With an over-booked wagon ride that went on seemingly for weeks finally over, half the party having left for some foppish soiree with someone’s twee uncle, and the only bar in town having banned them for nearly burning it down, our heroes found themselves with a mighty thirst and nowhere to quench it. Fortunately, they were able to discern that this town had not one, but two establishments that catered to whistle-wetting, though the latter was a good bit rougher than the former. But it seems that Zed Le Poulain, Rosalyn the Tiefling, Del the Thief, and Nico La Tess, might just prefer things a little rough?
After a rejuvenating feast of week-old bread rounds sopped in greasy beer, dusty whisky from dustier bottles, and broth as thin as the sheets in a whore-house, Zed takes a peek around and espies the barman heading their way with a tray of tankards courtesy of the hooded gent in the far corner. An opening gambit of this caliber deserves a response, and so the aforementioned ensemble make their way over to their boozy benefactor’s table and take a seat.
The unnamed man, covered in tattoos and sweat, may be devoid of a moniker but he does have quite a doozy of a story. He cautiously establishes that he was on board the first pirate ship in that fateful Battle of Breakers Point. The one that was cleft in twain with a flaming logjam and sank to the bottom neat as you please. ( See: Adventure Log from 16MAR15. -Ed ) Hurt, and apparently immune to magicks both harmful and healing, he slowly made his way down the coast before discovering the similarly sobriquet-less party of yours truly, et al., and establishing contact. ( See: Last paragraph. -Ed )
The ex-pirate explains how he found himself in the giant prison city up north, and was press-ganged into joining the crew led by Bozag the Great after taking part in the massive prison break, also led by by Bozag the Great. But the life of a pirate was not all rum and riches. It seems they also kidnapped their fair share of ladies, whom they then sold to a bunch of dudes in tricorn hats and baggy breeches and disturbingly consistent looks…
Wait! You say. Since when does anyone have a “fair share” of ladies to kidnap that isn’t exactly zero? Dear reader, you make an excellent point that our heroes similarly latched on to, at the momentary expense of all other realizations. Now be quiet and if you interrupt again I will be forced to alliterate my telling most excessively.
Ahem… The tat-ted man before them continues his tale of woe, for it seems he had taken a liking to one of the ladies scooped up in their raids, a young elven lass named Bethea whom even the love of an ex-con-cum-pirate could not keep from being sold into servitude as a changeling breeding slave.
As the tale unfolds, it dawns on the group that they had just been privy to the unpleasant end of another young elf woman’s life at the hands of a group similarly adorned and similarly similar to the one in this tale. Rocked by the verisimilitude, they agree to try and extract Bethea, along with any of her compatriots, by extracting the life essence of their captors. In return, they are promised half of a treasure map containing all of the important bits usually associated with maps detailing the location of treasure, save for the first half. But it does have an X on it!
At this point, Zed, always a sucker for a maiden in trouble, stands with a start, slaps the table with his rapier yelling “for l’amour!”, and turns and walks out of the tavern. He soon returns, realizing he does not know where the camp of bastards is located. This is soon resolved, and he makes his leave again, this time with the rest of the group.
They quickly track down Brefy, that octogenarian cart-handler of such skill and renown that saved the day last time (See: No such file found -Ed), and convince him to take their asses up north. Past Breakers Point, past the town of Stinkyton, all the way to the river Tidus, which leads to the camp. Promises are made, currency exchanged (60 gp there, 10 gp back, if they make it), and they set out. Four days later, they pass through Stinkyton, where Zed has them stop so he can “borrow” some outfits from the local whorehouse to better enact their plan.
Their plan: Del, being the sneakiest and thus far unknown to the changelings, is to sneak up the river, past the tower to the shack and then the clearing described by Mr. Pirate Man and scope things out. He does. Then, Zed, Rosalyn, and Nico are to doll each other up so they look like ladies. Fortunately, Zed, Nico, and Del all have disguise kits. Unfortunately, the group is better at rogue than rouge, and the disguises are of varying success. At one end, Rosalyn looks much like one would expect a female of the species to look. Never mind that she was a she before all this went on. At the other end, Zed looks much like one would expect a male of the species to look while wearing a mishmash of burlap sacks and clown makeup.
But no matter! Del, now incognito as a Drow in dark-face, leads the other three, who are tied up with Rosalyn’s magic rope, to the clearing in an obvious attempt to make a sale, and is met with two changers, one leading three two-headed dogs. This meets with much skepticism directed at the obvious bulges protruding from Zed’s skull (i.e. his horns) and Nico’s pants (i.e. his pet mouse), to which Del plays dumb. All non-Drow look alike, apparently. Zed “suggests” (using magic of course) that they take the group to their camp anyway. The one without the dogs in tow agrees to take Rosalyn and Del, and Zed and Nico steal off into the woods about 15’, where they “hide” and try to “sneak” along after.
One of the six canine heads takes note of their ham-handedness (note: dogs love ham) and turns to pursue. Zed, thinking quickly, makes the silent image of a deer appear to try and throw the dog off, but the four-eyed dog sees right through that and continues towards them. Nico throws himself in front of the dog in a selfless sacrifice of hit points, while Del comes up behind the dog handler and shoots an arrow at Nico, intentionally missing him by inches. This convinces the bad guy of his loyalty just long enough for Del to slit his throat. Meanwhile, Rosalyn is pummeling the other changer with her fists and Zed is pummeling the dog with insults, both to limited success. Finally, Nico sets the dogs on fire and Del cuts everyone to ribbons.
Tired, Rosalyn declares her desire to lay down for a bit, and the rest of the group agrees. They head back to the tower by the river to hole up.
Will they be successful in their raid on the changeling camp? Will anyone find out why Zed wanted to try and save that last changeling’s life so bad? Will Bethea be alive when they get there? Will our crew even get there in one piece, or will this tower be the end of them? Find out next time!