30th day of Talistril, on the road outside of Oleg's Trading post. About 100 miles from Restov.
The party of seven have finally come to their destination. It's been six long days on the flat dusty road, with the plains land south of Restov being relatively featureless. A border of calm between Brevoy and the unstable Stolen Lands. This group of men is one of four chosen to tame the country. To strike it of it's impurities and ready it to be forged into a kingdom. At this point it seems appropriate for them to review the charters granted by Lord Mayor Ioseph Sellemius.
Be it so known that the bearer of this charter has been charged by the Swordlords of Restov, acting upon the greater good and authority vested within them by the office of the Regent of the Dragonscale Throne, has granted the right of exploration and travel within the wilderness region known as the Greenbelt. Exploration should be limited to an area no further then thirty-six miles east and west and sixty miles south of Oleg's Trading Post. The carrier of this charter should also strive against banditry and other unlawful behavior to be encountered. The punishment for unrepentant banditry remains, as always, execution by sword or rope. So witnessed on this 24th day of Talistril, under watchful eye of the Lordship of Restov and authority granted by Lord Aoleski Surtova, current Regent of the Dragonscale Throne.
The rugged fort stands tall with it's front gate open wide. A keen eye might recognize this structure as a military one. An abandoned border fort from one of many failed attempts to colonize this territory. The walls are ten feet tall and repairs can be seen all along them. At the four corners are twenty foot square watch towers. Dilapidated catapults peak over the edges. A thirty foot gate is opened wide. Drifting on the breeze is the smell of baking bread and the sound of hammering.
When the seven of you enter the gate, five on foot, two on horseback, you're met with a homely sight. Inside the fort are three buildings. A large one to the west which closely resembles a stable, a medium sized structure to the east faces a small barrack. From the house a thread of smoke rises being carried away by the wind. Standing at the top of the ladder is a stern looking man busily repairing the roof of the barracks.
As the party enters the central yard he looks over wiping his brow, "Ho there, about time you fellows show up."
While he climbs down the ladder a fetching middle aged lady exits the house carrying a clay pitcher. She spots the adventurers and runs hastily over to his side, a warm grin spreading on her face.
"My name is Oleg leveton, this is my wife, Svetlana," he says shortly, "Welcome to my trading post."
Right now though you all stand before Oleg. I'll answer any questions you ask in OOC regarding surroundings or descriptions or checks as soon as I can as well as provide NPC reactions on the rather then waiting for everyone to post as I would for a round of combat. Now would be a good time for introductions.
Corso Gaczi, the rogue
Ox, the cavalier
Garick Nowicki, the ranger
Janku Tolliver, the cleric
Lukasz, the sorceror
Kalsgrim Lodovka, the paladin
While Ox is normally assertive in situations where others address any of the Lodovka's in such a manner, He has been told that Oleg's Trading post is Key and it won't doy at all to get off to a bad start, that said, he isn't required to respond to the man either. He alreasy has questions for them man and wants to get strait down to business. There are Bandits and lawlessness in these lands that need to be broken, and the sooner the better. For the moment he will hold his tounge and let another make the first move on introductions.
Ox being a bit paraniod of the unbroken land and the wilds around it, finds the little outpost in and of its self an oddity to be studied.
He studies the lay of the small fort and peers about looking for other inhabitants, or worse still bandits.
He didn't see one bandit on the whole way to the out post and was disappointed that the adventure didn't start before they had even arrived.
Slowly but surely The younger of the Nowicki brothers will dismount Noir and pat the horse on the neck. Not yet ready to relinquish the beast and feel secure in such a rural setting. He waits for his lord ship to intro duce himself as befits him.
Perception1d20 ⇒ 6
I like red, white and black, though if you already have plans for those, hot pink will do.
Servayn steps forward, Ember stalking at his side, head tilted as it regards the surroundings through slitted golden-green eyes.
His own eyes rest upon the un-diplomatic man before him, and lingers only so long upon his wife as to afford a slight bow, recognizing her more pleasant welcome, but not appear unseemly.
"We arrived with haste, sir, as you can see," he gestures at the road-dust on their clothing, "we dallied not on matters of luxury or decorum, as we are, like yourself, men of plain words, and direct action, not courtiers come to criticize the product of your labors from perfumed palanquins."
Diplomacy check to give a 'salt-of-the-earth' vibe, which, hopefully will set his mind at ease that our party isn't a bunch of upper-class twits come to get themselves (and them) killed on some ill-conceived foolishness. 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (15) + 9 = 24
Red would be ideal for Servayn.
"You'll have to pardon my husband," Svetlana apologizes, "He can be gruff at times, but his heart is solid gold. Please come, sit at our tables and I'll fetch lunch for everyone." She gestures to the two wooden tables beside the fire pit. After a small courtesy she leaves Oleg's side for the house.
Hearing Servayn's words seem to brighten him up a shade. He even manages a slight smile at the company.
"Got word of a group being sent south a few days ago from a trapper come through," says Oleg wiping his hands off on his leather apron. "Been over a month since I started sending requests for the king's men. Why don't I stable your horses and we'll have some food. Svetlana's had a stew makin' all day. Won't let me taste the damned thing."
Oleg seems to notice Ember for the first time, "Huh. Odd beast there. Reminds me of a tatzylwyrm. Hope it minds better."
Ox perceives nothing more then the basic surroundings. The trading post seems to be tidy and well kept. The storage pen is noticeably empty. No animal noises can be heard from the stable, and besides a cheerful singing coming from the house no other human noises.
A brief and ‘thorough’(6!) look around the fort convinces Ox that it is more than likely bandit free, that and the fort folks aren’t at all tense.
After hearing the misses explain the man so plainly and have him not even mind the explanation, it seemed to take a bit of the edge off the man. He now understands him a bit better and can relate. That and the man had just offered food and stable, A good stew could make the couple some of his favorite people in the world, particularly since they’d likely be some of the only other law bidding folk they would see for sometime. I’d like to help… Noir can be spirited, and I like to make sure he knows, I know where he is. Ox reaches up and takes off his helm. Where are my manners, you know my horses name before you know mine. I’m Rallen Nowicki, you can call me Ox. That there is my brother Garick. he points at the ranger, even though he knows he tends to be quiet around folks. Garick gives a nod and most of a smile. This is m’lord Kalsgrim Lodovka and well, I guess I’ll let the rest of these blokes speak for themselves.
As he first sees the Fort, Corso tries to remember whatever rumor or tales he's heard about it.
Knowledge (local): 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (2) + 6 = 8
Coming to its porch, he cannot fail but notice the quietness about it and the absence of vitality that would be expected from such a place. A place no one calls home...
As he meets Oleg and Svetlana, he responds in kind, laughing: "Thank you for this most unexpected welcome! Certainly, as my colleague Krolz pointed, the stains on our clothes is proof enough that we made good haste to get here in the best of time. As we stand in front of you, we are starved and exhausted and would certainly accept your kind offer for a warm meal. I am Corso Gaczi, professional traveler and companion to this proud if motley crew. Very pleased to meet the valiant holders of this fort of the Greenbelt."
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (3) + 6 = 9
What's a tatzylwyrm? Knowledge (local): 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (4) + 6 = 10 If I have no clue, I'll ask: " Pray enlighten me: What is a tatzylwyrm? Sounds fierce!
Once everyone has had some time to meet, Corso will take a central place and say a few words:
"Gentle ladies and gentle men!
Allow me, as I stand here but a humble witness to these historical events, to take a moment to emphasize the gravity of our quest.
For we are here, looking at the expanses of the Greenbelt, holders of a charter signed by the Lord Mayor Sellemius giving us the RIGHT, by LAW,
to clean these aforementioned expanses from the foul excesses of BANDITRY and UNLAWFULNESS,
to provide the VERY BASIS needed for the birth of a NEW LAND, holding VAST PROMISES.
I tell you friends, this is a BEGINNING!
Of what, only time, our merit, wisdom, cunning and courage will tell.
But this is no normal flow of time.
HERE! THIS DAY!
Hope is back in the Greenbelt!"
Corso let's his word settle a bit. Perform (Oratory): 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (14) + 6 = 20
I took the same standard for writing as in our other PbP (bold for words, italics for thoughts). Let us know what you'd prefer. We'll try to standardize a little bit.
I would like blue or purple.
Janku peers around the place, taking in the atmosphere, daydreaming about how much blood has spilled around these walls, and drawing himself upright, presents himself with a formal bow.
"Janku Toliver, disciple of the Lord or Iron...bless his name Gorum". "Your hospitality is most welcome, and as my comrades so aptly stated we are tired, and nothing sounds more enticing than a little water to wash the grime of the trail from our faces, then a warm meal".
"After relaxing we shall discuss your requirements of the Kings men". And with his best smile Janku takes the sack from his back and drops it to the ground beside him.
"Do you have any sickness or ailments, or perhaps some of your animals I could assist you with before I get cleaned up"?
Lukasz looks about the fort with a bit of awe. The trip here had been uneventful, but none-the-less pleasant, taking in the green expanses and now this pleasant couple has reaffirmed the man's decisions to join this expedition. There would be plenty of time for heroics and such, but for now, a good meal and rest would be welcome.
Seeing that introductions were being made, Lukasz steps forward and says, "Good day to you two. My name is Lukasz Orlovsky and I am pleased to make your acquaintance. It has been a long road, and I am not really use to traveling like this. A nice meal would be welcome."
His words are backed by his clothing. The young noble is clothed in traveling clothes made from a rather expensive material that have the dust and grime of the road. However, those who know of House Orlovsky see that this man is different than his Orlovsky brethren. There is a determination in his eyes and a directness in his voice that can make him seem slightly intimidating at times.
I wouldn't mind Blue, Green, or Orange.
"Help yourself to the stables then, Ox," nodding to the empty barn. His wife emerges carrying trays with bowls of steaming stew, loafs of dark bread. While she places them on the table she speaks up, "The guesthouse is empty you can find water to wash there and a place for your packs, Iron Priest,"
"Not familiar with a tatzylwyrm are you? Might be dragons, about ten feet long, worm like though. They're rare not pleasant if you find one. Trappers around here might know more." The trader sits himself to a table and begins in on the food pouring from the pitcher of wine, "Now I don't know about all that birthing a new land and hope nonsense. I like my place right where it is far away from anyone. If it wasn't for these damn vagabonds taking my goods each month and threatening my wife I wouldn't have called for anyone."
Svetlana leans near Janku, "We're the only ones here and the only injury for now is Oleg's pride. It hurt him dearly to ask for help."
He continues, "They've been stealing from us for twelve weeks calling it 'protection' it'll be good to see them 'protected' back."
Corso's K. Local check brings little to mind. You've heard a few rumors about a reclusive merchant and his wife who left Restov months ago to set up shop in the wild.
Strange... He doesn't seem interested in trade going up, more with threat going down. But what for?
"I hear you Master Oleg! But you're operating a trading post aren't you? Am I to understand you don't want too much trading? That can't be right! Surely you understand that the lower the bandit's threat, the better and the busier the business!"
"And what about you Lady Svetlana, do you want your husband's operation to succeed, or would you be better in fact without all this trading nonsense?"
Sense Motive: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (2) + 4 = 6
Later that evening, Corso will inquire about the last soldiers that were stationed here: "Seems to me you've been held up by those hoodlums for quite a while now. What happened to our King's men on the frontier, if I may ask?"
And later still: "Tell us more please about those vagabonds. You say they come every month. At the same time!? Do they look organized? Have you met their leader?"
Corso makes an effort to make the couple at ease.
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (6) + 6 = 12
Wow, those dice...
Corso will fall silent and make himself scarce if he feels he has offended the couple. He'll place himself out of their sight and simply listen to the conversation.
Servayn will listen attentively to the discussion of the tatzelwurm, of which he is unfamiliar, and Ember will also crook it's head and appear to be listening to the description.
Not wishing to add to the hubbub any further, he leads Ember to the guesthouse to hoist them both up a drink, first to splash on his face and then for the both of them to drink, before taking this opportunity to refill his waterskin.
Oleg looks Corso over his face turning stoney, "Hrmph. A man a day is enough for me. If I wanted a 'booming business' I would have stayed in Restov."
He walks over to Garick and takes the reins of his horse leading it to the stable quietly.
"He's always been like this, and we have been doing rather well until that wicked woman came and threatened us. If you gentleman would drive off the bandits for good we would be in your debt," Svetlana looks down at the ground, "They've been coming an hour after dawn on the first of each month. Tomorrow will no different."
She looks up hopefully, gazing from one to the next. "Maybe if I offered you room and board for the night?"
Oleg can be overheard grunting at this offer, but he doesn't disagree.
Ox gets the horses settled and brushed, Take care of your beast and repay him for his burden, the stable master always said. and that was fine with him, He couldn't think of leaving his horse to wait while he ate, Noir carried him all the way here after all.
When Ox returns to the table. Thank you both for the food. I am sure I speak for everyone, that you can set any worries aside, we'll be sure that they get the protecting you want to seem em get. Ox wants to relieve some of the man's shame for having to rely on anyone, but decides its best to avoid the whole subject all together.
"Certainly we could help you, but what about these "Kings Men" you mentioned". "We were not sent by the king"...and by the way your stew is delicious...I'm sure if word got out about your culinary skill, people would stop to trade, and stay for dinner".
He looks around at the travelling group. "Perhaps we should conceal all signs of our presence, and somehow set up an ambush for these bandits".
"Looking back at his hosts he continues, "How many normally show up, and how are they armed"? "What is their normal procedure for approaching you"? "I know these are a lot of questions, but the more information we can gather now, the more effective we can be".
Garrick has been letting Shade his dark gray mare be led on a lead rope by Noir; letting her serve as a pack horse for the party so the men might move a little easier without carrying packs. Shade wasn't trained for battle, and with everyone else walking he figured he mine as well too. Garrick hunted, and gathered wild foods from Erastil's bounty while he scouted, and while not the best cook he did his best along the road.
You all saw the twinkle in his eye since you entered the wild Greenbelt. He has been like a kid in a sweet shop pointing out flora and fauna to his fellows.
He followed his brother to take care of Shade. Before he tended his own self. A lesson Learned since their early days working In the Household Stables along side their father. The Nowicki boys knew how to care for horseflesh, and would ensure the job done right; not to mention spending time bonding with their animals letting them know their days work was well done.
When through Garrick goes, and washes up before coming to sit at the table. Excuse me Master Leveton, but would you happen to have any ale A man could use a refreshing mug after the little walk we just finished.Garrick smiles friendly at the man. Thank you Mum. It smells divine. Garrick says as he takes the bowl of stew the missus hands him.
Thanking the lady for the stew, Lukasz brightens a little at the talk of bandits threatening these people Maybe we'll see some action after all the young sorcerer thought as he followed up Janku's questions with, "And about this woman, how wicked would you say she is? Does she seem to be in charge of the bandits, or simple a spokesperson for a higher authority?"
"Thank you so much, please let me explain," she says while pouring out cups of wine, "About six months ago Oleg and I requested and received a charter of settlement from the Swordlords. One of the officials sold us the deed to this abandoned fort. It didn't seem like anyone had lived here for ages. Since setting up we've had one or two visitors a day, trappers, huntsmen, hermits. Most of them are quiet and behave themselves, some might even be bandits themselves. I've seen probably forty or fifty different folk so far it's hard to tell."
Svetlana sits down with a cup of wine herself, "Three months ago about fourteen people came all at once. Their leader was an evil woman with two hatchets and she couldn't seem to keep her hands off them. She told Oleg that we'd pay their 'tax' or she would take me to entertain the men. He was furious and almost struck her with his bare hands. For that she nearly cut one off. Then her second in command, a crude man wearing a hooded leather jerkin, took my wedding ring in exchange for not 'shortening Oleg's reach.' The second month only he came with six others and left as soon as they had our goods. Last month it was just him with four men. I think they're getting relaxed about stealing from us."
The lady turns to Lukasz, "I haven't seen her since, but she was clearly in charge the first time. The sleazy fellow was practically licking her boots. Tomorrow at an hour after dawn, we'll bring out what few goods we have left. If you all can help us, please, just make sure Oleg is safe."
Servayn will eat his soup without comment until this point, Ember curled up beside him. After the description of the bandits, he nods at Janku's suggestion that they conceal signs of their presence.
"I had intended to do some foraging for game tonight, but that's a better idea. We should remain out of sight until we deal with tomorrows visitors. Once her men fail to return, this bandit queen will be forced to come deal with the situation in person, and for that approach, we should have prepared the scene for her arrival, perhaps with some rude surprises, if Garrick can think of some appropriate snares or similar hindrances to even the odds..."
"She will feel compelled to quell resistance, as bandits rule by force and intimidation. Any sign of successful defiance will weaken her hold over her men, so we should be prepared for her to arrive within a day of defeating her 'tax collectors.'"
By Erastil's last arrow mum your days of worrying over this scum is through. Excuse me if I talk out of turn Lord Kalsgrim, but I can't leave this to pass as I am sure you all feel the same dawn's light will be here sooner then later; perhaps tis time a plan of action is formed. These parasites need to be popped like ticks on a good dog.he sips the wine and looks to the battlements Master Oleg will the battlements hold a man's weight safely. as he tries to decide where his best field of fire would be from.
I think we can handle four or five men very easily. I would hate for tricks and traps to send them running before the true noose can be sinched tight. If larger numbers were expected and time was greater than I would agree; perhaps after we deal with the group coming in tomorrow then we put to with fortifying the outposts, and surrounds with pleasant little surprises for the wretches to surly come looking for their comrades. he puts forth looking to the others knowing many of them are martial fellows including his brother and their lord to see what they say. I say we trounce these buggers and hang um from the trees to serve as fair warning that the Swordlords law has come to the Greenbelt.
Svetlana pales at this last suggestion. Her husband rests a hand on her, "They'll do what needs to be done, dear. Hunstman, these walls can certainly hold a man. As can the roofs. Before you ask , those catapults are worthless. It would take weeks to repair them."
While the lady wife is gathering the leftovers and plates from lunch Oleg turns his back to her and lowers his voice, "I didn't want to fear her anymore, but on the first day, as the thieves left I overheard the wench say, 'Happs, you &%^!sucker, if this place keeps shilling out, maybe the Stag Lord will promote me.' I'm worried there may be someone deeper in the woods behind all this."
"Now, I've got some chores to do and repairs to make. I'd reckon you have the evening and night to make any plans. If you have any questions or want to buy some of our few wares Svetlana will be in the house." Oleg dusts off his apron, picks up his hammer and resumes work.
Corso has a sly smile as he presents forth a second alternative: "That, or... We follow the group as they come back, unhurt and successful, to the bandits' camp with their bounty, figuring out where they lay their heads at night. We can then plan an attack instead of a defense, taking the battle to them and gaining the initiative. I'm sure me and Garrick can follow them without being spotted. What do you think?"
Ox Grins as he younger brother starts to get into the spirit of things, if there is one thing they have found common among the lot of them it is this, They are more than happy to dispatch of thieves and bandits. a wide smile spreads across the bigs man's face and he nodds to his brother. His smile falters as he sees the misses face. " I hope you don't take us for morbid misses. We simply want to see these nasty folk get whats coming to them."
His face darkens a bit as the plot thickens, Ox was looking forward to having their eight fight the bandits fifteen, He liked their odds. but hearing about a stag lord. They could return with big numbers.
Thank you Oleg. We'll do our best and take care of this problem for ya, all the way to this staglord. as oleg leaves the plotting continues.
the thing I don't like about that Corso, is we have to let them get away with it, and it doesn't sound like Oleg has much more to let them take. Perhaps we go with the intention of keeping one of them alive. I can see to that if I have to. let the poor fool lead us back to the others.if he doesn't want to talk, we make him. that will also cut their numbers a bit for when we get on their ground.
After hearing Oleg's last comment he grins even more. and if we take them here, then we can get the rest of you some horses.
Corso has a sly smile as he presents forth a second alternative: "That, or... We follow the group as they come back, unhurt and successful, to the bandits' camp with their bounty, figuring out where they lay their heads at night. We can then plan an attack instead of a defense, taking the battle to them and gaining the initiative. I'm sure me and Garrick can follow them without being spotted. What do you think?"
"So fight them on their home ground...their territory, with no idea of their resources, or numbers, not to mention the fact that we've never even had a battle together". "I have read much of battle and warfare, but that seems to go against everything I've learned". "Much better to take them on here, under the conditions we establish, and capture one of them and "persuade" him to reveal what we're up against".
"Besides", Janku holds his holy symbol as he speaks, battle is only glorious when it is held face to face". "Your strength against his strength". "With the Lord of Iron on our side, and guiding our blades, we need not fear a confrontation, but instead embrace it". Janku is red faced, and nearly shouting before he finishes his statement. You almost expect to see white foam at the corners of his mouth.
"I....I...I apologize". "Sometimes when Gorum speaks through me I grow rambunctious". "I shall try to tone things down".
"I also recommend that we face them in groups, not all at once. The thought of defeating their group in the morning, and then riding out to their encampment to take out the rest is interesting, and would put our hosts in less danger than waiting for the bandits to return in force..."
seems to me they would likely send another party to check on the first see if they have bolted with the loot, or ran into trouble along the way, or just got drunk here at the post. Not likely they would come crawling out with their whole camp eh. After all they think they have Master Oleg and the Missus under their thumb, right? If so then we get a second crack at them before going to pay the camp a visit thus leaving less there to deal with eh. Of course we could decide all this once we get the knave to speak on the setup of their black band. Garrick says he has begun checking the fletchings on his arrows a habit you have noticed as he sits in camp in the evening.
"I have to agree with Janku and Garik. Even with our numbers, I am sure this Stag Lord has a large number at his call. The more we can trim down their numbers, the better. But don't worry, Corzo, we'll deal with this Stag Lord. You need to remember though that we are in unfamiliar territory, but we have the element of surprise and should take advantage of that for as long as we can." Lukasz responds as he too begins to check his things, eager to do what we could to help Oleg and his wife.
Corso looks at Janku, a bit nonplussed: "While we may fight them on their home ground, as you say, we still fight them on our own terms, having ascertained their resources and defenses. We can mount an attrition or guerilla war. You're absolutely right that a frontal assault on their camp would be a bad idea, but that's not what I'm suggesting.
If we wait for them here, after each assault they will grow weary, send scouts, and could very well set up a siege around the trading post. We would end up in a position of weakness, while their Stag lord could reinforce them.
This is why I still say that following them, or their tracks after we defeat them, to bring the fight to the bandit and have the initiative, is still a better option."
Listening to Servayn, Garick and Lukasz, he sees that their take is somewhat safer: "So let's go with the hybrid option: first we let them come, then we follow their tracks to find their camp and take a prudent look, then decide on the next course of action. Does that sound better?"
Trying to remain calm and not too offensive, he adds, in a low voice, talking to Janku: As for Gorum speaking through you, I don't care if you let him decide in your place. Me, I'm not giving my vote to a higher power. Strength is good, but so is cunning. Here in the Greenbelt, we'll need both."
Apologies, Easter was much busier than expected...
Here I am not a lord, but just another servant of Erastil trying to settle these lands for good people. I would voice in favor of putting an end to these bandits as soon as possible, and in as practical a manner as possible. We must be certain that Master Oleg, his wife, and any others who may reside are safe, first and foremost.
"I agree there is a time for stealth, and I think it will be very useful in tomorrow's conflict, but to take an armed group to their lair without information is suicide". I am not questioning your ability to move silently, but these bandits may have trained woodsmen among them as well, and one misstep could prove disastrous".
"And it's way to early to plan our next step, when we haven't even taken the first step yet...and that is to prepare an ambush for them tomorrow". "I am confident that if we defeat the first force, then they will send someone to see what happened to them". "Then might be the time to set an ambush for them on the road to the fort". "They will be expecting something at the fort, not on the path to the fort...so again we have them surprised".
"I would think that an advance scout who could stealthily update us as to what to expect tomorrow would be a great asset" "We could prepare an ambush expecting them to be unsuspecting and low in numbers; then our advance scout could somehow signal us, if things are not as we are expecting". "Perhaps a smoke signal or some magical means, or even an animal companion if one can be used". "The rest of us could hide out here, and use our abilities to hopefully quickly overcome them, and either capture or kill them, saving one to put to the question".
And turning to Corso, "I agree that we need both cunning and strength, but cunning can be in the form of listening to those with more knowledge and experience of the matter at hand". "While you were schooled by fine masters of many disciplines, I was schooled in the temple of the God of Battle". "I do not question your intelligence, but my plan is better". "In fighting amongst us can do more damage than the enemy...A cohesive army is a victorious army". "let us put aside our differences for now and unite to defeat a common enemy".
Corso takes a few seconds to let the reprimand sink in. Good, Surtovas can still think for themselves.
"I agree with you Janku. What we now have is a product of both cunning and strength. I could be your scout ahead, figuring if something is amiss and closing behind them. If it were me collecting, I would leave one man at a safe distance to get help in case there is a trap. Of course, they are probably overconfident, but you never know."
He then turns to Garick: "Would you accompany me, Master Garick? I saw how you move through these woods and how you seem to read what they are saying. Together, we would form a formidable enough pincer to remain unnoticed and close in on their escape route."
If there is a bit of daylight left, he'll offer Garick to go and find a spot for tomorrow before dawn.
"What sort of signal would be best? A fire arrow if something's wrong, two if it's all right?"
Finally, he'll ask Oleg and Svetlana: "Where do they usually meet you to collect the goods? Do they step in the post or do you bring the goods outside?"
I do want to be cautious when it comes to the lives of our fine hosts. If the visible force of four comes inside, we can close the gates behind them and put them to the sword, since that is our charge in dealing with bandits. I would be concerned that an additional force might lurk out of sight, waiting for their men to return and take back warning if they do not. I don’t believe we should leave any killed or captured here; if any signs are found while we are away, our hosts would be at risk. I would ask if anyone has suggestions on tactics for this. I would like to stand between the bandits and wherever our hosts are hiding, perhaps contributing to the combat with my bow, to prevent them from being rushed. Once we deal with this menace, we can push out and follow them back to their lair. How far is it from the entrance of the trading post to the nearest woods or bushes that could conceal men? Is it a matter of yards? Miles?
Ox finishes his soup whipping his mouth with his arm. He then grins, " so if it all goes like it has been, the eight of us lie in wait for the few men, that will come to rob the post. We have two in the woods and six in the fort, counting Ember of course." He then pauses for a moment. “I think it is a bit much, if the situation is the usual, but in the event that something is amiss we stand ready with surprise and tactics on our side. I'll see to it that one of our opponents are alive, freeing the rest of you to take your foes as you will."
As for the signal, I think that something more subtle would be preferable a flaming arrow is going to draw it all down on you if there is more trouble than expected. Perhaps we could use two pieces of brightly colored piece of cloth; we will know where you are so if you show the more subtle cloth it means nothing is amiss, if you show the brighter of the colors then something is wrong.
If for some wild reason a huge group of bandits shows, then don't bother with signals and simply stay hidden, we might have to close the gates and I'd hate for you two to be stuck on the wrong side of the wall."
Ox Stands up from the table considering that his lord is just another servant. Excusing himself from the table. He would argue with Kalsgrim about taking a bit more pride in his station, but now is not the time nor the place. That and they have had the arguement countless tiems before. It was part of the reason that he liked Kal as much as he did. He was man first and a noble later. He Gave The table a nod. I think I am going to wash up and get some sleep so I can be up way before they are. Clapping his brother and his lord on the shoulders, I have nothing but confidence that tomorrow is the first day in the decline of the bandits reign. If Oleg and Svetlana will agree to it they should stay indoors and out of the combat all together, standing between them and the bandits is a good call. Ox is more than happy to have Kalsgrim take on a more defensive roll. leaving him to occupied when blades fly.
Brother you know the yellow lark call as does Kal. It carries very well if there is something other then what we are expecting why don't I give that whistle. It would hardly be thought odd. If that is acceptable then we don't have to worry about waving anything, or flaming arrows. If things are as we expecting then I will give the Wood Finch whistle. Garick says he will demonstrate each call a couple times so everyone else knows what to listen for.
"They've always road straight through the gates, usually with a pack mule, and a spare horse. Then load up in the yard and head out quick as they can," Oleg gestures through the gates, "As you can see it's just low hills and tall grass for about ten miles before you get to the forest."
Except for the two roads that leave the fort the terrain consists of rolling land, little more then twenty to fourty feet tall in parts covered knee high grass. A few groups of bushes dot the landscape. Someone skilled in stealth might be able to use one of these stands for cover.
The sun is starting to set and Oleg has finished his chores, "Don't worry about paying for a room, lad. If you drive off the robbers, you'll always be welcome here."
The fire between the two tables is banked with fresh wood and the gates are moved into place. Night settles over the group.
Sorry busy day at work.
Taking in all the information, Lukasz notes the surrounding area as well as how long it takes to close the gates, before saying. "I know that many are concerned about accidentally hurting our hosts, but with the lax groups that have come through the past couple of times, I don't think we have much to worry about a group waiting outside the walls. As such, if we want to ensure that the brigands do not escape, I think it would be better to plan the ambush within the fort itself. If Oleg and Svetlana are okay with that. That way, we won't have to worry about any from the brigand group escaping with any of the goods or getting away to warn this Stag Lord. As the group comes in, we can easily hide among various places in this fort and close the gates when all of brigands are inside. With no where to run, it will almost be like being caught in a bear trap, instead they will lose their lives instead of just their leg."
Oleg is sitting thoughtfully by the fire. He rubs his chin, "I may not be a warrior, but if I stand by the pen with my goods and lure them in like usual it'll give your men a chance to drop from the walls and throw the doors closed. A couple can hide in the stables, or guesthouse, or behind the buildings. If your scout is in a tower they'll be able to see farther then you could hear them whistle."
With that he goes into the house, shutting the door behind him. You can hear some murmurs of conversation and all but one of the lights go out.
Ember takes advantage of the discussion to move into a quiet corner and curl up, preferably near the fire.
Servayn finishes his soup before speakign again.
"If the bandits already come inside to take their tribute, we should allow them to come inside, remaining out of sight until they are within the walls, and then deal with them as quickly and efficiently as possible. No threats, no posturing, no fancy statements of intent, as these are no courtiers we are dealing with. Ember is surprisingly adept at concealing himself within such terrain as the tall grass outside, and so he can wait outside the walls to intercept any that successfully flee past our ambush."
"Once this group is felled, we should decide immediately if we are going to hole up here and set up defenses, or move boldly towards the bandits encampment, to take the fight to them. Each plan has its merits, and each plan carries risks to our hosts, as a waiting game runs the risk that they may attempt to retaliate by burning this place to the ground, while a swift and unexpected assault may result in our not being present to defend when another group arrives here..."
"If this bandit queen wishes to curry favor from this 'Stag Lord,' she will be very strongly motivated to stamp out any sign of losing control of this territory with all due haste."
Ember will pad outside and spend a half hour searching for a decent place to conceal himself in the morning, where he can be within a short dash of the road to intercept any fleeing brigands, while still being out of sight from the road.
If he can take 20 on a Stealth check to nestle himself down in a nice grassy clump, his +14 stealth will give him a DC 34 to be spotted, with a +1 penalty for each 10 feet from the road, and he can take a double-move / charge action to move up to 80 ft, so he'll probably choose a position 30 to 40 ft. from the road, depending on where the terrain / grass forms the optimal 'blind' spot. Unless we decide otherwise, he'll head out an hour before sunrise, in case the approaching bandits view the area from a distance before arriving, taking advantage of his darkvision to get himself set up while it's still dark out. Depending on which way the wind is blowing in the morning, he'll try to pick the side of the road that is downwind, so that horses don't Scent his presence. Ember is no rocket scientist, but when it comes to Stealth, he's a doctoral candidate. :)
Night has come and gone. The four bunk beds had just enough room for everyone. Oleg knock's on the door as the sun is rising, "We've got an hour to get ready. I'll bring my goods to the pen and wait for them to show up."
Make any last minute discussions, roleplaying, etc and end with your character taking position according to the ambush map. When everybody has said they're placed I'll continue the show.
Servayn hands Ember some dried meat to chew on from his rations, whispering a promise that they will hunt for something more substantial soon enough. Ember grumbles about the lack of fresh meat, but pads out to take up a hiding place in the tall grass, sniffing to take note of the wind's direction, and moving so that he is downwind of the approach.
Servayn gets into position and props his longspear against a wall, for ease of grabbing, while fussing over his crossbow. He doesn't want to load it quite yet and leave a bolt on the string, so he waits until the sun is cresting the horizon before readying the weapon, and begins watching the shadow crawl, attempting to gauge how much time it takes the bandits to arrive from their own encampment, to get a sense of how long it would take to follow their trail back.
Garick awakes in a surprisingly chipper mood he whistles a tune to a well known bawdy song while he straps his armor on, strings his bow, and checks his flights one last time. When he steps out he greets their hosts heartily partaking in any of the breakfast the missus has made before climbing to his spot. once there he will practice his intended maneuvering from his scouting position to where he is going to fire from a couple ot times ensuring no catapult pieces impede his haste if so he will push them back out of the way.
Kalsgrim will eat a light meal.
Garick, since you'll be able to see over the wall, do you want to use your whistles to signal when we should attack? You could use one to let us know all visible foes are inside, and the other to let us know if anyone is lagging outside that we need to worry about. Does that sound reasonable?