There will be the BUF Halloween party until 2pm. I will be operating the slingshot.
A group of ten middle schooler boys is a bit tough to make an environment inviting to all players especially if so many of the young people playing are physically restless and tend to be loud.
The ideal DnD group is actually four players.
Splitting a group of ten or twelve in half is difficult, especially if they are all in the same room, being restless. How is that an environment that seems inviting to young females or quiet inviduals that seem to wait endlessley for their turn.
I need more DMs, and I need more DMs willing to be LARPing leaders. Because many of the active boys present need to express their energy and adventure at the same time. LARPing would be ideal for them.
Wiri Bentspear had tasked Lothric, Tiberius, Ville, and Alex to apprehend Deronden and Alldar because they were a threat.
Traveling south, they encountered a small group of scavengers that were picking up detritus from the elven battle against the undead at the Galentaspar stone wall.
One of the members was a very shrewd lizard folk–with cheek flares like a commodo dragon. Another two were different colored Dragonborn. Lothric’s party approached them with discouraging looks and this motley crew of lizards admitted that they were helplessly drawn here, but wanted to adventure.
The group continued south for another half a day and arrived in Anitus in the late afternoon. Gregor spotted them and walked out to meet them on the road. As Gregor stepped out of the tent, Daturan and Allda spoke up to him: “No one else is invited here! Your friends are not our friends, they are not welcome!”
Gregor walked out to greet Lotheric, Tiberious and Alex and found a much larger group than when they split, days ago. Two more dragon born and a desert-style lizard folk was with the group. They all seemed intent on a mission, some were clearly enthusiastic for battle. To the middle of Anitus they wandered. When they walked past the slaves for sale at Trader Vic’s, some of them grabbed their swords but where pushed back into the group. In the middle of the pavilion they circled had a chaotic discussion across each other until they agreed to go into the Rock Pub.
When they entered the Rock Pub, the bartender called out, “the last group your size cost me money to replace all the furnature! You have to pay a cover charge–10 gold!” Some bickering but a lot of silver was shed and some of the group appeared to get a drink. The story about how Wiri Bentspear putting a hit out on Daturan and Allda was shared, and how the group was too big to all go after both, so they decided to split up.
Grigor looked out the tent flap of the pub while Arjihan looked back holding the flap open. Argihan noticed that two of the four half orcs that were present in the pub remained. Grigor saw a group of nine orcs and half orcs suddenly split from a conversation and run between tents the moment of eye contact. “Something’s up” Grigor said. The followed some of the orcs across the pavilion.
Allda was dressed in a grey cloak with black patches and sleeves stiff with pockets. Scanning the crowd, Trader Vic’s had a guard in a gray cloak with a spear. They approached. With so many people approaching, the human gaurd in the gray cloak asked, “You want to buy a slave?”
“No. where did you get your cloak?” Arjihan asked.
“A guy sold it to me, about an hour ago. Right here. Said it was too warm for him. A slave tore up my shirt earlier today so I bought it off him.”
This didn’t sit right with Grigor, Arjihan or Derek the Destroyer (dragonborn) and the human raised his hand and shot Arjihan with a fire bolt, and turned to run! Gregor struck him with his sword and Allda, now half orc again, fell to the ground behind the line of slaves, clutching his wound. The group immediately had to respond to two senior orc guards brandishing their scimitars at them. Grigor struck one of the orcs, and Arjihan launched a fireball right between them!
Which was a mistake…it caught the leatherworker’s tent on fire, plus brought three orc verterans out for the commander’s tent and leveled all the attention in the pavilion on them! Getting sticky much…?
Alex cast darkness on himself and urged the rest of the group to stick close to him. “We won’t be tracked if we run through the brimstone of the fire right before us!” And some of them were seared by the flames as they raced into the confligration but found themselves away from the orc patrol and on the track of Allda soon enough…
…for Derek to be struck by another fire bolt! He stumbled back at the corner of four tents and the rest of the group ran past to continue the chase. Arjihan tried to grab Allda, then Grigor. Next Derek and the Alex. Derek got hit by the next fire bolt–but Grigor launched forward to tackle Allda and Alex landed a solid blow with his quaterstaff that knocked Allda out.
Tying him up, they escaped north and met up with Lotheric, Ulipa and Tiberious, who has captured Daturan without, apparently, too much difficulty. After a brief rest, they walked north all evening, intermittently arguing about how the bounty was going to be split, and at dawn, they stepped in front of Casino Bolito, and Ulipa was invited in, while a few other rest of the group bickered about how much gold they were getting.
Wiri met Ulipa, “You did better than I anticipated. I thought that Daturan was more of a threat. In fact, it seems you found him quite readily. Here’s what I promised…about…600 gold. She spread it out on the table and found 59 platinum and a 20GP gem. She pocketed the gem, and asked for a drink while she divided it into piles for the group, and then, after finishing her drink…redivided the piles, doubling many of them to reflect proportional shares.
“You’re getting paid today, crew!” Ulipa said, walking out of the casino. And most of them were happy, especially Lotheric, Alex and Tiberious, noticing their own larger bags. But how long do we remain such a large group…were what many of them were asking.
Up cycled license plates are a perfectly reasonable piece of metal to re-purpose.
The morning after Wiri hired Lotheric, Ville, Ulipa and Alex on a hit contract, they were packed up and walking out of the inn on the Bolitus pavilion–when Barkar, flanked by a huge bugbear and four beefy orcs start jogging toward them. Everyone drops their backpacks and draws their weapons–but unfortunately the party gets separated into two groups.
Barkar and two orcs attack Ville and Alex and the bugbear and other two orcs gang up on Lotheric. The fighting is heavy–Lotheric is unusually slow this morning and nearly hurts Ulipa when he over-swings and misses the bugbear. In contrast: orcs are fresh and cunning, landing piercing and stunning blows to Lotheric and Ville with brutal accuracy. These orcs must be representing for all their fallen comrades, they hit so hard!
Lotheric barely has time to wipe the sweat dripping into his eyes before he is struck again and nearly toppled. This is preposterous. Time for bigger guns, Lotheric says to himself. Putting his left hand to his right, he twists his Ring of the Ram into position and fires a mighty blast into the bugbear–to great effect!
Lotheric has a bit of time to take a few steps back and Ulipa makes it back to him an restores him somewhat. At about half his energy, Lotheric looks over his shoulder and finds that the bugbear, shoved many yards away and tumbling an orc in the process, has gotten up and is shaking himself like a dog to fling the dust off. That orc that should have been killed by a huge bugbear falling on it is nearly back up as well. What the hell?
A little breather is better than no breather, so Lotheric grips his greatsword again. He has a second to look over at Ville, who’s taken a viscious blow and is down, with Alex and Tiberious standing over him, fighting off Barkar and the other two orcs. We’re not winning, Lotheric mumbles to himself. This is bad. Everyone is injured and–amazingly Tiberious lands a killing blow on an orc!
But we’re still out-matched, Lotheric mumbles, and swings at the bugbear again. Finally, a solid hit! But an orc is behind him and strikes at the same time. And Lotheric hears a scream as Tiberious is hit. Ulipa is hit trying to get close to Lotheric. Things are going so rough he barely notices the sound of horse hooves and the jingle of new swords.
Their bouncer orc that introduced them to Wiri was at his side, parying blows from the other orcs! And a half elf ranger he hadn’t seen for months was at his other side–where did he come from? No time to talk…
But the orcs kept hewing at them and the bugbear wasn’t showing any signs of wearing down. Tiberious and Alex were retreating and draging Ville to the mules, but Barkar and an orc were still hewing at them as well. Everyone was going defensive.
Two arrows sang through the air and stuck the orcs before Lotheric, followed by a rough voice, “Hands off! Those people are mine!” commanded Wiri. He stood with his hand on a short sword, and four rouges half orcs on either side of him, two of them with longbows and two brandishing longswords. Before the moment of confusion was over, Wiri was already standing over Barkar, brandishing his sword at his neck. “This one is mine.”
Wiri’s crew pushed away Barkar’s hirelings and they turned and fled, the bugbear crashing right through the leatherworker’s tent to many curses from the vendor.
“Lotheric!” Wiri announced, “That was disappointing. I’m going to have to reduce your rate. I expected more of you and your crew. Don’t hang around here, go do your task, and return promptly–I want to see evidence of your task soon!.”
Lotheric sighed. Day is off to poor start. Getting harassed by evil crime lord is embarassing…
And the team gathered their packs and headed south, looking forward to a short night of rest halfway to Anitus. The offer of 800 gold for their job getting cut somewhat–how much? Very frustrating. If they don’t develop a reputation for working with the crime lords in the cairn towns, though…how will they learn where the evil power in the region actually resides?
After Lothric, Tiberius and Aredellus freed the slaves in orc caravan, they headed east into the hills. A day of rest at Oaksparrow camp and they had a conversation with Feltor who debriefed them on what was causing the magic barrier…still no evidence, so they were asked to return. Aredellus decided he needed to rest longer, so unloaded his bag of holding and Lotheric and Tiberius were left with the weapons. Among the hundreds of wounded elven warriors in the camp, the weapsons for sale were sharpened and cleaned and loaded on a pair of mules. Lotheric and Tiberious set off…determined but not enthusiastic.
Out on the plains, most of the way to Bolitus, the northern cairn town, they encountered a pair of travellers: a monk named Ville the Toad and Ulipa, both from further south on the east side of the Sing’Jar mountains. After some skeptical looks, they all agreed that they resented Orcs, Drow, and evil…so they agreed to travel north to Bolitus together. Ville the toad made jokes about Canadians the whole walk…very annoying, eh?
As they approached Bolitus, those from Anitus recollected that they did not see any elves. In fact, most of the elves in Anitus were drow. Surface elves are never popular with either drow or orcs. Some of the group decided it was smart to disguise themselves a bit when entering the town.
Bolitus, much like Anius, was a rough ring of sun beaten pavilions and canvas tents around a twenty foot tall cairn of bolders, at the top of which was a black onyx pyramidal capstone. The whole area was bustline with humans, orcs, half orcs–covered with dust, leading carts laden for trade. Most carts were lead by oxen, smaller carts were lead by horses, and some were lead by slaves.
Following the southern track into the center pavilion, the part parked their mules in front of the Dented Cup, a pub that would allow them…the bouncers at the Orc Pub just shoved them back into the dirt…Lotheric and Ulipa stayed outside with the mules. Tiberius, Ville and Alex strode into the bar and after ordering some drinks, were approached by a veteran orc named Bakar asking them to play a game of dice.
Some huming and hawing later, some dice rolled and some money won by Tiberius, a converastion started about where they could sell some weapons. Barkar said he’d pay in gold and would like a look at the goods.
As they lead him out of the pub, Barkar grabbed the reigns of one of the mules and tried to rush off with it! The rest of the group intercepting Barkar, giving him a sound tumbling, and Barkar ducked back into the pub, clutching his wounds…but not before Barkar called for help from within the bar.
A huge Orc in chain mail faced the group at the door, backed by threeww other orcs with mauls. The huge orc traded blows with Lotheric, but didn’t last long. The other orcs spread out, were defeated in a minute by the rest of our party. Alex rushed inside the Dented Cup and fired arrows from his short bow at Barkar who was header out the kitchen exit of the pub. Barkar escaped, but the barkeep showed up at the door and demanded a cut of the loot picked from the pockets of the fallen outside his door. “Come again, adventurers!” the owner said as they left.
No sooner had they walked away from the Dented Cup, but a pair of red-vested, black hooded, shadow-covered drow pranced forward from the casino across the plaza towards them. As Lotheric, Ulipa, Alex, Ville and Tiberius approached the middle of the plaza, three schrewd operators from three separate tents reached them first, introducing themselves as adventurers.
Tiberious offered the skinnier two new adventure seekers a (paltry) reward for hunting down Barkar than the third, a well spoken half orc, approached Lotheric…”You wont get into the casino if someone else doesn’t introduce you. I’m known there, I can get you in. If each pay five gold, I’ll be able to pay your cover charge.” And in a few minutes, they had been greeted by a pretty half orc waitress and lead to Table 1 of the Bolitus Casino, where they stopped before a pair of humans with greatswords garding the velvet trimmed oak table.
…and they were introduced to Wiri Bentspoon, owner of the casino and other businesses in Bolitus. Wiri admitted that he was impressed with the strength of their team (especially Lotheric) and how Lotheric handily defeated Barkar’s best muscle. But these swords they were selling, that was another matter. The market is flooded: drow don’t care for sunside elven weapons, orcs neither. Someone is always going to be buying weapons, but everyone already has one–so there’s no good way to give a fair market price on the lot of them. A half price counter-offer is made.
“What is more valuable,” Wiri says, “is your skills. Not all adventuring humans are so robust or brave. I have trouble in Anitus. There’s a ranger and a wizard down there that have been trying to kill the cairn leader down there. If you take care of those two, you’ll get paid better than what you’re selling these weapons for.”
Beneath Genbooth’s general store in north bay Sing’Jar, a dozen robed figures hunched over benches, writing in leather bound journals with quils. As one figure shifted, their bench would totter and another’s ink block would slide off the edge and be grabbed at the last moment and placed back on the bench. Their hoods covered their faces, not because they were shy–no, they love to tell stories, they were historians–but it was cold in this basement. Their hoods were spotted and stained with black or brown smudges and finger prints from their inky hands stained from reflexively whisking their falling ink blocks out of the air before they smacked to bits on the roughtly tiled floor.
This was one of four suites rented out beneath Genbooth’s–two were storage and the third was a cobbler’s workshop. There was a regular creak of the broad, dark wooden steps that lead up to the entry hall to the ground floor as people brought their shoes in for repairs. The tapping and rattling of work next door added a comforting tempo to the quiet writings or the erudite conversations of the sages on their benches, sharing and preserving stories and knowledge they gathered from their studies in the library, at the mayor’s house or from the captains and crew that were in the city between their regular cargo routes. Often when the sailors would tell stories, sea gulls would hop up behind a scholar and tear a page out of their journal and fly off with…
Sea gull? Stop! Ulipa awoke, flailing her arms around her to drive of the bird. With an upset call, a bird lifted into the air away from her bag, and she pulled the bag right up to her belly and straigtened the papers in it.
“You’re up just in time, traveller,” a robust voice said from above her. Pulling her head up, she leaned into the horned shadow of a minotar–the first mate on this schooner. Dressed in faded orange denim pants with a sailcloth vest, he couldn’t be anything but a sailor. He had some good stories to share.
“El’gas! Are we almost at the Octrans?”
“Certainly are, little elf.” (How annoying–I’m a half elf) “You’re about to be present to a rare experience–very lucky indeed. The marine elves of these islands are not generally friendly to visitors. But their pidgeon messages indicated they were glad to talk to any historians or sages from the mainland. You might just find a new home here.”
A day later, the ArrowAxe having deboarded all its skinny, city-bred refugees from the burned timbers of Sing’Jar, Ulipa was sitting cross-legged next to Ost’se Ing’se, a cleric of Shashelas was sharing a story of the early days of the Octran islands over a very salty kelp loaf and rather sandy oysters. Ost’se, so old as to be gathering some alge between the wrinkles in folds of his neck and constantly scratching at the small barnacles trying to settle on the back of his upper arms looked at her curiously.
“Ulipa–you are the least agitated member of your guild, do you realize that? Your whole city burned down and many of your peers here nearly forgot their journals on the boat that just left. They are devastated…but you are quite rational. Share with me how this journey has been for you.”
Ulipa was not alright or comfortable with the destruction of Sing’Jar–who would be? But what could she actually do about it? She was not in shape to heft a sword, she hated running, she was never as good as her brothers at climbing trees or walking silently in the woods. “Ost’se…It’s horrible. I’ve cried the nights on the boat. Among the first time since I left my family in the forest I feel afraid and lonely again. I’m no fighter. What can I do? When I get people to share their stories and journal some history, I feel purpose and it takes my mind off the people I couldn’t help in the city.”
“You want to help more…Ulipa? There is a visitor older than myself on the way here I would introduce you to. I think you and he will get along well.”
And another day passed. Ulipa dwelled on the strange foreshadowing that Ost’se revealed. The patterns of the seaguls shifted. She saw sails on the horizon. Many of the aquatic elves ran for their canoes or waded in and swam to island Unus. Ost’se slowly got up, clutching his knapped-shell trident and disappeared into the surf.
Ulipa flipped her head around when a shadow fell over her. A handsom, warm skinned man in a dripping pair of shorts with a pair of sandals tossed over his shoulder dropped to a cross-legged seat next to her. “Greetings, sage! My name is Bron. I collect stories, too.”
And before she knew it, Ulipa and Bron had talked until sundown, completely oblivious to the grounding of ships and the battling pirates one island away. She described her home in the mountains, and how she met Feltor when she was little. Bron described how he helped out on the islands and helped make one of the largest houses on the islands far away from here. He described how this favorite home of his was destroyed by a spiteful giant and many of his friends were killed. Ulipa, her hand shaking with sadness and anger, wiped tears from her face. “I wish stories could defeat these disgusting orcs!”
“There are secrets in stories, you know,” said Bron, lifting a stone from the beach. In his thick fingered brown hands, beneath the brass rings with green turqoise inlay, he played his fingers around the surface of the stone. Crack! With a spark and chips clattering off the stones between their knees, he showed off the two halves of the rock.
As the moon rose to the zenith, Bron continued teaching Ulipa so many stories, so many bits of wisdom, she was startled to find a second listener, light eyed, golden hair and draped in a linen shawl, quietly seated next to her. “Jonrite,” Bron said, “this is Ulipa. She is a faithful scholar of this world and has suffered greatly from the orcs. I find her fascinating! Ulipa, this is Jonrite. Jonrite visits me very seldom and I consider it a rare honor to have his presence.”
“Ulipa,” Jonrite asked in a voice so calm that it hushed the sound of the crashing waves when he spoke, “I have watched you learn magic at the hand of Jonrite tonight and understand it. You are not afraid, nor are you shy. Of your fellow scholars, Ost’se picked you out as most worthy. He is the oldest aquatic elf of the islands. Between the three of us, we would invite you to take up the mantle of a champion and return to mainland.”
Ulipa was about to ask…
But Jonrite answered her in stride before she spoke: “aptitude for power and strength of character make a great foundation for a leader. You can channel your frustration with the world into change–and I can grant you powers to fight the evil taking over this land.”
And by taking Jonrites hands, she accepted a pact with a Solar. After finishing her vows, she looked up to find the stars replaced with a large bronze curtain surrounding them, and the head of a dragon looking down at her. In a not-exactly-quiet, growly voice, the dragon said, “Ulipa, respect the pact with the Solar and we will fight together, side by side one day soon. Be the spearhead that breaks the shield defending the evil to the east. When you and your team get beyond the gravel pit of Galentaspar, I will join you again.”
Jonrite put his fingers over Ulipa’s eyes and they were battered by gust of wind and stones from the dragon launching into the sky. When Ulipa opened her eyes again, she was alone on an empty beach, the pale edge of dawn in the east starting to grow.
This week’s DnD adventure we follow Lothrick, Aradellus (Liam), Tiberius (Jesse), Seavarh (Soren) and Alex Leonardus (Henry) as they tail a caravan north from Anitus to Botilo cairn. Atala the brownie insisted to them that there were captured elves in the caravan…
The scrappy young drow, Irre, had worked hard to appease Lolth’s priests below Galentaspar: the proper prayers, the proper offerings. Being an orphaned at a young age when his parents were killed from an orc attack at the entrance of a surface tunnel, he looked to his uncle Zenophius as a moral guide. Zenophius was strict and orderly and always made the proper sacrifices to the priests of Lolth. It was not entirely appropriate for Zeno to recommend Irre to corporal Venoth as a young recruit, but Irre was eager and trained hard.
Irre showed a knack for battle tactics. He could recite movements appropriate for cavern engagements with orcs, how they were different than goblins, and knew how to organize a platoon against a troll attack. His first promotion was shortly after he turned in a fellow trainee planning on murdering the instructor. Dryzt, the captain inspector, handed Irre his venomed dagger during the report, saying, “Irre, you’re faithful of Lolth, that is clear. Say I dropped this dagger under my chair and you needed to return it to me down the hall. You’ll pass by the accused who’s in the room next door.”
And so Irre was promoted to corporal and was sent out on surface patrol. The sun burned him even with the standard issue everdark cloak. Like most drow saddled with patrolling the orcs around Galentaspar, he wrapped black cloth around his face and hands and watched his fingers get calloused and flake in the harsh light and hot winds of the desert plains east of the Sing’Jar mountains. He followed in the steps of a rude drow lieutenant that forced him into orc brawls and into tents of barbarian humans that stunk of trees. The first time he was wounded by a scimitar he begged to be taken below into the tunnels—and was denied. Irre despaired under a dark wool blanket under a cot on the cool ground in a drow pavilion for days to heal. He dwelled on how he was betrayed and dismissed –he was so angry he refused food. Tired of the experience and wretched, he fell into a fevered daze of not quite sleep.
“Corporal Vant!” commanded a familiar voice. Dryzt! He raised his head and the back of his head struck the center beam of the cot. “Ach, by Lolth—he stirs!” Dryzt laughed. Opening his eyes, Irre was amazed that it appeared evening—but it was still so warm out. Too warm. Irre threw off the sheet and rolled out from under the cot to find a breeze. It was still so dark, but so hot! Dryzt spoke, “Corporal, your uncle is here. I will leave you alone with the shadow spell he set for you.”
A new voice, one of family, “Young Irre Vant. You had not idea surface patrol was so arduous. It is not a punishment intended for you alone. I endured it. Dryzt endured it. It is how we test the mettle of the faithful of Lolth in this hot hellpit of broken giant dung and dwarven scrap metal. Do you know that Dryzt actually went AWOL to find the caves during his first corporal’s assignment?” A chuckle. “He’s a fair sight tougher now than he was—but comparing you at your young ages, you’ve already put up with more than he did.”
The ideas washing over Irre were lightening him, inspiring him with some hope that there was future in his path. The dark was beautiful. “Why is it dark as the tunnel here?”
“It is my staff of Enduring Darkness. I earned this as a general last year. They opened a portal from the Abyss to deliver it to me directly. I am quite proud of it. And I can see your skin healing in its shade. You should sit up. Sit up and accept a promotion, sergeant!”
With the reassurance from Zenophius, Sergeant Irre Vant resumed his patrols and had regular visits back in the tunnels below Galentaspar. He kept the half orcs from blatently stealing and the orcs away from the trading caravans between Anitus and Botilo. The sun was hot, the air was dry, and traders supplicated to him for trading permits as he sat on his black horse below his drow umbrella of daydark.
And the joy of the dead call! He heard stories of the sky darkening and the rattle of the bones in the camps: the signs that an elven force was approaching. He lead his troops north from Anitus and found the dead risen from the dirt and drove his forces into the elves, driving them back!
Most of the elves escaped, but a few casualties survived. He and his troops hauled them back to Anitus. Fray Underhoff, the madman of Anitus, would not pay for these as slaves. They were worth too much to sell to Trader Sam…worth way to much as mere food. Take them north to Bolito for sale there! And north they went. But new traders arrived after that battle, and a few of them decided to tag along behind the small caravan.
The second day of the travel north, a huge bolt of fire erupted in front of his oxen! Attack! Swords clashing from the last wagon. A robed figure was casting a spell from atop the old wall alongside the wagon trail. “Stay with the prisoners!” Irre called to the driver of the prison wagon. Irre and his crew jumped off the lead wagon and charged at the pair of attackers. The oxen were scared, best to not be on the wagon at all.
Fighting ensued quickly! Screams from the end of caravan. One of his half-orcs jabbed his spear into a robed figure attacking this wagon—and in a few blows, an attacker was down and the enemy was retreating over the wall. Hot in pursuit, they climbed the short and crumbling stone wall and were attacked! Every time the half orcs hit these elven attackers, they drew blood. This battle would be over soon.
One of them was right in Irre’s sigthts—he fired his crossbow. And again. Why was his missing? More screams. Bad sign—the battle was getting quieter. His men were boisterous and loud when fighting—quiet meant they were losing orcs!
And so they did. These pale devil elves kept charging in for close quarters battle and Irre kept missing with his crossbow. A cloud of daggers appeared around the half orc to his left. This was not magic he knew how to fight! He finally got a bolt into one of the fighters in front of him and then a bright spray of light overwhelmed him. “Lolth, save me!” Irre cried.
…and thus Tiberious, Seavahr, Aredellus and Lotheric defeated a party of ten orcs, half orcs and a very proud drow sergeant.
Stupid QA process at TransUnion creates a blank page at the most emotional time of an interaction: the confirmation page for your credit freeze.
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Thorfinn, Eliza, Petal, Arjanir, and Grigor return south to Anitus, passing by the trading pavilions after Lotheric, Tiberious and A__ followed Atala who insisted on freeing the captive elves in the slave caravan heading north.
Our party wanders into the Rock Pub near the south end of the cairn trading pavilion. The half orc bouncers at the door are not impressed with the clean and legal look of our party. At the bar are a cloaked mage, a wiry ranger and a steer sized half orc. The other patrons are mostly humans with service aprons on, tossing coppers on the floor to bet on arm wrestling matches. The wiry ranger teases Grigor about not being able to beat Knuckles (half orc) in an arm wrestling match.
Grigor is so nervous being in this entirely evil place that he jumps the gun on the first match and pins the half orc’s arm in a quick moment. The next round, Knuckles squeezed Grigors hand into a sausage and won. The pressed on with one more round and Knuckles won in a more matched challenge.
Eliza was challenged next by the ranger. Eliza introduced herself and likewise the ranger introduced himself as Daturan. The high-elf and the half-drow were equally matched. Ever the advantage seeker, Daturan surprised Eliza with a leg sweep and Eliza lost her footing off the top of the big wrestling stone—but recovered by spinning and landing on her opposite leg. The crowd cheered and threw more coin on the floor. Eliza dodged a shove, and then did a kick at Daturan’s knee. Daturan swung away from the strick but over-extended, and Eliza threw her off the wrestling rock.
With the winnings, Eliza bought the part another round of hard cider. It tasted like fermented goat piss, which was probably pretty good—by orc standards. Conversation was rather strained between the two parties. The skinny hooded half-orc next to them chipped in with bitter jokes and private out-loud laughs. Thorfinn would ask where to get some good jobs, and Daturan would respond with an evasive answer that showed kind of a patronizing distrust of the party. Knuckles would joke about how Thorfinn and Grigor seemed too clean and smelled like pine cones. Maybe they liked elves?
Time to go, decided Thorfinn. As they walked to the door, the half-orc bouncers were joking about easy marks. Thorfinn, sensing a trap preemptively twisted out of the way when passing the bouncer on the left, but Grigor got struck in the ankle by the opposite bouncer. They fought—but Thorfinn, Eliza and Grigor were subduing the half orcs but really not hitting them effectively. Petal flew out of Eliza’s hair, and started entangling the fight with ground vines and a sleep spell on Knuckles who rushed out to the melee rather late.
Thorfinn and Eliza wrestled free of the vines and finished subduing the half orcs. Daturan and the hooded figure, Allda, started golf-clapping–”Not bad, forest lovers. Grab a hold and let’s sell these suckers to Trader Sam’s”. Grigor, Arjitan, and Eliza agreed that people should not be sold into slavery, even if they were evil half-orcs, and said to meet up with them north of the cairn. Daturan continued to loot the bodies and placed 8 gold pieces into Thorfinn’s hand, saying “I’ll get more from selling these chumps then I’m handing you. Let’s go!” Thorfinn silently but grudgingly agreed—mostly to see the process this place considered normal—and helped Daturan drag the half orc around to an adjacent tent with an orc banner hanging over the entrance. With a few more gold in their purses, they left north.
At Daturan’s camp, the group discussed what they thought the plan was. The evil in the land is the power of a network of curses on a group of cairns around Galentaspar. The whole region is unhallowed. Additionally, each cairn is a desecrated area. The most powerful people in the region are necromancers and unholy clerics. The drow really only admit trade with peoples obeisant to Lolth.
Daturan hates the mayor of Anitus. Not really a yaor—more like a charismatic evangelist. Such a clever talker, Fray Underhof tricked Daturan out of a caravan full of slaves by selling Daturan right to another slaver an opposite route. Daturan has tried to assassinate Fray many times, but had failed repeatedly Fray has only increased his influence and has his own cadre of cairn keepers and henchmen. Fray lives in a tiny gap between the rocks at the base of cairn. According to Daturan, only pawns can now get close enough to Fray to be effective—and Daturan is too well known to get close.
Eliza says it is probably important enough to buy a hawk as soon as possible to let Feltor know what he’s up against. Where would they find a hawk? Should they rather go back to the rock wall? Or should they just continue to infiltrate Fray’s organization and complete Daturan’s revenge?