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Gallowglass

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About Gallowglass

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  • RPG Biography
    I've been into tabletop RPG's since college, mostly D&D, with some other systems and story games along the way. Typically I am the GM for my group. I occasionally write about and review games about my blog, Castle Mordrigault. I've also done some freelance game writing for End Transmission Games, and Menagerie Press.
  • Current games
    I don't get to play as often as I would like, but most recently I have run campaigns for 5th edition D&D in the Planescape setting, and for Unknown Armies 3rd edition.

    My current game of Runequest: Glorantha takes place among the newly reforged Dundealos Tribe, and follows a Sartarite clan of my own creation struggling to rebuild and survive the challenges of the Hero Wars.
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    Western Massachusetts
  • Blurb
    I am interested in gaming, fiction, history and mythology.

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  1. I don’t think it says that anywhere, and I would think their worship of gods prohibits immortality. I was thinking the Waertagi in Hell may have experienced the passage of time differently in the underworld. For them, only a few subjective years, weeks, or even days may have passed. Would you age in the underworld? I thought just being there meant you were effectively dead.
  2. Definitely, but I think how much they are changed depends on if they are the original crews that escaped to Hell in the Second Age, or if they had descendants who have now returned. Either way they’ve been outside of Time for hundreds of years, but in the first scenario they will have memories of the old world. In the latter scenario they will have only known a lightless world of death, sea monsters, and a diet of whatever they can catch in the Black Ocean, which is likely not healthy or wholesome. I prefer the the returnees being the same people from the Second Age, because otherwise it means the Waertagi as they are described in the Guide are truly extinct. All that remain are sad maroons and crazy Hell people. I mean... Hell people are cool too I guess.
  3. The Waertagi in Edrenlin have been trying to repair their ships, which suggests that they seek to return to the old lifestyle of their people. The people in Sog City may be a different story. They have no dragon ships to repair, and they have been stuck there since the Second Age. We don't know exactly how or why the Waertagi ended up permanently in Sog. My assumption was that there were always some of them there between voyages. When the Jrusteli took control of Sog City, it was their own bad luck that they happened to be there then. I think this was around 725 (p. 133 GtG) when the Kingdom of Frontem was founded. 900 or so years is a very, very long time to be stuck in one place. Their culture, language, and beliefs have probably diverged a lot. The original way of life to the Sog Waertagi has likely become the stuff of legend. In the 1600's I can imagine that some young folks would jump at the chance to join their legendary brethren on the high seas. But it's just as easy to imagine some crusty old elders adopting an attitude of, "This is the only home we've ever known! It may be cold, it may be ruled by despotic OCD wizards, but it's home and we're not leaving!" I'm wondering what the culmination of the whole "Cult of the Ship and the City" plot hook is supposed to be (p. 215 GtG). This must have something to do with the underworld Waertagi coming back. They have dragon ships, and they need a dry-dock. They may be the ones responsible for all the recurring dreams and visions. The pessimistic explanation is that they also need sacrificial victims to find lost Brithos, and they end up getting most of them from Sog City. I admit that I can't find any reference to ships sailing out of the whirlpool. I just thought that was the only way to get from the Black Ocean to the surface. I'm fuzzy on my mythic geography.
  4. It's probably safe to assume that by 1625, or whenever the Waertagi actually come back, there is more than one dragon ship floating around, and a small fleet of Fastships for each one. Re-reading the Waertagi section in the Guide has been interesting, because it gives a lot of detail on how they actually fight at sea. They seem to rely heavily on magic, and using allies like sea monsters, elementals, and merfolk. At first I was thinking that a massive city ship would not be very useful in a naval engagement, but when you consider that the ship itself is a very potent magical resource (enslaved dragon spirit), it makes more sense. Still, if the Waertagi have any kind of weakness, it seems to be that their Fastships are kind of flimsy, and they may or may not have siege weapons fitted to their ships.
  5. Same page in the Guide, that’s apparently how they find Brithos and bring the Brithini back to the mundane world. Bunch of jerks.
  6. Lately I've been thinking about the Waertagi, and the overall role that they will play in the Hero Wars. Most of my info on their big comeback is from the Guide, p. 424 in the Seshnela chapter. This little section describes a naval conflict with Nolos and Pasos, and then implies a bigger struggle with the Wolf Pirates later on. Their reappearance in Glorantha will obviously shake things up, I'm just wondering how much. Here are my more specific questions- How many dragon ships, and smaller vessels, return from Magasta's Pool? Is it just one? Several? I remember reading that more than one went down the whirlpool when the Closing happened. It seems unlikely that they would have built more during their stay in the Underworld, but who knows. Anything can happen down there! Following that question about ships, what does the overall population of returned Waertagi look like? The have essentially been on a prolonged heroquest on the Black Ocean for hundreds of years. Maybe none of them have aged since then, or maybe there are new generations that were born in the darkness. I kind of prefer the former option for some reason. What does the Waertagi's return mean for Sog City? My understanding was that they were the original rulers, and the Brithini were allied caretakers. I think the Guide also implies that the people in Sog will have repaired the old dry-dock by the time the Waertagi come back. Their return is also presumably a really BIG deal for Sog's own Waertagi population. These poor schmucks have been stranded in the city for... basically a millennium. Now their legendary kinfolk have returned with actual dragon ships. Most of them will probably want to leave and join their people. Finally, what does the return of the Waertagi mean for the other naval powers in Glorantha? We know the Wolf Pirates will clash with them, but what about the Esrolians? Fonrit and Umathela? In ancient times, they sought total control and dominance of the oceans, so I assume that their goal would be to re-establish that dominance.
  7. Our most recent session covered the final two contests proposed by Erindros' wife-to-be. Flush from his success at the race, Erindros felt that the next two contests played to his skill-set much better. He would find that they were still not easily won. The Taming of the Bronze Pig A few uneventful days followed the race, and the heroes were invited back to Oranvale's farm for another round of competition. She explained that the next challenge involved her family's ancient guardian, the Bronze Pig. The Pig had served the family since the coming of the Dundealos Tribe to the valley. It was a powerful wyter that inhabited the body of a massive boar, with skin made of actual (flexible) bronze. Throughout the Enstalos occupation, Oranvale had remained with the Pig, under it's protection. It was about the size of a large horse and reacted gruffly to the presence of anyone other than Oranvale. She explained that Andrinorth and Erindros would both have separate chances to pass the test, each unhindered by the other. She kept a votive statue of Ernalda made from copper on a small altar within the Bronze Pig's pen. The marriage contestants would simply have to steal the statue from the Pig's pen, and bring it back to Oranvale's hands. The altar was a small lean-to made of sticks, but the Pig easily blocked the entire entrance, so the guardian would have to be overcome somehow. The distance to return to the fence was also considerable. Oranvale further specified that the contestants could call on help from their retainers, and use any tools or magic available to them. She finally warned Erindros and Andrinorth that the Pig could and would defend itself fiercely. Andrinorth was called on to go first. He quickly jumped the fence with a few of his companions, and called on a thick mist to envelop the pen. The Bardori could not see exactly what occurred, but there was shouting, squealing, and one man was thrown out of the pen with a nasty wound in his side. In a matter of seconds, Andrinorth leaped over the fence again, breathless and spattered with mud. He held the statue and presented it to Oranvale, kneeling. The mist cleared, and she returned the statue without a word. Placing it back on the altar, she looked to Erindros. The Pig also looked toward him, now in a very agitated mood. My players engaged in a very lengthy debate about how to handle this challenge. Because it was very open-ended, many different proposals were made and discarded, including- Erindros wrestling the Pig into submission. He was good at wrestling but otherwise kind of a weakling. Egajia defeating the Pig with spirit combat. This was deemed not impressive enough for Oranvale. The Pig also had an impressive POW. Erindros giving the Pig the gift of flight for a day in return for a win. Too expensive in Rune points. When it was discovered that the Pig could understand Heortling, Erindros decided to simply charm it into submission. Armed with Glamour, and the Charisma Rune spell, Erindros made his case to the Pig. He explained that Andrinorth was a charlatan who clearly did not respect the Pig, it's family or it's land. He on the other hand was a "successful merchant" who would bring prosperity to the family, and treat the guardian with dignity and reverence. At hearing these honeyed words, the Pig stood out of the way and bowed to Erindros, allowing him to simply walk up and take the statue. While this got some jeers and accusations of cowardice from Andrinorth, the Pig clearly favored Erindros as the candidate. Oranvale declared the challenge to be a tie, and proclaimed that the final contest would be prepared in another few days. Muddy Showdown Outside the Togarth clan hall, two competition grounds were being prepared. One was for the final challenge between the marriage contestants, the other was for anyone from the invited clans who wanted to prove their strength, and win some silver. Both competitions were being prepared in frothy pits of mud, knee deep, and one quite a bit larger than the other. Erindros prepared himself for this final showdown with a strict regimen of Esrolian calisthenics. Garkar and He Who Spits both decided to compete against the other clansmen in the Big Pit. Egajia was still missing one of her arms, and wasn't much of a hand-to-hand fighter anyway, so she sat this one out. Oranvale again explained the rules for this last challenge. The wrestlers would face off in the mud, and prove their strength to her. No magic was allowed this time, under penalty of disqualification. The Togarth clan's lawspeaker oversaw the contest. Although the purpose of the fight was to prove her future husband's strength, all punches, kicks, and holds were still allowed. Victory would be determined in the following ways- A fighter was thrown out of the pit. A fighter was subdued in the mud for a ten-count (3 rounds) A fighter was knocked unconscious. As Garkar and HWSAD prepared themselves, they learned that the rules in their own free-for-all contest were the same, except for the rule on holds. Even though everyone else competing was representing their clans, the spirit of the contest was every man and woman for themselves. There were two other fighters each from the Togarth, Ulandring, and Blue Jay clans. The two Bardori men agreed to tag team, and if they survived to the end... the best would surely win. We handled this contest as a back-and-forth between Erindros, and the other two fighters. Most of the assembled crowd watched the big fight, while Egajia and Oranvale watched the smaller contest nearby. It proved fortuitous that Egajia was present, as her keen sense of smell picked up something pungent coming from Andrinorth, beneath all the mud he had smeared on himself. She recognized the smell as rhino fat, a powerful unguent that increases the natural armor of the one who puts it on. Andrinorth had no doubt planned to give himself an edge by protecting his body from any blows. Egajia simply pointed this out to the crowd, and demanded that he wash it off. The lawspeaker agreed, and Andrinorth sulkily had to scrub all the valuable grease off his body. After this was done, the fight began with another wave of the barley sheaf. Erindros was a fairly talented wrestler. He had enjoyed competing as an amateur back in Nochet. Andrinorth began the fight by swinging his fists, attempting to knock his opponent back. Erindros easily parried the blows with his Grapple skill, and then attempted to grab a hold of his arm and throw him. The mud made this difficult. Erindros got lucky when Andrinorth rolled a fumble, slipping in the mud and landing face-first. He lost the momentum of his attack, and Erindros moved to grapple him again. With the next roll, the impossible happened: Erindros rolled a fumble, and I rolled a second fumble for Andrinorth in defense! The epic showdown had turned into an absurd farce, with two men slipping over each other, getting mud clogged in every orifice, and continually losing grips on each other. They both lost turns after I rolled on the Fumble table. The crowd roared with laughter. Garkar and He Who Spits went back to back. The Togarth and the Ulandrings were distant kin, so their fighters ignored each other. Two Ulandrings rushed at the Bardori, a tall muscular woman, and a short but well-built man. HWSAD's player rolled for runic inspiration on his Beast Rune, to improve his grapple skill. Amazingly we had another big roll with a critical! His skill shot up to 90%. HWSAD roared and let his inner bull take over. Garkar is less of a skilled grappler, but has high STR and DEX, making him good at holds and throws. HWSAD managed to throw out one of the Ulandrings on his own, grabbing her by the feet and spinning her before tossing her out. Both of them then grabbed the remaining competitor by the arms and legs, and heaved him out of the pit. After Erindros and Andrinorth stopped writhing and spluttering, they stood up and began the fight again in earnest. Andrinorth continued to use punches and kicks, but never landed any. After several rounds of nearly being subdued and thrown, Andrinorth got a solid grip on Erindros' abdomen, but the latter broke free. Erindros then saw one more punch coming toward him. This time, he managed to get a solid grip on his opponents arm, and judo-tossed him clear out of the pit. Andrinorth landed with a crash in front of Oranvale, and howled in fury. He had lost, and Erindros had finally secured his marriage (and his future family!). However, his rival swore his eternal hatred for Erindros, and stalked off. Garkar and He Who Spits were left in the ring with the Togarth competitors. They included a giant of a man even larger than HWSAD, and another only slightly smaller. Still, the two Bardori made short work of them. This time Garkar dispatched the smaller one with an expert throw. HWSAD then successfully grappled the giant by the head, and brought him crashing to the ground in a deadly chokehold. The two of them then picked up the man on either side like a fallen tree, and rushed him out of the pit. Then there were two. HWSAD was thrilled that he could prove his strength against his beloved boon companion. Garkar was less thrilled. Considering that the former was still high on the Beast Rune, the latter did not think his chances very good. After a few grapples however, luck proved to be with Garkar. His speed and wiry strength overcame HWSAD's classic Conan-esque physique, and the Bull Man was thrown giggling out of the pit. The crowd cheered Garkar, and the Togarth chieftain presented him with a small chest of silver as a prize. The day had gone well for our heroes. Erindros secured his place as a future paterfamilias! We finished the night with experience rolls and off-time business. Next time, we move on to Earth Season 1626! Thank you for reading!
  8. In my Glorantha, I've decided that Caladraland also has a native population of intelligent apes and gorillas. Like baboons in Prax, they sometimes serve as mercenaries or guards for local chieftains or merchants. The only place I can remember Genertelan gorillas actually being referenced in the Guide is in Teshnos, but why not in the Holy Country too? There's jungles, mountains, people need gorillas to intimidate their enemies, etc.
  9. Are there any restrictions on local setting or timeline for published content? I know it has to be Glorantha, but does it have to be Dragon Pass or Prax?
  10. Our most recent session was very eventful. Three of the heroes fought in the Battle of the Queens and survived, only to see Prince Kallyr cut down by Lunar assassins. In the aftermath of Queen Leika leaving for Boldhome with her entourage, Erindros, Garkar, and He Who Spits at the Devil contemplated the future of Sartar. Upon hearing the rumor that Kallyr could not be revived from death, even with the most powerful magics, HWSAD wondered if there were some way to succeed where others had failed. Short of attempting their own Lightbringer's Quest, which was beyond the party's abilities, no one could think of any solutions. They trudged off for home, hoping that things had not fallen apart in their absence. Egajia Finds the Garlic Man Egajia's player decided not to participate in the big battle, since it didn't really play to her skills. Because she had to sit out for much of the last session, I gave her some extra screen time as she attempted to cleanse the Bardori tula of disease spirits. She was approached by the clan's own Chalana Arroy healer, a man named Durri Kind-Eyes. He was a soft-spoken man who had endured life as a Lunar slave for much of the exile period. Durri had been trying in vain to drive off the foul spirits that had been plaguing everyone since the last broo attack. He told Egajia that he knew of a powerful healing spirit that had helped the clan before, but it could only be contacted in the Spirit World. The spirit was known as the Garlic Man, and he (it?) could create charms that would protect the people from further infection. Egajia agreed to travel into the Spirit World to find the Garlic Man, and bargain with it for help. She spent some time preparing to discorporate. She rubbed herself in rancid butter and garlic oil, and also chewed enough garlic cloves to make her breath deadly. Her fetch stayed behind to guard her body while she journeyed. Without the fetch present, Egajia's POW score was much reduced, making her magic weaker. I also ruled that she could not bring her bound spirits or charms with her to the Spirit World. She could still draw on her fetch's magic points however, so she wouldn't be helpless. The journey began in Egajia's hut. Although her senses were dulled in the Spirit World, she could detect the faint scent of garlic, drawing her on towards distant mountains. She followed her nose, and flew towards them. As she went farther beyond the border reaches, which resembled physical Glorantha, the landscape became more twisted and Seussian. She was soon drawn to a canyon, and then a dark cave. The area was festooned with garlands and garlic charms. Egajia looked within the cave, and saw a humanoid figure, tall and musclebound in a loincloth, with a head resembling a massive bulb of garlic. The strange being was wrestling the largest disease spirit Egajia had ever seen. This creature resembled depictions of the goddess Malia: spherical, with many limbs, and a gaping, fanged, vertical slit for a mouth. This was obviously the Garlic Man, so Egajia prepared an ambush. Egajia was alone in the Spirit World, without her fetch, so she only had her reduced POW to draw on for casting spells. In past battles with otherworldly entities, she has used spirit magic in conjunction with her powerful spirit combat skill (now also reduced) to bring down her enemies quickly. She attempted to Befuddle and Disrupt the disease spirit, but both spells failed. The spirit was alerted to her presence, and charged. The Garlic Man seemed incapacitated, so it was a one-on-one spiritual duel. The disease spirit proved very powerful, after a few rounds, Egajia had to draw on her fetch's magic points to stay in the fight. She managed to fire off a few Disruption spells to even the odds. Because both entities were in spiritual form, their combat was envisioned as a simple wrestling match, with Egajia also using her deadly garlic breath to great effect. Eventually, Egajia was reduced to a mere 4 magic points. She had to face the choice of fleeing, or being defeated and likely possessed by this vile spirit. Thinking of her clan (and her Passion, Loyalty: Bardori Clan), she chose to stand her ground. First she attempted to rouse the Garlic Man, hoping he could help her. She used her Sing skill, but was drowned out by the shrieking of the disease spirit. She had to withstand one more round of spirit combat, but managed to win by a hair's breadth (92 against a 94). The disease spirit then chose to flee, inflating itself like a balloon and floating off to the horizon. Egajia let loose a parting shot with a final Disruption spell. She couldn't finish it off, but she did manage to pop a hole in the spirit's skin, which made it's escape much more undignified. The Garlic Man eventually recovered his strength, and stood before Egajia. They negotiated in Spirit Speech. She asked him to inhabit the Bardori tula and help protect the community from further infections. He was grateful for being rescued from the disease spirit, so he agreed. But he did ask to for "flesh" to inhabit while he stayed in the physical world. Egajia assumed this meant possession, but the Garlic Man assured her that he just needed a single limb. She popped off her left arm, and gave it to him as a fetish. Back in the real world, Egajia's physical arm actually came off at the shoulder, her skin healing smoothly. When she came back to her body, she wrapped up the arm in bandages and gave it to Durri to use. The arm was still warm, and pulsed with a heartbeat. The Garlic Man bade her farewell, and assured her that she would get the arm back after the tula was fully cleansed. A Rude Welcome The other three heroes returned from the Battle of the Queens, bearing the bad news about Prince Kallyr to the clan. Afterward, they reunited with Egajia and retired to Erindros' farm to rest. As soon as they arrived, one of Erindros' cousins ran to intercept him. He explained that a stranger from the Blue Jay clan had come to speak with him, and seemed angry. The man soon materialized, a young warrior, handsome, but clearly drunk and worked up into an impressive rage. He staggered up to Erindros, took a swig from a wine skin, and spat into his face. He then unleashed a tirade of insults, claiming that "the woman Oranvale" was his alone to marry. That "she had already chosen him", and should Erindros pursue her, then they would meet on the dueling ground. He also claimed that he had defecated in Erindros' boots, pointing to a pair of boots that belonged to someone else. Erindros had only an inkling of what the man was talking about, remembering a certain encounter with a Togarth woman back in Storm Season. The man stormed off, climbing onto his horse, falling off first, then successfully rode off. Erindros' cousin then explained that before the Blue Jay man showed up, a woman from the Togarth clan, "lightly pregnant," had arrived with servants and asked to speak with him as well. Wiping his face, Erindros decided to pay this woman a visit at her own farm. He donned his finest hat, and mounted his ostrich. His companions joined him for moral support. They passed through Togarth farms, and the patrols recognized him immediately as one of the heroes of the Rastorling raid. They directed him to a rich farm owned by a woman named Oranvale. They noticed fat herds, sun-ripened crops, and many tenants working in the sun. They found Oranvale with her servants, weaving a tapestry. She was a classic Sartarite beauty, in fine clothes and with a healthy Ernaldan figure. She was unmistakably the same woman that Erindros had a fling with after the big raid in Storm Season 1625 (see the end of this post for more details). They greeted each other in an almost business-like manner. Oranvale told Erindros that since their last encounter she had been with child. Divination had shown that the child was his. She was the only daughter of an exalted bloodline, who traced matrilineal descent back to Orgorvale Summer. Because of her wealth, beauty, and magically powerful ancestry, she had had many suitors for marriage after she had come of age. Now that she was pregnant, she was ready to choose a husband. She informed Erindros that she planned to marry a man of the Blue Jay clan named Andrinorth (the same cad who spat in Erindros' face). As a renowned warrior and skilled rider, he embodied the qualities of Ulanin the Rider more than any other suitor. However, as the true father of her child, Erindros had a right to be also be considered as a marriage prospect. After a pregnant pause (pun intended), she asked Erindros if there was something he wanted to ask her. With as much awkwardness as possible, he doffed his hat, and proposed to Oranvale. While I don't remember the player's exact word choice, it was something romantic like, "I would like to enter into a marriage contract proposal with you!" She asked him if he had brought her a gift (he hadn't). He presented her with the ostrich feather hat, and promised her a pleasant life on his farm with the Bardori clan. She accepted his gift, and informed him that if he was serious, she would sponsor a series of contests between him, Andrinorth, and anyone else who wished to compete for her favor. She explained that as a descendant of Orgorvale Summer, daughter of Vingkot, she sought a husband who displayed the qualities of Orgorvale's husband Ulanin. Namely, his skill in riding, great strength, and a mix of cunning and bravery. She proposed three different contests, of which Erindros would have to best Andrinorth in at least two- A race to display skill in horsemanship. Or at least skill in riding some kind of animal. A wrestling contest to prove strength. A contest to outwit or defeat Oranvale's fierce family guardian, a giant pig with skin made of bronze. She informed Erindros that she would announce the contests to her clan, and they would start preparations immediately. The Great Togarth Race A week went by. Erindros received word that the Togarth were preparing a race course, and inviting folk from other clans to witness the event. Oranvale announced that anyone who wished to take part in the race could do so for their own glory and renown. But the choice of her future husband was between Erindros and Andrinorth. Garkar, Egajia, and HWSAD all decided to participate. Erindros was anxious about this particular challenge. Andrinorth was reputed to be an excellent rider, while he had middling skill at riding an ostrich. Egajia had an idea at how the odds could be evened. She proposed contacting one of the clan's Pol-Joni ancestors, and asking them to "help" Erindros with his riding. By this she meant have the ancestor temporarily possess his body, and win the race for him. Erindros was reluctant to accept this plan, not because it seemed dishonorable, but because it was dangerous. He considered the next two challenges. He was a fairly good wrestler, and the contest with the Bronze Pig could be solved any number of ways. After realizing the race was his weakest prospect, he assented to the possession plan. Everyone traveled to the Togarth race course. Hundreds of people were gathered to watch the event, and some two dozen Dundealos folk would be racing. The riders were mostly on horses, but there were a few exotic Praxian beasts as well. The party gathered in a tent near the race course. Egajia summoned a powerful ancestor from the Pol-Joni tribe named Jekk, who claimed to be a master of riding every animal in Prax, including ostriches. He assured Erindros that as his ancestor (or distant cousin?), he would take good care of his body and steed. Egajia then cast Incarnate Ancestor. Erindros felt as if he was floating out of his body, and then observing himself in the third person. Jekk took charge, and swept out of the tent with great panache. He mounted his ostrich, and headed for the race course. The riders were gathered at the bottom of the chieftain's hall, where Oranvale and her household servants stood watching. Chieftain Arnsulva welcomed everyone to the event, and wished luck to all those racing. Erindros (actually Jekk) flashed a roguish smile at Oranvale, who smiled back confusedly. HWSAD decided to harass Andrinorth with insults saying, pointing to Erindros and saying "he's the father!" Andrinorth pointedly ignored him. I ran the race using the chase rules from the core book. Everyone made Ride rolls each round, with the degree of success determining how far ahead they got each round. We used six counters: four for the PC's, one for Andrinorth, and one to represent the other competitors. When I made Ride rolls for "the other guys" I gave them a very high skill to make it difficult to actually come in first place. Erindros was not expected to win the whole race, just beat Andrinorth to the finish line. The race track was basically just a herder's path that went through some woods, near the Willow Beck, and then back to the chieftain's hall. The race went as followed- Oranvale threw a sheaf of barley onto the track, and everyone took off in a cloud of dust. HWSAD rolled a critical, and blasted ahead of everyone else on his horse. Egajia on her llama had a bonus to her rolls, so she kept up, and so did Erindros and Garkar. Andrinorth failed his initial roll, and trailed behind. The race passed through some pasture land. As soon as Erindros passed near some cattle pens, a group of men with sticks opened up a gate, and began driving cows right into the race! Things ground to a halt as everyone was caught in a slow stampede. Those who were trailing behind soon caught up, and Andrinorth was now neck-and-neck with Erindros. HWSAD still held a strong lead. The competitors passed through a wooded area, and the track began to wind. I imposed a light penalty on rolls, but everyone succeeded except for He Who Spits. He now had lost his lead as other racers got ahead of him. Erindros was floating above his body as a spirit, and saw a strange, grotesque thing flying toward him rapidly. Egajia saw it too and recognized it for a Fear Spirit. She cast Befuddle, and then convinced it to fly at Andrinorth instead. It complied, and his horse began to buck and kick. The race passed near the river. Andrinorth kept pace with Erindros in spite of his spooked horse. HWSAD had now fallen behind the rest. The chieftain's hall came into sight. Andrinorth had apparently shaken the Fear Spirit, but still fell behind Jekk's peerless riding. Erindros' ostrich practically flew along the ground. As the finish line approached, there was a great clap of thunder, and an incredible gust of wind kicked up dust. Some were thrown from their mounts, and most were slowed in the dust and wind. Erindros brought out his trump card. Since he had incarnated Jekk the Pol-Joni, he had access to all his spells, including Rune magic. He cast Decrease Wind to create a pocket of calm around himself. He saw that Andrinorth was also shooting ahead in spite of the wind, but he couldn't beat Erindros to the finish line. None of the PC's actually won the entire race, but Erindros defeated his rival, and so won the first contest. Andrinorth cursed and spat, and had to endure more insults from the PC's. Before Jekk left Erindros' body, he swept Oranvale off her feet for a kiss. She assented, but reminded him that he had two challenges to go. Next time, mud wrestling and pig wrangling! Thanks for reading my recaps!
  11. We started up our campaign again last night, after a month-long hiatus. It was good to be back in the GM saddle! We left off last time with a successful sojourn into the Big Rubble. The party acquired a valuable set of enchanted armor, originally worn by their tribe's greatest hero, Derik Pol-Joni. Additionally, Argrath had entrusted the PC's with delivering a gift for the king of the Dundealos Tribe: a herd of fine cattle, horses, and even ostriches. The PC's set off west on the Pavis Road, which would take them back to Sartar. Everyone made a concerted effort to finish up their business in Pavis before the end of Sea Season. I had given the players several warnings about Fire Season being the prime time for Praxians to hit caravans, so I didn't want to punish them for listening to me! Thus, the journey back to Sartar was blissfully uneventful. The party was accompanied by a dozen or so Pol-Joni who drove the herds for them. They passed by the Obscure Plinth, Jaldon's Rest, and after about a week of travel re-entered Sartar in the forested hills of Telmori Country. Everyone was on their guard against werewolves, but the Pol-Joni assured them that they were still licking their wounds after being thrashed by the Cinsina Tribe several years back. They passed on to Dangerford, then went south through Jonstown and Boldhome. From there they continued to Fort Jaldonkill, the de facto capitol of the tribe. The fort didn't look like much at first, being a handful of steads and small temples, surrounded by a wooden stockade. It's claim to fame wasn't that it was impregnable, but that Derik Pol-Joni had finally defeated Jaldon Goldentooth there in the time before Sartar was founded. The king of the tribe was Ekil Blackmane, more commonly known as just Blackmane. He had brought many of his Pol-Joni kin to resettle Dundealos Valley after the Dragonrise, along with the remnants of the old clans. Blackmane is a man in his forties, with distinctive long coal-black hair and beard. I decided the "Pol-Joni Look" for men is long, un-braided hair, trousers made of hide, and the usual Orlanthi tattoos. The PC's wanted to impress him, but their "social skills" are somewhat weak. Egajia decided to make an entrance with a dance, and she also summoned a Pol-Joni ancestor spirit, a female warrior. The spirit was made visible to everyone else in the king's hall, and introduced the PC's as "heroes of the Bardori Clan." Egajia succeeded so well with her Dance and spell rolls, that Blackmane was immediately impressed. He rose from his throne (an ornate milking stool) and danced with the spirit with wild abandon. He then welcomed the PC's with embraces. Blackmane was pleased with the gifts of cattle and horses. It was agreed that the small herd of ostriches would make an ideal gift for the bird-loving Bardori clan. Notably, the PC's avoided mentioning that they had recovered Pol-Joni's armor. Instead they planned to gift it to Angarr, their chieftain. I hinted that there might be later consequences for this choice, but my players firmly made their decision. Blackmane was also immensely curious as to why Argrath White Bull was sending gifts to him and other tribal leaders in the first place. The party mentioned the hordes of Praxians (and Pol-Joni) gathered in Pavis. Before everyone left, He Who Spits at the Devil met with one of the tribal ring officers. Ynga the Rock was the Bardori clan's representative on the ring, and also the rep for Urox/Storm Bull. She was described as a massive "Valkyrie-esque" woman of impressive musculature. She mentioned to HWSAD that many warriors of the Bull were gathering together and heading south to Heortland. An army of scorpion-men were flooding out of Larnste's Footprint, and claiming the lands of their clan's ancestors in the name of Chaos. Ynga was heading south as well, and invited her kinsman to join her in the next few seasons. He Who Spits was intrigued, but also wanted to start building his mead hall. The party took their leave of the king, and continued on to the Bardori tula. They brought the ostriches, and several cows with them to present to the chieftain. Everyone got to use the Herd skill for the first time! Even though the PC's were terrible at herding, they successfully drove the cattle and ostriches along the valley without losing any. Angarr welcomed them back with embraces, and they received cheers and applause from the Clan Ring when they presented the exotic herd, and the many goods and treasures from Pavis. Stolf, the clan's Issaries representative, grudgingly praised Erindros and the others for their success. When Egajia presented the armor to Angarr, he grew silent in awe. He then ordered the weaponthanes to bang their shields in praise for the four heroes. Fire Season 1626 The heroes settled in for some off-time, which of course was very busy. HWSAD decided to forge ahead and began building his mead hall (mostly alone). Erindros convinced the chieftain that the clan could make good money if they expanded their ostrich herd. He set about converting part of his family farm into an ostrich pen. Egajia was now free of obligations to her shaman mentor, so she started laying the groundwork for being the clan's shaman. Garkar went back to his patrols. While the party was away on their mission, a few notable events occurred for the clan- A band of broos arrived in the valley and began impregnating herd animals from many different clans. The Bardori lost some cattle and sheep as a result, and now disease has been spreading among animals and people alike. The broos were driven off however. In addition to the broo attack, the clan has been beset with bad omens and strange happenings since Kallyr's failed heroquest. Vultures flying backwards, cows' milk turning sour in the udder, and stillborn calves. A delivery of gifts and silver meant for the allied Hyaling clan was stolen by bandits in the Verge. The Wozer clan of the Balkoth stole some Bardori cattle and escaped back across the river. Several weeks went by. Later in the season, a messenger from the Kheldon tribe arrived, bearing a request on behalf of Kallyr Starbrow. Angarr called the Clan Ring to hear the message. Kallyr was attempting to muster the tribes of Sartar again to meet an attack from Lunar Tarsh. This time the invading army was led by King Pharandros himself. The messenger left to call on other clans to the south and east. The Clan Ring discussed the possibility of sending warriors north again, as they had done when the Lunars came to Dangerford. Unlike last time, there was much uncertainty and some grumbling about the prospect. Many of the farmers blamed Kallyr for the Chaos incursions, and ill fortune that had befallen the clan. Even the weaponthanes seemed unsure about leaving the tula behind when there were bandits and broos on the loose. The PC's spoke out in support of Kallyr, and for fighting off the Lunars again. This was only after much discussion however, as they all had different priorities at this point. Erindros was interested in retaliating against the Wozer clan, Garkar wanted to hunt bandits, HWSAD wanted to go south and kill scorpion-men, and Egajia wanted to cleanse the tula of disease spirits. Fighting Lunars was the choice everyone had in common. In the end, Egajia stayed behind while the other three rode north to join the Kheldon militia. The Battle of the Queens The tribal armies were gathering at Runegate. The PC's went to Boldhome first to join the Kheldon warriors. The quickest way to Runegate was to travel north to Jonstown, then west along herder's paths. They joined Cinsina and Culbrea infantry along the way. After a journey of three days, they arrived in the lands of the Colymar tribe, and were told that Kallyr and her household warriors were preparing to meet the Tarshites at the bottom of Old Top Hill. The PC's camped there. They caught glimpses at a distance of the various tribal leaders that were present: Queen Leika of the Colymar, Queen Amalda of the Malani, King Ranulf of the Culbrea, and King Farandar of the Cinsina. Previous to this, HWSAD had expressed interest in trying to meet with Kallyr in person. He and the others had heard rumors that she suffered from wounds that would not heal. He proposed that if they could do something to heal her, or at least alleviate her pain, it could help remove the curses and bad fortune plaguing the Dundealos. He decided to wait until after the battle to try getting an audience, thinking that if he distinguished himself in the fighting, it might help... The next morning, the Lunars crossed the Creek over the ford at Two Sisters village. Soon the two armies squared off. The three PC's who had joined the fight saw that the Lunar army was greater in numbers, and a contingent of Lunar magicians had come along as well. Given the choice to hang back in reserve and guard Prince Kallyr, or fight on the front line, everyone chose the latter option. There was little time for glorious duels or challenges in this fight, as the Tarshites marched forward with shields up. Soon Erindros, Garkar, and He Who Spits were caught in the crush of the front line. We handled this battle in rounds, using the Battle skill. I avoided having the PC's fight in normal combat, because Egajia's player was sitting on the sidelines, and I didn't want to draw things out too much. I allowed everyone to cast protective spells if they wanted to. If there wasn't an obvious effect for this, I just let them have a 10% bump in their Battle skill. We went through 3 rounds. Depending on the strength of their rolls, I narrated certain events to make everything a little more exciting. The three PC's had to survive the initial crush. Everything was blood, mud, screams, and the clang of swords on shields. Erindros got a special success on the first roll. We decided he inspired the fighters around him with his bold antics. He was also riding his ostrich, so he was hard to miss. Garkar failed his roll, and nearly had his arm crushed by a heavily armored Tarshite. HWSAD started plowing through the enemy ranks in an attempt to disrupt the mages behind the line. Overall, the Sartarites were pushed back towards the base of the hill, and began to falter. Erindros and Garkar rolled well, HWSAD did not. Garkar freed himself from the enemy soldier by stabbing him through the foot. HWSAD was pig-piled by infantrymen, and wounded in the arm with a sword thrust. Rather than give up his ability to fight with his enormous maul, he called on Storm Bull to fill him with the holy rage. At the end of this round, there was a bright flash. Far up on the hill, everyone saw a group of strangely dressed warriors (some of them looked like trolls) suddenly surrounding Prince Kallyr. She and her guards fought them off for as long as she could, but it wasn't long before everyone heard cries of "Kallyr has fallen!" Some of the Sartarites began to lose heart and flee. Erindros (who should have been a Trickster) casts Flight on himself and He Who Spits while he is in berserk mode. The two of them attempt to reach the sorcerers behind enemy lines and disrupt their spells. At this point, said sorcerers have summoned Moonfire, which trickles down onto the Sartarites in glowing threads from the Red Moon. It does not make for easy flying. Erindros attempts to rally those Sartarites fleeing the battle, and does so successfully. Garkar, hanging back, is confronted by an elite soldier, well-armored and wielding a scimitar. He fights for his life. After the third round, Queen Leika rallies her own warriors, and leads a desperate charge into the heart of the Lunar battalions. Her ferocity and the strength of her magic are so great, that she manages to turn the tide of the battle. When her charge cuts off the escape route across the ford, the Lunar soldiers panic and begin fleeing into the Creek. The players participating in the battle were given the choice of joining Queen Leika in pursuing the Lunars. They all chose to do so (HWSAD didn't have a choice actually, he was still berserk). Erindros and Garkar cut down many more soldiers as they fled into the rushing waters. HWSAD was struck in the head by a stray slingstone. Were he not already in a bloody, frothing rage, he would have been knocked unconscious and probably drowned. The pursuit of the Lunars into the wilderness continued into the night, and on into the next day. The three Bardori men did not join in for this part, and retired to Two Sisters village. Kallyr Starbrow's body was guarded by the Colymar warriors, as all of her household guards had been killed. When Queen Leika returned the next day, the PC's witnessed her riding back to Boldhome, with Kallyr's body carried behind her on a bier. Sartar no longer had a Prince... Thank you for reading! Next time, we will continue adventuring in Fire Season.
  12. My main source is Esrolia: Land of 10000 Goddesses, page 8 has a good description. The Kimantorings are the regular army of Esrolia. The Esrolians are technically an Orlanthi culture, so the style of their weapons and armor is probably similar, maybe more ornate. They used to be the Only Old One’s household guards, and were originally trolls. Nowadays they are mostly humans, and worship many different war gods. But some do worship Argan Argar and Zorak Zoran even though they’re human, so when I made my request I was imagining one of those weirdos.
  13. Oh yeah, whoops! I forgot that was you. Ok, how about a Kimantoring warrior from Esrolia? I think they worship different gods now, but originally it was the Only Old One. They also wield spears and shields, and would be heavily armored. I would imagine they have a strong Darkness motif, potentially with black armor and shields. Since the Kitori wore lead masks, maybe these warriors do as well. To look scary and whatnot.
  14. How ‘bout a Caladralander spearman? Just a big oaf with a large spear, tasseled wrap-around skirt, lots of tattoos. He would worship Veskarthen, the volcano god.
  15. Dammit I was already confused before this!
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