Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Session 27: Snooping, Healing, Renting, Scheming

This session (played 1/31/11) was almost entirely spent in the Southern Minochian town of Fortinbras, to which the PCs -- Innominus (Cleric 5), Uncle Junkal (Rodian Bard 4), Yor (Dwarf 4), and Dak (Dwarf 4) -- had recently returned after rescuing local hero Gark the Dwarf from the clutches of the Hobgoblin army occupying the hillside outside Stonehell.

When last we left off, Uncle Junkal had charmed Commander Falfor, a high-ranking officer in Prince Arkus' soldiery. This session, the clever bard began questioning the charmed Commander about local politics, especially the recent exsanguination of Kaminster, Baron of Rogaland, and various particulars about the Northern Minochian Prince, Arkus, who seemingly stood to benefit most from the Baron's untimely passing. Framing his prying as "gathering information about the Prince in order to compose a song of praise about his deeds," Uncle Junkal learned that:

(1) the Prince is not evil but may be a bit spoiled,

(2) the Prince can likely hold his own in a sword fight, but some of his greatest military exploits, including the routing of an orcish invasion of Northern Minoch six years ago, may be the result of his appointing talented generals to fight alongside him, and

(3) the Prince is best known for having substantially raised taxes in Farn Junction nearly every season since he came of age and ascended to power.

Meanwhile, Innominus sought out the local Enchanters' Guildsfolk, and had them inspect and run a diagnostic on the recently vanquished Hobgoblin General's magical two-handed sword. One day and 300 gp later, the party learned that the sword is chaotically aligned, granting +2 to chaotic wielders, -2 to lawful wielders, and +3 vs. dwarves. Innominus tried to sell the distasteful blade to the Enchanters but they weren't interested.

The party used the Enchanters' services further: Innominus paid 3,000 gp to have them turn his +1 mace into a +2 weapon, and Uncle Junkal paid 5,500 gp to have them bump his enchanted polearm from +1 to +3.

The party's dwarves busied themselves with laying the groundwork for a move into positions of power in local Fortinbras government. Dak did what he does best, getting massively drunk and chatting up townsfolk at the King Hargon, while Yor visited his erstwhile hirelings, Darvey and Garvey, to see if they had current employment now that they were back in town. Garvey was busily laboring at his family dairy farm outside Fortinbras, but Darvey was indeed without gainful employment; Yor sent the latter with a note of introduction to his mine-owning relatives near Farn Junction, for which opportunity the young dwarf was most grateful.

During his all-day bender at the King Hargon Inn, Dak learned that some local dwarves, led by Gark's hotheaded cousin Hoark, were out for vengeance against the remaining Stonehell hobgoblins for what they had done to Gark and his adventuring companions. Dak assured them that he and his party would be behind them all the way, and that a new expedition to Stonehell would soon be underway. Hoark and Co. took an instant liking to Dak, and the bloodthirsty (and ale-thirsty) dwarves spent the day shouting, laughing, and plotting together at the dwarven inn, savoring their imagined vengeance soon to come.

While Innominus retired to the Drunken Yeti to do some map-copying and to initiate inquiries into available Fortinbras rental properties (including adequate stable facilities for the party's dozen horses and two wagons), Uncle Junkal stuck close to Commander Falfor and his men, entertaining them with songs and juggling routines, and finding out all he could about the ongoing investigation into Baron Kaminster's strange death. The bard learned that Father Ouzo, the High Priest of Carcoon from Farn Junction, was leading the investigation, along with Gareth, Sheriff of Rogaland. However, rumor had it that not much progress had been made, that no promising suspects had yet been found. However, on his second day in town, Uncle Junkal learned from his new cronies that the evening before, a Noffellian Sword-Cleric named Ironblade had arrived in Fortinbras to take charge of the investigation. Falfor and his men spoke in awed tones about the newly arrived Noffellian, though their admiration for Ironblade was tinged with feelings of professional / national rivalry.

The next day, while Dak traveled out east to the Kaminster estate to case the burial grounds where the late Baron was recently interred, Innominus offered his healing powers to local Fortinbras denizens as a gesture of good will, curing diseases and various other maladies. Yor accompanied the cleric, shaking hands, meeting the citizenry, and being seen holding babies. The cleric and Yor also visited the recovering dwarf Gark at his home.

Gark, though still a bit the worse for wear, was ready to talk and to begin hatching plans for a return to Stonehell. He told Yor and Innominus that he had ventured with Sir Boren and company into Stonehell for the purpose of discovering the source of the Black Oil, and to see if rumors of a full-scale hobgoblin oil operation were true. His party consisted of Sir Boren of Achelon, himself, Korak the Half-Orc Druid (currently resting and meditating in Gark's back yard), Zappo the Wizard, and Stanthor, a cleric of the Holy Sect of Awra.

A week into Sir Boren & Co.'s expedition, they had reached the fourth level of Stonehell, and located the source of the Black Oil. There they saw the hobgoblin operation and caught a glimpse of one of the high-level wizards who had been hired to teleport oil casks from that level up to the second.

Evading the hobgoblins, Boren and Co. stumbled into a warren of rust-colored rock trolls, who viciously attacked them, separating Boren and Zappo from Gark, Korak, and Stanthor, and subsequently ripping the Priest to shreds as Gark and Korak, outnumbered and overpowered, were forced to retreat. Heavily wounded, and distressed at being separated from their fellows, Gark and Korak fled to the upper levels, where, several hours later, they heard the elevator crank over. Hoping this might be Boren and Zappo coming up, the duo went directly to a predetermined rendezvous point on level two. They tapped a code signal against the east wall of a certain chamber; someone responded, but not in the specific way that had been previously agreed upon. Gark called through the wall that Stanthor had been killed and that they were looking for a safe way out. But there were far more hobgoblins on Level 2 than had been there even a week prior, so he and Korak were having trouble escaping.

A few days after the fruitless wall-tapping encounter, Gark and his half-orc companion were captured by the hobgoblins of the Skullface Occupational Army -- only to be rescued by the PCs just over three weeks later. So ended Gark's harrowing tale.

Innominus asked Gark if he and Korak would be ready to leave for Stonehell the next day. The dwarf stated that every day counted if they hoped to find Sir Boren and Zappo the Wizard alive, so yes, they would be ready to set off on the morrow.

The PCs found a suitably large house (with capacious stables) in Fortinbras, renting for 2,000 gp per month. It lies on the southwest side of town; the property is encircled by a low stone wall. Before leaving again for Stonehell, the party hired a few local dwarves to look after the place, and Innominus sought out a Mizarian stable-hand to look after the spare horses, as the cleric has a certain empathy with animals and even spoke with the horses using speak with animals before leaving town.

Then [on the morning of Day 72 of the Arandish campaign] the return expedition to Stonehell was underway! Innominus' henchman, Gorgo the Dwarf, was once again in attendance, as were Gark, Korak, Hoark, and three other (as yet unnamed) vengeful Fortinbras dwarves. Vowing to make the remaining Skullface Hobgoblins pay for what they did to Gark and Korak, and hoping to find Sir Boren and Zappo still alive, the adventuring party set off toward the southwest, where Stonehell awaits. . .


  1. Its really a shame we didn't get to dig up the Baron's body. Dak has been having a bad feeling about the Baron for a while now, and is not entirely convinced a body would have been found had we indeed attempted the exhumation.

  2. Wait a second, I just realized there's a CL1 spell from Bat's blog that would have done the trick:

    "Tale of Death"
    Duration: Instantaneous; Range: Touch

    Tale of Death allows a cleric or priest to know how a creature died, giving them the exact time, method and name(s) of any important figures related to the death. The cleric must have a tangible target for this spell, a bone, cadaver or the funerary clothing of the deceased or the cleric must touch the body (usually via a weapon) in the case of the undead. Incorporeal undead are not affected by this spell.

    Maybe we can go back and dig him up?