Today we convened for our usual Wilderlands game minus Dave P. and Travis, but having regained Steve, which is a shame, because our two newest players may have had quite a bit to add to this session. Much plotting and intrigue is afoot!
As we opened, the group had just dispatched a basilisk and Lucius made a sketch of the suspected Fey Gate that Chas had found in the earliest days of the campaign. After doing so, just when he was about to exit, Lucius caught the light scent of wet earth and flowers, making him think that the Gate had been activated in the past few hours. This information he kept to himself, and with the (in Chas' case, eager) blessings of the group, all headed back toward the area of Bugbear Falls, with the intention of searching for River Wilds, the former Captain of the Watch.
Seeking to include Jadazh in their search, the party then went toward the gates of the city, when an explosion erupted from within. At the group's guildhouse, a messenger had arrived with what he claimed was a message for Gabrielle, which, when flipped over, and the wax seal read by one of Jadazh's axemen (I can't remember which, I can't find the sheet with Steve's NPCs,) an explosion was triggered that took the life of him and the messenger, and hurt the orc, Kizziar, and several bystanders in the street outside, as well as a few watchmen.
The party rushed into the city toward their house, where Jadazh and Kizziar explained what had happened first to them, then to the new Captain of the Watch, Praetor Donnlo and a few of his higher-ranking watchmen after they arrived on scene. Praetor did a cursory search of the house, then left after a few more words with the group, telling them he would find them if he needed to. However, dusk loomed, and not wanting to be trapped in town for the night with people obviously wanting to do away with them, the party gathered all their belongings and hirelings, cleared their accounts with the bank, and headed out of town and toward the hills north of the keep.
During their travels north, as the party skirted the farmlands that feed The Falls, they encountered many instances of a blight known as Nettlevine that, according to the tome Chas took from the carved temple near the Caves of Chaos, is the product of fell magic, and is hard to remove once it has asserted itself in flora and fauna.
The local farmlands hadn't been the only things, affected, the group soon found, as when they fell an owlbear on their first morning out, and began to clean the thing for possible breakfast, they found lesions under it's skin, and a thin film of black mold-looking material, though Gabrielle ate some with the intent of consuming less of the group's resources, holding to her divinely-granted immunity to diseases for protection.
Packing up that morning and heading out further into the mountains, it wasn't long before our company was set upon by Eldam's right-hand Gnome, Co, and after some deliberation they were led to a camp where the bandit lord and his men, plus River, and Gabrielle's squires, had all sequestered themselves and were already discussing the matters in the region, including the mysterious blighting and the political environment in Bugbear Falls.
This, then, is when things turned serious, with many an idea floating about sieges, precision strikes, diversions, etc. to root out the heart of what appears to be corruption in Bugbear Falls! This was pretty engaging, and it was fun listening to my players deliberate some rather extreme options. It really shone through that they care for some of the NPCs featured in the campaign, and they care about Bugbear Falls, partially because it is their home, but for more than just that. There is certainly an investment in roleplay there.
We left off with the deliberation still going, and I look forward to next session. What lengths will the PCs go to ensure peace and prosperity in their corner of the Wilderlands?!