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Kiltayre Campaign: Session 9

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Travelling with the dwarves was easy. They were both friendly and straight-forward dwarves of principles. It was those principles that made them stand against taxation by the Church, and that led to their arrest. Kellor and Aenir ran a small crafting concern, Kellor making items and Aenir mostly selling them. Both were well able to assist the group’s survival requirements.

Food was thinning after some foul weather. The party made some good time whilst on the flat ring-like ledge which seemed to circumscribe Plateau Point. When they came down of the raised land they were faced with thick old fir forest and a pebble beach that stretched to the horizon.

In the afternoon, many days after leaving the stone ship wreckage & Captain Morgaine’s camp, Dom and Kalista spotted an ogre with its back to them, sitting against a thick fir tree.

The party went silent and Aenir whispered, “I can sneak up and check if it’s alive.”

Dom replied, his Fey sight granting him a brief few seconds of incredible detail, “No need. It’s dead. There is no clouding of breath and I can see ice over its skin.”

The party closed and saw the ogre had bled out on the spot. Some fresh snow not enough to cover the deep red stains. Yet it was the missing leg that disturbed the most. Some creature had removed it, likely for food, and then departed.

It was the next day, when they were faced with a broad river that had not iced over, that they heard a creature.

“Some kind of ape predator. I’ve not thought they could be in this part of the world. They’re meant to only be on foreign shores.” Dom was concerned. He knew they were powerful and fast.

The concern was justified even though they did not see the predator. Traipsing a few miles inland they found the river iced up enough to cross safely.

On the pebble beach they saw signs of a one-man camp. Was it Fenris?

They couldn’t be sure.

“I think it’s 50/50 that it was Fenris,” Kallista pronounced.

That night a pair of emaciated ogres attacked them as they prepared their campsite. The hairy giants were little match for the combined might of the party. Aenir’s speed and dwarven combat training turned out to be the hammer against the anvil of Felghanis’ blindness curses. His powers had grown. The ogres had little salvageable gear but the large snares drew Dom’s appreciation.

It was a few more days later that they found sign of a large camp. Maybe 6 people arrayed around a fire.

“Has Fenris found allies?” Dom thought aloud.

“There’s not enough evidence,” Felghanis put forward.

It was towards the end of that day the Iron Tower came into few. A rust streaked needle in the distance, sprouting from the top of a high butte of rock that protruded into the waters.

The shore turned rocky and they travelled in heath and frozen marsh. Then they heard seals on the rocks below. With the aid of a summoned shark they managed to secure a young seal. 35lbs of meat ought to last a few weeks.

Felghanis said, “I can help preserve it. At least for four days before I need to cast again.”

As the closed with the Iron Tower its shape became more apparent. There was a large gallery around the base, above the entrance stair, that likely was for defensive counter-attack. Full of murder holes and the like. Before the tower’s base a stable had been erected.

The climb to the tower was up a series of carved steps. They were far apart to ease the ascent for horses and once at the top the party investigated the stables. Its roof was covered in iron tiles and it was well weathered but serviceable. Inside they found the remains of a camp and a few travelling packs. Rifling those quickly they found the Canon of St. Fergus, oil, and coal. They hadn’t been there long because the damp had not seeped into the material.

“They may be inside and needing aid,” Kallista was concerned. Even if they were part of the Church that wrongly charged them, they still deserved aid.

“Why help people who will make our lives harder?” Felghanis muttered. Clearly he had no inclination to aid anyone from the Church of St. Fergus ever again.

“It is the right thing to do,” Kallista protested. “And they will likely know nothing of us and Dwarf Town.”

Dom was in agreement and Alassiel piped up.

“If we’re going in the tower my psi-crystal will scout ahead. Like at the Hand of Gulresh.”

It was agreed and the crystal scuttled into the tower at a rapid pace.

Inside there was a kind of staging room. Or a holding area. Easily defended with further access to the tower on the opposite side of the entrance. Some debris and potshards indicated nothing but age and abandonment. Stairs led up and to the level with the gallery and its further defences. A combination of reception areas and the archers’ galleries filled out that level.

It was on the next level the psi-crystal found some movement. Two large figures approached it, as if sensing its life-force, and Alassiel pulled it quickly back. Unwilling to risk it against the unknown entities.

“Well, let’s go in, then.”
It was as the crystal had reported. When the reached the landing above the gallery they saw what the psi-crystal had retreated from. Two walking sarcophagi. It was so unnatural. What was worse, bony arms with large sabre claws lashed out and struck Dom with two severe blows. Wounding him badly. The dwarves rushed to drag Dom to safety.

Felghanis could sense they were some kind of undead. He surged up the stairs and sought to command them in the fashion he was taught by his Uncle. They were too strong and too resistant to the energies involved. As if in reaction to his following spell the things lashed Felghanis and he fainted from the shock.

“Retreat, retreat!” they yelled.

“I have to get Fel,” Dom called. He channelled his Fey energy and greatly enhanced his speed. Running past the open arch that the things were attacking through he managed to evade their cleaving claws and retrieve Fel. Back on his feet, Fel recovered his breath.

“What are those things?”

“We’ll regroup in the stables and think of our next move,” Dom answered.

There was no further discussion.

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Kiltayre Session 8: review

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The game session went well. Full-house of players at the table and air-con to stave off the heat of a 37C degree day (99F for our imperial friends).

 

Play started out with the players incarcerated. Alassiel retrieved her psi-crystal. It’s fine size allowing it to make an unseen path to its mistress. She spent her time in the cell deciphering the memorized script of Felghanis’ Uncle’s journal.

 

Kallista, poor Kallista, was suffering the most. She cried and screamed for a priest. The gaoler asked it if was for a confession of her crimes. Kallista agreed to confess to trespass on the church’s road. The meeting didn’t come for hours.

 

Felghanis went for the top. “I need to speak to the Prelate.”

Eventually, some 6 hours later, the Prelate met with Felghanis.

 

Both meetings were between somewhat desperate prisoners and skilled diplomats. Each time the priest or the Prelate was well-used to dealing with such a situation. The prisoners were sent back. In Kallista’s case with a bucketful of guilt.

 

They persisted for a time until the lack of water began to take its toll. When they finally were given water Kallista attempted to create more but without her focuses and spellbook she failed the spell; drenching herself and her bedclothes. She passed out after less than an hour from the cold.

 

It was at this time, nearly 48 hours after being incarcerated, that they were moved by cart to a huge stone ship that sat berthed on the river of Dwarf Town. It had no sails and the populace seemed unwilling to come any closer than the shore to see it, or they ignored it. In the hold was like being in a cave. Time passed. They were fed, watered, and witnessed a fight over food. Callan, a murderer, pulled the eye from the prisoner who stole his bread, adding another soul to his victims.

 

Fenris was another prisoner, a self-confessed traitor, and three brothers; Tomasso, Dean and the eldest, as well as two dwarves, were there for tax-evasion. In chains they travelled in the belly of this stone ship. Alassiel shared that it was known generally as demon stone ships, and the church really ought not to be trucking with the likes who might have one.

 

After a lost amount of time, Kallista awoke to see Fenris apparently meditating. She heard the mutterings and recognised some words of summoning. It appeared he was calling in a pact, that had elements of summoning in its request. Alassiel awoke and drew the same conclusion. It was Felghanis who attempted to intervene (with his Charnel Touch channelled through his foot). Yet bad luck prevented Fel from managing to reach Fenris. Kallista was first to notice that the traitor had slipped his manacles.

 

Things began moving very quickly. Something smashed the ship and it wailed. Fenris started bending the bars, just enough to get his head out, and Fel called for the guards before he could escape. Like a wolf he lunged out and punched Fel nearly knocking the young necromancer unconscious. Dom quickly placated Fenris with promises to keep Fel quiet.

“Good. I don’t want you to drown,” Fenris’ reply was frightening.

“What’s happening?”

“I’m going to get the key,” Fenris answered. With a few more efforts he bent the bars and squeezed himself through, popping a shoulder, and replacing it once out.

 

More massive blows to the ship set it to screaming. Suddenly Fenris was back, with a sword and armoured, to see Dom and the dwarves were brute-forcing the manacles open. He threw in the key and then left. The part set about freeing everyone. Callan was last. Felghanis helped him loosed but the guards had beaten him so soundly he couldn’t walk properly.

“I’m not leaving without him,” Fel said resolutely.

Kallista nodded and joined the dark young man in aiding this murderer to get free of the hold.

The ship listed dramatically and then righted. They rushed up to the decks only to be blocked by thre guards with spears. They were shaken and desperately trying to carry out their orders.

“Get back below!” one bellowed.

“We’ll drown and you will, too.” Dom tried to reason with them.

“For no reason at all,” added one of the dwarves.

“Get back,” the guard was seeing the sense but fell back on his obedience to orders.

“Come on man, let us live, and you can, too. We can help each other get of this ship.”

Suddenly the prow pitched up and the ship ground over rocks to a halt. A flash of lightning from stern-ward lit up the night. Ahead was a looming cliff and above it a stretch of scrub. Motes of ice were driven in the strong wind and it was very dark.

The guards agreed and they used the mooring lines to make an escape.

 

At the rear of the deck a mage flung a lightning bolt. He was aided by a cluster of a dozen soldiers and they seemed to have driven off something huge. Into the dark water a massive neck and shoulder were swallowed by the midnight waves. Fenris was nowhere to be seen.

 

The ship went pale and the guards with their mage as leader arrived. Channelling raw mana, and then his own blood, the captain held the ship together enough for everyone to escape. including 6 guards who had salvaged three chests all marked with the sigil of the Church of St. Fergus. Once they were all off the mage leapt into a feather fall, and the ship collapsed in a fractured cacophony of stone shattering.

 

Assembled at the top the shock of the wrecking was passing. The captain ordered the soldiers to secure the prisoners. In what seemed like a whole minute, Kalista and Dom exchanged glances and then fled into the snow.
”Don’t pursue the,” the Captain said. “They will be back.”

He was right.

In return for the agreement to try to return Fenris to Captain Morgane the prisoners were given back their belongings (minus the deep earth crystal the party had acquired in the Soucairn of Thulemon) and set free. Seeing Felghanis’ with his map the Captain pointed out their current location.

“Plateau point.”

“What do you thin Fenris’ agenda will be?” Dom asked.

“He was robbing old tombs before he was arrested. I’d say he’ll be aiming to do that again.” The Captain’s eyes fell on the mark for the Iron Tower inked on Fel’s map.

 

The three brothers and Callan opted to head west and attempt to find Fenris that way. The dwarves joined the party and headed east.

 

The Iron Tower?

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Kiltayre Campaign: Session 6

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Again Chris has written a journal entry of the session. It is here.

http://www.buygameshobbies.com/stories/journals/journal-entrysession-6-05-02-2012-kalista/

This is the best one yet, I think, because it lets us in the character’s thoughts & feelings.

 

Overview

The characters finally made it to the five fingers of stone. Also known as the Hand of Gulresh. It was where the “nastier” Goblins lives. Those the captured Goblin in the Soucairn of Thulemon had said his gang fled. On the shoulder of the “thumb” was a stockaded settlement, or fort, with tall watchtower of wood.

It seemed to be manned by Scours of the Church of St. Fergus. Somehow one of the guards saw the party and a group of 8 were sent to investigate. The party hid from the Scours and were successful in evading them by hiding their tracks and just plain waiting them out.

Later they tried to circumvent the fort and enter the mountain. They found the mountain was a jail, and the keepers were the Scours. Using the Goblins’ females as collateral there was some bargain with the Goblins and they didn’t like it any more. Mobbing the watchtower the party heard thunderclaps break-up the riot.

Reconnaissance by the psi-crystal of Alassiel found that shipments are being sent and the latest wagon went out just that morning. They fort also requested reinforcements. The party chased the wagon and caught it, feigning to be travellers, they joined the wagon group. 3 soldiers and a priest.

Felghanis handed over his Uncle’s journal to the priest in the hope of being aided, or at least giving the damning evidence to people who have the power to take action – much to Dom’s horror (unfortunately Dom’s player was absent and we missed out on the potential for some great RP).

Pestritto, the priest, invited Felghanis on the wagon for some more assistance in learning the Uncle’s strange ever-shifting cipher (shifts from entry to entry). Fel saw a large trunk, metal-strapped, and bearing the sigil of the church. On the last watch, Fel’s watch, Pestritto confronted Fel about what they really were doing out here in the depth of winter. Next session we find out what Fel’s answers will lead to.

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Kiltayre: Session 4

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Winter Closes

Next installment in the Kiltayre Sessions is a player’s entry; written by Chris over at www.buygameshobbies.com

Here it is: Kalista Journal Session 4

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Kiltayre: session 2

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As the party travelled Dom’ realised their food supplies were low. One harsh blizzard could see them trapped for long enough to run out of edibles. Dom’ led the party to gathering surplus off the land and storing it for later use. The cold climate aiding the preservation of foods. However, they still had to balance their firewood requirements should it become harsher – and it would.

 

As they entered the woods a blizzard approached. Felghanis suffered that night. They ran out of fuel and he could not be roused. Being cold to the touch they worked at getting him warm and gathered around him & the fire. He had been travelling in just simple outdoor clothes and not the thick quilted cold-weather gear the rest of the group had been wearing.

“I just had to leave my uncle,” Felghanis managed to excuse himself.

“We’ll make you a suit out of skins,” Dom said.

Kalista chipped in, “I can sew and craft leather. We can do this.”

“Only question is how long until we have enough skins,” Dom’ cautioned. “Let’s hope there’s not another blizzard like that one.”

 

Crossing the forest to the margins of the moorlands took two days. Two days later they saw skulls pinned to trees. Garren! Keeping to the margins they trekked north and just before sunset found a partially razed cabin some months old with a cluster of skulls fixed to the boles around. The arrows were long, over a yard, and fletched with strange material that could only be compared to insect wings. Moving hastily away the made to set camp a half mile or so further north.

 

Barely had they stopped to begin the preparation of their camp when Dom’ spotted a bear out on the moors. A small black bear on its own for its first winter. The hunt was on. They stalked the bear and got within 40 yards when it scented them. Alassiel’s psi-crystal charged forward scoring a nasty wound on the bear. Dom’s hound went to the bear’s rear-flank and Dom slung stones at the beast. The bear seized the psi-crystal with a lucky grab and started trying to maul it. Hard as iron the psi-crystal was undamaged but it was unable to attack from the mighty creature’s grasp. They brought the bear down with a few more attacks and the psi-crystal sprung free. Much meat was had after the bear was skun and dressed.

 

Returning to their chosen camp site they set their tent and fire. Dom’ noticed wolverine tracks at a puddle and they set proper watches instead of relying on the psi-crystal and Dom’s hound. Later that night the wolverine was heard seizing the largest haunch of bear-meat. The camp awoke and the wolverine ran off with the meat; settling down a hundred feet away to eat it with loud pleasured growling.

 

Kalista charmed the creature with a spell but it still was wary and aggressive towards her companions. Then she realised that the spell would not last a few days, as she thought, and they sent it off to the bear’s carcass back on the moors.

 

Three more hard days they travelled but with the large supply of meat they did not need to forage for more than the first. They camped and Felghanis was seen with a strange book. Alassiel and Dom’ had both interest in the volume that seemed to absorb Felghanis’ attention every night. This night Felghanis leapt up in excitement.

“That’s what he’s looking for!”

“Who?”

“My uncle. He’s looking for Kanii’s key and the Bell of Thullemon.”

Kalista had heard of these things. “They’re undead related. The key unlocks the Halls of the Dead, it is said. And the Bell animates all the dead that could hear its toll.”

“Yes. Now you see why I had to get away from him.”

 

They talked more and Dom’ questioned Felghanis.

“How can this be? How can this man who employed my family be a necromancer?”

Felghanis tried to explain but Dom’ was suspicious.

“What is that book made of anyway? It looks like human skin!”

“It is. That’s what kind of man my uncle is.”

“It will attract evil spirits. We should burn it right now.”

“No. Without it I can’t figure out what my uncle is doing; what he is plotting.”

“Then keep it away from me. I will not sleep knowing it is within fifty feet of me.”

Felghanis resolutely setup his bedroll at roughly the distance Dom’ stated he needed for a clear mind to sleep.

 

 

On Dom’s watch he heard the crunch of snow underfoot. Reacting quickly he spied a humanoid shape in the pale light behind a tree. A large bow and long arrows with the odd fletching he could just make out using his fey powers. Dom’ shouted to wake the camp and the figure fled. When all were awake he checked the tracks. They were uncannily shallow in the snow and as he searched a break in the clouds revealed a small faerie ring marked with stones.

 

“We have to leave. It was a Garren.”

Felghanis wanted proof since there were no typical territorial markers. The tracks were as described.

Kalista heard the creak of bow string, “Duck!”

A long arrow streaked past Felghanis’ head and embedded in the tree without the arrow-shaft even shaking. He looked at the arrow trying to figure out if it would have pierced his skull had he not reacted.

“Run!”

They sprinted back to camp. Another arrow struck a tree in sight of the fire. They hastily packed their equipment and supplies. Then fled their campsite in the flickering light of their improvised hearth. Snowflakes were drifting about them and they were in the deep dark of night.

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Kiltayre: session 1 summary

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In the village of Felk Bay the seer-woman, grandmother of the Alderman, made a prophesy. The young unmarried folk were expected to step forward to save the village and its children. That’s where the players stepped in.

Line-up:

Alassiel – creepy little girl with psion powers and a horror-build of a psi-crystal.

Dom’ – has a much longer name but this shepherd boy is a doughty specimen with a secret pact to a fey witch.

Felghanis – a budding dread necromancer that wants to turn the dark-arts to help people; mainly by preventing his uncle & mentor from achieving nefarious goals.

Kallista – animist mage with a large pool of power that can boost spells. She studied with Felghanis’ other uncle affectionately called the Codger.

 

There was a large celebration for the four heroes-to-be. Drinking and plenty was had even though times were harsh. Next morning they said goodbye to their families. Food was gifted to them all and spare quilted woollen blankets. The Alderman gifted each with an amethyst on silver chain – a phylactery. And advice to go to Iron Foot City as someone there might know what 5 fingers of stone refers to.

 

They set off the next morn and travelled in poor weather heading up into the mountains towards Iron Foot City – or what might remain of it.

 

 

Next morning they came across a limping hungry bear. The psi-crystal destroyed the creature with impunity. Reaching Iron Foot city the next day they found a recluse who was happy to talk to them – that day. He told them the five fingers of stone were in the range far to the north.

“What dangers are there?” Dom asked.

“Some say there’s Garren in the woods.”

“The wood-wraiths slay all who enter their realms. Other races are toxic to them so they do it to protect their children. We must avoid them.” Felghanis and Kallista say.

 

Most of Iron Foot City was in ruins, since many buildings were little more than tents when it was abandoned. One building was still strong – the offices of administration for the mines. Once run by the church and the feudal magnates. They made camp inside a smallish office, with the pony, and spend a night sheltered from the blizzard outside. Felghanis found a map of the whole island amongst claim notices and records.

 

They went back to the recluse who was not happy to see them but traded preserved goods for fresh ones that they carried. Then the party headed north to find the mountain ranges on the map that the Five Fingers of Stone were meant to be within.

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