Conquering the Barbarian Altanis: Session 20
|Winslow||Fighter level 2||A dirty warrior reeking of urine, body odours, and rotten wood.|
|Dingbatt Barett||Thief level 2||Ginger, skinny, and scrawny copy of Johnny Depp; speaks like a moron.|
|Rad||Thief level 1||A young, short and malnourished rogue.|
|Basso||Halfling level 1||A stable boy whom got tired of shovelling horse shit.|
|Gon'd'elf||Elf level 1||“Surely magnificent, am I not?” is his favourite opener. Works every time, 40% of the time.|
|Amanda Hugencuise||Thief level 3||A new girl in town, claiming to be foreign exchange student, up for some “exciting missions” and enjoying the local cuisine.|
Winslow's and Deter's reports linked at the end of the post.
Having returned to Antil without their protectee, Sir Fondleroy, but with his purse containing ten shiny pearls, the party was ready to move on with their ambitious plans—world domination.
Deter, now a chunk of barely living flesh, has been left in the capable hands of the Shang Ta healers. Winslow even threw in some extra coin for the Windgod's blessings.
Establishing a mercenary company was determined as a first step towards the world domination. Brother Kallahan and Winslow spent a week gathering information on how exactly to do that. It turns out all one needs is some coin, a “headquarters,” and a name.
They also learned that Antil is politically aligned with the City State of the Invincible Overlord. The Overlord pays good money to Antilian mercenary companies.
The rumour has it that Overlord's grip of Altanis has been severely weakened by the defeat he suffered few months ago. Although he personally led his Vasthost in the march on Viridistan, the Green Emperor's armies routed him.
Now Zothay, the largest port in Altanis, has fallen into the hands of Skandik and hobgoblin armies, an unholy alliance forged in the depths of cold north. Old South Road is in great peril.
Measly politics aside, the most interesting piece of information was about the deed for an abandoned warehouse on the docks that will go up for auction on Meadowlark 10th. It would've sold for 30 000 gold pieces, or more in its heyday.
Rad spent his days paying off old debts and creating new ones. Young thief managed to rack up a debt of 500 gold coin. Alas, he had to pay back interest as well, totalling his repayment up to 550 gold coin. Luckily for him, he got to keep all his extremities.
Then he decided to go to the Friend's Arms for a hearty meal; a place he usually couldn't afford to visit. Indeed, at first he was almost kicked out, but was admitted after flashing his newly filled coin purse. He ordered the house's biggest pheasant with a side of vegetables. After eating nothing but terrible rations for weeks, he scarfed it down in a beast like display helping him forget his loss of 50 gold that was eating away at him after it happened.
With full belly and heavy purse, young Rad decided to gamble.
Seven Vultures was a known place for knaves to throw dice, knives, and lives; perfect for what Rad was looking for. The place was filthy, and reeked of body odours and cheap alcohol. Somehow it was quite dark, even though it was broad daylight outside. Rad worked his way to a small round table with a scruffy looking man in dirty clothes.
“You put in the bet. No coin, no bet. No payment, no hand—the house chooses which. You throw three dice. Following results win...” the rough croupier explained. And so Rad started rolling, putting in maximum best of 20 gold per round.
“Almost! ... Would you like to roll again? Fortune favours the bold!”
“I’m gonna keep rolling till I win one!”
“That's the spirit! Drinks for this young man!”
Few questionable ladies gathered around their table and begun cracking inappropriate jokes. “Oh my, look how big his pocket is!” “Oh, but it is getting drier and drier... like a little plum!”
“Woo, won one!”
“OH MY!” two of the wenches start screaming, and one spills ale all over you. A gang of ugly looking bastards have gathered gathered around the table by now; everyone observing the commotion. “240 gold coin for the young knave!” the croupier announced loudly.
“Ey boy, pay a round for us, we've been cheering for you all the time!” and Rad paid up, and kept playing.
“Yes. Lady Luck smiles upon you... Do you dare bet higher?”
But the smile was gone.
“You'll get it all back! And more!”
“Come on, do it vulture!” the fat lady screamed as her tits fell out and she rolled off the table.
Annoyed with the crowd, Rad now threw in 60 gold coin for a bet.
“SHUT UP!” Rad yelled as he threw in another 60 gold coins.
The crowd burst into uproarious laughter as the dice once more favoured the house.
Rad being pissed off at his luck failing places the last of his 108 gold “All or nothing!” and raises his hand in the air for applause.
Disappointed gasps and sighs came from the crowd.
“Ah, almost young vulture.”
The rogue got so mad he threw the dice on the floor and started stomping them. He was quickly “calmed” by the patrons, and luckily only his ego was bruised. After finishing his pint he realised he has no money left for a hovel he was staying at... So he slept a cold wet night on the street, his only comfort being having nothing on him worth stealing.
He spent the rest of his days bumming around with bottom-dwellers, gathering some intelligence in the process. Turns out beggars know a thing or two about gambling. Kelman's Rumble, an annual event by the mysterious Lord of the Kelman House is the place for serious gamblers. Those who attend never say a word! Invitees seem to be selected at random.
“The rumour has it Vorn's imbecile son gambled off his own sister in the last year's Rumble... Haven't seen her since.”
“Kelman's House servants are strange looking. I call them the Hollow Men, as they lack personality. And hair and skin color too I may add!”
Not only that, but Rad also heard about the same warehouse Winslow and Brother Kallahan learned of “I heard a that haunted warehouse will soon go for auction. Good luck to sorry gits who buy it!”
The party pooled their coin and prepared for the auction.
Meadowlark 10th, Spiritday
Amanda the scout surveyed the warehouse at dawn. It was an unremarkable two-story building with a humble dock attached to it. Most of the windows were boarded up or covered in dirt and grime.
A finely dressed woman, surrounded by six armed men wearing colours of the City Watch, was nearby as well. Amanda quickly found out the woman's name—Aina—and worked out a deal that would allow her party to pay the deposit and bring the rest of the coin within the hour of auction closing.
Indeed, our adventurers came to the auction in great number: Winslow, Dingbatt Barett, Rad, Basso, Gon'd'elf, and Amanda. They even brought along Ehrman and Ariad, two of their retainers.
“Welcome. The warehouse is sold as-is. No complaints, no returns. Immediate payment.”
As Winslow made his way to the front of the crowd, ready to bid on the party's behalf, Gon'd'elf scanned the mass for any signs of danger. It didn't take him long to notice three shady characters with poorly concealed weapons and ill-fitting armour.
“The starting price is...” Aina continued, shuffling through her papers “No, this can't be right. Oh well.” she stammered, and then cleaned her throat “The starting price is 728 gold pieces. Offers?”
Winslow immediately raised his hand and voice, signalling that he matches the opening bid.
“800!” came from the odd looking trio.
“850!” Winslow fired back.
By now Gon'd'elf and Amanda were closely watching the trio, and they could see them elbowing each other. Some aggressive motioning and whispering later, the loudest shouted “Nine hundred and eighty four gold coins!”
“One thousand and one hundred coin!” Winslow roared, throwing a mean stare their way. They reciprocated with a select choice of insults, some spit, and then promptly stormed off.
“Any other offers? No...? Sold to the hairy man, then...”
Aina handed party the keys once they've paid up—God King's tithe included—a total of 1 210 gold coins. “Clean this place up. It cannot remain at the docks in this state.”
Oh, how eager Rad was to just go in and turn the place upside down! The rest barely convinced him to take care of registering the company first. And thus was Hydra Company born.
“Hail Hydra!” the adventurer's could be heard, fist-bumping, as they were strolling back to their newly acquired, dilapidated, headquarters.
By the time they arrived, Rad was shaking with anticipation. He just grabbed the key from Winslow, and went straight in through the main doors. A trio of bells rung, announcing his entry.
Gon'd'elf, Amanda, Ehrman, and Ariad stayed out, and investigated attached docks and large wooden gates on what looked like a cargo hall. The elf could hear some murmuring coming from behind.
Rad, still impatient, made his way through several rooms, one emptier than the other. He did notice dusty footprints leading down the stairs. Dingbatt went straight for the wide wooden doors. They proved to be quite heavy, so he pushed them open with a loud bang.
A large room, some thirty by sixty feet, full of boxes and crates presented itself. At the far end was a group of angry men, armed with knives and clubs, whom seemed to be shouting at a wet, half-naked figure hanging upside down from the ceiling.
Curious as ever, Dingbatt the Bright came closer to inquire what is this all about. “This bastard here owes us some coin!” “Ya, he's been stealing from us!”
“Lies, all lies, you delusional scum!”
“A captain he called himself! And he stole from us!” and with those words, few of the angry men hit the captain with clubs.
“Oh, that's horrible!” Dingbatt was full of sympathy “How much did he steal?”
“Five hundred coin!”
“Horrible! How about we beat him up, and then you join us? We are hiring brave men like you!”
“Oh wow, that sounds amazing!”
“What? What?! What are you talking about! No, please, no!”
Alas, it was too late for the poor captain, for Dingbatt crushed his skull with a club he borrowed from one of the angry sailors. Then they cut the rope and let his corpse fall down to the shore beneath the warehouse.
Only now did Dingbatt realise that part of the warehouse was actually extending over the shoreline, and that this large trapdoor was used to load or unload cargo from smaller ships that would moor beneath.
“What the fuck is happening here? Who are all these people?” Winslow burst in through west doors, sword drawn.
“Ha!” Gon'd'elf swung the south doors wide open.
“Oh no!” “The guards are here!” “We are doomed!” the sailors yelled exasperated “It was all his idea!” they pointed to Dingbatt. Four jumped into the sea bellow.
After some back and forth, the party sternly asked them to leave, and so they did. Elf tried to charge them with some rent, but alas, his request did not find fertile soil.
Rad emerged from stairs that led down. “There are more squatters here than us! What is this! Did they check this place before selling them at all!”
It turns out that the cellar housed thirteen humans in a rather poor health. Lepers, they call them. Even worse, they are often killed on sight, so they have to hide in the Antil's sewers. They were forced to find another place because of the horrible beast that kicked them out. “Sewers, you say?” Winslow twisted his whiskers. “We will aid you, and in return you will act as our guides to the Underworld. You can stay here until then. Just don't come up.”
“How much are we going to charge them?” could be heard from one of the unnamed characters.
“Oh, thank you!” “Thank you!” cries of gratitude filled the damp cellar. “Please, whatever you do—do not open the coffer in the loft!”
Of course, that mean that the party promptly went to investigate the loft. There indeed was a coffin there, just beneath the window looking west. Locked steel doors, unlike any other in the warehouse, were of interest as well.
As the party carefully approached the coffin, they were spooked by an old lady coming from an adjacent room. “What are you doing here? Who are you? Why are you here? Where am I? Why am I here? Why is your place so dirty? Oooh, why don't you clean more often!” she seemed to progress from confused to all worked up because of the scattered mess. “Clean up, right now!” and with those words she dissipated in the air.
Winslow quickly retrieved some flowers and placed them by the coffin. “Let us know how can we place you to rest.” “Tarantis. That's where I was to be buried.” The plaque read Dorothea Burser.
Whilst this was happening, Amanda worked her way into the room behind steel doors. Oh, what marvels did it hide! An intricate dry fountain of entwining serpents, five delicate garden statues of exquisite make, and four breathtaking paintings.
And so did the Hydra Company begin.
Player Session Reports
- Winslow's diary entry
And Deter's portrait:
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