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Old Oct 8th, 2021, 11:53 PM
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Wretched Curse : Prologue

Opening Scene - pic is of the village's grain miller
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Any sniff of the cult of Malar, the group already knows that Jhorn becomes like a rabid badger. They’ve travelled together for a time now. Having disparate pasts and meeting at a tavern of all places, this party has learned to trust each other over the short course of their previous adventures. In the past month alone, they defeated an ettin and then an entire Goblin tribe. Jhorn has the bit in his teeth now, however. Having followed a trail of rumors, the group find themselves in Langsford, a small village just downriver from Daggersford. Apparently, there have been many wolf attacks and werewolf sightings that Jhorn suspects is tied to the hated cult of Malar. After his heroically becoming the party’s savior in their battle against the Goblin tribe, they feel they owe him this one. A not-so-lucrative job to dispatch some wolves or werewolves that might be connected to this infamous cult. It’s obvious that Jhorn will go it alone if the party refuses to back him, but they don’t refuse. They trust him and acknowledge that he’s owed their lives. Thus they find themselves trudging into the tiny village an hour before dusk.

The group knows that the area just south of the village flattens out into lowlands and becomes a massive swamp during the rainy season, but never fully dries out in even the depths of summer. A bowl of sucking, stinking mud, mosquitos, and leaning Cyprus trees makes the region heavily avoided. Of course, this is where the rumored attacks are supposedly originating. With a resentful side eye to Jhorn’s scarred face, the companions trudge into the village. Why does it have to be unlucrative and miserable at the same time?! Some of the party whine to themselves. Well at least there’s an inn. No proper tavern, but a place to get fed and watered nonetheless. Maybe more information to be had?

On the way to the inn, the group sees the villagers trying to wrap up their business early. An elderly woman is hurriedly transferring some corn cobbs from her sales stall to carrying baskets. A blacksmith that seems little more than a farrier slightly quickens his ringing strikes. “The Unsuckable Suckhole.” What?! Who under the guidance of the great pantheon would consider naming their inn such? Many of the party wonder. Now I’m a little afraid to sample the fare. Another feeling commonly felt: the group needed rest. They’d been travelling all day and wanted to get out of their boots as soon as they could put something decent into their bellies.

Last edited by Wretched Rick; Oct 9th, 2021 at 08:28 AM.
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Old Oct 10th, 2021, 02:46 AM
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Barry
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"I don't know bout you, but as sure as my mother is a sat singing in a tree to a daisy, I need a sit down...and something smothered in gravy. Wolves be dammed, they can wait." Jested the elf, yet the grumble in his stomach was as real as the group's dire need for a bath. Shame wolves aren't known for scavenging. They'd come right to us, mistaken for an already dead meal...


 
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Old Oct 11th, 2021, 03:14 AM
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Jhorn Sarkany
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Jhorn can immediately tell that the arrival of travelers is not the only unsettling thing about their arrival. Langsford does not appear to be a popular traveling destination, as there is little for those with coin in their pocket here and the community seems very tight knit and guarded. Of course, Jhorn surmises as he sees his reflection in a large puddle illuminated by the sun, his heavily scarred appearance is doing little to ease their concerns. Jhorn's face has a series of whitish scars all along the left side of his face, across his nose, and a long angry-looking one near his right eye that causes that eye to squint slightly due to how the wound healed. There is also a long whitish scar on the left side of his neck which juts out from underneath his well polished shirt of chain mail. To further add discomfort to others who look at him, Jhorn still bears characteristics from his curse. His ears are slightly pointed with hair sprouting from the top, and his canine teeth are quite pronounced, giving him a fierce appearance. Needless to say, the villagers hardly seem bursting with excitement to see the group.

Those of you who have been traveling with Jhorn for this time are well aware of his story, as he tells it with no shame or conviction, just as a matter of facts that cannot be changed. A simple soldier with a newlywed at home, he and his squad mate were attacked by a werewolf. His friend died but Jhorn survived, although heavily scarred from the ordeal. That was the least of his concerns however - Jhorn discovered too late that he was inflicted with lycanthrophy, and during his first transformation he feasted upon his own wife in their bed. Something he has still not forgiven himself for this day. An outcast and hunted by his own people, Jhorn quickly grew bitter and resentful, which caused him to fall in with zealous cultists of Malar, the Beastlord. Jhorn briefly mentions that he committed many atrocities during this time although he never goes into detail - from his constant starts at night and occasional night where he cannot sleep at all, it is quite clear Jhorn remembers far too much. Healed and trained by the Church of Lathander, Jhorn recognizes that the one thing he is good at is killing, so he may as well try to take some more monsters with him when he goes to the Morninglord for judgment.

He can see the others wish to stop for food and rest, so Jhorn motions for them to continue. He wishes to speak to the old woman first. "Woman," he says in as friendly a tone as he can muster, "We are travelers here, and wish to speak to whoever leads Langsford. Might I inquire as to who that may be?" His voice is deep and gravelly, but not confrontational.


 


 
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Old Oct 11th, 2021, 12:09 PM
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Halas Fogbarrel
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Cults to deranged gods, tribes of goblins or even oversized two-headed ettins were all good but to have to come to the armpit of the Sword Coast to find them was stretching the limits of loyalty as Halas Fogbarrel picked another mud ball out of the hairs atop his long furry feet. He needed a stiff drink and a long bath to wash the road off of himself but it didn't look like there was a tub of clean water for at least fifteen miles from Langsford.

Halas was marveling at the name of the lone inn in Langsford, the Unsuckable Suckhole. Perhaps he was wrong about this place. These people at least had a sense of humor to match their dreary existence. He was about to take Barry up on the desire for something smothered in gravy when Jhorn decided to approach one of the locals. It never went well when Jhorn tried to use his words. The best things the former lycanthrope was capable of was killing. Monsters, men, animals, animals who acted like men, men who acted like animals, monsters who ate men who acted like animals, didn’t matter, they all died at the warrior’s hands. It was all in poor tact as the scarred human got far too close to the woman and then proceeded to address her as such...woman. What if her name was Dennis? It was so devoid of warmth or emotion despite the fact that Halas could tell Jhorn thought his tone was friendly. He then dove right into the 'take me to your leader' spiel which could only rouse curiosity in the populace and would set rumors to flight about why they were here and what they wanted. It would put said local leader in a situation where they would need to 'deal' with the newcomers to their dreadful town. Everything was already getting off on the wrong foot, but that was why Halas was a part of this group.

The halfling sidled up between the woman and Jhorn and took a cob filled basket out of her hands and set it onto the muck filled street before helping her start to fill the next. "Greetings, seems demand in the market wasn't as high as one would wish today. Allow me to take a few of these off of your hands. I'm sure the proprietors of the Suckhole will be capable of adding it to whatever stew is over the fire." Halas flashed his best smile as he introduced himself, "Halas Fogbarrel, pleasure to meet you. This here is Jhorn. We're just traveling through and hoping the Suckhole," (he really could just say that name all day long) "is the proper respite for our weary bones." He held up a furry foot and wiggled his toes as a glob of mud fell from his heel onto sunken cobblestones. "Truth is that Jhorn here took a job out of Langsford to deal with some mangy mutts been causing a ruckus.”

Exchanging coin for a few cobs of corn, Halas concluded, ”Happen to know who put out the bounty?”

 



 

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Old Oct 11th, 2021, 10:17 PM
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Aender had been a bit more quiet than he usually was as they walked into the village of Langsford. His eyes darting here and there trying to see anything whatsoever of any interest. This place was more dreary and dull than the back of a burrows hindquarters. Why would anyone wish to live in such a place. It was filthy run down and wholly unwelcoming. Even the single inn, which he was certain was most likely aptly named. “The Unsuckable Suckhole.” He wondered if it was a sarcastic sign or just a true description of the place.

Usually when they traveled to towns or villages there was something of interest but not here, it truly seemed the worst place he had ever traveled. As Jhorn approached the woman selling corn and spoke he watched as Halas jumped in trying to be charming in hopes of not scaring the woman off directly. Halas was at least pleasant and good at talking with others. He even offered to buy some corn off of the woman as an added incentive. Aender was all to willingly to allow him to speak for the group.

Aender liked the young Halfling, it was nice having someone his size and in fact a bit smaller than himself. Big folk tended to look down upon people like himself and Halas all too often. At the same time, they also considered them less of a threat which more than once served him well in battle. Halas even used similar weapons to Aender though that was less uncommon most other weapons were often to large for their smaller stature. Looking over at the woman he waited for her response, his eyes still moving around as if looking for something to jump out and attack them. He had no desire to fight the likes of werewolves, but he knew he owed Jhorn a debt and it was easier to aid him than pay him in some way.

Looking to Barry he smiled. "I am not so sure you are going to find much comfort in a place called the Unsuckable Suckhole. I have a feeling it is just like everything else around here dirty and dingy."


 


 
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Old Oct 12th, 2021, 10:52 AM
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Polly Titchwillow
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Polly exhaled, letting the air escape from her lungs. Opening her amber eyes, she blinked against the sun. How long had they been walking? The hexblood brought up one hand to shield herself from the pale sunlight, while Jacob's reins were loosely wrapped around the other hand. The trusty mule pulled her along, guiding her as she followed her companions. Polly liked to spend these moments on the road reflecting on her thoughts. It was a peaceful experience, which unfortunately came to an abrupt end whenever their destination was reached.

'We're here?' she asked, bending over to rub her sore legs. Elevating your mind from the troubles of the world, she pondered, sadly did not mean those troubles didn't find you again when you returned to the here and now. And walking for hours still caused her muscles to ache, even if she only noticed it when the group came to a halt. Looking around, she shrugged. 'Not pretty, no,' she agreed with the gnome. 'But hardly anything useful ever is. As long as their coin is good, I'm happy. And their wine,' she said, after a moment. 'And their food. Cegilune's spit,' Polly complained, casting a disapproving glance at the corn cobs while patting her grumbling belly. 'Forget stew, I feel like I can down a calf whole, gravy or no. I just might try,' she grinned, looking around for anything to eat other than dirt-smeared vegetables.


 


 
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Old Oct 13th, 2021, 12:27 AM
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Welcome to Langsford
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At Jhorn's approach, the old lady straightens suddenly, then grimaces as he begins to speak. It's obvious though, the grimace comes from a pain in her back and not the warrior's words as she reaches a hand behind her to push against the offended area. Before she can respond, the Halfling bard steps in with his more charming introduction.

She begins sucking on her gums as she digests Halas' words. At first she eyed the Halfling suspiciously as he began helping her and himself to the corn, but brightened when coins appeared in his hand and only plucked a single copper from it for the three ears. "Well," she finally responds. "Jalad Torntview is the mayor, constable, and owner of the Suckhole. I didn't realize his plea for help went so far and wide..." the crone eyes the disparity of the party with a bit of wonder. "I imagine he'll be having dinner in the Suckhole soon, but I don't know if he's there yet. You all look tired. If you've come here ta help with our problems, you're gonna get good treatment at the Suckhole. You should just head on in and let the barmaid know who ya are."

"And thank YE kind sir, fer helping an old woman with her work," she says to Halas. The Halfling can tell that she barely resists the urge to do something childlike to him such as mess-up his hair or pinch his cheek.

OOCTomplum was right. You guys' awesome roleplaying and general level of interest has really inspired me to pour more of my time into getting this ready. This post is still not the official launch, just a way to keep you all busy for a minute. I'll have another one inside the inn too. In fact, if you guys don't have anything to say, I'll post up tomorrow morning in the assumption you just go to the inn. It'll be a better kick-off for more conversation. I kind of left you in an awkward spot, like... okay -we go to the inn.

Last edited by Wretched Rick; Oct 17th, 2021 at 05:39 PM.
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Old Oct 13th, 2021, 05:32 AM
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Polly Titchwillow
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While Jhorn and Halas spoke with the elderly woman, Polly took a step back. Arms crossed, she lowered her voice, so that only Aender and Barry could hear her words. 'I don't trust her,' the Hexblood growled, giving the woman a doubtful look. 'A kindly old woman, bearing food for hungry travelers? I've heard that tale before, and it never ends well for the travelers.'

Shifting uneasily, dodging the old lady's gaze, she turned left and right on the ball of her right foot, obviously unsettled. 'Nothing we can do about it here, though... But I'd be very wary walking into this... "Suckhole", as they call it. I'm on to her,' she says, giving her companions a knowing look.


 


 
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Old Oct 13th, 2021, 08:05 AM
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Aender listened to the old woman eyeing her as she spoke, he could tell she was doing the same of the odd group before her eyes. They most certainly were not your average band of adventurers. Sometimes he thought they appeared more like a joke, A gnome, a halfling, a hexblood, a human and an elf walked into a bar. If he thought about it they were all quite different but it seemed to work for them thus far, so he didn't overthink things.

"Well caution is always wise, but I am thoroughly looking forward to a hot meal and a good ale, not to mention a bed and perhaps a bath even to wash the road from my body."

Looking to the old woman he smiled, she didn't seem bad, but he wasn't always the best judge of character. "Thank you, that sounds excellent to the Suckhole we go."

That said he turned and started making his way certain his companions would follow. After all they had all been walking for quite some time, and he and Halas had much shorter legs. Getting off his feet sounded incredible, not to mention the promise of food and drink.

 


 
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Old Oct 13th, 2021, 09:16 PM
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Barry
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Polly's scepticism was met with nothing but smiles from Barry. I guess there's comfort in familiarity. So Polly.
"Well, worse case scenario, the little old woman is baiting us for werewolve feed, then well...yay. Job half done. There's a silver lining to everything, you know. Like how your scowl really brings out your eyes."but before she had a chance to chide him, Barry moved towards the inn, looking for somewhere to hitch his mule. Half way down he turned back with a wide smile and called out, "Or like how the more we stand around talking about getting clean and fed, the better it will feel when we actually do."


 
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Old Oct 14th, 2021, 12:06 AM
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Jhorn Sarkany
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Although he doesn't visibly show it, Jhorn is grateful that the charismatic Halas has taken over the conversation. He is a man of simple words and direct action, and his conversational abilities tend to reflect that - Jhorn recognizes however that such an approach is not always agreeable to everyone. Jalad Torntview seems to be the one they are looking for her, and off to the Suckhole it is for all of them.

Fingering his last silver in his pocket, Jhorn's stomach growls slightly, but staying under a roof tonight with a hot meal most likely wasn't in the cards tonight. He begins to consider the surrounding terrain as to where would be a good place to pitch his bedroll - preferably near a tree in case it rains. At least he still has some rations to eat - a soldier marches on his stomach, and Jhorn definitely isn't picky about what he eats. Still, they should at least enter the Suckhole and talk to this Jalad first.

Motioning with his arm towards the Suckhole towards the others, Jhorn leads the way to the inn.


 


 
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Old Oct 14th, 2021, 12:34 AM
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”What rhymes with effulgent?” Mara muttered under her breath, having been mulling over this particularly tricky bit of wordplay for some time as she walked in step with the others, arms resting on either end of the halberd shaft resting over her shoulders. Ready to ask for help at long last, she came to an abrupt stop in the road just past the old woman’s corn stall where the others had paused, suddenly realizing they weren't out on the road anymore. The tall half orc looked around, slightly puzzled by her surroundings before making eye contact with some of the others, a smile on her face, ”Hey, we made it.”

Taking a closer look around Mara could tell this was a place ripe for an up-and-coming entertainer, as she doubted there were many others around to vye for stage time. Perhaps she would have a chance to try some of her new poems before they left, and she absolutely had a new take on telling Friends I Weep For You, but maybe not tonight. She might not have noticed the wear from the march while she was still moving, but having stopped for even a little time her legs were beginning to protest most vehemently for a rest.

”The Unsuckable Suckhole?” she asks of no one in particular as she takes a moment to ponder the meaning behind the peculiar name. It was not quite the whimsical alliteration most pubs, taverns, or inns went for, but it was certainly evocative enough to garner some thought. Thinking didn’t put food in her belly, though, and so she shrugged and followed Jhorn into the inn. ”I hope it’s nice.”




 


 
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Old Oct 14th, 2021, 12:58 AM
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The Suckhole
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As you all turn towards the inn, you see a couple of families leaving - heading back to their hovels you assume. The sun is close to setting and you guess full dark is less than an hour away now. As you get closer, you can tell a section of the inn is dedicated to stables, and the opposite section looks as though it would have bedrooms, making the kitchen and common room rather small. A plump teenage girl is just finishing cleaning two adjacent tables that were just vacated by the families that left. A few other families seem to be eating bowls of gruel and bread. Lots of bread. The smell of the freshly baked bread permeates the place and some of your stomachs respond with a growl, despite how unappetizing the gruel appears.

The girl looks up, surprised to see the adventurers piling into the adobe building. "Well, there!" She says with a bright grin. "I think you all can squeeze into these two tables. Can I bring you some ale? We also have mead," then she lowers her voice conspiratorially, "but I don't recommend the wine. It's not very good."
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Old Oct 14th, 2021, 06:36 AM
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Polly Titchwillow
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'Pungent, rodent, malcontent, resent, scent,' Polly tried, offering Mara some suggestions. 'Are you working on something new? Something to recite at the inn, this evening?' Despite her obviously useless suggestions, the Hexblood smiled proudly, as if she had just helped create a masterpiece. Polly wasn't one for words, but she liked playing the flute, and had on occasion provided a musical backdrop to Mara's far more artistic peformance... Much to Mara's dismay.

She shook her head at Barry's remark, an involuntary smile creeping onto her face. Backhanded or not, a compliment was something the Hexblood was hardly used to. 'I can get behind the fed part. The bath part... Eh.' She shrugged nonchalantly. True, it had been some time since she last had a bath... But then again, she had survived childhood with hardly ever taking a bath, not counting the occasional jump into a river when an especially succulent fish swam by. Mmm, fish...

Once inside, she listened impatiently while the serving girl gave her spiel, then walked forward, unhooking her flask and tapping the scratched, metal surface. 'See this? I call this "bottled patience". Whenever I'm running low on patience, I take a swig. But now the thing's almost empty. Any chance you could refill it?' Craning her head a little, the Hexblood cut off the girl's next question. 'Put anything alcoholic in there. Celigune knows, I've got a mix going on in there. Bit of ale, bit of wine, bit of mead, some things even I don't recognize. Honestly I'm curious what flavour I'll end up with next.'

'So, that,' she said, placing her drinking order. 'If there's anything left in whatever bottle you use to restore my patience, leave it on the table with us. And what is the biggest plate of meats you're legally allowed to serve customers? I'm hungry.'


 


 
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Old Oct 14th, 2021, 08:31 AM
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Fane Arroway - Variant Human Divination Wizard(sheet)
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Fane sat down with the rest of the party. As hungry and tired as the rest of them, he still took out his pack of marked cards and motioned to the young serving girl. "Cards... I've got some... in my hand. Pick one, any one," he said in his usual halting cadance as he deftly fanned out the cards upside down in one hand. The others had each seen the card trick at least a dozen times during there travels together. After the second time it became less impressive. Although he hadn't performed his traveling magic show for years, the magic tricks all came back with ease, just like churning butter. Plus he was performing real magic now, something a little more useful to the group in their adventures. This was just a little ice breaker he liked to use when meeting new people.

After thoroughly impressing the young serving girl with his trick, at least that's how he interpreted the quizzical look on her face, his hunger finally caught up with him. "Wine... I'll try it. How bad could it be? Road less traveled and all, know what I mean?" he said, looking over to Polly sitting next to him. He let the others discuss the current mission they were working on. Right now his immediate mission was to fill his belly with some food and less traveled wine.


 

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