The cast of characters:
- Julia Maxima, the Bearded Lady (Dwarf Cleric 1). Stern leader and cook of the circus.
- Pointy Kid, the Knife Thrower (Halfling Thief 1). Sly acrobat with a pipeweed addiction.
- Callisto, Master of Illusions (Human Magic-User 1). Archmage of the Highest Order, Keeper of Forbidden Knowledge. Obviously, he has a creepy ventriloquist dummy.
- Sheila, the Odalisque (Elf Fighter/Magic-User 1). Exotic dancer and all-around cool girl. She won’t agree to be sawn into two halves.
Session 1: The Road to Abazar
The Magnificent Adventuring Circus sets out to chart a new route between Treble Cliff and the Dwarven hamlet called Abazar. Julia Maxima thinks that they might put on a show there and earn a couple of coins. She is preparing a special standup comedy act in Dwarvish.
Day 1 [travel from 3907 to 3806 (plains, grassland), weather favorable, no random encounter]
The trip starts out quite peacefully. The garishly painted circus wagon slowly rolls through the grasslands to the north-west of Treble Cliff. Large patches of purple orchids bloom here: Julia Maxima weaves a couple of flowers into her beard, while Callisto presents a floral wreath to Sheila.
+ [travel from 3806 to 3706 (mountain, grassland), weather worsening, no random encounter]
After lunch, however, the going gets harder. There is the occasional drizzle of rain. The terrain becomes steeper as the circus travels into the northern reaches of the mountainous area. Ominous, crudely carved totem poles dot the landscape. They seem to depict a stork-beaked evil deity – perhaps set up by the goblins of 3707?
As night falls, the party sets up camp. They warm by the fire, then retire to sleep in the wagon, with a single 2-hour watch for each of them. Luckily, no monster wanders by during the night. Julia Maxima prays to Yucla, “the small and grotesque god of laughter”.
Day 2 [travel from 3706 to 3606 (dense forest & swamp, river, the settlement of Abazar), weather worsening, no random encounter]
Dawn brings heavy rains. The circus wagon gets stuck in the mud, and it takes many hours, all the strength of Julia Maxima and all the slyness of Pointy Kid to get it moving. Callisto fakes indigestion so that he doesn’t have to help. Sheila stands on watch, but it looks like monsters hate this weather as well and remain in the lairs.
However, the party definitely doesn’t want to stay in this area too long, and a forced march is ordered to at least get down from the mountains. By nightfall they reach the edge of the dense forest, but they are too tired to go through it in the darkness and set up camp. The rain stops, and there are no nocturnal encounters.
Day 3 [travel inside 3606 (dense forest & swamp, river, the settlement of Abazar), weather favorable, random encounter: the Troll that lives in this hex (party non surprised, monster surprised)]
After an early breakfast, the circus rolls out – the ground is no longer muddy, but the trailless dense forest is a challenge to traverse for the circus wagon. There is the smell of decay and rot in the still air. Bamboo the draught horse neighs with disgust. Julia Maxima tries her best to find the way towards the river and Abazar. Pointy Kid is on lookout, and sits atop the wagon. From this vantage point, he manages to spot a large, putrid gray creature. The monster is busy feeding, hunched over the half-rotten carcass of a deer… and, luckily, doesn’t notice the wagon at first, and then doesn’t pay attention to them. The circus gets away this time!
Around 4 o’clock, they finally reach the hamlet of Abazar, and plan to put on a show in the evening…
To be continued!
[Hex 3606] Abazar, Dwarven hamlet, population 49. Sits on a river, dense forest on one side, swamp lands on the other side.
Industries, locations, shops: dock, boatwright, lumbercamp, butcher, tavern (“The Sleeping Ogre”)
Community of river dwarf woodcutters and raftsmen. Gruff, unfriendly folks, especially to non-dwarves.
Known dangers: a Troll lurks in the nearby swamp and forest.