Dec 04, 2022 7:01 AM
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None.

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"How long does it normally take to dry up, if we see a few dry days?"

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Prota is asking how quickly the mud on the Utannic dries. 

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You ask, "How long does it normally take to dry up, if we see a few dry days?"

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Step 57

Even in normally wet regions, shallow puddles tend to dry up within two or three days. However, mud can take longer than standing water to fully dry. The lowest point in an unpaved road might accumulate trickles of water from the surrounding terrain and stay soggy longer, especially in wheel ruts. Well-traveled roads like the Utannic may see a bit of coordinated maintenance sponsored by towns along the route, but there will be several such low spots that are tricky to navigate. Traveling clans might build or carry makeshift bridges to cross particularly muddy gaps and streams. Some such will be left behind. [A possible challenge on the Utannic is unbridged muddy ruts and small streams.] It is worse in the lower regions than the foothills. Consequently, the wooden planks used to cross muddy regions might be a trade good for Prota's negotiation. (It will be more satisfying to the Player if they think to ask independently, so this need not be pointed out immediately.) 

Glint will spend a while searching for Beldry. Thanks to Prota's direction and his aerial view, he'll be able to locate and return Beldry eventually. The prompt should highlight Stala's relief that Glint is no longer nearby. 

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"Most of the road dries out after a couple days," remarks Stala thoughtfully. He seems more at ease with Glint gone. "But there's some low spots that don't seem to ever truly dry, and some streams and such. Wheel ruts get churned up, you know how it is. Before we got up into the foothills gree of Clan Pratchett's camp, we probably had to cross about one tough spot a day." He shows you the inside of his wagon, which contains some half-dozen thick wooden planks caked with dried mud. "We use those to cross the deeper muds, if nobody's got a bridge up." 

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None. 

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"A bridge?"

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Prota is asking what Stala means by "got a bridge up." 

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You ask Stala to clarify. "A bridge?"

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Step 58

Migrating clans or large groups sometimes lay down wooden structures of varying permanence to cross known streams and low spots. Sometimes they pick them up and re-use them, but sometimes they leave them in place, either because they intend to travel the same way again for trade, or because it is too much of a hassle to pick up a large one and move it. Travelers in smaller groups happily use these structures when they can find one, and sometimes even repair them. 

Prota has lived with a migrating clan, so it is reasonable that they may have encountered such structures before. However, the Player may need the details explained. Rather than being a purely explanatory statement, the next prompt can also include some commentary from Venir and Stala about their experiences. 

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"You know, the occasional bridge over streams or mud-pits that the big clans and moving towns set up," responds Stala. From your clan's last major migration a few years ago, you have an inkling of what he's describing. Before or during a migration, clans or large towns sometimes lay down wooden structures of varying permanence to cross known streams and low spots. Sometimes they pick them up and re-use them, but sometimes they leave them in place, either because they intend to travel the same way again for trade, or because it is too much of a hassle to pick up a large one and move it. Travelers in smaller groups happily use these structures when they can find one, and sometimes even repair them. 

"Marbu broke a board once," says Venir, pointing at one of the oxen. "He's fat." 

"It was really the weight of the wagon that did it," adds Stala with a long-suffering sigh. "We did repair it, though. Common courtesy and all." 

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[One of the oxen is named Marbu.]

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"But the planks work pretty well where there isn't one? - do you expect to need those going forward?"

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Prota asks Stala if they need the planks for the road ahead. 

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You ask Stala, "But the planks work pretty well where there isn't one? - do you expect to need those going forward?"

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Step 59

A few planks are always useful in case of rain or mud, but Stala expects to have less need of them now that his family has left the Utannic Road. Prota implied they might be acceptable in trade, and Stala will notice and think about it. Four is the ideal number for a cart or wagon - two under the wheels and two placed in front for them to roll onto. Stala has some extra. At this point, he sees an opening to negotiate a fair trade for the balm and assistance. He will make an offer that is low compared to saving their lives, but reasonable given his constraints. It's not an amazing deal, but the value of everything is relative on the road, and if Prota does not find a way to deal with the mud, they will struggle on the Utannic Road. The prompt should also give the Player an idea of how much extra materiel can fit in Prota's cart. 

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Stala frowns thoughtfully. "The planks definitely help if you hit a rough spot. We've made do with stripped branches and the like before, but these are more reliable. I'd rather not part with all of them, since getting stuck without any is a nightmare...you want at least four if you can get them, since you need to place new ones in front of the wagon. We've got six of the long ones and a couple shorter ones for leverage. The shorter ones wouldn't hold our wagon, but your cart looks small enough for them. Those would hold your cart fine in all but the worst mud. When it's that bad we usually go around or wait out the rain." 

He scratches his chin. "...would you accept two large and two small planks, a bolt of wool, and our information as settling our debt? I wish I could offer more, but we haven't much coin since leaving Clan Pratchett." The items he described might weigh down the cart a little, but you could find room for them. 

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None. 

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I think about this for a minute before I nod. "I think that'll do, yes."

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Prota agrees to the trade. 

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You take some time to think, then agree to the trade. 

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Step 60

Prota's immediate business here is concluded. The next prompt should alert the Player that the plot is moving forward and give them an opportunity to contribute further if so inclined. This can be accomplished by noting that Stala and Venir get Kyintri into a pallet in the wagon and lay out Prota's supplies, while Glint locates Beldry and returns him to the cart. The following prompts can detail the group's arrival at the start of the Utannic Road. 

[Prota has acquired two long and two short sturdy planks, a bolt of wool, and information about the current state of towns on the Utannic and Llerwood paths.] 

Glint would normally have trouble leading Beldry, since the donkey is not saddled or bridled for a rider, just for pulling. Glint is slow on the ground when not shifted. Glint will solve this problem by turning into a donkey himself and nudging Beldry in the correct direction. 

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With that settled, the travelers thank you and prepare to depart. Stala and Venir make up a pallet in the wagon for Kyintri to use, and set aside your planks and wool. Glint manages to locate Beldry. Rather than shuffle around on his stumps, he appears to have shifted into donkey form himself and is alternately leading and prodding Beldry towards the cart. 

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None. 

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