Wednesday, November 15, 2017

MoMj: The Corruption Saga - Session 8a-Boldulf

Before Deirik, Eirik, Ygvard, and Boldulf leave Halderton, Deirik and Eirik both hire Merrick, the town's master leatherworker, to create a suit of masterwork studded leather and to refine his dire wolverine fur into a proper cloak respectively.

Then, the men return to Alucard with a few weeks of time available to them before they must hole up for the heavy Northern Winter. Each of them decides to spend it in their own way...

GM Note: At this point, each player was given a solo session to lead into a Prestige Class they'd expressed interest in, or give some story behind any skills they planned to increase once they leveled, etc. Beyond that, I also wanted to give the players the chance to purely play their character without the others around to dive into them a bit deeper and come to a better understanding of who they are, what their limits are, and how they operate. It's easier if I tell the stories individually. One thing I will do though is italicize clues on how the stories intertwine to help you keep these sessions aligned with each other.

Boldulf's greatest treasure is his family. It's one of the few things that Krogan actually knows about him. So, when Krogan called Boldulf into his temple to let him know that some of the Men of Mjarn's family was having some trouble in the town of Neryl to the Southwest, Boldulf was happy to investigate.

Krogan lent Boldulf a horse to make better time, and off he and his wolf companion, Sergei, went on the Southwestern road. A couple days into his journey, Boldulf happened to notice 5 Dorns who had barely made their way off the road ahead as he approached. Four of them were armed with swords, while one was holding a bow. They seemed leery of Boldulf and his wolf, and Boldulf was well aware that his horse was branded with Krogan's mark. Boldulf kept his eyes forward and his horse moving, acting as if he did not see them. Luckily, the men made no move against him and Boldulf continued on his way unabated.

When Boldulf arrived at Neryl, he took some time on the outskirts of town given the clues that Krogan had provided regarding his family's farm until he found what he believed to be the right location. He approached the house slowly so as not to alarm anyone and knocked. When a woman answered the door, a brief exchange let her know that Boldulf was indeed family and she welcomed him in and provided what meager hospitality she could.

Boldulf, in his gruff, no nonsense manner, went straight to the point and asked what the difficulty was that they'd been facing. Sara, the wife, let Boldulf know that her sons, Bram and Thrain, had stolen some sheep from a neighbor. Not wanting his sons to face the potentially dire consequences of their actions, Johan, their father and Sara's husband, took the blame for it. The townsfolk have since arrested Johan and taken him into town.

Boldulf tells Sara he wants to speak with the boys, who she immediately calls down and introduces. Boldulf questions the boys and finds out that they stole the sheep because they were worried about their family in the coming Winter. Someone, or thing, has stolen their entire flock over the last few months, and the boys knew that they needed meat to make it through being snowbound for the next few months. Boldulf chides the boys, making sure they know what they did was wrong, but understands their reasoning and will try to allow them to keep the sheep. Boldulf then asks them to show what evidence there is, or was, of the stolen flock and follows the boys to the fields.

There are a few blood spatters here and there, but not any evidence of foul play, which indicates to Boldulf that it may be nearby predators. He finds some large tracks that lead off to the North, and tells the boys to go back home while he and his loyal wolf, Sergei, investigate.

Boldulf then heads off into the patchy grasslands beyond the fence, occasionally seeing a track here and there of the same type he'd seen before. When he gets close to the nearest forest, some miles away, Boldulf happens upon a large number of human tracks coming from the West and leaving to the East. None of those tracks seem to veer off to the South though, so Boldulf decides not to bother with them and continues tracking to the North.

He enters the forest that evening with Sergei at his side. After some time looking around, he is approached and surrounded by a large wolf pack. A few moments later, Boldulf is approached by a large white Winter Wolf. The ozone of its breath makes the air sting Boldulf's nostrils as he stands his ground opposite the beast. Boldulf, knowing Winter Wolves are capable of speech, asks the Winter Wolf questions regarding their activities and whether they include stealing from nearby farms. The Winter Wolf confirms they have taken a number of sheep from there, while at the same time taking a more aggressive stance towards Boldulf.

Boldulf uses his Warg power to shapeshift into a wolf himself, and issues a challenge to the Winter Wolf. The Winter Wolf quickly accepts and they begin to fight. The Winter Wolf immediately uses its icy breath to try to end the fight quickly, but Boldulf dodges out of the way. Boldulf, only wanting to subdue the Winter goes to grapple with it and latches on. The Winter tries to shake him off to no avail, and Boldulf pins the Winter to the ground! Boldulf then releases his hold and backs away, changing back to human. He informs the Winter he means no harm, and only wants answers.

The Winter then expands on its story that it and its pack needed the meat from the nearby farms because a large group of humans came through recently and over-hunted and disturbed the entire area. Boldulf uses an authoritative town with the Winter, having just bested him in a fight, to tell him that he may no longer hunt in the town and should take his pack to better hunting grounds while this one replenishes. The Winter submissively agrees to the terms and takes his pack away. Having been the "hermit in the forest" for most of his life, and being more in touch with his Wolf-like Warg side than human side, Boldulf was happy to have the opportunity to speak with some perfectly reasonable wolves and was not looking forward to dealing with the humans of Neryl. However, with that accomplished, Boldulf then returns to Sara's house to bed down for the night, and moves on to downtown Neryl in the morning.

When he arrives, he makes sure folks see him dismounting a horse with the official brand of the Lord of this territory. He then strides into town and is greeted by the mayor, who asks him his business here. Boldulf curtly tells him that he's here to look into the recent disturbance regarding his kin, Johan. The mayor thins his eyes when Johan's name is mentioned, but takes Boldulf to him. Johan has been thrown into a cell with a single guard outside. When Boldulf goes in to speak with him, it's obvious that Johan has been both beaten and is malnourished. Boldulf calmly goes over who he is, what he's doing there, and says he intends to fix the situation; Johan is visibly relieved.

Boldulf then goes back to the mayor and informs him that Johan needs food and drink immediately, and is not to be beaten or left without sustenance while incarcerated anymore. It's not long before the plaintiff, the other sheep farmer, arrives having heard word that an official is in town for the case. Boldulf tells the farmer that Johan and his family will get to keep the sheep but will repay him in crops twice over next harvest season. The farmer is irate that John will not face greater punishment and storms off. Boldulf makes sure that the mayor and his entourage have heard the judgement and agree to abide by it.

Boldulf then demands Johan's release. As Johan is brought out, Boldulf explains that he will get to keep the stolen sheep to see him and his family through the Winter. However, he must expand his farm to incorporate some additional space for crops to repay the debt he now owes. Johan solemnly agrees and thanks Boldulf for his help. Boldulf then heads off to get his horse and head back to Alucard. On his way, Boldulf is hit by a thrown rock, and spots the other farmer as the culprit. Boldulf charges the farmer, holds him by his shirt, and physically intimidates the man with a show of strength while informing him that he will return if this farmer doesn't abide by the agreement. The farmer, now sufficiently cowed, slinks off into the nearby alley.

Boldulf rides back to Alucard, on his way hearing three resounding claps of thunder approximately 10 minutes apart that come from off in the distance to the North. Noting it simply as an oddity, he continues and arrives safely to report back to Krogan. Krogan listens and appreciates the fair judgement and peace that Boldulf has instilled in Neryl. As Boldulf is leaving, Krogan lets him know that he will "always be happy to ensure your family is safe and provided for." While it was said in a relatively assuring voice, the undertone of the bargain that Boldulf must behave for his family to be safe is not lost on him.

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