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DM-Tareth's Modified Kingmaker Campaign

Game Master Tareth

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Warren walks over to Sari and warns, "What Mr. Redcloak did is only for adults, you children should never try that."
Warren winks at Kams.
I don't think I would ever try it myself.

The colorfully dressed dwarf stands up with a shout of triumph as the log jam gives way. The rumble and crash of the churning debris brings a sparkle to his eye and he watches with delight as the water level rapidly drops.

Ho! Ho! Did you see how well it reacted? It worked like a charm....Ow!

It's only then that he feels the tap of a fist on his shoulder from Burdo. Porter's brother points at Kams as he streaks past behind the horse.

"Used a bit much didn't you?" Says the taciturn Burdo.

Porter's smile turns into a slight grimace, "Well....I had to be sure."

Both dwarves, close their eyes and flinch as Kams enters and then bursts through the shrubs. The expressions repeat as the hapless man hits a rather deep puddle in the road sending up an impressive spray of muddy water. Finally the two sigh with relief as Thad manages to bring the horse and ranger to a stop.

Pushing his hat back from his eyes, Porter says in an exasperated voice, "That"

Chuckling at Tityanna's comment Donal says, "Rest easy. I've no desire to go for a swim, tinker with Master Porter's alchemical creations, or...." He pauses for a second, with a mischievous glint in his eye as he points at Tityanna's shoulder, "...step in front of rapidly moving, pointy sticks."

Male Human Ranger

Kams stands slowing, extracting himself from the rope. He wipes mud and leaves from his face, relieved that he kept his nose and mouth to the heavens, avoiding the cuts and lacerations he feels across his shoulders and down his back. Master Deadeye, thank you for my continued survival. I will seek to do better, or at least to act wiser in the future.

He waves to Thad for his timely rescue, returns Warren's wink, nods to the dwarven brothers, offers a half bow to Alaina, then walks straight off the bank into the shallows at river's edge. Though muddy, the cool waters ease the strain in his muscles and clean much of the caked mud, leaves, and twigs from his form.

He wades back ashore, careful of his footing, stalks over to his gear, and finds something to sit upon as he slips on his stockings and boots. Looking to the others, Well, seems I made a mess of things. Thanks all for saving my bacon. Looking to the river, and the vestiges of the dam, At least the river's clear, and we can check the bridge's safety. Looking to the dwarves, Five or six feet, eh? Dwarven measures must be off what I imagine, I'll know to double 'em in the future he smiles, before wincing at the pains across his back. He stands, feeling some of the more painful spots, only then noticing the hole in his breeches' arse. He quickly dons his cloak, before turning, red and embarrassed, to Alaina and the other ladies present. Sheepishly, My apologies for the exposure. I meant no disrespect.

At least this time Ali, I actually did have my pants on.

Female Human Sorceress (Fey) 1/ Oracle (Life) 1

"Spare your wit for a sillier and slighter woman utterly incapable of lifting a tower shield," Tityanna replies to Donal's jest before leaning back and allowing the alcohol in her belly to work its pride-healing magic. "Ow," she says finally when the slight movement brings stinging pain from her shoulder.

As Kams quickly wraps himself in his cloak, the young Alexsis Meyerson blushes a bright red, but offers a quiet, "That was bravely done, Master Redcloak."

Sari Meyerson appears to be having a serious fit of the giggles. As Warren tries to offer her a warning, she's unable to stop laughing while trying to recount every detail of Kams short adventure.

Ursula and Duella continue to work on the bandit leader, while the other bandits remain subdued and under the watchful eye of Stephanus.

The other settlers gather around the bridge for a closer look. As the waters recede, the rattling and vibrations of the span get weaker but never quite stop as the river is still running higher and faster than usual. After little over an hour of close inspection, Donal and Burdo both pronounce the bridge safe under the condition, that only one wagon is on the span at a given time.

As the day progresses the rain finally starts to ease up and by the time the bridge is discovered to be safe enough, a few rays of sun break through the cloud cover to provide a bit of warmth to the damp dreary day.

Male Human Ranger

Kams smiles as Sari tells his tale, taking it all in stride. I've done worse, eh Ali, if they only knew.

Kams volunteers to lead each wagon across the span, feeling himself one of the more qualified amongst the group, given his years of travel from Galt through the River Kingdoms. I've had much experience with horses, draft and riding breeds. I've spent time as a teamster and guide as well. I should have a better shot of leading them across safely he claims, boldly bragging to hide his concerns. Plus, he quietly offers, I'm more expendable than any one of our charges. Loosing a wagon would be a terrible blow, but me, not so much.

To convince the others to let him try, 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (5) + 5 = 10

Kams does change into drier, whole clothes, feeling somewhat better for his earlier trials, injuries, and embarassments. He spends a few moments with Yori, going over the lad's handiwork with a mentor's pride and discerning eye. Nice work. I knew I was right to leave this job to you. When we start to move the wagons over, I want you to be the one to secure the blindfolds. I don't want the beasts bolting on me, and I trust no one else. Good job young man. He pats the boy firmly on the shoulder, much as he would one of his fellows rather than as he might a child.

Looking to the bandits, he only shakes his head and frowns. To no one in particular, Kams muses, The're bandits, we can't simply forgive their crimes. They must be punished, they must pay penance. If naught else, a year and a day in service to what new community these folks build. Let them work for freedom. A dark cloud crosses his features, That, and first face me in a circle of equals, blade-flats to earn such a priviledge. Let Erastil judge whether they're worthy of serving the community before bringing them on. If they can't hold to a drubbing, then be cleansed through the pain, they're of no use to us, and not to be trusted.

Bruises earned through working for the greater good heal the deepest hurts, soothe the darkest hearts. I should know. Ali, I miss you so.

Female Human Sorceress (Fey) 1/ Oracle (Life) 1

"We've a greater issue to discuss before our guests," Tityanna opines from where she is seated to rest in the evening. "Their leadership is highly organized, stratified, and commands obedience. We... cannot even seem to communicate amongst each other at any given time," she says and sighs.

Male Human Ranger

I assume this happens at night, after we have crossed the river, and made camp for the evening. The group is assembled, apart from the travelers, for quiet discussion.

Rising, Kams speaks. Well, if you insist, I humbly accept the position of being your leader. It is a job I do not relish, but it is a job I will accept, for the betterment of us all. As your leader, I will look to you all for guidance, for suppport, for obedience to the vision we all share. With your wisdom and respective talents, we will tame these lands, destroy these foes, and build a future here that generations to come will look to as a shining beacon, lighting the way to freedom and prosperity for all.

Kams stretches tall, head back, looking into the distance, for just a moment, then loses his composure, smiling and chuckling at himself, at his outburst. I am sorry Tityanna, I know you are serious, and your concerns are justified, but I could not help myself. He looks to the others, judging their reactions, before attempting to continue. Making sure none of the settlers are nearby, he speaks.

We do need some cohesion, yes, but leadership? We are in over our heads against a foe we do not yet fully understand. We are in the wilderness, and despite what some of you may think, we are on our own. Charters and leaders will not matter much when hungry, when cold, when facing wolves, or when bandits beat down our doors. Here, in these lands, we are the law, the authority, and we need to start here and now acknowledging that fact. In Galt, I saw what happened when the people let the charismatic, the entitled, or the bewitching lead. Razor Jenny feeds on the misery and lust that follows those same followers. People want to be lead, it is a weakness, of a sort. It is a way of avoiding responsibility for oneself, and for the communal good. Leaders lead, followers follow. It is the way of things. Erastil preaches to the needs and good of the community, but acknowledges foremost a father must rule, a mother must govern, children must obey, but all combined must love one and another. We, my friends, we are the uncles, the aunts, those others outside the family. We are to see to the needs of the whole community, to be of the group yet alas apart from it.

Kams stops, realizing he has said much, too much out of turn, and out of station. I apologize, I'm sorry. I am lowly born, nothing in me to speak of nobility. But I have been ordered, I have been bullied, and I have been led, by threat and by leash, to the point I cannot bend knee anymore. If I am to be here, it is to make something more, not for myself, but for Yori, for Sari, for those yet to come and for those lost to us. Choose what leader you wish, I will accept them, but not because I seek to follow. I will strive here, alone if need be, to either build something more than what we've known, or die in the attempt. Leadership matters not in the long or short of it. Leaders never last without those that support them. They either crush the life from the people in fear, or suck the life from them in vanity. Such is not for me. We have a group of goodly souls here, both in ourselves and in those we protect. We act, and we strive, in each and every instance, together, for each other. When others have risen against us, we have prevailed, together. This we did as fellows, as friends, or so did I, for my part. I see little reason to change that. But, waving his hands, turning to leave the group, I concede to the will of you all. Let the community decide. So say you all, so say the ways of Erastil. Peace to you in deciding this.

Kams heads out into the cool night air, alone, to wash away his thoughts. The sounds of the night, the wind, and the rolling fog his only companions.

Ali, you sure filled my head with that stuff, didn't you. Can't believe I'm actually sounding out your side these days. I'll be lucky to have a place to roll out a blanket before this journey is over. But, I'd give it all up to have you back sis.

Sovereign Court

Male Human (Taldan) Bard (Archivist) 1

Once the caravan gets across the river, Stephanus resumes a watchful place at the back. This time he walks crossbow in hand, staying to the most solid footing he can find on the shoulder of the road. When the rain seems to have stopped, he actually lights the stogie he's been chewing these many days and puffs it briefly. The pungent aroma of the tobacco finally drives away the lingering taste of mud and river.

Once a campsite is found for the evening he peels off the layers and finds places for them to hang and drip dry in the breeze. He shifts to his only change of clothes and does what he can to help put the site in order.

Later in the evening, he listens to his colleagues' exchange. He makes a placating gesture as he joins his voice to the debate.

"We've been ambushed twice - through no fault of our own that I can see. We've reacted relatively well to those adversities so far, and the people we're escorting have shown themselves to be resourceful and resilient."

"For my part, where the questions of justice or 'civic' leadership are concerned, I think the folks we protect here and any that choose to follow them will largely determine that with us. I've not come on this expedition with grandiose ideas of imposing my will upon the lives of others. The very opposite, in fact. To my view, the exercise of authority is a thing perilous to the soul of man. It is corrupting by its nature. Prolonged exposure to it will turn a person into an insufferable boor, unable or unwilling to listen to or partake in an honest exchange of ideas."

"But its possible to talk about communication and coordination without devolving into politics. The nature of this caravan spreads us out and makes it hard to defend. And we're evidently walking into a situation more perilous than I'd personally considered, given the coordination we already see in our enemies. Is there something we can do tactically to help warn us of threats or act more cohesively?"

Extended conversations like this are tough in pbp format, so here's more Stephanus after his new friends have weighed in.

"On the strategic side of the debate, Tityanna you seem to know the politics of Brevoy much better than I. What connection do you see between the slaughtered patrol and this ambush? Would they have let them pass? The note seemed to suggest that they were coming from the direction of Oleg's, but the bandits intimated that the outpost was shaken down while they were blocking the road. Is it time to question our militia friend and see what his story is?"

Aliana stretches aching legs as she listens to her companions debate that evening. "Gods.. I wish we were there already. I won't be sorry to not have to sit a horse for awhile...

"I can appreciate your reluctance to take up the mantle of leadership gentlemen, but I believe Tityana is correct. Order is neccessary for success in this endeavor, and order requires leadership and direction. Now whether we need lay out the order of government this night may or may not be needful, but I do think more order and cohesion would be helpful in ensuring we arrive at our destination.

Twice now we have been ambushed. I think it wisdom to proceed as if expecting further attack on the road ahead. We should develop some sort of operations to deal with such occurances. Set watches, perhaps a whistle or horn, blown in code to warn of danger. Three blasts could be warning of attack and upon hearing, the caravan would automatically know to circle and arm themselves... She shrugs a bit, blushing. I am no strategist, but I believe that if our enemies are coordinated and we are not, we will fall.

Female Human Sorceress (Fey) 1/ Oracle (Life) 1

"Thank you, Lady," Tityanna says after Aliana has spoken. "You speak more eloquently than I can hope to, considering," she continues and grimaces in pain as she shifts to sit a bit more upright when addressing her peers.

"It was not my intention to impose a dictatorship among us, but to establish... responsibilities?" she tries. "Communities are founded and maintained on the premise that a group of individuals share priorities and burdens and lend whatever strengths they possess towards prosperity."

Tityanna pauses and inhales slowly, appearing to be very careful of her injury. "What is known of our enemy at this moment is that they've access to items produced by very powerful and evil magicians who dabble in enchantment magics. Assuming we can neutralize the base threat of the persons who administer or otherwise deliver them to their victims, I will certainly not forget that there is such a magician near.

"As for the lady's suggestion, I would question the usefulness in the long term of a single alarm code. This land is theirs, first, and we have little intimate knowledge of it ourselves. Between the animals and the wagons, we are not traveling lightly, and we do leave quite the track. As divided as our attention is to our personal pursuits of late, it could very well be that we have had some manner of scout, or perhaps several relaying information to our enemies as we passed. This weather has slowed our travel, but it would not a single outrider on foot, or horseback, for that matter, especially if he knows his destination."

Tityanna sighs. "To be sure, I do not wish for a repeat of this morning, my injuries or the suddenness with which what little rest I was enjoying after being treated was interrupted by an explosion without so much as the courtesy of a warning."

Concerning Stephanus's addendum

Tityanna shrugs, "Politicians are rogues and scoundrels, not bandits," she replies, a queer smile forming on her lips. "To be sure, I favor the simplicity of bandits. The patrol represented a foreign interest in these lands, a military interest," she corrects herself after a moment, "perhaps not well informed or prepared, but organized. Any leader of sense who wishes to continue to hold power would bear down hard upon his subordinates and forestall any threat to his power base. I would say that our foe has likely stepped up his recruitment in response, and that their raids will likely be more frequent in light of that."

Considering the unconscious patient, Tityanna taps her lips briefly. "I would he continued to sleep as long as he ought. What we learn might divide our attention further, and our destination, if naught else, is clear."

"I think we all have our strengths and weaknesses. I have survived in the wild almost my entire life, while exploring and in combat I have no problem leading. I have been responsible for those two already."

Warren points to the two eagles.

"When it comes to organizing and building a kingdom, I leave it to those who know the matters of nobility, politics, and state."

Warren points to Thad.

"As a man of the wild, if I went to visit a kingdom, that is the type of man I would expect to see in charge. I am not saying he is the most qualified, but he looks the part."

I am giving Thad some leeway as his avatar just looks shifty.

Having successfully crossed the bridge and journeyed a few more miles on the muddy road, the caravan comes to a weary stop early in the evening. Seeing their companions deep in discussion, the settlers busy themselves with their own tasks, giving the group all of the time and space they need.

Elf Paladin 2

Thad stays quiet through much of the discussion about issues of communication and leadership. He's not going to bring it up while everyone is gathered about, but he believes her injury to have more to do with running toward battle without a weapon, shield, or scrap of armor than it does with any lack of communication. He does chime in when Kams brings up how the bandits should be dealt with. "Aye, there needs to be some sort of punishment; a chance to work for penance and atonement. I think a year is plenty though, a 'year and a day' invites influences that might be considered... unwholesome."

He looks up in mild surprise when Warren mentions building a kingdom. "I admire a healthy ambition, but it's a stretch to spin a handful of charters that grant right of exploration and the duty to administer justice into a kingdom. Maybe a barony, at best" He adds with a wink, then straightens his posture and puts on his best regal airs while speaking with a strong Brevan accent, "And I can certainly look the part! As a proud elven warrior I am heir to millenia of tradition, privy to the secrets of the cosmos and the mysteries of the ages! Of course I can lead this humble lot of settlers to glory!" Then the effect is ruined when he breaks out in laughter that slowly dies to a chuckle. "Heh. I had a buddy who would joke with me about that sort of thing all the time."

Thad is of the opinion that this whole discussion is due to Tityanna not wanting to admit to herself that her injury was due to her own lack of common sense in combat. No OOC criticism intended, it worked out brilliantly!

Male Human Ranger
Thad Tanner wrote:
I think a year is plenty though, a 'year and a day' invites influences that might be considered... unwholesome."

The added day is for final judgement and dismissal from penance. It is not meant for chicanery or nuisance, but represents the end of service, and the dawn of a new day. If we are to release the bandits, free and clear, then seeing as how we have no tar and feathers nor brands, then a good drubbing, in fair combat mind you, seems justified to remind them what fate awaits them should they return. Weakness will be exploited, strength will be feared, fairness will be respected. What kind of people do we wish to be? Remember, our message is as much to the bandits as to the settlers we are to protect, perhaps lead, alike. We want both to see us in the "best" light.

The last day is usually the day of release, to guarantee the victimizer serves the full year's penance to the victim. If the service is one that has reshaped the "penitent man," then he is usually welcomed into the community as a true member. If not, he is usually sent packing, having paid his due but unwelcome to stay amongst those he wronged. Goods and funds to provide for his journey away are offered, but no more. Except for his room, board, and upkeep, all other funds garnered from his service go to the community or household in which he offers or is sentenced service.

Female Human Sorceress (Fey) 1/ Oracle (Life) 1

Tityanna's eyes rest on Kams for a moment, then slowly move to Thad when he begins speaking of creating a kingdom, her smile soft as her eyelids appear to droop. "I for one find nobility insufferable," she hums and seems to struggle pulling herself upright. "A community is far more personable than a court, and gossip between neighbors is typically less malicious and inflamatory.

"If we are to maintain our charges, the safety of the children must be considered first," Tityanna opines. "And second, whether or not we are in a position to provide food and adequate shelter. I have no qualms about returning the tools required for gainful employment to them, but the sword is an instrument of war only, and I would not feel comfortable allowing them to remain among us armed."

"I do not know of this year and a day. Attacking women and children with intent to do murder is more serious than that. I could see commuting a sentence later, but at least five years labor or imprisonment for this."

I do not want to fight these bandits annually.

Sovereign Court

Male Human (Taldan) Bard (Archivist) 1

Through years of subtext reading Stephanus is adept at expressing and recognizing subtle tensions in speech. He deflects to more solid ground, pushing the conversation away from the personal and back to the practical.

Don't make me bust a Diplomacy roll on you guys. :)

Stephanus continues to press the question he sees most pertinent. He points at Thad and his duty to administer justice line.

"This is the salient point, ladies and gentlemen. There's no one to pronounce judgement on such banditry but us. No one to execute that justice but us. These men may be known for much worse already by the people at Oleg's. Oleg may want these mens' blood, for all we know."

"We're the ones bearing the piece of paper and the apparent responsibility, though. Which begs the question: which one of you is volunteering to be the new gaoler of Oleg's outpost? Who will oversee a year or five penance that we may choose to "hand down" to those men?"

"These are not theoretical questions, friends. Each mile draws us closer to our destination. The questions trouble me because I do not have satisfactory answers to them."

Male Human Ranger

Assuming Stephanus called Kams back for the discussion, I will serve as executioner, should that be the decision of the group. Such men are little better than beasts, so I shall feel little more than such to them. As to one year or five, we have no evidence that they would have killed the women and children present, so typically the lighter sentence seems fair. Oleg would have to inform us further in these regards, unless you casters have means of ferreting out more truths. Any accused of death, murder, or rape, well, I have already agreed to administer justice in those cases if so decreed. The penalty for wanton banditry, I believe, is still death. These men should know what they face.

Kams pauses, then continues. We know they were at the least intent on stopping our progress, at the order of another. For that alone, sentenced service to our band would suffice, or more to the point, the settlers present. Leave one to the Deepsilvers, another to Master Donal perhaps, and the last save for Master Oleg. These men would pay for their crimes as well as potentially learn a valued trade. Jail would not be necessary, as the servitors would administer order to the servants, the strictures of such based upon the actions of their charges. Good behavior begets good treatment, for prisoner or for child. Still perhaps some here may wish a bond servant to aid them in some fashion. I have no care in such regards. Granting freedom on a promise I think would set a bad precedent and image, both to those we protect and to those who would exploit them. Promise the moon, but deliver not the cheese, and yet the lackeys of the Stolen Lands will be satisfied. No, I would oppose that, but again shall accede to your decisions, my objections thusly noted.

Female Human Sorceress (Fey) 1/ Oracle (Life) 1

"I agree with execution for rapists," Tityanna adds for herself, sparing a glance for Kams before screwing her features up in a grimace of pain as she rises without the assistance of her injured arm, "but the settlers should be allowed to choose whether or not to take on our penitents as... apprentices," she says.

Male Human Ranger

My apologies, I merely offered names by way of suggestion. Naturally it will be decided by the individuals if they wish to consort with criminals, even for rehabilitation. If none choose to participate, then death, branding, or disfigurement remain potential punishments to assure the community it will not be bothered by these three again.

Warren speaks deliberately, "I tend to be in the middle when it comes to laws or freedom. I wish to point out that the lawful are quick to inflict servitude on others not appreciating the effect it has on those who believe in freedom and lack of order. In this case servitude is deserved, but the consequences for those unaccustomed to law and structure are more severe than to those of civilization and law."

"I could not imagine being chained up in doors for even one year."

Warren shakes his head at even the thought.

"So are we set upon servitude? How will we ensure that these bandits will remain pliant and not take the first opportunity presented to run, or worse to attack us from within? It is one thing to talk of servitude as punishment when we are established and have the means and resources to enact such, but right now we are but few, and we are spread out, and we travel through apparently hostile lands we know little to nothing of. The thought of adding parole officer to our list of duties does not sit well. It makes me uneasy."

Elf Paladin 2

Thad falls quiet for a time and watches his companions as the debate continues, then at a lull in the conversation decides to speak his mind on the matter. "A man is not redeemed by chains and bondage. If he doesn't have an honest desire for atonement within his soul, then their bondage is little more than slavery. Their labor must be an act of penance, not servitude. I believe that even though a person has committed banditry he may be more than just a bandit- and yes, the same for other crimes as well. One who has murdered may be more than a murderer, one who has raped may be more than a rapist. I believe the soul yearns for the spark of nobility, and that spark may be kindled to a fire in all but the most dedicated of villains."

"I'd offer mercy and assign penance to any who would swear to turn from banditry, and if a gaoler of some sort is needed then I will oversee their works." Thad looks to Aliana at her question and replies, "How does Warren ensure his eagles will 'remain pliant' and not run away or worse, peck our eyes out in the middle of the night? Through bonds of compassion, friendship, and respect. To seek to 'ensure' it any other way touches upon the same bonds our enemy uses- be they chains of iron or of blackest sorcery!" He rubs his hand subconsciously, the limb still withered and gaunt.

Female Human Sorceress (Fey) 1/ Oracle (Life) 1

"With respect, one who murders and rapes has committed a crime not only against the victim, but their family and the community at large that is so heinous that we should not be debating whether or not we should welcome them into ours for a term of penance," Tityanna says, her cat-like eyes narrowed. "I will not share a living space with a man who forces himself upon another, nor suffer any other woman or girl here to."

Tityanna sighs and sways where she is standing. "It seems cruel to me to have brought them this far if we are to kill them, to allow them hope they might survive. I might join the interview if I could continue to stand on mine own two feet, but I believe I have taxed myself quiet enough all ready. Pray, excuse me."

"Well, let's hurry to the outpost and pass judgement. Thad may be able to divine if they are truly of an evil nature. In that case execution seems warranted. Anyone truly penitent can do some forced labor. I can see bringing one at a time on our explorations to learn more about each one."

I am eager to see the settlers journey end so they can end their wandering and grow roots.

Any news on the hostage we rescued from the Worgs?

Warren: The man is resting in the back of Ursula's cart. His fever has broken and he has been awake and eaten a little. Until this point Ursula has kept anyone from questioning him until he gained a little strength, but now she says it is fine to for him to talk and answer questions.

Male Human Ranger

So, our options for these men, and I presume any others we meet, are DEATH for the deserving, SERVICE "serf" not slave for the penetant, and MERCIFUL FREEDOM for those not wishing to be redeemed, yet not desiring to pay for their crimes either? Kams shakes his head, continuing. At least in the River Kingdoms, a man that gives his word then breaks it is duly warned his life is forfeit to all others he encounters. One of the few River Freedoms I actually wholly supported. Kams looks out towards the prisoners, trying to imagine how quickly these men will circle round and run back to the mistress they fear more than this band's mewling. These men are here, now, in lands claimed by Brevoy, acting against Brevic agents, with the knowledge they are committing banditry. By both Brevic law and the code of the River Kingdoms, their fate is decided steel to steel, life itself in the balance. Offering a year of service, not slavery, goes against neither code to my understanding. Mercy may be Master Thad's to offer, and I mean no disrespect, Erastil be praised as is deserved, but I fear many victims may feel that such a right is theirs alone to grant, and they may have call not to give it so freely. The community should have more say before these bandits are freed. Thinking to the occassional farmstead he'd encountered on his journey north, raided and burnt, How many families have fallen under the blades of these men, or others like them, while yet others in the band simply watched, doing nothing. Even one is too much to offer simple freedom without at least some price being paid. Should you wish to free them, then I say bind them by oath, let them earn that freedom in a trial by combat, flats if desired, then send them on their way, as lightly armed and prepared as the simple travelers they waylay and despoil.

Female Human Sorceress (Fey) 1/ Oracle (Life) 1

After quitting the conversation with her companions, Tityanna returns to Puck and considers how useless she has made herself that she cannot even remove his pack saddle for the evening. Still, she does her best to pack his feed bag with a few oats and brushes his fur where she can access it, speaking to him softly in Sylvan all the while.

Her chores completed for the day, Tityanna kicks out her bedroll near Donal's wagon and prepares for bed, considering the logistics and advantages of carrying a tower shield into battle.

As Tityanna attempts to fix her bedroll, Donal steps up a quietly clears his throat. The aroma of hot, mint tea drifts from a mug he offers with one hand while gesturing towards the back of the wagon with his other.

Looking at the wagon, a comfortable space has been cleared out and lined with a bedroll and couple of additional heavy blankets. The canvas has been rigged to provide cover, privacy, and protection from the elements, while still offering a reasonable view to both sides and the rear of the wagon.

With a sincere smile the blacksmith says, "Ursula said the tea should help with any pain, and I thought you might prefer something a bit more comfortable than the hard ground. The cold ground certainly won't do that shoulder any good." Gesturing to a few chests sitting on the dirt under the wagon he says, "I had to move a few things around, but you should be comfortable and decently secure for the night."

He pulls on a thin rope strung to the canvas which easily raises or lowers the cloth, "Just pull on this to raise the canvas and get a bit of a view. Drop it and the cloth falls back into place. There's a nail to tie it off if you need to."

As the discussion winds down, a tired and weary looking Ursula approaches Thad. With a glance to the former bandit leader stretched out in her cart, she says, "I'm not sure that man will live."

She shivers slightly, "That was a terrible wound, and created by dark magic indeed. I've done what I can, but it's really beyond my skill."

Seeing Thad's arm, she grimaces and shakes her head. With a stern look she admonishes the elf more out of concern than anything else. "You should have seen me about this sooner. I've something that may help, although it won't be as effective as a priests healing."

Searching through her kit, she pulls out a small jar of orange cream. Popping it open, she gently rubs the rose scented ointment into Thad's hand and lower arm. Almost immediately the blackened skin gets just a little lighter in color. Watching the effect carefully she nods in satisfaction, "This should take care of it in a day or two." She hands the jar to Thad, "Apply another dose tomorrow morning and again in the evening if the color hasn't returned to normal by then."

Turning to the rest of the group she asks, "Anyone else have any injuries from today I should treat? Don't hold back, even the smallest wound can easily be invaded by infection or rot if not taken care of properly."

A slightly haggard looking Fulton Meyerson joins the group around the campfire as Ursula deals with Thad's hand and arm. His eyes roam the camp a few times before he let's out a breath and says quietly to those nearby, "Quite a day, today. I think that serpent must've taken a few years off of my life when it slithered out of the river."

He's quiet for a few more moments and then pulls a scrap of paper and a small wooden sun carving from his pocket. Glancing over at his wagon, he hands the paper and sun charm over to Alaina and says, "You seemed to get along well with our half-orc friend. Sari found this tucked in the wagon a bit ago. Seems he was called to other duties."

The charm is a rough carving or the sun symbol most often associated with the goddess Sarenrae. The note is written on a scrap of paper. Judging from the markings it's likely from a copy of The Birth of Light and Truth. Written in a rough handwriting is the following note:

Dear Friends, It saddens my heart to say this, but Sarenrae has called me to another task. The visions came to me just as the serpent began to attack our party earlier today. Struck by the awesome power of the goddess, I was unable to assist during that dangerous encounter and even now the goddess guides my hand, more so than my own free will.

Yet, Sarenrae in her wisdom, is not unaware of the challenge her calling has placed upon you all. In response she has granted the charm that accompanies this note with the ability to heal minor hurts and wounds. It has enough power to invoke the healing three times, so use it sparingly. To activate the charm, simply place it over the wound and call on Sarenrae for her blessing.

By the time you get this, I will already be well on my way to the west and whatever challenge must be addressed.

Sarenrae bless you all, Zavac

Charm of Sarenrae: Cure Light Wounds, 3 charges

Elf Paladin 2

"Aye, I really should have seen you sooner, there's just been so much to discuss..." Thad looks somewhat tired as he accepts the jar from Ursula, "Thank you."

Elf Paladin 2

"Aye, I really should have seen you sooner, there's just been so much to discuss..." Thad looks somewhat tired as he accepts the jar from Ursula, "Thank you."

He gives a relieved sigh after reading the note. "That is... amazing. And quite a relief. He will be missed, but I had feared him swept away by the river or carried off by some beast. My prayers will go with him on his quest."

Warren is a little despondent at Zavac's disappearance.

Just when I started to really get to know him.

Warren is even more vigilant as they approach their destination and has his eagles out to scout around with him.

Perception Tuney and Warren 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (5) + 10 = 151d20 + 6 ⇒ (4) + 6 = 10

Sovereign Court

Male Human (Taldan) Bard (Archivist) 1

Stephanus steps up at Ursula's offer of medical treatment, discreetly unbuttoning his shirt and exhibiting the blossoming bruise on his chest.

At word of Zavac's departure he shakes his head. Having a worshiper of the 'Scorcher in the East' in the company made him nervous from the first, and also slightly ashamed of the prejudice he carried with him from home. He deliberately mouths a silent psalm to his dead god, benefited to the questing half-orc if not his goddess.

He smiles in gratitude to the healing and says, "I for one am thankful we have someone skilled in the healing arts coming to setup on the frontier. Will you offer a discount to repeat customers when you setup your shop?"

He'd already resolved to focus his efforts on a healing spell. He'd seen them practiced enough in the past and felt more confidence daily in his ability to pull the trick off.

Seeing the breaking up of the group's conversation and feeling somewhat guilty for pushing Tityanna past the point of her endurance, he retires to his tent. He retrieves the fangs and the bloody rag and carefully washes away the gore. When they're clean he lays one out on the blanket before him and sketches the item to scale, along with his impressions of the monster itself.

The small glowing fetish silhouettes his shadow on the tent wall rather later into the night then he'd intended. Once the journal musing started, the words poured out of him and onto the page in close-written lines.

Female Human Sorceress (Fey) 1/ Oracle (Life) 1

Donal Egillson:

Tityanna leans against the wagon, and raises the cup of tea to her mouth to smell and taste the brew. Her eyes are heavy lidded, but she smiles even though she feels as though she is swaying on her feet.

"And where will you sleep?" Tityanna inquires softly. "Within sight, perhaps?"

Tityanna's smile fades about the edges and she sets the mug down on the wagon carefully, then pulls herself up with her good arm. "Its quite a... different experience having a man near, much less one so capable." She kisses her fingertips and then lets them glide across Donal's cheek, and pulls herself further up on the wagon.

"If you wish to stay warm with me, I will trust that you can maintain your decorum with an injured woman."

Male Human Ranger

Kams feels the tightness in his wounds from all the evenings activities. Seeing Ursula administering to first Tityanna, then Thad, and lastly Stephanus, he balks from asking for yet more assistance. Instead, he seeks out a quiet place, and removes his clothing, exposing his injuries. He attempts to bathe himself, removing any dirt or debris that might still be clinging to his wounds.

Healing Check 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (2) + 2 = 4 Kams is still down 6 HP.

Well, perhaps a good night's sleep will help me feel better come the dawn.

Kams bundles himself up in warmer clothes, makes his bedroll as comfortable as possible, then seeks out Warren for his turn at watch. Soon, I'll rest up, might have a busy day tomorrow.

Donal tilt his head slightly as Tityanna runs her fingers across his cheek. A slight shiver runs through his body and his eyes almost seem to glow in the night. With a smile and quiet laugh he says, " good lady, while I would like nothing better, I fear there is only room for one. And Ursula was adamant that you need rest for her medicines to work."

Taking her hand, he brushes his lips lightly across each of her knuckles then helps her get settled. With a quick look at another simple shelter set up next to the wagon he says, "I've a place nearby. Just call out if you need anything."

DM Rolls:

Happs - Fort Save(DC20) 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (5) + 4 = 9
??? 1d100 ⇒ 34
Watch - 1d6 ⇒ 5
??? 1d4 ⇒ 3
??? 1d20 + 16 ⇒ (13) + 16 = 29
??? 1d20 + 16 ⇒ (2) + 16 = 18
??? 1d20 + 16 ⇒ (16) + 16 = 32

Stephanus & Tityanna PER(DC18):
Deep in the middle of your watch well after the moon has set and the stars provide the only light, you hear a quiet rattle from near the fire. As if one of the cook pans had moved.

Stephanus & Tityanna PER(DC29):
At the same moment you hear the pans shift, you catch a glimmer of movement in the area where the bandits have been secured.

Stephanus & Tityanna PER(DC32):
Something has certainly entered the camp. You hear and catch out of the corner of your eye the quiet movements of at least two if not three small creatures. One near the cooking gear, one near the bandits, and another near one of the chests in Porter and Burdo's wagon.

Female Human Sorceress (Fey) 1/ Oracle (Life) 1

Tityanna untrained Perception 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (18) + 1 = 19 oh wow, the dice gods decree it shall be!

Tityanna was fairly dozing, her mind awash and drifting between visions of a device that would allow her to easily carry a tower shield into battle and waking Donal in the morning proper when a glance of movement shattered the peace she was enjoying. She takes a breath, centers herself and speaks the spell Message in Sylvan and points at Stephanus.

Stephanus, DC 25 Perception:

"Something has moved near the cook pots. Do you recall seeing any vermin when we made camp?"

Under the guise of being cool, Tityanna begins moving closer to the fire, rubbing her slung arm gently with her free hand.

Sovereign Court

Male Human (Taldan) Bard (Archivist) 1

Perception 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (20) + 4 = 24

DM ruling sought:
So is a straight up 20 an automatic success on the perception - meaning I can read all the spoilers? Or is it just a 24, meaning I can only read the 1st DM spoiler?

Stephanus: Perception skill checks that result in a natural 20 are considered a critical success and that usually trumps any DC, so go ahead and view all of the spoilers. (Of course, I always reserve the right to overrule this. ;) )

Tough watch to sneak up on...

Sovereign Court

Male Human (Taldan) Bard (Archivist) 1

Critical success is good.

Stephanus shifts his crossbow to his left knee. He bends and scoops up a wood chip from the spot where the firewood was chopped earlier this evening. He whispers a light enchantment on it, and tosses it at the closest of our intruders. Gremlins will get the campsite woken up but racoons just merit some shooing.

In case you need an attack roll for the throw...

Ranged attack 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (2) + 2 = 4

Doh! I chucked my wood chip into the woods. Hopefully it stayed within 20' of something,

DM Rolls:
Missed Throw Direction 1d8 ⇒ 1
??? - Stealth 1d20 + 16 ⇒ (20) + 16 = 36
??? - Stealth 1d20 + 16 ⇒ (20) + 16 = 36
??? - Cast Invisibility(Self)

??? - Initiative 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (13) + 4 = 17

The yellow-orange light of the wood chip lands just beyond the cook gear and for just a moment a cat-sized creature is silhouetted by the magical light. Part tiny humanoid and part cricket, the startled creature waves it's hands in the air and then suddenly disappears.

The other movements and sounds from around the camp come to an abrupt halt and everything is still and quiet. Until one of the bandits, waking up from the light lets out a startled, groggy, "Hey? What the...."

Female Human Sorceress (Fey) 1/ Oracle (Life) 1

Identify Rolls:

Tityanna Knowledge (Arcana) creature - 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (1) + 5 = 6
Tityanna Knowledge (Nature) creature - 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (13) + 5 = 18
Tityanna Spellcraft? 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (1) + 5 = 6

Tityanna's eyes widen as she watches the little cricket creature suddenly disappear. When the bandit stirs, she looks to Stephanus, and speaks in her whisper.

Stephanus, Perception DC 25:

"It would not do to wake the camp in a panic over this minor incident, would it?" she sounds almost hesitant.

Tityanna's attention moves to where the bandits are lying out and she frowns, considering what manner of trouble the trio of them will cause for the group now.

Catching a glimpse of one of the creatures, you think it might be a Grig. A tiny fey known to inhabit the River Kingdoms. Part humanoid and part cricket, they are typically good in nature, but are often extremely curious and insatiable pranksters. They do have some natural magical traits, but you simply can't recall at the moment exactly what those abilities might be.

Sovereign Court

Male Human (Taldan) Bard (Archivist) 1

Stephanus replies to Tityanna in a hushed tone, "There are likely invisible fey among us. Cast a light over by the Dwarves's wagon. I think there's another of the creatures by the chests. And mind the explosives..."

He casts light on any stationary object he can see near the bandits, then levels the crossbow and starts in that direction. He's nervous a frisky cricket-man may have freed one of our convicts.

Knowledge(arcana) or (nature) 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (20) + 7 = 27 to identify bugpeople.

In case it's relevant: initiative 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (11) + 2 = 13

Female Human Sorceress (Fey) 1/ Oracle (Life) 1

Stephanus, Perception DC 25:

"One was a grig, a... magician. They are not inherently malicious, but curious," she replies.

Tityanna winces when Stephanus raises his crossbow, and forgetting her injury, rubs her afflicted arm for warmth. The shock of the pain sends her mind wheeling.


"Good lords and ladies, if you would please, treat with us," she requests sweetly. "Some items we have are quite dangerous, and I do not wish ye harm."

Tityanna untrained Diplomacy 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (13) + 4 = 17

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