(More from Episode #3)
[Current Party: Grolip, Gulsen]
Dwarf and Ratfolk walked down the hill towards the neighboring docks that served Dragonclaw Township. Along the way were a number of low houses with fences just tall enough to keep in the chickens that strolled the grounds. While there were Humans, there were also Halflings who tossed seed to the ground, or picked at their gardens. There were brown or white furred Ratfolk who chatted and dealt with trinkets from the river with their neighbors.
[While this area is relatively safe, it is also rough and tumble. There is a 1-in-8 chance for encounter. The result of which is a 1! An Encounter occurs.]
(A secret roll reveals that a pickpocket closes in on the party. The GM rules that Grolip, with his Ratfolk senses, has a chance of sensing someone stepping close and trying to filch from Gulsen. He rolls a d20+3 vs. d20+1 to represent the thief. The results are 22 vs. 6 respectively)
Grolip's ears spring up as he hears a soft footfall hit the ground. A brief foreign whiff excites his nose that he suddenly spins to catch a young Ratfolk with his clawed hand reaching into Gulsen's pocket.
Grolip: “And where do you think you're going with that?”
Initiative is rolled
Grolip (+6): 23
Gulsen (+6): 13
Grolip balls his fist a launches a fist to punch the Ratfolk youth. His attack roll is d20+3 vs. AC 10 for a total of Natural 1! Grolip's punch overshoots and sets himself up for a counter attack. The youth rolls d20+1 for a total of 11. The thieving Ratfolk flashes his claws for a slash that scraps some of Grolip's armor.
Gulsen launches himself into the thief in a tackle attempt. He rolls a d20+3 vs. AC 10 for a total of 9. The youth sidesteps and Gulsen carries over, not enough to fall to the ground, but he is momentarily distracted.
The thief takes off with a full run, turning a hard corner and slipping in an alley between two shanty houses. He makes a Stealth check (d20+1) to try and obfuscate his trail. He rolls a Natural 20! Any tracking check is made at a Disadvantage.
(Gain 100 XP for thwarting a robbery. Each character gains 50 XP)
Grolip and Gulsen makes his way to the Dockmaster's office. Like a lot of buildings outside the village, the master's office is one story building made of wooden planks instead of piled stone. Several windows remain shuttered with a crossbar placed in the center to deter anyone sneaking through, there is no glass within the windows. In the air, the smell of rotting fish clogs the air. Just inside the building the pair finds a brown furred Ratfolk sitting at the desk. A brass nameplate says “Rikkan Dukat”. The cloying scent of incense tries to beat back the rank of dead fish.
Grolip: “Are you him?”
Rikkan: “That would be correct, sir.” He looks up from his paper. “Can I help you with something?”
Gulsen: “Are you the man to see about theft complaints?”
Rikkan: “Was it piracy by water?”
Rikkan: “Then that's not my department, try the watch. I'm sure you'll find a halberdier half-half asleep in these parts. I'm just the Dockmaster.”
Grolip: “How's the rivers been with the red mold?”
Rikkan: “In terrible shape at this point. Fishing boats have to work farther down to bring in their hauls, taking them further and further out, and the further they go, the little I can do with my patrol boat to protect them. Then there is the damn smell...” He lights another stick of incense and leaves it smoldering n the table.
Grolip: “I need to have a message sent down to Seaside. Do you have a recommendation of a boat that can move a parcel?”
Rikkan: Uses his clawed finger to shuffle through a few notes, his eyes turning over page after page before stopping. “The Hawk is in port, I know they've moved parcels before... anything I should know about this parcel?”
Grolip: “Just a message confirming our survival. It's barely a parcel, more like a letter.”
Rikkan: “Then ask for an Anton Corelli. He's probably down at the Green Dragon Tavern-”
Grolip: “Oh, so there is a Green Dragon Inn.”
Rikkan: “Not an inn, it's a Tavern. It doesn't have rooms, just a place to get drunk at.”
Gulsen: “I have a few questions of my own, if you don't mind.”
Rikkan: “Not at all, what can I help you with?”
Gulsen: “Have you any idea where the source of corruption is coming from? Have you noticed anything about it?”
Rikkan: “All I know is it flows down from the north. It's funny, I do recall the day we started seeing the mold slurp down the river. It was the morning after I had gotten a number of reports from boats sailing down from the north of ghostly lights around Ultrath- that's an abandoned Keep in this area. I'd say a day or two north from here.”
Gulsen: “Ghost lights, huh? Did any ships pull in to investigate.”
Rikkan: “I'm afraid you have the wrong set of people. A lot of sailors around here are Halflings and Ratfolk, none of whom are too eager to deal with something supernatural. I do know a boat was seen moored just off from the beach near the Keep. I believe... wait...” He shuffles through another page or two: “Yes. The Bloated Float. Very much a human crewed vessel made landfall there. Captain Selene Lachance was at the helm. I'll have to ask if it's been seen- check back with me later.”
Gulsen and Grolip in unison: “Thank-you for your time.”
Grolip bows his head, chirping in his bestial language which the harbor master responds in kind. As they exit Gulsen follows, not one to pry into the business between Ratfolk.
Grolip: “Do you mind seeing this Captain Corelli? You might have a better report with him.”
Gulsen: “What makes you think I'll be any better?”
Grolip: “Corelli sounds like a Human name. And while I won't say Ratfolk and Humans don't get along, Humans seem to have a better relationship with Dwarves.”
Gulsen: “Sure, fine... just watch my back while we're in there.”
Grolip: “Of course, of course.”
[Current Party: Annalise]
Annalise leans back on the bar stool of the Red Dragon Inn's common room. The mold has driven in farmers and herders from their fields and their charges. Their eyes downcast and their surly voices call for drinks as they enter and they take their seats. Annalise notices moving among the group is a woman whose strawberry blond locks are striking among dirt smudged skin or clinging fur faces. She offers a brief nod and asks if she'd like another coffee.
Annalise: “I've had two cups, and two cups is enough for me.”
Winifred: “Well just call out for Winnie if ye need anything.”
(Annalise makes a Notice check about the room. She invokes her Perceptive skill for the Advantage. She rolls a d20+3 for a total of 15.)
Annalise spends a few minutes sipping coffee and looking around the room. Among the patrons she notices two whose eyes gleam with some usable intelligence. One is a black furred Minotaur, whose heavy countenance takes up the entirety of a backwall. The other is a brown-and-grey haired gentleman who looks around the room as he drinks, his blue eyes showing that longing look for company. For a brief moment their eyes meet, and then the old man's eyes dart back to his glass.
Annalise waves Winifred over.
Annalise: “Whose that old fellow sitting right there.” She gestures to the man she briefly made eye contact with.
Winifred: “That is Efram Lynch. He owns a farm on the northern reaches of town.” She clucks her tongue and shakes her head: “Poor dear, his farm has been hit worst by the mold.”
Annalise: “And the bull, do you know who he is?”
Winifred: “That fellow- he arrived recently with a small band of travelers. The others pushed on when they found the mold had taken hold, he's the only one that's left. He rents a room, but I shan't say much else as to due injury to his cherished confidentiality.”
Annalise: Flashes $10 with quizzical look on her face. [She rolls a d20+3 for a total of 12.]
Winifred: Takes up the money and says: “That's Gundar Threemoon, from the western reaches.” She leans in: “A very serious Minotaur.”
Annalise: “Aren't they all?” [She slides from her chair and approaches Efram's table. She asks: “Mind a little company?”
Efram: The old man's eyes glance up to her before speaks: “Not at all... I don't get a lot of company in the common room. A lot of people prefer their privacy.”
Annalise: Sits and says: “Well I don't mind having some company. You were a little shaken when our eyes first met.”
Efram: “It's been awhile since I've seen a pretty girl.”
Annalise: flutters her eyes a few times before saying: “It's been awhile since you've seen a clean field too, huh?”
Efram: Becomes quiet and looks into his drink: “Indeed. Out of all of the fields in the area, mine is truly blighted by the Red.”
Annalise: “Why don't you tell me about it?” (She rolls a Persuasion check of d20+3 vs. TN 10 for a total of 9.)
Efram: He shrugs and says: “There isn't much to tell. I woke up one morning and I noticed some of the streams had become congested with this red film. Soon my crops, they began showin' the red and they started dying. My grass started to turn red, which infected one my cows. Poor girl had to be put down.”
Annalise: “Anything else?”
Efram: Shakes his head no and goes back to drinking.
Annalise: “Thanks for the time.” She rises and walks away.
Annalise approaches the table at the back corner and comes across a black furred Minotaur with three white stripes across the bridge of his snout. He nurses a drink as his dark black eyes raise and meets hers accompanied by a quizzical lift of the eyebrow. A tuft of fur hangs off his chin, which one of his large hands plays with.
Annalise: “May I sit?”
Gundar: “Be my guest.” He gestures to the seat across from him.
Annalise: Taking a seat she says: “Perhaps you'd be interested in some work? I'm with a small adventuring party that is in the area.”
Gundar: “What makes you think I'm in the adventuring business?”
Annalise: “Would you be offended if I said you're a Minotaur traveler in a town full of Human farmers, Ratfolk and Halfling sailors... maybe a few Elves.”
Gundar: “I'd be a little offended.” He then tips back his glass: “But lucky for you, I am interested in doing some work.”
Annalise: “Then I'd like to make an offer- rights to items recovered in lieu of a lot of upfront pay. Plus we can get you food... and I'll pick your tab on that drink.” (Annalise makes a persuade check of d20+3 vs. TN 11 for a total of 16.)
<Gundar Threemoon is added to the roster>
[Current Party: Valkira, Nora, Bonaparte, Grolip, Gulsen, Annalise, and Gundar]
Annalise: “So, I brought in Gundar here as an extra mix of magic-and-martial support. Gundar Threemoon, these are the others.” She makes brief introductions of each.
Gundar: “How do you do.” He offers his hand to Valkira.
Valkira: Hesitates and then shakes his hand. “So nice to meet you, you say that Annalise recruited you at the Red Dragon?”
Gundar: “She did. A share of treasure or items recovered, plus she paid for my bar tab.”
Valkira: Gives Annalise a look of question and of smoldering disapproval.
Annalise: “I figured we could use all of the help we could get.”
Gundar: “Is there a problem?”
Bonaparte: “Yeah, the pay on items is shrinking. Well, while you were all out and about! I created a sample of the mix and tested it on a few samples brought in. The mix is working well and can counteract the mold.”
Valkira: Changes her look from Annalise to Bonaparte: “Excellent. The trouble is do we leave the chemicals here? Take them with us when we move north? Or put them under official protection of the mayor's office?”
Nora: “This place is too small to properly guard something this important. We should take it with us.”
(Does anyone disagree? 15% with a result of 71% No!)
The other party members agree with the plan to take the item with them. Furthermore information is shared by the party. The following is noted:
-Efram Lynch's farm and the river show that the mold is coming from the north and moving south.
-Rikkan notes ghostly lights are being reported showing up in Ultrath Keep.
-The town has a problem with a group bandit / separatists known as 'Red Knives'. They are viewed as too primitive to get their hands on alchemical weapons. But the Red Mold was developed by Humans for the Great War, and some of the members of the Red Knives are Great War veterans.
Valkira: “Get some rest everyone. Tomorrow I want to head north to check out Ultrath.”
Bonaparte: “I like it. If there isn't any Red Knives, there is bound to be some Elven treasure or two we can scrounge.”
Valkira: “Mold first, then scrounging. Although I do agree there are probably some riches worth salvaging.”