I am absolutely furious. Bloody livid. I’m sorry if I vent a little in this message, but really!
What was going on last time I wrote? We came back from the mountains, there was an attack on Tatselford, that’s right. We worked out that there was trouble from the west.
Well, after stabilising things we went home. Things to do – there wasn’t going to be another attack any time soon. I took care of business, and His Dukeness relaxed by pursuing his hobby down ‘t forge, making me a really very nice chainmail shirt, while I did up some scrolls to replace the ones I had used. We’d all like to have done more, but there wasn’t time. Eventually we simply replaced our consumables by buying them. We can afford it, these days. The people in our academy and caster’s tower also had recently researched some new spells, one or two of which I have transcribed.
The “new spells” are in Paizo’s new “Ultimate Combat”. Dave rolled for whether the ones I wanted were available. One or two were, and it actually came in handy.
I took “arcane armour training” as the 12th level feat. The chain is +3, which is level-appropriate. Quite a bit better than the old Mage Armour, and more rogue-y. Anyone want a slightly used wand?
Meanwhile, this woman had been pressing His Grace to do something about Baron Drellev, to the west, who was behind the attack. The baron (like ourselves) had been charted by Brevoy to tame a chunk of land, but had had much less success than us. Apparently he eventually struck a deal with the local savage tribes – they would take hostages in exchange for not razing his town. Thing is: the baron is without issue. So instead they took the first born of each of his council. This woman – Cassandra – was from one of the families.
Now … really. Have you ever heard anything more suspicious in your life? I’d wager considerable gold at poor odds that the Baron himself is behind the whole thing, and that these hostages are not held by some savage tribesmen but are instead tucked away in the dungeons of that castle I can see just beyond the trees.
But I’m getting ahead of the story.
We headed out, sallied forth. We were simply going to go to Fort Drellev and, well, find out what was what. His Grace also decided to clear out the worst of the monsters as we went. I think he’s feeling acquisitive again (now that we have the resources, we should finally start regular patrols in the forest. We needn’t build roads through it, but I’d like to know that it is definitely our territory.). We bought along our new hangers-on: the dragon disciple who we discovered at the attack on Fort Tatselford, His Grace’s replacement for dear little Giacomo, and Scott’s character who I just can’t quite recall, sorry dude (all I can picture is your rogue from the other game).
The land to the northwest is swampy – you can see it on any map. We left our roads and made our way overland to the north, where there is an important bridge, then west along the trade road to Fort Drellev. The road runs along an enormous swamp, and the local residents are tough – it’s not a wonder that Baron Drellev had difficulty establishing his barony. We took down some ettins who attacked our camp, not a problem. Then there were some aggressive frogs and lizards which were a little near to the road. These lizards – well, they turned out to be basilisks and I don’t mean to worry you but they got me. One moment I was shooting Scorching Rays at these things, next I was regaining consciousness with a gutted basilisk carcass draped over my head, the blood from which had reversed the petrification. (Nasty stuff. Acidic. When the petrification was reversed, I used Prestidigitation to clean it off. My hair is a fright.)
So anyway. The basilisks were done for, but the frogs had run off and were huddling around this hill, a few score feet away. Rainor shot an arrow into it and the whole bloody hill turned out to be a Froghemoth. Just as well they woke me up first [says Switch, preening slightly]. Froghemoth (what’s the plural, do you suppose?) snatch people with their tongues and swallow them. I must make up a new wand of Grease at earliest opportunity: this one is nearly done. His Grace was fine of course – Ring of Free Action. Once everyone was greased up I dropped a Scorching Ray into it, but it was really no use at all. I simply must spend a little time and research a variant that uses a different mode of action. They simply whacked it until it was dead.
Anyway. Job done, after a few tense moments. We continued on.
So. Fort Drellev. Cassandra gave us a contact, a certain X at “The Velvet Corner”, and a token to show her. We tried to bluff our way in as a mercenary company, but the guards were just a shade too bright.
So instead it was my job to make contact. Rainen would fly me over high enough that we would not be spotted, I would use Invisibility and Feather Fall, and that would be that. I used my rod of Extend Spell. With that, I can do a simple Invisibility for about an hour and three quarters. Plenty of time.
I had thought to drop the invisibility once I had gotten into town, but there were guards everywhere. So whatever. I found “The Velvet Corner”, which – as I should have suspected – is a brothel. (Why not call it the “Velvet Clam” and be done with it?) I located the madam, who went into a back room to do a little paperwork. She left the door open to give herself a view of the front desk, which made it easy to enter.
Well. Here I was. What to do? I wasn’t sure that this was my contact – she was using a working name, I think. But, well, I couldn’t imagine that someone of good family would work here as a companion, so the madam was probably she.
I gave a discrete cough, which got her attention. I dismissed the invisibility. After a beat, she went to the door, told the guards that she was not to be disturbed, and closed it. What a sensible woman, thank Desna.
Well, I won’t go into too much detail. I don’t think I was very persuasive. But I did set up a meeting for an hour after dusk tomorrow, at “The Iron something-or-other, a disused inn”. A sign of how badly the baron is managing things, bye the bye, that an inn right in the middle of town is disused. I cast invisibility again, asked her to open the door, and went to see this inn. I took careful note of things so that I could Dimension Door in tonight, teleported out as far as I could (beyond the treeline), made a note of where I had teleported to, and went to report.
Anyway. His Grace’s new offsider can cast Clairvoyance (she’s a sorceress, you know, so it doesn’t count). I used one of the new spells: Share Memory to give her an accurate picture of whatshername’s office. We snooped, but I don’t think we accomplished much by it.
We would idle away tomorrow, and meet an hour after dusk. What could go wrong?
So anyway. His grace, keeping up the charade that we were a mercenary company trying to get into town, went down to argue with the new gate guard. Unknown to me at the time, he decides to bribe the guards to get in. Ovthen also bribes his way in, our scruffy down-at-the-heels mercenary dwarf dropping more money on them than they will ever see in their entire lives.
Stuff happens. Ovthen decides to make an absolute display of himself. He’s tyaken to the castle. Don’t know where His Grace and the four or five hangers-on he took into town with him are. First thing I know about it, Rainor and I see what is unmistakably a Flame Strike hit the castle. Shit. I’m running to Rainen, casting invisibility as I go. Another one for Rainien and Rainor on the way over (I use the low level spell because it lasts longe and it’s less risky). Ovthen is in the castle courtyard, enlarged, fighting two giants. I do the HALO jump again (not sure why they call it that), yell “Ovthen, you bloody idiot” so that he knows it’s me, and then Dimension-Door the two of us the hell out of there.
I’m – I still can barely contain it. THe whole town, the whole town is in an absolute uproar. I don’t know what our contact, Madam Whatshername, is going to think. At least it was only one of us, and His Grace wasn’t in the castle courtyard, openly fighting with the guards.
We have a Hat of Disguise, so maybe we can deal with this mess by disguising Ovthen and pretending that the fracas was nothing to do with us. Maybe not. I think we should just bury him up to the neck in the woods and pretend we never knew him. Pick him up later. He’s a dwarf, he’ll survive. I can still teleport us into and out of the old inn where we are supposed to be meeting tonight.
Or maybe we might as well simply assault the castle and damn stealth. I don’t know.
It’s just appalling.
In any case. Game on next week.