AAR: [2H] Strange Things Afoot at the Circle K (2020-08-02 @ 22:00 GMT)

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Re: AAR: [2H] Strange Things Afoot at the Circle K (2020-08-02 @ 22:00 GMT)

Post by redwraith » Mon Aug 03, 2020 7:20 pm

The cost of bread in Throal has been increasing for weeks now. I’m a big eater and any changes in food prices impact me more than most. After asking around it seems like one of the staple breads, pumpkin bread, has stopped being supplied to Throal. This seems odd as it was used to make trail rations and several taverns offered it as part of their mid day meal. While I’m not a big fan of pumpkin bread the lack of this popular option has increased all other options.

Apparently I’m not the only person who is concerned over the price of bread and a group of us are heading to Sosanopa to investigate the Pumpkin bread shortage. The four of us group up and make the journey. Juniper the shadowy Elf, Dale the enchanting and Jarock the weapon smith and I find our trip to be uneventful and we arrive in Sosanopa. We start our investigation with Dary the baker who is renowned for his breads of all kinds. His store is very busy and he doesn’t seem to have much time for us until Juniper indicates that we are from Thoral and are here to investigate the pumpkin shortage. Dary tells us that the Circle K ranch has recently been taken over by a man named Regan and in the last couple of months his supplies have stopped and with no other local farms growing pumpkins he has been unable to supply anyone with pumpkin bread. He tells us that the local tavern also had dealings with Circle K and that they might be able to provide additional details.

Once we arrive at the tavern we are informed of stories of people disappearing at the ranch and that one woman fled the ranch just recently and is staying in the tavern. We visit her and she provides more frightening details of people vanishing and more people arriving all the time. No one talks about the people who had vanished and Regan indicates they just fled into the night. But she says that there was a feeling of being watched and chased while she was there and she fled as soon as the new “managers” weren’t watching her working the fields. We headed to the ranch and stopped off at a farm on the way to the ranch. The farmers confirmed the story of vanishing people but this time from the local farms and how the closer you got to the ranch the worst the corps became until nothing could grow.

When we finally arrive at the ranch we noticed that the fields were very lush and bountiful, the opposite of the fields surrounding the ranch. Also we noticed several people working the fields and some “managers” ensuring the effort of the workers. While we were observing we heard the sound of a whip, which all the “managers” carried by one of the barns. Juniper and Jarock were very disturbed by this treatment. After the whipping had stopped two men approached the grain elevator and loaded up a wagon. They were off to make a delivery and maybe a pickup as well. This left only three “managers” at the ranch. So we decided to intervene and attacked the “managers”. While we were in combat the scarecrows decided that they wanted to engage in the brawl and attacked us. We defeated them all and captured one of the “managers” we searched the workers quarters and found a sick woman and the farmhouse didn’t turn up anything very interesting.

We found out that the workers were terrified of Regan and had all been told they were drunk/drugged while signing a blood oath with Regan to work at the ranch. Juniper tried to convince them to leave and that the blood oath was false but they wouldn’t listen. The next day we setup to await Regan’s return to the ranch. The cart returned with one “manager” along with an unconscious body. No sign of Regan. After we subdue the “manager” Regan appears in the middle of the pumpkin patch.

We approach him as several more scarecrows animated and attacked. After we started combat a Horror pumpkin appeared in the middle of the fields who lashed out with vines and seemed to support Regan in combat. Regan turned out to be a master with that whip and defeat Jarock after he had burned the scarecrows and then Juniper rushed Regan attempting to finish him after a lengthy combat. Regan reached back and snapped the whip around Juniper’s neck and we heard a sickening crack. Unfortunately I finally put Regan down after his devastating attack on Juniper.

We quickly found some potions on Regan and we poured them and any extra booster potions we had into Juniper has his breathing was getting more and more labored. After the whisky shot he seemed to come around again but didn’t seem to be in the best of shape.

While we were finishing off Regan and looking after our fallen companions a smallish pumpkin person ran off into the wilderness. I would imagine that the local Horror hunters will be interested in hunting down this Horror. We then made our way back to Sosanopa.

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News from the Underground

Post by bronzemountain » Mon Aug 10, 2020 3:11 pm


Every three days, Anduvin Rathnapuri joins dozens of other shoppers at the Open Market in Three Points, a working class neighborhood in Throal. There, he picks up vegetables, fruits, and, especially, pumpkin bread for his family. But recently, the price of pumpkin bread has skyrocketed. "It's difficult for us, now. The pumpkin bread was the cheapest loaf we could buy but now I can only afford it once a week at most," said Anduvin.

The problem is one of supply. "Look, if we were getting our supply of pumpkins, this wouldn't be a problem," reports Dary, a baker in the town of Sosanopa. Their supplier, the Circle K ranch, has changed ownership and Regan, the new owner, has been scarce. No one in Sosanopa has seen him in the last two months. And with his absence, the pumpkin supply has dried up.

One woman, who asked not to be named, says, "It's horrible there. Ever since Regan took over, people have started to vanish. There are strange sounds in the woods. I had to run. To stay would have been worse than any other fate." As she recounts her story, she turns white. Tears stream down her innocent features.

The ranch itself, the once famous Circle K, is now a place of despair and anguish. Hard-faced women and men, so-called 'Managers', patrol the fields, whipping workers who fail to meet impossible and diabolical standards of productivity. The wails and moans of long-suffering laborers fill the air, a storm of heart-breaking agony. There are mysterious side-trips. The new boss, the villainous Regan, departs for parts unknown with a henchman and a wagon full of prisoners.

At the Circle K, they once grew pumpkins. Now their only harvest is evil.

"I hate these people. Also, there was a Horror. It was like a pumpkin. We killed it. Stop asking me questions." These are the words of Jarock, a Weaponsmith from Throal who has come here to help these unfortunate laborers. "What kind of man - no, monster - masters the whip, of all weapons? This Regan killed Juniper, bravest and best of our companions. It's a good thing we found a Last Chance salve, or he would have deprived of us a great man," declares Redsun, an Archer and honorable Troll. "These men are slavers, and allied with a Horror. They are the worst sort of scum," adds Dale, an Illusionist. "I am so grateful for Juniper, who brought us here and gave us the opportunity to be heroes," he concludes.

The heroes describe their terrible battle with Regan and the Horrors. They speak in hushed tones of scarecrows come to life, only to be lit aflame by Jarock. They bear the physical scars of whip marks and the emotional scars of a pumpkin patch that came to life and tried to drag them into the abyss. All of them have a new light in their eyes. And that light is determination. They have seen the face of evil, and they have driven it back, though it has cost them.

The Circle K Ranch now belongs to the workers that toiled there. They will grow pumpkins that are not also Horrors from magical outer space. They will share in the profits, free from the yoke of tyranny and oppression. And Anduvin Rathnapuri will be able to buy pumpkin bread every three days at the Open Market in Three Points.

News from the Underground - "Like Regular News, but Way Cooler"

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