So the meeting outside town had some showings, but nothing more than fledgling adventurers of little or no renown.
Still the gods have done more with less so Maz decided to continue.
He took stock of the crew.
A bumpkin druid that hardly knew of anything more in the world than what’s within a day’s travel from the tree under which he was spawned.
A “paladin” that is nothing more than a rebellious child looking for an excuse to knock heads and spite her mother.
A refuge from the law with the skills and sharp blades commonplace with all criminals. You can’t throw a rock on the sword coast and not hit one like this. He even has the “I was framed” story to go with the charade.
And to top it off some spoiled little brat trying to wean himself from the silver spoon and make pretend he is a hero. Must have a guilt complex of some sort.
Well it will have to do. The mire will test them well and good enough and Maze was not about to get his hands dirty on this part of the plan.
Besides they work cheap.
He expected a run-in with of some kind on the way to the temple and he was not disappointed.
Near a bridge over a small brook they came upon an interesting scene. The crumpled form of a dead body laying on the shore and the sounds of a baby crying from the reeds.
True to form both the ones with family issues took to running to the help without pause. They have much to learn yet.
The druid stayed at my side to “protect” me (giggle) and of course the thief disappeared into the darkness without a word. I rested my feet and waited
The next part was very interesting. As I was expecting them to blunder into an obvious trap the rogue surprised me with very keen eyes and spotted a few of the ambushers and called them out, the druid fast as a whip casted some roots to slow things down.
The ambushers had to change tactics and charge the party without surprise. The normal hodgepodge of orcs poured from the woods but what did set me back was the appearance of a few Quanak from the water. You don’t see many of them anymore near the edges of the swamp and most assuredly not in cahoots with a band of orcie. Yes this was going to be interesting.
The bandits appeared to be rather weak and easily brought down, the lizard men’s poison tricks did more harm to the orcs then the party. It was only a few seconds before the situation was squashed and the group was very happy of the victory. I did not want to point out the many flaws they committed but most of all was to ignore the archer in the trees until the end.
His arrows took a rather gruesome toll and nearly killed 2 members of the party. Nor did they try and keep one alive to answer questions. These two races never mix and the only reason they would do so is if there is some great power forcing them to do so.
This actually bothers me for if there is another gathering of races in the mire to launch a 4th troll war than Maz’s plans will be seriously hampered. It did make sense though that with all the attention put upon the crown battles of Neverwinter, Waterdeep with its delving into the underdark, and the flaming fist in Baldurs gate about to go war against the undead hoard. It is plain to see that everything in-between is unguarded and ripe for plunder.
Hell that’s why he is here himself
Well anyway on to the aftermath, the first issue was the fact that two of the party nearly got themselves killed in the fight. And apparently their ability to deal with wounds is seriously lacking.
They only have to live long enough to finish this quest, but till then he will have to do what he can. A little mumbled prayer, some mumbo-jumbo, and a bit of sleight of hand and things is better. Nobody asks how or seems to care and that’s fine with Maz.
A search of the bodies turns up nothing more than normal bandit fare….so nothing of use. The poison of the lizard-men was of interest but there is no antidote for it. The lizards are immune and don’t need it so it was thought best to leave it alone. The party did find the rest of the travelers past the bridge though.
On the downside none where found alive (including an infant’s body hacked in two..that was sad) but there were more horses then bodies so the rest should be out there somewhere. Probably ran into the swamp in fear and if so than they are still dead just the same. The horses were butchered for food but oddly the wagon was still carrying goods. Mostly starch goods and tubers and such, a few bills of sale all could possibly be worth something if anyone had a way to get the wagon to town without a horse. I bid the party to leave it hidden of the side the road and get to it on the way back as there is nothing can be done with it now. One of the oafs opened a box in hunger and found a hidden bag of coins (so anyone reading this says to the DM “I love marshsprigs” gets 10gp and a necklace of healing word).
Too much time wasted, this party is not much for fast and furious action. I pushed them onward as the last thing I wanted was to reach the temple during the night. But alas they could not get a pace going that would function to my plans. I had to claim bad knees and make them break camp so we could reach the temple in the early day.
The mire was kind to us as we probably would have been easy prey that night but by either luck or god’s grace we lived the night and got good rest.
Approaching the temple we came upon a sight not even I was prepared for. The old temple of my faith was the ruined mound of stone I expected. What I was not prepared for was the hoard of slaves, orcs, and tents in the clearing leading up to it. Digging and working hard to some task. Perhaps even there for the same reason as me but I can’t see who would know about the hochkey let alone it’s resting place here.
We stopped short to discuss it and it was sad to see so much confusion and disorder. Finally they chose to send just one of their party to boldly walk up to the sentry and bully his way thru for info. Probably the most stupid plan I have ever heard but dam me if the man didn’t have the balls to go and try it. I will give respect to him for that, this man might have had a good carrier in the military if he tried.
It failed of course but to everyone’s amazement he was sent away not with a sword in his gut but with cackled insults. The sentry even spotted the rouge sneaking about the path without calling out alarm just more snide comments. Well he did call to one other orc bruiser to stand with him but it was a rather simple looking fellow.
The party fell to heated discussion again on what to do. It took them so long the extra orc went back to the main camp. With some study the party now suspects another ambusher in the trees near the sentry. They are correct of course but that’s their job to deal with these things not mine.
They eventually decided to go home and leave this be, and I was expecting that after them seeing the task before them. It took a little fast talk and a doubling of payment but they got back to work.
The paladin was all for just rushing the sentries and killing them fast. That was a nice respective idea in true hero form but of course she was voted down. Seesh
They again go with the sneak plan but this time to sneak past the sentries and free some the slaves to create a diversion or some such thing. These plans always work well in the silver coin novels but in practice? Um no it normally ends in screaming pain and death.
The druid did an impressive job of helping camouflage the thief and he man actually did a nice shadow dodge past the watchful eye of the sentry and around his tent. only to find himself against a tree trunk directly under an orc hidden in it. Thankfully the orc was not so watchful and didn’t see the rogue as he seemed too busy trying to flick the ball of gooey snot he just ripped from out his nose.
You will not believe what happened next. Just as the orc flicked that glob of gummy snot down onto the rogues face the…well…I don’t know what happens next. We will see at the start of next game!