Yesterday, fuelled by the writing and prep I had been doing on Saturday for the Roleplay Rescue podcast, I sat down and created a character named Grom. He’s an Altanian Barbarian and he’s visiting the big city for the first time. Today’s post is the transcript of the narrative (so far) which emerged from this game. Hope you enjoy it!
Grom stood by the side of the road watching the crowd and listening to the agitation growing. The Jewelry Guildmistress, Cetea, stood upon a wooden box and was yelling to the assembled craftsfolk and passersby about the glut of blue diamonds being imported to the city from the north. Grom wasn’t entirely sure that he followed the logic of the argument but the basic gist was that the influx of blue diamonds was undercutting the price and this was a bad thing for the Guild of Jewelrymakers. To his mind, prices of hugely overpriced rocks seemed like a good thing for anyone who wanted to buy one.
“The Mistress doesn’t seem to understand,” said a croaky voice to Grom’s right. Looking over, Grom saw a scrawny-looking Halfling who barely rose to his waist shaking his head.
“Those blue diamonds are probably not the highest grade and I’d wager they are being ground down to sell to Dreamquestors,” the Halfling continued.
The Halfling looked up at him, evidently startled by the question, “You must be new around here, longshanks, if you haven’t heard of Dreamquestors.”
“Well, doesn’t matter much. You want to earn some silver?”
“Certainly,” said Grom.
“Good. Well, I need a hand with bumping off Cetea and you look like just the kind of fresh-faced muscle I could use along with me. Might even be some loot in her house we can grab on the way out, if you take my meaning.”
Grom stared down at the Halfling, suspicious.
“You’re thinking, ‘Why is this short-arsed stranger inviting me to do some crime,’ right? Answer’s simple: because I am not about to go to her home alone and I’ll wager you’re an Altanian barbarian with thews and courage.”
The Halfling grinned up at Grom. The big warrior rolled his eyes and smiled.
“Why don’t we go and find a quiet corner of an inn where you can buy me a drink and tell me the plan?”
Jemal was slurping down the beer while explaining the job. The fee was 250 Silver Crowns for the assassination of Cetea the Guildmistress. He was happy to split the silver 50/50 if Grom would be the muscle.
“Do you know where she lives?”
“Sure, of course… but she does have bodyguards. Do you have anything more hurtful than that quarterstaff you carry around?”
“Not yet. I wager I might find something more hurtful if you care to front me the money,” said Grom.
Jemal spread his hands wide, smiled, and shook his head.
Grom grinned back. He was growing to like the little fellow.
“We break in at night, evade all the guards, find her bedroom, slit her throat, and go claim the reward,” said Jemal.
It was as good a plan as any, Grom supposed.
Night fell and they made their way through the still busy streets towards the house of Cetea. Reaching the house without any significant encounters, Grom was grateful for the keen eyes of the Halfling who had spotted a couple of risky looking folk and given them the slip through side-alleys and backstreets.
“It’s handy that she has a side alley with a door at the rear,” said Jemal, pointing to a narrow gate and the passage between two houses. Looking around quickly, the little thief sidled up to the gate.
“You keep an eye out for trouble,” he said to Grom.
Jemal worked the lock picks but it was quickly apparent that the lock was a fine piece indeed. After a few minutes, and realising that even his good lockpicks were not up to the job, Jemal huffed and looked back to the front door. That portal was strong-looking and iron-reinforced. He was willing to bet the lock would be as good or better. Jemal swore quietly under his breath.
“Can’t pick the lock and I think the door will be even better. Looks like there’s a reason most of the Thieve’s Guilders turned this one down. I thought it was just moral objections.”
“Can you climb?”
Jemal blinked at the barbarian.
“Maybe I can break the lock,” suggested Grom.
“That’ll make too much noise, big fella.”
Jemal looked around. Either side of Cetea’s house he could see other houses, arranged in a terrace. Grabbing Grom by the arm, Jemal led him along the street a little until they came to another alley between buildings.
“I’d wager these houses have gardens to the rear, small plots for vegetables and such. What if we can get to the back of these houses and then work our way back along to Cetea’s place?”
“But won’t there be a gate?” Grom asked.
The alley between the houses was narrow and, like the next to Cetea’s place, it was dark. What was different was the lack of a gate. Instead, there was an ornate tapestry decorated with gold thread over heavy dark blue cloth. The patterns were swirls of gold with some kind of arcane lettering along the outside edge.
“That’s a strange way to cover an alley,” said Grom.
As Jemal padded forward to get a closer look, they heard a distinct low growl from behind the curtain.
“Who the heck puts a guard dog behind a curtain,” laughed Jemal.
“I’m not sure I want to find out.”
With a shrug, Grom grasped the quarterstaff in both hands and stepped forward to stand in front of the tapestry curtain. Jemal pulled back the cloth and they both peered into the darkness.
There, chained to the wall about 7 yards down the alley, stood a large dog. In the darkness, the eyes and teeth stood out in sharp contrast to the animal’s dark coat. Grimly, Grom stepped in towards the beast.
“Hey,” whispered Jemal, “Why don’t we see if it’s hungry?”
“Screw that, let’s get this over with.”
With a curse under his breath, Jemal unslung his bow. The dog, at the limit of its chain, began to snap and growl loudly. A single bark echoed around the street. Grom moved swiftly into the darkness, closing with the dog. He moved 5 yards before Jemal could reach to his hip quiver and draw an arrow.
The dog drew back as the huge form of Grom closed – the big man was about 6’3” – and snarled as it stepped back a few paces in the tunnel. Shadows covered the animal’s form. Grom decided to press on quickly, seeking to lay the beast down with swift action. As he closed on the crouching beast, Grom swept forward with his quarterstaff aiming with the tip towards the dog’s face. The dog reacted a little too late and Grom’s blow struck true – the crack was audible as the dog yelped and skittered backwards in pain.
Jemal brought up his arrow and steadied his aim. The dog, wounded but not cowed, snapped out at Grom with fury. It must have had blood in its eyes, however, because the bite missed the man as he brought the quarterstaff around for another strike. With a whirl, Grom’s arm brought the weapon smacking down across the dog’s back with a crack – and, just like that, the dog went down. It was unconscious but Grom didn’t want to waste any time. As he strode forward to the end of the alley, Jemal slipped past the tapestry and pulled the flap down behind him. The alleyway was silent.
More when I get a chance. Game on!