We have an invitation to a meeting of the Outlaw Council during Erastus (2 months time) in Daggermark.
Also been invited to the Rushlight Tournament in Pitax. In a few months (7th of Rova). First time we have been acknowledged and invited. Need to think about who will represent us in what events.
Brevoy peace conference idea seems to be regarded as a good idea, but we’re not regarded as neutral. The Issians think we’ll side with the Rostlanders.
When we get back to Ancestorhold to drop off the horses, there’s a messenger waiting for us to deliver this. His Supreme Magnificence etc etc Irreveti. Waffle waffle, join him at the Rushlight festival. Very fancy paper invitation. Has a golden gemstone rod of might as the prize for the winning kingdom. Rena says we will attend. The messenger flourishes and leaves. Events are likely to be: archery, test of the axe for lumberjacks, bardic competition (test of boasting), and the midnight joust (likely to be a full moon night). We need for Tallis and Cade to see which one of the is likely to be the best at jousting.
Rena asks the ancestors whether waking and destroying the great beast in the Hooktongue lake would be to the benefit of the kingdom. The answer is yes. Is it an animal? No. Is it evil. No. It’s a magical beast. Is likely to awaken in the next year? Maybe. Will it take a specific action from someone else to waken it in the next year? Probably. Would Erastil look favourably on destroying the creature. No. We’ll leave it alone for now.
We’ll head out north and west looking for barbarians and hill giants while we explore.
We occasionally hear about people and creatures turning up around the kingdom that aren’t really from here. In the hills there are rumours of a small black dragon being chased off by winged creatures, it had heard that a dragon had moved out and was looking for its own space. People still not happy about area where we found the naga cult, bad smells, vapours and liquids in that area. And the gem trade is still on the rise. Someone somehwere has found something in the kingdom, a mine or something, that should be a kingdom resource, and is using it for themselves. We decide to pop down there first. X8 hex, bottom of Lake Silversten. Cade teleports us. We explore looking for signs of people travelling. A few families have set up fisheries businesses since we were last here. It’s sheltered by the mountains. We meet a couple of the families. We ask if they’ve seen people that could be smugglers. They say the Little Sellen river has more traffic than it used to. We head down there to take a look (X9). It’s not all that well travelled. We do find some tracks towards the western end going North-South. Coming up to the river. So we follow the tracks to the south. Hard to follow in places. There are several lots of tracks, more than one journey, if we weren’t searching for them, we’d not notice them. They have been hidden. Tracks are heading to W10. It’s a small group of people. Quite a lot of stony outcrops in the hills here, they are generally rocky hills. Amina and Cade notice a strange unsettling sound , as if the hills are whispering (wind through the tunnels). Once we point it out, Rena starts to notice. We spot a sort of rainbow prism effect on some of the fissures. " large hillsides in the main. Very narrow slit with a multitude of different coloured crystals in it, all damaged, would need cutting down. Yep, these are gemstones. Cade just spots a hidden campsite. Amina tries to sneak up and get a look. She gets there and finds, secluded in a naturally formed dip in the hillside, 4 small tents and a load of goats and a campfire that has been made to cause minimum smoke. 4 people sat round the firepit. Not familiar, look very well equipped, used to being out in wilderness, these are professionals. 3 humans and a dwarf. 2 don’t seem to have obvious armour, other 2 have chain shirts, 2 have whips and all have swords. Well established camp. We prep up for a fight and then teleport into the camp.
Dwarf raises his voice in a chant. Fascinates Rena. Cade attacks one of them. Amina knocks out the dwarf and punches one of the others a fair bit. They argue it’s theirs because it’s never been claimed by the kingdom. One of them keeps concentrating as if he’s talking to someone in his head. They ask Rena if he’s saying the River Kingdom rules don’t apply here. They’re all very smiley and smug despite being arrested and shackled. We strip them and replace their clothes with spares of our own. There are anomalies with 2 of their shirts, turns out to be glamoured armour. All the armour is very nice, lighter than it should be. Gemcrafting kit. Very skilled. Weapons. 2 glamoured mithril chain shirts. 2 whip feather tokens. Silver raven figurine. 4 badges, 2 silver, 2 bronze, with a Aspis consortium symbol on. Lots of other more standard kit. Dust of tracelessness. Aspis consortium are unscrupulous multi national trade organisation. Mainly based out of Cheliax but work everywhere. Founded about 200 years ago as a trade and venture group. Business practices – will do whatever is necessary to achieve their goals. Will sell to both sides in a war. May even encourage strife if there’s profit in it. General perception of group – have mercenary army, happy to trade slaves, obey letter of law in each nation to avoid arrest, black market, will steal to order, the bronze/silver/gold are tiered ranks within the agency, so these guys are actual agents, not freelancers.Silver guys are often quite autonomous, they’ll have been assigned here but are then left to do things their own way. Pius and Miander are silver. We will have to take them to a jail ourselves as they won;t allow us to teleport them. We will have to take all their gear with us as well in case they are found not guilty. We persuade them eventually to accept the teleport. Yaster seems to know an awful lot about everything, but nothing in great depth. Yaster has 2 magical effects running on him. Sana has one. Pius tried to hide items by shrinking them. Miander and Pius have a continual magical effect on them. Lots of transformation and transmutation effects going on here. And an abjuration.
We manage to get them back and handed over to the authorities. We need the most capable, intelligent, educated, strong magistrates to sit in judgement on this one as we have to be careful not to violate the River Kingdom freedoms. We’re going to struggle. Most of it is circumstantial evidence. Rena goes with Commune. They’re unrepentantly evil, they’ve been smuggling gems into Sanctuary. Amina and Church of Abadar to put their heads together to advise Rena on what to do about the Aspis Consortium trying to start a war!
While we’re dealing with this for a week, the cohorts are off exploring. N7 and 3 below. Come across a few boggards in N7. M7 was where we fouhgt the naga that was controlling boggards, nothing else to worry about. L7 has nothing in it, we meet some bogstriders out for a wander. South to L8 – nothing of interest here. K8 – bogstriders on patrol. J8 – nothing. J7 – plains, a few wild horses that aren’t part of Windchaser’s herd. I7- plains. They come across some shambling mounds. So then H8. Nothing special.
We go north to find the giants. L1…nothing there. Move on to K1. We have a run in with a lone ettin, but it’s not an issue. J1 – uneventful. H2 where the mine is. I2, I3 and J3 as well. Nothing to worry us. Snakes, zombies, elks, odd ettin, calaphagar, other odds and sods. H4 – Cade spots some quite old human remains in bushes. He goes to look. Been there a long time. Carefully start to reveal the body. Been here about 400 years. Likely to be one of the first river kingdoms settlers. Taldan explorer. So from the time of the first shrines, now lost. Male corpse, has a heavy steel shield decorated with a coat of arms, everything else has rotted away or rusted. Not a noble family we recognise, looks like a Taldan noble family, defunct for quite some time, very obscure. Bones suggest he was well fed and healthy, no sign of what caused his death, skeleton is pretty intact. Body was placed there deliberately, shield covering it. No blood on the shield. Detect magic on shield. Tis magical. Bastion shield. Has Determination on it.
Onwards! Still no giants.
Cohorts meanwhile are in H6. In L10 they find something. There are slugs. 2 of them are fighting. Two male giant slugs. Type of behaviour typical for fight over mating rights. They are damaging the area. Once they spot us, they stop fighting and start attacking us. We win. Tallis is amazing.
Total 19 days exploring, cohorts continue while we go home to do kinging.
We debate whether to attend the Outlaw Council. Do we want to? Since we don’t consider ourselves part of the River Kingdoms, what is the point. Have we got a goal in mind? Could we learn anything by going? Gorner tells us usual discussions include: common interests (they came up with river freedoms); banditry, assassinations, theft, smuggling are ok, but they come down hard on slavery; focus on any current issues (e.g. blocking trade/movement freedoms) – so it could be a place to start a trade negotiation if we wanted/needed any.
We decide to go. But without cohorts. We fly to Daggermark. We aim to arrive a bit later in the day for dramatic effect. And to try and avoid being stabbed. There is a big hall that’s been put aside for this, not the military presence you might expect, people seem to almost be avoiding the entrance to this building. As we enter, no attempt to disarm us or control what we take in. We are asked to make sure we understand the rules, which we don’t, so Rena asks for them to refresh his memory – no harm to another council member while in here, River Freedoms count in here, everyone can discuss their concerns and suggestions, no aggressive overtures, no trying to forcibly convince/persuade someone of something. Rena is the one who speaks, someone else can speak for him but it’s deemed to be words from his mouth and he takes responsibility for them. We take the cohorts with us. We find a space for ourselves in the council chamber. Make notes on the reps from things like Assassins and Poisoners Guilds. Other nations have advisers with them. Mivon and Pitax are here (Mivon has brought his deputy), Pitax has brought head of Thieves Guild. Uringen and Seven Arches seem to be more our kind of people. The Black Marquis has an obvious adventuring party with him (we need a rogue!!!!). He’s definitely a pirate. He seems to confer with his group and ask their advice.
We sit back and watch what happens……People wondering where Tymon is, it’s unusual for him not to be here. Powerful merchants have been going missing of late, this needs dealing with, because it’s disrupting trade and goods going missing. We must not impede travel though. Rena asks if there is a pattern to the disappearances. They happen at river confluences. Happening along the main Sellen river, from Riverton, Seven Arches, Gralton, Beringen, Pitax. Have hired a couple of adventuring parties to investigate, been gone a week roughly, been going on about a month, trade consortia are all irritated by this, all the major trade corps are being hit, all the big guys, Rena tells them about the Apis Consortium’s business in Sanctuary. Normally apparently its Red Mountains who try to make inroads here. Likely there are spies in the trade orgs that are feeding them info. Rena gets into a bit of an argument about murder and river freedoms with Irrivetti. He says he thinks Irrivetti is almost trying to defend this group, whoever they are. Irrivetti says no attacks actually in Pitax, only on border, no-one would dare do this in Pitax. A few people leave the venue and go into a pub/temple just across the courtyard to get refreshments. A few people say Surtova was clever putting Rena in between him and expansionist Pitax – like a firebreak. Rena says Surtova has his own things to worry about with Brevoy possible civil war, Rena says he likes to think of us as keepers of the peace! Rena wants a chat with Uringen, Seven Arches, Mivon and possibly Black Marquis for shits n giggles. Mivon have had issues with Pitax looking to expand, or did until we moved in – now we’re the number one target. Mivon will be going to the Rushlight Tournament. They discuss the vassal state that attacked us and the failure of the attack, that Irrivetti will certainly not admit to it because it failed. Rena plants the seed of the idea of a future alliance with Mivon. Not likely to form a treaty that allows us to call on them if we get attacked! He doesn’t envy our position in the world. Things may change if the world changes – too many unknowns now. He offers to introduce us to any other leaders. Rena says Uringen. He tells us about them. Urignen exists in 2 parts, 1 in the centre of town fades in and out of reality, so there’s a mayor for the static part and one for the unstuck part. Lady Aurelia is the mayor for the unstuck part (Pharasma). Canarvon Miren is the static mayor (Erastil). Rena asks to be introduced to the static mayor. Unstuck part spends a lot of time in the first world, and are asking us to keep our problems to ourselves with the fey queen. We will try not to cause any issues for them. Offers a potential trade agreement, various people interested in rare ingredients within their lands, stuff that can’t be found outside their forests, she thinks we might be most interested in a thing called the Salve of the Second Chance. From the forest spirits of the Embeth Forest, they’ve developed a distillation of Night Moss, 2 things they create which they can sell – distillation affects people as per one of the common distillations, the other however is intriguing, if smeared on the body (parts) of a recently deceased person, it mimics reincarnation spell. If you use it during new moon, recipient of reincarnation has more say over what they become. Cost – second chance stuff costs 1600gp for a single dose. Rena says that is well worth the trade. They can only make a couple a month, they offer us the chance to buy one a month, in return they suffer from raids by less civilised denizens of first world, their seers have seen Rena have influence on the first world, they’d ask us to intercede for them. Rena assures her will do whatever we can. He asks if there is anything we can do for the outer city. If we come across any research on the planes they’d be interested in it. Families are often split in two, Lady Ogden has been able to cross boundaries, most people are stuck in one part or the other – only a few, mostly gnomes or magic users, who can travel between the two. Finding a way of people being able to go back and forth would be a huge help. We think the Doctor might be interested. Rena looks forward to working with them to bring peace and order to the River Kingdoms. Next up is the Black Marquis. Very dashing chap. Eloquent in a piratical way. Rena is interested in hearing about the lands, Emerald Spire is something he has heard of, and the humanoids of Loric Fells – do they cause him any problems? Hes interested in trade – via the waterways. Sense motive suggest profit, but keeping himself afloat, increase trade share to increase other kingdoms’ need for him to stay in charge of his kingdom. Seven Arches – not terribly interested in open diplomacy. Won’t say why they don’t allow elves. Get impression that the mayor doesn’t know the reason, but the druid The Voice of the Wind looks like she knows, hes been told by the council of druids. Oak stewards are a group that give laws, harsh tax regime, treat sick and injured, but are draconian and unsympathetic. Rena asks her outright. She tells him speculation on the idea that the elves brought something back with them when they came back could result in the end of the world. Elves need to stay away because otherwise they would suffer horribly and would have to be put to death. Rena asks about plague and she is quite firm that he should stop, and support the perception that they just are racist to elves. Or the world could end. Etc. They would be happy to trade with us. They produce food. They don’t have mineral resources, so they would be interested in ores etc.
Tymon is a land that mostly follows Gorum. Leader is a gladiatorial champion half-orc. Good place for trade in martial goods.
Sanctuary is asked in council if we can confirm that the azure lilies have been destroyed and people trading in them have been arrested. Rena says poison is illegal in Sanctuary. But it doesn’t contravene the River Freedoms. They probe around what that means. Rena stands on the fact that the lilies are different to alcohol for example. Pitax and Daggermark are trying hard to trip Rena up over Sanctuary’s laws vis a vis the River Freedoms.
Lumber consortium is raised as an issue in several kingdoms. 3 people at least have been stopping people moving goods they consider to be under their guild’s purview.
We decide it’s time to leave. So we teleport out.
Irrivetti seems one of the more charismatic people there, diplomacy in the mid 20s type of level. Rosa draws him so that we can scry him. He stays in the pub at the council for quite some time. He leaves around mid day with quite a large retinue, travels by road back towards Pitax.
So now we go giant hunting. We explore as we go. HIlls at first, nothing exciting. We wander a bit too far and end up in Numeria. Hex B2, we encounter a lot of dead creatures. Mostly creatures that have been slaughtered, but not for food. Rena takes out the spyglass and looks around to see what he can find. The tracks looks like owlbears. Probably half a dozen. So we track them back to their cave. And kill them. 2 of the owlbears have embedded in their skin metal collars they seem to have outgrown. There are corpses here, where they have hunted and brought back here to feed. There’s the odd human corpse. We bury them.
Then we move on. Finish exploring and have a peaceful night. Next day while exploring along the northern edge of Bransomething mountains, we find a large box canyon into mountain side, peaceful calm about this place. Occasional circling bird above one area within the canyon. Its a mammoth’s graveyard type place. Something has taken up residence, that isn;t a mammoth. Also see a very battered wounded, hiding mammoth. We cautiously approach. It gets up and moves slowly and painfully towards us. Putting a lot of effort into coming towards us, so we move to meet it. It is awakened. There is a linnorm in their holy place. This the guardian. It was the same druid that awakened Windchaser. Rena casts Greater Path of Glory on the mammoth. It heals. Linnorms lots of different types, they are sort of inferior dragons, they have colours that denote their ability, primal intelligence, if you slay one, you will be cursed, they are immune to curses themselves. Wingless dragons. Breathes magma. We head off to fight it. Apparently it can heal itself,. Likely to attack us on sight. It does. We manage to kill it and avoid the curse.
Hillstomper gives us some ivory from the mammoth graveyard to try and cut down how much people try to kill mammoths for their ivory. We hope we can one day claim the land and ban the ivory trade. Rena asks if he has heard of giants that ride mammoths. He thinks they are with the baRBARIANS. 50 mammoths were captured and taken as giants’ mounts.