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We lost Sand/F.Castor last night due to real life pressures of medical training. A small body blow for me. In fact, the start has not been what I hoped for in terms of energy and frequency of postings so let's consider whether this is worth continuing? Personally I do not look forward to seeing what everyone's written when I get in. That is pretty damning but what do you four think and feel, if its the same way then I suggest we call it?
Round Two - Orcs
As Eisen looks around from the three wagons, he does not notice anything amiss. No orcs creeping up from behind at all.
Stealth 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (18) + 4 = 22
With Sand riding through the high grass and precarious traps, he and Sadarr get to Vic twisted in his net. Aerik takes a different route and parallels the pair.
Then orcs run up to the brow not thirty feet ahead, but the four that reach the top, two have longbows and two javelins.
Orcish words come from one of the archers, "get the rider, Jarsk." With that both archers aim at Sand.
Longbow at Sand 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (17) + 4 = 21, damage 1d8 + 2 ⇒ (7) + 2 = 9, second longbow at Sand 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (12) + 4 = 16, damage 1d8 + 2 ⇒ (6) + 2 = 8
And both arrows thud into the elf's chest.
The javelins are thrown haphazardly at Aerik and Vic and both hit.
Javelin at Aerik 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (18) + 4 = 22, damage 1d6 + 2 ⇒ (4) + 2 = 6, Javelin at Vic 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (10) + 4 = 14, damage 1d6 + 2 ⇒ (6) + 2 = 8, wow what a set of attacks! Over to you guys. Good luck.
Aerik sees a path through, following the original orc to zig zag halfway across between two long pits, made to take horses with ease. With a javelin held high, he leaves Eisen.
Behind Jasmalus and the other two merchants are waiting by the human crosses. They stand uncertain and the leader calls forwards to Eisen, "what is happening, Eisen? Do you need us to leave the carts?"
Sand's wariness pays gold, much work has gone into the number of nets, pits and legbreaker holes those devious orcs have riddled the ground with.
Sadarr follows behind the horseman.
Good roll. Treat the sixty feet of open ground as difficult, so it will take everyone two rounds to cross with a thirty foot move. For simplicity the horse being careful reduces its movement to the same rate.
The orc stops moving, pierced by Eisen's long range javelin. The haft looks like a bare flagpole.
That dull roar ends and what may have been several guttural voices changes to a faint whistling breeze. Maybe the creatures have gone.
Thanks Eisen, keep it up please. Over to you guys. In no particular order.
The orc tumbles forwards out of sight, another arrow sprouting from its back. Seconds later there is a growing growl from beyond. Several voices rising in anger.
Sadarr 1d20 + 0 ⇒ (1) + 0 = 1, Sand 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (8) + 4 = 12, Eisen 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (19) + 2 = 21, Aerik 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (3) + 2 = 5, Vic 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (8) + 2 = 10, Orcs 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (14) + 1 = 15
Eisen is up. He hasn't posted for a few days and I did say I would warn people if they didn't let me know. Its up to him now but tomorrow it will be up to me.
Apologies for the lack of a post yesterday, I got hit by a nasty series of emails about the last home from my old landlord. Got to see why he is so wealthy..but its hopefully all sorted and we can get our full deposit back.
Sadarr breasts the rise and looks down beyond the tall grass down a slope and then up sixty feet further away to the next soft crest. The grass is both tall and short in places. There is a path of sorts through and up the far side where the grass has been pushed aside. The breeze blows a foul sweaty smell to match the orc that has already limped and fled to the top of that crest. It is waving its arms as it faces away. A wooden shield is strapped across his back with a bloody red blade on black.
Sand reaches Sadarr as Aerik does too.
The orc is sixty feet away and making a big show. Over to you guys.
So there is nothing much here for the story. We got Pluchak and killed trolls.
Did anyone detect for magic? if this is some kind of warding point then perhaps it has gone too.
Maybe we move on round the clock face to the next site of interest. Maybe catch the despoilers in the act...
Or go back to Gillamoor?
No one sees what happens at the end of the arrowfire. But there is a cry at just the right moment. Can't really argue with a 20!
The wind blows across the tall grass ahead. Nothing else appears straight away. Isandril is looking in the wrong direction! He cannot see exactly where the arrow went or where Vic is pointing unfortunately. Those piercing eyes are not on target.
So begins my busy move weekend, but I'll try to keep up with this game.
Jasmalus checks over the man with a dagger thrust carefully. He gently eases that body onto the pyre. "He has been poisoned by a dagger. Probably a Scarlet Brotherhood kris blade. I saw one once in a drawing. Deadly."
As Aerik gets ready to torch the pile, Vic notices a garish and mishapen head pop out of the grass ahead. It is an orc with one large eye blinks and waters. The figure runs back into cover, disappearing quickly.
A Caller was a first ed job. You had someone to map, someone to jot down treasure and someone to act as the caller. He was often the leader since he pooled together what everyone planned to do and then filtered the final action plan to the DM.
Eventually everyone learnt to act in concert rather than chaos. So the caller went the way of the dodo.
I don't mind what Bor did (picking Zennor up) but I think it would be a good idea if we try to be a little less chaotic. For one thing it would make the Supreme Being's job easier.
Malin calls over from the wagons to Jasmalus, "look we have to get to a good place for camping. This is not it!" Jasmalus waves him down and the large man jumps down and heads towards the older man.
Aerik can find a large dry riverbed, many cracks and signs of crumbling dryness show just how hard the land is. With effort and man power, shallow graves may take several hours. Only.
Vic gets to see the way they have been treated close up. Its not pretty and he has never seen savage torture, burnt feet and legs, heated wounds and broken bones. These men all died long and in great agony. One big burly middle-aged man in particular has a deep and poisoned jagged hole in his back.
There are tracks and the odd piece of ragged leather of the murderous orcs responsible. They headed away towards the north. Numbers are hard to get, there could be a dozen or more, but when they head away, the tracks blend into the rest of the grassy and dusty ground.
Sadarr comes up behind Aerik and grunts at the sight of so much death.
By the burnt wagon
Sadarr listens and eventually follows the others to look at the scattered scene with Eisen. He first checks with Jasmalus and obtains a nod, the merchant doesn't seem bothered at the moment. In fact, he gets down and trudges over behind the wyrmkin, his clothes flopping around.
Over the Hill
As Aerik points out the strange arms, going closer slowly reveals that the tops form part of a cross, there are more behind, six in all and what looked like arms were indeed arms. The arms of six men held against their own crucifix. Heads are down and each has a burnt patch of grass around their blackened feet.
Beyond the crosses, the wind blows through the thick and high grass, towards Aerik, bringing the faint smell of cooked pork or something equally fleshy.
Eisen can quite quickly work out that the wagons have most of their belongings as first thought. The wagons are empty now.
Aerik notices there are tracks heading away from the trail between two hills. Something strange like the tips of two sticks can be just made out. At this distance they are like a pair of arms.
Sadarr stays with Sand and Jasmalus.
Vic slips away from the group but is startled by the covey of grass pigeons that erupt from the first small bush. The birds all call out as they dive and bomb-burst away from the urban rogue.
The sounds continue for a few seconds and fade as the pigeons form up on high and head back down the trail.
Nearing the wagons, there are definitely three. They all bear strange crude arrows, snapped off or just heads in the wooden surfaces and bars. Crude enough to belong to "the horde". Worse the middle wagon is burnt out and no longer smouldering, it has obviously been done many hours ago.
The last wagon is totally hidden from the Grabford trailway. That one has many bloody smears, hand sized and smaller drawn across the surfaces. Cargo lies scattered about the ground too. Broken open and smashed but not taken. This is not theft so much as wanton destruction or something more..
Perception checks 1d20 ⇒ 7, 1d20 ⇒ 13, 1d20 ⇒ 6, 1d20 ⇒ 16, 1d20 ⇒ 2
This is all from a cursory examination. A more detailed search requires time and effort and possibly agreement
The First Day
Eisen finds a comfortable place on the tarpaulin over the middle wagon behind Malin and Aerik. He can listen to the bravado and traveller's tales of the pair as the morning passes by.
Emerald and Vic at the back do not talk so much or so loud. They both keep a good eye around as the dust falls behind them. Jasmalus and Sadarr end up together. The man does not try to break the calm demeanour of the wyrmkin.
The once-road is rutted from years of trade and travel, but now the grass and weeds have partially filled the way, showing how little they are used now. The grassland around is open and rolls a little towards the river Veng. Towards the end of the day, the caravan comes over a rise and looks down into a hollow, with many eyes looking for a good overnight stop, then Jasmalus points out a fold with half a wagon visible. Barely visible is another. The wood is pale from the sun, eroded over a few weeks or more.
Jasmalus pulls up and speaks out loud, "that may be worth a look?"
Emerald stares back at Vic for a moment, "I have lived here for a while, before that the Free City of Greyhawk. Now let's go and you can tell me more of your life. Me, I do not speak much but I like to listen."
Malin claps Aerik on the shoulder and laughs out loud. He strokes that lush beard again and takes a swig of the chilly ale. "You'll do fine. Ulfen? I was a traveller with the Rhennee for a while but we never got that far north. Now I doubt I ever will. Got to Ratik, you know Ratik?"
The man thanks Eisen again and runs back to fetch the cart. The young boy on board is about four or five and playing with a pair of wooden sticks, drumming at the wood. "Thank you again, I am Sarand Hawkerlan and this is my son, Daele. He chivvies the cart pony into line behind Malin's, with Emerald at the back and Jasmalus at the front.
Soon the wagons are rolling and everyone can watch the day warm to noon. While the caravan heads north east towards Grabford, the farmlands stretch out for five or six miles, beyond that the odd place is either fallow fields or ruined crops. A sign that war has taken so many people from Furyondy.
Can someone roll a random encounter percentile. Low is bad...
As Eisen turns up, a small man limps up behind him and taps at his back. "Master, can we come too? I have a cart with a child on board. We are leaving town to join our family in Verbobonc. But they say the roads are dangerous and they say you can get me through safely."
He wrings his hands and pulls a face, trying to look brave. Then before anyone can say no, he adds,"my wife is gone. Please help us!"
"Grabford is about 4 days travel from here by wagon, forty miles with some bad bridges along the way, plenty of woods and derelict farmland. If that helps." Jasmalus turns one corner of his mouth up.
The wagon are loaded down but someone could ride on the back, or beside any of the drivers. The three merchants do the driving themselves.
The knight gives the dragonborn a wrist to elbow clasp and shakes as he puts the other hand on the scaled shoulder. "Know that the Knights of the Hart are in your blood too and I name you my esquire for this mission. Squire Sadarr, proper papers and a sigil upon your next shield be my gift upon a successful conclusion."
Vic approaches the three men and with his greeting the older man replies, "Jasmalus at your service. We were told that you would be providing protection. I do not tell you your job, but we will tell you the way and command the trade and such, since that is our work, but swords and axes I do not know. These other two are Malin (he can fight a bit I hear), and Emerald of Willip."
Perception check DC10
Jasmalus wears a rumpled shirt and wide trousers that would fit a much larger man.
Jasmalus is in his 50's, looks frail and tired with a small trimmed beard. His clothes are ragged and beggarlike.
Malin has a full moustache and beard with a smiling face. He takes to Aerik in an instant, "you can ride up here with me if you like! Ha! And off we go! Who wants a drink, I have cold beer chilled straight out the river to wet the journey."
Emerald waves a hand over his face, another pretty half elf on closer inspection. Only about 5ft tall, with flowing sandy hair and piercing green eyes, she bears no resemblance to Pharris. All she does is wave in acknowledge and greeting then mount her wagon.
It is up to you how you decide to travel. There are three wagons pulled by pairs of draft horses.
At the Gate
The guards are changing over with dawn. Lots of stretching and tired jokes that have all been heard before. One or two of the soldiers are veterans, but most have the look of youths learning their trade. Aerik recognises one of the men on duty from a recent patrol but cannot remember his name.
By the open gates is a very bruised and slow moving, Sergeant Kraquer watching farmhands leaving with their fields waiting. It is a crisp, dry morning which may herald another hot one.
Outside there are three wagons already waiting to go. Two large men, one young and one older, and a much smaller and thinner man, are huddled together by them. The greyer haired man is stamping his feet, and so ore one or two of the draft horses, keen to get on.
The first one speaking to Kraquer Only
"I got to tell you that Jasmalus, the older man, is the merchant you should talk to. I gave him your names like Pharris said. And here this is from her for one of you, its a dwarven dagger. Made from a metal that shines when orcs and their brothers are near. One thing you should know is that there are supposed to be lizardfolk in the Veng. They all swim underwater and sneak about for Iuz and kill people in the sleep. So get them dead. She forgot to tell you." Kraquer hands over a silvered dagger and then prepares to leave his job done. "I got a patrol to the south so tell everyone good luck."
1d20 ⇒ 7