As you may recall, a large-chinned paladin has tempted the four saviours of Hopespyre into falling in with the Palgwyth Lordsman’s ambition. This, instead of robbing the otherwise tempting target, the Lordsman himself, who is a stereotypical bloated lecher of a priest. While the Lordsman pictures nothing more complicated than a beating-up, the Dwarves decide that humiliation fits the crime.
The characters for this session:
Fennec, Level 2 wizard (no specialty)
Cauleigh, Level 2 warrior (background: literate townsman)
Jotunn, Level 5 warrior (background: hunter; talent: tracking)
Crompton, Level 2 rogue (background: Runebearer; talent: roguery)
Plans for the paladin are drawn up
We rejoin our heroes then, as they sit around a quiet nook in their inn, making plans. Skipping the blow-by-blow debate this is how their plans break down:
|Base idea||Step 1||Step 2||Further||Cost/benefit|
|Slops to head||Find and rent an upstairs room below which the paladin will walk||Pitch nightsoil bedpan at head||Get away safely (E.g. Fennec may have to make himself a target)||Payment for room for at least a day; Need to be fairly lucky to hit a specific target; Relatively simple to execute|
|Sully credit rating||Wander round likely places bad-mouthing paladin||Nil||Get out of town before the point where rumours are traced back||May be difficult to prove this is worth any kind of reward; Depends on exerting persuasion; Extremely cheap; People usually believe worst|
|Stripper party||Determine paladin’s base of operations||Find and rent ladies of negotiable virtue to turn up at paladin’s base and make a scene||Some need to supervise without revealing who is behind it; probably some gossip-mongering.||Some basic snooping and negotiation; Possible loss of reputation; Relatively little danger; Relatively cheap.|
|Ultimate complicated set of staged events ending with paladin chasing sheep while sexually aroused||Spread rumour about a local noble’s return to her estate, requiring a respectable attendance||Arrange bath-house scene where paladin bathes, is mobbed by strippers, flees in a predetermined sheep-ward path||Find and set up bath-house, strippers, sheep, trick towel, onlookers, etc.||Requires paladin to follow script without any one of a number of steps to go wrong. A number of actual costs.|
Once the other three caution Cauleigh that his idea (guess which!) is not likely to be the choice, they set down some research steps needed and split tasks up as follows:
- Fennec will look for a bath-house
- Crompton will find out about ladies of negotiable virtue
- Cauleigh will both: look for the paladin’s base and
- find out what local estate might fit his story (who and where)
- Jotunn will find out about both Palgwyth law and governance (who and how)
They walk Palgwyth in search of information
Fennec [failing his L1 LK SR] spends a good deal of time sauntering the town’s main street, lloking for a bath-house, keeping one eye open for approaching paladin. He sees neither. Repairing to the Wizard’s Guild he wines and dines a couple of the fellows. They rejoice in their own club having its own bath-house and care not whether or no Palgwyth has one. Fennec returns to his inn by evening.
Crompton [making his L1 LK SR] turns back up at the Rogue’s Guild rooms, and chats to the lads over a pint. He jots down details of a local bawd named Sally who houses the type of girl he is looking for. An easy day for Crompton, he returns to the inn for a noon meal.
Jotunn looks for the types of men he is comfortable among and finds his way east, outside the wall, to a broken-down cantina run by crusty old Moss Icely. Easing his way among the strange types – be they road-wardens or bounty-hunters – Jotunn pays for enough drinks to loosen tongues. He gets the traveller view of local law. There is a chief constable of some kind, and a mayor who has to balance affairs between Lady Balas on the one hand and the guildsmen on the town council on the other. A relatively expensive [based on LK SR] and long outing for Jotunn, he returns to his inn by late afternoon.
Word arrives that his boots are ready at the cobbler’s, but wisely he decides not to go on his own [and gains 5 AP].
Cauleigh has an eventful morning. He doesn’t even get time to tie down definite information about Lady Balas’ estate [though a L1 LK SR does point to this as the obvious choice]. He begins by calling back in on the Changer who held their reward, and asking about the paladin. The Changer is just as curious! It seems the paladin, Alintar the Just, is a recent arrival from the west, and no record of seal of nobility (or patent) is known. No-one in Rothway, the next city on, has been able to supply any information about him. The Changer provides Cauleigh with Alintar’s address, and mentions ‘a few bully-boys’ who guard Alintar’s gear. Information on either the seal or a defined noble crest on a saddle (for example) is worth 20 in gold. And since Cauleigh has taken it this far, the Changer will hold the offer exclusively for two days before opening it to general reward. Thanking his source Cauleigh hastens back to the inn to share what he has learned.
Crompton, the only other comrade there at the time, is recruited by Cauleigh to help explore the paladin’s address the same evening. And the next surprise is: it’s the town’s free hospital, a religious establishment where it looks as though Alintar is staying for free. The pair [failing L1 LK SR] bump straight into three bully-boys sitting around guarding one of the many cottages that make up the hospital. After much waiting to be examined [and an excellent CHR SR] Cauleigh confirms this information from a tired and lean friar. Meanwhile, Crompton finds a stables where a fourth guard is guarding one specific stall.
They return to the inn and sup on the remains of the evening’s fare.
The information is fashioned into a plan
The various pieces are coming together. No-one begrudges dropping their pet scheme. The plan involves the following steps:
- Negotiate with Mistress Sally and hire a pair of doxies to cat-fight just outside the hospital grounds near the three bully-boys. A third doxy shall distract the stable guard.
- Using these distractions, search the paladin’s cottage, and inspect his horse.
- Depending on what they find the Lordsman will be given a stolen seal or news of an absence of such, thus allowing him to challenge Alintar quite safely. 500 gold thank you.
- Not forgetting to collect the 20 for information given before leaving town.
And the plan is implemented
Mistress Sally suggests four girls for 16 gold and the bargain is struck. And immediately renegotiated once the girls in question drag themselves out of bed. A sharp young piece elects herself spokesperson, but her mind is quick and her arrangements well thought out, so her employers don’t begrudge the extra silver.
Jotunn guides a surly wench around to the stables. She duly distracts the guard, lures him out, and Jotunn finds a fine mount, memorises the brand, notes the lack of crests on the saddle and tack, and leaves.
Team burglar sneak around and confirm that the guards are well away from their post. With the aid of Fennec’s magic [after Crompton breaks a lockpick] they enter Alintar’s garret. It is absent of magic. They find an impressive set of lamellar armour, a pair of intimidating boots, buff-leather under-armour, and various belongings suggesting a travelling man. The pick of the finds are a sheaf of paper, ink, and a scroll-case with what appears to be a patent lineage duly sealed. Fennec’s magic reveals that it is heavily reworked – a forgery!
The sharp youngster yells the signal that Alintar is returning so, taking the precaution of re-locking the room, they flee with the scroll-case and forged seal of nobility.
It is still early (for the Lordsman) when the four pranksters disturb his meditations. They explain, and hand over the forged seal. Pushing aside his favourite naked muse the Lordsman hurls a sack of 500 gold casually down and warns them not to disturb his holy rituals so casually.
20 gold collected from the Changer for the excellent information, the four gear up, pick up new boots from the cobbler’s and leave Palgwyth.
And they bid a swift farewell to Palgwyth
A short time later they have passed out the east gate of Palgwyth – where the guards are efficient, but do not pay them any special attention – and are making their way through the usual daytime road traffic of local producers and peddlers, and longer-distance merchants. Drumming hoofbeats are heard behind.
The road-goers crowd to one side or another as Alintar flees Palgwyth, wearing parts of his armour and clutching the remaining parts over his saddle. The dust settles as he disappears to the west.
“You know, we’re going the same way – we might run into him again.”
“We might even become his nemeses – each time he sets up, we arrive!”
Cheered by this, the four break their journey and fast at the next hamlet, then set out once more westward.
Highlights for me were the willingness of players to work along with different ideas, and that I was reasonably successful in ‘failing forward.’ This is a modern concept that my old players would not recognise from my classic T&T or T&T7 days. Of all the characters, only Cauleigh has pushed LK up to the point where L1 is fairly likely. I try to let the story speak from success and failure, and the principle for failure is ‘make it more interesting.’ We are not up to ‘succeed but…’ yet, though I will try to find a consistent way for those principles to be applied as we go along.