This site is an online accumulation of the Post Reports for my current ongoing D&D Campaign - for anyone who might be interested in reading them.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Youth Meet 15, Adv 2, 6/8/18

The youth group had taken 7 or 8 weeks off due to some issues with my daughter, but they have been resolved and the party got back together. There was the obligatory slow build reminder of where we were and what was going on – which accounted for about a half hour of the session, but then it was back to world building and set up for the Sea Ghost portion of the adventure path. Plus they got to see Sanbalat swing – so that was a plus!

Write up follows:

The group reconvened just west of the warehouse district and short of the Lost Children of Tyr Orphanage. They spent a few minutes catching each other up with what they had learned and discovered before heading off to pay their respects and then go visit the Regurin Demesne and hopefully have some answers from the smuggler in captivity.

The Orphanage had seen better days and was in need of some repair but the children were well fed, dressed comfortably, and seemed in good spirits. The Matron of the LCoT was a rotund woman named Amade and she was cheerful and appreciative to the group’s presence. There were about 15 kids ranging between 4 and 9 that came out to meet the group, of which the majority of them were human, with a few Halfling and half-orc children in tow.

Valarie spent some time with the half-orc children who were impressed with the Half-orcish Druid, asking her tons of questions about her tusks, skin color, hair, and just how big she was. The rest of the group talked to Amade who let it be known that any donations go to “food and clothing for the children first”, followed by sundry items, repairs, and then placement costs and fees if there is anything left over to help give the orphans a trade to learn or a family to place with. There were 3 others at the LCoT, the head cook, and two adjuncts. Everyone worked hard but it was a labor of love.

After taking the tour, Magnus wanted to make a tithe and donation to the Orphanage and offered Matron Amade 10 golden crowns. She literally had to stop she was crying so much at the generous amount. This spurred on Deja to match Magnus’ offer. And then Between Talion and Val, their combined offering matched Magnus’ again!

And Veldryn gave 7 nobles.

Effectively, the party gave the equivalent of 3,000 days of common labor costs to the Orphanage. More money than they typically would see in 3 months. The kids were thrilled, the staff was pumping hands in thanks, and Matron Amade could not stop her tears of gratitude. We left eventually after 45 minutes, promising to return, and feeling good, headed off to see Sir Archibald.

Eventually the elder landholder and Councilman met with us and seemed pretty excited. The Justicar and Inquisitor had been working on Sanbalat for 17 hours and had gotten most information they were going to get from the rude smuggler. The group was brought down to the basement, and then the sub-basement where we were then led to a large chamber outfitted for torture. Sanbalat was suspended over a Judas’ Cradle, arms bound, legs bound, fingers twisted. He had pincer marks and burns on his body but still managed to sneer at the group before they even began getting information.

The boat that would load the material from Saltmarsh was a merchant vessel called the Sea Ghost. It would sit far off shore and flash a signal to know if there was to be a pick up. Long and short flashes would answer from here and the Sea Ghost would either wait, prepare to be loaded, or waved off for a few days. Then it would go to the Haunted Mansion where it would unload the stolen goods to Sanbalat and his people, and eventually a third party would come and get the supplies from the smugglers and continue on their way to Dunwater.

The Sea Ghost’s Captain is a man named Siggurd Snake-eyes, a brutish cutthroat, and his command staff was his first mate and Bosun. He had a crew of 8 more smugglers and had been known to consort with some feral Lizardmen, having a few on board to help keep order. This meant 14 people on the Ghost. Our party was 5, 6 if you included Magnus’s new squire and former smuggler, Darveig.

Sir Regurin was willing to have a jolly boat at our disposal if the Sea Ghost came back…and two men along with it to pilot the vessel and aid the group should they want some help on board. The captain of the boat was a man named Will Stoutly, a former marine and fighter during the Usurper’s War, and the other would be Ned Shakeshaft who asked for the chance to help. This would bring us to 8…vs 14. Better odds, especially if we had the luxury of surprise.

Sanbalat was then led out of the dungeon, taken outside where the Regurin Demesne came to act as witness as the Inquisitor carried out his sentence and Sanbalat was strung up on a prepared rope, sentence as announced, and he was hung from the neck until dead. He was to stay there until the evening and then taken down and buried in the potters grave at the cemetery.

The Council offered us a reward for taking out the Sea Ghost and were allowed to keep anything we found on the vessel but the vessel and any contraband must be returned to Saltmarsh. We agreed and left.

From here we went off to the cemetery so Veldryn could talk to Hjarlod, the town Speaker, but also to get permission to look at Grabbi Ogansdottr’s grave – the leader of the Order of the Kraken who was captured and tried two years earlier and then buried here. Hjarlod was not sure about digging up the body but Talion managed to sway the intoxicated undertaker and the group joined him in the cemetery where they all started to dig. In a short time they had hit wood and managed to dig the coffin free. Then ropes were attached and it was lifted out of the ground. The cover seal was still in place and it was busted free and the cover lifted.

Inside was Grabbi’s clothing (Boots, breeches, silk shirt, headband) all sitting on top of heavy stones – but no body. Crap?! Where was she? The group was trying to figure out the mystery and Hjarlod was pissed since he was duped in the matter. But eventually they discovered the head of the coffin wall was not pegged in place – 5 of the 6 wooden pegs had been drilled free, leaving on which could be knocked out and knocked back into place.

The feeling was that after she was taken down, placed in the coffin, and it sealed up, Hjarlod remembered it suddenly started raining that night and the burial was put off until the next morning – where the coffin was then placed in the ground and covered over. Someone most likely drilled the pegs free and took the body, closing the coffin back up and leaving the seals in place to throw off any sense of tampering.

Was she alive at that time? No one knows, it’s been two years. The group did have the thought that perhaps Siggurd Snake-eyes and Grabbi were one in the same, or maybe related? Using the Bifrost Crystal, Veldryn meditated over the stone until she could hear the sound of Hel speaking to her. She asked if there was a relation and got a resounding no.

The rest of the group was heading back to the Regurin Demesne to let Sir Archibald know about Grabbi not being here while Veldryn stayed and got Hjarlod’s commitment to helping her raise the bones of the dead alchemist she had taken from the mansion as a skeletal servant tonight before the group was planning to board the Sea Ghost.

As for Sir Archibald, he took the news of Grabbi poorly, wondering did the Undertaker have something to do with it? The group assured the Councilman that it wasn’t the case and there was thought that she had faked her death. Spells? Maybe. The town’s notary, Pinelaquin, “Lack” could better answer that. The party picked up Veldryn and went to the notary. The half-elf sage and sorcerer did comment that there were some spells that allow the person to feign death, and it could last for some time, many hours even.

We deduced that Grabbi had either cast it or had it cast upon her, and then after being interred in the coffin, either was spring by one of her followers or managed to drill her way out and escape. It also explains how the Order of the Kraken continued to function almost as a whole even though it had been supposedly attacked and disbanded earlier.

The group was to head back to the Wench and rest before seeing about going to the docks this evening and keeping an eye out for the Sea Ghost if it’s going to actually come tonight.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Meet 51, Adv 4.2, 6/2/18

This was the last of the vignettes during the training that lead the party through the town adventure and eventually and hopefully at long last to the confrontation with Siggurd. I've said it before, I like these types of world-building at my table and look forward to when they come up in play.

Write up follows:

Throughout the County of Rand, the celebration of Odin, the All-Father is an important time and this week was usually referred to as the All Father’s Feast, the last major holiday signaling the ending weeks of Summer and the start of the Harvest season. In Sorton, the upper class section of town throws what is referred to as the All Father’s Ball on the 1st day of the feast; and it is a highly sought after affair that people sign up for weeks in advance in hopes of getting a vaunted ticket.

Darius’ family, the Diamondcutters, have been staples to the Ball for generation and his youngest sister, Twilaine, made sure to include Darius on the invitation listing even though the young slinger had a falling out with his father weeks earlier. But on the night of the 21st, Darius made sure that he was decked out in his newest clothing, doublets and jerkins in black, green, and red, cut in the latest style and fashion. He made his way through the Jarl Heorot, a massive meeting and banquet hall located in Overcliff, until he found his seat at the table his family was already at.

His eldest brother, Gordon, was here, along with his youngest sister, Twilaine. Twilaine was betrothed to a man 12 years her senior, Isilwine Goldsmith, a shallow chinned jewelry maker whose family had been working with the Diamondcutter’s for years. Isilwine and Gordon have been friends for some time and were deep in their cups, talking and laughing. The seats for Darius’ mother and father were empty and there were other members of the Darblewythe mines here as well.

Darius’ arrival was met with surprise and skepticism by Gordon but naked appreciation from Twilaine. Isilwine was big on making sure Twilaine had enough to eat and was plying her with ham as he joked about “fattening her up” so she can squeeze out some kids soon while patting her on her slim hips. Darius didn’t like it and Isilwine kept joking Darius off.

The conversation drifted around the various mines and jobs that had been coming and going for some time until Gordson touched upon the crème de la crème they had just done – a signature piece for Siggurd Eindaud. Buh-wha?? Seems he had a piece of gem, called it a Ravenstone, and wanted it mounted on some gaudy piece of gold and silver plaque worn around his neck.

Darius listened to his brother and Isilwine talk about the piece for a bit and the difficulty in getting the stone mounted – was multi-faceted but was immune to further cuts no matter what Gordon did – so he had to figure out how to mount the translucent brownish gem offset in place without cutting a holding groove on its face. At this point they noticed Siggurd was at the Ball and was walking the crowd. Darius noted how everyone seemed to like Siggurd no matter what and there was even talk that the League picked up some of his gambling markers on their own.

The former teamster, murderer and colluder with kobolds, current mid-level and rising functionary with the League of Odin made his way over and gave Isilwine and Gordson a hug and noticeable thanks. He was introduced to Darius (who dressed very neat, shaved, haircut, and out of place – Siggurd didn’t place him) and Twilaine and spend a little time talking and showing off his chest jewelry. He left to mingle more and the group was just gushing over Siggurd – again, except for Darius.

Now earlier there had been note that a Matron priestess was going to be at the table as well but was running late. There was the herald call of Matriarch Marsha Jarlborrin-Strake, Speaker for the Dead announced and Darius and the rest of the table beheld the pale dwarven high priestess gliding across the chamber until she arrived at the table. She gave everyone a piercing glance and then centered it on Isilwine and said, “You’re in my seat. Leave.” The shallow chinned burst from his chair, apologized, and left the table, hovering nearby but close enough to hear the quiet conversations.

She sat there in uncomfortable silence after bidding her hellos and then asked Darius if he liked the goat? She hated it. How about the music? She thought it was terrible. She hated these things and had been the face for the Vault of the Heorot for the last 10 years since Paduntosis had been to one and there was…a problem that Ball. And Parylis always had some leprous growth of problem at these times that would “surprisingly” clear up a few days after the fact.

She talked to the Diamondcutter siblings for some time. Gordon and his kowtowing to his father’s whims and wishes, Twilaine living in the shadow of her elder sister’s death and middle sister’s shame, and Darius’ escape from his family dynamic. She then pointed out Siggurd and said that his ownership of the Ravenstone was an affront and someone should remove it from him before he grows to become a larger problem.

Ravenstone? She went on to explain that there were 8 of them according to myth, and they were the rocks that Hugnin and Munin had eaten to aid in their digestion as they watched over Odin while he hung for 9 days on Yggdrasil. After they regurgitated them they made their way to Midgard where they have drifted around in and out of possession of various people. They cannot be claimed by a spell caster, and a person of nobility would not be able to see their value and also pass the stones by. But to others they would appear to be valuable and their ownership over time would impart different gifts. What kind of gifts? It’s different for everyone, but the first and main one is the ability to speak and be understood by any race the wielder can’t normally speak to.

How or where he got it she doesn’t know, but the longer he has it, the more it becomes attuned to him and the greater his mastery of it becomes. It might be why everyone seems to like Siggurd without question, and maybe why the League is picking up his gambling debts. As to why now he is wearing it like a medallion, Marsh wasn’t sure, but equated it to why a peacock’s feathers get ruffled or why the less endowed would stuff a rock or two in their codpiece – merely for show.

Marsh eventually left and the three siblings talked for a bit longer. Twilaine was going to take a trip to the Vault of the Heorot and see the Speakers there, amazed at Marsha’s insight. Gordson was going to take small steps to assert himself and make his father’s influence superfluous – over time. Darius gave them both heartfelt goodbyes and eventually took 2 jugs of alcohol and made his way to Meg’s Flower Shoppe. He met Flora at the door, and then made his way upstairs to Meg where they shared some drink and then eventually her bed.

He awoke the next day, enjoyed her again, they shared breakfast and she gave him 5 small vials of distilled flower oil from the deadly plants he was looking for. She asked if he was going to the bar that night, and if so she’d like to go to see his friends. Darius nodded and said, “we’ll see” and then left, heading back to the Illytch Demesne and filled the rest of the group in on last night’s activity and today’s bounty which he gave to Avulstein.

Today was the 22nd and the final day of training. The League of Odin had invited the other guilds over to train and show off some of their student at some exhibition matches. There were three planned and Connal was selected for the 2nd heat. Each match was 3 on 3, with points for 1st blood, maximum damage, and knocking down the opponent. Connal, a dwarven fighter named Fenthil, and a Firvin barbarian named Gungar were squared off against 3 Leaguers: Jeros a swordsman, Beznor Coinhorn a dwarven warrior, and Dorf Dorfson a dwarven brawler.

Gungar eschewed armor and charged across the field, two handed sword slamming down and the three Leaguers were engaged. Fenthil was doing his best to catch up and Connal came up faster. The combat was short and intense, with one by one, the party members loosing HP before it was down to just Jeros and Connal and our monk won. Money was dispensed and the group was happy.

The third heat was 3 Leaguers vs 3 Storm Ravens and Siggurd was in the middle of the pack, doing his best to not look like he was doing his best. Barb picked up on his feinting and posturing during the combat and commented on it to the rest of the group. But the fight got nasty and dirt was thrown in Siggurd’s face. He stumbled back, tried to clear his vision, and what seemed to be a hiccup, suddenly had his legs planted and miraculously recovered his stance, hitting his opponent had  and taking him down. He placed 2nd in points and the bouts were over.

It was in the post-fight that the group was with Connal as he and the other Grim Gauntlet fighters were being debriefed. The Midfather from the Red House, church of Loki and who was responsible for the gambling and odds making, were commenting that the runes and portents before the fight showed Siggurd with a 7 to 2 odds of winning; but the post-fight odds had instead read 4 to 3. An over 200% loss on potential earnings. The Red House was “out” over 2,700 commons since they would have booked his odds as different if they had been read as they currently were before the fight. Do odds ever change? Sometime yes, maybe by 10 or 20% swing, not as much as it did for Siggurd. A curious thing was that no one from the Church of Loki or the Red House seemed enamored from Siggurd – a sign that his “likeableness” did not affect those touched by Loki.

The group discussed the situation that evening and the fact that Siggurd or his Ravenstone was able to change the outcome of something and we should be aware of it during the apprehension tomorrow. We then went off to the butcher to see about getting some chickens and goats for Avulstein and ended the day at House Illytch getting wind that the “B” team was overdue by over a week and there has been no sign of them. Bobkins was talking about using some of the funds we had earned to hire some mercs back in Sorton and get his friends back.

We told the 3rd Reeve Spearo to hold that for now as we expected to be back at Base Camp in 6 days give or take. But tomorrow night, we were going to finally confront and take down Siggurd after almost 6 months of his being free from the crimes he committed against House Darbeard and the party.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Meet 50, Adv 4.2, 5/19/18

The group managed to successfully sneak the three half-orcs out from the League and had an opportunity to see how the League treats its people. Then they had a chance to see the League's actions from the other side as Negan was approached and placed in a spot where his word was potentially up for questioning. The group had a nice work around a Zone of Truth spell and even though Negan tripped up once, he quickly plowed forward and saved the conversation.

Write up follows:

Avulstein and Barb returned to Sorton and the Illytch Demesne later that evening where they spent some time along with the rest of the party going over possible plans to and personas they were going to use to get into and past the League of Odin guards in the Fighting Pits.

Ideas were taken and discarded but they settled on being a Fasted distant member of Pantal’s family (the elder half-orc) and since Marun was going to be with them the entire time they were there, Avulstein would pretend to be an actual wolverine and former pet of the expiring contract half-orcs. If and when he can get them alone, he would cast the three spells on them and that should be that.

The next morning (Firemonth the 19th) was an easy morning and by the time noon rolled around, Barb had been released from her training. She met up with Marun and Avulstein where they folded the three scrolls into a long tube and rolled it under a collar that they borrowed from the kennels. The collar was fastened to Avulstein’s neck and with the leash in hand, the scrolls were pretty much invisible.

The three of them were gone from the Demesne a bit after two and arrived at the League of Odin in Central Quarter shortly after that. The Temple of Odin was abutted against the League’s Fighter Guild and the 20’ tall stone statue to the one-eyed king of the gods was enough to make everyone feel a bit intimidated. The actual interior of the League was sizeable, set up like 8 long houses each with a different focus, but the entire think encircling the League Fighting Pit – a coliseum that could seat 2,500 and had a fighting pit roughly 100 x 50 oval.

The trio made their way down the stands and to the byway near the floor where Marun led them to a set of three openings, each once blocked by a stout iron gate. A local dwarven guard was there, chatted with them for a bit, and then opened the door with the single key on his neck and let the group in. It was a long corridor, 40’ deep that led eventually through the reek of sweat and hot leather to a dining area/common room. A few passages went off from here and there were three doors on the east wall (closed). Half a dozen tables had a dozen orcs and half orcs here along with a 3 or 4 count of dwarves.

Marun was well known and there was some banter back and forth with the “fixer” but eventually it came around to Barb and whether she was here as pleasure or something else? Sadly her tale was told that she was the niece of Pantal and wanted to see him before he signed the next contract. The wolverine was his “pet” and was well trained.

Hi, you don't know me and I'm a talking wolverine but
I'd like to sneak into your private bedroom and talk to you
about pretending to die.
 Avulstein, already guessing the right room, was mewling outside of it and scratching at the door. A friendly guard let him in and announced to Pantal what was going and they had visitors. Meanwhile Barb and Marun were sitting down and talking long and loud, eating soup, and keeping everyone attention focused on them.

As for Avulstein, once inside and the door closed behind him, he rose to his hind legs and addressed the three surprised and lounging half-orcs within. He gave them a brief heads up of who he was and what they were doing. They were under the impression that he was a Freylian, a follower of Frey, and he didn’t dissuade them of it. He let them know about the feign death and the limited 2 hour window to get them out and gone.

One by one, they agreed to being put under (one of the younger half-orcs actually crapping his pants since he heard you crap your pants when you die) and when it was done, Avulstein huddled up against one of them and began to howl mournfully.

Outside, eating soup and killing time, Barb and Marun waited until it was finally Avulstein’s signal and they helped the dwarves get into the room and look around. The medic was called and one of the dwarven overseers came in as well. The three orcs were pretty beat up looking and Marun took the League overseer to task. The contract was 2-3 bouts per week – and it was obvious that Pantal and his nephews were running 8 or 9 bouts, and longer bouts at that, per week. All of it somewhat obvious that the Overseers were looking to force the trio into the contract prematurely.

Lots of yelling and accusations and the dwarves admitted that Pantal was a real fighter, not just some greenskin tough who pretends he was one – and the League didn’t want to lose him. Marun was disgusted and after the death certificate was signed off and sealed, ordered a body cart to be brought in and wanted these bodies “out of here now and back with their family”. Barb and Marun dragged the body cart laden with the three corpses out of the Fighting pit and out of the League, getting a number of respectful salutes and condolences from those they saw.

Outside of Central Gate they made their way to the Main Gate and then eventually the wilds outside of Sorton. To the east some half mile to the Randari camp where Spuntyr, Dungar, and a number of other orcs had gathered to help them take the bodies off the cars and into the yurt. It was another 10 minutes before Pantal came around and then the two nephews woke up a few minutes each after that. They reported they were able to hear everything that had passed during their time under the feign spell and were so happy to be out of the League’s contract.

There was some confusion as everyone thought Barb was a Freylian as well and then there was some discussion as to who was what and what everyone was. Pantal was satisfied it was over and wanted to spend some time here with his family before heading back east to the original home and joining a Freylian orcish community there. It seems he had a lot of anger and aggression after his betrothed had passed away early and her dream was to join the community. To get his aggression out he joined the League, not realizing that 8 years later he’d be a virtual prisoner.

According to Marun, 19 out of 20 contract go as expected and even though the signers don’t always walk away with 150 noble bonus at the end, they do walk away with something. It’s the rare good fighters or serious blowhards that get stuck in the contracts and it’s those that the League screws with the rules to keep them roped in.

After looking at Pantal for a bit, Avulstein had then launched into a spiel where he was literally offering to swap bodies with the half-orc. He explained who he was originally, his race, and the fact that if Pantal was indeed a follower of Frey, joining the group as a wolverine would give him a leg up in the organization. They talked about the swapping, how it would come about, and Pantal agreed to wait up to 3 months – if he heard nothing from Avulstein in that time, he’d wish the wolverine/shaman well and head off to the Gorokian Orcish Commune before the snows started.

Barb and Avulstein returned to the Demesne that evening and they felt good that they had done a good deed.

The next day, Firemonth the 20th, had Negan and a half dozen fighters training at the Demesne being relocated to the League’s fighting pits. House Illytch, along with a number of other Houses, was interested in cross training their people and the League was interested in possibly having other fighters come and try out their facilities. For the first half of the day, the fighting was pretty much spot on, and Negan did notice that half-ogres were treated very well at the League. They wanted their people in and have the opportunity to see what the League can do for them. At lunch, a League Impressor named Cleius was trying her best to get Negan to sign for a 20 month contract. Good food, lodging, camaraderie, the world’s your oyster. Negan was pulling the “dumb half-ogre” trick and purposely not understanding Cleius’ wants eventually frustrating her but not before two other fighters, Corkill and Nysandis, intervened and sent Cleius on her way.

Corkill was with House Randall (big stone house – assumed to be the richest house in Sorton) and Nysandis was with the Darblewyth Mines (known for stone stores and precious metals). They took to befriending Negan and during lunch plied him with bacon and mustard sandwiches. They were trying to get him to open up as to what House Illytch was doing out in Morata. They had some information, kobolds, ears, mushrooms, a mountain, and the adventuring party/mercenary party was involved in it.

Negan was in a tight spot and continued to deflect. Would say nothing until an older dwarf and an obvious priest of Odin showed up and suggested strongly that all of them come and have a private conversation. The older dwarf was Fannir Randall, 3rd Consul for House Randal and the other was his adjunct, Father Fundyr Randall, Priest of Odin, and also of House Randall. A room was set aside and a dwarven guard was asked to come in, lock it, and make sure that no one could hear us in or out. She activated a sound dampening rune on the door and was then informed that anything she heard in this room was privy to League and House only – and she would say nothing to anyone.

Negan had to drop the dumb half-ogre bit as Fannir was grilling him on more information that he didn’t know House Illytch was doing. House Randall knew quite a bit but they had three main questions and they wanted an opportunity for a contracted person, a hireling, to supply the information as they had zero luck getting a member of House Illytch to talk. They wanted to know what the mushrooms were, what they were to be used for, and what was with the kobold slaying? Was there a profit in it? Why would House Illytch do this? What was the angle? Yes, since they had been out there, kobold raids near the Terraces and local mines have been down, but what was the real reason?

Now Negan was going to remain mum on this until Fannir let slip that he knew about Siggurd Eindaud. He knew about the wanted bounty on the man and that the group had been under the employ of House Darbeard recently. He knew of the burnt Rolling Ridge Lodge and that Siggurd had been given a sweetheart deal with the League by facilitating a lucrative iron trade deal with House Brinster in Thak and the League.

But he was willing to do Negan a favor and have Siggurd in a place far from the League’s control in a certain day at a certain time – giving Negan and his crew a chance to get Siggurd and get him out of town. But only if Negan came back to him with some answers. Negan asked for a few hours to put his thoughts together and ask his crew if it was ok. Fannir was reluctant and then agreed – he had until 7 PM that night. A runner would get him from House Illytch and take him to a neutral place where he could safely talk – and if all goes well, House Randall would make the arrangements on getting Siggurd and him embarrassing gambling issues out of town.

After training, Negan returned to the Demesne where he let the group know what happened. The first thing the group said was they could NOT violate the contract and article two plainly stated we had to keep the secrets of the House…secret. It was why Negan was torn. Plus he was sure Fundyr had a Zone of Truth up, meaning if he lied, he’d be caught out. We needed a way to give House Randall the answers but do it in a way that had Negan telling the truth and still honoring the contract.

So the rest of the party – NOT NEGAN, went off to Spearo Illytch, the 3rd Consul of this house and their contact, and let the rotund dwarf know what was going on and what they knew. He was upset and concerned about House Randall sniffing around and thanked the party for bringing it to his attention. The feeling was they could release some fake information to House Randall, but still be true enough to throw off any zone of truth spells.

They then went over other mushrooms harvested, things brought back, and what House Illytch had been doing up there and settled on some facts to give to Negan to give to House Randall. Prepared, Negan waited until a runner came and invited him back to the Red House (Gambling house attached to the Church of Loki) for a meeting.

Armed with some knowledge, he joined Fannir Randall the 3rd Consul, Fundyr Randall the Priest of Odin, Corkill Randall the fighter at the League, Nysandis of Darblewyth Mines, and Millius, a representative from the Red House and mid level functionary for the Church. Once they were in a private room and away from listening ears, they were able to talk.

Fannir had no horse in the Siggurd thing and found him to be an embarrassment to the League. House Randall was always looking to make the League a better run organization and had been funneling more money into the League mainly because the House is convinced (as are some dwarves) that the day is coming soon when the Randari will realize that they don’t have to stay 2nd class citizens and will try to rise up and take back their country. Even here in Sorton, there are half the number of Randari compared to the dwarves – a number that 70, 80 years ago was closer to ONE TENTH! So the dwarves need to know best how to fight Randari and not be afraid to put the hammer down if need be.

Siggurd owes lots of money to lots of people and House Randall would like to see him go. The group can facilitate this IF Negan is willing to answer some questions. What is House Illytch gathering out in the Morata lands? Negan answered they had gathered Four Prong Red Spec Mushrooms mostly and it triggered the Zone of Truth. So Negan quickly backed up and said they were gathering it for a diuretic.

Diuretic? Why? It’s a soft resource that many healing houses use. Many smaller thorps and villages with poor sewers or open cesspits have people with diseases that sometimes a diuretic is needed. Ok…possible. And what’s with the kobolds? That is a function of keeping the base camp safe and taking care of a bounty for the Thane Ufrecta. So, House Illytch has the party kill kobolds, pays them a bounty of “X” and the Thane pays House Illytch a bounty of “3X” – giving the House a bit of profit, making the city safe, and allowing the House to do their operation.

House Randall thought it was small potatoes but they did not know the full extent of House Illytch’s holdings and income and knew that the House was big on having lots of small operations all over the place doing soft resource supplies.

Satisfied, Fannir then turned things over to Millius who let Negan know that they would arrange a game at the Sickly Cat Tavern and Gamehouse on Hardslope Street in Slagbottom.  He would have as few League members as possible with him (closed game) and that area was lightly patrolled at best. She would arrange to have him forcibly removed shortly after 11 PM that night and the entire thing would occur in 3 days time.

Negan thanked everyone, some drinking followed and the Half-ogre then left the Red House and returned to the Illytch Demesne where he shared his success and findings with the rest of the party.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Meet 49, Adv 4.2, 5/12/18

The original plan was about 3 meetings in town going through each player as a focal point, each one getting them fleshed out and a bit closer in their quest to get Siggurd Eindaud and arrest his ass and drag it back to Thak. However, RL got in the way this meeting and we started 3 hours fucking late! It happens once in a blue moon but as the DM, it drives me batty . So it'll be 4 meetings at my guess in town before the A team goes back into the Wyld and hunts down Warren #3.

As for this excerpt - it was a bit of worldbuilding about the Orcish way of life in my world, at least in this area of the world. The group seemed to resonate with it and I felt it was a powerful bit of worldbuilding for my players and table.

Write up follows:

While Avulstein was doing what he needed to be done, House Illytch had been working with Barb and her training. Part of the Randari Accords with the Thane Ufrecta’s predecessor was that the Randari population would be treated are part of Sorton if they choose to be, and also treated apart as their growth and identity was tied to their racial background and support – a system that the Jarlborrin Hill Dwarves had learned to work with and around.

So any personage of Randari descent was allowed to spend time with their family for training purposes should it be decided that the trainee’s needs are such that it would best for them to do so. Long and short – if you’re a Randari, part of your training also involves you visiting with your family.

There is a Randari enclave about ¾ of a mile east of Sorton where a smattering of 300 or so Randari families eke out a living trapping, trading, growing, and the occasional raid when they can get away with it. It is here that Barb went back to visit her father family during the afternoon of her second day of training. Her brother, Terkus, was lounging outside the family yurt when Barb approached and the two of them engaged in a brutal yet still familial wrestling match outside. Barb had to yield after her tusks were grabbed and her face forced to the ground.

Her father Dungar, and her uncle, Spuntyr, came out and welcomed their wayward daughter home. Dungar was a large Half-Orc, pushing well past 300 lbs. and 6’ 4” in height; he was getting soft but still had a presence as the family patriarch. Spuntyr was shorter, 5’ 8”, smaller, and even though older by a year, had abrogated his position as patriarch to his younger brother years ago but still the two of them guided the family.

Barb had to let them know that she was no longer working for Hornes and Terkus sound this to be unacceptable. An orc? Well liked? Running a ranging operation? Why would she not work for him? Please tell us you weren’t working for fucking dwarves?

Her lapel pin with House Illytch’s sigil on it and her superior made clothes gave her an insight between how she was living and how her family was living. She tried to explain Horne’s shortcomings and her signing on with the adventuring group. Spuntyr seemed to get it, Terkus not so much. The younger Randari was big on the way things were, the traditional way, was still the best way. Anything else was playing into the dirty dwarven hands.

They talked about the 5 orders of Orcish honor.
Famyr – the highest and your birth family and sundry relations.
Fasted – the next highest and your extended in-laws and married family.
Worded – the next highest and those you pledge yourself to working with and for
Clannar – the next highest and your entire extended clan and clan holdings
Oricand – the last order and refers to all orc and Randari kind.

Hornes was her Worded, but she signed off with him and on with another group, Worded with them. Does not Hornes deserve better? Her family, her Famyr, still is first – if she lets her honor slip on a lesser order, does her higher order suffer? She talked about how Hornes was failing his Worded and wasn’t living up to their best interest – and a good Randari knows that honor is a two way street.

Her new group? Worth it and honorable so far. They had her back, she had theirs, and for now, everyone was on the same page. She was then reminded of an orcish saying:
Lying is an elven trait, Truth is an orcish one.
Avarice is a dwarven trait, Giving an orcish one.
Cowardice is a human trait, Strength an Orcish one.
Trickery is a gnomish trait, Honor an orcish one.

She talked about the people she worked with and her father was pleased to hear she had a “Raven” (A shaman) working with her – Avulstein. He wanted to know if she would return tomorrow as he might have a job for her and a Raven. On the way out, her Uncle stopped her and gave her a hug, letting her know that her brother is right in his own way, but that as long as she is doing what in her heart is right, she is supported by her Famyr and respected for her choices.

The evening came and Barb returned to Sorton – seeing the “riches” that the city has to offer. She also took a look at the ghetto section, the Randari Quarter, where four and five story buildings of poor quality were stacked next to one another, covering an area 10 blocks by 5, and housing over 2,000 Randari Orcs, half orcs, and half ogres living close together and in poor hygiene. She went to a weaponsmith and commissioned a Randari hand-made one of a kind spear, spending 29 nobles to have it done.

The next day was more of the same and after noon, Barb returned to the land outside of Sorton and to the east where the Randari had set up their homes. She met with her father and uncle who were entertaining a quarter-orc named Marun.

Marun was a fixer, called a “Vulture” for the League of Odin. His job was to find enterprising your orcs, half orcs, and half ogres and get them to sign for the League for 20 month contracts. They get a large signing bonus, then a small monthly stipend, and then finally a 150 noble payout at the end. The problem was many of these Randari overspend their stipend and the League makes no effort to inform them of this – so that at the end of their contract they owe the League more than their payout is – and they are forced to sign on for another 20 month contract.

Marun tries to get these Randari to understand their contracts and avoid getting trapped but many of them spend their funds quickly and are in a cycle of reupping. Until they finally come up square or are dead.

There are three orcs whose contract expires this week, and they are Fasted to Spuntyr. The eldest, Pantal has been trapped in 5 of these contracts, almost 8 years, and his two younger nephews, Duskin and Throd, had joined up to hopefully pool their efforts and resources but ended up mired in the same issue. They have 29 commons in arrears to their account and the League is strong arming the three orcs to sign up again.

Pantal is weary and doesn’t want his nephews in either. So they have been appealing to Marun to help them out of their contract. House Randall, the wealthiest House and strongest supported and benefactor to the League, refuses to have an outside entity or personage buy off the rest of any contracts so they can’t even get a loan. Pantal has been doing this for 8 years, a punching bag for fighters to train against, and it’s take a serious toll on the orc.

Marun has three copies of a Feign Death spell which needs a Raven (wizard, shaman) to cast it. He is willing to supply it to whoever is willing to take his lead and make their way into the fighting pits, talk to the three orcs, and help them to “die” – then they can take possession of the bodies and be on their way. On death the contract is fulfilled and truthfully, the League always had more Vultures and more young Randari willing to join up for the promise of coin they almost never get to see.

Barb was willing to talk to Avulstein and see if he was interested, went back to Sorton, and the wolverine was interested in the possibility. He went off with Barb back to the Randari Settlement and talked some cold turkey with the Vulture. If the orcs are “dead” and the League signs off on their EOC (end of contract), then even if they are alive later – the contract is done and over. As of now, the plan was to take the three scrolls (he now has them) and meet with Marun tomorrow after training to interview the three Randari at the fighting pit, and set up the situation to Feign them and get them out.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Meet 48, Adv 4.2, 5/5/18

This was the 3rd part of the adventure so far and we were back to the "A" team characters. For the start it's about 3 meetings of town adventures hopefully ending with an attempted arrest of Siggurd Eindaud, the original foil to the group that sold them to kobolds to be eaten back at adventure 1, meeting 1. We'll see how it goes.

Write up follows:

Time rewound as we took the game up with the “A” team as they left Base Camp for the trip back to Sorton after resolving the issue with the first K’Morat Warren. It was 3 days back without too many issues and the group arrived at Sorton later in the afternoon. The Teamster Trentis was able to cycle the group through Main Gain and Central Gate, leading the caravan off to CobbleHill and the Illytch Demesne.

We helped unload what we needed to, missives were handed off to the Consul’s adjuncts, and we were invited to head off to the barracks and freshen up. The party unloaded our packs and then crawled to the showers to wash the weeks of adventuring and days of traveling from our tired forms. Feeling a bit refreshed, we dressed in our nicer clothing and were relaxing when the 3rd Consul, Spearo Illytch, requested our presence to go over a number of things.

We followed the page across the compound and to the Consulates Offices. Many of the Merchant Houses have a Primacy who is the face and runs the house but also has 3 Consuls whose job it is to help guide the Merchant Houses through various deals and trades without it all falling to the whims of one person. The Primacy has the equivalent of one and a half votes and each Consul has a single vote. So the Primacy can be outvoted 2 Consuls to his vote, but the Primacy and one Consul will overrule the other 2 Consul members.

Spearo Illytch was an older dwarf, just past his 300th year and had the breadth and softness that older dwarves tend to get. His hair and bear were sprinkled with more salt than pepper but he had a friendly smile as he motioned for us to come in and take a seat. There were many notes in front of him and he informed us that there was a mix of positive and negative that he had to wade through earlier.

He addresses the group on their efforts to date, commends then on resolving one warren and goes over the note he has from the Bailiff and others from the Base Camp on their efforts to date. He started with Teamster Trentis and the original trip to the Base Camp; highlighting Dizzy’s lack of concern for helping the caravan, Einar’s Reorx’s Bane sickness and Bobkin’s lack of diligence or usefulness.

Then there was the adding of Barb from the Randari Rangers and the negative note in the file from Hornes for them doing so. The group was feeling ill as it was not looking well. But then Spearo launched into a series of positive parts of the party’s efforts as the group helped the Harvesters and Rangers bring in an 8 count of Firvin’s Cap, drove off a K’Morat raiding party, and realigned their efforts with Hornes as evidenced by multiple notes the Ranger submitted.

The party had been successful in their tracking of the quarry, and even the issue of “grey” necromancy regarding Frank the bobcat had been addressed by the Base Camp and the group. There was the trip to the tower house and simple boats evidencing the K’Morat crossing, the slime creature that devoured Frank, and assorted wandering trolls, owlbears, and skunks. He spoke of the Frost Giant (Girgym) feeding cows to the K’Morat, the Warren found underground and the many forays into the Warren and eventually the destruction of it.

We talked about the vampiric attack on Barb shortly after her diseasing at the K’Morat’s hand. There was the encounter with the giant, the party’s subsequent escape, the return to the Base Camp and the revelation of the unknown ally we have with the orcish druid, Dunatis and his circle. All in all, it sounded pretty full and heroic and he was unsure if it was possible on being topped with all the strange things the group had resolved and the denizens they met.

The party will spend the next 8 days training and then they will take the caravan back immediately to Base Camp. This makes them 14 days out of Base Camp in total but hopefully there will be little issue with the other half of the group and if they get lucky, they might even discover the whereabouts of the 2nd Warren in that time. Wouldn’t that be great? Something to help narrow down the search for the next warren?

The party went off to our assigned teachers and guilds the next day and the focus was on Avulstein and his efforts with the Vault of the Heorot. He made his prayers to the Watcher and lit a candle in Hel’s name, and then made his way to the basement and the large room where Magister and Speaker for the Dead Parylis Ebonhand was waiting for him. In addition to the leprous mage, was the dwarven Speaker and Death Priest Marsha and the Lich Paduntosis.

The conversation and lesson trailed off immediately as the three of them brow beat Avulstein that he seemed to be content in his form as a lesser being and animal since he had made zero attempts to change it. Does he like being a dog? A real mage would have already been looking for a way to divest his form and here he was, wallowing in it like some barnyard minion.

It was impressed upon him that if he was going to be a muskrat, he would be treated like a menial. If he wanted to be treated like a man, he would have to put the effort into it – brain over form. Parylis then kicked over a stack of 30 odd books next to his desk and told Avulstein he had to pick them up and put them back on the shelf in alphabetical order. And he would be timing him.

As the seconds wound up and the wolverine did his best, the zombies in the room stood in his way and tried to slow him down, Marsha and Paduntosis kept up a barrage of conflicting insults to confuse him, and Parylis was as rude and disparaging as possible – all in order to slow the poor Avulstein down. After 12 minutes had elapsed, he stood back and reported the task done.

Parylis informed him he had done it WRONG and gave him more explicit instructions on what to do before kicking the pile over AGAIN! This time with less time on the clock, Avulstein took to fixing the pile in alphabetical order but had better luck as he was able to manipulate the books faster. Before too long he stood back and again reported the job done. Parylis compared the order to the correct listing…and was pleased.

Since Avulstein could think like a man, he was welcome to be treated like one. He was allowed to pick ONE book from the pile he had corrected and that choice would let the three Speakers know if Avulstein was ready for the chance to become a man again – or if he was a lost cause and was to remain an animal for all time.

He went through each tome with care and read the short synopsis on each before settling on one, “The Clothes to be Changed”, a work regarding the exact rituals of swapping souls from one body to another. As soon as he chose that book the three Speakers had a 180 turnaround, satisfied with Avulstein. The ritual is beyond him, BUT, there is an opportunity that he can still make it happen if he performs the final steps of it during his mage’s test in a few weeks or months.

The mage in the mage’s test is actually part of a smaller pocket dimension that the proctor helps establish. This means that in the much smaller realm of the test, the effect of magic is amplified and if the ritual pieces are together and performed before the test is complete, it is possible that Avulstein could literally bounce from one body to another. Stranger things have happened, people die, get lost in the astral plane, lose body parts, gain body parts, hundreds of odd occurrences have happened and there is no reason to think this wouldn’t happen again. They spent the rest of the day going through the broad outlines of the tome and what was needed and the list looked like:

A gold and silver gem housing, typically worn as a necklace.
Silicant foci prismatic glass, typically found in a wizard’s tower.
Blood, hair, skin, and essence from NEW host and ORIGINAL form.
Four Wolf hairs twined like a ring and worn to ensure Loki’s, the Tricksters, blessing.
Storm winds and to ensure Odin’s blessing.
A poison that needs to be drunk at the end by both entities to ensure Hel’s blessing.
Normally requires 2 weeks of spellcasting and about 20,000 nobles worth of supplies and accoutrements – but that can be ignored if done during the mage’s test.
And 1/10th of the wizards permanent hit points.

He had until he was ready to take his mage’s test in a month or so to get the material together. The ritual work would occur before hand, and the final step – the drinking of the poisons, would have to occur DURING the mage’s test for his New host, and after the 5th resolution of the 6th trials during the test for Avulstein.

The New Host had to be willing and free of undue spells or mental controls or the transfer would not work. The New Host had to understand it was taking on the older form of the wolverine. That evening Avulstein had gone back to the Illytch compound and shared with the party what he had learned and what he needed to acquire.

They went down the list identifying some things they can address now and in town. The Silicant glass could be gotten from the orcish wizard’s tower found in Broken Tower Lake about 2 days outside of Sorton on the way to the Base Camp. It  was reported that there was a door but the one attempt via boat to open it had no resolution as there was no key hole. A knock spell would solve that and Paduntosis was willing to do some horse trading with Avulstein to supply him with one knock scroll.

The Storm Winds they could eventually get as they still had the Nornian Skein and would be sure to capture some truly great winds from the Morata mountains when they return to Base Camp.

Poisons was something that Avulstein had been studying as of late and with his knowledge, gave a list of dangerous flowers and plants to Darius to bring to Meg the Florist and see if she was able to gather them together for the wizard.

As for a person, there was lots of back and forth as to where they would get someone and the party hesitantly settled on the Children of Frey. A follower of Frey, especially a non-touched follower, might be enthused to be assigned an ani-form and if approached properly, could be made amenable to the entire plan.

In addition, Negan and Connal had gone to the Sheriff's office and arranged to have the Half-Ogre deputized so he can arrest Siggurd at some point. The deputization was only good for 2 weeks but would give the Fighter/Priest legal authority to operate inside Sorton's walls to perform the arrest. Getting Siggurd out of Sorton and on the way back to Thak? That would be a different problem and the half-ogre and the group would have to jump that issue at that time.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Meet 47, Adv 4.1, 4/21/18

This wrapped up the 2nd part of adv 4 and the passing of the torch back to the "A" team. We had a LARP recap of the adventure and then spent some time cleaning up all the stuff we found, kept what we wanted, and had House Illytch sell the rest. The party has done surprisingly well and there is a serious amount of coin available.

Write up follows:

The group walked slowly up to Base Camp while the denizens within emerged looking at the laden and travel worn party with ill-disguised surprise. We were ushered inside where the crowd of 50 stopped to welcome us back, including the other half of our adventuring party that had returned from Sorton a few days ago.

We were led to the messhall where it was standing room at the end for those who came late. Food was doles out, beer was poured, and for an hour and a half, the party shared their story over what happened to them for the last 15 days. From our travels, Dinka and Narnul, the Eskerton Tunnel, finding the Warren, luring out the K’Morat with Joan the undead deer, the crow swarms, the shaman, sneaking in, Cashandra the Dryad, the giant boar, pit traps, Shassismyr the troll lord, the fight, the ogre running and resting, Lysil, saving Dizzy, meeting the cyclops and ogres, Yuntwyn and Slowfeet, returning to the Warren, poisoned bread, locking the gate, fighting the last of the kobolds, Lord Gurunts, finding the basement, our first encounter with the immature kobold swarm, fleeing to the roof, setting the courtyard on fire, holing up to rest, blowing up the Causeway, Jurius the gnoll, readying for another encounter, trying it a second time and running away, the armoire down the stairs twice, looting the keep, the ogres and cyclops again, and finally the long trip back.

Voices were strained, jaws were agape, and there was surprise everywhere. Some people didn’t believe all we said, some believed everything. It was now past 6:30 and Bailiff Youngston Illytch wanted to further meet with the group. The Reeve Donna Duncarian was invited back to the Meeting House where the party was given some better ale and a toast was made to their return.

It was learned that the group was declared dead about a week ago, a matter the Bailiff was going to rectify with a letter back to House Illytch. He asked a few other points about what they did or learned. We talked about the sheer number of kobolds we faced and the Warren. When it came time to discuss all we returned with, the Bailiff flat out said that he was a manager – not a merchant. It was not to him to decide what an item is worth or not, and was best done back at the House and Sorton with any of the 3 Consuls.

What he did do was allow the party to itemize all they had brought back and declared with the Reeve Donna, pulling himself out of it so he would not taint the operation. At the end of it all, the group bid the Base Camp a farewell on Workmonth the 2nd and took the 3 day trip back to Sorton with the caravan.

Sorton was a sight for sore eyes. Situated on a full 1/3rd of the slope of the Jarl’s Tooth Mountain, the Enderlyn River roared past the water wheels and docks with a giddy spray. Stout dwarven made walls 25’ tall and braced every 40 paces with a defensive tower and either trebuchet of catapult, surrounded the entire city. We made our way through the Main Gate and walked Main Street as the wide Boulevard made its way between Slagbottom to the west and the Randari Quarter to the east. Main Street Ended at Central Gate and the Iron Stallion Inn and Tavern where we waited in queue for a short time before being passed through by keen eyed guards.

Sorton was roughly 55% dwarven, 20% Human, 15% Orc, Half-orc, and Half-Ogre, and the other races made up the remaining 10%. Once through we were in Central Quarter with its wide open ground for caravans, open markets, and bazaars. Every temple and Guild hall was in Central Quarter. To the west was Undercliff, the industrial section of town, to the east was Cobble Hill, the Middle Classed section of town and where the 6 Merchant Houses were located. We made our way there without issue and came to House Illytch’s Compound.

We were assigned barracks to rest in and then we dropped our packs, unloaded our cart, and changed our clothes after cleaning up. After dinner we were invited to sit with the 1st Consul who had been given a manifest of everything we had brought back from the Reeve as well as the Bailiff’s report on our actions.

There was some touching on the listing but the big piece was the 28 Platinum Bars we returned. They were stamped, sealed, and valid – and historically or serious interest. This actually gives the House greater clout since the Bars are used to act as place holding for influence at the Council of Lords Meetings or anything to do with real estate. The group was stunned to learn that the value of the 28 platinum bars, ramped up for their rarity and uniqueness, as defined by the Thane Ufrecta’s of Exquesher was in excess of 18,000 nobles – over 4,000 more nobles than just the value of the bars alone.

The party was entitled to half of that right off the top.

From there we went through every magical item and dickered back and forth on whether we were going to keep them, having their value removed from our now overflowing coffers. From there there were some personal wants and then we commissioned to have House Illytch sell off whatever was left. We knew we had a few weeks of training ahead of us, but our efforts have already given the group more than enough coin to fund the trip to Erylond and then Bork Keep – followed by the acquiring of the amulets we would need to enter the Terror Dungeon.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Meet 46, Adv 4.1, 4/14/18

The group finished up the 2nd part of the adventure at this point, coming back to Base Camp richer in coin and experience for their efforts. We've often joked about the "B" team and their lack of skills in the start of this part of the adventure, but after really running them through their paces, not a single person didn't walk away and not feel good about their character and their results.

I also broke my own rule - typically I am a stickler of not going up more than 1 level in an adventure - but the group infrequently plays the B Team and there was so much awarded, that every either went up 2 levels or in each of their split class levels with plenty left over.

What this means is that the "B" team is now solidly 3rd level and can hold their own with the "A" team should need be. They will need to because the next adventure is the "A" team's portion and then if it goes well, the entire party heads downriver to Erylond and Bork Keep to try their hand at long last on entering the Terror Dungeon.

Write up follows:

Healing was dispensed, what little we had remaining, and the group took stock of their situation. It was early, not even 4 in the morning, and we figured since we had the time we should explore some of the rooms we hadn’t gone into or searched in depth earlier. The 2nd floor was accounted for so we started at the stairs and began hitting rooms heading east down the hall.

There were two doors here, one on the left and one on the right. Beyond the one on the left was a narrower hallway heading south. The door on the right was closed but the stink of filth and feces was strong. Sybil was interested in opening it, but was talked out of it since the group strongly suggested it was the water closet and we should just move on.

So it was the left door that we opened and looked in. It was once the keep’s smoking room but it was in poor condition. The rug was dry and discolored, there was a 20” round table surrounded by 4 worn out wing backed chairs, two of them showing old repairs on the head rest part. The wooden humidor on the south end of the room had been busted open and ransacked long ago.

We looked the place over. The curtain on the window was sagging and old. Dizzy carefully peeled back the repaired section of the chair but all it showed was a replaced portion of the cushion behind. The humidor was a loss, but the table, scarred and battered, had a series of crude runic prayers to Odin and Sutur along the inner ring. Hjalgrim lit his pipe and sat in one of the chairs near the table.

The pipe smoked much less than normal and there was almost no ash to speak of. We wanted to bring the table back and spent some time figuring out how to unmount the top from the base before putting it aside to pack up when we would leave.

From there we left the smoking room and went to the hall. Two doors, one at the end and another on the left wall. The door at the end had a foul odor of rotting meat and there were some flies buzzing around it, but the left door was forced open. It was at one point an office, maybe for the Castellan, but had been repurposed for at least 8 kobolds based upon the nests in the room. There was a wooden desk that had all the drawers removed and turned upside down, firescarred a bit as if the kobolds had used it as a fireplace.

Only a few of us entered but we looked through the nests and found a few bits of kobold flotsam however we did turn up a still wax sealed bottle identified as 152 year old Orcish brewed Red Arrow Scotch. Handsome! The rest of the room was of little interest so we left but not before Sybil went to the door with the foul odor. The rest of the group backed away as the Halfling opened it. It was once a linen closet but for some reason, the kobolds have been tossing large chunks of meat in here and the meat was rotting away, covered in maggot and there were hundreds of flies.

She shut the door, gagged a bit, and rejoined the rest of the party. We decided there was zero reason to investigate the closet ever again and moved on. We went to the library next, across the hall from the chapel. The shelves had been ransacked some time ago and the kobolds had done what they could to straighten up the shelves. About a dozen still salvageable books had been placed on one of the lower shelves but on the shelf next to it was a single dark leather tome all by itself.

We fanned out and explored, made sure there were no rot grubs, and started to gather up the books to sell. Meanwhile Thalin went to the lone tome. In Common and what he guessed was Ogrish, it read “Wizard’s Spellbook. Do not Open”.

There was LOTS of test and move and tweak and inspect. A wizard’s mark was on the tome and there was a leather latch on it, making it hard to open. Through some trial and error Thalin managed to cancel out the wizard’s mark through some tracing of runes and sounding out the ogrish word for “open”. So the book can be opened, but we’d get to that later.

We decided that we should put everything in one place to gather up when it was time to leave and the smoking room by the broken humidor was a good place. The books, the table, and even the dulcimer from the music room were moved there. We then went to the basement to look around. It was pretty foul and filthy but nothing was alive down here anymore. The original racking the orcs had used was mostly gone, just some stanchions where it used to be. Dizzy was looking around and did find a 4’ diameter wood and iron round shield (looked like a table) that the Cyclops Slowfeet was hoping to find. So he took it down and the group decided to bring it upstairs with us.

While we were looking through the basement, amidst all the mess, we did find 27 gnawed leg bones that once belonged to Shassismyr the Troll Lord. For some reason, we gathered them up as well and took them along. Upstairs we checks over the last room. There was a dead kobold in one room, rotting away and left alone. There were kobold nests and sleeping areas, and we even found a holy water font that might have come from the temple area at one time.

We took the shield and placed it in the Northwest tower while the group then dug a grave in the Inner Courtyard and garden where we buried Lord Gurunts and placed a cairn over his remains. A ceremony was given and Dizzy laid the long dead orcish lord’s remains to rest. It was almost 7 when the party went up to Lord Gurunt’s room and set up the place to sleep. We replaced the font in the temple, filled it with some water and took a drink – nothing happened.

The group rested and Thalin stayed up, studying and then took a trip onto the roof with the spellbook he found, cast read magic, opened the book safely and took a look. Many of the pages were glue and pulp – useless. But the last dozen or so pages were still good and they were a full of fire based spells. 3rd and 4th level fire based spells. Very nice.

The next day was wet and rainy but Einar let us know it wouldn’t be more than one day. So we dug up more vegetables for us to travel and eat, filled our waterskins, readied packs with everything we wanted to take back, and decided to investigate the floor of the northeast tower where the crows had rooked. It was dirty inside, there were hundreds of glinting coins and shiny things mixed in with years of bird droppings (no one wanted to look, it wasn’t worth it), but just on the inside of the doorway was the red glasslike gem the larger crow had been wearing, along with a matching one on a nicer chain. We tested them out, learning they were clairvoyant gems with one being the slave to the other, and took them with us. The Shaman had been spying through the crow and this confirmed it.

We awoke the next day, Firemonth the 30th early, packed our belongings, and then headed off west to the Shattered City Lake and the Cyclops/Ogre compound like we had promised we would. Only Thalin and Dizzy entered, the rest of the party waiting outside, and they met with Mjarnur and Shassismyr once again.

They informed the two monstrous leaders that the K’Morat threat had been eliminated. They in turn were inform that Jurius, the Gnoll and his party, had been through here and informed the Ogre of what occurred from their point of view. The fact that we took care of the problem only further elevated our standing in their eyes. They wanted to toast our skill and offered us fermented pig’s blood called Froff – which after drinking it, was the sound we made spewing it back up.

On our way out Dizzy sought out Yuntwun and had the Cyclops seer told about the shield he moved from Slowfeet. We were thanked and then went on our way, 4 of the Ogre chief’s Bloodrunners leading and guarding us to the Eskerton Tunnel. We arrived unmolested and then made our way under the mountain until we arrived near Dinka’s tower. The Cyclops was pleased to see us and we stayed the night, sharing news and getting a good night’s rest.

We awoke later on the 1st of Workmonth and took the long way back through the valleys and the cold cloudy day until we saw the double peak top of Furtham’s Peak and knew we were close at long last to Base Camp and Home.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Meet 45, Adv 4.1, 4/7/18

The group was on a small window of time, unbeknownst to them, before the 5 AM wake up and hunt for the party breakfast bell was going to ring. That and the kobolds at the top of the stairs had already slept earlier and were on guard watching (listening) for anyone sneaking up. They are immature, young, but work wonderful in swarms and packs, learning to work together to overwhelm and take down any foes they come across. If the group had waited one more day to finish them off, they were going to be even larger and have the ability to climb.

All good and the end battle was fantastic.

Write up follows:

The group was in the Great Hall and a check for “lizards” with Merica’s helm revealed none in range at this time. The group did not want to hit the hall to the basement until they were sure, 100%, that they weren’t being foolish and not checking any place behind. So the party went first to the long hall on the east wing and took the time to look. The kobold swarms had triggered the trap in here, a series of spears that had swung down from the ceiling on a gantry. However based upon the height, it was safely assumed that the spears would have passed over the kobold-lings without issue.

A look about the hall showed nothing else of interest except for the two archway openings to the south – one which led to the chapel and the other somewhere else. The party wasn’t sure they wanted to explore in detail as it was already after 2 in the morning and we assumed the kobolds were sleeping now but wouldn’t be sleeping all night.

We know we had the armoire at the top of the 2nd floor steps in place along with a heavy footlocker to slow down the kobold’s advance. We guessed there were fewer than 150 of the critters left but no way of knowing for sure. We talked of getting to the 1st floor stairs to the basement area and dragging another table over there to block that off – keeping the 2nd floor armoire as a 2nd place fallback. No matter what, we were going to stay together and focused – not giving the kobolds a chance to surround us or to escape.

Without knowing exactly where they were, we needed some intel. Were they in the basement? For this, Dizzy was willing to take a walk down the hall to the basement stairs and look around. Carefully and quietly he made his way to the corner, and then around again – there were 6 of them at least sleeping on the floor up here. Quietly he backed away and to the group.

Now that we knew where they were (and guessing the rest were downstairs) we wanted to give the east wing a solid once over. We hit the chapel first. The original markings and tooling was all Odin, however the All-Father had an orcish casting to his face and body but that made sense since this was an orcish keep at one point. Since then, there had been some repurposing of the place to include the markings of Frey. However, Frey was depicted in many of the crude pictograms as short and tailed like a lizard. Most likely how the K’Morat kobolds see the god of sunshine.

We gave the place a solid once over, discovering there was a stone headed axe under the altar which we took. A few candles were lit and a short offering to Odin was made, mentioning Frey just to be safe. Feeling better about ourselves we left the chapel and went to the Long Hall to the last room on the right.

It was once a music room and in the center was a harpsichord that was slowly falling apart under the ravages of time. Lord Gurunts was aghast, commenting on the sheer expense of the harpsichord and how pissed off his castle musician was going to be – once again blurring the gap of 123 years between his life and his now unlife. As for the rest of the room, most of it had been plundered but there was still a dulcimer on the shelf and from its condition, it was apparent that the kobolds had been maintaining it and most likely playing it. Weird.

With all the obvious places checked out, we went back to the main hall and decided that we’d make a change. Dizzy and Sybil had gone into the old aviary and looked through the holes on the bottom of the door with their infravision, attesting that there were still kobolds sleeping up near the top. They then went back to the Dining Room hall and took their time walking down to the corner and around while Thalin stayed in the aviary and watched quietly.

There were 7 of the kobolds up here, lying down in a spaced out 15’ area along the area near the top of the stairs. They seemed bigger than they had been yesterday which also worried the group. We guessed there were more on the stairs but didn’t know for sure. What the two thieves did know was that the kobolds might look like they were sleeping randomly, but they did note that none of them were “facing” the exact same way as any of the others – giving them 360 degree view of every approach to the steps should they awaken. Neither of them liked it and they backed up again down the hall and back to the group to let them know that “sneaking” down there was not going to be the answer.

Meanwhile Thalin continued to watch from his dark vantage point and after the two thieves left, the flare around the kobold’s eyes in the infravision range let him know they had opened their eyes. The closest one lifted its finger and tapped the ground with a claw twice, slowly and deliberately.

Fuck.

The elf got up slowly, noting MANY heat signatures creeping their way up the stairs to the landing, and then raced across the aviary back to the party who was just getting the difficult news from Dizzy and Sybil. When Thalin let us know that the kobolds were up and had been waiting for US to come to them, we left the great hall, ran down the eastern wing and took the stairs to the second floor. We took up a battle line at the armoire with Sybil standing on the box to sling and Merica at her side to support her – the front was Einar, Lord Gurunts, and Hjalgrim with spears out and ready.

The sound of racing cicadas grew louder and then the wave of kobolds hit the stairs and charged towards us. Flasks of oil went flying and set some of the back rank on fire then sleep spells shot off. Spears swung and arrows flew and kobolds died by the singles, pairs, and four count. But they were older and bigger, they hit the armoire and from the back, others were actually flung forward where they hit the top of the steps and clambered up to the barriers surface in an effort to push us back.

Through it all we also had a look out the door and the other wave of kobolds, at least 40 of them, hit the Bailey and charged for us. Dizzy and Percy pulled up the ladder while they massed under the Solar and started to climb on one another.

Hjalgrim had another bad run of luck and struggled to avoid falling into the mass while Einar and Lord Gurunts hit the kobold front again and again, spears slamming out in sweeping waves knocking the younglings free. Sybil was slinging until she was forced back where she fell with three of the kobolds on top of her. Merica grabbed one of them off of her, body slamming it into the ground and crushing its face while another struggled to EAT the halfling’s fingers off her hand!

Einar had Bruce circle around and join the struggle as Sybil, Merica, and two..no now three! Kobolds rolled and struggled and grappled with one another. The giant Bat only added to the chaos as the Halfling and the dwarf were going wild trying to keep from being eaten.

The kobolds were hitting hard but we noticed that there weren’t as many as we feared and their numbers were whittling away as our hit points dwindled. The pile outside was disrupted by dropped rocks and burning oil but Thalin suggested we let the group amass and get closer to the top and pick off the outliers.

The battle was wearing us out and the kobolds actually had Sybil’s fingers in its mouth, chewing on them as she screamed and bashed and twisted. Hjalgrim was getting healed from Percy and the press of kobolds was barely held. Einar had been raging, his spear slamming out in cracking waves back and forth. And then the decision was…let’s push the 220 lb heavy assed armoire DOWN the steps and onto the kobolds packed on the other side of it.

Brilliant.

It tipped over and crushed a dozen of the kobolds on the other side, and then rolled down the flight where it got hung up on the corner wall. The three heroes hit the stairs with weapons flashing while the rest of the party finished up the few kobolds still at the top. With the armoire once again as a barrier, they faced off again against a dozen kobolds and hit them hard.

As for the group outside, a well-placed set of spells and burning oil collapsed the pile, killing many of them and the remaining 20 charged out of the Courtyard and back into the keep – heading in our direction. The group relined themselves on the stairs, almost out of spells and equipment, and then struck out at the last wave of kobolds who hit the barrier. We were bleeding out fast, painful wounds were rampant and then Lord Gurunts fell!

And since the plan worked once, we decided to do it again. Before Einar’s raging strength finally ended, the barbarian half-orc shouldered the rickety armoire and send it crashing again down the stairs where it rolled over a dozen of the kobolds killing them. We then tore into the last of the ankle biters and with a flurry of spears and swords and finally killed off the last of the kobolds.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Youth Meet 14, Adv 1, 4/15/18

The youth group continued to do the town adventure thing – and today they made some inroads on their own on to the discovering of the Order of the Kraken as well as branching out and making contact with the thieves guild. There was a lot of LARPing at the table and some good times were had by all.

Write up follows:

We decided to split up before going to the Reguirin Demesne and take care of our own investigation for now. Deja, Valerie, and Veldryn were going to make their way to the Merchant’s Quarter and poke around to find the Thieves Guild while Magnus and Talion would go to the docks and see if they could come across the squid markings of the Order of the Kraken on their own.

The girls left the Saucy Winter Wench and wandered south and west through the merchant district. The blocks were long, the buildings tightly spaced, and the age and time had them rocked slightly on their foundations, choking off the sky above and plunging the alleyways into shadows. The group stayed with Deja who was looking at the mouths of each alley, looking for a marking that would identify the place as a meeting house for the local thieves guild.

She stopped outside of a two story inn called the Resting Frog. Convinced she saw something on the wall, she inspired Val and Veldryn to follow her in and look around. Upon entering, we noticed the place was a bit smaller than the Saucy Winter Wench, but more interesting – it seemed to be a demi-human establishment. There were dwarves and gnomes, Halflings and half orcs, elves and half elves – no humans.

We made our way to the bar through the Common Room of 40 odd patrons and took a seat where we spoke with the bar owner, a gnomish fellow named Markle McDickle Nickle. Some order for water, wine, and ale followed while Deja was Canting about the possibility of the thieves guild. Markle hand waved it away and commented no but had one of the other barbacks get the drinks.

While the drinks were being delivered the barback motioned to Deja in Cant about south while Markle made some inane comment and conversation about a decent flower shoppe on the next block run by a woman named Ygrette Stolis. Gathering the clues we stayed and had some more drinks until a group of three half-orcs near the east wall were watching Valerie. One of them got up and made his way over, crudely attempting to flirt with Valerie and failing it. Identifying himself as Aetar he was a bit intimidated by Valerie and Veldryn was not helping the situation by supplying information to Aetar who grew pissed off and then Valerie stormed out of the Resting Frog to sit on the front porch and wait.

Deja and Veldryn finished their drink, made some small talk with the patrons within while the druid waited outside. However, while she was sitting in the over-sized chair, a half-ogre woman over 8’ tall and 400#s came over and asked Valerie to move. She was Grael, the half-ogre bouncer for the Resting Frog and took some pity on Valerie, talking to the somewhat naïve half-orc. She explained about orcish whistles and was surprised that the druid did not have one. Letting her know that she hadn’t the luxury of a mother figure, raised by the druid circle since she was small, she was instructed to go to Anour the Toymaker’s and get a whistle there. By this time Deja and Veldryn came out and the group made their way south.

Meanwhile, Talion and Magnus left the Saucy Winter Wench and went off to the docks. They stayed at the end of the 1st dock and looked out. Each of the docks, the four of them, stuck out some 120’ from the shore. Larger boats were at the end of the docks, smaller rowboat and single masted boats were closer to the shore.

While they were standing there, a pair of dwarven longshoremen pushed past and made their way to a boat on the dock, loading up what seemed to be a small cargo of precious wood. The dwarves were watching the paladin and ranger and one of them came back, grew wroth with the pair, and then stormed off to the wharfmaster to complain.

Kurly Lodbrook, the dwarven Wharfmaster came out and hand waved the long shoreman away. He shook Magnus and Talion’s hand and invited them off the dock and to his office to get them away from the docks and “stop pestering his people as they work.” If they have questions, they should just ask him since he knows everything that goes on and off his docks.

We talked for a while about various things, bringing up Dunwater (town to the south of here) and the trade caravans that might or might not go there. We did learn that at least 2 boats had reported they were able to make some money selling swords and axes to the markets at Dunwater which was interest since Dunwater does not have a standing militia or army. But when it came time to bring up the Order of the Kraken, Grabbi Ogansdottr, or the squid sigil – the two party members did not – realizing that Kurly might actually be in on the entire smuggling operation.

They did bring up Ned Shakeshaft but Kurly only knew of an Elric Shakeshaft, a midshipman on some merchant vessel called the Sea Ghost. Relations? Don’t know, but the two men filed it away and decided they were going to take their leave of Kurly and head off south to check out the three warehouses and see if anything turns up there.

Back to Deja, Val, and Vel – the Halfling thief stopped at Ygrette’s Flowers while the druid and priest went on to Anour’s Woodworking and Toy Emporium to look inside. Deja was convinced the lintel of the flowershop had the markings of the thieves guild and she entered. Ygrette, mid to late 30’s human woman, reddish hair, dressed in greens and browns, tending to a number of plants was here, and a younger man (her son?) was lounging just on the inside of the door nodding to Deja.

The Halfling asked about buying a purple flower for a friend and was Canting while doing so, getting a fluid answer in kind. Yes, right place. Ygrette mentioned that an Amaryllis would be nice but they were in the cold storage below. The son went and locked the front door while Ygrette stomped on the trap door in the floor twice before sliding the latch aside and opening it. A set of stairs went down to the flower filled interior and the three of them descended, the young man lowering the trap door behind them.

In the dim gloom a Halfling in black leather, face streaked in greys and white paint was positioned with a crossbow pointed at Deja and instructed Ygrette to give Deja a quick pat down. Every knife was accounted for and no other problems were uncovered. The Halfling then opened a secret door in the shelves behind him and led the four of them into the guild hall.

There were already 8 people here, 3 humans, 2 other halflings, a gnome, an elf, half elf, and half-orc. The black haired Halfling identified himself as Hedagar, the “Father” of the guild. They talked for a while; the guild was small and was a spin-off of the larger guild in Dilabria where the “Grandfather” resided. Deja was made to feel welcome and there were many conversations about her life and past and the guild itself and the members within.

Three rules: Direct orders from the Guild Father are always obeyed. Under no circumstance does any member of the guild work at odds against any other member of the guild. And the guild itself is always protected. In return, everyone works together, the guild is family, you give up 10% of your take of any job done in or around town, you don’t assault anyone who is already paying protection, and guild members will always help train and come to the aid of other guild members no matter what.

Deja was happy and joined right then and there. They commended her on adventuring with a paladin as that was the perfect cover – it makes her and her actions above casual reproach. When it was asked about the party leadership, Talion’s name came up and that led to two of the members getting excited. It seems the Dilabrian Slaver Society had never forgiven Talion for his actions 7 months ago when he brought in an escaped slave for a bounty for a crime committed instead of turning it over to the Slavers.

Turns out the slaver was a sorcerer of some small skill and the numbers guy for a large operation – invaluable. They hadn’t been pleased that Talion opted to place law above the slaver guild wants and had watched him carefully in Karon, expecting to exact a measure of revenge when he would leave the town by caravan.

They did not expect him to board a boat and when he sailed out, no one knew where he was headed off to. So the slaver guild had sent runners to every guild house at every ocean front town from Karon to Reters Trod with a 50 noble reward for information regarding Talion and his arrival. Two members, Elbaus (Human) and Marzina (Half-Orc) had been the contact and let the Deja know what happened. Do they approach the slavers? It’s worth money to Deja and the guild to give up Talion’s location. And it’s not bad for the guild. Hedagar waited to see what Deja’s ultimate decision was.

Deja was willing to pay the lost money for Talion’s information if the guild didn’t let the slaver’s know. This pleased Hedagar who let the Halfling know that it showed good character that he was willing to protect her leader and pay the funds to the guild to keep the secret safe.

Hedagar took 10 of the nobles that Deja gave him and handed it back, telling her to go to the Lost Children of Tyr, an orphanage on the south end of town, and make a donation to the establishment there in her name. Deja was thankful and we talked more. As for the smuggling operation, there was always the Dunwater angle and Hedagar did reveal that some contacts he had had let him know of Lizardmen from the Eider Down Swamp being seen in the vicinity of Dunwater. Was told to proceed carefully. Deja left and headed off to Anour’s Toy Emporium to meet her friends, purple Amaryllis in hand.

Meanwhile Talion and Magnus had made their way off the docks and to the warehouses. They bypassed the one that Rosensteel used and went to the one that Iran Hamanar and the Umbarian Tradegoods used. They took it upon themselves to walk in as if they belonged…and it worked! They wandered up and down the aisles, seeing at least a dozen merchant seals and stamps on palletized and loose goods – but nothing after a half hour of searching showed the Order of the Kraken or the squid seal.

They left and went to the last warehouse and again, luck was with them. A few of the longshoremen gave them a glance, but they were left alone as they entered and took to looking through the back of the stacks. If was while they were looking that they stumbled upon a pallet with 5 casks on it – the markings turned inward but from the edge they could see the squid symbol upon it. Nice. This warehouse was used be Nightsiren’s Tradegoods of which we knew almost nothing about. The pallet was marked that it was awaiting shipment but there was no purchaser or shipper information on the manifest. They two men left feeling pretty good and started making their way south towards the edge of town and on their way to the Reguirin Demesne.

Veldryn and Valerie had gone to Anour’s Toy Emporium where they saw the red hat wearing elder gnome sitting at a bench in the crowded store with other similar dressed and younger gnomes about stocking shelves, working wood, and preparing orders. The elder gnome motioned the two women closer as he finished his carving of a small wooden knight on horseback and engaged them in conversation.

He knew 7 languages and was able to speak a couple words in 15 others. He talked about the orcish way of things with Valerie who admitted her orcish upbringing was nonexistent. He guided her on the way orcs think and their strict adherence to honor and respect for clan leaders and elders. He tried to explain what an orcish whistle was and why it was important for orcish girls to get one on their 16th birthday. Since Valerie had never gotten this information from her mother or anyone else, she was a bit behind the 8-ball. But she did purchase a very nice black walnut whistle in the shape of an oak tree that blew out a 4-note harmonic.

They continued to chat until Deja arrived. Anour was carving the knight for a young man at the orphanage and he often made small simple toys for the children there when it was their birthday or if they’ve just arrived. Deja offered to take it for Anour but the gnome demurred, saying he’s never missed giving a toy to a young child before and wasn’t planning on missing one opportunity now.

It was almost 11:30 when the three women left and headed south to the Lost Children Orphanage and then to the Reguirin Demesne when they spied Talion and Magnus coming from the Warehouse district and called them over to join them.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Youth Meet 13, Adv 1, 4/3/18

The youth group had a long trip back to Saltmarsh and then once there, we rolled into a number of LARPing situations where they got to do some town stuff and dress in different hats for a while. And somewhere along the way, a throw-out line that had been delivered 3 or 4 meetings ago came back to roost – as in Talion needed to get laid and blow off some steam. Well, at a table full of 16 year olds is sometimes wont to do, they got crude and pooled some coins together to get the party leader a lady of the evening. And then two others joined in as well. The other half of the party was content to just sit in the bath and soak up the scented oils.

Write up follows:

It was at 9:30 or so on the cold morn of Earthmonth the 17th when the jolly boat left the cove under the abandoned mansion and started the 4 mile trip back to Saltmarsh. Talion, Deja, and Magnus were aboard the low slung single masted boat; Ned Shakeshaft was piloting the craft while Darveig the 17 year old former smuggler and Sanbalet, the ringleader of the smuggling operation at the mansion sat on the floor of the boat trussed up and gagged for the ride. Whatever stolen goods we managed to bring back from the stores under the mansion were included – 12 casks of brandy and 11 bolts of silk.

From the boat the party could see their companion Valerie storming along the ridge and beach north of the mansion, her anger pronounced with every step while the elven priestess Veldryn was struggling to catch up to her taller, half-orcish friend.

The sailing trip back took about 2 hours during which time the feeling was we dock and then go immediately to Sir Archibald Reguirin’s Demesne to discuss our findings and turn over Sanbalet. Ned piloted the boat with great care to the docks where a few young boys helped tie the jolly boat up. Kurly Lodbruck, the Dwarven Wharfmaster came out to talk about our boat and cargo – which for now we wanted to keep quiet about until we could get it to Sir Reguirin’s. So we paid for docking fee and then hired a few longshoremen to unload the boat and eventually cart everything to the Reguirin Demesne. We left Darveig in charge of the operation and the rest of us took the trussed up Sanbalet off to the south end of town and eventually Sir Archibald’s.

At the Demesne they had to wait while the nobleman’s manservant kept the group waiting until he allowed them audience with Archibald. Besides Master Reguirin, there was also the Dowager Lynn Coopersmith, dwarven owner of the largest cooper and barrel makers in Saltmarsh and Pinelaquin Goldenrod, the half elven herbalist and notary public – known to go by the non elven sounding name of “Lack” when given the chance. With Sire Archibald, this was 3 of the 5 members of the Town Council and just the sorts of people we wanted to visit with and talk to.

The party explained their findings at the mansion, allayed the Council that it wasn’t haunted, and assured them that although the party had been through the ringer, ever member was still alive and kicking. We talked about the smuggling and the operation as we had come to understand it, the massive fight at the end, and the capture of Sanbalet. We spoke about leniency for Ned and Darveig and agreed with the council members that the smuggling operation as we had it so far was only part of the situation.

The goods had been dropped off and we talked about the seals on the barrels. The group was expecting that it would tie back to Iran Hamanar in some fashion but was surprised when the Dowager Lynn admitted that had recognized the sigil as belonging to a trade organization known as the Order of the Kraken. They had turned to smuggling and slaving – a practice that was legal in the northern Baronies of the County but not in the central and southern Baronies. Saltmarsh was by location, part of the northern Barony but by law, abided by the rules of the central Barony and the County laws from Cymbarton. So the Council typically tries to follow central barony rules when possible.

The Order of the Kraken had been raided and their leader, Grabbi Ogansdottr, had been tried and hung from the neck about 2 years ago – the organization was then struck down and defunct. How these sigils had been reestablished was a problem for the council and the questioning they had for Sanbalet here had been unanswered and rude.

As for Valerie and Veldryn, it was an almost 4 hour walk back during which time the elf and half-orc eventually patched up their friendship. However as they drew closer to Saltmarsh, Veldryn was concerned that Magnus was going to use what occurred at the mansion as fodder for the paladin to act against Talion or her. She wanted someone on her side to help her out. So she convinced Valerie that they needed to go to the cemetery and see Hjarlod, the Speaker for the Dead and see if he’d be willing to act as an intermediary and support for her.

By 2 they had traveled back to town and then made their way to the Speaker for the Dead. Hjarlod was a bit in his cups but was willing to come with the two of them to see Sir Reguirin and advised them that was a ritual he could do to help ensure the truth was being told. So it was 2:30 when Val and Vel arrived at the Demesne with Hjarlod and met the councilman and the rest of the group.

We all got caught up and then Magnus brought out a letter he had penned during the journey back, reading it to the councilman and the party. It detailed his concern for Talion as leader and the undue influence Veldryn seemed to have on the ranger. There was talk about severed heads and cruelty and enforcing the part of the charter where a leader can be changed should the situation merit it. Hjarlod had cast a Zone of Truth on the area and for the most part, the group was able to tell when a falsehood was uttered – although not all the time. It is for this reason why the Zones are not acceptable during testimony since it can be defeated through luck, guile, will, and magic.

The party eventually managed to reach a point when Talion was going to be more open to listening to all the party members equally and the vote to replace him as leader was defeated 3 to 1. As for Sanbalet, the council was going to select a questioner (torturer) and a Justicar to get some information out of the smuggler and when we do, Sir Reguirin would like the party to follow the findings to the next link in the smuggling chain. We were given 250 nobles as a thanks for our efforts so fat, had Valerie added to the charter, and then by 3, left to head for the Saucy Winter Wench to get a room for a few days.

On the way we stopped at Rosensteel’s Tradegoods and did some purchasing, Veldryn taking the time to but a silvered steel dagger for Deja as a thank you and apology for her actions at the mansion. The Halfling was touched and had just sold a number of crummier knives back – placing the silvered one into her now empty boot sheath.

We arranged for another large room for the party at the Wench, ordering a bath and oils again to scrub the grime and filth off our bodies. Laundering was taken care of and then Magnus wanted to get Talion a lady for the evening – or late afternoon. He requested something different and firm from Pettis, and then in a fit of “what the hell”, asked for one for himself – but specified she had to be a lady. Not to be outdone, even Deja asked if there was a man of the evening she could get and was assured someone would be sent up.

We went to the bedroom where water was being filled into the tub and hot oils added. A fresh cake of soap was supplied and Talion went first, getting himself cleaned. As he was getting out of the tub, there was a knock at the door and a woman in her late teens and dressed rather sluttily in tight leather clothes asked for the ranger. Said her name was Candy and she was here for him. Meanwhile Magnus got himself cleaned quick as a second woman appeared behind Candy, a bit older and dressed in a clinging blue sheath dress who identified herself as Sophia and was here for the paladin.

The two of them left as Deja got in next, following the two women downstairs to the space that was normally cordoned off, and to a room where they said they shared it together and would like to know if that was a problem for the two of them. They assured the two women it wasn’t and they went in where the door was shut, Candy took charge; Talion got some straps around his legs to hold him down while Candy beat him and took him for herself and her pleasure. Sophia was more refined but Magnus was happy and the time passed.

As for Deja, a dwarven piece of beefcake named Hefador showed up and escorted the Halfling out where she too was treated to a 2 hour window of relaxation, excitement, and whatever consenting adults do behind closed doors…for a price.

Veldryn and Valerie paid for new bath water to be brought up and then relaxed for some time before Deja staggered back into the room, tired and satisfied. They had her back in the tub and plied her with questions about Hefador until Magnus and Talion returned – both also tired and satisfied, the paladin glowing and the ranger having a rough time sitting down.

We laughed it off, dropped off all the dirty clothes to be laundered, and then went to the common room to eat, drink, listen to some music, and just wind down after the terribly long day. We talked about tomorrow and decided there were two things we wanted to look into before heading to the Reguirin Demesne, 1) Deja and Veldryn wanted to make contact with the thieves guild if there was one in town to discuss some of the things on the manifests we discovered at the mansion, and 2) the rest of us to make our way to the docks and poke around to see if could uncover any other blazon markings or sigils from the Order of the Kraken.

By the time our meal was done Deja took in a local card game, playing a number of hands until she was up by a large amount of silver. It was when she got up from the table and the players grew angry at her leaving before they had a chance to win their money back that threatening actions were given and the entire situation looked like it was going to blow up. But one of the Deputies to the town Sheriff came over, named Stenthin Gooseberry, and helped diffuse the situation a bit. However, we were dismayed to learn that the loudest complainer of the gamblers was a card shark known locally as “Ehks” and had been brought up on charges of suspected murder at least 4 times before. Always smaller women who had gone missing. Small – like Deja.

Lovely.

We retired to our room by 8:45 and came 10, it was lights out and we rested. Veldryn finished the ponderous tome Metaphysics Math and Magic and even though she understood it, it was a weighty subject that she was going to have to digest for some time.

We awoke the next morning feeling good and by 8:30 had finished our breakfast, prayers, and studying. We were discussing our plans to split up and hit the town and then go visit Sir Archibald and see if he had any information from Sanbalet as of yet by the afternoon.