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3.5 THE HEROES OF DYVERS CHAPTER 7: CLARE'S ERRAND

Tellerian Hawke

Defender of Oerth
Tellerian Hawke Presents
GREYHAWK THE GOLDEN ERA: CY964
THE HEROES OF DYVERS
CHAPTER SEVEN: CLARE'S ERRAND



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Current Time: Goodmonth 22, CY 964. It is 10:00 AM in the morning.

Current Location: The party has stepped through a portal, arriving in the Kingdom of Ull, in the hills just south of the city of Kester.

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After about 2 and a half days of uneventful travel in the Southward direction, the party comes upon a large oasis. Camped around the oasis is a LARGE band of Nomads, the nearest estimate putting the fighting men at around 300 or so, along with about twice as many (~600) women, and an equal number (~300) children. From your position on a nearby hilltop, you can see that the camp stretches out for about half a mile, a veritable sea of tents. There is a lot of activity in the camp, and a group about 200 or so horses is being watered in the center of it, near the largest part of the oasis. No one seems to have spotted the party yet, or if they have, they are unconcerned by your presence.

Past the camp, far in the distance, at what you estimate to be another 5 miles or so travel, you can see a large structure which you recognize to be a pyramid. You are fairly certain that the pyramid is your intended destination. And of course, the shortest route to it leads the party straight through the nomad camp.

Time and Date That Hilltop Was Reached: Goodmonth 24, CY 964, 5:30 pm. (1 hour before sunset)

EVERYONE: What do you do?
 
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Diarmadhim

Explorer
Taking in the scene, I clear my throat and look to the others. "Which option sounds best to each of you? One - camp here. Two - camp with all of them," I say with a sweeping gesture at the masses ahead of us. "Three - we ride around their encampment and press on. Or four - we ride through their encampment and press on."
 

Sylvar B.

Explorer
Sylvar replies... Seems like through would be shorter...so what would you rather, a disguise or a an invisibility sphere?
 

Diarmadhim

Explorer
"They each have the drawback of of potentially casting us in a poor light as intruders and threats. Maybe just riding by would be the best course."
 

Sylvar B.

Explorer
Sylvar takes a second look at the Nomad camp and says, "on second thought they look harmless enough, let's go talk to them, they may have information we need."

Sylvar starts walking toward the camp.
 

redraider629

Villager
Kleborn agrees with both Sylvar and Dewydd. "I think going in looking as peaceful as we can will be the best choice. Let's go."

Thallok says "I will try to look as friendly as I can."

Kleborn looks at Thallok smirks and says, "good luck with that." He then winks at Thallok

Thallok is not amused by Kleborn's comment, but gives a smile and says, "how is this?"

They both follow Sylvar.
 

Tellerian Hawke

Defender of Oerth
TECHNICAL POST: WHAT YOU KNOW ABOUT THE ULL IMPERIUM

GM:

Sorry I didn't post this earlier. You may want to go back and make slight edits to your posts after you read it. Or perhaps not.

Tribal Imperium of Ull
Ruler: Tsu Bok Khan, "The Merciless," Khan (Emperor) of Ull
Capital: Ulakand (pop. 6,000+/-)
Cultural Template: Mongolian
Government Alignment: LE (Strict laws, harsh punishment, allows slavery)
Populace Alignments: LE, LN
Population: 100,000 +
Demi-humans: Doubtful
Humanoids: Some (in mountains)
Resources: silver, gems (II)


A strong tribal clan of the Paynim nomads found the rich area between the Barrier Peaks and the Ulsprue Mountains provided them with ample grazing and a perfect territory to "settle" in. The Uli claimed this area of land for themselves and have held it against all comers. The territory comprises over 90,000 square leagues, including the hills that separate the Ulsprue from the Crystalmists. While many of the Uli retain their nomadic habits and roam the open plains to the north, a fair number of these people have taken to more settled ways. A caravan town is situated near the center of Ull (Ulakand), and there are numerous hill and mountain villages to the south. The numbers of the Uli enable them to field a strong force of cavalry and still protect their town and villages with tough infantry. The latter use huge bows, strange pole arms, and great maces. As traders, the Uli are crafty and sly. They are fierce, warlike, and highly unpredictable otherwise.

The Uli tribesmen are on friendly terms with the Humanoids of the mountain regions, including Orcs, Hobgoblins, Goblins, Bugbears, and Kobolds. It is not uncommon to see such Humanoids around the towns and camps, conducting trade of one sort or another, including the trading of slaves (always foreigners, never tribesmen). Half-breeds are an uncommon occurrence, nevertheless, they are not shunned as outcasts, but rather, welcomed, especially if they are strong, and skilled in battle. Foreigners are viewed with suspicion, tolerated at some times, preyed upon at other times, depending upon how weak they appear to be. The warlike tendencies of the Uli tribesmen are the reason for the scarcity of foreigners, and for the abundance of Humanoids.
 

Damionte

Explorer
Duncan & Company:

By the time Duncan had finished putting his thoughts together Sylvar had already started making his way towards the camp. Duncan was more inclined to simply go around the camp, since it didn't represent anything they were looking for, and was just an opportunity to get embroiled in a sidetrack. But he didn't care strongly enough about it to bother to deter anyone else from approaching the camp so waved to his crew to follow and marched on behind Sylvar.
 

Tellerian Hawke

Defender of Oerth
The Welcoming Committee

GM:
This thread has been idle long enough to allow for any voices of dissent. Hearing none, I am advancing the story.


The entire party follows Sylvar, as he begins casually walking down into the encampment. Directly behind him, are Thallok, then Kleborn, then Dewydd, followed by Duncan and Co. Everyone else is trailing behind the twins.

From the hilltop where you were, there was no visible sign that your presence was detected. As you get nearer and nearer, the camp's activity changes very little. At last, as you are within about 150 ft. of the camp's outer boundary, you finally notice a large Half-Orc, followed by 4 men, all on horseback, casually trotting up to meet you. They are armed with swords, knives, spears, and bows. (Swords and bows on their person, knives and spears in saddle quivers, hanging on the right flanks of their horses.) Their weaponry is sheathed. They show no signs of alarm.

They stop about 50 t. from the party, the Half-Orc's horse in front. The big warrior raises his hand in greeting, and when the party is within 20 feet or so, he speaks in a broken form of Common, mixed with Hobgoblin... or is it Orcish? Or is it both?

Lead Horseman "Hold. We hghdjt... jghyt fi guok greetings. Are thkip son nbgjhfr?"

Despite Sylvar's position at the front of the pack, he seems to be addressing Thallok.

GM:
Thallok, you recognize more words than indicated above, but not by much. There are definitely words of Common and Orcish in his speech. But the other words are unknown to you.


Thallok, scratches his head, and says, in Orcish:

[sblock=If you speak Orcish]
"Greetings, I am Thallok. A warrior, as you are. I recognize some Orcish in what you say, but many of your words are strange to me. Do you speak the true tongue, in its unaltered form?"
[/sblock]

The Big Horseman laughs,
[sblock=If you speak Orcish]
"Yes, I speak the true tongue of our fathers. You must be new to this region. The language spoken by the Ulli Tribesmen is a mixture of many languages, including our beloved tongue. But like any true Orc, I have not forgotten my heritage. This is obviously your entourage; I see that you have an Elven mule marching before you, no doubt because of his non-threatening demeanor. With a skinny runt like him in front, no one would fear that you meant to attack. You must be rich and powerful; few warriors can afford an Elf for their mule. Most of the Ulli have only Kobolds and Goblins for lackeys. And I myself, am poor and simple, I have no mule at all. I am Jaahn, of the Red Hills, of Tribe Skullsplitter. From what tribe do you hail, mighty Thallok? Have you come for trade, or merely hospitality?"
[/sblock]

THALLOK: What do you do?
 

redraider629

Villager
Thallok looks at Sylvar when the horseman speaks, and laughs loudly.

[SBLOCK=If you speak Orcish] Good eye my brother, we mean no threat. Or else we would have put our singing friend in a more safe position. I will tell you, he is good for a nice song. It is good to meet you Jaahn of the Red Hills. I come from Tribe Oakspear named for my great, great grandfather. I am the second red-skinned Orc of my line, after my father. My companions and I are simply travelling through, and are growing weary from our travels. We are seeking hospitality, someplace to stay tonight before we move on in the morning. I would pay a tribute to your camp's chieftain of course, in exchange for the hospitality.[/SBLOCK]
 

Tellerian Hawke

Defender of Oerth
The Lead Horseman motions for the party to follow him, and they begin a slow, leisurely parade through the middle of the camp, headed toward a massive pavilion tent in the center. The smells of cooking meats waft through the camp, and the party can hear the laughing, cheerful voices of a people without fear; the nomads are at the top of the food chain, and they know it. The people of this camp live lives of purpose and privilege. They are the masters of their territory. As the party passes through, they are studied with casual curiosity, as opposed to anxious concern. You get the feeling that it would take a lot to shake these people. They are hard people, living in a hard environment, and as a result, they have grown strong.

When the party reaches the tent, they are shown inside. At the entrance are two tables. On one table, in its center, is a carved, jade statue, some 18 inches in height, and some 6 inches in diameter, a column with bas-relief depicting Zuoken of the Striking Fist, the Baklunish Deity of Physical and Mental Mastery. Normally, Zuoken's followers are known for favoring weaponless, hand-to-hand combat, although there have been said to be sects of worshipers who use weapons; the Uli, it seems, are one of those sects.

The statue itself is composed of enough jade to make it priceless, to say nothing of the exquisite artistry of the sculptor. Having it in an open, accessible place is testament to the confidence of these people in their ability to protect it.

Scattered on the table around it, are weapons of all sorts, all with peace strings tied around them. Swords, spears, daggers, bows, and axes are only a few of the many weapon types represented here. The Lead Horseman motions to the table, and says a word that everyone can understand, despite his thick accent: weapons.

On the second table, there are many bags and boxes, as well as cups, plates, goblets, statuettes, and loose gems. This is obviously the tribute table for the camp's chieftain.

[sblock=Thallok would know this]
You, as your party's perceived leader, should leave a proper tribute, as I mentioned in the private message. But all of the party members will be expected to leave a token tribute as well, worth at least 10 gp. in value. Coins are acceptable. Now is probably a good time to mention this to everyone. You can feel the eyes of everyone in the tent, watching you.
[/sblock]

THALLOK: What do you do?
 

Diarmadhim

Explorer
Having a firm grasp of Orcish, I look to Thallok as if seeking a sign of what to do. Giving a slight nod before I slowly remove my masterwork alchemical silver handaxe, masterwork cold iron light mace, and magical adamantine greatclub before setting them on the table. Once finished, I look to Thallok to see what he offers before I make one too, not wanting to appear to be insulting him and create an incident.
 

redraider629

Villager
Thallok pulls out 50 gp and places them on the tribute table. He nods to the horseman.

Thallok addresses the group, and tells them "I have sought out hospitality from this group. They mean absolutely no harm, and would grant hospitality for the evening. We would stay with them tonight, be able to eat, stable the horses, and get more fresh water. We would all need to give a sort of tribute. I have given this 50 gold pieces, but you can give anything worth at least 10 gp."

He looks around to the group, and then says to the leadhorseman

[SBLOCK=If you speak Orcish] We thank you for the hospitality, please accept this 50 gold pieces on behalf of me.[/SBLOCK]
 

Damionte

Explorer
Duncan:

Following the party, Duncan paused at the tent entrance. Wary of putting everyone in the same bit of harms way at once, he waves for his team to hold here. The company stands guard just outside the tent entrance in case they needed to help facilitate a quick exit. Duncan and Ebony to the left of the tent entrance, with the Twins to the right. ( If they already have people in these spots we give them a respectful bit of distance. And hold about 15 feet away. If not we'll just turn away from the tent entrance and watch the surrounding village. ) The foursome waits patiently for the others to complete their business.
 

Waynan

Explorer
Before following behind the rest of the party, Tam sees a group of children off to the side of the tent. Instead of going in, Tam changes his mind and steers Damarra over toward the children.
Before he gets too close, he dismounts from the half-wolf's saddle and walks up to the children, leading Damarra by the reigns.
"Hello, children. ", he says in his best approximation of Ulli, leaning heavily on goblinoid. [Roll of 15]
Seeing he has their full and curious attention, Tam performs the famous copper coin behind the ear trick with one of the more wide-eyed with wonder little Ulli boys. [Perform: 24]
He then performs the never-ending string of scarves trick for one of the more skeptical older boys. [Perform: 18]
He saves the best for last. He performs the item, or animal, out of the hat trick for one of the smiling, giggly Ulli girls. Fortunately, one of the wild flowers he had picked earlier in the grasslands before they neared the camp was barely the worse for wear when he first picked it. [Perform: 29]
 
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Tellerian Hawke

Defender of Oerth
Tam Draws A Small Crowd

The children are wowed by Tam's performance; a couple of nearby guards almost react, until they realize that Tam's intention is harmless. Apparently, such amusements ("street magic") are common here, because even the guards seem to enjoy the show. One of the guards also approaches Damarra, putting out his hand to pet her.

[sblock=Rolling for Tam's understanding]
1d20 = (18) Success (Fail on 1)
[/sblock]

[sblock=Tam: This is what the guard said.]
Guard #2: "What a magnificent animal. Small, yet fierce. And she looks like she can run. You are blessed, little one."
[/sblock]

GM:
Once word has spread about Tam's talented performance, and about his amazing mount, the camp will have a +2 positive bonus to reaction rolls vs. interactions with Tam.
 

Aust Thale

Explorer
Respen Takes It All In / Vale Is Downright Affable

~ Let's see what there is to see ~

Respen maintains separation from the party, doing his best to remain to Thallok's flank. He does not know Baklunish nor Orcish nor goblinoid languages; therefore, he silently observes behaviors, tells, subtle movements that would preview threats or insult. He uses the arcane sight and see invisibility for anything out of the ordinary. He presents himself as attentive to Thallok's conversation, but he's observing all around him. His arcane sight should alert him to magic items on the various folks in and surrounding the tent. As he presents his tribute (12 gp), he takes note of who stewards the tributes, and what they do with it.


Vale is genuinely pleasant. He speaks Orcish, and he enjoys meeting new people. He figures out the social dynamic going on between Thallok and their hosts, and he properly presents his tribute and demonstrates genuine deference to Thallok as he might a higher Priest of his Dwarven Order. He's shaken off his funk in Hochoch and Dyvers, as well as his antipathy of Margull and Laramon, and he's up for playing this game.
 
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Waynan

Explorer
Damarra hesitates but a moment before accepting the friendly petting of the guard, but only because Tam was nearby and she could sense the friendliness between he and they.
Sensing that the children want to go back into the tent, Tam leads Damarra to one of the hitching posts, loosely "ties" her to it, and enters with the happy waifs. Seeing the tables and knowing there purpose, Tam leaves 20gp on the tribute table and places his bow, arrows, rapier and punching dagger on the "honor" table, only keeping his personal dagger and boot shiv.
With the children still chattering all around him, he makes his entrance into the main "hall" as it were, entourage in tow' but, as soon as the Ulli children realize where they are, he sees them scuttle off to the children's section of the room. He then sees his fellows and heads toward them, bellowing amiably:
"SO, has anyone poured a drink for me? Hah-ha."
 
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Tellerian Hawke

Defender of Oerth
In The Grand Pavillion of Changu

After laying down their weaponry and tribute, the party is led to Chieftain's personal table, and offered seats of honor. The table is long and wide, and of exquisite craftsmanship. There are grooves in the table, which suggests that perhaps it can be folded down and made portable, which makes sense, considering how often the nomads move around. There is ample seating for everyone, and the chairs are as well-made as the table, also having obvious grooves and joints which help them fold flat. These are not primitive nomads; everything around you suggests sophistication, indicative of a people possessed of masterful artisan and craftsman skills. Nothing is crude; everything is elegant.

The party can see that there are guards at regular intervals around the outer inside parameter of the tent. These guards are well-dressed, their clothes, while plain linen, are perfectly clean; their armor looks to be masterwork studded leather, and their weaponry (swords and daggers) looks to be well-made as well. Most of the other nomads do not wear armor, nor carry weapons, although many of them wear studded leather skullcaps, and more than a few of them have small daggers (likely for utility purposes) in their belts. You get the feeling that none of the nomads are unfamiliar with either armor or weaponry, and that the chief, should he so desire, could probably arm and equip a sizeable war band in a very short period of time.

The Chieftain, and most of the nomads, are all Human. There are a few Half-Orcs in the mix as well, but you do not immediately see any full-blooded Humanoids.

Respen said:
"(Respen) uses the arcane sight and see invisibility for anything out of the ordinary. He presents himself as attentive to Thallok's conversation, but he's observing all around him. His arcane sight should alert him to magic items on the various folks in and surrounding the tent. As he presents his tribute (12 gp), he takes note of who stewards the tributes, and what they do with it."
[sblock=What Respen Discovers]
With your Arcane Sight, you discover:

The ENTIRE TENT is, itself, a potent magical item!

The Chieftain himself is an Arcane spellcaster. The highest spell in his memory is 8th level. The Chieftain himself is COVERED in POWERFUL magical gear!

When he meets your gaze, the Chieftain smiles at you. You get the feeling that he can see the party's magical auras just as you can.

The heavily armored (powerful magical chainmail) man sitting next to the Chieftain (his advisor?) is a Divine spellcaster. The highest spell in his memory is 7th level.

A lightly armored man (minor magical leather armor) sitting on the ground, off to the side, on an ornate (moderately magical) carpet, with a flute (minor magical) in his hand is an Arcane spellcaster. The highest spell in his memory is 5th level.

The two tables where the weapons and tribute are laid are highly magical. You suspect that the effect is some sort of alarm, which activates when things are removed from the tables.

The head seat, where the Chieftain is sitting, is HIGHLY magical.

All of the parameter guards have magical weaponry (medium power)

All three metal water decanters on the table have minor magical powers (probably endless water)

The entire area is under the effects of some powerful spell. It seems to be a ward of some kind. The spell isn't permanent, but appears to be long-lasting. You suspect that such a spell likely needs to be re-cast every day, or perhaps every couple of days.
[/sblock]

When the party has all taken their seats, the Chieftain introduces himself.

Chieftain (Speaking Common, with a thick accent): "I am Changu Tokwan, leader of the Wung Bai tribe. We are one of the oldest bloodlines in Ull, younger only than the Tsu line, which as you might know already, is the royal bloodline of the Emperor. Next to me is Taii Dan, Minister of Religion for our tribe. He is a member of the Order of Khou, the highest order of Zuoken's priesthood. You are welcome this night, to my feasting table. It has been a long while since I've entertained guests. This region of the continent has the unfortunate reputation of being savage and harsh. But the truth is, we simply fail to see eye to eye with The Flannae on a few, key matters. The Flannae have a hangup about slavery, and about associating with Non-Humans. But we follow the True Way; a man becomes a slave only by his own hand, through greed and arrogance, coupled with weakness. True Warriors are never slaves, because their desires are tempered by discernment. And as for Non-Humans, they are MEN, just as we are, simply with different skin, and different laws. But we all bleed RED, and thus, we are all men in the eyes of the gods. People who cannot learn this fact are doomed to be consumed by their own ignorance. But I digress; please, whom do I have the pleasure of entertaining this night? Please introduce yourselves, in turn, in the order in which you were seated. And kindly elaborate on your purpose here, for it might be within my power to help you."

EVERYONE: What do you do?
 

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