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Author Topic: [TRoS] The Saga of Varghoss Redbeard  (Read 6999 times)
ZenDog
Member

Posts: 158


« on: March 19, 2004, 06:42:15 PM »

The Saga of Varghoss Redbeard

I’ve been out of the hobby for about a decade and when I got back I decide to look around for a game that pushed all my Sword and Sorcery buttons. TRoS was the obvious choice, I got it, and I loved it. Now all I needed was some players ad I’d be in GM heaven. No luck there though couldn’t find a playgroup in my area.

Then I was contacted by an old friend, who was my best gaming buddy back in the early 80’s. He’d bumped into my sister, and she gave him my email addy.

He hasn’t played for decades either I suggested an online game and he was keen. So I pimped TRoS to him by sending him link to the TRoS site and he was interested (he commented that it reminded him of Runequest).

So we got together on MSN messenger and I explained the options for a game. We could play in any setting we liked (Glorantha, Middle Earth, Conan any D&D style heartbreaker) or historical earth or Weyrth.

I decide I would leave these initial choices to him, as I was happy to GM the game he wanted to play.

He toyed with the idea of Conan, as it would be a good fit but in the end decided on Weyrth feeling that it had potential.

At this stage he didn’t have the Core book and was just going of the website. So I explained the basic options we had for Weyrth.

We could basically play in the full plate Medieval part of Weyrth, The Eastern Steppes with Cossacks, tartar hordes, Polish nobility and Russian peasantry near the semi-mythical Odeons, (I quite like this part of Weyrth), we could go Oriental, Classical, African and Islamic or Dark Ages.

The player decided on the Dark Ages part of the map and given the choices of nations and starting points, he went for the Viking Savaxen lands.

Cool, Dark Ages and Vikings, I like that as much as I like the eastern steppes part of the map.

I decided as GM that as neither of us was familiar with the setting; that there would be no sorcery to start with (player or NPC) and no magical or mystical beasts that it would all just be superstition. The option to scale both in is there if we want to later.

Also, we decided to stick within the Dark Age kingdoms and go for a game based on raiding and warring with the Celtic neighbours and political machinations within various Savaxen clans.

Again with the option to just set off seeking adventures further afield at a later date.

I picked the most northwesterly Savaxen isle to be his homeland, as I liked the extreme location on the map. I have slightly altered things though. On the map this island has the capital city marked but unnamed, but I decided I wanted the Capital to be Theoricthrone on the mainland, I have also flavoured the Savaxen King more like a regular feudal one rather than based it on the Scandinavian model of elect kings.

Ok so that was all sorted out over online chat with me reading stuff from the book and explaining the map.

so that settled we agreed to meet online again another day and then we would create the character.
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ZenDog
Member

Posts: 158


« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2004, 09:18:27 AM »

Time to roll up our hero, I’m not sure how easy it would have been to do this online with just one copy of the rules, but luckily, TRoS is very well supported online.

I got my player to download the map of Weyrth, ‘A hint at the riddle’ the pdf quickstart rules and both of Brian Leybourne excellent programs the Combat Simulator and the Chargen software.

Now I was a bit naughty here as the Chargen software can only be used when you have the Core rulebook to activate it, and I used my rulebook to activate the software for my player. Now evil as this is, it was all part of my cunning plan. You see I know my player well and by the time we’d created his character and ran him through the combat simulator a few times, he had whipped out his credit card and ordered not only the TRoS rule book but the first supplement ‘Of Beasts and Men’ too. That’s how good Brian software is it sells the game.

So on to our character generation, we both had the chargen software open on our PC’s and a messenger programme for chat. We filled in the details simultaneously, with me reading necessary info from the rules and typing it into the chat, so he could make informed decisions, and him typing those decisions into chat so I could cut and paste into the chargen software.

I’ll explain stuff where necessary, for those that don’t own TRoS, and don’t know the system. Or answer any questions asked. I’ll also explain for TRoS experts that this online Chargen was more or less the players and mine first Chargen and only I had the book. So, if you see that I’ve got anything wrong please point it out for me.

As advised we started with the character concept, the player in this case went for quite a classic Viking warrior, a huge hulking brute of a man who would relish death in combat, as this would guarantee him a place in Valhalla. However he would also be a man who was quite family oriented and honour bound.

After the concept was decided on, it was just a case of going through the chargen using the software page by page.

1st page we have all background and cosmetic details, I sent the player of to a site that had Viking names and their meaning and he picked ‘Varghoss’ it means wolf something or something wolf and it is linked to the players real name so he was pleased with that. After name, the first decision a TRoS player must make is one of philosophy, what will his character's philosophy be. In this case it was ‘Kill or be killed and that’s the way Woden likes it’ a simple enough philosophy for the characters concept.

Next his physical appearance, which is pretty much as you’d expect Varghoss is 6’ 4” and 240 lbs. of red haired, grey eyed, Savaxen manhood. Faith and creed are the pagan Norse gods, with a preference for Woden one eye god of death and war.  

For personality, the player decided Varghoss is sarcastic and aggressive, but also trustworthy and reliable.

The last section on this page is other notes, when I asked if he wanted to put anything in this he said yes, ‘father killed in a raid’ this one off the cuff statement would then mould the entire reasoning behind the character and the whole focus of the campaign. He then added that under his care were his mother and a sister not yet of marriageable age. I quickly scanned the map and gave the player a list of neighbouring nations and asked him to choose who killed his father and he decided on the Cymri (Welsh) a Celtic nation on mainland Angherhad.

So we now added Cymri to the enemies’ section, but left the allies blank for now.

Next up are the priorities, for those that don’t know TRoS you have to prioritise the various traits of your character in order of what is important to him (skills, attributes ect).

We started with race and made that the lowest priority F (as there will be no sorcery in this campaign). Next at priority E, we had gifts and flaws, this gave him one major flaw and one minor gift. Priority D the player picked skills giving him two skill packets at starting skill Rates of 8. For priority C social class ‘High Freeman’ it was important for the character (player) to have a good standing with in the clan, and be the captain of his own longboat (which opens up lots of play possibilities) we decided that high freeman was in Savaxen terms, a huskarl. This gave him a starting wealth of 50 gold standard ($50,000). Next priority was attributes at B giving him 43 points to share around his attributes. Finally most important at priority A he chose weapons proficiencies giving him 14.

So know we have Varghoss who is an elite Savaxen warrior, highly skilled in the weapons of his people, and member of the Karl class, physically fit, not particularly skilful, but not unskilled.

Next page on the chargen takes you to a colour map of Weyrth, and if you highlight an area it show you the modifiers a character can expect based on nationality. We already know he was Savaxen and his modifiers are +1 strength and endurance, -1 mental aptitude and Social, +1 weapon proficiency and free skills boating and sailing. So in other words Savaxens are big strong men, not known for either there book learning or manners, born with a weapon in hand and natural sailors.

Next attributes I can spare every one the details of this and just give you the stats, as these will be more or less familiar to everyone. Just one note there is no IQ score in TRoS the character are as clever (or dumb) as the players who run them. MA mental aptitude refers only to the ability to learn (skill and languages ect). Also in TRoS, you pick one attribute to be your best and none of the others are allowed to equal or surpass this.

Here are Varghoss’s stats

Temporal

Strength (ST)     8
Agility  (AG)       6
Toughness (TO)  5
Endurance (EN)   4
Health  (HT)        4

Mental

Will Power (WP)           6
Wit                             6
Mental Aptitude (MA)    1
Social (soc)                 1
Perception (Per)           2



In general, the human average is four. This makes Varghoss of legendary strength (he would be well known as a strongman), fast, tough, fit, mentally strong, but unsociable to the point of rudeness. Barely capable of learning new skills and unable to hit the side of a barn at point blank range.

The most interesting and game defining part of TRoS chargen are the SA’s and after I explained what they do and what the different SA’s mean in Chargen the player came up with these SA’s.

Destiny:  Destroy the Cymri (1)
Drive:     Protect family (1)
Passion:  Hate the Cymri (2)
Luck:      (2) Woden loves bloodshed
Conscience: (1) Concerning clan and family he likes to do what is right.

I must say I was expecting him to hate the Cymri and want revenge for his fathers death at their hands, but destroy Cymri as a destiny took me by surprise, I was expecting the more standard, destiny avenge father. Should make for an interesting game.

Next I minor gift and one major flaw (he already has the minor flaw bad reputation just because he’s Savaxen) The player picks absolute direction (a very good gift for a sailor) and the major flaw of bloodlust. Considering his SA’s and what this flaw means in game terms this guy won’t be going in for stealth or subtlety and will no doubt get to Valhalla with no fear of a shameful death by natural causes.

Next are skill packets, which are in my opinion cool. You don’t have to spend ours going over long skill lists (though you can if you want to) instead just pick two skill packets, which contain a number of skills. Varghoss chooses Warrior and Sailor all the skills any self-respecting Savaxen will need.

For his weapon skill Varghoss’s player decides he will favour the Viking Axe combined with a shield, he’s also not too sloppy with sword and shield, and the longsword. Like any Savaxen, he is pretty handy in a street brawl (with or without a dagger).

Finally Varghoss gets some chain and leather armour. A fine hand-axe, a shield and helm, some clothes and jewellery, a pet wolf (white of course). That leaves him with 39 gold standard but the player gamely suggests giving all that up in exchange for his inheritance, which is his fathers, longship, and longhouse. So, he has a ship, some cattle, a home his weapons and armour, 1 mark, and a few fpenigs (the local currency).

So, that’s Varghoss, Savaxen warrior and sea raider.
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BPetroff93
Member

Posts: 114


« Reply #2 on: March 20, 2004, 01:53:08 PM »

Wow guys, sounds loads of fun.  Thanks for the breakdown by area, that actually makes Wyerth make sense to me.
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Brendan J. Petroff

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.
Love is the law, love under Will.
ZenDog
Member

Posts: 158


« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2004, 02:01:10 PM »

Quote
Thanks for the breakdown by area, that actually makes Wyerth make sense to me.


That's one of my favourite aspects of Weyrth, at first glance I wasn't too keen and thought it was a typical fantasy heartbreaker, but when I looked closer it just seemed to click for me.  You can focus in on specifc locales and get just the sort of campiagn you want.
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ZenDog
Member

Posts: 158


« Reply #4 on: March 20, 2004, 06:53:45 PM »

Now we have the hero, I can create a story around him.  

One thing that worried me was that the first grunt he looked funny at might decapitate the hero. Not because of malice on my part, or stupidity on the players but because, neither of were that familiar with the combat system.

So, I decided to run a two-session prologue first. The idea being to introduce the player to the setting and background, including a few NPC’s who may or may not feature in future sessions.

As the player had decided that the Cymri killed his father in a raid, I thought it would be good to play that out in game.

So in these first two sessions the player will play his character as a youth and his father. This way we can play out the father’s death, which will give the player the chance to get into combat without worrying about dying, (the father has to die, to set up Varghoss’s SA’s).

My plan was to start throwing low level Cymri spearmen at his father one at a time, then two at time, and then just keep throwing Cymri at him till the inevitable happens.

I’ve also thrown in a few twists and plot hooks that might surface when the campaign proper starts.

This means a bit of guidance (aka railroading) from me, but the player doesn’t mind the fact that he will be reacting rather than acting, in these first two sessions or that certain things will have to happen.

After these trial sessions, then future games will be based around Varghoss SA’s, the local politics, and anything the player decides he wants to do.

We have I guess kind of hit upon halfway house between plotted adventure and freeform world exploration, that suits us both. I’m happy to let the player do what he wants and go where he wants, and I’m equally happy to conjure up plots and adventure or lead play down a more story based direction.

We’ve played quite a few times like this (and had a great heroic Runequest one on one game back in the day) and the player trusts me to provide an interesting story when that’s what he wants. To be honest all this new-fangled player led narrativist gaming, is a novelty for both of us, being old school gamists in our youth. Saying that when we weren’t dungeon crawling my GM style always lent towards epic fantasy and making it up as I go along.

I think the difference being these days is we are more aware of what we are doing and what we want out a game, so we will *play these two sessions, and then discuss what we want to do next.

*already played session one, part two to be played next Wednesday (or should that be Wodensday).
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Sigurth
Member

Posts: 74


« Reply #5 on: March 20, 2004, 11:30:26 PM »

How did your scaling of combat go?
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Do you know the
ZenDog
Member

Posts: 158


« Reply #6 on: March 20, 2004, 11:51:44 PM »

Quote from: Sigurth
How did your scaling of combat go?


Sigurth I'm pretty new to the game, not sure what you mean by that. Could you elaborate please.
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Sigurth
Member

Posts: 74


« Reply #7 on: March 21, 2004, 12:34:24 AM »

Quote from: ZenDog


My plan was to start throwing low level Cymri spearmen at his father one at a time, then two at time, and then just keep throwing Cymri at him till the inevitable happens.

).


I meant...how did this 'throwing' bad guys his way work?
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Do you know the
ZenDog
Member

Posts: 158


« Reply #8 on: March 21, 2004, 04:08:53 AM »

Oh I see.

No We haven't got to that part yet (that's this coming Wednesday). We played part 1 of the two part session (will post details soon). Part one focused entirely on the players character (as a youth).

It should be interesting because the combat we did have was quick (two strikes) but even then I was a bit lost on some of the rules (need to read up on blood loss, shock and pain rolls). So next combat will be intersesting.
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Valamir
Member

Posts: 5574


WWW
« Reply #9 on: March 21, 2004, 08:56:50 AM »

An interesting character.  The savaxren are probably my favorite Wyerth race.  With mental and social attributes so low you'll have the opportunity to really make things challenging for the character when he's home.

I can easily see crossing some Jarl/Eorl with bad manners and being exiled as a result.
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ZenDog
Member

Posts: 158


« Reply #10 on: March 21, 2004, 09:38:30 AM »

I've considered sending him on diplomatic missions, just for the fun factor.

He should upset  a fair few people. Not only is his soc 1, but his personality has been defined by the player as sarcastic and aggressive (also reliable and trustworthy but strangers wont know that).

Should also be interesting when he has his say at the Thing

He will struggle when he takes over as captain of his fathers Longship (a 20 oar Drakkar) so a chance to try out the brawling proffiency.

As for upsetting Jarls and Thanes, I'm more than happy to let him roleplay that but wouldn't a clan ettiquette roll protect him from making a social gaffe? If not would a Wit/soc roll be a good mechanic to use?

Any suggestions for this sort of thing would be appreciated. I haven't completly got my head round all the games mechanics yet and we are both learning as we go.
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Valamir
Member

Posts: 5574


WWW
« Reply #11 on: March 21, 2004, 09:47:12 AM »

Quote from: ZenDog
As for upsetting Jarls and Thanes, I'm more than happy to let him roleplay that but wouldn't a clan ettiquette roll protect him from making a social gaffe? If not would a Wit/soc roll be a good mechanic to use?


Clan Ettiquette certainly is going to be important.  But if I'm not mistaken, it ties to Soc...which at a 1 is going to lead to some fun moments.

Also, don't hesitate to allow the character's SAs to be thrown into the mix.

I can easily envision, the exiled warrior returning to the Jarl's hall battered and broken giving a Mel-Gibson-in-Braveheart-"they'll never take our freedom" speaches powered to a huge number of successes by SAs resulting in leading the Jarls men to battle.
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ZenDog
Member

Posts: 158


« Reply #12 on: March 21, 2004, 06:55:39 PM »

The Saga Of Varghoss Redbeard

Lo, there do I see my father
Lo, there do I see my mother and my sisters and my brothers
Lo, there do I see the line of my people back to the beginning
Lo, they do call to me
They bid me take place among them in the Halls of Valhalla
Where the brave may live forever...


The Savaxen lands include the mainland peninsula, seat of the royal Savaxen house of Theoric.  The Theoric clan have ruled for generation upon generation from their capital Theoricsthrone. As well as mainland there is the Savaxen spiritual home. The three large islands of the raiders sea.

It is a land of ice and darkness, a land of majestic fjords and eternal night, of snow capped peaks, winters that outlast summer by many months. It is also a land blessed by savage gods and hardy men. The only place on Weyrth where a man can see the gods rainbow bridge with his own eyes.

The most north-westerly of the three islands, the Isle of Ravenscrag is your home.

Ravenscrag, is renowned for not only the skill of it sailors, but the voracity of its raiders.  The black-sailed ships of the Jarl of Ravenscrag are feared throughout the coastal settlements of Picti, Cymri, Angherhad, Stahl, Farrenshire and beyond.

First among the sea captains of Ravenscrag is your father Cormac Bloodaxe, the Seawolf. No Savaxen has sailed further, or raided so often and so well. Your father has played no small part in the success of the Ravenscrag fleet, and this does not go unnoticed, or unrewarded by Sorla, the current Jarl of Ravenscrag.  Among  his huscarls your father holds a place of honour.

All of which makes your current situation more galling.

For all the men of Ravenscrag have gone, sailed three days ago on the first of the summer raids. Only the women, the elderly and the sick remain behind, and you.

You have been left behind with the women.

For your father is sick and may be dying, and though his helmsman has taken your fathers ship on the raids, you must remain behind as a duty to your father.

His illness has robbed you of your manhood.

Your boyhood friends, this very moment, may even now be fighting in their first raid. Whether they live or die matters little.  For dead  or not, they will return to Ravenscrag as men, whilst you must remain a boy for one more year at least.

Of your father’s illness nothing is known. He fades day by day,  sometimes lucidity returns, and he may rise, seeming his old self. Other days, he rages and thrashes in his sickbed, until it takes you and your mother to hold him down. Even as weak and wasted as his stricken body has become.

Even the village’s renowned seer Frey ‘no-eyes’ does not know what ails your father. She is famed throughout Savaxen, for her healing powers and farsighted, god given visions.

So when your best friend Farlan returns with the others, he will be a man, he will drink in the Jarl’s longhouse.

You will still be a boy. A boy with chores to do.

You are not happy about this, and you go to long lengths to let old Gottir ‘the strong’ your weapons master, know how unhappy you are.

“Gottir, am I not the most able axeman, the largest and strongest of the boys, you have ever taught.”

“Don’t start this again boy, what’s done is done, and you are becoming tiresome.”

The old man stands on the headland and looks out to sea, even though you know he sees next to nothing.

“If I am so tiresome then why don’t you teach me a lesson you old goat rutter? Or are you a coward?”

For sometime now you have been trying to draw the old man into a duel.

He was your grandfathers swordmaster, your fathers in his youth, and now he is yours. Gottir is legendary among your people as not only the  greatest warrior  to have lived, but also the oldest.

This is his glory and his shame.

For years now he has been trying to die in combat, but can’t seem to manage, despite his eighty  years.

Last raiding season he went intending to die, but instead returned with five cattle, two slaves, three heads, taken from Picti warriors, and a new wife to boot.

Now though he is near blind, despite his most vociferous and bellicose protests, the Jarl would not allow him  to go raiding. He has resigned himself to the fact he will not die sword in hand, he will not go to Valhalla and feast with the Gods.

In your desperation you have devised a solution to both your problems. If you can taunt him enough, he might fight you. That way, either you will die and become a man, or you will kill him and become a man, sending your beloved friend and teacher to Valhalla with honour.

To you it seems like a good solution to both your problems.

Gottir will have none of it.

“It will do me no good to kill a boy.”

“But at least I shall die and become a man in death, the gods know, it seems like it will never happen in life”

“Haah”

Gottir spits at the ground and turns his near blind eyes from the sea, and uncannily turns them on you.

“Boy if you don’t leave me be, you will wish you were dead, man or boy!”

With that he turns his back on you.

You know it will do you no good to press the matter.  Instead, you head for your father’s longhouse in dread of what horrors the illness might bring, but as you enter silently, you find your father sleeps fitfully, beside him your mother exhausted with the care of him, sleeps deeply.

Resigned to another year of boyhood you yourself settle to sleep.

It is a sleep disturbed by dark omens, and strange happenings. You dream of the black sailed ships of Ravenscrag, crewed by the dead.  You dream of a white furred terror, it’s cruel fangs ripping out throats, until it’s fur becomes red with blood.

The white coated killer tears at the night, with a howl that freezes your heart, until you wake sweating, as if you had been running from sleep itsself.

Only to hear the monstrous howl that is coming from outside, coming from somewhere near the Jarl of Ravenscrag’s longhouse.

You jump from your bed, and head out of the door, taking your axe as you go.

As you run for the door, you notice your mother is rising too, your father mumbles in his sleep as though his dreams are disturbed, but he does not wake.

At the door you see others have also risen, they follow you as you rush to the Jarl's longhouse. As you get nearer the howling becomes more terrible.

When you see the source of the howling you halt, puzzelled as are the villagers behind you.

Standing, naked as the day she was born, some seventy seven years ago, is the seer Frey ‘no eyes’. Her empty eye sockets weep with puss, as she stands howling and screaming at the night sky.

Gottir pushes past you and stands in front of her, one near blind man, and one eyeless Seer.  He slaps her hard, leaving an angry red weal on her leathery face.

Frey stops howling.

"Is that you Gottir? You still hit like a woman, I thought someone would have killed you by now."

"No such luck old hag. What is the meaning of this?"

As harsh as his words are, he wraps his sleeping fur around the old woman’s shoulders.

"Yes what is the Meaning"

Goodrun the fair, wife of the Jarl of Ravenscrag stands with her small son at her side.

"Death, treachery, and poison my lady, I have seen as much this night. The gods have spoken!"

A hush descends on the gathered crowd

"Speak on, old mother." Goodrun instinctively scoops up her young son, holding him protectively.

"The gods speak, but they speak in riddles, and they speak in visions. Black sails and dead men, white fur and blood.  An enemy who is friend, friends who betray. This much I have seen this much I have heard, the meaning I know not"

The people whisper among themselves, uneasy. You see several of the wives and old men make the sign against evil.

One of these young wives cries out pointing out to sea.

 “Fear not!Look one of our ships returns early, a good omen"

Across the moonlit bay you can see a solitary longship heading for the dock.  Her Savaxen crew distinctive in their armour, can be seen manning the ship.

Before anyone can say otherwise, the crowd, shouting and cheering, run for the docks. Leaving you, your mother, Gottir, Fray, and the Jarl’s family behind.

"Boy how does she look, how does she sail?" asks Gottir

You look as the ship lurches across the bay, illuminated by the high moon of early summer.

"She’s slow in the water, it looks like our men have forgotten how to sail, that’s no Savaxen crew Gottir"

"By the Arse of the Darkone! Boy go to the headland, see what you can see then return here"

"Madam" He says to Goodrun, "get what you need and be ready to flee,"  finally to your mother "try and wake Cormac, Ursul"

All of this is too much, your dream and Frey’s Vision, and the ship, is it a ship of dead men? What ghost sail into Ravenscrag port?

"Well boy don't just stand there like an idiot. One way or another you'll be a man by dawn!"

He grins at you as he draws his own sword.

"Now Run, curse you run"

You sprint to the top of the headland, your mind racing, heart pumping, stomach churning.

You run as fast as you can, you reach the headland gasping for breath, just in time to see the ship float past.

This is no ghost ship, but it is a ship of death.

Dead Savaxen Men have been lashed to the oar seats, and lying in the ship are many warriors, not Savaxens but Cymri.

You watch as three men slip over the leeward side, into the cold dark water.  They kick out for a secluded cove, that you know leads to the narrow back cliff-path, A steep trail that leads to  the Jarl’s Longhouse. Only someone who knows Ravenscrag would know this cliff path.

The ship glides towards the dock and the waiting crowd of women, children and old men. The crowd of friends and families you have grown up with. They stand and wave happily at the approaching longship.

You have never been on a raid, but you know what will happen.
 
You try and yell to the dock, to warn the waiting crowd of what you see. Loud as you shout your voice is lost in the swell of the sea, and the booming winds, that whip round the headland.

The three men have reached the beach, and are making there way up the narrow path

The ship is gliding into the docks

At full sprint you could make the docks  warn the women, or you could run faster than you've ran in your life, back to the Jarl’s house to warn his wife and heir.

You cannot do both.

The decision is not easy, but you know there is no time for hesitation or careful consideration.

You race back to the Jarl’s hut

Knowing that against thirty warriors all you could do is die with the women, does not make it any easier on you. Against the three men you might be able to do something.  With regret in your heart you sprint from the headland.

Running as fast as you can you get back to the Jarl’s longhouse before the men reach the top of the cliff.  Gottir hears you sprinting towards him.

"Well Boy?"

“There are thirty men hiding on the ship coming into the docks.  Three of the bastards are  sneaking up the side trail, heading this way.  They slipped off the ship before they could be seen from shore"

"Betrayed! wails Fray no eyes.

"Shut up old hag."

"Old goat" says Frey with less conviction..

"Make your self useful Frey, tell Varghoss's mother when she has  raised Cormac to come serve her lady and the Jarl’s heir"

“Me and Varghoss wont be long, we have business with our three guests."

“Come with me boy, if you want to be a man" and with surprising gait for one so old Gottir lopes off like a silver haired wolf in the night.

As you follow Gottir into the night, his words calm you, as you try to quell the fire in your gut.

"Remember what I told you boy. Keep your nerve, and your guard up, fight with your head not your heart, and think, think, think! Never fight fair when you can fight dirty, and if you can, take your enemy by surprise."  

"If you can kill your enemy before his sword is drawn, so much the better!"

“So you do listen to me boy, good.”

When you get to the clifftop, Gottir speaks to you in a hushed voice.

"Now consider this your last lesson from me boy."

You crouch down with him in the shadows, hiding from the moons fay whitchlight.

"There are three of them and two of us, and me an old man, you a mere boy."

You nod, appreciating the truth of his words.

"In a fair fight we would be wolfmeat. If I were younger I would take them on the cliff-path, but I can barely see past the tip of my sword."

You concentrate on his words, trying not to think of the lurid tales of battle you loved as a child.

"So here is your last lesson, misdirection and ambush."

Gottir pauses, surveys the rough scrub of  barren land on the clifftop.

"See that bracken you go lie in that, I will stand here in the path and chat to them, that is the misdirection."

You look to the bracken it looks like slim cover, your mouth is dry.

“When I kill the first one, which I will, then by Woden's teeth  you better be up out of the bracken, swinging your axe! That is the ambush, and then we are two against two, and we have the surprise."

You say nothing, your arms feel heavy as lead, the axe you hold in your hand feels awkward.

"Understand boy?"

"Yes Gottir"

You are relieved your voice doesn’t crack and betray you.

“Good, then get going."

With legs you feared would be too weak to carry you, you run to the patch of bracken.

As you settle yourself in the bracken, you hear the three men approach.  They make no efforts, to conceal their approach believing they will be unchallenged.

Their tongue is strange, you cannot understand the language. It is lilting and almost gentle sounding.

Your heart pounds in you chest as they pass you by, you clench and unclench your hands on the haft of your axe. Fearing your instincts will force your hand, cause you to flee, or run screaming at the enemy. You grind your teeth and force yourself to hold on, as unnatural as it feels.

You bless Gottir when his voice rings out in the night.

"So Cymri sheep tuppers is it? I should of known. Sneaking around in the dark like cowards"

You hear the intake of breath as the three Cymri walk past you, a mere yard away. Then you hear them laugh in relief..

One of them speaks in broken Savaxen.

"Look now old boy, are you the best the Savaxen can manage?"

His comrades laugh.

You risk a peek over the bracken. The man who speaks Savaxen, stands in front of his two friends. Gottir stands in front of them waving his sword around feebly, as if he is weaker and blinder than he really is.

"No I'm not alone," says Gottir, "there is a boy over there” he says.

For a second you freeze with dread thinking Gottir has given you away, but the old man points his blade away from your hiding place.

The lead Cymri looks over. The last thing he ever sees is an empty hedge row.

With the merest flick of his wrist, and a deft step forward Gottir opens the warriors throat. A quick snick, of the tip of his sword is all it takes.

Blood bursts from the Cymri’s neck,  a bloody foaming spray.

His hands clasp feebly around his neck, as he sinks to his knees, blood bubbling from his wordless mouth.

As he falls Gottir leaps over the body and launches himself at the next Cymri.

A high scream issues from the old wolf’s toothless mouth.

Fearing your legs may yet fail you, you launch your self from the bracken. Before you know what is happening, you are nearly upon the Cymri warrior, who stands with his back to you.

All the pent up fear, the anger at  the cowardly slaughter of your clans women, children and old folk, that you know is happening, even as you rush forward, a slaughter you cannot stop. The hatred of the men who should not even know of this secret way, the fury over the betrayal and the sheer, heart-ripping excitement of this your first combat, is too much for you. Despite all your training, despite Gottir’s instructions, the mad tumble of emotion erupts from your mouth in one bellowing war cry.

Hearing this and realising he is ambushed, the Cymri warrior spins on his heels, seeing you run screaming towards him axe raised, he tries to leap away from you.

You swing at him, as he turns side on, in a desperate scramble to escape your axe blade.

Your axe flows through the air in a deadly arc, cutting into his shoulder and right through,  rending flesh and blood  with a sickening ease.

He screams as his arm drops to the floor, as the blood from his ragged stump sprays your face.

You scream louder.

Like Gottir taught you, you don't hesitate,. Instead you finish him, as in almost one motion, you follow your downward swing, with an upwards swing. A slash that flows naturally from the first deadly cut. In another bloody burst, your axe head buries itself in the muscle and meat of his inner thigh.

You rip the axe from his flesh and watch him fall.

Triumphant you stand over your vanquished foe, raise your axe, and scream out a war cry to Woden one eye.

"Not bad" says Gottir, who sits on the chest of the second dead Cymri, idly toying  with the warriors decapitated head.

"I of course would of been quicker and cleaner, you do like your axe though, but if you like mess and gore..."

He stands, and carelessly tosses the dead Cymri's head into the bracken.

He looks at you and smiles

"Your chin is covered in blood. Now you are a man  you shall be known as Varghoss Redbeard!"

He laughs, pleased with himself.

"Come on bo...man!" He says, "no time to rest, back to the village."

Before you have time to think on what it means to be a Savaxen man, you are running after the old weapons master, into the night, into the world of men.

End of Part 1
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rafial
Member

Posts: 594


WWW
« Reply #13 on: March 21, 2004, 11:35:11 PM »

That ... was cool!

Was that a writeup, or the result of actual play?  If it was actual play, it would be really cool to have some annotation showing how the system drove the development of events in play.

-wilhelm
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ZenDog
Member

Posts: 158


« Reply #14 on: March 22, 2004, 03:45:57 AM »

Cheers Rafial, it was kind of both write up and play.  We were playing on line so every thing was already play.  I wrote the intro and setting and pasted that into the chat room we played in.  Up to the dream is just the intro, after that is where we started play.  I'm going to post the mechancis and play notes later today.
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