On Monday, the 10th of February, Citadel House adventurers finally get around to helping Fuil Glausichbien, a gnome from the refining facility up the East Confluence river, to deliver some grain that Dorcas of Citadel is willing to trade for some of their ore. It seems the gnomes have been unable to take deliveries from Rathad Oidhche to the North and have become desperate for resupply. Dorcas supplies the carts, mules, teamsters, and a half dozen guards. His son, Philip, also goes along to negotiate the terms of the exchange. The two adventurers are:
- Agon (HuS): Level 1 Elf Magic-user.
- Bill (PaT): Level 1 Human Fighter.
They set out early in morning and soon come across a pack of wolves eating a kill. Agon drives them away with a pulse of fear that sends them running to a wolf. By nightfall they have made it 8 miles from from Confluence.
On the 11th, shortly after their brief lunch break the caravan hears a deep voice from behind speaking broken elvish asking what they are doing there. Agon addresses the speaker and after letting slip that they are delivering food to the gnomes manages to convince them that they are meeting the gnomes halfway, just beyond the Great Road, veiling the implication that gnomes have expanded southward. The voice insists on searching the carts with the guard well away from them and soon the carts are searched by a large orc and allowed to continue with the commander’s blessing. They are given his name to drop if confronted again while making their way through territory that is part of military practice exercise on the part of the “Union of Schek” which they gather from Fuil is a major orc/goblin alliance. By the end of the day they have covered another 12 miles or so, despite the carts frequently getting stuck on the rough path.
On the 12th, they are making good time without incident when rain begins around noon. Encouraged that the rain will reduce the likelihood that they encounter orc patrols, they press on and, though slowed, arrive at the gnome facility shortly after dark. They find the main door hatch locked and Fuil offers to run across to the back door where knocking is more likely to be heard. Bill accompanies him, with Agon remaining with the carts and guards in case of orc patrols arriving. Soon gnomes emerge from the main hatch led by Fuil and Bill and unload the carts.
Agon approaches Gead, the top gnome, and requests that they be allowed to stay a few days at the refinery so any orc patrols they meet on the way back will not question their story that they were going beyond the Great Road. He agrees to house them for a few days and they hide the carts nearby, hoping they will not be found.
They spend the 13th-16th in the refining facility during which time they learn a great deal about the orcs and goblins, the Union of Schek, the four gnome political camps, and attend a church meeting.
On Monday, the 17th, they get the carts back out and load them with ore before setting out again toward the Vale. The day passes without incident and they make 12 miles before making camp amid a light drizzle.
On the 18th, they awake to light rain. This rain continues all day and they only make 8 miles in a day of miserable treading through the mud. Not much else seems to be out and they travel without other incident besides the dismal weather.
On the 19th, the path, unsuited already for carts, is muddy and the air is cold with the sun still hidden behind clouds. The caravan makes slow progress again as a result. Following a lunch break, they continue their trudge through the muddy woods and are soon accosted again by a gruff, orcish voice speaking worse elvish than the last. They stick to their story and drop Griku’s name and are soon on their way again.
A few hours later, as the afternoon is getting on, they come upon a bear and her two cubs (1% on my encounter table). The mother charges and soon they have slain the mother and one of the cubs, the other cub escaping into the woods. With about an hour or so of daylight remaining, they make camp there in order to prepare the meat and hide and spend the night near the site of the battle. During Bill’s watch, I roll a very rare (for the area) encamped at night encounter. Rolling up the specific encounter, it again comes up as a bear with two cubs. I think that’s silly, so I roll again and get a single bear (3%). The only logical conclusion is that this bear is the escaped cub.
Bill awakes Agon and points the cub out to him. Agon, en elf with Natural Empathy, approaches the cub and, through a series of lucky rolls and much of their remaining (non-bear) jerky, befriends the bear enough to follow him back to the tent where he gets it comfortable in Bill’s bed.
Come morning, Thursday the 20th, the weather is very cold, but sun peeks through the cloud cover as they set out. Agon walks well behind the caravan, fearing the bear he leads with a sack full of jerky will spook the mules. Not wanting to bring the cub into a walled village just yet, Agon remembers passing a stable in Timberford (the only open village in the Vale he’s visited) and convinces Bill to go ahead of him to Timberford to warn the owner of the stable and pay him to house the bear there for a couple days.
As they approach Confluence, Agon leaves the caravan to follow the other side of the river through the woods into the Vale. Bill and the caravan reach Timberford ahead of Agon and Bill approaches the owner of the stable, who is making horse shoes. They are more fortunate than they could have possibly imagined. The stable master is a druid with the ability to speak to and control animals (one of the first characters I put in the Vale, one of two named NPCs in Timberford; they don’t ask his name).
Brogan accepts 2 silver coins to house the bear for two days and another 5 copper to speak to the bear and help get it to the stable. He and Bill go to meet Agon and the bear. Agon’s invisibility spell is lacking in the broken daylight and the ghostly bear draws some attention, but Brogan is trusted and they reach his stable unconfronted.
While Agon stays with Brogan to be trained in Call Animal (he levels up and gains some new spell components, as well as Call Animal), Bill continues on to Citadel where he ensures the caravan arrived safely. Dorcas pays him a gold coin and another for Agon and he reports to Matthias.
The other time random encounter tables caused madness to happen was a lot of fun, too.