We’re starting this session with the party still split up — Geyrok & Reorx (whose player was absent this session) in the underground complex, Kardin & Flint with Drake on the way to Morangi. The GM started out with a minor retcon for how the last session ended for Kardin & Flint. In addition to seeing something coming over the trees we also see another human running from the crash site. Drake immediately recognizes this human as Alex, who he had thought dead. The GM also came up with an idea to keep everyone involved while the party is split. For players without a PC in the current scene they can play an NPC that’s in the scene and they can use that NPC’s beliefs to earn Artha for their PC. Turned out to work pretty well and kept everyone engaged in every scene.
While standing close together in the hut looking out toward the crash site Kardin notices that Flint has been changing. His skin tone has gone to a ruddier tone and his beard and hair have been thinning considerably. Also where new hair should have been growing in was something much stiffer, definitely not hair. After studying him for a bit Kardin decides it must just be the stress (failed Dwarven Greed Wise) and he doesn’t pursue it further.
Wild Goose Chase
Alex is running toward the village where Kardin, Flint, & Drake (being played by Geyrok’s player) are currently hiding in a hut. Not far behind they can just make out some Nazumi chasing Alex. He’s running directly toward the hut where the group is currently hiding and Flint waits for the right moment and reaches out to snatch him before the Nazumi can notice (successful Speed vs Perception). Alex struggles against Flint’s grip at first, but quickly notices Drake and calms down. Meanwhile not far away is a group of a dozen or so Nazumi as well as a much larger rat-man with 3 lengths of chain being held by more normal sized Nazumi. The large specimen seems to be sniffing around, tracking. The party figures it’s only a matter of time before they’re found, so Flint volunteers to run out and create a distraction. Kardin comes up with the idea to cover Flint & Alex in the suit within the hut, hoping to mask their scent and Drake rips off a piece of Alex’s clothing for Flint to take along. Flint runs out of the hut to get the attention of the tracking Nazumi (successful Beginner’s Luck Conspicuous) and he manages to lead them farther out into the forest. Once he puts some distance between him and the search party he drops off the strip of Alex’s clothing at the base of a tree. Then he pulls out a vial that he’s been holding on to for years – the juice taken from some berries he and Kardin encountered early in their exile here that caused them to vomit violently for some time. Flint pours out the contents on the cloth and all over the ground hoping that when the Nazumi catch up that their tracking beast will ingest some of the liquid. Luckily the plan works, keeping the Nazumi busy allowing Flint to sneak back to the village without being seen (successful Sneak vs. Observation). With a few moments to spare Flint questions Alex about what’s going on at the crash site and what all the fire in the sky is. Alex says he doesn’t really know what they’re doing, he was just running away. The fire being shot into the sky has something to do with their alchemy. Alex also says it seems like they’re signalling other Nazumi that are flying in on giant bats — each bat being able to hold 2 or 3 Nazumi. For a moment, at the mention of giant bats, Kardin’s face goes white. He starts pushing the group to leave immediately and completely avoid the crash site. Drake says now that he’s in familiar territory he knows the way home. He sketches out a crude map in the dirt on the ground, pointing out two ways they could take. One way would take them past a steep ravine and then to a Morangi guard tower where they could rest and recover before heading on to another tower and to the city. A different direction would take the group through a swamp and past a river to the second guard tower mentioned above. The swamp and river are more difficult to traverse, but it’ll save at least a day’s travel time on their way to Morangi. The group agrees that the shorter, more difficult route is the best option. They start to head toward the swamp, Drake in the lead. As they’re heading away Flint says he’s going to check out the crash site and that he’ll catch up. Kardin doesn’t argue and they continue on toward the swamp managing to avoid Nazumi scouts in the area (successful Stealth). Flint makes his way closer to the crash site, but is soon spotted and surrounded by a number of Nazumi (failed Stealthy). They start piling on to him, but he manages to power through near the middle of their camp where they have a large number of racks of their alchemical materials; he manages to start knocking some of them over setting off all sorts of explosions and chaos (successful Power). The Nazumi quickly forget about him to start doing some damage control in their tent. Flint manages to snag a couple jars of alchemical goods and gets away from the crash site where he meets up with Drake, Kardin, & Alex on their way to the swamp.
Slimed and Backstabbed
Back in the underground complex, Geyrok has just shoved his torch into a slime that dropped down from a doorway, while on the other side of the room a slime rose out of the water to envelop Rhaegar (being played by Kardin’s player). Geyrok manages to quickly slam the door shut on the slim in front of him before it comes through (successful vs Speed). Then Beorg (being played by me) and Geyrok head over to Rhaegar to help get the slime off of him. Geyrok starts beating at it with his sword while Beorg tries pulling it off/away from Rhaegar. They manage to get it off of Rhaegar, but not before it envelops Rhaegar’s backpack and pulls Geyrok’s sword out of his hand (failed Sword vs Forte). It starts to disappear back into the water, but all the remaining dwarfs start surrounding it and beating at it’s form until it starts to dissipate. Geyrok manages to get his sword back, but not without a bit of damaged (lost dwarven balance die). When things calm down everyone realizes everything’s quieter than it’s been. The sound they’ve been hearing echoing through the halls is gone. And before everyone can regroup and decide what to do an axe comes flying through the air and embeds itself into a dwarf’s back, who falls over into the water. Beorg goes to check on him while everyone turns to the stairs at the end of the room. Standing on the stairs is a dwarf woman with ruddy skin and what appears to be quills for her hair and beard.
Through the Wilderness
Drake warns the rest of the group that the swamp is tough going. Uneven terrain, oppressive humidity, and all sorts of aggressive creatures. He says the best way to make it through is to just go straight through with no breaks and find somewhere to camp on the other side. They start through the swamp manage to force their way through, though Drake & Flint are exhausted from the exertion (failed Forte). The sun is setting as they get out of the swamp, so the group goes on a bit before making camp for the night and resting. The next morning they get up ready to tackle the next leg of their journey. A few more hours on and they get to the river. Drake is able to lead them to one of the safer places to cross, but it’s still going to require swimming. Kardin takes a length of rope and swims across with it (successful Agility) while the rest of the party anchors it on this side of the river. Once it’s secured on both sides Drake & Alex manage to cross, hand-over-hand using the rope (successful Power). Next is Flint and thanks to his mail he’s much heavier and less able to swim across the river. Instead, he ties the end of the rope around him and lets the rest pull him to shore. Soaking wet, the party continues on for another few hours to the Morangi tower. As soon as they get near the tower, it’s obvious something’s wrong. Drake says they should have seen a patrol of some sort by now. Something’s definitely going on. Everyone draws weapons and continues forward. As they get closer to the tower Drake manages to spot a guard stand in the trees that’s peppered with Drune arrows (successful Perception). Drake says the Drune must have been here and overcame all the guards. While Drake & Alex are at a loss for what’s happened Kardin immediately begins to search the bodies and starts finding loose gold & silver and small bits of jewelry (successful Scavenging tied to “always scavenge battlefield) instinct”). As he’s pocketing what he’s found Drake confronts him. “Keep the gold, but nothing personal”. Kardin eyes him for a moment and says okay and hands over various jewels and jewelry he found, but purposely keeps back the nicest find, a signet ring of some sort. Drake looks at him doubtfully and asks if that’s it. Kardin lies and says yes, but Drake isn’t buying it (failed Falsehood). Kardin tries to hem & haw and talk about how they don’t need it anymore when Flint speaks up, “Dammit, Kardin, just hand back what you have. The alliance with the Morangi is more important than some trinkets.” Kardin reluctantly hands the ring to Drake and tensions diffuse for a moment. Drake says he’ll make sure the personal effects make it back to their families. Flint points out there’s not much reason to stay here any longer, it’s obvious the Drune are on the move and moving toward the outlying villages around Morangi. He says they should try to get to the city as fast as possible to warn the city what’s going on. They immediately leave the tower and start on the long (normally day) journey to the city. They push themselves and manage to make great time (successful Forte). They get to the city in time to warn the guard there about the Drune and they’re able to mount a defense before the Drune can overtake any Morangi villages.
Keys to Freedom
Back in the dungeon, all the dwarves are facing the newcomer with weapons drawn. She’s not backing down and demands what they’re doing trespassing in her home. Geyrok steps forward and says that they’re looking for a missing dwarf. She says there’s no one else here and that they should all leave. Geyroke says it’s not possible they followed her tracks to this place, so she must be here somewhere. At the mention of “her” the dwarf pauses for a moment. “Oh, her? She’s mine. She was given to me in trade.” Beorg pipes in “Given to you? By whom?” “Some other dwarf woman, I didn’t ask her name.” “What do they look like?” The dwarf woman describes the two dwarfs. The dwarf she has in her custody is almost certainly Lea. No one is entirely certain who the dwarf was that “gave her up”, but the description sounds a little familiar to Rhaegar. (as the players we know that it’s Halel, Grahm’s daughter and Kardin’s betrothed). “What did she trade you the dwarf for?” “Information. There’s so much lost information in that ziggurat. You have no idea what you have just beneath your feet.” Geyrok pipes up to ask how they can get Lea back. The woman thinks for a moment and says “I’ll show you.” She walks through the waterlogged room towards the door Geyrok previously slammed in front of the slime. She pulls something out of a pocket before opening the door, then immediately tosses it right at the waiting slime. There’s a loud noise and a flash of light and the slime is gone in a puff of smoke. She points across the next room toward a dais on the edge. She says there’s a key that opens a lock there and that there are 3 such keys. With those 3 keys she’ll have her freedom to be able to get out of this dungeon. Through more talking with her they find out that she’s been here for a very long time. She talks about the dwarven sickness and how those dwarves about to fully succumb to it were taken here to be chained up. She talks about the dwarfs up above in chains (like the one that animated and attacked the group). She says there is one among the exiled dwarves that is near to turning. She talks about how she’s physically unable to leave these tunnels, but with the keys she’ll be free. The dwarfs all look to Reorx and Geyrok. Geyrok agrees to the deal. He says he’ll make sure the keys are found and returned to her.
Between the scene at the beginning with Kardin & Flint and the scene with the strange dwarf woman, we have some idea of what’s going to happen when Flint finally hits Greed 10, which he is still 1 routine test away from getting. We obviously don’t know all the details, but there’s definitely something up with her. She’s seemingly been around since before the dwarfs originally left this valley however many generations ago. And she is almost certainly dangerous because of the method in which she was locked up. I’m looking forward to finding out more and seeing Flint finally hit Greed 10., whatever happens.