SB2.02: The perils of greed – Guffinfetch part 2

The characters for this session:

Barky, L5 barbarian. 

Edgar, L5 wizard, and Vert, cooshee. 

Sir Belmont, L5 paladin of Hieroneous

Brother Thomas, L5 cleric of St. Cuthbert

Oswald, L5 (NPC) fighter. 

Ably assisted by:

Hodd, muleteer;

Arward, guide; and

Gussie, varlet to Sir Belmont

 

Threads currently being pursued:

The party has received a mission, and 1000gp, from Bertib of GTH, to:

  1. Travel to Safeton
  2. Contact Guffin the sage, present the letter from the Gnome Trading House (GTH) to him
  3. Escort Guffin to Realmsgate so that his research into potential title troubles for the GTH investment (cough landgrab cough) may be accomplished, and payment made to him through the GTH.
  4. At the party’s discretion, return from Realmsgate

The party has reached the great Rangerward woodland without incident, but now faces a trek of uncertain duration, first to Midpoint Stockade, then on to Safeton.

A reminder of party order:

Arward walking ahead of or beside Belmont. Arward carries all his own gear, just in case he has to dodge into concealing cover and run away. Preferred weapon, longbow.

Belmont, full armor, riding his mighty warhorse, Dobbin. Preferred weapon, magical longsword, but ready with lance. 

Two drays and a wagon, with Hodd driving, Edgar in the back, Thomas perched up on watch (also with heavy armor but no helm) and Vert and Barky on patrol around the wagon or hopping up for a rest. Barky’s preferred weapon is a two-hander sword, but he also has a magical greataxe.

Gussie riding a palfrey named Planchet leading Belmont’s light warhorse (unnamed).

Oswald riding drag on his mare Aelfgifu, also full armor but with kettle helm. Preferred weapon, halberd.

 

Greedy adventurers, meet roper-trees!

The road through the Rangerward is decayed, with roots aplenty, heavy ruts, and streams simply cutting across the trail. In places a new trail has been forged.

There comes a point, as the party stops to rest the drays after fording a stream, where Barky calls out.

Barky has had a quick scout around the meeting place, and has noticed a spear-head jutting out of the water, upstream a little. [His initial spot check is high but his follow-up check is low] He says it appears that there’s a luckless traveler on the stream-bed there.

“It could be treasure, Thomas” – Edgar

“OK” – Thomas, uninterested

“After all that spear could be attached to a rich knight” – Edgar, persisting

Leaving the camp – Gussie Hodd and Arward seeing to matters of the trail, Thomas resting – Oswald and Barky walk along the stream bank, Edgar and Vert in a covering position some 25′ back from them. Belmont walks a few yards to where he can act as link-man between Edgar and camp.

Trees grow right to the bank here and there. At a point where roots snake right down to the water, the spear-head juts from midstream. Sure enough, tangled amid multi-coloured roots, there’s a body. As Barky leans closer over the water, [making only DC14 spot] he’s grappled and thrown into the water from behind, by vines projecting down from the tree! [poor Refl SV] The vines push him down to join the drowned traveler!

“Belmont! Bring your sword!” – Edgar

Initiatives:

  • Belmont
  • Barky
  • Thomas
  • Oswald
  • Vines
  • Edgar

Round 1: Belmont hustles forward through the trees to get close enough to help. Barky rages, but fails to break free of the grapple. Thomas is alerted by Belmont, and rushes to help, running into the trees. Oswald wields his halberd at the vines, cutting deep. From the other side of the stream, another vine snakes across – but Oswald fends it off with an armored elbow. Edgar fingers a pellet of sulfur and pitch, and a red bead blossoms into a FIREBALL on the opposite side of the tree from Oswald! The tree [which does fail its Refl] is mortally damaged, the vines slacken.

Round 2: Belmont runs and cuts at the second vine, part-severing it [crit]. Still below water, Barky feels the vines loosen, but unwisely tries to get footing – it is much deeper than he expected and nothing is achieved! Thomas Prays. Oswald holds action. The vine whips at Belmont, the paladin shrugs its thrust off. Oswald strikes at the vine but misses. Edgar strongly Suggests that the vine needs to rescue its friend Barky – but the plant is immune to such enchantment.

Round 3: Belmont calls for Oswald’s halberd – he tosses it over without question – and Belmont extends its shaft down into the stream. Barky grabs it and pulls his head out above water. Thomas passes Edgar and Oswald, and joins Belmont. Oswald draws his short-sword and fight defensively, cutting the vine again. Belmont again fends the vine off. Cursing the tree Edgar hurls three magical bolts into it – and it writhes in its death-throes!

“Now let’s retreat!” – Thomas

“No, let’s loot properly” – Edgar

Saws are fetched to get rid of the vines that trap the body. The body – an orc – surrenders a nicely preserved long spear, chain byrnie, and shield, a pot-helm and short-sword, and a purse with some 50gp worth of various currency. Belmont ensures Barky is free of disease, and the gear is scrubbed off and bundled into the wagon – except for the coin, which is shared around. Edgar, admitting he is wildly optimistic, runs a Detect Magic over the pile, and Belmont Detects Evil [neither pings, naturally]. They reminisce about the strangler vine that was one of their first encounters.

Eventually, Thomas heals Barky, at end of day, while Belmont gets to know Dobbin better and camp is being set up.

The wet gear, both Barky’s and loot, is rehabilitated.

 

Greedy Ettins, meet adventurers!

It is the following day when Arward scents smoke, scouts, and reports that there’s a problem ahead. Here, there’s a shallow river that snakes three times across the east-west trail, near a kop of jutting stone. A dell downstream of the crossing holds three Ettins – that he saw – roasting an owlbear.

There’s quite some discussion about how best to proceed! But holding for an extra night is not an option – the Ettins might roam at night.

Strategy:

  1. Most of the party moves, on foot, across the fords and gathers to the east of the last ford. They bear gear sufficient to take to the trail afoot if need be. Belmont remains mounted.
  2. Gussie leads mounts, and Hodd drives, across the fords. Gear is tied down so as not to jingle and rattle much, and the valuables are on the horses. The party stands ready to hold off Ettins.
  3. As Ettins attack, a fighting withdrawal is conducted.

What actually happens:

Parts 1 and 2 are carried out in good order. An Ettin hears the wagon and shows itself through the trees downstream!

Surprise round: Thomas casts DOOM but the Ettin ignores that [first of many great SV rolls by the GM]. Oswald, Arward and Barky loose bolts or arrows and succeed in hitting the mighty creature, annoying it and producing a bellow of rage!

Initiatives:

  • Barky
  • Ettin 1
  • Thomas/Oswald/Ettins 2 and 3
  • Belmont
  • Ettin 4
  • Edgar

Round 1: Barky hits again, and as planned, moves left up the trail some paces away from the ford. The Ettin stomps upstream, and hurls a crude but enormous javelin at Belmont, missing. Arward hits again and scuttles left to where Hodd is driving the wagon away. Thomas Blesses the party but does not move away. Oswald looses his light crossbow – a good strike – drops it and switches to halberd. Belmont looses his short bow, scabbards it and unholsters his lance. Edgar (Truestrike applied) hits for max damage! He drops the crossbow, stepping left and shaking loose his 75′ of rope.

Round 2: Barky hits again, slings his composite bow carefully, and draws his greatsword. The Ettin stomps a few paces more and hurls again – striking Belmont – and two more Ettins appear through the trees. Thomas calls on St Cuthbert, and a Spiritual Weapon mace appears over an Ettin head – but the blow does not connect. Oswald holds. Belmont trusts to Dobbin and launches the mighty steed into a charge! In a splendid sheet of spray the river is passed over and the lance strikes – but the Ettin’s forearm knocks it aside. Edgar uses Mage Hand to carry one end of his rope up to a good tether-point, high above him. He’s by now about 30′ uptrail from the ford. Arward, Gussie and the wagon are well clear.

Round 3: Barky rages and charges, fording easily. The Ettin slams a club at him but the southron sidesteps – but his own attack is mis-timed. The Ettin smashes a morningstar at Barky, hitting! Thomas’s spiritual mace misses again; he and Oswald move around so that they can attack across the ford next round, but hold actions. The two new Ettins move confidently closer! A they hit the right range, Thomas drops Prayer on the whole group, barring Edgar who is well clear. Belmont lunges his lance into the Ettin, draws his sword, and urges Dobbin around. Edgar tosses a small amount of mica into the air, and Glitterdust mantles the fighting Ettin’s shoulders. Both heads shrug the blinding effect off.

[Note: this fight is remixed from the original sequence. In round 3 Thomas held, and in round 4 he took two rounds’ worth of actions.]

Round 4: Barky, keen to pull back, sweeps his greatsword around again but the blade is parried off, and the Ettin slams him again – hard – as he gets clear. The Ettin moves after Barky, taking a hideous cut from Oswald’s halberd and a solid mace-hit from Thomas – and falls dead! The next two Ettins choose not to hurl anything; Thomas’ mace moves to a new target, missing. Oswald holds next to Thomas; one Ettin navigates the stream easily and attacks Belmont and Oswald, hitting Belmont. Thomas now steps into the lead Ettin, planting a Bestow Curse of -4 to just about everything except damage! Belmont guides Dobbin around the party and behind the lead Ettin, providing flanking. He’s within AoO of both! Belmont is promptly hit – but not critted thanks to his great armor – and reels in the saddle. Blood running from his mouth, he hammers his sword into the lead Ettin. Edgar flicks a bogey of molasses out and casts Slow. Both Ettins are Slowed!

Round 5: Barky charges back in, leaping past the slowed defenses and cutting deep. Thomas’ mace finally hits, for max damage. He pumps Bull’s Strength into Oswald. Oswald uses it well, hammering a deep cut into the Ettin. The second Ettin moves slowly around the fray, over the ford and up the bank. A fourth Ettin shows itself downstream! Belmont goes full defensive and heals. Edgar happens to have another Glitterdust ready and the Ettin at the ford is half-blinded.

Round 6: Barky cuts deep into the Ettin he’s engaged with. Thomas attempts to Cause Fear on it, but it is not scared. Oswald’s halberd fells it anyway!  The slowed, half-blinded Ettin swings ponderously and misses. Belmont guides Dobbin around ready to attack again, and casts Bless Weapon. The reserve – fourth- Ettin strides rapidly to close: Edgar drops Fireball on the non-party side of him. It takes full effect and the heads bellow in pain!

Round 7: Barky moves directly to the slowed Ettin, scoring a good hit. Thomas pumps Endurance into Barky – alllowing his rage to be prolonged – and moves clear. Oswald cuts with his halberd and Belmont sweeps his Blessed sword across, cutting its flank. The scorched Ettin piles in, chopping Oswald but missing Thomas. Edgar calls arcane power to his fist and sends a barrage of three magic bolts into the weakening slowed Ettin.

Round 8: Barky cuts, his long blade eviscerating the slowed Ettin, which stumbles to its knees. Thomas moves back so that he can support both Barky and Oswald against the reserve Ettin and casts Protection from Chaos. His Prayer effect ends. Oswald turns to face his new antagonist and his halberd sinks home. Belmont again guides Dobbin around to get flanking and calls on Hieroneous to Smite Evil! The Ettin howls in agony! And strikes at Barky and Belmont, hitting Belmont! Edgar Animates his prepared rope, causing it to tangle the Ettin’s pair of heads, part-blinding it and anchoring it to the tree near Edgar.

Round 9: Barky races in and hammers a good cut into the Ettin. Oswald continues plying his halberd and Thomas wields his mace – and the Ettin falls!

“Cut rope – let’s go!” – Barky

“No! We have looting to do!” – Edgar

 

And soon…

Edgar rounds up Arward and the wagon and mounts, and a short-term halt occurs while the dell is ransacked and the unevenly-roasted owlbear carved into edible portions.

Belmont recovers his lance, intact.

“Another successful rolling retreat…” – Belmont

 

Loot that can be conveniently re-sold or used:

  1. Purse of coins
  2. Bag with scrolls
  3. Gold-detailed marble statue, 3′; tall, probably an elven deity

There are also remains, human remains – mostly bonier bits such as feet and hands.

With ceremony appropriate to wayfarers, the remains are buried after distinguishing marks are noted. River sand is used to scrub the boots or gloves out, so those join the re-saleable loot.

Bounty is considered, but Arward advises there is none. So, no bits of Ettin are harvested. Edgar takes a souvenir couple of Owlbear feathers.

Lastly before leaving the halt-point, the drays are used to haul Ettins out of the watercourse. Then having eaten of roast Owlbear, the party readies, the team is hitched again, and the journey to Midpoint Stockade resumes!

xp for the session is 2100, the adventurers will be able to move to L6 at the next safe rest.

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