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.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Strange Thing! or how to make a GM cry!

Saturdays adventure was almost rained out. Gale Force winds, power outages, Flooding rivers bursting their banks were braved by me to drive the 40+ miles down to host the game.

After refreshing the players memories about previous events the party was ready to face judgment & drama at the Haugrthing (Hold your horses right there! The Althing is the one in Iceland) in Vestfold. Two major murder trials, two inheritance issues, land rights all involving members of the party were on the docket. It was a promising start; Starkaddr (the npc who was befriended by the party & has linked them to all sorts of enemies now) was antagonizing pretty much everyone at the Thing. In an effort to win friends & influence people, Arvarodd decides to emulate Starkaddr's charm & endearing qualities by insulting the Gangrmann tribe by having a drinking contest instead of a weregeld or a trial. Fortunately Skolmr the Bard intercedes before things get really ugly. In a quest worthy of "Sex & the City" Mar goes shopping - admittedly for things a bit sturdier than any of those New Yorkers would consider attractive, but they'll work just fine at his forge.

In epic negotiations Skolmr works with the Skald representing Jarl Jaugr enemy of Tyrwald (the slain Hersir of Skaldby - uncle of Arvarodd, father of the Ulfar, foster-father of Siv etc). Jaugr is reminded that the quarrel was with Tyrwald who is now most horridly dead & not Arvarodd. He brokers a deal where the cursed amulet is given as weregeld to an unwitting Jaugr, who in return sends some excess tradesmen and population to Skaldby to resettle there & rebuild the village. He also sends along some cattle, goats, sheep, etc to aid the process. Along with the cattle a wife is found for Tyr the shipwright who is warned to keep him chained up at night. She's a regular Iron-Range type woman as broad as she is fair (those from Minnesota will get that one) & she can pick up Tyr one handed. During the course of the Haugrthing she will repeated deliver a cuff to the back of Tyr's head to keep him in line. This crisis has been settled to everyone's benefit.

Next Ulfar steps forward & claims his rights at Tyrwald's son. Mar stands as witness and likewise does Tyr after an impassioned speech! There is almost trouble when Ulfar claims the right of Hersir by inheritance, but no one stands for him. The party stands for Arvarodd & the very popular Siv as Hersir & Fro. Jaugr wanting to keep stability and the deal also speaks for Arvarodd. The Law council sides for Arvarodd who then as a compromise makes Ulfar his heir if he falls suddenly until his replacement can be settled by acclamation. This suits everyone just fine and leaves just one final crisis to be dealt with...

The trial of Starkaddr! The Gangrmann accuse Starkaddr and the party of "Secret Killing" - that is Murder. Arvarodd and Skolmr ackowledge that some Gangrmann were slain and witnesses from other villages are called forth to testify that Skolmr, Arvarodd, & Siv had publicly announced the killings and thus they were not secret and the party can not be charged with murder. Starkaddr, indifferently acknowledges that he killed the Gangrmann Godhi some 40 years before though he looks but in his early twenties. The Gangrmann claim foul magic and demand a huge sum of weregeld for their fallen kinsman that would ruin Skaldby. Finally after much back and forth, impassioned speeches (especially by Tyr who is repeatedly cuffed in the back of his head by his new bride) the Lawspeaker agrees to arbitrate by judicial duel. Though Starkaddr and his foe select the highly ritual Holmgang, Arvarodd elects for an all out, no holds barred Einvigi (as opposed to Ein Veggie - which is part of a well balanced diet). Starkaddrs duel is prolonged with much blood spilled on both sides. When his foes is finally knocked down unconscious, his kinsmen quickly cover him with blankets & scurry him off to "recover". To preserve the peace Starkaddr will still be sentenced to a 3 year banishment. Next come the duel to first blood between Arvarodd and a Gangrmann. Due to amazingly lucky rolls by Nate (Arvarodd), the clever application of a hero point, & amazingly bad rolls by me, the duel is quickly over with the Gangrmann thrown to the ground. This was truly disappointing to me as I had hoped for a nice protracted battle. Arvarodd quickly takes the magic dog-collar & puts it around the Gangrmann's throat, who then of course turns into a wolf. Surprise surprise! Since the dark magic nature of the Gangrmann is now revealed in full court, other interested tribes with longstanding feuds against them are quick to anger. The Gangrmann call foul & try to blame the change on Arvarodd & call him an evil wizard full of dark magics. Arvarodd releases his opponent & puts the collar on another (Ulfar) who does not change which then gives the judicial victory to the party but earns him the undying enmity of the Gangrmann. Such fun to come from this! Because of the weather we called it an early night and headed for snug, warm beds.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Gamestorm 14 Report - a journey to sort of civilization

Let's skip all the VA hospital nonsense & get to the fun stuff:
First of all let me commend the Game Matrix as a wonderful well supplied gaming store & haven. I make sure I frequent it on every northern trip I make. Also let me tell you about a new store I visited - the Dtwenty Games Diner. If you are heading up toward Seattle I recommend you visit there. The food is excellent & the ambiance is probably the best gaming store I've seen. The merchandise is not the largest or most diverse yet, but it attractively displayed in wooden cases & is kept neat as a pin. The selection is centered around Pathfinder, D&D, Steve Jackson games, & other board games, but they do have other games as well. The gaming tables are fine wood that would grace a very "Tone" dining room. The lighting is conducive to a relaxed game atmosphere. You can order a full meal - in my case it was chicken fried steak that was lean & the sauce was not doughy. the vegetables were crisp & tasty. It was brought right to our gaming table. They have a good beer selection & the deserts were ever so tempting. Full marks for this store.

Gamestorm 14 is what most gamers in my area would look for in a convention. A wide variety of panels for those so inclined. A whole floor of CCG's. The RPG's took up several rooms. There were a couple of LAN rooms, a sizable dealer room, 4 large board game rooms, a hospitality center, an Indie game room, LARPS out the ying-yang, & of course my favorite: a miniatures gaming room with a dozen or so tables. The miniatures was first being added this year & it will grow over time. I was only there for 3 out of the 4 days but it was jammed through. Played in a couple Savage Worlds games, a Never-When demo, etc. for RPG's. Attended several good panels including one with the insightful & very knowledgable Anthony Pryer about "How many versions does D&D need" where the history & politics of the D&D versions were discussed along with current complaints, strategies, & plans by WOTC. After asking Anthony a question he chagrined me slightly by pointing out that I've been a gamer since 2 years before he was born. Heavy SIGH!

The bloodbath of Reds I left behind!
My first miniatures game I played in was a scenario from the Russian Civil War. Daryl played the Red Communist forces & I played a force of White Russians aided by Chinese coolies & troops, plus two squads of Yanks. My job was to take my odd collection of forces & guard the roadway (on the left side) so that the two carts could make it to the flat car, load up & make it off the board again. I was out-numbered. Oddly enough my Grandfather served in the American Expeditionary force to Russia after the end of WW1. I think he must have been present & manipulating the dice because I absolutely ate my opponent alive. I couldn't seem to fail most of the time. One hill towards the center earned the name "Red Hill" because of all the Red Communists dying there. His troops almost made it onto the flat car before the last of them died. My tactics were to focus on one unit at a time when possible & pour as much fire into it as I could until it was rendered ineffective. Then I would move onto the next unit. The rules were Triumph & Tragedy & the game was hosted by Frank Durovchic. He will run a similar game at Enfilade.

After massacring the "Commies" during the morning & early afternoon. Daryl & I set up our test "Kalvan of Otherwhen" game & debuted the upcoming Blackpoder Pike & Shotte rules from Warlord Games.
Kalvan of Otherwhen - the initial setup!
Since many people at the Gamestorm convention have not attended an Enfilade convention they were not used to the high standards of terrain one so often sees at Enfilade. With what would have been nice average for Enfilade, we wowed them! They were blown away by the miniatures as well. If I may humbly say so, Daryl & I did a good job painting them.
Prince Ptosthes encourages his troops forward!
Sadly I played on the Nostori side (Boo-Hiss! - they're the bad guys in the book) Frank joined us for the game along with several other gamers. The Hostigi troops did rather well on the infantry side & managed through good tactics (& the Nostori bad luck rolls by one of my co-commanders) to limit the advance on the Nostori right & center. However the Hostigi peasants did run & hide in the pigpen.
Yes these are period correct pigs!
On my side of the table a great cavalry battle developed supported by my dismounted dragoons. Admittedly my heavy Curassiers (the toughest troops on the field supposedly) screamed like little girls after a blunder roll & ran back & hid on the edge of the table. It culminated in a furious 54 figure brawl that left both sides mauled from a bloody mixed up fray!
What a fluster-cluck!
 My limited force held for the longest time before finally dissolving & my dragoon infantry were there to shoot up the Hostigi survivors. However back amongst the infantry things had heated up. The Nostori guard in their black uniforms managed to split the Hostigi line & create a wedge. That hole kept widening & widening until the Hostigi were forced to concede the field. A mixed emotion for me because I favored the Hostigi side because of the book, but was playing the Nostori bad-guys.

I hope all of this encourages you to attend next year!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

All that are lost are not wandering!

Due to strange happenings with my health we were had a shorter than usual & more sedentary game this week. I didn't do much die rolling because it actually hurt. I shot this one from the hip because stress earlier in the day had my ticker not ticking at peak performance. Thanks to all of my friends who were there because you lifted my spirits and gave me strength instead of me lying around & feeling miserable. Please be reassured that I'm still resting & feeling better today.

Since the definition of foul murder to the Norse was "secret killing" and exacts a horrible price in that culture the party decides to split up briefly. Skolmr heads south to the next village and proclaims in that village that they had been attacked & killed 5 of the 6 people that had attacked them. While he is proclaiming this He is approached by the one older man they know got away & someone else who claims to having been with them & a witness. Hmm where did he come from? The older man who had previously treated with Skolmr shows restraint and introduces himself as a Huskarl of the Gangermann Tribe. He also tries to persuade Skolmr to bring Starkadder to the Thing in June, with the warning that he is not chief of his tribe and that many of the younger more unruly types will hold the party equally guilty to Starkadder & exact vengeance unless they bring him to the Thing. Protestations that the beserker is his own man & that Skolmr can only encourage him to go fall on deaf ears as the huskarl lays warnings. Skolmr then scoffs at him & with ritual insults turns his back on the Gangermann who bristles in anger.  The wandering Sami realizing things would not be conducive to profits at the moment decides to return north with Skolmr,

About the same time Arvarodd and Siv have gone north for two days to next most village beyond the one burnt out earlier. There pronouncements have little ripple in the community other than "Wow these people are foolish to cross the Gangermann". In a slight feat of Player knowledge triumphing over character knowledge the players figure the Gangermann tribe are werewolves. Well sort of, Viking Werewolves are not the same thing as Hollywood Werewolves. I'm waiting for someone to get the brilliant idea of silver-weapons.

To occupy the months until the Thing gathering the party starts to rebuild the village of Skaldby (There's a clue there Skolmr). Mar focuses on getting a forge up & running so that he can produce the tools, nails, etc that go into making a village, plus a few beyond that for selling. Tyr focuses on building a sexring (no NOT a SEX RING you gits - rather it's a small Six Oared ship) that can be used for carrying the small party on journeys such as to the Thingr or fishing locally, etc. Ulfar focuses on recapturing all the remaining livestock in the area and tending them aided by Arvarodd. Despite Arvarodd spending more time with his hands on the teats of cows & goats than on Siv's teats, he does manage to get Siv pregnant. (Don't blame me, but someone asked me if he could tell the difference). The few remaining survivors from the two burned out villages return to the area & re-establish themselves at Skalby. This helps relieve the burden of the chores from the party members and also establishes a base from which they may wander and have a safe haven to return to. At night they chain Tyr to his bed to prevent him from getting lost or stolen again. Can't you just feel the love? Over this time Starkadder would dissappear for days or weeks at a time & eventually return hauling the carcas of a slain deer or the like back to the village.

At last June arrives & as the party prepares the sexring (that's the boat you bloody twits) for the journey north, the wandering Sami prepares for the journey by making a spirit journey to ask about the voyage. He enters his laavvu (tent) and starts a ritual sweat and drumming. Journeying forth he has his guide take him to the spirit of the Dolphin and he seeks his guidance: To the question what is the journey? like he gets a nice reply about how there are lots of fish, calm waves & an ambiguous answer that relates more to the dolphin perspective than to the human one. To the question about are there any raiders (with the quick caveat of human or otherwise) on the sea he gets another ambiguous answer about there's killer whales, & longships, some that have already left & there's usually a lot more later on in the summer. I mean will a dolphin know what the purpose in mind of someone who is on board a ship?

The party sails north for a 3 hour tour - OOPS I mean a 3 day journey. Tyr handled the tiller, Arvarodd skippered the vessel, Siv was his "Little Buddy", while the rest of the group handled lines as necessary. Each night the would beach the craft and build camp. Tyr would be chained to the mast so he wouldn't get lost or stolen in the night. When Arvarodd attempted to darken Skolmr's eyes with charcoal while he was asleep, Skolmr waited in ambush & threw him overboard. YAY! After 3 days they reached Oslo & pulled their boat on the shore next to a large & magnificent longship. The owner of the longship made some sotte-voce derogatory comments about their boat and a flyting contest soon ensued.  The entire group engaged in trading insults until Skolmr capped it all with such an insult that he caused the opposing warlord to go apoplectic and keel over dead in the finest Nordic Insult tradition.

As they journey inland the group overhears rumors of doom, & intrigues. Hmm what awaits them at the Thingr?

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Faces from the past

As the Party begins to clear up the village they remembered to build a pyre for the bodies & make the sacraments to give them a proper send off to Valhol or Hella's realm as befits their final choice. They decide that they will head back to their home village & do the same since they had no luck finding survivors. Arvarodd announces to Tyr that Odhinn had sent him a vision that if Tyr will gain the gift of prophetic vision if he cuts out his tongue. Larry (Tyr) decides not to take up Nate's suggestion. Tyr discovers the corpse of his promised spiked upon a half burnt beam in a building & goes into grieving, curled before the pyre & weeping (properly played Larry!)

However during the nightly watch, the camp guard falls asleep & they wake to find Tyr missing. After some major hemming & hawing along one side of the table, ahem, a search is made for Tyr by Ulfar. After diligent searching they find Tyr tied to a tree overhanging a pond in front of a waterfall. Ulfar has difficulty trying to rescue Tyr so Siv, Arvarodd, & Skolmar elect to give him a hand. As they drop Tyr from the tree the Draugr leaps out from his hiding place behind the waterfall. The monster's warlike bellow is heard all the way back in the village and Starkaddr & Mar race to the scene passing a frightened Tyr heading in the opposite direction. The fighters torches have no effect as the fiend is in the water. Skolmar is knocked silly as he tries to catch the unconcious & flying Siv who the monster has flung at him. Arvarodd & Ulfar gamely tackle this monster as shortly Starkaddr & Mar show on the scene. Recovering his "senses" & "courage" upon returning to the village Tyr decides to invoke the power of Surtr into the campfire to burn the Draugr so that it can't reheal. - Well it almost was a good idea, because Surtr grants what he asked for but not what he desires. A flame leaps up from the campfire & sets the woods alight. The Fire burns a 100 meter swath that races towards the draugr & the party members who are fighting it. Hmmm. Just in time they slay the monster & they race to hide in the cave behind the waterfall!

Safe from the fire & draugr at last Arvarodd decides to reward Tyr by erecting an upright pole in the cart and tying him naked to it with all their reclaimed goods. A pair of shocked & somewhat drunken beer-merchants pass by this sight & make mistaken offerings to Freyr in their stupor.

Upon returning to their home village they honor & bury their friends & relatives. Then they start to minimally rebuild their village & finally decide to free Tyr. As they work a half dozen hunters approach the town in a friendly manner until they spot Starkaddr where upon they become angry & demand that he be turned over to them to be tried for murder. They claim that Starkaddr had murdered the leaders grandfather some 30 years ago, which strikes Skolmar as odd because Starkaddr apparently looks in his early 20's. As things get heated, demands are made that the party must bring Starkaddr to the Thing or else be charged with aiding a murderer. Larry decides to storm off & throw curses at the strangers which serves to inflame things into open combat. In the ensuing brawl & chase the party manages to kill all but two of the strangers. Their tracks can't be covered so the party decides that the next installment will start by them sending messengers to towns North & South announcing the killings so that they can't be accused of "Secret Killing" which is how the Vikings defined murder as opposed to homicide.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Today's my Birthday

Not only did I treat myself to a nice walk along the coast from Cape Ferrelo to Arch Rock & back but I've been listening to music. Here's some You tubes of some to share. Please crank the volume so you can hear these soft, subtle pastoral pieces. They also fit the current Viking campaign.
 I also treated myself to ordering online a SAGA Warband as a present to myself. Hopefully someone down at the shop will also get interested in the ruleset. And yes it was the Viking Warband I got!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

An interesting site

One of my players, Kevin, has been interviewing Larry, who plays the character Tyr the Boatwright in the current campaign, before game sessions. Let me share these with you as they will give you some insights into some of the gaming challenges I face. I must balance all the players within the framework of the game.

Thank you Kevin & Larry. I would love to see something like this for all the gamers!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

A fortunate rescue 27 Thorri

Combing the ruins for clues to lost loved ones and who perpetrated the attack on Skaldby the exhausted party settles down for the night. Alas they fall asleep on watch again & wake to find some of the livestock (The Kine & Swine ain't mine! says Ulfar) has returned. They continue their investigations (including the boat-wright overlooking the still whole boat half sunk in the harbor). Mar collects every scrap of iron he can find hoping to eventually make armor out of it. Everyone but Tyr the boat-wright feels anger & wants vengeance for the massacre. Oddly enough they leave the bodies where they have fallen & never bury or burn them. OOOPS that might revisit them like a salmonella tainted anchovie lasagna.

Shortly into the morning of the next day as they are preparing to follow the road north they spot a large party of Warriors & well armed peasants (not piss-ants though they are somewhat irritable) rounding up the livestock of the village. When Ulfar approaches them to demand their business he is greeted with a friendly? spear. Avoiding such a cheerful hello he screams as he launches into a Tete-a-Tete with a hostile warrior. His friends back him up, but Skolmar is wounded in the leg. They're handling themselves well though the 3 to 1 odds against the party is taking its toll when more hostiles show up behind them. Surrounded, vastly outnumbered things are looking grim when a stranger wearing a smile, a wolf-skin about his shoulders, & a sword jumps in & aids them. Each blow of this  young looking hero cleaves two enemy warriors & inspires Arvarodd, Siv, & Mar to heroic deeds themselves. This turns the battle to their favor & the remaining hostiles head to greener pastures (or at least one presumes they do). Though his wounds are not too debilitating the helpful stranger collapses in front of them. When they are at last able to rouse him, he tells them his name is Starkaddr and that he has been wandering through the world earning fame & honoring Odhinn. He craves of them some help & company while his leg wound heals, so the party puts him on a sledge & heads north where they hope to find kindred & friends who escaped the massacre.

Since much of the day is gone after their friendly little spat, they only make it part way to the next village before camping during the night. During the watch at night strange sounds, screams, & other noises echo distantly the darkness. In the morning they spot smoke in the direction of the village they are headed to. After a mornings travel they discover this village too has been razed and massacred. A mortally wounded man tells them that a great horror visited them in the night. It was foul & disgusting & wreaking of Death. Nothing seemed to wound it. The village died horribly, but when the party identities themselves, he shrinks away & calls them "The Cursed Ones!" before he dies. Once again the party leaves the bodies where they are lying. Another helping of  Salmonella-Anchovy Lasagna, please? Just so they have another inkling that perhaps they're doing something wrong, Tyr falls into a smoldering building & severely burns his right arm. Noting that one of the old treatments for severe burns was urea (for killing bacteria) & maggots (to eat away the dead flesh) all the other males in the party take turns repeated trying to "cure" him.

During the night Skolmr notes a reflected gleam in the darkness. He follows it & discovers some golden tuning pegs lying in the grass. Hmm! that's not something you leave lying in the field everyday. During the next watch, the ever vigilant Siv sees the trees moving strangely in the forest. Ulfar goes to investigate and discovers this very large (about 8 or 9 feet tall), bloated, blue glowing, & foul smelling man crashing through the trees. A frightened Sami runs out of the forest pursued by this horror (played by a visiting Bill - father of Jerry) He winds up with his sling & flings a stone and gets a boulder in response that knocks him flat. His yells have alerted the camp. Starkaddr, Siv, Arvarodd, Skolmr, Mar, & Tyr run to the rescue. Fighting by the light of the moon & the strange blue glow of the large unfriendly guy they meet with scant success initially as his skin seems inordinately tough. Only the mightiest of blows penetrates the skin & allows the foul grey pus to ooze forth. Starkaddr & Arvarodd are knocked down & this foul creature crushes the arm of Starkaddr by stomping on him. The arrows & sling-scones have no effect on his tough hide. Finally Mar scratches the fiend's arm & Arvarodd impales the bloated head with his sword. Mar tries to shield bash the monster but gets kncoked prone. In a desperate move Arvarodd lifts the demon's lifts up the leg off the ground thus severing half its befouled connection to the earth. Starkaddr rolls free, Siv is able now to penetrate the skin & Ulfar gives a mighty heave on the other leg & topples the draugr who as it dies gushes forth grey oozing matter all over Mar & into his mouth. Blechh!

It was a mighty battle & at that point we called it a good evenings game. Many hints have been dropped concerning the raiders, Starkaddr, the monsters, the two razed villages but since all the players seemed to be a bit tired last evening they haven't yet pursued those clues. Hopefully a fortnight from now they'll start asking the right questions, HeHe!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

A chance(?) meeting Thorri 16, 2012

Jouki, A Saami hunter-shaman (kindly played by a visiting friend of Kevin's, Darin) has come to barter with Tyrwald carrying a load of furs behind his reindeer, but payment in iron tools & weapons will have to wait until they return to Skalby. With prisoner in tow Tyrwald and his retinue (including the party members) head back toward the home village. During the first night the prisoner tries to escape and Arvarodd hogties him in a novel but period manner to discourage an further attempts. (OWWW!!!) Skolmr shames the prisoner into submission with his flytings (insults).

Midmorning of the second day, the travellers come across a scruffy, half-blind old beggar leaning on an old spear traveling in the opposite direction. Tyrwald dismissively throws a coin at the old codger and his horse edges him off the road. In return for the kindness shown by the party members the old man weaves them a story about when he was a young man (2 dog-lives before Frodhi Sheafchild came oe'r the water) he served a great Hero-King whose grave mound lies nearby in a boggy mountain vale beneath a cliff marked by a stone spear. In that grave lies his armour and weapons and he encourages the players to recover these artifacts and bring renewed honor to his fallen King by great deeds with them. Jouki and Arvarodd are rather skeptical and cautious of this odd fellow dressed in dirty dark-blue rags & a large brimmed floppy hat but eventually they are persuaded to join the enthusiasm of the others. After parting with this chance traveler (& if you believe that I have a swamp in the Shara I wish to sell you) by early afternoon the retinue has returned to the village.

During a week of preparations before the journey, Arvarodd manages to offer the Brideprice to Siv's parents and gain his betrothal to her. That evening in a sweet little scene he presents her with the gift of a beautiful indigo wool & white fox-fur cloak. The runes are cast and doom for good or ill pronounced that evening. Likewise Jouki retires to his tent, sings himself into a trance, and cast the bones. The result is that he has a vision of the route that the party needs to follow. As a sign of his guarded esteem, Tyrwald designates Ulfar as leader of the party but advises him to listen to the rede of Skolmr and Arvarodd for wisdom and follow the suggestions of Siv if he wants to have children.

The first few days & nights of travel are fairly unremarkable save for the problem with Skolmr falling asleep on watch. In the depths of the third night (Skolmr asleep on watch again) a Large Black Wolf wakens Ulfar (the one member of the party with a deathly fear of Wolves) by drooling in his face. Ulfar screams like a little girl & attempts to climb a tree (after a courage roll he comes back down) Arvarodd runs screaming naked from his tent & captures the wolf by tackling it and barely manages to avoid the arrow shot by Jouki that wounds the left rear leg of the beast. Arvarodd attempts to tame the wolf by biting its ears. Siv patches up the poor friendly wolf. The next day after Jouki leads the party to the Cliff marked by a giant stone spear the wolf leads the party the rest of the way up the overgrown path into the vale where camp is made in the growing twilight. But off the wolf charges into the bog pursued by Arvarodd, Skolmr, and Ulfar. Skolmr & Ulfar fall in the nasty muck, but Arvarodd follows closely enough to watch the Wolf  charge past the shiny black stones guarding the perimeter and straight into  the solid side of the burial mound. Arvarodd attempts to follow and uses his head - he eats dirt because where the wolf can pass easily, he can't.

Jouki says "Veda Kateen" to the thought of going to the mound & heads off into the wilderness. Eventually the rest of the party catches up to Arvarodd and in the gathering dark lit only by torches and the unearthly blue-green glow from the mound, they dig into the mound. They ignore the tingling they get from the obsidian markers around the grave mound that are marked with woe-runes!  Oh too bad, so sad, to you! Tyr takes the opportunity to make a long speech & annoys Huginn, Muninn & the everyone in the party. Huginn and Muninn express their displeasure on his head. After much hard work they eventually open the mound. Ulfar leads the way by trying to climb one hand down the rope while holding a torch, CRASH! & something breaks under his feet, when he hits & puts out his torch. Mar thinks that went so well he'll do the same darn thing! Finally in a more common sense approach Arvarodd clibs down & reignites everyone's torches. What's this? It seems Mar has grabbed a piece of the buried grave-ship & is accidentally using it as a torch. He tries to correct the situation and does so ----- as far as he knows!!!!! Siv and Skolmr also join the group inside the mound. There in the center of the small grave-ship they see two cloth covered bodies. The first is a large bloated blue-glowing body of a Warrior. The other is the body of the Wolf that had been a brief part of their company who bears a beatuful collar that Arvarodd takes for himself. After some token offerings they proceed to loot the Warrior's body of a "A beautiful sword that is very nicely decorated with gems & scroll work. It’s light & balanced giving an extra 5% to any sword attack" (taken by Siv), a "broken down looking spear with a blackened shaft that doesn't seem to ever miss its target when thrown" (taken by Ulfar), some "very heavy, scruffy, hairy made up of matted bear fur and tar, lined with even more heavy leather" (taken by Mar), and a "stout, old fashioned six sided oblong shield all done in black" (taken by Arvarodd).  

In the morning they close the mound back up and head back to the village. It's slower going because they've lost their Saami guide, and Siv is haunted by visions sent by Sif. When he puts together some clues Nate (Arvarodd's player) expresses his approval(?) by saying to the GM "You A**!!! You F*****g B*****d!!!! It's a G*******d Kinslaying Sword!!!!!" It's moments like that I live for, Heh-Heh! At about a mile from home they notice that oddly enough for a Winters day that no smoke is rising from the cook-fires. They rush madly back to the village & see that it has been torn apart. Buildings smashed, some burnt, bodies everywhere! The Smithy is burnt to a cinder & the thick sod walls thrown down. Siv's parents home is smashed and the family heirlooms packed up and taken! Ulfar's home & his mother lie in a smoldering ruin. Tracks of wagons appear to head up the north road. In the Meadhall, Tyrwald lies ripped asunder, surrounded by the shredded remains of his huskarls. Arvarodd notes that this looks like the same work of those who massacred his parents! He takes his Uncle's armour & carves Vengeance-Runes in the shattered remains of the door!

Recap of the first sessions - end Morsugur (Jol) & early Thorri, 2012

Character creation was completed. It was done with a point buy system using extra points awarded or extra skills added depending on the character back story written up by the player. Kevin, Nate, & Karen especially shown at this process. Because most players are not very familiar with the Norse mind-set (other than the Hollywood version) I created an introduction sheet & a series of questions regarding situations that allowed me to grade them on opposed virtues similar to the "King Arthur Pendragon" system.

The story opens in January shortly after the Huldanott marking the end of the Yule season.
Buri Lawgiver, affectionately known as Buri the Stout, has passed away – He was the HárGodhi (high-priest) for the district & a great beneficiary to one & all. He was the glue that held these various small settlements together & kept warfare & feuds from breaking out. Many folk travel the distance to his Hof to honor his memory in a great feast. A Spakona has been summoned to speak with the Spirits to commemorate his passing. Several of the party hear her words Spae for them.

A Skaldic competition is held and after much back & forth Skolmr (Kevin) wins the evening. Despite the entertainment fights and old feuds break out as Bjorn is not the man his father was. Arvarodd (Nate) cleverly prevents a blood-feud from happening by testing one youth who threatens him in a drinking contest. Arvarodd out-swills the poor lad & leaves him under the table. Tyr (Larry) also tries to play along by drinking and preaching & gets so annoying that his drunken and unconscious body is left with the pigs. Mar (Jerry) talks shop with the blacksmith trying to build connections & learns about bog iron.

The next morning in a further attempt to patch up quarrels Bjorn organizes a competitive Boar hunt amongst the various contingents. At one point Larry mistakes a Bear for a Boar & causes some interesting times. When a pack of boar is found, everyone is successful but alas Mar, Ulfar (Anthony) and Tyr are injured. Siv (Karen) kills everything in sight that somebody hasn't gotten to first! Personally I would have used a weapon, but to each their own. returning from the hunt, the party is ambushed. Ulfar redeems himself in his father's eyes by a brave rescue of his trapped father, Tyrwald. The rest of the party manages to slay the ambushers and capture one wounded one. The attackers are recognized as being men of Tyrwald's old enemy.

They bring their captive back before Bjorn for justice. After much wrangling amongst the party as well as the assembled leaders, it is decided that justice will be sought at the Thing in July & that the prisoner will be held until then. To compound his misery he is to be held in a open slatted Summer-barn as a jail. (No, Nate there are no records of a building being built to function as just a jail during this period of time). Alas his guard falls asleep & though Arvarodd takes an arrow trying to protect the prisoner the villain is slain. During the pursuit another member of the enemy faction is caught & is held more tightly this time.

Start of a new RPG campaign

Because of conflicting scheduling Kevin & I are alternating Saturdays for our weekly game. This has created some confusion for players in keeping track of where they are. Here's my attempt in helping them. Due to popular acclaim we are using a variant of the Runequest System. It will be a difficult for most gamers to play because it is low-magic & limbs will be lost! Plus I'm a sick & twisted b*****d & have add lots of plot twists on the fly. - I just love the pole-axed look when I let a player hang himself by his own actions (there will be a posting on some of my favorites I'm sure). The players just hate it when I smile quietly.

The campaign is a "Viking" age campaign that I'm starting a bit early (around 400AD). It is toward the end of the reign of King Frodhi Sheaf-child, a time of relative peace & prosperity within the unified jarldoms in the Jutish peninsula & southern Norway. This is shortly before the time of the legendary King Hadding of the Danes, Sigurd, Sigfried, & Beowulf. It is also shortly before the time of that nancy-boy prig over in Llogres name Artie or something like that (I'm just teasing, Greg)The setting begins in the Norwegian village of Skaldby (roughly pronounced Shawl-de-boo) governed by the cunning Hersir (sort of a Lord/leader by acclaim) Tyrwald Limb-lopper. His son Thurri is set to rule after him and has shown great promise.

The Dramatis Personae:
Arvarodd the stout: (Nate) orphaned nephew to Tyrwald & bound on avenging his family's murder. Found nearly dead after the massacre & nursed back to health by Siv & falls head over heels for her & is desirous of marrying her.
Siv: (Karen) Eldest of a family entirely of daughters. Her father feeling he's been cursed by not having a son to carry on his warrior tradition trains his Siv to be a warrior. The Goddess Sif has taken an interest in the bloodthirsty young lady. She has been fostered to Tyrwald to complete her training.
Skolmr Ketilsson: (Kevin) the skald & loremaster of our group & Skop (house-bard) to Tyrwald. His specialty is "Flyting" (insults) so he can be a bit unwelcome in some mead-halls. Plus there was the incident where he shot his grandfather (to ease his passing while being forced to endure "The Walk") & thus annoyed the rest of the family with the implied dishonor. Despite all of that he's a talented poet & singer in search of just the right bird-bone to make a flute from.
Ulfar: (Anthony) is the bastard son of Tyrwald by a Hibernian women that he had captured as a slave & taken as a leman for her charms. Unfortunately Ulfar doesn't have his mother's charming ways & has worked hard be annoying most of the village & lazy at work in the odd hopes that he might win his father's approval. Odd that! But at least illegitimacy is not much of an obstacle in these times.
Mar: (Jerry) he was a blacksmith apprentice who lost his teacher & is now attempting to take over the role of the village smith. He spends much of his time trying to find a teacher & materials for his masterwork. A large man whole likes to throw anvils at people he doesn't like. (Perhaps he learned it from Sir Bercilak, eh? - but that's a whole different story)
Tyr: (Larry) ostensibly a boat builder, Tyr is much like his player: MAD, BONKERS, & very pontificating at times, but that gives him & his character a certain amusement factor & allows evil GM's like me an extra tool to tweak the party with.