SC8.02: New faces to share the trail

The level 8 Rusted Silvers for this session

In party order

Richlen Ilinieros, high elf paladin/Oath of Glory, wielding Alagondar the longsword and riding Beans;
Vernon von Longsington, human wizard/Conjurer, wielding spells and riding Sin;
Garth Ironhewn, mountain dwarf fighter/Battle Master, wielding the Ungart Hammer and riding Dornar;
Dakeyras, wood elf rogue/Assassin, wielding the longbow Whisper and riding Nameless;

and joined by

Udag Ko’otoa, half orc ranger/Beast Master, wielding a longbow +1 and accompanied by Kio the half-dire-wolf; and
Roscoe Ravenseed, halfling rogue/Arcane Trickster, wielding a Vicious dagger and riding Star

ably accompanied by Taba Norley, half-sea-elf ranger/Hunter, riding Morlok; and Privates Jessup and Moxley

The Rusted Silvers confirm their moniker, begin 155xp below level 9, and end on 140

Justice must be seen to be done – exit Velleen

There are a number of loose ends to tidy up before the Rusted Silvers step back into the saddle and leave West Harbor:

  1. The Map: Garth makes a really good Cartography check, placing Rega’s sketch south of the Sword Mts and into the Kryptgarden Forest. The only thing that stands out that he can’t account for among notes on Ularan Mortus and undead, is the underlined word “HEX.” He shares his findings with the party.
  2. The diamond: party loot, handy if someone needs rezzing.
  3. The Black Pearl: party loot, could be useful for breathing and speaking underwater.
  4. Good/Fine quality weapons: sold to fund the next stage of accommodation.
  5. Velleen Firecrow: Garth and Rich make a poor fist of bullying the powerfully-built cultist. Vern steps up to try his hand and earns mockery. What Velleen does volunteer is that “word is out” for the Talos Cult to get the Silvers [sic]. And she’ll curse his (Vern’s) name and give it to the hag of the sea, and he’ll wish he’d never… After some thoughts on dropping Velleen up to the old dwarven fortress to see if the knightly order there is willing to see justice done, Rich executes her. (Garth absents himself, a dissenter to this verdict.)
  6. Murcomb: the burly ranger approaches Rich, apology writ large on his face. He has discovered that herding goats pays enough to recoup everything he lost on the Talos Cult, and more. But in case Rich thinks he is shirking his debt, he has a buddy that he traveled the last leagues with, who is far more proficient a ranger.

Meet Udag and Kio

Just before this, Murcomb has been explaining the exact same thing to half-orc ranger Udag, only adding that the Rusted Silvers are famed adventurers and bound north. If Udag is interested…?

Murcomb makes the introductions along these lines and the Rusted Silvers see an exceptionally-powerful olive-skinned male half-orc, with distinctive dreadlocks woven with many unique beads, and accompanied by an enormous wolf-like creature.

Kio the half dire wolf smells a wonderful smell! He makes straight for Garth and hangs about him. Meanwhile Udag shakes hands with Rich, awkwardly, and is embraced by the tall high elf. Pats him on the back, still awkwardly.

Basically Haldir x Aragorn, with reverse emotions

Privates Jessup and Moxley are ready to go, hoping that they can keep stirrup-sharing for most of the way. Udag is well pleased to be on the High Road with these famed adventurers; assures them he won’t have a problem keeping up.

“So many people! They aren’t getting a share of the loot dammit!” – Garth

XP: lvl9-152, good rp all round

Old friends, a new acquaintance, and an obvious villain

In the clear afternoon Thornhold, or Stoneshaft Fortress, stands up against the coast. As the Rusted Silvers move out (ahead of a large confused herd of goats) they can see a small trade caravan, mostly afoot, circling down from it and about to join the same High Road.

There’s a holler and a whoop and Dove races up, waving her bow enthusiastically: leaps into Rich’s arms and gives him a big hug. (Then a pity hug for Vern and Dak and a nod at a distance from Garth.) Sure enough she and Rage are senior guards now, commanding a high price for their services. They are bound for Neverwinter in the last caravan of the year, with a side-visit to Phandalin. Rage nods, or rolls his eyes slightly, according to what Dove prattles on about.

“Greetings, so pleasant to meet esteemed travelers such as yourselves,” purrs the merchant paying for the services. He gives a name, which sounds like “Shimeen” but in a heavy accent, the same accent as Halia Thornton has.

“Villainous? Moi?”

Then the Rusted Silvers meet:

  • Khali the gnome, known to most as Khali Flirtypants, bound from Waterdeep to Gnomengarde on a mission involving an important invention; and
  • Dain Frostbeard, worried about a young halfling bard named Silla who should have been in Waterdeep by now

“She must be broken if she flirts with Garth” – Rich

There’s some general scouting of the idea that the Silvers join forces for the great safety of Shimeen and cargo… Udag [making a nat20 on Nature] has a quiet word in Rich’s ear:

“This fine weather can’t last – there’s going to be a big storm in a day or less.”

Party Vote: push on using forced march rules, get to Leilon before the storm makes the High Road impassable.

Taba, though he’d go with the majority anyway, is relieved: quite aside from the Thunder Cliffs mission, someone needs to tell his mother’s kin about the whole Koalinth-Sahuagin situation!

“We haven’t rested have we ?” – Rich

“When do we ever rest before going on along dangerous journey” – Vern

“Have I ever told you about the time I marched for three days straight?” – Garth

XP: lvl9-149, this was a good decision based on a fine check

A Lovers Knot and a warning

While not fresh, the horses merely traveled from the Weeping Willow Inn to West Harbor this day, before a good bait and rest there. This is about to pay off. Though the pace is slow, they forge steadily north, with sun hard on the left and barren foothills standing up stark against the dying light.

Garth rides near Dak at the rear, except for times when he is inspired and recalls embarrassing details about Rich:

“Ooo! I have another story! Have I ever told you about the time I saved Richlen… TWICE!…. with one hand… while fighting an archer with my other hand?” – Garth

“Ilmater spare my dignity” – Rich

In mid-column, Vern guides Sin across to Morlok and its rider, Taba:

“That story Velleen was spouting… I’m not scared or anything, haha… do you recognize the term she used, ‘hag of the sea’?”

“It rings a bell… the story I heard is that she haunts an old dwarf mine right on the coast. Yes, not far north of Saltmarsh… I think there’s a mining business in the town, run by Eli someone, or he’s the foreman, he would know…” – Taba [getting 19 on History]

Dak is riding at rear, chatting to Garth every so often, but keeping a sure eye on the back-trail. An arrow slots down at a steep angle, just less than 100 feet behind. It has something bright attached to its shaft.

Garth swings down from Dornar, covering his comrade as Dak investigates (with many a wary look about): deep scrub covers the upland slopes to east, and an army of orcs could hide in there.

A mountain daisy has been tied around the longbow arrow in a lovers knot. And come to think of it that arrow is from Lok’s quiver. Dak signals to stay put, as he carefully eases into the brush, making for the arrow’s point of origin. It is Lok!

The orc ranger looks fondly down at Dak, running a finger along his jaw to remind herself of his fine features. “Lok glad see pretty elf Dak,” she says redundantly. She and a squad of orcs are doing a guard job, minding two gnomes heading south to find another gnome. Would Dak like to meet them?

Fibblestib and Dabbledob are on the trail of some wonderful new invention, and (rather like Dain Frostbeard) have become worried that their contact out of Waterdeep has been delayed. Dak reassures them as regards to Khali. They barely recall him, but he bears no grudge.

Last, before she gives Dak a powerful hug farewell, Lok sketches out a rough map. She says that lord Akaros says there – dragon cult something something (she struggles with the abstracts and Dak fails his Insight). Garth studies it. It clicks: this is the exact same place Rega sketched out! The pair relay this news to the others, and push on into the night, and into rising storm rains…

XP: lvl9-147

Meanwhile: the path to Leilon repris

Roscoe Ravenseed, halfling and world citizen, makes his way up the Long Road out of Waterdeep, in company with his excellent miniature pony, Star. As he stops over in little towns like Red Larch and Triboar, he hears two intriguing yarns. One concerns the Dale Gang, halfling brigands. It sounds as though money is to be had for gang members! A more recent yarn, that grows the further north he goes, is of the Silvers, new famed adventurers.

Taking the Triboar Trail towards the High Road, Roscoe hears the real story from Merrydew, hostage-turned-chef at Big Al’s ranch. The Dale Gang terrorized the area for a couple months, then the Silvers slaughtered them, freeing Merrydew. They are no loss, and – she warns – have soiled the good name of halfling in Phandalin.

Roscoe becomes convinced of this latter fact when he is more or less run out of Phandalin. Down to his last hundred or so silver coin, he swings south. It’s at the Wayside Inn, a day’s halfling-pace from Leilon, that his luck improves. He takes pity on a young would-be bard named Silla, who has no transport but needs to head south. The Silvers were here not long ago, but were heading south at pace and had no time for her.

Silla is quite the chatterbox in company with a fellow halfling, and by listening, Roscoe confirms that the Wayside Inn has some sketchy staff, especially Brakes the barkeep. Her horror story of undead out of the mere, and first-hand impressions of the Silvers, are very useful lore for Roscoe. By the time they arrive at Leilon, he has determined to join the illustrious roll of Silvers!

Taba goes on ahead

They all arrive tired enough to be well pleased with the first place they can find that doesn’t leak rain on them. Jessup and Moxley extend the hospitality of the barracks to them: it’s the bottom level of the wizard’s tower.

After a Short Rest, which relieves the forced-march Exhaustion, Taba makes his way over to Rich and Dak:

“I know the talk is of resting up, and heading to Saltmarsh after everyone has their full powers,” he states. “But I’m not that tired – I can push ahead and get out to my mother’s folk, off the coast, then be back to meet you, hopefully. And you may not know this,” – with a glance at the sleeping Garth – “I once swam 25 miles to warn my village of danger!”

He goes with their blessing and a gift of 20 gold to hire passage with.

XP: lvl9-146, bonus if this pans out the way the party hopes

Gallio Elibro’s Urgency

Once again, lacking the building, the town council of Grizzelda, Valdi, br Elias, Sgt Yorum and Gallio Elibro meet in the Fishers. Many townsfolk have excused themselves from their labors and, eager to see the town saviors, crowd in as well.

The basics of the journey are confirmed, the Silvers congratulated on bringing two soldiers back, and Valdi advises them to go on their course to Thunder Cliffs.

The Silvers gain Inspiration!

As the talk turns to the wider struggle between factions, Grizzelda asks all regular folk to leave.

Roscoe makes a fine Stealth check. He remains in hiding.

The tale of lizardfolk, koalinth, sahuagin, sea elves, dragon cultists, Talos smugglers, and finally death cultists using the dragon cult as their pawn, takes some time. The morning has worn away to afternoon by the time Gallio insists that the soldiers’ complaints about his tower be investigated and be put to rest.

The Silvers don’t mind – they don’t intend to set out again until the following dawn anyway, to allow the horses to regain condition – and repair to the barracks once more.

Garth Ironhewn takes a big swig of his drink. “So Udag, what brings you to this part of the world?”

Vernon Von Longsington takes a swig of his own ale “I don’t think he can hear you all the way down there Garth, speak up!”

Udag looks at the pair straight-faced: “My feet.”

They now become aware of a halfling, red-headed, mischief-eyed. His clothes are dark or black, and he wears a long dandy’s rapier dragging from his belt: but a more businesslike dagger or two in easy reach.

“Gents… I could not help overhear from where I was snooping in the hall, that you plan to investigate the tower known as Thalivar’s.”

XP: lvl9-142

Flashback: Alone against the Scaffolding

Roscoe has not let the town grass grow under his feet! Sneaking out of the Lathander chapel where many folk have taken shelter from the storm, he clambers the scaffolding up Thalivar’s tower to the fourth floor. His ears have caught the chatter about ghosts and Gallio, and a debt owed by a wizard is worth plenty to an ambitious trickster! This mission should prove that he is worth his weight in burglary! Or something…

Roscoe braves the leap: from the broken fourth floor there’s a ladderway down. He makes it. Guards or workmen (they are one and the same, mostly) are unaware that he is a floor above them. He crawls through a makeshift stone embrasure, into a wizardly bedchamber…

Welcome to the Silvers!

“What makes you say, you know your way around the tower?”

“I thought you would ask that. It so happens I climbed in earlier, and came away with this…”

From under his leathern doublet Roscoe produces a heavy journal or diary. Vern takes it, and, despite knowing better, opens it for a quick look through.

Meanwhile Garth looks coldly down on Roscoe:

“I suppose you need a share of the reward too?”

“Oh no, the money means little to me, the favor of a wizard is what I want… you see I’m learning spellcraft too.”

“I like him! Get this man a drink!” – Garth

Roscoe gains Inspiration!

Then from where he is poring over the journal, Vern gasps:

“This… changes things!”

And the session ends.

XP: lvl9-140, Inspiration all round for next session

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