Session Four: Fresh Rivals
Author’s Note: THIS IS WHY YOU DON’T SPLIT THE PARTY @___________@
Part One: Chompy the Hunter
“You see his tail?” Milo said, gesturing to Chompy, who stood complacently on the roof of the inn beside them, “Now… that’s a good tail. But I could make it better. What do you say?”
It was one of many such requests Milo had made of Kieran of his dinosaur, for the mechanist was full of ideas for a “Chompy 2.0.” But Kieran was having none of it. Chompy, for his part, didn’t seem to be giving a clear sense that he fully understood the inventions Milo was describing. New eyes, a new tail… a mortar launcher? It was Oldrian who suggested an alternative. He could, after all, speak with Chompy for a brief time, as an ability he had learned in the wilderness. And so the four of them conversed; Oldrian with Chompy, Kieran and Milo with Oldrian.
Oldrian: So, uh… What do you call yourself? We’ve been calling you Chompy… Is that your name?
Chompy: What does Chompy? Name, Cyw
Oldrian: How did you meet your master?
Chompy, er, Cyw, er, we’re still calling him Chompy: Kieran come live with me in snowy homeland.
Oldrian: Do you like your master?
Kieran good hunter, so Cyw join him. Kieran best friend.
So, Cyw, One of our party members… You know the silly stupid dwarf? In lots of metal?
Food guy? Food guy taste bad.
Who breaks things a lot? He wants to help you. He wants to make you stronger.
Food Guy flails a lot. How he make me stronger? He have special food?
He wants to make special armor for you.
Sort of like what we wear. The shiny metal stuff.
Shiny metal clunky. Make Food Guy give food.
At this point, when Oldrian shared to Milo Chompy’s request, Milo produced an exorbitant amount of sausage that he had been keeping, giving it to Chompy. The dinosaur, having more than he could take, tried to give the rest to Kieran to keep, but the elf child just gave it back to Milo—what the hell was he going to do with it?
Oldrian: Happy now?
Chompy: Food guy friend.
He wants to give you special weapons that will make you hunt faster and get more food.
What’s a weapon?
It kills things. Quickly.
Fangs and claws kill things. Why you need “weapons?”
But you can have more things.
Why I need more things? Hunt great with claws.
How about armor? It will protect you, make you stronger.
Armor silly. Very loud. Makes bad hunter.
I see. Food man thinks that he can make very quiet and light armor. What do you think?
Food man wear heavy loud armor.
He does, it’s true. He’s a good food man.
He is good food man.
But he’s a bit stupid. He just wants to help.
He should keep giving food. Armor good for squishy dwarves.
Bad for Cyw. Cyw good hunter.
What do you think of me?
You good hunter. Kill disgusting people.
So you value people who are good hunters?
You no look so good tho. Good hunters are good packmates.
At that point, the conversation was ended. And now that Chompy was pointing it out… Oldrian really wasn’t feeling all that well. He felt stiff and queasy. But his discomfort and lethargy had to wait, for Chompy was motioning to something a few buildings away. Milo’s keen eyes spotted the hawk suspiciously hovering overhead, just before he and Oldrian saw the elven hunter who crouched, several buildings away, and watched them keenly. Milo called out to him excitedly and the elf disappeared around the roof. With a new lead to follow, the group descended from the roof to chase him.
Part One: Amora’s Wanderings
Amora, meanwhile, was wandering town on her own. Eventually she came across a young elven man, dressed in bright colors and expensive silks.
“Hello, Simon,” she taunted. Shocked by the stranger’s successful identification, the sorcerer stopped in his tracks and looked at her with confusion. She continued taunting him, with a touch of seduction, making references to his brother, to his familiar, and to the group of bounty hunters with which he traveled. Unsure who she was, he took charge, demanding she accompany him to a place he knew: a tea shop across town.
Part One: At the Jeweler’s
The rest of the group, being Carter, Akorn, and Yantse, had meanwhile gone to the jeweler’s, where the assistant jeweler was the old man who had been attacked on the road by zombies. When the trio entered, passing a guard stationed to ensure civility around the town’s newest celebrity, they found two other adventurers interrogating the old man. One was a handsome human fighter, armed and armored with beautiful steel, while the other was a hobbit in the trappings of a rogue. With them was a fierce-looking wolverine. Both men had questions, and the jeweler’s assistant seemed to be pretty upset at the constant barrage of questions.
Yantse was the first to interrupt, standing up to the adventurers on behalf of the (thankful) old man. The human, in a comment about having once visited the Kingdom of the Pearl Trident, caught Yantse’s attention. The merfolk suggested they all relocate to a tea shop nearby, but the hobbit explained that he was not affiliated with the human, and that he was not finished gathering information here. Meanwhile, Carter had important business for the jeweler’s assistant. It ended up with only Yantse and the fighter making their way to the tea shop after all, the wolverine in tow. They bantered, each seeking to out-play the other. The human introduced himself as Kerrard the mercenary, while Yantse explained that he was a traveling fabric merchant. Despite his skills, the fighter did not notice the merfolk’s deception.
Back in the jeweler’s, the hobbit had taken an interest in Akorn. Carefully questioning the still battle-worn dwarf, the hobbit slowly worked out the confession that Akorn had been attacked by zombies on the road, a piece of information that this adventurer (clearly another bounty hunter) was adamantly seeking. Carter, who had been wary of the hobbit and the fighter from their initial meeting, entered the conversation to attempt to turn the discussion into an investigation into the hobbit’s identity. But the hobbit gave up little, and Carter’s inability to distinctly identify the hobbit (or force the hobbit to reveal a hidden identity?) frustrated him. Finally, when the rival bounty hunter gleamed the information he needed from Akorn, he departed. As he left, Chava joined them.
They inquired of the jeweler’s assistant, and heard his story: he was a trader whose wagon had been set upon by zombies at dusk when he was just outside of town. He had managed to outrun them into town, where they broke off and retreated into the wilderness. He actually knew very little of the zombies, but he had been “attacked” near town coming from the north, while the party had been attacked near town coming from the south. The zombies were clearly nearby. Thanking the assistant for the information, and promising to return with payment for the job that Carter had commissioned, they set off to join Yantse at the tea shop.
Part Two: Tea Shop Skirmish
Yantse and Kerrard, however, discovered very quickly that their tea shop was in fact the same as that to which Simon had been leading Amora. They discovered this when they arrived at the outdoor tables to find Amora standing behind Simon, her chain pinning him to his chair. She explained that he had attempted to cast spells on her, and she was just restraining him. He, on the other hand, had shit himself and was calling for help from Kerrard—blowing his ally’s cover. The wolverine, Asine, was immediately growling at Amora, and it was revealed to be Simon’s familiar. With nothing for it, the fighter went to draw his sword on Amora. This was about when the other two groups: Milo, Kieran, and Oldrian, as well as Chava, Carter, and Akorn, arrived. Carter, immediately seeing the absurd shit his sister had started, approached and subtly cast a silencing spell on Amora’s mouth. Yantse, meanwhile, raised his voice as necessary to stop an immediate brawl.
The shock of Yantse’s proclamation, however, loosened Amora’s hold on Simon and as soon as Yantse was finished speaking, the sorcerer cast a summons. Suddenly a hellhound was on one of the tables, and everything had gone to shit.
Milo went after the hellhound as Yantse, Chava, and Amora went after Simon. Crossbow bolts to disable parts of his body began to weaken the sorcerer as Amora reaffirmed her pinning hold. Kerrard the fighter identified the enemy spellcaster, Carter, as the bigger threat and attacked. Yet Carter’s response was to paralyze the fighter, just as Chompy charged and pounced, sending Kerrard to the ground and giving the dinosaur free reign to tear him to pieces if desired.
With some assistance from Akorn, Milo quickly dispatched the hellhound and turned to see two guards approaching quickly. At the same time, he spotted someone else in the shadows—the hunter he had seen on the rooftops. This time, the hunter had two arrows notched. With a warning shouted to Chompy (at whom the arrows were pointed), Milo threw himself in the way of the hunter’s shot and called upon the guards to pursue the shadowy figure. They were, after all, merely defending themselves. The guards demanded the group cease hostility against the paralyzed fighter while they sought out the hunter and the party acquiesced. Simon the sorcerer had managed to squirm free of Amora’s chain long enough to cast a spell that would teleport him to safety, leaving only the paralyzed fighter in their ministrations.
Before leaving Kerrard in the tea shop, Yantse relieved him of his bastard sword, one which Carter recognized was capable of emitting sonicbooms whenever it made a critical strike. The merfolk also recovered a set of documents in Common regarding an old monastery to the Sun God Pelor which was out a day’s march from town. When the party inquired of the documents, however, Yantse explained that they were plans of a hospital. Calling bullshit, Carter paralyzed Yantse and took the documents, revealing their true information. Yantse explained that he had lied for their own benefit, as they were prone to acting before they thought and as this was likely the Necromancer’s hold, he wanted to make sure they didn’t get themselves killed. After a tense standoff, the merrow agreed to cooperate with the party and Carter released the spell.
Amora, now with direction, immediately began to run off towards the town gate. Chava and Akorn pursued, finally catching her and talking privately with her. She was ultimately only stopped by her brother’s Hold Person spell, and once pulled off the road by the rogues, she informed them that the necromancer was a good guy after all—and that she was in love with him.
Meanwhile, Oldrian informed his companions of his illness, and Kieran looked it over. It turned out to be the same disease that they had seen and cured in Akorn, but now that it was affecting him, their herbal drought would not be sufficient. They decided that they could go see a priest to have it cured, but before they set off to the nearest temple, the young ranger gave Oldrian the scent of a simple crushed leaf that he carried, and suddenly all his disease seemed gone.
Once the party regrouped, they agreed that it was best they stay out of town that night, and made the first half-day march through the woods towards the monastery. That evening held no surprises for them, despite their decision to start keeping a watch, and after noon on the following day they reached the overgrown and forgotten monastery to Pelor. At the base of a hill, they found its small enclosed space dotted with slain undead, killed by familiar arrows and spells. It was Oldrian’s owl which spotted the overgrown chapel at the top of the hill, outside which four figures battled through oncoming zombies. They were all familiar: Simon the sorcerer, the mysterious hunter, Kerrard the fighter (now wielding a notably mundane scimitar), and a crossbow-toting hobbit woman. Their rivals had beaten them here after all.