Grisly Eye Games

Black Griffin Campaign Diary (Session 30)

This is the first campaign diary for my 5th Edition D&D playtest campaign, Black Griffin. Black Griffin is a play-by-chat game that runs every week on Roll20. The party are mercenaries in the employ of the infamous Company of the Black Griffin. Lowly even for sellswords, they have been placed on punishment duty as company fetches: bounty hunters charged with capture of deserters for trial.

The below is an edited log from of our in-character chat channel. We've added annotations so you can follow what's going on. Please enjoy!

Camp Patrol Act I

After escaping the clutches of Royalist interrogators, our band of misfit fetches find their way back to the Black Griffin Encampment and spend a week unwinding.

However, as you relax the rest of the camp is gearing up. The Company's Royalist clients are gathering forces for a push against the Commonwealth.

Black Griffin Encampment Map Preview
Scene I: The Debriefing

You awaken the next morn, ready to report to Agata for your debriefing.

Ba'Raknul

wakes early enough to finish off his new scar… added to the scars he already has, then heads over to Agata's tent

Orin

doesn't move or make a sound from within their tent

Biron

rolls outta bed and stretches, gets his gear and, with no words, heads straight to Agata's tent

The camp is restless as the regulars, artillery and officers prepare to move out. About you men and women are packing equipment, loading carts and moving heavy boxes of weapons.

Biron

arrives outside Agata's tent, stands up straight and awaits for the other arrivals

Ba'Raknul

walks by Orin’s tent

shouts You don't want the whipping they give for not showing up... Trust me it hurts.

Orin

hoarsely Stop yelling at me.

Ba'Raknul

Can’t say I didn’t warn you and carries on

Biron

gives single grunt of acknowledgement as Ba arrives but says nothing

Orin

Rolls out of bed still wearing their clothes and boots. They’re confused for a second but decide it's lucky since they don't have to get dressed. Stumbling out of their tent, they try to tuck in their shirt but somehow manage to only make it worse. They circle themself like a dog chasing its tail, trying to figure out what's gone wrong.

Loth

ducks out of Agata's tent, giving Ba and Biron a suspicious eye

nods his head, as though to ask what you want

Orin

stumbles up behind Ba and Biron, wavering and blocking out the sunlight with an arm

Ba'Raknul

nods We're here to report to Agata.

Biron

rolls his eyes when he sees Orin but still says nothing

Loth

rolls his eyes and opens the tent for you to enter

Ba'Raknul

nods again Thanks

enters

Loth

gives Orin a look of absolute contempt as they pass, his eyes flickering as though he can see something dancing about them

Biron

grunts towards Corporal Loth and follows Ba, steps into Agata's tent and stands up straight and in military style in front of her desk

You enter the now familiar and slightly comforting gloomy and smoke filled interior of Agata's tent.

Agata

turns to you all.

What

The

Fuck

Happened in Dismas?

Orin

giggles

Ba'Raknul

We were infiltrated shooting Orin a look

Biron

Looks angrily at Orin. Then looks at Ba but stays silent.

Orin

...by a smelly woman.

Ba'Raknul

Corporal Linus was dead before we even arrived.

Agata

He's dead?! How?

Orin

The smelly woman!

Ba'Raknul

Stabbed to death by the Sparrow.

Agata

Ah, yes, the Sparrow...

Orin:

She wrote me a letter...

pats their pockets looking for it, only to realise it was left in the tent

Agata

starts sorting through her paperwork, before fishing out a piece of paper and handing it to Ba

Take a look at the description of the three individuals in this warrant and tell me... do they remind you of anyone?

Ba'Raknul

takes it and begins reading

Agata

It is a warrant for high treason for three shady individuals and a dog... sound familiar?

Ba'Raknul

eyes widen at the DOG

Orin

tries to hide a giggle behind their sleeve

Ba'Raknul

River was a traitor

Orin

whips around to look at Ba

Don't you dare!

Ba'Raknul

shows the piece of paper to Orin

Biron

grunts but still stands still

Orin

This is Rothaniel's nonsense.

Ba'Raknul

What?

Orin

He never believed us.

turns back to Agata

We appealed to him for help but Ba insisted on secrecy. So he never believed who we are.

Agata

I think you better start from the beginning and this better be good or I'll have you executed myself!

Orin

That silly piece of paper is the result.

Ba'Raknul

realises his mistake and sighs

So we went to a royal guard we met for aid when we realise we were compromised.

Biron

looks at Ba slightly angry about the whole situation at Dismas

Ba'Raknul

He then asked for names of you and people in the camp so I said no... they were transporting us somewhere when the Commonwealth attacked and we escaped.

Not before saving Rothaniel's life and letting him walk home alive

Biron

Should have killed him.

Orin

And he STILL thought we were traitors.

Agata

And who exactly is Rothaniel?

Orin

We should've shaved more than his moustache...

Ba'Raknul

Rothaniel, ‘King’s Finest Shot’ is how he introduced himself.

Agata

YOU SHAVED HIS MUSTACHE?!?

Ba'Raknul

So as not to be recognised.

Orin

turns red, not sure whether to laugh or run away

Ba'Raknul

We had a while to travel with him as a captive to be sure we were safe.

Orin

He didn't have to be a captive, only he refused to cooperate.

Ba'Raknul

I had hoped he would help us escape the city and I was wrong. That is on me.

Agata

rubs the bridge of her nose and sighs heavily

You don't make my job easy.

Orin

He was going to execute us then and there if I hadn't talked him out of it. Instead he drove us into the forest to see someone else, when we were ambushed by the Commonwealth.

Ba'Raknul

Yes they have a base in the forest somewhere, it’s very secretive.

Biron

listening to his own story the others were saying rolls his own eyes and grunts a little in disbelief

Ba'Raknul

In the Kings Wood.

Agata

picks up the warrant Fortunately for you, I don't believe the three of you have the wits for high treason. I can handle this but... you need to tell me everything you know about the Sparrow.

Orin

She was smelly, and also thought we were idiots... or at least too polite for our own good.

Agata

turns to Orin She may well be right on that score.

Ba'Raknul

They were masters of disguise... I thought at one point that Linus had turned on us but I never thought it was someone undercover.

Agata

Did any of you get a look at them out of disguise?

Orin

cringes at the idea

Ba'Raknul

They took full advantage of the lack of communication and organisation in our ranks. And no.

Agata

It's rather your job to think on your feet in the field, and that's a shame. A physical description would set us all up for life. The Royalists pay dearly for any information.

Ba'Raknul

I will catch them.

Orin

I suspected them at first, but they always seemed to check out. I won't make that mistake again.

Agata

nods, smiling a little More importantly, why did the Sparrow let you live?

Orin

blushes

Ba'Raknul

Maybe she underestimates us.

Biron

snarls Maybe she saw us as useless.

Orin

I thought the note suggested she took a liking to us. We were kind to one of her compatriots.

Biron

Who we were sent to kill.

Orin

clears their throat Because we thought he was aiding us and was under pressure to work with the Commonwealth.

Biron

growls and blows some air out then again goes back to being quiet

Orin

He was just a child.

Agata

sits back down, pulls out her pipe, lights it and puffs heavily as she ponders what you have to say

It has come down from above from our... clients... that our focus should be on uncovering the Sparrow and her network of spies, The Flock.

They have agents everywhere... probably even in this camp.

Orin

looks to the left and right quickly and nearly loses their balance

Biron

snarls again

Agata

The Royalists would pay dearly for an alive agent they could interrogate... but it would be in our interests to interrogate any such individual ourselves, first.

You understand?

Ba'Raknul

nods

looks at Biron That means no killing.

Agata

picks up another piece of paper

Agata

I see you've signed up for patrol duty. At least you can't get into too much trouble doing that.

Biron

snarls

Ba'Raknul

What’s our route?

Agata

Patrol the perimeter. You'll be sharing duties with another patrol. They'll be on day shift, you'll be on the night shift but... before you do that I need you to run an errand.

There is a farm nearby, a family lives there. The Livelys. They provide us with fruit and vegetables but we haven't had a supply from them in a while.

Life is dangerous for commoners this close to the frontlines. I want to make sure... they're OK.

Understood?

Ba'Raknul

nods

Biron

gives a single grunt and nods

Agata

Good. You are dismissed.

Orin

rolls an Insight check: 5

Agata

drily And try not to commit any more treason.

Ba'Raknul

bows and leaves, waiting for the others outside the tent

Biron

follows Ba and walks out silently

Ba'Raknul

waits for Orin to exit before beginning to walk back to his tent

Orin

wringing their hands Erm... still no chance I might...

Agata

Dismissed, private.

Orin

Right... okay.

turns and walks out of the tent

The party meet outside Agata’s tent to discuss their next move.

Ba'Raknul

We should gather our things... if we are on night watch we'll need lamps... do we have enough oil?

Biron

nod We need more.

Ba'Raknul

Orin didn’t you say you had lamps?

Orin

One hooded lamp.

Ba'Raknul

Does it need oil?

Orin

Yes, I've got two flasks.

Ba'Raknul

Okay... also do we need anything to go check out this farm?

Biron

Torches probably most useful.

Orin

We need a way to get in there without somebody seeing us from a mile away...

Ba'Raknul

Okay let’s go get torches and some oil. Could we camouflage? I have a disguise kit in my tent?

Biron

rolls his eyes and angrily snarls

What’s with all the hiding? That’s what started the mess in Dismas!

Ba'Raknul

Incase it’s something bad.

Orin

What if there's a Flock agent hiding in there?

Biron

Then I think three random people, disguised or not, will not be welcome.

Orin

They'll shoot us down before we can even see them knocking the arrows.

Ba'Raknul

Or if they've turned... a sneaky look will always help.

Biron

snarls

Ba'Raknul

Not disguised.... camouflage... maybe for one or two of us will help us get an early look.

Orin

If there's an orchard or a crop of sweetcorn, we should be able to get pretty close without being seen.

Ba'Raknul

looks at Orin Can you use a disguise kit?

Orin

Well, sure? But I'm no expert.

Ba'Raknul

It’s on the edge of the forest.. we could approach from that side... and yeah it’s green and brown circles no expert needed.

If it’s in the woods we should have cover to approach.

Biron

growls

Ba'Raknul

turns and heads towards the trader tents

I’m going to get some oil and torches. Meet me by the gate if you need to do something.

Orin

stumbles over to their tent to pack their things

Biron

already packed, moves towards the gate and waits for the group

Ba'Raknul makes his way south through the camp, past the abandoned manor house the Captain Larke commandeered as his quarters, to the pathway southwards that exits the camp.

Here are the camp followers: traders hollering their prices, suspicious foods sizzling on fires, and catamites making flattering remarks.

What are you looking for here?

Ba'Raknul

looks around for a general goods trader

You see a meek looking man, quite out of place, selling such goods.

Ba'Raknul

heads over and bows Hello, Nice to meet you.

The trader

nervously greets you How may I help you... sir?

visibly gulps at your scars

Ba'Raknul

notices the nervousness of the man and smiles widely

I need three flasks of oil and ten torches, please.

The trader

stutters I have the torches, but only two flasks of oil sir.... yours... for three silver pieces...

Ba'Raknul

Three silver per bottle? And how much for the torches?

realises his blunder Oh.

My man, I have been in Dismas too long it seems. hands over three silver pieces

The trader

eagerly takes your money, hurriedly handing the items over to you, clearly petrified and only too glad to be done with your business

Ba'Raknul

leans in close to the man and eyes him looking for hint of lies and knowing he’s freaking him out asks quietly

Do you have anything interesting?

The trader

blanches Interesting...?

Ba'Raknul

Cool... deadly... wonderful... you're clearly a well travelled man.

Trader

is fairly shaking in his boots now

No... sir... I'm a gods fearing man, live by the very word of the Dictum, sir.

Ba'Raknul

eyes him deeply for a moment longer before smiling again

Have a wonderful day.

walks to the gate to meet Orin and Biron

Biron

Time to go.

Orin

Orin is waiting at the gate... sweaty and pale, but ready to go.

Preview of Farm Map
Scene II: Lively Farm

You set off for the Livelys' farm, just as your compatriots set off for the great push. With grim determination, phalanxes of mercenaries march northward.

You wave goodbye as they pass and they wave back, uncertainly. Perhaps this will be the last you will see of many of them, you ponder as you enter the sparse woods and trek towards the farm.

The weather is grey, and turns into a light drizzle, not entirely unpleasant, cool even, especially for Orin.

As you near the farm it is lunch and you all feel a great hunger.

What do you do?

Biron

grunts Are we there yet, I need to eat something.

Ba' Raknul

pauses a moment and scans around

Maybe we should break here... eat and continue more stealthily.

Orin

gives the rest an embarrassed look, since they have been ploughing through rations while they walked

Ba' Raknul

chuckles You can keep watch then.

Orin

Sure.

Biron

stops and starts to make camp

Orin

watches Biron Probably not a good idea to light a fire, though?

Ba'Raknul

No we should stick to cold rations" as he sits down and starts eating. We should only stay here an hour.

Orin

searches the horizon for trouble

Ba'Raknul

At most.. we still need to make it back for night watch duty.

You break and eat a portion of your rations each, while Orin warily watches the dripping woods about you.

Nothing untoward happens until you finish your dry repast, when you hear a keen, high wailing in the distance, coming from the direction of the farm.

It stops almost as soon as it starts, but you all shudder as though it suddenly got colder.

What do you do?

Biron

jumps to his feet with his axe, sniffs the air, and stares into the blackness

Ba' Raknul

stands again Okay we should go stealthy from here. Orin if you wanna go ahead 30 feet. Throw your hand straight up if we're to stop or shout if its bad.

Orin

That's highly coincidental. Do you think they saw us?

Ba'Raknul

I don’t know.. but if they did or not.. it won’t serve us to rush in.

Orin

nods

rolls a stealth check: 24

Ba'Raknul

rolls a stealth check: 9

Biron

rolls a stealth check: 18

Orin

Sets off ahead, stepping carefully through the brush. Behind them, Ba and Biron follow.

Biron

snarls Time to kill.

The two try to remain quiet, but Ba steps upon a stick by accident. The silence is broken and a startled flock of birds flies from a tree.

Orin

soon comes upon the farm

All seems quiet.

Ba'Raknul

waits for Orin’s signal

There are very clear signs the farmhouse has been attacked. Walls are fallen and the barn is charred as though someone had tried to burn it down.

What do you do?

Orin

raises their hand for the others to stop

Ba'Raknul

halts

Biron

stares around for any movement

All is still except for the dripping of water from the trees above.

Orin

moves quietly about 90 degrees around the farm, looking for details

rolls a perception check: 5

You see nothing untoward.

Biron

Let’s move in.

Orin

climbs a tall tree to see further into the farm's premises.

You get an impression of the internal layout of the farmhouse, and you can see the burned barn. Beyond seems to be some kind of ruin.

The door to the farmhouse appears to have been hacked to pieces.

What do you do?

Orin

walks back to the others and describes what they found

Ba'Raknul

whispers Hmm. Clearly an attack, but what of the wailing?

Biron

steps out and moves towards the buildings

Orin

Someone is clearly alive in there and in some distress. Or they know we're coming and it's a lure.

Ba'Raknul

nods in agreement

Biron

walks to the building where the sound came from and leans against the wall and listens

Ba'Raknul

Orin how do you feel about hiding in the tree there?

points to the tree jutting out a bit

Good vantage point.

Orin

Vantage point for what, exactly?

Ba'Raknul

Well if there’s no threat then no harm no foul... if there is threat then we can lead them into range... gives us an advantage."

Biron

calls out

Orin

And the two of you go in alone? Not that Biron's giving you much of a choice.

Ba'Raknul

looks over at Biron calling out

We'll get ready then, I guess.

unhooks his bow

Orin

rushes quietly to the tree and climbs, knocking an arrow.

As Biron approaches the farmhouse, he spies through the broken door a room that was once a kitchen. It is a a fright, furniture smashed to pieces, cooking utensils scattered everywhere.

Blood spatters the walls.

What does he do?

Biron

looks over to Ba and gestures with his head to follow

Ba'Raknul

moves up on Biron, bow out and ready

Biron

raises axe and steps towards the crack and listens

Silent as the grave, nothing stirs.

Biron

We should move. Be quick, people maybe here.

Ba'Raknul

Hence the idea of bait... however loads an arrow we can do this your way if you want.

Biron

smiles and nods

goes to front door and kicks door in hard and bursts in

Ba'Raknul

follows keeping a 10ft distance and arrow ready

Biron brushes away what little was left of the door and finds himself in what was once a family kitchen, now in disarray. Everything is broken, blood everywhere but... there are no bodies to be seen.

The only thing of note is a pot of soup that has spilled onto its side, spilling the thin gruel across the floor.

There are three other doors from this room.

What do you do?

Ba'Raknul

whispers to Biron On you.

Biron

checks the soup

It is thin - clearly the Livelys were not doing well - and very cold. It must've been some time since it was cooked.

Biron

This happened a while ago.

steps to the first door on the left

You check one of the other doors

Ba'Raknul

nods and moves to one of the other doors

Biron

opens door with shield up and axe held high

Ba'Raknul

opens simultaneously and draws his arrow

Biron’s door opens on what appears to be a pantry. Shelves filled with flour, pickles and various herbs. All strangely undisturbed... what kind of looters leave perfectly good food behind?

Meanwhile, Ba opens a door on what must’ve been a bedroom. This room is filled with sacks of wool and feathers all piled up on the floor. Clearly this is where the Livelys must've slept together in one big pile.

All is still and quiet.

Ba'Raknul

whispers to Biron Clear.

Biron

grunts

almost seems disappointed

steps to next door

Suddenly outside, Orin hears a rustling from the woods... all about them!

Prowling with deadly intent, wolves creep from the trees.

The alpha lets out a clear, mournful howl before the pack runs towards the house and the tree where Orin is!

Orin

whistles loudly

To be continued...