SB07: The quest for the guy you need out there

The characters for this session: 

Thomas, cleric of Cuthbert  

Edgar, wizard  

Barky, southron  

Belmont, paladin of Hieroneous  

With their NPC allies:  

Oswald, fighter  

and Vert, the increasingly-large green dog

 

Bookwork from threads in play up to now:

  1. Investigate the hidden temple, bringing any normal equipment: Meeker’s remains are dealt with respectfully and the 100gp he received in advance is assigned to his loved ones; the party have earned the goodwill of Western Trading; and the two magic braziers are auctioned off for 2000gp total. The total is split evenly. Thread closed.
  2. Seek 2,000 reward from Edensor: Edensor pays his debt. The total is split evenly. Thread closed.
  3. Sort out which valuables are Edensor’s and send Celric’s remaining wealth (and spellbook once Edgar has finished with it) back to Celric’s kin; and claim the remaining coin as loot: Done, except that the remaining coin mysteriously adds up to nothing. Edgar keeps Celric’s bracers, adding a note to the family that he sees them as Celric’s legacy to himself. But he does return a wand Celric owned along with all the other valuables. Thread closed.
  4. Continue to seek leads for future adventure or acts of errantry against Hextor: And that brings us to tonight’s session!

 

Hieroneous sets a quest, or is it just some locker-room talk?

Belmont rounds up the lads, some four weeks after their arrival. Thomas lodges with St. Cuthbert’s order, naturally; Oswald has thriftily been staying at the Laughing Cavalier; and Edgar and Barky have each taken a room at the Reasonable Ogre. Having not seen him in a while, the other three are startled by Vert’s length.

“You remember the Hextorite slavers that attacked us? Well – I’ve been told that they must have headed back to evil lands, by land – not sea – so there!”

It says something of the confidence of the party now, that no-one turns pale and begs out. Let’s look at their motivations:

  • Belmont himself: not a deep thinker by any stretch of the imagination, Belmont instinctively knows what’s right. He yearns to bring law to the lawless. In this case, he thinks of wreaking revenge.
  • Thomas is of like mind, for when it comes to revenge, in a lawful purpose, he is first in the queue.
  • Edgar, for family reasons and because he knew the enslaved personally, is keen for revenge. But he wants to keep taking revenge in future, too.
  • Oswald and Barky are less interested in revenge and more in money and adventure, but taking a swipe at Hextor (and surviving) are fine goals, for them.

Edgar signals to Barky that he has a thought, and as the other three leave to find out more from Hieroneous and Cuthbert, leans closer and mutters:

“We will need a ranger.”

I should have written this on a sticky. Immediately, by the telepathy well known to any group, the other three morphed their fact-finder into a ranger quest as well! And by the convenience of assumption, they decide that Barky and Edgar are promoting bounties on the heads of the slavers.

 

Sidebar: a core party, plus hirelings

In this session both taking on a full partner, and paying a daily rate, are offered. This is a small group (one character per player, plus a GM-NPC) that has no rogue and no-one from the region we’re in, and moreover, our barbarian is a non-standard build, without tracking. The need to bring in specialists or associates is very similar to almost any heist movie. Ideally someone that can be personally vouched for, but again as newcomers we don’t have a scroll of contacts and have to trust third parties.

A genuine tracker will be needed to follow a trail; but regardless of this, someone that can help survive in a swamp, mountains, and forest is a necessity, from my way of thinking.

 

The goddie boys efforts

Hilarity ensues as Belmont tries to explain his plans (?) to superiors in both orders. The player has great fun with this, and to make it better, accidentally forgets which god is which and starts talking about taking out those evil Hieroneous villains. Which leads to remarks from Fr Gerard like this:

“I seek to smite the vile followers of Hieroneous.”

“Er… we serve Hieroneous. I think you may mean, Hextor.”

And this:

“We found an evil temple to Hextor…”

“That was Nerull, surely?”

The fact is he has no plan, except for jumping on his light warhorse, unless he buys a heavy warhorse. [Belmont has a lot in common with Mansfield Park’s Mr. Rushworth.] Go north, find evil, smitey smite. He’s cautioned against going right over the Dragon Mountains since that’s the Duchy. You know, where Hextorites rule.

 

Thomas asks Fr Sup Spearhavok for help in a mission overland, north, against the slavers; and his senior immediately moots the idea of using a ranger. He’ll send one over to the Reasonable Ogre for an interview. Spearhavok implies the interview will be two-way. He doesn’t mention that he too will turn up.

 

Sidebar: The laws of tracking

In 3.0 tracking is a feat but with skill-like qualities. Like most skills, there are distinct DCs and modifiers. Let’s take a look at tracking the large convoy:

Base DC for firm ground: 15

Increase in DC for a month’s delay attempting to follow tracks: +30

Increase in DC for hours of rain since tracks were made: +1, but hours of rain reduce the initial firm ground DC to either soft (DC10) or very soft (DC5) so there’s a tradeoff. 

Deduction for number in the group being followed: -1 per three creatures, and a further -1 per horse. So for example, the considerable force that we saw probably has a deduction of between -40 and -20, with -30 the more likely.

Edgar, distracted by violet eyes, works his contacts

The Western Trading Company, Bertran the bard, and of course Waittes and Lia (always Lia!) are contacts made over the course of adventures and Edgar and Barky hit them up for information and a ranger.

In fact their efforts come much closer to fact-finder than the efforts of the fact-finder team. They learn all sorts of things, piecing together sometimes-contradictory bits:

  • The Hextorite slavers seem to have used the hill range immediately north of the coast road to hide their movement, but must have journeyed north, beyond, to where slaves can be passed through to the Duchy.
  • To get to the Duchy overland, they would need to travel across or around the great swamp that was once prosperous Realm land but is now the haunt of lizardmen and worse.
  • A river named Dry River cuts west, probably north of the great swamp, to the coast opposite Corsair Crag, which is held by Hieroneous. A fall-back option would be to delay until sailing, sail to Corsair Crag, boat from there to the Dry, and work up it.
  • Their course, either tracking by land, or moving east up the Dry looking for a trail, would eventually take them to the Dragon Mountains.
  • There is said to be a pass through those mountains, to the Duchy beyond. No current lore includes where that pass is.
  • There was once a stronghold of Pelor that guarded the pass, but (as usual) the shadow darkened, watch slept, the stronghold fell into darkness. But it is said the gold of the order was buried there and never found.
  • The stronghold is at the core of Bertran’s tale of gauntlet and glove: evil had the gauntlet artifact, so good created the glove artifact.
  • The location of fortress, and pass, are both valuable pieces of information and are also the final place where a small party might survive.

 

The interviews: two options

Barky brings the information gleaned back to the table at the Reasonable Ogre, for Edgar – quite obsessed with Lia by this time – is delayed, shopping for expensive earrings in the shape of Ehlonna unicorns. Eventually he too arrives, full of confidence, passing Spearhavok – who is on the way out – and greeting him with a cheery ‘what-ho’ and joining the others.

To this point, Spearhavok has conferred with Fr Gerard of Hieroneous (a kindly older priest, though similar to lord Ganly in outlook) and one may suspect it is about Belmont’s loose compass. Fr Gerard also leaves, not long after that.

This is the first time that Barky and Edgar have caught up with the others since the previous day, and the idea of interviewing two rangers and selecting the best candidate – though surprising at first – sounds good to everyone.

 

The Cuthbert candidate:

A grim-visaged weatherbeaten man, at least as interested in vengeance as the party. Noticing this, Edgar suggests he would join in shares. Why pay someone if they want to come anyway? The party’s motivation seems acceptable to this man.

The Western Trading candidate:

A cautiously-spoken man, again older than any in the party, who sees the job as guiding and helping them get back safely. He will pitch in with his longbow when needed. For this man, a daily rate seems the best option. He satisfies himself this is not a death-or-glory mob. He also notes Vert and is interested in him.

Although both Oswald and Edgar prefer the Western Trading candidate, the St Cuthbert man wins the other three over. Mesym will join the party!

 

The notion of indebtedness is confusing

Lia returns the fancy earrings that same night, explaining they place her under too much obligation to Edgar. Exchange them back for as much of the cost as you can, she tells him.

Lia gives Edgar a costly gift: a potion of invisibility. It’s a gift from a friend, to be used in great peril.

She also elevates his crushed spirits by praising his rapid advancement in the arcane:

All characters are Level 3!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s