Isle of lendore

[Day 4-6] Account of Humans arguing

DM
Five players -
monk Terent
warblade Al’lien
fighter Josh
kineticist Marlow
druid Pyfiravin
Absent – spell thief Jack

So we all arrived on time!! That was cool! DM had a little difficulty dealing with that. But we were all good, Marlow’s player had to go home to get his electronic character sheet, and Josh’s player with Terent’s player’s help needed to finish up her character sheet. So we didn’t start on time or anything.

The players remembered that they were in the forest in a discussion about how to stop Alex Ward (human) and the Kenku village from (hired to) attacking travellers, (hired to) selling weapons and armour to nearby natives (lizardfolk, etc), making profit from coinage found on travellers, making profit from selling weapons.

Pyfiravin here,

So the party had a discussion about attempting to stop travellers, about intercepting Kenku as they attack travellers, about intercepting weapons’ sales… Non-violent solutions to the problem. And more discussion about who is hiring them to a) attack the travellers, b) sell weapons to arm native groups.
More violent solutions: If we attacked 50 Kenku living on the platforms, we would die. We had a hard time in a fight with three of them. We did discuss withering their trees or in some other way affecting the coffee plantation and their habitat so they couldn’t focus on economic gain.

Frankly, I revel in discussion and debate, raptorans really enjoy that.
Then there were long discussions – about the disposition of the weapons cache – a quarter ton of weapons – taken from Kenku cart. [That took a while, DM sat back and smiled. While the arguments were circular, overall the party dynamic and understanding of roles was developing. It was important in a new group who hadn’t all played together.] To deal with them locally? To take them back to Kronten with a sit rep (sorry situation report)? Pros and cons…
As a raptoran, I felt it was rather a short discussion. We usually have someone to represent the absent parties perspectives, and our discussions/debates can go on for some days. So although I find this band of humans I have joined through the Walk of the Four Winds strange and hard to understand, it was nice to see that they engage in similar activity, although rudimentary. We usually convene to our debate chamber for these matters, but this discussion just happened everywhere.

We quickly agreed we needed to pay the blood money. I collected the three black pearls we had stolen from the Kenku, and paid the blood money back to them, using those three black pearls. This was accepted by the Kenku.

Eventually on Josh’s suggestion, we took the weapons cache on the cart south toward Restenford. It was grand having all those strong folk able to pull the cart, since we have no horse, Al’lien, Josh, and Terent all took turns.

The wolf and I foraged for food for the party. While we were in a stand of woods, the wolf was surrounded and attacked by a wolf/dog pack. I managed to pull the wolf into my tree (still hunting by climbing and gliding) and we ended up being treed for an hour or so. When I attacked the lead wolf with my foot bow, it loped away, and shortly after, a 5’ tall, dog-headed humanoid creature, covered in red hair told us to go. Wolf and I were happy to do so, and left the woods immediately. The rest of the party had realized our absence and was coming to the rescue as we were heading away.

The following day, we were getting close to Restenford when we were ambushed by a half orc and some goblins on the road. The half orc suggested he had been looking for us for five days, and wanted us to immediately stop in our task of stopping the attacks along this road.
We dealt with this much better than our namesake Hobgoblin attack. Terent, and Al’lien got on the cart and used it as a defensive position and cover. Marlow joined them. Josh headed off into the bush beside the road to take on a goblin, as did wolf. They each killed a goblin, with Marlow’s help. I was in the air at the time and managed to only tip the half-orc before it reached the cart and was dealt with by those there. The goblins were all killed, Josh made his first kill, Terent again managed not to kill anyone. The half-orc was captured unconscious. We brought him back round, and questioned him, but he refused to cooperate.

The half-orc had a scroll describing us, but including the hawk animal companion that we lost shortly after leaving Kronten. Someone is looking for the party whose information is based on when we left Kronten. It appears not to be a safe place to go.

[Josh’s player has to leave about here]
The half-orc escaped. And first wolf, and then the rest of us, raced after him. We caught him again, and again he was knocked out. (Lots of fun grapples, and sub-dual damage.)

Al’lien and Pyfiravin go to Restenford, and learn that anyone arrested would be executed for assault. So bringing him there to be tried would not be an acceptable solution to members of our party. The rest of the party guards the half-orc. The party negotiates with a farmer on the way to Restenford to dig a ditch for him. The cache of weapons is buried in the ditch on the farmer’s land.

Pyfiravin cures the half-orc, which is not doing well. Marlow, in secret, tries to kill it. We appear to be working at cross purposes toward the same goal – not have a prisoner tagging along with us for an extended period.

The half orc is tied with silk rope this time, but not as well as last time. He escapes again, on Pyfiravin’s watch. She loosens the half orc’s bonds, and cures him before he goes. Officially, she doesn’t really notice, and passes the watch to Terent, who then wakens Marlow. Marlow, furious at the escape, wakens everyone to track the half orc. Tracking takes some time to succeed. We eventually find an orc cave entrance a mile or so north of Bald Hill, and are attacked by orcish archers. Since we are fatigued, and in no state to fight (especially me with just about no rest at all – Marlow and I will have to have this out), we withdraw to rest, closer to the road (near initial half orc ambush site). We sleep 12 hours or so to the next day, enough to banish the fatigue.

Pyfiravin

That is where the game ended.

[There was a discussion post game about experience points being granted for role-playing. The DM broached an idea of players nominating other players who role played well: My nomination overwhelmingly is for Marlow’s player. So if this is instituted, I really feel he should be getting extra experience points for this evening.]

[Terent’s player thinks that if long discussions become common, a party leader will have to be instituted. Al’lien’s player thinks so too? The discussions, while very good for role playing and character development, are bad for most other aspects of the game, especially plot advancement and party cohesion.
Terent’s player also thinks that the dog-headed creature is a hound archon, a celestial. He has yet to research it, however. (Pyf and Terent’s players believe that researching monsters during game or before the plot regarding them is resolved is tantamount to cheating).
Terent’s playe also thinks that voting experience to each other, while a good idea, could be divisive. He also feels that his character has more stringent alignment restrictions than everybody else, and so would/should receive the vote the most or least times, depending on what you qualify as good role playing. Is withholding yea/nay vote on the issue until further discussion and thought.]

DM’s party progress statistics

After sessions 3
Hours played: 13
In game days completed: 11
Total exp earned: 2400/7200
Net treassure aquired: 1150/6000
Planned encounters overcome: 4 1/3 /17

Nominal expected progress:
After sessions 3
Hours played: 15-18
In game days completed: 5
Total exp earned: 3600/7200
Net treassure aquired: 3000/6000
Planned encounters overcome: 9 /17

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[Day 3-4 ]Meeting Alex

Evening all, back from the mess dinner (as usual, formal dress, and then freeze cause it isn’t warm enough in February for skimpy dresses, great to see some people, and the occasional loser (OK, offensive assholes, who I would prefer not to have to deal with), and I’m the designated driver, but that is fine since I don’t drink).

Overall preferred playing D and D. Here’s my take, feel free to correct, add…

Well today was a short game (maybe an hour). Two players developed their character sheets. First one is almost there, working on a human fighter with aspirations (she had to go before we played). Second is a human spell-thief, named Jack. Neither has yet figured out how they know the rest of us. (Same deal, we have to work out how they know 2 of the others) And its looking like I’m saddled with a party of humans, strange folk humans, they have a different way of thinking, worth watching though.

So Jack and Terent and I and wolf, of course, having respectfully laid out the Kenku dead, followed the traces of the runaway horse until we found her (DM is ruling that all party members are with the party, just nothing is happening to you). I relieved the mare of her traces and she indicated she wanted to go home. So we ended up on the other trail, with the cart tracks we hadn’t yet followed. It took us to the road between Kronten and Restenford, which we crossed and continued through a forest that was being cultivated. Shade grown coffee at the base of tall deciduous trees. The horse led us to a hut that was built around the base of a tree. Scratches were on several trees, much as we raptorans cause when we climb a tree. So we returned the horse to the owner of the hut, one Alex Ward. Terent and Jack discussed how we came across the horse. I tried climbing a tree, but Alex Ward suggested it was not a wise idea as the platforms I saw up there were Svet’s people’s village. I asked if I could get permission to climb up, and so Alex Ward called Svet down. Svet is the leader of the village of 50 or so Kenku, who live up in the trees, hence the platforms, and climb up and down the trees to get up there. I was not allowed to climb up, so I mostly stood back and absorbed as Jack and Terent did the talking.

Terent then explained that he needed to speak to Svet alone, but Svet doesn’t speak Common, so Alex Ward came along to interpret. We went to the very edge of the village, and explained that although that wasn’t the intention, our altercation with the Kenku who had the cart had resulted in our killing them. We wanted to do what was necessary to pay our respects and to know how they wanted to deal with the situation. Alex Ward and Svet conferred and let us know that Whergeld was the mechanism that they use. (Rather than ongoing feuds, and retribution, they ask blood money, in this case 300 gp in compensation). We said we would be back with the blood money, and they said as long as we were in the forest, they would watch us.

Terent asked Alex Ward one last question before we left. What did he know about the robberies happening in the forest over the last while? After discussion with Svet, with a smile, his answer was that he was responsible for the robberies. He is paid to do it, and was proud to explain that he is paid four times over:
1 – he is paid to launch the attacks, and capture weapons and armour;
2 – he is paid by taking the coinage of the travellers he steals the weapons and armour from;
3 – he is paid to arm the locals (lizardmen, kenku, goblins);
4 – he is paid by the locals (trade).

So we were allowed to leave the village. We gathered together to discuss our alternatives. I felt that since they don’t hurt anyone, we shouldn’t do anything that would kill them.
So we engaged in a discussion where we engage in an attack of economic impact. We need to remove any incentive for Alex Ward to continue to want to do this – suggestions were to:
1 stop supply of arms ie somehow remove the people who are being attacked, or
2 stop him from getting paid by the locals (stop the trade), or
3 we stop Alex Ward from getting paid – ie figure out who is paying Alex Ward and stop him getting paid (suggestion was it could be the mercenaries; and it could be someone different paying for the attacks than who is paying to arm the locals)

Discussion pretty much ended there as I needed to get to said mess dinner.

Pyfiravin, druid

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[Day 1-3] The Hobgoblin Group

So finally four of us showed up, finished making up our character
sheets, and got started.
DM pulled a fast one and said we each had to know two of the other
characters, so much for not being comfortable around all those human
types…

So I met Marlow, this human guy, four years ago, we spent a couple of
months in the bush. Nice enough guy, but couldn’t find his way around
an oak tree. Someone had to keep an eye on him as he crossed our
territory, and he wasn’t going to make it without help so we travelled
together for a bit.

I’m on the Walk of the Four Winds now, for all of you non-raptorans that
means I need to build up enough strength in my wings to be able to fly,
I only glide now. When I can fly far enough, as in up into our home in
the cliffs, I am welcomed back to the flock as an adult. I’ve been on
the Walk for a few months now.

I left my home island of Tiranée (sp?) and took a ship to Lendore.
While I was waiting for the ship I met these two types, a monk named
Terent and his companion Al’lien, a warblade. They were these monastery
types, who are journeying, but good for debating, which we had plenty of
time to do on the ship. Terent has some strange ideas but he and
Al’lien are almost as lean as raptorans, though not quite as tall, so
they were alright.

So when we get to Lendore, Terent takes us to meet this childhood friend
in Kronten, who he hasn’t seen since he left for the monastery. Turns
out it’s Marlow, now a psion. We end up taking a commission to stop
bandits who are lifting travellers of their armour, weapons, and money,
but nothing else. They’ve been at it for a couple of months. Al’lien
did most of the bargaining fortunately. I’m not much for taking the
lead. Marlow wasn’t too sure but we worked it out. There were three
types hiring us, Noff, the town constable, Brendan Wade an influential
burgher type, and this weird mercenary of the Steel Vipers named Luka,
who Al’lien told us after didn’t smell right, not a people smell

So we left headed off south towards Restenford, since that was the road
where these night-time attacks were taking place. So there was this
type on the way, a hobgoblin with a wolf. The hobgoblins were native
here before all these new peoples came and took away their place. So he
wasn’t happy we were there. He said something about his boss not wanting
us there. And he just shot at us with his bow, then pulled out his
falchion, and took us down. All of us, first my hawk, then me when I
attacked him, then Al’lien, then Terent, and finally Marlow who ran away
and still got taken out. Fortunately some kindly farmers looked after
us for a few days, til we got back on our feet. I can’t believe it.
One guy took us all down. We’re like as nervous as a bull in teashop
now. When we see that guy again with his wolf, I’m sure we’ll all just
turn tail and run. He was impossibly difficult. You should have seen
Al’lien, his fighting is like a mystical dance, there is such grace and
power in it, it was almost hard to concentrate watching him. And Terent
is a blur.

I met a wolf who has agreed to be my companion. It is strange having a
four legger, a walker instead of a flyer, but we get along well. We
ended up following the tracks of a cart, for sometime off the road and
through the forest and out. It turned out it was a merchant travelling
to a lizardman’s village to trade. Ah well, so we headed back. Then we
came across a second set of cart tracks which we followed. We had the
most exciting time.

We found the cart with these interesting folk, small, like small, maybe
four feet tall, black feathered but they don’t fly, or even glide. We
chatted with them, and Marlow has this interesting psionic crystal which
sneaked onto their cart and found that the bags on the cart had weapons
and armour of various types in them. Seemed cause to look into it
more. So Al’lien and I went to talk to them. I made friends with the
horse, which they had harnessed to the cart, and started leading it
away, while Al’lien tried to get them to sell him some of their goods.
They weren’t too keen on that, so we got into a fight. Marlow made this
great move and set the cart on fire. The wolf jumped into the cart with
Al’lien and they attacked these critters. Terent got knocked out and I
went to help him out. So, then, after I had left the horse, it spooked
from the fire, and took off. Then it got exciting. Al’lien and the
wolf got knocked out of the cart. Al’lien and I tried to get back in to
stop the cart and put out the fire. We both forgot to stay low, and
fell out again, so we had to start all over. Practically a comedy, so
we jumped back in. I put the fire out by summoning a water elemental,
and Al’lien cuts the traces so the cart would stop. And the horse is
truly gone, too bad since we were becoming friends.

So here we are in a smoky wet cart, with some loot, and no one left to
ask where these black feathered folk came from. No doubt if we could
take them out, they weren’t the ones doing the attacks, but they are
connected somehow, since they have this gear.
Pyfiravin, druid

DM comments:

Whoo! Now I don’t have to write my own AAR. Well mostly I just no longer have to summarize the campaign session. I still have to write my own notes.

Overall the session went, hmm… well, for the most part. Not as much was accomplished as I’d though, I’d planned on the party making it through the first three combat encounters rather than the first two, and for them to make more progress in five day of game time. I think my initial requirement of prior character association worked as well as I’d hoped with the debates between characters being kept relatively cool and intellectual. A relatively in medias res opening also helped bind the characters quite closely from the beginning despite using five different books for four characters (PHB, ToB, XPH, RotW, BoeD). I’d say that this experiment in campaign design was a success. It also interesting to point out that the major split in party opinion has been over the law/chaos divide rather than the good/evil. I’ve already rewritten, added or removed several future encounters in order to keep party growth moving appropriately towards my level two with appropriate equipment at end of adventure goal. You know it’s really hard to find a CR 1, primarily ranged fighting enemy that isn’t humanoid.

Most epic campaign moment: No action by the party is yet worthy for this title. For now it is held by a nameless hobgoblin fighter 1 who held a road against four enemies.

Least epic campaign moment: Two party members fall out of a cart when the horse pulling it bolts, one manages to jump back on only to fall out again (Balance DC to stay upright 10, balance DC not to fall out 6)

Amusing note: that hobgoblin defeated a EL 4 encounter earning 1200 experience which was enough to level it up to fighter 2. That thing just got a little more dangerous. Quickdraw was its level 2 fight feat if anyone wants to know.

Duscussion of next game date: I’ve had Monday February 16th suggested to me as the date of the next game how are you guys for then.

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