This session happened Friday, May 27, 2011, and was the only session I ran this past weekend. We skipped two weeks, one on purpose and one because the DayJob became incredibly busy and I had no time to prepare.
Su Bel (human cleric)
– Dame Yasha of Bereste (Su Bel’s human cavalier cohort)
Thorngrim (half-orc sorcerer)
– Kainen (Thorngrim’s human fighter cohort)
Sal Ty (elf wizard) [via Skype]
– Maenwen (Sal’s human wizard cohort)
Alys Kaah (gnome summoner/cavalier) [via Skype]
– Mr. Boodles (Alys’s owlbear-looking eidolon and mount)
Note: the list of player characters is in player sitting order, from my left and then clockwise around the table and then on my laptop via Skype.
“I know better than to eat anything in here – especially ceiling food.” ~Thorngrim
In-game Starting Date: December 9, 23rd Year of King Nikola V
Prior to the actual starting date, Sal and Maenwen spent 21 days (mostly concurrent with Xin’s time crafting) forging a ring of wizardry [+2] and placing a permanent circle of protection on Su Bel’s armor.
As the time to meet with the Baron had come, there was further discussion as to what he might want and how they would get there. There was solid support for making an impressive entrance to keep the baron from trying to buffalo the adventurers (sort of a pre-emptive buffalo-ing). It was decided the Alys would arrive first as part of a procession and then signal the rest of the adventurers to arrive via teleportation. Alys put her minion Thomin to work arranging the procession, plunking down 120 gold coins for the project. Thomin did not disappoint her.
Alys met Thomin and the rest of the procession at the Woodcutter’s Camp. Thomin had hired the ten biggest, burliest guys he could find from Westcastle Crossing and dressed them in leather clothes with extra fur stitched on. Each man carried a 20-foot banner pole. The banner was white with Alys’s owlbear coat of arms (field Argent, an Owlbear displayed Tawny, armed Or). In addition to the banner bearers, there were two other men carrying huge kettle drums and a group of children (from Iron Keep) with (seemingly bottomless) bags of flower petals.
The procession lined up with the kids in front to strew petals, followed by Alys riding Mr. Boodles and flanked by Thomin, followed by the standard bearers, followed by the drummers. The procession started out with the drummers marking a beat and the standard bearers working out a marching step. After the first hour they were solidly in step with each other. When the procession was within 30 minutes of the Keep, they started calling out on the fourth step: one-two-three-“Hwah!” Thomin used his magic to supply the sounds of 30 brass horns blowing regular fanfares: “b-WAH!, b-WAH!, b-WAH!”
As the procession approached the walls of the Keep, Alys could see the guards on the walls starting to congregate to see what was making all the noise. She could also see an argument going on amongst the guards at the gate as to what to do. Eventually one poor bastard lost the argument and was left alone to “greet” the procession. As the procession arrived, each “Hwah!” causing the guard to visibly flinch and the ghostly horns drowning out all nearby conversations, the guard took a breath to speak.
Thomin cut him off.
Using magic to amplify his voice, Thomin boomed out, “Alys, the Jagirdar Kaah comes to meet with the Baron! Make way!” The guard went to speak again and Thomin thundered, “ALYS, THE JAGIRDAR KAAH COMES TO MEET WITH THE BARON! MAKE WAY!” Beat back by the volume of Thomin’s pronouncement an the ten sweaty and burly guys backing Alys up (not to mention the winged owlbear she was riding on), the guard relented and motioned for the procession to enter the Keep.
By this point, many people living in the Keep were leaning out windows or milling in the streets to see what the noise was. As the procession made its noisy way through the streets to the Baron’s Castle (his residence in the Keep), the townsfolk started following in its wake to see what happened next, cheering all the way.
At the Baron’s castle, the procession was greeted by the Castellan, who was made of sterner stuff than the gate guard. The castellan invited Alys and Thomin in, but the rest had to wait outside. Thomin gave the banner bearers and the drummers some coin and sent them over to a nearby tavern, where they were followed by the crowd and much drinking ensued.
Meanwhile, inside the main hall of the Baron’s castle, the Castellan stated “I was expecting more people.” With a theatrical flourish, Alys handed Thomin the sending scroll. Thomin then sent the message that now was the time for the rest of the adventurers to arrive to Sal. Sal cast feather fall on the assembled adventurers (Sal, Su Bel, Dame Yasha, Thorngrim, and Kainen – Maenwen stayed at the Tower in case there were…troubles), then teleportation, and then prestidigitation to create a theatric flash of light just as the adventurers arrived in the hall, a few inches off the floor, and serenely settled to the floor. Alys turned to the Castellan and simply said, “And now there are.”
The adventurers were escorted to a “small” study where the Baron and some of his servants awaited. The group was invited to sit and drinks were provided. Only a minor breach of etiquette happened, leaving Thomin with a jug of moonshine and a cup while the rest has wine in glasses.
The conversation was a mix of side-stepping and occasional directness. The Baron wanted to recognize the work the adventurers had done improving his lands and secure some measure of loyalty in the form of knighthood for those members interested. He was also willing to discuss title to lands in the Edgewood, if only the adventurers would tell him what they wanted. At one point the adventurers confessed they were concerned that the Baron wanted them to make war on Westcastle Crossing, which surprised him and he denied it completely and (as much as they could tell) truthfully. He genuinely seemed more concerned with securing his claims rather than removing other claims.
The upshot of the meeting was that Alys accepted a knighthood (dependant upon her title of jagirdar being recognized); Dame Yasha, Su Bel, and Sal declined for their own reasons; and the rest were asked to respond by the end of March. Preferably verbally. Alys also opened a separate line of negotiation as jagirdar, seeking a personal alliance with the Baron through marriage to one of his sons. This line of negotiations is being handled via correspondence over the winter.
The adventurers took their leave of the baron after the meeting (the Baron ended the meeting with “please, don’t let me keep you from leaving”). Alys had Thomin re-gather her procession, which also brought a crowd along with it. With the procession (and the crowd) re-assembled, Sal did flashy magic to whisk away all the adventurers but Alys. Alys topped her entrance (and possibly Sal) by re-summoning Mr. Boodles and flying low swoops down the streets as the banner bearers and drummers followed at a quick march.
The next day, the adventurers decided to explore the Shadowed Obelisk some more, looking for some adventure [read: experience]. The twisted space and time inside the Shadowed Obelisk skewed their mapping again and seemingly brought them in prior to their original trip. This was based on the “classroom” of wights and ghouls with the mummy “lecturer” being back in place. While the ghouls and wights were easy to handle, Thorngrim exploded the mummy with a spell, filling the room with mummy dust. This led to Su Bel catching a bad case of mummy rot and the group deciding to leave. Sal teleported the group back to Drop-off Keep. It took two days of trying before Su Bel was able to remove the curse and cure the disease.
*End of session*
[I feel I broke a cardinal rule of running a sandbox game: I put some adventure in town. This is an outgrowth of the characters becoming powerful and setting down roots. I’m not certain how this would have been handled in the original West Marches campaign. Is it OK if there was no combat or exploring? I don’t know. It is something I’ll have to think on when I reboot the campaign (more on that soon).]