Welcome to the second SDMB roleplaying thread, with a Merrie England flavour.
Here is thesetup thread for reference.
Please leave this thread for the players and DM only. They will need to follow the plot (and occasionally refer back to previous posts)
it’s the smallest County in the land and is sparsely populated
it lies between the Cities of Nottingham and Portsmouth
it has a huge lake (Rutland Water), which attracts many types of birds
the county town is Oakham (where the Temple of Heimdall has a horseshoe collection)
Usually this charming rural setting is peaceful, with rumours of dedicated Rangers and Druids watching over the land and inhabitants.
The annual County Fayre in Oakham is hugely popular (especially the jousting). For many Rutland peasants, going to the Fayre is the longest journey they ever make.
But recently there have been stories of strange events. Country folk mutter into their ale about signs and superstitions…
On the night of Tuesday April 29, many in Rutland (including all the adventurers) are troubled by intense dreams and visions:
a metal gauntlet savagely squeezes a fruit into pulp, whilst a deep voice laughs “…like this!”
during a violent storm at night on a hilltop, there are hissing noises and dreadful screams…
a gnome cackles with glee as the sun glints on his dagger
a look of helpless horror comes over a Healer’s face as she brandishes her mace
an old wizard in a tower shivers as he mutters “Someone just walked over my grave…”
Knowing they will be in Oakham tomorrow, the Casters load their spells.
Wednesday April 30 dawns with a light drizzle of rain.
Oakham is a bustling sight. Not only is today Market Day, but the County Fayre begins tomorrow.
Children run happily in the streets, while dogs bark excitedly.
Soon the sun breaks through, glinting on the Temple of Heimdall Spire (visible for miles around).
In the courtyard of Oakham castle, uniformed troops are preparing for inspection. The castle itself flies the flag (a mailed fist) showing that the Lord of the Manor, Sir Guy Gisbourne, is in residence.
The Marketplace is ready for business, with stalls run by many traders (including blacksmith, butcher, baker, apothecary, bowyer, leatherworker and tailor). The Maypole has been erected and is being dressed with ribbons and decorations ready for the morrow. The first miscreant is already in the stocks and there is a brisk trade in rotten fruit for throwing at him! An area of levelled earth to one side is slearly going to be for the entertainments and challenges of the Fayre tomorrow.
Some children stop playing, bemused by the three people fishing off Will’s Folly (the unfinished bridge over the river Gwash). Although Crumlin (Temple Acolyte) is a friendly face, the youngsters see a tough-looking man clad in weird shiny armour with a spear strapped to his back and an equally muscular Lizardman who uses a Bastard Sword. The three are deep in conversation about the river.
Watching the fishermen from the door of Heimdall’s Temple are the local Curate Aciryas and a young blond man with floppy hair, holding a staff, and dressed in typical peasant garb. Aciryas is smiling and pointing at Crumlin.
Approaching the Temple is an obvious Knight of quality, wearing Plate, armed with Long Sword and Lance and riding a magnificent Warhorse, with his gnome Squire following on a pony. The Warhorse is clearly not bothered by the noise or bustle. (Surprisingly the pony is not worried either…)
(Meanwhile, now in sight of Oakham’s Temple Spire are three more interesting characters. Only one is mounted (again on a superb Warhorse, which carries the rider’s Plate and Bastard Sword with ease), but all three look very comfortable travelling out of doors. There is a selection of animals clearly travelling with the two walkers, including a bloodhound and two kestrels.
The travellers will arrive in Oakham in about 20 minutes.)
Crumlin grins and says “The noise of setting up for Market Day will scare the fish away now. Let me buy you two a a drink tonight. I recommend ‘The Old Plough’, where there is music and good company.”
Crumlin then beckons to three youngsters, who have been watching the fishing silently. He lobs each one a fish, thanking them for not making a disturbance. Two run off, but one small girl shyly whispers to Crumlin, who laughs and says to Hulgfar “This is Lucy.”
Lucy curtsesys and Hulgfar (making an ETIQUETTE roll) responds with a bow.
“Lucy would like to know what your armour is made of…”
[loudly]Well, Sir Gawain! Think any of the vile caitiffs in this dog’s bottom of an apology for a town be worth the trouble of an honourable joust? Or do we just hunt up lodgings and hope like hell that the beds have less fleas and the tavernkeeper’s daughter be less poxed-up than last time?[/loudly]
That do for a start, Mr DM?
Clever Hans is loaded as per my email - that’ll do for now.
Several peasants look disgruntled at the gnome’s tirade, but fall silent and look down sullenly when they see he is obviously a Squire to a Knight.
One small boy (who was concentrating on the man in the stocks) suddenly spins round, hurls a rotten tomato at Hans and smoothly dives for cover.
Hans himself swiftly leans back in his saddle and the missile narrowly misses him. Hans makes a note that a lad with that high dexterity (and bravery) could be a useful recruit for one of his Guilds…
Salazar pushes the hair from his eyes and breathes deeply, looking at the temple, then at the people milling about. He smiles, and says absently to Aciryas, “Loved the fayre days. Always have. So much going on. So much to see. Isn’t it wonderful?”
Hearing this, a stallholder approaches.
He mutters to Aciryas “By your leave, Curate”, then turns to Salazar with a smile. “It is indeed a wonderful sight. And so are the bargains available today! My names is Charles and I am a tailor. I wonder if I can interest you in a warm, stylish cloak?”
Crumlin and Lucy have a rapid whispered conversation. You catch snippets of it (such as “But Acolyte, you always tell us to answer the question…”), before Crumlin turns back to Hulgfar.
“It is a wondrous material and thank you for speaking so fairly to the girl.”
Ergj gives a slight smile, the kind he reserves for only people he knows quite well. He nods his head forward slightly in agreement, then digs around secretly in his bag. He attaches something furtively to his hook, and casts it before you can see what it is. He then takes a deep breath and lies back against the stone of the bridge, looking up at Hulgfar with a mildly amused expression.
Looking for an area near the fairgrounds and where people are beginning to congregate, I set about planting a variety of fruit seeds in an 8"x 8" area.
“Good people, I bring you greetings from Lugh Lámhfhada and in hopes of a great festival of Lughnasadh, I give you many and varied fruits today.”
I proceed to cast my Plant growth on the fruit seeds I planted, encouraging them to grow fast and strong and healthy and to produce fresh and sweet fruit and berries.
"Enjoy the bounty and if I may bend your ear a bit, I wish to speak of two things. One very good and one very dangerous to the future of good and safe harvests and clean water of Rutland.
There is one that has lived near you but not among you that has always cared for the area. She has hellped protect you in silence and now is willing to more actively protect you. This is Marion the senior Druid in Rutland. A few already know her, especially among your herbalists of the apothecaries and rangers.
She is willing and able to become your new Sheriff if you would elect her. She can keep you safe from both enemies and the creeping plague known as pollution.
On that note is the second thing I wish to speak of. There is a currently a creeping danger to Rutland. A blight upon the land. There are mines near here that are POISONING the land! I wonder if any here might help in investigating this and halting this blight.”