2018-09-04

Decaying Lands 31: Six Plates?!

PCs Present & Played:

Caleb, Fighter [farmer kit] (Just Yolks)
  Suzie, a stubborn but loyal mule
Jehan, Woodsman [reskinned Halfling] (Helpful Waffle)
  Walter, poacher
Tenkos, Cleric [plague doctor kit] (Sugarplum)
Viggo Marklund, Specialist [bounty hunter kit] (Peanut Butter)


Last time the party arrived in Stilton, got a short tour of the cheese-making facilities, met a bunch of folks in town, and ate a whole lot of cheese.

We picked back up in the Bell Inn their first evening in town.

Viggo went over to thank Cooper for his hospitality but begged off eating some cheese by talking about how it wrecks his stomach. Captain Cuthill commiserated, saying that he too suffers greatly from "the milk shits" but not enough to stop him from eating this amazing cheese. Viggo quickly changed the subject and found out that Cooper Thornhill and his family do indeed all live inside the Bell Inn itself.

Meanwhile Tenkos tried to get Caleb to stop eating the cheese by explaining how the stick figures that the boy are drawing on the window slowly morph into cows. Caleb was undeterred, but wanted to talk to the young man so they went over. After some basic pleasantries Caleb asked about the cowbell and James' demeanor went from blank to incredibly angry. They disengaged after Caleb needled him some more with a "Cowbell looks real good, like it belongs around my neck."

Tenkos: "We'll also make a plan to steal this kid's cowbell."

A woman came in drenched, only Jehan stayed downstairs so he went to talk to her. Jehan shared some of his cheese and they started talking. She became ravenous, ate four plates of cheese, even picking the thrown scraps off of Jehan's face. He learned that she was from near the river and came to Stilton to get some cheese for her father. She was planning to stay two nights and then head back down south. Jehan excused himself once it became clear that she was too focused on the cheese for further conversation.

Sidebar: Oops, thought this was last session. That's what happens when you wait too long to write things up. Her name was Samantha. Also if Rudy was going to miss a session this was ABSOLUTELY the best one for him to miss, I think he would have vomited / killed me with all the cheesy lip smacking and mouth sounds on this one.

Jehan rejoined everyone else and they spent some time spinning on various possible plans.

- We'll just burn the whole place down, steal the last of the cheese, then we'll be super rich.
- No no, let's steal the recipe, make a secret dairy farm in Altdorf in Ghallia-That-Fell, then export our amazing Stilton cheese.
- Okay so then what's the best way to sneak out of our rooms?
- Caleb: "I have a distraction plan!"

Everyone mostly ignored Caleb's (repeated) suggestion, but while discussing their plans they heard shouting outside, Cooper and another man. The argument ended with Cooper shouting that he would turn him over to the guard and the man laughing before walking away.

Viggo hooked his chain over the windowsill and dropped down to follow the man and catch up with him. Some quick small talk and then straight to the chase! Viggo went back and forth, got the idea that this guy is maybe a drug dealer, got a sample of something in a waxy paper packet, and headed off. He also learned that his name is Stephen Miller and can be found back at the mill if Viggo wants to get some more.

Lot of planning. So many plans. What if one of us steals a cowbell and doesn't give it back, then we can talk to the guy in the jail! That's what they went with, Caleb went straight downstairs to look for the boy with the cowbell. Started yelling and screaming, tried to take the cowbell! Guards' swords came out, Caleb shoved Cooper, chaos ensued, and Caleb got punched by Captain Cuthill and arrested.

Caleb calmed down the man in the jail cell, he explained about how he knows that Cooper took his wife. He attacked him in the barn, guards beat him up, and now he was stuck in there, ranting and raving about his wife and not letting the guard sleep. Caleb promised him that they would help get him out and save his wife.

Jehan got a plate of cheese and some ale and Tenkos, Jehan, Walter, and Viggo all made their way over to the jail. Parleyed with the guard with food and drink, other prisoner tried to pretend sick like Caleb said but guard wasn't impressed, left him to throw up in the corner. Viggo questioned the guard about the prisoner a bit who said that he probably visited the miller a bit too much and imagined having himself a wife.

They left Caleb to sleep it (whatever it was) off in the jail. Everyone else planned to sleep at the inn, collect him in the morning, head out of town, and then circle back around at night and head into the barn.

Jehan made a quick detour to visit Samantha Drake in the first floor room and she was not having a good evening. She could barely stand up at the door and told the woodsman that she had eaten "six or seven" plates full. She excused herself, covering her mouth, and Jehan went upstairs to his room like everyone else.

Player Theories:

• Does the drug dealer have anything to do with the cheese? Does the drug counteract the cheese?
• The reason the milk / cheese is so good is because the milk is human, and that's why people are disappearing.
• Some kind of horrible horrible cow hybrids.
• Ralph definitely came back 'roided up, "really into the cows". Kind of similar to Caleb.

2018-08-31

Decaying Lands 30: Milkin' It

PCs Present & Played:

Caleb, Fighter [farmer kit] (Just Yolks)
  Suzie, a stubborn but loyal mule
Claus Drexol, Magic-User (Vegas)
  Phillip Bachman, linklad
  Lucien Courtet, infantryman
Jehan, Woodsman [reskinned Halfling] (Helpful Waffle)
  Walter, poacher
Jewel, Really Good Dog (Rudy)
  Buddy, ratter dog [Specialist]
Tenkos, Cleric [plague doctor kit] (Sugarplum)
Viggo Marklund, Specialist [bounty hunter kit] (Peanut Butter)


Last time the group got a couple hirelings, departed the partially burned down, dilapidated port of Frissen to arrive at Port Fromagerie, decided to investigate Stilton after all because of an offer of 300 silver each, and killed some bandits outside the town of Dourdain.

After having spent the night in Dourdain everyone in the group (except Walter) woke up with a profound sense of overwhelming loss and sadness. Tenkos noted that this is basically how he wakes up every day but none of them could remember the exact content of their dreams.

They debated a bit about whether they should salvage the bandits' broken wagon before remembering that they burned it along with all the bodies in a giant pyre.

They took the morning to get over to Stilton with the rain still pouring down. There weren't a ton of folks outside so they headed to the Bell Inn. Inside they encountered a large heavyset women who didn't talk much apart from showing them a plate of cheese and saying "Cheese?" Jewel readily ate some of the cheese and so did Caleb. They both greedily scarfed their plates down and seemed to thoroughly enjoy the Stilton specialty. Caleb was especially enthusiastic about the cheese and meeting the cows that it came from! The rest of the party declined.

The party tried to talk to the woman (later identified as Mary Thornhill) but all she would do is point to the wall and say "Cooper." They got the hint and headed over to the cheesery barn.

The got into the barn and saw a number of cows being milked, a bunch of cheese making equipment, and a storage chamber in the back. They could even see the special maggot cheese in the darkest parts of the storage shelves!

The workers weren't especially talkative but they indicated the office door and in short order Cooper Thornhill himself emerged to greet the party. Tenkos took point with the discussion trying to get Cooper to talk about what makes his cows so amazing. Cooper jokingly pushed to see if they were from the Cheesemonger's Guild before slyly admitting that the secret was "good, honest cows." Tenkos faked eating some of the cheese while Jewel and Caleb did not fake eating it at all. Caleb was mostly distracted during this discussion by the cows being milked off to the side.

That evening at the Bell Inn they were discussing what their next steps should be. Caleb again volunteered a distraction involving the cows in the field somehow but the rest of the group declined.

The rain was still pouring down and the inn was bustling with customers. Jehan went to work gambling with a few of the guards that were there, won some money, and learned that they locked up a crazy man for attacking Cooper and claiming that the cheesemaker had kidnapped his wife. One of the other guard's was off at the jail minding the ranting lunatic while these guards and their captain spent the evening at the Bell Inn.

Viggo spent some time ruminating on how he could talk to the inmate after discounting a possible plan of B&E on the barn by himself. They caught some friendly conversation between Cooper and the leader of the guards, Captain Cuthill, without picking up the details.

Tenkos noticed a thick young man with a cowbell around his neck idling drawing shapes in condensation on the window he was sitting next to. He watched the boy draw a person outline that slowly changed into a more bovine shape before rubbing the picture out and waiting for the condensation to reform and repeat the process.

Somebody else (can't remember who) struck up a conversation with a very soaked young woman named Samantha who had just gotten into town. She hadn't wanted to stay in Dourdain so she pushed on through the rain to Stilton, target of her tourism. It wasn't long before she ended up eating some of the cheese and going WILD on it. The party left her to her eating...

Caleb and Jewel mostly spent the evening stuffing their faces with delicious cheese. Some things overheard from Caleb during the session:

"I miss those udders."
"I'm going towards those cows."
"We could make a distraction... I could go into into the field with the cows and make a distraction. A loud distraction."

They ended the session with potentially even more questions than they started with. I think the dominant theory in that particular moment was that Cooper had minotaurs somewhere and that he was milking them.

Description: Armored swordsmen shouting "They let me milk a minotaur!"
From "Delicious in Dungeon" manga. Seemed appropriate.

2018-08-11

Decaying Lands 29: Down Stilton Way

PCs Present & Played:

Caleb, Fighter [farmer kit] (Just Yolks)
  Suzie, a stubborn but loyal mule
Claus Drexol, Magic-User (Vegas)
  Phillip Bachman, linklad
  Lucien Courtet, infantryman
Jehan, Woodsman [reskinned Halfling] (Helpful Waffle)
  Walter, poacher
Jewel, Really Good Dog (Rudy)
  Buddy, ratter dog [Specialist]
Tenkos, Cleric [plague doctor kit] (Sugarplum)
Viggo Marklund, Specialist [bounty hunter kit] (Peanut Butter)


Last time the party spent a week in Frissen teaching Buddy how to be a specialist, got some rumors, and burned down a not-insignificant portion of the city to kill some cats that may or may not have been plotting to kill all of the humans.

Original plan was to depart Frissen with a Ghallian ship captain that they had met. Captain Lalande normally runs the cheese route for the Cheesemonger's Guild from Porte Fromagerie (yeah that's MY dumb name) to Frissen. Tenkos managed to convince him that, as a faceless doctor (sounds cooler in French), he was on a special mission from his Prince into the Plaguelands of Ghallia-That-Fell. The captain had agreed to transport them out and around the patrols and into the forbidden zone as a proud service to the Prince.

Sidebar: The faceless doctors are the special agents for the various Princes along the riverine border with Ghallia-That-Fell. The plague doctor mask is a badge of their service and makes them instantly recognizable.

Instead of heading out to sea right away, however, the group decided they wanted to do some preparations for their expedition.

Jehan bought some gear for Walter and continued his efforts in teaching the young man how to read.

Claus went about looking for any adventurous sorts who would like to accompany them and boy did he find a pair! He wanted at least a torchbearer (RIP Wiebke T_T) and some kind of bodyguard. He managed to scrounge up a linklad from Teutonia named Philip Bachman and a mercenary from Ghallia named Lucien Courtet.

Sidebar: I asked Vegas what was unique about Philip. He said that he's got a terrible scar on his face (a burn, I assume) and a severe lisp. After a couple minutes of talking at least one person very strongly regretted both hiring the linklad and allowing Vegas to give him a quirk. Made it much easier for me though! Lucien just got a pronounced widow's peak.

They finally left Frissen and sailed over to Porte Fromagerie (for free!) based on Captain Lalande's sense of duty to Tenkos and the faceless. Claus, on a boat once more, again wore his baby Huey costume. We still don't quite understand why.

Description: Baby Huey. It's a giant goose in a diaper, midriff shirt, and baby bonnet.

They made it to Porte Fromagerie and observed the Cheesemonger's Guildsmen unloading the trade goods from the ship. Captain Lalande said he'd need some time for business in town and then he could take them into Ghallia-That-Fell or they could wait for him to do another run for the Guild to Frissen.

They spent almost all their time trying to get information on Stilton to decide if they wanted to swing down and investigate this cheese.

Rumors:
  • The owner of Belle Inn Fromagerie, maker of Stilton Cheese, Cooper Thornhelm, has a shed in that he doesn’t let anyone into. That’s probably where he keeps his gold.
  • Cooper Thornhelm is richer than a prince by now. He’s making money hand over fist.
  • Several people have gone missing without a trace on the Great Cheese Way.

It seemed like they were leaning towards ignoring it until they ran into Frances, brother of the cheesemaker down in Stilton! The poor guy has been having a hard time with his wife who is upset that Cooper Thornhill will not share his wealth or secrets with them. They eventually decided to go and speak with Jane. They learned a ton of stuff:
  • Cooper was an okay dairy farmer and innkeeper in out of the way Stilton who decided to try making cheese nine months ago and has been raking it in ever since.
  • Cooper is not a member of the Cheesemonger's Guild and has thus far spurned their advances. The Guild is not pleased in the slightest at this development.
  • Jane contracted a man named William O'Leary to go and get Cooper's secret but he never returned. Probably Cooper paid him off.

She also hates him! She offered to pay the party 200 sp each to find out what his secret for cheesemaking is and bring it back to her, but didn't want any harm to befall him.

"No, no, we're not the murdering type people." - Viggo

They haggled her to 300 sp each (1800 sp total) and Tenkos and Jewel enjoyed some of her tasty milk and local cheese. Everyone else refused! They also immediately started scheming as soon as they left about how they could sell the recipe to her then take it 100 miles away and setup their own operation. Love them.

They headed on down south towards Stilton by way of a town called Dourdain, as Stilton was too far for a single day of travel. They encountered a man asking for help with a broken cart, immediately suspected a trap, and were not surprised at all when the bandits appeared and tried to rob them. There was ZERO mercy, including Claus lighting up a hulking, beefy bandit with a bunch of magic missiles. They took what they could from the bodies, including an empty metal flask that smelt of sour spoilage from the large one, and piled them all up on the broken wagon before lighting it all on fire.

Sidebar: Claus has been incredibly diligent about covering up any evidence of his use of magic. #golfclap

They noted that the large bandit had a similar build to good old Ralf Wegener, cow murdering farmboy from back in Bremmlecht and the first person that they heard about Stilton cheese from. They made it the last little bit down the road as night descended and rain began to fall and shacked up at the Merry Toad in Dourdain.

Decaying Lands 28: Meee-OW

PCs Present & Played:

Claus, Magic-User (Vegas)
Jewel, Really Good Dog (Rudy)
  Buddy, ratter dog
Tenkos, Cleric [plague doctor kit] (Sugarplum)
Viggo Marklund, Specialist [bounty hunter kit] (Peanut Butter)


Last time the party, against all odds and expectations, did NOT murder any of the poachers who stole their food and their pack animals, got everything back, and even recruited a new friend!

Jehan was MIA this session (probably out sleeping in the woods) so we didn't get to see any more of his new henchman Walter. What we did see was a whole lot of messing around in Frissen, dilapidated city that it has become.

Jewel took advantage of nifty hireling / henchman rules (inspired by Beloch Shrike and very similar to Brendan's here) to train her ratting comrade Buddy into a Specialist 1. Now he's all sorts of sneaky and vicious and Jewel has something that she wants to spend money on.

Viggo got an extra rumor on top of the ones they got for being in town because he was specifically hanging out in bars and scrounging for info.

Rumors heard:

  • There have been a number of bandit attacks on less popular roads. That's not too strange, especially out east, but they say there are never any bodies left behind. Carts and goods are left behind, but no bodies.
  • Stilton wasn’t even on the map until recently but they make the best god damn cheese in the world. It’s helping to keep Frissen afloat.
  • Did you know the elves felt sorry for the dwarves during the Cleansing so they turned the ones that were left into trees?
  • The Order of Sebastian’s Cross really wiped the dwarves out because the famed smiths could enslave any that used dwarf-forged creations.
  • The cats of the city plan to kill all humans.


That last one about cats came form Jewel's doggy rumor table and they all immediately latched onto it as 100% true.

Sidebar: Worth noting that Jewel had the option of getting a human rumor but chose not to. I am always happy when I get to distribute doggy rumors.

They followed a bunch of cats around the city, Buddy specifically making use of his newfound sneakiness. They were able to track a number of different groups of felines all back to the same place: an empty warehouse. The warehouse was in the most abandoned corner of town, a whole quarter of dilapidated buildings surrounding the rubble of a wizard's tower.

There were cats everywhere in this place. Grooming, meowing, taking care of baby cats, making baby cats, spewing up hairballs... Just everywhere. They observed through an upper window for a bit before Claus decided to get a closer look.

Claus went in, they all turned and hissed at him, he backed away, "Yup these cats are not normal let's lock all the doors and burn the building down."

Jewel was ecstatic at the plan, Tenkos loves to burn things, and Claus... Well it's Claus, he's always eager to push the button.

What was the actual plan? First take was just get a barrel of oil, open it, throw in a window, with a torch right after, and burn it all down.

But wait! We have to set one side on fire and then do the barrel on the other side!

No no wait we dribble the barrel all around the building and light it all up so everything burns at once! Oh and we'll block all the doors and and hang out near likely exits for a little bit to make sure none escape.

Sidebar: This took at least thirty minutes of real world, detailed planning to accomplish. This was probably the most detailed plan they have ever made.

Tenkos went to buy the oil but made sure to strip himself of his regular gear and "combed his hair."  They waited for the dead of night and picked their way through the sparsely populated city towards the warehouse.

Their plan was executed with precision and efficiency. The warehouse lit up in a great conflagration and the meowrls of alarm and anger swiftly turned to squeals of desperation.
Their pyromaniacal plan was a bit too effective, however, as the fire quickly started to spread to the other abandoned buildings in the wizard quarter. Alarm bells rung out from the harbor and echoed towards the center of town.

Jewel and Buddy disappeared into the streets (yay dogs!) but Claus, Tenkos, and Viggo still needed to make it back to their inn without attracting any unwanted attention.

Unfortunately for them, they encountered some guards rushing to fight the fire! The guards were immediately suspicious, asking what they were doing out so late, especially coming from the direction where the fire was raging. Tenkos thought quickly and gave Claus a big fat sloppy kiss, saying that they were just out spending some quality time together. 💓

The guards were almost convinced and then they remembered Viggo. "Eh and what about you?" Viggo just leaned in and put his arms around the other too. There may have been a wink involved. Either way they were all quite charming, leaving the guards bashful and embarrassed to have been prying. The soldiers let the trio on their way as they rushed off to combat the blaze.

A whole section of the city burned down and the constabulary had to hastily knock down even more buildings to prevent further spread but at least they got those plotting cats!

2018-07-20

Decaying Lands 27: Zero Murder Somehow


PCs Present & Played:

Jehan, Woodsman 1 [reskinned Halfling] (Helpful Waffle)
Tenkos, Cleric 3 [plague doctor kit] (Sugarplum)
Viggo Marklund, Specialist 4 [bounty hunter kit] (Peanut Butter)


Last time the party met some giant intelligent wolves and found their camp ransacked, horses and Suzie missing, buddy beaten, and two people caught in their bear traps.

One of the supposed ransackers was already dead but the other was still living and she was terrified of Caleb (from last session). Since the three most bloodthirsty PCs were not present (Caleb because of Suzie, Jewel because of Buddy, and Claus because... ?) she was not immediately killed! They got her to share the route to the cabin then tied her up in their wagon with threats of retribution if they couldn't get their animals and food back unharmed.

They followed the stream deeper into the woods on the described route and arrived at the cabin. It was right where she said it would be, nestled in between some small hills with a bilco / root cellar door to the side.

The saw Suzie tied up outside, as unaffected as ever, along with their horses for the wagon. There was some debate about just taking the animals and leaving but they wanted to find out what was going on first. They snuck up and circled the place, pressing ears to doors and shutters.

There was some conflict inside. One of them was sobbing and crying about their dead friend, another was saying they needed to go back for the girl who survived the trap, and the last two voices were arguing that they needed to take what they had and leave immediately because obviously anyone whoever set out a bunch of bear traps was insane and probably murderous.

Around this point Jahan busted in the front door, heavy crossbow drawn, Viggo behind him, and Tenkos opened the shutters holding his crossbow (or fire bombs, little fuzzy). The place was a bit shabby, lots of simple wooden furniture and animal trapping equipment in various stages of assembly scattered about.

There was a lot of cursing and some yelling and definitely a lot of frantic "please please don't kill us" type requests. Tenkos countered by offering to take them on as hirelings! The response was less than enthusiastic.

Jehan took a different tact, picking out the crying one, Walter, as the most likely to be swayed. Jehan picked him as the one to go into the root cellar and give back the stolen rations.

Sidebar: I think the player facing rationale here is "holy shit we lost a PC and a henchwoman last time we need more meat shields." It's not a bad goal, just not an ideal audience.

In the root cellar there was all of the purloined rations from the party's wagon as well as a host of furs taken from the Kingswood. After some debate the party opted not to take the furs for fear of not having a contact that they could fence it through. Punishment for poaching from the Kingswood can be quite severe!

As a final token they made the four in the cabin load up all the stolen rations and carry it the few hours back to camp. It was tense travel but the party kept to their word and didn't murder any of the thieves.

Things became more tense, this time amongst the thieves, when they got to camp and saw their messed up living friend and also messed up dead friend. Walter, the crier, wanted to burn their dead friend properly but the rest of their group wanted to just get out with their lives while they still had them (especially after viewing all the bear traps that they DIDN'T trip).

I think it was then that Jehan seized the initiative and offered to help put the man to rest. Helpful Waffle was still deadset on trying it recruit this guy so I gave him a shot, let the dice decide after all of his trying and help caring for the dead. Despite the challenge, he did it! So Walter got his dead friend's skinning knife from Jehan, two melted silvers from where the eyes were in the funeral bier, and became a part of the crew!

Sidebar: At some point Sugarplum said, "Tenkos wasn't here, everyone messed it up, and now Tenkos came back and fixed everything." I am sure that everyone in the group was 100% in agreement

Side-Sidebar: Mid session we got an email from Vegas asking something like "did we kill everyone yet?!" Rudy was similarly disappointed at the lack of murder.

2018-06-20

Decaying Lands 26: Wolf Howls


PCs Present & Played:

Caleb, Fighter 3 (Just Yolks)

Claus, Magic-User 4 (Vegas)
Jehan, Woodsman 1 [reskinned Halfling] (Helpful Waffle)
Jewel, Really Good Dog 2 (Rudy)
  Buddy, ratter dog
Tenkos, Cleric 3 [plague doctor kit] (Sugarplum)
Viggo Marklund, Specialist 4 [bounty hunter kit] (Peanut Butter)


Last time the party met an unexpected skeleton named Sarah (and her "buddy Hoot-Hoot"), gave a warning of impending doom to Lady Margaret of the Sapphire Rose inn, and collected their things so they could get while the getting was good.

They continued with their plan to push west towards the dilapidated fishing town of Frissen with the end goal of taking a boat along the coast deeper into Ghallia, the country that abandoned half their land behind a river due to murder plague. Karl (RIP) was an exiled prince from the murder place, Jehan was also from there, and they'd seen things that made them want to investigate Stilton on the way. Rumors of entire country abandoned with everything left behind and ripe for the taking played into it too, probably.

Description: Poorly drawn hex map, big arrow pointing west towards "Frissen", dog picture 2/3 the way there.

The town was nine hexes distant, six mile hexes, 18 miles a day (because wagon), so three travel days to get there. First day not much traffic, just a rider in the garb of the courier's guild racing past on the road. The first night they pulled off the road, setup camp, and arrayed their bear traps in strategic locations. Claus noted that it finally seemed like the woods had returned to their normal nighttime sounds but otherwise didn't notice anything out of the ordinary.

Sidebar: At this point bear traps at night is their standard setup and they will have to tell me explicitly if they do not want to put any bear traps out. James would be proud.

Day two passed with no other travelers on the road. Setup camp again, every started settling in to sleep (Jehan sort of in the underbrush but still within the bear trap permieter), and then Jewel bolted off to the south across the road. She ran for a while with Buddy, heard some stuff, then came back and started scratching into the dirt.

Description: Freehand written words "wolf south sad far" and a frown face.

Sidebar: Rudy (Jewel's player) volunteered to use his offhand on the mouse to scratch out the words that Jewel was trying to convey but then immediately after said it was way too easy. I agreed but didn't have a good suggestion but then he said he'd close his eyes next time. That should be much harder, can't wait to see how it turns out.

Even though it was far and getting to be nighttime everyone went with Jewel to investigate. They left Suzie tied to a tree and Buddy guarding the camp supplemented by the bear traps. Jehan was going to hunt game but, while thematically appropriate, after realizing he could use up all his crossbow bolts and miss out on wild stuff he went along too.

They trudged south through the woods with only the light of the full moon. Jewel called out after a mile or so with no response, so they kept going. The second time she called out there was an answer from directly in front of them. She kept talking back and forth but the response howls came from different directions each time. The party vacillated between wanting to leave and getting ready for war before settling on a cautious but not too threatening state of readiness.

The conversation ended with three very large wolves appearing out of the darkness around them. Jewel knew they were coming but the humans were all quite surprised. At this point Jewel gave Claus the signal to use his scroll of comprehend languages (Canine counts because of Jewel now) and everyone got to hear what was up.

Description: A wolf with a too large jaw, open too wide. I envisioned Moro from Mononoke, hopefully that came through.

There was a bit of menace and uncertainty with these three larger than normal wolves but overall the party learned a lot from them. The father of the true king ("the False One"), with the help of a wizard, laid a curse upon said king and these wolves that were once men. The wolves' minds cloud when they try to remember more than that, and one coughed and spit blood even to say that the False One was the father of the king.  They called themselves the "Sons of Stanislaus" and the other large wolf that Boris "Iron Guts" freed was one of their number. They were grateful for the help for their brother.

The wolves also told the party about how their king bore an even stronger, more awful curse than they did. They now knew him only as "The Mad King" and warned the group that he was large enough to swallow them whole and then spit them up again, turning them into mindless beasts. They left with a warning to "Run, run if you ever see the Mad King or you won't survive to tell!"

Somewhat shaken, our motley crew trudged back through the woods to their camp. They had been gone for four hours and in the intervening time someone had raided their wagon for food. Buddy lay unconscious, badly hurt, and Suzie and the horses were GONE!

Sidebar: Random encounters can happen when you're not there too!

Initial shock turned to rage and then they noticed that their customary bear traps had been at least partially effective. One had a still warm corpse, which Jehan looted (snares, skinning knife, sling, few silvers) but the occupant of the other was still (barely) alive. Caleb was on the border of killing his captive straight out but he was able to get some information out of her while keeping his rage at bay.


2018-06-17

Decaying Lands 25: Hoot-Hoot and Sarah

PCs Present & Played:

Caleb, Fighter 3 (Just Yolks)

Claus, Magic-User 4 (Vegas)
Jehan, Woodsman 1 [reskinned Halfling] (Helpful Waffle)
Tenkos, Cleric 3 [plague doctor kit] (Sugarplum)
Viggo Marklund, Specialist 4 [bounty hunter kit] (Peanut Butter)




Last time the party turned a bunch of skeletons including some that got out the elevator, lost Karl the exiled prince in a blaze of explosive kamikaze glory, and escaped up the elevator with a ton of loot.


Wait shit we unleashed skeletons into civilization?! Viggo was concerned about the scary skeletons and the fact that they could bring the elevator back down. Maybe hunt down the five escaped ones and kill them? Except they are scary and killed poor Karl! THEN they realized that the leg maybe has powers so they wanted to get the transforming giant skeleton's peg leg. It was a fun back and forth.


And then BEAR TRAPS. They setup their bear traps around the elevator just in case the skeletons came back.


They met Jehan! He was looking for Karl. Karl's dead :( But at least Karl's player gets a new PC integrated pretty fast!


"He blew up!" - Claus

"Shut up Claus!" - all decent, sensitive folk
"Yeah but he can't get reanimated if he blew up, it's a blessing!" - Claus

Viggo interrogated Jehan a bit, he's legit, they gave him Karl's seal. They finished setting up the traps and hung out while Claus took some time to fill an empty spell slot out of his book.


Next they set off down the trail of ole peg leg, noticed that it's peg leg size went down pretty suddenly and then it turned back north, away from the direction of the town. Shortly thereafter it met up with the big gnarly claw tracks (I slipped and said owlbear) and then the peg leg tracks disappeared.


"I've seen many skeletons, none of them talked! ...None of them moved, either." - Tenkos


Had a brief little chat, got some more background from Jehan, Caleb told him Karl's last words. "Save Altdorf, beware the Duvan'Ku." Talked about how they were an organization that were hunting Jehan and Karl but hopefully they aren't anymore.


They also theorized about what the deal with the skeletons in the crypt was. Was it a hive mind? Are they all individually aware and in control? How do they work? They decided to press on after the large broken trail of the owlbear skeleton.


They ran smack dab into all five escaped skeletons! Almost literally, as the party was surprised but the skeletons were not.

  • Skeleton with a gnarled peg leg
  • Large quadruped with sharp claws and fierce beak
  • Charred up skeleton
  • Skeleton with a shield on its back
  • Skeleton covered in wax
The peg leg skeleton, now only three feet tall and riding atop the owlbear skeleton, opened with a shouted "Leave us alone!" but otherwise the skeletons did not make any aggressive moves. They talked back and forth with the peg leg skeleton, it kept getting bigger the more annoyed it got. Most interesting to the party was that this skeleton did NOT have the raspy, hard 't' accentuated voice of the stag skeleton. Instead it sounded like a small child! Some of the players with more direct child interaction experience had some good ideas for how to bargain with it, trying to get more information without pissing it off.

Sidebar: In a later conversation Vegas noted the differences between how the players with small children interacted with little kid skeleton as compared to those without. Bring your life experiences into the game, referees!

The peg leg skeleton went from child-sized and riding to standing and eventually a full 18 feet tall. Jehan produced a sizable lump  of fool's gold from his pack as a peace offering to the skeleton which gleefully snatched it up. They learned the "not nice man" in the underground made all the skeletons dig and they couldn't do anything to not dig. He was not nice because they didn't want to dig and he was a man because he sounded like one. Peg leg wanted to squash him (like they squashed Karl, although they weren't super happy about that), BUT if not nice man helped peg leg squash other, meaner people, that's fine too. Apparently there were some specific bad people that peg leg was user about but they didn't go into more detail.

Sidebar: Helpful Waffle (Jehan's player) rolled "fool's gold" on the "Useless" table from Evey Lockhart's excellent The Quickly Equipped Murder Hobo. We laughed and he immediately started thinking on ways that he could make use of it. Neither one of us thought it would come up this quickly. He vowed to get another chunk soon.

Viggo kept going back and forth between "well this creature doesn't seem dangerous" to "okay you can't just squash people that are not nice to you." Caleb was up front, backing Viggo up and Jehan seemed unsure, but Claus and Tenkos were already backing away, because if an 18' tall skeleton opens with "leave us alone!" well, sure! Eventually they convinced her to try and head east and over the Dwarfgrave Mountains, where it's more sparse and lawless.



Picture of a poorly drawn mostly empty hex map with an arrow pointing east towards mountains.
All of the sudden she shrunk down, climbed up onto the beastly skeleton, and shouted "Well my name is Sarah, BYE" over her shoulder as she ran off into the woods with her skelly crew.

Sidebar: At some point she identified the large skeletal owlbear as "Hoot-Hoot" as well but I forgot to put that in there. Oops.


They stared off after the skeletons for a bit then made their way back to the elevator. Suzie the mule was still there, completely unaffected by the evening's shenanigans. Discussed what to do with their newfound knowledge, did NOT want to just go about shouting that there were skeletons digging their way out. Decided to tell Lady Margaret about what was going on after they had rested, breakfasted, and were ready to roll out.

They gave her the lowdown, she bought their loot, and then she had her people immediately start packing up. She promised to notify the rest of the Cossroads residents after the party had moved out. They started their own prep to move out and we ended session.

Everyone got 1218 sp each from sale of tapestries and silverware. Lady Margaret intimated that she would be able to turn around a much nicer profit down in Universitatstadt (dammit Vegas) or Teutonitopia (DAMMIT VEGAS) with the info they gave her.

Sidebar: I will probably still let Vegas name stuff because Vegas.

She also knew a bunch of stuff about Viggo's informant and bounty target that she probably shouldn't have so our party's bounty hunter tracked her down for a little side chat after the session ended.

Sidebar: Counting this session they have spent a total of SIX sessions chasing down a brilliant dog rumor contributed by Arnold K. All those dope flavorful skeletons came from the brain of Ian Reilly. Sarah was inspired by an item off one of Beloch Shrike's excellent tables but I can't share which one because spoilers. No mspaint picture this time because I'm way too behind.