Grisly Eye Games

Black Griffin Campaign Diary (Session 35)

This is the sixth 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!

Black Griffin Encampment Map Preview
Scene V: Debrief 1

When we last saw our (mis)adventurers they had just fought off an ambush by foul swine clearly attempting to sabotage the Company's defences. Having dealt with the creatures, we join Orin and Biron as they report the night's events to Sergeant Agata.

Agata
Well, spit it out private. I don't have all day-- er night!
Orin

Err, some sort of... pig-like creature...

There were four of them. They took down the northwest tower.

It sounds mad, I know. Ba is hiding outside with their corpses... and one captive.

Biron
walks to the entrance of Agata's tent and gives a low cough before entering in behind Orin.
Ba'Raknul
creeps closer after the other two enter the tent and waits for a call.
Agata

peers at Orin.

Are you on the camp wine, private?

Orin

coughs and puts an arm in front of their wineskin.

Of course not...

Agata

turns to Biron.

Corporal, what on earth are they talking about?

Biron
Four infiltrators came. They attacked. We killed them, all but one.
Orin

steps to the tent's door and opens it a little.

whispering Come in, Ba.

Biron
Ma’am, they do not appear to be human.
Ba'Raknul
steps in and drops the three dead creatures in one pile and the unconscious one in front of Agata.
Agata
jumps back.
Biron
coughs and looks at the beast men.
Agata

WHY ARE YOU DUMPING DEAD LIVESTOCK....

What the...

Her eyes narrow as she examines the dead creatures.

Biron
holds himself up straight and waits.
Orin
It's almost like what we faced in the Dismas sewers, but those were rats...
Agata

turns to the group.

By the Bastard…

Why. Have. YOU. DRESSED. DEAD. PIGS… AS SOLDIERS??

DO YOU THINK I'M STUPID?

Orin
steps back, shocked.
Ba'Raknul

grunts.

You think so little of us, that you think we’d mess around like that?

Biron
looks a little bit baffled. He walks to the unconscious beast man and kicks him to wake him, holding on to the back of him.

The creature squeals in its unconscious state before going limp again.

Agata

sighs, sits down, and pinches the bridge of her nose.

If I'd known having you lot on patrol would be so much trouble, I'd have done it myself.

Biron
looks at Ba, disapprovingly.
Agata
You're expecting me to believe that... pigs... attacked us?
Orin

nudges Biron.

Show her your sword.

Ba'Raknul
Wait ‘til it wakes. Inspect it... they carried blades and fired arrows.
Biron

looks at Orin coldly.

She's seen it.

He stands up straight again.

Ba'Raknul
Have the physician look over the dead. If you find us to be lying, you can punish us.
Orin
The sword Biron found at the farm bears the same mark as the belt these creatures are wearing.
Agata
Mark? What are you talking about, private?
Biron
produces the sword again for Agata.
Orin
points to the belt buckle.
Agata

examines the mark and shrugs.

Indeed.

Well... wake that creature up and give it a sword!

Orin
They or some of their cohort must have killed the Livelys.
Biron

nods.

He goes to pick the pig man up and starts shaking it.

The bloodied creature soon awakens, and starts squealing and thrashing in agony, Its strange, hoof-like hands trying to reach around to grasp Biron. Its black eyes filled with inhuman malevolence.

Biron

looks at Orin.

Dagger.

Ba'Raknul
gets close to the creature.
Orin
passes a dagger over.
Ba'Raknul

Listen! You have one chance... If you can kill this man you can go free.

points at Biron and steps back.

Biron
takes his own sword out and gives dagger to pig man as was asked.
Ba'Raknul
Nod if you understand.

With desperate speed the dagger is snatched from Biron's hand. It gives no inkling it understands what you told it, but it immediately starts to move towards Biron.

Biron
jumps back and raises his sword.
Ba'Raknul
looks to Agata and motions a hand.
Orin

draws an arrow and points it at the creature, waiting.

Don't try to run or attack anyone else.

Biron
growls at the pig and punches his chest. He puts the sword away and goes to grab the pig-man.

Biron easily grapples the thrashing creature just as it was about to make a dash through everyone's legs and to the tent exit. It squeals inhuman curses at everyone.

Ba'Raknul

moves to cover any exit and prepares himself to grab the creature should Biron lose hold.

You satisfied, Agata?

Agata

has moved to the edge of the tent as far from the creature as she can, her face pale. She looks older than she's ever look before.

Mother save us!

Kill that thing!

Biron
smiles and nods.
Ba'Raknul

tries to stop Biron.

We need to find out if there are more. They are organised.

The creature wriggles out of Biron's sweaty grip, drops to the floor and, with murderous intent, makes a run for Agata, leaping onto her desk... ...but not before Ba catches it in his grip.

Agata
KILL THAT BLASTED THING!
Orin
hesitates for just a second, looking between Agata and Ba, before finally releasing their arrow.

Orin’s arrow sends the creature flying, pinning it against one of the tent’s wooden poles where is hangs limply, looking like a discarded toy.

Agata
stands very still before slowly sitting down at her desk.
Biron
goes back to full upright position and steps back again, awaiting Agata.
Agata
sits very quietly, clearly thinking hard.

The silence is deafening.

Orin
holds their bow awkwardly in front of them, trying to look anywhere but at Agata or the corpses and fiddling with the cork of their wineskin.

After a short while, she speaks, so quietly you can barely hear.

Agata

Fetch Corporal Loth.

Now.

Ba'Raknul
nods and heads out to find Loth.
Biron
follows.
Orin
stands in the tent looking helpless, staring at the ceiling.

Ba and Biron easily locate Loth who sleeps in his smaller tent close to Agata's. He looks angry at being awoken, but nods and gestures for you to lead the way.

Ba'Raknul
leads him back to Agata.
Corporal Loth
strides into the tent ahead of Biron and Ba and stops, taking in the scene.
Biron
walks alongside both men, quiet and stern looking. Back in the tent, he again holds his usual position and waits instruction.
Agata

beckons Loth over and he cautiously approaches.

She whispers to him, he nods and starts scribbling something down on paper.

She stares at the paper for what seems like another age.

Orin

suddenly looks agitated, waving an arm over their shoulder.

muttering Shut up!

Agata

raises an eyebrow at Orin, but ignores the interruption and continues to stare intently at the paper Loth has written on.

mutters under her breath.

Witch Queens! Orcs!

She harrumphs.

Biron
tilts his head slightly at this name.
Ba'Raknul
You have to believe us. There are also rat people under Dismas.
Orin
looks confused.
Agata

Quiet, corporal!

She seems strangely stiff, formal with Ba in a way she isn't normally.

standing up Attention!

Biron
stands to attention.
Ba'Raknul
stands to attention.
Corporal Loth
stands to attention and salutes immediately.
Orin
stands taller, but is otherwise unsure of how to conduct themself.
Agata

This is how this is going to go:

First thing, no one is to mention anything about these... creatures to anyone else.

Do you all understand me?

Orin
nods dumbly.
Biron
gives solid nod.
Ba'Raknul
nods stiffly.
Agata

If anyone so much as mentions the word ‘orc’ I'll have them court-martialed and executed so fast, your shit will still be warm in your pants when they bury you!

Understand?!

And I want a ‘yes, ser’!

Orin
What's an orc?
Ba'Raknul
Yes, ser.
Biron

gives second nod.

loudly growling Yes, ser.

Orin
Er, yes ser?
Agata

glowers so hard at Orin they can almost imagine the room getting hotter.

Do not try me, private!

Orin
Couldn't imagine it, ser.
Biron
gives Orin a sharp and angry look.
Agata

Secondly, you are to strip these bodies, wrap them up in sacks and dispose of them in the lime pits.

No one, and I mean no one, is to see these bodies!

Understood?

Ba'Raknul
Yes, ser.
Orin

looks at Biron.

Errr...

Biron
Yes, ser.
Orin
gives Ba a pleading look.
Ba'Raknul
closes his eyes and nods.
Orin
Yes, ser?
Agata
Let me be clear: if word gets out that... these... things... monsters are attacking the camp, we'll have so many desertions this place will look like the king's chamber pot.
Biron
nods again.
Orin
Yes, ser.
Biron
We will be on it, right away.
Ba'Raknul
coughs awkwardly.
Biron
bows and moves toward the still hanging body of the orc.
Ba'Raknul

Ser, we need a better warning system... a bell or something. At the moment I’ve told all to use fire arrows but it’s not great. And maybe lanterns should be set up at the base of all the towers.

Biron
pauses a moment and thinks about something before carrying on with his task.
Ba'Raknul
begins stripping the bodies.
Orin
stands at 'attention' a little longer, unsure how to react, but eventually takes the others' lead and starts removing weapons and gear from the creatures.
Agata
I didn't dismiss you yet!
Ba'Raknul
stops.
Orin
drops everything in their hands and stands straight up with their hands close against their thighs.
Sergeant Agata

Corporal Ba, I'll take that into consideration but I have a lot... to think about.

After you've done that break your fast, get some rest, and report to me immediately before you start your patrol tonight.

And... good work.

Dismissed!

Ba'Raknul
bows low.
Orin
looks even more confused at the compliment.
Ba'Raknul
Thank you, ser.

Ba'Raknul continues to strip and wrap the bodies in whatever is available, revealing the strangely pale, wormlike forms beneath.

Orin
helps Ba and Biron finish up.
Ba'Raknul

hauls up as many as he can carry.

Orin, lead the way and make sure we don’t run into anyone.

Orin
pokes their head out the tent flap to look for observers.

Outside, dawn is breaking. The rest of the camp stirs, but the fetches work on a different schedule and this part of the camp is still quiet.

Orin
waves for the others to follow, then heads for the north gate using the tents for cover.
Ba'Raknul
follows Orin out once they give the signal.
Biron
remains standing at attention to Agata after Ba and Orin have left the tent.
Agata
What is it, Corporal Biron?
Biron

Ma'am, one thought I'd like to add.

The boy, from the farm… they got attacked by possibly the same creatures. It's where I found this sword. You may want to keep a watch on the boy so he doesn't spread rumours of what he saw.

It will probably be seen as confusion and imagination, but I would like this to be brought to your attention.

He bows and nods

Agata

nods.

I'll have him isolated and guarded.

Thank you, Corporal Biron.

Biron

gives a nod and leaves to follow the group.

He jogs slightly to catch up with the rest.

We need bags to wrap the bodies.

Orin

stops to think for a second.

Sacks from mess should do it.

Biron
I'll get them.
Orin
Meet us outside the north gate, in the ditch. Don't want the guards seeing.
Biron
nods as he leaves, diverting to pick up sacks from the mess.

The party smells the limepit well before they see its grim contents. As they leave the West Gate they spy a detail of privates throwing today's bodies into the foul crevasse. They all have their faces wrapped in cloth to stifle the stench and allay disease.

Ba'Raknul

whispering Let’s hide and wait.

They’ll leave.

Orin
Can we get to the wood's edge?
Ba'Raknul
looks around for somewhere to hide.

It would be easy to make it to the treeline without being seen.

Biron
grunts and nods toward the woods.
Orin

waves for the others to follow.

They duck into the treeline to hide in wait.

Biron

grunts.

Keep your guard up.

He extinguishes any torches we have before hiding in the tree line.

Ba'Raknul
follows stealthily.

The party squats amidst the trees and scrubs at the edge of Friar's Wood while the privates on lime pit duty work slowly and begrudgingly. The corporal in Ba and Biron bristle at the idea of such indiscipline but after a while they finish their work and trudge back to camp, removing their improvised face masks and grumbling to each other

The coast is soon clear!

Ba'Raknul
whispering We should cover our faces.
Biron
gives a single nod and pulls up a cloth to put around his face.
Ba'Raknul
pulls up his bandana.
Orin
I lost my spare shirt to the boy's arm...
Biron

rolls his eyes and shakes his head, not even looking at Orin.

We move.

Orin
pulls up their shirt from under their leather armour, getting it only just over their nose.
Ba'Raknul
begins slowly moving to the pit.
Biron
steps forwards with two of the bodies in a bag then moves quietly and quickly to the lime pit.

As the party approaches the lip of the pit, the sight that befalls them is like something from hell itself. A jumble of human bodies, squirming yet still. A dismembered hand pokes out from under a face here.

Biron
looks at the bodies and just grunts and shrugs the bodies off.
Orin
falters at the sight.

The sacks drop onto the mess, make a squelching sound that makes everyone shudder. And with that they join the still masses in the pit below.

Orin
Should we... I dunno... cover them with something?
Ba'Raknul

I don’t know if it’s needed at this point.

He bows his head.

This is no way to go.

Biron

thinks for a moment and steps next to Orin.

Good idea.

He goes to push Orin in.

Orin

ducks sharply and scrambles away from the edge on all fours.

They look at Biron with the utmost horror.

Biron
gives out a chuckle which sounds like a coughing cat and walks away.
Ba'Raknul

begins moving stealthy back to camp.

Let’s go.

Orin

remains sitting on the ground, panting loudly.

Just a... just a moment...

Ba'Raknul
stops but keeps an eye out.
Orin

takes a few moments then swallows and stands up, looking anywhere but at the pit.

Okay.

It's been a long night and everyone’s feet feel like lead as they make their weary way back to mess. The party mutely eats their meal and then retires to their tents where they instantly fall into a dark, dreamless sleep...

Orin
sleeps aided by the contents of their wineskin.
Scene VI: Ba's Test
Ba'Raknul
fights off the waves of tiredness as he makes his way towards Der Vynge’s tent. Passing a bucket of water, he dunks his head and moves quickly on.

Ba finds Der Vynge sitting outside his tent over a bucket of water. He carefully trims the strange goatee beard he sports. He doesn't seem to acknowledge Ba’s arrival at all.

Ba'Raknul
salutes as he arrives and stands to attention, waiting.

After a while he finishes, puts on his tunic and leather jerkin and turns to Ba.

Der Vynge
Musket?
Ba'Raknul

looks nervous.

My apologies, ser. I do not have one.

Der Vynge

scratches his chin and sighs, softly.

He goes into his tent and comes out bearing his own musket, a simple item with bronze inlay that has turned green with age.

He hands it to Ba.

Ba'Raknul

bows low.

Thank you, ser.

Der Vynge

points to a tower on the East wall, maybe 100 feet away. Upon it perches a crow.

Shoot.

Ba'Raknul

carefully takes a look at the gun.

He takes a deep breath, and brings the gun up to aim at the crow. He aims carefully for a second, trying to focus his ki.

At first Ba thinks he misses... but then a breath later the crow disappears in a cloud of feathers.

Der Vynge
nods. I teach.
Ba'Raknul

feels his body hum with the vibrations of the rifle he bows again.

It would be my honour to be your student.

Der Vynge

Yes. First…

He takes his musket off Ba.

Musket. You.

Ba'Raknul
nods I will get one.

Without another word the enigmatic rifleman walks off, clearly having said everything on the matter.

Ba'Raknul
thinks longs for a minute before heading off to bed, racking his brains for anywhere he might get a rifle.
Scene VII: Night 2

The party awakes that evening from a dark sleep, not feeling exactly refreshed, but certainly ready. The calls are going out for last meal of the day from the mess.

Biron
rolls out from his bed and stretches with a mighty yawn. It almost sounds like a deep bark. He gets ready and heads to the food hall.
Ba'Raknul

sits meditating and slowly eating some rations.

He eventually heads out to the food hall, eyes about for rifles or someone that might have access.

Ba looks around for stray muskets but, given their value, the only ones he sees are sported by the musketeers, who always carry them around and never let them leave their sight. Each one is distinctive as well, so not easily missed and even more easily recognised.

Biron arrives at the mess hall. The usual suspects are gathered in their various cliques: infantrymen here, fetches there, clerks, musketeers, and Hyde’s fetches all alone.

Biron
gets a plate of food and goes to sit in a back corner, alone as normal, and eats glaring out across the mess quietly.

The mess is all a murmur about the fallen tower. A group of infantrymen speculate as to who night have felled it. A young woman mentions something about pigs, but the rest laugh it off, much to the lass' humiliation.

Biron
stares at them all suspiciously. He thinks to himself... One of them, maybe more, is a traitor.
Ba'Raknul
heads in and sits by Biron.
Biron
eats his food in silence, doesn’t even acknowledge Ba.
Orin

doesn’t immediately go to mess after waking up.

The breakfast bell causes them to roll over on their camp bed, groaning. As they do their arm falls over their pack and they are suddenly reminded about the strange weapons they took from the pig men.

They reach for the sword strapped to their bag and remove it, looking it over while laying on their cot.

Like Biron's sword, it’s made of a strange steel. At first Orin thinks it is covered in soot, but if it has been blackened by flame, its somehow now part of the steel.

Orin
holds the shortsword in their hand and gives it a few swings to feel its weight.

It feels much like any shortsword, though the blade is wicked and Orin nearly cut themselves swishing it. If they didn't know better they'd say it... hated Orin?

Orin
gives it a perplexed look, but sits up, sets the sword down, and picks up the bow.

It seems much like any shortbow, although made of the same metal, but it appears to have the suppleness of your own, wooden bows. Very strange.

Orin
gives the bow's string a tug.

The string itself seems made of metal, but springs as easily as any freshly strung bow. Otherwise, you feel no abnormal effects.

Orin

frowns at the bow and tosses it across the tent.

As they get dressed they carefully replace the rapier in their belt with the strange shortsword, hoping it will prove itself to be as useful as Biron's new weapon.

They then head to mess for the evening meal, joining Biron and Ba.

Tonight's meal is grey gruel, described as ‘rabbit stew’. It tastes of anything but. A meal only the hungry would eat. The group reluctantly gulps it down and leave the mess.

Ba'Raknul
We need to head in for patrol.
Biron
growls and, again without words, goes back to his tent. He has started thinking about some javelins he picked up on a previous mission.
Ba'Raknul
stands and heads out to collect his stuff for watch.
Orin

Of course. I'll meet you at Agata's... there's just one more thing I need to do.

They head back with a thoughtful look on their face, to their tent where they pick up the shortbow again and inspect it’s crafting.

Orin has an idea about how to make similar, metallic strings that never need restringing, but they’ll need fletcher’s tools and access to a smithy.

Orin

leaves the bow behind again, satisfied with what they learnt, and goes to find a familiar face at the fetches' fire. They makes a secret exchange with them, replacing one of their skins with another that looks considerably more full.

They then go to meet the others at Agata's tent.

Biron
gets back to his tent and looks around to some of his ‘trophies’.
Ba'Raknul
gets his stuff and heads to Agata’s.
Biron

searches for and finds some javelins from the journey his and Ba's group took a while ago. He remembers these were used by the beast men back then, like his new sword.

He picks one up.

They are made of the same, strange blackened metal as the unsettling sword.

Biron
steps out with his Javelin. He feels the weight of it, then launches it at a clear area.

The javelin aims true and lands with a dull and ominous twang. Several heads turn, some shaking, but otherwise nothing abnormal happens.

Biron

shrugs and goes to pick it up, seeming a little disappointed, but keeps the javelin, and the others from his tent, for a fight if needed.

He then heads to Agata's tent.

Without his usual contempt, Loth shows the into the warm, smoke-filled interior Agata's tent. She stands with her back turned to the group, smoking her pipe. A young man stands in the corner, a private.

Biron
stands in silence and to attention.
Ba'Raknul
comes in, salutes, and stands to attention.
Orin
fondles the cork of their wineskin, standing awkwardly.
Agata
turns around Private, corporals. It appears we have a new adversary...

To be continued...