Episode 1: Ransom and Cattle Raid

16 Dec 2019 15:13

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Setting/Setup

1625, after Dragonrise and the retaking of Sartar. In my game, that happened in Fire Season, so I have some time to work before Dark Season makes things cold.

Official Plot (tm) taken from https://d-infinity.net/game-content/runequest-thursday-188-cattle-raid-koli-complete-gloranthan-adventure-river-cradles . Twisted to have the correct time/place/rule system.

As preamble, there was a ransom to pay. Ethrava Earthwife, trainee Priestess, started the game taken for ransom. A friend kindly agreed to NPC her for a while so that my newest players could get a handle on the game.

The Saga

From Tinder Fox tula they followed the thief
bent close to the ground sharp-eyed Scaffloc the tracker
Through narrow defile past they found stolen cattle
Ethrava sang out swallowed archers with earthquakes
but from behind that came fire and chanting
So Saronil sprinted to fight the foul ogress
surrounded by fires she finally fell
Vareama took care of the mounts most mistreated
Victorous then they returned to their journey
on zebra and llama and sun elk they rode
— Saronil

IC Play

Ethrava made herself agreeable to her captor, a bison rider who was pretending happily that she was his guest, and was a polite person. She was brought in to Pimper's Block to meet the Ransomer.

The Ransomer in this case was a Humakti, Saronil, sent along with 1000L. As far as he could make out, he had been sent fresh from Boldhome, and not even from his home town of Clearwine, because he had massively annoyed Lord Eril Humakti, by getting in over the walls before his right flank.

Saronil had a guide, his friend Varaema All-healer, a Chalana Arroy initiate who was a good counterpoint to his highly armed competence, and made sure she was the one going in front some of the time. In the encampments around Pimper's Block, Varaema went around healing a lot of people, including helping a bison rider who had an infected wound in his arm.

The exchange with someone-or-other Forkbeard went well, and Ethrava was freed, immediately suggesting that they head for Pavis where the action was, but ultimately understanding that her mother's status as well as her own loyalty to the Clan indicated she should go back to Clearwine and face the drums. She also understood from the fact only one warrior had been sent that she was not in good standing, and nobody really cared about her, making it imperative she did return, or her mother, a Priestess, would not have much authority left.

They set off, with Varaema being given a free bison for Ethrava by the man she had healed, who said it was the wrong season to be keeping it anyhow. Electing to take a route back along the difficult but passable track through the Cinder Fox Tula, they came into a village that was within Sartar, where Ethrava agreed to help with stolen cattle, for their hosts. She volunteered the aid of Varaema, on the grounds that Praxians were all good at tracking, but luckily for them they were offered aid, a man called Young Scaffloc, who was about sixty.

The grounds to the East were broken up and rocky, unsuitable for bringing an army, but workable for driving a few cattle to steal them, especially in a dry season. With Scaffloc's help they managed to follow the tracks until they came to the border of Prax. Around that area were some Lunars, spotted easily by Saronil.

After these had turned out to be a pair of local cattle, unrelated to the task at hand, and Saronil had looked appropriately embarrassed, they moved on, and this time saw a Rhino rider, facing away from them, by the side of the path. On finding out he was dead, they made offerings, which moved his spirit to talk briefly to Varaema, who understood him; he had killed several accursed lunar-loving Sable-riders here, and his friend had survived, seating him for burial facing the block. He had noticed chaotic things pass him by, but been unable to stop them. His name was Razig Tanarau.

A little while later they passed a troll trader, who told them they were probably headed the right way, and thanked them for their warning about chaos beasts, and sold them jewellery and trinkets suitable for Praxians, healers, and rhino riders. The trader agreed to go to Clearwine, to pick up money owed by Ethrava for her terrible bargaining for a rather nice arm ring, and to trade there as well.

They moved on, tracking the cattle to a cliffside, which they approached carefully, using magic to find enemies - there was someone on the cliff above them. With Scaffloc using his bow to provide some covering fire, Saronil ran for the cliff, followed by Varaema, who was hoping to help. Scaffloc's bowstring broke, and he had to use javelins, but he was a pro and kept up fire while he remembered where his spare string was. (GM forgot the replacement time, but he did take some useless moments being bad with a javelin, so that was fine.)

Saronil got up the cliff and found a human figure there, with an axe. They fought, and Saronil won. Meanwhile, the figure had pushed rocks down onto Varaema, who had healed herself, tried to climb up, failed, fallen, and hurt herself. She was almost but not quite hit by the dead human figure.

Ethrava had noticed a wind going along the canyon as the fight began, so she warned them of a huge bird or some other problem. They went along, and as they reached where the canyon opened out, they saw before them an area with a low wall, behind which two people were ready to shoot, and did.

Varaema cast Harmony, effectively stopping her friends from aggressive movements, but Scaffloc, canny old man that he was, shrugged it off and sent arrows back at the raiders. Varaema ran forwards to try to get the edge of the harmony effect to the raiders, freeing up the minds of Saronil and Ethrava.

Ethrava summoned a large Earth Elemental beneath the archers, who ceased to be a problem. Unfortunately by this time they had already peppered Varaema, such that her white robes were reddened. Also unfortunately, there was a further foe in a cave beyond, who targeted Saronil with fire. Saronil ran in to defeat this one, narrowly cutting her down in a clumsy butchery fight that went to fists and fire and a last desperate sword swing, and then the foes were all done.

The loot from the place was recovered, the 'humans' were discovered to have sharp teeth, and thus be ogres, and the cattle were un-raided. Among them Ethrava discovered a Sun Elk, a bad-tempered relative of the bison that she could just about ride, although it took a sleep spell to get it to lie down so its saddle could be taken off and its sores treated.

The look included a Praxian rhino goad, which was obviously expensive, so they offered that to Razig's spirit on the way back. He accepted it, and challenged the Humakti to a spirit fight, by starting one. Saronil was being defeated when Ethrava stepped in and clobbered Razig, driving him back to his body. He thought this was a splendid wheeze, and offered over his sword, on the proviso that they fight for it. Ethrava accepted.

The cattle were returned and the tale was sung. The sword was fought over, and Saronil won it - it was not magicial like his one was, but the Boon of Humakt could be moved to it if he wished.

Item: Challenge Sword

To win the sword of Razig Tanarau in combat against the wielder earns a one-time reward of 1D3 Reputation. The wielder must always be prepared to fight for it against any honourable challenger.

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