Saturday, February 9, 2013

Wampus County - Bumming about Frogport

Wampus County Expedition to Frogport - Week 1

"I am a voice in this wilderness, I must shout the good news, even if I have long known to whisper, because the world is always listening.  Someone needs to help people, and that's my calling, that is why death has overlooked me, so that I will not overlook death ..." - Millicent Cobweb, preaching in Frogport's central market.

With companions Abel Killejoy, journalist/bar promoter/rainbow magician, and the sycophantic dabbling mesmerizer that had been lurking about the Rat House running for beer, cleaning floors and begging coins in a most unseemly manner, Millicent Cobweb, and her new protegee Rebbecca (recently rescued from the tomb of a wagering mummy) decided to depart from the dusty street of Thistlemarch for the bustling river town of Frogport.  Cobweb's saddle bags were packed with a bundle of newly printed religious tracks (along with a letter of credit written to Chauncy) and her heart with a desire to share the mysteries of her Necronaut based splinter religion.  Yes, the plan, at least as far as the party's main combatant was concerned, was to sink the roots of another irksome death cult, one specializing in assassinations hire and laying to rest the ghost of a certain ex-boyfriend (literally, Cobweb used to "date" a ghostly cult leader - it was awkward) into the muddy soil of Frogport.
Cartoonish Doodle of Cobweb Preaching

The river barge trip was uneventful and while they listened politely (it is perhaps wise to be polite to murderous, heavily armed religious lunatics) to Ms. Cobweb's sermons about the peace of the grave, the passengers and crew of the barge were intent on remaining in steadfast ignorance.  On landing in Frogport Abel ignored the pleas of various frogling tads to purchase penny candy, but retained the services of an older frogling who led the group to a rooming house less dilapidated than most.  Much of frogport was dilapidated, despite the town's obvious industry and large population, the hazy sun heated the humid air and everything was dewed with damp, slathered in blistered whitewash and festooned with dried hanging moss.

An amphibian matron who ran the boarding house gave directions to the central market and to the offices of a Mr. Coalpepper who was to honor the note for 2,000 gold pieces to the Woolstrike family.  Tromping through the streets the party reached Coalpepper's building, carved into the base of a gargantuan Mangrove, and Cobweb presented the note.  With a minimum of bluster Coalpepper honored the note and accepted Ms. Cobweb's explanation that she was a debt buyer and collector.  The business man was more circumspect about her offer to collect any debts for him at 20% commission, or to remove permanently from the books of mortality those who had proven bad debt risks.

Having run her errands the adventurers endeavoured to help Mr. Killejoy find a band that would enliven the Blue Rabbit in Thistlemarch at its grand opening in a month.  At a club recommended the young frogling guide Wart, where he knew a musician, the party listened to the large band and took in a frogling cancan before speaking to the band manager and listening to rumors.  "The Kernel", a large bullfrog in a sweaty white suit was happy to discuss an extended gig, and his band members seemed loyal. Other patrons in the club were less happy, complaining about the overbearing and extortionist tactics of "Massey's Men", a local mercenary company that once may have protected Frogport, but had descended to become buffoonish, debauched, extortionist rakes. Cobweb doesn't approve of competition in the business of terrorizing, and sorcerers never approve of swaggering brawny types, so the adventurers resolved to do something about the mercenaries sometime - a decision that would prove messy later.

The next morning, having heard something about a swamp wizard and strange goings on at the museum the party visited Frogport's run down natural history museum and spoke to its owner at length.  For a donation Abel received a map of the swamp, some pithy advice about swamp goblins and discovered that the museum's prize exhibit, a tiny giraffe, had been stolen.

Cobweb then decided to preach her strange religion, "Devotions of the Holy Mother Death", a despicable assassination cult, to the general populace.  Clothed in her best widow's weeds and weighed down with a large assortment of weapons: saber and pistol at the waist, two sawed off shotguns in shoulder holsters under her shawl, magical bone kukri in a back sheath, and garrote and dagger in her button up boots, Cobweb mounted a pile of cotton bales and began to preach.  As the hours wore on the sight of the tall, gaunt faced woman in somber black clothing ranting inexhaustibly about the beauty of death and the forgiveness that the sainted mother offers even the "bad" for doing her "work", drew a small amused crowd.  Surprisingly there are few hecklers, perhaps the scary reptilian gleam in Cobwebs eye or the novelty of a heavily armed road agent preaching insanity kept them off.  At the end of the sermon a young hook handed Yegg named Gump approaches and quickly cuts to the core of Cobweb's dogma by asking "Well, what do I get!".  He's offered a 20% - 80% cut of any assassinations he preforms on behest of the cult (or with the cult's blessing), a neat hat and the title "initiate" with promises of both better hats and titles in the future.  Cobweb has her first cult member, though her generosity to Rebbecca the impressionable henchwoman is paying some dividends as well.

That night, planning on abducting and interrogating a mercenary, the party sends Rebbecca the henchwoman into a mercenary bar with the intent of luring a mercenary officer into an ambush with her "charms", where Cobweb will blackjack or the wizards use magic to subdue the man.  The young lady is successful in enticing a dashing rake with a ponytail, fierce mustache, sergeant's stripes and entitled sneer into the alley.  Cobweb steals up behind the distracted mercenary, but his battle hardened reflexes cause her attempt to black jack him with a coach gun butt to fail and fall on his shoulder as he swiftly turns.  Cobweb drives the gun into the mercenary's belly but fails to stun him, and when he pulls his pistol and sends a bullet skimming her neck Ms. Cobweb's killer's instinct takes over.  A charge of buckshot rips from each barrel of the coach gun into the mercenary, turning an abduction into a rather cold blooded killing.  Cobweb removes the man's boots, palms his wallet and ushers the slightly shocked (but not especially upset) Rebbecca back to the party, where Abel informs her that they could have glamoured the mercenary without much trouble.  Cobweb shrugs and points out that there are more mercenaries, handing the boots to Gump.

"Call it one drink too many, call it pride of a man, it doesn't matter if  you sit or you stand - they both end in trouble." - Millicent Cobweb's explanation on the botched extraction/successful assassination of one of 'Massey's Men'

Perhaps resolving to remove their murderous companions form civilization, the band plans to depart shortly on an expedition into the swamp to search ruins and trade with a Swamp Goblin Shaman named Bleeding Gums.

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