Posted on February 20, 2011
The Acts of the Lords of Rannick, VIII
This was a fun session. First of all we got back to actually roleplaying, rather than grinding through waves of Ogres. Nice to get out of the caves and have to interact with people. That isn’t easy to do with a table of 7 players, but everyone seemed game for it and we had a lot of laughs. Probably not unrelated, I picked up some mead and some Barenjager, to keep up with the Party in Honeytown theme. Playing through a kind of event where something goes horribly wrong is kind of expected in roleplaying games; you have to be running a truly fascinating and deep campaign to roleplay a wedding where nothing happens except wedding stuff. Players CAN be dicks about it and GMs can be dicks about it too, but no-one was, at least I didn’t think anyone was.
Fort Rannick to Wartle; No one trusts events that require them to remove their armour…
Fort Rannick shook off its dismal and inhospitable winter complexion as Spring approached and our heroes stayed busy forging rings, brewing potions, blowing stuff up. The townspeople of Turtleback Ferry, having been displaced by the flood and repaired the fort over the winter, were eager to return to their town and start rebuilding their homes. They left, the Fort now in better shape than it had been in years.
Once the weather for travelling was more pleasant, trips to Magnimar were arranged, for shopping and Lonny’s first Council of Ushers, the bi-annual meeting of Magnimar’s ruling body. Whatever else the Spring held for the party members, most of them made a point of attending Vale Temros’ wedding. Baaz did not, warned of ‘The Beekeeper’ by the fey after helping restore Lamatar Bayden; and Tersplink did not, too busy industriously brewing potions.
Corwin, Dagfinn, Kerplak, Lonny and Arradin, however looked out their nicest clothes and headed to Wartle.
Wartle is a town under Magnimar’s jurisdiction and was once quite like Turtleback Ferry, subsisting on the proceeds of trapping and small scale lumber trade. Since Magnimar’s rise however it has become a center for flower cultivation and the related honey-production field. Vale Temros was given permission every year to participate in the Wartle’s annual honey festival. He spent years carefully cultivating particular honeys and eventually won, dethroning the reigning Honey-King, Tenzekil Braybrittle several years ago. During his visits to Wartle, Vale experienced a way of life far more in keeping with his gentle personality than the harsh militaristic life at Fort Rannick. When Rannick fell, Vale came west to Wartle to start over again and to marry Kailah Winmede, with whom he had fallen in love at his first Honey Festival.
Arriving at the town of Wartle proper, the group secured lodgings at the over-packed inn, Lord Rannick’s name opening a few doors… and then ejecting whoever was sleeping behind them. The party spent the day walking around the raised boardwalks of Wartle, visiting the flower gardens and generally taking in the pleasant scenery. At night the roving parties of the prospective couple made the rounds of the town, sharing cups of mead and generally toasting Vale and Kailah.
The following morning, dressed in their finery and humming and hawing over which weapons would be wholly inappropriate to take to a wedding, they set off for the Gardens of Shelyn with most of the rest of the town. At the Gardens they found plentiful hospitality and diversions; dancing, music, regional specialty foods and a round of horseshoes. Arradin went dancing, while Corwin tried his hand against a strapping half-orc who was hosting a contest of horseshoes. At the food tent they ran into an Elvish brewer and magic user named Albedon, dropping off gifts for the happy couple and a slightly rough, fairly intense gnome outlander named Badonk.
There was a box social that the eligible bachelors of the party were encouraged to attend: the bridesmaids had made trays of delicacies to be auctioned off to benefit Kailah, with the winning bidders receiving not only the baked goods but the company of the bridesmaid for the day. Bidding became fairly active early on, with Dagfinn, Kerplak, Corwin and Albedon walking away with a lovely lady and a tray of treats. Lonny entered an intense bidding war with a pallid gnome over the right to some honey tarts and the company of their creator, Lumi Reasonknot. Lonny realised that this gnome was undergoing the bleaching, the gradual fade from the world that afflicts bored gnomes. Feeling sorry for the little fellow, Lonny let him win.
When the box social was done, guests began congregating before the gazebo/pavillion for the ceremony. During this time, Lumi was spotted tearfully fleeing her box-social beau. There wasn’t much of a chance to follow up on this as Vivianna, the foreign priestess of Shelyn, led Vale and Kailah from the chapel to the gazebo and began the song that would start the public part of the marriage ceremony. A few members of the party noticed that something wasn’t quite right with the music, an odd droning that didn’t belong, seconds before a cloud of bees swarmed from the nearby woods, enveloping the wedding congregation.
Panic ensued, people trying to flee the bee stings bumping into others trying the escape in a different direction. Albedon and Corwin headed for the safety of the river. Kerplak headed straight for the treeline from which the bees had emerged. Dagfinn cast an Invisibility Sphere on himself, causing the confused bees to seek out easier targets. Protected by the sphere, Lonny and Arradin made for the gazebo while Badonk began yanking the tent pegs out of the ground, trying to collapse the cloth gazebo.
Corwin emerged from the river and began guiding the panicked guests across the bridge and away from the swarm. While the others were trying to protect the guests and wedding couple by collapsing the gazebo, a ghostly voice echoed around the gardens, “Fools! You shall rue the day you shunned my pallid condition and laughed at my losses! Know your doom has come! When Queen Rhoswen arrives, all will perish—you will choke upon her mist, die by her thorns, and fall before her armies! May you forever suffer the curses of the Fellnight fey! Tenzekil shall have his revenge on you all!”At this point, some newcomers burst forth from the brambles at the edge of the forest. Short, twisted and covered in spiny vines, half a dozen small figures advanced on the wedding guests. Dagfinn had heard old stories about creatures like these, vicious little fey called Spriggans.
Kerplak reacted quickly, tossing a startling incendiary at the feet of the two Spriggans who burst out closest to him. He chugged down one of the potions that Tersplink had given him and flew into the air away from his pursuers. Arradin, having been asked to stow her longsword, was weaponless. But she snatched up a pair of the tent pegs that Dagfinn and the barbarian Badonk had yanked out of the ground and set about the Spriggans. Dagfinn completed collapsing the gazebo and started up his song, inspiring his comrades as Lonny started hauling the cloth covering Vivianna, Vale and Kailah towards the safety of the river.
The Spriggans were caught off guard by Arradin and Badonk setting about them. The Spriggans reacted by growing rapidly in size until they were towering above this unexpected resistance. Albedon swooped in from the riverside and seared the Spriggans with powerful Evocation spells. Kerplak dropped his own brand of mayhem from the air with bottles of alchemist’s fire and acid*. Arradin became fairly handy with the tent pegs and before too long, the Spriggans were slain.
As the the bees receded and the surviving party guests tended to each other, Anonymous Q. Partyguest cried out in alarm, pointing off into the distance. A dense wall of mist enveloped the gardens and surrounding countryside. The wedding moved en masse back to the safety of the town where it became clear that the mist-bound town’s great and good would very much appreciate the help of our heroes. Whatever had caused this assault on the townspeople was out there, in the mist.
And that was where we left them…
*Wait, what? Kerplak brought flasks of acid and napalm to a wedding? I didn’t realise that at the time… I gave Jim a lot of shit for bringing a Calm Emotions spell to a wedding (and by “bringing” I mean “choosing on the spot”) but I think that would have taken a backseat to a gnome with a backpack full of bottled acid. I didn’t catch that at the time and I should have. Barenjager, what can I say?