Seekers of the Ashen Crown week 24: Reunions, romance, and revelations

While Yeraa told Aruget about the next leg of their journey – for which her seers had told her that Murkoorak’s Orb lay in the Dhakaani ruins the Calabas district of Graywall was built on – Quentin pulled Othello aside to reunite.  Othello explained that he had been working the docks in Seaside on the Day of Mourning, and that he had escaped by the skin of his teeth on an elemental galleon captained by none other than the Kordenga’s Captain Delan – and that they had been together ever since.  Operating independently for the last eighteen months, hired by Yeraa for the last five, Othello couldn’t help but bring up the circumstances of Quentin’s leaving House Lyrandar, and suggested that Quentin had nothing to fear if he chose to return.  As Delan called Othello over to the helm, the two cousins agreed to catch up more later.  Escaping Othello’s notice, but not Quentin’s, Jak had overheard much of their conversation by deliberately striking up one of his own with a nearby crew member, and as Othello saw to the captain’s orders, Jak pulled Quentin aside himself.

Leaning forward on the ship’s rail, Jak rolled up his sleeve and transformed his left arm into its natural, chalky white and considerably skinnier state, revealing a long scar running from his wrist to his elbow.  He told Quentin that he’d gotten it when he was twelve years old and running with a gang of pickpockets, and that this was how Quentin would always know that Jak was who he said he was.  He expressed concern that running into Othello into the middle of nowhere, with enemies hunting them, was a little too convenient, and that he cared about what happened to his friend.  Quentin hesitatingly agreed to try to test Othello to calm Jak’s fears, and left to do what he had been planning to do before Othello found him: send a messenger bird to their old friend, the Emerald Claw scout Jeffin whose life they had spared in exchange for future information, and who was possibly still nearby after the attack on the Kordenga.

While this was happening, Captain Delan decided he’d had enough of Lestok “repairing” the ship after causing some minor damage to its wheel, and sternly ordered him away on pain of being thrown in the brig and fed to the trolls of Graywall.  Appropriately rattled, Lestok slunk away.  Overhearing the exchange, and already a little bit deep in his cups, Aruget came over after Lestok had left and scolded the captain, telling him not to treat Lestok badly. He then went to find the old gnome to take Zaraani’s Solitaire from him with the intention of using it to contact his dead brother.  He found Lestok in a panic, having found a stone in his pocket in place of the Solitaire and blaming himself for its loss.  After a frantic fifteen-minute search, they wound up in the galley where Kayde was drinking with a sailor, and Aruget learned that the sneaky elf had lifted the Solitaire right out of Lestok’s pocket, not trusting him with it.  After learning of Kayde’s deception, Lestok asked Aruget to show him where the wine was stored.  The unusually somber gnome was determined to find a bottle, and whatever lay at the bottom of it.  He confided in Aruget that he knew when the party was trying to distract or otherwise get rid of him, and poured out his heart, anguishing over his failures as Aruget tried his best to console him.

Kayde, meanwhile, was enjoying a drink with a handsome sailor named Jalros when Jak found him and decided to help his friend’s luck.  Talking up Kayde’s prowess in the theater (and his ability to “give the people what they want”), Jalros listened with renewed interest and a twinkle in his eye.  Satisfied that his work was done, Jak got up to see Quentin, Aruget, and Lestok leaving the galley together, and chased after them.  It seemed that those three had had an in-depth conversation on how to use the Solitaire, with Quentin suggesting that he try to use it to contact Othello to make sure he wasn’t dead with an impostor in his place, and Aruget – even more drunk than before, and spilling out his heart – was desperate to speak with his brother, whose death remained a mystery to him.  With Lestok proposing that activating the Solitaire might have something to do with necrotic energy, they decided to leave the ship before testing it for safety’s sake. 

On the ground in the dark, Lestok eagerly made a protective circle out of string, and Aruget stepped inside it while holding the Solitaire aloft as he spoke his brother’s name:

Dabrak.

Dabrak.

Dabrak…

Behind the Scenes

  • Question of the week: Which country in the Last War was in the greatest wrong? Why do you believe that?
  • Sadly, Jak’s epic wingman support roll (success with five raises!) came to nothing as Jalros had to work the night shift…but maybe he’ll get shore leave in Graywall. 😉
  • Lestok’s player just about broke my heart with his revelations and portrayal of Lestok’s pain. Some real top-notch roleplaying and storytelling there.

Seekers of the Ashen Crown week 23: New foes, old friends

As the party found Yeraa a short way down the path, Kayde – the only one among them who doesn’t speak goblin – decided to tell the tale of their exploits with a pantomime.  Acting it out with Aruget’s help, Yeraa seemed impressed and told Aruget that the party had done great honour to themselves, and that she wanted them to accompany her to Graywall to finish what they had started, traveling there in the airship she had hired.  Kayde noticed that she seemed easier in his company, and more respectful than before.

As they continued down the mountain path, a thunderous voice boomed out, calling Yeraa’s name, and the party came face to face with a large hobgoblin with a shield wall of nine more hobgoblins and bugbears behind him.  Bearing the crossed sword tattoos of the rival Kech Sharaat the Citadel had warned about, he demanded that Yeraa give him her pieces of the Ashen Crown.  Aruget had a counter-offer: he and the enemy chib (“boss”) would fight in single combat to prove their honour.  The challenge was accepted.  As Aruget and the larger hobgoblin made their way to the spot they would fight in, Kayde attempted to persuade Yeraa to give him the pieces of the crown for safekeeping.  She responded – in the Common tongue for the first time – that they should wait to see how the fight played out.  

As Aruget and his foe circled each other, Aruget called on Dol Arrah and began his gladiator’s shield dance, but his opponent got one up on him, kicking sand in his face and temporarily blinding him.  Instead of pressing his advantage, he took that opportunity to taunt Aruget, telling him that he was worse than a chat’oor, a disgrace to his kind, with no muut or atcha.  As Aruget recovered, he attempted to disarm his opponent, but was disarmed himself in the process.  Calling the magical Tiger’s Blade back to his hand, he lashed out, staggering the Bladebearer.  The blow was quickly returned, but absorbed by Aruget’s shield.  Watching anxiously from a distance away, Quentin decided to try to tip the scales in Aruget’s favour.  Calling on the power of his dragonmark, he summoned a gust of wind to push the enemy hobgoblin back towards a ledge.  Aruget, not realizing the wind was unnatural, followed up with a shove from his shield, pushing his foe further and further until he was backed up to the edge.  Dropping down low, Aruget stuck out a leg and swept the hobgoblin’s legs right out from under him, sending him plummeting off the cliff.  

As a few more Bladebearers rushed forward to see what had happened to their leader, Aruget took his own look, seeing some small signs of life, but the fellow wasn’t getting up any time soon.  A well-armed artificer approached Aruget and declared that the party could pass.  As the shield wall parted, they and Yeraa’s people continued down the trail.  Aruget dropped behind a little to confide in Quentin that all this time spent amongst goblinoid history and people was causing him to start feeling a deeper connection to his kin and his heritage.  As the sun was setting, they came into a small valley, and found a modest airship with a name inscribed on the side – the Kordenga.  Jak spotted a small crew of humans, Khorovar, and goblinoids working on it, recognizing some of Yeraa’s party amongst them.  They seemed to be paying particular attention to one of the struts that held up the elemental ring.  As the party came aboard, Jak hailed the captain, who introduced himself as Delan.  Seeing Lestok make a beeline to “help” with the repairs, Jak suggested the captain help keep Lestok’s curiosity in check.  Delan agreed, and invited the gnome to tinker with something he didn’t think Lestok could damage.  

With Lestok occupied, the undercover changeling Dark Lantern Tikulti approached Yeraa and congratulated her for her victory under the Six Kings, but also told her that the ship had been attacked by a group led by a dwarf.  They had fired arrows laced with alchemical acid at the ship, which was what had damaged the struts, but Yeraa’s people had been able to drive them off.  Jak’s thoughts immediately turned to the Emerald Claw group that had taken Yeraa’s scout captive on the road, and he transformed into Lt. Sesko’s face, asking if that was the same dwarf.  Tikulti confirmed that it was, and reacted visibly to Jak’s revelation that he was also a changeling, though Jak couldn’t get a sense of what was going through his mind.  He noted that the attackers had taken their wounded with them, and that all this had taken place about two hours earlier.  Remembering what he’d said to the Emerald Claw scout Jeffin, Quentin set about looking for a small bird he could use to send the young man a message, when all of a sudden, someone shouted out his name – his real name.  Startled, he spun around as someone caught him in a huge bear hug: his long-lost cousin Othello, whom Quentin had presumed dead in the Mourning.  As Kayde and Jak watched in stunned silence, Quentin quickly ushered Othello over to a quiet spot on the deck where they could talk.  

Arguet decided it was time for a drink.  Finding some grog in the ship’s stores, he joined Jak at the rail, offering him a glass.  Jak called Lestok over to join them, though it took some convincing to drag Lestok away from his “repairs.”  As the three drank to their friendship and exploits and looked ahead to Graywall, Kayde went belowdecks to get cleaned up…and Quentin came face to face with his past. 

Behind the Scenes

  • Question of the week: What do your siblings do?
  • The GM and Aruget each burnt all their bennies on that duel…and no joker! Savage Worlds handles initiative by drawing playing cards, and drawing a joker gives the player (or enemy) +2 on all their rolls for the turn, and a bennie for all Wild Cards on their side.
  • When Aruget was blinded by a face full of sand, I took the opportunity to play one of my favourite adventure cards: Villainous Verbosity! Which is why his opponent monologued at that point instead of pressing his advantage (Aruget’s parry was at a -2 due to a successful test). The advantage was gone at the end of the round, so that was a good win.
  • Did you see that thing with Quentin coming? I did not see that thing with Quentin coming. I don’t know how he can handle the suspense, I’m just a bystander and it’s killing me!

Seekers of the Ashen Crown week 22: Lestok loses his marbles

As the party fled the moon pool, Zaranni’s Solitaire hot in hand, Jak and Quentin were on Lestok’s heels as Kayde and Aruget moved to catch up.  While Kayde had no problem running, Aruget held true to his blademark oaths by lingering behind to make sure everyone else made it to safety.  Quickly surrounded by a couple of dolgrim and their ilithid masters, he cut down one of them as the others gained some distance, scurrying up the walls and across the ceiling of the cavern thanks to Lestok’s C.L.I.M.B. gunk that he’d smeared on their boots beforehand.  Satisfied that they had a good lead on the creatures, he slowly began making his own escape.

However, the daelkyr were tenacious  As Aruget ran, they paced him, with one of the the ilithid unleashing a fearful mind blast on the paladin, causing him to black out momentarily before he regained his senses and cut down another dolgrim, wounding one of the ilithids in the process as as he did, it disappeared into thin air, revealing itself to be no more than an illusion.  Aruget caught up with Quentin and Lestok with a renewed sense of hope.  At the head of the group, Jak and Kayde kept pace with each other, with Jak regularly yelling encouragement back to Lestok – with his newfound care for the gnome, he was damned if he was going to see him fall behind in this miserable place.

The ilithid, however, was not deterred by being wounded nor by the fact that Aruget now saw through its deception.  As Aruget, Quentin, and Lestok moved forward, it kept pace with them.  While Quentin cut down more of its minions with a flash of lightning from his fingers, Lestok took advantage of the greatest weapon in a gnome’s arsenal: an idea.  Hanging upside-down on the cavern ceiling, he dug into his pockets and pack and pulled out some of his trusty string, his bent fork, and a bag of marbles.  Tying some string around the bag in a clever way, he rigged it to the ceiling, leaving one end in his hand, and called forth to the ilithid to come and get it!  For within this bag was the very thing they had stolen from him!  Lestok’s command of the daelkyr language was enough to convince the desperate monster that the Solitaire was within his reach.  As Aruget hesitated, confused but trusting Lestok, the ilithid rushed forward to grab the bag, which promptly burst open, spilling marbles all over the floor.  It lost its footing and went down in a mess of small, round glass, leaving Aruget the opening he needed to decisively chop its head off.

With their master dead, many of the daelkyr fled.  With the most pressing danger gone, the party continued their flight.  Kayde was the first to escape the caves, leaving Jak in a quandary: to pursue his best friend, or make sure Lestok made it out okay.  Seeing Lestok behind him and alone, Jak decided to stay in the caves a while longer until he was convinced that Lestok would be safe.  He yelled at him to keep moving, seeing that the gnome had stopped, for Lestok had one last trick up his sleeve for the remaining daelkyr who continued to chase them: an illusion of a goblin shield wall blocking off the tunnels.  As he cast his illusion, Aruget caught up with him, and Jak, satisfied that Lestok would be safe under Aruget’s care, went after Kayde.  As the rest of the party followed, the whole group found themselves faced with something they hadn’t felt in a long time: fresh air.  They called Yeraa, whose group was already safely on the surface, and agreed to meet her at the cave entrance.  As they walked, a combination of adrenaline, weariness, and guilt at leaving the dwarf behind swirled through the party…but all Lestok could think about was unlocking the secrets of Zaraani’s Solitaire.

Behind the Scenes

  • Question of the week: Where were you when the Mourning happened, and what was your reaction to hearing about it? For those unfamiliar with Eberron, the Mourning is the name of a mysterious, cataclysmic event that transformed the once prosperous nation of Cyre into a dead, twisted land, leading to a grudging end of the Last War.
  • Yes, this entire three-hour session was run as a Chase. And it was AMAZING. 10/10, would run for my life again.
  • We ran the DM out of bennies trying to keep his ilithid alive! 😀
  • Support rolls were king, and our only crit fail of the evening was one that didn’t matter. Should we always be so lucky…
  • Kayde and Quentin almost got brained…if not for the timely use of Kayde’s “Not Today!” adventure card that defaulted the ilithid’s attack to a failure. Phew!