The Grey Borderlands

Session Nine - The Ransom (Part Five)

Frandor's Keep


We go from three games of pretty much straight combat to a session with no combat at all. Smile

Now I introduced two I suppose “house rules” you could say into this session. The first was that going RAW they basically wouldn’t have gotten any experience for actually completing the quest or anything since they all got to 400 EPs last session purely by combat. And it seems a bit punishing to penalize them for successfully managing to complete an adventure meant for 2nd level at 1st level, just at the wrong time. So I let them stock up on EPs even though they still had to train. Special circumstances and all.

The other thing was that since the only enemies left were goblin breeder and giant rats and we’d been doing so much combat I offered the players the chance to just hand-wave it and say that they manage to kill them all without any problems. But if they do that they won’t get any EPs for them. Otherwise we’ll need to fight it out (and they ended the last session just about to initiate combat on the breeders). They agreed to go with the quick resolution and I was relieved because I really didn’t want to spend more time of “weenie” fights. Wink

So the first half of the session is primarily checking out the manor for treasure. Goblins are looted, bookshelves are inspected and strange writing that none of them can read is copied down from under the frescoes of the wizard doing fire-related things in the main hall. They try to decipher it as Massar claims the long black scarf the goblin witchdoctor was wearing, and Zatha takes the “stick”.

Zatha: Hey! Cleahic! What’s dis say?
Massar Silverleaf: It probably says “would look better on a half-elf”.
Massar Silverleaf does a flourish with the scarf.
Kythan scratches his head and squints at the writing

Barodin takes Alimira outside while the looting heads to the basement. They scatter the rats and Kythan and Zatha go down, the wooden ladder creaking and groaning. There is a lot of foodstuff but some of it is obviously spoiled or tainted by rat-droppings. None of them have the Cooking chops to tell what’s good (recall Kythan had to go get the Widow to cook him porridge!) so they decide to pretty much leave it. They do find a chest with 10 wool blankets and inside a roll of moist linen bandages. Kythan proclaims this to be decent swag (he has Appraisal: Textiles) and they start to think of how to get it all out of here.

They decide to tie a rope to the chest and drag it up the ladder, since none of the halflings would be able to carry it themselves. Of course none of them can tie rope (Zatha has it marked off as the first thing to learn upon level-up) so they call Massar down to the basement to tie it. Sadly, with all his gear the half-elf weighs more than Kythan and its finally enough to cause the rotted wood to break and the ladder shatters and he comes tumbling down taking an impressive 7 damage off of the d6p-3! Mind you, after the combat with the goblins this takes Massar down to -3 hp!

Kythan: Maybe I should have Induced Sobriety before he came down.
Massar Silverleaf bleeds everywhere.
Barodin Blighthwood: its in the hands of the Gods now
Kythan blinks.
Kythan: Did… that just happen?

Now it of course comes down to the point where Massar was the only one with First Aid, so nobody can help him. The two halflings are essentially just watching him twitch and bleed. Massar needs to succeed a stabilization check by 10 to stop taking damage but he has an equal roll as the d10+11 what with the negative for being Dishonorable. Plus now that his Honor is blown he can’t add to it or re-roll really…

Kythan muses, “Maybe I should take off his pants.”
Kythan: Always helps when the times are tough.
Barodin Blighthwood: whats taking those guys so long???
Alimira: You don’t think something happened to them?
Barodin Blighthwood: it’s not like there stuck in a hole…. it’s a house, what could happen?
Alimira: That manor is cursed. Goblin filth. Sad

Things looked bleak for our half-elven friend until I was reminded that he had put on the black scarf the goblin witchdoctor was wearing which is actually a Wrap of Protection and I had neglected to roll the absorption from it for the falling damage! So I retroactively did and he took less damage but it was still enough to knock him out. BUT it meant that he actually succeeded his stabilization check by the exact amount he needed! Huzzah! He comes to after a while, stranded in the basement with the halflings…

Kythan: I’ve never seen a pointy-ears with less grace.
Massar Silverleaf: SmileSmileSmileSmile this place, I want out.
Barodin Blighthwood: that’s just sad
Massar Silverleaf: If some fatass didn’t break the stairs before I went down there.
Massar Silverleaf glares at Kythan.
Kythan: Just bad luck sometimes.
You know.
Massar Silverleaf throws his sharpened coin at Kythan.
Massar Silverleaf: Your luck can get bent.
Kythan: You’ll notice the devout are uninjured.
Kythan picks up the coin.
Kythan: Well, should I get any healing, just know that you’ll receive less of it.
Risk is capricious.
: Risk is extremely petty and vengeful on those that turn their back on him actually Wink
Zatha: Guess wat! Massah can’t walk down staihs!
Kythan: Maybe he should lay off the pies!
More for me!
Massar Silverleaf gnashes his teeth and grumbles.
Massar Silverleaf: Worthless….sub-humanoids
Kythan: Yes, yes, now just do that the next time it’s rations time and perhaps next time you won’t be to heavy!
Zatha: Yah just mad cause yah fell down like a child.
Kythan: I’ll be happy to take them off your hands.
Kythan nods at Zatha.
Alimira: Are we going to leave this horrible place?
Kythan nods at Alimira.
Massar Silverleaf: Dear Gods yes.
Kythan: I dare say so.
Alimira averts her gaze from Massar
Massar Silverleaf turns and makes a rude gesture at the building/
Zatha: Yah dun want to make a summah home?
Massar Silverleaf: I think burning it would be great.
Kythan makes a point of picking back up his sharpened coin.
Massar Silverleaf: Maybe we can put the halflings inside before we light it.

There is a discussion on whether they can maybe ask the Earl to give them the manner, and wonder about finding a deed. None of them are super familiar with the law but Alimara believes that while technically they would need a deed with their names on it, out here in the Borderlands things are often “fast and loose” and mere possession of the deed is often enough. Assuming the mage Karinar never came back anyway…

The party manages to get back to Frandor’s Keep without any great difficulty and arrive at the gates in the early evening.

Arriving at the Lower Bailey gates the guards question the party and are set to let them all in until they get a look at Massar who is now cruising around with an Honor of 2. They say that he can’t come in, and he looks like trouble. Massar is quite flummoxed by this and tries to bill himself as an impressive hero but the guards aren’t really buying it. They suggest however that perhaps for a silver coin “processing fee” they can let him in. Kythan and Barodin (and Alimira) scoot past during this leaving only Zatha with him to donate for the cause, after spinning a tale that they were to bring this elf in as a favour for his old dying mother or something… I can’t really remember what the BS he was saying was now but I think it may have started a trope in keep now…

Massar Silverleaf blinks.
Massar Silverleaf: We’re the saviors of towns.
Vouch for me here, boys.
Guard: The Prefect is quite clear about keeping Quarrytown riff-raff from the keep
However, for a slight fee perhaps your friend may be able to prove he is a “man” of worth.
(From Barodin Blighthwood): just take the princess past the guards while this is all happeneing. acting like i don’t know these people
Kythan laughs uproariously in the background.
Kythan giggles with glee.
Zatha takes out a coin for the guard
Guard: surely you mean each? (indicated that there are 2 guards)
Zatha glares at Massar
Guard: or we may need to also enforce the helmet tax
Zatha: I undahstand fellahs. Gotta wet ya whistle, but I do as well. Let all yah friends know of mah genahrosity.
Massar Silverleaf nudges Zatha. “Cmon, im dying here.”
Zatha slides them a silver each
Guard: Much obliged little Master, and may your poor ol mum be feeling better
Zatha: I shall send hah yah rahgards. Make suah yah toast me when yah out tonight.

Kythan and Zatha make for the Upper Bailey to report to the Earl while the others hit the tavern to lay low. Sadly, Kythans nemesis the guard Anoz is at the gate and he doesn’t look happy to see the troublesome halfling!

Anoz Ganesh: “Where you think you’re going peck?”
Kythan: On official business.
Anoz Ganesh: Sorry, pecks.
First bell has rung, the gate is closed.
Unless you have a letter from the Earl you lot aren’t getting in. Now scram before I arrest you for being ugly
Kythan: Well, I’ll be sure to express the problems we had here in our official report.
Aceris: ((the earl is totally gonna skim us on the reward))
Kythan: Well, I’d show you my impression of your nose, but truthfully, that’s an insult to my pecker.
Kythan pulls out pants and looks down.
Kythan: Is a thing of beauty.
Is magnificent.
Anoz Ganesh: “That’s it”
Anoz Ganesh cracks his knuckles and walks up to Kythan
Zatha puts his hands up and backs away
Zatha: Ahm not paht of that.
Kythan: Eh, I’ll give you one shot.
You’ll miss so badly you’ll end up eating your ass for a week.
Kythan waits with mock suspense.
Anoz Ganesh goes to kick Kythan in the gnads
Anoz Ganesh: rolling d20-6+6
(6)-6+6= 6
Kythan: Kythan defends 15
Anoz Ganesh: “Fuck off!”
Kythan: Oh, want to get a feel of it, do you?
Kythan winks and turns to leave.
Anoz Ganesh goes back to the other guards and boasts about running the half-man away

Failing to secure passage into the Upper Bailey this evening they head to the Shrine of the Caregiver for some sweet sweet healing. Balan is surprised to see how wounded they are and bandages their wounds more fully and gives a few healing spells. He’s sorry he can’t fully heal them right away, but he’s already used some spells today. But he says they can stay with him as long as they wish, but notes that if they devoted themselves to the Lord of Silver Linings they would heal quicker.

The next morning Kythan struts out and heads up to the Upper Bailey once more. Luckily Anoz is not there this time, just two other guards he doesn’t know.

Kythan: Hello, friends!
Guard squints at Kythan “Uh oh, Anoz told us about you.”
Kythan: Uhg, that ass.
How do you gents tolerate him?
He was trying so hard to get his meaty hands on my pecker last night.
Finally, I just had to give him the slip.
Did you actually have to talk to him? Do you need me to buy you a drink?
The two guards look at each other
Kythan winks.
Kythan: It’s alright chaps.

At this point a large procession of soldiers comes through out of the Upper Bailey and heads down through Fallow Gate to the Lower Bailey. They seem to be marching prisoners through. Kythan watches and asks about it but the guards don’t say anything aside that the Prefect was leading it.

Anyway gents, may I pass?
I’ve done a few small jobs for the earl.
Breaking in shoes, and the like.
Guard: Nice for you
Kythan: He needed to see me after I finished my last task.
Guard: Do you have any proof of this?
Kythan shows the pass that the steward gave them, rightfully guessing that these guards probably couldn’t read.
Kythan: Thank you kindly, sirs.
Don’t let that Anoz get you down. Next time you’re on guard with him, let me know and I’ll bring you a round.

One of the guards escorts Kythan up to the Earls Manor and knocks on the door. The Steward opens and asks Kythan if it’s done and Kythan nods. The Steward says they’ll meet at the same place after lunch and dismisses them. Kythan convinces the guard to let him visit the jewelers to sell some stuff on the way back and then meets up with the rest of the party at the Shrine and tells them the news. They muck about for a while and then all go the the Cobblers again and meet with the Earl and the Steward.

Alimira and the Earl are tearfully re-united and the steward pays the party their 50 silver coins each and reminds them that secrecy is important and they may use them for more tasks in the future. They tell the steward about the manor infested with goblins but he isn’t familiar with Karinar himself, but suggests if they found a deed they could use it. Assuming Karinar is dead whoever he is. Afterwards the party returns to the Shrine to continue healing, but the patients and acolytes are all abuzz with what just happened in the Lower Bailey while they were meeting with the Earl.

After you return you find that most of the people staying in the shrine are gossiping about what happened down at the Lower Bailey
Zatha listens in to the gossip
Barodin Blighthwood: ask what the hell happened
It seems that Vespin Tower had been overrun with goblins and the guards that were stationed there killed
But this was found very late since their relief patrol had instead ditched and went to Vew for extra furlough instead of re-leaving the (dead) garrison
The tower has been taken back now, but the men that were in the patrol that ditched here given 10 lashes each and will each spend a week on the pillory
The patrol leader was executed by the Prefect

Barodin and Massar are basically stuck in the Shrine for a few days healing so the halflings are freed up to cause trouble. Mainly this involves selling off the loot the scored from the manor.

Kythan: We are also procurers of goods.
Kythan: Should you need something special, you should let us know.
Kythan: You were lucky to have met us. We can obtain things that are far too risky for others.
Dasas: I occasionally need people to guard my caravans. Perhaps I shall have work for you in the future
Kythan: Do you have a gold threaded and bejeweled codpiece perchance?
Dasas: Sadly that is the one item I am lacking

They take the strange writing to the Adept Scribes and try to get a translation but nobody there can read it. They suggest it looks like magical glyphs and perhaps they should go ask the crazy lady fortune-teller. The halflings inquire about commissioning the “writing of a deed” but the Scribes say again that would be a legal document needing a seal and they can’t just make one. Though one of the scribes begins winking furiously at them at that.

Seemingly striking out at the scribes, Kythan and Massar head to the Magic Box to speak to Madame Radaama in case she knows anything about the magical script. When they enter she says that she had a vision that they would come and that the have questions and the spirits would answer if they could. Massar asked about the scarf he got and she told him that the spirits requires a sacrifice of coin. After much fretting he pulled out a single trade coin. Insulted by this low donation she basically told him to SmileSmileSmileSmile off. He called her a quack and stormed out.

After a minute of both her and Kythan beating around the bush she dropped the pretences and said she knew who and what we was. It’s becoming more and more obvious that almost everyone in the Keep knows about the Challenger of Fate in their midst. In fact all of the guards have been warned about him. Due to Radaamas carny nature however she sees a kindred soul in some way in him, and wishes to stay on the good side of Risk since it directly applies to what she does every day. She looks at the notes and says that they’re indeed magical shorthand and she can translate for 5sp, the same price the Scribes would charge. Kythan pays and she translates a set of word. He thanks her and passes her the annointed sharpened coin that Massar had thrown away earlier as a tip with a wink.

Coming out Kythan tells Zatha that he had the words translated and Zatha says they should get her to look at the wand. The two halflings return to The Magic Box but this time Kythan totally plays along with her act as she intones that the spirits can see that Zatha has a troubling need to know things, etc etc… and basically draws it out of him.

Zatha: Whatevah lady. I just want to know what the stick is.
Zatha rolls his eyes
Zatha mutters bullshittin a bullshittah
Zatha puts a silver in the bowl

She looks it over and tells him it’s a wand of Fire and Flame and can do various fire-related things from starting a campfire to creating great walls of flame. However each effect would require a command word to use, plus only a trained mage can wield it. And of course there is no way to know how many charges it has left… So being the only (known) mage in the area she says she doesn’t really want it, but hears that some Kobars and other training academies will take magical items in trade for tuition. Aside from that it’s very difficult to sell such items (had to give the players the “No Magic Shops in Hackmaster” talk).

Meanwhile Barodin heads over to Anari’s Arms in the hopes of buying some new armour but in a tragedy of low availability rolling they are out of everything! Yeesh! He talks to the armorsmith about the possibility of commissioning some ringmail and is told it will take a while. He also peruses some of the fancier weapons for sale but since they’re all swords and he’s a battle-axe kinda guy he doesn’t buy anything. He heads to the Leather shop and finds some ringmail there instead however. Huzzah!

So most of the little details have now been taken care of it’s time for a training montage! Dun dun dun! The characters all go to level 2 and there’s not much special to mention: Barodin specialized in Mace in case of “god dam skeletons”, Zatha learns rope-use (he rolled it previously) so he doesn’t have to rely on Massar anymore, Massars Sneaking skill went up a significant amount and Kythan now has more spells – so maybe he’ll get something useful now!

And now we wait 2 weeks both out and in-game till the next session. Smile


greymarch2000 greymarch2000

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