Saturday, July 24, 2010

Garham to Greyhawk Campaign: Session Seven - pt. 3

A dozen people all around the carriage fell asleep, but one of the bodyguards was still awake. As the guard shouted for the watch, Kevlamin, Flex, and Gladys piled on him and subdued him. Then they used the carriage to transport their prisoner outside the city walls, driving through the outskirts on the south side of the Old City.

It was, amazingly enough, at this exact moment that Clair and Jack were returning in defeat to the city. Jack was the one who spotted Kevlamin and Flex driving a carriage up ahead. To make them stop, Jack fired an arrow into the carriage. Once the two groups were united they swapped stories. As they did so, their mark came around inside the carriage with Gladys. However, the woman who woke up in the carriage was not Ahlissa at all, but her sister Athea. Ahlissa had not come to the shops that day, sending her very similar-looking sister to run errands in her stead. Further, Athea, as she had the plan explained to her by some sheepishly embarrassed adventurers, told them that Alden Folber was not a friend of Richard Saville.

The situation sounded fishier all the time, but they decided to confront Alden and demand an explanation while Jack escorted Athea back into the city proper. The rendezvous point was the Old Menhirs on the east edge of the outskirts of the city. Alden was there with another gentleman, a man with the rainments of a cleric, and three armed and armored men-at-arms. Clair took the lead in confronting Alden on their suspicions, but Alden assured them that Athea was simply out of town a lot and was unaware that he and Richard had struck up a friendship in her absence. His plan could still work if The Crazy Adventurers were willing to undertake a riskier option of liberating Ahlissa from her family home in the High Quarter that night and he offered to up their payment to 300 gp to compensate them better, but they wanted nothing more to do with the plan.

At this point, Alden announced that he could not let them leave with how much they knew and signaled for four crossbowmen to come out of hiding. A battle was joined. Gladys, thinking it folly and seeking to flee to a place of concealment, was shot down with a crossbow bolt just as she reached the nearest stone. Ruben engaged a man-at-arm for a bit, but also saw the writing on the wall and attempted to flee only to be shot down and land on top of Gladys. Clair had attacked the gentleman posing as Richard Saville, disrupting a spell he was casting at her, and she killed him. But the men-at-arms quickly took her down after that.

Kevlamin was concentrating on Alden, who was also a spellcaster. Alden's spell required touch, which Kevlamin dodged, and after that Alden relied on a dagger. Kevlamin had his mastiff, Fang, with him and the two of them were causing Alden some moderate injuries. Alden seemed to have some magical protection from being hit as often as he should be and Kevlamin badly wanted whatever item on his person was providing that. Fang could have used it first, though, as he remaining men-at-arms killed Fang first before engaging Kevlamin. Kevlamin stood alone, refusing to flee or surrender, sure that if he just could take down Alden that the others would give up. It might have worked could Kevlamin have held out from all the damage he was taking, but it was not meant to be. One final sword thrust ended the life of Kevlamin Serpenthelm.

But this was not the end of The Crazy Adventures. By sheer luck, the others had been knocked unconscious, but not killed. And Allanon Damon had followed them, curious to see what this was all about. He drove off Alden's gang with a fireball and lightning bolt, saw Clair, Flex, and Gladys to safety, and summoned the authorities to the scene. All this was explained to them by Jack, who had all this told to him by Allanon. Jack told them about how he had returned the “princess” home to a hero's welcome. Of course, Athea was not royalty and, in fact, she had only agreed not to press charges of kidnapping and murder against Jack since he had returned her safely, but everyone liked Jack's story better and did not dispute it.

Clair, Flex, and Gladys were in an abandoned home in the Slum Quarter that Jack had found for them. It would be several days before any of them felt as good as new, particularly Clair. Clair was angry with Alden for both his deception and her near-death experience and took it out on the first strangers she could. That opportunity came on their first day of rest, when all three of them were alone and still seriously injured. Three savage-looking warriors burst through the door, announcing that they planned to squat on this abandoned property and any previous squatters could take a hike. Clair answered with a sword thrust up through the lead man's chin that killed him. The other two fled.

Meanwhile, Jack had been hanging out in gambling dens, making quiet inquiries about nearby adventure opportunities. With a 2 gp bribe, he heard of a wizard's tower in the Old Orchard Grove, to the southeast of the Plain of Greyhawk, that had blown up recently. Other magic-users knew of the happening, but the adventuring class at large had likely not heard of this yet. Jack also recruited a new member for the company and hired a guide to lead them there – a ranger from the Snow Monsters adventuring company named Gregor.

Three days later, on the 11th of Wealsun, The Crazy Adventurers agreed to Jack's plan. Jack's plan was this – they would head to the Old Orchard Grove, but going through the hills where the shadow and the monster that had attacked the company before was (or both at once, if they turned out to be the same monster) so Gregor could look for its tracks. Sure enough, Gregor did find tracks and, after a few hours pursuit, the tracks lead to a material creature more like what Clair and Flex had fought before – only looking even ghastlier this time. Claire and Flex charged their old foe, but this time when it struck Clair, it drained half the life energy out of her.


Ending XP:
Flex – 1,389
Clair – 1,010
Gladys – 751
Jack - 204/204/203

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Garham to Greyhawk Campaign: Session Seven - pt. 2

Sein and Ninja then climbed the walls and reached the balcony, but Sanji and Centaur fell in the “acid” and were declared dead. The team scored 20 out of 40 points.

While waiting for the results of the tournament, Flex received a letter that had been left for him at the guildhall. It cryptically said, “If you want a coin, come to Killcat Lane.” The Crazy Adventurers discussed the letter and The Minions, at a nearby table, overheard and participated in discussing what the letter meant and whether Flex should look into it.

Before a decision could be reached, The Crazy Adventurers’ sponsor, Lilyana Ortiz came to them and congratulated them. She had just heard that their team scored 21st place in the tournament, tied with a company called The Avengers. To reward them, she unfurled a large map of the Flanaess and explained how the guild would not sponsor any reasonable expedition they brought to the guild’s attention. The guild would fund the expedition as long as the company could repay it 150% when they returned. The Minions also came over and looked at the map. The majority of both companies were interested in an expedition to explore the distant land of the Snow Barbarians, but decided to table that plan until they had more experience.

Going to the land of the Snow Barbarians was Kevlamin's idea and it was his idea just as quickly to go back into the Menhir Hills and look for the monster that had attacked them on their way to Greyhawk almost two weeks ago. Most everyone in both companies agreed to take on that mission, though they considered it too small a matter (or too small a chance of treasure) to seek guild sponsorship. Only Kevlamin, Flex, and Gladys stayed behind in town to pursue the coin.

The last order of business was to deal with Nodwick, the last remaining hireling from the once-large company the friends from Garham had started with. Nodwick had followed them all the way to Greyhawk waiting to get paid. Kevlamin was trying to think of a way to fire Nodwick nicely, but when Jack suggested leaving Nodwick behind and not telling him where everyone had gone, the adventurers quickly adopted that solution.

It was Kevlamin (leading his war dog Fang on a leash), Flex, and Gladys who headed to Killcat Lane, as soon as they'd bribed an adventurer to tell them where it was. They patrolled the Slum Quarter looking for it until they heard a scuffle in an alley. Seven lightly armed and armored bullies were harassing a richly-dressed gentleman. Undeterred by the numbers against them, Flex charged with Gladys right behind and Kevlamin stalling, on the pretext of needing to find a place to tie off the leash on Fang. Despite the odds against them, Flex was surprisingly effective in battle and after killing one bully and injuring two others, the bullies turned and fled out the back of the alley.

The gentleman turned out to be Alden Folber, a member of the Moneychangers' Guildhall, who was waiting to hire Flex and company for an unusual job. Richard Savelle, son of the Cartographers' Guildmaster, was in love with Ahlissa Holbin, daughter of the Translators' Guildmaster, but Ahlissa's parents had arranged a different marriage for her. Alden, as Richard's friend, needed adventurers willing to bend the law by abducting Ahlissa and delivering her to Richard so they could elope before the wedding. The adventurers had only the following day to carry it out. Alden advised them against trying to take her from her well-guarded home in the High Quarter, but the following afternoon she would likely be making an afternoon trip to the River Quarter, where several shops she liked best were all found upon Bay Road. Ahlissa was not yet in on the plan and would resist until she saw Richard and then would understand everything. If the adventurers carried this out with minimal violence and Ahlissa unharmed, he would give them a coin for Odd Alley and 200 gp to boot.

Meanwhile, the larger party had traveled all the way south over the Plain of Greyhawk, through the Great Hillwood, and back to the Village of Hawfair without encountering any monsters. By now, Centaur Shepherd and Ninja had become bored of the pursuit and enamored with Hawfair and its environs, just as Clair and Mina had once done. The party spent the night sleeping on the floor of the Leaping Trout Tavern, but the next day Centaur and Ninja decided to stay here and retire. Clair, Jack, Sein, and Sanji went off alone into the hills east of the village looking for the monster. Jack's plan was to sit on a high hill and watch for the monster. Some wild goats showed up on the hill instead and began grazing amongst them.

Around noon, one of the goats suddenly collapsed. Investigating, the four found that the goat was alive, but seemed too weak to stand. They also noticed a shadow nearby on the ground, but one that no one seemed to be casting. Clair and Sein tried to attack the shadow's caster. Jack made a wall of goats around himself for protection and tried to shoot arrows at the caster, but all attacks passed right through the spot. The shadow passed over several of them, causing coldness, pain, and weakness, though far from lethal. Jack first had the idea to begin shooting arrows at the shadow on the ground instead, but when this also failed to stop the shadow, the adventurers all fled. They split up as they fled and, by the time they found each other again, there was only Clair and Jack. Sein and Ninja had disappeared.

Meanwhile, the in-town party had a plan to abduct Ahlissa, but they needed a magic-user with a sleep spell. No longer having Seth or anyone named Rex with them, they asked Alden for an advance on their payment of 50 gp and used that to hire Allanon Damon. Allanon was an aging, experienced invoker and a member of the Band of the Grinning Gargoyle, the company that had won the Challenge of Champions this year. The plan, as it was told to him, sounded fishy, but he agreed to participate only so far as the casting of the sleep spell.

That afternoon, a carriage arrived on Bay Street with their mark and three other women inside, with three armed and armored bodyguards riding on the carriage. As soon as everyone but their mark was outside of the carriage, Allanon cast his sleep spell.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Garham to Greyhawk Campaign: Session Seven - pt. 1

Garham to Greyhawk Campaign: Session Seven
Kevlamin Serpenthelm, Suloise warrior – deceased (Kevin)
Clair, Hobbit warrior (Megan)
Gladys, half-elf acolyte of Heironous (Joyce)
Flex, mixed human shield-bearer (Ruben)
Sanji, mixed human medium (Pablo)
Sein, half-orc shield-bearer/rogue (Tyler)
Jack Stafford, half-elf shield-bearer/medium/rogue (Ronny)
Centaur Shepherd, half-elf shield-bearer
Ninja, mixed human rogue
It was summer now in the City of Greyhawk. For the company of adventurers called The Crazy Adventurers, this was their 13th day in the city. The Challenge of Champions was going fairly well for them. After seven challenges, their company had a score of 200 and there was still one more challenge left for them to take. Actually, the tournament would have been all over two days ago, but the last challenge was postponed to investigate some companies that had tried to bribe the challenges' proctors for details in advance. A perfect score in this challenge would give them 240 out of 400 points, which they were told was a respectable score for a fledgling company.

Meanwhile, Kevlamin, Clair, Mina, Flex, and Rex4 had kept busy in their off time with two pursuits. One was trying to keep their expenses low. The money their sponsor, Lilyana Ortiz, had given them had proven most helpful, for life in the Foreign Quarter of the city was costing them a bare minimum of 5 sp a day, and that required forsaking the many luxuries and comforts the city had to offer. The other pursuit was trying to regain entry into Odd Alley. The difficulty with this surprised everyone at first, since Flex had spent good money to buy a map showing the location of the alley. The first difficulty was that the location on the map kept moving. Sometimes, finding the alley again required some running. The second difficulty was that there was now a gate over the entrance that would not allow them to enter. After asking around at some local taverns and bribing some people, they learned that Odd Alley was locked most of the time and required a special type of coin to get in. The one time they had come and found the gate unlocked was a most unusual occurrence that most people who had heard of Odd Alley – and most people hadn’t – were themselves surprised to hear. No one admitted to having the necessary coin to get back in, nor knowing where to get one.

There was much to like about the City of Greyhawk. Kevlamin, who secretly longed to be a knight someday, learned quite a few knights called Greyhawk home. One made his home right near the Adventurer’s Guildhall, Sir Lelio Stern. After almost pleading for an audience, Sir Stern took Kevlamin into his home and told him some stories about knighthood. Kevlamin had yet to ask, though, how he could become one himself.

Clair had discovered that hundreds of halflings and gnomes called Greyhawk home, in a neighborhood of the Foreign Quarter called the Shire. It was comforting being in a whole community scaled down her size, but it was also nice visiting the Shire because of a handsome, charming Hobbit named Andwise Greenhand who seemed to take an interest in her at once.

Mina had become increasingly interested in being involved in the hierarchy of the Great Common Church of Greyhawk and said she would only return to The Crazy Adventurers in emergencies. Flex4 had simply disappeared, going off to look for trouble in the city one day and never coming back.

The last-place team in the Challenge of Champions was Skender's Minions. Skender was an egotistical wizard who, every year, loudly announced that he needed no more than randomly chosen fledgling adventurers to win the challenge. Losing every year never seemed to weaken his resolve, until this year when he was caught cheating. After the lengthy investigation that delayed the end of the tournament, it was decided that Skender's Minions had no idea of his plans and would be allowed to compete without him. His minions, this year, consisted of Gladys, Sanji, Sein, Centaur Shepherd, and Ninja. In an unprecedented move, the guildmasters decided to allow the Minions to participate with five team members instead of four.
((This write-up includes spoilers for “Challenge of Champions” from Dungeon #58 and “The Matchmakers” from Dungeon #7))
When word came that the last round of the Challenge of Champions was resuming, Kevlamin, Clair, and Flex had to find a last-minute recruit to round out their team. Luckily, self-proclaimed vagabond prince, Jack Stafford was idle at a nearby table in the Adventurers Guildhall and agreed to participate.

The last scenario in the last round for The Crazy Adventurers involved getting from one end of the tunnel to the other in 15 minutes, with a chained bear in the middle. The team had two rocks and a Portable Hole. After a quick discussion, everyone but Jack climbed into the hole while Jack climbed the wall and scaled it over the bear’s reach (though just barely). The team scored a perfect score.

The last scenario in the last round for the Minions involved Gladys looking down from a balcony, over a pool of acid, while the rest of the team was chained on the other side. Gladys had a spool of thread, a set of keys, a live mouse, a spell scroll with a Messenger spell on it, and 15 minutes to get everyone onto the balcony. Gladys used the Messenger spell on the mouse to make it deliver the keys to her teammates, then swung it on the thread until Centaur Shepherd grabbed it and unlocked everyone’s shackles.