Gorguk wrenches the lance from the head of the Staglord and proceeds into the enclosure. Glaring around at all gathered, Gorguk hisses Do you all yield or is there someone who wishes to continue this farce. If not then the reign of tyranny and oppression is over. You men who followed the Staglord will now submit to 1 year of service for those you have wronged. If after that time you wish to stay and continue to live here in lawful accord so be it. Those that do not agree, other 'arrangements' can be made. A you can see, pointing to Lothar, Barnabus, Cal, and Rhasa, even if my lance did not penetrate the vile skull of the Staglord the fort was taken already. Together we are the Wardens and our word is law. Listen to them as they will help instruct you as to what is to happen next. Now who wishes to serve the one year sentenc?
Gorguk will scan everyone one by one with detect evil and sense motive checks to try and determine if they are telling the truth and will work for a year or if they are simply trying to escape any other 'arrangements'.
Sorry guys if that was a little anticlimactic. Didn't want to be shot again and figured if I kept the Staglord busy to the front, you would have him pinned as you came forward. Man lance charges with smite evil hurt.
I personally think Gorguk (and you) deserved the right to take the fort single-handedly after waiting on the sidelines for so long earlier. In character, waiting for the Staglord to strike first and then retaliating with lethal force seems appropriate. You have nothing to apologize for.
"I think we owe someone something. Davik Nettles has been waiting a long time." Looking at the assembled bandits, the elven woodswoman says, "First task for two that plan to spend a year righting the Staglord's wrongs will be to dispose of his body. Any volunteers?"
She will share with any of the Wardens her intent to haul the corpse of the bandit king to the Shrike River, leaving at dawn tomorrow. There is work to be done here - she would not ask more than one ally to join her, and only in case she runs into a mutiny.
Wise plan indeed Rhasa. The sooner we can bring closure to the people of the Greenlands the better off everyone will be. Perhaps Lothar will be willing to join you as the two of you seem to make a good pair and complement each other nicely. Barnabus, Cal and myself can start cleaning up here while you are gone. I do not think we will be even close to finished by the time you get back. We will Akiros to help as well and he know the people here and how those that choose to join us can best be utilized. If you wish to extend your trip, perhaps you would want to travel quickly to Oleg's and inform him what has happened. I am sure that the four of you could make the journey quickly. If you would happen to go past Chief Sootscales inform him as well. Like I said there will plenty of work here until you get back. The four of us can handle any of these tht would try to cause any trouble.
The clustered bandits look uneasily at each other, then one steps forwards.
"All right, we'll follow you," he says, looking Gorguk in the eye. "What are your orders?"
Two come forward and pick up the Stag Lord's remains, seems they are going to dump him round back where the zombies are.
"Would you like to come in," says the spokesman, remembering his manners. "Do you want to take over the Stag Lord's quarters, now you're in charge?"
Lothar is down with what has been suggested and would add that we strip the once Stag Lord's corpse before giving it over to Davik Nettles. He will also suggest that we call out Dovan from Nisroch and deal with him first before the body is dealt with. No sense in leaving a future dissenter in the ranks if we don't have to.
You two. The magician called out to the bandits that had picked up the Stag Lord's corpse. Not that way. Take it out front and place it on the pack mule. We will deal with the disposal of the corpse.
Lothar then turned to regard Rhasadilara, his eyes displaying more than a hint of relief. The sooner the word spreads, the better. It is a task that we are most imminently suited for.
She shrugs. Following the bandits out to the mule, she directs them to lay the body down on the ground. She proceeds to strip the body of anything valuable and set it aside for one of the others to evaluate - although she does look at any archery gear he had carefully before setting it down.
"Congratulations, this may be the easiest grave digging job you'll ever get to volunteer for. What are your names? What can you tell me about the Stag Lord and, more importantly, his possessions? Do we need to return any of these to their rightful owners? Are any of them enchanted or cursed, that you know of?"
Her face is expressionless as she regards her new charges, wondering which of them will try something first.
"Have you anything we can use as a shroud? Even a devil like this deserves some dignity in death. Part of why he is dead is that he showed no respect to others. I choose not to make that mistake. Old feed bags would suffice."
Calinder doesn't release his spells that he has, just in case on of the remaining bandits gets an idea in his head to do something foolish.
He listens carefully as the plans are made for Lothar and Rhasadilara to take the body of the Staglord to satisfy the spirit of Davik Nettles. As the two wardens prepare to leave, Calinder says, "Fare thee well my friends, and may you be blessed in your journey. I wish the Wardens didn't have to be separated for so long and that there was someone else to carry these tidings to Oleg. We do as we must though, and I hope to see you again soon.
As the ex-bandits crowd around, one of the first questions asked was whether or not Gorguk would like to take the Staglord’s quarters as his own. Comfort and what luxury there can be will surely be found there. Yet what message will be sent to everyone if I just claim that area as my own. They will think that I am no better than the Staglord. No it would be better to forgo any such offers and show the people that we can relate with them. These thoughts flash through Gorguk’s mind as he stops to answer the question. No, I will not take the residence of the Staglord. The Wardens are opposed to everything he stood for. Instead, we will turn it into the command center where we can plan, meet, and deliberate. Now as to your duties from here on out, that will be determined by what you can contribute. Like I said, you will serve for a year as repayment for your crimes of banditry. We are of the impression that a person will work better and more efficiently if they can be used in an area that they enjoy working. So if you have skill and passion to work with horses than being in the stable or working as a messenger will be your duties. Likewise if you are inclined to build then repairs here at the fort, at Oleg’s , or elsewhere is what you will be doing. There will be need for hunters and gatherers to provide food. Everyone will do his or her share. Ideally everyone will be working and provide the needs for each other. If such a time comes that others come to this region to settle and they hire you, so much the better. Hopefully at the end of the year you will have the ability to start your own profession and be a contributing member to society.
Taking a breath before he continues, Gorguk dismounts to stand among the hopefully new followers. That is the future that we, the Wardens, present. One where freedom abounds and a man or woman can live his or her life as he or she pleases without fear of persecution from bandits or beasts. In order to get to that point though, a lot of work must be done. That work starts today. To start, as Lothar and Rhasa requested, the body of the Staglord will be deposited in the Shrike River. Those that stay will help clean the fort up and organize supplies. All weapons and armor will be confiscated at this time. This is as much for safety as to promote the ideal that your previous actions are over and you will now use tools to make a living instead of weapons.
Second a detailed search of the grounds is to be made. Supplies, goods, and equipment are to be placed in the new council room. These are the property of the Wardens to be used to further the cause of peace in the area. If there is a need for such items, they are to be requested of the Wardens and handed out as needed. This may seem so some of you as if the Wardens are looting and taking anything of value to you. I understand this sentiment yet know that this is still necessary. There is a cost for change and repentance and this is part of it.
Just to clarify Megan, I do not expect a full list of names and jobs for the reformed bandits. This is more about RP to explain what direction we are going from here. The only thing handy would be those that the Wardens feel are trustworthy and can be counted on to oversee the work that needs to be done. This way we can just say that Jack is in charge off ………… and not worry too much about the details unless others want to get into it. What would be nice is the loot list that way we can divide loot and figure out what assets we have available.
If Lothar and Rhasa decide to go to Oleg’s then Gorguk will write a letter to be delivered to the Swordlords detailing the fulfillment of the charter in regards to eliminating the threat of the Staglord. In the letter Gorguk will ask for further instructions. Included in the letter is the location of where to be reached for the next while, the fort. Not that this is a permanent location, but it is a good base until we know what is going on. A second letter will also be sent to Father Ralu wishing him the best of health and speedy recovery. Finally a third letter will go with them if they visit Chief Sootscales.
Lothar approached Akiros. Which of these men is Auchs? I want to talk with him.
The magician allowed his voice to carry, with the hope of drawing out the person he was really looking for, Dovan from Nisroch. Lothar was trusting in the information that they had been given, so that all he really needed to do was to locate the big man Auchs.
Thanks for the clarification, Gorguk! Now then...
The two former bandits who have taken on undertaking duties follow Rhasa's directions and bring the corpse out front. The mule does not look impressed.
Upon examination, the Stag Lord is filthy. He's not had a bath or changed clothes for a long time. Searching the remains you find leather armour (not well-cared-for, but looks as if it was of good quality), a very nice longsword, an extremely nice composite longbow and 20 arrows, and his exotic helmet bearing antlers and indeed a stag's head melded with the armour. There are also 2 potion bottles and he's wearing 2 pendants: one a silver stag's head and one looks like an ornate shield.
The emerging leader of the former bandits in the fort introduces himself as Falgrim Sneeg. He's an older fellow with a greying beard and an air of unshakable calm. He listens to directions and ensures that they are carried out.
Auchs is easy to spot: he's a lumbering lummox of a man who is staring around rather blankly, it's not clear how much of what is going on he actually understands. A small dark tattooed man beside him leads him over when Lothar enquires...
Barnabus takes aside the tattooed man.
"I have few illusions in life an regards tah redemption, though there comes times in politics an intrigues tha beguil an cutting tha head off tha adder is o great import."
"If I read tha futre aright this comin kingdom has needs tha it is still naught aware of, come step into tha light an tell me yer tale. I wilst not judge it, I shalt look for yer talents."
Before you leave Rhasa and Lother, perhaps we should Barnabus or Cal examine these items and the others found with in the fort for any magical properties. They may help you on your journey and protect you on the way.
Was this all that was in the fort or just what was on the Staglord? If there was more after a search, was thinking of having Rhasa and Lothar bring what we don't want or need back to Oleg's for supplies. Oh and interleave the two as well. As a time saver if you want, you can decide that all hexes that have nothing in them are explored. That way we don't spend a couple of weeks RL moving around the map and not accomplish much.
Lothar watched as Barnabus took Dovan aside before approaching Auchs.
Hello, Auchs, began the magician. I am Lothar. Do you understand what just happened to the Stag Lord? Has someone explained what's going on to you? He knew he was treading on dangerous ground with Auchs by questioning him this way, but it was necessary to vet the big man and learn where he stood in this matter.
For though Lothar was no weakling, he had a feeling that Auchs' strength exceeded his own. The last thing that he wanted was a fight with the man before him, especially if it could be avoided.
The 'loot' so far described was that on the Stag Lord's person. I shall post the Fort map and you may have a look round at your leisure.
Barnabus: The small dark tattooed man says "I am Dovan from Nisroch. I've been here a while, I used to be the Stag Lord's deputy until Akiros turned up and barged his way into the position." There's a lot of pent-up anger there, and you are not certain - even before you start rolling a Sense Motive or using any spells - just how truthful he is.
Lothar: Auchs stares at you, you are not sure how much he understands. Eventually he says "Me Auchs. Come with Dovan, six months ago, follow him. Now like Akiros... not sure what now?" He looks puzzled, but not as if he wants a fight.
Sense motive 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (13) + 2 = 15
"Position is it, Dovan, heard you mine interaction wit Gorguk? equals we be no first no second, all amongst us. My thoughts lay in speaking to you I shared tha desire wit Gorguk, had he wanted tah speak first. A kingdom is being built upon tha wreckage o this land, kingdoms hast many roles an many tasks."
"We be very different, mine mastery lies within magic, his path is tha sword an tha shining path. Mine path is dark and curves at times becomes elusive. Yer path seems more tah echo mine than tha path Gorguk follows. His path has great benefit great certainty, an many think it tha correct course, tis his correct course, not mine."
After Lothar, Gorguk, and Barnabus start talking to the men that are left from the Staglord's crew, and seeing that things seem to be settling down...Calinder releases the Spiritual Weapon spell but decides to let the others remain until they fade on their own.
Calinder then slips into his role as an observer and watches the conversations of the others take place.
Sense Motive (Dovan): 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (6) + 3 = 9, Sense Motive (Auchs): 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (7) + 3 = 10
Rhasa looks at the two men that volunteered to dispose of the erstwhile leader's body.
"It sounds like our trip will take a bit longer than I planned. Have you horses and gear? You'll need to pack for a week's worth of travel, maybe more. We'll leave first thing in the morning. In the meantime, make sure one of you or Lothar or myself are available to watch over the body. Any questions?"
After answering their questions as best she can, the elf will take Sunset down into the brush to find the Wardens' campsite, report on their success to Dyfrig and the kobolds, and get her cart for hauling the body the next day. She's not sure whether they should stay in the camp or come to the fort, though.
quick post sorry, gorguk is updated
Gorguk will continue on with the plans as needed. Searching when allowed and issuing orders to the ex-bandits as needed. Other than that, Gorguk will attempt to rid the area of zombies at night. Between Durok, himself and the bandits that help, hopefully the cleansing project will be successful by the time Rhasa and Lothar come back.
Barnabus: Dovan listens to you closely, then nods.
"I see..." he says. "To be honest, we're well rid of the Stag Lord. His drinking had been getting out of hand, and he was losing his grip. So, what's in it for me if I throw my lot in with you, specifically?"
Lothar: Auchs looks blankly at you.
"Me like Akiros... not like him!"
Rhasa': Dyfrig says he'll come and inspect the fort's facilities to see if he'd rather use them or camp.
Gorguk: You have a poke around the fort...
Z5: This appears to have been the bandits' common room. The edges of this drafty room are crammed with crates, barrels, and boxes. Hammocks strung on wooden posts denote sleeping areas, while dirty bowls and utensils rest atop rickety and makeshift furniture. Elsewhere, chamber pots sit tucked into corners, while a large iron gate is wedged into a ten-foot-wide gap in the western wall. Chips of ancient plaster flake from the walls, exposing the stone construction; whatever plaster still clings to stonework is covered with strange and erratic scribbles and pictographs. The floor consists only of hard-packed earth.
Z6 is the owl-bear pen, and it is in there, peering out curiously. This room is little more than an atrocious-smelling cave dug out of a pile of rubble. Large bloody bones, likely from horses or elk, lie scattered on the ground.
"Ther is no me specifically tah throw yer lot in wit, yah would werk side by side wit us all, but like in taken tha fort we split intah teams an werked towards a single goal, mine role is in arcane supports an knowledges, dealing wit tha realities o tha situations. In teamin at times wit me yah hast access tah magic both bold and subtle which strengthens a team."
Barnabus arranges a quick demonstration
"Gorgukk tis a fearsome warrior, yes?"
waits answer...assuming yes
"Imagine facin him in combat to tha death, now lets magic enter tha pictures...."
Casts enlarge person on Gorgukk....
Having a look around the fort, Gorguk is appalled at the condition these people kept. Immediately Gorguk started to have some of the new recruits clean the area completely. Some are tasked with the chamber pots, others with dishes, and others with detritus laying about. Hopefully over the next few days while Rhasa and Lothar are gone, this place will get cleaned and will b e a proper outpost.
One other task that must be looked at is the care of the Owlbear. Gorguk is thoroughly flummoxed at what to do with the creature. Clearly wild and untrained does Gorguk out it out of its misery of confinement or let it free to harass creatures in the wild. Hoping to tame it just a bit the next time that it awakes, gorguk attempts to care for it and feed it. If it can be taught to not attack humans the he will let it free.
Handle animal 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (6) + 7 = 13
Unfortunately his actions are met with violence and Gorguk determines the animal must be put down.
The owl-bear is indeed untamed and gives a violent response to Gorguk's overtures. One of the bandits explains that they only captured it a couple of weeks ago. The Stag Lord had taken a liking to the beast, and had the rest of the band drag it, unconscious, home and made a pen for it with an old portcullis. The Stag Lord had called it 'Beaky' but they had not got anywhere with trying to tame it.
Barnabus continue to speak with Dovan, who appears less interested once he discovers that Barnabus is not setting up his own faction within the Guardians.
"Do you have ways of causing pain with your magic?" he asks, quite impressed with the demonstration.
Auchs tells Lothar "Auchs like Akiros becos... um... him clever."
Grumbling a bit, the bandits set to cleaning up the common room. Meanwhile you can look around the rest of the fort.
Z7 is a storage room, this long room contains a large number of crates, bags, salvaged lumber, and food. A cot lies amid the stored goods, a small lantern sitting on a nearby crate. Akiros says that he had slept in here.
Beyond, Z8 is the Stag Lord's quarters. Thick layers of animal hides insulate this room's walls. In one corner rests a ragged bed draped with threadbare silks and thick furs. On the floor, three stout chests serve as furniture, cluttered with empty liquor bottles. A few more bottles lie scattered about the floor, leaving the room reeking of stale alcohol.
Is Dovan clever?
Lothar waited for a response from Auchs. This part of the interrogation was critical. A misstep at this juncture could cause the big man to become annoyed, which, in turn, could lead to him taking it out directly on the magician. And though the Vudran could handle himself if it came to that sort of confrontation, he would rather it didn't come to that at all if possible.
Rhasa returns with the cart and Dyfrig. She will leave it up to the kobolds as to whether they wish to remain at the camp or ride in the cart, but she suspects they will be better hidden from the bandits for now. After unhitching the conveyance and directing the newly-appointed undertakers to put the corpse within for tomorrow's transport, she takes Dyfrig into the fort to see what the other Wardens are up to.
Lothar is speaking to a large man, Barnabus is speaking to another, but dark and shifty in appearance; Calindar the historian is at work observing, and Gorguk looks disgusted. Interesting.
To Dyfrig, "If you have any problems with any of the ex-bandits, you sing out. After they've tasted your food, they'll all be your best friend, but until then, if someone picks a fight with you, he has to go through Gorguk and I first."
When she finds Gorguk, "What have you found? Did you locate the owlbear cub we heard about? Is it tamed?"
I found the Owlbear but it was too unruly to be tamed or trained not to attack humans. I feartp the only eve alter active is to slay the beast to prevent it from doing any harm to people around here. I tried tommy best but alas it was not to be. Perhaps when it is sleeping, I will finish it off as mercifully as possible..
Beyond this Gorguk will continue with the cleaning up as he does not wish to have the others see that he is not willing to do the same that he asks of others.
Auchs scratches his head.
"Um. Thought so... but Akiros cleverer. Dovan good at making people squeal, though. Better than anyone!"
"Don't be hasty, my friend. I will deal with the owlbear."
Having prepared for the coming journey as much as she planned to, Rhasa goes to observe the owlbear. Sitting quietly, she watches and is watched. She offers no prize to the beast, makes no threats, just sits. After feeling that she has the creature's measure, she will begin to speak to it gently in Elven, telling children's tales - all an exercise to let it become used to her voice. She has no desire to train it, but if she can calm it for the time it takes to leave the fort, she will draw it off into the wilds where it belongs.
If any of the bandits come near, she will signal that they stop. "Leave the beast and I for a while. But first, can you tell me where it was taken? Where was its home?"
Wild Empathy: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (20) + 6 = 26
That's the check for improving the attitude of an animal; for a magical beast with an INT of 1 or 2, there's a -4 penalty. I'm thinking the owlbear would qualify for the latter, but it's the DM's call, always, so I'm not planning to go looking.
"Yes I am familiar wit torture perchance yah should not brag o such as a paladin might take yer statements as confessions tah great crimes, better tah be o bandatriy in general tha specifics. Once a new kingdom comes out o tha wrechage o tha greenbelt, spies an assasins o at least those ken upon stoppin such will ave plenty o werk."
"Can you be loyal o like a rabid dog bites any an often?"
Speaking with Cal about the fort, To tell you the truth, Cal I don't really know what to do outside of trying to make this place livable. I mean the place is filthy and all manner of refuse is present. Perhaps after the cleaning is done we can go fromthere. I do know that I would ask that you interact with the men and see if you can get a good feeling as to their character. There are a lot of new people and I have not had the chance to determine if they all are with us or just going along to save themselves the sword or noose.
Rhasa' and the Owlbear:
The creature calms considerably as you talk to it. One of the bandits says that it came from the forest, to the west of the bandit outpost (the one you've already done over).
OOC: It is a magical beast with an INT of 2, by the way... but it seems to be taking a bit of a fancy to you :)
Lothar and Auchs:
The massive bandit scratches his head again.
"Dovan...knows the best places to prod and poke, like... he's taught me a lot!"
Barnabus and Dovan:
Dovan puts his head to one side, considering.
"Hmmm. What do you mean by that?" he asks, a bit baffled.
Torture. Auchs is talking about torture.
The realization was both immediate and troubling. Going only on what he was just told, Dovan truly was a bad influence and a danger just waiting to happen. Something would have to done about the swarthy man and it would have to be soon.
Turning his attention back to Auchs, the magician spoke, You know who is just as clever as Akiros? Gorguk, the knight who killed the Stag Lord.
Again, Lothar was being careful. Given the big bandit's childlike nature, he didn't want to antagonize the man at all, understanding that if Auchs were moved to a hostile state, he would become a danger that would be hard to contain.
"A loyal dog bites them tha seeks harm an helps figure on best ways tah keep safe, testin defenses an catching assassins, an at times seeking tah figure more, a rabid dog bites any an oft jus fer tha pleasure o bitin an has no master. A rabid man serves only his instincts an who ken pays him what. Can you stick to an honor yer word o does yer word mean naught like tha rabid dogs?"
"Gorguk, I am ill at ease with this Dovan, the others I think have a good chance of turning around. I think we will know more after Lothar and Barnabus are done with their questions."
"If need be I can always seek the aid of Erastil in determining where they stand, and if they have the taint of evil. Not that they can't be turned around, but they must want to for themselves, they cannot be forced into changing their lives. Such a one might seem to be making a change for the better, and even convince themselves of it, but when a trial comes upon them, then they will have a greater chance of faltering."
"But let's see what Barnabus has to say after he has talked to the man before we pass any judgements."
"As to the fort, repairs and cleaning just take time and effort. If there are any supplies in the fort that are spoiled or uneatable, I can, with the help of Erastil make them usable once more. If this does become our new home, we will need regular supplies at some point."
At this Calinder enters the fort to see what he can do in way of organizing and taking inventory of what supplies are here and what is needed.
Barnabus & Dovan:
Dovan says "I can..."
Lothar & Auchs:
Auchs looks at Govan, impressed.
"OK... Him leader of your band?"
Calinder, where would you like to search?
Gorguk continues to do what he can while the other Wardens go about talking and discussing matters with the other bandits. Once they are done and everyone can come back to talk together privately Gorguk will ask what each thinks of the oropendola they are talking to. Can they be trusted and are they truly redeemed.
Meanwhile, Gorguk gives Rhasa her space and watches as she handle the Owlbear with ease. Perhaps the gentler feminine touch is what soothed the beast. Either way the task was completed and Rhasa and Lothar could drop it off on their travels together.
Once the fort takes on a semblance of cleanliness and order and routine are restored tot he ex-bandits, Gorguk vows to make time to spend with just Durok. To Gorguk it seems that a milestone is occurring and he needs to spend time with his faithful companion.
Once a rapport of sorts appears to be established, Rhasa will do what she can to feed the beast. She will remain in its area other than taking time to check on Sunset and bring the cart into the fort for the night.
Her exposure to the bandits will thereby be limited to those that are in the area she restricts herself to, so she has little to say about any of them.
Yes. Gorguk leads us. The Wardens of the Green were sent by the Swordlords of Restov to punish unrepentant banditry, behavior that the Stag Lord was engaged in. He paid for his sins with his life. Now, Gorguk wants to find those here that want to change their ways and help them begin a new life in the Greenbelt, helping those that that have been wronged.
The magician paused for a moment before continuing, his expression somewhat serene. Would you like a chance to start a new life here, Auchs? We would be glad to have you help us if that is what you want.