April 10, 2012

A Scheme is Wrought

Today's session included Tim and Diesel the thieves and Boff the dwarf. A bit light, but three is a quorum. The missing wizards Spud and Thogsmash were considered on autopilot, and controlled by Boff's player.

Last week the session ended with the group in possession of the fence Enrik, and the cash he was carrying to pay off the kidnappers of Thogsmash. We picked things up there with the thoroughly mind controlled Enrik following along like a lifelong friend. He eagerly shared the Bogmaster's plan, which proved more complex than anyone thought. Enrik would hand off the nascent wizard to the leader of a Andish caravan named Hanzi. Headed to the town of Gort in the swamplands, he would deliver Thogsmash to his master in Orget forest. The group would leave in eight days time. That gave everyone enough time to tie up unfinished business in Hamanda Jakla. Andoko, the guild leader had sent them to Smoleng months ago, owed them the rest of their fee. He was surprisingly quick to repay his debt.

With new gold burning holes in their pockets they hired a trio of city toughs for "security." Chances were high they would earn their pay as trap canaries. Thena the mustachioed warrior woman, Ool the kid with something to prove, and Dargor the thug signed on for gold and glory. But mostly gold. After shopping the group commenced strategizing a solution. Initially simply tracking the caravan seemed a perfect solution, but after weighing the odds of getting lost forever in a swamp the party decided to try to join the caravan, once again using Thogsmash as bait in their ploy. They set up a meeting with Hanzi, using Enrik as their in with the caravan head. Introducing themselves as guards especially hired to deal with any possible magical shenanigans they sweetened the deal by offering their services without pay (as Enrik and the wizard would be rewarding them all handsomely anyway.) Hanzi was slow to warm to the idea but eventually relented. As long as the wizard rode in the wagon with the rest of the slaves the band could serve.

That left only one loose end to tie up, what to do with Enrik? He was still deeply under Spud's control. He was happy to help in any way, but there was no way they could bring him along on the trip to And. There would be too many questions, and eventually the enchantment would fade, leaving a confused and deeply angry fence far from home. So, the day before the caravan left, they burst into his home.

"We have to go! The wizard has escaped! The Bogmaster is enraged has sent men to kill you! You don't have time to get your things, get out of town as fast as you can and talk to no one! We'll hold them off here!"

Enrik, muddled as he was, still had a healthy sense of self-preservation. Thanking the group profusely he fled, he would be a day's journey out of town before the spell wore off, and if things went according to plan the party would be letting the wizard escape soon enough anyway. It wasn't so much lying as soothsaying.

The next day the caravan departed. It was large and well guarded, Hanzi had hired twenty guards, all well armed, to protect the five wagons of trade goods and slaves. Each wagon had a single driver and a guard, with the rest spread around the group on horseback. The journey was uneventful, the fording of the Ringing River went without trouble, and the land soon grew damp and treacherous. The murky depths of Orget Forest loomed over the horizon, and instead of turning north along the common path Hanzi drove the caravan further westward, straight on toward the dismal treeline. Pressing through the party found itself on a narrow path between the trees, surrounding on either side by a murky swamp.

Suddenly, giant lizards dropped from the trees onto the first caravan. In the tight confines of the swamp road the guards had trouble against the hungry reptiles, and the driver and guard were mauled to death before anyone could render aid. A hard battle was fought by, Boff took several solid hits from their weighty tails, nearly knocking him off the road, but eventually the beasts were felled and their corpses left to rot in the mire.

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