Last time in my Pits and Perils campaign, Alandra had just signed up to help a search party try to recover a young captured priestess named Georgia.
Alandra, Magician 1 (0/250 xp); HP 5/5; SP 1/2; Dexterity/Performer; Atk +0 (Daggers); MV 50′; Purse: 2 gp 5 sp 2 cp; Inventory (8): bedroll, rations (7), dagger (2), flint, torch (1), waterskin, 10′ pole; Spells: Hide, Link, Song
Threads: Escape the control of the Great Houses; rescue priestess; attacks in the night
NPCs: Tarek, Sorcerer of the House of the Silver Star; Georgia, missing cleric; enemy in the woods
Reminder: You can find a list of all of my plays on the Campaign Logs page.
Setup: The search party gathers and heads into the woods
Chaos roll: 1 vs 4, interrupt
Interrupt: PC positive – Failure/Expectations
Alandra is in her room, hastily gathering her things to join the other searchers when there is a knock at the door. “Come in,” she calls.
Endbru Boult, the tavernkeeper, pushes the door open. He has a small satchel in his arms. “I know you don’t have to do this,” he says, “but everyone in the Lady and Bear and so grateful that you are. We gathered what we could. It isn’t much that could help you, but…”
He hands her the satchel and then backs out of the room. She opens it to find several torches and a small length of rope.
Inventory gained: 2 torches, 20′ rope
Inventory (9): bedroll, rations (7), dagger (2), flint, torch (3), waterskin, 10′ pole, 20′ rope
She adds it to her gear and heads out into the night.
Setup: The party gathers and heads into the woods
Chaos: 8 vs 4, no chaos
Alandra hurries out into the village square to meet the others who will be searching for the missing priestess.
How many are gathered? d4+1: 4
Four men and women are clustered near the small well. Alandra recognizes Nell, the priestess who was with the kidnapped woman, and a couple of faces from the tavern.
Is Nell a combatant? +0: yes
How does she seem to be acting? precise/ability
Nell looks different that she did in the tavern. The shock of the kidnapping has worn off and she is now clearly in control of herself. She has donned a suit of chain and carries a shield and mace at her side.
Are either of the other three men exceptional looking? -2: yes (one of them will be a footman and the other two are archers)
Those gathered with her look strong and capable. Two–a man and a woman–are carrying hunting bows and long skinning knives–clearly woodsmen, and capable in the darkness. The other is wearing another suit of chain–old but well maintained–and carrying a heavy axe.
Does anyone come to see them off? +2: x-yes
A large contingent of the town comes out to see them off, shouting encouragement and saying prayers to the Triune. A few reach out to touch those of the party that they know, begging them to come home safely.
Alandra is uneasy at the activity and self-conscious of the fact that none of these people are here for her. She thinks back to when her own parents disappeared, to the reaction her own city had–utter indifference, perhaps even a sense of distaste at the inconvenience of having to see her on their streets. She resolves to do what she can to help these people.
Alandra, Magician 1 (0/250 xp); HP 5/5; SP 1/2; Dexterity/Performer; Atk +0 (Daggers); MV 50′; Purse: 2 gp 5 sp 2 cp; Inventory (9): bedroll, rations (7), dagger (2), flint, torch (3), waterskin, 10′ pole, 20′ rope; Spells: Hide, Link, Song
Nell, Cleric 1; HP 11/8+3 (chain + shield); FP 1/1; Constitution/Farmer; Atk +0 (Mace); MV 30′; Inventory (6): bedroll, rations (1), mace, flint, torch (2), waterskin
Tia, Archer; HP 8/7+1 (leather); Bowyer; Atk +0 (Bow or Dagger); MV 40′; Inventory (7): bedroll, rations (1), bow (20), dagger, flint, torch (2), waterskin
Ben, Archer; HP 8/7+1 (leather); Hunter; Atk +0 (Bow or Dagger); MV 40′; Inventory (7): bedroll, rations (1), bow (20), dagger, flint, torch (2), waterskin
Lanaior, Footman; HP 10/8+2 (chain); Carpenter; Atk +0 (Axe, +1 damage); MV 30′; Inventory (6): bedroll, rations (1), axe, flint, torch (2), waterskin
Setup: Tracking in the woods
Chaos: 6, no chaos
Nell leads the party through the woods to the point where Georgia was taken just [d4+1] 5 hours earlier.
Is there enough light to see without a torch? -4: no + event
Event: NPC Positive (Georgia) – Divide/Nature
Ben, a hunter, leads the party into the woods by torchlight. Alandra fears that the darkness and hours since the woman’s disappearance will mean the worst, but fate seems to be smiling on them: not more than a few minutes after leaving the trail, the party steps out into a wide swath of open land that runs alongside a river. The wet mud on either side of the water shows footprints clearly.
Ben is able to pinpoint where the kidnappers dragged Georgia into the water, and the bank on the other side is unmarked. “I’m certain they took her upriver,” he says. “We would have seen her had they gone downstream.”
Is it a large river? +4: yes
The river is wide and deep, and Ben doubts the enemies would have been able to cross with a struggling prisoner without a boat. The party treks upriver, scanning the muddy banks for footprints as they go.
SKILL CHECK: Ben’s Tracking, +2: 10 vs 7, success
Do they find evidence of the kidnappers? +4: yes
Ben is relieved to report that they’re going in the right direction. After a few minutes of walking he comes across signs of passage.
Describe the signs: swiftly/warm
The tracks head back toward the forest with wide pacing. “They were moving quickly,” the tracker points out. A few paces later he finds a discarded torch, still warmer than the outside air. They’ve found the trail.
Does anything unusual happen? -6: no + event
Event: Move toward a thread (find the priestess) – Recruit/Intellect
The party moves forward slowly now; they must be getting close. No one would be able to carry a struggling captive very far. Suddenly, Tia the bowyer holds up her hand and stops the party.
“I know where we are,” she says. “I recognize these trees–spruce, good for arrows. I know of only a single grove in the forest where they grow, so we must be on the far side of it. I usually approach from the road. If we’re here…”
“What is it?” Alandra asks. She can hear the apprehension in the woman’s voice.
“I know where she’s been taken. There’s only one place out here where they could hide in this part of the woods and not be found–
Is it a [1-2] tower, [3-4] mine, or [5-6] abandoned village? A tower.
The others’ faces fall.
SKILL CHECK — Ben’s Tracking +1: 9 vs 7, success
Ben points out the trail, and the party moves after it, but the trail leads ever in the direction that Tia indicated.
Is Stonesreach on a hill? +0: no
Eventually, Alandra realizes that the trees are thinning out as the ground becomes soft and spongy. The party moves slowly, quietly.
Have the trees thinned enough that they can move without a torch? +0: no
Unfortunately, there’s only so much stealth they can manage in the near pitch-darkness of the cloudy night. Without the light, the twisted roots and muddy ground would be grasping at their ankles.
How long does it take to reach the town? d6: six turns
Wandering Monster check -6: none
Another hour passes this way, as they creep through the difficult ground. Even the trail is hard to follow now, but Alandra understands what Tia meant–there is nothing out here, not even so much as a large pile of rocks to hide beneath. A camp of any size would be immediately visible. If there’s a tower here, that would be the only place to remain isolated.
Finally, they reach the edge of the woods. A small clearing lies ahead, and Alandra realizes that it is right on the edge of the river–an old tollhouse.
Is it in good condition? -2: yes
Alandra is shocked to see that the tower is immaculate, with well-tended grounds and a heavy chain strung across the river. It’s clear that the tower is occupied.
Did the others know it was being maintained? +0: no
The others seem even more surprised than Alandra does. “This… Stonereach?” Lanaior asks. “From the tales, I’d expected…less.”
Nell can just shake her head and say a prayer to the Triune. “If some force has moved in and rebuilt without the town’s notice, I fear even more for Georgia.”
Have they been noticed already in the woods? +0: x-no
They see no motion or light in the windows of the tower–indeed, the few windows appear to be boarded up tightly. Alandra glances around the clearing and sees no motion, no movement. Somehow, that worries her more than the alternative.
Getting close to my first party-size Pits and Perils battle! I’m going to have to do some research to decide which random generator to use to generate the tower, unless I do the whole thing narratively.
Reminder: You can find a list of all of my plays on the Campaign Logs page.