Sunday, March 7, 2010

Greymoore - Session 5

So, I'm sorry this didn't go up yesterday I just totally spaced. I think I still hit my 4 posts for the week though. if not, oops :D

Anyhow, we had what I am viewing as a transition session this week. Transitioning from one section of the story to the next, I feel like the introduction is finally over. If you put all the sessions together for a console RPG, as Ilian's spell went off you'd have the camera pull back and up, looking over the entire city as it burned in the rain and the title for the game would appear over the screen. As such, the session was a bit slower, though people still seemed to have fun. We are, however, getting ahead of ourselves.

The Cast
Liam Callahan - a 16 year old human farm boy who constantly has his head in the clouds (you guessed it. The Hero!). Liam hails from the "Road's End Villages" the far North Western section of the Kingdom of Cimerea, not that anyone particularly remembers that.

Ilian Holhan - An 18 year old apprentice mage Seraphim who has come down to the surface (accompanied by his mentor and master) to further his studies on the weather as well as several other studies for his magical pursuits.. The Seraphim are a race of winged scholars and magi who live high above the clouds.

Abar Dan Rab Beynonn - An 18 year old Azrian Sword Dancer. The Azrian are a tribe of humans that live in cities in the forests (think Sherwood from Robin Hood Prince of Thieves), they are some of the premiere sword fighters in the land, using a style that emphasizes grace and finesse over power.

Darcy Stanton - A Half-Elf Rogue who has been staying with Rab (Abar) among the Azrian for the last few years. She is as close as a sister to Rab, and helps him on the various jobs he undertakes for the Azrian. Despite her time with the Azrian though, Darcy prefers to fight with her knives rather than use a sword.

Grenru Crabshall - A Dwarven caravan guard from the Dwarf's War Caste. Grenru hails from the famed floating cities of the Dwarves, though it has been years since he has seen home. Assigned to a guard a caravan heading to the northern provinces of Cimerea.

The Session
The session began with the party waking up in their rooms in the castle. A large section of the roof and the wall had been blown out from the initial surge of Ilian's magic, and the rain was pouring down over them, soaking them to their skin as they lay injured on the floor. One by one they woke up, injuries preventing them from doing much more aside from huddling closer to each other for warmth in a section of the room that still had its roof. Darcy, being the only one completely uninjured, did a quick two minute exploration in the halls around their room, what she found was horrific. Beginning with a person whose body had literally exploded making a ring of gore in the hall, the condition of the bodies quickly got better with distance from its origin point (Ilian), leaving most of the people that Darcy found simply dead on the floor looking like it had been agonizing to experience but not quite the "skeleton leaves the meat" experience that people closer to the room had had.

Nearly a day later, injuries still severely limiting the abilities of the party, they were found by a guard scouting that wing. Working with the guard, they moved themselves to the Castle's main hall where the survivors were being organized, or being given medical treatment as they could. Leading this operation? Malik Hightower, looking none the worse for wear though a little tired. Elise ila Tamera also survived the blast, and is out in the city looking for survivors there. While the party gets some medical attention, Darcy volunteers to go and look for more survivors in the castle and heads for the King's ward of the castle where the king still lays slain in his bed. His wife lies on the floor nearly twenty feet away dead from no apparent causes (another victim of Ilian's spell). Her knife is nowhere to be found, the King's body is killed in exactly the style she was trained in, though there is a very faint difference between her and this assassin in the very fine details. On her way back from the King's room, Darcy comes across Princess Jasa, a little battered and bruised (the spell had hit while she was being rushed through the stair case to somewhere safer) but alive. Her presence brings some relief to all the guards that are still alive, and even Rab, whose care she is put into for lack of someone better who also knows her at the moment.

The collection of survivors stays put for a few days, treating the injured and constantly looking for more who are still alive. In the end though, of the over 200,000 people that had lived in the capitol of Cimerea, there are less than 200 survivors found. After some discussion with Elise and Malik, the party acts on their feeling that these attacks are coming after Liam, and decides to split up with the other survivors. Elise and Malik lead the group of over 150 survivors to the South East towards the city of Bastion, which if not necessarily the closest distance wise is probably the easiest to travel to and in a direction that does not have constant reports of monster attacks along the way. The party decides to head in the opposite direction, to the North West, and to the cave that Liam and Illian have been dreaming about. There are good byes all around, with Rab asking Elise to take care of herself, the princess trying to order Rab to stay, Malik giving final words of instruction to Liam, and Grenru saying good bye to one of his few remaining guard friends being the stand-out ones.

On the way to the cave, the weather continues to bother Ilian. The sky is over-cast and grey, full of dark storm clouds, as the weather gives all signs that it is currently raining. Yet, there is nothing coming down from the clouds. Already irritable from the anxiety over all the people he killed has him snappy at his comrades as they try to explain it. Moving through the woods, the weather finally does open up, with snow during the summer. It snows all evening, acting like it is trying to make up for the time it lost. The party sets up shelters in their "quiet camp" for the night, and are attacked during the very first watch.

The attackers are a cat-like humanoid race with dark skin and yellow eyes. They move exceptionally silently, very easily sneaking by Grenru who is on watch and moving for the kill on the various sleeping party members. In Liam's dreams a voice booms in his head "WAKE UP!", bolting him upright and face to face with the now surprised would be assassin. Liam's startlement, followed by a bellow from Grenru wakes up the rest of the party and the battle commences. The cat-like creatures are dangerous, but the party does a good job in fighting them off. Even Liam, aside from the very first hit, manages to avoid being struck again thanks to his training time with Malik. It is not long before two of the six creatures are slain and dropped to the ground. It is even less time before those two creatures get right back up to rejoin the fight. A few more rounds go by, and Darcy manages to kill another one, this time it turns to stone and almost yanks her out of the tree she is fighting in. It does steal one of her daggers from her.

Eventually the group gets the idea that you need to turn them to stone, and then smash them, in order to kill them. The only person downed in the fight is Grenru (sadly, I kept rolling REALLY well on damage against poor Grenru). They patch up wounds, move camp, and try to rest. Liam has another dream, this time a bird's eye view of the forest they're in, and of a small army pursuing them. Woken by his dream, and with so much weird stuff going on, the party trusts Liam and they head off to try and avoid this army. Using Rab's navigation, Liam and Darcy hiding their tracks, Grenru's knowledge of how an army would pursue in this situation, and Ilian using what he knows of weather to help guide them around where things will be worse for them, the party spends the next few days fleeing from this army. Always managing to stay just one step ahead, but never getting enough time to actually rest. Until, that is, they arrive at the mountains. Taking a circuitous route through the early foot hills they buy themselves time and find their destination, the cave.

Heading in, the tunnel gets narrower and narrower until the group is moving in single file, the roof easily within reach for Rab and Liam if they reached their hand up. They go further down, spiraling down nearly two miles before the cave opens up into a huge chamber, the blue head of a dragon peering at them from around the wall. Introductions are made, the dragon immediately recognizes Darcy as a half elf and comments that Rab smells like an elf. Ilian also reeks of magic, Darcy of death, and Liam just 'weird', giving the Dwarf a happy moment as he realizes that he, of all people, is the only one that does not smell weird to the Dragon.

The Dragon, whose name is Fatooth, invites them deeper into his home before leaving with a scraping noise. When they round the corner to where Fatooth was, they see that the noise is caused by his enormous stomach which drags on the ground as he walks. Fatooth, the first dragon to be seen in centuries, proof that the legends Liam has read all his life may be real, is a lazy fat ass.

Conversation with Fatooth mostly focuses on magic, as he realizes - thanks to Ilian's explanations - that the mages of the world have forgotten what the Dragons taught them nearly 15000 years ago and are running around claiming to be experts in the field when their understanding is closer, much much closer, to that of a young child's. Fatooth also recognizes the strange smell he is getting off Liam, identifying Liam as a potential Knight. He tells Liam he'll need to get a sword, clarifying that he means a real sword for a Knight when Liam protests that he already has one.

Session was called there, with the party safe in the Dragon's cave, deciding if they wanted to go south and past the Titan's Wall to get Liam's sword, or north to the Elves to warn them of the assassination of King Sarn that was recently done. Ah, crossroads.

Oh, Also, there was small development with the pendant Liam found in his father's quiver. After a dream where he saw a griffin on it, he held it up to find it still blank. Rab grabbed it to see it, and the pendant immediately showed an Eagle on it. When Rab or Darcy hold the pendant it shows an eagle. When Grenru holds it it shows a Lion. When Liam or Ilian hold it, it is blank.

Thoughts on Session
I feel I did a much better job with this session than the previous one. I hit Ilian with various signs of his guilt, and some dreams that showed how depressed the character was. I think I hit the NPCs right, giving them some signs of emotion after the spell went off and some humanity as they said good bye with the party, a group of strangers that had become fast friends.

I think I did a better job with the weather in this one, using it to show how strange the situation was, and the unnatural events that are beginning to take place. Though, I think I could do a much better job on it.

The Hunters (the cat like assassins) were, to me, a success though the party didn't find the real trick to killing them just yet (they may after reading that what they think isn't it). Though, the fight also showed that some players have forgotten what I said about throwing out some of the combat rules for more cinematic fights, sticking to what I refer to as "the Player trap" that exists in most games where you are encouraged, if not mandated, to stick with your most statistically powerful/useful method in combat. We'll have to see about fixing that in the future.

Fatooth was a big hit, as I hoped he would be. I've been giggling to myself for weeks about a fat-ass dragon just being lazy in his cave and using charm magic to lure animals down and into his gullet.

All in all, I thought it was a good session.

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