A First for Many

A Treacherous Exchange

and how the Duke now hates us

The day after the orc attack, a hermit monk named Gregor came wandering into Peloria. He had been looking to stop the orcs himself, and hearing that this party was able to stop them, decided to join up! He wasn’t much of a conversationalist (having taken a vow of silence), but he would prove to be quite the character. After being showered with reknown and treasures from Peloria, the group decided to overthrow the supposed Necromancer they had been warned about in a journal entry. Thus, they set off back to Sorpigal in order to resupply before heading on to the Mysterious location. Almost immediately upon arriving at Sorpigal, the party heard a crier declaring a bounty for a Wyvern being hosted by the Duke of Sorpigal. There was a minor discussion amongst the party members, and it was decided that just receiving more information on the bounty couldn’t hurt. Along the way, Heisenberg rejoined the gang, having benefited from a short training session with the local garrison.

So off to the Duke’s castle they went. Upon arriving, they were greeted by the Duke‘s steward: an older gentleman named Graverly (I think, didn’t write it down). After a formal introduction, he informed everyone that the bounty for the Wyvern located at Whimsdale would be 3,500 gold. This amount, of course, would only be given if the creature was not dismembered when returned. The party then began the classic argument between “Stop a Clearly Evil Guy” and “Stop a Beast for Gold.”

During this argument, it was brought to everyone’s attention that the Duke did not seem to be concerned with stopping the necromancer nor the band of orcs, while he was strangely interested in this Wyvern. Heisenberg used his new guard contacts to discover that this was not the first reward for an intact monster the Duke had made. Could it be that the Duke was supplying dead creatures for the necromancer to raise?!?! Who knows? But, gold is gold, so the party decided to help the citizens of Whimsdale (interpreted: get gold with some good deeds on the side).

The trip to Whimsdale was to be a straightforward endeavor: but when you least expect encounters, that’s when you should suspect them. A meer day and a half from Whimsdale, while the party was sleeping around the campfire, Elora was keeping watch. Then, almost too quietly to hear, a twig snapped in the brush. Elora, who was extremely on edge for some reason, started yelling to get the party’s attention. Most of the party awoke just in time to see a creature leap from the shadows and fall upon Belladona. With a sinister growl, the being grabbed Belladonna’s leg in its maw and began to drag her away.

In the light of the fire, they could tell it was some hairy humanoid figure. Elora quickly unleashed a magic missile on the beast, and the creature was confounded enough to release Belladonna. Heisenberg and Queso delivered powerful blows to the animal while Hofniel cured Belladonna’s wounds. But despite the distraction, the beast’s murderous rage was turned on Elora and, almost too quick to perceive, charged Elora, raking her with one of its claws. She immediately felt a sinister foulness in her blood, but knew this was no time to panic. The party quickly closed in the creature amongst themselves, and the wolf creature soon fell to their onslaught. After the ambush, the party tracked it back to a cabin not far from the road. Thankfully, the cabin was deserted except for a small collection of gold. Thus, with Elora feeling quite… different, the party continued their rest until morning.

In the morning, the party made their way quickly to Whimsdale. The first order of business was to cure Elora, who appeared to be growing a beard at this point. Hofniel tried the local temple, but there was no cleric powerful enough to remove the disease. After some information gathering, they party soon found an apothecary who might be able to help. Upon entering his shop, they found that an interesting, and rather relaxing, smoke was thick in the air. The apothecary was extremely laid back, and did happen to have a mixture that should help Elora’s impending lycanthropic conversion. With a quick swig, Elora’s beard and other extraneous hairs disappeared. Furthermore, after learning that the party was in town to kill the Wyvern, he offered some Wyvern antivenom, which was a fast seller since the Duke’s bounty had been announced.

Since it was still midday at this point, the party decided to head to the local tavern, hoping to gain some knowledge about the beast. In the tavern was an assortment of individuals, including one that let slip that he was hunting the Wyvern as well! Queso was very interested on how he planned to do this, and proceeded to intimidate him. While Queso acquainted this man’s face with the table, the others went to the bar to relax for a bit, knowing there was no stopping Queso at this point. The man admitted that he and his pals were planning on poisoning the Wyvern with some sort of lure, and attacking it after it was weakened. Queso was also interested in obtaining this poison, and thus proceeded to intimidate the man into leading him to his room.

Thus, Queso marched this man up the stairs towards the inn section of the tavern. Near the top of the stairs was a door on the right, and from this door pounced two men with daggers drawn! Queso quickly threw the first guy back behind him and drew his greatsword. However, Queso did not factor in that he was a large man in a tiny stairway wielding a large sword. His sword sunk deep into the ceiling and the entire tavern could hear the commotion. The rest of the party was not surprised that Queso was causing a ruckus, and proceeded to continue drinking while offering the barkeep compensation for the impending damages. Back on the stairs, one of the men was able to stab Queso before he could dislodge his weapon. But these men were no match for Queso, who soon freed his blade and knocked both men unconscious. Seeing his two buddies so easily dispatched, the original man decided to obey Queso’s demand of retrieving the poison. But Queso was not yet satisfied. The sane members of the party saw Queso return down the stairs with his arms full with a pile of weapons and armor, which he promptly headed out to pawn in the town. At the sight, the innkeep decided he had had enough, and refused to let the party stay in his inn. Thus, the party camped outside that night.

In the new morning sun, the party created their plan. Dobby’s animal companion was able to scout out an approximate location for the Wyvern. They would poison a large bag of entrails that they received from the local butcher, and after it took effect, would all charge the beast. So they marched towards the crags that were on the outskirts of Whimsdale. After some quick recon, Belladonna discovered a spot where an alarming amount of animal bones had been discarded. Thinking this was the place, the party split up in a semicircle around this point. Belladonna, being the sneaky one, placed the poisoned bag of guts in the clearing. They waited… and waited… and waited some more. Finally, the party heard the flapping of a large set of wings. Then down from the cliff flew the lizardlike creature.

It eagerly ate the lure and the party waited for the poison to kick in. Midway through the meat, the Wyvern let out a small roar and shakily stepped back from the meal. The adventurers knew it was their moment to strike! Elora quickly weakened the monster with a Ray of Enfeeblement while Belladonna crept forward for a sneak attack. Dobby and Gregor lobbed projectiles at it, but its scale hide was too thick to penetrate. Queso, extremely weary of the Wyverns stinger, ran around back in an attempt to chop off its tail! Unfortunately for both Belladonna and Queso, the attacks did not do as much damage as they had expected, and the Wyvern quickly retaliated with a devious blow against Queso.

As Heisenberg was about to advance on the beast and protect his friends, Hofniel (ever the gentleman) asked for permission to touch him. A little confused, Heisenberg agreed and with Hofniel’s touch, was quickly enlarged: a target that the Wyvern could not ignore. And thus the battle raged. Heisenberg took point, attacking with his gigantic silver longsword while Queso and Belladonna attacked from the rear. Queso made another attempt to dismember the Wyvern’s tail, but in the heat of the moment somehow flung his greatsword on the other side of the Wyvern. Elora kept berating it with spells while Gregor switched from shuriken to his trusted fists. Finally, with a massive blow from Heisenberg, the creature fell.

Heisenberg quickly carved a giant H on the beast’s chest for some reason while Queso guffawed. Then the party was presented with a dilemma: this creature was quite large, and the cart was still in town. Queso and two others decided to stay with the Wyvern while the rest of the parted went to retrieve the cart. But, as soon as the rest of the party was well out of range, a group of three men jumped out from some rocks and charged the guarding group! When they drew close, Queso could identify the three men he had accosted in the inn, carrying crude spears. Queso was glad to flex his great muscles and charged right up to the three. In a single swift move, he slew two of the three, which caused the third to stop in his tracks and run the other way. Too bad Queso wasn’t finished, and that is how another band of misfits met the terrible fate of DBQ.

The others returned with the cart before too long. Hofniel, thinking that he may know something about Wyvern anatomy from one of his classes, miraculously removed its poison gland. Then, the party had a thought: where was the Wyvern’s lair? Belladonna quickly went on a recon mission, and after climbing the cliffs adjacent to the largest pile of bones, found the makeshift nest of the Wyvern. And there in the center was a large egg. The party carefully retrieved it, packed their cart with the mostly intact Wyvern, and returned to Sorpigal.

Upon arriving at Sorpigal, the merry band immediately went to the Duke’s estate and demanded their reward. They were quickly granted an audience in the main hall. Torvald was giddy with their haul and began speaking with Hofniel. At this point, Queso was sad that they would lose this grand trophy, and quietly pocketed a couple of loose scales from the cart. The party, now finally seeing the Duke, knew why he wanted the Wyvern. The was dressed garishly in all sorts of animal skins, some looking quite exotic. Torvald thanked them for this task, and offered them 2000 gp. This clearly did not please the party, since they had been told the reward was 3500 gp. Torvald continued to stiff them, at which point the party had had enough, and began to back the cart out of Torvald’s hall.

At this point, Torvald’s merriment was at an end. He grabbed and raised the golden rod that was at his side. Suddenly, as if by magic, all the guards in the room immediately readied themselves and all looked at the adventurers in unison. Feeling quite distrustful towards Torvald and the rod in his hand, Hofniel cast detect magic and immediately saw rays of magical energy emanating from the rod to each of the guards in the room. The party asked what the Duke was doing, and he replied by demanding they leave the Wyvern where it was. Refusing once again, the party began operation “Is this Really Happening?”

Hofniel, thinking that Torvald was somehow controlling the guards, quickly began casting Obscuring Mist while Queso ran towards the Duke. When the spell was cast, a large mist blocked the guards from the Duke’s sight, and it was obvious that the guards were affected, so Hofniel tried to persuade them to stand down. Elora tried to touch one of the guards with Fatigue, but stumbled at the last second, unable to connect. Belladonna and Gregor leaped into the mist towards the Duke, while Queso was trying to grab the rod from him. Some of the guards, though slightly confused, still had the state of mind to peel off towards the Duke.

At this point, Gregor was also trying to grab the rod. Belladonna came from behind while the Duke was distracted, but then slipped on the smooth floors and somehow tumbled into the Duke’s lap! Thankfully, the guards were slowed down by the mist while the other half of the guards began closing in on the rest of the party by the cart. Finally, Queso was able to grab hold of the Duke. When this happened, Hofniel removed the mist and everyone realized that this had turned into a slight hostage situation. Trying to salvage it, Hofniel then gave the best speech of his life [nat 20], discussing how the Duke was manipulating his guard and owed the party and his people. Furthermore, Hofniel negotiated, with the help of Queso, for the original 3500 gp, then an additional 3500 gp, in exchange for the Wyvern. Then, pushing their luck, Hofniel also demanded the rod. At first, the Duke refused. But after more coaxing and a flexing of Queso’s pecks, he finally yielded the rod.

The party took their goods, backed out cautiously from the hall, and turned from the Duke’s murderous glare. They high tailed it safely back to Peloria. The good adventurers dispersed 1500 gp of the extra earnings to the refugees of the orc crisis, while devoting the rest to gaining political information about Erath, which they had suddenly found quite critical.

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