Rose and Thorn: Session 13

Things I love as a DM: when my players ignore encounters, assuming they know what’s going to happen when they are, in fact, incorrect. When my players assume facts about the world based on previous games they’ve played when they are, in fact, incorrect. When I am not allowed to get away with the explanation “a wizard did it”. When I have to come up with names for NPCs that don’t sound stupid. When I don’t have time or energy to write this until five days after the session and I have to scrape my memory for every last detail I can remember.

 

The Party:

Mordora, tiefling warlock

Semaj, human fighter

Zavin, human paladin

Alkar, elf mystic

Max, halfling bard, with Dogstein, dog

 

The Setting:

The Western Trade Road to Weavescore from Silverrun

The Golden Plains

 

The Story So Far:

Having coaxed the druid Allerine Starwood from the brush, the group proceeded to pepper her with questions about who she was and what she was doing and why, exactly, was she doing what she was doing. She gave her age as 20, but the humans in the group estimated her age as closer to 16. Reluctantly, she explained what had happened: a group known as the Suncastle Enterprise had tried to get her druidic enclave to move from lands that had been theirs for centuries, in order to build some new monument or temple. When the enclave refused, they’d killed everyone they could reach – Allerine had just barely been able to escape.

Now, she was seeking vengeance against Suncastle, starting with cutting off the farms that supplied their food while construction was ongoing. Zavin the vengeance paladin, who knew a thing or two about revenge, decided to take her under his wing and teach her a thing or two about getting retribution and doing it right. The group asked her a few more questions, but they decided to help her in her quest – after all, the monument’s location was the midway point between Weavescore and Silverrun; they’d have to pass the construction site eventually anyway.

When they approached the work site, in the afternoon a couple days later, Alkar and Zavin decided to approach the foreman and just have a perfectly normal conversation as travelers. They discussed the purpose of the monument (“a golden tower to highlight the diplomatic relationship between our two fine cities”), the current work being done (the construction of stone outbuildings to serve as trading outposts and shops), and the source of the materials (granite from a quarry on the other side of Weavescore that was owned by the city, and a magically enhanced mortar to bind the stone together faster and stronger).

On their way out, Alkar left one of the group’s plentiful vials of alchemist’s fire sitting near one of the barrels of the mortar. When the time came, he indicated to Mordora to set the vial aflame, catching the barrels in a particularly explosive way. The party were hurried away by the workers who rushed to put out the fire, the foreman ushering them out even as he barked orders at his subordinates. The group gladly left and made their way to a spot where they could camp securely – a safe distance from the construction site but close enough that they could get back that night.

Late in the night, Zavin took Allerine back to the work zone, stealthily moving in shadows to approach unseen. The workers had all gone to bed for the night, sleeping within their hastily-constructed ramshackle cabins. Zavin attempted to pick the lock on the first cabin to gain entry, but to no avail. He instead chose to melt it off with a vial of acid, which quickly ate through the metal. Tiptoeing inside, the paladin and the druid found the foreman and the architect sleeping in their bunks; the laborers were in the other two cabins. It was here that Zavin taught Allerine a very important lesson – go after the ones at the top first, not the average laymen. Not only is revenge best served cold, it’s best served from the top down.

With that lesson well-learned, they made their way back to the rest of the party and slept the rest of the night. In the morning, the group continued on their way to Weavescore. Allerine knew that Suncastle Enterprise was headquartered there, so she was willing to go to the city, even though the idea of such a large settlement unnerved her. Traffic was steady as they traveled towards Weavescore, merchant caravans and noble carriages and lone travelers on horses and mules and riding dogs. Two days out from the city, at a point where the road diverged towards several villages and the traffic thinned, they spotted a stuck wagon at the side of the road. They could easily see that the front wheel was badly damaged and would take some time to repair.

The entire group was in agreement that this was an obvious ambush and continued on their way without another glance back at the wagon. …So they got to Weavescore and marveled at the city, none of them having been here before. The city was built around a large lake, with bridges crisscrossing the surface and canals branching out into the land in all directions. Roving shops and traveling vendors made their way across both bridge and canal, entire mercantile enterprises being conducted from boats and small, narrow wagons. A low wall surrounded most of the city, and the guards admitted them inside after Zavin and Alkar paid the tariffs for the goods they were importing.

They immediately started branching out and trying to find connections, hoping to figure out where the Faith of the Seven-Faced God had gotten their funding to build the church in Silverrun. They also looked out for Suncastle Enterprises, knowing that they’d want to “stop in” and “say hello” while they were in the city. Semaj also looked to make a little trouble for the local thieves guild, starting up his own pickpocketing on the streets. Max and Dogstein performed a little show at the inn and tavern they chose to stay at, The Streaking Priest. When Max overheard some men there discussing the Seven-Faced God, he sent Dogstein to follow them and report back.

While Zavin sold off the iron he’d brought to the city for a tidy profit, Alkar made his way to the temple of the Seven-Faced God and began questioning the acolytes he found there. Jotting down names, hoping to make the connections needed here, he could see that this Faith was well-respected here in Weavescore, even though it was apparently no longer the “popular” religion in town. At the end of the day, everyone went to rendezvous at the tavern… except for Semaj. While conducting his own petty crime, he’d been spotted by a ranking member of the local thieves guild and had been quickly, quietly, escorted away.

Session 12

Session 14

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