The level 8 Rusted Silvers for this session
Roscoe Ravenseed, lightfoot halfling rogue/Arcane Trickster;
Dakeyras, wood elf rogue/Assassin;
Garth Ironhewn, mountain dwarf fighter/Battle Master;
Vernon von Longsington, human wizard/School of Conjuration
Randomly assisted by Richlen Ilineiros, high elf paladin/Oath of Glory, NPC this session
The Rusted Silvers begin 130xp below level 9 and end on 110
Part one – Taking Stock
- Lord Neverember commissions the Silvers to investigate privateers operating off the coast here: they may be bearing letters of marque from Port Last or Illusk. The Silvers are following a strong lead that may or may not tie Talos Cultists to privateers, operating out of Thunder Cliffs just north of Saltmarsh. The plan is to travel to Saltmarsh where their guide Taba knows the town, and hire a sea-captain and ship.
- Taba travels ahead of the party, for among other things they need to tell their mother’s kin among the sea elves about the grand alliance among evil aquatics, fomented by Talos’ agents.
- As the Silvers finish securing possessed senior wizard Gallio Elibro, they learn that a Talos-style storm has surrounded the Wayside Inn and that Taba may be in grave danger.
- A couple of days before this, the Silvers make the acquaintance of a dwarf bard named Dain. Dain is traveling north, concerned to find a young halfling trainee bard named Silla. Silla has come to Leilon in company with Roscoe, who has since joined the Silvers. She met Roscoe at the Wayside Inn and seemed very eager to get away.
Vern has just been reminded that Aubrey, an old-fashioned genteel sort, may have some useful gear for the journey. He passes this on to the others.
At the same time Roscoe has been buttonholed by Silla. He hasn’t seen her since he began advancing his career here. She has some information for him – or a quest, really.
“I’ll organize the mounts,” Rich informs them when the others decide to all go to the shop. Then to Roscoe: “Is your toy horse coming too?”
“He goes where I go,” Roscoe replies unsmilingly.
The town is tiny and the four are there in under a minute. The store is typical of the town buildings but in better preservation. Small frosted glass panes in the door are still intact. They head in.
“Aubrey is what – a wizard or alchemist?” – Roscoe, gazing about.
The shop is packed with all kinds of odds and ends and bric-a-brac. Pride of place on the counter itself goes to a well-framed picture of adventurers.
“That’s interesting,” Vern compliments Aubrey, “who are they?”
Aubrey fills in the story of the Swords of Leilon, heroes of the original town. One phrase, “partially saved” strikes Vern as odd, and he says as much.
Aubrey beckons the others over with their finds. Roscoe has a scroll, Dak has three potions. Garth is still nosing about in hopes of a magic shield.
“Well, partially of course – as you can see the town was ruined.”
“I recall that Thalivar is the wizard that meddled with other planes of existence – I suppose, if they were in the tower at the time, they may have been transported to somewhere else.”
Aubrey laughs gently: “A pleasant notion, and does you credit! Nothing so auspicious, I’m sure – I dare say their bones will be found under the rubble some day.”
“I want to give you all the money,” Vern blurts, rolling a 9 on Arcana and a 4 on Persuasion.
“I’m sure whatever you feel you ought to pay, you will pay,” Aubrey returns pleasantly. “Though may I ask that you pay in gems, if possible?”
Dak piles up a pyramid of gems. Garth goggles. “I didn’t spend my money on Adamantine Armor,” Dak explains, “and I wanted to travel light.”
Sadly the scroll proves to be druid-only. Aubrey suggests, since they travel with a paladin, he exchange it for a scroll of Greater Restoration. Vern is happy with this!
We are five
Richlen has enlisted the help of local soldiery and grooms, and has all the mounts ready. But there’s no sign of a huge dog, nor a braided half-orc.
“Udag apologizes, he’s headed back south. I think he’s feeling guilty for leaving that other ranger, Murcomb, alone with lots of giant goats.”
“Ah well, can’t say I was relishing having a monster dog that could bite my head off in the group,” Roscoe says cheerily.
“I didn’t mind, he seemed to like me,” Garth remarks.
“What say you Dakeyras, we can move ahead and check the road?” Roscoe continues.
“Yes, I’ll be an easy bowshot behind you.”
“That wasn’t quite what I had in mind, but oh well… on Star! We ride!”
And to the trip-tripping of tiny pony hooves the party heads out!
Part two – Hellboars and Wereboars!
The day grows dark as they ride towards the storm. Black thunderheads lower over the inn’s area. Lightning flashes. Rain sets in.
“That’s classic Talos – keep a good eye out!” Dak yells.
There is a good deal of dead ground around the party where a small army could hide. Rolling ground drops right to left, and even in the inn’s immediate surrounds there’s a hillock.
Roscoe makes his way forward in the rain. He lets Star run free and readies his bow, just in time! A man rises from the cover of the hillock and his form… changes! Huge tusks project and his shoulders hunch! It’s a Talos cultist!
Inits: Roscoe, Wereboars, Garth, Hellboars, Vern/Dak/Rich
Round 1: The wereboar bellows and lightning smashes down! Roscoe misses his DEX SV but luckily he has Uncanny Dodge! He continues his movement, dropping into the roadside ditch and hiding. Then casts True Strike. Meanwhile Dak has dropped Nameless’ reins, taken a good stance, and let Whisper loose! The heavy shaft smashes deep into the wereboar. Then looming out of the field to half-right comes an enormous fanged boar! At the shoulder, it is taller than Richlen! It bellows a challenge!
“WHAT IN THE HELLS IS THAT!?!” – Garth
Garth decides to get up there, slides off, allows the mounts to move past him back towards Richlen’s steed, and brings his shield down. Vern and Rich are well back. A tiny bead of red zips past Garth headed for the huge creature and blossoms into a Fireball!
“Man, so good to see that! It finally feels like we got a wizard in the party!” – Dak
A wereboar, rising from the inn roof, leaps down and charges forward! Screaming in pain and rage the burnt hellboar keeps trotting forward – and two more show themselves from around the far side!
Round 2: Roscoe swings his bow about and aims perpendicular to the ditch, at the hellboar! It’s a fine shot! But he fails to change position and even as Garth shields up against the oncoming foes, the wereboars rush the halfling’s hiding place! Roscoe uses his Shield reaction and only one tusk scores him! With a bellow of “I’m the one you orta be worryin’s about!” Garth charges, using a Commander’s Strike to call Dak’s shot. The same wereboar is hit again and is now bloodied! Garth wallops it with the Ungart Hammer. Then uses Action Surge and also his Inspiration to score a crit! The wereboar is staggering about now. The remaining wereboar calls on Talos and lightning slams down on Vern and Rich! Vern gets part-way out of the way but the steel-clad paladin is badly hurt! But it’s Pack Tactics for the hellboar and they manage to batter Garth, despite his superb armor! Vern lobs another Fireball and Rich, running forward to get to range, a Guiding Bolt. The first hellboar is really badly hurt now.
Round 3: Roscoe puts the terribly hurt hellboar down as he escapes the melee, then takes the Hide action. The wereboars fail miserably to get past Garth’s guard. Garth responds, giving some decent strikes. The two other hellboars thunder home: Garth makes a nat20 on Athletics getting to 27: they fail to knock him down! He begins bleeding from their goring, as Rich arrives to form shields with him and Vern drops the wounded wereboar and deals severe damage to the other with Scorching Rays. Dak follows up, slamming another shaft home. Rich makes a somewhat clumsy strike:
“What’s with you?” – Garth
“I’m just not feeling like myself” – Rich
Round 4: Roscoe makes another fine strike putting down the second hellboar! With only one wereboar and one hellboar the fight has swung completely in the Silvers’s favor. They do manage to rattle Garth’s sturdy frame, but more dangerously, the wereboar calls lightning down on his own position! Rich manages to not get completely stunned this time and Garth too avoids the worst. The lightning has seriously wounded the hellboar and Garth puts it down. Vern slams Magic MIssile in past Rich and knocks the wereboar wobbly. He is at their mercy.
“I don’t think he has anything new to tell us,” Vern say, and Rich slays the cultist.
Garth, bleeding from several wounds, grins and musses Roscoe’s hair, “Not bad little guy, you got in some good shots!”
Vern leans his head in for a head pat.
Garth elbows Vern in the groin (not hard enough to do damage).
“Nice use of Magic Missile there,” Rich says as consolation, patting Vern.
“if it had just been Garth I would have used Firebolt” Vern says acidly.
Garth sputters indignantly.
As they fan out searching (and quit needling each other) they find Taba. They are stable but unconscious. Rich trickles some of Ilmater’s healing mercy in.
Taba rises in alarm, but finds all is well. The storm is fading. They hunt about for their gear and pony (they crawled away into cover) but only retrieves their spear.
“It could be worse… I suppose they took my bow with them.”
“Now, how about the inn? It looks dark. Nobody there?”
New Mission: Rescue Tarbin Tul
“I know we can’t fight the Rusted Silvers, so I’ll make a clean breast of it…” Backes states a short time and a piercing glare later.
The Wayside Inn is intact and shows very little sign of a struggle. Martisha’s flimsy excuse collapses at first glance about. As Silla suspected and related to Roscoe, Tarbin Tul the young bard was kept lingering here deliberately. Fherelai Stormsworn, commander of the cult, was robbed of her ship-singer by the Silvers last year. She has been on the lookout for a competent bard since then. Tarbin is not cracking good material but better than nothing. She and a small detachment took Tarbin out to the coast, leaving a “welcome party” for Leilon soldiers behind her.
“It seems that Tarbin isn’t going to be sacrificed, just used on this undead galleon of hers,” Garth decides. “So we have time for a rest.”
“I sure need one,” choruses pretty much everyone except Dak, who will do most of the watch.
Morlok, Taba’s pony, walks in later on, following the scent of the other mounts. So that’s good news for Taba!
Long Rest! Much needed, everyone gets health back and Roscoe gets the remainder of his HD back for short rests. All spell slots recoup.
Part three: to Saltmarsh
The road by night
By the time they have done resting it is evening. Other than high winds that scrape the sky clear of all but fast-moving cloud, the night looks to be clear.
“How far away is Saltmarsh?”
“I’m not really used to mounted riding but I suppose… about the same as from here to Leilon,” Tab ventures.
“Oh that near!”
“The path follows the Kingfisher, and winds about, I could well be wrong.”
“So we could head in by night, have a scent about,” Roscoe proposes. The others have to explain that they are on official business with every right to be there. He looks dubious.
“That cult might be stronger in town than you think?”
“It’s been a little time since I was there, and I have no special reason to listen for rumors of cults, so yes, possibly,” Taba assents.
“So… Dak and me will sneak in. Will that be easy?”
“The gate is closed, but yes if you follow the river itself you can just walk in.”
“Wait, they have a gate? How big is this place?” Garth wants to know. Taba sketches it out, and Garth blinks in surprise. It’s smaller than Leilon but not by much, and has more important businesses.
Until we meet again
Little more than an hour elapses and the journey is uneventful. As Taba promised, the gate is closed and a low straggle of buildings outside the wall show a few lights: either very early risers, or late to blow lights out.
“So, where do we meet? And when?”
“The bridge is a well-known landmark, or there’s the chandlery, the Faithful Quartermaster, where everyone drops in to look for bargains and ship’s supplies. Oh, and, I don’t think the gate guard will let us in – there’s a taproom just hard by the gate where overnighters can drink.”
“Sounds great! Garth says, “You turn to shout Vern, and what about accommodation?”
“I’d say the Dwarven Anvil is probably your cup of tea.”
And as Vern Garth and Rich attempt to convince one another that it’s not their turn to buy rounds the other two slip away and sneak in along the Kingfisher. Dak lifts a hand in farewell: not suspecting this will be the last time he sees the others, for a very long time.
We bid a very fond farewell to Dak’s player, work commitments draw him away. Good luck Dak!