[Scarlet] The Hou's Ransom

edited July 2014 in In-Game
Liu Wenxiong and Ba Jiao,

It is a warm summer evening when ugly little Sharwen, the man-servant to Hu Yiping, finds you both. You haven't left Guobei. Why is that? What's kept you here for the last month, and why is that about to change?

Guobei has had a large number of Imperial troops moving through. War in the north, the only word shared with you. Why aren't you in the army, by the by? Soldiers of fortune, right?

Ba, how did things turn out with that nobleborn and his family crypt? What trifling item did you keep for yourself from that dark place?

Laughing Crane, how did you handle the advances of Hu Jiaohua? She seemed quite taken with your stories of heroism. Perhaps your status as an adventurer and her savior helped with that. I'm sure the possible ire of her mother wasn't an influence at all on her favor.

Sharwen finds the two of you talking with Bohap the horse trader. Tell me about the horse you're considering purchasing, Laughing Crane. What does the animal remind you of?
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Comments

  • edited July 2014
    Lovely Mistress Jiaohua. I didn't entirely discourage her, but I know the family type. The last thing I need is to get entangled now. We shared a walk in the garden (under the watchful eye of her of her mother's servants) and I told her that if she still held feelings for me I would return for her. But I warned her that the life of a Youxia is unpredictable...and dangerous. If she should meet some other suitor, I would understand.

    My mother had a painting in her chambers of a horse. I always loved it. The horse looked so strong and majestic and it had to most beautiful pattern ("blanket with spots"). Mother and I would make up stories about a young prince who rode on that horse and had great adventures. I miss my mother deeply. I believe this horse was destined to be mine. Perhaps my mother's spirit lead me to it.

    image
  • edited July 2014
    The military? No. I had my fill of rules while I was a priest. When I was a kid at the monastery they called him me Gop (frog) and constantly told me what to do. At times I can still hear them: Gop time to get up. Gop time to say prayers. Gop eat this. Gop clean up this mess! Gop time to go to sleep. Gop don't eat that. Gop think this way! Now I am free to choose. Sure, I make a few mistakes. Maybe more than my fair.


    A few months back I robbed the Chao family tomb. I had been paid by the black sheep of the family, Chakri, to obtain a number of pieces of art from his family's tomb. The idea was to sell the items for some fast coin to pay off his debts and I would keep a cut for myself. Amongst the figurines, gems, and jewelry that I procured for Chakri. Unfortunately, he turned on me. Figuring that a brave act to his family would gain their approval and even more money he betrayed me. After I handed off his share of the items he tried to have me arrested by a band of city guards. In the ensuing fight and run the rest of the loot spilled out.

    All that I ended up with for my troubles was a simple shell bracelet. When I returned to my apartment I found Anong, the silver alley cat that often begs food from me. My pantry that night was bare but I did have that bracelet. Even now, months later, she still wears that bracelet as a collar.
  • Bohap says to you, Laughing Crane, "Liu Wenxiong, this mare is one of my prizes. She wasn't trained for war, but she's brave and sure, doesn't spook and you can already see how strong she is. I cannot part with her for less than one hundred and fifty gold."

    If you wish to haggle for a lower price, please roll a "haggling" check, adjusted by Charisma plus any applicable traits. For every point above nine, you can shave off ten gold from the price.

    As Laughing Crane continues talking, Ba, Sharwen approaches you, bowing low, very low, "Master Jiao, Master Jiao, are you well? I hope you are well, you look fit and well, master. My lady Hu Yiping bade me come find you and your partner for a very important task. The steward for Hou Neurda has come to Hu Yiping's estate seeking adventurers!" He drops to his knees, "Will you please come to speak with the steward, Master? Please? With the armies marching, there are so few heroes left. If you decline, I don't know where to turn!"
  • Of course I haggle. A Lord doesn't haggle. He expects his subjects to treat him fairly and he in turn treats them fairly.
    But I'm not a lord yet.
    "Master Bohap, I can see this horse is spirited. But perhaps she is too wild. I don't want to be thrown because she takes a notion. Plus I can't part with more than 100 coins. I have family, and ancestors to care for."

    Haggling + Cha + A Face you can Trust
    #DiceRoller( 2d8+3 )
  • Sharwen's groveling provokes a face of disgust.

    "Yes, Yes Sharwen." I grab his robe about his shoulders and pull him up on his feet. "I am no noble for you to prostrate yourself in front of!" I flatten the material and brush it off. "Be calm. The steward for Hou Neurda you say? "

    I look over to Liu and Bohap. "Once we have completed our business here we will head to the the Hu estate, my friend."
  • Laughing Crane,

    Bohap fidgets, chewing on the inside of his cheek as you talk him through your reasoning. He bows with his head, "Yes, Liu Wenxiong, these things are concerning, I will not lie. there is a reason she was not taken by the Imperial forces for military service. I can barely afford to feed her on what little gold they gave for the horses they did take. Can you part with one hundred for her?"

    100 GP is the official price for a riding horse. Fair? If not, then 90 is as low as he'll go, but then you've pushed him to the point of feeling ill towards you in the future.

    Ba Jiao,

    Sharwen rises up when you pull him, startled, but excited when you agree. He nods and bows many times on his way out of the stables.
  • I bow.
    "We have an accord." I take a string of 100 gold coins. Then I pull an additional 4 gold coins out. I hand him the string and say, "For the horse." Then I hand him the four and say, "to honor our ancestors."
  • After settling up the purchase, the pair of you make your across Guobei to the walled off section of the town where Hu Yiping resides.

    image

    After using the small gong outside, a pair of Kueh, a male and female. You recognize the woman as the one who carried her palanquin when she came to see you at the teahouse. She nods, giving you a look of recognition, but her face remains impassive. She intones with formality, "Greetings to you, Ba Jiao and Liu Wenxiong, from my lady Hu Yiping. She is ecstatic that you have come to aid her good friend Hou Neurda. Please follow me to speak with his steward, Alenka."

    She leads you through the fine garden, tended by a pair of older women, also servants, who softly hum as they gently trim vines. At a small guest house you find this woman:
    image

    The Kueh servant leaves you with her. The guest house is sparsely furnished, with wide ceiling beams every ten feet hanging low like tori arches, and a fine-smelling incense burning on a low table. The woman Alenka is sitting on a pillow in front of a low desk, writing a letter. She looks up to you, but does not rise to greet you or even say hello.
  • I sniff loudly. Look around like a gawking tourist, then plop down on the floor.
    I am prepared to wait her out.
  • I glance back and forth from Alenka to Laughing Crane. I am sorely tempted to step outside and wander through the garden rather than wait inside.

    With a deep sigh of exasperation I slowly lower myself to floor next to Laughing Crane to wait.
  • After some time finishing the last letters on her note, folds the paper and places it to the side. She looks up at both of you, a sharp glance, then says, "You are the pair of mercenaries Hu Yiping recommended?"

    When either of you nod or agree, she says in a clipped tone, "You'll do.”

    She sits back from her desk and regards you, hands folded primly in her lap, “My lord's children are returning from Tien Lung, and I am due to meet them in the Westmarch. The Mandarin is gathering his army and my lord needs every warrior he has to meet the required numbers. That is why he must hire the likes of you.. You will accompany me and return to Stenhold, my lord's estate, with his children." She looks to each of you in turn, but seems to address you, Laughing Crane, "If you do not have horses, you may ride in the wagon. I’m authorized to pay 50 silver to each of you for the service of two days or less. Well?”
  • edited July 2014
    I nod when asked if we are the recommended mercenaries.

    At the mention of being paid to guard children I raise an eyebrow and look to Laughing Crane. It seems weird that we seem to have found caring for children as our niche. And while riding a horse would be nice but 100 gold for one seems too high. Plus I'd have to pay to have it cared for. No, instead I will ride in one of these wagons. Perhaps I can find a few soldiers with plenty of coins to be earned in some games of chance.

    "Yes, Alenka, we agree."
  • edited July 2014
    I nod. I have been on the other side of this conversation (or near enough) and I can feel her disdain washing over me in waves. That's good. It means my Youxia act is working. But it's not an act anymore is it? I mean we did defeat those goblins and the hobgolins and that ogre. Heck! we wrestled a dragon!

    "Sure thing Madame, we're your men. And 50 silver each sounds fine."
  • [OOC I'd like to do a little shopping before we start. I am fine paying the book cost and doing if off screen]
  • edited July 2014
    Alenka narrows her eyes at each of you, but then she closes her eyes with a simple nod, scoots back under the desk to resume her work. "I am sorry the pay is not better for heroes such as you. My master did not authorize anything more." She picks up her brush, looking up again, "I wish to leave as soon as you are prepared, no later than tomorrow morning. When will you be ready?"

    (OOC: Please pay book price, update your sheet in the Table Chatter thread and give me a heads up when you're done. You can even do this as we go, I trust you.)
  • anything either of you wish to do before meeting Alenka to ride out?
  • "I would prefer to leave in the morning. I can be here at dawn."

    I just bought a horse, so I'd like to take the rest of the day to get used to her. Ride her around the town, see how she acts around people, how she runs, that sort of thing.
  • edited July 2014
    I nod in agreement at a morning departure then walk back out to the garden. I do not enjoy the company of those who think they are better than me.


    I'll pick up a few mundane items for our journey but otherwise gave nothing of note planned for the interim.
  • After riding a day out of Guobei, you reach the place called Ryott in the Westmarch.

    Ryott is a protein-rich grain highly valued. It is notoriously difficult to grow and the Hou's territory includes some of the few areas where it thrives. The grain is not so much farmed as gathered, and attempts to domesticate it have proven largely unsuccessful. Farmers often simply build fences around existing patches.

    You pass through yet another farmland and enter into a small forest. Your little group has been traveling for hours, it is a couple hours past noon and your stomachs are grumbling. Alenka is no conversationalist, so the ride has been quiet. She's asked you to guide the wagon, Ba Jiao. She's moved to sit in the back to read and work on paperwork.

    As you approach a break in the trees Alenka tells you, "Ahead is a bridge. Once we have crossed it, there is an excellent place to stop for lunch and to rest. for a moment."

    Once you emerge from the woods, however, it’s obvious that something is wrong. There’s a deep chasm directly ahead of you, but no bridge to be seen. Just as you notice the heavy stakes to which a wooden bridge was probably once attached you hear a shout, followed by a chorus of answers.

    Suddenly a band of horrifically ugly, squat humanoids with yellowish-grey skin charge out of the woods, brandishing throwing axes. “By the Maker!” Alenka cries. “Shou!”

    A band of Shou orc led by a half-orc warrior has sabotaged the bridge in hopes of trapping travelers against the chasm and slaughtering them. You're 10 yards from the chasm. The Shou emerge from the trees a further 20 yards away from you, trying to pin you against the chasm.

    What do you do?
  • edited July 2014
    A map (red dots are the Shou, Ba's on the wagon):

    image
  • I wheel my horse around ( I was stationed just ahead of the draft horse).

    Is the ground such that our wagon could go over it? I'm thinking of making an opening and having the wagon keep moving. If I can make an opening could we outpace the orcs?
  • The area north of that curved line is a chasm about a hundred feet down to a river. Sorry it wasn't clear. They are trying to funnel you to the chasm and make you fight with your back to it or give up.
  • Understood. I meant the area to the right of the wagon. Could the wagon go in that direction?
  • Oh, I see! I updated the map above.

    You could head right (east), it could get the Shou on one side of you rather than three, but the trees come up to the chasm about a hundred feet to the east (off the map), so it would end up being a dead end eventually.
  • In a hushed whisper I urge Alenka to stay down.

    I'll pull up next to the eastern post so as to give the horse pulling the cart some protection. I'll engage the break and call to Laughing Crane, "I believe these Shaou wish to see you dance, my friend!"
  • "Then dance we shall!"
    They have chosen their ambush point well. And I doubt they are interested in negotiating.

    I want to ride down the orc nearest me (Northern most on the Western side.) I will either chop it in twain, or trample it.
  • edited July 2014
    Let's see your attack, Laughing Crane!

    These Shou (orcs and goblins) are AC 6, 1 HD (so use a Fray Die)

    Ba, let's see an average difficulty (target 9) skill check using Dex to keep the wagon under control.
  • Attack
    #DiceRoller( 1d20+10 )

    Dmg
    #DiceRoller( 1d8+2 )

    Fray
    #DiceRoller( 1d8 )
  • edited July 2014
    "Hya!"

    I spur Longma and ride down the first Shou, my sword finds him surprised and unready to take the blow.

    The momentum carries me into the next grouping and here Longma proves her worth. She fearlessly charges into the group of Shou, wheeling around, kicking and giving me ample opportunities to strike them down.

    Praise the gods and ancestors, I feel like General Kung!

    [That's a total of 4 killed.]
  • Control the Wagon
    #DiceRoller( 2d8+2 )
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