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Basilisk Hills Breakdown: The Festival of Liwil, Part II

This is an actual play report (submitted by Jeff) of a game I am running set in the world of Absalom and using the Basilisk Hills and Lake of Abomination hexcrawls. You can find the podcast of this session here. I think they do a decent job of illustrating high-level play in a hexcrawl/sandbox. The cast of characters are as follows (the character with a single asterisk are the main PCs; those with a double asterisk are retainers):

Evil Jeff's Characters

*Velsind Flere- Warlock 6

**Barbat Rauta - Ironskin 3

**Amagar Cacar- Scout 3

**Tofrea - Fighter 3

Max's Characters

*Nerhgui - Fighter 6

**Kalan - Cleric 3

**Safa - Destrier 2

**Blodwyn - Bard 2

**Vygr Bloodtooth - Gnoll Sorcerer 1

Steven's Characters

*Ciaran - Magic-User 6

**Ruarc - Assassin 3

**Slainte - ''Cerves'' Brave 3

**Tacas - Fighter 3

The morning of the 27th finds our adventurers faced with some interesting discussion and decisions. At the root of it is Thasril Tim and the Red Foot Gang being in town. The discussions center around what to do with the bandit. One line of thought is to monitor the bandit and then let him head back to Sin. This line holds some strength due to information from Tacas that there were times the Dry Gulch gang did not meet up with Thasril to pass along loot and a missed meeting would not raise an immediate alarm. The chance that Thasril could decide to move west to see why the other gang did not meet him gives a bit of pause to leaving him alone.

Another line of thought is to capture the bandit and convince him to switch sides. That is rejected due to the great risk associated with it. The thought of outright killing the bandit is voiced but eventually rejected since they will not get anything out of it. Eventually, the group settles for capturing the bandit and men. This is further expanded to include help from Joferth and his men. The party would act like it was Joferth and the Dry Gulch contingent that initiated the capture. It is felt that if any other members of the gang were about, they may not feel the party was the main foe if the Dry Gulch members claim the capture and decide what to do. Agreeing upon this line of action, the party splits into three different groups. Nerghui and Ruarc will go keep tabs on the bandits until noon and see if they meet with anyone else. Tofrea, Tacas, and Velsind, who will disguise himself, will approach the bandit and convince him to meet them away from town (it is eventually decided west of town). Amagar and Ciaran will hear to Joferth to bring him on board with this plan.

Joferth is found busy directing his men as they sell their wares. He is welcoming but distracted. While he is not against the capture of the bandit, he is hesitant to commit any men. The mention of a bulette scale as payment wins him over and he agrees to round up a set of troops for the operation, hoping that he can keep them from drinking too much.

After several hours of watching, Nerghui and Ruarc report that the bandits are not really looking about or worried about being found. They are slightly away from others, keeping to themselves, and other people seem to give them a wide berth naturally. Velsind has now disguised himself and talks over the plan of action with Tacas and Tofrea. He assures them that all they have to do is introduce him as a new guy that Wilfred has brought into the gang and he will do the rest of the talking. The twins are rather nervous but put their trust in the warlock.

Approaching the bandits is easy and the trio get rather close before the bandits take notice of them. Thasril studies the group for a couple moments then eases up as he recognizes Tacas. The twin introduces Alfie (Velsind) to the bandit leader, his nervousness showing as he speaks. Alfie quickly thanks the youngster and gives his background to the big man. His story of a big delay coming east with the loot due to a wagon breaking seems plausible enough and Thasril relaxes. Alfie explains he and the twins came east ahead of Wilfred since he can ride well to make contact. It is agreed that Thasril and men will wait until dark and head west along the road and will be signaled to where the Dry Gulch group will be waiting so they can make the exchange.

Alfie then talks more to the bearded man, asking about what his city is like, as Alfie is new and hasn't learned a lot about the other parts of the gang. Thasril talks about many things as he pines for the days of robbing caravans, finding adventurers and slitting their throats as they sleep, and other acts instead of this merchant life he seems to be stuck in now. Interesting items that he tells are the facts that the Shadow Woods are growing and expanding. The leader, who is called Master of Shadows, leads a group of humans, calling them the Shadow Guard, and they have an outpost in Sin. The other item is that while the town of Sin has a mayor, a woman named Lady Fellow Bebeck (?), she doesn't have much influence. Thasril is thinking of asking Wilfred about a transfer to her gang, as he is not feeling comfortable in Sin anymore. Alfie takes this chance to excuse him and the twins, saying they need to get back to Wilfred to help get the loot closer to Liwil.

Once back with the party, they organize the group for the ambush. Velsind, the twins, Kalan, Vygr, Slainte, one set of their mercs, and the set of mercs from Joferth will head west and find a suitable location about a mile away where they can setup a false camp and wait for the bandits. The rest of the group then split up for a bit. Nerghui and Slainte will go speak to the ambassador to confirm the dinner and let him know that some of the group will not attend due to other business.

Cieran takes the time before the dinner to start looking for informants. Going to the Knight and Stone tavern, he meets Kenteth and a fellow merchant from Hob. During their talk, he learns that the merchants would love to have a road from Liwil to Hob made, especially if it can avoid the hills south of Liwil. Inquiring about bandits in their area, the merchants have no info about the Red Foot gang but deal with one called the Free Folk gang, led by one Sanke one-eye. This group operates from Hob eastward. They mention that they generally come ever other month so they will be back for the festival at the end of the 5th month.

In the evening, the town party makes their way to the Ambassador Wen-Fan's tent for the luxurious dinner. The party find several pixies attend to the ambassador and do the serving of drinks and such (the party finding it rather comical to see this sight). As the night wears on, they converse with their host and learn a few things. He has been here for 15 years, trying to gain an alliance with the Basilisk Knights or someone else. He is quite content here and is rather fond of the food in the human world. After a bit, their host quizzes them. He inquires what do they know of the Knights relationship with Fairy and had they met Anven. When they relate that they have met the knight and noted that she seemed to have a touch of Fey about her, the ambassador fills in more information for them. The leader of the Knights, Balcar, had met a dryad named Elsael, who has a tree nearby. They had a relationship which bore Anven to them. Elsael is a part of the Summer Court and it is because of this relationship that they are trying to make some sort of alliance. Wen-Fan has even hunted with Anven to try and make something happen. The ambassador goes on to explain, at a very high level, the complexities of politics in Fey, which leaves the party whirling.

Asking about the ring to the north, Wen-Fan lets them know that it happens to be a gate to a minor duke in the Winter Court, the Pullescent Duke. He is not worried about it since it would take a very specific ritual spell to open the ring. Remembering his penchant for wanting to speak to more interesting people, the party relates some of their encounters. They describe the large reptile to the north, the strange shrine with seven sides, and the clockwork creature. Wen-Fan relates that there is a city far to the north, the city of Pesh, where it is said that men of bronze rule the city and make these clockwork items. An offer is extended to the ambassador for him to visit their keep, letting him know that it is a work in progress, but they would then like to have him tour some items to the north. A mention of the tree next to the keep is made which causes the ambassador to enter into some deeper reflection. Shortly, he declares that he will visit Black Pit Keep in a fortnight.

The ambush party finds a suitable place to the west of town, just over a mile away. Setting up the false camp, they lay in wait for Thasril and his men. Soon, the group of six men show up, see the sign of the fire, and head in. As they approach and call out, Alfie (Velsind) challenges them. Thasril identifies himself and is welcomed to approach. Alfie tells one of the twins to go get the horses with the loot and lets Thasril know that Wilfred is heeding the call of nature and will be here in a moment. A few moments later, the mercs and caravan guards step out and surround the bandits. Thasril takes one look around and tells his men to give up, they have been bested.

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