Sunday, August 13, 2017

Freebooters of the Perilous Wilds #1

I had been running as a team until recently, so my down time has been almost non-existent. Now that I am back to running solo, I can also get back to running solo. To start, I figured I'd run Freebooters again. It ran a lot longer than I expected and turned out differently than I thought.

DARYL DE ROSSI, female 1st level Magic User with 2 XP
Daryl has small grey eyes and brown hair with oily skin from long hours in the laboratory. She is bold, humble, peaceful but filled with malice.

STR 12 (+0) DEX 12 (+0) CON 12 (+0) INT 16 (+2) WIS 17 (+2) CHA 09 (+0) LUC 14 (+1)
ARMOR 0 HD d4 HP 3 / 3
HERITAGE Human, +1 forward when Daryl succumbs to a vice.
ALIGNMENT Good, help those in need at Daryl’s expense.

Know Your Stuff: +1 when Daryl uses Establish or Perceive regarding farming. Daryl succeeds while farming with the appropriate tools.
Spellbook: 3 power
Study Spellbook: Rest a few hours and memorize 2 Spells.
Inscribe Spell: Spend 1 week of downtime, add the new spell to the spellbook.
Cast a Spell

GEAR (Load 4)
Spellbook (1 wt), The Ghost Helm (+1 power), Reading Glasses, leather armor (1 armor, 1 wt), pick (1d6, 1 wt, awkward, close, 2 pierce), rations (5 uses, 1 wt)

Incredible Greed
Semideus’ Shaft of Hatred

EDLYN DE ROSSI, female 1st level Cleric with 6 XP
Beneath her broad brow, Edlyn has piercing hazel eyes. Her shoulder length brown hair barely conceals the pair of snake fangs tattooed on either side of her neck. She is idealistic and honorable but sometimes lazy.

STR 08 (-1) DEX 12 (+0) CON 11 (+0) INT 14 (+1) WIS 15 (+1) CHA 14 (+1) LUC 11 (+0)
ARMOR 0 HD d8 HP 5 / 7
HERITAGE Human, +1 forward when Edlyn succumbs to a vice.
ALIGNMENT Lawful, maintain order in the face of forces that would undo it.

Know Your Stuff: +1 when Edlyn uses Establish or Perceive regarding ditch digging.
Edlyn succeeds while digging with the appropriate tools.
Disciple of Lutano (Truth): Find answers for those who ask.

GEAR (Load 7)
Adventuring gear (5 uses, 2 wt), club (1d6, 2 wt, close), iron ball and chain holy symbol, leather armor (1 armor, 1 wt), shield (1 armor, 2 wt)

EORL MORETTI, male 1st level Fighter with 4 XP
Eorl possesses a swan like neck and braided auburn hair. Beneath his coarse personality, he is selfless and willing to help his friends.

STR 09 (+0) DEX 04 (-2) CON 16 (+2) INT 13 (+1) WIS 06 (-1) CHA 08 (-1) LUC 11 / 11 (+0)
ARMOR 0 HD d10 HP 12 / 12
HERITAGE Human, +1 forward when Eorl succumbs to a vice.
ALIGNMENT Neutral, refuse to take sides when given the opportunity.

Know Your Stuff: +1 when Eorl uses Establish or Perceive regarding pottery. Eorl succeeds while crafting with the appropriate tools.
Favored weapon (club): 2 mettle
Bend bars, lift gates
No guts, no glory

GEAR (Load 10)
Adventuring gear (5 uses, 2 wt), buckler (1 wt), club (1d6, 2 wt, close), burlap sack, leather armor (1 armor, 1 wt), rations (1 uses, 1 wt), 5 lbs. Of clay (2 wt)

3 / 3 HP
COST renown

GEAR (Load 2)

Dagger (1d4, 1 pierce, precise), throwing knives (1d4, hand, close, reach, near, precise)

STAN DOBRE (+0 Quality, hardy, woodswise) 2 XP
12 HP
COST 10 coins per day

GEAR (Load 2)
Dagger (1d4, 1 pierce, precise), short bow (1d6, near, far, 2-handed, 1 wt) with arrows (3 ammo, 1 wt)

Daryl stood on the aftcastle of the Demeter. The wind blew back her brown hair as the fog finally parted. They would reach their destination soon.

She gazed levelly down on the deck, watching the animated spirits of the previous crew continue their work in undeath. The Ghost Helm allowed her to captain the Demeter by herself if she needed to, but she didn't, not as long as Eorl and Edlyn were with her. Still, the magic was too close to necromancy. A necessity, now, but would it be something she could continue using? What about Edlyn? The faith of Lutano demanded the dead be laid to rest so they couldn’t return. Yet, here she was.

Footsteps sounded hollowly behind Daryl. She turned and caught Edlyn glancing down at the ghosts before fixing her hazel eyes on Daryl.

“We’re approaching Ceata.”

“That’s something,” Daryl replied. “Look, if there were any-”

Edlyn batted the rest aside with a gesture. “I know, but I don't have to like it. We should get rid of this thing.”

“Did ya ask what it’s like?” called Eorl, also making his way up to where the sisters stood. “Bein’ dead.”

Both sisters turned their scowls on Eorl. “No,” said Daryl, “That didn't seem appropriate.”

“Might be nice, ya know, knowin’.”

It was Edlyn’s turn, “The dead stay dead for a reason.” She glowered at Eorl then Daryl. “When we get to shore, we should send them back and get rid of this boat.”

“Then do what?” asked Daryl.

“I… I don't know.”

As they pulled toward the dock, Daryl did as Edlyn requested. She banished, temporarily, the ghostly crew of the Demeter. The harbor master greeted them in a strangely accented tone.

“Welcome to Ceata,” he said.

Chee a ta. Edlyn filed that away. The accent was thick and almost like slurring, not the precise language from home. She stole a glance at Eorl. Except for the farm boy over there.

The harbor master continued, “I am Nicolas. We can unload for you. For a fee. And tax. Of course.”

“Please,” Daryl glanced at the Demeter, unsure what valuables it contained. She should have asked the captain, but that seemed macabre. They managed to loot some valuable equipment from the various chests the crew used to keep their belongings. And a fair amount of food, if you want to call hardtack, vegetables and beer food…

“Good. Good. If wait at Lucia’s, the Puternica, I send Emil come get you,” he waved the group toward the fairly empty street.

They had spent a few of their precious tangible coins buying a room and food for the night. Wanting to leave in the morning, Edlyn brought out the map again.

“Why are we going here again?” asked Eorl for the third time.

“Ell’s dream,” Daryl said. “She’s… was… called here. I didn't believe her until she found the map. I want to know why.”

A voice cleared his throat behind them. A silhouette against the mid-afternoon sun, the lanky boy glanced down at the map. “Why are you going there?” he asked.

“That's what I been askin’.”

“No one should want to go to Stanca Neagra.”

Edlyn narrowed her eyes at the boy, focusing on his words. “Stain…”

“Black Rock. The castle and the mountain.”

“Looks like we were called,” drawled Eorl. He didn't sound as convinced.

Daryl also narrowed her eyes at the boy, “We need a guide. Just to get us to the mountain. Do you know anyone?”

The black haired boy smiled impishly. “Me,” he said, his brown eyes shining with the thought of adventure, “Some work for money. I want to be the one that gets inside and back!”

“And back…?” came Eorl’s dubious response.

“Yes! Back from Stanca. No one comes back, only to. Like boats. Oh! Ship is done. After tax and fees, 300 silvers.”

Daryl paused. “300?! That’s…” more than the three of them had at any one time. Enough to buy a house. A cottage, really, but, still… “Wait. What do you mean like boats?”

“Boats come. Boats disappear. People stay. You can watch at sun set.”

The four returned to the docks and received three sacks of a hundred coins each. True to his word, as the party watched, the fog rolled in and swallowed the ship.

“Lutano’s Light lead you,” Edlyn muttered.

In the morning, Emil greeted the three of them with another man, older but with the same dark hair and eyes. The stranger wore simple dirt and grass colored clothing. “This is my uncle. Stan. He knows the forest to Stanca. Will only ask ten silvers a day.”

“Any help would be nice,” said Daryl.

The five of them set off, heading north and away from the mysterious tide. Edlyn should have guessed how hard it would be to navigate through the forest. It was not as simple as following a map. The blackened trees grew closer together. The canopy cut the sunlight so everything appeared slightly brighter than a shadow. And the ankle deep mist! Tracking was near impossible.

This was evidenced by Stan failing to signal that there was danger ahead. As the other four walked by a formation of trees, bark tore away and dumped what appeared to be ants the size of a human hand at their feet and on their heads. Eyeless, crawling things with transparent gossamer wings. Their carapace was rotten and pitted with green ichor seeping from the open sores.

Corroded Termite (horde, tiny, weak): acidic slime (d4 damage), 3HP

Daryl turned to Emil, “You're going to have to help fight these things.”

Emil shrieked as several termites fell upon him. He swatted and swept with his hands in an attempt to get them off. His actions drew the attention of other sightless insects. They're eyeless heads lifted and turned as one toward the screaming boy.

Eorl grimaced and muttered, “No guts, no glory…” Was it the wisest course of action? No. He wasn't known for his Wisdom, that was Edlyn’s job. His was to defend. Eorl leapt forward at the swarm of termites massing toward Emil with a war cry. His club smashed one termite into a fountain of green liquid. The eyeless heads turned toward him.

“Hidden and rotten things… The Light of Truth will shield Eorl from your attacks!” exclaimed Edlyn, her hand gesturing toward him. A bolt of sunlight struck through the canopy and encased the fighter within its column.

Daryl recited the incantation for the Semideus’s spell, attempting to warp it into a pool of tangible anger. The arcane energy defied her, instead surging back into her spirit. Anger burned inside her and twisted. “That's not how it works,” a voice whispered from between her pores.

The termites scurried toward Eorl and leapt at him. He responded in kind and swept his club through the air. Where the masses met, more green slime sprayed across tree bark. Bodies crumpled against the shaft of light as it faded into shadow.

Edlyn unleashed her own club and kicked up dirt as it missed the crawling mass. A small number of termites felt the vibrations and flew up at her face. She swung the club again and only found air. The termites landed on her, leaving faint trails of corrosion along her exposed skin.

“Fine!” shouted Daryl and drew her pick. One termite was crushed beneath the weight of the pick, its innards pooled around the corpse. A couple termites were attracted by their fallen hive mate and flew toward her. As she dispatched the two of them with a swing of her pick, the green spray burned into her face and skin. Daryl cried out and fell to the ground.

Watching his employer fall, Emil went into action. A throwing knife pinned a termite to the ground. The remaining termites were still focused on Eorl, his loud cries causing the most distraction. Without the beam of light to impede them, they flew and swarmed at him again. In the battle frenzy, another termite exploded; the remainder latched on to his buckler and armor, unable to break through his protection.

Edlyn had her hands full. With her own termites desperately trying to burrow past her armor, she relied on her hands to pry them off. She managed to tear them away at the expense of burning her palms against their corrosive sores.

Eorl deftly removed his own termites, one by smashing his buckled against a tree. The other received a back hand, sending it flying toward Emil. Unfortunately, Emil was not practiced in fighting as a team and was struck in the chest where the corrosive started to eat into his skin.

The last of the swarm attacked Edlyn once more. Her club was on the ground, so she resorted to blocking her face with her arms. More acid burned into her skin, unable to fend off her attackers.

Stan returned from his scouting, taken aback by the cries coming from Edlyn and seeing the still form of Daryl on the ground. He drew a dagger and made his way to the screaming girl.

Free from any attacker, Eorl stormed over to the two termites on Edlyn and reach down with each hand. One exploded in his grip, leaving burns inside his palm. The other squirmed as it tried to escape. In spite of its efforts, the small amounts of acid did minor damage to Eorl. Eorl smiled and crushed that one as well.

The remaining termite crept along the ground and jumped at Emil’s face. The boy traced a thin line with his dagger, cutting it neatly in two. The termite had final say, however, as its acidic blood burned its way through his skin, exposing bone along his face and chest. The dagger dropped to the ground, followed by Emil’s still form after.

Daryl and Emil’s wounds were too severe. The corrosion had eaten too far into their bodies. Daryl managed to remain unconscious and breathing for about an hour longer. The remaining three made camp for the night, offering burial rights in a manner fitting to each. With no body of water, Edlyn placed Daryl beneath the roots of a tree to keep her spirit still; Emil was set aflame, so his ashes could not be reanimated.

In the middle of the night, Eorl was startled by a crashing in the forest. A rat emerged from the shadows, its body covered with wounds, a pair of feathery wings dragged behind it. The creature crept closer to the fire then collapsed, dead, just within the dim shadows beyond the fire.

Stanca Neagra was proving to be more than any of them expected...

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