Session Recap week 23: Before and After

“There had to be a moment, some decision that you made, and before it, you were one person, and after it, someone else.”

-James S.A. Corey, Leviathan Wakes

With Sandara Quinn’s warning ringing in their ears, Daina, Trucco, Rus, and Torlan began making their final approach towards her — and to whoever this “queen” was.  Though everyone but Torlan was soon able to feel their feet reach the bottom of the murky water, the tunnels remained pitch black save for Rus’ torch.  Glancing back at Daina, remembering how she’d talked him down in the jungle, the wandslinger gave the Captain a silent nod.  As desperate as he was to save Sandara, he knew he was no front line fighter, and gestured with his wand for Daina and the others to take the lead.  She nodded back.  “Torlan, Syl, with me” she ordered.  “Rus, Trucco, you hang back and do what you do best.”

“Let me take the lead with my cutlass,” Torlan insisted.  For a brief moment, Daina hesitated.  If this queen could be reasoned with…  “Aye, that’s your talent, not mine” Torlan agreed.  His goddaughter hung her head a little.  The poisoned gashes on her face were burning with a pain that was hard to ignore, and she was still feeling its effects.  Regardless of what Daina’s mission was, Torlan’s mission was to protect her, and he was damn good at it.  She flattened herself against the wall of the narrow tunnel to let him squeeze past, and he led the way into a large chamber with a high, domed ceiling.  Like the rest of the cave system, there was no solid ground here, and the water in the chamber’s center roiled and churned…and high above it, hanging from the ceiling, his keen eyes could see Sandara Quinn pressing her face against the bars of a cage.  An unconscious figure he assumed was Tamroth Scrimshaw slumped against the bars beside her.  Sandara couldn’t see Torlan in the dark, but she could hear him, and called out that the queen and her “pet” — whatever it was — were in the water.  And it was deep.

Swimming back to the others, he relayed what he’d found.  “Any ideas, Daina?” he whispered.  Her mind raced as she assessed the situation.  That magic ring Rus had pinged in her pocket was helping her easily move through the water, so if they had to fight on the queen’s terms, that would at least give her an edge — but that wasn’t enough.  “How big of a wave can you make with that thunder clap or yours, Rus?” she asked.  “Big enough to put a fair amount of water elsewhere?”  He shook his head.  He’s never tried to move anything like that before, and he didn’t reckon it would do much besides make a wave.  “That cage up there,” Torlan rumbled, “if the rope is cut, and they fall into the water, I don’t think they’ll make it.”  Trucco offered to climb up and open the cage, a plan Daina immediately rejected.  Dropping Sandara and whoever lay in the cage unconscious into the water, without killing what lurked in it first, would likely be a death sentence.  The rogue remained insistent.  “Do we care for escaping, or do we care for killing this thing?” he demanded.  Daina held firm.  “We want to do both.  But if all they have to escape to is something that’s going to eat them, we need to fix that first.”  “But Sandara could help us!” Trucco insisted.  “She could,” Daina agreed, “if she’s in any fighting shape to do so.”  She had, after all, been missing for two days.

Trucco wasn’t having any of it.  “Are you okay?” he shouted at the top of his lungs, down into the chamber Torlan had come from.  “Still alive!” Sandara called back, her voice quavering.  “That’s good enough!” Trucco declared. Sandara called back down that Tamroth was indeed with her, and had been unconscious for quite a while.  “What are the grindylow trying to do to you?” Torlan asked.  “I’m not sure,” she replied.  “Have they hurt you?” Daina called.  “No, not yet” Sandara called back, “but there are a lot of bodies down in the water.”  Daina’s voice called back to her, calm and steady, as Trucco began to become more and more agitated.  “Sit tight, Ms. Quinn” she told the frightened sailor.  “We’re coming for you.  We’re coming right now.”  As Torlan moved back into the lead and Trucco tossed the old dwarf the potion of water breathing he’d looted further up the island, Daina’s soldiering instincts took over — and so did the newly burgeoning powers of her Sentinel dragonmark.  As the paradox of calm and adrenaline flowed through her, the pain and disorientation from the poisoned wounds on her face faded into a distant memory, and the blue sparks that had always accompanied her mark’s activation exploded into a burst of light that briefly filled the tunnel around the party.  Her eyes began to glow with the same intense, unnatural colour as her dragonmark, and unbeknownst to Trucco and Torlan, so did theirs.  Raising her sword, her voice began to change.

We are coming for you.  Rus, Torlan, Trucco, Syl — take. Them. Down.”

As suddenly as her dragonmark had flared to life, the light fled from it, replaced with a dull lifelessness.  But the light remained in her eyes, and Torlan and Trucco’s as well, and Daina’s rallying cry reverberated through their bodies as if it had taken on a life of its own.  Torlan sprang into action.  Disappearing below the surface of the water, he swam forward a little and began to flail around, hoping to bait whatever lay in the depths to focus on him.

He got his wish.  The next thing he saw was a massive creature swimming towards him, that looked like the sort of abomination Mordain the Fleshweaver might produce if he ever got his hands on a whale, a shark, and a grindylow.  Its massive, slimy maw full of razor-sharp teeth snapped at Torlan, but even in the grindylow’s domain, the old dwarf was quicker.  The blue glow in his eyes reflected back at him from the creature’s, and he felt his reflexes surge in a new and unexpected way as he slashed back at it.  Undeterred, the creature slid out of his way with a grace that belied its size, and began to circle him.  Scrambling up onto the small outcropping of rock Torlan had just vacated, Rus braced himself with one hand and held his torch into a better position for Daina as the ethereal “plating” of his arcane armour snapped into place at his quiet command.  Diving in after Torlan, Trucco took a few swings at the creature with his dagger, but his blade glanced right off its hide…

…and then the water erupted beneath him.

A huge wave burst out of the water in the center of the chamber — and with it, Torlan.  The wave engulfed him, lifting him into the air as it carried him clear over Rus and Daina’s heads, juggling him hard against the tunnel walls before dropping him back into the water.  With Torlan out of its reach and Trucco presenting an appealing target in his place, the creature snapped at the rogue ineffectually until it managed to rip from Trucco’s hands the knife that had become caught in its teeth.  Meanwhile, Rus was becoming increasingly frustrated with his inability to see anything beyond the scant edges of his torchlight.  He could hear Sandara occasionally call out, he could hear the splashing and roiling of the water where Torlan and Trucco had been fighting, but he couldn’t unleash Khyber on his enemies himself if he didn’t know where to point his wand.  Pulling a vial of alchemist’s fire from his bandolier, he threw it up and into the darkness of the chamber’s ceiling.  He heard it shatter, and then light erupted overhead as the thick liquid inside splashed onto the ceiling, stuck fast, and began to burn.  It wasn’t enough to light up the entire chamber, but it provided better illumination than his torch did…and he’d be able to free up that hand now if needed. 

Seeing Trucco disappear into the water in front of her, and Torlan come flying over her head to smack against the tunnel behind her, the dragonmark on Daina’s face that had gone dark and dull after pouring its energy into them sprung back to life with a vengeance.  “Stick together!” she shouted.  “Focus!  Let’s take this thing down!”  Her voice changed again…but where last time it had been hard and strong, and only Torlan and Trucco had felt something spark within them, everyone around her now felt themselves inspired by a new resilience.  Daina dove beneath the surface, swimming down below the creature, and slashed her cutlass up and across it as she kicked her way back to the surface in one smooth motion.  

Her blade struck true.  As Daina resurfaced, the water around her began filling with blood, and one of the creatures severed tentacles bobbed up beside her and then sank back down.  “Come on, Syl!” she cried, kicking her legs away as she narrowly avoided losing them to the creature’s jaws before diving back under to take another pass at it.  “These things can bleed!”  Though she’d last seen Trucco when he dove in to challenge this creature, she hadn’t seen him when she swam down herself — unknown to Daina, the rogue had become more interested in the source of the wave than he had been in his former opponent, and had almost made it to the opposite end of the chamber when he saw more movement…and a spear hurtling through the water towards him.  Trucco found himself staring down a second, larger creature, the likes of which he had never seen before.  Her head was crowned with a mass of tentacles, the long, thin arms that extended from her humanoid torso ended in the webbed hands to which the spear she had just thrown at Trucco had mysteriously returned, and where other creatures would have legs, a dozen long, pale tentacles like those of a giant squid contracted and relaxed as she easily moved from side to side, sizing Trucco up.  He had found the queen Sandara had warned them about.  Having lost one dagger to the creature who guarded the chamber’s entrance, and who Daina was now locked in battle with, the rogue flung himself forward, wrapping his arms and legs around the queen’s torso, pinning her arms to her sides and praying that it would buy the others more time to finish off the guard before the queen could command the water to send them all flying back down the tunnel they way Torlan had.  The queen did, however, have a reply for Trucco.  She began to speak words that he couldn’t understand, and as mass of seaweed wrapped itself around his legs, he could feel barbs digging into him as it latched on in a way that would be very tricky to break free from unscathed.  For the moment, they were at a stalemate.

Back at Daina’s side, Torlan took a quick slash at the creature in front of her, dealing it another wound next to the ones his goddaughter had inflicted before swimming off in the direction Trucco had disappeared.  That gave Daina the opening she needed.  With the power of her dragonmark coursing through her sword arm and the magic ring that made swimming feel as natural as running to her, she propelled herself forward to drive the edge of her blade deep into the creature’s hide and kicked herself back towards the surface in one smooth motion, dragging her cutlass upwards as a stinking mess of blood and fish guts spilled out of the creature.  It convulsed sharply and then stopped moving, and as it began sinking into the murky depths, Daina burst up and out of the water, sword raised above her head.  Treading water with her other arm, she looked back over her shoulder at Rus and Syl and pointed her blade to where she could make out another large, dark shape moving below the water in the direction Trucco had gone.  “Let’s. Finish. The job!” she shouted.

amming his torch into a crevice between the tunnel wall and the small rock he’d been perched on, Rus dove into the water and swam up next to Daina, while Sandara called out the queen’s movements to her new captain from the vantage point in her cage above.  As Rus slashed and feinted at the queen with his tago knife, expecting Daina would move in for the kill, the queen jerked backwards with a cry.  The water around her began filling with blood, and her limp, lifeless body bobbed as it began floating away from Rus and Daina and Torlan surfaced between them.  “Is it over?” he asked, coughing as he cleared brackish water and sticky blood from his face.

“It’s over” Daina affirmed.  She quickly looked around.  Torlan, Rus, and Trucco were all accounted for, as were Sandara and Tamroth still in the cage above…but Syl wasn’t with them, and Daina couldn’t spot her in the faint glow of the alchemist’s fire Rus had splashed onto the ceiling.  “Syl!” she called out.  “Where are you?”  A reply rang back from the mouth of the tunnel, and Daina ordered Syl to stick with her before turning her attention to the captives.  “Tamroth’s unconscious,” Sandara called back.  “Alive, but unconscious.”  Daina nodded.  “Trucco, you’re up!”  The rogue was bracing himself against a rock, shaking with adrenaline.  “Oh, fuck” he breathed, “that was really scary!  It was like, I felt like I had to go over there, and the tentacles, and my face, and it was close, it was too close…”  He was starting to babble when Daina gently cut him off.  “I know,” she said.  “You’re okay.  We’re all okay.  Let’s get that cage open.”  Trucco’s head bobbed up and down wildly.  “I’m okay.  Yes, yes, I’ll do that.”  Easily scrambling up the wall and across to where the cage was suspended, it took him a few minutes to pick the lock, but it was nothing the experienced thief couldn’t handle.  Squeezing into the cage next to Sandara, he began shaking Tamroth, urging her to wake up.  “Once we get her back to the ship, she’ll be fine” Sandara reassured him.  That was good enough for Trucco, and he shoved the unconscious orc out of the cage and down into the water where Rus and Daina were waiting to catch her.  Rus wrapped his arms under Tamroth’s, leaning her head back against his shoulder and above the water as Daina brought Tamroth back to consciousness. 

With Tamroth back in the action, Rus took a quick glance at the inflamed, bleeding gashes across Daina’s face before going to check on Sandara Quinn.  “You’re a real ranger,” he drawled, “but you’re at a risk of dereliction of duty here, so, uh, let’s get you back up to working order.”  Handing over her sword and hat that he’d recovered from the body of a defeated grindylow, he pressed her holy symbol of Arawai into her hand.  “This gave me comfort in dark times,” he said softly.  ‘“It’s time to get you back up.”  She gave him a weak smile; she had put on a good face while the crisis was ongoing, but was clearly worse for wear.  “Trust me” he smiled back, pointing his new wand at her.  With her exhaustion alleviated for the moment, Sandara scooped up a handful of water, blessing it with a prayer as she poured it over Daina’s wound, eliciting a sigh of relief as the pain and burning subsided.  It wouldn’t even leave a scar. 

It was high tide at last.  Torlan counseled against trying to leave the caves until the tide started going out, and Rus and Trucco got to work retrieving the treasures at the bottom of the pool.  Rus’ arcane senses has picked out several items that were emanating magic, including the queen’s spear, which Trucco was eager to claim with a trophy.  “Get your salvage,” Daina agreed, “but it’s not going anywhere.  Make sure you get a little rest while we wait for the tide to go out.  Don’t want anyone getting into trouble on the swim back.”  The only place to rest in the cavern was the cage that Sandara and Tamroth had been imprisoned in, and they would need to rest in shifts.  While Trucco immediately climbed up for a quick nap and Rus began his sweep of the bottom of the pool, Daina waved Syl over to her side.  Neither the mutiny that had seen Daina take command of the Majestic Gryphon nor the ensuing storm she had successfully guided them through had been enough for Syl to even grudgingly concede to serve her new captain, and Daina’s main concern in bringing Syl to the island had been to keep her away from anyone on the Gryphon who she might encourage to turn against Daina and the others.  However, in the nearly two days they’d been on the island, something seemed to have changed.  Syl had followed Daina’s orders to the letter, had her back during their harrowing encounter with the ghast, and seen their mission through.  There was, however, still one important question that remained unanswered.  “Syl,” she said solemnly, “you did good.  And if you’re ready to be on this crew, I’m ready to have you.” 

Syl met Daina’s eyes.  “Yeah.  You came back, you helped…it’s impressive,” Syl conceded.  “You’re alright in my book.”  “I’m no Cloud Reaver,” Daina reminded her.  “Sailing with me, it’s gonna be a lot different.  But if you want to be on my crew?” she repeated, “I’m happy to have you.”  The other woman nodded approvingly, but said nothing — it seemed for all that had happened, she still wasn’t ready to commit to this new life.  Tamroth Scrimshaw, on the other hand, was.  She’d refused to be involved on anyone’s side during the mutiny, neither helping nor hindering Daina and the others, but knowing that this captain would go through Khyber and back to save her was well deserving of her loyalty.  “Ah, Tamroth!” Torlan piped up, remembering the bones and ivory he’d found on their way into the tunnels.  “I found something for you to carve!”   

Several hours later, the tide had gone out, and they made their way back to dry ground to rest until morning came a short few hours after that.  They hiked back to the longboat and returned to the Majestic Gryphon as last.  They’d been gone for nearly twenty-four hours.  As Unnao and Crimson Cog began loading casks into the longboat so that they could be refilled from the spring Daina and Trucco had found, master carpenter Moira had good news: repairs had gone well, and they’d be able to set sail that afternoon.

Although their main priority was replenishing the ship’s fresh water stores, Rus and Torlan had some unfinished business on the island: they wanted to properly inspect that field near the beach, where they’d found a scarecrow made from a corpse.  While Cog and Unnao began hauling casks up the ridge to the spring, Rus and Torlan found some more corpses in the field, and having taken a look at the journal Daina had found recounting the doomed Karrnathi expedition that had shipwrecked here before meeting a gruesome end, they were able to put the pieces together.  The last survivor of that wreck had planted this field, and while there were some random items and debris strewn throughout it, there was nothing else of note or value — except, of course, to a talespinner.  “Ruskel, my boy” Torlan rumbled, tucking his notebook back into the pouch on his belt, “I think there will be a fine tale to be sung about this journey.”  Rus couldn’t argue with that, but he was eager to leave the island behind, and they helped Cog and Unnao finish loading the longboat and returned to the ship.

Back on the Majestic Gryphon, Daina instructed Unnao to gather everyone to attention.  Hopping up on the quarterdeck, she looked out over her small, tired, stalwart crew.  It was time.

“My name is Daina ir’Lizani,” she called out, her voice ringing out over the deck, “and I am the captain of this ship.  You all are good crew, and as long as you will sail with me, you have a place here.  If you wish to choose another path, for none of you chose this one, we’ll settle that when we get to port.  In the meantime, you’ll all have your shares, you’ll all have food and water and a bunk, and I’d said I’d get you back to port — and that’s exactly what we’re going to do.  I want everyone to get some rest — you’ve all been up for a long time.  I need two volunteers for the first watch, and I’ll take it with you.  In the meantime — if there’s anything you need — my door’s always open.”

A cheer led by Trucco rose from the deck as the crew quickly joined in.  Shouts of “huzzah!” were soon accompanied by Ruskel’s slow, steady applause as Torlan felt pride well up within him.  Daina stood tall at the Gryphon’s helm as emotions came in waves.  Relief at having gained her and her friends’ freedom from the Cloud Reavers at last.  Exhaustion from the sharp realization that the trials and abuse she had suffered in both mind and body for the past three months were now over.  Apprehension as the weight of the responsibility she’d just claimed settled into the very core of her being.  And dancing across it all, sometimes at the forefront but always at the edges, anticipation.  Daina had come to the Lhazaar Principalities with a purpose, and her hard work of the past year had resulted in little more than a lot of closed doors and hope deferred.  And now, as Captain Daina ir’Lizani, with a ship and a crew…well, now perhaps there was promise for the future after all.

A shout rang out from the deck.  “Where’s the next port, Captain?”

Daina grinned.  “Closest on the charts, and the next bet for taking the next leg of our journey, is Rickety Squib’s.  We’ll get you some right proper drink in you once we land, everyone’s getting some leave, and we’ll go from there.  And we’ll go from there together.”  Another cheer went up from the deck, and as Daina took a step back to signal that she was finished speaking, Moira clapped her hands and called out to everyone to get back to work. 

Torlan made his way up to the quarterdeck and took Daina’s hand in his, beaming with pride.  “Well said” he declared.  “I’m looking forward to this!” Trucco announced with a grin.  “It’s certainly going to be interesting!”  Daina smiled back at him.  “Well, this isn’t what I expected after getting a bad drink in Regalport three months ago, but I’m—” her voice caught a little.  “I’m glad you’re here.”  “And I’m glad that we’ve come out of the other side of these challenges all the better for it” Torlan replied.  “Yeah,” Trucco said, sounding a little bit surprised.  “I guess I can say the same — I’m glad I’m here.  There’s a lot of opportunity here, with how much treasure we’ve already gathered so far…”  Torlan’s grin grew wider.  “And I bet some of it’s burning a hole in your pocket, too”  he teased.  “I guess we’ll have to decide who the quartermaster will be.”  Daina nodded.  “We will have to look at getting some more structure in the crew” she agreed, “and I definitely want you all to—”

“I am really good at working the rigging” Trucco interrupted.  “Thank you for the offer, I would make a very good quartermaster and be very capable at it, but I would feel more comfortable up in the rigging.  Isn’t that right, girl?” he asked, laying a hand on the Gryphon’s mast.  Daina chuckled.  “I think she’ll take good care of you too, Trucco.  We’ll talk about it more in the morning.  If any of you need anything before morning—” she took a long look at each of them in turn — “I’ll be taking the first watch, and like I told the crew, my door’s always open.  You know where to find me.” 

As Rus, Trucco, and Torlan made their way belowdecks to eat and rest, Captain Daina ir’Lizani took the wheel, and the Majestic Gryphon set sail as the sun began sitting low on the horizon.  Reaching into the collar of her shirt, she pulled out a small gold locket on a chain.  Though her clothes were soaked with the blood and dirt of the last fourty-eight hours which now seemed like a distant fever dream, the locket remained curiously clean and shiny.  Keeping one hand on the Gryphon’s wheel, she thumbed the locket open and took a long look inside.  “It’s happening, Maz” she whispered.  “I wish you could have seen it, and I’ll carry you with me every step of the way.  But I…I met some folks.  And it’s not just about you and me anymore.”

She snapped the locket shut, tucked it back into her shirt, and looked out over the horizon.

“It’s time for Cyre to take what is hers.” 

Behind the Scenes

  • Question of the week: What is your opinion on nobility and/or authority?
  • Though accumulating enough successes in last week’s Dramatic Task to fight our way through the tunnels meant that there were no small grindylow to fight this week in addition to the queen and her guard, we all still went into this encounter with the deck stacked against us. There was no existing light in the chamber, we had to fight while in water too deep to touch the bottom of, and as such, our negative modifiers included:
    • A -2 penalty to swimming with leather armour on;
    • A -2 illumination penalty across the board for Rus and Daina, who as humans have no natural dim light or dark vision;
    • A -2 penalty even for Torlan and Trucco (who do have dim light vision and dark vision respectively) to see when under the water, which was described as very brackish and murky;
    • The Grindylow Queen’s water attack caused automatic Distraction on the entire party with no save to avoid it;
    • And every last one of us was suffering from either Fatigue or a Wound, both of which impose a blanket -1 penalty across our rolls.
  • However, there were also a couple of modifiers working in our favour! These were:
    • Daina’s armour penalty for swimming was mitigated by the Ring of Swimming Rus had identified last week, which she had looted two sessions prior to that from the tent with the wedding dress and ghouls in it. Both she and I had assumed that it was a wedding ring, and had every intention of burying it to honour the dead.
    • Size modifiers. Both the Grindylow Queen and her guard were Large creatures and thus considered one size larger than any member of the party, which meant that they suffered a -2 penalty to hit us and we enjoyed a +2 penalty to hit them.
    • And, of course, bennies, Adventure Cards, and the fact that we’re kind of awesome. Here’s how it all went down:
  • Round 1:
    • Michael was at the bottom of the initiative order and asked us to go on Hold so that he could bait the guard into a free attack from Torlan’s First Strike edge. I asked Michael to let me take my turn ahead of him, and I used it to invoke Martial Flexibility to give myself Nerves of Steel (allowing me to ignore one point of wound penalties) and then spend all ten of Daina’s power points upcasting Warrior’s Gift (4pp) with a raise for two Improved combat edges on two additional recipients (Torlan and Trucco). I gave us Improved Frenzy (roll an extra Fighting die for up to two different attacks in the same turn) and Improved Counterattack (a free attack against up to three failed Fighting attacks per round). Both effects (Martial Flexibility and Warrior’s Gift) last five rounds. However, bonuses from other edges do not apply to free attacks, meaning that Counterattack and First Strike remained unaffected by Frenzy. That’s still a heck of a lot of extra attacks per round though.
    • Trucco started his turn by drinking a Potion of Blur, which granted him Deflection for five rounds, imposing an additional -2 penalties on melee attacks by the Queen and her guard.
    • The roll to avoid being swept away by the wave attack saw our first crit fail of the night, and Torlan took on a level of Fatigue from Bumps and Bruises as a result.
  • Round 2:
    • It started on a bit of a tense note! The guard drew a Joker, Trucco critically failed one of his attacks (resulting in losing his dagger), and with his assorted penalties in place Kevin suffered two failures on his Athletics roll to throw the alchemist’s fire up to the ceiling, played his “Extra Effort” adventure card to add 1d6 to his roll, rolled a 1 (which wasn’t enough), and spent another bennie rerolling that die before finally hitting the magic number of 4. We were also all Distracted from the wave attack, which meant the entire party’s rolls that round came at an additional -2 on top of everything else.
    • I spent two bennies to regain all of Daina’s power points and immediately drained them again to cast Commander’s Call (my House Deneith flavour for Hellfrost‘s Gift of Battle power) with a raise to give Daina Natural Leader (which allows the effects of her Command edges to apply to Wild Cards) and Fervor (+1 to everyone with her Command range — a 5″ blast template — to Fighting rolls and Spirit rolls made to Unshake). With all of those buffs in place, both of her attacks on the guard hit, one hit with a raise, and she dealt the guard two wounds, one of which were successfully Soaked.
  • Round 3:
    • This one started on a high note as Rus and his Level Headed edge (he draws two action cards per round and chooses which to keep) netted him a Joker of his own, giving the entire party a bennie and adding +2 to his rolls for the round. Also, we weren’t Distracted anymore! Yay!
    • The guard Wild Attacked Daina, and Phillip spent his last GM bennie to cause two wounds which I was able to Soak. At that point, the guard was out of Wild Card bennies as well.
    • Torlan declared a Multi-Action for two attacks on the guard, which was a great choice as the Wild Attack had left it Vulnerable (+2 for Torlan to hit in addition to the +2 Size bonus mentioned above)…and while Frenzy doesn’t apply to free attacks, it does apply to attacks taken using a Multi-Action. He dealt the guard a wound it wasn’t able to Soak, opening the door for Daina to easily finish it off on her next turn.
    • Ernesto failed his first attempt to Grapple the queen — but he had his adventure card: Action Surge, which allowed him to immediately take a second full turn. Paired with Trucco’s Elan edge that gives him a +2 to rerolls made using a bennie, he was able to Grapple the queen well enough to render her Entangled. While this condition did not prevent her from casting spells, it did keep her in one place and render her Distracted.
  • Round 4:
    • Rus acted first that round, and Kevin was feeling very limited in his options due to the associated penalties and lack of being able to see much, so he decided to Test the queen instead, scoring a raise that took him to the Creative Combat table and made her Vulnerable. Unfortunately, it was the queen’s turn next, and we all realized after Kevin rolled the Test that the condition imposed by it would only last until the end of the queen’s turn, before any of us would be able to take advantage of it. That was when Michael played his adventure card: Seize the Day, which allowed him to act as if his action card was a Joker, meaning he was allowed to take his turn whenever he wanted — and could try interrupting the queen (opposed Athletics roll) to act before her. He succeeded, and the combination of the edges and modifiers Daina had given him plus the +2 Joker bonus made quick work of things.
  • After that, it was smooth sailing — with a few extra notable bits! In recognition of this session falling on International Women’s Day, Phil expressed his appreciation by offering me my choice to start the session with an additional bennie…or an additional adventure card, and I would be allowed to play both cards should the opportunity arise. I had the Epiphany card from the regular deal-out, which I used to take a temporary d6 in Healing, and my additional card was Peace, which can be played to improve the target’s disposition towards the hero by one level. I’d been hoping to play it on the queen in the event that she was someone we could speak with, but things didn’t work out that way, so I played it on Syl instead.
    • The weirdest, craziest most interesting item looted from the grindylow cave? A 25lb, ornately carved, gem-studded whale skull…which turned out to be, for all intents and purposes, a spellbook that Ruskel will be able to decipher and copy to learn some new tricks. We briefly discussed after the session where we might mount such a thing in the ship. I’m just glad that it’s not cursed…or is it?

And just like that, twenty-three sessions later, Season 1 of Mourners of Lhazaar is over. We’ll be taking a week off, but won’t be leaving you empty-handed: stay tuned for a special Gold Dragon Fireside post-season debrief, where we’ll take a look back at our favourite story moments, how things started vs. where they ended up, what-ifs, and answer questions from our readers and listeners. It’s been a wild, surprising, amazing first season, and we have been absolutely delighted to have you join us on this journey, and can’t wait to see what Season 2 holds. Fair winds and smooth sailing to you!

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