There are approximately 14 days until the Bugbear army is in position, and roughly 30 to the point where infighting begins to make them noticeably less effective.
Day 1: Wednesday
Sam has a chat with Fitch: Fitch my dear, you have many talents and we are going to need all of them…
…but talking to people isn't one of them. You managed to insult Fire Axe and you nearly started a fight.
“I'm highly skilled in the arts of diplomacy”
You're not. You're really really really not.
“Liaise with the locals, check”
No, don't do that.
“shall I talk to the dwarfs then?” NO
Fitch successfully follows Barhold to the cellar unseen and unheard, and sees him open a secret door in the cellar. Hiding, he sees Barhold return with some pilfered bottles of expensive elven wine.
“shall I go and mingle with the locals and see what information we can find?”
what do you think?
Fuck you. You're on you're own.
Sam and Fitch head to the alchemist's shop. "Thank goodness you're in, we've got a terrible problem. Our pigs have ome down with some kind of blight. I need to destroy them, to stop it spreading. We've got the healthy ones separated."
The alchemist is surprised that a pig farm with an unheard of 600 head of pigs can be in the area without him having had any inkling of it, but Sam is, as ever, persuasive. 400 pigs are apparently sick, but the only poison the alchemist has suitable for an amateur is arsenic, which is used for rat poison. He agrees to sell his entire stock for 250 GP, which he is confident will kill 200 pigs. The others? Maybe hit them all with a sledgehammer, drive them off a cliff, herd them into a derelict barn and burn it? The alchemist is no expert on pig murder, but tries to offer helpful suggestions.
The play is due to be performed in 8 days. Creel has a satisfying conversation with a guard, and finds that it will be a command performance in the castle hall, with all the castle leadership there and as many guards as can be spared from guard duties. It's the famous William Marcus Marlowe, the Bard of Barrington, and his company "ye Merrie Men". The guard is desperately hoping he won't draw the short straw and be on duty.
Sam is staking out the Mott house, but sees nothing untoward.
That evening in the pub, Sam sets up a drinking competition between Eisenbach, Zachariah Creel, and Adelea. Some (perhaps exploitable) tension is detected between the local drinkers and the dwarfs, and Eisenbach appears to be something of a fighting drunk, but first Creel and then Sam smooth things over for now.
Creel comes a creditable second in the drinking game, and takes Eisenbach almost to the wire before throwing up helplessly on the floor, where Adelea's mess has barely been cleared up. Sam and Fitch take the two contestants to their room to sleep it off. While the dwarfs were distracted by the drinking contest Sam has had Fitch burgle Eisenbach's room, and has made a copy of the map Fitch found there. The party now has a creditable map of the tower.
Hangovers are kicking in. Adelea curses Sam's name loudly, while Creel hisses at her to keep the noise down while occasionally retching into a bucket. He swears off dwarven spirits for “at least a week”. Except maybe one hair of the dog?
Grumblejack is bored but Sam talks him into being patient for a few days, then they can kill a patrol.
Fitch stakes out Mott's house successfully, but sees nothing unusual.
Evening of day 3 they check out the tunnel. Unarmoured so they make less noise. Sam however makes an absolute shambles of being quiet, is caught wandering the darkened inn by the suspicious innkeeper, and is sent back to her room, quietly swearing vengeance. The others, having made it to the cellar, investigate the passageway without her and find it leads to a little-used storeoom in a vault beneath the tower. They have a secret way in!
Fitch stealths through the tower and finds a strongly locked room at the top. Could this be the rookery? Creel suggests watching to see whether birds fly in and out of the top of the tower.
Fitch stakes out Mott's house again and sees the pretty young Mrs Mott being visited by captain Eddarley. He sneaks up to the window and sees that they are up to shenanigans inside! The party resolve to tip Mott off next time.
Sam picks up her new staff and it is everything she was hoping for.
Varning's patrol comes back to the castle, and are likely to head off again in a few days.
Sam is keen on elimiating the ravens although there is some concern this will arouse suspicion: “what are they going to do about it? Are they going to send a bird to get more birds?”
Why are they bothered about the birds? “those let them call for reinforcements. No birds, no reinforcements. They'll have a raven keeper dude, maybe we can make it look like he went mad and killed them and jumped out the tower. The play would be a good time”.
“we could poison the ravens and frame the actors?”
The evening of day 4 is spent in conversation in the inn, picking up more rumours. Sam does a particularly fine job of charming information on the garrison from a group of off duty guards.
Barnabus Eisenbach leads a group of 10 dwarven engineers on a long term project to survey the watchtower and make any necessary repairs. During any conflict his crack engineers would man siege engines and fire crossbows from the walls. They are quartered at the inn as there is no room at the castle.
Captain Samual Barhold is the most senior of the captains. Captain Barhold is a craggy-faced veteran watchman
who frst joined the guard when he lied about his age and
became a soldier at age 14. That was twenty years ago.
Today, he stands on the cusp of middle age certain that he
will spend the rest of his life guarding this wall. He is deeply respected by the rank and file.
Unlike the other 3 captains, Barhold has no house in town.
Captain of the halberdiers, Franz Mott is a gruff, humourless man who is hard to like. Captain Mott has a house in town (with his wife Kaitlyn) and so his quarters are rarely occupied except in emergencies. He is known to be expert with the halberd. He is also known, although only by our villains, to be a cuckold.
Zack Eddarley captains the archers, and is the tower's resident gallant. He has been comforting Kaitlyn Mott while her husband has been busy with his duties. He's known to be a skilled and deadly shot with his composite longbow.
Rumours from the townsfolk say that Father Donnagin was sent here
after the church demoted him from bishop. He
got into some sort of trouble – serious trouble I’d
wager to be banished to the Watch Wall. - On the other hand the guards the party have spoken to seem to respect and even love the cleric, who is perpetually cheerful and seems to be the heart and soul of the garrison.
Captain Ryan Varning is rarely found out of full plate armour and off the back of his warhorse, Varlet. Skilled with lance, sword, and bow, he leads the castle's rangers and is often to be found leading six men on patrol. The castle used to send out more patrols, but things have been very quiet since Varning put his lance through the chest of the last bandit leader in the area.
Tacitus of Morimun. The guard mutters darkly that the wizard is a recluse with a poor reputation and might be getting up to all sorts in his tower.
Lord Thomas Havelyn is the Commander of the garrison.