Chapter 05: A Rock and a Hard Place

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Session Number: 15
Date: Sunday 12 April 2009
Venue: Alain's
PCs & Players:

Enok Rgr3 (Alain) (kills: none)
Krag Clr3 (Fergus) (kills: none)
Rowaine Pal3 (Craig) (kills: none)
Vor-wrek Mnk3 (Densial) (kills: none)

XP Awarded: TBC

After 3 days of wilderness travel, Enok leads the adventurers to an east-west road. The party take to the road, heading east.

Shortly after, the party spot a solitary horse and rider heading the opposite direction. Spooked, they take to the underbrush and hide while the traveller passes.

Later, 6 horses and riders are spotted, again travelling west. The party avoid contact as before.

Some time later they see a man pushing a cart westward. They take to the trees.

The last encounter of the day is a wagon drawn by two horses. The wagon is essentially a large wheeled cage. Two men sit at the front. Unlike before, the party merely move to the side of the road, making no effort to conceal themselves. The driver sees the party and spurs the horses onward while his companion readies an uncommonly large crossbow. As the wagon passes, party members see that the cage is occupied by four figures, three male and one female. All are chained and poorly dressed. Two guards sit atop the rear of the wagon and train equally large crossbows on the party as they pass.

Night approaches and the party makes camp 5 minutes walk south of the road. Morning breaks and the party rejoin the road, again heading east.

In the early morning a colourful caravan is spotted to the party's rear. Rowaine separates from the rest of the party and waits while the caravan approaches. She notices that there are three similar vehicles travelling together. She waits until the lead caravan can easily see and hear her, and hails.

Rowaine strikes up a conversaion with Gomer, who drives the first caravan. He tells her that Korenheim is about a day's walk to the east. He saw the caged wagon the previous day and confirms Rowaine's suspicions that it was a slave trader. He says that in these parts slavery is legal, albeit not considered a reputable profession. He offers the group a ride - all but Krag, insisting that the half-orc walk. Rowaine politely declines, adding that she hopes that we meet again in Korenheim. Gomer drives his caravans onward.

An hour later a solitary horseman is spotted, leading two youths roped to his horse. The youths appear poorly fed and are having difficulty keeping pace.

Hurried conversations are had while the horseman and entourage approach. Eventually, the party agree that they should at least talk to the horseman. Vor-Wrek disappears into the trees with Anassia. Rowaine steps forward and catches the horseman's eye. He slows.

The horseman is indeed transporting two slaves. But wait, there's more - he is a slave himself. Rowaine and Enok try to convince him of the inherent wrongness of slavery, but the horseman cannot be persuaded. Krag joins in, simply saying that it wasn't right. The horseman's demeanour towards the subject is split between resignation, pragmatic cynicism that the alternative is probably not any better, and comfort in his current position.

Krag finally delivers the ultimatum that he simply cannot let it happen. The situation quickly turns from a negotiation to an initiative roll.

Densial - might need your help at this point as my memory probably will not serve as well as your combat records.

The horseman slashes twice at Krag, hitting both times and severely wounding him. Rowaine tries to unhorse the man but fails to gain any purchase and receives a sword stroke to her shoulder for her trouble.

Enok looses an arrow at the rope binding the slaves to the horse, hoping to cut it, and only just fails to do so. The following round, Rowaine draws her dagger and succeeds in cutting the rope.

The horseman hits Krag again and the half-orc goes down. Vor-Wrek sees this and decides that he is needed. He motions for Anassia to remain hidden, and rushes in to help his friends.

Rowaine moves to Krag's side and Lays Hands on him, reviving him. Krag casts Summon Monster and calls upon his beloved celestial dogs. Three answer his call.

Vor-Wrek hits the horseman twice with Flurry of Blows, doing damage in the high 20s. Enok nails the horseman with a critical arrow shot. But despite suffering damage totalling 60-70 points, the horseman drops Krag again and makes his escape, heading back towards Korenheim.


Did we defeat the horseman? I want his XP!

Rowaine stabilises Krag with the remainder of her Lay on Hands ability but it is not enough to return him to consciousness. The party uses their precious Cure Moderate Wounds potion and Krag wakes up. Rowaine then manages to calm down the two youths to the point where they will follow her.

What to do? The party needs to resupply in Korenheim - even more so now with two extra mouths to feed - but by local standards they are probably now fugitives.

The group leave the road and shadow it east until they strike farmland. Enok and Rowaine approach a farmhouse and convince the farmer to sell them 10 days' worth of food for a small fortune.

Where from here? Northeast, bypassing Korenheim proper, heading for the coast and the port city of Carthenage beyond.

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