PrinceCon XL: Alex’s scenario writeup

Overall

Ratri has a secret. In fact, she has a lot of secrets, and is willing to share them… if you have something worth trading for.

First Run “On the Loose”

PCs:
Aramoladd
Athelia
Morley the Dark
Ozymandias
Pfferdsensen the Trollrider
Ragnaroc
Vinnelope
Wussun of the Narwal Tribe
In their own words:

The “All Mother” Eir asked us to go check up on Ratri, who was chained to Law Rock in Mannheim.

We travelled to the south coast, where we interceded between (“Greenpeace”) Members of the Open Door, who was rescuing a small whale who beached itself to escape THE Serpent, and a group of Driftwood rights gang (dozen men w/weapons). After a run-around (literally by Wussun), minimal casualties and a patrol by Lord Luthor Sigursson, we headed to Sigurshelm where we met an old man who told tales (Hione?). Lord Luthor arrived later with a dead “fish man” and strange red algae.

Onward to Law Rock**, where a being was chained on top. Chains were broken and a parley began. What we learned ::: AS PER THE FREED LADY :::

> Wyrd sisters write tablets (with our Fates)
> Breaking a tablet *can* alter outcomes (be wary of unintended consequences)
> Blank tablets may be veiled (so Detect Magic may not work), and may require Dispel Magic to reveal and Read Magic to read the writing
> See Alex for trading of tables (or Secrets) for Secrets

Law Rock has “Fate of Janda” carved on it. (Not broken, see board). Not sure if this event has already happened.

As we were leaving, we found the area was surrounded by many trolls. They let us pass freely; were they under control of the Lady?

- Wussun, holder of the Keys

** En route, there was a mystery iron cage near Katla.

GM notes: This run was to give the players a flavor of Mannheim and an introduction to southern Jaanmark. Along the way, they got some quality time with Hione and Ratri. The players talked themselves out of a big combat with Trolls at the end of this run by playing nice with Ratri, who left them with some goodies and an “open door” for further trading of information, but the fact that they didn’t try to arrest Ratri disappointed Hione, who left the scene without warning to brood upon the state of Mannheim and the heroism of his Valiant.

The “Greenpeace” Members of the Open Door were a cell of dupes used by the overall Open Door of Night (ODoN), Ratri’s demihuman cult of the Serpent. While the dupes were a nuisance, the rest of the Cult could work in secret on their primary objective: to erupt the Ring of Fire and flood southern Jaanmark.

Second Run “To Stoenheim”

PCs:
Ilyeria
Keith Belgerent
Sven Silverbeard
Tosinsthal Wilfsyn
Vegt
In their own words:

Looking for the wife of Oodlask, “Sybil”, supposedly a daughter of Hione.

In Stoenheim, encountered 3 Ettins. Killed 3 Ettins and looted the bodies. Found Sybil, got a letter for her mother. A group of Ettin attempted to kill Sybil. We saved her and delivered her to Oodlask via Valkyrie express.

Delivered letter to Eir. Also got a letter for Ratri (don’t know where she is).

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED

If you know where Ratri is, see Keith Belgerent for letter.

GM note: there was strong suspicion that Sybil was Ratri in disguise. Sybil was, in fact, a true daughter of Hione and Eir. I had originally intended for Sybil to provide information “for free” about Fate Stones, but the party was offput by their reception; when told that they were emissaries from her mother, Sybil was abrupt and complained it was a little late for her mother to mend bridges. As a result, they determined that Sybil should not be forced to come home to Mother, and simply asked to deliver a letter from Sybil to Eir.

This was actually a fabulous turn of events, because this brought Ratri’s “secrets for fate stones” exchange to the fore. Saturday morning, Wussun (from the first run) traded a Fate Stone from the Valor Hall board to Ratri for the information about how to break Fate Stones. Of course, Wussun didn’t ask about whether there were any *consequences* or limitations on who could break Fate Stones, so the players didn’t know about death by Fate Stone until they tried it, and they didn’t know that gods couldn’t break Fate Stones (and therefore Ratri must not be a god) until later still.

 

Third Run “Njal Njalsson MUST NOT DIE”

PCs:
Bruce Battlestandard
Dimrodel
Kattero Hex Monkeybane
Pirata Fuerte Gato del Fuego
Valious Flex
The Diary of Pirata Fuerte, Walker of the Deep, Heavyweight Champion of the Caverns, Ponderer of Suplexes

This new group is the worst so far. The Mannfolk wants to hunt us, and the Vatenari has an ego the size of the great serpent. We were deposited on the Stormsness peninsula. We proceeded to walk to a nearby town and entered the tavern. We found we need to travel north and east to find the farm Njalsson lives at. We reach a frozen river near the farmstead; however, we see a couple groups of people with weapons. Our suddenly giant flying Svartalfar played a decent role in ceasing hostilities. We flew to the farmhouse on our giant Svartalfar friend. Apparently the Njalssons are in a feud with their in-laws. All this boring diplomacy bores me, but we get Njalsson to agree that maybe it is time to end the feud. Apparently the Njalsson boys were trying to stop a blood feud by continuing the blood feud.

Our overly dramatic Vatenari informed Njalsson of the prophecy concerning his family. We then asked about the tablet to discover if he knew anything about it.

Many personal questions ensued pertaining to their family life, but I did not take part in this. I sat and meditated, preparing myself for the match to come. I woke up to people looking for my Katt Koomr and suggesting we turn them into a cougar.

KILL ME NOW

We set out after Skarp-Hedin, and found him near a bend in the river, out cold. I was forced to use the Katt Koomr on Kattero. A tattoo of a snake swallowing its own tail appeared briefly on Skarp-Hedin’s arm. He seemed unsure of what had just happened. The party thought that cutting the arm off might help. The Pain, My Head Hurts.

The party removed a curse from Skarp-Hedin, and he seemed to improve. We walk back to the house. He seems much less murder-y. They force me to pet Kattero with the brush again. It would appear most of the family has the arm marks. An Analyze Spell reveals there is a curse on them that will turn them into fish people. Someone just told Njalsson this seems fishy.

PLEASE MAKE IT STOP

Pirata Fuerte could not bring himself to continue, so Dimrodel finished by noting:

The cult in the town brings sacrifices to the fish people. The cult must be destroyed. Do that next. The cult was abducting the family and cursing them. We relocated the Njalsson family to a nearby town — Sigurshelm. Keep them safe. The future of the Carrunos religion depends on it.

PS – if they cause any trouble remind them of “a dwarf on both your houses”.

GM note: this was a short run, but the players got quite a lot done. It seems like the Fate Stone describing how the children of Njal would survive and help populate the New World was never actually found by the players, so it likely fell into the hands of Ratri’s minions. Eir had become aware of the existence of this Fate, and unsure of the status of the Fate Stone, and so wanted the Valiant to ensure the safety of the family. They did this rather well in this expedition, though I hear that they took Skarp-Hedin adventuring in a later expedition and got him killed in Baenheim. Should that have been a cross-scenario “With Friends Like These” nomination?

Fourth Run “The Open Door of Night”

PCs:
Black Sun
Haldir
Ilyeria
Markus
Thornflower
Thunder

GM Notes: NO RUN REPORT?! Those bastards!

Okay, so this party wanted to go after the “Open Door” cultists, but struggled for a while to decide where to start.  In the end, they went to Sigurshelm to talk to Luthor Sigursson, but he had died under somewhat mysterious circumstances — his horse fell through the ice as he was crossing the river.  There was precious little in the way of leads, as neither his marshal tasked with investigating the “Open Door” nor his daughter seemed to know what was going on.  [in the case of the marshal, he really didn't know what was going on; in the case of the daughter... see below]

Speak with Dead (or was it Question Dead? there was significant debate over which would be more useful to cast) revealed that Luthor believed he had been murdered by a mage.  Using some magic items that allowed them to talk to crows, the party followed a potential suspect’s path upstream to the foothills of the mountains.  With judicious use of Telescopic Vision, the party scouted a cave entrance a half mile off, and began to make preparations.  First, the mages took a nap.  Partway through the nap, the scout with See Invisible saw a group of seven lightly armored, cloaked figures leaving the cave, but no one else could.  Quickly the party worked to make everyone able to See Invisible and plan out an ambush, but once buffed, Black Sun went Berserk and charged ahead.  Markus tried to Hold Person, but Black Sun was already out of range [nyah!  nyah!  Clerics can't modify range because it's beyond the power of their god!  wait, hunh?]

Black Sun, with several levels of Toughness, refused to go down easily, but was glad when the rest of the party eventually caught up.  In a nice move before his HP dropped too low, Black Sun made his Will save to end his Berserk, Power Word cast Mirror Image (and rolled the maximum number of images), and went Berserk again.

The party took one prisoner, and with the help of ESP, determined that Luthor Sigursson’s daughter was the one who hired the mage.  However, some of the players needed to get sleep, so they turned over the job of capturign her  to the next party.

Fifth run writeup incoming…

 

Read More

PrinceCon XL: Steve W. (Wolf) Scenario Recap

Run #1: Hunting the Beast

PCs: Valious Flex, Hrolf the Burning, Dimrodel

The party met with a group of Valkyries who transported them from Valor Hall to the plane of Mannheim in the Northern Jaanmark. The party was dropped off on the road to Rodel, the village responsible for the guarding of the chained Beast, Hralor. Rodel is also the village Dimrodel grew up in and saved several Ages in the past. The weather is very cold despite that fact that the sun’s path indicates it is late spring. Bandits on the road, threaten the party with violence but they do not take them seriously. When an eleven year old female Katterfolk named Tintam offers to lead them to the place she has seen The Beast chained they drop a turkey leg from Valor Hall and some other items for the bandits. The bandits fight over the things left for them. Dimrodel, a worshipper of Carrunos, just wants Tintam, the Katterfolk to start running, so he can hunt her for sport.

On the way, Tintam shows them a sketch she made from outside the grove of The Beast. It depicts Hralor chained with weapons embedded in his skin and fur. Upon arriving at the grove, they notice that the snow around is undisturbed and no natural occurring animals enter the odd-feeling grove. The also notice there are not any weapons in the 130 foot long form of Hralor. The group decides to summon a pig and commands it to enter. Nine skeletal condor-sized birds shuffle out from under the snow; eight of them descend on the pig and tear it to pieces. The birds with the emerald green glowing eyes burrow back under the snow. Suspecting an illusion, they sling a summoned rat at the Beast and it is skewered on the needle like fur.

Hralor’s voice rumbles out of his closed muzzle and when Tintam mentions that Dimrodel is three thousand years old (a fact he mentioned earlier), Hralor surmises he is one of the Valiant because he has heard the call of the roosters signifying The Final Battle of The Twilight of the Gods. He also surmises that they are there to see that he remains chained so that he cannot fulfil the prophecy of killing his grandfather, Hione.

The party decides that they need to get closer and they formulate a plan. They summon another pig and wait for the undead birds to attack it. Once the skeletal birds attack, the two mages coordinate their Fireball spells and decimate all within the radius. The one that held back and did not attack the pig flies off toward the village.

As they approached the hind quarters of Hralor, they heard hissing coming from one of the spots where a weapon should have been embedded in The Beast. As they prodded at the sealed opening, it opened and a large creature made entirely of air emerged. At its core was a small vortex of smoke. It was the smoke that spoke with Hralor’s voice. Another emerged from the belly area and flew over to battle the party. Hrolf cast a faerie fire to make the elementals easier to hit. A ward was cast against air elementals and it protected them against one of the creatures. When they all seemed doomed, Hralor’s voice cloud left the elemental and escaped down a hole expressing that he had wished that he could have fooled them longer but they would soon be dead anyway. No one would be warning Hione. With a bugbear and jubjub bird expertly summoned by Valorious Flex, they destroyed the two air creatures. Only a day earlier, these two creatures had been asked to keep Hralor’s discarded hide inflated while the majority of Hralor in his new gaseous form escaped down the hole. The party called back the Valkyries, returned to Valor Hall and reported Hralor’s escape.

Extra Information: If the party had decided to follow the smoke form of Hralor’s voice down the hole they would have followed a wide tunnel and emerged under the town bridge. Here they would have encountered the two trolls who had dug the tunnel and (if they survived) received some key items and much loot.

The undead birds were set to guard The Beast by a priest of Ronkel from the village of Rodel about fifty years ago. He had become mad with grief when people started to disbelieve in the gods and stopped guarding Hralor. He prayed for guidance from Ronkel and instead received instructions from a very young Thoki, the lord of Undeath, to create the birds. His instructions to his new creations were clear. Eight birds were to battle anyone who disturbed the grove and one was to fly back to the town and alert the priest and he would alert the militia. However, since those orders were instilled into the undead birds, the priest had died, the militia disbanded and the village of Rodel was all but deserted. Many of the citizens had already killed each other over food disputes. The starved residents all stared at the undead abomination perched on the head of the statue in the town square, directly outside the dilapidated church of Ronkel. The statue was carved to resemble a man named Dimrodel who had once saved the town but had died in the process long long ago. The bone and feather creation squawked and squawked. It stared at the gathering crowd with its emerald green glowing eyes and awaited further instructions that would never come.

Run #2: Seeking the Thief Lord

PCs: Krosp, Haldir, Pirata Fuerte, Kattero Hex, Ozymandias.

Back in Valor Hall, Daglir tells the next group that he intends on creating a new chain that is more subtle than the heavy chain forged by the Svartalfar masters two ages ago. He has many of the ingredients but needs at least three more rare items. The first is the Lock of the Thief Lord, known also as Calder Vel. However since the Thief Lord died he resides in Baenheim. The new lord of Baenheim, Thoki, will be obligated to meet with them and perhaps help them if they show him the ‘Good Token’.

Hralor Sketch by MadelineThe party is dropped off at the gates of Baenheim by the Valkyries who instruct them to blow the horn to call them back. They trek across the plane of Baenheim and enter through the gate of the city and are escorted through the city and into the stalagmite palace of Thoki. They meet Thoki who looks like a platinum-haired nine year old boy who has had his eyes replaced with faceted emeralds. His frigid aura of power leeches the life away from the living. He agrees to give them the location of Calder Vel in exchange for one game of Gobblet. One of them alone must play against him. If they win they get an escort to the resting place of Calder Vel and if he should win they get only the directions and they must bring him back something from the Thief Lord’s fortress. They agree and Kattero Hex begins playing. Thoki requests Samantha, a living woman, to watch over the game. The longer they play, the more she ages. Whether it was Thoki’s skill or his attempt at distraction Kattero Hex loses the game and Samantha is dismissed to regain her youth. Thoki explains that the item he wants from the fortress is a stone box with a clear front.

With Thoki’s instructions, the party arrives at a frozen lake. Situated at its center is a pile of Viking ships that were at one time lost at sea. After much reconnaissance, the party is still rather hesitant. So Calder Vel dressed in strange plate and a strange helm beacons to them to cross the ice and surprisingly they do. When they are half way across, The Thief Lord says that he will never go back and will not heed the call. He stomps his foot and six wet humanoid forms burst forth from holes in the ice. Combat begins and Ozymandias is shot multiple times with arrows and starts bleeding out. Kattero risks himself to feed a Valor Hall turkey leg to the bleeding Vatenari and saves his life. Meanwhile, Pirata Fuerte wrestles Calder Vel and eventually squeezes the life out of him floating in the water after the ice is broken. They then discover the lantern mark of Hione on each of their adversaries including Calder Vel. They were all Valiant who had escaped Valor Hall sometime in the Axe Age.

They are able to gather items at their leisure from the fortress known as Meidmar. They pick up the stone box and discover that it is filled partially with ashes and its base is made from a Fate Stone. On Calder’s body they discover that the Lock of the Thief Lord is actually a normal lock of blonde hair from Calder’s younger sister, Ratri Vel.

The party decides to not take the box back to Thoki. When they blow the horn and call the Valkyries to take them back to Valor hall, two flying skeletal giant serpents with green glowing eyes are sent from the city. Each serpent has three of Thoki’s private guards on it. Just as the party think they are doomed, the Valkyries arrive and whisk away our adventurers. But the serpents can also become incorporeal. Luckily, they do not move as fast as the Valkyries and they lose their pursuers before they reach Valor Hall.

Extra information: All undead created in this world are powered with the energy of Thoki which is why they always have glowing green eyes, similar to his emerald eyes.

Thoki is the youngest child of Ratri and Aru. And brother to The Beast and the World Serpent

Calder Vel was the mortal older brother of the mortal girl, Ratri before she was able to gain enough power to masquerade as a goddess. Calder’s death was the reason that she had no family when Hione the Hermit accepted her as his foster daughter.

Calder Vel was a great warrior from the Axe Age. When he died gloriously in combat, under orders from Hione, he was ferried up to Valor Hall by a Valkyrie. Calder grew tired of the monotony of Valor Hall and sought escape. He escaped to Baenheim along with six others knowing that the uneasy truce between Hione and Ronkel would prevent his capture. He set up the reliquary with ashes of his original body to keep the Baenfolk and Necromancers out. (see below). It is from his protected niche in Baenheim that he became the Thief Lord, stealing ships from the vast ocean. When the horn of the Final Battle was blown, he knew he would have to defend himself against any who would try to reclaim him for Hione’s grand army of Valiant. Early in the Axe Age, Hione realized that he needed Valiant who were heroic and not just simply skilled warriors and leaders (who were possibly selfish) to populate his army in the Final Battle.

The stone box reliquary is what maintained the ward that kept the spirits and necromancers out of the Lake of Iss surrounding the fortress of Meidmar. As long as the stone box remained in the ward, only the seven escaped Valiant (or other Valiant) could cross onto the lake. Thoki’s grand plan was to have the box removed from the lake so that he could come in and claim Meidmar as his own. The larger mass of Meidmar extended down to the bottom of the lake and could be reconfigured to provide transportation along the roots of the World Tree. By using Meidmar, Thoki could help get the Giants in Stoneheim to the Final Battle in Godsheim as per his mother’s wishes.

Read More

PrinceCon XL Wrap-Up

Theme Wrap-Up

It was the end of an Age. Long ago the gods had cast from their home the giants who shared it. With both sides resolute in their attitudes toward each other, conflict between them eventually erupted. The gods had on their side a host of the Valiant – the spirits of heroes who had died honorably over the ages. The giants had allies in the form of mighty monsters and strange cults. Both sides were destined to destroy each other so the world could start anew. Unknown to them, that future was written in stone… literally: the descriptions of key events were inscribed on magical tablets known as Fate Stones which caused those details to be inevitable.

Ratri, the goddess of secrets, had a secret of her own — that she was in fact not a god but a mortal who had risen to great enough power to masquerade as a god. To her, the demise of all the god-kind would leave the field clear for her to control the next world. PrinceCon 41 Fate StoneRatri learned of the Fate Stones and discovered that if one was broken the events it described were able to be changed. She set about locating the Stones, breaking those which opposed her plans (beginning with the prediction of her own death) and protecting those which supported them.

As the final battle raged across the heavens and the mortal realm and the land of the dead, a handful of Valiant whose Fates had been freed by the Wyrd Sisters took action against Ratri’s conspiracy. Through their bravery and sacrifice, they were able to change the ending of the world. Many of the gods were saved, though some were lost and others weakened. Some of the giants were removed, but others elevated in power. Ratri remains at large but with her true nature now revealed to all she will have a harder time making allies… except for those who truly share her cause.

Now a new Age begins, shaped by the ending of the last. With multiple factions fighting, this will be the Age of War. Which side, if any, will emerge victorious at the close remains to be seen in another 1000 years.

After all, it’s not like the future is written in stone.

Scenario Recaps

Player Awards

  • Best Strategist: Chris Cavender
  • Best Tactician: Ryan Carr
  • Best Roleplayer: Kate Oliver
  • Best Player of PrinceCon 40: Corwin Knaff
  • Master of Valor Hall: Hugh Huntzinger
Read More

PrinceCon XL: Bob’s Scenario Recap

Kjallintar’s Revenge

Long ago, in the Sword Ages of the world, most Giants were still friendly with the Gods, and Kjallintar became the companion of the gods, but most especially of Janda and Mavors. Under their authority and tutelage, she judged the law among all the races, giant and non-giant. Indeed, she bore a son to Daglir, whom she named Djaglintar. The offspring of gods and giants may be of either kind, and Djaglintar was of Giant-kind, and remained with his mother. But, Kjallintar was jealous of her privileges as judge, and fearful to appear weak in her application of the law.

One day, in the Riven Shield Age, two mothers came before her, laying claim to the same child. The facts were easily ascertained: the birth-mother had fled before invaders, and was forced to abandon her son. The foster-mother rescued the child and lovingly raised him. Now, both mothers wanted custody. In a similar case, Janda had declared that law could not decide this, and handed the case to Mavors to decide on the equities. He offered to divide the child in twain, but this was merely a ruse to determine who loved the child more, and the child was restored to the foster-mother. Kjallintar tried the same ruse, but was unable to quickly decide which mother was more appalled. Afraid, lest indecisiveness undermine her reputation, she carried out the division, and handed each mother half the corpse. The mothers were distraught beyond words, and Janda was furious. She cursed Kjallintar to have two faces, and banished her. Her children followed and Mavors judged that the curse would fall upon them as well.

Kjallintar nursed her hatred. Djaglintar, being of god-blood, was able to modify the curse, so that each of the Ettin, as Kjallintar’s offspring were called, had two heads, not merely two faces, which gave them powers in addition to being hideous to all other races. All the Ettin swore revenge upon all the gods, that their tongues would be cut out, and that Janda should die painfully at the hands of Kjallintar.

Now, if came to pass that Djaglintar had a son, Albervir, who was subtle of craft and mighty to make marvelous things. But, Albervir was not content, and wanted to be the instrument of his grandmother’s revenge. So, during the Wind Age, he learned the arts of disguise from Ratri, and disguising himself as a Svartalfir, lived a mortal’s life as a faithful follower of Daglir, until he had gained the attention of the god himself and was taken to Godsheim to learn craft. Being the grandchild of Daglir, he learned quickly, and more than his grandfather wished or wot. Having learned deep secrets, he departed for Stoneheim, to perfect his arts. Keeping his disguise, he travelled to Mannheim, and tested many ideas there. But he lacked the power of Daglir’s Forge, that is until he learned of the great power hidden within the volcano Katla.

And so, in the Wolf Age, Albervir proposed to create five great items.

The first would be the Rings of Drawing Clerical Power. These would appear to be rings that gave additional prayers each day, and that would become more and more powerful as the days hastened to the Final Battle. But, in reality, they were drawing power from the Clerics, and at the appointed time would vanish with their accumulated power to add their power to that of Kjallintar. In this manner her vow to cut off the gods tongues would be fulfilled, for how do the gods speak if not through their clerics?

The second would be the spear Aetgir, which could allow a mortal to slay even a god. While Kjallintar, as primordial Ettin, had the stature to slay a god, this spear would make her twice as deadly.

The third would be the armor Weliundmail, which could protect the wearer from the attacks of the gods. The power of this armor would be greatly increased if the power of the wearer were enhanced, as by the rings.

The fourth would be the Helm of Forgetfulness. It was the plan to place this upon Mavors head, so that Janda could watch her brother disgrace himself by forgetting all oaths and promises. This would be her torture, before the blade struck.

The fifth would be the Hammers of Unfate. Albervir had learned of the Fatestones, upon which the Wyrd Sisters had written prophecies that could not fail unless the stone was broken. H bethought that some would protect the gods or foredoom Kjallintar and need to be destroyed. For this purpose, he created two great hammers that, if used to strike a Fatestone, would destroy it, though the energy released might cause great destruction. Djaglintar had learned that the Wyrd Sisters had inscribed two fatestones, one protecting Janda and one protecting Mavors. Both needed to be found and doubtless both destroyed.

He also created a variety of war statues, each with a different purpose, designed to protect his laboratory and to bring low the mortal realms. Some were agile and spider-like, to run down adversaries. Some were built like tortoises, with tails that could batter down castle walls and destroy siege engines. Some were predators, shaped like bipedal crocodiles, some of which were small and swift, and some slower and more powerful. And there were statues in the form of fire-breathing brazen bulls, while others were monstrous beasts with multiple horns and vast strength. And so matters lay, until the Valiant intervened.

Dramatis Personnae, in order of first appearance:

Martine Klaengrdottr Mannfolk Hero, NPC (backstory)
Len Vatenari Mage, follower of Mavors, played by Colin Sandon
Treeborn Mannfolk Guardian, Pantheist, played by Tim de Capio
t, r, a Svartalfir Hero, follower of Storm Lion, played by Elissa Hoeger
Bruce Battlestandard Svartalfir Mage, follower of Magus, played by Joshua Gabai
Jaru Fryen Katterfolk Hero, Pantheist, played by Peter Vancsa
Black Sun Mannfolk Mage, Storm Lion, played by Aaron Mulder
Hrothnjall Mannfolk Mage, Servant of Albervir, NPC
Krojin Ettin Guardian, Assistant to Albervir, NPC
Albervir Ettin Mage, NPC (offstage)
 
Hrolff the Burning Mannfolk Mage, follower of Hione, played by Chris Cavender
Thunder Katterfolk Cleric of Storm Lion, played by Spencer Kipe
Alyeria Alfar Guardian, pantheist, played by Zen Zen
Thornflower Alfar Hero, follower of Storm Lion, played by Susan Bergeron
Krosp Katterfolk Hero, follower of Danu, played by Charles Taylor
Markus Katterfolk Cleric of Danu, played by Tim de Capio
Haldir Alfar Hero, follower of Carrunos, played by Michael Brokes
 
Pirata Fuerte Katterfolk Hero, follower of Storm Lion, played by Timothy Sullivan
KatteroHexMonkeybane Katterfolk Hero, follower of Storm Lion, played by Ryan Carr
Amberette Svartalfir Cleric of Danu, played by Megan Coppock
Pfferdsensen Riddari Guardian, follower of Carrunos, played by Greg Nelson
Magus God of Magic, played by Alex Reutter
 
Noly played by Charles Taylor
Rogar Ironheart Svartalfar Hero, follower of Daglir, played by Corwin Knaff
Vegt Mannfolk Mage, follower of Hione, played by Alan Zitomer
Mavors God of Justice, played by Robert West
Kjallintar Primordial Ettin, NPC

Chapter 1: In search of a lost expedition

The morning dawned as ever in Valor Hall, except that groups of the Valiant were preparing for missions to other realms — a thing that had not happened for an age. As groups were forming, and ways to forestall the evil times discussed, one lone survivor from such an expedition arrived. It was Martine Klaengrdottr, a Mannfolk Hero, who had travelled with six companions to Mannheim, following some vague clues. Moments before entering Valor Hall, where all her wounds would surely be cured, she collapsed. Several of the Valiant rushed to succor her, but she died in their arms. Her last words gave the location of a cavern in the great volcano Katla and the garbled phrase “Alb..collapse..second..” In her possession is a burnt-out Trollhammer and the fragments of a stone with an inscription in moving, magic writing, that somehow gave an impression of being of more-than-ordinary importance.

Examination of the broken stone revealed a text: “Janda will live longer than her brother, but if Mavors should die, a new star shall appear and then fade, and Janda shall not outlive that star.” Examination of the trollhammer revealed that it once was a fearsome weapon that had power to smash items of great power, perhaps even the fable fatestones. The burnout released such great power that it was now only under slight enchantment.

Seven members of the Valiant gathered to go to Katla, find the cavern and explore. Wishing to prepare themselves for what might be a desperate battle, they arrived at dusk in a secluded dell within sight of Katla, cast spells and prayers of preparation, and settled down to rest. In the morning, they ascended the forested slopes of Katla where they spied furtive movement underneath the trees and black crows at about the place where they expected to find the cavern. Moving cautiously, the group drove off an attack by huge dire wolves.

The cavern was nearly completely blocked by a rockfall, through the gaps of which carrion birds flew. Martine’s last words might have spoken of such a collapse, but was it a natural misadventure, or was it connected to the burned-out hammer? And what did this have to do with the danger to the Gods? With due care and great labor, the Svartalfir, aided by the remaining members of the party, removed the rocks and opened the way into what was left of the cavern. The interior was piles of rock, and the back was blocked by another rockfall. The whole smelled of burning and of the charnel-house.

More digging revealed the bodies of the lost expedition, and their magical treasures, mixed with burned parts of some sort of giant. A debate ensued on the proper disposition of the bodies, and whether their prized weapons and other magical possessions should be left with them as grave goods. An infernal machine soon dubbed the Hammer Wheel lay on its side. There were signs of an enormous fire and collapse, and a muffled, high-pitched laugh could be heard. One of the bodies had a sack, which contained an undamaged table with a prophecy concerning Hione. Was this the “second” of which Martine spoke? It did not read as something that ought to be destroyed; perhaps it was to be protected from destruction?

Digging some more, a door was found, and behind that door a filthy chamber, with a man, half-starved and dying of thirst, who identified himself as Hrothinjall, assistant to the Great Albervir. Albervir, it seems, had somehow fooled Daglir and received training as an artificer. (Was this what Martine meant by “Alb”?) Hrothinjall was clearly quite mad, but careful questioning and ESP revealed that Albervir was the grandson of Kjallintar, that “fate had been destroyed”, that the trollhammer and a vast explosion had a part in that, that turning on the Hammerwheel was dangerous, and that the party should remove the remaining rockfall so they could die. He also denied that the stone found was the “second”, saying that the first and second were “like, yet unlike, such as siblings ought to be.”

Hrothinjall was locked back in his cell, now cleaned and provisioned. The Hammerwheel was dragged outside, and Bruce Battlestandard began to play with it, trying to understand its function. Meanwhile, a metallic statue in spider-form strode through the rockfall on the far side of the cavern, and attacked the party. Another appeared, in the shape of a great tortoise with a shell made of stone and a tail in the form of a huge club. A third also appeared, in the form of a crocodile that walked upon two legs made of brass. Black Sun, having decided that the rockfall was an illusion that affected all senses, strode through it purposefully, and found himself confronting a small (20′) ettin who was starting up a fourth statue, this in the shape of a quadruped with three horns. A long corridor stretched behind. After a pitched battle, the spider was destroyed, and the turtle entangled with the Hammerwheel. Both went careening down the mountainside. Using spells of hallucination and tripping, the Ettin was disabled long enough for the party to effect its escape. In a valiant last blow, Treeborn blinded the Ettin, but was himself slain. The party escaped to the plain and sounded the horns to summon the Valkyrie to return them to the Halls of Valor.

Meanwhile, came the news that Janda was dead, and a new star had appeared that the sages said would soon vanish. In light of later events, it was clear that a servant of Kjallintar had given up his life to strike the Fatestone that protected Janda’s life, striking it with a Hammer of Unfate. Martine’s party had, doubtless, died attempting to prevent this. The nature and fate of the “second” stone would be revealed in due course.

Chapter 2: Exploring the Laboratory

Having confirmed from other sources that this was indeed a laboratory, a party of seven set forth to learn what could be learned, thwart what could be thwarted, and perhaps to wrest some powerful knowledge and/or weapons. It was agreed that there was a second fatestone somewhere that had to be destroyed before the new star faded, whatever doom it portended. Arriving, they saw a large number of Ettin, guarded by statues, bearing objects off to the Southwest. Rather than engage in a hopeless, but glorious, fight, the Valiant decided to enter the cavern complex. Using Locate Object, the mages were able to pinpoint the location of a stone, similar in substance to the broken one, but intact, and which gave off an air of portentousness. Hrothnjall was gone from his prison, and the corridors of the laboratory were vacant. Apparently all been abandoned in some haste: remnants of a library remained, as did component parts of various infernal devices and a rear guard of the combat statues. Some of these were gathered for later analysis.

Because time was believed to be of the essence, the party tried various ways to limit combat. Attempts to use Dimension Door and Teleport to reach the location failed. Eventually, using stealth, the Valiant found their way deep inside the mountain, to a chamber that contained a strange cylindrical device. The device seemed to bring up mud and steam from the unguessable depths at which the dormant volcano was active. Beyond the device was a narrow passage, too small for an ettin, or indeed a riddari. At the end of that passage was a smooth surface, impervious to Darkvision. Ordinary light would penetrate it, however, and beyond was a stone tablet, written with magic writing.

Hrolff the Burning had knowledge of a crystal that darkvision could not penetrate: such crystal is impervious even to the greatest of fire, or indeed lava itself. It is very hard, but very brittle. A strong stroke thrusting with a sword shattered it, and the stone was brought forth. Reading the magic writing, “Mavors will live longer than Janda, but if Janda should die, a new star shall appear and then fade, and Mavors shall not outlive that star.”

Obviously, this was the “second” stone, like a sibling to the first. Sages have since argued about the fact that two fatestones, both created by the Wyrd Sisters, contradict one another so directly. Some say that it shows limitations in the knowledge of the Fates, but others argue that a Fate is not contradicted until events inconsistent with that Fate transpire. If either Mavors or Janda died, one of the two Fatestones would be false, so clearly neither could die until one or the other stone was broken. And it was fated that at least one should be broken, as clearly as if that fact had itself been written on stone. Kjallintar’s plan was now clear: having destroyed the Janda stone, she would strive to preserve the Mavors-stone from all harm, thereby sealing his doom.

Hrolff knew of a method by which such a fatestone could be destroyed, but he had never seen it done, and did not know what the consequences were. So, he began a chant of the victory of his Will over Stone Sealed Fate. And when it was done, the stone shattered, but so did the cylinder behind him. A great gout of flame poured out, enveloping and incinerating him, as clearly foretold by his name. Thunder stepped forward, prepared to throw all his power into a massive cure that could save Hrolff, but it was too late. And, somehow, Thunder sensed that Hrolff had been chosen by Fate to die, and that interfering with that could only bring further woe.

The cylinder now spewed out mud and clay, which was glowed of magic. The party gathered up handsful of it and proceeded to return to Valor Hall, singing the praises of the mage who had sacrificed his life for Mavors as the star that was to herald his doom faded from sight. The clay that was extracted from the mud proved to have marvelous powers: a few minutes’ concentration, and it would transform itself into a magical weapon or armor. The more clay used, the bigger the weapon or armor.

Chapter 3: Out of the Frying Pan, into the Lava
To be continued….

Read More

PrinceCon XL: Blue’s Scenario Recap

Hunter or Prey

Teaser

Carrunos and Danu have been estranged from the gods due to Ratri’s “seduction” of Carrunos — at least if you listen to Danu. In the Wind Age they have left the other gods and taken up residence with the Alfar in Alfheim.

Now the giants come and while Carrunos and Danu oppose them, their split from the other gods weakens the defenses for Godheim and may spell disaster in the fated Final Battle.

Inspiration

Carrunos was our Freyr-analog. During Ragnarok he participated in an epic fight against the Fire Giant Surtr — which he lost. Freyr was also a god of fertility (and I think that came across), was married to the giantess Gerðr (or Gerd), and had given away his magic sword (potentially Lævateinn/Hævateinn) which fights on its own “if wise be he who wields it”. Without it he lost to Surtr.

Of the primordial giant that opposed him, Hione said this:
“Let me tell you a story of gods and giants,” he began. “Once upon a time Sjinnar, runt of the giants, lived among the gods, and they were friends. Back then, Sjinnar was the greatest of trackers. It is said that he could follow a falcon on a cloudy day. But Sjinnar was alone, and jealous of Carrunos and Danu. One day, Sjinnar proposed to Carrunos that they should hunt for a glimpse of Mimir’s children at play, and they went to a very misty place that no one had explored before. It was Sjinnar’s intention to lose Carrunos there in the Mist between worlds, but Carrunos has an unerring ability to find his way in the wild. Instead, Sjinnar still wanders that other land.”

Also the fact that Carrunos and Danu had left the rest of the gods in the Wind age, and we’ve got a lot going on.

So, Sjinnar, primordial creator of the Jotnar, becomes our Surtr-analog. However, the Jotnar cloak themselves in illusion and are tricksey instead of being associated with Fire, so they get others to do much of their dirty work for them, involving Trolls, Tetrakh, and even Ratri and her Cult of the Serpent. However, the giants always being half a step less powerful than the gods, Ratri was actually playing him.

Sjinnar hungers for revenge. The best he could do would be to blind Carrunos and let him wander forever lost in the mists behind the nine realms. Killing Carrunos would not be as sweet. And those mists, which he has learned to walk over the Ages he’s been stuck in them, allows him to move others between the nine realms without using the normal bridges between them.

Sjinnar knows he needs to lure Carrunos out of his place of power, and will use his own hubris to do so. He convinces Drótten (warband leader) Skirnismal, a renowned Tetrakh archer, that he has a plan to allow Skirnismal to overcome Carrunos. Several tricks would be used. First it is set up to kill the most in the shortest time, and with four arms he could fire two bows of haste and outshoot Carrunos. Second the targets would be the Bálhaukr, firehawks, little cousins to the legendary Bálroc, Fire Roc, which slept in volcanos. Without special arrows, they would burn up or melt before hitting.

But all of that was for Carrunos to discover and become complacent, because the biggest trick was causing them to overload and immolate to hurt and blind Carrunos so Sjinnar could pull him into the mists. This is homage back to Surtr the Fire Giant.

Now, Sjinnar is nothing but opportunistic. The Bálhaukr were available because the Cult of the Serpent, one of the two organizations that were part of the Open Door of Night, Ratri’s secret organization. They were attempting to anger the Bálroc to set off the volcanos, and part of what was done was to steal their little cousins away. (To find out more about them, and also the final straw to setting off the volcanos with the Thumpers, please see Andy’s and Alex’s scenarios.) He gets Trolls to make fireproof cages out of volcanic rock.

He later brings Trolls to cut of the Svartalfar’s supply of Star Metal (3rd run), and sends some Jotnar into Godheim itself to bring back the Stone Egg from the giant’s ancestral valley from before they were exiled (Steve Wolfson’s run). And finally, he waits in the mists to ambush Carrunos and enact his revenge.

Run the First: Old Friends and Old Enemies

Friday evening, 6 hours.
Haldir (Michael B.) Alfar Hero of Carrunos
Ilyeria (Zen) Alfar Guardian
Keith Belgerent (Ron S.) Riddari Guardian of Magus
Sven Silverbeard (George M.) Mannfolk Paladin of Carrunos
Thornflower (Suzanne B.) Alfar Hero of the Storm Lion
Thunder (Spencer K.) Katterfolk Cleric of the Storm Lion
Tosinsthal Wilfsyn (Corwin K.) Svartalfar Hero of the Storm Lion
Vegt (Alan Z.) Mannfolk Mage of Hione

Run the Second: Geld Unsettled

Saturday morning, 6 hours
Armoladd (Jeff D.) Alfar Hero of Danu
Athelia (Shannon D.) Alfar Cleric of Danu
Pfferdsensen (Greg N.) Riddari Guardian of Carrunos
Ragnaroc (Rob T.) Svartalfar Hero of the Storm Lion
Vinnelop (Liz T.) Alfar Guardian once of Janda

Run the Third: Metal, Fire and Words

Saturday evening, 5 hours
Keith Belgerent (Ron S.) Riddari Guardian of Magus
Riffington (Kelly W.) Alfar Archer Ambusher (Hero)
Rogar Ironheart (Corwin K.) Svartalfar Hero of Daglir
Sven Silverbeard (George M.) Mannfolk Paladin of Carrunos
Vegt (Alan Z.) Mannfolk Mage of Hione
Wussun of the Narwal Tride (Hugh H.) Alfar Cleric of Danu
replaced with Wuswosun (Hugh H.) Alfar Cleric of Danu

This run needs a bit of a preface. It was intended to give the PCs two (but really three) spread out goals that all involved investigation and travelling and a limited amount of time to achieve them. They would have access to the Valkyrie to transport them, but sounding the horn would put forces on alert. How would they spend their time and resources, which goals would their prioritize.

However, directly before this run started, the Mirror/Eye of Oodlask was recovered. This meant that they had perfect visibility over the entire world including perfect retrocognition. So they found out people involved, and played them back in time until the found everything. It was gorgeous how effective they were in using it, and they were able to accomplish all three objectives with time enough to go back and stomp on some Ettins that they had stealthed through the first time in order to get more loot. Smart murderhobos, I salute you.

Run the Last: The Hunt is On

Sunday morning, 5 hours
Archion Stormfriend (Ryan R.) Mannfolk HERO of the Storm Lion
Bruce Battlestandard (Josh G.) Svartalfar Berserker Mage of Daglir
Dimrodel (David R.) Mannfolk Cleric of Carrunos
Hattero Hex Monkeybane (Ryan C.) Katterfolk Guardian of the Storm Lion
Riffington (Kelly W.) Alfar Archer Ambusher (Hero) of Carrunos
Wuswosun (Hugh H.) Alfar Cleric of Danu

(covert to carrunos)

Carrunos would be wounded by overloaded immolating firehawks, but even though it would put him directly in the blast radius his cleric Dimrodel cast Immunity to Fire on him. Carrunos was still blinded by the light of the burst of the magically enhanced firebird.
Carrunos was then almost killed by Ratri with Kjallintar’s god-slaying spear, with Dimrodel again casting to stabilize. Ratri struck again the next round, yet Wuswosun bent fate and god vs. god became a narrow miss. Ratri struck a third time, and this time Archion Stormfriend, locked in a one-on-one duel with the leader of the Tetrakh Honor Guard,

Carrunos was blinded and dragged into the mists by Sjinnar, but with the aid of Dimrodel, Wuswosun and the more-giant-than-giant Bruce Battlestandard was able to overcome and slay him. Dimrodel, his cleric, and Wuswosun, his beloved Danu’s cleric, replaced his eyes with carved ones of Oak and Holly (thank you Regrowth spell) and given an extra boost from Bruce’s Second Sight, was abel to lead all four of them out of the mists.

Resolution

Carrunos was convinced by the players to rejoin the other gods, and once her Fatestone was broken and she stopped turning a deaf ear to him, Danu relented and came as well. His eyes have been burned out and replaced with one of Holly and one of Oak. One of his saviors, his cleric Dimrodel, now bears similar eyes. Perhaps he will be the next High Priest of Carrunos.

Katterfolk have done several important tasks for him, but when Hattero banished Ratri who was attempting to assassinate him at the eventual cost of his own life, his friends asked Carrunos a boon to honor his sacrifice. Carrunos acknowledges Katterfolk as true hunters, the closest thing he’s get to an apology, and his blessing now work on them.

But Carrunos has spilled his lifeblood and will be weakened for a long time to come. Luckily he can call upon his strong arms, such as his paladin Sven Silverbeard or the instrument of his vengeance and now wielder of his bow, Wuswosun.

Sjinnar is slain, his bashed and arrow riddled body lost in the mists that will now forever be his final resting place. The soul of any Jotnar that now dies will go to Baenheim, but those Jotnar souls that died before him and went to Sjinnar will forever be trapped in the mists behind the realms, haunting them and turning them dark.

Read More

PrinceCon XL: Steve’s Scenario Recap

The name of the scenario was:

“WE NEED HEROING!”

Or if you looked closer at it:

“WE NEED (remedial) HEROING (101)”

There was a large stack of Mead and Turkey leg item cards attached to the poster with the guidelines, “Take one, or more! Feast!” This should have been the first clue where this was headed.

(In fact, I heard that a Turkey Leg was used to save a character’s life, so hey my job here is done.)

In Episode 1, entitled “Don’t Let Your Legend Suck” (that was taken from the title of the training montage music from Episode 2 of Galavant) the heroes are called off to a grand colosseum by the Gods to take part in some heroic games to boost morale. Upon arriving, however, they met with Eða, a Valkyrie, who lets the boom drop that the reason why they’re here is because they are the souls who emphasized the eating and drinking in Valhalla more than the fighting and revelry, and as a result needed to have their doughy bodies whipped back into shape — by physical force if necessary.

Throughout the dilapidated colosseum were hundreds of stoneoak trees that needed to be chopped down to make room for the physical tests, so Eða said “Get on it!” Immediately which after the party executed the most stunning and well-coordinated campaign of aggressive procrastination that has ever played out at PrinceCon.

As the name suggests, stoneoaks are very, very tough to knock down or move. One of the party members — a Riddari — tried tilting at windmills, treating them like giants with a charge with their lance. That didn’t work very well; however, it gave the rest of the party a good laugh.

One of the party’s Danu clerics decided to talk to the trees to see what they could do about their task more peaceably… Eða didn’t like that, so she took her axe and… well very soon afterwards the Danu cleric was complaining that she was just talking to that tree — “Well now you’re not. Finish the rest of them!”

When they finally managed to knock one over, they noticed that down under the roots, coiled around the tree’s taproot was a stony-looking hand. A Detect Evil later, and they realized that rock trolls were incubating under each stoneoak in some kind of symbiotic/parasitic relationship.

Eventually the boom drops and the mature trolls, about 3 or 4 of them, start to climb out of the dirt, their umbilical cords being snipped by the adventurers, and one of the huge stone slabs behind this area started to make thumping noises as if a really big troll was trying to come out behind it, too. The normal sort of fight ensued, but one decidedly abnormal maneuver, involving falling upon a troll with a lance aimed at their head while wearing full plate armor led to the award of the Character title “Trollrider.” It was epic.

Another in the party made the best use of Hold Portal that I have seen. Focused on the giant rock they managed to hold back the huge troll until they were able to build a pit trap in front of the door, call on reinforcements, and gather munitions to take the troll down…

READY STEADY HERE IT COMES!…

But when the spell wore off, they realized that the poor troll was knocking its head into the rock so many times that it was quite dazed and just sat there until one of the players coaxed it out with a turkey leg and it fell headlong into the pit.

The troll, strangely enough was carrying two things: A map leading up into some scraggly woods into a mountain, and a rubbing of a Fate Stone that read, “The characters shall SMUDGE at this fate stone.”

A curious clue that could not be ignored.

That led to Episode 2, entitled “And All I Got Was This Lousy Fatestone.”

The party took on three more members and set out to follow the map, and it took them through the scraggly woods where the were completely unmolested… but noticed that someone was planting stone oak seedlings. With some jiggery pokery (well, pully-uppy) they found that each one had a rock troll larva by its roots that died immediately upon exposure to sunlight.

The trees were getting bigger the further into the woods towards the mountains they went –

Could this be a trap? Nah. Onwards!

Pulling up as many trees as they could they made their way to the base of the mountain. The soil started getting more volcanic.

Was this danger? No! Onwards!

They come across the crest of the mountain and descend into a small, flat valley to notice that there is a little potting shed shack in the center.

A perfectly round caldera-like valley. Is this a potential hazard? Pssh!

They find that an equally disoriented rock troll lives in the little shack, and is more or less harmless. They name him Jonny Trollyseed, assuming he’s responsible for all of the tree plantings…. but much to their surprise, they find in the middle of his shack, the Fate stone they have a rubbing of!

It reads: “The adventurers shall arrive at this fatestone.” A singularly puzzling fate.

Of course, they pick it up. But it is at that point when they hear their old friend Eða, who had followed them, shouting at the top of her lungs to get out. That it’s a trap, and that upon entering the valley she was cut off from the song of her sisters. In fact, none of them can feel any connections to their deities, nor can they seem to fly or get away from the fate stone.

By about this time, too, another party member manages to walk around the back of the shack and notice a large pile of bones… and loot! This was apparently a trap sprung many times before them upon many adventurers much more well equipped than themselves. Lots of them. So many bones.

So, they can’t get out and the caldera starts to activate, the hot lava getting closer and closer.

And then it dawns upon one of them! The Fatestone! That’s what’s keeping them there.

One of them says, “Quick, smash it!”

Another interjects: “No wait! It’s a Fate stone. One of us has to say the incantation.”

Yet another volunteers: “I’ll do it!”

And so he solemnly takes it into his hands, looks squarely at it and recites the words that will break the stone and cost him his life:

“I reject this Fate.
Ordained events kill the adventurous spirit.
Predestination is the little-death that brings complacency.
I reject this Fate.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will face my Future… unknown!”

… and nothing happens.

He says it again, this time quicker and more frantic.

Finally, all of the party members stood around in a circle holding hands “kumbaya style,” reciting the Litany that they pray will save their lives.

Nadda.

So one revisits their, “Smash it!”

And smashing it actually works!

It turns out it’s a fake fate stone, or Fakestone, powered by an old manuscript talisman.

Note: The Manuscript was actually adapted from an actual Old Norse skald poem with some of the names replaced (Hione for Oden, Ratri for Loki, Volva or Wise Woman representing one of the Wyrd Sisters, etc.) with a number of kennings for different events.

With an additional map puzzle in hand it lead them to:

Episode 3: “Verkstedet” (The Workshop or Laboratory)

They finish the map puzzle, making a trek out into the woods and arrived back precisely where they started — but something was different. They found a cottage that was absolutely dripping with both magic, and seriously deadly traps.

Long story short, as this run was puzzle, trap, puzzle, trap, they find out that it is one of Ratri’s auxiliary labs where she is developing the troll-tree-embryos to raise a huge army, and tinkering with fatestones and fakestones, trying to find ways to break them, alter them, or try and create them… luckily she didn’t get very far.

After the mages sacrificed two monkeys to the cause of disarming traps… and nearly causing a kerfuffle with the nature clerics in the party (earning one of the characters the title “Monkeybane”) they manage to utterly destroy the cottage by — “accidentally” — creating a feedback loop between a trapped cabinet of reflection (which stored one of Ratri’s deepest secrets) and a mirror of reflection, held by one of their clerics.

The cabinet… and the supporting wall behind it… lost after a volley back and forth 13 times.

Some things that were not caught: After they realized that it was one of Ratri’s labs, why would a god have a place to sleep? Why would a god have an underwear drawer?

And, if they *had* managed to get into the cabinet that they… *cough* blew up, they would have been asking, “Why is there a painting of a little Ratri with flesh and blood mortals who look like her parents?”

Regardless! With the secret lab destroyed along with the extra hordes of troll seeds, the Remedial Heroes are proven to be genuine heroes after all.

Read More

PrinceCon XL: Andy’s Scenario Recap

Storm Lion and the World Serpent

BACKSTORY
In her quest to gain power, Ratri seduced Troll-Mother Drugar and gave birth to a large serpent. It was not long before the deadly nature of its poison, even to the gods themselves, became apparent. No skill could heal or repel the toxin, so Hione consigned it to the oceans around Mannheim. There it could live out its existence without posing a danger.

Mother troll objected to her off-spring’s banishment, but Ratri remained silent. This began the unraveling of the relationship between Trolls and the other races of Godsheim. With Ratri’s help, Drugar fashioned a race of Sea Tolls, adapted to live in the waters around Mannheim. They would serve and protect the Serpent should the Gods decide banishment was not enough.

Even Hione did not know that a small contingent of Fishfolk had survived the primordial Godswar by escaping to the very waters to which the Serpent had been consigned. Bereft of their defeated Dark Gods, they began to worship the Serpent and taught the Trolls to do likewise. They called it “Hafnadhr” in its native tongue.

Then they warded their new God against every manner of scrying and detection, lest their old foes look upon Hafnadhr and discover their own existence. It was their worship that caused Hafnadhr to grow to such an extreme size and make it a pawn in the Great Game of Fate that was to unfold as the Ages of the World sped by.

When Ratri’s plans were ripe, she entered Hafnadhr’s mouth – what child would hurt its parent? – and called for Aru’s aid, pretending she had been poisoned. Her message to him contained secret writing only he could read, telling him where to find her. When he arrived, she cast about him a confounding Darkness and shoved him down the Serpents gullet. There Thoki waited to complete Aru’s imprisonment, keeping him from foiling Ratri’s gambit before it could develop.

UNDER THE SEA — SERPENT! (Run 1)

Intro: (For all runs)
Queen Eir asked the party to seek out the World Serpent and obtain a sample of its poison from which she might make an antidote. With Aru missing, it was the only way she could think to save her firstborn.

The Action:
Two Valiant Kattrfolk answered Eir’s call. Their Valkyrie dropped them far out and under the oceans of Mannheim, before a mountain ridge across which she could not travel. Finding a pass, they saw two Sea Trolls. Through the clever use of an interactive, programmed, traveling illusion of its normal prey, a sea monster of the largest sort was called down the mounting, aimed right for the Trolls.

One of the Trolls rolled a “20” on his Awareness check. He saw the sea monster veer off. He pointed it out to his buddy the next round. The two of them stared at the chase enthralled, eventually betting on how many rounds it would take the predator to catch its victim.

The last thing to go through the Trolls minds, before the sea monster, was, “Hey, it’s getting awfully close…” Blood in the water called down a cascade of creatures to feast on the carnage. And, the wiley Kattrfolk used the confusion and dust cloud to sneak past the outpost.
Ahead the Kats crept eventually seeing an encampment of Sea Trolls and the Serpent’s Maw — fifteen miles across, with fangs the size of mountains and row upon row of “lesser” teeth, all dripping a dark ichor that killed anything it touched. For the first time in many an Age, they knew the taste of fear.

Before the Maw, the saw stone plateau on which had been carved a odd-shaped pentagram. In the center, a giant bubble of air encased a group of live Mannfolk, about the number of a large village. The robed figures completed their ritual, and a gate opened beneath the bubble.

Once the bubble was completely consumed, the figures departed to a sea city beyond.

BEFORE THE SEA SERPENT (Run 2)

The Action:
Four Valiant answered this call. They made various and protracted calculations to try to supe up one character to zip in and out to collect the poison. They collected the sample, but before they could leave, they saw a new sacrifice was being prepared.

They attacked the robed figures, killing most and capturing one. Using a combination of spells including ESP, they questioned the Fishfolk and gained valuable information:

  • The Serpent had been sluggish just before the Con started.
  • They were sacrificing live humans to it in order to energize it for the coming Great Battle in which their god would kill the greatest champion of the ancient enemy in Godsheim.
  • A group of humans also worship the Serpent as a god and were providing large quantities of live humans for the sacrifices. (See Alex’s scenario for more.)
  • The leaders of the human cult were invited to witness the final great sacrifice, but the Fishfolk were going to betray them by making them the final victims.

Alas, without the priests to maintain the magic bubble, the humans to be sacrificed had died. With bitter tears, the Four returned to Godsheim with their prize.

After two days of celebrating their success in Valor Hall, the Four were summoned to Queen Eir’s presence. Drawing her sword, Queen Eir impaled her attendant and then forced her to drink what the Four brought back. Miraculously, she was fully healed.

INTO THE SEA SERPENT (Run 3)

The Action:
A group of Six Valiant next went forth. They found the game had changed. The attack on the sacrifice had confirmed to their enemies that Godsheim had noticed their activities. So, an army of Sea Trolls with Ballistae were stationed around the Serpent and the altar and the sea city.

After debating several theories of why the poison brought o Eir had healed, they observed that the poison on the far side seemed to kill, while the poison on the near side did not. They reasoned that to succeed in the mission they needed to collect a sample from the correct side.

The (sole) Storm Lion follower among them proffered the theory that the oddness of the poison could be because Aru was imprisoned within the Serpent. His compatriots agreed to return to help him free the god after they got the sample to Eir.

When they returned, they quickly advanced toward the non-deadly side of the Serpent’s Maw. To the incredulity of the Sea Trolls, the Six fought their way INTO the Maw. Their observations had taught them that the Trolls were wary of the poison and would not follow.

Once inside, they sought to make camp and rest. The giant predators living among the Teeth and a dampening field against spells like Rope Trick convinced them not to dally. One last look around with Detect Magic showed the back on one Fang glowed brilliantly. Telescopic Vision revealed it was the Fatestone outlining the battle of Strom Lion and the Serpent.

While the group debated the implications of breaking it — touching means dying, freeing the Serpent from dying to Storm Lion, etc. — the lone Storm Lion among them acted without hesitation. Nothing would stop him from his glorious sacrifice. The Fang shattered, the Serpent writhed, and the (now) Five Valiant went tumbling down the Serpent’s gullet to Joe Appel’s Third Run.

World Tree

BACKSTORY
The World Tree is a metaphor for the interconnectedness of all worlds. It only made sense that the inhabitants were metaphors as well. The Dragon was easiest to peg – Hunger. It chewed on the roots of the tree; it chewed on the dead oathbreakers and adulterers; and never was it full.

The Eagle, as the Dragon’s foil, therefore needed to be Fullness – in this case, self-satisfaction. It spends its existence literally “on top of the world, looking down on creation.” The Squirrel, given its willingness to spend eternity carrying insults back and forth between the other two, was Rumor – just the thing to inflate an egotist but never fill/satisfy the glutton.

After Blue Carstensen developed the rivalry of Sjinnar and the Jotans with Carrunos, the Harts fell into place. If they became metaphors for aspects of civilization and Sjinnar were to desecrate them in spite of Carrunos, could this explain why the world had entered the Wolf Age? So the Harts became Honor, Fellowship, Charity, and Hospitality.

THE WORLD TREE (Run 4)

Set up:
Queen Eir asked the party to seek a prophesied shelter in the World Tree were the twin youngest gods could shelter.

The Action:
Four Valiant answered Eir’s call. They were deposited on the Tree, and they decided to ask the Eagle’s advice first. So they began to climb, though the distance looked vast.

Now, the key to this run was metaphor. Distance, direction, gravity – everything practically – was a metaphor. Movement occurred by intention and need. The players climbed up or down as a signal of their intent. Two consecutive Will Save were required of the leader in order to arrive. The players’ chatter as they climbed possibly provided a modifier.

When they reached the Eagle, he gladly spoke to them. When they referred to him as simply Orn, he corrected them “…The Great.” His answer no matter what they wanted was to go talk to the Dragon. In this case, he told them the Dragon’s head was the hardest substance in creation, impenetrable to anything. It had the added benefit of being largely empty and would make a perfect haven.

And so the party started back down the Tree. As they descended, the Paladin of Carrunos began to notice his mind returning to the story of his Lord’s infidelity to Danu. The intrusive thoughts became nearly overwhelming as he realized that they were among the Roots near Baenheim, where the Dragon chewed on adulterers.

They tried to be circumspect in inquiring if the Dragon would give up his head to make a Haven. It was a noble effort. The Dragon soon divined they had spoken to the Eagle. He got them to admit what Orn (… The Great) had said. He told them to make a Haven of Orn’s nest and save him a leg of that overstuffed chicken.

Climbing once more, the group encountered The Squirrel who promptly invited them to tea. The players graciously traded stories with Rattatosk, who mentioned in passing how odd it was that he hadn’t seen any of the Harts recently.

So off the party went looking for the Harts. They found three of them – murdered and desecrated in ever more horrible ways in insult to Carrunos. It was clear that it was deliberate and the work of Giants. They decided to take the bodies to Carrunos – a move I must admit I had not quite anticipated.

Carrunos confirmed that it was the work of Sjinnar and charged his paladin to find and save the last Hart. At their request, he leant them his best hound to help track it. He would need to confer with Danu if restoring the Harts was possible.

Back on the Tree, the search was going nowhere. Then it occurred to someone that they might have more luck tracking those responsible for desecrating the other Harts instead. And, lo, they soon found themselves face to face with a Jotun hunting party.
With righteous wrath the paladin smote his sworn mortal enemies. The Jotuns barely knew what hit them. Questioning a momentary survivor, the group confirmed there were no other hunting Jotuns on the Tree and that the last Hart still lived.

Returning to Eir, the party reported their exploits. She thanked them for their service although the Haven had not been found.

Ramifications:

To find the Haven, the party must take the twins with them and let them “lead” the climb. Upon finding the Haven, they will be welcomed by Risna (Hospitality). Alas, they will also have led the Jotuns to the last Hart also. Battle ensues. Or, so it was planned. biggrin

Nevertheless, the service done to Carrunos and the piety of the paladin went a long way to convince the Nature deities to support the gods in the Final Battle. Please see Blue Carstensen’s write up for why this was particularly important to the Con. Well done!

Read More