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sorry, had no reception when I arrived at camp
Hustling after the dwarves for the remainder of the day is a long and tiring affair but your perseverance pays off as an hour or so after dark you find yourselves on the outskirts of another farmstead with several low buildings and a high dirt wall around it. Off to the side, along the curve of the road is a caravan of wagons and tents tucked away between the wall and the road. You count two dim fires and three moving bodies there and twice as many moving within the wall itself as the figures walk the perimeter.
"Of course they paid in gold and silver, they tried to use those weird coins they found but I wouldn't take them. Heard they exchanged them at a money lender, Svarrgt I think."
The man happily trades your gold coins, after checking them, for the various gear you ask for.
A little while later as you exit the town and step back into the harsh wilderness beyond the walls the cold wind hits you and tries to work its way into your clothing to steal your warmth. You can see a faint trail or path, no one would call a road, heading roughly north with deep wagon ruts and and sled marks cutting through the shallow snow and ice drifts.
To the south you can see in the distance a small mountainous, rocky region roughly half a days travel over frozen fields.
"Adventurers? Yeah they came by a week ago and almost cleaned me out of my mountaineering section. Plus a couple dozen heavy sacks... Lanterns, chains, long poles and even had me get them some iron bars and a giant metal bear cage. I remember them well, they had gold this time. Before that they tried to buy on credit. Ha. As if I'd be dumb enough to give credit to a travelling band of adventurers. Aside from those, hmm, I think it's been quite a while. We do get some local youngsters that get the idea to make it rich travelling the land looting monster lairs but southerners don't come up here to often, too cold for their delicate skin. He he he."
The furs he is referring to are padded, leather, studded leather and hide armours that incorporate cold weather gear. Just add the prices together if you want them,
Only 5g and after travel time and running abou the city it's fast approaching noon
After leaving the guard house you ask around for a bit until you find a trader that deals with travel supplies and or more accurately trappers supplies and gear who stocks cleats, skis and snowshoes for 5g per set. Looking about the man establishment you can see dozens of various traps as well as unusual sleds suspended from the ceiling. "Greetings travellers, can I interest you in some of my fine furs or fur clothing? The wilderness can be a dangerous and cold place beyond the town walls and my gear will keep you snug and warm despite the worst weather... And turn away wolf teeth as well."
Travel to the eastern and western gate houses is rather easy so long as you travel with the large crowds heading out of town. Breaking out of the crowd so you can stay and talk to the guards, not so much. You manage to break free of the current of pedestrians and are walk up to the guards on duty. After a gruff exchange of 'Get back in line!' and introductions asking to inquire about various issues the guards point you. A door off to the side. Through the doorway is a small guard room and up the stairs you find an office with a sour looking middle aged ulfen with one eye patched over. The man, the current captain of the eastern gate, doesn't seem overly interested in chatting or discussion but with enough encouragement opens up and tells you what he knows.
Diplomacy DC15 or 1g:
The dwarves' caravan did exit through this gate and headed roughly north east yesterday.
Diplomacy DC18 or 1.5g:
(Above info plus...)
The dwarves, twelve in all, were travelling with a pair of heavy carts pulled by oxen so the distance they can travel in a day is pretty small. They claimed to be travelling through several towns and hamlets on the way to... Somewhere.
Diplomacy DC21 or 2g:
(Above info plus...)
Their next stop was supposed to be a farmstead north of here, past a semi frozen river, owned by Sven Svarggt. They said they would stay one day there before continuing onwards.
Diplomacy DC25 or 5g:
The captain remembers seeing the adventurers, that everyone keeps talking about, leave town and head south east towards Loc Merren. Loaded down with spelunking gear, lanterns and a nearly empty cart. That was eight or nine days ago.
Knowledge nobility DC17:
The banner hanging on the wall behind the captain belongs to the house of Weiylin. The Weiylin family is famous for piracy and raiding the southern peoples.
Knowledge nobility DC23:
The Weiylin family was almost wiped out almost century ago by bad fortunes and worse luck forcing the proud family to swear service to the local Jarl to survive.
Its been less than 24 hours so far. You arrived last night so this is yours first day.
Sebastian Salt looks good.
Zachariah needs to finish weapons/equipment
Evander Wulff needs to have talents typed out. Can you also drop ten years, it would make more sense for you not returning to fight the blight that way since you'd still be training (maybe tutored/squire to your uncle which could lead to either Chevalier or Templar later)
Milk needs to start his character now that he's decided on what he's playing
I'd like everyone to make up one or two ties to another character. You can discuss them or just make it up yourself and let the other person amend if they want
"Um, where's your cart?"
The two guards wait a moment for a response before one laughs me shakes his head, "Utlanders, I thinken you'd lost your cart. How can you's be delivery wit no cart? Forgot where you's parken it?"
Inside the building
"Master Svarggt doesn't run a museum. His property isn't here for every eager eyed ragamuffin to come in off the street and gawk. Why should I show you those coins when I've turned down dozens of others?"
Group in behind the the building:
The back of the building leads onto an alleyway with a small gated off area most likely used to receive deliveries. There are two guards inside that look uncomfortable, almost like they don't want to be there or maybe they're afraid to be there.
As the three of you make your way into Sven Svarggt's establishment you find yourselves in a waiting room with a grouchy looking older man, possibly varisian, standing behind a desk sorting papers and lineup of what appear to be farmers and labourers waiting to speak with him or sitting on a bench against the wall. A minute or so after you step in he looks up and spotting you amongst the locals and says in common, "You three. Yes you. Do you have business here?"
Svarggt's establishment is dominated by a large sign with a bag of coins spilling out around wheat and corn stalks. The building appears better maintained and built than the rest of the town you've seen so far. The lower portion is brick while the second floor is painted a dark brownish black colour. It is quite busy as lesser merchants and villagers can be seen coming in and out of it.
Nella comes out with furs and blankets for everyone and clears space around the central hearth. The room would be nice and cozy if not for the two wolf hounds sleeping at the foot of the stairs occasionally growling or chuffing in your direction.
The next morning Haymitch and Nella take you into town, a brisk walk about two hours away. The town is little more than a built up village or hamlet with a rough stone wall surrounding it at chest height. Dozens of small wooden buildings sit crammed between larger stone ones, sometimes even touching, with a variety of simple signs painted on the doorways or for the more prosperous hanging overhead. Signs for a needle and thread, boots, horseshoes, bushels of fruits and many others crowd your vision as various merchants stand nearby or walk the streets in gaudy livery hawking their wares and deriding their competition. Nella eagerly points out several stores to avoid and many more to try while Haymitch keeps to himself, only pointing out a few buildings as likely places to check into. He also recommends talking to the local Huntsmen, when he says it is sounds more like a title than an occupation, and the town elders before bidding farewell and turning Nella back towards home.
Quietly, enough so that Nella doesn't seem to hear him, Haymitch has one final warning. Avoid the men wearing red braids on their shoulders and absolutely don't fight them. He seems like he wants to say more but he stops as several locals are looking at him and at all of you so he shakes his head and turns to catch up to Nella.
(Haymitch has suggest you check out Lowry's Iron, a local smith known for his skill in edges weapons. Sven Svarrgt, a money lender and farm owner believed to have traded the platinum coins for silver and gold. Pollux's an unsavoury inn and tavern the adventurers stayed at and frequently partied. Last Herrod's Emporium, where they were seen frequently bartering for supplies from before their windfall.)
Braids are frequently used by the Ulfen people to show status as warriors. Coloured braids like Haymitch was describing are probably a way of showing warriors who belong to a particular warrior society or culture. Unfortunately, you're not familiar with any warrior societies from where you grew up that used a red braid on their shoulder. A warrior society to Ulfen is a form of brotherhood more than an organized group. Warriors with similar ideals or styles come together to both prove their methods are effective and to establish a form of social standing based on skills rather than birth.
(This is a very small and remote community so your exploits aren't likely to be common knowledge here but in the larger town she talking about someone may have heard of you Raznarr)
"I don't know what they are but they're not lycanthropes. The tracks are wrong, too light and small. More humanoid and then there the salty smell. I swear their tracks smell like the sea or salt water and every time in investigate a sighting they alway start and stop near water, even frozen ponds and such.". He pauses as he searches for something then pulls out a rough drawn map of the area forty kilometres around the farmstead. Laying it out and pointing to several spots along the river and one near a pond. "The sightings I know about and have been able to check out were around here, here and here. If these are connected to the coins you'll have a hard time getting anything outta the adventurers they're worried someone else will find something so they're keeping where they got them to themselves."
"Oh I don't have any of them. If you wanted to see the coins and talk to someone about it you'd be better to head into town in the morning and talk to the merchants, probably old Garm first since he runs the local smithy and more than likely tended to their gear while they were in town. That or one of the ale halls."
Two gruff looking Ulfen reveal themselves and take possession of your relinquished weapons before they store them away inside a storage shed and tie the door shut against the wind (Should you choose/need them, you can force the wooden door easily, cut the ropes or use disable device). While the two men are taking your weapons a young woman comes up to you and offers you a chance to stay out of the cold with her. She takes you to a larger hut and leads you inside. The hut is sparsely decorated in the main room, little more than a trio of benches, a wide hearth with a roaring flame, a cozy kitchen tucked into the far side and a steep set of stairs leading to a second level below. The air in here is somewhat heavy with smoke but comfortably heated. "Warm yourselves by the fire while I get you al some broth to drink." As she points to several pegs at the door where she leaves her own coat before shucking off her fur boots and slipping into satin slippers. She then busies herself in the kitchen area nursing a cooking flame back to life under a cast iron cauldron.
"Bah, fleiri ævintýramenn. Þú ert góður munt ekki finna velkomnir hér en við munum ekki snúa þér í burtu til að frysta til dauða. Þú getur haft skjól fyrir nóttina ef þú samþykkir að fara vopn utan."
You can hear a bit of rustling atop one of the lookout towers and more behind the barricade.
"Bah, more adventurers. You're kind will not find welcome here but we won't turn you away to freeze to death. You can have shelter for the night if you agree to leave your weapons outside."
Allowing the native Raznar to lead the way you find yourselves walking towards a small encampment. There is a small collection of low buildings build of a mix of hardened mud, rock and wood, all surrounded by a picket of sharpened stakes. There are a trio of watch towers surrounding the buildings but inside the perimeter. The small lights that attracted you attention seem to be coming from braziers dotting the area and the odd bit of light through a partially open window. As you approach, less than a hundred yards from the pickets someone calls out to you. "Sem fer þangað? nefna þig eða bragð minn stál?"
"Who goes there? Name thyself or taste mine steel"
The ground before you is frozen and covered in a light dusting of snow, not enough to leave visible footprints but enough to crunch beneath every boot step. Behind you, where the Mouring Maiden used to be, a wide twisting span of frozen river cuts off stable directly south. The river's water is so cold you can already see the broken ice and slush hardening and covering over the exposed water. A little over an hours walk North can be seen several faint spots of light or you could follow the river east or west... Or try crossing the waters and heading south.
After a short farewell to Alain the Mourning Maiden sets off north to the frozen lands of the Linnorm. Long before you arrive you can already feel the cold winds frosting the ship's planks and chilling any exposed flesh. If not for the winter grabs you all secured from Richard you know your bodies would be shivering and aching from the frozen temperatures.
You can purchase cold weather clothes for the standard price or potions of endure elements since Richard keeps a healthy stock of first level potions and scrolls
(Once everyone is done leveling and tending to merchant needs)
The next morning Alain is waiting for everyone outside Shaeleila's door. "Good morning everyone. I wanted to tell you all that you did a good job last time rescuing those people and stopping that cult. I think you all have what it takes to be great Lantern Bearers and I wish you all the luck in your future missions. As for me, it's time for me to move on, the ship will be letting me off in Andoran soon and from there I'll be heading home. Captain Sturne and Shaeleila will take good care of you, just like they took care of me. Now I know you've only just begun so I've taken the time to find a few tasks that should be no trouble for you and Shaeleila will be able to point them out to you. Take care of yourselves and remember this, martyrs don't wars, it's the men and women who survive and fight on who do so be careful." with that Alain shakes everyone's hands and pats a few shoulders before stepping out on deck to watch the sky.
Shaeleila explains to you the three locations that Alain has suggested for you.
A wide dim grey area that spreads over roughly one hundred miles of the frozen tundra within the Linnorm Kings
A small dark spot nestled in the side of a mountain quite close to a very large stretch of fertile farms. According to Shaeleila, Alain suggested caution with this one because it may be too much of a challenge.
A small grey area with a dark black spot near the centre that appears to be in the countryside of Taldor
(So you are sacrificing the shield and the sacrificial blade and keeping the spear, greataxe and flail)
As you hurl the blade and the shield into the pool the the waters rush up into the air to consume them and their silhouettes quickly disappear into the depths.
(Alain)"Alright, let's go see Richard. Thank you for your time Shaeleila."
Once you finish in Shaeleila's domain Alain takes you towards another door and after knocking twice he enters right away revealing a small room dominated on the far side by a window with iron bars across it forming a small kiosk. Soon after you enter the windows wooden shutters open revealing a well kept man in spectacles.
(Eyi Feng is a +1 composite Short Bow set to a +1 strength modifier. Myori's Torch is a +1 Light Mace that counts as silver for the purpose of bypassing DR)
"The priests were sacrificing those people to Lamashtu, body and soul, that's probably why they looked so malformed."
(Oops. Looks like I the Boons didn't save so I'll have to re add them when I get home)
You're given the chance to enjoy yourselves for the day as the town throws an impromptu celebration for the returned and for their saviours.
Once back aboard the Maiden, Alain leads you back under decks and again into Shaeleila's domain.
All wounds and negative effects are removed. And level up.
How the pool works:
Between adventures when you are on the Mourning Maiden you can give up a magic item in exchange for another magic item. Just tell me you're discarding the item and roll a d100 (I have multiple lists depending on original GP value as well as certain items will have special lists of their own). Alternatively you can discard a magic item to gain the benefits of a boon listed on the campaign tab depending on the GP value of the item.
The pool also restores all wounds and eliminates all negative effects between adventures excluding curses
"Yes, it's probably best to dispose of the corpses and probably a good idea to put out the flames afterwards. I doubt the town will have to deal with these gnolls for a long time. They tend to scatter when their leaders are gone or confronted with a more powerful foe. Let's collect what we can then escort those people back to town."
You all gather what you can before heading out and spend the rest of the night taking the captives back to town. You arrive just after dawn to a crowded street as news of your sighting seems to have spread like wildfire. Dozens of people are screaming names many joyous but some not.