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Jobs for the Boys
“Despite being mortal foes, the Yuan-ti enclaves and the Roc descendants were nothing but civil at times. Both were splinter groups of they're larger races and therefore neither had the backing from they're respective empires or families. Ultimately this led to them recruiting swords for hire and cutthroats, as well as offering deals to the local merchants that didn't ask too many questions.
With this in mind, it was not uncommon to see members of both factions frequenting the same inns and taverns on the lookout for such takers. Winterhaven was one such place that was solid gold for adventurers with more bravado than sense, and they were easily lured into such contracts. A month prior to the assassination, the Roc's managed to hire a trio of adventurers to take out a small Yuan-ti settlement. At the same time the Yuan-ti had decided to start playing dirty, hiring a local trader to start smuggling Roc eggs for the snakes to do with as they pleased, as opposed to the more 'honorable' method of winning them as spoils in open combat.
Unfortunately for the trader, he wasn't to know he was part of a larger plan, had he known this, he might not have met the fate he did”
- Roma Drangasti – Tail and Talon: Non Territorial Conflict and Mercenary Warfare during the Wandering War
So the second session kicks off with our new DM. Right away we're thrown head first into a whole new story. Our characters wake up in the morning to be greeted with a choice between two rival factions. The DM wasn't too familiar with the world of Dnd and wanted snake people versus bird men, which we got in the form of the Yuan-ti and consolidated with the creation of Roc descendants. We were allowed to choose which faction to side with, naturally given our characters predispositions we chose the slightly more justified side. Sometimes I wonder how it would have played out it we'd sided with the Yuan-ti. Though judging by the route the campaign took with the Roc's, there's no real way we can accurately estimate that notion.
“As cold as winters night. As cold as cold as a frosty morn. As cold as a penguins tip. But none as cold as Billy, he's dead, the poor fucker, he's dead”
So after a bit of of banter with each factions representative and a bar man that would show up far too often during the campaign, our characters were tasked with taking out a Yuan-ti settlement. En-rout our DM had us meet a suicidal woman on a bridge and then fight her zombified husband, which apparently made her less suicidal. With the settlement in sight, Trust preceded to bluff the Yuan-ti into believing that we were working for them, which she would attempt to do many many times during the campaign. Within the camp, Jocasta hits the bar for some Advocaat made from Roc eggs, Azreal questions a trader conspiring with the Yuan-ti and managed to extract nothing but a bunch of cigars from him, (actually to be fair, we did manage to figure out that he was smuggling said Roc eggs) and Trust skulked about a bit.
In the end, time was getting on and the DM tired a bit, having us take out the camp by throwing a cigar into what was either highly combustible manure or gunpowder, blowing the place up and having us ride off on stolen horses. Despite that fact that this was a bit of a cop out and thoroughly ridiculous, it felt fucking amazing! The whole session left us with a great feeling of satisfaction and optimism. A final message was sent to the previous DM. “You're Fired”
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Those Meddling Kids
“Scargrill wasn't just any Yuan-ti officer of course. Like many people in power of his time, he could only be described as 'financially incontinent' in terms of stratagem and fortification. If anything could be bought and implemented, it was, no matter how counter-productive. Some of Scargrill's purchases included: An underground bunker. A river of acid to protect said bunkers entrance. An acid neutralization spell to allow safe passage through the river of acid. A wall of water to disguise said bunkers inner sanctum. A necromantic ward to protect recreational substances via undead warriors. Artificial sensory organs for said undead to be able to experience said substances. Kobolt warriors disguised as Yuan-it officers posted around the land. Solid gold shield. Vast Quantities of Manure.
Despite all this, his killers managed to not only demolish most of his camp one night, then return to waltz right in to his bunker and finish him off the next. Remember kids: A cheap arse may embarrass himself for a moment, but a big spender can embarrass himself for the rest of his life”
- Mr Bronson - Speech to Year 7 on the values of saving money
Next session its back to town to claim our reward. Unfortunately, the Roc representative has been murdered. No prizes for guessing it was his opposite number on the Yuan-ti's side, who Jocasta, Trust and Azreal quickly chase down. But Behold! It is revealed that the Yuan-ti was actually a Kobolt in disguise! For no apparent reason!
From the corpse our heroes loot various bits and bobs, as usual Trust is quick to claim the massive diamond that was promised as reward, but Jocasta is savvy enough to see greater value in a smaller diamond. A diamond with a map engraved in it, illuminated around a room when shone over candlelight. The map leads to the mountains. Along the way our characters give the grieving wife a wave and stop off at the ruins of the Yuan-it camp for salvage. Where we get to experience the joys of the commanders bunker. After being stalked by an undead warrior that eventually got tired and wandered off, they cross a river of acid that has no effect on anyone living. Or dead for that matter.
Once we reach the center our characters battle the wounded commander, and as before, Trust is the first to the loot. Oh well. Heading to the mountains, we are greeted with a glorious palace of ice. And its guards. Though greeted may have been the wrong word. More, told to bugger off.
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Up the Junction
“For his part in the conspiracy, barman Lythander Kryptmn was offered the usual reward. His weight in gold and jewels. The Yuan-ti weren't the most inventive when it came to coaxing people over to they're own side, but they did make up for it in the sheer magnitude of precious mineral they offered.
Kryptmn was the second part of the grand conspiracy. The first, as we know, was the part played by the Mynderbynder & Mynderbynder trading syndicate, who's agents were responsible for the acquisition and smuggling of Roc eggs. For they're part Mynderbynder & Mynderbynder played for both sides of the conflict, being hired by one side to ensure the safety of a certain cargo and then selling it to the other. They're fickleness however, only aided the spreading of misinformation, which Kryptmn was hired to deal in.
At first glance the Roc egg theft seemed purely to be a dishonorable means of the Yuan-ti getting they're food. Kryptmn was hired to get the eggs back to the Roc nests, no questions asked, and ensure they're safety. Kryptmn's solution was nothing short of masterful, despite his claims that he was “making it up a he went along”.
Kryptmn was working undercover within the Roc palace in a tavern-cum-bordello. His courtesans were emotionless ice golems, sculpted into features of feminine beauty. Within however, were trained fire bats, who would melt out of the courtesans and murder wayward adventurers.
The Roc descendants had no interest in figures of human form, and after Mynderbynder & Mynderbynder's recent performance, didn't think much of they're hired swords going missing in the morning. Kryptmn was then free to use his necromancy on the corpses, sending them off as zombies, to protect the eggs deadly cargo...”
- Silvio de Blum - The Ragnar Conspiritors: The Beginning
The forth session was laugh a minute as the characters bummed around the Ice palace. Keeping the averages up, Trust managed to bluff our hosts into giving them an extremely large reward, only for this to backfire when the DM decided to give Jocasta and Azreal larger rewards because the Roc's 'didn't like her'. We're then give us a quest to go and put a protective ward over some Roc eggs that are endangered by zombies or something.
Funtimes for all. Trust tortures a captive Yuan-it held partially in a block of ice while the other two turn a blind eye. Absolutely nothing is learned. Jocasta hits the bar, again. This time though she's intrigued by the ice maidens, so hires one out for the night, if anything to see if there was anything behind the emotionless facade. I was fully expecting them to be not nearly as emotionless as they appeared, but got more than I bargained for when It melted and a flaming bat exploded out of its torso, Right in the middle of Trust giving Jocasta a 'responsibility' speech (Ironic, coming from a torturer). Shortly after Azreal arrives and the battle begins.
Unfortunately our DM got the hit points and the experience points mixed up, so it took a tad longer than it should have done. Later the dogey bar man who keeps showing up at every bar is perused into caves under the palace, which lead to the nest that contains the Roc eggs. Dun Dun Dunnnnn!
The session ends mid battle against a hoard of zombies. We take a picture of the battle so we can remember the positions, and then lose said picture before the next session. Doh!