Sunday, 14 August 2016

7. Fire Worshippers

Jungle north of Obsidian City, Xen’drik
Dravago 10, 997 YK

Make Camp(party): Everyone heals to max
Level Up(Kalina): +1 Con; Swashbuckler

See the next chapter for the full character sheets.

Funnel World encourages characters to level up into whatever seems appropriate to their story and actions so far. Mostly we know that Kalina is a leader and a good swordfighter, but I don’t really see her running around in full plate anytime soon, so I decided not to make her a Fighter. Funnel World also encourages using add-on playbooks where they fit better than the main game classes, so I picked a playbook that seemed to fit better. I can always swap it to Fighter if I find that it doesn’t work well.

Arjen required more thought. So far, all we know about him is that he is an okay scout and a terrible fighter. His stats are bad. I was thinking, back in chapter 3, about making him a druid; but having him start shapeshifting would be odd, given no real connection to nature so far. Originally I made him in the Hunter class, but later I decided to make Kyorlin a hunter instead; Arjen had never used his class abilities (because his stats were terrible for them) so I retconned him into a Fighter (using the playbook from Awful Good Games). He won’t be a good fighter either, but it’s the default class for old-school D&D and he will have to make the best of it.

Level Up(Arjen): +1 Str; Fighter

When she awoke the next morning, the camp was quiet, with only the crackling of their small fire to add to the sounds of the birds in the trees above. Dawn light trickled down through the jungle canopy. She had a bedroll to sleep in at least, but no tent; moisture had soaked through it in places from the dampness pervading the gulch, not entirely kept at bay by the fire. It was a sharp contrast with previous mornings, when they had awoken secure in a large camp with tents and many campfires, and lots of bustle in the morning.

She rose and looked around the camp. Arjen and Kluthlin were absent; Kyorlin was meditating, and Caceir and Sakhisli were already up and seated at the fire. By daylight, and without her hauberk on, the burns on Sakhisli’s left arm and the side of her face were clearly visible; her hair was burned on one side.

“How are you, Sakhisli?”

“I’ve had burns before, ma’am.”

“Not so bad as that, I’ll bet.”

“No, but I do still have some salve; no smith would be without it.”

Looking at Caceir, Kalina suddenly realised that they were sitting in exactly the same position as when they had arrived at the camp last night. Warforged don’t sleep, she thought.

“Do you have any food supplies? Ours are very low,” she asked.

“No,” said Caceir, ”I do not eat, so I did not bring such supplies. Arjen and Kluthlin are out hunting.”

“Foraging for four hundred miles will slow us down a lot.” Kalina frowned.

“We need to go back to the camp,” Caceir said—just what Kalina was thinking.

After a moment, Kalina nodded.

Mythic GME Chaos Rank: 5
Scene setup: d10=6 (unchanged)

Is the camp still occupied? 50:50 ().
Fate d100(12)=Yes
Is it occuppied by the fire giant(s)? Likely (They were winning last night).
Fate d100(34)=Yes
Discern Realities(Kyorlin): 2D6(3 1) +1 = 5 Failure!
Reveal an unwelcome truth: the fire giant spellcaster has an alarm spell covering the clearing

Kalina, Kyorlin and Kluthlin crept up through the foliage towards the campsite. The smell of woodsmoke still hung in the air, and there were scorches on the ground and trees as they got close to the clearing.

As they got closer, they could see the burned-out remains of the wagons, and see some burned tents on this side of the camp. At the centre of the camp, the stone obelisk still stood, and around it lay three giants.

Ildjotun” said Kyorlin. “Fire giants.” His brother spat; the disgust was visible on the faces of both of the drow.

“They seem to be sleeping,” said Kalina, still moving forwards. “If we can—”

As they stepped up behind a tree at the edge of the clearing, suddenly, one of the giants stirred, as if suddenly shaken. It roared, reaching for a club that lay beside it, slowly standing up and turning in their direction.

Magisk!” said Kluthlin, turning to his brother. Kyorlin nodded, suddenly alarmed. “We must run.”

Defy Danger(INT)(Kalina): 2D6(4 4) +1 = 9 Worse outcome
Aid(Kluthlin): 2D6(1 4) +0 = 5 Failure!
Put someone in a spot: Drow used to be the giant’s slaves. Giants hate the Vulkoorim.

The other two giants were rising also now, and Kalina saw the first giant point directly at them. “Lead them away; meet at Caceir’s camp later.” The drow both turned and ran into the jungle.

Defy Danger(DEX)(Kalina): 2D6(2 5) +1 = 8 Partial success.
Hard bargain: be seen, but get to the others; or, wait here out of sight

Kalina ran too, but turned behind the next tree and dropped low, moving into some thicker foliage. The thuds of the giant’s footsteps as then ran forward started loud enough, but as they drew close the ground shook at every footfall. Kalina stayed calm and kept moving, dropping down behind the uprooted roots of a fallen tree; she looked out, waiting for the giants to pass.

Defy Danger(DEX)(Kluthlin): 2D6(2 3) +0 = 5 Failure!
Deal damage: 2d4=8 damage, 7 after armour
Last Breath(Kluthlin): You died

From where she had hidden, she could see the two drow running fast between the trees. Then a bolt of fire shot overhead; she did not see the impact, but she heard a scream of pain. She could not move though, and soil shook and shifted down into the hole where she was hiding as one of the giants ran right past her hiding spot, every step shaking the ground.

Once they had passed, she moved off towards where the others were hiding. Sakhisli and Caceir were there, but Arjen was gone.

“What happened?” asked Sakhisli.

Spout Lore(Kalina): 2D6(3 5) +1 = 9 Partial success.
Information, not helpful

“There were giants in the clearing; fire giants, Kyorlin said. They must have warded it somehow; they were alerted to our presence.” Kalina voice strained with anguish. “If we had known...”

“We came here with good reason,” said Caceir impassively. “Regrets are meaningless.”

Arjen rejoined them. “I saw Kluthlin fall; I went to check on him, but he must have been killed instantly. These giants wield powerful magic.”

“I begin to see that this whole expedition was ill prepared for this wild land,” said Kalina.

“But we are still alive, and must do what we can,” said Caceir. “We still need those supplies. Kalina, we go now, while the giants are distracted.”

“Yes, you are right.”

Defy Danger(DEX)(Kyorlin): 2D6(6 1) +1 = 8 Partial success.
Worse outcome: the giants won’t be gone for long

Kalina, Arjen and Caceir made their way back to the clearing. Stepping out from the jungle foilage, they could now see up close the devastation of the night before. There were bodies everywhere, mostly burned or crushed; tents and equipment lay scattered or broken everywhere, trampled in the fight or caught in the flames.

Discern Realities(Aided)(Kalina): 2D6(2 4) +0+1 = 7 Partial success.
What here is useful or valuable to me?
Aid(Caceir): 2D6(5 3) +0 = 8 Partial success.
Exposed to danger

Kalina hardly knew where to start. She went to some of the campfires first, hoping that the adventurers had had time to start on their evening meal; there were some overturned cookpots, but nothing salvageable now. Then Caceir suggested that they check the wagons; they moved towards the centre of the camp and found that there were some supplies here. The wagons had been blown apart by some fire magic, but that had thrown some supplies clear, and there was some food that was unburned.

Okay, this is the restock moment. They took a big risk to come back here, so I’m fine giving the party as much as they can carry. The wagons had food for two months for 40 people, and some other general gear, so any normal adventuring stuff they want—except rope, as we know—they can get.

Kalina takes: adventuring gear, 20 days of rations, bandages
Arjen takes: adventuring gear, 30 days of rations, bandages
Caceir takes: adventuring gear, 5 days of rations

Well, that will get them... halfway to Kappefesting? They might find opportunities to trade on the way, or can forage (preferably after more of the party are at level 1).

Discern Realities(Caceir): 2D6(6 3) +0 = 9 Success!
What here is useful or valuable to me? Present riches at a price

Arjen and Kalina stuffed their packs with food and other things that they found amid the wreckage. Once her pack was full, she slung it on her back again and walked over to Caceir, who was kneeling by one of the bodies.

Kalina walked over and saw that it was one of Esinor’s apprentices, Vakhorli. It appeared that she had been caught in the explosion of the first wagon.

Kalina put a hand on Caceir’s shoulder. “We must go now.”

“Very well.” The warforged had been looking through the apprentice’s pack. “There may be more information about the ruin here. I wish we had time to search for Esinor, but—”

A distant roar of anger sounded from the jungle, and they could hear the giants’ footfalls again. “Arjen, come on!” Kalina urged.

Defy Danger(DEX)(Caceir): 2D6(4 2) -1 = 5 Failure!
Put someone in a spot

She ran for the trees. On reaching the edge of the clearing, she looked back just as Arjen caught up with her. But Caceir was lagging behind; the warforged tripped over some camp debris as he tried to run to cover. At that moment, the first giant broke through the trees on their left into the clearing. Over twenty feet tall, the giant had orange hair and wore leather armour clearly stitched together from many different pieces, adorned with crudely-drawn fire symbols.

“Get Caceir back to the camp,” she told Arjen. Then she moved back into the open, standing on some slightly higher ground. “Over here!” she shouted, waving her sword in the air.

Defy Danger(CHA)(Kalina): 2D6(1 2) +1 = 4 Failure!
Deal damage? Unlikely (It’s only his first failed roll).
Fate d100(71)=No

Separate them

The giant ignored her, pointing forward and a wall of flames, rising ten feet into the air, appeared between Caceir and the edge of the clearing. The flames themselves looked normal enough, but they burned without fuel and leapt too high too quickly to be natural. Through the flames, Kalina could see the warforged come to a halt and begin running to the right, heading for trees on the far side of the camp.

Defy Danger(DEX)(Arjen): 2D6(6 4) +0 = 10 Success!
You get away
Defy Danger(INT)(Kalina): 2D6(1 1) +1 = 3 Failure!
Put someone in a spot

They could not reach Caceir, so Kalina and Arjen turned and ran. Kalina made it into the trees, then turned right to try to lose the giant behind her—and found herself face to face with another of the giants, just returning to the clearing. This one had no fire symbols on its clothing, but carried a massive club, nine feet of wood that had once been a tree trunk; it raised it for an overhead swing.

Resourceful(Kalina): 2D6(6 3) +1 = 10 Success!
Move to a nearby location; distract or impede your foe

Kalina dodged to the side; the huge club crashed down, plants and tree roots crushed by the powerful stroke. The giant roared wordlessly, pulling the club to one side and swinging across where Kalina stood. She stepped back just out of reach of the swing and grabbed the club as it swung past her, the sudden momentum jarring her shoulders. The upswing carried her twenty feet up, and she leapt from it into the branches of a nearby tree.

The giant appeared confused, as if it expected her to still be in the spot that it had swung at. It moved forward, looking around the nearby trees, but not looking behind or above it where Kalina was perched. She turned and quietly climbed higher until she was concealed in the leafy branches higher in the tree. The giant, meanwhile, wandered off, still searching for her on the ground.

Discern Realities(Caceir): 2D6(1 4) +0 = 5 Failure!
Tell them the requirements or consequences and ask: this side of the clearing has thick foliage blocking the way. Cut into the forest, or jump through the fire, or face the giants

Caceir has no weapon to either fight or cut through the foliage here.

Does he try to jump through the fire? Likely (The alternative is surrender; the giants don’t speak Common and he doesn’t speak Giantish. They seem intent on killing adventurers.).
Fate d100(72)=Yes
Defy Danger(CON)(Caceir): 2D6(2 1) +1 = 4 Failure!
Deal damage: 2d4=5 damage
Last Breath(Caceir): You died

Mythic GME Chaos Rank: 6
Scene setup: d10=9 (unchanged)

Make Camp(party): Heal

Give everyone personhood

It was two hours later when Kalina arrived back at their camp. The campfire was just a few embers; her companions were not there, but two packs were set down by the fire. They had to be nearby; she set her own pack down and began to look for them further down the glutch.

She soon found them. Sakhisli and Arjen were standing, watching, as Kyorlin knelt beside a stone shrine of some sort. On the stone, the charred body of his brother, Kluthlin, lay lifeless.

Quietly, Kalina stepped up beside Sakhisli, who turned briefly in acknowledgement and then lowered her head respectfully again. Arjen’s head was lowered as well. They had lost so many companions since the fire giants attacked last night, Kalina thought, but this was their first chance to stop and mourn.

Spout Lore(Kalina): 2D6(5 4) +1 = 10 Success!
Useful information

The shrine was an outcrop of flat stone, on which stood a carved stone pedestal bearing a small statue of a scorpion. At the pedestal’s base sat an azure glass bowl. Kalina recalled a book that she had read about the drow once; many of the jungle tribes worshipped Vulkoor, the scorpion god. He was a harsh god, the book had said, who respected only the strongest hunters—those able to keep themselves alive in the wilds of Xen’drik. He rewarded his most dedicated followers with transformation into scorrow: hybrids between drow and scorpion blessed with magical powers.

“I am sorry about your brother. If we had known that the giants would be there...” Kalina trailed off, wishing it unsaid; such regrets were useless now.

She started again. “He was an excellent scout; we would not have made it so far without him.”

Kyorlin spoke now. “When we left our tribe, we knew it would be dangerous. Maug ildjotun!” he cursed suddenly. “One day we will cleanse this land of all giants.”

“The giants are enemies of yours?”

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

“They were our masters once. Forty thousand years ago, this entire land was the giant’s empire, and the drow were their slaves. Then a great cataclysm occurred, and we rose up against them and overthrew their empire. Now this land belongs to the drow; few giants remain, and they are fallen far from what they were in ages past. But still dangerous, and a few still possess the powerful magics that once made them powerful.”

They remained silent for a while; it was twilight now, and it was growing dark in the gulch. Finally, Kyorlin roused himself; he walked to his brother’s body and, kneeling, drew his own hunting knife and laid it on the body. He then took his brother’s knife—a long-bladed drow weapon—and the strange dagger that he had taken from the ruin, putting them into his own belt.

Portray a fantastic world

Level Up(Kyorlin): +1 Dex; Ranger

Farvel bror,” he said, lingering before the body, reluctant to turn away.

At that moment, a nest of scorpions appeared around the body, digging up out of the ground around the stone slab. The scorpions ran up onto Kluthlin’s corpse, moving around it in strange patterns. They did not seem to be doing anything, at least nothing that Kalina could make sense of; it was more like a dance or a pattern that they were weaving.

Kyorlin watched wide-eyed and made a strange gesture with his hands. “Vulkoor hellig paart!”

The scorpions finished their movement and moved away, scuttling away into crevices around the shrine. Kyorlin stood before it and put his hand on the hilt of his brother’s knife which he now wore on his own belt. Kalina and Arjen exchanged wondering glances.

After a few moments, Arjen said, “We should rest now. We will have a long day ahead of us tomorrow.”

Caceir did not return to the camp that night, nor the next morning. The others had barely known him, so no-one was willing to go back the giant’s camp to look for him; it was assumed that he was killed by the giants. The remaining adventurers were more concerned for their own survival, in the jungle of Xen’drik.

Truth be told, I’ve had enough of the Funnel World part of this game, so I wanted to get through the levelling up and start dealing with the characters for real. I think, for this type of solo game writing project, Funnel World was not a great choice: spending time writing about characters to then have them die off in droves isn’t for me. But that’s okay, I learned something, and we have a party now.

Coming back to the camp may have been a bad idea. The party rolled badly this session.

Originally when I played this session, Kyorlin was levelling up to a ranger, so I made this scene to explain his animal companion. Then, when I looked back  6 sessions later, I found that I had never mentioned his animal companion again. So I retconned Kyorlin into another Hunter and took out the reference to him getting a scorpion here.

End of Session(party): Two more deaths witnessed, +1 XP for everyone; we learned something about the world, +1 XP for everyone

XP: Arjen 3, Kalina 5, Kyorlin 0, Sakhisli 5.

Sakhisli also has enough XP to level up to level 1 next time, so everyone will then be at 1.

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