20 Mirtul, sunrise
Toward the end of their first day traveling west from the ruins, the party was set upon from behind by a gnoll warband, which split into flanking groups and rushed in, throwing small axes from amid the trees. The adventurers stood fast, their swords and magic felling several of the dog-faced creatures before the remaining few retreated into the forest.
Injuries to the party were mounting, though not insufferable. As twilight loomed, a suitable campsite was located and watches were arranged without a fire. During the first, Arendeth praised Aranos for his bravery and the proficiency with which the budding warrior fought against the gnolls. In the early morning hours, Rumolt and Berwyn exchanged vagueries regarding their pasts and future aspirations.
The following day was met with no additional threats from their surrounds, and as latefeast approached the party was hailed by a short, round-faced woodsman named Banion, a patroller of the hunt trails from the Slumbering Manticore. Though the PCs initially feared that the encounter may have been more than mere chance, Banion led them safely to a well-trodden path that returned them to the inn before nightfall. Amid the grounds outside, the smell of campfire smoke ushered them in, and Constable Rictus strode out to meet them.
Readily accepting of the inn's food, drink, and shelter, the party entered the taproom and began to discuss reconciliation terms with Rumolt. Rekindling the tension felt at the ruins when the topic of the scepter was breached, it became clear that neither the PCs nor Rumolt were willing to part ways with the other having possession of the artifact. Emotions peaked when Rumolt spat on the table and called Arendeth a fool at the dwarf's suggestion that Rumolt exchange his share of the scepter for the wraith's black sword and helm. Wren subsequently dismissed Rumolt from the party under implicit threats of violence before cooler heads prevailed, and all took their sleep for the night.
The PCs set watches outside their rooms, fearful of attempted thievery by Rumolt or someone else. Arendeth imparted to his companions that a fire trap spell was already cast upon his pack, protecting the scepter. Using detect magic, Riwyn discerned that Wren's longsword emitted a minor aura of evocation magic, the wraith's sword and helm a moderate aura of necromancy, and the scepter a powerful aura of an unknown nature.
In the morning, Berwyn met Rumolt in the taproom to further discuss their options. Rumolt committed to no specific course, but his impasse with the party would not be relinquished. The pair convened with the larger group upstairs, with all finally settling on an agreement that Rumolt would continue to accompany them as an equal until the matter of the scepter could be reconciled. Rumolt handed over leather-bound coin rolls owed to the remaining party members, bidding them to rest until all were returned to full strength and their next destination could be determined.
Since the moment they crossed paths, the party has been waiting for Rumolt to show his hand. The man's past is unclear, without a doubt, but is not also that of the PCs, in Rumolt's eyes? The distrust between the sides is palpable, and it's been fun to play out in-game. It's interesting to see how an encounter of random chance can be perceived as the first sign of an intricate betrayal. The party is waiting for the other boot to drop. Will it?
In addition to XP earned for the past few sessions, which is detailed below, Aranos is hereby promoted to henchman status under Arendeth. This means that Aranos is now formally a first-level character who will begin to accumulate experience, starting at zero. Hereafter, Aranos will receive a half XP share from the group, and otherwise compensated primarily by Arendeth, to whom the warrior has become devoutly and fanatically loyal. Sean will control Aranos fully, and I will only step in if egregious orders for him are issued.
The following XP awards cover the last three sessions, the entirety of the time that Rumolt has traveled with the PCs.
- Orcs, 20 - 290 XP
- Kobolds, 3 - 22 XP
- Wraith - 730 XP
- Gnolls, 8 - 310 XP
- Longsword +1 - 400 XP
- Wizard scrolls, 6 - 1,100 XP
- Coinage plundered - 170 XP
- Scepter - 10,000 XP
- Story award - 5,000 XP
This amounts to 18,022 points, which is split six ways (as Rumolt, for better or for worse, is entitled an equal share for his significant contributions to the party's efforts). That's 3,003 points per PC, plus one hundred each added for Rumolt's payment, totaling 3,103. Accounting for prime requisite bonuses, I arrive at:
- Berwyn - 11,169
- Arendeth - 11,653
- Riwyn - 5,827/5,827
- Wren - 5,297/5,827
- Lincoln - 9,396
These are definitely substantial gains, and well deserved. Berwyn ascends to level 4, Riwyn to levels 3 and 4 in her classes, and Wren to levels 3 and 4 in hers. Lincoln is close to advancing, and Arendeth is much closer to his next milestone than he was previously. Totals are updated on the right-hand side of the blog.