Author Topic: The Great Maw: Another Norbayne Campaign Log  (Read 8242 times)


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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: 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)

Spoiler: LaPimpDaddy (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.

« Last Edit: January 30, 2018, 06:06:42 AM by Phoenixguard09 »
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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.
"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.


« Last Edit: June 07, 2017, 03:47:09 PM by Phoenixguard09 »
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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)

“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)

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.

« Last Edit: January 30, 2018, 06:13:14 AM by Phoenixguard09 »
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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!
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Re: The Great Maw: Another Norbayne Campaign Log
« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2018, 06:08:16 AM »
Episode 3: The Delta Camp (or Rise of the Wolverine)

Welcome to Episode 3 of The Great Maw. We had quite the group for this one, with Dev, Ladyhawk and LD returning as Angus, Mathlynn and Assar respectively. We also had Sins come in, this time with a new character, Whylith, and Yohan plays his first Maw game with Uday.

For the first time, our group was joined by Redshirt and OwlShifter as well, who play Aella and Florian respectively. Redshirt is reasonably well-versed, but this was OwlShifter's first RP experience. Despite that, she did very well.

I spent a fair bit of time recapping the previous sessions and explaining how the Maw games work to our new players. I also describe how the Krona work, as by now this would be common knowledge amongst the Seekers.

"Oh, we're here already?" - Yohan.
"Yep, that's right. You all arrive by ship or something, ready to make a difference." - With corresponding enthusiastic fist-pump.
"I'm ready to make something, not sure if it's a difference." - Yohan, who is playing an Artificer.

It is the crack of dawn, and the early morning sun is just providing enough illumination to allow Captain Stenglein to brief a small group of Seekers in the courtyard of the Seeker's forward camp. Amongst their number are Assar, Mathlynn and Angus, who has recovered from his wounds suffered at the hands of the Krona on the edge of the Firescar. The Seekers' numbers have been bolstered by the arrival of another small caravel the day previous, bearing supplies and a handful of extra fighters.

"Seekers, we have three missions of utmost importance that need to be fulfilled, and as such I've gathered as many of you as can be spared. We need to scout out the Krona encampment in the Sirok Delta, which we have been told is quite substantial in size. I've also been informed by Apothecary Henne that she needs a living Krona for her research." - Captain Stenglein, to the nods of the assembled Seekers.

"We've also been informed of a presence in the Gibel Forest, which Mathlynn and Assar encountered trying to find Artur and Katla. Apparently it stalked them for several hours." - Stenglein, businesslike.

"Is it capable of speech?" - Whylith, questioning.

"It didn't make any attempt to communicate." - Mathlynn, quietly when Stenglein gives her a questioning look.

"Will seven be enough to take on the delta encampment?" - Angus.

"You are only required to scout it out McFyfe, not storm it." - Stenglein, shaking her head.

"To be honest, sounds like storming the camp might be safer than finding this Hunter in the woods." - Whylith, quietly.

"Definitely. That forest is basically instant death if you're not careful." - Mathlynn.

"What exactly is wrong with these woods? Can we not just knock the trees down as we go? I'm going to need lots of wood to build a bridge over this Scar-trench I keep hearing about." - Uday, who is new to the isle.

"A wooden bridge? Over the Firescar? I can't see how that would go badly at all." - Assar, sarcastically to herself.

"You could perhaps put something on the wood to keep it from burning... Seaweed maybe?" - Dev.
"Yeah, it'll be too wet to burn." - Dev.
"It's hanging over a fire of ridiculous intensity, 24/7. It'll dry out pretty quickly." - Sins.

"The trees will eat you. You can't touch them." - Mathlynn.

"Eat? They're trees! What do you mean eat?" - Uday, who is possibly in for a rude surprise.

"No matter, clearing the forest until you find this Hunter is not feasible. We just don't have the man-power for it." - Stenglein, shaking her head again.

"Camp it is then?" - Whylith, asking the rest of the Seekers, who nod their heads.

"With any luck we can capture a Krona while we're there and kill two birds with one stone." - Angus, hopeful.

"See to your equipment then, and may the Triad watch over you." - Stenglein, dismissing them all.

* * *

Uday spends the rest of the morning trying to improve one of Aela’s massive swords and filling up the bottom of his cart with wood and scrap iron and some impressive lengths of chain. Whylith requisitions a coat of scales and Mathlynn picks up a sword and a chain hauberk. Angus finds an old wooden roundshield lying around and appropriates it for his own use too, after getting Uday to look over it quickly.

Mathlynn, having been present in both previous sessions, has gone up a level, and Ladyhawk chose to take a level of Warrior, making Mathlynn, while not a close combat powerhouse, capable of holding her own what with wearing heavier armour and being able to wield a martial weapon like a sword. At the end of this session, provided they survive, Assar and Angus will also receive a level up.

The Seekers leave at midday, either riding in or traipsing along behind, or in Aella’s case, pulling Uday’s Feartarbh-drawn cart. They cut to the south of the island, keeping to the coast as much as they can. After several hours they reach the Firescar and they can see that the gigantic trench has grown by several feet just over the last few days.

“I see. A wooden bridge would not do at all…” – Uday, having stopped the cart to admire the sight.

They continue on, past the Firescar and into the Sirok Delta.

* * *

The first tributary river the Seekers run across has them worried. The water seems pristine, if cold, and the current is gentle. Naturally, as everything else on this island has just about been an absolute nightmare, they don’t want to go in, but their destination lies on the other side. Over the river, deep in the delta they can see an ominous orange glow, the tell-tale sign of Krona fires.

“Is there a stick around?” – Redshirt.
“Yeah, there’s probably a stick around.”
“I poke the water with a stick.” – Redshirt.
“No, that’s where it all goes wrong!” – Yohan.
“The water… does not respond.”
“Lucky, we don’t want to make it angry.” – Ladyhawk, quietly.

Uday and Florian stay in the wagon and Angus, Assar and Whylith all help Aella pull it through the river. Luckily it is neither deep nor particularly wide, and the Seekers are able to traverse the river with little difficulty.

Aella’s Strength Check was barely a pass, but luckily she was able to get an extra three degrees of success from the Aid Checks from Angus, Assar and Whylith. Loaded up with iron, wood and a Bruin as it is, the cart is abominably heavy.

Beyond that first river, the ground grows marshy, but with Aella’s prodigious strength they are able to get the wagon through without too much difficulty. It is nigh on sunset by the time the companions are close enough to the encampment to make out details.

The encampment is many times larger than the one encountered previously on the edge of the Firescar by Mathlynn, Angus and Elenthrus, and surrounded by thick wooden palisades. In the very centre of the camp lies a gigantic pyre, a roaring blaze which accounts for the orange glow they could see from the riverbank earlier in the afternoon. All around and within the camp are fissures in the ground itself, periodically belching flames and foul gasses into the air. The crude huts of the Krona crowd the camp, as do the horrific Krona themselves.

There are many of them, roaring and screaming and fighting with each other. Every now and then, one falls, to be partially devoured by its kin. The Seekers know now that what is left will be used as an incubator by the offspring of the dead beast and that each Krona killed in this manner is increasing the numbers of the species by three-fold at least.

The Seekers decide to halt where they are and discuss what they’re to do. Angus also starts communing with spirits in the area, trying to wrest some power from them.

“Do we have any scouting specialists here with us?” – Aella, who is obviously not one herself.

“I’ve got Concealment and Silent Movement, but my Agility is trash and I’ve got no bonuses to either.” – Dev.
“Which makes you the second best sneak in the party. Congratulations.”

“I am a capable scout, but I’d prefer to wait until most of them are asleep before I go out there.” – Assar.

“Do these things even sleep?” – Uday.

“Aye, they do. Eventually.” – Angus, thoughtful.

“My friend here says she can help once night falls properly.” – Mathlynn, referring to Florian.

“I can turn into an owl.” – Florian, simply.

“Well that solves that problem.” – Uday.

“Not really. We scout this camp out and we get an idea of their numbers tonight, but it may be a week or more before we can get a force back out here to storm the camp. We know how quickly these monsters breed and we can see just how many there are here already. By the time we get the information back to our superiors and then mobilise a force to deal with them, their numbers could easily double, or even triple.” – Angus, impassioned.

“True. This is the best opportunity we may ever have. We have the element of surprise and, if the reports of how they reproduce are correct, there may never be this few of them again.” – Whylith.

“The reports are correct.” – Mathlynn, quietly.

“How do they fight? Do they tire themselves out quickly?” – Aella, hoping to glean some kind of advantage.

An untrained Common Knowledge (Combat) Check from Aella here to gain a bonus against the Krona. No success.

“They don’t tire easily no, they just seem to keep hacking away until either it or whatever it is attacking dies.” – Angus.

“They’re completely insane. In a way, they aren’t too dissimilar from the undead, but they’re much faster and physically more powerful than most lesser corporeal undead. They’re a biological weapon.” – Mathlynn, who may have lost the rest of the party in her explanation.

“They kind of remind me of those things from Hellboy where you kill one and two more take its place.” – Redshirt.
“Yeah, they’re similar. A bit grosser though.” – Dev.
I’ve not actually seen Hellboy, so I can’t comment.

The Seekers retreat a ways from the encampment to set up their own camp for the night and then look to their preparations. Angus continues communing with the spirits and is able to build up a reasonable reservoir of power. Uday on the other hand spends the time affixing two large crossbows to the wagon. They’re his pride and joy, powerful Scorpion-pattern crossbows of his own devising, and he sets about the recalibrations. With Florian’s aid, Mathlynn searches the immediate area for any corpses she can use, but is unsuccessful.

Florian then takes flight over the Krona encampment, making note of how the largest of the Krona seem to be afforded greater respect from the others and that a truly gigantic Krona, at least as tall as, and broader again than Aella, is overseeing a huge melee directly before the entrance to the encampment.

When she returns to the rest of the Seekers, the Leathe druid shares her information.

“That must be an Overlord then. Destroying it might throw the rest into disarray.” – Mathlynn.

“Or just aggravate them further.” – Whylith.

“Did you happen to see any lightning rods or something like that? A metal rod with a crystal attached directing lightning into the ground?” – Angus.

“No, I didn’t. Still, there could be anything within the huts themselves. I wasn’t able to get much of a look in any of them.” – Florian.

The Seekers make their plans and then settle down to wait for the Krona to become weary, save for Uday, who gets Aella to help him shift the cart well out of earshot so he can work at his portable forge. He spends the next few hours fashioning a massive iron cage. They intend to capture the Overlord alive…

* * *

Eventually, the Krona Overlord grows bored with the melee and retreats into the largest hut within the encampment. Not long after its disappearance, the melee concludes and the survivors set about eating the fallen. Feasting to the point of gluttony, the Krona sleep where they lie amongst the occasionally twitching and writhing corpses.

Sneaking amongst the corpses and the bodies of the sleepers, Whylith and Angus prepare themselves. Having gathered up as much power as possible before they began, Angus flits from sleeper to sleeper, forcing them into an even deeper slumber. Whylith on the other hand, has brought a thick burlap sack, and after silently steeling himself for the trauma he intends to inflict upon himself, reaches a hand into the entrails of a slain Krona. He withdraws a string of three mewling Krona infants. Unfortunately, they did not account for any noise these creatures may make, and Angus has only managed to hit a half-dozen of the sleepers before Whylith draws them out, squealing into the world.

The high-pitched squeals cut through the slumber of the other seven sleepers outside the gates and they jump to their feet, crude weapons in hand, ready to fight immediately.

Assar reacts first, drawing her blades and charging towards the awoken Krona, but two of the creatures move to intercept her, one of them managing to open a nasty gash across the Invarrian’s chest. Two more lash out at Whylith, but behind his shield he is able to avoid their ferocious attacks. The Midlander’s sword flares with arcane light and he attempts to strike back at the beasts, but is unsuccessful.

With a snarl, Florian’s form folds in upon itself and a moment later she is a crainn. She bounds towards the fighting, claws and teeth ready.

Spoiler: Crainn: (click to show/hide)

Two more Krona move towards Angus, but they are pulverised by Aella who charges into the combat with swords whirling. She puts them down easily, and there isn’t much left of them, leaving Angus free to try and brain the last unengaged Krona with his mace. He is, unfortunately, unsuccessful.

Hearing the commotion, Uday tries to pull the wagon towards the encampment, but with the marshy ground underfoot, it is heavy going. The Bruin grits his teeth and soldiers on.

“I will get there eventually.” – Uday, to himself, groaning with effort.

Seeing all the corpses around the battlefield, Mathlynn starts trying to raise them, either as patchworks or wights. She is able to bring up two of each, but on the fifth attempt she slips. Luckily she is able to banish the daemon before it manages to get a hold on the material plane, but meddling with such forces costs her dearly.

Ladyhawk had to roll on the Middle Miscast Chart and rolled a 99 (Trick of Fate) which makes her roll on the High Miscast Chart, which is the most dangerous chart.

A split second before the magical backlash hits her, Mathlynn enforces an ironclad rule upon the corpses she has risen, that they will not harm her allies. Then she is knocked unconscious as her spirit is shunted, for a brief moment, into the Otherworld.

Ladyhawk rolled 25 (Fell Sleep), which caused Mathlynn to fall unconscious for D10 minutes. Unluckily, Ladyhawk proceeded to roll a 9 for the minutes, and so Mathlynn is out for 54 Rounds, making it very unlikely that she will be able to participate further in this conflict. Ladyhawk will however still be able to control her patchworks and wights as she was able to bind them to her will before she was knocked out.

Assar is able to put down one of the Krona attacking her and Whylith’s wards flash as the marauders attacking him are struck by flares from his shadow fields. Neither of them are able to land a strike on the Midlander, but neither is he able to capitalise on his advantage.

Before Aella can move to assist either Whylith or Assar, her ears prick up at the sounds coming from within the encampment. The sounds of their skirmish have been detected by the Krona within and more are coming.

“Fuuuuuuu-“ – LD.
“Don’t worry guys, the cavalry is coming.” – Yohan.
“Eventually.” – Ladyhawk.
“Yes, eventually. You can’t rush brilliance.” – Yohan.
“Unfortunately, I don’t know if the rest of us can survive the forty or so rounds until brilliance decides to show itself.” – Sins.

Assar’s keen nose can smell that one of the Krona, in presumably a drunken stupor, has wandered directly into one of the deep fissures within the camp and burnt to death.

Florian, from her position on the flank of the battlefield notices another, quieter group of Krona approaching, taking up a flanking position of their own. One of them bears what looks like a tall flaming stave, and the others seem to view it as a leader of sorts. Still in crainn-form, Florian is unable to warn the rest of the Seekers and instead readies herself to strike from hiding.

Mathlynn’s patchworks and wights drag down the last Krona attacking Assar and one of the ones attacking Whylith, and Assar, Angus and Whylith fall back slightly, using Mathlynn’s risen horde of corpses as a shield between them and the three Krona assaulting the binder and shaman.

The new group of Krona on the flank loose guttural roars and charge into the fray, leaving their leader behind. The Krona sorcerer smashes its staff into the ground and opens a massive rift in the ground, right in the middle of the fighting. Flames rip loose from the ground as the sorcerer’s black magic takes hold, but it seems that all is not as it appears.

Florian’s keen crainn eyes see the sorcerer’s body twitch and tremble, as some power writhes under the skin.

“So the spell is cast and there’s a big fissure in front of the gate, but that was also a triple 5 on the cast, so that’s two rolls on the Miscast table.” – To the general mirth of the players.
“Alright, so first result is visions into the Otherworld, which grants an Insanity Point, so not that much. The other one is the caster’s soul is ensnared by a daemon-“ – To the hooting and self-congratulations of the players.
“That’s it, he’s dead.” – Yohan.
“And we didn’t even have to lift a finger.” – Redshirt.
“Wait a moment, PG is smiling…” – Ladyhawk.
“He’s not dead guys, he’s possessed.”
“Oh no.” – LD.
“Yeah that is really not good.” – Yohan.
“If we’re lucky, the daemon won’t take sides and try to kill everyone equally.” – Ladyhawk.
“I never thought I’d see the day that I’d consider that the ‘lucky’ option.” – OwlShifter.

Several Krona and one of Mathlynn’s wights fall into the fissure and are immolated instantly.

“I need Agility Checks from Angus, Whylith, Assar and Aella.” – To a chorus of groans.
“I am going to fail. Very badly.” – Redshirt, as Aella has an Agility score of 13.
“Dev, did Angus pass?”
“Ah, 12.” – Dev, not confident.
“Is that an actual 12 or a fake 12? Because the tone of your voice suggests a fake 12…”
“**** you, it’s a real 12.” – Dev, showing his dice which he has been fiddling with secretively since I asked for the Agility Checks.
“Hey, I passed. I rolled a 01!” – Redshirt, to the astonishment of all present.

All four Seekers manage to avoid the immediate danger, and Assar desperately throws herself back into the fray against the Krona who have similarly survived the fissure. The Invarrian puts a sword through the throat of one of the marauders arriving from the flank, but finds herself cornered by another two, backed up against the pit of flames.

With a plea to the spirits, Florian sets a tangle of briars and roots upon the flanking force of Krona, binding them in place. Two of the creatures are able to hack their way out of the entangling roots, but the sorcerer and two others are pinned by the spell. Having seen off the briars, they do not expect the furry bundle of claws and teeth which rockets into them from out of the darkness. Florian/crainn tears the throat out of one of the marauders in an instant before hissing and spitting at the other, circling warily.

From within the encampment another force of Krona arrive, led by the hulking Overlord. They charge at Whylith, who hurled himself onto the encampment side of the fissure when the rift opened beneath him. The marauders throw themselves at the binder, but he is able to desperately avoid the brunt of their blows, taking most on his shield. Magic crackles in the air around him as the Krona strike at him.

Knowing that the sorcerer might choose to take advantage of her while she's helpless, Uday leaves the cart and tries to wake Mathlynn up. At the very least, she's the best equipped to deal with any daemons summoned by the sorcerer. Besides, he doesn't want to condemn any of his companions to the kind of fate falling into a rift might entail...

Several of Mathlynn's patchworks are completely destroyed, and the Krona responsible make straight for Aella, seeing her as the main threat. Concerned about the threat the sorcerer poses, Aella ignores the rushing Krona, charging through them to reach it. She batters one aside easily, but the others are able to land some solid strikes on her, with one leaving a particularly long and ragged gash along her ribs. She drops to her knees, spitting blood and gasping at the unexpected pain. As this happens, Uday reaches Mathlynn's body and is able to rouse her, although the Dunscarth is left a little dazed and confused.

Her fell dreams also cause her to pick up an Insanity Point.

Assar cuts her way through the two marauders menacing her and tries to move to Whylith's aid, but she fears she may be too late, as the Overlord is closing, with maul in hand. The binder strikes out at the Overlord, scoring a deep wound in the beast's face and taking an eye, but it seems unperturbed. A handful of marauders and the Overlord trade blows with Whylith, but no lasting damage is caused.

As the blood drips from between Aella's fingers, she can feel her rage build, and as it does, her strength builds. Now, on the cusp of death, she has never felt so alive. Roaring her anger to sky, Aella grasps her swords once more, forces herself to her feet and scythes into the Krona which brought her down.

Still a little bit lost, Mathlynn blinks and tries to get her bearings. All around her, the Seekers are getting worn down. Aella, Whylith and Assar are all bearing injuries, Aella in particular is pouring blood from several wounds. She can hear rather than see Florian/crainn locked in a mortal struggle with one of the marauders. Whylith holds firm under his shield, wards crackling and flaring all around as the Krona Overlord smashes its maul down on him. Angus stands next to the binder, desperately trying to dominate the spirits in the area into heeding his commands and incapacitate the Overlord.

To her left, Uday has run back to the cart and is frantically reloading the scorpions. To her right, beyond the badly wounded Aella and the messy fight between Florian and a marauder, she can see the sorcerer and its attendants, still caught in Florian's tangle of briars and brambles. Her eyes alight on the corpses littering the ground, and she knows what she can do.

"Fall back!" - Mathlynn, who tries to force as much daemonic energy into the corpses as she can.

Almost every corpse on the field, including the surviving wight and patchworks, spontaneously explodes with blinding flashes of white light. Angus and Assar are only just able to get away from the main explosion near the rift, and other than some bruises and a few light burns, they are both fine. Whylith trusts his wards, and while they are almost undone, he is unharmed, save for the after-images of the blinding light. The Overlord and the marauders surrounding the Seekers were not nearly so lucky. Of the Overlord itself, nothing is left, save for a small stone chunk of the head of the beast's maul. Only one marauder was able to avoid the blast and Assar quickly cuts it down.

On the other side of the field, Florian uses the body of the marauder she was fighting to shield herself from the blast caused by the corpse of the first beast she killed, killing it instantly. One of the marauders takes advantage of the explosion to back away from Aella and try to take Florian unawares. The wily druid dodges aside and springs onto that marauder too, tearing its throat out in a matter of moments.

Mathlynn, seeing how close Aella was to death, did not dare charge any of the corpses near her with power, trusting that between the Feartarbh herself, Florian and Uday's ballista the surviving Krona would be accounted for. She was correct, as Uday's bolt tore through the head of the possessed sorcerer and Florian and Aella were able to put the last of the marauders down without too much difficulty. 

And then Aella finally succumbs to her injuries as the objects of her rage are finally destroyed. Uday, Florian and Assar immediately see to her wounds and load her into the cart. Things are not looking good for the massive warrior, but they refuse to give up on her.

Uday creates a cage on the very rear of the wagon which will hold a few clutches of Krona embryos harvested from the corpses. With Aella recovering, they are not able to fit an adult specimen on the cart too, so they make do with the young.  The prisoners are killed and raised as wights by an exhausted Mathlynn after being harvested for their children. They are used to pull the now heavily-laden cart. Any corpses not taken by the Seekers are thrown into one of the rifts, which seem to be lessening in intensity now that the sorcerer is destroyed.

* * *

Over a week later the Seekers arrive at the forward camp, battered and bloody. Over the days since the skirmish, most of the embryos have eaten each other, leaving only one, stunted and far too large for the cage it has been crammed into.

The Seekers are greatly commended for their efforts, and not a few breakthroughs are made regarding knowledge of the Krona species. No one had ever encountered anything like the Overlord, nor a sorcerer before. The growth rates and propensity for cannibalism amongst the Krona young is also new information.

All in all, a successful mission.

And we left it there...

The Wrap-Up:
A pretty good session all up. We were all very impressed with OwlShifter's performance, though unfortunately she has recently shifted away and is unlikely to reappear in any of our stories.

I apologise for the length of the final battle there. Sometimes I get a little caught up in transcribing the events as they happen rather than condensing it. Hopefully it isn't too confusing either.

We have many more sessions to be written up, so please stick around.

Cheers, and thanks for reading.
« Last Edit: January 30, 2018, 06:17:43 AM by Phoenixguard09 »
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Re: The Great Maw: Another Norbayne Campaign Log
« Reply #5 on: January 30, 2018, 06:08:39 AM »
Episode 4: Predator (or Welcome Back to the Forest of Death)

Welcome back to the Great Maw. A slightly different session this time, as we only have LD, Ladyhawk and Dev for this one, having played while waiting for Sins and Yohan to arrive for our Three Coins session in the afternoon.

Captain Stenglein has summoned Assar, Angus and Mathlynn to her office in the Seeker’s encampment. The early morning sun has only just begun to peek over the horizon, but the heavy cloud cover suggests it will be a miserable day.

“Firstly I would like to congratulate the three of you once again on your recent heroics in the delta. I trust that you are all recovered from your injuries?” – Captain Stenglein, appraising the three Seekers.

They nod their assent, the white bandage tightly wound around Assar’s arm contrasting with her black fur.

“Krona activity has reduced drastically since you destroyed the encampment, but there remains another potential threat we need to deal with, the Hunter in the Gibel Forest. Mathlynn and Assar, you have both dealt with it before and Angus should prove an asset in those woods. We need to find out what it is, if it is a credible threat, and if it is, how we can kill it.” – Stenglein, forceful.

“You do recall that forest is death, no?” – Mathlynn, grimacing.

“We’ve got no other options. I want to send companies north to strike at Krona camps in the mountains but I cannot do that if we’ve got a powerful enemy hiding in those woods. It needs to be neutralised first.” – Stenglein.

“We cannot afford to have an enemy on our flank.” – Angus, nodding thoughtfully.

“Will the three of us be enough? It took down the other two members of Angus’ party quite handily as far as we could tell.” – Assar.

“We must hope it will be. I cannot spare any others to join you. My advice is to stick together. From your report it sounds like the three were separated and picked off one at a time.” – Stenglein.

“It seems there is no choice then. When can we leave?” – Mathlynn.

“As soon as you can. We must strike at the Krona while they are still reeling if we can. Good luck.” – Stenglein, gesturing towards the door.

There was then a lengthy discussion about how much LD and Ladyhawk wanted to go to San Churros, which for those who don’t know, is a Mexican themed chocolateria. I made an inappropriate joke regarding a chocolate sundae and Ladyhawk informed us of the time she ate a single potato chip and put on 2kg’s of weight. I’m pretty sure she was exaggerating. If not it must have been a damn heavy chip, but I digress.

* * *

It is quickly apparent, as the three Seekers travel west, that the corruption is still spreading. The very western edge of the small forest in which the Seeker encampment lies is beginning to die. Further afield, the land is barren, as if Death itself had reached out and touched the earth. The fishing village on the lake-shore, within which dwells the benevolent little gremlin Assar and Mathlynn helped previously, seems abandoned and there is no sign of the fey spirit’s presence.

They make camp on the north coast, very close to the Firescar. The massive trench has grown a fair bit since they first encountered it, but reports have suggested that the rate of growth has slowed since the Sirok Delta camp was razed and the Krona sorcerer killed. The Seekers resolve to enter the forest in the morning and bed down for the night, deciding not to bother with a fire due to the warmth of the night air.

Assar takes the first watch, and barely two hours in, hears movement to the south in the direction of the Firescar. Whatever it is, it is quite heavy-set and not taking particular care in its movements. And it is getting closer. A moment later she realises that there is not just one, but two of them, whatever they are. The Invarrian takes a long, deep sniff. Krona. Definitely Krona. She contemplates waking Angus and Mathlynn but decides to just let it be. With any luck, the Krona will pass by and remain unaware of their presence.

The rest of Assar’s watch passes quietly and without incident. She informs Angus of the presence of at least two Krona a few hours ago and then goes to sleep, believing the danger has passed.

Dev then fails his Perception Checks very, very badly.

Not long after Assar falls asleep, three Krona practically stumble into the middle of the Seekers’ little camp.

“Wake up! They’re here!” – Angus, frantically to his companions as he picks up his weapons.

Two of the Krona are just normal drones, specimens the Seekers have classified as marauders, barely armoured and wielding primitive axes. The third is taller, and much more lightly built, severely stooped over and carrying a tall staff with a wicked-looking curved blade on the end. It is the staff-wielder that Angus rushes towards and lays a hand on, a rush of unseelie power overwhelms the beast and it crumples to the ground in a deep, fell sleep.

Angus’ frantic shout alerts the two marauders and flail wildly at the shaman, but his shield protects him from their attacks. He hefts his mace and smashes one of the beasts in the face, shattering its jaw. It is a gruesome wound, but it doesn’t seem to be slowing the marauder down at all.

Awoken by Angus’ shout, Mathlynn immediately draws up a great quantity of power within her, draining a daemon dry before expending it in an attempt to dominate the uninjured marauder attacking the shaman. She succeeds, and the beast stops dead in its tracks, held immobile by the sheer will of the necromancer.

Assar moves in behind the broken-jawed marauder and puts a sword through the beast’s back.

The dominated marauder is forced to take its axe to the helpless body of the unconscious Krona at Mathlynn’s order, and consequently hacks it apart. The marauder then kneels before Angus who promptly smashes its head in with his mace. The Seekers move some distance away and consign the corpses to oblivion through Mathlynn’s magic. It goes without too much of a hitch, although Mathlynn accidentally draws on a little too much power and her body is wracked for an instant by a halo of dark lightning. It hurts her greatly, and the experience leaves her weakened, but it is nothing a night’s rest won’t heal.

“We’ve been super lucky with the Miscast chart.” – Dev, who is not lying.

There are three Miscast charts in Norbayne, each one progressively more dangerous to the caster. As a Black Magic user, Mathlynn automatically rolls on the second chart if she gets any doubles to cast a spell. Ladyhawk was lucky enough to roll a result which temporarily lowers her Toughness for D10 Rounds and requires a successful Toughness Check, failure of which results in Damage equal to the amount of degrees the test was failed by. Mathlynn’s Toughness was approximately halved for a full minute, but no Damage was caused as Ladyhawk passed the Toughness Check despite the negative. Lucky indeed.

* * *

The next day, the three Seekers arrive properly on the south-eastern eaves of the Gibel Forest. Before them lies a tangled mess of wild undergrowth and razor-sharp needles and thorns. Not a sound can be heard from within the forest.

Angus tries to communicate with any spirits that may be in the area and does manage to coerce a few entities out from the woodwork.

“Cause it’s a forest, get it?” – To collective groans.

There are not many spirits left in these woods, and the ones which remain seem scared.

“What can you tell me of the hunter in the woods?” – Angus, to the spirits.

They tell him of the terror they endure when darkness falls, of how an unseen creature is hunting them down and consuming them. A wraith which flits between the trees, even as it flits between worlds.

Creachadair they name it, among other things.

“So this thing is wholly unnatural?” – Mathlynn, once Angus has finished informing her and Assar of the information he has gathered.

“We knew that already just by looking at the thing.” – Assar, muttering grimly.

“No, I mean that even the spirits see it as unnatural. It is not of their world, nor truly of ours.” – Mathlynn, explaining herself.

“Given time it will run out of prey in this forest and look for other hunting grounds, and then it will be a threat. An even greater one than it already is in fact, as with every spirit it consumes, its power grows. We need to find it and deal with it quickly.” – Angus, urgent.

They resolve to venture deeper into the woods and try and provoke the creature into showing itself.

Dev leaves to get drinks for everyone here and when he returns I ask him for an Agility and a Toughness Check.
“What did our spellcaster do while I was gone?” – Dev, who always thinks of the worst-case scenario in any situation.

Mathlynn brushes up against an innocuous-looking plant and is startled as it spontaneously releases a clutch of barbed spines, three of which punch into her arm. Clenching her teeth to keep from screaming, the necromancer pulls them out and throws them away, quickly binding the wounds. Before long however she can feel the flesh beneath the bandages grow hot and start to itch. Taking the wrappings off she can see that the puncture marks have already begun to fester and she allows Assar to cut away the infection and clean the wounds before applying fresh bandages.

The Invarrian’s keen eye for trails ensures that she finds traces of life soon enough. While not tracks as such, there are markings on the trees which seem to leading north. Disconcertingly, these markings are all some way up in the trees, a good eight to ten feet at least from the ground. They appear to have been made by a large, curved and serrated blade.

“I don’t mean to alarm anyone, but they appear to be hunt markings, like the type woodsmen use to mark areas where game is plentiful…” – Assar, quietly.

The three Seekers all draw their respective weapons.

The markings on the trees lead them to the ‘Fortress’ set up by Artur which Mathlynn and Assar found previously.

“That marking was not there when last we were here.” – Mathlynn, pointing towards the tree dominating the centre of the clearing.

The tree from which Artur was found hanging by a chain, is now decorated with a grisly depiction of a hanging man carved into the wood. It is clear that whoever, or whatever, is leaving the carvings felt some kind of responsibility for Artur’s death and took pleasure in doing so.

“Watch out!” – Assar, not quick enough to prevent Mathlynn from disturbing a hidden trip-wire on the ground.

Suddenly, a large bough, festooned with sharpened branches and long thorns, suspended by vines woven into primitive rope, flies down from the canopy above. Assar and Mathlynn are able to avoid the trap, just. Angus on the other hand is impaled by one of the branches as the bough swings directly into his abdomen, knocking him bodily to the ground. Luckily for him, as far as impalements go, this one is pretty minor, a gash along his side. It bleeds profusely, but no internal organs are damaged. Knocked to the ground by the impact, with brute strength Angus pushes the log off and he and Assar see to his wounds as quickly and thoroughly as they can.

This trap could have been a lot nastier. All three of them were lined up in the strike-zone and none of them are exactly blessed with high Health totals.

Preoccupied with Angus’ condition, the first warning that they are under attack is the first salvo. An almost fizzling orb of blue energy strikes the ground between the three Seekers, exploding with great force and heat. Both Assar and Mathlynn dive away, sustaining only minor burns, but poor Angus is unable to move out of the blast radius and gets thrown across the clearing. He rolls to a stop, unconscious and smouldering. Assar dashes across to the shaman, checking for vital signs as Mathlynn scans the tree-line for a sign of their attacker.

“He’s still alive!” – Assar, applying pressure to one of Angus’ many bleeding wounds.

Something long and glinting metallically in the dappled light whistles over Assar’s shoulder as she works on Angus. She ignores it, too busy trying to save the Highlander to be worried about her own mortal danger.

Mathlynn spies Artur’s corpse hanging inert from the tree overhead and once again forces a hastily summoned daemonic entity into the body.

Not again!” – The voice of the daemonic entity screaming in Mathlynn’s head.

Eyes blazing with white light, the corpse is unable to get itself down from the tree, so it remains hanging there, mouth distending in an unerring fashion, swaying from the chain.

Another metallic projectile flashes into visibility and it lands heavily in the ground next to Mathlynn, a spear, crafted entirely of a strange metal, strange symbols and characters carved into it. A low, gravelly roar tears through the otherwise silent forest, the attacker obviously irritated at its own inaccuracy.

“Angus! Get up!” – Assar, roughly slapping the unconscious Highlander.

Miraculously, his eyes flicker open. Another orb of crackling energy slams into the ground next to the Invarrian, who involuntarily shrinks away from the heat.

“What the hell happened?” – Angus, weakly, trying to sit up.

“We’re still under attack you bloody idiot!” – Assar, trying to pull the confused shaman to his feet.

With a groan, Mathlynn pushes as much daemonic energy as she dares into her wight, trying to give it all the power it can take.

“I can… I can see it.” – Angus, muttering quietly, staring at a figure clinging to a tree some distance away.

To their normal vision the Hunter is practically invisible, but to Angus’ wraithsight, it blazes with power. The shaman only wanted to see if it was of a spirit nature, but the truth revealed to him is far more concerning. The Hunter is a living creature, but it is using captured sidhe to provide it with a cloaking field. The tortured spirits writhe around it in agony, silently screaming for release.

And so Angus obliges.

With sheer willpower, Angus throws himself mentally at the bonds holding the captured spirits to the Hunter, and after only a moment of conflict, breaks through. The sidhe stream through the breach Angus has made, rendering the Hunter visible to the other two Seekers.

A heavily-built figure, humanoid in form, the Hunter would stand at approximately seven and a half feet tall if it were on the ground. It appears to be clad in some strange armour, heavy and yet flexible and it bears a large, curved and serrated blade, which at closer inspection, protrude from each wrist.

Now able to see the Hunter, Assar hurls an axe at it, taking it by surprise. The heavy blade punches through the armour covering the creature’s chest and luminescent green ichor spurts forth. It howls in rage and drops to the ground.

“It bleeds. We can kill it.” – LD.

With blinding speed, it crosses the distance to Assar and unleashes a flurry of blows. The Invarrian frantically hefts the fallen Angus’ shield and tries to turn aside the Hunter’s strikes, but to no avail. The serrated blades tear into the ranger’s arm and torso, leaving great lacerations.

A blinding white explosion rocks the clearing as Mathlynn channels an unearthly amount of power into the wight that was Artur. The gigantic tree in the centre of the clearing, from which Artur is hanging, is blasted in half by the explosion. One jagged piece of bone punches into the Hunter’s back in the blast, and Assar is thankfully able to protect both herself and Angus from the hail of splinters and wood that pelts them.

“Get back! Out of the fog!” – Mathlynn, to Assar and Angus.

Using the last of her reserves of power, Mathlynn directs a wave of pale, sickly fog towards the Hunter. It starts to rasp unnaturally as it chokes on the black magic.

“It’s working! We need to hold it in there!” – Assar.

Angus takes a deep breath and dives into the fog, focussing all the power he has managed to obtain from the spirits he freed earlier. One hand outstretched, he touches the Hunter’s head and transmits a single command.


The Hunter drops to the ground, as does the horribly wounded Angus. Assar grabs the shaman and drags him out of the fog and together they watch as the Hunter chokes to death in its unnatural sleep.

Upon closer inspection, they can see the Hunter is like nothing they have ever seen before. They resolve to take the corpse back to the Seeker’s encampment for research.

And there we have it…

The Wrap-Up:
This session, like a lot of the Maw ones, was brutal as hell. A slightly unusual party make-up for this one led to encounters being pretty dangerous. None of them have much health, although interestingly enough, after this session, all three of these characters invested in some more and better armour.

You can see in these early sessions both Ladyhawk and Dev getting used to playing pretty different characters.

Dev struggled early. His initial build for Angus was all over the place, leading to him feeling a bit useless as Angus could do a wide variety of things, but nothing particularly well. After a little re-spec after Episode 3, Dev was much happier with Angus’ ability to contribute, if still a tad disappointed in his lack of raw damage potential.

As for Ladyhawk, initially she played Mathlynn exactly how she plays Maebh in 3 Coins, but the Necromancer requires quite a different playstyle, what with managing minions and not having anything like the access to flat-out damage that the Mage enjoys. We can definitely see Ladyhawk’s proficiency with the Necromancer increase from session to session.

LD on the other hand plays Assar fairly similarly to Breanna, but I think that’s because in essence Breanna, Assar and LD are all basically the same character anyway and LD just reacts to situations in-game in the exact same way she would in real life.

I do hope this was an enjoyable read for you. We’ve got plenty more sessions to come.

Thanks for reading,
« Last Edit: January 30, 2018, 06:19:19 AM by Phoenixguard09 »
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Re: The Great Maw: Another Norbayne Campaign Log
« Reply #6 on: January 30, 2018, 06:09:07 AM »
Episode 5: Into the Rift (or Go to the Place, Do the Stuff, Come Back Alive and Kill Everything)

Welcome back to Great Maw. We had a fairly large group for this one, with Ladyhawk, Dev, Redshirt, Sins and LD all available, playing Mathlynn, Angus, Aella, Whylith and Assar respectively.

Storm-clouds roil overhead as Captain Stenglein addresses her specially selected strike-team of Seekers in her office. Most of them have only just recovered from various injuries sustained in the line of duty, and off-white linen bandages can be clearly seen.

Since Angus McFyfe, Assar Eilert and Mathlynn Cild-Ailith returned from the Gibel Forest with the strange corpse of the Hunter in the Woods, the Seekers had been busy. Without the Hunter’s menacing presence, the Gibel Forest could be cut back to provide a potential staging ground for an assault, and to provide resources for the war-effort. Teams of woodsmen and lumberjacks were sent north with guides and armed guards.

Reports of Krona were scarce for the time-being. They seemed to be biding their time, as if waiting for a signal which would indicate a turning of fortunes.

The Firescar continued to grow.

Spoiler (click to show/hide)

“As you know, we are pretty sure that the Firescar is continuing to grow despite all our efforts, and it seems that the Krona sorcerers are the ones behind it.” – Captain Stenglein, beginning her briefing.

Angus recalls an earlier engagement with the Krona in which he witnessed a sorcerer using a curious crystal to entrap spirits and drain them of power, which was then directed into the earth, fuelling the growth of the Firescar. He shudders at the memory, recalling the tormented wailing of the island’s spirits.

“There is a significant Krona presence in the northern mountains. We can’t be sure of strength, but it is likely substantial. We can only hope that there is a sorcerer present that we can attempt to capture.” – Captain Stenglein.

“So before we commit to storming this fort, do we have any clerics?” – Redshirt.
“No healing magic in Norbayne.” – Sins, quietly.
“Oh right, just any kind of medic in general then?” – Redshirt.
“I can heal a bit.” – Dev.
“I’ve got it. Not that great, but then Angus hasn’t died yet, so I can’t be too bad.” – LD, cheerfully.
“It’s okay though, even if you go down I can put you back on your feet again.” – Ladyhawk.
“I don’t feel too comfortable with that. LD, I’d prefer you were the one touching me if I got down.” – Redshirt, turning to LD.
“Ladyhawk doesn’t have to touch you to raise you though.” – Dev.
“This is true, only requires Line of Sight. And a corpse.”
“So yeah, if you go down I’ll ‘heal’ you and, well, oh ****, sorry didn’t work, you’re a zombie now.” – Ladyhawk, laughing.

“So what’s the plan guys?”
“Go to the place.” – LD.
“Do the stuff.” – Sins.
“Come back alive.” – Ladyhawk.
“Kill everything!” – Redshirt.
“Hopefully not in that order though. We can’t kill everything after we come back. That would be silly.” – Dev.

“This seems a small party for such a venture.” – Whylith, questioning the captain.

“True enough, but you are all I can spare. Despite everything, we are still well and truly on the back foot in this conflict. Too many of us are going out into the field and coming back injured, or worse, not coming back at all.” – Stenglein, obviously stressed.

“That’s fair enough.” – Whylith, grim.

“What road will you take to the mountains?” – Stenglein.

“I suggest the south. We can scout out any activity in the delta on the way, and we avoid going through the Gibel Forest.” – Angus, to the general agreement of the other Seekers.

“So be it. Remember though, your mission is to find the fortress in the mountains and neutralise the Krona there. Don’t get caught up in anything dangerous on the way.” – Stenglein, dismissing the Seekers.

* * *

The Seekers make good time and by the evening of the first day of travel, they have reached the southern edge of the Firescar. Before them stretches the marshland of the Sirok Delta.

To Angus’ disappointment it doesn’t appear that many spirits have taken the opportunity presented by the destruction of the Krona base in the delta. The marshland still seems to be devoid of life in general.

“We going to make camp for the night, no?” – Angus, to the other Seekers.

“Yes, I’d say so.” – Mathlynn.

“Right. I’m going to try and coerce some spirits into returning to the area. This place won’t heal without them.” – Angus.

“What do you need?” – Whylith.

“Only time. I’ll need to set up the ritual site and spend the night in concentration, so I won’t be able to contribute to the watch, but otherwise I have everything else I need.” – Angus.

“I shall take first watch then.” – Whylith.

Angus spends the majority of the night projecting his own spirit across the delta, preparing it for the return of the Sidhe. He has no way of knowing as yet if he is successful, and the night’s work leaves him exhausted, yet fulfilled.

The night otherwise passes uneventfully, until the early hours of the morning...

* * *

Mathlynn has been on watch for merely an hour when she notices a collection of lights dancing in the distance, deep in the marsh. Angus, who has just finished his ritual and is preparing to get at least a little rest before the day begins, is alerted by Mathlynn.

“Are they your spirits by any chance?” – Mathlynn, whispering.

“No, I think not.” – Angus, equally quiet.

“I think we may just leave it be. We move out in a few hours and we intend to go that way anyway. We’ll just keep an eye out for any hints as to what they are.” – Mathlynn.

Angus nods his agreement and proceeds to go to sleep for a few hours.

“Is there no way to tell how successful I was?” – Dev.
“Get another shaman in. You need someone to come in and critique your work.” – Redshirt.
“Afraid not. You’ll just have to come back in a week or two.”

* * *

Without Uday and his cart, crossing the rivers of the Sirok Delta is much easier, and all the Seekers are able to wade across with no difficulty.

They look for any trace of Mathlynn’s dancing lights but can find nothing to suggest any physical presence. Assar does pick up a definite residual smell of burnt hair, but doesn’t deign to share that with the party.

Somehow Redshirt is asked to provide some kind of illumination on what it may be.
“How the hell should I know what’s in this world? I’ve played all of one whole session.” – Redshirt.
“I think you’ll find that PG doesn’t even know what’s in this world.” – Dev.
“Aye. It’s one of those settings.”

* * *

Passing through the Delta, the Seekers find no evidence to suggest the Krona have returned since they stormed and razed the encampment previously. They take this as a positive sign, and push onwards.

It is wet and heavy going, but eventually they find themselves on the other side of the Sirok Delta, confronted by a wide, grassy plain.

“A plane?” – Ladyhawk.
I said nothing but all I could think of was the old story about the Dreaded Gazebo.

The river Protok, the main river which feeds the delta, runs down from the mountains in the north, a long, snaking stream of ice-cold clear water, making up the eastern border of the plain. A swathe of the terrible plant-life which makes up the Gibel Forest sits on either side of the river, and that looks thoroughly uninviting, and this grassy plain which borders it looks idyllic in comparison.

Since the Krona arrived in the Kandsza Isles, each has slowly become devoid of life, till even the grass has shrivelled up and died, consumed by the menace the Krona represent. This plain appears to be a pocket where the verdant life of this island has been preserved.

To the north, some miles away on the plain, the Seekers can spy what appears to be a small village, likely a Jeleni farming community. It is hard to tell properly from this distance, but it appears abandoned.

“As nice as it looks, I do not like this.” – Mathlynn.

Spoiler (click to show/hide)

On the edge of the plain as they are, the grass is only knee-high or so, but it does seem to be considerably taller further in, though it also appears that the grass has been cleared around the village in the distance.

Plenty of velociraptor jokes here, to my satisfaction. I’d have been disappointed if there weren’t. That said, if there weren’t I may have thrown some kind of pack-hunting reptilian predator at them as they may not have suspected it. Such creatures do live on the Kandsza Isles after all.

The Seekers make their way across the plain, towards the little village. Upon approaching it they realise a few things. Firstly, the village is made of predominantly low-set, wooden buildings. Secondly, it lies on the shores of a wide lake, hidden from a distance by the tall grass all around it.

Thirdly, the village has been utterly wrecked.

Gutted by fire, there isn’t much left in the way of shelter or even salvageable materials. A quick, preliminary search reveals no bodies, however there are plenty of dried bloodstains everywhere. The lush green grass all around suggests that this village was destroyed quite some time ago, well over a year, however, the burnt wood and bloodstains suggest a much more recent timeframe, closer to a matter of weeks.

Truly puzzling.

Assar excuses herself from the rest of the party to go relieve herself somewhere privately.
Our house-rule returns, only this time it was beneficial for LD, who was not present for the next scene.

Angus feels something nagging at his consciousness, something about the lake. He stops and enters a trance-like state, and is blown away by what he beholds.

The lake is emanating powerful energy, pure life-force. Everything in close proximity is growing far faster and much more strongly than it should be. He can’t be sure, but he feels there must be some kind of primordial being dwelling in the lake, bleeding power.

Turning to his companions he watches in amazement as their own growth is subtly accelerated, to the point that he can see their nails and hair and such growing. He has no doubt that the same is happening to him.

It certainly explains the why the grass has grown back so quickly.

A pulse of blinding white energy erupts from the surface of the lake, scything through the tall grass all around it. The Seekers immediately drop to the ground, all except Aella, who is too slow to react, distracted by the rare sight of something living on this hellhole of an island, a petite butterfly. Where the others manage to drop before the cutting arc of light, Aella drops after, amidst a swirl of grass cuttings, and where the others emerged unscathed, Aella sustained a deep laceration to her torso.

“For flavour, can we just say I was distracted by something? Like a butterfly?” – Redshirt.
“Yeah sure. Can’t hurt.”
“Well it did.” – Redshirt.

Blood drips from between her fingers which she instinctively holds over the wound. A deep rumble sounds from the lake.

Concerned, Angus swiftly patches up the injured Feartarbh, hoping that by preventing her blood from hitting the ground they might be able to avoid angering or otherwise empowering the spirit further.

“Can I attempt to talk to this water spirit?” – Dev.
“You certainly may try.”
“Why is the crazy man talking to the lake?” – Sins.
“At least he’s not trying to Charm it.” – LD, laughing.
“Like me or else!” – Ladyhawk, miming punching a lake.

Angus suggests the others back off a little and allow him to try and communicate with the spirit, and what he uncovers leaves him shocked.

For the next five hours the others watch as Angus sits at the water’s edge and tries to open up some kind of dialogue. All around them, the grass continues to grow at a steady rate, and they are forced to cut their own nails a few times while waiting.

* * *

The very first thing he realises is that this creature is no normal spirit. Its understanding of time, the world and itself is so far advanced that it is operating on a level far beyond a mere spirit, far beyond even Angus’ comprehension. Its power is immense, as is its age. It is an entity which predates the firmament of the universe, and all of the knowledge and weight of untold millennia is pressed right up against Angus’ unsuspecting mind.

Trying to communicate with it is pretty fruitless, like a flea trying to communicate with whale. It hardly even registers Angus’ presence. Nonetheless, he tries.

”What are you? Why do you dwell in this lake?” – Angus, trying to get some kind of answer.

The response, a jumbled mash of images, flashes through Angus’ mind. A blinding light, stars whirling all around and overhead. Pristine forests. Turquoise oceans. A single great golden eye.

”I am ancient. Here is where I was birthed, where I came into being, and so here is where I will stay.” – The Spirit in the Lake.

Angus knows both that this creature predates the lake, that it likely predates the entire world, but also that it is not lying. This lake is where the entity came into this world.

“Do you remember the gods when they dwelt on this world?” – Angus, fishing for information.

More flashes of random images, storms and figures of great and terrible power. A tall mountain with a jagged peak, torn asunder by lightning. A wise king devoured by a pack of wild animals. 

“The Gods of your kind still dwell upon this world. I am one such being.” – The Spirit in the Lake.

“What do you think of the current state of this island?” – Angus, hoping they have may have found a powerful ally.

Yet more images. Sickness, blighted earth, blood dripping from a jagged axe. Thousands of glowing yellow eyes on a pitch black night. An eclipse blotting out the sun. A long tunnel filled with water. A writhing strand of barbed bone.

”Unclean. These lands are corrupted by a foul presence, but the lake is mine, and I will suffer no taint to befoul it.” – The Spirit in the Lake.

Before Angus can frame the question to ask if the primordial spirit considers he and the other Seekers to be a similar taint, he feels a gathering of energy within the spirit. He drops to the ground and another wave of that brilliant scything energy passes over him safely, effortlessly cutting through the grass which has grown so much in the last few hours, the hours he did not even realise had passed.

“Okay, bye. And then I leg it.” – Dev, laughing.

* * *

A very quick discussion had the Seekers heading north, hoping to skirt the lake and thereby the territory of the immensely powerful and terrifying spirit within.

A few hours of travelling sees them on the edge of the plain, confronted by yet another river, this one flowing from the north-western edge of the mountains. Again framed by those same trees so common through the Gibel Forest, this river looks foul, a thick grey sludge filled with refuse and half-eaten corpses.

“There’s all sorts of dead plant-life in there too, plenty of which is probably poisonous as it comes from the death forest.”
“I love the death forest.” – Ladyhawk, sarcastic.
“So much.” – Sins, this time not sarcastic I think.
“I want to build a summer home in the death forest if we can.” – LD.

“I’d prefer not to have to wade through that. We may never come back out.” – Whylith.

“Do we know of any crossing points for this river?” – Aella, who was apparently hired to hit things with a sword or two, not to read maps.

“Unfortunately, we’re more or less working blind here. We know more or less the direction this river takes, but our maps do not show any crossings the native Jeleni may have used or created. That said, there’s a good chance the Krona would have destroyed any bridges, ferries or crossings that may have existed.” – Angus, sighing with disappointment.

“Why is this place not properly mapped out?” – Redshirt.
“Because most scouting parties sent out wind up like Angus’ original group did. Or Angus himself.”
“They found me just wandering around muttering to myself about the Krona after being missing for like weeks.” – Dev.
“Basically, here, in fantasy Australia, scouts don’t have a good time.” – Ladyhawk.

“So our maps are entirely useless here?” – Aella.

“Yeah, pretty much.” – Assar, frustrated.

“Well, then, we still need to cross. Don’t suppose anyone noticed any boats back at the village on the plain?” – Aella, to the general approval of the rest of the party.

* * *

It was a nerve-wracking journey, avoiding the primordial, but eventually the Seekers find themselves on the other side of the lake, and in the abandoned village. They resolve to spend the night in the village, utilising the shelter granted by a largely destroyed dwelling.

The next morning, the Seekers split up and try to find any supplies they might be able to take from the abandoned village.

Unfortunately, only one boat is found and it was severely damaged in the fire that ripped the settlement apart, but Angus was lucky enough to find a map rolled up in a drawer which miraculously survived the blaze. It likely belonged to a fisherman or hunter as it marks all the waterways very clearly, including the best crossing points of various rivers, including, thankfully, the one they need to cross.

They make their way back over the plain, skirting the primordial’s territory as much as they can, and set up camp in the afternoon on the bank of the river. It is nowhere near as foul on this stretch as it is on the other side of the fork, and they are happy to enough to cross the next morning, using the river to safeguard against any enemy presence to the north.

They spend the afternoon recovering some strength and cleaning themselves up. Assar in particular takes great pride in her well-kept appearance, and spends the majority of the afternoon trying to trim and neaten her fur with axe and knife due to the growth it sustained near the primordial’s lake. Angus is particularly keen for a good night’s rest, and when the sun falls, Aella takes the first watch as the others get some sleep.

The lights in the marshland Mathlynn saw the other night return, still in the marshes, some distance to the south. That they can be seen from this distance suggests they might be quite sizeable, but Aella does not notice them. She is asleep.

Redshirt rolled an affirmative for a random encounter and then critically failed her Perception Check, which I ruled as her falling asleep.

Some hours later Aella jerks awake and immediately awakens Whylith for his watch, not informing him of her lapse.

The binder’s watch goes smoothly for approximately an hour before the night is split by three unearthly cries to the south. They are unfamiliar to the tired Midlander, but he is convinced they are not Krona in origin. They are each coming from different points on the plain, and in quick succession, almost as if they are answering each other.

“Ah, like Ranger’s Apprentice…” – Ladyhawk, who like most of us, is a big fan of the series by John Flanagan.
“Amazingly, that is not where I was getting my inspiration from, but yes, it is pretty similar.”
Then we had a six minute conversation about how disappointing the final book in the series was.

The screams return a few more times on Assar’s watch, and it sounds like they are slowly getting progressively closer. The Invarrian is sure to tell Mathlynn when the Necromancer takes over sentry duties, when the silvery light of the sun just begins to glint on the horizon, however the final hour before dawn is completely silent and uneventful.

“Alright, let’s keep walking through it as many times as we need to get a battle going. Except you know, let’s not. Let’s just ****ing leave.” – Redshirt, to general laughter.

* * *

The northern bank of the river unfortunately butts right up against the eaves of the Gibel Forest, and so the Seekers must contend with stray thorny branches and saw-toothed leaves. Aella, at the fore and considerably broader than the rest, takes the brunt of the forest’s wrath.

“Okay, Agility Check from everyone, two from Aella cause of her size category.”
“Yeah, I’m not going to do very well here.” – Redshirt, who promptly fails both Agility Checks.
“I’ve failed too.” – Dev, the only other player to fail.
“That’s okay Redshirt, this is the part where you’ll probably do okay and Dev will suffer. Toughness Checks from both of you, and of course two from Aella.”

Naturally they make a liar of me and Dev passes but Aella fails both.

“My dice hate me.” – Redshirt, forlorn.
“I obviously have no idea what I’m talking about.”

“Aella, did any of those branches break the skin?” – Mathlynn, concerned.

“Yes, they did.” – Aella.

“Better allow Assar and myself to have a good look at you when we get in the open. I sustained a similar wound a few weeks back and it started festering within the hour.” – Mathlynn, to the horrified look on Aella’s face.

Thankfully they leave the woodland behind as they travel west along the river and they are able to deliver some kind of ministration to the Feartarbh.

“So how much Health do I get back from LD’s Healing Check?” – Redshirt.
“She got 7 degrees of success? One point.”
“Only one!? Did we get any health back for sleeping last night?” – Redshirt.
“Health for sleeping? Hah! Yeah, that doesn’t happen in PG’s games.” – Sins.
“The system is evil.” – Dev.
“He doesn’t like anyone having any healing abilities.” – LD.
“Especially healing spells. You know I think he’s just against health in general.” – Ladyhawk.
“You guys had enough yet?”

Now free of the cloying forest, the Seekers are able to take a better look at the mountains to the north, now looming much closer. The first thing they notice is how hot it is here, in close proximity to the mountains. So hot in fact that the snowy caps that some of the taller mountains should probably possess seem to have melted, forming a floodplain of sorts at the base of the foothills.

Secondly, and even more ominously, the mountains appear almost to be bleeding. What looks like a thick dark-red/black substance oozes from between the crags.

It is readily apparent to Angus that any spirits which may have been in the area have long since departed.

Spoiler (click to show/hide)

To the west, nestled into the base of the mountains, lies a small, stone fortress. It is old, very old, and has obviously changed hands several times since its construction. It was built in the fashion of ancient Jeleni fortresses, and probably served as a refuge for the island’s inhabitants in times of strife. Now though, it sits in the possession of the Krona, and the signs of their ownership are evident for miles around. Random piles of offal dot the surrounding landscape, and the crumbling walls of the fortress are clearly daubed with all manner of blood, waste and mud. A tall tower shoots upwards on the north-western edge of the fortress and smoke rises from some source in the courtyard, likely a massive pyre, a dense grey pall against an otherwise brilliant midday sky.

They discuss their options while I’m drawing it up.
“****, it looks a fair bit bigger than I thought it was.” – Ladyhawk.
“We shoot them with everything we have until they panic and leave?” – Redshirt, who possibly hasn’t been paying attention to how the Krona work.
“Don’t worry about it. There is five of us and only one castle. We have it surrounded.” – Sins.

Many Krona surround the fort, mainly of the marauder designation, barely armoured and carrying primitive weapons, predominantly axes, knives and clubs. Several are engaged in a mass melee in the large breach in the middle of the southern wall. Overlooking the melee from the wall above are a handful of exceptionally large, musclebound specimens, clad in scraps of heavy armour. One of them in particular looks to be an overlord, almost a head-taller again than the champions around it, clad in even more scraps of armour and carrying a large, heavy iron tower shield. Another champion stands in the open gateway to the fortress, also observing the mass melee, but from ground-level.

Assar, being one of the only Seekers present with any real scouting ability, sneaks towards the fortress to determine what she can. Looking through the breach in the ruined outer wall, she sees that there is another Krona standing next to the pyre. It looks to be holding itself apart from the others. It foul, corpulent bulk dwarfs the already large and imposing marauders it shares the keep with, and what looks like entrails are hanging from its vastly distended gut.

“It’s entrails have become its extrails, its internals are now its externals! Pain, lots of pain.” – LD, paraphrasing a Knight’s Tale.

Those tubes, which sluggishly pulse every few moments, lead down into a vast pit in the ground beside the pyre.

“Oh that is gross. That is so gross.” – Ladyhawk.
“I want to leave. **** this ****.” – Redshirt.
I only got a somewhat dispassionate grunt from Sins. I’d be disappointed, but when it comes to descriptions of viscera, that’s the best I think I’ve gotten from him.

Assar can also hear the brutish sounds of yet more Krona from within the tall stone tower.

“Curse of Thorns yeah? I can use it to inflict horrible damage by slowly transmuting someone’s vein into thorns and ****. Can I inflict it on an inanimate object to cause structural damage?” – Dev.
“That is actually pretty cool. Curse of Thorns requires 10 Power to cast. If you gather up 40, I’ll allow it. You’ll be treating it as a ritual.”
“****, I’m going to be here for days.” – Dev, laughing.

Assar returns to the others and informs them of the layout of the fortress.

“We should attack soon, before nightfall.” – Assar, to the general agreement of the other Seekers.

“I’m going to try and bring down the tower if I can. No guarantee I’ll be successful though.” – Angus.

“Can you try to dominate the overlord, Mathlynn?” – Whylith.

“I can try, but what about the sorcerer?” – Mathlynn.

“Maybe we can lure it out for Assar to pick off at range?” – Aella.

“No I think it’s tethered to the hole in the ground. I’m not sure, but it looks like it can’t go more than a few feet away from the pit.” – Assar, shaking her head.

“That does mean we might be able to pick off all the others and stay out of its line of sight.” – Whylith, thoughtful.

“If Mathlynn can try to take care of the overlord, I’ll just attempt to pick off the champions around it.” – Assar, drawing and nocking an arrow to the string of her longbow.

* * *

An arrow, fletched with black raven feathers, flashes through the air, glinting in the early afternoon sun.  The heavy steel head punches into the chest of one of the Krona champions upon the ruined wall, eliciting a sudden roar of rage.

Whylith and Aella charge together at the champion in the gateway, the binder surrounded by a nimbus of frost and shadow, the blade of his sword covered in dark, ridged ice and the Feartarbh wielding two massive greatswords. Together, they inflict some significant wounds on the champion, but neither manage to bring it down. In return, it smashes the hilt of its gigantic stone-greataxe into the side of Aella’s head, stunning her momentarily.

The Krona sorcerer, dragging yet more of the foul length of tubes from the pit in the ground, slowly staggers towards the melee, drawing a bead on the combat between the champion and the two Seekers. With a great roar it slams its staff against the ground and a pulse of orange lightning flares around it.

An ear-shattering crack can be heard as the ground beneath Aella and Whylith simply gives way, unnatural flames billowing forth from the yawning hole in the ground. Frantically, they throw themselves backwards, avoiding the sorcerous inferno beneath them. The champion they had engaged disappears in a violent conflagration, with only the roaring of flames and an inhuman howling to mark its passing.

Assar looses another arrow at the champions atop the walls, causing them to drop down on the far side, out of her line of sight. She curses and adjust her position so she can at least aim her next arrow at the sorcerer.

Drawing up as much power as she dares, Mathlynn conjures a choking mist in the courtyard of the fortress and sends it creeping along the ground towards the tethered sorcerer. It looks at the oncoming magic and smashes its bladed staff three times against the stony ground. On the third strike, two things happen.

A piercing shriek cuts through the air, leaving all the Seekers disoriented and reeling in confusion, and suddenly Mathlynn’s mist is dispersed, the magic weaving disrupted by the sorcerer’s own power.

The rift opened by the sorcerer moments earlier yawns wider again, the edges crumbling. Aella and Whylith, standing on the edge of the chasm, fall in…

Sins and Redshirt had to go, so we left it there…

The Wrap-Up:
Another good session, this one was the first Maw game which finished without really hitting the end point. I envisaged the Maw games to be episodic and therefore self-contained in a way. I guess Episodes 5 and 6 will just have to be a two-part episode or something like that.

Aella and Whylith both falling in was a bit of fiat in a way. Ideally we wanted to finish this particular arc that night if we could, so decided to go with the three remaining players trying to take down the rest of the Krona by themselves.

It proved to be a tough ask, but that’s a story for another time.

Thanks for reading, 
« Last Edit: January 30, 2018, 06:24:39 AM by Phoenixguard09 »
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Re: The Great Maw: Another Norbayne Campaign Log
« Reply #7 on: January 30, 2018, 06:09:35 AM »
Episode 6: Storming the Fortress (or We Had an Offal Time)

Welcome back to the Great Maw. For the first time, we were forced to cut an episode short due to Sins and Redshirt needing to go home, but it happened to coincide with Whylith and Aella being temporarily unavailable too, due to falling into the rift. As such, we determined that we could continue the current mission with the remaining players quite handily. For this episode, we have Dev, LD and Ladyhawk, playing Angus, Assar and Mathlynn respectively.

Assar hurls an axe as hard as she physically can at one of the marauders and it goes down heavily, but there are always more coming.

It is now the Krona sorcerer’s turn, and once again my inability to have NPC casters actually cast spells comes to the fore. As a Black Magic caster, the sorcerer may continue adding Power Dice to the roll until the casting value is met, or it runs out of Power Points. As such, when the sorcerer’s spell fails, I roll another dice, which lands on the same number as one of the original rolls, causing a Miscast and still not scoring high enough to get the spell off. Figuring that the Krona are all about reckless use of power, I add another Power Dice to the pool, scoring a triple this time and still not getting high enough to cast the spell.

My look of surprise obviously caused LD some consternation, as Assar was the only Seeker in the sorcerer’s line of sight.

“What? What happened?” – LD.
“Ah, that’s not very good.” – Mainly to myself.
“RIP?” – LD.
“Triple RIP in fact. I’ve bloody well Miscast again.”

The sorcerer turns its evil gaze towards Assar, and the Invarrian feels a cold chill go down her back. The look of triumph in its beady eyes however is swiftly replaced by confusion. And then horror. To Mathlynn and Angus it is apparent that the sorcerer drew on too much power and it forcibly ripped the magical conduit from its body, leaving it unable to perform even the simplest cantrip.

And then the great bony tendrils start to pull the crippled sorcerer down into the rent in the ground. Its pained and panicked snorts and squeals are the first time the Seekers have seen or heard a Krona actually terrified.

“Dude, we’re supposed to be taking one of these things alive! Stop killing our potential prisoners!” – LD.
“I can’t help it.” – Sadly.

Upon the sorcerer’s grisly death, the marauders panic. The handful remaining flee within the fortress, leaving the chieftain and its champions to face the Seekers alone.

“That is some interesting information to take back to the captain though.” – Dev, thoughtful.
“Sorry we didn’t get a live specimen like you asked for, but it killed itself?” – LD, laughing.
“I meant more that when the sorcerer is killed, the weaker members of the breed lose their nerve and flee.” – Dev.
“Although the knowledge that the sorcerers are prone to spontaneous magical suicide is good to have as well.” – Ladyhawk.

The gigantic chieftain looses an earthshaking roar, hefts its weapon and charges towards the Seekers, champions flanking it, presumably intent upon avenging the fallen sorcerer.

Mathlynn spies two marauders trying to get inside the fortress and extends her will towards one of them, her consciousness boosted by daemonic energy. The power wracks her body and leaves her shaking and in pain, but she asserts her dominance over the feeble-minded marauder, or more specifically, the blood-like sludge that sluggishly runs through its veins. A subtle mental nudge has the beast taking up its primitive axe and planting it directly between the shoulder blades of its erstwhile compatriot. It turns around and lashes out wildly, scoring a deep cut across the barrel-chest of the one dominated by Mathlynn. She doesn’t even need to press it to continue anymore, as the sudden pain is enough for it to forget everything but the new foe in front of it. Eventually the dominated marauder cleaves through the other’s defences and leaves it broken upon the stony ground. With another mental nudge, Mathlynn forces the helpless Krona to put its axe-blade to its throat and keep sawing until it is dead.

Angus hefts his mace and shield and stands alongside Assar, readying himself for the avalanche of brutal fury bearing down on them in the form of the chieftain and its champions.
“I would be trying to gather more power as well, but I just failed my check to do so. Again. I really buggered up building this character.” – Dev, shaking his head.

Even I was a little upset for him at this stage.

Assar hurls another axe, this time at the oncoming and already wounded champion, and this time successfully puts it down, the heavy blade scything through its head and what passes for a brain. 

Seeing her dominated marauder’s success at both killing its erstwhile compatriot and butchering itself, Mathlynn raises the mangled corpses to their feet, imbuing them with minor daemonic entities. Now fully under her control, she first has them dig out their clutches of mewling spawn and crush them merciless, and only then does she send them shambling towards the chieftain and its champions.

Five Krona emerge from the tower, ducking through a stolen standard hung in the doorway, snarling and grunting, and charge towards the Seekers, joining the chieftain and its champions in their headlong rush. The chieftain strikes first, its massive, jagged blade smashing into the shield Angus is able to just throw up in time.

“Hold your breath!” – Mathlynn, before releasing a powerful wave of choking mist towards the oncoming horde of Krona.

“What’s the damage on the Creeping Death, Ladyhawk?”
“Ah, sorry.” – Ladyhawk, rolling.
“The damage is sorry. LD and Dev, you both take sorry damage. I assume that means you’re both dead.”

The thick white mist billows up around the melee, getting in the lungs of the Krona and causing them to double over and retch. Both Angus and Assar are able to hold their breath in time, and Angus is able to turn the edge of the remaining champion’s greataxe aside with his shield. The Highlander responds as best he can, flinging out a hand and touching the champion on a meaty wrist. The champion drops to the ground, suddenly gripped in the depths of a fell sleep.

“I kind of want Angus to die. I’m considering just having my minions hold back and let him get overwhelmed.” – Ladyhawk, to stunned silence.
“Well, that’s mean.” – Dev, finally.
“I mean we’ve never had a character actually die before.” – Ladyhawk.
“Well we have. Tremor died in Three Coins.” – LD.
“That’s not the same. That one was planned. I’d like to see a spontaneous death.” – Ladyhawk.
“To be honest, Dev has done just about everything he can in this game to make that dream a reality.”

Both of Mathlynn’s risen Krona move to flank the chieftain at her mental command, the necromancer hoping to support Angus with them.

Conversation then turned to the issues I have with the liberties Shadow of Mordor took with the lore. Ladyhawk and LD also gave us a fantastic rendition of an orc song. Dev also regaled us with all the ways he has failed his driving tests.

This went on for far too long.

Assar charges into the melee with the chieftain but she is unable to land any blows on the massive Krona at first, perhaps too concerned with holding her breath to make any telling strikes.
“Wow, that is inept.”
“Don’t you have Luck Points coming out your arse?” – Dev.
“Ah, of course. I’ll re-roll my attack.” – LD, re-rolling.

She scores a 01, meaning a Critical Hit.

“And I roll a 2 for Damage. That’s gross.” – LD, downcast once more.

I then spent the better part of ten minutes explaining the new Critical Hit rules, along with, for perhaps the eighth time, how the Hit Location rules work.

She focusses on her blades and cleaves into the chieftain’s skull, the sharp Invarrian steel striking truly through bone and flesh. It falls to the ground instantly, deprived of all function. All around them, Mathlynn’s pale grey mist billows wildly, causing the sleeping champion and the nearby marauders to rasp and choke as it slowly seeps into their lungs.

With another surge of daemonic energy, Mathlynn imbues her risen marauders with unholy strength and vigour, making them strike faster and harder against their former comrades. One of them smashes an axe into the head of the sleeping champion, spilling what passes for its brains on the barren ground.

Assar scythes into the mass of marauders approaching, inflicting a grievous wound on the foremost Krona. In return, they mob her, and it takes all her considerable blade-craft to avoid their brutal strikes.

Mathlynn tries to gather even more daemonic power in order to raise the fallen chieftain and champion, but accidentally draws on a little too much. A pervading aura of wrongness surrounds her. A chill wind blows, gently buffeting her hair, bringing with it a faint smell of grave-earth.
“Okay, you take a -10 to your Charisma for D10 hours, but you do get a +10 to Intimidate Checks for that same period.”
“So I’m just more intimidating now?” – Ladyhawk.
“Yeah, that’s right. It just feels unpleasant to be around you.”
“Can I keep it? I’d be happy with it being permanent.” – Ladyhawk.
“Ah, yeah, sure.”

The champion staggers back upright, clutching its massive greataxe in meaty fists, and moves towards the mob attacking Assar. It cleaves one of the marauders in half with a powerful swing of its axe, leaving only four hostile Krona on the Invarrian.

The chieftain however, does not stir, Mathlynn unable to force another daemon to join her undead menagerie, for now at least.

Angus retreats from Mathlynn’s killing mist, hoping to quickly bind a few minor cuts and scrapes. No sooner has he done this than two more marauders come bellowing out of the fog, blades flailing. He weathers their strikes upon his shield, but is unable to launch any attacks of his own.

“I can use a half action to move Creeping Death, yes?” – Ladyhawk.
“Aye, that is correct.”
“Is there anything I can do with Creeping Death to try and, I don’t know, focus it?” – Ladyhawk.
“Do you have Channelling?”
“Yeah, I do. Sweet, I’ll try to focus it into a much smaller patch and then single out one of the Krona attacking Assar.” – Ladyhawk.
“How do you envisage this working?”

The Dunscarth necromancer attempts to raise the chieftain again and this time is successful, binding an agitated daemon into the corpse. She then has a brain-wave, and with a surge of will, gathers her choking mist into an orb, not much larger than her own head. Another mental push has the orb slowly creeping forward, towards the pack of Krona surrounding Assar. Suddenly, it envelops a marauder’s head, forcing its way down its throat, not letting up despite how much the beast struggles and retches.

One of the two marauders attacking Angus takes a heavy blow from the shaman’s mace, shattering its forearm. The strike does not hinder its continued attacks in the slightest. The other one is knocked to the ground by the swiftly charging Mathlynn, longsword deftly wielded in both hands. Once on the ground, the necromancer bisects the creature in two brutal strikes.

Mathlynn’s risen corpses converge on the marauders massed around Assar, pulling one of the living Krona down in their assault. One of the marauders turns to face this new threat, but is unable to inflict any real damage on the undead creatures. The other survivor trades blows with the swift Invarrian, with the only mark left on either of them a long cut across the Krona’s ribs.

The last marauder engaged with Angus is finally brought down by a crushing strike to the head. The shaman and necromancer both watch on as the risen corpses of fallen Krona hold the last living creature down for Assar to finish off.

With the clamour of battle subsided, the Seekers can clearly hear that something from within the pit in the middle of the courtyard, into which the Krona sorcerer disappeared, is gurgling. There is something horribly disconcerting about it.

“Ewww.” – LD.
“The pit has reflux?” – Ladyhawk.

The gigantic pyre still burns fitfully.

“I’m thinking maybe we can try to put the pyre in the pit?” – Dev.
“How?” – Ladyhawk.
“I’m thinking with like, I don’t know, pitchforks? A shovel?” – Dev.
“But it’s a gigantic fire…” – LD.
“We could still drop it down there piece by piece though.” – Dev.
“I’m just going to put this over here, with the rest of the fire.” – Ladyhawk, quoting The IT Crowd.

Angus looks down into the pit, and while he can see something glistening in the depths, he can make out no details.

“Shall we?” – Assar, wiping the ichor from her blades and gesturing towards the tower doors.

* * *

The doorway is obscured by a faded, moth-eaten standard depicting the insignia of the Seekers, the original door having long since rotten away, or perhaps been burnt to cinders by the bestial Krona. Assar pushes through first, accompanied by Mathlynn and her entourage of corpses and then finally Angus, and they are repulsed by what they find.

A small stone room, with a doorway in the corner leading to short corridor and a spiral staircase. But it is the walls which give them pause. Fleshy structures, like organs, seem to be growing from the inside of the walls. Their purpose is unclear, but they seem to pulse every now and again with some kind of fell energy. A viscous red fluid giving off a terrible odour, rhythmically drips from the stuff.

“Any gasoline guys? Bat guano? Anything explosive at all?” – LD.

Assar leads the Seekers down the corridor and up the stairs.

“Up, up, up, up, up the stairs we go.” – Channelling my inner Andy Serkis.
Unfortunately, no one got the reference so I just looked and sounded like a prat.
“And then we get to, the tunnel…” – Ominous, to the sudden realisation of the group.
“To be fair, it was always going to be a Lord of the Rings reference.” – LD.
“Either that or Monty Python.” – Dev.

They come to a landing at the top of the stairs and are greeted by a familiar looking object. A tall, dark-iron rod, crowned with a curious orange gemstone. It looks quite similar to a similar rod wielded by Krona on the edge of the Firescar. Unlike that one, this one appears to be dormant, not firing blasts of orange lightning into the earth.

Mathlynn inspects the object, calling upon her knowledge of profane artefacts and magic. She can see immediately that while this thing is drawing power from an unseen entity in close proximity, this font of power is not daemonic. The method of drawing power is very similar to black magic, but it is drawing it from a different, willing and very powerful source. She recoils, slightly panicked.

“There’s something very powerful behind all this. Something the Krona are drawing from. It is willingly providing them with the power they need to activate these devices.” – Mathlynn, shaken.

Fighting down the urge to vomit, the Dunscarth breaks the inactive lightning rod from its support and takes it for her own, hoping that she might be able to inspect it more closely and in safety later, away from the ambient power of the Krona hive.

Other than the lightning rod and the ever-present fleshy organs growing out of the walls, the room seems empty. The Seekers continue up the stairs, coming to a large, wooden double door. Mathlynn’s minions push the door open.

A wave of stench rushes out to meet the Seekers, causing their eyes to water, but it is the physical component which causes them to double over retching. A veritable tidal wave of offal pours out of the open door, burying the first two undead Krona entirely. Assar, Angus and Mathlynn are quick enough to get out of the way, but of the undead accompanying them, only the risen champion is able to avoid it entirely.

The minions dig themselves out of the crushing offal. One has a completely shattered arm, but they are otherwise unharmed. Once the mass of filth and rotting flesh has settled, Angus and Assar gingerly pick their way through the knee-high waste. It is only a few moments before Assar feels something moving, brushing up against her leg under the flesh.

“Eww gross, it’s like seaweed.” – LD.
“Can I get a Toughness Check please?”
“If this is poisonous I’m going to hurt you.” – LD, rolling and passing her Check.
“Something is gnawing on your ankle.”

Assar lifts her foot from the stinking morass and up comes a little Krona, teeth sunk into her thick leather boot. It is only about six inches long, covered in a bloody slime. Hanging from it is a bundle of thin, fleshy tubes, attached to yet more of the creatures. It seems they’ve been swimming around in the offal, eating as they go, like some kind of gigantic Krona snake.

Assar throws up.

LD almost threw up at the description herself.

Angus helps the poor Invarrian leave the room, where Mathlynn watches on piteously as Assar heaves her guts out.  Eventually she is okay to proceed, and they make their way up the stairs once more, coming to the final doorway.

The risen Krona open the door at Mathlynn’s mental command, revealing a large room. A massive Krona dominates the room, its corpulent majesty magnitudes greater than any specimen the Seekers have seen before. It sits upon what looks to be a crude throne, carved from the stone wall of the tower. Seeing the Seekers, it takes up a truly gigantic stone-headed sceptre and brandishes it at them. With a joint roar, two Krona champions, wielding greataxes and clad in mismatched iron armour, charge forward too.

Spoiler (click to show/hide)

Blades in hand and sickness forgotten, Assar engages one of the champions and they proceed to trade a few blows back and forth. The other champion is immediately dominated by Mathlynn with a surge of daemonic power and she directs it into the combat between its erstwhile comrade and Assar. Her dominated minion bears Assar’s original opponent to the ground and splits its head open with a single mighty swing of its greataxe.

The necromancer’s risen Krona charge into the room, one of the marauders peeling off towards the suddenly motionless dominated champion, the others mobbing the grotesque king. The marauder rips the champion apart with a flurry of savage blows, its target unable to do anything as it dies, held captive within its own miniscule mind.

Only Mathlynn’s risen chieftain is able to inflict any telling blows on the grotesque, tearing a massive gash in the beast’s distended gut. A foul smell erupts from the wound, along with a small flood of pus and digestive fluids. It roars in pain and smashes one of the marauders to pulp with a single swing of its gigantic mace. It steps forward from its throne, corpulent bulk making its movements slow and unsteady. It gives a puzzled grunt and then keels over, face first. Angus stands behind it, hand outstretched, retching at the smell leaking from the hulk.

Assar’s blades flash and the grotesque is dismembered in its sleep.

LD caused a truly obscene amount of damage here, especially considering she’s just a Level 5 Ranger. A total of 54 Damage, plus the Critical Effect from a single attack.

The king is dead. Long live the king…

* * *

“I love this plan.” – Angus, to Mathlynn.

The Seekers stand outside the fortress, ready to reap the rewards for their preparations.

Once the grotesque perished, Mathlynn spent some time charging all the corpses in the area with black magic, rigging them for explosion. The grotesque and its two champions were stationed throughout the tower, the others were raised and positioned near the pit in the centre of the ruined fortress.

Ladyhawk copped another Miscast and rolled the same result on the chart as last time.
“Can I make that one permanent too?” – Ladyhawk.
“Ah, yeah sure.”
“Sweet, my Charisma is now -05.” – Ladyhawk.
“So now we just hate her, or what?” – Dev.
“Being around Mathlynn makes you all pretty uncomfortable and it’s pretty hard for you to get a good night’s rest near her.”
“But you all still like her I guess. I’ll just have a hard time of explaining her actions if she does something that pisses you all off.” – Ladyhawk.

All up, between raising a bunch of corpses and readying the explosions, Mathlynn incurred three Miscasts. One increased her unnatural aura, one caused her eyes to glow red for two hours and the last gave her a vision into the Otherworld, an Insanity Point and an upgrade to the Common Knowledge (Otherworld) Skill.

“I’m getting some good **** from this Miscast table.” – Ladyhawk.
“The eye glowing thing is cool.” – LD.
“I know right? I’d like to keep it permanently too, but it means people can see me in the dark.” – Ladyhawk.
“Yeah, that sucks.” – LD.
“It does make my Witchsight stronger though, which sounds good.” – Ladyhawk.
“Witchsight can be pretty dangerous. The more you use it, the more Insanity Points you may accrue.”

“And now we watch the fires.” – Mathlynn, eyes gleaming red with daemonic light.

The corpses in the tower explode first, blinding white light erupting from within the stone structure. Piece by piece, it crumbles, until nought is left but rubble. Then, one by one, Mathlynn’s minions are ordered to fall into the pit, and down they go.

”I’ve seen this before…” – The insidious voice within Mathlynn’s head.

Blinding white light.

A great rent in the ground, belching smoke.

A small girl, screaming.

A gigantic fanged skull, flames flickering in the eye-sockets.

The sun swallowed by a blanket of death.

“It has begun.”
– That same voice.

Smoke billows up from the foul pit.

The Seekers start their journey back to the main encampment. They have a long road ahead of them.

The Wrap-Up:
First thing I’d like to talk about in this wrap-up is how the initial combat went at the start of this session. It was quite amazing to see how the players react when they are put under stress.

Obviously this encounter was designed to be taken on by five characters, but due to Dev, Ladyhawk and LD begging to keep playing, we got to see how they’d go by themselves. I suppose I could have tried to pull some punches, perhaps retconned the number of Krona, but I chose not to. It was their decision to go for it, they’d have to play it smart or perish.

Starting with Dev, he went into that encounter with the idea of using his Shaman powers to try and control the battlefield. A good plan, but one which did not survive past maybe the second round. Once a bit of stress and danger was added to the situation, Dev started playing Angus like a frontline fighter, presumably because that’s the kind of game-style he’s used to.

LD on the other hand, abandoned her ranged attacks, which were working fairly well, in favour of hand-to-hand combat. To be fair, she didn’t have much of a choice in this regard as without Aella and Whylith, this group had no tank to tie enemies up in close combat. Unfortunately, LD’s inexperience in a tanking role led to her charging into the biggest knot of enemies she could find, and if it weren’t for my phenomenally bad rolling, Assar probably would have died. That said, this is growth in itself, as most of LD’s previous characters would be too cowardly to even attempt a manoeuvre like this.

For Ladyhawk though, she stayed back, holding her distance nicely, possibly because that is the best way to play a blasting type Mage, which is again, the play-style she is used to. Thanks to this distance though, Ladyhawk was able to preserve her nerve and continue to think clearly about her most efficient role. As such, we saw her really play a strong Necromancer, raising corpses as they died, controlling both the battlefield and the action economy with them, while using the fact that Creeping Death can remain active without Concentration if it is held stationery. She used her minions and the damage-over-time from Creeping Death to deal her damage, until the very end where she used Mathlynn’s recent Warrior training and newly acquired longsword to put one marauder down. It really was a great moment for her as a player.

Edited to clean up BBCode tags - Glaurung
« Last Edit: January 30, 2018, 08:07:20 AM by Glaurung »
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Re: The Great Maw: Another Norbayne Campaign Log
« Reply #8 on: January 30, 2018, 06:09:56 AM »
Episode 7: Black Hole Sun (or Obligatory Fire Noises)

Welcome back to The Great Maw.

We’ve a fair group for this episode today, with almost the entire group present. Dev, Ladyhawk, Sins, Redshirt and Yohan all return, as Angus, Mathlynn, Whylith, Aella and Uday respectively. We also gain LaPD for the very first time, playing Mathlynn’s sister, Aracaeda.

LaPD has an extensive video game collection and is an avid RP gamer, having played a lot of Diablo in her youth. That said, she has never dabbled in tabletop games until today, but she took to it very capably. Aracaeda is a Berserker, which grants this group another high quality damage dealer and secondary tank.

I spent the very beginning of this episode walking everyone through the most recent sessions, particularly with shedding some light on what happened to Aella and Whylith in between the end of Episode 5 and now.


Whylith awakens on a rocky ledge. Next to him lies a singed corpse, a Krona beast. Something is wriggling within the mangled flesh of the creature, and he knows that it is the clutch gestating within. He shudders with revulsion at what would have happened had he not awoken before they finished the meal of their parent.

Orange light reflects against the rocky walls all around, and the sound of a ferocious fire below deafens him. He rolls the disgusting corpse to the edge of the rocky promontory, but looks down before disposing of it. Another ledge protrudes beneath, and upon it lies the unconscious bulk of a Feartarbh, two massive blades lying beside her. The binder calls to her, and her ears flicker in response. Wearily, she looks up at him and recognition appears on her face.

It takes a lot of struggle, but eventually the two of them manage to get Aella up to the higher ledge. Together, they throw the corpse into the great fires beneath them.

They look up, to the night sky so far above, the rift they fell through now at least a good thirty feet above them.

Now, to get to the top…

* * *

In the weeks which followed the destruction of the fortress in the mountains, Krona activity on the island had decreased dramatically. What’s more, Seeker numbers had increased a little too. A fleet of ships bearing supplies and recruits arrived, but the spirits of those gathered did not remain raised for long, as the crew brought ill tidings too.

Krona power across the Kandsza Isles as a whole had not decreased at all, and elsewhere the Seekers were hard pressed to halt their advance. More and more Krona splinter fleets were landing in the North of Norbayne, bringing the inexorable assault to the mainland. Villages all over the north-west coast had already been evacuated or alternatively put to the torch by the marauding Krona, and while the nobility were raising armies to meet them, it was already too late for many of the common folk.

Despite the best efforts of the Seekers situated across the Westrand, the Krona have still been able to hit the mainland with something approaching impunity.

Even Whylith and Aella’s return, long after they were presumed dead, did little to raise the spirits of those within the Seeker encampment. Try as they might, none of the Seekers were able to get too much information out of them about how they had survived. Neither was willing to talk about their experience in the rift. Not yet anyway.

For one of the Seekers however, this war had done some good. Mathlynn’s sister, Aracaeda, arrived on one of the caravels, having enlisted with the Seekers after an attack on Orthburgh. Though they had not seen each other for many years, the two sisters greeted each other warmly, and spent many evenings together, sharing the stories of their recent lives.

That is when it all starts to go wrong.

One night, the sun sets. Come the morn, it does not rise.

“How do I roll again?” – Yohan, obviously asking which dice are used the majority of checks.
“Normally you just project the dice from your hand and onto the table.” – As literally as possible.

Preliminary scouting groups are sent west, trying to determine what has happened. The ones which return bring grave news. Bands of Krona have appeared in force, looking to re-establish their foothold over the island. The Firescar, where hopes had been pinned on its growth halting or even its size diminishing as the Krona, and particularly their sorcerers, were exterminated, has started to grow exponentially in size once more. Some estimates state the island will be consumed within two months if the growth remains steady.

Since the first dawn without sunlight, the Krona have become more powerful. Their numbers seem to have increased drastically once more and they’ve thrown themselves into conflicts with even greater savagery. The Seekers had determined in the past that the Krona seemed more active and ferocious at night, and it seems the constant darkness blanketing the Kandsza Isles has just prolonged that hellish energy.

Mathlynn, Aracaeda and Angus dedicate a lot of time into researching the phenomenon, but it all comes down to one grave factor. There are not a few things in the world with the power to obscure the sun over a small area for a short time, but this is not the same. The magnitude of this event is far greater than anything they can recall.

As a Dunscarth, the permanent darkness is hardly a problem for her, but Mathlynn cannot help but think of the vision she received over a month ago as she oversaw the destruction of the mountain fortress. It fills her with dread.

While they study intently, Uday slaves away at his forge. He dedicates his time evenly between various pieces of his allies’ equipment, constructing another ‘Scorpion-pattern’ ballista to affix to the cart and adding to the inert body of the golem he’s collaborating with Mathlynn on. Some of the pieces which emerge from his work are fantastic, a testament to the Bruin’s skill.

It is Angus who eventually provides an answer. The great lake-spirit they roused on the way to the mountain fortress, which believed itself a god. If anything on these islands had the power to black out the sun, it was that. The shaman reports his suspicions to Captain Stenglein, who gathers her remaining Seekers together for a briefing.

* * *

“I recall a story from my youth… Hell, it was a children’s story. A great serpent which dwelt in an underground river. The people along the riverbank used to sacrifice a heort or a daeor every year to appease it, but eventually they stopped. It grew angry and rose from the river to wreak vengeance, flooding the caverns as punishment. They treated with it, made sacrifices to it, and put it back to sleep. This could be similar.” – Aracaeda, wracking her memory.

Spoiler: Aracaeda (click to show/hide)

“That story reminds me of some of the things the Danann are supposed to believe about their gods.” – Mathlynn, quietly.

“Yes, the Fomoraigh came to this world seeking the light and life of the Sidhe. They feasted themselves to the point of collapse and apparently retreated under the Wardenfells to sleep. Now they are satiated by a constant stream of blood from the Danann. So goes the story anyway.” – Angus, dismissive.

“A great beast with an enormous appetite is being fed by the constant sacrifices of a, now presumably lost, Dunscarth civilisation. When they stop, it rises up from beneath and starts wreaking havoc all around until they put it back to sleep with more blood. Sounds pretty similar to me.” –Whylith, reproachful.

“Oh no, I wasn’t suggesting Mathlynn was wrong about the similarity, merely that the Sidhe still exist in great numbers in our world. A cataclysm like the one the Danann claim occurred should have driven the Sidhe into extinction.” – Angus.

“What kind of blood does it need?” – Redshirt.
“Feartarbh.” – Yohan and Sins simultaneously.
“Really?” – Redshirt, evidently believing them.
“Yeah.” – Yohan and Sins.
“**** you guys.” – Redshirt.

“Alright, bugger this, let’s go to the lake and I’ll try to talk to it again.” – Dev.
“Last time you tried that it practically tried to eat you, right?” – Redshirt.
Close enough.
“That’s cause I wasn’t very good last time.” – Dev.
“You’ve never been very good at talking to anyone, least of all spirits. Repeatedly punching them in the face does not endear you to them.” – Ladyhawk.

“All this talk about spirits and Sidhe is no good to me-“ – Captain Stenglein, interrupted.

“Actually, spirits and the Sidhe are one and the same.” – Angus, cutting in helpfully.

“Whatever. You’re the experts though. What can we do about this?” – Stenglein.

“I believe I can get information from the creature in the lake. I may even be able to get it to back down, but at the very least I can find out why it has done it.” – Angus.

“Very well, take any supplies you might need and find some answers.” – Stenglein, dismissing the Seekers.

* * *

The travelling band of Seekers pass the fishing village on the edge of the lake in the early morning. No boats are moored today and the hut in which Assar and Mathlynn once found a gremlin is not only abandoned, but is now a guttered husk of a ruin. It looks like a significant magical explosion took place within.

A succession of images flicker into Mathlynn’s vision for an instant.

A cold blue light emanating from within the hut on a starless night.

A blinding flash.

A high-pitched scream.

Grey ash, drifting in the wind.

At Mathlynn’s prompting, Angus looks around for any trace of the gremlin, but he finds no sign of it.

They continue on in silence.

* * *

They reach the Firescar well within the day, at least as far as they’re able to make out. It has grown substantially since they last encountered it.

“May I borrow that pencil please?”
“Oh ****.” – Ladyhawk, as I scribble in the new dimensions of the Firescar on the map of the island.

The Seekers make their way south along the Firescar, intending to head through the Sirok Delta once more.

They make camp on the edge of the marshes, not knowing how much time had really passed since they set out, but knowing they are tired.

* * *

It would be difficult to get a fair night’s rest in such close proximity to the Firescar anyway, but if anything the roar of the flames is even louder than ever before.

If only that were the only noise keeping the Seekers awake through the night.

The Krona encampment deep in the Sirok Delta, which had been razed some months ago by a strike force of Seekers, seemed to have been re-established. The glow of their fires lit up the horizon and their bestial snarls, grunts and roars carried on the hot winds.

“Come the morning, we raze that camp again.” – Uday, frustrated and unable to get to sleep.

But it was the sporadic howling from other creatures deep in the marshes that really set the teeth on edge. It seemed to even have an effect on the Krona, who ceased their own bellowing for a short time after each howl, as if fearful of an attack.

The dancing marsh-lights returned at one stage, worryingly close to the Seekers’ campsite, while Whylith was on watch, but they disappeared soon enough.

* * *

It may well have been early in the morning, but the Seekers had no way of knowing, when they got to within viewing distance of the delta encampment. It hadn’t changed much since last they destroyed it, save that, if anything, it appears to be even larger. One thing which does stand out is the gate, if it can be called such. The massive upper jaw of some kind of beast, something large enough to easily swallow even Aella whole. The teeth alone are almost as long as Angus is tall. The Seekers just thank their stars that the thing is dead.

“What on earth did they kill to get that gateway?” – Aracaeda, shaking her head.

“More importantly, how did they kill it?” – Whylith, grimly.

A gigantic pyre dominates the centre of the camp, as is pretty regular for the Krona. All around the encampment, stretching up to a mile into the marshes, are clusters of fissures, belching flames and foul gases into the swamp air.

A horde of over twenty Krona are locked in a melee around the pyre, observed by one of their sorcerers, a huge specimen, much larger than any of the spellcasters the Seekers had seen previously. It is clad in a mess of hide robes, which look like skin brutally flayed from the backs of multiple corpses and crudely stitched together and carries a heavy iron staff, topped with a large crystal which flashes periodically with orange lightning.

“That staff is one of the devices they use to create the fissures.” – Angus, to the others.

“Oh God, I can make a gun that shoots fissures.” – Yohan.
“Oh, that’d be good.” – Sins, possibly sarcastic.
“Hey, well, PG’s the one who said I could make stuff.” – Yohan.
“Unlimited power.” – Redshirt.
“I could even try to incorporate it into close combat weapons. I could make a hammer that when you smash it on the ground it opens a fissure to hell.” – Yohan.
“Whoa.” – Dev.
“Yeah, it’d be great. The possibilities are endless.” – Yohan.
“No, that’s a bad whoa. Like I’m not sure I’m happy with that much power being in our hands to be honest.” – Dev, shaking his head.
“Look at it this way though, if I get to study it, I might be able to reverse the effects.” – Yohan, entreating the rest of the group.

“Don’t let that crystal get destroyed if you can help it. I’d like to study it.” – Uday, quietly.

“Considering how just about every sorcerer we’ve come across so far has pretty well blown itself up, that might be a bit difficult.” – Mathlynn, sarcastic.

Spoiler (click to show/hide)

“So we need to do this quickly then?” – Aracaeda, drawing her greatsword.

The rage builds within her and she looses a feral growl, charging off into the midst of the melee. Her heavy blade cleaves directly through her first target, a surprised marauder which turned just in time for the Dunscarth’s sword to almost cut it in half from shoulder to waist.

Equally surprised, Aella, Whylith and Angus move up as well, the shaman transmuting one unlucky Krona’s veins and arteries into thorny brambles. It roars in agony, pinned in place by the unnatural growth. The binder calls up his shadow fields and readies himself for any coming impact.

The nearly bisected fallen marauder twitches with false life as Mathlynn forces a daemon into it, ordering it to its feet to have it guard her sister’s back.

“Ah ****.”
“What is it?” – Ladyhawk, who thought something was actually wrong.
“Oh it’s nothing, I just don’t think I’ve ever had a caster not Miscast when you guys fight it.”

The Krona sorcerer roars in anger and directs the marauders towards the Seekers, the mass melee forgotten. It tries to cast something, but it fizzles into nothing, with only a chill breeze, faintly smelling of brimstone, wafting through the immediate area.

The marauders fall upon Aracaeda first, a heavy impact smashing into the Dunscarth’s chest. It cracks some ribs, but if it bothers her, she gives no sign. The wight standing behind her intercepts one of the Krona attempting to flank her and messily tears it’s head off.

The other Krona move on to Whylith and Aella, causing some minor flesh wounds to the hulking Feartarbh. Whylith is completely untouched, his shadow fields absorbing and repelling the damage back at the surrounding beasts.

Aella and Whylith combine to put down the last of the marauders around them before a Krona overlord smashes into the Midlander, massive stone greataxe crashing through the surprised Whylith’s guard and sending him flying.

“You should still have a Parry left there Sins. It’s an Impact weapon so you’ll still take half damage even if you Parry though.”
“Yeah, I’m probably going to die, but I should be able to Parry… No, I will not.” – Sins, who rolls and fails.
“What did you get?” – Dev.
“26, and the overlord’s Combat Skill is probably over 50.” – Sins, to my nodding.
“Don’t you have any bonuses to Parry?” – Dev.
“26 included my bonuses.” – Sins, shaking his head.
“Oh right, yeah you’re ****ed.”

“How much damage was that?” – Yohan, as Sins tallies up his damage resistance.
“26 Rending, so ignoring half of Whylith’s armour.”
“****, that would have killed me like twice over.” – Yohan, whistling.
“Would have killed just about everyone at this table to be fair.”
“Not me. Normally, maybe, but I’ve got 28 Health thanks to Frenzy at the moment. It’d just tickle.” – Redshirt.
“One hell of a tickle.” – LaPD.

Whylith struggles to his hands and knees, coughing up blood. His armour and shadow fields absorbed enough of the blow that he is still alive but his ribs are a mess.

A keening shriek rolls over the battlefield as the Krona sorcerer draws on too much power again. An unearthly pall descends around the caster, inky blackness impossible to see into, an even darker shade than the unnatural night around them already. The blackness envelops Aracaeda, Aella and Whylith, cutting them off from the other Seekers. Within the shroud they can hardly see at all, not even Aracaeda, who spent most of her life in the underground empire of the Merigund.

Worst of all, the pall is cloying, sticking to their ears and muffling sound, obscuring their sense of smell. Only the faint grunting and screeching of the Krona around them, also trapped in the darkness, can be heard.

I ask for Willpower Checks from Aracaeda, Aella and Whylith, with a -10 penalty. All pass.

Suddenly, the ground trembles beneath their feet.

Agility Checks from Aracaeda, Aella and Whylith. Whylith passes even with the -20 penalty from his busted ribs. Aella fails, but expends a Luck Point and manages to catch herself on the edge of the fissure before falling in.

LaPD rolls a 47. She expends one of Aracaeda’s Luck Points and rolls again.

47 once more.

I decide to give her a free re-roll on the house.

In an absolutely incredible turn of fate, she rolls a 47 once more.

“The dice have spoken.”

On all fours, in the dark, Whylith rolls to the side, avoiding the yawning chasm opening beneath him. He takes some deep breaths, forcing down the pain and panic which threatens to overwhelm him.

Aella for her part has no such luck and falls directly into the shadowy fissure opening beneath her, but her strong fingers clamp down on the rocky earth on the very edge of the chasm as she falls. A stray burst of flame licks her as she dangles from the edge, and she screams as the fur on her back singes, but she is otherwise unharmed.

In the middle of a pack of Krona, Aracaeda falls. Alongside her, one of the overlord’s bodyguards, a huge creature, razor-sharp tusks glinting in the shadows.

“Great, I'm stuck down here with it.” – LaPD.
“No that’s the wrong way to see it. it is down there with you.” – Sins.

A ledge of rock, invisible in the unnatural shadows juts out from the chasm wall, and Aracaeda and the bodyguard smash straight into it.

“Okay, so both of you are Stunned, so the way I’m going to do this is get you and the bodyguard to both roll Initiative to see who can scramble for their weapon and strike first.”

Frantically, ignoring the spasming in her back, Aracaeda’s fingers scrabble in the darkness, searching for a weapon, her sword, a knife, anything she can use to put an end to this creature beside her. Her fingers close on the hilt of her sword and she quickly rises to her feet, kicking the struggling Krona back to the ground and cleaving into its head. The creature is a hacked up ruin when she is done with it.

Ten feet above, on the surface, a pack of Krona stumble upon the wounded Whylith and lay into him with their crude weapons. With a last gasp, he transfers his wards to his closest ally, who happens to be Aella, desperately holding on to the edge of the fissure wall. An axe falls, his eyes close and his blood flows in earnest…

Aella hauls herself up and lays into the marauders standing over the fallen binder, slaying them all in a terrible spray of ichor.

Angus delves into the darkness, power building within him as he channels as much spirit energy as he can. Mace in hand, he is drawn to the muffled sounds of Aella smashing into marauders and is almost decapitated himself by the hulking warrior, who can hardly see between the cloying darkness of the sorcerer’s shroud and the red pushing at the edges of her Frenzied vision.

Practically tripping over the fallen Whylith, Angus immediately kneels and does what he can to stabilise the brutalised Midlander.

A single degree of success on Angus’  Heal Wounds Check.

Carefully, Angus supports the binder’s head and tries to treat the worst of his wounds. He succeeds at stopping the bleeding, but not much else.

Whylith is stabilised at -1 Health. He is no longer bleeding out, but is still unconscious and terribly wounded.

Another pack of marauders comes roaring out of the darkness and Aella thunders off to meet them head on, blades whirling in fevered anticipation. She takes a glancing blow from one of the Krona, but the furious Feartarbh hardly feels it.

Aracaeda climbs out of the pit, shaken and injured, but alive. She can barely make out the shadowed figures of the marauders and Feartarbh locked in mortal combat, but she hefts her blade and charges in once more.


“I can’t see anything within. I don’t want to shoot just in case.” – Uday, to Mathlynn.

“Hmm, maybe… I can tell my minions to go in there and ignore our allies…” – Mathlynn, mostly to herself.

“What was that?” – Uday. All the Seekers’ hearing is impaired for the moment.

All over the battlefield, the mangled corpses of Krona slain by the Seekers rise again, forced to do the Dunscarth necromancer’s bidding. Slowly, they shamble into the darkness in a great horde, almost a score strong when added to the surviving patchworks Mathlynn had already raised.

Together, they march through the darkness.

Angus startles at first when the huge pack of mangled Krona loom out of the darkness, and throws himself over the body of Whylith to protect him, but quickly understands their presence when he sees their terrible wounds, shambling gait and the blazing white balefire flickering in their eyes, tell-tale signs of Mathlynn’s daemonic power.

The patchworks fall upon the marauders surrounding Aella and Aracaeda, dragging two Krona down.

* * *

Having reloaded his scorpions, Uday’s breath catches in his throat when he sees a gigantic Krona overlord emerge from the darkness, massive, bloodstained axe gripped in both fists. The overlord bellows a mighty roar and sprints straight at the Bruin, who calmly looses a bolt at the hulking creature. The projectiles takes the beast in the chest, but hardly slows it.

Uday takes a deep breath and switches to his other scorpion...

* * *

Preoccupied with Whylith’s injuries, Angus almost doesn’t register the danger until it is already upon him. One of the overlord’s bodyguards swings a heavy stone maul at the shaman, and it is all Angus can do to try and throw himself out of the way. He tries to get to his feet, but cannot in time and the Krona’s maul smashes into the Highlander’s shoulder, sending him flying. Angus’ head cracks on a rock, and he sees no more…

“Try to Parry…” – Dev, who rolls and then surreptitiously tries to hide his dice under the table.
“What did you roll mate?” – Laughing at the attempt.
“Yeah, not good. 13, way too low.” – Dev, sadly.
“So that’s 20 Damage. I rolled pretty low.”
“Yeah, I’m ****ing dead.” – Dev.
“Hang on a minute, you’re only at -6. We’ve got forty seconds to try and save you.” – Sins, looking over Dev’s character sheet. 
“Relying on you guys to save me? I’d better start rolling up a new character.” – Dev, laughing ruefully.

The Seekers can hear the guttural incantations of the Krona sorcerer as it prepares another spell, and they brace themselves as best they can, but the tone of the beast grows panicked and eventually there is a blast like thunder, startling to even their already muffled ears. A blinding flash of light emanates from the sorcerer, banishing the unnatural darkness, as it levitates almost ten feet from the ground. Hellish flames lick from its open snout as the creature is made a slave by the unearthly power it tries to wield, and then it smashes into the ground, bone pulverised and ichor flying everywhere.

“So I Miscast again guys…” – To the general mirth and/or frustration of all present.

Where the sorcerer met its end, the ground falls away. It appears another Firescar is forming, and it is growing exponentially in size as the seconds tick by.

Two of Mathlynn’s patchworks peel off from the skirmish with the marauders and proceed to drag Angus and Whylith back to the cart. It is slow going, but they manage to outpace the growing rift, for now at least.

Aracaeda smashes the hilt of her sword into the head of the first marauder, stunning it and allowing her to cleave both it and another practically in half, all the while roaring her rage. Her eyes lock onto the hulking figure of the bodyguard which put down Angus, stalking dangerously.

Shrugging off blows from the marauders all around her, Aella lays into them, tearing three apart with a flashing of blades. Between her, Aracaeda and Mathlynn’s patchworks, the tide is gradually beginning to turn.

“Okay Dev, you’re bleeding out. Toughness Check to determine if you drop to -7.”
“Ah, failed by 2, but I can use a daily re-roll from Sturdy.” – Dev, who rolls again.
He rolls and groans.
“70.” – Dev, who face-desks.
“He can re-roll a daily re-roll with a Luck Point, yeah?” – Sins.
Dev rolls a 42.
“Yeah, you’re just **** at rolling man.”
All up Angus lost a Luck Point and his daily Toughness re-roll and still lost a point of Health. It is a cruel game.

* * *

The overlord has almost made it to the cart when Uday shoots again, the bolt tearing out the massive creature’s throat and almost severing its head. Breathing a sigh of relief, the artificer jumps from the cart towards the two patchworks struggling to drag the fallen Angus and Whylith.

Mathlynn directs four of her patchworks to form a ring around her sisterand directs half of the rest towards the last of the marauders on Aella, dragging them down and partially devouring them. The other half shamble towards the bodyguard. They scrabble at its armour and are generally ineffectual, but they do distract it from the true threat in Aracaeda.

So LaPD rolls another Critical here, and then proceeds to get the highest result on said chart.

“What I have written here is, “The enemy is killed in whatever spectacular fashion the player or GM cares to describe. So basically LaPD, will you do it or shall I?”
“Hmm, I’ll get you to do it, but I’ll request it somehow includes the genitals.” – LaPD, to the shocked laughter of most everyone present.
“Do the Krona even have genitals?” – Dev.
“No I don’t think they do.” – Sins.
“They do not, but that’s okay.”

The berserker shoves aside a couple of patchworks to clear her way and strikes a mighty blow, practically bisecting the massive Krona from its head to its crotch.

LaPD applauds my description.
“I’m wincing just sitting here.” – Yohan, as Redshirt and LaPD discuss whether said cleaving blow would be more effective and/or gratifying if performed with a downward or upwards strike.

“Is anything still alive?” – Redshirt, eager to keep her Slayer Talent going.
“No, other than you guys, everything is dead, including Angus!” – Cheerfully.

Uday manages to stabilise Angus, and both the shaman and binder are bundled into the cart, the Seekers hoping to get them to proper medical attention as soon as possible.

The rift which formed when the sorcerer blew itself up is still growing, and Uday surmises they have but minutes before the whole encampment is swallowed by the yawning pit.

Corpses, both inert and risen by Mathlynn’s magics start to twitch as the Krona embryos attempt to eat their way out. Under Mathlynn’s will, they’re all risen and walked into the chasm.

“If I look down the hole, can I see that crystal by any chance?” – Yohan.
“No, I’m afraid not. It was lost in the flames when the sorcerer fell.”
“And it is just fire and hell down there?” – Yohan.
“Yeah I’m sorry. No chance of recovering it man.”
“I go back to my cart and cry.” – Yohan.
“Aww.” – Ladyhawk and LaPD simultaneously.
“Ah nah, I’ll just be really grumpy for the whole trip back to camp.” – Yohan.

Spoiler (click to show/hide)

“Hey, what the hell is that!?” – Mathlynn, peering down into the rift.

It appears that something is accelerating the growth of the pit. Massive tendrils that look to be made of segmented bone rip into the chasm walls, barbs and hooks digging into the earth and pulling it down into the fires.

Uday throws a rock, and the other Seekers watch horrified as the stone clinks off one of the bone tendrils.

Nothing happens. Whatever it is, it did not notice and it remains intent upon the task at hand.

“So what I just did there is the ranged equivalent of poking something with a stick. We didn’t get any response. Maybe though, Mathlynn, you might be able to try the magic version of the same?” – Uday.

Despite her misgivings, Mathlynn attempts to form some kind of connection with the creature, whatever it is. She is unable to dominate it, but she can feels a vast, malevolent presence directing it to continue what it is doing.

Slowly, she can feel the presence turning toward her. Frantically she breaks the connection.

“We have to go. Now.” – Mathlynn.

“Whylith and Angus are going to need some time to recover and I am not going to that lake without either of them good to go. We’ll head back to the camp.” – Uday, to general agreement.

“I turn the cart around.” – Yohan.
“Hey, I turn the cart around.” – Redshirt, laughing.
“I tell you to turn the cart around.” – Yohan.
“Actually, combat’s over. Aella loses her temporary Health.”
“Hope you can get your golem working, cause I’m not going to be pulling anything.” – Redshirt, adjusting her Health total.

Aella drops to the ground, adrenaline wearing off. While none of the injuries she took were too serious by themselves, she’s lost a lot of blood.

“Mathlynn, I need you to charge this golem for me. I’ve finished my end of it, but I need you to give it power.” – Uday, who uncovers the pieces from the bottom of the cart, and begins assembling the construct.

It is squat, approximately five feet tall and almost that wide, made of scrap wood and iron. The Bruin finishes assembling it and then looks over Aella’s injuries.

Mathlynn for her part takes in the receptacles of power on the body of the construct and then draws a clutch of daemons into them. She imparts instructions to them, to obey Uday as their master and dominates them to her will. Finally, she believes it is ready, and the golem is hitched to the cart to draw it back to the Seekers’ camp, Aella, Whylith and Angus all laid out within.

“On the plus side, they can’t repopulate this camp again.” – Yohan.
“We thought the same last time.” – Dev.
“Yeah, but there’s no camp left now.”
“It’s just a hole.” – Yohan.
“It was always a hole.” – Ladyhawk.

“Actually, we could still go to the lake. We could just throw them in as sacrifices.” – Yohan.
“That wasn’t the plan all along?” – Ladyhawk.
“We could do it actually. I’ll just make some golems to replace them.” – Yohan, getting way too thoughtful about this.

“So you return to camp, unsuccessful.”
“We were successful at clearing a camp.” – Yohan.
“A camp you didn’t even know needed clearing, which also almost cost you two Seekers.”
“That’s still pretty good though.” – Ladyhawk.
“Has the sun come up?”
“No.” – Ladyhawk, pouting.
“I’d pout too, but where’s the lie though?” – LaPD, laughing.

* * *

“You’re back earlier than I expected. What happened out there?” – Captain Stenglein.

Angus, Aella and Whylith are all interred in the infirmary, slowly recovering from their ordeal. It has fallen to Aracaeda, Mathlynn and Uday to debrief the Seeker captain on what occurred in the Sirok Delta.

“The delta encampment was repopulated. We thought it a good opportunity to attempt to capture one of their sorcerers alive. Unfortunately, it died, and in the process, may have opened up a new Firescar, one growing at a ridiculous rate.” – Uday.

“What’s more, there’s something within the rift, making it grow, digging at the sides.” – Mathlynn.

“Something within? Were you able to determine what it was?” – Stenglein, alarmed.

“No idea. We could only see these huge bone tendrils digging away at the walls, but there was something guiding it. The tendrils themselves were mindless. Whatever the guiding force is, it is big and very powerful.” – Mathlynn.

"Any idea how much it will grow?" - Stenglein, horrified.

"It looked like another, albeit smaller, Firescar. Presumably like the Firescar, it will keep growing indefinitely." - Uday, shaking his head.

"And we now have three wounded Seekers and we're no closer to sorting out this sun business. We cannot afford to wait for Angus and Whylith to recover fully. You must go back out and investigate further. You have three days to prepare. Talk to the quartermaster and requisition anything you might need to assist on your mission. I will find two more Seekers to replace Angus and Whylith." - Stenglein, dismissing the Seekers.

I ask for everyone to put down things they want on a list. Unfortunately I cannot recall what they all got, and I do not have the list on me at the moment. I will update this when I find the list. *EDIT* I found the list.
- Aella: Pretty sure it was better armour.

- Angus: It seems Dev was too busy writing up his new character that he forgot to put anything specifically for himself, but I did find a very faint 'Poison' on the sheet. Maybe that was his?

- Aracaeda: There were some legitimate requests, but I specifically remember money and bitches gold and hoes.

- Elenthrus: Better equipment, nice daggers, maybe some armour. Some kind of natural camouflage perhaps.

- Mathlynn: Corpses. Mathlynn asked undertakers to send corpses from the mainland. She also asked for any magical resources that might aid her necromancy.

- Uday: All sorts of scrap material, ranging from old weapons and armour through to broken farm equipment and furniture, some fine metal ingots and a proper forge.

- Whylith: At least five shields and some kind of Soulfire reservoir.

And we pretty much left it there...

Spoiler: Dev's new character: (click to show/hide)

The Wrap-Up:

First of all, I’d like to extend a warm welcome to LaPD. I felt she did a fantastic job in her first session.

Unfortunately, my own work in this session was pretty lacklustre. I think I kind of rushed everything a bit at the start and didn’t implement the various things I had come up with to try and break up the monotony of the same Krona marauders with almost every fight. I did do some preparation for this session, but not as much as I would normally do, so it ended up being a bit average.

That said, everyone still said they enjoyed themselves, so it can’t have been too bad.

Cheers guys,

Edited to clean up BBCode tags - Glaurung
« Last Edit: January 30, 2018, 08:22:26 AM by Glaurung »
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Re: The Great Maw: Another Norbayne Campaign Log
« Reply #9 on: March 21, 2018, 02:51:40 AM »
Episode 8: Seven Years (or They're Trying to Bring Down the Mountain!)

Welcome back to The Great Maw.

We’ve a fair group for this episode today, with almost the entire group present. Ladyhawk, Redshirt, Yohan and LaPD all return, as Mathlynn, Aella and Uday and Aracaeda respectively. We also have Sins taking up Elenthrus once more, and Dev, with his new character Lleyne.

Despite all the hopes of the Seekers, the sun has not risen by the third day. Every hour, the bell tolls in the encampment, denoting both dawn and dusk, midday and midnight as the timekeepers reckon it to be. They have no real way of knowing, but they hold to their ritual anyway, providing some kind of routine and order to the daily lives of the Seekers living within the walls.

Word from the Seekers on the other isles of the Westrand tells a similar story. No one is any closer to what has caused the phenomenon.

It has been three days since our group of Seekers returned, battered and wounded, from the Sirok Delta. Aella has recovered from her injuries well enough, and while her limping occasionally opens up barely healed wounds, her indomitable constitution means she’s well and truly able to handle it. Both Whylith and Angus however, are still critically wounded and remain laid up in the infirmary.

In their absence, Captain Stenglein has attached two more Seekers to the strike force, Elenthrus, an experienced Feartarbh scout, and Lleyne, a newly-arrived Woodsman archer from the Gwyrai Forest.

“If this lake spirit is truly behind this, we must go out and at least make contact with it.” – Elenthrus.

“With Angus wounded however we may not have anyone able to communicate with it.” – Aella.

“We still have a caster, no?” – Uday, gesturing towards the silent Mathlynn.

“Treating with spirits is quite different from my kind of magic. I may have no luck.” – Mathlynn.

“But a daemon should be able to talk to a spirit. Summon a daemon and have it translate.” – Lleyne, to the flinches of everyone present.

“Yeah I can’t see that being a good idea. Like at all.” – Mathlynn, shaking her head after getting past the initial shock.

“So what can we do if we can’t talk to the lake spirit?” – Uday, starting to get frustrated.

“We could blow up this new rift forming in the delta.” – Lleyne, to the astonishment of Mathlynn.

“By the Flame, that is a terrible idea. Last we saw it was growing already, and if it is indeed like the Firescar, it will continue doing so indefinitely. It doesn’t need us to help it along.” – Mathlynn. 

“Have we ever looked into just what is causing these rifts to grow the way they are?” – Uday.

“Yes, we determined that it is a ritual the Krona sorcerers are performing, and they’re using those orange crystals to channel the power.” – Mathlynn.

“Of course, the crystals. We need to find out more about them. Where they’re from, what they are. If we can just get our hands on one, with the help of our casters I might be able to reverse engineer it and make something that can at least halt the growth, if not close the rifts entirely.” – Uday, thoughtful.

“That’s a huge goal.” – Elenthrus, sceptical.

“I’ve devoted my life to science. Always aim higher than you believe you can reach. Regardless, it’s the best idea I have.” – Uday, matter-of-fact.

“So we’re just going to randomly hunt down things?” – Sins.
“Randomly hunt down things with staves, yes, and if one of the big fighter types can try to grapple the bastard before PG blows him up with a Miscast, that’d be great.” – Yohan.
“I don’t know how to grapple.” – Redshirt.
“Everyone can grapple. No, wait, I don’t know how to either, but I assume we can figure it out as we go.” – Yohan, to general laughter.

“While this is a worthy goal, it doesn’t solve our problem with the sun.” – Aracaeda.

“No, that is true. I would be willing to try and communicate with the spirit in the lake if everyone feels that’s our best chance.” – Mathlynn.

“I feel like everyone’s forgetting how it tried to kill us last time we were there.” – Aella, who of course would recall that quite readily, as she was quite badly injured.

“That said, according to Angus, it didn’t mean to. It was just harvesting and we happened to be in the area. I’m willing to give it a try.” – Mathlynn, shrugging.

“Okay, so we go to the lake and we keep the crystal collection business open as a side-quest of sorts. A ‘collect 15 Orange Crystals and turn them in to progress to the next quest,’ kind of thing, yeah?” – Yohan.

“You know how you said you wanted to know where these crystals came from? Wasn’t the fortress up in the mountains built upon mines?” – Elenthrus, deep in thought.

“Aye, that sounds familiar.” – Mathlynn, nodding.

“I daresay that there’s a substantial tunnel system running beneath that fortress. It may well be worth looking at if you wish to find the origin of those crystals.” – Elenthrus, turning to Uday.

“The lake is on the way to the mountains really. Hopefully we can deal with the creature in there on the way.” – Uday.

* * *

The Seekers set out for the mountains, taking the southern route through the marshes of the Sirok Delta, or at least, that was the intention. In truth however, the Sirok Delta has more or less ceased to exist. Now, what was once a swampy morass is now just a gigantic flaming pit, akin to the Firescar which divides the island. The tributary rivers and streams have all dried up, as has the ground around the pit. The only consolation is the fact that the Krona have not re-settled.

After several hours, the Seekers decide to make camp to rest, with no way of really knowing just how much time has passed.

The marsh-lights are not spotted, but all the Seekers feel uneasy in the warm night air, as if they are being watched…

* * *

The Seekers find themselves in the lands surrounding the great lake, in which the primordial spirit dwells. The grass is extremely long, the entire plain verdant and teeming with plant-life, the ground underfoot difficult to traverse. Unable to see ahead, they spend hours searching the plain, picking through the ridiculously tall grass, re-treading the same ground many times over, trying to make it to the village near the lake.

Eventually they must stop and rest, and so they set up camp. It is only then that they realise something is wrong…

A sense of lethargy overcomes all of them and they are far more exhausted than they should be. Lines have appeared on faces that they shouldn’t have, growth ridges on horns that weren’t there mere hours ago.

“According to my horns, I should be almost thirty years old…” – Elenthrus, troubled.

“And I’m over forty… What’s happened?” – Aella.

All around the camp, the Seekers are astounded to see that they’ve aged dramatically over the course of the day. Over five years each as they reckon it, though not as many as ten.

“We have not wandered around this plain for five years. Something else is behind this.” – Elenthrus, swiftly cutting away his shaggy fur where it has grown too long.

“I recall Angus saying that the thing in the lake bleeds power and life, but I think I understand why now. It bleeds out, speeding the growth of everything growing around it so it can pull in a greater harvest. Slowly growing more and more powerful with every harvest, an indefinite process. Fascinating…” – Mathlynn, half to herself.

“So essentially it slowly bleeds off say twenty percent of its power into everything growing around it, infusing it with life until it reaps the harvest, reclaiming substantially more power than it put in? Is that how it works?” – Uday, following Mathlynn’s theory.

“It seems like it, yes.” – Mathlynn, nodding.

“So we’ve been flooded with life in preparation for the slaughter? That sounds like a crap deal.” – Elenthrus.

“We can’t stay here and rest then. We need to find this lake and get out of here.” – Aracaeda, to general sounds of agreement.

The Seekers break camp and head north, hoping to stumble across the lake in the dark.

* * *

The lake appears serene, untouched by the devastation which has hit the rest of the island. Around the lake, flowers and tall grass blooms.

“I don’t think it is long before the next harvest. We must move quickly.” – Elenthrus.

“The lake is calm and placid.”
“Nope! I’m staying away from the lake. It’s always a trap.” – Yohan.
“True. Always a trap.” – Sins, echoing the sentiment.
“Last time I touched a lake in any game a kraken came out of it.” – Yohan.
“Hell, last time I ran a game with a lake in it I’m pretty sure a kraken came out. Come to think of it, I think you were the one who touched it…” – To Yohan.

“The spirit is in this lake, no?” – Lleyne, on edge, arrow nocked and ready on his bowstring.

“Yes, it should be here. Unless it has left, but Angus made it seem like it wasn’t going anywhere.” – Mathlynn, not really paying attention.

“We should never have come here. Every moment we stay here, the more danger we’re in. She can’t even communicate with it anyway!” – Lleyne.

“I agree. The longer we’re here the weaker we get.” – Uday, nodding.

“If we leave now without trying to communicate with it though, we’ll just have to go through this entire process again. We’re already here, might as well give Mathlynn a chance to get through to it.” – Aracaeda, impassioned.

“If we go on to the mountains we need to come back through this territory anyway, no?” – Uday.

“No, we can go round, though that means finding our way around the new rift in the delta, or cutting through the Gibel Forest.” – Aella, who doesn’t seem too pleased with either option.

“Around the rift. That forest is death.” – Elenthrus.

“Quiet, all of you. What I’m about to do might be very dangerous. I need some peace to concentrate.” – Mathlynn, readying herself.

“Dangerous? Okay then.” – Elenthrus, who promptly turns around and walks away.

With a surge of will, Mathlynn pulls a daemon into the material world, granting it corporeal, if insubstantial, form and orders it into the lake. It panics at the idea, but Maebh’s command compels it into obedience. She can feel the effect the life-infused water has on the unnatural being, both pleasure and pain at once, before the connection is promptly snuffed out, taking with it a not inconsiderable amount of Mathlynn’s vitality.

The necromancer falls back with a shocked gasp. Daemons cannot exactly die…

But this one just did.

“Another.” – Ladyhawk, preparing to roll.
“Yes, keep sending them in until you piss it off and something comes out!” – LaPD.
“Initiative guys.”
“Oh no.” – LD.
“Run away!” – Ladyhawk.

Spoiler: Ducks and Hoes (click to show/hide)

The upper half of a gigantic beast rises at least fourteen feet from the still water of the lake. Its flesh seems to be made of dead wood and rock, covered in moss and underwater plants. Built along humanoid lines, its great bark-like face splits into a fang-filled maw, which gives voice to a thunderous gurgling roar. A massive, clawed limb reaches out towards the Seekers, the other hand grabbing the bank of the lake to steady itself as it ponderously pulls itself from the centre of the lake.

“Okay, tag-team. In comes Maebh.” – Ladyhawk.
“How big is the hand reaching towards us?” – LaPD.
“portugaling huge. Each clawed finger is about as long as you are tall.”
“Right, how fast can I run?” – LaPD.

“Okay, so we’re running, leaving Ladyhawk behind to die.” – Redshirt.
“Seconded.” – Sins.
“I’m not leaving Ladyhawk to die.” – LaPD.
“Aww thanks.” – Ladyhawk.
“Correction then, we leave both of them behind to die.” – Dev.
“Actually I have no intention of hanging around either.” – Ladyhawk.

“Run!” – Mathlynn.

The Seekers leg it, swiftly leaving the lake and the terrible guardian behind…

* * *

As far as they can tell it is four days later when the Seekers finally arrive in the foothills of the northern mountains, each of them approximately seven years older than when they set out from the encampment on the eastern edge of the island, except Mathlynn, who has aged almost ten years. It seems her momentary connection to the primordial through the daemon she summoned took a heavy toll.

Before them stretches a vast floodplain, the heat of the mountains not abated since they were last in this place.

For Aella, even the distant sight of the ruined fortress within which she fell into one of the rifts brings back a feeling a dread. She shrugs the feeling off, but draws one of her blades, just to be safe…

* * *

The fires which consumed the place when Mathlynn rigged it for explosion have long since died, which should not be surprising, if it weren’t for the seeming fact that every fire on this godsforsaken island seems to burn for much longer than it has any right to do so. Thankfully there is no sign of any Krona presence.

“I see no mines.” – Aella, looking around.

“True enough, but there are caverns beneath this whole fortress. There must be a way in somewhere.” – Mathlynn.

“Unless you blew up the entrance when you destroyed the rest of the fortress.” – Aella, under her breath.

The sharp-eared Dunscarth pretends not to hear.

“I’ve found something.” – Lleyne, calling out from the cliff-face behind the ruined fort.   

The rest of the Seekers rush over, and see a crevice, snaking its face up the solid rock of the cliff-face, leading into the mountain itself.

“That must be it. We’ll never get the cart in there.” – Uday, who has spent the last four days building a second golem and enhancing both the first and the ballistas.
“Let’s set up camp and try to get some rest. We’ll head into the mines in a few hours.” – Elenthrus, taking charge.

* * *

Aracaeda takes point, halfswording her greatsword to account for the cramped conditions. Behind her, Elenthrus, having far more difficulty than the relatively slightly-built Dunscarth and her excellent low-light vision. Next, Mathlynn and Uday, who has told Gholeg to mind the cart outside the crevice while the Seekers explore. Lleyne and Aella, weapons unsuited for the tight conditions of tunnel fighting, make up the rear.

It is with relief that the tunnel widens into a cavernous expanse, the walls of which bear evidence of substantial working where they’ve been steadily chipped away. Left where they fell are the corpses of captives, equipped with whatever implements were at hand which could be used to dig at the rock. They are predominantly Jeleni and Midlanders, though there are also three Invarrian amongst them.

Feeling vulnerable without any ablative shields, Mathlynn raises seven of the best preserved corpses to serve her in death.

To Uday’s practiced eye, the tell-tale gleam of gems in the rock is enticing. Taking out his own, expertly forged pickaxe, he prepares to swing.

Two more tunnels extend from the cavern, one to the north and the other to the west. Lleyne goes to the western tunnel and immediately draws back his arrow.

“There’s something down here.” – Lleyne, readying himself for combat.

“Uday! No noise. We’re not alone.” – Aella, grabbing the intent Bruin’s wrist before he impacts the wall.

“There’s a foul smell from down here too.” – Elenthrus, gesturing to the northern tunnel.

“Probably more corpses.” – Mathlynn, dismissive.

“Let’s find out what’s making the noise then.” – Aracaeda, hefting her sword and about to set off down the tunnel.

“Hold a moment, let me go first.” – Elenthrus, which earns him a disbelieving look from the Dunscarth.

The Feartarbh’s black pelt quickly merges into the darkness and he disappears from their view.

* * *

A few minutes of careful exploration brings Elenthrus to another widened cavern. What looks almost like a well dominates the centre of the cave, around which stand seven Krona, six marauders armed with a mix of primitive weapons and a single hulking overseer with a thick, barbed whip.

Around the cave, around a dozen captives are working, either on the ground or up on rickety scaffolding. One slightly built Jeleni, an old man, dusty and malnourished, prises an orange gemstone free from the rock wall and is immediately set upon by three of the marauders, who viciously beat him, take the stone and hand it to the overseer, who reverently drops it down the well.

The Jeleni does not move.

“Same mix of races amongst the captives as before?” – Yohan.
“Yes, but there’s a single Northmann as well.”
“Right, we free them and take any survivors back to camp with us, have them join our ranks.” – Yohan.
“Even if they aren’t survivors, I can still add them to our ranks.” – Ladyhawk.

Having seen enough, Elenthrus returns to the rest of the Seekers.

* * *

Aracaeda rushes into the cavern, cleaving the overseer in half with a single blow.

“Okay Sins, Elenthrus is up.”
“I’ll sneak in behind the overseer.” – Sins.
“The overseer was just bisected.”
“Excellent. He’ll never notice me then.” – Sins.

Elenthrus stalks across the cavern, pitch-black fur invisible in the shadows, massive knives flash and a Krona marauder falls to the ground, having been silently disembowelled. Beside him, Aella charges into a knot of marauders, putting two of them down with finality.  The third takes a heavy arrow in the chest from Lleyne’s bow and is about to strike at Aella when an ear-splitting scream reverberates around the cavern.

The bainsidhe scream emanating from the levitating Mathlynn is enough to blow the eardrums of everyone present, rupturing blood vessels and causing intense pain. Unfortunately, five of the captives lined up against the wall are just about bodily blown apart by the sonic attack, as is the marauder shot by Lleyne.

The awful sound is cut off abruptly and Mathlynn crumples to the ground like a marionette with its strings cut, dark blood pouring from her mouth and nose.

Seeing the Dunscarth fall, Uday charges into the room and stands over her, throwing his hatchet at the nearest Krona and missing something awful. Unperturbed, he grasps his smithing hammer tightly, ready to swing at either of the remaining marauders. Around him stand Mathlynn’s horde of patchworks, but without her consciousness, they are unable to do anything but obey her last command to them, namely to protect her from the Krona.

Aracaeda and one of the marauders trade blows until she is able to take its head off. Beside her, Elenthrus finishes off the last Krona, and silence descends on the cavern.

“Is there any leader amongst you?” – Lleyne, searching the faces of the surviving captives.

There’s general muttering and shaking of heads. The Northmann points at the body of the fallen elderly Jeleni, beaten to death just minutes ago.

“Anyone who wants passage to a safe haven, go outside now and wait by the cart. Don’t mind the golem, as long as you show it no hostility it will leave you be.” – Uday.

Together, the survivors shuffle out of the cave.

Once they leave, the bloodied Mathlynn sets to her task of raising the corpses of the fallen from the previous battle, adding seven new patchworks to her horde as Uday takes up his pickaxe again, and with a nod from Aella, starts mining for himself.

“Strength Check to determine how successful you are.”
“05 under Strength 55.” – Yohan.
“Nice. Critical Hit.” – Laughing.
“Critical Mine.” – Yohan.

Uday swiftly gathers up a small bag of the gems, his own expertise and superior equipment enabling him to gather more gems in ten minutes than the Krona’s captives would have managed in a whole week. The Bruin notices that unlike the gems he has seen in action on the battlefield, these are not illuminated by their own inner light. It would seem these ones are dormant.

“I think we need to check out this well…” – Uday, taking his bag of gems and carefully putting them in his backpack.

The artificer strides to the edge of the well and peers down.

At first all he can see is just a bottomless black pit, but the longer he looks the more he thinks he can see something glistening in the depths.
“Can I climb down there?” – LaPD.
“You think you can see something wet and slimy down there.”
“Ooh, can I not climb down there?” – LaPD.

* * *

“Okay, this is going to sound crazy, but I think I’ve figured it out. The thing causing the Firescar and the rifts and everything is a creature in and of itself, yes? We’ve seen its tendril at work, digging. So it isn’t some kind of magical effect and it certainly isn’t natural. It is a living organism. I think that whatever it is, it is charging these crystals up and then gifting them back to the Krona, who are using it like a beacon to draw to where it needs to be. I haven’t figured out why it needs the beacon yet, but presumably it does.” – Uday, who has gathered the Seekers together.

“That’s a pretty good assumption. I remember Angus saying they were packed full of corrupted spirit magic.” – Mathlynn, nodding.

“Why does it need a beacon though? That must be important?” – Aella, leaning up against the rock wall.

“Not necessarily. We can go along with the assumption that it needs it and see where that takes us. For instance, we know that wherever the Krona use these crystals, rifts open up. We also know that whatever is making these rifts is a very powerful entity, is that right?” – Elenthrus, beside her, turning to Mathlynn.

“Yes, I remember feeling it when we saw it in the rift which opened it the delta. It felt massive, like how Angus described communicating with the primordial in the lake.” – Mathlynn, thoughtful.

“So we need to see what’s down there then. Properly.” – Aracaeda.

“I have lots of rope, some oil, cloth and a flint and steel. We can turn one of your patchworks into a torch and lower it down if you have no objections?” – Uday to Mathlynn, producing the items from his pack.

Wordlessly, Mathlynn directs one of the risen Krona to kneel before the Bruin, who swiftly starts wrapping the creature’s head in cloth and dousing it in oil. They tie its legs together, light the oil-drenched rags and have Aella, Elenthrus and the rest of Mathlynn’s patchworks gently lower it down the well.

Those not busy holding the rope look down the well and see a fleshy mass far below. Uday’s rope ended way before the patchwork hit the bottom of the pit, but the flickering firelight is enough to see that the flesh is writhing over itself. Mathlynn is unpleasantly reminded of the brains of the Krona themselves.

“I think it’s like a spawning pit or something.” – Mathlynn, disgusted.

The Dunscarth’s eyes glow a cold white, and the risen horde around her starts to twitch with barely restrained power. Her eyes close and her breathing accelerates as she is momentarily granted a vision of a monstrous hell-scape, but with a great effort, she wrenches her perception back to reality, her mind scarred even further.

Seeing this, Uday heads back to his cart, where he finds only a single rescued slave, a slightly-built Jeleni man. The others it would seem, have taken the opportunity to run as far away as they can, and not a few have absconded with scrap metal from the Bruin’s stash.

“If I find them, I will kill them.” – Ladyhawk.
“No don’t kill them, it’s fine. They’ve taken nothing I would miss.” – Yohan.
“I have two Insanity Points now, anything can happen.” – Ladyhawk.

The corpses disappear down the well, charged with Mathlynn’s explosive power. Once they are all down in the pit, she sets them to burrowing, to force them deeper into the morass. And then they detonate as one. A foul stench wafts from the depths, forcing the Seekers to retreat back to the cart to rejoin Uday. They can feel and hear the sounds of crumbling stone beneath them after the explosion, but it seems that the upper levels will remain intact.

“Who are you and where do you come from?” – Uday, to the rescued slave.

“I am called Pecaros and I come from the fishing village on the shore of Istnoc Lake.” – The old Jeleni.

“Do you know what lies down the other passage?” – Uday.

“No, I have never been down it, but I have heard terrifying sounds and there always seems to be a foul stench emanating from within.” – Pecaros.

“Well my friend, if you feel you would be best served by heading out on your own feel free to take anything you wish from the cart. Otherwise, you may stay here and wait for us and we will take you back to our camp when we return.” – Uday, making an offer to the old man.

“No I have seen what comes of striking out on your own. I will stay here and wait for you. I imagine travelling with you would be my safest way home.” – Pecaros.

“Very well. This is Gholeg. He will protect you.” – Uday, introducing Pecaros to the hulking golem.

Pecaros doesn’t exactly look at ease, no doubt due in part to the somewhat unsettling aura the golems possess, but the Seekers take some solace in the knowledge that he should be safe until their return.

 * * *

“That’s portugaling gross.” – Aracaeda.

Someway down the passage, the walls widen and reveal a steep cliff. The torches of the Seekers are barely enough to penetrate the gloom, allowing the Seekers to see what lies far below.

A festering wasteland of stinking, rotting flesh, the scraps of countless corpses piled high for almost a mile.

“Oh no.” – Aella, dry-heaving.

“Is that… Oh God, it is.” – Lleyne, horrified. 

“It’s moving.” – Aracaeda.

And indeed, the entire mass is fairly writhing with movement, innumerable clutches of Krona slowly swimming through the gore.

“We need to burn this whole place down.” – Mathlynn.

“No we can’t. Not yet. We don’t know what effect blowing the armadillo out of the place may have. Besides, it already smells absolutely horrible, but it’ll smell ten times worse if we set it on fire.” – Uday, shaking his head.

“No, this is a travesty. Everybody get out, I’m going to blow it up.” – Mathlynn, already beginning to harness her power.

Seeing the stubborn look on the necromancer’s face, the other Seekers start running.

* * *

Ears ringing with the sheer power unleashed by the Dunscarth, the Seekers leave the mines, Pecaros in tow. Having imbued the entire fleshy mass with power, Mathlynn just about blew the mountain in half. The effort really took a toll on her, deafened and throat bleeding from the unearthly scream which tore out of her when she released the power. Uday clutches a pouch of the precious orange gemstones tightly, the spoils of their mission.

“Now, do we take the northern route and go through the forest, or go south past the lake?” – Elenthrus. 

“Or go round the lake and cut through the delta?” – Aracaeda.

“Or, fourth option, we build a boat and just sail back to camp.” – Dev.
“What would you build a boat from?”
“The cart?” – Yohan.
“Dev, we have a fifth option actually. We live here now.” – Sins.

“I believe the delta would be the safest route.” – Mathlynn, throwing her support behind her sister.

“Last we saw the delta, it was on fire and swiftly being consumed by another rift.” – Uday.

“Still safer than the forest of death.” – Mathlynn.

“And I don’t want to risk the creature in the lake again.” – Aella.

“Okay then, we go through the delta. I will scout ahead.” – Lleyne, who gathers his equipment and sets off to the south.

* * *

The rift which they were so concerned about is largely dead. It has consumed a great segment of the delta, but it appears to have stopped its growth some time ago, just a blackened, rocky pit in the middle of what was a marshland. The flames have died.

“I don’t like this.” – Aracaeda, quietly.

“I’m impressed with how quickly LaPD has picked the game up.” – Ladyhawk.
“Let’s be honest, not trusting anything PG tells us is not only safe behaviour in game, but also how we should all aspire to live our lives.” – Sins.
“I both resent and resemble that remark.”

The Seekers continue on their way, and other than a brief moment where Pecaros sees what has become of his home in the fishing village on the shore of the lake, the journey is quite uneventful, and so it is that they find themselves returning to the Seekers’ encampment, accompanied by Pecaros. The liberated slave is taken somewhere safe and they are debriefed upon arrival by Captain Stenglein.

“So, what’s happening?” – Stenglein, gesturing towards the still black sky.

“Oh right, the mission.” – Yohan, laughing.

“Trying to make the sun rise again is not exactly an easy task.” – Mathlynn, wearily.

“Did you speak with the creature in the lake?” – Stenglein.

“We tried to, but it sent a guardian of some kind to attack us. We escaped and chose to go to the mountains in the north, hoping to find the mines. We were successful, and rescued some of the slaves the Krona were using to mine their gemstones.” – Elenthrus, summing up the experience.

“I managed to collect these. Unlike the ones we’ve seen on the battlefield, these seem to be dormant. My guess is they need to be charged with some kind of magic.” – Uday, pulling forth his pouch of stones.

“I assume you did not return the way you went?” – Stenglein.

“Past the primordial’s lake? No, of course not.” – Mathlynn.

“We cut south, through the delta.” – Aracaeda.

“And what of the new rift?” – Stenglein, latching on to whatever small pieces of information she can.

“The flames have died and the growth has ceased.” – Elenthrus.

“I see. We have but a few options ahead of us then. I will get everyone I can to begin researching these gemstones you have brought Uday. I would appreciate if you aided them where you can.” – Stenglein.

“Of course. Please excuse me, I need to eat. Have your men fetch me. I’ll be in my quarters when they are ready to begin.” – Uday, who immediately leaves the command tent to obtain some food.

“How healed is Angus?” – Dev.
“Ah, he’s not well. It’s been like two to three weeks since he copped a giant stone maul and then a rock to the head. He’s in no shape to go adventuring.”
“How have his studies been progressing then?” – Dev.
“Tell me how much you’d feel like doing coursework if you’ve been smacked in the head with a rock.”

“The rest of you, recuperate, gather your resources and stay ready for action. We need to be ready to strike out again at a moment’s notice. I am curious about this rift which has died in the delta. I feel there is more there which we could stand to find out. Alternatively, we have this business with the spirit in the lake, and more reports of Krona activity with warbands massing in the west.” – Captain Stenglein.

“I fear that to have any chance of speaking to the spirit in the lake, we need Angus, or even Florian if she can be found. My own efforts were unsuccessful.” – Mathlynn.

“We have not heard from Florian in some time now. Presumably she has fallen, but we may never know. If you feel that you are incapable of communicating with the creature however, then we must wait for Angus. I worry we may be forced to wait a long time.” – Captain Stenglein.

"What then of these warbands in the west?" - Lleyne.

"We shall see." - Stenglein, dismissing the Seekers.

And we left it there…

The Wrap-Up:
Another good session, good enough that it convinced Yohan and Redshirt, who had been playing all day, to stay for another session. We see here just how scary a well played Necromancer can be, in addition to the many and varied ways a creative Artificer can screw with you. Yohan’s creations only get more impressive and elaborate as time goes on.

Poor Dev has had some horrid luck with his characters. First he ends up with Angus being unable to actually build enough power to get his spells off with any regularity. Now he has Lleyne, who is statistically a worse archer than Uday’s golems…

Poor Dev.

Anyway, this ought to do it for now. Episode 9 is incoming, and includes one of LaPD’s finest musical works.


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Re: The Great Maw: Another Norbayne Campaign Log
« Reply #10 on: September 15, 2018, 12:21:47 PM »
Episode 9: None in Eyeshot (or *Spoiler* Insert Your Own Title Here */Spoiler*)

Welcome back to The Great Maw.

Our players for this episode were Ladyhawk, Dev, LD, Yohan, Redshirt and LaPD, playing Mathlynn, Lleyne, Assar, Uday, Aella and Aracaeda respectively.

Uday enters the Seeker’s workshop, a barracks claimed for the purpose by those few amongst the Seekers whose talents lie more in study and research. One man, an old and stooped Roanfaille with a bushy grey beard, sits at a desk in the far corner of the room, hunched over one of the crystals recovered from the mines in the northern mountains.

“Any luck Jan?” – Uday, startling the man.

“Only a few pieces of information we didn’t already know.” – Jan in his thick Jezyk accent, putting his instruments down.

“Can we create something which will reverse the process?” – Uday, cutting straight to the point.

“Not from this I do not think. It seems like the crystal itself is not the cause of the rifts, but rather a very powerful source of energy, which the Krona sorcerers can tap into. Here, watch this.” – Jan, shaking his head and taking up a small chisel.

The old Roanfaille puts the chisel to the very edge of the crystal and applies a gentle tap with a mallet. A thin sliver of crystal flakes off, landing on the desk with a metallic sound, before swiftly wisping away into vapours.

“How strange. Can we use the crystals to further our own needs? Weapons and such?” – Uday, disappointed.

“Probably, yes, but I don’t know if that’s wise. This is old magic, well before any recorded history. Possibly before life as we conceive it even existed. It appears to be almost like spirit residue.” – Jan, confused.

“Are you saying this is the solidified remnant of a dead spirit from before life on our world began?” – Uday, gesturing to the crystal.

“Aye, like a fossil, yes. Not necessarily remains of a spirit itself, but rather the remains of a spirit catastrophe which bled into the earth.” – Jan.

“As interesting as this is, it isn’t much help right now.” – Uday, shaking his head.

“No, indeed not my boy.” – Jan, sadly.

* * *

Mathlynn, Aracaeda and Lleyne are summoned to Captain Stenglein’s tent, where she informs them of what little she has managed to determine from the meagre scouting reports returned to her.

“We are aware of Krona activity on the southern eaves of the Gibel Forest and deep in the northern mountains.” – Stenglein, running her fingers through her short-cropped hair as she sits at her desk, reports strewn across the wooden surface.

The captain hands them a roughly sketched map of the island, with the points of Krona activity marked, along with the most recent estimations of the Firescar’s dimensions.

“In the mountains? The fortress was utterly destroyed. I ensured there was nothing left alive.” – Mathlynn, disappointed, studying the map.

“From the reports, it seems like they’ve tried to rebuild it. You mentioned mines beneath the surface before. I guess they must really want those crystals.” – Stenglein, passing the messily scrawled document to the Dunscarth.

“You say there’s activity in the Death Forest?” – Lleyne, inquisitive.

“Not in the forest as such, but they’ve built a camp on the eaves. We weren’t able to get close enough to have a proper look at it. We lost two lives trying. Some kind of hunting beast. Heavy-set, quadrupedal, surprisingly fast. We haven’t seen or heard anything about the Krona using beasts before, so as you can understand, this is quite worrying.” – Stenglein, passing a sketch of the creature to the Seekers.

“So what can we do?” – Aracaeda, looking closely at the drawing.

“See if you can get any closer to sorting out this business with the sun. Alternatively, help Uday figure out what can be done with those crystals. That will be all.” – Stenglein, dismissing them.

Together, the Seekers leave her to her troubles.

* * * 

A shipment arrives at the Seekers’ encampment. The majority of the cargo-hold is filled with corpses, as per Mathlynn’s request. The rest of the cargo is divided between food, farming equipment-
“You know what kind of hoes I meant!” – LaPD.
scrap metal and even some finer metals and general crafting materials.

“Right, LD wasn’t here when I went through and made improvements to everyone’s gear, so LD, pick one piece of metal armour and I’ll improve it. Should increase Armour Value by 1.” – Yohan.
“I have a chain something on the torso. Can’t read it.” – LD.
“That would probably be a hauberk.” – Helpfully from the side.
“Me too.” – Dev.
“You were here though.” – Yohan, confused.
“New character, bitch.” – Dev, who is being far too antagonistic for someone asking for better gear.
“Do you even wear metal armour?” – Yohan.
“Ah, no.” – Dev.
“Right, well I’ve rolled and- No way! 00. I guess your bow is like metal or something now.” – Yohan.

“In the tradition of the hollow steel longbows of Numenor, Lleyne’s bow is now hollow steel, a masterpiece of construction.”
“There you go, have fun with that.” – Yohan, to Dev.
“Yeah, no that’s cool man, thanks.” – Dev.
“I can’t believe I’ve wasted such a good roll on him. It’s not even his actual character!” – Yohan, to everyone else.
“What did it actually do?” – Yohan.
“Doubled my damage and range.” – Dev.
“Holy ****.” – Yohan.

Uday, Lleyne, Aracaeda, Mathlynn, Aella and the newly returned Assar gather together to discuss their plans.

“I need more of those crystals to run some experiments. Ideally, I’d like to have charged one.” – Uday.

“That sounds a bit dangerous. We don’t really even know what they are and you want to go poking at one that’s full of power?” – Aella.

“Well we do kind of know what they are. They’re fossils of spirits. Sort of.” – Uday, glossing over the details.

“Can we ask the captain to send a party back to the mines to try and obtain more?” – Lleyne.

“Send the fisherman we rescued back in. You’re not a slave, we just need you to do exactly the same thing you were doing when you were a slave.” – Yohan.
“And we’ll whip you if you stop.”
“But it’s okay, cause we’re the good guys.” – LaPD.

“We’d need labourers for that. There are not enough Seekers to both man the mines and provide a guard, which they will need so deep in enemy territory.” – Uday.

“Let’s go find the fisherman again. He may be able to tell us if there were other groups of slaves we can recruit to the cause.” – Mathlynn, thoughtful.

“That’s not a bad idea. He said he was going back to his village to try and rebuild it.” – Uday.

* * *

Not much has changed in the village on the southern shore of Istnoc Lake. It still appears abandoned and several of the huts have been destroyed in some kind of explosion. Despite the close proximity to the Seeker encampment, no one saw or heard what cause the devastation.

There is no immediate sign of Pecaros, nor for that matter, any living beings.

The Seekers spread out through the village, looking for some sign of what has happened, but it is not until Assar ventures over the crest to the north of the village, following a faint scent of smoke, that they find anything, namely a small abandoned campsite. There lies depressions caused by several sleeping bodies, marks in the ground from where tents were pitched and a still smouldering fire in a shallow pit in the centre of the camp.

“Are these tracks, Assar?” – Mathlynn, pointing out the faintest of indentations in the hard-packed dirt.

“They are indeed. Let us see where they lead.” – Assar, intent on her task.

The Seekers follow Assar as she heads west, stopping every now and then to ascertain the direction of the next marking on the trail, the continued darkness making it much harder for the normally sure and swift tracker to maintain her pace. Hours later, they arrive on the very edge of the Firescar.

“Is this it? There are no more tracks? They haven’t deviated from their course to head north or south along the Firescar?” – Uday, grim.

“No, I don’t think I’ve missed anything. It looks like they’ve just walked straight in.” – Assar, puzzled.

“This is worrying.” – Uday, half to himself.

“What are you thinking?” – Aracaeda, to the Bruin.

“Well Mathlynn determined that there is a sentient entity behind these rifts, driving the Krona. To put it bluntly, I am worried that perhaps it is capable of mind control too.” – Uday.

“But would I reuse a plot device like that?”
“Yes. You would.” – Dev, who has no faith in me.
“No!” – Indignant.
“The look on your face suggests otherwise.” – Redshirt.
“Okay, I may. I may.” – Conceding the point.
“I would never! Never! Maybe not…” – LD.

“Before we go anywhere, can we see if there are any more Krona outposts set up on the edge of the Firescar?” – Dev.
“There are none in eye-distance… eye-distance? What am I saying? Seeing distance?”
“That’s no better really.” – Ladyhawk.
I sigh in exasperation.
“Eyesight?” – LD and Ladyhawk simultaneously.
“Eyeshot?” – Yohan.
“Yeah, eyeshot.” – LaPD.
“That’s earshot isn’t it?”
“I think it might be both?” – Yohan, to LaPD’s agreement.
“In sight is perhaps the one I’m looking for.”
“Isn’t it called…. I don’t know.” – LaPD.
“You can’t see any. Let’s leave it at that.”
“Why is this so hard?” – Ladyhawk, asking what we are all thinking.

Lleyne and Assar head out to try and find any sign of Krona activity on the eastern edge while Uday resolves to experiment with any link between the crystals and the Firescar. Taking the one crystal he was able to procure for his personal use and a chisel, the Bruin takes a sliver off the edge. Much like it did in Jan’s workshop, the sliver dissipates into a misty vapour, but these vapours appear almost to be sucked into the rift. The flames beneath slightly grow in intensity for but a few moments.

“That’s not good.” – Dev.
“It is only slight.”
“Clearly I need to put more in.” – Yohan.

“Everyone may want to stay back. I’m going to throw the rest of it in.” – Uday, preparing to throw the crystal into the rift.

“Hold on, why are you throwing it in?” – Aracaeda, taking the Bruin by the arm.

“For science.” – Uday, shrugging free of the woman and fair pegging the rock into the Firescar.

The flames grow in size, intensity and heat for a few moments, but it doesn’t appear to have caused the rift to grow at all. Nor for that matter, has the Firescar noticeably increased since they last saw it, which Lleyne and Assar confirm from their scouting mission.

“Huzzah, we’ve stopped it!’ – Dev.
“It is still a gigantic flaming hole in the ground.”
“So the gem intensifies the fire… Can I turn it into a flamethrower?” – Yohan.
“It just never ends with you does it?”
“This is your fault. You said I could play a class that can make ****. I can make explosives, golems… I can make exploding golems! That’s my next invention. I’m calling it.” – Yohan.

Uday examines the rift where the tracks end, where presumably the people they were following threw themselves into the Firescar. Uday throws a random rock in, but nothing changes.

“Mathlynn, can we get a corpse in there please?” – Uday.

The Dunscarth picks through the mass of corpses stored in the bottom of the cart, quickly selecting one, a small girl with a broken neck. The body is reanimated and unceremoniously thrown into the flames.

There is no change.

“Cold guys. Real cold.”

“So I’m still thinking mind control.” – Yohan.
“Is it powerful enough to do that though?” – Dev.
“If it’s powerful enough to put out the sun, it probably should be.” – Redshirt.
“The thing that put the sun out and the thing that’s causing the fissures are two different beings.” – Yohan.
“Are they?” – Redshirt, asking me.
“Are they?” – Asking Yohan.
“I don’t know. They could be brothers or something, one water, the other fire. I don’t know.” – Yohan, going off an a tangent.
“That is the kind of **** you’d write though PG.” – LD.
“Thank you.”

The Seekers retreat from the edge to a more comfortable distance and set up camp and a small fire, soon rejoined by Assar and Lleyne, whereupon they discuss their next move.

“I don’t particularly want to fight this thing, predominantly because I’m not very good at fighting.” – Uday.

“Which thing is this?” – Mathlynn.

“Anything really, but I was actually thinking about the thing in the lake.” – Uday, with a wry smile.

“So the alternative to fighting it would be?” – Assar, back turned to the conversation, keen ears able to follow along while she takes the first watch.

“Tribute I guess?” – Uday, shrugging.

“What kind of tribute could we offer it?” – Lleyne, inspecting his arrows by the light of the fire.

There is silence…

“Well, I’ve heard some things…” – Aracaeda, taking out a small lute from her pack.

I had LaPD roll on her Bardic Knowledge Check, which she passed.
“Okay LaPD, tell us what you know.”

“Sooo, as I was walking along the beach one day I saw a spirit JUST LIKE the one we’re having a problem with now. As I recall any old body worked with the sacrifice then, so any old body will do now.” – LaPD.

Yeah, that’s pretty well accurate.

“So all we need to do is just deceive someone, be all, “Yeah, nah mate, it’s all good, follow me to this lake, yeah keep coming mate, yeah that’s it,” and then BAM, slit his throat and throw the ****er in.” – LaPD.

She has a way with words.

“So LaPD, basically how Bardic Knowledge works cause I can’t remember if I ever fully explained it to you, is that it is more or less your opportunity to shape the story and the world. You make your check, and if you pass, I’ll give you any important facts, but the detail and the ‘fluff’ if you will, you get to make it up, delivering it in the form of stories you read or heard or whatever.”

“You get bonus points if you can sing it.” – LD.

“Oh, right, let me just pretend to strum my guitar, sit back and enjoy guys.” – LaPD.

What followed might be one of the most fantastic things to have ever occurred at my table. (Can be found at 28:51 for future reference)

”I was walking down the beach one day,
I saw a spirit, and it wanted a body.
It wanted a dead body.
It said, ‘Give me the body of a prince,’
I said, ‘Get ****ed, princes are expensive.’
It snarled at me so I said,
‘There’s a merchant down the street.’
It said,
‘That’ll do.’

It said, ‘That’ll do.”

“I came back with the merchant and the spirit said,
‘No, I want one with bosoms.’
I said, ‘I’ll give you one of my hoes.’
I came back with a fat hoe and threw her in the water.
And it was satisfied!

And left me alone!”
– Aracaeda, singing an old folk tale. Presumably.

“That was beautiful.” – LD.
“PG, can I borrow a sword and kill myself?” – Dev.

“I’m not sure exactly what to make of that.” – Lleyne, shaking his head.

“Well we can assume that if the spirit we are dealing with is…. anything like the one in the song, then, well, I think they can be picky… but not too picky? I don’t know, it wanted a prince first, was going to settle for a merchant and then changed its mind and settled again for a prostitute. To be honest, I can’t really understand the moral of the story…” – Assar puzzling her way through.

“The moral of the story is to always have hoes on hand.” – Aracaeda, to the bewilderment of the rest of the Seekers.

“Anyway, we’re not in a position to just throw people to the entity. Our best hope may well be to capture some Krona and offer them to it.” – Uday, musing.

“Stenglein said that there’s a camp on the border of the Gibel Forest and that they’ve been rebuilding in and around the fortress in the mountains.” – Lleyne, recalling the briefing he attended with Aracaeda and Mathlynn.

Mathlynn pulls out the map Stenglein gave them in that briefing.

“Here, on the southern edge of the forest.” – Mathlynn, pointing to the marker on the map.

“Let me get this straight. Our plan is to hit this camp, abduct a Krona and then take it to the creature in the lake and toss it in?” – Aella, sceptical.

“Yeah, that’s about right, unless you had a better plan?” – Uday, getting up to inspect the cart, or more specifically, the cage he constructed to house captured Krona on the back.

“Uh, no I don’t. We’ll do it, but I still feel like I want to be on record as saying that this is a terrible plan.” – Aella, crossing her arms. 

“Duly noted. This cage is in good order. Shall we move out?” – Uday, eager to get to work.

* * *

The Seekers approach the encampment from the south, and under cover of darkness they observe what they can of the Krona’s activities.

The encampment is a hastily built affair, walled by several large fallen trees. It seems the beasts are attempting to carve out a domain of their own from the Gibel Forest, not willing to dwell among the trees, presumably due to just how deadly the flora of the forest can be. There are a few tents, constructed from scraps of canvas and rope and sheets of some unidentified leather. There is also a large iron cage at the rear of the camp, covered by a large stretch of canvas.

Like most Krona encampments, this one too is built around a sizeable pyre, being tended to by two small specimens, which keep feeding a steady stream of wood offcuts into the blaze. One more Krona, alike in appearance to the two workers, lies twitching on the ground beside them, foaming at the mouth. A closer look reveals a thorny vine slowly constricting around the Krona’s hands, head, chest and throat. The pathetic individual is completely ignored by the other workers, and by the stooped, robed figure overseeing their work.

The robed Krona bears a heavy spear with a jagged stone head. The robes it wears look to be made from strips of flayed skin from multiple victims. Next to the pyre sits a dark iron tripod, almost six feet in height, with a glowing orange crystal sitting proudly atop it.

“I’ve seen one of those before.” – Mathlynn, gesturing to the crystal-bearing tripod.

“The one in the robes is like a sorcerer of some sort.” – Lleyne, an arrow already nocked to the string of his steel longbow.

Amidst the tents and around the fire a dozen marauders doze, eat and scuffle.

“Let’s go.” – Aracaeda, hefting her greatsword and striding confidently towards the encampment, using the sparse trees on the eastern edge to mask her approach.

On the western side of the battlefield, Assar looses an arrow, which flashes across the firelight and takes one of the marauders engaged in the mass melee in the throat, dropping it instantly with a rasping groan.

The sorcerer turns away from the pyre and its attendants and looks out over the plain to the south. It must be able to make out the hulking shape of Gholeg near the cart, for it starts chanting in a guttural tongue and wildly gesticulating, shaking its spear as it roars out an incantation.

“It is going to try and call up a rift under the cart.”
“OH NO!” – Most of the party.
“Don’t worry guys, I’ll miscast.”
“Nah you’ve jinxed it now.” – LaPD.
“Hmm, would you look at that? Bloody miracle of miracles, no miscast…”

With a tortured groan, the earth splits asunder beneath one of the wheels of the cart, throwing Uday from his perch and onto the floor of the vehicle as it slowly tilts in. Desperately, the Bruin hurls himself towards the safety of solid ground and makes it, barely. Beside him, Gholeg manages to catch the edge of the rift with its claw-like fingers.

Rolling to his feet, Uday reaches for the yoke as the cart slowly tumbles into the flaming embrace of the rift, commanding Gholeg to help him once the golem has pulled itself back onto solid ground. Lleyne also lends his aid to the cause and together, through their considerable combined strength, they are able to save it, though it is singed and not a few personal possessions are lost to the inferno. Grunting and straining with the effort, they’re able to stop it from falling in, but they can’t quite get it back onto land.

“Let me make that lighter for you.” – Mathlynn, eyes blazing with white light.

At her command the corpses lashed to the bottom of the cart twitch with unnatural life and, one by one, line up on the edge of the rift.

Three more Krona erupt from the undergrowth to the east, bearing wicked blades and clad in rudimentary iron armour. They scream wildly as they charge, heading directly for Aella, the massive Feartarbh the biggest and most visible threat. She is able to evade the majority of their strikes, but does take one flesh wound. Her blades whirl out in return and two of the Krona fall to the ground in pieces.

“LaPD, your turn.”
“I’ll charge at those newcomers, try to intercept them.” – LaPD.
“Okay, you’ll be going through some undergrowth for that, so I’ll get an Agility Check please.”
“Oooh, this should be interesting…” – LaPD, preparing to roll her dice.
“Wait a minute LaPD, try asking him if you can substitute Agility for, say, Strength instead. Your Strength is higher, yes?” – Yohan.
“Yeah, it definitely is.” – LaPD.
“I’ve learnt with PG that it pays to think a little outside the box. If he asks for any kind of check I’ll try and think of a way to substitute it for something I’ve got a lot in, usually Strength.” – Yohan.
“So PG, can I pick up the bushes and take them with me?” – LaPD.
“You certainly can, if you would like…” – I’m happy to let my players do what they want, but I’ll warn them if what they’re doing is not going to work.
“Hmm, that sounds ominous. I think we’re missing something…” – Ladyhawk.
“Think about where you are guys…”
“Oh! The forest of death!” – LD.
“So knowing about the forest LaPD, this is probably the bit where you go back to Agility. If you piss off the bushes in this forest, they might grab you and eat you or some ****.” – Yohan, in a very wise tone.
“**** me, I’ll go round.” – LaPD.

The Krona sorcerer eyes the rescued cart and the patchworks milling around it and with a gravelly roar directs its spear towards the clustered undead. A blazing bolt of orange lightning tears towards them, obliterating four of the risen corpses before earthing itself into the hulking form of Gholeg. The golem spasms for a moment as coruscating arcs of lightning pulse around it, but eventually the power subsides and the construct resumes its normal operation.

For its part, the Krona sorcerer is left smouldering by the release of power, struck by the arcane backlash.

Aracaeda sticks to the open ground, cleaving into a knot of Krona, kicking one of the bestial creatures to the ground and smashing its foul head in with a powerful swing of her greatsword. The others mill around her, but the Dunscarth is in the midst of her rage and couldn’t care less. All these Krona are merely starting to look like target practice.

Hanging back from the heat of the engagement, Mathlynn keeps raising corpses and sending them into the fray to use as ablative shields for the rest of the party. Seeing this, the Krona sorcerer roars and gestures towards her, and a small band of Krona detach from their respective current engagements to charge the necromancer, snarling ferociously as they go.

“They can communicate…” – Mathlynn, wonderingly. Her casting ceases for a moment as the magnitude of this information hits home. The sorcerer was able to direct a specific band towards a designated target, suggesting a measure of intelligence and organisation heretofore unseen, or at least unnoticed.

The Dunscarth draws her sword to receive the charge and cuts down one of the oncoming beasts in the first exchange of blows, but the second Krona bears her to the ground with a roar and raises a crude axe over its head.

Suddenly, its head disappears and behind the slowly wavering decapitated corpse stands one of Mathlynn’s patchworks, which then turns and engages the third marauder. The patchwork’s strikes are ungainly and awkward, but somehow it manages to overmatch the marauder it faces and force it to the ground where it starts to messily eat the creature.

Mathlynn regains her feet and resumes raising corpses, but before doing so reaches out mentally to the one which saved her.

Statistically, the patchwork should have had no chance at all. Individually they are incredibly weak and it is usually only the Aid Checks granted by having so many of them ganging up on a single target which allows them to cause any damage.

This one however managed to kill two Krona single-handedly, quite possibly saving Mathlynn in the process.

Thus we are introduced to Paedro the Patchwork.

Another marauder makes for Uday, missing the Bruin with its initial wild strike, and putting a deep gouge into the wood of the cart.

“You’ll pay for that.” – Uday, ducking under the creature’s follow up attacks and spear-tackling it, a stout furry missile taking its legs out in a bone-shaking hit.

Slowly, the Bruin drags the struggling beast towards the cage in the back of the cart, smashing its kneecaps with his smithing hammer to make the task slightly easier.

“That’s for ruining my paint-work you piece of ****.” – Uday, absolutely furious.

* * *

With a shriek of tortured metal, the door of the cage in the encampment springs open and a massive beast covered in spines launches out. It pounces on the nearest Krona, which just so happens to be the robed sorcerer. The slaughterbeast claws at the stunned sorcerer for a moment, roars at it and then bounds away, searching for other prey. It doesn’t seem particularly intelligent, but it can tell that attempting to eat the sorcerer would not be a good idea.

Lleyne and Assar take up their bows in unison and shoot at the slaughterbeast. Both hit their mark, but they don’t think they’ve caused any lasting damage.

* * *

Another four marauders charge towards Mathlynn, two of them falling to the creeping miasma the necromancer conjures up in front of them. The other two are intercepted by Paedro, who avoids their feral blows and punches a fist clean through the head of one, ripping apart what passes for the foul creature’s brain.

Again, Ladyhawk’s rolling for Paedro was unbelievable as he managed to dodge one strike and then scored an instant kill Critical with his return attack. I firmly believe Paedro cannot be defeated.

“Will you be giving Paedro armour?” – Yohan.
“He doesn’t need it, but yes.” – Ladyhawk.
“You’re attached now.” – LD, to Ladyhawk, who nods an affirmative.
“This is why you shouldn’t name summons.” – Dev.
“To be fair, it’s worked for her. Paedro just about has the highest kill-count at this stage.” – Yohan.

The last marauder engaged with Paedro and Mathlynn is then cut down from behind by Assar.

* * *

Preoccupied with cleaving through the marauders all around, Aracaeda is taken by surprise by the presence of the slaughterbeast, which pounces on her from behind and starts rending at her with its deadly claws.

“Aracaeda is Prone and takes 14 Damage.”
“What!? How did that happen?” – Ladyhawk.
“Because no one helped me!” – LaPD.
“We tried.” – Dev, including LD in his gesture.
“But we suck.” – LD, helpfully.

Lleyne draws an arrow back and looses at the rampaging slaughterbeast, taking the foul creature in the eye. It looks up with a roar and fixes its remaining beady eye, gleaming an evil red in the darkness, on the archer.

“The slaughterbeast is no longer focused on Aracaeda.” – To LaPD.
“Fabulous.” – LaPD.
“It is now focused on you.” – To Dev.
“Fabulous.” – LaPD.
“Oh ****.” – Dev.

The beast charges toward Lleyne with reckless abandon and is about to pounce when a silvery flash takes it in the chest. On the cart, Gholeg stands behind one of the scorpions, having shot the slaughterbeast. Lleyne breathes a sigh of relief and nocks another arrow, searching for another target in the gloom.

For her part, Aracaeda picks herself up and finishes off the last of the marauders around her, rage fuelling her strikes through the haze of pain from the great rents in her back.

All the marauders have been felled, leaving only the Krona sorcerer on the field. It snarls at their incompetence and gathers its powers, striking at the Seekers with malevolent magics.

“You’re all struck by horrific visions.”
“Oh, that’s okay. Nothing I haven’t seen before.” – Ladyhawk.

A giant cosmic force with a grip on the world…

A glimpse at what is behind the veil…

A being of shadow and bone in the flames…

I asked for Willpower Checks from the Seekers to determine the effect this might have on their respective psyches. Aracaeda, Aella and Mathlynn all fail.

“But she literally has seen this before.” – Dev, referring to Mathlynn.
“This is true. Double or nothing if you want Ladyhawk. You can use a free re-roll if you wish. If you pass, no Insanity Point, but if you fail, you get two.”

Ladyhawk chose to try her luck and passed the Check.

“Can she use her previous knowledge to try and glean more information from this?” – Dev.
“Good thinking Dev. Do you want to play the necromancer next time?” – Ladyhawk, laughing.

Most of the Seekers shut off their mind from the outside influence, not wishing to see any more. All, but Mathlynn, who dives deeper into the visions, her already scarred consciousness inured to the mental strain.

To her, some things become clear.

Not one, but two forces, working their will upon the world…

Something else, of another order of beings, something which has hidden for untold ages…

A shroud of darkness washing over the land…

A war between beings of earth-shaking power…

“So the darkness is not stage 3 in the Krona’s 5 stage plan to world domination.” – Ladyhawk, puzzling through the notes she was handed.

The being in the lake is one of the Formoraigh, the deities of the Danann, which legend has slumbering deep beneath the Wardenfells. This one became embroiled in a feud with its own kind, and fled into the west, eventually coming to rest in what would eventually become the Westrand archipelago.

For countless eons, it has dwelt there peacefully, slumbering like its brethren, but the coming of the entity behind the Krona has awoken this primordial being. Able to sense its connection with fire and heat, the Formoraigh struck back with phenomenal power, cutting off the light and heat of the sun itself from the Westrand, enveloping miles and miles of the world in a blanket of shadow, hoping to reduce its strength.

Unfortunately, this does not seem to have gone to plan. The Firescar is still growing, the Krona are still multiplying and the being behind it all does not seem to have been weakened in the slightest.

The Formoraigh is angered. It will not be long before it takes even more drastic measures.

“I understand now.” – Mathlynn, who then promptly faints.

* * *

The sorcerer grasps its spear and slams it into the ground, taking a chunk of the familiar orange crystal out from a pouch on its belt and holding it aloft in the air.

“Uzmanibu mani zvanu!” – Krona sorcerer roaring to the heavens above, orange lightning streaking from the sky, channelled through the crystal atop its spear, and into the ground.

“Gods, it can speak.” – Assar, horrified.

The sorcerer channels as much power as it can into the earth beneath, but eventually it is too much and the wizened Krona self-immolates. Its spear cracks and crumbles into ash beneath the strain, the flames eating everything, leaving only the smoking crystal behind, as the Seekers blink the after-images of the lightning from their eyes.

* * *

Assar and Lleyne set about binding the injuries of the rest of the Seekers while Uday starts harvesting the clutches of mewling Krona-spawn from the corpses of those they’ve just killed. The strings of disgusting spawn are thrown into the cage, where they slowly begin to chew through the helpless body of the previously captured marauder, which roars helplessly in rage and agony.

“Yes, that’s what you get.” – Uday, nodding grimly.

Unlike most of Yohan’s other characters, Uday is actually pretty sadistic.

“Where did I go wrong,
I lost my friends,
Somewhere alone in the magic night,
I should have stayed,
By the cart,
Now I know,
How to save my life.” – Ladyhawk and LaPD, to the tune of ‘How to Save a Life’ by The Fray.

The Wrap-Up:
This one was good fun. They revealed some really important information in this session, particularly Mathlynn’s visions at the end.

I still wish I’d remembered to throw some of the things I’d thought of when I was preparing this session, but I was a little taken by surprise when they wanted to play three sessions in one night. At least they seemed to enjoy it.

Thanks for reading,
« Last Edit: September 16, 2018, 10:58:14 PM by Phoenixguard09 »
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