Chapter 2: How Do They Rise Up? (OOC)

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Talanall
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Chapter 2: How Do They Rise Up? (OOC)

OOC chatter goes here.

Cronono
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No healing between chapters?

Talanall
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Nope. Depending on how things play out, you are likely to have time to rest and heal before you have to fight again.

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

Talanall
Talanall's picture

It might be helpful if I provide a little perspective on the sum of money that's being thrown around by Dilmer. He's suggesting that the prize money will be somewhat more than 2000 gp per member of your expedition.

To an adventurer, that's not really a lot of money. In "normal person" terms, this is approximately 4 to 5 years of income for someone who is a skilled tradesman or professional. A that is, this is several years' earnings at the typical rates for a journeyman or master craftsman.

So imagine that someone just told you that you've made $175,000 to $350,000 for twelve days of work, plus you got paid your normal wage or salary. That's approximately what happened here.

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

Fixxxer
Fixxxer's picture

I'm not just being absent. Johten looks like he's waiting for others to voice their yay/nay before speaking up.

Talanall
Talanall's picture

Noted, and thanks for clarifying.

At the moment, I have a couple of people due to be added to play (MinusInnocence and drumandfight). Additionally, Vexandi is being retired and ObsidianSpoon is moving to a new character. Darker's also retiring Rasnak and starting a new role.

If anyone else is thinking about changing things up, this a particularly graceful moment to send me a PM.

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

Obsidian_Spoon
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If it matters for the future of the story at all, Vexandi will be most interested in pursuing more information about the Stranger fey guy and the use he had for the banyan wood. Also, I'll have my new character done in a couple of hours. Nothing else to do at work today.

Talanall
Talanall's picture

The XP and Rewards thread has been updated. Please note that you have all gained enough XP to reach 3rd level. You also have received substantial monetary gains as the results of your adventuring.

At your earliest possible convenience, please update your character sheets to reflect your newly-raised level and send me a PM with the new stat block for my review.

The marketplace in Zeno has a GP limit of 800, so you can readily purchase any item worth 800 gp or less, magical or not (so a wand of magic missile at CL 1st is available off the shelf, as it costs 750 gp, but a wand at CL 3rd is not because it costs 2,250 gp). Zeno's market is large enough that at your current level of wealth, it is functionally impossible for you to deplete the market of any class of goods that can be found in it for off-the-shelf purchases.

If you wish to purchase items worth more than 800 gp, you may do so within the following limitations:

  • The item's market value can be no more than 2400 gp.
  • The item, if magical, must not require any arcane spell with a spell level greater than 5th as a prerequisite for its creation.
  • The item, if magical, must not require any divine spell with a spell level greater than 3rd.
  • The item, if magical, must be an armor, potion, scroll, wand, weapon or wondrous item. Nobody in town has the ability to create a ring, rod, or staff.

Items purchased within the above limitations represent goods that are to be made to order by capable NPCs residing in and around the town of Zeno, using raw materials that are available within the normal limitations of the local marketplace.

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

deadDMwalking
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Do we roll hit points?

Cleric HD
I rolled 1d8, the result is 1 = 1.
Talanall
Talanall's picture

You can roll or take an average for the die you're gaining, but if you come out sub-par on the roll (as Henrik just did) you're stuck.

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

deadDMwalking
deadDMwalking's picture

I don't think we do (and I really hope we don't). Assuming we don't, the character is updated.

https://www.dndarchive.com/comment/10458#comment-10458

Talanall
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Refer to my earlier comment.

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

deadDMwalking
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Looks like I rolled last time, too.

https://www.dndarchive.com/comment/19831#comment-19831

Base hit points are 16 (8+7+1) for a total of 22 hit points (+2 CON). Character sheet updated to reflect correct total.

Fixxxer
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Rolling for HP

Hit Dice
I rolled 1d10, the result is 6 = 6.
Cronono
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Yay! More hobs!

drumandfight
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Gentlemen, I have officially arrived. No need to keep your pants on.

Fixxxer
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Talanall
Talanall's picture

Swarbrick knows from experience that the great hall of the keep is a particularly difficult place to get drunk. The tankard served with your meals is part of the standard ration doled out to members of the marquesal household, and the maids and serving men usually do not provide refills. For that matter, they also respond very poorly to being groped like tavern wenches.

In an extension of the overall frowning against anything that might be considered fun, Swarbrick can also attest that gambling over dice or cards, bawdy singing, and other such pastimes are verboten here. It's possible to have a quiet evening of enjoyment if your ambitions extend to nothing more exciting than a bit of reading, a board game, a chat, or a little sedate, respectable instrumental music. On the plus side, Swar can't think of the last time he saw a man get knifed or cut with a broken bottle in here.

Still, serious drinking is a pastime better relegated to one of the taverns or brothels in the town that huddles outside the keep's walls.

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

Fixxxer
Fixxxer's picture

But the food is free, so it's a nice pregame spot.

drumandfight
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Pre-gaming sounds good, but Gazini is on a high right now and is more interested in getting fucked up Hobgob style - whatever that entails.

Talanall
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Hobgoblins have no peculiar vices to speak of. Most like a drink as much as the next guy, unless the next guy is Swarbrick or Henrik.

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

drumandfight
drumandfight's picture

Sweet. Also, Gazini isn't down to swear fealty to the bitch. Dilmer seems a way better gig.

Talanall
Talanall's picture

I don't really think that it's going to be productive to follow either group through the rest of the evening. Uluwasi's going to the tavern to get obliterated; if it wasn't clear, he's going to refuse to swear fealty to the marchioness. I'd imagine that Swarbrick is going along to try and sponge drinks off of him, and that Kaarys probably is also going.

The other hobs obviously are uneasy about Mbali's refusal to accept the mantle of chaka, but they stick around to get fitted for livery. Evidently they're going to follow her into the marquisate's service.

To those of you who have decided that your character is going to take service with the marchioness, there will be oaths expected of them In Character. We needn't roleplay the swearing-in ceremony unless there is a general agreement that you wish to do so. I'm perfectly happy to run through the terms of your service and the marchioness's reciprocal obligations to you as your new overlord as a matter of OOC information.

If you're going to work for Dilmer, then there's not much to discuss. You get two meals a day in the great hall, and he finds you rooms to sleep in. In most cases, you're going to be rooming with at least one person and possibly as many as six. Privacy is something that you either pay for out of pocket or receive as a privilege of rank.

At this point, I'm going to proceed under the assumption that all characters are working at ECL 3. If your character just leveled up but you haven't already gotten an updated character sheet to me via PM or the appropriate forum thread, please do so at your earliest convenience.

You are not obliged to spend any of your income from loot, but be aware that if you don't, your gear is going to be two levels below standard as we continue into play for the coming chapter. There's nothing to stop you from purchasing goods later on, provided that you are in residence in Zeno, but depending on what you want to get there could be some waiting time In Character.

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

Cronono
Cronono's picture

Vandersrike is swearing. Can you send me the details?

Does Vandersrike get his own room, or is he sharing?

drumandfight
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Ed, can you clarify this for me: if Gazini and Kisasi work for Dilmer but are (obviously) loyal to Mbali, will there be a conflict of interest?

My initial thought is that, since they are clearly aligned, there wouldn't. Essentially we would be going out on missions with Mbali while simultaneously running errands for Dilmer. Is that right?

Talanall
Talanall's picture

If you're taking the oath of service, you're sharing unless you have specifically worked out permission to live elsewhere than the keep. I'll post the details of service openly in a short while. Feudal obligations are a little bit complicated and they touch a lot of areas of a character's life that may not be obvious to our expectations as modern people in a post-industrial society, including things like your living situation, so I want to make sure that I spell them out in some detail.

Dilmer's not interested in paying extra for a housing allowance if you don't want to live in the keep, but he also doesn't really care enough to forbid it. His arrangement is two meals, a place to sleep, and two silvers a day, take it or leave it until he sees that you're worth more.

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

Talanall
Talanall's picture

drumandfight wrote:

Ed, can you clarify this for me: if Gazini and Kisasi work for Dilmer but are (obviously) loyal to Mbali, will there be a conflict of interest?

My initial thought is that, since they are clearly aligned, there wouldn't. Essentially we would be going out on missions with Mbali while simultaneously running errands for Dilmer. Is that right?

Mbali will be swearing fealty to the marchioness, so to a large extent her interests become Mbali's. The marchioness is an evil person, so theoretically this could become a problem for Kisasi if he continues to view himself as one of Mbali's retainers; as a paladin he's obliged not to do evil, but as an embi he owes her loyalty and obedience. Gazini shouldn't have this issue because he has no code of conduct.

Dilmer is himself a retainer of the marquisate, although he is not, so far as Kisasi's spidey sense is concerned, an evil person (he's a wizard of some skill, though, so that may not mean anything). Still, provided that he's loyal, this should also mean that his actions will align with the marchioness's goals.

Since they are employees of Dilmer's rather than retainers sworn either to him or the marchioness, neither of hob is likely to fall into any great difficulty on his account, even if he decides to go along with one of his liege lady's more unpleasant ideas. If he tells them to do something against their conscience, they can still tell him to go piss up a rope.

As for Mbali going on missions with you, that's no longer her decision. She'll be taking orders from Master of Horse Dorn, on the day-to-day level, and ultimately from Lady Zeno.

I don't think I'm tipping my hand very far if I say that the Dilmer and Dorn are going to tend to swap the PCs back and forth; they cooperate extensively on their various projects. They may or may not have similar plans for the NPC hobgoblins.

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

drumandfight
drumandfight's picture

OK cool. Gazini has an issue swearing fealty to anyone not Mbali, obviously, so it is in his best interest to be employed by Dilmer and stay "sworn" to Mbali. Like you said, he has no qualms about what the jobs are. When Uluwasi says shield wall, he will be in it.

Thanks for clarifying.

deadDMwalking
deadDMwalking's picture

I'm surprised any PCs are taking the oath of fealty option. If you work for Dilmer the pay is the same and you get to quit the moment you find something better.

Regarding purchases, did you already cover the maximum item costs available to us? I'm under the impression we're not really in a big town but I could be completely confused as to which game I'm in. Edit - I'm thinking of selling my Scale Mail (+25 GP) and buying +1 MW Full Plate (2,650 gp cost).

Cronono
Cronono's picture

I don't think any PCs except for Vandersrike are swearing. His rationale is purely enlightened self-interest. The humans of Zeno are not very accommodating to kobolds and he's vain. The pretense of importance matters to him.

Talanall
Talanall's picture

I guess I also should clarify that if Mbali were inclined to retain her position as chaka, this wouldn't necessarily bar her from service to the marchioness. Any hobgoblin who remained loyal to her in that case would remain her vassals, and it would be her responsibility to see that they were fed, housed, equipped, etc., rather than the marchioness's. Theoretically this might have led to Mbali receiving a rather larger income than she will as a common officer, but in all likelihood it would have resulted in a refusal to take on her or the other hobs at all.

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

Talanall
Talanall's picture

deadDMwalking wrote:

I'm surprised any PCs are taking the oath of fealty option. If you work for Dilmer the pay is the same and you get to quit the moment you find something better.

There are opportunities for social advancement with the marchioness that Dilmer isn't in a position to offer because he isn't a nobleman. It's worth noting that he's a sworn retainer himself.

Choosing to work for Dilmer is mostly an avenue that allows you to leave without asking permission. It's quite possible to get out from under an oath of fealty if you pick the right time to request your freedom. Immediately after receiving an order you don't like is not the right time, of course.

Quote:

Regarding purchases, did you already cover the maximum item costs available to us? I'm under the impression we're not really in a big town but I could be completely confused as to which game I'm in.

See https://www.dndarchive.com/comment/23403#comment-23403

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

deadDMwalking
deadDMwalking's picture

deadDMwalking wrote:
<

Regarding purchases, did you already cover the maximum item costs available to us? I'm under the impression we're not really in a big town but I could be completely confused as to which game I'm in. Edit - I'm thinking of selling my Scale Mail (+25 GP) and buying +1 MW Full Plate (2,650 gp cost).

I see the market place limitations above. The limit of 2400 forces me to ask a question.

Full plate +1 costs 2,650 (over the limit).

MW full plate costs 1,650 (under the limit).
Enchanting MW full plate to +1 costs 1,000 gp (under the limit).

By splitting the purchase into two separate transactions, would this be acceptable?

Talanall
Talanall's picture

No.

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

MinusInnocence
MinusInnocence's picture

The more urgent consideration here would be that a suit of full plate armor would either need to be made from scratch for you, specifically, or a suit that already exists would need to be resized, which in the worst case scenario would actually drive the cost up over what the market in Zeno can bear (1,650 + 800 exceeds the 2,400gp limit). Either way, you're looking at substantial downtime before your order is ready for pickup.

"Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag and begin slitting throats." - H.L. Mencken

deadDMwalking
deadDMwalking's picture

Okay, putting it all into a +1 Dwarven Waraxe (2,330).

Obsidian_Spoon
Obsidian_Spoon's picture

I'm ok with fast forwarding through the evening of drunken shenanigans. Kaarys will tag along into town, though he'll stick to wine over ale and he isn't trying to get plastered. Pleasantly tipsy will do. Also, he wants to play dice and visit any of his bartender/waitress/low-life pals that he may have accumulated over the couple of years he's spent here in Zeno. This new crew of miscreants that are taking up residence in the keep are prolly an interesting topic of gossip for his commoner acquaintances.

Dafyd
Dafyd's picture

Rolling HP.

I rolled 1d8, the result is 6 = 6.
Talanall
Talanall's picture

Just to make sure that I understand who's doing what . . .

    Team Dilmer:
  • Henrik
  • Kisasi
  • Gazini
  • Swarbrick
  • Kaarys
    Team Dorn:
  • Vandersrike
  • Leland

Johten appears undecided so far.

Per my earlier promise, I will give a more detailed explanation of what is entailed in swearing fealty to the marchioness, both in terms of what you give and what you get.

A Retainer's Obligations
Tolkien covers the basics of it in The Return of the King, when Pippin takes service with Denethor. Pippin's oath covers a lot of ground: "Here do I swear fealty and service to Gondor, and to the Lord and Steward of the realm, to speak and to be silent, to do and to let be, to come and to go, in need or plenty, in peace or war, in living or dying, from this hour henceforth, until my lord release me, or death take me, or the world end."

There really is a lot to unpack here if you want to get into what you might call the ideology of the thing, but you can take it down to bullet points without all that much difficulty.

  • A retainer does what he is ordered to do, and avoids doing things that he's ordered not to do.
  • He keeps his lord's secrets.
  • He reports to his lord on matters of importance.
  • The nature of his service is at his lord's discretion, not his own.
  • The retainer is expected to persevere in his service despite any difficulty in the circumstances surrounding his tasks.

The extent to which a retainer fulfills these five obligations is the standard by which you judge how good of a retainer he is; a truly great retainer not only lives up to the letter of his obligations, but also lives up to the spirit of them. But in actual practice, it'd be fair to say, concerning the parts of their oaths that include phrases with import similar to "in living or in dying," that most retainers aren't shouting for the opportunity to fulfill the part that says they'll die on their lord's orders.

But nevertheless, if you're someone's retainer, in a number of senses you are no longer your own man. Your overlord can and often will exercise control over things that seem insane by modern, real world industrialized Western standards. A by-no-means-exhaustive list might include any of the following decisions that today would seem to purely an individual's private concern.

  • Where you live
  • Whether you can marry
  • How much public recognition you receive for your service
  • Where you sit
  • What you eat
  • What you wear
  • How wealthy you are
  • What political offices you can hold
  • Whether you are tried for any crimes you commit

These aren't crazy things for your lord to control, looked at from inside a feudal society. Just to give one example, your ability to marry or not is at your lord's discretion because his ability to control your marriage prospects allows him to prevent your loyalties from becoming divided. Hypothetically, you might marry the daughter of a neighboring lord, with whom is currently is at peace, but historically has been at war—and if the quarrel that led to past warfare hasn't actually been settled, then letting you marry the neighbor's daughter could give later present you with an incentive to betray him.

In practice, this isn't likely to be a big deal for the PCs as they currently exist; you guys are nobodies right now, so it's really quite difficult to imagine Lady Zeno having any interest in what Vandersrike does in private with his own cloaca. If Leland met a nice peasant girl who's into druids with handlebar mustaches, and he decided he wanted to get hitched, the odds are that she'd consider the matter beneath her notice . . . so long as he asked permission.

So, given all of the restrictions that pertain to life as a retainer, why do people sign up? Because the lord has reciprocal obligations to you, of course.

There are fewer specifics governing how and when a lord meets his obligations. But in general there are a few duties he has to meet. He must

  • take care of your physical necessities (to the extent that he's able to do so),
  • provide honorable employment for your talents,
  • reward you for good work, and
  • within the limitations of his own ability, stand up for you against other lords and their retainers

All of these obligations are important, but it's easy to overlook the significance of the last one. Enteria doesn't have a government, in the sense that we would understand the term. The laws of Enteria are encapsulated in a legal code (that is, they are written down), but there is no independent judiciary to try cases and hand down sentencing. The local landowner is also the local judge AND the local law enforcement. Since the same person hears evidence, sentences, and executes the sentence, the overall effect is that the law is whatever the local aristocrats say it is. There is no "rule of law" as we would understand such a thing.

There are basically four levels of justice in the kingdom. For someone like Winton Delavee, Baronet Vine Grove, (whom you've already met) there's the authority to decide minor cases that may carry a small fine, and his jurisdiction extends only to his own serfs and freehold tenants (people who rent land from him but aren't serfs). The baronet is an aristocrat, but he is not noble; he's a titled commoner with an hereditary estate.

A step up from there, you have a nobleman, like a baron or viscountess. These people may actually have you flogged or branded if you're convicted of a crime within the boundaries of their estates. They're in a position to confiscate property if you're a commoner. They aren't really allowed to torture, maim or kill you, but almost anything else goes.

Yet another step upward, and you have people like the Marchioness of Zeno, who can order commoners executed or mutilated. And another, and you're dealing with royalty who might actually execute a nobleman for a sufficiently serious crime.

In an environment like this, being the retainer of someone like Lady Zeno is actually a pretty serious perk to anyone who might need to travel some distance through the holdings of a rapacious nobleman. If guards serving a baron in the neighboring fiefdom accost an unattached commoner and demand an extortionate toll to use his roads, he's got no real recourse but to pay. Lady Zeno's retainers can complain to her, and (if she thinks their service has been good enough lately) she can remonstrate with the baron.


On a day-to-day basis, there's not a lot of air between what Dilmer's got on offer versus what you'll get if you swear to the marchioness and take orders from Dorn. You are going to end up doing similar things either way. The real choice is between a larger sense of freedom and uncertainty, or of constraint with security.

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

Fixxxer
Fixxxer's picture

Johten thinks steady work is nice. Three hots and a cot is really all he could ask from life right now. Both offers include this.

Johten's had problems in the past with people in a position of (minor) authority over him misusing his talents. He's also been very, very hungry.

In the end, I think the deciding factor is what gets him the most out of life. Dorn's offer seems to be a little better where this is concerned, so barring new information from the DM, I think that's what Johten will do.

Darker

Did Dilmer just use Alannah's aphorism from the other game?

Talanall
Talanall's picture

I prefer to think that they're both paraphrasing the eminent Aureshan logician Lohn Jocke.

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

Cronono
Cronono's picture

Please tell me Kimmanuel Iant is an Aureshan ethicist.

Talanall
Talanall's picture

Don't be ridiculous. He was Estan.

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

Cronono
Cronono's picture

Where can I read up on this world of yours, by the by?

Talanall
Talanall's picture

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

Talanall
Talanall's picture

Okay, what are you doing first?

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

Cronono
Cronono's picture

Do we have any additional details about this thing, or a plan to capture one?

Talanall
Talanall's picture

Which thing?

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

Cronono
Cronono's picture

El spiderino.

Talanall
Talanall's picture

There are two purportedly spider-flavored monsters on offer. Would you like the one that is a spider-centaur lashed together from flesh, metal and nightmares, or the one that is more like a spider and an octopus had a baby and it had horrible body odor, a vagina dentata for a mouth and dicks for legs?

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

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