The Fall of Plaguestone

Game Master Eric Collins - France

The Fall of Plaguestone
Current Map


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The Fall of Plaguestone - Current Map

Welcome, traveller... your adventure is about to begin!


The Fall of Plaguestone - Current Map

You are in Isger, a nation in southern central Avistan, known as a vassal of Cheliax and home to several goblin clans.

Since its founding, Isger has been a vassal state.
It was formed with Taldor’s conquest of the area and, centuries later, it was annexed by Cheliax in the Even-Tongued Conquest of 4081.
Unlike some of Cheliax’s other holdings, Isger did not break free during the Thrune Ascendancy, and it remains in thrall today.
However, there are signs that the neglect and exploitation that have long characterized Isger’s relationship with its patron state are beginning to give way to a new era of closer involvement, for better and worse.

You are currently within the city of Elidir, the capital of Isger.
The settlements along the river—including the capital city, Elidir—are not the isolated rural settlements their wooden buildings and quaint architecture might suggest.
Although their pierced balusters, colorful glass-bead hangings, and brightly painted frieze boards give even the finest homes in Isger a rustic air, these towns are relatively cosmopolitan, and Elidir is the most.

The river that Elidir straddles is the Conerica River, which bisects Isger from east to west and connects Cheliax’s sea trade to Druma and Lake Encarthan.
It is the nation’s lifebloo, because travelers and merchants rely heavily on the Conerica and its trade roads.
The river and its support roads are key to Isger’s regional importance, so most of its military is tasked with protecting the trade routes from bandits, monsters, and other dangers.

You might be ones to protect such a merchant.
Bort Bargith is a dwarf trader from the Five Kings Mountains, and he is intent on traveling to Almas, the capital of Andoran, taking a road between the Apsodell Mountains and the Five Kings range.
As he says:
"There are faster and easier routes south, but for those seeking to avoid Cheliax, this is the safest!"

You have heard, or know yourselves, that Bort Bargith is welcome in many settlements for his fair prices and gregarious spirit, and he has been using this route for years.

You will be traveling with him, in his merchant-caravan.

Dot and DELETE if you wish, but let us not post here for the moment, please.
I will give the go ahead later.


The Fall of Plaguestone - Current Map

In Elidir, capital of Isger, is the Shady Dragon Inn, and in that inn, that evening, among the many patrons, both town-people and traveling-folk, one stands out.

He is a dwarf, by the name of Bort Bargith.
Seated at a table, around which some people sit, and many more stand, he is telling a story.
Bort keeps his prodigious beard immaculately trimmed and well maintained, and seems a friendly type.
In one hand he has a mug of ale, and with the other hand he is feeding pickled-quails eggs into his mouth whenever the yarn he is spinning allows for a break.
And what an outlandish story it is:
"One day, ladies, gentle-folk, and other kind, while crossing the waters of Lake Encarthan, on a boat we had just finished making from feathers and bird bones, seeing as a giant turtle had attacked and gobbled up the one I owned - but that is another story, that I can tell some other time."
He pulls a scale from a turtle shell out of his pouch, and shows it to all:
"That's the proof I saved from that fight!
But, anyhow, as I said, we were on this boat made from scratch, when we was set upon by a mighty storm.
Oh, such a storm, my friends!"

He sprays some ale over everyone:
"Pouring rain--"
And he bangs his mug against the table:
"--and thunder claps!
Well, of course the and the ship capsized.
As the sea took me, and I went under, I knew I was doomed.
All of a sudden, I seen one of my treasured lock boxes plummeting down past me, and so-- I grabbed ahold of it!"

One of the party asks him:
"But why? That was foolish! It makes you sink even more!"

Bort eats one of his eggs and has a dink of ale.

"I knew I was doomed, but I thought that with Bort's fine and inexpensively priced items, I could make it.
And so it happened, that as I lost consciousness as slid beneath the waves, holding onto my chest.
Then, all of a sudden, I awoke... in front of none other than Lady Pharasma herself, smack in the middle of her Boneyard.
Alas, I must judge you early, honest Bort Bargith, she said.
Which, being that that is my name, made me shiver.
But, you see, the storm that had carried me down to her, was still a-blowing, and as her hair was being tussled by the storm winds, well, the lady of death could not decide my fate because she had to keep on wiping the dark strands of her silky hair out of her pale face.
Well, here I was, a nice and polite dwarf as Mr. and Mrs. Bargith raised, and, not wanting to be inconsiderate, I opened that lockbox I was still gripping, dug through it to find a silver comb that I then gave to the lady... To tame your hair, milady, I said.
Well, she was so impressed by my fine gift, and by the high quality of my goods, that she blew her breath against me, and, lo, myself and my entire crew were sent back up through the lake-waters, and returned to the shores of the lake, alive and well!"

As he ends his story, he smiles at all around the table, who remain speechless for a few seconds, before clapping.

"Oh, actually, if any ladies are interested, or some men, who want to give a Goddess' gift, I have some of these combs left, silver ones, but also fine wood ones..."
And Bort pulls a dozen combs out of his pouch--
"Oh... one of Pharasma's hairs remain attached?!"
--he says, pulling a long black strand of hair from a silver comb.

He sells all of them!

As the crowd around the table, where people were standing, move away, you hear them talk of Bort:
" -He's always the best!
- And he never is without any small community might need.
- So courteous to his passengers.
- The best stories, always!"


The Fall of Plaguestone - Current Map

Before leaving Elidir, as all make their final preparations for the trek that will start early the next day, most of you know you will be traveling in the tail wagon.

This is Cooky's wagon.

Now, Cooky is old.
Real OLD!
I mean... O L D.
Yes, he is an elf. So that makes him probably old.
But you have never seen such an old elf, with skin pulled tight across his cheekbones like old dried parchment.
And liver spots on his skinny bony hands.
And white hair... well, okay, maybe he was born with white hair.
But, you do know the Cooky is aged, even for an elf.

What does Cooky do?
Yes, you guessed it right, smarty pants: Cooky is the merchant caravan’s resident cook.
As you were pondering that, you see two big Ulfen men walk past - they look alike, oh, yes: they must be twins! - and they laugh and discreetly nod behind Cooky's back, and call him: "Cocky!", but not real loud at all, actually whispering quite low.
Could these two big hulking strong-men be scared of a wizened old elf?
And is Cooky really cocky?

Then Cooky turns around to look at you, and you see that he only has one ear.
Okay, it is a fine, big, pointed ear. But, still, he only has one!
And so he tilts his head, to compensate, and be able to hear you.
You'll see, during the trip, that he is always doing that, cocking his head... so he can hear.

Cooky is working away when he meet him.
Attached to the back of his wagon is a large iron pan that can hold hot coals and burning logs, and he is currently stocking it up.
You'll see, during the trip, that this allows him to slow cook stew in a pot above the flames, even while travelling.

But, right now, Cooky grabs an ember, and tosses it at the twins, hitting one in the back!
"I heard that!"


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As Giggett is walking around the grounds close to Elidir's main market square, in the part where the merchants store their wagons and such, she sees-- a fellow female gnome!

Gigget sees this gnome lady, dressed in leather and brown & green cotton, who is tending to several big pack horses, that obviously belong to a nearby merchant caravan, of some half a dozen wagons.

They must have finished setting up shop here, and seem as though there are getting ready to move on.

A couple big Ulfen men, twins it seems, are tending to the tack.

And there is a very old elf chopping wood and putting it in some stove tied to the back of a wagon.


Female Gnome (Umbral) | HP 18/18 | 2 Hero Points | Perception +5 (Darkvision); +6 against traps (Trapfinder); +7 against lies | AC 18 | Fort +5; Ref +8; Will +5 | Hands: Shield + Rapier

Despite her small stature (3 ft. tall, slender) and calm demeanor, Giggett immediately attracts attention. Her large eyes, long eyebrows and scruffy short hair are common amongst her race. But the pale tone of her skin, the metallic sparkle in her eyes and the light-blue color of her hair show the late advancement of her fatal disease: the Bleaching!
Her movements are slow but graceful, she's often quiet even if she gladly speaks, and her voice is low and monotonous.
Her clothing colors range from deep brown to pitch black and she wears few jewellery: a stylized religious symbol around her neck representing 3 daggers pointing outward a yellow circle and a ring with a glass bead painted like an eye.
While adventuring, she wears a black studded leather armor, bandoliers full of different tools, a small backpack and at her side a pair of manacles and 2 weapons (from the look of their sheathes, a rapier and a sap).

(I copied my description from my profile. In the future, I'll update it everytime it changes)

Giggett looks around, searching for something. After a short moment, she decides to get to the gnome lady, waits a second for her to finish what she was doing and speaks very slowly:

"Hello miss. I'm looking for something and you may be of some help. I overheard that a caravan heading to Andoran's capital is supposed to leave Elidir today. Maybe am I looking for your caravan? Its leader is a dwarf named Bort Bargith. Do you know where I can find him?"


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As Giggett speaks to her, the gnome glances very swiftly at Giggett, then looks immediately away again, focusing on the horses.
She seems nervous, and starts to brush them faster.
Addressing the pack animals, she kind of mumbles:
"Not today. Tomorrow. The lady is mistaken, isn't she? It's tomorrow we leave."

She swiftly steps under the animal's neck, so as to be on the opposite side from Giggett, who now can only see the feet of the gnome lady, who keeps on talking to the horse she is cleaning:
"The lady has to speak with Bort, doesn't she?"

Strangely, the horse turns its head and stares at Giggett... then seems to nod.
Before looking away again.


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This post is for Natsume Ren
Sorry about these posts being a bit criss-crossed, but we'll get you all together soon.

Having been in Elidir for a few days, and maybe realizing that it was not enough of a big city to be a worthwhile place to hang around in, and that if one likes countryside things, well, best be off to the countryside itself, Natsume came across a female half-orc, near the market square, talking to some tall local men.

"Well, if ya' know any who wanna travel, we be offerin' room in a wagon of ours, good food, and work where hopefully ya' don' have to work, seein' as we never are attacked, but to not be attacked we need people as guards. So, yah, guards. We lookin' for a few travellers who wanna travel for free and are tall and muscular, to be guards."

The half-orc is rather tall and strong herself, actually wearing some kind of leather armor, and armed with sword, dagger, bow, and nice whip.
She is fondling a lock of hair on a leather cord around her neck.

"So, any of ya' smart enough to wanna travel, or are y'all dimwits?"


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And for master Tamerius Archilus:

Tamerius entered the Shady Dragon Inn, one of the finest inns of the capital, he was told.
Yes, fine enough to cater to low level folk in any normal town, he thought, at least not slave-level, but, well, this was not a normal town, this might be a capital, but it was some backwater vassal state.
Ah well, when in Absalom, do as the Absalomians do!, he sighed.

Having been seated and ordering some food that was an experience in simplicity, bordering on bland, Tamerius was attracted, like all, to this dwarf, with a prodigious yet immaculately trimmed and well maintained beard - At least he is clean! - telling a imaginative and very entertaining story.
Tamerius realized that though the dwarf was chugging ale down from a mug - Well, he is a dwarf, cannot expect him to be educated - the man did seem to have fine pickled-quails eggs - These are not on the menu. He does have taste enough to bring his own delicacies.

As the dwarf's story ended, Tamerius started to hear the comments people were making about all this:
"- Too bad Bort's caravan's leaving tomorrow, he's always the best for stories!
- Tomorrow, oh no? Where's he goin'?
- He's off to Almas.
- To Alma's? Who is Alma?
- Almas. The city. It's the capital of Andoran. Are you stupid or what?
- An doran? What's a doran?
- Oh my, you ARE stupid.
- You're stupid.
- No, you stupid..."

And, of course, the two start fighting, and then a few others join in... but the bartender and his bouncers are able to break it up before it becomes a big brawl.

Tamerius is quite disturbed by such uncouth behavior, but he at least heard about this Master Bort being about to travel with a caravan to Almas.


Female Human Fighter | HP 18/18 | 1 Hero Point | Perc’ +5 ; Stealth +5 ; Speed 20 ft. | AC 18 ; 20 w. Shield Raised | Fort' +7 ; Ref' +7 ; Will +3 | Active conditions:

The short human woman's walk stops mid-step, her heel hovering about an inch off the ground, as she listens to the half-orc put out the job description.

Though her muscle is on the taut and stringy side and her height is only a head above a particularly tall dwarf, Natsume Ren does like the idea of the job description.

She pivots on her grounded heel and makes a beeline for the caravanner.

"I was actually looking for exactly this sort of thing!" she beams, arms folded behind her head. A metal shield that looks dangerously sharp on the bottom covers her backpack and a simple wooden handle hangs from a flail sheath on her hip.

"Where to, if you don't mind me asking?"


Female Gnome (Umbral) | HP 18/18 | 2 Hero Points | Perception +5 (Darkvision); +6 against traps (Trapfinder); +7 against lies | AC 18 | Fort +5; Ref +8; Will +5 | Hands: Shield + Rapier

Giggett raises an eyebrow in disbelief and tilts her head left and right while thinking. Some people negatively react to her condition, especially amongst her gnome fellow. Is the caravan leaving tomorrow or is the gnome just dodging her?

"Is this a beautiful horse, isn't it? What's your name, dear horse friend? And what's the name of your friend trimming you? Mine's Giggett! Could you tell me where I can find someone in charge? Maybe is it possible to join you in your trip? I can be of pleasant company... or fulfill some useful role. I'm a skillful lady and a great traveler. I have many stories to tell of regions in and above the Inner Sea."

She tries to sound as friendly as she can, using her most charming voice, but also simple words as the horse seems a little bit limited in his conversation.


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Natsume
The half-orc lady sees the taut-muscled human walk straight over, glancing over her equipment.
"Welcome! I am Tamli, Tamli Grent, and you'll be traveling south by southeast from this here Elidir, all the way to Almas, the capital of Andoran. You'll be in Bort’s Merchant Caravan, led by Bort Bargith. We'll be stoppin' in many settlements along way. It's a route we been takin' for years. The caravan you'll be guardin' consists of six wagons. This still somethin' you're lookin' for?
She holds out a hand to be shaken.

____________________________________

Giggett
Giggett is not even sure the lady gnome looked at her long enough to take in the fact she was bleaching...
The gnome does however smile, and even glances back once more at Giggett when she mentions the horse is beautiful.
The gnome, still stating at the horse, smiles and pats it: "This is Buckles! Beautiful indeed. Aren't you beautiful, Buckles?"
She then looks at here feet and mumbles: "I am Glunda Grapeleaf. Hello. Please to meet you. How do you do?"

Glunda then looks around, perspiring, looking from the twins working the horses, to the elf at the wood-chopping.
Then, she looks at Giggett sideways, out of the corner of her eye:
"Bort is in charge. Find him at the Shady Dragon Inn. Passengers welcome. Pay or useful rolls. Bort has more stories."

Then, with a sigh of relief she gets back to cleaning Buckles: "We already have pleasant company, don't we Buckles? Oh yes, you are pleasant!"

Buckles looks at Giggett, and seems to shake its head, with sad eyes, as if to say: don't mind her...


Giggett tries to mirror Glunda's behavior, looking at the ground or at the horse instead of trying to search for eye contact. She smiles when she finally gets the information she was seeking. A nice riddle to start an adventure, this is good omen.

"Hello Buckles, I'm happy to meet you. Thanks for all your information, I'll go right away meet your boss. And pleased to meet you too, lady Glunda. It seems you like animals. I do, too. If I manage to get onboard your caravan, I'll tell you about Scratchy, my osirian cat with two tails. What a funny lad he was... In the meantime, I'll let you finish your preparation. See you later!"

And Giggett turns on her heels and heads to the Shady Dragon Inn. She walks a bit of time before getting to the market square where she remembers having seen the strange building. There it is!

The door of the inn opens slowly, letting the gnome enter. She closes the door with as much difficulty... Humans should think more about small ones!
She looks around, and feels she just missed something. One guy has a black eye, another is having a physical discussion with the bouncer and the bartender and there are some chairs scattered upside down. A bar fight for sure... and I was not there to get a little fun myself!
She also finds 2 remarkable persons, one calm lad in the back, and a dwarf sitting at a big table. A dwarf, exactly what she was looking for! She decides to get closer and sits at the same table. Well, sits... climbs the chair and puts herself in lotus position.


NG Male Dwarf (Strong-Blooded) Wizard 1 | HP 18/18 | AC 15 | F +5 R +5 W +6 | Perc +4 (Darkvision) | Stealth +2 | 20 ft. | Active Conditions: ---

In a smoky tavern...

Next to a bar stands a dwarf holding a mug of beer in his hand and listening to a humans tale:
"... So as I was telling. My cousins wedding was on its way when a bull rushed onto a dance floor. You see that dumb Chuck thought it would be funny to let it in ... "

The dwarf nods and chuckles from time to time. He is dressed in a travel clothing, he wears tall travel boots, trousers of color brown, yellow shirt, and a leather jacket. The clothing is not a fashion choice usually picked by dwarfs. His hair was long of light brown color just like his beard is. His beard is consisting of three thick braids hanging up to his belt. On his fingers, Dragh has two rings one having a Barrel with a mug on it.

After all his clan is a Goldenoak, holding medium-sized brewery which is the biggest source of pride and income to the whole clan. His Uncle, who took the lead in the brewery after his Grand-Grand-Grand-father, decided to send him on a journey of inspecting inns that sell their beer. In his childhood, he worked in the brewery in Highhelm just like every other clan member. Now he travels around nearby lands and drinks beer, making sure that its quality is great. For now he found few examples of watering beer, and few bad casks that ruined the taste of beer which he reported back by letters.

He knows well that his Uncle is presenting to all around that they have a new wizard in his clan. And here comes his second ring, it is holding a symbol of Evocation Wizards. When he left Highhelm he was traveling in Wizard robes with staff and all that. But soon he discovered that people on a track responds oddly to Wizards, some with fear, some with disdain and others wanting to test themselves fighting with one.

He can't forget two dumbest bandits who were certain that they can hide from flying magic missle behind the tree. Or that Halfling village where kids wanted him to do fireworks. Dragh shivers on the recollection of that, that was one of the reasons why he sold his robes and bough the traveling clothes.

"... so you see my great Aunt married this guy ...." Continue the human without noticing that Dragh was not really listening. The dwarf is a bit lost by this small-talk that drags forever. He nods and gets out a pack of letters. Some are from the brewery to given inns that he carries, some are presenting him as Dragh the Seer that can discover all lies and mischief. He ignores them for now and gets a list of inns and cities that he should visit, he was about half-way through with it. His eyes stop on Almas the capital of Andoran.

He interrupts his talker and asks:

"Listen, Master Buck, I love your stories and our conversations, but in couple of days I should find a way to get Almas. As a very well informed individual do you know by any chance a way to get there?"

So above is a little information about Dragh, his background is Emissary and he travels between inns and drinks beer which is his reason to travel to Alma.


Human Cleric 1| HP 16/16 AC 14| F +3 R +4 W +9| Speed 25| Perception +7 | Focus 1/1

A too well dressed for this inn young man stands up, it's easy to see his chelaxian heritage, black hair, green eyes, pale skin, this air of superiority and a smirk of his beautiful face... but also the black and red of his clothes and the red symbol around his neck.

He crosses the room, as if everybody will move aside automatically, to join the dwarf master.

Taking a chair in front and after dusting it with his cape, he sits with style. His smirk suddenly disappears, replaced by a gentle smile.
Master Dwarf, please to make your accointance. I'm Tamerius Archilus, of House Dulifer.
I've heard that your caravan has for destination Almas, right?
without waiting for a response, he continues It seems then, that's your lucky day as it is also my destination. Can't be a better way to travel Isger than with a cleric of Asmodeus in your Caravan, is it?
As you can see, Pharasma continues to smile on you!


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The Fall of Plaguestone - Current Map

@Giggett

Giggett's "work" at making Glunda feel at ease actually works, and Giggett sees that the gnome lady actually looks at her a bit, and smiles.
She seems very happy that Giggett talked to Buckles... and also seems curious about the cat with two tails.

At the bar, after the small fight - what excitement was missed? -, Giggett goes over to the dwarf at the table.

The dwarf smiles at her, and her lotus position: "I cannot fold my legs like that any more. Though I can bend my elbow, still!"
And he leans over to pour some ale.
"The name's Bargith, Bort Bargith. We've folded our wares up cuz we're leavin' tomorrow, but is there somethin' you want? I'm sure we can give it to you!"

____________________________________________

@Dragh

Buck looks at Dragh and stops mid-sentence: "Sorry, I do tend to go on with my stories.
So... Almas?
Well, yes, I do have family in Almas. My second cousin is there, he's the one who's aunt had married the son of the wood-worker from up East. And the crazy thing is that when--"

Thankfully, the barkeep motioned Dragh over, and told him about Bort Bargith, over at the Shady Dragon Inn, "who's about to leave for Argas, as he does twice a year, making his rounds."

As Dragh leaves, Buck is still going on strong: --not to bother you, but I would like to digress for a second, and remind you of my third nephew twice removed who has six toes on his left foot, just like the great-uncle of my second wife's first husband!"

Dragh arrives at the Shady Dragon Inn, and, ever gallant, he stops to let a gnome lady with pale skin and light-blue enter before him.
Then he enters, and sees the gnome going to sit with a dwarf, whose beard is longer than Dragh's, and just as well braided.
The dwarf is saying that his name's Bargith, Bort Bargith."

Dragh also sees a guy with a black eye, a guy jostling with the bouncer and the bartender, and some chairs scattered around tell the tale of a recent bar fight.


Female Human Fighter | HP 18/18 | 1 Hero Point | Perc’ +5 ; Stealth +5 ; Speed 20 ft. | AC 18 ; 20 w. Shield Raised | Fort' +7 ; Ref' +7 ; Will +3 | Active conditions:

"Bort Bargith? I haven't seen ol' Borty for almost a year now!" Her thick leather glove claps into Tamli's hand, and its twin comes in from the other side to give a rather enthusiastic double-handed shake.

Natsume is all smiles. "Does he still tell the story about the ale that Cayden Cailean drank so much of that he passed out? That one's my favorite!"


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Tamli smiles, and shakes Natsume’s hand with her clasped hand.
 »Yes, he sure meets a lot of God’s! He’s drinking ale at the Shady Dragon Inn right now! »

__________________

Borr looks from Giggett to Tamerius.
 »Good day, master! You have heard well. To Amlas we leave tomorrow. I imagine it is my lucky day... since a priest of Asmodeus must pay well! Shall we draw up a contract? »


Human Cleric 1| HP 16/16 AC 14| F +3 R +4 W +9| Speed 25| Perception +7 | Focus 1/1

Tamerius' face goes blank for a very short time before his smile reappears and he says That's our lucky day Master Dwarf as I'm sure having the blessing of the Lord of Contracts during our Travel will help you more than once during your travel.
May be I will be the one who's paid?
But, may be we can find some sort of bargaining that suits we all?


Female Gnome (Umbral) | HP 18/18 | 2 Hero Points | Perception +5 (Darkvision); +6 against traps (Trapfinder); +7 against lies | AC 18 | Fort +5; Ref +8; Will +5 | Hands: Shield + Rapier

Giggett didn't even had the time to answer the dwarf that the stranger came to their table. A quick look from bottom to top gave her all the information she was looking for.

Heavy crossbow?? This guy must be some kind of mercenary. Maybe is he there for the same thing than me. And because he's a human, the dwarf will think he's stronger than I and take him instead of me. Giggett, think quick. He's now showing his right kidney. A tough blow in there and he'll be bent in two for a minute. Maybe I should introduce myself with a large gesture, stumbling involuntarily on this beer mug the dwarf just filled and sending it right in the perfect spot. I'll just have to apologize deeply but the dwarf won't trust a guard so sensitive to pain he can't handle a little gnomette strength.

"Hello mister Archilus of House Dulifer, what a pleasure meeting you." says Giggett with a large and genuine smile. "And hello mister Bargith. I'm very happy to meet you, as I was in fact looking for you. A gnome employee of yours told me your caravan was heading to Almas and that you were looking for exceptional people to complement your crew. As a matter of fact, I'm as interested in getting to Almas as you should be to hire me!"


Human Cleric 1| HP 16/16 AC 14| F +3 R +4 W +9| Speed 25| Perception +7 | Focus 1/1

Tamerius looks around him before looking down... Is that a slave? No collar, nothing that seems to be a fleeing one... humm, may be not.

Speaks after the grown up, little-one, I'm talking now. He says as if the gnome wasn't a person.
What do you think, Master Dwarf? he asks in dwarven.


Female Gnome (Umbral) | HP 18/18 | 2 Hero Points | Perception +5 (Darkvision); +6 against traps (Trapfinder); +7 against lies | AC 18 | Fort +5; Ref +8; Will +5 | Hands: Shield + Rapier

Giggett doesn't react... at all. No trace of anger nor fear, just bland emotion.
She adjusts her posture to give place to Tamerius, her gaze now on him, her lips tight and smile gone. Her slow and monotonous voice may be unnerving, but her face really has unsettling features. Her smile was (hardly) hiding them, but now that she's still it becomes obvious: Gnomes really come from another world.


Female Human Fighter | HP 18/18 | 1 Hero Point | Perc’ +5 ; Stealth +5 ; Speed 20 ft. | AC 18 ; 20 w. Shield Raised | Fort' +7 ; Ref' +7 ; Will +3 | Active conditions:

"That's great! Thanks, Tamli!" With that, Natsume releases her hand and heads off, a-whistle all the way.

-----------------------

It is after a moment of perhaps awkward silence that the Shady Dragon's door flies open and a beaming young woman enters.

"BORTYYYY!!!" she hollers, hands on her hips for a moment before she crosses the threshold in long strides for her short stature, finding her path blocked momentarily and solving this dilemma by hopping up on a table and walking straight across it (very nearly planting her boot in someone's stew in the process).

She hops off on the other side and makes a beeline for the dwarven merchant.

It had, as she'd stated, been a year since she'd seen Bort, a different stop on the journey and a less-experienced Natsume to meet him on it. She'd been less well-armored then, a little more wary of large settlements, but no less raring for a good scrap in the dirt.

After challenging one of the hired guards to a wrestle, Bort had found her enthusiasm endearing, especially when she always listened with wide eyes and rapt attention to his stories. She only stayed on the caravan to the next three stops... but had been keeping an ear out ever since.


NG Male Dwarf (Strong-Blooded) Wizard 1 | HP 18/18 | AC 15 | F +5 R +5 W +6 | Perc +4 (Darkvision) | Stealth +2 | 20 ft. | Active Conditions: ---

Dragh walks in and looks for the Bort noticing that the gnome lady already found him. Dwarf pats his beard and heads toward the bar to get a beer.

Taking a sip of the golden drink he observes the dynamic between the gnome, table walking human and a tall... is this a chelaxian? He takes another sip moving a bit closer to hear what is being said.


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Bort smiles at Tamerius, and invites him to take a seat, and share some ale.
"Oh yes, who knows who will end up paying who... let us bargain! Lovely!"

Then Bort looks at Giggett, smiling... and listens to her:
"Good to meet you, and what might your name be, milady?"
He rises to his feet, motioning for her to be seated.
"Well, let us see who is more interested in whom and what... and let us bargain too!"

Then Bort stops, listens to and watches the exchange between Tamerius and Giggett.
"Oh, master Tamerius, people tall and small can be mighty as they can be petty.
Please be seated, both, and please have some fine ale.
Talking of small and mighty, I must tell you about my adventure with the Chilled Giant!
You see, one day I was traveling through one of the high mountain roads in the Five Kings Mountains, when my caravan, the very one you wish to pay me a lot of money to travel in, and I will not have you pay me that much, no no no, I will give you a nice discount, please, I insist.
So, we were traveling--"

--"BORTYYYY!!!", hollers a beaming young woman, hands on her hips.

Bort looks as the woman walks across a table to get to them.

"Well, good evening to you, mistress Natsume. Please be seated, and have some ale, with our two friends, here.
I see you have better armor now, you have risen in the world, so I imagine you too will want a rebate on the gold you pay me to travel with me now?"

Bort rises politely for Natsume too.

As Dragh moves in closer, he sees Bort sit back down again, and hears him go back to his tale.
"So, we were traveling through one of the high mountain roads in the Five Kings Mountains when we were captured by a fire giant. An enormously fat and tall and strong fire giant.
All of my men and passengers were capture, but where any other group would have been sent to see my good friend Pharasma of the beautiful hair, I saved them all. Which you can imagine, since I am sitting here and not in the belly of a giant.
So, this fire giant prepared to eat us all, and set fire to the wood under its gigantic kettle... but I asked to be cooked first, saying my groomed beard would bring great flavor.
The giant agreed, and then I tricked it, pretending to hide some herb, making sure it saw me and was curious.
The giant demanded to know what it was, and I said it was nothing, just a rare plant called “frostbloom” that my mother used in all her soups and stews, making her the best cook in all the Five Kingdoms.
Of course the giant wanted the spice, and so he sprinkled some in and then tasted it to see if it was spicy enough.
When the giant tasted the broth, it froze his mouth shut around his spoon, blocking it to his face, and, as it was distracted, I was able to escape with my entire crew and companions during the confusion!
If you wish to purchase some "frostbloom" I have some with me, very cheap."

He smiles, and pours ale.

"So, will you accept a nice rebate on your fee for traveling with me? Or do you insist on paying full fare?"


Female Gnome (Umbral) | HP 18/18 | 2 Hero Points | Perception +5 (Darkvision); +6 against traps (Trapfinder); +7 against lies | AC 18 | Fort +5; Ref +8; Will +5 | Hands: Shield + Rapier

Giggett smile reappears on her face and she gets back to the talking, a savory activity!

"Your story actually reminded me of a similar adventure that happened to me. An ogre, in my case, got his dirty hands on me and was ready to have a good meal. This ogre had a very bad shoe, and one of his toes was piercing through it and getting all blue and swell up. I told him I could solve his shoe problem by giving him mines. He laughed, answering that my shoes would explode before he even get his both feet in them. So I removed my shoes and told him I was interested in seeing that."

Giggett raises one of her feet with suppleness to show that her shoes are circled with metal.

"Unfortunately for him, he managed to put his both feet inside my shoes before them to explode. And fortunately for me, I was running faster barefoot than him with my shoes!"

Giggett's laugh resonates as she finishes her story.

"Name's Giggett, by the way. I'm happy to meet you. From the story you just told us, you seem to be a very resourful person. I fear you don't need the help of anyone to protect your goods. Maybe should I look for another employer instead of telling you all the stories of my many adventures? As it would take far too much of your time, I have decades of adventuring behind me, I let you imagine how many stories I've lived..."

She then crosses her arms and smiles at Bort, with an indescriptible expression that could very surely be read as a challenge.


The Fall of Plaguestone - Current Map

"Well met Giggett... oh, well, maybe we need you with us to protect my stories, and share yours?"


NG Male Dwarf (Strong-Blooded) Wizard 1 | HP 18/18 | AC 15 | F +5 R +5 W +6 | Perc +4 (Darkvision) | Stealth +2 | 20 ft. | Active Conditions: ---

As dwarf hears the story about crossing the Five Kings Mountains he decides to join the party. He waits for the moment of silence and then joins:

"Excuse me for interrupting Master Bort. I heard you speaking about Five Kings Mountains which caught my interest as I am from Highhelm myself. Dragh Goldenoak is my name from Goldenoak brewery, that I am sure you are familiar with. The beer that we produce is known among the dwarfs and lately, we made the famous Golden Ale which lowlanders call gale. As after a few pints of it, they certainly feels like it. But where were we... Oh yes, I want to join your caravan to Almas as I heard the rest of those fine folks want as well. I can offer my work in exchange for a place with your merchants. I am traveling for couple of months but I can take care of myself..."

You can see Dragh being a bit nervous or maybe this is the way he speaks always but he made the impression that speaking is not his thing.


Human Cleric 1| HP 16/16 AC 14| F +3 R +4 W +9| Speed 25| Perception +7 | Focus 1/1

Tamerius looks down at the gnome and after a shrug he says. at least this thing give us its name. It was rude to not offer it. But what can we expect from low educated people. A least, it's a good way to learn what to expect further South, to Almas...
Pleasure to make your acquaintance Gigget.
but no warmth, nor smile was on Tamerius's face or voice.

Turning to the dwarf he says Good story Master Bort, you have a knack to give your stories fire and life. Unfortunately I fear mine will not be as good as yours. Nor as entertaining as the one the little one has just offered.

After the woman warrior and the dwarf brewer present themself he says. Pleasure to meet you. I'm Tamerius Archilus of House Dulifer. If this time the smile was there, his voice has no warmth in it.


Female Human Fighter | HP 18/18 | 1 Hero Point | Perc’ +5 ; Stealth +5 ; Speed 20 ft. | AC 18 ; 20 w. Shield Raised | Fort' +7 ; Ref' +7 ; Will +3 | Active conditions:
GM Wayfinder wrote:
"So, will you accept a nice rebate on your fee for traveling with me? Or do you insist on paying full fare?"

Natsume falls heavily into a seat, the legs of her chair giving a brief, loud scoot across an inch of floor. "Between your rebate and my usual fee for tagging along now that I'm a little more experienced, I think we might come out even now!" she says cheerily, grinning around the table.

She reaches forward and shakes the hand of anyone who offers theirs. "I'm Natsume! Pleased to meet you!"

As Dragh speaks about his family's alcohol, she leans in, bouncing her fists on the table. "Borty!! Do you remember the one about the ale that Cayden drank? I love that one!"


Female Gnome (Umbral) | HP 18/18 | 2 Hero Points | Perception +5 (Darkvision); +6 against traps (Trapfinder); +7 against lies | AC 18 | Fort +5; Ref +8; Will +5 | Hands: Shield + Rapier

"Your stories against my stories? WEEEE!!!"

Giggett now shows clear signs of agitation, wriggling on her chair like some excited kid. Her voice is erratic and cristalline:

"You're doing more than just hiring me, master Borgith, you're literally saving my life!"

She reaches for her mug and drinks it in one long sip.

"Too sad there's no music, I'm in a mood for a dance!"

Looking at Dragh coming to the table, Giggett gets quiet to let him explain the reason of his interruption. Then shows him a chair to sit on: "Share our table and tell us more about your beer. Maybe you have some with you. I'm eager to try a new taste!"

And when Tamerius indirectly adress her, she joyfully answers: "Low educated people? You mean small educated people, isn't it?"


The Fall of Plaguestone - Current Map

Bort greets Dragh:
"Oh, Goldenoak is a fine beer! I would be honored to have you with us on the journey, and it is fine for you to work for you food and travel cost. Though, well, what do you do, my lad?"

Smiling at Tamerius, Bort says:
"We would be happy to have you with us, Master Tamerius Archilus of House Dulifer! Hopefully your story can be enriched by our travels. And you can chip in also, to help guard the caravan in times of necessity.
I have no paid customers for this leg of the journey, so it is fine to take some on who can fight in case of need."

To Natsume, Bort says:
"I think that in case of a scrap, I will be coming out on the winning end with a fine blade as yourself, milady, so, yes, pease travel with us for no fare, and if things get rough I'll see about how I can compensate somehow, accordingly!"
Bort shakes her hand:
"'Tis a deal, milady Natsume! Pleased to meet you too!"

Bort then laughs:
"Aye, all Cayden's ale! Yes!"

He then turns to Giggett:
"The tale of Cayden's ale is a good one. That was a life-saver too.
I am not sure how I am saving your life, and I am sure you might save ours, if you come with us a guard."

He then looks at all of you:
"So, four travellers who get the trek to Almas on me, well fed during the way, with at least fair shares of ale, and a bonus in case of important fighting.
You'll be acting as guards in case of need, and will happily be sharing the tail wagon for the trip.
In the meantime, yes, let's celebrate our meeting and this business venture: song, dance and Goldenoak ale!"


Female Human Fighter | HP 18/18 | 1 Hero Point | Perc’ +5 ; Stealth +5 ; Speed 20 ft. | AC 18 ; 20 w. Shield Raised | Fort' +7 ; Ref' +7 ; Will +3 | Active conditions:

Natsume's enthusiasm seems genuine enough, and she claps a gloved hand onto Dragh's shoulder. A mug seems to have appeared in front of her some time between her arrival and this point, which she raises with her non-dwarf-touching hand. "To Almas, gale, and the Lucky Drunk!" she cheers.


Human Cleric 1| HP 16/16 AC 14| F +3 R +4 W +9| Speed 25| Perception +7 | Focus 1/1

I know how to fight, the last bandits that cross my path brought this knowledge to Pharasma. Says Tamerius, touching his unholy symbol. and my guards too...

Thanks for your invitation Master Bort, you have made the right choice.

After Natsume cheers, Tamerius commands some red wine and toasts Toward Almas, To Order and Contracts! trying to smile more familiarly he adds To Fate and Destiny intertwined that brought us together.


The Fall of Plaguestone - Current Map

Bort lifts his tankard: "To Almas, gale, and the Lucky Drunk!"

And again: [b]"To Almas, Order and Contracts!"

He smiles: "The more toasts, the better!
To Fate and Destiny!"


Female Gnome (Umbral) | HP 18/18 | 2 Hero Points | Perception +5 (Darkvision); +6 against traps (Trapfinder); +7 against lies | AC 18 | Fort +5; Ref +8; Will +5 | Hands: Shield + Rapier
GM Wayfinder wrote:


He then turns to Giggett:
"The tale of Cayden's ale is a good one. That was a life-saver too.
I am not sure how I am saving your life, and I am sure you might save ours, if you come with us a guard."

"This is not the moment to speak about the Bleaching. It would kill the mood!"

Giggett raises her mug...

"To adventure!"

... before realizing it's empty. So she fakes taking a sip and speaks to everyone at the table:

"So, what brings you on this journey? And where are you from? It looks to me you're not locals from Elidir."

(I don't know if you want to start the journey or continue the party. I'm ok with both choices)


The Fall of Plaguestone - Current Map

Bort raises an eyebrow: "The bleachling...?", but shrugs.

He grabs a pitcher of ale, and empties when he fills all the characters' tankards and mugs.

"TO ADVENTURE!... and making good money."

As Giggett looks at the others and asks brings them on this journey, and where they are from, Bort looks at them too, very happy to hear these tales.

I am very happy with continuing the party and people RPing and exchanging/presenting one another here


The Fall of Plaguestone - Current Map

At the same time I will fast forward a bit and continue presenting the caravan to not do it all in one big post:

Besides Bort, that you met in the Shady Dragon Inn, and Cooky, that you got to know well since you will have been sharing his wagon, you see that there are three teamsters working the caravan, caring about the animals, driving the wagons and such.
There is Glunda Grapeleaf, a female gnome, who seems like a real loner, though she has opened up a little bit to Giggett. Even so, she never talks to anyone other than Tamli and Bort... except for the horses, who seem to understand here. For real.
She seems a pleasant person, otherwise, and is obviously a "nature"-oriented lass, with leather & cotton brown & greenish type of clothes.

And there are Olf and Ulf Redfren, who obviously hail from the Lands of the Linnorm Kings.
The twin Ulfen brothers are also rather rural and rough, dressed in leather and fur, and are big and tall and strong, and pure Ulfen.
But, though they are good with the horses, you see they do not talk to them, nor do they seem over-experienced. This has not always been their job.
Also, they are the opposite of Glunda, as they are very gregarious and like to talk to all, even play pranks on Cooky and Glunda.
Also the dress alike and then frequently exchange specific identifying objects, like their brooches, so as to confuse people as to who is Olf and who is Ulf.


NG Male Dwarf (Strong-Blooded) Wizard 1 | HP 18/18 | AC 15 | F +5 R +5 W +6 | Perc +4 (Darkvision) | Stealth +2 | 20 ft. | Active Conditions: ---

Dragh pats his beard glad that he is welcome in the party and answers to many asked questions:

"With regards to my skills and abilities. I can handle a crossbow and a club which is sufficient for most robbers. If the situation turns dire I have few tricks up in my sleeve. I am a freshly graduated Wizard but I try to keep it to myself and would appreciate if you would do the same. "

He drinks some beer and continuous shifting his eyes between the gnome, humans and his kinsman.

"My clan is from Highhelm it is in Five Kings Range not that far from here. I was studying in a couple of places. When I came back my clan decided to send me on a trip to visit all sets of Inns to 'keep an eye on the business' as my Grandpa used to say. I talk to the owners check if the beer is not watered, remind some folks that bills should be paid and checking up on the competition."

He rubs his chin with his thick hands and takes another sip. You can notice that for a dwarf he does not drink fast. He drinks his beer slower than most of the people in the Inn.

"With regards to Goldenoak beer I don't travel with it but as it is available in the Tavern that I am in I will buy a cask for the journey. Or at least a part of it."

As he speaks his voice is rather quiet and emotionless. He seems sincere as far as you can tell.


The Fall of Plaguestone - Current Map

Bort's eyebrows raise: "A wizard! Oh?! By Nethy's dark side! Can you put some lightening into our ale?!"

Listening to Dragh, Bort nods: "How much does one have to pay to be tasked with visiting inns for a living?!"


Female Human Fighter | HP 18/18 | 1 Hero Point | Perc’ +5 ; Stealth +5 ; Speed 20 ft. | AC 18 ; 20 w. Shield Raised | Fort' +7 ; Ref' +7 ; Will +3 | Active conditions:
Giggett wrote:
"So, what brings you on this journey? And where are you from? It looks to me you're not locals from Elidir."

Natsume scratches at her head, sifting through her memories for the answer before realizing that it's the question that's the problem.

"It's not that I'm specifically going to Almas or anything. I just like traveling! Seeing new places, meeting new people... eating new food..." she grins. "There's something new to do in every town!"


Female Gnome (Umbral) | HP 18/18 | 2 Hero Points | Perception +5 (Darkvision); +6 against traps (Trapfinder); +7 against lies | AC 18 | Fort +5; Ref +8; Will +5 | Hands: Shield + Rapier

Giggett laughs at Natsume's answer.

"I know how to recognize someone who's evading my questions. I'm too good at that myself. Well, I think you have the right to keep your privacy. But if you want to tell us how or why you decided to live by the road, I, at least, would be very much interested."


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Female Human Fighter | HP 18/18 | 1 Hero Point | Perc’ +5 ; Stealth +5 ; Speed 20 ft. | AC 18 ; 20 w. Shield Raised | Fort' +7 ; Ref' +7 ; Will +3 | Active conditions:
Giggett wrote:

Giggett laughs at Natsume's answer.

"I know how to recognize someone who's evading my questions. I'm too good at that myself. Well, I think you have the right to keep your privacy. But if you want to tell us how or why you decided to live by the road, I, at least, would be very much interested."

Natsume shakes her head. "Not avoiding the question or anything! Just, you know... sometimes I'm not too sure myself. I just like life on the road, so I guess that's what I do now!"

"As for where I'm from, I'm originally from Minkai. It was really strange when all of our weapons except katanas disappeared one day! A bunch of our armor, too! You should have seen the samurais running around in their smallclothes trying to find their o-yoroi!"


The Fall of Plaguestone - Current Map

Bort smiles at Natsume: "And you are darn' right, milady, there IS something new to do in every town! Maybe you can spend a year or so with us, make a full rotation? Gain some nice pay while you're at it. Though I've never been across the Crown of the World, so Minkai is not on my route..."


The Fall of Plaguestone - Current Map

(back to some info' on the caravan)

Supervising the caravan, in the early morning, before first light, when it is still cold, is Tamli Grent, a female half-orc.
If Bort is the smiling face behind the caravan, Tamli is its overseer.
You will soon see she is Bort’s second in command, and so she is the one who oversees the other staff - such as you - as well as the wagons in the train.

She makes sure that all are in good spirits, and good working order... respectively!

You will see that she is skilled at handling the beasts of burden herself, kindly, but stern with the other members of the caravan - you!

Her personal manner with outsiders and passengers alike are a bit brusque and awkward.

"Drink up your tea, you'll be warmer working than dawdling around the fires! Get moving, folks! The wagons' aren't going to hitch themselves!"

Thus you will have met all the permanent members of the caravan: Bort, Tamli, Cooky, Glunda, and Olf & Ulf.


Human Cleric 1| HP 16/16 AC 14| F +3 R +4 W +9| Speed 25| Perception +7 | Focus 1/1

Tamerius keeps his distance with the other member of the caravan, except for Bort whit whom he discuss sometimes and for Dragh.

Master Goldenoak, you're a wizard? It's not that usual for your kind to study the Art. What push you to do that?


The Fall of Plaguestone - Current Map

The caravan that you will be traveling in consists of six covered wagons, four of which are laden with supplies, trade goods, and trinkets.
Bort makes his home in the lead wagon and the cabin built onto its back, while the final wagon is for passengers and the cook, Cooky.

You four are in the final wagon, sharing the space with the camp chef Cooky, and stocks of the food.

There are no other passengers on the first leg of the journey.

You know that when you depart, in the early morning, on your way towards Almas, the capital of Andoran, you are headed south by southeast, on a road between the Apsodell Mountains and the Five Kings range, close to the home of the Goldenoak beer!
Your first stop is to be just a few days away, in the town of Etran’s Folly.

What roles do you wish to have in the caravan?
(this will, for now, be RP roles: if you are a paid passenger, then the fee does not come out of your starting money ; and, if you work a lot, more than for just paying your passage, you will not be earning money ; so no financial impact yet ; but choose what you want to RP)


Human Cleric 1| HP 16/16 AC 14| F +3 R +4 W +9| Speed 25| Perception +7 | Focus 1/1

Tamerius will work as the field medic of the caravan, as it seems the caravan lacks one.


Female Human Fighter | HP 18/18 | 1 Hero Point | Perc’ +5 ; Stealth +5 ; Speed 20 ft. | AC 18 ; 20 w. Shield Raised | Fort' +7 ; Ref' +7 ; Will +3 | Active conditions:

Natsume generally moves around the caravan, offering help, finding the occasional useful plant or herb, and looking well-armed in case of bandits.

Survival to Find Neat Plants: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (12) + 3 = 15

Any useful medicinal plants she finds, she passes excitedly to Tamerius, whether he shares her enthusiasm or not.


The Fall of Plaguestone - Current Map

Tamerius frowns at the herbs handed over by Natsume, thinking: "Urticaceae Dioicae?... these are NETTLES!"

(you may finish up talk at the Shady Dragon Inn, if you wish - or not)

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