Campaign of the Month: December 2020

House Jasper

I was almost a badass... Almost...

Somehow Calaila found a trap door under a mat! That sneaky girl. One day I'll get her to tell me all her tales… So Tantos' men found the trap door and followed her down. I try to deceive Tantos by acting as if I don't know who he is looking for, but he doesn't buy it.

Tantos keeps hacking away throughout the time we are upstairs and I keep pestering him to see if I can take a look at him. He really doesn't sound good… He finally relents and I examine him. After I finish, I offer to make him up a coughing draft and he agrees. I ask Teddy to help me prepare this in the kitchen and I let him into my secret. I will indeed help him, but I was also planning to put milk of the poppy into the draft, causing him to fall asleep! I did think of poisoning him to kill him, but with his strong men all around, that seems too risky. Teddy agrees this seems like a good idea and the draft is made!

I offer this to Tantos and he takes a good swig. He starts speaking in Lyse and then swiftly falls asleep. I try to explain this is normal to the guards but they do not seem to understand… Teddy tries to mime poorly, but this is lost on them as well.

So we wait! We sit around and have some lunch and wait for about 6 hours, until Tantos wakes up. He asks about the girl again and then starts yelling in Lyse to his guards. He then turns on the innkeep Bathue and has him sprawled on a table and has a finger removed! He starts to have another removed but then Dolins intervenes and attempts to stop the innkeep's pain. Tantos demands 1000 dragons. In rebuttal, Dolins points out we have helped to heal him when we could have killed him. Dolins finally lets Tantos go with the "knowledge" that Calaila is a dishwasher in the arbor, which was true at one time! Tantos states that if he is wrong, they will meet again… And then he leaves… Dolins, ever the kind soul, then gives the innkeeper a gold dragon for his pain.

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You can check out any time you like...
...but you can never leave

Waiting outside our inn is a gang of intimidating men. As soon as we see them, we scurry back inside hoping we weren’t seen. While we are deciding what to do, the gang breaks in through the front door of the Inn. It’s a group of 10 armed men led by an older man who doesn’t look well. Apparently, they looking for Calaila, who has locked herself in our room while we weren’t paying attention.

We are held off to the side by some men as they start trying to break down the door, but Dolins suggests they use a key. I can appreciate the sarcasm he was going for, but they took his suggestion and got the keys to open the door. Helpful, as always, that bard is…

They open the door and find an empty room! A few minutes later, we hear the creak of old door hinges. It appears they discover a trap door under one of the beds. The leader of the group barks orders in a foreign tongue, and two soldiers descend into the hole to find Calaila. At this point, my initial thought is to get out of there. I’m sure there is an extensive tunnel system and Calaila will turn up somewhere else in the city.

Dolins and I were not on the same page. He tried the old “I dropped my instrument into the trap door” trick. These guys must have been had by that one before, no luck for Dolins. Thad asks to examine the leader’s cough, which is quite bad. Thad does convince him to look at his cough, and while that happens I strike up a conversation with the head honcho.

I learn some fun facts about this man while we talk:

  • He’s from Lyce, which is across the narrow sea
  • He’s had this nasty cough for many years
  • He’s from a wealthy family
  • Calaila “wronged” him, possibly a romance thing? Tough to say.
  • His family is in the trading business, King’s landing is the furthest West they travel
  • They do charter ships from time to time if the price is right
  • He is potentially open to hiring new people into his trading business!

The life of a trader could be fun! Have a fleet of ships that I could take anywhere in the world. Maybe we’ll end this on decent terms and I can break into his business? One can only hope.

After some time, the Maester diagnoses his ailment as whooping cough, and asks me to the kitchen to help prepare the medicine. Thad and I write sneak messages back and forth, and we decide to give him milk of the poppy to heal/incapacitate him. He drinks it and gets knocked out for 6 hours. Funny, now we’re stuck in a room with 8 armed men who don’t speak the common tongue and we’ve incapacitated their leader.

I briefly consider lighting the house on fire, but the exit plan is questionable. Ultimately we sit around and wait for him to wake up. When he comes to, his cough doesn't seem to go be any better. Nice going, Maester…

He freaks out and starts making threats. REAL threats! He cuts off the innkeep’s finger while trying to get information about Calaila! Dolins steps in and uses his wits! With a smattering of truth and lies, he convinces the angry man to leave the inn. Upon further consideration, I don't think I want to work for that guy anymore.

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I gotta, gotta, gotta, gotta get outta here
the shiver up my spine and this feeling of dread...

With Tontos and his cronies lurking just above my head, I sprint into the dark tunnels. Every few feet there seems to be a fork in my path, and I'm desperately fumbling forward when I find a door. My hands shaking, I pick the lock with my dagger, only to find an empty room. I try once, twice, and on the third time, lock the door behind me and jam my dagger into the handle for extra security. I juuust barely hear footsteps approaching, and draw my stiletto and shield, and potentially my last breaths, in preparation for a surprise attack….

The door clangs back and forth with my potential attacker trying the door handle, and I interpret his silence as him inspecting the lock just as I did. After what feels like a lifetime, I hear his footsteps tread away and into another tunnel. For fear that this may be a cruel trick of Tontos, I remain braced in my attack position. My past will not surprise me again, as it did with Olivia. 

Hours go by, and my heads spins in isolation and darkness. I'm not sure if I'll ever be able to feel safe leaving this room. I wonder what my companions are doing back at the inn, and where I could go from here, if i ever manage to escape. Do I head towards the water and find a boat without finding them? Do I return to House Jasper? Clearly I am not safe in Flea Bottom, as these rats will sell my head within 24 hours of my return. My heart hardens as I press my back against the cold stone wall and wait.

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Another enemy?? How many does this girl have??

We all meet up at the dragon pits and discuss how to get inside the red keep to find us some turncoats. I know that there are tunnels that Maegor the Cruel built, but I don't know where they are. We may be able to find one and sneak our way into the redkeep? I also suggest that I can slip in the front door stating that I am in search of a cure greyscale for some poor imaginary child that has it in our house. I figure that may be a plausible reason to enter and sneak around a bit. As maesters take no sides in wars, it would be easy for me to go around unnoticed.

As we decide on this and head towards the red keep, we are walking through flea bottom. We start to notice that people are hiding away inside and quickly vacating the streets. We decide we should get inside as well and quickly find a tavern. We make our way inside but as we do, we see someone standing at the end of the alley watching us enter…

We meet the innkeep and chat with him for a bit. He brings us some food and drink and soon, a small blonde woman enters. She recognizes Calaila! This girl knows a lot of people! Her name is Gloria and quickly Calaila and Dolins sneak off to talk in our room in private. Teddy and I stay in the tavern and hang out. Teddy quite quickly gets drunk so my nice chat devolves into pointless banter.

Later we catch up with Calaila and Dolins, we decide to take turns keeping watch and we plan to leave at first light as it sounds as if the gold cloaks are planning to take over the red keep. As dawn breaks, we get ready and leave without a goodbye to the innkeep. As soon as we leave, we see about 10 men blocking the alley. So we scurry back inside!

We then see the innkeep and he takes a peek into the alley. He quickly comes back in appearing quite scared! We start barricading the door and then hear a soft knock at the door… Calaila sprints to our room and locks herself in. The innkeep lets in a sickly looking man with long blonde hair and a blonde beard and very red, puffy eyes. He asks where she is, then start breaking down the door to our room! What the heck Calaila! What kind of mess did you get into when younger??

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Honey, I rose up from the dead
I do it all the time

Outside the ruins of the Dragon Pits, we meet back up with the Maester, and brainstorm ways to get into the court. We decide to pretend to be from House Mullendore, seeking information from the Grand Maester abouttreating greyscale. As it's getting dark, we duck into a tavern, and tip our innkeeper well.

"Calaila?!" I hear over my shoulder. My heart drops, I should not have come here. It's Gloria, a girl a recognize from years ago, and my head spins wondering how I should respond. Will she pass along the news of my return? Will she steal my coin purse? Could Gloria be useful to our plan? I decide I cannot get away with lying about who I am, and greet her warmly.

We pay for her dinner, and after some cajoling, Gloria shares with us that she's been working at the Red Keep doing deliveries. She says that rumors say the Gold Cloaks are planning a mutiny, and army is headed towards the city,and that the King is murdering nearly anyone who crosses his path. As thanks, Dolins pays for a room at the inn for Gloria, and I am impressed by her thoughtfulness to detail.

As a group, we unanimously decide it is in our best interest to remain at the inn tonight, and instead of going to the Red Keep, to head straight for Castle Snownook at first light. We each take turns keeping watch, and after a quiet night, we pack up our things and head out to the alley.

We are immediately greeted by 10 armed men standing outside the inn, and stumble back inside immediately, knowing something is off. The innkeeper's eye grow wide, and his concern fills the room. Urging House Jasper to take shelter in our locked room,  they ignore my pleas, so I flee by myself and bolt the door. I hear the heavy front door open and recognize the new guest's voice right away. I shut my eyes tightly to hold back tears, take a deep breath, and set my jaw. I have to find a way out of here. I frantically tear apart the sparse furnishings in the room, and as if by destiny, I find a trap door underneath a straw bed. Heavy footsteps head towards my door as I pull the mattress over the trap door that I shut above my head, and run.

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The First Rule of the Fight Pit....
.... is you don't talk about the pit.

My apologies to future historians… It’s been a while since I’ve stopped to record my thoughts and adventures. I was able to prove my innocence by easily defeating Meatball in a trial by combat. I would not want the Redwynes to be without laughter so I spared the jesters life. Teddy received a poorly coded message to go to the docks. We were hired by a thief to break into the Redwyne’s vault. Not being able to construct a duplicate of their vault, pretend to rob it, and then actually rob it while dressed at police officers…. we had to sneak into it through a crack in the cave. We negotiated well and were promised a majority of the first take from the vault, provided we were successful. So once again our group found ourselves navigating a dark cave by lantern and torch light. We angered a swarm of cutter ants. The best way to fight them seemed to be with fire. Other attacks didn’t have much affect. After some comical combat resulting in a couple of my friends getting a bit charred themselves, the ant swarm finally fled back into the darkness. We also fought several Rock Creepers throughout our exploration of the passageways. One of which I was able to kill with one attack, stabbing its brain through a weak spot in its skull. My friends surely took note of my skill in combat and will talk about my bravery. Maybe they’ll even call me ‘Dolins the one hit wonder’. Surely that won’t have a negative connotation in the future. We were able to find the entrance to the vault and Calaila contorted herself into the vault and then back out again with the gold. The money would do more good for our house than in my pockets so I gave my entire portion of the gold dragons to the house’s coffers. We used some of our new found wealth to hire a boat to bring us to Kings Landing. Well… the captain offered my passage for free. My fame appears to be spreading! I’d better not let it get to my head though.

 

Our plan is to enter the city through the Iron Gate and then make our way to the Dragon Pit. Some guards were screening the people going into the city. Despite just trying to walk through like we owned the place, we were stopped for questioning. Morally, I didn’t feel great about having to lie to the guards, but it was better than trying to fight our way into the city. While walking through the slums of fleabottom, we were accosted by a young boy. I did not want to harm a young, innocent boy, that is simply hungry so I offered him food and board if he would travel with his. However, he had no interest in this. Still angry at anyone noble born he picked up rock and threw it at Teddy. The young heir bravely took cover behind me and the rock struck me in the head. Good thing I am so loyal to his father and to the house. Eventually Teddy paid the boy to go away. I wish there were a way to fill all of the starving bellies of Westeros, but at least that boy will eat tonight. Nearing our destination, Teddy and I are stopped by a burly looking man. He didn’t seem to want us to pass freely. He offered us to place bets on animals fighting in his pit. I politely declined, and we paid a small “toll” to pass through the ally. The man offered to stop back if I were ever interested in more bets or even fighting in his pit. However, I doubt I will ever return. If I do though, it would be to bring joy and improvement to the lives of those here that need it most.

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Now I'm just somewhere I used to know...
now and then I think of all the ways Flea Bottom screwed me over

After a long journey to the Salt Pans, we finally step foot onto solid ground. I decide to invest some of my new found riches in much needed tools-a new courtier's gown, and some milk of the poppy. Along with great masses of the townfolk, we slowly make our way to my old home town-Kings Landing. 

Upon arrival, the guards sweep Maester Thaddeus away, and we stick to our plan to meet at the dragon pits. Using my valuable knowledge from my history here, we head away from the crowds and towards the Iron Gate, towards the east. We're greeted by 4 gold cloaks, one of whom is an officer, and I confidently step right up to the gate ready to walk through when we are stopped. The officer barks at me to go to the back of the line-pushing my shoulders back, I reply that we're on important business for the cities alchemists. I am not waiting around all day like a common peasant. I am a trusted advisor of a noble house! I advise our lordling….and I think he trusts me? Anyways, the officer separates us, and I coolly pass his questioning with ease, making my way through the gate and for safety, well beyond it. Dolins passes through, and I hold my breath as that moron Teddy steps up for questioning. After some time, he saunters through with a fat, stupid smile on his face.

We make our way to the Dragon Pits through Flea Bottom, and pass by my old haunts and familiar landmarks. I try to keep a low profile, but it's not long until a small boy lunges at Teddy, teeth bared. Dolins gently, but foolishly, tries to reason with the kid while I pull my dagger and shield, and suggest the boy head the other way. Teddy cowers behind Dolins and the boy hits them with a rock. Teddy throws money at the boy to make him leave and I groan. GREAT, now everyone here knows we have cash. The is no clearer sign that a man is a noble that him preferring to pay off a beggar rather than giving him a sharp kick or smack. I suggest we go a different direction to avoid what I'm sure is a gathering crowd of hungry children waiting to ambush us. We take the long way around, and are almost to the pits when we pass by a crowd of cheering hooligans. I sneak past them, but my comrades are not so lucky stealthy. They are stopped by a ratty fighting pit master, and I back into a far wall as I watch them fumble through a tense interaction.

Finally, we make it to the dragon pits and meet up with Thaddeus. 

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WE RICH BITCH!!!!
Making money moves

After we narrowly escaped with our lives, we meet us with the rest of our group! It's good to be among friends again. At least with people who also want to get the heck off this island! So we head on down to the docks but surprisingly, there are no boats for us to rent! Can this be so?  Jardon and Carsen decide to go be tourists, specifically tour the pub. We run into a girl named Tess who seems to be expecting us. She must be the one who snuck the note in Teddy's pocket! Thank goodness he could read backwards… This must not be the cleverest bunch. We follow Tess into one of the buildings by the dock in which a man is waiting for us. He introduces himself as Rusty or The Duke, either one apparently. He speaks to us about sneaking into caves under the Redwyne vaults and helping Tess so she can sneak in to steal from them. There is some bartering about the division of spoils, and apparently we have agreed to do this with him.

I am going to stop here to say that I think that this is a horrible idea and I am not on board. But, as my good friend Dolins seems to be ok with it, I'll trust him. I am not one familiar with the outdoors our much outside of books and studying, so I feel uncomfortable on our walk to the caves. When we arrives, I place myself squarely in the center of the group. I also light my torch.

 We start exploring and quickly are set in upon fireants! I stay way far back from the group of them. I do suggest we set them on fire though, and through quick work of the group, they are soon mostly extinguished and the rest run away back into the darkness. Glad I didn't get involved in that… I worry my long robes could have caught fire!

After some more exploring, we see a Rock Creeper!! Well, first Carsen apparently saw it but didn't fully tell us what it was. So when we stumbled upon it, his screams of dragons, were not that helpful in preparing us! We swiftly set down a lantern as they are afraid of light, and carry on another way. We find many bodies throughout the cave and I end up with a sweet, though rather shitty sword! The maester is now armed and dangerous!!! Mostly dangerous to myself… Sadly. I do find a recipe list, a sheet with some Braavosii written on it, though I cannot read this, a few Braavosi coins that I pocket, and many more crappy weapons surrounding a bunch of skeletons.

Suddenly, a rock creeper is attacking Dolins!! No fear though, he makes quick work of that beast! I sneak over and extract the venom to make an antidote for their poison. Then we keep searching. We enter a new area and hear 3 deep thuds… Uhoh!!!

Dolins quickly downs another creeper, so I busy myself extracting the venom! I must stay out of the way. I do try to take a claw off for Dolins to give him as a gift, but my nervous hands make me mangle the poor claw a bit… How did Carsen get his off the other beast so easily? After another try, I get him a nice clean claw! And a total of 4 monster's worth of anti-venom! We finally find the hole in which Tess can sneak, but she has been wounded by one of the creepers. Calaila is able to fit and quickly sneaks in, steals some gold, and comes back out. We all end up with 1600 Gold Dragons!! We are richhhhh!!! We split this up to 200 a piece after a bit of a cut for Tess. My good friend Dolins, one to always out-moral us, gives his money to the house proper. I am keeping mine… And quickly scatter it throughout my many pockets in my robes. I am not losing this to another robber!

 

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And I would do anything for gold
I'd run right into hell and back

As the ants devolve into a crisp and blackened pile of death, I just barely hear the sound of whispers from around the corner. I attempt to catch the attention of my House, and together, we venture further into the cave. Carsen's night eyes and bravery allow us to maneuver around in relative discretion…until he throws a rock into a pit, and awakens a terrible beast. The maester mentions these creatures, Rock Creepers, don't like light, and I suggest we leave a lantern at the opening of it's lair, and try to avoid them as we continue searching the cave system. Nothing will get in the way of me and my gold. After the lantern is lit, the Creepers do not follow us.

That is, until we find ourselves trapped at a dead end of the cave with a Creeper between us and our escape. I frantically attempt to make another torch, and while I'm doing so, hear a blood curdling screech. I turn around to see that Jardon has landed a crushing blow to the beast. With overwhelming relief, I feel certain this must be the last time we will come across these horrible monsters.

After finding a hopeful parchment, giving us some sort of direction, a solemn understanding washes over us, that we must head back towards the location of our first encounter. House Jasper creeps around the corner of the cave, and hears thud….thud….thud…we are utterly surround by Rock Creepers. I lunge at the one closest to me, and am quickly surrounded by the chaos of combat. As I feel a searing pain from my attacker, Dolins annihilates ones of the monsters, and Jardon brings down the other. I stab at it the beast in front of me again, and this time, it swings its ugly head at me. It's hellish eyes pierce unleash my deepest fears, and snarling teeth and rancid breath force me to back away, fearing another attack that I may not be able to survive. I brace myself when another bone chilling shriek vibrates through the air and the third Creeper collapses.

Injured and exhausted we finally make our way to a crevasse at the back of the cave, where Tess had promised to gather the goods from the vault. Pitifully, she looks back at us, and suggests that because of her injuries, she's unable to maneuver into the vault. I did NOT come this far to walk away without gold. Furrowing my brow,  guided by only sheer will and greed, I squeeze into the crevasse, unknowing what may be on the other side. I emerge into a sea of glittering gold, and hold back tears of joy, gathering every gold dragon I can carry, and rush to bring back the goods to my House and get out of this horrid place.

Once out of the cave, we count up the loot and discover we have just escaped with 1600 gold dragons. After some arguing with Tess about whether she earned her share, Ser Darron reminds me that we don't want to leave with any enemies, and it's a small price to pay for safe passage off the island. I resentfully watch her walk away with 100 gold dragons, but am quickly comforted by the heavy weight of 200 pieces in my own pockets. I can only fathom how this wealth could change my path…

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I'm taking what they're giving
cause I'm stealing for a living

As the trial comes to and end, and the spectators start to disperse. immediately House Jasper devolves into mindless squabbling. Carsen and Jardon argue about nothing, and I remember why I didn't miss them while we were separated. I'm unable to hide my impatience, and suggest we get a move on before House Redwyne puts us back on trial.

Teddy leads us down to the water and shows us a note to meet him at the a blue building-this is where our group meets Tess and Rusty,  "The Duke". The name Rusty of the Arbor rings a bell from my past, and I've heard of his talents in thievery. They tell us of promises to the Redwyne fortune with their knowledge of the underground cave system. My ears perk up. This seems like an  opportunity to increase my wealth and jumpstart my climb up the rungs of society. 

I pull Tess aside to discuss the nature of the mission. She shares that the reason previous looters have been unsuccessful in the past is because they've gone in one at a time, and our large group numbers give us a greater chance of success. I want in. We negotiate the terms with Rusty and Tess, and commit to the mission, despite some of the reluctance from our Maester and Bard.  During our time of this island, I've slummed around, gotten soaked in dirty dishwater and had my patience tested by an irate cook waiting for House Jasper to foolishly pursue their meaningless goals-it's my turn now.

We meet Tess and make our way to the cave, where I somehow learn for the first time that she doesn't even know how to navigate the system. While my concerns are raised, I push on, ready to flex my bandit muscles from my past. Our group slowly creeps into the foul smelling cave, and around our very first corner, Carsen awakens a swarm of cutter ants that immediately slashes into Ser Darron, Jardon and Dolins. As they light the swarm aflame, I slowly back away, knowing my stiletto will do little defeat them. 

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