Pongnam decided to leave Ian and return to King’s Rest and the company of his fellow living helmet. The party continued on and arrived at Blem. Sir Alexios swore fealty to Count Leonarde Polyngton, ruler of Braedt. They gained a point of reputation from being acknowledged as the first to travel through the Pass in over fifty years. No one yet knew (including the party) that Amidst had been slaughtered by the Slicers as a result.
At the tournament grounds, Josette and Ian solved the riddle of the 8 cheeses and became Novitiates in the Cheesemaker’s Guild, while Brendan and Sir Alexios tried to imagine what the Cheesemakers were after. They also met Adem, a local purveyor of misappropriated merchandise. John Saunde of Haern attempted to misappropriate Brendan’s golden chamberpot, but was caught and punch repeatedly in the privates by Ian, as is his wont. Ultimately, the pot was returned and John released, after which Sir Alexios sought him out as a possible member of his Thieve’s Guild.
Ian and Brendan both competed unsuccessfully in the swordsmanship contest but Brendan came in third in archery contest, for which he won a +2 longbow and 20 +2 arrows. Since he already had a +2 composite bow, he gave the bow to Glern the Marshwiggle, who felt most unworthy.
REFEREE’S NOTE: I thought initially that the tournament was a disaster. My wife spent a lot of time creating a county generator, and then I spent a bunch of time creating the single elimination lists with the competitors from all over Braedt, and some from Martabus and Ruthven. Simulation, in this case, was much less fun than just winging it. The players did not enjoy the tournament, because they were outclassed by a number of their opponents, especially the two with Sword 40 and Sword 38. Ian is the party’s champion and has Sword 20, which up until now has seemed godlike. Upon second thought though, the tournament did send the players a notice that they were not the finest warriors in the land, which allowed me to raise the bar for their adventures. Anyways, Brendan won bragging rights since he came in Fourth in the Swordsmanship contest (not easy with sixty-seven competitors!).
The tournament was disrupted by an attack by a mob of Yellow Men, disease spewing demons that were chasing people from Lowtown. The party and the other heroes counterattacked, and after a few rounds found that the creatures could only be stopped by a head shot. After that, their numbers quickly diminished.
A second group attacking the Riverwalk was pursued by some of the competitors, while the knights of Lowtown rode out after a group headed for Plackton, the next town down the river. Riverwalk was cleansed, but the knights were defeated, as the group headed toward Plackton included a Yellow Man Lord. The lucky knights were given horrible diseases; the unlucky ones turned into Yellow Men.
Back in town, the party learned that the first Yellow Man had been set on the town by Mahalakshmi Thakwraa, the sorceress of the Castle. Adem led Ian and Brendan into Hightown through one of the sewers, and from there they entered the Castle itself, finding Mahalakshmi in The Merchant’s Boot. It took a while, but eventually Ian appealed to her better side and she revealed that she had sold the truename of a Yellow Man to Abhimani Fressell, a competitor in the tournament. After attempting to abduct Mahalakshmi and being stopped by a local priest of the Harvester of Foes, Iabrowob Pudesay. Pudesay narrowed avoided another stabbing incident by Ian, who for some reason chose to buy him a beer instead. Of course, Ian also called the Harvester of Foes some naughty names and dared him to do anything about it, so that may make for an interesting adventure in the future.
Adem, Ian, and Brendan then rejoined the others outside the walls and found Fressell. After interrogating him increasingly aggressively, the party managed to get him to run screaming for help, despite the fact that Josette’s Telepathy indicated he knew nothing of the Yellow Man. Surrounded by 50 warriors there for the competition, Ian, Brendan, Josette, and Fressell were taken into custody and held in the Castle overnight for judgement by the Count in the morning. Adem claimed he didn’t know them, and thus escaped the same fate.