SC7.06: Sharp toothed diplomacy

The Rusted Silvers for this session

In order of height

Richlen, high elf paladin;
Vernon, human wizard;
Dakeyras, wood elf rogue;
Garth, mountain dwarf fighter

Ably assisted by Taba, half-sea-elf ranger NPC

The Rusted Silvers begin 15xp below level eight and end on LEVEL EIGHT!

The story so far

Bent on learning the fate of a missing patrol out of Leilon, the Rusted Silvers survive a mixed zombie-renegade ambush only to rush headlong into a main battle! More renegades under the leadership of Rega Swarn battle Lizardfolk assisted by the patrol, and a dragonborn, who are already attacked by more zombies! The Rusted Silvers throw in their hand with the Lizardfolk and are hailed as – potential – allies.

The undiplomat

It is deep night by the time the victors reach a Lizardfolk camp, well west of the High Road. The honored guests have a platter of delicious sushi set before them. Their mounts are tended outside of the main platform. Taba hangs towards the back, saying little. The two Leilon patrol survivors are nowhere to be seen.

Kristoffen speaks Draconic and – in the manner of a rough sea-captain – common. He acts as interpreter between the Rusted Silvers and sub-chief Kethen’kosa, a cute, dark-scaled lizardfolk.

Kristoffen explains that to the Lizardfolk, strength trumps all, and they bear no grudge against the Rusted Silvers for killing the tribe’s berserkers. They could become allies. Then he accidentally blurts out that he is here to supervise these reluctant Talos allies on behalf of the cult!

“The trust is gone…” – Vern

Since he has put his foot in it anyway, Kristoffen expands on the benefits of joining:

“Shiver me timbers! I be old enough to remember the bad times, times when that foul draggin cult was for takin’ over the Mere. They wuship Ebondeath, the dracolich as wot’s lost summ’ere about these marshes.

“Aye! I seen that there floatin’ dark elf, a-lookin’, an’ a-buildin’ up follyers an’ lookin’ fer sum draggin or uther roun’ these parts ta put Ebondeath inta, an’ I sez to mesel’, Kris, ya gots ter getcha sum halp. Now this’ere god Talos, he’s plenty strong! Sure, he don’t like you lubbers, but main thing is, he’s a-gonna sweep the Mere clear of undead! Once Ebondeath’s bones is down in Talos’ locker, they ain’t gonna trouble us no more!

“Won’tcha join us? Talos’ll give ye a free pass so as not ta drown!”

The enemy of my enemy

Kethen’kosa – who speaks rudimentary Common but has been holding out in hopes of learning more – eventually reveals the greater part of why her tribe invaded Leilon. Her queen (whom she does not name) is attempting to build a coast-wide alliance to deal with a large colony of Sahuagin. The price for gaining Talos’ aid was providing sacrifices. Since the queen had already decided against trying to involve pure air-breathers, that was a step she was willing to take.

But of course, the Rusted Silvers are strong! And as Kristoffen explained, that makes all the difference.

“We don’t mind helping,” Rich says, glancing around. “Yep, I’m down with helping against the Sahuagin,” Vern agrees, and Garth votes yes as well.

XP: lvl8-10, the Rusted Silvers now have enough information to account for the attack on Leilon. A further bonus of 5xp becomes available for shifting the alliance to exclude Talos

A test and a hostage swap


Well and good. But Kethen’kosa has a test for them. Kristoffen takes over once more, to explain the nuances.

“Thes’ere Lizardfolk are so backward they – HAHAHAHA – wuship cocordils, eh, crocedials, ah, crocs. Trubble is, one of em varmints gots’im a taste fer Lizardfolk, an they can’t up an’ kill it cos of they primmitif superstishuns. So they needs ya ter do it fer ’em.

“An so yuz don’t just wander orf, theyz gonna keep that little elf a hostudge.”

Taba sighs. “They have a point… I am a bounty-hunter, of sorts, and sometimes I hunt Lizardfolk.”

Garth scowls:

“Well what’s our end? Who’s going to stand surety for our guide?”

“Why that’d be me matey,” Kristoffen says brightly, and it takes some seconds before he realizes he’s signed up to an expedition out to Old Thousand-teeth’s lair.

It is too late in the night to be setting out, so all present take a

Long Rest

Old Thousand-teeth

Two small-built, stealthy lizardfolk acts as guides, piloting the expedition expertly through swamp dangers. They reach a well-marked trail, drained well enough by the adjacent Dunwater to be called dry. A brisk wind was scraped any remaining fog away, and scuds the water opaque.

As the lead guide indicates a deep pool in a river bend, Dak waves to hold the others back. He points to a lump of foliage. On closer examination, it mostly snake!

“Let me handle this!” Kristoffen brags. He paces forward and delivers a cone of ice breath over the bush: the giant constrictor snakes avoids it and attacks, beginning to wrap the mighty dragonborn in coils!

“Well we all heard him, let’s just watch” – Dak

“I’ll Firebolt us some popcorn” – Vern

Dak leaps back as a second snake, just as large as the first, swims towards them! Combat becomes general!

Inits: Garth, Snakes, Rich, Dak, Vern, Old Thousand-teeth

Somewhat begrudgingly Rich splashes through the nearest part of the deep pool, to slash at the coils around Kris. Garth joins in. The snake’s coils are tough, and it is only partly harmed despite their prowess! A Firebolt from Vern blazes off and sparks snap hissing into the pool… unseen by all a v-shape moves towards Rich.

Dak looks round: he and the guides have driven off the first snake.

“Let me show you how it’s done,” he says, sending a shaft into the snake.

Thousand-teeth chomps Rich’s butt, and the Rusted Silvers become aware the giant croc has joined!

Garth wades in deep, hammering at the croc, which is even tougher than the snake. “Dak!” he yells, using his Commander’s Strike: Dak’s shot bounces high off the heavy croc hide.

“Sorry!” – Dak

“I’m doubting my whole maneuver model!” – Garth

Dak and Vern send a better-directed shots in. A mighty tail sweeps: but, thanks to Rich’s aura, Thousand-teeth is unable to knock Garth off his feet.

With a few more strokes the croc is dead.

Victory!

XP: lvl8-8

Loot: nil, no-one went diving nor cut Thousand-tooth’s belly open

Private Jessup’s account

Private Jessup proves that Sgt Yorum was right to have faith in him. When the wagon was ambushed, the driver and dray-horse killed, Jessup immediately ordered a surrender!

The Lizardfolk seemed intent on he and the other three becoming sacrifices but then gave them the coice between that and helping against undead. Jessup is grateful that they weren’t just shoved out front as bait.

“I’ve lost two – and I don’t dare try to walk back to Leilon on our own – so we will serve you until you bring us safe there.”

Loot: Kethen’kosa awards the party one potion, saying it is “wondrous, great”

All Rusted Silvers gain Inspiration for recovering the patrol survivors

Iniarv’s Tower

With the allies agreeing to meet out by the coast, the next chore for the Rusted Silvers is clearing Rega’s gang out of Iniarv’s Tower. Rich is still tender about the buttocks so before they begin the walk north, it’s time for a

Short Rest: Rich rolls 2HD and is fine

The ruin still stands tall above an escarpment. That can be reached afoot and unseen, through the sandstone badlands. So while Jessup and Moxley (the other survivor) mind the horses and packs, the Rusted Silvers and Taba creep up from below. It is fairly late in the day by the time they are there.

From just below the scarp, Dak can hear sounds of an argument carrying faintly on the balmy warm breeze. He signals Rich, and hunkers down among stiff-leaved succulents. Rich eases higher and makes out perhaps three voices?

Rich clambers up, followed by Vern, then Dak and Taba, with Garth coming last as rearguard. Still no alarm. There must be no watch. Rich signals for a quick strike and walks up the keep mound. Dak and Taba swiftly jog the other way to check for other patrols or entry points.

We need prisoners! Any volunteers?

Inits: Rich, Vern, Dak, Garth, Taba, renegades

Rich can get an idea of the ward through a crack in the gates, but Dak has found a breach nearby. Rich leaps easily over the inadequate dry moat and kicks a makeshift barricade in.

About a half-dozen or so renegades swing from their argument, to goggle at the intruder. From what he overheard at the gatehouse, Rich knows that the archers want to leave, but the heavy-armed noncom class are more worried about their gear and what the dark elf will do if they desert.

Vern leaps across, scrambles in beside Rich, hurls Ice Storm, and sidles out of Dak’s line of fire. Contrary to its first use, Ice Storm slays two archers outright and another pair are hard hit, as is one veteran.

Ice Storm is quite swingy at base level, a decent dice roll (per this time) makes a big difference

DM

Dak takes an aimed shot, and the nearest veteran to Rich staggers, clutching his shoulder. Garth uses his Belt to make quick work of the ditch, scouting right in and around to cover Vern. Taba shifts over to mimic Dak, slamming two more arrows into the same target: the man nearly falls.

The surviving two archers run for cover, while the veterans line up, in shield-wall.

Rich uses Guiding Bolt to drop the archer trying to get away up steps, Vern races around and over a fallen foe to get the perfect target for Lightning Bolt, and slays the heavily wounded vet, and the veteran worst-hit by Ice Storm. That leaves two in fair fighting trim. Dak makes an easy jump of the ditch (it really is inadequate) and crosses into the ward, seeking targets. He takes the Ready action for when a front-ranker gets into melee. Garth obliges! Randomly singling out an opponent, he charges and smashes with the Ungart Hammer – to no avail. He chooses not to burn any of the Hammer’s charges. Dak sends an arrow in, but it rebounds off a shield-boss. The remaining vet races around to pincer Garth: the pair lay on with a will, and one slash manages to get past Garth’s awesome defenses.

Rich charges and now the flanker is flanked: but Alagondar still only gets through once. Vern rushes in to finish the job! <BOING> his staff rebounds harmlessly.

“Are we finishing them, or taking prisoners?” Taba

“I think two is better than one, what do you say Rich? Different rooms, different stories?” – Dak

Garth and Rich knock one unconscious and the last man surrenders.

“Good news…” Rich begins menacingly. “I have Zone of Truth, so you gents get to sit at opposite ends of the ward while you tell us what your story is and where Rega is.”

XP: lvl8-5

Loot: 1000 gold coin in various denominations (32lb weight) and about 600lb of armor, shields, swords and other semi-saleable gear

Backstory

It was about a year ago. The year was waning, seas were rougher. The Chimera was operating out of Thunder Cliffs, down by Saltmarsh. Times were getting tough, with two big ships out of Port Llast cutting in. A tall handsome dark-skinned elf, who can float whenever he wants, came to talk to Rega. His name [one of them learned] is Ularan Mortus.

Ularan offered Rega a shore based job: minding zombies up in this tower. They are needed for some big show or other, later on. [One of them thinks, something to do with a green dragon in the forest.] It was easy work aside from the mud and smell, and pickings from the road can be sold to West Harbor or the Weeping Willow, no questions asked. Then just the other day, the zombies busted loose. When two of the upper deck crew didn’t return, then the archers, bosun, and Rega and Ashbreath, all fell foul of you Silvers, it was time to rethink.

Rega told us we couldn’t leave, because of Ularan Mortus and what he would do. Then she dug up her hidden cache of loot and left last night. The archers wanted to strike their mains’l but we were for holding out.

XP: 5xp fall due when this vital information is delivered to a higher authority. The higher authorities include Lord Neverember, the Lords Alliance,

Road options

Somewhat to Taba’s surprise Rich lets the two noncoms go. The pair head inland. Then all present gather up loot that is worth lugging back down, and clamber down to rejoin Jessup and Moxley and the mounts.

With only four mounted and three afoot, the best pace will be ride-and-stirrup. Rich asks Taba:

“What do you know about West Harbor?”

“It’s a rough place, on the fringes of Waterdeep law. There are some good folk there, and some bad. It’s the kind of place that takes cargo no questions asked, if you catch my drift.”

“Leilon’s brief is to keep trade open with West Harbor, to promote law and prosperity,” Jessup adds.

“And how far are we talking? This inn – that’s pretty close?”

“Yes, a few hours by foot. Another few hours to West Harbor… if we walk all night we can make the town.”

“I think we’ve all learned not to rush,” Vern comments dryly. “So the Weeping Willow for a night’s rest is my vote.”

The Weeping Willow

If there are common road-agents or lurking monsters along the way, they know to avoid seven well-armed men. Taba leads the way off south along a marshy trail. It must only be passable to wagons in summer.

The inn fits the trail. Lizardfolk-style totems are well in evidence up on the lodgepole and at other points. The wooden building – stone at the foundations – seems well on its way to sinking.

Silas the innkeeper and sole staff gives them the side-eye as they stamp in, but begins drawing a draft. “Welcome to the Weeping Willow… you appear to be the adventurers known as the Silvers… room for the night?” he asks in a level but somehow sinister tone.

Vern slaps a fat gold coin down. “A drink of your finest!”

“And this will cover your company as well, sir,” Silas responds, introducing himself and getting some introductions. “It’s damp below, but you’ll find enough space for beasts all right. And those of you that don’t like a cramped room above-stair, you may use this room.” He gestures with his chin to the floorboards.

“Let’s not stint!” Vern cries, slapping down two more gold, “clear the lodger out, and we’ll take the whole upper!”

“It will be done,” Silas promises. He studies them. “One of you has been here before, have you not? The ranger in the cloak?”

The Rusted Silvers follow his glance, to Dak. “Not me,” he responds.

“You were summoning marsh creatures, and you serve the Emerald Alliance…”

“You have me confused with the previous owner.”

When Silas heads away, the Silvers look at one another. “Kind of creepy,” Rich mutters.

Thom with an aitch

The scoundrelly-looking merchant-trader so dislodged introduces himself after warming his hands by the inadequate fire. “Thom, with an aitch, at yer service. I sell only the finest potions and unguents, fetched at great peril.”

“Got any healing?”

“Why yes, I have two fine healing potions, brewed by the fair hand of Sister Garaele, of Phandalin. Sadly I must ask sixty gold coins to cover my expenses.”

Dak eyes the bottles Thom produces skeptically. The Shrine of Luck motif has been painted on adequately but not accurately. he makes a minute had-shake signal.

“Ah, I spent all my stack on drinks and beds here,” Vern lies.

“How about Vitality,” Thom urges the others, sliding a different-colored bottle out from his voluminous coat. “These will relieve all manner of conditions, a snip at 1200.”

If the ale was not so decent, Garth would be splurting it out! He manages to swallow.

“Thom,” Silas says from the bar, “if the gents aren’t buying, they’re not buying. Don’t be causing a bother.”

Thom slides the potions back away without protest and sits in a corner, rubbing his bony knees, and the paladin decides to strike while the iron is hot.

Zone of Truth!

Rega was here last night. That is why Silas knows the group’s name. She has sworn vengeance against them, for killing Ashbreath. But her main concern is to get away from someone she fears, and gain allies. She is headed for West Harbor!

XP: LEVEL EIGHT!

Next session: West Harbor! Stay tuned!

DM Notes

Most of the changes from published material are the result of dovetailing parts of the Saltmarsh AP into the Storm Lord’s Wrath AP, then commingling later bits as needed. Based on logic, I hope.

Example: If Leilon’s rebuild is a thing and sending out wagon or goats is a thing, then bandits are known. That’s not some later-level adventure, that’s an immediate problem. Then, if it’s an immediate problem, and the Mortus angle is active, and I need a large challenge for the lizardfolk, why not the undead in Iniarv’s tower? Then if a couple of veterans are chasing zombies, why wouldn’t most of the Chimera crew be doing the same? Rega isn’t much of a challenge away from the tower so she becomes the grist for the ongoing Sahuagin “Final Enemy” yarn.

Anyway apologies to those hoping to make use of the Actual Play to see how they could run their version, this is now hopelessly astray from the as-written work. But it feels right to me!

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