Tuesday 17 October 2023

Hex Crawl 23 #275: One More for the Road

Eleven hexes northwest, four hexes north of Alakran.


Here is one last possible road encounter for the stretch between the Caravanserai and Eryptos.

A troop of five camels at a trot overtakes the party, making for Eryptos. Four of the toughest roughnecks available for money box in a skinny, ageing man in gold-fringed robes of blue and purple silk, with a placid and almost childlike face. This is Atti'i-Kusu, "The Probing Needle," a master courtier from the capital of Mu-Asharru on his way to Eryptos.

Just after passing the party, Atti'i-Kusu turns and regards them thoughtfully. "You know, I believe these will do," he says to himself. He then offers a commission of 100 gp a head, and the possibility of further work.

They must strike that very night in Eryptos, and steal a very old and magical curved sword from the leader of the Prince's bodyguard, one Arshak. Atti'i plans to present the sword to Arshak at a gala event the following night, humiliating him (for surely to cover his loss he will have mocked up a replica to wear, or at least the hilt) and hastening his removal. The problem with Arshak is that he eggs the Prince on to overly ambitious politics, and he is sure to be succeeded by his lieutenant Labash who is more amenable to the point of view that the Prince should keep quiet before he assumes the throne.

The caper is difficult (so Atti'i can be bargained up to 200), and if you are kind you will have him mention the possibility of locate object being used, which will require a lead covering for the sword; leaving Eryptos with it is not an option given the plot. As Arshak sleeps there are two night watch patrolling the perimeter of the garden of his house, two savage and loud dogs at the door, and a tutelary spirit of the house similar to a poltergeist who will cause fumbles and mishaps to any burglars moving within. What's more, Arshak sleeps with the  sword as a pillow, and is -- has to be -- one of the toughest fighters in Eryptos. If the caper goes awry, of course, Atti'i will deny everything and the characters will be in serious trouble.

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