Friday, January 16, 2015

“Elves’ Dirty Work”, part 2

Continued from here, Kingon finds himself weaponless again, now at the hands of the goblins. His adventure continues in part 2...

The 9Q’s: Questions 4-6

Q4. The Encampment

Focus (PC initiated): infiltration
Where? lovingly juvenile, freely rough (magic mirror, surprised face, from RSC)

When Kingon had gathered his strength, he began to investigate his surroundings. He found himself near the placid waters of a forest lake. It was hilly and rocky, making his way difficult in the going. He became aware of sounds as he scouted.

Climbing to a high ridge, he came to the edge of a narrow gorge from which plumes of smoke rose from what appeared to be cooking fires. He was shocked to see a goblin encampment, out in the broad daylight underneath the sky. This was highly unusual behavior, but at least the canopy of the forest gave them some protection from the sun from which they usually hid themselves.

GM’s Reaction: swiftly feeble, lie legal (goblin, full sack, from RSC)

Suddenly from behind came a pathetic sound. Kingon turned swiftly, drawing his blades. Before him was a young goblin whelp. The half-elf was no judge of goblin age, but he might guess the youngling was but a year or two old. The grubby creature held out an empty hand, while pointing toward the ranger’s pouches with the other. The creature was obviously starving and begging for a handout. Even with his blades drawn ready to deal death and his mighty jaguar not far away, the pathetic creature came forward, driven by its baser need to survive.

Even though the creature’s cry might draw the entire tribe, spelling certain death, Kingon could not bring it upon himself to kill the thing. He put away his blades and showed instead his pouch, which he turned inside out. He shrugged his shoulders.

“I’m sorry! I don’t have anything.”

The creature began to cry. Kingon also had not much experience with the incredible volume a tiny young goblin could make. Wet sobs carried through the forest. The ranger tried to coo the child, making overtures of peace. However, the thing turned and walked away, clutching some decaying rag thing that must have served as it’s teddy bear.

At once, Kingon was surrounded by dozens of warriors and many bows were trained at him. Shadow, having sensed their approach was already nowhere to be seen. Then, either brave or stupid, the half-elf unbuckled his sword belt and dropped his bow, holding his arms out in a gesture of peace. He was going to surrender.

Do they kill him on sight? No

Kingon was handled far from gently, although they didn’t kill him on the spot, which was a good thing. Whatever pity had stayed his hand with the child, he was now beginning to doubt the wisdom of that judgment. How in the nine hells was he going to get out of this one?

Q5. The Summoning

Gains Undermined: neatly lovely, punish travel (howling wolf, from RSC)
Focus: revelation

Kingon was ushered down into the gorge through winding and narrow paths. As he walked, he was prodded by spear tip as well as obviously obscene goblin profanities. Here were the women and children of the tribe. Many huddled together around fires, observing the half-elf through wide, astonished eyes.

As they continued their way, Kingon could descry a central place in the village around a huge fire where many of the tribal warrior and elders were at work. A particularly old gentle-goblin bedecked in feathers, paint, and an assortment of bone charms observed the ritual, adding every now and then a punctuating syllable or command, throwing various colored powders into the fire which flared brightly and disappeared. It was obviously some sort of ceremony — however judging by the many goblin faces, it was not a joyous one. He noted many of the villagers’ stolen heirlooms near the fire. Every once in a while the shaman would reach down and toss one of those in the circle as well.

“I don’t wish to harm anyone!” said Kingon, to which he was answered with a sharp needle to the rear from a spear. “Is there anyone in this damn village that speaks the common tongue?!”

The same reply came, this time fiercer.

Not far away, he was bound behind his back and fastened to an old dead tree. However, he had a great vantage point to the spectacle. He watched as the ritual grew frenzied. Though he did not understand the nature of it, he began to understand that it was not merely goblin superstition — within the flames, a deeper darker color began to swallow the yellow and orange of the outer flames. Within was a black globe that slowly grew. Within the blackness, there became a second growing fire within — The half-elf could only describe what he saw something unholy.

Does anyone address him? No

It seems hours went by and darkness fell, with a full moon rising on the horizon. Still the ritual continued, now growing to a fevered climax. And Kingon could only continue to watch.

With nothing else to do but observe, he studied their movements and timing (partial). In Shadowdale, Kingon observed many rituals, for there were many spell casters in the dale. Magic was never his forte. However, he could recognize a summoning circle when he saw one. This one, drawing off of the energy of the revelers as well as the magical skill of the village shaman, caused this circle to be extremely potent judging by its size and sustained growth.

At the witching hour, the ritual was complete and the globe of unholy darkness took on a life of its own.

Does the circle overwhelm the controllers? Yes
What comes out of the circle? looks like anxiously dry; does overindulge innocent

The shaman and the village warriors observed with hypnotic fascination as the thing grew and lifted off the ground. From it’s darkest depths came a skeletal face. Many scattered astonished cries and moans skip the lips of the observing village. The skeletal face hit the edges — the boundaries — of the encapsulating sphere. Like a balloon, those boundaries flexed outward, expanding to accept the giant skull of the otherworldly thing that was now trying to escape.

Kingon knew this was a horrible disaster in the making, and if he did not escape now, he would die not at the hands of the goblins, but by those of some demonic thing that was ready to be released.

During the interim time he spent observing the ritual, he had surreptitiously worked some of his bindings loose around his wrists. Now is the time for escape (miss). However, instead of a stealthy escape, the old gnarled branches to which he was fastened snapped loudly, drawing attention from the entire village… as well as the horror now escaping from the globe.

Kingon did not linger to study the reaction of the village, taking off at a run.

Are his weapons within visual range? No
Do the village runners pursue? No
Does the thing attack the villagers? Exceptional Yes (doubles)
Does Kingon come across his belongings? Yes

Kingon tore through the foliage at top speed, stooping only to fetch his two blades and bow as he saw them lying near a hut. From behind came an enormously terrifying screech that filled the entire forest. Other screams of agonized villagers followed as well as a tremendous crashing. The demon had been released and was feasting itself on the unwitting and unfortunate souls responsible for summoning it.

Q6. The Charge

Escalation: healthily large, expose rumor (elephant, key, from RSC)
Focus: pursuit

Kingon flew through the forest, quietly calling for Shadow. The sound from behind grew to unthinkable proportions. Above the treetops, a now flaming tusked skeletal humanoid rose. The thing was taller by a wide margin than Elminster’s tower back in Shadowdale. The earth trembled as the monster took flight on the ranger’s trail.

Kingon pushed the limits of his endurance (partial). Eventually, the terrifying sounds of the giant otherworldly monster disappeared in the distance, but now he was hopelessly lost — even if he was lost already!

He knew he had to make his way to some community to give warning before the monster would come through. Be it man or elf, it did not matter.

It was desperate, but he had to find Imewar’s people, and fast! (hit)

Stay tuned for part 3...