Friday, January 21, 2011

Tales of Braxus: The Fool’s Path

Recap from July 31, 2004

Our heroes started play by divvying up shares from the group purse (75 g.p. each including Malik)  and spending some time at the markets to sell old stuff and buy new equipment.  Tyco went to see the witch Mya in order to have the potions we found at the hovel identified.  One was a potion of invisibility, one was a potion of Owl’s Wisdom (which was given to Hraal in case we come up against a spell caster) and the last vial was an antitoxin against poison.

After the bartering and purchasing was completed the group decided to go to the Green Griffon Inn off of the trader’s road to see if we could find out some information about the reward for the bandit’s that have been plaguing the area around the fool’s path.  Hraal suggested to Tyco that he recite some of the Hudan sagas in order to gain some friends among the many Hudan warriors that frequented the tavern.  Tyco told the saga of how Cullincar slew the great bear to the delight and amusement of the crowd.

Meanwhile, Hraal struck up a conversation with a Hudan warrior named Fafnir.  An attractive young woman named Penelope eventually approached us.  At this point Fafnir told me he would have nothing to do with her and suggested the same to me and walked away.  Hraal decided to see what she wanted since she was a comely woman and he was handsome in a way that only a Hudan woman could see.  She first said that she had some skills in telling the future, giving a few examples of things she had predicted that came true.  She also said that she was soon to be accepted into the local coven of witches in the city.

Then she proceeded to tell a story of how her husband had gone missing and implored Hraal to help her find him.  She apparently had a dream that he was still alive and in distress.  Later she had another dream that he was alive but with a dark companion at the bottom of a great cavern.  She gave Hraal a description of him – 6’ tall with thinning blond hair and told him that he was very skilled in the arcane arts and taken to wandering ruins and such in search of lost treasures and artifacts.  She then offered us 50 gold crowns if we could find him.  Hraal asked her to give him some more information like where she last saw him or where he might have been exploring but all she could tell him was she last saw him at home.  He explained to her that that wasn’t much to go by and tried to assure her that the group would look for him during our adventures.  She got upset because she thought he wasn’t going to help her and ran off crying.

Meanwhile, Raghnaal was talking to the bartender Barnkey.  The bartender told him under hushed whispers that the man buying provisions at the bar was in fact the notorious leader of the Green Tree Bandits in disguise.  This was the same man that Strom Ironhand, the local Hudan Warlord who rules the Trade Road area, had posted a reward for dead or alive (500 gold crowns).  The man finished up his business and left the tavern quietly.

Meanwhile, Tyco was telling another Saga, this time about how Cullincar, the greatest warrior of the Hudan people, slew some giants in one of his adventures.  The Hudan warriors greeted this with great applause upon its completion.

The group of warriors that seemed the most interested in the sagas were friends of Fafnir’s who Hraal was talking to earlier.  The others in the band were Carl, Snurry, and Ivar.  After Raghnaal told Hraal of the recent visit by the leader of the green tree bandits we decided to try to go after him and collect the reward.  Hraal and Master Ho stepped outside to try to find his trail.  Meanwhile, Tyco and Raghnaal negotiated terms of employment for hiring the mercenaries to assist us in the chase.  After some haggling they agreed to come along after being paid some money up front for their services and a share of the reward.

The group left the inn hastily with their newfound band of Hudan warriors.  Master Ho had picked up the trail and the chase was on.  Shortly before nightfall we spotted some smoke ahead and went to investigate.  We found a burned out hovel, obviously recent victims of the bandits.  We followed the trail as far as we could until nightfall and then made a cold camp.  At first light we tried to pick up the trail but had difficulty because of the recent rain.  We made it to the Merchant’s Arms Inn in the next Hamlet up the road at around mid morning only to find that our quarry had probably left there earlier in the morning.

To avoid attracting too much attention the warriors decided to enter after the sorcerer and the bard.  Hraal offered to buy them a hot meal if they would wait a little while before entering.  When they entered, they decided that it was time to live it up since someone else was paying the tab.  Two of the men were fighting over which one would get the tavern wench, which they had forcibly detained.  As they began sparring, she ran screaming from the tavern along with the rest of the hired help.  After much raucous behavior, including the breaking of tables and chairs, we then asked the bartender if he could help us with some provisions.  He agreed to give us some bread and sausages if we would leave his establishment immediately.  We heartily accepted his offer to the dissatisfaction of our two young bear cubs who wanted to continue with their wrestling match.  Hraal had to remind them that they were under our employment and should act with a little more restraint in similar circumstances in the future.

We set off in pursuit of the bandits with little luck trying to pick up their trail.  We decided to continue until we found the fool’s path and then we would be able to try to find their trail again which we did.  We went a ways up the rough path, which was little more than a badly rutted dirt road.  We passed a group of traveling fishermen who quickly skirted our heavily armed group fearing for their lives.  After searching for the tracks with limited success we finally had to stop for the night.  We made a camp off the path and set up our watches and proceeded to go to sleep.

Tyco and one of the young warriors were on the first watch.  As Tyco was telling the warrior some of his stories they were greeted with a hail of javelins and both went down.  The disturbance alerted most of the rest of us who got up only to find the camp under attack by six Fomorri warriors.  It was looking grim – two of our number were down and we had no light to fight by.  From the ground Raghnall illuminated the camp with a Fairy Fire spell and then the Hudan warriors sprang into action.  Despite being grievously wounded, our Hudan friends fought with great courage and bravery.  One of them continued fighting even though he obviously should have been felled from his wounds.  Another of their number single handedly slew three of the brutish warriors.  Hraal went into a rage and charged two of them, killing each of them in a single stroke, while being grievously wounded as well.  Master Ho and Tyco assisted the fallen while the combat was going on.

When the combat was over half of our number lay on the ground bleeding and the other half were left barely standing but the six Fomorri were dead.  We searched the bodies and found a great deal of loot.  The leader had a masterwork greataxe, which we gave to the Hudan warriors for fighting so bravely in our defense.  They had around 250 gold crowns worth of coin mostly in silver on them as well.  Also, the leader had a pair of diamond studded ankle bracelets probably stolen from a Hudan princess judging from their excellent craftsmanship and beauty.  Tyco looked at them to assess their value and quietly told us they were worth a great deal of money, lest he alert our new found allies of their value and turn them against us.

Due to our wounds we decided to return to the Hamlet to rest up and recover rather than pursue the bandits in our present condition.  Since the value of the bracelets was so much higher than the reward for the bandits and we didn’t have adequate healing capability we decided to return to Hammerstad and quit while we were ahead.  The reward for the bandits would have to wait for another time.  Raghnaal managed to sell the bracelets for 2,200 g.p. even though they were worth nearly twice that much.  It was the best offer we received in Hammerstad, being the largest city in the country of Necrovidia.  It was likely the best offer we were going to receive without traveling a great distance to another large city so we decided to take it.

We split up the profits equally between the group, Master Ho and the mercenaries (they each got one share).  Everyone then proceeded to buy new equipment.  Hraal finally had enough money to buy the pattern-welded broadsword that he had coveted at the armorer’s shop since his arrival in Hammerstad.  The Hudan warriors all bought chainmail shirts and new weapons.  Master Ho bought a new sword and some other weapons as well.

So ends the tale of how our brave adventurer’s learned of why the road was named as it was.  The fool’s path is an appropriate and fitting name indeed because only a fool who is ill prepared for it’s rigors dares to take it.  We have learned an important lesson and the next time we venture down it’s rutted rocky surface we will not do so in such a hasty manner.

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