AF3.03: South to Argylos

The level 3 Fated Four for this session

Aelia, celestial pact of the tome warlock;
Angron, orc bear totem barbarian;
Tyche, elven rogue/thief;
Zephrus, human cleric/fate

The story so far

Princess Alexandra has been taken by Psysseria’s agents! Can the heroes learn of her whereabouts? Can they restore hope to her city, Illos?

Their first quest takes them to the tomb of Paselis. There, they retrieve Illos’ sacred sword. Now safe back in Illos, it’s time to re-equip and take stock or advice, for their next quest will be to find a pearl for Zephrus and a river-worthy boat for the main quest to come.

Diomedes needs road-guards

Between fittings for the breastplate that dwarf smith Galenas is fashioning, Angron joins his comrades lolling about at the taberna, slurping wine. Here, a hill dwarf approaches: balding, gray-bearded, dressed as a middling-wealthy trader.

Diomedes asks that they allow him to travel with them south to Argylos. He seems to have heard all about their next quest for shipwright Nalanthis. His own mission – aside from trading for profit – concerns ingots that his people sent to Illos, but which have never arrived. He fears the mission may have come to grief somewhere.

As far as Zephrus can get a read on Diomedes, he is genuine. Accordingly they all agree to his proposal. As he has a donkey wagon, they can load spare gear into it, such as the Ithean Sails that Myrrine has wright for them as reward for their last success.

The bandit gate

The group of four heroes, one merchant, one donkey-cart, and two donkeys (Diomedes’ beast is named Phineas) leaves Illos, and by way of a ferry, rejoins the road south. Which road winds around, serving both coast and nearby. The hamlets inland of the coast seem to still be secure from raids, and villagers contentedly tend their vineyards and trade with Diomedes.

On one such occasion he returns to the group with a warning. Just south, the way is bloacked by an ancient gate, where villagers have turned bandit.

Duly warned the party shakes out into battle order. Angron and Tyche lead the way; the donkey cart and Diomedes is back from them; and Zephrus (and Fuzzy) and Aelia are rearguard.

The ruined gate looms ahead, at the end of a bush-surrounded defile. It has been further incremented by stones, leaving just a narrow cart-width. Two bandits stand ready, their leader just glimpsed behind. They demand an enormous toll – 100 bolts!

Tyche readies her bow and taking this is as “no” battle is joined!

Tyche leaps up into the bushes and detects bandits hiding there! She leaps back down, and Angron rages, takes her place, and smashes one to a pulp! He bellows a warning and the others on that flank flee.

Javelins rain down meanwhile and Tyche, despite wounding the well-in-cover leader, is hurt. She adopts a fairly cautious strategy after that. Meanwhile Zephrus summons his sacred owl (Spiritual Weapon) but fails to make much impact in the enemy ranks. Aelia attempts to bluff the leader away with Message but fails. As they begin using arcane energies (not particularly effectively) the remaining bandits become rattled.

Angron swats another bandit on the opposite bank, then rushes at a reeling bandit near the gate and hammers him unconscious. The leader flees…

Zephrus casually loiters near the unconscious man, while Tyche (using Hide a lot) and Angron and Aelia chase the leader to his hideout just off the trail. He defends himself with a heavy horn bow (equiv Longbow) but eventually falls. Tyche, who has sustained another blow from the longbow shaft, claims that as her prize.

Aelia inspects the loot. Aside from the obvious oil amphora and sacks of grain, there seems only to be a set of knucklebones.

Farewell to Diomedes, for now

But then Zephrus reappears, smugly leading the now-conscious bandit. In return for being allowed to flee with his life, the bandit shows them where he saw the boss bury a cache.

It is the ingots Diomedes was searching for.

“I must get these back to Illos without delay – Arcturus will need these, and Galenas can fashion them into weapons or armor.”

Piling grain-sacks and oil onto the donkey-cart they farewell Diomedes. Zephrus is vaguely suspicious, this all seems to have worked very smoothly for Diomedes. Almost as if he was expecting to find the cache.

Satyrs’ revelry in the warm moonlight

The battle and brief search have delayed them, but not by much. Tyche is given healing, and drinks her own potion as well. Ready to go!

The day being fine, they push on into the night. As they near the estuary where lies Argylos, music is heard from a side trail.

A bonfire! Villagers, and dwarfs, making merry to the sound of satyr pipes. Two satyrs, one female named Andrea and one male named Panaga, entertain here.

Zephrus, bidden to join the dance, does so willingly. So do Tyche and Aelia, though not as naturally as the fate-borne priest. Angron watches suspiciously from a distance.

One of the dwarfs is an acolyte of Phaedra, and seems to have a degree of resistance to the wine and music. During the night he explains that they seem to have been there some time, and somehow have lost their shipment of ingots… as for the human villagers, they are from nearby.

Tyche slips away with a partner during the night, sent on her way by a few lewd comments from Aelia. As for the celestial, Panaga himself propositions her, but visibly quails when she explains how her fiance reacted last time!

The group sleep late (save for Angron) and awaken refreshed (save for Angron). The fire is out, the villagers and dwarfs now gone. It is time to finish the journey to Argylos.

Angron will need to make a DC12 CON check (not SV) to avoid one level of exhaustion. It would be tougher had he not been able to leave most gear on Hydrak the wise donkey.

Argylos sacked

In the following hour the heroes finish descending to the estuary and enter the simple stone wall that defends the village. All is quiet. Too quiet. And as they take in wrecked boats and tumbled walls and something BIG moves among the scattered dead, the session ends.

DM Note

On the satyr encounter: Based on its place in the sequence of encounters, I decided the satyrs mean to prevent the dwarfs and villagers (all worshippers of their god Phaedra) from being killed. Once the party arrives the satyrs learn the bandits to the north are dead and figure the heroes can deal with the sea-ogres nearby. So no need to keep the magical music going. It just made for an interesting social encounter with no contests involved.

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