As the party continued their trek to escort their noble employer to his estate, here is the narrative given: This was our most recent game session where we played at all. (There has been a few dinner and visitation nights with no gaming)
The trail you are following turns north about an hour after you left the bridge of Aeirluin. As the weather in this region is prone to do, the stiff coastal breeze has brought in clouds from the horizon and stretched them out over the coastal areas. A slight drizzle has started and you know it to be a three day rain. As the wagon is pulled along the path, you notice the horses starting to struggle as you creep in elevation along the final stretch of coastline leading to the Foxglove Estate, the once easy to negotiate road quickly becoming muddy and slick. Lightning dances across the horizon far out to sea, and you have a feeling there may only an hour or two before the storm clouds make landfall.
As the rain continues to intensify, you can make out a large, storm beaten manor house perched precariously upon the cliff face ahead, with the storm tossed surf pounding the shoreline 400’ below. Shore Pine, Cedar, and Azalea trees can be seen, but have grown twisted and sparse in this area. The whole scene lends a very eerie chill beyond that of the now driving rain. A dilapidated four foot cobblestone wall breaks through a covering of Silvergrass and other weeds bisecting the path. The wall is collapsed in areas to the left, and the supports of an old, iron gate form two 9 foot pillars which mark the entry to the estate grounds. A rusted placard hangs ajar on the right column, the word “Foxglove” etched into the surface in an overly-stylized script.
The nearest building to you is nothing but a burnt out shell, with blackened foundations covered in more weeds and a couple ash saplings. The path through the gate is blocked by a rickety old black parasol carriage with a single gaunt horse rigged to it. The driver is hard to discern as he is covered in a thick, ashen-gray oiled cloak to block the weather. Just inside the gate stand a pair of gaunt young men and a matronly looking woman dressed in rags and not protected from the weather. As Aldern exits his coach in a flurry of self importance, he plops off the bottom step and whips his cloak around, hands on his hips as if returning to a grand ceremony in his honor; a conquering hero. The servants mumble a welcome home to their lord as the boys begin to take over control of the wagon you have been escorting, the woman holding a torn umbrella over her lord in a vain attempt to provide him shelter as he gets in the once grand carriage.
Once seated, Aldern leans out and tosses a coin laden bag on the ground next to the carriage, splashing chunks of mud on the old lady. “The remainder of your pay“, he states in an overly pompous manner, “Minus the cost of mistreating my wagon during the incident with the Manticore. You are free to seek shelter from the storm in the old silo tower we passed a half mile back. Fare well.” At this the boys lead the wagon team up the old path to the manor. The old lady, without a word spoken, closes the gate and secures it with a chain and padlock, as the latch built into the misaligned gate no longer works.
Lightning crashes somewhere behind the estate house, lighting it up in a gloomy silhouette before returning it and you to the gloomy darkness of the storm. You are left alone outside the gate as the carriage creaks away, sloshing mud as it goes up the path.
This is how we ended our most recent game night. I had half expected them to say something, especially Thorvaldric who had developed a particular distaste for Aldern, but they let him ride away in silence. If they revisit this story line later, I am sure they will find a way to say hello to Aldern. *Insert a knowing smile from DM*
As the game moves forward we are intending to start introducing more of the main or ‘Core’ rules into the game. Among the changes in the pipeline are attacks of opportunity, combat maneuvers, and armor penalties. I do not personally care for these aspects of Pathfinder rules and haven’t since 3.0 and 3.5 Dungeons & Dragons, but Morga is doing more and more flourishes that make this necessary. The one bright side is Morga’s insane AC will drop because of it. It will only drop 1 point but AC19 is much better (for me) than AC 20 especially since my players, although new, have fully embraced the concept of AC and bonuses to it they can get from certain (insert swearing) magic wands and spells. Thankfully their wand has run out of charges. Heh.
Also, with the introduction of the core rules, Morga’s armor check penalty is going to be a massive negative 5 when using the shield. -4 for the armor plus a -2 for the shield, which will be modified to a negative 1 because of its magic for a total of -5. Her total ACP will be -4 when using her axe, which she does almost always unless she is fighting skeletons in which case her mace gets used.
The other side of this coin is Ehla and Thorvaldric. I will focus on our wily rogue. Attacks of Opportunity + a finesse rogue = massive damage fairly often. Even if he is only using a dagger, he applies his Dex to damage for 1d4 + 4 +2d6 as a free attack in addition to his normal two attacks a round which usually hit given the AC of CR appropriate creatures. Alas it is what it is.
Regardless, I cannot wait to play again. Th next session I have titled “The Old Silo”, I have worked up a small custom map, ordered some kick butt special mini’s online and infused a lot of requested backstory for Misgivings into the details. We will have to see how it goes.