Monday, April 26, 2010

The Old In and Out..

Well, in fact, this weeks adventure was fairly low key, until the end. The party (still only one player) went into the sink hole and found limestone caverns that were cut away by the annual monsoon flooding. An underground river flowed towards the Turín, and upward into the mountain. Did I mention the Mountain? Probably not. The sinkhole is at the base of the Silver Mountain, as outlined in the Butrús Gazetteer. The mountain is known to be riddled with these caverns, but a new, unexplored cavern is a nice find, since it is said that the a wizard once made his home in the mountain. The party made their way along the underground rivers edge and lost one guard who fell in and was swept away. They found a natural bridge and then traveled downstream to a branching tunnel, that climbed upward and towards more solid ground. They found a fork in that tunnel and took the center.. which surprised me a bit, but, they were following the nose of the Rényu. By this time they were starting to ration their torches. They discovered a large cavern, and eventually found Mis hiRakádi, a high priestess of the temple of Hriháyal , unconscious, nearly dead. She had run out of food, and water, and torches days before. Fortunately, the caves are quite wet, due to the recent rains. She may have had a day or so left.

They also found a bit of writing, in the tunnels leading to the large cavern. It was clearly an old and unknown script, but not of truly ancient origin. Only marginally damaged by new deposits. Know one there could read them, but they tried to memorize the “Look” so they could describe it to people who might know.

They used spears and packs to fashion a litter, and bore Mis back to the entrance. There they encountered the Chnéhl. Two of them ambushed our hero as he was the first out, but he fought defensively and the Tirrikámu (J'grem hiQorretú) from the Priestess Barge joined him, to even out the odds. Both our hero and the Chnéhl he was fighting managed to deliver serious blows, but each did just under the threshold needed to cause a shock result. As more guards poured forth from the hole, the Chnéhl chose the safer path and fled. No one pursued. The party slept there, on guard, and then moved to the Sákbe road tower the next day. For his injuries and bravery, our hero garnered a bit of ritual attention from Mis, but, not a lot. Neither was in great shape at that point. And there we left them, with hopes of bringing more characters in at the Sákbe road tower next week.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Help, Lassie, come quick

Well, game two, one player, but a second interested party showed up as we wrapped up. I didn't give them much notice, so my apologies. This week I will be off to school on game day, and it would have been a work night anyway, so..

Our hero, Guard of the Temple Hriháyal, and party progressed upstream on the Berjádu to the Sákbe road tower that bridges the river. On the way they found the recent remains of two unknown Hriháyal guards, dead of injuries from a beast, and exposure. When they reached the Tower the Tirrikámu of the Sákbe roads for the area informed them that, yes, they knew about the dead Temple guards. They had been informed by another detachment from Butrús that the Priestess' barge was missing, and they had been sending scouts down the river. They had already rescued a priestess, found unconscious with the dead Guards, and she was resting comfortably in the guards room, in between her efforts to reward her rescuers. When they asked for an audience, they were told she probably would not be available til morning.

Next Morning our party learns that the rescued priestess is barely an acolyte, but a protégé of the High Priestess they are seeking. They are told that the Barge was trying desperately to make it the last few bends to the village and safety when the oars on one side started to snap. The Craft heaved sidelong in the river, and caught on debris, and quickly started to swamp. Water coming over the gunnels swept several people into the water immediately. She does not know who made it off the boat.

It is decided that the group should proceed down the other side of the Berjádu, to find the overturned barge, and look for evidence of life. Along the way, our acolyte, an Salarvyáni girl liberated in the border wars and inducted into the temple of Hriháyal, learns first of the Chnéhl. She explains that there may be up to two, and that they were aboard the barge, part of the entourage, as it were, and a crucial part of a ritual our High Priestess planned in Tumíssa. They were exceptional specimens, bred for size and aggressiveness, and valuable. More so, if the High Priestess is recovered, but worth something to the Temple in any case.

Half way down she learns the amusing story of the singing Rényu, and offers up more information. The Rényu is Fefee, a pet, companion to the High Priestess. That Fefee lives is encouraging, to her, as the animal is very loyal. And, of course, another valuable critter to recover, and probably much easier than recapturing the Chnéhl. She estimates that it may be only a few weeks, however, before a captive Rényu becomes a Feral Rényu.

At the Barge, they manage to completely fail at uprighting the craft. So they punch a hole in the now inverted barge and explore, finding some dead rowing slaves, and a trunk of valuables that belong to the HP. They explore the area, and find another Temple Guard, a Tirrikámu for the HP. He is an older man, a retiree from the legions, and experienced in the wild. He says he has swept the area south, and sees no signs of survivors.

So the party returns to the Sákbe roads, where they are told by the Guards that the singing Rényu has been appearing every night, despite them throwing rocks at the cursed thing. It appears again, that night, and our hero and the Acolyte try to approach it. Every time they get close, it darts off into the woods. Every time they retreat, it comes forward and sings. They decide it is trying to lead them.

Everyone up, but kept a good distance back, and off into the woods to follow the Rényu. Travel is difficult, and slow, but by mid morn they find a sink hole, and the Rényu wants to go down. But it is steep and slick. The party ties up some crude ladders and goes in.

So, has it come to this. I once thought myself a pretty ingenious GM, but it was my player who laughed as he said, “What Lassie, Timmy's in the well?”. Not my most creative moment, I am afraid. Still this is hopefully building to something...

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Rains swamp Butrus - Hero Gets wet

Well, I had two people lined up, but only one showed. We started anyway. After a bit of character creation, we had a young Temple Guard of Hriháyal, a strapping young man who shows promise with a sword, no pun intended..

As it happened a freak rains storm across much of the Chakas, out of season, led to significant flooding along the Turín River. Which led to an alarming delay in the arrival of dignitaries from the Temple of Hriháyal in Úrmish . So a Tirrikámu of the Temple Guard hastily gathered together five guardsmen and set out to search the swollen banks down to the Berjádu River. Our hero volunteered.

Other than a good deal of what I call Mud foot ( A condition familiar to many who have traveled in muddy environments, wherein the mud slowly cakes to your boots until they way a few tonne each) the first few days were uneventful. Then a guard tried to use the rushing water of the Turin to clean his boots, and was swept in. The Tirrikámu, had the good sense to have all the guards tied off to one another, and this kept him from being swept away, but his trashing attracted the attention of a Ghár before his mates could pull him out. He had lost the use of both legs below the knee when he was finally on land.

Our hero and one other Guard set out down stream to try to locate a fishing village that was supposed to be in the area. By night fall they had struck a deal to assist the village with moving their boats further out of the rising tide, in exchange for help getting their wounded comrade down to the village and some basic medical care. In the morning they set out north with two village bearers and returned that afternoon. By night fall, they had a chance to sleep indoors and out of the rain, improving everyones spirits – even our legless guard, though probably not by much.

The next morning, with a village boy tagging along, the party headed south again, leaving the wounded with the villagers. They encountered tracks from two Chnéhl that appeared to come down to the riverbanks, travel upstream a bit, then return to the woods. Chnéhl are not completely unknown here, but rare, and this put the troop on alert. They began to sing Temple songs as the marched, so as not to startle any Chnéhl they might run across, based upon the same idea that people use to keep bears away. And, either it worked, or they didn't run into any more of the beasts. It did, however, attract something.

By evening they were all convinced they were being followed, but no one had any idea what it might be. What ever it was had kept a good distance, and avoided being seen. It didn't “feel” hostile. But they put on extra guards to be safe. (Which meant no one got a solid nights sleep.) Mid way through the night, they heard something singing their songs off in the woods. Our hero sang back, and all went silent. This, was both amusing and a bit creepy. They added another guard to the last shift.

By morning they were all cranky. The boy, however, offered a plausible explanation. Perhaps it was a Rényu. They are known to follow, and they are fairly bright, and they can speak, after a fashion. It didn't seem impossible, though it would indicate one very smart Rényu. It would have learned the song in one day. Whatever it was continued to follow them the next day, though it kept greater distance. Our hero began to leave bits of dried foodstuffs as they traveled. He was aware that Rényu can be domesticated, and are worth something. But the critter never got close again.

By the end of the day the weather had finally let up and they found the confluence of the Turín and Berjádu River s. They could see across it, to the south, was the small barge that would have been carrying the Priestess from Úrmish. It was on one side. No sign of anyone near by, and no way to cross at this point. The young village boy told them of a normally fordable point upstream, but it was still to flooded to be done safely. Further upstream they would encounter the Sákbe roads. If anyone had survived the wreck, they might well have tried to make the Sákbe road tower. So our party headed there next.

And that is when the staff at Dragon Port gave us the last call warning. Our hero managed to confirm that the follower was, in fact, a Rényu, just prior to our closing the books, but I left the subject of what they will learn at the Sákbe roads for next time. It also allows me a convenient hook for introducing a new character, if I can find another brave soul. And I have come up with some interesting ideas..