A few weeks before I had asked some of my people to tell me what they would like to see happen, what they enjoy, what adventure's they want to do - and some of them answered me. So for adventure 9 I am DMing off the seat of my pants. I have about 14 or so story threads floating about and possible paths - but the framework is very loose - and whereever the party goes and what they do will dictate the direction the adventure takes until I can see the party laying down rails for me - in which case I'd do my typical 1 week jam session and write up an adventure in advance.
What this means though is that I am very cognizant of the group and what they are doing, where they go, who they talk to, who they piss off and who they please. This has resulted in:
Druid and Dwarf exiled from Dragonhole, accused or warlockry and consorting with warlocks (as well as 16 direct counts of murder, and 8 indirect counts).
Ranger getting a bounty on his head for a crime he did not commit and getting exonerated for it.
Bard and Thief joining Mid-level theives guild and forced to steal from party as well as leave city under suspicion.
Gypsy acting as Herald and voice of the party in the dealings with Lord to acquire release of friends, as well as Baronet to trade group's services for boon.
And that's only after 2 sessions. It requires some mental gymnastics on my part to have this sort of campaign but I've done it before (for almost 2 years once!! Hooray for Zarik, Vyer, and Terril!!) and it did result in some memorable sessions. :)
Write up follows:
That evening, Gwyn was very surprised to find himself escorted from his cell at spear point and led through the prison, up to the main guard room (where he saw some stained areas on the steps and walls where Smokey’s fight took place) through to the street (after passing the trophy chamber where saw a number of trophies abounding – including the tiger’s pelt, Smokey’s mounted head, and his own enchanted shield “Steadfast” on display) and to Vergadain Castle. He was taken before Lord Vergadain where he was verbally berated, snarled at, threatened, and told under no uncertain terms that although he is free to leave now, should he ever return to Dragonhole he would be arrested and then tortured and slain. The dwarf took it all with stoicism and then was escorted to a holding cell under 5 guards’ watch. Eventually Detheron was taken there as well – the druid still in his fingerlocks and murderous hatred burning in his gaze.
As for the rest of the group, they went to the Castle and were made to wait briefly until Lord Vergadain met with them. Once there, the Lord angrily informed them that they could take “the halfer and the warlock back to the pirate and never come back.” There were other words thrown about and at one point it was obvious that Gwyn was released but NOT his gear – following the letter of the missive from Baronet Wodenlach but not the spirit of it. Zoltan and the Lord Vergadain had a private chat afterwards and it was decided that Lord Vergadain would be keeping the enchanted shield in price for the death and embarrassment of his guards. Gwyn could get the rest of his stuff and go.
We gathered up our two friends and the group had to swear that Detheron wouldn’t do anything to the city or people of Dragonhole. We were then escorted outside the city limits to a stately plantation house where a widow put us up for the night – a 5 count of veteran guards watching us. We slept until 6 AM where horses were provided and we rode away from Dragonhole and towards Dilabria.
We opted not to use Coruth’tae’s Run spell on the steeds which made the trip to the capital of the Barony an all day affair. On the way we stopped near where Gwyn and Detheron were arrested and a few hundred yards off the road in the tall scrub we found Gwyn’s 3 bags of coin as well as his crystal ball stand! Untouched!!
At Dilabria we turned our horses in and were forced to turn over bows and other similar weapons. Soren was loath to give up some his special arrows and paid the extra fee to bring them into the city (even under a locked and peace-tied quiver). We took rest at the Dilabrian Arms Hotel, the entire party taking out the top floor and suite of 8 rooms with baths, food, and other riches and sumptuous luxury. We would be leaving in the morning so there was no “shopping”.
Norris went out, taking Olthar with him, the bard and thief going to the Pig and Whistle to meet with Agnandus, the local representative of the Thieves Guild. Olthar was vouched for by Norris and the bard asked for a better job than his last one – something that gave him the opportunity to make some real coin. Agnandus thought about it and said that a group of adventurers who had upset the market earlier this week by spending a fortune at the jewelers had just ridden into town and were staying at the Dilabrian Arms. One of them had a quiver with some silver arrows in it – if the two of them were able to sneak up there and bring the arrows back – he’d pay them 10 crowns – and acknowledge they were capable of a better job next time. Olthar and Norris agreed and left, wondering what to do now. Agnandus did say that one of his people would arrange to get the heavy-set elf out of his room in about 20 minutes, and he did give them a skeleton key that should open the 4th floor doors.
They went back to the hotel. Meanwhile, Soren was fletching some arrows when a knock sounded and a serving wench said he was being given a night meal. He looked; it was roasted duck and some other light foods, compliments of the management. Thinking about it, he decided that he wasn’t hungry and instead went to Gwyn’s room, giving it to the dwarf who took the meal immediately. He ate with much gusto and polished off the duck swiftly – and then his stomach began to ache. The dwarf grew ill and his bowels churned and he ran from his chambers, down the hall to the indoor outhouse, and sat on the seat sobbing as he voided himself.
In the meantime, Norris and Olthar went up to the 4th floor, and at that point decided to have a conversation about what they were doing. They had it in the hall. Outside Soren’s room. Soren, the elven ranger, with REALLY good hearing. He opened the door and confronted them and there was rather unbelievable conversation and gall – but honesty did ensue and the two of them bought the arrows from Soren @ market value price and left, going back to Agnandus and giving the thief the prize.
He paid them 10 crowns for their work, made sure that his girl had helped out, and then asked casually where they were staying. They said they were staying at Westgate Tavern and he wished them well. The two of them were very uncomfortable now and wanted to get Agnandus off their trail, so they went to Westgate and hung out drinking for a while before returning to the Dilabrian Arms.
Meanwhile, Soren went to Coruth’tae and spoke with him about what occurred. The grey elf was pissed and went outside Norris’ room and cast knock – opening the doors on the floor, the shutters, and also the safe inside. Once there he took Norris’ gem bag from the safe and left. In the meantime, Gwyn complained to Soren about the duck he gave him and weakly went to his chamber to get some sleep.
The bard and thief came back and Olthar went to Soren to apologize while Norris went to check his door – noticing that the “hair” he had strung across the entrance was missing. He went in, it looked ok but unlocked – as was his shutters, footlocker, and his safe – and his gems were missing. A low level confrontation happened between Norris and Coruth’tae but the grey said nothing on the missing gems and Norris said that he had meant no harm and was just looking to get in good with the thieves guild. The two were at an impasse and they parted warily and without trust.
We awoke the next morn and Gwyn had another cramping attack, spending another 20 minutes in the lavatory, his groans and the smells making the rest of the group a bit ill. We went downstairs and broke our fast eventually acquiring horses and getting ourselves out of the city. The roads were a bit muddy, but not terribly so and we had a leisurely trip eastward back to Eider.
Once there we rode up to Wodenlach Manor, tied our horses to the hitching posts, and were let in by the guards who seemed to be having another party and revelry. Once inside we went to the banquet hall where Baronet Wodenlach was entertaining some 60 odd guests and we were plied with ale, spirits, and all manner of food. Even bowls of colorful stones were passed about and the people were encouraged to take. Eventually the Baronet had us join him in his study where his affable and good nature continued but his “drunkenness” disappeared.
We told him of our time in Dragonhole and Lord Vergadain’s issues. Zoltan handed the nobleman Vergadain’s written response and to the party’s amusement he tossed it into the fire without reading it. Then the matter turned to his issue.
The tax ship from King Daro was due to arrive in a week or two for the quarterly taxes and levies. Normally in the past Wodenlach would ply the high seas and attempt to capture the ships (failing often) and make off with the plundered gold. However, now as a Baronet, anything like that he would involved with or any of his vassal’s ships or men would have the Baron, Count, Duke, and King’s armies on him in an instant.
He has a 20% levy on him that he has to make every quarter; it translates to about 2 chests worth of valuables. What he is looking for is for the party to squirrel off 2 chests from the tax ship AFTER is arrives and HIS chests are loaded and accounted for. They can take any other town’s/city’s payment in the roughly 2 days the tax ship is in port, he would make sure to arrange the ship to stay.
The party took to the idea with pleasure and for the next half hour they went over the layout of the docks, various plans and plots, and even requested a list of what the typical ship has as far as a compliment of men on board as well as layout. And that’s where we ended it.