So, a weird session this week since we were down a player. At first, I intended to speed through the lands/titles section of the game and finally get everyone to the Untamed Wilds. What actually happened was a lot of free-range roleplay and a lot of in-character moments, and also the hasty creation of SO MANY MORE NPCs (which I only have myself to blame).
Also, as Ramar wasn’t able to make this session, certain things may need to be altered or added, since he is a part of this process. But, amendments are easy enough to make.
- Firstly, there was a retroactive training montage featuring Weezl, Ziggy and Dharivol which covered the last month or so in game where she learns to use the short bow.
- What happened is that the gnome passed the many checks (some at disadvantage) to learn the skill without incurring to much of a cost in ammunition and collateral damage. So now, our resident druid is proficient in short bows.
- But, back to present day, the group find Salindra is sleeping off her fatigue, while they are all still reeling from a little exhaustion themselves. Alongside breakfast, Dharivol finds a letter addressed to him from the duchess herself. The letter pertains to her offer of enchanting his bow, asking for permission, and that she may need to alter the bow and get some of Scruffy’s silk.
- Dharivol agrees and the week long enchanting process begins… which also turns into Dom asking if the bow is ready about every half hour or so.
- The group discuss much of what they know about the Untamed Wilds, cross-referencing everything with Dharivol’s own experience. While speaking of the hazards and their plan of entry, they discover some of the ranger’s past. They learn that his wood elf father left his mother before he was born and that she died while she was young. He came across Scruffy not much later and they have been inseparable ever since. It also appears that the half-elf has taken after his father – who also appears to have been a ranger.
- During this discussion, old session notes are brought up, along with poring over inventory sheets, and they (re)discover that their Wildfire Wine was made by wood elf monks in the Wilds itself. So, that has piqued their interest to investigate that, and also to see if Dharivol’s father has anything to do with them.
- Later checking with Salindra they learn she never met his father, but she does know that the wood elves of the Wilds are rather nomadic. It appears that they occupy the western region of the Wilds of late. They also learn she is about 300 years old and has accounts in her library (which Ziggy went through while they were resting) written of her experience in the old country of sand elves.
- The group also decide that taking a dwarven caravan into the Untamed Wilds and leaving it about half-way through its route is the best way to get into the Descent – the several hundred feet drop into the primeval woods.
- They learn from Dharivol that there are cavern systems along the Descent, so there may be several ways to make their way down the sheer cliff. Taking tunnels, rather than climbing down the cliff face itself.
- They also learn that the apex predator in the region aren’t the giant lizards that live there. No, it is the gargantuan bird that hunts them. A Roc. Dharivol has seen the majestic beast from a distance, which is easily done with its 200 feet wingspan.
- Eventually the conversation turns to titles and deeds, and we fast forward to a meeting with one Kristoff Draven, and older human man and administrator for the crown, who talks to the party about the particulars of their arrangement.
- He restates the offer of 3 separate parcels of land, and titles, or a singular large estate are on offer. The group take up the idea of an estate, which nets them the resumed manor of the Hinkell family, vineyards and a neighbouring orchard (“thrown in” thanks to their commitment to employing townfolk), a storehouse (complete with some old tools, wagon and cart), distillery (which requires some repair) and a homestead/workshop (similar to the homesteads seen about town.) They learn the left some time ago to return to their family in the Shimmering Gates. They also weren’t very good wine makers and seemed to cut a lot of costs in some areas and spend lavishly in others. Their brand had the unfortunate jingle “When you need a tinkle, grab a Hinkell.” Naturally, the group are interested in bringing that back to some extent.
- The discuss the particulars of staffing and what would be required for the best start possible. They also ask about the other prominent winemakers in Hearthshire and learn that they typically reside in Sandhill. The most prominent family, with 5 wine masters, is the Velvedere family. But they learn that starting with one is likely enough, with two being ideal for later down the track.
- It is also at this point, thanks to Ziggy using a wine merchant as a cover previously, we let fate decide the level of his expertise. One dice roll later, we learn that Ziggy himself has a natural instinct and intuition for wine tasting and flavours, in ways he is a wine master himself.
- Kristoff states the estate’s worth in gold and says that consolidating their parcels leaves an excess, and, as thanks from the crown they are given a credit of 1,500 gold to spend of refurbishment, building and staffing.
- Of course, this generosity helped along somewhat when Ziggy offers to take up the take of Baron. His requirements and duties are as follows: he must swear fealty to the crown and to his local lord, he must present himself for the newly installed corruption checks, must take part in local government and he’ll be given sway to hold his own initiatives and voice his own opinions in the future. His duties are somewhat lax compared to other lords but the crown are willing to accommodate the concept of an adventuring lord, seeing that his adventures, rewards and information benefit the area. It is, of course, how the duchess Helen Fairbridge first started out.
- Finally the group learn of the other noble houses in Woodsrest. There are 3 families:
- House Thalomir (established ~20 years) – an elven family that specialises in farming, seemingly ambitious
- House Kerrek (established ~100 years) – a dwarven family that specialises in farming and orchards
- House Urnot (established ~120 years) – a human family, considered to be incredibly hardworking but also has no time for politics
- Time fast forwards to a week’s time, in which Weezl has planted her awakened plant (but has yet to meet it in game), and Dharivol finds his bow returned to him. The bow is now segmented, with its original form and that of a twisted natural wood that alternating along the weapon. The string itself is a shimmering silver string that appears invisible from some angles and like a line of glittering starlight from others- it is the enchanted webbing of Scruffy’s. The duchess promises that the bow will grow and adapt along with the ranger and his companion, and attuning to it reveals the weapon to create a stronger bond between them.
- During this week Ziggy petitions for and holds a town meeting, introducing himself and the job prospects soon to be available at the new estate. He is very well received and a group of workers express interest. Not only that but the scion of the Thalomir family introduces herself to Ziggy and the companions, and expresses interest in working with him. Or at least sampling his wines once the vineyard is functioning. They do notice some dwarves among the crowd but do not meet the Kerreks. The group also keep an eye out for the gnome Slevv but do not spy him.
- At the end of the week, there is also a party held at the group’s new estate (which they have not yet named), mostly on the grounds as the place is still being repaired and furnished. There they meet the Kerrek family proper, with Greeth and Kuin the family heads introducing themselves. Greeth excuses himself after pleasantries are made and Kuin, a bubbly dwarven matron, takes over the conversation. She tells them of the Urnots (at their behest) and that they shouldn’t feel offended they haven’t made an appearance, they don’t partake in politics and are mainly focused on their own work. She also warns them of the Thalomirs and their ambition. Kuin doesn’t wish to speak poorly of them but says they are more likely suited to the Hearthshire capitol itself.
- Dharivol does entertain the crowd with his bagpipes, at Kuin’s request, and Weezl spies some movement at one of the buffet tables. She sees Henry, the now white-haired sorcerer boy, loading up a cloth with foodstuffs. Weezl helps him and despite his suspicions he allows her. He takes the food, and the druid (with a promise she won’t scare anyone), to the outskirts of the party under the shadow of some trees. There they find Quiet the tiefling, who apprehensively observes the gnome. Henry speaks simply to her and lays the food down, where she starts to devour it.
- The pair have a conversation, largely ignored by Quiet, where the boy asks what it is exactly that the group did to him. He’s distressed over more than the colour of his hair. He seems to have more spells available to him now and keeps having dreams of a horse. Weezl brings up Unicorneleous and Henry agrees that is the name of the horse and he finds the whole thing ridiculous. The young man is quite short in his responses, tempered with suspicion and frustration. He doesn’t get any answers that satisfy him. Weezl does invite the pair to the party and he says that a vagrant isn’t likely welcome, and he’s worried for his new friend. Weezl tells him that a title doesn’t mean much, they’re easy to get, she turned one down herself! This, is also not an answer that pleases the young man. He thanks her for acceptance and Weezl says that if they want work, they’ll have opportunity for them soon. And with that she rejoins the festivities.
- Lastly, the group talk about supplies for the Wilds and Weezl says she’d like a bag of holding, or something that they can store all sorts of vegetation and such inside. They spend time investigating avenues and Dharivol finds a few sellers at decent prices, but Ziggy goes a step better, finding a few but also gets an offer from Yuri.
- It seems the fence has kept her eye on the new lord and the rising estate as something to keep herself busy. No one has heard much from Dannick, so they’re just doing what they do. She does however have an offer for the group, a bag of preservation. A bag that can keep things fresh, but does have half the capacity of a bag of holding. It is, in effect, a Bag of Colding.
- She says the price is 750gp and Ziggy talks her down to 700gp, when he offers 600gp. She proffers the item, seeing as the group seek to leave soon. Just before she leaves she gives Ziggy an offer – something that she thinks will interest him for 100 gold. Something a thief could always use.
- He takes her up on the offer, giving her the money quite quickly, and she hands him a small pouch – one that can produce caltrops daily. For the price, and their friendship, she tells him it’s a good idea not to put it in a bag of holding, and also that he should empty it daily. He’ll get his money’s worth in no time.
- As she leaves she says it would have only been 50 gp, but he tried to dick her out of 50 gp with the bag. There’s a wink and a farewell… and the session ends there.
This was such a funny session. At one point I realised that the players were just chatting in character for a good 20 minutes, and thanks to not wanting to advance the story too much that worked out well with me. A lot of character moments and old story beats came up as well, mainly thanks to a moment where everyone went over old game notes and their inventory.
So, the estate is being finished up, so we’ll have to sort out a few more details there on what exactly is being grown and how things are being set up in regards to the buildings themselves. All in all, I’m happy with how it’s coming together and it looks like everyone’s really enjoying it.
Now just to see what happens now that we have Baron Coppero in the party. To think this is where the party has ended up.
So, will the party figure out if there is a halfling mafia? Will they become the greatest wine makers on the western coast? Will they run into cannibal elves? WILL THEY ACTUALLY LEAVE FOR THE UNTAMED WILDS??? Find out next time!