Brick and Stone. Wood and Nail.
Pythagos McTherian teleported with Shifty McPardee and Whuh Sdat to Talowdale. When they arrived they discovered the town is undergoing a transformation. There is a new mill, this one built from stone and has a waterwheel in the Rennar River for power. The bakery and potters workshop are complete. There is a new stone bridge across the Rennar. The wooden palisade around the village has been completed and is replete with watchtowers and gatehouses at either end of the village. There is a new boathouse on the river. Most strikingly the number of residential cottages has more than doubled, extending the village to both sides of the river. The fields were even full of quickly growing crops.
Plot Laden Encounters
Pythagos McTherian walked to the town square and found Hobarth Burgher negotiating with some of Duke Staggreig’s men. The soldiers were insisting rudely that the providing of a few conscripts could never realistically pay the taxes on this village for the year and the village would provide the conscripts and taxes demanded of them one way or the other. Pythagos McTherian walked up and demanded to know what this was about. The leftennant shouted, “Who the hell are you?” “Pythagos McTherian Royal Wizard.” There was a brief exchange of words and looks and the leftennant made a hasty retreat.
Shifty McPardee went to the checkpoint on the highway to send word to the guild and to put out notice the party wished to hire a contractor to build fortifications. He already had post waiting for him from the Cartographers Guild informing him that he had just been promoted to the rank of “Director of Shipping” for the Talowdale region. The letter further informed him that a construction crew and staff would be dispatched to construct the regional guild office.
Upon returning to the village and seeing the that it was full of refugees Shifty McPardee established a makeshift soup kitchen in the Boars Rest inn in the name of the Guild. Essentially buying a meal for everyone in need.
Whuh Sdat and Pythagos McTherian encountered Lontros the Red sitting in the Boars Rest among the refugees. He was obviously one of The Eight so they bought him a drink and sat down to introduce themselves and have a chat. Lontros said he had just came from the east having been pushed west by the war and was hoping to go into Pearl Reef in order to avoid forced conscription into one of the conflicting forces. Since Pearl Reef has been blockaded by the Bergen navy he was considering scuttling that plan. Pythagos McTherian asked if Lontros would stay in Talowdale and help him establish a school and magical research academy. Lontros declined saying he would rather go into hiding till the conflicts settle down. The two wizards agreed to exchange correspondence.
Tiny Rocks With Disproportionate Significance
Later, while walking through town Pythagos McTherian encountered another one of The Eight, Iocletian the Near-sighted. Iocletian is a man entirely absorbed in the pursuit of his research. Barely noticing anything unless he thinks it might have some bearing on his theories. Iocletian revealed that he was traveling to Talowdale because of its relative peace and security and because the local mines would be useful for his research involving minerals.
On inquiry Iocletian happily stutters through his theories with speech heavily laden with spellcraft jargon. Iocletian has noticed that magic is easier to comprehend and perform on the continent. He suspects that there is something different about the environment of the island of Verland that accounts for this. He has confirmed that the difference is with Verland by communicating with extra-planar creatures and with wizards from other parts of the world. Iocletian further believes that the difference can be accounted for by geology. He believes that a certain igneous crystal endemic to the soil and rocks of Verland is responsible. This mineral is so minuscule as to be nearly microscopic. He has alchemically refined some for a year and produced a sprinkle of crystals about the size of table salt granules. He has noticed that magical beasts will reflexively clean themselves of any material that contains this mineral. He also has noticed a correlation between deposits of this mineral and the behavior of humans and non-magical animals.
Refugees & Rumors
Whuh Sdat remained in the bar and chatted up the refugees. He learned that Duke Staggreig had withdrawn the bulk of his forces from Norge to counter the attack from Bergen. His army was able to entrench in Arborath before the forces of Bergen cut off the mountain pass. The Duke broke the siege of Arborath and rode out with his army to invade Bergen. To replenish his ranks Staggreig had sent for another round of conscripts and supplies.
Bergen had apparently made a grave miscalculation of the forces in play in this conflict. Norge was still falling rapidly. There were even unconfirmed rumors that the capitol was burning. The alliance of the northern warlords and The Blue Fist Orcs even without a heavy contingent of allies from Staggreig, were much more than the warriors of Norge were capable of dealing with.
The Bergen navy had blockaded Pearl Reef in order to cripple Duke Staggreig’s supply line. However, the Duke marched his army straight into Bergen with an exceptionally aggressive attack. The reports are that his forces are making startling progress across the north of Bergen.
The Kings best general, General Wayland has taken the Kings elite troops to secure the highroad in order to prevent any of the kings outposts from being captured.
The Capitol Steps
Pythagos McTherian met with the commander-in-chief of the Kings military and received a commission as a general in the kings military. He also received a letter of marque for Captain Biggy McLarge-Huge of the Biggonites’ piratical activities. Pythagos also requisitioned a ship and detachment of marines to be sent to assist his efforts at overthrowing the Snakebite Forge.
Pythagos and Shifty spent some time in the library of Estnod Dragonswing, learning some new spells.
Shifty McPardee returned to the thieves guild office to retake his burglary examination. This time he made it past many traps of increasing deviousness and brutality to escape with his hide intact and successfully proved his master burglary skills.
High Seas Swashbuckling Action
A Blue Fist merchant ship approached from the East bearing food for the forge. The Whiskey Twin moved into position to block their entrance to the harbor and surfaced. There was ship-to-ship missile fire and two of the Biggonites went down manning the ballistas. Biggie and Ehlonna boarded the enemy ship and slew most of the crew. Ehlonna did a moonsault over the edge of the enemy cog firing her crossbow down into the head of a goblin as she sailed overhead. They captured three goblins and Ehlonna retrieved the captains charts and ships log from the captains quarters.
Back on the Whiskey Twin they submerged. A trio of enemy warships emerged from the forge and rescued the sinking merchant ship. One was a galleon, probably the most advanced ship on the sea in this era. Once that was complete, two of the warships set course West and disappeared over the horizon.
The capture of the prisoners and records filled in many gaps in the party’s intelligence. It revealed that the Blue Fist have an entire professional military that is separate from their civilian population. The Blue Fist maintain trade routes with the continent and they have a major hidden port on the Eastern tip of the island called Skullport.
Assault on Snakebite Forge
Pythagos McTherian used magic to fly over the forge and make a map and teleport some allies into the forge near a building that they learned housed the commander. Shifty McPardee hid in broad daylight and scampered up the side of the building. He peered inside the building to find out it was operating much like an office with all the paper pushing one would expect from a highly organized centralized sophisticated military organization. Finding an empty office he cut through the glass and helped the party members up. They made their way up to the third floor to confront Baglor Bone-Marrow the commander of the forge.
I cast Fireball! I cast Lightning Bolt! Oh Shit! I cast Teleport!
The fight began with Shifty McPardee getting off a sneak attack on one of the sub-chiefs working in the office. He didn’t go down. Shifty stabbed him again. The Hobgoblin didn’t go down. The party spent their surprise round and the next one in a slug fest against a room full of hobgoblin sub-chiefs. In the third round Whuh Sdat had made it to the door to Baglor’s office but Baglor had the initiative so he kicked that door down and hacked into Whuh with his man-slayer axe. Whuh Sdat got the hell out of the way.
Pythagos McTherian fired off a fireball into Baglor’s office hitting Baglor, Ubjarajha, and two guards. The guards, all the office furniture, and portions of the stone walls were incinerated out of existence by the vigorous magical fire. Baglor charged out of his office straight for the mage. Crashing through the chaotic combat all around them.
Everyone used their next round to run to Pythagos and he teleported them back to the Whiskey Twin.
Break Damn You!
All this time Donald Oates and Ehlonna AriEr were causing a diversion at the seaside gates to the forge trying to batter them down with Mildred, Donald’s triceratops mount. They slammed into that door for well over ten minutes while taking crossbow and ballista fire from the walls. Ehlonna AriEr took out several orcs with her crossbow.
When they finally had battered the door to pieces they only found a portcullis behind it being backed up with archers and trolls. They decided to withdraw back to the Whiskey Twin.