A0 - Rising Knight - #02 - Feet, meet mouth!

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Bifford
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A0 - Rising Knight - #02 - Feet, meet mouth!

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Tuesday 23rd June 2020.
Online via Discord and Fantasy Grounds Unity.

Me as Castle Keeper.
Livvy as Dame Avicia vai. Human knight. Warhorse is Glitterhoof.
Patrick as Gruff. Hald-orc druid. Your animal companion boar (unnamed as yet).
Mark as Otto. Human wizard. Familia raven, Quoth.


My second time running Castles & Crusades. Settling in and going with some basic attribute rolls a bit more.

I've started them on the path of the Aufstrag Umbrage Saga. A-series. Starting with A0 - Rising Knight.
For those not in the know this is a 17 part saga set around and then on/in the Blacktooth Ridge.



Having fought the bandits and killed them both, one with a fireball to the back as he tried to escape and the other with a sword through the gut after he had given up and thrown down his weapon (he had admitted, on interrogation, to robbing the farmer, so our knight meted out justice at the point of her blade), our trio have a ten minute debate on whether to keep the farmer's bag of trinkets which he left behind when he ran from the trio, fearing for his life. This debate included such lines as, "we picked it up off the road, if we drop it back on to the road further along later we won't have taken it" and "is it thievery to take something that was left behind when he ran away?". In the end the wizard put the bag in his pack.

They checked the wizard's wound; the bandages had done a good job to the outside area, but of course inside would take longer to heal. As CK I prompted him to the decision that as long as he doesn't do anything strenuous like run or climb his wound will gradually heal.

Our three wannabe heroes carry along the road. Nearing dusk the raven, Quoth, who is flying overhead, comes back to say that there is a join of roads ahead, with a small village. They are a little confused as to why there was no such village indicated on the map they have, but conclude that the map is obviously out of date as even this road is not marked on it. There is then a five minute conversation on whether maps can be written on and updated, with the knight saying that official maps, commissioned by one's liege lord must never be defaced unless by a cartographer who is paid to do so. Gruff wants to know if he becomes a cartographer if he draws on the other map?

Gruff decides to wager (nothing, just for fun) that he can get to the crossroads and the village quicker than anyone else. Quoth flies off over the trees, Otto keeps walking as he knows he'll hurt his injury if he does such a foolish thing, Gruff starts running, Avicia keeps pace with Gruff easily on her horse, letting him stay slightly in front right up until the last moment then charges ahead of him. However Quoth has of course been there and back in the time they've done one journey.

Avicia and Gruff stand on the outskirts of the small village, which is little more than a stone and wood tavern called the Drunken Spoon (the sign shows a badly drawn comedy spoon staggering about drunkenly with a sloshing tankard of ale) and a half dozen shoddily built houses and discuss who won, despite it being obvious who had won. The horse won, by a head, technically. They then wonder if they should have left their wizard on his own so Gruff goes running back to him. By the time he gets there he is exhausted. The two of them then continue their slow walk to the crossroad.

Avicia goes up to the tavern and ties her horse to the hitching post outside then goes in. It is a decent and well kept establishment. There are a lot of trophies on the walls such as taxidermy heads, antlers, a shield with several arrows stuck in it, a heavily notched sword and other things that speak of a long and rewarding adventuring career. Being on the West Road the tavern is bustling with at least 20 people in it. Our Dame knight sits at an empty table and a very well built man, with thick shaggy beard comes over and with a jolly smile introduces himself as the owner, M'Ollark.

After getting a brief rundown of the house and dwarven ales and the quite expensive meads, Avicia asks for two of the Lemon and Lavender Mead drinks.

Otto and Gruff arrive and join her. A young lady comes over with the two drinks and she has the look of being M'Ollark's
daughter but she is much thinner and sterner looking. She also talks them through the food on offer and asks what they want. Gruff picks up the drink meant for Otto and takes a sip, then remarks it's not really what he likes. A stern look from Avicia has him asking if the drink was meant for him? She takes it from his hand and passes it instead to Otto, so he asks if this other drink was for him? She indicates no, so Gruff asks for an empty tankard along with two sets of cheese and fruit (and then proceeds to get some nuts from a pouch to start eating). The barmaid is a little taken aback as no one asks for an empty tankard or eats their own food! Avicia tries to explain that he's a druid and prefers water but the moody girl turns and yells at the top of her lungs for Da! When M'Ollark turns around she explains that this one wants an empty tankard rather than drinking their drinks and is eating his own food! He laughs and tells the girl to stop being so uptight, get him what he wants. As she walks off she passes another younger girl and obviously passes the order on.

When the food is brought over (by the other girl) Gruff says to Avicia about paying for it and she says "well you are my retainer so that's your job" while putting a handful of coins down on the table edge. Gruff is happy and confused at being called a retainer. He asks what it is and when told asks if he gets paid for that? (I might have tuned out for a moment here so not to sure what the answer was lol). The serving lass asks if they want rooms and any stabling and the newly titled retainer says yes, two rooms and stabling for a horse and mule. She sorts that out.

After a short while Gruff exits, saying he'll sleep outside. He finds the horse and mule gone from the hitching post and being concerned sees if he can tell where they are. He catches the scent of a stables behind the tavern so goes there, finding a stableboy brushing down Glitterhoof having taken her saddle and tack off. The mule is already well stabbled.

He starts to chat to the lad, saying he's doing a good job and asking what his name is. The boy points to his throat and indicates he isn't able to speak. Gruff is a little put out by this and worries that he might have insulted the boy so tries to move on past this by saying "such a shame, it's so good to be able to speak and communicate." A small sniff comes from the boy and his eyes glisten. Gruff carries on trying to make things right but actually makes them worse (great roleplaying and a bad roll) and after a few more sentences, which have the boy mute-crying a bit more he eventually says "maybe your folks could teach you how to write instead?"

No sooner have the words come out of his mouth than he notices that the boy's right hand is strapped to the brush he is using and his left hand is completely crippled and doubled back to his arm. The boy is now openly crying and wipes snot and tears across his face but he is a truly good stableboy so he quickly finishes rubbing Glitterhoof down then runs for the rear of the tavern.

A few moments later the door bangs open and a thin, serious, and extremely mad woman storms out, wooden rolling pin in hand. She storms over to the barn and calls for the person who just mercilessly bullied her youngest son to come out. Gruff looks about himself and decides she must mean him so he steps out. She demands to know what he said or did to cause her son more distress than she's seen him in since the first time the local kids (where he grew up) had bullied him! Gruff tries to explain, but really badly and she tells him to get off their land and go away. He doesn't but instead keeps trying to talk and explain, so she hits him about the head with the rolling pin which really hurt! She has a good arm on her! Gruff quickly leaves and goes to spend the night in a makeshift shelter in some trees (which was always his plan anyway).

Mrs M'Ollark storms back inside and shouts for her husband. He meekly heads in to the back room and the other two hear some arguing and shouting. He comes over to their table and asks Avicia and Otto if they plan to cause trouble like their friend? They ask what kind of trouble has he caused? M'Ollark explains that their friend had bullied and upset his young, crippled, son. Avicia replies that if the Gods' had deemed them unworthy and cursed them with a crippled child then they should maybe expect such things. M'Ollark is aghast, takes a few steps back but doesn't react physically. Instead he says, in a very serious and un-jovial tone, "Finish your meals and drinks, go to bed, and be gone from here early tomorrow before I or my family are awake. And do NOT talk to any of my family again." He heads off.

The second of the two serving lasses shows them to their rooms and also, in the morning, leaves a bowl of hot porridge by both doors so they do not need to eat in the common room.

Otto and Avicia leave the tavern early, go around to get their horse and mule, which are being held by a very timid and scared stableboy with a crippled hand. He shrinks away from them as they reach for the reins and they head off back to the east-bound road, where Gruff meets them and tries to explain what had happened the night before.

As they head off a heavy drizzle starts and as they make their way along the road which runs through Elmast Forest they get steadily wetter. Coming out the other side of the forest they hope to soon reach the village or town that was shown on the map so they can get some shelter. They fail to see any town coming up and it isn't until Quoth points out some masonry by the road side a short way ahead that they realise the village that was once here is no longer. All of the stones, with the exception of a few corner-pieces so heavily embedded in the ground they couldn't be moved, have been robbed out and probably used to build the tavern they were recently at. They set up a camp as best they can, just off the road, and hope to wait out the bad weather.



[Please note, Avicia's player quite specifically asked me whether this was the type of system which has many Gods and if such a thing as being crippled might be deemed an act of retribution from them, or whether they would think of such a thing as being simple dumb luck or chance and not caused by the Gods. I affirmed that the first option was the case. The player roleplayed it beautifully.]

[Please also note that Gruff's player felt really bad for the kid then entire time he was putting his foot in his mouth and making the situation worse, but to his credit he also roleplayed the situation beautifully.]

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