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Offline fraz

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Episode 02: The Rat Trap
« on: April 25, 2005, 09:40:19 PM »
Episode 02
The Rat Trap

[Saturday 23 Apr 05]
[edited 27 Apr 05 by [i:02872e7cee]fraz[/i:02872e7cee]]

Cast of characters:
Jarmok: Johan
Kit: Dray
Laren: Matt C.
Maal Brengain: fraz
Ragnar: Rob C.

---------------------
Sythus [Spring]
Valley Year 237
Gorrish Gyth Arkus [28 April]: Morning


Jarmok: the cabin that Mercer left you is comforting as it is now your home. However, with Mercer gone it leaves a vacancy that is deafening. In the corner of the living room sits his mandolin that he would play while warming his bones to the fire. Oh how you long to hear it sing it?s eloquent tunes. It would be nice if he were back so that the two of you could go hunting and so that the cabin wasn?t so empty. ?will I ever see him again?? you ask yourself. Then it occurs to you that he is a descendant of the man carved into a statue on the hill. So in a way, he?ll always be here?at least in spirit.

Maal: in the week that you?ve been here you?ve found the townsfolk quite eager to accept you in Threshold. You know that few Wildlanders ever venture this far from their home so to them you must be an interesting sight. Many look at you and some have approached to greet you. Their warm smiles seem to make the harshness of your travels disappear.

Ragnar: the brands on your hands are a painful reminder of what you escaped. The image of the eyes seem as if they are always watching you and never offer any release from the servants of the shadows. Upon seeing the black scars the towns folk tend to keep their distance leaving the impression that they are wary of what they mean. Despite their reticent reactions you have seen that they are good people and mean no ill will towards you.

Kit: the morning bath was quite refreshing and you applaud yourself for such a great idea! As you?ve wandered the town you notice that many of the men have concentrated some time on you. Some have stopped in mid sentence to watch you and more than a few have gotten a smack on the shoulder from their wives for looking. The people have welcomed you with great enthusiasm knowing that you jumped in the river to save little Peter but also because of the charm of your face and your meekness.

The morning breaks open, although judging from the thick fog it?s hard to tell. The mist clings to the trees shrouding them in a mercurial web. This is why the river is called the Fogveil Vein. The brisk air is almost chilling but offers up a sense of rejuvenation. It is still reasonably early in the Sythus season but the budding trees and greening of the grass betray the arrival of the planting. The snows of Venric have begun their retreat and the Fogveil is running high. The smell of damp ground is nearly intoxicating as it begs to the farmers to give it their seeds. Over the past week travelers have arrived only to quickly continue their journey to the Valley of Mist. However, with the thickness of the fog it seems doubtful that they?d ever find it.

You come down for breakfast and Keltan greets you, ?ah, how was your sleep? Good I hope. I don?t want to leave a reputation that a night here is night not well. We have some breakfast here for you, Venison with some bread and spiced cheese. It?s very good cheese from Percy herself! And the bread?oh the bread was brought from Lady Belshazzar fresh this morning! I can?t wait for the fresh fruit and vegetables to grow. These dried versions although good aren?t nearly as good as newly harvested.?

Halfway into your meal Julius Hawkhaven and a finely dressed man enter. ??this is the second time this week!? the man says sternly. ?I give a lot of my money to help support this town and I expect to get at least a little help from you. It?s bad enough that you let ragtags and vagabonds stay in this town. You then go and hire them to help protect it too! They?re probably the ones guilty of stealing my things!? Julius looks at him sharply and says, ?that is quite enough of your ranting, Getty (Coryndar)! I will not listen to your wild accusations against innocents. And need I remind you that it?s these ?ragtags and vagabonds? that work your fields and make you rich? Not to mention that Annalee?s, Stagrakes?s, and Rasthavyn?s son?s have been missing. So, the matter of some missing forks, spoons and some gems doesn?t hold much concern for me right now. Go home and be thankful that it?s not your children missing.?


After a week (or more in Laren's case) in the frontier town of Threshold, newcomers, Kit, Ragnar, Laren, and Maal are now more familiar with their new surroundings.  As they eat some breakfast in the common room of the Thornhedge Inn, they easily overhear the conversation between Julius and Getty as they enter the inn.  Kit immediately asks Julius about the missing children and Julius explains that they are teenagers and have been missing for about three days now.  Some discussion follows.  Maal listens as she continues to eat while the others get the details from Julius.

They are soon interrupted by a half-elf (Suath) who enters and addresses Julius.  Suath explains hurriedly that there is trouble around the corner at his stables.  He opened the stable doors in the morning only to discover a pair of giant rats within, feasting on one of the horses!

The party exits immediately to investigate the scene.  Suath leads them to the nearby stables.  They approach the building cautiously.  There is a rock placed in front of the door, blocking it from opening outward.  Maal hoists Laren up to look in through an open window.  Laren sees a horse's butt, yet cannot see much beyond that particular stall.  However, he can clearly hear some cruching noises from within.

They soon return to the entrance.  As discussion continues, Maal boldly moves the rock aside and opens the door.  With the door opened, the party clearly sees two giant-sized rats munching on the remains of a horse.  There is also a swarming mass of smaller rats around them, also feeding on the carcus.

Maal, unfazed, charges into the stables with a high-pitched wild scream and strikes one of the giant rats with her short spear.  The rats respond by swifty turning on the wildlander woman.  One succeeds in biting her in the leg.  The smaller rats swarm around her feet.

Laren fires an arrow at one of the giant rats, but misses.  Kit plugs one with a bolt from her crossbow, killing it.  She is so pleased with herself that she begins jumping up and down and actually drops the spent weapon.  Maal misses clumsily with her spear as Ragnar fires a bolt from his crossbow.  The bolt whizzes just past Maal's head.  Maal, without looking back, yells, "Watch it, Kit!"

The smaller rats quickly scatter away from the battle as Laren fires again, missing.  Kit has recovered her weapon, but then misses with her second shot.  Maal misses horribly again with the spear, but Ragnar comes through with a great shot that kills the second giant rat.  Maal, thinking that Kit is firing all the bolts, calls back, "Great shot, Kit!"

Maal struts back to the entrance where Suath thanks them for taking care of the situation so swiftly.  The party discusses the situation:  How did the rats get into the stables?  Suath claims that he closed up all the windows and doors the night before.  The party begins to search the stables for large rat holes.

Meanwhile:
A messenger finds Jarmok at his cabin.  He reports that there is an emergency and that Julius Hawkhaven is requesting his presence.  Jarmok departs quickly, leaving the messenger behind.  As Jarmok nears the council house, he sees Hawkhaven a little further down the street and approaches. Hawkhaven tells Jarmok of the goings-on and Jarmok approaches the stables.

The battle over, Jarmok joins the party in searching the interior of the stables. He finds a hole in the wall at the rear of a newly-empty stall, but it is blocked by a wood pile outside. He exits to investigate the woodpile and soon discovers some giant rat tracks leading away from the stables. The group gathers to follow him. It is clear to Jarmok's trained eye the the woodpile had been moved to grant entry for the rats, and then the wood was replaced.

Jarmok shows off his impressive tracking skills as he tracks the rats through the town towards the river.  He also soon notices that the tracks are those of two-legged rat people!  He tracks the rat people to the riverside cliffs.  Further investigation indicates that the rat people probably came across the water.  The party follows Jarmok across the Rosewalk Bridge to the Foot (an island in the center of town).

As they set foot on the isle, a man approaches asking about his son, who is apparently one of the missing children.  Maal supplies some terse answers as the party quickly passes him by.  Kit, however, stops for a few minutes to talk to him and get some information while the rest of the party continues onward, following Jarmok down to the island riverside.

Jarmok soon discovers that the rat tracks do indeed emerge from the water here on the island, right across from where they disappeared on the opposite bank.  He heads off, fresh on the trail again, with the others falling in behind.  Kit eventually catches up to the party as they pass The House of Crimson eyes and circle around the foot of the cliff beneath the Circle of All.  They continue to follow Jarmok as he eventually enters a lightly wooded area on the edge of the island and they soon discover a large crack in the cliff wall.  The tracks apparently lead straight into this cave.

The party moves back to the river's edge to plot and plan.  After much discussion they decide to set traps and wait until night to spring an ambush on the rat folk.

Laren, Kit, and Ragnar leave to investigate the disappearances of the children, while Jarmok and Maal remain to plan and build the necessary traps for the ambush.  Ragnar also needs to pick up a pair of leather archer's gloves.

Jarmok and Maal have a brief discussion of the rat people while they plan the ambush.  The rat folk could have kidnapped the children, and may have them in the cave.  Waiting for night may not be the best solution if the children are in danger.  They also wonder if there is another connection...  Are the three rat people that they have tracked actually the missing children?

Jarmok decides that he is in need of trap building supplies and equipment.  Maal remains to keep watch while Jarmok returns to his cabin to get his supplies.

Meanwhile, Laren and Kit gather information about the missing children.  It seems all of the teenagers were apparently acting very strange for a few days prior to their disappearance.  As they stand in the street discussing this new information, Laren notices Jarmok running past.  The halfling is suspicious of Jarmok and is worried about the strange man's behavior.  What if Maal is in trouble?

Kit: "You can go back if you want... You're just looking at my bum anyway!"
Laren: "Hey, I'm just gathering information!"
Laren leaves to check on Maal.

Maal patiently keeps watch over the road, until, Ragnar, Laren, and finally Jarmok all return in succession.  The setting of the traps then proceeds.  The plan is to hide and wait until the rat folk are passing through the trap area.  Jarmok will suddenly light a torch, which will be the queue for Maal and Ragnar to light their torches.  It is hoped that the sudden torch light will surprise and frighten the rat people and perhaps even cause them to panic in the midst of the traps and thereby trigger some of the traps.  As this is happening, the party will have the opportunity to fire missile weapons at the them and then charge into melee if necessary.

Kit eventually returns and then departs again to retrieve some lunch for the group.  Upon returning with the food, from Lander Leofric at the The Cliffside Inn, information about the missing children and the rat people is exchanged.  Finally, once the traps are set, the waiting begins.

Sometime during night:
After much patient waiting, Jarmok finally sees three humanoid shapes moving from the cave towards the waiting traps.  However, the figures pause just before reaching the traps.  The leader looks around cautiously and stoops to sniff the ground. It becomes clear to Jarmok that the trio of mysterious creatures has become aware of the traps that lay in wait. Although Maal suspects that they have detected the members of the party rather than the snares. Jarmok responds quickly by lighting his torch and grabbing his axe.  Maal and Ragnar also light their torches, but the rat-men aren't quite in the trap area and immediately retreat towards the cave.

Jarmok moves immediately to cut them off as the others close in.  Laren gets a shot off with his bow, but unfortunately hits a tree.  As the three rat-men retreat they morph into four legged giant rats (bigger than the two killed in the stable).  Jarmok closes in and swings the flat of his axe at one of them, but he misses.  It's obvious to him that the rats are too fast for him to catch up to, so in a last ditch attempt to stop them, Jarmok drops his axe and tries to grapple one of them.  He misses, and gets bit, and the rats soon disappear back into the cave.

The party investigates the opening.  Though the entrance is only about three feet wide, the tunnel appears to widen significantly further in.  They decide to follow the rats inside.

You come through the trees to a slight clearing. The cliff rises above you and you can hear the river behind you. In front of you is a crack in the cliff wall with an opening 3?wide. The smell of mildew and dung punches you as you enter the opening. Ahead of you are some weathered stairs descending into darkness. The walls were once crafted but are now broken and cracked. Dirt, roots and moss grow from between the wallstones and the sound of dripping water echoes from below. The stench of offal gets stronger as you get to the bottom of the stairs.

The marching order is thus:
Jarmok
Maal
Laren
Kit (carrying a lit torch)
Ragnar

The tunnel at the bottom of the stairs turns to the right and leads to into a chamber littered with offal.  The chamber is lit dimly by a candle and Kit's torch.  There are three giant rats (which seem to be similar in size to the stable rats) feeding on the offal in the center of the chamber.  There is an old wooden door on the opposite wall, just past the rats.

Turning to the right (north) you see a dim glow coming from a room down the short hall. the room is 20x20 with a crude door on the north wall on the western side. There is a candle sconce on the western wall and some raw meat being devoured by three large rats in the middle of the room.

Jarmok begins to cross the chamber, cautiously heading towards the door, but the rats turn on him and attack.  Laren quickly fires an arrow, but misses as Jarmok fights off a rat trying to bite him.  Laren dodges an attacking rat while Maal charges in and is quickly bitten.  Ragnar fires a bolt past Laren and nails one of the rats right between the eyes!  Only two giant rats left.  Maal misses with her spear and Jarmok misses with his axe.  Kit fires a bolt at Jarmok's rat, but misses.

Laren changes tactics and flanks around the rats in order to get a clear shot.  He hits!  Jarmok, meanwhile, is bitten badly.  The rat teeth tear into the flesh of his leg.  Maal avoids being bitten and then spears a rat to the floor, leaving only one remaining giant rat.  Ragnar and Jarmok miss. A deep low drone fills the chamber and the last giant rat suddenly bursts [from Kit's still secret psionic power], spewing it's innards all over Jarmok who was battling with it.

Laren's jaw drops as the rat seems to tear into Jarmol's leg, withdraw, and then explode! Not being quite as shocked as he appears (he has seen a lot of wildly strange things!), Laren allows a couple of seconds to pass (just to add to the drama) before stating, "Jarmok, I don't know what's coursing through your veins, but I think it disagreed with the rat's digestive system."

Jarmok is actually in a lot of pain from the wound and does not respond to Laren's quip. He looks wildly at the rat and its guts splattered all about the little chamber and himself. He gimps backward a step and looks for something else to occupy him.

The moment passes and Laren marches over to the wooden door, determined to open it, but halts at the last minute at Maal's urgent request.  She and Jarmok are both very injured, and are against continuing onward.  Jarmok cleans himself up as Ragnar bandages his wounded leg.  Maal wedges the door shut with several rat bones and rocks.  She seems unfazed by the blood and gore.

The party exits the cave and collects the torches from the trap area.  The traps are left intact without worry, since this is a very low traffic area.  Everyone then walks back towards the Wolfsong Bridge.  Jarmok notices that Maal is limping and indicates that she should follow him.

Maal: "Where?"
Jarmok: "To healer."

While the rest of the party returns to the inn to rest, Maal follows Jarmok to the healer's house.  Jarmok knocks upon the door and the healer, Ash, eventually answers.  Upon recognizing Jarmok he lets them inside and graciously makes them as comfortable as he can.  He carefully examines their wounds and then spreads an ointment over both the wounds and the bandages that he applies.  A side effect of the medication is apparently drowsiness, as Jarmok and Maal soon fall fast asleep.

Gorrish Gyth Basque [29 April]: Morning:
Jarmok and Maal awaken to find their wounds fully healed.  They talk with Ashe during breakfast, describing the rat-man encounters on the isle.  Ashe reveals some history of the caves beneath the island.  In ancient times, before the Shadow Wars, there was a temple to Grumbar there.  The caves were also used as a place of hiding during the Shadow Wars.

Jarmok and Maal return to the inn and meet the rest of the party for breakfast.  They send for Julius Hawkhaven.  Julius soon arrives and much discussion follows.  The party ultimately agrees to build a net trap in front of the cave entrance, with the hope that they can lure the rat-men out into the trap and subdue them.  If the rat people truly are the missing children, then capturing them will be preferrable to killing them.

Laren suggests that Ashe could have a light poison or something similar that could be used to help subdue the rat folk.  He and Kit leave to pay the healer a visit.  After a brief visit, they come away with some Blackmoss (15 applications) and some healing salve (5 applications).

Meanwhile, Jarmok, Maal, and Ragnar collect the equipment necessary for the net trap and make their way back across the Wofsong and down to the cave to set up the new ambush.

Laren and Kit eventually catch up to the others down at the cave.  Kit notices that Jarmok has a hole in his armor and she offers to fix it for him.  Jarmok hands over the damaged piece of armor and Kit spends part of her day working on it.  She also retrieves some lunch for the party again while the others continue to work on the trap.

The net trap is eventually completed.  Everyone then applies the Blackmoss syrup to their missile weapons.  Their arrows, bolts, and Maal's spear tip (which takes three applications) are all treated.  Jarmok then goes down into the caves alone to unwedge the door.

He finds that the candle has burned out completely now. As he approaches the wooden door he notices a very dim light escaping from beneath the door. Before opening the door Jarmok investigates the scene to determine whether anyone had tried to open the door. Satisfied that the door has been left alone, he very carefully removes the wedges from the door and then leaves as silently as he entered.

Finally, the whole party spends the remainder of the day working on their hiding spots in the woods surrounding the net trap.

Night:
The three rat-men eventually emerge very slowly from the cave. The first one, carrying a sickle, sniffs at the night air and peers into the darkness with considerable caution. He is followed out of the cave by the other two, both bearing short spears. They proceed forward, creeping very slowly across the net, seemingly unaware of the trap that has been set. The first rat-man actually steps over the trip wire, but the second rat-man trips it, springing the trap. All three rat-men are hoisted up as the net closes around them. They all struggle madly to be free. The rat-man wielding the sickle tries desperately to cut through the net with the weapon.

Jarmok lets fly an arrow at the sickle wielding rat-man, but misses.  Ragnar fires a bolt at the same rat-man and strikes him!  The rat-man passes out from the Blackmoss, dropping his sickle to the ground.  The party approaches and knocks out the remaining rat-men by striking them with the poisoned weapons.  The net is then lowered, but as the unconscious rat-men are removed they do indeed morph back into human form.  They are indeed human teenagers!  Most likely the very same ones that have gone missing.

Jarmok suggests bringing them straight to Julius' home, despite the late hour.  Ragnar carries two children while Maal carries one over her shoulder.  Jarmok runs ahead to awaken Julius and inform him of their apparent success.  Upon awakening, Julius suggests taking the children to Ashe for immediate treatment.  Jarmok runs off and intercepts the party, redirecting them towards Ashe's home.  He then runs off ahead to Ashe's house and awakens the healer to give him the news.  Ashe is excited and more than willing to help.  He immediately goes about looking for certain herbs and whatnot on his shelves.

Maal, Ragnar and the others finally arrive with the children who are secured onto beds.  Kit and Laren offer to assist Ashe in the preparation and healing.  Ashe does his work and soon announces that the children will be fine after their recovery.

A couple of days later:
The party returns to Ash's house and talks with the children to get their story.  They were apparently bitten by a rat-man named Rawling outside of town.  Rawling was dressed in rags yet clearly had the symbol of Kazbourne on his tunic.  The children reveal that Rawling was also living in the caves beneath the isle.  However, they have not seen him since before the party's first ambush.

Treasure found on the children-turned-rat-men:
3 pp(Dracs-Vychia)
30 gp(15 Crowns-Vychia, 9 Stags-Rhohannus, 6 Torch-Kazbourne)
51 sp(22 griff-Vychia, 19 Uni-Rhohannus, 10-Serpntshell-Kazbourne)
75 cp(33 peg-Vychia, 21 Citypiece-Rhohannus, 21 Fist-Kazbourne)
3 gems (30 gp each, 1 ruby, 2 sapphire)
3 sets (fork, spoon, knife) guilded untensils (worth 15 gp each)
nothing

Offline fraz

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Episode 02: The Rat Trap
« Reply #1 on: April 26, 2005, 10:35:36 PM »
Quote from: wildfire
Fraz, i entered my intros and descriptions in italics. would you please make the fluid adjustments integrating Johans' edits?


Looks great!  Thanks Wildfire!  I did some minor fixing, as you suggested.
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Offline Wildfire

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Episode 02: The Rat Trap
« Reply #2 on: April 26, 2005, 10:04:09 PM »
Fraz, i entered my intros and descriptions in italics. would you please make the fluid adjustments integrating Johans' edits?
Wildfire

One should never underestimate the stimulation of eccentricity

Offline fraz

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Episode 02: The Rat Trap
« Reply #3 on: April 26, 2005, 09:41:42 PM »
Quote from: wildfire
when i described them coming out of the cave i was describing specifically to Jarmok. he was closest and had the vision for it. as they went closer to the snares Maal would have maybe heard something faintly or have even saw shadows moving but by the time that would have happened Jarmok had lit the torches.


That's what I thunk.  Thanks for the clarification, Mr. GM.  I'll fix the log now.
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Offline Wildfire

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Episode 02: The Rat Trap
« Reply #4 on: April 26, 2005, 09:13:01 PM »
when i described them coming out of the cave i was describing specifically to Jarmok. he was closest and had the vision for it. as they went closer to the snares Maal would have maybe heard something faintly or have even saw shadows moving but by the time that would have happened Jarmok had lit the torches.
Wildfire

One should never underestimate the stimulation of eccentricity