~Let me tell you a story. It's quite an interesting tale, I promise you. It's about brave warriors and fair princesses, battles between ancient spirits and ageless demons, and a kingdom far far away. But this tale of great deeds and greater heroes has a rather humble beginning. It doesn't begin in a distant land, but instead close to home. And it begins in a tavern, but isn't that always the way?~
Sandru Vhiski pushes open the door and strides confidently – boisterously even – into the taproom of the Rusty Dragon. The Varisian caravan master smiles at the sight of it all, warmed by a feeling of familiarity. The redwood floors and beams with whitewashed walls, The stage to the left, the staircase on the right hand side and bar at the back. Sconced torches sit dormant along a number of the room's wooden pillars. The only other notable feature is a round table in the back corner of the bar. The table itself looks like any other in the Inn, save that it's unoccupied, given an almost reverent berth by staff and patrons alike, and has five distinct weapons mounted on the wall behind it: A longsword, a pair of elven daggers, a staff of dark grey, and hefty looking crossbow.
Each of the five weapons once belonged to one of the members of the Runewardens, a group of adventures who made Sandpoint their home four years ago and protected the city from Goblin raids, Giant invasions and even an attack by a Dragon! The companions were so named for their quest to prevent the resurrection of the ancient Runelord Karzoug and could often be found at that particular table during the time between their adventures; either planning their next quest, regailing Ameiko with a story from their travels, or simply enjoying a pint of the Dragon's fine ales. Eventually the Runewardens bid their farewells – off to seek new adventure – but each of them left their weapon to Ameiko as a token of their friendship.
On entering the inn, Sandru immediately spots Ameiko, the beautiful but somewhat irreverent woman of Tian descent and Sandpoint’s most unlikely noblewoman, as well as the current owner of the Rusty Dragon, sitting on the stool at the corner of the bar. Always fond of unusual hairstyles, Ameiko has dyed two snow white strips along the front of her otherwise raven black hair, and she plucks away absentmindedly at her Shamisen.
Three other prominent figures occupy the room.
The first leans on the bar beside Ameiko, a beautiful elf with golden blonde hair wearing well crafted and well worn leather armor, a forest green cloak hangs from her shoulders and a bow and quiver rest on the floor near her feet. This is the ranger Shalelu. While sitting at the table closest to the pair is an elderly woman, dressed in scraves, shawls and travelling gear of purples, yellows and crimson.
Koya Mvashti may not pose quite so intimidating a picture as her recently departed mother; but as the older woman, in remarkably good shape for a woman of sixty winters, calmly sets out the cards of her harrow deck upon the table, she certainly has an air of mystery.
While sitting apart from the three, closer to the wall, is Sandpoint's sheriff, Belor Hemlock. The middle aged Shoanti has his arms folded across his face and gazes over the room with his typical scowl.
With a raucous laugh, Sandru spreads his arms wide in greeting towards the three friends. He pauses to give Koya a hug and a kiss on her forehead, muttering a gentle ”mum”, before turning to hug Ameiko and Shalelu. ”Girls! It has been far too long.” He offers a rakeish grin, ”Ready to hunt some Goblins?”
And that was the name of the game on that day. Because while Sandpoint had pretty much returned to its sleepy town nature following the events of Karzoug's attempted return, it had recently come into a spot of trouble. There had been a number of Goblin raids along the roadways coming to the town, apparently the little hellions had gotten a hold of some fireworks and the pyrotechnics had made them bolder. His recruitment always lean, Sheriff Hemlock simply didn't have the men to hunt down the little monsters. So he did the best thing he could. Belor reinstated Sandpoint's old Goblin Bounty – ten gold pieces per goblin ear – and set about organizing two seperate adventuring parties to hunt down the beasts. The first party would set off for Thistletop, a known lair of one of the stronger Goblin tribes. This was the party that Sandru just completed; along with Ameiko, Koya, and Shalelu, who knew the area well.
Then there was Brinestump Marsh. Fishermen of the marsh had reported sighting a couple goblins in the swampy forest and while he expected it to be nothing, Sheriff Hemlock was nothing if not a cautious man. This was where the second party would go.
And that would be you.
Welcome to the Rusty Dragon! You can either already be in the bar or enter now. And can narrate yourselves appropriately.
"Ah, come on Drelen, there's no way you could be having this good of luck. Let me see your sleeves." Lirrathan insists, as he slams his cards down on the table. One of the Sandpoint locals, Drelen the grocer's eldest, scoops the recently claimed prize of coins from the center of the table. The other players each flip coins back into the ante, and the cards get passed to the next man.
While they are dealt, Lirrathan, a young elf of hearty build, sporting dirty blond hair cut short, and dressed comfortably, leans back in his chair. He waves at Sandru when the man enters, flicking a quick wave to bring him over to the gaming table. "Hey, Sandru, you have time for a game before you guys head out? I still need to win back the eight gold you got from me two nights ago." He spots his sister's disapproving shake of the head, and just waves her off, like always.
He gets an idea, springing to his feet as his tilted chair clatters to the floor making a racket in the quiet atmosphere of the room. Grinning, he makes a suggestion "How about we wager on how many ears we get on the hunt? For each ear over the other's amount, it will be a gold. What do you say to that?" His eyes alight with the excitement of the gamble. Turning he looks at his sister Shalelu, again with the stern look on her face. "What beehive did you bump in to?" He asks, his usual question for when she gives him the sour look, and he asks it often.
From the bar a tired, haggard looking man (who reeks of alcohol and sick, but might once have been a handsome young half-elf) looks up from a mug of something foul and strong-smelling. He mumbles something about needing to get back to work, yet when he starts to stand, he nearly falls off the bar stool. He sits back down hard, swaying gently. Fumbling with a satchel around his neck, he pulls out a small pouch of herbs, equally as fowl as his drink. He downs the pouch in a single swallow, then proceeds to have a coughing fit until one of the bar maids hands him a glass of water.
"Gack! I... I need a job. Brinestump, well, I've been there before, Sheriff. I know the area. And I need the work. Ameiko'll vouch for me, right, 'Meiko?"
"If she bumped into a beehive, I mourn the fact that I was not born a bee." Having just arrived back in Sandpoint, dust from the Lost Coast Road still clings to the Koveluss' traveling clothes and gear. He pauses after entering the Dragon and takes a moment to wipe beads of sweat from his brow. Quickly surveying the common room, the man smiles large and warmly as his eyes settle on Ameiko.
"Lady Kaijitsu! It is a blessing to see your face once again. I must say, none of of the statues in Magnimar can compare to the beauty that is hidden in this town." Koveluss' smile turns into a mischievous grin. Though he hadn't stayed in Sandpoint very long during his initial trip to the community, he had spent a fair amount of time at the Rusty Dragon; Koveluss found the attempts made by young men to win Ameiko's favor to be particularly amusing. When he introduced himself to the noblewoman and commented on the situation, she had graciously taken the time to share some of the more memorable proposals that she had received over the years. "I see you've begun keeping the company of women of similar beauty; I assume you hope they will intercept some of your admirers. Please, introduce us."
Lirrathan smirks as he responds, "I don't doubt you mourn your birth, you are human after all." He steps closer to Shalelu to stand beside her, slithly forward, and answering for either of the women as he stands to his fullest possibly imposing stance "This is my sister, 'nuff said, I am Lirrathan." He holds out his hand to shake, and giving the obligatory over squeeze that shows just how strong he is despite his frame.
Giving Lirrathan a clap on the shoulder as he passes by, Sandry answers, "Up to Ameiko and the Sheriff, but I'd be happy to take any more coin you'd like to throw my way." The jovial man grabs a pint from the bar, nodding once to the middle aged halfling behind it, "Morning Bethana, on my tab if you would," before taking a seat beside Koya.
Strumming lightly away, Ameiko wrinkles her nose when she sees Yosrick down the packet of herbs, "Desna's grace Yos, you're supposed to mix that stuff. And yes I'll vouch for you... you need a job to pay off your tab."
All conversation is interrupted by Koveluss' entrance and his greeting to Ameiko and Shalelu, along with Lirrathan's interjection and posturing. The confrontation itself is interrupted by a single discordant twang from Ameiko's shamisen. From behind Lirrathan she asks, her voice mixed with annoyance and bemusement, "And just why should one mourn being human?"
Sitting beside his adopted mother, Sandru lets out a low whistle and leans over to Koya muttering, "Five gold on 'Meiko."
For her part, Koya let's out a caw of laughter and replies, "I'm old boy, not senile."
Perception 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (7) + 5 = 12 Success!
Koveluss laughs, answering on Lirrathan's behalf, though the human's eyes don't leave the young elf's face. "There's no shame in being born human, Lady Kaijitsu. In the circumstances described, however, it would be the bees that had been blessed by the gods."
Walking up to the group gathered at the bar, Koveluss takes the elf's offered hand. The human's grip may not be as strong as Lirrathan's but it is just as firm. "My name's Koveluss. I do mourn my birth, for several different reasons; perhaps one day I'll share some of them with you. For now, though, I've traveled a long road. I'm no gambler but I've some silver that are feeling lonely, and before entering I heard someone mention a game ..." The man's voice trails off. Koveluss' face remains warm and friendly, but his eyes begin to glint with the implied challenge.
Yosrick belches, adding to his charms. "You know me, 'Meiko, I am a studly man of the world: I down herbs without mixing." Yosrick smiles, a sure sign that the herbs are working. "Besides, without me around, you'd lack for both company and customer. I'm a double threat, pretty 'Meiko." Yosrick attempts to make fluttery eyes, but fails when a wave of dizziness hits him and he nears falls from his bar stool.
Perception: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (16) + 6 = 22
Yosrick whistles when the elf mocks humans. Yosrick shakes his head and says loudly: " Dibs on his stuff after 'Meiko kills him."
Perception 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (11) + 2 = 13
Lirrathan cocks his head to look at Ameiko, a look of confusion on his face. "What do you mean? You want me to give ALL the reasons? Oh, I thought it was just understood. I mean, I'm not saying humans are as bad as orcs or anything, just that they're clearly not elven" He looks completely surprised that seem to be unaware of elven superiority.
He generally looks at everyone, then shrugs for a lack of concern, getting back to the talk of wagers. "I was telling Sandru that the group I'm going out with will bag more goblin ears than they do, and willing to put a gold an ear on the difference. Are you in?"
Ameiko's eyes flash in anger, and she grips her samisen one handed like a club, She pushes off from the bar, cursing rapidly in Tien, "mata ouhei na sukoshi hikigaeru!"
As the action heats up, Sandru shouts from his table, "Twenty gold says 'Meiko floors him in one!"
"Deal." Koya replies almost too quickly, and Sandru slaps the table at easy money, not even noticing his adopted mother's smile.
Quick as lightning, indeed it hardly looked like she moved, Shalelu rests a firm but calming hand on Ameiko, "I know he's irritating. But I would really rather not explain to myself that my brother was strangled to death by lute strings."
Ameiko stops, turning her glare to Shalelu before smiling wryly. "It's a samisen." she answers.
"Whatever." Shalelu replies.
For his part, Sandru's eyes just dart from one to another, before Koya gives a pointed cough beside him. "Pay up, boy."
Andrin watches quietly from his table in the corner, his eyes drawn from the weapons of the Runewardens to the burgeoning scene between Ameiko and Lirrathan. He is dressed quite well, but not so well as to be ostentatious, and his dark hair and beard are both neat and trimmed.
He was just about to stand and had drawn a breath, intending to speak words of reason that might calm the fiery Ameiko, but Shalelu beat him to the proverbial punch.
Half standing and half sitting, and feeling like he looked fully a fool, Andrin finishes his awkward rise and proceeds to cross the room, putting considerable effort into looking at anyone other than Shalelu. He navigates his way to the bar, offering Lirrathan a roll of his eyes and a bemused shake of his head as he passes.
He settles into the stool beside Yosrick, and recoils slightly as the man's most recent belch assaults his nose. Quick to regain his composure though, he gestures toward the barkeep, "Ah, Bethana. Good evening. Might I trouble you for a cup of wine? Nothing fancy tonight, just something light and perhaps a little sweet would be wonderful." He then turns to Yosrick, "And good evening to you, Yos. You know, if Lir keeps this up much longer, I think there might only be four of us heading to Brinestump instead of five."
An average built man, whose head is blocked from the light by a large round metal shield upon his back, walks into the Rusty Dragon. A typical solemn, yet sharp demeanor pours from his stance and, more particularly, his eyes. As the light fades from the closing door, a worry worn face becomes visible, a five o’clock shadow riddling his features. A long sword scabbard dangling from his belt of his oddly heavy coat, the once city renowned Daemon Grizwold has entered.
The once sought after wonder healer, now gone underground investigator, must have obviously heard about the Goblin Hunt. The Rusty Dragon being one of the only places he can be found, outside of his office and home, he typically would head to a corner and listen for information. Or possibly even bribe some out of townsfolk and patrons. Today, he heads straight to the grouping at the bar without hesitation after spotting the Sheriff. Without yelling, but still speaking firmly, he asks, “Sheriff Hemlock, you can’t seriously be considering sending regular townsfolk out to hunt down goblins?! Too many people will be hurt - or worse, killed!" His voice obviously troubled and demanding for an answer.
Lirrathan, still confused over all the fuss made over him stating a fact, turns to look at the Sheriff as the newly entered heavyset man speaks.
"He's got a point Sheriff, the normals will only be a liability for those of us trained to fight. Heck, it would be easier if you just send me and Sis to the marsh. I guess this guy" he points a thumb at Daemon "looks like he could handle that blade half decent, but the drunk, the old man, as human's age that is, and the.. well Koveluss seems like he could be fun. I guess he's okay."
He looks around, nods a few times, looks around again and adds "Well, maybe the old guy isn't that old, and the drunk at least has SOME elven blood. You know what, we're good, no worries. Yeah, it should be fun." his demeanor changes, he gets a glint in his eyes, as a crooked smile lifts the left side of his mouth high. "You know what, I'm all excited now, I say we get moving. Those goblins aren't gonna kill themselves.... well they might, they are pretty stupid, but we won't get the credit." He claps his hands, rubbing them together in anticipation, as he walks over to his gear and starts slipping on his armor, and cinching his sword-belt. Lastly, strapping his bow and quiver to his back, he turns back to the group "Well, let's get going... Hey sis, what direction is the swamp?"
Koveluss runs his hand through his hair, and lets out a low whistle. "I don't remember Sandpoint being this exciting the last time I was in town."
Watching the discussion unfold between the Sheriff, Daemon, and Lirrathan, Koveluss walks casually to Sandru. The summoner extends a hand to the other man in greeting. "I've found it smart to avoid betting against experience; it tends to be an effective way to empty one's coin pouch." Koveluss offers a nod of admiration to Koya before continuing, his voice in a lower tone so not to be overheard by the Hemlock and the two men speaking with him. "As you likely heard, my name is Koveluss. Now, what's this about a goblin hunt? Goldilocks mentioned something about a wager?"
Belor raises one eyebrow in mild disbelief at Daemon's entrance and his near outburst. After a moment of pregnant silence the Sheriff replies in a voice only half as loud as Daemons, but just as firm, "Mr. Grizwold, you can't seriously be questioning my authority, or my intelligence for that matter. Can you?"
Before the Sheriff can say anything else though, Sandru pushes himself up from the table, his smile gone and his eyes narrowed, "Scarnetti's errand boy think's he's got a say in what's good for this town?" he steps around the table and takes another step forward, "May as well be a sczarni."
"ENOUGH." Sheriff Belor's voice booms through the early morning air. "I brought you together to fight goblins. Not each other." He nods to Shalelu, "You know what to expect. Your group can depart."
As the four adventurers, Ameiko, Shalelu, Sandru and Koya say their goodbyes - some friendlier than others - the Sheriff turns to the others.
"To be brief Mr. Vossare, We've had a number of Goblin raids and I'm sending out parties to make them stop. Ameiko's group will explore Thistletop. This group will explore the Brinestump Marsh. Let me say that I don't care how you accomplish this. Kill them, plead and bargain, make yourself their god but I need these attacks to stop."
His face contorts with anger at Sandru's interjection, his mouth opens to defend himself but he quickly snaps it shut. His face softening, letting out a sigh - the silent defender in him prevailing over the prevailing eagerness to prove himself. "I apologize sheriff" he replies with a slight sigh of defeat.
He nods to the opposite group, giving his own goodbyes to everyone before turning into the conversation with his own group along with the sheriff - listening in as the sheriff informs what needs to happen, as well as Lirrathan's comments. He shakes his head at the speed and eagerness of the elf's chatter. "I believe I know the way to the Brinestump Marsh, Lirrathan."
1d20 + 7 ⇒ (9) + 7 = 16
"This is all very interesting, Sheriff Hemlock, but I'm back on entirely different business. I received notice of Madame Niska Mvashti's death and headed north; I'm looking for her daughter." The summoner looks at the faces of those assembled. "I believe the daughter's name is Koya. Could anyone tell me where to find her?"
Sorry for dragging things out; Koveluss' entire purpose for coming to Sandpoint is to seek out Koya Mvashti. I tried my best to be introduced to her before she and the others left.
As the 1st group leaves
"Later Sis, don't worry I'll be fine, and Sandru don't forget the one gold per ear wager. I'm banking on my skill with the blade to be better than my skill with the cards." Lirrathan calls out after the others as they exit the door.
Lirrathan laughs at the man's question "I can't tell you where she is, but I can tell you where she was, and where she will be. She was here, and she's gone to hunt goblins with the others. You most likely won't find them, or catch up to them, and are better off waiting until they return." He chuckles, his eyes gleaming,
"While you wait, though, we have a wonderful opportunity by the Sheriff here, some as compensation for no jail time after the last rout that they caused in the bar, which I still declare was not their fault at all" He stops as he sees the Sheriff glare at hinm for bringing the conversation up again. "We get to go kill goblins... and get paid for it. We should be gone just as long as Koya and them, so we can all get together afterwards, collect our winnings, share a drink, and maybe play some cards." He takes a breath before continuing, drawing out the first word "OR you could sit here on your duff, paying for a room out of pocket and miss all the fun. Meh, it's not a choice I would have to mull over for long." He shrugs as he wrangles his pack on, light as it is from obviously not carrying a full complement of eqiupment like his full complement of weapons.
Koveluss sinks into a chair and sighs heavily, though his face retains a bemused expression. He chuckles to himself before addressing the elf. "Perhaps it's best there's no time for cards; it seems I wouldn't notice a winning hand were it staring me in the face. I take it then that Koya was the wise woman who profited from your near-scuffle with Lady Kaijitsu?"
"I will need a place to stay while waiting for Koya's return. It might as well be the road. How soon do we leave and do I have time to bathe, or is everyone willing to tolerate my odor? A long road does not tend to be friendly to one's sense of smell, after all."
Lirrathan looks at the man like he doesn't realize that he's costing the elf good goblin killing daylight "We're going to a marsh... to fight goblins... just us men... I don't think we're worried too much about how much road dust and sweat you got on you." He shakes his head, speaking softly to himself
At Koveluss' mention of his odor, Andrin barks out a deep, resonant laugh and slaps his thigh, "Ha! My good man, we've yet to mind dear Yosrick here, and I highly doubt you can compete with him in that regard." Andrin then gives Yosrick a hearty and congenial slap on the back before rising from his bar stool and approaching Koveluss. He extends his hand warmly after offering a slight bow. "Andrin Valdemar, good sir, and it is my pleasure to meet you."
Koveluss laughs at the elf's words and stands before addressing in kind. The summoner is smiling, but the idea of a challenge has caused a mischievous look to return to his eyes.
Turning away from the elf, Kovellus readily takes the offered hand. "Koveluss Vossare, first from Westcrown, more recently hailing from Magnimar. The pleasure's mine, Sir Valdemar; I apologize for my scent all the same, though the elf may be right that it will pale in comparison to our collective stench after this outing"
"Goldilocks? Well, just to be clear elves do not produce 'stench'. You humans stink all you like, and you do. I, however as an elf, merely exude the scent of a worthy mate, with the purpose of attracting the opposite sex. And trust me, it works, the elven ladies back home were always vying for my attentions after an invigorating weapon's practice." By the way he talks, it's fairly obvious that he doesn't brag to puff himself up, he truly believes it. "We can get better acquainted on the road, where instead of moving subtly you humans will chatter like squirrels."
"Ladies, ladies. Can we keep the hen-talk to a minimum? I'm sure you're all very pretty and my head hurts too much to play your reindeer games. Let's just go kill goblins and pretend that everyone is a quiet, not-overly-loud pretty pretty flower, okay?" Slowly and very carefully Yosrick gathers his gear, which amounts to very little, and moves toward the exit.
"I'm afraid my odor is too offensive for me to be confused for a pretty flower, but you make a good point. Yosrick, was it?" Koveluss hefts his bag onto his back once more, a groan escaping from his lips as he does. The man then falls in line behind Yosrick.
"I've traveled far today; if I'm going to walk further, best not to let my muscles relax just yet."
Andrin will likewise pick up his belongings and fall in with the group. As he slings his heavy shield over his left shoulder and struggles momentarily to hang his morningstar from a belt hook he'll offer, "Regardless of our individual reasons for going on this little expedition, I must say that I look forward to working with each of you fine gentlemen." He then fiddles with one of his backpack's straps briefly.
"Daemon, how long would you estimate it will take us to reach the marsh?"
Before they depart...
"By Iomedae, enough." Sheriff Hemlock pushes himself up to his feet, rubbing the bridge of his nose in exasperation. "One last piece of advice I have is to seek out a Walthus Proudstump. He's a hermit in the marsh. Not the most sociable halfling I've ever met but he's a decent fellow, and no one would know the marshlands better than he does." At that, Hemlock shrugs, "Or just go traipsing through the bogs. I don't care, just stop the little pests before someone really gets hurt."
On the Road...
The unlikely band of adventurers makes their way from the Dragon and down Sandpoints Southern Lost Coast Road.
The morning is a nice one with the sun shining high in the sky. Already the town of sandpoint has come alive. Children run giggling through the street, clattering wooden swords together. The smell of fresh apple pie wafts from the window of the Vinders' general store and the ringing clang of Das Korvut working his forge sounds through the air.
Brinestump Marsh may not be as large as the Mushfens farther to the south, but the swamp is dense and tangled. It’s easy to get
lost in the place. No one’s made a really detailed map
of Brinestump—there’s been no need, since there’s not
much of value within. But if anyone knows his way around
in the marsh, it’d be that old eccentric half ling Walthus
Proudstump, the self-appointed “warden” of the swamp.
A f ishing trail leads from the Lost Coast Road directly to
Walthus’s shack in the swamp. The Marsh is about a little over an hour on foot from Sandpoint.
Knowlege (geography) Take 10 ⇒ (10) + 3 = 13 Success!
Koveluss nods, Yosrick's comment jogging his memory. "I think I remember passing it on my way north. It's about an hour from Sandpoint. You're more familiar with the area than I am, though; feel free to take the lead, Yosrick."
Oh, wasn't gonna roll, then remembered the untrained knowledge checks up to 10. THEN noticed two people already made it, so decided not to anyways.
Lirrathan sets out on the road, as they leave Sandpoint, by taking up a slighty crouched posture. He limbers his bow and begins walking in long strides with rolling footsteps, all the while peering this way and that as if on the prowl. Given that they are on the road just out the gates, his posturing looks more ridiculous than effective, but it could have merit under other conditions.
Stealth 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (9) + 2 = 11 no penalty for full move with Silent Hunter.
Perception 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (13) + 2 = 15.
Yosrick starts to laugh at the mighty hunter, but then a wave of nausea hits and he ends up dry heaving into the bushes on the side of the road... He straightens up, mumbling "Dammit. Those herbs get less and less potent every time I use them. You'd think using the third in two days would make them work better, right?"
Before we depart...
He nods in the sheriff's direction after he answers before he himself could, "Well there you are, Andrin."
On the road...
Daemon nods in agreement with Yosrick about the cabin being ahead. "This Halfling is a bit... Well... Most consider him to be quite odd. Be prepared for that. We are, after all, asking him for help. We don't want to offend him before we even get the chance at stopping the attacks. So try to keep the pissing contests to a minimum around him, hmm?" His eyes look over his shoulder towards Lirrathan and Koveluss, half of a smirk drawn across his usually stern facial features.
The rest of the way, he keeps his own eyes pealed upon the pathway, keeping a prepared hand upon his longswords' hilt in-case of an ambush.
Perception Check 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (9) + 6 = 15
The 5th of Arodus, 4711
The walk to Brinestump Marsh is an easy one, along the winding Lost Coast Road, with a clear blue sky and glimmering sun that does indeed make Lirrathan's hunter's prowl look downright ridiculous.
After about an hour's journey however, the group comes the the beginnings of the new fishing trail. It isn't all that hard to spot, especially with a number of you already knowing what to look for.
random encounter roll1d100 ⇒ 95
It is almost bewildering just how much the atmosphere of the land changes from when the party enters into the marshland. All of Brinestump is awash with overgrowth and vegetation - tangles of nettles, reeds, and other swamp plants often supplemented by larger vegetation – cypress, eucalyptus, oak, and willow trees that grow and claw their way up to the sky, wrapping in and blotting out the sun. Where there was once a sunny day, now there's only the occasional shaft of light that really only serves to highlight the clouds of bussing black flies. Each step taken squelches and squishes with the wet earth and the cloying of mud on boots. The forest takes on an oppressive air that makes the hairs on the back of everyone's neck stand on end. A hoot of an owl, a rustle in the bushes. In the distance a canine of some kind lets out a haunting howl.
Eventually, the four come to an old and soggy bridge that's built rough shod over a stream. After a few moments to test it, they all begin to cross.
[ooc]. Movement along trails is at 3/4 speed, and any movement through the undergrowth would be at 1/4 speed. Combat in any portion of the Marsh not cleared for habitation will be considered to be on rough terrain.
The disturbing atmosphere of the swamp is only heightened when you come across the fresh corpse of a strangely mutilated deer, its head missing and deep scratches across its flanks. Nearby is a soggy, three-toed footprint, slowly filling with water as if whatever made the print only recently passed by. But a search discovers neither trail nor predator.
After an exhausting but otherwise uneventful slog that crosses three more bridges, small creeks and vast patches of mud - mud that coats your clothes and seeps inside whenever possible, which is a lot - the soggy trail winds its way up to a swampy lagoon. The open ocean is visible just beyond these shallow waters, while an old two-story building, its walls covered with moss and its roof sagging with age, sits on the lagoon’s eastern shore. Based on what you know, it seems near certain that this is the dwelling of Walthus Proudstump, the self-appointed “swamp warden” of Brinestump Marsh.
On the road ...
Koveluss returns the detective's smirk with one of his own. "Such a contest would be unfair anyway. I'm sure elves urinate fine wine; there's no way a mere human could compete with such a feat."
Walthus Proudstump's lagoon ...
Tapping his foot against a nearby stone, Koveluss winces slightly each time the muck in his boots squelch in response. "To have a home this far off the beaten path, I hope the fishing here is amazing. In any case, we should probably introduce ourselves, and put our best foot forward. Preferably a foot that isn't surrounded by the swamp's mud. Since Yosrick smells of a giant's pits, and the rest of us are lowly humans, I believe the honor falls to you, Goldilocks."
On the road...
After crossing the Bridge, his body would seem even more on edge than usual. His intuitive senses unsure of how to take the signs he's receiving - but he still entrusts his gut by dismissing it, for now.
Walthus Proudstump's Dwelling...
He can't help but let out a slight chuckle in response to Koveluss. Not wanting the conversation with the hermit to take an inappropriate approach from the rivalrous camaraderie between the Elf and the Human, as well as the imminent threat of Goblins within the marsh, he takes the lead and approaches the door. He reaches up and taps on the door curtly, waiting for a response from inside.
On the road
Lirrathan looks to the humans, primarily Daemon after his statement. "You guys compete at pissing? There are always things about you humans that will confuse me." Then when he hears Koveluss' assesment of his own urinary capabilities, the surprise blankets his face. "What do you think we elves are capable of, you... you don't actually think that's where wine comes from do you. Because, that's... that's just disgusting."
Moving throught the swamp
Knowledge: Nature for what predator may have caused the shadow or deer. 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (16) + 3 = 19
Knowing his environment has changed, and unlike the woods the chance that anything could pop up out of the water at any moment, he puts away his longbow and draws his blades.
At the dwelling
Koveluss confuses the elf with every statement, this man seems to have no real sense. "We are dealing with a halfling that lives in the swamp... by choice. My pleasant demeanor and striking looks may be offputting. In fact this swamp-dweller Proudstump may just appreciate the cloud of stink around Yosrick more. He.. oh, I guess Daemon's going. That works." His blades still in hand, showing even more clearly that Lirrathan may not always be the best to initiate conversations with others for the sake of the group.
In the swamp...
His hair already matted with sweat and his neck red from either the incessant insect bites or his relentless slaps to stave off the vermin, Andrin looks to be fast on his way to miserable. The dark haired noble limps along (a sure sign of at least one significant blister forming on his sodden feet), but to his credit he bears his discomfort with mute stoicism.
At the dwelling...
Andrin stands several steps behind the group, suddenly feeling very out of his element and awkward having trudged out into the middle of nowhere to call upon a swamp hermit for aid in hunting goblins. He fidgets in the heat and wipes the back of his hand across his forehead, leaving a streak of mud behind.
The door opens slightly with a heavy creak, and a halfing with a wild mop of brown hair and unshaven face pops his head out of the opening, looking up at everyone. His eyes dart from one to the next and the next, before offering a somewhat manic smile. "Oh! Um... hello," he grins to the group, stepping outside and shutting the door behind him as he stares up, [b]"Wasn't expecting company, sorry. How can I help you?
Yosrick smiles at the halfling. "Sir, sorry to disturb you, but the Sheriff thought you might be able to help us. We understand there's been some goblin activity near Brinestump. We were hoping you might be able to tell us where they're currently laired and any tips you might have on taking them unawares? Also, I'm really really sorry about that pumpkin incident a few years back... It wasn't really me, you see, it was the crowd I was with and I really had no idea that the gourd would rile up that boar in quite that way... So, so sorry."
He would step aside of the door as Yosrick starts responding before he himself can. As he brings up a past incident he's had with the halfling, he raises a hand to the bridge of his nose, gingerly rubbing it in frustration, and letting out a soft sigh in obvious disapproval.
"As the man says, Mister Proudstump, we are indeed in need of your help. The marsh has yet to be mapped, so we can not navigate it without your aid. People are being hurt by these goblins, so we have no choice but to stop the attacks from happening and get to the bottom of it."
1d20 + 10 ⇒ (14) + 10 = 24
Walthus eyes shift from Daemon to Yosrick and back and he nods once, "The pumpkins... oh! yes, don't worry lad, boys will be boys and all." He scrathes his cheek, thinking and then exicedtly pipes up, "Oh yes, I've heard tell that there have been goblin sightings near the old fish trail, you should start there!"
The Following spoiler tags are for a perception check. The second tag is only available to Yosrick or those characters with knowledge (local). Additionally Yosrick receives a +10 to his roll
Boys will be boys!? All of Sandpoint had to listen to Walthus grumble and moan, rant and rave for an entire season as he was forced to rely on the town for sustenance while his crops regrew! the swamp warden loved those pumpkins like children and would hardly be one to simply brush off their destruction.
Perception 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (20) + 5 = 25 Success!
Koveluss nods, a concerned expression crossing his face. "Are you sure you've only heard tell of goblins? It looks like you might have been on the receiving end of the little beasts, or something else; I can't imagine the fish here are strong enough to leave a man in your condition, no matter how big they might be."
Disguise 1d20 + 14 ⇒ (6) + 14 = 20
"Of course I'm fine boys! Just no sense worrying about old vegetables. and these," he touches a bruise on his cheek, "It's just embarrassing, I got caught up in a snare trap I was setting and got banged up on the fall is all."