Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Keep on the Borderlands - The Path of Evil - Session 7

Day 3 – Burg Liechenstein

“We’ll you’re back. We didn’t expect that. And who is this that you’ve got with you?” asks the Knight of Irori.

Lucien responds, “Knight Lorenz, I am sorely vexed by your lack of confidence in us. And what are our men, the True Spear Company to think that you allowed us to take them to what you thought was their doom?”

DM’s Note: Lucien has undertaken this action to attempt to manipulate, to somewhat shame Lorenz to make him predisposed to be more accommodating to make up for it later. This is quite an innovative use of the rules. To simulate the success or not of this we’ll take a straight DC+0 test to be successful and if successful a future bonus of +5 will be given to a future Diplomacy test. Lorenz’s attitude is indifferent so the DC is 15 + 0 = 15 and Lucien has a Diplomacy modifier of 12 so he’ll need to roll a 3 or better. He rolls a 13 and gains a future one off favorable modifier which he can use at his discretion.

“Err well, I only meant….” Lorenz never gets to finish the sentence before Lucien dismisses his response with a wave. He turns to Talmark and asks, “Talmark, why don’t you introduce our new friend, newly rescued from certain death.”
Talmark steps forward and in a deep voice announces “Knight Lorenz we present Brother Sildar whom we rescued from the goblins. He had been travelling to the Burg to join the Knights Irori but he was waylaid and captured.”

Sildar shuffles forward and makes the sign of the open palm salute to which Knight Lorenz proffers a return salute. 

 He thanks the party and calls forth two of the brothers to take the weakened Sildar away for rest and recuperation.

Before he leaves, Sildar and Lorenz confer. Knight Lorenz addresses the party “Sildar has informed me of his pact with you to return him safely for 50gp. I take it you’ve got a bounty of dead goblins and no doubt other monsters that you’re going to collect from the Captain. I’ll inform the Captain and when you go to see him you can collect your fee then.”

“In the meantime, you’ll need to pay the entrance fee.” Knight Lorenz puts his hand out, “One each for you Talmark, Lucien and Kord, five for the True Spear Mercenary Company and one for Sildar. That’s 9gp thanks.”

Outraged that they’ve got to pay another fee and that they’ve got to pay for Sildar, Lucien begins to argue with the Knight.

“There is no debate”, answers Lorenz, “the rules are the law and if you want to enter you’ll need to pay the fee.”

Begrudgingly Lucien pays the fee and the party enter the Burg.

DM’s note: I realise that at this point the party might have wanted to barter or negotiate between themselves and the True Spear Mercenary Company as to who was liable to pay for their fee. To just keep the story kicking along I moved on without checking with the players. If they players wish to recover the fee from the Company, they still have the opportunity as they currently owe the Company 10gp (5gp for one day’s fees and 5gp for one day’s upkeep). For the sake of pre-empting this potential desire of the players, if they do wish to recover the entrance fee the Company will argue that the entrance fee is part of their costs and so their patron is liable for that cost as well as their living costs (of 1gp each per man per day). If the party recovers the fee from them there isn’t much they can do about it (they could try to take it to a tribunal but they probably won’t) but they probably will let everyone know that they’ve been jiped and they’ll leave the employ of the party.

It’s late and the party and the men at arms retire to the Cold Hart Tavern to recuperate.

That night many tall tales are told of goblins, wolves and bugbears slaughtered at the skilled hands of the party. A lonely elf is listening to the party from a dark corner in the tavern.

He approaches the party and introduces himself as Malandir………

He tells them of his background.
Malandir is the unwanted offspring of the rape of a female elf by a Drow mercenary. His mother died soon after his birth, enslaved as a play-thing of her Drow captors. The young elf was robust and agile, with an air of intelligence beyond his years ... perhaps that what saved his life. The Drow noble into whose household he was born, saw that he could be valuable and he was used from a young age to spy upon the goblinoids who lived on the fringes of the stronghold that was to be his home for the first 100 years of his life. In that time, he learned to climb, to sit quietly, to observe........ and to acquire things of value with subtlety. Perhaps his most significant failing, unsurprising given his childhood, was a lack of empathy for others and the unerring inability to get on with others. Unwanted, aloof, irascible and apt to speak his mind with no thoughts for others, as he grew older he was drawn further into the shadows. His overlord began to use him as a scout and messenger, and after one long patrol in the woods tracking a band of goblins to their lair, he returned to find a large band of knights encamped about the still burning ruins of the only place he had called home. Every Drow he had ever known was dead, their heads displayed in a row on pikes, the chanting of the fervent clerics a loathsome noise to him. With nothing but his arms and armour, his wits and the few skills he had learned roaming the wilderness, Malandir set out to make a new life for Cheliax. He had heard of a place called Burg Liechenstein and there he would find an inn and keep his ears open for a group in need of keen eyes and ears, and his other myriad skills.

Malandir is 6'3'', 125lbs, athletically built. He has blue grey eyes and pale, almost white blond hair. His skin is pale as a result of spending most of his life underground.

Personal Morale: Malandir is self-assured, confident, but is no hero. Having nobody, he owes nothing to anyone ... and will not sacrifice himself. He sees any party he joins as a means to an end, a source of money and opportunity. If they are outnumbered by four to one, or a fight that he thinks they cannot win, he will seek an opportune moment to save himself.

Key hates or likes: Malandir hates LG clerics and paladins. They destroyed his home and he will seek revenge against all such NPCs, but he is not going to throw his life away. He also despises music, especially annoying little Halfling bards......

Interacting with non-party members: Malandir speaks as little as possible to ordinary folk, having little time for them and a great distain for non-Drow or half Drow like himself.

Combat strategy: Fight from distance using his longbow, preferably from cover on a flank, always with an exit route. If cornered, use his longsword to fight his way out.

Interacting with doors: Search the door approach and frame for traps, listen and test locks carefully. Easy does it .....

Party formation: Either scouting well to the Front, especially in low light conditions where his dark vision allows him to not use a light source. Otherwise, when combat imminent, on the flank or to the rear with a good line of sight.

General Demeanor: Quiet, reserved, watchful. He drinks but little, preferring not to dull his senses. He is too smart to try stealing things in large towns, but on the road any innocents or traders he meets might be fair game for a little sporting theft. He will present himself to any party as a scout for hire and remain focused on the mission in order to win their favour and trust. He has a taste for goblin biltong which he makes, and likes to fashion his own arrows.

DM’s Note: And onto a bit of admin. The following table provides an overview of NPC’s that the party have meet and NPC’s that they may not have as yet met but have heard of as some stage. The Attitude column is the NPC’s current attitude towards the party and it also represents which NPC’s the party have meet so far (ie no attitude then they haven’t been met as yet). The Known Personality trait is just that but not all personality traits are necessarily known by the party at this point in time. I have a random personality trait table that I’ve been using to develop the NPC personalities. It’s quite handy actually because it adds a lot of randomness to the roles of the NPCs (there are 20 different personalities on the table). Generally there are two personality traits for most of key NPC’s but some, such as the men at arms, only have one.



  1. {Eeew, goblin jerky? Malandir sounds like a kook, haha! Is he a PC or NPC?}
    Talmark doesn't mind having to pay the entry fee for the mercs, as that would seem to him to be part of their employ. However, having to pay every time they enter could get expensive if we keep taking day excursions. A base of operations of our own would cut back on this, however also need a lot of upkeep and defense... When they are outside of earshot of the Knights he will say to Lucien and Kord "Some day, when we rule these lands, they will have to pay a fee to leave their little fort. ...if we let them continue to live."

    One thing Talmark will be looking for after this jaunt will be healing potions. He learned the lesson that there is so such thing as "enough to go around", and he felt a little shamed that the mercs, though disposable to our ends, were not kept up as he was. It's a fellow-warrior thing, as well as the sort of feeling Captains should have for their men...

    This Rogue fellow is also intriguing to him. He leans over to Lucien and Kord and says in a hopefully low voice "A scout and sneak-feet could prove invaluable, especially in those caves and the castle. I don't know if we can trust him as far as we can throw him, but I would like his service as long as he is tracked with a weather-eye."

    I am assuming that we will be talking to the Capt about rewards and to the LionShield Traders in the morning?

  2. Malandir is a PC. We've got 4 characters now which round out the party nicely.

  3. Regarding Diplomacy... a successful Diplomacy check can move the attitude of a person 1 step for every 5 over the DC that was rolled.  A general PF rule is that you cannot move someone more than 2 steps.  BUT – Asmodean Advocates, as an archetype ability, can move someone three steps with a high enough roll.  This means that with a successful check where the roll and bonus added are 15pts higher than the DC, Lucien can move a target from Indifferent to Helpful, or from Hostile to Friendly.
    This is accomplished through conversation, so unless a fight is going on for an extended period of time (like a full minute), it cannot be attempted in combat. BUT it CAN be started in the surprise round and possibly delay or prevent combat with a hostile before it starts...

    When we see the Captain, Lucien will make our case...   
    “Captain, we would request a most reasonable accommodation from the Burg.
    Hearing of the travails and dangers to trade and civilization in these parts, we three have travelled here over the course of many days for the specific purpose of lending our weapons, arts and blood to the task of making these lands safer for the free exchange of goods.  The bounty for our efforts regarding the trophies is appropriate and adequate to the task, but we feel the fee to regain entry to the Burg each and every time is a nuisance, especially after risking our necks for the good of the Burg, its traders and travelers.  Out of our own pockets we have added to our three to bolster the pacification of these lands.     
    Is there not some arrangement that can be made wherein our party, so long as we are returning with trophies of our efforts to keep this area safe, may receive consideration regarding the entry fee?  We can call it, 'informal recognition,' of the risks we are taking.

    After all, it is not just the safety of the Burg, but the reputation of the leadership here as peacekeepers are as well bolstered by our efforts.”

    Regarding Malandir, Lucien agrees with Talmark that a sneaky git would be most helpful, "shall I retire to draft up a contract while you and Kord interview the prospect?"

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  5. ON second thought, Lucien initially has an air of distain towards Malandir. He is half-breed. The only saving grace is that he's not half-human half-breed. He is still full elf. Lucien quickly "gets over it."

  6. "Oh yes, Lucien, a good contract is definitely in order. As is my intent to enforce it rigorously."

  7. Then Lucien will draft up a straight contract, at these lower levels, he is not wanting to attempt hidden caveats to his writings, and I as a player do not wish to go PvP. As we are all resting up, we four should discuss our next potential target.

    If we decide to go to Caves of Chaos or Cragmaw Castle, we could use the cave we just cleared as a waypoint to retreat and rest at if the target is too tough to tackle in one outing. It's a defensible position, rather than trying to push all the way back to the Burg or risk camping out in the open.

    Maybe we could trail a caravan heading the West-by-Northwest route and splinter off to get to the Cave or Castle; so we have more back-up on the travels there?

  8. I like that Caravan suggestion, that really works well for added protection while we travel, as well as we may garner some rewards if we end up having to defend it from attack. ...and there's the added intelligence and networking value as well.

    I am keen to get a look at that "abandoned" castle, but it's distance puts us at a bit of risk. I do like using the cleared cave as a camp (after we deal with the merchandise left there) as long as it remains clear. I don't know if we should build a barricade/door just inside the mouth, leave traps, or what to keep it "safe", but we cannot afford a permanent guard at this time.

    Regardless of where we go, I think we should survey the target and surrounding areas for a short time, 2 or 3 days, so we know what we are dealing with before plunging headlong into higher odds than we can handle.