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  #46  
Old Jul 15th, 2023, 12:21 AM
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Hearing the soldier insult his guiding ability, Sutton spits to the side and mutters under his breath Fool. Leaving Pluck to deal with this village idiot, Sutton moves away from the wagon to examine the fortifications for signs of recent attack.
 
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  #47  
Old Jul 15th, 2023, 11:41 AM
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Gridrish studies Werner and Fritz without being too obvious. He hopes that Pluck does not mention their destination to these two. We have neither dispute nor business that concerns the Baron.

He joins friend Sutton in unloading the salt. Once out of earshot of Werner, he tries to casually ask Fritz, "This seems like a LOT of salt, friend. Why are you delivering it out here?"
 

 


When both he and Sutton are alone, he suggests what he knows Sutton will already be thinking - that Sutton, scout around tonight after everyone has gone to sleep. "I will take first watch and wake you when everyone is asleep. "

He tries to circulate among the group to tell them that he has heard that Black Cypress Vale has fallen under a strange spell and that the Baron might be a descendant of the elves.

After they have eaten and settled in for the night, he asks Werner and Fritz to tell us more about this Thrice Holy Order.
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  #48  
Old Jul 20th, 2023, 05:39 PM
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Ulf figures at least he is likely to get a good nights sleep. This lot doesn't seem to be out for blood - still, he'll be keeping Kuld nearby during the night and making sure one of them is keeping watch. He preferred creatures that showed their darkness on the outside, like the undead Ogres... you knew right where you stood with that lot.
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  #49  
Old Jul 21st, 2023, 12:47 AM
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Pluck shows obvious disappointment about the lack of an inn. He was really looking forward to an actual bed tonight, maybe some local company paid or unpaid.

"Why we surely wouldn't want to bother the Baron, not humble adventurers like ourselves. We hardly have any business he would be interested in. As I said, we are just passing through the area, but I wouldn't turn down the company for the night. "

 


"This thrice holy order you speak of, what might it be? I can assure you we are not the type for organized religion. My friends here are a more spiritual sort, nature and all that.
"

When the guards aren't paying attention, Pluck will conjure himself the most comfortable cushioned warm tent he can manage, though oddly it is a bit short so his feet stick out the end.

Last edited by Tyringo; Jul 21st, 2023 at 12:48 AM.
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  #50  
Old Jul 21st, 2023, 11:16 PM
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Still sour at the guard's insult, Sutton grunts his agreement to Grid's plan. Warming to the idea of a bit of night stalking, Sutton starts quietly planning his route with Grid, Shouldn't go too far afield in case of discovery, make sure you have the other sending stone to hand, I'll identify where the guards are posted, then look for signs of peculiar activity. Not really sure what that is in a place like this, but I guess signs of hidden gathering places in basements, signs of people heading into the wilderness, large stockpiles of salt...What do you think?

 

Last edited by T800; Jul 21st, 2023 at 11:16 PM.
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  #51  
Old Jul 22nd, 2023, 02:25 PM
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Merrick hangs towards the back of the party. It sounds like Pluck can be persuasive when he needs to be. Merrick is mostly thinking about a warm dry place to sleep and hot food.

He feels the presence of his patron. It is just a whisper but it is certainly there. Once they have had a chance to rest and find a quiet spot he can inform the others. Best not to mention it in mixed company he thinks.
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  #52  
Old Jul 22nd, 2023, 11:01 PM
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Nov 15, south outpost

The guardsman in the well-maintained leather armor, First Watchman Werner, informs you of the rules of the outpost. "Out here, everyone bunks in the main building. There are three of us guards, and Fritz here."

All the stones and buildings in the outpost are overrun with thick moss. The buildings look a mix of elven and human construction -- they are taller, thinner, with curious paving stones and runes carved over the archways.

Werner shows you through the high wooden door of the main house and you hear sounds of snoring from within. There are two other guards sleeping soundly on cots in a tidy, well ordered common room. Embers of a fire smolder in the fireplace. There are cooking supplies, a cutting board, a basin, and a table and chairs, along with barrels and cupboards. The guardhouse is well stocked and seems to be the hub of all activities of the guards: sleeping, food prep and housing supplies. Oddly, there are a few other buildings within the compound which could also serve. When someone mentions it, Werner shakes his head darkly. "It's safer keeping all we need here."

Inside the storehouse, over the snores of the two other guards, Grid asks about the salt. Fritz, the driver in the shabby cloak, laughs and shakes his head. "You don't know? I guess it's true you aren't from here. The salt is for protection. All of our protection."

Werner, pouring water from a basin into a large pot near the fire, says, "The lost ones come out at night. They're said to be the ghosts of elven children who were slaughtered when the tieflings attacked 600 years ago. Everyone in Black Cypress valley carries a small bag of salt to pour around their bed at night to keep them at bay. Fritz here delivers it from Wickenstadt twice a month, along with other supplies."

Around this time the other two men begin to stir, hearing voices of newcomers. The older man gets to his feet, somewhat startled, and you see his left eye is missing. "First Watchman Werner, who are all these people?" he asks sternly.

Werner introduces you to Captain of the Watch Pol, the one-eyed man who asked the question, and to Surry, an absent-looking young guard who's rank Werner didn't mention. Obviously Pol was the man in charge. "We rest during the day and share a watch at night. It's the only way to be sure the night walkers don't take us by surprise."

As dusk comes on, talk drifts back to the Thrice Holy Order. Pol seems a bit more relaxed after talking with you for a half hour or so. You can see he has a lot of experience and he seems to accept Pluck’s story about wandering into the valley. He speaks freely. "The Order are religious zealots who come from the hinterlands of the High Valley. Every year, a few arrive and seek the temple in the mountains where once elves lived. The fools never make it back. But the Baron has gotten fed up with them ever since... let’s just say they're not welcome any more."

As talk continues, Sutton grows restless. The ranger decides it's best to inspect the fortifications before the light is spent. "I wouldn't go out there," Pol says. "But you are not in custody and not a member of my regiment, so I can't make you stay in here. Still, you'd best not stay out long after dark. It's my duty to keep you safe, and I've no mind to wander the woods looking for you when you should know better."
DM's noteI am assuming Sutton still goes for a quick inspection. If anyone else wants to go with him, just post in the Banter thread and I'll open up the secret text to you. Everyone else I'll assume is in conversation with Pol, Werner, Surry and Fritz in the guardhouse. There's a lot to be learned about the area for anyone interested.



Last edited by mountainbound; Jul 27th, 2023 at 10:43 PM.
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  #53  
Old Jul 25th, 2023, 12:41 PM
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"Are night walkers and lost ones the same thing? How much of a threat are they?" Ulf scratches Kuld's ears as he listens.

Once he gets his answer, Ulf decides to go with Sutton for a quick look around. He prefers the fresh air outside, and besides, Kuld is always happy to stretch his legs.

Ulf isn't especially concerned about their hosts, aside from the fact they are all too tall, and he doesn't follow Sutton particularly closely preferring to give the ranger room to work, but he wants to be able to be near enough to help should Sutton run into some mishap.
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  #54  
Old Jul 27th, 2023, 11:42 AM
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Pluck latches on to the comment about not being welcome, so he tries to get Pol talking more about the Baron and the Order. Perhaps around a drink or a meal. He pulls out all the hospitality and charm he can muster.

"Ooh, political drama! Come on, there must be some juicy details if the Baron and a religious order are fighting, do tell!"

 


Pluck feigns ignorance at the mention of the temple

"Tell me more about this temple you speak of, perhaps you have need of some adventurers to help clear the way to it?"

 

Last edited by Tyringo; Jul 27th, 2023 at 11:50 AM.
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  #55  
Old Jul 28th, 2023, 08:40 PM
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Merrick pulls out his gear and starts to set up a comfortable place to sleep on a patch of dry ground. It's no bed but it's dry and there are no sticks or rocks poking through his sleep sack. He listens to Pluck trying to draw out information with a quiet awe. Of course they knew of the temple... All too well though perhaps better if they didn't. Hopefully it would be a quiet night. The talk of night walkers has him uneasy and he can't imagine why salt would do any good.
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  #56  
Old Jul 30th, 2023, 08:44 PM
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Nov 15, south outpost

The last light of day peters out through the window slits in the guardhouse as Werner and Surry put two skeured rabbits to turn above the fire as a cauldren boils next to them with onions, potatoes and local herbs. It smells like heaven.

Kuld is ready to explore, looking to follow Sutton into the evening, and Ulf decides he'll accompany them as well. Before leaving he asks about the lost ones.

One-eyed Captain Pol says, "The night walkers? They're the spooks that haunt this valley. Many are harmless, but some... it's just safer to avoid them all. Fire, light, groups of folks, these things keep them at bay."

With that, the barbarian heads out after Kuld.

A barrel of beer is tapped, and Werner passes around frothy wooden mugs as Pluck asks about the Baron. "We're not fighting them per se. The Thrice Holy Order hails from the High Valley. They are a warlike people, very devout. They have some prophecy that they think is about the temple in the mountains above Wickenstadt. Baron was ok with letting them go there up until late, when they began making trouble. We all blame them for waking the spirits in the valley once again. It's their fault that the night walkers and lost ones are so restless."

"That's enough, First Watchmen," Pol says. "There are some odd things creeping into this valley, but now's not the time to speak of them. It's past nightfall."

"Clear the way to the temple?" Pol asks when Pluck fills the gap in conversation. "Ha, folks have been making pilgrimages to Ahnii for two hundred years. They say it's always been haunted, but in the past five or six years, whatever darkness was in it has been getting stronger. Baron Von Richter is doing his best to protect us all from it." The captain doesn't seem convinced by Pluck's innocent line of reasoning. "It sounds to me like you may have heard of it. No one is allowed to go there now, except those who the Baron permits."
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  #57  
Old Aug 3rd, 2023, 12:58 PM
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Ulf whispers to Sutton, "Sneak over and check out the light. I'll follow at a distance. Don't go chasing after any damn faries - come back and report what you see."

Ulf figures it's best to have only one of them doing the actual sneaking, but he wants to stay close enough to pull Sutton out of any trouble he finds himself in.
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  #58  
Old Aug 6th, 2023, 08:14 PM
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Nov 15, night

Sutton returns shortly back to Ulf saying, "I swear there a blue glow in that abandoned house. But when I got near, the light was gone, and everything was still. It's an eerie place this." With dusk fading to night beneath the pine forest, the two warriors both share an unsettled feeling about the place and decide to simply head back to the guardhouse.

Inside the party seems to have had their questions satisfied and the guards are chatting about other things. After the meal, the fire is stoked and Captain Pol says, "A song or story would be welcome, if any of you travelers have one to share." The mood is somewhat heavy, with the guards still unsure why exactly a band of mixed races were entering the Baron's territory. But the guards had no reason to mistrust the party, and were obviously outmatched, so they opened up less and less as the night wore on. A bit of music might indeed help.

As another round of beer is poured, Werner and Fritz take out bags of salt. Werner says, "You'll have to sleep on the floor since there are just two bunks in this guardhouse, but we have salt enough to make a circle around the lot of you. Captain Pol and Surry will head out to patrol through the night. If you sleep, I highly advise sleeping within the circle unless you want a wee spook cuddling up next to you." The other men laugh darkly.

DM's noteLast chance for questions. In the course of conversation, Pol makes it clear that Fritz will be taking you to town in the morning.

Last edited by mountainbound; Aug 6th, 2023 at 08:15 PM.
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  #59  
Old Aug 9th, 2023, 09:45 AM
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Pluck, caught in a lie, does his best to talk out of it.

"Well, of course we have heard "Something" about it, but just unchecked rumors and hearsay. Nothing of substance, as I am sure you guys know, being here and all. Have you been yourself? What is it like?"

 


Sensing the mood, Pluck brings his Lute around, setting up to provide some much needed entertainment. Not wanting to give too much information away about his own party, his songs tell tales of far off heros and villains, lovers found and lost, and a halfling named Hebshedera.

 

Last edited by Tyringo; Aug 9th, 2023 at 10:57 AM.
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  #60  
Old Aug 9th, 2023, 11:22 AM
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Ulf sits back, planning to enjoy Pluck's playing, but he finds himself replaying Pol's earlier words in his head.

"We saw blue lights and heard voices.. if the these were scared up by this Thrice Holy Order.. if the darkness is getting stronger as you say - it seems to me that this Baron's protection is maybe not worth all that much." Ulf shakes his head. "Unless he's a salt merchant, I'm not sure hiding behind protections is the best play."

Ulf looks Pol in the eye, tired of all the pretty words. "We are not your enemies. We are not part of this Order. That said, tell us why we should look to your Baron for answers? It seems to me that you lot should know more about what's happening out here than he does hiding behind his walls. I'd rather face threats head on, with my axe, than hide. And I'd rather get my answers from the source." Ulf leaves the question of whether he is referring to the guards here or the temple unclear.

Last edited by RobS; Aug 9th, 2023 at 01:35 PM.
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