Arc Sol - Human Cleric of Pelor, the god of the sun (254 points)
Aurum Red-Brand - Human Wizard (250 points)
Mor'ath Enanqua - Elven Swashbuckler/Thief (250 points)
Zaxod - Half-Orc Knight (250 points)
Day 3 (Cont.)
Arriving in Kral Narthis, the party went to the Silver Axe tavern to get out of the rain. Aurum gambled some more and lost $50, while Mor'ath asked a guard about hobgoblins and was told that they might be more active because they are growing in number.
The party left Kral Narthis early, and the rain got worse throughout the day. Worried about more ambushes, Mor'ath scouted ahead again, and around noon spotted a group of 6 well-armed mercenaries (swords and mail, heraldry with a black dragon on blue field) blocking the road. Before he could get back to the party, however, he was grabbed by a trio of mercenaries that were hiding in the woods (Mor'ath rolled 7 MoS on his Stealth, but he failed his Observation pretty badly so he had to move closer, while the mercs rolled well on their Vision, and with +2 from being a group, no penalties from close proximity, and +2 for time spent, they saw him before he saw them).
Mor'ath was questioned by the leader of the mercenaries, a man named Luccio, and failed his Fast-Talk to convince him that he was only an advance scout of a far larger caravan. And so, without anybody to inform them of the pending ambush, the rest of the party wandered directly into the mercenaries.
Gylium hid in the back again while Zaxod went forwards to talk to Luccio, who had 4 men guarding Mor'ath. A successful Heraldry roll let the party know that the mercs were from the Dragons of Carda, one of the companies that had gone unpaid after the recent war between the cities of Etriada, Isserno, and Mefalis far to the west. Luccio explained that they were "tax-collectors", that they claimed 10% on any trade coming through, and that he worked for a man named Bertio Addon.
These terms were rejected, so Luccio offered an alternative: a duel to first blood. If Zaxod won, they could pass for free, but if Luccio won, the mercs would take 20%. Zaxod accepted, and the duel began. Both fighters played defensively, Luccio Evaluated while Zaxod used All-Out Defence (Double). 3 rounds later, Luccio tried an All-Out Attack (Determined), Rapid-Strike, with the first attack as a Feint, and the second a Deceptive Attack to the arm. He succeeded at both, but was parried, which led to an easy attack to the unarmoured hand for Zaxod against a defenceless opponent.
Luccio freed Mor'ath and let the caravan pass, though one of his lieutenants complained that their boss would be annoyed if he continued to do this.
Tired and wet, the party arrived in Carda just as the sun was setting. Gylium gave them the second half of their pay, with a 2sp bonus each, and offered them the same job in the opposite direction in about a week. The party accepted, and then left for the Adventurer's Guildhouse to see if they could find any work. They woke up the sleeping halfling manning the counter, and had their pick of two postings; they could stop whoever (or whatever) was stealing sheep from the nearby village of Greenbrook, or they could find whatever had murdered 4 miners in the nearby iron mines.
Zaxod asked about any rumours, and found out that hunters from Greenbrook had seen orcs in the forest a day or two away, far from the plains where they usually stay. Eventually, they decided to hunt down the sheep thieves, cashed in their hobgoblin ears for $80, and went to the Jovial Unicorn Inn to sleep. Aurum stayed up a bit later and lost $100 gambling.
Overnight it had stopped raining, though it was still cloudy. They sold the hobgoblin breastplate to Griffin's Arms, recharged power items at Bruno the Crimson's Splendiferous Magical Goods, and did some light shopping (a camo cloak for Mor'ath and two wooden sparring axes for Zaxod) before heading out to Greenbrook.
The party met with the village's alderman, an elderly human named Tobias, and he suggested it might be hobgoblins or bandits. Zaxod told him it was orcs, which are much more dangerous, but that they'd take care of it. Tobias took them to a farm that had lost a sheep the night before, and Arc tried his hand at Tracking. They went through the forest for about an hour before finding a group of 3 Dire Wolves eating a deer. Thanks to Frightens Animals, they reacted aggressively.
Forgot the footing/visibility modifiers during the duel.
Luccio could have done something smarter during the duel, but All-Out Attack seems appropriate to someone with Overconfident and it almost worked.
It was nice of Zaxod to strike with less than full strength, so that Luccio could keep his hand. 4d cutting to an area with no armour is no joke, and even with the lowered 1d+2 he crippled it.
2 for general success
2 for completing a minor quest
2 for roleplaying well
MVP was Zaxod for the duel