We had the 11th session of our Greymoore game Friday night
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.
For those who read this, apologies for it not making it up yesterday. Had a full day with family and visiting friends, the whole nine yards.Anyhow, the session was a bit strange in that the majority of it was more like a dream sequence for everyone. So instead of the usual chronological flow of the game I try to do, I'm going to go character by character.
In no particular order, we'll start with..
Ilian woke up to find himself back in the Seraphim flying city that he had lived in before the adventure started. He was in a large and comfortable bed, and he was not alone. Opening his eyes he sees a beautiful female Seraphim with raven style and colored wings. Needless to say it's a rather pleasant way to wake up. Looking around the room he notices some other things, this is the top roost in the aerie, the room that is traditionally the matriarchs. The girl he is with is too young to be the matriarch, and he, well, he is both too young and too male. A moment of panic sets in as he wakes up the young woman he is with, asking if they'll be in trouble for being there. She smiles coyly and asks why they'd be in trouble for being in his room.
Questions as to what is going on is answered with patience. He is the Archmage, the Seraphim put him in place as leader as both a war hero and the most powerful magic user. Raven (as she's called) is his wife, and she is also concerned if he is having visions again. Ilian latches onto that as the reason for why things must be going so weird, and Raven gets up to get him some tea and food. Ilian goes to write down that he had a vision, one he can't remember, discovering the vision book is significantly thicker than it had been before, and that it has been months since his last vision. Raven returns with tea and food, telling him that the Elves are here to discuss trade. His question about what he needs for this negotiation is a simple one "Perhaps you should start with putting on pants"
He wakes up again, he is deep underground. He has the feeling that he hasn't seen the sun in months, and has passed out yet again while studying a book. Looking for a staff, a staff he is sure he had in the vision he was just having. Raven is with him, her eyes don't shine as much, the luster gone from her feathers, but something reminds him that she's been down ever since they were forced down here, the day her father had died. Ornu comes barging in, they've been found and need to move. Ilian reacts with confusion, and Ornu rushes him. Ilian is the last hope, he's to important to be caught here. Grabbing some of his stuff, Ornu shoves it into Ilian's hands and drags him out into the tunnels to escape.
Ilian steps through the doorway and outside. The elven delegation is ahead of him, looking as resplendent as could be expected. An old friend at the head in the form of Darcy, also looking beautiful as ever and happy to see him. He approaches and they greet each other, small talk is made before Darcy asks to be shown to where the talks will be. As Ilian turns she produces a knife and goes to work, her words are quite clear with the reason, "You killed Rab! You killed my son!" Ilian protests that it wasn't his fault until life leaves him.
He's not dead! The orc was close, but the blade just missed. Ornu pulls the dead orc off of him and drags him to his feet. "Come on! We have to get moving!" Ornu growls out, shoving Ilian in front of him. Ignoring the protest as to where Raven is. Ornu forces Ilian along, running through the tunnels. An arrow strikes ahead of them as they reach the final escape hatch. Ornu throws Ilian out and turns to face the coming foes.
Ilian is left in a field, above him the sky is full of dragons, battling and warring. He can see one of the flying cities, burning and crashing to the ground. A body falls from it, Raven, landing broken and dead before him. Rab and Darcy are next, followed by Liam, Grenru, and Ornu. Leaving him in a circle of his six dead friends.
He is falling, it is pitch dark all around him as he goes rolling down some slope. He thinks he is underground, the hardness of the earth supports that theory as his body can attest. The fall stops rather unceremoniously as he is deposited in water. The muck at the bottom sucking his hands and legs down. The powerful dwarf fights his way back to his feet, hearing a hissing coming from above him. He reaches for his axe, only to find that it is not there.
He is standing on a raised dais in a crowd of cheering people. Elves, dwarves, humans, seraphim all populate the crowd. Around him sit six blocks, each set to hold someone down for a proper execution. The executioner's axe is in his hand, and the people are being led to the dais in front of him. As they're secured to the slabs, the hood is pulled off revealing his friends. Rab, Darcy, Liam, Ilian, Ornu, and Malik. Their eyes are black, they're in a rage trying to get at him. The crowd calls for him to end it, to put them to rest. He searches his brain for why he is here, how it came to be. His brain provides the answer, this needs to be done.
Something jumps down on him from above. He grabs it and throws it to one side hearing it splash into the water. Noise from his left and he spins for his next attacker. He moves, trying to get away from the attackers. the ground feels more solid beneath his feet, something beneath the water begins to glow. He tries to glow to match it, the process takes time but when he does he can see clearly through the water. See the rows of dwarven warriors lying their in eternal rest, their bodies and armor glowing a brilliant white.
The axe comes up as he prepares to strike and take Rab's head off. Rab snarls, Ornu growls out "You always were a bitch". The axe comes down and stops just before touching Rab's skin. Grenru's body glows a brilliant white light, it washes over Rab and cleanses the black from his eyes. Rab seems sane again, normal. Grenru breathes in relief and continues on to save his next friend. As he finishes, saving Malik all the people fade away. Leaving him alone in the circle of six slabs, the roar of the crowd fading from his ears.
He is back in the Elven city, one of the underground ones. Walking through the tunnels between parts of the city. He's wearing a new cloak, it smells pleasant, an off black matte coloring that breaks up lines well. A staff in his hand clicking with each step he takes. The people around him give him a respectful berth. There is not fear in their eyes, but perhaps some inkling of not wishing to be closer to him. He is looking for someone, the thought in his head that perhaps they are by the Elven war memorial. He turns and steps out of the tunnel...
He bursts out of the tunnel and into the blasted and scorched plains. He is being chased, and is all that is left of the group of adventurers. Now, the full attention of whatever it is is on him, wanting him to be wiped out as well. They're not that far behind him. He runs and sets up an ambush point. The cat creatures from the forest before burst out of the tunnel he just left, followed by some of the winged creatures that turn to stone when killed. He puts an arrow into the closest two, killing them both before turning to run. There are trees off to the right, he'll do better in the trees. He heads off that way.
He moves through the artificial forest the elves have set up down here. Walking through on his way to the memorial. A child is in his path, she wants to talk. He smiles and speaks to the child, asking if she'll show him the rest of the way to the memorial. She agrees and goes to show him, only to be ripped away by the child's mother. the mother apologizes profusely, she of course means no disrespect, but her and her child need to go. Ornu watches curiously as they leave him in the forest. Continuing on his journey.
The branches snap at his face as he runs through the trees. Turning and firing occasionally to drop the fastest of the advancing creatures. They're faster than him though, he is only staying ahead due to the shooting and his own skill at navigating forests. He runs on, and then suddenly drops as the ground gives way beneath him. Managing to land safely nearly thirty feet below in the worked tunnel. The walls and floor done in intricate stone work. He heads off down this new tunnel, knowing he doesn't have much more time. Paying little attention to the skeletons of elves and humans on the ground as he rushes past them.
He is back in the Elven city, in the war memorial. All around him slabs of polished marble go on for as far as the eye can see, making an intricate series of passageways. On the memorial is the name of every war the Elves have been part of, with the names of all who went to fight in it. The name of every battle in chronological order is listed after, along with the names of the survivors. When a name vanishes from the list, they died in that battle. Ornu finds his way to the most recent battle, there are only six names under it. Looking to the battle previously, he finds his name, as well as the names of his friends. He keeps moving, finding the person he is looking for. An elven man who looks to be on in his years. The man seems almost happy to see Ornu, looking to him and asking "That time is it?" Ornu agrees, and the man reaches to pull himself up by taking the staff.
He grabs the staff from the statue, turning to face the coming cat demons. As he takes a fighting pose a scythe blade snaps out of the staff, the stick growing a bit thinner and better fitted for his hands in combat. He swings, and kills the first creature, there is a flash of white light. He is left standing in a circle of six of the slabs from the Elven memorial.
Darcy is in a blank room, the floor and walls black. It is not so much that it is dark, as much as there is nothing to be seen. Rab appears before her, asking questions. Followed by Ilian, Liam, Ornu, and finally Grenru. They all have questions. Who is she? Why is she here? Why does she want to die? Why is she always manipulating them? They get more and more aggressive as time goes by, pushing and demanding answers. No more lies, no more over thinking, no more justification. Earn their trust, show she is worthy of them. She makes the decision to do this and leaves. Stepping out of the room, to find herself in the center of the five of them and Rab's father. Each dead with one of her knives in them.
He wakes up in bed, it is a rich and spacious room. Elise is in the bed with him, her form still attractive, even if softer after the last couple years of peace and the recent child birth. He wants to know why he is here, waking up Elise. She laughs at him, telling him they're married and he's the king, though it is nice to see that waking up to her is still a nice enough thing he is in complete disbelief. Rab seems more confused over being king, claiming again it is a dream and wanting to know how to test. Elise shrugs and hits him, knocking him out of the bed. It hurts, though she didn't go full force. His sword falls over him on the ground, though it is not quite his sword. The hilt is the neck and head of a creature that looks somewhat like a dragon, though a bit sleeker and smaller. The hand guard is said creature's spread wings. The blade, its tail, ending in a slightly barbed point. He looks up to demand answers only to find Elise has gone back to sleep. A couple knocks on the door and a page enters. He is needed in the main hall, two nobles need his help in settling a dispute. He stands up to go out, a murmur from Elise reminding him to put on his pants. He gets dressed, grabs his sword and goes out into the hall.
He is in the hall of a different palace, holding Darcy in his arms. A spear meant for him having gone through her. Despite the pain and imminent death Darcy seems happy. She claims she earned this. Rab tells her not to die, she says she can't avoid it. Ilian shows up, surprising Rab enough that he almost stabs him. A wall of ice forms, blocking the sword stab, two shards stopping just before killing Rab in response. "We need to go, you're needed on the battlements. No one else can handle Malik." Ilian says, Rab demands he help Darcy. Ilian says she's beyond all help. They end up heading for the battlement, Rab unhappy abuot the situation.
He is in the main hall, sitting in the throne. The crown is heavy on his head, the lords are bickering over land. He's struck by the memory that just a few years ago they were the staunchest of allies. Working together to save the very land that they are now fighting over. Rab denies them both the land, claiming it as his. They say it already is his, he is the King afterall. He says he wants to put a peasant in charge, that brings about protest. Rab actually puts his foot down.
And is back on the battlements of the other palace. An army is arrayed before them, coming to kill them. At its head rides Malik. Malik is wielding the sword that Rab had in the other vision. Behind him in the army are hundreds if not thousands of humans, heroes. Including Elise, who Rab is sure had died. Malik swings the sword forward, and the catapaults open up. A rock smashing through the wall beneath Rab and sending him crashing to the ground. He lands safely, but his friends and Elise's body lie around him, making a circle with their six bodies.
Liam is falling through the sky, but he is not afraid. He spreads his arms, and his wings unfurl catching an updraft and stabilizing him. He is a dragon, and he is flying over a battle. Below him, the outnumbered forces of his friends battle on. The thickest resistance where his comapanion is fighting. Though his companion doesn't want him down there, he wants air support. Liam hurtles down, scorching a line and giving a rest to the army with his flame breath. He goes on to support the left flank, but another dragon catches his eye. One leading the opposing army. He turns and goes after it, the larger dragon beats him casually and sends him hurtling back to the ground....
He is Liam once more, his armor is heavy and pulling him down with heat and exhaustion as he tries to climb a mountain. Still, he grits his teeth and pushes on. Climbing ever upwards. A hand hold breaks, but he catches himself. He is stuck, needing help to move up further. Two hands offer themselves, Lily and Darcy, either would be just as easy to grab. He thinks a moment and chooses Lily's help.
He is walking through a tunnel, moving towards the final fight. His opponent rests waiting for him, an armored foe covered in spikes. He moves forward, and a figure jumps out of him. He catches the blow on his shield and runs them through, discarding them. The next guard runs up, he ducks under a swing and casually beheads them. Someone leaps at him from behind, he reverses the grip on his sword and stabs back catching them on the blade before shouldering them off. A fourth one comes, he parries the blade wide, shield bashes them to the ground and stomps over them and onwards. Ending the charge over one with a stab into the last guard. The armored figure points behind Liam as he approaches, and he looks back to see his friends all dead at his hands. Lily staked to the ceiling, body cut up, tortured, and dead.
When Liam looks forward, he is in a forest clearing. Twelve trees forming a ring around him, a sword sticking out of 11 of them. He wanders the clearing, looking at the swords of all makes and sizes. A dragon theme runs through all of them though, and one of them is calling to him. He goes to the sword, a longsword with the dragon's body coiled around the hilt. Spread wings forming the hand guard. It slides out of the tree easily and into his hand. As he draws it ten figures step out from behind the other trees. Each armored in a style that is clearly an homage to dragons. "Child of the Azrian, to claim your full power you must first learn to use it." One of them says, saluting with his blade and taking up a ready stance. Liam salutes and responds in kind, the gauntlet is begun.
An unknown, but exhaustingly long time later, Liam is finally through the gauntlet. The figures mention to claim his full power he will need to find his Shield, his Armor, and his Companion. That the sword was pulled first is a dark omen for the times to come. They fade from view, leaving Liam standing in a circle of the Gates from his home town. The rest of the group is standing there looking around in surprise. "Guys, whats going on?" he says, and they all seem to snap out of it.
With Liam's words, everyone snaps out of their trance and realizes they are all together, standing in the center of Six gates similar in design to the Japanese Tori Gates. Liam looks older, nearly 5 years older and much better toned. Everyone else looks about the same. There is conversation abuot the various visions they all had, wonder as to what is going on. Liam thinks he knows a way back, and starts to run through the gates while calling out a song that the children in the Road's End Villages do every year at festival. When it is finished, he vanishes. Ilian guides everyone else through the procedure and they all return to the 'real' world.
They are still in the middle of the gates, only everything is no longer mirrored. The forest around them has been burned down, Ornu figures it happened at least three years ago. They've clearly lost time. They head off to check on Liam's village, Red Gate Village, and find that it is also burned to the ground. Ilian asks magic to show him what happened, seeing a warrior on a blinded red dragon leading a small force to destroy the village. A small resistance was done at the forge, only for the building to be glassed under the heat of the dragon's breath. Ilian recounts the details, and Liam stops Grenru from stopping him from hearing it. He needs to hear it, needs to know.
They continue on to check on Liam's home, a day further to the west. It is still standing, though has clearly been abandoned for about 5 years. A few sheep still sit and graze in the field, not having been sheared for years, or otherwise cared for. The group spends the night, Ilian going over the notes he made on his own visions trying to figure out what he could about the staff he had possessed, the staff he had been searching for. Coming to an answer in his sleep when he recalls seeing the key in his room int he Seraphim city, something the Matriarch traditionally wears.
Liam also has a dream, once more as a dragon though significantly older. Deregar telling him that the shield will be returned to the dwarves, the armor to the seraphim. That the dragon has a duty, to insure that the location of the eggs is put into the memorial so that the next one can find them. Discussing the dream with the group, ornu points out that it is possible for knowledge to be stored that way, but they would need to get into the underground cities. Something the Elves won't allow anyone but he, and possibly Darcy, to do. They decide to discuss the matter with Fatooth, hoping he can at least teleport them to the Seraphim city or show them the way.
The next morning the group heads out, going towards Fatooth's cave. They arrive and start to head in, only to realize that the floor, walls, and ceilings of the tunnels down have been completely turned to glass...
the dream sequences went off awesomely well. They weren't really dream sequences mind, but close enough to be called that. It was awesome seeing how my players all played into the roles I gave them for the other person's sequences. The scenario with Darcy was particularly brutal but fun, watching as the players were let off the leash to just attack, using any thing they knew Darcy knew against her. Other little touches were awesome as well. Ornu's calling Grenru a bitch was a perfectly timed tension breaker to keep the scenario from becoming too dark for the player. Ilian's reaction to Raven was a particular favorite of several players.
I guess, I'm really glad the experiment for it worked. I may have to try more things similar. Such as the B-team idea recently posted by Late to the Party.