We started this session with a few minutes spent on completing the adventurers. Dangsarle had his iron ingot made into plate vambraces and Gaar decided his bronze products also were vambraces. One Orlanthi had to choose subcult (Adventurous) and two adventurers had to make a few adjustments to their characteristics. I also asked the players to think about whether or not their adventurers have wifes and/or children, and decide at the start of next session. Then we were ready to go.
I've hidden the campaign journal below as it contains spoilers from the Borderlands campaign.
The combat lasted approximately four rounds. I use a running Strike Rank system instead of the RAW turn based, and I think it worked well. What I need to do better is to prepare better stat blocks for the enemies, to mark off hit points and stuff from. But in general, I’ve discovered I’m not as concerned about the details as I was thirty years ago. I feel I am confident in my ability to create a fun and exciting game experience, and to do that I don’t need to know if the Tusk Rider is brought to -4 or -5 hit points in its left foreleg. It’s enough if I pretend to know.
We did experience rolls, and one player even succeeded with a POW gain roll, after having cast Disruption.
I’m now contemplating how to time the coming scenarios in the campaign. I need to make it possible for the adventurers to attend the holy days in Horn Gate.
The room where we play has a big screen behind me. Should I use it? How? I don’t have any immediate ideas - a slideshow of mood images maybe? I’m afraid it would be distracting.
Daine held his briefing and invited questions. When asked, he explained that their caravan would contain a unit responsible for food and water. He also explained that the adventurers were one unit among several mercenary units hired by the duke.
On the late afternoon of the first day crossing the Long Dry, one of the other mercenaries pointed to a group of six Hyenas. When discovered, the Hyenas started an eerie laughing-bark. They followed the caravan at a safe distance, probably hoping to find any leftovers.
On Wildday the party met a group of six High Llama riders. Salion saw them first. Daine reminded the adventurers that the Duke’s policy is not to antagonize the native peoples.
The llama riders approached with their weapons down. Their leader, Sacajawea Hornsaddle, did the talking, flanked by another woman and a male shaman (who behaved like shamans often do, simultaneously engaged in conversation with someone on the Spirit Plane). The High Llama riders listened to the mercenaries’ declaration of the Duke’s intention to which they responded with something that might have been contempt. They then explained that they were looking for their lost clan member, Almeed, and asked if anyone had seen him. Nobody had, but offered to keep an eye out for him. When asked about where the High Llama riders could be found, if any news on Almeed was found, the reply was “West of the Paps and south of The Dead Place.”
On Clayday in Movement week the caravan reached Horn Gate. The white walled town was surrounded by Sable rider camps. The Duke set off to purchase slaves. The adventurers were given the day off and told to report back the following day. Interestingly there was a Lightbringer temple in town, even though the Lunars of course had a barracks and a noticeable presence. After touring the place the adventurers settled in a bar for the evening, before returning to the caravan camp.
The following day the Duke said he would have to stay in Horn Gate for negotiations a few more days. Daine was to take the adventurers and continue the scouting as planned. After participating in the Orlanth and Odayla rites on this seasonal holy day, they set off towards Weis Cut.
About half way there they met a Morokanth caravan, herding herd men and other cattle. The Morokanth did not seem too eager to make contact, but the adventurers felt it was their duty to initiate a dialogue with anyone in the lands of their employer. After formal greetings the two groups parted ways, the Morokanths continuing south.
At Weis Cut the group found an Agimori camp. When the adventurers introduced themselves as representatives of the new lord of the area, the Agimori seemed unimpressed, but surprisingly quick to demand legal justice for the capture of two of their hunters by the Morokanth at Bilo’s Gap. Slightly taken by surprise, the adventurers rose to take their responsibility, and offered to handle the situation. They were a bit afraid the large contingent Agimori that accompanied them would be threatening.
Reaching Bilo’s Gap negotiations began. It turned out the two Agimori hunters were in fact cattle thieves. Some of the adventurers thought that turning them into herd men was out of the question, whatever their crime. Others thought it was none of their business how the locals punished thieves. In the end the decision was made that the Agimori had to pay ransom for the two hunters. The Morokanth were unhappy with the decision but accepted it.
Traversing the Zola Fel river the group approached the Eastern Highlands. They noticed a group of Impala Riders evading them. Eventually they closed in on the Stone Tower, where rumour has it a vampire once lived. Approaching the area the adventurers spotted two Tusk Riders in the distance. After some debate, the adventurers decided to approach. The Tusk Riders started some weird performance, seemingly having no control of their Tuskers. As they came too close for comfort the adventurers started shooting warning shots, at which point the Tusk Riders attacked.
The combat was short and intense, but receiving a hail of arrows, sword- and axe attacks, and magic spells, the two Tusk Riders and their hideous beasts were downed, with only minor injuries to the party.
After this skirmish, the adventurers were congratulated by Daine. They then proceeded to scout the Stone Tower, and spotted more Tusk Riders. It was decided to retreat.
The journey continued up the East Highlands, to Condor Crags. At the towering spires Dangsarle came to the conclusion he would probably be able to climb the cliffs if need be.
Without more encounters the adventurers then reached the North Bog where they found the Duke’s camp. They were ordered to execute two Newtling bandits, which they did. Judging by some noice and observations made by the Duke’s Newtlings the execution was witnessed from the river by unknown river dwellers, probably from the same Newtling clan as the bandits. Duke Raus then informed the group that their first mission after settling at the fort would be to rout out some Duck bandits that have raided river folk in the area. According to the Newtling scouts the Duck bandit camp is in the North Bog.
Before ending the round trip at the fort, a visit was made to the village of Weis. It was a depressing site inhabited by listless incompetent farmers. Daine explained that more resourceful settlers would be arriving next year.
At Fort Rone the first floor of the main tower was already completed, and the duke’s family had moved into it. The adventurers got a glimpse of the Duke’s wife and daughter. They assumed Jezra’s sourness came from having to move to this desolate place. The barbarian mercenaries looked with wonder at mortar being made to cement the stones of the walls together.