Sunday, November 27, 2011

The 9th of Planting, Sinkholes and Spiders

Last night my companions spent all their time interviewing people to travel with us. At least I spent a bit of leisure time, I spoke with the local brewer comparing stories. Remember, I grew up in a wine-making/brewery/distillery family so whenever I saw people who practiced the same tradition, I had to look them up and chat about how different their products were from my home! They were nice enough to invite me to see their brewery directly and compare methods and ingredients which I would gladly accept when I was a bit more sober. I didn't just spend time doing this, I did some interviewing of my own.

See, as a veteran, my official title given to me by my fighter peers, I need to have several choices of weapons at my disposal. When you fight against creatures that can eat metal and all you have is a metal weapon, then you are at a disadvantage. I needed to get a wooden weapon, and since I had two types of pole-arm, a sword and a bow, I needed to hire myself a porter. He would carry all the extra weapons and pass me what I needed under specific circumstances, also he could carry extra treasure back from expeditions if we were lucky enough to find lots of loot. So I did some interviews with passing caravan laborers who were in need of a change of pace and be a personal porter. I would have to find someone who wasn't afraid of my trained animals and who didn't mind traveling with a group of adventurers of multiple backgrounds.

I noticed my companions every now and again as they spoke to Bud the wannabe bard, Gem the gnome illusionist entertainer, Spugnoir the scribe that everyone suspects is a spell-less spellcaster, Zert the very confident fighter, Furnok the very friendly treasure-finder that is very lucky in playing cards and dice games and the Kobort-Turuko clan who seem to be joined at the hip, one is a talkative fighter while the other is a quiet Baklunish monk. The Baklunish people are a race of humans who live far to the north, they are usually known to have powerful barbarians within their culture but here is a very civilized monk with a lot of self control.... interesting. I would get details of their interview later in the night as well as whatever I overheard in my corner of the inn at my table.

Bud was not interested in any adventuring, he was heading towards the elven lands of Celene, where I was from, so that he could be trained by elvish druids to be a famous bard. He played his lute quite well so I assume that his "audition", whatever it might be, would succeed..... but we are talking about elves and a human trying to use art to impress an elf. He better be skilled.

Gem accepted the terms of being Mayim's henchwoman. So we would have another spellcaster in our group, she is the one who caught Spugnoir looking in a spellbook and advised Percival to offer him free spells as payment to check out if he was really some simple scribe or a spellcaster hoping to get himself spells from the moathouse ruins. Spugnoir had apparently told my group that he was hired by some sage from Verbobonc, the nearest city from here (don't remember how far).

Zert was rejected for being too cocky, but I found out that he was warrior so he did have some experience and he did have a medium warhorse in the stables outside.... not something to sneer at, but Percival called the shots. Apparently Zert laughed at Percival's offer of half a share and he complained to the waitress that he should not be treated as a mere henchman when he had actual experience in combat, the waitress did not follow him to his room at his invitation but I did hear that one of the traveling merchant's serving girl did pay him a visit. I guess that's his lifestyle, he himself was waiting for a caravan from the south to join up with heading to other parts unknown. He also muttered that he would ask if anyone else was rejected from Percival's group and see if they wanted to form their own party to explore the moathouse as competitors to my group.

Furnok was very friendly and offered some magic scroll to be part of the group but Percival claimed that Furnok was holding back some information and that he wasn't very forthcoming. Furnok did not want to be an "employee" that answered to a boss but wanted to be treated as an equal and found that Percival wasn't very forthcoming either to him. During a card game he bragged that he had recently passed the test at some thieve's guild and was a robber. Our professions are very formalized with our own titles to help distinguish our ranks within our personal professions. The equivalent in my profession would be a hero..... Don't ask me how we determine who's what and who decides these formal titles, lets just accept them as part of our world of Oerth and be happy with that.

Kobort and Turuko also rejected Percival's offer because our group was too large and they wanted to have a decent share of the loot.... or was that Percival who rejected them for those reasons? Maybe both. Again, Kobort was a warrior with a heavy warhorse in the stables traveling with Turuko, a brother. Zert seemed keen on meeting Furnok, Kobort and Turuko and organize some rival group. I need to mention what I remember to my traveling companions because it might be important to them.


The day itself we spend time buying equipment at the trader's shop and exchange money at the money changers. What I saw in the merchant's place broke my heart. The dogs seemed starved. I train dogs for a living and I know how to treat dogs properly. The traders did not seem to realize that these were breathing beings. I spoke to Therel about this while trying to control my anger. He assured me that he would ask his superior in the village about what to do. Well they better do something, because I plan on doing something. Oh, and some caravan merchant cried to us because his son had wandered off just outside the village before they arrived and wanted us to go find him..... What? too busy selling your stuff to go to the edge of the village and yell at your son to come back? Percival accepted and we were off. I won't forget those dogs.

We arrived at the edge of the village and found some spiders, large and huge, going back and forth on some trail like they were entranced with some scent while we could see the young child on the other side of the spiders from us frozen in terror. We approached cautiously and we were attacked. We killed off the spiders rather easily. The druid was very motivated when one of the spiders jumped about 30 feet to attack his wolf.... Hah! I will bring that up if he refuses to help out those dogs! Percival tried to charge a spider but his henchman Raerean would shoot the spider dead with his arrows before Percival's charge would hit and again with a second charge and again on the.... no, Raerean stopped shooting to give his boss the satisfaction of using his lance on a defenseless spider. I guess you have to invent your own glorious versions of simple battles.

We went back to the sinkhole from yesterday to see if we missed any extra treasure and to do some digging around..... That reminds me, one new companion arrived last night from Celene, he had meant to travel with us but he had not made the departure time with us and we had no idea how long it would take him to meet us, so we left without him. Praxis the dwarven thief had arrived escorted by Percival's trainer's retainers. He was with us..... my memory coupled with the booze had me forget that he had arrived..... I knew he was with us, but I had forgotten (temporarily) how he had just arrived last night. I was told that I would not make a decent magic user thanks to my memory but that really isn't important to this story for now..... Anyway, we did some digging and we saw a couple of caravans pass us by wondering why we were digging in a sinkhole. Praxis and Gem (dwarf and gnome) came to the conclusion that the sinkhole had happened because of a water flood just underneath the earth and it caused the earth to collapse into a cave? I didn't quite understand the details but we did find some underground lake that would eventually dry out? Anyway, I was just the lookout using my hawks to identify any groups larger than 3 heading in our general direction so I was more interested in watching my trained hawks flying up in the sky..... Then we were done, no treasures found a few hours of digging with nothing to show except something about earth and water with weird fungus like plants.

When we came back, Therel had been with his superior Jaroo (he didn't come with us on the dig) and apparently they went to visit the weird behavior of those spiders we killed earlier today and discovered that the spiders lived in a cave and were scared off by some fire which started in the cave which produced a lot of smoke.... then the spiders interrupted a ritual curse? One of the ingredients in making a weird circle spell to curse the St Cuthbert Church attracted the spiders to go back and forth or something strange. So some other nonsense about fire and air with weird spiders and curses against St-Cuthbert.

We were done for the day, so I went to the brewery to talk to people that I could understand and chat about great tasting alcohol! Tomorrow we were planning to go to the moathouse, we had to make sure that Elmo would be with us (we bought him chainmail and a battle-axe as he requested), we had a cart for any extra treasure we may find and we hired, from those traders who mistreat their dogs, a groom to take care of our mounts and his man at arms partner (who also had chain armor that we got as a reward for saving the son of a passing caravan merchant). So a few hours hearing about some village gossip and learning about specific brewing techniques and back to the inn.

As I was going inside to go sleep for the night, Zert, Furnok, Kobort and Turuko were preparing to leave for the moathouse on their own, perhaps even tonight while we were sleeping. Oh and Percival did get Spugnoir to admit that he was an evoker and not a scribe. Spells were given and Spugnoir became another of Percival's henchmen. Percival just seems to inspire trust, very charismatic. Percival had tried to become a paladin and he did have the correct charisma for the profession but his worldview was more individualistic than what paladins were expected to be, so his paladin training stopped before it even began. Tomorrow will be an adventure indeed!

Monday, October 10, 2011

The 8th of Planting, 579 CY (5041 O.C.) (2729 F.T.)

Well for the elves, the year is 5041 and for my own culture, we would say that it is the year 2729 but I realize that some may get confused if they read this and are unfamiliar with how the Elves or the Flan count their years. I am not a historian so I could not explain why this is so. Just keep it simple for the rest of us who use the Common Year....

Anyhow,  this day has turned into a beautiful summer day with little to no wind in these hills. Therel, the elven druid mentioned something about 25C as how hot it was but I don't understand how druids measure things.... 0C is supposed to be ice? I shrug my shoulders and sharpen my weapons whenever such details are discussed. We are about to arrive into the village of Hommlet, must have been named for someone who loved omelets? But an older traveler who was picking berries with his daughter needs our help. I like my group, they didn't argue about if we should help or not.... we just followed him into the hills to find his daughter in some hole (someone called it a sinkhole?)

No glorious battle for Percival, the cavalier so he just ties up a rope and lets Hematite, the monk climb down to rescue this young girl. I notice a giant rat and some 6-legged creature that looks like some dog staring at us from the hole, they don`t threaten the girl and they both seem to treat us like we are invaders? The girl has her head stuck to her shoulder and she explains that there is some moving plant in there with them with sticky goo and some weird puddle that moves? This all sounds so confusing so instead of asking Therel to come back from his wanderings (he seems so unfocused, there is a girl to be rescued and he is off picking berries with his wolf companion Maira), I decide to use my psychic abilities of speaking with animals and ask the giant rat how things are....

OUCH, the puddle tries to attack me with psychic powers!? And I wasn't able to reach the rat.... nobody home in the brain even though the rat was moving?! Thankfully Hematite didn't jump in the hole and was still mid-way down on the rope when the attack came.... she's a smart one, not too clean because she keeps rolling around in the dirt when she does her martial arts monk stuff, but smart! Mayim the magic user, she's smart too and has psychic powers like me.... she and I attacked this puddle with our psychic powers and destroyed it! Someone called it a gray ooze and I think Raerean the half elf henchman shot it with at least one arrow while the psychic battle was on. The metal of the arrow sizzled while the wooden part of the arrow was safe? Weird puddle-ooze!

Raerean is a jack of all trades, he knows some magic, does priest spells and can fight with a sword. He happens to be related to his boss Percival and to Therel.... I hung out with him and we went out on hunting trips before we went out to discover the world. Raerean has a little brownie familiar, Grenadine is her name and she likes to be part of the action! She threw a stone with a magical light on it into the hole while she was on Hematite's shoulders on the rope (what a funny sight to behold) and we saw a weird looking mushroom plant thing trying to hide the light so that we couldn't see it anymore. Everyone says that the plant was afraid of the light.... didn't seem like that to me, but I am only a fighter, so what would I know?

Anyway, we managed to kill all the weird creatures before Percival realized there might be a glorious battle and he jumped in to save the girl despite Hematite already being there to pick her up, but he compensated himself by counting all the treasure left behind by their former owners. We divided the loot and I thought to myself, I have to get a porter to carry some of my weapons. I realized that I didn't have any wooden weapons to deal with metal-eating puddle/oozes and I didn't want to lose my metal weapons.


Back to Hommlet and we bump into Elmo, some drunk who pretends to be drunk.... well that's what Hematite said, I don't know why someone would want to pretend to be drunk, but everyone makes up their own personal habits. Therel wanted to see some druid leader to heal the girl and the sticky goo. Why we just didn't wash the girl in the stream, I don't know but I suppose the weird plant did seem to control the giant rat and the "osquip"-thing? They eat giant rats, Therel said when he got back from gathering his berries and they, the giant rat and the six-legged dog-like creature, were both the best of friends trying to protect the plant.... so if the girl was going to be infected..... curing her was the right thing to do. The girl and her dad left to go to home and Therel wanted to talk berries and burdocks with the other druid so we all went to the Inn of the Welcome Wench! I had heard about that place and I wanted to try out the local brews! My family has been brewing alcohol and making wines for the past dozen generations! And my family had impressed dwarves, elves, gnomes and halflings with our recipes over the generations! Maybe we can get some recognition from a human kingdom one day.... but I guess that's Porto, my elder brother's quest. Porto will take over the family business.

Anyhow, we are inside the Inn and we are planning to hire Elmo because he isn't drunk and we want to..... well see, here I am confused because everyone seemed to not want to hire him because he was pretending to be drunk and then Therel says something about needing him to help us against the evil temple that used to be in these parts.... so now we are supposed to hire him and go back to the sinkhole and..... check out for more treasure? Then there is this moathouse I keep hearing about, an evil place connected to the old temple which might be haunted?

Well at this point everyone seems to have gone their separate ways. Raerean went to his church of the billy club.... They like to hit evil over the head with a club.... either they see the light or their brains get smashed, that's what Raerean used to say years ago. Hematite went to get dirty by climbing to the roof of the inn to do her martial arts-monk training stuff. Percival took off his shiny armor and left it in our rented rooms, Mayim was probably studying her spells in the rooms and Therel may have been meditating in the rooms.....

I fed my "children" and hooded Murr and Ace for sleep (large falcon and small falcon) while Benjie, Poker, Norton and Alfred stayed in the rooms to guard our stuff (my two guard dogs and two hunting dogs) and I went back down to meet the locals and the traveling merchants to see if someone might be interested in becoming my personal porter. I was told that the local brewmaster would be by..... I have got to talk to him about his delicious brew (yes I tasted and I enjoyed).

I don't really know what the others may be planning on doing but Percival seems to let us do what we want.... not very efficient for an expedition, but it is an elven attitude, something Therel approves of.... although I suspect Hematite will get more and more annoyed at our lack of "structure". Oh before I forget, Mayim also has a familiar but he is mostly invisible: Smok, the pseudo-dragon (loves to do fly-by poison stings)..... if I don't see him, I tend to forget he is there.

Not to worry, our horses are also well cared for in the stables (I should go visit and see what other horses are there to see the quality of the guests at the inn, we are probably not the only ones with warhorses). Senator is our heavy warhorse ridden by the glorious Percival and he also owns Longstep, a light riding horse that we use to carry items. Mayim has a mule but refused to name him, so I proposed Shortstep and the name seems to have stuck. My older sister Edwina would be proud of me for coming up with such a clever name!

My biggest worry is that I may have inspired my younger sister Neevo to run off and adventure. I am a young adult but she is still a child and she has the hopeless romantic belief that she can find her charming gentleman to sweep her off her feet.... and since we were in a nation filled with mostly elves, she may decide to follow my footsteps and find human communities to offer herself to the first young man who smiles at her. Edwina would not be proud of me if that ever happened.

Anyhow, these are my first impressions of my first adventures in the Kron Hills, where the evil temple of elemental evil once had its influence felt. What will I find as I search these lands?