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A Giant in the Silver Marches (4)

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ThatSlowTypingG
previous threads: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?tags=Silver%20Marches

>Character sheet / Dramatis Personae

You are Ulf, a Giant from the Stillwater plains. Among the tallest of the stone kin, your kind tower above any of the smaller races. With stone or bow you can lay waste to enemies from afar.

In the past you put your natural abilities to good use as a mercenary, working as part of
a siege regiment in the south. Now you've come north into the yet untamed wilds in the hopes of finding greater wealth in the Silver Marches. The prospect of being able to test your skills is also a welcome one.

After passing the great Tyrese airship gate you saw some action along the trade road from the south. You picked up a Kobold named Jib Jab along the way who now accompanies you. He has is trained in stealth, scouting and tracking, giving you a chance to locate enemies for you to hit from range. Though you generally dislike the thought of small folk sneaking around the kobold has proven useful. He's now being treated as a full mercenary in his own right and is being paid for each job.

In the city of Silver Mantle you've met other giants and plenty of the smaller folk. Some you've done battle alongside, or taken jobs from. From encountering mythical creatures like wendigo, to running escort on gold and platinum shipments, you're started to make some real money here in the north.

An expedition farther into the north brought you into contact with centaurs, a Wyvern's lair and villages of the northern giants. They helped you find ancient ruins and equally old foes. Undead from a time long past still fighting a war almost lost to memory. You intend to return there when you've gathered enough allies and support.

Giants wander far, see many distant places but rarely stop there. Most only putting down roots long enough to have a few children before moving on. There are exceptions of course, some settling for one reason or another like food, work, friends and allies. Villages belonging to giants here in the north are not much different from those in the south, and little better than those of ogres.

While you had hoped for some adventure in the north, what you increasingly want is to find a place for those few giants that wish to stop for awhile. A place of their own. The Shining City, built into the side of a mountain in the northern plains, may have once been such a place. Its founder was a giant warrior who slew dragons and used their hoards to raise a monument to his own greatness. You don't share his ambitions, but the foundations are still strong. It could become a powerful fortress to protect against the expansion of the northern orcs.
This season is rapidly drawing to a close. Though the days are likely to remain warm the nights are getting colder. Now out in the wilderness with a gold prospecting expedition, you can see snow beginning to dust the nearby mountains. Leaves on some trees higher up the mountain side are beginning to change colour. Shades of orange, yellows and red are becoming visible across the countryside. You can see the trees and forests closer to the river are still green but they'll likely start soon.

There's plenty of time to finish your current job and perhaps a few more before winter becomes an issue. You and the other giants can handle cold well enough, far better than the smaller ones. A group of giants would be relatively unhindered by even the deepest snow. Maybe there will be some other opportunities to make money this winter?

Currently you're helping to guard a small prospecting expedition for a somewhat eccentric mage calling himself Myron the Magnificent. He claims to have located gold in the north, a scare commodity that seems to have largely disappeared at some point in the past. Gold going missing is blamed as the reason for the Shining City falling into ruin. Because of this many local giants consider it cursed. That the mage may have found some is curious indeed.

If it turns out his new spell is a failure and you've out here on a wild goose chase at least you'll be paid for it.

Right now the mage and most of the party have gone underground. A stone druid has carved a path for them deep into the mountain. It's too small for giants so you Cirus and the halfling druid Sandra Carlisle are guarding the camp. They've been down there for quite awhile but the tunnel is quite deep. If the mage is even half as powerful as he claims they should do well enough.

Sandra has hidden the camp with plant growth and a number of her odd birds are keeping watch. There's only so much she can do to conceal the magical stone tower the wizard brought along. The instant fortification Myron claimed to be a relic from the titan war is taller than you are. Eventually someone was bound to take notice of it.

Sandra reports at least one goblin scout trying to stealthily pick their way through the hedges from the north. There are no signs of others present. While a single goblin isn't terribly threatening all of you arm yourselves just in case.
You think you can tell where the minute green skin is when a tiny voice cries out from their position.
"We have you surrounded! Hand over your valuables and nobody gets hurt!"
There's some rustling from the other shrubs surrounding the camp but Sandra reports they're simply an illusion. No one is there, just the lone goblin.

"You're not from that tribe we nearly wiped out a few weeks back?" you ask. "I though you'd learned your lesson."

"That was a different tribe. We use even stronger poison! Hand over your gold, silver and other shinies if you want to live."

The world has a way of correcting the stupid or overly ambitious. Or in this case your bow would make sure they won't ever have a chance of threatening other prospectors in the future. Sandra did want to show off how dangerous her blade thrush birds can be. Cirus jokes it might be funny to teach the goblin a lesson and bury them in more gear than they could ever carry.

[ ] This is a distraction, just shoot them.
[ ] Let Sandra's birds have some fun
[ ] "Surrender" more valuables than any small one could carry
[ ] Warn them off
[ ] Write-in
Rolls in the Silver Marches quest.
Available roll types will be impacted by your training in a skill range. You're an archer and as such any sort of roll involving aim will be best of 3.

Untrained rolls will use an average of at least 3 rolls. If you feel that an archer appropriate skill should be used for a particular roll feel free to argue it with an explanation.

1d20 is generally used for combat
1d100 for certain types of abilities and out of combat actions

Roll ranges are: (d20 example)
(1)Crit fail / 2-7 fail / 8-12 average / 13-19 good / (20)crit success

Your Adamant Poisoned Golden Tree Bow allows you to crit on an 18 or higher.
>[ ] Let Sandra's birds have some fun
We need motto or battlecry for the start of a thread for this quest
"Sandra, you might as well let your birds have some fun."

"Oh really?" The halfling responds with a gleam in her eye.
"Hey gobbo, any chance you know what a blade thrush is? They're from the mountains of the west coast."

"No funny business," the goblin calls back. "Give up your gold or we'll start shooting."

The druid points to the bushes where the goblin's voice has been coming from. A trio of her birds swoop down. Just before reaching the greenery they furl their wings out into a disc shape and spin. You catch faint blue streaks of magic coming from their wingtips as they slice through the shrubs, hitting with enough speed to send leaves and smaller branches flying. What exactly happens after that is out of your view but involves a few seconds of cursing in orcish followed by screaming. Lots of screaming.

Though it doesn't stop, it also doesn't take long for the screaming to begin fading into the distance.

Sandra seems satisfied.
"I could have had them take the greenskin's head off but that would have been too easy."
>Meanwhile with the the rest of the party...
You are Jib Jab a Kobold trained in sneaking, stabbing and tracking. You've traveled deep underground with the rest of the party, helping to smooth out interactions with any of the local kobolds.

This has been a near thing. Priests and worshipers of the dragon Chrysophylax were prepared to attack you in order to defend the shrine to their long dead dragon. The Dwarf Harum was helpful in convincing the others to back off and try at the gold deposit from another angle.

A dark yellow metallic barrier surrounds the deposit, made of a metal the local kobolds couldn't penetrate. It's not gold, that much you could tell. Even Kobolds would have little trouble in mining out a soft metal like that. Harum thinks the barrier is spherical and you vote for coming at it from the top. Less chance of flooding that way if anything goes wrong.

"That's a real specific concern." Urdrenn the orc points out.

Harum gives his voice an ominous tone.
"You ever heard the story about a dwarven hold that was flooded by a magic flask of endless water?"
"Those are not real, it's a myth I'll ask you not to propagate." Myron shouts from the back.
"Something flooded that hold, and it wasn't natural."
"Elementals exist," Trilah pipes up.
"Could be a water elf." Urdrenn suggests with a grin.
"Those also aren't real, now stop distracting the stone druid."

At last Harum tells the party to hold and digs downward nearly a foot. Much as his calculations had predicted you're above the wall or barrier of dingy yellow metal that the kobolds had built their shrine next to. The dwarf pushes back the stone walls, creating a domed area large enough to work in. Aside from the one foot deep hole down to the metal he leaves enough stone intact for everyone to stand on.

"Don't want to go for a tumble if this pops like a bubble. Doubt that'd be a fall one could survive."

The next half hour is spent tapping away at the material. Hammer, chisel any number of mundane tools are tried, leaving hardly so much as a dent. Once Myron and his assistants have unpacked their gear he confirms that the material is magical in nature.

Harum crosses his arms.
"I could'a told you that, even without the kobolds saying near as much."

Ignoring the dwarf Myron continues his analysis.
"It's very similar to mithril or adamant. This could very well be another form of god metal never before seen. Just think of what this will do to my reputation!"

There's a good deal of discussion between the mage and his retinue over the next couple of hours. Looking through books Myron eventually decides that the barrier metal may be a type of magic infused gold alloy. A mage in the south was ordered to create a suit of golden armor for an elven king. The mage was supposedly found dead but they were ultimately successful in creating a strong golden armor. The king named this metal orichalum. Unfortunately because the mage died no one has managed to duplicate the process.

Myron thinks the elves would pay a fortune for this, though how to cut or melt down a wall of the stuff is a difficult question. What Harum can say about the barrier is that it's not a solid sphere. There is an empty area in the middle. The mage seems certain there is gold inside.
"I'll have to return to the surface to gather the necessary materials to make a sigil powerful enough to get through this orichalum. There's no two ways about it. So much for resolving this quickly and being off."

You and Trilah have another option. Annihilation magic. Though dangerous it could blast a hole through the barrier, and wouldn't take very long either. It might alert the kobolds nearby that you're up to something.

[ ] Delay a few more days, let the mage try his way
[ ] Faster but louder, annihilation magic
[ ] Write-in
[X ] Delay a few more days, let the mage try his way
>[ ] Delay a few more days, let the mage try his way
The party returns to the surface to prepare for a slower but maybe safer way of doing things. To everyone's annoyance this take longer than even Myron had anticipated. The mage brought plenty of supplies for himself but the rest of the party need to begin foraging to make sure there are enough foor for the trip back. Fortunately it being late in the season helps out well on that front.

Ulf and Urdrenn do most of the hunting, while Sandra and Jib Jab bring back plenty of edible plants and roots. The two southern elves argue incessantly over cooking methods to the point where the rest of the party get them to shut up by taking turns. It's only partially effective at keeping them from each other's throats but it helps.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ttCJ6uQN_Q [LotR - A Journey in the Dark]

Nearly four days after reaching the orichalum barrier the team is back underground once more. This time Myron crafts an intricate magic circle with many lines, patterns, runes and other bits that seem decorative. When he activates it the lines glow with energy for some time. Most of you expected the cramped tunnels to heat up but that doesn't happen. Instead when the glowing stops the section of metal inside the circle crumbles like sand, falling away into a void space below.

It's dark enough that none of you can see anything within at first. There's only enough light to tell that the barrier itself is more than two feet thick. Even the dwarf had guessed that only the outer shell might be made of orichalum, not the whole thing. There are enough shadows from the meagre light given off by the lanterns to cause some concern. It's hollow but not empty.

By dint of being the smallest party member you're unanimously elected (by everyone else) to go first into the dark scary magic metal sphere.

While the others get a rope ready, Myron hands you a few bags.
"Make sure to collect all of the orichalum dust that's fallen down. It's worth a great deal of money. I'll need as much as I can get for study."
Sounds like it might be a good idea to save some of it for yourself and Ulf, not just the mage.

Harum gives you a brighter burning lantern that he reckons should better illuminate the interior.
"Wish I'd brought some flares to toss into the hole. These lanterns aren't sturdy enough to survive a hard fall like that."

Slowly lowered down you have a chance to look around the interior. Wisps of the yellowed metal are frozen in place like a dust storm. Some are in the way and you have to push off them to continue descending. They seem sturdy enough that they might take your weight but maybe not the larger party members.

Then you see what has to be the center. A dragon.
"Did you say dragon?!" Trilah calls out.

You did but it's not alive. This has to be the dead one the other kobolds were worshiping. All of the wisps look to converge on it. Perhaps dead isn't right either. In the time it takes to reach the ground you get a better view of the dragon. It's hasn't simply died, it's frozen in place much like the wisps are. Standing on all fours with wings raised and mouth still open in a final roar, it's scales reflect light similar to how the orichalum does. In front of it are piles of dust, rust and broken glass or crystal.

On closer inspection the dragon isn't quite shiny like the orichalum... it's shiny like gold. The entire dragon, a creature bigger than the Wyvern you fought, is solid gold.

Trilah, Harum and even Myron are soon on their way down to join you.
"Looks like we found your gold deposit." Harum concludes.

Searching the interior you find signs of this dragon's hoard scattered about. Silver, even copper pieces, gems, a weapon or two. The few coins here and there that should have been gold have all turned to orichalum. You and Trilah both have been filling pockets with anything valuable looking that's easy to move. The others arn't exactly being watchful. Myron and Harum are occupied with the dragon statue and the objects arranged in front of it.

"Fascinating. I never suspected such things could be. This broken crystal may have been a magelock of enormous power."

After checking the dragon statue from stem to stern the dwarf gets everyone's attention.
"Am I the only one concerned about logistics?"

"You're right," Trilah answers before whistling to the others up above.
"Throw down more bags! We've got a haul to take out of here!"
"I meant this dragon."

"Clearly we're taking it with us." Myron answers.
"How do you expect to do that? We'd have to turn a whole facing of this here sphere to slag in order to get it out through the larger caves. That's going to mean a fight with tribes of kobolds the entire way."

That doesn't sound particularly appealing to any of you.
"Oh I suppose I could prepare a suitable container with space time magic back in the city. That way it could be put it in something small enough to get it to the surface. That's going to require weeks of preparations. Very bothersome, but it would still fund my work for decades."

"Gold's not that strong," Trilah points out. "Why not chop it up? We can get it out of the mountains now before anyone finds out."

On the one hand gold is gold, but on the other this is a dragon. Or maybe it just used to be a dragon. Is breaking it up into pieces a thing you can really support?

[ ] Gold is gold, and that's a lot of gold
[ ] You can't chop up that statue! Find another way
[ ] Write-in
>[ ] You can't chop up that statue! Find another way
Chop it up, you can also melt gold down into ingots over a campfire, which should make it easier to carry out.
>you can also melt gold down into ingots over a campfire, which should make it easier to carry out.
This is true.

We're going to need a tie breaker.
I'd rather not roll a d2 for this decision guys. Anyone?
Whenever we get past this decision we'll be returning to playing Ulf.

I'm taking suggestions for other platforms to run future quests on. After getting Ace Combat to actually work with my flight stick the other day I remembered I did have an idea for an air combat focused quest awhile back. I'm not immediately abandoning A Giant in the Silver Marches but I might as well get some planning in place ahead of time for my next one.
I'm not waiting a week or two for this. Support.
Thinking it over, gold is gold and that's a lot of gold. That dragon is long gone, and if his tribe aren't going to take his remains and hoard, someone should.

Harum glances between you two and the mage.
"Trilah and Jib Jab might be right. Keeping this place safe while you construct magic transport contraptions is going to be a difficult job."

"Hmm, yes, but I want a few parts left intact! All of you hear me, that head will be of great value to one of the kings in the south. The imagery alone it could conjure. Yes, that's part of my shares of the treasure!"

All of you get to work. It takes rope and magical fire to carefully sever parts of the dragon without damaging them or causing the whole thing to fall. The dwarf then constructs a stone crucible to use with melting down pieces into more easily transported ingots. Some pieces are left more or less intact as requested.
Myron's lackeys send down as many portable hole lined bags as possible to store gold to make transport easier. Even then, with the largest being reseved for the head you quickly run out of space.

Bags are roped up through the entrance in the ceiling after the mage removes a few of the flimsier orichalum structures in the way. After that ingots are hauled up with everyone available making trips to the surface with them. It's hard work getting this much gold out and its doubtful you'll be able to remove all of it. Everyone is throwing bags of orichalum dust or coin in among them or stuffing pockets.

Even using the magic bags for the trips to the surface and emptying them there is still hard work. Trilah wonders if some other party members should take a turn.
"Should we ask the giants again if the mage can't shrink them a bit? They'd be able to help haul a lot more gold out of the tunnel."

"Nah," Harum shakes his head. "Don't ask a giant twice if they're willing to go into a mine. If they didn't say yes the first time they're not likely to the second. What you should be asking them to is if they're each willing to pull a cart on the way back."

More carts are going to be needed that's for sure.

You are once again Ulf and do you have your work cut out for you. With the others brought up bags loaded with gold you were expecting the others to appear behind them. Perhaps make a second trip when they went back into the tunnel. You certainly weren't expecting multiple trips with gold ingots, silver coin and other metals besides. This is less a dragon's hoard than it is a mint.

It doesn't take the rest of the party saying anything to know that you'll need more carts. You, Cirus and Sandra set about finding some suitable trees to chop down.

"If I'd known we were going to turn this place into a noisy logging camp I would have killed that goblin. It's easy for warbands to miss places like these normally when the trees and undergrowth are just right. If the gob tattles on us we'll be up a creek without a paddle."

The wagons are crudely fashioned but they should hold together until you get back to the city. On that front it's going to be a longer trip back. Despite the tactical disadvantage you and Cirus will certainly help pull a wagon each. That won't be enough. The horses will be needed to help pull others.

Urdrenn asks how things are going on one of his trips from the mine. He also checks the hastily assembled wagons. Seeing she has someone new to complain to Sandra fills in the orc on what she figures will happen.

"This caravan is going to get spotted, then anyone with horses or ogres fast enough to overtake us is going to take us apart piece by piece."

Urdrenn laughs off her pessimism.
"Have a little more enthusiasm. Just think about what you're going to do with your share of the gold when we get back to the city! I have a few ideas for destabilizing the economy. Cirus, Ulf, what do you plan to do with your gold? Any idea?"
>What say?
Saving up for a dangerous trip.
Financing some expeditions (into the pillar of lightning, trying to find the pillar of ice) and some business investments
"Saving up for a dangerous trip. Another expedition, maybe business investments." you reply, loading another wagon.

Cirus has a few ideas about investing in rebuilding part of the Shining City. Enough so that he and any friends have a place to stay when visiting. That's a nice sentiment.

"Come on Carlisle, you must have some idea." Urdrenn presses before, heading for the tunnel once more.
"Fine. If we actually manage to get back to the city with any of this? I might just fly south for the winter."
"Fly? You can go fast enough with those birds to fly?"
"No, on an airship. There has to be another platinum run or two this year."

You'd never even considered such a thing. Then again it's not like they'd ever carry a giant on an airship. Right?

Discussion is starting about how many more wagons will be needed when you hear noises from below. Urdrenn comes rushing back up the tunnel shouting to pack up the camp. Local kobolds have found out that surfaces are taking gold out of the mountains and they are not happy about it. Harum is sealing sections of the tunnels behind them but it might not be long before kobolds start coming out of the ground elsewhere.

You hear Myron shouting to his assistants, trying to figure out how much orichalum they were able to get out with.
"Not a lot sir. Just the dust and any coins."
"Blast! The kingdoms of the Empire could outfit entire legions with that much orichalum! We'll have to come back with reinforcements, but for now we run away with our gold."

That could be difficult. Right now there's more gold than you can reasonably transport. This despite having made 4 extra wagons now. You could delay and fend off the inevitable attacks by the kobolds, or you could abandon whatever can't be carried. Leaving the remaining gold might slow them down enough that they wouldn't pursue. Or Harum could bury it for later recovery.

"These wagons look sturdy. Are you sure they can't carry more?" one of Myron's assistants ask.
"No, they'd break under the strain," Sandra informs him. "We'll already need to keep our going slow just with this much."
Both ranchers confirm this assessment. They've seen enough wagon break downs over the years.

[ ] Hold until more wagons can be built
[ ] Leave some gold to slow the kobolds
[ ] Bury gold for later recovery
[ ] Write-in?
Resuming tomorrow.
>Leave some gold to slow the kobolds
Bury it, we're probably carrying more than enough as it is and leaving it for just anyone to find seems silly.
>[ ] Bury gold for later recovery
It's not even 8AM and it's already the most humid day of the year here.
"Best to bury it. We don't want just anyone finding it."
Several of the others agree. If the orcs find it you'll have a more difficult time going after the orichalum later.

As the wagons begin to roll out any spare tarps, blankets and other coverings are thrown onto them. Jib Jab gets to work securing them in place to help hide what your cargo is. You definitely don't want anyone to see you're carrying entire carts full of gold before you get inside the city limits. Not that the metallic sounding clank of the ingots whenever you go over a bump are going to make that easy.

At good speed you could get back to the city in 4 days. This is going to take longer, though you're thankfully above walking pace. Those who donated their horses to pulling wagons are at least able to ride on them. The others estimate you might make the city in 5 days if the river doesn't slow you down too much.

"There's no way in hell these wagons will float," Sandra points out.
"Then Cirus and I will just have to pull them across one at a time," you answer.

Within two hours you've traveled a reasonable distance from your camp site. A good thing too as you feel the ground begin to shake. Rocks and boulders begin to roll down the mountainside near the camp. Sandra sends one of her birds back to look around. They return not long after having spotted dozens of kobolds emerging from caves farther to the north. Others are appearing farther up the mountain, above the site of the rockslide.

"Don't slow down or we're going to be in trouble."

On foot the kobolds are likely to exhaust themselves before enough can catch up. It is going to mean all of you will have to go all out through the day. Not that you have much daylight either as sunset is fast approaching. Pushing on as late as light allows Urdrenn reckons you've made it just shy of 30 kilometers in 5 hours.

One of the carts need minor repairs so you have no choice but to stop for a couple of hours. It gives everyone and the horses a chance to rest up, but the sky is well and truly dark by the time the fix is completed.

The question now is, to continue through the night or not. Only four of you that can handle wagons have night vision and the terrain would be too difficult for the others to simply follow along. You'd have no choice but to light torches to carry on. That's going to give away your position.

[ ] Circle the wagons for the night
[ ] Light torches and continue on
[ ] Risk wagon damage and injury, continue without torches
[ ] Write-in
>[ ] Risk wagon damage and injury, continue without torches
>[ ] Circle the wagons for the night
I'm going to need at least 2d100, possibly more depending on what option gets additional votes.

Roll 2d100
Rolled 46, 43 = 89 (2d100)

If we don't have a tie breaker in 10 minutes I'm rolling a d2
>[ ] Circle the wagons for the night
Stacks of gold probably make good cover, some stakes and ditches and we practically have a fort.
Then please roll for it. 2d100.
Rolled 5, 63 = 68 (2d100)

You're prepared to march through the night, but that likely wouldn't work well for a number of reasons. For now circling the wagons and hiding the camp will have to do. Urdrenn and Jib Jab do what they can to disguise your trail. It's not much but if it makes it even a little bit more difficult for them to find you that will help.

Amedee stops one of Myron's assistants in the middle of breaking out their flint and tinder.
"No fires. We don't want to give ourselves away."
"They're only kobolds," the young man protests. Seeing Jib Jab he gives an apologetic shrug. "No offense but your kind are very small. we should be able to defend ourselves if they catch up."

In this case even Amedee, who cldearly doesn't care for kobolds overly much, informs the young man he'd bet on Jib Jab over him in a straight up fight right here and now.
"And that's only one kobold. There could be tens of them after us still."

Myron has his instant fortification ready to go up but doesn't lock the runes in place yet. After hearing how a goblin had spotted it he'll wait until it's absolutely necessary to put up the tower. That will keep the smaller ones and maybe even some of the horses safe if you're attacked but won't do much to protect your cargo.

Harum puts up a minor stone wall as additional protection. By the time he's done Sandra has redistributed some of the local platlife enough for an added disguise. Combined with the rangers work there's a chance they may miss you.

Everyone rests up while they can. Most of the others are exhausted still just from hauling bags of gold up from the depths. That before having to make an escape. You and Cirus try to hunker down and remain hidden behind the wagons so you won't stand out. In the middle of the night one of the others realises that the white fabric covers on two of the wagons stand out quite a bit and take them down.

Roughly about 3 in the morning Trilah begins waking people up, telling them to keep quiet. Kobolds are nearby. They haven't found you yet but if they do you'll need to be armed and ready. You have a few AoE arrows ready to go for taking down groups of them if they attack.

A noise not far to the north sends the nearest group scampering off in that direction and away from your position. There's a few screeching noises and what you think might be battle cries before the group quiets down and resumes heading west. They're past you for now.

At first light Harum and Sandra lower enough of the defenses to get the wagons out. Kobolds are still in the area and you may have to pass them in order to reach the river. That leaves the question of what to do about them. Try to fight through the searchers or change course?
Urdrenn is of the opinion that you have to move on from here either way.
"We can't stay here. They'll double back and find us eventually."

With a day and a half to two days to the river they're not going to make hanging onto all this gold easy. Going farther south will almost certainly mean contact with the Rock Crusher Tribe. With luck the diplomats will have established a treaty with them by now but there's no guarantee of that. North risks more goblins.

[ ] Punch through to the kobolds to the river
[ ] Circle farther south
[ ] Circle north
[ ] Write-in?
> [ ] Punch through to the kobolds to the river
>[ ] Punch through to the kobolds to the river
Better to punch through the kobolds to the river now in daylight rather than risk dealing with orcs. That or having kobolds swing back and catch you from an unexpected direction.

Those with horses take up the lead as the caravan heads out. While you had hoped to take up a leading position yourself, the others veto this. If you stop to fire your bow the other wagons will be stuck behind the one you'd been pulling. That's an issue. For now the giants will take up the rear. You should be able to fire over everyone's heads from back there.

The group is able to work their way up to a reasonable if noisy speed through the morning. When kobolds are spotted ahead the lead wagons change direction rather than continuing on through. The reason why soon becomes clear. This is the same trail you'd come in through and the kobolds have blocked it with wooden spikes. Amedee hangs back to help protect the wagons flank as a a few handfuls of arrows begin to pelt those farther ahead.

You halt and fire off a couple of arrows to force some of the kobolds to take cover. It helps buy enough time to catch up with the rest of the party while the kobolds reorganize. Those up front find a new path quickly enough and you press on. The carts are holding together despite rough ground.

"Another group ahead!" Cirus calls back to you.

These ones haven't been able to set traps yet so it looks like you'll be charging through. Did you want to help clear the way with AoE arrows? If so what kind?

1x Lightning S-Bolt (AoE)
1x Ice (AoE)
2x Piercing (AoE)
1x Sonic/Thunder (AoE)
3x Spirit (AoE)
14x Normal arrows

And we're going to need a roll of 2d20
Rolled 13, 15 = 28 (2d20)

Rolled 13, 2 = 15 (2d20)

>1x Ice (AoE)
Finally got a vaccine appointment so I'm probably going to be down and out for the second half of next week.
Halting your wagon you launch an ice arrow over the heads of the others. It lands just to the left of the trail the kobolds are trying to block off. Magical ice blasts everything nearby, freezing patches of trees, ground and a few kobolds. Others are hit by ice fragments or pieces of the arrow itself which breaks on impact. So much for hoping to recover it.

Myron lets loose with a bolt of chain lightning on the others, taking down four more kobolds. One of the dragon cultist priests begins blasting trees with a wand, causing three of them to collapse. Two fall away from the trail, but another collapses right into the path of the wagons. The cultist himself is taken care of by one of these trees, apparently not having much experience with felling them.

Seeing that the rest of the party are going to need more time to clear the path ahead you fire off an AoE piercing arrow. Not waiting for it to land, you grab your wagon and chase after the others. By the time you catch up you can see that the arrow has downed a few more enemies. Those with

Amedee, Urdrenn and Harum dismount and charge into melee, while most of the others provide covering fire. Cirus rushes forward to get the tree out of the way. You turn and keep watch for any threats from behind. Across a clearing more kobolds are starting to emerge from the woods in places. Ones that have followed from the previous trail. They don't have time to get into range before Cirus get the tree cleared and the others rush back to their horses.

What few arrows the survivors from the cleared blockade fire off are ineffective. One simply bounces off your new armor as you race past them. Jib Jab fires off a few bolts from his hand crossbow to deter any from following. Trilah rides past you and grabs your enchanted arrow before the kobolds can get it, tossing it aboard your wagon. One less thing to worry about.

From the shouting behind you anyone left is quite angry about your escape. There are no signs of real pursuit through the rest of the day except for an eagle Sandra thinks might be a spy. You've lost them for now.
>vaccine appointment
Good-bye, That slow typing guy.
Through the night work is done to repair the wagons from the jostling they've been taking over the days travels. Yours is holding up quite well, but Cirus' wagon is on the verge of falling apart. Harum and Sandra try every trick with wood and stone they know to patch it together. It should remain in once piece until you reach the river but after that it will be finished. You'll have to buy, barter or build a new one on the other side.

Similar defensive preparations are made to protect the camp once more though they prove unnecessary. No one has caught up with you yet.

The next day the eagle is back, following at lower and lower altitude. That can't be a good thing.
"Should I shoot it?" you ask.

Sandra slows her horse enough to fall back to your wagon.
"I don't think it will make any difference at this point. It's low enough now that whoever it belongs to probably knows we're here. I am going to mess up this trail though."

The druid halts briefly to put some plant life in the way of pursuers. It turns out to not be effective in this instance. Sandra soon catches up looking a little worried.
"You ever wondered what kobolds would use as mounts?"
"That was my first guess too. Turns out? Battle cats."
She points behind you then rides off ahead yelling to the others that you have company.

Glancing over your shoulder you see a group of approaching kobolds riding what look like armored mountain lions.

Do you intend to stop to engage them? Or will you keep moving, letting Jib Jab and those on horseback deal with the pursuers?
So many phone calls today.

I think I'm more likely to get killed holding up my bank or something because of the shit they're constantly trying to pull.
Engage them.
> engage them
"Jib Jab, hang on."

At the entrance to the next clearing you change direction, nearly flipping the wagon in the process as you drag it to a stop. Once it's back on all four wheels you reverse far enough to block the trail. As you take cover behind the wagon and ready your bow the riders begin to scatter. Some of them are trying to find a way around to either side through heavier brush while others charge headlong toward you.

Will you try to take out the more immediate threat, or put some arrows into those trying to get around you? That would certainly make sure all eyes are on you.

>1) Target preference?
1A) Target those charging at you
1B) Target the flanks, force them toward you
1C) Take cover, let them come to you

>2) Ammo types
[ ] Area of Effect
[ ] Improved
[ ] Basic
[ ] Normal arrows
[ ] Cannon balls
>1B) Target the flanks, force them toward you
>[ ] Basic
>1B) Target the flanks, force them toward you
>[ ] Cannon balls
Roll 2d20
Rolled 12, 16 = 28 (2d20)

Rather than shooting at those headed straight for you, you instead target the flanks. That should force them toward you, or at least delay their flanking attack.

You let fly with some of the lesser enchanted arrows, just in case it's necessary to leave them behind. There's still a few more days left on the road where they might be needed.

A couple of shots hit, or at least drive them back. It's a bit hard to tell as you fire off arrows as quickly as you can. You're not used to fighting cats so their sounds are a bit different from those of wolves. Some are still trying to flank but farther out now.

The rest drive onward, a few firing arrows that fail to get through your armor. Once close enough the snarling mountain lions leap up onto the wagon. Some of the kobolds leap off their mounts, others continue to hang on for dear life as the gold they land on shifts, sending them crashing over the other side. One urges their cat straight into you, trying to drive a spear into your face. You deflect it with your bow but it's a near thing.

This leaves you with a yowling hissing lion trying to hook its claws into your armor and bite at you. Refusing to drop your bow you grab a cannon ball from the throwing pouch and use it to smash the lion's head in. A punch from your bow hand deals with the kobold trying to force a knife through armor gaps.

Backing away from the wagon with the dead lion still clinging on, you hurl the cannon ball at the next available target. The hit sends a kobold flying. Another rushes you from the side aiming to spear your leg when it's hit by a magical dart. Trilah puts two more into him before changing targets.

Using the distraction of the reinforcements arrival you tear the dead lion free and hurl it at a pair of enemies trading blows with Jib Jab. Your smaller companion leaps beneath the wagon for cover.

"Ulf, North!" Urdrenn shouts.
Grabbing aother cannon ball you wind up before even having a clear view of the target. Once they're sighted it doesn't take long to send the iron ball down range at the pair. The ball skips once, kicking up dirt before slamming into the side of one lion, sending both cat and rider tumbling.

On the south side Amedee and Urdrenn soon chase off the others that were trying to flank from that direction. The remaining rider from the north hits you in the hand with an arrow before fleeing back into the woods, barely avoiding your return fire. Trilah finishes off one more kobold and cat then climbs into yoru wagon to help throw the bodies off.

The elf and Jib Jab are both a bit wounded, but nothing too serious it looks like. When you go to sling your bow however you find that the last arrow struck you in the knuckle and is pinning your hand.

"Let's go Ulf!" Trilah calls, climbing back onto his horse. "We don't want to find out if they have reinforcement on the way."
It doesn't look like the other wagons have stopped either.

You have to get help from Amedee to pull out the barbed arrow stuck in your hand. The paladin gives it enough of a quick heal that you can grab the tongues of the wagon and get hauling again.

Catching up is difficult. Myron is preventing the other wagons from slowing down and he's insistent that the rest of you match their pace from now until the river. The others ride ahead to help protect the rest of the wagons while the spellgun continues to hang back and provide cover.

Just when it looks like the others are starting to slow down to let you catch up, they almost immediately put on a burst of speed. There's a lot of hand gestures from Sandra and tthe others that you can see. The elf reports a lot of shouting but he can't make out the words over the wagons and clanking of cargo.

Urdrenn turns his horse around and rushes back towards you. He hurriedly waves for you to keep going. There's little you can do to speed up. This wagon simply will not go any faster.

"What is it?" Trilah asks once his friend is close enough.
"Rock Crushers! We've gotta go! Half the tribe are sweeping down from the north."

Then again several dozens of warriors is added incentive to get to the river faster. Or as it turns out it might not even matter. A warband breaks through a treeline from the north almost on top of you. There's no way they'd be able to catch the other wagons but yours is a different story.

Unsurprisingly they call for all of you to halt. Some of their number are already moving to block the trail ahead.
While the elf hopes the treaty got signed, Urdrenn seems to think a "road tax" is likely to happen no matter what.

Trilah winces.
"Ulf, are we stoping or do we run and gun?"

Rush through and hope you can fight your way through, or do you stop and risk losing it to the orcs? One of the others might be able to bluff. Fool's gold is used for all sorts of things.

[ ] Run the blockade
[ ] Bluff, this is pyrite
[ ] Stop and answer what questions they have
[ ] Write-in
I have to head over to a relatives to help out with stuff. I cant promise I'll have enough time for another post tonight when I get back so resuming tomorrow.
>[ ] Run the blockade
>[ ] Bluff, this is pyrite
>Run the blockade
>[ ] Run the blockade
Like hell you're going to let the orcs stop you now, especially with a wagon full of gold. That's a good way of leaving without said wagon or the gold.

With your new armor and amulet enhanced toughness you should be able to make it through some heavy hits. As long as they don't stick you in the joints like that last kobold did.

"Going through," you announce.
Urdrenn laments he didn't bring heavier armor.

"First the kobolds and now this... I have an idea!"
Trilah fires a few more shots back the way you came then shouts to the orcs while reloading.
"We've got an army of kobolds behind us! Look out! Get out of the way!"

The orc aren't buying it. Oh well, it was worth a shot.

Seven orcs have blocked your path with more appearing by the second from the north. Warriors, and maybe two shamans or magic users make up those blocking you. Did you want to try to run any of them in particular over or just try to force past them? Terrain off this deer trail doesn't look great but in theory heading south away from them might buy more time. Or it might get you hopelessly lost or the wagon stuck.

[ ] Aim for their magic user
[ ] Aim for their strongest looking warrior
[ ] Take out the fastest looking one
[ ] No target, just try to rush through
[ ] Go off the trails, head south away from them
[ ] Write-in
>[ ] Aim for their magic user
Sorry for the delays guys, I forgot to write down what runes and such you'd gotten on your armor.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6O6Q1OiF6LI [2SFH- United We Stand]

Giving a great shout you haul on the wagon as hard as you can to speed up. All the while charging headlong towards the orcs blocking the trail.

The leader of the closest band continues to shout at you to stop, others beginning to shout similar things in orcish. Their mage belatedly begins casting, eyes widening as he realises he's the one most likely to be trampled. His backpedaling won't do much to get him out of the way but he manages to finish his spell before you hit him.

Letting go of the wagon with your left hand, you block his spell with your bracer. A pink disk of magical energy tries to cut into the steel reinforced forearm protection, triggering the rune that was inscribed into it. A rune of warding might have help up against a few hits like that but this was intended more for physical protection. It still manages to abate the worst of the damage by essentially exploding. Any remaining magic leaves a gash in the damaged metal.

None of this does much to slow you or the overly heavy wagon and you trample the mage as you charge through the line. Urdrenn batters his way past one enemy with his horse while Trilah fires bolts of ice magic into another warrior's shield. Though he doesn't do any damage the orc is forced to leap out of the way. Horses are certainly an advantage in this case.

Though you've punched through their line there are still plenty of orcs coming into view. Those that have seen your group run down some of their allies open fire with arrows and magic, or rush to catch you.

"Ulf! Wagon!" Jib Jab calls.
Looking back, one of those from the blockade has leaped aboard. He quickly ties a rope around one of the rough timbers and drops the rest behind to allow others a chance to grab hold. Trilah and Urdrenn try to shoot him off but he rolls to the side, avoiding their fire. This nearly causes him to fall off the side but he continues to hold on. Jib Jab puts a bolt into one of his limbs.

While the others continue attempts to deal with the boarder you're being pelted with increasing numbers of arrows and spells. You're forced to turn your head to avoid taking any hits to the eyes. One is already sticking out the side of your jaw and another hits high in the cheek. Your armor is repelling most of the rest, including the magic thanks to the warding runes.

Back where you ran the initial blockade an ogre crashes through the trees and into the open. Or you assume it's an ogre before looking and confirming. Seeing you getting away he begin throwing misshapen rocks. Not as accurate as a rounded stone but just as deadly. To make matters worse one of the orc mages begins using earth magic. The trail just became much more hazardous for the wagon.
Will you focus on evading the ogres bombardment? Or keeping the wagon from hitting the increasingly numerous stone traps and obstacles? One could harm you or the wagon's structure, the other could take out your wheels, slowing you down.

[ ] Avoid the bombardment
[ ] Avoid the obstacles
[ ] Write-in
>[ ] Avoid the obstacles
Roll 1d100
Rolled 31 (1d100)

Should I wait for more rolls you think or get on with it?
I'd prefer waiting for more rolls, but there doesn't seem to be anyone else here.
Rolled 11 (1d100)

have one more.
and another
Rolled 19 (1d100)

Rolled 68 (1d100)

Things are not looking good. You'll do what you can but there's a limit to how many potential sources of damage you can deal with. For now you'll try to avoid the magically worsening terrain that threatens to tear the wheels out of the wagon.

With stone and shot from the ogre now flying through the air you tell the others to focus on avoiding that. If you are the wagon are hit, so be it, you can take blunt impacts. A rock like that hitting one of them on the other hand will almost certainly be a death sentence.

Try as you might to maneuver the wagon, the number of potholes and minor barriers popping up are too many. The solid wooden wheels take one hit after another despite evading the larger obstacles. It's not long before they begin to crack and splinter in places from the abuse.

As stone rains down the fact that your wheels won't survive until the river is overshadowed by other damage. The first two stones miss, others are slightly less off the mark. One hits the ground, tumbles and smacks into the rear of the wagon, narrowly missing the orc boarder. The next hits the left railing, putting a hole in the side and causing a few ingots to fall out.

While the ogres accuracy remains terrible the damage from partial hits continues to worsen. It gets bad enough that the boarder finally decides to bail out rather than risk being crushed.

A partial collision with a short stone barrier finally wrecks one side of the front right wheel. The additional jostling combined with another boulder hit at last breaks the wagon's spine. It splits apart in the middle, spilling gold across the ground. The back half digs into the dirt, coming to a halt and scattering blocks of gold in all directions. It doesn't take long to notice how light the front half you're still pulling has become. Most of the gold that was in the front has slid down into the gap, leaving it nearly empty.

The loudest harshest curse in stone tongue you may have ever uttered in your life doesn't take long to leave your mouth. If the crashing of wood and gold hadn't given it away certainly your expletives do. This wagon is a total write off and you're not out of weapons range by any means.

[ ] Halt and hold your ground, it's only half their tribe
[ ] Try to gather gold into the remaining tarps
[ ] Shovel a few handfuls into your bag and run
[ ] Go, just go
too bad for the gold but life goes on
>[ ] Shovel a few handfuls into your bag and run
>[ ] Shovel a few handfuls into your bag and run
Bringing the wagon's remains to a halt, you make sure Jib Jab is okay then shuck your pack. It only takes a few bounding strides to reach the largest pile of gold. There's not much room in your pack due to all of the spare arrows and other things you carry but you shovel a few handfuls of gold into it regardless.

A few arrows, bolts of magical energy and finally some lightning strike you but for now your armor holds. The worst hit you take is an enchanted bolt through your right hand. Rolling to the side to avoid an incoming throwing stone, you grab Jib Jab, the bag of gold and make a run for it. Really running now, not just the best you can manage with a loaded wagon.

Trilah continues to provide what covering fire he can while you catch up. He and his horse have taken a couple of hits but he's still urging it on.
"Come on, we just have to make the river! Then everyone can get healed and we'll live happily ever after."
"Don't jinx it!" Urdrenn yells at him.

Orc pursuit quickly drops off once a few of them come across the contents of the wagon. Or so it seems. Despite having an ear clipped the elf warns that he can hear another ogre in the distance to the north. This apparently matches up with what Sandra had warned about. The group was moving southward covering a wide area. Maybe trying to drive out the goblins farther north that had been harassing everyone.

When you get to the river two of the wagons are already most of the way across. Cirus is helping to make sure they dont capsize or drown the horses. Amedee grimaces at the sight of you all but sets about healing the worst of everyone's wounds, and the horses. You spend the time waiting for Cirus to finish and return by plucking out arrows.

"Ulf you have enough arrows in you to kill several humans and elves put together. Get a helmet and gauntlets if you intend to keep doing this."
"It doesn't hurt that bad. The armor soaked off the worst of it."
"You'll get your eyes gouged out fighting that many enemies."

On the other side of the river Myron has realised you're down a wagon and appears quite angry. You suspect he wouldn't have minded a few of you lacking eyes or other organs if it meant keeping the rest.

Getting the remaining gold and wagons across the river doesn't take too long. The last wagon is falling to pieces though, requiring additional reinforcement just to get it across without losing any more ingots.

"Nobody tell Myron we just lost five more into the river."
"Gods dammit!"

Cirus manages to fish them out while the rest of you hastily assemble enough Travois to take over for the broken wagon. Some of the party aren't thrilled it will leave you with no free horses but at this point you all just want to get the hell out of here. A few orcs from the Rock Crushers have reached the river by the time you set out but they don't pursue.

"Tell me nothing else bad can happen before we reach the city. Anyone?" Sandra pleads.
"We're in friendly territory." Urdrenn assures her.

You're less certain it can be considered friendly given the amount of combat you've done on this side of the river. It wont be local orcs that need to be worried about though. After dealing with the ogre plenty of them should recognise you by now.

With these threats in mind the party remains on guard the rest of the way back. More than a few shady characters are encountered along the roads closer to Silver Mantle. The distinctive clank of metal certainly gets people's attention. The standard party line soon becomes that you're transporting ore samples from a dig. Every available cover, cloth and tarp still left over has been used to make sure the contents of the wagons stay hidden from view so there's less chance of them doubting you.

Fortunately for once Myron's eccentricity plays out in your favour. He doesn't want anyone not on his payroll touching his stuff. Even even some that do work for him for that matter. He offers to pay anyone who has flying magic able to get the wagons the rest of the way to the city.

"Are you a wizard?" he asks one such man who wants a look at your cargo.
"Then off with you! I have places to be. Papers to publish about my findings."

Miraculously you make the city gates without being attacked. From there Harum arranges an escort into the undercity. Normally you wouldn't be allowed straight in, but he's not stopping out in the street in front of the banks. An entire secure metals vault is filled with the gold you've brought in. Guards are posted, the city administrators notified and rather predictably arguments soon break out.

"All of it goes in the vault," Myron insists. "Every last gold, silver and orichalum piece goes in the vault until the spoils are fairly divided according to contract."

"You probably want all the orichalum in your share no doubt," Harum grumbles.
"Shares, plural. I have four shares as the funder, organiser and maical locator of this expedition."

[ ] With this much gold it doesn't matter
[ ] Argue even shares since you were all put in danger
[ ] Maybe you wanted a few pieces of orichalum
[ ] Write-in?
>I have four shares as the funder, organiser and maical locator of this expedition
I hope we got written down contracts with statements on how to split, regardless hazardpay is due. Orichalcum sounds neat I wonder if we could get some for arrow tips? Then again that sound alot like shooting enemys with gold.
>magical locator
Could have sworn I'd corrected this before posting.
Ups forgot the option to go for
>[ ] Argue even shares since you were all put in danger
Maybe not exactly even shares but arguing for a hefty hazard pay, also incase the mage get ideas to deduct from our pay cuz we got our wagon smashed, without us that wagon wouldnt even be on the table.
Also Payment and shares are two pair of shoes yes?
>[ ] Argue even shares since you were all put in danger
We should definitely argue for some extra gold as hazard pay, if nothing else.
"I hope the written contracts state what the split of the find was supposed to be?"

Harum gives a perturbed sounding harumph. "There were shares listed for other expedition funders and backers but I didn't realise it was just himself."

"Well of course I had to take care of it all myself. I couldn't be expected to trust anyone or anything else with such important details and arrangements."

Between the kobolds that they managed to piss off plus the orcs, a strong majority of you feel hazard pay is in order. Myron is clearly considering his options given your location in the undercity. On the one hand the dwarves are likely to back any contract of employment, which would be in his favour. On the other the mage is neither a dwarf or a city native. Technically he doesn't even have formal clearance to be in this part of the city and the dwarves could physically keep him away from the vault if they felt like it.

"Hmm. You may -may- have a point about hazard pay. Though I feel as though you four should be docked pay for losi-"
"For losing a wagon that wouldn't even be on the table if we hadn't been there?!" you interrupt.
This was a ploy you'd seen coming from miles away. Not long after you made it to the river with just what was in your bag really. The others aren't going to stand for that either.

"After what we went through? Yeah I don't think so." Trilah rests his hand on the grip of his weapon.
Amedee and Harum immediately interpose themselves between the more hot tempered elf and the mage.
"Knock that shit off unless you want to get locked up without any pay," the dwarf warns.
"Alright, alright. I got half my ear cut off and it's putting me on edge."
"It's safe to say you can pay to get that ear put back, now just calm your remaining one for now."

Once things cool down Myron, after much prodding, agrees to a hazard pay related increase. It's not much compared to the entire haul but that small increase might be worth more gold than you've made this year.

>Orichalcum sounds neat I wonder if we could get some for arrow tips? Then again that sound alot like shooting enemys with gold.
It would be like using mithril arrows. Which is certainly possible.

Did you want to take some of your share in the form of Orichalum? Myron is loath to part with it given how little was recovered. You might be able to get enough for one arrowhead, or to plate a steel bolt.

[ ] Orichalum arrow sounds useful
[ ] Just the gold is fine
Do we know how well Orichalcum can be enchanted? If it doesnt offer any kind of advantage over anything else.
>[ ] Just the gold is fine
Actually scrap the Orichalcum anyways sounds way too pricey to be used for an Arrow/Bolt.
At most we could start to save up Orichalcum until we had enough for something truly usefull.
>Just realized you continuesly wrote it as Orichalum.
Huh... neat, I didn't realise I was doing that.

At least I didn't call it Orihalcon given I'd never heard of orichalcum until I saw that one Slayers movie back in the day.

I have to step out for an hour or so. I will be making another post tonight.
Also just learned Orichalcum is a real alloy wtf.
Them ol Greeks, for me Orichalcum was always some fantasy metal, gold but in hard.
Quest related, can we find out more about Orichalcum before we have to make a payment decision? I feel if orichalcum is a potential betta material to be magically infused it might just be worth to get a real neat trumpcard for our sleeves.
>[ ] Just the gold is fine
>[ ] Just the gold is fine
I'd rather have more gold than a few slivers of orichalcum
[ ] Just the gold is fine
Just gold, less hassle.
Just the gold is fine. You can always buy something locally made that can do the job just as well once mithril production is ramped up.

>Quest related, can we find out more about Orichalcum before we have to make a payment decision? I feel if orichalcum is a potential betta material to be magically infused it might just be worth to get a real neat trumpcard for our sleeves.
It hasn't been encountered in large enough quantities before now for its properties to be widely known. Myron thinks it will be able to resist magic better than mithril or adamant on their own. Of course this might make enchanting it more difficult.

"More research is needed! I must return to the south for the winter to study what I can and secure the safety of my finances. I'll have to return in the spring with a larger expedition properly outfitted to secure the rest of it."
He points at the rest of you.
"Don't get any funny ideas about going after it yourselves. I'll know it was you."

The kobolds and orcs are going to make any subsequent attempts quite difficult. Just getting there will be hard, let alone going into the mountain. There's still that hidden pile of gold buried outside the mountain too. That you might be more inclined to dig out and share with the rest of the party later.

"Just hold on, all of you," a voice calls out.
You soon recognize a pair of dwarves hurriedly approaching, flanked by several dwarven soldiers. They're Councillors Loredrak and Marsten with the city administration.

While Marsten halts to catch his breath Loredrak launches into an explanation.
"There are to be no hostile actions taken against the Rock Crusher or Blue Tempest Tribes until further notice. We're in the middle of establishing a longer term agreement with them. They've already agreed to allowing prospectors access to their territory with minimal harassment in the hopes of striking mining deals in the future."

Marsten confirms this.
"There's to be no large parties starting a ruckus across the river for now."
He gives an apologetic shrug.
"It's a sad state for the sellswords but it is what it is."

So nothing right away but you can still plan for later.
Many people tend to think; money would solve all of my problems. A giant might not be faulted for thinking that either. The Councillors however are quick to warn all of you that some tough decisions may lie ahead. There's no way such a large haul of gold is going to be kept quiet. Every thief, grifter and rapscallion in the north will be trying to find a way to separate all of you from your share of this dragon's hoard.

Myron is already aware of this and is making plans to exchange as much of his gold for more easily transported materials as possible. Or at least ways to better transport it all.

"The rest of the city administration would like to meet with all of you once you've had a chance to rest and recuperate. This much gold arriving all at once may pose a danger to the local economy."

Marsten nods at Loredrak.
"We've been on the knife edge of inflation due to our silver and platinum reserves. Trading gold with the south and keeping the banks on side has barely reigned it in until now."

The ranchers trade looks.
"Are you saying we can't spend our gold?"
"No, no, no. Just go the meeting. We'll try to work things out and not cause prices in the mantle to go through the roof."

>What say?
Resuming tomorrow.
It's not like we're in a hurry to spend our Gold just yet.
"Lead the way then, Id rather know sooner than later how thight you want my purse."
Also do we already start planning a trip back to home to invite more giants to "our" city or is that for even later?
Good with this.
>invite more giants to "our" city or is that for even later?
Still an undead army there. It's a later. Let's not forget that Myron mentioned screwing with the economy. Be careful of him saying something dumb.
Oh, I meant shing city (the one with the wyvern) not the pillar of lightning.
>Also do we already start planning a trip back to home to invite more giants to "our" city or is that for even later?
>I meant shing city
Up to you guys.

I had originally thought doing such a trip during the middle of winter or later might be best because you'd get back in time for spring. Now I'm wondering if there might be advantages to going earlier? Such as being able to pass word to the other regions through the south where giants are found in number.
Well, we are set on gold for the foreseeable future so i dont see why we wouldnt go and get us some (big) support. We are also remarkably free right now. So +1 for a trip home and spreading the word.
"Lead the way then," you tell the dwarves. "I'd rather know sooner than later how tight you want my purse to be."

The two councillors exchange looks.
"We'd hoped for a bit more time to come up with a few options."
"That an pulling most of the administration off'a other tasks ain't the easiest on short notice."

"I haven't found myself saying this often but I agree with the giant," Myron announces.
"The sooner this is resolved, the sooner I can be out of the city and off to the south once more. Perhaps summon the Air Corps as well. I should have more than enough for them to dispatch a warship."

"We're not telling the blasted imperials how much gold is in this city. We'd be hit by pirates in a matter of days. Once things have calmed down a bit that'll be a different story."

Most of the others are in less of a hurry to go into a lengthy meeting after the trip. The councillors eventually agree to send for some food at least while they're rounding up the rest of the administration. That's going to take a couple of hours at minimum so it does give the party a chance for a short rest.

At last dwarves from the city administration arrive. Loredrak and Marsten are just about the only ones dressed halfways decent. Most of the rest all look like they're prepared for hard work in one part of the city or another. One is trailing wisps of smoke and flakes of ash, prompting one of their fellows to give them a pat down.

The Chief Councillor -or perhaps mayor would be closer- is introduced as Thaldaine Linkforger. Of the other new faces the only one that stands out during introductions is General Joryik Hillyern. He looks like a tough one.

Loredrak gives a brief rundown. That you've brought back a dragon's hoard and it's more gold than the city has ever seen. It's hoped that a way can be worked out to both safeguard the gold and prevent an economic crisis. First they'd like to know each of your plans in the hopes of finding a way to meet the needs of the party members if possible.

Myron, his assistants and Sandra indicate their desire to take as much of their fortunes as possible south. In the halfling's case she does intend to return eventually so keeping some of her valuables here is certainly an option.

Trilah and Urdrenn have split opinions. The elf had hoped to combine their resources to acquire an airship. He's not afraid to team up with others on that either. Urdrenn on the other hand had hoped to disrupt the city's slave trade. With that much gold he figured it might be possible to legally put them out of business or at least hurt them.

Harum is aware of plans for the Shining City. His plan was to use most of his share to support Silver Mantle and the founding of other outposts through the north. Things that the city couldn't normally afford on their own. Cirus expects to do much the same, though a good portion of that would be for helping out the local giants in one way or another.

Amedee Heiroris is undecided. There's too much gold to simply donate most of his share to his people's temple. It would be asking for it to be broken into.

Jib Jab looks to you. He's not certain what to do with a fortune of gold. The kobold is still getting used to the idea of being paid quite a bit of silver just for completing jobs with the city. You might be a bit out of your league as well.

"I'm having a hard time getting a good idea of how much the gold we brought back is worth. How much gold are we talking about here?"

One of the guards hands Linkforger a piece of parchment with hastily written numbers.
"These figures have to be wrong."
"They're what we counted sir."

Linkforger clears his throat.
"You brought back millions. Each share must be worth more than half a million."
That's... a lot.

"Obviously the administration would like to acquire as much of this gold as possible to ensure a controlled release. It would also let us mint our own gold coins. Councillor Loredrak has proposed that those of you staying in the region trade your gold to the city so that it would remain protected. We would still owe you the same amount back with options to pay it out over time. Even if someone were to rob the vaults somehow that would be our problem rather than yours.
Call it giving the city an extended loan if you will."

>What ideas did you have for your gold?
>What ideas did you have for your gold?
Helmet, Gloves, Greaves. Portable Hole/ bag of holding? (a quiver of holding?) Start looking into investments/ funding options. With this kind of money we could go and fund an immediate expediton into the pillar of lightning.
Also are we getting interest?
Oh, also are we getting payed out in silver or gold? overtime of course.
pre-order lightning protection items for the expedition into the the pillar of lightning, preparations and plans to resettle the shining city
Aside from more enchanted protection that some councillors know the details of, the only other things you're looking at are practical use pieces and settling the Shining City. These are all fairly easy to take care of as far as the dwarves are concerned. There wouldn't even need to be any money physically changing hands, it could just be deducted from the IOU. They're quite happy about this.

"Those of us that leave their money with the city, are we getting interest?"
This question turns heads, both among the dwarves and party members. Some nations in the south outlaw interest. This city is hardly one of those and there have been frequent debates when it comes to loan sharks operating on the surface. After lengthy hushed discussions they do agree to work out a "fair interest rate for those of you investing in the city's economic future."

Next you and Harum both have a similar question.
"When the city doles out our stipend or whatever you choose to call it, are we getting payed in silver or gold?"
Either would be fine in theory according to them, provided you're not going to be dropping too much gold at once.

"All of you please try not to drop a thousand pieces of gold inside the day?"

>Is this alright?
>What properties might be available for a forward operating [base? fort?] between town and the Shining City? Just trying to gauge our options, if any.
The trading post for the ogre village is actually quite well placed as a sort of half way point. Pic related.

>Maybe wiping out this tribe is worth the investment before trying to move forward with other plans? What do you think, Anons?
Which tribe? There's the Black Bear Clans, Rock Crusher and Blue Tempest tribes who the city are trying to get treaties with. The goblins east of the fork of the river, and the kobolds in the mountains. There's a number of hostile tribes to the north between the river and the plains.
Lastly are the Black Tongue tribes based out of the Palace of Bone far to the north. (Not on this map.) They're the ones working to vassalize the plains tribes right now.
>immediate expediton into the pillar of lightning.
More money can get more enchanted protection made over time, or brought in from the south. Both will require months for the levels of protection needed.

Speaking of protection, your new armor is proving to be quite good. It's going to need some reinforcement and repair of the runes of warding but other than that its fine. You could afford some pieces made of mithril now to pad out the rest of the spots you seem to be getting shot since they're not well armored. Mithril is light enough that its weight shouldn't have much impact on your archery.

>Portable Hole/ bag of holding?
Certainly possible.

>a quiver of holding
Now thats an interesting one I'm surprised I didn't think of. Might take a bit longer to get made but should be possible.
You could in theory also get a returning arrow. You probably don't want too many of those or things might get complicated.

>Long lead time items (Anything made with mithril, powerful magic, etc)

Lightning protection items
Mithril glove/gauntlet(s)
Mithril greaves
Mithril helmet?
Portable Hole/ bag of holding?
Quiver of holding
Returning Arrow

Anything else to be added to the list to be voted on?
A number of your party members are still hoping to move as much of their wealth as possible to the south over the next few months. Others are looking at combining their resources. The Elf still wants his airship but for now he's going to have the dwarves sit on most of his gold.

Urdrenn is being discouraged from actively disrupting the slave trade, much as its existence may be disagreeable to the dwarves. He's not giving up on it entirely, having an idea that you, Cirus and Harum could back.

"You're going to need labourers and settlers for rebuilding that city out in the plains. If we offered to help pay off debts in return for them working or settling out there for a few years it could free many trapped in indenturement contracts."

"I thought you wanted to free actual slaves?" Harum asks.

"I do. This is a first step. It establishes official precedent for the city rebuilding and settlement effort existing. Silver Mantle can requisition labourers from the slave traders if it's found to be for the city's benefit."

"I see where you're going with this."
Harum looks to you and Cirus.
"It's not a bad plan really. The more separate individuals that back it the better."

[ ] No. The slave traders would still benefit
[ ] Start with debt relief for settlers to aid the city
[ ] Fully back this plan
[ ] Write-in
>[ ] Start with debt relief for settlers to aid the city
> [ ] Start with debt relief for settlers to aid the city
I think we'd be better off buying shares of businesses in the city, rather than social programs or leaving it in a vault to be molested by dwarfs.
You can do that too. The dwarves just want to limit how quickly the currency hits the market. The "social program" is unlikely to exceed 1/100th of your gold shares at this point. The buying power of gold and silver is still quite a bit.

Were there any sort of businesses you wanted to put money into over time?
seeing as we're more or less in the adventurer business, why not buy into some potion shops, blacksmiths or gear shops?
It would be nice to be able to have some kind of income other than mercenary work, seeing as something could happen to us to take us out of the game at some point.
>why not buy into some potion shops, blacksmiths or gear shops?
While potion shops are generally well off their output also isn't great. It might be possible to find one that would be interested in expanding.

The gnome you've previously done business with, Enidon would certainly know how to tap additional markets if he had the resources.
Shares in some of the city forges might also be possible.

Do these sound good to people as a starting point?
Looks good.
Since settler giants might be relying on the food suuplies here in the future it might be wise to see what farms, orchards, and herders we could invest in.
>and herders
Trilah points out he and his friends have tried a couple of times to get bison back to the city so they might be domesticated. The Shining City would be much better suited to such an attempt given the size of the herds you've seen out in the plains. The rest will certainly be looked into.
The basics have largely been figured out for the time being. Each of you can work out with administration contacts where your gold gets invested. It won't be all at once but it will get there in a sustainable manner. Anything that hasn't been invested you'll continue to earn interest off.

The combined plan being readied for the resettlement of the Shining City come spring is looking good. On paper at least. With the potential for disruption to dozens of settlers and others, some are starting to consider a last minute expedition be sent now before the heavy snows. A group of engineers to ensure it's even possible to tap ground water from the upper levels.

Harum sighs in resignation.
"I'm about to get volunteered ain't I?"

"Take Vaft with you," Loredrak suggests. "Recruit as many giants as you feel are necessary to get there, do the job and get back safely. You'll need their help to deal with the staircases judging by the reports."

That's a option for a job if you're still feeling some wanderlust. It will be a few days before the expedition can be prepared. For now you have some hazard pay to deposit at the bank topside. That much you're getting right away. The loose silver that the party scooped up from the dragons hoard makes up a small chunk of your immediate payment and spending money. Myron provides gold coin of his own to cover the rest.

This leaves you with approximately 4600 silver, 102 gold and 1 platiunum piece as far as the bank and the general public are concerned. It should be more than adequate for spending money.

Did you want to get your ruined (formerly runed) steel reinforced gauntlet repaired? It would be some time before you could get anything made in mithril finished.
Yes to repairing Steel Bracer, better to have something than to have nothing. Also what was this talk about wanting a steam engine for a river barge? Can we look into a giant Caravan/Trade/Escort buisness for between the, hopefully soon, two citys?
Also how close does the river get to shining city? We might want to look into paying giants to deepen the river?
And it might actually be a good thing to check if we can fix the water supply before we go and invite settlers. Considering giants dont take light of swindlers of any form, heh.
>Also what was this talk about wanting a steam engine for a river barge?
Forgot the important part, baka.
Can we invest into the river barge and supoused buisness around it?
>Did you want to get your ruined (formerly runed) steel reinforced gauntlet repaired?
Bracer repairs underway.

>Also what was this talk about wanting a steam engine for a river barge?
>Can we invest into the river barge and supoused buisness around it?
You've already invested 4 gold. That number can be increased quite a bit.
Well heres my vote for becoming a major shareholder in the river barge then, although maybe wait until we know if water is not a problem in shining city.
Also I just realized but is the ogre village inbetween shining city and silver mantle? that might be a hassle.
turning shaking my head into baka FeelsWeirdMan.jpeg
>Also I just realized but is the ogre village inbetween shining city and silver mantle? that might be a hassle.
Fortunately the village itself is some distance from the river, being at the northern tip of the snapper back mountains. The threat they pose is certainly one that isn't being ignored. For now they're willing to maintain trade with the city and that's something.

>Also how close does the river get to shining city?
Some smaller streams get close. Councillor Marsten believes that the shallow draft of the river boat should allow it to get within 10-15 kilometers of the mountain. Which is a good deal closer than Silver Mantle is to the river. A fact that has continued to annoy traders since the place was founded.
>good deal closer than Silver Mantle is to the river
Sound alot like some city is in need of a giant digged (owned) riverarm. We should check in with the city if they could foot such a bill. Maybe do it on our own expense and collect fare money?
We could even use this for potential giants traveling through to earn some supply money.
Also id figure its some nice publicity for giantkin in the future paired with naming rights.
The land around silver mantle might look like fairly flat terrain but the city itself is quite a bit higher than the river. Thanks in part to being an extinct volcano. Or a magic fire city construct thing that was destroyed.
You'd need locks. A bunch of them. Not impossible but a bit bothersome to build.

On the surface at least. Lava tubes that branch out (and are used for growing fungi) do connect to underground rivers in places. It's how the city gets most of its water. Expansion of the underground network might be in order.
Optional spin off quest: Depths of the Silver Mantle
Well, looks like we'd be a investor at most then.
Having a bunch of locks over such a distance sounds less than ideal for anything else than peace times.
It might also not exactly be the wisest to have a obvious underground connection into the city. Thats something for the dwarfes to work out.
i completly forgot the city was ontop of a collapsed mountain/volcano
Hmm maybe we could convince the dwarfes to make any potential underground river arm sizeable enough for giants?
oh yes! we could leave Jib Jab to get him some sway and fame with the dwarfes and maybe start working on the bias against kobolds?
also maybe we should point Jib Jab in the direction of a finacial advisor? Nvm first point him towards a linguist/ language teacher? Also ask him if he would want to tag along on our "vacation" home or stay in teh city? if he wants to stay write him a letter of trust/recommendation?
>maybe we could convince the dwarfes to make any potential underground river arm sizeable enough for giants?
They don't put giant size tunnels in the deeper sections. Too much risk of bigger threats from underground get through. Like undead elephants for instance.
oh well, we can at least invest into it, maybe theres a permanent giant job for operating the elevators id imagine there gotta be? how feasable would a tunnel walled of with steel be?
Within the day your armor runes are patched up and the bracer is under repair. Jib Jab isn't sure what to do with most of his money, though he has supposedly ordered an enchanted item that he wants to keep secret. Maybe he'll get some more custom fitting done to his armor to fill out some parts.

After discussing possible investment in his store with Enidon you ask if he might know any financial advisors to recommend to Jib Jab. He's not sure anyone he knows could be trusted not to swindle a kobold if given the chance.

Leaving the gnome's shop you see that Ellsworth and Astoria have landed nearby.

"Looking for places to invest I hear? I've been told the druids and their business are usually a safe bet."
"Who told you that?" Astoria asks.
"Said they were a hedge fund manager."

Jokes aside they might actually have a point. The druids were producing things valuable enough to be worth robbing. Of course protecting said goods you or Jib Jab have invested in would be just as difficult as always.
For now it might be safest for him to keep most of his money in the bank.

"I don't really trust bankers," Astoria points out. "Always keeping to themselves."
"That is a bit odd now that you mention it." Ellsworth agrees.
"I think it's because they're loaners by nature."

Jib Jab doesn't really get the pun, which gives you an idea. Maybe he would benefit from some language schooling? Writing even? He can draw a few kobold runes, which he should keep practicing in case you run into more of his kind. Having a better grasp of reading and writing would be valuable in the long run given the share of gold he's just picked up.

The harpies are nice enough to point you to the south west. There are several schools there around the park. The city administration strongly encourages all children to attend school until at least age 12. There are a few others that offer lessons for older students and adults that need more reading for new jobs.

Ellsworth shakes his head.
"They didn't like me attending school. Always said my writing was chicken scratch."
This gets a laugh out of this friend until a wing hit silences him.
"Stop laughing, it was embarrassing."

>Do you want to help Jib Jab get signed up for some classes?
Yes, Jib Jab dodged school long enough.
Time to introduce silver mantle to a eloquent Kobold.
Oh and the other overnight vote.

>Long lead time items (Anything made with mithril, powerful magic, etc)
[ ] Lightning protection items
[ ] Mithril glove/gauntlet(s) 1500g
[ ] Mithril greaves 1500g
[ ] Mithril helmet? 1500g
[ ] Portable Hole/ bag of holding? 500g
[ ] Quiver of holding 800g
[ ] Returning Arrow (This might be the most expensive one, price will vary based on whats added)

These would be deduced from your hoard, not your spending money.
>[ ] Lightning protection items
>[ ] Mithril glove/gauntlet(s) 1500g
>[ ] Mithril helmet? 1500g
>[ ] Portable Hole/ bag of holding? 500g
>[ ] Quiver of holding 800g
Seconding this list. It would give us a much better edge in our adventuring.
>[ ] Lightning protection items
>[ ] Mithril glove/gauntlet(s) 1500g
>[ ] Mithril greaves 1500g
>[ ] Mithril helmet 1500g
>[ ] Portable Hole/ bag of holding 500g
>[ ] Quiver of holding 800g
returning arrow sound like something way to specialized for now while we arent this sure yet where to go with our archery
actually nvm just bankroll the whole list
a returning arrow has way too good of uses to pass on
tie a rope onto it and trick shot it around something to hold said rope, for exchange of messages, maybe the magic is strong enough that smaller small folk could hitch a ride? kobold delivery via returning arrow?
All of theses
[ ] Lightning protection items
[ ] Mithril glove/gauntlet(s) 1500g
[ ] Mithril greaves 1500g
[ ] Mithril helmet? 1500g
[ ] Portable Hole/ bag of holding? 500g
[ ] Quiver of holding 800g
[ ] Returning Arrow (This might be the most expensive one, price will vary based on whats added)
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Jib Jab agrees that maybe learning words would be useful. It doesn't take too long to locate classes and tutors willing to take him on in exchange for a stack of silver coin.

"Do you think it will be difficult?" you ask the rather slight and small looking human woman.
"Oh no, I teach plenty of sellswords that come north. The hard part is convincing them to leave their weapons and equipment in a locker so my students aren't quarreling like children but with deadlier implements."

That's not an issue you had considered.

Deciding to place some orders now so you'll be ready for spring you talk to your admin contact. Head and hand protection seem the most important, along with a way to manage your arrows. You place orders for those to be made over the next few weeks or months as mithril becomes available.
Greaves you're not sure about but might add later. For now you ask Antonio to look into a few pieces that might better protect the knee joints.

Rinda seems to have settled on a primary weapon while you were gone. It's a club? Greatsword? Somewhere in between them, it's a fairly heavy weapon with blades set into the sides. Completely impractical for anyone besides a giant or an ogre. She's still carrying a small hand axe and your old bow. Apparently she hasn't given up on learning a bit of archery.

Cirus is moving forward with his plan to help out other giants using his share. For now that means equipment needs. He and Argen will be getting better shields and possibly swords eventually. Some of the other giants will be getting a bit of armor. Setanta calls him a fool for all but giving away such valuable equipment, but isn't about to pass up the gift. He'll be getting a helmet which surprises the women. Flora remarks to you later that she didn't think he had anything in there worth protecting.

With the weather turning noticeably cooler through the day, and nights getting closer to frost, farmers are busy with the harvest. A number of dwarves and humans have begun to roll out a variety of odd horse drawn wheeled contraptions from the undercity to help in these matters.

Asking one of the locals about them they answer that they're reapers.
"Dwarves have a competition running last decade or so for best performing reaper machines. Not enough manpower in these parts sometimes if the militia is needed. So they asked a bunch of folk what would help and put up a reward for whoever could solve it."

On that note according to Flora she Argen and Cirus have helped out for the last few years during shortages of suitable horses for pulling the machines. Were you willing to help out? Or did you have other plans, like escorting the engineers to the Shining City, or heading south for more giant recruits?

[ ] Help out with the harvest
[ ] You've got an expedition to guard
[ ] Head south to recruit giants
[ ] Look into other jobs / Write-in
>[ ] You've got an expedition to guard
As expected it takes a few days for the dwarves to organize an expedition and make sure they're provisioned for a variety of weather conditions.

You used a number of enchanted arrows in the last outing, some of which couldn't be recovered. Thankfully only one AoE arrow broke and most of those you abandoned were fairly basic. Fire arrows have started to go down in price, though they're not totally back to their normal levels.

>Current arrows
Lightning S-Bolt (AoE): 1
Ice (AoE): 0
Piercing (AoE): 2
Sonic/Thunder (AoE): 1
Spirit (AoE): 3
Ice (Improved): 2
Fire (Improved): 1
Spirit (Improved): 2
Spirit (Basic): 1
Wind (Improved): 1
Wind (Improved): 1
Earth/stone (Impr): 3
Earth/stone (Basic): 0
Poison (Improved): 1
Enfeeblement(Impr): 1

Any enchanted arrows you wanted to pick up before heading out?
Trying to get my schedule figured out for this week.
>Ice (AoE) x1
>Fire (Basic) x2
You only pick up a few more arrows before departure. The other giants going along are of course Vaft, and Setanta much to your surprise. Most of the others want to help out with the harvest since a few crops got a late start. Rinda considers going along but with the three of you she figures the expedition should be fine.

While most of you are prepared to follow the course you last took on the return from the mountain, Vaft has other ideas. Heading to the north crossing he makes a few modifications to the stone barge, reducing its size and weight, while changing the shape.

"I talked to Marsten about his riverboat. This should be similar to what he had in mind."

Harum isn't sure it would be a good idea to take it all the way to the Shining City, fearing ice. Vaft points out the river takes a long time to freeze over even when the temperature does drop, but concedes it would be best to leave it at the trade post at the mid way point. At least that way the ore runners can get some use out of it.

At the trade post Setanta challenges one of the ogres to a match in the ring. His previous opponent isn't here today and possibly because of this he manages to win this time. A rematch on the return leg is requested.

It only takes ten days to reach the mountain all told, the boat trip having shaved two days off. The others are seem impressed with their first sight of the ruins. Having been told ahead of time, one of the engineers brought a small telescope that allowed them to see the glow stone ring of the upper city from a distance the night before.

"Giants really built this?" Setanta asks.
"That's what the other giants from farther north say," you answer.

If that dragon's horde or at least their sphere of orichalum was any indication, you'd guess killing six of them would provide more than enough gold to build this place.

Recovering the stashed stone blocks from higher up you rebuild the lower staircase enough for the dwarven engineers to make their way up. Some of them think this is wasted effort since they could just put in permanent steps for themselves now. Right up until you explain that goblins had started making use of the steps and rope ladders you'd left behind last time.
Drawing a big blank today.
Hey, only an idiot would expect rapid-fire quality posts. Make sure you don't burn yourself out :)
Relax. No worries no hurries.
Yeah its fine man take your time
>goblins had started making use of the steps and rope ladders you'd left behind last time.
Not the smartest but can still cause trouble, let's hope there is none or only a handful.
I'm going to be busy today so I'll be running through most of the day tomorrow and then resuming Saturday.

Clarification, on the way back from the pillar of lightning you had found signs of this so you'd removed the rope ladders and lower steps to prevent it from happening again.
Above the lower sections the dwarves put in more permanent steps. Meanwhile Vaft works away at the destroyed sections of the mountainside. These larger gashes may have been caused by an earthquake or erosion. That the rest of the stairs survived whatever caused it relatively intact is a good sign. A quick search finds no signs of recent visitors in the upper levels.

In the upper city a great deal of work is needed to drain the stagnant pool of water that has built up. The remains of the old well are all but useless, aside from acting as an indicator of where water had once been brought up. The engineers and druids cut a channel out to the east side of the ruins and then progressively deepen it as needed. This on its own takes more than a day.

While waiting for that to finish others conduct assessments of the structures still present. Most importantly the glow stone ring and its supports. If the ring falls for whatever reason it could cause a great deal of damage. Everyone is warned to watch for signs of an adamant marker like those found in some of the ancient dwarven holds.

They've found plenty of signs of dwarven stonework here or at least dwarf designed. It's a bit rough in places but the angles are cut spot on. Much of the channel cut to remove the water has to be hastily filled in due to risk of causing structural damage. The way the blocks were interlocked has been keeping the place intact and the weight needed to be right or the channel might have caved in.

With these risks in mind the engineers are a bit more careful in their descent into the depths. Vaft helps as much as he can with the well but it gets to a point where he simply isn't going to fit. From then on its just the dwarves. You and Sétanta help out either with ropes to support those venturing lower down, or by making runs to the nearest spring or stream to keep the group supplied. It's still easier for one of the giants to make the trip up and down the stairs.

Try as they might the engineers still can't seem to find what's blocking the well. Some speculate that the earthquake severed whatever spring fed the well. On a subsequent descent they break through into a chamber with water in it. It's not long before they call for help and to hoist them out of there as quickly as possible. With sounds of clashing steel echoing up the shaft, you and Sétanta haul them up with ropes as quickly as possible.

"Everyone out, it's a gods damned watcher!"
Still in the wider area, Vaft helps the dwarves the rest of you have hauled up high enough.

"Bomb the slag blasted thing!" the last dwarf to escape yells.
"No, don't bomb it," Harum argues. "We don't know what the stone is like down there, it might cause a collapse of that chamber."
"We don't want an earthquake Tran," one of his fellows points out.
"Well I do! It almost got me! I'm never goin' near an underground lake again. Topsider duty for me, rest of me days."
This gets a few nervous laughs from the others but even from up here they don't seem too happy with the latest discovery.

Harum calls up to you.
"We've got a water monster in the spring. I don't know if it's blocking or poisoning the water, but we can't get down there and fix the well until its out of the way."

"Want me to drop a few cannon balls?" Sétanta asks.
The dwarf shakes his head.
"Nah. Ulf, drop some of those fancy arrows down there. We'll pick up the pieces."

You probably won't be able to get a direct hit firing down a well at whatever a watcher might be. If its in the water or an enclosed area then ice, lightning or any other sort of AoE arrow should do the job.

>What arrows are you willing to fire into the well?

Lightning S-Bolt (AoE): 1
Ice (AoE): 1
Piercing (AoE): 2
Sonic/Thunder (AoE): 1
Spirit (AoE): 3
Ice (Improved): 2 (Though not an AoE arrow this should freeze some of the water. Precise effectiveness unknown.)
can we drop some glowing stone down into the well as a sort of flare?
I am unsure as to what arrows would be effective to shoot into water.
Can we throw something in, as bait? A bison maybe? Really anything wich helps us to line up more than one shot, as i fear whatever is lurking in the well might just dive under once wounded and simply bid its time.
That said
>Piercing (AoE): 2
>Ice (Improved): 2
>Ice (AoE): 1
Reasoning for the Ice arrows would be, that if they do hit we might just hinder the mobility of the watcher as it gets hampered with attached chunks of ice potentially heloing us to line up more shots.
>Can we throw something in, as bait? A bison maybe?
>Really anything wich helps us to line up more than one shot
Harum has flares and can drop one. It's unlikely you'll be able to actually see your target either way though. It's too far down.
>Lightning S-Bolt (AoE)
>Ice (AoE)
>Spirit (AoE)
Is there a way for our stone benders to find out how the well is made up? Like are there side caves or the like?
If it is just more or less straight down maybe just throw rocks at it?
Are we even sure we can shoot our arrows this deep with enough force?
They had just reached a chamber where the well shaft they were widening connected to what may have been an old magma chamber. There may be deeper connections to underground springs beneath it, or potentially to the sides as you suggest.

"How big is the chamber?" you shout down. "Are you even sure I can hit it without the creature hiding in a side tunnel?"

"Not a lot of space down there," Harum replies. If you use some arrows with a wide enough bang that should do it. It's in water so lightning or cold should work best, but anything else that can hit a wide area will get it done. Not fire though, unless you got enough to boil the whole chamber."

You definitely don't have that much fire magic.

>Are we even sure we can shoot our arrows this deep with enough force?
Gravity in this case is on your side.

"I have an idea. Those things will eat just about anything?"
"Either meat or something alive and kicking," one of the dwarves answer.
"I'll be back, we need a bison."

You and Sétanta head down the mountain and split up. It doesn't take long to find a few of the shaggy buffalo and bring one down. Sétanta is less successful despite having brought plenty of cannon balls.

Handing off the bison you ready your AoE arrows, including your expensive and never used enchanted steel bolt. Hopefully the dwarves are able to recover it as promised.

Roll 2d20
Rolled 5, 10 = 15 (2d20)

Some of my stuff got moved up so I'm going to have to leave sooner than anticipated. I'll see if I can post remotely.
Rolled 1, 20 = 21 (2d20)

Rolled 17, 1 = 18 (2d20)

"I can't see from up here, let me know when to shoot," you tell the dwarves.

"I'm throwing the buffalo down," Sétanta warns the others before pitching the carcass into the well.
The smack of the body hitting water echoes up from below. You draw back an arrow ready to fire but Harum raises a hand.
"Hold! Hasn't gone for it yet."

You wait, all of you on edge until there's a noise of disbelief from the engineers.
"It yanked it away. Off to the side somewhere."

When the cursing has does down Sétanta gives a somewhat bitter laugh.
"So much for that plan. I'll see if the dwarves can cut a staircase for me."
"I'm not done yet," you mutter before shouting a warning to the others.
"Stand clear!"

Gripping two enchanted arrows you draw the steel lighting bolt and fire away. Rather than the crack of lighting you expected you hear what almost sounds like an explosion. Just why becomes clear a moment later as a cloud of steam billows up from the well. Guessing that a cloud won't be enough to set off your ice arrow you launch the next one. This time the more typical sound of magic in action echoes up the well, but it's hard to hear over the steam still trying to escape.

When enough steam has cleared away to see again one of the engineers are waving their hands.
"Hold your fire. You probably got it."

Got it you certainly did. By the time the dwarves rope back down some of the ice still hasn't melted. They can't tell for sure which arrow killed the monster but its dead for sure. Hauling the many tentacled beast to the surface takes a bit of effort but soon its foul smelling mass is clear of the well. The dwarves choose to burn it. If this had been a larger expedition they might have brought it back to the city. Apparently its fatty oil can be useful but its recommended they be killed off whenever possible.

"They split off tiny little ones that migrate through springs and groundwater. When they find a spot that's open enough they start to grow. When they get big like that it all but poisons the water. Less of a problem in the ocean with salt water. Iodine will kill any little ones left over once we get the spring itself cleared."

It takes two more days to work out the connections to the local springs. It looks like the previous water supply was cut off when a fault line shifted, or so they say. It only takes another day of work to route a new source in. After that it doesn't take long at all to work the stone and get water most of the way to the top. After that they cap and seal it, carving detailed instructions into a nearby wall to whoever opens it up next.

With that done they complete a bit more work on the cisterns to dry them out and protect them from the winter. It will be ready to go soon after people arrive in spring. The rest of the structural concerns have been logged for long term work. Most are trivial aside from the lack of habitable structures. Rolf Longgrove and a few others will document everything before the buildings have to be torn down or incorporated into new ones.

Spring and winter both seem very distant right now as the region is being hit by a heat wave.

"That happens some years," Harum explains.
"A lot of the time actually," Vaft adds.

A few centaurs approach and talk to the party as you're preparing to depart. Hearing that the city will be sending aid to help with the Black Tongue tribes is welcome news to them. It doesn't seem like much but having a place to seek shelter if the skirmishes go badly could have a tremendous impact next year.

Sétanta wants to know more about these orcs and you share what you've learned so far.
"They drink poison? That doesn't weaken them?"

"No, from what we've heard it makes them stronger."
One of the others adds; "They're never touched by disease either."

That is troubling news if your last talk with the young Ferith is any indication.
On the return trip additional surveys of the waterways are done if only as an excuse to stay near the water during the heat wave. Heat or no when you reach the tree line most of those with large leaves have turned to an assortment of yellow orange and red. You've seen fall conditions like this in the iron hills a bit, but its far more mild. The occasional snow storm would come down from the mountains sometimes farther into winter.

Before reaching the ogre village the weather turns and now you're glad the dwarves came prepared. Lines of storm clouds march across the region and in their wake comes cold and snow. Vaft seems happy to see the first snow of the season, while Sétanta does not.

"Snow belongs on mountain tops."
"You're a giant, you can take the cold," Vaft assures him.
"I like the heat. Hot enough to sear meat that you've just cut."
"Oh just get used to it southern softie. This isn't even cold! It's only a few below freezing."

Sétanta looks to you for another opinion.
"Ulf, you're from the south. What do you think of this cold and cursed white stuff falling from the sky?"

>What say?
>Snow and freezing temperatures are perfectly during winter.
>It's just way to early in the year for winter. If it already snows now, I'm not looking forward for actual winter.
I'm good with this.
>It's just way to early in the year for winter. If it already snows now, I'm not looking forward for actual winter.

Might need to get some cold weather clothes made soon.
Add on to this
> I guess its my honor to tell you about the wonderful thing that is a snowball battle.
File: Spoiler Image (22 KB, 956x591)
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Side effects may include hallucinations.
Is this now?
"Perfectly normal during winter. It's just too early in the year for winter. If it's already snowing now, I'm not looking forward to the actual winter. I hope the snowball battles will make up for that."
Vaft laughs at this. One of the dwarves on the other hand feels it necessary to warn that the giants are not allowed to throw snowballs within the city walls. You're just a bit too dangerous.

Unperturbed Vaft continues.
"There are a few homesteaders that will have their kids compete to build the best snow fort. Then they'll call me out to see how many hits it takes to knock it down. I'll usually make a few toys to give to the winning children on the solstice festival day."

"Satrenalia?" Sétanta asks the older giant.
"Yes, or our local version. After that the cold will deepen."

"We hit minus forty last year," Harum adds.

Sétanta shakes his head.
"Perhaps I should reevaluate my stay in the north. It's proven to be worthwhile so far but I may miss the heat of the south before long."

The dwarves helpfully point out most of the city has indoor heating thanks to the forges. A number of heavy orders are saved up for the winter when possible to make sure there's reason to keep the forges running. They'll close off the atrium with a temporary roof once it gets cold enough.
"Just in case you'll need to run inside."

"Just stock up on furs and you'll be fine," Vaft assures both of you.
That should be easy enough. If the more melee focused giant decides to stay you'll be more than happy to show him how to pack snowballs properly.
Vaft a good lad
Rounding the northern tip of the mountains you reach the trading post without further incident. The boat isn't here. Apparently a couple of the ogres have been feeling adventurous. After working out how best to control the craft themselves they've started making cargo runs downriver to the north landing.

The river remains warm despite the cold weather. It will be some time until it's in danger of freezing. Judging by the amount of time it took you to travel between the landing and here the dwarves are considering waiting until the boat returns. They should be back in another day and will still save a days walk.

On the other hand, with your current psoition and the momentarily cold weather it might be possible for some of you to follow the western edge of the mountains back to where you buried that gold. The orcs who captured most of a wagon full are unlikely to have tracked your passage back to its start point. Unless they followed retreating kobolds. The kobolds for their part do not like cold and are well known to hide underground in winter.

Did you want to split off to try and nab that gold, or stick with the group and return to the city?
I'm going to try running tomorrow. Been doing a bit better, able to focus for more than 5 minutes at a time again.
>Stick with the group and return to the city.

Don't worry QM, these seem to be strange and busy days for many of us.
Stick with the group.
>stick with the group and return to the city
Harum catches you looking off to the south.
"Thinking of going after that last cache of gold?"

You shake your head.
"No. With the weather turning it would be best to stick together and return to the city."
"Well if you ever do make sure to give the rest of us a shout. I know we're supposed to be giving those tribes a wide berth but it doesn't mean there's aren't ways around it."

The boat arrives back at the trade post only a few hours later. Once they've unloaded various trade goods the group boards and heads down river. According to the traders the ogres want to buy another river boat of their own. A couple of them may have ambitions about trade and exploration farther along the waterways next year.

By the time you reach the north landing the snow is letting up. Things slowly warm up again over the next few days but weather remains cool overall with the nights remaining closer to frost. It's enough to melt what little snow fell so that's welcomed by some.

There hasn't been much in the way of excitement this trip. Everyone must have been busy stocking up for winter. The group has stopped just outside settled territory for the night, taking turns as usual with the watch.

After midnight you hear the echo of distant thunder from the south. You don't think much of it or the subsequent booms and try to go back to sleep. The dwarf on watch however soon rouses everyone.

"What is it, just a thunderstorm?" Harum asks.
Looking south you can see flashes of light reflected off some of the clouds, but only some of it is the right colour for lightning. Some are closer to the yellow-orange of fire.

"That's cannon fire," Sétanta exclaims. "Cannon and spell fire. Probably twenty miles."

One of the younger engineers all but panics at this news.
"The city! The city's under attack!"

[ ] Make for the city right now
[ ] Just the giants
[ ] Get to the nearest defensible homestead
[ ] You'll never make it in time, hold until morning
>[ ] Get to the nearest defensible homestead
"We should get to the nearest defensible homestead. Is there a muster point for the local militia anywhere near here?"

The others agree that if this is a sneak attack then you'll need to assemble the militia as quickly as possible. One of the dwarves that's spent time with the scouts pulls out a map and locates one. Camp is broken down quickly and the groups heads out to the south east.

Explosions continue to echo, their distant flashes lighting up the night sky.

"Who in their right mind would attack a city as heavily defended as Silver Mantle?" Harum asks no one in particular.
Clearly some orc groups might but you've heard nothing and seen no signs that any tribes have forced through way through allied territory. From the amount of fire being exchanged it would have to be nothing short of an entire army on the attack.

The number of larger explosions has tapered off somewhat by the time you reach one of the more heavily built homesteads. A few people are already outside. Asking around nobody seems to know what's going on. Another trio of farmers ride up on horseback coming in from the east. The oldest of them wanting to know why the alarm hasn't been raised yet.

"Just ring the damn bell and launch the signal flare already. If we're at war then the nearby farms need to know it."

The thin old white haired man he's arguing with shakes his head.
"We don't want to attract whoever is fighting near the city. I sent riders out to warn the others."
"That's a waste of time. You could have had a hundred men here by now if you'd sent the signal."

While they figure things out you and Vaft set to work reinforcing the walls of the most defensible structures. It doesn't take long as the place is already well set up for it. Soon enough this place is well set up for a moderate sized force to defend it.

Then you hear it, a familiar distant droning whine. Several of them. You recognize the noise from the platinum run.
"Airships!" you warn the others.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vIVUIbruxh0 [AC7 - First Contact]

Backlit by the clouds you see small shapes dart across the sky, even smaller than the experimental airship that landed in the city. The pitch of their engine noise changes as they swoop past and circle back around to the south west. Pinpoints of light and magic criss-cross the sky between some of them.

"Never seen airships that small. What are they?" Vaft asks the others.

One of the younger men climbs to the top of the bell tower and looks around.
"Air Corps Corsairs! Some of them are anyways."
"Where's their carrier?" Harum asks.
"I can't tell for sure. Too much smoke and cloud cover. I think there might be two or three big airships in the direction of the city."

That's not good. One of the big imperial ships certainly has an army's firepower on its own. A better question is why the smaller craft are ranging so far out. A few minutes of watching the distant air battles later another report is shouted down.
"Small airship, headed for the Jamison's place."

That news seems to spur the militia to action.
"They're after their grain silos, we've gotta stop them!"
"I knew we should have taken it to the city."

Those militia members that have already arrived and armed themselves head for their horses. Do you intend to join them or did you want to try to get that airship's attention? This homestead does have signal flares and you still have plenty of enchanted arrows for the moment.

[ ] Go with them
[ ] Distract the airship
[ ] Other/Write-in
>[ ] Distract the airship
[ ] Distract the airship
"Wait, your signal flares. Fire them to distract the ship. Draw them here where we can fight them."
"Yes! The rest of us to hide in cover until they approach," Sétanta shouts in support.

"Do we really want a fight here?" the oldest farmer asks.
"Better here than the Jamison's."
"Aye, if your place gets burnt down we'll help you build another."

With the encourgagement of his fellows the old man heads inside and returns with a box of dwarven made flares. Militia, dwarves and giants scatter to cover inside the building or in the shadow of trees as he sends off the first pyrotechnic. A short thump later the projectile flies skyward and ignites, casting a bright red light over the area. A few more flares are readied to fire off every minute or so.

You can hear a few nearby craft fighting in the region so it's hard to tell if it's working at first. Harum is shouting up at the sky.
"Come on ye' tin plated bastards. Any place with flares is worth money and worth raiding! Aim the rest at the airship. We're going to keep shooting flares and giving away their position to the Air Corps."

The young man on top of the tower points in the direction of the airship and the next flare is fired off towards it. As Harum suggested that might draw more friendly aircraft.

Eventually the hostile turns in your direction, clearly either wanting to put a stop to the flares or find out if there's anything of value here. In the added illumination of the descending points of light you make out the approaching aircraft. It's not a proper airship but a smaller vehicle with two big rotors at the front and a flat U shaped body behind it.

It makes one pass over the homestead, firing off sonic attacks from a spellgun, before circling around. It appears to be slowing down, perhaps preparing for a landing? The dwarves and those in the homestead itself all look to have been deafened by the attack. Those of you hiding beneath the trees are mostly okay.

>1) When do you intend to shoot?
[ ] As soon as you have a shot
[ ] Wait until they've almost landed
[ ] Ambush once they're on the ground

>2) Ammo? You don't have many basic
[ ] Area of Effect enchanted (Lightning, ice, piercing, sonic, spirit)
[ ] Improved enchanted (Fire, spirit, wind, earth)
[ ] Basic enchanted (Fire, spirit)
[ ] Normal arrows
[ ] Cannon balls
>Ambush once they're on the ground
dont want em to to just turn tail
>Improved enchanted Earth
lets try and get one of the engines
+1 to this. Seems like a solid tactic.
>[ ] Wait until they've almost landed
>[ ] Area of Effect enchanted (Lightning)
Got held up by the window cleaners. Can I get 2d20?
Rolled 10, 10 = 20 (2d20)

Rolled 17, 13 = 30 (2d20)

"Wait until they're on the ground!" you warn the others.
With that in mind you ready two of your enchanted arrows. Both of the other giants ready their own weapons, eager to pelt the vehicle with stone and iron when it gets low enough. Another spellgun on the underside of the craft hits the homestead with a steady stream of stone fist spells as they approach.

As the odd aircraft descends it tilts upward at the last moment as though to land on the tail end of its round body. In a way it does, touching down on a pair of skids even as two longer ones extend from beneath the rotors. It's just beginning to slide to a stop with engines starting to slow down when the pilot sees something amiss. Or you assume as much because they suddenly give a great roar of power as they speed up again. The engines are even spitting tiny bolts of lightning in places.

Seeing you won't get a better chance you put a stone enchanted arrow into the side of the engine. It's easy to tell there's damage where it hits. The metallic outer casing is kicked off and stray magic spews out in a cloud made up of equal parts fire, ice and lightning.

Despite this the craft tries to lift into the air, accomplishing a short jump that turns into a spin. Subsequent stone, iron and arrows miss but mostly because Vaft has simply tossed away his throwing stone to free his hands. Spikes of stone hurl themselves upwards out of the ground, smashing into the underside of the damaged vehicle, bringing it down more quickly.

Still under half power, the pilot manages a crash landing twenty or thirty feet away from the homestead's expanded barricades.
"Get em!" yells one of the militia men as all of you charge the downed craft.

Despite the hard landing some of the crew has survived. Three leap out of a compartment on the underside of the vehicle, soon dragging a fourth out. Each raises a shield and either a close combat weapon or spellgun. The pilot meanwhile clambers out of the top and grabs the larger weapon he'd previously bombarded the area with. He's only able to fire off two more sonic attacks before you hit the center of the vehicle with your lightning enchanted bolt.

It's hard to tell if the blast of lightning from your steel arrow killed the pilot, or his weapon exploding in his face. Either way the hit does a lot of damage, though the other attackers are well clear of it's area of effect.

Sétanta is the next to score a kill, a hit from his weapon sending one man flying. Arrows from the militia keep the others pinned while while their melee armed members flank. One of the settlers leaps down from the homestead barricades, glowing sword in hand. He soon locks up one of the spellgunners in close combat so they can't use their weapon.

[ ] Let's end this quick
[ ] Try to take some of them alive
[ ] Write-in?
>[ ] Try to take some of them alive
>Try to take some of them alive
>[ ] Try to take some of them alive
Intel is always good if we can get it for the city.
>Try to take some of them alive
The remaining raiders continue their attempts to back away towards the trees, trying to cover their remaining spellgun who still can make clear shots. He unleashes a barrage of ice bolts into any that get near them.

Vaft is circling around the far side of the homestead while Sétanta uses the mass of his cudgel as a shield, allowing the two of you to advance.

"Take some of them alive!" you shout, readying some of your regular arrows.

Sétanta shakes his head, mostly in disbelief you think.
"Easier said than done. Aim low."
With that he gives a battle cry and charges, still blocking the worst of the ice magic. You go out wide, trying to put some of your moving while shooting practice to good use. One arrow hits a shield, destroying the projectile and bowing the metal where it hit. In the process it knocks aside one of the gunner's two protectors.

Your next one takes the legs out from under the gunner with a scream. After being knocked back he rolls off to the side, trying to raise his weapon again. Sétanta knocks aside the shield user then stomps on the gunner's hands and weapon. The third is finally taken out by the brawling militiaman, who makes certain to stab his sword through his opponents throat.

"Take the rest alive!" you shout again, making sure the remaining survivors aren't finished off.
A pair of dwarves, still a bit hard of hearing, rush down from their position to help secure the two survivors. Both are badly wounded but would have been dead from your arrows were it not for the relatively high quality of their shields and armor.

At least two from the militia were killed by ice magic and they want the heads of the raiders.
"Air corps is going to need them alive after this," Harum stresses.

Quite a few present seem to think that the attackers should hang. The old reminder of prisoner exchanges however quiets most of them. Especially if other places across the county are being hit. The prisoners and wounded are moved inside and secured.

More militia arrive having seen the signals or seen the fighting an assumed the worst. Some of their number decide they'll head to the Jamison farm and help defend it in case anyone else tries for the grain stores. A few dwarven engineers will go with them.

The question now is what will you do? The lookout reports that there are fires burning near the city and smoke is making it hard to spot what's going on there. Lurking far off to the east he's spotted one large airship with a sand coloured exterior and unusual wings.

Sétanta knows this description.
"That's the Lucky Liberty. Flagship of a famous pirate fleet in the south. They hit gold shipments."

No telling for certain what the other ships were, just that one had Air Corps colouration while the other looked scarlet red.

Do you intend to make for the city to help out? Head south towards this Lucky Liberty, hold down the fort here, or something else?
>Your orders?
Next post might not be until tomorrow.
>make for the city
Let's hope the pirates didn't steal OUR gold
Head for the Lucky liberty.
"I'm not staying here," you tel the others. "Not while the city and surrounding lands are fighting these raiders. I hope the pirates aren't stealing our gold."

Harum, who tells all of you to keep your voices down, thinks it's likely that's why they're here.
"Myron wanted an airship to haul his gold south. If the Air Corps sent a warship, when they've been holding off risking them in the north for years, that would have attracted attention."

Sétanta isn't buying it.
"The farthest north I've ever heard of LL being sighted was in the Stillwater Plains. That must be eight days from here for most airships."

The dwarf shrugs.
"So the Air Corps must still have a leak then, one who can call in pirates quickly. At least it's not on our end this time."

That leaves the question of where to take the fight. Back to the city and potentially the gold, or to "LL" which seems to be taking advantage of the situation.
Resuming tomorrow.
Well with the fire power of 3 giants, we should go toward the LL. If we can take it out or drive it off, could help everyone.
You turn to Sétanta.
"What would it take to drive that ship off?"

"I'm sure our presence would be enough to scare them away from any landing fields, but they can just float higher until we can't hit them. Then the advantage is theirs."

It would be a start at least. If they're away from the ground they won't be taking spoils. Smaller flying machines like the one you've crippled could still land to raid locations but it looks like they'd need to make several trips when it comes to any substantial cargo. That or clear out opponents at ground level to allow other larger craft to land. You should be able to disrupt those sort of operations.

"Incoming fliers!" the lookout calls.
"More small craft?" the leader of the militia asks.
"No, looks like harpies."

Everyone scatters to cover, readying bows.
Before they can get within range of the smaller one's bows you hear a pair of familiar voices shouting.
"Friendlies incoming!"
"Don't shoot the messengers!"
"Anyone that shoots me isn't getting their mail for the rest of the season."
"You still deliver mail?"
"I may be old but sometimes I like to push the envelope."

Ellsworth and Astoria swoop down and land on top of the homestead. Both of the old birds look to be armed and armored, each wearing a breastplate make of golden tree bark with runes worked into them.
"Oh hey, the giants are here! That saves us a trip."
"We were supposed to go looking for you next but the Air Corps wanted to know what was going on with the flares."

A few people point to the aircraft wreckage.
"Huh. Well that answers that question, time to go."
Astoria starts looking for a good place to take off from until his friend stops him.
"We're not done here."

Ellsworth looks to the three of you.
"Flora and the city guard want to know where all of you are and what your intentions are. We'll head back and tell them after this."

After letting them know your plans Ellsworth pulls a metal trinket from a pouch and tosses it to you.
"That's from Jib Jab. You put it around your ear and it lets you talk to someone with the matching one. He gave me both in case you wanted one of us to help scout for you."

Having a spotter in the air could help quite a bit and allow you to stay out of sight. One of the harpies are armed with a bow while the other has a spear. Only one of them are available because someone has to fly their report back to the city.

>Who did you want acting as a scout?
[ ] Bow Harpy
[ ] Spear Harpy
[ ] Have them both head back, give the matching piece to Jib Jab
>[ ] Spear Harpy
>[ ] Spear Harpy
> Spear Harpy
>each wearing a breastplate make of golden tree bark with runes worked into them
Now at least we know why they just seemingly chill all the time, they rich af
time to make friends with the local trickster billionaires
You've got the bow scene covered. Someone being able to attack from above with a spear might be handier.

"I was afraid you were going to say that," Ellsworth mutters. "I'll catch up once I have this ear piece on right."

You head south with the other giants, slowly building up speed to a run. You think a few part of these roads seem familiar from your night action during the platinum run, but it's hard to be sure with so many trees losing their leaves. Vaft knows these roads a little better than you, though even he has trouble at times. When there aren't suitable roads you just cut across fields.

The metal device that you hooked around your ear starts to make noise that you soon realise is Ellsworth talking.
["Is this thing working? Hello, giant?"]
"I can hear you Ellsworth."
The other giants glance in your direction but keep moving.

["Hello? This is awkward to use when flying. If you can hear me giant you have to hold the bit at the earlobe when you talk for me to hear you."]
Doing this the harpy can now hear your reply.

He has good news and bad news. The good news is that he can see where most smaller airships have landed so far, and knows the locations of grain silos they clearly haven't hit yet. A few Air Corps fighters are also still in the area, engaged in duels with their counterparts.

The bad news is that they seem to have stolen some of what they're after already. One small airship is already moving to dock with LL. There are also a few harpies hanging around the big airship itself.
["I don't think I'd be able to pass myself off as one of them. Piracy is for the young and foolhardy. I wouldn't exactly fit in."]

Did you want to try and reach one of the airships that are still on the ground, smaller flying machines like the one you've already fought, or move to protect the next location Ellsworth sees someone heading towards?

[ ] Try to catch an airship on the ground
[ ] Try to catch flying machines on the ground
[ ] Intercept airships headed for new targets
[ ] Intercept Flying machines
[ ] Write-in?
>[ ] Intercept airships headed for new targets
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>["I don't think I'd be able to pass myself off as one of them. Piracy is for the young and foolhardy. I wouldn't exactly fit in."]
For anyone wondering about the flying machines they're basically a cross between a Focke-Achgelis Fa 223 dragon and a Vought XF5U "Flying Flapjack."
>[ ] Intercept airships headed for new targets
let em know heavy artillery is here now
also can we get a count on how many airships are around in total?
super rich eccentric ex-adventurers proffesional jesters twin harpys head canon manifesting
>[ ] Intercept airships headed for new targets
Best to intercept the airships as they head for new targets. They're not as swift in the air and they're undoubtedly the real muscle when it comes to moving stolen goods. While heading in the most likely direction of the next targets you have another important question to ask.

"Do you have a count on how many airships are around in total?"

["Besides three of the big ones? I can't tell how many of the fast ones are buzzing around. They keep retreating to their carriers or flying up to hide in the clouds. I do see four or five of the cargo airships. One is hiding on LL's wing, at least one's behind it to the south but I can't be sure through all the smoke. Two are closer to us and another is near the city.
I've only seen four of the other flying machines counting the one you killed."]

Maybe they're not the most common type. You relay everything you've been told then ask Sétanta if he knows anything else about the big airships.

"Just that we should think twice before attacking it ourselves. Their magic cannons are meant to kill other airships."

"No clue about their corsairs or whatever they are? How many they carry?"
"At least eight."
That's something.

A trio of small craft appear, descending from the clouds. One bursts into flames and spirals down into the ground to the west. The other two turn away, the lead craft in Air Corps markings taking fire. It too develops a trail of smoke and disappears out of sight behind a line of trees between fields. Ellsworth soon reports that it landed on a road but lost one of its wings in the process.

Closing in on a mid way point between two potential targets the harpy spots a smaller airship taking off. It must not be fully loaded because it's headed for the eastern most grain store.

"They're heading east, let's go," you tell the others.
Vaft knows which farm they're headed for and takes a shortcut though a sparsely forested area. Ahead and to the south a bit you hear the sound of airship engines changing pitch, likely slowing down.

["They're straight ahead of you, I have to hide!"]
Streaks of blue magic flashes above the trees from the direction of the airship, likely shooting at Ellsworth. You can hear the sound of exploding wood and treetops behind you.

Breaking through the trees near a a cluster of stone buildings you can make out the outline of the airship setting down in the field behind them. A big spellgun mounted in the crew compartment fires more blasts into the farmhouse, blasting holes in the walls. Others drop down by ropes into the field and begin moving towards the buildings.

>1) Your Target?
[ ] Gas bags
[ ] Engines
[ ] Crew compartment
[ ] Those on the ground

>2) Ammo types
Stone/Iron shot
Rapid fire conventional arrows
Ice (AoE) 1
Piercing (AoE) 2
Sonic/Thunder (AoE) 1
Spirit (AoE) 3
Ice (Improved) 2
Fire (Improved) 1
Fire (Basic) 2
Spirit (Improved) 2
Spirit (Basic) 1
Wind (Improved) 1
Earth/stone (Impr) 2
Tear gas 4
>[ ] Gas bags
>Fire (Improved)
Relatives are pestering me so I'm going to have to step out for a few hours.

We're going to need a roll of 2d20 while I'm out.
Rolled 18, 3 = 21 (2d20)

Rolled 12, 2 = 14 (2d20)

>[ ] Gas bags
a two arrows trick shot
>Piercing (AoE)
>Fire (Basic)
just to make sure if the gas isnt flammable its done for anyways
Rolled 9, 9 = 18 (2d20)

Most of our rolls have been awful.
Notching one of your fire arrows you draw. Ignoring those on the ground, the engines, or even the threat of the crew and their heavy weapon, you aim up.

"Don't waste an arrow on-" Sétanta starts to say before you loose.

The enchanted arrow punches through the outer skin of the airship's gas bag with barely a sound. A tear of fabric or a puff of air easily drowned out by the engines. Nothing seems to happen. You're already in the middle of drawing another arrow when you notice a flash of light from above. A cloud of flame and smoke lights up the sky, plenty of both spilling out of the top of the airship.

As the fire spreads the ship loses altitude, her underside smashing down onto the field before seeming to rebound. Her sagging middle now looks to be dragging it upward. Not waiting to see what happens next you put an AoE piercing arrow into it. The arrow strikes something inside setting off the enchantment and causing points of light to rip through the bags and outer covering.

As the vessel crashes back down the flames begin to wither rather than spread as a result of your second shot. Sétanta leads the charge towards those on the ground with Vaft right behind him. The stone druid summons spikes of stone to lance up and pin the ship in place.

With the three of you clearly illuminated in the flames of the damaged airship many of those on the ground turn and run a different way. Two or three drop their weapons in surrender, much to Sétanta's displeasure.

"Not even worth a fight."

Above in the flames you hear a number of loud popping noises soon followed by much of the flames seeming to be smothered. Or at least those that were spreading towards the front half of the ship. The rest is still on fire to some extent. Not sure if the vessel is going to collapse under its own weight, none of you dare get any closer.

Survivors from the damaged crew compartment stumble out, dragging their wounded clear. One runs off towards the far side of the field away from you, chasing after a few of the others that have scattered.

[ ] Start shooting the runaways
[ ] Help secure the wounded and surrendered
[ ] Write-in
[ ] Help secure the wounded and surrendered
>Start shooting the runaways
>[ ] Help secure the wounded and surrendered
>[ ] Write-in
i would also like to try to get the fire under control, would be a shame for the engines to melt wich i figure would be the most valuable on a airship
Good idea this. Supporting.
>[ ] Help secure the wounded and surrendered
>[ ] Help secure the wounded and surrendered
Heading over to where the wounded are you instruct their friends to drop their weapons. The lot of them are marched towards the farmhouse while you pick up their wounded. The fire has died down in intensity quite a bit, but is still eating away at the outer skin and upper works towards the middle and aft.

Once they're all safely away you start asking questions.
"Is there any way to get that fire under control?"

A man dressed in overalls says a few things in a language you don't understand. Sétanta translates, not bothering to see if any of the other crew are willing to do so.
"He says if the fire pops the noble gas cells it should starve it of air."
"Noble gas?"
"I don't know either."

"Means it won't burn," an out of breath Ellsworth says from the rooftop. "Did you idiots really fill some of your gas cells with hydrogen?"
The engineer babbles some more. Translated it sounds like they traded some of their noble gas to the bigger ships that were more in danger of taking damage. This was supposed to be the less dangerous assignment. Any giants were presumed to be defending the city.

"Well congrats, you got your airship set on fire! Meanwhile we've got problems."
Ellsworth points a wing towards the south.
"That big one is headed this way. They'll probably try to salvage this ship before they leave. Assuming you've burned off all the hydrogen first that is."

On the one hand it might be interesting to see how many holes you could poke in a big airship. On the other everyone seems to think it will have a lot more guns.

"Whippersnapper, get up here!" Ellsworth orders in an impatient tone.
A younger harpy, another male judging by the voice, lands on the roof next to the old one.
"That's not my name."
"Your name's going to be "idiot trying to get himself arrested" if you cause us any problems. Do you know how to put those fires out?"
"Yeah, if you want me to."
"Do we want him to?"

With those fires out Lucky Liberty might just take the damaged vessel and make a run for it. Or you could make them work for it. Either to inflict damage on the main ship itself, or just to stall them until the Air Corps can scramble more ships and fighters.

[ ] Put the fires out, with luck they'll cut and run
[ ] Cripple it further to make recovery slower
[ ] Cripple it, attack LL if it tries to salvage it
[ ] Write in
oh well there goes salvaging some engines for our river barge. Looks like its
>[ ] Cripple it further to make recovery slower
then get out of there asap, ask ellsworth if there are any airships/propeller saucers we can reach without crossing the predicted path of LL? If there arent any back to the city.
>[ ] Cripple it further to make recovery slower
"No, don't put the fires out. If they're coming to take this ship can we cripple it further? Make it harder for them to salvage?"

"Should they shoot the other gas cells?" Ellsworth ventures.
The younger one thinks it over then nods.
"If they only empty the gas from the nose and lower sections it would put the balance off."
"Then they'd be nose heavy! That would be a pain to work with."

Not wasting any more time you fire off a dozen arrows into the front half still covered by canvas. Vaft summons up a pile of throwing stones that he and Sétanta hurl at the vessel for good measure. Some strike frames, badly denting or causing them to crumple. Others punch through where you hope they do some damage. All of the extra hits cause the nose of the ship to sink lower, tilting down into the ground until the crew compartment is no longer visible.

With this done Vaft bangs on the doors of the farmhouse and then the root cellar, warning the family that they need to go right now. They'd fled underground when the shooting started. Now with the family in little more than their night clothes, all of you rush to their barn. Gathering their horses and loading the prisoners onto the wagon, all of you head west. With luck the LL will be too busy with salvage operations to bother with the grain and other supplies.

"It should work," Ellsworth thinks. "They're going to be overweight with those blown gas cells."

The roar of engines from the larger ship increases in volume even as you get as far away from the smaller downed ship as possible. Eventually the group pulls off the road, taking cover behind some pine trees to block line of sight.

While the farmers are keeping an eye on the prisoners it's questionable if they'd be able to keep them under control themselves. You may be stuck with the lot for now, which rules out trying to intercept another of the airships.

Careful not to be seen and with no torches lit, you head for one of the other settlement strongholds used by the militia. Along the way you encounter the smaller air corps craft that had made a crash landing earlier. Its pilot eventually appears from hiding and hitches a ride with the rest of you.

Closer to the city another exchange of weapons fire lights up the night sky. What feels like an hour later Ellsworth reports that the red painted airship is turning south. Any of the smaller ones in the area are quick to follow suit. Despite this there are still some small scale air battles going on every so often. The pilot points them out as corsair and plunder class fighters.

Just after you meet up with the next band of militia Lucky Liberty lifts into the eastern sky. With the horizon behind it brightening before daybreak you can see it carrying the damaged airship under its wing. The fire is out but even from here it still looks bad. A second small airship has docked to the upper wing in an effort to offset the added weight. As it sets off south a few of the plunder fighters fly in and dock with its underside.

The militia is going to be kept busy today. Some will take the prisoners into town. Others will go with the downed imperial pilot to help scrape together the pieces of his plane in daylight.

Did you want to head for the city with the prisoners, go back to the previous farm and search for downed arrows, or link up with Harum to secure that crippled aircraft? Did you have other plans in mind?

>Your orders?
head for the city with the prisoners
>head for the city with the prisoners
>ask someone to collect our arrows and deliver them for a small reward
With no telling how dangerous the prisoners might be you vote to help escort them into the city. That means more of the militia can concentrate on checking for casualties and missing persons. Before setting out though you tell a few locals that you're wiling to pay a couple silver pieces for any giant arrows that are found. More if they're one of your enchanted ones.

A group a sellswords led by city guard meet up with you on the road. They're searching for any of the pirates that crashed or otherwise might still be loose in the region. You give them a brief rundown of events before continuing on.

Ellsworth and the younger harpy stop to discuss running messages or reports for pay. A few minutes later the elder catches up, dropping you the matching ear piece for Jib Jab.

"I have to go keep an eye on the young one to make sure he doesn't cause any trouble. Stay safe giants!"

Several hours later fires are still burning in a few fields near the city when you arrive. Most have been reduced to smouldering as teams of men and women are shoveling earth onto hot spots. The walls show signs of damage in places but are largely intact. Some smoke drifts from inside but there are no visible signs of live flames or embers on the other side of the gate.

"It's about time you three showed up," Flora calls from one of the fields. She stamps out a patch of smoking grass then heads over.
"Glad the birds were able to find you. Did you at least have some fun out there?"

>What say?
>Yes, shot down one of the small fliers and a small airship
We've been busy.
"Yes but it kept us busy. Shot down one of the small fliers and a small airship."

"Glad to hear it. We sure could have used all of you earlier on but it was already way too late for that before we could send the birds out. Short version, some of the valuables that mage wanted to take south were captured, but not all of it. How'd the farmers do? Did they lose a lot of their stock?"

"I think we were able to save most of them," Vaft answers.
"That's good. The city's trying to increase the grain reserves right now, not use them to cover for losses. When you're done inside we could still use a hand tamping down hot spots from the fires."

A few wooden buildings were burned down leaving only charred wreckage behind. Not the bar or the Big House thankfully but a number of buildings in the tanners district are gone. A few men with pumps and hoses are still spraying water on a couple of shops next to one that had been hit.

Prisoners are locked up and events reported to the guard, including the locations of downed flying machines. A few people and the only spare member of the scout division handy are sent out with wagons and a team. They'll meet up with Harum's engineers, disassemble the vehicle there and transport it back.

One of the Air Corps pencil pushers seem surprised by Sétanta's identification of the LL. Apparently they're not known to get on well the other gang who attacked the city. With the prisoners they might be able to compare notes and find out how it was they managed to find out about the shipment and team up.

Vaft heads off to see if he can help the dwarves with any repairs. Sétanta is in no mood to help with anything as mundane as fighting brush fires and intends to go after the wagons heading out to Harum's position. After getting a quick drink.
Do you want to help out the others with containing the fires? Or would you rather find something else to do?
>Do you want to help out the others with containing the fires
Firefighting time.
Lets help with the fires.
>help out the others with containing the fires
You pitch in with fighting the fires that are still plaguing the area. Initially this means heading outside the city walls and dousing flames with dirt or any water that can be found. Later on it means helping to tear down a structure or two that are at risk of catching fire again. This is especially important among the closely build buildings inside the city.

Enidon's shop itself wasn't hit directly but the intervening wall between it and the shop next to it is compromised. He and a few sellswords on good terms with him clear out the shop before a group of you set about taking it to pieces. Here you at last catch up with Jib Jab. He's helping a few other people of slight build in removing the roof tiles so they can be reused.

The next morning once everyone is rested the cleanup work continues. The larger inns have put up those who lost their homes for a couple of days. Mostly thanks to some donations. It's long enough for most to make arrangements.

The dwarven engineers don't have much of a chance to take a break. They're immediately thrown together with crews and city planners. They intend to replace burned out areas with stone and cement. It's something people have wanted to do for some time but nobody is ever in a hurry to tear down their own building and place of residence if they can help it.

Fortunately the gnomish shopkeeper was already trying to plan out an expansion so this is working out in his favour. He could even lay out a new shop so that it could admit giants. Work here and elsewhere is going to keep people busy until well after the real cold weather hits. For now it's still mostly above freezing in the day and wont stay that way much longer. Any more heat waves this season are unlikely.

After many delays the Air Corps warship heads south, a pair of escorts out at all times. You don't see any sign of Myron after this so they must have finished loading what they could. Parts of smaller broken aircraft are still occasionally being hauled in and brought to the forges.

When you get the chance you ask Marsten if any of the salvage will help out the riverboat. This gets him laughing.
"Haha, goodness no. Ha, most of that is the newer high end direct electrical drive! That's more Terrance's thing. The boat's going to be steam so it only needs a couple of fire magelocks. Terrance looked over the engineers reports from the Shining City though. He says he'll have something special ready from the pieces in time for the spring expedition."

That sounds promising.

Turning to depart Marsten stops himself.
"Oh, before I forget. Any parts you wanted off that flying machine? There should be some spare fire, ice and lightning magelocks left over. Even a rotor blade, though I can't say how well that'd work as a windmill."

>Any bits and pieces you'd want off a magic powered aircraft?
Yes take a few pieces.
Im not sure we have any use for magic batteries, except maybe you can use them as a sort of magic bomb? If yes could they be triggered by being smashed against a hard surface?
I honestly dont see much use for magelocks for us. Aside for claiming salvage rights on them and turning them into gold that is.

>Aside for claiming salvage rights on them and turning them into gold that is.
This maybe?
Two Fire Magelocks.
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Well it's still tuesday somewhere in the world so not a complete liar. I had really hoped to get unstuck today.

>Im not sure we have any use for magic batteries, except maybe you can use them as a sort of magic bomb? If yes could they be triggered by being smashed against a hard surface?
>I honestly dont see much use for magelocks for us. Aside for claiming salvage rights on them and turning them into gold that is.

>magic batteries
That's actually a good way of describing them. Like your enchanted arrows Magelocks will eventually exhaust themselves and need time to recharge. They also usually have set activation conditions.

>magic bomb
While incredibly wasteful this most likely could be done. Odds are good the magelock would break if releasing all of its stored energy at once. It's not guaranteed but the odds are not in favour of reusability in that case since they're made mostly for more of a slow burn. It would certainly make for an impressive siege weapon though given the energies released.

With the modifications needed to make them act like grenades you could get 2 or 3 of them made up with your share? 3 fire ones for sure because they're more widely produced.

Alternatively there are enough aircraft grade metal scraps left over to get your mithril gauntlets made right away.

[ ] Fire Magelock Grenade (Max 3)
[ ] Ice Magelock Grenade (Max 2)
[ ] Lightning Magelock Grenade (~2)
[ ] Mithril Gauntlets
[ ] Trade salvage rights for gold
>[ ] Ice Magelock Grenade (Max 2)
Could help firefighting efforts if we need to put out something fast and do a good job. Another weapon choice too.
do we have salvage rights on only one of those options?
>[ ] Mithril Gauntlets
if we do have more options
>[ ] Trade salvage rights for gold

also just want to point out we're a giant and the one body part of us wich is always the closest to most of our enemys are our legs but we aint got no greaves? colour me wondering
>[ ] Mithril Gauntlets
>[ ] Trade salvage rights for gold
>[ ] Mithril Gauntlets
>Mithril Gauntlets
A heads up before the thread falls off the board. I'm looking at resuming around the 26th at the earliest.

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