A Dormant Mind: Solo Sidequest #2

A Simple Quest Seed: Negotiate a hostage release.

One was never bored in the city of Caelfall. With the city guard stretched thin, Zith had been sent out to deal with a hostage situation. Well, let’s be completely honest. Zith had been dispatched to rescue the hostage because the hostage was not a particularly important person.

NPC: Avalon Norsage the self-indulgent and fat porter

Sure, he was nominally the guard in charge at the castle gate, and sure, he’d been holding that post for over twenty years now, but no one really liked him. No one ever attempted to storm the small fortification that was mockingly known as “The Castle”, so the post of porter was essentially where they stuck the guy who couldn’t do anything else. Probably the real reason that they were having Zith deal with this was because they were hoping the newbie would fail.

But they did not know Zith. They did not know his determination and desire to prove himself. Zith finished strapping on his rapier and quickly headed out the door. The captain had said that Avalon had been taken somewhere down in the seedier parts of town. Perhaps a gambling establishment? The captain wasn’t sure, but Zith was pretty sure. Next stop: Sillaphon’s Gambling House.

Getting to the small hole in the wall, are there any signs of something being wrong that can be seen from the outside?

The answer to your question is: NO (d100 roll: 9)

—-> Is There a Random Event?: No random event

Everything thing looked normal. Rupert was “guarding” the door, snoring loudly in his chair. It was too early for many patrons at this time of day, so no one blamed him when he caught a few extra Z’s before the heavy part of his shift. Zith gently nudged Rupert.

“My friend, you must awaken. There is a disturbance within your purview.” Can Zith wake him up?

The answer to your question is: YES BUT (d100 roll: 75)

—-> Is There a Random Event?: No random event

Rupert began to slowly come back to awareness, but then noticed the blood on his head. “Well, that rules out a normal customer,” thought Zith. “No regular would go after Rupert even to get to Avalon.” Zith drew his blade and listened at the door. Perception roll.

1 rolls of 20-sided dice: 8

Do I hear anything?

The answer to your question is: YES (d100 roll: 93)

—-> Is There a Random Event?: No random event

More Details: Immitated Connection

“Hey, we’re all friends here, right?” Zith heard through the doorway. “All I need is my money, and no one else gets hurt.” Zith didn’t recognize the voice.

“By the gods, this has gone on long enough!” Zith heard Sillaphon yell. “At this point either you kill Avalon for your money or give it up for loss, but either way, I’ve got to open in a couple of hours and still have actual work to do.”

Zith thought quickly. It sounded like Sillaphon knew this guy. Perhaps it would be best to smooth talk this one. He slid his rapier back into the sheath and confidently entered the front room. What does he see?

More Details: Militaristic Attention

Well, this escalated quickly. Now Zith understood why he had been sent. This wasn’t a single thug holding Avalon hostage. It was a whole unit from those uppity guards at The Castle. Zith knew of their dirty dealings and this was probably their way of either pulling into their fold by force or scaring him out of town. Zith smiled and nodded down at Avalon who was huddled down on the ground, sobbing and bleeding.

“Good afternoon, my friends. What a pleasant day it is to be able to spend time with such esteemed colleagues,” Zith said not even bothering to hide the sarcasm. “Avalon, my friend, I’ve heard you have been taken hostage, and I’ve been sent to rectify that situation.”

The five guards around the room put hands on the hilts of their swords and tensed at this statement. “However, it appears that I was misinformed,” Zith went on. “Avalon has merely been spending time reflecting on how important it is to pay his debts, and you, my friends, you have played the vital role of comforters and confidants in his time of need.”

The guards relaxed a bit at this, but the lead guard hovering over Avalon stood and replied, “We were told you don’t sell out, cat. Why cave so quickly? You really one of us now?”

“My friends, I have always been one of you,” replied Zith smoothly moving towards a more advantageous position. Bluff check.

1 rolls of 20-sided dice: 3

“Stay where you’re at, you mangy beast,” said one of the other guards rattling his sword and spitting on the ground. Zith stopped and reassessed the situation. Avalon was sniveling on the ground, and Sillaphon was sweating behind the bar. He clearly didn’t want his place more banged up.

“Aha, clever, my friends, clever,” said Zith. “You are right that I do not approve of your methods, and I’d like us to be able to come to an agreement. You see, our good patron, Sillaphon has a vested interest in keeping his clean and ready for business. Our mutual acquaintance on the ground there has an interest in being able to pay you fairly, I’m sure. If he’s unable to pay at this time, perhaps another arrangement could be made?” Diplomacy check.

1 rolls of 20-sided dice: 5

“Are you wanting me to pay for Avalon?” asked Sillaphon with a gentle eagerness to his voice.

“Oh! Bless you, Sillaphon! Bless you! I’ll pay you back. You know I will!” shouted Avalon.

“Quiet you!” yelled the lead guard. Is he buying this arrangement?

The answer to your question is: NO AND (d100 roll: 3)

—-> Is There a Random Event?: Yes, The type of event is: NPC or object becomes critical to the quest, and a description would be: Struggling Pride

“I don’t buy this silver-tongued crap,” replied the guard. “It’s Avalon what owes me money and it’s Avalon what’s gonna pay! Now, we was about to agree that he’d give up his post as porter and recommend me for the job to cover half his debt. Ain’t that right, you pathetic pig?” said the lead guard with a kick to Avalon’s gut.

Avalon cried out, cowered, but then looked up to make eye contact with Zith. It was in that moment that Zith saw a semblance of steel beginning to form in Avalon’s eye. You can only kick a man so long before his pride demands vengeance. Zith casually put his hands on his hips as if accepting the situation making sure his sword hand was close to his blade. “Well, if that is the case, my friends,” said Zith, “then it would appear we are no longer at an impasse.”

Avalon began to shake. The guards probably assumed it was out of fear, but they couldn’t see his face like Zith could. He was going to fight and was simply trying to gather his courage from his wounded pride.

“And you, kitty,” said the guard. “It looks like you’re going to need to give us a token of trust showing us that you know this deal was struck in good faith.”

“Have I told of my village, my friends?” asked Zith. “You see, it was one of the first to be overrun in the war for Glethmere Forest, and I was sent with a team of combat medics to pull out as many survivors as we could during the end of the battle.” Avalon wiped a drip of blood from his nose.

“There was a band of orcs near a house with a large litter of cubs, and their father was trying to keep them at bay by swinging his hoe in a wide arc, but the orcs were all just laughing when Starling and I showed up.” Avalon spit a tooth out on the ground.

“Starling and I rushed to the defense of the father while the cubs and their mother screamed from the house. The screams of the family emboldened Starling and I as we took on the larger force. The father took a deep wound to the side before the battle was over, but Starling used the magic and love of Elhonna to heal him. Yet still the family screamed.” Avalon rolled up a sleeve on his shirt from his position on all fours down on the ground.

“You see, my friends, while we had been distracted by the orcs, another tribesman from our village had snuck into the house and taken what he could from this family before fleeing. Starling and I learned a valuable lesson that day, my friends. Many times the deeper wounds come from those we are closest to…just…like…NOW!” yelled Zith with a roar that seemed to give life to Avalon on the floor who threw his elbow up into the groin of the lead guard right as Zith charged.

1 rolls of 20-sided dice: 20

Possible crit.

1 rolls of 20-sided dice: 19


Zith drew his rapier while charging and touched his closed sword-hand fist over the unicorn at his breast before swinging the flat of his blade directly at the lead guards head. There was a sickening crack when the blade connected with the guard’s helmet and then the guard slumped to the ground. (6d6 + 16 non-lethal damage not worth rolling at this point.)

The other four guards drew swords but hesitated. Sillaphon shook his head as if forseeing all the damage that was about to take place in his establishment. Avalon stood still shaking with rage.

“It seems that your esteemed leader has decided to sit this battle out. Shall we continue the dance, my friends? Allow me to make a suggestion though, let someone else make the first strike. After all, it wouldn’t make for a good story to hear that you were the one who attacked a defenseless porter, would it?” Zith said with a large smile revealing his teeth. Intimidate check DC 15.

1 rolls of 20-sided dice: 12

The guards sheathed their blades, but one of them said, “Heratio won’t forget this, cat. He’s like a dog with a bone. He’ll just keep gnawing.”

“And I’m sure poor Rupert out there won’t forget who struck him either, but as for me, never fear, my friends! We cats have a way of dealing with dogs,” replied Zith.

“I have it,” muttered Avalon. Everyone turned towards him. “I have it. I have the money. Or rather I’ll get it. It will push my family to the poor house, but this is my fault. While they’ll have to suffer too, I won’t be stripped of the only means I have of caring for them. I’ll bring you the money as soon as I arrange for the sale of my house. Or rather, I’ll ask Zith to bring it to you.”

“I would be happy to play courier for you, my friend,” said Zith.

“Fine,” replied one of the guards. “That may soothe part of Horatio’s wounded pride, but I meant what I said, cat. He won’t forget this.”

The guards gathered up their fallen comrade who took the next month to recuperate from his wounds. Avalon lost his house and most of his possessions, but kept his job. From that day forward he started to lose a little weight and take his job more seriously. Horatio’s wrath had been transplanted away from Avalon towards Zith, but Zith didn’t mind. Sillaphon had been so pleased that there hadn’t been more damage that afternoon that he had offered to give the first round of chips for free to Zith for that night’s games. That was when Zith became a regular at Sillaphon’s Gambling House against his better judgment.