DGA5.06: Tidying up about town

The characters for this session

Cat Weasel, silver-tongued warlock;
Vir Onden, laconic ranger; and
Seck Rustrau, taciturn rogue

Caveat/disclaimer: in this episode I use the term “crusader” as the nearest equivalent familiar label for what the characters see in Mooregate. The campaign setting and depiction of behaviors is not intended to make any type of philosophical or moral comment on the crusaders of the medieval period of Earth’s history.

Respite

Constable Aleena is among those arriving on the scene of the battle, her protective gear thrown hastily over fine-quality night attire. Is she some kind of rich girl?! She takes in the general exhaustion of even the most mobile of the four Long Roaders, and offers them a place to sleep in the big house…

By which she means the manor house, up the same lane Vir took the previous day! The four sluice the mud off their bodies and roughly divide up tasks for the day and beyond. They are all keenly aware that Kellerin’s Rumble is a mere two evenings away.

Phoenix feels he’s the fittest (true) and able to do without sleep for at least the morning. He agrees to carry Karnet’s calling card over to the Priory and inform the Inquisition about the green dragon cultists; and to find the adventurers guild and hire some willing hands to help Vir gather ingredients from the tunnels and bring up the chest from the cellar. With a cheery wave he sets off.

Vir has decided not to explain his extended absence. He has received, from a druid named Oleanne, a mission to the south-west. But for now, explanations can wait until after the Rumble. He beds down with the others awaiting Phoenix’ return.

They move from the manor’s main barn (where they have scrubbed and soused their skin clean) to the manor house. It is quite grand. Ritter Eisenhimmel – Aleena’s father – manages this farm on behalf of the duke, and lives in the kind of state a lesser noble might expect. Beds have been readied and they sink into them for a well-deserved

Long rest: Vir has already used two slots to remove poisoned condition, so the existing level of exhaustion is all that needs removing. All hp regained.

The local law has a report to write

As they take a midday repast in the manor house’s kitchens, Aleena looks them up again, and covers off the report she’s writing, making it fairly clear that casting fae growth spells is borderline, at best.

She updates them on the hue and cry following the escaping cultists. To outward appearance, they escaped downriver. Cat and Seck find this highly unlikely. Aleena has also investigated the cultists’ presence and ambush. They extorted lodging from a poor farmer: his abode boasting a view of the widow’s cottage and Nightwall: and simply kept watch. Their mission was to seek a dragon egg. Cat, in return, reveals that a previous party has met its end below Nightwall.

Concluding, Aleena points them towards a guild wizard or more likely, the adventurers guild, to get treasure identified. And to use its good offices to give Phoenix advice on the law. Coasters are not well-liked, and magistrate Harburk is strict.

This officially ups the ante on Phoenix. He has lost the chance to make Grindol’s death a cheap, easily-dealt-with incident.

– GM

Delegating successfully

Phoenix rejoins them as the fair Aleena departs. With a casual air of success bordering on bragadoccio their comrade reports no problem at all. His confidence dims when Vir asks him for Karnet’s calling card again.

“Oh… did you want that back?”

“Yes I did want that back.”

“Oh well can’t think of everything…”

Phoenix is now able to take his turn at sleep, once Cat has “persuaded” him that the White Inn’s daughters can only mean trouble. Phoenix agrees to sleep in the barn, promising to catch up to them the same evening.

Long rest for Phoenix – his level of exhaustion is removed, all hp return

Vir’s tale

Guild dogsbodies Doug Bolt and Grigor Netheridge, and rookie Bert Angelman, are the favored retrievers Phoenix has brought. Apparently a “weird chesty girl” told him to take them. They immediately seek extra perks, but Vir swiftly concludes the 25 gold coin contract and waves the others farewell: the four head down immediately.

With the aid of a couple of 2d6 rolls I adjudicate success in an abstract fashion during the session. I leave the detail of what can be practically harvested for post-game.

GM

Vir finds that he really should have been briefed more about the weird beasties – he could have recruited an alchemist! So he has to compromise on what can be harvested. And the gigantic weird bugs’ armor is damn’ bulky! Then, he has some trouble with the last cavern (the rats are finding the freaky one-eye boss beastie tasty) and when they finally do get back to the cellar, the three with him have trouble getting the chest up. But at length – and taking most of the day – as much is done as is practical. Then to add expense to trouble, he has to spend three gold coins on bribes getting the harvest through, at the river gate.

Summary of harvest:
Each Ankheg – this is unfinished work owing to bulkiness – Mandible, 4gp, Trophy; and Large Chitin Fragments, 25gp, Trophy, Practical
Gibbering Mouther:  Teeth, 1gp, Trophy
Nothic: Claws, 5gp, Trophy; and Teeth, 1gp, Trophy 
It is not too late to recruit the city alchemist to harvest Ankheg glands, but probably too late for the Gibbering Mouther spit. The Nothic eye is unrecoverable now. A good deal more Ankheg carapace remains below

Seck’s tale

Seck has a short list of tasks. He’s to catch up with Hellri for a tete-a-tete to see if she has any kind of inside information about Kellerin’s mansion; follow up the long-delayed scribe report; check in with Koilev (whose tale of gathering herbs he trusts not) for remedies and potions; and deposit items back to the Ducal Crown.

Even in the usual queue for the river gate more of these soldier types are evident, and the presence of crusaders in Mooregate has wrought a change. Immediately left of the inner gate – near the armorers – there’s a broad splash of dried blood. The concourse bristles with heavily armed crusaders sitting at ease, and townsfolk are now keeping well clear of them. And dangling outside the Ducal Crown is a dark-clad corpse.

It is Kolm.

Seck has no desperate reason to deposit his pack, so simply walks on by, and turns south along a broad, well-ordered street to find the market and seek Hellri as first priority. His mud-caked clothing (the heavy stuff beaten off) draws glances.

In the market the fragrance of good cooking fills his nostrils. The wind is stiff today. There seem to be fewer womenfolk about, and more soldier types.

At length, having invested a silver coin getting directions from market brats, Seck approaches Hellri’s house, finds a cheerful, attractive, freckled redhead in the kitchen, and is directed to sit with a hot cup of tea and bun, waiting for Hellri.

The same big, solid-armed woman from the meeting enters at length: Seck explains somewhat inadequately, she seems to get the idea, but has little to no light to shed on the interior of Kellerin’s mansion. Someone she knows allows it could be a geas or wish.

As for the matter of bodyguards in the mansion, it remains unclear.

Cat’s tale

At this stage at least, Cat is the lone “inside man” on the Rumble leg, so needs to visit Lady Darrla’s, costumier to the great and good. He will be point man at the guild, particularly for identify costs; and has to arrange a locksmith for the warehouse, if Seck hasn’t already.

More importantly (from his point of view) he has to get back into his fine city clothes.

A subdued Romlut urges Cat upstairs away from the common room. Jhenna is still on her floor, accompanied now by a crone. She makes a brief account of poor Kolm’s fate, and explains that the sojourners refuse to pay their tariff because the inn harbored that so-called spy: girls have been abused as well.

Clad well again, Cat navigates back over to the warehouses and from the coffin-makers – where a parliament of rooks has convened to supervise the busy shop – across to the guild. He retraces his steps up the cramped stair to the fine-carved door, and in.

A generously-bosomed young woman regards him from her post at reception with a friendly eye. This is Elke Gartner: polite and respectful, independent-minded, likes a man with a sense of humor, off at seven. She registers and books Identify for the two rings and the hat, 25 gold coins apiece – guild rates so further items later won’t be a problem. During the conversation Cat learns the three ‘regular’ adventurers are on jobs, Rel is away supervising, and Helena is on an unexpected mission – but that is something for a more private conversation over a choice wine – she will choose the venue when Cat picks her up at seven.

Cat wisely takes the law-abiding east-well court, and by way of ogling some lovelies in the temple avenue, arrives in the market. Lady Darrla’s is just a little way away, very near the craft guild hall. It is quite crowded, perhaps half a dozen people waiting or pleading for faster delivery. Guild mage Lochren, twitchy eccentric, passes his card over with an offer of a job relating to the Rumble. Yes, another one!

Having bargained the heavenly creature dispensing Lady Darrla’s creations down to six gold coins, and arranged for a final fit and pick-up the next day, Cat heads across the market and meets Seck.

Sharing the load again

They update one another and ensure the right chore is being followed up by each. Grateful urchins run interference on some soldiery headed their way: it’s time to head their respective ways and catch up at the warehouse later.

Seck, still clad in mud with clothing patches, walks slowly up the safer streets. The scribe’s tatty work-notice catches his eye, and he goes to deliver wealth (2 gold coins) to Gas-scratcher in exchange for a nice report back to Stiglehold. And he recalls instructions passed back up, and relays them: have the letter sent by way of the guild here thanks!

Meanwhile, Cat sits down in Lochren’s comfy house (and notes that there is money in being a tame guild mage) and hears Lochren’s proposal. The mage asks him to plant a grapefruit-size purple crystal in Kellerin’s library. Justifying that with a cock-and-bull yarn about the crystal being accidentally stolen by an old adventuring buddy from his days with Krathe’s Reavers. 300 gold coins though, and (aside from the size of the crystal) it does seem a trivial task.

Since Lochren is a guild mage Cat asks him about Helena. It’s a sad tale. Her mentor, a wizard named Tauster, rebelled from the guild track, and retired (which is better than being burnt at the stake). He dwells in a tower to the south-west across the moors, keeping a low profile. Helena both resents him for quitting and craves his approval. She has been summoned to deliver supplies to him.

It is evening when the three comrades regather at the inn – in the private room – and update one another. Vir reports on the moderate success of his harvesting. (And the possibility of recruiting an alchemist for the fancy stuff.) The results need to be moved to a specialist, probably through the guild. Aside from the components, Vir has also recovered fragments of a large chitinous egg; and a note in an unknown language from the pocket of a zombie’s robe. The statue and the gauntlet also need to be fetched along to the guild for Identify. The remaining moneys are counted out – the original had been 471 worth of gold coin, mainly in copper and the bulk of the rest in silver. Two gems each – there is an assortment, but they are all much of a muchness in terms of value, and they are probably equivalent to the previous set of gems.

They lug the chest to their own warehouse, agree to just leave it in the first storage area, then head to the guild. The remaining two warehouse books, on Cat’s behalf, are with Vir and Seck. Seck and Vir are there to bring components and items to the guild, and Cat to pick up Elke.

Elke is dressed ready to go. She rings the night bell, assures newbie Bert he’ll be fine (he seems to think not) and heads down the narrow dark stair on Cat’s arm.

Vir explains the two different reasons they are there, and Bert fails to cope with the idea of registers. Wise-headed grizzled president Karl Kemp comes out to stabilize affairs, calm Bert, and supervise registering work for the morrow.

Bury her in common ground

Cat is up with the others, despite a later night. They grab breakfast amid rude stares and oafishness, and set out to sort out their warehouse in preparation for a sewer exploration.

Coming to meet them is halfling priest Kaleb, with a cheery wave and promise to make good.

“So, I’m burying the old girl,” he concludes. Then adds:

“O’ course, ye’d be doing me a favor, and yeselves as well, if’n ye spoke to th’ Dook’s physician. He has this all-over philosophy of everything, that says I shuddint be healin’ lepers. If he can relax th’ rules then Oskar’s beds will soon be open fer th’ poor city lepers.”

It seems the old woman’s coffin will be carried to a southern field where the common folk lie. They know no reason why that should not be. Kaleb departs to round up some pallbearers as the local locksmith is shown in by Seck. The artisan gets right to measuring.

A river burial

Given the stench permeating the warehouse, it’s time to open the chest and deal with whatever it is. They carry it down and out to the sun-drenched quay below their place. Bum-boaters paddle over – to their great risk, once Vir smashes the chest open and a swarm of undead claw-like hands scrabble out! The things are hastily kicked into the river.

And so it is time to scout the sewers! Or at least, prepare properly and prudently!

Alyn the herbalist

Seck passes on his doubts about Koilev’s strict veracity as he confidently leads the way to the herbalist’s shop. Then checks: in place of squint-eyed Koilev, there stands an attractive, well-built woman.

Given her similarity to her sister, it’s no surprise to learn that this is Alyn, sister to Jhenna and wife to Koilev. She has much the same smiling manner and readiness to laugh as Jhenna: just a riper, fuller face and figure.

And as they begin reckoning budget against the potions in stock, the session ends.

I am using @Inconnunom’s sane magical prices for potion base prices, and setting Koilev/Alyn’s in-store price at 80% of base as long as it is a herb-based potion

GM

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