Sep 29, 2022 4:37 AM
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Step 48

Glint accepts Prota's judgment. Glint knows how to indicate trade willingness to most local travelers. Like his daughter, Stala somewhat distrusts the Blue-gifted. Kyintri obviously needs help, though, and can barely stay conscious. Stala is desperate, so he will agree to negotiate later. Once help is agreed upon, Stala will need help cleaning and dressing the wound. 

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Glint nods understanding and raises his voice to conversational levels. "We offer succor," he tells the travelers formally, not wasting time. "Aid-price settled after. Agreed?" 

The man recoils slightly, looking at Glint's leg-stumps. Then his gaze turns to the woman, who seems near to passing out from pain or blood loss. She barely seems to register the conversation. "Agreed," he breathes. 

"Good. Let's get to it." Glint hoists himself next to the crate and begins pulling out bandages and handing them to you. 

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None. 

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I set about cleaning and dressing the wound as best I can.

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Prota cleans and dresses the wound. They have some skill with bandaging. They will also have help from Stala and Glint. Previously, they agreed to use some of their balm in the dressing.

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You help the other traveler clean and dress Kyintri's wound, applying your balm before bandaging it. 

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Step 49

[Prota has used about half of their heavy-duty wound balm. Enough remains for a few shallow cuts or one large gash.]

(Forcing the Player to state an action they already intended to take is not ideal, but proceeding without letting them confirm that they are helping could also have been a mistake. Still, the plot can continue more quickly now.) Assume Prota also applies a small amount of balm to Stala's and Glint's wounds. The family introduce themselves after dressing Kyintri's wound. Kyintri is likely unconscious and breathing shallowly at this point. 

How does Stala react when things have calmed down? His family harbors some prejudice against the Blue-gifted, but Glint and Prota have helped them greatly. Stala is concerned that the shapeshifter may try to rob his family and feels helpless to protect them. He will cooperate, and honor the cultural norm of negotiating in good faith after a crisis, but if something happens to frighten him further, he may lose the ability to think clearly. This would affect his ability to offer useful information or figure out how to compensate Prota and Glint fairly. 

Venir is old enough to know how to drive a wagon, though she may not be practiced in it. Eventually, she will manage to drive the wagon team back onto the road by herself. (In the unlikely event that the Player is uncomfortable negotiating and wants Glint to take point, this small scene allows them an alternative way to participate.)

Elaborating on what Stala has to trade: they might be fishers, but not everyone in Adwell fished for a living. Plausibly, Stala fished, while Kyintri was a weaver. As far as textiles go, wool is more likely to be available to frequently migrating clans than cotton, because sheep can travel. The family recently passed through the territory of Clan Pratchett, so reasonably they would have traded for some wool to weave and potentially sell later.

Not every possible offer need be mentioned in the next prompt. (The Player may enjoy coming up with ideas of their own.) Stala is still distraught, and will not immediately think to mention news of Adwell, even though it is a potentially valuable commodity. [Travelers going opposite directions often swap news and rumors, but not all such information is trustworthy.]

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During treatment, Kyintri lapses into unconsciousness, breathing shallowly. The wound was a nasty one, but with your help she has a good chance to recover. While you clean and dress the smaller cuts on the man and your uncle, the other traveler introduces himself as Stala, Kyintri as his wife, and their children as Venir and Zafton. Like his daughter, he seems nervous around Glint, and keeps looking at your uncle in a mix of awe and trepidation. 

"We don't have much to trade..." Stala admits, his tone apologetic. "But we offer what we can." According to Stala, the family recently left the fishing town of Adwell, passing through the territory of Clan Pratchett on the way. "We have a little coin and supplies for the road. Dried fish, of course. Some wool and sheepskin. Kyintri weaves, she was going to make..." He looks at his wife's bandaged arm. "Well. Not on this journey, it seems," he finishes bitterly. 

A few dozen paces away, Venir is currently attempting to turn the wagon around and get it back on the road, with mixed success. She's a bit young to be driving oxen, but seems skilled for her age. Zafton's tear-streaked face peeks out from the wagon. 

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Wool is less valuable to the family now because Kyintri will be too injured to weave for several weeks. 

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I look at Uncle Glint; he knows more than I do about what might be valuable up ahead. "We might be able to trade on a parcel of wool," I say, but tentatively.

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Prota is deferring to Glint on the negotiation. 

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You tentatively suggest trading for the wool, but defer to Glint. 

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Step 50

(Prota is relying on Glint here. It is still early in the adventure, and Glint is supposed to be an asset to the Player, so this reliance is not a major concern. But the Player should not come to rely too much on Glint. Future prompts should seek to pose challenges that Prota and the Player are capable of handling, or that are outside Glint's area of expertise, or that occur when Glint is absent. At the same time, it would be counterproductive to force the player to make detailed negotiation decisions without good information. They may feel out of their depth, in which case this scene should conclude swiftly.) 

Wool is a decent but bulky trade good. Prota's cart can carry a bit more, but not all that the family can offer. Glint is savvy enough to suggest trading on news. However, Stala still partly distrusts Glint. Prota won't get as good a deal as if they'd been willing to manage the negotiation personally. 

Sebastine's rise caused many people to leave Adwell. Kyintri and Stala's family were among them. They liked the previous leader and thought Sebastine lied about the sinkhole to gain support. Stala's feelings will show in how he talks about Sebastine. 

It seems like the fairest approach to the Player in this situation is to provide some information and a hint about how they might acquire more. For example, Stala might be willing to talk to Prota about other attacks like that of the gallowgale, or other details about Adwell. Without further action on the Player's part, they will likely receive the livestock intel and some wool, by default. The wool is probably more valuable than some of the dry food on the cart, so they might also have the option of trading up a bit and restocking later. 

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Glint nods pensively. "Not a bad choice, the towns always need more raw materials. But we only have room on the cart for a bit of it. We could trade some of the food, maybe, and restock later at a profit... Here's a lesson for the road, though, greenjay: news has value, too." He turns to Stala. "You just came from Adwell, you say, what's the story there? Give us something we can use, and it'll cover part of the debt." 

"Many of us have been unhappy since that scum took over," Stala answers, still looking sidelong at Glint. You get the sense he'd rather deal with you than the shapeshifting tiger-man, but he's doing a good job of diplomatically not pointing that out. "Maybe a sixth of the town has been planning to leave early. Some were even talking about trying to do in Sebastine like he did for poor old Crexin. We got a head start getting out...you know, I didn't think much of it at the time because we were heading the wrong way, but the slower-moving families have been buying up livestock. When we left, herds were already a good bit pricier than the Pratchetts are selling them for..." he trails off hopefully. The man has a point; livestock are valuable to migrants, and if you don't mind traveling a bit slower, you could turn a decent profit selling a few head of sheep or goats in Adwell, or even some draft animals if you can find them. It's an opportunity of the sort your clan was always on the lookout for. 

Stala might have more to say, but he still seems uncomfortable. If Glint's noticed, he's not showing it. Your uncle was always a bit on the abrasive side to strangers. 

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[Crexin was the previous ruler in Adwell.] 

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"Huh. That's good to know, if we can pick some up on the way." I look at the oxen, but suspect they can't move their cart without both. "Is the town going to settle in the same grouping, after the migration, or is it liable to split up?"

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Prota observes the oxen and assumes, correctly, that both are needed to move the wagon. They ask if the town will split into two groups when migrating, Sebastine's supporters and his detractors. 

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You look thoughtfully at the oxen, then say, "Huh. That's good to know, if we can pick some up on the way. Is the town going to settle in the same grouping, after the migration, or is it liable to split up?" 

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Step 51

Both oxen are in fact needed to move the wagon at a reasonable pace. This can be clarified for the Player, since Prota would be familiar with common modes of travel. 

Divisions among the townsfolk are significant, and violence has already occurred. Those leaving the town will likely want to avoid Sebastine's supporters in the future. They plan to settle elsewhere, perhaps at a town gree of Prota's clan. Stala also suspects that many townsfolk secretly dislike Sebastine, but were not yet prepared to move. He is correct, but overestimates the amount. [In Adwell, about one in ten remaining townsfolk actively dislike Sebastine. Most are neutral rather than supportive, but Sebastine's supporters are a vocal and influential minority, numbering about four in ten.] 

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By your estimation, fully loaded, a wagon the size of this family's requires at least two draft animals to move at a reasonable pace. 

"If they try to follow us, there'll be a war," Stala bites out. "We left to get away from that murderer and his thugs. Some of us talked about settling in Marwek for a few years," he adds, referring to a town gree of your clan's encampment. "Even if they did follow us, Marwek has its own leadership. If we warn them, they'll keep the bastards out." For obvious reasons, many established towns will turn away known bandits and criminals, especially those who might try to take over. "Not everyone left Adwell, though. Maybe another sixth of the town hated Sebastine as much as we did, but they weren't ready to move yet. They're stuck with him until they migrate, stars protect them." 

Despite his bitter tone, Stala seems more comfortable talking to you.  

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[Marwek is a town gree of Prota's clan.]

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"Has Sebastine killed other people besides the previous leader?" I ask.

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None.

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You ask Stala if Sebastine has killed anyone besides Crexin. 

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Step 52

(Cutthroat medieval politics can be a theme for Adwell. The Player can decide how much to engage with these politics, but they will be very much in play.) [Sebastine is cunning, charismatic, and ruthless.] When Sebastine ousted the previous ruling family, he did not want to leave possible enemies alive. He killed Crexin's whole family. The story he told was that they resisted the arrest that came for them, but in fact he was going to have them killed regardless. Sebastine has also "disappeared" some of the more vocal and dangerous supporters of the old regime. 

(The rebels need more reason than just a charismatic leader to oust their ruling family). [Crexin's family was not particularly popular to begin with. Corrupt and exploitative, but always careful about it. The sinkhole that Sebastine blamed on them was genuinely not their fault.] 

(A potential hook for the Player to become involved in Adwell politics is that one of Crexin's family survived.) [Crexin's daughter Yttria managed to escape Sebastine and is now hiding in Adwell. If an opportunity arises, she will ask Prota to smuggle her out of town.] Stala does not know that Yttria survived. (Alerting the Player to the potential complication now may be more interesting than springing it on them for the first time when they are in Adwell.) Stala has heard rumors that one of the loyalists was killed for hiding a fugitive. 

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