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Author Topic: [TROS] The Riddle of Hârn  (Read 24098 times)
Sigurth
Member

Posts: 74


« 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.
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Lance D. Allen
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« Reply #1 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.
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~Lance Allen
Wolves Den Publishing
Eternally Incipient Publisher of Mage Blade, ReCoil and Rats in the Walls
Sigurth
Member

Posts: 74


« Reply #2 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 and the author has his own website called 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


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!
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November Kilo
Member

Posts: 13


« Reply #3 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...
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November Kilo
Brian Leybourne
Member

Posts: 1793


« Reply #4 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.
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Brian Leybourne
bleybourne@gmail.com

RPG Books: Of Beasts and Men, The Flower of Battle, The TROS Companion
Sigurth
Member

Posts: 74


« Reply #5 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! :)
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Sigurth
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Posts: 74


« Reply #6 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)
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Spartan
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« Reply #7 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
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Sigurth
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Posts: 74


« Reply #8 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'?
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Spartan
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« Reply #9 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
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Brian Leybourne
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Posts: 1793


« Reply #10 on: January 21, 2004, 10:05:28 PM »

Hey man, good to see you posting again!

Brian.
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Brian Leybourne
bleybourne@gmail.com

RPG Books: Of Beasts and Men, The Flower of Battle, The TROS Companion
Sigurth
Member

Posts: 74


« Reply #11 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 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!
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Spartan
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« Reply #12 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
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Sigurth
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« Reply #13 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!
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Sigurth
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« Reply #14 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!)
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