The Bounty of Bounty Hunting
(Excerpted from King Doggerel’s Musings on a Revolution (aka Clark Wainwright’s Journal))
On the heels of our “success” in securing the deed for the Rat’s Nest, Maggie has left the city, and left the success or failure of the Thieves Guild in the hands of the Thorns. Big mistake! Her absence gave rise to a great deal of faffing about. Although, to be fair to my fellow conspirators, it’s not as though Maggie’s proposal was made to a group of tabulae rasae (which Father Snegle indicates means “blank slate” in the High Speech) – each of the Thorns had his or her own concerns before this enterprise, and our high-minded ideals haven’t made them go away. As such, Greg spent time in the smithy, Rhogar Bronzeblood spent time preaching, Badger Cobblesprocket concerned himself with some cockamamie scheme involving galvanic energy, and Tears… did whatever Tears does.
Eventually, we managed to get our collective heads around our future, and after much discussion and debate we decided to generate some capital by dipping our toes into the corpse removal business. Badger thoughtfully indicated that having employees travelling the city collecting corpses would be a great cover for spies and informants, while Tears spent a great deal of time considering the eventual fate of the collected corpses. I had my reservations about her plans, but eventually agreed to whatever she deemed fit sight unseen, as long as she promised not to feed the corpses to sentient beings. I’m afraid that all the verbal repartee rather excited Tears, because for some reason she keeps asking people about what the potential outcome of sexual congress between us would be, as two half-elves… I’m going to put that out of my head at the moment, and focus on the task at hand.
Although I have been reluctant to bring my father into this enterprise, I knew our plans would require a quality wagon, and Wainwright wagons are the most finely wrought wagons in Ferros. I managed to convince my father to let me and my compatriots construct a wagon in his workshop in the off-hours, for only the cost of materials. I think my father evaluates all my activities based on how likely they are to have me arrested – this one, I think, ranks unfortunately high on that scale (indeed, certain documents I found indicate that my father has put himself out on my behalf before, due to my revolutionary ideas – I could suggest that that means that implicitly my father approves of my ideals, but given the present circumstances, this is another matter to put of my head to focus on the task at hand). But, if my birth is any indication, my father is completely unable to say no to anyone with elven blood.
Wishing to know more about the nature of the bureaucracy of essential services in the city, I posed as a wealthy noble looking to invest in a corpse removal service; the mortified (deliberate choice of words, there) clerk at the city services centre directed me to the offices of one Walker Corpse Removal. I continued the charade, and had Mr. Walker meet me at the Boar’s Head to discuss business opportunities.
The original plan was to have Tears play the part of my death-obsessed sister (which, in a fine dress loaned by a co-worker named Alice, she did all to well) in order to extract information about rates and measures, and eventually undercut Mr. Walker. However, Tears poured on the charm and shared her conversation with me via her uncanny talent to intrude on one’s mind, and we both came to the conclusion that Mr. Walker was a fine man, and that we would benefit more from working with him, rather than undercutting him. Together, as Lord and Lady Briarwood, we pledged a wagon to his company in exchange for a cut of profits and preferential hiring policies.
Before we could give the wagon to Walker, however, we had a use for it. Greg, in his search for alternate funds for the Thorns, had decided to investigate the possibility of serving as bounty hunters. Despite being accosted by Johan Amadeus, Greg managed to find a fine bounty posted by one Lady Selsi, for the heads of two half-orc bandits with the bonus for the recovery of a certain ring. It seems these half-orcs lurked on the coastal road and preyed upon those with carriages and wagons, and it just so happened that the Thorns found ourselves in possession of a wagon and in want of a fortune.
We traveled the coastal road, with Tears and I masquerading as poor farmers, with Greg playing the part of our farmhand. Meanwhile, Badger and Rhogar concealed themselves within the bed of the wagon. As predicted, the bandits struck – I’m afraid to say that despite our best efforts, they were not rooked by our deception. The only thing we had going for us was that we too knew we were going into a trap. The less said about the encounter between the Thorns and the two half-orc bandits the better, but needless to say, we eventually prevailed. Tears seemed to take great glee in separating the heads from the bodies to collect the bounties, while Greg thoroughly ransacked their camp. Personally, I can’t help but think that we have aided the nobles by killing humble folks who had no interest but in getting back what was theirs from the nobility. I will salve my conscience, however, with the thought that these fiends tried to extort us even when we wore the guise of humble farmers.
Being a revolutionary and a member of a thieves guild at the same time is no easy task.
Magdeline Flintjaw leaves the city to gather support, capital, and information, leaving the Thorns with an agenda to find long term financing options for their endeavour. She suggests the corpse gathering business as a viable option, but leaves the choice of ventures and method of capturing these ventures at the discretion of the Thorns.
The Thorns flounder for a little while without the presence of their guild leader while attempting to find their stride and nail down a solid plan. Badger Cobblesprocket gathers some spare parts using his innate charisma and the favour of the Tinker’s Guild Master and attempts to upgrade his position from device field tester to laboratory researcher, though with little headway as most of the scientific principles are yet beyond his grasp. Greg Smith takes the opportunity to perform some of his smithing obligations to the Smith’s Guild and partners with Badger to make a pitch to the Smith’s guild for transmutation of materials to make better use of the Smith’s Guild’s time, turning valuable and hard to work with metals into metals easier to work with before they naturally change back into their original form, drastically reducing the labour cost and skill level required to work with precious metals. The High Smith agrees to a trial period for this plan to see if it is feasible and cost efficient. Rhogar Bronzeblood performs his duties to the church, leaving the planning of their next caper in the hands of the other Thorns.
Clark Wainwright crafts a plan to get into the corpse gathering business while Tears begins to make plans for what to do with the corpses once they are gathered. She attempts to make some contacts with the apprentices of the Physik’s Guild but makes little headway with the suggestion of them having a fresh supply of bodies to experiment on and learn from. Clark does some civic investigating and trails some potential corpse gathering businesses to acquire and learns that the corpse gatherers are paid by the city to deal with the bodies. He disguises himself to change his demeanour to that of Lord Briarthorn, a foreign noble and a potential business investor to the Walker Family Corpse Removal business, impressing Mr. Walker into a business meeting later that day at the Smoked Boar Tavern. Clarke enlists the help of Tears to act as his sister requiring her to bath and borrow a nice dress from one of her friends at the Rat’s Nest, though she finds the dress to be a little roomy for her around the chest. The two successfully convince Mr. Walker that they are nobles and find that they actually like the man, altering their initial plans from taking the business over to actually following through with the partnership, agreeing to provide him with a wagon, future favours, and funding in exchange for partnership in his business and preferential hiring choices.
The Thorns pay a visit to James Wainwright‘s work yard to construct their own wagon. Through some investigating/snooping, Clarke learns that his father had paid off Johan Amadeus in order to secure his son’s release from prison several times due to his revolutionary tendencies. Under the watchful and skeptical eye of James Wainwright, the Thorns successfully construct a wagon, and then purchase a mule, though this costs them what little remained of their group funds.
Needing some immediate capital, the group tries their hand at bounty hunting finding a potential job along the costal road out of the city. Posing as a family of simple farmers, and hiding their Dragonborn Cleric under a tarp in their new wagon, the party is successfully ambushed by their targets, though they find the two half-orc brothers to be very tough prey. By the end of the skirmish, only Clarke Wainwright is still standing and he binds the wounds of his comrades. The group limps back to Ferros with their bounty in tow.