(IC) Dark Dungeons Campaign

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Doc Sammy

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The Village of Fort Ashberne, Northwestern Frontier of The Empire

The sun has finally gone down and it is now fully dark outside. Luckily the moon is full and the stars are bright, so not all is lost just yet. After long treks from wherever you came from, you have finally reached the rural fortified farming village of Fort Ashberne, a small bastion of civilization in the grim and perilous woodlands. Wild beasts and other far worse monstrosities lurk in the forests just outside Fort Ashberne and you have just made it in time, mere hours or even minutes before the local militia closes the gates of the lightly fortified village. Now you can finally rest.

There is only one place of rest in the small town and that is the Long Branch Saloon, a surprisingly large and accommodating tavern for such a small settlement, but then again it may be the last inn for miles and miles. So, naturally you walk on in.

Inside the tavern, a roaring fire is stoked in the fireplace while the smells of hard cider, mulled wine, and freshly cooked food waft through the air, all to the sounds of a musical quartet, a fiddler, a guitarist, a banjo player, and one on the mandolin, playing a comforting bluegrass reel. You walk up to the bartender, a surly raven-haired young anime bishonen-looking dude named Moe and have a seat at the bar.

Before you can ask the barkeep anything, a messenger enters the tavern and hands a letter to him. The surly pretty boy opens the letter and reads it before loudly getting everyone's attention.

"Yo! I'd like to have everyone's attention. I have a message here for Seymour Butts. Is there a Seymour Butts in this tavern?", to which everyone laughs loudly and mockingly.

Angry as the Nine Hells, Moe writes a letter on a napkin and hands it to the messenger. The letter reads as follows.

If I ever find out who you are, you little punk, I'll paint guyliner on you, put a T-shirt on you reading "I LOVE GOTHS", glue a Sisters of Mercy album to your butt, and mail you to Doc Sammy's house! Don't ever write me again, you motherfucker, you!

Little do you know is that all of you will be taking part in one of the most harrowing adventures of your lives.

 
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opaopajr

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Antoine raises an eyebrow at the scene, then looks around for a posted menu. Clueing in that at least cider's served, walks up to the bar, sets backpack & travel sack down, and orders: "A cider, sir. And how much to crash in the common room for a night?"
/looks hungrily at the warm fire's promise of warmth, then back
"And what are you serving for dinner?"
 

Doc Sammy

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Moe says to Antoine "A common room is one gold piece per night. And for dinner we are having roast turkey, wild celery, and green apples." before serving a cup of cider to the adventurer.

"So, I've never seen you here before. You got a name? What the hell brings you out here to the middle of nowhere?"
 

opaopajr

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Pushes upfront a gold piece, "I'll take a room and a heap o' your delicious smelling dinner."

"You can call me Danny. Danny Helpin' Hand. And I'm here for opportunity. Got mouths to feed, and time to man up for my ladies."

"You hear of any good gigs in town?"
 

Doc Sammy

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"Well, Danny. I do hear of some bandits hiding out in a cavern somewhere in the woods near here. The Captain of the militia has put a bounty out for the bandits. He wants them dead, in exchange for a reward of fifty gold pieces plus whatever treasure you can find in their hideout. They've been harassing our town and many travelers along the highways. A real nuisance to us, but a serious threat to unprotected travelers."
 

opaopajr

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"Well I'm just one man, so... I have no intentions of orphaning my kids soon. I'll keep it in mind if I ever find a brave crew, but is there anything else?"

"Any other news come around that's worth sharing?"
 

Doc Sammy

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"Not much else, unfortunately. The Captain has been plain obsessed with those bandits and not much else really has been happening here." says Moe before serving your meal.
 

opaopajr

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I'll take my meal at the common table and ease into any small talk after listening to the people with which I share a meal. I will repeatedly introduce myself as Danny, a helping hand willing to do gigs to feed my kids. I will make an effort to assess the people at my table and the general crowd -- and also look for the best places to hide if there's a fight.

Of note, is there anyone who seems wealthy and oblivious? Perhaps suckers willing to "bravely stop the bandits"? Any shifty, furtive types that could make a decent heist ally if opportunity arises?
 

Doc Sammy

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So far, your efforts to find a wealthy mark have turned up nothing but more people are entering the Long Branch Saloon so who knows what may turn up just yet?
 

opaopajr

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So... who and what else am I seeing? You are all my senses and I am actively observing my surrounds. Here, I'll check list them for your convenience:

Rich targets? No rich targets. Check.
Brave/foolish bandit slayers?
Sketchy criminal underworld types?
Gossips and busy bodies?
Secondary means to escape?
Notable habits & trends among the people?
Rumors and gossip?

Show (not tell) me the Scene through my mind's eye... :thumbsup:
 

Doc Sammy

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As the musicians finish their reel and head off for the night, you look around you to see a backdoor which could provide a means of escape should things get out of hand. As you sit down to eat your freshly cooked meal of roast turkey and green apples, you notice several types of people, most of them ordinary peasant types trying to unwind after a long days night.

At the table right next to you is a crew of female warriors, strong and battle-scarred like the stories of the Amazons of old, most of them in light armor or ordinary street clothes stained with sweat, grime, and dried blood. Despite their battle-wearied and unkempt appearance, they do have a rugged sense of beauty to them. There are three of them, a tall and exceptionally physically fit woman with a scar across her right eye and right cheek. Her hair is colored brown and her eyes are a deep emerald green, and she is clad in leather armor, at her side is a short sword in its hilt, and at her side are two other women, a pale-skinned red-haired woman of average build, clad in a short-sleeved tunic and pants, revealing a bruised arm covered in bloody bandages, and a raven-haired bespectacled woman of a slightly chubby build, who doesn't seem to be a combatant type, clad in a simple long-sleeved gray tunic and black pants, but noticeably she wears a silver amulet around her neck. Not just any amulet, but an amulet in the image of the Latin Cross. This woman must be a cleric, specifically a Priestess of the Imperial Church, providing spiritual support to the other two women.

The scarred brunette spoke up to her two comrades.

"We made it. We finally made it to Fort Ashberne, but at what cost? Those damn orcs killed half of our squad! Four of our sisters-in-arms are now dead and we barely made it out of that skirmish alive. I don't know how those fucking green-skinned bastards got the drop on us, but I'm just thankful the three of us were able to survive long enough to fight another day and limp our way to this town. Thank the Gods for this tavern, now we can rest up and Sara can recover from her wounds. She doesn't look too good and needs to rest up.", to which the wounded redhead nodded in agreement before sipping on a cup of water. The glasses-wearing priestess spoke up.

"Shannon, I do wonder if this was even worth all the gold we were paid. We are weary and most of our fellow comrades are no more. None of the three of us are in the shape to fight, especially not Sarah, and we cannot take on the bandits operating out of Blackthorn Caverns, let alone whatever else lurks in the forests."

"Sister Yukie, you are correct. While you and I might be able to fight on after a day or two's rest, Sarah is out of commission for at least a week. Thank the Gods that we have plenty of treasures and coins to pay for the stay here so she can recover. But we were hired by Captain Graham to fight the bandits and tribals who have been harassing Fort Ashberne. But how can just the two of us take on gangs of bandits and bands of tribal warriors and berserkers?"

"Maybe we can hire some help with some of our down payment? I'm sure we can find some desperate travelers to help us out in this endeavor."

Upon hearing the words "hire" and "down payment", you immediately become intrigued at the idea of helping the mercenary women. Around this time, Shannon looks at you gruffly and asks "What are you looking at?"
 

opaopajr

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"Apparently brave heroes of noble character, to stand by a friend through such a harrowing journey. I was more fortunate to be less troubled. And now I pray that my fortune stays that way. Best travels to you ladies."

And I return to my meal, briefly. I'll then cover it with a cloth (napkin?), saying with a smile to anyone noticing "Not done, to keep away flies." (I'll notice the folds of the napkin keenly; this trick is to check if my food was tampered with while away.)

I take a 'potty break' to go outside as the musicians are leaving to spot where else they go for the night. I won't move too far from the inn. If any of the musicians strike up a conversation I will ask about their regular gig circuit, as if a fan.

I'll return inside to my food and eat, with an ear more to the peasants this time, giving more "privacy" to Shannon and crew. I want local knowledge now. ;)
 
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Spinachcat

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Klondarik the Wanderer...has been wandering again, clearly late to the party as usual.

As an initiate of the Half-Moon goddess, Klondarik gives thanks for the moonlight and walks aimlessly through the Village of Fort Ashberne, looking about to get a lay of the land. As a Cleric of Chaos, Klondarik is unconcerned about social niceties like not peering into windows or listening at doors to learn more about the denizens about.

As Klondarik lacks any steed, he is walking about in his plate armor. It's too heavy and bulky to be put in his backpack.Of course, with only average brawn and endurance, Klondarik is certainly weary dragging all this iron about.

Eventually, he will make his way to the tavern.
 

Bunch

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The door to Long Branch Saloon opens tentatively. In walks a five and a half foot tall mage with a ten foot walking stick. Observers feel pretty confident in that assumption based on the blue dyed leather skullcap, rich blue blue robes, lapis lazuli inlayed belt containing six daggers and sporting a very full backpack. He seems deep in thought as he glances around looking for an open seat. He spots one at the common table and settles in.
 

opaopajr

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Once I return and get my fill of the local peasant chat I'll sidle on over to the curious -- apparently rich! -- new guest in blue. I'll patiently listen throughout this, but I want info, from both the peasants (local rumors) and this rich blue guy.

I'll still refer to myself as Danny, "Danny 'Helpin' Hand'," if asked. I'll try to mostly deflect in conversation and avoid gregarious extra talk on my part. But I'll always wear a smile; I want to look helpful!
 

Doc Sammy

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(Sorry I haven't updated yet, been busy spending time with my grandparents for Thanksgiving weekend. I'll try to update as soon as I can)
 

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Revak takes a seat at the common table. Still deep in thought he digs through his backpack until he pulls out a large tome with a purple leather cover. Mystic symbols cover the face of the book. He begins studying the contents oblivious to his surroundings. Eventually he reaches for a mug of ale that doesn't exist. He looks up trying to find a barmaid when he sees Danny smiling at him patiently. Not sure what to make of Danny's friendly face Revak stumbles for words when Klondarik's entrance breaks the nervous pause. Relieved to have some obvious small talk to make he asks Danny 'Who's that?' He pauses for a moment and then add 'Who are you?'
 
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opaopajr

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:happy::thought:(A book?, in purple! :money: Ooh, and some new stranger in pricey armor, too? :star::star::money::star::star: Jackpot! If I'm clever, I could associate both these marks and get two patrons for the price of one!:hehe:)

/points to new stranger
"That's a newcomer to this place, in heavy armor"

/eagerly reaches for blue guy's unintended outstretched hand and gladhanded shakes it with both my hands
"And I'm Danny, Danny 'Helpin Hand', ready to help you with your problems with stuff.":shade:

:happy::thought: (I love speaking with double meanings.)

:grin: "Moe, seems like you have a customer here going a little thirsty. So tuckered out, almost forgot to get a drink!"
/points out blue guy to Moe

/looks at armored newcomer for reactions
:hehe::thought: (That public scene'll grab his attention. Make it seem like I'm helpful and blue guy's a newcomer just like armor guy. Now to see if armor guy bites, and then how to tie 'em both together to sponsor me.:thumbsup:)
 

Spinachcat

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Klondarik steps out of the comfort of moonlight and into the smokey firelight of the tavern. While Klondarik may lack schooling or even common knowledge, he possesses strong insight, a blessing of wisdom from the gods. He spots Moe, glances over the bar band, takes a moment to take in the table of Amazons and notes they will be of importance...later.

And he hears Danny call out "That's a newcomer to this place, in heavy armor".

Klondarik replies, not to Danny, but to Moe. "Peace and blessings of the Twilight Goddess. I wear her armor to do her bidding. I am Klondarik the Wanderer and that man (he points to Danny) is buying my drinks."

Klondarik smiles warmly at the thief and clanks his way to his table. He nods to Revak and bows deeply, for Klondarik often associates (or confuses) wizards with nobles.

"Tell me Danny Danny of the Helping Hands, have you helped yourself to enough coin to buy a few drinks to honor the gods? As an emissary of the goddess of the half light, I can vouch for their immortal thirst. And pray tell, what trouble lies in Fort Ashberne?"
 

opaopajr

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"Oh, I have not been helped at all with coins by the gods. :worried: But they have blessed my woman with many young mouths to feed. :errr: So the gods are fickle, and yet we mere humans must find way to eat while they play with us.":weep:

:hehe: "They sent me far to find succor to feed my woman's children. Perhaps I'm here to be helped by wise and smart patrons? :shade: Are you my wise and smart patrons sent by the gods to feed hungry children? Maybe the gods smile on me this time with different blessings." :wink:
 

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"So...your woman is far, your children are many, and you fop about in a tavern at the northwest frontier?"

"That is a fine and tragic tale. Perhaps the goddess has sent me to bring you wisdom. Here is your first lesson: get me an ale."
 

opaopajr

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"No, that does not earn me coin to feed my children, holy man. I learned that wisdom long ago watching many women tithe and pray feverishly." :wink: "But I am sure Moe would gladly sell you an ale, nonetheless." :grin:
 

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Revak listens to the exchange between his tablemates confused. Books have always made more sense to him than people. Why is it folks like Danny always seem to come out on top with a slick tongue but no work ethic. And this Klondarik. Why do assholes with no manners and brutish behavior seem to be able to not only not get killed but somehow get everything they want?
'Neither of those paths is for me.' thinks Revak. 'I'll make my fortune by my hard study and mastery of the arcane arts.'

'Still best find some way to work with the assholes. I'm not going to survive by the sword that is for sure. ' he thinks.

'Gentlemen why quabble over an ale? I'll order three and we can begin this conversation again as friends.' he says to the two. Revak signals awkwardly to Moe for a round of drinks.
 

opaopajr

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"Why thank you kindly, Revak!" :grin: Leans back in his chair, extends legs, and puts hands behind head, getting comfy. "So... what brings you two to such a far corner of the world? No good paying jobs either?" :wink:
 

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"Why thank you kindly, Revak!" :grin: Leans back in his chair, extends legs, and puts hands behind head, getting comfy. "So... what brings you two to such a far corner of the world? No good paying jobs either?" :wink:
Revak gets animated at the comment and spews 'Yes! Apparently my parents were not exactly thrilled with my progress at School. I mean advanced evokation is not easy. I think the school oversold to my parents how quickly one would advance through and now I'm the one perceived to be daudling. I'd already tested out of basic wizards. I wanted to stay but you know parents, always pushing. Fortunately I was frugal with my parents funds and didn't end out on the streets like others I know. I've been looking for something worth my time and effort but sadly haven't found it yet. You?'
 

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Klondarik savors his hearty ale. "Blessings of moonlight upon you wizard. I knew not my parents. They were eaten alive by orcs while my sister ran from our farmstead with me in her arms. She tried to raise me, but took ill and gave me to the Temple, probably for a few coins. She died soon after in the streets. Praises again for the ale. Tell us, have you slain men or inhuman beasts with your magic?"
 

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"Wow, those are some sad stories! I once knew a beggar in the city who could get you licensed with hard luck life tales like those." Antoine/Danny takes a swig of ale, then wipes his mouth of the foam. "But begging doesn't pay like it used to, he said."

"I hear the big gig in this town is bandits and tribal locals threatening travellers to 'Stand and Deliver'. But trying to stop some local politics squabble?... That sounds like throwing one's life away."
 

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"Bandits? How much do they pay for us to hunt our fellow man? My problem with bandits is they use the cover of moonlight for their crimes. If we are to feed Moe coin for his ale, we may need to cave in a few skulls and sent their souls to burn."
 

opaopajr

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"Well, I'm gonna go out on a limb and guess that both the bandits and the tribal locals are both likely a number of people greater than us three..." :errr: "At the very least whoever does this will have to play it smart. And smooth." :shade:

Now loud enough for the 'adventurer women' to hear, "But that's likely suicidal to fight against such bandits, because we'd need to get some numbers ourselves, and be used to working together." :sad: "I mean, where'd anyone find allies in a place like this? We're struggling with money as it is." :goof: "Could we even get a fighter to risk their life to protect us?"

:hehe::thought: (Deviousness abounds. If our group is as much of a rascal as I think, we might get partial payment upfront. And who knows?, the local tribe might be quite awesome allies, letting us rake in some loot on the side on our way to another town!) :hehe:
 

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"We should go speak to the women you are trying to yell at. If they are warriors, they listen better with their faces."
 

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Revak's eyes widen and jaw drops at Klondarik's story and stays frozen through the remaining conversation. His wheels spin as he assesses the odds between political intrigue vs bandit removal. Both have hazards to life and limb depending on the parties involved. The bandit problem seems more concrete and bandits easier to predict than duplicitous politicians.
'How about I go ask the ladies if they plan to hunt bandits and if they are looking for help? Or do we want to be more commanding and say we're going after the bandits and see if they want to help us?' he asks of the group.
 

Doc Sammy

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(OOC: Just got back from a sleep study last night, I'll get on this, don't worry!)
 
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