Friday, January 22, 2010

Return to Borderville

This is the first of several "wrap-up" sessions the party underwent while attempting to secure funding for continued work on clearing the mine. By the end of these sessions, they had more work on their plates than they knew what to do with and were in the process of selling the mine to the town guard of Borderville in exchange for a percentage of the profits. Lots happened in these sessions, but most of it was over a long period. In order to bring the campaign up to the current time quickly, I'll be condensing these events into two or three more posts, touching briefly on what happened in each location they travelled to. This session deals with the party's return to Borderville, and the state of the town when they arrive.

As an aside for those reading this that are not part of the regular game, it has been obliquely established that the "town guard" of Borderville are in fact more of an organized crime group than deputies of law and order. The local Lord is a fool and a dandy, and doesn't care about the daily operation of the town as long as he continues to get his tax revenues. This leaves the guards as the de facto masters of the region, and they have used this freedom to establish themselves in all sorts of nefarious businesses. They are both the police and the thieves guild. When the party discovered this in game, it wasn't a plot point I considered important to where I thought the adventure was heading. But, as usual, the players surprised me with their actions, so I'm making it clear now, because it becomes more important going forward.

The fight with the owlbears had proved profitable. Marko and Hinda went to work binding the whelps, while Alaric constructed a series of cages to hold them. Meatwad helped Charles and Kain reestablish camp, grumbling all the time about being "saved" by Alaric, which he perceived as the magic-user stealing his glory, and then placing him in a debt of gratitude. The fighter was more than happy to shed blood with his companions, but Alaric was an interloper, who had lost his own group in the caves and was now trying to weasel his way into this one.

The journey back to Borderville took most of the day, with the party arriving at the North Gate in the early evening. It was not a pleasant trip - it was intermittently rainy, and the storm the night before had turned the paths into mud. There was no member of the group (including Hren) that was not happy to see the walls of the city when it finally came into view.

The most pleased at the homecoming was Alaric, who was interested in heading back to Long Lake as soon as he could. He lacked funding for the ferry, but told Wahleed that he would accept one of the owlbears, a wagon, and a horse as payment for his assistance to the group. Although both Meatwad and Meghan argued that the party had saved his life, and that Alaric should be showing gratitude rather than asking for payment, Wahleed agreed to the terms, provided that Alaric show him how best to break down and assemble the owlbear cages.

Having returned to their home in Borderville, the party dismissed Charles, Kain, and Marko from their service. The guards had served them well, and Meatwad promised to inform the captain of the East Gate of their satisfaction.

Next, the group checked in on their slaves, whom Wahleed was interested in freeing as soon as he could figure out the legal process. But all was not well with them. One of the girls, simply refereed to as "Girl" in the elvish tongue, had had her arm broken by a member of the town guard. Hren was furious, calling for vengeance on the man who had dared touch their servants. But Wahleed calmed her down - the town guard respected and feared the party, and would not have harmed their property without reason. He wanted to bring the matter up to the guard captain before taking action. If it turned out that the guard had acted alone or improperly, Wahleed assured Hren that he would allow the ranger to cut out the man's heart for his transgressions.

The following day, while Meatwad and Meghan recuperated from their wounds, Wahleed, Hren, and Hinda paid a visit to the office of the captain of the East Gate. They learned first that their servants had apparently gotten lost, and found themselves in an area of the city that they should not have been. They had also been witnesses to an event that they absolutely should not have seen. The perpetrators of this "event" had wanted to cut their throats for their transgression, but the guard (who "happened" to be at the scene on "unrelated business") convinced them that killing the servants of the Destrucity adventurer party would be unwise. As a form of compromise, he had broken "Girl's" arm, and escorted the servants back to their home.

On a related note, the captain mentioned that freeing the slaves was as easy as telling them they were free - but they would need to remain as servants in some form or capacity to the group if Wahleed wanted to keep them safe. Landless people with no masters were targets for slavers specifically because no one would miss them. The best way to keep them out of the slaver's hands was to make them servants or vassals. Given the group's local reputation, the girls should be reasonably safe.

The party remained in Borderville for about a week - Meatwad had never fully recovered from his experience with the evil book in the tomb beneath the caves, and a week's rest and recuperation was needed to calm his mind and prepare him for further travels. He had already swore that when next he met with Alaric, he would kill him for his arrogance and smug dismissals of the warrior's skills. Meghan agreed that another meeting with the magic-user woud probably end in violence, for she hated his cunning and shifty demeanor, as well as the way he seemed to hold all those who did not cast spells in mild contempt.

Other than that, the week was spent in preparation for the party's trip to Long Lake. They could not take the ferry for another few days, so the decision was made to make the journey on foot. They would take the owlbears to the markets there and sell them, using the money to fund continued expeditions into the mine. Eventually, Wahleed hoped to sell the mine - he had no desire to become a miner - but first it had to be made safe for workers. The owlbear whelps were the perfect form of start-up cash.

It was also hoped that the group might locate a wealthy patron or two that would be interested in helping them out. Not much was known about the city, and the opportunities for finding funding or assistance seemed remote. But Long Lake was the largest city in Silva until you reached the western coast, so if they were to find help anywhere, it was most likely here.