Real World Info
Karvenn found himself in Malinbois without his usual companions, and advertised for foolish meat sheilds new adventuring talent willing to make the journey to Castle Amber. He managed to find four interested parties. Thoroughgood, a halfling who had previously adventured with early members of the Company. Capstone, a cleric new to the area. Scrymgeour, a thief in search of honest opportunity. And last, Edgar, the 14-year-old son of the owner of the general store.
Edgar promised to bring a large supply of oil with him, but also demanded a 50 gp fee and a 100gp weregild. Karvenn ventured to the general store to check with the lad's father about this, and learned that the kid did not have permission from his father to go adventuring. However, once he learned the price the child had bargained, he agreed to let the child go to his doom adventuring if we desired to hire him (and promised to do our best to preserve the boy's life).
Thoroughgood did not approve of this. To test the boy and teach him a lesson, Thoroughgood snuck up behind him in the Inn of the Smoking Owl and threw him to the ground, pinning him there with a sheathed dagger, and pointing out that a monster could easily have gutted him. He told the boy to train and become more watchful, and apply to be an adventurer again in a few years. This was greeted with amusement by Edgar's friends and One-armed Jacques the innkeep.
This business took all day, so the group slept until dawn and prepared for the 8-hour march to Castle Amber. The trip was uneventful.
On arrival, we looked around and decided to assault the ruined watchtower to the southwest of the Castle proper, where Karvenn had previously adventured. He warned the group repeatedly the zombies there were both plentiful and ferocious, but we were not deterred.
The ground-floor of the watchtower was deserted. But the very act of Scrymgeour sneaking down the stairs attracted three zombies, who rose into our midst, and proceeded to beat on us. It was discovered that arrows, a long slashing sword, short swords, a dagger, and a war hammer all had little effect on the zombies, as they had no organs to ruin or blood to spill. (We decided that upon our return the most effective weapons would be axes that could hack the zombies apart).
After some considerable effort, the zombies were killed, but Karvenn and Capstone were both wounded. Scrymgeour again snuck down the stairs and detected no more zombies. The party decided to rest for a full day in the tower, keeping watch over the stairs and remaining largely hidden up on the second floor of the tower.
Curiously, the cap over the well and the stone and wreckage piled on it were in place. The zombies were dry, and had obviously not come up through the water and much under the tower. Slight current of air into the archway made the group speculate that the stone door at the end of the long corridor had been opened, and that the zombies had emerged from there. The corpses wore the tattered remains of a white tabard with crowned black unicorn – symbol of La Famille d'Amberville.
Scrymgeour spent the day observing the surrounding countryside and sketching a crude map. In the afternoon, while watching the orcs move around on Castle Amber, the orcs waved and Scrymgeour waved back. The orcs sent a small party waving a white flag to parley; Scrymgeour and Karvenn went to meet them.
The orcs were led by Uruk, who wanted to know our business. On hearing we were here to fight the undead and find our fortunes, he invited us to meet with his leader, The Tal.
The group did so, and were led into the main courtyard of Castle Amber, and what seemed to be the center of the orcs' activity. We met with Urigness, the Tal of the Tribe of the Burning Brand and the tribe's shaman, Cha'Gran, follower of the god Ignis, the Flame that Cleanses and Purifies.
The orcs described their mission as holding the surface of the castle and preventing the more powerful evils entombed within from escaping. After some discussion, we realized the aims of the orcs and the company (as represented by Karvenn) were in alignment. A rough agreement was brokered. The orcs will provide free access to entrances to the undercastle, and the Company will descend and fight the evils below before they emerge. The company also agreed to act as emissaries for the orcs, to allow them a way to to trade with the humans of Malinbois they could not trade with on their own. Eventually, as the Company gains renown, we may help the orcs gain favor with the princes of Glantri.
The orcs' previous encounters with the company were viewed with some suspicion, especially as regards someone with copper badges or amulets? who apparently cast some illusions and trickery. The company will have to comport itself in a more straightforward and trustworthy manner in the future to further gain the trust of the orcs.
The group departed to uphold their end of the deal and purchase supplies in Malinbois.
Losses & Loot
The party defeated three zombies and established an arrangement with the Burning Brand orc tribe, who gave them 100gp as part of a trade agreement.
For creatures defeated, wealth acquired and other bonuses provided over the course of the session, the party members each received 244xp.