We move forward the next day, 4 Skraptôs 2852.
Yémos went to Town Watch headquarters. On the way, a priestess in a black cowl and standing under a canopy beckoned him to learn about the Lady of Darkness. Yémos asked the priestess if the Lady of Darkness knew about the swamp, and the priestess said, “The Lady of the Darkness can see where no one else can see."
Yémos kept going to the Town Watch. There, he asked whether the Town Watch captain was there, and the Watchman there said she was not. Yémos left a message, asking whether it was alright to go into the swamp for business of the Church of Saundīvós.
Caleb and Anêr went to see Nabbrášus to see if she knew who ran the swamp. Her orc guard, Barash, greeted them warmly, and let them inside. After saying she was sorry about Péllē the crooked slaver, she said that nobody owned the swamp, though Maksilíā, a dressmaker, held the title of Vīšpûna of the Vámbon over a patch of it where nobody lived.
After a few laughs about Maksilíā’s title and a few warnings from Nabbrášus to not let Kim anywhere near her home, Caleb and Anêr left, going to Caravan Outfitters by the West Gate to buy a map. Right outside Nabbrášus’s home, a one-armed man was running after a horse. Anêr ran after the horse right as it moved past him, and grabbed it. It started to stop when Anêr covered its eyes with his hands. The one-armed man reached Anêr, and thanked him, and asked for help hooking the horse to his furniture cart again.
At Caravan Outfitters, instead of the shaggy-haired red-headed man, a brunet-haired man helped them, though still there was the incense. He sold them a map of Dumenrôn Swamp for 100 farthings. He had no rafts in stock, so he sold them the ropes and other stuff needed to make a big one for 50 farthings.
That afternoon, they looked for a guide. The first guide they met was Kamil, a fat Natalunese woman who barely spoke Mannish. She could point at the map and say, “Swamp. I been in swamp.” Unhappy, the heroes looked for someone else, and met Villûdē, an older woman with long earlobes. She said she would be true to the gang so long as it paid her, and asked for details. When it was clear to her that the heroes had no idea where in the swamp they were going to look, she said that the plan was “insane,” as the swamp was too big to go looking paddy by paddy for a pair of boots.
That night, the heroes went to see the Princess of Gold at Wild Cats, in hopes she would have a tale to tell about Saint Hubbins. On the way, a man with his arm in a sling ran towards them, and warned of coming doom for Caleb. Everyone stayed a few steps from Caleb until they got to the Wild Cats dive. There, for a couple of farthings, the curly blonde-haired Princess of Gold told them this tale:
Saint Hubbins wanted to tame the ibathene, a big snake with an eye on a stalk, and so he went into the swamp with his band of merry men. In there, they got lost, and walked around the swamp, asked a man for directions, then wound up talking to the same man when they came around to him again. At last, they found the ibathene.
Upon seeing the ibathene, one of Saint Hubbins’s men spontaneously combusted. Another got his arm stuck between two rocks, and tried pulling it out. Instead, his arm came off and he passed out from the shock, bleeding to death. The ibathene looked down at the three men still there. He leaned over and ate one, while Nigel, Saint Hubbins’s friend, stayed in the back, still with fear. Saint Hubbins went forward, hoping to have his boots make their sonic boom to make the ibathene’s eardrums bleed, but the ibathene leaned down and bit him. Nigel ran, and the last thing he saw were the Boots of Saint Hubbins falling down as the ibathene ate the long-haired saint.
Nigel fled for days, living off the land, until he reached a peat farm. There, he told his tale, and from there, went to live in Mīstássun, living the rest of his life as a third-rate hatter and telling the tale of his late friend.
The next day, Yémos patted himself for his coins, and found that he had forgotten to cast Watchdog the night before and someone had stolen his coins. The heroes then went back to Villûdē, and told her of the peat farm. She said that she knew where the peat farm was, and all thought it was a good spot from which to start.
They set forth, and made it to Caleb’s home village of Kerváron, after passing a gang of 15 shifty-looking men. There, they stayed at his parents’ home that night. However, they could find no help with making a raft, and so went east the next day to the Ūktrés River, and there spent two days making a big raft.
A session with no fighting, and playing to my favorite part of GMing, NPCs. The players chose to interact with the Princess of Gold, who from May 2015 until but a few days ago was only a name. Never write plots, nor write solutions to problems, as to where the players lead you might be more interesting.
I'm not one for video of tabletop roleplaying games (why do folks find that interesting?), but my players got a kick out of my telling of the tale of Saint Hubbins. One told me it was a cross between Frank Zappa and Monty Python. Thank you, I take requests but don't do bar mitzvahs or confirmations. It would have made for good video.
Much of the session was taken up chatting with a fellow in the game store about pizza delivery stories. Amusing, but it kind of cut into what we got done.
Near the end, we got to a question for which I had no answer. How long does it take to build a raft? I did a quick Google search and a check of my GURPS Low-Tech stuff, but in the end, I had no idea, so I threw out "two days" to keep the game moving. This is with chopping down trees. I feel embarrassed that I can't come up with a number in light of my forefathers: my last name comes from a German sawyer.