Campaign of the Month: December 2020

House Jasper

Carsen threatens someone into peace talks

We pick up again right after I was almost killed! I see Jardon chase after Ralph and Rancis, both on Carsen's horse Bam. Behind me, our prisoner, Olf has snapped his bonds and has run away! The horse and riders are headed northwest, away from us all and away from town.

Carsen shouts over to me and asks me to bring over his dummy purse of coppers he dropped at the beginning of the fight. I then slowly head over to the body. He is in the colors of House Elesham and appears to have been dead for 2 days. I assume it must be the messenger. Carsen and I both loot the body. Carsen takes a nice set of leather armor and I find a rare book! It's The Accounts of the War of the Nine Penny Kings. I try to buy the armor off of Carsen but he asks me for a dragon. I tell him I'll just buy my own instead!

We also find a note on the body from Lady Mya that indicates she would like to meet and talk peace. Darron and Thomas join us. Darron shows some kindness to Thomas and boosts him up stating he is proud of his battle. This is a side of him I have rarely seen! We camp there for the night and Darron asks if he can ride my packmule tomorrow but unfortunatly I have to say no. I do offer to let him add his gear to the horse though! Darron accepts this and then starts cooking up his poor dead horse Rhonda.

In the morning I get to healing Darron but slip up on myself. We are packed and ready to go but Carsen and Darron stop to have a long drink to the dead Jardon. He never showed back up last night so we all assume the large beast of a man killed him in the woods. Poor Jardon. Not a fun way to go.

We get to riding (and walking in Darron's case) on this beautiful day. Halfway through the day, we see the castle we seek. It is a very utilitarian kind of castle. Some of the Woodhall riders come out to meet us and the grandson of Hoster speaks out and asks who we are. Darron explains and we are then told to follow him. As we reach the door, we see stockades outside and lo and behold the two maurauders are accompanied by Jardon! Carsen shouts out for him and then both Darron and Carsen sprint over to offer him some water. Carsen then oddly asks if he is ticklish… 

James, the grandson, comes back trailed by 2 older men. He points out Hoster his grandfather and their steward, Iggy. James explains who Jardon and we are and Darron jumps in and explains our goals and what happened yesterday. He doesn't seem too convinced. I jump in to back Darron up and hand over Lady Mya's letter as proof. We all go back and forth quite a bit and finally Carsen threatens them with the "full force of House Jaseper!" And this seems to scare them into agreeing! They will meet with Lady Mya, mission accomplished, though a bit differently than I would have handled it!

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Return to Gulltown

Ser Denys, Dolins, Teddy and I take one of House Jasper's warships to Gulltown after a nasty run in with House Lynderly. When we land in Gulltown, we head to Winter's Reprieve and meet up with our old friend Jaime. 

Jaime, the wheeling and dealing bartender tries to pry some gold out of us in exchange for information about where we might find the Coldwater dagger. With a bit of convincing, I manage to get him to point us in the direction of Devon, a carpenter with a shop on the west side of the city. Jaime assures us that Devon had the dagger months ago after the fighting, but hasn't seen it on him in some time. Jaime also shared that Devon likely to run if confronted about his former looting. We spend the night at the Winter's Reprieve, and devise a plan for our visit to Devon's shop in the morning, eliminating any possibility of the runner's escape.

With Ser Denys and and Dolins perched at the shop's door, Teddy and I pose as husband and wife looking for a fine piece of furniture for our ship's holding, and try to trick Devon into showing off the dagger should he still have it on him. Devon quickly grows suspicious of us, and when we finally ask him directly about the item, he sprints away from us…and right into Dolins' net!

After a thorough search and finding nothing but some sawdust and pennies, we interrogate Devon about where the dagger has gone. Terrified, he stammers that it was stolen off of him months ago by the thieves on the north side of the city. These ruffians distill their own liquor out of a decrepit building, and Devon estimates there are between 6 to 12 of them, likely armed with daggers and other weapons.

In the evening, we find the thieves' distillery, and, not knowing what waits for us inside the distillery, we prepare for both a battle of wits and strength.

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One step close to another rung on the ladder

A few days later, Dolins returns from his travels, and Teddy, Dolins and I were called to speak with Lord Ronnel. The Lord of House Jasper shared that he spoke with Lord Arryn, who gave him the impression that the title of Warden of the Fingers is just within our reach. Lord Ronnel tasked us with strategizing how we can put ourselves ahead of House Coldwater's claim to the title. The three of us go to introduce ourselves to our house's newest knight, Ser Denys, originally from House Coldwater, in hopes that he may be able to share some knowledge about his former house.

Ser Denys seems a kind, loyal and honest knight, and reminisces fondly about his former home in Coldwater Burn. He shared that he left behind some unfinished business, and we pounce on this as an opportunity. Ser Denys mourned that he did not get to carry out a mission to Gulltown before he was relieved of his duties by Lord Roland Coldwater to find and return a precious heirloom to the house. The item is an ancient bronze dagger, worth a fortune to be sure. The bard suggests we return the dagger to its rightful owner in an effort to build a relationship with House Coldwater, and perhaps sway them to swear fealty to their to-be Warden of the Fingers, House Jasper. I tell Ser Denys that in order to properly welcome him and let him settle in to his new home, he leave no stone unturned at Coldwater, and that we hope this mission will be a brick in the building of a strong alliance between the Jasper and Coldwater families.

We deliberate on how to carry out this mission with the help of Lord Ronnel, and decide that Sey Denys will accompany us on our trip to Gulltown to find the dagger, but will be sent back to House Jasper before we get to Coldwater Burn.

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Now a slight detour to ALMOST GET KILLED!!
What the heck guys?? Why all the fighting??

We pick back up having taken Ser Emmon as a ward of our house and Ser Phillip will be a knight of ours. We agree to also head to Woodhall to try and broker a peace between them and Lady Mya. She has said she sent a messenger a while back but they haven't come back yet.

We all decide to head off together to see Ser Hoster of Woodhall. Ser Argyle of House Elseham points us in the right direction and says that House Woodhall is a prickly bunch. As we walk along, it is along a nice trail where you can tell the ocean is near without seeing it. We come across a bend in the trail and see a tree fallen across it with one man sitting on the tree and another slumped over the trunk to his side. What the heck is this….

Darron calls out to see if either of them are dead and the one sitting nods yes. He states he knows who we are even if we don't know who he is… He then tells us his name is Ralph and demands we give up our purse. Darron states that he will not be doing this and will instead carry on unimpeaded. I inch towards the back of the group… This does not seem to be going well…

Ralph shouts "Loose!!" and Cedric is shot with an arrow! Then Darron! Then Jardon! There are people above on the ridge shooting down on us!

I get shot twice!! I sneak and hide behind a rock as I can tell I am very hurt. I hope this won't impede my healing in future… Why did we come here? How did I end up in this place? Why am I being punished by the seven, what have I done so wrong in my life? Was it taking over for my brother as the maester? Should I be more honest in who I truly am? Or is there a greater purpose I should be fulfilling? Oh seven. If only I survive this attack, I promise to look for what my true purpose should be!

During all of my musings the attack continues. I keep ducked behind the rock with Gary and Gulliver. Georgie is wandering around like the untrained dog she is… I need to work on that…

Suddenly, I hear Cedric shout at Ralph and he distracts him, he then comes back to protect me and asks that when the fighting is done, I heal his wounds. Get in line buddy, I think.

I peek over the rock and see that Ralph has stolen Carsen's horse, I think her name is Bob? Brutis? It's some odd B name. He rides over to this monster of a man on top of the ridge and swings him onto the horse and rides away. Jardon then starts to take chase! 

 

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The boys bought a bar??
A silly journal a bit late

So the silly knights come back from the city finally and announce to us that they have bought a bar… What?? How the heck did this happen? They recount that as they were trying to instead burn the bar down, a city guard stumbled upon them. They acted as if they were interested in purchasing the bar and bought it there on the spot. They try to rationalize this as a smart purchase as we now have a tourney to pay for every year. I try to explain to them how little this would bring in versus how pricey a tourney is, but it seems to be of interest to no one.

They also inquire about Petyr Baelish running the bar. I say i know little of him and am still incredulous that they purchased the thing! We decide to break for the night and figure out this silly bar in the morning.

We leave Carsen behind in the morning and head back into the city. We head towards the docks and I point out the harbor master as I had seen Teddy interact with him before. They gather the keys to the bar and we speak to the dockmaster's nephew, Robert. He seems to know his sums well enough and can read and write a bit. He accepts teh position the men have offered him of running their bar. Well, at least every time I am in Gulltown, I can collect my share of the profit!!

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Giles' Trial
House Lynderly is going down

We are joined on the morning of Ser Giles' trial by Lord John of House Arryn, and his new wife Lysa Arryn of House Tully, as well as Lord Nestor Royce, Lord Yorren of House Lynderly and Lord Baelish and his steward Umphred from the Fingers. 

Lord Arryn calls the trial to order. Ser Giles quickly proclaims his innocence, denying the crimes we bore witness to. Lord Baelish, however, praises the courageous actions of House Jasper in bringing Giles to justice and ending the spree of crimes he committed in the Fingers. Petyr also commends the quick work of our group, and goes a step further to support our suspicions that it was House Lynderly who gave the orders on this dastardly mission. We each have the opportunity to plead our case. When it is my turn, I stand with confidence, clear my throat and state: 

"My lords, my ladies, I say with complete conviction that Giles of House Lynderly is not only guilty of his crimes of arson and breaking his oaths, but also of working in conspiracy with the rest of his house in efforts to besmirch the name of House Jasper to give themselves a leg up in the race for the position of warden of the vale. I was honored to represent my house in our mission to the fingers to apprehend Giles. We travelled through the region and saw the destruction and terror this false knight brought to land wearing the armor and sigil of House Jasper. Lord Petyr Baelish speaks the truth- the damage we witnessed was clearly worth at least 100 gold dragons. We caught Giles in the act of setting fire to a farm, and he tried to murder us when he knew he was being brought to justice. After he surrendered, still wearing our proud sigil, our brave bard removed Giles' helmet to reveal his true identity. It is important to note that Giles had nothing of worth on his person, only a mere few copper pennies and a burnt candle, indicating his actions were not in pursuit of wealth or personal gain, but that his only goal was to cause chaos and stain the jasper name at the orders of his house."

I get a proud nod from my lord and lady for my deposition and worthy representation of house Jasper. Lord Arryn finds Giles guilty, and he takes the black. In reparations, he orders House Lynderly to give House Baelish 200 gold dragons, and they give up a portion of their land to House Jasper. I don't think House Lynderly will be in the running for Warden of the Vale much longer…

When the trial is over, I bring extra linens and a pitcher of water to the chambers of Lady Lysa and meet her handmaid, Joyce, who reminds me a great deal of myself. She shares that she's been in Lady Lysa's services for a few months, but is relatively happy in the position, and has her sights set even higher beyond emptying chamber pots. Joyce agrees to pass what she sees as important information to me as she learns of it, in exchange for 1 silver stag. She seems a cunning and ambitious young lady, and I look forward to working with her for hopefully many years to come.

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Ser Darron’s Journal VIII

Back at sea with Captain Asten and the crew of the Cornelia. Asten is a righteous man who commands respect. “No halberds” he says and Carson actually listens! He would have made a good knight, I think. Makes me wonder – would I make a good captain? Probably, yes.

The weather is fine and the the crew entertain us with tales of the free cities. Braavos is especially interesting to me. Her swordsmen are said to be the greatest in the realm despite fighting unarmored and with only thin blades. I would like to test my mettle against them one day. It’s hard to imagine them surviving one blow of a longsword. I wonder if they have tournaments?

Carsen has taught a card game called “The King’s Hand” to some of the crew and is using it to steadily move copper into his purse. I’d never heard of the game before and suspect the rules favor the young knight. He offered me a turn, but I'd sooner have my coppers swindled by wenches and barkeeps.

Jardon, as usual, got his sea legs the quickest and spent much of his time with the crew; bow fishing and learning knots. He seems at home on the ship. Maybe because he’s not the only one here with an eyepatch?

Maester Thaddeus demanded his own room onboard and has spent much of his time in there. He’s always reading or writing something or another. Sending ravens out to who-knows-where. He keeps well groomed too. Shaving daily while the rest of us are starting to look more akin to Ulf. I’ll have to trouble him for that razor of his.

Pabst is still a day’s sail away, but I’m in no hurry to reach that rockpile. What kind of knight could we hope to find among the crab shells and birdshit?

 

One odd thing; I found a candle in one of my saddlebags yesterday. I'm sure I didn't put it there (I have little enough with me to keep track of) and no one else went into them. A gift from the Seven? A guiding light? No, of course not! And yet…

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A long awaited promotion

Dolins announces that this false knight is none other that Ser Giles, a knight of House Lynderly. The vigilantes of Castle Snownook huddle, and recognize that this is not only an opportunity to demonstrate to Lord Arryn that House Jasper is just and strong, but also to let him know that our competitors do not deserve the title of Warden of the Vale. House Lynderly has clearly sent this false knight in Jasper armor to besmirch the name of House Jasper in our mutual quest for this title. In our search on his person, I find some courtiers garb. Dolins finds a candle, and Teddy finds a mere 30 copper pennies. In my rage, I grab his chin and ask him where the rest of his gold and belongings are, which he denies having. I spit in his face-I look forward to using this event to the advantage of House Jasper…and myself.

We agree to send Teddy and Maelys to the House of Lord Baelish to send a raven right away to Lord Arryn to notify him of the trial that will take place for Ser Giles at Castle Snownook. Dolins and I ride straight home with a bound and gagged Ser Giles in tow.

Upon coming across our first farmers, the ones whose farm we saved, Dolins and I agree to hand out the belongings of Ser Giles as small recompense for their lost livestock. We notify all that they have House Lynderly to thank for their losses, as it was they who sent this man to the lands of House Baelish to wreak havoc in the name of sabotage.  Ser Giles is paraded in the streets of the hamlet, and shamed for his crimes, until we meet back up with Teddy and Maelys, and make it back to Castle Snownook safely.

Once Ser Giles is imprisoned in the cells, we discuss the events of our journey with Lord Ronnel and Lady Alys. Much to my surprise, my lady demands we go to war with House Lynderly. I scream internally, knowing such a disastrous plan would only delay and distract from my goals. Fortunately, wise Lord Ronnel speaks up, and with the support of his son and heir, persuades the group to at least wait until after the trial.

Then, Lord Ronnel announces that he and the now-simmering Lady Alys have been discussing my position while we were away, and both agree that, at long last, it is time for a promotion and new title. "My lord, my lady; please know that it has truly been my distinct privilege to serve as your handmaid these last few years. That you would even consider bestowing upon me such a great honor of serving the house in new and growing ways…I am overwhelmed with gratitude." They, as well as the bard and lordling, offer up kind words about my strengths and abilities, and explore the positions of saboteur, spy master, and assassin. Knowing that my climb will surely not stop here at Castle Snownook, and that I would prefer a title that will both be public and held in esteem, I deduce that developing a realm-wide network as the Mistress of Whispers, and a reputation for knowledge, would be in my best interest.

 

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Ser Darron's Journal VII
In which 2xp are expected.

We had departed Heart’s Home as three and arrived in Gulltown as seven. We had sought out knights and in their stead found a tramp and a wildling. I had longed for the women, song, and beds of Gulltown, but last night found myself again in a tent – again listening to Jardon’s snoring.

However today the Father smiled on me. For today, we found a true knight for House Jasper, obtained a tavern, and made a useful ally as well. The gods are good.

Let me start from this morning. Ser Cedric offered to watch the wildling while we entered the city. That was fine by me! I don’t much trust the old man so I considered this a test. Maybe both would be gone by nightfall. If they stole my leaky tent too, that would be three of my problems solved! Without Ulf, the gatekeepers gave us no trouble

The inside of Gulltown sure was a sight for sore eyes. I don’t find it to be an impressive city (I’ve been to Oldtown, you see. Down there they have neighborhoods the size of Gulltown. Hell! They have brothels the size of Gulltown! Ho Ho!) Still – it is the largest in the Vale, and if you want news from abroad, a cup of Arbor gold, or a decent suit of mail – this town is your best bet. Compared to Snownook, it might as well be Braavos.

After a profitable visit to the docks we found ourselves within the battlements of House Grafton. And what a place to be on this day! With walls made of stone (rather than our shoddy palisades), and more men-at-arms training than our house could ever hope to field, I felt briefly like I was back home in Uplands.

I could’ve stayed, you know. Any house would accept an honorable knight. However… Ronnel took me in and I owe him a debt for that. Besides, what foolishness would Jardon get up to in my absence? No. I have unfinished business in the Fingers. We are recruiting fighting men. Could we become a regional power? Perhaps! Better us than the Lynderlys! I’ll see to that!!

It is in the stable that we met Ser Yoren the Yellow. What a vision to behold after weeks spent with plough horse riders and winking bowmen! A young man, golden of hair and of cloak, he was the embodiment of a warrior! Yoren was impressed by my deeds in the battle of the Trident and eager to join our ranks. Negotiations ensued. Smartly, he declined our sparring propositions (what does a warrior have to gain but accidental injury?) and only agreed after Carson promised a yearly grand tournament.

Tournaments are a requirement for any decent house, I say! How could a lord expect to attract respectable knights without one? A few hundred gold dragons as the purse, and we could spread the Jasper name far and wide! The deal was done and the ring was given. This called for a drink!

As Ser Yoren of House Jasper was packing his things, we made our way to the Winter’s Reprieve. I was hoping to rest and enjoy some ale and song, but there was a fuss with the owner – that ass Jamie – about the Falcon’s Nest.

Last time we were in town I was… in my cups… but recall we had promised to burn down the Falcon’s Nest. Apparently we agreed to burn it down again tonight. Now I’m not a man who believes in fate or fables – I’ll leave that to fools and septons – but the gods had twice brought us here and twice asked us to do this thing. Could it mean something? We agreed. Besides, what harm could it cause?

Later, standing in front of Jardon’s lit candle with guards yelling for our surrender and Ser Carson dashing away, the harm was apparent. These guards think we’re criminals! Just for burning a building! Jardon and I could go to prison! I…well… I… I’d… I’d be damned if Carson gets away from this and we don't!

Jardon thought quickly (must learn how to do that) and made up a story that we were looking to buy this building and merely using the candle to look inside. Amazingly, the damned fools accepted the lies and offered it to us for ten dragons. We told Lord Grafton and his men that we accepted the offer. I must admit, prospect of coin and wine upon each return made this seem a wise investment indeed.

Jardon declared the tavern would be named “Buffoons Three” after something from homeland. His village? His family? It wasn’t entirely clear what he meant, but it’s an amusing name and I was in high spirits. Moreover, if it pleases those Ironborn, it very well may please the seamen from Essos as well. I accepted it happily and began to ponder our future prosperity. This called for a drink! Ho Ho!

One last thing: I shouldn’t even be mentioning this – but last night it became apparent that Jamie of the Winter’s Reprieve is involved in the black markets. He is willing to purchase certain illegal goods and even claims to have work for us should we need the money. Smuggling or theft or some such unsavory activities. A knight of my distinction would never keep company with such a person of course, but a man couldn't be blamed for pondering how such a relationship could be beneficial.

 

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A little lie from Carsen which hopefully we won't all pay for later...
Are we that rich??

We are all sitting around the fire outside Gulltown and trying to decide what to do the next day. We ask Olf if we cna shave him to disguise him but he says no. We offer him the option of the haircut or we will tie him to a tree while we go into the town. Cedric then offers to stay back and watch him if we tie him up. This sounds fair, but then he asks, if he does this, will he finally be a knight of our house? We agree but I state he should continue on with us on our travels. We tie up Olf's hands and feet for the night and rotate our watch. 

In the morning, we head into the city without incident. Darron wants to head down to the water to sell some Bravosii coins he has. He finds a ship's captain and it looks like they barter an exchange. I then state we should find the training yard after Carsen stupidly suggests we should instead look for them in a tavern. They smartly agree to find a training yard and as we head on our way, we pass the Falcon's Nest which is all boarded up. I piece together from passing conversations that the owner has died.

We carry on looking for Ser Yoren, who Lord Jasper thought was the most promising knight in the city. We reach the training yard and are directed towards the stables when we ask for a knight. On the way, we decide our tactic is to tell the truth with minor embellishments to recruit the knight. We see a man, dressed as a knight, walking out and it happens to be Ser Yoren! Well that was easy! We work on asking him if he will join us. His main concern is he likes traveling to tourney's throughout the year while still being our knight. The boys then do some boasting to him and Carsen states that we could throw him a huge tourney each year. Of course he agrees to this without discussing with us and suddenly Yoren agrees to join us! Uhoh… I make it clear I am not on the hook for this promise! But Yoren is sent on his way with a brass ring.

While we are in the city, I buy an adult, though untrained dog which I name Georgie. She is beautiful and giant, with long shaggy hair. I also buy a mule and two sets of scale armor for my growing dog army!

I then head to Winter's reprieve with the rest of the group. I see a young boy who is running around serving all of the patrons in the busy inn. We hear a voice behind us that says, "Well, look who has returned." And we turn to see Jamie, the owner! He accuses our knights of trying to burn his tavern down… I am not overly surprised by this. They keep arguing about the past and I overhear Jamie ask the knights to burn down the Falcon's Nest. At this point, I excuse myself from the group and sit down. As the knights head off to probably do stupid things, I decide to head back with Thomas to Olf and Cedric. Thomas is kindly bringing some wine back to the two of them from Ser Darron. Once we are back, I start on training Georgie!

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