Wednesday, January 1, 2014

The Hour of Dream, part 2

And now, the second, and more entertaining part of “The Hour of Dream.” This one had some nice twists and turns that brings up some past demons for the protagonist. I’m liking the direction this is taking this far. More twists come in the forthcoming part.

Also, here are some NPCs that are featured here: Dynas Dundragon — former member of the Drowsbane court (all we know at this point is that he has an Expert [+4] Polymorph Spell), Orlimpar Eveningfall — a remaining sun elf noble of Cormanthor, and Arlgoth the Mighty, a more than capable barroom brawler.

Scene 4

Setup: The characters blaze their way through the woods, and must navigate, fighting time
CF: 3
Altered? Interrupt!
Twist: focus — close a thread (Find a way to Scardale through the forest); meaning — camera, cane
Note: during the last scene, Tengrym generated a Story Hook from his Quality, ‘Homeland: Northern Moonsea (Sullaspryn)’ — I’m adding this in for interest
Interpretation: an acquaintance from the old days of Sullaspryn who has banded with the elves who have remained find the heroes wandering and guide them to safety

Does Tengrym know this person well? Yes, but…* (not on good terms)
*Twist: focus — NPC action, negative (new NPC); meaning — serpent, angry face
Interpretation: Dynas Dundragon, a former court wizard of Tengrym’s father’s court in Sullaspryn, had been a trusted servant. Before the city’s fall, there were accusations that Dynas had fallen in with an evil serpent cult, brining shame and scandal on the house.
Is Dynas in the company of others? Yes…
With whom/what? commercial building, house
Interpretation: A faction of remaining elves, one a member of a major house

Tengrym and Thedric picked their way forward as soon as they were ready to move. Tengrym tried to keep south and east, but they quickly became disoriented in the dusk light. They were hopelessly lost and starting at the slightest nighttime forest sound (or lack thereof). The two were becoming panicked. In the wilds in darkness, they were easily at the mercy of their predator.

It was then that they heard a curious and nearby birdcall answered by another. In moments, their weapons were borne and they found themselves hemmed in by dark figures. Tengrym called for Thedric to be at ease. He could now see that they were elves, and one was a tall gold elf.

“Well met, good friends,” Tengrym said in elvish, sheathing his sword. “Be at peace! It is a blessing our paths have crossed this night.”

“You are not safe here,” warned the gold elf. “Follow us if you wish to live.”

The response was not exactly friendly; nonetheless, the two heroes followed. They were led by meandering ways and through dell and ridge to a welcoming sylvan glade lit by many dancing faerie-lights. When they came to this clearing, they were greeted by more sentinels, and then questioned.

“I am Orlimpar Eveningfall, of the house of Evalynquestil, and you are now in my power,” said the gold elf in solemn testament. “Answer your names and purpose here so we can deem it ill or good.”

Tengrym did not hesitate to give their real names, for ever the elves of Cormanthor were allies of the Drowsbanes. He told as much of their story as he dared, including their part in Shadowdale and the demon, Egelrenardruth, and the mysterious disfigured man Shandorin and his plan to help the dark elves achieve domination over much of the north.

Orlimpar listened keenly with bright copper eyes, and determined their cause worthy. “We shall help you make swift passage south to the port, for men and elves together share this plight and this one common enemy. Come! Let us drink tonight and share merriment while it may be had and while our hearts may find a narrow place to entertain it.”

So the two were led into the small village made into the boles of great trees and the open spaces around them. A great fire burned brightly, and elvish liquor was passed between them.

It was then that Tengrym spied a particular familiar person. He came forward wordlessly, a hand on his sword hilt and stood before an ancient bent half-elf with a mane of silver hair and a crystal eye.

“Let it be known! I call out one Dynas Dundragon to duel for his treachery upon the House of Drowsbane and the fallen folk of Sullaspryn in the north!” Tengrym cried. His voice shook with barely controlled rage.

In moments, the two were ringed in by elves wielding bows. All were tense and observing Tengrym’s every move.

Does Dynas bear ill will toward the Drowsbanes? Yes…*
*Twist: focus — protagonist, negative; meaning — blackbird, agreement

The man looked up and registered recognition, and even anger. “A duel? Name your terms! Shall it be at swords? Wrestling? How about a simple feat of strength?”

Tengrym was at a loss for words. Obviously the main was being sarcastic. He had always been a feeble man, but a worthy wizard.

“I shall decide,” announced Dynas again. “He who may first lift his opponent in a feat of physical strength wins, and only his victory shall be rightful!”

With that, the man uttered an incantation. Before Tengrym could react, motes of light surrounded him and he screamed in horror as his body withered. His voice became a squawk, and soon there was only a screeching blackbird where once there stood Tengrym Drowsbane. The wizard leapt forward and snatched the frantic dancing bird who knew not how to fly, lifting him up in his grasp with an evil smile on his lips. He looked ready to squeeze the life from the small black creature in his grasp.

Thedric drew two daggers and made ready to let them fly. “You bastard! What have you done to him?!”

Bow strings were drawn, ready to be released at both Thedric and Dynas until Orlimpar intervened. “Dynas! Let him go. What is the meaning of this?”

The wizard released Tengrym, who hopped around awkwardly, continuing to squawk, unable to give shape intelligible words. Dynas then spoke, describing how his time in the Drowsbane court had been a short-lived one. He had uncovered forces at work that were unraveling the dynastic house from within just as more malevolent forces were active underneath the city, preparing for its downfall. Before he could warn Tengrym’s father, Dergan, Dynas was smeared for acts he did not commit, and dark alliances that were not true.

“Dergan Drowsbane, the last ruler of Sulasspryn, would not hear my words,” he concluded. “I was banished with an edict of execution if I ever stepped foot in the city again. So much for the light of justice! I was an outcast and outlaw from the province I loved…all because Dergan was too proud to be associated with my name.”

Does Orlimpar take Dynas’s side? Yes, but…(leaves the quarrel up to Tengrym and Dynas to resolve themselves)

Orlimpar listened judiciously. In the end, he commanded Dynas to release Tengrym from his enchantment. The wizard did so, but Tengrym was still livid and would not listen to the wizard’s defense.

“While I hear truth in your words,” the gold elf replied, “I have little enough power in this, my own fallen shadow of a kingdom, to make any binding decree…nor would my proclamation have any weight among the heirs of the ruined Moonsea city. I cannot break this feud through force of will or commandment. You must settle this for yourselves…however, as long as you are both guests in Cormanthor, there can be no such quarrel. You shall both be removed from our lands if you wish to continue this!”

Turning then to Tengrym, he said, “I can only vouch for this man’s sincerity and service. He has been a valued and accepted member of our court here for many years even before the Retreat. I have never, nor have those more wise than I, perceived any deception in this man. His words ring true, if you would but listen enough to judge yourself.”

Tengrym brooded in silence and hatred for long moments before responding. At last, he said, “I wish no dishonor to your house here in this sacred land, and with respect, I acquiesce, so will put aside our differences for now. However, they are not forgotten nor forgiven. We shall see what shall be revealed at a time when proper tribunals can convene. Master Dundragon’s treachery remains until disproven among my people on their terms.”

“So be it, heir of the House of Drowsbane,” answered Orlimpar.

Does Dundragon know of the prophecy? No, but… (he knows about one additional copy made from Baolnor’s original stone)*
*Twist: focus — tangential; meaning — eyeglasses, bump the bottle, chaos

Suddenly, from behind, Thedric, who had backed off, relaxing in the knowledge that a confrontation would not be forthcoming, knocked a glass bottle from its perch upon a board near at hand. It shattered, releasing the magical music that was contained within. Ethereal and celestial song broke forth, immediately ending the tension. Thedric was embarrassed, but got a firm clap on his shoulder from a nearby smiling elf. Merriment did ensue among those not brooding over old wounds.

In privacy, Orlimpar took Tengrym aside. “I know of your family’s prophecy…and so does Dynas. You would do well to forgive old unfounded accusations. Only together can you unlock secrets that may aid your grand quest. Where you see an enemy, I see a potential ally. You may take or reject my words as is best for you…”


CF: +1
NPCs: Anoris Shandorin, Dark Elves, Thedric, Illistyl Elventree, the basilisk, Dynas Dundragon, Orlimpar Eveningfall
Threads: Find a new safe haven, Discover if Scardale is the distribution point for the seed, Stop Shandorin’s plan

Scene 5

Setup: Tengrym and Thedric arrive by aerial mount to the outskirts of Scardale
CF: 4
Altered? Yes
Interpretation: Rather than by air, they are given swift boats and knowledge of a river emptying to the mouth of the Ashaba

The next morning, Tengrym and Thedric were roused, their supplies replenished, and a slender elf-boat made ready to wash them down the Ashaben. Tengrym had given thought to Orlimpar’s words, but said nothing further to Dynas. As far as he was concerned, the wizard was still a traitor. The fact that he may have information regarding the Prophecy of the Moon as it was also known could not penetrate the armor of righteousness that Tengrym wore so proudly.

The pair said their farewells and gave their gratitude to Lord Eveningfall and his folk, then paddled their way quietly downstream in the swift little boat. The journey, which should have taken them more than four days by Tengrym’s estimation brought them through open land and finally to the outskirts of the township of Scardale in only two long days. They hid the little craft, and wandered into town as dusk gave way to twilight.

What’s Scardale like? sheep, submarine, parachute

The two immediately noted a town in turmoil — the few townsfolk out and about at that hour went about their daily drudgery, a downcast lot following routine despite the topsy-turvy condition inflicted upon their homeland by a now-defeated despot and currently garrisoned by an uneasy alliance of several nations. The seedy element attracted there — free-swords and thieves alike — was equal to that of corrupt cities twenty times the size of the small port town. Buildings looked rundown and shabby, and bands of soldiers marked by swatches of cloth about their armbands to delineate nationality circled the streets like vultures, eyeing one another provocatively, sometimes even shouting insults or taunts to counterparts among their rivals.

Night was already falling, but Tengrym wanted to find out what they could.

Do they find a populated tavern or inn? Yes, and… (many glib-tongued patrons)
Has there been any evidence of poisoning in town or other evidence related to tainted grains? Yes, but… (the clues are not obvious to those not-in-the-know)

The two found themselves in The Tumbling Tankard, a rowdy watering hole overflowing with all types and colors of folk, local and foreign. It wasn’t long before they got themselves within earshot of gossip. Most locals wanted to discuss the more exciting matters of quarreling soldiers or the last sighting of Lord Lashan, but it wasn’t difficult for Tengrym to steer conversation toward local matters. In his evasive and cautious manner, he didn’t get many answers directly signaling an obvious case of Shandorin’s arrival or operation. There certainly wasn’t any sighting of dark elves, else the locals would have certainly brought it up first given what sorts of things captured their interests. However, he did get stories of two accidents at the local granary — two deaths in the past two days. When asked more about it, he discovered that one was a worker who apparently fell to his death from a high perch, and another fellow was crushed to death from a milling stone in a bizarre, unexplained accident.

Note: Due to a botched legerdemain roll, I will also use Thedric’s Story Hook, “Roguish Persona” to create a problem
Who is the one that caught Thedric’s pick pocket attempt? teepee, starburst

Tengrym was still listening. Thoughtful, he decided to check out the granary that night. He turned to discuss with his half-brother, but found Thedric missing.

A sudden roar broke the festive nature of the tavern and intensified it into enthusiastic wagers. There was a brawl. Tengrym rolled his eyes until he saw that Thedric was the one being tossed across the room. A hulking barbaric mountain of a man stalked toward the young man’s landing point ready to finish him. Tengrym had no clue what his half-brother had done, but it had the potential for explosive disaster. Against his strongest instincts, Tengrym suppressed the urge to intervene on his brother’s behalf until it was clear he couldn’t handle the situation.

Barbaric Mercenary

Qualities: 10 ranks of irrelevant background qualities to round out ‘hit points’, Good [+2] Strong, Good [+2] Brawling, Good [+2] Tough

Thedric took a blow to the jaw that knocked him across a table, smashing it. Tengrym flinched and almost threw himself into the fray. However, the young man was on his feet in a second and smiling with his devious mischievous grin. He danced around, making the hulking figure work to get at him. The half-elf was anxious. He thought that the dancing would tire the mercenary out, but the giant tossed an intervening table out of the way and grabbed Thedric by the scruff, lifting him off his feet. Tengrym eyed as his brother filched some crockery from a nearby table. He smashed it over the big man’s head, but the warrior didn’t even flinch. Next, he drew one hand back and launched a fist. Thedric reeled and landed, not getting up. He was done for. Tengrym’s mind raced.

Does the barbarian press the attack? Yes, but… (takes his time, enjoying the cheers)

The giant lumbered slowly toward Thedric’s form. He circled slowly, grinning wolfishly at the many cheers and japes. Tengrym had no assurance that the brawler wouldn’t finish Thedric. Now was his only time to react. Drawing a pinch of sand from his pouch and an eyelash, he uttered an incantation. The giant went down into a snoring heap of flesh where he stood. Tengrym couldn’t help but smile to himself.

Does anyone notice the deception? Yes, and…* (a mob scene erupts)
*Twist: focus — toward thread (Discover if Scardale is the distribution point for the seed); meaning — crossroads, tent, daydream

However, things turned ill as a bystander nearby pointed to the half-elf and cried, “This one’s magicked Arlgoth dead!”

Tengrym’s smile abruptly vanished as the whole tavern turned on him and Thedric alike. Tengrym called across to his brother as he picked himself up off the floor. “Eyes!” …He only hoped Thedric had the presence of mind to prepare. A word of power, and a bright flash exploded in the room. Half of the crowd was blinded, leaving six or so grappling at the two brothers.

Thedric took another hit to the jaw and went down. Just as Tengrym was at a standstill, debating whether it not to turn back to him, he caught sight of a figure outside the door of the Tumbling Tankard. The half-elf was completely stunned by astonishment. There, outside, stood Shandorin. The disfigured half-elf stood idly, almost debating whether or not to enter. Their eyes met, and the villain darted away. Tengrym lunged after, but a fist caught hold of his collar and pulled him in for a punch.

It took Tengrym long moments to dislodge himself. He took two cracks to his jaw and one to his ribs before he landed his first. He was a better dancer and fencer, not cut out for simple brawling. When the last was knocked down, more came rushing. Another pinch of sand and the remaining fell to slumber.

Tengrym clambered over bodies and recovered his brother, slung his arm over his neck and supported his staggering form before escaping into the night.


CF: +1 (already maximum)
NPCs: Anoris Shandorin, Dark Elves, Thedric, Illistyl Elventree, the basilisk, Dynas Dundragon, Orlimpar Eveningfall, Arlgoth the Mighty
Threads: Find a new safe haven, Stop Shandorin’s plan, Hunt down Shandorin and challenge him in single combat

Scene 6

Setup: The two find a quiet place to regroup
CF: 4
Altered? Yes
Interpretation: the only place of refuge is another rowdy tavern

Are there no rooms available? Yes, but…* (they can make use of a private parlor…)
*Twist: focus — NPC negative (Thedric); meaning — nap time, magnet, thief
Interpretation: in the kerfuffle, someone robbed Thedric of all their remaining money!

A little further along Merchant’s Way and through some narrow side streets, the two came to The Dark Bard, if possible an even more rough-and-tumble establishment than The Tumbling Tankard. Thedric was in no shape for causing more trouble, at least that’s what Tengrym thought at the moment.

It was a packed madhouse. Tengrym had hoped to find a vacant room and deposit his half-brother for the time being while he went to the granary on Shandorin’s trail. However, all the rooms were packed full. Furthermore and even more vexing, when offered a private parlor, Tengrym reached into his brother’s pockets to pay finding them empty. Searching every pocket and pouch, they hadn’t a coin between them.


Hearing they had not a coin between them, the pair were asked to leave. With no other choices, Tengrym hauled his brother out.

Do they find a quiet darkened alley to rest? No, but… (the outskirts look promising)

Seeking any darkened corner to rest, the town was overrun by scoundrels and soldiery. There was no peace to be had. Tengrym did the only thing he could and beat a path to the outlying parts just beyond the town. The two found an abandoned barn in which to hole up.

Note: healing done

The two rested, and Thedric came out of his stupor moaning. “Serves you right,” said Tengrym in his best older brother knows best voice. “What were you thinking? While you were testing the rebound properties of the tavern’s many surfaces, I saw Shandorin. He knows we’re here.”

Thedric hung his head glumly as he massaged his aching jaw. “We needed money…”

“And now even more so…you were robbed during the whole affair.”

“Bashaba’s horns!” Thedric frantically groped himself in an effort to disprove Tengrym’s assertion. Sure enough, he had been robbed blind. Literally. “What do we do now?!”

Tengrym contemplated. “I’m not exactly sure. Part of me wants to involve the authorities…they should be warned. Time is now of the essence. Whatever plan Shandorin has, he will press it forward tenfold. He knows we are here…he guesses already what we know, but he doesn’t yet know if we’ve alerted anyone. He may play that hunch, in which case we are targets and things may get dangerous quickly.”

“I don’t know about you, but I already tasted some danger,” Thedric said, spitting out some blood.

Ignoring his half-brother’s statement, Tengrym continued. “Another part of me imagines that few of the fighting nations would listen to the fanciful story we have to tell.”

“No more foolishness!” said Tengrym assertively to himself, slapping a fist into his other hand. “We must act now. Go to the garrisons…tell any who will listen. Alert them about the possible plan and the danger at the granary and a possible dark elf presence. I’ll meet you there. You had best bring as many armed men as you can muster.”

Thedric made a sour face.

Tengrym turned and looked him square in the eye. “I’m counting on you not to mess this up. It could mean the fate of every man, woman, and child in the Dales and beyond. Now go!”


CF: -1
NPCs: Anoris Shandorin, Dark Elves, Thedric, Illistyl Elventree, the basilisk, Dynas Dundragon, Orlimpar Eveningfall, Arlgoth the Mighty
Threads: Find a new safe haven, Stop Shandorin’s plan, Hunt down Shandorin and challenge him in single combat

In conclusion, this was a really fun session. I love it when solo sessions leave me wanting more! That’s not so common a thing in solo games in my experience.

Happy New Year, all!

No comments:

Post a Comment