Drawing Fire from the WellSETTING, SCENARIO, AND SESSION 1
One-on-one campaign GM'd by @Nicolas_Bourbaki
The Big PictureThe kingdom of Tyr Dargannon is fraying at the edges. Raiders and warbands perforate the borders, monsters stalk the swamps and forests, and ghosts haunt stagnant rivers and fallow fields. From within, nobles bicker over jurisdiction and precedent; from without, sorcerers gather minions and broker with smugglers and kidnappers…
For the Royal line of Grey is failing. King Avenna slowly wastes away and his only heirs, twins Soryn and Raéla, have been missing for nigh a decade. A struggle for power is fast approaching, and civil war may be the deathstroke for Tyr Dargannon.
But, hope! For the Urd was pronounced one year and one day after Avenna’s children were first missed. A prophecy of astrological confluence: two planets shall align in the House of Eldrim, the twins shall be found, and the Sword of Vows will be the key that opens the only path of renewal. The Urd-Blade - cherished heirloom of a hundred generations, passed down by inheritance, by conquest, by commission, but never by purchase, storied in its every use - will be wielded by a champion of the people who, with it, shall restore the line of Grey.
The SituationYra’el of House Celadon cast aside his future as a knight when he was offered an apprenticeship with Neravasthor, the current bearer of the Urd-Blade. Her deeds were already legendary, but his regard for her grew all the stronger in the time he lived and worked beside her, fighting the growing darkness among her band of intrepid adventurers, the Horns.
Her death was a terrible thing to behold. A sorcerer calling himself Shaeonanra, backed by a mercenary army, took the city of Ce Tydon and with its population set to build himself a stronghold in the heart of Tyr Dargonnon. Neravasthor, Yra’el, and the Horns were the only force near enough to respond. It came to be that Shaeonanra and Neravasthor met in single combat, and no mortal could withstand his sorcery. Pierced with shards of water and half-drowned in smoke, Neravasthor could only rely upon the subtle power of the Urd-Blade, and so she pronounced a Doom which the Sword of Vows will always assure, a Doom that binds together the fates of both speaker and audience. Neither she nor Shaeonanra would leave this city alive.
Shaeonara felt the tremor of irrevocable fate shatter his powers and sunder his will. His spells all failed, and when Yra’el finally struck down the last foe between himself and the summit of the highest watchtower of the city, he found his dear mentor dead at his feet and Shaeonanra transfixed through the heart with the Sword of Vows.
It should have ended there. Yra’el would have inherited the Urd-Blade. Perhaps he would have proven himself the prophesied savior of Tyr Dargannon. Instead, he had the wounds of his mentor’s corpse mended. Then he carried the body of Neravasthor to the hideaway of Anaxaphus the black magician, and together they dredged Neravasthor’s soul back out of The Well, and returned her to life.
When Neravasthor realized what Yra’el had done, she damned him and cast him out. She sought and took a new apprentice, and Yra’el fled to the edges of the kingdom to eke out a living among the border villages. He spent four years in exile.
He returned to her only once. He longed to see her, even if only to see proof that his transgression had kept her alive and well. Instead he found her withered and wasting away, cursed to an eternal torment by a sword that knew it had been cheated. She heaped every curse upon him, and sent him away in horror.
So last night, when the city of Haryn slept, Yra’el broke into the manor of Neravasthor and stole the Urd-Blade with only one goal in mind: he was going to destroy it.
Yra'el of House Celadon32 years | Born Noble, Page, Squire -> Strider -> Hunter
I’ll wager what little I have that it was Arshidel who raised the alarm so early. I need to find a way out of this damned city!
Am I being followed? I can’t risk carrying the Urd-Blade around. I need a place to stow it, one that no one will stumble upon while I find a way out of here.
Nerevasthor fulfilled her oath to the very letter! How could I have known the Urd-Blade was an omniscient, malicious thing that desires only mayhem and demise? If it costs the Kingdom, I’m breaking this sword’s curse.
- Always keep the Urd-Blade sheathed, wrapped and hidden.
- Always size up anyone bearing arms
- Never speak a knowing falsehood
TraitsLoner, Mark of Privilege, Second Sight
SESSION 1The alarm rose with the dawn. The gates of Haryn were barred, a double-guard posted, and the Watch set to partitioning off the districts in a systematic search for the Urd-Blade. Commerce was held at a standstill, and the city buzzed like a fallen hornets’ nest. But even the foulest of moods in Haryn had only begun to match that of Lord Clyer’s, who had been bound in a state of begrudging civility with some nephew-by-marriage for the past three days.
Circles Ob 3: Find someone to house Yra’el for free.
Failed: Enmity with Lord Clyer.
Clyer had agreed to house the youth free of charge for the duration of his visit to Haryn, picturing in his mind’s eye a well-dressed and financially-solvent man of trade and minor noble station. Instead, his nephew-once-removed had turned out to be a slovenly and ragged man, indistinguishable from a vagrant peasant, and with so little in the way of etiquette that he had entered wordlessly yet conspicuously into the manor in the middle of a dinner, and by doing so made it appear to all within the higher circles that Lord Clyer regularly entertained brigands. There was no love lost in this tenuous familial connection, and while Clyer was a man not to renege upon an agreement, he longed dearly for the man to take his leave. A leave now postponed indefinitely by the sealing of the city.
Yet Lord Clyer would have ascended to even greater heights of rancor had Yra’el not become infuriatingly territorial over his freely-borrowed room. For, lying under his bed, swaddled in scraps of leather and a moldy traveler’s cloak, the Urd-Blade awaited its prophesied use. But no household was above suspicion, and the Watch’s search would certainly unveil the stolen weapon if Yra’el did not find a better hiding place.
So Yra’el strode down the main cobblestone avenue of the Hill, knowing only one person in this city whose sympathies were undetermined for the time being. Of the few true friends he’d made during his years of single-minded devotion to Neravasthor, Léminären was the only who had laid down the hauberk and taken up a tenancy within these walls. It was she who Yra’el had called upon to bind Neravasthor’s bloodless wounds, she who had sewn together a corpse in hope that Yra’el could thwart the grave. She was the most gifted surgeon that Yra’el had ever seen, but by either wicked chance or by deliberate action on her part, her skills remained as-yet unsung. Yet this suited Yra’el right now; he needed someone generally unknown.
Yra’el did not take a direct path. Perhaps his nerves were jittery following his theft, perhaps it was a premonition, or perhaps he had always been a little paranoid, but the feeling of being followed had haunted him since he fled his erstwhile mentor’s house last night. He hadn’t slept for it, and now he wanted to test his hunch. His languid and meandering journey allowed him to double back and check his own trail. The prismic mist of a thousand personalities hung all about, but his Second Sight could be focused with a little skill. No two auras are alike, and sure enough, one aura repeatedly announced itself throughout his journey. The course he walked meandered too often for this repeated crossing of paths to be mere coincidence. Yra’el turned down a quiet alley and awaited his tail.
Stealthy vs. Beginner’s Luck Observation: Ambush the Tail.
The poor urchin had no idea what he’d gotten himself into. His intended mark slipped out of the shadows from behind, and before the boy could so much as yelp, there was an iron grip on the back of his collar and his shiv had been shaken roughly from his hand. Then it was Yra’el’s turn to draw a blade, and the glint of silver in the shade caused the boy to dutifully swallow his cry of alarm. “You’ll find no coin with me, kid,” Yra’el warned.
The urchin took his cue, begging for clemency, but Yra’el was not so quickly mollified. “Who asked you to follow me?” he demanded.
Beginner’s Luck Intimidation, Ob 2 (Will Ob 4): Force the urchin to divulge the identity of his benefactor.
Success! –1 fate point spent.–
The dagger did not have to be used to have an effect. The urchin had not been paid to keep his silence, only to maintain line-of-sight, and the situation had become unbearably close-quarters. “Arshidel!” he cried, “It was Arshidel!”
Yra’el knew the name of his supplanter. After Neravasthor had awoken from the slumber of death and had discovered the depths to which her apprentice had descended to get her back, she’d denounced him publicly. A new successor was chosen, and Arshidel now stood at the right hand of the mentor that Yra’el had once sworn his life to.
“Take me to him,” Yra’el demanded of the youth. The latter was only too happy to comply, if it meant the dagger be sheathed. And so it was. Arshidel’s payment was transferred into Yra’el’s hands, as a sign of good faith, and they stepped back out into the light of open streets. The kid moved at a hurried pace, but not so quickly as to be thought to desire premature escape - perhaps Yra’el could be deadly even at range. But when it came time to turn a corner and make for Neravasthor’s mansion, a cursory glance behind revealed to the urchin that Yra’el had never followed him! And now the boy could only shakily continue on the trek alone, to tell his employer that he had lost his mark.
No Test: Let it Ride (Stealthy)
Yra’el had slipped away the moment the boy noticeably relaxed into his role as guide, and was now proceeding with his initial mission. If he wished to see Arshidel, he could easily guess where that schemer would be: he’d spent enough years in and out of Neravasthor’s manor on the Hill that he’d never need a pickpocket to help him. It was Léminären he needed to talk to.
She was treating an injured laborer when he arrived. There was gray in her hair now, and the lines about her eyes had deepened somewhat, but these only expressed a dignity that had always been there, and her motions were more earnest and purposeful than they had been before, as if the practice of the last four years had turned theory into instinct.
Yra’el’s greeting was overly formal - it had been years, and their last experience together left them both the worse off. Her greeting matched his. She watched with concern when Yra’el laid Arshidel’s coins into the hand of her patient and nodded him toward the door. The laborer hesitated, but upon receiving a second nod from Léminären, did as he was bid.
A seat was offered. Yra’el declined it. He congratulated her living situation. She accepted it. “What are you here for, Yra’el?” she asked.
“Léminären,” Yra’el sighed. “You know this city better than I do. If I needed something kept safe for a while, would you help me?”
Léminären’s expression went from bewilderment to outrage. She planted her hands on the surgeon’s table.
“No! Yra’el, was that you?”
“Neravasthor fulfilled her promise!” Yra’el snapped back. “She died and the Urd-Blade cursed her anyway!”
“Give me one reason why I shouldn’t turn you in right now!”
Duel of Wits Invoked:
|Yra'el's BoA||Léminären's BoA|
|You have to safeguard the Urd-Blade until I can find a way out of this city.||I will not be accessory to your crime, and you will return the sword where you found it!|
|B3 Will + 1s Persuasion = 4||B4 Will +2s Interrogation = 6|
VOLLEY 1: Obfuscate vs. Rebuttal“You knew fully well what you were doing when you put Neravasthor back together,” Yra’el scoffed.
“I can treat whoever I wish, and end that treatment whenever I will!” replied Léminären. “I’m not bound to anything!”
|Ugly Truth||vs.||Ugly Truth (Defense)||&||Ugly Truth (Attack)|
|3 successes||0 successes||0 successes|
Léminären at +1 Ob to next action
VOLLEY 2: Point vs. InciteYou can’t pretend you’re not a part of this,” Yra’el scolded. “You care just as much about Neravasthor as I do!”
Persuasion: 1 success
Léminären’s BoA = 5
“She doesn’t care about you anymore.” Léminären retorted. “Did you forget she cast you out? She wants nothing from you, and there’s nothing you can do to make her take you back!”
Ugly Truth, Ob 4: 2 successes
Incite Failed: Yra’el gains +2D to next action
VOLLEY 3: Dismiss vs. Dismiss“You’re not going to turn me in,” Yra’el blusters. “You’ve been bluffing this whole time. You don’t want me caught, and even if I was, you’d still be implicated anyway. You’re going to help me because it’s your only choice.”
Ugly Truth: 5 successes
Yra’el wins: Léminären’s BoA = 0
“You come to me with a huge favor to ask and nothing to give back!” Léminären rages.
Ugly Truth: 2 successes
Léminären scores a compromise: Yra’el’s BoA is halved.
ResolutionLéminären fell into a brooding silence, then finally spoke…
“One day,” she said. “You get one day. I’ll hide it, but with sunrise tomorrow I’m bringing it back to Neravasthor along with everything I know.”
To her surprise, Yra’el swept her up into a bear hug. He released her just as quickly, suddenly chastened by the unsuitability of the action. Her looked pained, and it occurred to Yra’el that she should have been the first person he’d visited in this city, instead of the last. But the vision of reminiscing over ales and touring the city passed wordlessly by, and instead Yra’el struggled to make up for his misdemeanor with small talk.
“Have you met Arshidel?” he asked.
“I’m no longer in touch with that crowd,” she sighed. “I hear he’s a force to be reckoned with.”
“You think I should talk to him?” Yra’el mused, and Léminären burst into laughter.
“Yra’el, you haven’t the gift of falsehood!” Léminären replied. “If you want any of this to work out, you’ll stay well away from that man!”