To Seek the Stars
Nick (Shae Vanderin): Month of downtime is training with undead general (including the mercs), and want to see to starting a small shop that sells provisions in Ashby for travelers, nothing crazy, just food, water, and other such things. Will try and find one of the refugees to run it as the manager for 25% of the stores profit, with the remainder going back to Ashby and Shae.
Kiergath: okay, this is gonna sound REALLY DUMB
Nick (Shae Vanderin): can I pick leadership as a feat or did we decide to eliminate that one?
Kiergath: but do you remember how many men you have?
Kiergath: Leadership is a “no”
Nick (Shae Vanderin): it was like 29 men I think let me double check
Kiergath: if a feat you want requires it, though, I’ll waive the requirement
Kiergath: second, if it was 29 men, its now 30
Kiergath: because even numbers make my head hurt less
Kiergath: Okay, that all said..
Nick (Shae Vanderin): ok lets call it 30
Nick (Shae Vanderin): I cant find it
Kiergath: yeah, works for me
GM: I thought I had it marked down
GM: but I apparently don’t
GM: I think it was 28-30 though, so its 30
Kiergath: If you’re keeping that detailed track
Kiergath: you have 24 level 1 fighters, 4 level 2, and 2 level 3
Kiergath: if not, I have it marked now too
It has been a little over a month now since Tombshade fell to an Undead resurgence. Our heroes retreated north along with the refugee columns, many of whom have found their way to Raegarton-Ashby, a now bustling little community some of which even consists of real buildings.
Ashby now consists of four “districts”, as it were – the first is the original grounds of the thorpe, currently the most built up and acting as the nerve-center of the community. It is here that the party and what passes for the town government reside – as well as the largest building standing in the town, a combination warehouse / shipping facility built out of pocket by Triss, a displaced vampire and arms dealer.
Nick (Shae Vanderin): Taking Inspriational Leader Feat, pg, 98 of heroes of battle. Basically gives all under my command + 1 to morale checks and saves vs. fear. Also grants + 5 to rally after a retreat.
The second is somewhat built up, but mostly still consists of a tent city. This area is the current focus of the building efforts, as tents are slowly replaced with real buildings.
The third is a massive refugee settlement, presenting the majority of Ashby’s population. People here take shelter in any way they can, whether in tents or out in the open. At this point, between the three civilian sectors, there are several thousand people in Ashby.
Raegar: and a statue to me.
The last “district” is a military camp, occupied by general Hasso’s undead.
Raegar: made of the purest samite.
These undead have become contributing members of the town. In addition to keeping watch over the area, they have also pitched in with construction, preparing the fields, and also guarding and helping operate the lumber camp south of Garmol.
Shae Vanderin: How many undead strong are Hasso’s forces?
A little in excess of 2,000.
Shae Vanderin: Sizeable..
Shae Vanderin: Have any representatives from Daltigoth been to Ashby and seen a 2000 unit force of undead?
They are aware, yes.
Shae Vanderin: And once again the law only prohibits Mishiran citizens from owning/controlling/using undead?
This is true.
Whereas so far as you can tell, Hasso’s undead are all free willed.
Shae Vanderin: Would Raegar be now considered a Mishiran citizen now that he is mayor of Ashby?
Raegar: since Raegar got approval
Raegar: for them staying in Ashby
Raegar is not a citizen of anything, really.
Raegar: an they arent being controlled by anyone
Raegar: Raegar is a citizen of Raegar
Raegar: a world where the rivers flow with nubile young virgins and gold falls from the skies.
That could hurt.
Raegar: It is a silly place.
However, if you believe in it long enough.. and you persuade enough people to believe in it…
You never know.
I’ve heard of a bar that operates without charging money.. and it works.
Raegar: if we break into a rendition of when you wish upon a star, i’ll record it.
because everyone believes it does.
Shae Vanderin: I would have brought it up to Raegar in the month of downtime that opprotunistic empires will often seek to find any loopholes or excuses they can to take over a settlement to line their pockets.
You do so!
There’s no time like the present! It comes up on day 1 of the next month!
Raegar: if we break into a rendition of when you wish upon a star, i’ll record it.“
”color:#000054;“>Raegar: stupid up arrow
”color:#000054;">Raegar: “Daltigoth could take over ashby at any time they wish. And theres bugger all we could do to stop them.”
Raegar: “And friends dont find excuses to fuck up one another without reason.”
Shae Vanderin: “True but remaining under their radar would be a good start.”
Raegar: “So, I make friends!”
Raegar: "Whats a “Radar”?"
Selene: “Given we’re an hour’s ride out of Garmol, we’re doing a bad job of not drawing attention.”
Selene: “But given the general’s normal opinion, I’d say we’re pretty well safe.”
Raegar: “Its my winning personality.”
Raegar: “And the fact that I murder things that arent convenient for the Empire.”
Raegar: “I’m especially good at that.”
Selene: “Well, yes, and I’m also assuming you didn’t plan on stopping payment of taxes to the crown. At least I haven’t noticed it stopping.”
Raegar: “’Course not, I will pay them, so that I may complain about them. As is the right and prerogative of any honest citizen.”
You are roused from your carefree reverie-like state of the past month at that time by the sound of drums.
Raegar: “Oh, bother.”
Drums.. drums in the distance.
Shae Vanderin heads towards the sound.
You head up onto the earthen ramparts around the central part of town, and approaching down the road to the west is a column of men.
Shae Vanderin: Banners?
Shae Vanderin: Skill [Knowledge (Nobility and Royalty)] [1d20+4 = 19]
Shae Vanderin: Any I recognize?
Daltrithaar. A combination of national banners and unit standards.
The column stretches out down the road as far as your eyes can see.
Shae Vanderin: Do these look like the regular dwarven swill or are these noble guards?
Raegar: “If I had to hazard a guess, I’d reckon they are off to capture that place down south.”
The leading companies appear human, or other things of similar size and build.
Human or medium sized demihuman.
Mounted officers keep pace alongside here and there.
Shae Vanderin: “Raegar, do you want me to tell the general to lay low just in case?”
Raegar: “No, no, no need.”
I’m mostly assuming you have the undead billeted on the north of town, away from the road.
Raegar: “Lets ride out and see why they are headed this way.”
At a guess, because they have to head past you to get to Garmol.
Shae Vanderin: True but we want to be certain their destination is Tombshade.
oh, true. I mostly just said that incase geography needed refreshing.
Not saying “don’t do that!”
Shae Vanderin: Grab a horse and ride out.
You both mount up and ride to meet them?
Shae Vanderin: Suiting up in my armor first if there is time.
Sure is. They’re a ways out.
Its a large enough force that you saw them and heard them pretty well in advance.
You are met a fair ways ahead of the column by a horseman.
Shae Vanderin: “Greetings!”
He draws up, “Good day! Is the road clear ahead to Garmol?”
The horseman is human, clad in black, his tunic trimmed in red. He wears a mail shirt, and there’s a medallion around his neck, probably a rank insignia.
Raegar: “It is, I am simply out to warn you thae the city of Ashby is nearby. A large part of its inhabitants are independent undead. They’ve been aproved.”
Raegar: “I wouldnt want any of your men doing anything hasty if any should be seen.”
Officer: “I’ll make sure its passed along. Has there been any sign of trouble this far north, yet?”
Raegar: “None that we know of.”
Shae Vanderin: “Not that we have seen. Is your destination Tombshade?”
Raegar: “Do you have any news from the south?”
Officer: “Our destination is Garmol. We’ve been on the march for days, and our intelligence is out of date.”
Officer: “Nay, nothing. We’ve had no runners since we left Daltigoth.”
Raegar: “We planned on heading south, to the Bonemurk.”
Raegar: “See if we could do anything about the countess, make your lots job easier in … Whatever that city is..”
Raegar: “Tombshade.. yes..”
Officer: “I confess to not being entirely sure of where that is. This is my first time in Mishria.”
Raegar: “Its in the south, as far as I know.”
Shae Vanderin: “Garmol is not far off. I do not know the current state of it though it should be safe.”
Officer: “Aye, good enough news. The way the initial reports sounded, I half expected the undead to be on the move by now.”
Officer: “Well, if you’re fortunate, by the time you head for this Bone Murk place, we’ll have most of them pinned down.”
Raegar: “I was there a few nights ago, entertaining. It all seemed on the up and up.”
Shae Vanderin: “Did you pass through Rurik on your way here? Can you tell us what became of it?”
Officer: “Rurik… little town off in the forest?”
Shae Vanderin: “Yes, we used to have friends there.”
Officer: “I’m sorry to hear that. There’s nothing there but miles of ash. Very eerie place to pass through, even with an army.”
Shae Vanderin nods solemnly.
Shae Vanderin: “Good luck then and safe journey to Garmol.”
Raegar: “…You are particularly sentimental for a mercenary, Shae.”
Raegar: “What happened, simple really.”
Raegar: “The undead, strange creatures, nor your skeletal types. The stinky, sneaky kind.. They infiltrated the town.”
Kiergath: What question are you answering?
Kiergath: just checking, it seemed strange.
Raegar: i misread something
Raegar: like.. really bad
The officer nods, “Thank you for the news – and the warning about your undead. Good day.” He wheels his mount and rides back to the approaching column.
Shae Vanderin: Head back to Ashby.
Shae Vanderin: Make and announcement to the town that the approacing army is just passing through to the south and not to be alarmed.
You return to Ashby. Many townspeople, especially the younger ones, are gathered on the earthworks to watch the parade.
Shae Vanderin: an* announcemnt
Raegar: “Everyone wave to the heroes.”
Shae Vanderin: I will watch as well.
The column is drawn out over miles of road.
Mostly foot, though there is some cavalry interspersed here and there.
Shae Vanderin: Does it look like this is the majority of the Daltrithaar army?
You have no way to really know.
Raegar: it cant be..
Selene: “At a guess.. twelve, maybe fourteen regiments.. cavalry makes it harder, maybe as many as sixteen.”
Raegar: “Is that a lot?”
Shae Vanderin: “The Empire itself is still well defended yes?”
Selene: “Five hundred to two thousand in a regiment, it depends on the House raising it.”
Raegar: “So, its a considerable part of the armed potential of Daltigoth?”
Selene: “You must understand, we have very few standing soldiers.”
Selene: “The garrisons in our fortresses and, to an extent, the garrisons here in Mishria represent the entirety of our standing armies.”
Selene: “When we go to war, the king orders a mustering, and the Houses raise soldiers.”
Shae Vanderin: “Has the Empire ever been assaulted?”
Selene: “Not to my knowledge, our wars have all been offensive.”
Shae Vanderin: “Hmm.”
Selene: “Mishria was the only real threat on the continent so far as we ever knew.”
Raegar: “Well, no you people have the attention of Southerners.”
Selene: “So we do.. and I fear that things may need to change.”
Selene: “In answer to your question, though… from what I’m seeing here, this is not an insignificant effort. Those all look like well equipped, well trained companies.”
Selene: “Picked regiments from the wealthier houses. In the war with Mishria, we padded our numbers with a great deal of cannon fodder.”
Selene: “I’m not seeing any of that here, though.”
Selene: “They may simply be assuming they can pick it up locally by using militia, though.”
Raegar: “Hmm. Well. I won’t be joining the front lines anywhere any time soon.”
Selene: “Oh, no, our collective talents would be wasted on the line, I’d say.”
Raegar: “I have a crazy idea.”
Raegar: “Its considerably insane.”
Shae Vanderin: “Well the vampires will undoubtedly flee and Tombshade will once again be brought under control. I wonder if many of the refugees will want to return home.”
Shae Vanderin: “What is your idea?”
Raegar: “I think you under-estimate the effects thousands of years of dominance will do to your threat assessment potential.”
Raegar: “I say, we visit the commander.”
Raegar: “Offer so infiltrate Tombshade.”
Raegar: “Kill the undead leadership.”
Raegar: “Then we’d pretty much be heroes.”
Selene: “Uh, were you hit on the head while I was dead?”
Raegar: “They’ll never expect it.”
Shae Vanderin: “Too dangerous in my opinion.”
Selene: “Vampires – plural. Death knights – plural. And this countess may or may not be a lich.”
Raegar: “…And I warned you it was insane.”
Selene: “What are we going to do? Swear at them?”
Raegar: “Im glad all of you concur.”
Selene: “I can do that from here!”
Raegar: “I can hit them with my swords.”
Raegar: “Thats pretty much what I had so far as a plan.”
Selene: “Or we could go to the Bonemurk like you two had orriginally thought.”
Selene: “Just an idea.”
Shae Vanderin: “If we go to the bonemurk..”
Raegar: “Considerably less insane.”
Shae Vanderin: “Its going to be just to investigate, there were bad reports comming from there as well.”
Selene: “Certainly, but the majority of the undead will likely be concentrated around Tombshade now.”
Selene: “And if we can find some way to disrupt their efforts to collect reinforcements…”
Selene: “Might be worth proposing that to the general, instead of this crazy infiltration suicide pact.”
Shae Vanderin: “Lets see how everyone feels about this.”
Shae Vanderin: When able going to collect Lasariel and Ryasi.
Easy to do.
Raegar: an’ Selene
She’s already there.
Raegar: Oh yea
Raegar: she is
Hasso is found.
Shae Vanderin: “The idea has been proposed to head to the bonemurk to investigate the opening of the southern road. It also is rumored that the undead from tombshade are drawing some of their forces from there. If we could disrupt that our reputation and reward could be signifigant.”
Shae Vanderin: “Personally I am leaning towards the view of investigating it and if possible moving forward with an assault.”
General Hasso: “I do not think using my soldiers on the front lines against the rebel Undead would be wise.”
Shae Vanderin: “Noted general. And I concur.”
General Hasso: “Identification issues in a melee, if nothing else.”
Ryasi: “I’m in – I haven’t taken a pot shot at a vampire in a couple years now.”
Shae Vanderin nods at Ryasi.
Lasariel: “The Bonemurk? Isn’t that a… swamp?”
Shae Vanderin: “From the sounds of it, yes.”
Lasariel: “I’m really not sure I like the idea of marching through a bog.”
Shae Vanderin: “Ok. That is your choice of course.”
Lasariel shrugs, “I’ll probably convince myself to come along before you set off.”
Shae Vanderin: “Does our vampire friend have any information about the Bonemurk?”
GM: You get a lot of shrugging.
GM: Raegar has snuck off.
Shae Vanderin: “We will set off in the morning then. As soon as I uh… confirm this with Raegar.”
Shae Vanderin: Start packing my gear.
GM: Indeed you pack.
Shae Vanderin: And that night going to try and talk to (Tass? whats his name) to see if he knows anything about the bonemurk.
GM: And you link up with Raegar.
GM: The vampire is Triss, and she doesn’t know much at all.
Shae Vanderin: noted
Shae Vanderin: on both
GM: Never went that way.
It also comes up that your vampire friend has only been such for about a hundred years.
Most of that – and the twenty years before – were spent in Tombshade.
Raegar: [1d20 = 17]
Raegar: ooh… so thats how that works..
Nick (Shae Vanderin): what?
unless you wanted to do anything else today, it is the morning.
Shae Vanderin: Will ask around Ashby if anyone has heard anything about the bonemurk.
GM: The usual rumors.. undead, caravans disappearing..
Nobody seems to go that way, which means that there’re a few towns in that direction that nobody’s really haerd from since the invasion.
Before the war, it was a regularly travelled route.
Shae Vanderin: ok
After the first couple caravans never came back, trade shifted.
Made a lot of shipping companies on the eastern coast very rich, since now they’re the only link with Carthon and the Aldsea Compact.
Shae Vanderin: “Hmm.”
Raegar: “Undead, I can handle.”
Shae Vanderin: If all are set we will leave in the morning. Myself, Raegar, Ryasi, Selene, Hoxton, Ilphvrae, and all 30 mercs. Taking a wagon filled with supplies pulled by 2 horses as well as a horse for each of us (except ilph who will probably want to tend the wagon).
Raegar: “Now.. If a bunch of merchants are trying to get rich by making the road impassable..”
Shae Vanderin: “And they pay us off?..”
Raegar glares at Shae..
Selene: “Then you get paid, and I kill them after you leave.”
Ryasi: “Sounds good to me.”
Raegar: “What if we ask the merchants here what an open road means to them.”
Selene: “If they’re closing a trade route in war time, maybe we should ask them what the term ‘enemy combatant’ means to them…”
Raegar: “Oh, this is going to be fun.”
Shae Vanderin: “Something tells me it is not merchants.”
Selene: “It seems unlikely, unless those merchants are also rebelling nobles.”
Shae Vanderin: “But the theory will make for entertaining conversation along the way.”
Lasariel: “What theory is that?”
Lasariel: “I’m not late, am I?”
Shae Vanderin: “Let us also try to avoid the one vampire noble that I tried to decapitate. I dont know if he holds grudges but.”
Shae Vanderin: “Las! Welcome.”
Selene: “Wasn’t he one of the ringleaders in Tombshade? I doubt he’ll be in the Murk.”
Raegar: “He was”
Raegar: “I remember that, I saved your life, that was fun.”
So… Shae, Raegar, Hoxton, Ilphvrae, Ryasi, Selene, Lasariel, Brother Hansen and his Supply Cart, and thirty mercenaries set out from Ashby. Will they be victorious? WILL THEY EVER RETURN?
… And Spot.
Shae Vanderin: Undead dogs dont bark.
Its been confirmed long since that Spot is strange.
Also, even the DM isn’t sure what exactly Spot is.
Although he’s sure of one thing.
Lasariel: THAT said…
GM: THAT said…
GM: I think I’m going to call it here, because I really wasn’t expecting to resume this suddenly.
Nick (Shae Vanderin): kk
GM: So I’d like a chance to give things at least a little thought.
Raegar: clear your thoughts
that said – your current heading is what?
Raegar: fear is the mind-killer.
Raegar: south.. by… south-east
Shae Vanderin: South to Garmol. Garmol to North of Tombshade, circumvent tombshade and head southwest to the murk.
…Or Shae’s route?
I will say one thing – every named NPC except Hansen starts panicking at Shae’s proposal.
Raegar: i say we use my road
Raegar: theres more chance of land-pirates.
Raegar: in a landship
Raegar: that we can steal.
Shae Vanderin: We should be safe with so many of us.
Shae Vanderin: Can the wagon make it cross country then?
If you go around the forest, probably.
Shae Vanderin: Ok.
At which point it’d be straight south to the Murk.
Shae Vanderin: Yay for random wilderness encounters..
considering the only thing you know of in the forest large enough to eat people is.. well..
Shae Vanderin: If you mean Roselyn then yes. But once we get beyond her territory its anything goes.
Nick (Shae Vanderin): good times :P ok talk with you later then.
Selene will simply point out that following the road south from Garmol bears the risk of not knowing how far north the undead are patrolling.