This sessions starts off right where the last one left off.
Finding Wind and Confronting the Coward
Flint & Kardin head away from the human camp to track down Wind. They only have a very vague idea of where to go and it’s imperative they find Wind before Urgo does. Using the knowledge he’s been gaining about spiders Kardin says “Well, Wind is ancient and huge from all we’ve been told. Then surely his home will be in the biggest tree in the area.” (successful BL Great Spider-Wise).
Following Kardin’s advice, Flint climbs the nearest tree to get his bearings and spots the boughs of a huge tree in the distance. They start making their way there, occasionally climbing another tree to keep their heading (successful BL Orienteering). Climbing one last tree to get his bearings, Flint suddenly comes face to face with a huge great spider, currently in the process of wrapping up some… food. Looks similar to the wild cats they’ve previously encountered.
“Come back again?”
“Going to try cutting me again?”
“Ohh. I think there’s a mistake. I’ve never seen you before. I’m looking for Wind and trying to intercept another dwarf. Can we, uh, continue this down below?”
Flint makes his way back down to the forest floor and Wind spins his way down, hanging by some webbing above the heads of the Dwarves. They talk for a bit trying to get some information. Wind is reluctant to give up too much. Kardin presses him for information about the Children of the Sun and Wind is reluctant to give up much information, although he does spin a bit of webbing with a design much like we’ve seen in the stone tablets that reference the Children of the Sun — Kardin is struck speechless for a few moments staring at the webbing (Wind is an Orb Weaver).
Eventually Wind does cough up a bit more information about spiders. He says there are 3 types of spiders — queens, named male spiders, and the rest. Queens only mate with the named males. Wind makes it pretty obvious he wants no part of that and when pressed says that a queen, after mating, will devour the male. Obviously he wants to avoid that.
They’re interrupted by some approaching sounds. Knowing that it must be Urgo Flint & Kardin prepare to set an ambush to take down Urgo and hopefully scare off whatever humans he has with him. Each side holds their ground and unleashes on the other (R&C Urgo gets off a couple bolts to no affect and Flint gets one off injuring Urgo). Both sides charge in as Flint gets off one last ditch effort, which seriously wounds Urgo. Urgo tries to run away, but at this point everyone’s too close together and he can’t get any distance on Flint & Kardin. The humans with Urgo try and hold them off with javelins, but Flint is able to get a glancing blow across Urgo’s jaw putting him off balance enough for Kardin to nearly cleave his torso in half (R&C went too close to shoot into a Fight).
Kardin puts Urgo out of his memory and Flint yells at the humans to run off. They say they’ll tell Chariss what the dwarves do to their own chief. “Ha, you tell her that! Also tell her how Urgo duped everyone into thinking he’s a chief. He’s no chief of our people, he’s a coward and a traitor.” And the humans run off.
Flint tells Wind there’s no need to worry about that one anymore and offers his corpse. “No, I like to catch my food fresh.”
“Alright, Wind. We were exiled from our home to this place. We out of our environment and struggling to survive. We need allies and we need to know how to survive here. What do we need to do to exist and survive here?”
“I’ll tell you more, but first you must deal with the queen.” (failed Coarse Persuasion). “With the queen dead, I’ll have little to worry about for the time being. Spiders keep in factions, without a queen, those factions will fall to in-fighting and it could be a generation or more before a new queen is able to gather enough followers and gain power enough to keep the rest in line.”
“Very well, where do we start?”
“Start with the factions. Get wedges between them. You can use that to make your move.”
“Very well, we’ll see what we can do.”
Kardin speaks up, “Wind, what can we do to keep the peace between you and the humans?”
“That’s easy, we’re not the aggressors. They come in for bounties and we must defend ourselves. We will eat humans, but there is other prey that is more to our taste. We don’t go out hunting for them. They come after us for bounties, and those bounties are offered by the queen.”
Flint & Kardin nod at each other to acknowledge where this is going. Looks like the queen is the lynch pin.
The Fire Spirit
They depart from Wind’s territory and make their way back to Tareek’s camp with Urgo’s head in hand (no need to carry the whole corpse). Flint asks what the relationship is between his tribe and Chariss’, because the humans with Urgo mentioned her. Tareek says her clan is the biggest and she gets the best warriors. All the smaller clans send her tributes. It keeps the peace — he says it with some conviction, but Flint & Kardin start to wonder how well the peace is really kept — something to keep an eye on.
Flint gets right down to it, “we need help with that fire spirit running loose in our hold. Can you help with that? Or send a spirit talker along with us?”
“From your descriptions it sounds like a powerful spirit. I could send three spirit talkers with you to banish the spirit.”
“Banish? Can it not be bound to the forge like before?”
“Oh, no, it’s beyond that. But perhaps they could bind a new one… What can you offer me?”
Kardin speaks out, “Can you teach me to work with spirits?”
“Yes, I believe that could work. You perhaps could be taught.”
“We can give you weapons.”
“Besides spears and bows?”
“And teach us to use them?”
“Yes.” (the look of delight on the GM’s face at this point was disturbing, “You have just completely upset the balance.”)
“Very well, we have a deal. I will send three spirit talkers with you and you will send them back with weapons.”
Flint & Kardin set out with the three humans for the 5-day hike to the ruins. Things are calmed down, but smoke is still billowing out of the ziggurat. Kardin spots Grahm coming out of the entrance covered in suet. Kardin marches up to him and tosses Urgo’s severed head at his feet. Grahm is taken aback at first, but recovers quickly enough “That’s remarkable work, Kardin. Remarkable work, indeed.”
“I’ve avenged Halel for what Urgo did to her.”
“Yes, yes. Very good. Listen, it’s only fair that I let you know that Captain Arak has made his feelings for my daughter known. If the Prince is indeed lost to us then he wishes to pursue a courtship of her.”
Kardin’s face turns red with rage, “Arak? You know how I feel about Halel. I did this for her! You know how she feels for me! Arak’s not even noble born!”
“No, he’s not, but we’re dwarves, you know how this works. I just thought in light of your.. success that it’s only fair you know. It’s gone no farther than that yet. We can’t give up hope on the Prince.”
“Fine. I’ve brought some help to deal with the spirit down below and then we can relight the forge. We can talk again later.”
At that Grahm sees the humans standing near Flint. He’s not happy that they’ve brought more humans. He can see they may be the only ones that can help, but he knows the crafters won’t go for it “non-Dwarves lighting a forge? It’s madness, they’ll never go for it.” But they agree to get rid of the existing spirit first before crossing that bridge.
On the way down Flint passes Grahm and says “After I’ve cleaned up your mess, we’re going to have chat, you and I.” Flint blames Grahm for holding onto Argus, which led to Midnor coming back and the fire spirit being released.
Flint & Kardin escort the three spirit-talkers down below and they are able to banish the fire spirit with little problem.
The forgers start to assemble to see about getting the forge relit. It’s up to Flint & Kardin to convince them they don’t have the ability to relight this forge and that they must have the humans’ help.
End of Session
Looks like we’re quickly coming up on wrapping up another story arc. We’ll see about getting the forge under our control again and then see what we can do to upset the balance of power in the spiders (read: assassinate the queen). We’ll also be exploring the possibility of Flint & Kardin learning spirit-binding (what the “spirit talkers” do). Can’t wait to see how that falls out!