GATAVIA III, Episode 2

Episode 2: Forethought, Deliberation and Clear Thinking Win the Day

Campaign Date: March, AY 1430

Rotwang the Battle-lover (formerly called Sigbrand), neutral, barbarian-2 (Bob Laforge)
Brother Punchy the Norrisite, neutral, mystic-2 (Chuck Fleurie)
Murderface Jack, neutral, dwarven fury-2 (Jason Liebert)
Astradalto, neutral, Nobiran wonder-worker-2 (Robert Swan)

Cassandra the Miscellaneous, human, level-0
Wilhelm the Chiurgeon, human, level-0
Miller the Torchboy, human, level-0
Jebbly the Pack Hauler, human, level-0

Judge: Dave Nelson

Prologue: Wigred, a mildly successful border-country bounty-hunter, had heard that Baldwulf the Atheling (a man passed over for the kingship in favor of his uncle) had been kidnapped by ruffians from the Badlands. His sister, Athalwyn, had offered a 1000gp for his return, safe and sound. Therefore, Wigred gathered his henchmen Rotwang, Punchy, Murderface and Astradalto, together with 3 flunkies—Cassandra, Wilhelm and Miller and went to track down the ruffians. With some good luck and excellent tracking, they trailed the kidnappers into the Badlands, near to Tower Graf.

March 10, 1430

Encounter 1: the Approach
As the mounted party approaches Tower Graf, they spot a mountain immediately to the West. “This must be the fabled Skull Mountain,” says Wigred. He spies the ruffians riding up a trail on the side of the mountain and entering into the eastern “eye” of the great skull-face. Wigred orders the team to dismount and proceed on foot, to better surprise the enemy.
However, as he walks forward, an immense rattlesnake leaps up and strikes him, killing him stone-dead instantly, despite the best ministrations of Wilhelm. Astradalto responds by throwing a dart at the beast, wounding it, and then Brother Punchy charges it with his spear and kills it. They cut the snake’s head off and put it in a sack for later removal of the poison. The team then decides to continue on with their mission, despite the death of their captain. They strip Wigred’s goods and dump his body in a ditch.
They have Miller and Cassandra collect and tie the horses, and then leave Cassandra to watch them as the rest of the team climbs the trail to the East Eye entrance to the mountain

Encounter 2: The Armored Brigands
Rotwang breaks through the wooden gate that lies at the back of the East Eye. He surprises a guard and a groom in the stable that lies beyond. With a bound he leaps between them and kills them both before a sound can be made. The rest of the team crowds into the stable and approaches the door. Brother Punchy listens at the door, and hears a single guard on the other side. Getting cunning, they pretend to be one of the stable guards and ask the door guard to open the door. He is not in the least bit fooled and blows the alarm horn.
Rotwang once again breaks in the door and they square off against the guard, who is soon reinforced by Sergeant Ronvald and 6 other heavy chainmail armored brigands. A stiff fight breaks out, and the brigands are soon killed. The team moves into Ronvald’s room where Wilhelm attempts to treat the wounds suffered by Punchy and Murderface, to no good effect.

Encounter 3: Marco Arrives
Miller and Rotwang are on guard in the hallway when the brigand leader Marco and 7 archers come around the corner. Marco and his men are completely surprised to see Rotwang, who leaps into their midst and kills 2 of them immediately. The rest, including Marco, panic and flee. They run down the corridor into their barracks, suffering 1 more lost man on the trip. They then close the door, rally, and get their bows ready to shoot.
Rotwang once again breaks in the door and Murderface charges the 4 archers, suffering an arrow wound, but then reaches them and kills them. Brother Punchy, later helped by Rotwang, engages Marco, and finally finishes him off.

Encounter 4: Baldwulf Discovered
Searching nearby rooms, the party discovers Baldwulf the Atheling lounging at a desk, sipping wine, completely free and armed. Realizing he hasn’t been kidnapped, but rather is in league with the bandits, the team decides to capture him. They try throwing a net on him, tackling him and blocking his but have little luck, finally Astradalto throws a sleep spell on him. They then shackle and manacle him, tie him up with rope, and throw a bag over his head. Meanwhile, Murderface begins to question the unfortunate servant they found in the room. The servant, Jebbly, is so terrified that he completely spills every bean in his possession. He tells them that Baldwulf and the bandits are working with a foreign wizard named Presfen to run some criminal enterprises and to loot Skull Mountain. Baldwulf, for one, is doing it to raise money to make a bid to “regain” the throne that is “rightfully his.” The team decides to take Jebbly with them to help carry stuff. After a short rest, they decide to make their way back out of the mountain. Taking the captain’s personal treasure, his keys and Baldwulf with them. They do not search farther into the dungeon for the bandit’s treasure room, where those keys might fit.

Encounter 5: Last of the Bandits
As the party searches some of the bandits’ rooms on the way out, they are interrupted by Sergeant Yezmurt and the remaining 11 archers. Murderface leads the charge this time, killing Yezmurt and 2 other bandits instantly. Astadalto then throws another sleep spell, knocking the remaining bandits unconscious. The crew kills all the sleepers. The bandits defeated, and their supplies of beans, beer and salt-pork loaded on their own horses, the party leaves Skull Mountain and gathers their horses prepare to leave the area.

Encounter 6: The Trip Home
It now being nightfall, the party discusses what to do. They briefly discuss spending the night near the mountain, but decide against it. Instead they have Cassandra, who is a passable tracker, lead them north toward home. They ride all night, reaching Wigred’s Hall, just over the border.

MARCH 11-14th
Encounter 7: Interlude
The team spends 2 full days resting and having their wounds treated by Wilhelm and Astradalto. They send Miller to Castle Varna, where Athalwyn, Baldwulf’s sister is staying, to say that they have rescued her brother and will deliver him to her for the reward at Frank’s Awesome Pie Shop in Portchester on the 15th.

MARCH 15th
Encounter 8: A Shambles of Pie and Severed Heads
Arriving at Frank’s Awesome Pies with Baldwulf, still tied up and head-bagged, the party meets with Athalwyn and her three burly bodyguards. Athalwyn is outraged that her brother is tied up and begins a furious verbal assault on the “ignorant peasants who treat their true king this way” until Brother Punchy begins to seriously back-sass her in return. She orders one of her guards to bitch-slap Punchy in response. Filled with rage, Punchy and Rotwang brutally cut Baldwulf’s throat and cut off his head right in front of the horrified Athalwyn. A battle breaks out with Murderface killing one guard (helped by Astradalto’s choking grip spell) and Brother Punchy and Rotwang killing the other two. Astradalto uses a spell to put Athalwyn to sleep. The party quickly steal the jewelry and cash from Athalwyn and her guards, as Rotwang scoops up the sleeping princess and leaps to his horse.

Encounter 9: Ride, Rotwang, Ride
The team rides fast toward the south. Luckily they are in the Dock District, which is outside the city walls, giving them more options. Alarm bells ring across the city, militia gather at the street corners. At one point, on a narrow street, the riders are blocked by a band of militia. Rotwang, with the sleeping Athalwyn, rides through them and continues south. The others are blocked, and turn around. They, however, manage to weave through the streets into the clear and head for Wigred Hall. Rotwang is later blocked by a Priest and his 4 church servants. He is forced to dismount by the priest’s magic, but manages to kill the servants and drive the priest to flee with repeated blows. Winning free of the town, he also rides for Wigred Hall.
MARCH 16-21st

Encounter 10: Thinking through their terrible, terrible choices
The party meets up at Wigred Hall, gathers all their henchmen and all their moveable possessions and flee immediately. They ride directly for Boscovania, right across the border in the Badlands. Here they rent a cabin from Peaches, right hand “man” of the settlement’s leader Bosco Tripod. At this point they start to question/negotiate with the thoroughly unpleasant Athalwyn. While Rotwang constantly tries to interrupt to broach the subject of making sweet love to their captive, the rest of the team throw around a list of possible actions and consequences.
If they let her go, she will probably hire bounty hunters to hunt them down and kill them. If they manage to arrange a ransom, she will probably hire bounty hunters to hunt them down and kill them. If they kill her, then her uncle the King will probably hire bounty hunters to hunt them down and kill them. If they sell her off a slave to the Therks, either her uncle will hunt them down and kill them, or she might escape or be ransomed, and then hire bounty hunters to hunt them down and kill them. If they somehow get Baldwulf brought back to life, he will probably hire bounty hunters to hunt them down and kill them. If they try to sell her to Dengwur’s warlocks, they’ll probably just melt their faces. Maybe, just maybe, if they go back to Skull Mountain and either kill the wizard Presfen in the “Eye” level of the dungeon, or join forces with him, they could use the level for a new home, until the bounty hunters show up to kill them.
They ended up swapping some of their captured horses for a wagon at Boscovania. Resolving to take their captive west to Skull Mountain, or maybe just go South to Therkistan and sell her there, perhaps to move to Orchester; or maybe something else.

Awesome stuff! Love the PCs’ names.