Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Negotiating in bad faith


‘I don’t know who killed the troll child but I killed your Jarl.’ – Ugh practises diplomacy.
The temple guards bowed respectfully and opened the door of the shrine. Jana strode into the hall and up to the altar. There she paused in quiet reflection till the Patriarch approached.

‘You looked troubled.’ The Patriarch noted. ‘I take it the latest venture ended poorly. Was there more misbehavior on your companion’s part? I trust there was no further cannibalism?’

‘No, Ugh has reigned himself in. Instead I suspect Milgos slew a child, by accident for the dark elf has no malice in him. Still I find the act unsettling and it only serves to stiffen the resolve of our enemies. Nothing shocks me anymore Patriarch. From the way Milgos and Ugh talk about building towers and keeps it seems the end is nigh.’

‘Clearly you are troubled Jana. Best share your burden. I will listen.’

‘The last venture saw us clash again with the mountain trolls. We felt we had them routed but they returned to their lair in numbers. I, like the others grow weary of battling them. In the tunnels on the way in we had to deal with a small band of dark elf scouts. These dark elves are not like Milgos. They dress in lizard skins and their eyes have no pupils. They lasted barely ten seconds as Milgos tore into them with fire and ice magic. Clearly he harbors a great hatred for dark elves of all kinds. Interestingly they had a trained basilisk with them. Its head was hooded like a falcons and it was kept lashed to a handler’s pole. During the magical barrage the hood was torn asunder and for the briefest moment Milgos met it’s baleful gaze. He shook it off and the creature perished in a barrage of magic missiles.’

‘The trolls had repaired the great double doors which led into their domain. We knocked respectfully and Milgos attempted a subterfuge. Osric and Ugh chatting away in common spoiled his efforts. Osric’s half-elven accent was a particular give away. Credit where it is due however for Milgos would not stop trying to trick his way in. Alas brains would not suffice and so brawn would have to do. Ugh kicked the door in and a melee broke out with the guards. During the skirmish Milgos crept ahead discovering the troll hall, where previously he had disrupted a clan feast, was once again occupied by a score of mountain trolls. A trollish hag was organizing them for war and they marched to meet us in the hall where the door guards were continuing to mount a desperate defence. Acting swiftly Milgos blocked their approach with a wall of ice before alerting us that company was coming.'

The Patriarch interrupted. ‘Ah Milgos, once again acting impetuously and imperiling the group. Was it not his fireball into a crowded feast hall that slew the Jarl’s child and in so doing started this wretched vendetta?’

‘So it would seem Patriarch. Though Milgos' carelessness has not killed anyone but himself as yet. His quick thinking with the wall of ice bought us time to dispatch the mountain troll guards. The last fell before the pair of savage war shrews Osric had brought along. We headed north towards the kitchens, hoping to bypass the bulk of the trolls only to run into the troll hag and some guards. She asked to parley and for a while things looked to be going amicably.
Where is your leader?’ the troll hag asked. Milgos answered from the anonymity afforded by his invisibility.
Show yourself. How can we negotiate in good faith when you will not show yourself.’ The hag continued. Milgos was unmoved and so Ugh took up negotiations claiming to be the leader of the group. Ugh speaking for the party should have been warning enough that things would turn sour but alas this appears to be a lesson we have to learn the hard way.
The one question I have for you is this…’ Began the troll hag.
We ask the questions.’ Ugh interrupted.
Just this single question answered and we shall end our grievances. Who was it that turned the Jarl’s son to ash? Who slew the Jarl?’
‘That’s two questions but I shall answer you. I don’t know who killed the child but I claim credit for slaying your king.’
‘At the news the troll jarl’s wife, who had been invisible up to this point, shrieked bloody vengeance and invoked an ancient trollish curse. Ugh transformed before my eyes. His hands and feet became hooves, horns sprouted from his forehead, his body shrunk and he grew a great beard. He had become a goat!’

Ugh transformed - possibly gaining a charisma point or two
‘Even with our frontline fighter goatified we were able to put the mountain trolls to the sword. The trollish hag was last to fall detonating a great blast of fire that felled Milgos momentarily and charred the war shrews. At the cessation of hostilities I set about dispelling the enchantment on Ugh. It was not long before he was back to his normal self. I must admit I had half a mind to leave him in goat form but Milgos and Osric wouldn’t have allowed that. The loot was particularly scarce as it was apparent that we had cleaned them out on the last foray. There are still some trolls skulking about down there though they will mostly be maids. If they are smart they will leave and trouble us no more. I pray we do not fight them again for I have had enough of slaying mountain trolls.'

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