Again they ran into Onyx the old blind wizard who was once the occupant of the ruined tower outside of town. Onyx learns from Vinny and Geedle that Zenopus is now a vampire.
"Indeed, she has mastered the dark arts more than I imagined!" says the old man who then offers his help if the party can recover the Eye of Zenopus, an all seeing stone that can help in returning the old man's site.
But the party has other concerns at the moment. Fearful of reprisal from the Brotherhood, most of the party followed Gnarly outside of the city and into the woods to conceal themselves - all except Wolfheir who stayed at the Cloven Hoof with one of his many chosen 'ladies of the night'.
Out in the woods, after the first watch, Adara had her first dream….
In it, she was standing in a blackened and burnt plain. Thousands of bloodied bodies are strewn about, the remains of a fierce battle. Adara walked among the smoldering and bloodied bodies and there was a sense of great evil and oppression. In the distance she noticed a line of rocky hills. Suddenly she saw, floating above, an image of a face covered in a black iron helm. The eyes glowed a fierce red. The mouth opened and she was engulfed in darkness...
The Exploits of Wolfheir the BarbarianIn the early moments before dawn, a pleasantly restful however alert Wolfheir lying with his woman heard the heavy boots of armored men outside his door. As a naked Wolf leaped up out of bed, the three city guardsmen entered the room with swords drawn and ask the Viking to come with them. Wolf, not trusting a sword pointed at his face grabed a chair and tossed it through the window. As the Viking makes a run for it the guards closed in trying to subdue Wolf. Wolf beat off his attackers and leaped through the second story window, grabbed onto the roof and pulled himself up. Hearing other shouts of city guards from the street below Wolf looks down and saw one of his attackers looking up through the window and alerting his soldiers in arms.
Realizing he has left his Axe, gear and all his armor behind, Wolf decided to flip back into the window to retrieve his items. Naked, the Viking again grabbed the edge of the roof and swung back through the window knocking the guard back into the other two. Picking up the guards sword he fought his way through the remaining two. The two other guards, however, again tried to subdue the wild Viking and disarm him. With both arms restrained, Wolf brought the two heads of the guards together and tossed them out the window.
Hearing more heavy footsteps coming up the stairs outside his room, Wolf quickly gathered his possessions, tossed them up to the roof and again climbed out the window flipping himself up to the rooftop. Wolfheir climbed down the other side into the stables meeting Jack the stable boy. The Viking tosses some gold coins at the boy, mounts a white horse and leaps the gate. The naked Wolfheir bare-backs it through the early morning cobbled streets of Caladan and out through the south gate and up the road towards the woods and his companions.
On the road ahead he saw a contingent of mounted guardsmen heading towards the forest. Wolf steered his horse into the woods and donned his armor…
In the early hours of morning, Tibag heard the approach of heavy footsteps in the woods coming from the road. Alerting his companions they draw their weapons and prepare their defenses, Gnarly's mushroom men included. Out of the woods come a large number of Caladan City Guard. The guards ask them to come with them for audience with Lord Osric. Slick Vinny casts a spell and enchants the guard leader who reveals that the party is not in any danger from the guards and only were asked to escort the party back to the Merchant Guild. The guards departed without incident.
Meeting with Lord Osric the party found that Osric is concerned for their safety after their altercation with the Brotherhood of the Black Hand. Osric doesn't want any more blood shed in his city and doesn't want to cause a stir with the Brotherhood. He asked the party to leave town at once for their own protection as the Brotherhood will surely be out for revenge. Osric said that he is risking his own life by helping the adventurers as the Brotherhood is a very 'influential' organization and that this would be in payment for the rescue of his daughter those many months ago.
Vinny and Gedleesmote bargain with the Lord who offers them a weeks worth of rations. They also ask him to give word to Father Halford of the Temple of Mithra to get in touch with them in the woods outside of town for they will use this as an opportunity to quest for the Crimson Skull of Yam-Gregak.
The party is escorted outside of Caladan and they regroup in the woods planning their next move and awaiting Halford. The Priests of Mithra arrive and healing the party give them the requested healing potions for their quest. One of the priests, Nardrak, joins the party to aid them in the recovery of the Crimson Skull. They spend another night in the woods.
Adara had her second dream….
Again Adara was standing on a plain. There was a line of rocky hills in the distance. Around her a fierce battle was taking place. The screams of the dying filled her ears and the stench of death was all around. She looked down as blood washed over her bare feet. Looking up she saw a fierce warrior, armored in black astride a black horse with hooves aflame. The armored figure turned towards her, it's eyes aglow with a fierce red and in it's hand a bloody mace. Suddenly, everything around her faded into a grey mist except the red eyes which were now upon the center of a black metal disk around which was red flame. The flaming disk with the red eyes flew towards her with a horrid scream…..In the morning the party began their journey to Harrowood. Traveling around the outskirts of Caladan they headed north along the Great Coast Road and turned off into the hills northwest of town. It was in the hill where they made their camp for the night, the sound of the River Blackmoor in the distance and the edge of Harrowood before them.
On Geedlee's watch, he saw beyond the river a fiery red glow. Dragons perhaps or Fumark the Foul? The dwarf was not sure as the glow died away.
This night Adara had her third dream….
Adara was standing in complete darkness. She felt a great sense of loneliness. In the far distance she saw a slight red glow. As the Ranger approached she saw that was walking through a great stone hall with a number of cave like openings on either side. The red glow was coming from a pair of evil eyes. They were in the center of a black iron shield with blades along the edge that appeared as flame. The shield was atop a stand on a small alter. There was a robed man with his back towards Adara She reached out to touch him. He suddenly turned around. He had no eyes! He screamed and his screams echoed into the caves. Adara felt impedding doom coming from the caves. Darkness enveloped her and death was all around. Suddenly a golden light burst through the darkness and there stood a beautiful woman warrior with golden flowing hair. Darkness dissolved away and Adara had a feeling of peace and strength. The woman bent towards the Ranger and whispered in her ear one word…"Seek."
In the morning there was some debate about whether to seek out the source of the flames or continue on towards the ruined temple and the Crimson Skull. The Crimson Skull won out and the party entered Harrowood. Exploring the woods they were unable to locate the ruined temple. They set up camp that evening in the woods, setting up a defensive perimeter of punji sticks.
Late into the night Gedleesmote heard the footfalls of a group of humanoid beasts that surround the camp. Alerting his companions they prepared to defend themselves. A lit torched tossed into the woods reveals a pack of wild primitive Beast-men that rush to attack. Alas, the battle is short as the most of the Beast-men are taken out with ranged weapons, Mushroom-men and their own awkwardness.
In the morning Adara and Tibag followed the trail of the Beast-men which lead to their lair. Inside Tibag finds some treasures and.... a map!
Wolfheir's wild brawl in his tavern room was a highpoint in the session. That was all the player Mike. He just decided to do some of this wild swinging in and out of the window and it worked. No rolls were fudged in this process. Mike made every roll. When he had to roll high, he did when he had to roll low he did. We're not using skills so most of the rolls were based on Dexterity or Strength and I think maybe a save or two. And one point he actually rolled a 20 when needing a high number and the next roll needed low and rolled a 1. Mike's rolls were on fire and it made for a very exciting time. I use the wrestling and hand-to-hand rules from Basic Fantasy RPG.
DM dice rolls, however, sucked. The NPCs were tripping over each other, monsters falling into the fire pit (beastmen), wilderness encounters just not happening. Oh well, that's the randomness of the game.
I wrote Adara's dreams during the week and planned to give them to her each game night. The dreams were meant to be somewhat cryptic for the players to figure out but will have meaning in upcoming sessions having to do with Adara's request of the gods to aid her in overcoming a nasty night of binging.
Usually when I start a session I come up with a general starting event based on the previous sessions to move the 'story' forward. The story, of course, is just a connection of the character's past events. In this case, with the player's antagonistic behavior with the hornet's nest which is the Brotherhood of the Black Hand, repercussions were going to be felt. Up until game time I hadn't decided whether the party would be attacked by the Black Hand or Lord Osric would get them out of town. The player's actions decided it for me and I went with Osric hearing about the violence in the West End and aiding the PCs as repayment for rescuing his daughter. Of course, the Black Hand is not going to soon forget either of these events, thus more plot points with which to play with. There was some talk among the players of just going after the Brotherhood but, sensibly, they decided to take Osric's advice.
Which brings me to Plot Points. You'll notice in my recent session recaps I've been linking back to the beginnings of plot points that come up during the session. Some points were created by me to add additional hooks for the players to grab on to. Other were created by the players themselves based on their actions. It seems like there's quite a bit going on and there is. But use these back references to illustrate the fact the actions have reactions in the game world and reinforce that with the players. I think they're just starting to feel the weight of their actions within the world. That's a good thing.