A Walk Up River

(A game for the Facebook Tabletop RPG One-shot Group)

The town of Clefalls in the far north of the Plains isn’t known as a hotbed of opportunities for adventurers like yourselves. On the other hand it is known as the home of some of the finest metalworkers in the known lands (well, human ones at least), so if there’s something in particular you’re looking for it’s a good place to find it.

Word around the local inn is that it’s been a couple weeks since they’ve heard from the farming village that lies upstream from Clefalls and a shipment of supplies was expected a few days ago. Some people were saying that the local noble family sent a pair of their bannermen to investigate after the shipment didn’t arrive but haven’t been seen again since.

As if on cue a herald appears in the town square making it known that mid-day Lord Silverhart would be addressing anyone willing to travel upstream on his behalf (with adventurers welcome).

After meeting as residents of the Howling Eel inn in Clefalls the party begins to explore the town while waiting for Lord Silverhart’s mid-day address seeking adventurers. While looking around the local marketplace in an attempt to find food that wasn’t based around the local staple of eel rumors of a corpse being found tangled in a security measure at the top of the falls piqued the adventurers’ curiousity.

Gavel went to speak with the city guard who told him that the corpse of a Halfling woman had washed up in the town late last night. The guard showed him the corpse and the partial arrow that was lodged into its back. A large rough-hewn arrowhead attached to a shaft painted black, clearly not of local manufacture by any of the artisans from Clefalls. (Pip and Cserynn investigated the edge of the river where the body had been found but the body had already been removed.)

As the party re-convened outside the headquarters of the city guard they were approached by another pair of Thell men. They conversed with them briefly, the strangers inquired as to why Pip and Gavel were so far from home. Deciding that the strangers weren’t entirely trustworthy the two parties went their seperate ways but not before Pip would slice the strap to a scroll case from one of the strangers’ belts and make off with its contents.

Retiring to a shaded corner of the Howling Eel they opened the scroll case finding an official document stating that the two men were deputized on behalf of Prince Clawes of the Principality of Helladhil to investigate and recover stolen property on his behalf. (Likely whatever had been stolen in Haham previously.)

As noon approached a number of citizens gathered in the town square for Lord Silverhart’s address. After being announced by his herald (Stana) the Lord stepped up onto a small platform in the square and began to address the square in Plain Speech. Noticing that most of the adventurers in the crowd didn’t seem to be grasping his speech, the Lord nudged his herald who asked the adventurers (in Common) if they spoke Plain Speech then relayed to the Lord that they did not. Dejected, the Lord began his speech over again from the beginning.

Lord Silverhart explained that a shipment of supplies from the farming village of Vysova upstream was expected over a week ago but had never arrived. He had dispatched a pair of his bannermen to contact Vysova but no word had returned from them either. Now he was seeking brave souls to head upstream and investigate the situation. A young local boy with a bow enthusiastically expressed their intent to take part in the mission in Plain Speech but had his hopes dashed by the Lord. Satisfied with the Lord’s offer the party undertook the mission for him (following some linguistic issues with the contracts for the task).

The Lord offered the party the use of one of his poleboats to make their way up stream to Vysova which the party accepted and left right away. The trip was quiet and as dusk began to approach they came across another poleboat on the side of the river, with a Halfling making camp on the bank. Stopping to investigate Pip made his way across the road that ran along the bank to the woods on the other side while Gavel and Cserynn went to speak with the Halfling.

Bloodshot and glassy-eyed the party discovered the Halfling was a trader named Hony. He had been traveling downstream from Llaney to deliver a shipment of crates to Clefalls when he and his wife had been on the stretch of river through Vysova that runs along the edge of the town square there when they had come under fire with arrows. They began to abandon their cargo to try to increase their speed but one of the arrows had struck his wife in the back and she fell overboard.

As Pip made his way through the woods he came across the young archer from Clefalls that had been rejected by Lord Silverhart. Grabbing hold of the archer Pip discovered that the archer’s baggy clothing and short-cropped hair was meant to conceal that the archer was actually a girl. Marching her back to the camp on the bank she admitted her name was Ziva and she was 13.

Ziva admitted to the party that she had decided to undertake the mission on her own to prove herself to Lord Silverhart, but as she was beginning to explain two arrows came from the woods south of the camp striking a tree. Ordering Hony and Ziva to stay down the party sprang into action. Finding a pair of Orcs behind the tree line the first was dispatched on the end of Pip’s rapier. The second made a break for the road and tried to run. From the bank Ziva loosed an arrow into the running Orc’s shoulder as Gavel called on his deity for the power to command the escaping Orc to kneel. Unable to refuse Gavel’s command the Orc dropped to its knees in the middle of the road and Gavel bound him with a pair of manacles.

The party interrogated the Orc to find out what they were doing here and were able to discover that he was part of an advance party for an Orcish army in service of “The Spider.” Feeling there was nothing more to be gained from the Orc the party dispatched him and made arrangements for Hony to continue on to Clefalls and return Ziva to the town.

In the morning Ziva and Hony departed for Clefalls as the party continued upstream. As they began to reach the farms surrounding Vysova the party decided it might be better to approach on foot (hoping to avoid the rain of arrows that had slain Hony’s wife). As they continued towards the village they found the fields surrounding it had been stripped hastily of their crops (ahead of schedule) with no eye towards leaving the fields in a decent shape for the future, with the burned out remains of farmhouses still smoking.

After getting the drop on another pair of Orcs on patrol the party reached the bridge across the river to the Vysova town square. Pip snuck across the river to get a look at what was going on and saw most of the buildings in the village had been ransacked. Two dozen Orcs were in the square surrounding the small temple there which was boarded up from the inside. A larger Orc was there using Thaumaturgy to shout at the temple telling whoever might be inside to come out so they could die quickly as sacrifices to the god of death.

Pip returned to the party, warning them of the mass of Orcs in the town square so they began to hatch a plan…

They lured the mass of Orcs across the wooden bridge after treating the main supports with oil and preparing it to burn. As the Orcs came charging across the bridge en masse Cserynn cast Entangling Roots on the bridge to bind them in place. Gavel charged to the edge of the bridge and called on a Thunderwave from his god, striking a number of them down. The fires under the pilings were lit and the bridge burst into flames. As the entangled Orcs slowly burned to death throwing anything they had access to, the larger Orc approached the bridge slowly. Walking and telling the party that they would be a gift to the god of bones before calling down a pillar of black flame that narrowly missed Gavel (after some unpleasant words were exchanged regarding each others deities of choice). After blinding Gavel and being struck with a variety of arrows, crossbow bolts, and spells the Orcish Cleric died, proclaiming that the god of death would smile on the Spider’s men.

As the party moved to the temple in the village square they found that what remained of the citizenry of Vysova had been holed up inside. Originally they had used whatever arrows they had to try to attack the Orcs, but they hadn’t lasted very long, leaving them trapped. The party returned to Clefalls to retrieve their reward from Lord Silverhart (as well as to return a few more of the crates of Winkobars that Hony had been forced to abandon when he and his wife had fled).