Monday, July 1, 2013

Back to the Keep

So, we gathered yesterday for an inaugural Hackmaster session; we're likely to be monthly, what with the pressures of being grown-ups and all (sitters, work schedules, etc). I was hoping to make a mage or fighter/mage, but the best stats (under a house rule) I rolled had a 10 Intelligence... could've fiddled around, but went with a dwarf fighter/thief, bolstering a very lackluster Wisdom and Looks so I kept my 16 strength, 15 Con, and even managed a 12 Charisma despite my (modified) 6 Looks. Overall, he's got great stats, but I wound up spending a number of points on rerolls for his quirk/flaw... I didn't want to play Compulsive Liar, Colorblind, Missing Ear, or... one other that I forget. I stuck with a Superstition about birds being unlucky.

The party is:
Elwyn - Elven thief with some OCD
Ava Cado - Human priestess of the Bear
Grimwulf - Fhokki javelin who wants to be a paladin
Flint Goldheart - a dwarf fighter/thief with a rather pronounced dislike of birds.. much more a fighter who knows about traps (and backstabbing) than a sneaky fighter. Was very nearly named "Flintheart Glumgold", but the thought of laughing every time I said his name talked me out of it. This is srz bznz.

So, it's late winter in Vew, and a group of travelers is stuck in a blizzard. Flint has lived in the area for years, mostly as a caravan or claim guard, but also happy to chip in with general labor and the like when necessary. Since he's had a lean season, he's leaning on the friendship of Marotti, the innkeeper for the last five years, doing odd jobs in exchange for food and a place by the fire. Just before the storm hit, Ava and Elwyn came in (separately); Ava looking into some reports of ravaged nature, and Elwyn searching for the place her brother died, years ago. Also staying is a minor lord, a very old friend of Marotti, who is very ill.

One evening, the lordling won't get up for his dinner; Ava, a priestess, is called in to examine him, and finds that he's some sort of malignancy in his belly, but she lacks the ability to cure it. She does her best to make him comfortable, and is charged with delivering a letter to someone the next morning... and then the lordling slips into a coma. She faithfully delivers the letter, then returns to keep watch on him... partially because this ensures Marotti will let her stay, rent free, for a while longer. (We is po')

A few weeks pass. There's not much we can do during this time... the road to Frandor's is washed out and snowed in, no one is going anywhere that needs a guard, and it's not a good time for exploring, so we spend time around the inn, with me trying to convince Marotti to let me expand his root cellar this winter. He keeps putting me off, but we play a lot of cards and dice and not much happens. Soon, however, just in front of another blizzard, the Red Priest arrives. He's a follower of the Eternal Lantern, and has a "bodyguard" in young Grimwulf. The Red Priest (who has a name, but I have forgotten it) goes to visit the lordling, an old friend of his, though Marotti requests that they disarm before visiting his sick friend.

Then, no , ninjas attack. Five priests in brown robes and studded leather come into the inn and begin to attack the Red Priest, also trying to sap the curious Elwyn (who was attacted to the Red Priest's fancy golden holy symbol). I, being the industrious individual I am, go up and backstab one of the Brown priests, then bash his head in with my axe. The immediate threat to her ended, Elwyn retreats to clean her sword. Ava defends the unconscious lordling, Grimwulf gets ToPed, and I wade into melee, protecting Grimwulf and making another kill myself. The Red Priest takes down two, but the final brown priest... the one with the long sword, who seems to be the leader... runs. I miss hitting him as he runs, but tag him with a throwing axe on the way out.... but he gets away.

The Red Priest clears us from the room, insisting that he will sit vigil over his friend. He blocks the door with an armoire, releases Grimwulf from his service, and begins a three day pray-a-thon, complete with spare voices in the room and the occasional muffled explosion. We let him pray, though I get a little paranoid and start making a club, and figuring out how to put silver pieces as studs to make it a viable anti-undead weapon. The blizzard rages outside, but, on the third day, it stops. Silence comes from the room where the Red Priest kept his vigil. Grimwulf, concerned for his former master, forces open the door, to find the corpse of the lordling looking weeks dead, the Red Priest still kneeling... and, in another room, Moratti lies with his throat cut.

Cue a flurry of investigation, where we find out that Moratti killed the previous owner and buried him in the root cellar, was, himself, the murderer of the lordling, using some exotic plant-based poison that our Bear-priestess couldn't identify, and had summoned the brown priests. We learn that Elwyn's brother was at some place named Salt Haven, which also seems to be the source of trouble that the druid was interested in. I want more insight into Moratti (I was his friend for five years), and Grimwulf is at somewhat loose ends, but the potential to confront undead seems to cheer him.

We've got a good dynamic going. The elf and I have a snarky relationship, with me having made several cracks about her impatience ("What, are you afraid you're gonna grow old waiting for it?"), and her tending to make fun of my smell and beard. Not outright violent... I recognize her as generally "good people", even if we don't get along. With two humans, we tend to be a bit more aloof, but we're settling into a relationship with them, as well.