Parts 20b & 21: The Bone Makers

A great Harn campaign with the esteemed Patrick Nilsson, AKA "The Dongmaster" as GM.

Parts 20b & 21: The Bone Makers

Postby Matt » Tue May 24, 2016 11:24 am

INSCENSE OF A DEADLY WINTER (session 20, All PCs) ...

The snow fell softly on the filthy streets of the city. Amongst the chaos of the backlash of the civil war, the poor scavengers filling the alleys, and the incense and foul blood from the annual Slaughterfeast in the Pamesani Arena, this was home. Erol stood under a roof facing Jeremiz, Mogger and his retarded guard Bhurt. They had joined up for an ale or two and a place by the fires in the Noose and Jester Inn. The war was unavoidable. Since its beginning the streets has been crowded by men and women who had fled the terror of the combatants to seek shelter within the high city walls. What awaited them was even worse than the pillage and looting of their homes. Men killed for scraps and women gave themselves to others for a small promise of rotting food. As if watching over one's shoulders at all times weren't bad enough, the city was at the moment filled with Agrikans from all over the southern region celebrating the Slaughterfeast. Erol's eyes went from side to side, narrowing at each soldier passing. He had seen some familiar faces from both the south and the east, and the last thing he wanted was to be recognized. It was hardly something anyone would do instantly. The herald was outfitted in clothes more fit a thug than a noble, and he hadn't washed himself for months. The herald had hid at an old hag's hovel down in Sewer town now that he had fallen out of grace of the queen for a second time. The hag asked no questions and her apartment was cheap enough.

Jeremiz puckered his nose at the stench. "I may not be the best smelling thief in the city Erol but even I know when..." He was interrupted by the sneering herald who hissed. "Keep your filthy mouth shut you lice. Do not call me by my name or else!" Jeremiz raised his hands to calm Erol and turned to Mogger. "So Mogger, I have heard that you have finally been able to replace your whores with all these new and poor girls coming to town. That would surely mean good business no?" The midget shook his head somberly while Bhurt once again licked the snot from his nose. "Alas I wish it was so Jeremiz but you see the scavengers has attacked the Silk Hat twice. Luckily for me that both Urban and Bhurt was within when it happened. And of course some of my most loyal customers. These people fleeing from the war will be the death of me." Erol moved across the Mangai Square towards the inn without a word, and the others shrugged when they followed. They were intercepted by Boros the Butcher who was clad in his armour. "Well met you rabble. Herald we need to talk. The rest can follow if they want." Erol caressed his bearded chin as he nodded. "Yes butcher, we are heading for the Noose, so if you have something to say follow my lead and let's not tarry." It took the handful of Lia-Kavair little time to reach the inn. Well inside they ordered spiced wine and were able to get seats near one of the fires. This would only work until the Slaughterfeast was over and the Agrikans returned to their inns for a nightly "feast".

"So what do you want Boros?" Erol turned his head around the inn as he asked the question. The butcher chuckled at the nervous appearance of the herald. "Well it's not I who wants something. There was a man of rich dress who approached me earlier this morning. He asked me if I knew you to which I replied that I did once. Of course he knew you were alive because he asked me to deliver this sealed note. As you can see I have yet to open it." Erol's mouth grew thin and his jaw locked. Boros handed him the note. After reading it Erol faced the others by leaning over the table. The men around him had to do the same because the herald spoke with a low voice. "A dear relative of mine, Sir Adelgar, who is the physician to the queen, and someone who like me ain't fond of my cousin, has sent me a warning. My dear earl has sent three men to examine the possibility of me being alive. They should already be in the city and fake their background. Obviously they are here as potential slave buyers and should by all accounting be staying at the Trident Inn. If they find out that I am alive it may be a fine feather in their cap." Jeremiz who had kept silent during most of the time drew his dagger. "So what do you want to do Er... I mean herald?" Erol beckoned them all closer as he whispered. "Well since it would be suicide to acknowledge that I was alive, they will either go home empty handed, or..." He emptied his goblet and drew a finger over his throat...

    Sidebar:
    Jarop of Zarainsen
    Jarop is detailed in HQ Golotha. He is a corpulent but considerably strong man with good skills in weaponry and persuasion. He trusts only a handful men (Jeremiz is the only one of the PCs). Jarop is the Guildmaster of the Lia-Kavair.

    Thorfinn of Zarainsen
    Thorfinn is detailed in HQ Golotha. He is like his elder brother a good fighter, but he not obese. A solid frame, a Ivinian appearance, makes him and force to be reckoned with. Thorfinn is the Master of Trade.

    Alvaro of Ulsen
    Alvaro is detailed in HQ Golotha. He is Jarop's best friend and has his full confidence. Though he has no guards, Alvaro hides under the buildings in a maze of secret doors, cellars, and tunnels that would make a Naveh priest filled with envy. Alvaro is the Master of Archives.

    Heste of Atar
    Heste is the new Master of Discipline. A former and infamous enforcer of Jarop's will and one of his collector Journeymen, Heste is a feared man on the streets of Golotha. He has nine thugs to help him out, some of whom are former soldiers. Heste is the younger brother of Hunar (F4).

    Tarian of Quasstin
    Tarian is the new Master of Chance. He own the Hand and the Fist Tavern, and is a tyrant of a man. He has taken hold of some of the former master's men, and use these effectively on various gambling activities. Unfortunately he is not popular but at the time there is no one as skilled so Jarop has to look through his own fingers. Tarian joined the Lia-Kavair only a few months ago.

    Hamis of Nerele
    Hamis is the keeper of the Longshoremen in Golotha wharves best. Thorfinn has made him "King of the Wharves", and with his deputy Jankos, a ruthless little man who is a veteran knife fighter, Hamis, control much of the "trade" below the docks.

    Jarop's Journeymen
    Kervoch, Boros (a PC), and Thrankaar, are three professional fighters who are the only men in the guild who are paid. They are used to collect fees, break bones, and ensure that Jarop's will is enforced. Besides these three, Jarop use half a dozen Ivinians from his brother's band as protection at all times.

    Jarop's Chosen
    Jeremiz (a PC), Herkul, Jamia, and Messalina, are four thieves and burglars who work for Jarop directly. They are the cream of the crop and often plan heists with Alvaro, spy for Jarop, and steal from the rich and ignorant. Two of the members are females but they are not attractive. However, they are very effective.

    The Other Thieves
    Members like Mogger the Midget (a PC), Taris (works for Heste) and his brother Oltan (works for Alvaro), Anke one-arm (works for Tarian), and others are at the bottom of the non- apprentice members of the guild. They are still valuable members.

THE POWER OF THE COMING STORM (session 21, All PCs) ...

The snow fell soft on the cobbled streets of the city. Beneath the white, dead people lay frozen to stiffs, being unable to ward themselves from the cold. The local embalmer and his apprentices were loading corpses onto a hired wagon. In the mist of all this dreary weather the streets were silent. Few people who didn't have access to any guards left their homes and while it wasn't custom to be taken into the temple of Morgath openly, most acknowledged that when the Feast of Bukrai was celebrated, it was better to stay indoors. But with a war going on, making Golotha more chaotic than usual, for some this was not an option. Jeremiz and his newly appointed Ivinian bodyguard Bulwyn stood under one of the stone houses muttering in the winter month that was Morgat. Jarop had told the thief that Bulwyn was a gift to one of his most trusted men and that Jeremiz could use him for as long as the guildmaster saw fit. The reason for this generous offer was because of the many scavengers skulking the dark streets of the city, most of whom didn't acknowledge the position of a member of the Lia-Kavair. In that sense they were even more dangerous than the Mamakas. Whatever the future held, at least now Jeremiz had someone to watch his back. Much like Mogger had with his guard Bhurt except that Bulwyn had a brain. Even if he first used his axe then his head.

Further down the streets Jeremiz spotted Boros and what must be Erol coming strolling with their weapons drawn. On the opposite to the north Bhurt was carrying Mogger who pointed towards the thief and his guard. When gathered they all steered to the Noose and Jester to warm their bellies with spiced and heated wine. It wasn't until they had seated themselves as Jeremiz spoke. "Well it seems that someone from my past has asked me to help him once again and well, Jarop who also knows this man has told me to comply. That means you as well lads since our master..." Erol sniffed and waved with his dirty hand. "Correction thief, your master, not mine. Innkeeper! Spiced wine for us all! And warm!" Jeremiz shook his head as he continued. "OUR master then herald, has told me that we need to do this man's bidding. His name is Gurin and is a mercantyler from Parnam in Tharda. I met him some years ago in the Blood Raven with Slakka and Sike but since they are both dead, well dead to us anyway, I thought I could use you instead." Boros who was the first to be served of the steaming drink sipped carefully lest he knew he would burn his tongue. He took to words. "Well I dunno who this mercantyler is but Jarop was very anxious to make sure I aided Jeremiz in his quest. I intend to do that and hope that this mercantyler is generous to myself, me and I."

Mogger who hadn't spoke at all leaned over with a sneer on his face. "What's in it for me Jeremiz? My tavern has been assaulted by these piss-poor people and because of it, the money usually coming through pints and whores has been less than satisfactory. You understand?" Erol who was always in the mood for a verbal fight added his log to the fiery discussion. "You can polish my boots, lick my balls, and serve me as I see fit you little looser. If this is a mercantyler he is sure to be loaded. I don't think we should worry about any reward being too small eh gipsy?" Jeremiz ignored him and addressed the midget. "Mogger you do as you are told or you will join the other scavengers. Right Boros?" The former smuggler nodded while yawning, making Mogger even more furious. "You arses, you should be glad that I am around. Without me you would all..." Boros interrupted him by leaning over, his voice hoarse. "Shut up you little weasel! If it hadn't been for you we would all be living better lives right now. You do as you are told or I will personally shove that big ugly head of yours up Bhurt's roasted ass. We will help this Gurin no matter what you think. Go on Jeremiz."

The thief stretched his neck before continuing. The only ones not speaking was Bulwyn who was getting annoyed by Bhurt's stare and deranged smile. If it hadn't been for the crowded inn where people hid from the celebrations outside, the gang of crooks would had been heard by more than themselves. "Well now that you have used brawn to settle this affair, Gurin is staying at the mercantylers' guildhall. He has made sure that two of us can enter the room he hires unarmed. According to what he told me earlier today the mission requires that we sneak in and steal something for him. What I do not know but I do know what I earned the last time I worked for the man. Not too shabby either I might add..." Mogger who sat with a sour look of gloom across his face eased at these words and slapped Bhurt across the head when he drooled into his wine. "That's it then. Let's meet this friend of yours Jeremiz and see if he can turn my bad luck into something glorious for a change. At least I won't have to freeze to death." Erol who was observing a young lad rose as he spoke. "Well then. Find out what this mercantyler needs and how much he pays and meet me here tonight. Right now I need to make the acquaintance with that young fine man over there. I need blood on my pubes..." And with those words he was gone into the crowd. The rest rose and agreed to meet here later the same evening. They headed for the mercantylers' hall to see what master Gurin needed...

A NEW BREED OF LIA-KAVAIR ...

This adventure is more focused on the guild of the Lia-Kavair, its new masters and members, and what has happened to date (not previously detailed in the other adventures). Since the nights of the Golothan Stalker and the beginning of Rethem's civil war, the guild of thieves has changed considerably. Several of the key masters have been slain or died in one way or another and the members of the guild has either been killed or fled the city. To the right the most prominent of the guild are detailed to some degree. Due to the war the ranks of the Lia-Kavair has swelled beyond its original size (720Tr) and though fragile at places, it is once again a force to be reckoned with. Jarop has made some serious changes the past months. The most important of these is to fill out the vacant master chairs, as well as strengthen his own power by executing disloyal members and other folks who did not show him the respect he deserves. Of course those with powerful contacts like the Lorjan brothers, or those protected by strong men of war, are still alive. Most of the victims of the master's cleansing has been poor, unguilded, and people who will not be mourned by any dangerous relatives.

Unlike before Jarop has become more and more paranoid and he ensures less control over his masters' territories than earlier (except for his beloved brother Thorfinn). He relies on his small core of loyal men who are always stronger than any master and it is with these he enforces his will. Jarop has also been keen to bring gifts to men like his depraved Morgath priest brother, information to the Mamakas, and to make sure that the Navehans get their fare share. When it comes to collecting money and favors, Jarop use thugs and men from his own core. The masters are well aware that they are their own men but if they fail to pour coins into the chests of the father of the Lia- Kavair, their days will be numbered. With a strong core of men, more freedom to the masters, Jarop has created a better organization that will stand against the tide of war. For now anyway. Noteworthy is that the master of thieves has rebuilt his chandlery and spends most of his time there, leaving the business of the brothel to his wife (who is well protected).

THE WAR OF THE RIGHTEOUS CONTINUES ...

The campaign will not be centered upon the war in detail but more focus on the happenings of the City of Golotha, The Lia-Kavair, and the PCs. However some words will have to be added to the game to keep the reader up to date. The king launched an attack against the southern holdings of the Earl of Tormau when he was certain that the Earl of Lenesque would remain neutral (the now dead Slakka killing the Marshal of Gerium was what the king needed). The king also needed all his vassals and Baron Sayorsaxe (a delicate matter with the Lenesque) to stand by him in the war. The fighting orders had already declared their loyalty to Chafin III and since they are the best of warriors the king knew the campaign in the south would go his way. So far it has. In spite the loyalty of Earl Barzak the king has been forced to let the weak lord of the north stand on his own. Even though the Roving Doom has promised the Earl of Ithiko aid if he was attacked by Earl Lynneaus, they sent only a token force to Ithiko. The castle is now besieged and Chafin III prays that it will hold out until he is able to send a relief force north. That may be harder than he thinks.

So far the Earl of Tormau has been able to scare the Sheriff of Winen to surrender to his might. The Baron of Zaza fearing for his own safety has yet to send any men to aid his master in Ithiko. In the south, the king has sent Zaurial to deal with Weseda and Henwe keeps. The Baron of Henwe surrendered after only a two week siege hoping to gain the leniency of the king. Having killed two good friends of Zaurial the Baron was rewarded by being openly roasted alive before his men who then had the choice to either join the king's forces or their master's demise. Most chose the former option. Weseda still holds and will probably do so for some time to come. In Norienar the constable prepares his forces to move onto Quste when the spring comes. The baron there has prepared for a long siege. The orders of Mamaka and Red Shadows has sent a few good men to Shostim to the king's growing army while the Earl of Tormau is expecting a few Kuboran tribes to help him. He is also hoping for aid from Orbaal in the form of the Crimson Dancer. The king is also disturbed by rumour of sudden frenzy by the Copper Hooks against the Checkered Shields. He is even more concerned about the reports of a mass mustering by the Laranian order.

DEATH IN THE STREETS OF THE MOST UNHOLY ...

In the mists of war and chaos, the city of Golotha thrives. Goods and spoils of war enter the city daily and since it is so far unaffected by the war itself (read: hasn't been attacked), much new trade and possibilities has opened up. Weapons, salted meat and fish, grains, tents and much more are exported to the armies of both sides daily. The city attracts poor, desperate, and starving people named Scavengers by the Golothan populace. Few of these make it beyond the fetid canals, the arena or the slums of the city. It is very dangerous to even walk armed in the city as these poor are desperate and will take any measures to get scraps of food. Jarop has decided that those who pay will be protected, the rest will have to fend for themselves. With a war going on, and with so much turmoil in the city, few can. The rich get richer while the poor simply dies, starve or worse. People who can not afford to pay for protection sometimes have their home invaded by desperate people with dire consequences. The masters of the city territories do what they can but often it is not enough. The city of Golotha is a safe haven for those with means to protect themselves and hell for those who can not. The Mamakas patrolling the streets are just as likely to maim as to aid folks getting in their way.

This is a short adventure with four events that will effect the PCs directly. They have returned from the treasure hunt empty handed (at least ampty handed since they didn't find the treasure or ignored the old brimstone) and life is back to normal. Jarop sent a different team to collect the remaining old coins in Tesien which had better success since they were more numeroud and knew some of the brigands. They also and used routes the PCs didn't to get to Tesien. All in all Jarop is still pleased by the outcome even if he didn't get all the riches he wanted. The events are as followed:

    • Erol has been thrown out by the queen who told him that should he be spotted he will be killed on sight (she will not execute this order, merely to make him shaky). She also told the herald that if someone asks, she will tell that he is alive. In context of that information and the spies the Earl of Techen has in the castle, he hears rumors that Erol is alive and sends a small force to investigate. Sir Gerzod Bardael, second son of Gorda Manor, travels to Golotha in disguise as foresters with two trusty men-at-arms to find out if Erol is alive. Sir Gerzod is not brilliant but he is loyal. Unfortunately for him he contacts the queen's physician who is also a Lenesque but who is not fond of the current clanleader (his loyalty lies with the queen and in some parts with Erol whom he likes from previous encounters). The physician sends a warning to Erol that men are looking for him posed as foresters, visiting Golotha to buy slaves. They are staying at the Trident Inn. If Erol deals with this threat in a way that makes him look like an adversary, the earl will find it amusing and send for more men to deal with him in the future (Earl Lenesque still thinks Erol is a member of his household should he live, but officially for the sake of his men's loyalty, that is not the case...)
    • Nobar the litigant is in trouble. His illegal operation of the rape accusations with the brothel owner hit the wrong man. A young merchant's son, an acknowledged womanizer, who has traveled to Golotha from Imrium to escape the wrath of a local lord, found out that he was the butt of a scam and has threatened the old litigant. His name is Ermos and is looking for his own drunken revenge. Nobar however turns to Jarop (he knows he is the father of the thieves since he was a "friend" with Slakka) for aid with the payment of one of the dozen houses the litigant owns. The guildmaster in turn send the PCs to deal with the cocky Thardan merchant. What they do not know is that the house where Ermos is living with his guard and two servants is also the home of a wounded Copper Hook knight and his veteran sergeant at arms (they are hiding from their fanatical brother after they fled a skirmish with the Shields). If the PCs do not interfere with the knight and his soldier, they will not care what happens to their "neighbors". Jarop does not want to kill the merchant, just injure his ass, and couldn't care less what the PCs do with the rest of his men. Ermos lives in a lavish house east of Chakta owned by a noble who rents this to people who want to live for a while in Golotha without being seen. Unfortunately for Ermos he hasn't been very secretive and both Nobar and Jarop knows where he is staying.
    • Gurin the mercantyler from Triple Heads and a Sack has returned to Golotha. He is looking for two ledgers belonging to some competitions of his. The two ledgers were stolen by pirates during a raid upon one of the vessels where this competitor of Gurin was traveling (on the River Thard between Telen and Shiran). The raid was stopped but not before two of the pirates were able to get away with a few items of value. Gurin has found out that the two ledgers were stolen and he had tracked the two pirates, Fares and Koron, both former seamen, to Golotha. But there the trace disappears. The mercantyler once again hires the PCs to find out where these two are staying and steal the two ledgers. Unlike what Gurin thinks, finding Fares and Koron will be easy. They love the local brothel run by Derine [G4] and spend much of their time there with some friends (seven men all in all with leather armours, axes, shields, and daggers), waiting for the winter to pass so they can move on to eastern Hârn. When not at the brothel they sleep in a storehouse (wherever the GM see fit to place it) belonging to a Captain Irol. They have no guards stationed there and keep all the valuables with them. The two ledgers however are still in the house since the pirates can't read and they know they are not a Pilot's ledgers either due to the lack of maps. The best way to get the books is to sneak into the house after dusk when the pirates have left and just grab them. Confronting the river veterans would be dire for the PCs' health.
CAMPAIGN ADDS ...

Time: 23rd Ilvin Golotha +
Days: 23rd - 28th Ilvin + 3rd - x Morgat (6 days all in all)
Characters: Jeremiz, Erol, Boros, and Mogger
Players: Dan, Jonny, Lars, and Darius
Date: Saturday 20th November + Saturday 4th December 2004
Length: 17:00 - 23:00 + 17:30 -

Notes: First of all the past two adventures has been done in a hasty manner because I have been busy with real life issues. I am not happy with the result and do not think they are up to the same standard I am used to. You may notice that this section at the end of the adventures is kinda weak too. Hence it will be a while until the next session. The reason for this is that I intend to make a knockout adventure with a few new maps. They will be available in the next update.

This adventure however went quite smooth. Erol's dilemma was taken care of by Jarop and the rest of the PCs. They drugged the three men from the earl by tricking them to the Silk Hat. Mogger who served the three men ale while telling a fake story about Erol's whereabouts was also sipping on the drink and went down into heavy sleep with the soldiers. Boros and Jeremiz used Jarop's wagon with the secret compartment to smuggle the three to the chandler's rebuilt storage and franchise. What they didn't know was that after they had delivered the captives to Jarop he contacted the Lenesque clan and well, the earl was finally able to find out that Erol was alive. In return for this information Jarop was handed a hefty sum of cash and had some of his men working in the mines as slaves, released. Cothlar Lenesque went to Golotha to have a word in secret with Erol who was stunned to see his cousin knowing his whereabouts. He wasn't sad to see that his master still saw him as a member of their powerful clan...

Nobar's problem was taken care of rather pain free. Boros and Erol stormed the house and butchered Ermos men. The mercantyler himself OTOH was bruised badly but not enough to die (he won't...). The only glitch was when Jeremiz entered the second floor to see if there was any treasures to be had. The sergeant to the Copper Hook was waiting and forced Jeremiz to throw himself down the stairs to avoid being cut down. The rest of the PCs fled the house when they found out that there were templars on the second floor. The only thing they were able to bring along before fleeing was Erol's minor injuries and a purse with little coinage.

Gurin's hunt for the two ledgers went too easy for me as a GM to accept. Some investigating, some spying, and a simple break-in. The PCs delivered the two ledgers to the mercantyler two days later. I better remind myself to make it harder on these crooks...

Afterword From Matt:
Well, that's about it. I don't know if this campaign ever went any further than this, but I've now posted all I have. Should any more session notes come to my attention, I'll certainly log them here. I hope you've enjoyed them and thanks for reading!
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Matt
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