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.