Upon arriving in Lanmis, Barundar quickly notices that a lot has changed in the two or three weeks since his last visit. The typically lively village is surprisingly barren and that those still around act uncharacteristically sullen. The party goes to the Smoking Ogre, an inn owned by Barundar’s friend [and love interest], Kisha Greyfoot. Renaldo guards the drug-cart outside as Barundar and Myles head inside.
The inn is ridiculously large, featuring a full restaurant and bar, private dining rooms and a number of rooms for travelers [like a TGI Fridays with a Motel 6 attached]. Kisha seems to be in a rather poor mood and Barundar’s typical flirting falls on deaf ears. Kisha explains that the local money lender, Recter Olwen [Rector, Rector the money collector] has been calling in debts left and right in the past few weeks and, those that cannot pay [ie. everyone] are being forced into manual labor to help him clear out a series of ruins that he claims are his ancestral home. Kisha goes on to explain that the inn owes 2,000gp [!!] to Rector and that he has called her debt due. Not having the money/goods to pay the amount in full, this means that Kisha’s father can be taken away to the labor camp at any moment.
Outside, a well-armed man drags an elderly peasant through the streets. A young woman claws at the man’s ankles, trying desperately to prevent what is presumably her father from being taken away to the camp. The young woman cries out to Renaldo for help, who refuses based on the grounds that saving peasants does not seem like a very “barbarian-ly” thing to do. Disgusted, the woman runs inside the bar and gains the attention of Myles and Barundar.
Rushing outside, Barundar intervenes in the well-armed man’s abduction of the peasant by shooting a bolt at his feet and demanding the peasant be released. The well-armed man is shocked that someone would stand up to him in such a way but is more shocked when Barundar throws him to the ground and puts a scimitar to his neck. The well-armed man explains that he is the captain of Rector’s guard and produces a warrant of sorts that proves the legality of his actions; he claims that the peasant man owes Rector money, that Rector can call the debt due at any time and that, if the man cannot pay back his loan in full he must perform manual labor to pay back his debt. A quick once over by Myles shows that the document confirms all of this. Dusting himself off, the guard captain demands the old peasant accompany him to the work camp. Acknowledging the technical legality of his actions, Myles steps between the two and tells the man that he will have to come back for the peasant tomorrow. Barundar tells the peasant to enjoy the evening with his family while the captain curses Myles and Barundar, telling them [for the second time in about 12 hours] that they will be sorry for having crossed his boss as he skulks away angrily.
Throughout this entire escapade, Renaldo stands near the cart, dutifully protecting the drugs.
Before returning inside, Barundar places a chalk mark near the doorway to the inn, scribbling a sign that to layman would draw no attention, but within the criminal underworld signifies that someone wants to do business with the Spymaster’s fences.
Later that evening, the group is set up in a private dining room within the Smoking Ogre. Renaldo and Myles guard both entrances as Barundar sits at the table. A complex series of knocks comes from the door nearest Myles and, with Barundar’s approval that this is the knock of the Spymaster, Myles opens the door to be greeted by a man wearing all black. Barundar and the man exchange various means of identification, handshakes and code words to verify each other’s honesty prior to getting down to business over the fencing of the drug stash. It is estimated that the 60 statues each contain a shard of black stone, each shard of black stone is approximately 100 doses [hits] of the drug, and the street value is approximately 900gp [!!!!]. Despite Barundar’s abysmal charisma, he’s able to negotiate a reasonable price for the drugs, and the party is soon presented with a note with the Spymaster’s seal for the value of 550gp [!!!!!].
[My face when Nathan gave us a total value.]
Knowing that the note is as good as gold but that no one around has that much gold just sitting around, the group wants to “cash out” the note as quickly as possible. It is soon realized that the only person around that has the means to do this is Rector Olwen, the man who’s guard captain Myles and Barundar had accosted earlier in the day… This leaves Renaldo to cash the note solo-style. After a restful sleep, Renaldo takes the morning to don his fineries, put back on the airs of civility and “get into character”. The group makes the few mile walk to the dig site where Rector has all of his indentured servants toiling away and, leaving Barundar and Myles hiding in the woods, Renaldo proceeds alone into the work site.
Renaldo is quickly stopped by a guard as he approaches the dig site. In uncanny style [and completely off the cuff from Damien] Renaldo explains in great detail his identity as, “Lord Darius McFoggle, son of Oswald McFoggle of the illustrious House McFoggle, and well renowned Master of Fisticuffs” and demands an audience with Rector.
Renaldo meets with Rector and [flawlessly] recounts his history and is soon escorted to a tent along the periphery of the site. Inside the tent Renaldo and Rector do the elegant dance of nobility, sharing stories of intrigue (the McFoggle’s triumph over the lesser baronies of the Wafflebottoms and the FicMoggins) wherein Renaldo introduces the note, explaining that he needs to cash out a portion of his fortune into material goods. Rector is fooled by the ruse and explains that he cannot “cash” the note, as 550gp is an incredible amount of currency, but that he is able to provide a trade of equivalent goods instead. Renaldo negotiates for the following goods:
100gp in gold coins and gems (easily devisible)
100gp masterwork (+1) light crossbow
125gp – 5x warhorses, saddles and tack
25gp – 1x rapier
25gp – 1x scimitar
75gp – hand crossbow
100gp – 2x longbows
Rector writes a note explaining the exchange and marks it with his seal. He explains to Darius/Renaldo that he will have to go to his estate back in Lanmis and present the note to his quartermaster, who will fulfill the trade. Renaldo bows deeply and thanks Rector for his decorum and hospitality, when suddenly a guard bursts into the tent. Excusing himself, he tells Rector that he must come immediately as they’ve, “found it”. Rector excuses himself from the tent and rushes away to the dig site, where, in passing, Renaldo notes that a crew has recently uncovered what appears to be a staircase descending into the ruins…
So there you have it…
In one session we managed to become involved with the drug trade and, upon not being able to cash out in currency, have actually found ourselves laden with arms as well… Without assistance and pretty much on our own accord we are now drug and weapons traders… but we’re pretty rich too, so it kinda balances I guess? Unfortunately that wealth comes at the expense of alienating at least two relative movers and shakers, one of whom is a drug kingpin and the other is enslaving an entire town to dig up mysterious ruins… We said wanted plot hooks, so I guess we’ve got them in spades now…