Noon, the 1st of Vor, 1331 Avard.
Each of them – Garet Fellhaft, Dolon Uther, Draelien Bloodbanner, and Cephus – had received letters of invite from a man known as Horbe. Horbe offered to pay 5,000 silver up front to help him retrieve an item for a wealthy benefactor. The letters indicated that they could meet Horbe at the Red Flagon tavern in Teras, at noon, on the first day of summer.
Horbe had apparently expected some eight people to arrive, but after a bit of time passed and there were only the four, Horbe went ahead and began. He had with him two captains, one each from the Dellistar and the Kambringer. The group of four would be able to choose a captain and ship, and retrieve two of four items that Horbe's benefactor wanted retrieved.
When pressed for more information about his wealthy benefactor, Horbe would only reveal that his master had a bit of a surprise planned. The group, led by Draelien, chose to go after the dagger, first – the shield being several days' inland journey and back to the sea. After retrieving the dagger, they might go after the circlet, since it's map indicated it was right on the coast. Horbe had said that he wanted two of the items back as quickly as possible, and the group felt that was the fastest way to do it.
After agreeing to the mission and the plan, Horbe gave them each a purse of 500 gold pieces – and gave the party (who gave to Dolon) an enchanted bag of holding to bring back their prizes in. At about that point, a bar brawl broke out and involved everyone.
Among sailors, there is a tradition on land involving fisticuffs of the crew versus the officers. Officers half expect these things, and no permanent damage is ever done, so most officers do not go ashore until the men have gotten most of the fight out of their systems. The crew of the Rattler II, though, was quite large – and nearly 100 marines from that ship nearly filled the Red Flagon to overflowing. When they decided to brawl with their officers, the fight got out of hand, and turned into a crew versus All officers fight – and the captains of the Dellistar and the Kambringer were perfect targets.
Garet and Cephus ended much of the fight near them with the threat of crossbow bolts in the gut, and considerable lavender magic.
From there, the group split up to go spend their money as they pleased – though they each realized they would need a mount and riding equipment to complete their quest.
Garet, Cephus, and Draelien were leading their horses back to the Dellistar with Captain Nallya, when they were ambushed by several thugs. The fight turned bloody, and things got out of control. Dolon, who had remained behind at the Red Flagon, noticed the battle from the second story window, leapt out of the window, and sprinted to the fray. Garet managed to get a name out of one of the thugs – when a crossbow bolt killed the thug. Whomever fired the bolt disappeared onto the rooftops from above, and then the guard was involved. In the midst of the chaos, Draelien and Dolon managed to smuggle one of the thugs out of the area, and back to the Dellistar for interrogation.
Garet returned to the Red Flagon, where he confronted Horbe, asking if he knew who 'Xennith' was, and wanting to know what they were involved in. Horbe knew nothing of Xennith, and was horrified to know that violence was being done in regards to the quest of his benefactor.
Aboard the Dellistar, the group managed to get a name out of the remaining thug, who capitulated rather quickly. 'Rishmund', as he gave his name, said that the three thugs had been hired by the drow Xennith to bring the group to an abandoned building not too far from the Red Flagon – only things got very bloody very quickly, and got out of hand. Rishmund had little else to tell the party, other than that Xennith wanted only to talk to them, not kill them.
Dolon made use of a contact he knew there in Teras, and brought Garet along. Eglin Bandylegs was the man in charge of Stonehelm and Bandylegs clan holdings that went through Teras, and he also brokered in information when possible. Eglin knew the name Xennith – and was able to tell them something disturbing.
After the War of the Four Winds, the authorities found an abandoned building in Boulderdash that the ograns had left alone. Inside, investigators found papers relating to the salt mines and stolen foods that had gone towards preparing for the ogran invasion. In light of the Traitor Duke nearly killing the king and then disappearing, many believed that the man in Boulderdash – known only as the Bat – might have been in league with the Traitor Duke. The curious thing about it all, is that the Bat's right-hand man was known as Xennith – yet high-ups within the Stonehelm clan swear that Xennith is an enemy of the Traitor Duke.
Upon return to the Dellistar, the group pooled their information and their thoughts. The four maps of the individual items – the dagger, the shield, the circlet, and the ring – were pinned with a bat-like signature. The map to the locations of each of the four items was done by Rogue, the local cartographer in Teras, on instructions from Horbe. Either Horbe is working for someone in league with the Traitor Duke, or Xennith is; but, somehow or another, the group has become involved in very dangerous affairs – all for a rich sum of 5,000 silver each, up front.
Ten o'clock in the evening, the 1st of Vor, 1331 Avard.
There were 803 total points awarded to the 4 players, for an individual reward of 200 experience points apiece. A skills challenge (to determine more information about Horbe's benefactor) was not completed, and no experience was awarded for that encounter. It remains a possibility to gain more information, later.
August 10th, 2008. Ross drove to my place from China, and then we drove in together to Todd's place in Vidor. Tom has to drive in from Lake Charles, so Todd's house is more centrally located. On top of location, Todd has quite a collection of miniatures, and a wonderful wife that lurves to cook. Tom likes to cook, too, and he brought the meat for tacos, that evening. I brought chips, though drinks somehow slipped through the cracks.
Ross is the new-comer to the group. Todd had been the DM for a long while, under the WarHammer campaign; and he and I and Dave and Tom have played together for… Hell, at least a year, I think. S'hard to keep track of when we started the other campaign. Hopefully this one will last just as long, if not longer. Ross got situated fairly quickly, and we worked out backgrounds, details, and getting all of them to the right place at the right time.
Dave got a phone call in the middle of the session, and had to jet to Beaumont to help his father out. Once that was taken care of, he made it back to the table and back into the game without any difficulties. Since the call came in the middle of the bar fight, we just ruled that Drealien just got socked pretty good, and was somewhat out of things until later that evening when everyone met back up at the Red Flagon – when Dave got back.
I watched the players agonize over whether to chase after Xennith or not. I think they metagamed just a hair – realizing they were low level, and not wanting to tackle something far higher in level than they. I let slip, by accident, that I had not intended for them to find Xennith's name that evening – and thus I think they assumed he was much higher level than them, and therefore a significant danger. Or, it could've been that the assassin's use of a crossbow to silence a hireling let them know their opponent meant Serious business.
The funniest part of the evening was Tom's character Cephus not figuring out the hint from Madylene at the Arcane Shield. She told Cephus point-blank that the sailor-astronomer he wanted to talk to was named Corbit. When the players went down to the docks to look at the two ships, Officer Femmel said, “Our first mate's named Corbit; he likes to take the night shift, so he can stargaze a lot.” Ross and Todd looked at one another, and at me, and they busted out laughing. Poor Tom asked, “What? What are you laughing at? Me?”
I think they metagamed just a hair
I don’t think I’d go that far. We were all strangers, who had been ambushed and saw someone murdered in the streets to protect the name of the person who hired them. Secretly armed with that name and a way to get out of town and get away from these unknown assailants, I think we made the right choice. We had taken a commission and were paid for it, it was time to go, and deal with the circumstances when we got back… -Todd
Limited Edition Joe Dice… HAH! -Ross