zondag 23 september 2012

Ogre Infiltration: finale

The way to Pavis...


1621, Fire Season, Harmony Week, Waterday 

After selecting the goods they want to salvage, the party decides to help the three wounded Last Step fyrdmen onto a horse, and the victim is loaded onto the fourth horse.  There is little room for other gear to be taken along, so the party leaves behind the barrels and crates in the cave, and return straight North towards the Pavis road.  Before long, they notice movement underneath the sand, and they see three giant centipedes appear from underneath the sand.  The huge creatures are slow, but still undoubtedly can dish out a lot of damage, so Alwynn starts distributing shield and protection spells.  Giomanach attempts a few palsy spells, but has no chance to break trough the huge animal's endurance defense.  Herculon goes into a heroic frenzy, and starts hacking up the giant creatures.  The party tries to stop two of the slow creatures at once, and so they have to split up.  Raiko gets a serious wound on his leg, but is able to retreat on foot before collapsing into the soft embrace of Alwynn.  Herculon hacks one of the centipedes in two, and Daerius finishes off a second one, while Herculon heads for the third one and dispatches him with two devastating hits in the head.

The party failed to notice the approaching ogres.  Herculon and Daerius sprint forward to allow the ogres as little time as possible to prepare for battle.

The fight barely over, and with everybody focudes on wounded Raiko, the party fails to notice a four horse wagon approaching from the north.  Seeing where they are, the chances are big that these are the ogre warriors, returning from New Pavis or the Rubble.  And considering where the party is, the ogres must have a good hunch what is happening.  All this turns out to be correct.  Herculon, still in his heroic frenzy, cannot be held back, and he charges forward, followed by Daerius.  This leaves the ogres too little time to prepare for the fight, as the pressure in upon them straightaway.  Giomanach manages to palsy a younger female ogre, leaving only three enemies.  A few seconds later Herculon crashes into two Ogre warriors, unable to break through to the headman.  Daerius soon joins him, and the two try to dispatch the ogre warriors quickly, but they turn out tougher than expected.

The headman, rather than join the battle against the two warriors, is able to summon his ancestor spirit, then decides to close the 70 some meters to the wizard and healer, and Alwynn needs to act quickly to heal Raiko so that they have some defense against the charging ogre. Meanwhile Herculon has beheaded one of the ogres with a massive blow, and seriously wounds the second one before his great axe is snatched out of his hands.  It takes a frantic few seconds before the second ogre is dead as well, and the entire party can focus on the headman, who has decided to change strategy and run for it.  Jaya follows him, riding on her zebra, and the headman cannot escape.  The ancestor spirit decides to change strategy and discorporates, trying to capture Jaya.  Jaya has no defense, and is taken over in seconds.  All of this has taken place without the party knowing, and as Jaya returns no-one suspects anything, until Daerius gets hit.  A chaotic fight ensues, with everyone trying to stop Jaya without having to kill her.  It takes an acrobatic roll from Raiko to unsaddle possessed Jaya, and everyone jumps on her in order to stop and subdue her.

The wagon is empty, and the party heads to Last Step to return the wounded family members and deceased.  They are given a heroes welcome, even though there is one dead to grieve about.  The Shaman from Whitefly exorcises the possessing spirit from Jaya, and the party head to New Pavis, to inspect  the ogre house.  The house turns up a lot of sellable items, and the party take their pick and sell off a large quantity of armor and weapons, and find other valuables, including jewellery, herbs, and a document with a seal, asking the reader to give full support to the bearer of said document.  The document is signed by the Etyries High Priest from Furthest.  The party accumulate a large amount of silver, and start looking for possibilities to spend their money.


dinsdag 18 september 2012

Ogre infiltration

South of Pavis, near Ryan Village...


1621, Fire Season, Disorder Week, Wildday

The party approaching the rocky mound
After the initiation of Daerius and Herculon at the Pairing stones, the Orlanthi help them cover the traces and ritually bury the Lunar patrol.  Storm Voice Frekor Firmfarer performs a obfuscation and purification ritual, and with the flames of Humakti blazing high into the Pavis sky, the adventurers and Orlanthi feast and drink and honour the fallen, the storm god and the new initiates.  During the party, Frekor tells the two new initiates about their new mission.  This mission will involve traveling to the Pavis Air Temple and report to High Priest Faltikus.  It is important not to tell Faltikus everything though.  Frekor makes it very clear in which conditions Faltikus has become the new High Priest of the Pavis Air Temple.  Rumour has it Faltikus is a Lunar agent, some call him a Nysalor Illuminate, but one thing is certain, he was appointed to the post by the Lunar government, and his appointment was one condition to avoid total suppression of the Orlanth cult in Pavis (normal Lunar practice). the other being the agreement that the Orlanthi organise the HeroQuest every year to escort rain god Heler to the Plains of Prax.  Frekor than reveals the new initiates what their second mission will be.  Uphold the promise made by Herculon to the Last Step Stead survivors, and track down and destroy the ogres responsible for the hold up and rescue eventual survivors.

7th Day of the Fire Season, 1621
The next morning, the party heads east towards Pavis.  At first it seems like a good idea to follow the river bank all the way downstream to the capital, but the many creeks and streams in the valley make the party lose a lot of time.  In the end, they decide to head for the Pavis road and keep to familiar terrain.  When heading for the road, they run into a lone Aldryami trekking through the chaparral, and Raiko attempts to approach the barkskin, but any attempt to approach is only responded to by arrow fire, and after ducking into cover a few times, Raiko gives up his fraternization attempts.  They put up camp for a totally eventless night, before arriving at the road the next morning and following it in the direction of Pavis.
8th Day of the Fire Season, 1621

After a long walk along the Pavis road, under a relentless summer sun, the party sees the off-white colour of the high walls of the Rubble appear in the distance.  The heat of the afternoon sun makes the sky shimmer, and dust devils are everywhere.  This time they do not head for the tent camp under the Rubble walls, but cross the bridge towards New Pavis.  Since none of them are New Pavis citizens, they have to fill out heaps of paperwork, and Giomanach decides to apply for a weapon permit. Not aided by the Lunar bureaucracy, they finally enter the city walls, and the Orlanthi head to the temple, while Giomanach visits his aunt at the Chalana Arroy temple and Raiko tags along with Jaya into the rubble to visit the Yelorna temple.
The Orlanthi report to Faltikus, who does not seem overly interested, and who's only worry seems to be being singled out as responsible for the death of the Lunars.  He tries to convince Daerius and Herculon to tell him more about what happened, but Herculon's web of lies seems to work, although Faltikus is not completely convinced. After meeting up with their friends again, they notice Giomanach is accompanied by Alwynn, acolyte of Chalana Arroy, who is too worried about Giomanach heading out after a gang of ogres to let him go alone.  Having a good healer along on a dangerous mission has never hurt anyone, so the other party members make nothing of it and make her feel welcome.  They decide to leave the following day at daybreak.

9th Day of the Fire Season, 1621

The next morning the party heads west again, and south at the Last Step stead.  They follow the trail to Whitefly and Ryan, and when passing the source of the stream into the Zola Fel they notice barefoot child  tracks heading out into the desert.  They decide to follow these, considering it weird to find kids' footsteps around here.  Surely, before too long they notice a small group of children keeping an eye on the party.  They attempt to overtake them but the kids disappear, and the party decides to continue walking in the same general direction.  After a weird encounter with an Aldryami, the party sees a rocky mound in the distance, and they notice several holes in the wall of the mound.  They decide to approach carefully.  Four perfectly round cave entrances are visible.  The geometric shape worries the party, and they decide to carefully investigate one of the entrances.  Inside they disturb 2 Krarshtkids, and within seconds they are under attack, with only Herculon's shield preventing some serious damage.  Giomanach's sorcery saves the day here, with two lucky palsies in a row taking out the chaotic monsters.
The howling krarshtkid comes bouncing forward...

Another entrance leads nowhere, but the third leads upwards and there another spawn of Krarsht is hiding.  This time the fight is even shorter, with Palsy once again saving the day, and Giomanach starting to feel very powerful indeed.  Within seconds, the krarshtkid is vanquished, not able to divulge it's destructive power.  Further exploration of the round corridors reveals nothing, and the party decides to make camp in a now empty corridor.  They cast alarm on the entrance, and with a double guard run no risk after the spider fiasco a few days before.  The night passes uneventful, and the next morning the party decides to climb the mound to get a better lookout position.  Arrived at the top of the mound, they stumble onto the ogre camp, seeing it below them through a slit in the cave roof.  They notice a captive in very poor condition, a bunch of kids, and several adults, both male and female, standing around a bonfire.  An area behind the ogres is closed off with wooden panels, and in a corner they notice many crates and barrels.  They try to set up a surprise attack, with little success, and within minutes the fight has broken loose, with Herculon and Daerius in the middle of it, supported by Alwynn's healing and Giomanach's sorcery.  Meanwhile Jaya is still on the lookout outside the cave, pulling some of the attention to her.
The blueish inside of the ogre cave
Giomanach attempts another mass palsy, but the ogres turn out to have some serious resistance to his magic, as well as a means of nullifying it's effect, and Giomanach's feeling of superiority becomes a bit tarnished.  If not for the healer doing an excellent job on Herculon, Daerius, Giomanach and herself alike, the fight could have gone completely differently, with particularly nasty consequences for the party, who would probably be on the next days menu.  The party cannot help noticing the absence of warriors, and realise they have been lucky to find the tribe with minimal protection, even if it was nearly enough to take them out.  They discover a stash of official paperwork, including a rent lease and permits to enter the Rubble and to carry weapons in Pavis, written out to verious Etyries temple members.  Jaya discovers a span of horses, but no wagon.  After the fight, the party collects whatever valuables they can carry, leaving behind the crates and barrels for lack of a means of transportation, and ready themselves for the return to Pavis, in order to investigate further into the ogre activities.

donderdag 13 september 2012

An Orlanthi Initiation

Near Pavis and the Pairing Stones...


1621, Fire Season, Disorder Week, Windday

Our gang of travelers has taken residence in Badside. A ramshackle collection of tents and huts, in some cases no more than a few hides roughly sown together. But the one thing that people remember about Badside is the smell. All around Pavis, on a hot day, the smell is sickening. Rotting meat, excrement, barbarians who only bathe when in their homeland, and sweat. Badside is worse. The hides smell, the people smell, the garbage smells, and there's carcasses everywhere, the herd animals shit in the street, and so do the denizens of this lovely settlement.

But you get anonimity. The Lunar guards only occasionally interfere, and never with any enthusiasm. And with one party member a target of the Red Moon, and another a target of a lot of people, it beats the Pavis Inns, where the well organised gangs know everything there is to know about anyone within hours of their arrival. So the story starts in Badside, as Daerius and Herculon are summoned to the pairing stones for their initiation into Orlanth Adventurous.

4th Day of the Fire Season, 1621

Their comrades in arms, Raiko, Giomanach and Jaya, decide to accompany them on the two day trip west. They leave at sunset, before the heat, and follow the Pavis road, at a leisurely pace, a few hundred yards behind a Etyries trader caravan. After a few hours walk they see some people on the road, apparently from the nearby Last Step Stead. They report having been attacked by a gang of people, and the four cottars who went after them have not yet returned. When invited inside for lunch, our heroes find the lady of the stead in tears. Although they are expected at the Pairing stones, they decide to go and look for the disappeared fyrdmen, mainly because Herculon thinks it is the right thing to do for a Heortlander.

They quickly discover the attackers masquerade as Etyries traders, travel with a four horse wagon, and they manage to track the trail in Northern direction.  During their advance up north, they notice a Smilodon circling them, looking for an easy kill.  When the beast's patience runs out and it decides to try and go for a quick kill, Giomanach stops it with a succesfull palsy.  Hardly disturbed the party advances, and stumbles upon a very basic tent camp, littered with body parts and blood.  Whatever took place here, it can hardlly have been pleasant for the one who lost all the fingers.  The trail now heads south west, and the party decides to keep following.

They keep tracking the wagon trails as long as possible, but when they head towards the road again, our party has no choice but to follow the road and hope they will see the trails quitting the Pavis Road further up ahead. No such luck though.  After a few hours it becomes apparent that they have lost the trail, when they meet up with a trader coming from the opposing direction, who has seen nothing.  Jaya grabs the opportunity to buy a silver necklace from Goldenrod, the Etyies trader.  Seen as they have no direction to follow, they consider heading to the Pairing Stones after all, with some luck they might still be in time.  But first they set up camp, with Jaya taking the first guard.  They'll decide what to do the next morning.

Within minutes everybody is sound asleep.  Jaya notices she is tired as well, and before long she dozes off.  When a giant spider wanders into the camp, there is no-one awake to see it coming, and the large arachnid attacks Jaya.  This gets everyone up in seconds, and amidst the panic the spider is quickly dispatched.

5th Day of the Fire Season, 1621

The next morning, our fellows run into a Bullford hunting party.  These guys have not seen any trace of the fake trader wagon, and the party decides to head to the Pairing Stones, still a long hike north.  They keep walking for hours, until sunset, and Raiko, Daerius and Giomanach get real tired with still several miles to go, when they run into a Lunar Patrol.  As they are only miles from the Pairing Stones, they refuse to stand down, and when the tension increases and the Lunar sorceress starts casting a spell, Jaya fires an arrow at her and downs her at once.  A brutal fight ensues, with Herculon decapitating two warriors and hacking a third one in two, and Daerius and Giomanahc killing a guard each.  Giomanach takes the sorcerer staff along, it carries an enchantment that allows to store mana.

When the Orlanthi arrive from the Pairing Stones, alarmed by the magic light and noise, all they can do is clean up the mess.  The High Priest performs a ritual of Obfuscation, and the bodies are burned with ceremony.

6th Day of the Fire Season, 1621

The initiation ceremony commences.  Both Orlanthi easily pass the knowledge test.  Their next challenge involves climbing one of the pairing stones.  A piece of cake for strong Herculon, but Daerius seems to be more about good looks than strength.  It takes him a few hours, with several resting breaks, to climb the 25m high monolith.  In the end he manages though, and drops down on the top, exhausted...