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  #1  
Old Dec 19th, 2022, 06:24 AM
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Forests of fear

In front of the stables
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It's early dawn, the sun rises slowly and brings light in the foggy, cold streets of Westhaven. Behind the inn, at the stables, Prod and Miguel are already busy to harness the heavy horses to the two carriages. Two big, muzzled, brown fighting dogs are tied to the left wheels of the front carriage, howling and barking deeply at the newcomers.

left-aligned image
Next to the inn, a middle-age priest of Fharlangnhn in a brown robe and two young servers stands between the carriages, spending divine blessings and protections for a low donation. When the both merchants bow, the priest rams his walking staff in the ground, murmurs a prayer and mark them with the brown sign of Fharlanghn on the foreheads. Meanwhile, one of his servers holds a clay plate with the brown color while the other holds the donation tin tight in his small hands. Carriages and draft animals are already marked somewhere - even the both fighting dogs.

When Prod and Miguel see the adventurers, they both smile. "Aye, goad to see yoa all." Miguel greets everyone. "May Fharlangnhn lead us safe and secure to Coldwater."

The priest turns with a business-minded smile to the adventurers. "Good morning gentlemen, talking about Fharlangnhn - you surely wish to travel with Fharlangnhn's blessing and protection, don't you?"
The young servant shakes the donation tin into the direction of the newcomers.
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Last edited by LeDragon; Dec 20th, 2022 at 03:14 PM.
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Old Dec 19th, 2022, 03:05 PM
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On routine the fighter woke shortly before dawn, and begins running through his checklist. He checks all his equipment: stock and condition. He before dons his armor. As he straps the handaxe sheaths at the base of his back, he remembers he left one back in the graveyard. He'd have to restock that later. He secures the longsword to his hip, a shield to his back, and longbow across his torso.

Once he's ready, he makes his way to the sables. As he approaches, he returns the greeting to everyone there, "good morning". When the priest addresses them, he raises a hand and politely declines, "appreciated. However I'll stick to the blessing that's strapped to my hip, thanks". Declan approaches the muzzled dogs, calmly and respectfully, just close enough for them to get his scent. He wanted them to regard him as familiar. If they got loose somehow, he didn't want them viewing him as unfamiliar. For animals, unfamiliar and threat were often interchangeable. "Do these two have names?"

 
 

Last edited by Greyling; Dec 19th, 2022 at 03:06 PM.
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Old Dec 19th, 2022, 04:38 PM
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The Adventure Begins
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Zook had packed all his various tools in the saddlebags the night before. The Artificer got up early, taking minutes to transfer the equipment to Betsy, his mule. Zook shook his head in disappointment as he headed to the stables to meet Prod and Miguel. "Last time, I did this with my companion Jaeger, and the two of us barely made it back. This time, I'm on my own." The small Gnome patted the Mule reassuringly, "Well, except for you, girl."

Zook led Betsy by the reigns into the Stableyard. However, the mule was saddled and had Zook's saddle bags on her back.

Zook smiled in recollection of the priests of Fharlangnhn offering their blessings. "I made a fair bit of gold, but it all went to my magical training. Here I am once again with a thin pouch." Still, the Artificer smiled and donated a gold piece each to get the priests' blessing on himself and his mule Betsy, "I can always earn more gold, but I cannot get a Blessing on the trail."

Zook looked over the first of his companions to arrive - the Half-Elf Declan. The man was festooned with weapons but wore only leather armor. It spoke to someone who was more geared to offense than defense. "For the cost of the Longbow, he could have got a good set of studded Leather."

Still, the Gnome wanted to be on good terms with his traveling companions. Zook strode over to the Half-Elf Warrior. Zook stopped a few feet short of Declan and looked up the man who was a good 3ft 10 in to 5 ft 7 inhalf-again his height, "Good Day, gentle Sir. It appears that we are to be traveling companions. I'm Zook Turen, Artificer by training."


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Old Dec 19th, 2022, 06:44 PM
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Jon
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Jon had a lot to think about at the Tavern... one of which being that a sheep was going to join them on the hunt. There was a lot to unpack there. He was a little disappointed that Flowerdew would not be joining him... the two of them had proved very deadly to any who stood against them. Still, it would be good to test his own mettle against a beast such as an owlbear.

He had slept well in consideration of the endeavor they'd be embarking upon, and awoke early to meet the rest of the party at the stables. His new splint mail felt heavier than the chain he had been wearing before, pitch black, with a black tabard. No crest graced his tabard, nor his kite shield. He certainly looked ready for combat, with his longsword at his hip and a spear across his back.

His head bowed slightly to the priest, he was devoted to Tyr, but that didn't mean he would be opposed to the blessings of other deities.

"Thank you father," Fharlangnhn was a deity of the road and long distances. He would take a blessing whenever it was offered by worthy gods. He had already purchased what supplies he needed. He made it a point to stay ready for any job that could use his help.

"We didn't get to talk much at the Inn, I was a bit in my own head... I'm Jon," he greeted the rest of the party.


 


 
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Old Dec 20th, 2022, 09:46 AM
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"Stinger" Drum, 2L Fighter Custom Lineage (Dwarf/Halfing)Crossbow Expert | Archery Style | Second Wind 1/1 | Action Surge 1/1

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Stinger Drum approaches the gathering party astride – bareback – his mule Wyatt. He eyes the belligerent, noisy guard dogs skeptically. Wyatt continues to mosey forward, dependably imperturbable, but Stinger’s own mastiff grows increasingly agitated. “Easy, Ringo,” he cautions, but Stinger moves to allow some distance between the animals; he would prefer not to have to put any down.

Stinger responds to his employers with only a civil nod of his head, but the priest demands more attention. “I generally prefer to avoid the gods’ notice,” he informs the de facto beggars. “Seems you can’t please one without annoying five others.” Stinger watches as others donate. “But I’m willing to pay to take a target off my back,” he concedes, deftly flipping a coin onto the donation plate. “I do hope the balance of payments turns as the outing proceeds.”

The others engaged in their own conversation, Stinger receives Jon’s greeting. “Stinger Drum,” he responds, tapping his hat brim. “I’ll be the one shooting at the monster from over your shoulder,” he informs the heavily armored warrior.

 

Stinger sheet |
Individual AC HP PPother
Stinger17208 
Ringo (mastiff12513 (+ADV hearing & smell)40’ move
Wyatt (mule)10111040’ move; STR and DEX ADV vs. going Prone

Last edited by secretID; Dec 21st, 2022 at 06:15 AM.
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Old Dec 20th, 2022, 11:47 AM
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In front of the stablesThe two merchants greet Declan with a friendly nod. The two dogs also sniff cautiously at his hand after glancing at their masters to assure them that mauling is not a desired option.

The priest also seems to recognize Zook. "I am very pleased to see you again! Apparently Fharlangnhn protected you and brought you back home safely." He nods in satisfaction at the two gold coins. "May Fharlangnhn protect and guide you, and bring you safely to your destination."
He carefully paints the divine symbol of the Traveling God on Zook and Betsy's foreheads with his index finger and brown paint. Immediately, they both feel divine power flow through them. "Weren't you accompanied by your horse-man friend last time?"

Then the priest repeats the gesture to Jon, though this time it is Jon who must lean forward. Jon also immediately feels the effect of the blessing.

Then Stinger appears with Ringo and immediately things get restless. The two guard dogs growl only briefly, then they are called to order by their masters.
The priest listens to Stinger's opinion of the gods with a patient, noncommittal smile, but is too much of a businessman to argue with solvent believers - or nonbelievers. "Asking the blessings of the gods is never wrong, my friend. Fharlangnhn is the Lord of paths and roads, protector of travelers and pilgrims. No divinity will trouble you in his realm." A very simplistic summary of the divine rules, as anyone can attest who has ever peed against a fairy shrine at a ford before crossing the river. Still, the priest smiles patiently again, as one would smile at a obtuse child, and also paints the sacred symbol of Fharlangnhn on the foreheads of Stinger and his animals.

Miguel turns to Prod, "Two more to go, then we can leave."

DMOC:Once in this adventure, both characters and animalsevery being blessed by Fharlangnhn can re-roll any roll - including attack and damage rollsone roll. Blessing of familiars, mounts or pets can not used for their masters and vice versa. Maximum 1 blessing per being.
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Old Dec 20th, 2022, 01:10 PM
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The half-Elf fighter exchanges smiles and nods to each party member as they show up to the meeting spot. "Good day, Zook. Pleased to meet you. My name's Declan Varis. I haven't met too many artificers. I look forward to seeing what you can do." He offers the Gnome a handshake. Physically, he had little choice but to look down at the man, but knew better than to underestimate those of shorter stature.

Then smiling and nodding to Jon, "I believe you and I will be the front line of our defense, when it's not necessary for me to scout ahead. The shoulders Stingerhe will be shooting over." He was practiced at keeping his observations internal, and was doing so now as he tried to figure out Stingers' heritage. He certainly a unique fellow.

As the priest notes the protection of Fharlanghn's blessing, Declan holds his tongue. Choosing to be respectful over contemptuously asking how many of Zook's previous group that didn't come back also purchased the divine blessing. Little good it did them. Besides, it wasn't the blessing Declan had a problem with, but the peddling of divine protection.

 
 

Last edited by Greyling; Dec 20th, 2022 at 01:11 PM.
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Old Dec 20th, 2022, 09:35 PM
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Jon
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The smile that graced his youthful face was barely imperceptible. A face that hadn't much cause for it until more recently. Though it was there nonetheless, he nodded toward Stinger and then to Declan.

"Keep close to me, and let this beast find your blades beneath a wall of my steel..." he told Declan, glancing toward Stinger, "Before being shot in the face with your thorns," he added with a curt nod. His own tone was respectful, courtly even, though he spoke in jest to some extent, he could see this group, for the most part, was far more serious than the previous two he'd gone out on in the West Marches. His eyes moved briefly over to Zook, head tilted ever so slightly. "I've not met many artificers, though my father was said to employ one in the past. I look forward to seeing what you are capable of in person," he mused.

He closed his eyes with the blessing, and gave his thanks before turning to wait for the remaining two. This was far less complicated than the last two. A simple hunt. No moral quandaries... or so he thought. Time would tell, to be fair.



 


 
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Old Dec 23rd, 2022, 03:31 PM
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Syrota Hittebarn
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Sarcastically or not, Prod and Miguel had hired Syrota to be Oodiliana's 'shepherd' for the trip. Even in the moment, the Half-Elf had appreciated the irony of the remark, because she knew full well which of the pair was in need of being herded by the other, her friend's At least, she certainly hoped it was temporary...temporarily four-legged nature aside. Syrota, though, preferred to concentrate on the hired part. For the first time in her life, she'd been trusted by someone else to perform honest labor in exchange for pay. The notion of getting money for doing good was exhilarating, and she showed up at the On-Your-Shield bright and early, with a discernable spring in her step.

The sight of a god-whisperer stood outside the stables begging for gold was almost enough to shake her good mood. Syrota didn't doubt that the man would have some very clever, and wordy, justification for how what he was doing was completely unlike what the Half-Elf had had to resort to when she hadn't been able to lay her hands on anything worth stealing. As far as she was concerned, though, this was just a particularly well-established hustle which outsourced the creation of that implicit threat of negative consequences for non-payment to someone that the average punter really didn't want to cheese off. Syrota was no theologian, but she was pretty sure that a couple of silver would be of far more use to her than to any of the various gods of the West Marches.

She was relieved, then, as she approached the group, to see the Gnome she'd seen in the Inn the night before - not the one with the badger, the other one - paying up happily enough. Zook was his name, she'd reminded herself, which was a relief, since it was good to be around someone whose name presented no pronunciation challenges. A short fellow (who she didn't recognize) also seemed to be bearing the mark what was presumably the god behind this particular shakedown. Well, if there was anything in this, it seemed that the group as a whole would be protected well-enough. The other Half-Elf was there too, but he seemed to have no more need of performative godliness than she did.

Syrota took a moment to offer cursory introductions to those she'd not spoken with before, but she figured there'd be plenty of time for idle (or perhaps, given present company, idol) chatter on the road. As for now, one particular thought occupied her mind, inflicting far more anxiety than the prospect of an owlbear... Where in the West Marches was Oodiliana?


SyrotaSyrota Hittebarn - Level One Half-Elf Rogue
AC: 14 HP: 9/9 Init: +3 Currently wielding: Nothing
Proficient Skills: Acrobatics +5, Insight +5, Investigation +4, Medicine +5, Perception +7, Persuasion +4, Sleight of Hand +5, Stealth +7


Class features: Expertise (Stealth and Perception), Thieves' Cant, Beginning at 1st level, you know how to strike subtly and exploit a foe's distraction. Once per turn, you can deal an extra 1d6 damage to one creature you hit with an attack if you have advantage on the attack roll. The attack must use a finesse or a ranged weapon.

You don't need advantage on the attack roll if another enemy of the target is within 5 feet of it, that enemy isn't incapacitated, and you don't have disadvantage on the attack roll.
Sneak Attack - 1d6

Racial Features: Thanks to your elf blood, you have superior vision in dark and dim conditions. You can see in dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You can't discern color in darkness, only shades of gray.Darkvision You have advantage on saving throws against being charmed, and magic can't put you to sleep.Fey Ancestry
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Last edited by SnakeOilCharmer; Dec 23rd, 2022 at 03:31 PM.
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Old Dec 24th, 2022, 03:08 AM
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It had been a long night. A long day. In fact, the whole year had gotten a workaround after she tumbled into the Feywild. Oodiliana felt fortunate to be able to eat and drink in the tavern in her condition, but ovines, as a general rule, were not allowed to sleep or reside in such establishments. Thus, when it was time to retire, the sorceress struck a deal with Lady Emily and Oodiliana was allowed her pick of where to sleep in the stalls. A courtesy provided in addition to the free pancakes, no doubt an attempt to gain the favor of a regular patron.

Shortly after folks retired for the evening and claimed their rooms for the night, the mage made her way to the stables and began looking for a place to sleep. There were other sheep there, some horses, mules, a lively array of livestock. The blue-skinned lamb came face to face with an expectant mule that seemed to want answers. Just when things got really intense, the ovine shuffled on her hooves which grew quickly into blue clawed and scaled bird feet. Where there once was a sheep standing on four legs there was now an owl-kin standing upright on two, feathers, wings, and all. Suddenly able to fly again, Oodiliana found a spot in the rafters of the stables to sleep.

The next morning Oodiliana was elated. She woke up with the sun, and joy was coursing through her veins. On the way out of the barn she danced and sang a jaunty tune. AaaooOOoouU! Somethins always better than nuthin! Get some sun on your face, turn around and have some fun. Whawawaau, I see the light in your eyes. Come to me, sit under my wing, love me til my heart stops and I got yooouu by my side.

The owlin stopped at the panhandling clergy and stopped singing for a moment, though the dancing only slowed to a hip-based shimmy with erratic arm movements. Oodiliana smiled at Syrota and gave Prod and Miguel a thumbs up. She really had very little equipment. The backpack seemed almost a perfunctory token representative of her intentions as an adventurer. Though it hardly looked like there was anything inside. The mage wore brightly colored traveling clothes with a violet wool felt wide-brimmed hat, carried a gnarled hickory staff, and had a couple of pouches around her belt.

Turning to Syrota Oodiliana grinned and picked back up with her singing as she danced around in a circle, snapping blue fingers ruffling white feathers. "I can't tell one from another, I found you or you found me."

With a wink to Jon, the owlin continued to danced a merry jig, even being so bold as to produce a set of birdpipes to play.



 
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Old Dec 24th, 2022, 11:12 AM
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TBD
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Zook looked around at a bit of loss. The last time he had come this way - well, the only time - his companion Jaeger had led. Jager had been an experienced adventurer. The pair had narrowly escaped the winged beast that had attacked them.

When no one spoke up, Zook interjected, "We need a marching order. Perhaps Jonathan and Declan are in the front, where they can deal with immediate threats. Then Oodiliana and Syrota are between the two wagons. Stinger and I can take up the rear. With both ranged weapons to cover the front, as well as sufficient armor to melee should we be taken from behind."

Zook gestured towards Prod and Miguel,"I'll leave the details to our caravan masters. However, the last time I came this way, a large, winged monster beset us. Now there is talk of an Owlbear prowling the forest. We should be on our guard for dangers on the road and when camped for the night."


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Old Dec 24th, 2022, 12:17 PM
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"Stinger" Drum, 2L Fighter Custom Lineage (Dwarf/Halfing)Crossbow Expert | Archery Style | Second Wind 1/1 | Action Surge 1/1

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Stinger offers a nod or a brim tap to each other party member as he meets their eyes. He wears a languid demeanor, but his eyes follow the conversation, or action, as the case may be.

When the owlin makes her riotous approach, Wyatt shuffles underneath his rider, and Stinger rotates to regard the newcomer with a bland expression but a skeptical eye. "Will you be joining this expedition?" he asks her. "If so, may I recommend you take a position well ahead of the group?"

 

Stinger sheet |
Individual AC HP PPother
Stinger17208 
Ringo (mastiff12513 (+ADV hearing & smell)40 move
Wyatt (mule)10111040 move; STR and DEX ADV vs. going Prone
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Old Dec 24th, 2022, 03:25 PM
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Declan
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The sudden burst of song and dance as an Owlin emerges from the stables, a trained hand touches his weapon preparing to defend. The almost infectious joy exuded by the last member of their group relaxes his tensed muscles and brings a smiles to the half-Elf's face. "She makes... unique entrances. Are we sure she isn't a bard? Hehe."

Declan looks confused, "I think it would be faster to have people ride in the wagons. Stinger has an idea about scouting from a bird's eye view, if you'll forgive my wording. However, if the last expedition was assaulted by a winged beast, we might was to do that sparingly." Noting her wink at Jon, Declan wonders if she was just being playful or was angling to ride in the wagon with the armored Human.

 
 
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Old Dec 25th, 2022, 07:07 AM
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On the road to Coldwater
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The two merchants seem both relieved and irritated by Oodiliana's appearance. Perhaps they would have preferred the lamb to the owl after all, but they both just look at each other meaningfully and remain silent. Presumably they are used to some oddities from Westhaven.

left-aligned image
Miguel looks at the adventure. "We gonna le've now, ther' 's ra'n com'ng, so'n."
Prod nods. "Put your luggage in the back of my carriage. And then go!" he offers.
"Yeah, yoa can doa da chatting on da way."
"And you don't all have to walk, there's a seat next to each of us," Prod suggests. Then he and Miguel swing themselves onto the wagon humps. "Giddy up!" The whips crack and the heavy carriages start moving.
The priest and his servants wave at the convoy. "Fharlangnhn's powers will protect and bless you on your trip."
He shouts. "Return hale and hearty!"

The group travels the whole day along the dirty, muddy cobblestone road to North. There only few other travelers or people on the road – some peasants with their ox carts, a group of pilgrims and a couple of road maintenance groups with chained up workers and their guards. It rained last night and the street is muddy. Soon, Jon's boots are soon soaked with cold water and covered with heavy mud, making each step more difficult than the one before.


left-aligned image
In the evening, the group reaches the 'Old Boar Hunter', an inn at a small hamlet. The inn is a former, half rotten manor – a square building with thick masonry walls and arrow slits at the outside. The inner courtyard is protected by a massive, reinforced wooden gate that shows fresh signs of repair.
The inn keeper, an old man called Stachus Bierfaust, knows Prod and Miguel well and the three men greet each other very friendly. The man welcomes everyone else and even recognizes Zook and asks the inevitable question about his missing horse friend, which makes Zook feel that his identity here is tied to the centaur.
The accommodation is quite simple – a few small beds with straw – and the dinner of bread and vegetable stew is from simple quality.
However, after dinner, the innkeeper brings a bottle of self-burned hooch and forces everyone very politely to drink a glass. Fortunately, Zook is able to warn everyone about the content. The oily liquid is strong, burns in the throats and is surely suitable as rust remover. To everyone's surprise, nobody becomes blind, but the adventurers decide to do without provoking destiny and leave Prod, Miguel and the innkeeper back in the bar room where both empty the bottle.

DMOC:Purplerook's proposed marching order and the comments, I read them as:
- vanguard: Jonathan per pedes
- Prod with his wagon, Declan riding I guess, riding shotgun is not appropriate for a medieval adventure. crossbow and the dog.
- Oodiliana (dancing)
- Miguel with his carriage, Syrota riding crossbow and his dog
- rear guards: Stinger, Ringo and Zook on their mules.
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Last edited by LeDragon; Dec 28th, 2022 at 04:07 AM.
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Old Dec 25th, 2022, 05:28 PM
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A Gnome Sized Glass
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Zook remembered the ambush from their last travels, although it had happened closer to Cold Valley. He kept his eye peeled and his hand on the bag of stones.

However, seeing Oodiliana dancing in the sky got the Wizard thinking, "A familiar. If I had a familiar, they could do what Oodiliana is doing, well not all of it, but they could keep a watch out in the sky."

As Betsy trudged through the mud, it brought a pang of longing back to the Rock Gnome, "Last time I came this way, it was with Jaeger. I wonder how he fares. Is he successful in his training as a Paladin?" and then, "Fortunate that I picked up Betsy. She pales compared to Jaeger; still, she keeps me out of the mud."

Once the group got to the Old Boar Hunter, Zook's first task was to take care of Betsy. He cleaned her hooves with a horse pick and then got a curry brush to brush off their travels' mud and other dirt. Finally, Zook ensured that Besty had a ration of grain and some hay for the night.

Zook well remembered the impact of the self-burned fluff from the last trip and the impact that the various beverages had on people much larger and sturdier than he. This is why Zook had crafted Gnome-sized drinking implements - a stein and a shot glass. The two items allowed Zook to be friendly and drink with his companions without making the dangerous mistake of trying to consume a human-sized portion of the drink.


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Oath of Sangus | Shared World (new players welcome) The West Marches
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