The Acts of the Lords of Rannick, XXI

From the Varisian Encampment to Ember Lake.
After leaving the gypsy encampment – bidding adieu to the scarf merchants, tattoo artists, prospective stiletto duellists, dark-eyed dancing girls and the comfort of their wagons – the party set off early in the morning. Torgor led Donny, Arradin and Tersplink off north, trying to get ahead of the path the giants took to gain on them a little. This left Dagfinn, Albedon, Kerplak, Corwin and Ash to follow the path the giants actually took, at least until they could get to Galduria, for restocking. Something vague was said about either meeting up or leaving word in Wolf’s Ear to get the party back together.
In any event, Dagfinn the Bard, Albedon the trans-species Wizard, Kerplak the Rogue and Corwin the Half Elven “Community Activist” set off towards Galduria all by themselves. The terrain from Sandpoint to Galduria was the easiest that will be encountered on the road to the Storval Stairs, rolling pasturelands, small copses of trees not yet touched by autumn, the tall grass swaying in the wind. This is flavour text country. It isn’t without its attendant dangers however. When fording a small, but deep river, the mini-party was rushed by four goblin ambushers, who dashed out of their cover to try to spook the hated horses and hopefully cause the travellers to leave one behind. It is fair to say that Dagfinn and Kerplak have had some professional development since last taking on goblins and after Albedon softened them up with a volley of Magic Missiles, (softening one up to the point of pulping him), the rest didn’t stand a chance and were dispatched with a round, dying comically dramatic deaths by the riverside. Dagfinn’s horse, Pedro, took a cut from a goblin dog-slicer, but he healed that up. Most importantly, everyone remained in control of their mounts, so they could continue on at a good speed. The goblins had nothing of value, but that didn’t stop Corwin from taking some of their polished knick-knacks.
Further on, they spotted a thin wisp of smoke ahead. Percy, scouting, reported the remains of a large fire, surrounded by a trampled area that looked like it had been used as a camp site. Approaching cautiously, Kerplak, Corwin and Dagfinn slinked through the tall grasses and surveyed the scene. Several tree trunks had been piled together on a fire and had now burned down almost entirely. The remains of a large creature, which someone identified as a wild Auroch, had been roasted on the fire and there were bones strewn around near the fire. I always thought Aurochs had antlers; they don’t, they have big horns. They also found a few large boulders, pulled out of the ground and used as chairs (?). Importantly, they also found human waste and evidence that that the humans had been given something to eat too. But there were no clues as to the state of the humans other than that. Kerplak also found a viper, briefly attached to his leg; before Dagfinn shot it, pretty much in half, from about 40′ away.

Auroch: Because Dire Cow sounds stupid.

Pressing on, they arrived in Galduria an hour or so after dark. The town is open, but well patrolled and well established. They made their way to the Hare and Hound Tavern. The Tavern was a popular spot, with dancing and a little band. The place was filled with locals and travellers. Oddly, no-one thought to ask about giants. Or about where they were going. Or about how to get there. Oh well. The first order of business was to get a round in, but as they were sidling up to the bar they spotted a cleric of Cayden Cailean down the far end of the bar, dispensing foaming mugs of sacrament from his own enormous barrel. Slightly more pricey than normal ale, the cleric served up a round and chatted for a while, sampling Corwin’s travel beer.
Albedon decided to put his new-found dwarven Constitution through its paces and got hammered. After 18 pints, he couldn’t tell the difference between needing to fall over drunk or fall over asleep, so he split the difference and fell over drunk into his bed.
Corwin, meanwhile, got his game on; successfully persuading a local lady to accompany him during his stay.
Dagfinn worked his way towards the little band that was keeping the dancing going. Introducing himself, he gave the band a chance to go get some refreshment while he took to the stage for a bit…. and died on his arse. The dancing stopped, the talking stopped as something went horribly wrong with Dagfinn’s singing voice. He assured everyone that their kids will love it. Nobody was buying that. The band suddenly reappeared, eager to take back the stage and Dagfinn left the Hare and Hound, dejected. He went off to have some moonlit brooding time with a downbeat saxophone solo.

Chuck! I've found that new sound you've been looking for...

Kerplak was less interested in getting shitfaced/laid (done it!) so went off to explore the town. Galduria is primarily a timber and grain hub, with docks that service the barges on Ember Lake, warehouses and a pretty decent economy. The quality of the stores appeared to be good and there was a preponderance of stores catering to the arcane needs of the Twilight College, Varisia’s third largest school of magic. (Also known as the Safety Hogwarts).

Kerplak noticed that the people leaving the taverns to return to their homes were stopping by the docks on the lakeside. Shoving his way to the front of the crowd, he watched the massed shoal of Ember Lake salamanders swim just beneath the surface of the water. Possessing several bio-luminescent glands on their backs, the salamanders glow brightly under the water, creating a twinkling mass that darts quickly around the lake waters. The shoal cut to and fro, describing complex patterns in the waters before moving off to a further part of the lake. Kerplak’s eyes were huge.

In the morning, Dagfinn was up early, having stayed at the Temple Tavern where fewer people knew of his shameful performance. He went shopping, stocking up on healing potions. The town makes a specialty of ‘boost potions’, the type that add +4 to a stat, your “Animal’s Associated Positive Feature” spells. But no-one was biting. There were some magic items, but for some reason no-one wanted the Wand of Rope Trick, even though that’s like having access to an invisible treehouse at all times. C’mon, that’s awesome.

Corwin, having said farewell to his ‘dancing partner’ because she had to get home before her husband realised she was gone, made inquiries down at the docks re: passage up the rest of Ember Lake. After some back and forth about whether to take the lakeshore road to Wolf’s Ear or get passage on a barge heading that way across the lake. In terms of speed, neither came out ahead – both modes of travel would get you to Wolf’s Ear a little before dark. But the barge would let them rest their horses and avoid Churlwood, a notorious haunt of bandit gangs.

They boarded the good barge Bersa after coughing up their 6gp (not the 30gp that I initially said, although as it turns out, none of that matters) for the 60 mile sail up the lake. The amiable captain of the barge, who only ever wanted to ply his peaceful trade on the tranquil lake,  was dropping off a bunch of provisions to Wolf’s Ear and had plenty of room for a few passengers and their horses. Once they had set off, they made a reasonable pace, for a barge. All very pleasant and calm until about 6 hours out of Galduria they spotted another smaller but faster vessel bearing down on them. A quick check of the deck through Kerplak’s spyglass showed armed men, readying bows and flying a renegade flag. Lake Pirates! Like real Pirates, but a little less so.

While the party sprang into action, the Captain sprang into abject submission; instructing everyone to remain calm and let these pirates take whatever they want. Corwin found this so objectionable that he tried bending the Capt. to his will with an Intimdate check but succeeded only in terrifying the man into abandoning ship. He leapt overboard, leaving Corwin to rally the other two bargemen and find a place for Ash to hide. He fixed them up with some makeshift boat-weaponry and prepared them for buckle swashing.

Kerplak, finding a vantage point whipped out his new-fangled, highly experimental grenade launcher and lobbed one at distance towards the boat. the smoke grenade went off on the boat’s deck, causing it to stream smoke behind it as it cut through the water and surprising the crap out of the assembled pirates. Dagfinn and Kerplak traded missile fire with the pirates, with one of the barge’s crewmen shot down as he tried to adjust the sails. The pirates seemed particularly adept at hitting Dagfinn and Corwin when he wasn’t tending to the barge’s course.

Albedon first cast Sleet Storm, pummeling the pirates and their boat with hail. Then he smoked his pipe for a bit. Yep, then a bit more. Little bit more. Alright, then he cast Wall of Fire. You can cast Wall of Fire in a ring, which any sensible person would be reluctant to cross. These pirates, however, were moving as quickly as the boat that carried them and had no real say over whether to stay in or out of the Wall of Fire. Woomf! Up goes the boat and the crew are scorched to death. Their last wild attempt at course correction robs them of their momentum and their flaming vessel slows down as it pulls ahead of the barge.

The barge, with one remaining crewman at the helm, inches towards the conflagration. Corwin chose to stay on deck while Albedon (not bothered by fire with his Resistance to Fire spell up), Dagfinn and Kerplak ( taking himself out the worst of the danger by downing a Levitate potion and using a boathook to propel himself along) went over to the burning craft. The boat was in danger of structural collapse, but braving the smoke and flames, they gave the place a quick search.

Dagfinn found the dead pirates weaponry and armour (looked like deserters wearing a Roderic’s Cove uniform) ascetaining that the bows they had been using were magical. Kerplak found a chest and quickly popped the lock open, discovering a wealth of gold and potions inside. He called out to Corwin to come help him, while secreting handfuls of coin in his Varisian scarf’s hidden pockets. Venturing below decks, Albedon found a low cabin with minimal personal effects, so he returned topside and taking the pirate’s chest, Dimension Doored back to the safety of the barge, such as that was, being a floating wooden platform perilously close to a burning wooden platform.

While Dagfinn divested the remaining pirates of their gear and Kerplak ventured below deck, the main mast came loose and split the hull, shearing the boat in two. Corwin and Dagfinn returned to the barge, while Kerplak made a lunge for a box he had found. The boat was sinking fast, but with his superb Fly skill, Kerplak was able to haul himself towards the box like and astronaut, before kicking off and into the roiling water around the flooding hatch. One brief Swim check later and he popped up like a cork, clutching the box as he poled himself away from the quickly sinking pirate vessel.

Peering through their haul, as the barge recommenced its progress towards Wolf’s Ear was where we left them, I now cede the rest of my time to gentlemen from the great state of Owlbearia.

What? I'm busy. Owlbear stuff.

Actually, no, there was a lot of book-keeping left undone because we went so late last night.

First; the Compleat Adventurer: this was a toss up between Corwin intimidating the Captain clean over the side of his own barge or Dagfinn’s Too Cool For Galduria vocal stylings fiasco. I’m a fan of fiascos, so I’m going to give it to Dagfinn. A bard monopolizing the attention of an entire tavern is something as iconic as pointy hats on wizards or fighters kicking down dungeon doors. It is part of the game on a spiritual level. So for it to go so staggeringly wrong amused me. I believe it added to the fullness of the bard experience.+100XP.

Second; 2240XP for vanquishing the goblin ambushers without breaking a sweat and fending off the pirates with lethal force.

Third; the total haul from the pirate boat was:
5 longswords, 5 daggers, 5 +1 longbows, a masterwork breastplate, Kerplak’s box containing 2 potions of Invisibility, Albedon’s chest containing 3 potions of Cure Serious Wounds, Cloak of Resistance +1. The money was already split up.

I think that’s it.

5 Comments on “The Acts of the Lords of Rannick, XXI

  1. Would you describe the boat I/we now have as a keelboat?

  2. The boat – whose legitimate owner is swimming towards shore, perfectly intact, presumably to report the loss of his boat to authorities in Galduria – is indeed a two-masted Keelboat.

  3. THERE ARE NO LAWS ON THE HIGH LAKES!!!! I don’t want to really want the boat. Well I want it but it’s not consistent with Corwyn’s alignment. It seems like a good opportunity to get a turn a good deed into a donation to the school. I can’t put my head around if that fits with CG or not.

  4. You didn’t steal it, it’s just going to look like you stole it… and a charitable donation to a non-profit for no obvious benefit to yourself? That has CG written all over it: the less fortunate benefit, possibly at your expense.

  5. Hmm, without selling the potions or cloak (someone has a free cloak slot, right? It is an overlooked slot…) that comes to 6142.5gp worth of, dare I say it, booty you hauled in from those pirates.