Over the Sea and Far Away

Flight back through the Woods?
Logging Camp Rescue (Part Deux)

There is nothing better in the D&D world than an NPC with a concsience.

Traven hired the party at a fairly reasonable (expensive) rate of 300 silver or 25 silver per rescued departed which we would be able to extricate from the camp.   Now some people might consider it foolish to go into the mouths of danger and to throw yourself into the wilds but not us, no sir.   We're willing to do it as long as we're well compensated!

After doing a significant re-supply and extending Travens credit a little bit with over 900 pounds of food and two donkeys, the party took off towards the camp to the north making fairly credible time.     We decided to time our trip so that we could visit the camp during the day, when the forest 'things' would be less likely to harass us.

The first day of travel was terrible for poor Merrin, I mean who plans a path with hills that never go down?    Everyone else seemed fairly oblivious to his suffering so he soldiered on, rarely even raising his short arms to complain!   That berry spell at the end of the day was a good topper for the day however, and man that sleep was amazing.

Anyways, the party woke up on the second day right early and made its way to the edge of the old forest.   Once there they settled in for a shorter days travel and a rescue attempt to follow.  They were greeted by a bark creature named 'stump' who evidently had dealings with Morwen (Stump is one of the local forest druids).   Stump proved to be very helpful, giving us a bit of a lay of the land and giving us some local history of the woods and what might be happening out here.   We actually listened to him and then based on him mentioning that he could fly, we asked him to scout out the camp for us and let us know what to expect the next day.

He reported that there were sub humans watching the camp, likely planning to attack once they had a chance and in addition, he reported that only some 30 people of the 71 were left alive and that they had barricaded themselves in for defensive purposes.    In return for his scouting help and help finding some of the historical sites in the area we agreed to help him with the skinner troops which were harassing his people in the forest.   Stump seemed pleased with this arrangement and even showed us to avoid the north west, gave us an idea of the lay of the land including some major landmarks and places to avoid in the area.

 

<u>ONWARD TO THE CAMP</u>

Morwen scouts the camp in wolf form and rapidly find that it's only being watched by a single beast creature.   We decide to approach the camp with a single person but we need to clear out that scout first.   Morwen leads a strike force that includes everyone but Merrin around the camp and they sneak right up to the sorta human and blow him away with a vicious combination of Magic Missiles and Glaive shots to the brain.   He doesn't even get a screech off before he dies.  The strike force returns to our pack animals, guides and Merrin and we move to the next stage of the plan.

 

Merrin approaches the camp and lets them know that we were sent by Traven to get them out and //requests// to be let into the camp.    He quickly informs them to pack up quickly, quietly and to make an immediate exit from the camp.   He passes off an story that Traven had heard that there was trouble up here and sent them to rescue the departed and bring them to Port Townshen (I forget the name).   They pack up quickly once they are all across into the woods, they force march for a few hours until they are back out of the deep forest having heroically saved 31 souls from a terrible fate.

The party sets up camp, starts to work with Threnna, the remaining leader of the departed and they get them ready to make a slow, steady and careful journey towards the lake.  The departed appear to be in relatively good shape, scared but happy to be out of the camp and more than willing to work with these people who brought them out of the jaws of danger.

 

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Flight through the Woods
In which snakes and glowing eyes promote fitness

With a collection of angry-but-sick guards soon to be on their tails, the crew decided that making immediate tracks towards the welcoming arms of Blawtro would be a good idea.

Not very long after setting out, still feeling confident after their plan at the logging camp succeeded so nicely, they were walking near to the road as quickly as their party of exhausted slaves could manage.  The regularly observant party let their guard down and were surprised when, without warning and immediately in front of them, a collection of leaves and twigs swirled down from a tree to become a woman-shaped being.

"Who are they, traveling at night in my forest?  Are they prey or friends?" Glowing yellow eyes, and far too many teeth were nervously observed during her musing questions.

"Friends," she was quickly assured by the party, who didn't much like the response she gave: a slow toothy smile. Morwen stepped forward and spoke in Druidic, again saying "Friend."

"Ah, you speak the language of the trees.  Good.  I speak that much better than gabble-gabble monkey-talk."

Upon the party's insistence that they were not food, she suggested that there would be a price to pay for being in her forest, and for stealing some of her children's meat.  It turns out that she and her children had been scouting the camp, and were planning to eat its occupants.  Interestingly, she stepped back from Morwen, when she mentioned being able to smell her children.

After some dickering, where the suggested prices were either "Magic, or blood," Wrenaldo suggested that she might be interested in a bottle of perfume that he was carrying.  A price of information about the camp and its inhabitant's health, plus the bottle of perfume was agreed upon.

The party were given four hours of safety for the price paid, and ran for the edge of the forest.  The newly-rescued transported needed some support keeping the pace, but they made it to a patch of forest where a certain feeling of menace dropped away.  Camp was made for the night.

More care was taken while traveling the next morning, with time taken for scouting and harvesting nature's resources.  Care was taken to enter the city from various directions and at various times, so as not to form an association with a collection of recently returned Transported.

Everyone ended up at the Hanged Man, and chatting with Oleg.  He happened to have a line on an old friend, a trapper, who wanted some company to check out some ruins he'd found.  As part of the conversation, the mystery in the graveyard of about a week past came up.  Oleg was concerned, and intrigued: something may come of it.

The next day, a meeting with Traven was arranged. He heard of the success of the mission, and the fate of the overseer.  He also heard about the encounter with the being in the forest.

Traven was very concerned with the fate of the 70 or so transported who remained in the camp, and managed to convince the party to attempt a rescue.  He broke out his stash of magical things, and offered 300sp to make the trip.

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Logging Camp Rescue

The session started with Morwen scouting the logging camp in cat form.  She found four of the five rescue-targets, but also found evidence of a strange almost-snake creature that had been circling the camp, doing its own scouting.  The scent of it freaked cat-morwen right out.

The party had several alignment-testing discussion, concerning whether blocking doors and burning down a building full of incapacitated guards would be an acceptable method of killing one truly awful Overseer.  Eventually the group decided that while the guards were probably all bad people, and likely wouldn't be missed, the nearly fifty transported would likely be executed as a result.  There was surprisingly little moral outrage from the paladin contingent on this potential course of action… perhaps his god prefers people dead and in her realm? ;)

The other option discussed was blocking the doors and starting to burn the building down, with an offer to let the guards out if they tossed the Overseer's head out first.  It was discarded as too loud, and too likely to let the guards identify someone later.

A decision on the Overseer deferred until later, Merrin "snuck" close to the wagon under which our lame cartographer slept and brought him out to our hiding place.  Morwen and Arnik then also loudly snuck over to the tents where the other to-be-rescued transported were sleeping. The occupants of the tent awoke at the slightest of sticks cracking in the woods near their tent… perhaps there are nasty things living in the trees they're cutting down?  All but one of the desired transported were rescued.  The one who wasn't had died the week before of a snakebite.

Everyone demonstrated their basic goodness in their decision to quickly and mercilessly kill the Overseer in a targeted strike.  They blocked one door of the longhouse that the camp management were decorating with vomit, and flung the other open.  Morwen entagled almost all of them, tying them to the ground.  Merin then said a quick hello by hitting critically with a Guiding Bolt: the Overseer was ripped from his vegetable bonds and slammed against the wall in a flash of light.  Arnik followed with a swarm of shining magical arrows arrows and the overseer, briefly pinned to the wall by the afterimage of arrows, slumped to the ground.

Mission accomplished, Wrenaldo slammed the door shut and dropped a gigantic round of wood in front of the door, and the party took off back to their hiding place feeling very merciful.

Morwen healed the worst-off of the rescuees, and the party stopped to regroup and discuss how to get back to Blawtro

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Mystery at the Graveyard

After being thrown out of the Twisted Tree, you returned to the Hanged Man.

The following day, after a quick visit to the Temple of Mael, Shade and Wrenaldo headed up the mountain to the graveyard and everyone else went looking for a local market.

At the graveyard, Shade and Wrenaldo discovered a half-eaten, several-day old human corpse in a ravine nearby.  The body appeared to have once been clad in fine clothes and didn't appear to have a Transported tattoo.

After retrieving the rest of the group, a lively discussion resulted in a decision to bury the body with the appropriate rites and to say no more on the subject.

Later that day, the party decided to check out the other major drinking establishment in Blawtro, The Warrens.  A significantly lower-rent location than the Twisted Tree, the Warrens seems to be mostly a drinking hole for Transported.  After nearly being scammed on coppers for beer, a teenager named Oric showed up and invited everyone to meet another local person of influence.

Shown to a hard-to-find basement room, the party met Traven, an old Transported in workman clothes who presented himself as a benefactor and organizer for the Transported.

When the party expressed interest in maps, Traven identified a map-maker Transported who was working at a nearby logging camp.  He offered the party 300 sp if they rescued several other Transported from the same camp, and killed to camp overseer at the same time.

The party agreed to the deal and came up with a plan to poison the supplies in the weekly supply wagon, then go in to rescue the transported.  Oric is tagged to go along as a guide/identifier for the people that Traven wants.

After successfully dosing the alcohol in the supply wagon, the party traveled to the logging camp, which is where we broke for the evening.

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Exploring Blawtro

You finished your commission to escort the wagons to Blawtro, delivering them to the massive Colonial Administration fortification at the center of town.

You got a lot of dirty looks from other Transported on the way through, and discovered that Blawtro is an unlovely town crowded with taverns, gambling dens and whorehouses.

Each of you earned 6 sp from the trip, and spent 1 sp on a night's accommodation at The Hanged Man, a fine inn run by the loquacious and sly Oleg.

Desiring to learn more about the town, you went to the Twisted Tree, a massive complex of entertainment centered around a stone tower with a tree growing inside it.  After sampling the local tobacco and beer (one quite good, the other very mediocre), you were invited to meet Hanrik, the owner of the building, and clearly a local crime-lord.

Hanrik offered a Salvagers License, and a reward of 500 sp (for good intel) or 1000 sp (for great intel leading to the defeat of a rival) if you are willing to infiltrate the organization of a fellow called Traven, who is apparently some sort of leader for the local Transported.

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Introduction

You are all starting in the Imperial Dockside Prison in Ruywick, capital of the Ruy Empire. It's up to you how you got there.

Ruywick is Fantasy Constantinople. It's the capital of an empire that once covered 1/4 of the known world. The empire has shrunk in recent generations – the loss of the eastern half to the Orcish Hordes being the most recent tragedy, but it is still powerful, vibrant and increasingly sea-oriented. Thousands of ships from across the known lands dock here, and the docks are a massive stew of cultures, races and goods.

The Imperial Prison is a massive stone keep on the waterfront. Prisoners are housed on the towers and lower levels. You are responsible for your own care and feeding, and for protection the residents of each hall or chamber tend to stick together. All of your characters have been put in the Underhall, which is an old storage chamber that runs underneath one of the walls. It's a long stone rectangle, with narrow barred windows high on each wall. One set of windows looks up onto the docks, the other into the Yard.

You have your money and any small items that you could reasonably carry and protect with you. The rest was put into a chest when you arrived, and will be returned to you upon release (or sold to pay for your upkeep, if you can't manage it yourself).

1 silver piece per day pays for ample food and water, and the guards who run the prison are friendly enough, provided you aren't a troublemaker. The dockside urchins come by the lower windows regularly, and are happy to provide errand services, provided they are paid for their time. They have an understanding with the prison guards, and won't supply weapons, files or fire-starting materials, but otherwise, they're keen to help and relatively reliable.

Currently, the Underhall is a fairly safe place. Most of the inmates there don't seem to have much interest in fighting or causing trouble. It is well-know that most inmates who are put into the Dockside are eventually Transported to the Southland Colony.

Transportation is a relatively new (in the last 20 years) sentence. From the gossip and general knowledge, you've pulled together the following information:

  • The Southland Colony is on a different continent, about 2 months sail to the South or South-East.
  • The Colony is about 50 years old, but it's only in the past 20 years that prisoners have been sent there.
  • Transported are generally used as cheap labor in the Colony, and it's apparently quite dangerous.
  • The Southland Colony is run by Colonial Administration, and they are mostly concerned with squeezing every last drop of profit from the Colony as possible.
  • The Southland has huge alien beasts, strange races, dangerous wastes and is mostly unexplored. It is dotted with ruined ancient cities, too.
  • Port Greyscale is the capital of the Colony. Most Transported end up there, at least at first.
  • You are tattooed before they Transport you. Anyone who shows up back in the Empire with a Transported tattoo is summarily put to death.
  • There are some other cities in the Southlands. The Free Ports are off to the east of the Colony.
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