Monday, July 22, 2013

Chronicles of the Amazing Trevor: Chapter One

So Monday was the first session of our new weeknight Castles & Crusades game.  We have six players and our DM, Kaiser.  The rules are pretty much straight C&C, but we're adapting the Awesome Point idea from Old School Hack: the DM or players can reward a player with an Awesome Point anytime someone does anything they consider "awesome".  For our game, APs can be spent to reroll any roll but you must take the results of the new roll (but you can keep spending APs for additional rerolls).

But now, on to the adventure.  I'll let my character, The Amazing Trevor, describe the events which unfolded...

Where was I?  Ah yes, I remember now.  I arrived in the desperately common and tawdry little village of Turner's Luck in the late morning.  The buildings and their inhabitants were nothing to speak of but at least there was an inn.  I let Morris, my loyal beast of burden, have his water from the trough out front while I surveyed the disappointing scene.  There was nary even a cobblestone in sight anywhere up or down the muddy rut which passed for a main street.  A few of the local urchins came by and I amused myself by dazzling them with some card tricks.  One of them actually showed a spark of talent which a master prestidigitationist such as myself might nurture into something worthwhile--given the appropriate monetary recompense, of course.  The card tricks were some of my ordinary stock in trade, really, but a professional must always keep in practice.  And besides, they might spread the word and I could stage an impromptu show here at the inn later to supplement my dwindling supply of coin.

My hopes of a lucrative show brightened with the arrival of a magnificent coach.  A refreshingly well-dressed man alighted with two guards.  Here, finally, was a person manifestly possessing the requisite substance and taste to appreciate my well-honed professional skills.  And one wealthy enough to reward a display of those skills appropriately.  Clearly my new first order of business was to display my superior artistic qualities in such a way as to convince him to become my patron.  My days of dragging a mangy old donkey about the countryside in disgrace would be no more.  I determined to leave the festering cow-pie of Turner's Luck in that carriage in appropriate style or perish in the attempt.

It was then that two astonishing fellows approached the inn. Both were absolutely immense, a good seven feet tall if they were an inch, and studiously unattractive even by the standards of a typically inbred backwater such as this one.  The slightly shorter and less ugly one wore a wide-brimmed hat with a veil, the slightly taller and more ugly one three barbaric axes across his back.  They squeezed through the door of the inn with some difficulty and disappeared inside.  They were clearly half man and half something unmentionable.

It was then that an odd rumbling began.  At first I assumed it was the two odd fellows giving vent to the obviously bestial sides of their natures in some unspeakable fashion inside when I noticed that the urchins and other townsfolk had begun dashing about madly.  A fisherman, apparently one of the locals, suddenly appeared from behind the inn carrying his catch and looking rather pleased with himself as only a peasant can.  However his demeanor changed rather abruptly as an enormous hideous travesty of a man-thing charged up, knocked him aside, and smashed into the inn.

The ogre, for such it was, bashed a large hole in the wooden wall of the inn in brutally spectacular fashion.  The local drunks and idlers inside screamed like old ladies and scrambled for any available exit.  Naturally I was seized with concern for the well-being of my new patron.  In fact the ogre seemed preternaturally attracted to the gentleman in question.  His two guards drew their swords despite the odds and prepared to do their duty.  I realized in a flash that if I could arrange to be his savior my chances of securing a position in his employ would be significantly greater.

However several fellows who had remained inside the inn, including the two large odd-fellows, apparently came to same conclusion and threw themselves in the path of the enraged ogre with reckless abandon.  The odd-fellows, the fisherman, a cleric of indeterminate origin (and equally indeterminate gender), and a gnome who had popped out of somewhere all had a go at the monstrous creature but to no great effect.  One of the guards was felled by the blow of a massive fist--but then that is why one employs guards, isn't it?  Sensing an opening I deftly cast the classic colorspray in as casual fashion as I could manage thus blinding the creature.  I then called out to the noble gentleman, "Oh I say, sir, I have blinded the brute.  Do step over this way if you don't mind m'lord that I may assure your safety while these fellows take care of the more sordid details."

The gentleman appeared shaken by the unpleasant turn of events but moved in my direction as the undignified scrum between the monster and his improbable opponents continued amidst the sawdust on the floor.  I watched from a convenient vantage point as befitted one of my station and mentally reviewed the complex elements of my next spell.  The fisherman and the odd-fellows began getting the situation in hand.  They grappled with it surprisingly effectively, with the gnome even mounting the ogre's head and covering the thing's eyes with his hands. No doubt they had plenty of experience from similar tasteless scuffles following frequent drunken binges.  Then the cleric suddenly grasped a decidedly unhygienic looking bag which the ogre had around its neck and pulled it free.

I was mildly surprised to see the ogre immediately begin to calm down.  Well, naturally I'd spotted the bag earlier and my practiced eye had immediately categorized it as the work of a witch or other practitioner of black magic.  But being the only wielder of the noble arcane arts in the vicinity there had been no one of consequence to whom I could mention it.

As the ogre's raging began to subside the larger and decidedly less attractive one of the two odd-fellows actually began to belch at it bestial fashion.  It quite reminded me of a rustic belching contest I'd had the misfortune to attend once.  His slightly less massive companion tried to convince us that the two were actually communicating in some sort of language but it was obviously a ploy.  I'd seen too many "talking horses" and "counting chickens" at the carnival to fall for it for a minute.

Suddenly the cleric, the name escapes me now, rushed upon my dear patron with strangely murderous intent, no doubt enraged that I had managed to rescue him out from under their noses and be first in line for the reward.  The shorter odd-fellow promptly tackled the would-be attacker, obviously to effect a second rescue worthy of reward.  The cleric dropped the bag of arcane witchery and I retrieved it with one of my custom hand-painted darts which previously were the envy of the carnival.  As the cleric reluctantly came to terms with his dashed hopes for a reward I carefully slit open the bag.  Ignoring the soul-searing danger I laid bare the contents which consisted of a straw figurine with a lock of hair attached to it--clearly a specimen taken from the noble gentleman beside me.

The gentleman kindly but inevitably recognized me as the leader of the small band and announced a reward.  I was rather taken aback when he handed out an equal reward to each of those present, even the absurd gnome, despite the clearly central role which I had played in the affair.  But then I realized that it was far better to have a generous patron than a miserly one and put aside my feelings of injustice, for now.

He then proceeded to explain that he was a member of the ruling council of Adan, a large city in the region.  (Ah, the city!  The shining jewel of civilization, and endless source of commercial opportunities!)  The ogre attack, he was certain, was an assassination attempt.  Several other council members had died under extremely suspicious circumstances, most reeking of the use of arcane wierding, and he feared that he might be next.  The source of the menace came from an event ten years ago.  A son of the ruling council was kidnapped. A strong and resourceful woman who had been of great use to the council in the past said she would rescue the lad if they would give her a seat on the council and a certain old mansion as reward.  The council agreed and in due time the boy was returned.  However the council was suspicious, suspecting that the ease with which the woman had accomplished the task suggested witchcraft.  They denied her the promised place on the council but awarded the mansion.  Later they burned the mansion down with her inside as the proper end for a witch--but she cursed them from the flames as she died.

As we digested this rather unpalatable news the fisherman reported a commotion outside.  Sensing another ploy to steal away my future patron's attentions I quickly surveyed the scene.  With the ogre fled the locals had returned, shuffling about with vacant stares and mouth breathing as usual.  For some reason this alarmed my companions.  But there was a strange boy there as well.  His eyes glowed a hellish scarlet and a cloud of black magic surrounded him as he chanted what even my new companions could recognized as a spell.  And to our horror the face and hands of a woman appeared in the cloud.  The apparition, ghost or illusion I could not be sure, called to my patron with surprising words of tender affection.  So then this must be the woman burned as a witch but now somehow returned.  Clearly I had to ensure that this obstacle to the life of leisure which was my destiny be dealt with decisively.  And a second rescue attempt might well elicit a second reward.

The locals then began to converge on the inn, no doubt in a crude attempt to pressure the noble gentleman into diverting his splendid coinage into their pockets rather than into mine.  At this point the remaining guard bowed to my superior skill in ingratiation and set off in search of a new employer.  The crowd naturally assumed that he was fleeing with the noble councilman's purse and engaged him closely.  In the ensuing stampede of avaricious bipedal bovines the poor fellow met his end in rather grisly fashion. The odd-fellows rushed out and tried to muzzle the chanting lad but clumsily knocked him out instead.  A bold and simple plan but one clearly still too intricate for their meager intellectual faculties--but with that the dark cloud dispersed and with it the mysterious woman.  Well, even a broken clock is correct twice a day.  The fisherman seized the limp form and rushed to the town mill, a reasonably sturdy building down by the river.  I followed, as did the greedy little gnome (unless perhaps "greedy little" is redundant when describing a gnome) and my patron.  The mill was joined to the bank by a wooden walkway and the odd-fellows and the cleric gamely undertook to defend it in yet another respectable bid for a second reward.

The herd of local dullards followed us, literally dragging their feet as they trundled towards the mill.  Eventually they came to stand at the water's edge, mostly moaning and staring about in bleary eyed fashion.  Not that I blamed them for even desperately unwashed barnyard denizens such as themselves knew to avoid any body of water so turgid even if only knee-deep.  Suddenly the larger odd-fellow surged into the crowd, shoving bodies hither and fro.  He pulled a sapling up by its roots and used it to literally sweep the peasants aside as they pushed forward to the mill.  As each peasant fell into the water the shock of receiving a clearly unwelcome bath seemed to bring them to their senses.

Meanwhile in the mill the obnoxious gnome (or is "obnoxious gnome" redundant?) began proving the stereotype in all-too-typical fashion.  Gibbering some excuse about having been pushed he set about harassing my dear patron by blatantly misusing his magical talents.  The shorter odd-fellow and the fisherman had the nerve to join in and began interrogating and accusing him like he was some sort of common criminal.  To my discomfiture the gentleman proceeded to divulge that although married he had carried on an affair with the woman whom he had burned as a witch and that the young fellow with the glowing eyes was his bastard son.  My erstwhile companions flew into an outrage, perhaps due to reminders of their own uncertain parentages, and insisted that the councilman find the boy a place on the council as recompense.  He pointed out that it would of course be impossible for him to accomplish such a thing, and besides which it might lead to a scandal and was thus out of the question.

I sensed that my chances of gaining the fellow as a patron were now slight.  So I sensibly suggested that perhaps we could profit from holding him for ransom or demanding a reasonable sum to avoid mentioning anything which could lead to ruinous scandal.  Astonishingly, my companions took great umbrage at these suggestions.  This confirmed that I had indeed fallen in with persons of limited insight and poor grasp of financial enterprise.  The shorter odd-fellow then had his less-attractive companion toss me into the river outside.  It was outrageous, but there would be no point in arguing with idiots.  I squeezed the dampness from my attire and rushed back inside to see what I could salvage from the affair.

Alas, the ghost of the witch-woman reappeared and panicked the councilman into backing into the mill wheel.  Upon his untimely demise her ghost dissipated, its quest for vengeance clearly satisfied.  The crowd still bumbling about outside sensed that the show was over and dispersed to their wretched hovels.

In the ensuing discussion about the fate of the young boy, my last chance at becoming the possessor of lovely clinky bits of gold coinage, we determined to take him to the city of Adan and see what could be done.  The odd-fellows, typically slow on the uptake, were rather ambivalent about the idea until I suggested that there might be feasting to be had.  The rest were willing, although their motives remained inscrutable.

Then, just as we were setting out, the fisherman burst out with "hey, my fish!"

    1 comment:

    1. Groovy post. I could visualize it all, plus it made me wish I was at the table with my own character. I love C&C.