Cairnholm ep.5 – Stuck in the Mud

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The next session, run by ‘Dib’, began with the party on the road back to Cairnholm. Having just completed a basic caravan escort job to the nearby town of Stonebridge they were slowly making their way home through the Ordic swamplands when they spotted a body lying in the road.

O’Hare pulls up the wagon and everyone moves in for a closer look. As they approach the man they can see that he is unarmed and dressed in a fine, if somewhat torn, coat. Llalrii binds his wounds and helps the man regain consciousness long enough to speak the words, “Stonebridge… Assassin…”

With their focus drawn to the wounded man the crew doesn’t notice the approach of several gatormen. As they charge out of the swamp these 7-foot tall reptilian brutes lay into the party. At the sight of them the wounded man briefly comes to his senses and shakily gets to his feet to fight back. Pal and O’Hare taunt their attackers by arguing over what kind of clothing their skins would best make.

With each member of the party engaged in combat a larger, scarred Gatorman bursts forth and grabs the mystery-man by the ankle, dragging him off into the fog. The vulnerable mechanik, Zee, is the only one to take a nasty hit before ice, stone, and good old-fashioned bullets put the beasts down.

O’Hare immediately suggests tracking down the wounded noble and the more reluctant party members are swayed by the promise of reward. Through the fog and knee-deep water they wade with Zee cursing the terrain for being the opposite of ‘Jack-friendly.

They spy more Gatormen in the mists as they venture deeper, but they seem to be keeping their distance. When their quarry finally comes into sight it is with a sense of deja vu. Once again he is placed in the middle of a small island, surrounded by obscuring swamp.

The party forms a ring around the man, rightly suspecting a trap, and once again Llalrii administers some medical assistance. Just as before, the waters churn briefly as several more Gatormen attack from every angle. This time however the larger specimen joins the fray, targeting Pal for it’s dinner. With a rapier handed to him by Llalrii the noble, who introduces himself as Randall, helps in the battle.

Corrosive shot from Zee’s scattergun keep the beasts infront of him from storming the island, while Llalrii manipulates and freezes the waters, making it hard for the Gators to dodge any attacks. Relentless fire from Alexis’ twin pistols continues to punch into the scaly hides. Weakened by this barrage, O’Hare, Llalrii, and Pal make short work of the lesser Gatormen that make it ashore.

Having focused on the imposing Trollkin, the Gator leader fails to do much damage to the party as a whole. With it’s brood mostly dealt with it falls to the party’s combined attacks. As the final Gator tries to make his escape O’Hare fires a shot into his leg, crippling him and offering a chance for interrogation. On the lead Gator’s body Randall discover a sack containing his armour and weapons: a handcannon named ‘Beast’ and the rapier ‘Belle’.

Gatormen are reasonably intelligent creatures and are well known for selling their services as shock troops and mercenaries to anyone crazy enough to deal with them and willing to pay. It was revealed that this particular group were under just such a contract. Originally hired to kill Randall they had grown greedy at the sight of the approaching wagon and had hoped to add to their haul by ambushing it’s occupants.

Randall thanked the party profusely as they made their way back to the road and told them of his quest to find his father’s killer, a quest which had been cut short in Stonebridge. The assassination attempt by the Gatormen was not a complete dead end however as he now had a new lead. The man who hired them to kill him had long white hair and smelled of flowers. Randall then struck a deal with the Party, aid in his personal mission in exchange for healthy remuneration. Sick of escort jobs, O’Hare signed them up. They would be heading back to Stonebridge.

Finally! After three-ish years of DMing, I got to actually PLAY! Mind you, my character lay in the mud for most of it, and was rather severely wounded, but STILL! My utmost thanks to ‘Dib’ for running a session and for his first I thought it went very well. I’m very keen to see what happens in the next installment.

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