Sunday, March 28, 2021

DM's Report: Solo Adventure - Sir William

   Most of the players in Seaward are content with the PCs they have, but Jack wants a new one. So now we're doing Discord-based solos 1-2 times a month. Last week was the first session.

The Character:

Sir William, 2nd level Paladin. LG. Mail & Plate with shield (A.C. 3); lance, long sword, crossbow.

    Henchman: Karl the Unlucky, 1st level Scoundrel. LG. Leather armor (A.C.  8); club, dagger

The Location:

  There is an area of the Kingdom of Seaward that baffles me and I made it.

  Beyond the forest buffer that surrounds the Briars, south of the Freshet River,, east of the Barony of Esber, and west of the Domain of Adrian is Rill Valley. The valley is a bucolic expanse of gently rolling hills, rich pastures, fertile farmland, and scattered woodlots. 

  The valley gets its name from, of course, the Rill, a river that flows from the Briars. Along it's length the Rill is between 2' and 3' wide allowing a person to simply step across anywhere. The surface of the Rill varies from even with the top of its banks and up to 3' below its banks, but the Rill itself is relatively dee; (about 3' deep water all along its course) and is fairly swift, so mothers worry about children playing by it.

This will give you the idea

The Rill is famous for being the only place you can catch whitefish. These pure white, eyeless fish are famed for their deliciousness but are rare.

Relatively sparsely settled there are still a dozen villages in the area, the ones in the Southwest palisades against threats from the Briars.

1 hex = 1 mile across

  What is so strange about the area?
  It has no Lord. Each village has a headman or a parish priest or someone selected by the village (in one case the local hedge mage) to adjudicate disputes, keep the peace, and ensure taxes for the king are collected.
  And in the almost 35 years players have been riding through the valley no one has domained there. The ranger Fandor was considering it when he, instead, turned Wyvern Rock into Wyvern Keep. 

The Adventure:
  Sojourning at the Shining Keep young paladin Sir William was approached by a Brother of the Order of the Starry Banner and told of a 'disturbance' in a village in the Rill Valley, an opportunity for him to begin earning his spurs. Sir William gathered his gear and his valet, Karl, and set off, taking a barge to the Freshet Ferry, then riding to the Rill valley.

  In the southwestern most villages he and Karl heard a the same tales from headmen and barmaid, pastor and field hand - missing livestock and two missing people, all around the Rillfen.  The locals explained that the Rillfen is a place where a local spring and the Rill combine to make a sort of water meadow/marsh. In ancient days it had been a peat mire and fen, but Druids had slowly turned it into it current state, but the name remained.

The grasses in the Rillfen reach 9' tall

  Sir William traveled to the vilalge closest to the Rillfen and waited for night, then he and Karl rode out to the Rillfen.

  Sir William was surprised to find the Rillfen is quite small - only about 300 acres. But it was still very easy to hide within. He set up Karl to protect his back and rode to a place close to the marsh and purposefully lit a torch and made noise. 

  Jack assumed that a supernatural foe or dangerous animal would be likely to make right for a paladin/juicy horse while an intelligent foe would not.

  After a time Sir William and Karl observed a strange blue light in the grasses and heard an eerie wailing, making Karl laugh a little at the old smugglers' trick to frighten off villagers. Convinced he was facing a small band of brigands Sir William began to ride the perimeter, looking for trails.

  After one or two circuits he threw away his torch, met with Karl (how had a closed hooded lantern ready, just in case) and they went into the tall grass. In a relatively short time they found an anti-cavalry position (a raised area out of the water surrounded by pointed stakes) and Sir William realized these brigands might be Whitehills' Men. Karl was continually slipping off to scout and before too long returned with a lookout he had ambushed and knocked out with his club.

  At first reluctant to talk Sir William's charisma eventually got the better of him. It was, indeed, 6 line soldiers of Whitehill and a sergeant. After the fall of Whitehill they had intended to follow the Rill to the forest, skit the Briars, and head to Freetown but they stalled in the Rillfen, hoping to store up enough stolen food and money to make their trip easier. They had kidnapped two people to help them camp and prepare - a farmer's widow and her grandson.

  The prisoner pointed out all of Whitehill's men were outlawed - they wouldn't surrender because surrender meant death Sir William pledged to the man he would vouch for him because of his assistance. Then they trussed and gagged him and headed for the camp. They ambushed the replacement guard on the way reducing enemy numbers.

  The camp itself was easily found - two sleeping soldiers and the obvious sergeant as well as two obvious captives. Sir William decided to be bold so he backed up a bit and then - charged with his lance. The soldiers were totally out but the sergeant reacted like lightning - to no avail. Sir William's lance struck true knocked him to 0 h.p. One of the soldiers started to grab weapons when Karl knocked him out with his club with a backstab. The last two tried to run, but Sir William was mounted, so this simply failed.

  In short order all of them were coffered (yes, even the sergeant - Sir William used his lay on hands to save his life) and marched to the nearest village. The village headman and the parish priest sent a message to the Baron of Esber and in three days some baron's men arrived and took the brigands to be hanged, except for the one Sir William vouched for, who was sent to the prison mine of Ekull.

  The village headman and parish priest offered Sir William a deal - he and Karl can live in a building owned by the parish from year past for free and the parish will help feed (only) Sir William and in return they village has a warrior to help protect the valley. Sir William agreed and moved in, spending days cleaning and repairing the building.

  Jack is pleased that he is, essentially, a frontier sheriff out to bring law and order. He is also intrigued about the wide open nature of an area so close to the Briars....


  1. Was Sir William rolled up as 2nd lvl? Is there a process you use to do that, to figure out money/gear/henchmen?

    1. We call it 'hologramming' or 'making a hologram'. You make a first level guy, then give him average HP up to the level you are playing. The DM gives him a minor item or three and you play. A fraction of XP earned goes to the first level character until it 'catches up'

  2. This post is so cool! The play described here is so evocative to me of that mythic quality dnd can have. I showed it to a friend and we were wondering what the resolution "in game" actually looked like. Forgive me if this is covered in older posts, I only just found your blog from a tweet from sean mccoy and am going through the backlog now. great stuff

  3. Sweet location. I, too, am intrigued.