Sunday, August 12, 2018

Chaos, Them!, Baba Yaga's Hut, Food Storage, Matchmaking, and More....

  Now that the map of the Briars is done the Company of the Dark Moon (i.e., 85% of PCs in the campaign) gave one to master bard Llewellyn the Black, sold a copy to the King, and made 3 copies. Clarence (unbeknownst to the rest)  also sent one to the Grandfather of Assassins earning himself a reprieve from doing a mission for the Black Guild.

Impassable Plants and Giant Ants
  Seeker used his broom of flying to scout out the largest spinneys (these are the impassable thickets of briars up to a mile across that dot the Briars region). He had noted the the largest spinneys have a clearing inside, always in the exact middle. He found that each one has a large stone in the center inscribed with the same strange rune as the Gate of the Old Road and the various 'key stones' of the Old Road. He realized that the Old Road is only washed out or overgrown in the sections where the glyph stones are missing.
  The party also realized that the largest spinneys all cover the lairs of giant ants - 200-400 per spinney.

Clearing Out
  In Skull Mountain the hirelings, henchmen, and PCs worked hard to secure provisions (20 man-weeks of iron rations in the Cupboard on level one and 400 lbs of beef in the Meat Locker on level three) and supplies (240 arrow, 120 bolts, 200 candles, and 12 bedrolls on level one; the long boat on level three) and then met the mule train from Esber to get everyone and everything else out. The PCs stayed behind to Wizard Lock, secure, and Glyph key doors.

Maid Service for a Maiden
  Since the Beginner of the Third Way (i.e. the master monk of the Briars) had asked them to and because she had helped them so the party next followed the Three Riders to Baba Yaga's hut, deep in the High Briars (it had moved, of course) to help Vasilisa accomplish the three tasks for her 16th birthday. The party helped her: stir a 50 gallon cauldron of stew constantly for 36 hours allowing only Vasilisa's hands to touch the stirring paddle; sort a 12 bushel sack of mixed maize and wheat into two separate bags, one with only maize, the other with only wheat; sweep, wash, dry, and wax the floor of Baba Yaga's hut (just the first room). The party caught a glimpse or three of the vast maze of rooms off the 'hut' but did no snooping.
  They pulled it all off while being very conscientious and extremely polite. Brigid also made sure Vasilisa had clean clothes, was well-scrubbed, and that her hair was perfect.
  Baba Yaga arrived early and the entire party ended up having to stay for cake to avoid being impolite. The cake was delicious and Baba Yaga admitted that Vasilisa,
  "..never shirked, never lied, never complained, was never rude, never lazy, and never impertinent. She was always kind, always polite, always prompt, and had always accomplished her tasks..."
  So Baba Yaga informed the party that if they presented Vasilisa to the King of Seaward 'before the first snow of the year' Baba Yaga would owe them a favor. They are very polite, bid Baba Yaga farewell, and took Vasilisa with them.

Matchmakers and Maps
  The party promptly traveled to the capitol to present the map to the King, taking Vasilisa with them. During the audience the King gave them their payment for the map as well as the bounties for Ol' One Fang and Ol' Knobby. Vasilisa was presented and was quickly able to prove she was the daughter of Count Zotov whose entire family was believe wiped out in the Civil War in High Morath. Vasilisa explained she, the youngest, had survived with her oldest brother and a few guards as they fled over the Exile's Trail into the Briars and had fled (as ordered by her brother, who held them off so she could flee) when a pack of trolls attacked thereafter being taken in as a "ward" of Baba Yaga the next day.
  The Crown Prince was obviously smitten with the young Countess.

More later....