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This is a test of reformatting, from Paizo to Myth-Weavers. I'm also curious to see if I can enter a post this long.

The Paizo Archive, Part I: Hungry in Aslov

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DM Torillan

2nd Waescdaeg of Snaermonan, 499 IR. Town of Aslov, the Freelands.

The Freelands. A misnomer if there ever was one, as they are anything but free. One must pay for everything, and sometimes dearly. And this being the middle of winter in the Hearthlands, one thing in particular is expensive - very expensive...

Food.

With coin running out, the four of you have taken to looking for work to keep food in your bellies. Two days ago, you noticed a flyer in the market square of Aslov, seeking men of courage craving adventure. The flyer said to meet at the Four Sheaves tavern at noon this day, just outside the gates of town, and to tell the keeper you are to meet "Rodgar".

Once at the tavern, you are ushered to a table in the corner of the tavern, near the fireplace. Some simple fare is laid out in front of you, with the barmaid telling you its been paid for already.

After about a half an hour, the tavern door opens and in steps a well-dressed man. The man takes off his cloak and shakes off the snow. He approaches your table without looking around, bows politely, and takes a seat.

"My name is Rodgar ap-Annwn," he says after ordering another round of drinks, "a farmer from the village of Dalsetter. Thank you all for coming.

"I'll get right down to business. In return for 50 gold scields apiece, I wish you to take a cart to the village of Dunross and collect a shipment of flour. The flour then needs to be taken to the baker in Dalsetter.

"It shouldn't take you more than a few days each way. I would go myself, but I'm forced to stay in Aslov due to other business. Take what I owe you for your services out of the money the baker pays you and drop the rest off at my house. The baker knows where I live. I'll collect it later.

"I know it's poor weather for traveling, but word has reached me the baker has run out of flour. A poor harvest and cold winter meant we were rather short of flour before the snows began. These are emergency supplies, vital if Dalsetter is going to survive the winter."

He reaches into his jacket and pulls out a scroll, which he places in front of you. "This is a map of the area, just in case."

He then pulls out an envelope from his jacket. "This is a letter authorizing you to collect the flour for me. Just hand it over to the granary supervisor in Dunross.

"Dunross has a very large mill, which serves the surrounding farming villages. The grain from these villages is transported to Dunross and stored in its granaries before being ground into flour. The villages can have access to a mill without having to build their own.

"I can't tell you how vital this delivery is. That is why I am offering so much, to ensure that it can get done. Will you take the job?" he asks.

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Varn ver Sigurdstjon

Knowing that even in an apparently placid town like this, harsh times could force men to desperate (and foolish) deeds, when Varn, his 'charge' Ferguth ap Garth, and the two strangers they had shared a meal with last evening had been shown to the inn's table, he had instinctively taken the chair which allowed him the best view of the door. The wily Saxa tracker had noted which of the other occupants of the room still carried anything that might serve as a weapon, and having claimed his chair, had subtly but firmly steered Ferguth to the one furthest from any potential attackers.

He also noted that the closest seat to any trouble was the one chosen by the young warrior who had first been introduced by his travelling companion, Serin Skald. Varn recalled the momentary flicker of fear that had washed over him at the sight of the Hearth Elf; it wasn't his horribly burnt and scarred skin - obviously the result of some terrible conflagration - but the look that he had given the woodsman and his reliquary master. It was one that spoke of utter confidence in his ability as a swordsman, and coupled with the lithe grace with which he moved, had told Varn that should he turn out to be a foe, the old man's life would end on the snowy streets of Aslov that day.

It was to their great good fortune, that the bard - one of those naturally garrulous and easy going individuals who it would be difficult to dislike even as you found him stealing a kiss from your daughter before slipping out of her bedroom window - had explained how the two had met, and while Varn still cast occasional glances at the paired curved blades that the Elf wore, he had allowed himself to relax slightly, knowing that were he truly an assassin or hunter seeking to steal any lore the sage had collected, he would surely have completed his task, and not now be sitting drinking with them in the tavern.

Returning to the matter at hand, he had listened to the entreaties made by the man Rodgar. Varn understood exactly the man's motivations for offering the job to them - greed clothed in the veneer of altruism. Why else would he offer such a ridiculous sum for such an apparently simple task if he didn't stand to gain personally? 'Or maybe' thought Varn sadly, 'too many years mean you now only see the worst in things'. He took a long draft of the weak, earthy ale they had been served, then set the clay mug down and stroked his thick moustache with his left hand, before instinctively reaching down and running it over the leather cap covering where his right had should be. Over 20 years since he had lost it - cut off by a foul and vicious Saxa noble called Thorbjun - yet still on occasion the stump throbbed and twitched as if the hand were still attached.

In better times, he would have laughed at the prospect of Ferguth - a reliquary and sage - performing such a menial deed. Where was the hidden lore to uncover, where were the secrets of the elves and dwarves which the earth would yield up, where was the prestige in uncovering magical secrets from ages past? Varn suppressed a snort. Despite his vast knowledge, as if a library had taken human form, Ferguth's searches did not always prove to be fruitful. Even with the assistance of Varn, his companion now over over five years and experienced in navigating paths long forgotten or impassable to those without skill, more often than not the snippets of knowledge collected, collated and pored over by the other man had turned out to be dead ends, figments, or lead to caches long since looted.

And so, they found themselves in need of funds to pursue their next search; funds which this small detour would provide. In the five years they had been together - partnered by their reliquary masters - the two had become, if not friends, then at least comfortable in one another's company. Many nights they had spent round a fire in the depths of the wilds without so much as a word between them: Ferguth with his head buried in a tome or scroll, Varn, bred from dour Saxa stock, for whom speaking each word seemed to be as appealing as taking out his purse and throwing scields into a river. Yet, for all the fact they acted as equals, Varn was a Guardian of the Arcane, and as such deferred to the younger man when it came to decisions.

"Will you take the job?" he heard the man Rodgar say at the conclusion of his speech. Varn's eyes passed over the Elf and the bard, before alighting on Ferguth. He waited to see if they would be making a trip into the very shadow of the ice barrier...

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Serin Skald

Serin finishes chewing, wipes his mouth, and speaks in his silvery baritone.

"Yours is a very generous offer," he says with a smile, "but rain never falls but from some clouds. Can you tell us more about the... difficulties we might face in this task? What gives you such pause that you require such a stalwart delivery service?"

He glances approvingly at the fierce Rindilnir, then somewhat more curtly at newly-met Varn.



His eyes flicking quickly but carefully over their prospective employer, Serin sits back in his seat and butters another roll. Harsher fare than I had in Chalcis, he thinks, but it's hard to argue with free!

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Ferguth ap Garth

Ferguth listens carefully to the others as he sips his third glass of wine, mulling over the local events, and information from travellers he has heard over the past couple days, to determine what possibly could be the cause of a farmer from Dalsetter coming to Aslov, to return along the road the farmer came from, to pick up a load of flour he most likely could have picked up himself as he passed through Dunross in the first place. Why couldn't he find men to take the flour from Dunross on his way through in the first place? Or why couldn't he take it himself?



Looking at the map, more out of curiosity of who the cartographer as and how recent it was, Ferguth pondered it for a while. When the wench came over to ask if they needed anything else, he ordered another bottle of wine. Glancing at Rodgar, and then back at the map, with his finger tracing the path from Aslov to Dunross, he spoke.

"Yes, what can you tell us of the road here to Dunross and," his finger traced beyond Dunross to Dalsetter, "from Dunross to your hometown of Dalsetter?"

The elementalist glanced at Varn with a puzzled look, not sure if the mountain of a man would come up with the same skepticism. The money was good, and they needed money. Perhaps he was over-thinking the situation.

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Rindilnir Autumnwind

As soon as we arrived, that's when I saw it, the Four Sheaves, its sign flapping in the crisp air and above that, its roof... its thatched roof... Easy, Rindilnir... It's ok.... thatched roofs are perfectly safe... they are... right?..

Serin and I enter the inn with the two humans we met the night before, down by the market square. We are all directed to a table and the older human, Varn i think his name is... as if reading my mind sits in the corner... leaving Serin and I with the best seats... the ones closest to the door... ok... this isn't too bad... if something terrible happens, gods forbid... something terrible like.. oh... I don't know... the whole place going up in flames... Serin and I ought to be able to make it out unscathed... not like last time...

Ok... just hold it together... just relax... everything's fine... stop frowning so much, I don't think the others have noticed yet... they seem to be making light conversation... although Varn has looked over this way a couple times... just don't look at the roof... make eye contact with the humans... that's it... don't look up... maybe I'll have a drink to take my mind off things... .... .... ok that's not helping... where the hell is this guy!!!

Finally he arrives... after making me wait in this Saxa death trap for half an hour... a whole half!!! an hour... at least he gets down to business... this Rodgar, he tosses a map onto the table... then he asks if we'll take the job...

Keep it together... Varn looks over this way again... Ferguth, is saying something as he points at the map... is it getting warmer in here?... Serin is saying something now, he looks at me approvingly.... is that smoke?...

"We'll do it!!!" Rindilnir bursts out suddenly. "We'll take the job, how soon can we leave.!!!"

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Ferguth ap Garth

Ferguth stops mid-sentence as the elf bursts out and raises an eyebrow. He hasn't met many of them, but this one seems a bit more on edge and nervous.

You'll take the cob? Calm, down, man. Corn is not in season right now. Now stop this talk about weaving, we're discussing a job with this fine man."

Glancing at the elf again, Ferguth thinks, Is he sweating?



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Varn ver Sigurdstjon

At the sound of Ferguth chiding the elf, Varn suddenly found that the accumulated dirt under his fingernails had taken on a great significance. With the merest glance at his charge, and the hint of a rolled eye in the direction of Serin, the old Saxa tracker took a small fruit knife out of his pack and begins to very slowly and carefully pare the dirt from underneath each nail in turn.

Negotiation, he had found in the past, was often a lengthy process of compromise and counteroffer. When Ferguth was doing the bargaining, milk was likely to turn to cheese, flowers would bloom and wither, and previously clean-shaven men would end up sporting full beards. He shook his head, as much in sympathy for what the Elf and the skald had let themselves in for than anything else...

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Serin Skald

With a glance at Rindilnir and his panicked look overhead, Serin realizes what is happening. After sharing a wry smile with Varn (Oh, I see what you have to deal with!), he turns back to Rodgar.

"Forgive my estee..." No, steam is not a good idea to put in Rindilnir's head right now... "...my valued companion. As you can see, he is an elf, unquestionably expert in the outdoors, like the land around your farms and the mill, but far more comfortable in those environs than in these cloistered quarters. As he says, of course we'll accept your offer, but the bur... the important question is what we should expect in defending your grain. We'll be far better guardians if we know what to expect, after all.

"Rindilnir, I do believe I forgot, er... that small leather bag, in the inn, as we checked out this morning. Do you think, if one of us ran back right now, they might still have it?"

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Rindilnir Autumnwind

"Oh... yes... the bag, I'll see to it at once!" Rindilnir says, eying the door, happy for a reason to leave.

Freedom!!!

"I'll leave the rest of the details of vegetables and linens in your capable hands."

Rindilnir stands and gives a quick but somehow still graceful bow, then turns and makes a bee line for the exit.

Bless you, Serin. You've pulled my arse from the fire again!

They better not tell me we're staying the night here.

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Ferguth ap Garth

Ferguth turns to Serin, "Excitable fellow, isn't he?"

Turning back to Rodgar, he takes a sip of his wine. "But they do have a point. If there are hags at the inn, what can we expect on the road?"

Ferguth was trying hard to understand the others, but they were all mumbling. Why couldn't people speak clearly?

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DM Torillan



"Fair questions, good sirs, and I will try to answer them."

Rodgar looks down at the map. "I don't anticipate any problems for you along the road, other than weather. It's just that I have pressing business here in Aslov which will prevent me from delivering the grain myself. I've been here for almost a week, and the grain wasn't ready for delivery before I left. So I need it delivered quickly."

Noticing the skeptical looks on your faces, Rodgar chuckles, then smiles broadly. "These past few years have been good to me, and I am...well...seeking new avenues that will ensure the next few years are just as good for me and my family. Does that answer your questions?"

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Serin Skald

"Is all well with the other farms in Dalsetter? It is indeed good when the Norns offer a generous wyrd, as they have done for you, but I know the flowers of fate can prove cankers of envy for others. Are you quite confident there are none there who wish you ill? I apologize for this inquisition; please know that I ask this only so that we may be better prepared as guardians for the valuable yields of your farm from the miller in Dunross."

As Serin asks this, his eyes open wide, both conveying an impression of utter honesty and openness and, at the same time, carefully examining the farmer for any traces of nervousness.



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Varn ver Sigurdstjon

Varn watched the young man put his questions to the farmer. While Ferguth might eventually grind information like this out of the man, Serin's approach was much more precise, skillfully weaving the conversation in such a way that the farmer barely realised the extent of the interrogation. The old Saxa tracker noted his mastery of words with a certain admiration - he'd never found talking to be either easy, pleasant or even desirable, so welcomed the bard's gathering of information, should it transpire the group were to accept the commission.

Varn sat a little straighter in his chair, taking in any titbits of knowledge about the surrounding land; he would file them away in the hope that if the journey proved to be less than the straightforward job described, he might make use of them when it came to ensuring the group reached their goal safely, and with the cargo intact.

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Ferguth ap Garth

Ferguth was glad that there was a talkative member in the group, but wished the young man would speak up. Arms in Dalsetter? Killer in Dunross? Why must these people mumble so?

Turning to Varn he asks, "What is he saying about a killer in Dunross? This is definitely something we should investigate. Dunross is a small town and its constabulatory may take too long in apprehending the murderer."

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Varn ver Sigurdstjon

Varn recognised that determined (he'd heard it called manic by some) gleam in Ferguth's eyes which indicated he'd come to a decision about the matter. While a couple of the bard's questions still remained unanswered by their erstwhile employer, it was now clear to the Saxa that by tomorrow they'd be on the road again. From what he'd seen of the Elf, he was sure there would be no objections from that front, and even though he was yet to find out how capable either he or Serin might be away from the comfort of civilisation, at least the fact they now numbered four meant one of the Varn's usual concerns - that brigands or worse might attempt an attack - was less pressing.

Rising to his feet (and feeling the characteristic pain in his left knee that was almost a constant companion now), Varn directed his gaze at Rodgar.

"When do we leave?"

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DM Torillan

Rodgar smiles and says "Whenever you're ready. I have a wagon with fresh horses waiting outside. There are some bags of oats for them in back of the wagon, more than enough for a few days of traveling".

He hands you the map and authorization letter, both rolled neatly into a leather scroll case. "May the blessings of Freo guide your journey, and may Rigr grant you vigilance".

Standing outside the tavern is a covered wagon with two horses that, while healthy looking, appear to be many years old. Thick winter blankets drape their backs, and they nibble on some grass still poking through the thin snow.

It is high noon when you set off, and the sun glints brightly off the light coating of thin, crunchy snow. These flakes fell a few days ago, but the bitter cold tells you that the harsh winter is approaching. Soon the whole landscape will be blanketed with thick snow.

Within the first hour, the road begins to climb into the foothills of the Jagged Peaks, known for many fearsome beasts.


While Ferguth is an NPC, I am going accept any siphoning results and not reroll them. Antagonists, I will reserve the option to use Bennies, but while Ferguth is a Protagonist NPC, I'll not be spending bennies to reroll siphoning.

Is Ferguth actually on fire? I thought he'd merely suffered a cool special effect while being Shaken. But does he actually need to be put out?

And, yes, omigodthosearescaryrats!

EDIT: On a totally different and irrelevant note, Chris, shouldn't there be an extra d in your .sig quote?

Ferguth put up his Barrier, which takes the form of him being wreathed in fire, if you remember from our initial battle with the orcs. In doing so, he suffered the Siphoning, which takes place AFTER the spell take effect. So, his Barrier is up, making him more difficult to hit, but he is affected by the Siphoning and can't cast spells for 2 rounds.

on a totally irreverent note, yes....it should...

Mmmmm...as he has one arm...NormLly I would say Agility. As you have one arm...if you give me a raise you can grab someone, and still maintain control of the horses. If you don't get the raise, you can make the choice between which you would like to do..control the horses or grab the passer by....if you fail....well...

Quote:
Originally Posted by TatteredKing View Post
Ferguth, his face still looking pale, takes a stab (-1 sustaining spell, +1 gang-up bonus) at one of the large rats.
Actually, Ferguth doesn't take the -1 for sustaining.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SWEX, page 81, 'Maintaining Powers'
For each power currently being maintained, the caster suffers a -1 to future arcane skill rolls (but not other Trait tests). A wizard maintaining armor and charm, for examples, suffers a -2 penalty to his Spellcasting rolls until he allows those powers to lapse. He does not suffer penalties to his Fighting (or other) rolls while those spells are being maintained.
Serin is, however, heartily glad he succeeded, regardless of the extra +1 to his die roll. :-)




 

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