Carousing and Inter-Session for G70: the Shrieking Hollow
Rusty Buckles will carouse in Malinbois, the drunk way. Something to take the old mushroom edge off.
Enchanted with Snickwick's gustatory experience at Glantri City's Rathwood's, but missing many of the fine points and details, Mr. Buckles attempts to relive the sumptuary repast of spirits and sweets, driven by his halfling will to power, in the sleepy town of Malinbois.
With images of balloon beers floating imperiously in his head, he devises the region's first beer bong, demanding to be placed on his head with a tube feeding him from above, made out of the long innards of a calf, scrubbed and smoothed for use in cooking a regional form of haggis. The torrent of libation leaves the godly little man spluttering, coughing, tumbling over on his side, as the intenstine flops and chugs over the floor. The tube of his own throat and the capacity of his stomach are not geared for such drink-and-drown speeds, but reputedly the concoction of fragrant offal, tied off and filled with oatmeal and organic paste, put out in front of the mayor and a few guests the next day, is absolutely delicious. Who thought to bathe it in beer?
Well before this time, however, Rusty has already pub crawled (back and forth between two taverns) several times and several seats over, and is demanding a candified… something. He demands angelic merengue. Souffles of gnomic intensity. At some point he has cornered a cat near a haystack and has yanked out clumps of mangy fur, and has stolen printed sheets left past twilight to dry, and has affixed to chin, feet, and head, the appurtenances of a gnome. His flannel plaid cap, his bell-tipped purple shoes (where did he get the bells?), and little nibblet of a gnome's ginger-red beard, are meant to 'activate' the mysteries of the exquisite.
And it works. Rusty has an amazing time. The overcooked roast beef sings on his tongue. The cheap ale dances like a fire elemental inside his throat. Leaping aboard tables like a pirate, slinking beneath them like a savage tiger, he is a delight to all, surely! And his taste buds ring almost as much as his head, as he shouts to his friends Frogwhimple and Grittlesperry and Grindlejack and Fruitylance as they trade in and out over darkened windows and weathered tabletops as the night progresses.
For what he imagines is exactly the same gastronomical cataclysm Snickwick experienced, Rusty spends 300gp and earns 300xp. Disaster! As he only has 296gp to his name, he now owes -4gp to whomever he stole the bells from.
Congrats! You are a level 3 cleric!
Although he's very small, Snickwick has more industriousness in his whole body than most men do in their little finger.
Hephaestus takes his meager earnings and puts them in a mercantile association for safekeeping.
Pritchard Hood (not a carouse)
Pritchard, driven to fits of ennui by recent events, finds himself revitalized by his amazing success at learning the secrets of invisibility… and by the procurement of the wand of magic missiles.
He'd like to investigate where he can have the wand recharged, and how much this will cost. He will also make discrete inquiries into obtaining a formula for recharging it on his own, as per Quendalon's ruling on recharging magic items.
At the moment he's only interested in paying incidental costs for the information, not in paying for either of these services (not until he knows the price). This is not a carouse.
If the cost of charging the wand is not prohibitive, he will pay to have it fully recharged (25 charges, NS said). He has 669 gp to his name. If reaction rolls are required, they must play as they lay: he has no Charisma modifier.
The charming elf spends the next week picnicking with his new elven friends, [insert name] and [insert name]. They frolic through the high meadows of the Vallée de l'heureux, dining on flowers and honeydew, which they wash down with bottles of vintage Liebfraumilch procured at some expense from the area's merchants. (This is a standard carouse.)
Despite their secretly sworn intent of watching over the troubled village of Worms, Wintergreen, in combination with the glittering warmth of the September day, is irrepressible and cannot be denied. Amberli and Longwillow bundle little cheeses and crackers into fine elven scarves, and by high noon are playing "wee titchit" with the soft knotted strands of red and purple as they chase in giggling forays into the hilly glades, their clothes already cast assunder beneath the forgiving barks and canopy branches. They find the valley's Liebfraumilch, as they drink it pantingly from the jugs, promising but sad and sour, but nothing an expert mulch of dandelion stems and boysenberries cannot cure.
In the evening, they find themselves on the spare outskirts of Bodkin, the valley's larger town, where Wintergreen decides to treat his companions to as fine a dinner as can be managed and a large private room. The timing is good — this is the night, back in Worms, the Explictica Defilus cult decides to burn their rented house down.
Saving throw, 18. You spend 200gp and earn 200xp. A splendid experience as thsi would have been much more expensive back home.
William of Silence
Bill is not a man to be turned away. Gissie is a fine girl and has a brain to make up her own mind, but if her brothers wish to detain her, then there is no reason to skin one's nose. The pastures are filled with stamping, hot little fillies, ready to come in from the rain and the mud.
He goes to a superb Malinbois butcher - if it needs to be on the outskirts, why, he buys straight from a farm - and buys three suckling pigs, roasted, and walks alongside the porter as they are carted to the minor Larease estates. It is, by the way, in the light of afternoon. Wet hay and manure is soon overcome by the smell of meaty delicacy.
"Lads," he says, once they gather. "Your sister will one day be allowed her own mind. Surely, raised such as you are, you understand man and woman, male and female, and there is nothing wrong with it. But nevermind. I bring these piggies as a good-time offering. Have a good fill. On me. I only ask, as you knife that ham into your jaws, on the behalf of your sister, and for me, and for all the poor animal in the world, you treat your poor sister a little less like a piece of meat next time. Have faith in her brain."
William grins. "You have her back. She is yours again. And if you get on the wrong side of me again, I will pull your heads off, one by one."
He stands grinning while the porter hastily unpiles the cart, then turns to follow, balancing his zweihander on his shoulder, as it creaks back down the road. He calls back over his shoulder, "Now, if you want a good time, you know where to find me!"
William does a regular carouse in/around Malinbois. He may end up owing money to the butcher, but he needs to stuff these lunkheads into their stockings before they think they're worth more than a bucket of piss.
Verso apparently liked loose-leaf journals and notes, instead of anything bound. His spell book, alas, sits in some distant room, gathering dust.
His notes record his exploration of the lives of the twin brothers Rolf and Jorl des Esseintes, who roamed the continent and were the toast of a much younger Glantri City. They are thought to be buried in the Valley of the Owls, but time has effaced the location of the tomb. He feels he has gotten close to where their chief architect might be residing, a foreigner who went by the assumed name Amos Foster.
He must have written the last pages in the caverns in front of the doors, having already lost his apprentice to the cave fishers. He describes, with surprise, the glassy mosaic of the demonic fly covering the double doors, a monstrous image he resolved to break, as one would a sealed letter. He expected the monument or tomb to be more benign.
In the narrowed pass on the way back to Les Hiboux, Gavin Orkney stumbles from the cart tracks and into the bracken. He has been uncertain of leaving Worms behind, but helped the party skirt through the hills, through Bodkin, and back toward Malinbois. As a recovering agent for the weird forces infiltrating the town, he knows he won't be able to maintain the effects of the charm, now that it has been broken. But now his memories are returning to him with a vengeance.
"She went by Explictica Defilus. That was it. I have only seen her the once. The Bouller boys clubbed me over the head in the Golden Grain. It was late, my wife took the kids to visit relatives in Sligo, I was getting something to eat. They put a sack over my head and marched me into the marshes the next day. My boots filled with mud. I had no idea where I was going. We went underground and they stood me in front of the great snake creature. She looked into my eyes. Her coils went around my body. I felt the coils entering my mind and her eyes filled mine."
He puts his head in his hands, then falls, sobbing and rolling, in the dirt of the hills. "I tied up my wife two nights later, took my children before her. She shrieked when she saw the beast, my wife did. And the coils went around her… And she did not fall into the trance. For some reason it did not affect her. And they wrenched her away. Explictica spat and fumed. And… I think she's no more! Agnes, my companion of twenty-three years. They take them away, they feed them to the crocodiles! I shivered, I nearly broke the spell when I saw it, they never let me see my poor children, what might have happened to them. I haven't seen them for months — how could I forget? But… I have forgotten!"
In Malinbois, Constable Orkney is able to tell who he remembers is part of the cult. After a while, he says, their outreach brought simply evil men and women who did not need to be charmed to work at the Goddess's behalf. They are hidden in the town, or nearby. The temple. The cult is not brave enough to infiltrate Bodkin or Sligo, not yet.
The shriekers were killed, two troglodytes escaped. Maybe they figure it was adventurers, unconcerned in their wanderings, but what, when Orkney himself does not return? There is an assassin who might try to find the Company. Did they ever say who they were? When they got drunk, in the Golden Grain? Perhaps they should tell the garrisons in the valley, but they are skeleton crews by now - hopefully not literally! - depleted in their strength due to the war.
He will head back in the next few days, whether the party will return or not.