|DM Lil B|
Ten years past, the free city of Cettigne was wracked with plague and famine. In order to survive, the populace was forced to join the nation of Molthune. Molthune provided the food and healing necessary to survive, but in return has been trying to send the Free City Citizens’ Militia to the Nirmathas border. The populace has resisted peacefully so far, but tempers are quick to flare, and the peace may not last. Receently, the Marshall in charge of the militia was replaced after the old Marshall succumbed to old age. The new Marshall, a half-elf woman named Vikaela Lightshaven recently sent 30 men to the Nirmathas border to appease the Lord General.
It is the morning of Erastus 30, and four new members of the Militia, Marana, Rois, Argor, and Kynrael, have been called to Vikaela’s office. Vikaela looks you each up and down, ”You’ll Do. I’d like to introduce each of you to the newest member of the Militia. He recently rescued a small child from a wolf that had been terrorizing the farms to the west of the city. I have questioned him thoroughly, and find he will make a welcome addition to the Militia depite his heritage. Pork, come in here please.” From Vikaela’s private chambers a small goblin enters the room.
Argor observes the three others that had been called into the Marshall's office casually during her initial...introduction...of the newest member to the militia. At mention of his "heritage," he takes a newfound interest in her words, but as the goblin is called out, he quickly loses interest again, and casts a wondering eye to the Marshall.
Dire times these must be for Cettigne if we have resorted to the recruitment of goblins and other creatures of the wilds. Have the methods of Molthune already set into our way of life?
He then glances to the others that are gathered, expecting someone to verbalize their protests any moment.
"Yes, Ma'am!" Pork exclaims and struts into the room, arms swinging across his chest. As he halts next to the Marshall he turns and faces the whole congregation. Doing so slides his helmet precariously on his head but it doesn't fall. He has a smug grin on his face, awaiting more praise from someone who commands high respect from these large-folk.
I'll do? Rois frowns. Nigh fifteen years of service, and I'll do? He gives Vikaela an appraising look. I'm not yet sure that you'll do. His eyes are hard, but he does not voice his misgivings.
His gaze moves warily to the others in the group before coming to rest on Pork. Rois finds himself remembering the Militia routing a band of goblins on the outskirts of the Backar Forest, years ago. Quick little demons, they were. And two emerging for every one felled. Could be handy if we had a squad of the little buggers...but just the one?
This one wasn't like Borosh. Borosh was a hobgoblin. Bigger. Could wield an axe as tall as his person. I hope this one can too, else I fear his reach will do us little good.
|DM Lil B|
Vikaela looks over the group. "It appears there are no objections... Good. I have a mission of some importance. To the south of us, the mining village of Estinhome has experienced some disappearances recently. I'd like you to head down there to investigate. The mayor Tomas Hengate will be expecting you. Gather anything you need for the journey, and head out. You can borrow horses from the stables if need be. Any questions?"
Marana looks at the little Goblin as Vikaela gives them their mission briefing.. So I guess they do exist outside of Cheliax afterall. She thinks.
She looks at Vikaela and asks Do they know anything about why these disapearences are happening? Are they kidnappings or some sort of weird magic?
Argor looks to Vikaela, "Yes, Marshall, I have some questions. What are the nature of these disappearances? Has there been any evidence left to suggest that they aren't merely individuals moving their family out of Molthune given the...recent political situations in the nation?"
Argor then, more to himself than anyone else, continues on, "And a horse just won't do. Too difficult to perform my research on horseback. Perhaps a wagon or carriage..."
A goblin? He did save a child, I suppose. Still... Kynrael speaks slowly as if carefully choosing his words, his gaze leveled at Pork, "While I will not pretend to trust you, I will trust Marshall Vikaela's discretion in this matter. Welcome aboard, Pork."
Kynrael makes to fall back into line, but hesitates a moment. He cocks his head slightly as Argor begins speaking, perking up as he hears mention of a wagon.
"I make no claims on Argor's behalf, Marshall, and I mean no offense to Pork here, but it might be best if we are able to secure a wagon and some concealing garments for the goblin. A goblin brazenly approaching the town might cause a scene, which is probably the last thing they need on the heels of these disappearances. I will abide by your decision, either way."
|DM Lil B|
Vikaela listens to the questions and concerns of the group and responds.
"The disappearances are happening while the citizens are travelling between their homes and the mines. So far, nine townspeople have gone missing. Three vanished on their way to the mine, and six on the way back. We do not have enough information to determine if this is a magical phenemenon, kidnappings, or even possibly a wild animal.
I would provide a carriage, but have none available at this time, as the Lord General's wife has taken her entourage on a shopping trip to Canorite." Under her breath "for the third time this year."
She continues, "I have sent a messenger ahead to let the mayor know that you are coming, and to make him aware of the makeup of your party. Just make sure you keep your insignias displayed, and you should have no problems.
I will reward you bonuses of 50gp each when you return. You will get an additional 50gp each if you discover and remove the cause of the disappearance as well as 10gp for each townsperson returned alive. Now if there is nothing else, you should be on your way if you wish to make it there by nightfall."
Pork was worried that his companions would strongly resent his presence, but even Kynrael seemed willing to give him a chance, which was more than could be said for most goblins. The Marshall’s words sounded urgent, or annoyed, Pork had trouble telling. At mention of the reward Pork’s mouth began salivating. Even with the minimum payment Pork would be among the richest goblins he ever knew. Any doubts he had about joining the Militia vanished, as he was already imagining what feast he could have. After firmly patting the emblem on his sleeve he rushed outside and headed for the stables, barely able to exclaim "don’t worry we’ll find all those missing people!"
Argor listens carefully to the Marshall's answers, and is obviously frustrated to learn that no wagon is available. When the goblin bursts out of the room, he first turns his gaze to the Marshall, then to those he has been assigned to work with, and rolls his eyes.
"Then let us be off, before our fearless leader there decides to eat his horse rather than ride it." He then turns to the door, holding it open for those in his party to exit.
That goblin won't even make it out of the city alive at this rate..
Argor departs after both Marana and Kynrael exit. I'll let one of these two handle the citizens with the issue of the goblin and obtaining the horses.
|DM Lil B|
|DM Lil B|
With that, she sits down and starts reading through the prior weeks reports.
Rois arrives in the stable to find the others have saddled and prepped their horses. A livery boy waits with a horse he has saddled for Rois.
Does anyone have anything they would like to do before leaving the city?
All set, and ready to depart.
Kynrael pats his grey mare softly on the neck. "It's been a while since I've taken the old girl for a ride. I think a little summer ride might do her some good."
Casting a quick glance to the rest of the group, Kynrael trots his horse out in front of the stables before turning about. Now absent from the shade of the stables, his eyes begin to shine a radiant silver as he addresses his new companions. "Perhaps we should take the opportunity to get to know one another a little better on the ride to Estinhome. At the very least, I should like to know what my new brothers and sister in arms are capable of."
Good to go
Argor tugs against the reigns of his mount, and replies, "Argor Constantine, former apprentice to Master Calandrel, at your service. I have heard of you from those that had visited with my master at his study, Sir Dawnmantle. I am interested to travel with one of your kind."
"I led the fiercest bunch of bow shooters in all the lands. I've lived through many bloody battles, so when we get into a fight stay close to me." Pork said, pressing a thumb against his chest. He noted Argor's trouble with his horse, hoping that a "former apprentice to Master Candle", whatever that is, could fight better than he could ride.
"I can't say that I'm familiar with this Master Calandrel of yours," Kynrael begins, "but he has heard correctly."
Kynrael then begins to explain himself to Rois, the words sounding almost rehearsed. "Angelic blood courses through my veins. It is a rare phenomenon that has occurred within the Dawnmantle family throughout the ages. So, in short, one of my ancestors were an angel, and I have inherited some of their qualities."
"As to my what I bring to the table," Kynrael says as he pats the enormous, square-headed hammer at his side, "I prefer to keep my enemies close - makes it a lot easier to hit them."
And here I thought the goblin's heritage would receive all the attention.
|DM Lil B|
You leave the stables and head to the docks. A ferry carries you across the river, and you head towards the mountains and Estinhome. It is a fairly well traveled road, the road is quite level from the transport of minerals from the mines. You stop at the side of the road for lunch and continue on afterwards. A few grim faced people have passed you by headed to Cettigne, but none seem interested in talking.
I will let you roleplay getting to know each other a little, and we'll get to town tomorrow afternoon.
Argor stretches his back after clumsily dismounting from his saddle. Loathesome beast! If people were truly meant to ride an animal, they could have chosen something with a smooth step.
After securing his horse to a nearby limb, he then finds a shady spot beneath a tree to lean back against, stretching his bedroll out beneath him so as to keep his robes clean. He then rummages through his backpack and removes some jerky and his spellbook. After taking a small bite of the dried meat, he spits the small morsel out to the side and casually mutters a spell under his breath, making well rehearsed gestures with his free hand. The meat in his hand glows soft white for a moment. He then takes another bite, this time relaxing back against the tree. May not share the same texture, but at least it still tastes like buttered sparrowfish filet.
Argor then begins reading over his spellbook, casually keeping an eye on the actions of the rest of his traveling companions and any passing travelers on the road.
As the company marches Pork begins singing an old traveller's song, which also doubles as a raiding chant. This isn't unusual as most goblins only travel for the purpose of looting and fighting. Pork invites anyone able to speak his native tongue to join him:
Travellers from every vein
Can attest to the hardships sour,
Of long nights sleeping in the rain,
Counting every hour.
But goblins, we are hardy folk,
What others call cold we call a joke.
Where there’s a stump there’s a table for three,
And the darkest cavern is a luxury.
But on journey’s end
Our drums’ drums ascend.
When I draw my knife
You should run for your life.
The joy of song and tall tales told,
Is nothing compared to the smell of gold.
When they stop for lunch Pork had already grown hungry and finished half of his meal, eating comfortably on horseback. As everyone settles in he asks, "These people we pass by are so sad, do all large-folk travel that way or do you think it has something to do with our assignment?"
Rois cannot turn his eyes from the singing goblin. I'd never have guessed they had songs. How any living being could understand that language, I cannot fathom...
Later, over lunch.
Rois eats in relative silence, though he does answer Pork's question. "Dour faces are abundant in Molthune, goblin. I wouldn't think anything of it."
|DM Lil B|
As the sun begins to set, you arrive in Estinhome. It is a small town of about 35 buildings. The largest building is on the main road. It has a sign that reads The Jumping Gnome Inn. As you make your way towards the inn, a large balding man approaches you.
"Greetings Militiamen, I am Arnem Hansper, mayor of Estinhome. I am glad you have come. The stables are just past the inn. My daughter Leddy is there to tend to your horses. I will meet you inside. I am also the innkeeper, so I have rooms ready for you."
You drop your horses off at the stable and enter the inn. The mayor has laid out a supper for you at a large table. It appears that you are the only ones in the common room.
"Been a quiet week. Most people are afraid to leave there homes after dark. I sure hope you can find the cause of these disappearances. I've had to put a halt to mining, and without the mining, there's no reason for our town to be here. Several people have already left town and gone to Cettigne, and I fear by weeks end, the rest of the town may follow."
Argor is visibly relieved when he arrives at the stables. FINALLY! Be gone you mangy beast!
He listens carefully to what the mayor has to say, but says nothing in the streets. Argor makes sure to try to seat himself so that the goblin would not be directly beside him. Once seated inside, Argor raises a few questions.
"Mayor Hansper, if I may. I can only assume by the lack of information that there were no witnesses and entire mining groups were going missing at once. How many people were in each such group? How long have these disappearances been happening? And..." Argor pauses to reach for a piece of bread, "...and did they increase in frequency prior to the cancellation of mining activities?"
With a name like The Jumping Gnome Inn Pork was sure that the owner knew how to cook a good meal. Although the food looked delicious there was a distinct lack of gnome, a sign of hard times, Pork thought. Still, he was first to sit himself at the table and begin eating. As dusk set in and Pork grew full he asked their host a few questions "So what are you mining down there, and how deep does it go?"
|DM Lil B|
"Well, we're only about a half mile from the mine, so it's not unusual for a person to make the trip alone. The first and third disappearances were by themselves. The second time it happened it was two people, but four days ago, a group of five went missing as they were returning in the evening, so I had to cancel all mining activities. As for what we mine, it's mostly copper, but we get the occasional gemstone."
Argor looks carefully at the mayor as he asks his next question, "Have you or any other citizen to your knowledge done anything that might have made this town an enemy who might be doing this?"
Also, Knowledge (Local) check to see if I have happened to hear about anything regarding Mayor Hansper's activities here. 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (4) + 9 = 13
Kynrael dons a smile despite the somber atmosphere. "Mayor Hansper, your troubles are at an end. Discovering the cause of these disappearances is but a drop in the lake. We shall bring justice to those perpetrating these heinous acts with such swiftness and wrath that none will dare seek to take advantage of Estinhome again for countless ages to come."
His fervor beginning to dull a bit, Kynrael leans forward with elbows on the table and hands clasped before his face. "As to the matter of flushing out the miscreants in question, whoever they should be? The sight of approaching militiamen might scare away the cowards behind these troubles. Perhaps it would be worthwhile to appear nothing more than a group of miners as we approach the mines."
Argor listens to Kynrael's speech while taking bites from a buttered to roll. Great, so this one is going to be the religious zealot sort. He rolls his eyes to himself as he looks down to pay more attention to his meal than Dawnmantle's rant.
Noting the change of tone in Kynrael's voice, Argor catches the last bit of Kynrael's plan. Perhaps he is capable of using tactics and strategy after all...
Rois grunts in Kynrael's direction. "Hope you didn't sign up with the thought that our insignia would inspire fear and awe." He attempts to smile, though the pain of his still-healing scar and the memory of his new comrade's eyes shining silver leave a scowl upon his face instead. "Not a bad plan, but if I'm a coward, up to trouble, and I see the first group of miners to visit the mine after five days of nobody, I'm gonna wonder at it."
|DM Lil B|
The may or considers your statements. "I hope that you can bring justice to these villains, if they be intelligent, and it's not some animal or group of animals. You can disguise yourselves if you wish, I'm sure we can gather clothes around town to fit you all, but being there are no goblin citizens, I'm not sure how easily he will be to disguise. As far as enemies, we have none that I no of."
He has sudden revelation. Oh, I didn't mean to mislead you, the first person that disappeared wasn't a miner. He was a scholar, maybe a wizard. He said he was down here looking for old Dwarven ruins.
"Not the first talk we've had of disguise, and Kynrael's already named the means. A handcart and some linen and the goblin is hid. Keeping him from the sight of all the town for our entire stay didn't sit with me, but for a half-mile walk...could do." Rois takes a thirsty gulp of water. "I'm not opposed, if the plan serves our purpose, but does it?"
Wizard? Dwarven ruins? Perhaps there is more to this than simple banditry.
"I agree with Sir Dawnmantle in regards to the necessity of disguises, but am concerned for those of you wearing all that cumbersome armor," Argor taps a plate of Kynrael's armor with his finger, "That will be difficult to conceal, and I am certain would be difficult to haul and get into in the field."
"Be sure, mining folk are simple, but they spend their lives chipping away at mountains. Anything but weak, miners, even at the close of a hard day, and still they were taken. And this first disappearance was maybe a wizard? We need to be prepared for anything, and that means weapons and armor." Rois pauses for a moment, surprised at himself. Been a lot of young recruits with big, clever plans. Some of them are in command now. Others are dead. These two are a rare sort though, and I'll stand with them.
"Listen to me growl and bark." Rois grunts in laughter. "If we can manage this ruse at no disadvantage to our defense, I'm all for it."
"Argor raises a good point," Kynrael says, nodding to his armor. "Although, it might also prove to be an easier sell as a group of returning miners. Miners who do not mine do not earn. People who do not earn do not eat. Go hungry for long enough, and a man becomes desperate. Desperate men might hire on muscle to keep them safe long enough to put food back on their tables."
Looking now at Rois, and then to Pork, Kynrael continues, "As to Pork, I believe that concealing him in a wagon temporarily would be best to avoid raising eyebrows at our passing. A heavily armored guard makes sense; not so a goblin. Besides, small as he is," Kynrael chuckles towards Pork here, an obvious attempt to avoid sounding insulting, "the wagon will give him higher ground to pick his targets."
All this talk of battle plans gets Pork so he excited he forgets to chew his food and nearly chokes on a slice of pecan pie, Kynrael's joke didn't help either. After clearing his throat he agrees with the group's assessment of the situation.
"We don't know anything about these disappearances so we should be cautious and ready for anything. Kynrael and somebody else can pose as guards while the rest of you pretend to be miners, be warned though that those posing as miners will not have their weapons in hand if there's a conflict. I'll hide in the cart and stand up at the first sign of trouble, and to further avoid suspicion we can leave early to avoid the locals." Pork pauses for a moment in thought then says "In fact, if we leave early enough we may not even need disguises, except perhaps me. If we are facing simple hooligans we can catch them while they sleep, but if it's something more serious then all of us will be ready and armed."
Argor looks on in mild amazement at the goblin as he talks. This creature speaks better Common than half of Cettigne! I wonder who took the time to teach him...
"I have no trouble posing as a miner, as I am fully capable without a blade in my hand. Also, whatever would be likely to 'ambush' us would likely attempt to eliminate armed guards first as opposed to those who appear to pose no immediate threat," Argor says. Which also works in my favor...
"Of course I would much prefer a wagon for travel as well, not only to aid in the ruse so we 'have something to transport our goods,' but also so I don't have to ride that fly covered, foul smelling beast again!" This last part Argor says with disdain dripping from each word.
The goblin is a singer and a commander too? Next he'll be leading a devotional...
Rois turns to Argor. "Just hope you never have to ride such a beast to Nirmathras. Hope that for us all."
He stands, having finished his meal. "The plan is good, and Kynrael posing as a guard makes it great. Perfectly reasonable that the miners would hire somebody to protect them. Also that they'd wait a few days, then proceed with caution. I can pose as a miner myself, I think, with a cloak over my leather, and a quarterstaff in hand. My swords...well...I'll put those in my backpack. Good?"