This is (vaguely) a follow-on from our previous AP.
Our adventurers remain:
- Bricks the Boots (Halfling Guide)
Belief: As a Hendri and a Guide, I will not hesitate to forge the path needed, nor make the lost found.
Creed: Right to Roam: all have a right to walk paths and they must remain open. Paths write our stories and history into the land. To lose them is to lose a part of ourself. To destroy them is to cast away our history. They must be walked to preserve them and they must remain open.
- Oddbjorn Bjornson (Bjorning Skald)
Belief: I will get my inheritance from the treasures lurking in the old places of the world.
Creed: Our names will be sung, so our deeds must match in glory and fame.
- Osric Godtouched (Græling Shaman)
Belief: I will be more than the beast within me.
Creed: Only the Jotunn can give true power, mortal power is a pale, fleeting imitation.
- Tösk (Changeling Thief - still played by @DaveHiggins, of this parish)
Belief: Ancient Secrets are more important than coin.
Creed: All living beings have an equal right to thrive.
We are sailing across the Memory of the Sea, part of the Ur-Menig, deep beneath the ground, where the ceiling is so high that no light can reach, and the “depth” of the non-existant sea is so deep that our adventurers cannot see the bottom.
With them, grafted to the front of their boat is Celdurxi (a Menaka - think somewhere between a DnD Beholder and Call of Cthulhu’s Great Race of Yith), whose magical organ was cut out, and who had been grafted onto the boat they are on. This happened some 30 years ago and, needless to say, this was all done against Celdurxi’s will.
The PC were not involved in any of that horror, but wish to free Celdurxi… who has told them that it needs the brain of a wizard. To that end, the PCs have convinced Elite Sorceror Plodinus Kest to join them on a “voyage of discovery”, which is definitely not an opportunity for the party to murder him.
They and (Elite Sorceror) Plodinus Kest have history. He’s a human-supremacist of the worst sort (not that there are any good sorts), and sees himself as superior to everyone. That the group lied to him so convincingly might indicate that this Elite Sorceror is not as “elite” as all that.
Still, the party do have morals, and cannot bring themselves to just up and murder the guy. Even if he is very annoying. Even if he is very annoying and wants to dissect / kill Celdurxi when he gets the chance.
It’s just “not them”, even if they lured this annoying sorceror down here with murder in mind. They need an excuse.
The journey in darkness across an invisible intangible sea is its own thing, with a few strange encounters out there in the darkness.
One such encounter is with another Magician, who skims across the sea on a large magical floating disk, on which the party also spots their enemies (a rival adventuring group).
The snide comment / glacial polite tones / taunts / etc. between both sides is a joy for me as a GM, especially as they are on a damaged boat taking on “water”, and their rivals are on some sort of conveyance that would look awesome on a heavy metal album cover.
Osric chooses to rend open not one, but 2 portals.
The first is into the Astral Sea of the Middle Reaches, as their boat is taking on “water” and starting to list badly. It’s hard to bail out our boat when you cannot see or feel the water, so being in the Astral Sea, where they can actually see such things is advantageous.
From the Astral Sea, after some serious navigation, and course plotting, Osric opens a second portal near Hrel, a fallen Dradkin settlement / island that Celdurxi wants them to head for.
Their course plotting and navigational readings in the Other World are such that when Bricks maps everything, they have a map that can not only guide them back through their two portals, but also to the following places:
- the Silent Temple (where they sailed from)
- the drowned temple camp (at “sea”)
- Here Be Dragons (where they saw a fire-breathing dragon flying high above them)
- the shadow court of the mighly Vafrudnir, Lord of Whispers (not yet visited!)
- Jotnarsbru (the Bridge of the Damned, where they had one of their early adventures)
One of their final things they do in camp is research the Menaka, which makes two of them Afraid. It turns out, Menaka, as a group, are Not Very Nice.
That was where things stood a few (real world) weeks ago.
I want to talk, briefly I hope, about the following session, during which they were involved in 3 Conflicts.
Camp is done, and whilst (Elite Sorceror) Plodinus Kest strikes out on his own across Hrel, the group want to aim for an abandoned temple, to find things to help Celdurxi, and investigate the religious beliefs of the Dradkin.
Reader, they have yet to reach this temple.
There are strange shadows and dangers that lurk on Hrel, so they decide to climb up onto the ruined walls and make their way to the temple from above. Tösk skips up to the top without a problem, spots the temple, and they turns to assist the rest of the group.
This goes… poorly. They have lifted their backpacks up to Tösk, but as the rest of them try to climb, they are rushed by 9 isopods. A Kill conflict ensues, where the group is triumphant! Even though 2 of their number are afraid. Hurrah!
They loot the corpses, butcher some of them for (much needed) meat, and drag all of that back to the boat / camp.
Back they go to their wall-climbing endeavour, pushing over a pillar to afford them an easier path up.
However, as they are climbing up, it (again) does not go well for them (another failed roll!). They look back, to see (Elite Sorceror) Plodinus Kest heading back to the boat, muttering darkly, with obvious plans to “deal with” Celdurxi whilst our adventurers are otherwise occupied.
They rush back, managing to get there before the Sorceror are kill Celdurxi.
With Osric stepping forwards as a distraction (and Execrating their victim/enemy), the group fall onto Plodinus Kest, with murder in mind.
Plodinus Kest is, indeed a rather Elite Sorceror (Magician level 8), with higher Might than the party. However, we see Tösk use the dagger of Vali Kinslayer (which is more than Plodinus Kest sees), so it Goes Poorly for their enemy are Goes Well for them: they have successfully murdered Plodinus Kest (and avoided damaging his brain).
But that is not the end of their troubles.
Three Menaka are suddenly there, and… well, the optics are not good. There they are, on their boat, to the front of which is stapled a mutilated Menaka.
Some (very) quick convincing is called for, against master-manipulator Menaka…
It’s… a horrible brutal Convince Crowd conflict.
The Menaka are Might 5, have , and this is right in their wheelhouse. There are 4 party members (plus 1 follower), but 2 of the party are Afraid, so Help is less than usual.
Added to that, the Menaka have 12 Hit Points (10 + 2 Help), whilst they have 9.
This goes right to the wire, as the 2 (non-Afraid) characters are knocked out of the Conflict (along with the follower), and it is just Bricks the Boots (the Guide) and Oddbjorn Bjornson (the Skald) still standing.
Amazing well-thought out scripting (they outscripted me in that last round something chronic), wonderful insightful dialogue… and an incredible Defend by Oddbjorn that brought them back to full hit points before the deciding blow fell… meant that they won without compromise.
What a rollercoaster of a session!
And then we played again last night…