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Sandpoint is a quiet little town... No, scratch that. Sandpoint wants to be a quiet little town. Goblins have always been a problem and the Sandpoint Devil used to terrorize the countryside, but the real trouble has come in the last decade. First, there was the Late Unpleasantness, in which a killer known as Chopper claimed 25 victims and a terrible fire ravaged the town, claiming the life of the town’s beloved priest Ezakien Tobyn.
Then, in 4707 at the Swallowtail Festival and dedication of the new church which had been built to replace the one that had burnt down in the fire, goblins attacked Sandpoint, attempting to burn it. It was primarily only through the efforts of a band of heroes that Sandpoint was not overrun by the goblins and burnt to the ground. These heroes ended the goblin threat for the time being, but also discovered other strange goings-on. There are many rumours as to what exactly went down, but during it all, Lonjiku Kaijitsu, one of Sandpoint’s founders died, apparently at the hands of his son Tsuto, who was then killed by the Sandpoint Heroes.
The heroes went on to do work for Magnimar and other places away from Sandpoint, but they were there again the following year, at the next Swallowtail Festival. They had been invited for a feast in their honour. They ended up defending the town from attack yet again. But this time, it wasn’t goblins attacking. It was a dragon! And giants! The Heroes lived up to their reputation and beat back the invasion. They went on to find the source of the invasion, a journey that took them north away from Sandpoint, and Sandpoint once again returned to a semblance of normality.
For the last few years, the town has managed to hold on to the “quiet” descriptor it so desperately wants. Sheriff Belor Hemlock has built up the town’s defences considerably and the people live in relative security. However, goblin activity is on the rise again. The Licktoad goblins of the Brinestump marsh have become unusually aggressive. The reason for this uncharacteristic bravery is quite clear: Somehow they have armed themselves with a considerable supply of fireworks. Several merchant caravans and travellers have been attacked so far. According to the victims, the damage caused by the horses panicking at the sight and sound of the fireworks has been almost as bad as the goblin attacks themselves. With the last few attacks resulting in severe injuries to three travellers, the problem has escalated from an annoyance to a threat. The attacks have not yet inconvenienced Magnimar, and so the City of Monuments has not done anything to help.
Sheriff Hemlock has restored Sandpoint’s old “goblin bounty” after years of inactivity to try to encourage the adventurous sort to seek out and kill goblins. The town of Sandpoint will pay 10 gp for every relatively fresh pair of goblin ears delivered to the town hall. An additional reward of 300 gp will be given to the group who can bring in the head of the Licktoads’ leader, Chief Gutwad.
Unfortunately, there aren’t a lot of adventuring types around these days. Once upon a time, the countryside was full of them, helping to keep goblins at bay. But the removal of the goblin bounty years ago and recent rumours that an ancient Thassilonian city has been discovered have caused adventurers to head to the northern mountains and beyond. Many Sandpoint residents have begun to worry that another Late Unpleasantness may be on its way and that the Sandpoint Heroes won’t be here to defend them this time.
It's an old cliché that every story starts in a tavern, but in Sandpoint, the Rusty Dragon is one of the most popular places, so it’s unsurprising that some stories might start there. It is the oldest inn in town, notable for the impressive (and quite rusty) iron dragon that sits on its roof, gazing out over the town. Its proprietor, Ameiko Kaijitsu, last surviving member of the founding Kaijitsu family, is one of the most popular and beloved personalities in Sandpoint. Many seek out the Rusy Dragon just to hear her music or to eat the spicy and exotic food she serves.
And so, cliché or not, on this morning, the 21st of Rova, 4713, six people whose destinies are about to entwine, find themselves, each for reasons of his or her own, in the Rusy Dragon at the same time...
I like to give credit where it's due, so I cannot lay credit to myself for this post. In preparing for this adventure path, I delved deep into the Paizo repository of knowledge and picked the archives of Lucas, Weynolt, GMT, and numerous other GMs who've come before me in running this. It's with their dedication and all who came before us that make will serve to help us make this epic truly ours.
Mukluk sits at the end of his bed, anxious to get out. No, not just anxious to get out of bed...or out of his room...but out of town. He wants to get on the road and gone. The problem was he didn't have a place to go yet. He only yesterday paid his respects to Koya and the grave of Old Niska but it still seems to him that he's been in Sandpoint too long.
"A promise is a promise and a friend is a friend," Mukluk mutters to himself as he pulls on his well-traveled boots. "I need to find a new caravan soon...shouldn't be too hard, and the road calls."
Mukluk takes a deep breath and leaves his room at the Rusty Dragon to look for conversations that might lead to work or travel. And, of course, the Dragon does serve drink.
Mukluk goes downstairs to see who might be around the common room.
Treygan had arrived in Sandpoint yesterday, returned from his long time away at temple. Heading straight to his parents house, he enjoyed reuniting and catching up with them. During the evening meal they told him of the increased goblin attacks and the renewal of the bounty on goblin ears. Treygan decided then he would do what he could for the town.
The next morning come, he decides first thing to head to the Rusty Dragon, see who of the old gang was still around. "Might as well catch up for a bit before heading to see Hemlock," he thinks to himself. Greeting whomever is working this morning, he orders a meal and a drink, waiting to see if anyone he remembers shows.
Just as it is every morning, Toshiro rises from his rest at the hint of dawn. If one is to obtain spiritual perfection, then the mind must be prepared before all other things each day. And even though he is growing in age, Toshiro's daily regiment has kept him more youthful and healthy than most of the young lads in town.
Once his meditation, prayers and martial training is completed, the next task in his daily routine is to head over to the Rusty Dragon, the young Kaijitsu's tavern. Toshiro always offers to assist in any way he can, but Ameiko tends to turn down his offers, playfully telling the aging monk that his old bones might break doing physical labor. He always laughs, but the worry lingers.
What if I do become old and broken before I reach the perfection that Irori asks of me?
This morning in the Rusty Dragon is a bit more lively than normal though. Some unfamiliar faces greet him, with whom Toshiro kindly bows. He looks around for Ameiko, but not seeing her, asks for a cup of tea from the barmaid and takes a seat.
Sitting in a corner, a glass of wine sitting forgotten upon the table...a thin outsider rests with their feet up on the table. A wide brimmed hat pulled low over their face as if to shade their eyes for a much needed rest. Clothes are clean and neat, not the most fashionable but well taken care of.
His stillness betrays his alertness, wound up tight as a rope...he watches these people moving about the room...
Humans, so noisy...so busy. They need to learn to slow down and take life as it comes. Don't they know that some lives pass like a minute, why can I see it but not them? What is it that is expected of me now? He wonders to himself...
Corvus is, as it is the 21st, behind the bar of the Rusty Dragon, serving regulars and a few new faces. It seems the lure of the goblin bounty has brought a few new faces to town. 'That elf at the corner table for a start,' thought Corvus as she polished some glasses mechanically. "Time to lean, time to clean," Ameiko always said.
'He's been nursing that wine for half and hour now. Does he think it'll improve with age?' Corvus laughed at her attempt at a joke - and then coughed and focused on cleaning again, wondering if anyone heard her.
Snowbeard was in his usual seat, tea in hand and she gave him a warm smile. Trey was eating as usual and she was about to give him a wave when Mucky came downstairs. "What'll it be Mukluk?" she calls across as he takes in the room.
Mukluk shimmies up the bar, still looking around the room and not yet sure he's ready for company yet.
"Tell me, lass, who was in the room next to mine? Snored like an ogre! Might be you need to replace the sawdust between the walls...oh, I'll make sure to mention it to Ameiko," Mukluk draws up a barstool, working his way up to the higher seat (not an easy feat for a dwarf).
"Not sure why they don't make shorter, taller barstools, lass. And wider too. I'm not young no more and these wobbly things ain't for my wobbly legs," Mukluk scoots himself off the barstool. "Ah, nevermind, I'll go sit over there. Bring me a morning ale won't you? And some fish & oatmeal, hold the oatmeal. And bread, too, if you would."
Mukluk settles into a table.
György had been eager to reach Sandpoint the night before, but the caravan master was reluctant to arrive after dark. Rumor on the roads suggested that the rise in goblin attacks might have the town guard on edge and the caravan master was worried that the outriders might find themselves riddled with arrows. György stayed up late, enjoying the fruity wine that the Ščuka clan favored, even if he found it a little too sweet. It certainly put the girls in a mood for dancing and György found Jaelle to be a particularly graceful and willing partner. But when it came time to go to bed, György adeptly slipped away to his own for the night. György was nearly home to Sandpoint...and Ameiko.
The next morning, György was up before dawn. He let the caravan master know the night before that he would head into Sandpoint on his own in the morning and that he would let the guards know the caravan would arrive by mid-morning. Mounting the chestnut mare, György set a swift pace up the Lost Coast Road and spied the rooftops just as the sun was licking the treetops behind him. Slowing as he reached town, György reined in the mare and smiled as he approached the familiar mirror and warning to stop and see yourself as the town sees you that was posted at the gatehouse. His smile broadened as he saw little Henric step from the gatehouse. "Henric, its been too long. You do it, eh? I'm so proud of you. Hemlock has found a fine guardsman."
After exchanging pleasantries with Henric, György led the mare clopping across Sandpoint Bridge and secured her to the post in front of the Rusty Dragon on Market Street. Taking a deep breath, György calmed himself before pressing through the front door expecting to casually raise a hand to Ameiko. Instead, he found himself facing the backside of Mukluk as the dwarf managed to extricate himself from the stool to head for the table. Barely suppressing a laugh, he calls out "Any seen a drunken kobold in here this morning?"
Corvus ignores the dwarves grumbling about the snorer. She knows him well enough to tell the difference between a genuine complaint and a bit of good-tempered whinging. Anyway, all the other occupants had complained about his snoring.
"Shorter, taller barstools? Right, I'll put it in the suggestion box." Smiling to herself, she walks through to the kitchen and returns with oatmeal and bread and wanders it across to the table. She then pulls a pint of ale for the dwarf and sets it in front of him carefully. "There you go, just how you like it." In Corvus' experience, in large quantities was actually how he liked it. She patted him on the shoulder before wandering back to the bar.
She looks up at the kobold reference and whistles quietly. 'Gorky. I wonder what brings him back?' Corvus looks around at the inn and reflects on who the owner is. 'Silly question.' "Hello stranger, what'll it be?" - her customary smile as ever on her lips.
"Any seen a drunken kobold in here this morning?"
"What you gunna do, Gyorgy? Put the drunken kobold in charge of the navigation of your next caravan? Might have better luck than the last navigator we had," Mukluk chirps at the Varisian. "That was still the worst caravan I even been on...and I recall that without me you'd still be lost." Mukluk relates with a big smile, raising from his seat and going over to give Gyorgy a big, undwarfy hug.
"What you doing here? I figured you be lost again," Mukluk says waving his arm over to his table. "Why don't you come join me for a drink?"
Maybe he has work. Or knows of a place where I can get some work. My feets are itching to move.
Jean takes a sip of his wine...[i]That dwarf is just sitting at the bar, a human walks in, they spar verbally about "drunken kobolds" and then sit down together to break their fast? Maybe racism isn't the norm here...[i]
Draining his glass and then setting his goblet down, Jean gracefully stands...walks over to the bar, careful to touch no one along the way.
An ogre snoring you say? Then perhaps I rested in the room beyond for I too heard the racket. My ears would say it did seem to be coming from room 2C.
Mukluk kicks out a chair for the stranger.
"Have a seat, Elf. Yeah, an ogre. I figured it wouldn't be you as you kind tends to have a higher pitched snore when you do grace us with words. Haw haw! C'mon, take a seat!" Mukluk sits down, making acquaintances.
"That there Varisian is Gyorgy...Giorgi? Gee-Orgy? Awh, I never could pronounce it just right. And you can call me Mukluk...of the Muletenders. Nice to meet ya."
"Jean, Jean LaFavre..."
Jean motions for another full round at the table and sits.
"I'm in town...for now. Not much else to do, haven't stayed in one place for longer than a night in as long as I can remember."
Glancing at the Varisian, gesturing around the room and directing his conversation to the dwarf.
Quietly "This certainly is a queer place...these humans are so nice and accepting of others, especially of our kinds. I've been here for 3 nights now, I keep waiting for the hate and fear of us to bring out the knives."
He stops speaking as his breakfast and the round of drinks is set before him, once the girl is gone he continues...
Quietly, taking his fork and pointing at a hunk of bread on the plate while looking at the dwarf...then pointing at the cheese while looking at the human...lastly pointing at some fruit and lightly tapping his chest "Folks I've known would call this gathering... gesturing a circle around the table unnatural. Yet could we not be better by our differences combined, like my breakfast?"
Angrily "Why must they fear the fruit and stick with the cheese?"
As he slips a concealed stiletto from his left sleeve and stabs through the cheese with enough force to spill Mukluks ale, and pierce through the soft lead plate.
Jean freezes for a moment, shocked at his display of emotion, tries to pick up his plate which is pinned to the table...pins away and tries to calmly rush for the stairs.
"Excuse me..." he softly says as he hurries away as breakfast, the crowd and his dagger sit forgotten...
The parting of the doors leads to a brief ray of light into the room just as Jean begins to run from the room. Stepping into the common room Ameiko Kaijitsu demands presence, her attire clearly depicting the ancient Tian heritage flowing in her veins. On either side of her, Sheriff Belor Hemlock and the eleven guardian of Sandpoint known as Shalelu stride gracefully into the tavern as well. They spend a moment greeting the patrons before turning their tongues towards more pressing business. Ameiko relieves Corvus of her duties as Sheriff Hemlock takes the limelight.
"Folks, I'm not going to spend much time on this. I've been going around town asking people to help out however they can. You're all aware of my decision to renew the bounty on goblin ears. I made the announcement before and I'd like to make it again. The goblin tribes around here have been getting brave - very brave. Somehow they got ahold of some fireworks and that only made them braver. I've sent word to Magnimar, but I've only gotten excuses and bureaucratic red tape back as an answer. I'm looking for a few adventurous folk to head into the swamps and put an end to this. Simple as that."
Stepping aside, Hemlock motions for Shalelu to step forward. The lithe elven woman does and the stern gaze on her face addresses all patrons present in the Rusty Dragon at this time. "Brinestump Marsh is nothing to bat an eyelash at. It's smaller than the Mushfens to the south but it's dense and tangled. There's no maps of the swamp because of it. You'll be going in blind. There's a crazy old halfling out there in the swamps though by the name of Walthus. He fancies himself the warden of the swamp so to speak. If anyone knows about the swamp's secrets, it'd be him."
Hemlock thanks her as she moves over to sit with Ameiko, the two making chit-chat. The sheriff speaks again, "If anyone here fancies themselves useful or the adventurous sort, let me know and I'll provide you with an official writ detailing the particulars which we've just gone over." Without saying thank you or anything else of the sort, Sheriff Hemlock turns and waltzes out, sending a nod towards Treygan as he does. "Good to see you again, Gorski. If you want your old job back, do me this favor."
Then he's gone. "Damn, he knows how to bring the mood down!" Ameiko exclaims playfully poking fun at the sheriff who only waves his hand at the bar owner as he exits. She smiles and turns back to Shalelu, continuing their conversation from before.
The goblins are gathering again? No... The last time that happened, I lost one of my dear friends, and Ameiko lost her father. And of course, I refused to get involved, letting the "Sandpoint Heroes" step forward and defend our town. And now that danger is at our doorstep again, where are our heroes? No, this time, it's my responsibility to save our town. Poor Ameiko shouldn't have to suffer more loss at the hands of those monsters.
After losing himself in thought again, Toshiro rises from his seat and walks over to Ameiko and Shalelu, bowing gracefully in greeting.
"Ameiko, Shalelu, a pleasure to see you as always. I feel that it is my responsibility to venture out and deal with this goblin menace. I stood by last time as they invaded our homes, but I refuse to let our town burn by their hands again."
He glances at Ameiko and smiles. "And before you even think about it, no jokes about being too old. I know you too well!"
LOL@Jean. Well played.
Mukluk sputters, trying to both interject and respond to Jean's forkplay, but is dizzied by the sheer number of metaphors involved.
"Uh...I like cheese..." Mukluk mutters as Jean runs for the door, the best he can muster in response. Mukluk watches the retreating elf for a moment before being thankfully pulled away by the trio of Ameiko, Shalelu, & Hemlock.
He mulls their speeches while eating the scraps from Jean's plate, eating around the dagger.
* * *
It's been a long time since I been on a goblin hunt. And this one sounds good, too. Easy money with my Trepanator, here. Mukluk pats his cold iron pick reassuringly.
He watches as an Old Man approaches and volunteers his support. He awaits to see who else signs up.
With the trio's interruption Jean freezes in mid-stride...
Anyone? Is this offer to all? Look the elf is standing with them as an equal partner in this...if she finds it worth while to align herself with this cause then why shouldn't eye?
Slowly he turns and step by step Jean approaches the ladies. Bowing in imitation of the elderly man proceeding him.
"Ladies I have been shown welcome here in this town, even before I had coin to offer in return. More kindness in such a short time I've never experienced before. If I can be of service of good people who do not favor one kind over another, then please count me in."
Bowing again, Jean excuses himself but then stops a moment..."Sorry about the plate...and the table..." He turns away again.
Walking back by the dwarf's table displaying a self confidence at odds with his outburst from mere moments before..."Two to your one or a keg of your choice from this establishment..." as the dagger disappears from the plate and Jean sits back down.
Intent on breakfast, Treygan pays little mind to the other occupants of the Rusty Dragon at first. At least until someone impales an innocent cheese. He looks up, debating on whether he should get involved when the doors open to Hemlock, Ameiko and Shalelu.
He listens intently as the matter of the goblins is announced. Treygan can't help but feel eager at the prospect. He was unable to help during the goblin raid before, recently gone from Sandpoint for training. But another opportunity now presented itself, and Treygan felt ready for it.
"Good to see you again, Gorski. If you want your old job back, do me this favor."
"Don't think you have much to worry about on that end. It'll be nice to do some good for the town!" Breakfast finished and ready to do something, he stands and straps his blade to his back. By the time he had went to temple, he had mostly put away thoughts of trying to imitate Shalelu's style. That didn't stop him from embarrassing himself there, especially when watching the techniques some of the Sarenites had used. It almost looked a dance, particularly when Treygan tried and ended up on his face.
Eventually his instructor insisted he practice with a blade like the one he now strapped on. It benefited more from his strength than his lack of grace, a fitting match. And now he hoped to defend his home with it.
He snaps out of his memory as a couple people gather near Ameiko and Shalelu to volunteer, one being the elf from before, the other he recognized. "Any help defending Sandpoint is appreciated. The name's Treygan Gorski." Treygan comes up and extends his hand towards the unfamiliar man in greeting.
Corvus shakes her head at the elf's knife exploits. 'It's always the quiet ones you've gotta watch...'she muses as he makes a bolt to exit before running into the sheriff and the others.
Until this point, Corvus had considered the goblin bounty as little more than an effort to rid the town of a few annoyances. After the speeches, she sees the town's plight in a whole new light.
Her first reaction is to see what Ameiko does. If Ameiko volunteers first, will Corvus look like a meek follower? If Ameiko doesn't volunteer, does that mean the task is too menial? Inner conflict tears at Corvus until she hears snowbeard speak.
"Count me in," a loud female voice calls and it takes a second for Corvus to realise that it's her own. There was something that whitebeard said about standing by last time that struck a nerve. "If you'll have a barmaid that is?" she adds in jest to deflect from the seriousness of her initial outburst.
As the Elf quickly reverses course, Mukluk spits out the grape he had stolen and puts it back on Jean's plate. He smiles innocently as the Elf begins to challenge him...even as his hand goes to rest on the Trepanator.
Just in case this loon is loony.
"You want my beer for one your beers?" Mukluk replies, trying to figure out the nature of both the wager and the elf. "Or you want me to come along? I can do that. How much are they paying for ears?"
Mukluk stands to ask his question.
"Hey! HEY!" Mukluk spectacles himself. "How much are you paying for ears?" Mukluk asks loudly.
This better be good. I ain't getting out of bed for silvers.
Speaking to Mukluk "My 2 goblins to your 1 goblin. Winner buys your choice of this establishment's stock." Does he realize that he comes out the winner regardless?
Jean pops the grape into his mouth, sucks on in for a moment and then spits it out into Mukluk's half finished beer.
"But then again I can see why they don't like fruit...it's terrible today."
Jean waves the barmaid over. "Lass, we'd be honored if you'd come with us...we do need someone to help keep score or to expand the odds...more hunters, fewer goblins in the pool. Unless of course you'd like to join the wager? Oh and another beer for our friend here..."
Leering with a grin at the dwarf, Jean whispers "One catch...I won't hunt goblins for ears. I'd say noses would be better in this case... Jean removes his hat and pulls back his hair from the sides of his scalp I don't believe in catch and release." as he displays his mutilated extremities.
(Those at the table can see that the top portions of his ears have been severed, the skin still pink and young)
Laughingly in good cheer but without the touch of sanity he slaps Mukluk on the shoulder "Worry not my Dwarven compatriot, my hatred is not for any here or even the goblins... Jean's tone becomes more somber and serious in its intensity as he speaks in almost a hiss No, that is saved for others who should hope to sail to the far side of Golarion in order to escape their retribution from my hands. Keelhauling, lashes at the yard-arm, drowning in Besmarra's final kiss...all are too kind of fates for those..."
A shocked expression comes across Jean's face...
I think I may have drunk my wine a bit too fast...these folks are all staring at me...yup, I did. I have no internal monologue when I'm drunk...
Sheepishly Jean tries to shrink into his chair...Hi? So how's the weather?
Corvus considers Jean. A few minutes ago she had him pegged as another quiet elf - all inscrutable and mysterious.
Sixty seconds ago, she wondered if he was a menace to society or perhaps one of those morose drunks that sometimes frequented the inn.
Now she looked at him with a third lens in as many minutes. She despised herself for judging him and forgave him for calling her 'lass.' It was one thing to be self-depreciating, but quite another to be underestimated. Sometimes that was good, but not in this company.
So, which way to go? Sympathy? Pretend it didn't happen? Finally, she broke her silence. "I'm no scorekeeper. Reckon you'll be doing the counting when I get among those goblins.". She casts Mage Hand and the chair that Jean was seated at pulls back from the table, inviting him to sit down again. Corvus smiles and waves her hand at the chair to reinforce the message.
Ameiko and Shalelu, having finished what conversation they were considering, glance back at the patrons' antics. Speaking first, Ameiko snaps in a tone both loving and playful yet serious. "Now now, you lot, don't break my bar! You break it, I break you!" Turning attention to the bounty again, she nods approvingly at Toshiro and the others who volunteer their efforts, addressing the question of bounty amount by answering again. "I think I heard the good sheriff earlier mention something around ten dragons for every right goblin ear turned into him."
Shalelu nodded and added, "I believe it was fifty dragons for the Chief's head, but good luck collecting that before I do." She says this last part with a competitive grin. Standing up, she walks over to and observes the group of volunteers. "You look like a ragtag group. Good luck to you." Her eyes stop on Treygan for a moment and it almost seems as if she directs the next part to him. "Hopefully you lot have developed decent abilities in the time I've been away."
A smile crops up on Treygan's face as Shalelu speaks the last part, "I'll admit it, you were definitely better than me before I left. But I haven't been idle the last few years either." Treygan extends his arms in front, cracking his knuckles. "I think you might find it a bit more difficult sparring this time around. Of course, why waste the energy when we should be spending it hunting these Licktoads. Of course you think you can beat us to the chief's head, hmm." Treygan makes an exaggerated movement of thinking, "I suppose we should wager, considering it's not the first being made," he spares Jean a quick glance. "Loser buys the winner the first drink when we all get back. Of course I suppose the winner will be a bit richer and it's only fair for the winner to buy the second round. What do you say?"
Gyorgy should be back soon. We pinged. Forgive him. He only *mostly* sucks. ;)
Mukluk stands at attention, his hand raised, clearly interested.
"Ten gold per ear?! OH HECKS YEAH! I'm in!" Mukluk waves his hand until he is acknowledged by the Sheriff.
"Pick me!" Mukluk waves his pick in the air. "I'm good at killing them dead." Mukluk volunteers.
After acknowledgement, he will sit down and grin happily. "Ten gold per ear? That's like a million gold, it is!"
Speaking to Mukluk "My 2 goblins to your 1 goblin. Winner buys your choice of this establishment's stock."
Clearly no fool, Mukluk accepts the offer from the Elf.
"You know, Elf, I don't usually believe in betting or even over drinking, (I'm not that kind of dwarf, don't you know), but your offer intrigues me. I'm in." Mukluk glances at Treygan.
"You, that guy you are!" Mukluk says to Treygan. "What's your name again? I like your 'wager' better. Even better, let's go get some goblin ears and get rich."
Even if I lose I still win.
"I'll come along to collect some bounties...then I'll find better work."
Corvus smiles at Ameiko and Shalelu. "Men! All this talk of wagers. You'd think they were talking about the relative size of their manhood, the way they get so animated." She winks at Shalelu, "And I wouldn't bet on collecting that bounty on the Chief's head."
She returns her attention to the group. "So, are we gambling, drinking or off to kick some goblin butt?"
"You, that guy you are!" Mukluk says to Treygan. "What's your name again? I like your 'wager' better. Even better, let's go get some goblin ears and get rich."
"Call me Treygan. How about yourself? Seem to be good friends with Corvus, so good enough for me."
She returns her attention to the group. "So, are we gambling, drinking or off to kick some goblin butt?"
"Well then, if we're gonna head out, we all best get ready. Unless you're planning to serve the goblins drinks, Corvus? I'm gonna stop by the folks place, how about we meet at the gate in about 20 minutes?"
Jean rises, extends his hand to the dwarf and the others in turn...
"Jean LeFarve...really I'm not as crazy as I'm sure I seem to you right now, perhaps I'll tell you the tale of my ears some other night but for now I believe there is good to do and money to be made."
Ok Jean, the seem to be accepting of you...don't blow this...but also watch your back...you never know who or when someone may turn on you...good thing you don't really sleep eh?
Jean smiles and walks over to Ameiko, holds out 20 gold..."Here, this should cover my potential loss on our wager...I'd rather pay now than later. If I owe you more just say so...but for now there's goblins to hunt." then he whispers to her "Just in case, at sea is where I'd like to rest...just thought someone should know if it ever came to that...thanks."
Now I suppose I'd better go find some supplies...what do I need in a swamp? As Jean heads for the door "I'll see you all at the gate." and heads for the nearest general store.
"Name's Mukluk...Muletender. Nice to meet ya!" Mukluk extends his meaty fist to grab Treygan's hand and pumps vigorously, delighted to meet someone who is not an
Mukluk looks around, getting excited. He drops Treygan's hand.
"Let me get my pack! This will be fun. A goblin hunt! I ain't been on one of them in ages!" Mukluk slams down the rest of his drink and shovels the rest of his food into this mouth, chewing and chugging excitedly.
"Tgyerw igth ah mersp?" Mukluk asks, making a gesture of someone reading a map.
1d20 + 7 ⇒ (20) + 7 = 27 Know (local) - Brinestump Marsh
1d20 + 7 ⇒ (20) + 7 = 27 Know (geography) - Brinestump Marsh
1d20 + 7 ⇒ (19) + 7 = 26 Know (local) - Walthus
Corvus stops to address the sheriff and Ameiko. "What I do now, perhaps I should have done a few years ago. And before you wonder, I'm ready for it now - where I now realise I wasn't before.". Realising it was sounding a bit serious she adds, "The things I'll do to get out of serving ale tonight!". And with that she turns on her heels and rushes to get changed and get ready for the trip ahead.
I just realised I didn't put my gear on my character sheet. You'll have to trust me for24 hours if I say I bought something previously.
György grins to see the enthusiasm of several of his old acquaintances, chuckling as Corvus runs off to grab her things. He gets to his feet and with a wry smile comments, "Can't have the goblins messing around with Sandpoint again...and I certainly can't let our eager heroes get in over their heads. Looks like my next journey begins. I'd hoped to be able to spend a little more time with you all, but looks like it will have to wait. I'll make sure they all come back. Thanks for breakfast. It was wonderful." With a wave to Ameiko and Shalelu, György picks up his spear and heads out the door.
Charisma Check 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (3) + 1 = 4
Ameiko and Shalelu exchange glances and a laugh at the volunteers. Again, Ameiko is the first to speak. "I trust Sandpoint is in good hands this time as it was in all the times before. I've no doubt you lot will make successful goblin hunters."
"I do." Shalelu scowls though it's hard to tell if she's joking or serious.
"You'll have free room and board from me as long as you have need to. It's not in me to deny our volunteer protection force a place to rest and relax. I can't say you'll have the same bit of luck with the rest of the town, but you've earned your right here. We appreciate the help." She nods as she comes around the bar and gives Corvus a hug. "You don't have to prove yourself, but far be it from me to deny anyone an adenture."
Feel free to make any necessary purchases. We'll forgo the horro of having right different conversations with eight different shopkeeps. When everyone is ready, I'll post the appropriate segue post here to advance the day.
Mukluk runs upstairs to grab his gear and taking a quick moment to look at his food supplies. He runs back to the common room to ask a question.
"Anyone know how far it is to the Brinemarsh?" I'm going to need to pack some food.
GM Beazy, I had some knowledge rolls above. Anything?
I don't have Knowledge (local), but I'm pretty sure it is nearly right outside the door :) György doesn't need to make any purchases.
Outside the Rusty Dragon, György unties his horses reins. "Swamp is no place for you my friend. Let's see about a short stay at the stables. I'll be back soon."
György will go ahead and board his horse at the stables.
Treygan heads to his parents home, letting them know what was going on and apologizing for the shortness of his stay. His mother offers to set him up a lunch, his father a chance to sharpen his blade. He turns down both, knowing the others are waiting, and with one last goodbye heads out to meet destiny.
Not so much a purchase as something I forgot to buy. A holy symbol (Doh!). Subtracted the gold for it and all.
Corvus heads upstairs to pack light and change into her leather armour with the haste of a child frightened her friends will go off and play without her if she's not ready in time.
Reviewing her worldy possessions, she realises there's not much difference between packing light and packing everything. She decides to leave behind her pens, ink, spare parchment and main spellbook (which she hides under the floorboards in her room). And she only packs an extra three soaps from her personal store.
The few minutes it takes to pack up and prepare yourself for the swamp seems to pass by more quickly than you had expected. The day advances and soon you find yourself gathered at Sandpoint's gate with the rest of the volunteers. It would seem that the sheriff and Shalelu were not quite as inspiring as they sounded. There are only five others with you - most of which you've already become quite acquainted with
I'm moving today (on my only day off nonetheless) but I'll try to get a couple pictures up soon.
For your checks, you're aware that the swamp is not far at all from Sandpoint - maybe an hour or two ride (longer by foot). You're also knowledgeable in the fact that the swamp carries many nasty denizens to include crocodiles, bugs, and possibly even boggards. The worst, however, is clearly the goblins. The least of your worries involves disease. As for Walthus, you know little about the halfling who calls himself the "Warden of the Swamp" other than he cares little for those who how no respect for his swamp and he's extremely aloof. You have a general idea of where to find him, however, as you've passed at a distance a small hut rumored to be his the few times your journeys took you through Brinestump.
Mukluk buys trail rations for 4 days, figuring at worst he'll only mostly starve if things go wrong.
He will get to the meeting spot early, anxious to get going and get free money for collecting things he would do for free (getting goblin ears). His trusty cold iron heavy pick hangs nicely in his belt loop right next to a nice dagger. His battle buckler is not yet on his arm. A spellpouch dangles near his waist while a barely seen wooden holy symbol to Desna hides under his golden beard. A pack laden with food and equipment is on his back.
He greets those that arrive, a habit he has from his caravanning days.
"Jean, you seem to have found the place...good...good..."
"Barkeep. Glad to see you out from behind the bar...did you happen to bring drink with you?"
"Treygan, you seem like a good sort to talk to, I tells ya."
He offers a nod to the Old Man of which he suspects is the snorer. He's just sure of it.
He greets Gyorgy with a pinched stare, a bit of worry on his face. "You again, huh?"
* * *When everyone is ready/here* * *
Mukluk addresses the group, relating what he remembers of the Brineswamp.
"So...the swamp ain't too far away. I'll get us there. I have been traveling a bit. It's easy and safe to get there, but the swmap itself can be trouble..." Mukluk relates info from the spoiler above.
"Anything else? We should be off, huh?"
Mukluk marches, happy to settle into the middle or back of the pack, but it depends on who he's talking to.
Toshiro needs very little for his travels, being a man of simplisticy in his routine life. He gathers his rations and waterskin before stretching his limbs, a last minute preparation before hitting the road.
It's been a long time since I've used my strength in battle. I hope my training and meditations have spared me possible embarassment in front of my peers. What a strange group assembled. That elf is very peculiar, and the dwarf certainly has a... unique aroma.
His thoughts wander until he realized he his nearly late to meet the group at the front gates! Toshiro rushes out of his home and briskly walks towards the rendevous point, greeting everyone again sincerely, before heading out.
"The Warden sounds like a good place to start. I don't relish the idea of stomping through the swamp, but the safety of the town is of far greater importance. You sound experienced at traveling through such terrain, Mukluk. I don't suppose you happen to be a tracker? "
Mukluk nods at Treygan.
"Yeah and no, Treygan. I've been around...on more than a few caravans, but I'm not skilled at hiking through swamps or tracking a gnat over water or anything. I can tend mules like a pro, though. You sit me in front of a team of asses," Mukluk looks over the assembled party, "...and I'll lead them to something. Especially if there is a map. I'm good at maps." Mukluk nods proudly.
"Now, which way were we going? South?" Mukluk mutters to himself and holds up a licked finger to test the wind direction.
He picks up the pace, walking.
"Now Treygan, tell me again where you learned to fight?"
The day passes on as your travel takes you south to Brinestump Marsh. Not surprising given the circumstances of the goblin attacks, you encounter few traders and only a single caravan carrying bolts of cloth through to northern Varisia, likely Magnimar. Eventually the ground begins to feel softer and more sagging trees begin to appear within your line of sight, signifying your entrance to Brinestump Marsh. You still have at least another hour of travel ahead of you as you work your way towards the hut of the Swamp Warden, Walthus. Mosquitoes begin to buzz around in more frequency and you find yourself swatting them away with increasing annoyance.
Toshiro closes his eyes and breathes in the wind, trying to determine the direction of the wind and their own travels.
"Part of meditation requires being in tune with all of your body's senses. Perhaps we can use our senses to find a suitable path away from peril... or large mosquitos."
Survival: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (13) + 3 = 16
Corvus tries to think positively about the adventure thus far. She's not desperate to kill things but walking and walking and walking wasn't quite what she was expecting.
Her faith in Mukluk's sense of direction starts to wain as she begins to wonder if his humour and bravado mask a lack of expertise - although his easy going manner means she forgives him regardless.
As the walk continues, you can't help but notice Corvus speaks less and less. By the time Toshiro makes the wisecrack about the mosquito's she's virtually silent, trudging along with her brow wrinkled.
Without any warning, Corvus falls into step with Toshiro and words literally pour from her mouth. ”Toshiro…why did you join this expedition?” Without waiting for a response, Corvus ploughs on. ”I mean, in all the years I’ve seen you with Ameiko, I’ve never seen you, well, you know, be, well, physical. And this journey doesn’t strike me as one where we’ll talk the goblins into surrender?”
Corvus blushes at this outpouring and she wonders if Toshiro can read the indecision on her face – he’s known her longest after all. 'What if he realises it's my intentions that I really want to be sure about?'
And to break the silence as well as give him an out if he doesn’t want to discuss his motives, she quickly adds, ”Have you ever come across lots of goblins before?”
Keeping quiet and somewhat aloof, Jean walks along...eyes darting this way and that and the area traveled get closer and the ground gets softer. He is obviously nervous although the cause of his nervousness is not readily apparent.
The air is so close....the plants are dense and alive, but their nearness is oppressive. Not as close or as rank as the ship's hold or being locked in the bilge...but this place just doesn't feel right...
"So uhm...the ground. Is it usually so soft? Sand I can understand. never maintaining a shape, being changed constantly by waves...but there are no tides here. This 'muck' is not what I was expecting when I decided to try my hands ashore."
Jean intently tries to scrape the mud from his right boot with his left heel only to realize that he just made his left boot more dirty.
At least things could be kept clean on a ship. The others don't seem to be as bothered by this place...perhaps this IS normal?
As the sounds of swamp life becomes more prevalent and louder, Jean draws one of his 6 daggers from his belt carrying it in hand by the blade, ready for a throw.
"I know this may seem like a pretty silly question, but I've spent my whole life on a boat. These past few months around Sandpoint and Magnimar have been the most time I've spent on land before...I've heard tales about goblins but never really worried about them before, figuring them as mythical as Sea Dragons or the Kraken....things people talk about to scare others...claiming to have seen and be the only survivors of attacks by..." Jean pauses a moment, stops and clears his throat.
Sheepishly "So what exactly is a 'goblin' and what does it look like?"
"Now Treygan, tell me again where you learned to fight?"
"Originally I trained with the Sandpoint Militia. I was pretty hopeless at first, kept trying to be nimble. Eventually I gave up and put some muscle to work, and that proved to be a bit better. A traveling priest passing through town convinced me to go to his temple and learn the ways of the Dawnflower. There my skills were refined, both swordplay and how to avoid using it in the first place. I'd hope to convince these goblins to simply give up this raiding and become respectable citizens, but somehow I doubt they'll see reason."
"How about yourself? Any stories you wish to tell?"