Corruption of Azim

Chapter 5

Fanning the Flame

The tavern of the Blue Drake Inn was bustling with activity. It was not yet noon, but many people who normally would have been at work were gathered together in conversation instead. Many of these voices were concerned and fearful that Gnolls had attacked a farm on the Northern outskirts of town.

Asmodeus grinned subtly. He was pleased with the swift results of their plan. After faking the Gnoll attack, the party decided to return to the town separately. Nock slipped into town that night. Then in the morning, Tyrus and Shandra headed around the city to one of the Eastern gates while Asmodeus and Gaimon went West toward a gate near his father’s farm.

Getting through the gate was relatively simple. When the guards questioned them on where they were coming from, Asmodeus told them they had come from investigating a tomb.

“We had heard that goblins had taken up residence in an old tomb a day’s travel out of town. So we went to investigate and recover any treasure which might be had. But unfortunately, it appears that someone had previously cleared out the goblins for all we found were skeletons.”

The lie was easy to tell, because Asmodeus, Gaimon, and Elandra had visited the tomb three years prior. At the time the wizard was looking for some specific reagents, and Elandra had come for the potential wealth gain. Therefore both the wizard and his bodyguard were able to provide convincing details to the guards.

Entering the town, Asmodeus briefly considered visiting his father. The farm was near, but he decided against it. Questions about the fate of the mayor and of the last night’s incident could be answered better at a tavern. The party had planned to regroup at the Blue Drake, so he headed straight there.

He was surprised to find the tavern quite busy when he arrived. Nock was already there and was making use of his bardic skills to entertain. Asmodeus shook his head as he thought that the Gnome should be lying low. But on further reflection, he decided that perhaps the small assassin was better hid in the midst of the crowd.

Talking with the patrons, Asmodeus quickly learned that mayor Renferell was still alive. After the assassination attempt, the mayor had fallen quite ill from the poison. So ill in fact, that the clerics worried that he wouldn’t survive the night. When morning came he awoke; weak but stable.

That same day, notices were posted regarding the assassin. The soldiers were still looking for the criminal, but had not had any luck thus far. Although it wasn’t unusual for Renferell to go a week or more without leaving his fort, rumor had it that he had no intention of coming out until the assassin was caught.

But the bulk of conversations were regarding the Gnoll incident. Many of the townspeople were afraid that the mayor wouldn’t give proper attention to the problem due to his self-imposed confinement. Thus they had taken leave of their normal work to discuss what was to be done. Most of the talk was really just fear and speculation, driven to excess by the imagination. Some spoke of defending the town or attacking the Gnolls, but it was clear that these discussions were not yet leading to any action.

While Asmodeus was gathering this information, Tyrus and Shandra entered the inn. Soon the party gathered around their corner table and discussed what they had learned. Nock had used his Invisibility spell to make his entrance to town very smooth. But Tyrus was concerned that their entry had been marked.

“When we arrived at the gates, the guards questioned us,” Tyrus explained. “I had expected as much, considering the events of the last week. They soon let us enter, but looking back we noticed that they seemed to be whispering about us. Then one of the guards left his post.

“This event was followed by another similar one. As we were heading here, I noticed a young Knights Justicar acolyte watching me. When our eyes met he turned nearly as white as his uniform, then he ran off toward the chapel.

“I think that we — or at least Shandra and I — have been marked. I don’t know why the guards were so interested in us, but it seems like the Knights Justicar were watching for me.”

DM
So that’s the current state of things. What will you do now?

Karasu
If the rest of the party had entered the Blue Drake a few moments earlier, they would have seen a look of genuine surprise on the gnome’s face. But Nock has since concealed any disappointment with his usual mask of insipid mirth. He’s subtly trying to feed the crowd’s fear by playing to the tunes of human songs about orc attacks and monsters. Between sets he’ll work the crowd, trying to Gather Information about the clerics that attend Renferell. He wants to know their names, their number, where they live, just how powerful their healing spells are and whether they would pose any threat to him. He simply can’t believe his poison did not work and is suddenly very impressed that someone counteracted it, (whether or not that’s entirely true). He also wants to find out what local townspeople are saying about the alleged assassin.

So that’s two different Gather Information attempts. I rolled an 8 and a 6 before any modifiers. Low scores, but I believe Nock receives a +7 modifier.

Nock is also taken aback and a little humbled. He’s willing to listen to ideas from the others. One thing is certain, Nock really wants to kill Renferell and anyone at the mayor’s side. He’s willing to help topple the local chapter of the Knights Justicar too. That’s another organization that he is happy to hate.

Eryx
Asmodeus wants to find out what the mayor is going to do about the gnolls, but in general thinks they ought to stick to the plan, attack any groups of soldiers the mayor sends out to quell the gnoll problem.

However, should they ever be confronted with the Knights Justicar, and those knights are openly hostile (trying to arrest or attack Tyrus), he’s certainly open to a little violence.

New idea, however, if the mayor doesn’t send out soldiers to confront the gnoll “threat.” Perhaps the party could offer their services to the town, play the hero. This could also help perhaps appease the Knights Justicar if they are indeed on Tyrus and Shandra’s trail-Tyrus may be a fallen paladin, but isn’t worth the trouble of tracking down and arresting. It would also allow the town to hopefully rally around them, setting the stage for a coup. A coup would be a bit more direct than Asmodeus would like, but still effective nonetheless.

I also rolled sense motive checks for Asmodeus and Gaimon to see if they noticed that Nock is a little bummed.

Asmodeus: 18+1=19 total.
Gaimon: 16+1=17 total.

If that’s successful, they’ll try to cheer Nock up. Asmodeus in particular will use the situation to impress upon the Gnome that the group will eventually triumph, even if they have setbacks. “That’s why I have plans upon plans upon plans.”

First, we need to find out what the mayor is doing about the gnolls. To that end Asmodeus would want the group to try to ask any guards that flitted through the tavern what they planned to do. He himself could play the concerned son, worried about his father’s farm because of the gnoll attack.


Upon hearing the information from the group, Nock shrugged his shoulders, slid off his chair, and returned to the crowd. Asmodeus tried to discern the mood of the Gnome, but was unable to sense anything other than indifference. He looked at Gaimon who gave him a look which said, “I don’t know either.”

In truth, the Gnome was feeling somewhat surprised. Before his new-found allies had entered, he had already learned that the mayor lived. Somehow his poison had failed. Perhaps due to the interference of the clerics which attended him. Nock had learned from the tavern patrons that one Jorn Braithwaite was a personal cleric of Renferell’s. They say that he is a powerful healer, yet no one seems to know for sure since he only serves Renferell. Apparently a Knight Justicar had also helped, as well as a few of the town healers.

He had also asked about the mysterious assassin. He felt pleased with himself that no one seemed to have any good information. The stories were disparate, the only commonality being that the mayor was shot by a small, poisoned crossbow bolt during his town hall address. There was a bounty out for the assassin’s arrest though, so Nock knew that he’d best be wary. Money has a way with people, after all.

But Nock had not relayed any of this information to his compatriots. They seemed trustworthy, and certainly had goals which meshed with his, but other evil folk had betrayed him in the past. So he kept this information to himself waiting to see what ideas the crafty wizard would come up with. Picking up his gittern, he began to play another Human song about dangerous monster attacks. This was the forth such song that he had played since morning, and he purposely left off singing before any verses about vanquishing said monsters.

Asmodeus watched as the bard began to play and chuckled to himself as he recognized the song. Then he turned his attention to the crowd. He wanted to know what the mayor’s plans were for the Gnolls. It’s only just midday, perhaps he hasn’t made a decision yet, he thought. Then he realized that there were no guards in the tavern and that he hadn’t seen any thus far either.

He turned to mention this to Tyrus, but found the blackguard still discussing the Knights Jusicar with Gaimon and Shandra.

“I was one of them for a long time,” he was saying, “and I know how they work. They try to keep track of ‘undesirable’ influences and sometimes have years worth of information about people. I just wish I knew why they were watching me; then I’d know how serious the threat is.”

As if on cue, the door opened and a Dwarf wearing the colors of the Knights Justicar entered. Asmodeus recognized him as the paladin present at the mayor’s town hall meeting. He had long hair and beard of a light brown hue. At his side he wore a large mace. He looked around the tavern, and catching sight of Tyrus he walked right over to the table.

The party went silent as the paladin approached. Gaimon prepared to draw his sword, but didn’t move yet. Hidden from sight beneath the table, Shandra had her fingers on her knife.

“Hullo sir,” the Dwarf said, addressing Tyrus. “The name’s Bejic Gemset, and I’m in charge of the Knights Justicar here in Fallerun. I recall seein’ ye a few days ago, and I’ve been meanin’ to ask ye for some information on the incident with the mayor.

“I saw ye and yer, uh, friends at yonder town hall meetin’ four days back. The guards told me that they seen somethin’ up near where ye were sittin’. After that ye were nowheres to be found.”

The members of the party glanced back and forth at each other as Bejic spoke. Unsure if this would escalate, they tried to act casual but stayed at the ready.

“Now I know ye and I have different moral backgrounds,” the Dwarf continued. Asmodeus took note of this diplomatic way Bejic alluded to their evil auras which paladins could sense at will. “But I rely on yer devotion to preservin’ the lawful nature of this here town. And if ye care not for law, then perhaps coin? For I understand the mayor has put a bounty out for the assassin.

“Do ye have any information which could help us in trackin’ down this assassin? Or perhaps a more recent event — this Gnoll attack? What say ye, sir — uh… There I go again, I haven’t given ye a breath’s time to even tell me yer name!”

DM
So, what do you want to say to Bejic? Will Tyrus give his name? He’s addressing Tyrus specifically, but others can certainly chime in.

I rolled a bluff check for Nock vs. Asmodeus and Gaimon’s sense motive checks. Nock’s score won handily. So they don’t know what he’s feeling (although it didn’t seem like Karasu was indicating that he was “bummed out”, more surprised and humbled).

Karasu
I rolled a Listen check to see if Nock would be able to overhear what the dwarf paladin was saying. Nock’s hearing isn’t great (too many beatings while in prison I assume), but the roll was a 20 (+1 modifier)! If that’s not enough, Nock will continue play his gittern while watching them warily. If he does overhear Bejic, the tune he is playing will change to the pleasantest of melodies. In other words, the bard is weaving a Charm Person spell directed at the dwarf. Hopefully the warm fuzzy feeling will make Nock look to him as inconspicuous and benign as possible, the sort of miniature humanoid a dwarf might befriend in this inhospitable land of long-shanks.



Eryx
Asmodeus and Gaimon watch warily to see what Tyrus will do, both ready to spring into action should the need arise. I did update Asmodeus’ spells yesterday before this post, so he’s fully equipped. But he secretly hopes Tyrus will not start a fight. Now is not the time.

I’ll also roll Sense Motive checks for both Asmodeus and Gaimon to see if Bejic is lying about not knowing Tyrus’ name, though obviously they cannot communicate to each other, as well as a Listen check if Asmodeus notices if Nock changes his tune (two “ifs” in that sentence). Gaimon wouldn’t be paying attention to Nock’s reaction, but Asmodeus would.

Sense Motive (Asmodeus): 3+1=4 total.
Sense Motive (Gaimon): 1+1=2 total.
Listen (Asmodeus): 14+1+2 (raven bonus)=17 total.

I defer actions this time to Whipblade. You’re up man. I’ll follow your lead, but Tyrus would be aware Asmodeus doesn’t want to start a fight. Finish one, sure, but start, no. It doesn’t appear Asmodeus had time to discuss the last gray box with Tyrus, so Tyrus isn’t aware of the new idea to pose as “heroes” for the town.

Whipblade
Tyrus is polite, but direct. He will nod, addressing the dwarf. “Bejic.” After a moments pause, he’ll motion the dwarf to have a seat. Hopefully the attitude in the tavern will settle down once he does so. Tyrus will ask his preference in ale’s, offering to buy him one, before continuing. Tyrus will be straight up with him for the most part: “My name is Tyrus, of Eridor. I was present at the council meeting where the mayor was attacked. As for what the guards saw, I’m not sure, but you’d probably want to consult a red-haired elven guard who was standing next to us when the attack occured.”

Tyrus won’t elaborate much. He will tell the truth, so far as it doesn’t get him into trouble.

Shandra also knows that Tyrus isn’t one to lie. If the dwarf probes deeper, She will jump in elaborate about how they left town to go search for the assassin because of the sizeable reward, couldn’t find any trace, so now they’re back. She’ll also talk about how good it is to be back in town where she can get a decent bath, and talk about how excited she is to be a new wife and have lots of children. (Basically steering the conversation away from anywhere meaningful.)

Shandra rolls a bluff check! She gets a 6 (+11) = 17.

Additionally, Tyrus will ask about how the mayor is doing, what the reward is up to now, if anyone else has any leads, and will ask how he can help. He’s not going to pretend to being a good guy – he knows the dwarf would see through it, but will play the part of a sword for hire.


“Bejic.” Tyrus replied by way of greeting. Then after a moment’s pause, he motioned for the Dwarf to pull up a chair. Sensing the tone that Tyrus was setting, the rest of the party relaxed a bit while the Dwarf grabbed a nearby chair.

“Thank ye,” Bejic said, “Mighty kind of ye.”

“What type of ale do you prefer?” Tyrus asked.

“Ale? Well, I enjoy a good Cypuran stout most of the time,” Bejic said as he immediately slipped back into a rant. “I often make a visit to the Bleedin’ Barrel to get some — and to keep an eye on things. But here at the Blue Drake I usually do the good hostess a favor and buy one of her wines or at least one of her porter ales.”

“Allow me to buy you a drink then,” Tyrus said but Bejic raised his hand in sign of refusal.

“Thank ye, but perhaps some other time. I mean to stay focused on the task at hand. I aim to discover any information I can about these incidents.”

Tyrus nodded. “My name is Tyrus, of Eridor. I was present at the council meeting where the mayor was attacked. As for what the guards saw, I’m not sure, but you’d probably want to consult a red-haired elven guard who was standing next to us when the attack occurred.”

Watching the Dwarf intently, Asmodeus watched for any sign that Bejic recognized Tyrus’ name. But the paladin’s face remained unchanged. If he did recognize the name, he must have already known who Tyrus was. Bejic did raise an eyebrow at Tyrus’ suggestion though.

“An Elvish guard with, ah, red hair? Hmm…” the Dwarf seemed a bit confused at this point, but quickly recovered. “The guards have been well debriefed, Sir Tyrus. Unfortunately they have nay been able to help find the assassin. Are you sure ye and yer friends didn’t see anythin’?”

Asmodeus quickly jumped in, “Sadly, I’m sure that most eyes were, like ours, focused on the mayor. Everyone seemed quite interested in what he had to say.”

“Alas, it seems to be the case.” Bejic replied.

Meanwhile, Nock watched the Knight Justicar as he sat down with the party. The Dwarf didn’t possess a very quiet voice, so by listening carefully Nock was able to hear parts of the conversation over the din of the crowd. Upon hearing the Dwarf ask about the assassin, a brief wave of fear passed over the Gnome — how loyal would these new allies be? He quickly changed the tune of his gittern and directed a lovely sounding Charm Person spell toward the Dwarf. Nock wanted to appear as inconspicuous and benign as possible; the sort of miniature humanoid a Dwarf might befriend in this inhospitable land of long-shanks.

“Does anyone have any leads?” Tyrus asked. “And how is the mayor doing?”

“The mayor is doin’ well, I think. His cleric has been takin’ good care of him.” Bejic answered. “As for leads, it seems we haven’t had any good ones. One guard says he thought he saw something dark up on the balcony near where ye were sittin’ — which is why I wanted to ask ye about it. And we have a small crossbow bolt which was poisoned with a nasty, gritty kind of poison.”

“Is there anything I can do to help? The reward is generous. What is it up to now? Has it changed?” Tyrus inquired.

“Nay, the mayor is still offerin’ a thousand gold for the assassin.” Then changing the subject he asked, “I don’t suppose ye know anythin’ about last night’s incident?”

Knowing that Tyrus wasn’t one to lie, Shandra decided she’d better intercede. “We hadn’t heard of it until just a few minutes ago,” she lied. “We’ve been gone from town a couple days. When we heard about the sizable bounty, we decided to go search for the assassin. We supposed that the guards would find him if he stayed in town, so we searched the surrounding area. But we never found a trace.

“I am glad to be back in town though. I can hardly wait to get a good bath! Traveling can be difficult for a woman, as I’m sure you know. But I don’t mind it if I’m with my husband.” Here Shandra gave a sweet look at Tyrus. “It’s so exciting to be a new wife! And I’m sure we’ll have so many lovely children!”

While Shandra was speaking, Asmodeus had taken a glance over toward Nock. He noticed that the Gnome had changed his music. Then looking back at Bejic, he noticed a subtle change had come over the paladin. Suddenly he realized that the Gnome was casting a spell which he easily identified.

“Come Shandra,” he said with a gleam in his eye. “I’m sure our paladin friend is much to busy to listen to your happy ramblings. Should you speak of the wedding he’ll be here until sunset! Let’s return to the subject at hand. What are the guards doing about this Gnoll incident, Bejic?”

“I’m not sure. I heard they were havin’ some kind of meeting at the fort though.”

Asmodeus was disappointed at this, and decided that the Knight Justicar wouldn’t have any more information that he needed. “Well,” he said, “I’m sure you’ve got many more important things to do today. Isn’t that true, Bejic?”

“Aye, I suppose. But ye will let me know if ye come across any information?”

“Of course,” Shandra answered with a smile.

“Well then, don’t let us delay you from your investigation,” Asmodeus said. Then in a commanding tone he said, “Goodbye, Bejic.”

The command combined with Nock’s spell gave the desired effect. “Goodbye,” the Dwarf said as he got up out of his chair and left. He waved to someone he knew and was soon out the door.

Asmodeus turned toward Nock and gave him a nod of approval. The group chatted about the encounter for a few minutes. Then Shandra decided that the idea of a nice bath was too good to be wasted as a lie, so Tyrus reserved a room from the innkeeper and his wife headed upstairs. While Asmodeus contemplated what their next step should be, Gaimon pulled out some cards. Tyrus brought some food and drink back to the table, and consented to play cards while he ate.

DM
A natural 20 made it easy for Asmodeus to identify the spell Nock was casting. I figured he’d want to make good use of it. It’s only about midday, what will the group do next?

Eryx
Someting Whipblade posted intrigued me, and with Nock in our group we have more easily the means to do it. Frame somebody. Just a thought, and for what purpose and who to frame and why are still things up in the air, but I assume we could easily recreate a scenario in which someone was “found” with Nock’s special poison. Whipblade sugested framing Isley, but I don’t know how that would fit into our plans, though I’m open to suggestions. Asmodeus is more interested in fanning the flame of discontent amongst the townspeople.

And to that end he would want to discover who that man was that looked pleased that the mayor had been shot back at the meeting (MacArthur, maybe?). This could be the beginning of gathering minions, but at the very least Asmodeus would like to work with this guy and MacArthur to try to get the townspeople riled up. The idea of playing the hero against these gnolls also kind of intrigues him, and would put them into a position to lead a small rebellion against the mayor.

He would also want to try and play the concerned son and make sure the guards were going to send out sorties against the Gnolls, which of course the group would ambush and kill as per the original plan. Basically, most of what Asmodeus is interested in doing I’ve outlined in the gray boxes above as well as this one.

Edit: Also, I do want to keep track of how much money we’re spending on food and lodging and gambling, as well as how many charges of the wands I used up during our fight. Blackwolf, do you still have the actual data from the fight so I can roll and calculate the wandings, as well as how many days of lodging/rations we have used?

[DM retcon edit:Asmodeus can’t use cure wands; removing/changing references in the narrative. Changing ownership of the wand to Tyrus.]

And one other thing. Just to be cautious, Asmodeus would advise the group to keep their stories straight. He and Gaimon were off looking at the goblin cave, Tyrus and Shandra were off looking for the assassin, and he’ll let Nock say anything he wants to, but doesn’t want to get caught in a lie.

Karasu
Without a word to the others, Nock slings his gittern over his shoulder and slips out of the tavern. He intends to silently follow Bejic, hoping not to be spotted. (Unfortunately, I only rolled a 3, but with Nock’s +11 modifier that’s a 14, assuming Move Silently is the correct skill.) If he is spotted, Nock’s hoping the Charm Person will still be in effect, since that song’s effects have been known to last for hours.

This is just a bit of reconnaissance, with the Charm Person spell as a little temporary insurance. Nock doesn’t really know what he hopes to accomplish. If spotted, Nock will politely ask the dwarf if he knows where he might find Jorn Braithwaite. He also might conversationally wonder aloud if MacArthur was involved in the assassination attempt. (Nock may or may not know MacArthur’s history; I rolled for Bardic Knowledge and got a 5, +5 (level) +3 (Int modifier) = 13.) If left unseen, Nock just wants to follow the dwarf for a few hours to see how the investigation fares and to memorize the dwarf’s patterns and routines as the information might be useful later. He can always go back to the tavern before nightfall. After all, sometimes even a bard can tire of sitting around playing cards.

DM
Here’s the information Eryx asked for. During Chapter 4, the group:
* Used up 4 days worth of rations each.
* Used 1 charge of the wand of Heal Moderate Wounds.
* I either forgot or Asmodeus didn’t have a chance to use the wand of Bull’s Strength, so no charges were expended.
* The rest of the healing was accomplished via spells or resting.

As for inn/lodging, you would have paid for lodging from Chapters 1-2 (1 night), and again if you want to lodge “tonight” (Chapter 5). Use the PHB pg. 129 for the prices. The Blue Drake Inn is a “good” quality inn. Food / drink was paid for during Chapter 1-2 via gambling.

I’ve got about half of the next part written up; I’ll try to finish it up by tomorrow (Thursday) night.

Nock slipped out of the Blue Drake unnoticed just after Bejic left. He carefully followed the Knight Justicar. The Dwarf didn’t seem to notice, but then again he never looked back. The Dwarf waved hello to a few people as he made his way to a small chapel. Nock followed from a safe distance. The chapel was an older building made mostly from hewn stone, but apparently benefitted from better upkeep than most buildings in town.

The bard hesitated when the Dwarf entered the chapel, unsure whether to go in. He rejected the idea of waiting on a nearby fence, instead choosing to enter. The inside of the chapel was dimly lit despite the large stained glass windows and burning braziers. There were three people sitting on the pews. Nock took a seat on the back row and renewed his vigil on Bejic.

The paladin was kneeling in prayer in front of a symbol of Moradin. There were symbols for other gods as well, not that Nock cared much for this. After some time, Bejic got up and talked with a young looking human boy. Judging from his attire, Nock guessed this boy must be an acolyte of the Knights Justicar. Bejic complimented the boy on being observant — apparently this was the lad who had noticed Tyrus earlier and ran off to tell Bejic. They talked about various mundane tasks such as cleaning the building, but nothing which interested Nock.

As soon as the boy took leave of Bejic, the dwarf entered a small antechamber off to the side of the chapel. Nock tiptoed over and saw that the antechamber entered into a hallway. There were three doors in the hallway, and Bejic was just closing the middle one behind him.

The Gnome stealthfully moved down the hallway and stooped slightly to look through the keyhole. The paladin had just sat down to a desk populated with various papers and books. He then picked up a quill and began to write.

Nock realized that the paladin would be at this for some time, so he sneaked back to his seat in the main hall. He patiently, though bored, for just over an hour. Then Bejic came through the main hall and exited the chapel.

The bard continued his reconnaissance. He followed the Dwarf as he visited a few people in town; some shopkeepers and farmers. Then the Dwarf entered a run-down, disreputable looking tavern where he bought some ale. Bejic nursed his ale while watching the patrons of the tavern. The patrons were few in number compared to the Blue Drake, but looked much more sinister.

Nock thought this was a kind of place he could enjoy.

* * *

After waiting around the Blue Drake for an hour or so, Asmodeus decided he had gathered all the information that the locale would offer. Elandra might show up, but not until evening — if at all. The townspeople and merchants in the tavern had only rumors and speculation left to offer.

Shandra had returned from her bath and decided to come along. Tyrus would come with her, and Gaimon followed the wizard to fulfill his duties. Nock had disappeared somewhere. Thus the four party members left the Blue Drake.

Asmodeus’ first goal was to discover if the mayor would send any troops out to face the perceived Gnoll threat. They headed toward the North gate since it was closest to the fort. As they approached, they saw several guards carrying some kind of supplies and provisions. It appeared they were gathering at the gate.

The guards were busy with their labor and looked as though they shouldn’t be trifled with. They had perhaps been asked too many questions already. So instead, the wizard approached a man who was looking on with a kind of detached interest.

“What’s going on here?” Asmodeus asked.

“The soldiers are getting ready to hunt down the Gnolls that attacked the Glenn family farm last night,” replied the man.

Asmodeus tried not to sound too interested. “Yes, the incident has been the talk of the town. That must be why the soldiers were meeting then.”

The man nodded in the affirmative. “About an hour ago a bunch of guards came back from the fort and began preparing their supplies. Apparently they’ll be leaving tomorrow morning. I and some others tried to ask for more details, but the guards got quickly frustrated with us. They’re in a hurry to prepare.” The man sighed, and there was a brief pause before he continued, “I don’t know if my son is going with them.”

“Your son is a soldier?”

“Yes.”

“Well,” Asmodeus replied, “I appreciate what your son is doing for you and for this town. After hearing of this terrible Gnoll attack, I’ve feared for my poor father and his farm. I have also felt the need to do something.”

The man agreed, but didn’t say much after that. In the meantime, Shandra had heard that two groups would be sent out in the morning. No one seemed to know how many soldiers would be in each group though.

Having obtained one piece of information he was looking for, Asmodeus decided he should next try to find Henry McArthur. He had been mentioned by both his father and Latham, so he was worth visiting. It took a few inquiries and a walk across town before the group found a woman who knew McArthur.

“He lives on a farm over yonder,” the woman said, “but you won’t find him there. He hasn’t been at the field all day, so there’s only one other place to find him: the Bleeding Barrel.”

The Bleeding Barrel was easy to spot. The tavern was an older, very weathered building. A large, faded image of a barrel leaking red fluid was painted on the outside above the door. The place had a grimy, shoddy feel to it.

As they approached, the group was surprised to see Bejic exit the tavern. “Hullo there!” he said in passing. Tyrus and Asmodeus exchanged quizzical looks. Both were glad that he didn’t stop to interrogate them again.

The inside of the tavern had a similar feel to the outside, or perhaps even dirtier. The windows hadn’t been cleaned for some time, so very little natural light entered the establishment. Only a few of the lamps were lit — presumably to save oil — leaving much of the room in shadows.

Asmodeus saw Nock getting up from a table. The Gnome stopped when he turned and saw the group. He tilted his head to the side a bit, and raised his hand in greeting.

Tyrus tapped the wizard on the shoulder. “There,” he said and pointed to a group of men sitting around a dark table, “That man with the black beard. I saw him at the mayor’s town hall meeting. He seemed quite pleased when the mayor was injured.”

DM
Karasu, Move Silently and Hide were the two skill checks that you wanted, but I normally will roll these for you (since it can be hard to tell how quiet or hidden you are). So you were on the right track; just mention when you want to specifically use them.

Eryx
I’m posting this having talked with Whipblade and Karasu, so this is for the whole group.

The first thing we want to do is go talk to MacArthur. Asmodeus will play the concerned son, wondering if there is a town militia or something else, because if the rumors are to be believed, the mayor is pretty incompetent and the guards might not be able to defend the town from these gnoll incursions. In fact, what if he’s just sending the guards out to run around in the forest and just look like they’re off hunting gnolls?

Nock, in the meantime, will use his gittern to cast Suggestion on MacArthur so that MacArthur will basically spend the next five hours talking with others and suggesting the possibility of taking matters into their own hands and not relying on the guards, should they fail or should they be not actually fighting gnolls. Basically, we’re setting the stage for a riot down the road, and just want to get people talking.

Then the group will head out, retrieve the gnoll materials, and kill one of the sorties of guards, again attempting to make it look like it was done by gnolls. But we’ll leave the town going the wrong direction, so as not to look suspicious.

We (Eryx and Karasu) don’t have a good alibi for leaving town again, but our characters would. Asmodeus rolled a 17+4 INT for a local knowledge check=21 total to come up with a good alibi, and Nock rolled a 20 + 3 INT + 5 Bardic Knowledge=28 total. So yeah, we can come up with a good excuse to get out of town, but it’s 12:30 and I’m going to bed.

Edit: I wasn’t assuming that this dude in the tavern is McArthur, but he seems like a logical place to start to see if it is him.

Asmodeus walked over to Nock and said, “Nock, I’m going to talk to those men. If I give you a signal, I want to to cast a Suggestion spell.” Then including the rest of the group, “Tyrus, you should come with me. The rest of you should sit at a nearby table.”

The men grew quiet and looked at the wizard and blackguard as they approached. “Excuse us, gentlemen. We are looking for Mr. McArthur. Do you know where we might find him?” Asmodeus asked.

The men looked at each other with questioning looks. The man with the black beard replied, “And who are you that wants to know?”

“My name is Asmodeus, and this is my colleague Tyrus. We are looking for McArthur because we are concerned about the mayor; or rather, the mayor’s incompetence.”

“I’m McArthur,” said another of the men. He had somewhat unkempt hair and beard of a dirty-blonde color. McArthur motioned for Asmodeus and Tyrus to sit. “What exactly is it you think I can do about the idiot mayor? And why do you care? I don’t recall seeing you around Fallerun before.”

Asmodeus put on a guise of concern. “I’m worried about my father who lives here. I grew up here, so I have some feeling for the town despite having been away for so long. As for your involvement, I was just wondering if there was a town militia or something. We all know how inept the mayor is, so how can we trust him and his soldiers to properly defend the town from these Gnoll incursions? Who knows if Renferell is only sending out the guards to run around in the forest just to make us believe they are taking care of the Gnoll threat?”

McArthur had grimmaced at the mention of Renferell’s name. “Heh. Trust him? The mayor can’t be trusted to do anything right. It would have been better if he had the decency to die from that attack. But you’re barking up the wrong tree, friend. There is no town militia. The guards take care of defending the city and they report to Renferell.”

“Then perhaps it’s time to take matters into our own hands,” Tyrus replied.

While they spoke with McArthur, the rest of the group sat at a nearby table. Nock pulled away a chair, got out his gittern and began to play. He kept an eye out for Asmodeus’ signal.

Shortly after sitting down, a half-orc approached the table. “Play cards?” it asked in a rough voice. Gaimon just shrugged. Shandra accepted and invited the half-orc to sit down. It shuffled the cards in a slow and ponderous way, then dealt the cards haphazardly. During the course of the game, the party discovered that the half-orc was called Grosh and appeared to be even more stupid than the stereotype of his kind. But Shandra thought she caught a look of hidden intelligence in his eyes. The scars on Grosh’s face and hands let the group know that he was accustomed to battle, at least.

While they played cards, Shandra listened to the conversation Tyrus and Asmodeus were having with McArthur. Apparently they were not afraid of being overheard since they didn’t hush their voices. But Grosh frequently interrupted with questions like: “What your name?”, “Why you come Fallerun?”, and “What work you do?”. Gaimon and Shandra took turns answering the many questions. They gave their names, but didn’t give too many details. Apparently Grosh worked hauling rocks for the miners.

At the other table, McArthur was not so sure about the idea of setting up their own militia. “It’s only a precaution, of course,” Asmodeus assured him. “If by luck, or if the guards are more capable than their leader, then we won’t be in need of a militia. But you know better than anyone how lazy the guards can be. And the mayor can’t be trusted, you said that yourself.”

“The town is run-down under Renferell’s mismanagement,” Tyrus added. “Obviously he can’t handle things properly. If the town is to be saved, it will be up to the people of this town to do it. Men who aren’t afraid to speak out and get things done.”

“You’re right,” McArthur said. His friends nodded in agreement. “We can’t afford to be caught off-guard.”

Asmodeus made a subtle signal to Nock. Nock saw it, and changed the tune of his gittern. He muttered the words of his spell while crushing a snake tongue into a bit of honeycomb — material components he had pulled out of a pouch for casting the spell.

“Here’s what you will do,” Asmodeus instructed McArthur. “Just talk with the people of the town and have them prepare themselves in case the worst should happen. Judging from the talk around town today, they’ll be willing to listen.”

“Hmph. I’ll think about it,” McArthur replied. “I don’t want to be thrown in jail again, but we can’t trust the mayor to protect he town either.”

The spell must have failed, Asmodeus thought. He’s got a strong will. But no matter, I think he’s convinced even without it. The wizard then thanked McArthur and his friends for their help. He then excused himself and Tyrus.

“Looks like Grosh has an interest in your friends,” the black-bearded man whispered. He pointed over to the half-orc. “He must be after some money.”

“Let’s go,” Tyrus said to Shandra and Gaimon. The group got up to leave, but Grosh protested, “Not done cards!” Shandra apologized, but prepared to leave.

Grosh sighed. Then in a deeper and clearer voice than before, he said, “You’re very careful. Good for you. I’m not sure I’d have gotten any more information if you stayed anyway.”

The group was taken aback by sudden change in speech. They stared at him as he continued, “Look, I’ll put it to you straight. Information can be valuable. I’m sure that the mayor and the guards will be interested in what you have talked about here with McArthur. Or perhaps they’d be interested in your small, shifty looking friend. Or why a dark looking group such as yourselves are concocting machinations in Fallerun in the first place.”

Tyrus realized where this was going. “What do you want?”

“Like I said, information is valuable. Keeps me fed. But I’m not picky where I get my coin from. For a mere five-hundred gold, Renferell doesn’t have to hear about you at all. That’s not too much to ask for a group of adventurers such as yourselves.”

DM
I apologize for the long delay before posting, but there you have it. What do you want to do about Grosh? He looks like he could put up a pretty good fight, if it came to that.

Eryx
Option 1
Gaimon and Asmodeus exchange knowing glances. They’ll want to haggle him down, pay him, and then hunt him down and kill him later to get their money back. We could even make it look like gnolls did it, which doubles our efficiency.

Problem is they don’t have the cash on hand. We never discussed how cash flow works, DM. I have about 6500 unspent gold and I’m pretty sure it would be in a bank somewhere or tucked under the evil spellbook in Asmodeus’ chest or something. That’s approximately 129 lbs worth of coin, so Asmodeus wouldn’t just carry it on his person.

Option 2
“Go ahead. We’ve done nothing wrong. I’m not expecting to be in town much longer and just want to make sure my father and his farm are safe.”

If we do get called in by the mayor, offer our services. “With us around, we could protect you, freeing more guards to deal with the gnolls. We have Tyrus, formerly of the Knights Justicar, and I’m from this town. Both my father and Mr. Latham can vouch for me.” (Obviously changed if we’re talking to guards, not the mayor.)

Overall, though, both Asmodeus and Gaimon are leaning towards Option 1. Don’t overly complicate the plan.

As to which of these options, we have 1 vote for killing him (Gaimon), 1 assumed vote for that option (Nock), and 1 vote that can go either way (Asmodeus). So if either Tyrus or Shandra want to kill him, then it’s pretty much decided.

DM
As far as the money situation goes, I guess you’ll have to decide what each of your characters would do. You probably wouldn’t carry all of your gold, but some of it. 500 gp only weighs 10 lbs. If you have any platinum coins, that’s even less weight. There’s also the option of keeping gems — I know Whipblade always likes that.

I intend to create a banking system for the world. I’ll try to get that put together relatively soon so you can work that into your plans. In the meantime, assume that you have access to your money somehow in town. You should easily be able to have 500 gp on hand, even if everyone had to carry 2 lbs each.

Eryx
If the group chooses Option 1, which seems likely, I rolled intimidate checks for Asmodeus and Gaimon while they try to talk Grosh down. Asmodeus and Gaimon would work as a team, Asmodeus talking him down subtly, and with menace. Once a nice price has been agreed on, Gaimon jumps in with “you’d best take that offer.”

Asmodeus Intimidate: 17 (Roll) + 6 (Modifiers) = 23 Total.

Gaimon Intimidate: 14 (Roll) + 7 (Modifiers) = 21 Total.

Karasu
Nock will take out his masterwork dagger and thumb it, occasionally tossing it into the air. He’ll let the others do the talking, but he’s obviously trying to intimidate this half-orc nuissance to haggle him down. Afterwards, Nock will want to shadow him, probably with the intention of slitting his throat in a dark alleyway. He’ll want to talk this plan over with the others though; possibly get someone to accompany him.

Nock Intimidate: 18 (roll) + 5 (modifier) = 23 total.

DM
Eryx, what is a “nice” price? I need something more specific (unless you don’t care… in which case you need to specify that too). Is 475 gp “nice”? Or do you have to drop him down to 250? 200? Also, you don’t specify what you would do should your haggling/intimidation fail.

Eryx
We’ll try to haggle him down to at least 350-400ish. Again, the major point is to make him feel that we’re genuinely giving it to him, but grudgingly, and hoping that our menace will help facilitate the bargaining.

The group put on a collective scowl. “That seems like a steep price,” Asmodeus countered.

“Like I said, information is valuable,” Grosh answered. Then in a menacing tone he added, “But maybe you don’t realize the value of it?”

Sitting in the background, Nock had pulled out his masterwork dagger and was thumbing it. Tyrus and Gaimon were wearing frowns and had their arms folded.

Asmodeus returned with more subtle, yet intimidating tone, “I well understand the value of information, Grosh. I also understand that it can be dangerous. Now, are you sure the price was 500 gold?”

Grosh had obviously not mistaken the demeanor of the group. “Heh,” he chuckled. “I was right about you guys. You are careful. So I’ll tell you what; since you aren’t feeling generous, I’ll only charge you four-hundred gold.

“Of course, you don’t have to pay anything. I mentioned that before, right? Not only that, but I’ll accept whatever you want to pay. The downside, of course, is that a partial payment means Renferell will get partial information,” Grosh said with a grin.

It looks like he’s somewhat intimidated, but not afraid, Asmodeus thought. I don’t think we can drive the price down any further — if we push too hard he’ll just back out. He exchanged glances with the rest of the group. Nock was flipping and tossing his dagger in his hand.

“Well, we wouldn’t want that,” the wizard answered. “Four-hundred seems much more reasonable.” Then he turned to the group and motioned that they were going to pay.

Gaimon growled, but pulled out some money. In a moment, the group had come up with the four-hundred gold which Asmodeus placed on the table in front of Grosh. The half-orc’s eyes seemed to gleam with delight as he looked at the pile of coins.

“Thanks,” said Grosh. “I’m glad we could come to an arrangement. I won’t delay you any longer from wherever it was you were going.”

With that, the group turned and left the Bleeding Barrel. The sun had set and it was dark out, except for the lights of houses along the road. They walked down the street a little ways. Seeing that there was no one around, Asmodeus stopped the group.

“We’ll just have to kill Grosh and get our money back,” he said casually.

“I’s feel ta slit its dirty throat,” Nock added. “Which of ya will come, or do I’s go ta kill it alone?”

DM
The group has paid 400 gp. I’ll leave it up to you to figure out how much each of you contributed. I know that Nock is ready to shadow Grosh right away. It seemed like Eryx was okay to hunt Grosh down later; maybe even work his death into the plans.

So, what will you do next? It’s early evening now, about 7 pm. You know that the guards will be setting out tomorrow morning. So will you:
Return to the Blue Drake and spend the night there? (Also you know that is where you can usually find Elandra.)
Get your gear and head out to prepare to kill the guards?
Wait around to follow and kill Grosh and get your money back?
Split up: some to kill Grosh, some to return to the Blue Drake?

Or will you do something else entirely?

Eryx and Karasu
Asmodeus will instruct Gaimon to accompany Nock. They are to wait until Grosh leaves the tavern, then follow him. Should the opportunity present itself, they should kill him and get the money back. If it doesn’t present itself, that’s okay too. Just discover where he sleeps and hangs out. We can deal with him as a group later.

Gaimon Hide: 2 (Roll) + 8 (Bonuses) = 10 Total
Gaimon Move Silent: 13 (Roll) + 8 (Bonuses) = 21 Total
Nock Hide: 3 (Roll) + 15 (Bonuses) = 18 Total
Nock Move Silent: 14 (Roll) + 11 (Bonuses) = 25 Total

Nock will be shadowing Grosh, and Gaimon will be shadowing Nock. So they’re not trying to hide with each other.

Asmodeus, Tyrus, and Shandra will go back to the Blue Drake, grab their gear, and head out of town to get to where they left the gnoll skins and other remaining paraphernalia. If Elandra shows up before then, all the better and they can try to get her to join the other two. Offer some money or whatever she feels is appropriate. We can even negotiate later, she would know Asmodeus is good for his promises to his friends. If she’s not there, Asmodeus will leave a note for her with Alyson Thornton. It would be sealed with his personal seal on it (he has a personal signet ring) saying:

Elandra,

I would be most grateful if you could find Gaimon with our new Bardic friend by the Bleeding Barrel and assist them in their task. If they’re not around when you’re able to arrive, no worries.

Asmodeus.


Once Gaimon and Nock have finished killing or tailing Grosh, whatever happens, they should grab their gear and meet the others in the morning/evening/whenever they get there. Then we’ll decide what to do next.

We have deducted 80 gold from each character, which is 400 evenly divided by 5.

“Gaimon, go with Nock,” Asmodeus instructed. “Once Grosh leaves the tavern, follow him. Should the opportunity present itself, kill him. If not, find out what you can and we’ll deal with him later.

“Meanwhile, the rest of us will head back to the Blue Drake to get our gear. We’ll meet you outside of town where we stashed the Gnoll skins.”

With that, Gaimon and Nock turned back toward the Bleeding Barrel while Asmodeus, Tyrus, and Shandra headed to the Blue Drake. The inn’s tavern was still quite busy when they arrived. Standing next to the door was a man in very fine clothes. He seemed to be waiting for someone, and when he caught sight of Killashandra he spoke.

“Excuse me, miss?”

The party was taken off-guard. Shandra looked around a bit, then asked, “Are you speaking to me?”

“Yes,” he replied and bowed. “I am one of the distinguished Mayor Renferell’s couriers. He has instructed me to wait for you and invite you to have dinner with him on a night of your convenience.”

Shandra stammered a bit, but finally managed to say, “Are you sure? You must be mistaking me for someone else!”

“Oh no, miss,” he replied fervently. “You are the young lady who caught the mayor’s eye during the town hall meeting just before the terrible incident, are you not? You match the description precisely. We have been looking for you for a few days now, and earlier today one of the guards reported seeing you come through the gates.”

“That explains why the guards were whispering about you two,” Asmodeus whispered to Tyrus.

“What shall I tell my master? Will you —” Here he paused for a second while looking back, as if he had just barely noticed Tyrus and Asmodeus. “Will you come to dinner with the mayor? I’m afraid it’s only an invitation for one. Perhaps tomorrow night?”

DM
How will you respond to the courier?

Eryx
Asmodeus will pat Shandra on the back as he moves past. “I’m going to buy myself a drink while you finish up here. We can change our plans if need be.” Then he will go buy himself a drink, and wait to see what she decides. If Elandra is around, he’ll talk to her, but he’ll wait to see what Shandra decides before asking Elandra to help in whatever capacity-whether with Nock or Gaimon, or possibly even helping with the fake Gnoll attacks.

Whipblade
Shandra is suddenly onstage. She will immediately launch into character by beaming at the courier and telling him how delighted she would be to have dinner with the mayor tomorrow evening.

Once the courier departs, the real planning begins. How can we use this to our advantage? Shandra could likely kill the mayor and escape. If she runs into problems, she could use the the ring of fire to escape and later return. Or perhaps subterfuge is required. She could use her earrings of suggestion to implant an idea in the mayor, or make him do something. Alternatively, she could court the mayor for some nefarious purpose? Perhaps she is a wandering noblewoman and Tyrus is her man at arms who is looking for a job heading up security at the mayor’s mansion? Wow. The ideas are endless here. Thoughts?

Eryx
This is fantastic. We totally need to get Shandra to express how worried Asmodeus is about his father, how good the group would be as bodyguards, etc. Try to get into his good graces and offer our services as bodyguards so he could free up more guards to go after the gnolls (after they destroy his soldiers tomorrow, of course). From there we can stir up the townspeople, allow them into the fort somehow (we’ll work on the exact details of a riot later), and get them to kill the mayor. Or if they suck at it, we can kill him, and blame them. That would be perfect. The townfolk are very anti-Validras, are now drunk with their own power, and took out the mayor for us. We can sneak out of town and nobody will be the wiser, since we obviously “failed” at our job of being the mayor’s bodyguards and left in disgrace.

Also, with Nock around, we can frame somebody for assassinating the mayor since we have access to his special poison, and Shandra should indicate that we have a lead we’re working on when she’s on her “date.”

Karasu
Ah, exactly what this campaign needed, a woman’s touch. Play the seductress. Install Tyrus as Renferell’s new bodyguard.


Shandra suddenly changed her attitude, though it was perhaps only perceptible by Tyrus and Asmodeus. She beamed at the courier and with a much softer tone replied, “I would be delighted to have dinner with the mayor tomorrow evening.”

Asmodeus pat Tyrus on the back and said, “I’m going to buy myself a drink while she finishes up here. We can change our plans if need be — this could be a good opportunity.” Then the wizard walked over toward the bar to get a drink while Shandra got the details she needed from the courier for her date.

Asmodeus looked around and soon caught sight of Elandra. The beautiful elf was chatting and flirting with some merchant. Catching her attention, Asmodeus waved her over. She excused herself from her company and walked over.

“Back in town, I see,” she said playfully. “I don’t suppose you would know anything about assassins or Gnolls, would you?”

“Of course not,” the wizard replied with a smile.

“It seems to be going well. If you haven’t already heard, the mayor is sending out troops to deal with the Gnoll threat. They leave tomorrow morning.”

“Yes, we’ve heard. We’re heading out shortly. But there is something else —”

Before Asmodeus could continue, Elandra interrupted with a question. “What did the mayor’s courier want? He’s just finished speaking to your friend. Earlier I tried to get some information from him — he often enjoys spending time with me. Being the courier for a lord can be a very lonely job,” she explained in sultry tones. “Especially when they have to travel to far off towns. They are often in want of companionship, and I provide that for them.

“Anyway, he said he was under the most strict of orders and was sorry but couldn’t spend the evening with me. So can you tell me what’s going on?”

Tyrus and Shandra walked up as Asmodeus explained, “Yes. Apparently the mayor has taken a liking to our Tiefling. He remembered her making eyes at him during his town hall meeting. Now he has invited her to dinner.”

“Now that’s an interesting development,” Elandra said coyly while looking at Tyrus.

“Indeed,” the blackguard replied dryly. “But hopefully a useful one.”

“Yes, I’d imagine so. But be careful. I’ve heard that the mayor’s old fort can be dangerous. Renferell is equally inept in everything he does, but his servants and head soldiers are more cunning than he. Personally, I’ve avoided meeting the mayor directly because I don’t want to run the risk of any information about me getting back to Riker — regardless of how small that risk might be.”

“How should we use Shandra’s meeting to our advantage?” asked Tyrus. “Although she may be able to just kill the mayor, it might be better to use some subterfuge. Perhaps you could convince the mayor to do something we want?”

“Or maybe get us jobs to protect the mayor from the assassin,” Shandra offered.

“I like that idea,” Asmodeus declared. “Once the Gnolls have killed the soldiers, Renferell will certainly feel more vulnerable. That will make it easy to get on as his bodyguards. Once we are that close to him, we’ll have plenty of opportunities to finish our work.”

“I’ll need to stay here then,” Shandra said. “I’ll prepare for dinner while you are out.”

“Yes, of course,” the wizard replied. Then turning to Elandra he said, “We could use your assistance, if you are available. An extra hand with the guards would be great, but we also have another minor issue. Today at the Bleeding Barrel tavern we had an unfortunate encounter with a half-orc named Grosh.”

“Grosh!” Elandra exclaimed. “Don’t tell me you’ve gotten yourself mixed up with him.”

“He extorted money from us. He said he would be selling information about our group to Renferell unless we paid him,” Tyrus responded.

Elandra sighed. “Grosh is a liar and a thief. No matter how much you paid him, I’m sure he’s planning to sell that information about you. Even if he doesn’t know much he’ll still try to make it sound good to the mayor’s men.”

“We won’t have to worry about that for long,” Asmodeus said smugly. Elandra raised an eyebrow as he continued, “Gaimon and our new bardic friend are back at the Bleeding Barrel waiting for the half-breed. They’ll tail Grosh and kill him if they get the chance; or at least find out information about him so we can kill him later.”

Elandra turned pale.

“What?” Tyrus and Shandra asked nearly in unison.

“Oh you fools! Grosh is one of the most influential members of a gang called the Outcasts. Most of the members aren’t notable, but they have a few fugitives and murderers amongst their ranks. They keep a low profile in town, but some of them are very violent. And they have ties to the Darkrunners.

“If your friends try to attack Grosh, or even if they are found following him, there’s a good chance they’ll be killed.”

DM
That ends this chapter. But please post about what Asmodeus, Tyrus, and Shandra will do next. Will they just hope for the best and continue with their plans? Will they go to assist Gaimon and Nock?

As for Elandra, she’ll tell you she’s not interested in getting herself involved with the Outcasts. She has a tenuous understanding with them where they leave each other alone. She fears that a bad encounter with them would mean information about her getting back to Riker. And she doesn’t want any Darkrunners after her.

She will help you go out and fight the guards though, if you can ensure she’ll profit by it. She’s a decent fighter, but doesn’t like to get in fights unless the money is worth the risk. She prefers theft and information as a means to her money.

Eryx
Asmodeus will immediately ask how organized the Outcasts are, and if Nock and Gaimon are likely to trail Grosh into a thieves’ guild-like area where they will be caught and spotted. If Elandra says that they are, he will immediately leave to head back to the Bleeding Barrel. I know he won’t find his companions there, but once he discovers that they’ve already left he will head back to the Blue Drake while sending his familiar to look for Gaimon and Nock.

He’s angry at Grosh. New quest acquired: Grosh needs to die. A message needs to be sent to the underworld that messing with this group will bring very bad, painful, and deadly results. The Darkrunners, especially, need to know that Tyrus is more trouble than any bounty is worth.

The rest of this might be covered when the group gets together. Shandra should prepare for her date, though Asmodeus is worried that Grosh will follow or kill her or something during the day when the rest of the group is off killing guards. We’ll deal with that when we see how the encounter with Nock, Gaimon, and Grosh plays out. He will tell Elandra that she can have his cut of any bounty or loot they get from the guards, with options to pay her a little more from his pocket should that not be enough to convince her to come along.

As far as the date, he wants Shandra to play the worried soul—the dirty Outcasts have blackmailed the group of innocent adventurers, and that’s because the adventurers are close to finding evidence linking the Outcasts to the mayor’s assassination! And Asmodeus is so worried about his poor father, what with his mother recently passed away. Point being, we can get the Mayor to toss his guards at this Outcast problem, leading to further accusations of mismanagement of guards (they’re doing his personal dirty work to help his “girlfriend”) from the townsfolk. The goal is still become his bodyguards if possible.

DM
Here’s a page about the Outcasts that will give you more info that you could get from Elandra or from the tavern patrons. Elandra doesn’t really know too much about the organization of the Outcasts, but she knows they tend to hang out in the slums area of town. She also knows they are dangerous, both in being violent and due to their connections. She doesn’t know “if Nock and Gaimon are likely to trail Grosh into a thieves’ guild-like area where they will be caught and spotted” because that’s too much conjecture. But she does reiterate that if they are found attacking or even following Grosh, they may end up dead.

Feel free to discuss and ask questions, but I need to know soon what Asmodeus, Shandra, and Tyrus plan to do. I need you to end up with a decision of action that’s not so dependent on conditionals (i.e. if … then statements), because that will determine how Chapter 6 plays out.

Eryx
Asmodeus will take off as outlined in my last post, telling Tyrus and Shandra they can come with if they want, but he’s just going to try to get Nock and Gaimon back, but will find out they’re not at the Bleeding Barrel, and then come back while sending his familiar to look for them. If the Raven can find them, and communicate general direction to him he’ll head in that direction.

Edit: Actually, he’ll be headed out for a few minutes, panic rising, before he comes to his senses and sends his familiar out ahead of himself anyway. Since they won’t be at the Bleeding Barrell, it will start circling and looking for them.

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blackwolf_xiii

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