January 415: The Story So Far (Weather Permitting)
In January 415, the adventurers of New Acarthia came together for a gathering at the Brandywine House in New Acarthia. There was to be no monsters or battle at this gathering; rather, it was a way for adventurers to meet others, to find out who is who in New Acarthia, and maybe, to win valuable prizes.
The plan was originally for the gathering to be an introduction to the story so far; for adventurers new to the land to find out what had happened since the end of the War of a Thousand Skirmishes just over a year ago. Unfortunately, most of the people that were going to be telling the stories about these plots couldn’t make it because of the blizzard. But there was still plenty going on.
One of the first things I noticed was that Iliana Tiberion, Duchess of Acarthia, was in attendance. As I am a bard, I engaged in conversation with here and told her stories of the adventures of the past year. There was also an alchemist there — one skilled in the mixing of elixirs — and the conversation turned to the art of alchemy. I suggested that it might be fun if the next Ducal Tournament included an alchemy competition, at which point the alchemist said that an alchemy competition woudl probably end badly. I suggested that that was okay — perhaps the alchemy competition could simply be paired with a healer’s competition. We also discussed what new alchemy products would be interesting to have. Based on my experience attempting to capture prisoners alive in battles, I suggested that it might be nice to have a healing potion just half as powerful as the current weakest healing potion — such would take an enemy who was bleeding out to stabilize so he could be taken as a prisoner, but without allowing him to get up to continue the fight.
[OOG: The lowest HP you can be at is -1 HP, which means you are bleeding out. At exactly 0 HP you are unconscious but stable. At 1 or more HP you are fully functional. Cure Light Wounds, the weakest healing potion, cures 2 HP.]
Iliana expressed only mild interest in this idea but did express stronger interest in a different idea — perhaps one could infuse healing power into a throwable gas globe, which would be very helpful in the event that a valiant defender of Acarthia finds himself bleeding out behind enemy lines, where one would have to run past enemies to feed him a potion but if one had a gas globe the healing effect could be delivered from safely away.
I also talked to someone else — a merchant who was traveling into town to make contacts to sell his potions. As I am a healer, I often have need of potions to heal people if I run out of healing spells, so I asked him about what he had to sell. I told him that as a bard, I could write songs to help him advertise his products. Unfortunately, this line of inquiry turned out to be a dead end — he first said he would talk to me later, than said he wasn’t ready right now but would “find me” when he needed me (which I knew was extremely unlikely), and eventually told me that he didn’t actually have any goods to sell but we could get into contact later, and we never did.
[OOG: I strongly suspect that what happened here is that when Plot sent the NPC out, they weren’t anticipating anyone being that interested in what he was selling, so Plot didn’t prepare anything for that NPC along those lines.]
In any case, there was also a bardic competition, where we all sang songs and told tales of adventure. I was one of four competitors, and sang a song about an adventure I was on just the last year:
— — —
One October morning me and Fellstar went out to explore,
But we found nothing, just as if we’d stayed inside our ward.
He did consult the stars to see why it was such a quiet ‘morn,
It turned out that the wind had not yet blown around the horn.
Later that day we searched and searched but could not find adventure,
Would our trip to New Acarthia be a wasteful venture?
It was a scary weekend with nightmares all around
But it would be nice if we got some loot before we did leave town.
Sunday morning he found something, it looked like it was great,
But as you’ll see there soon would be quite a twist of fate.
A cabin in the woods he found, undead wolves there as guards,
A necromancer there’s about, we’d need to go in hard.
So me and Fellstar formed a team, two other folks made four,
So we went there and got ready to break down the door.
Four undead wolves we did dispatch, the cabin it was there,
But what we found soon would make on end stand up our hair.
A lady came out of the house, she said her name was Gail,
And although she was a necromancer, she had a woeful tale.
She loved her housecats, twelve of them, when they died, she said “Whatever,
I will raise them as zombies so I can be with them forever.”
But the law was clear: We couldn’t let a necro have free reign,
So Felstar swung and swung and swung and swung and swung again.
It was two ice bolts’ worth of hurt, but still she stayed alive,
And she retreated back to the safety of her hive.
She was strong, and she was tough, the housecats were her friends.
We had to think of what to do before she struck again.
The previous night was tough, my spells were running low,
If we tried a direct assault, the result could be much woe.
At first Gail tried to give a bribe, she said she had some coin,
But we were men of honor and to that plan we would not join.
Eventually we made a deal, if we left cats in one piece,
She would just lay down her spells and come with us in peace.
We brought her to the guard. Since she did not need her stuff anymore,
Gail gave us a reward for leaving her cats at her door.
Some coin she gave, but most of all, a scroll of Earthen Blade,
If we run into undead again, would surely be of aid.
We gave our report, but did not mention housecats left in rubble,
We were afraid for we thought that we could get in trouble.
But then we had second thoughts, for the chickens might quack,
So we decided to come clean, to the sheriff we went back.
We gave a full report this time, and thought that we were done,
But it turned out that that couple hours did matter a ton.
In that time the cats escaped and ravaged nearby farms,
The Sheriff made us recompense to farmers who were harmed.
The next month at the next meeting of the Healer’s Guild,
The guildmaster was not happy, on this event I was grilled.
He meted out his punishment: from the guild I was kicked out,
I’d need to complete another task to get back on the route.
And so we learned a lesson which put us in our place:
One must always listen to the guards and the knights and Her Grace.
Do not hide information, tell them everything you know.
For if you do any wrong your odds of success are low.
There is much more to adventure than skill with blade and spell,
To succeed you must learn the codes and customs and laws well.
You must know your station, to those above you must defer,
And then you will be in the clear when morals start to blur.