Jason recaps the events from The Black Lodge Tale 2, Chapter 3: Old MacGyver Bloodhammer.
Welcome to Roll For Combat: Failures In Espionage! This week our crew of combat-optimal characters bumble through a social encounter and somehow come through unscathed. And not for a lack of trying.
We enter the session having made contact with two of our five contacts. The challenge this week is making contact with the guard Garrla. To be fair, this is likely to be the single riskiest client on the list because she’s a member of the city guard (high potential to land ourselves in jail) and there’s no real intel on her. Nobody has ever actually met her (so much so that we didn’t even know it was a “her” going in) and even her passage out of town was negotiated indirectly through Flitch, the thief. And it also turns out the Emerald Guardhouse isn’t some shack with a handful of guards; it’s a fairly major barracks with dozens of guards milling about. So we’ve got our work cut out for us on this one.
I’m gonna be honest – I kinda checked out on this one and let the rest of the group handle it for the most part. First and foremost, Nella isn’t really built for this sort of encounter – as a druid, she’s built for healer duties and outdoorsy stuff, and even as a roleplay thing, I envision her as more of a country type who’s not necessarily comfortable in the Big City. A social encounter that revolves around bluff, stealth, and society checks? NOT her cup of tea.
As a Champion, Thorgrim should have decent charisma and should be able to handle the smooth-talking. He does a little OK with it, though if we’re being honest, I don’t think Chris really planned out what he was going to say and got caught a little flat-footed on some of Garrla’s questions. But he navigated his way through finding the right guard and establishing first contact. It might still be a trap, but this is the right person and she does (on the surface) seem like she wants to leave town. She even gives us a lead on another guard who might be able to help and tries to slip Chris a journal.
And there we reveal the first hole in our skillset – Thorgrim botches the pass and another guard sees him pick up Garrla’s journal. Oops. Garrla is able to cover for him well enough that he doesn’t end up getting hauled off to jail, but still. We’re left with an incomplete encounter.
Now here I’m going to indulge in just a little bit of second-guessing. We had already established the main facts of the meetup – Chris had gotten across that Garrla should come to the Rockfish Inn two days from now. Thinking back, it seems like we could’ve walked away and hoped Garrla would just bring the book with her to the meet. But Seth decides to take another crack at it anyway. Second time around, Nixnox is clearly a little more polished than Thorgrim, and ends up being JUST stealthier enough to get out of there with the journal. The contents of which we’ll get to in a moment.
But then… Mister Peepers decides to give us a performance of the World’s Most Unsubtle Rogue. PARDON ME, COULD I HAVE THOSE SECRET DOCUMENTS YOU’RE HOLDING? As the Young People say, “I can’t even”. Look… John’s allowed to play his character the way he wants, but there’s reckless and there’s just jaw-droppingly stupid, and this seemed like it crossed the line into the latter. But again, Garrla covers for us and we retire the field victorious. An ugly win is still a win.
Briefly about the book: it details that one of the guards bought a painting on behalf of the Runelord herself. On the surface, I’m not sure what the significance of that is going to be, but it feels like something that might give us leverage over the guard when we have to leave on the final day. I feel like MAYBE since one of our other clients is an accountant, it’s going to tie into the money the guard used to buy the painting being dirty or something. But for the moment, we’ll just put it in our list of assets with our wheelbarrow, Holocaust cloak, and dead albino.
Now here, it would be nice to take a stab at one of the last two tasks but we’re running out of daylight and as Mister Peepers demonstrated last night, we don’t want to get caught out after dark. Both places are two hours away, but that’s also how long we have until curfew, so there wouldn’t be time to go out and get back. Now, the accountant was definitely a no-go – we only have his place of business, so he’s probably not even there anymore. But again indulging in 20/20 hindsight, a school for mage-types might have boarding for the students, so we PROBABLY could’ve risked going out to the school and seeing if there was somewhere on the grounds to spend the night. But whatever, we have enough time, so we head back to the inn and call it a day. Mostly.
Our final task of the evening – for everyone except Nella, who is back on healer duties – is attempting to turn the barrels into rafts. And our grasp of carpentry seems to be about as good as our espionage skills, as we turn half the barrels into wood chips. We still have some barrels left to try again, but we’ll just have to hope the rolls are better tomorrow. Oh, and the innkeeper’s daughter is still asking WAY too many questions about our escape plan. Need to know, lady. Need. To. Know.
So as of the end of day two, we’re still positioned pretty well. We’ve made contact with three of our five clients, for a total of four people. And we’ve also established a source of materials to make rafts, even if we’re still getting over the hump of actually making them. Next up will be to go after the accountant and the teacher – but that will be tomorrow in-game, and next week on the show. Thanks for listening, and we’ll see you next week.