Anzath fails to remember the last time they stood in the Boar's Board. Seriously, how long has it been. Were Adelie and Lols even with us?
"De dragon remainz sated," she reports.
It was here. Adelie had just met the party, and Lolly had just rejoined it.
Adelie quietly points out the various people and places to Nico. He’s not overly fond of Zelkor’s Ferry, but he tries to keep his descriptions as accurate and neutral as possible.
Nico overcomes her anxiety at finding herself indoors for the very first time when she sees the dried meats stored high above. She flutters heavily and clumsily up to the rafters and latches onto a hanging strand of venison sausages. She gleefully starts wolfing them down, singing a little song to herself: "Meet house, house meat, hang treat, good sweet!"
One of the strangers says, "That is disgusting! Control that freak, or someone else will!"
Sawen looks torn between her own feelings of hospitality and disgust as little bits of meat rain down onto her freshly swept floors.
Bedlam promptly punches the stranger in the nose.
Ye be shut'n yer fat mouth!
The dwarf then collects the hungry harpy; along with some sausage links and a keg.
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We will need to stay at Zelkor’s Ferry for several days until Bedlam can have the restoration cast on him by Aurora from the scroll. During that time, Tragershen will have finished his belt and boots and started on Tal’s spear.
When they arrive at Zelkor’s Ferry, Tragershen relaxes, but only a little. The talk of the hobgoblins and the memories of the dragon’s visit keep him from getting too comfortable.
He enjoys the good food and company at Bristleback’s. When the commotion dies down, he excuses himself and seeks out Allman at his abode. He chats with him as a fellow practitioner and then gifts him with the vials of materials he recovered from the last fight. ”I’m not sure what you could do with them, but I thought you might find them at least intriguing, if not useful.”
Shortly after dinner, Tragershen takes up his usual spot at Bristleback’s, a small table where he can spread out his journal books and scribing materials.
Tragershen adds a small image of the island and the plume of smoke coming from the dragon’s lair. The text narrates the conversation with the giant wyrm, both in its original draconic and how the elf translated it for the rest. Another small image shows the sailors unloading the tribute. He turns the page and starts another ink illustration. This one takes both sides of the open book. To one side it shows the dragon’s massive head in amazing detail with flames licking off of it. The dragon’s extended claw reaches out towards Anzath, offering her the necklace of fireballs. An astute observer would notice that the placement of the group as they face off with the dragon is not quite right. They are moved a dozen yards or so to the side of the place where they actually stood. The location depicted is the one that Tragershen selected as a likely spot to teleport into later if they wanted to assault the dragon’s island. Many small details are shown that would help to visual the location for teleportation and/or scrying purposes.
Trag stops to take a deep breath before starting the next section. The improbable scenario of the harpies and the lions is laid out on the page. Blow by blow descriptions of the chaotic melee take up numerous pages. When it comes to the felling of the tree, the narration digresses into notable speculation about concealed rotting in the base of the trunk that certainly made the difference in the tree going down. An ink drawing on the next page shows a crucial moment of the battle. The fireball is detonating at the base of the tree; dire lions reeling from the flame and the blast; Aurora plunking away with her crossbow; Adelie is shifting into a bird; Anzath in full kumbaya zen mode; Lolly lolling at the tree trunk; several deft strokes of ink depict the stab wounds from Talathel in the flank of a lion; a weeping Bedlam with one foot on the ribcage of a deceased lion trying to leverage his pick from the sucking wound in the feline’s chest. A close look at the tree reveals that it has been dislodged by the blast and is slightly askew from upright.
Finally, several paragraphs go into the fall out of the battle and the relatively idyllic stroll the rest of the way to Zelkor’s Ferry. With that, Tragershen meticulously cleans his writing supplies and, after allowing sufficient time for the ink drawing to dry, closes up and calls it a night.
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"Nicothoe! You can't do that, it's not polite to take food that belongs to other people, and definitely not without asking. Bedlam, you can't encourage her to do that!" Aurora scolds, following after the pair. "We're not raising her to be a disgusting monster like you are."
Talathel commends the locals on a stout defense, then consults with them about the details.
In case we face that hobgoblin army...
Profession Soldier: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (4) + 12 = 16
He also sees if Gelver is anywhere to be found.
Anzath spends a day drinking heavily, and another day sleeping it off. After regaining clarity of mind, and conferring with Tal and the townsfolk, she’ll take it upon herself to lead a scouting expedition to track down the direction of the hobgoblins’ retreat.
Tryna get at least a decently accurate location of the hobbos while avoiding detection.
Perception: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (14) + 12 = 26
Survival: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (10) + 10 = 20
Stealth: 1d20 + 15 ⇒ (16) + 15 = 31
The improbable scenario...
Yeah... I'll own up to that! But it sure was pretty.
what level fighter has Bedlam punched?: 1d4 ⇒ 2
The half-orc fighter at the bar cracks his jaw back into place, and as Bedlam moves outside, he mutters "Oh, yeah, let's take this outside, pal!" He follows Bedlam and, in the courtyard in the shadow of the cyclopean walls, says, "So you like cheap shots, do ya? I've got a round of wells in each fist..."
Of course, Aurora is there too, urging restraint and enlightened parenting...
Nico giggles, "Big bird will kick green boy's ass and feed me good meat! He just took it! And half-hair 'Rory girl will be SO MAD! Hehehehe!" She flutters clumsily up to the peak of the porch to watch...
Gelver is following Aurora around, as usual. Tal has no trouble finding him. He also finds what looks like a barfight brewing.
Anzath, alone for the first time in a long time, suddenly doubts the wisdom of being so solitary when she finds barely perceptible traces of a group of around fifty hobgoblins in the woods. There's nothing fresh, so they may have left.
Adelie hisses angrily at Bedlam. ”Control yourself! We have a responsibility to that child. She will already be viewed with suspicion and hostility. If she acts recklessly, she will be killed. We must teach her to not cause trouble in towns and cities, and you are doing the opposite. You may think of places like this as safe, but they are not. There are other times and other places where we can fight and kill, but not here!”
Mone whines quietly, and Adelie, looking frustrated and embarrassed by his outburst, retreats to just outside Zelkor’s Ferry to seethe. Mone stays behind.
Gelver is following Aurora around, as usual.
Aurora offers Gelver a brief apologetic smile at the commotion around Nicothoe and Bedlam, mumbling a quiet, "She's a handful, she is, but we owe this to her."
At the sheer language the little chicklet spits out Aurora looks shocked and physically pulls her head back in surprise—it's not hard to guess the thought currently running through her mind is: who taught her that word!?— and says to the half-orc, "You have my blessing in this endeavor. May Nethys guide your blows, that knowledge of a lesson in how to properly treat other people be bestowed upon Bedlam."
She'll even offer an actual blessing in the form of a guidance if he allows it, not that it is likely to change the outcome of a fight with the illustrious dwarfhulk.
Talathel arrives and waves to Gelver and Aurora.
"Hello, Gelver, Aurora....wait. Bedlam, what is going on here?"
Indeed, the half orc is about an even match for Bedlam in terms of raw fighting prowess--but he can't approximate the dwarf's stamina. Every punch he lands seems to barely faze Bedlam. It's as if Bedlam's experience of many battles makes him literally harder to hurt, as if some of the life-force of the myriad monsters has somehow built up his physique so that it would take many more points of many more hits to put him down.
Once the orc is knocked down and their nonlethal damage patched, the orc settles in for the drink and meal. He seems to relax a bit as the ale takes, and as he watches Nicothoe shoving down sausages. "Hungry little thing, isn't she? M'name is Thyrs, soldier of fortune. My brother Tenas and I fought in the service of the fool aristocrats of Magnimar until their coin ran out, at which point we ran out, too. Found ourselves here. Seems like there's plenty to do, but they want to pay us with paper from the '."
Ulman Dark is at home with his wife, Kanndra. Her lithe form lounges in the window nook where she's tinkering with a crossbow while you converse with her husband--you note the contrast between the pale and wimpy man with the fit and deeply tanned woman.
Dark is pleased with the various object you've brought back to him. He gives you three Potions of Cure Featherlight Wounds, a CLW that brings back d4 HP. As you pass a critical eye over his laboratory, you see that you've grown a lot in the last months. What once seemed a useful resource now seems like a squalid and paltry backwater shop. Ulman does offer to raise your dead, should you ever need it.
|Lolygert " Lolly " Endeferr|
Like the rest Lolygert is welcomed back to Zelkor's Ferry with shouts and jests. Seems the young ladies have missed the big hairy man, two in particular , who once they notice they have the same target set upon each other in a fury.
With a shrug, Lolygert grabs a large tankard of ale and with another lass on his arm, makes his way up to a room to 'recuperate'.
Later, he finds out about the ruckus outside with the half-orc, and pouts some, "Ya should've come an' got me, Bed!" he complains, half laughing, commiserating with Thyrs, "Them folks down in Magninmar have more coin than sense, I think!" pouring the soldier of fortune another round.
Anzath will return from her scouting mission and make a report. She urges a quick return to the dungeon, checks in with Ippolit and makes sure he's paid his retainer. She can been seen waiting impatiently around town, occasionally taking Molotov out to play with the refugee children.
Bedlam takes a pull from his flagon.
It be me and me mates bank. You be need'n un job? Go talk ta Tal 'bout being hired on da guard or da scouts. Pay be guud!
Bedlam tosses a turkey leg to Lolly.
Didn't want ta hurt 'm! Har har!
Anzath's request for a speedy departure must be weighed against Tragershen's crafting schedule. There's no immediate pressure to head back into the depths, and the town sure is glad to see you all...
A pair of heavily-equipped half orcs approach Talathel. One has a black eye and a split lip. The other speaks.
"Mr. Talathel? I'm Tenas, and he's Thyrs. My brother here got whupped by a banker named Bedlam who said you could get us warrior's work. We're soldiers, skilled with bow, blade, shield, and polearm. We're not likely to flee in fear from whatever you throw at us. We are more than a match for most frontier financiers, but that banker... there's something a little crazy about him. Anyway. We won't risk our necks for paper--but good gold and silver will buy you good service. And we'd rather not work for the town guard, it's deadly dull until the arrow picks you off the walls--not our style."
Tragershen thanks Ulman for the healing potions, carefully tucking them into his satchel.
At one point, he nods at Kanndra. "The woman I travel with, Aurora, uses a similar crossbow. She's saved me many times with it."
Even though Trag realizes he has surpassed Dark in many areas of study, he still treats the odd man with the respect of a peer and fellow practitioner. He makes sure to discuss some of the items he is crafting for himself and his allies; it may be that Dark can help him find scroll scribing materials at some point down the road.
After a couple of hours, Trag excuses himself. He doesn't want to intrude too much on their domestic life, and he needs to make sure his friends aren't getting in too much trouble.
Talathel hears out the half-orcs and nods ever so slightly.
"Bedlam is indeed a banker, amongst other things, and part of our adventuring group. Skill in arms and strong will are excellent qualities in soldiers. What are your skills in the wilds like? The town could use scouts and our group possesses onsiderable influence here. Since Bedlam pointed you onto me, he surely will have no objection to you being paid in coin."
Bedlam stalks up to the group. He belches.
Mayhaps, you two be gping ta scout dat hobgoblin band. Access der numbers. If need'n ta; lead dem to da dragon.
The dwarf places a hand on each of their shoulders.
Nut'n but good gold fer un job well done!
Anzath points Bedlam to the woodswoman she befriended, to be chief scout. "Hobgobz make deir vay to dungeon. OUR dungeon." she emphasizes.
All this talk of scouting and the deepwoods eventually finds its way to Adelie's door. It's like that moment when everyone realizes that there's a local expert in the room--heads swivel, eyes rest, and questions begin. Friends begin with "you're a druid from the woods around here, what do you think? Know anything about hobgoblins?," only to be quickly followed by newcomers and strangers following up in disbelief, "you're a druid from the Forest of Hope?! Wowww... scary! Scary, but cool! That does explain the wolf..."
Unfortunately for them, Adelie's knowledge is confined primarily to the flora, fauna, and monsters of the Forest of Hope. He's never heard of a band of hobgoblins, so they probably do not live in the forest. Lolly, another local who knows the woods, similarly comes up blank--they must be interlopers from the east. This leads to a general exchange of "scary forest stories" where adventurers try to one-up each other with accounts of the nasty stuff they've seen. Adelie is encouraged to make a contribution to the collective storehouse of braggadocio, with the denizens of Zelkor's Ferry asking him, "What's the scariest thing you've seen in the woods?"
Adelie: have fun with your response--if you choose to respond with your own story, the adult green dragon Springdread could be an option. He was the scariest thing in the woods before his death, so keep it to CR 12 or lower, or what you select might be scarier! Everyone else: feel free to get in on this, you've seen a ton of weird stuff in your time!
Days pass. On the sixth day, the party reckons that the Foresters could have tracked the hobgoblins to the mouth of the dungeon and returned by now. On the seventh day, the Foresters seem conspicuously late to arrive.
At this point, the townsfolk have resorted to chopping their own wood. Nobody seems very pleased with you for sending three people, no matter how willing and brave, out into the forest on a fool's errand. They are especially grouchy about the woodswoman's absence, as she was a pillar of the community. Construction slows due to lack of lumber.
Yep, I rolled out the scouting mission using the Survival skill and... the wandering monster table. Tragershen: you've had a full week to craft.
"That is unfortunate. We could go look for any survivors. While unlikely, it may earn back some goodwill or even produce results."
Durn orcs weren't worth un darn! We be finding dem on our way ta scout des stupid hobs ourselves me s'posing!
After the week, Bedlam would begin gathering any for the trip. After a Restoration, please!
Anzath spends the days on the ramparts and at the gates, restlessly watching the forest.
Did we really send them off? I thought we were just training them in the meantime.
Anzath spends the days on the ramparts and at the gates, restlessly watching the forest.Did we really send them off? I thought we were just training them in the meantime.
The plan developed in a bit of a confusing mix between the main thread and the discussion, but when the scouting mission was floated in the main thread and ironed out over there in discussion and nobody says "nay," away they went! My own boredom may have been a factor... I felt like rolling a ton of checks and seeing what would happen.
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"I've seen harpies, ghouls, lions, and even a couple dragons, but the scariest creature I've met in this forest is over there."
Adelie gestures at Bedlam. "He's completely insane, and carries enough explosives to level a mountain. I've seen him bomb his own allies without hesitation, or almost bury them alive. And he laughs the whole time."
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Tragershen: you've had a full week to craft.
That means that Talathel, your spear is now +2. And Lolly, your cloak is done.
Adelie, I will be glad to add those items to the crafting queue. I’ll probably prioritize the things that will be done more quickly. And I’ll break the bracers into craft to +1 and enhance to +2; that will get a +1 to Mone more quickly. And I think the headband is a good idea. +1 DC, +1 spell and +1 will save. If I had a gold coin for every time I died because I failed a reflex save by 1 when I had just cast haste on the rest of the group but omitted myself, I’d have a single gold coin to go with this long smoldering regret. So, each +1 to save is a good thing.
Bedlam puffs out his chest. Walking around town like a strutting peacock, the dwarf quietly looks around for Aurora.
Where be our Cleric! We be hav'n un rescue ta do!
"My thanks, Tragershen. A deadlier point to drive home."
Aurora, in the interim, has continued to offer her Nethys Talks™ to the people of Zelkor's Ferry... when not busy trying to keep Nicothoe out of trouble and prevent her from terrorizing the townspeople. The task may be monumental, but nothing is too great for a cleric intent on conquering the depths of Rappan Athuk.
Childcare and slaughter are wildly different beasts.
If the little harpy is (at least seeming to be) behaving herself, Aurora can probably be found enjoying the day down by the water.
Little Nico proves quite the handful. Upon seeing ducks paddling in the river, Nico demands to be taught how to swim. She seems unhappy that her feathers, not being fully waterproof, don't allow her to scud along the surface like the waterfowl. One minute she's fussing, the next, she's chasing ducks--swooping down on them from above! Of course, she's about the size of a duck, so she's soon under attack from a pack of angry mallards. Gelver looks on, horrified and screaming at the top of his lungs, punctuating "normal" Gelver-shrieks with what sounds like... quacking? When Nico is dragged into the water by a stack of bills, Gelver wades in and hauls her out, swatting the mallards off one by one. His screams attract quite a crowd. But there's one duck that Gelver can't seem to dislodge, and that's because Nico has two arms, two taloned feet, and one sharp little mouth engaged in restraining it.
She loosens her fangs from feathers briefly to plead with Aurora, "Rora! I caught it, I hunted, hunters help folks and eat birds, can I keep and eat the bird if I share it?" Then she buries her head back into the feathery creature. Aurora can tell that the duck has no serious injuries. One of the townsfolk calls out, "Uh, I'd share that duck with you, bird-baby-thing! We could make soup and share it with the kids."
Meanwhile, the party readies itself to depart. Two sets of tracks and one lingering destiny lie in wait in the hills to the East. Prepare yourselves!
I'll start the journey tomorrow irl, unless anyone has an objection!
Aurora wrings her hands as Gelver wades on in to pull Nicothoe out of the mess she made, edging closer to the swarm of ducks and wading in after Gelver has cleared the way.
"Yes, Nico, you can keep the bird if you share it," she says, almost resignedly. "Please be more careful in the future, you might get hurt if someone like Gelver isn't there to help you, and we don't want to scare the ducks off for good." A brief pause, followed by, "Thank you, Gelver." and a smile aimed for the shriek-prone warrior.
If Nico continues to struggle with the bird, Aurora will take her cold iron dagger out to help. Regardless of who has to do the dispatching, once the duck is dealt with the cleric will do her best to get Nico situated and the duck delivered to the townsfolk interested in duck soup.
Parrot: In the time that we've known Nico, have we learned if she prefers her meat raw or has she developed a taste for cooked meat? Or does she just eat whatever's available with no preference on raw/cooked?
Bedlam: Negative level should be restored by now, since Bedlam's had his week for the Restoration cooldown.
"Aye, Bedlam. We have a duty of care to them."
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Does that mean Mone's negative level is gone, too? Does Adelie even have a way to pay for Restoration?
Mone's negative levels were taken care of by the clerics of Saranrae back in Riddleport, as were Tragershen's. Bedlam still had one lingering because he had one when we delved into Rappan Athuk proper. And the restoration spell can only be done once a week on any individual, so we had to leave before Bedlam's last could be removed to meet our draconic obligation. Hence the scroll for Aurora to do it once enough time had passed. The costs were all covered by the efreeti lamp we gave them.