Shielding Alliance

Going to the gatehouse
Giant frogs; "If they can eat us, then there must be treasure inside!"

“As oy ‘ave said already… oy am naugh right… and am much damaged.. as does our Elven friend seem to be… While you two may be armored to yer teeth and ready for mahr bloodshed… we of the non-warrior toipes may naugh be reedy to continya…

“Turtle’s words seem woyse enuff… and it may be a better ideer than to continya ohn… but dat would be moy feelins… Oy am naught reedy to move inna da house.. yeet…” (Grimacing the whole time while holding his bleeding right arm with his left arm, still smiling and trying hard to be as amiable as possible)

“If’n ya need… oy will do me best to gut dem dare frawgs… but oy need to heel up first, as oy am badly injured heer”

Florent laughs at the clever turn of words) “I am glad to stand watch while someone coots le frog. I ave eaten frog legs before, and they are tres bonne. However, I am not ready to departe already. No offense to your practicing of your art, messiur Pertinax, but you seem more effecteeve with le bow then le magique. We shoold at least see eef le bridge is possible… able to poss… if we can cross eet.”

(Still smarting from the wound no one seems to notice.)

“Well, that’s why its called practicing the Art. I’ll get better. And besides, did you not see that frog fall asleep over there and that other one hesitate and do nothing while Turtle bashed it? That’s the Art, my friend. The Art.”

“But, if you all decide to foolishly yet bravely carry on, I’ll use my bow to pepper our enemies into submission, much like that frog over there. My magic armor is also in effect so I should be protected from other prying tongues.”

(Turtle gestures towards the hill they came down from) “I’m thinking this isn’t the safest spot to do this. If we can drag them to the top of the rise, then when we gut them, the contents will slide out on their own. Plus, maybe our guide can tell us more or help our companion with his injuries.” (she slings her shields and grabs a frog by the foot) “Someone like to give a lady a hand?”

“Very Well. I will elp you madame.” (Florent puts away his flail and struggles to get a grip on the frog with his gauntlets on.) [Str: 15]

View
The effort

The effort to haul the carcasses up the full height of the hill becomes Sysiphian after about twenty or thirty yards. Dragging just one along the flat part of the path alone has raised sweat on any involved and shown that while the footing is somewhat dry, the slick carcass of the frog only gets heavier and harder to holdonto as more dirt, rocks, and dead vegetation cling to its moist skin. Gutting the frogs, you discover that they have recently eaten something fleshy. A smattering of coins (16 silver and 8 copper) were found in one of the frogs, and another had a leather dagger scabbard that, while ruined from stomach acids, still had it’s ornamental gem intact, a rough piece of green quartz the size of a human’s thumb.

Investigations of the area where the edge of the path dives to the murk near the beasts attack does reveal something quite out of place. A stake was recently driven into the ground on either side of the path just before the drawbridge. Smears of blood and bits of rope suggest something meaty had once been tied to the poles.

View
the long walk back

Going back, Turtle walks along staggeringly with a bemused smile on her face and a distant look in her eyes. Surprisingly, along the journey she does not give any indication of pain, although obviously suffering serious wounds. Both the bite marks on her arm and the large concussion on her head have stopped bleeding, however it will be a few days before she is back to bashing. Yet the warrior’s disposition is positive. At one point, while crossing an uphillish bend she jokes; “Feet, don’t FLAIL me now.” A quick wink toward the boy with the large shield shows her high spirits.

Florent takes great comfort from Turtle’s show of courage, and apparent understanding of the perils of combat, even from allies. But his guilt weighs heavily on his conscience as he realizes how devastating a misplaced blow can be. His fighter’s bravado and confidence has been deeply shaken. As he continues to walk he reflects on the success of his healing efforts the day before. In truth, the healing kit he carries was purchased more for selfish motives of wanting someone else who was healing him to be prepared. Seeing the gratitude of the faces of the elf and half-elf as he eased their suffering and restored them to health resonated deeply within the young fighter. Had Imater actually heard his prayers? In many ways he is looking forward to the days of rest and inactivity ahead for deeper discernment and soul searching about his vocation.

Later on, when there is a quiet moment, she raises a wineskin. “I’d like to propose a toast. I’m not sure yet what our little band should call itself, but now that we have all bled good blood together, it would seem we are a group. Even our taciturn guide.” (another wink, and a lift in his direction)

“But I must suggest we now share thoughts on how better to work together, so that we succeed, rather than…FLAIL.” (she laughs merrily for a moment)

“In all seriousness, we were fortunate only because we fought beasts. Against those that are intelligent we shall face a challenge that is much, much harder. We will need to be better prepared.” (she pauses to let this sink in)

Pertinax, “Not unless they are even less intelligent than we, although I will concede that given our inexperience and exploits so far finding such a dimwitted group is unlikely.”

Florent “I woood very mooch like to learn from your experience, Turtell. I know I ave mooch to learn.”

“And, on a happier note, we now have enough loot to warrant a policy on how to divide such spoils. My first suggestion is that our troupe negotiates some sort of long-term verbal contract with Rhaymose to quicken our rise.” (she looks around expectantly)

Florent “I am no so goood at bar-gun-ing or knowing how much is dis. But I can carry eet.” (He opens his pack to show its contents, and gladly waits for someone to take care of the business end of adventuring)

Pertinax, “As long as he doesn’t require us to be exclusive. Which he might demand. By the way, could someone remind me how and why we divulged the information onthe moathouse to Rhaymoss? I seem to have completely forgotten then whole episode.”

“A rare Elven lapse? Tsk, tsk.” (Turtle flicks a small stone at a nearby tree.)

Pertinax, “In any case, I do not mind negotiating with the human at the general store. I do not doubt that he intends to gouge us so I will be very conservative in our dealings. I feel saddened that Osgood feels betrayed by us, particularly to that man.”

View
an inoculous leak

Treveylyn, Aye… I’ll tell ya when we betrayed Osgood…. twas when he asked us of where we were headin, and why we might be needin a guide… We all started speaking up, some not nearly so well in der endeavor to lie… (Treveylan is obviously upset and perturbed) and then someone blurted it out. Naught sure whom that person was, bah tweren’t me… I said hardly nuthin to him at all…”

And now the the good innkeep is suff’rin for our loose tongues… If’n you be needin a negoshee-ater, I am fairly skilled in talking to people, bein tactful and whatnot… not so bad at fibbin if need be… However!!! (he speaks up briefly to gain attention) “I am not as well versed in readin the lies of others, and have been known to be wrong on their intentions… a toyme or two…”

(a loud, hearty laugh) “Betrayal?! Suffering?! This is a joke right? Look here. We swore no oaths nor were given any. The innkeep merely offered us his advice, and, while well-intentioned, wasn’t possible to follow in a small town. You think people wouldn’t know where we were going when we go out in that direction, and then come back, returning burdened with treasure? Where else but the ‘forbidden’ keep could this have come from?! “

(she expertly rolls the shield with the black tower towards him, the metallic ring echoeing along the way)

“If our host has lost any customers, it will be locals who will soon after return to their only watering hole. If you feel guilty for some reason, then let us agree to stay in the larger room. It would more than recoup his temporary losses while easing our battered bodies.”

(Turtle crosses her arms)

“Now, as for that ‘loose tongue,’ it was mine. And it happens to be an honest one.”

(She leans forward, staring at him intently)

“I hope thats not a problem.”

“If’n you be trying to make me fear ya… it will take more den dat, lass…

(he deftly steps out of the way of the shield even nearly before she let it go, and lets it roll by him and clatter to the floor)

... don’t be doin that again… I am naught yer enemy, an would have you treat me wit da same respect you think you deserve…”

As’n we be strangers in dis land.. then yes we are going to stand out…

As ferr betrayin the innkeep’s word.. we agreed to tell no one about where we be goin, nor where’n we heard it. We failed on dat in both counts. I am not one fer lyin either, but in foreign lands, people generally dinnaye take to outsiders… trootful or naught…

I ain’t blamin ya… but as much as we may naught be liked, there are those witin dis community that aren’t liked either… obviously. I will deal with him on my own… in my own way… I do not feel guilty… just bad that a man has lost business from our accounts…”

He stands as calmly as he always is.. is in no way angry… returning Turtle’s look, with a serene and apathetic gaze… as if to insinuate he has moved on from this argument or issue already…

Pertinax speaks up. “I agree with Travailan in the sense that honesty isn’t necesarily the opposite of silence. Dishonesty would be to be purposefuly misleading, as in saying we are going to storm the keep instead of the moathouse.”

(Turtle again looks confused at this explanation of ethics.)

“I understand why things were said but in the future it might serve us better to keep certain information to ourselves, even if we think others will deduce that information.”

“One last thing, dear Turtle. You seem to be very emotional. This can be both a boon and a weakness. We speak our minds in hopes to be better understood. Do not take the things we say as attacks.”

“Now, to the matter of selecting an official door opener. May I nominate our brave friend Floroughn. He is strong, well-protected by metal everywhere and being in front might help him avoid our heads with his flail. <chuckle>”

View
more arguments

Turtle, “I told Rhaymose where we were going. First, because he would find out, either from the guide or from our hauling loot back.” (dry tone) “There can’t be too many places around to find shields with black keeps on them. And second..(throws another rock) because I try to be honest with people. It doesn’t mean they get the whole truth, but I don’t like lying. Being as how they AREN’T any other general stores around, it seems, actually, that we are going to be working with Rhaymose exclusively. Our group should try and make the best of this, as we can benefit as much as he can.”

“I also believe that we need better defined roles. Not that we need to be inflexible and unbending in those roles but just some generalities.”

(Turtle stretches her wounded arm) “I would like to not open doors, as it leaves me very vulnerable. Instead, I could be the next one in, and also cover the retreat, if need be.”

Florent, “I steel no understand why we cause trouble for innkeeper. We go kill uge frogs, spider, leezard, look for bandeets. Eef he lose business because of theese, he do business with wrong people. I am proud of our actions, and think people of Ommlet should say Merci, not how could you do theese to me!”

“As for doors, I want to be first in room weeth Turtel. But eef I put away flail to open door it no so good. I say Treyvelan open door and get out of way while we go in. I still no sure what he do anyway. I am just learning to be fighter, but I can at least hold shield and swing flail. Ow come learning to be ranger and no ave any skeel at tracking. I ope you no pay too much for your training. Maybe you learn to open locks? That be magnifique!”

Treveylan listens to the sputtering of the young man, and his face grimaces in anger from the insult, “FIRST OFF….. BOY-O…. aye had never said aye was a Ranger… I said me fadder had tried to teach me some of the skills of our clan… however t’was not until just before aye had left to cross da ocean… tracking takes toime to learn, as much as yer damned foightin… it dinnaye happen o’ernoight…

As far as payin too much… aye have paid fer nuttin!!! All that is learned is from experience, or trial and error… aye can foight, not as well as you, but give it time, and you will see my skills grow much quicker than you can imagine…

Do I look like some teef to you?? I am no TEEF and have no use for locks… I am of the wilderness and come from very trusting peoples, who hold dear each other and their possessions… we are our own locks… lad.”

(With this, he walks away from the group, frustration surmountable… a nearly inaudible statement)

“Pure embawdiment of my kind and he has no idea of what he see nor speaks….”

After Trevelain’s outburts Pertinax shakes his head and in the style of a long forgotten small green philosopher he is fond of says:

“Emotional, he be… intelligence and wisdom from serenity come.”

(Turning to the half-elf)

“Now don’t be thinking I have insulted you. All of you need to develop some thick barch around yourselves. It is obvious Floroughn didn’t mean any harm. He just speaks his mind, same as me and same as you.”

“Youth… such a gift and such a curse.”

Florent, “And you called Turtel emotional. I tink she is level eaded next to im. After resting few days, are we going back to le boathouse? Is there something we could get for fancy door?”

Hesitating in mid-step, Treveylyn turns on his heel, heavy sigh as his shoulders slump… “Aye, oy do apalagize… it is just that oy take my fadder and me clan very seriously. If any slight is said against them, it rubs me da wrong way… oy am fine. It is just that oy ‘ave known only humans…. and not me mudder… which I know is why be lookin nearly like you Pertinax… me heritage is loike a ‘evy stone oy cannaye lose… I do naught know it fully as me fadder has hidden something from me, oy can tell that fer certain…

He alluded to it, before oy left to travel o’er da ocean… maybe from guilt, or da fact dat he may never see me again… oy dinnaye know…Aye, did I hurt em dough…. harsh words left me mout wit’out tinkin… Aye do regret it now…”

View
finally moving on

Pertinax, ””Tomorrow, after my reverie, I will attempt to discern if there are any magical auras on our new items using my Art. Perhaps Turtle and Florghoun should inspect the shield more closely. It might be of fine quality even if its not enchanted.”

Turtle, “Of course.”

(she goes to inspect the shield)

OOC: SOP should be to do an appraise check on an obvious item while other people are searching, recovering, sleeping, etc.

Pertinax, “Lastly, I agree that it is wise to asign less value to enchanted items whose magic does not last.”

(OOC:Although in calculating the market price of said items the fact that they are not permanent should have been accounted for already.)

Treveylyn, “But enuff on dat… I am agreement dat anytin that be needed to be split up dat is expendable, such as potions, ammunitions, etcetera, shoulf naught be counted against the party… or person who be needin it. After all, dat may be how we keep each udder aloyve…”

But them be me two coppers…

As for me skills as a Ranger, as I ‘ave said befar… I am naugh quite as skilled as the normal Ranger… however, I am practising me fadder’s teaching and hope to improve upon dem as we travel togedder….

Soon enough I will be better I be tinkin…”

View
talking strategy

“Armored up as you are… not Pertinax and I… sneaking is never a waste…

Oy ‘ave learned that any plan made gen’rilly turns out to be no plan at’all.. Oy go by me instincts, where oy feel is right, where oy don’t. Therefore, anytin I say is not going to matter to you anyway… or will probly upset ya…

A well laid plan may only result in yer well laid death… and by barricading doorways and whtanot are you not also cutting off other potential escapes for ourselves?? Imagine all da intensive work it would take to do that as well. Most of what we may use there is rotten and decrepit anyway and may afford us no cover, nor resistance…

Da stubborn door you speak of swings in… so barricading it, may not do anytin… they open it and our plan falls at derr feet.

In moy opinion, dey be fortified in derr, and dey ain’t comin out… for us or nobody…

Oy do digress, lass, but oy mus ask… why in the nine ‘ells are you spittin so much??? Do ya make too much spit to keep in yer own head, or are ya just always in a foul mood?”

and befer ya ask… Oy dinnaye ‘ave a plan eider…”

Florent interrupts the planning, speaking up. “I am feeling deeply troubled. I know you don’t old it against me, Turtel, but I still am stuck on fact I almost keeled you with my flail. In my training I never learned ow messy combat ees. I feel I need to work thees out before returning to the front lines. I am going to the church of elm ere in ommlett for the next few days and will stay in a room in the abbey. Opefully the priest of my father’s church can put my conscience and soul at ease. I also feel the need to pray and spend time listening in quiet, which I ave never really done before. I will return when I am ealed and restored. Send for me if you need me before then.”

“As for plans, I trust the wisdom of the group. Use my portion of the loot to pay for my portion of the supplies needed. I will pray for all of you as well.”

Before he gets too far away, Treveylan walks up to him, placing an arm over his shoulder…

“Laddy… aye do know the pain of error and it be a terrible weight… but den dat is why tis called an accident. If’n your lord had wanted you to truly suffer… dey would have had you slay poor turtle derr… Battle be tough… aye ‘ave seen it too many times on da plains and in the woods of home… sometimes an error on our own part will get troo… dinnaye blame yerself too much.

Get better at yer church… talk to yer god… p’raps dey can answer yer questions… Fare thee well,” with that he claps the warrior on the shoulder with the fondest of wishes for the boys troubled mind.

View
and the next game session...ACTION!

The adventurers spent three days in town, recooperating and restocking. Florent stayed in the temple of Helm and received spiritual instruction from acolyte Kalmer. Pertinax commissioned Brother Smith to add spikes to Turtle’s new shield, recently removed from the gut of the lizard. Pertinax determined that the shield held magical alteration properties. although exactly what they are is still unknown.

General store owner Raynoss has been raising prices slightly to the consternation of the people of Omlet, as Florent calls them. He also low balls our party as we try to sell back recovered loot. Turtle manages to strike a sound deal in return for a finely crafted suit of chainmail.

Back in the inn we recruit the gambler Fernock to join our troop in return for a share of the loot. He agrees, and as a sign of good faith shares a divine scroll, which Florent can almost read, surprisingly enough. Gods be praised (which god is yet to be determined :)

Upon returning to the moathouse, we search the first floor rooms, kill a big snake that likes the taste of turtles, and find a hollow silver tube. Moving to the basement, Fernock loses his long sword to some unidentified green slime. This is bad time, because the adventurers soon face 4, no 8, no 12 undead creatures. HOLD THE LINE! Anchored behind the shield bearers, the party goes toe to toe with the undead. The good news is that the armor and shields of Turtle and Florent make them virutally unassailable, except for a critical hit. The bad news is that Florent can’t even hit the floor with the help of gravity. (Four natural 1s in this encounter alone.) The other big surprise is that the half elf did some serious damage with his sickle. After a long struggle good prevails, but not after wounds are taken. Treveylan had to chug a healing potion mid battle, and Florent is on the verge of unconsciousness after being on the wrong end of four 20’s (to match his four critical misses). Curtain closes…

View
splitting the loot

Back to commerce:

I’m still unclear on our system for dividing up the goods. For example, last session we traded the ivory box (50gp) the green quartz (25gp) and the scale mail tunic (50gp) for the masterwork chainmail that Turtle is wearing. This was a great deal for a few reasons: We were offered crap for the loot (10gp each) and MWchain costs a lot more than the top value of what we traded. Plus, with our current fighting style of shields up front, everyone else stab through the cracks, it makes sense to have quality protection for the wonder shield twins.

Turtle then sold her old chain for 30gp, which we drew from to buy rations and caltrops (we’re down to 23gp now). So as far as dividing loot, how to we count this against Turtle’s share? By what we could have gotten (book value) would have gotten (Raynoss offer) or some other system? We also have to add in the magical shield Turtle is now using. My suggestion is that we try to keep it simple and not involve a lot of math. Everyone wants to see their character grow and do well. If we had sold everything we found and bought a masterwork flail for Florent he may have been able to hit at least something, but that doesn’t make sense. Steve’s trade made good sense and helped everyone by strengthening Turtle. Maybe we can keep a ‘cool stuff’ chart, and try to keep things even without having to break everything down to a blue book value and redistribute. At least with Raynoss in Hommlett bartering is a lot better deal than buying selling.

Other things to factor in: Florent now has a divine scroll that he can barely read but not use. Hopefully that will happen soon. Fernock gained a light crossbow but lost his long sword. He was a huge asset to the group, even though he has a questionable background and we’re still keeping an eye on him in case he has ties to the bandits.

I am relatively new to DnD still and what works best for campaign dynamics, so maybe there’s already a proven system that is better. Let me know.

On a lighter note, rolling four critical misses in one encounter was hilarious. When the untrained half elf triples your kill count, you know you are sucking eggs big time. It was like the dice were in on my role playing scheme for Florent to leave the path of the fighter and seek a gentler and more holy path of the cleric. Divine proof that he is the worst fighter ever. He’s keeping the shield and flail, but definitely going to question his training as a warrior. At least he didn’t kill any friendlies!

View
aftermath: 'elp me, si vous plait

“I no feel so goood.” Florent wavers on his feet and his eyes seem to cross and dilate. “Treveylan, per’aps you can elp me back to the camp. I think I need to rest for une moment or two. Maybe eef I stay at camp rest of day and night, tomorrow I be able to walk back to town.”

Looking down at the flail dangling from his grasp. “Turtel, could you look at my flail, si vous plait? I think it is broken. It is no working so goood.” Closing his eyes, “Per’aps warrior is no best job for me afterall. I will go back to ‘elm abbey to rest for few days.”

“Aye, laddy… I’ll help ya…. here, p’raps if’n you use me staff to lean on, it may help to balance ya….,”

He holds Florent up as best he can, walking him back to the camp…. and says quietly (whispers) to the young man…. “You sure we can be trustin that one from da Inn??? He be seemin to have a bad reputation as it is… but den… so do we be havin the same problem… s’pose’n he be alright… but keep yer eye on em…,” a hearty laugh escapes him, almost unexpectedly.

View

I'm sorry, but we no longer support this web browser. Please upgrade your browser or install Chrome or Firefox to enjoy the full functionality of this site.