Last session was one of those sessions when the players did something completely unexpected.
Player characters decided to follow a rumor about dragon terrorizing Great Eastern Road and the bounty promised for it. They asked around at East Tinbluff and learned that the dragon had been seen around the town of Edge, last spot of civilizations on this side of the Eastern Trade Route. So they got supplies and started the 8 day journey to Edge.
The journey started without troubles, PCs encountered Juha Öppi and his wagon. Juha sells exotic pets to nobles and merchants in west and this time he had monkeys in his load. After some haggling, Jenna Krystal bought a mascot for her real estate business, the price was one bottle of hair spray.
The party was closing Edge when they met the next travelers. Coming around the bend they saw few wagons ahead and men fighting around them. It seemed that there was one group of masked men attacking a merchant caravan.
What came next was interesting. The players discussed the thing for a while and decided to wait it out. Their plan was to wait with the hopes that both sides would kill each other off and then they could attack, kill all the rest and loot the dead and the wagons at their leisure. Like I say, only the most cold, calculating self-centered bastards win in rpgs.
Anyways, I gave two players dice to roll to see how the fight went. First roll was inconclusive (just like they wanted) killing few of the defenders. Next was very decisive for the attackers. The few surviving defenders ran for the hills and the attackers rode the wagons to different direction with one wagon left burning because the horse in front of it was killed during the fighting.
PCs carefully made their way to loot the dead and check what was inside the burning wagon in case they could savage something. Turned out that there was tin ingots that where stating to melt into one giant blob. In the end they had to settle for all the money and weapons they found from the dead mercenary guards and merchants, some muskets and pistols, booze, bear, yellow lotus and big piles of miscellaneous coins. After the looting they made it to Edge without further problems.
This is the point where everything went to completely opposite direction than I had anticipated. Before the session started I was worried because I didn’t have the dragon’s lair and it surroundings planned out very well, only few random ideas. Fortunately I didn’t need to use them since the PCs were not interested in going to find the dragon’s lair, instead they chose the passive-aggressive way of luring the dragon into trap. Or at least they tried that.
They made inquiries about the reward and found that there were two rewards offered. Local merchants had collected bounty of 1000 gold pieces for whoever brings the dragon’s head to them as proof of the beasts demise. On the other hand journeyman Ymric of the Guild was paying 2000 gold pieces for the dragon alive and kicking. They managed to haggle this up to 3000 when they started thinking about how they could make by bringing the head to the merchants and chopping rest of the dragon up to components and sell them to mages. But they managed to get the Guild to increase the offer so they prepared to take the dragon alive and bought two high tech glue grenades (100 sp each).
Then the betrayal was revealed.
Original reason why Rydiger the hunter had accompanied Jenna Krystal on her travels was because she had hired him as guard and paid him one can of spam and two matches. Now they where in Edge and talking with journeyman Ymric who was selling all sorts of useful stuff to merchant caravans heading out into the wild. Stuff like spam and matches and Rydiger happened to ask how much they were. He was bit upset when he found out that can of spam was couple of coppers and same for box of matches (not just two).
Anyways, nobody died in that episode so it was time get to that part of the adventure. PCs started gathering what they needed for their dragon trap. They hired some mercenaries and negotiated the price to be one share of the dragons treasure + bounty to be shared among the mercenaries and they would provide their food during the job. Then they got one ox driven wagon and a cow to serve as bait. They loaded up their archers into the wagon and rest traveled on foot outside, some close to the wagon, some in cover of vegetation further away. Their plan was to have the dragon attack them and then they would shoot it point-blank and lob it with glue grenades.
They went of to west from Edge. At this point I started rolling random encounter chance and found out that my scientific d6 has a sense of drama, it rolled three “1”s just when it was needed for the dragon to attack, first 1 in 6 to see if the dragon attacks that day, then 3 in 6 to see if the dragon attacks on that side of Edge (west/east) and then 1 in 6 that the dragon happens to attack this particular wagon.
Anyways, there was odd looking bird flying towards the PCs in the horizon. The PCs won the initiative and got he first shot against the surprised dragon. Unfortunately, longbows don’t penetrate dragon scales that easily and the dragon was unhurt when it came in to range for fiery breath. The dragon passed promptly burned the wagon and all archers inside to crisp. Panic started to spread but the PCs managed to keep the situation under control, Rydiger quickly spiced the cow with the looted yellow lotus in hopes of getting the dragon high on the stuff when it drags the cow away as its price. The rest lined up for another shot, this time with muskets. Jenna prepares her last glue grenade and then the dragon dives for another breath. The muskets fire and manage to scratch the dragon (1 penalty die to head) then Jenna throws her grenade the same time as the dragon breathes. The result is that Jenna misses and encases half of the cart and ox into hardening foam and get her leg badly burned (3 penalty dice, bleeding), the two musket bearing mercenaries are burned to near death.
At this point self preservation kicks in and PCs and remaining mercenaries hide to nearby bushes behind trees and rocks. The dragon makes another pass but doesn’t see anything threatening and lands on the next pass. It carefully checks the ox and determines that it can’t get it out of the foam quick enough and the cart doesn’t have anything interesting left it just grabs the bait cow and flies of.
This dragon is no small beast, about the size of two horses, glistening dark green scales (the PCs tried to determine this many times before committing) and seems to lair somewhere near the river to the north of Edge where the mountains start to rise. Rydiger climbed to tree to watch the beast’s withdrawal with its price to pin the location of its lair. I’m guessing the PCs are heading there next even though half of their mercenaries are dead and the rest are seriously considering leaving this fool’s errand. Of course the PCs have used quite a lot of money to hunt the dragon (the wagon and ox was on loan among other things).
Oh, and the dragon is pissed because somebody gave it a headache.