that they not be spread wider than the people I am seeking would themselves desire."

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"I understand. Almost every decision of importance in Osirion is made by gambling, as you would call it; it focuses the mind, to make predictions in numbers it is accustomed to, and coin is a number in which we are all accustomed to reasoning, with the additional useful property of rewarding those who reason well. Different ones ask different questions. Our great merchant houses gamble in ships, and our great adventuring companies in the lives of those who purchase their protection, and our census-takers in the numbers of our people and the yields of their fields; it would be difficult to direct you with no idea of what your question touches on."

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"I am reluctant to call the matter important, since, in my experience, what great palaces and temples think to be important is often different from what is actually important, and I have no desire to find myself before royalty accused of wasting their time."  Again.  "Still, the matter strikes me as one more important than merchant ships and granaries.  Are you the one who should dispatch me about that, or should I visit another, who knows all these gamblers better, before I can go no further along the way without speaking?"

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"I can refer you to one senior in the Church, and with a recommendation they charge their fee directly to Abadar, if that is how you see the value running; on so little information I would hesitate to refer you to the Dome, which is where the contracts run most finely, and on the matters of the greatest importance. - the Dome cannot be scried through, and in fact no spell can go through it at all, and so matters that ought not to be known are spoken of there; and it is the seat of the Pharaoh who is Abadar in Golarion. Has your time been compensated? What would you charge us for it?"

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"To have honestly earned any reward from the one who sent me, by my own strength and in a matter of his true need, is all that I ask.  The fees Abadar's clerics ask strike me as strange, but if they are within my ability to pay, I will pay them myself and not concern myself with who else should.  I am given this task; I accepted it; I will complete it myself."

"I will visit your senior.  Let them decide whether to send me on to this Dome; perhaps my quest lies within, perhaps not."

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"I can accompany you, if you have no travelling companion; they will not agree to meet you alone, and your matter is secret. It it not necessary that I hear you speak of it." She pulls a bag off her wall and puts it over her shoulder. "How would you have the priests decide which petitions to answer?"

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