Seekers of the Ashen Crown week 12: You win some, you lose some

With the battle over, Jak was making little headway questioning the captive goblin when Quentin requested his help stabilizing one of the attackers who hadn’t died in the battle, but was bleeding profusely from a leg wound.  Jak patched up the unconscious young man while Kayde went through the pockets of the others, finding some interesting trinkets such as a Kundarak key, a button emblazoned with the symbol of House Orien, a branding iron that Jak recognized as belonging to a local viscount who often sells his livestock in Sharn and, much to Lestok’s delight, a small coin of an indeterminate metal with a hole in the middle.

Meanwhile, Aruget took the opportunity to question the goblin, who was far more receptive to him than he was to Jak.  The goblin, whose skin was of an unusual dark brown colour with orange molting patches, told Aruget he was a mercenary returning to Ardev after a pilgrimage to the Six Kings. He refused to answer further questions until he was untied, and though Jak felt he was in no position to negotiate, Kayde and Quentin insisted, and Jak reluctantly set the goblin free.  He proved to have or give no further information – professing no knowledge of who captured him, or why – and after retrieving his dagger from a corpse, he insisted Aruget take a small silver necklace as thanks and then made off down the road.

By this point, the captured archer had woken up, and was very aware that he was in a bad way.   While Jak had a “casual” chat with him, Lestok put the fear of Dolurrh into the hapless fellow by convincing him that he was a feared arch-enemy of his lieutenant, the escaped dwarf.  The young man – whose name was Jeffin – proceeded to stammeringly tell the party everything he knew.  He told them that he was a scout for the Emerald Claw, working under Captain Warrick…and the party’s old friend Demise.  While Demise wanted a policy of non-interference on following the Kech Volaar party to the Six Kings, Warrick disagreed.  He believes the captured goblin was a scout for the Dhakaani.  Still terrified, Jeffin suggested that perhaps the dwarf, Lieutenant Sesko, knew something about Warrick and Demise’s plans, but he didn’t.  As the party took the opportunity to process this information out of earshot, Quentin suggested that he might have a way in the future to make contact with Jeffin, and proposed using him as a mole.  Jak was opposed to the plan, since Quentin had let slip to Jeffin that they were working for Captain Kalaes, and he felt that Jeffin should not live to bring this information back to his superiors.  However, Jak was overruled by the others who did not consider this slip of the tongue a threat.  They untied Jeffin and allowed him to retrieve his weapon, and agreeing to Quentin’s offer of being his eyes and ears in the future, he took off running towards Ardev.

The party continued on, and the next night they were camped when Kayde split off and followed a shadowy figure into a copse of trees, which led him to an unmarked headstone with a large bottle of liquor beside it.  The figure said to Kayde, “please take this, it has more use for the living.”  Sitting in the grass next to the bottle was a ring.  Kayde took both items, thanked the empty air, and returned to the group.  They shared a good night of delicious drink, during which Quentin was able to deduce that Kayde had found a ring that emanated warmth and would protect its wearer from cold, wet weather.  The next day, on the road, Quentin was also inspecting the goblin’s silver necklace – something about it was bothering him, but the answer was just on the tip of his mind.  As the road got rougher, and he became more distracted, he tripped and the necklace flew out of his hands.  It plunged into the nearby river and was swept away.

As the road grew more wild, the plains became more barren, and eventually Kayde and Quentin heard a couple of horns call out in the distance, wondering if they were hunting horns or perhaps a form of communication.  A couple of hours later, Lestok smelled a hint of wood smoke on the air, and the party eventually came to the mouth of a narrow canyon that the road led into.  Jak caught sight of a single gnoll archer on one of the slopes, and put his hand on Kayde’s shoulder, suggesting that they not startle him.  Kayde agreed, and insisted on going on alone to confront the gnoll, which Jak protested.  Kayde continued to insist, saying he could take care of himself, and Jak said he knew that, but Kayde should call out the moment there was trouble, and he reluctantly stayed back.

Kayde walked forward and loudly hailed the gnoll, who immediately nocked an arrow, and then a minotaur emerged from further down the canyon and demanded that Kayde pay a hundred-galifar toll for the privilege of using the road.  Behind him, Quentin climbed a tree in order to see what was going on, but a branch broke under his feet, crashing him to the ground.  As Kayde chuckled at the minotaur and told him they could surely lower the price of the toll, his hubris combined with Quentin’s ruckus enraged the minotaur, who charged.  The next thing Quentin, Aruget, Lestok and Jak saw was Kayde’s body come flying end over end down the canyon and drop to the ground in a broken, bloody heap.  As Aruget sprung into action, Lestok hastily coated Jak’s quiver of bolts with his G.I.N.S.U. cutting oil, and he joined the fray to avenge his friend…

Behind the Scenes

  • For some reason, prior to this week, I didn’t record our weekly warm-up question. The GM put a lot of work into creating these, for fun character building and an extra bennie at the beginning to each session. This week’s question: Who is one of your closest friends?  How long have you known them?  What is a story of your time together?
  • Kayde isn’t completely dead, but the party doesn’t know that. The GM bennied both a successful attack and successful damage roll for something like 4 raises on the attack and 7 on the damage, knocking Kayde instantly out of the fight and the only reason he’s not making a character sheet this morning is because – with no bennies left going intothe fight – he got very lucky on his “don’t die” vigor roll and subsequent injury table.  Walk it off, buddy!
  • While the party was lucky to have a “spill the beans” card to play on the EC scout, Lestok went the extra mile to put the fear of Dolurrh into that poor kid by doing an epic gnome-based paraphrasing of M. Bison’s “for me, it was a Tuesday” speech. I’m afraid I didn’t transcribe it because I was laughing so hard.
  • G.I.N.S.U.? Well, remember on the airship, when Lestok was investigating a mysterious oil in the engine room? This is it! It’s how he’s flavouring his Smite power, to add +4 damage to any weapon it’s applied to.

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