Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Part 5: Minor Acts of Arson

Can we go anywhere without the party splitting up and causing trouble? Probably not, but at least this time they stayed pretty close to each other.

After a few days of rest in Doncaster and getting their supplies topped off, the party set off for the Southern Isles. After a few days of smooth sailing (well, sailing in the airship sense), the party came upon a smoke signal coming off an island below, requesting aid. The party quickly conferred, discussing all the possibilities. Could be a trap. Could be legit. Could be a waste of time. Who knows? Naturally, to answer that question, again, Lord Somen Hing cast Clairvoyance to get a visual of what was below them, though he was less than pleased with the sight that awaited him.

What he saw was an encampment for a tribe of orc barbarian sailors. Naturally, the party was even more concerned about the sight, as orcs typically mean bad news, and without missing a beat, Bubbles suggested to just ignore them and leave. However, Savin, seeing a possible ally, suggested that they land the ship and hear them out. If anything went wrong, they could just leave, moving on for better opportunities. However, as it was now, the party was setting off into dangerous territory with only a general idea of where Halinard's mythril could possibly be. Any possible ally could prove indispensable in the journey to come.

The party was quickly greeted by the orc tribe's chieftain, who explained why he signaled the passing airship. The tribe had been involved in a long-standing dispute against a nearby tribe of red dragonborn wyvern riders. So long-standing, in fact, that neither tribe could even remember who struck first, as the feud had been going on for centuries. However, most recently, an orcish child was kidnapped by one of the wyvern riders for reasons not disclosed to the party. The orc chieftain offered in exchange for the party's attempted mediation in the conflict any service he or his fleet could offer in their journeys in the Southern Isles.

The party agreed, and, after Halinard opted to stay behind with the orcs, set off in the direction of the dragonborn village, making as quick a heading as possible to avoid any chance of the child getting hurt or another battle happening. After a little over a day of travel, the party saw the signs of the village and opted to land on the beach about half a day's journey away from the village to avoid drawing any more suspicion than they might already have.

Quickly the party deliberated on how to proceed, and the plan they came up with involved a quick investigation into where a captive could possibly be held, with a hopes that a quick resolution could be made without causing too much damage. In service to that, Savin, Somen, and Grula decided to walk into the town itself and investigate while Yesmae tried to keep Bubbles in line, with Jangle opting to follow the town party. Remember, at this point, the party is still completely unaware that Jangle is Awakened or that he has any idea of what they're doing, they think he's just a cat that always seems to show up where stuff happens.

So, the plan that Savin came up with involved him performing music in the town's square and trying to draw as much of a crowd as possible while Somen and Grula split up to search for anything even somewhat suspicious.

Savin quickly drew the attention of the town's elder, who, though surprised at the sudden visit from a traveling bard and his entourage, quickly offered to have him and his friends put up in the local tavern as payment for entertainment.

Somen wandered the village, searching for someone who was even vaguely close to his social standing that could speak his language, while Grula set off looking for any suspicious buildings that had guards. Thankfully, since Savin was putting on a great performance (he'd rolled insanely high), most of the village that wasn't doing anything specific had gone to see him perform, and Grula discovered a small shed not far from the square, diligently guarded by two guards. Grula paused to consider how to proceed, but before she could strike, an ear-splitting screech split the skies, the two guards quickly conferred, and one ran off in the direction of the scream.

While this was happening, unsure of there being anything worth stealing in the small village, Jangle wandered, searching for some way he could possibly aid the party without outing himself. To this day I'm not really sure what his end goal in all of this is, but on the bright side I'm not sure he knows either.

Anyway, his first idea was to find the stables where the wyverns were kept, to see if he could possibly trick a stablehand into letting one out. So I asked the player what exactly he had in mind. He suggested that he could attempt to sneak behind a wyvern and try to speak to it in the Draconic language, which he happens to speak. That obviously didn't work, so plan B was to get the attention of the stablehand and trick him into believing that the wyvern was, in actuality, a bored polymorphed red dragon.Well, Jangle rolled extremely well on his stealth check and deception check, and the poor stablehand completely botched his perception and insight checks.

So, surprise of all surprise, Jangle was able to talk circles around the poor stablehand, convincing him that he had allowed himself to be captured under the guise of a wyvern just for the heck of it, and after some more cajoling, the stablehand opened the wyvern's cage asking only that the "dragon" show its true form to him. Jangle, ignoring the request, decided to use his claws to spur the wyvern out of the cage, so I had him roll animal handling to see how the spurring worked out. didn't. He clawed a little too hard, and the wyvern, in an enraged panic, shot out of the cage and into the air, trying its darndest to shake the unseen assailant off its back. Naturally, I had Jangle make a Dex save to see if he hung on, and he completely failed. However, because of his race as an Awakened Cat, he has an ability to negate fall damage once per Long Rest, which of course he used. His mission accomplished, he ambled back towards the center of town to see how he could help the rest of the party.

Now that there was an angry wyvern circling overhead, Grula took her chance to take out the only remaining guard and try to get into shed, which, thankfully, the guard happened to have the key to the shed in his pocket. Inside the shed sat a confused and upset orc child, and upon seeing a possible way to freedom, he quickly scrambled to his feet to follow the strange bird lady to safety.

Outside of the village, Bubbles and Yesmae discussed what to do now that a wyvern had gotten out and things were getting out of hand. Bubbles wanted to stick to the plan, but Yesmae sprinted towards the village, much to Bubbles' chagrin. However, the two strange people sprinting into the village sent the wrong message to some passing guards, as they were quickly identified as those responsible.

Savin took advantage of the confusion to slip out of the tavern and follow after Grula out of the village, but not before committing a few minor acts of arson to possibly throw the dragonborn off the scent of the orcs. The group soon was able to form up and escape from the pursuing guards, travelling in the direction of the orc encampment nonststop.

Once the party dropped the child off with the orcs, Savin advised them to move onto a new location, as things were likely to get worse with the dragonborn tribe, and the chieftain agreed, promising what help he could offer in their search, having been filled-in by Halinard. Specifically speaking, he mentioned one of his scouts had seen an airship go down a little south of their encampment, and the party set off on their most solid lead since the journey began.

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