So when last we left our heroes, we'd arranged for Gentleman Jack Getz to getz arrestedz and thrown in the Bridgefair pokey to see if he could find some supporters of Prince Gway, rival of the hard chargin' Prince Hank, so that we could get in touch with him and let him know about a soon to happen invasion of hobgoblins in the sleepy little fishing villiage of Restenford, where we kind of lived.
Now, the plan being kind of half baked, we all sat down and tried to figure out some contingencies. The Warden of the Paladins had promised to remove Gentleman Jack from his cell and dump him in the city's corpse pit (which I guess we've established DOES exist) before he was executed, but the way things were looking, they were probably going to hang our erstwhile thief in the public square before that could happen, so we took stock of what we had and made plans for a rescue.
Fate had placed within our hands a couple of magical rings, one of Animal Control, and one of Water Walking, so we put our heads together and figured out what we could do with those to spring Getz. From what we found out from both casing the area of the city around the jail, and from asking bystanders who were getting their seats early for the hanging, the prisoners would be taken from gaol and lead across a bridge to the public square, where they would then do the hempen jig for everybody. So one thought was to smuggle the water walking ring to him and have him jump off the bridge.
Well, the best way to smuggle something, especially when you have a ring of Animal Control, is to get something like a rat or a pidgeon to do it, so we caught a rat, and the Deacon (almost typed D-con, heh...) ran a little experiment to see how it worked. Apparently, if you envision the animal taking an action, it will undertake that action, according to the way Paul adjudicated it, but there was no way to see how the animal was doing if it was out of sight.
So we ran an experiment where we tied a note to a rat's tail and tried to remote control it into the jail, making it run in, find Jack, wave it's tail at him for like five minutes or so, then scamper back to the Deacon.
The first try we lost the rat, so we rented a room in the Rusty Bucket so that the Deacon could concentrate harder, and tried again. This time, the rat made it through, and the message was passed to Jack, and he sent a message out saying he'd met a Gway supporter and they were gonna try to bust out tomorrow when they were due to be hanged.
Okay, so smuggling a ring in seemed moot. The next thought was to use the rings to assist in an escape. We talked about having a guy down on the river with the Ring of Water Walking, to do... something. We talked about putting the ring on a horse for an unexpected getaway opportunity. (Although how you get a ring on a horse is a whole 'nother area for discussion. We tabled that one.) We then decided the best course was to use the Ring of Animal Control to take control of a horse, hopefully one of the paladin's mounts, and use it as a surprise assailant on the guards, or if there was a cart pulling the condemned to the gallows, and remote control it out of danger.
So we nabbed another rat and sent it in with a note telling Gentleman Jack that if a horse bit him on the right shoulder, he should climb on and hold tight. When that one didn't come back as ordered, we tried again. This one apparently got in, but Getz had to bludgeon a prisoner to death to keep him from eating it, and the note got smudged up. (This all happened at the table, so I as a player know how it went down, but I don't know as The Deacon.) Things are tough when you're in the joint.
So anyhow, the next day rolls around, and the town's turned out for the big hanging. Jack and this other guy Rodger, who's apparently his guy from Gway, get loaded onto a rolling cage/wagon dealy and rolled down the street. We set Klint up on a rooftop, equipped with his Ring of Feather Fall, to snipe if necessary. The Deacon, Kashim, and Jantz the ranger are standing in the crowd on the far side of the bridge. The plan is to take control of the horse drawing the cart, and make it run for the south gate of Bridgefair, where we've got our henchmen Frog and Amos the One Armed Half Elf waiting with all of our mounts.
So the cart sets out, and it's moving slow 'cos of the noisy crowds celebrating another boffo hanging. (Ah, the days before cable TV.) There's a paladin leading the cart, plus 5 guards walking around it. The Deacon concentrates and hacks into the horse's hard drive, taking control of the animal and making it surge forward, although since it's got a big iron cage on wheels it's towing, it isn't really galloping forward like I envisioned it would.
That's when arrows started flying in from the surrounding buildings. This throws the crowd into a panic, and all h e double ten foot poles breaks loose. A bunch of elves uncloak (literally) and appear among the crowd, as one runs up to the back of the cart and starts working on the lock.
Jantz, I guess getting in the spirit of shooting at guys, draws his bow and plants a shaft in the paladin, which enrages him and sends him charging at the three of us. Kashim joins in the fray, and an all out slugfest between two of our guys and a paladin backed up by three guards sparks up at the end of the bridge.
This leaves the Deacon standing by himself scowling and rubbing his temples, since I had to keep concentrating on the horse to keep it moving forward. If I broke concentration, the horse would not be controllable again. Of course, I was scowling and rubbing my temples for other reasons as well, like the sudden involvement of the party in a big brawl in the center of town...
Klint takes a shot at the guard left leading the horse and takes him out, so the cart rolls forward, despite anything anyone aboard wants to do about it. Roger, Gentleman Jack's cell mate, and his elf rescuer are left struggling with the lock on a moving cart, while a furious battle ensues behind them.
After a brutal exchange of blows, Jantz and Kashim are left pretty badly wounded, with Kashim going below 0 and getting broken ribs from the Crit table. They run after the cart and catch on to it, but are assaulted by more guards, and have to let go and keep fighting.
Commanded by the Deacon, the cart keeps trundling forward. The crowd sets up a cheer as it rolls into the public square, but are left kind of confused and disappointed as it just keeps on rolling past the gallows and down the street. Maybe the next one will stop...
Having shot for effect, Klint leapt off the roof and drifts down to the street with his magic ring, then makes his way toward the rendezvous point at the South Gate.
Jantz and Kashim have been left behind, and seem like they're in deep doo doo, but thankfully the elves who'd been in on the other escape plan spot them, drape them in elven cloaks, and hustle them out of the North Gate.
The cart actually makes it out of the South Gate past some inattentive guards and pulls up next to our henchmen and the horses. Klint joins them there, and sets to work picking the lock on the cage as an angry phalanx of attentive guardsmen are headed for the gate. Sadly, Klint didn't manage to open the lock, nor did the elf rescuer who'd held on through the whole wild ride. Finally, Gentleman Jack gave it a go and popped the lock. The group ran for the horses and rode for the hills.
Meanwhile, the Deacon snapped out of his trance casually walked through the crowd for the North Gate. On his way, he saw the stabbed up guards and paladin, and stopped to work some Cure Light Wounds. My take on it is this, thanks to this escape attempt, most of the party would now be persona non grata in Bridgefair, or perhaps any place Prince Hank might hold sway. I figured a dead paladin would put us deeper in dutch, so I healed him to keep any bad blood from getting TOO bad. Admittedly, the paladin warden didn't really come through with helping Jack escape, but it was kind of a loony plan to start with. Long story short, it's too soon to make permanent enemies on one side, so I patched as well as I could.
My good deed done, I sauntered up to the North gate to get the heck out of town. I figured the group would try to head East for the hills, so I made my way in that direction, and through happy chance and happenstance ran into Kashim, Jantz, and the elves.
I'll admit I was a little cheezed at those two for flipping out and going all stabby on the paladins, but Kashim's player pointed out that if they hadn't, the cart probably would have been stopped before it made it to the South Gate, which was where I kinda went tunnel visioned on the plan. I think my main beef with the party's action was that it kind of put them on the wrong side of the law, which is fine to a point if the law are bastards like Prince Hank, but conversely it's gonna make it tough for over half of the party to show their faces in Bridgefair right now. That's why I liked the remote controlled cart scheme. Plausible deniability. You wanna stick it to the man, stick it to him when he's not lookin' so you can stick him again at a time and place of your choosing...
Meanwhile, Frog, Amos, Klint, Gentleman Jack, the one elf, and Rodger, who turned out to have been a spy for Gway, decided to make for Gway's camp, but needed to stop at an island in the river out of town to pick up some important documents that Rodger had concealed.
And that's about where we left it. The party was separated, but we were on parallel paths, heading to Gway's camp. There's a lot of misadventure potential on the way there, though.
All told, a pretty action packed session. I wanna keep this Animal Control ring if I can, 'cos it has a lot of useful potential. We got a little experience for shanking some guards and a paladin, although as a Lawful character I'm not thrilled with getting my XP that way. Still and all, this was a real ripdinger of a session, with action, thrills, crazy plans going awry, and all sorts of tomfoolery. Our plan and the elves' plan were exactly opposite, and I'm sure it was a hoot for Paul to watch both exacting schemes not survive contact with both enemies AND allies. I gotta tip my hat to him for running another awesome, not by the book session of non-dungeon crawling craziness.
Bravo, sir, once again you earn a kudosaurus: And thanks to the rest of the 10d gamers as well.