Hopefully I’ll be meeting up with my players this weekend! It’s been about a month, but and they’ve got to get down to business in the village of Graybark.
Our adventures up to this point involved successfully slaying the Sorcerer-fiend, a powerful wizard/frost troll that has plagued the land for 200 years. They killed him, and have taken an interest in the Kistvaane relic he had been dragging around with him for who knows how long. Now, loaded up with the artifact/corpse and a giant magical crystal, they’ve begun their return to civilization to be praised and welcomed as heroes for the ages. After a brief scuffle with the Sorcerer-fiend’s dark elf entourage — who looted the corpses of the party’s fallen allies and fled into the realm of the Dark Elfs with magic items galore — the PCs have wandered down the Heart of the World mountains into the valleys and come upon Graybark.
Here, everything has gotten hairy. They’ve been welcomed as heroes, which is great for them, but they’ve been entangled in the people’s socio-political problems. The village has been isolated from the rest of the world for some time, as the roads have been so dangerous from the Sorcerer-fiend’s monsters that no traders have dealt with them. They survive only thanks to the kindness showed them by the local Elfish military base. So, many of Graybark’s men and women have taken up banditry themselves, seeking out travelers on roads farther and farther out from the village, bushwacking them, and storing their goods for the town to use during tough times.
The PCs became entangled when their weaponry was stolen by the Graybark bandits after a night of celebration and debauchery.
They split up.
The Thief (Mouse) learned all of the above by befriending two child-thieves under the watchful eye of a “corrupt” village sentry and infiltrated the bandits woodland hideout. He also learned that the bandits have the blessing of the dryad’s ghost, inhabiting the forest.
The Druid (Aziz) trailed the sentry in the form of a hound and met up with the Barbarian (Ozai), who chased one of the equipment thieves through the woods and found the mouth of their cavernous hideout.
The Fighter (Ajax) and Paladin (Ozymandias) pursued another thief through a gulley and a clearing, and survived a tree-top ambush with explosives (our world has gunpowder; surprise). They made a deal with a captured bandit, to take her far away from this life — and she showed them the surface entrance to their lair’s lockup.
The party was reunited awkwardly. Ozy, Ajax, and their captive creeping in from above (Ajax got to Bend Bar Lift Gates the padlocked door); Mouse, Aziz, Ozai being shown the lock up by the two kids Mouse befriended, and then all of them hiding inside when they heard the bandit leader coming. Like a bad sitcom, you could almost hear the laugh track from eight people hiding in one glorified supply closet.
Well, things fell apart for the party there. The raiding party returned from their conquest (advanced a portent) and found the surface entrance to the lockup was destroyed. The PCs stepped out before being discovered and announced themselves to the bandit leader, as a peace offering… of sorts. The bandit leader ordered the party to put their weapons down if talks were to be peaceful. The Paladin refused (they’re in the lair of the bandits, surrounded on all sides, and there’s evidence the bandits are holding the Fighter’s squire prisoner).
So the Paladin is refusing, the party is berating him to listen to reason, he’s talking down to the bandits and their leader about being criminals, the bandits are trying to explain the socio-economic complexities of their situation, the paladin is having none of that since he’s Lawful and not Good, and then the scared captive who wants out of this life spooks. She grabs the bandit leader’s boyfriend and holds him at knife point as a hostage.
Stabs him, throws the rapidly-dying guy, and runs. The bandit leader is busy cradling his dying lover, in a panic, as the captive uses the chaos to put distance between herself and everybody else.
The problem in which the party finds itself involves the Ghost of the Forest Dryad. She has bestowed her blessings upon the bandits because she is blood kin to one of them. She is blood kin to the bandit just stabbed and now dying. She begins to coalesce in front of the party, summoned by his cries. The PCs are in a bit of a situation.
And I’m excited to see how they get out of it!