To Seek the Stars
RECAP – SESSION TWENTY-SIX; CHAPTER TWO, SESSION ONE
After saving Raegarton-Ashby, nah, the WHOLE WORLD from two thousand Undead who weren’t actually a threat and RECRUITING THEM into the defense of Ashby-Raegarton, Garmol, and the ENTIRE KINGDOM, the party went into stasis for an ENTIRE MONTH, during which they activated AI control.
That month was spent in the betterment of Ashby and society, training and construction abounded, and many other less – and sometimes more – interesting things.
None of which is all that important.
We then rejoined our noble, glorious, and occasionally completely sloshed heroes.
Conversations were had, and a Daltrithaar army marched through to join the forces gathering at Garmol.
The Undead revolt in Tombshade has yet to be put down, and nobody has any idea of how far the taint has spread in the south.
Our noble band of righteous believers, idealistic heroes, and conniving, money-grubbing glory-hounds marshalled their forces and prepared to venture towards the Bonemurk.
Raegar: We were heading to Garmol first
Shae Vanderin: ^
Raegar: to speak with the commander
did I lost ‘net, or just steam?
Nick (Shae Vanderin): ur ok
Kiergath: okay, good
So you headed to Garmol.
Its not a long trip.
The city at the moment resembles more a fortress than a center of civilian life.
Shae Vanderin: So yes, we are going to head to Garmol first to speak to the commander. With us we are bringing all 30 mercs, Lasariel, Ryasi, Selene, Hoxton, Brother (forgot his name), and Ilphy.
Shae Vanderin: And a wagon filled with supplies.
Shae Vanderin: Horses for each of us.
Raegar: “This is lovely.”
A massive military camp has sprung up outside the gates facing Ashby, the fields filled with drilling troops.
Shae Vanderin: “They are just passing through. In a week things will be back to normal.”
Shae Vanderin: “Come lets get this meeting with the commander over with.”
You head to the military quarter, fighting your way through the crowds.
The duty officer at the front desk of headquarters greets you with a nod and waves you through.
Shae Vanderin: Inform the men they can relax for the time being but that we will be headed south after the meeting in all likelyhood.
Shae Vanderin: Then go in.
General Semara is at her desk, studying a map, with piles of papers on her desk. She flips through them, pausing occasionally to mark on the map. Without looking up, she greets you – “Shae. Raegar. Good afternoon – what can I do for you?”
Raegar: “Hello General.”
She pauses in her scribbling, looking up finally, waiting.
Shae Vanderin: “Good to see you again.”
Raegar: "Well, I’m here to fix your problems again."
Shae Vanderin looks at Raegar.
Semara: “I’m not sure you can fix this one.”
Raegar: “Will clearing out the Bonemurk help?”
Raegar: “Pretty sure an open road to the coast might help…”
Semara: “It couldn’t hurt. I’m getting reports of undead streaming in from there.”
Raegar: “And, then, well yea, also, gonna kill all the undead we find there..”
Kiergath: DM note, as per map I handed out ages ago
the bonemurk isn’t on the route to the coast.
well, eventually, but its a long way to go over roads that haven’t been used in years.
Kiergath: and would require going by way of Carthon and its neighbors.
Nick (Shae Vanderin): true.
Semara: “I’ll level with you – clearing out the Bonemurk would be a great help. As near as we can tell, its one of the main sources of a lot of the undead flowing into Tombshade.”
Semara: “It won’t solve the problem on its own, because we’re finding there’re more tombs in the south we didn’t know about. But the Bonemurk is a big source to all indications.”
Raegar: “Oh good, so, we need access to more men..”
Raegar: “I have a few ideas.”
Shae Vanderin: “Has there been any scouting done of the bonemurk, as to where these undead are comming from specifically? I mean, there are only so many bones that can make skeletons.”
Semara: “I hope you don’t expect me to loan you mine, because we’ll be needing those before long.. with these reinforcements’ arrival, plan is to march south and lay siege to Tombshade within the month.”
Semara: “I’m afraid scouting in that direction has been proving difficult. I do know of at least two old fortresses in that direction which may be the source. Knowing this infernal country, they were both riddled with catacombs.”
She waves you over and points out two locations on the map laying out on her table.
Shae Vanderin: Head over and look then going to start copying the names and general areas.
Semara: “Now, Raegar, if your plan involved something other than borrowing my own troops, I’m all ears.”
Raegar: “Can we empty the prisons?”
Semara: “The.. prisons?”
Raegar: “Because I want to empty the prisons.”
Raegar: “Oh yea, see, I’d take all the prisoners you have.”
Raegar: “Offer them a chance to redeem themselves.”
Raegar: “Throw them at the undead, those who live can go on living free.”
Raegar: “Those who die, well, you get an empty cell.”
Semara: “Interestingly enough, it just so happens I have a fairly good number of jailed persons..”
Semara: “And given current circumstances, I’d be willing to pardon anyone who fought for our behalf.”
Semara: “I can provide provisions and some arms, but I’m afraid supplies are tight, so I’m not sure how much of either I can furnish.”
Raegar: “Oh this will be fun.”
Shae, the two fortresses appear to be marked down as Greygate and Misthold.
Shae Vanderin: Got it.
Semara: “The fortresses are old, but no telling what condition they’re in. For all I know they could be entirely abandoned – but its all I’ve got to go on.”
Shae Vanderin nods.
Semara: “Very well. I’ll have my dungeons emptied and send the contents, under guard, outside the city to meet with you. Any parameters? No children, no elderly, no women, I assume.”
Raegar: “That’ll do.”
Semara: “Very well. It’ll take an hour or two.”
Raegar: “Well, in the meantime, we can hammer out the details of payment.”
Semara: “Certainly. I will open by offering a hundred gold, plus three per day for every ten men in your company.”
Raegar: “That’ll do.”
Shae Vanderin: “Now now, while that offer is truly generous..”
Raegar: “…Just send her along with the other prisoners General.”
Shae Vanderin: “Would it also be to assuming to ask for your reccommendation on future jobs?”
Raegar: “Oh good… you arent asking for more mone..”
Semara: “Recommendation would rather depend on results, no?”
Shae Vanderin glares at Raegar for a moment.
Shae Vanderin: “True enough. We will not fail to at least bring back something useful.”
Semara: “Glad to hear it. There will be some of my men with the prisoners when they go out to meet you – leave your numbers with one of them for my paymasters.”
Shae Vanderin: “Very well.”
Shae Vanderin: “Anything else on your mind Raegar?”
Shae Vanderin: Does Garmol have a library?
You’d expect Tombshade to be the only city in Mishria that merits an actual library.
Raegar: “Not really.”
Raegar: “I’m going to go do some shopping.”
Shae Vanderin: “Very good then, thank you for your time General.”
Shae Vanderin bows and turns and leaves.
Semara: “Certainly. I’d say good luck, but I don’t believe in it.”
Semara: “Good hunting.”
Shae Vanderin: Once we get outside..
You are outside!
Shae Vanderin: “Any thoughts on how to go about this Raegar? I assume your prisoner idea has some plan to it.”
Raegar: “What do you mean?”
Raegar: "Isn’t “Recruit the prisoners” plan enoughY
Raegar: “your silence speaks volumes. Very good.”
Shae Vanderin: “Recruit them for what specifically?”
Raegar: “So, we just need to arm them.”
Raegar: “For the company, we have so many recruits now..”
Raegar: “So, I’ll just tell them to re-murder the undead we find in the swamp..”
Shae Vanderin: “Prisoners? who will likely desert at the first opprotunity?
Raegar: “So, whats your plan?”
Raegar: “Move us and 30 men into a marsh crawling with the undead.? Then what?”
Selene: “Deserters can be dealt with…”
Raegar: “Who’ll desert in the middle of a skeleton-crawling swamp anyways?”
Selene: “I think the place we’ll have desertion problems would be before we get there.”
Shae Vanderin: “I had thought to leave our men on the outskirts in an ambush position and then lure undead to us. Then investigate the two fortressess and find out the source of the undead, possibly stop it if we could.”
Raegar: “Tell you what.”
Raegar: “You take the 30 mercenaries. I’ll take all the prisoners.”
Raegar: “You do your plan.”
Raegar: “I’ll do mine.”
Selene: “I have an idea.”
Raegar: “Whoever isn’t a corpse by the end of the week wins!”
Selene: “Why doesn’t Shae take her thirty mercs, you take the prisoners, and we do both plans, in the same place?”
Selene: “It’ll be just like both of you being right, except we have twice the chance that we’ll survive.”
Shae Vanderin: “Fine with me. I was only trying to understand the plan, not contradict it.”
Selene: “I don’t think Raegar had a plan beyond ‘recruit the prisoners’.”
Shae Vanderin: “Which is why I asked.”
Selene: “He’s more of a ‘reaction to problems as they occur’ person, I think.”
Raegar: “Step one was recruit the prisoners… Step two was a blank… Step three was prifot.”
Raegar: “I like you Selene, you get me.”
Raegar: “NOW, I’m off to buy things that will make sure I don’t die.”
Shae Vanderin: “That works in my opinion on small scale warfare, but with this many to command I feel a solid plan is best.”
Selene: “If I really wanted to ensure survival, I’d go back home.”
Raegar: “Well, why don’t you invent a plan.”
Raegar: “I’ll just hang around and stab things.”
Raegar: “Can you stab the undead anyways?”
Selene: “Depends on the corpse, I imagine. I’ll go collect Ryasi and hang around outside the gates – that way someone’ll be there to meet our new recruits.”
Selene: “You two do whatever you need to do.”
Shae Vanderin: “Ill think about it along the way.”
Hoxton: “It is clear what needs to be done.”
Raegar: “Right, kill things. Can’t we just wing it for once?”
Hoxton: “I will bless them all and take them under Horus’s guiding wing. Once they accept the Sunblood, they will be brothers in the Faith and will not betray us without risking the wrath of the Divine.”
Raegar: “Off to the shops..”
Knowing what you’re trying to buy would help.
Raegar: magical things
Raegar: I need to find weapons that kill the undead..
Any weapon will kill undead with the proper application of force.
Raegar: i true..
Given the current situation in Garmol however, magical items are rather hard to find.
Raegar: head out of the city then
You exit the city.
Within two hours, a large crowd of people has been herded out under guard.
Several wagons have been brought out as well, and these are parked off to the side, under the watchful eyes of a group of soldeirs.
Raegar: “Lets meet the recruits.”
Raegar walks up to the wagons
Shae Vanderin: “Indeed.”
A plate-armored dwarf stomps up before hauling his helmet off, revealing the face of one of the Dwarven officers from Tombshade – Dagni Grimforge.
Raegar: “Nice to see you again.”
Shae Vanderin: Going to inspect the prisoners and leave the weak, old, and too young ones behind.
Dagni Grimforge: “Raegar, Shae, glad to see your people made it out in one piece. I was told to turn over this lot to you.”
Dagni Grimforge: “Think we’ve got… ahh, lets see..”
Shae Vanderin: Then going to try and procure some cheap clubs for them unless Dagni can provide such.
Dagni Grimforge pulls out a piece of paper and looks it over, “Two hundred and.. twenty.. seven.”
Raegar: “Anyone named Old Toothless Joe?”
Shae Vanderin: “Id like to have a look at them, make sure they are battle worthy.”
Raegar: “That’d be an awesome person to have on the team..”
Dagni Grimforge: “Anything toothless we left in their cells. Likewise old and infirm, or anything below I believe fifteen.”
Dagni Grimforge: “The wagons over yonder are loaded with arms. There’ll be some more coming with provisions.”
Raegar: “Thats just wonderful.”
Shae, the assembled prisoners seem to have been selected with some care. Everyone is in relatively good condition, nobody as Dagni said below about fifteen.
Shae Vanderin: “You did all my work for me then Dagni, thank you.”
Their clothes range from ragged to pristine, probably depending on their individual confinement situations and how long they were imprisoned.
Raegar: “Should’ve asked the General to send any caracters along too..”
Many of them look to have been quite wealthy. Others are still wearing the remains of various livery and uniforms.
Raegar: “Dagni.. Are any of these people… Noble guards?”
Dagni Grimforge: “Most of these are either former guardsmen or nobility.”
Raegar: “GOOD GOOD, I was right! hahaha!”
Raegar: “Oh this turned out better than imagined.”
Raegar: “I was hoping there were still a lot of them around.”
Raegar: “Can I ask you a question about the prisoners in Garmol my friend?”à
Dagni Grimforge: “Rumors of the massacre were highly overplayed apparently… turns out most of them were just imprisoned.”
Raegar: “The old and the children and the women… Do you have crazy people in there that are real criminals?”
Dagni Grimforge: “That we left behind? I’ve no idea.”
Raegar: “Mmm can you give a letter to the General for me? I think Ashby just found some more room for more people.”
Dagni Grimforge: “Ah… certainly.”
Raegar: “I feel bad for keeping people behind bars while they could be making me richer..”
Raegar: “I mean… Justice.”
Raegar: “And.. stuff.”
Dagni Grimforge turns to Selene, “Ah, before I forget, lass. I was supposed to give this to you.” He passes her a letter.
Dagni Grimforge: “Quite. I can deliver letters easy enough, beats stomping back and forth on a parade ground.”
Raegar writes out a letter.
He takes it with him when he heads back into the city. The soldiers with the wagons also depart.
You are left with a number of wagons, and 227 former prisoners.
Selene opens the letter and upends the envelope, a medallion falling out from it as well as the enclosed note.
Shae Vanderin: Id like to address the 227 prisoners.
Go for it.
Shae Vanderin grabs a supply crate and places it before the prisoners standing upon it.
Shae Vanderin: Draw my sword and raise it to the air to get their attention, “Prisoners of Garmol!”
Shae Vanderin: “Hear me now and hear me well. My name is Shae Vanderin. Myself and Lord Raegar of Ashby have negotiated for your early release regardless of your past crimes. This is on the condition that you prove yourselves in obeying our orders as we approach and scout out the bonemurk to the south. I do not care what you have heard of the bonemurk, the truth is that nobody knows for sure what lies within it. Let it be known that you have no choice in this matter. Should you try to escape, mutiny, or undermine our efforts in any way, we have full authorization to put you to the sword. You will accept orders from myself, Raegar, our lieutenants here (motion to Ilph, Ryasi, Selene, Hoxton), as well as the regular members of the Duskwyrm mercenary company. I promise two things, one that we will honor the agreement of your freedom after our mission. And two we will carry out punishment in the strictest manner of those who would see themselves insubordinate. We march within the hour. That is all.”
Shae Vanderin: Do you want an intimidate/diplo roll?
Shae Vanderin: Skill [Intimidate] [1d20+8 = 19]
Shae Vanderin: Try and stand there for a moment longer to gauge their response, then step down.
They seem sufficiently cowed, for the moment.
Shae Vanderin: Start preparing to leave then.
Selene tosses the torn up scraps of the letter into the breeze.
Selene: “Shae, I am obligated to inform you that I have been assigned as a permanent liaison officer to your company.”
Raegar: “Also! …I am not a lord! …I dont care if you did any crimes! And you have plenty of choice in the matter! If we do good in the bonemurk, well, you can live in Ashby instead of .. you know… A dungeon.”
Another row of wagons emerges from Garmol, these loaded with food supplies.
Raegar: “And always remember! The important part of this expedition is to have fun!”
A prisoner calls out, “Did you mean it when you said we had to listen to the cracked Elf?”
Shae Vanderin turns to Selene, “Id chose no other even if I could Selene.”
Raegar: “Someone execute that guy.”
Raegar: “Im not serious…”
Raegar: “Or am I?”
…Several of the mercenaries stop, swords half-drawn.
They look at Shae in confusion.
Raegar: “Confusing your ubordinates is a key part of military command..”
Shae Vanderin shakes her head and calls out “Move out!”
Shae Vanderin: I want to assign 5 men to guarding each wagon and the rest to the prisoners. Always in pairs.
GM: okay. Hang on.
You have 30 mercs and 227 prisoners. Your mercs can’t cover all the wagons. Are you using conscripts to guard wagons?
Shae Vanderin: How many wagons are there?
Six carrying weapons, eight carrying food.
Shae Vanderin: including ours?
Plus Brother Hansen’s wagon.
So… 16 wagons.
I can not count.
Shae Vanderin: We will guard ours and Hansens.
Shae Vanderin: Assign 2 guards per other wagon.
Shae Vanderin: Also want to purchase some whips in order to motivate the prisoners if they get too slow or unmotivated.
Shae Vanderin: And give them to the mercs.
Nick (Shae Vanderin): sec phone
Shae Vanderin: Marching order Im thinking will be 4 prisoners wide with the wagons in front of them. And will have hour long shifts of guards that flank the prisoners to make sure they stay orderly.
Nick (Shae Vanderin): sorry to go into too much detail but its what Shae would do.
Shae Vanderin: so yes that means that 4 of the wagons will be unguarded while we are moving.
Shae Vanderin: But it cant be helped.
Raegar: and.. in front..
Raegar: thats not how columns marh..
Shae Vanderin: Dont see another way.
Raegar: we have 300 men..
Not by Shae’s reckoning.
By Shae’s current TO&E, you have 30 men and 230 liabilities.
Nick (Shae Vanderin): Im counting 30 plus 227
Nick (Shae Vanderin): right
mmmkay. Which four wagons are being left unattended?
Food or arms?
Shae Vanderin: Food, and ones near the front so that we can sortve keep an eye on them.
Raegar: “What the hell are you doing Shae.”
Shae Vanderin: Who is driving those wagons?
Raegar: “So, Shae, I guess you are over your love for nobility.”
Either your mercs or some of the prisoners.
Raegar: “Why the bloody hell are you having mercs guard ex-noble guards.”
Shae Vanderin: not going to let the prisoners drive the food wagons alone.
Shae Vanderin: Actually it will be ok.
Shae Vanderin: Just keep them ahead of the ones that are guarded.
As you march, you notice that about 80% of your mercs aren’t carrying whips.
They’re also intermingling with the prisoners.
Shae Vanderin: “Thats odd. What did you mean Raegar?”
Raegar: “Your thick.”
Raegar: “Why do you think I wanted prisoners?”
Raegar: “Specifically, the prisoners from Garmol.”
Shae Vanderin: “I dont know, you dont seem to want to explain it to me or anyone else that has asked.”
Raegar: “DAGNI TOLD US.”
Selene: “Shae, I believe I understand what he’s getting at..”
Raegar: no he didnt
Raegar: the dm did
Raegar: “Take a long hard look at their clothing.”
Selene: “These men who we have been so thoughtfully provided.”
Raegar: “Those are all, pretty much to the last, ex-noble guards.”
Raegar: “Which was the bleeding plan..”
Selene: “They’re the nobles and retainers there-of which you were so enraged about the treatment of.”
Shae Vanderin: All of them?
Almost all, yes.
You’d guess 90-95%
Shae Vanderin: “Hmm. I see.”
Raegar rides off to the front of the column.
Selene: “I believe what Raegar is trying to say in his charming, blunt fashion..”
Raegar: “IM NOT TRYING TO BE CHARMING.”
Selene: “Is that these men aren’t liable to be trouble unless you treat them in the fashion you are treating them.”
Raegar stops the column
Raegar points to the mercenaries.
Raegar: “You thirty men, marching orders, take the lead.”
Raegar: “I want 80 of you lot behind the mercs, move the wagons back to the middle.”
DM aside, I did mention the clothes and uniforms when you were looking over them, but I think there were some AFKs in there, so it may have gotten missed.
Raegar: that may explains it
Also speech-making and other babble, so it got lost in the chatter.
Raegar: “20 to the side of the roads on both sides, screening the wagons.”
Raegar: “Rest of you bringing up the rear.”
Kiergath: what the fuck is up with Steam tonight?
Nick (Shae Vanderin): its happeing to everyone
Kiergath: I’ve been bounced like four or five times now since we started, weird shit.
Raegar: ITS THE END-DAYS
Raegar: THE RAPTURE IS COMING
Kiergath: yes, the end-times are signalled by the failing of steam.
Raegar: ..or the rise of skynet
…okay, thats possible.
You march south-west towards the Bonemurk.
The DM looks for his map to eyeball distance..
Shae Vanderin: On the trip ill talk to the 2 merc leaders and ask them for their opinion of the prisoners.
Their assessment is good. You’re made aware of the fact that many of your mercs and many of the prisoners used to serve together. Some of them were even under the command of nobles now under your charge.
Morale is mixed, though.
Shae Vanderin: “What do you think can be done to improve morale?”
On the one hand, if they fight they’ve been promised amnesty. On the other, they’re fighting for the people who threw them into dungeons and executed their fellows.
Officer: “Well. We could go around the Bonemurk and make for Carthon.”
Shae Vanderin: “Reagar wouldnt have that.”
Officer: “He’s one elf.”
Officer: “Look, ma’am, you asked what would improve morale. I’m not advocating anything.”
Shae Vanderin: “Bonemurk is how we are getting paid, we have to at least scout it out.”
Officer: “The men won’t be pleased as long as they’re fighting for the Daltrithaar.”
Shae Vanderin: “Are they aware that this company is not Daltrithaar?”
Officer: “Pardon the language, but they don’t give a damn what you call yourself – you’re accepting the cats’ coin and doing their work.”
Officer: “They’ll fight, but I wouldn’t expect heroics from them.”
Shae Vanderin: “I had not even considered they cared who their coin was from. Thank you.”
Shae Vanderin: Fall back and continue.
The march drags on uneventfully for four days.
On the morning of the fifth, as the sun rises, to the south you can see a great marsh stretching out before you. You figure you’ll hit it by the end of the day.
Shae Vanderin: “Raegar, I think that our best bet is to explore the 2 abandoned fortresses. We could position the men on the edge of the murk most near Misthold then Greygate.”
Shae Vanderin: “What do you think?”
Raegar: “If what you want to do is scout them out then we need a small force.”
Raegar: “As small as bloody possible.”
Raegar: “If the fortresses are garrisoned, they’ll see a company this large coming from miles away.”
Selene: “Which maens leaving the majority behind here would be the smart course.”
Raegar: "Not to mention that if it -is garrisoned, we haven’t got the weapons to get inside."
Selene: “Which is what she proposed.”
Raegar: “What if we get caught in there?”
Shae Vanderin: “Im thinking leave the men at the edge in ambush positions while we send out scouting forces in say.. 3 directions. If they encounter any trouble they can run back and ambush the attackers.”
Selene: “It may be days before those scouting parties make contact.”
Shae Vanderin: “Let me see my approximations…”
Shae Vanderin looks at semaras copied map, how many miles into the murk from the edge are the fortresses?
The fortresses watch the road leading through the Bonemurk. As such, they are probably a day or two from the edge of the swamps.
Shae Vanderin: Yikes that far in? hmm.
day or two depending on whats doing the marching… your full column is going to be slower than a small party that can carry its own supplies.
you’ll have to get wagons over miserable ground.
Shae Vanderin: “Well we can try that plan anyway but it may be best if we go in ourselves.”
Shae Vanderin: “It looks like Mistgate is about a day, maybe more into the swamp.”
Shae Vanderin: Misthold*
Shae Vanderin: “So yes if we get caught in there, then we will have to fight our way out.”
Shae Vanderin: “But Selene is right, leaving the majority behind is likely the best course for now till we assess the fortresses one at a time.”
Selene: “It was your idea, I merely clarified for Raegar.”
Shae Vanderin: “Ah good. Well that is my idea. A small group of us goes in the rest stays here.”
Raegar: “Well… No time like the present..”
Shae Vanderin: “Myself, Raegar, Selene, Las, Hoxton, and Ryasi then?”
Shae Vanderin: Find each of them and see if they want to go in with us to scout.
indeed they will.
Lasariel defers, however, saying someone should stay behind to keep an eye on things.
Shae Vanderin: Gather supplies, inform the officers of the company that we are going to go in and scout, to hold fast the position, and that we will send word.
Shae Vanderin: “Would you like to stay behind Las?”
sorry, thats what I meant.
Lasariel: “I think it would be best, yes.”
Shae Vanderin: “I agree.”
Lasariel: “I’m really not going to be much help to you in there.”
Shae Vanderin: Also going to bring 2 of the mercs with us so that we can send them back to relay word of our status.
Shae Vanderin: Bid Las and the rest of the company farewell and head in.
Query, when are we breaking today as its tuesday?
Nick (Shae Vanderin): up to you guys.
I ask primarily because we’re short today and now that you’re “there” I’m expecting combat.
So it may be best to break off here.
Nick (Shae Vanderin): im fine with holding off. up 2 u
Nick (Shae Vanderin): sounds good
Sorry for slow restart so far.
Raegar: IS FINE
Nick (Shae Vanderin): ok well good game then and looking forward to next one for some action
Nick (Shae Vanderin): hit me up on steam if it works and you want to chat
Kiergath: you need this up or can I shut it?
Raegar: shut it