Shadows of Morning
Periodically when we have had a week or two off, i will write up a game summary to get everyone on the same page. I'll post them here so folks can see what type of game we run and what to expect.
In the beginning...
It all started out quietly, hanging out gambling in the Rhiannon Inn. One of your regulars, a simple earnest young acolyte at the Church of the Sun God, suggested uncomfortably that you visit Father Paterno. Turns out the good Father had some less than wholesome business he needed handled and thought you might be up to the task. A bit of quick reflexes and judicious retreat later, you had "acquired" the volume he was seeking from a private collection. In the process, Arsen had helped himself to a handful of other rare antiquarian books and after carefully wrapping them in oilcloth, buried them in a secret location outside of town.
No sooner were you back to business as usual, gambling at the Rhiannon Inn when the city guards walked up and escorted you directly to the mayor's office. Confident that the book thefts could not be traced back to you, you were nonetheless disquieted by this mysterious summoning. What Mayor Fellstone had to say was even more distressing. Recently the town had been plagued by a series of seemingly random and senseless thefts. Upon further investigation, the constabulary had concluded that this was the work of orcs. They tracked the culprits and discovered that all indications pointed to Lord Kent as being behind these crimes. But why would the King's representative in this region be consorting with orcs? And why would he be orchestrating thefts in the communities he was charged to protect? Clearly Mayor Fellstone couldn't confront him without evidence, and even with evidence the King would be unlikely to take the word of a small town mayor over that of a wealthy aristocrat with a fleet of shipping vessels and many powerful allies.
Your mission, which the mayor strongly encouraged you to accept, was to investigate Lord Kent, attempt to recover the stolen items and if possible discreetly deliver the type of justice Rhiannon would be unlikely to get from the throne. Mayor Fellstone gave you broad discretion and made it more than clear that if these allegations proved to be true no punishment would be to severe for Lord Kent. You were provided with a list of items that were stolen from Rhiannon and the rewards associated with each. Lord Kent was holding a gambling tournament the following week and the Mayor Fellstone paid your entrance fee as well as supplying you with some useful supplies.
After two days of uneventful travel, you found yourself outside of Lord Kent's Keep. The old castle is perched high atop a hill at the navigable end of a tributary to the river which runs from the Forest of Whispers all the way to the Sea. Rhiannon is a days journey from the Sea, Pine is three days farther up river, with this tributary joining the river about a third of the way to Pine. Lord Kent has made his fortunes with a small fleet of merchant vessels that trade up and down the coast. His smaller vessels also carry goods up river to Rhiannon and Pine and also directly to the keep. In this way he has direct control of his shipping fleet as well as deliveries of anything his heart desires directly to his doorstep. It was late and you wisely decided to camp a discreet distance away and approach the keep in daylight.
The next morning you took the bridge across the gorge to the keeps entrance. You announced yourself to the fully armored guards minding the gate to the inner courtyard. Arsen didn't even need to peek between the visor, he could smell the truth... they were orcs! You were allowed to pass and greeted once inside by Lord Kent's somewhat harried servant Kara. She explained the rules of the tournament, the schedule, pointed out the location of the great hall and the kitchen and escorted you to your room. Clearly the castle did not often play host to so many visitors and Kara seemed a bit overwhelmed.
Yours is the second to the last room at the end of a 2nd floor hallway. A thorough examination of the room yielded nothing except a secret compartment containing a pile of long forgotten love letters, a potion of healing and a moonstone necklace. Arsen suspiciously leaned the silver fireplace poker against his backpack as a telltale and the two of you headed down to the great hall.
In the great hall you met some of the tournaments other participants, Sir Bredwir an affable knight and a daffy gnome bard named Llewelyn Gillespie. Arsen, who was helping himself to copious amounts of wine took an immediate dislike of the bard. Having grabbed some lunch and the tournament schedule, you headed back upstairs to your room, where you encountered Kara leaving the last room in the hall. She explained that she was bringing additional linens to Sir Bredwir. Since he was downstairs, once she was gone, Tumbler stood watch while Arsen checked the room, but you didn't find anything significant.
The first round of the tournament went well for both of you. Arsen defeated Sir Bredwir decisively while also using small talk to get the sense that he too was uncomfortable with the orc guards. Tumbler won against Brigit Snow, a beautiful doe eyed blond cleric who seemed unphased by his brusque manner and insensitive questions. On the way back upstairs Tumbler took advantage of an empty hallway to listen at a door and heard the sound of gnolls on the other side. Tumbler used the rest of the afternoon to knock on doors pretending to look for someone other than the occupant. In this way he met Medifir Blackfoot a beady eyed nervous small man. Medifir informed Tumbler that the dwarf Jorgass had the room next door. Upstairs he located Brigit's quarters, Llewellyn Gillespies' as well as those of a sharp tongued halfling named Sariah Redshift. Arsen convinced Sir Bredwir to meet with them privately. Without giving away too much, he explained that they were suspicious of Lord Kent's choice of guards and were probing into the situation. Sir Bredwir expressed his dismay at Lord Kent's improprieties and tentatively offered his help should it be needed. At some point in the afternoon you encountered the first patrolling pair of guards... gnolls!!!
At dinner you met Lord Kent for the first time. An imposing figure with a booming voice, he seemed only slightly annoyed with Tumbler's rather confrontational line of questions. After Arsen managed to quiet Tumbler, the rest of dinner passed without a hitch. On the way back to the room Tumbler noticed a hidden door in the upstairs hallway. He made a note of its location so he could investigate further later. Arsen used the courtyard window to keep an eye on the comings and goings. He noticed a gnoll patrol. From the time they left the courtyard until their bootsteps in the hall outside was over ten minutes. You noted this as odd since it takes less than two to walk from the courtyard to your room.
The evenings gambling went well for you. Arsen cleaned Jorgass out completely while Tumbler made short work of Llewelyn Gillespie. You headed back upstairs and got a bit of rest. Once all was quiet in the keep, you set out for a bit of exploring. FIrst stop was to find out what was behind the secret door. Turned out to be a long forgotten alchemical laboratory with spy holes into Bredwir and Sariah Redshifts chambers. A peek into Sariah's chamber revealed an unnaturally tidy room with a single black tulip laying on the dresser. 'Black Tulip'... something about that rang a bell somewhere in your memory, but nothing you could recall precisely. A search of the room turned up 2 potions of healing, a potion of hide from undead, a vial of bloodroot poison (powdered) and a vial of striped toadstool poison(powdered). Your knowledge of poison was somewhat lacking, but you remembered enough to know that bloodroot entered the system through injury and striped toadstool poison was ingested.
Next you went downstairs and picked the lock on the door next to where you had heard the gnolls. With the door barely open a crack, one whiff was all you needed to know this room contained gnolls as well. Continuing on you tried the door at the end of the hall and discovered another hallway with three doors. You checked ut the courtyard and found that they're were two doors which seemed to lead to orcs. Also you found some type of hidden door or compartment in front of the clock tower near the entrance to the kitchen. That seemed like a good nights reconnaissance, and Arsen needed sleep, so you headed back to the room.
Tumbler spent the night watching the courtyard. He watched for over four hours and saw only two gnoll patrols, toward morning, spaced exactly an hour apart. Each time it took six minutes from the time they left the courtyard until they were outside of the door. Kara went to work early heading into the kitchen before 5. Before 5:30 she made a trip out the courtyard door with a large tray, moments later she returned and within minutes she took a similar tray across the courtyard and into the orc door nearest the kitchen. (This is a modification of earlier info - the more i think about it the more i think Lord Kent has the orcs on 12 hour shifts). At 6am two fully armed figures left the room and headed out the main keep doors. After a few minutes two other armed figures entered and headed into the orc door.
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