With Castle Caldwell behind us, the merry band of adventurers now proceeds back to Guido's fort to receive our comparatively meager 100 gp each. Regrettably, I forgot to charge the 100 gp fee for Zhanna, our lost cleric. Have to remember that in the future.
Zhanna has since been replaced by another elf, we've brought on Earnest's mage, and the thief has returned from wherever he disappeared to last session. We've also picked up Ceeay, who has "heard about another really cool god, called Alphaks the Roarer" that she's going to worship since we told her Orcus was "kind of a dick". This is going to be an ongoing thing, I feel.
We also still have Fritz driving/guarding the cart. Which is handy because it contains many thousands of pieces of silver and a not-inconsiderable amount of gems and jewelry. Pretty good start to our careers, actually.
After paying us off, Clifton tells us that he's had a message from a friend of his, who is himself possessed of an ancestral castle. It has apparently been "lost" for a while, although how one loses a castle I have no idea. Now that it's found (perhaps it was between the couch cushions, that happens to me with my castles a lot), he'd like somebody to clear it out. Since we now have "credentials" on the castle-clearing front, we're offered the job.
And he's willing to pay 500 gp each, with half up front. We get the money, and the thief immediately asks, "so what should we go do instead?" Which isn't a bad questions, since we just got a bag with 1000 gp in it. After some discussion, we come to the conclusion that we "don't have fuck-all else to do, and look how well the last castle job turned out." Well, except for Zhanna... But whatever.
Of course, the downside is that the new-old castle is way over on the other side of Karameikos, close the to inventively-named "Black Eagle Barony". Karameikos isn't really that big - it's about 200 miles across and maybe 100 miles north-south, and we're pretty much smack in the middle, so we only have about 150 miles or so to travel - first south to good 'ole Speculum-City, then across to Luln.
In planning the trip, we discovered some interesting things about overland travel in the Rules Cyclopedia world.
1) Horses are stupid-fast. Apparently a riding horse on a standard trail can go 72 miles in a day. That seems... excessive to me. Some basic internet research shows that 100 miles in a day is about the most possible, and can generally only highly trained or exceptional riders can maintain that - the equivalent of modern marathoners. I'd say 50 would be more reasonable, but I might be wrong, so I'll just deal with it.
2) You get a lot of encounters. Even in clear/settled terrain. Standard is d6 during the day, and d12 at night, with encounters occurring on 1's (or more in rougher areas). Also, in almost every environment, 1 chance in 8 is a "Dragon" type encounter. That basically means that on average, every 48 days of travel, one encounters a Dragon. Which explains why the roads seem so quiet. How the fuck does Specularum feed itself? I guess maybe farmers travel at night, very cautiously, and dragons don't eat turnips?
Anywhoo, we had several encounters on our trip south. We ran into some orcs. They attacked us so we cast Sleep on them (why have an AK-47 and not use it?). Luckily, they all went to sleep, so we killed them, and discovered that they had $5000 gp in a sack by the road. Aren't random treasure tables wonderful? I'm starting to see the attraction of treasure parcels. But I'm also not complaining!
Then we encountered a couple of bodies with some trained war-wolves standing over them protectively. Through some inspired animal-training, the thief of the party now has 2 loyal trained war-wolves. Which should come in handy!
Once we reached Specularum, we had some work done on the cart - added sidewalls for better defense, and hired 2 light footmen to assist in guarding it - Frizt's son and his wife - so it's a family affair now. Plus, light footmen cost 2 gp/month, so we have enough just from the orcs to pay them for... 104 1/8 years. Good job security, I say!
Further down the road we ran into some giant ants. They gave us a nasty turn when 1 sleep spell only put 2 of them to sleep! Luckily, we have 3 casters, and the second spell did the trick. Ant-shell helmets for everyone! And then I had to go to bed, so we called it a night.
I'm not sure I'm loving this game, but playing it as written is sure informative. I see reasons why many changes were made to it over the years...