Ouch. Six weeks since the last game! Work and sickness conspired against us.
A season has passed now. Dwarves are settling into the ziggurat ruins. By now most dwarves are in the lower areas with just a few remaining back at the original camp. Regular scouting and hunting parties are ranging out.
Halel, Kardin’s love interest has healed and started to hold court (as it were) among the females of the clan.
Delana, Flint’s betrothed, has been taking care of Rutger’s children (Rutger being the dwarf that’s trying to blackmail Flint).
Falur (Flint’s father and Forge Master) has been spending a lot of time with Fergus around the great forge or in Fergus’ study.
Not many people know at this point, but word has reached Flint & Kardin that a scouting party came back (3 dwarves short) with a captive. They describe him as elf-like. Supposedly he was running from other near-elves, so they brought him here.
Flint wakes up to the sounds of children next door as he decides to go talk to Grahm about the captive today. There’s a knock on the door and it’s Rutger. He wants to keep an eye on Flint (unspoken) and tag along with him wherever he goes. Flint acquiesces (Flint figures Rutger’s not long for this world anyhow).
Meanwhile, remembering the deal they made Kardin has been seeing what he can find out about Rutger. He tracks down a fellow Delver who tells him that Rutger is a hard worker and strong contributing member of the clan (failed Circles roll — Rutger’s actually a bit of a layabout, but this makes Kardin’s feelings on the matter a little more complicated.)
Kardin catches up to Flint & Rutger in a passage. Flint says he’s on his way to talk to Grahm, so Kardin comes along. Before they make it to where the Host are headquartered Halel intercepts the party and asks to speak to Kardin privately. She says the prince is either dead or lost forever and there’s no point in keeping some meaningless betrothal. She wants Kardin to talk to Grahm about calling off the betrothal so that they can get married. Kardin, eager to have Halel’s hand quickly promises to talk to Grahm today.
Flint, Kardin, & Rutger arrive where the host is quartered and find the door to the area closed, which is odd. And they can hear muffled voices coming from the other side. Flint gives Kardin a look and Kardin gets Rutger turned around to distract him while Flint eavesdrops at the door (successful Stealthy). Grahm is giving orders about what information to to let out and what to keep quiet. He doesn’t want anyone knowing about the missing dwarves or the captive (luckily Flint & Kardin are connected, so they already have some idea of what’s going on). They also plan on making sure the surviving scouting party doesn’t go around spreading tales. The talking stops and Flint steps back, an image of innocence.
The party has a little conference with Grahm. Flint admits that he knows about the captive and the missing dwarves. Grahm’s upset at first that any information leaked, but he realizes that Flint & Kardin could be a great help, possibly even heading up a scouting team to find some more of these people and possibly discover where the missing dwarves are. Grahm says that Fergus has been questioning the elf-creature. Apparently these people and dwarves share a sort of common root language so they’re able to communicate with only some trouble.
Grahm gives Flint & Kardin leave to question the captive. Rutger tags along. At the door to where the captive is being kept Flint turns and holds Rutger back. Rutger starts to make a scene about how he’s in the group now, because Grahm let him come along. “I don’t care what Grahm said. You’re not coming in there.”
“Maybe I should tell him about our little deal.”
“Deal? I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Flint gets a dangerous look in his eye and Kardin’s not quite sure what’s going on.
“So you don’t care if I tell Grahm how you stole from another dwarf?”
“Tell him whatever lies you want. I know I’ve been here doing good for the clan while you’ve been sitting around on your arse pawning your kids off on my betrothed. I think we know who Grahm will believe.”
Rutgar stalks off in a huff. Kardin is angry about Rutger apparently being such a lazy dwarf. He’d vouched for Rutger’s work ethic and was starting to worry where that might go.
At that point Fergus comes out of the room and they stop the chronicler to see what he’s found out so far. Not much although the captive is being pretty cooperative. His name is Argus. He was apparently running from another tribe that were going to sacrifice him. That same tribe now probably has the three missing dwarves captive. Fergus goes off to take a break while Flint & Kardis see what they can find out from the captive.
Argus is tall like an elf, nearly 6 feet, but bulkier, not as skinny and waifish as most elves. His clothing looks like it was grown around him more than constructed in anyway. He almost looks like a part of the forest. He says his people come from the forest and that his tribe had been attacked by another tribe. That tribe captures members of other tribes and sacrifices them to the forest. Their leader, Charris, has a lot of power and can control the jungle. Apparently Charris’ tribe is one of the smaller tribe, but because she can control the jungle the other tribes are in charge of her. He says that the captive dwarves are probably safe for the time being because we’re so different from them and she’s not sure what to do just yet. But chances are she’ll end up making them a sacrifice.
Flint & Kardin question Argus about some other things. He has no knowledge of the strange metal the shield and forge key are made out of, but it turns out some tribes live near the large volcano, so it seems likely there’s a connection there. Argus also doesn’t really get the concept of a history (written or otherwise). He’s never heard of the Children of the Sun although the drawings they’ve seen look very much like him. Kardin even shows him some of the tablets he’s found and Argus is confused by them, “that’s not us, we’re in the jungle. We’re from the jungle.” He doesn’t seem to understand the idea of the writings being representations or telling stories.
Argus is very cooperative and seems appreciative that he’s not being abused. He misses his tribe and wants to back, but he’s happy to have avoided being sacrificed. He also talks about a wise, ancient spider named Wind that lives in the jungle. He apparently knows many things. Flint & Kardin are definitely interested in making contact.
Fergus comes in with Falur and they start questioning Argus about the great forge and how to light it and work it. It’s obvious pretty quickly that he really knows nothing about it. Flint & Kardin take their leave.
Flint turns to Kardin. “We can’t really keep the key a secret much longer. If we wait too long everyone will question why we’ve kept it secret.”
“You’re right. Maybe we should make a show of lighting the forge.”
“Perfect! We can pretend that Fergus and my father’s questioning got us thinking about the forge and we realized what this forge key must be for. We can call everyone to the forge and go through the process of getting it started. No one will be the wiser.”
So, Flint & Kardin go about getting the who’s who of the clan gathered around the great forge. They spin a story of having found the key but not really knowing what it was, it’s lain forgotten until now. Thanks to a conversation with Fergus & Falur they realized that maybe the cylinder had something to do with it.
Re-enacting their previous forge experiment (now knowing how to light it), Flint climbs in the forge with Kardin standing to the side for support and giving instructions. Just like before the forge flares to life and everyone gasps in shock. The flames dance around and get even more out of control than before, but they do eventually die down. The creature from the balcony shows itself again and most of the dwarves panic not knowing what it might be, but after the flames die down the creature disappears.
Falur walks over to Flint after he climbs out. Flint & Kardin put on a good show, but Falur is a forge master and isn’t buying the whole story (failed Falsehood). Yes, yes, very good. Now, I’m banishing the both of you from the forge before something bad happens. I could tell those flames weren’t controlled. I don’t know what you think you know, but you’re not stepping foot in here again.
“Fine, father. Just remember where that key came from and who figured out how to get it in the forge.” At that Flint and Kardin stalk away. “Don’t worry, we’ll find our way back in there at some point. We’re both too indispensable. You’ll soon have your hands in a forge again.”
The Scouting Party
After the forge lighting, Kardin & Flint go off to speak to Grahm. I relay what they’ve learned from Argus and Flint says, “I think our best coarse will be to return Argus to his people and form a truce then we could take on this Charriss and get our dwarves back.”
“No, that could take too long. We don’t know how long she might hold on to them. We should make rescuing them a priority and I’m reluctant to release our captive just yet.”
“Fine. I’m okay with getting the dwarves first, but if we’re going on a rescue mission instead of just scouting then we’ll need backup.”
“Of course, I’ll send along a couple host with you, Kardin, Fergus, and that Rutger dwarf.” At this Grahm gets a look on his face and continues on, “Now Rutger has some interesting things to say about you and some theft.”
“I bet he does. He apparently took issue to me calling him out on not pulling his weight. I don’t really care what stories he concocts. I’m no thief.”
“I don’t care if it’s true or not. Dwarves look up to you around here and if that story gets out it’s going to go badly. Best get that dealt with. I don’t want to hear anymore about it.”
“Don’t you worry. You won’t hear a single thing more about it. Now, I also want Arak to come with me.”
“No way. He’s too important. I can’t risk losing him. If something goes wrong I’ll need him to help gathering up the rest of our dwarves to mount something larger scale.”
“We could really use his knowledge and skills in this.”
At this point there’s a tense DoW. Flint wants Arak to come along on the mission and Grahm wants Flint’s support from now on. At the end of the first exchange Grahm manages to knock Flint out with only half of his BoA depleted. Luckily, Flint has the Tenacious trait and his BoA comes back to 1. He’s still in the fight. Another exchange goes by with nothing more taken from Flint’s BoA, but he’s managed to take Grahm down to 1 as well. Finally the 3rd exchange Flint opens with a Feint, which unfortunately leaves him wide open to Grahm’s point. So, Grahm now has Flint’s support, but he has to make a major compromise. In this case Grahm will have Flint’s support as military leader, but Flint will be in place for civilian leadership.
Flint starts to leave the room, but Kardin sticks behind. “Yes? Shouldn’t you be preparing for the rescue?”
“I’m here about Halel. You know about our feelings for one another. Instead of her being unhappy with a betrothal to the prince who may or may not be dead, we want you to cancel that betrothal and let us get married.”
“Absolutely not! I’m not writing the prince off yet. And even if he is dead, Halel’s not marrying a civilian.”
“Now stop flapping your lips about this and go after those dwarves. I don’t want to talk about this now.”
“We’ll talk about it later?”
“Yes, yes, just get going.”
Through the Jungle
Before heading out, Kardin manages to find an axe he can take with him. He figures it will be more useful in the wilderness than a hammer. Plus, he knows he has a shield coming his way and he wants a one-handed weapon to use with it.
Thanks to directions from Argus Flint, Kardin, Fergus, Rutgar, & a couple host soldiers set out to find Chariss’ tribe.
The first night while everyone’s sitting around the campfire Flint starts talking about how he misses his grandmother’s cooking. Everything ever since the exile is awfully bland. Soon everyone else is talking about all the food they miss and eventually someone points out that Kardin & Rutger are foragers, maybe they should get some herbs and roots to spice things up a bit (successful Persuasion — Flint wanted a reason for Kardin & Rutger to leave the camp but without anyone thinking it was his idea).
Rutger seems reluctant to go out, but eventually is cajoled into leaving. Kardin & Rutger head off to see what they can find. Kardin comes back with a decent haul while Rutger comes back with some apparently poisonous mushrooms (successful vs Foraging test on Kardin’s part). “Woah, woah. We can’t eat those. Here, you see these patterns? You have to watch out for those.”
Rutger seems reluctant to take it as a learning experience. This happens a couple more times the next two nights. Finally, Rutger refuses to stop going out. “Whatever. I’m bad at this, it’s obvious, you don’t need me.”
“I’m trying to teach you Rutger.”
“Whatever. I’m done. Go by yourself.”
“Well if you don’t want to help forage, maybe you can go find some firewood.”
“Fine. I’ll do that.”
After a bit Kardin heads out as well and manages to track Kardin down and get the jump on him (successful Stealty vs. Observation). Using the advantage of surprise Kardin manages to cut Rutger down with no problem. Kardin even gives himself a good cut on the arm, then drags Rutger’s body back to camp.
“That bastard came after me in the woods! I didn’t have any choice, it was me or him. You don’t think I was on him too hard? I was just trying to teach him.”
Everyone agreed that Rutger had been acting off and was taking it too hard (successful Falsehood). Everyone’s sad to lose another dwarf, but he brought it on himself. Rutger is soon forgotten as the party continues on their way.
End of Session
Another hot session! The DoW was amazing. No one expected it to go on as long as it did — partially thanks to an all-failures Point during the exchange, helping Flint to stay in just a little bit longer.
Losing access to the forge was a bit of a hit, but I’m sure we can find a way to earn our way back in. Out of game we know the “not-elves” are humans, but they don’t exist anywhere else so no one has ever contacted them before. Now we have a number of interesting strings to follow: rescuing the dwarves, more contact with the human tribes and figuring out who we can trust and hopefully making contact with Wind. Can’t wait to see how things fall out!