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September 17, 2018 0 comments

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Quest against the Darkmaster (PbP)

[I’m back from an overnight in a state park. I’m ready to write my epic fantasy!]

It sounds like everyone came up with a great plan! +1 XP for everyone.

Did Gyantwaka give up possession of the Gnome Stones for this? If so, he would receive… +1 Drive. 😆

An observation I have about this resolution, sort of what I expected you to do (barring Gyantwaka insisting on further investigation in hopes of finding a solution), and what I’ve seen others do, is arrange to get NPCs to take their own actions regarding the situation. I’ve been in games — and it totally would be a justifiable tactic here — where players might start asking, “What is Loedhel? An Animist? What level is he? What Spell Lores does he know?” Etc.

Ultan is intrigued by these "gnome stones" and considers them with Arcana, perhaps coming up with something depending on difficulty.

Arcana outcome 144

Ultan recognizes their use in a specific summoning spell regarding Gnomes. He believes that, with or without (he may be able to obtain his own — a heavy, igneous rock formed deep within the earth generally too deep for access from surface-dwellers) their use, and the right spell descriptions and formulae from arcane libraries, he would be able to summon Gnomes on his own.

[RL, as opposed to just OOC, hope you had a good time and weather was cooperative]

[OOC, Well a recurring issue in scenarios/for GMs is "why are the PC's the ones taking care of this", if it's a problem for community doesn't the community have someone whose job that is etc - of course the best answer is often "that's who the PC's are" or "the person whose job it is to take care of problems is the problem" etc.  Glad to see you're not disappointed the fellowship is not asking for excavation tools etc.]

[Re quizzing the NPC's class and level, that always seems either too "mechanics not fiction" or simply gauche.  Except for spellcasters whose level determines spell use does a character even know "their level" really. Gyantwaka's "can you make use of these" is as close to such a question as seems appropriate. If you asked him what 'class' he was, Gyantwaka would say the Leshak are a classless society.]

[A final OOC, and getting mechancial, when Ultan's Aracana tells him about the stones are they like a rune of power (that seems closest to their form etc., with the consulting arcane texts etc. being the Cultures roll) "staffs" of a summoning spell (just not in staff form with one charge) or are they activated items that are attuned to - or something else?]

If Loedhel sees any use in the stones to help his tree friend, particularly given Leofred's suggestion and what Ultran will share of what he recollects, Gyantwaka gives them over without hesitation.

If Loedhel is agreeable to asking Elvendale for help, Ultan will suggest whatever he can in terms of [to refer back to above] the most powerful forest/treee loving elf to appeal to, particularly who could aid in his suggested approaches [so yes if there is someone who can cast Purify Plant at +1 Weave, p.398, so yes an Animist of at least 7th level please, if we can't get a 10th level one for Cleansing and Awakened Tree - by implication if Loedhel is an Animist he's probably not more than 6th level or lacks relevant spell lores, though that would be dizzying accomplishment in the eyes of the fellowship] and/or whoever could make use of gnome stones.  He will also ask if Loedhel has any bird-friends who can carry a message.

Leofred, speaking almost-optimistically, will say, "We will look for you and for the health of this wood on our return, though we cannot promise when that time will come.  We are now all among those standing against the Great Enemy.  Every victory against this darkness matters, and I would weep to see the ancient beauty I behold now be lost - as would a soldier returning home to find his village burned.  Places such as this are what we fight to preserve and see prosper." [That's your Order the Evening Star standard diplomacy training at work - wherever you go build bridges]

They will talk as long into night as it's helpful, sleep and set off again the next morning.  Ultan asks if Loedhel has any advice about the best path to reach the hill dwarf territory.

[Weather was good, it was a nice break. A night in the woods definitely drives me closer to reading Nature and do-it-yourself works and pursuing a more analog way of life. I want to go back already!]

[A final OOC, and getting mechancial, when Ultan's Aracana tells him about the stones are they like a rune of power (that seems closest to their form etc., with the consulting arcane texts etc. being the Cultures roll) "staffs" of a summoning spell (just not in staff form with one charge) or are they activated items that are attuned to - or something else?]

What is most important about the stones is their material: they are a hard, heavy, igneous stone from the most crushing depths of the earth. This is what can communicate with the gnomes deep in their underground homes, but the message, the compulsion must be inscribed (in gnomic script) with arcane tools and methods. Ultan would need access to an extensive arcane library or someone who knows how to do it. Even then, the summoner would have to expend MPs equal to the level of the Gnome being summoned, less than this if the transmission is a message only (total MPs contingent on size and complexity of the message).

I will assume that Ultan now has the stones.

He will also ask if Loedhel has any bird-friends who can carry a message.

“Of course! Do you wish to compose the message, or should I relay all that you just recommended?”

The PCs settle down for an overnight rest. All must make a Level 1 WSR.

Ultan won't have the stones. Gyantwaka gives the stones to Loedhel for his use or the use of someone who can come to use them.  If Loedhel does not take them, Gyantwaka retains them with his own plan, he does not give them to Ultan, who also doesn't ask for them ~ Ultan is intrigued as he is about anything magical (if he lives long enough he will be a trove of disassociated arcane knowledge), but he is an illusionist and not interested in summoning rocks (who haven't gotten love since the 1970's).

Ultan's message is that "Loedhel, elf guardian of [whatever this wood is called by elves] seeks aid to save a great tree of the first times that is under sorcerous attack seeking to corrupt it, in the form of evil worms assaulting its roots."  He adds whatever 'return address' sort of information Loedhel advises and suggests Loedhel add what he wishes.  If Loedhel does not have means to use the gnome stones but wants to see if someone who comes can, then he will add his best "arcanist to arcanist" summary of them and possible use dealing with the worms attacking a tree's roots.

Ultan also suggests that the moss's 'misbehaviour' may also be connected to some evil influence.

Saves of Level 1 WSR mean 55 difficulty.  All save but Gwenhild.

  • Gyantwaka saves - d100 = 30 + 35 = 65
  • Leofred saves - d100 = 38 +20 = 58
  • Ultan saves - d100 = 82 so bonus irrelevant
  • Gwenhild fails to save - d100 = 07 + 20 = 27

The next morning all wake with a sense of having experienced, throughout the night, vague, foreboding dreams, though the beauty of the valley soon dispels any of the lingering discomfort.

[Does Ultan, in fact, "sleep?" Or do you imagine that he sleeps lightly, more of a meditation?]

Ultan in fact knows what images assailed his psyche through the night. It seemed, as he entered into his deeper meditations, that he could feel the earth tremble as if with pain. He "felt" the groan of great tree roots throughout the forest.

Loedhel receives the gnome stones, saying that he will share them with any delegation from Elvendale, and gives the fellowship directions through the forest.

The path he describes seems to hasten the fellowship along. The fellowship makes excellent time, shaving an entire day off from its overland journey, though Gwenhild appears drawn and tired.

[Like all Star Elves (p.32), Ultan does not sleep rather he meditates for 3 hours, likely in a 'trance' of sorts, 'waking dream' if using MERP elves, but not as 'senseless' as those who sleep. This also means he helps augment night watches when camping. ]

Ultan relays his experience to the fellowship and to Loedhel, whereupon each likely shares their dreams.

  • If they can recall anything of the content they will share what they recall.
  • Ultan himself has the Elven Lore of Memory Palace, if a "dream" constitutes witnessing something he would use it if he feels his recall could be improved.

Gyantwaka tells Loedhel that it is his hope these tools intended for the use of the Great Enemy's servants will be used to good effect.  He urges that if any are not required after summoning the aid of gnomes, then the summoned gnomes themselves should be asked if they wish to be summoned again to oppose the Great Enemy or prefer not to be summoned at all, in which case they should be permitted to destroy the stones [that had been Gyantwaka's plan had the opportunity arisen - his people strongly dislike forced labour of any kind and hopefully the gnomefolk would also then see where their best interests lie].

May I make a Perception check for Leofred to notice anything particularly amiss with Gwenhild, as he sees her as his responsibility?  If so, the result is a modified 60 so in any event he does not notice anything.

The path Loedhel recommends in effect negates the day's pause they took with this matter, putting them "back on schedule" ~ much to the relief of all though Gyantwaka is still troubled by the ill facing the wood, though he recognizes that this is 'just a sample' of what the Great Enemy will accomplish if not denied that cursed dwarf-wrought hammer.  Assuming it is 50 km of Rough Travel through the woods (the original Mythic suggestion), and they are Encumbered, moving 15 km a day, they end this day 30 km through the woods with 20 km remaining.  Despite being on a recommended path, they will use their standard order and precautions.

They did not use their own rations when with Loedhel, thus this day is also 'on schedule' in terms of 2 days of rations used so far.

  • Ultan himself has the Elven Lore of Memory Palace, if a "dream" constitutes witnessing something he would use it if he feels his recall could be improved.

If you ever decide that a perfect memory of this would be useful, I definitely will allow you to use the spell to recollect it.

The day otherwise passes without incident, and the fellowship camps. I know you are keeping track of time and distance. I expect you're still within the Western Wood.

Ultan casts his spell (woo hoo first spell, 1 MP), he's definitely taking time and he succeeds but he is still not apparently a great spell caster.

  • d100 = 09, +60 Skill concentrating 4 rounds +40, (effects caster so no benefit for 'touching himself' and as GM I would also rule the 'target is static' doesn't apply to self target spells), so outcome is 109, success.  So he 'perfectly recalls' whatever it was he dreamed (now if this was Call of Cthulhu he would probably have to make a Sanity check, but then again if it was "perfectly recalling anything" would never be a PC's wish).

Assuming this doesn't produce anything startling they will continue on their way.  They expect to make one more camp in the Western Woods (45 km in), and then leave them a third of the way through the next day.  They will be at the edge of the hilly lands of the Baran Tralor [if that name accepted].  Travel is still rough in the hills so they expect to make 10 km in their remaining time that day.

When in the hill dwarf lands, they will see to speak to the first dwarfs they meet to introduce themselves and their peaceable intentions.  The trade road that Leofred's Order helps safeguard comes here so his breastplate's insignia may be recognizable to them.  They will also try to stay in settlements, paying for their keep, if that is acceptable to the dwarfs (thus extending their carried fare).

  • Re Hammer's future I believe we left it Forge of the Giants.  Did we leave it that the fellowship is hoping the dwarfs might be a source of further information or not?
  • In any event, Leofred will be taking the lead in any dealings with dwarfs.

We get to the marge of the Western Wood.

The first hill dwarves encountered, it seems to me, would be loggers (at the edge of the Western Wood). They are involved in shaping the felled trees for transport to mills.

I expect the first contact the fellowship has actually will be the sound of chopping and sawing, perhaps even the thunder of a falling tree.

[Yeah, we left it at the Forge of the Giants. Does the fellowship know where that is? If not, perhaps the dwarves know.]

So with another day's rest, on the 17th Day of the Third Moon of Summer the fellowship hears the sound of wood-cutters.

As they near the sound's source, they re-order themselves with Leofred and Gwenhild in the fore, she to his right as usual, the latter leading pony, Gyantwaka and Ultan behind (box formation).

As soon as they see a dwarf and there is a pause in noise Leofred will hail them, "Greetings good sir dwarf!"

[I was thinking the floating giant skycastle west of Southwatch, where certain 'assassins' operate from, would be logical, story-reincorporating place.  Either the Elves as the "oldest record keepers" would have known or the dwarfs as "apprentices to the giants" might recall, in a fictional drama sense the dwarfs knowing would make sense if Kal was still with us, or if you like the Elves might know The Forge of the Giants can unmake anything a dwarf makes (perhaps its rumoured the giants made the dwarfs in it hee hee) but Dwarfs might know where it is located].

[The group's approach & intents with dwarfs they meet will be governed by whether they are looking for a dwarf loremaster or not]

[What are elf-dwarf relations at this point?  Ultan being the tallest in the group is not exactly inconspicuous.]