Rise of the Runelords by DM Doctor Evil (again)

Game Master DM DoctorEvil

Rise of the Runelord. Chapter 3

Hook Mountain Clanhold Overview Map

Hook Mountain Battle Mapb

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Here is the opening of the gameplay thread. I will be posting each person's hook that they've reviewed and also a next generic opening sequence. After that the action is yours.

Spoilers in this post can be reviewed by all players (after this off limits please). There are several details placed in these threads that may (or may not) have value later. Remember to separate OOC knowledge if at all possible. I like the idea of a one-shot cinematic opening with the camera panning along the road outside town showing each of the protagonists (that's you guys) and their thoughts with a little flashback.

Boo is feeling a little sad and lonely. Dragged far away from her family’s shop in Magnimar and sent out to the wilds of the Lost Coast at her father’s urging, she misses the comforts of home. She is stuck in a traffic jam outside the gate of the small town of Sandpoint.
After taking a ship from Magnimar to Windsong Abbey to meet with a prospective client, Boo was instructed to come down the coast to Sandpoint and meet an old family friend the great wizard Ilsoari Gandethus, headmaster at the Turandorok Acadamy. According to her father, this wizard has come across an artifact of great power that needs to be taken to the family’s home back in Magnimar.
Boo taps her foot slowly, she is a bit impatient for a near immortal, and steps forward as the queue moves slowly forward. As she practices patience, a Halfling man in a jingling jester’s cap scampers past chased immediately by a large Shoanti. The Halfling’s look of glee and mirth is matched by the fierce anger on the face of the barbarian warrior.
As she watches, the Halfling darts under a rolling wagon and leaps in the surprised arms of one of the town guards at the gatehouse. Frustrated, the large man stalks back to his place in line muttering curses under his breath. At her bidding Kvothe, her raven familiar, flies up to see what's going on.
At last the line begins to move again, and Tinuviel enters the gatehouse.

Sometimes you just can’t sit still, no matter how hard you try. Robin was minding his own business following the flow of humanity (and other races) that was lining up to enter Sandpoint, when the line came to a halt just outside the town’s wall and gatehouse. Looking around, Robin saw fires from many chimney’s and off in the distance the rise of a fallen tower of some kind or another. Closer to hand, a group of Varisian acrobats were practicing their trade entertaining the footsore crowd with feats of flexibility and skill that soon had the crowd clapping along with the music.
It wasn’t his fault, honestly, that the pie cart was stuck right in front of him. He just couldn’t control himself. When the music stopped and the crowed clapped and cheered, Robin found himself, mostly against his will (mostly) climbing up into the piewagon, grabbing a handful of pie, and launching plate after plate into the crowd, the acrobats, and anyone within range.
As the pies splattered around, Robin began capering and laughing on the wagon’s edge and didn’t , at first, hear the giant of a Shoanti pie maker creeping up behind him. Making a lunge for the Halfling the man slipped slightly giving Robin a chance to escape. With a quick flip to the ground, he sprinted between the crowds widening the gap between him and his pursuer. With a last bound, he slid under a moving wagon that was entering the gatehouse, and into the arms of surprised guard. “Save me good sir” Robin cried. The piemaker, not wanting to cause a scene, retreated to his wagon to save what he could of his wares.
Robin lowered himself to the ground, helping himself to the man’s purse in the process, and made his way into the gatehouse. Ready for his adventure in this new place.

When you’re a dwarf, honor is important to you. Like breathing. When you make blood oath it’s forever, no matter what. Rogar, upon hearing of the loss of his clans’ ancestral weapon, Foebreaker, to the Varisian Giants, swore to never take up another weapon until the hammer was returned. It may have been a rash, hasty thing to do and say, but that was him all over again.
Exactly how he’d defeat those giants without a weapon never really occurred to him until now. Wandering the wild paths of Varisia looking for those thieving giants, he wondered what he’d do when he found them. True he had spent the last several years practicing with his shield until he could kill a goblin with it, but a goblin wasn’t a giant now was it.
Eventually, he came to the conclusion he needed allies. Not trusting to the ‘lesser’ races he found himself on the Lost Coast road headed to Sandpoint, where stories told a festival was getting underway. What better place to find a group of hearty dwarf warriors than at a day long drinking festival. He’d been told, the Rusty Dragon Inn was the place to look for
Today, he found himself looking over the city wall (“they call that a wall? A strong wind would blow that down”) as a never-ending line of longshanks dressed in the garish clothing of the area crowded to enter the town. As he waited his fury mounted. More interminable delays. More time wasted.
To top it off, some Halfling layabout was causing a disturbance at the front of the line, slowing things down even more. As the line finally began to move again Rogar looked round longingly for another brother dwarf but saw none. Only men. And they couldn’t be trusted especially in a real fight. Maybe he’d been wrong to come here, but as the summer sun started to dip below the hills, it was too late to turn back. Best make the most of it, eventually that hammer would be his.

She knew enough to know that gods works in strange, mysterious ways, and that to a priestess of Gozrah, faith was enough. The elder women of the clan also had faith, even if it was darker and more animistic than Cadas’. They had consulted the elk bones, and the bones had said there would be trouble. Trouble in the town of Sandpoint, far to the south on the Lost Coast Road.
She knew the old women’s omens were true, at least usually, and sometimes in unexpected ways. The tribal leaders wanted someone to go warn this town, and Cadas, who curiosity about the Gods, the omens, and what was “true”, volunteered at once. The mothers looked at her in wonderment. Wandering was man’s work and this girl should stay and raise warriors at the hearth side. But the chief, who was Cadas’ favorite uncle, agreed that she should go. He appointed her a warrior guard, a half-Varisian who had recently stumbled into the camp wearing a large sword and muttering about giants. More out of wanting this strange half-breed out of camp, he brought them together and gave them the blessing of the road.
Before she left Cadas, broke tradition again, demanding the Wanderer’s Mark, a facial tattoo worn by the men of the tribe as they left for their first walkabout. The uncle-chief hesitated but eventually gave in, and Cadas was marked. She wears this badge with utmost pride and honor, the only marked girl in memory.
That was weeks ago and now after many miles; she and this oaf known as Smoke, stood in a line of farmers and entertainers waiting to enter the town. To her dismay, a small man wearing a funny hat started throwing pies from a wagon at a group of performers some splattering her in the process. She winced and ducked as another pie sailed over her head right into Smoke’s face. She smirked inside as the impetuous youth got a taste of his own medicine.
Eventually the half-man was chased away, and the line began to move again. She glanced up at the walls of the town, seeing the spire of the new church rising nearby, and the fallen lighthouse off in the distance. Walls made her nervous, as did this large group of people. She was from the plains and the open spaces and confinement of any kind bothered her, but she had duty to her clan, and to her patron to make warning before all this (she looked around again) began to burn like the omens said.
To her chagrin, the line moved squarely through a narrow opening, confining her even more, and soon it would be her turn to enter.

A child of two cultures, Smoke realized he didn’t really fit into either one. After attempting to get in touch with his mother’s Shoanti clan, he’d been asked to escort this dour priestess to someplace called Sandpoint. They had treated him as an outsider from his first day. He didn’t know their customs and ways and had stumbled often, always seeming to say or do the wrong thing. He didn’t know why they’d asked him, but he was eager to leave.
Along the road as they traveled, the dreams of the carnage at Two Rivers troubled him during sleeping hours, and even sometimes during the day. He couldn’t get those scenes out of his head no matter how hard he tried. To compensate, he often acted without thinking and found himself in trouble more than once with his newly tattooed traveling companion.
Now here they were on the Lost Coast Road outside of Sandpoint watching a small army of colorfully glad Varisians dance, sing, and twirl around and about them. Watching, Smoke began to realize he had nothing of this culture either. All the folks around knew the songs but him, they all new the dances and the familiar hand gestures and greetings of the people of this land. He was an outsider here also.
Just as the realization dawned on him, a pie struck him square in face. Surprised he jumped, but then began to grin as he saw the little scamp of man running from the pie seller. He swore to make the most of his shared heritage and not let it stand in his way. If he was an outsider everywhere, he’d just carve his own path through life, and those that got in his way had just better watch out.
Then the line moved forward and he looked around more as the group entered the gatehouse.

31 Arodus, Last Day of Summer, 4707 Absalom Reckoning

As one approaches the town of Sandpoint, the footprint of civilization upon the Lost Coast grows more clear. Farmlands in the outlying moors and river valleys grow more numerous and more fishnig vessels are seen in the waters of the Varisian Gulf to the West. The road widens just as it chokes with a motley assortment of Varisians, Shoanti, and Chelaxians headed to the Festival of Desna, and passages over river crossings become accomplished by wooden bridge rather than ford. The Lost Coast Road is nearing Sandpoint!

Sight of Sandpoint is kept hidden by lightly forested hilltops and rocky outcroppings that rise just east of town, but as the final bend is rounded, smoking chimneys and bustling streets greet travlers with open arms. The queue of folks lined up to enter town stretches back well away from the gate.

A low stone wall gives the town a bit of protection, as the road passes through the stone gatehouse, there are two bored looking guards at post, neither of which looks like they'd be much help in a real fight. The guards lean against their blunt spears, yawning, barely noticing, as the procession of festival-goers enters the town in slow single file.

As you approach the gate-house you see, hanging from a bent nail, a signa and a mirror --painted on the sign is the message: "Welcome to Sandpoint! Please stop to see yourself as we see you!"

Please take a moment to describe what each of you see in the mirror then slowly pass through the gatehouse and into your new hometown. It's your place, so make with it what you will.

Male Dwarf Ranger 4 | HP 30/30 | AC 21 | T 12 | FF 19 | F +9 | R +9 | W +6 | I +4 | P +10

Rogar's brow furrowed as the late afternoon sun beat down on him. He hated the heat, it made his armor sticky and the longshanks smell even worse. It was nothing like the comforting coolness of the stone that surrounded him throughout his youth.

As the line trudged forward, slower than a dwarven funeral dirge, Rogar had just about had enough. Worse yet, some fool halfling was taunting a berserker, the damn jester was going to start a riot. If he got close enough to Rogar, he'd see how well he bounced off a shield.

Eventually, the auburn haired dwarf made his way to the front. In the crush of humans, his eagle eyes hadn't been able to pick-out any other stone breakers, still, he held hope that there might be a quality smith. Afterall, Sandpoint wasn't that far from Janderhoff. Plus, what dwarf worth his rocks would make the journey for a festival of Desna—a whole lot of prancing butterfly worshipers.

"Bah," he grunted as he looked himself over in the mirror. The thick braid of his reddish-brown beard was caked with dirt, as was the long braid at the back of his head. His big, bulbous nose was spotted black, as dirt filled its pores and his bright green eyes were surrounded by reddened sclera. Worse, was the caked on mud and dirt the was gumming up his scale mail and covering his large, round steel shield, preventing the from shining in the sun, like proper dwarven armor. He tried to brush off some of the dirt from his gear with his cave-bear paw of a mailed fist before exclaiming; "First things first, I need to vash the dirt off my face."

He nodded to the guards as he passed, then shook his head at their lax posture and vigilance.

"Vouldn't surprise me if this town vere overrun in five minutes during an attack," he said to no one in particular, as he began looking for the nearest Inn and Tavern.

Female Elf Wizard, 3, Per +4, Init +3, AC 13, Fort +2, Ref +4, Will +1 (Familiar: Raven) HP (18)21 (3/8 acid darts)

The feeling of festival swept up Boo. She pranced around in little circles for a bit. There were going to be butterflies! She shook off her sadness like an old cloak. There will be plenty of opportunity for feeling sorry for myself later, she thought. There always was.

Kvothe fluttered back to her and perched on her shoulder and reported back

"Little man threw pies all around ahead, then big man chased him". She then cackled for a bit.

"Oh, I am so sorry I missed that. A pie fight would have been delightful. Also messy."
The tall elf clapped her hands.

With a start Boo remembered her manners. Not everyone was lucky or privileged enough to speak a proper language.

With a start she realized that she had reached the entry way to the town. Beaming, Boo bent down and peered into the mirror. She brushed out a few tangles from her long wheat blonde hair. "I really wish my face were rounder" she thought ruefully. Her mother insisted that the Suranas took at least three centuries to grow into their faces, but for now she was angular and just pretty instead of being awe inspiringly beautiful.

"Excuse me sir, could you tell me where the nicest inn is?" Boo asked the guard. She then proceeded to dance past the surly looking dwarf in the direction the nice man had pointed.

Butterflies, Kvothe! Lots of butterflies!"

To which Kvothe only replied

"Yum, snacks!

Male Human Barbarian 2; AC 14, 11 touch 13 flat-footed; HP 21/27, Fort +5, Ref +1, Will +0; +2 trait vs. fear; +1 Initiative, +5 Perception
AC 12, 9 touch 11 flat-footed; HP 14/16, Fort +6, Ref +1, Will +2; +2 trait vs. fear

Better than the last town they'd been to.

Smoke swiped the remnants of a crust and mousse off of his face with his fingers, sucking and licking it crudely off of his hands. An errant look from Cadas was met with a laughing "What?", hardly stopping. He searched out the tin on the ground and was disappointed when it was upturned in the dirt and grass. He discarded it back into the dust where it came, standing and stretching.

"Popular town," he said to Cadas off-handedly. A quick glance over the wall into the village, at the guards leaning lax on their weapons and he was sure he'd come to the right place. Why had everyone else? The crowd of Varisian performers, the long line of Chelish... He was guessing some kind of festival or performance. "Did I miss something along the way here?" he asked, but was distracted by a Varisian dancing girl trailing colorful scarves running by to catch up with the rest of the disbanded performers. They sure caught the eye; dark-skinned beauties wrapped in wispy clothes. For a minute, he wished he wasn't with Cadas. He hadn't flirted with anything but danger since the holy woman had joined him, and it seemed they were coming up to a festival. No doubt the local beauties would be out and about. But, then again, he was helping the Tamiir-quah, and that took precedence for whatever his own desires were. And did he have time for girls right now? This place hardly seemed prepared for an ogre incursion.

Passing by the sign, he took a moment to do as it asked: a fresh-faced, dark-skinned half-blood stared back at him. He appraised the week's growth of stubble across his jaw, flecking the remainders of the dessert off of his face. He swiped at his hair, messing it with his palm to keep it interesting. Sweat glistened off of his scar. Orange eyes stared back at him, fiery. He checked his teeth and shrugged before moving on. The grime didn't bother him.

Passing through the gatehouse, he greeted the two men to either side, waiting for Cadas if she'd fallen behind before walking inside. He could swear he could hear music coming from somewhere up ahead. Bustling streets and people. "Lively!" he said and took in a deep breath of the smokey air, mixed with the bitter scent of alcohol and the warm scent of meat cooking. "Where to now?" he asked, eagerly surveying the town in front of them. "We planning to stay long?" It was obvious he was ready to dive into whatever was going on in town, head first and with reckless abandon.

Then again, wasn't this her stop?

F Human Shoanti [AC: 23/12 tch/21 ff; HP 83/95; Frt +9, Ref +5, Will +13; Perc +19/21 vs creatures] Cleric 10, Init:+1, Diplo +8, Heal +15, Sense Motive +15

Why would they live in there? was Cadas first though on seeing the city of Sandpoint. The walls could easily be breached. Don't they know that? And they give up living under the open sky for a sense of security? They must live like termites in there. As she approached the gate she felt the closeness of the place. The people crowded her. She could smell their unwashed bodies. She did not like the look of the gate. It was so narrow. So confining. She looked to Smoke to see if he too was feeling the closeness of the city.

Somke. The lad was not hard to look at. A shame he did not wear the proper facial tattoos. No Shoanti woman would look at him twice without them. Didn't he know that? Maybe not. His mother had not raised him. Maybe it fell to her to teach him the way. Did he even want to learn? But she had other responsibilities. She was an oracle and herald of her people, not some wet nurse for a lad summers younger than her.

Suddenly the pie was thrown. A laughing half man was rolling under the wagon and the pie vendor was after him. She ducked. Was the vendor one of hers? She would have to guard herself against becoming too like the locals, too assimilated. Where did that pie land? She turned to see that the pie she so deftly ducked had struck Smoke full in the face. It was undignified, but a smile spread across her face and maybe the briefest of laughs escaped her lips. [u]He took it well. Better than I though he would. He learns. [/i]

As they get closer to the gate she catches a glimpse of herself in a mirror hanging in an arch. She is tall. Taller than many men. And the colors of her new tattoo are bright, even in the shadow of the wall. She is pretty. She knows this, but it is a tribal beauty that she has. Would men here even see it? Her long black hair was braided with white reeds and the feathers of birds. Her armor was of horn and bone. She saw none of similar make in the masses of people. She stood out. Even her scent was not of this place. So be it. She would fulfill her mission, but that did not involve blending in. She was Shoanti, and no man would have to wonder about it.

As you enter the town facing basically southwest, into the slowly setting sun, the amazing new structure of the cathederal looms before you to the south. Built from white limestone and glass which capture the light of the fading sun and cause the structure to almost glow, it towers forty feet above the town, with a spire topped by a butterly that goes even higher. It radiates a feeling of awe and beauty to all who survey it, quite a contrast to the wildnerness of the Lost Coast you have been accustomed to.

Everywhere is the bustle of preperatory activity. Booths being built, stalls being stocked with inventory, voices raised in argument or glee. On your left, scantily clad girls pass out bills for a place called The Pixie's Kitten and make lascivous conversation with the passers-by. A hirsute half orc in a red tabard pushes a cart along behind, picking up the discarded bills and other waste. A troupe of Varisians scamper through the crowd, laughing and dancing wildly to music only they can hear. It is truly a madhouse.

To your right along the road is what appears to be a well kept tavern, two rearing deer (their forehooves touching, rearing at least 10 ft from the ground) carved from white birch frame the entryway to this place. An amazing sculpture, few among you have ever seen it's like. Outside, this inn, a large Shoanti man, his face covered with marks, his hair pulled back into a long braided tail, and wearing the traditional buckskin garb is nailing a sign to the entry. He curses aloud as he slams the hammer against his finger.

This is the first building on the right of the road as you enter Northgate, if you look at the map in the Player's Guide

To the west, the imposing strucure of the a crumbling lighthouse ruin dominates the town rising at least 50ft above the rest of the city, and set out on a cliff overlooking the sea. It must have once reared even higher and appears to be in a grand state of disrepair.

Ahead, you can see the churchyard itself, which is being strung with butterfly shaped paper lanterns. Booths, tables, tents, and the like are being erected all around the square.

Everyone you see seems to be in excellent spirits (except perhaps the watch or the clean up crew). And the town radiates the feeling of happiness and warmth.

To Rogar:You see the inn ahead, but your eyes are attracted to the work of the cathedral. Clearly NOT dwarf work but impressive for amateurs. The glass captures and refracts the light in a way that cannot be repeated underground. That thinking stirs you back to your clan, and then back to your oath and purpose. Looking ahead you see the Inn with the stags which appears to be bursting at the seams with folks of all kinds (though not a dwarf in sight) and the street winding past the churchyard full of revelers, sloping down toward the harbor.

To Tinuviel:The guards eyes met yours as you asked about the inn, widening in astonishment. "By Gor, it's a bloody elf!" he exclaimed, then cupped his hand over his mouth realizing his faux pas. "Sorry, miss, just we don' get a lot o' your kind here in town. The Inn you'll be wanting is the White Deer there across the yard. But it looks like she's a'fillin' up. Best hurry along then.". The Inn's entry really was packed with patrons trying to get in. And there was that man at the gate...

To Smoke: The town really was a wonder. It wasn't just Varisian beauties either. Those girls from the Pixie's Kitten gave Smoke the business good. Winking, calling and make suggestive motions with their hands, they giggled as he passed by. He found himself wandering away from Cadas who seemed to ignore all the bright lights and distracting sounds and headed straight into town. More than once he had to double time to catch up.

To Cadas:Self-assured, strong and upright, she marched into town. She spotted the kinsman at the White Deer, and he was even marked and attired in traditional manners. Looking around, she say Smoke staring after teh working girls from the local brothel. Irritated at his lack of focus, she wondered who she should share her message of impending doom with? Just as she was lost in that thought, something large bumped into her from behind....

F Human Shoanti [AC: 23/12 tch/21 ff; HP 83/95; Frt +9, Ref +5, Will +13; Perc +19/21 vs creatures] Cleric 10, Init:+1, Diplo +8, Heal +15, Sense Motive +15

As she enters the city Cadas looks south in wonder at the cathedral shining in the setting sun. Such a thing can be built by human hands? she questions aloud. It is beautiful. Surely it is blessed by the gods. This vision alone was worth the trek. she says to Smoke, but finds that he has wondered off at the call of some tavern girl, or worse.

Looking for the half breed she catches sight of the Shoanti struggling with the hammer at the inn and decides she should greet the man. Perhaps he will be able to point out elders of this confusing place. Suddenly someone bumps into her from behind. She wheels defensively, her hand going to her trident reflexively.

As Cadas turns, she sees a wizened older fellow leading a pack of horses throug the crowd. "Nae, missy. No need to reach fer that lil' pigsticker o' yers. Its only me an' my wee horses here. We're mighty sorry ta bump inta ya. However can we make it up, eh?". He smiles a grim smile and you see the sinews stand out on his large arms and neck as he flexes and makes a shallow bow.

"Sorry ta meet such a beauty under such poor circumstances, but glad ta have met ya just the same. Name's Hosk, Daviren Hosk. An' I'm guessin' your from oot of town, eh?"

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Male Human Barbarian 2; AC 14, 11 touch 13 flat-footed; HP 21/27, Fort +5, Ref +1, Will +0; +2 trait vs. fear; +1 Initiative, +5 Perception
AC 12, 9 touch 11 flat-footed; HP 14/16, Fort +6, Ref +1, Will +2; +2 trait vs. fear

Smoke passed by the barely-clothed girls, paying them quite a bit of attention. There was a cathedral, sure, a great carving of elk or something, a lighthouse, but he was, well, himself. They stood there in the setting sun, light bathing across cloth and skin and he had to appreciate that. Architecture and art could come later.

His stare was returned by the girls, who seemed far more amused than him. He glanced behind himself and one shook her head. "You've got pie behind the ear," she helpfully pointed out between giggles. He hooked it out with his finger. "I guess I do. Imagine that," he deflected-- trying to keep a cool demeanor in front of the girls. He flicked it off onto the ground. They could definitely see through that.

"You're pretty tall," another observed, approaching him with an amused smile. He craned his neck after Cadas to find that she was appreciating the cathedral at the moment, a good twenty feet away or more. He had a second. "Thanks," he said as the girl thrust a bill into his hands. He glanced at it but didn't read, asking "What's this for?"

The girl winked and turned a bare shoulder. He turned his head like a confused puppy. She made a levering motion with her hand and forearm. Smoke took a moment to look at the bill again, and his face flushed red. With a stammer, he excused himself to the growing laughter from the girls-- who he definitely knew weren't just handing out fliers for friendship. He wasn't one to pay to have girls talk to him-- or treat him to... nevermind! Brothels were an old man's place. Right? Why hadn't his dad written about this kind of thing in his journals? He stuffed the flier into the pocket of his bag, hiding the evidence instead of doing the smart thing and getting rid of it.

What was the polite way to say 'thanks, but no thanks' to that kind of offer?

He caught up to Cadas, pushing through the crowd to find her talking to an older man with a brace of horses. He didn't interject, standing close by so she could finish her taciturn business and they could move on.

Female Elf Wizard, 3, Per +4, Init +3, AC 13, Fort +2, Ref +4, Will +1 (Familiar: Raven) HP (18)21 (3/8 acid darts)

"What a pretty little cathedral" Tinuviel could not help saying it aloud.

Collecting herself, Tinuviel heads like an arrow straight for the White Deer. "I want a room, and a bath and a meal pretty badly right now. Book the room now, stow my stuff and then look at the butterflies." she thought, practically.

Pushing her way past the throng, she entered the inn. Locating the nearest staff member she asked firmly but politely, "Excuse me, but I would like a room, please."

Male Dwarf Ranger 4 | HP 30/30 | AC 21 | T 12 | FF 19 | F +9 | R +9 | W +6 | I +4 | P +10

"Heh, guess their soft hands can work stone a bit," Rogar laughed as he looked at the temple. As he turned his head away from the temple, he spotted the Inn. "Wonder if they can make a decent gorog or if it's all just grog.'

As he got closer to the inn he watched the local working girls flirting with the berserker the halfling had played for a fool earlier. He shook his head, it seemed the lesser classes had a second sense about who the marks were.

"Careful boy," Rogar chided as he passed. "If they can't get your gold with their charms, they might try their nimble fingers."

F Human Shoanti [AC: 23/12 tch/21 ff; HP 83/95; Frt +9, Ref +5, Will +13; Perc +19/21 vs creatures] Cleric 10, Init:+1, Diplo +8, Heal +15, Sense Motive +15
DM DoctorEvil wrote:

As Cadas turns, she sees a wizened older fellow leading a pack of horses throug the crowd. "Nae, missy. No need to reach fer that lil' pigsticker o' yers. Its only me an' my wee horses here. We're mighty sorry ta bump inta ya. However can we make it up, eh?". He smiles a grim smile and you see the sinews stand out on his large arms and neck as he flexes and makes a shallow bow.

"Sorry ta meet such a beauty under such poor circumstances, but glad ta have met ya just the same. Name's Hosk, Daviren Hosk. An' I'm guessin' your from oot of town, eh?"

Looking somewhat embarrassed for her response, Cadas removes her hand from her weapon and makes an excuse. When she responds her words are thick with the Shoanti accent. Yes, well, I have been in the wilds many days. Forgive me my reaction. She is obviously embarrassed and blushes slightly. I do not do well with being jostled and with... She looks about her at the massed humanity. crowds. Taking in the man and his string of horses she offers him her hand and adds. Well met then Mr. Hosk. I am Cadas of the Curchain Hills and am most certainly from oot of town. Can I give you a hand with those horses? And if you would make anything up to me, you could help me and the lad there find a place to stay. She indicates Smoke away in the distance who seems to be distracted by a number of comely lasses.

Male Halfling Bard (Wit) 10 | AC 21 T 14 FF 18 | HP 109/110 | F+8 R+13 W+9 (+11 vs fear) | Perc +14 | Init +14 (always act in surprise round) |

Robin's day was starting off great! Slipping out of the hands of the guard, he scurries forward in line ahead of some girls chattering about the commotion. He finds himself right in front of a mirror! He grins at himself and tucks a few brown curls of hair that had slipped out of his jester's hat during his escape. He then tries out a few more faces - sad, angry, surprised!

A gruff voice calls out from a few paces back. "Hey, twit, you're holdin' up the line."

Widening his ocean blue eyes, he turns, blinks a few times and offers his best impression of a cute little boy. Though in truth he was near his third decade, he made a pretty good impression. "Relax, Grumpypants. I wouldn't be in a hurry to look into the mirror if I were you!" He skips through the city gate and takes in the beautiful Cathedral. That was definitely where people would be gathering once the festival got into gear.

He takes a peek into the coinpurse he had lifted and frowned - quite scant, and he could use a bit more. "Time to put on a show!" He keeps his eyes and ears open for music and a stage, any good place to dance, juggle, and charm an audience.

To Rogar and Tinuviel or anyone entering the Inn yard:

Perception or Know Engineering DC 10:
The White Deer strucure is stone on the ground floor, but wood on the upper two stories. It appears the wood portion is signficantly newer than the rest. There are numerous faded scorch marks along the stone foundation as if from a great fire in the not to recent past.
As you enter the foreyard of the inn, you cross under the archway formed by the white birch stags. The patrons have spilled out the large oak double doors which stand open, and are rapidly filling up the yard. On the porch the large Shoanti fellow is finshing hammering up his sign.

As you near, he finishes his work and steps back to admire it. The sign reads in crude hand-painted letters "NO ROOMS! No exceptions.". He notices you approaching and frowns. "You see it there. NO rooms and no space in the taproom either. We're full up of Varisian vagabonds and Chelish theives. Go on down the road now. We can't help you here." He turns to go back inside, wiping his hand on his apron and flipping the hammer from one hand to the other.

More in this thread later for the rest of you, duty calls first.

Smoke and Cadas:Smoke walks up to catch the end of the grizzled fellow's introduction. He nods to the warrior. " 'ello biggun, ya wit the wee lady here? Bless me, an' a lucky fella ya are. Not only is she a bonny lass, but right feisty too."

Back to Cadas in answer to her question: "Well, m'lady. I am thinkin' I can help ya, an' at the same time you'll be helpin' me. Ya see, the best inn in town sits square next to me stables where I'm takin' these wee beasties. P'haps yer large mate there can clear a path fer us thru this... He indicates the mass of humanity filling the square. "An' you an' I 'll lead the boys here down to the Rusty Dragon. Reckon Miss 'mieko'll have sometin' to say to ya, at any rate. An' it'd sure be a kindness to an ol' man."

He passes the reins of 2 of the 4 horses to you and turns to lead the others. As he turns you can see a large scar across the side of his head from his ear down his neck, disappearing under his jerkin. As you look at his neck you see a strange necklace made from long thick dried leaves of some unusual type.

If you want a closer look try Perception DC 15 or Knowledge Nature DC 15

Those "leaves" appear on closer inspection to be ears. To long to be human ears you suspect they are goblinoid in origin and have been there a long time. Perhaps, 10-12 ears in all.

@Robin: There is certainly a crowd forming at the Inn near the gates where you came in (see post above for Rogar and Boo if you go that way).

Additonally there is construction of booths, tents, and a big stage being built in front of the east entrance of the cathedral out in the churchyard. Workmen are still finishing all these temporary structures.

There are traveling Varisian musicians making camp along the road or and small groups carousing and dancing in the street.

Any of these places might work for an audience, if you can get their attention. An attractive female acrobat cartwheels past as you stand surveying the scene. It is quite chaotic. You feel right at home.

F Human Shoanti [AC: 23/12 tch/21 ff; HP 83/95; Frt +9, Ref +5, Will +13; Perc +19/21 vs creatures] Cleric 10, Init:+1, Diplo +8, Heal +15, Sense Motive +15

Cadas nods in understanding to Daviren and accepts the reins. She looks to Smoke. Clear a path lad. she instructs in her thick accent. W're off to see this Rusty Dragon, and we've horses to deliver.

Perception: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (19) + 8 = 27

Knowledge Nature: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (4) + 5 = 9

She says nothing to the man for now about the ears.

Male Dwarf Ranger 4 | HP 30/30 | AC 21 | T 12 | FF 19 | F +9 | R +9 | W +6 | I +4 | P +10

Rogar frowns disapprovingly of the man and the sign. With a huff, he makes his way to a small clearing and sits down on a pile of rubble.

"Look at 'em. Vhat are they thinking. You'd never see a Dwarf build something just to tear it down a few days later," He grumbled to no one in particular. "These humans, their short lives leave them vith no commitment to the future. Vith nothing but short-sided vision."

He sighed and took a deep breath.

"Gah, I need a bath and my armor needs polish," He continued to talk to himself.He grimaced again and reached into his pack. He rummaged around until he pulled out a wineskin. He shook it, grimacing at its lightness. Still he uncorked it, and tried to shake the last remnants of his ale into his agape maw. After a few drops and a few more fruitless shakes, he capped the skin and snorted.

"Vell I guess I should find some place to vet my vistle."

He looked around and noticed the fool dancing. With a deep sigh he decided to go over watch the act, in the hopes that he could follow the crowd after they left to another watering hole that perhaps had some vacancies.

Male Halfling Bard (Wit) 10 | AC 21 T 14 FF 18 | HP 109/110 | F+8 R+13 W+9 (+11 vs fear) | Perc +14 | Init +14 (always act in surprise round) |

Inspired, Robin chases after the cute acrobat, though his short legs can barely keep up with the acrobat cartwheeling, even at his full speed. "Hey, can I try too?" Acrobatics: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (2) + 2 = 4. He stretches his hands up and is ready to do his best cartwheel ever when he trips over a loose rock. "Wooooahhh... aaaahh!" Hands flailing in the air, he falls face first into the ground. "Oof!"

Dusting himself off, he decides to head over to the inn, where the crowds were gathering. Take 10 on Perception = 11. He wasn't sure dancing outside a full inn would draw the friendlies crowd, but at least there were a lot of people. He tells a bawdy limerick while dancing to his own words.

Borrowing from the internet:

There was a young lady who begat...
Three kids, named Nat, Pat and Tat...
It was fun in the breeding,
but hell in the feeding...
for she found there was no tit for tat.

Comedy: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (19) + 8 = 27
Dance: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (12) + 7 = 19

It seemed he had gotten a surly dwarf's attention, but he was sure hoping for more.

Female Elf Wizard, 3, Per +4, Init +3, AC 13, Fort +2, Ref +4, Will +1 (Familiar: Raven) HP (18)21 (3/8 acid darts)

Boo listens to the large man explain about the other inn. She waits a bit for the stable man and the two Shoanti to head off. She then follows them at a discrete distance. Traveling through the crowd is a lot easier this way she reflected. Even if the path does tend to be well manured.

Male Human Barbarian 2; AC 14, 11 touch 13 flat-footed; HP 21/27, Fort +5, Ref +1, Will +0; +2 trait vs. fear; +1 Initiative, +5 Perception
AC 12, 9 touch 11 flat-footed; HP 14/16, Fort +6, Ref +1, Will +2; +2 trait vs. fear
Rogar wrote:
"Careful boy," Rogar chided as he passed. "If they can't get your gold with their charms, they might try their nimble fingers."

Smoke didn't get the double-meaning of the words for a moment, and then muttered "Thanks, sir," as he passed, nodding his head in respect as he passed.

It didn't sound like this old man knew what was going on, so he took a moment to clue him in: "Oh, no. I'm her escort, not her... escort." He let the words sink in for a moment-- not like Cadas wasn't interesting, but she was a holy woman, and paralytic at conversation. They had as much in common as a barrel and a bugbear-- they were both brown. He was surprised she hadn't misstepped yet and called him tshamek.

Perception: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (12) + 4 = 16
Knowledge (nature): 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (14) + 4 = 18

Interesting necklace.

Cadas gestured to the crowd, and so he began to walk in front of them. "Lad?" he said with a laugh, and turned the greatsword on his back sideways across his shoulders. He spread his arms out across it, stocked and walking. The size of him, the sword and his arms made egress difficult and easily cut a path through the crowd-- he focused his eyes beyond the people, forcing them to get out of his way.

@Robin: Your performance( hopefully better than your sample limerick) soon as the crowd guffawing, some laughing out loud, and others flat out hysterical with tears streaming down their faces. As you pass the jingling cap between acts, purses open, some a little loosened by libation.

Gold Coin Earned: 1d6 ⇒ 4gp

Even a grim, surly dwarf near the rear, can't help breaking into a half-smile now and again despite his weariness.

Unfortunately, your performance has drawn the attention of so many patrons, that the owner of the place, the large Shoanti man has noticed. He steps back on to the gallery and shouts in an exceedingly unfriendly way:"You there, Fool. You're drawing my customers away from the bar and hurting my business, 'sides the house needs a cut of an entertainers here. Clear on out of here afore I call the Watch." He brandishes a think wooden broom handle and the size of his arms and shoulders means he probably knows how to use it.

"The Rusty Dragon down the road has need of a few more fools I hear. Why dontcha go down there to ply your trade." he says to a few chuckles of his own from the crowd. Others in the crowd are quite disappointed in the end of Robin's show and mutter to themselves as the crowd back into the Inn or mosey on down the road.

@Smoke and Cadas (with Boo trailing):Hosk directs you through the church courtyard and down the slope of High Street. Clearly you are descending into Low Town, a cliff of limestone just south of the church sets off that area of town from this which slopes gently down towards the harbor.

At the end of High Street which is lined with moderate-sized dwellings, is a smithy with 2 enormous red dogs lying in the westering sunshine outside. The dogs are drawn in caricature on the Smithy's board sign. From inside you hear the clanking of metal and a steady stream of curses that would make a sailor blush. Hosk directs you to turn right onto Festival Street as the mild descent continues. The crowd has thinned appreciably as you descend the hillside, mostly merchants and local citizens with only a few partygoers to be seen.

During the descent, Daviren asks Cadas:"Tell me now lassie, what brings a lady like yerself to our fair town, eh? Just in for the Desna festival are ya? And this mush-mouthed fella here, he yer man, is he?". He cocks an eyebrow knowingly at the cleric.

The entourage continues past a few guildhalls and eventually comes to the town market square. This area is also busily stocking up for tomorrow festival. Many merchants of all kinds and from all over Varisia have wares for sale here.

If there's anything you want to buy or peruse, it's likely available here. Not crazily expensive or unique items however.

@Rogar:You watch the Halfling fool give an amazing performance which is rudely interrupted by the large Shoanti man who turned you away before.

DM Stuff:
Perc: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (15) + 2 = 17Stealth: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (10) + 2 = 12

The crowd starts to break back up and head into the bar, you see the pieman(from the queue into town) is silently sneaking up on the Halfling a billy club in hand. The jester is completely unaware and continuing to joke around with the lingering crowd.

Male Dwarf Ranger 4 | HP 30/30 | AC 21 | T 12 | FF 19 | F +9 | R +9 | W +6 | I +4 | P +10

Rogar watched carefully as the pieman approached the fool quietly from behind. There was violence in the merchant's eyes and those eyes were staring daggers at the dim-witted halfling. There was a part of him that said the twit deserved his comeuppance. He had stolen pies, ruined the man's business for the day and seemed unrepentant about the whole ordeal. But Dwarven laws were harsh but fair, no punishment could be greater than the crime. No penalty more than the loss. The Halfling's performance had made a good bit of gold for himself, and the pieman could have more than recouped his losses by selling pies to the crowd to toss at the Halfling.

No, the halfling didn't deserve the clubbing he was about to get, but he also didn't deserve to keep the gold just to himself.

"Muther's beard," The Dwarf grumbled softly. He made a bee-line for the Jester, his shield slid down over his arm. And he began strapping it to his forearm. He continued until he had cut off the Halfling's path.

"Nice bit of coin you made there boy," Rogar said sternly. "I guess you might vant to share a pinch of the gold with the piemaker, who's vares you'd used vithout compensation."

He motioned with his shield toward the stalking Shoanti pieman with his bludgeon.

"Vhat say you pieman?"He called out, ruining the man's element of surprise. "Two pieces of gold should more than cover your losses for the day."

As he spoke he shook his shield and rolled his neck.

Male Halfling Bard (Wit) 10 | AC 21 T 14 FF 18 | HP 109/110 | F+8 R+13 W+9 (+11 vs fear) | Perc +14 | Init +14 (always act in surprise round) |

Robin wonders why the crowd chuckles at the suggestion that he should go to the Rusty Dragon. Knowledge (local): 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (1) + 7 = 8. But he's never heard of the place, so he can only guess. Suddenly, the stern dwarf shows up by his side.

"Oho!" Robin spins around to see the Shoanti pieman with murder in his eyes. He starts inching behind the stern dwarf and his shield. "I was just havin' a bit o' fun. Whadya say to my buddy's deal?" Reaching into his coinpurse, he grabs a a couple of gold coin and tosses it toward the pieman. [dice=Ranged "attack"]1d20+3[/dice]. They land outside the man's reach, but Robin gestures with his hand, hopeful that he'll pick them up.

Male Halfling Bard (Wit) 10 | AC 21 T 14 FF 18 | HP 109/110 | F+8 R+13 W+9 (+11 vs fear) | Perc +14 | Init +14 (always act in surprise round) |

Robin takes another look at the lumbering Shoanti piemaker. He definitely appeared dangerous. Psst. You might need more than just a shield to scare off that man! whispers Robin to the dwarf.

F Human Shoanti [AC: 23/12 tch/21 ff; HP 83/95; Frt +9, Ref +5, Will +13; Perc +19/21 vs creatures] Cleric 10, Init:+1, Diplo +8, Heal +15, Sense Motive +15

Leading the two horses Cadas attempts to discern their past care and general well being.

Knowledge Nature: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (4) + 5 = 9

Heal: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (20) + 7 = 27

If there are well cared for she will compliment Daviren. Your horses are fit and healthy Daviren. You know your trade. If they are not so fit she will simply file that away for later, but if they have been abused she may have something to say now.

As they pass the cathedral more closely Cadas calls out. A moment. There in is a place dedicated to Gozreh. She first stares at the construction somewhat in awe and the bows her head in a quick prayer. My Sea and Sky, guide me here in this wilderness of men and buildings, and lead me to ears that would hear your warning for all the peoples.

Walking further she responds to Daviren's question. It would be no lie to say I wished to see the great cathedral, for Gozreh is one of the 6 venerated there. The temples I have seen to my god have been sea caves or constructed of drift wood. It makes my heart soar to see such a dwelling for my deity, although I suspect he is as much at home in it as I am in your fair city. But I have come for a more serious reason. I am a harbinger and carry dire prophesy. I have come to Sand Point to warn your town of omens of ill tiding and to look for further signs of the trouble I know is coming. But I fear this festival of the Dreamer will not help my cause. Few will listen to words of woe in a festival of butterflies and daydreams. Perhaps you can direct me to men with ears who would hear.

When he mentions Smoke she stiffens and speaks of him like he is not present. No. He is not fully of my people. She says this as if it should fully explain why he could never be her man. I try to teach him but he does not want to know. He is my escort and bodyguard, but truth be told I watch out for him as much as he for me. He is strong and brave, true enough. Let no man say otherwise. But he is cursed in a way, as he is of two peoples but belonging to neither. He is a wanderer. Perhaps Desna has claimed him.

Male Dwarf Ranger 4 | HP 30/30 | AC 21 | T 12 | FF 19 | F +9 | R +9 | W +6 | I +4 | P +10

"I'd rather not find out," Rogar responded. "Let's make our vay to this Rusty Dragon, before the Pieman decides he'd like all your earnings."

Rogar silently cursed himself, it seemed he now had a small, annoying companion. Still he couldn't just let the lad get worked over, especially since had had stepped in.

Knowledge Geography 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (20) + 4 = 24

"Follow me, if I remember the map I once saw of the city, the Rusty Drago is this way," Rogar called as he backed away from the pieman picking up coins and made his way into the crowd.

Female Elf Wizard, 3, Per +4, Init +3, AC 13, Fort +2, Ref +4, Will +1 (Familiar: Raven) HP (18)21 (3/8 acid darts)

Tinuviel sends Kvothe aloft again so she can find the inn she hopes they are headed for.

Kvothe's perception 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (20) + 9 = 29

she also peers around looking for lodging 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (12) + 4 = 16.

Kvothe flutters down and says

"It is up ahead, Boo"
I'm assuming a 29 is a success, even for a not very bright bird :)

Boo heads towards the Rusty Dragon, pushing past the Shoanti, the semi-Shoanti and the stableman. She is determined to get a hot bath.

Male Halfling Bard (Wit) 10 | AC 21 T 14 FF 18 | HP 109/110 | F+8 R+13 W+9 (+11 vs fear) | Perc +14 | Init +14 (always act in surprise round) |

Robin backs away with Rogar before slipping into the crowd. He then takes a good look at his savior, the rather tall dwarf who just seemed annoyed with his jokes. "Thanks, friend. You're not a bad sort after all, though you really should laugh more. The name's Robin." His voice remains bright and cheerful despite his close encounter with a cudgel.

Robin notices that the dwarf has no weapon. "Say, you look like a tough guy." He fumbles through his bag and pulls out a sword, still in its scabbard. "I've got this blade here knocking around in my things, but I can juggle it better than I can use it." He neglects to mention that he had "borrowed" the sword from a nobleman on his way out of Cheliax, though there's an identifiable sigil indicating its origins. He offers it toward Rogar. "How's about you take it and we call it even?"

Male Dwarf Ranger 4 | HP 30/30 | AC 21 | T 12 | FF 19 | F +9 | R +9 | W +6 | I +4 | P +10

"That glorified table knife is not a veapon vorthy of a true Dwarf," Rogar snorts in disgust at the blade. "Besides, I vill not vield another veapon save Foebreaker, my clan's ancestral Varhammer. Besides, in the right hands, a shield can do more than provide a target for archers."

He took a few more steps, carefully dodging the much taller humans and elves milling about in the streets, determined not to become let the halfling get attached to him. But the longer he walked, the more his family's honor demanded he also properly introduce himself. He took a deep breath and offered his arm in the traditional Dwarven manner.

"I am Rogar Stefanssen, first born of Stefan Maegarssen out of Hilda. Rightful owner of Foebreaker and proven descendent of good King Taargick. May your axe stay sharp and your shield never break, Robin."

Male Halfling Bard (Wit) 10 | AC 21 T 14 FF 18 | HP 109/110 | F+8 R+13 W+9 (+11 vs fear) | Perc +14 | Init +14 (always act in surprise round) |

Knowledge (nobility): 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (4) + 7 = 11. He didn't know who this Stefan Maegarssen character was, but he would've had to be a complete lout not to have learned by now that King Taargick was the great leader who led the dwarves to the surface.

"Lord Rogar, kindred of King Taargick! It's a real honor, it is!" Robin wondered if Rogar had any connections to a dwarven court. Not every dwarf's as serious as this fellow, I hope. "Where is this Foebreaker of yours? Did you leave it at home? I'd love to visit your town to see the fine dwarven craftsmanship of this mighty weapon." It never hurt to complement a man's hammer, or so Robin thought.

Male Human Barbarian 2; AC 14, 11 touch 13 flat-footed; HP 21/27, Fort +5, Ref +1, Will +0; +2 trait vs. fear; +1 Initiative, +5 Perception
AC 12, 9 touch 11 flat-footed; HP 14/16, Fort +6, Ref +1, Will +2; +2 trait vs. fear

That was a bit of a direct question.

Should watch out for this guy. He was getting a bit too close to the holy woman. All raised eyebrows, oots and aboots and weird questions.

Pale-skinned folks had a habit of trying to take things they didn't own.

Either way, Cadas rambled on, directly answering him and giving the man the full run-down of each and every reason why he was unworthy. There was another unattractive feature: compiling lists of traits that make someone else unworthy.

Either way, it was none of his business, despite his business being what she was spelling out for him. An elf woman shouldered past him, and he grunted a greeting, monosyllabatic: "Ma'am." She seemed like she was in a hurry. Nice bird-- no, a raven, right? He interjected some humor and nodded to the raven as well. "Bird," he said, with the same respectful candor he'd afforded her.

Male Dwarf Ranger 4 | HP 30/30 | AC 21 | T 12 | FF 19 | F +9 | R +9 | W +6 | I +4 | P +10

Rogar stopped abruptly and wheeled to face the halfling.

"Foebreaker is kept as a trophy by some foul giants who fell upon my great-grandfather's caravan nearly two hundred years ago, most likely passed down by as a rite of passage by each generation to denote rulership among their tribe," Rogar replied with the utmost sincerity. "I have been tracking these thieves for the last ten years, and my investigation has lead me here, to this point in Varisia, this is vhere Foebreaker is held."

The dwarf then harumphed and made his way down the street. His eyes keenly peering through the crowd looking for the shingle that proclaimed he had found his respite, the Rusty Dragon.

perception 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (17) + 7 = 24

The Shoanti pieman scrambles for the 2 gold sovereigns, nods appreciatively to the dwarf and says "Likely more than I'd have made at the whole festival selling pies for a copper. Ya have my thanks, Bearded One, but p'haps you should choose yer friends more carefully." He turns and stalks away whistling happily.

The dour dwarf and merry halfling make their way down the slope of the town to the harbor side area where the Rusty Dragon lies. As they descend, the sun finally sinks below the Varisian Gulf and the moon begins to rise. Sounds of festivity still echo from Hightown, but the crowds are thinner and less merry as you progress down the slope.

You see the smithy and hear the clanging of hammer on tempered steel that is familiar to the dwarf, the string of curses also continues some in Common some not. As you pass the place, you see two men coming from the opposite direction. Both appear to be richly dressed, one a tall older fellow with a shaved head and waxed moustache and opulent robes, the other (to Rogar's surprise) is a burly dwarf also dressed finely. He has white hair and beard plaited into braids. A silver hammer of Torag hangs from around his neck. They are engrossed in conversation, but nod to you, looking with interest at the odd couple.

The Dwarf says to Rogar in their natural tongue: "Hearth and Home find you well, weary traveler.". It is the polite greeting of strangers on the road.

@Cadas and Smoke: The horses appear to be fine specimens and extremely well cared for. Hosk obviously knows his business.

As you stop near the Cathedral and say your prayer, Hosk waits respectfully. "So yoo've a message for them in town, eh? It might be that ol' man Hosk can help yoo wif that. I might know a few that'll hear ya oot, but reckon not til mornin'." He squints at Cadas in the failing light sizing her up a little differently than before. "I ken it ain't like Gozreh to send warnin's to jest everyun, eh? Tell me, how a bonny lass came upon such a dire omen, then."

Regarding Smoke he nods:"All thin's in nature have a place, an order to 'em, ya ken? Lad's just lost's all, nae hopeless. Confused, eh? Time and salt 'll season him up good, an' he'll find his place, mark my words. Keep yer patience with the lad's my counsel."

As the elf maiden and her bird companion bustle by, Hosk points out the Rusty Dragon. A rambling three story inn, needing a good paint job, there is an enormous rusty iron Dragon perched on the roof, leaning down into the street. A brazier burns behind the glassed eyes, causing it to appear evil and ominous in the failing light.

"Thar she is, the Rusty Drag'n. My stable is just next door there. If'n you'll help this old man git these beauties to bed, then he'll spring for the first round in the taproom. Long as the lady approves, beggin' yer pardon," he says with a grin, tossing the reins to Smoke and opening the stable door.

The place is as neat and tidy as any horseyard you've seen. The tack is all arranged and hung on hooks, stalls are in excellent repair and clean enought to sleep in. The hay and water are fresh. A tawny mouser dozes on a rail, stretching as you enter. Hosk gives it a stroke or two as he passes. Fifteen or twenty stalls (most occupied) fill the place.

Perception DC 10:
Even in the failing light you see an odd thing. Strings of goblin ears, each with a name branded into them, hanging from all corners of the place. There must be a hundred or more in total.

Sorry I had this post all done, and then it gotten eaten in the posting.

@Tinuviel: Kvothe returns saying something about a dragon attacking the Inn and flies around in hysterics for a bit. Hustling to see what he means, Boo laughs (a soft tinkling sound, like a mountain stream over rocks) when she sees the iron beast on the roof (see prior post). Smiling still at the silly familiar she opens the worn door and ducks inside.

To all entering the Rusty Dragon (eventually): The first thing you notice is the smell. Curry, pepper, and the scent of other exotic spices tickle your nose and make your stomach growl in anticipation of a meal well seasoned and delicious.

Next, the sound. Unlike the White Deer, which is filled with boisterous revelers, this place is calm. The patrons who aren’t alone are engaged in hushed conversation, their discussion obviously private. A female Tien plays a lute and sings a soft foreign melody at the corner stage, which provides the only light in the place.

Looking around, the common room is awash with unmatched tables and chairs. A pall of smoke hangs heavy in the air. A well-polished mahogany bar with a shiny brass rail stands on the left of the door. A heavyset Ulfen man with a patch over an eye, and a large thick scar across his face stands behind the bar, wiping crockery with a towel. Two older Halfling servants, one man and one woman, scurry through the common room slinging plates and re-filling mugs. Stairs leading both up and down stand in the back of the common room.

As you enter, a few of patrons turn curiously, but most remain engaged in their secret dealings or their drinking. The scarred man behind the bar smiles, his lip twisted into a sneer and says in a voice thick with Northman accent: “Velcome to the Rusty Dragon. Vhat ees your pleasure?”

Male Halfling Bard (Wit) 10 | AC 21 T 14 FF 18 | HP 109/110 | F+8 R+13 W+9 (+11 vs fear) | Perc +14 | Init +14 (always act in surprise round) |

"Oh.... um..." Robin says after Rogar tells his story. No wonder this fella was so grumpy - he's spent half his life looking for a hunk of metal. "Sounds like you need a break. How's about I buy you an ale when we get to the tavern!" If ale didn't work on this dwarf, nothing would.

As they pass baldy and the old dwarf, Robin sees if he can recognize them in the moonlight.
Knowledge (local): 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (2) + 7 = 9
Knowledge (nobility): 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (16) + 7 = 23

"Hey fellas! Which way to the Rusty Dragon?" He offers the strangers a wide grin.

Female Elf Wizard, 3, Per +4, Init +3, AC 13, Fort +2, Ref +4, Will +1 (Familiar: Raven) HP (18)21 (3/8 acid darts)

Tinuviel smiles at the scarred man.

"A room if possible, a hot bath definitely and some spiced wine to go with my bath. Dinner after the bath."

Male Human Barbarian 2; AC 14, 11 touch 13 flat-footed; HP 21/27, Fort +5, Ref +1, Will +0; +2 trait vs. fear; +1 Initiative, +5 Perception
AC 12, 9 touch 11 flat-footed; HP 14/16, Fort +6, Ref +1, Will +2; +2 trait vs. fear

Smoke takes the reins and guides the horses into their stalls, pausing for a moment only to address the cat: "Cat." After he draws water and sets out what he must, he takes a moment to stand back and appreciate his task.

Perception: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (14) + 4 = 18

He glances close to the ears, trying to make out the words on them. "You must really hate goblins," he remarks off-hand to the old man, crossing his arms. Travel was beginning to wear down on him.

He holds the door open for the old man, ready to head into the tavern and find a place to sit but patient enough to wait. Hopefully it looked as interesting on the inside as it did on the outside-- something about dragons made Smoke smirk.

"My name's Smoke, by the way. Thanks for looking out for us," he says as Hosk passes him by, and follows him inside when he goes.

Male Dwarf Ranger 4 | HP 30/30 | AC 21 | T 12 | FF 19 | F +9 | R +9 | W +6 | I +4 | P +10

"May the father's hammer protect your door," Rogar replied in dwarven with a nod.

Rogar almost smirked at the Jester's offer of a free ale. The halfling seemed to understand how to say thank you, that was certain.

The normal din of a busy tavern was conspicuously absent to any approaching The Rusty Dragon. Rogar pushed the door open and looked around. This was unlike any Dwarven taphouse or human tavern he had ever encountered. No this was more like the dens of thieves he stalked at times in Kaer Maga, looking for evidence of Foebreaker. Still it was warm, the food smelled better than rations and there was definitely the aroma of fine drink in this place.

"Robin," he said softly. "see if they have a dwarven ale."

Male Halfling Bard (Wit) 10 | AC 21 T 14 FF 18 | HP 109/110 | F+8 R+13 W+9 (+11 vs fear) | Perc +14 | Init +14 (always act in surprise round) |

As they approach the tavern door, Robin spies the glowing eyes of the rusted dragon. "Nice touch," he says, admiring the theatrics. "So much potential - too bad this crowd is so dull." Robin walks through the door, his jester's bells cutting through the calm.

Robin goes to the bar and stands atop a stool to get a better view. "An ale for my friend," he says in his inside voice "and whatever that delicious smell is for me!"

@Tinuviel: The scarred man behind the bar smiles as Boo enters: "Vell madam elf, you haf come to da right place. Da spiced vine vill be right up. And as for roomz, we have dat and more to spare. Dormeetory, private room or master suite, ja? First round on de houz for pretty ladies, you stay make Dragon a popular place wif de boyz, no?" he chuckles and his cheeks bloom with rosy color. His voice is rich and sonorous and his tone is mirthful.

"Oh, poo, Lars, leave this poor girl be. She looks like she's had time of it," interrupts the female hobbit servant. "You heard her ask for a bath. Go put some wood under the kettle." She snaps her fingers at the male hobbit who is balancing a tray of cookware. "Morris, now! Take her bags up to the private room on the third floor. Not the one with leaky roof neither, the one with the fine bed. Get a move on, lad we've got new guest to attend."

She leans forward and whispers confidentially, "Bit of an addle-brain, that one. I'm Bethany and welcome to the Dragon." She takes your arm, slides your bags to the floor and leads you to a barstool, where she sets the spiced wine in front of you.

"Now," she says "tell me all about yourself." She leans forward on the bar with her elbows, chin propped on her clasped hands.

@Smoke and Cadas: You spend a few minutes doing the requisite chores and settling the new horses, and eventually are ready to head next door for refreshments. Smoke makes a flip comment to the man about goblins and you see a change come over Hosk. The mirth and kindness that was present disappears and a cold steel fills his features. His blue eyes burn with a fire that makes you look away. "Aye lad, an' what is there to like about the buggers, do you ken? The only gud gobbie is one impaled on me sword blade. Seen enuf to ken that in my day an' I reckon yoo will too." He shakes his head and his visage resets to the normal, easy manner to which you are growing accustomed.

Easing over to the Dragon, you enter (see prior post for those entering) and the man at the bar addresses your grizzled companion: Herr Hosk, it iz our honor to haf yoo wif us again this even. An' yoo brought frien's, I see. Very goot, sir, very goot indeed." The Ulfen man turns to start pouring ale into earthen crocks for all three.

The halfling servant lady approaches and hugs the older fellow. "Come, come Daviren, take your usual table. Lars will have the ale up in a few. And just who ARE these friends of yours,now? Strange times bring stranger folks, they say. Meaning no offense o'course. She giggles to cover her embarrassment. "Dinner is sea bass or lamb with mint. Do your guests require a room tonight? They are starting to fill up."

Hosk smiles at the kindly old halfling. "Lamb fer me, Bethany. An' some of them spiced taters to go with. Met these travelers up at the festival, I did. They'll have to be a'answerin' for themselfs about rooms, eh? Has Miss Hannah bin in tonight? I wuld like a word wit her if'n you see here, ken?" The halfling, Bethany apparently, replies that Hannah has not been in, but is expected anytime.

"Order dinner if'n you're hungry Cadas an' feed the lad too. If'n yoo'll excuse me, I have someone ta speak ta for a moment." He rises and approaches the stage, where he gets into a whispered conversation with the Tien woman who had been singing. She glances your way and smiles, lighting up her features. She nods and goes back to strumming the lute-like instrument as Hosk returns.

While he is away, Bethany waits for you order or to take a room.

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