SETTING: The Sundered Land
Volka, 1st level Halfing Fighter (Hunter) and her hawk
Tilly, 1st level Elf Cleric
Potato, 1st level Dwarf Magic-User and his donkey
Fiona, 1st level Human Fighter (Pirate) and her chicken
Daedriin, 1st level Halfling Thief ("Specialist!")
During a night of heavy gambling and drinking at the lowliest alehouse in the town of Damford in the realm of West Sundered-Land, arrangements were made between five of the oddest out-of-towners to band together and seek their fortunes. Following a tip that opportunities may be found at a "higher class" tavern (relatively speaking) known as The Two Queens, the party (known as "Daedriin's Heroes" according to Daedriin) headed to a better side of town. Before long, they spotted an establishment with a sign depicting two regal women with crowns beating each other with sticks.
"That must be The Two Queens!" one of the adventurers observed.
Entering the tavern, they found it to be higher scale indeed. There was actual furniture! Looking around, they noticed a handful of patrons scattered throughout the premises. Two men dressed in the rich black finery commonly worn by members of the Goldsmith's Guild were in quiet, serious conversation at one table. The bartender, who was drawing pints from the kegs along the back wall, was a well-muscled man in his sixties with short-cropped gray hair and a possible tattoo.
"Ooh! A man with a history!" gushed Volka.
Meanwhile, a fair wench glided over and welcomed them with a warm smile.
"Dibs!" blurted Daedriin.
They ordered food and drink and inquired about unusual job opportunities. She directed them to the post just outside the tavern. Stepping outside, they saw the post, upon which were nailed various notices. A man was observed nailing such a notice to the post at that very moment. His hair was cut in the fashion of a page and he wore black hose, a yellow tabard, and a sword at his side. The party inquired if the man (who introduced himself as Kren) knew of any jobs that might require the talents of a band of fearless adventurers.
Kren: "Well, as a matter of fact, I was just posting such a notice for my employer."
Party member: "And who might that be?"
Kren: "His name is Tayzhen. Would you like me to take you to him?"
The party agreed and followed Kren to a truly better side of Damford and a richly appointed inn with a doorman. Inside, there was a banquet hall where rich merchants were drinking and conversing. A minstrel was casually plucking a lyre by the large hearth. They were escorted to a private suite on the second storey, where they were introduced to Tayzhen, a man of aristocratic poise. His red hair and beard were cut short and he wore a robe of yellow silk with ermine trim. Tayzhen politely indulged their unrefined manners, perhaps because the novelty of the party's unusual composition amused him, and told them that he did indeed have a proposition. He required someone to deliver a letter to his old mentor, a scholar, and to retrieve from the same a book he had left behind when he had been a pupil. The payment, if the book was brought back to him, would be 100 gold pieces. At this the party's eyes bulged and their jaws dropped. They were immediately suspicious, and asked him why he couldn't do it himself. He answered that he had important business to transact whilst he was in Damford and didn't have time to make the journey himself, however much he would like to see his mentor again. Potato became curious about Tayzhen's origins.
Potato: "Where are you from?"
Tayzhen: "I was born in another part of the realm, although I was educated in this region, as I said."
The party, still suspicious of their potential employer, pressed further, asking him why he would pay such a great sum merely to deliver a letter and retrieve a book. Tayzhen admitted that it was a dangerous undertaking. His mentor's residence lay a few days' travel north on the borderland, where the robbery of defenseless travellers was not unknown. Communication with his mentor was very important to him, as was the return of his book. At this, Potato unceremoniously subjected Tayzhen to a battery of questions.
Potato: "Is the book a very important book?"
Tayzhen: "It is important to me."
Potato: "Are you a wizard?"
Tayzhen (smiling): "I am a scholar, trained as was my mentor to study the heavens."
Potato: "Would you be willing to train me?"
Tayzhen: "We shall see."
Tayzhen told them to think it over and give him an answer the next morning, so they returned to The Two Queens to discuss matters. Daedriin thought he might make a few coins by entertaining the patrons with his lute-playing, but his performance was extraordinarily and uncharacteristically bad.
Wench: "We've received complaints. I fear I must ask you to stop playing."
Daedriin: "How much will you pay me to stop?"
Daedriin: "Just kidding!"
The party then deliberated where they should spend the night. The Two Queens was suggested, but Daedriin preferred the dingy alehouse where they all first met, so they returned to The Tower and Clam. Toothless Fred, the proprietor, was happy to see them again, and they soon seated themselves on crates at the barrels that substituted as tables. Fiona bought them a round, and the party set to weighing their options. It was decided that they would accept the generous offer rather than risk losing the opportunity in a search for a better job. They paid a pittance for sleeping accommodations on the floor of The Tower and Clam, and the next morning they returned to the inn.
Kren (whom Daedriin only ever addressed as "Human") answered the door and ushered them into the presence of Tayzhen, whom they found gazing through the window lost in thought. Tayzhen was delighted that the party had accepted his offer. He handed them an ivory scroll tube with a wax seal, telling them that under no circumstances should it be read by anyone but his mentor, Syrifex, and that the seal is there to ensure its confidentiality. Once the letter is read by Syrifex, the party would be able to return with the book, "bound in crocodile hide and bearing the image of a crocodile devouring the sun."
Tilly had another question.
Tilly: "Can we have an advance on our payment?"
Tayzhen: "Yes. I shall give you ten gold pieces. I trust that will be sufficient?"
The party was pleasantly surprised by this response, and, after excusing themselves, promptly set about equipping themselves for the journey. It was decided they would travel on foot, with provisions, and that Potato's donkey would be left in the care of Cousin Leonard, who coincidentally lived not far from Damford in the direction they were headed. (Potato's family is a curious one, and possibly the only dwarvish family in the world that resides amongst humans and certainly the only dwarvish family with a member trained in the magical arts.)
By late afternoon, Damford was no longer in sight to the south, but there was a wood visible to the north. Deciding to remain on the road that led through it, they noticed a trio of hooded individuals loitering on the road where it entered the wood. The party spread out, and one of the individuals saw them and stepped forward, pulling back his hood. It was a man, as were the other two. He smiled and spread his arms in welcome.
Bandit #1: "Greetings! May I deprive you of your valuables, or must I deprive you of your lives?"
Seeing that the party was hesitant to comply, the bandits decided for them, throwing a hammer, an axe, and a dagger at the party. The party responded with arrows, axes, daggers (including the one that Potato kept in his fez), and a staff sling-propelled rock, which caved in the skull of the youngest bandit. This party of mostly diminutive folk certainly surprised the bandits with their courage and martial skill, but the party was likewise surprised by the toughness of their adversaries. The two remaining bandits fought doggedly with swords until an accumulation of wounds convinced them that the party was too strong to defeat. Fleeing in opposite directions, both were pursued and killed, lest they alert possible allies.
After the fight, the party retrieved their missiles and the corpses were looted of their meager coin and their weapons. Tilly said last rites in accordance with her Trinarian faith. (Tilly's ecclesiastical status is a curious one she is possibly the only elvish Cleric in the world that exists outside of the realm of the elves.) Tilly suggested that they cremate the remains and give the bandits a proper funeral, but Volka pointed out the challenges of creating a fire hot enough, not to mention the fact that it might draw the attention of every bandit in the vicinity, so Tilly acquiesced and the corpses were dragged into the underbrush and left to rot.
Gains: An advance of 10 gold pieces, two swords, one hand axe, one throwing hammer, two daggers, a few silver pieces.
Kills: Three bandits.
[This campaign uses the silver standard. 10 c.p. = 1 s.p.; 20 s.p. = 1 g.p.]
[The system used for this session was Basic/Expert D&D and Labyrinth Lord with a dash of Lamentations of the Flame Princess.]
[The session report format is inspired by Patrick Wetmore's session recaps in Henchman Abuse.]
[Edit: Corrected a misspelling: "Daedriin," not "Daerdrinn."]