Part 2: A Night of Darkness

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

Part 2: A Night of Darkness

Postby Matt » Wed May 04, 2016 12:13 pm

WHEN DARKNESS FALLS ...

Erol leaned back on his cushioned chair with a cunning smile, his lips moist from the wine in his goblet. He had just returned from his cousin in Techen and being back in Golotha seemed to have boosted his already overwhelming ego. The herald eyed his three friends sitting across the sturdy oak table, a gift from a rich lord to his father. It was still a piece of remarkable art but the three thugs living in the squalor of Sewer Town didn't notice. Slakka, still wearing his hood in well-known tradition leaned on the table as he addressed the others. "Well Erol it seems that you have returned empty handed from your powerful relative. As usual..." The assassin was baiting the nobleman who cleared his throat, the smile lost. "Funny Slakka, as funny as you being roasted alive in the next Pamesani Games. Do not mock me you fool. My relative just needs greasing up, like the rest of them young lads I know and have known. Eh Jeremiz?" Erol's smile returned when he saw the disgust on the thief's face. Slakka seemed unimpressed with the threat and continued. "Spare me your feeble attempts to shake me. Tell us what he said when you wanted a raise. I am amazed myself that you are still alive and here with us to be honest. Your cousin is not known for his leniency."

Erol sighed and refilled his cup with wine. The night was quiet, which was a first in many weeks. Sike returned to the table after stuffing it full with fresh logs. There were no servants to be found when Erol's "friends" were visiting. They had been sent down to the kitchen and out of ear's length. The herald didn't trust them, especially not to keep quiet about the contempt he felt for his cheap cousin. The baldheaded thug interrupted the silence preventing Erol from answering Slakka's question. "Who cares about some noble who lives half a kingdom away? We are here, now, in the present, ready to shake things up and make some money in the process. Now what have you learned of late my little thief friend? Tell us!" Jeremiz drew one of his daggers and delicately laid it on the table. "Well you big freak, I have heard that there is a nobleman from the north staying at the Bridgetower Inn while a part of his entourage has hired space in one of the town houses. Now the money chest he carries with him is securely locked away at the inn but his other valuables, like tapestries, silver cutlery, and more is stashed with his men in the house." He smiled cruelly where he sat knowing that he had raised interest in a late night heist. Slakka was however not as easily taken by the news. "Even if the nobleman has a few valuables hidden away in a house it will be guarded. Do not believe it to be as easy as you make it sound like."

Sike shook his head. "Slakka, always the patient and suspicious one. I swear that one day you will be too stiff and too careful to even have the guts to change your pants, if you ever do that is. Now Jeremiz, where is this house located and what are the odds of taking out those guards?" The thief grabbed his dagger and sliced a sign in the air showing a cut throat. The others laughed except Erol who hadn't yet grasped the secret language of the thieves. The herald frowned and looked irritated. Jeremiz continued. "It is not as easy as Slakka says and we would probably get our spines cut in half on a frontal attack. However..." He slammed the dagger into the table, which made Erol choke on his wine. "They have been on the road for a long time. I know just the whores to warm them up and the ale to make them drunk. After that it will be as easy as stealing roots from a street urchin." Now it was Erol's turn to take revenge for being outmaneuvered in his own house. "Surely you mean stealing the virginity from a street urchin no?" He made a sign in the air with his finger, and even though the other three didn't have the herald's perverse leanings, they knew what he meant. "And if your filthy dagger as much as touch my father's oak table again Jere-piss, I will have the Mamekas pick you up for just being alive." Although Erol's threats didn't mean much to Slakka, Jeremiz knew better and swallowed his pride.

Before the conversation turned into a test of power between the four men a knock on the door got their attention. Erol raised an eyebrow and shouted. "Come in!". A scant man with the face of a swamp-hag entered, his greasy apron only being bested by the slick hair that laid combed chaotically on his head. The Earl of Techen had chosen well with these servants for they would never be a victim of the herald's lust, chained in a damp basement destined to never set eyes on the sun again. Erol who liked his ugly servants smiled at his chamberlain as he stepped forward. "Milord, there was a visitor at the door who claimed he knew you. It was a filthy beggar sir, and he..." The chamberlain eyed the rest of the people in the room with disgust as he continued. "He said something about you needing to see the father before he fled into the darkness of the night. Should I send for the guards milord?" He stood waiting as the herald stroked his well-shaved chin. Erol was staring at Jeremiz when he spoke. "No, that won't be necessary my dear Ogel, they might take the wrong beggar with them..." The chamberlain bowed, left and closed the door. Although Erol didn't see it, Jeremiz' shaking hand holding the dagger was being held back by Sike's strong arm. All waited until the footsteps of the Ogel had silenced before continuing with the conversation. "[W]hat he wants, and while are at it we shall discuss more about this nobleman." Sike rose from the table picking up his axe in the process. The rest followed. Outside in the silent night after having instructed his servants, Erol strapped his sword around his waist. "A small correction Sike. Jarop is your master, not mine. I rather see him as an ally. For now..." Putting his bow across his back, Erol noticed Slakka who shook his head defiantly in the dark. "You may have a large mouth and powers to back it up herald, but never forget who is the master of the streets in this city. You would do well to heed that advice lest you want to see the decaying morning another time." He strode onward almost invisible in the night leaving Evil Erol watching him with a frown of disapproval. The rest followed with silent steps and weapons ready at hand, and the herald soon joined them careful not to be left behind in the dark. Whatever the guildmaster wanted they would know soon enough. And once they had met with Jarop, they would plan to steal whatever valuables the northern lord had so foolishly stored in a house somewhere in the city. It was as Jeremiz had told them all. Like taking roots from a street urchin...

A QUIET EVENING WITH THE GUILDMASTER...

The group is summoned before Jarop the Guildmaster to take care of a problem he has. They owe him a favor or three for helping them out with the Lord of Pynat (by tricking him) and he wants it collected. Apparently there are a handful new mercenaries in town and they are currently out of a job, spending the last of their wealth in the taverns and whore houses of the city. But with drink comes trouble and that is what has been happening of late. The mercenaries have been beating up beggars and other lowlife people living close to Rusty Knife Tavern, which is their favorite haunt for the moment.

Their leader, a man by the name of Waltos is known by Jarop and the latter consider him a waste of space. Because Jarop is paid by the people these mercenaries are harassing he wants to make an example of their trespassing. Killing them all would be unwise, they are soon working again anyway, but mutilating Waltos and leaving him to the mercy of the poor would be an idealistic punishment. According to Jarop these soldiers have no patron to consider and they are often drunk. That should, as he explains it to the PCs, make it easier to deal with.

If the group asks Jarop what he knows about these mercenaries he will be very brief but this is what they will found out (and from any other they might question who knows them, like the tavern owner, beggars etc.):

    • The mercenaries consists of two archers, one light foot, and two medium foot. One of the archers and the leader seems to be experienced men but the other three may be more mouth than sword.
    • When they first arrived they were pretty well loaded but the past two weeks has drained much of their coffers. They are always drunk at the edge of the night, have hangovers the next morning (or so it seems), and are always looking for a fight if they know they can best the opponent(s).
    • They used to work for the Earl of Ithiko up north but left that service for some reason and rumors suggests that they are on the run with money that rightfully belongs to the earl.
    • One of the soldiers, Boren the young archer, has found a whore he likes and he spends much time with her. Her name is Argala and she can be found at the local whore house (G4 Golotha).
    • The mercenaries always take all their stuff with them when they move about in the city. They have a room and take their meals at the Noose and Jester (D5 Golotha), but spend their silver on the drinks at Rusty Tavern.

PUNISHING THE PUNISHERS...

Finding the soldiers will not be a problem. They do not skulk about in Golotha but has arrived in the city to spend most of their money and having fun doing so, until they can find a new job and move on that is. They consists of Waltos (MF3 +10), Moff (SB3 +10), Kerin (MF2), Isolk (LF1), and Boren (SB1 -5). The mercenaries move together most of the time for protection. The streets are dangerous and although a drunk, Waltos knows what will happen if they let their guard down. Still there are moments when these soldiers are on their own, are vulnerable, or just left their guard down, and these will be apparent to the PCs once they start spying on them (direct assault will be dangerous):

    • When they visit the whore house two the men will be alone with a whore each up in the rooms while the others are below drinking. Waltos will only go upstairs when Moff is below watching things. The only one spending all time up with a whore at all times is the young Boren who is foolishly in love.
    • The room the mercenaries are living in doesn't have a lock. The door is locked from within by a weak wooden bolt. There are three double beds in the room and no window.
    • They seem to drink quite a lot yet very seldom do they pass out. Waltos and Moff may get drunk but they never get so wasted that they can not defend themselves. Still the other three do not have the same stamina and/or will to resist drink and a good time.
    • The Rusty Tavern has a lavatory in the back reached by a corridor that passes a small back yard (to store wood for the fires). This is the perfect way to ambush Waltos and haul him over the wall to an alley nearby.
    • The soldiers likes to gamble and will invite anyone to a game of dice or bones who has the courage, money, and lack of skills or luck. They are too drunk to notice if someone puts anything in the drinks so a poisoning would be a nice way to deal with them.

Waltos is not on the run from the law up in the north with money from the earl. According to himself he was fired, how odd it may sound, from the Argent Wyvern because of his lack of discipline (the truth is that he was fired for failing to complete three missions in a row because of his drunkenness). Those who were loyal to the sergeant followed him south in promise of a better wage, women, and adventure a plenty. So far their leader has been able to provide these northern yeomen and brigands with their needs but money is running short. Unfortunately for him so is his life (if the PCs complete the mission).

DOING A FAVOR TO DIE FOR...

After completing the mission (the PCs have about five days before the soldiers find work with a river boat captain) the PCs will probably contact Jarop directly. Since they owed him a favor he won't show them any gratitude.

During their meeting with the chandler the door to his chandlery is kicked in and in steps eight Agrikan knights (this will happen at any time of the day). They are stoned, pissed, and armed to the teeth. It will soon be apparent that these are the knights from the House of Ak-Syt (F44 Golotha). Jarop will play it cool until one of the knights, a tall muscular fellow with an eye-patch, grabs him by the throat.

Apparently a thief mugged Maike, their mascot, when he was buying food for the knights this morning. The thief got away but not until he had stabbed the young servant and stolen his purse. Maike will survive the attack but the Cohort knights do not know that yet. Someone slipped a note under their door a few hours ago saying that Jarop the Chandler knew where the thief could be found (the note came from Largo). Unfortunately for Jarop he has no idea who the thief was who assaulted Maike but if he did he would have his head. The knights wants the culprit delivered unharmed to their house within two days or they will .

    Sidebar: Hoskel the Thief
    This lad is born streetwise and one of Alvaros favorites. He is only 16 years of age (720Tr) but is skilled both with the lockpicks and his nimble fingers. Hoskel usually hangs around Nemiran square picking newcomers of their purses and excess.

    After being raped by Evil Erol, he will only be focusing on revenge but biding his time, planning for the day when he will shove the herald's private parts in his own mouth. Considering his patience that time won't be anytime soon.
    [Lia-Kavair 2 (-5)]

Although Jarop can pull some strings to save his ass, psychotic Agrikans with a mind to kill and burn are not easy to deal with. He is not interested in taking the chance when there is a percentage, and maybe high at that, that such an act will fail. The PCs will have to find the thief before the time expires and deliver him to the House of Ak-Syt unharmed. He suggest they visit Alvaros to see if one of his thieves did it. If not the PCs better start searching elsewhere. There is no option of failing. Jarop will hint that he may know who tipped the Agrikans off but he will leave further speculations to himself and show the PCs to the door to do their hunting. This is what the PCs will find out if questioning the right sources:

    • Alvaros is missing one of his lads who has been gone since morning. His name is Solken and is a cut-purse who has been troubled of late. Alvaros will give the PCs the description of the thief if they tell him what has happened.
    • A few people in the market saw what happened and will tell the PCs for a few coins, all in all, that the thief fled with someone else who was red haired to the direction of Sewer Town (this red head is named Hoskel and is also one of Alvaros young talented lads).
    • The guards at the gates have seen no thief by that description going out, but for a coin or five one such lad looking smith left to Chakta and the King's Falcon inn there (this is the same thief who has taken a new identity and is waiting for Hoskel to help him flee south).
    • Solken was in debt to three Ivinians of Thorfinn's Marines. This will be apparent if the PCs visit the brothel (G4 Golotha) and talk to Derina. The thief lost over 14 shillings the night before the assault and according to the brothel owner, the thief had until nightfall the next day to pay it back or "be dragged alive against the rocks of River Thard".

Jeremiz or Sike will know both who Solken and Hoskel are and may have an easier time looking for them. When they find Solken he will not come easy and if there is any threat to his life, or if he finds out what the PCs want, he will panic and probably berserk. He is not a very skilled fighter but will not yield to what is certain agony and death (Lia-Kavair 2). The PCs should do best not to hurt him too much or kill him. If they do they will have to find a body-double fast. Besides just swooping in at the King's Falcon and bring him along is not as easy as it is in Golotha. The Sheriff's men are patrolling the settlement and will not stand for fights in a civilized village. The PCs must thread carefully or be thrown in jail. Bringing back the young man to the Cohorts will be unpleasant since they are pretty stoned when the PCs arrive...

After the PCs have dealt with the above they are free to do as they please. Jarop is familiar with the knight from the introduction but will advise the PCs against it since the house the knight has rented for his entourage is well defended by trustworthy subjects of the northern lord. The morning after the PCs discussed it, the lord had his purse and some 30 shillings stolen and decided not to trust the fate. He sent all his men to the house except his squire and brother. To steal the valuables there now will be a tough nut to crack especially when there are six well equipped men-at-arms and four armed servants guarding the place. The knight will leave on the 30th in the morning heading to Thiri to visit the baron.

    Sidebar: Sir Coroz Koldeth
    This senior knight of the Warriors of Mameka is the youngest brother of the Manorlord of Tyane, and the Primate's right hand in Golotha (leg-breaking wise). Possessed with a less fanatic view of Agrikanism than his temple brothers, Sir Coroz will go a long way in the order.

    {Some text is evidently missing here - Matt} off to leave the Sike alone (after capturing him being in the wrong place at the wrong time), Sir Coroz see the money put in his order's pocket as limited time and nothing else. He will not be a stranger to ignore the cash in a year or two when he will need the aid of the Lia- Kavair without having to pay for it.
    [Heavy Horse 2 (+1/+15)]

CAMPAIGN ADDS...

To the left are two important NPCs that will have an impact on the campaign in the future in one way or another. These characters can be anything from the lowliest beggar to the highest undeveloped canon lord. They have a short text describing them, small stats information (taken from my house rules NPCs found on Lythia.com) and plans for the future. When and how they will come to affect the story around the PCs is not decided to affect they will (he he he...). Next session will be about love and how Slakka (of all people) finds it. There will also be a new section to the left (above the NPCs) detailing rumors.

Time: Peonu 22nd Golotha
Days: 23rd - 26th Peonu (4 in total)
Characters: Slakka, Jeremiz, Erol, and Sike
Players: Dan, Jonny, Lars, and Darius
Date: Sunday 15th February 2004
Length: 14:00 - 21:00

Notes: The PCs made a bad situation worse by adding sleeping draughts to the drinks of the mercenaries, using the terrified tavern keeper to do the deed. The problem was that the PCs weren't at the Rusty Knife Tavern awaiting the drugs to kick in. Instead they lingered in Jeremiz house until about two hourse had passed. By that time a few of the poor who had been bullied by the mercenaries, became bold and when they found out that the soldiers had passed out, a minor riot erupted and within a few minutes the bullies laid dead and scraped of every small valuable possession. This made Jarop mad since the PCs had been reckless and he had probably lost the chance to investigate if the rumor about the earl's money was true.

The second mission went better (here was and is a rift between some of the PCs and Jarop) and the thief Solken who injured Maike was delivered to the Cohorts (and was tortured to death). Unfortunately for his buddy Hoskel (see left), a young good looking lad, he was raped mercilessly by Evil Erol, who with his usual charm tricked the thief to his basement and torture chamber of love. This has also created a rift in the group that has yet to heal (if ever) since both Hoskel and Solken were sort of friends to Jeremiz. Because of the earlier killings of Agrikan mercenaries, the Mamekas thought it wise (read: fun) to demonstrate their power and went berserk in the slums, killing a handful or "filthy scum" and sending over a dozen "lice ridden fools" to the Pamesani Arena. None important in the Lia-Kavair shared that fate...
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Matt
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