In which our protagonists explore the mystery of a disease, courtship and grieving father.
(This has been a long meeting so i might separate it into two posts. also, quite a bit of the meeting included an investigation. if you're uninterested skip ahead to So what have we got so far or even further to A town's warm welcome. as always, comments are welcomed.)
At Rod Mcpool's brewery
As you may remember, our party has just gotten to the city after a long trek through the snow, harrowed by goblins. all they wanted to do was rest their aching bodies a bit. before heading to Rod's place, Ed the Sheriff told them he wants to see them later on, and that they were all responsible for each other. (this last statement was meant with some resentment)
Rod's place turned to be a big brewery. Rod itself turned to be a sour grump who would accept only the humans. after some haggling he agreed the rest could stay at the barn, but for the same price. he let the party drink in a corner table, to "not spoil the mood for decent folks".
At this Killpi rallied. "I sir, am a respectable business man! and I'd like to be treated as such! i will not sit at a corner table, i will sit where all sit, like a person!" this led to some low toned arguing. Rod was finally swayed by some extra coin from the little halfling. most of the party was surprised at such coin (which came from the captain's chest and Tom's body) but Killpi simply explained "i told you i was a business man!" Glimji gave him a weary eye, knowing exactly what kind of "business".
So they drank well, and ate well, and prepared to make their way out of the valley, when Rod laughed briskly and commented "good luck! The Fist blocked the way! no one in, no one out!"
explanation: The Fist
as may have been mentioned in the first post, The Fist is a sort of militaristic organization that seeks out arcane magic users and unnatural occurances and... um... "deals" with them. Lynn once belonged to it, her arms braces still bear their mark.
"What? but why?". "there's a sort of plague in town, Fist don't like it" Rod got back to waiting people. knowing they might have to stay awhile, Killpi inquired working as a kitchen help, dishwasher or the like for some coin. Rod finally agreed, while Killpi in his mind allready planned to scan the place for a vault.
Visit to the healer. "did you say...?"
The party decided to make their way to Ed, but stopped by the village's healer (Judith) to check on Ashton and the mother and babe. they were fine, and the little hut was packed with all sorts of herbs, materials and the like. Lynn inquired of the blockade. Judith gave a startled worried look. apparently a soft spot. Glimji sensed she was hiding something.
apparently there is a small plague in the village. about a month ago a young women died, and people started dropping after. all falling to some sort of strange wakeless sleep till they died. So far they lost 9 people.
they called for a "gifted one" (divine caster) from Gordian, the closest town and Harry Ferrar came and turned away quickly, only to bring with him a force of the Fist.
"Were there any survivors?" asked Ayla concerned. "why yes! there is that boy, Eric. he suddenly woke from his sleep and started talking crazy. about orcs or something. But the Fist came and got him as well. they keep him in their blockade"
"was there anything unordinary about the dead, or any one in particular?" asked Glimji. Judith hesitated. most of the party saw that, but she denied.
the party grimaced. unless the Fist came to their satisfaction this town could be blockaded for a long time. Lynn knew that very well. they asked a bit about Far Reach, who was orignially a gold rush town. but once the mine dried out those that remained were those who couldn't afford to get away. they turned the mines to their burial places.
Ayla bought a few more healing bandages (for the healer's kit, see the rules. help restoring hp), while Killpi inquired about various herbs and the like. he asked till he heard the magic word. "Did you say... laxatives?" he bought two, grinning.
Sheriff and son
As they walked to Ed the party agreed they might have to try and investigate this, despite a great dislike to come near to anything disease related. Upon getting to his cabin, Glimji notices a heavy weight on the Sheriff's soul. Ed wanted to interrogate them about the sorcerer they met on the way. "maybe the goblins did it?" he wondered. Ayla responded gently, telling she want to help figure out the mystery. Lynn was... less pleasant. Ed scoffed at them, telling them to live it in capable hands.
Killpi tried to gain his favor, surrendering Tom's short sword "maybe it's a clue?" and watching very carefully as the Sherrif put it under lock and key, thinking of this place' vault as well.
they decided to ask about the Fist. "this force is led by Alex Feber, a tough and resistant to argument kind of woman. Ed gave Lynn a questioning look, but she told him she was no longer part of the Fist. this came as a surprise to the party, and Killpi and Glimji inquired immediately. " lets just say... i had some disagreement with my superiors. they let me go". "interesting, interesting" mumbled Killpi...
Ed suggest they seek out Mike Wood the hunter for some directions of the place.the party tries again to persuade him to reveal more, and he finally relents. "My son, Mark died to this plague, less than a month ago. him and that fool Eric tried to court the Mayor's daughter, Kate Grunt. she was the first to die. you might learn more of her friends Natalie Rogers and Naomi Sid, though i got nothing from them.
There was one strange thing... usually when we bury people the casket is open so people might give their respects. but not in Kate's case- her father had her coffin close. it's his right as father and mayor, but still odd..." finished the suspicious sheriff. "his name is Andrew. if you find out anything peculiar, i want to know. everything. but come to me first, it's a matter of... politics".
the party thanked the grieving father, and got outside.
Two tries, two strikes
the party went to the hunter's house next (Mark Wood) but the place was locked ("why are you with me NOW?" thought Killpi) so they progressed to the mayor's house, the Grunt home.
The door was opened by a suspicious old woman, looking between them at the halfling, gnome and half orc. they tried to persuade to get in, but were rebuffed, especially when Lynn tried to brandish her arm braces. the old woman got edgy, when Killpi suggested they "only want to open Kate's coffin".the door closed. Ki
Splitting the party!
Lynn erupted "you little insensitive bugger! you irritate people, we'll never do this!". the halfling fumed in return "i'm trying to get to the head of the matter. we all know that little harlot wench did this! perhaps she seduced those who are dying, perhaps she's an undead. i want to get out of here! besides Miss-Fist, you weren't helping much yourself!".
perhaps it was the heated atmosphere, perhaps we decided to cover more ground and intimidate people less by going single. we decided to split up. we each got ourself a target, and agreed to meet at Rod's at the evening.
the party mood
was quite good! all these arguments are in jest and roleplay. Killpi's player and myself are best friends, we thought it would be fun to have characters that butt heads all over.
Lynn and Teal'c
lacking high social skills, the two warriors headed back to Rod's and tried to gather rumors and information, attracting people by telling war stories. however, the gloom of the place and the cold outside meant that few people were interested. the town's blacksmith, a grumpy drunk big human called Shawn Ashley told a strange tail. "ya see, one night, i be coming back late from the forge when is see this thing flying in the air! creepy and all dark like!" (he took a swig from his ale, eyes half glazing) "it was a vampire i tell you!"
we take his words with many, many grains of salt.
Ayla and Judith
knowing the healer is hiding something, Ayla though to talk to her personally, healer to healer. but despite her best efforts the healer doesn't spill up. she only learns that the Grunt family has been here since the village was erected, and they got their own sect in the catacombs.
the family has a great apple grove near the village from which they derive much of their riches.
Killpi at the hunter's house
Killpi came to Mike Wood's house, and upon recieving no answer at the door, smiled to himself. he found a back entrance, and a lock picking roll later, he was in. Killpi was in some sort of a laundry room, and looked towards the main room.
there was a dog there. big dog. big black dog (think German Shepard). thankfully sleeping. hhmmmm... right... Killpi very very slowly got out and decided to wait for the hunter. but being bored he thought to test the hunter's skills, and hid in his lumber pile.
Ayla and "girlfirneds!"
being a young stunning woman, Ayla decides to try to the hearts of the young friends of Kate. she awaits them till they return from the apple grove, and try to strike a conversation. but... she sort of takes the tone of a responsible, concerned elderly maother, and late teenagers as they are, the girlfriends makes a face and shuffle her off... Ayla sighs (the player got bloody bad rolls)
Glimji and the Grunt Matriarch
Glimji decides to return to the grandma's house. he explains he is not associated to us ("especially the Fist woman") and calmly wins her heart slowly, talking to her grief, reviving memories of Kate when she lived and so on. he learns a few important things. first, Mark has obviously courted Kate to harshly, and she nearly broke up with him, till he brought her some sort of a "make up" gift, days before she died.
also, she did not sleep for a day or more before dying like the others have. she was dead when her father found her in her bed.
also, her father was the one to find her dead, and he made all the arrangements of her burial, quite quickly. he was the only one who saw her before closing her in the coffin, only one except for... Judith.
after winning the poor grandma's heart (beguiler or no beguiler?) he asks to see Kate's room. as she leads him he quickly casts detect magic behind her back. and there it is- the tiniest amount of magic in the room, faint traces, but there was something magical here.
He asked to atalk with Andrew but the grandma said he asked to see no one.having talked with the grandma for hours, Glimji makes hi way to Rod's.
Meanwhile with Killpi
the sun lowers, and it's getting cold, very cold. nto willing to give up, Killpi takes some of the wood and makes a fire to warm by in front of the Hunter's house.
Ayla, take 3
back at Rod's everyone gathers except fro Killpi. they exchange stories and info. Ayla notices the two girlfriends of Kate here, and decides to make a distraction fro the men and give Killpi (who obviously has more skill) a chance to talk to the girls.
so she dances, erotically, sensually, as only a priestess of the goddess of love can. the dance has the desired effect- most men are entranced, but so are the girlfriends! "wow! that is the coolest thing ever! how did you do that! teach me! teach me!" Ayla has groupies!
using this new found adoration Ayla now easily talks the girls to spill some info. Mark took Kate to the Lizard's Grove (a small forest about 1/2-1 day walk from Far Reach) where he courted her too much. he gave her a beautiful large green gem as a present. that seemed like an important clue!
Also, upon questioning about Eric the girls said he stalked and followed the couple. "he was sleazy, obsessed. he became crazy after that sickness".
Killpi and the Hunter, finally!
Mike finally came (from drinking at Rod's) to find an odd little halfling drinking on his front porch. "who are you?". "i'm am a business man, unfortunately stuck in this valley, where upon i might use your assistance?" Mike lets him in, the first person in the village unconcerned that he is a halfling, which Killpi finds reassuring. the black dog welcomes Mike, and growls at Killpi, recognizing his smell from somewhere.
Mike brings out coffee, while Killpi shares his tobacco. Killpi tells of his "businesses", and Mike shares rumors from the village. "some say Kate was a sorceress, but that is an evil thing to tell of someone. she has a kind heart that girl".
Killpi buys a map of the Valley! the catacombs are about 3 hours away, (east of the grove) while the blockade is about 1/2 a day away (blocks the opening in the south. "i wouldn't go there, they have squads to ambush people".
Killpi offers to rent Mike's services, but mike refuses. Killpi hints at getting into the catacombs, and mike cautiously replies that if they do so, make sure no one knows.
finally Killpi thanks Mike for the welcoming, and heads to Rod's.
So what have we got so far
Kate was courted by Mike and Eric. Mark pushed Kate too hard (in the lizard grove) and gave her some green gem as a "make up gift". Eric followed them, stalked them.
a few days later Kate died. she did not fall to sleep like the others. her father and Judith are the only one who saw her as she was buried in a close coffin. Mark fell asleep soon after as others in the village, who died.
the only exception is Eric who awakened crazy, telling wild tales about orcs. the Fist who blockades the valley have taken him.
after sharing tales and thinking up what to do, Killpi goes to wash the dishes. he notcies a stew brewing for tomorrow, and adds his laxatives to the pot. Rod decree that Ayla and Lynn will sleep in the rooms, and the rest in the barn.
in the middle of the night the barn door is rattled. as Teal'c, Glimji and Killpi prepare to fight, a frightened elderly woman enters. "please help me! you're my only hope1 you're outsiders, i've heard the tale about the goblins, you must save my son!" a short talk after they realize this is Jennifer Swanson, Eric's mother. she takes them to her house (Ayla and Lynn still sleep) and meet his father as well- Gavin the wood cutter.
the parents want the party to save Eric from the hands of the fist. they have a friend in town who can hide him till they are gone. "we will give you everything" says the crying mother, but Killpi surprisingly refuses any payment. "I will do this for the pleasure of Screwing the Fist!". Teal'c however is not pleased. "If you go against the Fist, only the gods can help you!" while Glimji is more interested in the prize...
the parents bring w shiny jewled necklace, a family heirloom. "come to think of it" quickly adds Killpi "i'd like my share". they discuss matters as Gavin brings some coffee (which Killpi recognizes, and understand who the "friend" might be), but finally agree, though they have no idea how. the Swanson family also offers their house as a more comfortable residence from the barn, which the 3 happily agree to.
what do the fortune call for in the next day?
that is about 2/3- 3/4 of the meeting. i hop i get to write the best soon, but comments are still welcomed on this part alone