Having the chance to get out of a dungeon and get back into a town - especially a town the party had never been in before - I was assuming would be an opportunity to sprinkle some new "hooks" in front of the party to follow and/or pursue any older strings the party might want to follow.
But what happened was a group very used to solving most issues with blunt force, spells, and fire - and when the first "hook" was presented at them, the majority of the group opted for lawlessness and banditry (and arson!) to solve the problem.
Which has them now OUTSIDE the city after the unlawful death of at least 6 members of the guard and a 10 count of peasants.
I'm going to let them either dig themselves out of this or get hung further - depending on their actions. But never go with the belief that townsfolk are just yokels or fodder to be cut through or ignored since they aren't "player controlled". That kind of thinking will eventually get you killed.
Write up follows:
Before emerging into the daylight of Dragonhole, it was decided that the treasure be made invisible and that Zoltan take the lead. We were laden down with treasure and goods and needed to get it not only out of the crater and safely to an area we could hole up at.
Soren had been living here for the last couple of years and assured us as soon as we got upcrater there was a tavern not too far away. We queued up and began our ascent. The local area was a ragged crater close to a quarter mile in diameter. There were three steps running along the western rim, each successive one larger and sporting more ramshackle dwellings. Rough hewn stairs ran to the surface of the crater’s lip.
We picked our way through muck, filth, garbage, and other city leavings. As we approached the lower tier a half-elf of some advanced years waited for us, extending a hand and offering to help. Zoltan took it gingerly; the half elf identified himself as Doulis. We noted that most of the people in the area were poor, in foul health, and were either predominantly half elven or half orcish. Doulis offered to escort us to the surface and we mentioned we were on our way to speak with Lord Vergadain (the local ruler).
We were watched during the climb but no one took any steps against us. We passed a misery of humanoid suffering, even spotting a number of recent dead just lying in the street. At the crater’s rim we beheld the rest of Dragonhole. Two main streets ran perpendicular with a number of smaller ones branching off. There were 4 keep/castle structures, two in good repair and two not. The further one got from the crater, the better the quality of homes and businesses. We thanked Doulis and went on our way. Olthar took a small bag of copper coins (over 500 of them) and handed it to Doulis in “thanks”. The half elven male walked back happy but a few of us had an uncomfortable feeling that Doulis was not going to live long to enjoy his new found wealth.
Soren brought us across town by the Melbourne monastery and we stopped outside a tavern called “The Orphan’s Cap.” He mentioned we should wait with Detheron (in mule form and laden with treasures) and the elven ranger went in to secure rooms. The innkeeper, a muttonchops sporting bloke named Betrebes, was surprised to see the wood elf. It seemed that a fire at the Greystone Orphanage was blamed on Soren (he had been guarding it just before he was captured) and that a bounty was placed on him in the amount of 100 crowns.
Uncomfortable about all this but wanting to get the party off the street, Soren gave Betrebes 100 crowns of his own and asked for a room just for a day so they could find out what’s going on and get to the bottom of it. The innkeeper brought him through the kitchen and to the “root cellar” where 4 sizeable rooms were situated. A set of doors opened behind the inn and Betrebes went upstairs to get some food while Soren went around the front and escorted the party around back and down the steps.
We followed with many questions and Soren informed us of the charges against him. He wanted to talk to Sir Greystone and clear his name but wanted to make sure that Betrebes wasn’t out to screw him. Zoltan disgustedly went upstairs, set up a room for himself (the best in the place) and had a bath drawn, food brought up, and a tailor sent for. Olthar went up eventually and got himself something to eat (meatpie and mead). Arnog was anxious to eat and got two women of ill-repute to keep him company. The party was enjoying the Orphan’s Cap and its amenities for the time being. Betrebes was talking to some of the locals but so far, no calls for the watch or lynch mob ran to arrest Soren, although Olthar did see the wood elf’s name in the ledger and “starred”.
We came up and discarded a number of plans on going to see Sir Greystone (who after more talk with Betrebes we learned it was Sir Chort Greystone, the elder of the nobleman’s two sons, that leveled the bounty on Soren to be brought in for questioning) as well as possibly acting as Soren’s representatives. But for each discussion we brought up, there were enough reasons not to take the chance. Eventually it was decided that we would try to leave Dragonhole quietly and quickly and solve this problem from afar. As an aside, we did learn that Detheron’s tiger really enjoyed uncooked sausage.
But there was a problem – Soren’s name was in the tavern’s ledger as a boarder AND Betrebes was seen talking about the “fire” to a 3-4 count of locals during the last hour. We would need to remove Soren from the book as well as talk to Betrebes and see who he spoke to and about what exactly. Our latest plan was to have Norris attempt to charm the innkeeper and have him tell us what we could. If that failed Olthar would try to lift the book. Gwyn was sent along as muscle.
So, we have Zoltan on the 3rd floor relaxing and waiting. Arnog on the 2nd floor with two women and doing what suddenly rich 19 year old fighters do the first day they return to town. Norris, Olthar, and Gwyn in the common room approaching the innkeeper. Detheron, his tiger, Coruth’tae and Soren hiding in the basement and waiting to see what the party turns up.
Norris whistled a ditty and sangsong a bit and tried to convince Betrebes that he was friends but the innkeeper was merely perplexed by the pushy minstrel. Taking advantage of the situation, Olthar reached OVER the counter and successfully lifted the ledger! Well done! But…now what? Soren’s name was still in it – and any second Betrebes would notice it missing. The elven thief seriously contemplated just splashing acid on the pages but was getting flustered. Instead he grew frantic and tried to abort the plan and put the book back.
And that’s when Betrebes caught him.
He was blamed, words were exchanged, and Olthar was told to leave now. The thief tried to apologize (and get his poison ring into play) but Betrebes was having none of it. His bouncers picked up the wood elf, pummeled him twice in the knee and shin, and then opened the inn door with his face and threw him into the street. Gwyn tackled one of them from behind and rode the bouncer to the ground, the dwarven fighter bashing his head repeatedly. The guard was whistled for and Betrebes was shouting.
Norris shook his head and opting not to get involved picked up a mead from the bar and watched. Olthar squared off a few of the locals and Gwyn took on more of them. Watching from above Zoltan worked his way to the window, climbed down the side of the building and went north to get horses, stopping long enough to send a spell-message to Detheron that the shit had hit the fan.
The druid and his tiger came out through the back door and Coruth’tae went up through the kitchen, Soren in tow. Most of the people had wandered into the street to watch the melee. Coruth’tae told Norris to go get Arnog while the mage used his unique curse to sour the two casks of mead by trying to drink from them. Meanwhile seeing Gwyn was now using his scimitar (but flat of the blade) and was wailing on the guards, Detheron sent his tiger in and the armored feline tore through the locals. Blood was drawn and the crowd was howling.
The guards were en route now and in force. Coruth’tae rewrote over Soren’s name in the ledger, replacing it with Vanir’s. And then someone took the buckets of lard and splattered them across the kitchen – setting the place ablaze. In the street, seeing his friends were struggling to escape the crowd and run north, Gwyn drank his potion of Beastmaster and mounted the druid’s tiger! Then howling and roaring and ripping through the crowd, he ran south east and led the guards and militia across the streets and away from the inn and his companions.
The grey elf made an illusion of Vanir appear as the smoke was coming out and laugh uproariously that he set the inn on fire and then disappear in a flash. Cries of “Witch”, “Warlock”, and “Fire” resounded and the group moved north as fast as possible while heavily laden with treasure and bags and sacks. Detheron kept track of his tiger with a locate animal spell but eventually Gwyn and his companion wandered out of range.
We caught up to Zoltan who had wrangled us 8 steeds with bit, bridle, bags, and enough food for a day or two it would take us to get to Dilabria (the next city to the east). We rode north for a mile and then took stock of our situation. Going back to Dragonhole was out of the question. Arnog had also brought both women with him. And Gwyn had no idea where we were. We talked on plans and it was decided that the party would ride north two miles or so and then go east/southeast across the plains and wilderness on the road to Dilabria. Meanwhile Detheron would assume falcon form and still with his spell of location enacted, find his tiger and hopefully Gwyn.
We wished the druid well and he took flight circling the town until he felt the “ping” of his location spell coming from the 2nd tier down in the crater on the northeast side of town. He circled the crater 3 times until he was able to identify the tiger’s location in one of three building (but no easy way in). Instead he flew down the hole at the bottom of the crater, assumed human form, and found some old barrel bottom to use as clothes.
He climbed up the slope again and was met by some locals who he convinced he had been robbed but adventurers, one of them a dwarf with a tiger. The peasants admitted there was one and the dwarf was hiding out. They also said he was rich. Detheron gave them a song and dance about he wanted to go and find this dwarf and get his stuff back. So an 8 count of half elves and half orcs grabbed makeshift and rusted weaponry and crawled up to the house where they waited and then sprung inside.
Detheron tried to shout that this was not the right dwarf and tiger but it didn’t matter and melee was joined. He called to Frey and a 240 lb prehistoric weasel appeared and tore into the two closest peasants. Meanwhile Gwyn and the tiger were at a disadvantage in the ramshackle hut as it was cramped and restricting. But one of the half orcs smashed the support beam along the back of the hut with a terrible fumble and the entire structure slid down the 30 degree slope 90’ to the next tier and exploded – sending wood, canvas, and garbage everywhere. Gwyn remounted the tiger (both a bit dazed) and they climbed up the slope again to Detheron.
All rejoined now the druid suggested they get out of here NOW and the three of them climbed to the top of the crater and picked their across town, alley, and road until they were lost in the thin trees and then in the outskirts of Dragonhole.