This week’s session was… less mad than our previous one.
Our party remains:
- 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.
Goal: Get to the ruin of the Hrel temple, and map it.
- 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.
Goal: Find something worthy of song and story in Hrel.
- 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.
Goal: Discover what was worshipped in Hrel in ancient times.
- Tösk (Changeling Thief - played by @DaveHiggins, of this parish)
Belief: Ancient Secrets are more important than coin.
Creed: All living beings have an equal right to thrive.
Goal: I will discover what the Hrelians… Hrelites… Hrelists… worship.
We had an OOC discussion at the start about what it meant to have negotiated a “contract of employment” (so to speak) with the Queen of the Dead.
The players went with my suggestion of setting it up as a “Lith Band” from Bridge of the Damned (p27-31).
The main discussion was around what the Lith Band’s Goal should be.
The players settled on:
Halja’s Reward to those who seek it.
Halja’s Wrath to those who evade it.
This neatly covers both “sides” of how the group see this playing out.
They also have to pick what will act as the Regalia of their Lith Band, as these items will hold Halja’s Might (in this form), and allow them to communicate with her.
Tösk picks his father’s stole, which his father was wearing when he was killed (this is also Tösk’s Raiment).
Oddbjorn chooses his sword, as it is a tool intended solely to bring death.
Osric chooses the wolf’s head cloak (his Raiment), so that Halja will be able to look out of the eyes of the wolf.
Bricks chooses their tinderbox, as it will light the way for lost souls.
As for their “rewards”, Oddbjorn’s (NPC) Apprentice Radulf is told by Halja that he will have the time to become a great Skald (and more).
We interpret Bricks’ wish to be able to have a means to help lost souls to their rest to be that they can use their Pathfinder skill like Ritualist for the purposes for funerals (and similar), as they can literally guide the soul to where it needs to go, showing them the path.
Osric wanted a blessing from Halja, which we end up interpreting it to be that, in a violent physical Conflict, he will be restored to 1 Disposition once per Conflict, as, somewhere between his fury, Survivor Trait, and Halja’s command, he stays in the fight!
Tösk gets a lovely conversation with his parent, who offer him love and support (and a little guidance).
Then, we’re finally off from the Lands of the Dead!
The group (successfully!) sails back to the Memory of the Sea, the Ur-Menig.
They manage to scrape together 6 checks, and camp at their prepared camp on the island of Hrel.
Luck is with them, and the camp, already blessed with a Shrine to the Immortals (from a previous camp check) is now also imbued with the feeling of Sanctuary (+1D to recovery checks).
Given the number of Conditions they have, this is very useful!
They set about celebrating their successes in the Dry Lands (thanks to Bricks and their Merrymaking Nature), recovering from Exhausted, wrapped in their cloaks, and treating the burns that Osric had suffered when he immolated himself in order to destroy a possessing spirit.
Being in a (fairly) good place, they now attempt to make it to this ruined temple in Hrel that evaded them for so many sessions.
Finally, they succeed at Dungeoneering their way there, and approach the temple across the ruined walls and buildings of Hrel!
There, they see subdued lights and hear a shouted argument between 2 groups.
From what they can gather, one group claim to be “proper” worshippers of Dradkin gods, whilst the other group are accused of being heretics, demon-worshippers, who side with Sorg, whose original arrival caused these lands to be dragged beneath the ground, and then drained the sea.
The other group claim that they are the future, and that Sorg brings a new way.
Our heroes sneak closer (vs. test), which ends up earning Bricks 4 checks, as they (firstly) grant their opponents +2D from being Fierce (they were made Angry by the Camp phase), and then break the time in their opponents’ favour by overstretching (their Rover or Hidden Depths Trait, I forget which).
I would note that this is the starting point as, in this session, they manage to acquire eight (8!) checks between them, through providing 2 dice to their opponents in vs. tests, and breaking ties in their opponents’ favour.
I hold off from the immediate consequence of this failure.
Tösk uses his Good Ear (level 4 Thief), to work out the number of people involved. Even though he is in the space, rather than at the doorway, he is Oddly-Angled, so can deduce that there are 5 Dradkin “orthodox” hidden in the centre of the temple, and 11 Dradkin “Sorg-worshippers” / Sorgians (?) surrounding these people.
Once they have that information is when I ambush them with the Sorgians (Twist!).
Osric is Having None Of This, and, drawing weapons, leads a Drive-off Conflict against their ambushers.
We’re looking at something like 8 Disposition for the Dradkin Sorgians (as the Conflict is outside their Nature, and there are not enough successes for all of them to participate) and 10-ish Disposition for our adventurers.
It’s all over very quickly, with the party winning… but with enough of a compromise that, when they count whose there, Bricks is not amongst them.
The remaining adventurers manage to rush to the centre, where they find the other Dradkin, who are Kranish worshippers (a sea-god of the Dradkin, and a positive force, more aligned with where they are at).
The 5 Dradkin in the centre are 2 priestly types and 3 “temple guards”. They’ve, in essence, been under siege from the others for a while, and are not sure if they can hold out.
When they ask these allies-of-the-moment what the Sorgians would do with Bricks, they’re told that their friend would be used as leverage against them all…
Meanwhile, Bricks has been dragged off by said Sorgians, and is being held tight by two of their number.
But they are not called Bricks the Boots for nothing.
With a sly grin, Bricks goes to put the boot(s) in on these 2 holding them, aiming to smash knees, break shins and, generally, make their own escape (Fighter vs. test).
Unfortunately, the dice are against them, and they are brought to the floor and stomped on until their ankles and legs are mashed up good and proper (Injured).
Bricks’ pained cries alert their friends, who quickly manage to convince the Dradkin with them to assist… and they charge out into a Kill Conflict.
Bricks’ player now has an “excellent” set of choices:
- Sit out of the Conflict (so as not to risk their life).
- Take part in the Conflict, but risk death if there is any small compromise (as they are already injured).
- Grit their Teeth, and take part (still risking death, as it’s a Kill conflict, but less so).
With a grim sigh, the player chooses to Grit Their Teeth, an d hands me Bricks’ character sheet. I reduce their Hunter from 5 to 4 (erasing a number of helpful checks), and we’re on.
Oddbjorn leads the Kill Conflict (as Osric feels terribly guilty for getting Bricks captured).
Bricks uses their lint and tinderbox as a distraction, to assist, and we get into it.
The Dradkin on both sides are Might 2, and not good at these types of Conflicts.
Again, our Dradkin Sorgians are Not Good At Rolling Dice, and end up with a Disposition of 8 (meaning only 8 of the 11 of them take part - the others must be somewhere nearby, but not within sight). The party rolls terribly, and ends up with 7 Disposition.
However, the Dradkin Sorgians are not expecting them, and they script very soundly.
Soon thereafter, there are 8 dead Sorgians, and the party are back together.
The (very gruff) Osric falls to his knees in front of Bricks apologising profusely for how his actions got them captured, including the bestest line in the mix:
“Do you do hugs?”
Next week, we’ll see what we do about the remaining 3 Sorgians, the temple… and what might yet be found here.
Also, Bricks is very nearly out of rainwater to drink, as we have been down in the darkness for a very long time now (3 full adventures!).
That means we might soon find out what happens when one of the Hendri*, who won’t ever drink ground water, has to do so…
(* The Hendri are part of the Raindrinkers, a Nomad Caravan “Settlement” that Brick originates from / was adopted into).