This is part of an ongoing campaign. You can find the other sessions over on the sidebar.
This session was run on May 2, 2022.
The session started with their arrival in Byrny after crossing the River Stillring at the end of Session 3. Byrny is not a walled settlement, so it does not have a gate, but there is still a manned checkpoint on the road entering town. Sebastian, the badder gate guard, took an instant dislike to Stranger and gave him a hard time passing through the gate. This wasn't a complete surprise, since badders are known to be very intolerant of hoops, but his reaction seemed extreme even in that context. They managed to pass through the gate without provoking an incident though.
Once they were in town, they decided to split up. Stranger, always suspicious of any mining activity, decided to lurk outside the mining office in the southern part of town to see if he could learn anything. After watching for a while, he got an idea of the makeup of the miners (mostly human, but with representation from most races) and realized that the crews were coming to the mining office with vouchers for their pay. After he was satisfied that there was nothing more to learn at the mining office, he walked to Tulip's Roadhouse in hopes of finding an affordable place to stay for the night. Tulip turned out to be a retired halfling adventurer* with a wooden leg and her establishment was a mixture of a tavern, an inn, and a brothel. All of the women who worked there were halflings that she encountered on the road during her travels. Tulip seemed to take a liking to Stranger and they talked for a while. He learned that a few days prior to the party's arrival in town a man armed with a large axe wandered into town and tried to sell what he claimed was a green dragon horn. Tulip cautioned Stranger that the horn was almost certainly fake. She also offered to front him several nights' stay if he needed time to get his feet underneath him while in town.
Athelnar, who had walked from the ferry with the party, invited Sir Duycken to accompany him to the keep in order to introduce him to Governor Hetalan. The keep was fairly simple, but sturdy, and they found the governor at work in the main hall. He was clearly well-acquainted with Athelnar and was happy to meet Duycken. He mentioned that the Vanderpools, a duck family, operated a barge out of Byrny and that there was a nearby duck settlement at the mouth of the river. The governor also mentioned that the outlying farms had been under increasing threat from the goblin tribes in the mountains to the west. He had lured an adventuring company, Sabine's Lot (NPC Almanac Sketches pg. 96), to the town in hopes that they might help with the goblins. To his disappointment, they focused on raiding the barrow mounds to the south. While he could not outright criticize Custalcon, since they both were fief holders for the Overlord, the governor did nothing to disagree with Athelnar's assessment that Custalcon had not come by his claim to Trollslore honorably, and had failed to discharge his duties there. The governor promised Sir Duycken that he would provide the party with the well-made Byrny chain mail if they agreed to address the goblin problem.
Gwythian went to the War Wagon Inn to determine if it was a suitable accommodation for the party. He was surprised to find that it was an adventurer-themed tavern and inn. The centerpiece of the main room was a battle chariot that had been converted to a bar. The chandeliers were made from chariot wheels and the walls were cluttered with weapons and garish tapestries depicting monsters and battles. The employees of the bar were all attractive women clad in fake "chain mail bikinis" that were actually just knitted from gray fabric. The owner, Sandy Malek, was a tall woman with an eye patch covering a nasty scar. Gwythian attempted to convince her to allow him to provide entertainment in exchange for the party's room and board. Sadly, he blew the audition and left disappointed.
Vargr headed directly to the Temple of Odin where he met Karno One-Handed, the priest. He also met Tad Flannigan, a member of Sabine's Lot. Much of what Vargr learned at the temple had already been learned by other characters (goblin attacks, the barrow mounds etc.), but Karno recommended the Golden Chimera Inn as affordable. Vargr also learned that Tad's parents were killed in a raid by Custalcon's goblins and that he was eager to join in any effort against the fief holder.
The party regrouped at the Temple of Athena where they returned Sylvianna's armor and weapons to Tallulah, the priestess there. They learned that Sylvianna had arrived late the night before and left for the City State first thing in the morning. She had allowed Custalcon to capture her because she suspected that there was a portal under his manor similar to the one that she closed under Shewolf a few years ago. When she learned that there was no portal under the manor, she realized that she had lost valuable time and wanted to get back to the City State as soon as possible. Tallulah was unwilling to say more about the nature of her mission, but did reward each character with a Potion of Cure Light Wounds for returning Sylvianna's belongings.
The party decided to spend the night at the Golden Chimera. While they found Tellesh, the owner, to be amiable, he came across as fairly prudish. No alcohol is served in the inn and he was quick to point out that he would not tolerate any of the "funny business" that went on in the other two establishments in town. He did accept Gwythian's offer to perform for reduced room and board. While Gwythian was performing, a patron remarked that he had heard that the bard had failed to impress the owner of the War Wagon Inn. The man added that he was not fond of Malek himself, and that he heard that she kept bars of silver under the wagon shaped bar.
Int he morning, outfitted in fresh chain mail, the party set out to investigate the goblin tribes in the hills to the west.
* Walt, who plays Stranger in this campaign, played Tulip in our MERP campaign. At one point during that campaign, the random tables indicated that they met a group of hobbit harlots on the road. This started a running joke that Tulip was going to open a roadhouse and hire the harlots to work there. At the end of the campaign, due to incredible bravery (she lost her leg in a battle and became a legendary archer), Tulip was rewarded with a grant of land that she used to build the roadhouse. Since the original Wilderlands setting was supposed to be part of Middle Earth at one point in its history, this seemed like a fitting tribute to a favorite character.