Perfectly Legitimate Adventuring Party

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5. Write your first Adventure Log post

The adventure log is where you list the sessions and adventures your party has been on, but for now, we suggest doing a very light “story so far” post. Just give a brief overview of what the party has done up to this point. After each future session, create a new post detailing that night’s adventures.

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That’s it! The rest is up to your and your players.

It's Log, it's Log!

In the beginning, the log was created. And it was a placeholder.

Please note: players can contribute their own logs and there will be incentives for doing so (see wiki for details).

Adventurers Assemble

While mooching on a function at Khan Academy (hey, free food!), our valiant (?) adventurers received a summons from Lady Elamnea. Having little better to do (aww… more free food?), the party promptly answered the summons and attended Lady Elamnea at her residence. On arrival, Lady Elamnea told the party of the theft of a small, magical jewelled bird, which had been on a ship en route to her, and was stolen from the captain’s cabin shortly after the ship arrived in dock. The party agreed to investigate and retrieve the bird for Lady Elamnea (after Cog persuaded her to part with a modest advance of 50gp for “expenses”).

The party then travelled to the docks, where Mel set about gaining employment unloading the ship in question – the better to overhear rumours of who might have been involved in the theft – while those without any strength worth employing snuck around the ship investigating various locations that might hold clues to the bird’s disappearance.

The sailors and dockworkers, being the rough-and-ready-and-racist sort, were all quick to lay blame for the theft on the Tengu… a possibility that was supported by Cog’s discovery of a long black feather on a rope outside the galley of the ship. Having little else to go on, Cog and Almaz sought out Skrark, a local community leader of the Tengu, while Mel went along with half a dozen of the lads to the local inn, in the hope that camaraderie (and substantial quantities of ale) might encourage leaks of information about the theft.

Cog suggested to Skrark that it might be good for the reputation of the Tengu if we were able to find the stolen bird with their assistance, and then to publicise widely how helpful the Tengu had been. Conversely, Skrark offered to help on the condition that we ensured the name of the Tengu was not associated with the event at all – quite reasonably, he was concerned that the only things the wider population would hear would be “theft” and “Tengu”, leading to a worsening rather than improvement of inter-race relations. Skrark offered his daughter, Chirreep, as a guide to take our party to the Undercity, where we would meet with some Tengu who he suspected were involved in the theft.

The party (now rejoined by Mel, who had been avoiding sleep at the local inn, hoping to hear a clue should one of the sailors talk in his sleep) followed Chirreep into the Undercity… or at least, attempted to do so, before a rotten bridge gave way under the combined weight of the party (the lighter two of whom were being carried by Mel, in an attempt to speed things up). This dumped the party unceremoniously onto a midden heap, and three quite angry dire rats, who immediately started biting Mel.

Displaying their impressive levels of inexperience, Mel proceeded to miss her attempt to thump one of the rats, Al attempted to cast a spell while still in range of the rats (resulting in a failed spell and a nasty bite), and Cog completely failed in his attempt to skewer a rat with his crossbow. Once bitten, twice shy, Al got out of the way of the rats before putting two of them to sleep, Mel successfully smashed the one remaining conscious rat, and the party pulled themselves out of the heap of filth just as Chirreep returned to find out where they had gone.

Cleaning themselves up (Prestidigitation!) and hauling themselves up (with a rope but no grappling hook, some thing one else had to be thrown… and let us never speak of that again), and with a bit of healing from Chirreep, the party set off for Skerrikrak‘s house. On arrival, the party met several Tengu, including Skerrikrak and Chirreep’s girlfriend, Rakkakk, and began to question the Tengu. While the Tengu were reluctant to assist, a combination of diplomacy (Cog), bluffing and intimidation (Al) eventually extracted the truth: first Chirreep privately admitted that she and Rakkakk had stolen and hidden the jewelled bird, but that it had gone from it’s hiding place; shortly after that, Rakkakk – in fear of an embarrassing discovery – handed over a somewhat dented box containing the bird… thus disclosing to Chirreep that she had re-stolen the bird for herself, betraying Chirreep’s trust. The party thanked Rakkakk for returning the bird, reaffirmed that they would keep the details of the theft confidential, and accompanied a now-distraught Chirreep back to her father’s house in the docks.

Thanking Chirreep for her help with some consolation and questionable advice (“Save petty theft for somebody really special!” – the neutral good party member), the party returned to Lady Elamnea, returning the bird to its rightful owner and receiving their due rewards (GP! XP!)

What does the future hold for our valiant (?) adventurers? Glory, Renown, and Higher Levels, or a grisly death at the hands of a couple of kobolds? Tune in next episode to find out!

The Case of the Sabotaged Stevedores
In which the party investigates a mystery down by the docks

The Background.

The Lady Elamnea requested our presence – and by “requested” I mean she sent a bunch of her goons and it would be a braver bunch than us that would refuse her. Mel was complaining about her aching back and arms from all the hard lifting she’d done on her short stint on the wharves, and Almaz was snoring away in the corner, but we hauled ourselves up and down to Her Ladyship’s place.

There she told us that the docks seem to be hit with some sort of bad luck curse. First a golem dropped a ship – a whole ship – all the way down the cliff. The ship and its crew came out about as well as you’d expect. The sharks were happy, but. Then, in three different incidents, stevedores had fallen off the platform, again to their deaths. One, you could attribute to clumsiness, but two is co-incidence, and as an old and wise writer once wrote, three is enemy action.

Next, a large number of the stevedores had come down with a nasty case of food poisoning. Now the stevedore’s stomach is one of the strongest in the business, as their diets come from the pubs near the docks and the leavings from the ships. Only the strongest guts of the lot last more than a couple of weeks, so for a whole crew to come down with the runs is a bad thing.

So we agreed to help Her Ladyship with a bit of investigation. She’s treated us right up to now, so we’ll do the job for her.

Just as a bit of side info, the docks have a few loose stevedores that sign up job by job, but most of them belong to a crew, like our friend Skrark and his family, and of course the other bunch of Tengu led by Skerrikrak. There was a group dealt particularly with the loading and unloading of rare and dangerous animals – they were the ones who were dropped. In fact, what’s left of the regular crews are the Tengu, and a couple of the regular lot, including one set called the Cliff Top Crew.

First Investigations.

Almaz headed to the Tengu to have a chat to Chirreep, as she seems to trust us after the little … incident … with her ex-girlfriend. I decided to keep my ears open for any potential trouble hotspots, and Mel caught up with a lass called Mauldroit with whom she’d made friends when we were working on the docks last time. Nice girl – works hard, looks like she’d be handy with a sharp weapon.

Well, it looks like Chirreep‘s been indulging in the teenage angsty poetry. She and Al did the girly heartbroken bonding thing over “My heart is black, like my feathers”, but there didn’t seem to be any Tengu involvement in the whole thing. Mel and Maul signed up for an afternoon’s unloading, and the Captain wasn’t happy that Mel turned up so late in the day, but there’s less and less stevedores available, so he took her on anyway. I took up the drinks jug and mugs (hey, I know it was heavy, but they didn’t care how slowly I walked as long as I got there), and probed a little. Seems there’s a great deal of ill-feeling towards the Tengu – more than usual. Someone’s stirring up trouble, but it was hard to find the source. Someone’s being very careful.

The Evening.

We’d hit the pub for a while (without gaining any useful info), then settled in for the night – when there was a huge crash and screams. Turns out that a pub had come loose from the rock wall and the building had gone crashing down through the other layers of housing on the side of the rocky knoll that this town is built on. I inspected the fastenings, and while I couldn’t determine anything specific, I felt there had been some sort of tampering with the magical properties that kept it safe. Mel and Maul lent a hand by trying to rescue people, and healing where possible (so that’s what Maul’s good at! We should definitely try and keep her with us). The inn was a “no Tengu” inn, of which there are many around these docks – I slid off while everyone else was busy and made my way down into the mid-Undercity to have a quick talk to Skerrikrak, but came back with the info that no, the Tengu hadn’t done anything. There was little we could do, so we headed back to catch what sleep we could before morning.

I felt the need to double-check the beam on which the Inn had been hanging, but it was sound. The golem in the harbour, too, showed signs that its magic had been tampered with. Meanwhile, Al and Mel headed to the pub where the food poisoning had come from to have a chat with the Innkeeper there.

He revealed that the cook, a dwarf by the name of Fronson, had worked there for some time with no problems, but had that night come in acting oddly. Shortly after dinner had been served and Fronson had gone off with his pay, the customers had started feeling ill. All of them had eaten the stew, and all of them had been incapacitated for some days. Fronson had turned up the next day for work as usual, but the Innkeeper had sacked him on the spot, and now he was staying with relatives, so we headed out to find him

We found where he was hanging out, and as drunk as all getout. A few hard dunkings into a nearby casks of water, and he was ready to talk.

“Tell us what happened at the Squatting Dragon!”

“It’s the Squitting Dragon now!”

Fronson, it seems, has a habit of spending his money on women. He’d gone to his favourite nightspot, the Saucy Beard, after work a week back, and met a lass with huge … tracts of land. Forested even. And hair. Lots of hair.

Maul: “So she’s got Tit Merkins?”

(Rest of party and DM are rendered incapable for about 5 minutes)

Fronson had had a couple of drinks with her, and then fallen asleep. He’d woken up, thought it was the next day, and headed into work. As soon as he got there, the boss had sacked him!

Subtle questioning (in words of one syllable) elicited the response that she wasn’t one of the usual available dwarf or dwarf-simalcrums present at the establishment, and as he was fairly unforthcoming about any other details, we decided to hit the Saucy Beard for some better information.

Where the women are women, but the beards are 50% fake.

This place wasn’t as bad as some. The floor was, as usual, squishy and sticky, but at least that wasn’t caused by tiny tentacles trying to grab your feet as you walked past. It was late morning by now, and the girls were lounging around or getting a bite to eat before work started. About half of them weren’t dwarves at all, but were gnomes and halflings with beards, and I have to say, even with the facial hair, some of them were damned sweet! Al offered herself for work, in reality to chat with the girls and see what they had to say.

Al: Tell us about your visitors?

Girl1: What? The Health Inspectors?

Girl 2: No, that guy from council who doesn’t want his wife to find out.

Al: “No, Fronson.”

Girl 2: "You mean Slobberguts?"

Al: “Ick. Yes. Him. Tell us about the last time he was here.”

They proceeded to tell us that he had come in and almost immediately a new girl, whom no-one had seen before, had him off in the corner. They’d left together, and no-one had seen her since. Truth to tell, they were grateful to her for taking on Slobberguts.

A quick check back with Fronson’s ex-employer told us that Fronson had been acting rather odd that day – and that the stew he had made was not the one he made every other day. So either he was being mind-controlled, or someone had impersonated him, slobber and all.

We’re Starting to Run Out of Ideas.

We did at least manage to find out that the last two crews left, the Tengu and the Cliff Top Crew, were in high demand, but that suspicion was falling even harder on the Tengu. I checked once more with our finely feathered friends – Skrark was preparing his people, because he could feel a fight brewing, and Skerrikrak just felt it was business as usual. Mel used her skills and felt that the Tengu weren’t hiding anything, although we did remember that some of them had been to magical college so might have gained the knowledge necessary to un-enchant the bolt and the golem. We decided that our next best plan was to infiltrate the Cliff Top Crew and try and pick up information that way. The dwarf in charge, Bergron Stonecrusher, hired on Mel and Maul (on reduced rates as they were there only half the day) and directed us to Norman the Foreman. I tried doing my usual “take the drinks around”, and one guy seemed about to talk to me when his mates called him away. However, Maul was able to pick up that there was some nasty action planned for the evening, that concerned Tengu and weapons and probably not in a positive way.

Al smarmed in with Bergron, and used the old racist joke to see the response trick. The response was pretty viperous – Bergron is sure the Tengu are a bunch of job-stealing item-nicking invasive … no, I won’t go on, but you get the general idea. Al then offered to use her spells to assist in the evening’s “activities”, but Bergron was starting to smell a rat and declined her offer. Then it was knock-off time and the team headed to the pub. We joined them, but were cold-shouldered out of the group that seemed to be heading for trouble, so we took advantage of their preparation time, and hot-footed it to Skrark’s house to warn him. Just in time, too – the mob were on the warpath!


So here we were – most of our motley crew on the left side, separated from the mob by the skinny bridge, which luckily meant that they could only approach us a couple at a time. However, one sneaky little blighter has secreted himself behind a barrel on the right hand side. Can you see it? Our side are the red dots, and that red dot on the right is … your humble correspondent, Cogglefree Bridgewomble. Although, it might have also given me a clearer path for a fast escape, were such required. Al, who has a great deal of bravery in that little body of hers, stood on a barrel and tried to persuade the dozen men armed with crowbars and such that their actions were foolish and there must be a better way. She then stated that there were large numbers of Tengu in the house, willing to defend themselves. (In reality, the Tengu had evacuated, and the noises were courtesy of Al’s spells).

At this point a man at the back, armed with a Molotov Cocktail, started the telltale signs of readying a throw. I waited until the best possible moment, and shot my crossbow at his back. It hit! But alas, it did not do enough damage, and the fiery bottle was launched to crash open against the side of the house. Once more Al’s magic came to the fore, and the fire was dampened (at least for a while).

The mob charged, and Moll cast a spell at Norman (who seemed to be their ringleader), which made him stop, blanch, and then turn and run. From this point, there was much confusion, spells of sleeping, swinging of axes and firing of crossbows and our two taller party members showed that they can slice, dice and grate in a most satisfactory manner. Of course, we’d just finished dropping the entire mob when the watch showed up, declared us all to be suspect, and took us to the cells.

Where they kindly allowed me use of parchment and pen, and from where I have written this missive. We are being called in front of the Watch Commander, so I shall finish this later.

Oh what adventures we had
Catching up on months of slackness

Animals Escaping

After spending a night in the watch house, the party went to work with the crew that had had food poisoning at the Squatting Dragon Inn, some of whom are back on deck. While working among them and trying to gather what information we could, we found a cage of giant spiders that had popped open – it appears the lock had been tampered with. In even more disgusting news, a giant leech had got loose in the hold, and slimed through the bars of a dire wolf’s cage, killing it.

This left our noble party rather baffled. Who else could benefit from the interruption of animal supply? What about the Grand Bestiary?

We then went to meet with Fizzleton Gummidge – dean of the Grand Bestiary: a strange little fellow, clearly obsessed with the magic and the creatures. We also spoke with his administrative aid.

Fascinated by the creatures on offer, Mel ordered her very own pet – a spider squirrel.

We learned through our questioning of Fizzleton that the college’s breeding doesn’t happen on Northport – there isn’t the space, and they have to ship things in from their breeding grounds offshore to the east. It also became evident that they weren’t prepared for the loss of imports – they had already sold all their animals on existing contracts at the normal price, so are suffering (along with everyone else) from the interruption in supply.

At this point, our party were thoroughly baffled: the tengu hadn’t been hit so far (except in a riot, in which we saved them from any harm), but the attacks themselves aren’t tengu style… and such a pattern of attacks would hardly benefit them if everyone was going to blame them anyway.

Follow the animals

Argenias Lat – who has an office in the business district, also has a holding warehouse in the docks for the half-sea. It seems he was the recipient of the tengu-unloaded shipment, and appears on the Magical Bestiary’s list of contracts. Some of our party set off to enquire of Lady Elamnea as to who has been on the customer manifests for the ships that had accidents, a process that would take at least half a day to complete.

While waiting for the results of that search, our party set up a stakeout of Lat’s warehouse. While waiting there, we encountered the unwanted attentions of Harold Scransonson – a sailor from The Hippogriff. Sadly, not only were his attentions unwarranted, but so was the stuff he put in our tankards: dark reaver powder, an expensive poison which must have come from the dragon isles.

The stakeout was not entirely fruitless, however: we discovered that Lat’s warehouse was still very full, albeit slightly less full than it had been recently.

The results from Lady Elamnea’s records certainly implicated Lat in the recent “accidents”: everything that Argenias Lat has imported has been handled by the tengu; so all losses so far were sustained only by his competitors.

We learned that Lat is from the mainland, the second son of a duke, with a reputation as a shady dealer: possible minor frauds, and with other side businesses, but mainly in the animal trade now. He is the get-rich-quick type, and has often been in trouble for failed schemes… and while we were at Lady Elamnea’s waiting for assistance to raid his offices, a messenger arrived to tell us that Lat had skipped town.

We investigated his office, and found it empty: indeed, it looks like it had been cleared out in a hurry. Nothing valuable remained; accounts had all gone, but various bills were left lying around, from which we found that Lat had borrowed money to order lots of animals and pay contracts, but only arranged to sell once the price went up.

With this compelling evidence, Lady Elamnea acknowledged that we had done what she hired us to do.

At this point, my notes are a little moth-eaten, but I believe Lat either had been, or had hired, a failed student from a magical college with a shape-changing ability – it is likely that was the individual responsible for arranging the accidents on the docks.

Extreme Librarian

Disappointed after the escape of Argenias Lat, we met with Wenton to pick up Melisande’s spider squirrel, whom she named Abigail.

Perhaps due to our growing reputation (although a reputation for what, we have yet to discover), Wenton said that he had a job for us: to find a book which they’d sent to a bookbinder… that happened to end up under the dropping inn.

We therefore ventured into the undercity, where we encountered some scavengers. Cog told them we were looking for a book, and promptly offered them 20gp if they found it for us… which of course meant they set up an ambush for us, because why work for 20gp if they can just roll us for it instead?

We encountered a spider swarm (which had a nibble on Maul), then the scavengers caught up with us. After utterly failing to intimidate them with a scowl (thanks to interference from the spider squirrel), Mel was much more successful at intimidation with a critical hit from a bastard sword… cleanly removing the head of the GamerGater leading the bunch. The fedora went spinning down the alleyway, without so much as an offer to play devil’s advocate.

Shortly afterwards, we found the site of the collapsed inn, dug through it, and found nothing but centipedes (“ouch”, says Almaz). We then met some thug-types representing Mistress Ann, who insisted we be blindfolded before being taken to see her.

Battle of the Undercity

After being led to an unknown location, we met Mistress Ann, who informed us that she had a problem with a “competitor” – in this case, a priest of Zon-Kuthon – who has been killing her scavengers.

Tempting as it was to leap into a battle sickened and unprepared, we decided to return to the upper city to recover from centipede attacks (“ouch”, says Almaz) and do some research. We chatted with Skerrikrakk about Mistress Ann and the Cultists. He told us Mistress Ann is well-known, hard in “business” but legitimate; the Cultists, he said are known of, but not much detail, and warned us to look out for them “especiaily at night". In order to do some further research, Mel & Al schmoozed our way into the Academy library. There, we discovered that this cult is quite likely to be involved with the undead, so we got ourselves prepared with some holy water (exactly how this holy water was to be carried and weaponised, we’ll leave to Cog to elaborate).

We spent one more night to finish healing (“urgh”, says Almaz), then made our way back to the undercity. We staked out the target location, saw one shady character wander out, with a sword, and head off as if on an errand; then another person came out and dumped a bunch of rubbish… which turned out to be mostly well-gnawed bones.

What follows is something of a blur of seriously shady characters (geddit?!)… but the battle was ours, and with it the spoils (ew) and the reward and respect of Mistress Ann.

On returning to the upper city, Al started work on four batches of small centipede poison, which will be done after 2.5 weeks of available time in the city.

Goblin Island

We were enjoying a drink at The Generic Tavern*, when a disreputable sort attempted entry, insisting he needs to talk to us. Alfonso (the disreputable sort) said he needed help to rescue his friend, and told us a tale: they were on a boat which wrecked on an island, an island with lots of goblins. While Alfonso managed to get away, poor Roderick was stranded. He told us Roderick needs rescuing (“wescue Wodewick!”). But it was … several years ago?

Not to be daunted by lousy odds of success, and a source of questionable reliability, we chartered a boat to Goblin Island. This was a fruitful journey, resulting in nasty seasickness, a lost grappling hook, and a gnome flung into a thorn bush. Nevertheless, we landed.

We found signs of habitation on the island, shanties etc. It seems things wash up on the island, so there’s a bit of salvage, flotsam and jetsam. There were at least a couple of dozen goblins on the island, and Almaz got a goblin arrow in her before we were able to persuade the goblins that “we come in peace”. A goblin then met us, and despite some significant language barrier, we established that there is a “tower” the goblins avoid, because there are “chickens” in the tower. As if on cue, we heard a distant howling from the tower.

Chickens, huh? Try three cockatrices. Perhaps through more good luck than good management, we killed the cockatrices, then opened the basement of the tower from where we could still hear the howling. But the howling turned into a more excited sound when we opened the trapdoor. On investigation, we found a box and a shield in the basement: we carried the box out, opened it, and found that it contained a sword, a pouch, and a cloak; only the sword was magic: a sword, possessed by the dog Roderick. Yes, you read that right: a dog. On reflection, that character at the Tavern had not told us his friend was human. Well, that’s what happens when you make an assumption: you make an “ass” out of “u” and “mption”.

Sadly, having relieved them of the burden of the cockatrices, the goblins were total fuckers about the possibility of us leaving the island, and had put a hole in our boat while we were away. Necessity (and being pissed off) are the mother[“f***er”]s of invention, so Al used ray of frost repeatedly to keep the hole frozen over and make the boat usable; unfortunately, in our attempts at a hasty getaway, Maul fell into the water so often that she lost her axe. We returned to Northport and Alfonso and Roderick were both delighted by their reunion. Sadly, Alfonso was by now too old to keep and care for the sword, so Mel very happily adopted Roderick (we await random cries of “squirrel-spider!”).

Finally back in a safe place, we rested, and Al’s centipede poison now only needs 1.5 weeks to brew. And speaking of brewing developments, Al’s shit-list now includes Argenias Lat and an island full of goblins

-* For all your Tavern needs
Chirreep what you sow
Consider really bad joke about "flying pigs" to have been withheld here

Flown the coop

While enjoying some well-earned R&R time after our mostly-successful trip to Goblin Island, we found ourselves cordially invited to Skrark’s house, where we were cordially offered a drink which turned out very much not to be cordial. A delicacy for Tengu, sure… but birds have no capsaicin receptors. Fortitude saves, anyone?

Skrark, it turns out, had a favour to ask: Chirreep had run away from home (having taken clothes, money, and some personal effects). She had left a note, along the lines of: “goodbye father, I’m going off to sort myself out for a bit and try to find a reason life is worth living”, amidst a great deal of Melodramatic Teenager™. There was a lot of poetry. Having already asked around, Skrark told us that none of the Tengu had seen anything or seemed to have any leads. Could Chirreep have left the island?

Thinking laterally (and vertically), we hired a telescope on a tower to look around at high brooding places, but there was no sign of a teen-angst-afflicted Tengu. We also decided it was worth investigating Rakkakk and checking out any teenage tengu hangouts. Rakkakk was down in the dodgy end of town (probably doing something shady, smuggling), but that didn’t seem like a fruitful lead, and the hangouts all proved to be dead ends. As we eliminated more and more possibilities for disappearing locally, it seemed we were most likely to find Chirreep’s trail off the island.

There are only a few ways to leave the island: two sets of docks (the east docks, where they have winches and handle ships from overseas; and the west docks for boats to and from the mainland). There is also a flying fox used mainly for goods, but we decided to investigate the more conventional options first.

Cog investigated at the west docks, and fairly soon found someone who remembered seeing Chirreep boarding a boat the previous morning, bound for Kym’s Harbour. So as not to leave him with no information at all, we returned to Skrark and told him what we had found, as well as our intention (if at least funded a little in advance) to pursue her across the inland sea. He said he was not entirely surprised, gave us a modest advance, and a contact for his cousin Tweek.

I’m on a boat!

Sitting atop crates full of basilisks, we crossed the inland sea to Kym’s Harbour without incident.

Kym’s Harbour is quite a large town: rough docks, an upper class district, etc. We found a lot of banners flying around the town, because it turned out there was to be a tourney taking place. A junior tourney where new contenders can try their skills… the plot thickens! Indeed, not only the plot, but also the smell – pickled fish!

Having no other leads, we set out initially to find Tweek, and had no trouble finding him. He seemed pretty friendly, talked fast, and was easily distracted. He had heard she came through the docks, but she hadn’t got in touch with him or anyone he knew. Apparently there are not a lot of tengu inland, so we suspect she’s more likely still to be in Kym’s Harbour. Within Kym’s Harbour, Tengu are mainly confined to the docks district – as Tweek put it, “they don’t much like us around here; we stick together”. We asked Tweek for a recommendation of an inn, and he recommended The Saucy Shepherdess.

Like Uber, but for basic necessities.

Unfortunately, accommodation seemed to be on surge pricing due to the tourney, as was the food: 5GP for a bowl of slop from the inn, or 2GP for a pie of questionable quality from a nearby vendor. We asked the inkeeper about where a troubled youth might go to disappear, and he promptly suggested The Skives – a dodgy part of town, where people keep to themselves. It occurred to us that the town watch might have noticed unusual travellers, such as a Tengu outside the docks, so we obtained directions to the nearest watch house as well as how to find our way to the Skives.

In the morning, we talked first to the watch; one of the local watchmen remembered her “passing through”, saying she had gone in the general direction of the Skives, so we headed that way. On the way, we encountered a man pushing a barrow, offering us “free tunics” (blue and gold… presumably to make us appear as supporters in some contest)?? The man was very keen to give us these tunics, but owing to their price, we were at least as suspicious as he was keen, while he told us that Duke Eglantine was displaying his “generosity”. As we went on, we saw others wearing the same and different colours. On entering the Skives, however, we found very few people wearing such colours. The Skives is a fairly poor area, with factories and work houses. We started with a visit to the local watch house, where the watchman “had heard there was some trouble [last night] down on Murphy Street”. With little else to go on, we headed that way, and found what seemed to the tavern district

On arriving on Murphy Street, we found a tavern by the name of The Purple Crow. Suspecting nominative determinism, we paid a visit to the tavern, and asked some questions, many of which we found the locals quite reluctant to answer, especially as it became apparent that we were friends of Chirreep. Apparently there had been an altercation outside involving a young tengu lass, but she was made to move on elsewhere. No-one was willing to tell us more.

As we headed back to the watch house to investigate further – and hopefully find out who was really in charge in the area – we were followed by a large group of people, who turned out to be reluctant to let us go without a FIGHT. Some stealthy work with a cloud of mist from Maul and a ghost sound from Al, as well as a couple of sleep spells, allowed us to isolate the leader from everyone else. From that point, it was a relatively straightforward matter (at least for an evil character, ably supported by some morally-conflicted good characters) to drag him down a side alley and threaten him with imminent doom if he wouldn’t tell us where our friend was.

Although he didn’t know, he told us that she had started causing trouble, then a large human friend “with a whacky thing” – a flail, we think – had apparently showed up and things got very messy. They then headed east, and are definitely not in the Skives any more.

Aspirant Arabella

With this lead from the street thug (along with most of his belongings), we returned to the watch house to ask about the “big woman with the flail”. Although he wasn’t familiar with the particular woman in question, based on our description the watch officer thought she may have gone to the aspirant’s parade. He suggested we should ask the heralds about the records of the aspirants parade.

And so we continued north, to the square where the parade had happened. After a mostly fruitless and very shouty conversation with one herald, he directed us to another herald, Graham… in the pub. Graham remembered a woman who had been turned away from the parade, due to her having shown up covered in muck. “Arabella of the piggeries”? Yes, that sounds disturbingly promising.

Apparently the aspirants stay in an expensive place near the square where the parade happens. However, for someone turned away from the parade, there might be a second chance to get squired: find a knight, and try to impress them in some way other than with a dazzling parade display.

We visited the inn where the aspirants were staying. Many of the aspirants had already cleared out following the parade, but a few were still around. We found one or two who remembered Arabella; although they remember her, she didn’t have the money to stay in the same inn as the other aspirants, and had been staying in the Skives (at the Purple Crow… or the Smelly Pig, perhaps?). She had then showed up to the parade all mucky and smelly, and was summarily turned away. The aspirants we spoke to were not sure where she went after that; she had evidently been pretty eager to get squired, and might well have gone somewhere else. One commented, “There was that feather girl with her”, and thought they might have left together. Indeed, it seems our trail was to lead out of town, to the west.

And so, we were off to the west gate, to find out whether the guards there had seen anything. As it happened, they remembered a Tengu going out the previous afternoon. And although they hadn’t asked where the two travellers were going, they had heard them talking about “looking for something to do, something to prove themselves”.

To assist in our travels, Cog bought a donkey (“Hoatie”), for an extortionate price with saddle, shoes, tint… and then we were underway.

On the road west, we found ourselves attacked by bandits; Al caught far too many crossbow bolts, ended up down (but not quite out), with an especially venomous hatred of this particular bunch of bandits brewing in her head as she lay on the ground like a giant pincushion. After the rest of the party saw off the remaining conscious bandits, Al was healed, then promptly went and tortured the bandit leader (it’s amazing how cathartic unlimited Acid Splash spells can be). The bandit leader was relieved of his entire wealth… and then Maul converted the bandit leader and the other captured bandit to the light of Nimbus (although exactly whose redemption hung in the balance remains as an exercise to the reader). It is amazing how quickly folks can be persuaded to see the light, when the darkness is standing right in front of them with Acid Splash spells at the ready. And so, the former bandits were sent off reformed, impoverished, and relieved of all weapons, to the nearest town, so that they could begin to follow Nimbus in earnest.

With no further misadventures, we reached the inn, and some folks here seem to remember seeing “bird woman and pig-shit woman” (or, “more like dog shit than pig shit”). They had reportedly departed the morning of this day on to the west… so we were still one day behind, but at least with confirmation that we were on the right track..

However, on further investigation, we discovered a change of track: while they had intended to go west (“…in the open air”), they had been talking to some fellow in the morning, and decided to go north instead, because they heard tell of a lady kidnapped by ogres (this evidently “happens a lot around here”).

The last thing we heard of them, before turning in for the night, was the innkeeper telling us that the night before, the human lady had gone off to bed, but the bird was downstairs boozing up hard – saying “I’ve ruined it, I’ve ruined it all”. He says he had never seen a bird that sad.

And since our next journey might have us following them off the beaten track, we asked the innkeeper for the same room, so that Roderick could get a good sniff around and pick up the scent of our feathered friend and her piggy companion.

Wherein our party is in search of the PigKeeper.

Cog here. First, let’s get something quite clear. The name is Cogglefree Bridgewomble. Not Snorkeldink Covergirl or Bumblebee Cuckatoo or even Beetlejuice Cunningsnatch. And I definitely didn’t take it from a wandering player or anyone, and even if I had, he should have stuck to “Carlton” or whatever he used to call himself. So enough with the Bandicoot Moldyspore jokes already, ok?

So, Skrark summoned us because Chirreep had done what so many teenagers do, and decided that she had caused her family more than enough trouble so it was time to go and make some trouble by herself. Mind you, Skrark did this after having us drink the most ghastly cinnamon-based alcohol. At least I think it was cinnamon. Had to taste it twice to check it. But yes, the kid had gone off, and Bird-Dad was worried about her and would pay to get her back. She’d taken all her money (and probably a bit of Dad’s) and her clothes, and left behind a note saying she was off. This sort of gig we can deal with.

We headed off into the city, checking all the regular haunts. The ex-girlfriend Rakkakk hadn’t seen her, and seemed to be glad to be rid of the lass. I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a bit of the whole broken-hearted-crush thing happening, and Rakkakk wasn’t too happy at being on the receiving end of numerous bitter notes and bad poetry swearing eternal misery for breaking young Chirreep ‘s heart so badly. But we did get word from the Western Docks that a young Tengu matching our friend’s description had been seen catching a boat to Kym’s Harbour, so we headed in the same direction. Skrark told us that his cousin Tweek worked on the Kym’s Harbour docks, so we had a contact.

Kym’s Harbour was an odd place – just the way I like it. Lots of people of different styles and races and such around, and lots of chaos due to the Great Tourney coming up, where knights and lords would choose who their squires and trainees would be. Tweek was easy to find (Tengu usually are), and he had heard that Chirreep had come through, but was surprised that she hadn’t been to see him. He reckoned that, as she hadn’t been seen leaving the city, she was probably somewhere inside still, and he directed us to the Saucy Shepherdess as a good place to stay. Mind you, the prices are Tourney prices – expensive accommodation, double-price food, and lots of people trying to flog standards and signs for the various lords, not to mention other cheap and nasty souvenirs. Gave me quite a few ideas for a business when I’m ready to settle down.

Next morning, a local guard pointed us to the Skives as being the sort of place where trouble happens. As it had happened, it seemed – some sort of ruckus down Murphy Street the previous night. The fuss had happened near the Purple Crow, so we headed down there, with Roderick going nuts over all the smells. Over a quiet beer (that we checked for poison – it’s that sort of area), the barkeep said that there had been a young tengu there, but she had left after an argument and had failed to show respect. I bought a round for the room, which did nothing for the information-gathering, but did result in a pair of lads upping and leaving shortly after. I trailed them until they split up: one went into a narrow alleyway, and the other into a dilapidated house. Discretion being the better part of valour, and more importantly, my skin being worth more than the embarrassment of being caught in such an obvious trap, I did not follow either lad but went back to the pub.

The others came out, and we were about to head to the watchhouse, when a group of ruffians accosted us. They let slip that a tengu had been a part of the affray the previous evening, and if we were friends of hers, we owed them for the injuries she inflicted. We politely declined their offer, and a combination of sleep spells, Roderick’s whacking and my brilliant skills, rendered the group ineffective. We grabbed up the leader and took him around a couple of corners into a nice discreet spot where we could question him further.

He told us that Chirreep had teamed up with a human lady who was looking to be taken up in the Tourney. This woman was tall, carried a flail or polearm, and was no longer in the Skives. We completed the negotiations amicably – we got to keep the ruffian’s money, and he got to keep his toes. I approve of these compromises.

From there we went to the Aspirants’ Parade, to the north of the Skives. The Heralds there confirmed that no tengu applied to be an aspirant, but that one was with a woman who was turned away. From her name, “Arabella of the Piggeries”, I gathered that she was not of the most prosperous or well-bred background. However, this lass had left the day before by the West Gate, and it behoved us to head in the same direction.

Here I decided to raise my own status in life. As a Halfling, I suffer from a lack of speed in comparison to the others, so the time had come to purchase a mount. I obtained a fine looking young donkey, and resisted the rather feeble attempts of the rest of the party to name him “Hoté”. Instead, I tossed around various possibilities, and for the time being have settled upon “Wallace”. (It’s actually spelled “Waleth”, but I’m not telling them that).

Needless to say, we were not to make our journey west without incident. With the next available tavern being about 2 hours away, a bunch of goons attempted to sway us from our task. With swinging axes, flailing swords, spells and my very own crossbows, we took them on. However, when one of them attempted to shoot Wallace, it was ON! Suffice to say that within a very short time, those who were not dead were tied behind Wallace while I tried to beg the others for a “Create Wind” spell. Maul gave the ruffians the option of conversion or death, and rather than take the sensible option, they agreed to present themselves at the Temple of Nimbus as new postulants .

And our last lead lay at this pub, where people confirmed that Arabella and a young Tengu were seen heading north where there were reports of a kidnapping. And on that note, bedtime.

Dear Diary
Mel is not very articulate. Or very grown up yet.


Ugh. We ended up at Skrark’s house again. I don’t mind so much, I don’t really believe that stuff about bird lice anyway, but the stuff they drink? Tastes like burning. And I can’t stop Roderick from trying to point everywhere, which is just embarrassing.

Sounds like Chirreep’s thrown a tanty and taken herself off somewhere. I shouldn’t be mean – I know how it feels. Anyway. Sounds like we’re heading to the docks to try and find her. I’ll probably end up hauling heavy things to pay for our passage again, it’s not like we have someone with us who could use their magic to be helpful once in a while AL.

See you later.

Dear Diary,

Yeah, I was right. Basilisk feed and basilisk poop, shiploads of it. At least Roderick enjoyed the voyage, lots of SMELLS.

We’re in Kym’s Harbour now, asking around about any feathery birds (heh – wait, is that racist?) that might have been seen moping about the docks. We went to have a chat with her cousin Tweek. He was a little weird and twitchy.

Anyway, we’ve headed into town. This tourney has really racked up the prices – 5GP for food at the inn, and I still owe everyone heaps for Roderick. We’d better get paid soon – Abigail can eat spiders and nuts, Roderick just likes to sniff things, but I’m a growing girl, and I need to eat!

Starting to feel a bit twitchy myself, honestly. I feel torn between needing to see some trees, or needing to beat something up. I guess I could pick a fight with WHOEVER KEEPS READING MY DIARY, AL.


Dear Diary,

Talk about needing a fight! That was … stinky, but kinda awesome. The slummy area here is called The Skives, and we went in asking after Chirreep, who of course is dragging her angst through the ickiest places possible. I forget how we ended up in this street, but we asked after her in a pretty gross pub, and the Watch-house, then this group of thugs tried to jump us. We got the biggest bully down, and he told us she’d been around, with some other girl with a big whacky-thing. I guess it’s a flail.

Anyway. Long story short, we’re following the woman with the stick and hopefully Chirreep to the aspirant’s parade. Wouldn’t mind a crack at it myself, honestly, but I think it’s a bit late. Anyway, I should stay with Al, she just makes trouble if I’m not around.

sigh Speaking of people we choose for friends, I really hope Chirreep’s showing better taste this time, and this isn’t just another Rakkakk.


Apparently the Tall Woman With a Big Stick-Thing and Who Smells Like Poo (yeah, Chirreep’s got great taste, apparently. Ugh, that was elf-snobbery, wasn’t it?) has a name. Arabella. Arabella of the Piggeries.

We’re following them out of town – Roderick could follow the trail a bit, so we thought… until we met a bunch of pigs being brought in to town for market. So much for that good idea.

Back later tonight, we’ve got to move fast to catch them, before Chirreep does something stupid. Er.

Dear Diary,

Well, Al almost got herself killed tonight. Two or three arrows, right through her. I thought she was dead, it was awful.

Still… she wasn’t, and it was a really good fight, and Roderick BITES. I was very proud. We took their stuff, but I think that’s OK – they’re bandits, it’s practically a good deed. Right?

Oh, and Cog’s gone and bought a donkey. Between Hoatie and Roderick and Abigail, we’re a bit like a circus act. I forget that Roderick just looks like a sword to everyone else though – I forget he’s not actually a dog anymore. Especially when he twitches when I scratch that spot on his hilt. It’s really cute.

Anyway, sounds like the moping bird’s been here, drinking hard and blaming herself for something. Arabella’s failed aspirant attempt? Running away? Rakkeek? Who knows. Hopefully we’ll find her soon though, I imagine her dad’s pretty worried. I wonder if Mum and Dad ever wonder what I’m up to, since school? Maybe I should write. I dunno.

We’ll go up to bed now, and let Roddy sniff around the room. Might get something more helpful than pigshit to follow tomorrow morning.

Al, I know you’re reading this because you always do because you are the worst. I’m glad you’re not dead.

On the road again
[We'd quite] like a bridge over troubled water

Before leaving the inn, we learned a bit more about the abduction from the innkeper. It seems that the mayor of Bridgeford’s daughter (Ingrid) was kidnapped by an ogre; also, in what we are sure is a meaningless Coincidence™, Ingrid’s brother was returning from the aspirants parade yesterday. We also gather that the Bridge is out, so it’s just Bridge Ford now. As for the ford, it wouldn’t have been passable for the past couple of days due to all the recent rain, but it might be ok now – the weather is beginning to clear, but still a bit grey.

And with that, we hit the road.

Around lunchtime, as we were passing a farmhouse, someone came out and waved to us.

“You heading north to Bridgeford?”


“We’ve got a guy from Bridgeford inside.”

What a Coincidence™.

The chap who had hailed us seemed of honest intent, so we went inside. On our way in, we noticed a very nice horse in the stable. Inside, we found Galain, who turns out to be the mayor of Bridgeford’s son. He had come off his horse while riding too fast, broken his leg, and knocked himself out until very shortly before we arrived. We welcomed him back to reality with the news that his sister had been kidnapped by ogres. “My poor father – I failed him at the parade, and now my sister kidnapped”. Since he had been at the aspirants parade, we asked if he’d encountered the woman who had been turned away. “Rings a bell”, he said, but he couldn’t remember much more. Possibly because of the concussion, possibly because there wasn’t much more to remember.

Since we realised we’d be bringing unexpected, possibly unwelcome news to his father, we asked for something that we could use to prove we had in fact encountered him. He gave us his tabard so that his father will recognise and welcome us (and we’ll see just how well that turned out).

Once again we set out towards Bridgeford. And as we approached the river, whom should we see but a familiar feathery figure waiting by the river: Chirreep! Also… “Lady” Arabella: a woman who we found to be tall, gawky, friendly enough… and with whom Chirreep is – in some way or another (possibly her heroism, possibly something else) – quite clearly smitten.

Arabella had been in Kym’s Landing trying to find a knight to squire with, planning to go to the Aspirants Parade, and then ran into Chirreep when Chirreep had found herself in trouble at the Purple Crow. Then after being turned away from the aspirants parade for being covered in muck, they had heard about the kidnapping; decided that would be a way to get some reputation.

We offered to help Arabella and Chirreep find Ingrid. Chirreep seemed very keen on Arabella doing the rescuing on her own, although in the bits of Arabella’s reactions we could pick up, it seemed perhaps Arabella is not quite so confident of her solo heroic prospects, and might potentially welcome some assistance.

With nothing left to do on this side of the river, we attempted the ford. Despite taking some care, all of us went for various durations of involuntary swims, leaving us very cold and wet and sorry for ourselves. Recuperation was definitely going to require a night to recover in the local inn.

After finding ourselves a place at the pub, Cog went to see the mayor; unfortunately, the mayor was quite unwelcoming, and didn’t seem at all interested in having us rescue Ingrid. Indeed, he insisted we leave town by morning (either Cog really offended him, or he’s an arsehole, or both).

Meanwhile, we listened to local accounts of Ingrid’s abduction: Ingrid had been picking flowers in the meadow when a big ogre came out of nowhere and abducted her. Up until Ingrid’s abduction, it had been a very long time since they last had any problems with ogres; indeed, many of the townsfolk seemed to think the ogres had gone from the region.

After an otherwise uneventful night in the pub, on leaving the pub first thing in the morning, we were met by a couple of heavies intent on escorting us out of town (that is, back over the ford). We impolitely declined (Almaz is surprisingly intimidating – especially with the prospect of yet another freezing cold swim), and the heavies – deciding they weren’t paid enough to deal with this – “escorted” us to that end of town with a very “honest” statement that we intend to cross the bridge. We do. Some day. But for now, we’re walking around the town, and heading in the direction we originally wanted to go.

Ogre Ogre Ogre
Oi! Oi! Oi!

After farewelling the Mayoral Heavies (we’ll get back to crossing the bridge one day), we made our way unobtrusively around Bridgeford and headed for ogre country.

On the road, Chirreep cheerfully told us about the value of Arabella’s impending Heroic Deed™ in setting her on the path to knighthood, as well as the importance of achieving knighthood for Arabella’s family. It seems that her family needed someone to become a knight: they are trying to run a piggery, but keep getting screwed over by what amount to zoning regulations, and having someone in the family with Influence could be instrumental to the long-term prospects of the family business. Arabella’s brothers are busy running the piggeries, so it’s up to Arabella… and she’s also better than they are at hitting things.

With varying degrees of brightness, the peculiar circumstances of Isabella’s ogre abduction, the mayor’s reaction to news of his son’s broken leg, and his bizarre aversion to the idea that someone else might rescue his daughter, began to dawn on our party: it seems the entire thing was a setup for Galahain (having almost certainly failed at the Aspirant’s Parade) to then perform a Heroic Deed™ and thus make himself worthy of being squired.

This resulted in some differing reactions from the party, as to what should be done about it: whether to embarrass the mayor, or to exploit him, or find a way to make everything work out nicely for everyone.

While trying to figure out the best course of action, our course across country soon brought us to an encounter with none other than Isabella and her ogre host, Mick (but please, call him “Gnashtooth”). Gnashtooth was surprised to see us, and exclaimed with disappointment that we were not “that other guy”, but stopped to listen when we told him that we were from the mayor, and that “the other guy” would not be coming. This was a cause of great confusion (due only in part to the ogre’s capacity for complex reasoning). Normally, it turned out, his friend Jaryd (a bard and all-round dodgy dealer, from the sound of it) handled all such details. However, while we were negotiating with him to get him to come to town with us – a couple of ideas regarding mock-fights were mooted – two other ogres, definitely not in on the act, came wandering over the hillside. Angered to discover Gnashtooth in their territory – and with a hungry look at Isabella – they attacked.

Sending Gnashtooth and Isabella somewhat out of harm’s way, the battle was joined. Arabella, Maul and Mel took up positions at the front, Cog and Al behind. Arabella took a serious hit from one of the ogres, whom Maul was then successful in Frightening. Al’s trusty Sleep spell sent the other into a slumber, from which he never awoke. He never awoke, because it is difficult to wake up when you no longer have a head. No sooner had ogre 1 recovered from his magical frightening than he looked back, saw Arabella and a now-enlarged Maul in hot pursuit, and behind them a headless version of his friend (do ogres have “friends”?). He then seamlessly replaced the magical version of fear with a hefty dose the real thing, and thundered away over the hills, never to be seen again (or so we thought).

This was more than enough for Gnashtooth, who decided this was all getting too scary, and also ran away. Before he was out of sight, we assured him that we bore him no ill will, and indeed Cog left him 50gp for his trouble.

We looted the body of the now-headless ogre, to find a haversack (potentially a Handy one), containing a lot of junk (now discarded), and a much less junk-looking glass bottle: securely stoppered, filled with green liquid with speckles in it.

With that, we collected Isabella, picked up our grisly (and also somewhat grizzly) proof of victory over “the ogre”, and headed (geddit‽) back to town. Our plan was to publicly announce Arabella’s Heroic Deed™, with a certain amount of head-brandishing, and let the mayor squirm over being presented with an ogre head that he couldn’t possibly point out was the wrong ogre, as doing so would have proven him to have orchestrated the whole kidnapping.

But we never had the chance to see how that plan worked. Instead, on our way back to town, we ran into into a party “led” (for a very stretched interpretation of the word) by none other than Galahain, heading out to where we had just battled. It seems that Jaryd intended to turn adversity to advantage, and arrange for Galahain to “defeat” the ogre despite having a broken leg, thereby making the Deed™ even more Heroic. After some debate with Cog and Maul, we ended up joining their party (or, given how useless most of them proved, letting them join us), and set out after the other ogre, in order to get a second ogre head, so that Galahain and Arabella might both receive credit for Heroic Deeds™ worthy of Songs.

It didn’t take long: we found the ogre… or I suppose, were alerted to his presence by the boulders pelted upon the party from the top of a shallow ravine. This time, it was Cog who copped the most substantial hit (and was downed, if not quite out), but not before he assisted Isabella in delivering as much damage to the ogre as our hero Galahain managed to do (at least until the very last moment). With very little we could do to damage the ogre from below, the fighters climbed the ravine to get to flanking positions beside the ogre atop the ravine. Meanwhile, after shrugging off two of Al’s trusty sleep spells, the ogre finally succumbed to a third… and it was a matter of great satisfaction to Al that she saw him come crashing down on top of Jaryd. Galahain – who was still quite badly concussed – now managed to fall of his horse, deliver a final blow to the ogre, and perhaps also a final blow to his chances of becoming a knight, as his already-broken leg shattered beneath him.

Arabella did the honours of ogre decapitation, and with its head we all went gallumphing back. En route, the two bards (Jaryd and Chirreep) set about working the Song of Arabella and Galahain into a duel… at least, I think that’s what the thing they were singing is called. And the result seems sure to be a winner at firesides all over the Principalities, which should give Arabella a decent chance of being squired.

On our arrival at Bridgeford, we met with the mayor who, it turns out, is still an arsehole. Nevertheless, he recognised that he had little to complain about our conduct, and so we were at least not evicted from town a second time before the opportunity to recuperate. Despite Galahain being so badly injured he may never be squired, the mayor was not on board with our suggestions that Isabella might become a knight instead.

Jaryd made his excuses, and set off to wherever it is bards go. Only after his departure did it occur to Al that he might have a lead on where to find Argenias Lat. She has a score to settle…

Oh, and we still don’t know what’s in that bottle we found in the ogre’s haversack.


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