There are many, many reasons to avoid adventurers – the chance of randomly being murdered chief among them – one of the more annoying is their obsession with a “watch rotation”. Are we in the military now? Is there going to be parade drill in the morning? I was supposed to be on watch with Barjin, the wizard, but he didn’t say anything when I just went back to sleep after Argo the Axe woke me up for my “shift”. He doesn’t seem to say much at all, which is a real change of pace based on the wizards I’ve met – they usually gas on about boring wizard stuff ad nauseam. Arlonni, the elf in the garters, hasn’t stopped staring a hole through me the entire time – she’s a world champion starer I’ll grant her that.
Once we got underway I noticed that we were heading straight into the heart of the blasted terrain around the Scar. Because of course we were. Because adventurers. I addressed the leader of this band of misfits who, no joking, calls himself Gutboy Barrelhouse.
“I can’t help but notice that we’re heading towards the Scar. I was hoping for a slightly less suicidal course.”
“Ye got to ga where the geld is lassie.”
“Yeah, I was wondering about that. What exactly does your map show? I understand that there was a battle around here and the paywagon for one side or the other was lost but what are we heading towards? It doesn’t seem to make sense that someone would have a map to a wagon.”
Not even adventurers would be dumb enough to believe that.
Arlonni spoke up “The map is to the gnoll fort of the tribe that took the paychest. When the battle turned south the paymaster tried to flee and was ambushed by gnolls – they took the money.”
“Ah, that is a much better story to sell a fake map. I’ve often wondered, why is it that orcs and goblins and such are always stealing gold and jewels? It’s not like they can spend it right? So why do they do it? Is it a method of increasing the value of the precious metals we have left with increased scarcity? Are they part of a secret conspiracy of monopolistic pricing structures?”
Argo shrugged “We don’t explain ‘em, we just kill ‘em.”
If that statement doesn’t encapsulate adventurers perfectly I don’t know what does. Aside from the safety factor traveling with this lot was almost as boring as traveling alone – Arlonni and Barjin scarcely said two words and all Argo and Barrelhouse seemed to talk about was whacky stories about axes getting lodged in people’s ribcages and other interesting ways people were maimed. My grandmother always told me that any dwarf who didn’t live amongst his own people was probably an outcast and as such was likely to be violently insane. I think she may have been right.
I didn’t see any gnolls, thankfully, but I did see a few hyenas running around – there must be more life out here than it seems to support predators like that. Since Barrelhouse has a voice as loud as an avalanche they’re probably just all just steering well clear of us. After a few hours I saw a trail of dust being kicked up in the distance – much like the one we were leaving behind us. When I pointed this out everyone was quite surprised by it – even though it wasn’t hard to spot. Clearly what this group is missing is a steely-eyed ranger with a mysterious past and a green cloak. I mean two fighters, both with axes to boot? What kind of amateur hour nonsense is this?
Maybe another hour later we were close enough to see half a dozen primitive types heading our way with a couple lanky hounds trailing in their wake. The Kostelos in the forests and hills to the west are a shortish stocky people with pale skin and dark hair – these tribal folk were a good head taller than average and were wiry and very dark skinned. I can’t say why but they looked vaguely unhealthy in some way – you know when you look at someone who smokes flayleaf constantly and you can just kind feel the crud in their lungs? It seemed like that. I’m no chirurgeon but living close to the Scar probably isn’t good for you.
My companions went for their weapons of course.
“Whoa, whoa, whoa! How about we try to talk to these people first? Aside from having a little hang up about randomly killing people, this is their land – they might be able to tell us about this alleged treasure trove of yours.”
Their reluctance was clear but they agreed – keeping their hands on their weapons just in case. The tribals spoke a pidgin of Kostelos, Old Imperial, and the common tongue that I was able to understand pretty well. At first it seemed strange to me that Old Imperial would be in there until I realized there people are probably the decedents of the folk that were living here when the Scar was formed. Which is a little trippy to think about.
Very much to my surprise they confirmed pretty much everything Barrelhouse and his friends told me – there had been a battle and the supply train from one side had tried to flee and was attacked by gnolls. I would have wagered quite a bit that these people were the victims of a taproom con artist – draw a fake map and sell it to some rubes, it’s a trick as old as time. I had a heck of a time convincing them to let the natives see the map – they were worried about their treasure being stolen – but I was eventually able to persuade them. According to the natives the map was wildly inaccurate – which I’ve heard is pretty common. Even the most dedicated cartographer starts guessing after a while. The natives told us where we could find the gnolls if that’s really what we were after.
This lead to a long and boring argument – Argo and Arlonni were convinced that they were trying to lead us astray so that they could get the gold themselves. Adventurers are as paranoid as they are vicious.
“What use would these people have for gold? Look around. It’s not like they can pop down to the greengrocer for some apples. Besides which, they’re nomads. They’re not going to carry anything with them that isn’t useful.”
They remained suspicious but Barrelhouse overruled them – Arlonni stuffed the map into her backpack with possible the most sullen look I have ever seen on someone’s face. Several hours later, traveling closer to the Scar to confront a rampaging pack of beast-men, I realized that I should have asked to go with the primitives instead of sticking with this lot. Why didn’t I think of that sooner!
Funds: 9,863 gold
Inventory: Ring of Many Garments, Bag of Tricks (rust), Cap of Disguise, Secure Pocket, Resplendent Diplomat’s Palette, Secure Paypack, Skeleton Key, Brooch of Shielding, Pouch of Magic Stones, Masterful Grey Gloves, Black Marketers’ Bag, Biting Bracelet (Endless Ammunition), Boots of Escape, Bracers of the Glib Entertainer, Ring of Animal Friendship, +1 Falchion, +1 Greatclub, +2 Commanding Light Crossbow, Headband of Alluring Charisma +2, 4 potions of unknown wickedness, Manual of Quickness of Action, Bracer of Fire Resistance (10), Spear of Piercing Thunder
Signet ring, noble’s outfit, candlerod (9), masterwork dagger, succubi carving, Domiel family ring, walking stick, masterwork playing cards, spinel and peridot holy symbol of Kralten, diamonds (14), silver crown, waterskins (6), trail rations (7)
Potion of Invisibility (2), Potion of Spider Climb, Potion of Eagle’s Splendor, Potion of Jump, Potion of Reduce Person
Silver ring, gold bracelet, gold and pearl pendant, gold ring, platinum necklace (2), mithril hair clasps (3), 4 small diamonds
Revenge List: Duke Eaglevane,
Piltis Swine, Rince
Electrum, watchman Gridley, White-Muzzle the worg, Percy Ringle
the butler , Alice Kinsey , “ Patch”, Heroes of the Lost Sword, Claire
Conrad, Erist priest of Strider, Riselda owner of the Sage Mirror,
Eedraxis, Skin-Taker tribe,
Kartak, Królewna & Bonifacja Trading Company, Hurmont Family, Androni
Titus, Greasy dreadlocks woman, Lodestone Security, Kellgale Nickoslander,
Beltian Kruin the Splithog Pauper, The King of Spiders, Auraluna Domiel, mother
Hurk, Mazzmus Parmalee, Helgan
van Tankerstrum, Lightdancer, Bonder Greysmith, Pegwhistle Proudfoot, Lumbfoot
Rumors : Exiled noblewoman (Reoccurring), vigilante “Litheria”(Reoccurring), murderous Halfling (Reoccurring)
Graltontown Buildings – Mill
Behind the curtain – Got another encounter today with tribesmen. Ela made the appropriate social skill tests to “defeat” the encounter. I realized at some point I accidentally dropped the revenge list – it’s back. With a vengeance!