Campaign Diary #7: The boys (& girl, Jung) are back in town!

Dire Wolf… or as Gax calls them “Cuddly Puppies”

The gang really doesn’t get a second to rest when they arrive back in NorthWood. While they were gone hunting Ghost Boar Marast has kept her ear to the frozen ground for potential jobs and the gang jump at a high-risk/high-reward opportunity.

The Curios Company picks up it’s second Client: Glordron Tusk, a well dressed 1/2 orc businessman. Glordron having established himself as a business power in NorthWood now wants a little of the glory that comes to owners of successful DeepWinter Chase teams. What’s the Deepwinter Chase you ask…

The Deepwinter Chase is the premier sporting event of NorthWood. It’s a rough and tumble sled race where teams make what is normally a 3 day trip in around a day and a half. It’s an exhausting endurance race with few rules. Injuries are very common as sled teams regularly outright attack one another to gain what advantage they can. Death during the race is not the norm… but it does happen enough that it’s not unusual either! To frame the Deepwinter Chase: Put the Iditarod, Mad Max Thunder Road, and Fast and the Furious into a big ole fantasy blender and mix them up real good! Oh, also the sleds don’t use fluffy sled-dogs, they are pulled by barely trained Dire Wolves!

So, the gang agrees to man Glodron’s sled, the contract holds that whatever prize money is collected is split 50/50. Half to Glodron, half to the Curios Company. With the first prize paying out 5000 GP it’s a risk the gang decides to take!

They find themselves with 2 days back in NorthWood before they set out again so they all set out to accomplish some personal tasks:
– Marast shows up for a meeting with Gax about his plans to expand the team’s space downward. As Gax is chatting with her he gets a feeling that there’s something very familiar about their new business partner but he can’t put his finger on what it is. While there she also presents the company with a gift which Zattera takes possession of. It’s a magic marble that allows it’s user to see through it even in the darkest of darks, it can also roll under it’s own power. During their meeting Marast let’s Gax know that she’s in favor of his expansions but requires that he works with a competent contractor of her choosing. Enter the Avultrede brothers, 4 dwarvish brothers that Jung and Wolrf traveled the underground with in their intro adventure. You can catch up on that here: Gax and the dwarves set to work excavating and enlarging the company’s base.
– Zattera (having been up all night tailing the Ghost Boar back to Thelray’s soon gets fed-up with the noise and leaves his own bed, dropping some coin on a room in a nearby inn so he can get some sleep. Later that day he swings by the Diamond Spider Tavern, has a few drinks, and establishes a connection with the bard/storyteller that entertains the patrons there.
– Torrik, filled with teen angst, forgoes sleep and goes on a bleary-eyed shopping spree getting geared up for the Chase.
– Sidron hits up the libraries in the city and has a frustrating day of ineffectual research on the dangers associated with the Chase.
– Wolrf sets to work starting the tanning process for his hides he claimed during the boar hunt. Then he and Jung head over to Rumpchunk’s Butchery where they broker a deal to sell the tough and stringy Winter Wolf meat. Jung lays on what charm she has and Rumpchunk throws in a roast to the deal, which the gang eat for dinner. Glad to have warm food and warm lodgings instead of sleeping in the snow chasing dangerous Ghost Boars!

Magnus sets out quickly and discreetly to find someone to unload the Githyanki sword onto. Making his way to Smith-Row near the docks he uses his Detect Magic to examine many of the shops and finding a shop operated by a solitary dwarf that has magical weapons dispersed discreetly about in it he steps in. Awkward conversation takes place, Magnus asks the dwarf about the sword. The dwarf refuses to take the weapon, becoming clearly concerned that the weapon is in NorthWood at all. After some pressing he scrawls an address on a scrap of paper and gives it to Magnus, “Take it here,” he says curtly. As Magnus leaves his smithy he sees the dwarf open a secure cabinet, inside a suit of fine armor and the dwarf’s stash of weapons are stored. The dwarf begins to don his armor and Magnus hears him mutter, “Just in case..” as he walks away. Magnus makes his way deep into the South Warrens, the roughest part of the city, and finds the address from the dwarf. It’s a house that by all appearances is abandoned. Doors and windows boarded up the exterior in a deep state of dilapidation. Magnus spots a small arrow carved into the sealed front door that points downward at an angle, into a stariwell that leads to a below-street entrance. He makes his way anxiously down the stairs and finds a heavy oak door with wrought iron banding. He knocks… After a tense exchange with a very large, very burly 1/2 orc door guard Magnus is ushered in and de-weaponed. He’s then lead down a hallway, the door to each side sometimes open to alarming levels of depravity taking place within them. At the end of the hall he is pushed into a large office, a massive wooded desk dominates the room, a large opulent chair behind it, facing away from Magnus. As he stands, the 1/2 orc hulking over his shoulder, the chair rotates. In it is a Gnome, hair slicked back, attired in very fine clothes. Magnus presents the Githyanki sword to him. He inspects it, his excitement obvious as he does. “This is excellent, excellent!” he says, then waving a dismissive hand at Magnus, “You can go now.” Soon Magnus finds himself pushed out onto the entrance-way, sturdy door shut firmly behind him and makes his way, shaken, home.

As they wrap up their dinner of fresh roast they hear a loud crash from The Curio and they rush over to see what the disturbance was. They burst into the shop to see the place in disarray, a heavy wooden table is broken in half and fresh heavy claw marks are carved into it. Varon is scurrying out of the shop and into his and Marast’s living quarters in the back, the old dog of his bundled in his arms. Marast thanks the gang for coming to assist but assures them that they have everything under control and ushers them out politely.

The next morning Varon enters their headquarters letting them know that Glordron is here to wrap up final preparations with them, he’s waiting in their meeting room for them. Torrik notices that his Raven “friend” becomes very agitated by Varon’s presence and he presses the bird about his agitation. Over the months Torrik has found that the bird is quite intelligent and able to speak in Sylvan when it wants to. After some verbal prodding over the Raven’s opinion of Varon the bird responds with, “The elf needs to die!” and then flutter into the rafters far away from Varon. A quick meeting with Glordron occurs. Gax convinces Glordron to take him to see the Dire Wolves they’ll be working with.

Glordron leads Gax across town, to the Western side of NorthWood. There all the teams have secured paddocks sprinkled about and Gax finds himself lead past a small unit of guards and into Glordron’s paddock. The massive sled is there, elevated on logs off the floor, crews cleaning and waxing the runners. Snarls and growls fill the air from deep in the paddock. Gax looks around for some sort of cages to hold the beasts but sees none. Eventually Glordron takes him to the very back where he finds himself looking over a low wall into a pit. Dire Wolves snarl and rip at the carcass of some animal. One Dire Wolf, larger than the others sits on it’s haunches glaring upward at Gax, it takes a leap at him but the pit is constructed too deep and it comes up 6′ short of getting it’s teeth into Gax’s flesh. It lands and settles back down, glowering up menacingly. Gax casts Speak with Animals on himself, “Good Morning,” he says cheerfully in a series of growls and barks. No response from the Dire Wolf. Gax is undeterred, he presses on with the conversation. As Gax prattles on the Dire Wolf continues to respond with the same request, “Come Down Here.” While Gax isn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer he knows better than to expose himself to those ravenous teeth. Eventually Gax’s enthusiasm prevails and he gets the Dire Wolf to tell him what it really desrires, “To eat the thinking ones…” it tells him. Gax offers it a morsel of a “thinking one”, the wolf accepts. Gax removes the severed head of one of the fallen Githyaki from his pack and drops it into the pit. The Dire Wolf gobbles it up greedily and the Dire Wolf (who is the Alpha of this pack) and Gax broker a deal: The Wolf will run well for Gax and in return Gax will get him all the thinking ones he can eat… a shocking turn of events!

Next day is race day and the gang are there bright and early. Sled loaded, Dire Wolves harnessed and ready, they find themselves on the start line. With the sound of a giant roar a wizard conjures up the illusory image of a massive glowing Dire Wolf that bursts forth and over the competitors, running down the race course away from the city and eventually dissipating into a shower of sparks! The sleds are off! Almost instantly they’re moving at break-neck speed across the snow. 10 teams in the Chase this year. The crowds gathered to watch the start roar with excitement. Gax casts Mold Earth to frustrate the efforts of two nearby sleds, one manned by a team of Hobgoblins, the other by a mixed team of mostly humans from the Northern Reach. Then Gax uses the spell Command to command one of Hobgoblin team to “return to NorthWood”- his companions tackle and grapple him to keep him from responding to the request.

Then Torrik sees a sled to their Left and ahead of them is flying the flag of Company Black, another mercenary group in the city and one that Torrik, Sidron, and Gax have some bad blood with (if you don’t know about it you can check it out here: ). From the back of that sled a seasoned dwarf sees the Curios Company and uses some unsavory sign language to taunt them. Teen-Angst in full effect Torrick hurls a javelin at the dwarf. The dwarf knocks it aside with a gauntleted arm and redoubles his wordless insults. A heated exchange of projectiles ensues. Torrik and Jung both targeting a figure on Company Black’s sled who is clearly a magic user of some sort. Company Black targeting Gax to great effect with a hail of arrows (Gax was driving the sled at the time). As Gax, badly wounded, hands the reigns over to Magnus Company Black’s caster casts a spell and a wall of fire erupts 15′ in front of the gangs sled. Torrik dives forward to help Magnus haul on the reigns and together they manage to veer their sled over and into another competitor, wood and metal crunching together they just make the edge of the wall of fire… and that’s where we ended the session for this week!

Tune in next week for more Fast and the Furry-ous? Fast and the Firey-ous? Until we find a better bad-pun here’s hoping your games go well this week and your rolls come up nat 20s when it really matters (but nat 1s when you’re trying to seduce the barman!)

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