Friday, April 28, 2017

Meeting the Apothecary

Lothar, in answer to your knocking (you'll probably have to bang the door a bit, or call out, to get the apothecary's attention), the door opens and you'll see the fellow you spoke with a few days ago looking shabby, overwrought and apparently having not slept.  When he sees it is you, his eyes will widen.  "Jesus Christ," he will murmur, "it is you.  Come in, come in."

He will make room for you and Embla, and with some distraction and his insistence on one of you brewing some tea, he will sit down at a table in the apothecary's shop.  There are twenty open books on the table, surrounding the tome that you brought him.  He explains in a few words that he has been trying to translate the text ~ and that much of it horrifically coincides with the news he has been receiving through his business agent about what is going on around the town.

"You have woken something up," the apothecary, whose name is Gizur Aakur.  "This book was written by a wizard named Hgiggle, somewhere near abouts the time of Beowulf.  The humans were expanding through Sweden and Norway, pushing out the gnomes, the halflings and the stone giants and, apparently, a tribe called the Elba Pyarish; I've looked for a translation and find that it might mean 'evil frogs.'  Does that sound like something you've encountered?"

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Approached by the Followers

It is a new day, May the 4th, a Wednesday.  There is a very gentle breeze blowing out of the south, virtually no clouds in the sky and the weather is brisk.  That is to say, the sort of weather where you can feel the cold against your face, that it is bracing a bit, but certainly not "cold" and unpleasant.  An hour of casually standing around in such weather will start to make a person feel chilled, but it is extremely pleasant working weather, as a little bit of energy spent will bring the body up to room temperature.

The followers ~ excepting Howell ~ will approach Embla and Lothar and express their desire to come clean about the barrow.  They're not saying they will quit if the party refuses, but they may feel a desire to excuse themselves from further service after their month is done.  They also express that they will not betray the party on their own, but this whole situation makes them very uncomfortable.

What do you intend to do today?  It is presently 9 am.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

A Plainer Tale of Violence

With the evening of May 3rd, the sky clears and the rain, at last, stops completely.  You hear that the prince and burghermeister finally did ride out this afternoon with a contingent, to head south.

You've had your dinner and all of you are lounging in the common room in a tavern near Engelhart's grandfather's, discussing matters and plans.  At this point a man will enter, looking haggard and worn. There is blood on his face from a cut on his forehead.  He is dirty and wet, apparently ~ from his appearance ~ gotten in the forest outside of the city.  You'd judge him to be in his late 40s.

He begins by speaking with the tap-master at the bar, but loud enough to be heard and very quickly afterwards the room grows silent.

"We were attacked," he explains.  "There were nine of us.  We had gone searching for five cows that had gone missing from the Sandvik farm ~ Evard Sandvik, his brother Tom, four hands of his farm and three hands from mine.  They came on us at a rush and none of us had proper weapons."

His hands begin to shake as a tap master puts an ale in his hand.  He gulps and then says, "I fought on the continent in '38, when we met goblins out of the Black Forest.  I've seen kobalds.  And once, near Augsburg, we went underground and I saw troglodytes.  But I've never seen these things, never heard of them."

He drinks some more.  "They were frogs, standing on their hind legs like men.  Couldn't have been more than a 110, 120 lbs each.  Starved, that's how they looked.  They fell on us like demons.  There must have been twenty, twenty-five of them, with razors for claws.  They came out of the air, leapin' at us like frogs, tearing us to pieces in less than a minute.

"I only survived because one of them knocked me on the head with a rock.  I fell, slid down the hillside and into a pond.  I could hear them screaming above me.  I swam to the shore and began running; I ran until I got to the Randaberg.  Then I came here."

"There's no guards outside of town," he explains.  Several people explain that the burghermeister took a lot of guards south.  "Well, there ought to be guards.  Ain't no wall in Stavanger.  There ought to be guards.  Whatever's out there, they took Sandvik's cattle and they attacked us.  There must be more of them.  I don't know where they've come from."

The tavern begins talking about the farms that were attacked, about the other rumors that have been heard.  The party learns that this attack took place near the north end of Store Stokka, just south of Randaberg, to the west.

Monday, April 17, 2017

The Rain Lets Up

The rain continues to pour until midnight, but the wind begins to slack off after six p.m. on the 2nd.  A slow, light rain continues the rest of the night, so that early risers see that Stavanger is still being pelted with rain as they rise around 6 to 7 in the morning.  At 9 o'clock there are still moments when it drops a little rain in fits and stops, something that is still going on by noon.

The weather has warmed somewhat, however, so that it is no longer chilly but merely brisk, warm enough that you can go outside without feeling cold straight through.  Of all of you, the half-orc feels this a little worse than the others, having grown up in a warmer clime.  The wind is only a gentle breeze out of the west.

Engelhart can find a maul for 29 s.p.  It weighs 8 lbs.  Lead bullets are available from the blacksmith, at 6 s.p. each.

It is a Tuesday.

Stavanger & Environs, 2-Mile Hexes

Arvid Hagen

A bit about the organization of religion in Norway.  Norwegian Lutheranism is controlled by four bishops in Norway, located at Trondheim, Bergen, Stavanger and Christiania (modern day Oslo). These bishops support the Monarchy in Copenhagen and Denmark regarding the strict practice of the ceremony, the distribution of tithes and the content that a pastor is allowed to address in sermons.  This has been so since a resolution was signed to this effect in 1605.  The goal was to suppress those religious leaders in Norway (as they had been in Denmark) from preaching predestination, the fall of humanity (natural sin), the doctrine of damnation for those not of the religion, the refusal to use wine in communion, the existence of saints and so on.  Inherent in this doctrine is that the monarchy is secondary to the church, and that the church should have the right to depose kings who do not adhere to the holy scripture, writings and teachings.  There have been many arrests of clerics who refuse to desist from preaching such things in Norwegian churches.

Arvid Hagen, the present-day Bishop of Bergen, is a follower of the party line but a nationalist who has written many pamphlets on the independence of the Norwegian church and the rightful independence of individual church leaders in their communities throughout Norway.  His argument is that the religious leaders of Norway should have the freedom to preach as they will, understanding that God will punish those who are wrong and promote those who are correct (a divine right at the level of the cleric, effectively).

Hagen has also written on paganism, explaining that the Christian god has prevailed over other religions because he is not merely an immortal figurehead, but is an esoteric spirit-being that occupies all the planes at the same time, the prime material, the ethereal, the astral and the outer planes.  Whereas a demi-god like Asmodeus has a residence, one does not travel to find God: God is everywhere.  All other gods exist in the universe as signposts to indicate the wicked and demonstrate the path of evil for those who are chosen by God to be righteous and saved.

Hagen preaches that there is little to learn from older faiths; whatever they once believed, this belief must be replaced by the word of God; the land must be clensed of their presence; their centres of power destroyed; the monsters of the wilderness not feared but overcome and brought down, so that God's light can be made to shine in every hollow, every burrow, every hole.

[I trust this is sufficient, and will give Engelhart some support for his own character's goals and ambitions].

Friday, April 14, 2017

Stormy Morning in Stavanger

May 2nd is a cold day, brisk certainly, with a near gale blowing out of the south.  It is strong enough to knock you off your feet today, so I'll have to rule that anyone resting can't go outside - the buffeting wind for just a 2 minute would be enough to cause physical trauma.  On top of that, there is a slashing rain, as three fingers of rain (width of three fingers) falls between 6 am and noon.  It is a truly awful day.

Given the weather, there is very little to hear as far as what is going on regarding the scene of the massacre.  You hear that the Swedish prince and the Stavanger Burghermeister were planning on riding south with fifty men to visit the scene, but that has been put off due to the weather.

Those who might want to do some shopping may want to reconsider.  The wind has been stiffening throughout the morning.  It would be an hour before noon just now and there is no sign of the rain letting up.

But, if you're not worried about healing, the shops will still be open.  The stockyard and the town market are closed, as those are open air markets, so you can't buy anything from those lists today.  They're closed.

In other news, I have this upgraded map to offer:

Treat the white areas as unexplored or ill-defined in your memories.  Hexes are still 6.67 miles in diameter.  The village to the south, near the barracks, should be named Verdalen.  The name got missed.

I had told Engelhart a couple days ago that I would rather not do the map if the party might not stay in the region, and then I went ahead and started doing it after thinking it would probably be useful.  I haven't used this generation scheme in so long I had to actually go back into my old posts to remember how it was done ~ and then I remembered how much fun it was to do this, so I got into it and now the map above exists.  I was thinking I might do a post on the subject as well.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017


That evening, still May 1st, as you eat your meals at the inn where you are resting, you will overhear some news that is sweeping the town.  This will be for everyone, regardless of whether you are together or not.  I will allow, however, for you to each sit together by a fire in the same location, suspending the distance you will have to walk as short enough to not risk your healing for the day, so that you may communicate with each other.

A collection of three farmhouses, about three miles south of Stavanger, were attacked and burned at some time between nine a.m. and noon this morning.  Fourteen men, women and children were beaten to death with what seems to have been heavy weapons, probably made of stone judging by the skulls that were split open and the bones that were smashed and broken.  Each body was struck at least a dozen times.  Some were struck so often that the bodies came apart.

The attackers left no footprints, nothing that showed who and what they were.  The bodies were found by a delivery wagon that was there to bring thatch for the repair of one of the houses.  The inhabitants were landholders who owned their own land and were well respected in Stavanger: The Larsen Family, the Mathisen Family and the Rasmussen Family.  Lars Larsen, the eldest son of his family, had been to Christiania and come back as a trained physician three years ago and usually lived in Stavanger.  He was visiting his family last night.

Stavanger is shocked and confused tonight.

In answer to a question below, I've generated a rough map of the area around Stavanger.  One hex equals 6.67 miles.

Disregard the numbers.  They're just notes.

Sorry if it is difficult to read.  Some of the small labelling is in 5 point font.