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Title: [TROS] The Riddle of Hârn
Post by: Sigurth on January 19, 2004, 05:14:13 PM
Originally, my gaming group toyed with idea of creatinga hybrid HarnMaster/TROS system, however, when I received the TROS book and read it, as GM, I made a command decision. WE would play TROS. Fortunately, I had Brian Leybourne's Character Generator and I sat with each player and helped him to make his character...what a system!

However, we still wanted to play on N.Robin Crosby's Hârn. The grittiness of the world translates really well to TROS. The only real tweaking in the magic system (which I will explain under Pelar Vomilost's intro in another post). He is the Shek P'var in the group.

The first two sessions...sort of a "How the PCs all meet?" were amazing causing one of my die-hard d20 players to exclaim, "Forget FR. Forget Champions. This is the game we should play!"

Definitely an encouragement to me as a GM (aka Seneschal). I'll describe the events of those sessions in later posts, but in this one I want to give a background/SA's of all the characters. If you play TROS, you know that this is THE IMPORTANT STUFF!

**

Halifax the Lucky : Thayan-born Lia-Kivir (the Theives' Guild of Hârn) from Geldeheim in Orbaal (Male, brown eyes and hair, dark complected, 70", 160 lbs)

Philosophy Protect those who cannot protect themselves and you make your own luck.

Destiny To have a seat on the Lia-Kivir Ruling Council

Drive To help the Jarin win Freedom

Passion Love Taking Risks/Thrillseeker

Conscience Protect the weak

Luck He is called Halifax the Lucky for a reason....

Gifts & Flaws Accuracy (Major), Overconfient (Minor)

When he was six, Halifax inadvertantly became booty during the Rape of Thay when his mother was taken as a warbride by a member of Clan Djagg. Somehow, luckily, he was not thrown overboard. Always resentful to his thralldom, he ran away from the area of Gyfyn Keep several years ago eventually ending up at Geldeheim where luck again made him noticed. He joined the Lia-Kivir, which in turn has led him to the Jarin Resistance. He has honed his urban and wilderness skills ever since, acting as smuggler and sometimes courier for the Underground. Halifax is 20 years old. Halifax is usually happy go-lucky, and will try to avoid confilict, but he is deadly when cornered.

**

Markus Cosele Reserve Legionarre Manus from Tharda (Male, light brown hair and brown eyes, light complected, 78", 200 lbs)

Philosophy Only through order will stability come; defend the weak

Drive To increase the social standing and wealth of House Cosele

Faith Halea

Passion Loyalty to Sinazar Cosele, his uncle

Conscience Defend the weak

Luck It's good to be lucky!

Gifts & Flaws Patron (minor), Addiction: alchohol(minor)

Member of the Gerium Legion whose uncle is the commander of the Noru Cohort.  After his 4-year term as a regular making the rank of Manus (Junior Equestrian). He is now a reservist, sent away by his uncle to avoid the intrigues of the Gerium Legion, and gain some favors from possible patrons. Markus is 21. Markus act like a cheap penny-pincher, but he is also passionate about injustice. He definitely looks for opportunities to make money

**

Pelar Vomilost Savoryan Sata-Mavari (Journeyman) Shek P'var from Melderyn (Male, green eyes, red hair, tanned, 74", 198 lbs)

Philosophy Gather knowledge for the Brotherhood and distribute such knowledge to those who are worthy...

Destiny To become a Grey Mage  on the Council of Eleven

Drive To be accepted by his family/clan

Faith The precepts of Save K'nor

Passion Love/Pusuit of Knowledge

Luck You know it!

Gifts & Flaws Patron (Major), Overconfident (Major), Bad Reputation (Minor), Vows (Minor), Dependence on Dialogue (minor)

Pelar is the eldest bastard son of his late father. Born at Vamilost Manor, near Parnam Keep in Melderyn. His cousin Sir Varmil holds the manor and has outcast Pelar who should have inherited. However, he was Gifted and through his father's connections, was able to become apprenticed to the Savoryan Chantry in Cherafir. Now he travels the lands seeking knowledge to become a Master...He is also 22. Pelar is spiteful and bitter towards his family though he seeks to gain their acceptance, but loyal to friends and companions. He is more inquisitve than scholarly.

**

Rhygar of Kubora Kuboran ex-gladiator (Male, green eyes, black hair, tanned, 69" , 157 lbs)

Philosophy Fight the good fight and die with the enemies heart in your hand!

Destiny To Unite the Kuboran tribes of Peran and destroy Rethem

Faith Kemlar the Guide will show me the way

Passion Hate followers of Agrik

Conscience In truth Rhygar is gaining one by exposure to the others

Luck

Gifts & Flaws True Leadership (Major), Bloodlust (Minor)

Rhygar was recently rescued from execution at the hands of the masters of the Pamesani games by Vynsythe of Paque. He has spent the last five years in the Pamesani Arena at Shostim after being captured in a raid of his tribal lands in Peran. Now he travels with Vynsythe learning the ways of the "civilized" so that  he will be better equipped to one day fulfill his destiny. Given a second chance at life Rhygar strives to love life...fight hard & party hard...,but he is merciless and serious against his enemies. The barbarian is only 18 years old.

**

Vynscythe of Paque knight-errant from Rethem (Male, hazel eyes, light brown hair, 76", 190 lbs)

Philosophy Uphold the ideals of Chivalry even when the odds are stacked against you

Destiny To overthrow the strangle hold of the Agrikan Churches in Rethem and bring in the church of Larani.

Drive To learn the teachings of Larani

Faith Larani

Passion Loyalty to House Paque

Conscience

Gifts & Flaws not defined yet...

Vynscythe is not your ordindary Rethemi noble. He is a renegade in thought and philosophy, disgusted with the excesses of the dark churches in his homeland and turning to something else...the church of Larani for hope. This has also caused him to flee his home at the encouragement of his uncle Baron Paque. His "murder" of an Agrikan soldier during the rescue of Rhygar now makes him a wanted man. He flight from Rethem has led him to Tharda and the north. Vynscythe is 20 years old. He is a brooding and thoughtful individual for the most part, but has yet to learn how to stem the bloodlust so prevalent from his upbringing under the influence of the Agrikan church in Rethem.


Title: [TROS] The Riddle of Hârn
Post by: Lance D. Allen on January 19, 2004, 06:03:33 PM
This should definitely be an interesting game, as you've got a rather destiny-laden bunch. Perhaps if I knew the setting and your plot ideas, I'd be better able to understand how you intend to juggle all of them without dropping the ball on anything else.

I look forward to hearing more.


Title: [TROS] The Riddle of Hârn
Post by: Sigurth on January 19, 2004, 06:17:15 PM
Quote from: Wolfen
This should definitely be an interesting game, as you've got a rather destiny-laden bunch. Perhaps if I knew the setting...I'd be better able to understand how you intend to juggle all of them without dropping the ball on anything else.

I look forward to hearing more.


Thanks!

Hmm...where to start...

Hârn is an island on an imaginary world called Kethira. The world setting has been around over 20 years and comes from the mind of N. Robin Crosby. The products are sold by Columbia Games (http://www.columbiagames.com/) and the author has his own website called Kelestia.com (http://www.kelestia.com/)

One cool thing about the world and setting is that all history is written up until a certain year (720 TR) and there is no metaplot that can interfere with your personal Hârn timeline.

Here's a link to a poetic map of the island:
HârnMap (http://www.harshlands.net/kath/harn_maplarge.htm)


Halifax:

About 70 years ago the land of Jara was conquered piecemeal by invaders from Ivinia (think northern England under the Danelaw). There are more Jarin than Ivnians and there is an undercurrent of discontent that has resulted in at least one rebellion (17 years ago).

Lia-Kivir are the thieves' guild of Hârn. They operate in some form or fashion in most of the countries on the island.

Markus

Tharda, the country where Markus is from has a unique form of government...a republic run by Senators. They also have a standing army. I think of Tharda as sort of Roman Republicanesque but more Dark Ages, not classical...maybe even Roman Britain close to 500 A.D.

Markus is all about helping his family advance itself in the Republic.  Tharda is stable but the Senators are aligned into various factions... Expasionist, Consolidationist, Imperial...etc. Markus's uncle is of the Consolidationist faction.

Pelar

Melderyn is notoriously known as the Wizard's Kingdom. In theory they are the most enlightened, and they also subtlely control access to Hârn from the mainland. Grey Mages are wizards that are masters in more than one Convocation of which there are  

*Lyavhi (Air - Light/Illusion/Etheralness)
* Peleahn (Fire - Heat/Action/Destruction)
* Jmorvi (Metal - Metals/Minerals/Artifice)
* Fyvria (Earth - Birth/Growth/Death/Decay)
* Odivshe (Water - Cold/Darkness/Moisture)
* Savorya (Spirit - Knowledge/Mind/Meaning/Psionic)

The Council of Eleven advises the King of Melderyn on Foreign Policy and several members are well-placed agents in the other kingdoms.

Of note:  Spartan on the Hârn Forums came up with a way to define the convocations with various Vagaries. I still have not settled on how much power I should let our Shek P'var Journeyman have.  I post that at a later date.

Rhygar

The Kuboran are a tribe of barbarians from Pelan. A Kuboran named Arlun conquered an area of land in Western Hârn and founded the kingdom of Rethem. Rhygar seeks to do the same.

Vynscythe

Rethem is notorious for its embracing of the dark churches of Agrik, (the principal diety of those who enjoy the dark side of war) and Morgath (master of chaos and evil). Larani is called the Lady of Paladins and is diametrically opposed to Agrik. V. "saw the light" and wishes to change himself first and then Rethem.  Rethem is also on the verge of Civil War as one of the more powerful Earls seeks an end to the current monarch.

Hope that helps!


Title: [TROS] The Riddle of Hârn
Post by: November Kilo on January 19, 2004, 08:19:38 PM
Wow!  Those are some diverse Destinies.  How are you going to meld them?  If I remember my geo(Harno?)graphy, none of those places are very close to each other.  

Spiritual Attributes have been my stumbling block for running TROS.  Its so radically, wonderfully different from standard frpging that I'm not sure I can get my players to grasp it.  They're so used to being hyper individuals, that I'm afraid they'll be so diverse that only one player's SAs will fire in each game, leaving the others out.  I'll manage, it'll just take time.  

Well, looks like you have your work cut out for you.  Looking forward to more posts, hope I can learn from your game.  You've got me dusting off my Harn stuff...


Title: [TROS] The Riddle of Hârn
Post by: Brian Leybourne on January 19, 2004, 09:48:45 PM
I don't have much to say except that it looks like your players have leapt very much head first into the game and really "gotten it", which is great to see.

I look forward to hearing more about how the game goes. By the way, Spartan used to hang around in the TROS forum a great deal too, although he hasn't been around for a few months that I know of.

Brian.


Title: [TROS] The Riddle of Hârn
Post by: Sigurth on January 19, 2004, 11:04:51 PM
Quote from: November Kilo
Wow!  Those are some diverse Destinies.  How are you going to meld them?  If I remember my geo(Harno?)graphy, none of those places are very close to each other.  


SPOILER WARNING!!
I am actually leading them towards the "inevitable" Rethemi Civil War where I think each player's character can really take part.

There is definitely some overlap between Vynscythe and Rhygar, and perhaps they will one day come into conflict, but that is were compromise will come in.  The Gerium Legion guards the Rethemi border and Markus, his drives and loyaties will come into play there. The other two are more problematic, but with one a member of the Hârnic Theives' Guild and another with Melderyni ties..there are definitely some hooks (Spoiler the Kingdom books have great ones). I can see that their fates can intertwine in the long term. Strangely enough, the first series of adventures takes place in/near Orbaal and something called the Pit of Ilvir.

Quote
Spiritual Attributes have been my stumbling block for running TROS.  Its so radically, wonderfully different from standard frpging that I'm not sure I can get my players to grasp it.  They're so used to being hyper individuals, that I'm afraid they'll be so diverse that only one player's SAs will fire in each game, leaving the others out.  I'll manage, it'll just take time.  


You'd be surprised. I was...and I have some self-proclaimed power-gamers as players. Consciences and Luck fire alot! Already I have had drives and destinies, that seem diametrically opposed, but when life is on the line, the players really, really realized that they have to fight for what they believe in. The Riddle after all is "What are you willing to die for?"

Something that really helped was sitting down with each player and generating his character. They were forced to think of their character's philosophy and personality and from that develop the SA's.

Quote
You've got me dusting off my Harn stuff...


Yay! :)


Title: Prelude I
Post by: Sigurth on January 20, 2004, 04:45:03 PM
Prologue I

A light, steady rain fell on the armed rider as he guided his horses at a walk towards the crossroads. He looked to his left and right. Trees flanked both sides of the road. The war horse he rode snorted sending steam from its nostrils. Then the rider sniffed in disgust as he saw several gibbets, corpses decaying inside, and a man hanging from a cross. Wood had been piled at its base. He hated Rethemi justice and its harshness, but in spite of his disdain the rider had to crack a smile, acknowledging the luck of the crucified man. Agrikans liked to burn their victims, and it looked like this man's execution would have to be postponed due to rain.

The man on the cross struggled for breath. This one still had fight left inside of him. The rider was curious and nudged his horse forward. As he approached he saw that the man, though muscular and wiry could be no older than seventeen or eighteen harvests. His conscience nagged at him.

"Tell me why I should cut you down?"

The young man on the cross tried to raise his head, but failed.

"Because I MUST live. I must fulfill my destiny...."

He coughed and shook spasmodically.

"What do you think of the church of Agrik?" probed the rider.

The man on the cross stopped shaking, clenched his teeth and looked down at the rider.

"I have no love for Agrikans. If I live, I will kill the next Agrikan that I see."

A noise from the woods caught the rider's attention. He looked to see a man-at-arms quickly strapping on a sword belt jogging towards the cross.

"Milord, how may I help ye?" he asked with a hint of scorn.

The rider saw that the man was a terahni, a solider in one of the fighting orders sponsored by one of the churches of Agrik. He wore livery that marked him as a member of the Order of Demon Pameshlu the Insatiable. These Agrikans worked the Pamesani Games, gladitorial games popular in Rethem and Tharda. The rider could not tell his rank.

"Why has this man been sentenced to death?"

"He is an escaped slave. The ungrateful lout, after all the trainin' we've given 'im."

"And I'd kill ya if I were not tied up," whispered the ex-gladiator on the cross.

The terahni struck the leg of the ex-slave. It caused a ragged howl.

"Next time I'll break yer leg, slave! Quit yer yappin'!"

"Enough!" yelled the rider drawing his broadsword. "Soldier, cut this man down."

"I think not, Milord. Ye have no authority here. Do not be a fool!"

The man-at-arms narrowed his eyes but did not draw his own weapon, a falchion that hung at his belt. The rider rose to his full height in the saddle and with a flourish drew back his cloak to reveal a shield emblazoned with black-and-white lozenges and on the dexter side a mark of cadency.

"I am Vynscythe of Paque, nephew to the Baron and I demand that you release this prisoner!"

"I will not little lordling, but neither do I wish to fight ye a' horse."

"Then leave," Vynscythe replied pointing his sword back the way he came towards Shostim.

The terahni did not need anymore encouragement and began jogging down the road. With his sword, Vynscythe cut the young man from the cross and draped him on the back of his horse. The ex-gladiator bit his tongue to fight back the pain as blood rapidly circulated back to his limbs.

"He...knows...who you are" gasped the ex-slave.

"Fool of a knight!" exclaimed Vynscythe as he watched the man-at-arms move further and further away.

Then he had an idea. He gave his mace to the man he had just rescued, and grabbed a lance from his packhorse. Then he pressed his horse towards their enemy. Hearing the horse behind him, the soldier turned around and drew his falchion.The ex-gladiator grimaced when he realized that he could barely hold on to the weapon and with his reflexes slow from fatigue, he mis-timed his swing as the knight reared his horse next to the terahni. The man-at-arms barely had to move aside. He brought down his weapon hoping to cleave at the unprotected man laying across the horse. However, his falchion was stopped short as Vynscythe, blocking with his shield, intervened. The terahni growled and swung low at the horse's legs. Fortunately, Vynscythe was quicker and reared his mount again guiding it right, away from the attacker. Then the Agrikan broke into a run.  

"He attacked my horse!" yelled Vynscythe suprised and now becoming angry.

"Ride by...ride by...," said the ex-gladiator in his ragged voice.

As they rode towards the fleeing man-at-arms, the passenger tried to rise to get a better angle to smite his foe. Blood-rushed to his head and he began to feel dizzy. As he brought the mace down for a crushing blow, he lost his balance and tumbled from the horse. Fortunately, he fell on his hip and landed in a puddle of mud. Somehow, he manged to retain possesion of his mace.

Vynscythe wheeled his horse around. First frustration and then a bloodlust began to rise. He  lowered his lance and with a yell, charged the terahni. The Agrikan stood his ground. No stranger to battle, he had seen time in a few campaigns.

"For Agrik!"

He ducked beneath the lance and slashed horizontally at the rider. Vynscythe gasped in pain and nearly fell from his steed. He looked down to see a tear in his ring mail hauberk and blood seeping rapidly from a nasty gash in his thigh.

"Does the little lordling wish to feel more steel?"

Overly satisfied with his manuever the terahni did not perceive that the ex-gladiator had risen to his feet and crept over towards him, using the charging horse to hide his movement. The squelching of mud alerted him to danger and he spun around, too late. The last thing he saw was the head of mace as a split second later it caved in his face.

"You will (whack!). Not (whack!). Keep me (whack!). From my destiny...," and the ex-gladiator collapsed to the ground beside the corpse of his enemy.

He rolled over letting the rain fall on his face. The grunting and heavy breathing, suppressing cries of pain, from his rescuer reminded him that there was still work to be done.

"A little help here!" he called through gritted teeth.

The young man slowly climbed to his hands and knees and then tore strips of cloth from the dead Agrikan's tunic. He wrapped the cloth around the knight's leg to staunch the bleeding. Then he stripped the body, claiming a ring mail byrnie and helm, and a falchion. Then looking at the corpse and then the empty cross, he struck on an idea. Too out of it from bloodloss, Vynscythe grunted and allowed the young man to throw the dead man on the horse and then place it on the cross. The rain had started to pour down.

"We best get out of here before others arrive," remarked the knight

"Yes, and I need to stitch up your leg," commented the other.

As the knight helped the young man onto his horse and rode east towards the Thardan border, he asked, "By the way, what is your name?"

The young man laughed, "I am Rhygar. I am Kuboran."

When they had disappeared in the distance a very frightened young woman left her hiding place in the copse of trees behind the "decorations". Then she ran crying towards Shostim.

Game Notes: Hopefully, I can give a narrative of every session (like Jake Norwood does in the TROS book) and then explain a few of events with game mechanics.

Originally, I was going to just have Vynscythe find Rhygar, cut him down and them move on. However, Rhygar's player wanted more stuff than just a loincloth and V's handouts. I had to play it out....It turned out bloodier than expected but fortunately, there was no permanent damage.

Another note...during this pre-game we were still playing with the idea of a hybrid TROS/HarnMaster system.

SA's: V's Conscience definitely kicked in when he saw the man on the cross. Rhygar made full use of his Destiny and when he fell off the horse on a botched Ride check, he permanently spent a Luck point to fall more gracefully and with only bruising rather than a crushed knee or hip (in both HM and TROS a fall from a horse can really kill or maim you). Rhygar also made use of his Passion: Hate Agrikans to rise and finish the Agrikan man-at-arms. I felt that this worked for the sake of drama despite him just coming down from being tied to a cross. I added the crucifixion element as flavor for my Agrikans in Hârn.

The battle: Clearly V got into the fight with nothing really at stake...not SA's to use really. It looked like he sort of picked the fight, and it almost cost him his leg.  I don't know if blocking an attack aimed at your companion is allowable, but I let it go for drama's sake. I also did not have a full grasp of the rules when V charged down the man-at-arms. I let him counter based on the QuickStart TROS rules. V. botched and the man-at-arms successfully parried and "stole" V's dice, then slashed and tore into his leg. However, I think the narrative that I wrote above makes more sense. The manuever would be an Evasive Strike....I think the point is moot anyway since Rhygar rolled a Critical Success on his healing check preventing any permanent damage (used HM rules here).

The next session we used TROS exclusively and it worked out soooo much better.

Addendum: I was pretty close on Vynscythe of Paque's SA's. However , his Passion is  Loyalty to Rethem  Also, he chose his Gifts and Flaws: Tormented (Major), Intuition (Minor)


Title: [TROS] The Riddle of Hârn
Post by: Spartan on January 20, 2004, 06:48:19 PM
Quote from: Brian Leybourne
I look forward to hearing more about how the game goes. By the way, Spartan used to hang around in the TROS forum a great deal too, although he hasn't been around for a few months that I know of.


Oh, I'm still here, Brian.  Life's just been a bit hectic lately.  I'm running a Harn campaign (one using TROS) or two, and play in Salamander's TROS campaign.  Also, my computer has gone kaput.  Hopefully I'll be around more often in the near future. :)

Also, with regards to the campaign, any character named after my hometown (Halifax) is by definition, very cool. :P

-Mark


Title: [TROS] The Riddle of Hârn
Post by: Sigurth on January 20, 2004, 11:30:14 PM
Quote from: Spartan

Oh, I'm still here, Brian.  Life's just been a bit hectic lately.  I'm running a Harn campaign (one using TROS) or two, and play in Salamander's TROS campaign.


Hooray! Spartan, we have to compare notes...though we may be doing that already on the Hârn forum  ;)  This is actually only my third attempt at running a game in Kethira.

Game 1) On Hârn based in Kaldor. We went to Trobridge Inn and then to Ekall-Anuz...My title unbeknownst to the players was The Return of the Foulspawner...then I had to take a year off from school, and in the interim the other players graduated. We used HM1.

Game 2) My Two or three session Agents of the King campaign set in Chelemby and Harbaal. I don't think the players liked the game due to its lethality. Used HM2. Or maybe it was that servant of Dekejis...

Quote

Also, with regards to the campaign, any character named after my hometown (Halifax) is by definition, very cool. :P
-Mark


I agree...Halifax the Lucky is slick...he took Skills as his Priority A.

Would it be worth it to post character stats here?

P.S. don't you just love 'Alt-131'?


Title: [TROS] The Riddle of Hârn
Post by: Spartan on January 21, 2004, 06:21:36 PM
Quote from: Sigurth
Hooray! Spartan, we have to compare notes...though we may be doing that already on the Hârn forum  ;)  This is actually only my third attempt at running a game in Kethira.


Ironically, my TROS Hârn campaign is a no-magic campaign (so far), and will likely be drawing to a close, since the band I run it for doesn't tour so much anymore, due to the crappy economy.  However, perhaps I should work on my TROS Hârn conversion for the greater good of Hârniacs everywhere, martyr that I am. ;)


Quote
Game 2) My Two or three session Agents of the King campaign set in Chelemby and Harbaal. I don't think the players liked the game due to its lethality. Used HM2. Or maybe it was that servant of Dekejis...


I'd have loved that campaign.  I'm a big fan of Lythia in general.

Quote

I agree...Halifax the Lucky is slick...he took Skills as his Priority A


Interestingly enough, my character is on the verge of being called Rulf the Lucky, due to the fact that he never lets his luck go below three, and it's bailed his behind out of trouble on many occasions.  

Quote
Would it be worth it to post character stats here?


Couldn't hurt, especially if you show how they related to Actual Play.

Quote
P.S. don't you just love 'Alt-131'?


Let's not forget alt-0226 and alt-0842! ;)

-Mark


Title: [TROS] The Riddle of Hârn
Post by: Brian Leybourne on January 21, 2004, 10:05:28 PM
Hey man, good to see you posting again!

Brian.


Title: [TROS] The Riddle of Hârn
Post by: Sigurth on January 22, 2004, 09:58:55 PM
Prologue II

The young man walked briskly west along Sylud Way towards the Chamber of the Red Domes. Drizzle and early spring caused him to tighten his cloak as he strode towards the impressive building in this Coranan, former capital of the Corani Empire and now the principal city of the Thardic Republic. Besides his overcloak, he wore traveling clothes and weapons in the continental style, a basket-hilted saber on his left hip and a poinard opposite. Not that any here in this backwater would recognize such a display he had realized when he had belted his armaments and left the Guild of Arcane Lore less than 100 paces behind him. He sighed, the hall of the guild was little more than a hostel, but at least it was better than the sprawl of the rest of the city, which fortunately he did not have to stay in. He missed Cherafir and Melderyn already.

He tapped the scroll tube also on his belt with his free hand. He trusted that Master Vensit knew what he was doing. The Chamber of the Red Domes housed the Senate of the Republic and in his possession he carried letters of introduction from the Guild of Arcane Lore and his Savoryan Chantry. He was to be attached as an advisor to Adasa Aeb, an eccentric Senator who favored internal stability over expansion for his country. How his Masters in Cherafir had made contact with this Senator was unknown to the young journeyman, but as long as it would allow him to see the wider world...well at least the Hârnic wilderness, it mattered little. Maybe he could visit the city archives run by the Hyn-aelori and gain some understanding of this bizarre form of government, that is if he had to stay here long.

In a short time, the young man turned up the path to the great bronze doors of the Chamber. Guards in red-laquered armor with crimson-tipped spears flanked either side. A portly man stood beside them just under the awning clearly not wanting to get wet.

"Master Vomilost, Senator Aeb has been expecting you."

The young man paused on the steps, taken aback by the false accolade.

"I am no Master of Savorya. I am but a Satia-Mavari, a journeyman-apprentice."

The Senator's aide blustered, bowed, and looked frightened.

"I am sorry, ah..I meant no offense."

Pelar Vomilost did not reply, clearing his throat in a semi-grunt of annoyance. The guards gave him a wide berth as he entered the building.

**

"Yes, Uncle. You wanted to see me before I departed."

"Markus, please sit."

Markus Cosele sat at the table opposite the commander of the Noru Cohorts, Sinazar Cosele.

"Thank you, my nephew for agreeing to escort Senator Aeb on his pilgramage."

"Sir, there is no need for thanks. It is duty. Well, and the fact that he will owe us a favor in exchange."

Both men exchanged a sinister smile.

"There is something else."

Markus nodded.

"I have a message to be given to your great aunt."

Markus grimaced, "I thought she was dead."

"No, only exiled, along with the rest of her order. You know that silly business in Rethem."

Seeing the look on his face, Sinazar Cosele continued, "Now, now me boy. She is not all bad. Just mostly. Plus, a greater game is afoot, and I would prefer if all of our avenues were explored. Patronage is patronage after all."

The Cohort Commander began to laugh. Markus joined him and soon both men were chortling rather loudly.

The next day, Markus left for Coranan.

Game notes: Before the actual session, I gave a handout to all the players detailing what their characters knew. As best I could, I detailed what their relegious view could be based on what members of the clergy in their relegions preached. I found alot of info about this on the Harn Relegion Team (http://pages.sbcglobal.net/harn-religion-team/#Main_Index) site. Both Markus and Pelar, being educated unlanded nobility, had in their possession Poetic Maps of Hârn and their countries.

The Hardest thing for me was to get the PCs to all meet. For some reason before character creation, they wanted to play in Orbaal. I struck on the idea of most of them being part of a pilgramage to Misyn, the Pit of Ilvir. During the session I randomly picked Adesa Aeb as my strange lay follower of Ilvir. My rationale was that Senators would have the money to partake in such a journey, and of course they would need protection.

SAs came easy : Markus for family (drive and loyalty), Pelar for Destiny and drive.

Another note: Pelar Vomilost has the Cut & Thrust fighting proficiency. I couldn't think of any other way to describe it except as continental.  I don't think short sword and dagger quite fit. Melderyn is after all the Gateway to the rest of NW Lythia.

Halifax would join later, being already present in the north. Plus, he totally revamped his character concept from a burn-scarred Equani savage ex-pit fighter to the Lia-Kavair he is now. It took me time to refigure his introduction. I think it came out very cool. Better than expected in fact :-)

In the next prologue the PCs all join...I promise!


Title: [TROS] The Riddle of Hârn
Post by: Spartan on January 25, 2004, 02:21:24 PM
Now that I've had time to thoroughly peruse your posts Sigurth, I'm impressed.  The small exposure I've had to your prose conveys the feel of Hârn very well, I think.

Like previously posted, your biggest challenge will be melding the destinies into a cohesive narrative.  Hârn isn't that big, but it's big enough to be a challenge for such a diverse group to pursue their destinies.  Sine character development is tied to SAs, I'd advise being somewhat liberal doling them out, since it will be hard to focus on so many at once.  Otherwise character development might be as rapid as one migh like.

Other than that, I'd advise playing up the cultural differences between all involved.  The Mavari might well consider even the knight a provincial hick, and said knight might well distrust a "witch", even a guilded one. ;)  The Kuboran just might well have to run interference between the two, which is kind of... interesting.  The cool thing is, the group will be a very potent force once they're used to working together. :)

So just how are you planning to intertwine all those destinies?

-Mark


Title: [TROS] The Riddle of Hârn
Post by: Sigurth on January 26, 2004, 08:39:29 AM
Quote from: Spartan
Since character development is tied to SAs, I'd advise being somewhat liberal doling them out, since it will be hard to focus on so many at once.  Otherwise character development might not be as rapid as one might like.


We went over that last night after our second real session. I am trying to be as generous as possible since only role-playing is rewarded and you don't get xp for monsters. I think I have been good at rewarding the PCs for making the hard choices even when it takes them "out of game" for  little bit.

Quote
Other than that, I'd advise playing up the cultural differences between all involved.  The Mavari might well consider even the knight a provincial hick, and said knight might well distrust a "witch", even a guilded one. ;)  The Kuboran just might well have to run interference between the two, which is kind of... interesting.  The cool thing is, the group will be a very potent force once they're used to working together. :)


I think so. The Mavari is a Savoryan so he really doesn't have "battle-magic", but...the player really likes the idea of subtlety. Really good rpg'ing has come from the Thardan. He is really playing his "Order through stabililty," and "our way is the best way" to the hilt. Actually all of them...the Kuboran, the Lia-Kavair, and the Rethemi as well have all communicated their views and how the others are not quite right. It has gotten especially fun when we add the Ilivirites and their "craziness" :)

Quote
So just how are you planning to intertwine all those destinies?


I think as I lead them to big Hârn-changing events (maybe another Jarin rebellion and the Rethemi Civil War), the destinies/drives will all come into play. The destinies of Halifax and Pelar are not region specific so they can move towards them at any location. Definitely, there will be compromise...and ambition leads us on myriad paths as hopefully I can convey with the narratives, but I don't want to give too much away.

Hopefully, the last part of the Prologue will be up soon!


Title: [TROS] The Riddle of Hârn
Post by: Sigurth on January 27, 2004, 10:50:55 PM
Prologue III

Arms folded, Vynscythe of Paque stood at the prow of the nivik, wind whipping his hair and cloak as the boat cruised over the waters of Lake Benath. With its smaller companion, the Breath of the Aklash, this vessel, The Seafarer Ibensis sailed north east towards Misyn on the first leg of a pilgramage that would eventually take them to Araka-Kalai, the Pit of Ilvir.  Using the prevailing southeasterly they hoped to make good time once they hit the open lake. Slowly they hauled their way from the Thard river. The Rethemi knight put his hands on the port railing and stared across the water at the two towers of Parnan Castle. A little over a fortnight ago he had fled his country of Rethem. He and his new companion Rhygar, a barbarian of the savage Kubora tribes, had crossed the ford near Galven manor, at night like bandits. Then they had made their way quickly east through Mernua in the shadow of the mountains, and then finally south across the Neshell Downs and into Tharda. He had wanted to continue south into Kanday, but apparently Larani had other plans.

On the road, near Noru Keep, and running short on funds, they had run into an officer from one of the vaunted legions of the Thardic Republic. Rhygar had already been taken in by the various formations and parades that they had encountered at Geminost and Geshtei, and Vynscythe had just gone along, to his shame not saying a word. Soon the barabarian had extracted a promise of employment. Well, they had needed the money. The demons of his past still tormented him, even with this latest distraction. His lack of sleep had kept him in a daze as they had arrived and stayed in Red-domed Coranan. He could barely recollect the journey north to Shiran, the city of Sin. While there, he had avoided the brothels and pleasure palaces, and tried to visit the Laranian Temple of the Order of Hvyrik, but they had been aloof as if they could read the blackness that soiled his heart.

"What must I do to gain your favor, Lady of Paladins?" he asked to the towers and the waves.

A guffaw of laughter from amidships caught his attention.

"And that my friend is your first lesson if you want to be a legionarre. Never sign anything that you cannot read."

Markus Cosele, the legion officer that had gotten them this mercenary detail grabbed a sheet of paper from a dumbfounded Rhygar. Still laughing, he tore it in half and tossed it  into the water.

The boats began to turn northeast, and the wind picked up. Vynscythe mustered a smile as the sails caught full wind and the vessel began running.

"Well then...to death or glory...and answers I hope."

He left his musings and headed towards the Seafarer's stern to join the others.


***

Three days later, the two boats lay anchor at the mouth of the slow-moving Wose River. It had grown substantially colder, and rain mixed with snow flurries fell intermintantly. Markus Cosele shivered as he stood on the shore supervising the unloading. He scowled as he watched the ten or so common pilgrims splash happily now that they had reached their promised land. Misyn was ugly.  Sparse woods dotted the plain and the landscape was stark. The legion officer remembered from his land survey studies that it was called "karst", porous rock with all the hills, valleys, towers, windows to the underground, and sinkholes. To add to the alieness of the landscape a mist seemed to enshroud the land to the east, the direction of the Pit of Ilvir. He silently cursed his uncle, but then forced a smile as he saw Senator Aedesa Aeb disembark.

"This way, Senator. I suspect that with a dedicated march we can make this village of Ochyrnn before lunch."

The Senator nodded and smiled. He had that glazed pilgrim look. Markus chuckled as he passed. Because the Senator was rich, he was labeled as eccentric. The rest of the pilgrims, well...they were crazy. Five legionaires made the core of his "contingent": a fellow Bugler from Geshtei, two from the Kom Legion, a scared-looking kid from Shirnan, and a Manus Pillus who was fortunatley a veteran from the Ramala Legion. The barbarian and the Rethemi rounded them out. If the hedge knight listened to him, they could coordinate a mounted assault. That would be really fun. He clapped his hands for warmth and looked to the North and the Rayeshea Mountains shaking his head trying not to remember tales of cannibal barbarian tribes and man-eating Gargun. Beyond that lay volatile Ivinians and Great Aunt Shialea. He cursed his uncle again...

But Markus had gauged correctly and by noon, the entourage approached the village. Their first notice of their proximity was the stench. The horses shook their heads and whinnied, trying to rid their nostrils of the smell.

Senator Aeb took a deep breath, "How I have longed to take in the Pit of the Prince of the Fatherless Multitude!"

Markus gagged raised a handkerchief doused with perfume to his face. The Melderyni vomited as the smell assauted his senses. It was indescribable. His brain could only compare it to rotting dairy products, feces, and rotting corpses, but even that did not do it justice. Seeing him lose his lunch, several other pilgrims lost it as well. Markus groaned looking at their dumb smiles. They were even happy about that!


***

Halifax whooped. He won again. Scooping up his winnings, he grabbed the dice, ready to toss them again, but his companion shook his head.

"Yar lad, we quit. Yer too lucky fer me."

The other Ivinian salter folded his arms and nodded in agreement.

"But guys this is our last night before we hit Leriel," he pouted.

Wisely, his traveling companions did not give in. Halifax feigned hurt, shrugged his shoulders and went to count his silver...

The next day, the wagon reached the Jarin-held castle and Halifax said a fond farewell to Snorri and Sveen, his trail mates since Geldeheim. Then he took the long way to his destination, the House of Beknyr, the trehaen. His masters had sent him to deliver a message, through barely cleared mountain passes. Clearly it was important and very secretive since the superstitious Jarin had imparted it to him, Halifax the Lucky.  The Jarin "lawyer" read the message and then became very serious.

"Will two pence per day keep you on retainer? We must continue this mission to Ochrynn."

At first Halifax wanted to decline. The pay was soooo much less than he could make by conning all the stupid Ivinian merchants in town. Then he weighed the risks: dangerous mountains, in the snow, gargun and barbarians...and he knew it had to be to help the Jarin.

"Okay! When do we leave?"

"I must get my business in order. We leave on the morrow, early."

Halifax beamed. He had a whole night to relieve some rich folk of their heavy purses. He bounded towards town...


***

Mud-ice crunched under foot as the pair traveled south along Ilvir's Trail towards Gwaeryn Keep. Snow was already beginning to fall. Despite the cold, Halifax had a bounce in his step.

Leaning on his staff at their first stop to rest, Beknyr could not help but ask, "So how did you make out, young one?"

"It all started when I lifted this belt and dagger from some snotty Ivinian merchant at the Vavryl Jig. I took his coin as well, went to the Peach and Frog and won some more on dice and frunir, though I had never played before. Then I went back to the Jig and stayed the night in styyle."

"I am pleased that you could enjoy your stay in Leriel. The next few days will be rough."

They made Gwaeryn by early afternoon, took evening supp and slept in the common room at the Golden Maiden. Early the next morning they were off again. The trail followed the course of the Anoth River and rose steadily upwards until, by nightfall, they camped where the trail broke from the river and continued into the mountains. They kept the fire low, despite the freezing cold not wanting to attract unwanted attention from Jobasa, a nearby hyeka-gargun nest.

"You are not quite what I expected, Beknyr for a "lawyer"."

The traehan smiled, "I am not a quill-pushing litigant from the south. We traehan have to get around and be mobile. Sometimes when we dole out the vendetta law, and the petitioners do not like the judgement, we have to run quickly away."

He laughed, "So tell me more about that broadbelt. It has the Clan-name 'Rynik' on it."

"The Ivinian that I stole it from was typical. He blustered about the next day to the inkeeper at the Jig, threatening harm. I drew a dagger on him and made him take 15 silver instead of the outrageous amount he demanded. This is his dagger as well," he added fingering a fine, whale-bone hilted dagger.

Beknyr laughed. He handed him a copy of the message he was taking to Ochrynn.

"The next day may prove deadly, if it is our fate.  The mission must be completed. Take this to the Protector of Ochrynn."

Halifax stammered.

"Let me tell you another secret. The Lord of Leriel is not so compliant as he makes it seem."

Beknyr winked lay back on his bedroll.


***

Markus was not staying in Ochrynn if he could help it. Consulting with the Senator he persuaded him to take the weak-stomached pilgrims north to their other stop, here in the uncivilized north. It was someplace called Leriel Castle where the Primate of the Ilviran Church on Hârn was supposed to reside. Senator Aeb would join them there later. He had the Manus Pillus stay with two men while he took the others north. The Manus Pillus got the Kom legionaires. Strangely, the wizard Pelar Vomilost wanted to go with Markus. With haste, and with three pilgrims, they left away from the smell and the strange village. By evening, they made the foothills.

***

Snow continued to fall the next day as Halifax the Lucky and Beknyr the traehan made their way into the mountains.

"We must leave the trail, young one, the better to not make ourselves so visible to the foulspawn that haunt these passes."

Halifax obeyed the 'druid'. That is how he now thought of Beknyr for the 'lawyer' was a good woodsman and had no trouble keeping up with the young man who was nearly half his age. They made their way through the snow-covered pine forest that lined the trail.  Towards mid-afternoon, the snow finally stopped. Shadows had already begun to creep across the pass as the sun fell behind the mountains. Halifax was creeping about ten paces in front of the traehan, when a dark shape somewhere in front of him caught his attention. He stopped and motioned for Beknyr to do so as well, then he darted behind a tree. Looking back, he saw his companion do the same. Peeking around, he clenched his teeth hard, not wanting to gasp out loud as first one, then two, and then at least four more brown gargun crossed his field of vision. They carried bows and wicked curved short blades. And to his surprise, they wore leather armor with strips of metal attached, and the armor had been painted with white splotches to partially camouflage the foulspawn in the snow. They began to nock their bows even as they continued to creep forward.

Huxuth! Were too dang close to Huxuth! he screamed in his mind.

Then he heard a sound that made his stomach sink. It was the snort of a horse.

No! Not Pilgrims!

He looked back at Beknyr who was shaking his head, eyes wide.

Then he closed his eyes, knowing that he would regret what he was about to do.

"GARGUN!!!!!" he yelled and drew his short sword and dagger charging the nearest foulspawn....


Game Notes:

The first part with Vynscythe is my own creative narrative, however, the player loved it!

I started the first session with Markus, Vyn, and Rhygar meeting on the road to Coranan and the two fugitives landing merc duty. They were met by Pelar in the capital, and traveled north as you saw it.

Pelar actually lost it...I think I had them roll a Toughness TN 6 when they first smelled the Pit.

I left alot of nouns undefined hoping that the context of the story would define them. Please ask if any need to be clarified!!

Finally, Halifax definitely got an SA for Conscience for actually yelling "GARGUN!!!"...

Nextime: The Meeting of Destinies (and our first real combat with Gargun!)


Title: [TROS] The Riddle of Hârn
Post by: John Kim on January 28, 2004, 12:43:43 AM
Interesting.  I'm sort of contrasting this in my mind with my recent HarnMaster campaign, the Cuthren Village campaign.  I had been playing an Agrikan priest, Baraud Valain, who was quite devout although secretly heretical to the orthodox sects within Rethem (he was secretly a convert to the Order of Eight Demons).  

It's neat to see contrasting takes... I'm thinking particularly of Baraud vs Vynscythe.  Our game seems much more cynical and down-to-earth, which might well have something to do with the Riddle of Steel vs HarnMaster.  Baraud quite loathed the Laranians because of the hypocrisy and corruption that he felt they fostered.  By idealizing and protecting weakness, they encouraged false weakness and modesty rather than encouraging people to show their strength.  

It seems like our game was much more about compromising of principles (even Baraud's rather perverse ones).  We made a deal with a Morgathian priest, and also with a Morgath-corrupted Peonian saint.  Baraud hated Morgath as much or even more than Larani, but practical concerns drove him to make those deals.  

Your RoS game seems more over-the-top heroic in flavor, which I suspect is influenced by the Spiritual Attributes.


Title: [TROS] The Riddle of Hârn
Post by: Sigurth on January 28, 2004, 09:02:53 AM
Quote from: John Kim
It's neat to see contrasting takes... I'm thinking particularly of Baraud vs Vynscythe.  Our game seems much more cynical and down-to-earth, which might well have something to do with the Riddle of Steel vs HarnMaster.  Baraud quite loathed the Laranians because of the hypocrisy and corruption that he felt they fostered.  By idealizing and protecting weakness, they encouraged false weakness and modesty rather than encouraging people to show their strength.  

It seems like our game was much more about compromising of principles (even Baraud's rather perverse ones).  We made a deal with a Morgathian priest, and also with a Morgath-corrupted Peonian saint.  Baraud hated Morgath as much or even more than Larani, but practical concerns drove him to make those deals.  

Your RoS game seems more over-the-top heroic in flavor, which I suspect is influenced by the Spiritual Attributes.


I'll definitely have to go and check out your game. Maybe get some ideas...borrow some NPCs ;-)

I agree...I think SAs make for a more heroic game. Plus many of the pcs have these Hârn-changing destinies!

edit: Hey! I've been to your page. I borrowed your Political Map so Vyn could get an idea of the politics of Rethem.


Title: [TROS] The Riddle of Hârn
Post by: November Kilo on January 28, 2004, 04:48:21 PM
Sig - great story!  I've been wondering, how long are your sessions?  Or are these write ups covering only 1-2 sessions?  Really, good stuff.  Jealous.  I'm only 5 hours from San Antonio - got room for another?  :)  </kidding>


Title: [TROS] The Riddle of Hârn
Post by: Sigurth on January 28, 2004, 06:01:15 PM
Quote from: November Kilo
Sig - great story!  I've been wondering, how long are your sessions?  Or are these write ups covering only 1-2 sessions?  Really, good stuff.  Jealous.  I'm only 5 hours from San Antonio - got room for another?  :)  </kidding>


Thanks NK.

Actually, the first write up was one session. We were working out battle mechanics.

The second write up is wholly fictionalized based on conversations that I had with the players during character creation.

The third write up is about 3/4 of the first session.  I glossed over the travel as quickly as possible since I had not gathered all the pcs together yet. It was a challenge running Halifax going south and the rest going north. The next post will be the rest of that session. On average I will have 2 posts/session.

We have had one more session (this past Sunday) and they ususally run about 6 hours.


Title: [TROS] The Riddle of Hârn
Post by: Sigurth on January 29, 2004, 11:39:26 AM
Quote from: November Kilo
 I'm only 5 hours from San Antonio - got room for another?  :)  </kidding>


If you are ever in San Antonio on a Sunday evening when we play. SURE!

There are legionares or crazy Ilviran pilgrims to play.

At the last session we had one friend play an NPC legionare. I have to say that because of SAs, he really got into the pre-gen'ed character and now wants to either adopt that one or make his own.


Title: [TROS] The Riddle of Hârn
Post by: Sigurth on January 29, 2004, 03:49:02 PM
A Meeting of Destinies

The trail meandered through the Rayeshea Mountains and although the surrounding land was barren wilderness, the path saw much traffic and as such, it was suprisingly navigable. Up ahead, the Rethemi knight rode point. Markus rolled his eyes thinking about the hedge knight. He had given him a spyglass, and the fool had not known what to do with it until the Thardan had shown him. Why the legions had not overrun Rethem yet was unbelievable. He would mention these first hand observations to his uncle and maybe they could persuade that brat of a Marshal to make a push. Then again, there were too many internal problems, and he was more of a mind to have the Gerium Legion clean up Hefiosa bandits once and for all. He had already figured out that the young knight, and his barbarian companion were on the run. They both hated Agrikans--not that he had any love for those warmongers himself--and that alone was strange for a Rethemi. What was wierder still was that Markus suspected that this Vynscythe Paque was a Larani-worshipper.

"Another useless god," he expressed out loud, but no one was in ear shot.

He stopped his horse and looked back to see if the rest of the column were keeping the pace. Pelar Vomilost and Rhygar flanked the foot traffic of three pilgrims while his two legionares brought up the rear. He squinted west watching the sun drop behind the mountains. Too many shadows...he readjusted his grip on his lance. Then a sudden clamour arose from near where he was looking as a small flock of birds took wing.

He heard a cry of "GARGUN!!!" echo across the mountains. Instinctively, he brought up his round shield and heard the whiz and THUNK! of an arrow.

"We're under attack! Vynscythe! Legionares, guard the pilgrims!" he cried.

Spinning his horse to his left, Markus saw that it was too late for one. The poor lass had taken a arrow to the head and was on her way down. He saw movement beneath the trees and spurred his horse forward and upward into the forest of pine.

More arrows flew. Two struck the pony on which Rhygar rode. One grazed a pilgrim and landed a few feet from Pelar. With a battle cry, Rhygar vaulted from the saddle, drawing his falchion in mid-arc as his mount fell beneath him. Landing cat-like on the muddy trail, he snarled. Then, following his leader's example, adjusted his shield and charged into the woods. Vynscthe of Paque, hearing the commotion behind him, wheeled his horse around, and urged the stallion into a gallop. He feared he would be too late.

**

Halifax hoped he was as lucky in combat as he was at dice. The young man drove the hyeka-gargun back slashing and thrusting with both blades, but he could gain no advantage as the viscious creature ducked and parried.  An off-balance slash from the thing's short falchion slashed across his leather scaring him. In response, still with the initiative, he stabbed at the gargun's unprotected neck, hitting its armored shoulder instead. The gargun grunted, but shrugged off the blow. Suprised at their toughness, Halifax desperately pressed his attack.

The muffled sound of hoofbeats on snow carried up to Halifax, and he spared a quick glance. A mounted soldier charged down one of the other gargun, spearing him in the neck.

**

Markus cursed, "Stupid beastie!"

He let go of his lance which had become stuck in the gargun's hairy throat, and he drew his sword. Above him a woodsman, possibly their saviour, battled one creature. Closer at hand five more ran down the slope towards the trail.

He manuevered around a fallen log and with a kick to his horse ran down a gargun from behind, cleaving its skull and sending it tumbling to the ground. Space was tight and another one of the creatures closed on him. Instead of dashing away like he wanted, he could only rear his horse. When he came down, the gargun had moved to his non-shielded, right side. It slashed him across the thigh. Markus grimaced in pain as blood began to ooze down his leg.

On the road Pelar dismounting hastily, yelled, "C'mon! Get under cover!" to the other two pilgrims.

The other woman ran behind the horse, and he pointed towards the trees on the opposite side of the trail from the attack. The injured pilgrim dove under his horse and Pelar roughly pulled him to his feet. Pushing him and then following him to the cover of the pines ahead. Pelar drew his weapons just in case, but he hoped that the warrior-types he traveled with would deal with the problem.

**

Driving the gargun back again, Halifax heard movement behind him thinking that his luck had finally run out. He turned to have both foes in front of him, but sighed in relief as Beknyr yelling with his staff held high over his head, brought it crashing down on the gargun's skull. The hyeka' staggered, but did not fall. However, now dazed it was extremely vulnerable. Halifax thrust at its neck while Beknyr brought the staff down again on its head. It slumped to the ground staining the white snow red with its blood.

"Go, lad! I will make sure."

Beknyr stepped on the neck of the fallen gargun while Halifax tore down the mountain to help the others.

**

Rhygar of Kubroa hit the first gargun head on striking before it could and forcing it back against a tree with a mighty, across-the-body blow to its abdomen. The gargun gasped as the wind was knocked out of it. It put up a meager defense when Rhygar gave a follow-up, backhand slash to the neck. The cut was not overly deep, but it was enough to force the gargun to drop its weapon and clutch at its now bleeding neck. There was no time for the Kuboran to celebrate his victory as two more Gargun closed on him quickly, and the legionares struggling with their heavy tower shields were too far away to help. He smiled showing the beasts his teeth, and began to circle for a better position, just like he would have in the arena.

Markus barely parried the gargun's attack. Pain hindered his fighting ability. The junior equite clenched his teeth and stabbed weakly. The gargun knocked his sword aside and attempted a thrust of its own to Markus's belly. He leaned back and the mankar's blade scraped across his mail. He looked into its feral yellow eyes as it drew back for another stab, but the attack would never come. Hollering like a wild man, Halifax kicked up snow and mud and pine detrius, and stabbed with both weapons at the gargun's head. His short sword punched through the base of the skull and as the dying creature jerked his head back reflexively, he brought its dagger up into the base of its jaw. He heard and felt the sick grinding sound as both blades met somewhere in the gargun's brain.  

Markus nodded his head in recognition, and regaining his balance on the horse, turned and charged down to help Rhygar.

"Your welcome!" yelled Halifax in his best, sarcastic Hârnic.

The young man had to kick the gargun to get his blades free, and then gagged realizing that he was now covered in blood. He hastily grabbed a handful of snow to wash it off.

Markus Cosele rode past another gargun, slashing it from behind. Connecting on the side of the head, the force of the blow spun the creature almost fully around. It collapsed in a heap. The legionare's momentum took him past his men.

"Help him, you slow fools!"

The last gargun saw that it would soon be outnumbered tried to break its engagement with Rhygar, but as it turned to flee, the barbarian slashed it across the lower back. The gargun tripped and fell to the ground.  Rhygar straddled the prone body lopped off the gargun's head, then raised his eyes and weapons skyward, and yelled, "KEMLAR!!!".  

After the barbarian's victory cry, a dead silence fell on the forest.

**

Markus, tore a strip of cloth from his cloak and bandaged his leg as best he could. He reached to his hip and drew out a flask of Coranan's Best and took a long swig. He hissed as the whiskey's warmth coursed through his body. He doused a little on his wound for good measure and let out a sharp breath as the alchohol burned his leg.

The legionares were finishing off the fallen beasts, and Rhygar stripped one body of its scaled and leather armor. He took a couple of mankars as trophies. He contemplated taking something more gristly, but remembering he was among civilized company refrained. Beknyr grabbed Halifax and hurried towards the horsemen.

"Well you were useless, hedge knight. Thanks for nothing," commented Markus scathingly, as Vynscythe had arrived.

He was already becoming more bold and bit surly from the spirits and the hurt in his leg. Vynscythe could only give Markus a look of hurt. He moved away from the legionare to see to his downed animal.

"Sorry about the horse, Vyn," said Rhygar standing over a very dead pony.

He helped Vynscythe unload the pony.

"Sir," called Beknyr to the remaining horseman, "we must make haste from this place. Undoubtedly, more gargun will come."

"Yes, yes. What do you suggest? Oh, and by the way thank you for coming along. It may well have been worse for us had you not given away their ambush," Markus proclaimed like an astute politician.

"To the other side of the trail. There are some caves higher up the slopes. We may hide and, if neccessary, defend there."

Pelar had dressed the wound of the injured pilgrim and then, having consoled them about the loss of their friend, had discussed what they wanted to do with the body. He now approached Markus Cosele.

"What now?" asked the equite.

"The pilgrims wish to return to Ochrynn and the Pit of Ilvir to leave their fallen comrade in the 'arms' of their god."

"Great. Well we are not going to do that today."

He shouted out orders for the column to regroup, and they moved out, following Beknyr and Halifax up the mountain.

"Uncle, I hate this place," said Markus bringing up the rear, again to no one within the range of hearing.

He snorted and took another drink.

Game Notes: I have admit that writing this story has been a blast. The simulated combat makes it so easy to visualize step by step what is going on in the individual melees.  You can probably see words that relate to TROS terms in the text. I think that the game play encourages so much drama, that I have let things happen to enhance it.

The arrow shot: I gave Markus a Per at a target number of 13. He made it an I allowed him to get his shield up to block the shot.  To me that was one of those drama enchancers. One of the pilgrims was not so fortunate.

Rhygar's leap: Also contributing to the drama I gave him Challenging (TN 10) of Agility.

In all honesty, I did not forsee how tough the gargun would be (I used the template for gols in the TROS book). Araki-garugn and kyani will be weaker while vissal and khanu....well after the gargun fights with the hyeka, I am sure that the players will not want to have their characters run up against those tougher, meaner gargun. In response I was very generous with SAs at the end. All Destinies and some Faiths, got a check. Hal used his luck alot. Markus the surly got Drive (this whole mission is to better his family after all). I also gave Pelar some Conscience for showing compassion to the Ilviran pilgrims.

Running combat was so fun.


Title: [TROS] The Riddle of Hârn
Post by: Sigurth on February 05, 2004, 02:20:13 PM
Thanks for all the reading (as shown by the views/post ratio!). I'll try and have the story from the last session soon. We play again on Sunday.

Tentative title: The Sons of Ilvir :)


Title: [TROS] The Riddle of Hârn
Post by: Spartan on February 05, 2004, 07:38:22 PM
I for one am really enjoying it.  Please keep posting. :)

-Mark


Title: [TROS] The Riddle of Hârn
Post by: November Kilo on February 05, 2004, 09:52:26 PM
Quote from: Spartan
I for one am really enjoying it.


To dangerously court the status of 'fanboy' - me too.  Great stuff.  First thread I check on login.

Do your players Forge?  It'd be fun to see the story from several points of view.  I always enjoyed websites that detailed Ars Magica Sagas like that.  Perhaps as new threads, to avoid hijacking yours...


Title: [TROS] The Riddle of Hârn
Post by: Sigurth on February 06, 2004, 06:29:35 AM
I know that a few of them browse but haven't registered on the Forge. Pelar's player and Vynscythe's player are keeping journals so maybe we'll see some excerpts.


Title: [TROS] The Riddle of Hârn
Post by: Sigurth on February 06, 2004, 01:21:14 PM
The Sons of Ilvir

Orthor of Then, reserve manus from the Gerium Legion, strained his eyes. He kept thinking that he saw movement among the rocks and trees below.

"Bahh! It is just shadows and mist," he told himself as he kept watch.

Tivir, the Shirnan Legionare had volunteered for bed, not for guard duty like Orthor had. Behind him, still in the front cave, the strange Rethemi muttered prayers he hoped to Larani, like he suspected and not to Agrik like most of the murderous men from Rethem did. Granted, there were Agrikans in Tharda, but they seemed to be much less bloodthristy, at least in Orthor's experience. The Kuboran barbarian also made him nervous. That one had harrassed his injured lieutenant until the Manus milites had chased him away. Now, even though the easterner had checked his wounds, he could hear his superior officer groaning in the throes of a fever.

"Good job, mate. Ya scared 'em away," came a whispery voice from his right flank.

He half-spun to that side, leveling his spear, but keeping his tower shield to the front. He lowered his guard as he saw that the younger of the two woodsmen who had saved their lives from the ambush smile broadly.

"Please, don't do that again!" hissed the legionare.

Orthor made a face, wanting to hold his nose. The boy stank.

"That's the idea, bub, and it worked too."

The legionare shook his head, and thought, Strange folk these northerners.

He watched as the young man went towards the back cave presumably to talk with his elder, and then turned back to resume his watch.

**

Halifax unstrapped the hyeka-gargun "scale" mail and let it clink to the ground. He broke an icicle from the roof of the cave and did his best to wash away the smell and drown the fleas, then he put on his traveling leathers and leaned against the wall. The traehan watched and then waited until the younger man had settled.

"Well?"

"You were right. It's warming up and a fog is rising. We should be well covered by sun-up."

"Then we should depart as early as possible and leave this group behind. Our mission is paramount."

Halifax made a face.

"I do not like the idea of abandoning this party. There are more than just the browns out there. I snuck behind a small group of white gargun. A couple were injured. I think they thought I was a brown. When the wind changed and blew my smell towards them, they ran away. I would not want these pilgrims to be caught in between."

"These 'pilgrims' are well protected."

"Then we should remain with them. Did you not say, that there is more safety in numbers?"

Beknyr had not, but he knew that for the moment there was no persuading Halifax. He shrugged his shoulders and curled up next to the dying embers of the fire.

**

Pelar tossed and turned in his sleep. Something nagged at him. The Holes...the Holes! Awakening, he stood up and looked at the very narrow, very dark crevices at the back of the cave. Nothing except maybe a rat or mouse could get through there. Something inexplicable drew him to look inside. A gaping maw, ringed with teeth jumped out at him!

...And he woke up with a start, breathing heavy and heart beating fast. He rolled over to his side as his eyes adjusted to the dim light here in the rear cave. Now he remembered. The party had found a cave and it had turned out that there had been two caves, a smaller outer cave, and a larger inner one. They had led the horses to the rear cave, and most of the non-combatants had put down their bedrolls and unloaded the equipment here as well. The solider-types watched in the front cave.

A woman's giggling caught his attention. He moved to see in that direction, and then recoiled in horror standing up slowly, and drawing his weapons. Two small creatures that looked like mud-brown lizard-chicken cross-breeds, hopped at first on the pilgrim's lap, and then one jumped to her shoulder. A couple more were feeding on the dead body of the Ilviran who had been hit in the head with a gargun's arrow.

"See..the vlasta," she whispered to Pelar, who apparently was her co-conspirator in this little secret,"I am blessed by Ilivir."

Then she began to scream as the vlasta that had leaped to her shoulder began pecking out her right eye. Startled by the noise, one of the little devils hissed at Pelar and jumped surprisingly at his face. One of its pack-mates joined in the attack. Somehow the wizard deflected first the attack at his eyes, and continuing his desperate circle of defense, knocked the other viscious little critter away from taking a bite at his leg.

"Help us! Help us!" he yelled, and backed away, hoping that he would not have to fight the small beasts.

The warriors in the front had already heard the screams and dutifully rushed to the attack. Rhygar tore into the room and recognizing the danger to Pelar, pushed the Melderyni away and slashed at one of vlasta and sliced it in half. Halifax ran to help the woman, and whimpered as the vlasta pulled out her eye, barred its teeth at him and then vaulted from its perch on her bloody head to poke out his eyes. He closed them and stabbed wildly with both his blades. Ichor sprayed on his face and he ventured a peek. The vlasta stared buggy at him, a dagger in its head, sword in its belly, and its beak a mere hair's breadth from his nose. With a yell he tore the dead creature in half.

Orthor pushed passed him and stabbed at the second ivashu that had attacked Pelar. It screeched as he pierced its hide skewering the creature on the end of his spear. He stared at the strange monster as it squirmed on the end of his weapon, still snapping its jaws towards his face.

"Kill it! Kill it, before it pokes out yer eyes!" called out Rhygar.

The fourth vlasta had skittered across the ground towards the last large target, Vynscythe of Paque. The Rethemi, geared for battle, blinked as the vlasta leaped to his face before he could act, and scratched with its sharp claws at his metal face mask. Undaunted, the knight brought down his blade on the beastie, cleaving it in twain.

Orthor had put his vlasta-on-a-stick to the ground, and was about ready to crush its skull under his heel, when the other pilgrim began to protest, "No, do not kill the sacred creature of Ilvir!"

"You crazy fool," growled Rhygar kicking the Ilviran pilgrim back away from the legionare.

Seeing the bleeding woman, Orthor stepped on the beast. With a gasp, the pilgrim drew his dagger on the barbarian.

"You best know how to use that blade, boy. In my culture an unsheated weapon demands that blood be drawn. Are you ready to die?"

Rhygar stared down the Ilviran.

"Enough!" called out Markus Cosele, leaning weakly against the opening to the front cave, arming sword drawn.

"Cannot a sick man get a descent rest. Stand down, soldiers! Go back to sleep. Rethemi, see that it is done."

The legion captain turned around and left the rest of the men blinking. They heard a heavy crash in the adjacent room. Vynscythe hustled the combatants away and sent Rhygar to check on Markus. Orthor looked around for Tivir and noticed that he had not joined in the attack. As he went to confront the other legionare, the other man lowered his eyes and turned away. Scowling at the man's cowardice, he resolved to take up this issue with the captain, in the morning.

Pelar and Beknyr had run to tend to the young woman's severe wound even as the others postured. Beknyr pulled a poultice of herbs from his pack as Pelar tore cloth to make a gauze.

"What a bloody mess...," he observed and sighed, directing Pelar to apply pressure to staunch the bleeding.

The traehan also forced some leaves into the girls mouth, which seemed to ease her pain as she stopped yelping. She was already in shock as he expected, but if they could make it to Ochrynn soon, she would live. Pelar covered her with several blankets and stuffed the holes in the back of the cave as best he could.  He gathered up some snow at the cave's entrance and stuffed it along with the least damaged specimens of the vlasta into one of his saddle pouches.

Sitting over the injured pilgrim, and watching the back of the cave, Pelar Vomilost did not sleep the rest of the night.

Game Notes: I really think I was able to translate the vlasta well. I made them very agile, and very fast in combat, but not so tough, that a single hit couldn't kill them.  Mostly they chose "attack" as their combat option :)

I can't remember if Pelar used any Luck, but I do know that he went all out defense, splitting his die pool against the vlasta...and he won both times! Still it wasn't the luckiest roll of the night...that came later!

Not to ruin your mystique of Halifax, but he burned a Luck point to successfully beat the reflex of the vlasta when they both attacked (i.e. two red dice).  Unlike, Vyn, Hal doesn't have a scary looking metal mask to protect his face.

If you're wondering about Orthor, I made him up quickly for the session and gave him to one of our group who had not made a character and used O. as an NPC. Don't know if he'll keep him, but he had a great time in this fight, that's for sure.

Hope you like the changes in perspective...Orthor, Hal, and then Pelar. I love how Hal has consistently tried to look out for the pilgrims even though he is irrelegious. It goes with is Conscience.  Next post, the second part of this session, up soon...


Title: [TROS] The Riddle of Hârn
Post by: Sigurth on February 15, 2004, 01:58:09 PM
Wow! over 1000 views!

http://www.geocities.com/festerdp/leriel.html

So here's a link to an image of Leriel from the south as a reward. The party should be there soon after tonight's session...unless they run into more bad things in the mountains :)


though I wish the image  would work :(

(http://www.geocities.com/festerdp/leriel.html) (http://www.geocities.com/festerdp/leriel.html)


Title: [TROS] The Riddle of Hârn
Post by: Sigurth on February 18, 2004, 02:34:15 PM
"For Rethem, For Larani!"

Vynscythe of Paque kept watch from the back of his white charger Tylaen*. Gripping his lance tightly, he peered into the darkness as best he could watching to the south, towards the blasted wasteland of Misyn. They had marched all day back towards the village and the Pit of Ilvir. Now they camped, on the top of a hill, having left the mountains, and hopefully any more wierd creatures that lived there. On the opposite side of the camp his would-be squire, Rhygar, the Kuboran, paced back and forth, round shield and falchion in hand. Over time he had scraped off the symbol of the Demon Pameshlu the Insatiable. Vynscythe hoped that he would replace it with the Checkered Shield, but he felt such a notion was in vain. Rhygar constantly berated him for worshipping a woman.

He adjusted his position in the saddle and gazed southwest. Beyond the mountains and Lake Benath lay Rethem. How long before they came after him? Would he be ready?

"Larani, give me the strength to do what is right...even when it is hard."

His horse nickered.

"Who's there?"

He thought that he saw movement.

"More ghosts to torment me, Tylaen?"

He patted the muscled neck of his horse. Vynscythe shuddered remembering the spectacles of torture that he had witnessed and all the innocents he had seen perish in Agrikan fires. If Rhygar only knew.

"And I did nothing..."

There it was again, a shadow of something. Then he heard the rustling of brush...and the scraping of a drawn weapon...

"Alarm!Alarm!" he cried.

Almost simultaneously, he heard the war cry of the Kuboran from the north of the camp.

He responded, "We are being attacked from all sides!"

He spotted the hairy form of a gargun climbing up the hill towards them, its wicked, serrated short falchion was already drawn. More shapes detached from the shadows.

Spurring Tylaen towards the nearest gargun, he gave his own battle cry...

"For Rethem! For Larani!"

The gargun was impaled through the gut even before it had time to scream.

**

Pelar opened his eyes as he heard the yells.

Not again, he thought as he sat up and fumbled for his weapons.

The Shek P'var rolled to his feet and quickly tried to assess the situation. He saw two legionares running towards the horses. He could tell by one's gimpy gait, that one of those was Markus. Another Thardan soldier ran off to his right. He heard hoofbeats and the familiar ring of metal echoing in the darkness. Before he could decide on a course of action, however, a gargun materialized from the shadows and pointed at him. Shouting something in its guttural language, it charged.

There was no time to draw steel. Pelar dropped his weapons and rapidly drew an arance symbol in the air and  recited an incantation. Throughout the camp, a barely perceptible whisper sounded in everyone's ear. The noise even made Vynscythe flinch as he charged down another gargun. The hyeka that bore down on Pelar slowed to a halt, shook its head and began to walk away. The pause gave Pelar a chance to grab his sabre and dagger and run to help the others.

**

Where was that Halifax fellow! thought Markus as he limped towards the restless horses.

He had spotted a gargun heading towards them, and his first instinct was to preserve them. However,Halifax was supposed to have hidden nearby just in case tribals or gargun attacked.

"Phaw! Maybe he's already dead. This way Orthor! The horses! Tivir, guard the pilgrims!" barked the Legion captain, as he drew his arming sword and hobbled at his best speed to intercept the gargun.

Off to his right, he spied Rhygar dancing around the trees against two of the beasts. One wielded, a two-handed sword-axe thing. The Kuboran looked like he was fighting defensively, avoiding being flanked by both creatures, while continuing to take hits to his shield. Rhygar was being driven slowly back.

But soon, the captain had troubles of his own as he clashed with the viscious gargun. Back and forth they went, with neither gaining a significant advantage. The gargun grunted as Markus struck him on the shoulder, but the tough hyeka kept on.

"Sir! Duck!"

Markus fell to one knee as a pilum sailed over his head, slicing the gargun across the face. The beast howled, and clutched at its face with its free hand. The opening presented itself to Markus, and he lunged forward swinging hard and downward to the gargun's bleeding head. A satisfying crack! was all Markus needed to hear to tell him that the beastie would rise no more.

He turned and gave an approving nod to Orthor.

"It's yours to finish, lad."

He scanned the camp. Across the way, Tivir was holding his own against a gargun, and one lay at his feet, but another was closing fast. Rhygar was still playing around with the sword-axer, but Pelar had distracted the other one, and was now in full flight back towards the center of the camp, with the gargun hot on his heels.

"Stupid wizard. I thought you guys were smart!"

He began to move in that direction, but pain shot though his injured leg. He reached for his flask, and realized that he had left it by the side of his bed roll. Anger roiled up in him and he gritted his teeth, running and half-hopping to rescue Pelar...for Senator Aeb of course.

**

The Rethemi knight reveled in his death-dealing. He had paused to shake the first gargun from his lance and charged up at another as it headed towards the center of their bivouc. That one fell to his lance as well, and he steered Tylaen to trample the creature into the ground for good measure. Tossing his bloodied lance aside, he drew his hand-and-half and rode down a third, removing its head from the rest of its body. A fourth looked to bolt for the trees. Vynscythe reared Tylaen and gave chase. Letting his trusty mount guide him, the knight caught the gargun as it broke into a moon-lit clearing and headed for a stream. A slice to its back knocked it to the ground. Turning his horse around, Vynscythe rode back splashing water as he went, and as the gargun rose weakly to its knees he lopped of its head.

**

The Kuboran was surprised at how agile and skilled the gargun that he faced was.

"You are a worthy opponent!" he yelled.

The brown-furred gargun only roared back with an overhead swing. Rhygar easily blocked the attack and dodged around another tree. So far he had hacked high at the creature, to no avail. It had deflected his attacks and regained the initiative, only to lose it again, as Rhygar knocked his mang** away with his shield. The wizardling had already lured away the other gargun, so now it was time to try a different tactic. He side-stepped and slashed across the gargun's thigh and drew blood. His second, backhand slice across the same leg, tripped the creature, and it spun to the ground. Before it could recover, Rhygar stepped on the arm that still held its sword-axe.

Looking into its wide, scared eyes, Rhygar said, "Thank you for the combat, foulspawn, but today, it is your day to die!"

And he ran it through the gut. Then he ran back uphill towards the camp to help the rest.

**

Markus knew that he would not make it, and Pelar was running out of room. He saw Rhygar rejoin them and pointed towards Tivir, who was farther from him, but closer to the Kuboran. The gargun on Pelar took another swing and the wizard fell prone to the ground barely avoiding a fatal blow. The captain closed to ten paces. He could go no further. His leg wound was re-opening. He stopped, knowing that there was only one chance. The gargun raised his blade over its head, but the captain was quicker, and he hurled his sword. It flew true and struck, point first, right in the foulspawn's neck. The gargun gurgled in surprise and toppled forward.

Pelar looked up in amazement and crawled over to the fallen gargun. He yanked out the sword and handed it to Markus who had limped over.

"Sir, I am not worthy!"

Markus scowled and harrumphed.

"Bahh! I need a drink!"

Then he smiled and changed his tone.

"Would you be so kind?"

The legionare pointed towards his bedroll, and Pelar, still in awe, obliged.

**

When it was all done, they had downed ten foulspawn. Rhygar had cut down a second gargun to relieve the young legioare, Tivir who with luck and patience eventually stabbed his own second gargun in the neck. The Kuboran, with relish had proceeded to behead as many as he could and place their heads on makeshift stakes. It took him hours.

"This way, any more foulspawn will think twice about attacking us," he explained.

Markus was too tired to argue. He was upset upon learning that Halifax and Beknyr had abandoned them, apparently sneaking away earlier in the evening. He would have choice words with them if they happened to meet in Ochrynn. Then again, who cared about the actions of peasants, plus that would free him of any obligations to them for saving their lives the day before. He shrugged his shoulders and took another swig of his whiskey.

**

Vynscythe sat on the ground next to an unsaddled Tylaen feeling guilty for his delight in the bloodshed.

"Am I too far gone, already, Lady? Can I rise above my upbringing?"

Tylaen snorted and rubbed his muzzle against Vynscythe's face. The knight smiled and scratched his horse's jaw.

He sighed,"For Larani, then, and someday again, I promise, for Rethem."

Notes:
*Tylaen is the name of Laranian Saint: a Serolan (Abbot) who led a mission into Rethem in 470 TR. He built several churches but made relatively few converts. He established a bishopric at Merethos. None of his foundations survived the Theocracy of Tekhos.  (Ref. Harn Relegion Team/Larani/Saints and Heroes. Author David Milliams). It means White Spear.

**mang is a gargun sword-axe. Rhygar, from time in the arena would know its gargun name. Hal' might also, but he wasn't there :P


Title: [TROS] The Riddle of Hârn
Post by: Halifax on February 26, 2004, 07:31:30 PM
Hey :) I know it only took me 2 months or so to finally register and post... I suck this I freely admit :D

Anyways I really like the way you have fleshed out the characters in the group and tried to show how they interact with one another. Also the scene with Marcus throwing his sword through the neck of that Gargun was way cool. It really recreated the feel in the room when he did it in the game.

Well keep it up Sigurth, I am looking forward to seeing how you write up Halifaxs sticky finger syndrome, heheh.


Title: [TROS] The Riddle of Hârn
Post by: Sigurth on March 01, 2004, 10:09:27 PM
sigh... wish I didn't have so many aliases...should stuck with one..

Anyway, I believe that I am TWO sessions behind.

The next post will be entitled The Serpent's Path which will seet the men of destiny return to Ochryn.

The the most recent session Dark Days in Gwaeryn where Halifax gets really, really Lucky :)

...or does he?


Title: [TROS] The Riddle of Hârn
Post by: Sigurth on March 02, 2004, 11:23:19 AM
The Serpent's Path, part I

Halifax looked over his shoulder with regret as he and Beknyr crested the final rise. Ochryn lay in the plain below. Mist had already risen, nearly concealing the village, and obscuring the Pit of Ilvir that lay less than a league beyond that.

"Gargun usually travel in groups of ten," Beknyr had said.

"Our mission is of utmost importance. You are a patriot, are you not?" the traehan had added.

He had known those southron-folk for barely a day, after all, he had consoled himself, but his conscience had nagged him all night. Now they had reached their destination as the sun crested the mountains to the east, warming their faces. Halifax exhaled the stink from his nostrils sending a stream of his own mist into the air. Hal liked to sneak, but it made him feel like a coward to steal away without their knowledge. He paused at the top of the hill, turned and gave half-hearted salute. He hoped to see them again. Then Halifax jogged to catch up with Beknyr.

**

Closer to noon, Markus Cosele rode towards the crest of another of these crumbling rock formations that passed as hills in these parts. The noisome smell hit him as he reached the top.

"Ugh! I had hoped to be rid of this stench, but here we go again."

He reached for his canteen and shook it. It was pitifully short of spirits. He brought the refreshing draught closer to his lips, but just as he was about to take a drink, a strong wind blew the rank smell right up into his nose. Uncharacteristically, he lost it...right into his container.

"I hate this place!" he yelled tossing the canteen away.

Wiping bits of the morning's breakfast of bread and jerky from his chin with his handkerchief, he looked behind him as his men reached his position and gave him a questioning look. They had already adjusted their scarves to protect from the smell.

"Damndable flask is empty!"

And then he added, continuing to play off his momentary lack of composure, "Hurry up, you scurvy louts, we haven't all day! The Senator does not like to be kept waiting."

His men picked up the pace, moving past his location. Following suit, the pilgrims and the magician began trotting to keep up. Finally, the Rethemi on horseback, and his barbarian, keeping pace by his side, brought up the rear. Both gave him a smug, knowing look.

Markus cursed and dug his heels into the side of his mount to return to the head of the column. At least the only inn in town had a decent liquer.

**

"So you are a worshipper of Save K'nor, then?" asked the one-eyed pilgrim.

Pelar smiled and nodded. He had been attempting to humor the girl. Lift her spirit, and help her to make it through the day. He had not wanted a deep relegious conversation.

"We can respect the Divine Sage. As much as the Brooder creates things so too does your master with equal relish seek knowledge."

Pelar raised an eyebrow.

"Only he can be trusted. The other gods and their worshippers. They hate us."

She put a hand on his forearm. Pelar looked down trying to hide his disdain and gently removed her hand. They were nutty, all of them really.

This one, Talia of Shirnan, believed that we would all become ivashu, and as we strove towards inner peace, we would one day sit at Ilvir's side. The other one, Denil, argued that no, humans were a form of ivashu. They also differed on the role of the churches, and hence Ilvir, in their daily lives. At least Talia was less emotional in her discussion. The other bordered on fanaticism. Pelar bided his time until he could get somewhere to examine his specimens. Undoubtedly, the temple had such facilities. Maybe someone was an expert.  

**

Halifax felt a heavy hand grab his shoulder. The dice in his hand went flying, but they still fell in play. It was a bad roll.

"You missed the party, woodsman."

He was yanked from his comfortable kneeling postion in the dice game and pushed a little rudely against the wall. In his face was the legion captain. Halifax turned his head away from his foul breath.

"Explain yourself, coward."

"Markus, he is only a boy. There is no need to be so hard on him. I suspect that he was under orders from the other traveler."

Halifax nodded and gave a wink to the southron knight who defended him.

"Hedge knight, if I wanted your input, I would have asked for it."

"We gave your man, Tivir a chance to redeem himself and he did indeed fight bravely."

"Plus, I have checked on your men for you, knowing that that you would arrive soon...sir," Halifax added with a gulp.

Rhygar stood behind Vynscythe, arms folded, looking like he was going to back up the Rethemi on this one.

"Fine."

Markus let Halifax go.

"A...a round of your best for these fine and gentle men!" called Halifax to a nearby servant, feeling the satisfying weight of his new coin purse.

Clueless, the legion captain smiled.

"So tell me, Halifax. What is going on with my men?"


Title: [TROS] The Riddle of Hârn
Post by: Halifax on March 03, 2004, 01:53:51 PM
lol, nothins better than placating an alcholic Legionaire by buying everyone a round of drinks with his own money :)

Looking forward to the next post Broc.. I mean Siguth... I mean... youre right you do have to many names :p


Title: [TROS] The Riddle of Hârn
Post by: Ron Edwards on March 03, 2004, 04:57:46 PM
Hello,

Although I do like the enthusiasm that this thread represents, I have to tell you guys something.

This forum is for discussing actual play, not just describing "what happens" in the game-world. If you want to post that kind of material by itself, I suggest that you set up a free website for that purpose. Here, although that material is welcome, it should also be accompanied by questions, observations, and topics for discussion.

Sigurth, what can you tell us about what it was like for the people, role-playing this material? How did they interact, how did they let one another know it was fun? You're apparently having a successful role-playing experience, and I'd really like to know what real-life interactions are involved in making that happen for your group.

Best,
Ron


Title: [TROS] The Riddle of Hârn
Post by: Sigurth on March 03, 2004, 08:13:03 PM
Quote
If you want to post that kind of material by itself, I suggest that you set up a free website for that purpose. Here, although that material is welcome, it should also be accompanied by questions, observations, and topics for discussion




We're working on it! Usually I post on Enworld.org's Story Hour forum, but as I already have one non-d20 story and two other SH's, I thought it would be a bit much over there. Initially, I was posting narrative and then game notes, but seeing as there was no replies...I started dropping the notes. Hey! It worked :) I got a response.


Quote
Sigurth, what can you tell us about what it was like for the people, role-playing this material? How did they interact, how did they let one another know it was fun? You're apparently having a successful role-playing experience, and I'd really like to know what real-life interactions are involved in making that happen for your group.


This session was the first with no major combat. It was lots more player-player interaction. In fact what has been very cool about this game is that the players talk in character about their philosophies and drives when I'm having another player interact with NPCs or do something game mechanics-wise.  Halifax's quote is something that he said during play to Vynscythe who was explaining to him the merits of worshipping Larani....but more of that to come.

Thanks for the interest. I'll definitely have more game notes in the future.

Of note: Halifax has a very good pick pocket and has made it a habit...running joke...to steal and use Markus's money.


Title: [TROS] The Riddle of Hârn
Post by: Pyske on March 04, 2004, 06:57:23 AM
I thought I had posted on this thread previously, but looking back I don't see my post, so let me start by expressing my appreciation for this thread.  I'm enjoying it so far.

In particular, one of the elements I'm getting out of the thread is seeing a narrative example of how SAs play out in Sigurth's game, and how he handles diverse and occasionally conflicting goals among the group.  

Ron: I was, in fact, a little surprised by your comment, as I was under the impression from some of the early posts that this was a major goal of the thread, and that such a goal fit within the Actual Play forum.  Are you looking for more interaction? (Dialog as opposed to monologue?)

Sigurth:  I liked seeing the game details as well, and even more so the editorial comments.  Also, did you ever post your tweaks to the magic system, and your reasons behind the power level you decided on for it?  I may have overlooked it in the thread.

Thanks again for an enjoyable read.

 . . . . . . . -- Eric


Title: [TROS] The Riddle of Hârn
Post by: Ron Edwards on March 04, 2004, 08:30:03 AM
Hi Eric,

Quote
Ron: I was, in fact, a little surprised by your comment, as I was under the impression from some of the early posts that this was a major goal of the thread, and that such a goal fit within the Actual Play forum. Are you looking for more interaction? (Dialog as opposed to monologue?)


Dialogue as opposed to monologue, yes - but also, discourse as opposed to dialogue. Discourse relies on active inquiry and the desire to understand the other person, and above all, the mutual desire to improve the ideas at hand rather than merely to express them, or merely to bully one of them out of existence.

Sigurth, yeah, more notes! You will be surprised when someone points to your thread a few months from now to support a point they're making in a frenzied debate.

Best,
Ron


Title: [TROS] The Riddle of Hârn
Post by: Sigurth on March 04, 2004, 08:40:59 AM
Quote from: Pyske
Also, did you ever post your tweaks to the magic system, and your reasons behind the power level you decided on for it?  I may have overlooked it in the thread.

Thanks again for an enjoyable read.

 . . . . . . . -- Eric


No I did not.

Here's a link to Spartan's vagaries-to-convocations thread:
http://www.harnforum.com/viewtopic.php?t=1893&highlight=tros+magic

I decided to keep the aging effects. I makes for a more judicious use of magic. In fact, so far Pelar has been loathe to use any spontaneous spells, relying on his rubric of formalized spells to get the TN break.

He's getting more bold, as the next few narratives will show, and the great thing is that the other players, since I gave them handouts explaining their takes on magic, and the Hârnic attitude, have contributed to the awe and mystique of the Shek P'var.

 I will probably write down the formalized spells if there is interest...they are converted from HârnMaster...and could probably use some tweaks.

I also barred him from choosing any level greater than 2 to start with. This was a flavor/campaign world decesion. Satvia-Mavari have to earn their stripes!

Thanks for the support!


Title: [TROS] The Riddle of Hârn
Post by: Spartan on March 04, 2004, 07:49:13 PM
Quote from: Sigurth
No I did not.

Here's a link to Spartan's vagaries-to-convocations thread:


Just out of curiosity, how has the conversion been working?  I haven't had the chance to playtest it... I just kind of intuited what would be appropriate given my vision of Hârn, since some people seemed interested at the time.  If you've made some changes, please post them and why the changes were made.  I plan on using TROS again for a Hârn campaign after my HârnMaster campaign is finished or needs a break.  Also, some feedback from the Pelar's player would be nice, too. :)

-Mark


Title: [TROS] The Riddle of Hârn
Post by: Sigurth on March 04, 2004, 09:38:56 PM
Quote from: Spartan

Just out of curiosity, how has the conversion been working?  I haven't had the chance to playtest it...


So far, so good.  Base on your constructions and my Magcial Vagary Level 2 limit, Pelar has the following Proficiencies: Conquer 2, Vision 2, Summonig 2, Banishment 1, Imprisonment 2 from the Savorya and Neutral Convocations.

I have a formalized spell list for Pelar with some from the TROS book and converions from HMx. I made Mana I Neutral (Summoning, Magic) for example. I'd love to send you the list.. and could use some help tweaking :) if you would like.  Tongue of Pvara worked better as a Savoryan spell than a neutral with the vagaries...in my formulation.

Quote from: Spartan
Also, some feedback from the Pelar's player would be nice, too. :)

-Mark


Did you see that Pelar? (I know he lurks...but I'll tell him as well)


Title: [TROS] The Riddle of Hârn
Post by: Spartan on March 05, 2004, 05:29:05 PM
Quote from: Sigurth
So far, so good.  Base on your constructions and my Magcial Vagary Level 2 limit, Pelar has the following Proficiencies: Conquer 2, Vision 2, Summonig 2, Banishment 1, Imprisonment 2 from the Savorya and Neutral Convocations.


Sounds good.  I'm glad that someone is getting use out of my conversions.  :)

Quote
I'd love to send you the list.. and could use some help tweaking :) if you would like.


Otay.  Feel free to do so. :)

-Mark


Title: [TROS] The Riddle of Hârn
Post by: Valthalion on March 11, 2004, 11:12:42 PM
How are you dealing with divine magic?

Valthalion

TROS in Orbaal


Title: [TROS] The Riddle of Hârn
Post by: Sigurth on March 12, 2004, 02:55:40 PM
Quote from: Valthalion
How are you dealing with divine magic?


Good question!

I am most likely to deal with the divine magic just as with sorcery, including the ramifications. I can see how Summoning/Binding Ivashu or Demons could work pretty easily with the Churches of Ilvir and Agrik, Morgath, Naveh, etc. Most likely they will be Spells of Many or at least Spells of Three, with very few formalized, and certain flaws. But what about those Berserker Fury spells of the Sarajinians and Barbarian Tribes? I'll probably have to wing it. If it comes up, I'll definitely post the spell/ritual here. I was thinking that priests would be more a political and less magical, kind like in HM1.

Psionics...that might be a problem...a specialized form of "magic" that requires no formal training and you can only do one or a few spells?


Title: [TROS] The Riddle of Hârn
Post by: Valthalion on March 12, 2004, 08:46:44 PM
I have been thinking about this more.

I have decided to allow clerics to become sorcerors in the normal way
if they choose but these guys are rare.

But I have decided to use the Faith SA as a basis for divine intervention as per harnmaster.

Valthalion


Title: [TROS] The Riddle of Hârn
Post by: Sigurth on March 13, 2004, 12:38:41 AM
Quote from: Valthalion
I have been thinking about this more.

I have decided to allow clerics to become sorcerors in the normal way
if they choose but these guys are rare.

But I have decided to use the Faith SA as a basis for divine intervention as per harnmaster.

Valthalion


I think that works...they are the gifted among their fellow priests. Hmmm...Faith SAs. Hadn't thought about divine intervention, but maybe it'll be there :) especially in the case of Vynscythe with his journey towards Larani-worship.

Which reminds me, I need to get crackin' on that narrative...The Players' explorations of Ochrynn are very interesting...


Title: [TROS] The Riddle of Hârn
Post by: Spartan on March 13, 2004, 05:35:47 PM
Personally, I would shy away from using the magic rules "as-is" for Clerical Invocations, but that's just me.  I like having the two systems separate.  That being said, there's nothing preventing Shek-Pvar from being priests as well.  I haven't yet come up with a mechanic for Miracles in TROS, but if I end up running another Hârn campaign using TROS, I guess I'll have to... someone's going to end up playing a priest eventually. ;)

-Mark


Title: [TROS] The Riddle of Hârn
Post by: Sigurth on March 18, 2004, 02:08:29 PM
Dear Readers,

I apololgize for not updating the narrative. I still have one more post from The Serpent's Path and then at least two from Dark Days in Gwaeryn. Fortunately, we haven't played for some time, so I should be able to catch up before all the adventures fade from memory.  My excuse is that I'm a perfectionist so I have to delve through my Hârnic resources as I write to get the people & place names down correct.

As per Ron's comments, I plan to give some game mechanic insight to explain the narrative especially with regards to the use of the TROS magic system.

Thanks for your patience,

S.