the Way of the Wicked

Bring Down Balentyne! part 1

30 days and counting

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.

Day 2

“shall I go and mingle with the locals and see what information we can find?”

what do you think?

“yes”

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.

Day 3

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.

Day 4.

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.

 

Comments

Incidentally you’ve accrued 1200 XP for obtaining useful information about the tower from Aldencross, and another 1200 XP for successfully infiltrating it. That’s 600XP each.

Bring Down Balentyne! part 1
 

Cool – so – timetable!

Day 5. Continue to watch Kaitlyn’s house. If Eddarley shows up, I’ll run along to the watchtower disguised as a messenger kid, and convince Mott that there’s an emergency at his house. Get hi to rush back, and we can watch what happens. Do that until he does.

Evening: We want to start a fight to disgrace the dwarves and get them fired. That’s got to be the easiest bit. I suggest in the evening we just let Fitch TALK to them. Won’t take more than 10 minutes for him to insult their height/accent/women.
Maybe we could nick a few trivial bits and bobs and plant them in the dwarves’ room too?

Day 6 – Think this is when we need to set off to intercept Varning.
Might try a repeat of the Sir Balin ambush? Get into position – when the patrol is approaching, I cast a silent image of a big covered wagon with a broken axle, with everyone hiding inside. I’ll play the helpless merchant/traveller appealing for help from the handsome captain. He gets close to help fix the wagon, everyone leaps on him?

Day 10 – play arrives. We use the distraction to scout the fort and poison the birds. I like the idea of framing the actors. But we could sow even more confusion if we throw the bird keeper off the tower with a suicide note. Something like “My babies. My babies are all dead. The plague took them all. I can’t live without my babies!”
It’ll take them a while to find the mangled corpse at the bottom of the tower, so they’ll blame the actors at first. Then they’ll find him and be confused. Either way it wont point to us.

Day 12 – is a Monday. Go check out Mama Giuseppe, befriend her, see what the routine is with the stew. (Don’t do anything with it yet)

Day 19 – Nobble the stew – have it delivered to the keep.

Day 20 – Infiltrate the tower – cause chaos – open the gates – fire a rocket.

We have a few spare days. I’d also like to try and lure Captain Barhold out on his own if we can. The fewer named guys we have during the assault the better! He’s the innkeepers brother, right? How about we send a message to the fort “from the innkeeper” saying that he’s in trouble and needs his brothers help – meet at (X location – somewhere outside the town) – and we ambush?

Anyone got any ideas about the mage, the priest and the commander? Can we get them out individually?
Actually the priest could be a problem for the assault if he can Neutralise Poison! Maybe we want to find out more about him – why he was demoted etc?

Bring Down Balentyne! part 1
 

The 35 you got on your Dr 10 check is continuing to pay off by the way. Barhold has the biggest room next to the tower. As senior captain he does the duty rota and he doesn’t work nights so will likely be there asleep.

Bring Down Balentyne! part 1
 

Thats cool – so assassination potential!

Was also thinking something. We are going to need to smuggle Grumblejack into the inn for the assault. (Im working on a plan for that!).

But – if we can do that – I was thinking we could go and visit Sakkarot and request half a dozen warriors to assist with the infiltration – and smuggle them in through the tunnels too. They could be useful on the inside to hold the gatehouse if we’re otherwise occupied.

Bring Down Balentyne! part 1
 

Dont know how easy it will be sneaking bugbears through the town to the inn.

And then we need to make sure the inn is empty. I dont mind butchering everyone it it, but that will be noisy!

Bring Down Balentyne! part 1
 

Inn door is secured at night so you’d be looking to sneak whoever in during the day with a limited number of magic hats…

Doesn’t look like that tunnel sees any use though so if you can get GJ in there he will likely be safe from casual discovery

Bring Down Balentyne! part 1
 

Kill the innkeeper a couple of days before the assault. Pretend to be him with the circlets. Nick his keys. Unlock the door at night when getting GJ/bugbears in.

Bring Down Balentyne! part 1
 

Does the illusion cover changing voice as well?

That is why I proposed posing as him with a bed-ridden illness on an earlier session.

Bring Down Balentyne! part 1
 

nope it doesnt – but we should be able to carry it off for a day or so. Any longer and it’ll get seen through

Bring Down Balentyne! part 1
 

He’s got a wife and meets people every day who know him. He’s a gossip and is always chatting to people at the bar. His brother knows him pretty well too and for all you know they meet every Thursday for dinner or have a chess match which they carry out by sending notes daily.

You seem pretty breezy about your chances, is all I’m saying.

Bring Down Balentyne! part 1
 

I’m just saying I think its worth a shot trying to smuggle GJ in (possibly with some others).

We could even start a fire in a building across the street as a distraction? There are loads of options.

Bring Down Balentyne! part 1
 

Listen, you can chew over any gambits you think might let you get your ogre into the fort in this thread.

Bring Down Balentyne! part 1
 

Not sure we’ll need it next session anyway. Was just a thought.

And anyway, no need to over complicate. If it is just GJ, Zach can silence/invis him in

Bring Down Balentyne! part 1
 

If you look bacca t some of our other adventures it might give you a han d figuring out what I am suggesting,

Bring Down Balentyne! part 1
 

That might be force-ing it a bit. There are a lot of troopers at the fort after all.

Bring Down Balentyne! part 1
 

Incidentally, I did an alchemy roll for Fitch and he got a very creditable 27. The amount of arsenic you have is sufficient to poison the stew for 70 men (which is generally the number of guards who attend Stew Night, the others being on duty). The likely effect will be to kill 1d10 men and to sicken maybe 4d10 more making them no good for fighting for at least 3 days.

Fitch is aware that the symptoms of arsenic poisoning can be easily mistaken for cholera.

Also (not from the alchemy roll) you’re aware that the nice old lady does the actual cooking in the castle kitchens, rather than do it at her house and transport it there in a big cauldron or something.

Also I forgot to mention that Tacitus the mage is known for loving fireballs and having recently been given a wand of fireball by the Lord Commander.

Bring Down Balentyne! part 1
 

This section is great. There’s so much to consider and it’s all pretty free form. Must be pretty tough to run this bit, kudos Steve!

So what do we do with this latest bit of info?

We need to poison the stew onsite. Should be doable. The alchemist is a lying twat who is going straight to second on my list behind the innkeeper. He promised I had bought enough that would definitely kill 200 pigs outright. Turns out it’s only enough to maybe kill 5 men…

And we have a noob Mage to deal with. Anyone can hurl a fireball… although it could be useful for dealing with masses or troops. If we have 50 guys left over we could be in trouble

Bring Down Balentyne! part 1
 

Does the cook bring any ingredients from home? Her secret herb and spice mix for her old family recipe?

Otherwise, sneak in and pose as a guard and poison the ingredients?

Bring Down Balentyne! part 1
 

Can we get a look at the priest so I could disguise myself as him? Staging a small, secret Asmodeus worshipping session in an out of the way ruin or cellar where a credulous, gossipy lone local such as a shepherd or farmhand could catch a glimpse of us may help.

Fitch has history in using this exact plan to disgrace clergy meddling with his gang in the past.

Bring Down Balentyne! part 1
 

The priest isn’t a recluse like the wizard or Mad Martin the rook looker after, but he is effectively the second in command of the tower so while he does occasionally come to town it won’t be often. You might be able to get a look if you disguise yourself as a servant.

He’s got an excellent reputation among the rank and file, and his whereabouts are generally known, so your plan might be tricky to carry out. Sounds like more of a long time thing than a 2-week special, but it’s good thinking all the same.

Cook is likely to bring ingredients from home, she’s an old lady who might be happy to get some help carrying them from convincing new friends. Might even be able to persuade her to put some mushrooms in the stew, if you want to go for a double poison stew spectacular.

Bring Down Balentyne! part 1
President_Weasel

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