Introducing the Party
Three adventurers happened to meet at the Low Bridge in Riverbend; the first, a gnomish beastmaster, was in Riverbend to buy a war badger. In this case, said badger was a dog. The second, a charismatic leader, fresh out of military school, was looking for work. The third, a dwarven sapper, was in town to see Diamond John, a well-known bard, at the first concert of the Beyond The Wall: Bardbarian! Tour.
Over dinner, they introduced themselves: Rig Bigny, Gnomish Beastmaster of Wallace, Loronthir of Wallace, and Gróin, dwarven sapper of Norston. As it happens, a gnome named Pequeño had some Bardbarian tickets for sale, at half price since the concert was nearly ready to start; the three decided to attend, and bought a ticket each. The concert was an amazing display of lights and sounds; Diamond John, the Bardbarian, played a huge axe, shooting lightning out over the crowd; the bassist, a dwarf named Strumm, played a double-headed axe. The drummer, a mage named Chaz Hayman, summoned three berserkers, who crowd-surfed and hand-banged. All in all, a good time. As they were about to leave, a man stopped them and asked if they would like to meet the band; they accepted, and soon were shaking hands with Diamond John himself!
As it turned out, the band’s road crew had left. Free food, free lodging, free tickets, and 5 gp a day was a deal just too good to pass up, so the trio signed on to act as security. While they asked a few good questions, they didn't probe too hard as to why they were being paid 140 gp a month, each, when your average level 1 hireling gets 25. But hey, money is money, right?
They still had a day to kill before the band left town, so they decided to hunt up some help and some rumors. They stopped by the local job board and found a group of young humans, plus an elf and a dwarf. After some discussion, they decided against hiring the young thug with a “cosh” - a sock full of rocks - and went with the young elf, Rhea Trueheart, and a quiet young man named Luce Burwood. Rhea, in particular, was quite taken by Loronthir, pledging her undying loyalty. She was hoping to learn enough and make enough money to eventually explore the ancient homes of her forefathers, far to the west. Luce, meanwhile, was the eldest in a very poor family, and left to make his own way in the world. He happened to have a set of plate armor, too.
The help hired, the party turned to rumor hunting, hoping to scare up some experience. Though the trio of PCs learned little of import, Luce heard an elderly fellow going on about a treasure map! Loronthir swooped in, turned on the charm, and managed to convince the poor man to sell the map for a single gold piece - quite the investment, as they would soon discover. The fellow never realized how much treasure he lost out on. Leaving a note for the bard, the party headed out with their two young henchmen, in search of treasure. Near sunset, they located the treasure site, and a rotting mahogany chest was quickly unearthed by the dwarf.
They pulled it open to reveal 4000 platinum pieces! Gobsmacked, everyone immediately assumed it was trapped, cursed, illusionary, haunted, trapped, and cursed. Eventually overcoming their fear, they dug out the platinum, uncovering a ring and a crossbow; as neither was touched by time, everyone assumed they were terribly cursed as well. After much concerned discussion, they eventually managed to convince poor Luce to lift it out. As Luce lifted the crossbow with two long sticks, a voice suddenly rang out! “About bloody time, you net-hacking save-scummer, I- hang on, you're not the Great Beardless Idiot. Who are you lot?”
Having never heard a talking crossbow, no one quite trusted it; still, they asked it what it was; it replied, “What do you mean, who am I, you mud-blooded vanilla-classed mouth-breather? I'm the bloody great Crassbow!”
After some discussion, the Crassbow explained (with more cursing than is usually necessary) that it was a plus one crossbow, with the gift of speech. Fancy! The only problem was that it didn't seem to stop talking. Though it was not, it assured them, cursed. It also berated their stupidity at not understanding what the ring was - a ring of holding. With a tug, the ring could expand up to 1’, and could hold items inside a small pocket dimension. After filling it with coins (only realizing after the gnome had dumped a handful of platinum inside that it may be cursed), a spear, and some rocks, they found it would hold about 5 stone of anything that fit through the hole (and they could get it back - not cursed! Whew). Anything non-living, anyway - anything larger than finger placed inside would simply fall through. Though, as the crassbow gleefully pointed out, if you wore it on the correct finger, you could flip people off without them realizing it, as your finger was hidden in a pocket dimension.
Loot in hand - er, ring - the party made their way back to the road, spent the night in a comfortable barn (giving the farmer's wife a whole gold piece for her trouble!), and met up with the bard on the road. They showed the Crassbow to the bard, who didn't quite know what to make of it - but the drummer sure did. He recognized it from his semester in mage college: “Cursed, for sure!”
Even so, Loronthir felt as if he were growing to like the strange crossbow. It seems he was affected by the curse. Luckily, upon reaching Laketown, they found a cleric to remove both the curse and the crassbow. It was a long two days to get to laketown, though, with the Crassbow yelling the whole time, day and night. Luckily, there were no bandits.
In Laketown, they hunted for some more rumors; strangely, a man seemed to recognizing Rig - he said he saw a gnome that liked just like him, hunting for his doppelganger. That evening, they went to the second Bardbarian concert, and took their new hirelings. Who, by the way, leveled up to become a full fighter and an elvish nightblade. They... may have been given the wrong impression of how easy adventuring is. Neither made a loyalty roll (as they match levels with their boss) this time, as they saw no combat with which to measure their level against that of their boss.
XP from battle: 0
XP from treasure: 8000
Total each: 2000, and 1000 for the hirelings.
Special GM notes
Ouch. They weren't supposed to find that treasure yet. A combination of 5 awesome rolls resulted in the absolute best rumor in all of Mareten being 1) found, 2) true, 3) immediately locatable, and 4) available for a steal. So goodbye level one, hello level two, and not a weapon has been swung! Pity about getting rid of the crassbow, though, I kind of liked him. Never fear, though; danger is near, especially once they leave the protection of the wall.
Diamon John’s proposed itenerary:
- Riverbend 5/1
- to Laketown (12 hexes, 4 days @ 60') (5/2-5/5), stay for Fri (5/6)
- to Wallace (15 hexes, 5 days @ 60') (5/7-5/11), stay for Thu (5/12)
- to Forreston (38 hexes, 13 days @ 60' +2 rest) (5/13-5/27), rest Sat (5/28)
- big concert Sun 6/1! Stay Mon 6/2
- to 15,84 (12 hexes, 4 days) (6/3-6/6), stay Sat-Sun (6/7-6/8)
- to 23,92 (Innsburg) (12 hexes, 4 days) (6/9-6/12), stay Sat-Sun (6/13-6/14)
- to Cliffport (17 hexes, 6 days) (6/15-6/20), stay Sat-Sun (6/21-6/22)
- boat to Wrapport (41 hexes, 4 days) (6/23-6/26), stay Fri-Sun (6/27-6/29)
- to Crossroads (11 hexes, 4 days) (6/30-6/33), stay Fri-Sun (6/34-7/1) (Summerset party)
- to Idylton (5 hexes, 2 days) (7/2-7/3), stay Wed (7/4)
- to Soya (8 hexes, 3 days) (7/5-7/7), stay Sun (7/8)
- to Grove City (12 hexes, 4 days) (7/9-7/12), stay Fri-Sun (7/13-7/15)
- to Slowhaven (6 hexes, 2 days) (7/16-7/17), stay Wed-Fri (7/18-7/20)
- to Overriver (14 hexes, 5 days) (7/21-7/25), stay Thu (7/26)
- to Riverbend (12 hexes, 4 days) (7/27-8/2), stay Tue (8/3)
- to Evergreen Valley (12 hexes, 4 days) (8/4-8/7), stay Sun-Mon (8/8-8/8/9)
- to Norston (12 hexes, 4 days) (8/10-8/13), stay Sat-Mon (8/13-8/15)
- to Evergreen Valley (12 hexes, 4 days) (8/16-8/19), stay Fri (8/20) (just resting)
- to Riverbend (24 hexes, 4 days) (8/21-8/24) (end-of-travels concert 8/25)