Author Topic: The Great Maw: Another Norbayne Campaign Log  (Read 427 times)

Phoenixguard09

  • Megas Domestikos
    Voting Member
  • Posts: 3449
  • Karma: 19
  • Spiffy Haired One
  • Awards Awarded for outstanding services to Exilian!
    • View Profile
    • Awards
The Great Maw: Another Norbayne Campaign Log
« on: January 06, 2017, 02:59:41 PM »
A quick intro to our episodic campaign.

The Great Maw

The Campaign:
I pitched this to the players as being something which could be played on days when the whole group was not available, or while waiting for some players for an extended period and so on. The premise was something that characters could drop in and out of without trouble from session to session. So far we have only played two sessions of the campaign, but both worked pretty well.

The idea is that each session will begin with the players present receiving or choosing a mission which they will attempt to complete in the session, which has so far been around the two hour mark.

The Story:
The characters are all members of an ancient organisation, the Seekers of the Flame. The Seekers have existed, in some form of another for centuries. They originated as a mercenary band which turned against its employers in order to safeguard the smallfolk. Since then they have been involved in many conflicts, always seeking to protect those who cannot protect themselves.

The Seekers are ostensibly heroes, but with a slightly dark tint to them. They are generally poorly equipped, as fighting for the poor doesn't pay well. They do not conscript, but must take volunteers and as such they take anyone to join their ranks, and so many Seekers are criminals escaping the law. That said, the Seekers do try to keep a tight rein on their own. Their enemies are many, and plenty of the nobility dislike them intensely for what they represent.

Far to the west of Norbayne, over the sea, lies a chain of islands, sparsely populated. Unfortunately, these islands appear to be a staging ground for an invasion by the foul Krona, a race of hardy, war-like creatures with an insatiable appetite. The Seekers have been sent to combat this menace, but they are few in number and cannot afford to send more than a handful of troops at a time.

It is time for heroes to stand up and be recognised...

The Players:
At this stage, we have had the following players.

Spoiler: Duke Dev (click to show/hide)

Spoiler: Ladyhawk (click to show/hide)

Spoiler: Sins of Dusk (click to show/hide)

Spoiler: Sins of Dusk (click to show/hide)

Spoiler: Lady Darkmoon (click to show/hide)

Spoiler: Yohan Yorrvaskr (click to show/hide)

Spoiler: Redshirt No.482 (click to show/hide)

Spoiler: OwlShifter37 (click to show/hide)

I have Lady Darkmoon helping me out with writing these sessions up. Thankfully. My workload at the moment is absolutely ridiculous, so a bit of help offered has been fantastic.

Now it is almost 3am here, so I'm going to head off. The next session of Three Coins should hopefully be posted by the new year, with another, again hopefully, not long after that as we intend to play on the 8th of January and I would like both finished by then.

Night!
« Last Edit: January 10, 2017, 04:35:21 AM by Phoenixguard09 »
Yes I am! Assholefaceman!
By the power of Ga'haarr I command you to vanish! VANISH!
I CANNOT BE KILLED BUT WITH FIRE!
(\__/)
(='.'=) This is Bunny. Copy and paste bunny into your
(")_(") signature to help him gain world domination

Crazier than a crack-head cat and here to make sticky treats out of your vital organs.
FEAR ME AND MY INDISCRIMINATE BAN-HAMMER, HORRIBLE EYESIGHT AND TOTAL DISREGARD FOR INTERNET RIGHTS!

Phoenixguard09

  • Megas Domestikos
    Voting Member
  • Posts: 3449
  • Karma: 19
  • Spiffy Haired One
  • Awards Awarded for outstanding services to Exilian!
    • View Profile
    • Awards
Re: The Great Maw: Another Norbayne Campaign Log
« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2017, 04:16:38 PM »
Episode 1: Welcome to Hell (or Come to Australia, You Might Accidentally Get Killed)

Good evening and welcome to the very first session of The Great Maw. This session was played with Ladyhawk and Sins of Dusk, with Duke Dev dropping in after the first twenty minutes or so.

We begin on one of the Kandsza Isles, a collection of small tropical islands in the Westrand, an archipelago to the west of Norbayne proper. The Seekers of the Flame have set up a forward base on the eastern edge of the island in a pocket of forest. Further inland lies the mysterious Firescar, what appears to be a flaming canyon. A few scouting parties have already been sent out, but so far none have returned.

Presumably the reason for this is the Krona, a bestial race from far to the west, which seems hell-bent on devouring everything they come across. The Seekers know they have camps of some kind beyond the Firescar, deep in the river delta on the southern coast of the island and another beyond the mountains in the north.

Of their enemy, they know precious little. That they are vicious and without mercy cannot be questioned, and reports from Jeleni and other islander villages caught in the Krona’s inexorable march suggest that they need constant sustenance to stay alive.

The commander of the Seekers of the Flame here in the Kandsza Isles is a Midlander from the Republic of Achfeld, Captain Stenglein. She is a tall, lanky woman with short dark hair and a thick accent who is never seen out of her armour, nor without her sword. Rumours say she even sleeps in her armour.

“Just under a month ago, a party of three adventurers were sent out to try and determine the exact location and size of the Krona forward-camp on the western edge of the Firescar. They have not returned. We are few in number, and the handful we have must be spread across multiple tasks. You all have your orders, may the Triad watch over us all.”

And so it is that Mathlynn of Araecan and Elenthrus of the Tenebrisilva Enclave, two of the Seekers who arrived most recently, are sent out to try and find them. The forward-camp of the Seekers has a garrison of approximately ten, and so no more can be spared.

* * *

Elenthrus and Mathlynn make their way west, hoping to reach the Firescar before nightfall. On their way they pass a lake, and on the shore beside it, a small fishing village. The handful of huts appears abandoned, as do the three little boats tied to the jetty.

“Shall we move onwards or would you prefer to investigate?” – Mathlynn, to her companion.

“Maybe we should investigate. If there is anyone still here we should warn them to get out.” – Elenthrus, thoughtful.

They look around, but cannot find anything important. It looks like whoever was here packed everything up and got out without too much trouble. Both Mathlynn and Elenthrus are within one of the huts when they hear a voice from outside.

“Hello! Is anyone there?” – A broad, Northern accent.

Mathlynn emerges from the hut, while Elenthrus waits inside, broad-bladed swords ready.

The Dunscarth sees the newcomer is considerably the worse for wear, six feet tall and pale skinned. He carries a mace on his belt and bears the insignia of the Seekers on the breast of his coat.

“You’re the first person I’ve seen in… I don’t know how long…” – The Highlander, trailing off.

“Who are you? What are you doing out here?” – Mathlynn, wary.

“My name’s Angus. I was scouting for the Seekers, but I do not remember what happened after that. It feels like I’ve been gone for a long time…” – Angus, quietly.

“Where did you come from?” – Mathlynn, starting to calm down a little.

“The Firescar… I think. That’s what we were scouting. I don’t remember much…” – Angus.

“We are heading to the Firescar ourselves.  You are welcome to join us if you wish. Perhaps it will clear your memory.” – Mathlynn.

“I do not wish to return, but you may be right. Wait, you just said ‘us’. Who else is here?” – Angus, looking around.

Elenthrus emerges from the hut, sheathing his blades.

“Ah I see. Good morning to you.” – Angus, to the Feartarbh, who inclines his head in return.

The companions make their way further west, to the Firescar.

* * *

The land the Seekers traverse is bare rock, with the occasional dry patch of grass still trying to eke out some sustenance from the blighted soil. Ahead, an ominous orange glow in the distance as the sun sets, but the glow does not diminish in any way.

The Firescar.

“I have no memory of this place.” – Angus.

“What do you remember?” – Elenthrus.

“I remember leaving Crowpeak by ship and arriving at the forward camp on this island. I remember setting out with two companions. We were asked to try and find a way around the Firescar. And then I remember waking up this morning on a riverbank and making my way to the fishing village on the lake.” – Angus, troubled.

“Any sign of your companions?” – Mathlynn.

“No. I cannot even remember their names or their faces.” – Angus.

The companions decide to set up a little camp on the edge of the Firescar and get to know each other a little better, sharing a little of their lives before joining the Seekers. As far as the eye can see, to the north, south and west, that orange glow remains, fitfully illuminating the horizon. They assign watches, and two sleep while the third stays up, alert to every movement. Reports have suggested that the Krona often act in the dead of night and that they can be quite stealthy when the situation calls for it.

All night long the companions contend with the dull roaring coming from the Firescar itself, like the greatest blaze ever lit. But then, above that, beyond the Firescar, unearthly howling and bestial snarls. Taking his turn on watch, Angus shivers as he hears them.

Spoiler: Angus McFyfe (click to show/hide)

When his watch ends and he awakens Mathlynn for her turn, Angus’ sleep is still disturbed by the snarls and grunts of the Krona and images of bestial faces and horrible, tearing tusks.

* * *

Come the morning, the Seekers head west once more, intent upon finding the very edge of the Firescar and determining a way over or around. Despite everything, when they find it Elenthrus very nearly falls in, taken unaware by how sudden the drop is. When they see it properly in its entirety they are amazed.

The Firescar itself stretches before them, a massive rent in the earth almost six miles across and as long as the island is wide.
"Too far to jump then." - Ladyhawk, laughing.
Far below flows a gigantic river of lava. Periodically, clumps of dirt and rock fall into the trench, combusting on the way down, the flames shooting up and licking at the edges.

“See that? It is growing every second. Given enough time it will eventually consume the entire island.” – Elenthrus, pointing out yet another falling clump of rock.

The Seekers decide to head north along the Firescar, and do so for approximately a day. They discover that it does get narrower at a point, but it is, at its narrowest, still several miles across. They camp for the night and then make their way north once more come the morning. Other than the howling roars to the south-west during Elenthrus' watch, nothing of note occurred overnight. A few hours of walking reveals that the Firescar ends just before the harsh, rocky shore. Following the shoreline to the west leads into a dark and ominous forest. Angus gives an involuntary shiver, and the Seekers delve into the woods.

The trees are like nothing any of the companions have ever seen. Tall, hardy things with silver-grey bark, covered in thorns and with leaves, if they can be called as such, like dull-orange needles. On the ground, mainly bare dirt covered in brittle fallen needles from the canopy above, some rare pockets of grass still remain, usually surrounding tough bushes with fleshy leaves, covered in saw-tooth like thorns.

Elenthrus' keen eyes spy out a little rodent in the detritus, and he takes note of it because it is the first living thing they have seen since leaving the Seekers' base camp. He observes as the creature comes down from a tree and starts digging just at the edge of a patch of grass, very close to one of the saw-bushes. As it digs, it uncovers a large worm, which itself tries to get away. Struggling to recover the worm, the rodent brushes up against one of the leaves of the bush and in an instant, it is ripped apart by the plant's violent reaction.

"It's the shrub from hell." - Sins.
"Burn it with fire!" - Dev.
"What a armadillo-hole." - Ladyhawk.
"Yet again, another place where everything wants to eat us." - Sins.


The Seekers, eyes wide, resolve not to touch anything if they can help it. They spend the better part of the day picking their way through the evil woods, what would be a half-hour walk in normal terrain taking them approximately four hours of careful hiking.

* * *

Come nightfall, the Seekers are near the centre of the island once more, but this time on the western side of the Firescar. Ahead lies the ominous glow and fearful sounds of a small Krona encampment.

Mathlynn and Angus set up a camp while Elenthrus melds into the shadows and goes scouting.
"The Feartarbh goes scouting... Agility right? 4 degrees of success, and I only have an Agility of 27." - Sins.
"How did you... What did you roll?" - Ladyhawk.
"I put +20 into Concealment and Silent Move and I rolled a 04." - Sins, laughing.
"And I rolled abysmally so they have no hope in hell of detecting you."


Elenthrus comes upon the wooden palisade and observes the goings on within the camp. The first thing he notices is the gigantic pyre in the very centre of the camp, but that is by no means the only thing there is to see. The Krona within number seven, but it is the large metal rod, jammed into the ground and set with a fist-sized crystal which sparks orange static flashes periodically which draws the majority of Elenthrus' attention. One of the Krona, slightly larger than the others and wearing dirty, likely stolen robes rather than the mash of leather straps of the others, seems to be in charge of maintaining the rod. Every now and then it gets lashed by the sparking electricity and it howls in rage, but despite the glare in its beady eyes, it treats the rod as if it were an object of respect, even reverence.

The other six Krona are gathered around the corpse of one of their own, tearing bits off and eating it. The Feartarbh notes that other than the one wearing the robes, all the Krona bear fresh injuries of some sort, and he guesses that infighting must be a constant problem for their commanders, or whoever is behind their invasion. Biting down the revulsion he feels witnessing their activities, the Feartarbh heads back to his companions.

***

"So what should we do? Attack?" - Mathlynn, putting the question to the other two.

"Wait til the morning. They're obviously quite active at night, suggesting they won't be as active during the day." - Elenthrus.

"Hit them when they're winding down, yes." - Angus, yawning.

"I'd like to try and get some information from them if possible. Why they're here, the purpose of the Firescar, that kind of thing." - Mathlynn.

"No one has ever heard of a Krona actually communicating." - Angus, sceptical.

"The one in the robes with the lightning-rod seemed to be important, perhaps even in a position of power over the others. If any of them would be able to talk, I'd think it would be that one." - Elenthrus.

They settle down to rest, Elenthrus taking the first watch. Over the course of the night, so close to the encampment, their rest is interrupted several times, but the night itself passes uneventfully. It is not just the bestial sounds of the Krona and the dull roar of the nearby Firescar which keeps the Seekers from getting a restful night, but the discharge from the lightning-rod as well. Every five minutes, another wave of electricity is pulsed into the ground and the companions can feel it beneath them.

* * *

It is therefore a very cranky trio of Seekers which sneak past the palisade and into the Krona encampment. The beasts are dead to the world, most of them clustered around the mauled corpse of one of their own, with heavy, almost pained breathing and the occasional twitch the only movement they give.

The robed figure sits near the lightning-rod, also slumbering, a heavy wooden staff lying on the ground beside it.

Mathlynn looks more closely at the corpse of the dead Krona and notes with disgust that something small seems to be moving within the cadaver's entrails. With a lot of mental straining she is able to ensnare and drain a daemon of power, unleashing it in a subtle wind of dark energy which steadily wafts through the camp, slowly draining the sleeping Krona of life. She pays for her power however, the backlash causing some minor internal bleeding.

Swift and silent, Elenthrus closes in on his first victim, broad-bladed daggers biting at the slumbering Krona, which dies instantly.

Angus looks at the lightning-rod and his Witchsight kicks in. He can see the way the rod pulses power into the earth, tormenting the spirits of the island with every blast, draining them of power, harnessing it and using it to fuel the growth of the Firescar. The object is pure evil in his eyes, and he can hear the dim and distant wails and screams of the spirits to destroy it, to save them.

The Highlander hefts his mace, swiftly crosses the encampment and swings at the crystal with all his might, shattering it into many pieces. Upon its destruction, the crystal pulsed one more time, and Angus was caught in the blast, tearing through the hides he wears and leaving him blackened and burnt. Crucially, all the Krona in the encampment awaken, and upon finding their lungs filled with the miasma of Mathlynn's spell, start coughing and retching.

With the sheer force of her will, Mathlynn binds a daemon into the mangled corpse the others were eating the night previous and forces it to find whatever was moving within it and hold it aloft to be examined. What is uncovered is horrifying.

A clutch of five squealing Krona babies, obviously feasting on the deceased adult's innards, linked together with a fleshy chord.
"Ah armadillo!" - Dev.
"That's gross." - Ladyhawk.
"Good."
"Can we kill them with fire yet?" - Sins.

With a surge of will, Mathlynn directs the daemon to crush the life out of the infants, and it does so  with ruthless efficiency.

Elenthrus sneaks along the inside of the palisade, seeking another target for his daggers. Finding one such unsuspecting victim, the Feartarbh takes the beast's head off with one brutal strike from behind.

Finally with their wits about them, the Krona are able to try and oraganise some resistance. Two, one of them the one in robes, seeing a stunned Angus next to the demolished crystal charges straight for the Highlander, but the wily shaman is able to avoid their wild, rage-filled strikes. Two others go for Elenthrus, and one does manage a solid strike at the swiftly moving Feartarbh, but it is deftly turned aside by one of the rogue's blades.

Mathlynn cries out as one of the Krona comes at her, avoids her dagger and cleaves into the Dunscarth with a bone axe, inflicting a raking blow across her torso.  The necromancer tries to run, but is unable to get away from the Krona without opening herself up to a blow, and elects to stay where she is and try to defend herself.

Angus puts a hand on the robed Krona and implores the spirits around him to hinder the beast's attacks. They answer him with a surge of energy and the robed Krona falls to the ground like a sack of wheat.

Elsewhere, Elenthrus is able to put one of the beasts attacking him down as well, but with blades and more finality.

The beast attacking Angus manages to land a heavy blow on the shaman and he goes down hard, bleeding profusely from a couple of serious wounds. Roaring in triumph, the Krona turns and makes its way to Elenthrus, seeing the gigantic Feartarbh as the biggest threat.

Mathlynn is able to nimbly dodge aside from a clumsy strike, but she knows that it is only a matter of time before the creature is able to catch her again and put her down for good.

The choking mists of Mathlynn's spell continue their fell work, and Mathlynn can finally see a way out of her predicament. She channels all the power she can into the spell, ramping up its effectiveness. The Krona attacking her falls to its knees, clutching at its throat. Taking her opportunity with both hands, she plunges her slender dagger into the beast over and over again until the fell light fades from its beady little eyes.

All around the battlefield, the Krona fall to the ground, and Elenthrus rushes to Angus' side, picks him up and carries him to safety, all the while holding his breath, hoping that the Highlander might still be alive.

They take him back to their campsite and Mathlynn does her best to patch him up. Thankfully, the shaman has managed to just barely cling to life, and through her ministrations he is stabilised. They leave him hovering in and out of consciousness and head back to the Krona encampment to investigate their fallen foes.

The first thing they look at is the corpse of the robed Krona. They don't find a lot on it, a little bone and feather fetish and hanging from his thick leather belt is a clump of what appears to be sinews.

It is not what they find on the Krona's possession but rather what they find in it which horrifies them. Cutting the beast open, they discover another clutch of little Krona, squealing as they are revealed in the pale dawn light.

"It seems that these things are not exactly natural." - Mathlynn, who can see the dark energies permeating the disgusting things.

She surmises that when the adult Krona dies, it releases a jolt of daemonic energy somehow, awakening the dormant embryos, which then feast on the corpse, growing at an exponential rate, replenishing the Krona's numbers at least threefold.

"That is disgusting." - Mathlynn, revolted.

"Okay, let's throw these things in the Firescar and be done with it all." - Elenthrus, picking up a body and fighting down last night's dinner as he feels the wriggling within.

They kick all the corpses off the cliff, consigning all the babies to a fiery death in the process.

In the process of doing this, Elenthrus finds the severed head of one of the Krona he killed earlier, and it leaves him wondering if these things are even alive. Probably not is the answer, at least in the traditional sense, as he can see holes in the beast’s flesh skull, revealing the brain inside. With that said, it isn’t so much a brain as it is a mass of writhing bodies, mainly what looks like worms. It is hard to tell where the beast ends and the parasites begin.

“A construct race! Ladyhawk, that’s what you can do.” – Dev.
“What do you mean sorry?” – Ladyhawk.
“As a Necromancer, you can make your own constructs to do your bidding. Dev’s suggesting you make your own version of these.”
“Oh right, I was considering that, but not so gross.” – Ladyhawk.


“I think we should head back to the forward camp Elenthrus.” – Mathlynn.

“Aye, considering we have no supplies left and we’ve not seen anything in the way of game, if we stay any longer we’ll be reduced to eating Krona…” – Elenthrus, darkly.

Pretty bashed up, the Seekers decide to head back to the organisation’s forward camp to rest and recuperate. They pick Angus up along the way, and thankfully the way back is nice and uneventful.  Despite the pain of their various injuries, they are able to finally get some reasonable rest at night thanks to the destruction of the Krona lightning-rod. The distant roar of the Firescar is a constant companion, but given enough time they start to ignore it.

After several days of travel, they come upon a familiar sight, the little fishing village on the shores of the lake. It appears untouched, but Mathlynn notices something strange as they wander through. Last time they were here there were three little boats tied to the jetty. Now there are only two…

Angus can feel the presence of a reasonably powerful spirit in the area, but chooses to say nothing, aware that if the situation turned sour, neither he nor Mathlynn are in much of a state to do anything about it.

* * *

Arriving back at the fort the Seekers practically walk straight into the captain. She looks at Angus with no little surprise.

“Angus! We thought you were dead!” – Captain Stenglein, with astonishment.

“I can imagine why you might think that. The way I feel at the moment, I wish I were.” – Angus, who has at least been able to walk, if a little slowly for the past few days.

“I expect a full debrief in two hours. Get yourselves cleaned up and have some rest. It looks like you’ve earnt it.” – Captain Stenglein, nodding to them before leading a small patrol to the west.

* * *

The debrief covers a few things.
- There are ways around the Firescar.
- These ways are presumably dangerous. The northern way goes into a potentially deadly forest.
- Basically nothing lives to the west anymore unless it is capable of killing anything that comes across it.
- The Krona are tough, but appear divided. They will eat each other if nothing else is available.
- They do have leaders which seem to at least partially hold them to a common cause.
- When Krona are killed the corpses need to be thoroughly destroyed as they release a clutch of infants upon death which eat the parent and mature very quickly.
- The Firescar is growing in size, it seems due to the actions of the Krona. The lightning-rod probably had some link to this, and was destroyed but there are probably more.
- The Krona don’t seem to be a natural creation, but rather a construct of some kind.
- Angus reports that it is not just the wildlife and the flora which is being negatively affected by these events, but the spirits as well. Most of the spirits in the area seem to have fled, but Angus fears that a good few have probably become tainted.

And so now we get to the beauty of the episodic gameplay. With their mission complete, we were done for the night. The next session was due to be played a month on, but Ladyhawk and LD were free and decided to just jump in and have a quick session by themselves, which was awesome.

The Wrap-Up:
These sessions are going to be short and sweet, especially compared with the Three Coins write-ups. The episodic nature means we are likely to have a different cast for each session, and so far, three sessions in, we have never had the same line up.

I’m really quite pleased with the Krona. I think they’re pretty freaky, and they certainly disturbed my players, who have really enjoyed having an enemy they can quite happily kill without having any qualms at all. Murder-hobo activities can be fun once in a while, and this game certainly requires less thinking about the consequences than Three Coins does.

As to the characters themselves, I think this may be the only time we see Elenthrus, but there's no doubt that Feartarbh can be easily made into combat powerhouses. Even as a Rogue, some reasonable rolling and some canny use of Advance Points sees Elenthrus turn into a very capable fighter. Angus and Mathlynn both suffer from being support and battlefield control types, stuck with players who play them like a melee and ranged striker respectively. I also made an error at character creation and gave both of them a couple too few spells, which was rectified for Episode 3.

Anyway, hope you enjoyed the read and will join us next time, where Assar Eillert joins the Seekers, and goes scouting with Mathlynn.

Cheers,

« Last Edit: June 07, 2017, 03:47:09 PM by Phoenixguard09 »
Yes I am! Assholefaceman!
By the power of Ga'haarr I command you to vanish! VANISH!
I CANNOT BE KILLED BUT WITH FIRE!
(\__/)
(='.'=) This is Bunny. Copy and paste bunny into your
(")_(") signature to help him gain world domination

Crazier than a crack-head cat and here to make sticky treats out of your vital organs.
FEAR ME AND MY INDISCRIMINATE BAN-HAMMER, HORRIBLE EYESIGHT AND TOTAL DISREGARD FOR INTERNET RIGHTS!

Phoenixguard09

  • Megas Domestikos
    Voting Member
  • Posts: 3449
  • Karma: 19
  • Spiffy Haired One
  • Awards Awarded for outstanding services to Exilian!
    • View Profile
    • Awards
Re: The Great Maw: Another Norbayne Campaign Log
« Reply #2 on: June 07, 2017, 03:45:47 PM »
Episode 2: Into the Woods (or Everyone Loves Oasis)

The recording begins with LD playing Champagne Supernova by Oasis in the background.

“Everyone loves Oasis.” – And so we get our session’s tagline.

We also had a good few minutes messing around to begin with. LD and Ladyhawk both wore Harry Potter shirts to the session, and I put forward that I was too, gesturing towards my beard and suggesting I was a werewolf.

“Where has my heavy metal die gone? Oh there it is, embedded in your cranium.” – LD’s creative and verbose threat.

Welcome, one and all, to Episode 2 of The Great Maw. For this session we have only LD and Ladyhawk, playing Assar and Mathlynn respectively.


Another ship has just arrived in the Kandsza Isles, bearing some reinforcements and supplies for the Seekers. One such wayfarer is Assar Eilert, an Invarrian ranger of some experience, who has joined the Seekers in search of a new life.

Captain Stenglein briefs the new arrivals and sends them on their way, but keeps the Invarrian behind, introducing her to a Dunscarth named Mathlynn, who has had enough time to get over the injuries sustained on her last scouting mission.

“I have a few options for you both. My superiors have suggested they want a live Krona for research.” – Captain Stenglein.

“Wait, Krona are?” – LD.
“Basically they’re pig-men, but when they die, they…” – Ladyhawk, unsure of how to continue.
“They die? And then problem solved right?” – LD.
“No, that’s exactly it, problem not solved. New problem, the babies come to life and eat the corpse from the inside out.” – Ladyhawk.
“Eww. I knew there was more to it than just pig-men that die.” – LD.
“Yeah, they’re gross.” – Ladyhawk.
“So if you kill a baby one, does that spawn little foetuses? Foet-i?Multiple foetuses?Feotiblemultuses?” – LD, slowly losing her tenuous grip on sanity.
“You don’t know, that’s why they want a live one.”
“But does it?” – Ladyhawk.
“You don’t know, that’s why they want a live one.” – Said in exactly the same tone of voice.

“So this is the Seekers camp here.” – Pointing to the spot on the map.
“I’m not sure if I am a seeker. I’ve always considered myself more of a chaser…” – LD, to Ladyhawk’s snickering in the background.


It must have been obvious that neither Mathlynn nor Assar seem too keen on that idea, and so Stenglein puts forward another option.

“That might be a little too difficult for just the two of you. As you know, Angus McFyfe was out scouting when he and those with him all disappeared. We assumed they must have died and sent you and Elenthrus out to go complete their mission when he showed up out of nowhere. Unfortunately he can’t remember anything that occurred out there, and he isn’t in any state to question at the moment anyway. With that said, now it’s become important to try and find what happened to the others that were with him.” – Captain Stenglein.

Spoiler: Angus and Elenthrus (click to show/hide)
[/COLOR]

“There is also a Krona encampment in the Sirok Delta. If you are willing you could go and scout that out and report numbers and activities.” – Stenglein.

“That sounds pretty dangerous too. Chances are there’ll be more there than just the two of us can handle if they discover our presence. The party with Angus went west towards the Firescar, no?” – Mathlynn.

“Correct, they were to try and find a way around the Firescar, yes.” – Stenglein.

“Then that’s where we will go too.” – Mathlynn.

The Dunscarth and the Invarrian collect their gear and head west, out into the wilderness.

* * *

The pair come across the abandoned fishing village in which Mathlynn and Elenthrus came across Angus. While the place still looks abandoned, there are three little boats tied to the jetty once more.

A clang emanates from inside the nearest hut and now they listen more closely, the pair can hear something ruffling around inside. Drawing weapons, they cautiously approach the open window and peer inside. The ruffling stops.

Where Mathlynn is unable to detect anything, Assar's keen hearing is able to pick up a soft snuffling, like a small animal. She is also able to detect a faint whiff of ozone in the air, a smell the widely travelled Invarrian associates with magic.

Blades ready, Assar knocks down the wooden door of the hut. Upon the floor of the dwelling, a foot tall at the most is a little humanoid figure with leathery skin and big pointed ears. It looks up at the Seekers with huge, bulbous eyes and makes a little chirping noise.

"Oh hello little thing. What are you?" - Mathlynn, friendly and kneeling down next to the creature.

It turns away from the Seekers and starts rummaging through drawers again.

"What are you looking for little guy?" - Mathlynn, who is answered with yet another chirp.

"I think it's a bit stupid. Here, let me try." - Assar, whispering.

The Invarrian squats next to the little creature and taps it on a thin, bony shoulder.

"Hey little one, what are you doing here today?" - Assar, friendly.

A little three fingered hand reaches up and grabs the Invarrian's own hand, and leads her to the drawers. The creature looks up with hope in its eyes, and pushes her hand into the top drawer which it cannot personally reach.

Inside the drawer, the Invarrian finds old cutlery, which she pulls out, revealing, right up the back, a little silver spoon. Assar pulls that out too, and the little creature starts reaching for it excitedly, making more little chirping noises as it does so.

There's a bit of concern here that the creature might turn into a gremlin or something.
"Can we not give it a silver spoon after midnight or something?" - LD.
"No idea. It's cute, give it the spoon." - Ladyhawk, laughing.
"I'm just saying, we may need to shoot it." - LD.


Assar hands the spoon over and a look of contentment passes over the little creature's face and it hugs the spoon tightly.

There was much 'DAAAAWWWW-ing' here.

With a crack, the creature and the spoon disappears.

Mathlynn and Assar received a Luck Point each for helping the little fey gremlin.

Spoiler: Gremlins (click to show/hide)
[/COLOR]

Having helped the gremlin, the Seekers continue on their way, towards the Firescar.

* * *

The next day, the Firescar stretches before them, a massive pit of flame. Beneath their feet, they can feel the earth itself is trembling. Unsurprisingly, the Firescar is causing some serious problems for the island.

I ask about how they would like to go around.
"Could we just jump it and save the hassle?" - LD.
"Breanna could." - Ladyhawk, speaking of course of LD's character in 3 Coins.
"Aeva could just fly over." - LD.
"Xander would just fall in. Tank the damage."
"He'd survive too. The tankiest tank to have ever tanked." - Ladyhawk.
"He tanked a castle, he'd manage yes." - LD.


Heading north, the Seekers find a few corpses, Krona in origin, which seem to have been picked clean. They figure that the only thing around which would do that to Krona would be other Krona and resolve to stay wary against any attack.

I asked for several checks here and everything I asked for had Ladyhawk rolling 8's. It was actually a little disconcerting, to the point that in the car on the way home, several hours after the session, she confided that it was still scaring her.

Assar finds a little scrap of cloth on the ground which Mathlynn agrees, looks like the material worn by Angus. Nearby, Mathlynn finds a silver locket, the inside of which is engraved.

Quote from: Engraving inside the locket.
To my dearest Artur,

Please come home safe.

Not looking good for old Artur.

"I'd say this belonged to a Seeker Assar." - Mathlynn, showing her the locket.

"I'd say this Artur is probably dead. If the Krona killed him here, the body was likely tossed into the Firescar." - Assar.

"There's a chance he escaped. Angus did after all. Assuming Artur was part of Angus' party." - Mathlynn.

"True, he may have just lost the locket in the fighting, or while he escaped." - Assar.

Eventually they decide to head north, following the tracks Assar is able to uncover. She isn't sure, but it looks like, maybe, they're the tracks of a Northmann. Some way on, the tracks are joined by another, smaller set. Hopeful that they may yet find the rest of Angus' party alive, the Seekers follow the tracks, all the way to the eaves of the forest.

"You know the recording's not on right?" - Ladyhawk, lying through her teeth, but sending me into a panic.

* * *

Picking their way carefully through the saw-toothed bushes, Assar spies something a little disconcerting. On one of the plants in the afternoon sun, a smear of dried blood from where something or someone brushed against the razor-sharp branches. The Invarrian points the blood out to Mathlynn and the necromancer is able to determine that the blood is not the grey, sludgy stuff which 'flows' through the 'veins' of the Krona.

Assar continues to follow the trail and it becomes easier to read. More smears of blood are found, along with bushes that have been trampled by someone large in heavy armour. Here and there she sees marks in the hard bark of the trees, like someone took to them with an axe. Some way ahead, the Seekers find a clearing, and within it, a sight which makes their hearts sink.

A corpse, that of a Selkye woman, propped up with her back against a tree. It looks like she has been there for some time. Assar takes a closer look and where at first they believed the body was propped against the tree, now she can see that the tree itself seems to be slowly consuming her. Fighting down revulsion, the Seekers give the predatory plant a wide berth.

"If this is Aeva' epilogue, I will hit you. And Delphi probably will too." - LD.

Mathlynn considers trying to reanimate the corpse for a split second, but abandons the idea pretty swiftly.

The dense and dangerous undergrowth makes it pretty difficult to follow the trail further, even for such a skilled tracker as Assar. Thankfully, their quarry bled a lot, and so it is the bloodstains they follow.

It is almost sunset when they come across what can only be described as a fortified position. There are fallen trees, festooned with spikes and thorns which appear almost like barricades.  The trees still standing have vines strung every-which-way between them, in such a way as to deter airborne assailants. All of this is very difficult to traverse, but in the failing light they see hanging from the branch of the large tree in the middle of all this, a figure hanging from a noose, swaying very slightly in the breeze.

"We need to get him down somehow, see if it is Artur..." - Assar, quietly.

"I have an idea." - Mathlynn, who then walks back to the Selkye corpse they found earlier.

With a great surge of will, Mathlynn forces a daemon into the corpse, and the woman's dead eyes blaze with white light. Under the Dunscarth's command, it tears itself from the tree, wrenching an arm off in the process, and the necromancer walks the corpse back to the 'Fort'.

Directing the walking corpse to the 'barricade' which prevents them from entering the 'Fort', Mathlynn drains another daemon of power and overloads her patchwork with energy, priming it for explosion. While working this magic she is beset by a horrific vision of the Otherworld, and all the endless torments which await her if she falls into the clutches of the daemonic entities she uses so blithely.

Shaking it off, she utters the command, and the corpse explodes in a flash of cold white light and with tremendous force, unbearably loud in the otherwise silent forest. The fallen tree has been rent in half by the force of the explosion, a hole approximately three metres wide blasted through the wood, leaving only a fine white ash.

In the very last of the sunlight, Assar and Mathlynn are able to get close enough to the hanging corpse that they can make out some details. Firstly, what they initially took for a rope is actually a thick iron chain. Secondly, on the cuff of the Northmann's sleeve is the insignia of the Seekers of the Flame, confirming that these two were most likely the other members of Angus' scouting party.

Thinking to bring the corpse back as proof for the Seekers, Mathlynn reanimates the corpse, the eyes of which blaze with white light. The necromancer tries to order the corpse to get down, but it cannot do so, hanging as it is.

Unwilling to climb the tree, and rightly so, Mathlynn and Assar decide to leave the corpse behind and Mathlynn draws the daemon from the corpse, leaving it motionless once more. By now, night has well and truly fallen and the forest of death is very quiet and very dark.

With a long sniff, Assar confirms that they are not too far away from the coast and could possibly make it to the water within two hours, despite the dangerous terrain.

"Obviously though, this might be a problem. I don't trust this place during the day, let alone at night." - Assar.

"Fair enough, and me neither, but I don't want to stay here. Whatever Artur was preparing for must have been dangerous, and it got him." - Mathlynn, very astutely.

"Yes, true, unless he went insane. That said, if he were planning on killing himself, he probably wouldn't have made all these fortifications..." - Assar, at a bit of a loss.

 "So what do we do?" - Mathlynn.

"You're right about staying here. I have torches that can light our way, but I'm not sure how safe it is carrying them around in this forest. We know the trees and armadillo are predatory, who is to say they aren't sentient too?" - Assar.

"We need to get out of this forest. At least on the beach we can see whatever it is coming. We'll risk the torches and get out into the open." - Mathlynn.

The Seekers light the Invarrian's torches and, slowly and carefully make their way to the east coast of the island.

* * *

A little over two hours later, the Seekers arrive on the eaves of the forest, alive and largely unharmed. A few scratches are a small price to pay for surviving this hellish place. Behind them, suddenly, they hear some movement in the woods. Moving faster, the Seekers emerge on a stony beach. Further down the coast they can see the orange glow of the Firescar on the horizon.

Still panicked by the noises they heard in the woods, they continue to walk along the beach, south, towards the Firescar.  And then, on the eaves of the forest they just exited, they see a large, heavily built humanoid figure, approximately eight foot tall, shimmering in and out of visibility in the dim moonlight. The light catches every now and then on a long, curved blade in the figure's possession.

"You see that?" - Assar, to Mathlynn regarding the silent, imposing figure.

"Yes. Let's just keep moving." - Mathlynn, under her breath.

The Seekers continue as far as they possibly can before the exhaustion hits them and they set up a camp on the beach, still under the watchful gaze of the figure in the woods. The two Seekers decide to take turns keeping watch, and Assar stays up, staring fearfully back at the figure. After what must have been hours, the figure appears to abruptly walk away. Assar waits another hour before waking Mathlynn for her watch and informs her the figure disappeared some time ago.

When dawn finally breaks, Mathlynn wakes Assar once more and they pack up camp and make their way south, hoping their journey will be uneventful. Thankfully, other than a somewhat nerve-wracking encounter with a beached sea-monster, it is.

* * *

Upon entering the Seeker camp, the pair are questioned by Captain Stenglein.

"So, what happened?" - Stenglein.

"It didn't go well. They're both dead. We also found something in the woods, some kind of.. hunter..." - Assar.

"Our people looked like they were attacked by the woods themselves. The flora actually seems to attack." - Mathlynn, shaken.

"There may also be something in the forest that makes people go insane. We're not sure, but Artur may have hanged himself." - Assar, troubled.

"This hunter, is it dangerous?" - Stenglein.

"No idea, it didn't attack us, but it is armed." - Mathlynn.

"I reckon it is dangerous." - Assar.

"So it might cause us some problems if it leaves its forest?" - Stenglein.

"Quite possibly, yes." - Mathlynn.

And we left it there, with a level up to both of them...

The Wrap-Up:
I quite enjoyed this, and so did both the players thankfully. It did get pretty dark at times, but I guess that's just the way it goes. I do wish that I had the chance to ask Dev for input on the scouting party. As it was I just kind of made them up on the fly, but that's okay.

The Hunter in the woods was another spur of the moment idea, but it turned into something the players were pretty keen to pit themselves against.

We've got quite a few more Maw sessions incoming. The next one in particular is a beauty.

Cheers, and thanks for reading.

Yes I am! Assholefaceman!
By the power of Ga'haarr I command you to vanish! VANISH!
I CANNOT BE KILLED BUT WITH FIRE!
(\__/)
(='.'=) This is Bunny. Copy and paste bunny into your
(")_(") signature to help him gain world domination

Crazier than a crack-head cat and here to make sticky treats out of your vital organs.
FEAR ME AND MY INDISCRIMINATE BAN-HAMMER, HORRIBLE EYESIGHT AND TOTAL DISREGARD FOR INTERNET RIGHTS!

Jubal

  • Megadux
    Executive Officer
  • Posts: 22478
  • Karma: 102
  • Awards Awarded for oustanding services to Exilian!
    • View Profile
    • Awards
Re: The Great Maw: Another Norbayne Campaign Log
« Reply #3 on: June 12, 2017, 11:24:09 PM »
All sounds good :) I am definitely in favour of & rooting for the tiny spoon-loving gremlin!
The duke, the wanderer, the philosopher, the mariner, the warrior, the strategist, the storyteller, the wizard, the wayfarer...