Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Episode #2: Into the Swamps

Episode #2

Day #1

The party assembles in the morning after breakfast at the Direhorn Livery Stable. They are greeted by the Direhorn brothers, Ganaje and Tinosh. The two Minotaurs are gruff and curt in their hellos as they draw out a pair of horses and a cart. Ganaje taps the white stripes on the bridge of his snout as he approaches the party.

Ganaje: “Mister Chalmers says we're to come looking for you if you don't report in for about a week. Keep to the roads and away from the bulk of the Marsh and you'll do fine.”

Nora: “Do you know of any trouble on the roads we should look out for?”

[Does Ganaje Know? Chaos Level 5, 50% Chance. Result is: No at 82%]

Ganaje: “I haven't heard much outside the gates. I guess there are some highwaymen you have to look out for, but nothing solid as of late. Just life on the Borderlands, you know?”

Nora: “Don't I know it.” She shares a nod of understanding before returning to the party.

Valkira: “Thank-you for your help, Mister Direhorn. You two, Mister Direhorn.” She nods to indicate Tinosh.

Tinosh: Nods and goes to open the gate while whistling.

Ganaje: “Tinosh isn't much of a morning person, or a talker, or- well he does a good job with the horses. Anyway, one week, after that we'll come looking for you. Good luck.”

The party sets from Seaside into the heart of the Great Salt Marsh to get to Dragonclaw. It will take three days for the party to reach their destination. Each day will have two encounter rolls: one represents daytime and the other the evening.

Day 1 is in heavily patrolled territory. There is a 1-in-10 chance for an encounter. The result is: 4. The party makes it way through the road. Their route takes them north and into the east, through a relatively clear path in the Marsh. On either side are waving reeds and murky waters of the Marsh. There is the occasional splash of fish and cry of an animal. The worst is the stinging flies.

[Bonaparte makes an Alchemy check. He has his traveling bag, but is sitting in a moving cart. He has no Advantage or Disadvantage when he makes this roll of d20+3 vs. TN 10. The result is 7, failure.]

Bonaparte attempts to create a special paste to ward off the flies, but finds the current conditions ill conducive to creating a solution. The party makes a check to keep their head clear while under the assault.

The TN is 10.

Valkira: d20+3 vs. TN 10 results in: Natural 1.
Nora: d20+3 vs. TN 10 results in: 12.
Grolip: d20+3 vs. TN 10 results in: 20.
Annalise: d20+3 vs. TN 10 results in: 11
Gulsen: d20+3 vs. TN 10 results in: 14
Bonaparte: d20+3 vs TN 10 results in: 19

Valkira: “The... the flies.” She cannot help but drop her shield and sword and begins slapping, almost clawing at her face as she cries out.

Nora: “Chief! Relax, just relax.” She reaches out to Valkira to steady her. [Nora makes a Diplomacy check of d20+3 vs. TN 10. She has the Advantage of knowing Valkira the longest, but has the Disadvantage of Valkira's state. The two are canceled out and she makes a normal roll. The result is 15. Valkira is calmed and the party comes to a halt.]

The current makeup is as follows:

Annalise and Gulsen have point in front of the wagon.
Nora cares for Valkira in the center, just in front of the wagon.
Grolip is at the reigns of the wagon.
Bonaparte sits beside the alchemy trunk in the back of the wagon.

Annalise: “Looks like it was just too much for fearless leader.”

Gulsen: “We all have our bad days, Ann. The Marsh, it gets to everyone eventually.”

Annalise: “And how long have you been on the Marsh?”

Gulsen: “A few months now. I already cracked up once when I got here.”

(Does Nora call to a halt? Chaos Level 4 with a 50% chance. The result is 89%. No)

Nora: Offers some water to Valkira after getting her on-board the wagon and getting her gear stowed on the wagon. She calls ahead: “We'll push to campsite. Annalise, Gulsen keep a sharp lookout ahead.”

Annalise: “Right.”

Gulsen: “We shall.”

The party continues, breaking only for a brief lunch. Valkira drinks a portion of water and eats quietly. Still slightly withdrawn after her display. Gulsen, the Cleric speaks up during the downtime portion.

Gulsen: “Don't feel too bad, Miss Valkira. The swamp- it gets to everyone except for the Grippli. But those frogmen have such tough skin that even if the flies did go for them, they'd never feel it. You just had a bad experience, that's all.” [D20+3 vs. TN 10. He rolls a 20.]

The others in the party nods and color returns to Valkira's cheeks.

Valkira: “Thank-you for the kind words. I'm sorry I broke down like that.”

Nora: “We're just getting use to the place. Its doubly difficult for you, Chief.”

Valkira: “I have been living in Port Kyna for awhile, Nora.”

Annalise: “That maybe technically the Borderland, but you ain't in Port Kyna. Whole new place here.”

[Bonaparte eats little to perfect his anti-bug solution. He now rolls with an advantage of D20+3 vs. TN 10 for a result of: 11.]

Bonaparte: “I've got a solution to solve all of our problems.” He produces a phial filled with a green viscous fluid and says: “Rub this on your skin, all of you.”

The party presses forward into the evening. As they get further into the wilderness, the patrols of local security lessen, and the possibility of an encounter grows. There is a 1-in-8 chance for an encounter with the result of a 4. There is no encounter the evening. Due to character development during the day, each member is rewarded 200 XP.


Day 2

The party arises to a new day and sets off. Bonaparte's substance is able to keep the stinging flies to a manageable degree. The party journeys and there is a 1-in-6 chance for an encounter. The result is: 2.

There is no encounter. The party's current line-up is as follows:

Annalise and Gulsen – on Point a distance ahead.
Valkira and Nora – on Point not too far from the front of the cart.
Grolip – at the reigns of the cart.
Bonaparte – behind the cart.

Grolip: Looking over his shoulder and saying: “So when you're not casting spells or making potions, what do you do?”

Bonaparte: “I dabble a little in astrology and star watching.”

Grolip: “No kidding, huh? You ever predict anything worth a crown?”

Bonaparte: Shrugs and says: “Meh, I'm 0-for-3. But one day maybe.”

The evening encounter has a 2-in-6 chance for an encounter. The result is 6. No encounter.

The party makes camp and Grolip makes a Survival check with his survival kit to try and bring in some extra dinner He rolls a d20+3 with Advantage versus TN 10 – the area is plentiful with fish. He rolls an 11. Success! Before long the air is filled with smoke of grilled lake fish and the party eats with their spirits raised.

Annalise: Offers a smile and says: “Pretty good work, Grolip. Maybe the Elves would you use for more than a stableboy if they took you on.”

Grolip: “From stableboy to cook, I'm certainly coming up in your estimation.” He grins and continues to eat.

Valkira: “We should be one more full day out. We haven't seen or encountered anything... that has me nervous. What do any of you know about the area?” Her eyes search from Gulsen, Annalise, Grolip, and Bonaparte.

The following Lore checks are made at d20+3 vs. TN 10 as a base. Every 2 points above base the character knows a little more than before.

Gulsen: Natural 1 (Gulsen knows a fact that is false.)
Grolip: 13
Annalise: 10
Bonaparte: 9

Gulsen: “I've heard there are many riches located at Guisman Manor, which is located within the swamp. I always heard it was located dead center of the mire, on the last piece of dry ground left in the Marsh.
Grolip: (Spends one of his facts to try and catch Gulsen's mistake. He rolls a d20+3 vs. TN 12 for a total of Natural 20). He says: “There is a Guisman Manor, but it isn't in the center. That's a yarn a bunch of Orcs sell-”

Gulsen: “Mine came from Ratfolk.”

Grolip: “That the NATIVES sell to the outsiders. I've seen it in the distance, its outside of Seaside to the Northeast. As to answer your question, Valkira, Dragonclaw plays host to nearby Ultrath Keep. It's an Elven ruin from the Grand War.”

Annalise: “Dragonclaw was founded by Horatio Robliare. He was an adventurer who was chased out of Seaside by his partner, “Lady” Honoria- she was a fine lady, she just was never recognized for her Ladyship of Seaside by so-called great powers. He founded Dragonclaw and hoped it would be a a greater center of power. He just forgot one thing.”

Nora: “Never cross a lady who can make it in a port town?”

Annalise: “That. But he also tried building a center not too far from a swamp. When you're down here you find better profit along the coast.”

Valkira: “There is still a town that thrives there. He must have done something right.”

Annalise: “Yeah, eventually, I guess he was bound to be lucky at some point.”

Bonaparte: “I lived in the Gnomish enclave and served under Master Locke. Besides the immediate area of Seaside, I know little of local rumors... I did hear the story of Lady Honoria, that was quite amusing.”

The party settles in as the night continues on leaving them in peace.


Day 3

The roads have grown wild and there is trouble aplenty on the roads. The frequency of danger has grown as well with 2 checks representing morning / early afternoon and two for late after afternoon / evening. The morning is a 2-in-6 with the first result being a 6. Traveling order is as follows:

Annalise - At a distant lead.
Gulsen – Mid point between Annalise and Valkira and Nora.
Valkira: Ahead of the cart, walking next to Nora.
Nora: Walking next to Valkira, ahead of the cart.
Grolip: Driving the cart.
Bonaparte: Riding in the back.

Check #2 (Mid-Day) has a 2-in-6 chance. The result of which is: 4.

The party breaks for lunch with no sightings. Though looking over the nearby pools of water that a red sheen has taken hold.

Bonaparte: Succeeds in an automatic Alchemy check given his background and says: “Getting close. No point in dealing with the trace stuff here, I just wouldn't drink it.”

Valkira: “Where would be a good spot to deal with it?”

Bonaparte: “At the source of the corruption. Once we've found the epicenter we can neutralize it and the rest will work itself out.”

Evening has begun. There is a 3-in-6 chance for early evening for an encounter. The result of which is a 1. The party marching follow is as follows:

Annalise: In lead of the party. Standing next to her is Gulsen.
Gulsen: In lead of the party. Standing to him is Annalise.
Valkira: In second tier, just ahead of the wagon. She is standing next to Nora.
Nora: In second tier, just ahead of the wagon. She is standing next to Valkira.
Grolip: Driving the cart.
Bonaparte: Walking behind the cart for the exercise.

As evening approaches the party continues to move. The air is still and a visible tension lingers. Plant life which once teemed near the marsh bed has dried up, under the flicker of torchlight gleams the red mold that covers everything. It leaves a faint taste in the air.

[Annalise makes a check with her Perceptive skill. This normally gives her the Advantage, but due to the lower visibility made by a lack of the moon it puts her at an evening footing instead of a Disadvantage. She rolls a d20+3 for a total of 8. As she walks, she gains no special bonus to a surprise roll. GM's may surprise the party on a 2-in-6 chance. The result is a 1.]

A few more steps and a sudden figure walks to the center from nearby treeline onto the road. Annalise is brought to a sudden halt, her gun still shouldered as the figure looks at her. The rest of the party comes to a stop.

The figure uses up the surprise to speak.

Figure: “Alright. This is your one chance to go back from where you came from unharmed. That trunk does not roll any further to Dragonclaw.”

Annalise: “I don't suppose me telling you this is a free highway will convince you to step aside.”

Figure: Shakes his head and let's out a whistle. There is a cry in the forest and the attack begins. Surprised is used up, so a standard initiative roll is made.

GM (+0): 10
Valkira (+3): 18
Nora (+3) 11
Gulsen (+6): 22
Annalise (+9): 20
Bonaparte (+12): 13
Grolip (+6) 12

Gulsen readies his shield. His AC increases by +1 and his Movement decreases to +5.

Annalise quick draws her musket and fires from the hip at Bandit #1. She rolls a d20+3 vs. AC 11 for a roll of 18. Hit! She rolls 1d8 points of damage for a total of 6. The Bandit #1 takes a gut shot that causes him to fall backwards to the ground. His body twitches and he appears to expire.

Annalise: “Shouldn't have started by talking.”

Valkira readies her shield. She gains a +1 to AC but takes a Movement decrease to +2. She calls out as a free action: “We need extra light!”

Bonaparte casts floating lantern and bathes the area in a white light. To the west within the trees lies several figures with bows. He moves to take cover behind the cargo box.

Grolip makes a handle animal check and uses the break to slowly inch the cart forward. He calls out: “Take cover! Do something! I'm coming through and planning to open her up in a second.” His roll is d20+3 vs. TN 10 for a total of 9. The horses refuse to budge.

Nora moves to engage one of the nearby bandits, a battlecry on her lips as she swings at him. Her attack is d20+3 vs. AC 11 for a total of 5. Despite the luminescence of the spell, she misjudges how far she had to swing and misses.

Bandit #1 is dead.

Bandit #2 slashes at Nora with a d20+1 vs. Her AC 15. The roll is a total of 19. Hit! The Bandit deals 1d6 points of damage for a total of 5.

Bandit #3 takes an arrow shot at Grolip who has an Armor Class of 12. The roll is d20+1 for a total of 18. Hit! The roll is a d6 for a total of 6 points. A nasty arrow strikes Grolip at the side, forcing him to make another Handle Animal check. The roll is d20+3 vs. a TN 11 for a total of 17. He maintains control while gritting his teeth.

Bandit #4 takes a bow shot at Valkira. His d20+1 vs. Her 16 AC for a total of 14. Miss! The arrow sticks in the shield.

Bandit Leader: Behind the bowmen is a tall figure decked in red dyed leathers and a mask. His eyes survey the field as he chooses a target. The Leader will attack 1d6 (1-3 Nora, 4-5 Valkira, 6 Gulsen). The roll results is a 1. Seeing Nora already on the ropes he charges with his own longsword and makes a slash at her. He rolls a d20+2 vs. 15 for a total of 7. She uses her greatsword to slap away his attack.

Initiative #2

GM: 20
Valkira (+2): 16
Nora (+3): 7
Gulsen (+5): 8
Annalise (+9): 11
Bonaparte (+12): 27
Grolip (+6): 22

Bonaparte throws a flask of Alchemist fire at Bandit's #3 and #4 for an attack roll of d20+3 vs. TN 10. On a hit he deals 2d6 damage with a Saving Throw from the Bandits to take half. He rolls a 17. Hit! Bandit #3's save is a total of 4 (Failure!). Bandit #4's save is a total of 4 (Failure!)

The total damage both bandits takes is 2d6 for a total of 7 points vs. HP 3. The concussive blast from the impact and fire strikes both men square in the chest. They barley have time to scream before they hit the ground, their bodies twitching and on fire.

Grolip removes the arrow and tries to push the horses to move forward slowly. He rolls a d20+3 vs. TN 11 for a total of 18. He begins moving forward, giving other characters a chance to move out of the way until next turn.

Bandit #2 makes another strike at Nora. He rolls a d20+1 vs. her AC: 15. The result is 15. Hit! For a roll of 1d6 damage (4 points). Another hard slash against her.

Bandit Leader also slashes at Nora with a d20+2 vs. AC 15. He rolls a total of 12. Miss! Despite his slightly higher skill then his minion, he is unable to close in and wound his prey. She slaps the blade away again.

Valkira closes in and engages Bandit Lead and Bandit #2 (1-3 Lead, 4-6 Minion. 3). She attacks Bandit Lead with a d20+3 vs. AC 12 for a total of 10. Miss! Bandit parries her sword blow.

Annalise moves out of the way and reloads her short for next round.

Gulsen charges into the field and takes a swing at an enemy (d6: 1-3 Bandit Lead, 4-6 Bandit #2: 4). His attack is a d20+3 vs. AC 11 for a total of 8. Bandit #2 kicks out and catches Gulsen on the shield, causing his attack to falter.

Nora makes a an attack roll against Bandit Lead to support Valkira. She rolls a d20+3 vs. AC 12 for a total of 9. Miss! Bandit Lead is able to parry off the attacks.

At the end of the round Bandit Lead and his minion, Bandit #2 are currently on the field. Bandit #2 makes a morale check of d10 that has to equal 1 to remain. He rolls a 8 and will attempt flee this round. Bandit Leader automatically leaves with his Minion if possible.

Initiation #3

GM: 13
Valkira (+2): 15
Nora (+3): 4
Gulsen (+5): 24
Annalise (+9): 21
Grolip (+6): 10
Bonaparte (+12): 20

Gulsen Attacks Bandit #2 again for a roll of d20+3 vs. AC 11 for a total of 7. Pick is caught mid stroke by Bandit #2's sword and deflected from the man.

Annalise takes aim, waiting for a clear shot. She holds her action this round.

Bonaparte stays under cover and really hopes the fighting will soon be over.

Valkira attacks Bandit lead with her sword. This is a d20+3 vs. AC 12 for a total of 11. A hairs breath from cutting him, she certainly makes contact with his leather armor, but the blade bounces off one of the plates.

Bandit #2 and Bandit Lead break and flee back into the woods. Both parties make a withdraw instead of a rout, allowing a d20+HD (d20+1 for Minion / d20+2 for Lead) to avoid parting shots. Minion rolls a 20. Lead rolls a 6. The lead takes two parting shots from Valkira and Nora. This against his AC of 12.

Valkira rolls a total of 10.

Nora rolls with advantage, he offers his flank to her. She rolls a total of 22. Hit! She deals 1d8 points of damage for a total of 8 points. A grievous wound to his backside that sends him stumbling forward, alive for a moment.

Annalise takes her shot having held her action. She gains Advantage against a floundering target. She rolls a d20+3 (Advantage) for a total of 19. Hit! She rolls a d8 for a total of 7. The bullet crashes between his shoulders and fells him. Bandit Lead is dead.

Leader plus Minion's #1, #3, #4, and #5 are down. They are human males who wear stained red armor (Light, leather). Between the bodies there is 1d12 $'s for a total of $10 (in Silver). Each man maintains a sword, while Bandit Minions had a bow on them equating to 4 swords, 3 bows, 4 daggers, 4 leather armors.

Valkira: “Also take the bandannas, see if anyone in town recognizes these colors.”

Off of each face or neck a red bandanna is drawn off. There is no markings on the cloth itself, it is just a uniform red of an almost scarlet color.

Valkira and the others move to catch up with Grolip who has slowed while holding his wound.

Gulsen casts two Cure wounds on Nora and Grolip. Nora gets 2d6 hit points (total 6 hit points) and 2d6 back to Grolip (total 10). He notes: “Humans and the mold. Didn't you people mention earlier about humans making the mold as a weapon?”

Bonaparte: “We definitely know it isn't an accidental release of the chemical. Something is rotten in the state of Dragonclaw- not just the flora and fauna, something has true malfeasance for the area.”

Grolip: “Great. The roads are even more perilous and we still have to somehow get word to the Direhorns that their cart is safe.”

Valkira: “We'll figure something out. Take a breath and then we'll resume positions as before. Annalise? You ready to take lead?”

Annalise: Nods absentmindedly. She holds a pad and a gnomish ink pen, allowing her to make a pair of notches in her pad. She says: “Ready when you are, Valkira.”

Nora: “Going to play the ole notch game, huh?”

Annalise: “Want to compete? I've already bagged two tonight for a start.”

Nora: “I never was one for pissing contests. Besides, I think I'd get a partial kill on that last guy you shot.”

(Party is awarded 150 XP each for encounter completion)

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