Session # 7 Recap
[10 Tarsakh 1372]
During his watch in the early hours of morning, Nakor hears a suspicious sound.
When he goes to investigate, he sees a small figure climbing a tree outside of
the group's camp. Nakor rouses the others and together they move to confront
the potentially hostile intruder. However, conversation with what turns out to
be a female gnome reveals no danger. Instead, the gnome claims to have followed
a set of tracks to where the party was camping. She says that the caravan she
was guarding was mysteriously attacked while she was away hunting, and on her
return a dying merchant could utter only the word "Grim" before passing away.
To everyone's surprise, the dwarf Fargrim bristles at the word: he knows that
Grim is the masked leader of a murderous gang of bandits and outlaws. The group
invites their gnomish visitor to join them on the trip to Mirabar with a promise
to Fargrim to keep a close eye out for any signs of Grim.
After a few hours of rest, the group gets ready to continue travelling off-road
and cross-country towards Mirabar. Before they leave, Mellia, Markus, and Cain
decide to see if they can discern anything else about the source of magickal
emanations inside the steel box chained to Cain's wrist. They are able to learn
that it involves an aura of abjuration magic, but nothing more. The rest of the
day's travel passes uneventfully, but the group covers little ground as it moves
cautiously to avoid being spotted by Luskan patrols.
[11 Tarsakh 1372]
With rations running low, the group decides to split up and hunt for fresh game
while they walk. Busy pursuing a fleeing deer, Nakor and Fargrim don't realize
they're heading straight towards a Luskanite campsite until it's too late! The
two soldiers tending the campfire leap up and begin to advance, but their steps
turn tentative when they see Fargrim's frightening expression and masterwork
longsword. Nakor pretends to call back to unseen allies, and it's all too much
for the two Luskanites as they flee for reinforcements. Fargrim and Nakor are
able to make it back to the others safely, but it's clear the Luskanites haven't
given up chasing the group for being supposed murderers.
[12 Tarsakh 1372]
The group again travels east cautiously towards Mirabar. A long debate ensues
as to whether they should try to open the three mysterious steel boxes, but no
conclusion is reached.
[13 Tarsakh 1372]
In the middle of the afternoon, the group reaches the banks of the Black Raven
River, flowing from the Spine of the World south to join the River Mirar. Large
chunks of ice slowly float down its course, and for a brief moment the group
considers the idea of jumping from block to block to cross. The idea is
discarded, however, in favour of sending the gnome south to where a bridge
crosses the Black Raven. It is dark when she arrives, but a guard of four
Luskan soldiers can easily be seen lit by torchlight on the western side of the
bridge staring down two dwarves on the eastern side. The gnome manages to slink
off without being seen and apprises the group of the situation. They decide on
a plan where the gnome, who is not being sought by the soldiers, will create a
distraction to draw them south while the rest of the group approaches the bridge
from the north and sprints across.
The first part of the plan comes off well: the gnome summons mysterious floating
lights and magically creates the sound of several people talking, and then rides
towards the soldiers quickly on horseback shouting that a group is trying to
cross the river to the south. Two of the Luskan soldiers rush off to
investigate, leaving just two behind. The rest of the group approaches from the
north, but there the plan breaks down: instead of sprinting across, the group
gets drawn into a fight against the determined soldiers. Cain takes a vicious
blow to the head but somehow continues standing. After several seconds of
furious combat, the members of the group manage to extricate themselves from the
fighting and make it across the halfway point of the bridge, where the dwarves,
responding to Fargrim's hail, stand firm against the three surviving Luskanites.
The leader of the Luskanite patrol is relucant to start a war by attacking the
dwarves from Mirabar, but he threatens to hunt the party down to the very ends
of Faerun if they don't turn themselves over for justice and a trial in Luskan.
He accuses them of having murdered and decapitated the Third High Captain. He
points to the fact that Cain, Nakor, and Fargrim still wear the tabards of the
Third High Captain's house as proof that they infiltrated his home as servants
in order to murder him in his bed. The trio hotly deny the accusation. As
proof of their innocence, Nakor offers to let the Luskanites search the boxes
they are carrying. With some mighty blows from their weapons, the Luskanites
snap off the lock on the box that Nakor is carrying, and out tumbles the
decomposing head of the Third High Captain!
The Luskanites hurl themselves at the group, heedless of the consequences. A
difficult fight ensues in the middle of the bridge. With the aid of the two
stout dwarves from Mirabar, the group manages to hold the line, however.
Fargrim dishes out pain with his sword, while Marcus manages to skilfully disarm
and demoralize two of the Luskanites. Cain stays to the back but effectively
heals his allies, while the gnome and Nakor fire arrows (largely ineffectively)
from a distance. Out of spells, Mellia resorts to clever tricks to try to
distract the Luskanites and aid her companions. Before long, the Luskanites are
defeated, albeit with one having managed to escape.
The group emerges victorious, but the plot has thickened: why have they been
framed for the murder of the Third High Captain, and what's in the other two
steel boxes? Will they manage to track down the cruel bandit Grim? And what of
the nightmares three of the group have been cursed with—-what do they mean, and
will they recur?
Director's Commentary (June 25, 2013)
There's repeated mention of a gnome in this session, but a name is never given. Why? Well, in something I've never seen before, that gnome was a new PC whose player couldn't decide on a name for three sessions! The player eventually settled on Ellywick after I pointed out a list of sample names in the PHB because it was getting downright weird to keep referring to "the gnome" when all the other players had such detailed backgrounds for their PCs. Ellywick actually appears off and on for a long time in the campaign, but because of spotty attendance and little investment in the character, the player was never able to make Ellywick more than a fringe addition to the group.
The second altercation on the bridge is memorable to me because the PCs were effectively in the clear: the Luskanites were quite suspicious, but felt they didn't have enough to go on to risk a war with Mirabar over it. Nakor's volunteering to open the boxes, however, proved disastrous! It's funny to remember how low level the PCs are for this, as I haven't seen Mellia run out of spells in a long, long time! Markus, the replacement character for the player who ran Rolen until he got bored with him, was crafted very specifically to be awesome at disarming and it showed in this session.
At the point in the campaign where I'm writing this (around Session # 44), the PCs have not conclusively solved the mystery of why they were framed and have never returned to Luskan. As a bonus XP exercise, I did solicit the players to provide their best reasoned answers and received some very good explanations (the accuracy of which, of course, I neither confirmed nor denied).