Saturday, April 3, 2010

Greymoore - Session 7

We had the seventh session of the Greymoore game last night. It was an interesting session, as "big event" wise not all that much happened, but there seemed to be more character wise going on.


Liam Callahan - a 17 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 Cerimea, not that anyone particularly remembers that.

Ilian Holhan - A 19 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 - A 19 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.

Genru Crabshall - A Dwarven caravan guard from the Dwarf's War Caste. Genru 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 Cerimea.

Ornu Tana Dar - An experienced Elven Woodsman, Ornu is specifically trained to be able to counter rogues, spies, and assassins, and also in taking out larger groups of opponents as quickly and efficiently possible. One year ago (beginning of the game) he was sent to retrieve Darcy back to the Kingdom so that officials could speak to her on matters of some importance to the Elven kingdom.

The Session
Having been on the road together for about a year now, and with Ornu for 6 months, the group was heading into the forest and to Rab and Darcy's home, the Azrian village in one of the forests of Cimerea. The plan was simple, stop in and grab a new sword for Rab before continuing onwards to the Free City of Bastion on their way down to the Titan Wall. Things were not quite that simple.

As the group moved to enter the forest the sound of deep laughter immediately followed by a small explosion deposited Ilian right in front of them. The young Seraphim looked a bit more sure of himself than they remembered, but still the person they remembered, particularly when he startled at the fire his entrance had caused. A quick word, reinforced by magic, and the fires went out, only the fires. Greetings were exchanged, as well as an introduction between Ornu, now finding that the other race he thought didn't exist anymore was alive and well, and Ilian who explained that he had just been talking to Fatooth about rejoining them when he...well, arrived.

Reunited the group moved into the forest and towards the Azrian village, spotting the sentries posted and noting their youth. The village itself was not as full of life as normal. By no means as abandoned as the Elven cities, but like everyone was gone on vacation. A few quick questions revealed that most of the adults were away on missions, Azrian services in high demand with the recent going ons. Unperturbed, the group headed towards the tree that housed Rab and Darcy's home before realizing that Grenru would probably be too heavy for the wooden planks and rope bridges that served as walk ways for the Tree Cities the Azrian lived in. Splitting into two, Liam, Rab, and Ornu headed up to the house while Darcy, Grenru, and Ilian stayed on the ground level. Things getting a bit more interesting as once up in the tree Liam spotted two men a bit off, skin a dark smokey grey, just like Lily. Wasting no time, Liam rushes on over to see what he can find out.

The excitement of the human boy draws the interest of others, and in short order everyone but Grenru is surrounding the two dark skinned warriors as they stand outside the Patriarch's home. It is found out that the two are here to prove they are of the Azrian way, and then challenge for the position of Top Sword in the village. Only, all those who would normally receive such a challenge are either injured, on a mission, or in the case of the Top Sword herself, sick. Rab volunteers to be the test if they know the Azrian way and a duel is set up for the following morning between him and the younger of the two smoke skinned warriors. Ilian and ornu offer to try and help the Top Sword, claiming knowledge as healers, and their help is accepted.

The meeting over, the group scatters again. Ilian and Ornu, with a bit of help from Darcy, figure out that the Top Sword has not been poisoned, but the disease is not normal either. She is kept tired, and feverish. Resorting to magic, Ilian can feel a sickly, oily, black liquidy substance is wrapped around her organs. An attempt to use magic to give the Top Sword some energy fails when the substance just immediately consumes the energy. Ilian gets an idea, and syncing his body with the Top Swords via magic, attempts to draw the substance out through her mouth and into a prepared jar for further study. The attempt is partially successful, only instead of into the jar the liquid is moving towards the seraphim mage himself. Trying to help, and not thinking of the jar Ornu first tries to cut the liquid with no luck. Remembering the jar then he gathers most of the liquid out of the air and into it, only a drop has already attached to the Seraphim's face, moving slowly for his eyes. A hand manages to brush the liquid off the Seraphim, but now it is on Ornu's hand and moving a lot faster up towards his shoulder. A panicked cry of "Seraphim!" gets through Ilian's trance, and with a moment of inspiration he attempts to force a name onto the substance and order it into the jar. His will power focused into the magic over-rides the substance and forces a name onto it. The substance instantly vanishes from existance, like it had never been there. Aside from a cold streak on Ornu's arm where it had been touching, and the exhausted and weak Top Sword.

While the healing of the Top Sword is going on, Rab and Liam are searching his home for another sword. Rab's father had been a black smith after all, and they figure one might be around somewhere. Their search bares fruit when Liam discovers a hidden compartment under the bed with a long box in it. Rab finds the key elsewhere in the house and opens it up to find a fine sword of Azrian design in it. He instantly claims it as his own. Later in the evening when telling about finding the compartment to Darcy, she has Liam show it to her. Checking it out, she finds that the bottom to the compartment is actually a false bottom and under it is another sword. This one a long sword. The blade is of a high quality, showing little sign of aging despite the obvious wear on the hilt. They show the sword to Rab, who immediately gives it to Liam telling him not to melt this one.

The next morning Rab meets with the younger of the smoke skinned warriors for their fight. It is announced that the two smoke-skinned warriors have a letter from 'Brighid The Falling Leaf' claiming she trained them. Liam recognizes the name as his mother's, but dismisses it as it couldn't be her. Rab and Darcy recognize the name as that of a young Azrian woman who went missing roughly 35 years ago, the last direct descendant of Corin the Red founder and arguably the greatest of the Azrian since the founder herself. The fight is close, and in a contest of first to 5 touches both warriors are going for a bit more than simple touches. The smoke skinned warriors sword is made of an off black, dark grey metal that does not shine or glint in the light. The two go back and forth, knocking the other down at least once, but in the end the fight comes to a close. 5 touches to 3 in favor of the smoke skinned warrior, whats more, the entire fight he fought only with the Azrian style. Rab says it is clear he is Azrian, the fighter thanks him for the match and Rab makes him promise to allow him (Rab) to buy him (the fighter) a beer later. The older of the smoke skinned warriors and the patriarch go off to talk while Ilian heals Rab and the younger warrior.

Darcy goes to talk to the Patriarch, not trusting the two smoke-skinned warriors. She stays away, not eavesdropping, on the obviously heated but quiet conversation the older smoke skinned warrior and patriarch are having. Approaching when they separate to offer her skills in place of the Top Sword for the challenge. She is after all of the Azrian, and feels she is a better fighter than Rab. While not a full student of the Azrian way in training, there is no rule stating that you must fight in the Azrian way for a challenge, just that you must be Azrian to have the right to challenge. The Patriarch says he will take it under advisement and consider it, but for now the two have broken none of the Azrian rules.

Later in the day, as evening begins to set, Ornu walks the village. Taken by surprise as out of the corner of his eyes the older smoke-skinned fighter seems to appear out of nowhere. Intrigued he follows the man, only to lose him behind a large tree. There is no hidden door or hole, and the man could not have gone up. he simply vanished. Reporting the finding to the others, combined with Ilian being suspicious due to having been lied to by the younger warrior earlier (after the fight when he healed Rab and the young warrior). The party begins to get truly suspicious, and decides to take matters into their own hands. Darcy decides she will challenge the older of the two smoke-skinned warriors to a fight the next day, to decide if they are even good enough to challenge the Top Sword. She then sets out to set up a battle field where she can take the advantage while fighting in the way she knows how. Rab, feeling a tinge of responsibility, goes to awaken and tell the Top Sword what is going on. Catching the recovering woman up on what is going in the village, and what they think it may mean. In the end though, no changes are made to their plan, though Rab is left with a distinct lack of liking for the Patriarch who he feels is not doing enough to protect the village.

The next day, Darcy challenges the older warrior to a match. He readily accepts and the village sets up the duel. Ilian watches with the Top Sword from a balcony in the village. Ornu from a vantage point in a tree, and the rest of the group in various positions on the ground level where the fight will take place. The fight quickly moves into the forest, the Smoke-Skinned fighter not minding in the least as Darcy tries to lure him into the woods. Darcy moves forward and scores a hit with her knife against the man, and then another. He responds with a thrown knife that she easily dodges, only when she attacks next she finds she is jerked backwards suddenly, something that throws off her attack a bit. Registering no contact despite the fact she is sure she hit again. Her opponent vanished before her eyes, and as she crouches low to try and obscure where she is she finds herself being tugged backwards.

From his higher vantage point, and watching Darcy move Ornu realizes that the knife she thought had missed her, stuck into her shadow, was the center point of where she was stuck to. Calling it down, Darcy turns to try and knock the knife free only for Ornu to call out another warning. Her opponent is emerging from another shadow behind her. Darcy turns and brings her knife to the man's neck, turning the tables of surprise on her mid fight. He agrees to let her free her shadow and continue the match like that, and Darcy manages to win. The smoke-skinned warrior vanishing almost immediately with a warning that "this" was not over yet.

The group regathers, deciding to stay a week and recover a bit. They train, Rab and Darcy receiving lessons from the Top Sword directly as she regains her strength. Liam finally masters something Malik showed him, getting his full body's power into a blow that sends his sparring partner sailing through the air and into a tree. Even Ilian gets some time to practice with his small and light ceramic sword of Seraphim make. Rab is told he has two years to become the fighter he can be and challenge the Top Sword, or she'll go after him herself. He grudgingly accepts, though inwardly seems to be looking forward to the challenge. Their week over, and the Top Sword seeming to be better, the group heads out of the village to continue to Bastion on their way to the Titan Wall. The week did them a lot of good, but at what cost to everything else?

This was a weird session for me as the GM. I thought it was too slow and not engaging enough for people, but then when session was called everyone at the table seemed surprised that we were already past midnight. Also, while not a "lot" plot wise happened, more did than it seemed. Even more importantly though was the development of the group dynamic. Ornu is settling in nicely, and saved the lives of two of the group in the session. Rab has started to take on responsibility, Ilian is coming to grips with his power, Liam is starting to come into his own, and Grenru is the rock they all lean on at some time or another as they pick their way through the world.

Ornu's player mentioned that in the story 'structure' we're right at the part where a major set back should be occurring soon. A hero over-stepping their bounds and getting someone harmed, a safety blanket being ripped away. I think I agree with this, the question is, just how to do that in a game? It should be fun to find out I suppose.

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