We returned to the adventure last Wednesday at Pawn & Pint. That night, there was a Paint and Take event where you could pick an unpainted miniature, paint it, and take it home. I know a couple members of the party took advantage of that.
In the fifth session of the campaign we will see if some of the party turns rogue and decides to become pirates on the high seas. The temptation is great, but then again, so are the risks.
As the party returns from Elinart, minus the formidable Iolaus, they reach the small city of Ivar that sits just a couple miles north of Antar. Ivar straddles the Uthen River, with most of the city actually to the south of the river above the flood plain. While Antar sits high on the rocky cliffs overlooking The Sea of Tet, Ivar is in the Uthen River valley and much closer to the sea level.Merchants will send their goods down the river to be unloaded at Ivar and then transported to Antar, where the deeper harbor has not with debris from the river.
The small city prospers as merchants will send their goods down the Uthen to be unloaded at Ivar and then transported to Antar, where the river dela has not filled the harbor with debris. North of the river valley, the formidable cliffs overlooking The Sea of Tet resume.
Unfortunately for the party, a massive column of soldiers is marching from the west and is crossing the bridge toward Antar. While initial thoughts might swing to this being an invasion force, the standard of King Willard Durman of Kynto, brother to Queen Elsia of Cothel, flyes over these soldiers. The men are most likely reinforcements for the front. However, their grim faces offer no opportunity for other people to utilize the bridge until they are done.
With most of Ivar on higher ground to the south of the river, the party starts to look for a place to stay for the night. However, before they find an inn, a woman spots the holy warriors and the City Watch and approaches the party with a desperate plea: “My daughter and I were walking along the shore and pirates grabbed her. We live near the coast and they didn’t see me, but they took her.”
The plight of the ten-year-old girl sends the party into action and even though they had marched twenty-five miles, they travel another three miles with the woman into the woods that cover the land north of the river. The woman explains there are a number of caves and outcroppings along the cliffs and her daughter had climbed down one of the paths to the shore to play in the water.
Rowan stays back with the woman while the rest of the team move closer to examine the situation. From the concealment of the trees that go to the very edge of the cliffs, they see a sailing ship anchored in a cove. They try to read a name on the vessel, but the letters are not Cothish or Pandar, so no one understands them. The guess is the ship is from one of the countries on the other side of The Straights.
Along the shore, they also see a small dingy being loaded with crates by three people, one of which was dressed in studded leather armor and was acting more as a supervisor than a worker. The men look to be utilizing a cave in the cliffs to store items, which are now being taken away.
Wilby drops down and scouts the activity on the rocky beach. He hears the men speaking in Pandar and discussing the desire to get everything on the ship so they can sail away before the soldiers find them. He spots a watcher north of the cave and hidden on the far side of the cove. The watcher is just within bow range of the cave. Suspecting another watcher would be on the southern side of the cove, Wilby heads back to the rest of the group.
They decide to sneak through the trees and drop down on top of the northern watcher. Once they are in position, they see that the dingy has rowed out to the ship with two men in it. The third man is no longer visible and darkness is deepening the shadows. Howl casts a sleep spell upon the watcher and the man falls unconsious. Wilby and Simon drop down, bind up the man, and then lower him the rest of the way to the shore to keep him out of sight.
Gemma and Howl climb down, and with Simon, head toward the cave entrance while Wilby stays at the watcher’s station as a rear guard.
The cave entrance is outlined in a dim light. Simon has moved carefully to the entrance. Gemma tries to quietly follow him into the cave, but she hits a metal can near the entrance and makes a bit of noise. From within, someone wonders aloud how they could be back so soon.
A moment later, two men, one in studded leather, comes into view from deeper in the caves. Gemma hits the man with a crackling bolt of energy and the man retaliates with divine magic that covers Gemma in a flame-like burst of light and pain. Gemma, utilizing her instinctual reflexes throws more energy back at the man, this time he is covered in flames.
Wilby, still concealed halfway up the cliff, sees the flash of energy and light that surrounded Gemma and watches for a reaction from those on the ship and the other potential watcher.
Simon engages with the sailor who had moved ahead of the man in studded leather armor. His sword rips through the man’s armor, injuring, but not felling the sailor. Howl also joins the fray, flinging his spectral hand out to steal energy from the sailor.
The battle continues, magic and swords clashing back and forth. Soon the closest sailor goes down, but another man in studded leather joins the conflict and the priest continues to deal damage and recover from the blows he’s recieved.
Battered, but not beaten, the party eventually takes down the men who have confronted them in the first chamber of the cave while outside, Wilby has used his bow to drop the southern watcher who had tried to come up on the party’s rear.
Battered, but not beaten, the party eventually takes down the men who have confronted them in the first chamber of the cave. Outside, Wilby has used his bow to drop the southern watcher who had tried to come up on the party’s rear.
Wilby remains outside the cave, taking cover behind some rocks and watches the ship and three men who are bringing the dingy back to the shore. They are out of his bow range for now, but using the cover of darkness, he intends to make sure they do not land unscathed.
Back inside the cave, Howl rushes forward again, moving through the narrow gap in the rock from where the sailors and soldiers had come. Dim light deeper in the cave offers just enough illumination for him. However, the moment he clears the opening, a crossbow bolt narrowly misses him. Gemma and Simon move forward, covering the distance to engage the man who had been hiding down the passage on their right.
Magic and swords make quick work of this man and Howl again moves further into the caves, seeking out the young girl who had been taken. Casks and other goods appear stacked against the wall ahead of him. Sounds of people deeper in the caves can be heard in multiple directions. With the dim light, it is hard to tell where to go, but Howl moves to his left and draws more fire. Gemma and Simon move forward, engaging with the man who shot at Howl. Howl hold back, using magic from a distance.
Outside, Wilby starts shooting at the dingy which has come within his range. One man stands up and tries to return fire with a crossbow, but Wilby remains protected by cover. Wilby and the men on the dingy exchange fire several times until the crossbow man is overboard and one of the two oarsmen are dead.
Inside, as the team pushes deeper into the southwestern corner, a voice calls out in Cothish, “Hold or the girl dies!” Unwilling to take orders, Simon charges the well-dressed man in studded leather armor and he is forced to give up his hold on the girl and engage with the City Watch.
They exchange blows and Gemma and Howl continue to blast him with magic. After a couple of damaging exchanges, the man suddenly surrenders. Simon takes him into custody while Howl checks on the girl who is gagged and bound. Uncertain of how to deal with children, he pats her on the head and tells her to stay there. Gemma, perhaps having younger siblings, pushes Howl out of the way, cuts the girl free and offers her some comfort.
Simon binds and ties the man who had held the girl hostage before escorting him toward the front of the cave. Howl breaks off to search additional sections for other sailors and perhaps valuables.
At the front of the cave, Wilby hears the remaining oarsman surrender and he instructs the man to slowly row the boat to shore. Behind him, the sounds of someone running within the cave draws his attention. With a quick hand, he shoots his bow at the man, but that does not stop the fleeing sailor, who now faced with being shot in the back, is on Wilby with a short sword. Wilby tosses his bow aside and pulls out an axe.
The two exchange several blows, each trying to size up the other one. Eventually, Wilby manages to outmatch the sailor and he delivers a fatal blow.
When Simon gets the man outside, the others join him in questioning the prisoner. “Let me go or you’ll be sorry,” the man says, but the party is unimpressed. “Leave me with the swords and take the valuables on the ship,” he offers. “It was payment for the swords, so whether you have it or the sailors do, it doesn’t matter to me.”
The team seems reluctant, but when the man finally admits that he is a member of the Burdger family and that there are over 500 gold coins on the ship, Simon, Howl, and Gemma are suddenly more receptive to the offer. A quick conference with the others confirm that they suspect the Burdger family of being involved with the swords they uncovered at the manor house a number of days back.
The party asks why the Burdger family needs swords and if they are planning to overthrow the government. Arnold Burdger replies, “There is a war coming. We merely want a means to protect ourselves. Consider us the rear guard. With regard to the girl, she would have been set free as soon as we were done. We just didn’t want her giving us away.”
Simon, Gemma, and Howl quickly make a deal with the sailors that surrendered to have them help sail the ship. The sailors, each of which was facing possible death, gladly accept the offer, provided they are paid standard rates. Simon frees Arnold Burdger and with the sailors, Gemma, and Howl set off in the dingy for the sailing ship (which was named The Urkuck after the former captain).
Wilby is unwilling to engage in the endevor and instead takes the girl back to Rowan and her mother.
Simon, Howl, and Gemma have the sailors travel south to Antar and bring The Urkuck to dock. The Port Authority quickly question them about why holy warriors and members of the City Watch would be on such a ship. They quickly explain the circumstances and the authorities gladly take control of the ship and the cargo. The party is told they will receive a prize for the salvage once the ship is inventoried.
The sailors who had brought the ship into harbor are almost held, but Simon says they were working for the party and the authorities allow them to leave. While the bulk of the coins and valuables remained on the ship, each of them managed to sneak off at least fifty gold in their gear.