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DM Barcas - Kingmaker: Rivers Run Red

Game Master Isaac Duplechain

As Newhaven rises, threats besiege it from all directions. To the north, the news of the last heir of House Rogarvia threatens the start of a new war. To the south, an empire of trolls and monsters grows.


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Welcome to Chapter 2 of DM Barcas's Kingmaker. Here are a few useful links.

Kingmaker: New Beginnings (Chapter 1)
Kingmaker: Interregnum (Between Chapters 1 & 2)
Politics of Brevoy
Brevoy
Northern Brevoy
Southern Brevoy
Map & Rules Collection


Your Humble Narrator

Congrats on reaching Chapter 2 all of you :). Dotting.


Only took a year! (Although we did take the better part of 4 months to do the time between Chapter 1 and 2.)


Your Humble Narrator

About the same as ours took. Chapter 2 really has been a lot slower but i've really enjoyed it & added a lot to it. Anyway i'll put my comments on the OOC from now, don't want to spam your IC!


dot


17 Gozran 4708

The sun rises over Sanctuary, the capital of Newhaven, heralding a beautiful spring morning. The weather is cool and sunny, excellent for riding. The castle gleams in the sunlight reflected off the blue water of Tuskwater Lake, where it sits surrounded by a rapidly-growing city. Hundreds of citizens, still fresh from the celebration of the resurrection of Jemini Lebeda, stand near the southern edge of the town where the main road emerging from the southern exit of the castle ends. They are there to cheer on the six adventurers setting out to explore and tame the wilderness to the south of their fledgling nation.

One of their number has taken it upon himself to act as a herald of sorts. With a rich, deep voice, he shouts out the names and accomplishments of the group of heroes as they emerge from the castle on horseback. To the townsfolk, they appear as legends sallying forth to make them safe.

"Jemini Lebeda! Daughter of House Lebeda of Brevoy! So dedicated to Newhaven that she refused a place at Iomedae's right hand to return to us! As beautiful as she is strong! All hail Lady Jemini!" The townspeople clap excitedly for her. She is already becoming a legend for her bravery and gallantry, not to mention her beauty and grace. There are a number of bards who have pledged to write poems and songs for her, just in the last day.

"Berrin Myrdal! A man of the people! He took upon the burden of leadership, which he never wanted! A peerless warrior and man of action! All hail Lord Berrin!" The townsfolk raucously applaud him. His time as Steward may (or may not) have ended, but he is truly beloved by the people because he is one of them and never acted as anything else. His horse nearly tips him over as he reaches down to shake some hands, but he rights himself and gives Bessie an affectionate whack.

"Verik Jarrow! The architect of our great city! A loyal servant of Abadar! Wise, intelligent, and brave in defending our liberties against those who would abuse them! All of Lord Verik!" The applause peters out a bit, though some laughter arises when someone makes a smart-mouthed comment about Lord Tatzylwyrm. The story of his ignominious shredding has made the rounds in the taverns, along with some delightful limericks regarding the incident.

"Zander Whitestag! Defender and Warden against the monsters of the wild! Capable of striking a target from a mile with pinpoint accuracy with his bow! All hail Lord Zander!" The applause is polite but muted. For them, Zander has always been a mysterious figure as the White Stag, given a healthy respect and wide berth. He has likely spent more of the last year in the wild than in the city.

"Taisper Stosz! Cousin to Lord Verik and initiate of Abadar! Exemplifying the tenets of equal application of the law! All hail Lord Taisper!" Most of the townspeople politely applaud, but it is clear that most of them have only the most basic idea of who he is. Ilyana Flaxton and her son, Nicholas Jr., cheer the loudest, clapping and waving as he rides by.

"Nikolai Rogarvia!" The townspeople mostly grow quiet as the newest of their number is introduced. It seems that separated from Jemini's return, the people of Sanctuary are somewhat wary of the returned Stag Lord. "Returned alongside Lady Jemini, redeemed by the gods! The last heir to House Rogarvia's claim to the Dragonscale Throne and the last Dragonblood Prince! All hail Lord Nikolai!" The appellation of a title to his name seems to put people off. There is a smattering of clapping and applause, but mostly stony silence from a suddenly-suspicious populace.


Dotting


Male Human Cleric (Abadar) 6th / Fighter 1st / AC 25/10T/25F / HP 54 / F +10 R +3 W +11 / Init. +0 / Perc. +5 / Sense Motive +13

Verik is giving some last instructions to two of his Abadarian Acolytes from atop his horse when he hears his name, followed by the always entertaining ridicule of his near-death experience. His cheeks flush in color as he tries to urge Virtue forward, muttering to himself as he does so. "Bloody well not going to hear the end of that one, am I?"

This morning Verik wears a full steel breastplate, much as he did in their original treks across the Stolen Lands over a year ago. This breastplate is very different from the one he used to wear, having come from Absalom not too long ago with his long-awaited validation from the Archbanker and several other items. The breastplate is polished to a near-mirror sheen, finely etched in the center with the Key of Abadar and enameled with gold along the center, as well as throughout the decorative scrollwork along the rims of the neck and arms. No longer bearing his stout but unadorned wooden shield, he now has a fine steel heavy shield attached to one saddlebag that is elaborately engraved with the Key Symbol of Abadar as well as etched with decorative scrollwork in a ring around the symbol. A light crossbow now hangs over the other saddlebag, and his former morningstar has been replaced with a finely crafted heavy mace that bears no sharp edges or flanges. Otherwise dressed in stout woolen breeches reinforced with leather and a white quilted cotton shirt, he wears a finely-woven cloak of Brevian wool that is white with golden trim, made in the southern style to be worn and clasped at the shoulder with no cowl. The cloak has the embroidered symbols of Abadar and the stag insignia of Newhaven upon it.

With Virtue's saddlebags packed full with supplies, rope and even a four person tent, Verik seems to be prepared for a journey halfway to Varisia.


Berrin feels great. Dressed in his armor, the dragon motif brestplate of interlocking plates, warm clothes of good wool and with his greatsword on his back and a bear pelt draped over his shoulders, riding Valnyr out for exploration and adventure. The horse is feisty and playful, picking up on it's masters mood, sidestepping, tossing it's head and nibbling at Berrin's fingers whenever he pats it on it's powerful neck.

Grinning at the announcer Berrin waves at the crowd, pumping his fist as they cheer, elated at their reactions to him he laughs along with them as they ridicule Verik. 'People of my own heart, simple and straightforward. Salt of the earth, maybe I should pick up worship for Erastil? That would rile Veril right good.' "At least their not calling you Bear-hugger'!" Berrin guffaws at the cleric, "Maybe I should put an effort into telling the story of when you charged that bear!" he says laughing.

Sharing their cheer for Jemini, their humor for Verik, their respect for Zander and their mixed feelings for Taisper Berrin also shares their mistrust of the Stag Lord reborn. 'Nikolai Rogarvia.' Berrin reminds himself as he looks, frowning at the man, 'What's Jemini playing at? He's dangerous at every level, he's outright evil by his own actions! Why'd she have to go playing at paladin with him? Does she know what she's doing?'

Putting him out of his mind he turns back to the road ahead. "Just like old times eh?" he shoots at Jemini riding just ahead of him at the head of the party.


Male Human Cleric (Abadar) 6th / Fighter 1st / AC 25/10T/25F / HP 54 / F +10 R +3 W +11 / Init. +0 / Perc. +5 / Sense Motive +13

"Oh yes Not-King, by all means let's do just that, and perhaps you can find Grigori to do the telling eh?" Verik's retort has that fine edge of sarcasm and irritability this morning which suggests his discomfort is a bit more than just the jibe. "I suppose we can then set to tale the time you fell down the trapper's pit and couldn't get your great big oafish self out to assist on that fight! What would your little Varisian vixen think about that from the 'Hero of Stagfall' I wonder?"

It is then at the remembrance of the fight at Orlivanch's cottage and what transpired afterwards, that Verik's face colors once again and he steals a quick look over at Taisper. "Forgiveness, cousin," he murmurs.


Berrin's grin falters a little at the mention of Grigori, 'Where'd he go anyway?' but resumes at the mention of their encounter with Orlivanch, though he glances at Taisper, remembering the sound of his morningstar shattering his skull wich brings back the memory of Taisper doing the same with the fallen Stag Lord. '*Thunk*, *Thunk*, *Thunk*' shaking himself he re-focuses on Verik. "When'd you develop a bite, Verik? As to me an' Emma, I'd think you were the last man in Newhaven that wanted a picture painted of our time spent in my bedchamber, among other places.." he winks at Verik, "..unless you've been studying that Vudrani pamphlet you and Jemini were so fond of!?"

Went looking to link the old ic thread but time-constraints forbid it.
Edit; It was basicly a kama sutra which made Verik blush and stammer a lot, drawing teasing from Jemini and Berrin.


Male Human Cleric (Abadar) 6th / Fighter 1st / AC 25/10T/25F / HP 54 / F +10 R +3 W +11 / Init. +0 / Perc. +5 / Sense Motive +13

Hehe took me a bit but I found that part on the New Beginnings thread on page 7 - boy that's just some great tit-for-tat dialogue with all of those early expeditions!

"Vudrani pamph...now that wasn't even Vudrani!" He waggles a finger at Berrin as his cheeks turn crimson. "You know very well that was some filthy drawing in a bandit's saddlebag and NO I was NOT fond of it with Jemini...or...without her or any of that!" Verik finishes his sputtering retort rather lamely with a guilty look towards Jemini. He waves his hand in Berrin's direction. "Bah! You look to provoke me this morning for some reason, but Cobblehoof's wings shall lift my mind and spirit far above your vulgar and base humor. See there." Verik adjusts his face to a neutral expression and closes his eyes in a visage of meditation.


Berrin chuckles softly at the cleric's vehemency, "Still, you remember it better than me..." he replies, letting the implication hang in the air as Verik struggles to regain his composure. "Well there's obliously an arch in your banking my friend. Perhaps it's time to straighten it, eh?" he say, nodding toward Jamini. "If you find a willing subject to help with the straightening, that is." Berrin guffaws, nearly toppling from the saddle to Valnyr's annoyance.


I just realised that I fulfill the "Sixth Ranger" archetype, thanks to my "Heel Face Turn". Damn you TVTropes!

It starts off slow. A quiet, rumbling noise. At first, the rumble of six sets of hooves masks it, but it builds slowly until the noise is unmistakable. Nikolai is laughing., his deep baritone voice echoing out as he fights the convulsions to stay atop his massive roan destrier. When the fit is over, he speaks for the first time since their departure, still wiping the tears from his eyes. "For what it's worth, I'm glad it waas you lot who killed me. Folks as joyus as you should never be put to the sword." He pauses for a moment, flicking a long glance Jemini's way.

Go on, you coward. She told you what to do. She gave you the words! Just say them, dammit!

"I wanted to...thank you for what you did. What you all did. Defeating me, Keeping Akiros alive, sparing those who surrendered, all of it. You helped show me a better path. A path that.. Jemini helped me walk down. If not for you, I would be trapped in damnation as we speak."

The massive warrior seems somehow small as he talks. While before there was a constantly simmering rage, now there is...something else.


Berrin looks a bit confused as he looks around for the source of the rumbling, finding it his confusion turns to frozen shock on his face. 'F%++ he's big!' he thinks, not for the first time. Even though Berrin was a full 6'1'' and just shy of 210 Ibs the Stag Lord, 'Nikolai! For f@+!s sake, Nikolai!' still dwarfed him. Berrin didn't like feeling small, Berrin didn't like Nikolai.

'I rule because I am strongest, because she has chosen me!' echoes in Berrin's mind as an image of the snarling, stag-helmeted, scar-burnt face of the Stag Lord flashes before his eyes followed by a twisting in his gut as he sees again the image of Jemini falling lifeless to the ground at his feet.

Reliving the rage he felt that day Berrin's face is hard as stone when he meets Nikolai Rogarvia's eyes. "Right." he manages coldly in reply, all joviality forgotten. "Glad I could help."


Male Human Heretic 5 Master of Many Styles 1

.


Male Human Heretic 5 Master of Many Styles 1

Taisper hangs back, as usual, keeping an eye on the group's flank. He only sort-of hears the banter between his cousin and Berrin, and gives a noncommittal "pshaw" gesture when Verik apologizes to him for something or other. Berrin, he notes, sounds overjoyed to be back on the trail, and Taisper certainly can't blame the man. I know I'd go crazy if I was forced to sit around on a big chair all the time.

When Nikolai speaks and a chill spreads across the group, effectively snuffing out the humor for the moment, Taisper sharpens up and pays attention to the interactions, but says nothing himself. The inquisitor has thought about it, and he realizes that he doesn't have any feelings for or about Nikolai one way or the other. He looked into his aura, into the divine projection of his very being, and found nothing there, so he didn't really have much to go on. Taisper also has no trouble separating the Stag Lord from the awkward giant of a man riding up in front of him; the Stag Lord was dead, Taisper himself had struck the final blow after he and his companions had chipped away at his defenses over the course of the fight. That was unquestionable. So this Nikolai was clearly a different person, and since he had no natural inclination towards good or evil, chaos or law, the inquisitor would afford him the same chance as anyone else to hang himself with his own rope. Taisper would watch him and see where he landed in the spectrum of citizens of Newhaven, and Judge him accordingly. In the meantime, practically speaking, Nikolai was as good to have along as anyone.

To pass the time, Taisper thought back to the group's departure from the city. Honestly he was more disturbed by the people who cheered for him than those who didn't. He was relieved when most of the citizens clapped for him out of politeness rather than joy or admiration. That was as it should be. But Ilyana and Nick jr....

Taisper sighs.


Male Human Cleric (Abadar) 6th / Fighter 1st / AC 25/10T/25F / HP 54 / F +10 R +3 W +11 / Init. +0 / Perc. +5 / Sense Motive +13

With a concerned look to Berrin just ahead of him, Verik turns back to look over - and up - at Nikolai. "I am unsure that we are properly deserving of your thanks, nor fully accepting of it, Nikolai Rogarvia. This is all highly unusual and far beyond any known protocols of propriety or etiquette, and I am truthfully unclear on how to proceed with it."

He takes a glance to his cousin, then to Jemini, and then back to Nikolai as he tries to formulate his thoughts into words. "When you...no when the Stag Lord killed Jemini and was slain in return at the Battle of Stagfall, it scarred and changed all of us remaining. It also set forth the events of this past year to make us...and Newhaven...what it is now. Jemini's sacrifice, and your downfall, made this place. Now that both of you have returned..."

Verik shrugs and gives a weak smile and slightly shakes his head. "I do not know what to say about this for now, for there is no precedent in all of my learning. Even if there were, it would be folly to look to a tome of history and expect to follow it to the same outcome. Let us just hope that a new start is in order for all of us."


Nikolai grunted in response to the priest's words. "A new start?" He asked, his tone laced with doubt. "I thank you for your kind words. But would that it was that simple. I've no doubt I'll be earning a lot of forgiveness for the rest of my life. There are a lot of people who I need to seek forgiveness from."

He rode silently for a few more moments, meeting no-one's gaze except the lady's. "I was the Stag Lord. And I can't change that. I don't even think I can ask for your forgiveness. I was the Stag Lord, and those crimes are mine. No excuse I can give will free me from that truth. I don't pretend that this process will be easy. While the last memories you have of me alive are of me...killing Lady Jemini, my last memories of life are of you all killing me. There's bound to be some difficult feelings all around." He paused for a moment. He hadn't spoken this long to anyone except Jemini in a very long time.

"But I trust Jemini, and her faith in you all. I hope that, in time, you can feel the same about me."

Good. Now she can't say you didn't try. You've done what you can now with words. What comes next has to be action. Are they ready, Nikolai? Are you? Nikolai didn't have the answers. Not yet, at least. But he was looking forward to learning those answers with Jemini.

All could see that while Nikolai was still a giant of a man clearly capable of great violence, he seemed...peaceful. Calm even.


"It's only natural," Jemini adds to the conversation, "Nikolai and I have spent a lot more time together than the rest of us - barring Akiros of course - and truth be told, it was Akiros that led me to believe that redemption could light your path." She grins to Verik, "Like-wise that means I'm not fully abreast of what has happened here in the last year, vudrani art, is it dear Verik?"


Male Human Cleric (Abadar) 6th / Fighter 1st / AC 25/10T/25F / HP 54 / F +10 R +3 W +11 / Init. +0 / Perc. +5 / Sense Motive +13

Verik's face flushes with embarrassment for yet another time as he opens his mouth to retort, then snaps it abruptly. Shaking his head slightly he takes a deep breath before continuing. "Yes well as I recall you tricked me into looking at that art, corrupting a poor innocent clerk whose only purpose was to serve and illuminate the rest of you in simple but steadfast devotion. Whatever happened to poor Verik Jarrow that he should be treated so wickedly?" He says that last part with such a tone of misery and resignation that even he cannot possibly be serious. "Hmmm...well dear Jemini if I still had any doubts as if it was truly you with yesterday's Dome they have been fully resolved now."

"At the risk of changing the subject to something else...well anything else, I have parcels for each of you when we take our first rest of the horses." Which by the pinching of this damnable saddle cannot come too soon - blasted me why cannot I earn wings from you Cobblehoof! "Well except for you Not-King Myrdal, though I see you still bear the fruits of labor that Tandlara and I strove to craft for you."


"I should think that you'll be looking forward to visiting Axis in the hopefully distant future, Verik," Jemini continues, "Even the footprints you make on the ground seem somehow... orderly. It's a little uncanny, but the beauty won't be lost on you, I think. But perhaps I should also warn you that just because it is a place of perfect law, it is not a place of perfect morality; regardless of what morals you ascribe to. As a place of perfect law, it naturally has become a haven of trade - and thus anything is available on the market." Her eyes turn a bit darker, "Including slaves," she adds a with a slightly bitter tone.

I'm expanding a bit here on Axis, the Eternal City, based on having read "Death's Heretic".


Nikolai laughed, long and loud as Jemini taunted Verik. "I've seen those little booklets before. They are...interesting. And a man should be familiar with such things if he is to entertain a lady. So study up, Adbarite, lest your 'key' get rusty." Nikolai grinned at Jemini. A good-natured ribbing had been shared between them more than once after the walls had come down. It was good to not being alone.

"At least the slavery in Axis is much nicer than other places." He said as the mood turned. He didn't really want to think about Hell. Or the River. Or any of the other terrible sights they had seen. But he couldn't switch it off. He couldn't unsee.

He shook the dark mood from himself.

"We're not far from my stash if you want to stop there for a moment." He offered, seeing the cleric's discomfort.

Sorry if I just run roughshod over your plans DMB. It just seemed like the right thing to say. How far is a hex of travel?


1 was hex was 8 hours to travel through, two days to explore.

Berrin sniggers despite himself at Nikolai's reference to Verik's key, blushing his eyes shift quickly between the party member to see if anyone caught his slip. He still didn't like Nikolai, though the rest seemed to warm up to him quickly enough. 'Maybe I'm being to hard on him? Jemini at least thinks he has been 'saved' or something, and what was it Taisper said about his aura? It was similar to his own? What does that even mean?' he broods, his glare directed to the road ahead though he's rely looking at Jemini. 'No. He still killed her and mauled the rest of us. But still, he seems somehow smaller. Deflated maybe? F##@! I don't know!'

"I thought you said it was just over a days ride south?" Berrin retorts to Nikolai, his scowl back. "Maybe your trip to the afterlife distorted your sense of distance or something but us mortals are gona need to sleep tonight." he snaps more harshly then he intended.


If Nikolai heard Berrin's snigger, he didn't say anything about it. "How long have we been riding?" The big man asked, in all seriousness. "My sense of distance is fine, but it seems my sense of time is hampered. The afterlife doesn't exactly keep to a mortal schedule, you understand." If Nikolai heard the snarkyness, he didn't react to it, his words calm and casual.

Give it time, Nik. Time. Of course, you might not have messed up were you able to see the sun properly, but what can you do? At least you're not totally blind, you ungrateful bastard.


Male Human Fighter (Archer) 6

Zander hears his name called out. He knew it was coming. He gives the slightest of nods that is exaggerated by the antlered helm. the people don't know him, and that is fine. All they need to know is that he is there for them, to protect them.

The others banter and laugh, this is a chance to stretch their legs. A time out of the town. They all seem to want the town, but I can see the changes it imposes on them. It is only out here that they can be themselves.

He is content to let them enjoy these first moments of freedom, trouble enough ahead will end the revelry.

..................

As he rides he steals the occasional glance at Nikolai. How odd that he falls in so quickly with us? Of course I can only go on what Jemini has told us. He is certainly the man we fought, but in a way he is not. Can second chances affect such change? I have come to understand a life given a second chance, but I am still Zander. But if he is no longer the Stag Lord, who is Nikolai. Who is it, that will tear the nation of Brevoy in twain.

Zander mostly keeps his eyes peeled for any sign Gregary may have left in his passing.


If you're just crossing a hex, it takes 3-5 hours (depending on terrain) on horseback. Exploring takes a full day.

As Sanctuary drops below the horizon behind them, the group travels south on their horses along the coastline of Tuskwater Lake. The lake shore is lightly wooded, with rocks and stones dipping into the water. The lake stretches out for miles and miles, far longer than they can see, shimmering in the sunlight as gentle waves hit the shoreline. The forest that surrounds Sanctuary is not as dense as it used to be, having accommodating the influx of population with its natural resources.

An uneasy quiet settles over the group. Nikolai's presence has thrown off the dynamics of the group. While similar to their expedition a year ago in some respects, the familiarity has taken on an anxiousness. It is understandable, considering that they sought to defeat the Stag Lord when they set out from Oleg's after Kressle's ambush, but now that very same man rides among them with the blessing (and possibly affection, as Verik notes bitterly) of their leader. Jemini herself is the same as she ever was, but different at the same time.

After several hours of riding, the group crosses through several miles of coastal flatlands. The rocks along the shore are finer and smaller, and there are even a few stretches of sandy beaches. They arrive around mid-day at the mouth of Gudrin River. Where it dumps into the Tuskwater, it is wide, deep, and slow. The lazy river is close to two hundred feet wide, and appears too deep to ford. A rugged-looking wooden structure stands on the close side of the bank, but appears abandoned; its single pier juts into the water, a ferryman's crossing. The shattered remains of a boat lay next to the structure, clearly not seaworthy. As the group rides closer, they see a note pinned to the back door of the building: 'Gone until I get a new boat. There's a ford about a dozen miles upriver. Be back in a few days. -D. Nettles'


Male Human Cleric (Abadar) 6th / Fighter 1st / AC 25/10T/25F / HP 54 / F +10 R +3 W +11 / Init. +0 / Perc. +5 / Sense Motive +13

"Master be praised, something constructed for a purpose at last!" Verik hesitates however with another look around, a frown growing upon his face as he surveys the ruined ferry and then the note upon the door. "Though it has seen better times certainly. I am no tracker of course, but this place looks abandoned for more than a few days. Can that note there have withstood the Spring's thaw and marks more time than this Master Nettles had estimated I wonder?"


Male Human Heretic 5 Master of Many Styles 1

Survival (Tracking): 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (13) + 11 = 24
"Well cousin, I am a tracker, and one thing I can say for sure..." Taisper intones as he sifts around the place, peeking in the structure, then stopping to look at the boat. "...this man needs a new boat." He gives Verik a solemn nod, then winks. Smiling to himself, the inquisitor does then actually look around for any kind of tracks, or for hints as to how long the place has been abandoned, but his hopes aren't particularly high that he'll be able to get a large amount of info from such a rough structure.


Suvival; Checking Weather 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (6) + 5 = 11

Berrin frowns at the state of the ferry and the shack. "We need to see to this don't we?" he grumbles, falling into the Stewards role unconsciously. A years worth of worrying over minuta, constant pestering over this or that and the un-ceasing council meetings had imprinted itself into Berrin despite his struggles and resisting. "How are people going to cross here if the weather brakes? Or in winter? When the river ain't frozen that is... Or at thaw for that matter..."

Getting of Valnyr he goes to stretch his legs and look around the cottage, seeing the note he frowns, trying to put a face to the name on the note. "D. Nettles? Ring a bell anyone?"


Male Human Fighter (Archer) 6

"Yes. Let's check out the structure. There might be a log or resister to let us know how long he has been gone. Or someone may have left of note of their passing."

Looking around and across the river. "In any case we will want this upgraded from a simple boat if we hope to have trade wagons crossing here."

Perception -> 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (4) + 7 = 11


While Verik pegs the place as abandoned for months (at least), Taisper's and Zander's more skilled eyes note signs of recent use. The wood of the boat still has fresh splinters where some creature with a massive maw has shattered its bow. He notes that whatever destroyed the boat had a bite wider than four times his hand's width. There are grooves on the riverbank where the boat was pulled ashore less than a few days prior. The building, which fairly ramshackle, is still in working order and has not built up the layer of grime and dust that true abandonment entails. The note does not have any splotchy marks or discoloration from being long in the air and sun. It is likely that it has just been a matter of days since D. Nettles left the area.

Nikolai:
Davos Nettles is a local ferryman who this crossing point belongs to. While most of the Stag Lord's raiding focused on the safer north, some of the bandits did go south. They would typically demand free fare in exchange for sparing Nettles, not to mention taking his meager earnings. They would laugh frequently and imitate his impotent rage over their fires at the fort.

Berrin:
It sure is sunny today.


"Weather seems to be holding." Berrin mutters to noone in particular.
I lol'd so hard at that blessed spoiler I shed a tear.

"Gnawed?" Berrin asks in wonder at Taisper's and Zander's discovery. "Can you tell what kind of beast it was?" he asks going to look at it for himself. "I'm not liking the prospect of a beast with a bite that big."

If it's relevant; Kn (dungeoneering) 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (10) + 6 = 16


Berrin:
It's definitely not an underground monster that did this.

You know this because you are not underground.

Knowledge: Nature DC 15:
The bite marks are similar to that of an alligator or crocodile, but also reminiscent of a snapping turtle in the locations and proximity of the bites. This creature is likely something in between, not an uncommon phenomenon.


Male Human Cleric (Abadar) 6th / Fighter 1st / AC 25/10T/25F / HP 54 / F +10 R +3 W +11 / Init. +0 / Perc. +5 / Sense Motive +13

Verik grins and shakes his head at his cousin's dry and well-timed humor, pulling out a map case from a side pouch of his backpack stowed in one of his saddlebags. He pays mild attention to the others as they discuss the recent use of the shack and the boat, as well as potential whereabouts of its occupant. Holding a sketched map of the Narlmarches before him, he turns it twice in his hands as he looks at the river and then the Tuskwater in the distance, frowning increasingly.

"A dozen miles to the ford? This is the Gudrin River is it not? That would...well that would take us well eastwards." He grunts sourly as he holds up his map. "Might as well have had a present for Lord Varn if we're going that far east, but too wide and dangerous to attempt a crossing here, yes?"


"If you truly want to secure it, you should build a bridge here, and a watchtower to guard it. I'm surprised Davos stayed as long as he did. Yanna and his brother were particular fans of taunting the ferryman." The big man said, recalling boisterous nights around the fire.

"Crossing at this place without a boat would be foolhardy at best. Fatal at worst." He told the priest.

K (Nature): 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (5) + 5 = 10

"Something obviously large did this." He said, referring to the wreckage. "What, exactly, I have no idea."

K (Geography): 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (14) + 5 = 19 <- Does Nikolai know of any better places to ford the river?


Male Human Heretic 5 Master of Many Styles 1

K(Nature): 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (1) + 5 = 6
Perception: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (14) + 8 = 22

Taisper shrugs noncommitally as he looks over the destroyed boat and moves on to checking for more prints and tracks, or to see if he can find a logbook of some sort inside.


Sometimes I got problems posting to Paizo, strange - my last few attempts have been met with "connection timed out".

"I don't suppose we have the time and timber to build a river worthy raft," Jemini looks dubiously at the remains. "But in the bigger scheme of things - would it make sense to construct a bridge instead? It would secure faster and more readily available transport for trade as well."


"Right." Berrin says in agreement with Jemini, "Maybe Davos would be eilling to take up a role around that instead of being a ferryman. We'd need someone to look after it wouldn't we?"


Male Human Fighter (Archer) 6

"I admire this Nettles. He faces bandits and continues his trade. He faces whatever chewed his boat to shreds, and he still wants to continue here. The man has drive. We should reward him for his pioneering tenacity...allow whatever lives in this stretch of the river will have to be dealt with. It would be good to have dealt with it before Nettles returns to face the beast again."


"A very good point - he'd also be able to act as a toll official; which should be enough for him to live with relative ease. At least once the trade picks up like we hope."


Male Human Cleric (Abadar) 6th / Fighter 1st / AC 25/10T/25F / HP 54 / F +10 R +3 W +11 / Init. +0 / Perc. +5 / Sense Motive +13

"How any man can exist out here in this lonely place by himself and not be driven mad is beyond me. I would 'reward' him for his ability to cope if nothing else."

Verik looks around at the shack and the crossing and then dismounts with a heavy sigh. "Most certainly I cannot 'mend' the boat as much as I'd like to. A rest for the horses then while we have a lookabout and a quick bite before pushing on upriver?" He takes a drink from his waterskin, and then starts rummaging through the saddlebag near his shield, bringing out items that are wrapped in simple cloth bags.


Jemini shrugs of a momentary lethargy, "So, shall we go upstream then? Some fordable bit of river should come up sooner or later."


"I dunno.." Berrin muses at Verik's rambling, gazing out at the flowing river. "Seems peaceful enough, man could do worse."

Snapping out of his reverie at Jemini's insistence of moving on Berrin nods in consent and mounts up on Valnyr, patting the beast on the neck as he paces impatiently. "The ford should have tracks to mark it. That boat isn't big enough to carry more than a couple o' men and their mounts at a time so it'd take too long for bigger parties. I'm sure the ford will be easy enough to find." Berrin surmises, compleatly forgetting the fact that traffic to Newhaven from the south has been scarce so far.


After a short lunch at the bank of the river, the group returns to their ride. The ford is easy enough to find, a little more than a dozen miles upriver. It has a well-worn trail on both banks from horses and wagons occasionally crossing the clearly visible ford through the surprisingly clear water. The bed of the river is hard-packed pebbles that are not more than a few feet deep. Berrin is first in the river, holding on tight to ensure that Valnyr does not fling him into the water. The ford is about thirty feet wide and about six or seven feet deep. The horses can cross it with a bit of effort to keep their heads above water. Taisper spurs his along quietly, followed by Jemini and Nikolai. Verik drills a hole into the back of Nikolai's head with his eyes, but he and Zander wait until at least Berrin and Taisper have made it across before crossing themselves.

Perception DC 22:

Stealth 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (19) + 3 = 22

Further up the river, there is a strange ripple along the slow-moving water. Looking at it closer as the group fords the river, you see it start to move towards the vulnerable group. It is moving faster than the current, thus it is likely not a natural occurrence.


If legal, Jemini will try to provide aid for the first person that does the check after this post:

Perception, aid 1d20 + 0 ⇒ (11) + 0 = 11

Jemini points upstream, "Is there a small dam upstream? Maybe one made by beavers?"


°Jemini is riding with Nikolai right? Shouldn't the aid go to him? I'm just asking because there's no way Berrin can make the DC even with aid.

Keeping his eyes locked on Valnyr as he crosses the ford Berrin distinctly remembers the last time he was near water with the horse. "..there we go boy...that's it...almost there boy.." he mutters more to comfort himself.

Perception 1d20 - 1 ⇒ (7) - 1 = 6 see..


Perception. 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (20) + 6 = 26 26? Boom! Nikolai eats DCs for breakfast!

Nikolai forded the river easily, thanks to both his own impressive height, and the matching size of his destrier. "Much nicer than the last river we traveled." The big man said, obviously talking to Jemini. "At least this one won't kill-" He stopped mid sentence as he saw the ripples moving towards them. "Oh hells." He spat out. "Jemini? The rest of you? We need to get out of the water. Now."

Making good on his words, Nikolai urged his horse out of the river.

Knowledge (Nature). Likely suspects? 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (1) + 5 = 6


Male Human Cleric (Abadar) 6th / Fighter 1st / AC 25/10T/25F / HP 54 / F +10 R +3 W +11 / Init. +0 / Perc. +5 / Sense Motive +13

Perception 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (8) + 4 = 12

Verik coaxes Virtue into the river with a great deal of bluster and unhappiness for both horse and rider. "Hairy stinking shack of fleas and flatulence! The river will at least take some of your vermin-friends away that your tail likes to swat at! Now...ya!"

At Nikolai's warning he suddenly looks up at him, and then around the river in a panicked search. "What? What do you see man? Virtue, s-stop boy!"


Male Human Cleric (Abadar) 6th / Fighter 1st / AC 25/10T/25F / HP 54 / F +10 R +3 W +11 / Init. +0 / Perc. +5 / Sense Motive +13

Sorry gang I missed this from an RP perspective, but Verik would have given out the remainder of the items he was holding at the Nettles place, so that should catch everyone up in terms of gear. I'll hold one item back for Taisper for later, but otherwise this should be the balance of it.

Nikolai:
Verik presents to him the repaired set of the Stag Lord's Leather Armor (+1), as well as his Rogvarian golden signet ring. He makes mention of the fact that his former Amulet was agreed upon to be given to Jemini, but Verik surmises that Nikolai doesn't object too much to that.

Jemini:
Verik gives her the Stag Lord's Amulet (Natural Armor +2) with some reservations, but makes an observation that it seems to fit her somehow. He also presents her with the cloak that he crafted for her. Finally, he states he will have a new circlet crafted to act as the symbol of rulership that will not be used - non-magical of course!

Cloak of Resistance (+1) Description: Finely woven cloak of Brevian wool that is white, woven with white brocaded satin on the back panel and elaborately embroidered with blue, white and grey silken thread in a scrollwork pattern down each edge, trimmed with white rabbit fur upon the cowl and neck. Made in the northern style with a full cowl and nearly full cape about calf-length, clasped at the front. The cloak has an embroidered Stag Insignia of Newhaven on the brocaded satin on the upper back panel.

Circlet of Alluring Charisma (+2) Description (from Berrin's inspiration): A circlet made of silver with an inside covering of fine leather to protect the brow. The silver band is inlaid with gold in a threaded decorative pattern, interspersed with moonstones and small rubies that give the appearance of being woven into the pattern.

Zander:
Verik gives him the cloak that he crafted for him, noting that he was trying to make it so it would not give away his position in the forest on a hunt.

Cloak of Resistance (+1) Description: Finely woven cloak of Brevian wool that is dark brown, embroidered with a simple scrollwork pattern using varying shades of brown thread around the neckline and cowl only, made in the northern style with a full cowl and ¾ cape about knee-length, clasped at the front. The cloak has an embroidered Stag Insignia of Newhaven upon the inside edge so as to not attract attention.

Taisper:
Verik gives him the cloak crafted for him, noting that he picked a "southern" Inner Sea style for both of theirs, though Taisper's was crafted to be much less showy and obtrusive, which seems to fit his movement in the world. Verik mentions he has another gift for later, but wanted to explain it when they had more time and freedom to talk quietly.

By 'southern' style I envisioned a Roman style of wearing the cloak where it is adjustable in how you clasp it, or could be used as a blanket even.

Cloak of Resistance (+1) Description: Finely-woven cloak of Brevian wool that is white, simply embroidered with white thread in a stitched chain link pattern, made in the southern style to be worn and clasped over the shoulder with no cowl. The cloak has an embroidered golden key symbol of Abadar and the Stag Insignia of Newhaven upon only one side, so the wearer can decide to conceal them or show them based on preference.

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