20 October 2007

Bymill (II) - Ballock's Boyz

The last time we saw our heroes, they were lounging about in the shallow steaming tubs of the Bymill Baths. All except for Bjorn, of course. He was standing in the alleyway outside the Baths, his horse’s reins in one hand and his hammer in the other, wondering where the Party’s wagon had gone.

Heedless of the muck on his boots, he barged into the main foyer of the Baths, demanding to know where his colleagues were. He found Joraz and Breygon in fairly short order, but his innate sensibilities stopped him before he burst into the ladies’ side of the building. One of the bath attendants entered instead, and in only a few moments, the Party had re-assembled outside, still a little damp, and more than a little ticked.

Breygon and Greywind (who had accompanied his master into the building – who’s going to argue with a 200-pound wolf?) cast about for a few moments, and then picked up the wagon’s trail without too much difficulty. The wheel-tracks were lost quickly on the cobblestones, but Greywind knew the Party’s wagon horses well by scent, and had no problem following them.

The trail led the Party northwards, towards the Great Hall of the Allfather. It passed in front of the temple and then behind Varlgant Manor, heading up Temple Road, before hooking down a side street into a seedy, rather industrial part of town that they had not yet entered. With the rest of the Party following at a distance, Breygon and Gwen followed the tracks towards a large but relatively non-descript warehouse tucked away among a half-dozen others like it.

They checked the building over carefully. The walls were of heavy plank-on-beam construction, on a fieldstone foundation; the building appeared to be a good two stories high, with a low-pitched but tough-looking thatched covering. The building was roughly square, but had a small, one-story outbuilding attached to the back, and some sort of square protrusion on the north side – the direction from which they approached. There seemed to be large bay-type doors on the sides they could see (north and west), and a smaller door on the outbuilding. Breygon took a quick scouting mission around to the south side, and confirmed a third bay door – this one guarded by some rough-looking fellows.

After a hurried discussion of tactics, the Party moved to the door on the blank north wall, finding it locked. While Gwen worked at it with her picks, Joraz scaled the warehouse wall, moved soundlessly out onto the roof, and began to worry a hole in the thatching. A few moments later, the lock was open, and the fun began.

A large pile of jumbled crates lay immediately behind the doors. Bjorn was over them in a flash, and found the warehouse packed with goods, milling crowds of brigands, and – smack in the middle of the floor – their wagon, which was in the process of being unloaded. Gwen began launching arrows at everyone in sight, while Lyra blasted away at the petty criminals with Sleep spells and Magic Missiles. A moment later, Joraz leapt through his hole in the roof, and immediately engaged the bandits who were unloading the wagon.

At the front (i.e., southern) door, another battle was under way; Breygon and Greywind had sprung around the corner and cut into the half-dozen brigands guarding this principle entrance. One blast of Greywind’s icy breath and a few sword-cuts, and the majority of the enemy fled. Breygon and the wolf threw open the doors, and entered – only to find that the tactical situation inside had deteriorated somewhat in the interim.

Having spotted someone unusual in an office at the front of the building, Joraz had leapt off the wagon, heading for a new confrontation. He got it in the form of a lightning bolt that blasted a big, black hole in his rib cage, and dropped him like a stone (this was the monk’s first encounter with the negative side of the Hit Point ledger, but certainly not his last). Gwen was still pinned against the north wall, shooting at anyone who moved; Lyra was fighting with rapier in one hand, and slinging spells with the other; and Bjorn had been backed up against the wagon, and was dropping brigands left and right with heavy hammer-blows. Breygon engaged two more of the brigands near the front doors, while Greywind went for the fellow who had zapped Joraz – a Half-Elven sorcerer, as it turned out, who tried to launch another lightning bolt at the great wolf, only to be seized in Greywind’s jaws, and breathed on.

It was around this time that a new arrival entered the fight, appearing from the low out-building connected to the east side of the warehouse. This fellow showed up in a loose bathrobe, wielding a pair of fine swords, and nearly turned the tide, hacking away at Bjorn and Lyra like a man possessed. By this time, however, many of the brigands were dead, and the rest were trying to flee, pounding down the stairs from the balcony that ringed the warehouse’s second story, and bolting willy-nilly out the door. The Party let them go, and concentrated on the newcomer, while Greywind put the sorcerer down by biting his head off with a well-timed critical hit. Then the great wolf then turned his innate healing abilities on the stricken Joraz, saving the monk from certain death.

The combination of forces was too much; after a few more arrows and magic missles, and a couple of unpleasant whacks from the priest’s hammer, he turned and fled whence he had come, locking the door behind him. Gwen sorted that problem out in only a few moments, and the Party burst into what seemed to be a large, comfortably furnished apartment, where the newcomer – who turned out to be Glaive Ballock, King of the Bymill Brigands – was cowering in a corner, showing considerably less spine than the two underage entertainers he had hired for the evening.

Breygon (with Gwen’s enthusiastic goading) was disinclined to accept the man’s proffered surrender, but Bjorn argued them into taking him into custody, promising to watch him until he could be turned over to a lawful authority. The Party gave both of the girls a handful of gold and sent them on their way; then turned to systematically looting the room. Bjorn hog-tied Ballock, then healed Joraz and the others who had suffered wounds in the scuffle; and he and Joraz hustled Ballock off to the Great Hall, to be turned over to Father Hardfist, while Breygon, Gwen and Lyra remained behind to reload their wagon, along with the goodies they had discovered in Ballock’s chamber.
The Party reassembled at the Stag’s Head Tavern for a late dinner. After dining, Bjorn tidied himself up and reported to the Great Hall to assist Hardfist in Restoring Ankallys’ mind. While there, he met Hardfist’s Deacon, a young Battle Healer named Jurgen Wyekart. They brough Ankallys back to normal, and Bjorn left her under Wyekart’s care, promising to return to visit her on the morrow.

The other adventurers stayed at the Tavern, enjoying a much-needed rest while watching Lyra cast Detect Magic on their loot. They had moved everything into their suite (including the giant coffin full of silver bars, which took some doing), and it made an impressive pile. By the time Bjorn returned and reported on the healing of Ankallys, everyone was ready for a nightcap and bed. Greywind fell asleep on the floor before the fireplace, paws in the air, as was his wont.

They needed a good night’s sleep, because the next day was Harvest Festival – and it was going to be a very, VERY busy day.

Especially busy, seeing as how the half-orc who had tricked Bjorn was still at large.

And ESPECIALLY for Gwen.

Ballock’s Boys

Glaive Ballock is the king of brigands in Bymill; he runs the largest gang of cutpurses and sneak-thieves in town, known around the countryside as “Ballock’s Boys”. They have a hand in everything: the pickpockets, the grifters, the whores, the protection rackets...and the fencing of stolen objects. Usually they stay below the radar of the nobility - all except Ballock, who is known as a rake about town and something of a lady's man, and who has been putting his ill-gotten cash to use in the same manner as all brigands since time immemorial: buying politicians.

If the Party EVER leaves their wagon unattended for more than a few minutes, Ballock’s Boys will steal it (especially if they have been flaunting their wealth). The theft party will consist of one of Ballock’s deputies, 6-10 bully boys, and possibly Radobaul, the disfigured Elven sorcerer. If the party doesn’t notice the theft for more than 5 minutes, the group will have got away clean, which means they will have to be tracked to their warehouse. Depending on how badly they want somebody's stuff, they may even stage a feint to draw guards away from the goods.

It will take 5-10 minutes to get the wagon back to the warehouse (depending on where in town the theft takes place), and a further hour for Ballock’s Boys to empty it and begin to conceal its contents. Once it is empty, the wagon will be pushed into the river to float away (or sink, 25% chance); the horses will be taken out separately and sold to individual farmers the following day. The silver and coin will be secreted in Ballock’s strongroom, along with any kit that Radobaul identifies as magical; all of this will be laundered over the coming 1-4 days. After a week or so, some of the magical kit may turn up here in town (25% chance) or in Ellohyin (50%) or Bitterberg (25%).


Glaive Ballock (Zaran Human Warrior 12) HP 94, AC 17 (MW Studded Leather, or 14 clothed), Init+5, Longsword+1 and Shortsword+1 (matched set, Ekhani), Atk +12/+7/+2 and +8/+3/-2, F+8, R+4, W+4, Climb+10, Jump+10, Ride+12

Radobaul (High Elven Sorcerer 10) HP 41, AC 16 (+1 Bracers, +1 Ring), Init+6, Rapier+1 (Atk +6), Shortbow+9, F+5, R+6, W+9, Spellcraft+12, Conc+13, Spells 0:6, 1:7, 2:7, 3:7, 4:5, 5:3 (Charisma 18, Comeliness 3 due to facial deformity, clubfoot and hunchback) (3x Potions of Invisibility, 3x Potions of CSW, Scroll of Web x2, Hold Person x2, Wand of Sleep (CL 10/12 charges), Ring of Protection+1, Bracers+1, Wand of Lightning Bolt (CL10/9 charges). Well known around town as Ballock’s Factor. A thoroughly unpleasant and evil person.

Targus (Half-Orc Warrior 8) HP 80, AC 15 (Chainshirt), Morningstar +11/+6, Dam 1d8+3, F+6, R+2, W+2. A brutal thug without a conscience.

Owen (Oststrander Human Warrior 7) HP 40, AC 18 (+1 Studded Leather), Rapier +10/+5,, Dam 1d6, F+6, R+6, W+2. A dashing swordsman who dislikes foul play.

Blaine (Zaran Human Warrior 7) HP 55, AC 13 (Studded Leather), Club +8/+3, Dam 1d6, F+6, R+2, W+2. A good organizer, but a coward.

Ballock's Boys (40 Zaran humans, 12 Half-Orcs) Warrior 1, HP 5-10, AC 12-13 (Leather, Studded Leather), Shortsword or Club, Atk +1, Dam 1d6+1, F+2, R+0, W+0.

* * * * *

1. Main entrance, standard warehouse doors, 3-4 bully boys hanging around outside. 1 patrols the outside of the building once every 30 minutes.

2. Disused entrance. Locked (Average, open DC 25). Foot patrol every 30 minutes.

3. Factor’s office. Radobaul does the books and keeps people in line; when not out on missions, he works here. Desk contains ledgers, parchment, pens and a hidden compartment (Search DC 25) holding 1 Potion of Invisibility. Radobaul lives elsewhere in town, in a fine suite in a building not far from the Iron Caravel.

4. Warehouse Floor. Flagstones, uneven; dirty, broken bits of crates and jute sacking, some manure, a few nails. 2-12 bully boys lounging around, tidying, throwing dice, etc.

4(A) Fine goods: bales of good cloth, down for pillows, fine furniture, finished clothing.

4(B) Barrels of ale and wine

4(C) Used goods: furniture, clothing, weapons, armour, saddles, tack, miscellaneous tools and equipment

4(D) Chemicals (seed oils, vegetable oils, some whale oil, distilled spirit, turpentine, tar)

4(E) Rough goods: hardware, lumber, cheap furniture, canvas, unfinished wool and cotton, tanned hides, iron ingots, fine marble slabs, bar copper, lead ingots, fine sand (for glass)

5. Water closet (one-holer feeds into sewer system; water supply fed from rainwater barrels on roof)

6. Ballock’s guards. 3-4 bully boys (larger, with swords) stand guard here; no-one enters, ever (appointments are always held elsewhere). However, Ballock has an eye for the ladies, and they will let a beautiful women in, if she drops his name and lets them frisk her for weapons. He lives here and is always here at night, often with (hired) female company.

7. Ballock’s chamber. Fine wood walls and ceiling, polished hardwood floor, carpets, tapestries; almost garishly decorated. Numerous valuable tchotchkies everywhere (50-100 of them, each 1 lb, each worth 10-100 gp).

7(A) Massive walnut 4-poster bed with drawn silk curtains (w. 1000 gp); usually 1-2 town whores of the more attractive and dumb variety here (50%). Between the mattress and the ticking on the east side is a MW Shortsword in a gold-chased black leather scabbard, and a Potion of Bull’s Strength.

7(B) Wardrobe: contains numerous fine tunics and cloaks, hosen, boots, feathered hats and all manner of fashionable and noble attire, none of it too clean. Also contains a broken MW Longsword in a gold-chased black leather scabbard and a large wooden shield.

7(C) Chest (Locked, Good, Pick DC 30): TRAP: Poison Needle (Search DC 25, Disable DC 25, Attack+10, damage 1+poison [Giant Wasp Venom: DC 18, 1d6 Dex/1d6Dex]). Contains set of accounts books, 3 Potions of Stallion’s Performance, 2 Potions of CSW, 1 Potion of Remove Disease, 1 MW Dagger in a gold-chased black leather scabbard, and assorted rings, arm-bands and necklaces (30 items, value 10-60 gp each).

7(D) Chest (Unlocked). Contains various smallclothes, stockings, a pair of fine leather gloves, a pearl-encrusted gold goblet (125 gp).

7(E) Wine Barrel: top loose, gold wine ewer and 3 goblets on top; half-full of good red wine (a few dead bugs floating in it). In the bottom of the wine barrel is a handful of rough, uncut rubies (12 rubies, each worth 50 gp uncut, 200+GP if cut). Can’t be seen unless wine is emptied out (manual search DC 30).

7(F) Bookshelf: Heavy wooden bookshelf, full of rolled scrolls, a few illuminated manuscripts (including [Search DC 25] a copy of the “Evincum Haradi”, an ancient High Elven text of immense value to scholars [1000-6000 gp], detailing the fall of the Houses of Harad at the end of the Age of Wisdom).

Under the bookshelf (Search DC 30, or automatic if bookshelf is moved) is a bronze strongbox set into the floor with an amazing lock (Pick DC 40); Ballock carries the only key. The door has hardness 10 and 40 HP. It contains 12x10 pound gold bars, 2x10 pound hardsilver bars, 1200 SP in rolls of 100, and a wooden box of potion vials (12 vials: 4 each of Invisibility, Bull’s Strength, and Fire Breath).

8. Back door: Very good lock, opens easily from the inside, Pick DC 30 from the outside. Door has a “Magic Mouth” spell on it that, if opened by anyone other than Ballock, will shriek “Intruders! Intruders!” once every 5 seconds for 2 minutes. It can be heard in a 300’ radius, and anywhere inside the building.

NOTE: There is a 12’ drop from the 2nd floor to the 1st. The railing is wooden and flimsy, has Hardness 5, HP 5, and a break DC of 13. It is 8’ from the 2nd floor to the ceiling rafters, which peak at about 16’ from the second floor, or 28’ from the first.

9. Guard post: 2 bully boys at this table at all times (4 at night), watching the front door and listening for intruders. Armed with Lt Xbows.

10. Arms locker: contains 6 Lt Xbows, 10 average shortswords, 22 clubs, 2 morningstars, and 11 quivers with 12 bolts each.

11. Common tables: 3-12 bully boys here at any time during the day, 1-2 sleeping on the tables at night. Dirty, half-eaten food, empty mugs.

12. Blaine’s corner. Wardrobe contains dirty tunics and trousers, boots, a heavy winter cape and a rusty battleaxe. Bedding has a dagger under the pillow. Chest contains smallclothes, a leather sack of 45 CP and 12 SP, a hand axe, a full wineskin and a dried loaf of rye bread.

13. Targus’ corner. Wardrobe contains dirty Hide Armour, a Dire Flail, winter boots, a heavy winter cloak with hood, a desiccated elf’s head and hands. Chest contains a small wooden strongbox, locked (Pick DC 25), containing 45 GP and 150 SP; smallclothes; a Potion of CLW, a pair of good quality manacles; a bulls-eye lantern, half-full of oil; and a waxed box containing 11 tindertwigs.

14. Owen’s corner. Wardrobe contains clean, elegant clothing in small sizes; good boots and shoes, and a fine woolen cloak with silk lining (v. 50 gp). It also contains a spare rapier (normal), a small MW buckler and composite shortbow and quiver containing 24 arrows. Behind the back wall of the cabinet (Search DC 28) is a secret door that opens in the wall of the warehouse, with a 6’ drop to the roof of the garderobe below.

The chest is locked (Pick DC 30) and contains smallclothes, a number of scrolls (all novels), a purse of 250 SP and another of 150 gp, as well as 4 Potions of CLW. At the bottom of the chest is a secret compartment (SEARCH DC 30) containing a Potion of Flying, a Potion of Invisibility, a gold and emerald necklace v. 1000 gp, and a gold and emerald ring v. 500 gp. The barrels contain average quality ale.