The Destiny Of Dunsany

Session #3

The party comes upon the human kidnappers and a band of orcs having a big fight. Harmattan argues otherwise, but Drax decides that he’s going to wait for the fighting to die down (as in, the orcs all die), and then send in the rogue Jamalla to grab the kid in the sack, and then beat everyone up. Jamalla manages to sneak up to the motionless bag, manages to quiet the kid down even though she’s never met the kid, and manages to grab the bag without the humans noticing. However, on the return trip Jamalla’s luck runs south, and so we all have to charge in.

Right at that moment Laraven and Vasilisa show up (either through just good woodsman skills or powerful transference magic is not explained), and battle is joined. Galeon the paladin charges straight at the enemy wizard, Drax and Harmattan establish a line in front of the main enemy fighters, Jamalla hustles the kid to safety, and Vasilisa and Laraven work to pick off targets with crossbow and prayer. The kidnappers’ minions go down quickly, but the mercenaries are well-armored and hard to hurt. Cyrilia throws a few arrows down-range, and Therrous just…leaves. Galeon has the wizard in an impossible position thanks to her divine challenge (basically flee, attack Galeon, or take damage). Finally, a few lucky hits from Laraven and Drax down the fighters, and Jamalla puts down the wizard with a finishing shot.

The party works quickly to bundle up the surviving kidnappers (7 of the original 10), as well as to greet the newly-freed Brog. Brog introduces himself as the unlikely King of the World, and Harmattan is inclined to believe this claim, seeing as how 21 people (elves, orcs, and humans) have died so far on his behalf. The group’s more immediate concern is getting out of the orcish wilderness. The direct border between the highlands and the civilized bits of Dunsany are heavily patrolled, so to avoid those we duck back into the elven woods to the southwest. The orcs don’t patrol the forest border so closely, because the elves frankly scare the bejeebers out of the orc tribes. With Therrous missing, Vasilisa acts as our guide and guarantor through the mystic forest, and we eventually make it back to Dunsany-town proper.

Back in town, Drax takes the guards and fighters off to the barracks for interrogation, while the rest of the party takes Brog back to Dunsany Manor to be reunited with his toy chest. We learn a bit more about Brog, where he’s from, who his friends are, and what he plans to do when he grows up. Harmattan speculates wildly about Brog, but about the only remarkable thing about him is his apparent ability to know where certain people (the chief of his tribe, etc.) are at any given moment just by looking at the sun. Also, Brog reports that a group of elves took him from the orc lands to stay at the half-elven farmhouse in the area. Harmattan speculates even more wildly.

Drax gets pretty far interrogating the minions and soldiers. The minions all report that they were recruited for this mission by Warren and Sawyer, and that Bluffington was the leader of the operation. The plan was to grab the kid from the farmhouse, making sure to kill everybody else, and head to a remote border outpost at the very edge of Dunsany’s lands where someone else would take possession of Brog. Drax is just about to start interrogating the ringleader when the session concludes.

Stay tuned next week for exciting interrogation, plot twists, and subterfuge by everybody and their grandmother!

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Session #2

The session opens with yet another early wake-up call for Galeon and Harmattan. The morning wagon came in with news of a horrific serial murder: six half-elves, dead. These half-elves weren’t a proper family, rather it seems like they banded together at this farm out of necessity. Human parents tend to die young for their half-elf children, and elf parents tend to live too long to care too much about any fast-time offspring. The best name we could come up with for the place was the Half-Elf Half-Hearth. Anyway, it’s gone now.

The two dragonborn wake up Jamalla (at least this time it’s not ‘gout’), and we split up; Galeon and Harmattan to visit the crime scene, and Jamalla will suss out any local rumors. Jamalla’s player rolls a ‘1’ on the Streetwise roll, and so while she learns nothing, she does end up telling every last early-morning rumor-monger about the murder itself. Anyway, the dragonborn take two carriages to the scene. With us are 5 hobgoblins troopers, and an elven priest named Adran to oversee last rites for the fallen. Conditions are brutal when we get there: the house, barn, and surrounding fields have all been hit by magical fire, and all the half-elves were either burned, shot, or run through. It looks like a professional hit (or an invasion), but why? It’s just a farm, plain as any other.

The group canvases the place, looking for clues (Harmattan inspects the scorched chicken coop and the outhouse, to no avail). Jamalla shows up, and we search some more. Eventually the group discovers a chest of recently-used toys in the barn loft. None of the dead include any children, and strangely no one in the surrounding neighborhood has seen any children on the farm in some time. Harmattan leans on Adran for any information relating to elven (or half-elven) recent births, and he tells the warrior that his church doesn’t keep any records of that sort of thing. The basic gist of elven record-keeping is, ‘Go ask the guy who did it, he’s still alive’, which does make some sense. Still, the party strongly suspects that a half-elven child has been kidnapped. The party spends a few hours tidying things up, burying bodies, and selling off the surviving livestock. Adran gets paid for his service (such as it is), and we haul the toy chest back to town in hopes that Baron Plunkett (a known wizard) will be able to magically divine some sense of who the child was, or where he or she is.

When the party gets back to civilization, we find that the baron is sequestered in his chambers with the rest of the town council, and is unavailable. The party tells the baron’s immortal butler Gastineaux about everything we’ve learned so far, and we hand over the cash from the livestock sale (45 gp). At some point the baron’s going to have to organize a land auction, because the grain doesn’t harvest itself, tragedy notwithstanding.

In the meeting, the baron reveals that General Marsden of the Albion military has successfully petitioned the crown to form an ‘Inhuman Legion’ to help with the war effort against neighboring Columbia. He’s planning to march into town in the next few weeks, round up everyone he can find who can hold a sharp stick the right way up, and pretend to hope they don’t die when confronted with a for-real enemy military unit. The way we know about this is from a spying report coming from Blink, the baron’s changeling.

Drax comes up with a brilliant plan: why join the army for free? Let the town form its own mercenary army from its varied citizenry, and then a) when the press-gang shows up, they’ll get chased out of town, and b) if Margulis wants a fighting force, then he’ll get the finest one that his money can buy. The baron succeeds in convincing the council of elders that the mercenary plan is best, and Durgon Forgebender pledges the support of his smithy in getting arms and armor ready for the troops.

Here’s the following exchange:

Drax What kind of armor can you make out of silver dragon scales?
DM Probably magic armor, with some cold resistance perhaps.
Drax Cold resistance, eh? What direction from here is the nation of Columbia?
DM To the south.
Drax I like this plan better and better.

Elven material, dwarven labor, and goblinoid muscle. What’s not to like?) Plunkett tells his son that as a minority among minorities (Drax is a tiefling, and the only one in town), Drax will have to lead the company. Drax agrees, telling his father that it should be only fitting to back up his idea with action.

Anyway, the big meeting breaks up, and we fill in Drax about what happened this morning. Drax comes up with another good idea: are the toys girl toys or boy toys? They are boy toys for certain, and he further discovers that they have been chewed on perhaps more than is strictly necessary. While Drax’s father may be able to make some connections with the toys themselves, Drax instead goes to the dwelling of a noted tracker, the ranger Cyrilia. She seems…reticent about traveling close to or into the fey woods, but agrees to help out the party as long as the town is good about paying her.

That settled, the party treks out to the wrecked farm once again, where Cyrilia quickly picks up the trail of the kidnappers. She says they are a sizable force, mostly in heavy armor, probably human. She tracks the group into the elven woods. There is a quick standoff with a member of the border patrol there (name of Therrous, at least the only one we could see), but we put away our weapons in time. Therrous reports that the kidnappers spent some time in the forest resting, and that quite recently they made a break for the hilly orc country to the north. The elf patrolman agrees to come along as a guide through the fast parts of the woods, and we break out into the hills just in time to pick up the sounds of combat coming about 5 miles to the northeast.

We find the group of kidnappers have been besieged by a large cadre of orcs. A motionless burlap sack lies among the rogues’ possessions. Drax motions for us to wait until the orcs retreat or stop fighting, and contracts with the elves to lob a few arrows at the group on his signal. For now, we wait on the edge of a knoll, watching the scene below.

Stay tuned next week for Ze Beeg Fight!

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Session #1

The campaign opens with news relayed by Gastineaux to Drax about two significant recent events.

  1. The elves have come out of the forest with an extremely large quantity of silver dragon scales. Baron Plunkett, Drax’s father, is worried that such a large haul of magical treasure could bring unwanted attention to Dunsany, not the least of which because that many scales represents a strategic asset. If the scales were to be sold in the town Auction Hall, it would be best if the transaction was discreet.
  2. A party of young humans, led by the scion of House Valemar, has managed to enter the town, and has bunked up for the night at the tourist trap hotel. (There are two nice inns in town, the one for visiting wizards who aren’t looking for trouble, and the one for visiting idiots who are). This wouldn’t be so bad by itself, but if the kids managed to buy or even know about the scale cache and reported back to their parents, the results might be catastrophic.

Jamalla the halfling has managed to attach herself as a ‘guide’ to the human group, and is awoken in the wee hours of the morning by a young man named ‘Marc’. It seems the lad is complaining about a case of bad gout, and would very much like to see an apothecary…at 4 in the morning. Jamalla is suspicious of the man’s motives, and so spins him a yarn about how the only medic open this early would be in a rough part of town, and she’d like to bring along some muscle. So, she leads Marc to the barracks, where the shift officer on notice for informants is Harmattan.

Jamalla tells Harmattan about her suspicions, and so he wakes Galeon and prepares his battle dress. Outside, Marc is flabbergasted that two dragonborn in full armor are needed to see the doctor, and subsequently changes his story from gout to syphilis. This revelation doesn’t elicit much sympathy, and as officers Galeon and Harmattan feel honor-bound to take Marc to see the medic to prevent his social disease from spreading. Jamalla leads the group to the town hag, which surprisingly is in a quite nice part of town.

Jamalla, Harmattan, and Galeon wait outside while Marc goes in to the medic’s shop. We…didn’t exactly tell him who he’d be meeting, so after the inevitable retching noises (a hag is, after all, notoriously ugly), Marc is able to unburden his trouble to the apothecary. In particular, Marc is set on purchasing some ‘Red Tincture’. Galeon, on hearing this, is reminded that Red Tincture is a red powder that works best when suspended in a liquid. Also, it is like aconite, in that in certain doses it has a medicinal benefit, but in sufficient strength can kill outright. The hag agrees to sell Marc the substance (but later dutifully reports the sale in the morning). The trio form a plan of action: Harmattan will go and fetch a quantity of cayenne pepper from a restaurant while Jamalla and Galeon will march the young Marc back to his hotel room. Later, Jamalla will perform some officially-sanctioned second-story work, and switch Marc’s Red Tincture with pepper.

Now, the only restaurant open this early is the Red Deer, Dunsany’s resident whorehouse of the strange. Jamalla gives Harmattan a note for a hobgoblin courtesan she happens to know, and he goes off on the errand. When Marc gets out of the apothecary, he is concerned about Harmattan’s disappearance, but is fed quality lies and sunshine by Jamalla. An hour or so later, Jamalla breaks into Marc’s room to make the switch. The transfer is successful, but Marc wakes up anyhow. This time Jamalla’s silver tongue fails her, but Marc is more concerned about the safety of his poison vial. Since the switcheroo already happened, Marc sees that his package appears to be safe, and only chases Jamalla out of his room. Now the only thing to do is to find out who drinks a big glass of pepper juice in the morning. I love it when a plan comes together.

At a suitably social hour, Valemar and his cohorts arrived at Dunsany House for a small get-together with their peer, Drax. During a critical moment, Marc passes a cup of tea to his Lord Valemar, who promptly chokes and gasps from the strong pepper flavor. Marc cries out, ‘Poison! This devil has just poisoned my lord! Guards! Guards!’, and so on. Wise to the conspiracy (having been briefed of last night’s acitivities by Jamalla), Drax allows Valdemar time to recover a little, who pronounces that he is fine, but that he would like a glass of water. Drax then convinces the assembled party that if indeed he is the poisoner (or whatever, by this point), that he should be made to drink a similar glass of tea that Valdemar drank. Drinking the tea, Drax finds that it is indeed poisoned, but only with cayenne pepper, to which his fiendish blood renders him happily immune (resistance to fire 5 and counting, folks!). Drax details the whole plot at this point, going so far as to grab Marc’s cayenne pepper vial and accuses him of being the attempted poisoner. A-ha! Marc grabs for his honor, and the two join in combat.

The two trade blows (Marc with his sword, Drax with a succession of pots and trays), until Jamalla sneaks up behind Marc and deftly removes one of his kidneys with her smallsword. Harmattan and Galeon join the fray, and Galeon subdues Marc with a breath of draconic ice. Harmattan pulls down one of Marc’s friends with a few well-placed punches (eventually), and Jamalla actually wrestles with another. Eventually the conspiracy is rendered harmless, and Valdemar offers his confused thanks. Dunsany is summoned, and he orders the traitors into separate cells in the basement, as well as healing treatment for Marc.

The conspiracy quickly unburdens itself of the following facts:

  1. The group was recruited by a shadowy figure named Avernus following an ill-fated attempt at cheating during gambling. Shocking: alcohol was involved.
  2. The plot was indeed intended to implicate Drax as poisoning Valemar. Marc was intending not to kill Valemar all the way, but he probably would have screwed up the dosage.
  3. The original poison (the one Marc would have used instead of bothering a stranger at four in the morning for gout medicine) was accidently stolen by an innocent member of Valemar’s party.

With those revelations, the session is concluded. Stay tuned!

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