drnuncheon's Freeport Story Hour





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  1. #1

    drnuncheon's Freeport Story Hour

    The official symbol of the Freeport City Watch is the seal of the city on a copper medallion worn around the neck. The medallion has come to be known as the 'Freeport Noose' among watchmen - and criminals. You can tell an experienced Watchman by the fact that they have found a different way to display their badge.

    Warning: this thread will contain spoilers for Green Ronin's Freeport series of adventures (Death in Freeport, Terror in Freeport, Madness in Freeport, and Hell in Freeport - assuming the game lasts that long. If you are a player or plan to be a player in one or more of these adventures...turn back now. I'm also stealing various other stuff from a variety of sources like Penumbra's En Route sourcebook and Dungeon magazine - I'll try to mark such as spoilers when I can.

    For the rest of you, let us move on to the next post where you can meet our heroes (such as they are.)

    Important Note: If you don't like log-format posts (or if you don't like story-format posts, I suppose), the Story Hour switches from log to actual story partway through. After I finish writing up Madness in Freeport I'll be revisiting the early posts and rewriting them as stories...
    Last edited by drnuncheon; Friday, 10th May, 2002 at 03:53 AM.

 

  • #2

    Our Heros (such as they are)

    Working as a Watchman in Freeport has to be the most thankless job in existence. The pay is lousy, you get no backup, and most of the time when you arrest someone, they're back on the streets inside of an hour.

    Working as a Watchman in the dock district is worse.


    Di'Fier is one of that rare breed: a hereditary Watchman. (Rare because often Watchmen don't live long enough to have children.) His father and grandfather were both members of the City Watch, and are proud to see the tradition being carried on. Di'Fier is also rare in another way: like his mother, he makes a study of the arts of wizardry.

    (Di'Fier started as a Fgt1/Wiz2, and is working along the path to becoming a Spellsword from Tome & Blood.)

    Dru, his elven partner, comes from the opposite side of the law. Her father has been a criminal in Freeport since before the time of the first Sea Lords. They...no longer get along, shall we say. Dru has become a Watchman to distance herself from the criminal actions of the rest of her family.

    (Dru started as a Fgt1/Rog2 and is not to the best of my knowledge heading for any prestige class in particular.)

    Both characters are Sergeants of the Watch. Neither are popular with their superiors, since both are honest cops. This may be why they've been assigned to patrol the Dock district.

    For full stat blocks and some more background information, visit the Dramatis Personae thread in the Rogue's Gallery.
    Last edited by drnuncheon; Wednesday, 16th January, 2002 at 04:27 PM.

  • #3

    Important NPCs

    NPCs marked with a (D) are dead (or presumed so)
    NPCs marked with a * are from Green Ronin's Freeport adventures. NPCs marked with a + are from other sources (detailed below).

    Aggro* - orcish pirate, first mate on board the Bloody Vengeance.

    Alust - elven wizard, Guild member and member of the Na´lo organization.

    Andolyn+ - Wizard's Guild member, retired adventurer, wife of Gendrew.

    Arjis - petty criminal, involved in drug smuggling.

    Davos - Watchman, Kliege's partner.

    Donnach - Captain of the City Watch (2nd Shift). Prone to migraines, especially when Dru and Di'Fier are about.

    Echo - young girl living on the street. Only able to repeat the last few words of what you say to her.

    Egil* - acolyte of Kherarditinos, friend of Lucius.

    Enzo* - low-level member of "the Brotherhood". In protective custody now after trying to set up an assassination attempt on Dru & Di'Fier.

    Garto - dwarven wizard & language expert, friend of Gothos.

    Gendrew+ - cook, husband to Andolyn.

    "Gothos Ebonrazor"+ - rapier-weilding elven wizard using an assumed name, member of the Guild, friend of Garto.

    Hallfred - Watchman. Buff.

    Hogni - Watchman. Asthmatic and generally not healthy.

    Ivellimor - elven mage, Guild member, and member of the Na´lo organization.

    Jaffar - Watchman. Always speaks in a whisper due to a throat injury sustained on his first night in the Watch.

    Jemmis - petty smuggler. Owes Dru and Di'Fier a big favor.

    Kiva - Tas' partner, a Watchman.

    Kenzil* - Member of the Freeport Wizard's guild. Rumor has it he is involved with one of the crime families of the city.

    Kliege - Watchman, Davos' partner.

    Lucius* - librarian at the Temple of Kheraditinos, his disappearance got Dru and Di'Fier involved in investigating "the Brotherhood".

    Lydon* - sea captain, bucking for a spot on the Captain's Council. Sponsoring Swagfest.

    Milos* (D) - assistant to Thuron. Slain by Dru and Di'Fier.

    Norton* - 'greeter' at the Temple of Kherarditinos. Always seems to be on duty when Dru and Di'Fier come around. He's begun to develop a nervous tic around the pair, because their presence always means trouble.

    Quarion - elven mage, Guild member, and member of the Na´lo organization.

    Reed* - works in the Hall of Records.

    Rittoro* (D) - leader of the Yellow Shields, killed in an assassination attempt on Dru and Di'Fier.

    Scarbelly* - orcish pirate, captain of the Bloody Vengeance.

    Spruce - Watchman working in the Records department.

    Tas (D) - another Watchman, Kiva's (former) partner.

    Tarmon* - High Wizard of Freeport.

    Tensin Na´lo - Dru's father, prominent elven crimelord.

    Thuron* - High Priest of Kherarditinos, God of Knowledge and Prophecy.

    Tiera Dela+ - possibly the most powerful wizard in Freeport, Tiera is almost completely uninterested in Guild politics.

    Torsten Roth* - head of the Freeport Merchant's Guild.

    Ulfgar - Young dwarven smith. His father Traubon went insane while working on a secret project.

    Verlaine* - Member of the Captain's Council, Drac's right-hand man.

    Weggit (D) - a merchant from Highgate, acting a the Sea Lord's factor on the mainland. Committed suicide (?) jumping from a window of the Sa Lord's palace.

    Xavier Gordon* - member of the Captain's Council.

    + - Gendrew and Andolyn are from the WOTC Web Adventure Something's Cooking. Tiera Dela is mentioned in Atlas Games' En Route. Gothos Ebonrazor created by Isaac Sher.
    Last edited by drnuncheon; Wednesday, 20th February, 2002 at 01:18 AM.

  • #4

    Gamemaster Notes

    As you'll notice, there's only two PCs - sadly, my TT group is rather small at the moment, and consists of my wife and an old high school buddy of mine. Since Death in Freeport is designed for 4 first-level characters, I decided they needed a boost - hence the starting as experienced watchmen of 3rd level.

    This also allowed them to shore up a major weakness in the duo (at least from a typical D&D standpoint): no cleric. Both of the players used a chunk of their starting money to pick up plenty of healing potions (and a little bit of holy water too). I'm hoping that between that and the aid of Brother Egil they can get through the adventure without taking 'dismemberment leave' from their jobs.

    My chief inspiration for the twist of making the characters guardsmen comes from Simon Green's Hawk & Fisher series. They may not be high literature, but they're fun to read - and I'm not aiming for 'high literature' in this game either.

    The first session should be played sometime this weekend, so expect an update next week. In between now and then, I'll see if I can get copies of the character sheets for inclusion in the Rogue's Gallery. Oh, and answer any questions.

    Lastly, to Piratecat, Sagiro, Wulf, Nemmerle, Samnell, and everybody else whose story hours have given me so much enjoyment: this one's for you. If you guys get a quarter of the enjoyment out of this that I've gotten from your posts, it will be worth it.

  • #5

    An Introduction, Of Sorts...

    Dusk settles over the city of Freeport, but the dimming of the light hardly dims the activity going on. Freeport is busy, from Old City to Scurvytown, from the Temple District to the Docks. In fact, it is one particular spot of activity on these docks that concerns us: inside a warehouse, a group of men works by torchlight, unloading crates from a large wagon. A fairly common scene in this or any other port city, to be sure - at least, if one only looks at the surface of things. But in Freeport, things are so rarely as they seem...

    "Come on, we've gotta get these unloaded before the boss gets here. We're runnin' behind. Quit lookin' at the roof."

    "Yeah, all right."

    One of the men, apparently the leader of this band, takes a crowbar to one of the crates, opening it with a squeal of protesting nails. The lid is forced open, revealing some ceramic pottery surrounded by dark green-brown leaves for packing material. But it is not the cheap pots the man reaches for. Instead he picks up one of the leaves, rubbing it between his fingers and sniffing it. A grin spreads across his face. "Good stuff."

    The mood spreads to the other men, and the unloading begins to move more swiftly - except for one fellow.

    "Arjis, what the hell you keep lookin' at up there?"

    "Big-ass crow. Givin' me the creeps."

    "You been smokin' too mucha this stuff. Just a damn bird."

    The bird under discussion cocks its head and watches them intently.

    "I'm tellin' you, it's watchin' us."

    "Awright, I'll get rid of it." The man stoops down and grabs a rock, whipping it sidearm at the bird. It comes close - too close for the raven, which rises from its perch with a flutter of wings, back into the dimly lit rear of the warehouse...

    "It's gone now, you happy? Now get back to work."

    ...through an open window, out into the streets of the city. It banks, gliding around the side of the warehouse, until it sees a pair of figures waiting outside the building. Waiting, and watching. The raven catches the air with curved wings, slowing until it can land on the man's outstretched hand in a manner more suited to a well-trained falcon than a common corvid.

    Then again, in Freeport, things are so rarely as they seem.

  • #6

    Session One: Butt Kicking, Investigation, and a Very Embarassing Fight

    (GM Note: I think for the sake of my time these will have to be in log format rather than story format. Picking up directly from the intro, we find Di'Fier and Dru outside a warehouse. Inside the warehouse, a bunch of 8 guys unloading crates of what our heros believe to be kantha leaves, raw material for a popular narcotic - and brought in to the city without paying the proper duties.)

    Dru draws her rapier and prepares to kick in the door.

    "We should find out who owns this warehouse," Di'Fier notes.

    "Sure, after we kill everyone." Dru's a little...direct...in her methods of justice.

    So, after a forcefully applied boot, the door flies open and the duo politely inform the miscreants that they are under arrest: Dru by charging in and spitting one of them on her rapier, Di'Fier by casting daze on another. Oh, and they also say "City Watch! You're under arrest!"

    OK, if you don't want to read a detailed account of the combat, skip to the next post, where I'll resume the story. If you want crunchy bits and gore, read on.

    Sadly, the miscreants realize that they've got our watchmen outnumbered 4 to 1, and they resist arrest, rather forcefully.

    The wounded man bolts, and two others dash for cover behind some of the other crates. One stands looking befuddled, but the rest pull out nasty looking knives and go after the watch: 2 on Dru, 2 charging Di'Fier. Both our heroes take minor damage (2 points). Di'Fear returns the favor with his bastard sword for 6 points to one of the guys, while Dru decides wisely to leave the flanking arrangement and tumble behind one of the fellows. Unfortunately she misses.

    Well, that wound was enough for one of the guys facing Di'Fier - he turns and bolts into the shadows as well. The other guy tries to bull-rush his way past and into the street, but bounces off the fighter-mage. Dru is able to fend off one of her opponents, but not both - a small wound (3 points). Di'Fier looks at the guy who just bounced off of him, and gives him a little 5-point lovetap. Dru spots the two guys who went for cover earlier: they're readying crossbows. She distracts her opponent with a Bluff roll and dives under the wagon for cover.

    Well, with the disappearance of one target, there's only Di'Fier - and he's nicely silhouetted in the doorway. Two crossbow bolts slam into him for a whopping 14 points. He's upset, and displays this with a critical hit to his melee opponent, cleaving him from collarbone nearly to hip (and taking him to -17 hit points. Ow.) Deciding to not be there when the crossbow guys reload, Di'Fier steps back around the corner of the warehouse and bleeds a bit. Dru pops up from behind the wagon, having pulled out her shortbow, and does a little sniping of her own, downing one of the crossbowmen.

    The remaining crossbowman reloads and returns fire at Dru, scoring a beautiful hit...on the wagon. The three thugs remaining move to surround Dru, and one of them scores a minor wound. Di'Fier chugs a potion of cure light wounds and feels much better. Dru jumps into the wagon to get away from the people surrounding her.

    The crossbowman proves that he's really got a thing against that wagon - a second bolt thunks into it. One of the thugs climbs into the wagon with Dru. Di'Fier rejoins combat with his wand of magic missile out, and sends glowing energy into the crossbowman. Too bad it was only for 2 points. Dru shows the guy climbing onto the wagon that it's not a great idea when someone with a blade is already on the wagon.

    The guy who Dru just wounded decides that discretion is the better etc etc and runs for the back. Wonder what's back there?

    The crossbowman puts another bolt into poor Di'Fier, who looks annoyed. Dru takes her opponent to exactly 0, and Di'Fier drops his wand and charges the reloading crossbowman, taking the fight out of him as well.

    So, with a pair of prisoners and a wagon full of kantha leaves, our heros bandage their wounds and send the raven to fetch backup.

  • #7

    Session One, Part Two: Investigation

    While awaiting their backup, Di'Fier ties up the prisoners and does a bit of interrogation, in which he discovers that a) they know nothing, and b) the guy who does know something ran into the back. Heading back there, Dru finds...nobody. There is a crate that looks like it's been moved recently, and moving it again reveals an entrance into the sewers.

    "I hate sewers," Dru says sourly. "Why is it always sewers?"

    (GM Note: This may be due to incidents in the online game I ran, where we tramped around in the sewers for hours chasing a wererat rogue/wizard.)

    The prisoners and the contraband are turned over to the other guardsmen that show up, and our heroes go off-shift. Time for some R and R...or is it? As they head to their rooms in the Old City near the Temple District, a young man in the robes of a priest of Kherarditinos (god of knowledge, prophecy, and the moon) hails them. The man, Brother Egil, has been trying to find honest watchmen to look into the disappearance of his friend, Lucius. The duo agree, and it's off to Lucius' house for a look around.

    The place is a mess - which is odd, since Lucius is a librarian. Apparently he's one of the kind that keeps his filing system inside his head, though. Maybe it's for job security. A quick turnover of the place reveals a 'to do' list and some new shelving in the basement - how odd.

    The list has some unusual entries: get some sleep! is one of them, and 'turnips' is another. It also contains references to a diary and to travel logs. Oh, and the big clue, 'talk to Capt. Scarbelly'. Still, they take the time to toss the place a little more thoroughly, and in the false bottom of a desk drawer they find a diary.

    It finally sinks in to Egil that his pet policemen are wounded, and he heals the pair of them so they won't die before they find his friend. After that, the three part ways: Egil goes to morning services, while the other two head to sleep (or trance) and to study the diary.

    The diary paints a rather unusual picture of a man who has lost five years of his life, and whose obsession with those years is growing. It also mentions the dreams he's been having - dreams of cities that stretch to the skies and indescribably strange creatures. When Dru meets Di'Fier for breakfast (during everyone else's lunch) she passes this information on to him.

    So, the duo set out to do some investigating. First things first, though: they stop by the Hall of Records to meet with their buddy Reed, who is, as usual, having a bad day. A little gratuity cheers him up, and he promises to check on who owns that warehouse for them.

    After that it's back to the dock to find out about this 'Capt. Scarbelly' character. He's been in port for about a week, it turns out, but instead of the usual hellraising he and his crew have been sticking to their ship. Sometimes the captain slips out for a bite and a beer at the Rusty Hook.

    Apparently that was enough for them on that account, because their next step was to go across the town to the Temple of Kherarditinos. To get inside, Di'Fier uses the brilliant story that he has come to research an invisibility spell. Norton - the person at the front desk - directs them to the section on arcane spellcrafting. Dru gets bored.

    "Er...miss? Would you please stop throwing your knife into the bookcase? You're disturbing the researchers..."

    Having done that, they go *back* across town...to the docks again! They drop by Scarbelly's ship and try to find out anything they can about Lucius. The orcish guards are less than forthcoming:

    "Sod off."

    "He's the subject of an investigation," says Dru.

    "He ain't here, sod off."

    Di'Fier gets a bright idea. "There's a reward."

    "Sod o...reward?" One of the guards looks slyly at the other. "Y'ain't gonna tell Aggro about the reward, are ya?"

    Di'fier grins. "Of course not."

    The guard hurries off to get someone else of more importance. The huge burly orc that returns doesn't look to happy to see a pair of watchmen at the base of his gangplank. He spits over the side. "Th'hell d'you want?"

    "We're looking for a man named Lucius," says Di'fier.

    Big Orc: "An' I should care why?"

    "There's a reward."

    One of the gangplank guards emits a scream of rage. Apparently this big orc is Aggro, who they had just promised not to tell about the reward, and now the human's gone and ruined his visions of gold. The orc is so upset that he pulls his scimitar and hacks at a surprised Di'Fier, who just manages to get out of the way of the blade. Dru responds by running him through with her rapier, and it's looking pretty grim before Di'Fier shouts out, "Stand down! He drew on us! We don't want to kill you all!"

    Normally this display of apparent weakness would have triggered an attack from the entire orcish crew, but something in Di'Fier's voice - and just maybe the speed with which Dru dispatched their crewmate - causes them to pause. Aggro disgustedly kicks the orc's corpse into the harbor. "He was here," he offers, "wantin' t'talk to th'cap'n. I sen' him away."

    Well, it looks like Aggro will be of no help. As they depart, Di'Fier notes to Dru, "At least we won't have to share the reward with them!"

    "What reward?" Dru growls.

    Next time: an attempted assassination leads to an embarassing fight, and Di'Fier says, "What do you mean I've only had 1 hit point left for the last five rounds?"

  • #8

    Session One, Part Three - A Very Embarassing Fight

    So, it's back to the Temple of Kherarditinos, where Di'Fier goes back to "research" his spell, and Dru gets bored and goes to find Brother Egil. Egil is aghast that she's shown up here and pretending to be his friend - he'd asked them to keep his involvement in the case a secret. Still, she gets some useful information out of him that they had forgotten to get before - namely, what exactly Lucius looks like.

    After that it's mealtime, so they're off to the Rusty Hook to find Captain Scarbelly - and find him they do. Di'Fier buys his "friend"'s meal and drink, and the guardsmen head over to the pirate's table to ask about Lucius.

    "Yeah, I 'member him. Bought me a drink, wanted to ask questions."

    "What did he ask you about?" Dru wants to know.

    "He bought me a drink," the captain repeats, "and then asked questions." The orc tears into his joint of meat.

    Di'Fier raises his hand in a signal to the bartender: two more.

    After the meal and the drinks, Scarbelly is a bit more forthcoming. "Yeah, he wanted to know about the time he spent on my ship. Damn strange, since he was there. He just wandered around taking notes all the time, but he stayed out of the way during fights, and his gold was as yellow as anyone else's. I dunno where he went after that."

    That piece of information was duly noted, and the pair has just enough time to check in with Reed before their patrol. The warehouse was owned by Torsten Roth, head of the Merchant's Guild.

    While on patrol, Dru and Di'Fier decide that: a) the notes Lucius was taking are probably the travel logs he referred to in his 'to do' list, and b) that they've got no chance of pinning anything on someone as powerful as Roth. Not much happens on patrol - quiet night! - so they head off to bed.


    Day 2

    Dru and Di'Fier meet for breakfast, and head to Lucius' place, thinking they may have missed something in their previous search. Another toss of the tiny house reveals nothing new, so they ponder the 'to do' list some more, especially the meaning of 'turnips'. Another check reveals that there are no turnips in the house - clearly this is important in some way and not just the librarian being out of vegetables.

    Stumped and at a loss, they visit Di'Fier's father, a retired guardsman himself. As they sit around the kitchen table, he chops a turnip (turnips again!) as he listens to their investigation. "Well," he says, "seems to me like there's some folks you haven't talked to yet. How about that guy he worked for at the Temple? Sounds like they weren't having too good a time there at the end."

    Following this sound advice (read: hint from the DM), Dru and Di'Fier meet their new best friend Norton at the Temple (he quakes with fear at the sight of them now), and ask to speak to Milos. They're taken to the office of the High Priest's assistant.

    "Lucius? Yes, he has been missing for three days now. He is probably sleeping off the effects of an overindulgence in alcohol."

    "Oh?" asks Di'Fier. "Did he have a drinking problem?"

    "It would not surprise me to find that out. His behavior of late had become rather erratic. His personal hygeine suffered, as did his work."

    "I see. Well, if you hear anything about him, leave word here." Like everyone else, they tell Milos the name of one of their usual hangouts. On their way out, they check the travel log section of the library, but find nothing. Frustrated, they ask for another librarian, and begin to quiz him on Lucius. One new fact emerges: he was readmitted to the temple because he brought with him a stack of rare books. They're still being cataloged and verified...very interesting.

    Time once again for patrol, and Dru and Di'Fier spend their time walking the beat and speculating about the strange dreams Lucius talked about in his diary. Dru is of the opinion that the city is a place he visited. "I don't understand why he'd be dreaming about it, but it could be...mystical and sh-t." And is there a connection between the Temple and Lucius' quest for knowledge? Who knows?

    At the end of their beat, dog-tired, the pair heads for home. At least, until Dru's back sprouts 6 inches of steel-tipped wood with fletching. Apparently somebody doesn't like the job their doing. Several somebodies, judging from the fact that two groups of men have just cut them off front and back. The battle is joined.

    Warning: long battle scene ahead. Read on for incredibly poor rolls or skip ahead to avoid embarrassing my players.

    Di'Fier is the first to react, arcane words flowing from his lips as he summons mage armor around himself. The apparent leader of these base varlets charges in, planting his battleaxe deep into the air between the two. Behind them, a robed man with a staff utters a word, and Di'Fier is turned into Di'Fear. Meanwhile, another of the soldiers charges up, slashing Dru brutally with his shortsword. The sniper on the roof fires into the melee, and misses, while Dru returns the blow of the man who attacked her, but with much less effect. A third attacker charges at Di'Fier but misses the panicked guardsman, as does the archer standing guard over the mage.

    Di'Fier takes off in panic, dodging under sword-blows - except for one, which penetrates the mage armor and draws blood. The battleaxe-wielding leader trips over the crossbow bolt embedded in the ground, and his blow goes wild. The sorcerer chants, and a deep confusion settles over Dru as she forgets what she was about to do. Her opponent remembers, but even in this state Dru's reflexes are enough to turn the strike into the lightest of scratches. Another crossbow bolt flies down from above, but unless the man's target was the ground, he missed. Dru tries valiantly to remember what it was she ought to be doing, but fails. One of the mercenaries pursues the fleeing Di'Fier, but his cowardice in striking a man from behind bears no fruit.

    The other one turns on the dazed Dru and viciously cuts her. Di'Fier gets control of himself, and he spins with bastard sword in a two-handed grip, only to have it bounce harmlessly off of his opponent's shield. Deciding that a double-team isn't good enough, Rittoro (leader of the band) makes it 3 on one...but still can't hit Dru. So much for his 2 levels of fighter. Belko the sorcerer beams a ray of frost past Di'Fier's ear, and one of the mercenaries shows up his boss by tagging the elven guardswoman. The sniper manages to land a bolt in Di'Fier's leg, and Dru hops backwards, giving her a chance to get out and drink her healing potion, restoring some health to her injured body. (This is where it starts to get sad.) Both remaining mercenaries connect with nothing.

    Di'Fier heads back to take on the leader, but the leader isn't having any of that - he actually hits for the first time this battle...for a measly 3 points. Everyone starts missing everyone, except Dru, who drinks her potion of invisibility and vanishes from sight. Poor Di'Fier. Now he's the only target visible. Only one manages to hit him, though.

    Next round: nobody hits except Dru. Belko panics when Dru goes invisible, guessing (and rightly so) that she's heading for him. He fires off a burning hands spell - too bad Dru isn't anywhere near the area off effect. After the flames die down, Dru walks calmly up to the wizard and spits him like a rotisserie chicken, becoming visible in the process. The startled guard next to the ex-mage drops his crossbow and draws a sword, but the guardswoman cleverly interposes Belko, and the guard hacks dead body, not Dru.

    Di'Fier is unable (again) to hit Rittoro, continuing his string of below-7 rolls. Rittoro has no such problem, and opens another cut on Di'Fier's torso. One of the mercenaries heads towards Dru, and the sniper misses entirely. Dru throws a tanglefoot bag at the charging merc, but it's short and to the left. Nobody else lands a blow.

    Tiring of missing Rittoro, Di'Fier takes a tiny slice out of the other merc on his backhand, while both of his opponents manage to miss him entirely. Dru's opponents fare no better, nor does the rooftop sniper. Dru drops the ex-mage and beats a retreat, pulling out another tanglefoot bag as she goes.

    Once again, nobody lands a blow except Dru. As the merc pursues her, she smacks the tanglefoot bag dead center on his chest. Suddenly his pursuit slows greatly. The sniper sighs, sets down his crossbow, and goes to get a sandwich - he's not doing any good any more.

    Di'Fier moves away from where he is being flanked (some tactics finally occurred to him, which is good because he was at 5 hit points...apparently all his luck was used up in making his opponents miss him!) but fails to connect with his sword.

    Rittoro misses him, while the gummed-up merc pursues Dru, v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y. Dru fails to connect thanks to her opponent's shield work, but the merc fighting Di'Fier (again showing his boss up) hits the guardsman for 4.

    (For the rest of the fight - 8 more rounds - Di'Fier was at 1 hit point. He didn't realize it, which may account for his actions...)

    For a third time, nobody hits except for Dru: the tangled soldier s-l-o-w-l-y chases Dru as she gives a solid poke to his friend.

    Finally, Di'Fier's wild sword swings manage to connect, and he gives Rittoro a pretty slash across the chest. Not enough to bring him down, though - that 2nd level has to be good for something. This time, only Di'Fier connects, as everyone else rolls like they were using a d8 to hit.

    Di'Fier tires of this, and he disarms the sword-wielding soldier. Thank goodness for Improved Disarm! (That reminds me...some of Di'Fier's awful combat might be due to his use of Expertise to boost his AC...but I don't recall when he was using it and when he wasn't.) The merc goes to retrieve it, and Di misses on his AoO (as does everybody else on their regular attacks).

    Well, it worked once...Di'Fier disarms the guy again. Rittoro misses, the gummed-up soldier catches up with Dru...and misses, Dru stabs his partner through the chest and takes him down, the last merc retrieves his shortsword and Di'Fier blows the AoO again.

    Now Di'Fier tries his luck with Rittoro. No good - the +4 modifier for having a larger weapon really helped vs. the shortsword. Fortunately, his opponents both miss. Dru ignores the gummed up soldier and runs to help her partner.

    For a fourth time, the only person to land a blow: Dru, taking the shortsword-wielding mercenary out of the picture. With a weary sigh, the tangled mercenary starts trudging back towards the other fight, but it's over before he can get there.

    Di'Fier manages to disarm Rittoro, and the mercenary (having seen his man do it twice) figures he can laugh off the guardsman's attack...so he goes for the axe. Unfortunately, Dru is the one who responds, and her rapier does what the bastard sword could not, putting poor Rittoro out of our misery. As an act of mercy, Di'Fier draws his wand of magic missile and puts the gummed merc down to exactly 0 hit points. The fellow sits down and begins to weep. "Please don't tell anyone...this is so embarrassing."

    The other comment on the fight came from Di'Fier's familiar: "Funny. Do it again!"

    Talking with the merc reveals that a guy named Enzo hired them, and Rittoro got an ivory-handled dagger as a down payment.

    Dru retrieves the dagger and shows Di'Fier - the handle is monogrammed with the letter 'L'. There's also an address, where the mercs are supposed to pick up the rest of their payment.

    Tomorrow is their day off. They rest, and pay for some healing spells to boot. On the other hand, somebody is trying to kill them. That must mean they're on the right track! Milos is a prime suspect, as this doesn't seem like Scarbelly's work, although Dru entertains the brief thought that maybe Lucius doesn't want to be found...

  • #9

    Interlude - Dru's Journal

    (Posted originally by Dru's player - I'm reposting to keep it in its proper sequence in the narative.)

    It's been a few days since my last entry, and that is largely to do with my hectic schedule. We've been doing our normal beat down at the docks after hours, and then pursuing this missing librarian thing during the day. I have no doubts that it is probably going to get us killed. And we're not even going to get paid for it! What's wrong with us?

    But I digress. We almost got killed today, in an alley, by thugs accompanied by a magic user. It wasn't one of our shining moments, however, we did leave the fight still alive. Getting nearly killed always makes me digress a little bit. When we finally interrogated the last of the mercenaries, and rid them of any of their portable wealth, we turned up a rather nice looking dagger, with the initial "L" carved into it. Lucius?

    I don't like it, not one bit. I'm not sure who betrayed us, but I suspect the high priest's lackey, Milos. Does that mean that the high priest is involved? Is Milos acting on his own? And where is Lucius. This entire case doesn't feel right, and it has my hackles up. I'm not good with subtleties. I just want to start killing people until those that are still alive confess out of fear. I'm sure that DiFier will stop me though; he usually does when I'm getting ready to do something violent. To be continued, although I'm not sure that this is a solvable case...

  • #10

    Session Two, Part One - Mealtime Meetings

    After dragging their still-aching bodies to the common room of the inn, Dru and Di'Fier share a huge, hearty breakfast of the kind that makes the arteries of a strong man whimper in fear, and causes pig and chicken shortages in the surrounding lands. If the question is 'bacon or sausage' the answer is 'yes'.

    During the meal, another guardsman enters - Tas, who has the night shift on the same beat that Dru and Di'Fier take care of. He looks awful, and his partner Kiva is nowhere to be found. "Yeah, there was trouble up by the gates to the Old City," Tas tells them. "This gnome jeweler went crazy - killed his wife, started smashing up his workshop. When me an' Kiva tried to stop him, he stabbed Kiv in the gut with a chisel. I had to take him down."

    "So how's Kiva?" asks Di'Fier.

    "Bad. The surgeon says the wound's going septic on account of it being in the gut."

    Dru gives him one of her stock of cure light wounds potions. "Dru, we can't afford this," he tells her, but she says, "I don't want to see another guard die." Tas hurries off to give the potion to Kiva, but not before asking the pair to stay alive for 2 more weeks - apparently that's the date he has in the pool.

    Dru: "There's a pool?"
    Di'Fier: "Yeah. I lost already."

    Thinking they might need backup, Di'Fier asks Tas to come back and wait here for them after he's gotten some sleep. Tas agrees.

    Our heroic duo, short of cash, go to sell the brooch and the ring they recovered from the mercenaries. Lengthy negotiations result in 6 pieces of gold changing hands - a miniscule reward for such a challenging fight. Still, they know where to find this guy 'Enzo' that hired them...but that's not until 7 pm.

    The duo decide to consult with Di'Fier's mother about the strange dreams that Lucius was having (recorded in his journal). His mother promises to look into it, and insists that they come over for lunch - Di'Fier's uncle will be there...joy.

    While killing time until lunch, Dru and Di'Fier spot someone that seems to be shadowing them. Once he realizes he's been spotted, he melts away into the crowd.

    Later, at Di'Fier's house, his father has prepared turnip stew. Di'Fier's uncle, treasurer of the Freeport Wizard's Guild, has brought a red wine that is far too expensive for the meal it's being served with, and he bores the group with discussion of Guild politics. Guild financial politics, even. He also puts in the standard bid for Di'Fier to "give up this silly guard business and come join the Guild - a smart boy like you could go far." Di'Fier puts him off as gently as possible.

    After lunch, Dru spots Milos coming out of a store...one which Di'Fier recognizes as a shop that sells spell components. Odd, since Milos isn't a spellcaster. Milos is as pleasant as a porcupine with its skin on inside out, which is normal for him.

    After the man departs, Dru and Di'Fier duck inside and give the clerk some razzle-dazzle about Milos having recommended the shop to them, and Di'Fier wants to buy the same thing that Milos did. "Ah," says the clerk, "here you go." it's a small bell and a piece of silver wire, which Di'Fier does not recognize.

    Anyway, it's about 7, so the pair heads over to the Black Gull. After a few minutes wait, a ratty, nervous man comes in, looking rather out of place in the rough joint. Dru walks up directly behind him and says, "Enzo." Turning, the man spots the targets of the botched assassination he engineered, and bolts. Or...tries to. Dru grabs him while Di'Fier blocks the door, and Enzo begins to weep. They drag him off for some questioning.

    Amazingly enough, said questioning does not involve rubber hoses or socks full of oranges. Then again, Enzo is a wuss - they really don't need it. He tells them that he was ordered to set up the assassination by "the Master", who is leader of "the Brotherhood".

    "You have angered the master!" Enzo tells them. "You have earned your death."

    "The Master can go f- himself," Dru growls. Then she asks, "How did we anger the Master?"

    "I don't know."

    "You just blindly follow his orders then?"

    "Y-yes..."

    After a few more pointed questions, Enzo reveals that the Brotherhood meets in a bricked-up house in the Eastern District - he's been asked to take food there several times recently, which is unusual. Enzo is put into protective custody at the jail.

    Next: A whole lotta butt-whomping goodness, and Di'Fier's player throws his 20-sided die into the woods.

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