The Shortest Escort

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The Shortest Escort

Postby Shamsy » Mon Apr 17, 2017 3:56 pm

The contracts filled up easily, as one would expect of a high paying job that would take barely half a day to complete. There wasn't even the need to pin the posters on the various caravan boards throughout the Trades Ward. The semi retired dwarven mercenary captain Filliban 'Long Axe' Coldiron was seeking a heavily armed team to ride forth from Waterdeep to escort a caravan to less than a half days leisurely walk distant.

No mention of destination or cargo was made and the prudent mercenary didn't ask. The pay was too good, even if he hated his employer. Muttering darkly as he heavily trod his way through the ward, he felt certain Nilraafil had been lying to him, but that came as no surprise. As a seasoned mercenary, he was used to half truths. Money spoke loudest in all matters and this rang especially true to Filliban. Even though the pay he had received in service had been considerably, he would be glad to leave the constant threats and belittling of Nilraafil. "Woulda that I could leave an axe in yer head as a parting gift." He muttered. One last job and he'd retire a rich dwarf. He went in search of a loud tavern, the caravan in two days hence forgotten for the time being.
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Re: The Shortest Escort

Postby Shamsy » Mon Apr 24, 2017 8:30 pm

As promised the caravan had barely traveled a half day from Waterdeep before Filliban announced that they were approaching their destination. The journey had been uneventful, if not bordering on a little paranoid thanks to their mysterious employer. The two wagons and carriage approached a stand of trees on a shallow hill that rose from the wilderness, crossing over from the dangerously rugged terrain to an ancient road that led between the thick boles of the pines. It was here that the party were challenged by a haughty elf in a silvery uniform and breastplate. He challenged the procession in elvish, to which no one could reply. Unsure what this meant, the rest of the mercenaries were only too happy to oblige when their employer ordered the charge!

However, not as happy were half the party, who sat by and watched as mixed Waterdhavian mercenaries were systematically slaughtered by the elves. Filliban spewed curses, but no good, only half of the four adventurers would lend assistance. Luckily Venegas was able to kill the elven caster before he could make any difference to the battle. The elves seemed totally apathetic about who they targeted, seemingly possessing the sole aim of destroying the caravan and killing everyone in it. They may have succeeded to, but for a final card played by the mysterious employer. At the command of its ‘little master’, front wagon wall collapsed and out emerged an umber hulk to rend the elves apart. Now half the adventurers decided to aid the elves while the remaining fought against them. Nolan and Zion fought against the hulk while Venegas and Inacio targeted the elves. In the end the elves lost and Nolan fled after the sole survivor, probably the best thing to do if he wanted to live after wounding the ‘lord servant’. Finding the elf rather uncooperative if not downright hostile, Nolan learned little except that their employer was apparently a ‘Neogi’ and the elves were part of an ‘Imperial Fleet’, whatever that meant.

Luckily for Zion his single arrow failed to even be noticed by the lord servant and so he was not made into supper once the fighting was over. The caravan moved on, short one pig-straddling hin. Inacio thought to have a quick rifle through Filliban’s pockets as they passed, though no-one checked for survivors. The path continued a way into the small hilltop forest before reaching a clearing containing an odd moth/butterfly like statue and a silvery tent. Their employer and his lord servant dismissed them after a quick scout of the parameter and proceeded to remove a small chair from the rear wagon. Moving behind the odd statue, they were lost to sight. Picking up the bag of coins tossed in their direction, the guards agreed to head back to Waterdeep, but a half days leisurely ride. On their way out they saw a magnificent sight unlike anything they’d seen before. A great butterfly streaking through the sky at incredible speeds! Meanwhile Nolan decided to set camp for the night to avoid the perils of traveling after dusk. The next day he worked his way back to the battle site and began to scavenge, but the many shrill and excited voices of goblins meant he had to cut the job short.

Everyone arrived back at Waterdeep and were able to rendezvous to split payment and findings;

Altogether the equipment and payment results in approximately 500gp payment each.

Items found on the dead elves and mercenaries include;

2 of the silvery uniform of the elves were retrievable. The remaining were rent by the umber hulk and burned in the fireball;
(Shift Weave with the following 5 outfits)
A camouflaged ranger’s outfit
A silvery uniform
A drab grey hooded robe
A fancy, black with gold trim uniform
A typical adventurers outfit

1 Masterwork elven thinblade ... _Thinblade


2 Masterwork elven longbows

Elven Bows: During their years of experience, elves have found that often archers are attacked without much chance to defend themselves. They have therefore created the elven shortbow and elven longbow. They are designed to fire with the same rate of fire and accuracy, and yet the elves can use them to fend off attacks until they can protect themselves with a better weapon or spell.

Elven bows are beautiful pieces of work, carved mostly from wood, and highly decorated and polished. All elven bows are masterwork bows. To fulfill their function the elf crafters have also given the bows metal inlays. These enable the bow to be used as a parrying weapon until the elf can draw a more suitable weapon. Meanwhile, the elf's bow has not been damaged by the attack and can be used again.

If used as an offensive weapon, an elven shortbow acts as a one-handed melee weapon that deals 1d4 points of bludgeoning damage and an elven longbow acts as two-handed melee weapon that deals 1d6 points of bludgeoning damage. The wielder does not get any masterwork or enhancement bonuses when using the bow to attack in melee. These bows weigh twice that of their standard counterparts and have a hardness of 8 and 5 hit points each. Elven shortbows cost 360gp and elven longbows cost 450gp.


Filliban’s Axe (+1 Dwarven waraxe)

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Re: The Shortest Escort

Postby adragonb » Mon Apr 24, 2017 8:45 pm

Zion will take one of the silvery uniform's (Shift weave) of the elves, and the rest in gold please!
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Re: The Shortest Escort

Postby The Redneck » Mon Apr 24, 2017 11:28 pm

Nolan has no use for any of the items, and takes his share in money.
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Re: The Shortest Escort

Postby J.C. » Tue Apr 25, 2017 8:54 am

Venegas has no use for any of the items. He will be happy with the Gold.
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Re: The Shortest Escort

Postby Spectre » Tue Apr 25, 2017 11:00 am

A magically changing outfit is a Noble's best friend... So Inacio would take the 2nd one. Though he's a bit concerned about the uniform and what he'd be displaying, so he might have to find a tailor. :-)

And then rest in cash please. I need monies for bombs and scrolls.
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Re: The Shortest Escort

Postby Shamsy » Sat Nov 11, 2017 5:05 pm

Some months have passed since the heroes undertook a simple job escorting a caravan outside the city. It proved to be not so simple, with the loss of a whole mercenary band, along with a questionable fight in which many uniformed elves were slaughtered. Of course, since none of the assembled heroes spoke a word of elvish, they have no idea who was really the aggressor, though from the unpleasant undertones of their wizard employer, they have their suspicions.

Almost having forgotten the whole event by now, Venegas and Nolan receive a missive out of the blue from a Halfling messenger boy… and lose a few coins in the process. Following the barely legible handwriting, the pair find themselves at the Sprinting Cog tavern, somewhere folks avoid going if they want hospitality and a fine dining experience. However, The Cog offers plenty of other attractions… On separate business, Nolan runs into his friend Jirgaldai and watches his back as the monk successfully negotiates the ‘purchase’ of an important book. That business aside, the trio await the grubby little proprietor, Mub, who merrily saunters in to greet his honoured guests.

After a fairly long winded chat, Mub lets the trio know that those who undertook the escort job (and survived) are all under surveillance by ‘pointy elves’ who have been asking a lot of questions. Mub helpfully lets them know his own network have been feeding misinformation to those asking, in hopes they would lose interest… but now the situation is beginning to impact Mub and his own business, to which he is not happy about. He says he will not betray them, but they are on their own from now on. One last gift he gives them; there’s one sitting on the roof across the street watching the tavern door. So with his legendary cunning and subtlety, Nolan strolls out into the street and waves, beckoning the elf to join them. Which of course is something only an insane person would do. Enter a tavern full of known elf murders. No chance it could be a trap!

So the part leave on a rather ‘huh’ note. But apparently Mub is not entirely abandoning them, because Venegas is palmed a note as the trio head to the docks. The simple word in the same child-like handwriting says ‘followed’. Concocting a reasonably clever plan, they board Venegas’ ship, the Sea Cow, hoping to entrap the elf. With sharp ears, Jirgaldai hears the thump as someone leap aboard (a feat seemingly not possible for a regular person). Seeing nothing, Venegas dispels the invisibility to show… a small, green skinned elf. Jirgaldai sees that her appearance is not right, but says nothing. Realising she is discovered, the elven spy flings a web over the obvious caster, then flees to the railing, intending to make the bone breaking leap to the docks… only for Nolan, with the foresight and wisdom of 100 sages to ride in and cut her down. Plop! Into the water she goes, leaving a nice cloud of blue and green blood.

Venegas moves to see if she is alive, finding she is. What luck! They can talk to her now… except that around that time a very fierce, localised storm brews over the ship and the trio find themselves attacked by a wind elemental!

Eventually they defeat it, though in the process Blue is forced to flee, Nolan nearly drowns and Jirgaldai and Venegas are injured. Not only that, but they then have a lot of explaining to do to the Navy about the disturbance. The Watchful Order are called in once they explain that an elemental was summoned, and after an examination by the mage, the elf is taken into their custody as a spell-caster. The Navy finds in their favour and the matter is settled, but they lose the opportunity to question the elf (lying is not always bad).

Now that they know someone is after them, what will they do?
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Re: The Shortest Escort

Postby Shamsy » Sat Nov 18, 2017 9:54 pm

On a gloomy evening, cold rain plopping from the sky in heavy drops, the heroes gather in the relative privacy and comfort of the Sea Cows cabin. Around the table they discuss their options. Two emerge as favorites; try to establish contact with the elves through the temple, or hope that the Watchful Order will grant them an audience with the strange green elf that they caught spying on them.

Deciding that the Order is the best bet for now, they tread through the darkened streets until Jonas leads them to a guild-house in the trades ward, the purple dyed, boiled leather sign showing the symbol of the white hand. Entering, they are hit with the full force of the pungent components kept for sale to the general public, the aroma a mix of sweet, sour and tart all at the same time. They are soon greeted by an elderly halfling magist, wearing the purple robe with the emblazoned image of a white hand on the shoulder. She starts off as helpful, but their line of questioning makes them sound dubious at best, and possibly hiding darker motives at worst. Now on guard and wary of the party, she does agree to speak to her colleague about their request for an audience. When she returns, she brings a dusky, stern man with her, who is later referred to as Marious. Marious tells them that the elf has agreed to grant them an audience, but that they will be closely watched at all times, not to mention that they have a duty to protect their 'guest' to their full abilities. None of the party are foolish enough to think that a guild-house would not be well defended.

Marious leads them through the building, past all sorts of weird smells, strange noises and unusual sights. A little deeper into the place, he takes them to a plain, near empty room with only an oval ring of stone set in the center of the floor. Muttering something, he commands them to follow, before stepping through the gate and simply vanishing. With the halfling doggedly at the flank, they follow through, arriving in a dimmer, brick lined room, somewhat cooler than the warm wooden walls of the guild-house. Down a narrow corridor, past a number of stout wooden doors until Marious reaches one, which he opens with another quiet word. The party follow close behind, along with their halfling escort, finding themselves in a small atrium, barred off from a larger and rather comfortable little quarters.

Calling out for Mariona, the party instead are rushed by a hideous, bloated and clacking green spider! As it's lumpy, leathery hide stops in front of the bars, Marious calmly admonishes Mariona for poor manners, and before their eyes, the hairy spider slowly transforms into a stunningly beautiful female elf, clad in a light silken shift. They exchange words, with Marious calmly mediating and providing helpful glimpses of book lore. The evidence against the group is fairly damning. For a start, Zion is wearing the very uniform of one of the slain elves. There was also a lone survivor who saw the mercenaries (which the party were a part of) attack elves. They also saw spells not just from the wizard they were protecting, but from a certain human that stayed quiet at this point. Not to mention that they had taken a job with one of the most evil and universally reviled races ever to pollute the planes. But undaunted, the heroes sis point out that a number of them actively avoided the fight, even attempted to assist the single escaping elf. Not only that, but they were able to sincerely convey that they were misled and had not known the identity of their employer sufficiently to realise the adverse impacts of their actions.

Mariona, while still venomous in her regard for the party (literally and figuratively), did listen to Jonas. It helped that he was not involved in the event and spoke both wisely and humbly. Not entirely convinced but prepared to give them the benefit of the doubt, Mariona cautioned that the elven council was less likely to listen to their side. Elven passion burns fierce, especially at the death of kin. She suggested that the party could undertake some sort of quest to demonstrate goodwill, or redemption in the case of certain mages. The 'lord servant' (commonly known as umber hulks Marious helpfully adds) was still loose in the wilds, ravaging the surrounds and causing as much death and destruction as it could until its master returned. The elves were cautious to risk more of their own lives to save the humans that were under threat, but the beast was still a joint enemy of both people and its death would be vengeance for the elves it has killed. This would be both an opportunity to both right a wrong and assist the innocents that were even now suffering as a result of the Neogi.

Now it is up to the party to decide their next move...
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Re: The Shortest Escort

Postby Shamsy » Thu Dec 21, 2017 9:26 pm

There was never really any choice for the heroes. Though they may not like the idea of fixing a mistake they did not feel responsible for, there was a dangerous monster running loose and monster slaying is what heroes are made for!

With some investigation around the local trades taverns, they resourcefully managed to track down a few travelers that spoke of a dark terror on the remote farmsteads outside the cities main protection. With a general direction and little better to go on, the party took off along the road, heading for the spot that some of them remember the wagon departing the road and heading cross country. While a little more overgrown, they find the path and follow the stream bed along its course, to the wide flats and the small hill crowned with trees. The place seemed much as before, less the bodies of mangled and burnt elves and mercenaries. In fact, Jonas was not able to find very much at all that hinted that there even had been a battle only a few weeks past. Zion did see something odd; a ghostly apparition of a great hound, muzzling and pawing at the ground where Jonas knelt, as though looking for something lost...

But with no sign that the dog was a threat and indeed no sign that the dog was in the least bit interested in the party, they decided to ride on in the rough direction they had deduced the sightings of 'monsters' to have come from, and it was not long before they found signs that something was wrong... The low, weather-stone walls of the first field they reached was filled with black, rotten wheat, long overdue for harvest and spoiled by cold and rain. Making their way down the lane, they found the house, small and quiet but for the drone of fly swamps, growing fat on the peasant bodies inside. A small skirmish must have taken place from the signs around them, but this had taken place a couple of weeks back. They moved on, making their way to the second and larger farmstead, more central to the cluster of hardy freeholds dotting the region.

This place too was in decay; the fields untended and beginning to choke on rampant weeds, the livestock gone and grass long. The large house was lightly fire gutted, showing similar signs of conflict, though there were fewer human remains to be found. While still exploring, the heroes became aware of a disturbance emanating from the large, two story barn to the west. A number of ragged mercenaries and elves dressed in stained, silvery garb emerged, heading towards them! They quickly determined that these men were no longer in the realm of the living upon hailing them. In fact, they maybe recognised one or two form an earlier skirmish... at least now they knew where the bodies had gone. It was easy work mopping up the zombies, though Nolan did receive a nasty cut from a rusty spear. When it was quiet again (bar the crackle of Venegas' fireball aftermath), the party stood ready for whatever came next.

To the barn, ready to spring in and attack... when a stranger hailed them from the road. Just passing through and seeking a repeated hospitality, there was some suspicion at first but that eventually faded to a truce and shared conviction that something needed to die for this.

Cracking open the barn doors... no monster, but the sort of scene left by one. Gnawed bones, desecrated bodies, mutilated and tortured hanging from the rafters, odd patters carved into the flesh. Jirgaldai and the stranger, Vairc, set about exploring the barn, missing the signs of 'something' off in the middle of the room and SNAP! Vairc falls into a pit, just avoiding the spikes on the bottom and setting a roaring umber hulk darting from cover to ambush the party!

The hulk tried its confusing gaze which set Jirgaldai fleeing and Venegas and Nolan at each others throats (was it the gaze??), but after a tough but brief fight, they hacked enough of the bug apart that Jonas was able to strike a blow sending it tumbling into its own pit (now empty of one Vairc) to screech and die on the spikes. While the nest was raided and several trophies and items taken from the hulk, the more conscience driven party members neatly arranged the elven and human bodies outside. With the spirit hound guiding the lost souls to whatever afterlife awaited them, the heroes debated what to do... until a regal elven voice interrupts, getting on more than a few nerves. But no matter, no more blood is shed and the elves depart with their kin... somehow unknown and invisible... leaving the peasants to a funeral pyre built by the party form one likely barn. Knowing a short route home, Vairc leads the party along the lane and through the fields, the stench of the hulks parts enough to ward off anything thinking to stop them...
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Re: The Shortest Escort

Postby Shamsy » Thu Dec 21, 2017 10:41 pm

Between the hulks nest and the best itself, the party retrieves the following items:

A large collar made from pale, tan coloured leather and possessing jagged spikes that face towards the creatures neck.
Collar of Obedience:
Collar for an Animal or Magical Beast. The DC for Handle Animal checks to Handle, Push, Teach, Train, or Rear the creature wearing the collar are reduced by 5.
(CAdv p132) 750GP

A disturbing bone mask that appears to resemble the mad wizard face the neogi used as a disguise.
Thespian’s Mask
Ivory mask made to look like a humanoid with a specific race, gender, and age. Disguise Self, into the race, gender, and age portrayed on the mask. Effect lasts as long as the mask is worn.
(DR328 p67) 1,500GP

A beaten, black tarnished headband, taken from the hulk and shruken to fit a regular human size head.
Headband of Intellect +2
+2 Enhancement bonus to Intelligence.
(DMG p258) 2,000GP

Thick, iron razor gauntlets taken from the hulk. Stained deepest crimson, almost black and with a smell that just won't fade...
+1 Spiked Gauntlets

A horrible shield in the shape of a prickly, bloated spider, foul runes scratched into the surface and inset onyx as glittering eyes.
Spider Bound Buckler or Light Shield
1/day the shield transforms into a fiendish spider following mental commands for 10 minutes or until reduced to 0HP, at which time it reverts back to a shield.
Buckler small spider
Light Shield medium spider
(DotU p97) 1,250/2,500GP respectively
If you require mithril please let me know

The dull grey stone plucked from the carapace of the hulk seems more than a simple rock.
Lesser Crystal of Lifekeeping
+3 to saving throws against energy drain, inflict, death spells and death effects
(MIC p25) 500GP

A coiled whip, made of woven hair matted with blood and filth. Throughout the length there are cruel iron barbs to latch to flesh and rend.
Assassins Whip
+1 whip, 2/day tangles medium or smaller foes and causes 2d6 damage for 3 rounds or until a DC20 Escape Artist/Strength check is passed (as a full round action)
(MIC p46) 2,650GP

A twisted black stick, covered with sharp and infected looking thorns.
Eternal Wand - Scare
As per the spell 2/day, CL3. Spellcraft DC 16
(MIC p159) 2,200GP

Enough of the bony carapace from the hulk to craft weapons or armour (chat to me about that if you are interested). The bone is carved with a complex pattern that glitters slightly in a rainbow of colours, as though from an oil slick.

You find a couple of dark, black bottles in a twisting design among the nest. Who knows what they contain? They could be decanted into smaller vials and shared...
One 3rd level potion as you desire

Each hero can either take 2,200GP after selling their share or the equivalent in items. You may spend additional gold if your PC has it.
(Sorry Tach, only 500GP for Vairc because he was only in one session)
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Re: The Shortest Escort

Postby Arrow-Bolt » Thu Dec 21, 2017 11:11 pm

Jirgaldai ask humbly if he can have 200 gp, and the headband of intellect +2.

Of the potions he asks humbly if he could have a cure serious wounds potion.

He says he will speak to a crafter he knows, about what may be beneficially made of umber hulk hide/shell. (Ooc ... Forum pm for dm sham .... And of course many thanks to Dm Shamsy for all the fun.)

He later learns that umber hulk shells can make non-mw and mw weapons and armor/shields. Even full plate that that druids can use.
[12/22/2017 12:19:56 AM] Shamsy [»] Arrow-Bolt: Can make a few. Bone, chitin, shell, dragon scale or a similar equivilant
[12/22/2017 12:20:08 AM] Shamsy [»] Arrow-Bolt: Shields or armour
[12/22/2017 12:20:20 AM] Shamsy [»] Arrow-Bolt: If it can be justified, it can make it )

But it can make nothing for him.

He informs the party of his findings, and suggests they ask Mror the dwarf if they have more questions. It is Mror that informed Jirgaldai so about umber hulk shell.

ooc: The selling of each char's share of the raw material of umber hulk shell, is or is not included in each char's 2200 gp total worth of loot for this adventure?
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Re: The Shortest Escort

Postby Spectre » Fri Dec 22, 2017 1:06 pm

**Inacio remains blissfully unaware that any untoward events have occurred to the group after their participation in the guarding of the caravan. Trouble seems to have forgotten or not even known that he was a guard and involved in the conflict with the elves even though he continues to wear his fancy magically changing clothing in his daily going about the city. He continues to visit the taverns and vendors of his family's wines going about the business of learning the merchanting aspects of his family's affairs while he pursues his own agendas and plans. **
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Re: The Shortest Escort

Postby JuneBarcarolle » Fri Dec 22, 2017 5:05 pm

After looking over the items, Jonas asks for his share to be in gold.

As for a 3rd level potion, a cure Serious Wounds potion would be his first choice.
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Re: The Shortest Escort

Postby tachus » Fri Dec 22, 2017 5:22 pm

Vairc would request the collar of obedience and would pay the difference. He would also take a cure serious potion.

Vairc would also mention again to the group that he is an accomplished blacksmith that could make weapons, armor, or any other metal items that the group might want from the chitin. He would be happy to take the chitin off the group depending on the cost of it into the total as well.
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Re: The Shortest Escort

Postby The Redneck » Sat Dec 23, 2017 2:15 am

Nolan will take his in cash, but admit to some curiosity about the possibility of a Hulk-hide breastplate.
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