Sunday, November 11, 2012

Realms Toowoomba Recap # 14 [RPG]

[Greengrass Holiday 1372]

From out of the sudden fog, shambling shapes emerge. Animated carcasses of rotting, putrid flesh advance towards the group moaning "Become Us" and "Join us". Sleeping members of the group are awakened by those on watch and take defensive positions. The somewhat reptillian creatures seem to focus their attention on Nakor, Cain, and Fargrim, by-passing the others. The undead abominations claw and bite, and carry with them a stench so strong it makes Nakor nauseated. However, thrice calling upon the divine powers granted to him by Kossuth, Cain forces the creatures to flee from him and into the night.  Before the creatures can return, the group has hurriedly packed up and marched along the road to the east.

Along the way, the group discusses the strange, terrible nightmares some members of the group have been having. Mellia suggests that perhaps the nightmares are visions of the future, and that the group's destiny is to intervene before they should happen to pass. Nakor, however, is not convinced.

After about an hour's walk, the group sets up a new camp. This time, their rest is untroubled.

[1 Mirtul 1372]

Morning heralds the arrival of cold, spring rains that continue for days. In the morning, the group talks about what it should do with the captured and unconscious Scourge. Most members of the group lean towards a coercive interrogation to see what she knows about Grim, but Mellia urges restraint, and suggests they need to either think of a bargaining chip or turn her over to The Axe. The lure of a reward is strong for Markus and Nakor, but Fargrim wants to use the Scourge to find Grim. Later that morning, Trigonnis asks Fargrim about his motivations in hunting Grim, and the dwarf's reply is composed of seething vengeance.

The group begins to march east again. On the way, Markus tells Nakor that if the latter apologizes for his impersonation in Mirabar, they can put the past behind them and continue as fellow adventurers, even though not as friends.  Nakor at first responds in a snarky and insulting manner, but eventually does offer a rather half-hearted apology that seems to satisfy Markus.

[2 Mirtul 1372]

The Scourge awakens and refuses to speak to anyone except Fargrim. She tells the dwarf that it's all a game to Grim, and that because Fargrim has taken one of Grim's pieces off the board, he'll respond by taking two of Fargrim's. At Nakor's prompting, Fargrim asks about Feldspar House. The Scourge, who offers the name Delilah upon request, immediately persuades Fargrim to make a deal: she'll arrange for the group to gain entry into the exclusive and heavily-guarded Feldspar House so that they can question Lord Feldspar about his connections with Grim, and, in return, Delilah will gain her freedom upon the group's entry. Fargrim immediately agrees, much to the dismay, when they hear about it, of the other members of the group.

The group spends several hours that day, before, during, and after marching, debating whether to go through with Delilah's plan of posing as Sembian nobility, with her taking care of ensuring all of the proper protocol is observed in order to gain an invitation to Feldspar House. Nakor suggests that the group could simply take Delilah's idea and carry it through without her involvement. Other suggestions include sneaking into Feldspar House in the middle of the night, telling Delilah the group will go through with her plan but that she'll gain her freedom only after the mission is a success, posing as servants, or simply avoiding Feldspar House altogether and heading straight for Startop Mountain after turning the Scourge in for the 1,500 gold piece reward.  Underlying the debate are concerns about whether there really is any connection between Grim and Lord Feldspar (it could be a ruse) or whether the whole arrangement could be a clever trap. The group is unable to reach a decision, and sets up camp for the night. Since Delilah's arrival, Trigonnis shows a special solicitude--perhaps even infatuation--for Delilah.

That evening, Nakor tries to talk to Delilah but suffers cutting insults for his trouble, centered on his belonging to the merchant class rather than having true noble blood. Delilah resists any attempts by the group to modify the agreement she made with Fargrim, even invoking the warrior's honour as a dwarf. A poorly-worded joke by Nakor about one of the group laying down next to Delilah causes Mellia to erupt into a fury and she renders the Sembian unconscious when he doesn't immediately apologize.

[2 Mirtul 1372]

The next morning, Mellia takes Nakor aside and explains why she has a special sensitivity about the issue of ravishing captive women. The two return to the group on good terms.

The group continues debating what to do with the Scourge. Mellia is particularly critical of Fargrim's decision to make an agreement with Delilah without the group's involvement, and Nakor tries to talk the dwarf into not going through with it. However, although wavering at times, Fargrim does not go back on his word. As the group starts heading east once again, there is some consensus that perhaps Nakor could sneak into Mirabar and talk to The Axe before any further action is taken.
Director's Commentary (Sep. 25, 2013)

After a history of failure, Cain finally got this Turn Undead checks to work, which meant the party didn't have much trouble from the encounter that began the session.  Having an old-fashioned cleric can be quite handy in a campaign that has undead as a major theme!

The rest of the session was heavy on the role-playing as the group tried to figure out what to do with the Scourge of Blackford Road (a.k.a., Delilah).  Mellia turned out to be the moral compass of the group, preventing the party from stooping to, in U.S. military terms, "enhanced interrogation techniques."   Delilah seized on Fargrim's unilateral agreement to her plan, something that the dwarf very much regretted once the other PCs found out about it.  Next session, you'll see what actually happened.

During the session, nobody paid any attention to Delilah's line about Grim taking two of the party's pieces off the board since they took one of his.

This was one of the only times so far in the campaign that I was able to introduce the concept of the party's station in life in terms of nobility.  Delilah's shunning of smooth-tongued Nakor was a quite effective demonstration of noble snobbery of the "lower classes".  It's a theme that would have been very interesting to develop further, but alas was not to be.

Nakor's bad joke described above earned him what became famous as "the Mellia glare".  I think it's also the first time one party member has taken a combat action against another; trust me, it won't be the last!

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