Friday, February 13, 2009

Thursday night gaming

We got together for a little over an hour of gaming last night, the first time in a couple of weeks, and we had a terrific time. I'm just loving running this game due to a few reasons.
1. The players, my daughters and wife, are new to everything. This brings back that sense of wonder that's been missing for a long long time.
2. The rules are really fantastic. I'm loving the Labyrinth Lord rules for their simplicity, speed and flexibility.
3. The setting is an offshoot of the Western Marches type game. I hesitate to say "sandbox" because I think it's been overused, but this is pretty wide open. I'm adding a few small hooks for mini-quests in order to get them out into the wilderness and bumping into new (or rather old) and interesting things.

On with the recap:

Isabella - Female Human Fighter level 2 (my wife)
Ember - Female 1/2 elven Cleric level 2 (youngest daughter)
Safira - Female Ice Elf level 2 (eldest daughter)

Evening was falling as the three female adventurers finished their discussion with The Hermit, and camping away from their companions, on the steep sides of the crumbling pyramid was not very inviting. So descent was the best option.

As they clambered down the rotting, vegetated sides of the ancient structure, darkness fell and the flickering light of torches could be seen through the canopy of the trees. The awaiting remainder of the party welcomed them and eagerly asked questions regarding the conversation. This all took place as the group slowly made their way into the forest, searching for a secure spot to camp.

They quickly located a small clearing, built a fire and continued their discussion over a supper of rations and tea. Fura was especially interested in what The Hermit had to say regarding the lost artifacts of St. George Gyxag. With supper finished the group chose guards and rotations for the evening and turned in.

Two and a half hours from dawn, during the third shift, Ember hears rough voices in the distance. She crouches down and listens more intently. As they approach she distinctly hears two individuals arguing over something in orc, and just as she determines to turn and wake the rest of the camp, she hears them stop and one say "Hey, look, what's that light up ahead?". The other voice responds that it doesn't see a light and the argument proceeds.

Alarmed, Ember quickly puts the small fire out and wakes the rest of the group. The argument continues unabated in the darkness not more than 50 feet away. Those that were sleeping quickly and quietly attempt to slip on armor while the others take up position on the far side of the camp, hiding in the brush while covering the approach with bows.

Two of the Krieger brothers, while moving around in the dark stumble over a pack and a "crunch" of broken pottery ensues as the smell of alcohol fills the air. One of them curses loudly...and the orcs in the brush instantly fall silent.

A few tense moments pass. Nothing can be heard but the slight breeze in the treetops and the imagined whoosh of the high clouds as the pass the face of the full moon high above. Darkness, occasionally punctuated with sporadic moonlight makes spotting the dangerous orcs difficult at best for the humans. The elves keep a close eye on the brush...

Just as Isabella buckles the last strap on her chain mail 6 burly porcine monstrosities, bearing wicked black morningstars and crude wooden shields, burst out of the brush and come shambling quickly into the clearing.

The heroes have the drop though and the Krieger brothers let their arrows fly. Only one strikes the leading orc, which hardly slows the obese creature as it slams into Isabella, its morningstar swinging. The chaotic press of battle ensues with blows traded freely and curses filling the air.

Fura dodges in and out quickly but the orcs are quicker yet, as they dodge back out of the halfling's reach. Isabella and Ember though rain down terrible blows upon their opponents, felling two orcs in short order. Safira, hiding in the brush to the side, chides an orc in its own language, confusing the dim creature into thinking there are more adversaries coming. The elf darts out, slim curved sword flashing, but the orc deflects the blow on its shield and squealing, comes back swinging.

The morning star connects and Safira feels blood flow under her padding, she quickly skips back in response, holding her shoulder. Ember is also in dire straights as one of the larger of the orcs smashes her arm with its weapon, the sound of a broken bone and Embers ensuing groan accompanies the cacophony of battle.

Belinda has pulled the other two non-combatants further into the brush at this point, guarding them with her large maul, while the Krieger brothers angle to get a clear shot in the spotty light. The deciding point in the battle comes as Safira lets loose on her sleep spell. The remaining orcs immediately succumb and lay their weapons down, yawning widely they curl up on the ground for a comfortable slumber....That lasts forever. The party quickly dispatches the dangerous foes.

After searching the bodies by torchlight they discover a few gems and surprisingly, a couple pieces of very fine jewelry. (A filigree ring made of platinum in the shape of two intertwined fishing nets with two miniature fish captured within. And a belt buckle of silver and gold, elvish make of two bucks coming together.)

Wounds are healed by the cleric Ember, the bodies of the orcs are dragged off a ways into the woods, and after the charge of battle has calmed a bit, the party beds back down to wait for morning.

The next day dawns hazy and breezy. After a quick meal, Ember, Safira and Fura scale the hill to speak with The Hermit. The old man greets them and after they answer a riddle, (a tradition of his order...keep reading.) this is the information that he imparts upon them:

It seems that St. George of Gyxag is indeed familiar, for the Saint was a hero nearly 200 years ago of the same god that The Hermit worshiped at one time: Bochnoi, the Red God of Knowledge. The order of Bochnoi is one of quiet contemplation, scribes, and quiet study by candlelight. But, every once in awhile an individual joins the order who doesn't fit this mold. One was St. George Gyxag, who was a very rare paladin naturally imbued with the wanderlust and desire to right wrongs.

At the height of his fame it seems that the paladin wandered off East with two of the church's artifacts; The Red Book and the Sword of Truth. Both potent artifacts on their own, these were sorely missed but it was deemed at the time that they were both necessary for St. George's quest. He was never seen again.

The Hermit then filled in the rest since he's lived in this area for many many years. Seems that the wayward paladin came across a place of ancient evil and decided to kill two birds with one stone by plugging access through the erection of an abbey to his god, Bochnoi. This lasted for many years but after the Saint's passing, the order fell to sloth and soon they paid the ultimate price. The abbey was burnt to the ground and was never heard from again.

Now, the black key, although this is not certain, would likely be a means of opening the crypt to Saint George Gyxag, and therein might certainly be found the sword. Now the book is a different matter. It might lie in the tomb but then again, the order would have found much use in its pages, so it could be ensconced elsewhere.

The Hermit was then informed of the Red Caps and their leader Melchert's attempts to find this Black Key...and in turn, their connection to Ylfrit, the Alfar Queen. He was indeed dismayed to hear of her return and was adamant that she should NOT find the Red Book, for it would be used for evil in her hands. No good would come of it for certain.

As they thanked The Hermit, Ember asked if there might be another way into the lower catacombs of the Abbey, he said that he couldn't be positive, but yes, there would quite likely be another way in to such a complex. The trick was in finding it.

They thanked The Hermit and made their way down the ancient structure and as they did he called after them that if they came across any rare information that he'd indeed love to hear of it...

And this is where we wrapped it up. Until next time, adieu.

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