Campaign of the Month: December 2020

House Jasper

Tavern Time in Gulltown
All-time bar fights!

Our party arrived in Gulltown and had little success tracking down our leads from the Spider's messenger. Running out of ideas, we went into this tavern to try our luck. I appreciate the determination that Dolins and Calaila have for accomplishing our task. They both went straight to what they do best! Calaila charmed the shit out of a drunk soldier and Dolins brought the house down with his performance recounting our latest adventure! I took a more subtle approach, hanging at the bar to scan the room. Thad managed to lose all of his money to a sneaky pick-pocket in the first 5 minutes. Our Maester is a hot mess. Everyone is familiar with the Standard Practices of a Successful Maester. Rule number 4 – ALWAYS protect the coin purse!

I saw Calaila starting to look frustrated taking with the drunk soldier. Thinking I might be able to help her conversation with my status as a Lordling, I leave the bar and walk across the tavern towards her. On my way over, this drunk goon bumped into me and spilled his beer all over himself. In his drunken stupor, he misguidedly placed blame on me. I offered to buy him and his friends a round of ale, but I don't think he has any friends. Needless to say, it made him even more upset. 

He swung at me with his sword and I took an injury before loudly announcing my Lordling status, calling him some names, then sprinting out the door where I knew Maelys was posted. As a good sword that he is, he was instantly ready to attack the good as he followed me out the door. Maelys caught him by surprised and chopped his head clean off!!! BOOM DEAD!!! Problem solved. I swiped his coin and kicked his head aside on my way back into the tavern.

Our scuffling caught the attention of Lord Nestor Royce, who was residing in one of the tavern rooms overlooking the hall. He called our group up to talk, he was in Gulltown looking for us specifically. The Graftons of Gulltown refuse to swear loyalty to House Aryn, and has aligned with the Targaryen King. An army of Aryn and Royce forces approach Gulltown to force the Graftons into submission. 

House Corbray will soon mobilize to defend Gulltown, because Lynn Corbray, the Lord's son, is a ward of House Grafton. We must ride to Heart's Home and convince the Corbray army not to march. A tall task lies ahead! We joined our friends Sir Darron, Jardon, and Carson at the docks as their ship came in to port, and prepared to head out toward Hear's Home.

 

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WHAT THE HECK HAPPENED? Maester Thad is sad....

I started this week high on life, after having borrowed my lovely lord's cloak and after another week spent chatting and getting to know him. We arrived finally at a tavern that was quite monochromatic and had minimal details…. Nonetheless! Dolins immediately spoke to the barkeep about practicing his set-list in exchange for food and board. He went and set up on the stage in the corner. Teddy, Calaila and I stood at the door and looked over the room. I mentioned I recognized soldiers in one group that all were dressed for house Royce of Gates of the Moon. There was another group that appeared to be from house Graften.

At this point Calaila decided to go speak to an obviously drunk soldier of house Royce. I took seat across the room and bided my time listening to what went on around me. After some time, I saw Calaila riling up the drunken soldier and playing her five finger filet game. It appeared that she won, which is no surprise. The soldier's applejack gait would have made it hard for him to even walk out the door!

All of the sudden, I FELT MY MONEY DISAPPEAR!! All my hard earned cash?? What the heck. I stood up swiftly and turned around to see who took it! I saw no one. I bent over to look under the table, still no one. I shouted to Teddy for help, but alas, he was useless. I asked the group behind me, even bribing them with some chemical enticements, but they stated they didn't see anyone. I was distraught. I had so many grand plans for my money… A nice new matching Shadowcat jacket like Teddy? More poisons? All dashed. God dammit. 

At this time, Dolins finally had all his instruments tuned and started his song of our battle from a few weeks earlier. I tried to listen to the song but was so distracted by my own misfortune, it was hard to pay attention. I did notice some sadness behind his eyes. I think there is more to Dolins than we all realize…

After the song, Teddy started to walk over to Calaila but in his manly stride, ran into a bulky man and spilled his beer on him. This crazy man stood up and threatened our lovely lordling! Gasp! The large man drew his sword and charged at Teddy!! He then shrieked, stated he was the lord of house Jasper, and then promptly sprinted out the door… This does seem to be a very cowardly move… Maybe I should rethink my affections. Behavior like this doesn't deserve the affections of such a cute Maester!

As all of this was occurring, I noticed a man standing on the balustrade watching what was happening. I walked up the stairs to meet up with this man. I found out that he was Lord Royce himself! He stated that he was waiting to speak to our group and asked me to gather the group and meet him in his room.

I signaled for the group to meet me at the top of the stairs. I shared with him that I had heard that the Graftons of Gulltown didn't answer lord Arryn's call to arms, now Arryn and Royce have people marching on the city to make the Graftons swear fealty to Arryn. We all gathered to listen to Lord Royce. He stated that we needed to meet up with our friends at the harbor and head to Hearthshome which is the seat of house Corbrey. He stated we needed to stop house Corbrey from mobilizing troops as lord Corbrey's son is a ward of the Graftons. He also stated that the son is wreckless and dangerous, so we shouldn't try to get him ourselves.

We all agree to this and head off in our group to the pier. As we arrive, we see a boat tying up. Our friends meet us and lord Royce states that danger is afoot, we need to get to safety and talk. I also notice that Jardon is missing an eye… I'm sure there is a story in there somewhere. And who is this hunky Carson…. A maester's gotta maest as the bard would lament in his songs.

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Ohhhhhhhaiedeedaiedeedaiedeedaie dee dai dee dai dee dai!

Our group arrived to Gulltown, and immediately began our search from Roderick's contact. After searching stables and farms, we arrived in a crowded tavern. I scanned the room to ensure that no one from my past had made their way to this tavern, and I thanked the gods that there were no familiar places. Maester Thad shared that soldiers from House Royce and house Grafton were present. I approached the drunkest looking soldier and asked him about what brought his group into the tavern that evening. He said Lord Royce sent him and his comrades, but refused to expand, so I challenged him to a game of five finger fillet in exchange for his information. After he nicked his middle finger, the man said that Lord Royce has asked his soldiers to keep an eye out for traitors. Unfortunately, this  fool was too drunk to remember any further details. I tried to reign in the rest of the Royce soldiers with a salute to their Lord Royce, but they appeared disinterested. 

Dolins the bard put on a brilliant show to the tavern, but was quickly interrupted by our Lordling getting attacked. As Teddy was running away, I noticed a gentlemen  standing on the second floor nicely dressed in similar colors to House Royce watching the door intently, and then the attackers head thumped back into the door of the tavern. My drunk friend shared that this gentleman was Lord Royce, and I saw Thad in a tense interaction between the two on the second floor. I shouted up for him to join us for an ale, and he responded there was not enough time. At the top of the stairs, Maester Thad shared that he overheard the house in Gulltown did not answer Arryn's call to arms. Lord Royce asked us to meet our fellow house members at the docks, where we will head to Hard Home, where we will need to prevent the Cordray's troops from mobilizing.

We arrived at the docks and met Jasper and the others, and noticed that our Master at Arms had lost an eye in between now and the last time we saw him. Just as I was about to express my sympathies, and man told us we need to hurry, as we were not safe there…

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You Greedy Little...
Maester be Frontin

After the bandits were downed, Maester Thad immediately scrambled toward the unclaimed pile of coins. He seems unusually concerned with the loot, and offered to hold everyone's share. I insisted that I take mine because something seems off to me about this Maester, and I have my own damn coin purse.

We explored the rest of the cave as a group. We discovered a frozen, half eaten dead guy, and a shield with strange markings on it. The Maester took the shield because he "had the least to carry" and "he could study the markings later". This cave has been profitable for this Servant of the Realm…

When we found our way back to the mouth of the cave, we encountered a shadowcat. I whispered to the nearest person, Maester Thad, to help me drag one of the dead bandits to the front of the cave. The Maester put Milk of the Poppy on the body, and the cat fell asleep. The group decided it was best to slay the beast before it woke. It was apparent that some disagreed with this, but no legitimate alternatives were voiced before the deed was done.

As we settled down to wait out the storm, Maester Thad asked Dolins to turn the cat's hide into a cloak for him. Enough with this Maester! So much want for one dedicated to serve! I insisted the cloak belong to me, for the shadowcat is the sigil of House Jasper and I am the heir to the Lordship. The Maester moved uncomfortably close to me and pressed again for ownership of the yet-to-be-made cloak. I offered that the Maester wear the cloak while the winds continue to howl, but that it ultimately return to me. That seemed to satiate the acquisitive Thaddeus. If this trend continues, I may lose my temper with this Maester.

After a full week in the cave, I was relieved to see the storm subsided. Thank the Seven, it was time to get back on the road.

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Spelunking
Should have left a trail of bread crumbs

After the second bandit fell to the cave floor, it seemed we were safe for the time being. I dumped my water skin on the two flaming bodies to extinguish the flames and search them for anything useful. Not finding anything I deemed worth taking, it was only then that I noticed my wounds. They hurt… but they were nothing compared to the pain of the loss of my deer sweet Maye and our child. I pushed this pain and those memories further inside me and thought we should move on to explore the rest of the cave to ensure we were not ambushed again. Normally I am suspicious of anything to do with the healing arts. However, I knew that if I were to be able to continue on our journey, I would need to recover from my wounds. Perhaps, I would give my friend the Maester a chance. After all, I had seen him heal Teddy and Roderick. Thaddeus’s healing methods seem based in this physical world and not in some made up spiritual one. I didn’t care much for the silver that Thad made no secret of attempting to horde for himself. So I offered for him to keep my share of coin in exchange for him attempting to heal me once we had explored the rest of the cave. He agreed. So we set about continuing down dark caverns illuminated by our flickering lantern and torch light. It was difficult to tell if we were in a new area of the cave or one we had already seen. I hope my old eyes are not playing tricks on me. Down one corridor we found a half frozen, half eaten body. I again searched this corpse for anything of note. Nothing. In another cave, the Maester did find a bronze shield with markings that didn’t make any sense to me. My trusty shield had already saved me during battle so I had no want for a new one. Thad would have the best resources to study this shield so it made sense for him to take it. We finished exploring the cave and returned to the entrance only to be greeted there by a cat-like beast. I know not much of the animal kingdom, so I remained silently poised behind Maelys, who had positioned himself to block the creature from entering the cave further. The wise Maester and the young heir quietly crafted a smart plan. Together, they went to retrieve one of the bandit’s bodies and brought it back to where Maelys and I were still standing. I watched the Maester pour some liquid into the wounds of the deceased bandit. Then we all retreated to a safe distance for the beast to feed. After a short while, the creature became drowsy and collapsed into a deep slumber. Maelys seemed reluctant with having to slay the beast, but in his dutiful silence, beheaded it nonetheless. We made a temporary camp where the bandits had been. With some reluctance of my own, I let Thaddeus tend to my wounds with the promise that I would make him a cape from the hide of the creature that I now know to have been a shadow-cat. The Maester was very talented and treated my wounds skillfully. After an uneventful week of resting in our makeshift camp, I felt almost back to my old self. I could still feel some lingering effects of my physical wounds but I felt well enough to travel. I’m not sure any skilled Maester could heal my physical wounds from the past.  In fulfillment of my promise, I fastened a cape for Thad. To my surprise, Teddy demanded as heir to the house that he should have the cape. The two of them talked it over and decided that Thaddeus could wear the cape until we found shelter in the next town. It doesn't really matter to me which of them wears it. Perhaps when we do reach a town or village I can find an Inn or Tavern to perform in. The locals could probably use some of my entertainment to break them from the weary doldrums of an unseasonable Winter that has lasted longer than usual into spring.

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Ser Darron's Journal

The oaf, Ogden Borrell, idiot though he was, sure could swing a hammer. I didn’t expect to face trial-by-combat on this journey, but it feels good to put this sword to use. The attacks. The parries. The ol’ sand-in-the-face trick. Ho ho! They’ll be telling this story for years! Doesn’t hurt to have impressed lord stark as well!


Jarden was less than useless, as usual. His childish charge nearly got himself killed. Just like I told Lord Jasper when he was appointed Master at arms: “He’s too young! Has a lot to learn before I’d appoint him any rank higher than squire.” Well, he got his little eye poked out. Serves him right!


The farmer impressed me however. Jumping into the trial was certainly illegal, but his cunning and bravery are apparent. I’m happy to have him along.


If I’m being honest though, it really was a close one. I hope the others don’t realize just how close. Too many years rounding up petty thieves and second rate marauders for lord Jasper has left me somewhat out of practice against a real opponent. Now that we’re back on dry land – not that the Vale is ever dry – I’ll be getting back into form. Daily sparring with Jarden is what I need. Hell, he needs the practice more than me! Ho ho ho!

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I gave my eye for Ned Stark...
...and he never paid Carsen Thorne for it

With talk of rebellion, the past three weeks have been more eventful than I would have previously thought. Especially since Lord Ronnel sent me out to fetch this stranger rather than to keep watch over castle snow nook. This was a task which should have been left to me as Master-at-arms, but was instead left to that old fart, Samwell Stone. Before departing I did wish sam well (I have not recently become a man of jokes, until now, but we will come to that later), but knowing full well that he would not have to face any difficult circumstances yet. He is much more experienced, but far less talented when it comes to fighting. My only hope is that Lord Ronnal knew what he was doing. 

This is however a minor point to the main part of the last month of my story. Riding out towards the Eyrie, I encountered two strangers, one of of whom I would later come to find out who was the stranger I needed to find, Lord Eddard Stark of Winterfell, the other would become the one whom I detest most, the unbearable farmer Carsen. 

On a side note, I would like to make it abundantly clear, that even though he has helped us through the past couple of weeks in many positive ways, I do not trust Carsen. He has a way with words that convinces even the most steadfast and purest of knights to do his bidding. detestable….especially his most recent jokes…

Despite refusing to initially help me save Eddard Stark from a group of Burned Men. Carsen eventually helped me, if you can even call it that….

We later learned that Lord Stark was needing to get back to Winterfell, and that myself, Mr. Thorne, as well as Ser Darren would need to help him get there. We ended up charting a boat, no thanks to the wooings of Carsen, again, to White Harbor. And that's where the fun began…

We ended up in a jail cell in the Breakwater, the seat of House Borrell, after getting shipwrecked somewhere I assume in the Three Sisters. There we met the ever pleasurable ogg, son of Godric and heir, who would later bring us up to a chamber and we would learn we were indeed in House Borrell, but only before being threatened with the worst unpleasentries. 

It was there that Lord Borell convicted us of treason against the iron throne and would have to try to trial by combat. Ser Darren, a most genuine of companions, volunteered after some discussion amongst ourselves. Things did not go so well for Ser Darren, in fact so much so that it made more sense to take matters into our own hands (me and carsen that is). It is then I charged, what I thought then might be heroically, at Lord Borell.

It was at this same instant, that out of the corner of my eye, I saw Carsen ask for a sword from one of the guards, who just gave it to him. Now either Carsen is some type of mind controlling wizard, or those two are in cahoots. I never could get that out him later…

After stealing Godric's Axe, I was able to get a couple hits on the guards before being defeated by the guards. It was at this point that Godric Borrell took his axe back and carved out my eye. A most painful of experiences, but not in the sense of pain, but as an expert crossbow marksman because I have relied on my ability to see my mark, and now that is hindered. 

I do not remember much past that, but the two of them must have seen things through and defeated ogg and Godric. It was at least enough that Carsen Thorne seemed to seek additional payment from Lord Stark….how unbearable…even more so than the endless one eye jokes muttered by Carsen or Ser Darren. 

We finally did make it to White Harbor and dropped of Ned Stark, only to be summoned again back to the Vale and to Gulltown. It could be a while before we return to Snownook….

 

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Holy Cluster Fuck
We almost died!

By the old gods and the new that was a cluster. Who know that our ship would wash up on the sisters. Getting locked in a jail cell was a miserable experience. This stupid lump of a man named Og threatened to make us pee in our own mouths. Gross! Well whatever, we showed him. When we got an audience with his father who wanted to give us a farce of a trial we said nay and instead demanded Trial By Combat. This Og fellow is so fucked. Darron can kick some ass and is going to carve him like a ham.

Well I was wrong. This fight was not off to a very good start… Darron got one good hit and proceeded to get smashed with a fucking war hammer. This Og is strong. I am guessing Darron is going to die and we are going ot be sentenced to death. Why the hell did I agree to come along with them? I thought "maybe I can convince them to let me off the hook. I am after all just a commoner. Yeah! I was pressed into service, had no choice in the matter… I can convince them of that I bet. It will suck for these guys and Ned, but I'll get out of here." As I was thinking all of that suddenly it was like "WAIT. WTF! DARRON YOU FOOL Don't charge the fucking lord! Goddamn it." I didn't say any of that, but I sure did think it. Looked like it was turning into a fight.  So I turn to the guard and am like "The lords in danger! Give me your sword!" and he did! hahahaha idiot… If only I were good at using a sword.

I also convinced og that his father was in danger. Thank goodness! It kept him from killing Darron. Jardon made a valiant effort on lord, but failed. I hopped into the pit to help Darron, who is still a huge fucker. He danced out of the way and let Og hit me with the war hammer. That really hurt, I didn't even have armor on. Once Jardon was downed the lord jumped in and engaged us in a 2v2 with his son and me and Darron. It was a slog of a fight. Good thing I convinced him we would kill his heir if the fight continued, not sure we would have to be honest. Alls well though. He gave us passage to White Harbor, healing, and our lives. And all we lost was Jardon's eye. That is a price I suppose I am ok with us paying…

White harbor was awesome! I sold that sword I swindled for 500 silver! Maybe this trip isn't so bad. I miss my family and I know I should get back to them, but I already have enough silver to change our lives for the better. Maybe I can stick around a bit longer and get us a on a whole new level. I know our life is good, but I am growing tired of farming.

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Poor giant cat

As soon as I realized both thieves were dead, I sprinted over reflexively to snatch up the money before the fire went out. There, I took a moment to catch my breath. When I gathered my composure, I saw Dolins checking the bodies for anything worth looting. I then offered one silver stag to each of my cohorts. Teddy took his, Dolins asked me to keep one for my treatment of his injuries, and Calaila told me to hold on to hers as she trusted I would use it wisely in future. Which of course, I will!

We then decided to stick together and continue exploring the caves. For some reason, the shadows behind us seemed darker… And we got turned around a bit! We did stumble upon a dead body. It was impossible to tell where this poor soul was from though I did see that it was a shadowcat that felled the person. Dolins, the ever resourceful bard, searched the body but found nothing.

In another cave alcove, we found a bronze shield with runes around the edges. This I took on my back as I had the least to carry, and we continued on exploring. We were making it to the cavern with the fire, when a shadowcat appeared out of the darkness in the entrance! We all froze, unsure of what to do. Teddy whispered to me that we should sneak over and grab a thief to lure the cat away from the only way out. I walked over with him, thinking that this was a brilliant plan. Calaila sprinted after, stating we were too weak to pull the body. We sure showed her! We were so darn strong, we pulled that body right towards the entrance. I then dosed the body with some Milk of the Poppy and we all hid behind a rock wall. The shadowcat paced over to the body, nuzzled it for some reason, then ate and fell promptly asleep. I suggested we kill the cat though Maelys seemed upset by this. He did his duty and beheaded the cat. Both he and Calaila took a moment to grieve this animal that neither of them knew, while the rest of us went to getting set up near the thieves fire.

Here, we spent a week together. During this week, I grew closer to Teddy. I started to see some traits that I had not noticed before. Although he was mischievous and somewhat lazy, there were boyish charms about him that made me lose myself in his eyes… Then I would have to catch myself and remember who I was pretending to be.

After 7 days, I had healed up and Dolins was much improved. The jacket made from the shadowcat was finished and was given to Teddy. I took this moment to move closer to him and smelled his stinky breath. "Teddy, may I use your new shadowcat jacket?" The words were out of my mouth before the filter could stop them. I felt silly in even asking such a handsome, lordly man.

He said no! The hurt I felt was deep after the lovely week we had spent. I moved a bit closer, again forgetting myself in his charm, and asked again. He decided that yes, I could use it but would have to give it back. Oh the joy I felt! I would get to wear the jacket of the most handsome, goofy guy!! My heart was aflutter. I will have to find a way to squash these newfound feelings before they get the better of me. But as they say, the heart wants what the heart wants… I'm sure I'll study up and find a way around it. Maybe the runes on the shield hold some wisdom?

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My eyes tire from rolling so hard...

Much to my horror, upon the deaths of the cave bandits, Maester Thaddeus immediately ran over put all their gold in his pockets! While he pillaged their pockets, under the guise of "carrying it for our group", the rest of us agreed to split up the rest of the goods, myself taking a common dagger from a bandit. The group discussed that it would be best explore the cave further, and ensure no other attackers lie lurking in other nooks. We first came across a half frozen dead body, to which Maester exclaimed that a shadowcat had eaten the missing half. In another corner, we stumbled upon a bronze shield with maroon markings, which no one could read. When returning to the fire built by the out dead attackers, out of the corner of my eye, I spied a shadowcat lurking near the entrance of the cave. I reminded our group that shadow cats rarely attack living men, and are scavengers, probably seeking the blood of the men we had killed just moments before, and not lookng to attack us.  I suggested we move into another room to allow the shadow cat to feast, but, the group insisted upon trying to kill the shadowcat. Teddy and Thaddeus dragged a dead body out, and Maester Thad spread milk of the poppy across the bodies' wound.  The shadowcat began to eat, and quickly fell asleep, and Dolins and Thaddeus urged Maelys to kill it. His body language read hesitation and confusion, but he followed his orders, and took a knee beside the cat's fallen body. I joined him in taking a knee, and said a few words in gratitude for the shadowcats sacrifice, and couldn't help but notice that a tear rolled down Maelys' cheek. I gently placed a hand on his shoulder, and he seemed to take a small comfort in this gesture. I may not like people very much, but I do not think harmless animals deserve such treatment.

We gathered back around the fire, and Dolins asked Thad to heal his wounds, to which he responded that he would IF Dolins would make the shadowcat's fur into a cloack for Thad. Seven hells! This maester has no tact! I rolled my eyes as Teddy exclaimed to the group that as the heir to the house, the shadowcat's fur would rightfully belong to him. 

Thaddeus healed himself and Dolins most of the way, and after a week, we peeked our heads out of the cave to find that the storm had subsided. The group agreed it was time to carry on our adventure towards Gulltown. Even after the grabbing up the gold, and bargaining healing for craftsmanship, Thaddeus surprised me again by suggesting that Lordling Teddy GIVE HIM HIS SHADOWCAT CLOAK. I reminded myself to keep this embarrassment of a maester at an arms length, and witnessed Thad sidle up towards our heir. Does this maester lay with men?! Teddy compromised, and agreed to let the maester borrow the cloak until they arrive in town, and we prepared to leave the cave…

 

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