Monday, January 12, 2015

Tale of the God Killer

Eifer, Tirane, Year 427 after the fall of A'kanes (about 10,000 years before the Opening of the Caers)

Beyond the Wall and Other Adventures is a OSR game I utilized in running a story about a group of adolescent villagers who have to defend their village from an incursion from Beyond.  Peter S. Williams (Design and Writing) is the brother of a college friend, which is how I heard about it.  

I can't say OSR's my thing, but Beyond the Wall had play books for character creation - very helpful - and a great section on creating a village.  The players enjoyed the experience greatly.

In this session, we go back over ten thousand years before the the opening of the Caers (in the days just before the Horror's arrived) to the little hamlet of Loden's Mouth located to the southeast of Tirane.

Adolescence has slowly taken our characters, once childhood friends, their own ways.  This episode of their lives is the last before adulthood.   They've gathered in Loden's Mouth, a hamlet at the mouth of the Loden River, for the harvest festival.

The story begins with the characters Gareth and Faldric the black smith's son unloading a wagon of hard cider from Gareth's family's farm.  They are joined by Murton, the son of the local lord; Log, Murton's man-at-arms; and Rembrant the apprentice to the village wizard who wears the traditional purple robes.

The Autumn festival is in full swing.  Dancing, eating, drinking.  By the next festival, all the characters will have come of age as adults in the village, so they enjoy themselves as the privileges and responsibilities of adulthood loom.  The last days of autumn reflect the vibrancy and melancholia of the last days of their youth.

After enjoying themselves for a while, they are approached by Gareth's father.  Uncle Gil was supposed to be bringing more hard cider, but did not arrive.   He asks the youth to take a wagon to the farm and collect Uncle Gil.  Gareth's father figured he was drunk.

As they approached Gareth's family's farm, they saw smoke on the horizon.  The house and barns were ablaze.  Faldric noted riders had been there earlier and take then the livestock.  The only servant who remained was found dead, but Uncle Gil was nowhere to be found.

Tracking the horses, they find a hill cave several miles away.  The corpses of dead wolves lay approach cautiously but are attacked as the wolf bodies sprout purple tentacles.  Defeating and burning the bodies, they fill the front of the cave with wood then leave a fire smoking anyone inside.

Returning to Loden's Mouth to tell Murton's father, the Lord, they find the autumn festival has been disrupted already.  The hill tribes are raiding and the Lord is calling all villages are farms to the safety of the barricades.  Murton's father tells them that the Millers on the Loden river have not been contacted.  As Gareth is engaged to their eldest daughter, the friends borrow horses and ride off the south.

Their the find the mill in flames.  Rembrant helped suppress the fire for them to look inside but they find no bodies nor people.  Faldric noted that horses recently took the road to the north back toward the farms.  The friends push on, but nightfall, partying and exhaustion take their toll.  They are forced to rest for a few hours and the ride on again in the middle of the night.

They again return, following the trail, the the cave north of Gareth's farm.  The fire has been doused and the way cleared.  Nearby the find a makeshift corral for horses.  Log freed them.

This time, entering the cave, they heard the low hum of an underground river or of chanting.

Approaching the first room they find high above the cave floor glowing ropes holding up the naked body of a decapitated man. The body sometimes twitches.  Faldric shoots the body with an arrow.  It writhes.

They press on, lighting lanterns to guide their way.

Entering an ante chamber they find a metal container sitting on an ancient stone table.  Rembrant opens the urn and they find the severed head of Uncle Gil suspended by hooks with glowing tubes inserted in the base of his neck.  Gil opens his eyes and begins screaming.  "Someone shot me with an arrow!."

Gareth manages to calm him, though he still cries, and finds out that the raiders captured him and brought him to this place.  He was beheaded but lived on.  Others were taken below.  Deciding there was nothing that could be done, Murton cut the glowing tubes and Uncle Gil died.

Deeper into the cave, the chanting grew louder.  The tunnels were lit in a pale purple glow.  Finally, at the end of the tunnel, they found a large stone block room.  In the center, a giant purple crystal.  Surrounding it the raiders, chanting and to one side a wooden cage with captured villages.  Next to the crystal stood a robed figure.  It spoke in a language that grated their skin like mental and made them ill.

A young woman was brought from the cage to the crystal while the robed figure held out a long dagger.  Gareth realized it was his fiancee and charged in.  His friends followed.  They waded into the scores of raiders.  Each they killed caused the crystal to glow brighter.  Gareth grabbed his fiancee and he and Faldric ran to free the villagers.  Log, Murton and Rembrant fought their way to the robed figure.

Standing before him, they realized it was made of slithering tentacles.  Murton and Log fought the creature.  A bright light appeared in the ceiling and a portal opened to a sky of red and ash.  A giant tentacle swept into the room, grabbing Rembrant and pulling him inside the portal.  The tentacle reappeared.  As Murton destroyed the body of the tentacle creature, Log smashed the purple crystal.  There was a bright pop.  The portal above closed, severing the giant tentacle that fell onto a mass of raiders.  Log vanished in the flash.

Murton, Faldric and Gareth led the villagers from the cave quickly as the air popped with the sound of buzzing.  The remaining raiders were running.

Once outside they heard the cave collapse, and then headed back to the village.  The raider threat disappeared as quickly as it came.

Gareth later married the Miller's daughter (the miller and his sons had died by the hands of the raiders) and took over running the mill.

Faldric became a warden, patrolling the woodlands for signs of raiders and other threats.

When Murton's father died several years later he became the Lord of Loden's Mouth and erected a statue to his lost friend Log.