Thursday, June 13, 2013

Rising Ishtar e01 : Dungeon World

Rising Ishtar
Episode One

"It always begins with Green"

 Dungeon World

I was contacted by Miggy, a good friend of mine with the idea of having a game session with some of his friends.  The last time I ran him a game was almost half a decade ago.  Given I knew how much Miggy loved fantasy games (he wore a Chainmail +1 shirt to greet Vin Diesel one time), I decided he needed to experience the magic of Sage Kobold Productions' Dungeon World.   I then realized that my good friend BJ has been dying for a game too, and decided to add him to this group for a game.  After quick introductions to make up for the very late start, I gave them the basics of the system and had them choose their character playkits.

Glinaer played by Carlos
Elven Druid of the Whispering Planes (Great Woods)
Good: Help something or someone grow.
Tell: White stripe over eyes. Skin golden. Hair White.
Token: Necklace of tooth and claw from Grizzly Bear.
Raised by elves. Came to group later. Earth will Sustain itself.
Met Sanginus after they fought. Latched on after sensing the great danger. Sees Vandolph as crazed animal (in a good way). Taught Jack Smyth how to read the general state of trees.

Vandolph played by Miggy
Halfling Fighter
Neutral: Defeat a worthy opponent.
Signature Weapon:  FISTS OF FURY (Precise, Huge: Messy and Forceful, Range)
Already with Jack Smyth, drinking, and brawl from claim of something stolen. Stab from back, and Vandolph saved him.

Sanguinus played by Bj
Human, Paladin
Lawful: Deny mercy to a criminal
Quest: Slay the Shadow, a Cult for a Dark God.
Escape the noble family, first born, didn’t want to get married and everything.
Deity: Apoei (God of Fire)
Boons: Invulnerability to fire, A voice that transcends language
Vow: Valor (Evil creatures cannot live), Cleric Spells

Jack Smyth played by Jian
Human, Thief
Neutral: Detect or infiltrate a location.
Real name isn’t known. A member of the realm’s special forces, the Last Blades. The kindom disavows knowledge of their existence. No names, only country. No homes, only duty. Work in the shadow. The dominant kingdom called: Saule. Tattoo in nape denotes members:  a sword and a veil, to tell one another.
Needed holy symbol to infiltrate the church to kill a bishop in one mission. Stole it from Sanginus. Glinaer saw Jack burying body of bishop in the forest. Vandolph knows truth about Jack.

The scene opens with the group in the midst of a problem.  While in camp, a group was able to abduct Jack Smyth and place Glinaer and Vandolph in chains.  On a higher vantage point, Sanginus watches as the others taunt their prisoners.   Their leader, a figure wearing a hooded robe, confronts Jack and the two exchange whispers often about some private matter that required Jack's abduction.  Sanginus decides to handle the event honorably, and calls out to the camp to make them aware of his presence.  He warns them that if they surrender and release the others, he will allow them to live.  What he does not realize is that the abductors actually know Jack Smyth.  And the group had captured the others to force Jack to face the consequences of his actions.  Jack had shared secret information on the Last Blades to a non-member, and the organization, it seems, is well aware of this trespass.  The group had abducted Jack and the others to make him choose:  kill the one who knows the truth, thereby retaining the organization's secrecy, or allow himself to be killed as an example to any others who might try to break the oath of secrecy of the group.

As the Paladin charges, taking down a few of the rogues with his initial strikes, Glinaer and Vandolph consider their options to break free.  Vandolph's immense strength tests the chains - unawares that each pull threatens to break Glinaer's own arms.  Glinaer times his transformation into a great Emu, to have his arms slip out of the chains into tiny feathered wings, giving Vandolph the freedom to charge forward and attack the other guards with the chains swung like makeshift flails.  Heads burst messily into bloody misshapen flesh as the halfling fighter gives in to his almost barbaric fury.  Glinaer charges into a few guards, narrowly avoiding one blade as he batters the other with his bulk.  Jack pins the hooded woman under his weight, as he claims to not know about what she is talking about.  But she then turns the tables by spitting onto his face, and Jack realizes of the four poisons he could have prepared himself against, he had not done so against the one Jill had used on him:  Serpent's Tears.  With her dagger planted against his stomach, she warns him that all she needs is one push to make his stomach weep.

As Jack opts to surrender, the group forces Jill's group to surrender as they clearly show superior martial strength.  Jack agrees to have Jill take them to the other camp to deal with the matter regarding the organization's secrets.  Enroute, the group considers their options with Sanguinus seeing an opportunity to share more of the teachings of his deity, Glinaer communing in the wild and meeting another older Druid named Alarion who warns him that the Shemlin (humans) should not be the focus of his protection.  Glinaer sees the world as merely in the process of the great cycle.  He believes a destruction of a forest or tree is irrelevant in the grander scheme of things, and questions the need to protect the wild when in time everything simply follows the flow of nature.  Alarion accuses him of actually favoring mortals more than nature since his actions seem intent to protect.

As they arrive at the other camp, certain things quickly move in different directions.  Jack is pulled by Jill to discuss things in a separate tent.  Sanguinus confronts some soldiers by the fire and at one point, literally steps into the fire to demonstrate how his faithfulness to Apoei .  Glinaer speaks to the wild and learns that a great threat is coming to this camp.  He also learns of the dragon up north which must be dealt with.  And Vandolph finds himself befriending one of the thieves in the group, forming an unexpected friendship with the boy, who seemingly might become a hireling of his.   But when Sanguinus learns that these thieves believe themselves to have "come from the Darkness" he deems them enemies of Apoei and kills one by pulling him into the flames.  As his screams all others to the area, Jack takes the moment to lean closer to Jill, and in what was at first seemingly a reminiscing moment among old friends, turns into a treacherous moment where his blade meets her heart.  He gently places her to the ground as she dies, not noticing the smile on her face of having been saved from killing the only man she learned to love.

Sanguinus becomes the focus of those present, who ready themselves to take him down.  But his powerful charisma forces all to stop and reconsider their actions.  Using the gifts of Apoei, Sanguinus calls for those who wish to be converted, and consecrates the area around the fire as a Sanctuary.  Glinaer warns the others that they should leave as soon as possible, and Jack returns with them with the intent of leaving as soon as possible.  They separate from the camp, with Sanguinus convincing the new converts to take a pilgrimage to find the Fire Temple, and leave the remaining members of the organization to face the wrath of the wild on their own.

Camp is set a few hours travel later, with the young man whom Vandolph befriended being with them.  They rest for the night by the one assigned to keep watch fails to do his job well.  The camp is attacked by a number of wargs and their ogre masters, and while Glinaer and Sanguinus deal with the assault, Vandolph and Jack are nearly struck down by a lightning blast from afar.  The young boy is disintegrated by the blast, and once the group defeats the orges and the wargs, they rush off before more orges chance upon their location.  Their run leads them to a cavernous entrance that seems to have been built by intelligent hands.  With one of their number falling into the underground river below, the others decide to dive in and follow him, to see where the river leads.

They emerge  at a cul-de-sac miles from where they were, and find a cavern illuminated by the bluish fungi growing on the rocks.  The place is filled with various treasures, objects and trinkets.    As they survey the riches and ponder on why such a place exists, the group sees a massive green scaled arm reach down from the darkness above (a hole!) and realize they are literally below a dragon's lair.  The dragon tosses down below any non-gold items which it deems not worthy of being part of his hoard.  The dragon confronts the group, and to their surprise, rattles of facts and information about them even if they have never met it before. As the dragon breathes upon them, the druid flies to the assault, and transforms in the last second into a wall of stone, before shifting back to survive the onslaught.  The dragon is impressed.  As it turns out, the dragon was the young man Vandolph had befriended, and admits to them that in all its years it had grown bored of the tides of man and wild.  It exists waiting for the fulfillment of an ages long prophecy:  That of it being in a battle against a man of god, and in that battle only one was to survive.  It senses Sanguinus is that man and allows the group to live, for one year, and by the end of that year, it promises to battle with them once again and fulfill the long spoken prophecy.

The group grabs what they can as the dragon snatches them and takes flight to leave the cave.  Each one successfully pulls something of value from the hoard and are safely dropped on the road miles from the dragon's lair.  

The group sees a coming caravan and hails it down to ask for a ride.  As the group hitch with the merchant back to the main capital of Saule, they ponder on the year-old challenge that stands before them, and the dangers they will have to deal with when the end of that year comes.
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