Saturday, March 30, 2013

Friday 13 July 1280, Morning (Belloc's Office)

Duran, in no mood to talk after the long walk in the rain, grunts and says, "We need to speak with Captain Belloc."

Varros looks around for Karnak while awaiting the guard's response, but sees nothing other than low-hanging clouds and rain bouncing off rooftops.

"Captain Belloc . . . " says the guard. "You must have pretty important business."

Following Duran, Gaven says, "Please take us to Captain Belloc straightaway. We have sacked the bandit group to the south and have news that he must hear."

To underscore Gaven's point, Stan holds out the sack containing Mackey's head. The blood-soaked cloth betrays enough of the human facial features pressing against it for the guard to quickly recognize what the bag must hold.

"Uh, of course!" he says, taking an involuntary step back from the head in the sack. "By all means. I'm sure you've been to the Captain's office before and can find your own way."

The guard has mixed look of fear and admiration on his face, as you walk past him into the town.

Oloc has stood by silently as his companions asked to be taken to Belloc. The Mage is tired and wants nothing more than a day's rest. He wonders if not having the bandit leader's body will be problematic in claiming the reward. With the other evidence on hand, it shouldn't be too much of an issue, he thinks.

"Yes, let's speak with Belloc and then get some rest."


You arrive at Captain Belloc's office in short order, and are bidden to enter without delay. Seeing your fatigued condition, he quickly sends his orderly to have benches brought in so that you can all sit down.

"I received your message," he begins. "That was very good work. I know you're tired, but if you could, I'd like your complete report."

The orderly scribbles away as you relate what you think are all the relevant details of your foray into Blackleaf against the Red Serpent bandits, including all the details about Alanna, her written communications with Mackey, and the grey men. The captain occasionally asks brief questions to clarify a point here and there.

When you have finished relating your tale, Belloc gives you an update of his own.

"The good news is that I've alerted several subordinates – of whose loyalty I am sure – to apprehend Alanna. The bad news is that she seems to have anticipated this move, and is currently nowhere to be found."

Seeing Varros' anxious tendency to look expectantly toward the window. Belloc adds: "Once Karnak came to me with your message, I gave him a brief rest and then sent him out with a few other ravens to alert my subordinates. He should be back some time today."

"At any rate," he adds, looking at the grisly sack in Stan's hand. "It seems you have something to show me."

With a nod from you all, Stan opens the sack, and Belloc looks inside. He nods and takes a hefty pouch of his own off the table, and exchanges it for the one with Mackey's head.

"I'm sure the mayor will be pleased to see this head. And I'm just as sure you'll be pleased to see this. You've certainly earned it."

Looking into the large pouch he hands you, you see the 500 gold pieces promised by the reward poster.

"As an added bonus, I'd like to offer you something else. I've noticed Karnak has become quite attached to you. I was thinking you might enjoy his services on a more permanent basis – he does make a rather good scout. I've spoken with him, and if you'd like to have him along permanently, I'll send him to meet you at the Red Tankard when he returns. What say you?"


OOC: Actions?

Let me know if you have any questions for Belloc or any specific things you'd like to say to him.

Also let me know how you want to proceed. I suspect you'll want to divide treasure, rest/heal, possibly re-equip, make major purchases/donations (I'd be surprised if you weren't at least close to leveling up), talk to certain people, and so forth.

BTW: question. I've been thinking about the "XP for g.p. spent rule" and I'm wondering if it's not just more fiddly than it's worth. What do you guys think? In retrospect, I'm not sure that it really serves much purpose. When I originally put it in as a house rule, it was at a time when I had read a couple of blog posts about excessive PC wealth. But now over a year later, as I reflect on it, I'm thinking "how is it actually a problem if PCs have more gold than they can ever spend?" We'll go with a majority vote on this. If there is no majority (i.e., if nobody cares, or if the vote is split) we'll just keep that rule as is. If a majority say so, I'll drop it (with a retroactive recuperation of any "major expenses" you've noted on your character sheet, if desired).

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Friday 13 July 1280, Morning (Takin' Walks in the Rain)

The party takes a short breather upon exiting the forest.

Duran dons the armor with the elvish markings and finds it feels exceptionally durable compared to his existing armor (OOC: magic leather armor, +2 to AC) . Once thus fitted out, the fighter turns to the rest of the party.

"I say that we skirt the road north to Fairbrook that way we can easily hide if anyone comes along. If Karnak gets back soon we can use him to scout for us," says Duran.

"I agree, Duran. That path seems to me the most sound." Oloc looks up into the gloom. "Let us hope Karnak can find us in the darkness!"

Oloc isn't too comfortable out in the open at night. He tries to stay in the middle of the party, head up and eyes scanning about.

"Your plan sounds solid Duran. Let's start moving." Gaven takes rear guard and keep a close eye on the forest. He keeps a tight grip on his club.

Varros agrees with the others regarding the plan, hoping to avoid entering into any sort of melee combat, and to stay out of the line of fire should an encounter occur.

As you move along the road, the distance between you and the forest increases, despite your fatigue. About halfway to Fairbrook, you notice clouds move in, covering the moon, and shortly thereafter a soft, steady rain begins to fall. This makes it somewhat difficult to continue your advance off the road, but you manage it anyway, without incurring too much delay. Visibility is low, but you are still close enough to the road to keep an eye on it. You see no activity there, or anywhere else around you. It seems that anybody and anything – besides your company – has taken shelter from the rain.

Karnak does not return during your march.

Gradually, the sky begins to brighten in the east, but the rain continues to fall steadily. Despite being dripping wet, and bone tired, the increasing daylight is a welcome relief, after a night march out of werewolf territory at the full moon. You finally arrive exhausted but unmolested at the south gate of Fairbrook, around 8:30 a.m., on a grey, damp Friday the 13th.

You are greeted a mailed sentry at the palisade gate, protected from the weather by a slight overhang of the wooden guard tower behind him. "Good morrow! Please declare your names and your bus..." The sentry squints into the rain. "Ah, I recognize you – the goblin troubles last week. What brings you gentlemen back to Fairbrook? You've had an overlong march in the rain by the looks of it."


OOC: Actions?

The time is 8:30 a.m. on Friday 13 July.

Also: I have updated the "Quests, Rumors, and Information" page. Don't forget you can consult that page at any time to get a reminder of previously acquired info and quest possibilities.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Thursday 12 July 1280, Night (Into the Forest Gloom)

"I think we should move quickly from this cave before more of Alanna's thugs show up," Duran says to the others. The fighter recommends taking what the group can carry and still move at speed, spread out amongst everyone.

Varros says: "I agree with Duran's assessment. I suggest we equip the company with the best gear available and leave the worst and least valuable behind." Varros gathers himself and slips on Swede's vambraces. They feel exceptionally sturdy and light (OOC: The vambraces are +1 to AC).

Varros also offers to try out the sword if no one else wishes, and seeing no volunteers, he picks it up and gives it a few swings. The strong light-weight blade curves a graceful arc in the air, and makes no sound whatsoever, as if the air doesn't even touch it (OOC: +1 Longsword).

"Duran I'm not an expert but that elvish leather might serve you better for now." Duran picks up the finely crafted leather armor, eyes it, and puts it in his pack for now.*

Gaven concurs with the others: "We should make straight away to Belloc. Since it is almost nightfall, we should gird ourselves with the wolvesbane."

Gaven distributes the wolfsbane he acquired earlier and makes sure everyone is wearing it before leaving the cave.

While not overly excited about the prospect of travelling at night, Oloc agrees that staying in the cave doesn't appear a better option. Oloc shoulders as much of the loot as he can, and makes sure he gets some wolfsbane...just in case. "Let's go!" he says.


You arrange yourselves in a marching formation and begin heading down the path by which you came in order to get out of Blackleaf as fast as possible. True to their name, the dark leaves of trees make the forest seem more shadow-steeped than other places you've seen in your lifetimes. Occasionally you hear a rustle in the underbrush, or spy the faintly glowing eyes of some small forest creature as they catch the occasional ray of silver moonlight that manages to penetrate the canopy.

About halfway down the path out of the forest, you hear a mournful lupine howling. Judging by the sound, it is some miles off. But you still can't help but feel the urge to press your pace as much as the load on your backs allow. At one point, you could swear you hear Ollie's teeth chattering. For a second Stan opens his mouth as if to say something to the porter, then furrows his brow and clenches his jaw shut without saying a word.

Despite your fears, you manage to exit the forest without incident, and you cannot help but feel relief as you enter the open fields spreading out west of the woods. While you know you may still be at risk, just being out of the trees, where you can see clearly into the distance by the full moon's light, makes you feel much more secure. At least if enemies approach, you should spot them in time to react.

Looking at the land ahead of you, you realize that you have a couple main ways** to follow Gaven's suggestion of heading with all speed toward Belloc in Fairbrook.

Blue Cross = Party's current location 
Red Cross = Where party spotted the giant earlier
One hex = one day's march (roughly ten hours with periodic rests)

The fastest and most obvious route, heading northwest to the Ham's Fork road and from there to Fairbrook, would take you north of the town of Ham's Fork (with some small chance of encountering Alanna and any loyal followers she might have if she's out and about that side of town). Contrarily, you could go cross-country all the way, staying well east of the road and heading due north, giving you even less chance of encountering Alanna, but staying longer in proximity to Blackleaf, as well as running nearer the giant you saw earlier.


OOC: Actions?

Time is now 8:30 p.m.

Dienekes, please make a note of the two magic items and their bonuses on your character sheet.

*I didn't want to just assume that Duran would put on the armor without Dan's say-so. If he wants to give it a try, just let me know, and I'll retroactively work that in.

**You're not limited to these main options, of course. I thought I'd toss them out there, with a rundown of the most relevant pros and cons (proximity to Blackleaf and its possible werewolves, to Alanna, to the giant you passed on the way down east of the road north of Ham's Fork). But obviously you can mix and match or do something completely different.

Since one hex = one ten-hour march, it would take you about ten to twelve hours to get to Fairbrook from where you are now.

Regarding what you're carrying: the least valuable cumbersome item is the lot of 500 cp (worth all of 5 gp); next would be the sets of leather armor (each worth 7 gp, 5 sp at resale). Leaving the 5 least valuable cumbersome items behind to avoid movement penalty (the coppers and 4 sets of leather armor) results in a sacrifice of a total of 35 gp/35 xp (or less than 9 gp/9 xp for each of you). Professor P suggested taking items up to encumbrance limit, which I took to mean before a penalty sets in. If my reading is incorrect and you wanted to carry those 5 least valuable cumbersome items, let me know and I'll correct this. For now I've assumed you've taking everything except the 5 least valuable cumbersome items.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Thursday 12 July 1280, Sunset (Loot and Pursuit)


Duran steps forward and tries to shoot down the fleeing leader, but the leader disappears, lumbering into the shadows down the west tunnel before Duran can get off a shot. The archer quickly gathers the hirelings and takes off to chase the leader down and clear the cave, telling the others to tend to Varros.

Gaven yells after Duran and the hirelings, "take them down. Don't let them get back to Alanna."


Remaining behind, Gaven tends to Varros and chides, "Perhaps you should buy some heavier armor. "

Too weak to retort, Varros plans to lick his wounds and shy away from combat in the most dignified way possible.

Gaven finishes binding Varros' wound, but the damage is fairly severe (OOC: Varros regains 1 hp; now at 2 hp total), and Varros still feels quite weak, though he is able to stand and move about on his own.


Once Oloc is sure that Varros' wounds are being tended to by Gaven, the Mage suggests that the group search the area as quickly as possible. "Reinforcements may arrive any time. Let us search quickly for anything of value."

Oloc searches the bodies in the immediate area first, and finds that the dead grey archers carry and swordsman carry loose change in their pockets worth about 80 gp in total. In addition, the dead swordsman wears a necklace, probably worth about 75 gp, wears leather armor with extremely intricate designs tooled into it. Oloc recognizes the pattern as elvish in origin.

Apart from their loot, however, Oloc also notices that several of the grey men bear a tattoo on the forearm – a tattoo in the form of a "G.F." rune.

Accompanied by Bill and Ollie, Oloc then sweeps outward with his search, looking about for anything tucked away in one of the caves which have been explored.

Turning first to the dead prisoner, Oloc and the porters find a gold ring on the ex-bodyguard's finger, probably worth about 100 gp.

In the bandit barracks, the treasure seekers locate about 20 gp worth of resellable mundane gear (eating utensils, clothing items, and the like), 10 gp, 50 sp, and 500 cp in loose coins, and a green stone that appears it might fetch about 60 gp.

Going over Swede's body, the group find a suit of leather armor, Swede's crossbow and sword, and a set of finely crafted vambraces.

In the bandit chief's cavern are found another 30 gp worth of mundane gear, similar to what was found in the barracks.


Duran and the hirelings make haste after the fleeing grey archer and the leader.

The enemy archer is swift, and rapidly outdistances the wounded leader. Racing toward the entrance of the bandit lair the enemy archer simply vaults the barrier and disappears into Blackleaf.

The leader is another matter, and he makes an inviting target as he struggles to reach the entrance wall.

Duran and the hirelings unleash a hail of arrows, three of which strike the grey leader in the back, killing him.

Rushing up to the barrier, and looking out into the darkening forest, you cannot see the fleeing archer anywhere, and you're not even sure which direction he went. All you can see are the last fragile rays of crimson light that manage to wend their way through the branches of the trees, punctuating broad patches of shadow and falling night.

Examining the grey leader's body, Duran find a scroll in a cylindrical leather case, and three red gems, in a pocket, probably worth about 100 gp each. The dead leader wears leather armor, and bears a G.F. rune mark tattooed on his forearm.

He also carries a piece of parchment with instructions on how to find the cave of the Red Serpent bandits. It is written in the same hand as the note you received telling you reinforcements would arrive, the same hand as that which wrote the documents you found in Mackey's stash.

Additionally, when Duran draws the sword from the grey leader's scabbard, he notices that it feels lighter than one would expect.


With the area secured, Karnak flies past Duran and the hirelings, out into the night, carrying his vital message off to Belloc.


OOC: Actions?

Bandaging Varros: d4 = 1 (1 hp restored, Varros is back up to 2 hp).

Once I rolled three obvious hits against the leader I stopped rolling for hits, and didn't bother rolling for damage since he had only 2 hp.

Time is now 7:00 p.m. (sunset).

As a reminder, you've heard rumors of Werewolves in Blackleaf, and we are still in week two of the month (full moon).

You'll need to decide (among other things) if you're going to try and return to Ham's Fork (or elsewhere) tonight, or if you prefer to hole up in the Red Serpent Bandits' caves.

Also, please remove one day's ration from your equipment list (unless you want to eat bandit food -- it's there, and it seems good enough.

Loot list:
80 gp
10 gp
50 sp
500 cp  (cumbersome)
1 necklace (75 gp, grey swordsman)
3 sets of leather armor (grey men leader and archers, cumbersome)
1 set leather armor with elvish design (grey swordsman, cumbersome)
1 gold ring (100 gp)
Miscellaneoux mundane gear (20 gp, barracks, cumbersome)
1 green stone (60 gp)
1 set of leather armor (Swede, cumbersome)
1 crossbow (Swede)
1 sword, long (Swede)
1 set vambraces (Swede; "sparked" when Duran hit them earlier)
Miscellaneous mundane gear (30 gp, Mackey's quarters, cumbersome)
15 sets of leather armor (bandits, bodyguards, Mackey -- this is the total number for all bandits, including those killed earlier, cumbersome)
1 scroll in a cylindrical leather case
3 red gems (300 gp total [100 each], grey leader)
1 sword (lighter than normal, grey leader)

Given the large amount of loot, I've marked certain items here as "cumbersome." I'm ruling you can simply carry out all the other items with no penalty.

Anyone carrying two "cumbersome" items will have his speed dropped one notch (120' becomes 90' etc.), and dropped again one notch for each "cumbersome" item after the first two.

Since we've just been "eyeballing" encumbrance, this seemed like a simple way to deal with such a large quantity of items.

In all you have 23 items listed as "cumbersome" (the complete list of everything you've picked up appears on the "Monsters and Treasure" page).

By my count, the party (9 members, including the hirelings and yourselves) could carry out 18 of the "cumbersome" items with no penalty to movement.

Carrying all the "cumbersome" items out will bring the movement of 5 party members down one notch.

Let me know if you want to carry it all out, or if you want to leave some of the cumbersome items behind.