Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Towards Evening, Langenthal Town

Monday, May 19, 1650

Delfig and Andrej are swept down the road amid much celebrating, as are the saved victims of the fire, a distance of a mile - which takes a good while, and a fair portion of the mania does subside before reaching the town.  By then, the two of you are somewhat exhausted by embraces and back-slapping ... you feel much better as, near the end of the trip, some of those who have run ahead return with bottles of wine, which make their way around the crowd.

Langenthal is a cluster of 150 houses, with an ordinary Romanesque church and a town hall, without a wall.  It does not cut an imposing figure on the landscape, and is built in a bottom land between a low ridge (which the characters have just crossed) on the east, and substantial foothills on the west.  The Jura Mountains can be seen in the distant west.  The land is a mix of farming and forests - it is much more wooded here than it was on the road to Berne that the characters were following.

A deputation has gathered on the road leading into the town - it consists of the town Burghermeister, several persons in uniform, more than a few guardsmen and a Catholic priest.  The characters are brought to the front of the crowd - whereupon Herieux sticks himself between them and the deputation.  "Gentlemen," says Herieux.  He repeats it loud enough to silence the whole crowd.  "I give you the Heroes of the hour, two blessed men with remarkable forethought of action, cleverness and bravery, who have this day saved eleven people!  We all owe them a great debt!  I present Father Andrej and Master Delfig!"

The Burghermeister steps forward, and puts out his hand.  "Good men - what service can the town of Langenthal offer you?"

79 comments:

Delfig Kôlhupfer said...

I step forward and shake the hand of the Burghermeister. I bow to the Catholic priest and then to the men in uniform.

"Sir, it was but the Lord's good will that we happened to pass by with the means to rescue your townspeople. Good man Herieux is giving us far too much credit, many of these townsfolk grouped together to help save the poor threatened souls. Please, all we wish is to stay in peace in your town so that we may journey onwards. Celebrate that 11 souls were spared a horrible death, for that is the best the Lord has given us this day." I will attempt to speak as eloquently and persuasively as I can. (although I get the feeling Herieux has a few levels of Bard on me...)

Andrej said...

Andrej is content with Delfig handling the bulk of the public discourse. He will seek the first opportunity to make the acquaintance of the priest.

Alexis said...

Herieux speaks first: "My esteemed colleague is much too modest, Herr Burghermeister. And we are tired from the journey. Perhaps we might, with your permission, rest before there would be any celebration."

Wherein the Burghermeister answers, "I will see to it that the best lodging in the town will be found for you. Will that suit either of you well?"

Delfig Kôlhupfer said...

I bow again to the Burghermeister. "You are far too kind to us. That is more than enough, and we are grateful."

Alexis said...

The Burghermeister will call forth a few lackeys, some minions, a bootlick or two, and see to it that you are brought through the town, to an Inn, The Edelweiss. The procedure is anything but simple to have you installed, with plenty of opportunity for interruption if you wish to be introduced to any member of the town. Andrej obtains a few moments to speak with the Priest - who comes off as quite snobbish, quite disdainful of this friar whose clothes are dirty, who is of a distant and rather ugly race, and whose sincere obeiance to the Cross and the Altar are certainly deserving of suspicion. It is an attitude that Andrej will have run across before, particularly in backward towns.

As your bags are loaded into your rooms (obtained from the carriage by Emmanuel, who attends you), Herieux will make an excuse to the immediate burghermeister's lackey and not take a room in the same Inn. "If you might forgive me," he explains to the lackey; "I find that I really must speak to the Burghermeister himself on a matter of great importance, that I failed to mention. My friends -" he says to Andrej and Delfig; "I chanced to overhear that you are belayed in your journey, and that it seems to be of some important. As I must speak to the Burghermeister on a matter of my own, allow me to also take a few moments to explain to him that you are rushed and must be on your way."

Delfig Kôlhupfer said...

I smile and shake my head. "Why my "dear" Herieux, we have already taxed our poor Burghermeister with far too many requests, surely he would want to dispense with any additional favors all at once. We will accompany you to the Burghermeister and speak as one - of course, if you insist on speaking to him alone, then we also must make our business our own and decline that you speak to him on our behalf."

Alexis said...

"Oh, I do not go to him to ask a favor, but to do him a favor. I could not help noticing that the Meister suffers from a small tic that seems to plague his brow - I possess a remedy for that very thing, having had some experience as a physician that I collected when I was among the Lowlanders in Scotland. I wish to alleviate his discomfort is all. I certainly understand if you wish to make your case to him personally ... I will tell him so when I see him. Just now, however, I must go to the apothecary's first, to gather the remedy, and then make my way to a bank." He says to the lackey, "Could you lead me to the drug merchant, my good man?"

Delfig Kôlhupfer said...

(Did I notice the tic?)

"Ah, another man learned in the field. I studied under my father in Munich, it would be a pleasure to see your work as a colleague. What remedy will you use?" I make to walk with him and the lackey and motion to Andrej to accompany us.

Alexis said...

Delfig did not notice the tic; it seems the lackey is somewhat surprised by it also.

Herieux: "Oh, a mixture of mercury, lime and honey, apportioned with asafoetida - is there some remedy you might suggest as an alternate?"

Delfig Kôlhupfer said...

"That nasty smelling gum?" I exclaim. "My father swore by it for stomach ills, but not for tics. That seems to be an unusual remedy. My father would use castor for simple treatments of those. Perhaps speaking to the Burghermeister's personal physician might be more in order. And why a bank?"

Alexis said...

"That sounds most interesting," answers Herieux. "Not the Scottish way, of course, but interesting. Come with me to the apothecary's, we'll collect some castor there ... I'd like to see how well that would work."

He deliberately avoids answering the question about the bank.

Delfig Kôlhupfer said...

"Of course, let me write a quick note for Emmanuel..."

(I'll write a note that says - briefly - that my companions and I do not trust this Herieux and we believe he is behind some mischief elsewhere. I implore the reader to not trust Herieux and not let him near the Burghermeister with medicines)

BTW, where is the sister in all of this?

I jot down the note and pretend to leave it on the desk, but slip it into my pocket. If there's a moment that Herieux is distracted from the lackey, I'll give it to the lackey and motion for him to read it and point to Herieux.

Alexis said...

The opportunity comes, and you are able pass the note as you're going down the stairs of the Inn, as he follows Herieux and proceeds Delfig (I assume Delfig would not be first). The lackey is not subtle at all - he reads the note at once.

At the exit of the building, the lackey turns around, addressing Delfig: "What is the meaning of this - who is this man?"

Whereupon Herieux flees up the street.

(OOC: I'll tell you what Herieux's plan was - to blackmail the Burghermeister with invented information, on your behalf, then pocket the money)

I have deliberately made no mention of the sister, waiting for people to notice. You have not seen her since the Fire.

Alexis said...

(OOC: a plan well foiled, by the way. Good playing)

Delfig Kôlhupfer said...

(OOC - holy crap, I think I just leaped out of my chair when I read that he fled! This was pretty intense - I spent some time reading up on medieval medicinal treatments in order to refute his claim)

"After him!" I yell at the lackey and Andrej. I'll chase after him, yelling at bystandards to "Stop that man!"

(OOC - c'mon Andrej... we could use your help! Please come back... )

Andrej said...

(OOC: Sorry guys. My kid got his tonsils out Monday so is spending the latter half of Christmas vacation inside and in bed. We've been putting models together, watching BBC's "Planet Earth" on DVD and I've been acting as manservant and surrogate playmate etc... he's napping now, so here I am)

Off Andrej goes in pursuit of Herr Herieux.

Delfig Kôlhupfer said...

(OOC: No problems! I was just hoping I wouldn't chase him by myself - you've been far luckier with rolls than I have... Should we take a break? )

Alexis said...

(OOC: Hey, we're still in the 12 days of Christmas; Andrej, go be an awesome father. We'll pick this up later

Funny, we were watching Planet Earth last night)

Andrej said...

(OOC: I don't think a break is necessary, I really do want to play some and I'm on the computer tending to my home, off-line campaign and prepping for Sunday's session... so now really is a perfect time for me.)

Andrej said...

(OOC: Thanks, though, for the patience and kind words. Planet Earth is the rare, good series in that it is both eye and mind candy. I hooked my son in with the penguins in episode 1 (he's 7, and they're his favorit animal) but he's stuck with me through the whole first disc. I can't wait for caves on disc two... while great in and of themselves, they've been inspiration for D&D so far and I can't see how the caves episode won't be)

Alexis said...

(OOC: We were watching the ice worlds on disc 2 last night, so haven't seen the caves yet. We'll talk when we've both seen them)

Very well - I will give the benefit of the doubt and assume Andrej was shadowing the trio as they were going down the stairs. The lackey will run out into the street, calling the watch to him as Andrej follows Delfig out the door.

Herieux has a good start; remembering how such towns are laid out (adding picture to file), he has made his way along the row of flats immediately to the left of the Inn, and dodged into an open doorway.

Delfig Kôlhupfer said...

Is the open doorway into a house or business? I will call to the lackey where he has gone. I'll draw my sword and enter cautiously, in case he's trying to ambush me.

Alexis said...

A house, certainly. As you enter the door, you can hear shouting in the kitchen, and a pot banging against a floor.

Andrej said...

Andrej enters as well, staff ready.

Andrej said...

Let us swiftly follow the noise.

Delfig Kôlhupfer said...

I'll yell out "Give up Herieux... you can't escape!" and follow the noise, sword drawn and at ready. I'll take a quick look around and if I don't immediately see him, I'll look for where he left the building.

Alexis said...

Andrej getting in the first word, he passes Delfig in the doorway and hurries towards the kitchen. A quick layout of the house; it is only 18 feet wide. The front space, which is as wide as the building, appears to be a private workshop with no windows except a small one on the door. An inner doorway leads into a central court, as wide as the building and 25' long, where the ceiling, 25' above your heads, gives natural daylight to a 10' x 18' space surrounded by a gallery. This gallery follows the wall all around the central court. I trust that's clear.

There are tables and chairs, and a water barrel, and a drain in the tiled floor. There's a second doorway - moving through that, you find a kitchen, again the width of the house and 20 feet long, divided into a forward, preparing area and a large fireplace against the right wall. On the left wall is a little closet, which you would recognize as the place where you'd do your business. The kitchen has wide, high windows, too high to see through, but large enough to let in light to see by.

(OOC: I wanted to take the time to explain that, as this is a typical house in my world in those parts where several buildings join together with no space between. The only natural light can come through one of the ends of the building, or through the roof)

The kitchen is a shambles; apparently two kegs of fresh fish were turned over, as there are trout all over the floor (as well as the empty kegs). A goodwife is wallowing on the floor among it, in Andrej's way. A different woman, near the fireplace, screams on seeing Andrej, "ANOTHER ONE!" and sets to heave the pot in her hand. The rear door to the kitchen is in the process of closing.

Andrej said...

Andrej will ignore the women and attempt a vault over the one blocking his way, making for the door.

Alexis said...

d20, Andrej

Delfig Kôlhupfer said...

I'm going to pause a moment to see if the pot is heaved at or behind Andrej, then run around/through (as carefully as I can) the mess and woman on the floor to pursue Herieux through the door.

Andrej said...

D20: 13

Alexis said...

I throw the pot at Delfig; the woman (zero-level) hits AC 4.

Delfig Kôlhupfer said...

That hits me, all I'm wearing is leather. Ow. Down I go. (OOC - Go git 'im, Andrej!)

Alexis said...

Andrej makes dex check (Dex 17, I think), leaps over the woman, skids on the floor, doesn't lose his balance at all and seizes the doorknob.

Throwing the door open, Andrej sees a yard with two cows, a large swine and a dozen chickens. The yard is enclosed on two sides (not including the house), and the back is a sharp slope 30' away rising up into a forest. Herieux is about three feet up the slope, reaching for an aspen tree to help him climb.

Alexis said...

Delfig takes 2 hp of damage. That will only stun him if he's got 8 hp or less ... he has more, so he can follow along behind Andrej. The woman gets out of the way, and while Delfig slips on the fish, he need not make a dex check. He is five feet behind Andrej.

Andrej said...

Andrej races toward Herieux, up the slope and into the woods if necessary.

Delfig Kôlhupfer said...

(Just to confirm, I need my lyre to cast my spells?)

Alexis said...

Yes, Delfig needs lyre. Only thing is, the most logical place for it at this moment would be Delfig's back - you had only just moved into the Inn room. Emmanuel would have had everything with him, and Delfig would certainly have grabbed his lyre at the first opportunity. The lyre would have a strap that went over Delfig's shoulder.

I know some DMs might insist that Delfig specify grabbing the lyre at the start of every event, but the default location for the lyre wouldn't be in the inn room on the bed, anymore than the weapon at your hip.

Andrej - do you have anything you can throw? Would slow Herieux down. He's about fifteen feet above you and climbing - the top of the slope would be at least 80' above you, from what you could see from the back porch. You'll probably catch him, unless he has climbing experience also ... he seems to be moving pretty quickly.

Alexis said...

(OOC: sorry guys, I'm out of here. Have a happy NEW YEAR!)

Delfig Kôlhupfer said...

(OOC - no problem on getting out of here. I will be working tomorrow, but I'll wait for you to let us know you're back before posting my next move - which will be to cast the spell Command. Happy New Years to you and yours as well.)

Andrej said...

Re: something to throw: only my staff. I was actually counting on my skills as a mountain climber to aid me in the pursuit.

HAPPY NEW YEAR ALL.

When do we re-convene? :)

Andrej said...

(OOC: P.S. - Dexterity is actually 15, but it was a success either way.

Also, I meant to add to Alexis's earlier comment re: how well played the encounter leading up to Herieux's dashing off. Calling him on the cure for the tic was pure magic, Delfig. I was chuckling then laughing as I read through the posts to catch up. Well done both DM and player)

Alexis said...

Back.

Assuming Delfig still wishes to cast command, what would be the word spoken? At present, both Herieux and Andrej are in their places, climbing up the slope.

Delfig Kôlhupfer said...

It worked once, I'll try it again: "Surrender"

Alexis said...

Herieux makes his saving throw, and continues to climb the slope.

(OOC: It might have been a dubious success anyway. The spell's effect lasts but two rounds - its unlikely that Andrej would have reached him before the spell ran out, in which case he would have been free to change his mind and start climbing again).

Andrej, you notice as you chase him that Herieux seems rather good at this climbing thing. You are not gaining on him.

Delfig Kôlhupfer said...

(Always worth a shot.)

Is there anything I could throw, like rocks or something of that nature? Something to slow him down a bit?

Is there any sound of coming guards or help?

Alexis said...

He's out of range even if you had a stone, which you do not. Yes, you can hear the guards - a few moments later, they will appear in the back yard, nine of them altogether. Six will take in the situation and begin climbing the slope after Andrej. The other three, with the Lackey, will seem more concerned with surrounding Delfig and keeping him under scrutiny.

Delfig Kôlhupfer said...

I will remain peaceful towards the guards, waiting for the situation with Andrej and Herieux to resolve itself.

Andrej said...

Hmmm... I'd like to try and throw something to either trip him up or slow him down. I'm not sure how effective my quarterstaff would be, and its my only weapon so... if there's anything nearby I can easily grab and hurl at his feet or back with the intent of causing him to slow or fall, I'll do so. Otherwise, I'll continue pursuit and hope Delfig has another idea.

(OOC: I'll be tied up for the next hour or so, but will be back)

Alexis said...

The quarterstaff, sad to say, would not be effective, since you are both climbing between trees and the quarterstaff would likely be fouled by the rather than hit its mark.

Herieux will reach the top of the slope before Andrej can catch him. As Andrej breasts the top, he can see the forest, thin with undergrowth, spreads away on a level before him - he has been climbing not a hill, but an escarpment.

Herieux is nowhere to be seen.

Andrej said...

C'est la vie.

Delfig, let us return to town and see to our arrangements for both this evening and tomorrow's travels.

Alexis said...

Ah, you may feel that it is done, but there are guards involved now.

The Lackey will enquire of Delfig who this Herieux is, and what was the meaning of the note (OOC: I think we can forego that conversation, and assume the Delfig is detained for sometime trying to make it clear what he knows).

At about the point that Andrej is ready to give up, there are six guards huffing and puffing their way up the slope, about 30' from the bottom and 50' from the top. As Andrej turns to descend, these guards will be shouting, "WHAT DO YOU SEE?"

Delfig Kôlhupfer said...

(OOC: I'm fine with that - I will be generally cooperative, explaining that we were taking the coach on a personal trip to Sion, met up with them, overheard some suspicious things, his behavior and his attempt at medical trickery aroused my suspicions and I wanted to protect the Burghermesiter, blah-blah/kiss-ass/hope-I-don't-hang kind of thing...)

Delfig Kôlhupfer said...

(OOC - I will also warn them that Herieux has a companion who has gone missing around the Inn, he might be trying to meet up with her. I'll give as best of a description as I can.)

Alexis said...

Upon hearing that Herieux has a companion (and possessing an immediate trust for Delfig that is the result of the feat of heroism AND Delfig's substantial charisma), the Lackey makes an immediate suggestion that he and Delfig make their way to Langenthal's Prefect before taking another action.

Andrej said...

To the guards: "Nothing, brothers. I see nothing. The fox has slipped the noose, it would seem."

I would like to accompany Delfig to the prefect. we are strangers here and should stick togeter, I think.

Delfig Kôlhupfer said...

I will ask the lackey if Andrej can come with as he was also privy to Herieux's behavior, but I will agree and go with the lackey.

(Woo-hoo for good stats!)

Alexis said...

They will wait for Andrej, but they insist on holding him up with questions on the hill while four of the guards go to the top and look for themselves. I rolled to see their intelligence, and sadly they've decided to continue on into the trees to look more closely.

(OOC: you can assume that at the moment, Delfig is still explaining to the Lackey, and the suggestion to see the prefect has not yet been made)

Delfig Kôlhupfer said...

(OOC: Ok, I'll wait till we move on to the next logical step.)

Andrej said...

(OOC: ditto)

Alexis said...

Good enough for now. The guards who went to search the top of the hill will return in just a few minutes, carrying one of their companions - when he is brought to the bottom of the hill, it is clear that he is dead. Stabbed in the back.

In the light of that, the Lackey will take Andrej and Delfig to the Prefect - which is where we'll pick up tomorrow.

Delfig Kôlhupfer said...

(OOC - I really had fun with these past few posts. Thanks for the great game!)

Andrej said...

(OOC: me too)

It's nice to see that my own concerns regarding being backstabbed were not ill-founded. Would it be appropriate for Andrej to administer last rites? If so, he will do so.

Alexis said...

Following the guards bringing down the victim, and all coming back onto the street again, Andrej and Delfig find Emmanuel waiting for them, full of questions and concern.

"Master, Father," he says. "What has happened? Where are you going?"

(It's probable that the guard's would prefer their own chaplin perform the rites - this would probably be made clear with difficulty by the master of the guards, and certainly Andrej's suggestion would be treated with respect)

Delfig Kôlhupfer said...

I briefly explain to Emmanuel what happened - Herieux ran off through a house, we pursued, I was hit by a pot, Herieux ran up a hillside into a forest next to the town, Andrej and the guards pursued, one guard was killed somehow by Herieux and the rest retreated. I tell Emmanuel that we are to be questioned by the prefect on Herieux and that we're cooperating fully to help bring this scoundrel (and now murderer) to justice.

Alexis said...

"M. Herieux, a scoundrel?" Emmanuel looks perplexed. "But what of his sister?"

Delfig Kôlhupfer said...

"I wondered about that too, and I have told the guards to be on the lookout for them both. We seem to have let her slip by. It could be that she is in the forest with him."

Alexis said...

"But ... but, she took the carriage with Father Jan. To Lausanne."

Delfig Kôlhupfer said...

Oh. Shiesse.

Delfig Kôlhupfer said...

I ask the guards if we can see the Prefect now right away. I'll explain what I just learned - the murderer's sister is on the carriage and our friend priest is in grave danger.

(Are we considered to have basic knowledge of how to ride horses? My plan is to try and deal with the Prefect as fast as possible, then buy horses and pursue the carriage. As fast as possible.)

Andrej said...

Andrej bristles, curses his lack of foresight colorfully (perhaps to the shock of those nearby). "We must be away immediately! Let us deal with this prefect after we have Herieux's sister... and possibly Herieux. We need horses! Now!"

Alexis said...

It's presumed that you're able to use riding horses and ponies, but only fighters are trained to ride warhorses. (A pony or a yearling can only be ridden by characters under 120 and under 60 lbs., respectively).

There are no marketed horses available here in Langenthal - you'd have to convince someone to part with one of their own. An ordinary riding horse in Olten would be 67 g.p. - it would be more expensive here.

Emmanuel is quite frightened; he doesn't know if he should stay at the inn and watch your things, or come with you to the prefect, or leave immediately to try to catch the carriage (he's in a state of mind where he might try to steal a horse, if none were available)

Alexis said...

Andrej,

The guards, being guards, don't understand your situation - they are rather insistent that you must first see the prefect, before anything else can happen. So unless you wish to try to break from them ...

Delfig Kôlhupfer said...

"Andrej, perhaps the prefect can help us to get to his sister... we must meet with him first."

"Emmanuel, go back and make sure our gear is ready. We may have to ride light, so separate out enough so that we could eat and ride quickly. We will get horses so that we can ride to save Jan."

Alexis said...

Emmanuel follows the instruction and moves off. Unless Andrej wishes to take other action, I will assume at this point the guards will take you both to see the prefect, and I'll begin a new Post.

(OOC: Sorry about the late start today. I'm hoping to get started earlier in the day soon, although things might change - I have a very good prospect on the horizon. I doubt much that I would be able to post during the day should it be obtained. It is with a very large company, the sort that has severe policies about internet use. Good pay though. I wouldn't be starting for a couple of weeks.

While it won't end the campaign, it would severely slow it down. I wanted to make mention of it, to prepare yourselves)

Andrej said...

Delfig's wisdom will prevail. Andrej goes along grudgingly. I take Emmanual gently but firmly by the arm, and look at him directly "We are of no use to Jan if we become outlaws. We must quickly deal with matters here before being on our way. Please, brother, do as Delfig says."

Delfig Kôlhupfer said...

(OOC - I wish you best of luck on the job prospect. No worries about posting - grateful to have the game we have and if it slows down, that's fine. We can learn how to do things in a slower environment if needs be.)

Alexis said...

Emmanuel will nod respectfully to Andrej - it is clear from the look in his eyes that he will obey what Andrej tells him, and not attempt to take any action.

Andrej said...

(OOC: No worries Alexis, and good luck.)