Sunday, February 27, 2011

Jendrick's Challenge, part 2

Tonight I got to play Skype session #2 - a week later than originally planned, but a good time nonetheless. The first ten minutes were spent sorting out technical issues: audio static due to a bad mic and the inability to get both our videos working at the same time. After Tracy switched back to the mic he used previously, the audio was great - better than last time, actually, as we didn't incur any spottiness throughout the duration of the two-hour game. Since we only managed to achieve one-way video, we elected to go without. The video is nice, but not having it wasn't really a detriment - not for our two-player game, at least.

We picked up outside the Sign of the Three Crowns, where Jendrick and Rosamund parted for the evening. They reconvened at sunrise in one of Sturnheim's gardens, though when Rosamund arrived, she was accompanied by Tregar, the dwarf hunter that Jendrick had spoken to the previous day. Rosamund had surmised that Poot's slaying was somehow related to Sturnheim's lost treasure, and wanted Jendrick and Tregar to help her uncover the truth.

As the story goes, some forty years prior a caravan carrying a large segment of Sturnheim's wealth was plundered by unknown robbers, crippling the town and severing its trade with other nearby settlements. Shortly thereafter, a party of eight adventurers struck out to find the lost caravan. Four met an untimely death along the road; of the four that returned, two left Sturnheim and two remained in the village. Of those that remained, one supposedly went mad and eventually fled; the other was Poot.
Rosamund was hesitant to place much trust in Sturnheim's militia, for its captain, Valdar, was the son of a warrior named Kesor, one of the surviving adventurers that departed and a notably evil man. As such, Jendrick led his friends to the constabulary where they inquired about the confiscated stone sword. The guards allowed them to examine it, though not remove it from the premises. When Jendrick asked if Poot's house might be searched, the men agreed, with one soldier accompanying the trio there personally.

The door to Poot's house was adorned with a broken and decrepit lock; inside, the man's personal effects were strewn about haphazardly. A half hour of searching revealed an iron ring that was strangely warm to the touch (which the guard promptly collected), and a telling note scrawled upon a sheet of parchment:
P -

Meet me in the old alley tonight and bring the key. I have ascertained its origin and purpose, and the location of the lock.

-V
Rosamund passed the note to Jendrick, who promptly handed it over to the guard, much to the girl's displeasure. The trio then returned to the constabulary to question the jailed bandit, who revealed nothing. Back outside, Rosamund and Tregar surmised that the note may have been scribed by Valdar, which would implicate that Valdar himself had orchestrated Poot's slaying. With no further leads, and without possession of the "key" (the stone sword), the trio left town and began traveling along the Forsaken Road (the road that Poot had referenced in his dying words).

After an hour, the friends encountered a mounted knight in rusted field plate armor; he carried a lance bearing a tattered blue pennant and sat upon a weathered nag. The knight, obviously a venerable man by his voice, proclaimed himself guardian of the road, refusing to let anyone pass until they bested him in a duel. Seeing that Jendrick rode no horse, the knight dismounted and drew forth his longsword. The two crossed steel, and after Jendrick twice scored hits between his opponent's armor, the old knight yielded and allowed the trio to pass.

Jendrick offered the man his [magical] aid, treating him with the utmost respect and inquiring as to his origin. In the ensuing dialogue, Jendrick learned that the man was none other than Sir Nycklos of Roeh, the surviving adventurer who supposedly had fled, and indeed was quite mad (or at least very senile). The party pressed on, and as the afternoon waned came upon an unusual rock formation standing near the road. Jendrick noted that the boulders looked vaguely like a dragon, and Rosemund linked this to another of Poot's deathly phrases, "south at dragon."

Before they could go further, a grunting noise behind the rocks revealed a hulking man devouring an uncooked squirrel, with the carcasses of several more at his feet. This man declared himself "Ahrne," and though his speech was rather primitive, he wore two most curious items: a stone shield, strapped to his back (his "armor") and a valuable gold necklace bearing a medallion branded "Sturnheim Caravan Company" and dated 46 years ago. Jendrick asked to be taken to the place where Ahrne found his strange treasures, and Ahrne readily agreed... for another squirrel.

That's where we left it; though there wasn't much combat (the duel with Sir Nycklos hardly counts), the plot has definitely started to unfold. In addition, having a paladin as the lone PC creates an interesting dynamic in almost every NPC encounter. For example, a character of any other class would likely not have turned the note found in Poot's house over to the guard; Jendrick, however, chose to do just that, drawing scorn from Rosamund and arguably turning a valuable piece of information over to a questionable source. On the other hand, Jendrick's chivalrous demeanor served him well in the encounter with Sir Nycklos, and has helped him establish a valorous repor with numerous individuals in Sturnheim.

Looking forward to seeing how the rest of the adventure plays out, and particularly what companions Jendrick brings with him when finally he arrives in Hommlet.

Legacy XP totals (copied from main sidebar on August 9, 2012):
  • Jendrick - 4,334
  • Gulwar - 3,182/3,120
  • Rylin (captured) - 4,194
  • Amiculum - 5,064
  • Dravin - 6,170
  • Greenleaf (retired) - 4,334
  • Ellimorell (slain) - 4,334

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