Saturday, 11 February 2017

Keep on the Borderlands - The Path of Evil - Session 4

Day 2 – Exploring the Burg

Talmark suggests to his friends, "I have to say that this Burg is well defended, it would be a really tough nut to crack, at the moment. The lack of local farming and food growth is alarming, and the place is obviously dependent on importing food through these caravans. A ruler could become quite rich here, and then suddenly starve if they can't keep a firm hand on their territory. I'm betting it is only by the grace of the Caravan Guards that this fortress continues to exist. A few months of blockade of the route and this place would crumble. And we are not yet strong enough to be the masters here..."

"I am very interested in the old castle to the north west, and though a bunch of snakes and other animals does not sound like much of a challenge to clear out, out lack of real intelligence on the place and its distance from a safe place to rest, as well as the fact that we would be moving through an area that may be filled with those goblin raiders sets me to caution. Sounds as though the Cragmaw Caves may be the best place to test out mettle. Beat a few goblins around and practice at how we work together some before taking on those other caves, the ones with the good spoils! As a small group, I believe we should see about hiring a few extra strong arms to aid us in our work. Who knows, if they fight well and we all survive we may just have the start of our own warband, so to speak. And a successful warband can eventually become an army... What other ideas do we have? Perhaps we can think of a better course."

“Sounds like a plan”, Kord nods as he agrees.

"Talmark, you have been reading my mind - at least regarding the Cragmaw Caves and hiring 3-4 Men at Arms to bolster our capabilities” add Lucien.

“This Burg - as a structure it is formidable, but this area seems poor in native resources - unless they are just untapped due to the exigent threats. I’m going to try to speak to one of the regular caravan merchants that plies the route regularly through here, to see if he is willing enough to make purchases at the larger settlements and drop them off here for us - things we may not be able to obtain through the locals, so there is that.”

“These Irori's... they may be grudgingly effective at providing safe passage for the caravans , but they are self-appointed. They do not have official standing or leave from any of the tri-border nations here. Undermining them will take time, but I have some ideas cooking already, and as time passes and things develop, more opportunities will present themselves I am sure. For now, I am sure we could all use the influx of gold that going out monster-hunting will provide" add Lucien.

Leaning his back against the wall Talmark rubs his chin and says "Mmm, good point on procedures. As you say, this order being self-appointed means they can make the rules, and much better to operate within them than get caught-out. I'm sure they don't want us bringing in just ANY pair of ears. Hmm, we should find out if there are human raiders about as well, just in case we run afoul of any. I'm all for personal defense, but sure would be nice to profit some from it."

"Also, I am not a good judge of farming lands. We may want to speak with one of the caravaners that may have an eye for that sort of thing, or anyone that has been out towards Cragmaw Castle to see if maybe that area is more suitable. Worse comes to worse, if we profit well enough we may be able to engage some sort of Druid type to enrich some land so the area would not be quite so dependent on imports."

Rubbing the callouses on his hands Kord points out “When I served in the militia in Westcrown I picked up some Survival skills. I can track and find my way in the wilds well enough. Better than most men anyway. That’ll help us some when it comes to finding these places and maybe staking them out a bit to see what might residing within.”

Lucien adds “I’m going to walk around today to see if I can meet some of the locals and in particular some of the merchants. I think I’ll start with the Blank Tome Guild House and find out what’s that about. See if we can get us some contacts. Remember Talmark you’ve got your training today at the inner gatehouse to contend with. I’ll see if I can find any guards today and hire them else we’ll have to try at the tavern at night.”

At the mid-morning Talmark and Kord present themselves to Engel at the inner gatehouse.

The big knight introduces them to some of the brothers and they begin training. Whilst the brothers fight well they are no match individually for Talmark either in their equipment or in their strength and prowess with arms. Equipped with leather armour, heavy shield and spear they stab away at Talmark but don’t have his raw strength nor hitting power. In a number of rounds Talmark is defeated only a handful of times.

After the bouts Knight Engel introduces Talmark and Kord to Knight Wallache, the Captain of the Guard. Knight Wallache presents himself and thanks Knight Engel for introducing him to the new comers.
Wallache is suspicious of the new comers and asks them questions about where they’ve travelled from and how long they’re staying. He asks if they’ve properly checked in with Knight Lorenz, the Corporal of the Guard.

After establishing that they had in fact checked in with the Corporal, Talmark and Kord state that they are looking to collect the bounty that Engel mentioned last night and that they were looking to potentially travel to Cragmaw Caves to start with to see if they could clean that out.

The Captain tells them that he administers the bounty on behalf of the Grand Master and they should bring back the ears of any monster to himself whereby he’ll check and then pay them the bounty. He wishes them luck, although Kord suspects that Wallache’s initial Attitude to them is Unfriendly and he doesn’t really care if they succeed or not. Kord regrets that the smooth-talking Lucien wasn’t with them to try to butter up Wallache and doesn’t attempt to try to change Wallaches Attitude. They’ll wait till a better time later to do that.

Meanwhile at the Blank Tome Guild House, Lucien learns that when members of any guild (merchants, craft, artisans, etc) travel to the Burg, they are offered the hospitality of this two-story building. This is a fee collection and administration post, and the staff are careful to observe and record what traffic passes through the pass. Any trader who comes to the Burg or who moves through the pass protected by the Burg must pay guild dues of 5% of the value of merchandise but they then gain the protection of the Guild House. Craftsmen and artisans must gain Guild permission to enter or leave the land, paying a fee of between 2 and 12gp (depending on the value of their trade).

In the lower floor, Lucien can see the Guild Master (Master Jurgen) and his two clerks working with the merchants and artisans as they come in to register. There are two servants who move amongst the guests providing them with refreshments and light meals, which are much appreciated by the tired travelers Four men at arms with leather armour and shields and armed with spear and sword are on duty, carefully watching proceedings.  

Lucien meets a merchant, Niels, who has been importing goods to the Burg from Molthune. Whilst the merchants Attitude is Indifferent he is friendly enough (+2 modifier to provide Simple Aid). Lucien attempts to change his attitude and rolls 5 + 14 = 19, just short of the roll needed. None the less he tells Niels that he will be staying in the Bury for a while and asks him Niels how often he comes to the Burg.

Niels tells Lucien that he runs a small train of sure footed ponies. He usually transports copper from the Burg into Molthune and he normally brings cotton cloth back. Lately trade and travelling conditions haven’t been so good and he’s feeling that he might start to travel elsewhere if security isn’t improved. Niels used to be a career soldier before trying his hand at being a merchant and he enjoys the freedom that it gives him but it is a lot of travel and sometimes it’s dangerous, more dangerous than being a soldier. Lucien notes that Niels is well dressed in silk and wears several pieces of jewelry. Trade must be good he thinks to himself. Niels tells Lucien that he has been careful lately to avoid other caravans in the areas because there has been some thief of goods. He’s yet to find the culprit but he’s added extra protection for his goods. He wants revenge but just needs to find who’s doing it. 

Lucien asks would Niels be willing to bring back some particular oddities and exotic items. Niels responds in the positive. He’ll be leaving in a few days and tells Lucien that he is staying at the Blank Tome in the accommodation for merchants, which is upstairs, and to just come back here and ask for him and tell him what he wants. He’ll source it when he’s in Molthune and will bring it back.

That evening the tavern is again alive with locals and travelers. Talmark, Lucien and Kord make contact with a small troop of ex caravan guards. They call themselves the True Spear Mercenary Company. They are led by Fremont and the other members are Clovis, Barret, Per and Stein. They’ll fight for 5gp a day plus costs of 5gp a day. Lucien draws up a contract, which they sign, and they’ll begin tomorrow. 

Later that night they see Knight Engel again. They tell him that tomorrow they’ll travel out to see if they can find the Cragmaw Caves. Engel wishes them well with a customary spate of swear words.

[Next Session I’ll do up a few statistics to record current wealth and consumables like scrolls of healing etc, and then we’ll get going].



  1. (Sounds good. At 10gp a day for these dudes we best not waste too much time! Does the contract decrees pay if any of them are slain? No sense to continue paying 10gp if only 2 survive...)

  2. ((Copper. Niels says he trades cloth from Molthune for copper here at the Burg. Lucien's interest is piqued, wondering where may this copper be coming from? Are there mines nearby we were unawares of until now?))

    Lucien will treaty with Niels, "Do not abandon your trade here just yet - the main reason my friends and I have come into this tri-nation area is to assist in clearing out dangers to peaceable commerce. We are setting on that task shortly, most probably on the morrow. We will be here a few seasons at least, so give some time to take measure of our efforts before you judge it is time to pull up your route...

    If you could pass on to your guards... any sightings or information they may glean from fellow guards that they could pass on... will assist our efforts in these endeavors and serve to aid YOUR interests.

    I would not impose upon a fellow of your standing to gather this information yourself, but if there is a trusted employee, perhaps?"

  3. Sorry Lucien I missed this mate as you posted as I was drafting up the next session but yep we'll build that in.