Monday, April 25, 2011

SR43: Showdown at the River

This session happened Friday, April 15, 2011, and was the only session I ran this past weekend.

Adventuring Group:
Su Bel (human cleric)
– Dame Yasha of Bereste (Su Bel’s human cavalier cohort)
Thorngrim (half-orc sorcerer)
 – Kainen (Thorngrim’s human fighter cohort)
Alys Kaah (gnome summoner/cavalier) [via Skype]
– Mr. Boodles (Alys’s owlbear-looking eidolon and mount)
Sal Ty (elf wizard) [via Skype]
– Maenwen (Sal’s human wizard cohort)

Note: the list of player characters is in player sitting order, from my left and then clockwise around the table and then on my laptop via Skype.

In-game Starting Date: October 7, 23rd Year of King Nikola V

"It's not to the death, it's to the 'shut the fuck up'!" ~ Alys Kaah

Thorngrim, much to the consternation of the contractors, used the lyre of building to construct another two towers on the keep around Drop-off Tower.  This used up what little stone had been received from the quarries, forcing Agnes and Tycho to go arrange for more stone, again.  On the other hand, All four curtain walls are now up along with three of the four corner towers.  When more stone arrives, the workers can resume work on the front gate and the fourth tower – assuming Thorngrim doesn't do it all in week when the lyre is available again.

In the meantime, the available adventurers decided to go far afield and explore near the Spiderwood, an area the group has shunned since first laying eyes on the Table Map.  There was some discussion as to the actual route to take: either west on the Grass Road to the Ruined Hills and then south across an unexplored stretch of the Sea of Grass to the Spider wood or south along Old Road to Santa Fe, through those (mostly unexplored) hills, and then west across a different unexplored stretch of the Sea of Grass.  After weighing the amounts of unknown, it was decided to take the southern rout past Santa Fe [whose name, by the way, is a result of admittedly poor DMing never corrected – I'll fix that in the reboot].

The path along Old Road was quiet.  When the group arrived at the Sea of Grass, they found huge swaths burned to stubble from the fires a tenday ago.  Luckily it had no effect on Thorngrim's mage signs and the group was able to follow the path of the Southern Grass Road.  Along the way, they saw auroch herds moving north from their summer pastures far, far to the south.

Making good time on their mounts, the group crossed the hilly region near Santa Fe and the previously untraveled stretch of the Sea of Grass to the very fringe of the Spiderwood, where they made camp.  The trees of the Spiderwood were covered in webbing, with large nets of the stuff spread heavily from tree to tree and amongst the undergrowth.  On the positive side, there was little in the way of mosquitos or gnats in the area.  Sal used his engineering knowledge to assist Thorngrim in the construction of a basic tower by way of several wall of stone spells.  As opposed to the Crooked Tower, this one looked stable and safe to camp inside.

The next morning, the group pressed into the Spiderwood itself.  The going was slow due to the webbing, but progress was made by following the few relatively clear paths.  Around mid-morning the group came across a group of spider swarms looking for a meal, but quickly eliminated the swarms with a judicious use of fire and lightning.  During this fight, Dame Yasha fell back from a forward position so a lightning bolt could be cast without her being in the area of effect.  Afterward, Alys razzed Dame Yasha for "retreating from the enemy".  This did not sit well with the Knight of the Order of the Dragon.

The lightning bolt seemed to have attracted some attention as shortly thereafter they ran across a phase spider heading in their general direction.  Not wanting to deal with it, they took evasive actions and avoided it [they spent a resolve token to avoid the encounter].  As the sun set, the woods darkened quickly and camp was made.  Sal and Thorngrim worked together to create another stable tower for the group to camp inside.  Due to all the webbing in the area, Sal refrained from setting up a campfire wall around the tower.

In the morning, the group explored a little farther into the Spiderwood and were attacked by an ogre spider.  After killing it, they decided that they had had enough with spiders and turned back to return to Drop-off Tower.  When crossing one of the streams winding through the Sea of Grass, Dame Yasha's horse, Lakshmi, deliberately splashed a great deal of water on Alys and Mr. Boodles.  Alys, Knight of the Order of the Chimera, had had enough and threw her mailed glove at Dame Yasha, issuing a challenge.  Dame Yasha accepted, tired of the gnome and her little pet claiming to be a knight.

Once to the other side of the river, a jousting pitch was cleared and the two knights set up at either end of the pitch, with the rest of the adventurers taking seats to the side to watch the event.  The signal was given and the two knights rode at each other, (blunted) lances flying across the pitch.  There was a huge crash at the two knights struck.  Surprisingly, it was Dame Yasha who was unhorsed and was laying on her back gasping for breath.  As it turns out, Alys is a top notch jouster, significantly more skilled at it than Dame Yasha.  When Alys returned to the center of the pitch and offered a hand up to Dame Yasha, Dame Yasha accepted it and congratulated Alys on her victory – clearly Dame Yasha has significant respect for Alys's skills now.  Alys was also gracious about the event and both considered the matter settled.

Pushing on as fast as they could, the group of adventurers made it back to Drop-off Tower just as the sun was setting.  Tired from their travels, they settled in to the somewhat overcrowded tower for rest.

*End of session*

[The joust was spontaneously developed from the group's roleplaying and both players had a good time.  I put together a quick set of rules for adjudicating the joust, based on the critical parts of what was happening (how hard did each hit and were they able to stay mounted after the hit).  It was fun to give the knights a way to show off and challenge each other without an actual fight happening.]

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