The characters for this session:
Thomas, cleric of Cuthbert
Belmont, paladin of Hieroneous
With their NPC allies:
Vert, cute green dog
Our four heroes plus Oswald have just given their word to Edensor, caravan captain, that they will hunt Hands down and take revenge. They now watch the departure of the slavers across Trowbridge ford, capture the horse that dragged the Hextor ritter, loot the still-attached body, and gather around Edensor.
Edensor shows them an empty cache where the caravan’s trade gems were stolen from, writes his promise of reward and hands over 200gp seed money, and bids them good hunting. Waittes hands over a sealed note that they are to present to his business colleague in the Commandery; he says it’s part thanks, part introduction to his partner Lia. Then, Trowbridge locals help feed the survivors and a full sleep is taken.
During the final leg to the commandery next day, the five pass the gem fields Bertran mentioned to Edgar, and speak to a gem-buyer’s guard of Gnome House, one of the three trader houses. They confirm that they are on the right trail – Hands was headed directly for the Commandery. And we pick up the action at the Commandery’s east gate.
Threads in play:
- Pursue Hands, seek revenge
- Send Celric’s money back to his kin
- Determine how cool Celric’s bracers are
- Present selves to appropriate contacts in Commandery
The helpful gate guard gives directions
Five adventurers, still sworn on Cuthbert to avenge the deaths suffered by the bullock train, arrive at the mighty walled town, Commandery. Belmont the paladin of Hieroneous leads a horse; the others walk. One carries a small green dog.
To the guard’s questions they explain that for convenience this horse is loaded with spare gear and the looted weapons and armour of the Hextor ritter the horse once belonged to.
(Horse – light warhorse, Hextor furniture; Sword; Horseman’s axe; Dagger; Saddlebags with food, kitroll for horsefodder and tarp)
All swear to obey the town rules which of course are reasonable and lawful – follow the orders of the Orders, declare obedience to the town gods, and pitch in to defend if need be.
This small ceremony immediately shows that this is no great entrepot with thronging crowds at each gate. One traveller may stand out!
The guard seems knowledgeable and helpful, and provides the locations of five inns.
- Reasonable Ogre, near Osprey Gate
- Cheering Flame, on Rich Hill
- Laughing Cavalier, down by the Catacomb Gate plaza
- Staggering Unicorn, east town
- Grog Hall, near the docks.
The Father Superior also has advice
From inside the city, the ‘tower’ or Commandery of Hieroneous proper, is more visible. It lies on the west, separated from the walled town by a collapsible bridge. Most of the town is level, though the northern heights, or Rich Hill, stands proud.
Fr-superior Spearhavok, of Cuthbert’s church, appears even while the five are describing events and getting the city layout. He leads them to the Laughing Cavalier.
Its proprietor, Palfrey, is an ex-warrior of Hieroneous who lost his leg in a shipboard battle. His wait staff are rescued slaves from the raid and younger children from the same live as part of his extended family.
Thomas now provides Spearhavok with the full story. Spearhavok’s thought is that a follower of Nerull will cause suspicious deaths and that therefore Wee Jas’ temple should be among our thoughts. He also advises Edgar and Thomas, who spent most time with Hands, to go directly to the Osprey Gate and leave the description with clerics Nuku or Meda there, so that he can’t slip out to the docks from that gate.
Belmont to the tower rides
While the others shed armour and heavy weapons, get the lay of the land and how the inns support each other, learn about Palfrey’s history rescuing the slaves, and finish beer, Belmont rides across west to the Tower Bridge and speaks to sergeant Huxley of the fighting order and Snr Albert of the clerical order. Like Spearhavok, Huxley thinks Belmont is best staying with the others. The horse can be stabled at the Tower. So back Belmont walks.
By the time he arrives back the other four are ready to move out. Barky is finishing talking to Mina, a Southron by origin but born here, while they watch Vert chew a meaty bone. The others are done with unpacking and drinking. Edgar has one or two calls to try at the Central Square before they all go on to the Osprey Gate.
Advice, memory fail, and due warning given
It’s time to move funds. Edgar transfers 25gp from the ‘party bank’ purse Belmont is carrying, to Celric’s purse that he is carrying himself. Now, he can send Celric’s relatives the full purse. That’s one of the things he hopes to do at the square, and the other is to speak to the Wee Jas clerics.
With time an issue Thomas urges a division of labour, with he Belmont and Oswald going straight to the gate.
“We’ll meet at the Reasonable Ogre then” – Edgar
Sadly, Thomas’ memory proves hazy [nat 1] and neither of the other two can recall Hands’ features any better. Thomas sends Oswald to find the other two.
Meanwhile, Barky and Edgar have admired the humble buildings about the square, failed to see a trading house or courier, visited the Stern Lady’s temple where Snr Aegard listens and advises (much advice, one key piece being that Hands will need to kill every so often), and prayed and donated at Pelor’s house. They idle on up to the Reasonable Ogre, but never make it inside, because Oswald is there already.
Nuku and Meda – to Edgar’s disappointment – don’t have a high-level clerical spell that imprints a miscreant’s likeness on a document. Instead, Meda listens to Edgar’s description [perfectly adequate] and assures them all generally that such a one has not gone through to seek a boat. And given he is a cultist of Nerull, boat-owners and ship’s masters will be warned!
The ground is laid, possibly with pitfalls
Following that, there’s still a little time left in the evening. Not enough to stand a round of drinks at the Reasonable Ogre, unfortunately! Edgar calls at Gnome House, one of the three trading houses they’ve been told about by a number of people so far, and makes an appointment for the morrow (not just for delivering Celric’s belongings – they are gem merchants and Hands has stolen gems to cash). Then, as it’s directly on the lane back to the Laughing Cavalier, knocks at the ‘pothecary, and hands Waittes’ note of hand to Lia, his business partner. Lia’s a half-elf, blonde, violet-eyed, unmoved by cute green dogs. And so to the inn.
Palfrey has by this time had word from the gate guards: one lone man afoot did enter at the right time of morning. Edgar asks him about gossipy bards, who may be able to spread news, or may have news. Palfrey recommends they travel to the Staggering Unicorn, where the host, at least, is just that sort.
A well-earned rest (and foot-bath) later it’s time to head up to the Staggering Unicorn, to hear some gossip. At least, for Edgar and Barky and Oswald. Palfrey implies it’s not the sort of place a Cuthbert-Hieroneous duo would be a hit with. 3gp are withdrawn for the investment in gossip.
This is a temple of Olidammara, doubling as a convivial pub with a bardic trio. [Olidammara is on the ‘tolerated’ list of Realm gods, a practical arrangement illustrated by this temple/pub.] The patrons are a mix of tradespeople and seafarers, and the wait-staff are young women. There’s a game of chance, too. The host is a larger-than-life type. The three youngsters decide to split efforts and share a kind of ‘the horror! the horror!’ gossip about Hands, in order to generate gossip. [poor convince rolls all round] At length the host summons them back to a separate table, plies them with corn-mash liquor, and learns more details. [Edgar makes a nat 20 on converse and 21 on concentration, to deal with the liquor’s effect] He recommends they try the other three inns. He’s also of the opinion that if one of the three trading houses was to do an illegal deal it would be the Western, which lost a few ships and is only just surviving.
By this time the night is deep and Belmont and Thomas are preparing for bed. Then Palfrey summons them – the game is afoot!
Threads in play:
- The main thread at present, pursuit of Hands, has several sub-threads. Bearing in mind that any one source may turn out to be false and treacherous, here is a shortlist:
– Officialdom is being geared up, so that Hands can’t easily slip out
– Gossipdom is being inflamed, so that a hue and cry will easily arise when Hands murders, and so that murder or gem-cashing can’t easily be concealed
– Routes for gem cashing are to be probed, not just the three trading houses but other avenues sniffed out
– Wee Jas is alert for suspicious death patterns
– The other main temples are being alerted; they will need to be reminded that Hands may use misdirection/conceal alignment
– The innkeeper circle is being alerted, but each inn needs to be approached separately.
- Complete Waittes’ transaction with Lia
- Send Celric’s money back to his kin
- Determine how cool Celric’s bracers are
- Present selves to appropriate agencies
– Belmont and Thomas have completed this, but there is still Edgar (Boccob) and Edgar again (Bertran’s thoughts of quests) and possibly Barky (sword for hire missions)
NPC summary list – in town
Father Superior Spearhavok, of Cuthbert
Palfrey, innkeeper at Laughing Cavalier, and his staff
Senior Aegard, of Wee Jas
Senior Albert and militant sergeant Huxley, of Hieroneous
Brother Nuku and Sister Meda of Osprey Gate (Cuthbert again?)