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The Dangers of Civilization

Game Master sunshadow21

The Western Trade Route runs through the Midrealms to the city of Cliffsgate and the Haven of Belauth. Being a settled region, This region should be perfectly safe for a group of up and coming stars, right?

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Eager to get started on their journey, our heroes gather together the next morning to collect a number of last minute supplies and get to know each other a bit more. Around noon, they find themselves in a cafe just outside the ATA compound. After a brief lunch, they walk through the plaza on their way to the main office building where they have been instructed to meet with the ATA officials briefly. The plaza is filled with wagons, tack, carts, crates, ropes, tarps, and various other equipment being cleaned, repaired, and inventoried by dozens of small teams of workers. In the meeting room, they find a single official talking with a cleric wearing the robes of Tula. After quickly wrapping up whatever conversation they were having, the elven official gets right down to business. "Pardon the lack of small talk, but today is a day for action, not words, so I will get right to the point. You have been selected to carry the ATA banner to the Midrealms and beyond, strengthening our trade network while finding your own niche in the world to thrive in. To that end, we have prepared a small list of contacts in the Midrealms and Cliffsgate to get you started, and if you wish, you may take a mule and small wagon from the stables. We also will provide each of you with a healing kit to help you recover from the unavoidable dangers of the road. Do you have any final questions before you depart?"

Halfling(Jinx) Cobbler 3, HP: 21, AC: 19, Tch: 14, FF: 16, F: +2, R: +6, W: +2, Init: +3, Per: +9

Crispin thinks for a bit then starts to talk without a breath "So to get this straight we are going to be trying to set up a list of new places for the ATA to bring their goods. Will we be having to send back information on our progress, after we meet these contacts or make new ones. Or do you want us to set up our own business and trade with people in the name of the ATA."

Male Elf Alchemist 2 (HP: 11, AC: 17, TAC: 14, FFAC: 13, F: 4, R: 6, W: 0, Init: 4, Per: 4)

Indeed, this does sound like an opportunity. And I too am curious if we are to open up our own trading company and trade under the ATA banner? Are there specific goods that require movement? Or are we to simply make contacts with merchants in the new regions and negotiate new shipping agreements?


"In regards to the road, any indication what we may face out there?" Sets pack on the ground and begins to rearrange it's contents for better weight distribution.

The elf winces a bit at the question, but seems ready with an answer. After scanning the room as if to make sure that there it was secure. "I always hate this part, but we may not have been entirely honest about one aspect of our motivation. There are those amongst our supporters who believe that the sheer number of mercenaries present in our great lands is a civil war waiting to happen and are looking for ways to keep those numbers under control. Knowing that they couldn't do a mass action, they have looked for small ways to achieve their goal. This lottery is one such way. The basic premise is useful enough that people don't question it, but it also serves their primary goal.

As to how you proceed, that is up to you. Some groups have taken the stated purpose quite seriously, going so far as to set up subsidiaries with us when their business grew large enough; others, we never heard from directly again once they passed the Tulas River. Most fall somewhere in the middle; they use our initial contacts to make some coin or help clear the roads of would be thieves and dangerous wildlife as they establish their reputation before their activities naturally carry them beyond our realm of influence. All we really ask is that you don't embarrass us or tell everyone what I just told you, whatever you end up doing; that just gets ugly and messy, and you don't want to be part of something like that, trust me."

The man stops to catch his breath, "As to what you will find out there, at least initially, is a well traveled road through a moderately settled country side all the way to Cliffsgate. The people keep mostly to themselves, but are friendly enough if treated with respect and friendliness in turn. There are a few bad apples that use the area to hide out, though, as well as the occasional bitter ex politician looking to rebuild a following so they exact their revenge on those who they believed wronged them, and there are a fair number of wild beasts present as well. It's not overly dangerous as long as you keep your eyes and ears open, and don't trust everything you are told without good reason.

I would recommend that you eventually plan on reaching Cliffsgate. From there, you will have a wide choice of options available to you, and you can start making longer term plans based on which of those opportunities you find the most interesting."

Male Kitsune Sor2 Rog1/ / HP=12 AC=18 TT=14 FF=14/ /F=0 R=4 W=3/ /INI=4

He looks at the others reactions, then asks, "Well then, do you have any goods that are headed for these contacts?"


"Well at least your honest. But I do dislike being manipulated as such. Do not worry, I'll keep your secret." Finishes repacking.

Halfling(Jinx) Cobbler 3, HP: 21, AC: 19, Tch: 14, FF: 16, F: +2, R: +6, W: +2, Init: +3, Per: +9

Crispin now aware of what he will be doing "So then with that explained I am sure we can work with that as a cover." looking around at his companions "If every one wouldn't mind I would like to take a wagon, it might be good for having some sort of traveling shop."

@ VoW I think Crispin has some gold left could he use some so he can buy matefials to create shoes and have materials left go repair them, a traveling tradesmen might be useful in this cover.


Looks at Crispin and smiles. "Well, every traveling merchant needs a bodyguard." laughs.

Male Elf Alchemist 2 (HP: 11, AC: 17, TAC: 14, FFAC: 13, F: 4, R: 6, W: 0, Init: 4, Per: 4)

I could put my alchemist kit in the wagon as well but disguise it as a mobile tannery. Every good cobler needs good leather to work with after all right? I have a some considerable experience as a travelling salesman. That could work to our advantage for at least as far as furthering our disguise.

Halfling(Jinx) Cobbler 3, HP: 21, AC: 19, Tch: 14, FF: 16, F: +2, R: +6, W: +2, Init: +3, Per: +9

nodding at Morbak "A bodyguard would be very good indeed." glancing towards Ha'el "Wonderful Ha'el, I would like to see what your skills can do to help preserve the leather better.

switching to Zhiyo "We can probably set up a table for you to tell fortunes as well, we can set-up a table and a tent for you to work in."

Edited to fit Ha'el's entry

"The disguise is a necessary one, I'm afraid. If it were known what our supporters' were, a lot of people would panic and read intentions into it that go beyond our supporters' wishes. They do not wish to remove all mercenary work, simply keep it contained and focused in a positive direction. We in the ATA support this endeavor because the solution benefits us all. Our supporters get to sleep better at night, we get the funds and support to sustain ourselves, and our employees have the chance to receive opportunities they otherwise would not receive. All in all, it seems as reasonable solution as any.

If you require specific materials, I am sure we can arrange for whatever you need at a discounted price. Just talk to the quartermaster. You need not feel obliged to carry on in this manner forever. If other opportunities present themselves, feel free to pursue them if you wish. Just remember to send business our way if and when that opportunity presents itself to you, and we will consider the whole thing a success."

Male Kitsune Sor2 Rog1/ / HP=12 AC=18 TT=14 FF=14/ /F=0 R=4 W=3/ /INI=4

"Yes, fortunetelling and actual tanning, no need to disguise that, I can work leather too after all. Though I usually make boondoggle and bracelets and other small trinkets."

He looks at the list of contacts to see if it stats what they contacts sell or do, if it doesn't he will ask.

The list includes about a dozen names along with location and primary occupation. All the locations are towns that serve as routine stops along the road leading to Cliffsgate or in Cliffsgate. A variety of occupations are covered.


Looks into the sky. "Well, the sun is on the wane. Might I suggest we get moving along then. I would like to cover as much ground as possible before nightfall. Throws pack over shoulder and starts looking for a wagon to fit their needs.

I have 39 GP left to chip in on a wagon and draft animal.

Male Elf Alchemist 2 (HP: 11, AC: 17, TAC: 14, FFAC: 13, F: 4, R: 6, W: 0, Init: 4, Per: 4)

@Morbak, I believe they are giving us a mule and a small wagon anyways but if we want something bigger in the way of either we would need to chip in for sure. I've only got 14 gp though. We should set up a system where whatever monies are fronted now, get repaid from the group loot pile later. That way no one is out of pocket.

I'm as eager as anyone. Lets take a look in the stables to see what they have for us shall we?

*shoulders pack and heads for the door and smiles at the party ...*

This is going to be an adventure huh?

The wagon they would be willing to give you is just small enough a single animal can still pull it. It would have a bench for a driver, and enough room in the back that a couple of passengers could squeeze in if they had to. It would be large enough for your intentions of setting up a traveling shop, and they would be willing to make whatever modifications you needed. If you want anything larger, they can give you that, but it will cost you 4 gp for the second mule, and if you want horses, that will cost half the listed price.

Halfling(Jinx) Cobbler 3, HP: 21, AC: 19, Tch: 14, FF: 16, F: +2, R: +6, W: +2, Init: +3, Per: +9

Looking at Zhiyo "Another Leather worker, Wonderful. Let's put together a list of supplies we will need to work on things.

Crispin fishes in the pocket of his coat and pull out a bag of coin. "I will donate this for horses and supplies.

Crispin 39gp, Morbak 39gp, Twitch 14gp, for a total as of right now of 92gp I think we get 1 horse (38gp) plus saddle and Bit and briddle (7gp), get the large wagon, pay additional (4gp) for the second mule so far a total of (49gp). My thoughts with the larger wagon we can fit 3 in it while traveling and one can ride. If we need someone else to ride with what we have left we can afford a pony(22gp) for Crispin then 2 of the others can ride in the Wagon and the other on the horse and what ever is left goes to supplies, rations and other party goods. Thoughts?


Sounds good to me. Just to let you know, I have no ranks in handle animal. So technically, Morbak doesn't know how to ride.

Halfling(Jinx) Cobbler 3, HP: 21, AC: 19, Tch: 14, FF: 16, F: +2, R: +6, W: +2, Init: +3, Per: +9

But ride is wisdom based so even unskilled you aren't doing that bad.


Oh right, forgot it was its own skill. It's Dex actually, but your point is still valid.

Halfling(Jinx) Cobbler 3, HP: 21, AC: 19, Tch: 14, FF: 16, F: +2, R: +6, W: +2, Init: +3, Per: +9

sorry my bad i never take ride.

Male Elf Alchemist 2 (HP: 11, AC: 17, TAC: 14, FFAC: 13, F: 4, R: 6, W: 0, Init: 4, Per: 4)

I like Crispin's plan. I would suggest that morbak get the horse as a ranger he would likely be the one scouting the road ahead for safety. Crispin on the pony. Myself and Zhiyo on the wagon. And now for an unrelated question, how did you guys put your pertinent stats in the header of your character? That would be so useful to have at a glance. Did you just paste the stat block next to "class/levels" under edit character?

Male Elf Alchemist 2 (HP: 11, AC: 17, TAC: 14, FFAC: 13, F: 4, R: 6, W: 0, Init: 4, Per: 4)

HAHA! Ok, ignore my last bit of my last post. Thats EXACTLY what you did. What a great idea!!! I'm at work right now so I don't have a chance to do this but I will update it asap tonight once the kids go to bed. I also have some details to update on my back story. Cheers!

Male Kitsune Sor2 Rog1/ / HP=12 AC=18 TT=14 FF=14/ /F=0 R=4 W=3/ /INI=4

Actually, I do have ride and handle animal so I could take the horse or at least deal with the animals every night anyway.--I can chip in 11g 4s --The cost is 47g 5s for a large wagon with 2 mules and a horse with riding tack. I don't think we need a second rider but I don't mind if someone wants to.

He looks at the list and takes note of one individual in each town till Cliffsgate of which he will buy something to sell to each of them assuming he has any left after the wagon and horse.

You can pick up basic tanning and leatherworking tools, as well as a fair number of tanning chemicals and leather scraps large enough to serve as trinkets and patches for shoes without spending any more money. One reason they time the lottery with the annual spring cleaning is that these expeditions serve as a good way to siphon off not only excess mercenaries in a useful manner, but equipment and inventory that they no longer want/need in a beneficial manner. Despite the underlying motives of their financiers, the ATA leadership still takes the stated premise quite seriously, simply happy to have someone willing to fund this mostly profitable project.


While browsing the stables for a wagon, Morbak comes across an absolutely beautiful horse. A well developed stallion with a fiery red coat and a silken black mane.

He asks the horse merchant, "He seems a fine animal. Is he trained for riders?

The stable master comes over, "Ah, I see you noticed Firebrand. He's ridable enough for those who treat him with respect; those who don't find themselves on the ground quite quickly. He spends most of his time in the stable around here, though, as proper respect for and understanding of animals is something that is sorely lacking in most of the cretins that we deal with."


Turns towards Firebrand, slowly brings out his hand so the horse can smell him.

The stallion looks up, rather bored, not completely ignoring the half orc, but not condescending to making a move without further action on the ranger's part.


Turns head back to the Stable Master. "Does he prefer apples or carrots?"

The Stable Master chuckles, "Such a horse disdains such mundane items. No, my friend, look at his trough to find inspiration. Try some of these radishes, they have a bit of kick to them that matches the horse well."


Not wanting to anger Firebrand by reaching into his trough, Morbak lowers his hand, turns to the Stable Master and asks: "May I purchase some from you by chance?"

Halfling(Jinx) Cobbler 3, HP: 21, AC: 19, Tch: 14, FF: 16, F: +2, R: +6, W: +2, Init: +3, Per: +9

Excellent about the supplies, and and great with the one rider and the wagon. We just need to pick up some extra food so we don't get caught without. Also could Morbak hunt deer or other animals so we could make leather from them while on the road when we run out of supplies. Also I am guessing they are giving us a generic map.

Crispin smiles things are looking up, he just needs to survive his new adventure.


Survival +8, so it should be easy.

"I'll give you one to try to see if he'll take it. If he accepts you, than we can discuss the future." You now have the stable master's full attention as he hands up Morbak one of the radishes.

You could easily get a basic map of Turvar and the Midrealms. It wouldn't have every back road, but it would have the important roads, towns, and landmarks. Hunting won't be a problem until you reach Cliffsgate. It's a rural landscape, and as long as you don't start killing off entire populations to drive your industry or try to do so in the middle of someone's yard, no one is going to care if you hunt.

Male Elf Alchemist 2 (HP: 11, AC: 17, TAC: 14, FFAC: 13, F: 4, R: 6, W: 0, Init: 4, Per: 4)

I would like to point out that Ha'el is not actually trained as a tanner nor has he any skill in this regard. I just thought the "tannery" paraphernalia would provide something of a disguise for my alchemist lab in the back of the wagon. This was just to boost our cover somewhat; if only to dissuade the fools. I am an alchemist so I don't think the basics of tanning hides is beyond my capacity to learn. It would be up to the DM to decide if I was able to create anything of actual use professionally.


Takes the radish offered by the Stable Master, slowly walks over towards Firebrand, bows respectfully, and brings the hand holding the radish forward.

Wild Empathy check: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (20) + 1 = 21

EDIT: *eyes bug out of head after seeing the roll* wow,

Ha'el could figure out the basic tanning chemicals easily enough. It wouldn't create world famous leather (for those kinds of chemicals, you would need to join a guild that held those secrets), but it would be sufficient to create basic, workable leather. You could easily do other alchemical stuff on the side, and no one would blink. You're a traveling shop; the only way for such a shop to break even is to branch out from their primary focus when and where it makes sense to. Many real life tinkerers were in fact capable of plying many different trades at once, all out of a single wagon. None of it would have been considered masterwork, but for the clientele they were serving, just providing basic services was something that many of their customers otherwise would not have had access to.

Firebrand watches the exchange between Morbak and the stable master quietly, and something about it or Morbak himself relaxes the horse. Perhaps a certain amount trust attached to the stable master got transferred after the stable master seemed willing to cooperate with this stranger, or perhaps the demeanor and aura of a natural outdoorsman came through, but regardless of the specific reason, the horse accepts the radish, and after chewing it down thoughtfully, looks at the ranger to see what the ranger wants patiently, not yet knowing what this stranger wants, but willing to give him a chance to make his case.


Stands up, steps closer to Firebrand, grabs a brush hanging in the stall, and gently begins to brush the horse's powerful neck.

While brushing, Morbak turns to the Stable Master: "A noble creature, such as he, deserves no less than a respectful companion for the road." Continues brushing down the horse.

The stable master watches for a few minutes until Morbak finishes brushing the horse. "Perhaps we should try a real test." Calling a couple of stable hands, Firebrand is led outside to a small yard, and the stable master has them set a saddle down beside him. "If you can saddle him and ride him successfully, we can discuss price."

Halfling(Jinx) Cobbler 3, HP: 21, AC: 19, Tch: 14, FF: 16, F: +2, R: +6, W: +2, Init: +3, Per: +9

Crispin gathers a journal proceeding to inventory all the good they are going to be carrying in the wagon to work with and sell. Figuring which leather can be used for large items like shoes and boots and what can be used for smaller items. Then will head to a shop together provisions for the trip. Making sure they are ready to go when the horses are bought.

Male Kitsune Sor2 Rog1/ / HP=12 AC=18 TT=14 FF=14/ /F=0 R=4 W=3/ /INI=4

Zhiyo shows up at the stables just in time to Morback walking outside into the corral, "Morbak, you beat me here. Beautiful horse, this the one you picked out?"

If able he will let the horse smell his hand then pet the horse depending on its reaction. Just in case handle animal 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (20) + 5 = 25

Regardless of that outcome, he will then find a spot to watch Morbak try to saddle and ride Firebrand.

Well I do come from nature. XD I love twenties!

You are just doing quite well with the rolls right now.

The stable hand stops long enough for Zhiyo to introduce himself. The horse seems amused at the situation as the stable master watches quietly, observing your interaction with the normally aloof stallion.


Morbak calmly walks over, picks up the blanket, lays it across Firebrands mid-back, then picks up the saddles, carefully places it on top of the blanket.

Being is how Handle Animal is unavailable to me at the moment, I think I'll try a Dex check for putting the saddle on correctly.

If you disagree with that, ignore this roll and tell me what skill/ability you want me to roll.

Dex check: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (2) + 4 = 6

Edit: >.< ouch.

Male Elf Alchemist 2 (HP: 11, AC: 17, TAC: 14, FFAC: 13, F: 4, R: 6, W: 0, Init: 4, Per: 4)

lol and with that roll Morbak attaches the saddle to the horses head like a bonnet.

Just as Morbak goes to put the saddle on, Firebrand decides to have a little fun, and shift his position so that the saddle slides right off his back. Eventually Morbak is able to get the horse saddled and have a short ride, but not before the stable master and gathered stable hands get a good chuckle, and the half orc gets a reminder that he was ultimately successful because the stallion let him, and for no other reason. Overall, the stable master seems surprisingly pleased with the outcome, and motions Morbak and Zhiyo into his corner office as the stable hands take care of Firebrand. "Most impressive. Too many people consider the mounting and riding of the horse to be the most critical skill, and neglect to view the animal as an equal partner. I've seen Firebrand go through that test many times, and only the ones he cares to allow are given that kind of warning. The rest are allowed to get the saddle on, only to find themselves eating dirt the second they try to actually ride. I believe we can work something out for you to take the horse; I understand you are heading out onto a task that Firebrand is much more suited for than this life, and I suspect he knows it too. He's a smart horse; take care of him, and he'll take care of you."

You have yourself a horse. Morbak gains a +1 trait bonus to Handle Animal, and can use the skill untrained. That was excellent RP.


Does a short bow with his head. "Thank you kind sir, rest assured that I will."

Thank you. Updating skills.


How much GP was it for Firebrand, saddle, bit and bridal?

Male Kitsune Sor2 Rog1/ / HP=12 AC=18 TT=14 FF=14/ /F=0 R=4 W=3/ /INI=4

"Well, Morbak If you want some pointers on riding I'll be happy to lessons along the way."

Zhiyo moves on to the market and picks up some parchment (5 sheets for 1g) and 2 days of rations for emergencies (2lbs for 1g).

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