Wild Kingdom, Andorra Edition (Summer 1245)

It takes a few days to get there at your pace, during which you are exposed to the glorious outdoors of this mountain land. If I were a 20th century British author, there would be eighteen pages of flowing descriptions of the same rolling green hills.
As for a bird's eye view of the area, I offer Google Maps. I pinned the location of the covenant, but not the other sites. As a vague estimate, where you had met the ogre is about a league south of the covenant. Where you are headed is about a league northwest of the covenant. Maybe two.

You have questions about the covenant and the drakes. LLet me think of some random data bites.

  • The covenant was founded just after the Schism War by Delendos filius Flambeau and Valdarius of Flambeau fomerley of Verditius. The Andorran Guard are descended from the legacy of the veteran shield grogs that served these two during that war.
  • Back in 1220, there was an expedition to locate the lost covenant of Val-Negra. That's when Roger died. The renegade magus Metron of Flambeau had torched a building. Roger rescued a child from that building. The child survived the blast, Roger did not. His memory of the details are hazy. The next day, when the party awoke in the Magic Realm (they had to sleep in some strange field in order to pass from the Regio into the Realm), Roger woke up right there with them as if nothing happened.
  • The Drake Hunts of the old days keep being mentioned. The last one was in the mid 20's I think. The previous Pontifex, Archmagus Antonio of Flambeau, he was the classic stereotype. And he liked to hunt monsters. He had these three custos, his personal shield grogs, that are legends in the tales of the Andorran Guard. Moses, Lawrence, and Shemp. They faced ogres, goblins, wyverns, fire drakes, salt wyrms, lindwurms, giants, herensuge, infernal sorcerers, malicious 'afrieet, the catoblebas, and many more.
    • The trick here is that, because of the lore of the Andorran Guard, they know what the senior magi will not admit out loud. Though it is written into the rulings and protocol as a treaty, the arrangement between Andorra and Sigmundo is an alliance. Moses and the others were there when Antonio met the elder dragon face to face, and they saw the dragons true form.
  • Drakes and dragon-kind are not as common as stories may lead one to believe, but far more common than one would wish for. In real-life history, the actual records of the day mention dragon sightings as casually as the weather report on the news. And, in this very saga, about ten years ago, their was a literal dragon war between two vying factions of intelligent dragons. You can't just cover this stuff up.
  • Drakes have that classic body style, four limbs, two wings, tail, snout, scales, etc. They are usually associated with fire, but not always. Wyverns have wings and two legs, with a long whip like tail and huge fangs. They are usually associated with venom and poison, but not always. Then various wyrms have no wings and usually no legs. Almost like a giant serpent, but with a very draconic head and scales.
  • OOC: As for these three in question, as mentioned, they are cousins of one of the senior magi of the covenant and are under protection. More information can be found in the Bestiary entry for the Three Rogue Firedrakes. Keep in mind that those entries represent the best most recent knowledge about them since last encountered. This information had been updated to about 1240 from when they were first encountered back around 1223. They are due for another update after this is all over. If you are wondering why and how magic creatures need regular updating, read the entry closer and talk to Vibria about the Mists.
  • OOC: on a related note, a past player named Brin has asked to join us. As we are full up on magi, I asked her to play Roger to start off with as we sort things out. Brin played in that old Drake Hunt story I keep mentioning, and is an avid reader of the stories. I figured that she would be a good fit for Roger. It also makes it easier on me because I can funnel undiluted data and links through a single player, and let them think of how to filter it and turn it into dialogue. I can then focus more on narration and advancing the story.
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For your entertainment...
The Owlbear Song

Right, the Woad is taking in and trying to remember all the geography an lore of the locale. His ambition is to learn Area Lore.
As the silent type, he doesn't do a whole lot of talking while trekking. But at night at the campfire he raises the question:

So, who will be the one speaking to thje dragon? And what is our strategy?

Edith nods in agreement.
Good point. We should figure this out ahead of time. I say that, since Oscar and Roger have met this Simon before, we have one of them engage him as our herald and request a parley. Then, seeing as how Marcellus has a knack with mountain beasts, we put him in charge of negotiations.

If things turn sour, we bug out immediately. I can Flex Cast the Wizard's Leap. Mundane's first. That can only help one of us at a time. I'll jump Oscar out first. The boys can leap others by carying them. They will have orders to grab Snafu and Mateu. He will love that!. Then, with the mundanes removed, the boys and I will get you, Ikelos, and Marcellus. Your job is to work with Ikelos to protect Marcellus and yourselves long enough for us to evac you guys.
Roger is already a ghost and can handle himself.
The mule and the donkey, forget about them.

That's a dumb idea. We don't need to bring everyone face to face with a dragon. Have Snafu hang back with the mules at some safe spot. We should use either Oscar or Roger as herald, notboth. Have Oscarhand back as well and send Roger in first. Like I said, he's already a ghost.
Then maybe you can cover the rest of us with invisibility?

Marcellus is taken aback by the idea that he should be the one to negociate with the dragon. "What? Me? Negociate with the dragon?" After a moment of surprise, he adds, "Cool!"

OOC I was about to call her mad, since Marcellus has no negociation skills. But Optimistic kicked in. :grin:

Okay, I made the rolls for Wandering Monsters on the Outdoors Adventures Sub-Table (1st edition Dungeon Master's Guide).
Everything checks out fine. You are approaching the gorge that leads to your destination. It is mid-morning. Recon via levitation reveals a run down shack with a broken fenced yard. No signs of activity.

So, is this Featherbottom's old cabin? The Woad think we should search it and the area again, even though it looks deserted and propably has been searched before. He will do that, if someone else keeps watch. One never knows if Ownbears prowl this area.

The Woad motiuons to move quietly and carefully down to the cabin, unless someone else intervenes.

Ikelos puts his hand on the Woad's shoulder. I would say to wait. What happens if there is a owlbear there? You will have to fight it and bring in the others to help. We are in an area that we should not be in due to the treaty to negotiate with a drake who protects them. To injure or kill one before we begin to talk dooms our efforts from the start.

Perhaps you are right sodales. The cottage will not go anywhere. Marcellus should speak to the dragon first.

Marcellus nods.

Then may I presume Marcellus and Roger are cautiously approaching the cabin? What precautions do you take? Or do you have a different plan? Think carefully. Have Marcellus talk with Roger and let me know what you are doing.

(Roger is being played by Brin).

OOC: Is the cabin where the Drake is located or just an area to scout? If it is scouting then Ikelos may be the best one to do it.

OOC: I think it’s the cabin Featherbottom the wizard once lived in, the one who created the owlbears. But I might be mistaken

I would suggest sending one person who might know what they are looking for. I can help by making them invisible, soundless and with no odor. I can go but I would not know anything of tracks or anything requiring woodcraft.

OOC: This is indeed the cabin that Featherbottom once resided in. It matches the description from the records left by Vocis and Vibria many years ago. Just to throw you guys a bone, Roger (who studies lore) has read up on this information.
There is no way to know if this is where Simon the Firedrake is. Originally it was just on the list of locations to scout. But you found out from Iker the Ogre that this area is where the owlbears reside and that Simon declared it a sanctuary.
Take note! This is not the drake sanctuary area. That is several days to the west, near Sigmundo's cave. This is our jurisdiction. That is why Featherbottom had to be confronted in the first place.
There is a bit of confusion, maybe somewhat deliberate to reflect the distortion of second and third hand knowledge. I am trying to be a good GM and not give away all the info at once nor allow NPCs to steal the spotlight.
To be technical, drakes in our area are not protected by treaty. The deal with Simon and his two brothers is that they are blood relatives to a senior maga of the covenant (as mentioned, Vibria of Flambeau, who is played by Peregrine of Bjornaer).
But it is very easy to view these things as entangled or as the same thing. And it makes sense for these characters to see it that way.

All right Sodales. This is the cabin where the late Featherbottom once lived. It might have clues and we can’t afford to not pursue this. Just how big is Simon the Drake, could he be inside? The Woad thinks drakes are bigger and require better dwellings.
We are in a place where the drakes aren’t forbidden no fight - not that the Woad desires this just yet - but he guesses we are fair game as well. So maybe Marcellus should go see? The Woad will gladly accompany him for safety.
And we are in an area where OIwlbears might be found so we need to be careful.

Good point. Simon is at least size +2, and obese. However, Featherbottom designed the cabin to accommodate his heartbeast size, also +2. And the broken fence was once enchanted or enspelled to serve as a reverse ward and keep him locked inside whenever his berserk rake gripped him.

Roger thinks for a moment.

Safest for all here maybe I wander down me self as a spirit? I mustn’t do it often, going back ‘n forth, I mean. But if there’s owlbears in there, it will get violent otherwise. Wouldn’t want any you gettin ‘urt an’ killin ‘em would be Impolite.

Roger looks to the Magi expectantly.

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Marcellus considers Roger's proposal for a moment, then nods his agreement.

Roger will then go incorporeal and make his way to the cabin. Keeping an eye out with Second Sight. If there isn’t a reason to stop he’ll start to investigate the cabin, being cautious of any magical traps that may have been left by it’s previous inhabitant.