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Author Topic: [PFRPG Homebrew] Irrin: The Colony  (Read 555 times)

Zachary The First

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[PFRPG Homebrew] Irrin: The Colony
« on: May 20, 2007, 08:17:59 PM »
Well, CharGen for my our new campaign is Wednesdays.  I'm not usually the greatest about updating AP threads (usually time constraints forbid it), but I'm going to give it an honest shot this time.

Now, first off, let me give you the basic frame:  I'll be running 5-6 players in my homebrew world of Irrin, which is meant to be a loosely-fleshed-out vanilla world that is open to collaborative development with the players.  There's also a second Irrin campaign running concurrently to this one with a different group.  For a couple of weeks now, players have had folders with printouts, maps, and world info, as well as access to our modest campaign website.

The system is a houseruled Palladium Fantasy variant (rules available from the downloads page), and since we just finished up with a Rifts campaign, a lot of the basic concepts should be familiar with a majority of this group.

Now, for those of you who remember The Spider's Test (there was an article on it here a few weeks ago), I gave my players 4 starting scenario options.  This is the one they chose:


 The Colony:  The lands of the West are once again wide open!  It has only been 14 years since the High Church has lifted its ban on travel and settlement of these “accursed” lands, and the civilized nations of the world hope to carve out vast new territories to call their own.
  By the order of the King himself, Faustes I of Kaordan, you & your party have been granted the “honor” of founding a new colony for Kaordan in these wilds.  Between monster attacks, unfriendly neighbors, resupply problems, internal fighting, and the hardships of the wild, few colonies tend to survive, and even fewer thrive, but yours just might be different!  Danger and the unknown fills every steps, but it is said the wilds may not only contain rich lands and resources, but amazing lost treasures as well!  Will you and your colony make, and possibly even rise to be a power?  What will your legacy be?
Personally, I'm most excited about this one.  It will not only allow me a huge play area in which I can slot just about anything that sounds cool at the time (jrients' Ur-Viking campaign, which I read religiously, has sort of the same benefit), as well as cater to my love of Western/New World pioneer/settler stories.  I also think if the players actually manage to make the settlement work, there's a real chance there for emotional investment as they see the place grow and change.

Zachary The First

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Irrin: The Colony
« Reply #1 on: May 20, 2007, 08:25:35 PM »
Here's the Introduction to Irrin, just so you have a basic setting background:

A Campaign Setting World Primer

The world you’ll be playing in (named Irrin) is at a crossroads. Although still a wild and mystical place, you might describe the technology level as late Middle Ages or very early Renaissance. Gunpowder is known, though the “handgonne” is not in use, cannon tend to blow up rather unexpectedly, and most folks are still of the opinion that hacking at each other with some sort of pointy object is preferable to carrying a randomly exploding stick. (The one exception to this rule is a certain small northern clan of Dwarves who are excellent artillerists, and the Gnomes, who don’t seem to mind blowing up every now and then in the name of science).  The printing press has also been invented, and especially among the trade towns of the north, literacy continues to spread at an unparalleled rate. Many are the bards and adventurers who find their exploits widely read (even if the truth is stretched in places).

Alas, though progress has been made, old problems linger, no matter where you look in the world. 1000 years ago, The Kingdom of The West was utterly destroyed by the High Elves using some unknown arcana to bind the Orcs and Trolls of the highlands and mountains to their will. This army, the largest the world had ever seen, defeated the once-mighty yet weary empire, sending refugees to the east and southeast in massive numbers. The High Elves were triumphant, but only briefly. The arcane magics they employed turned against them, and the goblinoid races slew many of their former masters. Weakened, the long-lived High Elves withdrew into their last great forest, destroying any foolish enough to cross into it. They’ve not been heard from in many years, but the spectre of their incredible power and hatred hovers still over the new kingdoms of man.

In these once-savage new nations the western refugees, all is not well either. The Northern Confederation, that loose affiliation of the mighty trade towns, sees more squabbles than ever. Trade is king, and the ramshackle agreements holding these farflung cities together in mutual defense and prosperity grow ever weaker. The nation of Kaordan stands as a beacon of reason and hope, but has its own struggle of succession brewing. To the north, the Caroz Mountains, tall, black, and uninhabitable, continue to be the host of things best left unknown.

Farther east, the Imperial Land of Alrychium still chafes over the loss of her
former colonies—the nations of Kaordan and Altok, the lands of the Confederation, and, as always, has a hand in every intrigue, every rumor.
To the south, the Baodi, the one people brave or foolhardy enough to live in the shadow of High Elven lands, have clung to their nomadic, tribal ways longer than anyone in the east. But for three generations now, their considerable power has finally been unified in the persona of one Emperor. The greatest horsemen the world has ever known, and only a few score years removed from barbarism, for now the Baodi are content to watch…and learn.

Further south, the Petty Kingdoms are a mercenary’s paradise. Small bands of warriors continually struggle—often changing sides as rapidly as the towns can change rulers. It is here that only a few lofty cities can claim the development of airships—which they will guard with their (and your) lives.

The Sea Empire of Hastal is in the middle of a civil war. Breakaway provinces in the south have formed the Southern Principalities, which have successfully fought off Hastal’s armies for the past 8 years. They hope to conclude a treaty with Hastal’s ancient enemy, the merchant island of Cerras soon, which will guarantee them a final victory.

Kair Renda is also in the south, once the “Jewel of The East”, and savior of
civilization during the Kobold Invasions. Yet it has seen its territory shrink, swallowed up by less scrupulous neighbors. Through all this, they have kept their dignity, the seat of the High Church, and the island refuge where they hope to civilize those kobolds they saved from genocide.

And the lands to the west? As monsters and evil overran the Kingdom of the West, the High Church, fearing for the lives and souls of its flock, forbade all travel to the west for 1000 years. Superstition soon took over, and indeed, the West is still considered accursed by many. 13 years ago, however, the millennia ended, and many ships and colonists traveled forth to join the adventurous few who had gone even before the ban was lifted. But the West is full of horror. Barbarians, orcs, trolls, and bizarre monsters roam the once-populated grasslands. There are whispers of a wasteland where the elements seem to take a life of their own. And the ruins of the once-great cities are indeed filled with wraiths, vile beasts, and creatures best left in the darkness. Still, on the fringes of the coastline, and in the extreme north, small villages and settlements have begun to pop up.

There is more to this world—the Halfling Protectorate, the mysterious and
abandoned Thyrman Cities in the far south, the fortune seekers braving the Far River Valley to a new life in the west, the struggle of the Goblins to build a homeland, the thousand magics of the sorcerer-kingdom of Parmonatheoa, the exploits and atrocities of the pirates of the Torun Sea, but the most important thing to know is this: this is your world. You will shape it. You can rise high enough to be a hero whose name will ring through the ages, or you can fail in a vital task, and bring doom to yourself and thousands of others. The future has yet to be written. Choose wisely.

Zachary The First

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Irrin: The Colony
« Reply #2 on: May 28, 2007, 03:26:48 PM »
  My Irrin campaign has six players; of these, 5 of them had recent experience with Palladium products (Rifts, mainly), and the other one had a nice varied RPG background.  I had set up our first session to be all character generation.
  I had given out source folders and character questionnaires to all the players a few weeks back, so almost everyone who showed up had at least a couple of ideas of what they wanted to play.  I was sort of conflicted in that I wanted a lot of thought and development in characters, but since Irrin is a collaborative world, I also wanted to really give folks tons of creative control, as well as being able to develop their character’s story in tandem with the world.  To that end, I didn’t ask for 18 page backstories, or any formal backstory at all;  I gave the players a character questionnaire, with the idea we’d talk about their concept and sort of just eventually work it into the game.
  So, then, onto the Dramatis Personae:
  (Btw, all characters start out at level 2):
  Roan Allshower, Human Air Warlock:  Matt with a somewhat innocent, easily influenced, whimsical young Air Warlock.  He has a prior association with the ranger, Darius.  
  I should mention that I allow players to ask one boon for their character, but in return, they have to take one flaw, chosen by their GM (me).  Matt wanted to be more proficient at his OCC (read: class, for you non-Palladium types), so he ended up with a +10 to OCC skills in exchange for an unhealthy attraction towards elven females.
  Matt changed characters, or rather, kept me guessing until the last minute, so I’m not really sure what to expect from Roan.  So far, he seems fun-loving and ready for adventure.  We’ll find out a lot more in the next few weeks.
  18 years ago, one of the biggest storms in the history of the North roared through.  Roan is 18, funnily enough.
  Key Abilities:  Air elemental magic, good wilderness guide, proficient with knife and blowgun.
  Stats:  IQ 11, ME 13, MA 9, PS 11, PP 10, PE 12, PB 9 SPD 24
  Er, again, for the non-Pallies:  IQ=Smarts, ME=Mental Endurance, MA=Charisma, PS=Phys. Strength, PP=Dexterity/Agil., PE=Phys. Endurance, PB=Phys. Beauty, SPD=The flat-out ability to run.
  Darius Bloodfin, Human Ranger:  Dennis was another player who really had difficultly deciding what to play.  He settled on a Ranger.  Master Bloodfin does know Roan Allshower, though how long the two have been traveling together is unknown at this point.  
  Darius is a Calcordian, Calcord being a swampy region of Kaordan known for a) rebelling against Kaordi rule pretty frequently (though never quite winning), and b) producing some of the best foot soldiery in the entire region. Why they can’t seem to put a) + b) together to be successful at independence, I couldn’t tell you.
  Darius is tired of how “crowded” this little corner of Irrin is getting, and is more than ready to adventure to the West.
  Dennis decided he wanted a shortbow with increased damage, from 1d6 to 2d6.  In exchange for this, he belong to a fairly unpopular religious sect, which sees corruption in just about every practice the High  Church has (deserved or no).  This could get hairy, as the caravan will have to pass through the Theocracy of Alten to travel to the lands of the West.  Unfortunately, Darius appears to be quite the rowdy troublemaker anyways…
   Key Abilities:  Excellent wilderness guide, scout, and hunter; proficient with longbow and sword alike; amazing strength and agility.
  Stats:  IQ 15, ME 10, MA 14, PS 24, PP 24, PE 18, PB 13  SPD 20
  Maggie (Magnolia), Night Elf Fairy:  Tazz decided she wanted to play a fairy, which made me a little bit apprehensive, not so much because of a fairy’s mischievous disposition, but because I had never GM’d for a party with one in it.  Still and all, we talked over the various aspects of the character, and after nerfing a few severe potential gamebreakers (the irresistible Fairy Dance, insanely fast flight speed, to name just two), I think we arrived at a very playable but still unique and fun mindset.
  Maggie seems to be fun-loving, adventurous, and curious.  I think she’ll likely get along with Roan and Darius best, who are set up to be the party’s rabble-rousers.  Then again, traditionally, fairies aren’t always well-disposed towards humans, so it could just as likely go the other way.
  Not a lot of background on Maggie yet, but hey, she’s a faerie, what do you want?  Her Twinkling Average?
  Maggie asked no boons, and so received no GM-granted flaws—just her own.
  Key Abilities:  Fairy magic, a mastery of pranks and dirty tricks, flight, nasty tiny little fairy magic and poison weapons.
  Stats:  IQ 19, ME 11, MA 13, PS 3, PP 15, PE 11, PB 17 (low for a fairy, really)  SPD 16 (36 when flying)
  Winter Siege, Kankoran Psi-Healer:  Not a big fan of psionics or psychic classes in most of my fantasy games.  I didn’t even allow folks to roll randomly for psionics, deciding if you don’t have the ability as a class, you just don’t have it.  Many of us have nightmares from AD&D’s psionics, after all.  Still, Brian (my newest player) decided to go with a Psi-Healer, and truth be told, the party just might need it.  We’re presenting the psionics as much more of a mystical ability (Mentalism in Rolemaster, perhaps?), which it sounds like both Brian and I may be more comfy with.
  Winter Siege (interesting name, hmm?) is a Kankoran, which is the fox-equivalent of Palladium’s Wolfen.  He hails from the Wyvernwell  Forest, which is one of the last places in the North to house a considerable Kankoran community.  For now, his reasons for adventuring remain solidly his own.  More to come…
  Key Abilities:  Psionic healing power, some natural tracking ability, proficiency with dagger, tooth, and claw (that’s it for weapons, honestly—how awesome is that!?).
  Stats:  IQ 20, ME 21, MA 12, PS 9, PP 14, PE 17, PB 8,  SPD 27
  (Note:  Winter has unheard-of ME for a Kankoran.  We allowed some stats to be moved around a bit to fit this character concept).
  Krell Rayner, Wolfen Knight:  Doom came up with Krell, a disgraced Wolfen Knight (and wouldn’t you just like to know why he’s disgraced?  You’ll see, soon enough!), hailing from Etor.  Etor was a province of Alrychium that used to have a particularly high concentration of Wolfen slaves.  Etor, which successfully rebelled against Alrychium partially in thanks to their unbeatable Wolfen Mithril Companies has been in a series of wars to preserve that independence for the better part of a millennia!  Despite this, Wolfen are often slow to anger, deliberate, and judicious in their behavior.
  Krell will not carry a lance or sword, hallmarks of the knight, but rather carries an Iron Staff.  Is some act of penance, or perhaps a self-imposed punishment for some otherwise forgotten act?  We’ll see…
  Krell really, really hates slavers.  Really.
  Key Abilities:  Trained as a knight for combat, some natural tracking ability, military and noble etiquette.
  Stats:  IQ 11, ME 11, MA 9, PS 20, PP 13, PE 14, PB 8,  SPD 30
  Roderick von Derrickson, Human Mercenary Warrior
  The son of Alrychi peasants, Roderick (Joe’s character) is not only a mercenary warrior, but also a voluntary gladiatorial contestant.  He loves the spotlight and adoration, as well as the chance to show off in battle.  Despite this love of flair and pageantry, he is a very technically competent warrior.  He carries a Zweihander, a family sword that somehow survived his family’s descent into low peasantry.  The sword is reported to be nigh-indestructible.  There will be plenty of chances to test that theory.
  In exchange for his ancestral weapon, Roderick now has night terrors.  Fun!
  Key Abilities:  Trained as a knight for combat, some natural tracking ability, military and noble etiquette.
  Stats:  IQ 12, ME 11, MA 13, PS 20, PP 11, PE 13, PB 12,  SPD 11
  So, there you have it.  These are the character that will be run in our inaugural Irrin campaign.  I’m really looking forward to seeing them develop, and see what little new twists on these characters we discover next session….

Zachary The First

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Irrin: The Colony
« Reply #3 on: May 28, 2007, 04:30:03 PM »
We had a little bit of time at the end of character generation, so we decided to get a little exposition out of the way in the remaining time we had.  Here's the "Week 0" handout the players had received:

The entire nation of Kaordan is in a state of unparalleled excitement and anticipation!  King Faustes, with the agreement of the Kaordi Common Congress, has authorized the Westward Company, Kaordan’s first attempt at settling the newly-opened western lands!  Open land, chances at glory, and rumors of great treasures in ruined cities seem to be all anyone is talking about!

To add to the excitement, the Old Hawk himself, Sir Artos Hale, hero of 3rd Oasis War and greatest warrior in recent Kaordi history, has been appointed to lead this expedition!  Even those who grumble this expedition is a foolhardy attempt to turn people’s attention away from the King’s lavish spending and increasingly erratic behavior cannot helped but be impressed by the prestige and weight Sir Artos’ name lends this endeavor.

The caravan of settlers is expected to take 4 ½ months to reach their destination at the end of the Far River Valley, which will leave precious little time to get their all-important first crop in.  But if anyone can do it, it is believed Sir Artos Hale can.  Bandits, ogre tribes, orc raiders?  Sir Artos himself will command a select company of the 1st Moontallst Regiment, The King’s Own.  And there will be enough hired scouts, rangers, and mercenaries on hand to augment that force nicely.

The criers, proclamations, rumors, and broadsheets have attracted all manners of individuals hoping to find a place among the few hundred or so available in the Company:  freemen and farmers looking for new lands to work, religious dissidents looking for more freedom, earnest and ne’er-do-well nobles alike looking to take unclaimed lands as their own, mercenaries simply looking for work, and wanted men looking to duck the law.  But places in the Westward Company are hard to come by, and with only a precious few spots left, the day of departure grows imminent.  In his residence in Moontallst, Sir Artos himself prepares to interview a strange mix of individuals for the last few coveted openings…

 It was late afternoon, and the crowd’s outside Sir Artos’ mansion in Moontallst had not abated.  Many had cajoled, entreated, begged, and flat-out lied, attempting to get an interview with Sir Artos for those last few spots in the Westward Company.
  The clamor was only a dim murmur to the five humans (and humanoids) sitting in uncomfortable straight-backed chairs outside Sir Artos Hale’s office.  They had all managed to see their way into these last few interview openings, some of the honestly, others by less scrupulous means.
  (GM’s note:  I based Sir Artos Hale, as you might guess from the name, on a somewhat kinder, fanciful ideal of the Duke of Wellington.  He’s gruff, stubborn, and a bit of an old fussbucket, but he also admires personal courage, and does have an oft-dry sense of humor).
  The first two to interview were two would-be guides and scouts, Roan Allshower and the Calcordian, Darius Bloodfin.  Neither likely cut an impressive figure, clad in roughly-sewn hides, and their behavior cemented this impression.  They came perilously close to insulting Sir Artos to a point where he may have considered calling in a favor from the Royal Executioner.  However, despite what can only be considered a catastrophic interview, Sir Artos was intrigued by the absolute confidence of the two guides, especially in light of how so many recent expeditions to the West had utterly failed.  Reasoning that if they were as good as they claimed, he could put up with their nonsense, and if they were less competent, he certainly had other guides and more dangerous duties available, he welcomed them on board for the last two guide spots of the expedition.
  Still in a loud, animated discussion with one another, Roan and Darius were hurriedly escorted from Sir Artos’ office.  
  Outside an open window, what might have been mistaken as a hummingbird flittered about curiously.  Magnolia, the Night Elf faerie, was definitely interested in perhaps associating with anyone who acted like that, human or no.  How entertaining!  She quickly zoomed around the front of the Duke’s mansion, where the three future party comrades had a very lively introduction… (Part of this included mention of Sir Artos as “Old Badger”, due to their unflattering comparison of the aging war hero to a badger they had known in the swamp).
  Next came the interview of Winter Siege, the Kankoran Psi-Healer.  Although his application had not been properly filled out or filed, Ser Artos’ curiosity got the better of him, and he wished to see why one of the rare fox-people wished to accompany the expedition.  Although he could not get an absolute answer out of the quiet Kankoran on that point, he did learn he held some skill as a surgeon and healer.  Despite the novelty of it all, a Kankoran was accepted for the last surgeon/healer position for the Westward Company.  The Kankoran was told, as had been the two guides, to meet the expedition in front of the Royal Palace next Firstday (three days hence) for the Company’s grand send-off from the King and Royal family itself!  The Kankoran lingered outside, speaking to a valet, and gathering some information about caravan requirements...
  At this point, the two remaining applicants in the office heard a discussion between Sir Artos and one of his guards as to how only one Mercenary Escort position was left.  On one side of the room, sat Roderick von Derrickson, a human warrior with a good-sized following in the gladiatorial sports.  On the other, Krell Rayner, Wolfen Knight, who few in this region of the world had any reason to know anything about.  Sir Artos would see them together.
  Hale was upfront with them, told them only one position remained.  He also grumbled something about His Majesty filling so many positions with his own selections, which was not something that was supposed to be happening.  He asked each of them for a bit of a background;  over the course of this, Krell indirectly told Ser Artos of his disgrace and bid for redemption.  Sir Artos then asked warrior who they thought would win in a fight between the two.
  Sir Krell considered for a moment before answering, and came back with a somewhat long, courteous analysis that allowed as how either fighter might win, given the proper time and circumstances.
  “I could totally take him,” said Roderick.
  Sir Artos let out an amused snort at this, and after a pause, said he would hire Roderick for the last mercenary position for the caravan.  However, he also asked Krell to act as a personal retainer of his, answering directly and paid directly by him.  Krell accepted.
  Just as this occurred, a messenger ran into the room, nodding quickly at the guard as he did.  This was Colteris, an elf, who was the personal secretary for Sir Artos.  He brought an unwelcome note from the palace:  King Faustes had, by royal decree, filled the last 5 available positions with several of his favorites and choice appointments.  Snarling, Sir Artos thought for a moment, then had his guards bring back each of the five applicants he had just seen.  It was at this point he met the Night Elf Fairy, Maggie, who had decided it would be a hoot to come along with these three adventurers.  
  “Since the King will not let me have sway over the personnel of this caravan,” said Sir Artos, “I have decided to expand my own staff somewhat.  You will all be my retainers, acting directly under my orders, whatever those may be”.  He again went over a long list of the dangers that would face the Westward Company…
  The two guides continued to be disruptive, with Darius again coming perilously close to being thrown out entirely.  But the pair was simply too earnest and entertaining, and even the gruff old war hero had to turn away during their blather and cough suspiciously.  He did, however, charge Krell with keeping the two under control.  He also realized that although he might be in command of this Company, he could not force a fairy to not go where a fairy wanted.  He did ask her to try to contain her mischief as much as possible, which I am quite sure the fairy happily lied and agreed to.
  This eclectic party has 3 days to celebrate, tie up any loose ends in Moontallst, and stay out of trouble until the sendoff at the Royal Palace on Firstday.  Let’s see who ends up in trouble or in jail between now and then…

Zachary The First

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« Reply #4 on: June 03, 2007, 02:09:51 AM »
Here is the Week 1 handout given to my players.  Right after that is the Week 1 Recap:
 24 Frostfail, 1013, Moontallst, Kingdom of Kaordan

  And, with the final positions filled, the Westward Company became a complete entity.  Those fortunate or foolhardy enough to gain these coveted positions for this mighty caravan of settlers would spend the next three days alternately dreaming and fearing what was to come.  
  Amongst the nobility, the next three days would be a non-stop party.  Grand farewells, verbose, rambling speeches, and dance after dance with the new, would-be “aristocracy of the West” took center stage.  Ladies adorned themselves with leaves in their hair, in the spirit of the Noble Wild, and gasped and fluttered their fans to sensational stories of Ogrish depravations, lost treasures, and anticipated Kaordi bravado relating thereto.

In the streets and shops of Moontallst, the merchant and honest citizens of the city bought up unofficial “biographies” of that stalwart leader and war hero, Sir Artos Hale.  Other booksellers saw fanciful, erroneous, and blatantly deceptive accounts of the West sold by the bale, most of these penned by pudgy, domestically placid sorts who had never gone father than Telios.  In the taverns and bars, drovers, guides, mercenaries, soldiers, and others accompanying the Company drank, caroused, and basked in the envy of their less-fortunate peers.

In haystacks outside of Moontallst, peasant farmers dreamed of a land with incredible crops, no boundaries, and their own parcel of land.  The fact they had only the clothers on their back and perhaps a ratty blanket (and certainly no money for a bed in the city) didn’t bother most of them—it isn’t as if their small plots back home had held any more for them.  And if more than one peasant boy dreamed of becoming a bronze god of a conqueror, well, who could fault him?

But amidst these dreams of pleasant, hazy futures, majestic adventures, and glory and riches untold, there lurked several forces that did not rejoice in the upcoming departure of the Westward Company.  Even as the Company prepares for its grand send-off by King Faustes and the Royal Family in front of the Royal Palace come FirstDay, shadows lurk on the fringes of the celebration and light, preparing to set terrible, fell plans and deeds in motion…

  By the time the party was done at Sir Artos Hale’s residence, there were only a few hours of daylight left.  Sir Artos had arranged for each of the individuals he had just hired to receive an advance/sign-on bonus of 5 silver.  And off the various party members went, with two nights to spend until the Grand Farewell for the Westward Company on FirstDay, in front of the Royal Palace.
  Roderick had very few coins left in his pocket, so he went to a stable not far from the center of the city, where His Majesty had graciously allowed some elements of the caravan to use the City Green to pack and finalize preparations (most elements of the caravan were assembling just outside of the city walls).   There, he was able to find basic food and shelter in exchange for helping the stable owner, Smitty, shovel crap, lift some miscellaneous heavy stuff, and basically do some brute labor.  Roderick, being of serf origins in Alrychium, was quite content with this.  He did, however, strike out for a nearby tavern, looking for some information on his personal quest:  the search for the one-legged man (and no, you can't know why yet).
  He bummed around town for a while before going into a rather rough-looking tavern (The Rusty Belt), run by an even rougher-looking one-eyed, massive woman named (of course) Bertha.  Roderick had to shell out a few of his coins to get any information out of her, but it turned out to be a good choice.  There were a lot of one-legged men, sure, but the way he described him, fancy clothes and whatnot, seems like her friend, Lydia, over at the House of the Smiling Sturgeon,  had mentioned a one-legged fellow a few weeks back, who had cut up one of her girls pretty bad.
  Roderick thanked her, and, getting directions to that house of ill repute, the Smiling Sturgeon, headed directly there.  Lydia was the madam, and given her “retired” status, was surprised to hear of a strapping young man asking for her by name.  She did insist however, that Roderick pay for her time, no matter how that time was spent.  So, using his last few coins, Roderick paid out the fee, and was rewarded with the tale of the one-legged man, who had cut up not one, but a couple of her girls before escaping out of a window.  She couldn’t give him a name, but she had discovered a couple of things he had left behind.  Among them was this note, hastily scribbled on a piece of torn paper:
Bloody Dog Tavern
     Thanking her, Roderick took this clue and left, headed back to the stables. He could wait—after all, the caravan had to pass through the city of Alten on their way westward…
  While this went on, the other members of the party had not been idle.  Roan Allshower, newly-appointed retainer of Sir Artos and company guide, decided to take his five silver pieces and run out to a music shop at once!  There, he purchased a fine set of pan pipes.  Happy with this purchase, he fell into conversation with the store’s proprietor.  He revealed that he was a member of the Westward Company, and the proprietor wondered if he might play his pipes and make an appearance at his Guild meeting the next night.  Roan declined, but did hear in the course of the conversation that the BIG party in town that night was a farewell party for the second-in-command of the Westward Company (appointed by the King himself!), Sir Alosius Bestley.  It would be held on the west end of town, in Sir Bestley’s extensive city manor itself!  Of course, he would never be invited (and be sure, it was invite-only) to such a fine affair himself, but he knew others who…
  Roan was off.  He had plans.
  * * *
  In another part of town, Winter Siege, the somewhat more serious-minded Kankoran Psi-Healer, was looking for lodging.  Along the way, he noticed several booksellers advertising books about the West, as well as all sorts of biographies about that most famed Kaordi war hero, Sir Artos Hale.  Winter was trying to get a better idea of what to expect from his new employer, and picked up two books:  Sir Artos:  A Study, as well as the somewhat more fanciful Sir Artos, Dread of Oasis (Oasis being the nation he had so soundly defeated some two decades earlier).
  With this completed, Winter found a small inn that seemed to cater to non-humanoids called The Cackling Hen.  He had also gleaned from the bookseller that there was an invite-only party at Sir Bestley’s that evening.  He decided to saunter that way and see what was going on.
  * * *

  Maggie, the Night Elf Fairy, was already living up to that time-honored fairy tradition of Causing Problems For Mortals.  She too had heard via her flitting about that the big soiree was at Sir Bestley’s, and so that was clearly going to be her destination.
  She met up with Roan, who had also found Darius and let him know what was going on, and the three of them decided to crash the party.  Going up to the gate of the vast estate, Roan and Darius were met by several of Sir Bestley’s household guards, as well as a mincing, self-important functionary who was taking invitations and greeting guests.  Given that Roan and Darius were wearing hides and furs, respectively, and seeing as how they did not have invitations, it is unsurprising that the functionary gave them a very cold reception.  They did, however, cause enough of a distraction that Maggie was able to sneak into the party undetected.
  Inside, she was immediately drawn to a large fountain in the center of the main ballroom that was full of some sort of punch beverage.   She used one of the vials of her Fairy Poisons—namely, “Ants In The Pants”—to spike this display/fount.  She then found a remote corner and waited for the results.
  Outside, the situation had not improved for Roan or Darius.  By this time, more carriages full of high-ranking and noble invitees had shown up, and the two were blocking the entrance.  The Wolfen Knight, Krell Rayner, as well as Winter had also happened along by this time, and though Krell attempted to defuse things, they were going from bad to worse quickly.  Roan got directly in the way of an extremely elderly man with a good two dozen medals on his chest, General William DeFaunes, who had put helped put down the last large-scale Calcordian rebellion (Darius is nominally Calcordian, btw).  Ignoring any rancor he might have felt, Darius tried to butter him up by praising his military prowess, but Roan refused to move, and General DeFaunes began to brandish his cane at the young rapscallion.  DeFaunes actually did manage to thrash Roan one about the ears before the City Guard—12 of them in all, managed to show up.  At that point, after politely asking if they had invites and threatening arrest, the Guard Sergeant was able to get them to move along.
  Refusing to bow to defeat (or common sense, some might say), Roan and Darius came up with the brilliant plan of just going further down the road and trying to persuade some gullible invitee that they were taking passes due to congestion at the gate.   After several tries, Roan did manage to snag the invitations of a Lord and Lady Ketterman (Roan did not know the names on the invites, as he couldn’t read).
  Back at the main gate for the party, Sir Artos Hale himself at last made his appearance, accompanied by his personal secretary, the Wood Elf Colteris.  Seeing “Sir” Krell and Winter idling about nearby, he invited both of them to accompany him into the party.  He did make sure they were aware that many of the upper crust at the party would find the attendance of humanoids distasteful.  He seemed somewhat pleased at that fact as it related to it being Sir Bestley’s party.  Colteris also began to grumble about how Sir Bestley had been appointed not by Sir Artos, but the King himself.  It became clearly quickly to Winter and Krell that Sir Artos had a thinly-veiled dislike of his second-in-command.
  The sight that greeted Sir Artos’ party inside was a strange one—several individuals in the vicinity of the punch fountain were writhing and wriggling about, several seemingly attempt to scratch a severe itch several places at once.  From her hiding spot, Maggie laughed and laughed….
  * * *
  Outside, Darius and Roan approached the gate triumphantly, brandishing their purloined invites to the functionary.  The functionary said he would have been happy to let them in, except for the fact that a)  there was no way that the fellow in hides and the massive fellow in furs in front of him were Lord and Lady Ketterman, and b)  the real Lord and Lady Ketterman had shown up at the gate some 10 minutes earlier, saying that 2 individuals matching the description of Roan and Darius had taken their passes.  With that, Roan and Darius turned around to see the City Guard again waiting for them.  Informed they were to be taken to jail, Roan disagreed, and used his wind powers to levitate away over the rooftops, leaving his erstwhile partner to his fate.
  Darius became belligerent with the idea of arrest and spending the night in jail, and threatened to turn it into a bloody fight.  However, due to some pretty good luck (not to mention dice rolls), he was able to convince the Guard Sergeant to settle it with him via fisticuffs.  Either bored wanting to end it without it escalating further (Darius was toying with the idea of drawing his knife, at one point, which really would have changed the lighter tone), the Sergeant agreed.
  We decided that combat would be over whenever either combatant had lost their SDC (but not Hit Points).  Darius was definitely stronger than the Sergeant, but the Sergeant was just as proficient in bareknuckle brawling as he was.
  Darius got a few choice licks in early on, but the Sergeant reversed things quickly, rolling two crits and knocking Darius up against the gate.  A man of his word, Darius went along with the guards to jail.
  Meanwhile, Roan levitated his way right over the city wall, startling a young guardsman on his way over.  He’d be hanging outside the city for a while.
  * * *
  Inside Sir Bestley’s party, thing were not going as Sir Bestley had hoped.  Certainly the Royal Quartet was playing wonderfully, and most of the highest-ranking guests he had invited had shown, but why had also those people been shaking and itching by the punch bowl?  Most irregular.  And now, that old beak-nosed fusspot, Sir Artos Hale, had arrived, as had been expected (and required by etiquette), but he had brought along a Wolfen and a…a…fox creature to this party!  Several of the older matrons had complained.  At least neither of the animals was going wild and savaging the guests or cleaning themselves in public!  Still, he resolved to greet Sir Artos and explain the difficulty of the situation to him.  Certainly even that old has-been could appreciate the delicate rules of society and good breeding…
  Sir Artos would have none of it.  He defended the two, and roundly chastised Bestley for attempting to order him about on several points of expedition business.  Bestley, ignoring Winter and Krell as best he could, excused himself as quickly as he could.
  Maggie was watching.  She had a new target.
  * * *
  The night was spent differently for many:  Roderick, having had an adequate supper, merely went to bed in the stable loft.  Roan had found a nice haystack outside the city and bedded down for the night.  Sir Artos had recommended a humanoid-tolerant inn for Krell to stay at, called The White Hat.  It was very nearly dawn when Krell made it there, and he immediately fell asleep.  Winter likewise returned to his quarters for rest.
  Darius sat in jail, but not for the long:  with the dawn came Colteris, whom Sir Artos had sent to bail out Darius.  Darius was led immediately to Artos’ residence again, where a very tired Artos reprimanded him (surprisingly gently) for his general silliness and poor planning.  He also sent him out to find Roan, and to tell him he was not under any circumstances to return to Moontallst, to simply meet the caravan as it left the city.  He also told Darius not to return to the city either, but gave him permission to hunt on his cousin’s holdings a few miles outside of the city after he had given the message to Roan.
  Maggie, meanwhile, was causing trouble for her newest target.  She discovered Sir Bestley asleep in his very exquisitely-appointed chambers.  Next to him lay his mistress, a mountainous woman who was snoring loudly.  Maggie took Sir Bestley’s slippers, dipped them into the chamber pot, and then flew outside until she found a couple fo servants, who she told Sir Bestley was being attacked.
  As she flew away, she heard a terrible commotion from the bedroom, a rather high-pitched scream, a rather deep voice shouting (she never did figure out which voice belonged to which person), and finally Sir Bestley demanding someone fetch his slippers.
  All in a day’s work for a fairy.
  * * *
  Winter slept in; across town, Roderick was up early.  Finishing his shoveling, he discovered from some teamsters that there would be a giant bonfire outside of the city the next night for a lot of the lower classes and peasantry going on the expedition.  Now that, he reasoned, was the sort of party he belonged to.
  Over the course of the day, one way or another, each of the characters found out about the bonfire that night.  Of course, there were some loose ends and miscellaneous tasks many of the players wanted to tie up; Maggie went and visited an apothecary, who was had terrible flashbacks of the last time a fairy was in his store (it took months to figure out which  medicine or potion was in which bottle), and made sure to do nothing to offend or anger her.  Maggie purchased…well, let’s just say plenty of items that a fairy wanting to make mischief would purchase.
  Winter spent the day reading about Sir Artos.  One book turned out to be pretty over-the-top tripe, but the other one gave a good historical accounting of his unorthodox military strategies, as well as some of the events he was most famous for, such as his defeating two separate, larger Oasis armies in the same day.  He also discovered he had taken over for the (late) defeated General Simon Bestley, whom Winter figured out was Alosius Bestley’s father.
  Darius attempted to return to the city to talk to Sir Artos, but only succeeding in sending a message via a beggar.  Sir Artos sent a page with a message for Darius, emphasizing he was to stay out of the city.
  The day passed on, and soon it was time for the bonfire.  Roan and Darius managed to bring some deer and rabbits, and some other folks had also managed to hunt/poach some foodstuffs as well.  Several merchants had set up ale tents, and soon the party was in full swing.  
  Roan played his pan pipes quite well (even if he danced not so well).  Darius also got in on the act, and Maggie tried to sing a fairy song for everyone before learning that perhaps she wasn’t that great at it.
  Maggie did have one more prank up her sleeve, in association with Roan.  She thought it would be really funny to try out this aphrodisiac she purchased from the apothecary earlier.  Roan arranged for a gentle wind to blow the powder onto the roasting venison, but the only effect  this had is that three rotund blacksmiths who directly after took large hunks of venison began to dance to the music in a manner that no one wants to see rotund blacksmiths pursue.
  Roderick also had pipes, and was playing them quite well also.  This irritated Roan, who “asked” the wind if it wouldn’t mind making his pipes clam up.  Unphased by this strangeness, Roderick started chatting it up with several peasant girls, telling them of his times of his gladiatorial arena and whatnot.  Roderick would end up not wanting for company that evening.
  Winter and Krell seemed to have a good time as well—Krell was out of money, and was happy he just had some food to eat, even if his lodging that night would be the great outdoors.  Winter seemed amused at the humans cavorting and capering about, but remained the soul of politeness.
  As the night wore on, Maggie and Darius began to formulate another plan.  Although it was still very early in the year for most plants, they did manage to gather up a few scattered poison ivy leaves.    Darius had no problem handling these, but Maggie did.  With a “whoops” from Darius, Maggie found out she was EXTREMELY allergic to poison ivy.  She looked like a little puffy red ball of anger!  Painfully, she flew back to the apothecary, was she extremely overpaid to basically bathe in a soothing, relieving lotion-like concoction.
  Roan grew worried about her, and again made his way over the city wall, startling again the same guardsman.
  “Sorry-the fairy’s itchy,” Roan said in passing.
  As he floated away, he heard the guardsman being questioned in a sharp voice by one of his superiors.  “Well, the fairy’s itchy…” started the guardsman, as Roan floated out of earshot.
  In the apothecary’s Maggie was nearly finished soaking, as the apothecary went into the back room in preparation for closing for the night.  She decided she had overpaid for the bath, and managed to sneak away with 3 more vials of unidentified mixtures.  Both her and Roan made their way out of the city.
  Darius had been worried, and would not leave the west gate of the city until the guards sent one of their own to check on the apothecary shop.  At the time the guard arrived, Maggie had been bathing innocently, and so he came back with a positive report.
  With that, each of the characters had finished up their evening.  The next morning would be the Grand Farewell in front of the Royal  Palace, and then the caravan would begin its journey westward….
  GM’s Note:  I had still planned this as a session of “settling in”, so to speak, so I really wasn’t surprised that we really (except Darius) didn’t hit combat or get to the caravan’s departure this week.  But that should definitely change next week—depending on how things go, stuff could get gritty quick!

Zachary The First

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Irrin: The Colony
« Reply #5 on: June 11, 2007, 08:03:58 PM »
This will be rather a short recap this week, as a somewhat late start and some distractions at and around the table (a few of them the fault of this GM) saw us not get through nearly as much adventuring as last week.  But that's ok--not every week is going to be hot n' heavy the whole time (though hopefully it is, more often than not).

We left off with the morning of the Grand Farewell in front of the Royal Palace about to commence.  Elements of the Westward Company stretched from the palace grounds in Moontallst all the way to outside the city!  Over 300 settlers and caravan personnel, their wagons, animals, horses, and other supplies were assembled and waiting to go.  A crowd of thousands were present to witness this expectedly momentous event in Kaordi history, and a carnival-esque atmosphere prevailed.

Roan and Darius were still verboten from entering the city, a carry-over from their behavior at the gate of Ser Alosius Bestley's residence a few night before (see Week 1's recap for more).  Maggie was slumbering cozily in Roan's pocket.  The rest of the party was indeed inside the town, and mingling about with other caravans, necks straining expectedly to catch a glimpse of any movement on the balcony where the King and Royal Family would soon be appearing.

Finally, with a triumphal, regal fanfare of trumpets, His Majesty, Faustes I, Ruler of Kaordan, Calcord, and soon Kaordan's claims in the West, appeared, along with his wife, Caroline Selene, and three of their children.  There were some murmurings, as Faustes was sire to four (acknowledged) children, and it had been said the entire immediate Royal Family would be in attendance.  But the 2nd son, Randall, was nowhere to be seen!

Though a few in the crowd below may have scratched their head at this, there was too much excitement afoot to dwell on it for overly long.  Faustes, still looking majestic indeed despite his middle age, streaks of gray in his beard, and sunken eyes, gave a rousing speech, praising the Westward Company.  Towards the ends of his speech, however, he faltered, seemed to lose his place, and generally seem confused.  However, the trumpeters quickly began again, the crowd roared, and everything was perfect for the Kaordi nation on this unseasonably warm late Frostfail morning.  

Roan and Darius rejoined the party as they left the city, with all of the party members at various times being told that they were free to do as they like until the next morning, where Ser Artos would like all of his retainers to meet with him by his old campaign tent before  the caravan broke camp.

Here, I must depart for a moment to tell the story of Phil Phillipson.  Phil's father had some connections with Ser Artos, leader of the Company, and so was able to get his son a guide/scout position on the caravan.  Ser Artos must have seen some inner quality in the lad, because Phil Phillipson, by all outward appearances, is a lost cause.  Festooned brightly in an orange vest and large feathered cap made by his mother, Phil soon fell afoul of Roan, who was scouting ahead of the caravan.  Roan had a hard time believing this precious dandy was a guide on the expedition, and quickly grew tired of his overeager, overenthusiastic, cheerful style.  Roan was so kind as to volunteer to help "instruct" Phil in the finer points of being a guide, which evidently included meeting 2 miles north of Sir Artos' camp after sundown to trailblaze and attempt to find shortcuts.  Phil, happy with any attention or mentorship from an evidently experienced guide, is happy as a clam at all this.

Well, night falls, and a Maggie the fairy (along with Darius) attempts to continue their torment of Sir Bestley by putting another itchy concoction on his hose, which were on a wooden rack by his bed (yes, he brought a full bed with him).  The result of this attempted prank is as of yet unknown.

Come morning, everyone meets outside Ser Artos Hale's old campaign tent, as instructed.  He asks them if they would like to break their fast, and a few of the party agree, and are treated to fresh eggs purchased from a farm nearby.  Sir Artos urges them to enjoy such luxuries while they can, then asks if any of the characters wouldn't mind a friendly sparring session.  Sir Artos is definitely pushing old age, but likes to stay spry and in practice.  Roderick volunteered first, and Sir Artos cheerfully told him first combatant to three hits wins.

Roderick started with a daring thrust right off the bat, but Sir Artos came back to tie it up with a masterful attack of his own.  However, Roderick parried all attacks after that, and two solid hits later, had won the sparring session.  Thanking him, Sir Artos quickly turned about to the business of the day.

Bandit attacks, even on sedate roads such as the one they were on, had been on the rise.  When one of the players scoffed and said that a few puny bandits could never threaten such a massive caravan, Sir Artos related the story of how a major merchant caravan not 2 weeks earlier had been hit by an unheard-of force of 300 bandits and brigands.  It had been the largest bandit attack seen in more than a century, and Artos wanted to ensure it was not matched or surpassed by an attack on this caravan.

Much of the cavalry company accompanying, a detachment from the 1st Royal Moontallst, was either scouting ahead or providing the bulk of security for the caravan.  However, there had been a minor tip of bandits congregating in a forest to the southwest along the Moontallst Rilvorril road.  Sir Artos asked the party to scout this area, and report back with any reports of bandit activity.

Just then, an extremely disheveled Phil Phillipson burst into the camp, Roan having forgot about him the night before.

I will close a curtain of charity over the rest of that scene.

Actually, I really want to present the whole bandit scouting trip and resulting adventures as a single episode, so I'll save that one for next recap.