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Walsingham

A roleplaying campaign blog (WHFRP)

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However, in the early hours of the next morning the gate guards of the clanhold reported sounds of battle in the woods in front of the gates. The woods being some 300 yards distant no details were clear besides the obvious involvement of goblins (noise wise). In fear of a seige the alarm was sounded, and increasing numbers of sleepy dwarves appeared at the gates, buckling on armour and hurriedly whetting axes with their daggers.

 

In fact what had happened was a human and goblin observation party (five strong each way) had run into one another unexpectedly, with the advantage to the goblins! The furious combat had gone in favour of the tiny gobbos*, and the humans instantly lost one of their number, with the remainder electing to fall back in surprise after killing one goblin. Meanwhile our PC decided he wasn't going to sit indoors no matter how big an army there was outside, and ventured forth cautiously. His stealthiness was as good as could be expected in the cold morning light, but sadly the goblins aced their initiative check for awareness and must have smelled him. I expect dwarves smell strongly of metal polish and porridge oats.

 

The goblins immediately had to check for hatred against their natural enemy, and all four stoppped eating the fallen human, and with screams of bestial fury critically failed the cool check. All four took off as fast as they could and comedicaly, the dwarven PC did also. And a fine spectacle I'm sure it was for the other dwarves watching; a handful of whom began moving up with measured tread.

 

Like an arrow meeting an apple the dwarf punch straight into the goblins. One died almost instantly, but he fell into a spirited combat with the remaining three. In fact one goblin was so apoplectic with rage that for most of the fight he simply stood still waving his mace in the air and cursing a vivid blue streak. The most composed goblin however, poked and prodded with a halberd and kept the dwarf at a distance until, chancing to luck, the dwarf bounded forward and fetched him a hammer to the chin. Then following his momentum he wrapped teh goblin in a bear hug and proceeded to hammer away at his tiny body from behind, swiftly crushing his ribs like a bundle of twigs. The remaining goblin kept striking ineptly at the dwarf and somehow failing to do any serious damage. Then, just when it looked like combat could take forever to finish, the scrum of dwarf warriors bowled everyone over and that was that.

 

~

 

After a rest our dwarven PC elected to scout further into the woods, despite his minor injuries, and came upon a curious scene. The remaining human form was clad in far finer clothes than the local humans used, and equipped with a long thin sword, leather jerkin and copper-bossed buckler. His legs and face were both mutilated by hungry goblins. The dwarf looted the corpse with evident pleasure, and was especially pleased with the buckler. He did not, however, manage to draw any appropriate conclusions from this strange newcomer or from teh fact that tracks lead away from the site.

 

Returning to the clanhold, he found much ferment. The clansire epicly failed his cool check, and passed his leadership check. This meant a determination to strike at the goblins immediately. The changing rationale being the goblins had to know they were here, and action should be swift. Plans were laid, a shorter path found by scouts, and armstaking completed. The older dwarf priest decided it would be best if the young dwarf PC initiate acted as warpriest for the expedition to which end he gave him two magic healing potions, and a number of poultices which he said "Didn't do anything, but calmed people down". His instructions were to avoid using the potions on anyone unless absolutely necessary.

 

As dusk fell, the expedition set out. At the head were heavily armed and armoured hearthguards. Long chainmail surcoats flapping, nodding waraxes, and iron boots thumping the thin soil resoundingly. Behind them were the youngest clan members, far less well armed and armoured; pothelms, maces, swords, even stone maces. They nervously joked, and got out of step with the remainder. Finally keeping up the rear was the older clan members, or 'stalwarts', with whatever personal wargear they had accumulated in their long lives. Each group numbering ten apiece.

 

Cutting straight across between clanhold and goblin valley (missing out the route via the village you notice), the party paused only to collect some tree trunks at the PC's instruction, and were immediately spotted by goblin piquets. Entering as they were from the eastern end of the valley they had to come down a steep slope then skirt the edge of the waterfall pool before reaching the western end and crossing. En route they took a handful of arrows, but the goblins' night vision only went 10 yards, and was insufficient to the task. Most arrows fell short or long.

 

The stream itself posed no obstacle, as the dwarves more or less ignored their makeshift bridge and leapt the stream. The hearthguard and stalwarts reformed in a disciplined fashion on the far (goblin) bank, but the youngsters charged pell mell into combat with the goblins on the poolside. Our PC seemed reluctant to make any move while all this happened so he was able to observe the youngsters making little headway against the equal number of goblins (aided by the goblins failing their hatred check and gaining benefits to their stats). The hearthguard wheeled across the main cave mouth and despite taking occasional arrows, their heavy armour and long shields prevented any serious harm.

 

The goblins on the shore seemed blessed by whatever gods they worshipped, and badly wounded one youngster, hacking off his ear, which prompted the stalwarts to cease spectating and pile in. Although this still failed to translate into goblin casualties, and our dwarf PC was finally moved to pitch in when he saw a gobin and dwarf both crit fail their attack rolls and fall over in the shallow water. Locked in a wrestling match which seemed sure to drown both. He charged, and after two attempts landed a stunning blow on the goblin, whose original opponent capitalised on the intrusion by headbutting him, and throwing him under. Our PC joined in further by stamping repeatedly on the goblin's birdlike skull, and glancing around.

 

As the dwarf PC did so, he saw two goblin critical successes in swift order. Groups of three goblins 'marx brother'ing first a stalwart then a youngster. Frontal attacks, combined with flanking attacks, and ending with a third goblin rousting from behind. These casualties seemed to galvanise the dwarves, however, and the combat on the shore finished brutally but swiftly.

 

~

 

Recovering his composure, and pulling river weed off his chainmail, our dwarf PC moved up to the hearthguard who - seeing their rear was secure - were forcing a passage into the cavemouth. Only one dwarf wide, the crack in the cliff face was streaming with meltwater, but the goblins were no match for the dedicated tunnel fighter leading the push, and fell back in disarray.

 

Fortunately for the dwarves, our PC spotted the fact that the main fissure had an offshoot at knee height on the right. A low, wide tunnel. Peering in, he narrowly missed a thrown iron dart, and to cut a long tangled mess short convinced those behind to block off and guard the side tunnel. Which was just as well, since there were some 20 goblins in there, all waiting to counter-attack. He moved up to catch up the hearthguard, and completely missed the success of his 'whack a mole' plan. Driven wild with hatred, several clumps of goblins burst forth, and were calmly and efficiently minced by three stalwarts.

 

The dwarf knew nothing of this, as he moved up, passing what he correctly decided was an empty fissure to the left, and emerging into a very large chamber, the near side of which was a sort of beach, clotted with stones, bones, and goblin dung. On the beach the hearthguard were in the process of finishing off the unfortunate goblins still in this part of the caves. A process which concluded, lead naturally on to a search of the area. A search which our PC joined in with, once a critically wounded dwarf had been administered to with a potion. The ption itself not doing a great deal of good, as the wounded dwarf coughed much of it up and over himself, but still left him able to walk away to the surface.

 

During the course of this search, with dwarves moving quietly around the beach and checking the walls, ceiling, and far side for tunnels, traps etc, a number of black orcs lumbered out from the water, blinking and regaining their breath. Both sides proceeded to fail THREE awareness checks, so they were well intermingled before our dwarf turned to the dwarf next to him and discovered he was an orc! The orc likewise passed his awareness but having less initiative managed to get in only one hefty cut to the PC's right arm before succumbing to double hammer blows to his knee which took it clean off. Our PC in turn was only saved by his good fortune in possessing both chainmail and an iron gauntlet on his right hand. But he was down to only two wounds.

 

Looking around, he was just in time to see the clansire trip backwards and fall into the water. A great shape swinging repeatedly at him with a spiked mace, and obviously connecting. Our dwarf charged in an effort to save him, but didn't quite make it, leaving the clansire to suffer another crushing blow to his face. Disaster would have been inevitable had the PC not criticalled with both attack and damage and delivered a total of 28 wounds (four times the average total for most humanoids) to the creature's backside. Swinging downwards, the orcs must have been astonished at the crucial moment to receive a blinding pain in his lower spine, and to be catapulted forward, arse over tit, to land upside down forehead first on a hard rock, further injuring himself, and then to collapse into the pool, inhaling a copious quantity of filthy water and begin drowning. The clansire noticed this, and sitting upright managed a gaptoothed bloody grin, extending a hand for assistance, which was rendered.

 

Meanwhile the five remaining orcs (who were the regular not larger black variety) were still fighting the remaining hearthguard. Two fell, one decapitated. But with the clansire and PC joining in, the fight ended quickly, as they concentrated on outnumbering one orc at a time.

 

A hard silence fell in the darkness, and all eyes hunted about for further signs of orc. But a complete stillness correctly lead them to realise none were coming. In fact more might have arrived, but they critically failed their leadership rolls, and refused to venture forth - more on this later. Now, the dwarves were fairly scattered about, and had taken several casualties. A force of humans would be pretty shaky round about now, but I decided these were tunnel fighters and must have some system for rallying and reforming underground. The clansire therefore shouted 'sing out', and each dwarf joined in a great bassy rumbling song. A sort of close harmony war dirge, the clansire listening intently for missing notes, while the song rose and fell.

 

Satisfied, but saddened the clansire decided to fall back, announcing both those missing, and the situation of all [presumably casualties are evidenced by missing notes, and the differing melodic strands of music denote what tactical position the dwarves are in at the time of singing, while the echoes themselves help denote layout of the caves/tunnels]. Apart from the main cave there was only a side fissure/larder that was empty, and the small side tunnel containing an unclear number of panicky goblins. However, the PC failed his intelligence by only one point and knew he was missing something crucial about the main cavern. He tried several times to get it, needing to pass his leadership check to maintain a guard around him while he did so. Then on his last chance he took a goblin spear and began probing the water. he ffinally realised that the water was not shallow throughout, but a slope ran clearly towards the far wall, and there might well be more caverns beyond the water.

 

Unfortunately, this revelation failed to impress the clansire who was in a foul temper, having had much of his face bashed in, and having lost a total of six clan members, including two hearthguards. So irate was he that he refused to listen, instead insisting, griefstricken, on the PC - who was a priestly initiate - on him anointing and seeing to the fallen. So much so that he had to be pointedly reminded that the wounded were a more pressing task. A point which proved fortuitous as by dint of another magic potion.

 

Not wishing to leave any alive, parties of dwarves piled wood into the caves, and into the side tunnel, and made sure all were blazing before retreating back to the clanhold. The goblins, penned up in their sleeping burrow, and unable to escape, died frantically, choked by smoke and starved of air. Though none would feel very sorry for them had they thought much about it.

 

~

 

Arrival at the dwarfhold was victorious tinged with sadness. They had won, but at a tremendous price for so lean an enemy. Five dead of a party of thirty, and a total dwarf population of barely 200. Two of whom were exalted hearthguards.

 

Our dwarf PC was tired, and bloody, but anxious families and a commanding priestly superior, meant he had to remain awak until teh morning, striupping, washing, and presiding over the resting corpses in the chapel, before getting an hour's sleep, only to be awakened at dawn to organise the preparation of the funeral biers above ground. So that the ashes and smoke could send the dead into the pitiless heavens.

 

Greatly subdued, and aching from his wounds, a long sleep found the dwarf still angry and unsure of himself. He'd accumulated 200 xp by now, and after much consideration, and talking to the priest, he elected to sit the vigil to see if his god would call him to fuller service as an actual cleric. a vigil in the familiar small chapel, surrounded by the smells and memories of the recent dead. A contrast of innocent youthful memories, and hard recent ones. Ambition and glory juxtaposed by disaster and lamentation.

 

I considered how he'd been killing a lot of goblins, tending to the wounded, and how he was an orphan come to the church. I also listened to his 'thoughts' during the vigil (as described by the player) - which were less impressive and full of doubt. This all translated into a roll on the 'priest progression table' plus ten percent. A roll which ended up quite sensibly with Grungni (his god) telling him absolutely bugger all. No message was forthcoming. A fact painfully underlined by the knowing look he received from the priest who hand fell gently but painfully on his shoulder at dawn.

 

Sitting a vigil costs 100 xp, so the PC was doubly annoyed, and played the disappointment wonderfully. Going immediately to the refectory, eating some burgoo and storming outside to get some fresh air. Which for a dwarf is the equivalent of mooching down to the basement or the local graveyard. However, once outside, a lucky roll - justified by his sharpened concentrated mind, and the sight of snow melting on the pine trees - bore a revelation. The cave they had come from, though underwater, might not always be underwater. In fact it was likely that the flooded area would drain away in a matter of weeks or months. The emerging goblins and orcs had likely come from a larger network, swimming underwater, evidenced by their light armour and other wargear! Who knew how many were on the other side.

 

The dwarf dashed imediately to the clansire's chambers, where the old dwarf was reviwing plans from his chief engineer to extend tunnels into the area of the goblin caves to extract the harder rock and search for metals [ of which they had none in this area save a little copper]. Unfortunately for the clanhold, our dwarf loused up both his intelligence and leadership stats, and offended both clansire and engineer by improper address. They refused to listen and told him to get out, upbraiding him for his impertinence.

 

The session ended with one furious dwarf pondering his options...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Throughout this period the goblins seemed blessed by the most amazing luck. This just underscores the importance of playing the dice as they fall. It made for a much more interesting story.


"It wasn't lies. It was just... bull****"."

             -Elwood Blues

 

tarna's dead; processing... complete. Disappointed by Universe. RIP Hades/Sand/etc. Here's hoping your next alt has a harp.

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This is nice work. I know nothing about WH rules or settings, but your storytelling makes it interesting and easy to follow.

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This is nice work. I know nothing about WH rules or settings, but your storytelling makes it interesting and easy to follow.

 

:) How very flattering. Thank you!

 

EDIT:

 

I've decided there will be three parties afoot when we move to the city, as will eventually happen. There will be two warring branches of the same larger noble house. Onewants the blonde girl (Lyssandre) because they believe she can prove a dalliance between her mother and one of the noble houses of the Empire. This will tip the balance of power and they believe will permit consolidation of strength in the region. This side is utterly unscrupulous. The other side merely want the girl kept safe, and an independent city state from Empire interference and possible ructions with the Bretton nobility who are immediately next door. They are a bit fluffy, but will prove increasingly determined, perhaps turning to Tilean pirates or the Araby Caliphate to teh south.

 

I think a third side may prove expedient, if things get too sticky. This side will be lighthearted and lead by a mysterious and much loved character. They will serve to frustrate both parties. But their true motivations will not yet be made clear?

Edited by Walsingham

"It wasn't lies. It was just... bull****"."

             -Elwood Blues

 

tarna's dead; processing... complete. Disappointed by Universe. RIP Hades/Sand/etc. Here's hoping your next alt has a harp.

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Awesome stuff Wals, I don't know a thing about WH either but this is great. Requires a lot of flexibility on you though, if big decisions are decided by a dice roll - PC must have a pretty damn low INT stat. :)

 

Where's the beggar been all this time? Not present?

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Where's the beggar been all this time? Not present?

He's been busy begging? :(

 

Interesting story so far :)


“He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would surely suffice.” - Albert Einstein

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The beggar obeys an old trick of mine. If a player is likely to be absent make sure his character is prone to fits of extreme drunkenness or catatonia (the mental illness, not the band). With this in mind he's been canvalescing in a room attached to the dwarven chapel.

 

Incidentally, one of the players hads found this blog, so I'm going to have to use spoiler tags at times. Please remember to respond to spoilers in spoiler tags. Apparently this will be enough to keep my player honest. :(

 

 

It's interesting you saying that about the turn of the dice, Tigs. I think that actually it makes it more interesting for me and for the players. There's an added tension because even my own story can be derailed. Plus I think it makes things less generic. Having a cowardly clansire for the first bit who goes overexcited then becomes cowardly again! :lol:

 

I do want to get the beggar playing again soon, though. Because he's got a far more interesting personal story, which I want to introduce as a sort of sherlock holmes affair trying to work out what he is and has done.

 


"It wasn't lies. It was just... bull****"."

             -Elwood Blues

 

tarna's dead; processing... complete. Disappointed by Universe. RIP Hades/Sand/etc. Here's hoping your next alt has a harp.

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Apologies for the delay. I had held off writing the last session partly because I've been too busy and partly because I wanted to belay it until I was ready for the next session. Which should be today.

 

The end of our previous session had seen the dwarf PC - whose name I should really look up [ ed. 'Malaik']- standing on the doorstep of the dwarfhold in the rays of the dawn, in a mix of confusion and fury. He had spent the night praying in vigil to his god for direction as part of the ritual to become a full cleric. But Grungni had very pointedly not spoken. The dwarfhold being small, many persons knew of his failure and were giving him space. Although given his recent efforts against the goblins they were prepared to do so kindly.

 

Gazing at the nearby woods, as they slowly blossomed into light from their tips to their roots in the rising sun, he was at a loss as to his next move. Should he stay, should he go? So it was perhaps fortunate that the beggar, dubbed 'Nevin' by the dwarf, emerged from his semi-catatonia and joined him. A short discussion ensued, some of which I missed because I was getting a round of beer in. They discussed mainly who the beggar was (he still didn't remember anything and didn't want to try), and the threat from the cavern and the possibility of more goblins and orcs emerging. The dwarf further explained that he had tried to communicate the urgency of this to his clansire but had done so in such a peremptory fashion that no one was willing to listen any further.

 

After some prompting it was decided that they should go to the ruins of the human village and search for any clues, in addition to looting anything of use. Further plans could wait. And so, taking provisions for two days, plus some camping kit, they set off at a brisk pace through the woods. The dwarf again finding it too hot, and the human finding it a touch cool although this probably had as much to do with his not wearing any trousers (he had been given a dwarf muumuu affair to wear as a long belted tunic).

 

Arriving at the village my plan was more or less upset by the dice yet again. My two blundering players got within earshot and noticed the oblivious party already in the ruins. This party, they saw consisted of a two men at arms on foot, sharing a joke with a more impressive man on horseback. One foot soldier carried a 'very large stick', while the other was more conventionally armed with a sword and buckler. The man on the horse was too distant to closely observe, but was obviously senior.

 

The two players observed all this from the relative safety of some woods, beneath a convenient shrub. But so long did they remain there waffling that it was only with some alarm that they noticed that although the other soldiers were still talking, the horseman was staring pointedly directly at their portion of wood, and was at the precise moment of spurring hsi horse to a charge. A fact which took his own men by surprise, but which they soon followed, another horseman coming round a house on their left.

 

The dwarf elected to hide behind a tree. However, Nevin, on hearing the pounding of the hooves entered fugue of blurred vision and sweating with fear, lowered his goblin spear at the kneeling position. He realised he knew at some instinctive level that this way the way to receive cavalry. A fact which did not elude their aggressor who deftly reined in his horse short and leapt from the saddle, drawing a a long cavalry pistol. A mechanism of rarity and (against chainmail) devastating power.

 

There then ensued a prolonged episode of trying to understand one another which would be tedious to relate. The pair were unwilling to make a move aggressively and were soon very effectively surrounded by four other soldiers, one on horseback, two with large matchlock harqebuses; devices onec again of rare provenance. The chief topic beyond the obvious being the whereabout s of a certain blonde haired girl. The one who you will recal was killed, eaten then burned by goblins. During this period the dwarf proceeded, not unexpectedly to annoy everybody through a combination of aggression and bad manners. A process leading to his being seized and bound from neck to waist in rope.

 

The dice dealt me a surprise however with Nevin and the horseman. Nevin managed to display obvious honesty, and courage in his answers. A fact which the mysterious and not entirely pleasant man recognised, and decided to like. The horseman in turn I was obliged to describe in dynamic, if not exactly friendly fashion, as a man of resolution and immense nervous energy.

This made some sense since they were both fighting men, and although bound by the situation I though the horseman might well react positively to a man who offerred no resistance but was no coward. He was after all supposed to be a smart and able lieutenant. Not the sort of man who makes enemies for no reason. Partly because he felt compelled to destroy those enemies he did make.

 

 

This threw me a bit of a loop because it meant that when they asked to be let go so they coudl go back to the dwarfhold together and allow the human to interview the villagers to corroborate their story I couldn't see him disagreeing. Fortunately, however, I finally realised the obvious flaw in this reasoning and the horseman smilingly pointed out this would place him and his men in the midst of a large dwarf fortress. A position not conducive to retaining possession of this annoying dwarf whose answers had not being very convincing, and for whom Nevin could hardly vouchsafe honestly; since Nevin had only known him for a few hours in total.

 

For this reason, and since it fitted his instructions better, the horseman (I'll go look up his name now - Joaquin D'Almeida) elected to take them with him to a safer locale.

Reasoning that the dwarves either knew were the girl was or could be pressured into revealing her location in exchange for his hostage

. This unfortunately turned out rather unhappily to absorb much of the remainder of the session. Mainly because my plans for the relevant bit of the campaign fit a much larger city called Magritta on the South Coast, artehr than Bilbali which was established as being nearby. In itself such a journey might ordinarily be glossed over but of course my players had to be given opportunities to learn about their captors and to escape. Something which would have been impossible if they'd both been tied, but only Malaik the dwarf actually was!

 

Fortunately for my sanity, Nevin the beggar decided that going to Magritta was as good a notion as any. Especially since objecting might cost him his life and good treatment. While Malaik remained bound from nose to waist until they made it across the mountains and onto river transport. A journey of several days.

 

The only further point of interest, beside the descriptions of scrubby hillside, dusty mountain villages of whitewashed stone, and flearidden caravanserai, was a 'chance' encounter high in the mountains. While the guards relaxed on some wooden benches with wine and rabbit, a man approached Nevin. He had an enormous barrel chest, bandy legs, and wore an outlandish tunic of gold slashed in purple and an immense floppy hat. He introduced himself by demanding Nevin hold out his hand. A hand which duly trembled, and which was first matched by then grasped in the stranger's sinewy paw. Indeed the stranger explained in Old Worlder that he was himself an artillerist who had contracted the shakes in battle and had taken himself up into the mountains to rest his nerves. Nevin's tale in turn interested the man, and before the group moved on the pair were able to share a flask of wine, bread and oil and salt, and Nevin learned he had once spoken the secret battle language of the Empire; although he was out of practice.

 

To cut the tale slightly short, it all ended somewhat weakly with the party decaming from their boat within sight of Magritta, alighting on prepared horses and a wagon, then heading towards the walls.

 

Some XP was awarded for roleplaying, but insufficient purchase any upgrades.


"It wasn't lies. It was just... bull****"."

             -Elwood Blues

 

tarna's dead; processing... complete. Disappointed by Universe. RIP Hades/Sand/etc. Here's hoping your next alt has a harp.

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The dwarf elected to hide behind a tree. However, Nevin, on hearing the pounding of the hooves entered fugue of blurred vision and sweating with fear, lowered his goblin spear at the kneeling position.

Dear Malaik,

 

Cowering in fear of a mere human, not to mention hiding behind shrubbery like a pointy eared tree hugger makes you a disgrace to your hold. For the sake of your family I encourage You to read through the attached application form for membership of the cult of Grimnir and consider taking The Oath.

 

A friend.


“He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would surely suffice.” - Albert Einstein

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magrittamap3.png

 

Legend as follows

 

1. Casa Gorthoba; to which the players are taken. It sits on a long and broad ridge, giving it views across the city and the bay of Quietude

2. The Kovostella; a huge and ancient arena

3. The Citadel

4. The Palace of the Prince, which is guarded, ineffecively by the city guards

5. The Plaza Gorrona; where those who need to be seen have their scene

6. Fort Barum

7. The entrance to the bay, guarded by seige engines, and towers of wizardry, plus several booms which can be lowered.

8. Fort Alejandrus

9. The artisan's dock, for finished goods, produced in the quarter behind it. Woollen fabric, cigars, pottry, silverware, stored spirits and fine wines

10. The new docks, for incoming goods such as grain, silk, tobacco

11. The old dock, now used mainly for the armed ships of noble houses

12. The Great Market. Hugely open.

13. The arabesque quarter, a concentration of merchant houses from Araby a land to the south across the sea [not very imaginative, but it's hardly my fault]

14. The Carcera. A wide flat fort, with extensive prisons and arsenals in the caverns beneath. Public executions occur outside fr the edification of travellers on the Calla Derechada

15. The small town of Laruja, where most of the fresh fish is landed for pickling, salting, smoking. The smell is proverbial to the extent that certain ladies are referred to as 'larujas'. A fact not in contest with the nearby presence of the fortresses.

16. The town of Carravosque, which contains many expensive villas on the windward western side. Servants have to live on the marshward eastern side and suffer for it.

17. The Carravosque delta. Alive wth insects, lizards, and which contains the abject ruins of ancient buildings just visible from the elevated roadway

18. The old market

 

~

 

Travel

 

Most travel to the city comes via water, either sea or the great river to the northeast. The various calla are pretty reliable in all weathers, being based on much earlier work, as evidenced by their perfect straight line orientations. Almost no travel come from the north and northwest due to the trackless and highly unpleasant expanse of the great duty plain. The La'al.

 

The main part of the city is only partially surrounded (to the east) by a proper curtain wall. This was supposed to completely encircle the city but as it was built the settled area got squeezed further and further westward until the available funds, and the prince concerned, both expired.


"It wasn't lies. It was just... bull****"."

             -Elwood Blues

 

tarna's dead; processing... complete. Disappointed by Universe. RIP Hades/Sand/etc. Here's hoping your next alt has a harp.

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Is there a particular reason the nobles decided the land right next to the marshes was a great place to live? :p

Wasn't it only the servants of the Nobles who lived on the "Marsh" side? ;)

16. The town of Carravosque, which contains many expensive villas on the windward western side. Servants have to live on the marshward eastern side and suffer for it.

Maybe we have to build a model town of Magritta :)


“He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would surely suffice.” - Albert Einstein

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Is there a particular reason the nobles decided the land right next to the marshes was a great place to live? :lol:

 

The land on the windward side is sunny and lovely. That's why. As Gorth points out, it's only their servants who live on the marshy side. Of course, they still get all the diseases transferred to them eventually. Silly nobles.

 

We did have a session, witha lot of stuff in the Kovostella. But no time to type up just now.


"It wasn't lies. It was just... bull****"."

             -Elwood Blues

 

tarna's dead; processing... complete. Disappointed by Universe. RIP Hades/Sand/etc. Here's hoping your next alt has a harp.

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Wals, I feel it is my solemn duty to poke you surreptitiously.

 

Oh so YOU are the bastard whose not been poking me.


"It wasn't lies. It was just... bull****"."

             -Elwood Blues

 

tarna's dead; processing... complete. Disappointed by Universe. RIP Hades/Sand/etc. Here's hoping your next alt has a harp.

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You will recall that our last session ended with the players astride horses and heading in to the city of Magritta, it's large and badly maintained curtain wall looming before them like a thirsty... something.

 

Entering the city required a cursory inspection from some clearly poor quality guards in what woudl later turn out to be the colours of the Prince of Magritta.

 

Once inside the gates the players were entranced by views of a large and vibrant city state. Carts of grain, barrels of olives, men carry baskets of fish. Camels. Peasants of every stripe idling, and talking. Note that this was because they came in through the Nadye gate near the old market. But they soon headed off into side streets and up the slope to the Casa Gorthoba. Here the were introduced to the architecture a little. A stone walled building centred on a medium sized courtyard containing mainly room for stabling and forming up expeditions. It has three levels above ground, surmounted by an octagonal tower with terrace.

and two basement levels that they haven't seen yet

 

 

Dismounting, Joaquin stormed off and established that his master (Matxin) was not present. This posed a problem for Matxin, who decided he would rather not leave the players alone, but who was also royally bored after the long journey. Pacing up and down like an animal he pondered this out loud then announced that as it was the last day of the shows at the Kovostella they would all go to the circus. So, changing his doublet and acquiring a fresh pair of guards Matxin lead them straight back out again and down the hill to the large round edifice.

 

Walking through the streets was an opportunity to stress the nature of the city to the players. The main impression was that every class of person, even the vagrants, appeared entirely self-possessed and at their ease. Rough working men and women strolled along bearing tools or goods in their hands, and shouting greetings. Young bravos strutted along in groups, with ridiculous capes and flimsy looking blades at their sides. Young women, aspiring to courtly values, walked or rode in sedan chairs, in ornate gowns with daringly bare forearms and colourful fans.

 

They only saw the Kovostella as they got close to it, because the streets were narrow and the buildings tall. But the swelling crowds anounced its presence long before. The Kovostella is a massive sandstone edifice, looming five stories above the streets around it. Colourful awnings hang from its arches, shading the interior and multiplying the sense of spectacle. Crowds jostle at the base, and rowdies on the upper floors urinate in the direction of men carrying trays of charcoal on which vegetables and meat and fish are grillling. The players escort push and pummel their way through the crowd, diving beneath the echoing outerwork and re-emerging into the blazing sunlight of the central stands. Here they acquired an area of standing space, and acquired wine and fruit.

 

The spectacles of the day were already under way, and strutting about the centre was a young boy of around 14 years of age. Tall, and got up in a very showy outfit of green, red and brocade. He had a red scarf around one arm, and a pair of spears in the other. Having accepted the cheers of the crowd, he marched to the centre of the arena and planted one spear in the ground. To his front a gate opened, and a huge bull emerged...

 

(more later when I have time)


"It wasn't lies. It was just... bull****"."

             -Elwood Blues

 

tarna's dead; processing... complete. Disappointed by Universe. RIP Hades/Sand/etc. Here's hoping your next alt has a harp.

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I'll try and put some more up this afternoon, assuming work knackers me out early enough.


"It wasn't lies. It was just... bull****"."

             -Elwood Blues

 

tarna's dead; processing... complete. Disappointed by Universe. RIP Hades/Sand/etc. Here's hoping your next alt has a harp.

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Suddenly the atmosphere of the place intensifies. The enormous bull, fully a half size larger than anything the players have seen paces forward, moving almost diagonally beneath the compulsion of its grotesquely huge shoulders and horned head. The boy seems impossibly small and fragile, chin formally uplifted, and shoulders back. Stepping away from the spear in the ground, he moves an arm in a minimal gesture to invite the charge, but the bull seems wary.

 

Joaquin whispers to the players, "No doubt you northerners, you dwarves have your form of courage. But see here this is Magritta. This is courage. That boy is barely twelve years old, yet see how he stands, trusting to his honour to save his face, and his skill to save his arse. To fight impossible fights and to look good doing it. That is Magritta!"

 

The bull charges, but the boy has initiative, and lunges in with a spear, causing only a glancing hit. He staggers to get out of the way, and the bull launches up in the air, and slashes with a hoof, catching the boy's calf and drawing blood. There is a gasp from the crowd, and Joaquin's moustache twists in disappointment. But the boy is not yet down, and plants his spear in the bull's shoulder.

 

"He will plant both spears and these will slow the bull. He is then allowed to draw his sword, and attack the animal from the sides and rear." Says Joaquin, by way of explanation.

 

However, it is not to be, as the boy turns with his spear, jabbing ineffectively at the animal's face. The bull instead, tumbles forward with a great pronk of its back legs, and skewers the poor lad with a huge horn. The result being that as he flops on the beast's horn the crowd turn disappointed back to their conversations. Some cheer, but too few to give any sense of special occasion. Joaquin cals for bread, olives, and more wine. He offers a perfunctory toast to the boy's courage, and casts a tired eye on the attendants whose job it is to enter the arena and remove both bull and boy for the next contest.

 

However, even the slightly sour mood caused by the introduction cannot wholly marr the way Joaquin introduces the man who now enters. Whole sections of the crowd raise their arms and wave and shout. He begins to do a strutting walk around the stadium, giving every apeparance of inspecting the spectators rather than the reverse. As he nears the players they can see he wear and outrageously coulourful constume. Green tights, red trousres, blue waistcoat studded with shiny objects which are too far away to make out. Possibly mirrors, possibly metal medals. In his hand he carries horizontally a short stave from which hang similarly coloured leather tassles. From which depends a curtain of some whispy substance. This, Joaquin explains is a mesh of mithril wires. The weapon, an auroceda is what gives the combatant his name as an aurocador, and it is common to all these elite fighters.

 

As he nears the return of his circuit, drums commence beating, and people cheer, women scream and the beast's gate opens. But this time, the animal doesn't merely exceed a bull. It is fully three times the size of any common bull, an anaurocj. It paces into the arena without any nervousness or disturbance. It's bulging purple eyes and off white flanks contrast with a mouth that is already forthing bloody saliva as it appears to be chewing its own tongue with anticipation.

 

"The aurocador's task is to flay the anaurocj with the auroceda as it goes past in a charge. The contest rarely kills the anaurocj, and nor does it normally kill the fighter. The contest ends with the submission of the aurocj or the death of the aurocador. Each time they fight they must change what they do, or their opponent will exploit the consistencies, and it is this which makes the fights so endlessly interesting for the fans..." Says Joaquin, twisting his moustache in one hand, but he is interrupted and he slaps one hand to his side and shouts with alarm. A small brown shape is already darting into the crowd clutching an object!

 

Both players take little encouragement to launch themselves after the thief, although the human takes longer, as he tries to peer over the heads of the crowd as the little man speeds between their legs, agilely on all fours. The dwarf laughs psychotically at this, and pursues in similar fashion, bearing the man to the ground, and wrestling with him, to receive a kick in the face for his trouble. Nevin, meanwhile eventually catches up, and dives over members of the crowd to land atop the struggling mass.

 

There then ensues about eight rounds of ineffectual flailing as neither side manage to do significant damage (no wounds) using their fists, feet and teeth. Indeed, some members of the crowd are even turning away in disinterest when the thief wriggles free and is nearly away when the dwarf fetches him a solid kick to the back of the knee and he falls face first, bringing his suntanned forehead smartly into contact with the worn edge of a the stone terrace with a sound like breaking watermelon.

 

Thus greatly enthused, the players perfrom a rapid loot of the corpse, and only then realise that the sounds of fighting are not just coming from the arena. They shoulder through the crowd and see that four assailants in common working clothes are attacking Joaquin and his party. One guard is down, with blood streaming from his lower body, sobbing as he succumbs to the wound. The other guard is retreating slowly, and using his halberd like a stave to block the short sword attack of two attackers. Joaquin by contrast is backing down 'hill' towards the edge of the arena, his sabre glittering like his teeth as he fences with the thugs and their studded wooden clubs.

 

Ths provokes a moment's understandable indecision, but the players swiftly decide to help out. And with brutal efficiency, draw their previously sheathed hammer and bow and together the attackers are defeated. Only one manages to escape into the crowd. Nothing can be done for the wounded guard, and neither player seems terribly bothered as does Joaquin. He calls for more wine, and when the vendor asks for payment Joaquin merely dismisses him with a wave of a bloodied glove. They all drink, and notice that while this has been going on the aurocador has finished the beast into submission, and it is being towed off the arena by more than six horses, inside a huge net of chains.

 

Nevin makes a rude and insulting comment to the aurocador as he struts past, but very luckily for him he doesn't notice.

 

~

 

After this excitement, they return in moderate good humour to the Carcer Gorthoba where they are given a decent bedroom and locked in. In the morning they are treated to honeyed almond cakes, milk, meat, and Nevin is finally presented with a pair of trousers.

 

Joaquin explains that he can't be bothered to watch over them all day, and offers the opinion that unless he did they'd only escape. He therefore suggests that instead they be permitted to tour the city under armed guard. An offer which they accept.

 

I shan't relate the tale of their day's adventures as it largely revolved around their meeting with a new and temporary player (struggling under the name of Fishy McBiff) who helped prevent them being ambushed by yet MORE thugs on the wharf fronts. This enormously muscled man (strength 7 - about equal to a giant) simply informed their guards they should fornicate sideways and leave them alone. Passing his fellowship, strength, and leadership checks with flying colours the guards were surprisingly convinced and departed. There then followed a day on the booze, with the players getting engaged in drinking contests, kissing sailors (don't ask), and drawing up plans to steal a treasure galleon. Minimal experience poins were awarded but a huge laugh was had.

 

However, the fun eventually ended as an angry Joaquin appeared (he tracked them via the trail of smashed stuff and laughing trollops) with a detail of nearly twenty guards. They were disarmed, and all three taken back to the carcer, where it emerged that the master had returned. He inspected them dismissively and ordered them confined under guard. They were therefore conveyed swiftly to a small downstairs guard room and locked in.

 

This deflated mood ws interupted, however, when a young woman with brown hair burst into the room. Shutting the door behind her and leaning against it she said breathlessly "You have to come with me!" The dwarf and Fishy both saw simply a rich young woman, but Nevin was informed that there was something about this girl which instantly and utterly captivated him. Something intangible, or perhaps everything about her. So out of a combination of adventure, mischief, and enfatuation the players elected to do as she said.

 

A ridiculous but awesome plan was sufficient to get them all out of the locked room. McBiff simply punched both arms into the wall where the guards were standing on either side of the door, and with his gigantic strength and a critical success managed to hit both men in the back of the head with loose stones smacked out of the old mortar. And so freed, and laughing at their good luck, the players were smuggled into a coach standing idle in the yard and driven at speed out of the carcer by the girl's loyal servants.

 

Rattling through the streets, and onto the Calla Odiosa proved less disturbing than it might for everyone except Nevin. He was more or less intoxicated by the young woman's presence, but the others were more interested in the very lacklustre search of the carriage performed by the city guards. So they came onto the causeway through the swamps, and observed the ruined buildings there in the fading light of afternoon. The girl remains as quiet and indifferent as the large birds they see, standing in the creeks.

 

Going up the hill into Carravosque the players barely have time to note the noisome servant streets before they crest the ridge into the teeth of a freshening breeze. A particularly fine villa is their destination, and they draw up in the grounds. Here they have just enough time to realise how smelly and ragged they are before they are shown across a lawn towards an ornamental bower. Here they are introduced into the audience of the Lady Maria-Anna Basajuan de Gorthoba; who sits with her brown haired daughter at her side.

 

The Lady Maria-Anna is gravious but not indulgent as she questions them. For once the dwarf is believed, but Nevin fails to convince her of anything save his amnesia. The Lady divulges the plot that the girl with the golden hair was her daughter also, and the girl was dispatched to the mountains when young. Her husband believes the girl can be used in some poltical intrigue of hs own and the mother fears his ruthless nature may entail some loveless marriage or worse. She simply wants her daughter protected and free.

 

Confessing to a lack of arms and armed retainers the Lady suggests an alternative to attempting to lock up the players. Fishy is sent on his way with a few shillings [the chap playing him was only in for one session] since he was barely involved. But the two main players were made an offer. Rather than be imprisoned or returned to her husband or let go (which could lead to them being recaptured quite easily), she suggests they be taken on as retainers in her service. To this end they will have to protect her daughter [who I need a name for, Gorth], remain within one day's ride of the Coty, and under cno circumstances divulge any iformation her husband or his men, or be taken captive by them again.

 

To this end she is prepared to pay them ten gold pieces a week (which is about right for a skilled soldier) paid at the start of each week, and a bonus of thirty each at the end of the month provided they remain true and loyal. This is in addition to lodging at the villa in an outbuilding.

 

So far the players are still considering their options.


"It wasn't lies. It was just... bull****"."

             -Elwood Blues

 

tarna's dead; processing... complete. Disappointed by Universe. RIP Hades/Sand/etc. Here's hoping your next alt has a harp.

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(don't ask)

Damn! :)

 

To this end they will have to protect her daughter [who I need a name for, Gorth]

Ehh... Flowery names?

 

Azalea

Bego


“He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would surely suffice.” - Albert Einstein

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Zurine sounds like the sort of name on might fall in love with. And a bit Spanish.


"It wasn't lies. It was just... bull****"."

             -Elwood Blues

 

tarna's dead; processing... complete. Disappointed by Universe. RIP Hades/Sand/etc. Here's hoping your next alt has a harp.

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One of the players has been in Canada. Be calm, clamourous fans...


"It wasn't lies. It was just... bull****"."

             -Elwood Blues

 

tarna's dead; processing... complete. Disappointed by Universe. RIP Hades/Sand/etc. Here's hoping your next alt has a harp.

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One of the players has been in Canada. Be calm, clamourous fans...

Is he going to recover fully? :)

 

Yeah, waiting here for the continuation :shifty:


“He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would surely suffice.” - Albert Einstein

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FWAAAARP FWAAAARP!

 

Having another session this evening, finally. Now what did I do with all the plans for this session...?


"It wasn't lies. It was just... bull****"."

             -Elwood Blues

 

tarna's dead; processing... complete. Disappointed by Universe. RIP Hades/Sand/etc. Here's hoping your next alt has a harp.

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