Feb 7, 2017

How Pontus and Jarrus Landed in Jail

Being face to face with a demi-god, and seeing one's life come so close to an end really changes a person. As they headed back to Hommlet, Pontus was left contemplating what Iuz meant by "Your god will soon return to you." Return from where? He is not lost. Kord is real and present. Pontus' father proved that every day, and it was time the Pontus reconnected with his god. Pontus kneeled down to pray to Kord to give him strength and guidance. While he received no obvious answer, he felt much better to reconnect with his roots.

But now all of this thought about Kord, and Iuz speaking about a lost barbarian god, made Pontus realize just how far from home he really is. What was he doing out here in the southlands, hanging out with elven magic users? The temple, the skull, Hedrack, Iuz - fighting these things wasn't making him feel better. These were not the problems of his people. Pontus had abandoned his people, left them to the fate of Ingvar Branson, the traitor. He knew he couldn't return just yet, but he needed to get word to his people to prepare for his return - to someone he could trust. He has a half-brother that he knew would be loyal. Hopefully Ingvar hasn't killed him. But how can he get a message to the other side of the world? Unfortunately, this problem required magic, of which he had little understanding.

So Pontus approached Sarril, and asked him if he could use the mirror to send a message. For some reason, this angered Sarril, who never quite appreciated the way Pontus treated magic items, and this particular magic items was especially important to Sarril. Sarril viewed it as a gift from Boccob himself. He wasn't going to let Pontus near it.

And so Pontus sat a while in thought, eventually doing what he knows best. Drinking. He bellied up to the bar and started ordering drinks from Goodwife Gundergroot. As he sat and drank, he watched as the wench, Gemma, was serving tables. He started asking the goodwife about Gemma, and found out she was the daughter of one of the local farmers, but she had no interest in farming, and was trying to save up enough money to leave Hommlet and go live in the big city (perhaps Verbobonc, Dyvers or even Greyhawk). Gemma has been working for just over a year now, and works extra hard to earn tips, including flirting with the customers and putting up with their rude advances - to a point anyway. Pontus realized he might have an opportunity here, and so he picked up his ale and moved over to a table in the corner, away from the other patrons, so he can order a meal and talk to Gemma.

The inn became busy at that time of day as the guard shift had just taken place and the off-duty guards came here, taking up the two long tables, ordering meals and drinks. But Pontus managed to get enough of Gemma's attention to let her know that he had a proposition for her. The bag of gems he placed on that table, which represented all of the wealth he had acquired on his adventures so far, caught her attention quickly. Eight of the largest gems Gemma had ever seen (or was likely to see in her lifetime) spilled out on the table before Pontus scooped them back in the bag, and placed it in front of him. The value of those gems would be enough to buy a decent sized house in the city (or several farms here in Hommlet). Gemma asked what she would be required to do for such a prize, a bit concerned about what the answer would be. Pontus said "nothing too difficult, I just need you to get a message to someone, and I can't do it myself." Gemma told Pontus to meet her after her shift ended, and they would talk in private. Satisfied with this, Pontus went about eating his meal, and noticed that Jarrus had sat down at another table nearby and was eating his own meal.

Feeling good about himself, Pontus realized this drinking hall was a little low on the rowdiness factor. These southerners don't know how to have a good time, and those guards were real sticks in the mud. It was time to relieve the tension in this place with a good brawl. That will bring everyone closer together. There is nothing like a good bar fight to make men bond together. But Pontus knew Jarrus wouldn't jump into a fight for no reason, so he had to draw him into one somehow. When Jarrus wasn't looking, Pontus threw a stale piece of bread at him, then tossed a piece of bread under the guard's table. Jarrus didn't take the bait, so Pontus did it again. When Jarrus looked around, Pontus pointed under the table at the bread lying on the floor. Jarrus could tell Pontus was starting to get a little drunk from the ale, and thought it best not to encourage him.

"Havin a good day lads!?" Pontus asks the guard. . . a little loudly

Jarrus made his way over to Pontus' table. "A bit early to hit the ale that hard, isn't it?"

"Jarrus! Ha ha! My warrior friend, take a seat, take a seat! I was just saying hi to these young men over here!"

"I think we should keep a low profile Pontus"

Ignoring Jarrus' advice, Pontus yells "Gentlemen! I said HELLO to you!"

One of the guards looks up, a little annoyed that Pontus interrupted his conversation with his buddies.

Pontus then taps the table in front Jarrus with his finger to subtly get his attention.




"Hey, you are the guy that was asking about joining in the Viscount's service" one of the guards finally says, in a very sarcastic tone. "Change your mind? Maybe your friend here is more suited for the task. What say you? You look like you can swing a weapon when you need to."

(DM's Note: Pontus had previously run into this guard on patrol and was asking what it was like to be a guard in the service of the Viscount. Pontus was hoping to find someone unhappy with their job whom he could bribe to work for him, but the guard took his questioning to mean that Pontus was interested in joining, and made it very clear that Pontus lacked the discipline to be accepted.)

"Sorry to be a bother gentleman.  My friend gets a bit talkative when the drink is in him," replies Jarrus as Pontus is trying to get his attention by pointing to the bread on the floor.

"Ha ha, no no, we're not interested.  The Viscount's service is good for guarding small towns and working out farmers spats and telling drunks to go to bed, truly an honorable gig" says Pontus as all of the guards at both tables stop eating and start paying attention to the conversation.

"Civilized work, is what it is. Nothing your kind would understand, I think." the guard says to his friends as they all erupt in laughter.

Jarrus, having seen drink put the devil in men before and knows what is likely to come, decides he is ready for anything.

Pontus continues, "So yes, while the Viscount offers you a noble trade, those with skill and attributes like my friend here, well, well he heeds a higher calling. We can't all kick bums and chase away children, but I thank you for your service.  Drinks on me! I tell you what, do any of you brave brave men care to make a wager?  You see my friend here, if anyone of you can beat him in arm wrestling contest , I'll buy your whole meal."

Jarrus looks at Pontus.  "You challenge people to tests of strength for yourself all day long, but don't put me out there."

Pontus, in a very loud whisper, replies "Jarrus, you are really really strong, there's not one of these girls could beat you!"

The guard then says to his friends "Get a load of this dude. First he insults us, then he can't even man-up." Then he looks toward Pontus "I think I gave you barbarians too much credit. I knew you weren't good for anything but a fight, and now I see you have others do that for you." He puts down his drink and turned fully toward Pontus "I mean, what the fuck is it you people do anyway, when you aren't trying to rape and pillage?"

Pontus, trying to be clever, says "When your mother is saying 'oh oh yes' that's not rape my friend!"

The guard then walks right up to Pontus and gets in face and says "I tell you what. Why don't we play MY game. It's called, 'you get the fuck out of my face, and shit doesn't need to go down.' Cause I'm off duty, and who knows what might happen." At this statement, all ten guards at both tables stand-up.

Pontus then gets up on the table.

Jarrus stands up and tries to get between Pontus and the guard. "Let's all calm down. We don't want to start anything here. Why don't we take this outside."

From atop the table, Pontus yells "When this chicken shits mother is screaming out my name, begging for it in the arse, that's not rape!!!" This is what Pontus has missed for a really long time. Drinking, then fighting, then shaking hands and throwing back drinks together.

The guard then gets right up in Jarrus' face and says "You have about 5 seconds to get your friend out of here, or you get the same as what's coming to him"

Jarrus says to Pontus, "Let's go outside Pontus. We don't want to wreck a perfectly good inn now, do we?"

Pontus full on leaps barbarian style off the table as far as he can over the heads of the guards, then looks back to Jarrus saying "You comin?"

(DM's Note: It would be several days later before Pontus would realize that he left his bag of gems on the table. They disappeared, along with Gemma the wench, who got to realize her dreams after all)

Jarrus says to Ostler "I'm so sorry!" as he follows Pontus outside. Then the whole tavern emptied out into the street. Even Athan and Sarril, who were upstairs writing spells at the time, heard the commotion and came outside to investigate. What they saw was Pontus and Jarrus, standing back to back, surrounded by 10 men about to beat the heck out of them.

Pontus speaks up "This is what i'm going to do son, and i mean son, because I did lay with your mother. I'm going to let you hit me 10, that's right, 10 times before I do anything to you. That sounds fair?" He steps right up into the guards face and quietly only that the guard and Pontus can hear "But when i do start to do something, oh oh my friend" Pontus eyes are burning red, blood shot and fiery
"you had better pray to whatever fucking god you need to that your friends are willing to die for you"

(DM's Note: In Unearthed Arcana, in addition to rolling a d12 for hit points, barbarians get double Constitution bonuses for hit points and double the dexterity bonus for AC. Pontus isn't the strongest barbarian, but he has an 18 Con and a pretty high Dex. In addition to having a decent natural armor class, he gets between 10 and 20 hit points per level. At level 6, Pontus is just about to exceed 100 hit points. He figured he could take all of these guards on without breaking a sweat. He was wrong).

I won't do a play-by-play description of the fight, but it turns out these guards are not some 0-level village militia. They are well-trained fighters between level 2 and 4. Pontus discovered that when multiple people are hitting him, the damage starts to add up quickly. He and Jarrus did take a couple down with them, but in the end, I realized I probably could have thrown half the number at them that I did and it still would have turned out the same. The both went down and woke up in a gaol cell at the base of Burne's tower. What was said in that cell between Jarrus and Pontus will remain between the two of them.

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