"War is bad for business," teethy Lord Baron Silvertooth had said to the merry group of adventurers, his men collected from about his lands. Taverns, prisons, brothels, the bottoms of wells- all contributed to this merry band of listeners before him. "But orc raids are even worse! I haven't had a good ham in weeks!" he dribbled, slamming the armrest of his comfortable throne. "Taxes must be collected dammit- that is where all of you come in."
It was then that the merry band of listeners learned about what they had heard in a hundred taverns- about Thundersun Castle.
Once a magnificent keep at the edge of the Borderlands, raptured by a cataclysmic event that blackened the surrounding fields to a char. Nothing has grown in the area since. Long since abandoned, it recently became the home of a tough band of orcs- raiding the surrounding hinterlands, menacing the local population (and tax-payers) into absolute poverty.
"If my subjects are too poor to pay, then I will soon be to poor to collect!" spitted Silvertooth between goblets of wine. "Whatever you find in that blasted castle is yours, just kill those orcs!"
Thus the merry band of listeners, were escorted (roughly) to the edge of the kingdom, given direction to the blasted hinterlands and promptly sent on their way.
Days later they arrive at the crater, a shallow dip in the land fifty leagues across. If one squits, one could see at its center, the remains of a shattered castle gleaming in a hazy sun.
A sun that once thundered against its ramparts.
OOC: Feel free to develop rapor and bonds as I roll for things that go bump.
"Well my friends", says the Fairy in the party while flitting around his 3 companions, performing some neat acrobatics: a barrel roll followed by a rather flashy spin that leaves him hovering in front of them.
"If we are going to have to trust our lives to one another then I think introductions are in order. I am Jarro 'Windrider' a warrior from the Kingdom of Cerinor. What I lack in sheer might I make up for in stealth and my ability to act as an aerial scout. Now, tell me about yourselves before we decide how we are to destroy this nest of Orcs for the Baron?"
“Greetings fellow Orc slayers and collectors of all things shiny,” replied the rotund little Hobbe scratching his stomach and stuffing his pipe with his favourite blend of Hobbe Herbs. “I am Darren the Dart, Hobbe Rogue, adept with dart, blade and spell. Don’t let my small stature and portly appearance fool you, I am hardy, nimble in a scrap and fairly lucky.” “I am pleased to see we have a fairy warrior to aid us but who are our fellow adventurers?” “It is also worth staying down wind of me as my, uhm pipe puffing, some find offensive to the olfactory organs.”
"Lando," he pronounces it LAHN-doh, "I'm here seeking what every wizard seeks ... power. Power, and the prestige coming with it. This, in turn, will be the coin to repay some old debts." His grin is humorless, predatory.
"As for all of you? You seem capable, though like me you lack experience. Let's make keeping each other in one piece a goal along with getting rich and staying alive, shall we?"
As he is engulfed in a cloud of the Hobb's pungent smoke, Jarro wrinkles his nose in disgust. "I think that might have to be your last pipe of weed for some time. Any self-respecting Orc will sniff you long before he sees you reeking as you do of that stuff!" The fairy flits around a few feet from Darren's face and grins mischievously at him.
Darren blew a final smoke ring, good naturedly, towards Jarro and smiled, “Aye, you are probably right little Warrior, although from what I have heard Orcs aren’t known for their pleasant aromas!” “I concur with Lando, I like the sound of getting rich AND staying alive to enjoy it!” he added tapping out his pipe before checking his armour and weapons and looking in the direction of the shattered castle.
As Darren finishes uttering these cheering words, a dwarf rocks in his chair and bangs his mug down on the beer-soaked table, making it's tired legs rattle and wince. Wiping his sleeve across his beard-nestled lips, he jumps up and throws his full helm into the ring. "My name is Fungal and I need to earn a bob or two. As you're sounding a mite wiser than most rabble-rousers, count me in! Jarro, Darren and Lando, I've got your backs, lads, have no doubt 'a that. I'm not a lover of barons , nor taxes, but orcs keep 'em from getting to the bottom o' the barrel so let's be at 'em! Home in time for supper, you reckon?" With that, he washes his bread and cheese down with a final pint and stands ready for the off. '
Jarro looks in surprise at Fungal, "How did that table make its way out here into the wilderness?" He shakes his head and turns in the air to face towards Thundersun Castle. "Now, I'm as keen as the next Fairy on a full frontal assault on our orc adversaries but I suggest we adopt a stealthy approach across the crater. Shame there is so little cover. Comrade Fungal, how far to the keep from here do you think?"
OOC:If it's half 50 leagues to the castle, and a league is 3 miles we've got 75 miles to cross
“I vote for Fungal to lead the way, dwarves make great point men and always seem ready for a scrap! Jarro can act as scout as he is most mobile and can possibly get some altitude and warn us if anyone or thing is approaching? Lando and I can be ready to support with my darts and his Arcane abilities.” “It appears we still have some distance to cover and I am, as by the sounds of things we all are, ready to get this task underway.” Resting his hands on his Hobbe belly Darren mused to himself, “I wonder if Fungal finished all of his bread and cheese...?”
Distant could not really assert itself within the crater. Whatever blasted it centuries ago, raining doom and storm upon it, thundered deep into the earth. Within the crater, to the companions, everything seemed at times closer and at times farther.
Was that vegetation to the northwest? Were the ruins of the castle that close? That far? Did the dwarf really pound his tankard on the surface of a table? Even how could a dwarf be on a mount. It all convoluted, strange to the mind and everything especially the sense. A black powder seemed to float in the air. Everything was there and yet, was not there.
A figure ahead, to the east, appeared with a staff, pointing the way. Then the cloaked figure was gone. If one shook there head, the figure was there and not there. The periphery of anyone seemed foggy and suspicious, as if someone watching.
OOC: Roll SR1 vs IQ to not be mesmerized by the crater.
Fungal rolls 8 and also fails (gotta love that about low level T&T!). Grimacing, he accepts the leading-the-way role and explains a little about his magic fold-away table that shrinks to the size of a matchbox and so fits snugly inside his pocket (at any rate, he fervently believes this to be so and not to be just a flight of fancy). He is also currently starting to regret giving the last of his bread and cheese to Darren (or Daro, as he thinks of the hobb). "'Ey up, lads! That crater's got to be the strangest crater I've ever seen. Can't make head nor tail of it... Lando, with your wizardly wiles, can you kindly get us back on track - I seem to be befuddled... Again..."