Wednesday, April 29, 2015

A side excursion

Due to a conflict in scheduling, neither Evie (Osprey, Jokatis), nor Trunk (Harrothgar) were able to make session, so I came up with a quick scenario off the top of my head. Grettir was arrested for having killed the three thieves and was brought before the Kin & a mysterious half-red painted councilor. She was obvious the real power in the room & the King her puppet. When Grettir can't be proved false, despite a half dozen witnesses against him, the King demands to read the Scroll Grettir's mother had given him. After a bargaining, the scroll was to be merely tested for evil against Sartar, but the councilor reads it anyway & forces Grettir to take a scroll to the New Lunar Temple otherwise his friends would be executed. 

Grettir & Aelwynn undertake this trip. Along the way they stumble into a trap set by Kallyr Starbrow & friends. Kallyr barters fairly with Grettir & lets Grettir know where the goal of his personal quest lies if he will let them doctor the scrolls he carries & the ones he is to return with. Everything proceeds as planned at the New Lunar Temple and The pair start their return journey & meet up with Kallyr. This deal is met by both sides and they part as friends. When Grettir returns with the return scrolls the seals pass inspection so the crisis is averted but they now have a Lunar enemy and under the disfavor of the King.

The party is reunited & will proceed upon its way.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Maundering in Glorantha

Though I had played D&D when it first came out, my fondest RPG is and always will be Runequest (RQ). I've used RQ for a number of settings starting even back in the 70's during the first play-testing (I have what is evidently the last copy of the original playtest & Steve still blames me for designing the Resistance Table - a very minor contribution actually & has been much improved on). I created a number of proof of concept settings & ran test adventures including settings for Steampunk (though it was called either 19th century SciFi or Victorian Science Fiction back in the 70's) and Futuristic Science Fiction, WW2, Napoleonic & 18th century settings. RQ is a very powerful and versatile game that is reasonable priced from free per donation for Runequest Essentials scroll down page to the donate link & pdf link) covering what any player needs to the whole complete book of Runequest 6th Edition which covers everything from Player to Gamemaster, Bestiary, 5 kinds of magic, & more. You can also find it at Drive-thru RPG Runequest page.. Note there are also variant settings for RQ such as Mystic Britain and you can find German & French editions.

Here's a video overview from a few years back: Youtube - RQ6 overview by one of the authors.

RQ will be strange to some of you because (& it was the first RPG to use this concept) there are no levels or character classes & uses a single simple mechanic to resolve all issues, be they Skills, Magic, or Combat! No classes means your character has no limits & is a collection of skills you choose to focus on. During character creation you get some starting skills based on your culture & apprenticeship profession, but where you go from there is your choice as long as you can find a teacher or experiment a lot. Character creation takes a little longer than some RPG's but it makes up for it by letting the game run faster & allows the characters to drive the bus wherever they desire without being too tied down to an adventure plot. The GM can vary things easily & rapidly.

Native to RQ is a setting called Glorantha that sprang from Greg Stafford's mind starting in 1966. He is a brilliant man, good-hearted, & witty, so if you ever get the chance to, introduce yourself. But Glorantha is very loosely similar to our Bronze Age in some of it's core design. Many different kinds of beings, Humans, Elves (Plant grown beings), Dwarves (originated from stone), Broos, Trolls, talking Ducks, & even sentient Tapirs, to name a few. It is a very fleshed out world with thousands of pages of material. For example the Argan Argar Atlas is 130 pages of maps alone. Order & Chaos war for control of the universe.

Well after that preamble let's talk about the campaign I'm running. I am the opening Gamemaster but we will be running this as a Troop campaign where any of the members can volunteer to also gamemaster an adventure. Carl runs a Praxian Rhino-rider Grettir Windwander) & a Humackti woman (Grim Signey). Erin herds a Vinga adventuress (Kara Redspear) & a Llankor My scholar (Aelwyn Larsdottir). Evie is present in the form of a mischievious Esrolian thief (Osprey) & a Zebra rider from Prax (Jokatis). Trunk has a Sartar Orlanthi warrior (Harrothgar). Presently the two Glorantha & RQ experienced players, Carl & myself, have temporarily divvied the GMing up in that I run adventures in and around Dragon Pass, Sartar, Tarsh & nearby areas. Carl will handle the Plains of Prax zone.

The current adventure starts in Swenstown (I didn't name it, Greg did - & he happened to have 2 friends Anders Swenson & myself plus Jonstown is named after another friend - Glorantha is littered with Easter Eggs that way). Swenstown is on the border between Prax & Sartar/Dragon Pass where a caravan road ends. All of the characters are either a member of or connected to the Orlmarthing Tribe lead by Chief Gordanger who has been suffering from massive losses to his herds of horses. He has sent the party with the outward goal of baring gifts to Renalda the priestess of the Horse Goddess in Runegate, a weeks ride away. He hopes to have her return & bless the land & cast away the affliction that is plaguing his herds. Secretly he also charges the party under the cover of the Runegate trip to pass through Apple Lane & warn an old Tribal friend named Gringle that he is in danger of being murdered since the puppet King of Sartar, at the behest of his Lunar Empire masters, has removed the protection of law over Gringle & declared him "outlaw".

The party has ridden for two days, encountering other travelers with news & encounter difficulties in the form of Lunar Empire patrols that they have fortunately managed to talk their way past those forces. Boldhome is the first city on their journey (or at least is what passes for a city in this neck of the woods). Most of the party stayed at an Inn where they foiled an attempt by local thugs to steal their gifts (horses & gold) while they slept. However Grettir, Carl's Rhino-rider, is not fond of towns so sleeps out in a nearby pasture. The thieves not being able to score at the inn sneak up on Grettir, but he valiantly wakes & defends himself. Quickly he cleaves off the arm of his first attacker then finishes him. Though another attacker tries to grapple him from behind, but is rather to small to do the job & is soon flung off & dispatched. The last sneak-thief, grabbed Grettir' pack & is running madly towards town. Before he can get their Grettir mounts his war rhino & thoroughly tramples the fleeing villain - in mechanics terms he rolled a critical success while the bad guy fails, so the damage is hideous & spread over his head & abdomen pulping both so thoroughly that not only is the body beyond healing or resurrecting, but even Lanbril (God of Thieves) won't be able to sort him from the grass, mustard plant & rocky soil.

We left it there because the session was a short one due to a massive traffic jam that cost us 2-1/2 hours up front.

Stay tuned for more! Next Episode Jonstown & perhaps beyond that Trolls & Dancing Dragonewts!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Kevin gives a "Flying Fu*k"!

The group had finished the Permia adventure last Saturday & this Saturday needed something new. I will soon be moving north to Seattle so since this would be one of my last gaming days down here the players & I decide to run a one-off adventure using the "Abney-Park's Airship Pirate" rules by Cubicle 7. The setting is sort of a futuristic/post-apocalyptic Steam-punk society with most people locked in 3 cities controlled by a dictator & his henchmen. Air-pirates are sort of the Brown-coats, free wheeling adventurers & revolutionaries against the oppression & status quo. Abney Park is also a musical group that plays in the Steam-Punk genre - be sure to look them up on line. & the game at

Since I expected this to be done in one evening I pregenerated some characters & the ship based on discussions with some of the players. The ship called "The Flying Fu*k", named by Kevin, is a flying Brothel-dirigible captained by Gideon Codswallup (Kevin) whose paramour is the chief Courtesan, an automaton "doll" named Rose Sexte-Neufe (Karen). The first mate is the mysterious Mr Gabriel Gale (Nate) & the ships sawbones is Aetherian Flug. The Ship's engineer is the aptly named Scotty McSwive & the bouncer is the terrifying neo-beduin Cougar Klamath tribe (John). A crew misfits & big-hearted prostitutes form the rest of the crew. The down on their luck brothel has been desperately trying to earn money to get the hell out of this podunk of an air-born village floating above modern day Crescent City. After a long night of smacking people around & "keeping order", Cougar wends his way to a local tavern for some drinking with some of his familial tribesmen. There the owner of the bar, a retired pirate by the name of Scabby Jack contacts Cougar with an offer to earn a great deal of money for the crew of the Flying F*** if they will help him recover his kidnapped son. Cougar returns to the ship & convinces the Captain & 1st Mate to speak to Scabby Jack. Upon getting to the bar, the Captain goes in to treat with Scabby Jack, but wears a glove while shaking hands because even though heavy coats of white makeup creatively applied to look like a skull are used to cover the scabs & pealing, it is obvious how Scabby Jack got his name. He describes a cruel, unhygienic hard-case woman by the name of Captain "Larry the Limp" Lasker who is holding him for ransom on a filthy barge somewhere up the Klamath River. Captain Gideon drives a hard bargain including ownership of the bar after Scabby retires. More money will be received if he brings both the boy & the ransom back. So with that incentive & a poor map off the crew goes up the mighty Klamath River basin. They easily find their way to the site & decide to reconnoiter by setting down farther down stream & out of sight of the barge.

Unfortunately the airship was spotted by Captain Lasker's crew & they wait in ambush expecting them to land at a nearby dirigible pylon. Luckily spotting the ambush Captain Gideon plans an ambush of his own. He will sneak up and prepare to snipe on the barge with a rifle, while Rose & Cougar take some chests up to make the exchange & attempt to capture the barge. Also they spot a small dirigible hidden in a cave near to the barge so meanwhile Mr Gale & Scratchy will attempt to steal the dirigible & thus strand any potential pursuers. All goes well & everyone is in position. Rose & Cougar approach the gangplank of the barge & talk their way up to see the boy & deliver the first chest. Then with typical pirate-subtlety the negotiations go slightly astray leaving bodies everywhere, Captain Lasker leaping overboard, & due to some fortunate shooting by the Captain, the boy is rescued. Mr Gale manages to steal the dirigible & sails to rescue his fellow crewmen just before vengeful ambushers from the pylon reach them.

Now that he has two ships to his "fleet" Captain Codswallup decides to appoint Mr Gale as Captain of the smaller one & style himself as "Commodore Codswallup". The only wrinkle appears that the "boy" is actually a dwarf that has been kept as a captive sex-slave by Scabby Jack & wants to not go back..... Choices here, after all Scabby is notoriously vindictive......

We called it an early evening since Nate had to go to work & will finish it up next time. Everyone seemed excited and had fun with this one-off & would like me to continue it "at least just a little bit longer"., LOL.

Permia Climax

What mad schedules, me getting ready to move north & all. It was an abbreviated & much delayed game. Nate who plays Arvarodd was unable to attend but was played in abstentia. So the end of Skolmr's quest to restore his family's reputation, his honor, & to create his magic flute started inauspiciously enough in a pit of decaying bodies. Through appeals to Odhinn & others Arvarodd's spirit is returned to his body, and his limbs healed. Siv also arises from the cesspit of death ready for vengeance. A tactical withdrawal is called for to a clearing a mile or or two from the town. The party spots a hideous flying beast that comes in from the east & lands on the tallest tower then seems to disappear. Over the following day a more detailed inspection reveals that winged scaled beast with multiple heads & tails unlike any dragon ever seen turns into an evil sorceress after landing on the tower. It will take more than two stones to kill this bird to rephrase an old adage.

After initial thought Perun decides to call the two giantesses that he has a crush on for aid. Then a plan is formulated by which they will pretend to to tie Arvarodd to a sacrificial post on a nearby hilltop figuring this will attract the beast to feed & when she does they will all jump her like fleas on a passing dog. But this is one bitch that won't play & she has no interest in Arvarodd. More consultations and they figure that just having a victim is not enough - The beast is attracted to pain, torture, and other fun things. Hmm this calls for the Romney-approach. So the party goes off to mug some passing small businessmen. They take some captives & start torturing them to death in various creative ways. (oh how quickly the veneer of civilization wears off). Once again Arvarodd pretends to be strapped to the post & the rest of the party & two giantesses hide in ambush. The beast comes to feast on the pain & suffering... The trap is sprung... huge boulders thrown by the giantesses while Arvarodd slightly annoys the beast by repeatedly bouncing his sword off of it's forehead. Eventually everyone pitches into close up combat trying to hack the beast down, only to realize it is regenerating!!! A wing is hacked off & tries to flutter back & re-attach. Fenja the giantess loses a leg, Arvarodd is bitten in two, then Menja loses an arm as she tries to rescue her sister. Finally the Gods truly favor Skolmr & with 4 mighty blows of his atgeir (halberd) he actually cuts off the head. Relief is brief as the body tries to re-assemble itself. A fire is built and the beast is burned hopefully to never rise again. Skolmr takes a wing-bone & fashions it into a large transverse flute. The townsfolk suddenly realizing that which made them rich & powerful is now gone, send an army forth to take revenge & the party flees before their wrath.

Since several of the players had to get home early we did a fast wrap up - Skolmr returns to his home farmstead, with the now-pregnant maid & finds that the fame of his deeds has restored the family reputation & his honor, besides strengthening the animosity of the old family foe. Mar has gone to Kiev & set up a forge to work the rest of his days. The short hairy & bearded person who hangs around his forge all the time is actually his dwarven-bride. Tyr, his wife, & the remaining apprentice are picked up by the rest of the party as they return to  Skaldby. Siv keeps a lock of Arvarodd's hair after they burn his body. She will search for the lost twins. Perun joins the folks of Skaldby for a while & receives word that Menja is pregnant with his child.

All seems quiet for a while........

Monday, June 25, 2012

Blundering into Permia

After our intrepid heroes rested & recovered from their wounds & trials of the battle on the river, they had to choose which direction to go. North along the river, south along the river or eastward into the forests were their choices. They ended up heading downstream, north, along the eastern riverbank. During the night they all fell asleep on their watches until morning. They woke to find the last of their horses were gone. (It's become a bit of running joke as they kept losing horses in previous adventures. It's not my fault if they forget the basics.)

Eventually they wound up in a small & devastated village during the horse fair. Traders were there selling horses. First they send the skald, Skolmr (Kevin), into the village to impress them & gather information. He begins a beautiful speech & soon realizes he doesn't understand them & they don't understand him. With the aid of the Sami, Perun (John), they are able to understand the dialect of these distant Nenet relatives of the Sami. The villages story is a harsh one: They are frequently raided from Permia who take villagers as slaves, steal half or more of their crops, and visit all sorts of dire curses upon the village. They agree to help guide the party to a road that leads straight to the capital of Kuupoloh and offer them hospitality. There the two remaining squires follow Mar back to the Baltic Seacoast: the squires to wait upon the return of the party & Mar to join the Kievan expedition as their blacksmith where he shall win great fame & fortune & study Late Roman armor making techniques. The remaining party is even are gifted with two horses: one a bright black mare with a lively step from an attractive young woman & an old swayback dun from a poor old grandmother. Arvarodd (Nate) asks for Tyr's (Larry) advice as to who should get the black & who should get the dun. Tyr advises put Siv (Karen) upon the swayback dun & the maid (who is now also Skolmr's fiance) upon the lively black horse. Arvarodd says "Hah" and immediately does the reverse of Tyr's advice, so now Siv is upon the black.

They have not traveled far up the road to Kuupoloh when trouble comes a courting. First Tyr is tempted to once again offend the Gods, leaving a brief opening in their magical protection. Immediately Skolmr spots the house on chicken legs heading toward them. A swift small cloud proceeds this horror. Arvarodd turns to face this on-rushing danger when the horses go wild. Tyr manages to grab hold of the panicking dun which turns into Siv's white charger as its magical disguise fades away. The black turns into an evil metal beast that glues Siv to it's back & races off up the road. Quick thinking & mighty magics by Skolmr stops the beast by charming it with his powerful music. Perun further slows it by convincing a small spirit elemental to aid him by causing the beast to sink into the earth. Arvarodd races to catch up & leaps onto the beast & finds himself glued. His mighty arms struggle to crush the animal but still he fails to overwhelm the beast. The clever cloud sets itself upon Skolmr, smothering him & stinging him with lightning causing his spells to fail. The beast breaks free and starts running at blinding speeds towards Kuupoloh. Meanwhile Perun rescues Skolmr with a beautiful flying tackle, but each in turn are beaten into unconsciousness by walking house. Tyr rescues the maid & the white horse but is also knocked senseless as his wife, Gerd fights a valiant & heroic, but futile defense of her husband.

Tyr wakes to find himself alone save for his battered & unconscious wife. He heals her and decides after taking counsel with her to head back toward the trading post on the Baltic seacoast where they had left their ship. Luck is with him for their he barters for an abandoned longship & begins the arduous task of repairing it as Gerd recovers.He takes the quires under his protection as well & trains them & a local boy in the art of shipbuilding to earn his keep.

Perun & Skolmr begin a long trip north east along the road to Kuupoloh haunted by a the occasional appearance of a hideous black flying creature. Meanwhile Arvarodd & Siv are flown to the dark & fell capital of Permia. As the beast descends Arvarodd manages a truly heroic feat of strength & breaks the flying beast which crashes into the courtyard amidst 50 or more hostile troops. Bravely Arvarodd tells his beloved Siv to run & save herself and raise their son to be a hero. She escapes through a door & he seals it behind her by impaling it shot with the magic sword & breaking it off.  He faces the oncoming enemy & fells 8 of them before he loses an arm. Still he fights on & cleaves another two before at last he falls with a great blow to the head. A despondent Siv wanders the corridors until at last she stumbles into a maid's quarters. She is offered food, drink, & safety but as she realizes she has been drugged she sees the false "maid" change into a dark & sinister queen.

She awakes to realize that she is chained to a wall of a dank foul dungeon cell. Laughing evilly the dark queen of Permia says she has taken her unborn baby from Siv's womb & sacrificed it to the dark God of Destruction. The queen demands information from her & Siv valiantly refuses to answer. After the queen leaves she grieves for her baby ripped from her womb, for the gallant Arvarodd, & her fate. Slight comfort comes to her when a slave woman who is told by the queen to end Siv & keep her well enough to answer questions whispers to her that the Queen was tricked & the babies (yes there was a boy & a girl) were secreted from the fortress & taken far away for they both bore the mark of the one who shall finally destroy the evil Queen. Siv's torture continues day after day until at last moved by pity the slavegirl give Siv a potion that feigns death. Skolmr & Perun have at last approached the city & begun scouting it out. As they do they see Siv's "body" tossed over the ramparts into a boggy mass grave. They rescue her & through incredibly healing luck & the Perun's shamanic skill they summon her soul back into her body & heal her. Realizing that a broken bit of the magic sword is stuck to her ragged clothing they return to the grave pit & search until they find Arvarodd's body. Siv jumps on his body & says that she is his Valkyrie & that she has not given him permission to leave this world yet. That as well as Perun's shamanic skill is able to recover Arvarodd's Spirit back into his body leaving him alive but still mangled. But Odhinn is not done with Arvarodd yet. a strange tingling is affecting where his missing limbs should be........

------- Notice -----
There will be a bit longer pause than usual as I will be off attending the Tall Trees Mountainman Rondezvous in the Syskiyou mountains.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Catching up, Running Away, & Lucky Rolls

Sorry that it's been a while since I blogged, but my account had "issues" that now seem to be resolved - crossing fingers. Plus I was gone for nigh 3 weeks with VA hospital stuff (small surgeries went well & they probably won't do the big one), visiting friends, going to Enfilade, & escaping the abuse at home.

YAY with the aid of Daryl (Painting & Rules), William & John (Terrain), the Kalvan of Otherwhen game went wonderfully & we won "Best of Show- period 3" at Enfilade!  WOOT! My Polemos Mythic Armies game went very well other than my beautiful Red Dragon getting rocked to sleep by stones from 4 Frost Giants.

The new "Blackpowder - Pike & Shotte" rules from Warlord Games came out & I've heard lots of complements regarding my maps that were used. I'm rather proud of them myself & I've been asked for more cartographic help for their next book! Plus I also finished another 10 maps for GHQ & their reprint of Microsquad and was asked to do the maps for the reissue of Microarmour.

SAGA from Gripping Beast is a really great game & my latest gaming focus. I'm almost done with a 6 point  Viking Army & then will do an Anglo-Saxon army (with an Uthred of course! - YAY Bernard Cornwell & his Saxon Shores series of books). So let me encourage all of you to take a look at this Dark Ages Skirmish game with some really innovative mechanisms. Daryl & I played two games & both resolved in less than an hour even just learning the rules. Fast but with a lot of depth. Heck Kevin could even inveigle me to paint an army for him if he'd play.

Also from the same Designers comes "Musket & Tomahawk" for those into the "Last of the Mohicans" and uses some similar design motifs.

Well the Catch-up.
After regrouping & recouping at Skaldby the party decided to help Skolmr fufill his family quest & set sail across the Baltic & journey to Permia. They play tag with a large warship that appears to follow them & hide up a river. A nervous night is spent when they see the ship pull to shore near them & they hear wolves howling in the distance. The stress ruins everyone's sleep & due to fatigue & misfortune by Tyr they manage to twist the boat & jam it crosswise in the river. Fortunately Tyr falls in the river. With much grunting & groaning they clear the jam & the ship floats out into the bay leaving Siv stranded on it. Skolmr, Tyr, Mar, & Arvarodd try to swim for the boat but nearly drown. Just then the large black warship appears at the mouth of the bay - more panic ensues, then an embarrassed hush as the warship sails blithely along taking no notice of them. HeHe! I'm so evil.

Eventually they recover the boat & set sail across the Baltic toward what is now St Petersburg but then was just a miserable little trading post. As they reach the coast of Finland the exhausted sailors camp on the shore where they make friends with Perun, a wandering Sami hunter & shaman (also known as John who will now join our group). Perun has wild red hair & an even wilder history that will reveal itself at inconvenient times. At last they reach the Trading Post and engage an older man to guide them to Permia - far inland to the Northeast. While waiting Mar gets involved working with some Warriors who are planning an expedition to Kiev to conquer & start a new settlement a new settlement there. They are lead by a big red haired man (another one) named Rhus!

No roads lead across the mosquito infested marshes & bogs of the wilderness so the party trusts to their guide to lead them through the maze of groves, islands, lakes, swamps, & morasses. One night they set up camp near a small island that appears to have large standing figures of wood on it.

Running Away Oops I mean Tactical Retreat
The party wanders out to the island that is surrounded by ancient worn wooden figures that are almost unrecognizable. In the center lies an obvious sacrificial stone altar at the base of a 20 foot tall pillar of four faces - each face has a different deity carved into it. One face is a bold looking fellow with a hammer & lightning bolts, another a very fecund woman with grain sheaves, another a very phallic male and lastly a dark & grim foreboding looking man. Tyr decides his best bet is to offend the most dangerous looking deity. Instantly the party panics into action. Most fleeing, but Arvarodd tries to appease the Gods by words. When Words don't work he thinks he can appease the Gods by hacking the penis off the ipyphallic God-figure & using it as a club. When that doesn't cheer up the Gods he decides to calm the situation by plunging his sword into the altar stone (don't ask me why he chose to do that he just did) & there it stuck rather like another legend that will take place in a few years on an island to the west of here, LOL) The ground begins to shake and in the distance a hut on stilts appears to be approaching them. The group decides to get gone from here now that they've stirred the hornets but Arvarodd stays to guard the rear & prevent the attack of a dark hulking (he swears it was a giant - add 10 feet & it might be a small one) figure bearing a flaming club. Suddenly a thick fog blankets everything & everyone - no-one can see any one else. The panic thickens like the fog. Everyone is lost as Arvarodd battles the (ahem) giant & manages to just barely pull his sword from the stone. (A damn 1% chance but he manages to do it - the miserable Sassenauk). Between his dickhead club & his sword & a clumsy move on the part of the (ahem) giant that breaks the large statue in half Arvarodd is triumphant. Meanwhile everyone else is lost and hearing voices of their loved ones in the fog. Some are fooled & some are not. Tyr manages for the first time to rescue his wife by pulling on the chain that she drags him around by. Skolmr falls into the trap of a Leshy -water spirit & nearly drowns. Siv falls off her horse & lands on her butt that knocks some sense into her head. Perun blunders lost until he finds a friendly tree that picks him up & rescues him & helps him conjure a warm southerly wind that will eventually disperse the fog. After much struggle Siv manages with an assist by Arvarodd to rescue Skolmr.

Lucky Rolls
The next morning they notice that the guide is gone & one of the apprentices they had brought along is floating dead in a pool - obviously lost to a Leshy. Of the guide no sign (nor of his horse) is ever found. The party blunders on until they come across a very large party (5 score) of local hunters & merchants holding two chained giantesses near a ferry crossing a river that flows north (that's a clue boys & girls). They are very lovely & about 20 feet tall & chained to large mill stones & 20 men each hold them down with cruel chains. When the part y approaches the ferry & tries to get past the group they are belligerently told to wait. Arvarodd decides to challenge the leader! Cool, Lucky Pierre Oops I mean Lucky Arvarodd decapitates the fellow in one shot. (Heavy & long sigh - there goes another dramatic situation with out even a speed bump). The followers shoot arrows & attack the Party. Arvarodd takes several arrows to the leg & falls. Eventually luck favors the party & Perun manages to hit several of the guards holding the Giantesses who then manage to free themselves & assist in the slaughter of their former captors. Fortune favors them & all are rescued & the local Wends driven off. Before disappearing into the river, the two sisters take their grindstones & give council and promises of aid to the party that helped free them. What will the future bring?

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Two long trips home

The party starts packing up for the return trip to Skaldby from the Haugrthing. Arvarodd buys a cart & pony to carry all their new possessions including Mars blacksmithing supplies, Tyrs wifes' dowry, and other assorted goods. Mar gives Tyr a spindly pony (the period equivalent of a KIA) as wedding gift so his bride may ride in Viking-Socker-Mom style. AS they are packing up a friendly skald approaches Skolmr and warns him of a rumor that the Gangermeinn intend to erect Nidthing poles (curse poles) somewhere hidden in the area. Ulfar enlists Skolmr's aid in finding a potential spouse and with luck two candidates are located. The challenge is that Ulfar has no great heroic name yet despite being acknowledged nor has he the means to pay a bride-price.  Alas though the two women have moderate dowries they are much to plain for Ulfar's taste.

They complete the first part of their journey back the boat & face a quandry. They need a bigger boat than the glorified rowboat that they own. So Arvarodd, Siv, Tyr & his wife, & the handful of retainers will go back by the faster boat while Skolmr will lead Ulfar and Mar back by land with the horse, both ponies, & the cart.

The first day out of Oslo along the trail is quiet and the trio spend a very relaxing evening at a friendly hearthstead. Skolmr learns some history of this unpretentious pile of rocks. After a nice rest, they party up with others traveling south & midday into their travels are passed by some toughs on horses traveling fast. By good fortune blesses Skolmr and he recognizes them as part of the Gangermeinn contingent. Expecting trouble the party barely manages to spot a clever ambush. Skolmr alerts the caravan of travellers and Mar & Ulfar in the nick of time. At his command he creates a lager to block the road & rides forth to parlay. When he demands for the "Bandits" to send forth their envoys - he receives 5 of them, and he parries all but two of them. With the aid of brave Mar he retreats back to the lager of wagons. Ulfar attempts to sneak around behind the ambush & runs into a pair of guards who he handily defeats. While closing in behind the ambushers he in turn is attacked from behind by a large wolf who bites his head near off. Ulfar rolls down the hill and falls on the road. Skolmr courageously rescues his unconscious body and after more arrows a standoff develops and as the day dims the ambushers retreat leaving the party on the road to make camp.

The next 3 days are marked by slow progress and a large wolf paralleling the travelers. A days journey north of Skaldby the party camps at the old burned out village and their Ulfar is overtaken by strange dreams. He has visions of flying at a great height and looking down across forests and cold swampy plains towards a large gold encrusted temple. As he approaches terrifying pale white hands reach up out of the ground and grasp toward him. He is not the only one to suffer visions though; as the next day, Mar stumbles and falls. While unconscious he flashes on large women striding across the landscape. Finally they reach home to find the boat still hasn't returned and a swift raid by horsemen has hit Skaldby! Plus a curse has been carved into the door of the main hall which they set about replacing & preparing to reconsecrate.

Meanwhile the boat party has hit a bit of a snag on their second day of travel. The Gods of chance have snitted Siv and a whale surfaces underneath the boat. Tyr attempts to hold onto the rudder but the boat is thrown sideways and everyone save Siv is thrown overboard. The mast breaks & sweeps Tyr over the side. Tyr is caught between the whale & the boat and knocked around a bit which probably leads to his silly decision to swim the long way around to the other side to find his wife rather than climbing on back on board & throwing a line to her. Siv being much more practical rights the boat & flings lines out to Arvarodd & the other people. Finally a desperate drowning Tyr is hauled out of the water by his own wife who had swam back to the boat immediately & had been waiting for him to get his head together. Siv manages to guide Tyr into patching the leaking and mastless boat & she steers it back to a lonesome beach where they will spend the next 6 days making repairs and re-stepping a jury mast. The unconcious Arvarodd is kept warm while Siv assumes command. While hunting Siv comes across a lonely farmstead and receives grave council and glimpses of the future. At last they are able to complete their journey home.

The first order of business after re-uniting the friends is to reconsecrate the hall to Odhinn. A sickly and blind old man even offers to give up his life in sacrifice. (All due to some incredibly lucky rolls Damn-it!, thus derailing a whole plot line I had prepared, LOL!)

The nights business done most everyone departed while Kevin (Skolmr) & Larry (Tyr) helped me with an experiment in the Mythic Russia variant of HeroQuest2. They wrote their 100 word description and we converted them to character sheets. Thanks guys. I've gotten them typed up now.