This session Bilge wasn’t present, so I was running Massar as an NPC. I tried to keep him in-character but obviously you know how NPCs become a bit less… spontaneous than PCs. Wink
We start with some minor book-keeping, trying to figure out how much the characters have spent on food and lodgings during the past 2 weeks and a bit while they were healing and then training. Kythan rents a room at the Three Leaves to Wind Inn while Barodin (after spending time at the Shrine of the Caregiver to heal) and Zatha get rooms at The Prancing Pegasus Inn. Massar decides to stay out at the Palisades sleeping in the stables for free, and hunting and foraging for food himself. Perhaps a bit less glamourous, but he is a Ranger afterall.
The two halflings spend most of their downtime at The Broken Hilt, gambling and drinking. Eventually Barodin joins them as well as an ex-soldier he feels fairly at home with all the rough off duty guards. In the evenings when not training (or hell, probably as part of the training) Zatha spends time picking pockets and Kythan spends his time gambling in bar (especially with the easy mark he spotted earlier). They are also taking pains to buy drinks for and befriend as many guards as possible.
In fact as Kythan is known to be a cleric of Risk, even if he isn’t involved in a game players will often come to him and donate a coin or two as offering to Risk. Lamar has even given Kythan the odd free drink here and there since he’s noticed the upswing in gambling going on in the bar and the increase in customers. At this point Kythan essentially has his own chair in the corner.
Kythan spends this excess income on trying to commission a magnificent bejeweled codpiece (or rather “banana-hammock” cough) but seems to be having trouble finding something like that. He talks to the leatherworker who is pretty much about to dismiss it out of hand until Kythan mentions spending 20 silver on it which suddenly gets the shopkeeper attention.
On the morning of Pelsday, the 23rd of Mustering the group is fretting about having breakfast in the Three Leaves and discussing a possible journey back to Karinar Manor to study the frescoes and perform a more thorough search for a deed when the artist Belipar comes in and announces that he has finally finished their portrait that he promised in reward for reclaiming his lead.
Zatha: oh gahd.
Kythan gets a lustful look in his eyes.
Kythan: I MUST SEE IT.
Zatha is still thankful he wasn’t in it
Belipar: Indeed good sir! I have completed my MASTERPIECE
Kythan: We will show it here in the bar – surely it will bring in customers!
Zatha: or in our new HOUSE [meaning Karinar Manor – ED] (in Kythan’s room. in the fireplace)
Barodin Blighthwood: lead the way Mr Artist
Barodin and Kythan head out and follow Belipar back to the apartments. Zatha wants nothing to do with it. As they reach the apartments Kythan asks about the cost and Belipar assures him that if they plan to stay at the Keep for an extended period these apartments are the best choice.
He opens the door and ushers them in where there is a prominently displayed easel with a white sheet over it. With a grand flourish Belipar removes the sheet revealing an oil painting and proud nude Kythan standing, flanked by Barodin and Massar on either side (clothed). Two cherubs fly in the foreground holding aloft a banner covering any impropriety that reads “Risky Business”.
Did I not say that the nude halfling form, if captured properly, would be an inspiration for generations to come?
Belipar: “Thank you again good sirs, I hope that this fine work of art can portray my deepest appreciations for your aid.”
Barodin Blighthwood: Thank him for the painting and tell him its magnificent
Kythan: This will rouse men to acts of greatness for centuries!
Belipar beams proudly
Barodin Blighthwood: rouse men…..
The pair thank Belipar and are heading back to the tavern when they pass Dasas coming out of his shop who asks if he can see their “Quartermaster” (meaning Zatha) as he potentially has some work for them. They say they’ll get him and head back to the bar, and Kythan stashes the portrait in his room at the Three Leaves and the trio return to Dasas’ Goods.
Dasas explains that brigands calling themselves The Ravens plague the roads around here and even though he hired guards for his most recent caravan he heard from travellers that they were ambushed and his latest shipment stolen. He wants to hire the party to retrieve his goods and he’ll pay them in gear from his shop. There is some back and forth trying to find out more info and better payment but eventually they agree and head out to find Massar.
Of course Massar has been living out in the bush and stables for two weeks so he’s looking pretty scruffy.
Zatha: Massah, ya smell wahse than usual
Massar Silverleaf: “I’ve like, had a lot of time to think out here bros”
Barodin Blighthwood looks at Massar like the kid brother you dont want to bring along but maw made you
They find him and tell him the plan, that bandits have stolen goods (including a lot of brandy!) and need to be brought to justice. And more importantly Dasas gets his goods back.
Massar Silverleaf: “Helping people is good!”
Zatha: he can track for us
Massar Silverleaf sings the song of his people
Massar Silverleaf: “We are getting paid for this right?”
Barodin Blighthwood: we are
Zatha: In some nicah clothes fah you.
And some soap.
Kythan: You get to associate with us and get back some reputation, and we get goods.
Massar Silverleaf eyes Kythan suspiciously
Kythan looks innocent, as always.
Barodin Blighthwood: and you get to kill Bandits your dreaded enemy.
The party travels down the Borderlands roads, slowed down as usual by the halflings to a crawl. Eventually they find the where the ambush took place by noting the impromptu graves that travellers on the road made for the caravan guards.
Massar studies the ground and finds the tracks (is that even the right word?) of the wagon while Kythan ponders with the idea of some grave-robbing; something which for once the entire rest of the party is against doing. Though all for different reasons.
Massar Silverleaf presses his ear to the mud and concentrates
Massar Silverleaf points to the ground “There are hoof-prints, boot prints and a lot of wagon ruts. Though one set of ruts is much deeper than the others.”
Zatha: Probably the one with all tha goods in it.
Massar Silverleaf: “Ayup”
Zatha: Let’s track it!
Screw the graves, it’s gettin dahk.
Massar Silverleaf: “Why disturb these poor fellows? That’s just nasty.”
Zatha: Yah really think bandits didn’t rob’em?
Massar Silverleaf: “They could be zombies!”
The half-elven ranger follows the ruts for a few miles until the trail mysteriously turns off into the thick woods, which obviously no wagon would fit in. It’s also starting to get dark by this time. Some further (negatively affected by the dark) investigation finds two troughs filled with saplings that form a barrier blocking a path into the woods that the wagon took!
Zatha notes that it looks like whoever used this was very careful to cover their tracks, and not make the trail obvious. And then totally botched it by taking this heavy-ass wagon through which could be easily tracked. The party has a brief pow-wow and decides that the odds are good the bandits will be drunk due to the brandy so they want to go in spec-ops style and neck-snap em all while they sleep.
Zatha: Keep goin! We want to find them and ambush them while they sleep!
Zatha mission impossible theme
Massar Silverleaf: “Sure, maybe you guys can actually do something for a change”
Barodin Blighthwood: hahaha
The halfings sneak ahead of the main group and eventually come across a mostly hidden campsite a few miles down this trail. There are piles of rubble and screens set up to hide their campfire but since the duo is actively looking they spot it a fair distance away. It’s slow going since they have no light of their own and it’s fully dark now, but on the other hand it doesn’t alert the Raven guard that was stationed halfway down the path…
Getting closer they can hear the sound of merry-making as indeed the Ravens seem to have gotten into the brandy. They decide to head back to the others and plan to have a brief nap and snack and wait for the early hours of the morning before making their move.
Now, there was a lot of Sneaking checks made, new rules for coup-de-grace from the GMG consulted and issues with the Hackmaster Initiave API for Roll20 so I’ll just give the broad strokes. There were four tents and one bandit standing on watch. Kythan and Zatha snuck into a tent and started coup-de-gracing the sleeping bandits while Massar waited just outside the camp and Barodin was further back ready to rush in if he heard an alarm.
They dispatch the two in the first tent but get spotted by the guard on their way to the second so the jig is up! The Raven yells for alarm and the sleeping thieves start to wake up (though they have negatives due to being drunk). Zatha knocks down the tent beside him, tangling the two in there, Massar runs in and combat is joined!
The theme for this fight is rolling critical hits against Zatha. Even though he spends Luck to avoid the extra effects he can’t make the nat 20 not hit. So he actually takes a fair amount of damage. Sadly, there is nobody to get Barodin on track so his abysmal initiative means he doesn’t show up till 13 seconds have passed but rolls a ton of damage and starts taking fools down.
In the end two of the Ravens are able to escape into the darkness and flee since nobody can catch up to them (as they have no armour on). But the party manages to take the leader captive, Kythan actually finding a use for Aggravate Injury since it keeps him ToP’d long enough for them to tie him up. How lucky!
Time to question the Lieutenant once he’s awake and Barodin finally gets to stretch that Intimidate skill of 66% that he has. Mind you, he doesn’t have Interrogation so that needs to be RP’d out.
Kythan: Can I sober this guy up so we can stab him?
Zatha: So what do we get if we turn you back to this guy instead of the town guard?
Kythan: But he’s not helping us at all. If he doesn’t help us, I just want to kill him.
Raven Lieutenant thinks and then looks worried
Kythan: I’ve been working on my technique.
I think all the practice cutting off ears has really given me some inspiration.
His head isn’t so different from a goblin or a kobold.
Raven Lieutenant: “Look, let me go and I’ll ya where to find Rikar and the rest. We’re just the ones that were out here this week.”
Kythan: And it’s certainly easier to work with than a leechman.
Oh, see? Now he’s being helpful. Does this mean no stabbing and cutting?
Zatha: Not sure how we can expect him to tell us the truth if we’re just going to let us go. Plus, then he’d just warn Rikar.
Barodin Blighthwood: “How do I know you will tall the truth.”
Kythan: See? All arguments for my way.
Lucky, lucky man. I get to practice on you maybe!
Raven Lieutenant: “Naw look man, I’ll head east to Vew get out of the Borderlands altogether. You can find the Ravens out in Quarrytown.”
Kythan sniffs his forehead.
Kythan: Do we let him live?
We could flip a coin.
Raven Lieutenant: “Rikar runs Quarrytown. Everything there goes through him!”
Zatha: Alright, how do we find him?
Raven Lieutenant: “He’s got a tent there, right up in the middle. We, I mean his men monitor everyone coming in and out. And in and out of the Keep too.”
Zatha: So you know who we are already.
Raven Lieutenant: “I dunno, some adventurers. None o’ my business”
Zatha: Alright, I’m fine.
Kythan: Let’s gamble, good sir. If you’re lucky, you live. If you’re not, you die.
How do you feel about those odds?
: Chop him in the head.
: make an attack roll
Raven Lieutenant: “I…”
Barodin Blighthwood: Barodin Blighthwood attacks with axe! 16
Raven Lieutenant Defends!
Defense 5 Damage Reduction 3
Barodin Blighthwood: Barodin Blighthwood hits for 18 damage!
Kythan looks at the corpse.
Kythan: He should have taken me up on my offer.
Zatha: Stone. Cold.
Kythan laughs and pats Barodin on the back.
Massar Silverleaf: "What happened!?’
Kythan: Good one. I knew there was a reason I liked you so much.
Barodin Blighthwood: “he resisted”
Massar Silverleaf narrows his eyes at Barodin, then looks at Kythan
Kythan nods in agreement.
Zatha shrugs, uncaring.
And with that heroic action we left of.