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The Sundered Skies Serial! (contains some serious SPOILERS)
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derfinsterling

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2009 1:30 pm    Post subject: Thje 9th session, continued Reply with quote

Hope and, to a lesser extent, Lana weren't too thrilled to have goblin slaves around, dragging the Rosie across the icy plains. Their companions pointed out that they didn't really have a choice in this - they needed to get the boat to the sea and they couldn't pull it themselves.
Hope grumbled something about the orcs being strong enough to pull the boat as well, but after taking a look at Azhag's paper figure she realized: "His bloody boot is taller than me!" and let the matter rest.

She did what she could to help the goblins out with drinking water, though.

On the second day, Hope walked onto a treacherous patch of ice and broke through - luckily she landed softly and with her Untamed ability was bale to change into a spider form to climb back up.

On the fifth day, one of the orcs was found missing. No traces to be found - any tracks he might have left were long blown over by the constant, biting wind.
They searched for an hour or two, but finally, reluctantly gave up.

On the morning of the seventh day, two more dead orcs were found and a bloody trail led to the tent of Niador and Henley - proving their guilt in the eyes of the orcs!
Tarhog tried what he could to prevent his orcs from going berserk, in the ned proposing a duel between his champion Azghar and one of the two murderers. Henley stepped up.
He's turning into the official go-to-person of the group when it comes to duels...

So everybody formed a circle, with Henley and Azghar in the middle. The goblins were huddled nearby, watching.
We drew initiative and... two jokers showed up.


The fight was on!
For a good minute Henley held his own, with the occasional slipped wound seal potion once and at another point Hope stealthily helped the dwarv back up again, using the moment to boost his fighting. I was kinda reminded of that scene in the Court Jester, where the witch mesmerizes Danny Kaye, telling him he is the greatest fencer in the world. Wink

Danny, I mean Henley went at Azghar again. The orc had, for the most part used his feet to kick the dwarf around, only occasionally swinging his mighty axe, but after Henley managed to wound the orc, he let go of all restraint, swinging hard, felling the dwarf with 22 points of damage to his head, cleaving off his nose, cutting a deep scar through his face.

Everybody rushed to his help. But the orcs, thinking the murderer revealed went berserk! A brutal battle ensued, at first it looked grim for the heroes, but in the end, all the orcs were slain.

Henley was saved from bleeding out at the last possible moment by Hope's magic. We haven't found a picture yet that does him truly justice, but Tyrion from the A Song of Ice and Fire series comes to mind...

http://209.132.96.165/zbc/attachment.php?attachmentid=75264

or



They convinced the goblins to help them and promised them their freedom in return. At this point we called it a night. Hopefully, the next session will be much sooner than the last one...

Henley took the loss of his nose in good humour. "Now I gotta earn me a golden nose, is all..." was his reply. Wink
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TAG Dave

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2009 3:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sounds like a fun game. You have a great group there!
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derfinsterling

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 02, 2009 12:21 pm    Post subject: The 10th session, where bodies are changing... Reply with quote

The buried the orc's corpses in shallow snow and ice graves, and moved on.
Henley noticed that Niador got a little too cosy for sharing a tent, at least he seemed to fill the tent more and more, suffocating the dwarf who was still having difficulty to breahe in the cold air through the heavy bandages across his face.

The next day, Niador felt dizzy and clumsy and the group was worried their drakin sorcerer was getting sick. He was put aboard the Rosie, to be dragged across the icy plains by the goblins, hopefully getting better.

Niador almost immediately fell asleep. He rose a good 25 hours later, greatly changed....

Niador before he got sick...and then he got better

His new body mass was at first unfamilliar, but Niador quickly got used to it, revelleing in this important step to full dragonhood!

(And that's how the Dragon Might edge takes effect, friends... Wink)

Of course, his clothes and leather armor were ruined and Niador had to make do with a few blankets hastily knotted together, with a few holes put in strategic places. Hardly the right gear for the arctic temperatures, but he was willing to endure.

A blizzard rose the next day, covering their little boat in ice and snow. They huddled together within, humans, goblins, orcs, wildlings, elves, the cold creeping through and the little stove not nearly giving off enough warmth to keep them all comfortable.

By the time they reached the ice sea, Niador and four of the goblins were already exhausted by the cold.
But the ice tower was close!

They started building a ramp, when new disaster struck - they were spotted by orcs of the Cracked Shield clan!
They saw the horde of orcs come closer and closer, at first indecisive on what to do, where to take a stand.
Finally, Henley grabbed a white blanket and dove into a snowdrift, while the rest boarded the Rosie, trusting in the higher ground to make a difference.


(Henley is hidden on the left side behind the paper tissue/snowball)

And it did make a difference. Niador fired firy bolt after bolt, felling 9 of the orcs before they even reached the ship. The rest was quickly dealt with, the last two being dispatched by Henley, who rose from his icy hiding place like a ghost of vengeance and struck down two of the orcs before they could react.

(Hope was making much use of the Boost/Lower Trait power. Boy, is that useful. It took my group years to take it, but it quickly turned into one of their favorite powers. Wink)

The ramp was finished, the goblins were made to promise to wait for their return and off they sailed onto the ice sea.
Seven days later, they reached the little island with the ice tower. At this point they were already 22 days traveling across the Draining Sea - a good week more than their original schedule.

They found the corpse and quickly deduced who he had to be. Lana found the second half of the key and - totally getting grossed out - snapped off Vincel's fingers to get it.

Henley climbed the watchtower to search for a different point of entry than the window. All the noise the group caused alerted the two ogres resting inside. Dangerous foes, yes, but no match for a fairly large group. Even though Niador managed to fire a 4d6 Bolt (3d6 plus raise) causing a total of 4 points of damage... It was at this point that the group's luck turned. But they didn't realize it until later.

Once they gingerly walked down the stairs to the watch post, they were attacked by the ghosts. Their frightening screams unsettled all of them, causing phobias in some - and a near-fatal heart attack in Niador!
One of their allied orcs almost got his lifeforce sucked out of him, but finally - not the least thanks to the clues left in Vincel's journal - the ghosts were dealt with.
They retreated to the Rosie, resting up and warming their near-frozen bones before continuing to explore the ruins.

When they reached the lower level and found the floor collapsed, I asked them what their plans for the night were - did they want to continue playing or...? They wanted to continue.

Lana crossed the chasm using her wallwalker abiltiy, carrying a rope with her, looking for a spot to tie a knot around. She found one in the Testing chamber, but had a nasty encounter with the battle golem stationed there.
She tried to flee, but the golem caught her - and a swing of his sword later, her leg was severed and Lana was slowing bleeding out.

Kazzag was the first to try to cross to the other side, but he lost the grip on the rope and fell down!
Hope followed after Kazzag, healing the elf, while Henley crossed over to find Lana. He shouted for help, and together with Hope they were barely able to stabilize their captain.

Niador also tried to cross the chasm on the rope and also fell. Hope quickly ran out of power points due to all the healing and they all ran out of Bennies trying to save them from falling.

They saw the eggs, but didn't go near them, instead using the rest of their ropes (and Henley's climbing skill as well as Hope's Wallwaker ability after changing into a spider-form) to build safety harnesses and everything to make the crossing as safe as possible.

With this, they crossed over to the Council chamber and recovered the vial with the gift of the lifemother. Most of it was quickly drained to close Lana's wounds, though.

Eldeer remained at the stairs, the songwriter being mostly considered good for morale, but useless in a fight and the bard was happy to comply.

They entered the testing chamber in force, willing to take down the battle golem and find the treasures he surely was guarding.

This fight was brutal.
They ganged up on him, which was not the best tactic considering his improved sweep ability. They tried tricks, they tried wild attacks, berserk wild attacks, called shots - but the construct was just too damn tough. Hope lowered the thing's Vigor to get his toughness down to a little more manageable level - and then their bad luck with the dice kicked in.
9 points, 8 points, 11 points...
For two hours the fight dragged on until the thing was finally suffering the third wound and collapsed.

This last wound was rather dramatic. At this point, all of them were wounded multiple times. Niador and Kazzag hat suffered two Incapacitating blows, but both times managed to gain a success, remaining unconscious for a wound until they were revived. Their crippling injuries only being temporary.

Henley managed to climb atop the thing and squeezed his dagger again and again into little crooks and crannies of the golem's armor.

Lana was searching for the off-switch everywhere but couldn't find it.

Henley was finally shaken off and slided toward Lana, who had retrieved the magical throwing axe.
The Golem made another Sweep attack, killing the second orc (the first brother was already cut in two a few rounds earlier), dealing the rest who were ganging up all various wounds.
Lana handed the throwing axe to Henley (who had the throwing skill, she didn't).
Henley hefted the axe, aimed for an unarmed spot and threw - resulting in a hit with a raise and something like 27 points of damage, finally felling the thing!

They bound their wounds as good as they could. They've spent a lot of time down there already, were out of Bennies, out of powerpoints and starting to be affected by the cold.
But all they got to show for now was one magical throwing axe. Hardly the riches they were hoping for. And that axe already cost them dearly.

Now all that remains is to search the bottom of the tower, and risking the wrath of the ice wyrms... this will be part of the next session.

We're on a break till march now, due to vacation plans of the wildling's players. They'd rather go to Indonesia for a few weeks than risk their character's death in the Ice Tower. Go figure. Wink
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The Sundered Skies Serial - full of spoilers!


Last edited by derfinsterling on Mon Jul 06, 2009 1:27 pm; edited 3 times in total
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TAG Kevin

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 02, 2009 12:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As the author of Ice Tower, it's fascinating to hear an account of the scenario actually being played - particularly when the account is as good as this.

Excellent work - keep it up.

And say "sorry" to any of your heroes who suffer too much Very Happy
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derfinsterling

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 20, 2009 11:07 am    Post subject: The 11th session - Where they start the long trek home. Reply with quote

In retrospect, I wasn't at the top of my game that night. But hey, it happens. Still was a fun gaming session. Very Happy

We did a quick recap of "what happened so far" and I thought they'd be trying to get it over with and get down to find the riches the ice tower surely was hiding.
Instead, Hope (due to taking the Power Points edge when leveling up between sessions) proceeded to heal a few more injuries, burning through the 5 points as quickly as she got them. The cold started to affect them and suddenly they had an idea: Weren't there wooden weapon racks? Couldn't they make a little (or bigger) camp fire?
Why, of course they could. This took care of their cold-induced fatigue, even though the flames licked at the icy walls, turning them even slicker. With a heat source available they started to dismantle the battle golem from the training room - if that wasn't riches, what was? Lana stayed down, on the platform above the cavern, but the rest started to bring the loot up to the ship. On their way down, they brought more fuel for the fire, keeping it somewhat nice and cozy.
Finally, after a few hours rest they climbed down to the cavern floor. The heat had the ice worms already caused to be restless and they quickly attacked.
The first two worms were quickly dispatched, attracting the attention of the mother wyrm.

It broke through the ice floor, but none of the group panicked. They took a few shots at the wyrm, to no avail. It burrowed down and disappeared.
Only to break through the floor again, directly behind Niador!

It stretched to its full length and attempted to smash everybody in it's path. Most managed to quickly jump the massive wyrm - all except Niador, who was buried under the wyrm. A few bennies later (Henley was the first character to take the Common Bond edge - something that came in handy right now!) and thanks to acing the Soak roll, Niador hadn't taken any damage - the floor below him had simply caved under the weight, without crushing the drakin.
Who was now mightily upset and produced an awesome display of firepower with his bolts - 40something points of damage later, the middle of the wyrm had literally exploded in a shower of fire, blood and gore, covering everything and everybody in the slimy entrails.

The death throws of the two halves threatened to bring the tower down and Niador had barely time to grab the magic sword that was embedded in the wyrm's body.
It's too heavy for him, but he refused to hand it over to anybody else (nobody would've had the necessary strength anyway), declaring: "This is a dragon killer sword. So the dragon will keep it save."

Ever since Niador has grown in mass he had a much easier time of getting his way with the group.... Wink

They barely made their way up. I had them make a few Agility and Climbing rolls, drawing cards for every attempt. Whenever they drew a face card, they lost a round due to sliding down and also took a few hits from icycles falling from the ceiling. I started to count the number of attempts, throwing in a few "Ah, getting close... do the rest of you wait on him/her or do you keep going?"

Nothing to set your players on edge like a few innocent questions...

They returned to the Rosie and to the shore of the ice sea.
When they found the slaughtered remains of the goblins and the ruined campsite, their spirits were down for the first time. Then Hope played the Epiphany adventure card and took the Repair skill.
Why the repair skill?
Well, they pulled a "Flight of the Phoenix" and built a sled out of the available materials. I slapped on some heavy modifiers for insufficient tools and too few people with the repair skill to help (Hope was the only player character with it). So the modifiers were -6 I think - but Hope pulled it off, with a raise to boot.
So now they had a sled with sails. Hope's player, Josef, sribbled down a basic design, they stowed what they dared to put on the sled, go aboard and went a-sailin'. (I lowered Lana's Boating die again, this time by two steps due to the unfamiliarity.)

The hoisted the sails - and nothing happened. Then, slowly, painstakingly slowly, the sled started to move forward, inch by inch.
Henley suddenly asked: "Shouldn't we give a name to this rig?"
Niador suggested: "How about Windracer? Or Stormchaser?"
Somebody else asked Hope "You sure you didn't nail this thing to the ice? Or are we trailing the whole Rosie?"

I let this go on for a few moments, then declared that they finally caught a breeze and slowly accelerated. Soon they were at a pretty good speed.

So they're cruising across the ice, when Henley looks around the sled asks: "Say, how do you stop this thing? There's no anchor or brake or something..."
At which point Hope blushed and stammered around.

So yes, they were going at good speed. And they had to hope they wouldn't need to stop.

I used the same travel encounters like on the journey to the ice sea. Lana and Skiller took turns steering and they had some close encounters with a chasm or two, but nothing too serious. They also had to fight to a few calms where they needed to pull the sled.

They found the Mirabelle and learned about the crew's fate from Lean and about Skiller's original plan.
At first they wanted to go to one of the mining camps, but I gently reminded them they might have other options... if they cared to read the journals they found again?
Took them a while, but then they decided a peacefully acquired island hopper was more to their liking than a potential fight with a whole orc mining camp.

Unfortunately, on the first day toward the hopper, a blizzard hit them, ripping the sled to shreds.
Now they had to carefully choose what they wanted to carry with them, but most of their loot (especially most of the battle golem) had to be left behind. Still, they carried about 100 pounds of metal with them, quite a nice find.

At the end I commited the deadly sins of gamemastering - Lana climbed down into the cave with the island hopper and I told her: "The cave has been claimed by void bats, who attack you."
I mean, that was one of the lamest introductions to a potentially cool scenes ever.
But, as I said, I wasn't at the height of my game, it was late it we were all tired. So instead of having another combat scene, I wrapped it up in a narrative, as well as the rowing towards Firsthome.
They asked if Eldeer was able to lift their moods a little, but unfortunately, the elf was uncharacteristically brooding himself... certainly due to all the death and carnage they had witnessed, the cold and the hardships.

We ended the session as they arrived at Firsthome.

Next time (which should hopefully be in about two weeks before I fly away on vacation), one or two more players might join us. We'll see if they're only guests or if they turn into regulars.
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derfinsterling

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 19, 2009 11:55 am    Post subject: The 12 session - Where a new player joins us Reply with quote

I wanted to post this before I went on vacation - alas, with all the packing and a million other things going on I had to delay that until today.

Peter joined our group, he usually plays in my Evernight group (there he plays Elduas, the limping two-blade-wielding elfe). Here, he settled on an orc double, well-equipped, with a full set of bronze plate armor - this guy obviously had won some duels in his time already. He goes by the name of Xodor.

At first I thought about setting up a murder mystery on on the ship that was suppodes to take them from Firsthome to Gateway, but then settled on letting the heroes just meet up there and let them get to know each other.
Hope was trying to win the orc over to the worship of the Alpha, while Lana explained, quite seriously, the glowmadness-avoiding capabilities of boiled water. A guaranteed remedey to keep your sanity!
Xodor was a bit disturbed that these two wildlings were obviously trying to sell him something (what, he wasn't quite sure) and he spent most of the time drinking with Henley, who cultivated his scarred look and mean manners.

After they arrived in Gateway, Eldeer departed, wishing them farewell. He might make another appearance later on during the campaign. And I might just have the right spot for him...
Skiller collected the metal and magic items, bound to make true on his vows to expose the Cracked Shield clan and humiliate them.
We might hear about him later on as well.

Xodor accompanied the heroes to Thomas Hawke - he wasn't part of their crew, but since Hawke seemed to be in the job-offering business, he was willing to give the other heroes' patron a shot.

This took us into the Savage Tale Bad Business.

Hawke relayed the story of the threats he had received and that the attack was imminent.
I needed a map for Hawke's Clearing house, of course, and I found one online on rpgnow.com:
Chadwick's Manor

A two-story house, with a small office and a small warehouse (I figured that Hawke would have additional warehouses at the harbor, but some wares would be at his home as well and the office would serve well for business meetings, but not as a showroom full of weapon racks and the like). The pdf also featured printable battle-maps - perfect for my purposes.

I placed the map on the table, ground floor and top floor next to each other and let the players start their negotiation with Hawke. He offered the discount mentioned in the book and while some were trying to get a different offer, the rest of the group was already busy planning the defenses.

They came up with all sorts of traps they could set up and I had to remind them that we're not talking about Home Alone 3 here. I asked them what the wanted to do, in general terms and then told them how long each task would take. For example, it would take two hours to carry large barrels into most of the rooms and then fill them with water, in case of a fire.
I knew how much time they had before the attack would come.
They didn't.
After they laid down their plans and knew what would take how long, they had to chose what to do first, then second... as it turns out, they were halfway through blocking all the windows when musket shots rang out.

The assault came from two sides, the initial attack hitting the defenders hard.
Henley and Hope were hit by musket balls, but a few Bennies and soak rolls later they shrugged the damage off.
The leader of the bandits stayed in the background, sending his veterans and greener troops forward.
The heroes managed to keep them at bay for a while, but finally their enemies found their way in.
At this point it paid to have a (future) dragon with them. Niador grilled most of them with his deadly fiery bolts and the water in the nearby barrels made sure that they wouldn't burn the house down themselves.
It was a long, hard battle and we didn't get to finish the whole savage tale.
In the end, the surviving bandits retreated, most of their number dead inside the house.
Hope played the Enemy adventure card on one of the retreating veterans who now holds a personal grudge against this little wildling.

Now they're waiting for the next attack. That it's coming, they are sure. They just don't know yet what and when it will come.

Edit: Here's what Chadwick Manor looks like:
The battle's almost over at this point:


Topf Floor: (Hawke and Hope where upstairs)



On a more general note: Giovanna drew pictures of Lana and Hope to be made soon into their own figure flats. One of them isn't exactly safe for work, but I'll post them here anyway once they're colored and everything Wink
We'll also have another player joining us, making the group rather large. But this should enable us to game even if one or two have to cancel.

After this, we'll dive into the next plot point. The characters are now well into Seasoned, one or two are already at veteran. No excuses anymore for not following Joeseth's mission! Very Happy

Yes, I'm generous with xp, but I don't allow the Benny-for-xp rolls anymore, so at least they're all roughly the same level. I remember my first run of Evernight, when the two characters who were there every session where about 10 xp apart, solely due to the Benny-for-xp rule with one having outstanding luck, the other outstanding bad luck.
Now I give 3 xp on an average session (instead of two), 2 if they achieved little, 4 if they achieved a lot.
And, a special something for players who can't always make it: every character gets a least 1 xp per session, even if the player can't show up. So they're lagging behind, but not that far.
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PostPosted: Fri May 01, 2009 11:40 am    Post subject: The 13th session - Where a battle is won, but ends in defeat Reply with quote

There were two men sitting in an inn near the Gateway harbor. Both men were enjoying their mostly liquid breakfast, their equipment and weapons - not the least their strong bodies - marking them as experienced fighters.

One of the two, a priest of the Battlelord who went by the name of Kyp (played by Martin) intently listened to his more experienced comrade-in-arms, a fellow named Conrad Blunt (Harald, finally returning to the group!), who was telling Kyp once more how he, Conrad, defeated the cursed barnacle apes that had killed their sponsor's son.

At this moment the door was pushed open and a young man, out of his breath stumbled in.
"Hawke's been attacked! At his clearing house!"

Kyp and Conrad looked at each other and grimly nodded. They slammed down a few cogs, grabbed their gear and left. For Hawke had been their retainer before as well and they weren't willing to see their sponsor in danger.

As they got to Hawke's Clearing House, they were greeted by a sight most macabre - bullet holes had taken it's toll on the walls, there were signs of some fire damage, but most disturbingly, about a dozen bodies were nailed to the doors and hung from the windows.
Kyp turned pale and offered a quick prayer to the Battlelord, asking: "Who would do such a thing?"
Conrad, untouched, muttered: "I know a few folks who'd do that sort of thing."

Slowly, they walked closer, knocking at the front door, which, having been kicked in before, swung slowly open.
Inside, there was an elf in full oakthorn armor, his wooden sword raised, who, quite perplexed said: "Conrad?!"
Who answered: "Kazzag!?"
And Kyp behind whispered: "You guys friends or something?"

There was little time to celebrate the reunion, for Hawke expected another attack shortly. He offered Kyp and Conrad the same deal as the rest and the two warriors were a welcome addition to the defender's forces.
They redoubled their effort to fortify their position, wondering why the militia wasn't coming to help.
This was answered when one of Hawke's clerks - visibly shook from the grim display outside - came to the house.
One of Hawke's warehouses was under attack and burning, the workers doing what they could to extinguish the flames, the militia busy with preventing the fire to burn down the rest of the harbor. Shouldn't Hawke flee?
The merchant, resolutely, declared he'd await his enemies here, in his house, with this most formidable band of heroes.

The clerk left, wishing the group good look. Then the long, awful wait began.

The heroes took turns resting and kept a watch always up on the roof.
Finally, they saw the enemy!

He came from across the plaza, with two rather large closed wagons being pulled and pushed out on the square, then being placed to the left and right of the alley they came from. A third, smaller cart, followed. On it was a cannon, loaded and ready!
Hope, who had her turn on the roof yelled "They're coming! And they got artillery!" down to her friends. As soon as she finished her warning, the cannon roared to live, taking a sizeable chunk out of two walls, peppering the heroes inside with debris. When the cannonball finally stopped, the chair and carpet next to it started to smolder - they had sent a heated up cannon ball!
It was quickly doused in water, nullifying the danger of arson.

Niador, was enraged at so much cowardice and stormed out of the house at the handful of bandits near the cannon. They were 30" away, so it would be a race of getting there and their reloading.
Seeing their drakin storm forward, Kyp and Conrad had little choice but to follow.
Hope used her untamed ability to change into a frog form and jumped on the nearby roofs. Her goal was to outflank the attackers.

As Niador neared short range for his bolts, all hell broke loose.
The bandits pulled ropes, opening the two other carts, the side of the walls falling down, forming a ramp down towards Hawke's Clearing House.
A dozen Blinded where inside, moaning and wailing for blood, stumbling out at the only thing they could see - the heroes!
Henley cursed, grabbed his axe and ran forward as well.
Lana tried her damndest to push the cart in front of the house, finally getting enough speed to be able to jump on the wagon and rolling with it.

When the bandits sent an ogre as well into the fray, Kazzag told Hawke to stay in the house, then followed as well.

Kyp, using his Quickness Power, closed in on the Blinded, felling the first of them. Niador went busy with his fire bolts. And Conrad... well, he had carried two muskets, slung them from his shoulder, one in each hand and fired them from his hip - he faced something like -8 to both shots, but one hit the ogre, merely taking off the creature's left ear, though. Conrad cursed and pulled his mace, closing in.

The fight was desperate. The ogre fell two of the Blinded with a mighty Sweep that also connected with Niador and Conrad. The drakin and human somehow managed to fell the beasts, but both were heavily wounded when behind them a frantic shout rose, courtesy of Lana:
"OUT OF THE WAY, GUYS!!!"
The spider wildling's cart had gained quite some momentum and headed directly for the group of Blinded that were ganging up on Conrad and Niador. Thing was... The Blinded and Niador were able to react in time, Conrad being shaken from an attack, the cart heading directly for him.
Kazzag played the Not Today! card, causing an attack to automatically critically fail. I allowed it for the rolling cart and we rolled on the out of control chart. A wheel had broken, taken the cart slightly to Conrad's left, mowing down the Blinded who had moved back just a bit and completely bypassing the warrior.

Meanwhile, Hope had been busy on the roof using her telekinesis spell to stir up a little confusion. Then she heard footsteps behind her and turned - Josef had played the enemy card last time and now Hope faced her again, a pistol leveled down at her!
Her enemy smiled wickedly and pulled the trigger, the bullet catching the wildling below the ribcage, driving her back. Hope wasn't able to soak wounds against her, but Josef spent a Benny to unshake himself, then played the Arcane Inspiration card. From somewhere the little wildling gathered the willpower to send a few Bolts at her enemy, severly wounding her!
Hope was shaken again in the process, though and deeming discretion being the better part of valor opted to retreat - the only way out being off the roof!
She stumbled over the small balustrade and plummeted hard onto the ground. (During the short flight down Josed remembered that he might take damage on impact - and wisely spent a benny to remove the Shaken condition. Good thing, too, for now Hope was only Shaken again, not wounded.) Dazed, Hope watched Lana crash her cart into the Blinded and slowly stood up, stumbling towards her friends - then another shot rang out from the roof, hitting her for four wounds between the shoulder blades!
Hope fell down, her Vigor roll coming up a critical failure. Josef's last Benny saved her hide, for he was still bleeding out, but not dead yet. Her enemy, satisfied for now, limped away, intent on caring for her own wounds.

Kazzag was still behind. Since most of the Blinded were already dealt with and the most imminent danger seemed over, the elf got a bad feeling in his guts about all this. He turned around, looking at the house, but didn't see anything unusual. Finally, he gave in to his instinct, first walking, then running back to the Clearing House.

While Lana stabilized Hope (took a permanent drop to her agility due to the pistol shot) and the rest dispatched the last few Blinded, exalted at their victory, Kazzag carefully waked into the little warehouse and climbed up the ladder to the upper floor where Hawke was supposed to hide.
When his hand touched blood on the top rail, he got an iron knot in his stomach. Still, the ex-oakthorn managed to keep his cool and his guard, expecting a well-aimed sword blow when he stuck his head up.

There was Hawke, his throat cut, his eyes gauged out. An empty pistol lay nearby and there were other signs of a fight. But their patron was dead. They had failed.

The rest of the group walked back to the Clearing House, giving support to the wounded, but laughing and happy to have survived another battle, when Kazzag emerged from the warehouse, blood on his hands.

There we ended the session, the players arguing if they should take the fight to Gladwing to get revenge or if it would be more prudent to leave Gateway for a while. Also, there was the calling of the gods and Joseph Truthbearer's quest...

Here's a little graphic to illustrate the battle: Blue and dark red are the main forces of the battle, light blue and light red Hope and her enemy, in purple the bandits outflanking the heroes:

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TAG Dave

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PostPosted: Fri May 01, 2009 12:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Uhm...

Wow!

Shocked Cool
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derfinsterling

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PostPosted: Fri May 01, 2009 1:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

TAG Dave wrote:
Uhm...

Wow!

Shocked Cool


Well, you wrote it, I merely ran it, mate! Very Happy
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shadd4d

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PostPosted: Wed May 06, 2009 11:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That was awesome! Shocked

Wow, keep up the serial.

Don
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derfinsterling

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 06, 2009 4:13 pm    Post subject: The 14th session - Where the second Plot Point is finished Reply with quote

Wow, it's been two months already... it certainly appears that this latest plot point was cursed. In these two months, we scheduled a session at least three or four times and had to cancel at the last moment.

But not this time! We gathered round at Erika's place and set out to tackle the second plot point.
The players were a bit reluctant at first, wanting revenge for Hawke, or at least to plunder the dead merchant's warehouses, anything than boarding the flag ship of the Bright Cabal.

Then the representatives from the Trade Council showed up. Say what you will about the Council, when there's an estate to carve up and distribute among the other merchants of an island, they'll move quickly and highly efficient.
With such efficiency, to be exact, that the heroes feared their ship, the Blessing, would be confiscated and auctioned off with the rest of Hawke's small fleet.

So they quickly proceeded to the harbor and made sure they signed out their ship, re-entering it under their own name. With this little bureaucratic formality done, they pondered again what to do next.
Finally, they agreed to seek out Joeseth and follow his prohecy.

After a few days in the void, circling the numerous islands, isles and islets, they saw something in the distance. It was hard to make out at first, but Joeseth was the first to recognise it - it was the Soulflame! Quickly, he directed Lana to hide their ship behind a small island in the vicinity. They must not be detected by the ship itself or they'd certainly perish!
Tense moments followed, as the Soulflame drew closer and closer, then sailed passed them.
This offered them the opportunity to get a good, long look at the ship they were about to board.
The bony carcass of a huge dragon, cannons, catapults, ballistae mounted to the wings, the huge dragonbreath cannon jutting from its jaw, hellfire in empty eyesockets, holes in the body showing the insides crawling with the undead.
The wildlings were especially unnerved by the sight, the pale boney white/yellow colour of the Soulflame haunting them in their dreams...
(Minor and major phobia for Lana and Hope, respectively).

They started questioning Joeseth again. How long would the potion last? Would there be any sideeffects? How did the priest know they'd all end up on the Soulflame.
Joeseth didn't have any answers to that, but he assured them that everything would turn out fine. This did little to comfort them, though.

So when they reached a fairly fresh battle site and waited for the death barge to show up, they tried to take control of the situation. Arranging the dead to make it look more like a battlefield, setting up a camp that didn't look like a camp, determining watches.
Then settled down between the corpses and waited.

Time passed. Rolls for Glowmadness were made. The corpses started to smell.
Rarely was the sight of a death barge more welcome, I guess. They took the potions and everything went black.

When they woke up again, they were piled up in a heap of bodies - the wildlings and the dwarf on top, Niador way down at the bottom.


They fought the zombies quite creatively - none more than Henley, who jumped , grabbed the right arm of a zombie, turned, put a foot against the zombies leg, turned again, pulled, pushed - and ripped the zombie's arm off!
So, after that little "disarm" maneuver, and thus being adequatly "armed", he proceeded to attack another zombie with his new "club".


Niador went into his usual spiel, blasting zombies with his bolts, Kyp got to wield Woundweaver for a fe minutes till Niador demanded his sword back.

So, after a few rounds of thrashing, slashing and hacking, the heroes reclaimed their equipment and cleaned of bits and pieces of zombie-flesh still clinging to them.

They made their way towards the engine room, only slightly delayed by a major vampire demanding of them what they were doing there.
That took my players completely by surprise and for a few minutes they just sat there, not daring to say anything. After maybe 5 minutes out-of-character-discussion ("Are we supposed to answer? Can Zombies talk? I've never heard them carry on a conversation before!") Hope mumbled something about the engines needing more men.
The vampire dismissed them and off they were.

Once they were in the engine room, they rather quickly took out the wraith - giving him barely enough time to alert Bone Queen and arrange for reinforcements.


The ghouls followed the wraith swiftly to a second, more permanent death. But only after they finished off the zombie did they try to open up the engine.
They heard the reinforcements coming closer and closer and while some reinforced the doors, the Niador and Kazzag forced open the furnace, releasing the ghost of Whitefire.
They barely made it to one of the skiffs which were towed down on one of the wings - they just made off, when the wings beat for the first time in an eternity, disintegrating the body, killing whatever was still alive aboard the ship.

On the way back to Gateway, Lana examined her transformed flintlock pistol and learned about its magical properties.
But, on one question the heroes where undecided - did they free the soul or did they somehow take possession of it? And what did the dragon mean when he roared "Restore my soul!"? Restore how and where?

The Skies will surely hold the answer...
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 28, 2009 12:37 pm    Post subject: The 15th session - Where the heroes take care of business Reply with quote

The heroes returned to Gateway after their great victory aboard the Soulflame. They were exalted - at first at least. After Lana had fired a few rounds with her newly magical weapon, she made everybody with her sour mood miserable. The 5 days journey certainly seemed to last for five weeks...

Several things happened in the following weeks. In no particular order:

Lana's player, Giovanna blew through *all* her Bennies just to get through Gateway's rockfield.

They tried to sell the cloud skiff they came in from the Soulflame, but didn't find a buyer. This might have something to do with the only guy with Streetwise being Henley - who just bought it at d4. And with his missing nose and some other, uhm, pecularities, rolls with a -3 modifier.

Lana found a small wooden box on the table of her captain's cabin aboard the Blessing. Hope's name was scratched on top of it. Inside, she found the rotten remains of Hawke's eyes as well as a piece of paper with a message:
"BE SEEIN' YOU. K."

Lana passed the message on, but kept quiet about the eyeballs. No need to concern the alpha priest with this, in her opinion.
Of course, without the little side-dish the message lost most of it's impact, but that's hardly bothering Lana, I guess.

They also went on a little bar-rampage, hitting the pubs and taverns from the sleaziest upwards. They were asking around for Orcbane and where Gladwing might be found.
Finally they arrived at the Windblown Flotsam and talked to Jarle and Jeche. They agreed to smuggle weapons to Heartland but insisted on having the hidden compartment first built in. This gave them a week for further inquiries.

During the week, they heard about Ricardo Palmstorm, Gladwing's man who lead the attack on Hawke's Clearing House. Apparently he spent most of his evenings in the Burning Bowman (took this name from NBOS Inspiration Pad Pro).
It really helped that Lana all dressed up and went out dancing with some dwarves (who she never bothered to aks for their names). That was the first time the Adventure card "Dressed to Kill" was put to use at my table...)

So they came up with a plan: Get the goods from Jarle and Jeche, then go to the Burning Bowman, grab Ricardo and take them aboard, then leave Gateway.

Niador and Kazzag (yes, the elf with the oakthorn armor and the frickin' dragon) went inside to scout the crowded inn, hoping not to raise any suspicion.
I cut them some slack - most were already pretty inebriated from hours of hard drinking.
Henley and Kyp remained outside, the wildlings climbed up to the roof. They wanted to wait for Ricardo to come out, then take him.

Hours passed. I let Henley and Kyp make some Glowmadness rolls, just for good measure.
People started leaving the inn, but no sign of Ricardo.
Finally, Henley told Kyp to "stay there", while he went to the outhouse inside the yard of the inn.

So the dwarf's inside, when suddenly the door opens and a guy fitting Ricardo's description to a T comes in and walks past him. A few moments later Niador's reptilian body appears in the doorframe and just nods at Henley.

Both move to attack the mobster, but Ricardo senses... something. He dosges the first blow of Henley, then pulls up his trousers and tries to get past Niador outside.
There, Kazzag is already waiting, but again Ricardo slips away and yells for alarm - alerting the rest of his men that are still there! (Good thing they waited, otherwise they'd have had to face twice as many!)

Kyp came running in, using his quickness power. Sabers were drawn, pistols readied and fired and the first blows exchanged.
Ricardo managed to fire his pistol point blank at Niador - but 3d6 came up 4, 1 and 1! The bullet stuck in his hide, but didn't penetrate. In reply, Niador almost tore Ricardo's arm off, taking him out!

Hope tried to keep the door to the inn proper closed, but was simply pushed back by the bandits inside. When they turned to fight Hope, the alpha priest just asked them:
"In a second, our battlepriest will be upon you - you really wanna waste time with me??"
A Smarts trick that I considered to be quite brilliant, so kudos and a Benny to Josef (Hope's player) and a Shaken for the two adversaries.
A round later, Kyp (said Battlepriest) killed them.

Lana screamed something about "This is revenge for Hawke!" and, carrying the unconscious Ricardo with them, they left only one alive and conscious, to play the role of messenger.

We ended it there, pretty much, the group debating what to do with Ricardo. Torture him for information, then through him overboard (that was actually Hope's idea. This wasn't the first rather peculiar idea the Alpha priest had...) or keep him alive and sell him for the bounty in Heartland?
We'll see how this turns out... Stay tuned!
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 09, 2009 9:04 pm    Post subject: The 16th session - Back in the Void Reply with quote

Originally, my players wanted to handle the... "questioning" of Ricardo Palmstorm in a few emails. Didn't quite work out and they settled on doing this at the game table.

So how did I handle this? Of course, there's always the option of doing a few Intimidation and/or Persuasion rolls and be done with it. However, the heroes were fully prepared to torture the guy to get some information. Since I don't see that as heroic behaviour I wanted to drag this out a little. Make it uncomfortable.
So I asked them: "What are you doing with him?"

Kyp was at loss at first. When Kazzag suggested to skin Ricardo, he went "Ewwwww...." to which Lana responded: "Aren't you this crazed bloodthirsty warpriest?"
Kyp: "Well, yeah, but couldn't we just, you know, cut him?"

Lana left, Hope hung around, checking in on the prisoner, giving him food and water and tried to persuade their captive to talk.
Niador, Kyp and Kazzag took turns on him, inventing all sorts of painful incentives to talk.
I handled this by opposed rolls, the players needed 8 successes.
This dragged on for four weeks of the voyage, until finally Ricardo, after being beaten to a bloody pulp, after having his teeth broken from his jaw, finally talked.
Well, mumbled. After Niador beat all the information he had out of the human, Hope came back and tended to the worst of his wounds.

They learned about Gladwing being a fat, bald human. That he was often in Shadowhaven, that he frequented the Burning Bowman inn on Gateway, that he had a large villa but several other hideouts - as well as always being accompanied by at least two bodyguards, an orc and a human.

In the same four weeks, the heroes had to evade an Elvens ship that was chasing them. It was a long, hard and tense chase and they were hit several times by cannon fire - but due to some wisely played adventure cards and especially the great luck shown by Lana, their captain, they did suffer a wound, but no critical hits. Even that one wound only managed to tear of the paint but caused no structural damage.

Of course, it helped that the Battlepriest used gaze of the matriarch on the chasing ship and that Hop kept boosting Lana's Boating skill.

They finally arrived at Roseport and, after beating Ricardo into unconsciousness, they left them at the Bowyer, paying his room for two nights.

The heroes met up with Gerreth and agreed to transport some Wildling refugees to Canopy. He also made sure they knew he'd do business with them again, if they were willing to do so as well.

But before they left, Hope at a strange dream. She was alone in a clearing within a dense, thick forest. Above here, in the skies, a lone raven was circling high above.
It was the day after she realized that her powers had left her - no longer was she able to channel Alpha through her. This greatly troubled the little wildling, for the dream surely meant that Alpha might have left the skies...

Two more things of note happened that time: They learned about a new, large island that was discovered a few months ago. A jungle island that went by the name of Savannah, populated by primitive drakin. Both dragons and elves were now trying to claim and explore the island, but it was unclear who'd win.
The elves weren't sharing the earth for this island... at least not yet, but the dragons might, with Niador being in the party and all.
Well, they noted it down for future exploits, first they'd need to get to Canopy.

It was a base 7 weeks voyage to Canopy, but Lana's insane ability behind the steering wheel - as well as capturing a very, very favourable drift - meant they merely needed one week to get to the port of Canopy, Timber.

We wrapped it up there. The heroes played the Folk Hero adventure card on the wildlings they brought to Canopy.
Also: Hope, apparently, feels lonesome. Again, the Enemy card came up and again Hope played it. Now she has two enemies, with Kazzag having one as well.
They don't know who they are, but at least they're guessing Ricardo might be Hope's. She was prolonging his torture by tending to his wounds and nurturing, after all.

Next time, we'll see what happens in Canopy. Won't be prior to September, though.
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shadd4d

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 11, 2009 10:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Spoilers wrote:
I like how the mortal sin of the untamed was handled.
Out of question, has the player figured this out, or will the character have to track down another alpha priest to start work on atonement for the sin?

Don
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 23, 2009 12:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Don, I took the liberty of editing your post slightly, as my players having quite figured this part out and I do think they're reading this thread as well.

Let's just hope I didn't leave this open too long, you'll never know. Very Happy


As for your question: No, he's still puzzled, but hopes to find another Alpha priest or two to discuss this further.

EDIT: Oh, and the next session is scheduled for October 1st. We're trying to move to a bi-weekly gaming schedule, so keep your fingers crossed!
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