Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Ballad of the Pigeon God #1 - Caldwell Manor

1 HexDec 1069 - Village of Eding, Kingdom of Crosedes
For a rural village in Crosedes, Eding was fairly welcoming of most strangers, save those with elvish blood.  One thing might cause more fear in the locals than the hatred of elves: Barbarians from the Plains of Galmar.  Much to their chagrin a lone, fair-skinned ravager from the distant steppes emerged into the Blue Wizard Inn, Rolf Wolfsblood
Rolf - Barbarian Warrior
The afternoon crowd pushed their stools back, awaiting the brute's action.  Rolf simply ordered a drink, left the coins atop the bar, and found an empty table to shed his furs and enjoy his mug.

In any other Crosedean hamlet, this would be enough to start a bloody brawl with some farmers full of liquid courage, but one of the younger afternoon imbibers dashed out the door.  A few moments a full blooded elf entered the establishment and directly walked upon the unwelcome brute!  The other patrons turned back to their ales.

"A bit lost, barbarian?"  the elf asked.

"Just as much as you, pointer," the barbarian quipped, eyes still focused on his drink.

"When you're stuck here for a decade, you're no longer what mothers scare their children, baldy", the elf remarked, removing his cloak.

From his ripped, sleeveless tunic, Rolf could see massive scarring from his neck and arms, it could be assumed the damage stretched across his entire back.

"Of course, they may need a reminder why.  Torm Touchberry, Sergeant-in-Arms for the Village of Eding, in service to Lord Athelstane himself."

The elf sat down at the table uninvited and hailed the barkeep for his own ale.

Torm proceeded to tell his tale of cowardice and redemption.  Rolf did not care, finishing his mug and standing up to order another. 

Another large figure, cloak hood up and smelling of the pine barrens, approached Torm, "Ten years is a blink of the eye for elves, for others it's a bit longer than we'd like,"  the man, pulled down his hood, revealing pointed ears with a fuller face unaccustomed to elves.  "Half-breeds don't always have that luxury."

Ashe - Half Elf Ranger

His compatriots, fresh from a successful caravan guard duty entered the bar.  The half elf, Ashe, made full introductions to the Sergeant:  Kane, from the Eastern lands beyond Parthia.
Kane - Eastern Mystical Monk

and Maloran Alberhold, a human spying ale and the wenches with an equally lecherous eye.

Maloran Alberhold
"Elf!!!! Where is my coin???" the barbarian bellowed. 

Torm tossed the coin purse onto the table.  "Quiet, Rolf.  Let the girls serve you and your new friends.  There's protection in numbers."

The Easterner inquired with Touchberry, "A decade?  Did you know of Markoos?"

The elf's congenial temperament vanished, his eyes focused squarely on the monk.  Another moment passed and he launched himself over the table, grabbing Kane by the robe.

"Do... Not... Mention his name again, understand."

The matter was quickly dropped with a round for everyone.

After a few more ales and some useless small talk, a "lusty wench in nice clothes" (Rolf's words) entered the Blue Wizard, escorted by the patron who originally darted out. 

She introduced herself as Lady Chistiana Caldwell.  Her father recently passed away and one of his possessions, a long-ignored summer manor house had been given to her.  Upon initial inspection, it was full of creatures, vagabonds, and possibly even a ghost.  For a healthy 75 gold for each of them, she wondered if they were willing to clean out the manor, including said ghost.  Proof would be required.
Outside some unwelcome advances towards the Lady by Maloran, the group's bellies full of ale made them not only accept the job, but leave for the manor right that second.

The road south of Eding was peasant fields as far as the eyes could see.  With a few hours of daylight left, they reached the manor.  A cursory search of the grounds uncovered little, save a short tower at the each corner of the building, and a desperate need for landscaping. 

Exploring the manor found a number of creatures that didn't take kindly to being evicted: spiders, lizards, and a few goblins that seemed dumber than the animals.  The vagabonds that Lady Christiana claimed to have squatted in the manor were never seen, perhaps they caught a glimpse of the fur-clad barbarian, a ranger, a swordsman, and a strange foreigner with a giant hat and thought it better to find different refuge down near the river.

2 HexDec 1069 - Caldwell Manor, Outside Eding
After a quiet night barricaded in one of the towers, the group finished their duties, a worm-like creature (carrion crawler) surprised them in the study and paralyzed Ashe for a while.  It was killed with fire, which Rolf unceremoniously decided to urinate on to put out. 

Lady Christina showed up to check on their progress, Rolf tossed the crawler's carcass at her.  "We're still working..."

She promptly left. 

In the pantry. The ranger tried to flush out a creature hiding in the wall, only to be sprayed by a skunk.

With Ashe now guarding the rear downwind of the group, they all could hear a strange chant in a strange Ferasean dialect that roughly repeated "Akana is full of shit."  They could not find the origin of the chant. 

A few more doors were opened, animals encountered, and even a nice cleric on pilgrimage apologized for her intrusion and promptly left. 

Later, the ghost actually materialized in front of them, a bearded fellow in ragged armor, screaming,  "Release me, or die!" then dissipating.
In the last six rooms, they needed to vanquish some other squatters who had turned into maggot-riddled undead quite some time in the past.
Soon, the all the rooms in the manor were clear, save a trap door in the floor of one of the rooms that wouldn't budge... Of anonly to find a maggot eaten body attacking me.

Searched last few rooms, found trap door that wouldn't budge....

Time to schmooze the lovely Lady Christiana....  Where's that Carrion Crawler....?

The Adventure Begins.... Here!
DM Notes: There you have it, the first ever session of my final AD&D 2nd Edition Campaign (Circa '99)  A barbarian, a half-elf ranger, a straight fighter, and a cleric with the trappings of a mystical monk drink heavily at a bar, and when dared to find adventure do the 90's equivalent of "Wench, hold by ale." 

One note that should be mentioned:  The one truly meta moment in the game was when Kane asked Torm about Markoos.  Kane's player Wooly had played in the previous campaign, "The Army Game," where Torm Touchberry was an actual PC as well as Markoos.  As the campaign collapsed, the group deserted their stations prior to a major goblin attack.  Markoos, a obnoxious wood elf, tried to make his name in the village, only to dart out like the rest at the last second, never to return, Torm actually came back to accept his fate, suffered greatly under dozens of lashings at numerous times, and was essentially a slave for a few years while the town was rebuilt.  His dedication to the village actually turned the villagers opinion of him... not all elvinkind, just him, and he was granted his freedom and performed admirably in the village militia.  Lord Athelstane has ruled over the land for Torm's entire residence and knows he may be the most capable fighter in all of Eding... even though he's a thief.   Regardless, nothing was in Kane's limited backstory that would allow him to even be aware of Markoos, but 18 years have softened my opinion, I have a rewrite waiting for a later episode.

There are even more to the stories of their first adventure, but I'll save that for the finale in the next episode....

Next #2 - The Secret Crypt of Caldwell Manor

1 comment:

  1. If I remember correctly, Rolf stuffed Ashe into the hole where he got sprayed by the skunk. Otherwise it is pretty much how I recalled it went down in Wooly's basement gaming pad.