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  1. 1 point
    For our most recent session, the players took the reins and decided to visit the neighboring Balkoth Tribe. I hadn't really planned for this, but thankfully I had some good material to fall back on from Hearts in Glorantha, with the Balkoth article by Stuart Mousir-Harrison. Erindros' player could not make it for this session either, but since he had a wedding to plan, it was easy to explain his absence. Friendly Neighbors I usually start off a new season by sharing the local news from passing merchants and travelers. The biggest news came from Boldhome. For weeks after the Battle of Queens, Kallyr had lain in state at the Royal Palace, her body preserved with magic. Finally, in frustration, Leika Blackspear of the Colymar Tribe decided to torch Kallyr's body, and leave the city with her entourage (these events are covered in various books, including the core rulebook). The PC's reacted with unease at this news, until a messenger from Blackmane arrived. The messenger explained that the Dundealos would stay strong even if the Kingdom of Sartar disintegrated, thanks to their close alliance with the Pol-Joni Tribe. Earth Season rolled through, with the harvest being meager, but free of raids or strange occurrences. The players reviewed some of the recent problems affecting the clan, and pondered their next course of action. Bandit activity in the Verge was getting worse. A gift from the Bardori to the Hyaling clan had recently been stolen. The Wozer clan of the Balkoth had successfully repelled all counter-raids after stealing cattle from everyone south of the Willow Beck river. Many Bardori thanes still agitated against them. Many Storm Bull warriors from the Valley were heading to Heortland to fight the Scorpion menace. Egajia meditated on the problem of the Wozer clan. They had always been troublesome neighbors, with a long history of slights, raiding, and land grabs. However because she was adopted into the clan during the Dundealos exile period, she didn't have quite the same animosity towards them as her kinfolk. Their behavior since the Dragonrise had been unusually hostile, and she sensed that something spiritual might be the cause of this. She made up her mind to speak with the Wozer's wyter spirit, and convinced Garkar and He Who Spits at the Devil to go with her. Here are some maps to get a sense of where the Balkoth live (the left one is from the AA Atlas, which is why it still includes the New Lunar Temple). None of the PC's could remember what the Wozer spirit was, or where it was kept. Egajia tried speaking with the Bardori's chief trader, Stolf Argin's Son, who visited the Wozer occasionally. He was uninterested in helping them, as he suspected that Egajia was trying to get neighborly with the Balkoth clans. He explained that the Balkoth were once the wealthiest tribe in the Swenstown confederation, but since the occupation had become the poorest, losing all of their cattle and gaining nothing but filthy goats. The Wozer were the poorest clan of the tribe, and their constant cattle raiding was because no-one would willingly trade with them from the Valley. He wanted to keep things this way, as "weak Balkoth mean strong Dundealos in the Swenstown markets." Egajia left in frustration, and decided to visit the Wozer chieftain without any background info. The plan hatched by the three heroes was that they would openly approach the Wozer patrols, and announce that they were investigating rumors of Chaos activity nearby. Because most clans are eager to dispel any rumors of harboring Chaos, this would hopefully get them an audience with the chieftain. They crossed the Willow Beck going north, and immediately met some hostile weaponthanes on horses, demanding to know their business. Garkar did some fast talking (unsuccessfully), and then HWSAD relied on his intimidating bluster to demand an audience with chieftain Orvengar. The patrolmen acquiesced, not wanting trouble from Storm Bull. The party passed through the stunted, yellow pastures of the Wozer. Gaunt herders tended to goats (gasp!), sheep, and the occasional cow. The Wozer's harvest was clearly even more pathetic than their neighbors'. Egajia was not bothered by the omnipresent goats, but I really tried to underscore the revulsion that Garkar and HWSAD would feel at confronting these beasts. I described them as "basically broos with four legs, playing with children." The PC's also noticed a lack of young men or women, with many folk being older, or just children. The chieftain's hall was located on high ground, near a rocky outcrop of sandstone. Chieftain Orvengar was a twisted old man, nearly crippled from falling off a horse many years ago. His hall was filled with cows stolen from various clans. He was in the process of milking one of them when the heroes entered. He greeted them with jeers and derision at having their beloved cows stolen. Egajia did the talking, while the other two fumed at the obnoxious old man. She accused Orvengar and his people of betraying all of Sartar with their raids and selfishness, and also said that he brought Chaos upon everyone with his reckless leadership. Orvengar denied that Chaos had visited his people, and said that raiding was the right of any Heortling clan. Egajia then suggested that the Wozer clan looked "sick" to her, and asked when the last time the chieftain had spoken with the clan's wyter. This seemed to catch him off guard, and after more pressing, he admitted that he had not consulted the wyter for several seasons. Egajia asked to join him in consulting the wyter, and promised to help him "overcome his clan's sickness." He agreed to this, although they were accompanied by armed thanes. They went further up into the Yellow Hills, to a hilltop crowned with broken sandstone. There they found a hidden statue of a grotesque-looking man, with massive hands, feet, and genitals. As Orvengar prayed to the statue, it became animated, leaping about and making faces at the chieftain. It excoriated him for not making proper sacrifices, and ignoring it's advice. After many apologies, Egajia asked the statue what troubles affected the Wozer clan that they could help alleviate. The statue grinned and said- "Change is coming to the Yellow Hills, and our people must embrace it! But they cannot become strong again until they remove all traces of the shameful past. We must cleanse ourselves of past stains, and bring justice to the one who brought that shame unto us!" After this, the statue went silent again. Egajia was not sure what all of this meant. Orvengar explained that the statue was talking about the Balkoth's former king, Angtyr of the Horn. While he didn't know about "embracing change," he knew that Angtyr unquestionably was the tribe's greatest shame. He was a Lunar hostage, who returned to rule the tribe during the Occupation. He brought foreign goat cults with him, along with the Seven Mothers, and lived a debauched lifestyle while his people starved. After the Dragonrise (which he managed to avoid), he became a bandit and disappeared into the hills. While Angtyr had not come from the Wozer, he had targeted them for reprisals due to their rebellious disposition. The people longed to see him brought to justice, but so far he had escaped discovery from the new Balkoth king. Egajia then offered help join the hunt for Angtyr, if it would help the Wozer. Orvengar said this would help to build friendship between Bardori and Wozer, as well as friendship between tribes. But the Balkoth had already been hunting Angtyr for many seasons, with no luck. He also said there was no chance of anyone getting their stolen cows back. "A Goat King, for a Goat People" The chieftain offered the PC's hospitality for the night. They decided to ask around among the Wozer folk about Angtyr, and see if they could learn anything interesting. They didn't pick up much (bad rolls again) other than what they already knew. One bit of info that Orvengar shared was that the two "goat cults" Angtyr had introduced to the Balkoth were still going strong in his absence. These included Gerendetho, an Earth god from the Lunar province of Kostaddi, and Uryarda, the Goat Mother. Angtyr himself was a priest of Gerendetho, embodying his more violent and hedonistic traits. The Gerendetho cult had been outlawed by the new king, but Uryarda's was still going strong. The people found that the goats did well in the dry Yellow Hills, and many admired their hardiness. There were also rumors that Angtyr still had supporters among both of these cults. The heroes decided to try something that would get some attention. They improvised a song satirizing Angtyr, and sang it to an assembled crowd of farmers. Their rolls were successful (and their lyrics were spot-on), so after a few hours the whole clan was singing it. I can't remember the lyrics now, but they involved Angtyr's alleged flatulence, and something about "blowing his own horn." While they had their crowd laughing away, they noticed a group of women at the edge were clearly not amused, and saw them slip away into the night. Garkar successfully followed them without being seen. He observed the women entering a large stead, and hunkered down to wait for anything interesting to happen. He heard loud arguments from within, and eventually a man stormed out of the stead. He mounted a horse, and surprisingly, the horse took off into the air on it's own, galloping as if the air were solid ground. Garkar, as a former outlaw, recognized the signature spell of the god of outlaws, Gagarth, the Wild Hunter. He assumed this man must be a bandit, and possibly might have a connection with Angtyr, the local bandit king. He heard the women refer to the man as "Destor," and also heard mention of "Darrold's Hold". He returned to the others to share this information, and also let Orvengar know. The chieftain told them that the women they saw were of the clan's Uryarda cult, and he would question them himself. There was no-one in the clan named Destor who fit the man's description, so he was likely an outlaw. Darrold's Hold was a hill fort owned by the neighboring Daldari clan, and the current seat of the Balkoth king, Orkarl Windstorm. The party decided to visit Darrold's Hold and find the mysterious Destor. Orvengar offered the services of one of his thanes, an Odaylan hunter and tracker named Hiark. He would guide them to Darrold's Hold (only a day's journey), and also make an introduction to king Orkarl. The heroes set off. They were going into the Yellow Hills, which were the traditional lands of the Balkoth. Dry, dusty, and rocky, the hills make for poor grazing, and are part of the reason for the tribe's poverty. The terrain is more like Prax than Sartar. I showed the players some random googled images to give them a sense of the place. After a few hours of travel on a herder's path, they entered a dry ravine (classic ambush spot). Egajia sent her fetch away from her body to get a bird's eye view of the land. She noticed two horses tied up near the edge of the ravine, and a man hiding nearby in the brush, readying a sling. Garkar noticed him as well, and warned everyone to take cover. The party cast a few spells in preparation, and then arrows and slingstones started to fly from both sides of the ravine. What followed was a short but bloody battle. HWSAD rode his antelope up the edge of the ravine, trying to close distance with the one attacker they had seen. Garkar and Egajia ran up on foot, he with his shield up, and she casting Disruption spells. Their guide Hiark stayed back and fired arrows. Her fetch continued to float above the battle, trying to locate other attackers with Second Sight. Egajia took an arrow in the arm from behind, Garkar was hit in the leg, and was forced to stop and heal himself. They noticed two other bandits, one a tall, muscular man with a bow, and the other a short woman, who began running for her horse after seeing HWSAD charge in. The first bandit they had seen rose up, and drew a two-handed sword. He was well-armored and tattooed in Death runes, marking him as a Humakt initiate. He whispered prayers to his sword, and closed in. HWSAD caught up to him first, and cast Berserker on himself. He then prepared to leap from his steed, but the Humakti got the first blow in. He cut deeply into HWSAD's leg, and had he not been raging it would have been severed clean. The extra hit points allowed him to keep it attached, and the Bull's rage kept him from going into shock, but he was now crippled. He fell to the ground. Thankfully, he could still swing his maul from the ground, and rolled a special success against the Humakti. As usual, he dealt a massive blow and rolled well for damage. The other warrior was crippled as well, and sank to the ground screaming over his crushed leg. Garkar let loose a javelin and impaled the big fellow, also through his leg. He then ran up to heal HWSAD, who rose and finished off both bandits. Arrows continued to fly from the other side of the ravine. Garkar took one to the head, but his helmet stopped it from doing serious damage. Egajia meanwhile was pursuing the fleeing woman. She attempted to cast her go-to Sleep spell, but the woman had fairly strong Countermagic up. The bandit leaped onto her horse, and it took off into the air, rising quickly. Egajia sent her bound Wraith after the bandit. Before it even caught up, Hiark, who had not accomplished much up to this point, let loose a well-aimed arrow. We ruled that a ranged attack from below would most likely hit the horse, and... it did. The arrow went through the poor horse's skull, and it died in mid-air. Rather than crash to the ground, it slowly sank down. Egajia's wraith enveloped the bandit, and began sucking her very life force way. The woman screamed for mercy, and then jumped free from her falling horse. She offered herself up as a prisoner. Everyone then looked over and saw another bandit, an impala rider by his steed and stature, take off into the air from the other side of the ravine. He was heading in the direction of Darrold's Hold. That's all! Pretty good session, considering I improvised almost the entire thing. With our next session, we will go deeper into the wild parts of Balkoth country, in search of Angtyr of the Horn. Thanks for reading!
  2. 1 point
    I have decided to start writing recaps of my ongoing RQG campaign, which is centered on the Bardori clan in Sartar, of the Dundealos Tribe. I've been feeling like it would be helpful to get myself writing regularly again, and I would like to have some sort of record of our campaign. Hopefully, folks will also enjoy reading about an ongoing story in the relatively new RQG system. I began my current campaign back in March. My plan is to quickly cover the background and events of the campaign so far, and then hopefully write more detailed coverage once I catch up to the present. Background After immersing myself in Gloranthan material for many months, I found myself struggling to find the right framework for creating a campaign. There was simply so much lore and background information to absorb, I didn't know how to do it justice. Then I discovered The Coming Storm/Eleven Lights, which inspired me to run a campaign focused on a single clan in Sartar. This seemed like the ideal way to tie a group of PC's together, and give them the motivation to go on adventures together. Faced with the choice of which system to use, I found myself more interested in the new RQG rules. I usually prefer more rules-lite systems or story games, but Runequest seemed to be experiencing a revival that was very exciting. I also liked the idea of setting the campaign later in the timeline, after the Lunar occupation. My next big decision was choosing which region in the core book to focus on for my campaign. I felt like Sartar and Prax were the most detailed with prior published material, and Sartar was slightly more interesting to me. With a clan-based campaign, I also had to choose which tribe would be a good fit. The Dundealos immediately jumped out to me as being in a unique position in the setting's start date of 1625. They were one of the few tribes to be completely disbanded by the Empire, but they had returned to resettle their valley after the Dragonrise. This is detailed very briefly in the core book on p. 108, under the section on Swenstown. This would allow me to run a campaign focused on rebuilding, and reforging a lost connection with past traditions (not unlike King of Dragon Pass). The Dundealos also have some interesting neighbors, who could make good allies or antagonists depending on players' actions. These include the nomads and creatures of Prax, the impoverished Balkoth Tribe, and the slave-taking Sambari Tribe. When I was writing notes on the setting, I found the fanzine Hearts in Glorantha very helpful. The first collection contains an article on the Dundealos Tribe by Jeff Richard, of which I used most of the clans for in my campaign. It also has an article on the Balkoth, which I made use of (and it's awesome, there's so much more to them than just goats!). The Sartar Companion was also very helpful in mapping out the Dundealos Valley. The Bardori Clan I wanted to create a clan of my own for the campaign. The Bardori are typical of many Dundealos clans: they herd more sheep than cattle, they produce many fine riders, and they tend to fight in a skirmishing style with bows and javelins from horseback. They are also unusual in several ways: their clan wyter is a rooster, they consider all chickens (especially roosters) sacred, and they see Elmal and Redalda as equally important to Orlanth and Ernalda. They worship several heroes known for their skill in riding, including Hyalor, Ulanin, and Derik Pol-Joni. The Bardori were disbanded in 1618 by the Lunar Empire, after the Dundealos rebelled, and were defeated. The survivors either went into exile, lived as bandits, or were enslaved and forced to work on the New Lunar Temple. The core rulebook for RQG states that the tribe was disbanded in 1615, while the HQ books say 1618. For my campaign I went with the later date, because I wanted there to be a faction of former slaves in the clan, and 10 years felt like too long for anyone to survive in a Lunar slave camp. The core book mentions a "Pol-Joni adventurer" being responsible for recreating the Dundealos tribe. I decided to flesh out this character more, and give him the name Ekil Blackmane (or just Blackmane). He led a band of warriors back to the valley, only a few days after the Dragonrise, and destroyed the remnants of the Lunar Enstalos tribe. He then became the new tribal king. What exactly happened to the Enstalos people, specifically the women and children, was left to the new clan chieftains. Most were enslaved or ransomed if possible. The new Bardori chieftain, Angarr Broad-Back, returned to the Dundealos Valley with his warriors at the same time as Blackmane to reclaim his people's land. The harvest was not yet complete, so he chose to go against clan tradition and keep the Enstalos survivors as thralls to finish the harvest. All of the player characters were either children or teenagers when the clan was forcibly disbanded. When I had my players make characters, I had them think about how they fit into their clan's recent history. This was in addition to the normal family history generation, but they ended up being fairly compatible. They had the following background options to choose from- Exile - Fled with family or sent to live with distant kin. If players chose this option, they had to also choose where they spent their exile. This option allowed players to choose Homelands other than Sartar, to reflect a different style of upbringing. Banditry - Stayed in or near the former Dundealos tribal lands, and lived a precarious existence as bandits. Enslaved - Forced to work in Sartar in Lunar slave camps, or sent to Lunar Tarsh. Players could also choose to be married or adopted into the clan, which opened up even more options. Here is a segment of the Dragon Pass map by Darya Makarava. The river running from Boldhome into Prax (near the Dragonrise), and the surrounding valley, is the campaign's "home base." The river is called the Willow Beck, and the valley is named for the Dundealos Tribe. The Heroes We started with three players, and ended up adding a fourth fairly recently. Garkar - Former bandit, Initiate of Orlanth - Garkar lived as a bandit, and fought against the Empire after the clan was destroyed. The harsh life of banditry formed him into a vengeful, somewhat paranoid man with many grudges (most of his passions start with "Hate"). Garkar has few ambitions other than to see his clan back on their feet, and to punish their old enemies. Erindros - Exile in Esrolia, Initiate of Issaries - Erindros is the scion of one of the two merchant families in the clan. His wealthy aunt in Nochet took him in as a child, and he was raised in the (relative) safety of great city. When the Empire was driven from Sartar, Erindros was encouraged to reclaim his family's land in Dundealos Valley, and he did so (somewhat unwillingly). He discovered his family's farm was in great disrepair, and set about rebuilding it. Erindros is effete and snobbish towards his "barbarian" cousins, but in spite of this he is a great leader in battle. Egajia - Praxian, adopted into the clan by the chieftain, Initiate of Daka Fal - Egajia was born among the High Llama riders, her family were rebels who fought the Lunars alongside Angarr Broad-Back and the Pol-Joni. Her family were all killed, and Angarr adopted her into his own household. She returned to the valley to serve the chieftain as a thane, and lives a strange half-life, spending time with her new kinfolk, and visiting her shaman mentor in Prax. He Who Spits at Chaos (formerly known as Brun) - Exile in Prax, Initiate of Storm Bull - Most of Brun's family were slaughtered by the Lunars after the last Dundealos uprising. He found a sense of belonging with a band of Storm Bull warriors based in Prax. After his initiation, he took his new "name." HWSAC only recently joined the campaign, and is determined to build a shrine to his god on Bardori land, which will also double as an inn and beer hall. His kin appreciate his talent at fighting Chaos, but see his future ambitions as... problematic. Next time... More background material, and covering the campaign events up to the present. Thanks for reading!
  3. 1 point
    Edit: I've decided to add more of my AWFUL maps to help visualize the many different locations I'm describing. Storm Season (Off-time) At this point in the campaign, I think we had about 4 sessions under our belt. I decided that I wanted to allow the players more control over what their characters did each season, and so I took a break from the usual, "Chieftain tells you to do this for the good of the clan, so do it." Instead I started giving them a quick overview of what the clan folk were doing week by week, dropping rumors, and sharing news about what the other clans and neighbors were up to. My hope was that they would either choose something interesting to look into, or come up with a scheme of their own. At the beginning of the Storm Season, the events were as follows- In spite of their vindication, the Bardori are still angry at the Togarth clan. There are disputes about stolen pasture land, and their chieftain also refuses to return the cattle that were lost the previous season. The Balkoth clans, in particular the Wozer (another one I created) are hitting everyone in the valley with repeated cattle raids. Now that they don't have to herd goats anymore, they are replenishing their herds (although they still have the goats). Fort Enstala, the ruined capitol of the late Enstalos Tribe, is rumored to be haunted by vengeful ghosts and demons. It is also rumored to still have treasure hidden in the Temple of the Seven Mothers, passed over by Blackmane's raiders. Chieftain Angarr has forbidden anyone from raiding until next year. He feels the focus should be on rebuilding steads, repairing defenses, and reestablishing old ties of friendship and trade with other clans. In spite of this, the young weaponthanes are chomping at the bit, and ready to fight their own neighbors. The atmosphere is a bit tense. Erindros agrees with the chieftain that feuding with the Togarth would be a bad thing, and cattle raiding may not be enough to satisfy the hotblooded warriors. He comes up with a plan that will hopefully improve relations with the Togarth, and also let the warriors test their mettle. Storm Season: The Big Raid (or, Everyone Hates the Sambari Tribe) Political Map of Dundealos Valley Erindros' idea was this. He, Egajia and Garkar would go to the Togarth chieftain as emissaries, bearing gifts and offering to smooth over recent disputes. They would then propose a joint raid as one-time allies against a common enemy: the Sambari Tribe to the northwest. The Sambari are famous thrallholders, and many of their clans once paid annual tribute to the Togarth, who would go raiding against them otherwise. Since the Dundealos Tribe was disbanded, they have not had to worry about this of course. Raiding one of their clans, specifically the Rastorlings, would help to reestablish the old tributes. The Bardori have no quarrel with any Sambari clans (except for Garkar of course), but they would benefit by liberating and adopting more thralls. Erindros and Egajia convinced the chieftain and the Inner Ring that this would be a good idea. They then had to visit the Togarth chieftain, Arnsulva One-Eye, and convince her. The party got a cool reception at first, and had to suffer various insults from Arnsulva, a Vingan warrior. Then Garkar, bolstered with magic and fueled by his irrational hatred of the Sambari, convinced the Togarth thanes that the thrallholders needed to be taught a lesson. He also impressed the chieftain, and plans for a joint raiding party were agreed upon. The Togarth would send the chieftain's eldest daughter Orane, a warrior of Humakt, and eighty warriors. The Bardori would send one hundred, led by the PC's and a member of the Inner Ring named Leif Lightspear. Leif was a Sun Thane of Elmal, and originally from the Pol-Joni. Before setting out on the raid, the clan prepared with rituals and prayers to their war gods (mainly Orlanth, Elmal, and Humakt). The chieftain presented the Black Arrow to the clan's warriors, and took part in the masked war dances. The next morning the raiders set out north, and met up with the Togarth contingent on the way. Rastorling lands would take a full day and a half to reach. On the way, the raiders would have to pass through the Ulandring clan's territory. The Ulandrings are a Dundealos clan, and in my version of the setting, are the more cool-headed parent clan of the Togarth. They allowed the party to pass without issue, and even allowed a few of their own warriors to join the raid. The Rastorling clan (I can't remember if I made them up or not) are based in the northern Tantrell Hills around a hill fort, simply called Rastorl's Fort. The raiding party camped for the night at the edge of Ulandring territory, then struck out the next morning. They stayed under the cover of woods as they approached the fort, and Garkar scouted ahead to help everyone avoid the border patrols. The raiders managed to reach the fort itself without being discovered, and were thus able to strike before the full Rastorling militia was prepared. The fort's defenders numbered about 100, including the farmers nearby who took up arms. Before the two sides clashed in battle, challenges were called out. One particularly obnoxious warrior named Orlestan "Mad-Beard" was getting under Garkar's skin, and he met the warrior's challenge. Unfortunately, Orlestan had a Lightning spell prepared, and nearly blew off poor Garkar's sword arm. Garkar decided the duel wasn't going well, and used his Leap spell to get safely back to his allies, and Egajia's healing magic. The battle was then met. The raiders outnumbered the defenders, and again Erindros' leadership skills in battle helped to win the day. The defenders were driven back into the fort. Rastorl's Fort boasted a high stone wall and a stout gate, and the raiders had little hope of breaching it. Erindros realized however that the Rastorlings' most valuable assets, their thralls, were also likely imprisoned in the fort. He went to the front gate, dodging arrows as he went, and attempted to rouse the thralls within to fight back against their captors, and open the gate for their future liberators. Perhaps sensing an opportunity, the thralls within (who now outnumbered the Rastorling defenders) responded, and after a short brawl within, raised the main gate for the raiders. They swarmed into the fort, and the looting began. Further Complications The raid was a success. The Togarth warriors were allowed to take the larger share of silver and loot, while the Bardori rustled the cattle, stole food, and rounded up as many thralls as they could find to offer them freedom. Erindros, Egajia and Garkar were overseeing this process when they noticed something odd. By this time, it was late afternoon, and the sun was sinking low. Yet, from the southwest, a massive shadow was quickly approaching. It looked as if night was falling, but only over a region a few miles across. Suspecting that some foul magic was at play, they ran off to warn Leif and the other raiders. No sooner had they done so, when a cold shadow swept over the Rastorlings' entire tula. The sun became a dim blot in the sky, and general visibility was reduced to only a few meters. Soon after this, the PC's began hearing terrifying howls, grunts and squeals. A band of trollkin wielding spears came loping out of the darkness, and tried to engage the party. Egajia also sensed through Second Sight that other, more powerful creatures were staying hidden and watching in the darkness. They all decided unanimously that they were too spent to fight any kind of troll, and retreated. The trollkin couldn't keep up with them, and they escaped successfully. Unfortunately, the darkness combined with the bewildering noises made it difficult to find their way, and everyone became lost. After a few hours of wandering, the strange darkness dissipated, and gave way to actual night. The PC's found Leif Lightspear and other Bardori warriors under the effects of a Sunbright spell. They learned from him that trolls had swept in to take advantage of the chaos and carry off prisoners and cattle. The giant shadow was apparently a massive elemental, of the kind found in Shadow's Dance. Among the prisoners taken was the Togarth chieftain's daughter, Orane. The party was then faced with a difficult choice. They felt they needed to save Orane, as it was the honorable thing to do, and it could also potentially put the Togarth chieftain in their debt. By this point however, they had spent their rune magic, and other resources as well (augments, MP). Still, they decided to follow the trail of the Uz war party (which was not hard to find at all). Their quickly improvised plan was to ask Leif to use his remaining rune magic to distract the trolls, while they crept in and rescued Orane. The trolls had left to the south, into thick woods. The party borrowed horses, and rode along with Leif and a few others to follow them. The trolls left a trail of mangled brush and discarded bones that was not hard to follow, even in the dark. The rescuers found that the trolls were traveling with several giant rhinoceros beetles, laden with spoils (mostly food), and crude cages to store prisoners. These were mostly Togarth warriors, many wounded and unconscious. There were dozens of trolls present, and twice as many trollkin. Thankfully, Leif's distraction worked as he blinded the trolls with light, and set trees on fire. Most of them gave chase. Garkar and Erindros freed as many Togarth captives as they could, but were not able to heal those who were otherwise too wounded. They found the chieftain's daughter, who was unconscious, and carried her back to the horses. Several trolls noticed the heroes escaping, but Egajia still had plenty of MP left for Sleep spells. They escaped, as did Leif, and the trolls did not bother pursuing. The group had to go the long way around Rastorling land and avoid their patrols again, which they managed to do. They were reunited with the raiding party, and breathed a collective sigh of relief. All in all, the raid could still be counted as a success. The Togarth were furious at having their men taken as food by the trolls, but none of them blamed the Bardori or the PC's. Orane, when she came to, gave them her thanks. The raiding party returned the way they had come. Arnsulva One-Eye praised the PC's heroism at rescuing her eldest daughter, and threw a feast to celebrate the successful raid. While she could not be convinced to set up a permanent alliance between the two clans, she admitted that she was in their debt. Sacred Time 1625 Originally I had planned to make Sacred Time a separate adventure unto itself, but the timing didn't really work out. Instead it was treated as part of the seasonal off-time. I narrated the story of the Lightbringer's Quest, and each PC took part in a ceremony for their respective gods. Egajia was off in Prax for most of the two weeks, celebrating Daka Fal's high holy days. Here is how the Sacred Time sequence from the core rules worked out for everyone- Worship ceremonies - None of the PC's had more than 4 rune points with their gods, and they manage to recover them in previous weeks. Heroquest - No one felt like they were ready for this, and I didn't have to time to invent my own Heroquesting rules (can't wait for the Campaign/GM book to come out!!!) Harvest - For modifiers, the omens of the previous year were Ill-Favored, due to the Dragonrise and general instability in the region. I also considered the attack from the Lunar garrison to count as Light Raiding (-10% modifier). This added up to a -20% for the Harvest roll. The result was Bad. People were hungry, and barely scraping by, but at least it wasn't a famine. Adventurer Income - Despite the poor harvest, Erindros and Egajia succeeded with their rolls. Garkar did not (should have spent more time on the farm I guess). Erindros' player realized that he did not take steps to increase his stockpiled goods, thus his merchant income was meager. For the next year, he decided he would plan a trading expedition. Aging - Everyone is in their early 20's, nothing exciting here. Family Rolls - Nobody felt motivated to get married yet. One of Garkar's uncles was blessed by Orlanth and received a magical spear. Nothing interesting happened in Egajia's family. Erindros was the big winner, fathering a son! We all tried to figure out when and how this would have logically happened. Erindros' player agreed that the big party with the Togarth clan may have resulted in a drunken liaison. This also meant the baby was not born yet, so this would give Erindros time to figure out how to take care of his new family (and if he was going to get married). Omens - I knew something of what was coming for 1626. I decided the omens would definitely be Ill-Favored again. The chieftain was the one to perform the divinations, using a sacrificed rooster of course. He went into a frightening trance, and gave the following prophecy- "The Red Moon waxes bright, Chaos grows strong. A foul wind blows from the East. A great house shall fall, and after comes war and darkness." The spilled blood from the cockerel then moved of its own accord, and formed into the distinctive shape of a woman holding two curved swords. Next time, Sea Season 1626. The next season actually contains multiple adventures, so I will summarize it in 2-3 entries. Thanks for taking the time to read about our campaign!
  4. 1 point
    Edit: I've added some AWFUL maps that I made in a free paint program called Artweaver. Dark Season (Off-time) To the best of my recollection, my players and I spent one session doing off-time activities, and then preparing to introduce the next big adventure. Still, they were very busy during this off-time. Sartar was in great upheaval, and emissaries arrived at the chieftain's hall claiming that Fazzur Wideread was marching on Sartar to crush the latest uprising. The PC's were given the option of joining Kallyr Starbrow in the north to defend Sartar against the Tarshite army. Partly because all the PC's had relevant Passions (Hate: Lunar Empire), and partly because they all wanted to take part in a big battle, they rode north to Swenstown and joined the 1st Swenstown Foot Militia, and then on towards Kallyr's camp at Red Cow Fort. I used the material at the end of the Eleven Lights campaign to provide details and imagery for the battle, and actually read Kallyr's speech before the big fight. In some ways this felt like cheating, because players in the Red Cow campaign have to come a long way to earn this epic finale. But I thought it encapsulated the struggles of the last few years very well, so I went for it. After a whole lot of buildup, we actually handled the Battle of Dangerford as a simple series of rolls using the Battle skill. Garkar and Egajia fought well, but Erindros (who oddly enough had the highest Battle skill) took command of a group of fighters defending the Isle Dangerous, and played a decisive role in holding off the Lunar advance. After the battle ended in fiery carnage for the Lunars, Kallyr Starbrow herself commended Erindros for his leadership. The party returned to Bardori lands in triumph, but they found that all was not well at home. The clan's ancestral spirits, who resided in a series of sanctified barrow mounds, had manifested and marched into the chieftain's hall, in a rather foul mood. They demanded to know why their descendants had deigned to keep thralls when doing so was forbidden by clan tradition. The chieftain had in fact kept about 50 survivors of the Enstalos Tribe as thralls to help finish the harvest after the Dragonrise occurred, and ensured his people wouldn't starve for the winter. The chieftain told the spirits as much, but they were unsatisfied with the answer, and threatened to withhold their blessings unless the situation was rectified. Chieftain Angarr then summoned a clan moot to discuss the issue. These Enstalos survivors were mostly women and children of Tarshite origin, although they included several families of former Dundealos who had converted to the Lunar Way. These families had joined the new Lunar tribe instead of supporting their kin in the last uprising. When they were discovered by Angarr and the returning clan, all were spared death to avoid the curse of kinstrife. The clan moot was a loud and raucous affair, and it became clear that factions were forming between different members of the Inner Ring. Two different solutions were proposed- Free the thralls and adopt them as full members of the clan, or- Sell them at a slave market, either to the Sambari Tribe or at Pimper's Block. The PC's mostly argued for the former option, with Garkar abstaining from the debate, and only saying that the Sambari Tribe didn't deserve anyone's business (Garkar hates the Sambari Tribe). On of the main sticking points for the adoption argument was that the thralls seemed reluctant to abandon the Lunar religion. The PC's were unable to sway the chieftain's opinion, and so he vowed to think on it for another week before he made a decision, and call another moot then. Dark Season - Murder and a Nighttime Raid Bardori Lands The party gathered again at the chieftain's hall a few days later, after hearing grim news. A young man of 16 had been found dead that morning at the edge of some pastureland. His name was Aldis, and he was a member of a Pol-Joni family that settled with the clan. Many of the clan's cattle had also been stolen. Some were found scattered throughout the tula, while others were sighted across the river to the north, in the lands of the Togarth clan. The Togarth are a Dundealos clan (also of my own invention), but also a War Clan who were known conduct cattle raids against fellow tribesmen. Many Bardori thanes assumed that the Togarth attempted a cattle raid that went badly for them, and Aldis was killed before he could alert the militia. More hotheaded voices demanded immediate retaliation against their northern neighbors. The chieftain called on the PC's to discretely look into Aldis's murder. He personally suspected that the Togarth had nothing to do with it, and wanted to avoid a potential feud so soon after resettling. They agreed, and started by examining Aldis's body. They met with the boy's father, and convinced them to allow an "autopsy." They had only one chance to examine the body, as the family were Elmal worshipers who cremated their dead. They found that Aldis had been shot from behind with several arrows, but were unable to gather any more relevant information. They did notice that Aldis's sister seemed nervous and reluctant to speak with them. Erindros attempted to speak with her in private, and she offered to give him more information on her brother's death after the cremation, when she could get away from her father. Next the party decided to inspect the place where Aldis was killed. This was at the edge of pasture land belonging to one of the clan's main bloodlines. There were many confusing tracks, and much spilled blood. There had also been light snowfall the previous night. Thankfully Garkar had decent Tracking skills. He discovered that Aldis's body was likely dragged to the place where it was found, from closer to the southern edge of clan territory. They walked to this place, near the edge of a tract of woods. Here they found more fresh blood, and the tracks were much clearer. The evidence suggested that the boy was attacked by a small group that came out of the woods. They also noticed poorly concealed tracks leading back towards the thrall stockade, where the Enstalos folk were kept prisoner. At this point, various theories were being batted around about the killing, including bandits, some other clan, or a person within the clan who had a motive to kill. Before jumping to any conclusions, Erindros decided to speak with the victim's sister, whom he had met earlier. She told him that Aldis had been seeing an Enstalos girl named Sostra, who was a thrall. She didn't want to reveal this in front of her father, for fear of dishonoring him, and because her family hate the Lunars. With this information in mind, the party finally went to visit the thrall stockade. This was a hastily constructed series of shelters, surrounded by a wooden palisade. Within they found Sostra, and encouraged her to cooperate with them, for the good of her own family. She admitted that she and Aldis had been meeting each other secretly in a hay loft for the last few weeks. The previous night, Aldis had awoken and seen a cowled figure leaving the stockade. He followed in order to determine the person's identity, and then never returned. Sostra lay awake worrying for the rest of the night, and then saw the mysterious figure return to the stockade shortly before dawn. The party promised the girl their protection, and went about privately interviewing the other community leaders of the Enstalos thralls. They proved a tight-lipped bunch, and no new information was gleaned. At this point, the day was drawing to a close, and Erindros and Garkar decided to report what they had learned to the chieftain. Egajia, sensing that something dangerous might occur soon, decided to visit the site of the killing again, and attempt a divination spell to reach Daka Fal. Chieftain Angarr, after listening to the report with a grim countenance, decided there might be a danger that one of the thralls could be communicating with outsiders, and planning something. He raised the fyrd, increased patrols along the boundaries of the tula. Thinking that the thralls might be planning an uprising, Garkar decided to have them all moved to the chieftain's stead, and placed under careful guard. Egajia, meanwhile, had successfully contacted her god, and asked him to show her the face of Aldis's murderer. She received a vision of a man walking through a forest, holding a torch. She had never seen or met this man before, but he wore the battered armor of a Lunar infantry officer. She also saw that he marched at the head of several dozen other well-armed men. Egajia assumed that this was the mysterious group whose prints they had seen at the edge of the woods, and that they might be headed for the tula. Still naked and covered with ash, she ran off barefoot through the snow to tell the others. When she reunited with the party, they saw that farms were burning on the northern end of the clan's land. Knowing that the chieftain was already riding with his weaponthanes to deal with any raid, they decided to head for the thrall stockade. They suspected that the intruders, apparently Lunar soldiers, might try to meet with the mysterious cowled figure they had learned about at the stockade. If this were true, then an ambush could be staged. Erindros organized a group of militia to hide in the thralls' huts, and wait with bows drawn. Garkar and Egajia waited by the palisade gate, planning to close it after the soldiers entered. The Lunars did in fact come, bearing a bundle containing swords, spears and axes. Egajia saw the officer from her vision leading a handful of men into the hut which belonged to Sostra's uncle. She then closed the gate behind them, and cast Glue to shut it. A fierce battle ensued. Egajia was nearly burned alive by a fire elemental, and the others narrowly avoided being struck with Lunar madness. But with the help of the fyrd's bows and javelins, and Egajia's Sleep spells, they took all the Lunar soldiers alive. The chieftain fought and killed the other raiders, who had been sent to burn steads as a distraction. The raiding party was discovered to be made up of Lunar garrison survivors, who had been hiding in the hills since the loss of Fort Enstala. Their commanding officer was a man named Vasilides, from Tarsh. He was executed by Aldis's father. The next morning, it was found that Sostra's uncle, a thrall named Gontar who was once of the Dundealos Tribe, had been sneaking out to meet with Vasilides, and was planning an uprising. Aldis had discovered him meeting the Lunars at night, and Vasilides killed the boy with his bow before he could escape. Gontar then tried to make the murder look like part of a failed cattle raid. He came forward to the chieftain to proclaim his guilt, and implicated his sons and a few other followers in his conspiracy. But he claimed that most of the other thralls did not know of his plans, and asked for the people's mercy in judging them. The chieftain called another moot to discuss the issue. Most of the clan folk were enraged, and ready to take extreme measures to punish the conspirators. Egajia successfully calmed the crowd, and reminded them that most of the thralls were likely innocent. Gontar clearly was not, but killing him and his family would still technically be kinstrife. She proposed exiling Gontar and the others to Prax, with little more than water and some supplies. The chieftain was swayed by her words, and assented. Egajia then spoke to the remaining thralls, saying that it wasn't impossible for them to be accepted as future members of the clan, but they would need to work hard at winning everyone's trust, and leave their past behind them. Taking her implied meaning, they all publicly renounced the Red Goddess and the Lunar Way. The chieftain later chose to adopt the Enstalos thralls into the clan as cottars. The clan's ancestors were satisfied by this, and stayed quiet in their barrow mounds afterwards. Next time, Storm Season 1625, and maybe Sacred Time!
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