I see I miscounted somewhere along the line, and this was actually episode 7. Never mind.
The party continues its mission to Gis by crossing the border into south-east Kyros en route to Kenaton, where they plan to take ship along the Sword River to Askerios. After a few weeks, they encounter the army of General Tunamos and are enlisted as advance scouts in his campaign against Azagara. Their mission is to prevent anyone raising the alarm as he approaches.
“After all,” says Gutz, “We’re going that way anyhow, may as well get paid for it.”
Despite – or maybe because of – their reputation, the General assigns them N’Dula, an Ivory Savannah mercenary, as a guide. Hilarity ensues as the best Riding skill in the party is a d4. Maybe if they fall off their horses enough, they’ll take the skill. At length, the group finds some goatherds and a dozen goats. Intimidation succeeds where Persuasion fails, but the goatherds don’t know where Azagara is other than its vague general direction (extensive travel is not for commoners in the ancient world). The party steadfastly ignores all clues about going to the goatherds’ village, and despite N’Dula and The Warforged pointing out that just letting them go is not going to keep the alarm from spreading, Garstrewt buys a goat from the herd at vastly inflated prices, intending to train it as a war mount.
The Warforged feels sorry for N’Dula, who had intended to kill the goatherds and make off with (or at least eat) their goats, and uses Stealth to reverse pickpocket his loincloth and slip him 12 silver. We gloss over where exactly he puts it.
I’m forced to put them back on the rail by introducing a trail leading to Azagar, and transferring two key NPCs to a caravanserai along the way. Here they encounter a squad of Valk mercenaries, and rapidly develop a healthy respect for composite bows. (Even The Warforged, now that I’ve reminded him he can’t be Healed, only Repaired.)
The Warforged’s respect for them reaches such levels that he uses Blast to dispose of the Valk from a nearby roof, unfortunately turning one of the (potentially) friendly NPCs into a Crispy Critter. A melee with the survivors ensues, and while I’m wondering how to keep the recurring villain alive, he gets thrown down the caravanserai’s well, and apart from throwing some debris in after him in the hopes of braining him if he survived the fall, they lose interest and loot the caravanserai. Good enough.
Despite everything, they find clues to a great treasure in Azagar, and decide to desert the army and go after it, now mounted on Valk war ponies and armed with composite bows. Not quite what was planned, but it’ll do.
Experiments and Reflections
This week’s experiment was to abandon MetaCreator, my faithful servant for years, because the PCs keep wanting to do things which seem reasonable to me, but which I don’t understand how to do in MC. Also, it’s more portable to carry the character sheets as word processor files – I did look for a form-fillable PDF form, but as ever nothing is quite what I wanted. The players care a lot less about character sheet layout than I do, so that worked fine.
I realised that the Command Edge applies only to NPCs, not other PCs, so I introduced N’Dula to allow Athienne’s player to experiment with it. It also sets up a friendship which will be needed later in the campaign, when I run Green World – of which more anon.