This session was played remotely on www.infrno.net
Opened with introductions and resolutions of technical difficulties, which were less than expected. Main issues are controlling volume and the missing chat bar with 5 participants. I’ve posted on the forums already about the chat bar issue.
Started the session with a bit of a verbal overview of the history and region, zeroing in and increasing detail in the zone I anticipate the most action which is Kansk, the Black River, and the Dire Forest. I’m trying to strike a balance of giving just enough information to provide color while leaving plenty of material to explore with fertile ground for wises. Ditto with NPC’s; introducing too many NPC’s lowers the need for circles tests.
The session consisted of three separate groupings: Shadon and Vol, Argent, and Durgoth with Shadon and Vol getting about 65% of the screen time, Argent 25%, and Durgoth 10%. I will try and estimate these after each session so that I can balance over time. Feel free to push back on these estimates if you don’t feel I nailed it.
Shadon and Vol
James learned that Shadon’s spring is a spring of healing and that it is in Dire West. It’s deep enough into the forest that the Empire has not discovered its existence. Few elves know either, although it’s discretely listed in the elven hall of records. Water taken away can add 1D to healing-related tests. Healing tests conducted at the spring gain 3D.
Vol and Shadon met just outside Vol’s village as Dad described in his narrative, with Vol joyfully and anxiously running toward her village only to round the corner and see humans. Shadon pulled her into the woods discretely before she was discovered. Shadon shared with Vol what he knew of the village, which happened about two years ago. The 7th Legion decided it wanted the land due to its strategic importance. It ordered the villagers to move. The village elders tried to understand, tried to negotiate, tried to explore options. The local commander grew impatient and sent in troops and demons. The village did not put up armed resistance, most of them simply fled. Some were slain. The military now occupies the village and there is a human settlement there for traders, trappers, and hunters.
Shadon also shared with Vol what he knows of Lorwyn’s disappearance. Turns out Lorwyn is the latest in a string of six disappearances over the last two years, all in Dire West. Vol learned that this problem has been taken seriously by the elven community, including assistance from the Elven Council in Dire East and exploratory missions deeper into the forests and even the foothills of the Armenian Mountains and polar regions but no signs have been found. Vol has a fresh idea (GM’s contrivance for steering the elves to the city), that if the trail of the disappearing elves can’t be found in Dire West, and if these elves have been enslaved, perhaps the trail could be picked up in Kansk.
Much of this news about the village and missing elves is news to Vol. Vol figures out that Lorwyn’s letters undoubtedly sheltered Vol from the grim realities of life in Dire West.
Vol is clearly driven to find Lorwyn. Shadon “The Lost” sees this as an opportunity to have a purpose once again to his life as Vol clearly should not head off to Kansk all by herself. Yay, two PC’s with a clear story arc!
Before heading to Kansk Shadon convinces Vol to travel to Dire East to meet with his sword master, Baelianavel (Pr. Bale + lian + avel). They catch an elven river sloop up the Black River. On the way they pass under Caraktion Bridge, about half way between Dire West and Dire East, a bridge tall enough to permit river traffic, but long enough to provide a gentle arch over the river for ease of wagon traffic. The bridge is well constructed as a single arch and no supporting pillars, a marvel of Imperial construction. The PCs earn challenging steel checks due to the presence of the two demons on the bridge staring down at them as they pass under. There is a large military encampment here on both sides of the river. There is no suggestion of stopping for a visit to the local bar nor interest in even slowing down to view the standards and regalia of the 7th Legion elements quartered here.
Frame forward: Shadon and Vol arrive at Glistenmare, the Etharch citadel in Dire East from which the elven kingdom of the Dire Forest is cared for. There is much beauty here, life looks untouched by Imperial presence. No human civilians or military are spotted here. Vol is nervous about her lack of presentable attire so Shadon tracks down Bealianavel without her. Shadon fails his etiquette roll and barges into a room where Bealianavel is clearly in attendance with three other elven nobility (two gray elves and a high elven sorcerer named Tilith). Bealianavel excuses himself from the others and the two go to find Vol. Bealianavel confirms the stories above about the village and missing elves and adds this information: the 7th Legion commander who attacked the village is Melboron Seluciden, the tribune laticlavious (2nd in command) of the legion. He is young, Latvian, and of noble descent, probably in line for the Senate. Of the missing elves, they learn that the elven sorcerer Tilith has been asked to look into the matter. The idea of picking up the investigation in Kansk is welcomed. Bealianavel explains that in his capacity as Ambassador of the Dire Forest to the Empire he has explained the incident to Vecna, the high elven sorcerer in Saratov who all the elven forest ambassadors report to. Vecna is a member of Kordaava’s court and has the title, “Warden of the Forested Lands of the Kordavan Empire.” (Via follow-up email) Shadon learns that all of the missing elves were armed, no children or unarmed villagers are missing.
En route to Kansk one of Vol’s doves arrives. Thinking it’s a message from Lorwyn, Vol approaches excitedly, nervously. But the note is from Mr. Granger, inquiring about her mission, and asking her to send some cardamom—-an obscure spice when written in Halfling could have easily been misinterpreted as something even more exotic and expensive, but Dad makes the roll.
Some time is spent describing the Golden Flask, a small dockside tavern, dingy, dark woods, solid door to keep out the wind, and tiny windows covered with grime that are useless. There’s a public entrance in front, a few tables, some thick square supporting columns, a target for knife throwing, a bar, a private room for accounting books and storage behind the bar, and an exit from the back room out into the alley. There is a ladder up into the loft which is a large room that Argent and Uthred share, with curtains for privacy, and no windows. There is a hatch for roof access. I’ll assume the roof hatch and alley door are locked from the inside with run of the mill padlocks.
Business is often slow, many nights seeing only a couple of customers. Boom times are about once every 3 or 4 months when there are gladiatorial games as the bar is well located for traffic heading out to the coliseum. The bar’s best week was six months ago for the biggest annual games. During the games a fair number of Imperial soldiers patronize the bar, but most customers are fishermen, sailors, and dock workers.
After a particularly slow week the Flask is visited by a dozen “fish ladies.” These are burly, bawdy, working class women who Argent learns work at the local fishery cleaning fish. This work requires a lot of heavy lifting and precision work with sharp knives
- which they all carry at least one of. The knives are well used and incredibly sharp. The ladies debate whether to come in and Argent rushes out to encourage them to give the place a try. Some fun, friendly banter ensues with Argent wagering at knife throwing with the ring leader, Phyllis, who has B5 throwing and B6 power. They tie at throwing knives but amazingly Argent wins the contest by beating her at arm wrestling. Obviously the Golden Flask wasn’t their first stop tonight. Argent’s charm wins the day and the fish ladies become regulars of the bar, coming by en force once every two weeks after they get paid, which tends to increase the foot traffic from local men as well.
A man comes to the bar and discretely shows his “gang tat” to Argent. It’s similar to Argent’s, signifying his allegiance to the House of Vosk from Port Car. Uthred is left to tend the bar and they discretely meet elsewhere and Argent learns this guy’s name is Toran, an assassin in training, delivering a message to Argent. “The Az merchant, Baroness Tomei, needs to be sent a message, that the reach of Port Car assassins extends far, throughout the empire, and that the great merchant houses of Port Car demand favorable pricing for spider silk.” Toran offers his assistance but Argent declines. Toran says he will visit weekly for updates until the mission is complete. But time is of the essence; Vosk will not be pleased if Toran does not report home soon.
I reviewed the role of Mirador in the dwarven society of Kansk. I confirmed for Simon, yes, Mirdador is a huge Dick with a capital D. Mirador mettles in every aspect of the lives of all dwarves in Kansk. Hot topics are the worship of Ra and that Durgoth and Baji need to wed and bear young.
We learn a bit about Durgoth’s family history. A grandparent was human, which makes the GM feel better about allowing Durgoth to angle for the Faithful trait. Mechanically, aside from the eligibility for the Faithful trait, Simon will use dwarven stats and rules 100% for Durgoth. Simon will work on the background more to incorporate the human heritage. We learn Baji was formerly a housekeeper and the relationship blossomed into something more. They aren’t married yet, but are being pressured by the clan to do so and start bearing children.
We learned that Durgoth likes to trade with pirates in ways that undermine the empire.
A local policeman, a “bobby” named Frank, brings a cart to Durgoth for repairs. Looks like something large and hairy escaped from it. I had not anticipated the question of what the creature was (although I should have). Looking back, I’ve decided it was a yeti! Frank wouldn’t know that “yeti” is what the creature is that he describes, I share that for the players so you can better picture the description Frank gives. Frank mentions that the beast was captured up in the Armenian mountains for “the games” and there is a reward for its recapture.
Durgoth manages to patch up the hole but didn’t roll well enough even with Baji’s help to strengthen the design. But he makes amends by not charging for the repair and uses persuasion to convince Frank he got a great deal. (nice recovery!)
Durgoth desires to find a priest of Ra but we cut the session short before starting down this path.
Argent’s finding allies: 1 fate
Shadon’s finding allies: 1 fate
Vol’s searching for Lorwyn: 1 fate
Vol’s investigating village: 1 fate
Durgoth’s looking for a priest: 1 fate
Durgoth’s looking for allies: 1 fate