16 July 2012

Pen & Paper: Some actual play part 2

The party is still split, with one of them stuck in the city in the middle of riots protesting the recend draft for the civil war that is about to ravage the Empire again. Our main host of characters couldn't care less though, as they are stuck with their leader badly wounded in an improvised shelter in the mountains and a group of elite head-hunters with them, suspecting that it is indeed them they're looking for...

The session starts off with a rainstorm pelting down on the mountain-shelter the group has built for themselves (one of them is a carpenter so they're good at things like that). The group-internal animosities have somewhat cooled down and the team of mercs is out hunting so the players decide it's time to talk through what to do about the whole situation. There is a lot of arguing back and forth whom to put the blame on that kids death on once the mercs come back. Should they sacrifice the badly wounded group leader? Should they blame the actual killer, their scout who is currently gone with most of the groups money to get help? Will he even return and come back for them or will he simply spend the money and make himself a nice life for a few months?

While the rain is running in torrents down the mountainslope, forming temporary rivers and waterfalls around the shelter, the wounded knight decides that it is his duty to stand in for what his group has done. He will talk to the mercenary leader, that barbarian princess trying to escape from the shadows of her grandmother and father to make a name of her own. The three mercs return to the camp and the mood is grim. The group goes, "we need to talk to you guys." and the knight says "you and me, princess, everyone else get out of here for now." And they talk.

At first it looks a bit like the knight will betray the group but he doesn't. He and the princess hold a conversation about how a leader is responsible for what their soldiers do and he accepts his fate, knowing that his injuries are probably career-ending anyways. As he isn't a real knight yet, there is no retirement-plan for him. The princess asks him if he wants to do it himself but he doesn't have the strength to do it so she gives him his sword in his hand, so he can die an honorable death. Then she stabs him cleanly in the heart with her seax.

The others are waiting outside in the rain and the princess comes out and washes clean her blood-streaked knife as the group looks on with disturbance. The mercs then tell them that any rites they need to do while the body is still whole they should do now, as they are going to take the head with them later. The little girl apprentice to the groups healer is crying and the mood is really dark. They dig a grave to bury the headless body in after the mercenaries have left with their quarry, whilst also getting ready to leave this place that is tainted with memories. After some discussions it is clear that they are going to carry on with their mission for giant teeth, as a young boy is relying on them.

They climb further up the mountain slopes as they notice two people following them from below. It is their scout and another man, one of the warriors sworn to the king they're currently working for. After some catching up, the group is reunited and back to full strength, at least number-wise. Yeah, the old "You seem trustworthy..." thing is going on here but at least there is the explanation of the large tribal religious festival that the party had passed earlier and that it does make sense that there are people of king Groedewald attending there too. So, reunited the party crosses the first mountain peaks into the a valley. Overlooking it, there are no traces of giants but the yodeling of giants can be heard from the next valley over. As the valley features a river that disappears in a cave, the group decides to set up camp by the cave entrance and try to catch some of the weird cave-fish migrating in the river.

Next up is scouting out the giants in the next valley over. They live by a large lake filling the center of said valley and there are about two dozen of them living in rough tents, waiting for their herd of mammoths to return. The group quickly realizes that it will be very hard to separate a single giant in order to get his or her wisdom-teeth, as the giants will probably attack the humans who are slowly driving them to extinction on sight. Still, I suggest that the giants, albeit a bit dumb, are sentient beings with whom it should be somehow possible to parley. The group did bring several barrels of alcohol so maybe a trade is possible. Maybe. We'll see in the upcoming session...

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