Trials of Everrun – The Heart of the Mountain

It has been 4 days since the game and I finally have time to post a recap here.  Thank goodness for the notecards that I keep or I would have forgotten everything!

This session began right where the previous session in the Trials of Everrun campaign left off, with the Long Shots (as they’re calling themselves) in a half-frozen tunnel under a Dwarven mountain.

With the Korrigan’s Forbidden Gate behind them, they stood in a long, rounded tunnel leading straight down into the rock.  The wind was harsh and cold, requiring more (passed) Stamina saves to protect from freezing to death.  The corridor hooked down and to the left, preventing them from seeing much beyond about 50 yards.  With the sounds of the approaching guards from their daring prison escape behind them, they set off down the windy tunnel.

Just before a sharp bend in the tunnel marked a transition from stone to solid ice, Bran noticed a familiar looking crack – which the dwarves call “Crevices” in his character history – in the passage’s east wall.  Investigating further, as a Third Grow he was only just (Difficulty 15 Contortion roll, reduced by 5 due to his Small size) able to squeeze through the dwarf-sized crevice into a small worker’s camp on the other side.  This worker’s camp was a left-over – the crumbling ruins of the thriving dwarven mine that used to wind through the interior of the mountain before they uncovered something in the ice that only the Forbidden Gate could keep back.

In the old, crumbling camp Bran found a small community of Molek – with 20 adults and 10-15 young children – living in the ruins of his ancestor’s civilization.  The Molek are basically mole people, though with some opossum and rat-like qualities as well, and the dwarves view them with a high degree of contempt – considering them to be parasites and scavengers and, frankly, insentient.  Basically short, bipedal rats.  So I expected Bran to go back to the group and report that he found nothing and the game to progress.  Instead, he shocked me by reporting that there were scavengers living in the crack.

This piqued the interest of the rest of the party – who have a habit of befriending small woodland pests (Roxas and Kaderin have a whole family of beholden Boogies back in Merrihill) – and they all trundled down the narrow path.  Jerrede and Kaderin got stuck, requiring Bran to hoist them through with a hard shove from the rear, which gave Roxas a chance to work his diplomatic magic on the Molek –

Hello good people.  We have food to trade for information! – Roxas the Arbiter

Lucky for him (and thanks to his high Diplomacy and Cultures rolls) the Molek are scavengers who have not had the best of luck finding food in the mines since the gate was installed.  Honored (and startled) to be addressed as civilized people in the company of a dwarf, the leader of the Molek came forward with a gnarled cane and soft-spoken words.  Introducing herself as Grandmother Josie of the Blue Ice Clan in rough common, she welcomed the Arbiter and his “companions” and offered them what information and hospitality they could.  While they spoke, the two magic users in the party – Jerrede and Kaderin – cast a Feast spell twice each to provide enough food for the entire Blue Ice Clan to eat and drink their fill, then refilled the community water supplies from their own water skins (summoned water disappears after 4 hours).

In return, Grandmother gave them an introductory explanation of the history of the mines – and how the Blue Ice came to be in this old mining camp – and warned that there was a great battle raging beneath the ice.  They’d never seen it, she explained, but it could be heard all day and night from the deeper tunnels – which the party had already observed on their way in.  After a long evening by the fire sipping pine-needle tea and being regailed by stories of daring stealth and masterful theft, the party got more comfortable with the Molek.  Except for Bran, who reacted to the whole thing like he’d just witnessed the family dog stand up on its back legs and order a pint at the pub.

Jerrede asked some questions about the Sapphire Lady’s daughter and discovered that there IS an elf woman in green imprisoned deeper in the ice, but nothing substantial to prove it is the princess they seek.  Afterward, the party bartered food for a night’s rest with the Blue Ice Clan standing guard over them.  They did not even raise a fuss when some of the younger thieves in the clan stole their pocket change and an inkwell.

After getting some much needed rest (they spent the previous night in jail cells, and Roxas was suffering some major negatives) they woke to find that the Blue Ice Clan had moved on at some point in the night – and they were once again alone in the caves.  So they squeezed back through the cracks (I did not make them roll Contortion on the way out, as they could take their time on the escape) and delved deeper into the caverns.

The Confrontation – 

Around the bend and down a slight slope in the tunnel, the stone transitioned fully into crystal clear blue ice – and close examination showed figures frozen throughout the ice, trapped there by whatever force created the Heart of Korrigan.  The ice itself seemed to emit a pale blue light, so torches were unnecessary at this point and there was fresh gravel on the floor of the tunnel so the going was easy and the party fell into the usual pileup – Bran in the front, followed by Jerrede then Kaderin with Roxas bringing up the rear.  The sounds of fighting were getting louder, but still seemed a distance off – when the group emerged into a well-lit chamber, with a raised rectangular platform in the center where a Goblin in a sharp, 3-piece business suit and spectacles was busy collating some paperwork while two brutish yellow-skinned ape-like beasts (Ogres) stood guard.

The group approached, and Roxas greeted the goblin in Tradespeak.  It responded in Common, asking who was in charge and if they were “buying” or “selling”.  Responding that they were there to buy, the goblin asked who was in charge – prompting Bran to bodily lift Roxas from the rear of the group to present him to the Goblin as an answer.  That darn dwarf – he so crazy!

A short verbal encounter followed – with Kaderin successfully charming the Goblin into believing they were simply new customers who had gotten lost and come in via the wrong door.  He directed them down the central hallway of three that branched off from his chamber.  Jerrede, going off information given to him by Grandmother Josie, ignored the goblin and headed down the left passage.  Some argument followed – and some bribery was offered.  In the end, the group announced in clear hearing of the goblin that they suspected the central passage he was directing them down was a trap – but made the decision to go anyway to appease the creature and avoid the Ogres.

Arriving at the door to the central passage, they knocked (because this party loves knocking on doors) and the two Ogres behind them answered “Who’s there?” in unison before attacking the group.  What can I say?  They’re good at spotting traps, my Bad Batch!

The goblin ran down the right corridor while the party dealt with the Ogres.  Roxas’ main focus was on the door that they were trapped against – and he piled on considerable damage by simply kicking at the door over the next few rounds before finally taking out his weapons and beating it down.

In the meantime, the party was dealing with two huge Ogres.

Ogre Blood Mechanic – I will not go into stats, because they are a recurring monster.  However, the party discovered that Ogres are somewhat regenerative to damage sustained from slashing, stabbing or piercing weapons.  As they were shooting them with arrows and slashing them with axes and swords, the yellow blood that was erupting from the wounds was acidic.  It melted the ice under them, but cauterized the wounds they were receiving.  This equated to a reduction in damage to every individual injury they received, plus a restoration of a small number of additional hit points at the end of every round.

Jerrede used an Armor spell on himself and Bran in the first round of the fight, allowing them a considerable bonus to their soak rolls, before both charged in with melee weapons.  In the second round, a Complication on his Melee roll’s wild dice resulted in the sword slipping from Jerrede’s grip.  The elven archer-mage responded by taking a round to recover his weapon, acting as something of a shield between the Ogre and the arrow-flinging Kaderin behind him.

After sliding under the nearest Ogre’s legs and leaving a considerable wound on its thigh, Bran’s second attack also left him disarmed by a splash of acidic Ogre blood.  Entirely fed up with all the Greenskins in his ancestral home, Bran lept onto the chest of the giant yellow beast and began strangling the creature with his bare (ok, gauntlet-clad) hands.  Tossed around considerably, he managed to hang on (Dwarven Acrobatics rolls?  Will wonders never cease?) to the bitter end – crushing the thing’s windpipe after nearly 4 rounds of brawling.

Just as the two Ogres finally breathed their last – one with Bran’s fingers around its neck, the other with Kaderin’s arrows in its eyes and Jerrede’s sword in its belly – the group took a moment to assess the passage.  Noone had come running to the sound of combat – likely shielded by the fighting taking place down the left corridor.  The goblin was trapped down the right – having left his key behind to the great iron door there.  The ogres were slowly descending through the ice on the floor – their caustic blood melting the floors beneath them.

Approaching the goblin, the Long Shots were attacked by the savage – if well dressed – creature and they subdued it with a heavy thump on the head.  Leaving it to question later, they retrieved the goblin’s keys from the rapidly disappearing Ogres and regrouped at the ice block that served as the goblin’s desk.

Summing it up – 

Not a lot of crazy systems or bizarre checks this week – so not much to say.  I’d been out of the action for about 3 weeks due to illness and traveling, so I did not have much prepared for game (I’m a bad Game Master, I know).  I was thrown for a loop by their exploration of the Molek – but I was certainly glad they did!

If I could offer any Game Master just one tip it would be Roll with it! And my players certainly give me a lot to roll with.

Roll high and have fun,

Drop Anchor

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One thought on “Trials of Everrun – The Heart of the Mountain

  1. So what’s really going on here?

    Well, I am not really able to reveal that yet – but I can drop some breadcrumbs. The party discovered the once-great city of the proud dwarves – the capitol of their culture – in squalor. Overrun (and at least partially ruled) by the ancient enemies of their ancient enemies – the city is filthy and crumbling.

    On top of that – as The Ginger’s Kaderin aptly pointed out to the party in great detail during the last session – not just one, but FOUR Third-Grows have returned from exile to the city. This previously unheard of act, combined with the frequency of Leg Up’s Bran has been losing control is starting to raise alarm bells with the group.

    And now they find themselves deep underground, where the Dwarves uncovered something that they feared enough to build a Forbidden Gate (it sounds cooler in dwarven, probably) and instead of some ancient horror they find… goblins in business suits and ogres selling slaves while some battle wages deep below?

    What’s really going on here, indeed.

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