It’s been a long, long run. Building a significant dungeon into a season requires care as to the plotlines you are engaging. Hahaha, joke was on me all right. Caught by my own Gnoll raiders, to paraphrase.
I’ve really enjoyed the ‘wild west’ kind of vibe of the region though. Minor NPCs really shone out, which is part of the fun.
As to major NPCs: the Herbals are now close allies of the Restorers (or at least Sage is, which counts for a lot) and they may crop up again in future seasons.
Yes, there will be future seasons, plural. Just finishing up with Dolem’s Spire and Colairion could take weeks. Then Sarnas, Martinsburh and its links with ancient Ravenscrag, the mysterious principality of the Elves, maybe Aunor and the cold moors… then Ikkutas?
However, the next campaign season from me won’t be dT&T, a change is as good as a rest so it will be something else.
The characters for this session:
Fennec, L3 wizard
Cauleigh, L4 warrior
Crompton, L3 rogue
with their allies the Herbal Teas:
Sage, L3 wizard
Heartsease, L2 warrior
Wolfie, L2 wulfan
During the whole of the day, the enlarged party – four Restorers, three Herbals, three ex-prisoners and four ex-breeding captives – do little other than rest, eat and drink, and plan for the next leg and what will happen when they reach Ironbridge.
And discuss loot shares.
Jotunn’s iron constitution means he stands watch almost the whole day so he will have to be consulted on shares later.
- Loot is divided by value, with three separate piles: fully-magic, one-shot or limited magic, and plain riches.
- The restorers are more than generous to the Herbals, almost pressing them to take the treasures Sage puts up as possibles. The Herbals will collect a few thousand to fund their next adventures or recruiting, once cash-outs are accomplished in Ironbridge.
- The seven restored are each given 700gp. Snifter the ‘pothecary takes 500 of it in potion (the one with eyes in it). The women are assured they won’t be just dumped at Ironbridge – lady Ezra will very probably look after them until they find proper places.
- Part of the Herbals’ share goes to setting up Kowlee with the tower shield and bronze hand; they recruit her as a fighting hand.
- The question of how much effort to put into selling choice items and researching others is left open until they reach lady Ezra’s Olfoot Manor and come abreast of events in Ironbridge.
Through Saltlick Gulch to the river by night
“Load up, let’s move out… quietly.”
“And once we get to lower ground we’ll light the lantern and more torches.”
“Give me a hand with this silver will you, it weighs a ton.”
“Once you’ve done that help me load Trefoil, I don’t quite have the height to adjust him.”
And with many another order, suggestion and counter-suggestion the dusk passes into night and the caravan of seven ponies, seven adventurers and seven restored (and what seems like 7,000lb of deadweight) passes down north into lower ground and thence into Saltlick Gulch.
The women shiver in the cool of the night. In the time they have been in the Gann (Samuel’s survivors know the correct name) the season of Ysel has passed and Moebhant has come upon the vale. Cauleigh provides them with handsome robes and shirts to layer over. “On loan only,” he stresses.
The torches – five are being carried – and lantern draw moths but nothing larger.
“For larger, there’s TTYF” – Fennec
Taking the precaution of scrambling up from time to time Cauleigh finds that once away from the lip of the gulch the light dims drastically. A hostile, such as a Uruk, would need to be right on the gulch, or very high above it, to notice it.
This is a thing. With naturally-generated light it takes a decent-size village to ‘glow’ so that it can be noticed, even on flat ground. From a distance, an open campfire winks brightly, it doesn’t glow powerfully.
The forced march continues through the day
After a short night’s push, as the sky lightens to pale indigo, the Restorers find that subtler sounds are masked by the presence of the river. The pace slows and Jotunn probes ahead. He is satisfied that all is as it should be and returns:
“Let’s discuss what our next step is.”
“What are our options?”
“One: be happy we got this far with Snifter Kowlee and Selano-Selano walking and no mishaps, head up onto the shoulder up there, camp for the day, endure the heat.”
“Two: head alongside the river to where we camped under the overhang and rest up for the day in the heat.”
“The ponies can stand one day’s abuse. So Three: push on! – load those three up so all seven are mounted, push through the day, get to lady Ezra’s.”
This last from Jotunn and his judgement of ponies is decisive. Snifter rides double with Diamanda the hunter, Kowlee and Selano-Selano each get a mount, and all seven ponies are heavily loaded with rider (or corpse) and baggage.
Even for the Restorers this is a long night-day march. Sage clings onto baggage-straps grimly and walks most of the time, but he’s hurting. It may not be midsummer but the searing heat of the Atharva plateau in daytime still bakes them and the day-wind up its face still dries them out. Water is constantly brought up from wherever it can be scooped riverside and ponies and passengers kept hydrated.
At last, playful mirages tease them with a wobbly dark blob which becomes a wobbly stand of woods, then finally a plain woodland copse. Beyond it are Olfoot manor and Boot Hill, destinations for most of the caravan.
“And I might be planting my friend here too,” Cauleigh notes, patting the bag’o’bones that is (most of) the mortal remains of Temerity’s original owner.
To reach a place of rest and comfort
It’s as though lady Ezra has been expecting them. The gate is open and the not quite young but trim little maid and the gatekeeper are both waiting.
Fennec douses his face briskly, dusts off his clothes, washes his hands as best he can and strides in to explain things to lady Ezra… you know, about how she would be sure to offer hospitality to seven strangers.
She is more than gracious. And Fennec makes her squee! – when he presents her with the volume titled the Lich in the glass.
Lady Ezra has provided for her guests, and to be sure the refined tea is delicious, but in time a real meal is prepared. As they eat heartily of roasted red meat, the adventurers make their plans and write notes for the gatekeeper to see to.
From dawn an ever-increasing level of activity can be detected around Olfoot manor. First the town sexton and crew with picks spades and death-swaddling, then a Priest of Branisa in a little pony-and-trap, then a little gathering on Boot Hill about a hole and the mortal remains of Trefoil. The priest makes a comforting eulogy and those that actually knew Trefoil remember him fondly.
Then to town! And the Restorers and Herbals discover that the usual charges on the bridge have been reversed. Now they have to pay a fee on their cargo and mounts. Unsure whether the guard is simply robbing them or if it is a real rule, Cauleigh forks over 30 gold and they progress to Dockside.
Already a few of the mine workers have greeted them casually; now an urchin makes a great show of noticing them, giving the thumbs-up, and scarpers off to tell his guvnor. Mid-morning drinkers from the barge crews spare an idle glance as the caravan plods along as far as the Trader Guild.
“I’ll mind the ponies,” Jotunn announces.
“Wolfie’s not going to be allowed in there, he too can stand guard,” Sage agrees. He, Heartsease and Crompton have agreed that they will help one another out around their missions in town.
The conference with a surprised head clerk of the guild extends across the day. Jotunn unloads the ponies progressively as more and more gear is catalogued, then takes the ponies off to the stables and then heads off on his own. The Herbals have far less business to transact so at the end of the period, the other three Restorers are alone.
They have skipped a midday meal and feel the not-cheap-but-good cooking of the Rusty Rapier best meets the hole behind the belt. Inside, Fennec looks around hopefully, but sees no familiar face. [Tadiko, I think.] The barkeep remembers Cauleigh and what he drinks; Fennec says he’ll have the same, Crompton (thinking of Jorgagu and her father Adrok) takes a bracing wine. Cauleigh regales the barge skippers and idlers with the yarn. The Restorers get a first hint the Rogues Guild is a thing of the past.
That’s a thought
As they head back to Olfoot manor:
“I wonder where Jotunn’s got to” – Crompton
“Not worry – if ever there is a Dwarf as can look after himself it’s him. Whether it’s out in the wild or off in the brothel…” – Crompton
“Wait, there’s a brothel?” – Fennec, picking up 10AP for the long-delayed punchline. (He went to the Easy Hostess and Laundry… and just got his laundry done)
Swansongs and sob-sisters
Cauleigh repeats his yarn, from a more warriorly perspective, to the Warriors’ Guild. He sells off his Axe of the Renegade to Jorgagu of all people.
Then Cauleigh sees to buying a simple case to act as ossuary for the ancient bones. Lady Ezra’s books tell her that the Scions of Kolbrannus are most linked to ancient Ravenscrag, much farther up the Vale.
Fennec, now wearing his good robes, heads to the Wizards Guild and exchanges brotherly greetings with Solar and spends much of the day gaining advice on the ring of spell store. It’s a very specific thing.
Crompton and Sage visit master Erklen, strapping Gnome foundry owner and knower of obscure stuff about historic weapons, and Crompton learns about the anti-magic nature of the old Runebearer axhead he claimed.
Sage has a few questions about his own treasures to raise with master Erklen so Crompton heads back and brings Heartsease to the Rogues Guild to see if there’s a recruit. As they heard here and there, the guild has come upon hard times: Vern is a street-beggar and sot, and Calla skivvies for the guards who live there now. Of the two Heartsease decides Calla has the more promise. But Vern gets a free drink, which is all he cares about.
As Crompton and Heartsease and Calla head away from the guildhouse, who should fill the alley but Adrok? But he seems oddly distracted, almost as though he is standing right next to a hot Elf. He listens with but half an ear to Crompton:
“Ah… not tying the knot? Huh… never thought it work out… say, I’m off duty in about two hours…”
So all’s well that ends well and all that time in the crate is something to look back on and laugh.
As they say, an adventure is just terror and misery remembered in later comfort. And this has been their adventure.
By the look of it…
Fennec will be here a while, learning from the friendly healer of the Grove how to be a friendly healer.
So the loot need not be sold off at the cheapest rate.
Cauleigh can research Ikkutas over in lady Ezra’s library.
Crompton can get his axe hafted.
And new boots, because those Pegasus boots sure weren’t built for forced-marches.
Cash dividends from the Gann: before any cash gifts to the Herbals or buying new boots. These cash amounts are real amounts in gem and coin. Not necessarily heavy, the Trader Guild will have time to buy in more gems to cover.
- Fennec: 4,228gp
- Cauleigh: 11,948
- Jotunn: 16,348
- Crompton: 12,718
Planning for cool gear: Ironbridge has very limited resources (that characters found out about). Using the influence of their chosen guild, the warriors and wizard have sold off some valuable loot at a good price, and the warriors may access good but not top quality smithing. Jotunn will need to travel to Sarnas or Dolem’s Spire to ask about mending his coif.
Goodbye for now!