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[TROS] The Riddle of Harn (continued)

Started by Sigurth, March 30, 2004, 03:19:34 PM

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The Serpent's Path, part II

"Sergeant Bleda!" yelled the legionare captain.

The sergeant came running out from one of the upper rooms of the Pilgrim's Rest, the only inn in town. He quickly buckled his belt, almost stumbling down the stairs to report to his superior officer.

"What have you been doing, Sergeant Bleda?" asked Markus Cosele glancing up at the open door above.

He caught a jumble of tossled red hair before the door slammed shut. The manus pillus followed his gaze.

"Sir, I am off duty."

"And who is guarding the Senator?"

"Umm...the two from the Kom Legion."

"And where is Senatory Aeb?"

Bleda hesitated again, "I think he is at the temple, sir."

"You think!? You think!?"

The young captain paced back and forth, shaking his head in disappointment just as he had seen his uncle do when seriously needing to correct one of his men. He took a deep breath and remembered that the sergeant was a veteran who had fought and bled for Tharda, not just some boy fresh off the farm.

"Halea knows, and appreciates, your extra-curricular indulgences, but even though we are far removed from civilization, we cannot forget our responsibilities. Set up a new watch, taking into account that we," he said motioning to him and his companions, "have just travelled across hostile territory for most of the day. And please, Sergeant Bleda, take it upon yourself to see directly to the well-being of our employer."

The sergeant who had initially had a defensive stance, sagged his shoulders.

"Yes sir, you are correct. I will go and stand guard by Senator Aeb and send for the other two legionares once they have rested."

"Thank you, Sergeant Bleda. Let us be an example to the others."

Bleda nodded but then shook his head confused when Markus Cosele took a long draught of ale, wiped the foam from his mouth, and slid the empty mug down the bar, asking for another.


"I have been blessed by Ilvir himself!" proclaimed the one-eyed woman.

Her name was Talia. The other pilgrim's around her muttered and nodded in acknowledgement.

"Walk the Path! Walk the Path!" they began to chant

Talia replied, "Surely I can reach the Final Circle and be in the court of the Brooder."

"Do it! Do it!" encouraged the growing crowd.

Halifax looked away in disgust. To him these pilgrims and their show of piety was madness.

"They're daft. All of them."

He, Vynsycthe and Rhygar shared mugs of Stinky Ale in the only inn in town. Pelar and Markus had gone to see their patron.

The Rethemi knight responded, "They only follow what they believe is right. It is what inspires them. Gives them a will to live. I admire their zealousness."

" 'Cept their choice of gods. Ilvir is mad. He is to be pitied. Worship of him; it is misguided at best. Now Kemlar; he is the god to follow. He tells us to be strong in battle for in clean strife, the heart can be joyous, and--"

Halifax cut off the Kuboran, not liking where the conversation was going.

"Gods, who needs them? All I need is a strong sword arm, and a little luck."

Vynscythe gave a hearty laugh. There was a sparkle in his eye as he leaned towards Halifax and spoke conspiratorially, "Indeed, Halifax. I believe that you are blessed by the gods. Have you ever considered that you luck comes from divine providence? Can not Luck itself be your god?"

"Well said, well said, my Brother," added Rhygar taking a long swig from his jack.

The teenager backed away.

"Enough of this crazy talk. I have no use for gods, if they even exist...I make my own luck."

The Rethemi knight leaned back, and folded his arms.

"Oh, the gods do exist," he said shuddering at a sudden dark memory. "Be careful that you do not mock the wrong ones, and as to your current conviction. Time will tell, lad."

Hal shook his head with skepticism.

"Lad" indeed. This knight is barely older than me.

Then again, Vynscythe had that haunted look. The same one he had seen among the older, scarred Ivinians, especially the ones that had gone viking way back in '07, when his mother was taken as a warbride and he clung to her leg so hard the Ivinians couldn't tear him off. Halifax broke away from his distant memory. This Vynscythe. Yes, he had seen his share of death.

The boy winked to the knight and raised his ale in a toast.

Game Notes: The second trip to Ochrynn...and this session was mainly role-playing. Have I mentioned how much I love Spiritual Attributes? In this game session there were times where the PLAYERS contributed to the overall narrative by having in character conversations on their own while I was doing something with another player. The conversation between Vyn and Hal above is merely a summary since the talk is so spontaneous. I believe this is driven by the fact that from CHARACTER CREATION the players have had to get to KNOW their characters and DEFINE them. The interactions between PC & PC and PC & the NPCs was very involved, so I am trying to recreate the feel of the session by detailing as best I can, the conversations.

For most of the session we did not have to roll dice.

The insight into the characters' backgrounds is to give hints at their SA's, Flaws, and other abilities. Questions are appreciated!!!!

Next time...Pelar does his dissections of the Vlasta(hmmm... Apoethcary/Surgery?) ...Markus meets with Senator Aeb...and maybe more.
Do you know the Riddle of Hârn? (A Hârnic Story Hour with Game Notes using TROS, continued)

Ron Edwards


With Sigurth's permission, I've split the above post from [TROS] The Riddle of Harn.



There is a correction on the date that Hal was reminiscing...

The Rape of Thay when he and his mother were kidnapped was in was in 705 TR. The Cape Renda Disaster, where the Ivnians were turned back by extreme weather was in 707 TR. The current year is 720 TR. We are currently in the early spring.
Do you know the Riddle of Hârn? (A Hârnic Story Hour with Game Notes using TROS, continued)


I think I finally found a way to incorporate the deific intervention rule from HMx. Faith SAs!

I was pretty excited about my discovery :)

Now all I have to do is catch up to where the PCs are so I can introduce it in the narrative.
I think I also came to a decision about priestly "magick" . Some would be gifted as sorcerers (and in game play I just introduced one), some may rely on artifacts (perhaps using prayer books and their Faith SA), some may only be political.

Any idea about psionics?
Do you know the Riddle of Hârn? (A Hârnic Story Hour with Game Notes using TROS, continued)


The Serpent's Path, part III

"Journeyman Vomilost?"

The Melderyni was intensely studying a dissected Vlasta at a workbench that had been provided to him by Erech of Davys.


"Err...yes. I am sorry. These creatures are fascinating," he replied after a long pause.

Pelar Vomilost had been engaged almost the entirety of the afternoon, cutting open the ivashu, and drawing his observations of its anatomy.

"They have no gender," proclaimed the young sorcerer.

"Quite correct. Ilvir creates them. They have no need to make more of themselves. It is the way of the Brooder."

Pelar quickly went back to his work, not wanting to fall into a theological debate with the very thoughtful, yet very pious Erech, the Temple's resident physician and apothecary.

"It will take so much time to do this correctly. Unfortunately, we do have this time."

"I may be able to help.  Have you seen our library? I have done many illustrations."

Pelar raised an eyebrow.

"You have a library here? In the middle of nowhere."

Erech smiled, "For you the end of the world, but for us, it is the seat of Creation. The beginning."

Pelar grimaced. He let himself be drawn in again.

"I can transcribe some of my own observations for you, and perhaps enlighten you about the our god."

The young wizard sighed.

"Very well, good master. Lead on."


It had been a day of back and forth for the young legionnaire.  He had gone to see the senator, repositioned the guards after traveling across the stream again to the Smiling Nolah. Then after speaking with Senator Aeb again, he had been escorted by a priest to view the "trade goods".  That had made him laugh, inwardly so as not to offend, but still...for all the professed piety of the Senator and these Ilvirans, they were only out to make a few silvers. He was sure that  selling "Ilvir's children" did not sit well in some quarters. However, the Senator was willing to cut him in on the deal.

Near the cages, he had stumbled upon The Serpent's Tongue, a path that led to Araka-Kalai, the Pit of Ilvir and the source of the stink. On the side of the trail, stood a stone monolith with strange writing that had been carved into it. He had tried to decipher the script just out of curiosity, and then he had blacked out. When he had come to, the priest was helping him stagger back to the temple.

"What do you remember?" the Ilviran had asked.

Markus shook and then spouted something in a language that he did not know.

"Ahhh! You are a Pilgrim of the First Stone!"

The young lieutenant had felt sick, excused himself, and run back to the Nolah.

Now he had a bad headache.  Vynscythe interrupted his thoughts.

"So tell me. Do you want to go back out there and see this Pit?"

"No. Not really."

"Are you afraid, Thardan?"

The implication was enough for Markus. Once again he crossed the Klega, this time with Vynscythe marching along beside him. At the temple, they sequestered an acolyte to carry a lantern for them as evening approached, and continued to the first stone. Markus again recited the strange language, but the Rethemi declined.

The trio moved on, with the acolyte shaking as twilight gave way to darkness.

"Keep that light steady, boy," ordered Markus as they neared the second monolith.

Shaking his head at the Thardan's harshness, Vynscythe asked in a gentle voice, "Why are you so afraid?"

The acolyte gulped and stammered a reply, "Cuz...when the Brooder...he makes the ivashu...they come out mostly at night...mostly."

As if on cue, a howl sounded from the direction of the Pit.

"Like what kind of ivashu?" asked Markus turning to look at the boy.

But the acolyte had already dropped the lantern and fled back towards Ochrynn.  The light sputtered and then went out, leaving Markus and Vynscythe in utter darkness, as the clouds covered the moon and the stars.

"Well...are you going?" asked the Rethemi.

"No, you can go first. I will cover your back."

"This was your idea. I think you should lead."

This time a growl echoed across the broken hills, and both warriors looked at each other, turned and ran....


Professing that they would continue their quest in the morning, and that indeed it was not, they agreed, fear that caused them to halt, but the darkness, brought them once again to the Temple of the Ochre Womb. They stumbled across Pelar and an old Ilviran cleric copying text from a large codex to his smaller traveling ledger in the workroom. Turning the corner to the dormitory, where Senator Aeb had been given a private room, they found Halifax, Rhygar and the off-duty guard, Othor of Then gambling with poor acolytes. Markus reported to the senator one last time, and then relieved the guards, deciding to stand watch first, and since he was thoroughly annoyed, scattered the young gamers to give his employer peace.

The senator called for Pelar. Erech offered to finish the scribing, and Pelar with much genuine thanks took his leave of the old apothecary and went to do his 'advising'.

"We will be off to Leriel in the morning. I must speak with the Primate of the Church of Ilvir, and work out some business negotiations."

The senator rubbed his hands just as Pelar had seen merchants from Chelemby do before they made a big sale.

"I wanted you to divine for me sorcerer. How goes the trail tomorrow?"

Pelar nodded dutifully, despite his misgivings at the Senator's entrepreneurial undertakings, began his spread his tarot cards. The focus of the deck allowed him to propel his mind forward in time...The Senator gasped as he felt the magic course through the Savoryan.

Outside the door, Markus shuddered as he heard the eldritch whispering in his ear. Sergeant Bleda, keeping vigil next to him made a sign to ward against evil.

Pelar saw arrows fly from both directions of the trail through the mountains. The faces were unclear, but he knew that his new companions fell to these black-fletched arrows. Gargun poured from both sides. He felt a stab of pain...

And then he returned to the present shaking and cold.

"What did you see, wizard?"

"All will be well, Senator," he tried to say as reassuringly as possible. "I will speak with Markus in the morning."

Pelar calmly began to collect his cards...

Game Notes: Again the play was driven by player directed dialogue.  

Good things: We found a way to reward Pelar's SA for seeking knowledge. Also, it was the first time a spell was cast. Pelar cast a formalized divination spell that I converted from HMx. Unfortunately, I can't remember the name. I was minor, and IIRC, the spell only gives a glimpse of the possibility of the future. Perhaps helping the players to avoid trouble? ;)

I came up with a quick mechanic to symbolize the learning of the runic script on the monoliths...also called the Gates of Conception. I think I used Wit (which to me is the closest thing to HMx Aura, since HMx already has a Will stat) and gave a really high target number...I think 10 for the first circle and +4 for each subsequent monolith, making the fifth circle really, really high. You'd have to be very lucky, have SA's in faith to Ilvir, or have some magic to bolster you to succeed.

I have enjoyed TROs because of the freedom it allows you to make on the spot rulings.

Any questions about Hârnic allusions? i.e. Chelemby...Feel free to ask.
Do you know the Riddle of Hârn? (A Hârnic Story Hour with Game Notes using TROS, continued)


Surprised that I haven't gotten feedback. Must be the lack of posts. Fortunately, we've taken a break from the Riddle of Hârn for a few weeks so it'll give me time to catch up.
Do you know the Riddle of Hârn? (A Hârnic Story Hour with Game Notes using TROS, continued)


The Serpent's Path, part IV

Halifax halted and raised his hand, balling his fist to signal to the woodsman behind him to do the same. He had that gut feeling. The sneak fell prone to the ground and belly-crawled forward. After a few body-lengths through the forest detrius he came to a nearly, perfectly concealed game trail.  In the mud created by the recent thaws, he saw the criss-crossing of many clawed feet. He shuffled back quickly.

"Found a well-used, hidden trail. Definitely gargun," he hissed.

They decided to part ways. The woodsman headed back towards the Senator and his entourage, while Halifax picked his way carefully back to the main trail, dodged across to the other side and began to look for Rhygar and the other woodsman...


Earlier that day, the party had set out from Ochrynn. Beknyr, Halifax and two woodsmen sent along by the Hand of Ochrynn, the chief of the town's militia, had joined them. They made good time climbing into the mountains after passing Rhygar's gristly monument to the gargun fight two days earlier. Animals and insects had already consumed much of the piked orc heads. In the mountains, based on Pelar's divined information, Markus had sent Halifax and Rhygar to scout ahead on either side of the trail. A woodsman went with each of them. The forethough paid off.


Halifax heard a bird call, their pre-arranged signal and looked in the direction of the sound. The woodsman was motioning to him and then pointed towards his right. Hal saw Rhygar slowly creeping through the undergrowth, his falchion drawn.  Then something broke fromt the trees and Rhygar cursed audibly and gave chase. At the same time Halifax heard a cry of pain and turned back to the woodsman. The man grabbed his side near his lower back. Halifax saw blood there, and behind him a hairy hyeka stood with a gore-covered mankar.

Halifax bounded forward.


Rhygar lept over fallen logs and ducked under tree limbs and with amazing rapididty closed on the fleeing gargun. He hacked at its legs once and tripped it up. It screamed horrifically as the barbarian stepped over it, but soon its bestial cries were silenced as the Kuboran lopped off its mangy head. Rhygar heard the sounds of fighting below him on the mountain.

After several exchanges, the remaining gargun fell, not being able to stand against two, flanking foes. Rhygar made it in time to staunch the woodsman's bleeding and both he and Halifax carried the injured man as fast as possible to the trail.

Already, Markus had pushed the column forward at a rapid pace to hopefully run past any ambush that lay ahead. Most of the elements kept going while some stopped to help the scouts get there hurt man mounted.

Pelar looked back from the rear, making sure that all the pilgrims and soldiers had gone by. Senator Aeb's entourage exited the mountain pass and began to head down in elevation. No arrows came. They had avoided certain death.  Markus grinned and clapped him on the shoulder.

They camped at the base of the foothills and the next day marched on to Gwaeryn without incident.

Game notes: A shorter post, but now I'm done and moving forward.

Honestly, I wanted to hurry the campaign along so instead of a massive gargun attack since seriously, the lair is less than a mile from the trail, I decided that Pelar's info and the scouting prevented the gargun scouts from getting reinforcements.
Do you know the Riddle of Hârn? (A Hârnic Story Hour with Game Notes using TROS, continued)


I've decided to move this thread to ENWorld. Hopfully, this will garner new readership, and encourage me to continue writing....
Do you know the Riddle of Hârn? (A Hârnic Story Hour with Game Notes using TROS, continued)