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"Yeah, odd hours I guess. Never eats in here though. Leaves at night, comes back in the mornin. Not too strange, we have a lot of night shift guards and trappers that rather hunt at night. I reckoned he was just a trapper too."
Ionnia learns little from the other patrons. Some confirm the employee's stories that this fellow came a few nights ago and comes and goes at odd hours. Never stays in the bar for a drink or a meal.
Kaeso blushes for a second, but starts to chat up the barmaid. In the meantime, Ionnia starts a lovely melody, which is a refreshing tune to all the bar patrons. It seems the inn hasn't had a regular bard on staff for quite some time.
Kaeso learns little from the barmaid regarding your "friend", but points you at the innkeeper himself, who handles most of the stays. The barmaid only works nights, when patrons are drinking.
Kaeso slowly makes his way to the bar, where Garogo, the innkeeper is filling some mugs of ale. "Well met Kaeso, welcome to our humble establishment, what can I do for you?" Kaeso gives the "sanitized" story to the man, leaving out any details that could stir up a panic.
"Ah, you are looking for Johnny. Well, I mean, I don't know his actual name, I just call him that in the books so I know who I'm talking about. Nice fellow. Pays in advance every day. Came to town recently."
A few patrons look puzzled, but definitely most cheer at Kaeso when he buys a round, and nobody turns it down! The barmaid seats you at a corner table, overlooking the whole place.
There are a few tables of patrons. Two tables seem to be farmers from the outskirting farms, drinking some ale after a hard day's work. One table has three hunters eating a hearty meal, their traps a telling sign of their profession. A rather rotund man sits by himself at another table, slowly picking at a rather large mutton roast in front of him. A few more farmers and shopkeeps sprinkle the bar area, all drinking.
The bar staff so far seems like one barmaid, one innkeper, and a cook that randomly comes in and out of the kitchen.
The group decides to do a quick trip to the inn. The bar falls eerily silent as the group walks in. Whispers of "the founders" are heard about the room. Finally the barmaid coyly walks up and says, "By Cayden, if it isn't the founders, walking into our small inn. Welcome, I... I hope we are not in any kind of trouble are we? Can we offer you a table, maybe some of our finest ales? Sadly, I am sure our finest ale pales in comparison to what you are used to, but we would be glad to offer it..."
Lady Ionnia Orlovsky wrote:
" Did you get a description of the man? I mean could you point him out if we asked the Brave Mikmek such a question?"
"They all say stranger wears heavy cloak everywhere. I ask the innkeeper at last place, yes. Innkeep say stranger left at night with blue clothes on, but returned at dawn with red! And he say stranger didn't even have backpack with him!"
Before the ambush is sprung the group meets for their final pow-ow. Dris, Bingo, Kaeso, Ionnia, Akiros and Kresten all meet near the walls of the town. To the group's surprise, they are also joined by Mikmek.
"Hi friends!" blurts out the little kobold. "I come to talk to you, yes! While you rummage about town about the attacks on the sheeps outside, Mikmek has been doing his job around the city. I go to inn and taverns, and listen to rumors. Find out strange things afoot recently."
"I hear, a foreigner is in town. Come to the city 3 days ago. He ask for a room at the Sleepy Halls Inn, but only for one night. Next day, he leave, and go to different tavern, get different room. But same guy! Other patrons say he is very strange. He likes to wake up late in the morning, and apparently goes out to party before supper! I mean, who parties out with empty stomach! Anyways, me wanted to come and deliver news in case it helps with dead sheeps."
Drispeera D'Lith wrote:
Kaeso? Bingo? You guys still around? We're about to see some action, and we sure could use you!
I was thinking this would come up soon.
First of all, I must congratulate...us....for what is probably the second longest running Pathfinder PbF I have participated on. And if not, certainly one of the most colorful (in a good way).
Second, in the past some players have approached me quietly and I must say very nicely about perhaps exiting the campaign at a non-disruptive point, when a suitable replacement can be found. I am not noting that this is what has happened now, but we are kinda at a slow point where people may go and come.
Posting rates are down, and while that happens in PbF games as RL jumps in, it seems to be a sustained table-wide effect right now.
So, I thought I'd check--is everyone still having fun, really?
I take no offense at all if you aren't anymore. I'm a sensible GM, you are good players, but we may have hit a "meh" point in the campaign that I think requires a moment of thought. I personally am still having fun, but it does take time to build everything out.
My perspective: we have so very little time to have fun and game. I believe that when the game has become less fun, it's time to pick up the pieces and get out something new to play.
All that said, if y'all are still having fun, we'll carry right along, and the low-posting lull will eventually give way again. There's a long road ahead for the characters, and it gets pretty weird before it's all over. Sadly, most of the great story doesn't occur until books 4-6.
But if you are not having as much fun as you once were, just pipe up here (or just PM me, and I'll keep it anonymous) and I suggest we stop the campaign, shake virtual hands, and carry on in new adventures in other threads.
Also--if the only thing keeping you in the game is the "what happens?" for the plot, I'd be happy to just abandon the Pathfinder rules altogether and go diceless for the remainder, a choose-your-own-adventure style. That would speed it up considerably.
Kresten and Akiros consult with Kaeso, and Akiros approaches the group. "If that is the plan, we can surely do that. Rounding up some livestock is easy enough. Just let us know where you want them. AS for silver weapons, we may be able to find a few in the city. We can ask the shopkeepers in the city if they have any, as we fear we are a bit late to commission some to be made."
At this point, Bingo rides back. His quick conversation with the Worgs basically ended with "they say they didn't break their deal, and to please leave them alone."
A creature that catches lycanthropy becomes an afflicted lycanthrope, but shows no symptoms until the night of the next full moon, when the victim involuntarily assumes animal form and forgets his or her own identity. The character remains in animal form until the next dawn and remembers nothing about the entire episode (or subsequent episodes) unless he makes a Will save, in which case he becomes aware of his condition.
A remove disease or heal spell cast by a cleric of 12th level or higher cures the affliction, provided the person receives the spell within 3 days of the infecting lycanthrope's attack. Alternatively, consuming a dose of wolfsbane gives an afflicted lycanthrope a new Fortitude save to recover from lycanthropy.
Drispeera D'Lith wrote:
You know that the full moon started 3 days ago, and tonight will be the last of this cycle.
Dris and Ionnia
Roumors of the beast are sparse in the tavern today, even with the murders being the talk of the town. However, Dris and Ionnia chat almost everyone at the pub, which reveals that the barmaid and shepherd boy were killed on consecutive nights. Neither person seems to have had any enemies. A few locals ominously add that wolves were heard howling on both nights, and the word "werewolf" is muttered under the speaker’s breath at least once...
Kaeso and Akiros
Having left the scene of the first crime, Kaeso and Akiros go on to the next scene, the one that happened just last night. Very similarly to the other site, there seem to be clear signs of a struggle. Paw prints are everywhere, but Kaeso is able to determine the freshest set, which lead into the woods nearby. The tracks lead into a nearby copse of trees, from which they do not emerge. Yet Kaeso's keen eyes find a set of bare human footprints leading out of the trees and toward town; unfortunately, the tracks become obscured by traffic upon entering town.
Jhod starts examining the body you brought to town. He shakes his head "Whelp, this man right here, I knew him. He is Johakis, an herbalist and Druid of the Green Faith. Nice enough fellow. Would come to the city to trade his herbs for some gold every now and again. Seems he was mauled by a turtle I'd say! Probably a snapjaw, Old Snapjaw if you found him at the Mud Bowl. Old Snapjaw is an old turtle. Lives down by the coast of the Tuskwater. Pretty mean, locals say has a taste for flesh. Nasty business."
Akiros and Kaeso, not knowing much about dead bodies outside of how to make them (zing), go back out and search the crime scenes while Bingo departs to check on the Worgs. Searching around, Kaeso does find the signs of struggle. Animal paw marks are everywhere, with the reddish-brown stains of dried blood around them. Whatever attacked those people was alone. "All the animal tracks are identical, a single beast by the looks of it, then." Finally blurts out Akiros.
Akiros steps in "Certainly, we can inspect the bodies immediately."
The group goes down the hall to the makeshift morgue being used. Jhod is here, taking care of the corpses.
"Friends, welcome back. Good timing indeed! Here are the two human victims. Tragic, I tell you. Saki was very nice maid. Served me the best ale."
The wounds from these bodies definitely do not match the man found at the mud bowl.
With your expertise you reveal that they were killed by a large, man-sized animal—likely a wolf or worg.
All of the bodies also seem to have been partially eaten.
The group has a fairly easy travel around the lake, putting them back in town shortly after the sun has set the next day. Navigation has been easy, a nice somber full moon illuminating the way. In the morning, rested and recovered, the group gets a visit by Svetlana.
"Friends, welcome back. I heard that you were in town, and I needed to hurry over and let you know that something is amiss in the kingdom, and I think you need to know. A few days ago, some livestock were brutally slaughtered in their pens at an outlying farm; then two people were killed as well—a maid named Saki, who never made it home after her shift at an inn, and a shepherd boy named Beven, who (along with his flock) was attacked on his way back to town."
"The townsfolk of the city have been looking to me, and of course to you, to do something about the attacks. The rumors in town are that this is the work of bandits, or of some beast from the surrounding wilderness."
"The two human victims were killed on successive nights: just last night and the night before that. Both were killed outside of the town, Saki two nights ago while she was apparently gathering berries for breakfast, and Beven the next night as he returned his sheep to town. A half dozen of his sheep were slain as well, with the remaining 10 sheep scattered throughout the surrounding area."
"Kesten went out and investigated, but is stumped. No suspects or strange animals have been spotted! Please, if you can take care of this before you head out again, the townsfolk will be most appreciative! WE don't want the town to go into any panic."
Kaeso looks hesitantly at his rock, but after a few moments steels himself and lets it fly. Perfect arc, it lands dead center in the middle of the pool. A mix of water and mud splashes out, and the rock immediately sinks...
The party waits anxiously, but no immediate threats come forth. After about a minute, two small figures start emerging at the edge of the lake. Much to the party's dismay, it is only two regular-sized turtles, slowly making their way out of the pond, and into the river.
The pond once again quiets down to still waters...
Kaeso searches around for some tracks, but the muddy area makes it almost impossible to recognize any tracks, new or old. He recognizes that on heavy rain seasons, this puddle actually probably connects to the river proper, and when the river is lower, it creates this pond.
Although no tracks are found, Kaeso does find what most probably inhabits this pond: There is a large amount of turtle or tortoise dung all around and in this pond.
Down at the bottom of the path a small pool comes into view. The pool is formed a few feet inland from the river's edge, but still quite large. This has in the past been quite a popular spot for fisherman that dare venture this far south into the Greenbelt.
There is not much left in this area. A quick search around finds a dead body in the mud, an old druid from the looks of him. He has a small spell component pouch on his belt, but outside that, little is to be found.
Kaeso the Human Fighter wrote:
The cliff tops are thick with stinging nettles, but Kaeso's cunning survival instincts while exploring reveals a hidden trail that leads through the nettles and down a cliffside trail to a secluded pool, 50 feet in diameter, at the Tuskwater’s edge.
"Fine, fine. All sounds well and good. No eating of pink-skins. No worries, I am not stupid. I can distinguish you lot."
From the shadows of the cave a large worg steps out, licking his chops for a second, then slumps down at the mouth of the cave.
"Now, if we are done here, I believe it is nap time."
From the cave the voice responds "Hrm... no, little one. I promise nothing. What power do you think you have over me? I am not part of your silly cultures. Out here, we hunt or get eaten. If a pink-flesh comes into my cave, unarmed, then it is the order of things that I eat him. I have eaten my fair share of pink-fleshes in the past."
His speech seems to turn towards Kaeso now.
"But, if it makes you leave me alone faster, I can admit that you humanoids are smallest percent of my meals. Deer are a plenty, and much less stringy than you. Pigs, fatty and delicious, like sheep. Mmm Yes. I like pink-flesh's farm animals quite a lot. You grow them fat, and stupid. "
"Little man, I don't know who this Eras-tool is, but I like your propositions. I will agree to not hunt humanoids in these lands, should you provide food for my pack. We barely hunt for fun anymore, and if we did, why would we hunt humanoids, HAHAHA. No fun in that. Feed us well, and in return we will agree to leave your humanoids alone, and we can... patrol these lands for you... How does that sound?"
"There is peace now, I take it. Bandits were never my problem, and if they are gone from your lands, then more free lands for your puny conquests." a snarl follows. "I don't care about 'owning' land. Land is for everyone, but I have marked this territory as my hunting grounds. The way I see it, if I run into you out in the wild, you will be prey. And prey... gets eaten."
Two red eyes are seen at the edge of Dris's darkvision.
The cave seems desolate. The smell of wet fur is in the air, as well as some meat. From inside, but not where Dris can detect, a deep male voice comes from the cave.
"HRMM. I smelled pink-fleshes, I did. Know that you are in the lands of Howl-of-the-North-Wind, and I take intrusions... personally. But, I am no fool. I am old and would rather be left to my own devices along my pack. Leave now, be on your way, and just let me live on my remaining years."
There seem to be 2-3 distinct growls from inside the cave as well.
Yes, for this round of loot, size will be waived :)
However, for future rounds, there is a new spell I like to introduce to my home games:
You change the size of a weapon, suit or armor, or other item to be appropriate for a larger or smaller creature, or for a creature of a different basic shape. Changing both size and shape would require two separate castings of Custom Fit. Up to 50 pieces of identical ammunition are considered to be 1 weapon for the purposes of this spell.
Custom Fit does not change the fundamental nature or function of an item (an axe cannot be changed into a hammer, for instance), but the item's hit points do change to match its new size, if appropriate. If an item transformed by Custom Fit is destroyed, it returns to its original size and shape if repaired; similarly, if the item is melted down or otherwise reduced to its components, it only yields the amount of raw materials used to create the original item (it is not possible to create wealth with this spell by enlarging items made of valuable materials).
Intelligent magic items may only be affected by this spell if they are willing. An unattended intelligent magic item may resume its original size and shape with 1 minute of concentration.
Example: an ogre's +1 breastplate could be resized to fit a human, or reshaped into barding for a warhorse. It would take two castings to change the armor into barding for a riding dog (once to change the size, once to change the shape).
Finally out and adventuring again, the party heads east into the wild blue yonder! Marching east into the plains of the Kamelands, all seems quite peaceful.
exploring the hex, no landmark Eventually, the group enters a plains of rolling hills. Very quaint area, with plenty of small game animals like hares jumping about. Most of them are probably getting ready for the winter.
These would be some excellent hunting grounds for carnivores.
There are various tracks of larger animals, mostly pawed. They come and go rather randomly, no given patterns.
With a little more examination, these paw prints sem to have been deliberately placed. The reason there is no pattern is because whoever is leaving these marks, is brushing off old ones to throw people off it's trail.
2 months after the foundation of the kingdom, Candlemere has grown to a modest size city of a few hundred inhabitants. North, Oleg continues to develop his trading post, and serves as a great strategic point for Candlemere to trade with Restov and the other northern nations.
News have come of a new nation also sprouting in the east. Another one of the groups chartered to conquer the Narlmarches was also given the right to rule. They have decided on the name Varnhold for their kingdom. The capital city, named the same as the kingdom, sits just east of the mountains in the Nomen Heights next to the waters of the Kiravoy river.
Fall is in full swing now, the chills of winter are starting to be felt across the land. Jhod has been tending to his temple, and a few pilgrims and missionaries of Erastil have begun to arrive in the area to give him a hand.
Bokken had an accident at some point, and his shack was blown up and burned to the ground. He has decided to move in to Oleg's trading post, and open a new alchemy shop there.