I have missed a week of play owing to an IRL wedding, and the week I missed was the week the shit hit the fan with respect to the guild split. We are now playing as two smaller groups. The group that Baharash is in is mainly evil-aligned. Baharash is hilariously unaware of this: mechanically, he is a Cha-based warlord with a wis and int of 10 and no training in insight, and so has an insight of 2. As far as he knows, he has remained with the president of the guild. He has not seen any of the really bad stuff, so that’s enough of an in-game justification for him to be hanging around with the bad guys – although pretty much everyone in both guilds is a bad guy at this point. I’ll let him describe things as best he can.
Forgive that I have not written for the past several days. The events surrounding the division of our guild are still not clear to me. Half of our number have left to for their own guild, which they had a perfect right to do. What they had not a right to do was to spread baseless rumours about our guild, baseless slanders so shocking and vile that I will not stain this page with their repetition. All our work to create a noble reputation for the name and sign of the Green Crane wasted. If that were not enough, after we had sold our guild-house for an orphanage, these villains – it seems – did foul arson. A worse crime than murder, for it recklessly endangers the lives of hundreds.
At least – as far as I know. I have not first-hand knowledge. Perhaps we have misconstrued things. But then again, perhaps not. We remain in possession of certain funds which in part rightly belong to the members who have left. I mislike immensely this fact and am not sure what path is right. I would be all for sending half the funds to the other group, were it not the case that we have lost contact with them, and we are reasonably sure that they are arsonists. And I must beware of taking myself a little too seriously – money is far from the most important thing.
In any case, we have found ourselves a new home – an old keep built into a mountain, eminently defensible. We acquired it cheaply as it was infested with vermin, which we dealt with. At it’s gates is a scorpion of g0ld, and it seems that that is our new device.
Our immediate need is for provisioning and repair of our new home. Immediately after that, for work. There was some treasure to be had inside the old keep, and so we have adequate funds for now. Nevertheless, we should not be idle – what is life for, if not to fight for a good cause? And so we went into town after securing the keep, and leaving one of our number to guard it. (The keep has it’s own magical guards, but they required rest after our own incursion.) [IRL: one of our players was not there, so his character stayed behind to guard the keep. Good enough.
Our president, a dwarf, went to deal with the engineers. Our estimate for essential repairs was about 800 gold, which we can manage. He negotiated a price of 850, which is fair. We will have a sturdy roof, a repaired front door, adequate bunks, and sundry other repairs, not least a decent cellar door.
My group went to see the local lord, a certain Lord Arnold Schwarzenegger of house Cannith. The meeting went well enough. It seems that the device of the golden scorpion was once used by a house or military group of decent reputation, but has been unused for many years. His Lordship was agreeable to us taking it as our sign, and so it is. He was also content to allow our croup to operate in his demense, on condition that we accept yet another free job. Does no-one actually want to pay for services rendered? Of course they don’t. I accepted on behalf of our guild, which perhaps I ought not to have done, but it seemed best.
(as a side note – the status of warforged seems problematic in this town. His Lordship was visibly relieved that the sole warforged in our group was not present, and all the warforged I saw were servants of some description. It seems that they are not welcome as freemen around these parts. We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.)
We were to accompany his nephew to a certain ancient ruin and back again. All found treasure was to be ours, saving for a certain item which the nephew would claim. When house Cannith goes ferreting about in ancient ruins looking for particular items, it’s not difficult to work out what is underway. It seems we are artifact hunting. Good enough. A few days in town (I traded my handaxe for a simple magical sword and armour), and we assembled to accompany the nephew. A short caravan was assembled – a large wagon for us, and a … vehicle for the nephew.
With thanks to VIZ magazine and apologies to anyone who is, in fact, gay:
The nephew, it seems, is somewhat flamboyant. By which I mean, good with colours, nicely poised, light on his feet – indeed – first on the dancefloor, although possessed of a poor sense of direction. A man devoted to his mum and not the marrying kind. No doubt a canny shopper (and not in a dwarvish way) and yet, paradoxically inclined to drop the soap. A happy camper, he seemed to be the type to jump over a puddle with a girlish squeal, or to skip gaily around it, rather than walk manfully through it. Perhaps he packs fudge of an evening, or engages in a gay spot of arse-burgling, or simply sips pearl-grey tea straight from the spout. I don’t know – it’s all speculation. As for myself, being descended from dragons I have a cloacca and none of this insane gonads-hanging-outside-my-body-in-a-fragile-sack nonsense. The issue is, however, that the conveyance was garish in the extreme, and this nephew would not hear of any attempt at muting it somewhat.
Sigh. Some battles cannot be won. I briefly considered suggesting that we all simply paint targets on our backs, but thought better of it.
And so we got underway. Our first day’s journey was uneventful, although at camp that night we saw another group on the road behind us. Next day, we were attacked from the rear by a band of goblins. The battle was a shambles. The driver of our wagon – a veteran of many such engagements, I judge – pulled over to the side and began to fire some sort of Cannith crossbow at the enemy. The driver of the nephew’s gaudy caravan, who we all suspect serves the nephew in a manner best left unthought about, panicked and drove his team forward and away. Luckily, there was no ambush ahead on the road.
It was – as the humans say – a clusterfuck. One or two of our number had purchased mounts in town – mere riding horses, which of course also panicked and bolted. Aryenn decided to pursue his horse rather than do the job we were being paid for. A disgraceful display, and the only think I can think of to say in mitigation is that at least he did not run from battle for cowardice’s sake. I expected on leaving the army that a group of adventurers would not exhibit quite the same discipline as an organised force, but still I was shocked. But worse was to come.
We dealt with the goblins, and took a moment to discuss tactics with the other driver. After explaining to him that running away from the warriors who were there to protect him and his lord was foolish, he seemed to understand well enough. He is, at least, no fool, for which small mercy I thank the platinum one. Our own driver stated that his response to any attack would be to pull to the side of the road and then fire his strange cannith “gonne” , or “ryfill” at the enemy. He would also permit more of us to ride on top of the wagon. The nephew’s man agreed that were we attacked again, he would draw the nephew’s carriage up next to our wagon to present a smaller and more defensible group, and then he would – I suppose – leap off the carriage and cower underneath or inside it. He would not countenance any other to share his perch on the carriage but (?) mossytoes, but (?) mossytoes is a formidable sorcerer and in truth exactly whom I would have chosen for such a post in any event. Well enough.
In all this, the nephew himself comported himself as a noble should – with utter indifference to his own safety and a gratifying assurance that he would be taken care of by his underlings. Oddly, this eased my mind – it’s best on an escort job when your charge is not going to behave unpredictably.
The next day, we encountered a small group of a half-dozen stirges – nasty bloodsucking nuisances, of course they went straight for the horses. The battle was never in doubt, but at one point one of the things had attached itself to Aryenn, and Furion bungled his shot and hit Aryenn rather than the stirge. Aryen – unbeliveably – responded by targetting Furion with an attack that left him disabled for a moment, although luckily by that time most of the stirges had been dealt with. The veteran caravan driver responded by killing the stirge with a well-placed shot, and then shooting Aryenn. Frankly, one cannot fault him, for by all appearances Aryenn had turned traitor and was a danger to his lord.
Druss placated the driver for a moment, explaining that as guild president, he would deal with it. Furion and Aryenn resolved their misunderstanding but still – in any military unit deliberately targeting your allies will earn you a court-martial and a flogging. Druss was livid, as far as I can tell, and the rest of us not too pleased, especially in view of his performance the previous day. He is on notice.
Blokes who act like a dick at the table always say “Oh, but I was being a dick in character“. To which the reply has always been the same: “Yeah, cool – no worries. We gakked your character in character, too.” D&D is actually a fine way to teach sportsmanship to the young-uns.
Thankfully, there were no further incidents, and we made the ruins – and the monastery and small supply village located there – the next day.
Baharash is also blissfully unaware that Vandigan has lost is clerical powers as a consequence of – shall we say – alignment difficulties.
At the monastery, we each went our different ways. I was keen to visit a shrine to the Platinum One, for there is no temple to him at Fairhaven. Wonder of wonders, Vandigan – a human – is a cleric to Him, and so we two went to find this shrine. It seems that there are a few shrines to various deities in the monastery grounds, and the shrine to Him was disused and overgrown. A simple thing to fix – with mop and bucket and scrubbing-brush borrowed from the monastery we set to work. A strange and humbling thing, for I am not especially devout, and yet here this soft-skin (and I mean no disrespect in that) has been inspired to devote his life to Him, to upholding always the highest ideals of honour and valour, to commit to being an example – so far as our fragile mortal flesh permits – of courage and decency and fairness to all. To know and serve Him directly with an immediacy that I shall never share, and to be a conduit for his power.
A lesson to all scalykind, I say, who suppose that it is the form of our bodies that grant us His favour. Nay, never: it is the intent in our hearts. We spoke a little of religious matters, of course, and I described a little of my childhood and was so bold as to correct his pronunciation a little. The clean-up was heavy going, and so Vandigan went and purchased a little masonry cleaner at Honest Abdul’s. The compound was effective, but accomplished its work by way of exploding, and other of our companions came running. At this point (the ways of the gods are sometimes strange), Vandigan was vouchsafed some sort of vision. We finished the clean-up of the shrine, and I gave thanks for our safe journey. I left Vandigan to his prayers, for his path is not mine and I have duties of my own – mainly involving polishing the nicks out of my sword and armour.
Tomorrow we take our noble fool artifact hunting. But tonight, after I am done with seeing to my arms, I might have a beer.