Day 38 Beyond the River

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Photo by Matthew Smith on Unsplash

Thane paused a moment from his work at the forge. Arden was approaching and Thane could see the young warrior was wearing his chain and greatsword strapped to his back. Thane knew every link of that armor, almost as much as his own. He had repaired the slashed rings of steel, and loose rivets. A dwarf could tell many things about the character of a man by the condition of his armor. Arden had borne the brunt of many a goblin shortsword and one particularly nasty ogre. His chain was neither ostentatious nor ceremonial. Simple but good armor, oiled and well cared…something even a dwarf would be proud to wear.

“Thane, Martin and I are heading beyond the river, did you decide to stay at the forge?”

The dwarf grinned, his beard tucked under the leather apron, “Not hardly, young’un. Just putting the finish to this hook.” He held the grappling hook up in the air for Arden to inspect. Wrought iron, still glowing duly as it cooled. Arden couldn’t help to admire the blacksmith’s work.

With a hiss, Thane quenched the hook into a water barrel. He quickly hung up his apron and grabbed his handaxe and gear and marched off towards the gate. “Well, you comin’ or not?”

Arden laughed, “lead on, master dwarf…”


Beyond the river….

Arden, Thane, Martin, along with Catamont, Handsome, and Meklin, ride south of the Keep. They move past Coop’s Mill. Catamont keeps his eyes on the road ahead and Arden can sense that he is not wanting to see that miserable wretch of a mother.

The horses move easily along the trail to the mill. Martin moves along in front of the party. His hunter skills are put to good use as he gets off his horse to examine the ground along the banks.

Encounter? Result=no

Does Martin spy any horse tracks moving across the river? Result=9, yes! [I rolled a 7 and gave him +2 to the roll for his wisdom and hunter secondary skill]. Martin spies several horse tracks moving through a marshy area near the river.

Martin spurs his horse into the river. The current is not too swift here, but as Thane has told him, the river runs fast in the north where it comes down the Five Kings.

The river is shallow enough to ford safely here. Martin reaches the other side and signals the rest of the group to come ahead. On the other side a forested hill greets them. Large trees canopy the hill and obscure what lies beyond.

Do the tracks continue? [Rolled a FU die here…result=6! Yes, and Martin can clearly make out fresh hoofprints…at least four horses.]

The tracks lead up into the hills.

Does Martin lead the group into the hills following this path? [Result=2, No. They consider the possibility that if bandits are in the area a watchman has been set.]

The party decides to skirt the hills and approach the hills from another direction. Martin in the lead, they follow the contour of the hills. The river is to their left and the hills to their right. The group discovers several sand bars in the river but they are bare. Eventually they come to a smaller feeder branch. The hills switchback to the southwest and the branch hugs it.

Martin looks for more tracks along the back side of the hills…Result 9=yes, one set of prints move up into the forested hills.

The party dismounts and tie off the horses in the woods. Arden strings his bow and the others get missile weapons ready. Martin leads the group up the hill, keeping to cover and watching for sign of any sentry.

Do the bandits have a lookout on this side of the hill? Result=yes.

It is up to Martin to spot the lookout. Martin is a hunter and is wise, but the lookout is stationary and in the woods. Result=3! Martin leads the group onward into the hills as a bandit lookout watches them. The bandit sneaks back to his camp to alert the others.

Are the bandits all present at the camp? Result=3, No, but most are…I rule that the leader and 6 others are encamped, resting during the day.

The bandits are camped on a ridge in the forest. Their horses are hobbled a short way down the ridge.

Arden and Company make their way up the hill, moving back and forth, climbing steadily.

Martin smells the faint odor of wood smoke wafting down from the ridge. As the company approaches the campsite, the bandits launch an attack.

The bandits have surprise and fire arrows at the party…

Arden takes an arrow by the bandit leader! It hits him in an exposed part of his armor [critical…takes 4 damage!] Meklin, Martin, and Handsome all take arrows but their armor protects them.

The enemy is firing at 60′ distance.

The company retreats to cover of the trees and return fire…

[The bandits are all using the cover of trees, so all attacks against them will be at -2]

The company fires at the bandits, but they are too protected in the trees.

The bandits return fire [-2 for PCs under cover, but +1 for attacking from a higher vantage]

One of the bandits loses grip on his weapon (critical fail, will be at -1 damage next attack). Another bandit gets a lucky shot on Thane. The dwarf curses him and charges up the hill! The others draw their weapons and bravely follow!

Bandits will get two rounds of fire as the PCs move up the hill to engage them.

Meklin takes a hit! Handsome also catches an arrow!

The company falls on the bandits, blades flashing and vengeance in their hearts.

Arden cuts their leader with his greatsword, wounding him. Catamont supports Arden’s attack and slashes the leader with his handaxe.

Martin swings his flail and Meklin slashes with his halberd…a bandit falls dead at their feet! [Teaming up is a great idea!]

One bandit dead…the leader is injured.

The bandits strike with clubs, daggers, and sword.

Handsome takes a vicious dagger strike! He has fallen! Martin takes a nasty stab to the body…[Critical, +1 damage…total of 2 damage]

[Note–I’m using the alternative armor rules. This means since Handsome is wearing chain, he is unconscious for 3 rounds with death following. I hope one of the party can bind his wounds before then!]

Arden and Catamont attack the leader…Arden cuts him for 2 points. The bandit leader is gravely wounded.

Thane spends 2 luck points adjusting his attack roll to 9, injuring a bandit.

Martin misses but Meklin hits another bandit.

The bandit leader stabs Arden with his sword. Thane takes another dagger blow!  The other bandits miss.

Arden and Catamont both get fierce cuts on the the bandit leader! He falls down in a spray of blood…

Thane spends another Luck point and hits a bandit. Thane has injured one bandit but is outnumbered at the moment.

Meklin slashes another bandit injuring him.

Their leader has fallen…I roll 2d6 to gauge their morale…9! They will fight at least another round.

Two bandits attack Thane…both miss!

Three bandits attack Martin and Meklin….one lands an extremely vicious blow on Meklin! Meklin falls unconscious…wearing chain so he has three rounds.

Arden and Catamont rush to aid Thane and the dying Handsome.

Arden and Thane miss the bandits, but Catamont works to staunch Handsomes wounds. [I rolled a 7 for Catamont and figure this will suffice]

Martin is fighting three bandits alone…and misses!

Martin’s chainmail stands up against the bandits…they all miss!

The other bandits also miss.

Arden spends one Luck point to hit the injured bandit…the man staggers back bleeding profusely.

Martin spends one Luck to get a result of 12! One of the bandits he is fighting takes a heavy flail to the head, crushing his skull!

Four bandits remain some with injuries…morale 9…they fight!

Arden and Martin both take hits.

Arden spends two more Luck to hit the injured bandit…the bandit dies.

Martin spends one Luck to hit a bandit for 2 points…injured but not dead.

One bandit stabs Thane…the dwarf howls with a curse.

Arden rushes to Martin’s defense and Catamont moves in to bind Meklin’s wounds.

Catamont binds Meklin’s wounds, Arden and Martin both hit their opponents.

The three bandits (two are wounded) turn to flee.

Thane strikes one with his handaxe but does not kill him. Arden also cuts at a bandit but not killing him.

The wounded bandits race down the ridge to mount their horses. The company pursue the bandits through the woods but the bandits are lightly armored and outpace them. Thane makes a desperate throw with his axe…miss! The axe is enchanted and returns to the dwarf’s hand. [This was one of the hard won items from the goblin lair.]

Seven horses are hobbled down below.

Question…are the bandits able to take more than one each? Yes…I rule that the three men take five horses. Somewhere out in the woods might be other bandits on watch…but the company claim the other two horses.

Martin prays over the wounded Meklin and Handsome, healing them both. The men-at-arms nod gratefully at the healing powers of the cleric.

Searching the bandits, the company finds a total of 3 gold pieces and 11 silver pieces. On a stump in the camp lies a cask of good wine. The company gather all the bandit weapons and sling the bodies of the four dead bandits over the horses. They move north to the Keep, taking their time and keeping watch.

When Arden returns to the Keep, he will show the Bailiff the dead bandits. Perhaps this will make travel a bit safer in the area….at least for a little while.

Encounters on the way back to the Keep….result=no, thankfully.

Notes…Well Arden didn’t wait for Corwin to finish his studies. The battle was hard fought and almost cost two of his men their lives. It’s just the risk that they all take. When the magician rejoins the company they will be formidable.

 

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Day 37~End of the Day

Arden and Egg ride out to the river to find Martin and Handsome.

Question–Do they meet up with them? No, but they do meet the owner of the water powered saw mill just south of the village of Coot’s Mill.

The mill owner, Odell Bunton, is a red faced and portly middle aged gent. He has three sons that work the mill and a wife and daughter that mend clothes and sew garments for the woodsmen.

Arden is introduced by Egg and the miller is very happy to see one of the men he’d been hearing about. Not only is Arden gaining a reputation for return several times from the Caves of Chaos, he is also named as the hero who saved the woodsman during the elven standoff.

The men chat amicably for a short while. Arden inquires about Martin. He’d heard he was in the river area looking for healing poultices. Odell mentions he has seen the cleric and another man earlier in the day.

Arden and Egg ride through the river area, but Martin and Handsome are nowhere to be seen. They decide to return to the Keep in the hope of meeting them later.

After Martin’s encounter with the elves, he and Handsome make their way back to Coot’s Mill to check on the workers and then back to the Keep.

Later that evening all of the Company are accounted for. The Tavern is aglow with a warm fire and a hot meal of boiled pig’s feet with sweet potatoes and walnuts, brown bread, hard cheese, and mead. A lute player sings some drinking songs and a few ballads. The patrons are in a good mood this evening. Arden and Company enjoy their dinner and the ale. Notably absent is Corwin. He is still working through Florian’s spell book up within the walls of the inner keep.

Martin and Handsome give an account of their meeting with the elves. Arden has heard of Grimwood. He tells the others that it is somewhere to the north, up near the Five Kings mountain range.

Arden tells the party about their time in the village, leaving out the meeting with Catamont’s mother. He makes a point to tell the others about the laborer seeing men on horses late one night…the horses were wet…fording the river perhaps?

Maybe in the morning the Company will take a ride beyond the river.

More to come…

Day 37 Continued…Martin in the Woods

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This is a continuation of my solo game called Perils on the Borderlands. My goal is to run the Keep on the Borderlands module using the Pits & Perils rules. Playing solo has been a welcome addition to complement my other gaming pursuits. Many of you can probably sympathize when I say that it’s difficult to get a face to face table top game going at regular interval. Real Life rears its ugly head and says, Nope.

I’ve been fortunate to be part of a Roll20 gaming group with three other fellows my age. We’ve named our group the Fatbeards…we are old school…playing everything from Odnd to Whitebox to Pits and Perils plus some new games with old school feel…Tiny Dungeons 2e is one we’ve recently begun. But my point is that not all of us have the time or ability to play face to face or online and solo games may scratch that itch. My advice would be to give it a try. Check out some of the great blogs out there that have tons of advice…Sophia Brandt’s die heart is a prime example. Also the Google community has Lone Wolf Roleplaying and the folks there are very supportive. Ok, I gotta get back to my game…I’ve been on Day 37 way too long!

Day 37 Continued

Time–mid afternoon

Arden and Egg have just walked out of the ale tent in Coot’s Mill. Arden has left a man lying battered and unconscious in the dirt. The man jumped Arden, thinking that with five other friends, he’d been backed up. Unfortunately, none of the other men were ready to cross swords with Arden. Egg Barkley (Arden’s man-at-arms) was standing by, club in hand, as a persuader.

Arden rubs his knuckles, “That bloke had a hard head. I’m lucky I didn’t break my fist on his jaw. By the way, Egg, that ale maid in there…she no doubt has little regard for her son or me for that matter. She is playing at something.”

Egg shakes his head, ” ‘Tis a sad thing when a mum don’t give a fig for her young one. I’d known about her since I began working in Coot’s Mill. She was always haranguing that boy…no wonder he up and left. I wouldn’t put nothing past her, she’s in league with Eos knows who, but nobody good, I’m sure.”

They collect their mounts and walk them to the site of the church. A couple men are digging around the foundation, setting stone, and leveling the area. It is marked off with stakes and a big pile of timbers lie nearby.

They pause when Arden and Egg come into view.

“Hullo, Wendrig, ” Egg shouts.

The man wipes his face and shouts back, “Egg! If you was any kind of friend, you’d come over and help!”

Egg just grins, “You got Bertie over there. He’s younger than me and stronger!”

Wendrig mutters, “Strong…but not too much on thinking…I gotta keep an eye on the lad or this church is gonna be leaning.”

Egg laughs and introduces Arden to the men. They doff their hats, “We’ve heard of you, sir. You and your group done took the fight right to them devils up the Old Trade Road!”

Arden nods and smiles, “They gave about as good as they got. We lost a man and are now resting up a bit. Did either of you see Martin today?”

Bertie stammers, “I..I…saw him earlier t..t…today, my lord. He was going t..t..to look fer some plants in the woods near the river. He took that homely feller with him.”

Arden knew he meant Handsome Brune. Well at least he’s got someone to watch his back. Wandering around even near the Keep could be a risky thing to do, he thought.

Arden asks the men about the bandits in the area…[Question–have they seen any strangers coming into town that weren’t part of the merchant guards? If so, when? I roll a FU die…result= 6! Yes, and Bertie has additional information! Question–does he know a location? result=4, Yes, but nothing specific. I roll a Rory Story Cube and image is a man standing at a crossroads…]

Bertie says, “I seen three riders coming along the road one evening late…I was on my way to gig some frogs near the mill. I hid when I saw them. It was dark, but in the moonlight, I could tell that their horses were wet…maybe they was hunting frogs too?”

Arden thanks the men and gives each of them a silver piece. Looking at Wendrig, he says, “You better hang on to that kid, he’s a lot brighter than you think…”

They bid the workers a good day and ride off towards the mill to look for Martin.

(Near the Mill)

Martin has spent a couple hours looking for healing herbs. [roll=9, I rule that Martin has found one bunch of St. John’s Wort, a healing plant. He will use this to make healing tea or a poultice.]

Does Martin and Handsome encounter anyone or anything near the river? I make an encounter check and yes, something is out there…using the Pits & Perils wilderness encounter…I roll a 12…elves!

Three elves appear in the forest near Martin and Brune, they make themselves known by singing softly. The elves slip out of the trees and greet Martin and Brune. [I use the Moldvay Basic Dnd reaction rules and give Martin a +1 modifier for their last encounter with elves at the logging camp. Result=11 +1 = 12! The elves are part of the group that had dealings with Martin and the Company.

Reaction Roll
2d6
2=very bad
3-5=bad
6-8=neutral
9-11=good
12=very good

The elves approach Martin and Brune in peace, “Greetings, young ones. That plant, you call St. John’s Wort…we call it athelas.”

The wood elf fishes in his belt pouch and retrieves a leaf wrapped bundle, “and this is alheno…it is a remedy against poison…take it friend.”

Martin takes the bundle and watches as the elves gather to sit among the trees. They are all dressed in shades of green and brown but each has some otherworldly feature. White hair, piercing violet eyes, or lyrical voices. Martin can understand the stories men tell of being lost in the forest and being lured away by musical voices.

“I thank you, my friends…but I have nothing to give you in return except a blessing,” Martin replies.

“We travel to the north. Our brothers and sisters are calling in the Grimwood. Your blessing is appreciated, young cleric. Eos is revered by the elves along with the Green Man.”

Martin says a short prayer of blessing for safe travel. “What is the Grimwood? Do you have kin in trouble there?”

The elves gather their belongings and slip through the woods, laughing, “Nothing that you may help with friend…safe travels to you!”

Day 37, Arden and Egg travel to Coot’s Mill and Fisticuffs Ensue

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The day is cloudy and the winds are brisk. The air is cool but not cold, it being mid-fall. Arden is glad that he will not be sweltering in his chainmail.

Egg pulls at his armor and scratches, “Perhaps, I’d cook better in a leather jerkin…”

Arden laughs, “You’ll thank me when that chain stops a hobgoblin’s sword! Learn to live in it. It’s part of who we are now.”

Egg knew that Arden had humble beginnings as well. He was a farmer by trade but fate played its cruel hand and so the farmer picked up a sword.

They rode easily down the winding road that led from the Keep. The small village of Coot’s Mill was in the distance. Not within bowshot of the Keep, but still close enough to offer some protection if the villagers had advanced warning. Sir Kent, the Castellan, had cavalry patrolling the immediate area around the Keep and the road in both directions. Even so, bandits often preyed on lone merchants or travelers, sometimes in broad daylight. Arden and Company had two run-ins with the bandits. The first was decisive in that the bandit chieftain was killed. Their last encounter with them resulted in the loss of five of the company’s horses and the death of Jacob Scoggins.

Arden and Egg ride past the site of the new church. “It looks big for such a small village”, says Arden.

“I think it will hold more souls than are living in Coot’s Mill,” laughs Egg. “I’d wager that fewer than half of the villagers will want to attend.”

“Yes,” smiles Arden, “they don’t look like the church going type, do they?”

“Oh, don’t be too certain,” Egg replies. “I’ve grown closer to Eos since hiring on with your company!”

“Just hedging your bet, Egg. We’ve been lucky so far, but we may meet Eos sooner than you or I hope.”

Past the construction site of the church, a ramshackle building comes into view. It is part lean-to, with canvas sides and roof that open up during hot weather. A crude sign is painted and hangs on a post near the front. About a half dozen horses are tied nearby and the same number of men can be seen within.

“Guardsmen for merchant wagons coming from the south, I’d imagine,” Egg says, looking over the assortment of armored men. “Lumber wagons come up from the south and bring full loads to the cities. Empty wagons sometimes bring coin to pay the workers.”

They hitch their horses along the post with the others. Arden looks over the horses, but doesn’t recognize any as Company property. They are mostly broke down riding horses meant to carry guards. Even Arden’s horse is just average for a riding horse. If he were noble born, then he could afford a military horse.

They men quiet down as Arden and Egg enter the tent. The smell of stale ale permeates the building. A woman tend to the tables. She comes over and removes dirty tankards and mops up the table with a dingy rag. Arden and Egg sit down on rough cut stools. The table is made of rough boards as well. Little or nothing about the place speaks of any refinement.

“Will you be having two ales then, sir?” the lady croaks. She is missing most of her teeth but is only nearing middle age. A hard life is etched on her face.

“Not sir, but yes, two ales please, madam.”

Arden and Egg take in the crowd for a few minutes and then she returns.

“Egg Barkley,” she says, “looks like fortune has smiled on you, no?”

Egg grimaces and the woman prattles on, “I hear that my dear own boy is working with you. Could you tell him his mum is still working here in this ale tent. Tell him I could use some nice, fancy clothes, and good food to eat…maybe even a room in that fancy inn at the Keep?”

Egg growls, “If you want to tell him, then go up the hill and do it yourself! Perhaps he’s not come to see you, ’cause you could give a rat’s arse ’bout him?”

The woman scowls and leaves, dirty rag in hand. “You just tell him what I said, you hear? And that’ll be two pennies for the drinks.”

Arden fishes out a pair of copper pieces and lays them on the table, “Egg, you don’t seem to fond of her. I’d say there’s more to this than you’ve told me?”

Egg levels with Arden, “We’ve all got a past. You know that Catamont was a thief…but he’s not a “no good” thief, just a thief. He’s ashamed ’bout his mum and she don’t care for nothing but herself. I figured he’d let you know if you’d asked him.”

Arden had to admit that Egg was right. Each man in the Company certainly had skeletons in their cupboard. The past didn’t matter to Arden so much. The measure of a man was how he stood side-to-side with his brothers-in-arms.

They drink the ale in silence for a bit. The ale’s quality matched the place it was serves. Arden drank half and then pitched the rest on the dirt floor. He stood up to leave.

Some of the men seated nearby are talking low as Arden passes. One calls out to him, “You aren’t in guards outfit and I can’t recall seeing you passes us on any of these runs to the south…so what does that make you? Maybe you do your patrolling in the small hours?”

The men in the tavern all stop their conversation. All eyes are on Arden and the guardsman.

Another voice speaks out, “Maybe we should check his saddlebag? If he’s a wagon guard like us, he’s bound to be broke?”, laughter erupts from the others.

Egg tries to head this off, but Arden stops him, “If you want to check my belongings, you’ll need to bare steel first.” Arden steps back to make some room, his hand on the hilt of his greatsword.

[Note–the bar maid planted some suspicion in the mind of the guards about Arden’s intentions. They are challenging him as if he were a bandit.]

[Morale check to see how many guards (out of 6) are seriously going to engage with Arden and Egg. I figure a 7 or higher will mean they are interested in some kind of fight. Surprisingly the leader is all talk! He failed his moral, result=3! Only one fellow stands to challenge Arden. Instead of drawing his blade, he flings his ale in Arden’s face and lunges at him to grapple!]

One of the guards, a big burly bastard, stands up and flings his drink at Arden.

Roll=11! The ale splashes right in Arden’s eyes. I rule that the man will get a free attack at +2 and Arden will be at -1 to hit for next round.

The guard swings at the blinded Arden but it goes wide missing him!

Init=Arden 1, Guard 6.

The guard tries to grapple Arden, result=6 a miss! Arden swings his fist at the man’s face…7. The guard blocks his arm and counters.

7…a miss!  Arden swings again…12! a solid blow! I roll the critical hit table…the result is “strike opponent’s leading leg, opponent is -1 for remainder of the battle”. Instead I rule that Arden’s blow hit him squarely in the gut, knocking the wind out of him for the remainder of the combat.

The guards watch their comrade, cheering him on. A collective groan erupts when they see the big man take a hard punch to his gut.

[Guard loses 2hp…his chainmail takes the damage, but he is still winded.]

Egg stands at the ready, eyes on the other guardsmen.

Several more punches are thrown. The big man is clearly outmatched. He can’t get inside Arden’s defense. Arden lands two more solid blows and the man falls hard onto the dirt floor. He’ll be out for awhile.

The others guards are busy looking into their cups and apparently don’t feel the need to question Arden’s occupation further.

The bar maid wipes the rough boards of the bar. She gives Arden a dark glance then turns away to attend to some chore.

Egg follows Arden out into the street.

More to come….

Day 37, Coot’s Mill

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Note–I decided to roll the FU dice to determine if any of the men-at-arms have knowledge about Coot’s Mill. Either they have lived in the village or possible have a relative there.

Results…Catamont…result=6, Yes, and! I decide that Catamont has a mother in the village. Asking a few more questions about their relationship results in…Catamont’s mother works in the rundown ale tent in Coot’s Mill. She is not a nice person, and probably knows some information on the bandits to the south. She doesn’t have any affection for her son but doesn’t want to see him hurt. Catamont was essentially on his own when he first encountered Arden and Company. He won’t tell Arden about her unless they meet.

Egg Barkley is a resident of Coot’s Mill. He fell off a ladder and broke his leg. This kept him from working in the mill or as a woodcutter until healed. Egg was fortunate enough to be looking for work when Arden and Company were looking for men-at-arms. Egg has a daughter and son-in-law living in the town of Bree to the south. Egg cautions Arden that the villagers will be closed lipped regarding the bandits. He suggests the ale tent in town may on occasion be visited by a bandit looking to secure ale for the others. Egg doesn’t know any bandits by sight nor their location.

Goat Bentley wandered up from the south. He has no family in the area. Arden’s conversations with him revealed he had spent some time in jail in the capital city of Careen in the country of Irie. He would say the reason. Goat has heard of bandits attacking lone and unwary travelers, but he knows no more than that.

Handsome Brune has tried his hand at mining and merchant caravan guard duty. His last job left him stranded at the Keep. His employer decided to sneak out of town one evening after cheating one of the local tradesmen. Handsome was drunk at the time and actually didn’t care since he had been paid. Handsome is a stranger to the area and knows little about the bandits besides the encounters they recently had.

Mecklin R’bonic is foreign born and did not reside at the mill. He was in the same company as Handsome. The merchant left quietly in the night, leaving Mecklin with no job.

Arden and Egg take a ride out to Coot’s Mill. It is about 1/4 mile south of the Keep, located south of the fork in the road with a sawmill on the river. Coot’s Mill is a ramshackle collection of tents, lean-to’s, and small huts, mixed in with several larger buildings. Wood millers work here cutting logs brought in from the forest. Most of the lumber felled by the woodsmen have been “ringed” or bark removed in a ring around the tree and then left standing to dry. The trees are then cut and brought to the mill for sawing into boards.

All told, there are about 75 people living at Coot’s Mill and working in the mill or part of one of the lumber companies in the area.

Arden could sense that Catamont wasn’t wanting to ride out to the village. Egg is happy to leave the Keep for some fresh air. They make the short ride to the village.

That is all for now. Perhaps Arden and Egg will stir up some trouble in the village or gain a clue.

More to come….

Day 36 or 2nd week of MidFall, Perils on the Borderlands

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Current roster–

PCs: Arden of Granden Vale (fighter), Corwin (magician), Thane (dwarf), and Martin (cleric)

NPCs: Handsome Brune, Meklin R’bonic, Catamont Beerling, Goat Bentley, and Egg Barkley

Several days pass as the Company rests and resupplies.

Martin begins purchase of lumber for the new church in Coop’s Mill (village near the Keep). The millers have all heard of Arden and Company’s rescue of the woodsmen from the wood elves. They will offer cured lumber to Martin for the church at a fair price.[Note–I have no idea how much coin or time this will take, but I see Martin putting much of his treasure into the work]. Martin gives them 5 gold pieces. It will go a long way in buying material for the church.

Aside from drinking his fill at the Tavern, Thane spends a couple days relaxing at the blacksmith’s forge. Hammering on heated iron helps him to ease his troubled mind. The last outing to the Caves was a setback. As he works the iron, he thinks about what the Company could have done differently. During his time at the forge, he makes another set of caltrops.

Arden has paid all the bills. The men-at-arms are costing the Company 2sp per day, adventuring or not. In addition, the room and bar tab for his companions is growing. They are each sharing a private room, and eating and drinking at the tavern. 2sp a day for each of them is about right. Silver is the only remedy for this. The Caves beckon, but first Arden wants to make a few forays into the surrounding countryside to track down the bandits that stole their horses. He will give Corwin time to recharge and study a new spell.

Corwin begins his magical studies at the Keep. The castle wizard, Florian, has made a deal with Corwin and has given the magician time to study his spellbook. [Note–Corwin is 3rd level and should have learned two new spells. I’ve ruled that spell resources are limited at the Keep. Corwin will write Florian’s web spell into his own book and save the other slot until he has spoken once more with the bank clerk (another magician). If other spells become available…such as an enemy spellcaster’s spellbook is recovered, then Corwin will be able to write those spells into his book with time, coin, and an ability check.]

More to come….

The Return of Arden and Company~a Perils on the Borderland Solo Adventure

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Photo by Lars Stuifbergen on Unsplash

Returning to the Keep, the Company stables the horse and mules. The bandits have taken many of their mounts. They now have three riding horses and four mules. The supply of grain is still intact. In all, they have thirty seven days of grain remaining.

Arden meets with the Bailiff and discusses the events of last adventure. The Bailiff is concerned about the hobgoblins in the area and also the bandits. He will make note of this and speak with Sir Kent (the Castellan) about this. The Bailiff also made an inquiry on the death of Scoggins. He takes Arden’s statement at face value. Arden spoke the truth about the man’s death and the Bailiff, having a favorable reaction to the fighter, has no reason to doubt his account of the events.

Martin and Handsome take the body of Jacob Scoggins to the priests of the Chapel. They will prepare him for burial. Martin will give them an offering of 5 silver pieces for this. The funeral will be in the morning.

The rest of the Company make their way to the Traveler’s Inn to get cleaned up. Corwin needs a bath. Thane and Arden need a drink. Arden will settle up with the hirelings.

Loyalty checks for all…

Catamont, the young thief that Arden rescued from the Keep’s dungeons, has been brave in his duties as lantern bearer. Arden noted that he even took up arms and fought bravely. According to the terms of his contract, Arden is under no obligation to pay the young man other than provide room and board. Catamont had agreed to work for Arden for one month as a reprieve from rotting in the Keep’s dungeon. He gives the young man a stack of silver coins (10sp). [Loyalty roll for Catamont is 5 on 1d6. He will stay loyal.]

Meklin, the foreign born, has always been ready to fight. In the front lines and ever watchful, he has a quiet way about him and oft times a faraway look in his eyes. Perhaps he is thinking of the ones he left behind in some distant land. Arden once asked him if he would ever return to his homeland. Meklin smiled sadly and said that only memories were left behind. Arden gave Meklin 10 silver coins. Even if the last mission to the Caves gained no coin, Meklin should be rewarded for his valor. [Meklin rolls a 5 on 1d6. His loyalty is unquestioned.]

Handsome Brune spent some of the last mission watching the horses. He missed out on the battle with the goblins and the ogre. But he took orders with no complaint. He has been a good man-at-arms and a hard worker. He will stay with the Company. He joked that the Company had too many handsome faces and he brought to it an intimidating look. Arden laughed and had to admit Handsome Brune might even make a goblin shudder. He was a hard man and even harder to look at. But Handsome was a damn good man-at-arms. [Loyalty roll=6. Handsome is staying with the Company. Arden gives the man a 10 silver piece bonus.]

Yardley Muggins was hard pressed in the goblin caves. First he had his bow sundered by a goblin javelin. Then his weapon hand was injured by a goblin axe. This, compounded by front line combat and the ogre, caused his nerve to fail. Arden had seen it happen before, even to battle hardened men. Some shook it off and were able to fight again. Others broke down and never again had the will to go back into the fray. [Yardly’s loyalty roll=3.] He considers staying on as a lantern bearer. He has been treated fairly by Arden, but the attacks made him rethink his career path. Arden has watched the man and noted that he tends to be lazy and only doing things he’s been told to do. Arden would hire him again if the man seemed to have initiative, but Yardley Muggins has too many things wrong about him. Arden gives him 5sp and wishes him well. Yardley thinks about finding work as a teamster.

Sideways Carlin is another of the archers who didn’t make a lasting impression on Arden. He did his job, no more, no less. [loyalty roll=2.] With the pay he’s received and fair treatment, he would stay on. Arden decides to cut him lose. Something reminds him of Scoggins. Arden gives him 5 sp and wishes him well.

Goat Bentley is an ex-criminal. He is grizzled and has a long beard. Perhaps that is the reason for his nickname. He also smells a bit. He is a tavern rat, but a good archer. He nailed the ogre in the throat with an arrow. Arden and the others were able to finish him off because of this. Thane started call him “Ogre’s Bane” and Arden could see the man beam with pride. Goat also turned down the evil priest’s bribe, unbeknownst to Arden. [Goat’s loyalty roll=5.] He will stay on. Arden gives him 20sp for his good shooting.

Egg Barkley is a better cook than an archer. The man is older but tough. He makes a good camp man and Arden will have him stay on if he wishes to. [Egg rolled a 3 for loyalty.] He is happy to stay unless he gets a better opportunity. Arden will continue to pay all the men-at-arms 2sp per day. With this, they can take care of their room and board and food. Egg will still be expected to fight when asked, so he still gets the same pay.

The hirelings are paid and most will stay on. Arden will wait to hire others, but keep his eye out for any exceptional candidates.

The funeral of Jacob Scoggins is held the next morning. Martin helps with the ceremony and one of the chapel priests is there to lead it.

Sir Kent sends a messenger to request Arden meet with him later in the day. The Castellan asks for a retelling of Arden’s recent visit to the Caves. He asks many questions about the inhabitants, the ogre, and the hobgoblins. Arden gains some insight into the military mind of Sir Kent. The Castellan offers to provide support for the next mission to the Caves. He will send the Corporal of the Guard and 12 bowmen to provide cover fire for the Company. They will not enter the Caves but will be stationed outside to drive the Hobgoblin archers back underground. Arden gladly accepts the help. It will save the Company some coin. He tells the Castellan that the Company will need a week or two to rest and to allow Corwin to research his spells. Arden plans on hunting the bandits that stole his horses before the Company returns to the Caves. They drink on it.

Corwin is in a foul mood. He is frustrated by the lack of arcane resources at the Keep. Florian’s spellbook is rather limited and Corwin has yet to approach the bank scribe about his spellbook. Florian has the spells read magic, web, and charm person. Of the three, Corwin would like to write the web spell. It would be helpful in the tight corridors of the Caves.

To copy the spell, Corwin needs time. He has already paid the price of a Fire Bolt scroll to Florian. Now he just needs to take the time to write the spell into his own book. A well lit desk and a quiet location. Florian allows Corwin to use his study. The elf agreed to share his book with Corwin, but will not allow it to leave his tower.


I hope my solo adventure is an enjoyable read to all of you. Send me a note here or on Google+ with any questions or comments. Thanks–John