Week 19 - Agitator!

Everything seemed quiet in Horcroft - Charles presented a more refined system for the aristocracy that includes provisions for Nobles and Knights along with an overall government system based on a series of different councils.. There was also some discussion of which laws to enact and how to expand Horcroft. They decided that a Shrine for a local priest was of most importance, followed up by town walls and a quayside). There is also the question of which areas to claim next – their initial plans are almost completed - it is only a month or so until the road reaches Leveton and Oleg’s trading post.

So the party took the boat and went exploring. Down through Tuskwater and Candlemere – and then a short way up the Murque River, before turning and following The Shrike downstream. Leaving their boat under the command of Helga the Bosun they set off on foot south of the Shrike, nosing around in the Hills and trying to get a feel for the land. Instead they met a hill giant called Munguk who was so busy trying to get the last of the booze from his jug, they he didn't see them. Not until Cassandra ‘tapped’ him on the shoulder and made him drop his jug. He wasn't a happy giant - and started throwing rocks and lashing out with a huge club - before the party subdued him and he fell to the floor blubbering. Unfortunately, he was blubbering in Giant and no-one could understand a word he was saying. Speaking louder and more slowly – they instructed him to stay where he was until the next day, while they moved a couple of miles off to camp – while Robert learned language spells that would allow them to communicate. However, Munguk had moved on by the time the party got back – although it was easy to follow him down to the confluence of two rivers, where he was pulling some old buildings down to try and make a raft.

Just to complicated things - there was a strange ferry just floating in the middle of the river – a raft built up like a ramshackle building at one end, crewed by Halflings, commanded (and built) by a gnome – and armed with large repeating cross bows. It was also strange to be hailed by a green haired female gnome through a megaphone and told to ‘Stand away from the buildings’!

Eventually the party bought some empty barrels from the ferry crew, as well as a barrel of beer – and managed to build a flotation device for Munguk to get him across the river - with the ale filled barrel on the other side as a reward. Munguk was last seen asleep on the far quay after drinking all the beer. He was surrounded by shards of barrel, after he had smashed the others looking for more beer.

Rudy nearly brought a diving helmet from Jaig (the gnome ferry captain) - it had a pipe going up to a huge floating duck that stayed on the surface - but when they tried it out it didn’t work as well as anyone expected - so they eventually decided against it.

Then it was off to the mud bowl to collect Black Rattlecap mushrooms for The Old Beldame. They don’t like the mud bowl at the best of times; it smells bad enough to make you sick. So Robert learned spells that made people immune to poison so they could head in with impunity – but he could only protect three people so Rudy, Cassandra and Larran were selected.

Everything went OK as they poked around amongst the huge mushrooms and fungus, and then Cassandra spotted some close to a massive fungi covered plant. Her close shave with the Scythe Tree earlier still haunting her, she was very wary of the big plant - and rightly so as it suddenly launched a series of attacks with its spike encrusted tentacles! It was a tough battle - Cassandra was caught and was dragged towards it maw, only escaping when Rudy cast a spell at her covering her in grease. Larran and Rudy closed to combat, and soon they were caught up in its tentacles. Robert and Hebrin heard the screams and came running - only for Robert to fall to the ground retching – although Hebrin had some luck from distance with his bow.

Eventually though they did destroy the thing - as soon as Cassandra managed to get out of its range and turn her fire based spells against it. They even managed to collect a dozen of the Black Rattlecaps for the Beldame, although there were more that had been trampled underfoot.

The Old Beldame doesn't much like Cassandra (perhaps they are too much alike) so Rudy got involved in some banter and appeared to offer the Beldame a couple of the Rattlecaps for free - which she promptly accepted and held the group top. Still they got some coin and the Beldame promised to make Rudy an animated Toy Soldier - who would be able to act as a camp-site guard. Then back to town for a quite night, a bath and a comfy bed.

Only to find that an agitator called Grigory had started to stirring up trouble and trying to turn the settlers against the PCs. Rudy entered into public debate with the man, and was started to turn opinion in favour of the party - but Grigory broke off and went back to his lodgings.

Next day it was more council meetings – and both Charles and Hebrin set about writing to their contacts to see if they could find out anything about the agitator. While they were doing that Robert, carried out interviews to find a housekeeper who would look after the house for them. Two candidates were rejected at interview and, unable to decide between the others, Robert eventually took on two staff. Ms Jordan and Ms Egwin.

Then it was off back to the banks of the Shrike on horseback – only to discover the Gnomish Town of Jovvox - which is about 15 miles south of the Ferry river confluence. Jovvox makes weapons en masse for sale to nations, war lords or anyone else who wants them - but they aren't generally of the highest quality. They visited with the Chief Gnome Smith - saw his planes for a triple bladed Eleven curved sword, and heard about a dagger where the tip breaks off when you stab someone. Shell shocked, they retired for the night and determined not to buy anything here. They are preparing to head home now, to see what has happened on the Grigory front!

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