Sunday, 14 August 2016

8. Onatar's Fire

Mythic GME Chaos Rank: 7
Scene setup: d10=5 (Altered scene) Undertake a Perilous Journey

Navigate(drow ranger)(Kyorlin): Auto success
Scout(Arjen): 2D6(1 4) -1 = 4 Failure!
Does something find them? Unlikely (They are a small group with ranger and a hunter to guide them).
Fate d100(91)=No

Let’s roll a Discovery then.
d12 (8) = Creature; d12 (1) = Common; d12 (11) = orc/gnoll
Activity d12 (4) = hunting; Alignment d12 (4) = evil; Context (wilderness) d12 (8) = Commoners.

So it’s a regular gnoll hunting party.

My initial thought was to have them blunder into the hunting party and have a tense standoff/negotiation. But Mythic gave a modified scene, so it needs something else. Gnolls in DungeonWorld have a move Doggedly track prey. Let’s say that they have caught their prey, and we encounter them and have to decide what to do about it.

Give an opportunity that fits a class’ abilities

Discern Realities(Sakhisli): 2D6(4 5) +0 = 9 Partial success.
What should I be on the lookout for?

Jungle west of Obsidian City, Xen’drik
Dravago 13, 997 YK

The jungle changed little as they journeyed south. The weather was not as hot as it had been the day before the attack, but still too hot for any but Kyorlin to be comfortable and there was little breeze. They could move much faster, now that they were not tied to the expedition; there was no backtracking to the camp at night, no searching for paths that the wagons could follow. They did have to carry their own food now, but they did not have as much of that as they would have liked—less than two weeks’ worth—so they were still travelling fairly light.

Kyorlin was their guide still, and led them southwards towards the crossing that he knew over the river. He said that it was dangerous to travel too far east, due to the large holdings of the Sulatar that lay upriver. Kyorlin and Arjen took turns scouting; they now needed only a single scout, a little ahead, to warn them of obstacles or danger. But for the first two days, they encountered nothing of great interest; there was the occasional river gorge, or thickening of the jungle, that forced a detour, but generally they made good progress.

It was the afternoon of the third day when Sakhisli called a halt. “Kalina, hold up a moment.”

Kalina turned to the dwarf. “Are your burns troubling you?” Sakhisli still bore the burns from their encounter with the mephits, and they did not appear any better after four days.

“No, Kalina, I told you that there is no pain at all.”

The dwarf had indeed said that every time that Kalina asked; she still did not believe the answer. “What then?”

“There is something near our path; a campfire, just over there.” The dwarf pointed a little off to their right.

Kalina looked, but saw nothing. Lowering her voice a little, she said “Are you sure? Kyorlin, get Arjen back, quietly.”

“As you say.” The drow vanished into the undergrowth, keeping low.

“I’m fairly sure,” said Sakhisli. “I was right about that gold before, wasn’t I?”

Kalina frowned—she assumed that the gold had been a guess. “Let’s check it out then. And keep your voice down.”

“Yes ma’am.”

They moved off in the direction that Sakhisli had noted. Kyorlin and Arjen joined them in a minute.

“I did catch the smell of woodsmoke a moment ago, when the breeze shifted,” Kyorlin said. “That may mask our approach as well.”

Introduce a new faction or type of creature: gnolls

They reached a slight rise in the ground, overlooking a slight depression in the jungle floor. About thirty yards away, there was a campfire in a slight clearing. Several bipedal creatures stood near the fire; they were around seven foot tall, long-limbed, covered in tufts of fur and with canine heads. They carried bows and spears. Then Kalina saw the smaller creatures: beside the fire were four kobolds, tied to stakes.

Spout Lore(Kyorlin): 2D6(2 3) +1 = 6 Failure!
Monster move(Scent-tracker)

“Gnolls,” said Kyorlin. “Cruel hunters. One does not normally see them so far north.”

Kalina vaguely recalled reading a description of gnolls in the account of an adventurer that she had read as a child. The hyena-like heads and long limbs did seem to fit that description.

Arjen said, “What are those creatures that they have as prisoners?”

“Kobolds,” said Kalina; no-one who had lived in a city in Khorvaire could fail to recognise the pests.

One of the gnolls chattered something in their own language; another let out a series of barks. Was that laughter?

Kalina felt a hand on her wrist; it was Arjen. “We can just go around, Kalina. It’s nothing to do with us.” She realised that she had a hand on her sword hilt.

“No, we should do something.” Kyorlin turned to Kalina. “I care naught for kobolds, but no creature deserves to be prisoner to gnolls. Death would be better.”

“I’m itching for a fight myself,” said Sakhisli. “I’ve never seen a gnoll, but if they’re evil, I’ll gladly try to end them.”

Offer an opportunity, with or without cost: I’m playing the character’s alignments here; see the previous chapter for the character sheets. Kyorlin wants to free the prisoners; Sakhisli just wants to see the world burn. And Kalina wants an adventure. There’s much chaos in this party. If Arjen knew that gnolls were fiends, he would be game for a fight too, but they failed their Spout Lore.

Discern Realities(Kalina): 2D6(3 1) +0 = 4 Failure!
Monster move(Doggedly track prey): a gnoll is drawing a bow on them right now

“Alright, we’ll do it,” said Kalina, gripping her sword again. “We’re adventurers; there’s no point avoiding every fight. There’s only three of them, so we should be able to handle them. Kyorlin, get up in a tree and harry them with arrows; the rest of us will charge them.”

Arjen and Kalina drew their swords, and Sakhisli hefted her hammer, as they began to creep forwards. There was no clear ground for an easy charge, but Kalina hoped to get a little closer before they made their presence known. Then there was the momentary whistling of an arrow from their right; Sakhisli cursed and staggered slightly, and Kalina looked in that direction to see another gnoll there, bow in hand, just as it made a loud barking cry—alerting its friends to the danger.

Golden opportunity: Monster move(Strike at a moment of weakness) Deal damage: d8=1 damage, negated by armour.

The other gnolls all turned in their direction. There was no going back now; Kalina said, “I’ll deal with that one, you hold the others,” and began pushing through the undergrowth towards the gnoll flanking them.

The three gnolls are about to shoot; what do you do?

Volley(Kyorlin): 2D6(3 4) +1 = 8 Partial success.
d8=4 damage, 3 after armour; draw attention
Defy Danger(DEX)(Kyorlin): 2D6(6 5) +1 = 12 Success!
Arrow misses
Defy Danger(DEX)(Sakhisli): 2D6(3 3) +1 = 7 Partial success.
Worse outcome: only one arrow hits; Deal damage: d8=1, negated by armour

Sakhisli is getting really lucky on those damage rolls.

Defy Danger(INT)(Kalina): 2D6(3 5) +1 = 9 Partial success.
Hard bargain: take your time and the gnoll shoots at someone else; rush and the gnoll shoots you

Kalina chooses to take the hit. Deal damage: d8=5, 4 after armour.

She heard the gnolls loose their arrows, and heard another arrow whistle overhead towards the gnolls—Kyorlin has found a perch, then—as she pushed forwards. Kalina moved from the cover of one tree to another, making it hard for the gnoll to take a shot; but, as she ran forward, she saw the gnoll draw an arrow pointing off to her right, presumably aiming for Sakhisli. Kalina broke cover and charged; the gnoll shifted its shot and the arrow struck Kalina just below the shoulder; her leather jerkin took much of the force out of it, but she still winced in pain.

Hack and Slash(Kalina): 2D6(6 5) +1 = 12 Success!
Deals d10=8 damage, 7 after armour

Then she was on the creature. It threw down its bow, pulling a spear from its back; the creature towered over her, and with a spear in hand it had far greater reach. But Kalina was too fast for it; she leapt in and thrust up with her shortsword, driving the point of the blade through the creature’s gut. The gnoll let out a yelp of pain and wavered; it dropped its spear and fell, clutching its wound as it bled amid the tree roots.

Volley(Kyorlin): 2D6(4 4) +1 = 9 Partial success.
Take what you can get; deals d8-d6=-5 damage
Hack and Slash(Arjen): 2D6(4 4) +0 = 8 Partial success.
Deals d6=6 damage; Deal damage: d8=3 damage, 2 after armour
Hack and Slash(Sakhisli): 2D6(5 3) +0 = 8 Partial success.
Deals d4=4 damage, 3 after armour; Put someone in a spot

Kalina turned to see Sakhisli and Arjen charge recklessly the gnolls at the campfire. Arjen, his sword held high, brought it down like an axe on the head of one of the gnolls. Sakhisli yelled a dwarven battlecry and jumped into the midst of them, and managed to catch one in the leg with a swing of her hammer.

Volley(Kyorlin): 2D6(3 3) +1 = 7 Partial success.
Use up ammunition; deals d8=5 damage, 4 after armour

Kalina was moving towards them when she saw another gnoll, bow drawn, emerge at the far side of the camp. It was aiming for Sakhisli, but then an arrow from Kyorlin hit it in the chest and it staggered, letting out a yelp of pain. The kobolds tied up near the fire yipped excitedly, struggling with their bonds.

It’s time.

Summon Elemental(Sakhisli): 2D6(6 4) +2 = 12 Success!
Fire mephit(blast tag); d4=2 control

The remaining gnolls by the fire, spears drawn now, had backed up and were keeping Sakhisli at bay with their greater reach; she could barely keep away from their speartips. Sidestepping one of their thrusts, the dwarf put a foot into the campfire, but seemed not to feel it. After another swing of her hammer, Sakhisli yelled in frustration. And then, the campfire seemed to flare up suddenly as flames engulfed her burned arm. The flames seemed to have a life of their own, rising up away from the fire to stand above the dwarven smith.

Elemental Attack(Sakhisli): 2D6(1 2) +2 = 5 Failure!
Deal damage: d8+1=7, control reduced to 1; deal damage: d8=8 damage

Sakhisli turned in surprise; one of the gnolls took its chance and stabbed her in the side with its spear. As if in response, the fire creature—Kalina could see something within the flames now—reached out, and a burst of flame engulfed both gnolls. There were yowls of pain and both fell to the ground; Kalina reached them and stopped, putting a hand over her mouth at the smell of burned fur and flesh. The creatures did not rise again.

Hack and Slash(Arjen): 2D6(3 6) +0 = 9 Partial success.
d6=2 damage, Deal damage: d8=3 damage
Volley(Kyorlin): 2D6(4 6) +1 = 11 Success!
Deals d8=4 damage

All gnolls down.

Arjen was still battling the last gnoll at the edge of the clearing; he had managed to cut its arm, but was struggling to get closer because of its great reach. Then another of Kyorlin’s arrows hit it through the throat, and the creature fell. A moment of relative quiet followed, broken only by the frantic yipping of the kobolds.

Kalina could see now that it was a fire mephit in the midst of the flames that had appeared over Sakhisli. Kalina kept her sword drawn, ready to dodge aside when the creature attacked; but it just stayed hovering near Sakhisli. The creature seemed passive now, despite the smell of burned gnoll still hanging in the air from its last attack.

“Where did that come from?” said Arjen. He had his sword still drawn too, but made no move to approach it—perhaps remembering how he had been burned last time they faced these creatures.

“Are you alright, Sakhisli?” asked Kalina.

“Yes; it did not burn me.” Sakhisli sounded puzzled. She raised her burned arm to look at it; as she moved it in front of her, the mephit seemed to react, moving around to stand before the dwarf. “In fact, it seems connected to me, somehow.”

Spout Lore(Kalina): 2D6(2 3) +1 = 6 Failure!
Think offscreen
Event: NPC Positive(Clifftop Adventurer’s Guild): Planned cruelty
Show Aid from an Enemy, or Opposition from an Ally: The adventurer’s guild is in league with some evil organisation; sending so many inept adventurers on such a dangerous mission wasn’t incompenents, it was malice. Perhaps whoever set this up is in the service of the Dark Six, and the whole expedition was a sacrifice to the gods. TBD.

Kalina had never heard of such a thing. “You can control it?”

“I don’t know. It seems to react to me, that’s all.” The fire around the mephit flared a little, and it turned its head towards Kalina watchfully.

Spout Lore(Kyorlin): 2D6(5 1) +1 = 7 Partial success.
Not useful information

Kyorlin joined them now, eyeing the mephit warily. “I did not know that dwarves could channel fire magic.” He had an arrow nocked still.

“You have seen this before?” asked Kalina.

“The Sulatar are our—the Vulkoorim’s—main enemies in this land. They are drow, but they reject nature and worship fire itself. Which gods do you follow, dwarf?” There was a hint of accusation in the question; Kalina looked back to Sakhisli.

“I worship Onatar, the god of forge and flame, craftsmanship and creation—as do most dwarves from the Holds.” Sakhisli returned the drow’s stare defiantly.

“Onatar is one of the Host, which is widely worshipped in Khorvaire.” said Kalina. “She is still just a blacksmith, Kyorlin.”

Awkward moment for the party here. The Host is the main religion in Khorvaire, an honourable faith in a collection of reasonable gods; different to the worship of elemental fire practiced by the Sulatar and Ildjotun. But the party failed their religion checks here and don’t know that; fire worshippers are the ancestral enemies of Kyorlin’s people for 40,000 years.

DungeonWorld is not a PvP game though, and Adventurers struggling together. So no fight here; instead we will write distrustful bonds between them.

Show a downside to their class, race, or equipment: dismissing the elemental summoned is an advanced move that Sakhisli doesn’t have yet.

“Is she?” Kyorlin moved to the far side of the gnoll’s camp, keeping his bow at the ready, watching Sakhisli and her mephit closely. As he walked past Sakhisli, the mephit moved to stay clear of the drow.

“Can you get rid of it?” Kalina asked Sakhisli.

The dwarf shook her head. “I don’t know how. I—I think you should just kill it, Kalina.”

“Hold it still, then.”

Kalina watched the creature closely as she approached; it looked around, as if wanting to move, but stayed in place. With a yell, Kalina slashed at the creature; its flames flared up, and then swirled around and downwards into the campfire. The creature was gone, and the campfire burned brighter once more.

It’s under control, so no Hack and Slash here. Kalina deals d10=7 damage, more than enough to kill it.

“What do we do with the kobolds, Kalina?” asked Arjen. There were four kobolds tied up near the fire; they were small, brown-skinned reptilian creatures, crudely dressed in leather tunics. They were still yipping excitedly, though it was hard to say whether it was in hope or fear.

“Let them go,” said Kyorlin. “They are no problem of ours.”

“Yes, let them go.” In truth, Kalina had no idea what else to do with them. Brave swords could earn money in Sharn or, before the Mourning, in Metrol by killing kobolds for the city watch; they infested many a sewer and abandoned warehouse in Khorvaire. But in a jungle this big, they were surely harmless.

The kobolds grew quiet as Arjen approached with sword drawn. But as he cut their bonds, they grew animated again, and jumped around excitedly as he freed them. Once they were all free, one of them went over to the gnolls and retrieved a couple of daggers from its belt pouch—clearly sized for kobold hands, not gnolls—and the kobolds armed themselves. The same kobold then approached Arjen, chattering excitedly in their own tongue, and held out a necklace with several gems on it. Arjen took it, and the kobold bowed; then all of them turned and ran off into the forest.

Arjen turned the necklace over in his hand, then pocketted it, shaking his head. “Strange creatures.”

Treasure:

  • a minor piece of art (gold pendant of the Fury, worth 60 gold coins),
  • minor magical trinket: a vial of demon blood,
  • 3x bundles of arrows,
  • spears,
  • 5 rations (as the creatures were far from home).
End of Session(party): Kyorlin met his alignment goal, +1 XP

XP: Arjen 4, Kalina 7, Kyorlin 2, Sakhisli 1.

Bonds: Arjen: Sakhisli is a fellow follower of the Host
Kalina: Without Kyorlin, we are lost.
Kyorlin: Kalina is the first adventurer to treat me as an equal, and has earned my respect. Sakhisli wields a dangerous power: I do not trust her.
Sakhisli: Kyorlin is wary of my power, for good reason. Kalina will lead me to great riches.

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