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

"If the back roads are more riddled with the likes of bandits, i say we go there."


Leaving Tuven, you head back down to Florency and beyond down the coast. The first few days of the trip are what you would generally expect for weather in late spring; it's starting to warm up, and there are occasional sprinkles as you work your way down meandering country "roads" south along the coast line. While signs of civilization are common, the farms are just as often abandoned as they are occupied, and it's another week past Florency before you reach another village, and just because it appears that a massive storm system rolling in off the sea. After getting your horses and wagon settled in and stowing your stuff in the common sleeping room upstairs, you find a seat in the common room of the local inn and take a look around. There seem to be several clumps of locals, mostly fishermen, but some farmers, most of which don't seem to note your presence one way or another. Race wise, it seems to be mostly human and halfling, and one of the halfling barmaids seems to take a shine to paying special attention to your table.


Male Nagaji Hospitalier (Paladin) 2 HP: 22, AC: 20, Tch: 12, FF: 17, F: +9, R: +6, W: +8, Init: +2, Per: +7

Is the barmaid giving attention to anyone in particular... perhaps our own resident halfling?


Half-Orc

"An order of roast for me if you please."


It seems to be the group as a whole, though you're guessing that Crispin was probably what originally drew her attention.


The halfling barmaid brings the roast promptly, and while it's not the best you've had, it's certainly not the worst either. Eventually, some men with armor and spears come in, and sit down for a quick supper before returning to their patroling.

Does anyone want to do anything at this point, or should I skip to the next scene? Or is everyone just to busy to get many posts up right now?


Half-Orc

[b]"So, dragons. I must admit that I have never had the pleasure to meet even one up close. By the way Crispin, how did you recognize that Sylvia was a dragon so far off?"[/ooc]


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

Indeed. I was wondering the same thing myself.


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

Looking from the barmaid to Morbak and then to Ha'el. "Well back where I come from certain type of Dragons play tricks on humans and the like, and that is one their common games, kind of like a chase." Crispin notices another halfling barmaid walk by then gets back to his story. "You could say a cat and mouse game to scare travelers on the go. He looks at the meat in the center of the table, cutting himself a slice.


Half-Orc

That's what happens when you type a post when you're half asleep.


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

Zhiyo asks around about why so many farms are abandoned around here.


Male Nagaji Hospitalier (Paladin) 2 HP: 22, AC: 20, Tch: 12, FF: 17, F: +9, R: +6, W: +8, Init: +2, Per: +7

"Sssame here Missster Morbak; this is my first encounter with dragons as well.", grabbing himself a large slab of roast with his wine.


Zhiyo, you get a variety of answers to that question, but the captain of the patrol seems to seem it up best. "There's a common disease around here known as greenhornitis. A lot of people come to this region out of idealism, rebellion, or some other equally useless notion thinking they have what it takes to be a farmer, a fisherman, or even just a country dweller with too much money to spend. Some find out that they do indeed have what it takes, and actually want to be a bit farther from formal civilization, so they move west. Others settle in comfortably. Most find that they overestimated their capabilities and/or underestimated the challenges, and end up going back to where they came from. The lucky ones learn before they are broke; the unlucky ones return with nothing but hard earned experience."


The evening wears on, the patrol finishes it's supper and departs, and all seems quiet for a while until one of the local farmers gets a bit drunk and grabs at halfling barmaid with clearly carnal intentions. While she is able to avoid the initial attempt, it is clear he is drunk enough that he is not going to so easily thwarted in his lust. The bartender and several of the other locals move to intervene, but you are the closest to the scuffle.


Half-Orc

Gets up, walks over to the man and says, "Excuse me sir, why don't you pick on someone your own size."

Intimidate: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (20) + 4 = 24

Morbak's eyes seem to flash red as he speaks.


The man is shaken a bit, but is too drunk to completely stop. "How, how, how dare you get between me and, uhm, oh yeah, me and my lady love?", he speaks in a very drunken, slurred, and belligerent drawl as he raises his fists and tries to strike the intimidating half orc. Somehow in his drunken state he actually manages to connect and deals two points of nonlethal damage.

Impressive roll; unfortunately his wisdom at this point is so low, it doesn't quite work as expected. Still, you got his attention away from the barmaid.


Half-Orc

Takes the punch, wipes the corner of his mouth to make sure there is no blood, looks the man straight in the eye and says, "Alright. If that's the way you want it." Grabs at the mans shirt.

Grapple attempt: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (20) + 3 = 23

Grabs the front of the man's shirt, and brings him up to eye level, "Then that's the way you'll get it."

Unarmed strike: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (8) + 3 = 11

In case that's a hit. Damage: 1d3 + 1 ⇒ (1) + 1 = 2

Morbak snaps forward to headbutt the man. Ignore this if it's a miss.


Male Nagaji Hospitalier (Paladin) 2 HP: 22, AC: 20, Tch: 12, FF: 17, F: +9, R: +6, W: +8, Init: +2, Per: +7

Sritaro was shocked and surprised at the drunken actions of the farmer. His shock is then shaken out when Morbak takes a punch defending the poor barmaid. By the time he gets up, the half-orc had already begun to retaliate, but Sritaro then moves to help Morbak pin the farmer. "Ssstand down sir!"

[ooc]Grapple aid: [/ooc}1d20 + 6 ⇒ (18) + 6 = 24


It doesn't quite hit, Morbak. You doubt this guy would fight half this well sober, but apparently while drunk, he makes a credible challenge.


The farmer is now well and truly grappled, despite Morbak's failed headbutt.


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

Crispin sneaks around to the barmaid "are you all right my lady, did that brute heart you" Crispin shoots a dirty look towards the farmer flexing his wrist wondering if he needs to draw steel to take the farmers manhood, having seen this behavior back home that is the only way to stop it sometimes.


Half-Orc

Maintain Grapple: 1d20 + 3 + 5 ⇒ (13) + 3 + 5 = 21

Unarmed strike: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (13) + 3 = 16

Morbak pulls back his fist and punches the man in the gut.

Damage: 1d3 + 1 ⇒ (2) + 1 = 3


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

Ha'el sits at the table with a wry grin on his face and ponders the punchline to the joke that starts with the line "how many battle hardened adventurers does it take to best one sickeningly drunk farmer?"


Male Nagaji Hospitalier (Paladin) 2 HP: 22, AC: 20, Tch: 12, FF: 17, F: +9, R: +6, W: +8, Init: +2, Per: +7

Ha'el, if you ever played the game Talisman, I've seen the drunk farmer at the Tavern kill a player before. We had a good laugh at that player's expense. :P

Sritaro, annoyed that Morbak took the cheap shot at the subdued farmer, drags the farmer to within speaking distance of the barmaid and Crispin and shouts in a commanding voice, "Now apologize to the fair woman like a gentleman, sssir!

Maintain grapple: 1d20 + 6 + 5 ⇒ (6) + 6 + 5 = 17
Intimidate on the farmer to force an apology: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (13) + 6 = 19


Half-Orc

Talisman? Awesome game that I haven't played in a while.


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

I killed my daughter with a kitchen whisk in killer bunnies once.


I've played both games once or twice. Talisman is cool; Killer Bunnies is just plain messed up.

The man continues to struggle, but is unable to break the grapple. He scorns Sritaro's words, and is about to take a swing when a firm voice fills the room, "Alright, who want's their kneecap busted?" The party turns to see an older, slightly heavy set halfling woman in the doorway to the kitchen with a very heavy looking frying pan in her hand, and a scowl on her face. The other patrons quickly clear a path between her and the grapplers as the expression on the man's face changes and his face pales. Finally, mumbling an apology to the barmaid, he stumbles as quickly as possible to the door, the halfling cook watching him the entire time. After he leaves, she gives the party a good once over before once more returning to her duties in the kitchen, and things settle down. The barmaid responds to Crispin as soon as the dust settles. "Thank you for your concern though, but such louts are easy enough to deal with after a while. At least it breaks up the monotony of listening to the same old complaints day after day. You'd think with all the greenhorns, they could find something more interesting to talk about than dirt and fish." She sighs quietly before returning to her duties.


Male Nagaji Hospitalier (Paladin) 2 HP: 22, AC: 20, Tch: 12, FF: 17, F: +9, R: +6, W: +8, Init: +2, Per: +7

"Well, that was ssscertainly a change of pace.", is all Sritaro can muster, surprised at how the events turned out.


Half-Orc

Morbak puts a hand on Sritaro's shoulder and says, "Thank you for the assist, brother of Pelina." Then turns back towards the table, sits down and enjoys some of the roast.


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

Seeing Morbak return to the table, Ha'el does his best to hide his smile.


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

Walking back over to his party, "I wonder if this happens all the time. The lady didn't seem as bothered as would have expected. he sits down and Watches the larger halfling woman


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

Zhiyo comes in just as the drunkard leaves, glancing behind him at the drunkard. He comes over to the table, "So what was up with him? He looked all out of sorts. Actually so do you. Getting into fights without me? I feel so completely left out now." he faces shows what you think is mock indignation and depression.

He yells over to the maid, "Some brownies please, with milk!" He looks back at the table "I hope they have good baker here, I love these treats but it is so hard to find someone who can make them right."

The tray comes with a few brownies and a glass of milk. He takes a bite and then a sip and almost chokes, "Well the brownies are fantastic but I have no idea what the milk came from. Not to bad though." The barmaid looks at Zhiyo as she passes, "It's pigs milk. Some of the best you'll find around these parts."


The rest of the evening passes uneventfully, though you notice the barmaid trying to stay close to your table, probably in hopes of hearing conversation that doesn't involve farming, fishing, or the weather. YOu don't see the halfling cook again, but you notice that your drinks are slightly less watered down, and the food has just a bit more flavor for the rest of the evening.

Eventually, the locals wander home in various states of sobriety, and the fire in the common room starts to die down. As you watch the last of the logs burn, it's down to the party being the only guests in the room, and you have relocated to the chairs in front of fire so that the halfling barmaid can finish wiping down the last of the tables. The rest of the small staff is busy elsewhere tending to their own chores.


Half-Orc

Leaning back with his hands behind his head, Morbak chimes in, "What a pleasant evening this turned out to be. Don't you think so Sritaro?"


Male Nagaji Hospitalier (Paladin) 2 HP: 22, AC: 20, Tch: 12, FF: 17, F: +9, R: +6, W: +8, Init: +2, Per: +7

Taking a sip of wine and sitting back in the chair, Sritaro responds. "Pleasssant isn't the word I would use, Mr. Morbak. It was a bit lively."

Sritaro continues some small talk, finally noticing that they alone remain as guests. "Ssso, how should we handle things here? I assume you wish to do sssell some wares while you're here... and maybe we can find out more information about any bandit-like activity within this area."


Half-Orc

Lets out a large yawn while stretching his arms. "Bartering at this time of night is usually considered rude." Morbak quipped. "I say, let us have a fresh start in the morning."


Assuming that the discussion of how to proceed takes place at some point that evening or the next morning, I need to know what you want to accomplish immediately and how you wish to do so. You do know that hunting individual bandits and pirates is probably a futile effort, and the best way to hit them is to find places like the basement tavern you took out earlier. Places where those type of people gather to socialize and sell their ill gotten gains. Not only are they comparatively easier to find, taking one of them out also has a greater impact on the overall black market and those who live in it. They are better defended, however, so you want to make sure you have everything you need for a tough fight.


Male Nagaji Hospitalier (Paladin) 2 HP: 22, AC: 20, Tch: 12, FF: 17, F: +9, R: +6, W: +8, Init: +2, Per: +7

I know it's a small town, but are small items like potions available?


Some potions might be. What are you looking for?


Male Nagaji Hospitalier (Paladin) 2 HP: 22, AC: 20, Tch: 12, FF: 17, F: +9, R: +6, W: +8, Init: +2, Per: +7

Potion of cure light wounds, really.


I don't see a problem with those. You can find a local hedge witch that has a few on stock that she would be willing to sell.


Male Nagaji Hospitalier (Paladin) 2 HP: 22, AC: 20, Tch: 12, FF: 17, F: +9, R: +6, W: +8, Init: +2, Per: +7

It's not a wand of cure light wounds, but I can't use it reliably until level 4 anyway and I doubt a hamlet of this size would have that for purchase at least :P. In that case, I'll purchase 2 for emergency purposes.


As you are preparing to turn in, the barmaid, whose name is Loranda Homeforger, seems to be hesitant about something, but asks you if you have really personally met a dragon. She had of course heard of them, and even some from a distance, but there weren't very many along this section of coast, and most of those that were were older ones that generally kept to themselves.


Half-Orc

"Why yes we have little mistress. And it was most interesting indeed."


You actually end up spending a week in Viconis, gathering information, and plying your trades. You get to know Loranda, and Big Mama, the cook, a bit better, it becomes quite clear that Loranda would love nothing more than to get out of this backwater village, and Big Mama has been training her on how to run the tavern/inn so that one day she might be able to open her own.

News of pirates is scattered and mostly second or third person, as rumors tend to be, so pinning down usable information is tough. Still, you are able to identify certain spots along the coast that seem to be busier than others in this regard. One such hot spot is only a few days west (at least for your group with horses and a wagon). It centers around an old landmark known simply as The Tower.

Sitting about a quarter mile of the coast near the point it turns back north, The Tower is a solid stone structure that rises out of a bank of rocks. Stories about it are wild and frequent, with only a few known facts about it, and most of those come from the dragons. A long time ago, the human empire that controlled these lands and waters built a lighthouse. Because of the rough conditions of the sea at that location, they built it with no windows or doors on the surface to serve as weak points that could threaten the integrity of the tower. For access, they instead built a tunnel underneath the shallow shoals it was built on, with housing and storage for the fuel on the land side of the tunnel. This was all sometime just before the start of the Dragon Civil War, which caused havoc not just for the dragons of the region, but also their human neighbors as well. One early casualty of the Civil War was the human empires that lay all around the mountains known today as the Io mountains, which served, as still do to this day, as a stronghold for Bahamut and his followers. Precisely how The Tower fell into disuse, and what came of the tunnel below, no one really knows, not even the dragons (who were kind of busy with other concerns), but that hasn't stopped people from spinning tales about it or trying to get inside, which so far no one has credibly been able to do. Through it all, the old lighthouse has remained, a silent memorial to a bygone era that has succeeded in beating back not only the hostile sea and storms that pound that section of the coast, but also time itself.

As for your professions, your skills prove to be in high demand, and you make a total of 100 gp total during your stay. For all the attraction of greenhorns, skilled craftsmen rarely make their way this far down the coast. Morbak, in particular, picks up some interesting bits of information that only increases the party's curiosity about The Tower. It seems that vermin sightings and problems, particularly spiders, have been significantly higher this year than normal, and almost all investigations seem to point to something or someone in the vicinity of The Tower being the source of it. People haven't really done much to actually resolve the problem as it's still been quite manageable for locals used to dealing with all sorts of troubles on their own, but talk is starting to get around, and even these strongly independent minded folk are starting to wonder if there may be a bigger problem brewing.


Half-Orc

"I say we head for The Tower." Morbak strongly announces with an almost glowing eager look in his eyes.


Male Nagaji Hospitalier (Paladin) 2 HP: 22, AC: 20, Tch: 12, FF: 17, F: +9, R: +6, W: +8, Init: +2, Per: +7

"Well, that is our bessst lead.", acknowledges Sritaro who nods in agreement. "I don't sssuppose there are any major issssues with that with everyone else?"

Then, the paladin brings the party into a smaller huddle, doing his best to speak as stealthily as an armored nagaji could be. "I am alssso thinking that perhaps we could hire Miss Loranda as our innkeep for the tavern... Blazing Saddles was it Zhiyo?"


Big Mama doesn't object to the idea of you coming back when you actually have a tavern that needs running, as you seem to be reasonably competent businessfolk, and agreeable people, but for now, Loranda will stay in Viconis to continue her training. Loranda, in private, says that you don't need to wait until the tavern is fully prepared; she is more than willing to help with the setup.

Going west, you gather more information on The Tower and the area around it. It apparently sits off a region where bluffs line a shallower section of the coast. Shoals and reefs are common, which combined with a host of inlets, caves, and other hiding places, makes it an ideal region for would be pirates. The locals tell you that there is a tavern on one of the bluffs overlooking The Tower, but they recommend staying away from it. It's apparently a very rundown building that by itself would be reason enough to be cautious of going there, and the crowd that frequents it tends to be rough, unpleasant, and rather territorial.


How do you wish to approach the place?


Half-Orc

Survival check to identify vermin signs: 1d20 + 9 + 1 ⇒ (15) + 9 + 1 = 25

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