Karianna's Tales of a Mercenary Company - Updated 21/3, 29/3, 5/04, 14/04, 07/05

karianna

First Post
Hi all,

I've just started a campaign and so I thought I'd post up the part 1 of the 1st sessions notes. The notes to begin with are filling in a bit of background etc, but the action will not be far away!

In the world of Athatar the mercenary company 'The Diplomats' is one of the many outfits that are paid to keep the borders of the Railon Empire safe. At present a small group of that company is stationed outside the hamlet of Perma in the far eastern provinces of the empire. This particular group contains the usual group mix of soldiers and a small unit of four scouts who are often given the thankless task of 'going to go check that situation out'.

The Scouting unit consists of:

Soloman - A Human Warmage from the Empire
Gwaeryn Silverstorm - A 1/2 Elven Scout, a Skirmishing veteran
Thoven Gellantara - A 1/2 Elven Fighter, recently added to the unit to add some muscle
Maximillan - A Human Druid with his companion Klaxo, a Badger.

-----------------------------------------------------
Day 1 - End of Spring - Year 565 ER (Empire Reckoning)
-----------------------------------------------------

Yawning, Solomon crawled out of his tent and nodded to his fellow scouts gathered around the morning campfire. Thoven, the tall brawny soldier who had joined the scouting unit some six months ago grinned silently at him and pointed to the iron pot that usually held the morning’s coffee, Sol noted that it was depressingly empty. Next to Thoven leaning up against some barrels stood the languid figure of Gwaeryn, he waved silently back at Sol but continued to stare out into the distance.

“Where’s Max?” Sol growled
A few seconds later a familiar Badger was snuffling at Sol’s feet, firm evidence that the Druid wasn’t far away.
Sol eyed Klaxo suspiciously “Where is he Klax?”

The Badger’s beady eyes looked up at him briefly and then turned at the arrival of the Druid. Maximillian (aka Max) was a wandering nature priest who had attached himself to the unit only a couple of months previously. The rest of the unit still wasn’t too sure about what to make of his pet Badger, but the Druid was extremely capable in the wild.

“Heh, I think Sol was gonna burn the Badger Maxo” Gwaeryn chuckled.

Soloman had something of a reputation for blasting anything that irritated him. It was usually his first and last solution to almost all problems, the militaristic training of a Warmage had left little room for the softer skills in life. Max proceeded to give a sad and reproachful look at Sol.

“Don’t worry Max, we all like the little bastard, just not sure he likes us” Sol stared hard at the Badger.
Max began to speak in response when Gwaeryn quickly held his hand up for silence.

“Rider coming - “Looks like an imperial officer of some sort…” he murmured,
“Oh and here’s the Sarge with the whippersnapper in tow”.

Sergeant O’Grady was a grizzled veteran of ‘The Diplomats’ and was marching towards the entrance of the camp whilst dragging along their latest Lieutenant, a young 4th son of some nobleman back in center of the Empire. Lieutenant Nylar was evidently struggling to put his sword belt on.

“Need some help there Lieutenant?” Sol barked out
"Um quite alright thank you Private" Nylar stuttered back
“GO MAKE ME MY COFFEE PRIVATE” thundered back the Sergeant.

----------------------------

The rider was met at the edge of the camp by O’Grady and Nylar. The entire camp of soldiers suddenly got a lot quieter and Gwaeryn pricked up his delicate Half-Elven ears in order to try and catch some of the conversation.

Gwaeryn quietly relayed what he could hear to the others:

“Village….. found something after storms…. check it out … things moving in the dark... ”

The rider immediately spun and took off back down the trail and the camp resumed its normal activity as the Sergeant strode meaningfully towards the four scouts.

“MORNING CUPCAKES” The booming voice of the Sarge washed over the group, he marched into their area and wordlessly accepted a pewter mug of coffee from Sol.

“You lucky lads have won yourselves some free R&R!" he beamed

Receiving not a single smile in return he continued "Apparently that big storm a few days back seems to have rattled up something over in Perma, go see what they’re moaning about and get back here ASAP. Do not spend anytime drinking in their tavern, flirting with their daughters or anything else stupid, you got me?”

A chorus of “Yes Sirs” rang out from the group
The Sarge nodded “Right, get it done"
"Oh and kiddies they don't send an imperial messenger for this sort of job, something's up, make sure you get back alive to report to me what that is.” and with that parting shot the Sarge headed back across the camp.

"F%$k^n great" Sol spat out "here we go again".

----------------------------

Comments, Criticism etc more than welcome!
 
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karianna

First Post
And here is the next part - Kudos to all of the other SH authors out there, I didn't realise how hard this was. Hopefully it's not too terrible for my first attempt :)

------

The four scouts left the encampment on foot with little fanfare, receiving only a couple of grim nods from the palisade guards as farewell. The group promptly turned to the east and surveyed the expanding grasslands ahead of them. The rays of the morning sun gave the grasslands a particularly aesthetic golden appearance.

“Nice day for a walk” announced Max, promptly setting off ahead with Klaxo in tow. Gwaeryn followed quickly but headed out slightly to the right leaving Thoven and Solomon walking together along the thin trail that snaked through the knee high grass.

“I’m still not sure about this whole ‘shiny bait’ idea Sol” stated Thoven
“It’s a perfectly sound plan my friend, you are the biggest after all” Sol grinned back at him.

Thoven only grunted in response and started the day’s walk with his usual plodding pace. The group travelled on without incident for another couple of hours with Max and Gwaeryn making periodic sweeps of the terrain ahead. Finally Max came to a stop and let the Thoven and Sol catch up to him.

“Klaxo and I are running across very little wildlife out here, it’s unusual for this sort of expanse of grassland.”
“Maybe Klax just scared them all off” Sol managed to keep a straight face.
“No I don’t think so, but…..” Max leaned down towards Klaxo who was pawing at his nose in some discomfort
“He says he can smell death”

Sol waved frantically in the air at Gwaeryn who promptly jogged back.

“What is it?”
“The Badger smells something dead, not too far off” Sol shrugged
“Righto.......” Gwaeryn looked over at Max
Max looked over at the Badger “He’s quite adamant about it”
“Give me a turn or so, see what I can see”

Gwaeryn scampered off some fifty yards and then promptly disappeared in the waist high grass, not even a trace of his passage could be seen. Max promptly headed off on an alternative route and with Klaxo also managed to disappear in the grass entirely, leaving Thoven and Sol to wait it out.

---------

Gwaeryn peered cautiously through the grass a scant foot or two away from the large area of freshly dug up soil. The stench was quite strong in the air now and Gwaeryn noted grimly that the site could hold at least a dozen bodies. He scanned the area for the last time when a small splash of red colour attracted his attention; some tiny scrap of cloth was caught up on a dirt clump in the middle of area. He was about to start heading in when the grunt of the Badger warned him the Max was backing out. He slowly began his retreat back to the waiting pair and some minutes later all four had rejoined back on the main trail.

“Mass grave by the looks” stated Gwaeryn, “Some red cloth caught up in the middle of it as well, was about to head over there and go grab it”.
“It smells like old death, doesn't make sense” mused Max
“Could be lots of dead villagers, lets go dig a bit and see what we can find” Sol replied

“You’re digging” the chorus came back from the others

The four turned and started to head back towards the freshly dug earth and promptly spotted four figures standing roughly where they were heading to.

“Sloppy Gwaer” growled Thoven as he loosened his blade
Gwaeryn shot him a filthy look as once more he and Max melded into the grass
“Slow advance eh Thoven” Sol started to bring his imprinted arcane power to the forefront of his memory.

Thoven hefted his heavy shield and started to advance towards the four figures, Sol followed shortly after making sure he was concealed by the bulk of the fighter ahead of him. Another fifty or so paces and the opposing figures had still not moved.

“Um, Sol?”
“Yeah?”
“I can see the sunlight shining through them”
“They do look rather bony don’t they”
“What did the Sarge say about skeletons Sol?”
“Your Morning Star Thov, use the bashing weapon” sighed Sol
“Ah right”

-----

Both Max and Gwaeryn had snuck their way back to their previous positions and could clearly see four Skeletons standing silently in the breeze. Short curved scimitars hung from their bony fists and battered metal shields were attached to their opposing forearms.

-----

“Hail” Sol cried out
“Sarge never said they talked Sol”
“First time for everything Thov”

A great clash of metal on metal rang out over the grasslands as the four skeletons banged their scimitars against shields in the mockery of a living salute.

“See?”
“I can feel you smiling smugly Sol, quit it already” growled Thoven in response

The skeletons exploded into a lurching run towards the pair. Thoven planted his feet firmly in the ground and waited expectantly with morning star and shield raised. Behind him Sol rapidly incanted and a streaking bolt of energy hit the first Skeleton sending fragments of its skull flying about the grass. Its legs attempted to continue running for a brief moment and then it promptly collapsed.

With a roar Thoven stepped up to the first skeleton to arrive and swung a devastating blow at its mid section, but to his dismay the bony creature stumbled over and Thoven watched his Morning Star go flying out of his grasp and sail off somewhere into the grasslands.

“Of all the %^$%#” he crouched behind his shield and frantically started to pull out his sword as blows started to rain down upon him. Due to good fortune and plenty of strong armour, Thoven avoided any real damage and with a growl of effort was able to thrust the skeletons back a step

“Anytime now guys!” he yelled.

----

Max and Gwaeryn however, were still looking anxiously at the four holes which had been torn out of the earth in front of them and began to cautiously advance towards the red ribbon in the middle.

----

Sol who was still behind Thoven by several yards barked out a separate series of arcane words and this time a small sizzling ball of acid flew towards the battling group.

“DUCK” roared Sol.

Thoven felt the acid ball take off a few hairs of his sword arm as the ball shot past and caught a skeleton in the bones of its throat and it crumpled to the ground.

Thoven grinned as the odds began to swing in his favour. He in turn swung mightily at the Skeleton on his right and forcibly ripped out its ribcage with his blade. The skeleton tried to remain standing but it was a hopeless task with its upper torso gone and it too fell to the ground. Thoven then easily parried the attack of the next skeleton and squared up to the last remaining one.

Sol, seeing that Thoven had the upper hand decided to save the rest of his day’s Arcane powers and drew out his light mace and charged to Thoven’s side.

“I’m coming up on your right” he warned and promptly tripped and bounced off the back of Thoven’s armoured form. Thoven grunted in surprise but still had the presence of mind to fend off another swipe from the skeleton in front. Thoven followed up that fend by stepping forward and clattering through the legs of the skeleton, sending it down to the earth. He looked behind him bemusedly.

“Yeah yeah tin can, laugh it up” Sol picked himself up, “Now where did those other two get to...?"

-------

Next session is tomorrow night and I imagine a Rogues gallery entry will start up soon.

As always comments, suggestions and criticism more than welcome!
 
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karianna

First Post
Mahtave said:
Good start, I like the interaction between the scouts. So far Sol is my favorite.

Thanks! Oh and you just made Sol's player very happy ;). Next post will be up in a couple of days, but I'll throw up the Rogue's Gallery entries before then, see what you make of how Sol was built.
 

karianna

First Post
Rogues gallery

Right the 1st character is posted in the Rogue's gallery, and because of the one popular vote, it's Solomon first :). See my sig for the link. I'll be posting the next part of the story tomorrow. In the latest session my Fiancee took over the role of the soldier Thoven as the regular player was away. She enjoyed her first session of D&D and certainly adding a different way of dealing with problems as you'll get to read soon!

EDIT: Hmm, my sig doesn't appear at the bottom of every post, so here's the link:
The Scouts

EDIT 2: Right I've posted all of the scouts now, enjoy :)
 
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JollyDoc

Explorer
I'm enjoying the read so far. I like narrative tales much more than just journal accounts. If I might offer one small criticism. I'm kind of a grammar snob (maybe because I frequently make my own share of mistakes), so I would recommend proofing each update before you post it, both with SpellCheck and eyeball. That way you can see how the words flow to an objective reader. Also, I wouldn't capitalize things like Skeleton or Heavy Shield. Spell names are iffy. I tend to go back and forth, and ultimately just end up relying on descriptive text rather than say "so and so cast Fireball." Other than that, you're off to a great start! I'll keep reading!
 

Zaruthustran

The tingling means it’s working!
I too enjoyed this intro to a new story hour. With just a few seemingly throwaway sentences (including the rogue gallery) we already know quite a bit about the setting: the Empire enforces compulsory military service, is somewhat corrupt (the incompetent Lt.), and resorts to mercenaries for protection of its borders (despite the mandatory service). I love it!

-z

PS: I read Sol's rogue gallery entry, and he only has one feat (Improved Init) that's not a class-given feat. As a human, shouldn't he have two?
 

karianna

First Post
JollyDoc said:
I'm enjoying the read so far. I like narrative tales much more than just journal accounts. If I might offer one small criticism. I'm kind of a grammar snob (maybe because I frequently make my own share of mistakes), so I would recommend proofing each update before you post it, both with SpellCheck and eyeball. That way you can see how the words flow to an objective reader. Also, I wouldn't capitalize things like Skeleton or Heavy Shield. Spell names are iffy. I tend to go back and forth, and ultimately just end up relying on descriptive text rather than say "so and so cast Fireball." Other than that, you're off to a great start! I'll keep reading!

Wow! Truly humbled that you'd post on my humble beginnings! I've been avidly reading through your story hours the last 3 days and not getting much else done :). Definitely more than happy on the criticism, like I said this is first time for me and there's only one way to improve and that's to get feedback!

I _think_ the spelling errors are maybe the differences between UK/New Zealand English and US English? At least my two spell checkers that I use aren't coming up with any warnings, is there a checker that writers regularly use here? (I use MS Word and Firefox as my checkers).

The grammar/flow thing, totally fair comment and to me the hardest thing to get right! I've got a couple of people reading my posts before I send them up, but I think I'll start getting my linguistics 'grammar dragon' sister to start looking them over as well :)

Thanks again, there's nothing like getting feedback on your SH! :D Oh and I'll continue to watch Savage Tide with interest, it's a big shame about Anwar though :(
 

karianna

First Post
Zaruthustran said:
I too enjoyed this intro to a new story hour. With just a few seemingly throwaway sentences (including the rogue gallery) we already know quite a bit about the setting: the Empire enforces compulsory military service, is somewhat corrupt (the incompetent Lt.), and resorts to mercenaries for protection of its borders (despite the mandatory service). I love it!

-z

PS: I read Sol's rogue gallery entry, and he only has one feat (Improved Init) that's not a class-given feat. As a human, shouldn't he have two?

Thanks for de-lurking!! Very nice to get feedback as a new writer! Great spotting on the missing feat BTW, he did actually select the extra one but he's still deciding if it was a good choice (I'm being a bit lenient and allowing people to change feat and skill choices before they hit level 2). The group is all pretty new to D&D so much is being added and then discarded in the first few sessions. I'll edit and update his feat once a final choice has been made :)
 

JollyDoc

Explorer
karianna said:
Wow! Truly humbled that you'd post on my humble beginnings! I've been avidly reading through your story hours the last 3 days and not getting much else done :). Definitely more than happy on the criticism, like I said this is first time for me and there's only one way to improve and that's to get feedback!

I _think_ the spelling errors are maybe the differences between UK/New Zealand English and US English?

Whoops! Totally missed that you were posting from the UK! Guess I'll have to start reading in my best Southern english accent ;)
 

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