A few months ago, I had briefly run a text-based RPG for an online peep, which was mostly for December and some of January. While it ended later that month due to my own commitments, I figured I’d share at least what happened for your entertainment reading, as I’m not putting out as much writing as I should. It is a good 9,000 word tale, and covers through most of the first act of The Fall of Plaguestone, a Pathfinder 2e module.
This tale utilizes a conglomerate of all my Pathfinder PC’s to date, and was presented to the player as a sort of “lovable sidekick group” dynamic of an all-girl cast.
Left to right:
- Liandra the fighter
- Pri the bard/rogue
- Marios the cleric/party leader
- Yorina the cleric/alchemist/engineer
- Sophie the divine sorcerer
- Lillith the paladin
- Keisha the primal sorcerer
- Nora the NPC/sidekick.
The player’s character would’ve been featured, but he had no reference artwork, and wasn’t given too much to make official art of him (especially since this didn’t last too long). Fortunately, I had my DnD buddy Karomaz do this up based on his description. So you have some reference at least!
Lastly disclaimer: This player’s responses were edited for grammar and some clarity, due to their different writing style. As it’s a more informal reading out of an RP chat, I’ve edited his responses to at least be whole sentences and have commas, periods, etc. My responses have also been fixed with some tenses, as most were hybrid from talking to the peep in the moment.
Player’s responses are orange. This is written in a second-person point of view, addressing him with the details and story.
Sound good? Alrighty, let’s go!
(This first intro bit is the intro text of the module; it’s been provided for story clarity)
It has been three days since you left Elidir, climbing into the back of one of Bort Bargith’s wagons bound for the faraway Andoran capital of Almas. The smiling caravan master cut your travel cost to only a handful of coppers, so long as you promised to protect the wagons should any trouble arise. Fortunately, your journey through the hinterlands of Isger has been quiet, even if the ride itself has been far from comfortable.
As you broke camp this morning, Bort announced you should arrive at the town of Etran’s Folly by nightfall, and he promised a comfortable bed for the night as a reward for a long day’s travel. The caravan’s teamsters shared a chuckle between them, trading knowing glances and subtle nods, but soon enough you are on the road again, the wagon bouncing and creaking along the uneven trail.
You’ve gotten a glimpse of various people in this caravan. Bort himself was a merchant dwarf with a trimmed beard, friendly and honest to let you come along. His second was a half-orc woman by the name of Tamli, who oversaw things in Bort’s stead, or supplemented him as she saw fit. She was good with animals, but brusque and stern with everyone she came across. An elf called Cooky was on chuck wagon duty, carrying this odd human monniker throughout his tasks. He can even cook while they are on the go with metal pan for coals. He often mishears you, and seems to have this problem with others.
The teamster drivers were characters themselves. One was a female gnome by the name of Glunda, with a strong tie to the land. She stays silent unless its her bosses, and sleeps with the animals rather than socialize. Olf and Ulf are human brothers, often bumbling and causing more problems than helping. Their pranks are frequent and they attempt to impersonate one another.
You’ve taken a seat on a wagon of another group who’s joined up with Bort, believing in “safety in numbers”. They are all women and appear to be the adventuring type, calling themselves the Lavender Order. With simply just trying to catch a break to the next stop, you’ve not really gotten to know all their faces. But two have stuck out to you, which seemed the most important.
One was the group’s leader, an older elven woman by the name of Marios, with a popely appearance and a longsword at her side. Her stately appearance belies her kindness, although she is firm when needed.
The other is a young human woman by the name of Nora, who used to work as a tavern waitress, serving as this adventurer’s group’s cook and team driver. She had seemed to be the most personable, and often allowed you to grab snacks from their stores, instead of waiting on Cooky when the caravan stopped.
It’s late afternoon, and you’re sitting in the back of Nora’s wagon near the rear of the caravan, with one more wagon from Bort’s group bringing up the rear. The passing scenery is small rural farms, with isolated communities spread far apart. Damp earth reaches your nose apart from the usual odors of the caravan.
While most of Nora’s wagon has supplies for the adventurers, a small cot and food stores, two of their members have taken respite from walking, having hopped in a short while ago. One is a short, dark-skinned woman with large gold earrings and pouches around her waist, while the other is a silver-haired woman in leather armor and finer adventuring clothes befitting of one with some wealth.
Cuffs scans around for a moment, pulling down his hood revealing his elven features; but certainly more human then elf fixing his short brown hair softly cascading around his face. Still clean shaven and pale, he stretches out and looks to the women around him.
Clearly a little nervous given he’s only ever really been surrounded by men up til this point. Before looking to the two women in the back, he introduces himself in his softest possible tone; still sounding like a pile of travel is stuck in his throat.
“Uh. Hi. I don’t believe we’ve met? I’m Cuffs and you two are?”
The dark-skinned woman had slumped against the wall of the wagon, with her arms folded across her chest, ankles crossed. Her eyes were closed until your remark, as if she was taking a rest. The silver-haired woman was leaned on the opposite side, on leg up with her arm resting on her knee. Both turn their attention to you upon speaking.
“I’m Prianka! Most everyone calls me Pri.” She has a smile on her face, her voice with a petite tone to it. “We haven’t met. I’ve seen your face a few times, though.”
“I’m Liandra, pleasure to meet you, Cuffs.”
The silver haired woman has a tone of confidence in her voice. Her body language carries an aire of authority, as if she has or had been in a position of command previously.
“Uhh. Yeah I’m Cuffs none of us have met nice to meet both of you.”
He changes his sitting stance and tries to seem more casual and relaxed. Cleary failing as he looks to both of them “So how long have you two been on the road?”
“With Bort’s caravan? Not too terribly long. We actually joined up two days before you hopped on.”
Liandra leaned against the wagon backboard.
“But we have been on the road a few weeks before that. We’ve been traveling from the coast inland across Cheliax since. We tend to travel with other traders as it’s safer.”
“How about you? I know you hopped on back in Elidir. Where did you come from?” Pri asked.
“Oh just places…You know always traveling didn’t have time to stop, had to see everything you know?”
He scratches his neck anxiously before putting his hands in his pockets.
“Home is where I make it. So far haven’t found that right spot yet.”
“Mmm, fair enough. Most of us do have homes. Those that don’t have been shoved out to various circumstances. So you’re in similar company, I think.” Pri shrugged.
“With someone who wanders like that, got anything specifically skilled you do? You kind of look like an adventurer, if you don’t mind me saying,” Liandra remarked.
“I tend to avoid combat. I’m….connected.” He gives a warm smile before stretching out “I just know the weak spots and how to hide that’s all.”
Pri gave a knowing glance, raising her head back in recognition.
“Ahh, I see what you mean. Considering you’re willing to go to Plaguestone, you must be pretty desperate.”
The two briefly told Cuffs their background. Pri was a bard that Marios had met during the start of their initial journey, who was fleeing to coast from an entity haunting her.
Liandra was an ex-city guard who served on watch, taking administrative leave after her younger brother was kidnapped. She had seen the Lavender Order’s posting for a fighter to travel with them, taking up the offer to get some space from the growing corruption in the city.
“I know I’m just a face with a pointy stick out here, but I’ll be damned if I don’t keep to that badge of honor I was inducted with. That’s the least I owe to society.”
There was some commotion ahead, with turned to the front flap of the wagon being pulled back. Nora’s blonde, pigtailed-haired head peeked in.
“Hey, we might have trouble. The caravan’s slowing up ahead.”
Liandra tensed, straightening her posture.
“What’s going on?”
“They said Plaguestone’s coming up, but everyone’s mood changed. I think something’s spooking the lead animals.”
“I’ll have a look.”
Pulling up his hood Cuffs jumps out of the wagon and starts scanning the environment. As he walks up ahead checking for animals or threats near the road, he gets closer to the front of the wagons. Sneaking and weaving between them with feline like grace, and prepares himself for combat in case it happens.
As you get out of the wagon, Liandra bounds out after you, grabbing her halberd off the side of the wagon. You do hear some commotion and murmurs from the other teamsters, the entire caravan slowed to a crawl. As you get past the front of Nora’s wagon, she flashes you a small smile, before her face fills with worry and concentration, tightening the grip of the reins.
You do feel something is off, as something is watching you. The mood of the horses compounds this further.
Up ahead, you do see Bort’s lead wagon and some of his caravan members about, pointing off into the sides of the woods. Marios is on her mount, riding towards the back and passing you unnoticed. Her eyes are alert and sharp, keeping fixed on the woods.
As you are one wagon ahead of Nora’s own, eerie howls reach your ears as the members start to yell. You see over a dozen wolves descend out of the treeline, bearing down in groups of three on each wagon. The horses start to reel in fear as the animals charge in, fangs bared. Nora cries out in fear as those who can fight scramble to take up defensive positions, the drivers attempting to get the animals going at a faster pace.
(The player had rolled a check here for stealth, and passed)
You’ve successfully hidden yourself that neither the caravan members nor the wolves notice you. You see other members of the Order helping the members fight up on the front, keeping the wolves at bay. 2 rush by you towards Marios on the adjacent side of the wagon you are hiding with, unaware of your presence. Their sickening, mangy smell reaches your nose with their passage.
Behind you, the wolves have immediately started to attack everyone around Nora’s wagon. One wolf makes a leap at her at her perch, almost knocking her over. She desperately tries to fend off the creature before crying out in pain, in which the wolf has clamped down on her arm. Nora tries to take her dagger and attack back with no avail. With a last-ditch effort with every ounce of her strength, she manages to shove the wolf off of her. Her olive-green shirt is now stained crimson from her bite wound on her arm, as she struggles to keep control of the horses. Something does appear to bother her as she is frantically brushing her hand over her clothes and body, as if afflicted with some ailment.
The second wolf charges directly at the silver-haired, ex-city guard, and is greeted by an almost mortal blow with the lengthy halberd. Despite on death’s door, the wolf manages to continue charging further, making contact. Liandra crumbles a little as it bites into her lower leg. The wolf lunges at her chest but slides off the leather armor, and is punched in the face when it tries to bit her leg again. Despite being interlocked with this wolf, Liandra is also similarly scratching at herself like Nora.
Besides you, the two wolves have attempted to attack Marios, one grabbing onto her upper arm near the elbow. The other tries to attack her horse, which has kept moving to not allow it to get a good bit. Marios’ pained cry is dulled, beating off the wolf with her now-drawn longsword. In between of dealing with the creatures before her, she jerks and swats at herself, as if something is crawling on her.
The last wolf makes a leap into the wagon, and the sound of the wolf yipping could be heard. You cannot make out anything from your vantage point, but you do not hear Pri cry or yell in pain.
(The player opted to come out of stealth and actually engage the wolves after this.)
You come out of stealth, moving from the wagon in front of Nora, making a beeline to go save her. A look of relief washes over her face as you take a charge at the wolf she had just pushed off, readying your shortsword and going in for a strike.
Unfortunately you are off kilter, which is not helped by the panicked horses right next to you. This alerts the wolf as it turns to face you, letting an angry howl. It bares its teeth as you can tell this wolf is not in the best of health, and something is quite wrong with it.
You swing wide, the wolf jumping backwards out of the way. You’re unable to stop your momentum as you spin around, falling backfirst prone onto the ground. Nora lets out a short yell of alarm at this, keeping the wagon moving forward to avoid any other wolves.
A bit embarrassed by his tumble, Cuffs does a kip up to stand up softly rubbing his face.
“This always happens at the worse times.”
Nora steels herself, still ebbing blood from the bite on her arm. As you’re closer, you can see that she had been frantically been brushing fleas off of her person. There are some small welts on her neck and hands from where they’ve bitten her, and are a bit larger than what you usually associate with a flea.
On the other side of the wagon, you see Marios bring down her sword on one of the wolves attacking her, killing it one fell swoop. It’s pained cry fills the air as it slumps to the ground lifeless. Marios points her sword at the second wolf, calling upon the power of Iomede as a bright bolt of light shoots towards it. The wolf yelps, hopping almost two feet off the ground to dodge the attack, not expecting a divine bolt from heaven.
Behind the wagon, Liandra does a 360 spin, the axe of the halberd connecting with the next wolf’s skull. Without a pause she jabs the halberd into the back of the wagon, a cry from the other attacking wolf as it was stabbed. She faltered and seemed unwell for a moment, attempting to also brush off the fleas that had plagued her as well.
The wolf let out another yelp as it’s now lifeless corpse tumbled out the back of the wagon. Pri bounded out aftewards, running up to your side with a katar in hand. The top of her head reaches your shoulder, her chest rising up and down as the tries to catch her breath.
“Did ya get him? Let’s get the rest!” The eccentric bard looks fairly cheerful despite having a wolf attack her a moment ago.
A loud howl in the woods catches everyone’s attention, Marios’ face sharply looking to the treeline. A giant wolf stands at the top of the hill, green liquid dripping from its fangs. It’s eyes glow green, and it head reaches well to your neck in height. The massive paws start to stride towards the caravan with purpose, snarling and eyeing everyone it sees.
The wolf that was attacking Marios breaks, running to join its larger companion and form up. Both start snarling and barking at you.
Brushing his hair back into his hood Cuffs takes off towards the larger one, but makes a break for the trees around it attempting to hide before attacking it.
You make a dash towards the treeline, fleeting fast that the wolves don’t notice. As you turn out of sight of the creatures, you come to a stop close to them, which are focused on the other members of the caravan in the open.
With the feline grace he had when he was skulking betwixt the wagons, Cuffs appears from the shadows sliding under the larger wolf. Slicing its stomach, he rolls out from under it and prepares to be attacked.
The wolf yelps as your shortsword digs into its belly, turning towards you to snarl with the green ooze from his mouth dripping onto the ground.
The smaller wolf attempts to lunge at you multiple times, but misses in all its attempts.
Marios comes around the back of the wagon on her mount, shooting another divine lance towards the wolves in front of you. Both wolves scatter as another bolt of light misses them. Frustrated by this, Marios raises her sword vertically to the heavens, saying a prayer to her deity for blessings. Her sword starts to crackle and glow yellow from being emblazoned with holy energy.
Liandra seems to be back to her normal self, running over with her halberd straight ahead. She plows it straight into the neck of the smaller wolf, killing it instantly. She flanks you to the left, feet apart.
Pri moves closer behind Liandra, fists balled as she looks determined.
“You can do it! We’re right behind you, don’t worry.”
The bigger wolf focuses its attention on you. It’s mad that you were the one to draw first blood on it, the snarl getting only nastier.
With a gurgling breath, the larger wolf spews a foamy green spray straight towards you. Pri yelps and jumps out of the way barely, grabbing your wrist as foul-smelling, foamy acidic saliva passes by you. Bits of stray dribble splatters onto your cloak and Pri’s skirts, leaving small holes from where it starts to eat away from the fabric. If Pri hadn’t been there to look out and inspire you, you would’ve had a painful and unpleasant acid saliva shower.
This unnatural wolf shakes his head side to side, the stray spatter shaking onto the ground as it makes a lunge at you. Pri’s luck saves you once again as you duck out of the way, the wolf sailing over you. In a split-second decision, it decides to charge at Pri instead, as she’s the one closest to it standing. Pri yanks her skirts back for mobility, a silly red and black stockinged leg shoving the wolf off course from its attack.
Sliding behind the larger wolf before slinking away to hide, Cuffs attempts to hide before attacking again.
Despite this wolf seeming more dangerous than the others, it’s focused attacks on Pri has allowed you to hide yourself, and for it to not notice you.
With this advantage, Cuffs attacks the wolf.
As Pri is squaring off against the wolf, that gives you the window of opportunity you were looking for. You come in from behind and strike at it with your shortsword for a significant amount of damage. It’s starting to bleed heavily from the two major wounds you’ve unleashed upon it, as it starts to act disoriented and confused.
Marios remains with the caravan, riding alongside other wagons and attacking other wolves to help drive them off. She rides ahead, leaving you, Liandra and Pri to handle the larger wolf.
Liandra charges in, the point of her halberd going straight into the heart of the wolf. It cries out loudly one last time before collapsing to the ground, glowing eyes half-shut as it foams at the mouth
Upon hearing the cry, the rest of the wolves abandon their attack, turning towards the wood and fleeing. It’s only a moment before the countryside is empty again.
Liandra catches her breath, spinning her halberd around before driving the staff against the ground. She looks at you and Pri, a small smile playing on her lips.
“Not bad. Don’t think Mr. Big Bad Wolf was expecting us to actually fight his pack off.” She exhaled and rested a hand on her hip. “You all right?”
Pri pats your shoulder, peeking out from around you towards the dead bodies. Her earrings and bangles jingle softly, bulky skirts pressing against you as the scent of frankincense and sage reach your nose.
“I am fine. We should check Nora though she doesn’t seem to be in good condition. Anyone reasonably intelligent should check the large wolf to see what was wrong with it.”
Cuffs rubs his head before heading over to Nora to check up on her.
“That’d probably be Marios or her daughter. I’m not too bright.” Liandra shrugged.
“Yes, we should check up on them. And probably get your leg looked. You don’t want to turn rabid or something.”
Pri glanced at Liandra’s leg worriedly, where the bite marks and blood could be seen.
“Ahh, all right. Come on. I’ll go get Miss Pope to look at the wolves.”
The three of you make your way back to the caravan, where you see everyone calming the horses and trying to get everyone back and moving again. Tamli the half-orc woman was busy bossing the other teamsters around to get back going, while Bort was ensuring that nobody was hurt seriously.
You see Nora slumped a little against the side of her wagon, her wounded arm outstretched. A blonde woman with blue cleric robes, elven ears a long golden moon staff has her hand over the wound, a soft glow closing up the wounds.
Nora looks up at you, relief in her face. The welts from the fleas are still present, and muddy footprints from the wolf are on her burgundy skirt. She looks worse for wear, but at least she’s alive and not gravely injured.
“Oh Cuffs, did you get ’em? Thanks for trying to help me. Didn’t mean for you to land on your butt.”
“I-…It’s fine. It was just an enemy I haven’t fought before but yeah we got them. How are you feeling Nora?”
His tone despite his gravely voice is softer and less harsher then usual.
Nora exhales, looking at her patched up arm. The cleric has started to wiggle her fingers, casting prestidigitation to clean and mend her shirt sleeve.
“A bit shaken, itchy and just trying to catch my bearings. I’m all right. I thought rampant orcs in the tavern were scary, now I have something else to add to that list. Never thought a wolf would jump me like that.”
She visibly shuddered.
“Ey, you’ll be a’ight. As long as we’re around.” The cleric clumsily patted Nora’s head, before using her minor magic to clean the most dirty parts on the skirt.
The blonde woman looks up at you, eyebrows furrowed. She didn’t look too far off from Marios, and it was reasonable to assume the two were related. Her height was a similar trait she shared with her mother.
“Don’t think I met you before. Name’s Yorina. Who are you?” Her accent was lackadaisical.
“You can call me Cuffs. It’s a pleasure to make your…acquaintance Yorina.”
He scratches his face for a moment.
“Well once we get to town, I’m sure we can get you cleaned up a bit better about those fleas and all that Nora. Are you good to keep doing the uh…wagon riding?”
He stretches out and looks to Yorina and Marios looking between the two of them.
“You two sister’s or cousins or something?”
He states not as a compliment, but not wanting to be rude to the older woman’s age.
“Well, glad to meet you, Cuffs.” her tone had a confident snark to it, a smile playing on her lips.
Nora glances back at the wagon, rubbing her arms.
“Well, I’ll be alright with riding that. I’m actually the only one skilled enough with the Order driving the wagon. And I’ve not really had this sort of problem in the past. I’m sure Pri or somebody will just ride with me upfront to help.”
“Yeah, Liandra probably. She’ll poke anything to death that dares to bother you,” Yorina rubbed her shoulder.
“But I should be fine till we get to town. Pesky fleas. I think I got them all, but whatever they carried is sort of still bothering me. Ew.” Nora makes up her face, itching at her side once more.
Upon hearing your question, Yorina stifled a laugh. Her eyes darted to Marios, who examined the now dead wolves from atop her horse.
“Ehh, she’s my mom. I had a human dad that hooked up with her before she found her elven mate, and I’ve sort of been the runt. My full elven sister and dad both have sticks up their behinds, and my real human dad is somewhere out there. Apparently some of my mannerisms come from him.”
“Perhaps Nora you should avoid scratching. It’ll just agitate them more and worsen your state.”
He gives a concerned look before a look of empathy to Yorina.
“I’m half elf too, don’t know my parents though.”
He wipes the blood off of his short sword before sliding it into the sheathe on his back.
“Well, I know mine’s out there. And my “elf dad” hated mom and me after he found out. So we’ve been wandering out together since. At least we’re not looked on as something disgusting.”
Nora makes up her face at her comment to stop itching, not stopping.
“I know, it just…bothers me.”
Yorina jokingly smacked her hand that was scratching, eliciting a “Hey!” and a frown from the commoner.
Heavy footsteps sound behind you, as you find Tamli and Bort entering your circle of conversation. The well-built half-orc woman has a gruff look on her face, fangs past her lips. Bort looks fairly concerned, looking everyone over with his dwarven stature.
“Is anyone seriously injured? Everyone all right?” Bort asks.
Nora stops her itching in front of the two, straightening her posture and tucking her hand to her side. Yorina leans on her staff some.
“We’re all in one piece. Nora had a bite from a wolf, but I saw to it that she’s all right.” Yorina motions to Nora’s now mended arm.
“Good, good. I’m glad to actually have some holy healers traveling with us, not everyone has the art of medicine here.” Bort’s smile is appreciative, nodding his head in agreement.
“Are you good to roll? How’s your beasts?” Tamli asks. Her tone is indifferent and gruff.
“Horses are fine. I think they’re calm enough to get going.” Nora looks back to the two horses, nodding her head over to Tamli for approval.
“Good. Last wagon on the back broke its wheel and ran off the road. As soon as we fix that, we can get back going.”
Tamli jerks a thumb back down the trail. Behind Nora’s wagon, you see the last wagon in the rut of the side of the road. The teamsters are the two brothers Olf and Ulf, who are complaining to the other caravan members how the wolves hurt them pretty bad. Liandra is by the side of the wagon, nudging the broken wheel with her foot.(edited)
“The more hands to help, the better. Give us a hand, will you?” Tamli gives you a short but very firm nod.
“Get mounted up and be ready. And don’t worry, we’re right around the corner. Yell if you see a flea or a wolf, we’ll come running.”
Nora at least looks a bit more calmer now, almost cracking a smile at Yorina’s comment. She starts to scramble back up onto her perch on the wagon, gathering up the reins.
Bort and Tamli start to head towards the ditched wagon, with Yorina in tow.
Cuffs gives a quiet nod and begins to walk, ready to help the cart get back to being fixed and on track. Stretching his body and cracking his fingers.
When you arrive to the last wagon, so see two redhead men with long hair and beards, almost looking identical. They’re busy carrying on with the other caravan members, boo-hooing about how the wolves almost devoured them and left nasty wounds. They look untouched, compared to Nora who actually got attacked by a wolf with your own eyes.
Liandra is talking to another human teamster as if offering a suggestion, and from your vantage point, you do see Pri behind the wagon studying the situation with a hand on her chin.
Bort comes up to the man Liandra’s talking to, nudging him to pay attention.
“How’s the wheel replacement going?” He asks.
“Just gotta put the wheel on, boss. The lasses figured out it’d be best to put the wheel on first, rather than try to drag the wagon out first.”
“Good, you’re going to do that now?”
The teamster nodded.
“With extra hands now, it’d be helpful. Especially since those two aren’t worth their while.”
He motions to Olf and Ulf, who are still carrying on about their wolf attack.
“Hey, come on. Help us lift this.”
Liandra has a less stern look on her face, waving you over. There’s still holes in her stocking, but her bite would has appeared to be healed like Nora’s. Pri scurries over upon seeing you, waiting to be told what to do.
“One moment, Miss Liandra.”
He states before walking to the two larger twins, changing his walking style to something a bit more rough and slouching his shoulders down audibly changing his voice.
“Aye. That wolf attack was dangerous. You two almost died. They’ll attack again if this isn’t on the road. Yer wanna help us? Sure ya strong lads can help us do this and we can all be on our merry way to town ain’t we? Headin’ off to the tav’rn and such getting wasted all night or a good nights sleep or pull a roight ole prank.”
The two brothers turn to you, surprised that someone actually is addressing them. They look at each other, at the wagon, then slowly nod.
“Aye, I s’pose so. Let’s give it a go, ‘all we?”
The two brothers take ahold of the wagon, Liandra grabbing the rear end. You tighten your grip on your section, and heave to lift.
Trying his best he uses as much leverage to help lift as he can
The four of you grasp the wagon and heave upwards. Your muscles burn as you feel yourself giving out, Liandra wobbling with her head tilted upwards in a grimace. As you feel yourself about to lose your grip, Ulf gets a second wind, and you just barely manage to keep the wagon up long enough. Tamli and the other teamster shove the spare wheel on, pushing the lock pin in place.
Everyone catches their breath as the wagon is successfully pulled out of the ditch. As Olf and Ulf go to mount up, your arms and back feel like they want to give out. Liandra looks exhausted as well, clearly showing on her face.
(The player failed the strength check, and was fatigued as a penalty).
Bort comes up besides you clapping both you and Liandra on the shoulders.
“Great job, great job all around. I don’t know what I’d do without all of you helping us get on track. I really appreciate all of you. When we get back in town, dinner and drinks are on me. How’s that?”
He glances at both of you, a broad smile on your face.
“I wouldn’t mind that after a nap.”
He rubs his back and gives a sigh.
“Well I’m going to lie down in a carriage.”
“Yes, might as well catch a nap now while we head into town, we’re only about an hour away,” Bort informs you.
“Yeah, catch some winks on the cot in Nora’s wagon. We’ll wake you up when you arrive.” Pri adds.
Liandra makes her way back to Nora’s wagon, joining her on the front seat. Regardless of where you go, Pri hops in the back of Nora’s wagon, taking a seat next to the backboard.
He heads to the cot and lies in it.
As you collapse onto the cot, you hear Nora snap the reins as the wagon jars to start moving. The wagon rattling fills your ears as you hear calls as everyone falls in line, and once again you’re on the move. As your eyes close, you hear soft tones of a flute reach your ears as you fall asleep, spying Pri playing her instrument before you slumber off.
You don’t dream much, but petite hands gently shake you awake, that incensed smell reaching your nose again. Pri is over you, hair draping off her shoulders. From the light that you see, it must be late evening.
With a yawn and a stretch cuffs stretches.
“I’m still alive right?”
He sits up softly and rubs his eyes before standing up.
“Well, you’re talking to me, so I think you are.”
Pri leaned back to give him room, a teasing look on her face.
Out the back of the wagon, you see several simple, wood-and-thatch buildings, most of them homes. Many of them appear to be in various states of disrepair. You can feel the wagon turn as you see they’re making a circle around a strange flat stone in the middle of the town square, which has a hole in the center and a depression off to the side. It’s covered by moss, as if it hadn’t been used in ages.
One thing does strike you; you don’t see anyone about in the town square.
“Why is it so quiet in town?” He scratches his face. “I feel a lot better now. It’s oddly quiet. Well it’s weird to wake up to a pretty face and silence for once.”
He hand absentmindedly goes near his sword as he leans out the back ensuring his hood is up and mask too. Fixing his short black hair to behind his ears.
“I’m not sure. I heard some weird things about the other teamsters nicknaming it “Plaguestone”, because of a plague that killed most of the people a few years back; but it’s real name is Ethran’s folly.”
As you look out, you see the wagons come to a stop and everyone starting to dismount. Pri hops out first and leaves you to your own devices, going to join up the the other members of her party. Many of the other teamsters and caravan members are doing the same, securing the wagons and milling about. They all seem to congregate outside a one-story tavern that’s called the Feedmill, which has most definitely seen better days.
A halfling stablehand comes running out, fussing over the horses and asking all the teamsters about their conditions. She takes Marios’ horse as she dismounts, leading the massive warhorse into the stables. Marios brushes herself off, flips her hair and then glides into the inn.
Nora has hopped down, tying the reins and releasing the harness so that the halfling woman can stable them. Bort heads off outside the ring of wagons into another part of town, supposedly to do his business. Tamli directs everyone to secure the wagons, Olf and Ulf sauntering off to the tavern.
Heading to the tavern, Cuffs stretches out and looks to the group pulling his hood and mask down. Hoping he’s far enough away to not get noticed as he heads in. He sits a bit away from everyone, not wanting to entirely connect to them in his current…state as an escaped prisoner.
As you enter, you only see one patron total that belongs to Ethran’s Folly, a brutish bald man who eyes you before returning to his drink. Two human servers (man and woman) and a male gnome are going about, attempting to get orders and tend to the sudden influx of new customers. A young woman is behind the taproom counter, overseeing everything.
Yorina and Marios are sitting by themselves, staves rested against their chairs.
Pri, and two unidentified women are at another table. You recognize these women as part of their group, but you’ve not met personally. One has dark skin, a wide-brimmed hat and a skirt with glowing jewels. The other is a blonde in Lian-styled clothing of a priestess.
Liandra seats herself with another unfamiliar face, which appears to be some blue tiefling in champion armor. You barely recognize her too, but have only seen her once since you had hopped onto Bort’s caravan.
One of the human servers come towards you.
“The name’s Trin! Would you like the local special? Or something less….turnip-y?”
With a quiet scanning of the room, Cuffs looks to the human.
“What do you mean by….turnipy, Miss Trin?”
Trin laughs nervously, almost looking ashamed.
“Ah, well. Y’see, because of the blight here at Ethran’s Folly, not a lot of crops grow well. Turnips are one of the few things that do; so most of our food is turnip based. Turnip cake, turnip soup, turnip ale….more regular stuff such as meat or grains are imported, and are in short supply. So they fetch more on the menu.”
Giving a warm smile, Cuffs speaks up.
“Then I’ll have the local special. How bad could it be? I’ve had worse.”
Trin looks at your with a smile on her face, hands on her hips.
“Alright then! You’re part of Bort’s group this evening, so I’ll have your meal come out when he gets back. I’ll send some ale for you in in the meantime.”
Trin then leaves your table into the kitchen.
Nora comes in several minutes later, looking around the tavern to figure out where to sit. She’s changed into clean clothes not touched by the flea-infested wolves, looking a bit better about herself. Her attire matches that more of a settled townsperson, and her bangs look combed.
Cuffs gives a smile and a warm wave to Nora as he proceeds to drink a bit.
He wanted to try to be as warm as possible, and was happy to see her in a somewhat better condition. He was hoping she’d get better soon. However, he was still worried and stopped waving, not wanting to invite her over to chat with a criminal.
Nora seems to contemplate going over to sit with Cuffs, but instead turns her attention to the clerics. She mouths a ‘later’ to him, before taking a seat next to Yorina.
Awhile after you finish your drink, and Bort finally returns from his business. By now the taproom is filled with several farmers from the area, and it is now a lively and busy place. Lights are lit as the sun sets beneath the horizon, lively chatter filling the inside of the walls.
Bort seems to motion for a few of the Lavender Order to follow him, a ratty halfling bard leading the way. Catching sight of you, he sweeps his arm wide to follow, a big smile on his face.
“Come, my friend. We are about to have dinner! I’ve reserved a separate table for the select few who helped us.”
Behind him, Liandra, Pri, Nora and Marios are in a line behind him. Trin organizes the rest of the party into surrounding tables nearby, so at least they’d be easier to keep track of orders.
Cuffs gave a look of concern. He wanted to go, but thought for all of them it’d be better off with him staying here; he finally decided to go. What’s the worst that could happen?
He got up and walked over, joining them and giving a bit of a shy smile and a wave. As he found his own seat within the area, whatever is open to him he wasn’t too picky.
You ascend a short flight of steps up onto a private booth, a long table starting to be waited on by Trin and the gnome. Bort takes his seat at the head of the table, Marios to his left and Tamli to his right. Liandra passively regards you, making you sit elsewhere.
The other end of the table seems more appealing. Despite the half-orc’s imposing presence, being in the company of Pri, Nora and Yorina (who had bustled in last minute behind everyone) mitigated that. Yorina was at the end of the row, casually nodding at you as you sit. She pulls her staff closer to give you room.
Nora peeks her head forward, catching sight of you. Her mouth forms an “o” as she scrambles up from her seat, abandoning her previous position. Yorina rolls her eyes as Nora takes up residence on the other side of you, skirts spread out on the bench. Everyone scoots to utilize the space, finally settling in for their meal.
The halfing bard introduces himself; his name is Flonk, and Bort has hired him to entertain everyone while they eat. He sets up in a corner on a barrel, pulling out his lute and beginning to play. The notes of the lute float softly by everyone, filling the space with music.
Your food starts to be served. Platters of rabbit, quail and seed cake, slightly burnt. Turnip ale is provided to everyone.
(This list was provided to the player for seating arrangements, as the following events were crucial to where people were sitting.
- Bort, head at table
- Maros, Liandra and Pri seated to his left (closest to furthest)
- Tamli, Yorina, you and Nora seat to his right (closes to furthest)
Cuffs gives a wave and stays rather quiet, helping pass food and drinks around the table as he gets his own meal and drink. It’s a bit weird seeing such a community within this group. It thew him off has it was something he hadn’t seen before.
Nora stifles a giggle at your wave, not really saying much at the moment. Yorina occasionally side-glances you out of the corner of her eye, but appears to be more curious if anything. Your observation of the relationships do stick out to you; the girls are good friends with each other, and Bort is grateful to the company in his presence.
As food is passed around, Bort starts to regale the table with tales. Occasional murmurs fill the table beneath his stories, but he’s given the respect to speak, as he is your host.
Bort starts to go on a tale about how he was traveling through a mountain road, not too far from the Five Kings Mountains. His caravan was captured by a fire giant, and Bort was being lowered into a kettle. At the last moment, he tricked the giant to use a plant called “frostbloom” in his soup, claiming it was spicy. When the giant tasted the broth, it froze his mouth shut, allowing him to escape with his entire crew.
Several of the girls have confused looks on her faces, Yorina furrowing her eyebrows. Even the stately Marios is perplexed, tilting her head a little to try to understand what was just told to her.
When Nora giggled, the already pale faced Cuffs cheeks went a bright red as he looked over to the man and simply commented.
“Ah so it is one of those irony based names? Like Little John but it turns out he’s a 7 foot tall Goliath who is as wide as a carriage and could crush me with two fingers kinda thing eh?”
He looked around at the group of women as he took a sip, trying to hide and act off his embarrassment and shyness of the situation. However, seeing a group of people so large without any conflicts inside rubbed him the wrong way. It felt off and weird.
“Oh yes, yes of course!” Bort assures you, waving your concern away with his hand.
“And I got away with the skin of my teeth, too!”
Marios did not seem impressed by this story. Yorina had a quirked eyebrow but said nothing. Nora and the others soaked it up without question. Tamli had a dull look on her face from the retelling.
Nora noticed Cuff’s red cheeks, in which she tried to hide a smile. She politely picked at her food without a word.
As Bort began to ramble on, there was a loud crack outside the private booth. Some yelling could be heard as dishes crashed to the floor, other patrons beginning to yell.
“What the heck is going on out there?” Yorina muttered.
Cuffs pardons his way out of the booth, his cheeks calming down and looks outside to investigate. Moving slowly and methodically forward, he didn’t think there was any threat; but from his line of work and way of living, he can never be too careful.
“Don’t worry I’ll go have a look. It’s probably just dishes.”
As you get up and look outside the booth, you see the tail end of what is now becoming a bar room brawl. The large man you had seen solitary at the table, has now gotten into a fight with the gnome and human male waiter, apparently over spilling food. As other people have gotten knocked around from the incident, everyone else has started to rowdily engage with each other.
“Well, what is it?” Bort asked impatiently.
“Bar fight. Over some spilt food.”
Cuffs wasn’t surprised. He’d seen murder over much less things in the prison. He gave a sigh and walked over.
“Oi. What’s going on?”
“What? At a time like this?!” Bort angrily got up from the table and starts to storm after you.
As you are in the midst of walking over to find out what’s going on, Bort starts to shout at the entire establishment. Nora peeks her head out after him to watch the proceedings.
“NOW LISTEN HERE, ALL OF YOU-“
His efforts are rewarded as an angry farmer hurls a pewter mug at him, which squarely connects with his forehead. The dwarf wobbles for a moment before he slumps to the floor unconscious. Nora gasps, unsure of what to do.
This just seems to rile everyone up more, The entire bar floor is now in a brawl, as half-drunk farmers duke it out with everyone. The rest of the Lavender order has attempted to escape the chaos, beelining to you and the booth’s general direction. They are the tiefling paladin, blonde priestess and the curly-haired woman with the glowing jewels.
“Oh, tarnation, I’ll go get the sheriff!” Delma yells, quickly making an exit.
The three girls crowd around you, back to back to cover all sides. Nora yelps and hides back in the booth; four brawlers nearby focus their attention on your group immediately.
(Initiative for a fight was rolled here.)
Lillith leaves her sword sheathed, bringing her fists up as a boxer. Her dark blue hair glistens in the tavern’s light, her tiefling tail curling slightly at the end.
“We can’t kill them! Otherwise, let them have it!”.
She let’s out the first flurry of punches, which stuns but does nothing to the round, husky farmer she picked as a target. Her face is filled with confusion as to why she her attacks did nothing, crouching a bit more.
The farmer that she attacked turned to her with a snarl, swiping a chair and bringing it down on her. Lillith turned her head away in a cry as the chair splintered onto her, making her stagger back. A cut was on her face as the farmer punched her a couple more times, unable to get past her full-plate breastplate. His punches sounded against the metal as she held her ground, gritting her teeth.
“What was that about nonlethal?” Keisha the jeweled woman snapped.
“She’s right, I don’t fancy a night in prison!” Sophie interjected, the blonde woman’s accent quite soothing to the ears.
The farmer next to him is tall, less built but equally wiry. He turns without warning and delivers a series of punches towards of you. Two catch you square in the ribs, delivering 12 points of damage. The third glances off your shoulder instead.
The 3rd farmer turns her attention to the blonde miko, bringing down fists on her as well. Sophie squeals as she gets hit in the gut, eyes squeezed shut as she takes a hit. She quickly recovers, ducking to the side to avoid the rest of the blows.
(The player attempted a diplomacy check against the angry farmers; he was only partially successful.)
“Hey buddy, lets talk this out huh like civilized folk? I don’t want you to hurt me and vice versa; so how about we just mellow out?”
The first two farmers snarl at you, but slowly come to a pause, realizing that you are not engaging them. The still glare at you menacingly; while they no longer attack you, they certainly aren’t moving. Alcohol is heavy on their breaths, thought and decisions impaired.
The other two farmers pay no heed to your words. However, they seemed more interested in landing their blows on your accompanying heroines, focusing their attention on them instead.
And that was the last entry of this tale after we dropped. I certainly you do hoped you enjoyed it! As a goal of 2021, I’m hoping to share my tales of my tabletop adventures for those to read. With luck, the next one will be complete at least.