Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Solo: Caves of Chaos - Episode 1: The Beginning

Part 1

Our story so far... three adventurer's left the port city of Rathmer to head deeper into the territory known as the Borderlands. With the end of the Great War, the Borderlands serve as a buffer state between Northwald, the Kingdom of the North and Sunrae, the Empire of the South. These two kingdoms serve a predominately Human culture in the north and Elven culture in the south. In-between large swathes of land are used to house those viewed as undesirable by these two kingdoms. In this state: rogues, non-humans, bestial types make their home and adventure in what was left behind. Our three heroes include...

Taicho Penwright: Taicho is a Tengu magician who is not even from the Known World but instead a distant, exotic land. He is a magician and scrollmaker who is in search of new opportunities in this far off place. He is eager to get to Port Kyna and from there in the Great Saltmarsh to tour the Elven ruins that were left behind in the war. To help him cross country he has formed an adventuring party with two others.

Ramona 'Ray' Wanderleaf: Ramona is an Elven exile who is tight lipped about why she was forced to flee from Sunrae. She now lives as a 'troubleshooter' for locals in Rathmer, but has grown born with life in the city of columns. She is eager to make her way to Port Kyna and start a more exciting life. Rather than pay for ship travel or serve on a caravan, she has decided to take a meandering route by joining with adventuring party.

Rendford Greymountain: Rendford Greymountain is a Dwarven hunter and scout who fought in the Great War as a mercenary for Northwald. Bitter about his experience and unwilling to make the journey back to the Crownguard Clanhall in the Dragonspine Mountain, Rendford has become what is known as a 'Hill Dwarf' and has taken to adventure. He doesn't have a long term, but viewing a need for safety in numbers, he has agreed to partner with a Rathmer local (Ramona Wanderleaf) and a newcomer, Taicho Penwright.

The party heads towards Gorman's Junction.

<Weather check is d10 = 10 with tags: Warm, Humid, & Hazy>

The party trudges towards the Spire River with little to say. Their heads are bowed as the thick pockets of humidity which awash the land makes walking miserable. It is only through the comfort of shade provided by the overhanging trees that helps put a step in front of another. The party has had several short breaks between stints of walking and just ahead the flowing river welcomes them.

Rendford: “Jus... just a few more steps and we'll be there.”

Ramona: “I could just jump in and swim it at this rate.”

Rendford: Shakes his head. “I wouldn't do that, lass. The Spire's current has taken a few people in the past. Hopefully we can splash our faces but no swimming in the river.”

Taicho: “How are the people around here?”

Rendford: “Oh their fine people, usually. I know the Stoutlys who rent the boats around these parts. Solid fellows.”

The bridge is a double wide platform that spans the river and is held up by a series of wooden vertical beams that are lashed to the supporting beams by a strong cord. The traffic is light and very few people pay attention to the party as they cross. There is no toll to cross the bridge and during the daylight hours the south gate is open and the party enters the town of Gorman's Junction.

The town bustles with activity, specifically a market that caters to the wagon trade as a freight warehouse stands by to hold and load goods that are set to go either north into Northwald or back south ultimately towards Port Kyna. There are Humans plentiful, some who are due back in the North, some who are permanent residents of the Borderlands. There are Dwarven traders with guardsmen armed with their runelock muskets and red powder. There are Gnome tinkerers who mend household items, two of which share a pipe with a Halfling whose brim hat and mud on her trousers suggest he's a fisherman or boater. The party continues forth...

<Is the party noticed by anyone? 50% Yes = 16. Who? 1) Human freight workers, 2) Dwarven traders, 3) Gnomes, 4) Halfling = 4) The Halfling>

The Halfling is average for his race with a slender build. His hair is thick and dark brown, heavy on the muttonchops. He wears a simple light green shirt with a leather vest with pouches that holds several tools. His trousers have mud on the cuffs and he wears a pair of soft cloth boots. Contrary to popular belief, Halflings do have hair on their feet, but that doesn't mean they like walking bare footed in the world. He wears a long brim hat which he takes off and fans himself as he approaches the party.

Halfling: “Well good afternoon, folks. Quite an odd trio for the day. Perhaps I can help you with directions?”

Ramona: “No thanks, I'm sure we can manage.”

Taicho: Raises an eyebrow at Ramona before turning back to the Halfling. “And who might you be, sir?”

Halfling: Tips his hat and says: “Well, quite an interesting look, sir. My name is Liam Wegley, formerly of the Lamplight Wegley's.”

Taicho: “Lamplight Wegley's...” He raises a brow.

Ramona: “Lamplight is leagues from here. What's that worth in these parts?”

Liam: Shrugs and says: “I own a fishing boat or two. I think I make pretty good money on it. Still, I like to help out new friends.”

Ramona: Rolls her eyes <d20+3 = 15.> Her eye roll is subtle and appears not to be noticed by the smiling Halfling.

Taicho: “Well, I thank-you sir. Perhaps you could point us to a tavern?”

Liam directs the part to near the center of town where the 'Tavern of the Full Tankard' (18b) sits. The tavern is a single story structure made of wooden planks with a steep angled shingle roof and stained glass windows that depict mugs of beer that are overflowing. <Tavern capacity = 83%>

The heat of the day has certainly brought in the business. People mill outside, people mill inside. The bar counter has an array of patrons sipping and chatting while a young lass works the crowd carrying a tray of drink over her head. There is an older man sweeping the corner and a middle-aged man at the bar itself with thick black and grey mustache working the taps.

Rendford: “This place looks fine, but the beer isn't as good as the Threebrew Brother's establishment.” Looks to the side, “Looks like the bard they hired back has left or got knifed for playing rotten.”

Taicho: “We should ask around and see if there is any rumor.”

Ramona: “I think I'm going to wait outside. The air is stuffy in here.” She turns and walks out the door.

Taicho: Looks after her <d20+3 Notice = 18> He notices a few of the bar patrons scowling in Ramona's wake. He arches a slender brow and turns to Rendford. “What is their matter with our companion?”

Rendford: “Bad memories, mate. Best not talk about them here. Come on! Let's belly up to the bar.” He approaches the bar with Taicho in tow. He throws some money down and says: “Right, let's set up some drink, fellas!”

<Rendford carouses by spending 3 gold to purchase a keg and spreads it around to the bar. This gives him enough influence to make a Carousing roll with the Advantage. He rolls 2d20+3 for a result of: 17>

The following rumors are given to him due to his time spent carousing:

-Some travelers been attacked by Red Knife rebels, some of whom use magical spells.

-Lizardmen raid the local shipping leaving Gorman's Junction and headed for the Great Salt Marsh. They have been more interested in carrying off loot then slaying sailors, though there have been deaths.

-Every seventh night the watch feeds a prisoner to a troll that lives under the bridge in exchange for maintenance and protection from any attacks that use the bridge to get to the town.

The party meets up at 'Bear and Bull Inn' (25) which is a few blocks away from the Tankard. The Inn is a two story wooden building with a gentle wooden gambrel roof that is painted brown. A couple of old milk pales sit near the front window, a reminder of the time when the B&B was once a bar. The name, as Taicho learns, comes from the stuffed bear the stands sentry by the front door and a boar's head in the common room. The inn is quieter compared to the Tankard, allowing the party to look over the clues.

Rendford: “I'm sure a riverboat captain would be happy to hire us on to protect his precious cargo from the Lizardmen's sticky fingers.”

Ramona: Shakes her head and said: “Personally I'd like to avoid the east.”

Rendford: “Got something against the Marsh?”

Ramona: “I went west to get away from the Empire. I'd rather like to check on that bridge with the troll.”

<Does the Innkeeper approach? 65% Yes = 63%>

Palmer: Mrs. Palmer is a bright faced, sweet nature plump widow who runs the B&B. She approaches with a tray of food for the party as she hears this talk: “Oh? That old rumor. You outsiders believe in anything.”

Taicho: “So there isn't any troll in these parts?” He smiled and pays for the bills tab as he takes a piece of fruit.

Palmer: “There's trolls, sure. This area is ripe with the nasty creature. But no town father I know would ever make a deal to feed these drunks to a troll. Blasted creature would be so drunk he'd just crash into the bridge.”

Taicho: “We could take a look into these bandits then. At least we would be helping the town. Maybe ingratiate ourselves.” He looks at Palmer and asks: “Do you know anything about it?”

<Does Palmer know anything? 65% Yes = 50%>

Palmer: “I don't know if there is any bandits there, but I do know a perfect place outside of town where bandits could hide. Some ways outside of town to the west, just past the forests there, lies an old manor that was for a time used for quarrying stone. I forget the owners of the manor- it was, well, a long time ago.”

Rendford: “Before the war?”

Palmer: Shrugs and continues: “A lot of the outer wall is destroyed, but a good portion of manor proper is still there. A good place for some bandits to hideout at.”

Ramona: “Sounds good enough for me. Let's start in the morning, though. Hopefully the weather clears up.”

Taicho: “Perhaps there's a place I can clean myself, Madam?” He asks, looking at Palmer.

Palmer: The old woman smiles and gestures behind her: “Certainly, my sweetie. Just follow that way to the water closet and wait. I'll bring in a bucket of warm water for you to bathe...”

-Party arrives at Gorman's Junction and learns some rumor.

-Party decides to see if the local ruins might hold some clue to bandit attacks in the area.

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