Recapping – Not something I particularly enjoy doing – but I’ll
make my apprentice effort if only to keep myself on track at least somewhat,
and so I can explain how it’s worked from last time’s posting. I’ll try and have the next session blocked
out beforehand so that I can keep up doing this set it up and spell it out
But Huge. Also, Dead.
So this rundown will, by needs have to be in-media-res.
We spent the better part of the summer and
some of the spring solving some problems in the crazy patchwork quilt of world
In the end the team had to
flee on the urbanized back of a titanic hermit crab during the greatest hurricane
that the world has ever seen.
Hermit-Crab-City – certainly capable of ambulation under the waves proved very
unsturdy outside of the supporting weightlessness of water.
It stumbled for leagues under the typhoon
winds, struggled mightily against what could barely be made out and possibly
understood as a Dragon, or perhaps a titanic mecha from the ancient past – a monstrous
thing that haunted the ruins of the fallen cities of the North.
Finally the poor creature was spent, far off
track, on the banks of an unknown river in a strange, unknown territory.
There were many, many refugees gathered to the crab-city by
the kindly, capable dwarfs that rode it out of the sea. These dwarfs – the Kin of Mirin Ecter – had
long ago been exiled (for unknown reasons) from their northern fastness –
deigning to avoid all contact with the sun and danger, they’d donned
pill-bug-like exoskeleton armor stillsuits and gone to live at the bottom of
the ocean – presumably where they’d tamed the giant hermit crabs and built
their pavilion-laden city on its shell.
Mirin Ecter – the hero of these dwarfs, referred to by them as their
Lord&Savior, had denounced the ocean trenches and gone to land to retake
their mountains at the furthest northern reaches. This has been an ongoing subplot for the
party to… accept, digest, maybe even
deal with a little – but so far, just something that’s been happening. The dwarfs are not all ready to take off
their ocean-floor survival suits, having all (mostly) lived all their lives
inside of them, so they approach the land in stages and take on special
counciling until they’re ready to make the transition to air breathing ,food
eating and land walking – it takes a long time and there are many stops along
the way. But regardless of their speed,
all the dwarfs are compelled to head north to follow Mirin Ecter -so when the story begins, most of these
dwarfs have already marched on, leaving behind their rotting carcass of a city
to be scavenged by the precious few remnants of the last adventure series. About a thousand people, all told, living on
the briny banks of the salty mineral river.
Food is running out, and the sky is blotted out, often, by the endless
waves of buzzards and condors that have come to feed on the mighty crab
Deciding to brave the city ruins in search of materials are
our adventurers – Bron From the Ghost Ship (resembling Abraham Lincoln, but
with blue-skeleton armor), Tyron, the one-legged elf dandy (who dresses in the
finery gathered from shipwrecks and who sort of led a kind of cargo-cult – for symmetry,
he has one lobster-leg attached above the knee, where a giant lobster ate his
leg off). There is also Sin Silverseeker
(one of legions, he’s lost a kingdom that he gained by misadventure, his
cloner-father having been displaced, Sin looks and acts like a Veronese swordsman
who may or may not be hunted by thousands of duplicates of himself). Not appearing in this session are Ral – Bron’s
sidekick, the corn-fed thick-limbed head-breaker and Xiavan, the girl from
under the earth, studded all over in iron spurs, like a porcupine wearing a
chain-link prom dress, she is, lik Ral, presumably resting.
Tyron, who fancies himself a friend to all – man or beast –
casts his elf-spells and goes to speak with the buzzards – the buzzards are
bird brained indeed and he only succeeds in suggesting to them that if they
somehow kill him, they can eat him, as well as the giant crab. Run off – he gathers his wits and a small
gang of refugee/survivors to help him.
Some Libras (his cargo-cult priest sect) remain, as does a witch, a few
scattered warriors, a pair of tatty, scarecrow looking, naked elfs and a plucky
Halfling with a take-charge attitude – Chester Kegtapper. Chester persuades Tyron and Bron and Sin to
attempt to climb back into the hermit-crab city which now stinks horribly and
lies perpendicular to the ground.
The going is tough but the party is tougher, they find some
strange, elastic rope – probably made of eels, and discover in one of the many
open-air plazas decorated with horseshoe crab shells a strange portal – a mechanical
lens cut into the ground. Operating it
is a cinch for Bron & co and they find inside it a pair of large, heavy
kegs wrapped in tar & wax. Reasoning
that heavy things might contain valuable materials they lower them to the
ground and then continue searching. Only
Bron prevails at climbing the sheer surfaces of the perpendicular city and he
discover three underwater dwarf axes – which have trident-heads instead of
axe-heads and are made of a strange alloy with veins of gold woven in. He distributes these while young Kegtapper is
ordered to try and open the strange sealed casks. Tyron remembers just a moment too late that
he knows the Dwarf language and goes to speak out just as Kegtapper cracks the
thing like you’d open a bottle of maker’s mark.
Peeling off the string causes the keg to go pop – the pressurized air
filling up the balloon made of whale-guts and squid-skin. Under water the balloon might have risen up,
carrying the keg and its tools and some evacuees away. On the land it throws Chester Kegtapper
across the hill like a rag doll, stunning him utterly.
Our heroes gather up the goods inside – survival rations and
some useful hatchets, flints, tinder, all the things you might need to survive
on a deserted island for a few weeks.
Sin, thinking quick realizes that the whole affair can be repurposed
into a boat, of a kind, and sets about assembling it with the help of the
Meantime things are happening. The party rolls to determine if a random
encounter from the tables is generated & one is. They are on the grassy hills at the southwest
of the map, the large patch of ruins. Nearby, it’s explained to them by their friend
and the leader of the refugees Sweet Kendo, that some people have been seen,
outsiders, who are battling giant rats (apparently. Sweet Kendo swears a lot in a loveable, crazy
way that the players can’t get enough of, he’s got a really weird accent and
they love him). The party volunteers to
go & check out the fracas while their minions build the boat according to
Covered with Astrologers and Prairie Dogs
What they find are some astrologers fighting a city of giant
These astrologers look
like cartoon wizards – they’ve got star covered robes, pointy hats and
ridiculous beards, they’re all carrying big leather bags like and old-time
doctor and they’re being run off by these bear-sized prairie dogs that keep
popping out of the hillside like whack-a-mole.
Tyron, game to try again, does his magic and goes to talk to the
They don’t trust him – noting that
his eyes point forward and he must be a predator, they nevertheless accept that
he’s too small to eat them and that anyway – he and the others will just camp
out overnight and why not, they pledge to keep any real predators away.
The prairie dogs consent, but demand that at
dawn everyone leave.
seem happy – they’re not able to communicate with the party – speaking a
language that no-one on the team quite knows – but which sounds strangely like
another language they’ve heard before – like music from an outer room (I tell
them, like a weirdo).
Still, they pantomime
their wishes successfully and are wizards enough to be able to understand what
the party is saying.
The whole group of
about 20 astrologers and the 4 players all set up on the hillside and presently
one of the astrologers prepares and casts the tongues spell.
Fire stretches between his extended index and
pinky fingers and then flies into his mouth so that when he speaks it flicks
out like a jack-o-lantern.
understand him as speaking their own native languages.
He tells them that he is Gomez and that he and his friends
serve the living goddess Urania – that they are trying to map the night sky in
her dominion and that by doing so they think they will be able to approach her and
ask their questions, it is said that she is very dangerous and that none of
them have yet seen her.
Gomez and the
other Astrologers get out their orreries and spyglasses and maps and charts and
prepare for the sun to set.
decides to hang out and learn some more from these astrologers (they discover
for instance that some of them are women and that their crazy beards are false –
some kind of uniform).
staying I have them roll again and they get another encounter (they rolled
pretty badly all night and got a lot of encounters – the map is going to fill
The encounter says “Sinister
Color” and I determine that this will go along well with the astrologer
They’re all set up on prairie-dog hill to see something
strange – I tell them – a peculiar even that is scheduled for the evening –
some kind of meteor shower, best viewed from the spot. I explain that as the sun sets there’s a
weird flash – like a green-flash over the ocean, but not green, some other color,
some other color they’ve never seen.
At this point in the game one of the old veterans from Lake
Geneva was walking by on the way to the bathroom or just eavesdropping (I
sometimes get a little audience) – and he piped up – “Is it Dohlm?” to which I reply “no, it’s Jale.” And if you don’t get this joke, then you
should use some google for yourself because it was hilarious and also proved
that I am smart as hell.
But Jale - and Coming out of the sky
The flash didn’t dissipate – but rather seemed to fall out
of the horizon, like a claw – like some kind of slowly closing trap, like
cobwebs falling all around them.
changed in size, density – becoming almost human in size –but still somehow
distant – like a shadow cast by a far off giant – this color, unknown – it reaches
for them, the shadows it casts chill them to the bone, rooting them to the
spot, but when the radiance touches their flesh it burns them, scalding, it
cauterizes their pores.
They begin to
try and struggle against it.
At first, aimlessly,
swinging weapons, recklessly they don’t make contact – the color is a
“How can we battle a color!”
Sin screams in dismay, trying with his silver
saber to cut down the tendrils that had frozen his legs.
I explain that the flash of reflection from
the saber seems to disrupt the color, firelight seems to pierce it, he takes a
moment to consider how he can weaponize this effect.
Meantime Tyron goes for a flaming brand,
hoping to ward off the color – which seems like the indistinct shade between
the blue and the orange of a match-flame, like the horizon at midnight. Bron, though, has incorporated into himself,
into his character – the determinations of the stars. He has a vital spirit within him that he can
call upon in danger –The Bones of The North power, which allows him to
intimidate his foes by making his bones glow through his skin, a ferocious –
terrifying x-ray. He summons the
chi-of-earth into himself and, cruciform, radiates the radiation with his inner
color – critically succeeding on the 2d6 roll he performs the effect at maximum
power. I explain that he can feel
the color around him, that they can all
do so – it becomes solidified, somewhat, and they can pierce it with
reflections, damage it with their own light.
Tyron, eventually recalling that he has a magical, glittering handshake,
begins gathering the stuff up – it peels off the air like wet crepe paper with
a strange crunching viscosity, like gathering slush into a snowball, but
hot. In short order they’ve dispatched
the deadly color and gathered it up in their bottles. Meantime the meteor shower that the
Astrologers had set up for begins - and
the traces of the color that streaked the sky are cut apart by falling
stars. It goes on for some time and is
both hypnotic and beautiful – they lay on the grass watching, and even the
prairie dogs come up from their city to give it a look, it’s purely beatific.
In the morning they keep their word to the prairie dogs and
go – letting the itinerant astrologers go their own way. Their boat has been completed and the hungry
refugees bid them go and find some food and maybe some shelter. They take off in their saturnish ball-boat down
the salty canyon river – and once again they roll an encounter.
This time it’s some giant Princess Mononoke style boars
being hunted by some bigger-than-tigers tabby cats. The cats win, the party has a little hand in
it, Tyron magically rubs their bellies and one remains on shore, asleep. They note that it has a beautiful, huge,
diamond collar. They make camp eat some
giant boar and we stop for the night.