Posted by : David Guyll May 02, 2013
- Yllian Faraday (high elf wizard 2)
- Randy (wood elf druid 2)
- Iola Talmiel (wood elf monk 2)
- Perseus Eurymedon (human paladin 2)
- Corvus (human ranger 2)
Despite the players having a week to come up with a snappy comeback, everyone was quiet. They glanced at each other, trying to think of the right thing to say, or maybe the thing that would not trigger combat; since satyrs are not in the Bestiary, it is entirely possible that they feared I would force Wisdom saving throws to avoid dancing until they puked out their hit points.
Eventually Yllian broke the silence with a classic, "Who wants to know?"
Smoothly, because though the average Charisma of a satyr in 3rd and 4th Edition varies by 5 points, the baseline is still above average--and thereby higher than mine--he replied, "Me, if you would be so kind." He then offered them a drink of wine, which I had not decided whether or not if it could impart any sort of magical effects, but they declined.
Yllian began to repeat his question, but Iola, tired of everyone beating around the bush, simply stated that yes, yes they did. The satyr nodded, wished them good luck escaping the forest, and turned to leave. Just before he made it over the crumbling ramparts, Yllian asked who he was working for. The satyr paused for a moment, and without so much as a turn of the head responded with, "The Lady of this forest. You know how it is." And then he was gone.
They did not attempt to follow, instead engaging in wild speculation, which is always fun to listen to. Randy, having lived in the forest for some time, was well aware of a spider-like fey entity, but thankfully had never run into her. They eventually settled on the theory that she had cursed the Boar King, that they had accidentally "freed" him from the curse before she had intended (which might have been never), and that she would likely seek retribution...or replacements. Fey can be weird like that.
Despite the potential threat of an angry spider-fey capable of serving century-long curses, they took a long rest before hitching up their cart full of heads and heading back to Sidon. As before, when they got to the ruined bridge Randy had his familiar scout ahead. This time it noticed a lone goblin camping on the bridge. He transformed into a fox to investigate the trees to see if any more were waiting in ambush. While he did not find any goblins lurking in the woods, he did find a pair of ogres.
Assuming that they were working together he crept up behind the goblin, shifting back into a human to make a grab at him. Since he rolled really well, and the goblin rolled really bad, he was able to not only pin his arms, but prevent the goblin from screaming. Given that he did not share his plans with the rest of the party, and they were some three-hundred feet away, he sent his familiar to go get them. After a few minutes of adorable pantomime, the party followed the owl to Randy.
After a bit of trying to figure out what to do with the goblin, they eventually decided to bargain with it, opening with another classic: "If you promise not to scream, I will remove my hand."
Of course the goblin nodded, of course it screamed, and the ogres came blundering out of the trees seconds later. The lengthy exchange that followed could be summed as follows: the goblin wanted to charge them a lump sum of 10 gp for safe passage past their bridge, or a whopping 2 gp each. 5th Edition characters start with 150 gp, but even with both fighters and paladins being gouged for some 100ish gp worth of gear (armor, shield, and weapon), that still leaves about 50.
Oh, and they found about 500 worth of coins and loot.
They still wanted to haggle about it.
For about half an hour.
In the long run they ended up paying the goblin a forgettable fraction of their profits, including an extra gp to tell them where the "Lady of the forest" could be found, then continued on their way, making it out of the forest without fur ther incident.
By the time they returned to Sidon it was very early in the morning, so rather than surprise Eleni with a re-enactment of The Godfather (plus a dozen or so human heads) shacked up at the Hungry Hydra. They ran into Yllian's retainers, and the rest of the party learned that he had journeyed from his homeland to seek military aid against hobgoblin armies. Sidon had nothing to spare, what with the people being in desperate need of aid themselves, and so was planning on heading on to Argos.
But first things first, drinking. I love that they were not willing to part with a measly 10 gp in exchange for essentially free XP (and I did give them full XP for getting past the ogres), but have no qualms parting with cash for a completely non-mechanical event.
They next day Eleni gave them their bounty and her thanks for avenging her father, before tipping them off on another regional
At this Yllian sent his retainers ahead to Argos to speak on his behalf, hoping that by currying favor with the nobility it would help his odds (and if not, he would have money to hire people), while he and everyone else teamed up with the next caravan leaving town.
Behind the Scenes
This is kind of what I did in A Sundered World, giving the characters several plot threads to choose from. They could have gone back into the Tunnelwood to look into the whole Lady of the forest angle (as well as other things hidden inside), or continued to Argos (as I have things going on there, too). The difference is that in A Sundered World, distances were vast and places were pretty isolated. Here, there are things going on whether or not the party is there to deal with it, so we will see what happens with the other loose ends.