So, to set the scene…
Aeli, the Hero of the Vale, decided to follow the mystery of her family to Caleston, and the Lawful Wizard school of Thyckletray. Then, in a desire to buff up her Hero cred, she decided to take the Patriarch Priest of Valetown up on his request to investigate some sort of monster (“DRAGONS!”) issue in the far northern hills of the Vale.
So this session begins as she’s taking her posse out of town, but see’s a former NPC associate packing his things with a group of men at arms. Curious, she asks the NPC, the cleric Osash, “what’s up” and learns that he is taking men to investigate the Tomb of Alaxus that Aeli recently opened. With the Minotaur Mage defeated, the Patriarch was curious about the tomb and wanting to see what else might be learned from the former despot of the Vale.
So… Aeli’s VERY tempted to go and asks the NPC mage (Tironell) what he thinks. As Tironell points out this would be the third destination decision in three days, angie thePrincessWife looks at me and quips “DId I mention the ADD?” However, Aeli sticks to the plan and moves out on the road that will take her to Valecross and the tiny thorpe of Wyvern Falls.
Along the way, she stops for the evening at Golinville, a tiny village of ten buildings. However, she’s not very well greeted, as there was just a murder in the town and everyone is understandably shocked and upset. The tailor, Ms. Ferguson, was apparently butchered in her home without anyone knowing. One of the men allowed Aeli into the tailor’s home, after she proved she worked with the Patriarch (he’s considered the de-facto leader of the Vale).
It was a gruesome and creepy sight. Dried blood was splashed all over the walls, but the hut was otherwise undisturbed. And there was no body – none had been found. The townsfolk had sent someone that same day to Valetown to have the Sheriff summoned, but neither had returned yet.
It was at this point that Angie – the player – started wondering if she was supposed to start investigate this and we half-roleplayed, half-discussed what she should do. I was introducing her to the concept that the world will continue to evolve and do things despite her, and that not all things in this game would necessarily relate to the thread she was following. She could decide to change her mind and stay and investigate, or she could continue on. She opted to allow the Sheriff to do his work and spent the night in the town’s barn. The next morning, she left, but strangely, no sign of Sheriff or messenger as they rode back to the main track.
Another two days of uneventful travel and the band arrived at Midvale, a hub of sorts. Midvale would be the Indianapolis of the Vale, all roads lead there, but it’s not the center of power. Aeli spent some silver to try and find out news and events, but apparently she was a bit too nosy and pushy and really did not get anywhere. (The dice were still not favoring her. She’s now named her dice “Derpy.”)
After leaving town, Aeli happened upon a very strange sight – a halfling sitting on his cart pulled off the side of the road, happily smoking a cigar. Halflings are known, but they really don’t chose to live in human lands so much. The fact that this halfling had decided to put aside the nomadic life and settle down in the Vale was very odd, although he did travel quite a bit as a merchant/trader between Valecross and Midvale. He joined Aeli’s band going north and told her some interesting things about these “monsters” that Aeli was going to investigate:
- He’d heard of the attacks of these strange lizard creatures on cattle and folks around Wyvern Falls. Some say dragons, but old-timers speak about “wyverns” – the namesake of the tiny thorpe. Whatever these creatures are that are attacking, they are huge monsters, jaws big as a man, dripping venom and whip-like tails that sting.
- The place that is being attacked is called “Wyvern Falls.” It’s on the border of the hill country at the north edge of the Vale. It’s a thorpe, more of a meeting place than a town. There’s nothing of the Vale more northern-most than it.
- Tales are told by old timers of when Alaxus ruled the Vale, his soldiers would ride beasts called “wyverns.” When the Vale was resettled after Alaxus died, many bones and skulls were ground up in the fields around the Vale.
(Halflings in my campaign speak with an Irish brogue, but there was no way I was going to try and imitate that. I let her imagine it.)
On the second day of travel, they passed through a very strange village called “Shireless.” Shireless has about 15 buildings in it, and the road to Valecross runs right through it. There is an older stone watchtower to the east side of the village. As Aeli and crew approached Shireless, Murri remarked that “folks here be odd and verra strange.” And sure enough, as the crew rode through town.. well, imagine the scene in “High Plains Drifter” where Clint Eastwood first rides through Lago and all the townsfolk run inside or hide? Well, that was pretty much the scene. Afterwards, Murri related that he’d tried to trade in Shireless, but the town leader brought out a huge book of “rules” and would only trade according to the prices in the book. They also acted with strange manners and customs, almost like people from the Southron Empire. Aeli’s very curious why folks would come from the South to live in the Vale, but she’s now on a mission and that was set aside.
The rest of the journey to Valecross was uneventful and we paused here.