Thursday, December 13, 2018

North of Lemuria, Episode 5 (Untold/BoL)

This one took longer than expected, but was more satisfying. An epic feel developing here. This was also my first chance to try out the mass combat rules for BoL. I enjoyed the heroic actions which mesh nicely with Untold. Lots of ways the story can go from here, and I’m excited to find out what. With holidays coming up, things will likely slow.

Episode 5: the BATTLE of LOR’S FIELD


Attributes. Strength 2, Agility 1, Mind 1, Appeal 1
Abilities. Melee 2, Ranged 1, Defense 1, Initiative 0
Careers. Barbarian 2, Blacksmith 0, Healer 1, Thief 2, Champion 1

Origin. Valgard
Languages. Axian, Lemurian, Valgardish
Hero Points. 3
Lifeblood. 12
Traits. Battle Harness, Can’t Lie, Cursed, Feels the Heat, Quick Recovery, Trademark Weapon (Valgardian Long Sword), Tundra-Born
  • Chain Mail Bikini (2)
  • Sword (d6)
  • daggers, 2 (d6L)
  • 10 loyal rabble
  • Manda (tough) — Minstrel 1, Thief 1, Appeal & Mind 1, Ranged & Defense 1, 5 LB, and a dagger
this time with Mythic and Original cubes

With the loyalty of King Hevik of Volgar bought with the goblet, the combined forces appraise their might against the forces of Tolech. However, little is known about the northern villain’s arsenal. King Kalvar and King Hevik begin to summon the petty lords of the outlying lands.

A Dangerous Dilemma

In Bernd Keep outside the fringes of Volgar, a mysterious and reclusive lord Jark, a duplicitous, lazy, and repugnant man refuses to join Kalvar’s host on account of his lands being razed and invaded by a breed of giants. He claims to need his fighting men for the protection of those subjects under his protection. Kalvar is furious, remembering personally how Jark maligned him many times in the past.

Manda steps forward at the gate of Bernd Keep. “Would it help if we resolved your dispute with these giants?” she asks, trying to find some accord with the lord. However, Jark tells them to be off. Without Jark’s men, the army cannot hope to win against the forces of Tolech.

Asara languishes as the lords bicker and cast churlish names at one another. It is a standstill and valuable time is eaten away. The lords seem to devolve to infantile name-calling, having taken leave of their faculties. Finally, she approaches King Kalvar, trying to dissuade them from their course through strong words. “We cannot tarry here! This man is a waste of all our time. Let us summon more men elsewhere…”

Her words are convincing. Although Kalvar will not let past deeds lie, he agrees to be off.

The Plot Thickens

Little do they know that the giants in question are being directed by a man with an agenda. Marro watches the standoff at Bernd Keep from his hiding place with glee. His giant-sized minions — beastly men with huge gait and warlike demeanor feast on the dead from their most recent conquest.

“What do we do next, boss?” one of the larger ones says while smacking his lips.

“Get your brothers. The seeds have been planted. We act soon!”
They seem pleased by this pronouncement.

An Heroic Undertaking

The host moves onward not in a direction whereupon their hopes had rested — but further south toward Stalheim to beg of King Karik’s army. Amid the vastness of Lor’s Field, an empty cup of tundra where often the shaggy parvaluses graze, the host is being followed by Marro’s beastmen.

Asara and Manda follow the host, taking their turn to watch the stern of the train. They spy the host of giants following them. Asara alerts Kalvar. “It seems Jark was not wrong about giants,” she remarks. She notes the long strides their hunters make. “We can’t outrun them,” she says. “Their plan is most likely to decimate our numbers before we can muster a sizable force.”

She looks about for a place that might serve as a good place to make a strategic stand, however, the landscape is well chosen for a conflict. There is no feature near which to leverage in battle. Is the curse still at work? Asara wonders.

Army Details
  • Kalvar’s Army — Infantry Rating +1
  • Beastman Army — Infantry Size -2 (due to being physically superior giants)
  • Battlefield/Supplies/Sorcerer — no rating
  • Commander — Kalvar grants +2 while enemy grants -1
  • That nets a 0 on all rolls
The allied army sets in, using the time to ready their lines and weapons. Some take to digging a rudimentary rampart in the cold earth with their tools, setting a few stakes. Asara sneers, knowing it will amount to little. She wanders up and down the line, taking note, and delivers fierce words to rally their hearts. “You are noble Valgardians! You fear nothing! Nothing can kill our spirits. We have lived in the frigid north of Lemuria for thousands of years!” They respond with cheers.

The host waits as a line of massive bestial looking men approach. Most likely, these giants were bred in secret, perhaps even with some mixture of sorcery or alchemy.

Finally, the enemy is upon them. Asara takes the fore, wielding her blade and hoping that her curse will not turn things awry for her or the group. Some of the men have taken to Asara, agreeing to follow where she goes. These make up her flanks. 

Giant (Tough)

Strength 3
Attack +0
Agility 0
Damage d6H+3
Mind -1
Defense 0
Lifeblood 8
Protection 1

Three ugly brutes charge Asara. She stands her ground. One nearly guts her. Futilely, she puts her sword up to block. The sword breaks from her grasp and is flung from her hands. Immediately, a bright light flashes out. The giants, in their surprise, shriek in horror.

Asara gets a sudden vision from when she is very young — too young to have understood the meaning at the time. However, now the memories come flooding back. She remembers her father handing her his sword and a commotion outside — raiders. “They must not take this sword, little one!” he had said to her. “Run and hide in the woods. Take the blade. It is old — much older than Valgard herself.”

Back in the here and now, Asara wastes no time. She goes for her daggers and lunges, taking advantage of the momentary surprise caused by the flash of light. She strikes, using both. It puts her much larger foes on the defensive, long enough to score two nasty hits on one. Another strikes savagely, numbing her off-hand and knocking away one of her daggers. She is left with only one and still three extremely savage foes.

She swivels suddenly and hamstrings the one that hit her. The savage falls and flails, trying to staunch the flow of blood. The others vie with her as she tangles too close for effective use of their large axes and clubs. None hit, but one clubs the foot of his companion. Asara uses the distraction to finish off one bloodied giant, leaving only the lame one remaining. He hops on one foot. She swings around the back of the vile thing, wrapping her legs around his thick neck. She digs her dagger into its artery, dropping it dead to the ground. She rolls off.

The closest allies witness to it cheer out, bolstered by her bravery. She recovers her sword. It appears miraculously undamaged. The first several minutes of the battle prove deadly. Several men lay in ruin or dying. Over the course of the hour, the tide turns somewhat, but not enough.

Fetching her blade and dagger, Asara, bloodied and bruised as she is, seeks out the toughest brute she can find, which is not hard. Towering above the others is the captain of the giant skirmishers. A foul hunter that stalks King Kalvar.

Leader (Villain)

Strength 4
Attack +3
Agility 1
Damage d6H+4
Mind 0
Defense 1
Lifeblood 14
Protection 2

Asara pushes through the throng and faces off with the giant. “You’re fools for tangling with us!” she swears.

“Bah!” He lunges, but Asara is quicker. “I’ll feast on your dainty bones, wench!”

She sticks him, but it is barely a scratch to the behemoth. The giant takes a backhand swing which knocks Asara to the ground and nearly blasts the life from her. She shakes off the stupor and rights herself. She lunges again, missing. She ducks another deadly blow. She scores a hit, but it seems she will need to strike a hundred such blows to bring down the giant.

Getting her feet under her again, she tries to fight smartly with small seemingly inconsequential blows to wear down her enemy. After many exchanges, the plan seems to work. Then the giant makes a fundamental mistake and brings down its guard, revealing its flank. The killing stroke comes through the beast’s ribs. The leader staggers and falls.

From there, the footing between Kalvar’s men and the giants is more even. The men gain momentum against the savages. The battle rages, with losses on both sides. Then the giants begin gaining on their enemies.

Finally, Kalvar routes the remaining giants who give up and turn. It is not a decisive victory, and the dead and dying lay over blood-covered tundra.
  • Asara ends with 8 Lifeblood and 1 Hero Point remaining (she can heal to full again)
The Truth Revealed

Asara, once a healer among her people, works where she can to staunch the flow of blood. Among the dead, Kalvar examines the giants. Each bears the mark of Tolech.

“You were right,” he remarks to Asara. “They were working for the enemy — their attack was not in vain. We have lost many!” Heavy is the King’s heart, and grave his voice.

“The battle may be indecisive, my lord,” says Manda. “But the war is not lost. Take heart and do not give up!”

The Final Showdown

King Kalvar and King Hevik collect the dead and wounded and begin the slow trek toward Stalheim to bury the fallen and beg for King Karik’s aid. However, the host will yet again be attacked. Behind them and allied together come the combined forces of the remaining giants and King Jark’s army.

“So!” remarks Kalvar to his counterpart. “Jark has truly betrayed us.”

There is no hope to reach safety before the faster moving armies approach. Manda and Asara survey the grim situation. They cannot now hope to win against an overwhelming force with their spent and weary.

“There is no dishonor in surrendering now to win another day,” Manda urges.

“These men will not so easily give up,” Asara says. Too well she knows the eagerness of the Valgardians to sacrifice their lives when a cause kindles their sense of duty and loyalty. Grimly, she notes to herself that the curse has followed her to the very end.

Asara turns to the kings. “Those willing can stand and fight, and give you both a chance to escape. We can not afford to lose you. If we hold out, you can bring reinforcements from Stalheim.”
Kalvar refuses, but Asara presses him further, impressing the need for unity and a cause. “Otherwise, we all die here today in vain.”

Reluctantly, the two Kings relent. They quickly lure a shaggy parvalus and a second to ride and quickly depart. Asara summons the captains of the remaining forces — fierce and loyal men. They look with admiration upon Asara.

“Here is the plan…” she professes her desperate plan to surrender, engage King Jark to delay the inevitable. Only when they had the element of surprise would they strike.

“Stay your swords until my command!” she says.

Manda and Asara again wait at the fore. The minstrel waives a white flag in the air, holding hands up to placate their enemies as the host approaches. “Hold! Peace! We have an offer to propose!” she cries.

The ploy works! King Jark mounted upon his parvalus puts a hand up to halt his combined army — sized more than enough to easily crush the remaining men. Each of Kalvar’s loyal followers place their swords on the ground in submission.

“Well done,” Asara whispers to Manda.

“State your terms!” Jark shouts smuggly.

“We must speak!” Asara. “These brave men have chosen me as their leader now that King Kalvar and King Karik have abandoned them.”

“My purpose is clear,” Jark responds. “Why should I not let my minions slake their lust for blood and sweep this paltry lot aside so not to be a thorn in my side?”

“Because we can join you,” Asara says bluntly. The ploy works. Jark, being an ambitious, if lazy and an underhanded despot, sees the potential for greater power.

“Why should I trust you?” he asks cynically.

“I know Kalvar’s lands, where he is hiding, and can give you all that was his.”

The bait is taken. Jark dismounts. A pavilion is erected and the two begin talks. Asara is not afraid to let real intelligence from her lips because the plan — the only plan — is to crush Jark and his giants utterly once Kalvar returns with reinforcements from Stalheim. She just needs to draw it out as long as possible.

Asara begins explaining slowly to keep Jark occupied. In the meantime, Jark’s forces have surrounded the surrendering men under their watchful guard. However, Jark is not a patient man.
“You bore me,” he says languidly. “You have given me nothing I could not have easily taken on my own.” To his commander, he orders, “Kill them all…”

“Now!” Asara yells. She draws her blade and bears down on Jark himself.

King Jark (Tough)

Strength 0
Attack + 1
Agility 1 (0)
Damage d6 (sword)
Mind 2
Defense 1
Lifeblood 5
Protection 2

Careers. Noble 2
  • Jark has 5 minions (rabble) surrounding him.
In a panic, Jark falls back, but Asara is faster than his five attendants. She slays him where he stands in a single stroke. The others fall upon her. She evades their blows and drops one. Several more press about her, but she perseveres through their assault taking several nicks and cuts. Several exchanges moves the skirmish into the open, where she finally defeats them.

Battle rages around her. Asara leaps to protect Manda. The host takes severe losses before the horns of Stalheim blast the air. A line of mounted cavalry thunders across the tundra toward the doomed men. The enemy line breaks. The cavalry rides past, hunting down the escaping beastmen and Volgardians. Many of these latter they spare as they cast away their weapons.

However, the giants perish to the very last.

To Be Continued

The losses to Kalvar’s original force are heavy, but many survive to fight another day. In total, Kalvar’s ranks swell with the addition of Karik’s forces. Although half of Valgard now stands under one banner, it is not enough to decisively end Tolech’s threat. Clearly, more will need to be done.

Asara is heralded as a hero. Kalvar also thanks her for uniting the men of the north, something that hasn’t happened for many years. Also King Jark’s treachery is something that had been a lingering problem for many years. That is one less obstacle to eventually overcome.

“You will be a fine Queen one day,” he says.

Still, there is much to do, and time is no longer on their side. Can they hope to muster forces before Tolech’s army spreads south? What horrors and surprises await them at the warlord’s disposal? Was Asara’s curse the cause of the many deaths? Asara finds little solace in her success knowing she could be both the north’s hope and folly at the same time.
  • Asara ends with 6 Lifeblood and no Hero Points
  • She is still cursed and begins play next time with only 3 Hero Points

Monday, December 10, 2018

North of Lemuria, Episode 4 (Untold/BoL)


in which Asara agrees to help King Kalvar wage war against Tolech — using Voyages, Prehistoria, and Mythic

This started with SGAM. I only got three episodes in during the month of November. Nevertheless, I’ll continue as long as the project holds my interest.


Attributes. Strength 2, Agility 1, Mind 1, Appeal 1
Abilities. Melee 2, Ranged 1, Defense 1, Initiative 0
Careers. Barbarian 2, Blacksmith 0, Healer 1, Thief 2
Origin. Valgard
Languages. Axian, Lemurian, Valgardish
Hero Points. 4
Lifeblood. 12
Traits. Battle Harness, Can’t Lie, Feels the Heat, Quick Recovery, Trademark Weapon (Valgardian Long Sword), Tundra-Born

  • Chain Mail Bikini (2)
  • Sword (d6)
  • daggers, 2 (d6L)

A Dangerous Dilemma

On their way to Volgar to rally new warriors for their army, Asara, Manda, King Kalvar and his Vintergart court find themselves mired in the Dead Bog, where some reptilian thing hunts Hamach, the King’s trusted physician. Hamach falls behind. They hear his terrified scream followed by a monstrous shriek.

Asara rushes to get there in time, but is too late. She spies a nasty giant snake-like creature without appendages, and thick rubbery skin covered with sharp spines. The horrific monster steams in the cold, giving off unnatural heat. The monster has swallowed Hamach whole. Finished with its meal, the unnatural bloated thing slithers off into a crack in the earth.

The others join Asara to see the thing escape. They are horrified and grieved.

The Plot Thickens

Some of Kalvar’s men move to investigate. Some cry out. Under the earth, they find a wholly mysterious subterranean city of exotic aspect. Towers of basalt and minarets of crystal gleam in the dim shaft of light. The site exudes a sickening unwholesome pall. Asara warns them not to be distracted by the discovery. However, there is talk of treasure and exploration…the lure of gold is too overwhelming, and several move toward the lure.

The King calls for his men to abandon the folly, but to his dismay, their greed overwhelms their loyalty. Asara follows, telling Manda to remain behind with the King. Ahead beyond sight, she hears astonished shrieks as they discover horrors in the cursed city.

An Heroic Undertaking

Taking a torch and wielding her sword, Asara plumbs the darkness after her doomed companions. She soon finds herself in a large guardhouse straddling the entrance to the accursed city. There, she finds an ornate goblet inset with large fabulously cut opals and diamonds. A flying carrion lizard sits atop the arch eyeing Asara as she cautiously enters.

She sees the cup and as if by magic a spell begins to take hold. The carrion critter shuffles in its roost, anticipating its latest meal. She is ensorcelled by the beautiful objet when the terrible serpent sets upon her.

Salamander Thing

Size. Very Large

Strength 6
Attack +1
Agility -1
Damage d6H
Mind -1
Defense 0
Lifeblood 30
Protection 2

Constriction. If the creature scores a mighty success against a smaller foe, it constricts the victim, doing d6 damage every turn unless the victim makes a formidable (-6) strength task.

By luck, Asara dodges when the thing strikes, trying to set upon her with its massive girth. Asara readies herself, shaking off the lure of riches. Fortunately, the thing is slow and clumsy. It relied on surprise to attack its foe. Asara’s luck in avoiding its first lunge gives her a fighting chance. She skips away, avoiding its snapping jaws. Several thrusts fail to do much to its rubbery hide. She continues her deadly dance, and finally opens a grave wound along its side.

The thing turns to slither away, but Asara dogs its course, not letting the horror escape to harm others. She catches up and strikes. The monster turns to protect itself, hissing menacingly. Its affront keeps Asara from striking its vitals. She fails to move fast enough and gets knocked aside by its girth. It lunges to swallow her, but she rolls aside in the last moment. The opening she wants presents itself! She strikes, scoring a mortal wound. Ichor and blood ooze out, but it’s not dead yet. Another slice with her ancestral sword, and she slays the fiend.

  • Asara takes 1 lifeblood damage, which she can heal later
  • She has 2 out of 4 Hero Points remaining.

The Truth Revealed

Asara cleans her blade. Unfortunately, good men have died. She scoops up the goblet — it’s worth is great, though it may be cursed. She smells something foul that she thinks is not the beast she most recently slew. Not far away, she finds a putrid nest of the beast. Hungry horrific offspring clack and smack on the remains of the men. The beast was providing for its young and protecting its nest all along.

The Final Showdown

As her disgust from the revelation wells up, she hears a hollow, disembodied voice. “You have desecrated the city of Zaggath! You have destroyed my divine creature! A curse upon you!”

It is the voice of a god… or so Asara thinks.

At the same time, the nasty critters swarm toward her in a repulsive surge. She flees with all alacrity, however, she is surrounded and cut off. These things have claws and talons and do not wholly represent the precise nature of their mother, but rather some sort of evolved thing.

She fights her way toward the exit. Their numbers are overwhelming. When she cuts down two, three more appear to take their fallen siblings’ place. Talons and teeth bite and tear, and quickly Asara is bloodied. Still she fights determined. She cuts a swath toward the passage leading away where fewer may assail her.

At last, she emerges bloodied, yet alive.

To Be Continued

King Kalvar, Manda, and the others hear the grim news that their companions are no more. However, it is not a complete loss. Asara slew the horror and many of its young. She also found a handsome goblet worth a king’s ransom. With it, Kalvar can but more loyal troops in his cause.

She withholds the encounter of the disembodied voice that cursed her. Was it the dark god Zaggath? Was there truth to the utterance? Would the goblet bring further trouble? What other horrors lurk in the cursed city waiting to be unleashed upon unsuspecting folk?

  • Asara ends with 2 lifeblood and 0 Hero Points
  • Having gotten and spent treasure, she gets 3 Advancement Points
  • Asara buys the Champion career and brings it up to rank 1 (2 APs)
  • Asara buys 10 rabble followers from among Kalvar’s men (1 AP)
  • Asara takes the “Cursed” flaw, and starts the next episode with one fewer Hero Point (3)