Present: Jasper (GM), Davide (Hardok), Elena (Irann), Jaroen (Therai), Twain (Varnag).
Twain was for the first time in the session, so we had a little introduction of the various characters in the game.
The group was about to show up at the Caravan District to begin the journey to Ianto’s Fort in the south badland. More or less 1 day of march from Tyr.
Everybody shows up and the group begins to look around to acquaint themselves with the various characters that constitute the caravan. It is quite a large group, with several mounts carring goods and a bunch of labourer, some of them are professional miners, some others are just normal people looking to get a few coins. Theare are also 3 elves that acts as scout for the caravan, running ahead and looking for trouble to report back and a group of half-giants (about 4 again) that acts as guards.
The headmaster, wearing a uniform with Ianto’s Green Inix insignia, is on his urdlu looking around and organizing things while the peoples around are getting ready to march out. The group quickly decide that going around and getting some information is a good move. So Therai goes to have a little chat with the headmaster while Hardok goes to have a talk with the other half-giants and Irann seems more interested in talking with the elves (that are going to move out first) and Varnag speaks with some of the labourers.
The caravan is going to leave soon, so everybody try to keep the chat short.
Hardok: Hi guys, so, how’s the thing is organized? What’s supposed to happens and not happens?
Guard: Happens? I suppose you’re here for guard duty right? Then it depends on the task they assign you, in our case we’re escorting these peoples that are going back and forth to the city, if we get lucky we are going to stick to the fort and not go through this walk again, that is kind of boring.
Hardok: Boring? You mean, nothing happens?
Guard: Well, just some wild animals, no much of a problem.
Hardok: Aw… Why do they want so much security if nothing happens?
Guard: Nothing great, I mean we’re still close to the city, all the excitement with Gnolls and stuff is far more out to the east.
Hardok: Ah ok. Who’s handing out the assignment?
Guard: The whole mission is controlled by Ianto, the Patriarch Stravo Ianto is personally coordinating the mission, that is quite surprisingly because beside Stravo there isn’t much left of the house.
Hardok: …well yes, I know that, but I was talking right here, who’s handing out the assignment, who’s the boss around here?
Guard: Oh, that guy on his mount. Hitok. He is the boss.
Hardok: And how is he? Is he an intelligent, smart guy or is he just a dumbass pretending to be organizing?
Guard: He is just a dumbass that runs the caravan with some scout running haead. He does the yelling, he does the pointing and we do the bashing.
Hardok: Oh well, I’m good at bashing.
And on that high note, the two shake hands and Hardok rejoin the group waiting for the sign of leaving the city. In the mean time, Irann is trying her luck with the Elven.
Irann approach the 3 elven that are preparing to depart for their scout mission.
Elv: Hey! Are you here for the scout duty?
Irann: huuu… what’s scout duty?
Elv: Wel… we go ahead of the pack and look around for trouble, and report them to the headmaster.
Irann: Sounds fun!
Elv: Yes… fun… You’re not from around here, are you?
Irann: No, I am not. I have a weird story.
Elv: Well never mind. We have to leave now. So, if everything goes well, you won’t see us again, and if you see us, it means there are troubles ahead.
Irann: How, I wanted to know more elves, pity.
Elv: Maybe we can chat again at the fort.
And with this the Elven wave to the headmaster and quickly moves out of the gates and in the countryside.
So, Irann joins Hardok waiting for the others, commenting that “she wanted to go with them, sounded like fun” to which Hardok suggest to go talk with Hitok next time.
Varnag is roaming around, chatting with this and that labourer and asking a few questions and getting a few answers, not fixing on anyone in specific. Someone answer that they are “digging holes”, someone else specify that they are “prospecting, searching for metals”. It seems that Ianto wants to get back in the metal-trading business, so they are trying their luck in some secret-not-yet-exploited pockets. Someone else says that they are digging for treasures.
The labourers are different kind, some real ex-miners, some are ex-slaves that are trying to get some work.
The mines (and excavation in general) are in any case really dangerous environments, lots of accidents, nasty environment, defatigating work and on top of it there is the always present danger of Hijinks attacks.
The miners and labourers seems a disorganized group, staying in small groups or individuals and not acting like a well-acquainted group at all.
At the same time, Therai is going to chat up the headmaster,
Therai: Hi, I’m Therai, I’ve been working for House Vordon before, and it is a bit surprising that Ianto is interested in mining nearby their fort. Never heard of that…
Hitok get a very suspicious look on his face when Therai mentions House Vordon (a bit of a slip of tounge at that time), but Therai launch himself in a very lengthy and wordy discussion and overcome the suspicion… momentarily.
Hitok: So… you’re coming for Guard Duty eh?
Therai: Well… life is hard and there isn’t much more to do to get some money so… I guess this is a risky enterprise so I thin there is a chance of making some money to use on our own and it looks like is going to be dangerous, there were rumours of gnolls, but it seems like they are a bit far-away.
Hitok: Travelling is always dangerous. There is always something or someone trying to kill you. If is not some rival house trying to off you there are dangerous animals, bandits and so on.
Therai: So you’re well prepared…
Hitok: Of course we are!
Therai: And you think it’s necessary?
Therai: Well, to have so many guards with you, is only a day walk.
Hitok: The walk is not the hard part. The location, however, is a different problem. In any case… you’re a guard, I guess you’re not here for your muscle. Are you some kind of Psionicist?
Therai: Yeah, something like that.
Hitok: Well, I’m glad to have some competent people on board.
Therai: Yeah, it seems you have enough guards and so on. You have a nicely organized enterprise, my compliments. And if you need something, let me know.
Hitok: Ok great, you just stay at ease for now, and just respond to any danger in the means that you find appropriate.
At this point Hitok begins to bark commands to his cohoort, and then he announce that “We are going to leave NOW! Every stragglers will not be paid or protected!”. So the whole caravan walks out of the gates and begins to cross the country side and the fields around Tyr.
The weather is more sandy the usual.
The group decide to stay more or less in the center, Hardok notices that the other half-giants have placed themselves more or less to cover the 4 corners of the whole caravan, so he suggest to be in the center.
It is mostly a long, boring walk out of the fields and into the desert heading south. While walking, Irann notices some interesting tracks belonings to a 4-legged lizard-like animal.
While the groups walks along, they passes a number of crop fields, but there yet no traces of the rumored mismanagement that they’ve heard in the city, the general consensus is that is still too early to see things going bad. What they can see is the accumulation of sands in some fields. Accumulation that should be removed if the field has to produce food. If the accumualtion is not removed the field could be overrun and turn into desert.
The trip proceed almost uneventful, at one point one of the scouts re-appears and speak quickly with Hitok, the group, that has sneaked closer to listen, hear the scout refer that they have spotted a group of Gnolls on the east, probably Scout themselves. Hitok quickly summons all the guards (Hardok joins) and announces the finding and that the group is going to take a little detour to the west to avoid possible problems, this will make the trip a bit longer but safer. The group quickly decide to move on the east side of the caravan and keeps everyone’s eyes open.
Varnag also notices that, judging from the tatoos on the scout’s arms, they are not from the city’s tribe, they belongs to the Robbens’ Tribe, a small nomads tribe that roams from the border of the Tyr’s belt reaching into the trade route doing some trade and acting as Scout for various carouans, their members leaves the tribe from time to time to serve in these enterprises. For elvens they are known to be trustworthy.
The travel continous, there is no sign of the Gnolls, so maybe the detour worked in that sense. After half a day however, a few of the labourers are straglling behind, one of the knights passes by and exort them to keep moving or they will be left behind, Therai claims that they should be kept together but the man on the mount retort that is “just a bunch of lazy guy, they are already complaining that the walk is too hard for them, if they can’t stand the walk then the work is already too much for them”, Therai and Varnag approach the guys and try to motivate them, while Varnag decide to play “bad cop” and threat to leave them to the Gnolls, that seems to be effective so they manage to speed up a bit their stride and keep with the carouan.
Just at sundown the carouan approach the fort.
The fort is a squarish stone constructions, with towers at the corner and a gate in the center of one of the walls. Entering the walls the group notices that the walls are very thick and they are hollows, with storespaces built-in, inside the place looks very crowded, with a large barracks at the other side of the entrance housing the ‘headquarters’, the stables are on one side and some large barracks on the opposite side. A few more smaller buildings around. All kind of people moving about and doing things around. It is now really overcrowded.
The officials with Ianto’s insigna are moving around. But doesn’t seems anybody is in charge of the whole thing.
Arriving at the fort, the pack animals are lead to the Stables for unloading and feeding, everybody get some food and water, that everybody accepts after the march. And then Hitok tell everyone to get set. One of the half-giant guard informs Hardok to settle down in one of the barracks where the guards are staged, don’t go to the other barracks where the labourer are housed because there is way too much peoples around there and is too crowded. Tomorrow morning find an official (with Ianto’s insignia on his fancy cap) and report.
Hardok start looking for the guy with the ‘fancy cap’ (as described), that turns out to be Irik, an official of Ianto’s House. He registers your names.
Irik – Ok, you’re on guard duty, this is obvious, you are in the new rooster, are you in a team or something?
Hardok – Yes, how many teams there are?
Irik – Well, plenty. I’ll put you in the same team so you’ll work together. I’ll tell you tomorrow what to do, you can scout around, be assigned to the camp or go to the dig site.
Hardok – Hummm… how about going to the dig site? Sounds more interesting than stick around here…
From his behavour it appears that he doesn’t really care about guards but he knows that they are important to have around. He doesn’t seems a lot concerned.
Irik – Oh, so you wanna go to the dig site? Well, Ok I don’t care much.. I’ll see you tomorrow.
So the group retire for the night, except Irann that goest to the Elven camp to inquiry about other Elven.
The Elvens are not really concerned, the trip was uneventful. They are a bit surprised that Ianto is tossing so many resources in that specific location. Irann decides to show them her medallions, they are surprised and comment that it looks neat but they can’t really read the text. They comment that it could be sold to the market.
Hardok decides to take a walk around the camp to see if he can find anything about the dig, and if anybody inquiry what is he doing around he’ll tell them that he was looking for the latrines and got lost.
The walls are hollows but still pretty thick. A lot of stone-stacking have been going on here, slave workers or paid workers. A strange bunch of peoples is collected here, peoples from all possible sources. The sponsor (who’s providing the money) officially is House Ianto but it seems they are also getting money from Tyr’s government. The equipment used is normal equipment that could be obtained anywhere in the city.
What emerges from the various questions, is that the expeditions doesn’t seems older than a week or so. And the peoples that have been there for a week are getting tired, the job is heavy, is about 4 hours of hike to the dig site, the work is though, there are Hijkin attacking the miners underground sometimes, there are Tareks in the area and it seems that Silkwirms are also been seen around, maybe attracted by the activity.
In any case, it’s clear that the work is hard and the possibility of dying are quite high. Lots of peoples are involved in this dig but what are they digging for is a bit unclear.
Who’s in charge? It seems that the head of the mission is Iurak Ianto, a member of the family he is also known for being a scholar, interested in Dwarven history, especially passionate in uncovering the old Dwarven script. So it seems that is someone with a mind, most likely a Psionic too and searching maybe for something.
In any event, there is nothing known by the group about Dwarven in that specific location, and is common knowledge that hijink are considered some kind of “mutated” dwarven, in fact their “language” (if you can call it like that) resemble sometimes Dwarven language but makes no sense.
The next day everyone shows up to get breakfast and their assignment. Irann complains that she couldn’t understand anything that the Elves were saying (she doesn’t speak elvish). The group walks towards the officier’s quarters to get their daily gig, everyone agrees that the “interesting” bits are at the dig site so they’ll try to get an assignment there.
The duty officer comments that he has spoken with Hitok and they looks like a capable team, so they will be sent to the dig site all at once. The job is basically to guard a group of labourer that are digging in the side of a canyon wall. The major treath is Hijkins and they don’t need the door. In any case nobody stays overnight at the diggins site.
So everybody follows the group of labourers towards the digging site. The headmaster, a human named Leoricus, send a scout ahead to look for potential troubles, the workers packs their tools and start walking. While walking on the trail, Hardok spots some slime on the ground that he identify as remaining of a Silkwirm, he warns the others about that and then walks ahead to inform Leoricus too, whom seems unfazed about it.
After a while of walking, the group reaches a canyon that cuts deep in the grounds getting larger and larger. With a trail leading from the top down one of the side. About half-way down the trail leads to a huge hole in the wall. It looks surprisingly smooth, like it was polished by erosions for thousands of years, since is not an open hole, something must have gone through at some point.
Leoricus leads the whole group inside.
The tunnel inside is really smoot for about 20 meters, and gangways and planks have been added to the floor and walls to allow peoples to walk in without stumbling, the tunnel is large enough for Hardok to walk in without riskying banging his head. After a while it looks like the tunnel collapsed and was escavated to clean it up.
The tunnel leads to a stage area with lots of equipments and a series of tunnels leading away to various dig sites. No sign of carvings or other ‘dwarven’ related traces. It is obvious that the tunnel is really old. Like someone found a very old tunnel or mine and is trying to recover or re-open it.
Leoricus begins to divide the workers in groups and sending them to the various digging sites. Then he asks the group to go to a lower shaft, accessible trough a series of ladders, Hardok comments that he loves going down, almost as much as falling down on somebody else so they send him first “this way you don’t fall on anybody this time”.
The group can clearly feel that there is a draft in the tunnel, and then they reach a door, and they can feel air coming through the cracks, Leoricus opens it and let the group into a natural cave. Hardok inquiry about the door and Leoricus explains that there is too much winds, without the door it will start blowing so hard that peoples won’t be able to work.
The cave is large and it seems natural, lots of tunnels going in every directoions and they are very smooth. There are wodden planks and boards attached to the walls or on the floors to allow movements without stumbling, holes have been dug on surfaces to allow for support.
Leoricus direct the group towards another tunnel that is obviously artificial, dug on purpose, then he leads to another cave, that is not smooth and has been clearly excavated. There is no sign of any kind of ores in the mine, the he walks to a door.
Leoricus – Here we are! We had some troubles here with Hijinks in the past few days, there could be a ‘nest’ nearby or maybe they like this place for some reason, anyway we have plan to do more digging here.
Hardok – So what to we do?
Leoricus – Simply walks down this tunnel, and start hitting the wall with a pick (hands a pick to him), if they don’t show up in 5~10 minutes, then it’s safe to work, if they do show up… I don’t have to tell you, do I?
Hardok and the rest of the group moves down the tunnel for about 10-15 meters, until they arrive to a small cave, there he begins to swing the pick hitting the rock, and after a few minutes here comes the Hijkins.
A lone Chanters shows up, surprising almost everyone, Irann jumps in and hits him with her staff. Another Chanters pops from the a side wall, both of them begins to “sing” in an high-pitched voices that culminate in a release of static electricity that hits Varnag and Irann, dazing them, Therai and Hardok are hit less and only temporarily affected.
Varnag attack the Chanter with his trickal twice, leaving it wounded but still dangerous, then 4 more Hijkins pops up from the floor, luckily (or not) these are Raven, so they have nasty claws but no electric powers, they immediately attacks, one seems very interested in Therai’s tail, so he hits it with his claws (ouch!), but is hit in retaliation with his Infernal Wrath, however, it seems that the creature it’s absorbing part of the life force in Therai’s, so he falls on the floor.
One of the Ravens immediately attacks Varnag but he avoids the hit using his trickal, two more attacks in concert Iranns, and one manage to hit her with a nasty claw, and she too feels the vitality sucked away, but she’s a tough girl and manage to keep fighting, dodging the second creature’s attack. The last one moves against Hardok but is stopped by a shield in the face.
Therai, despite being on the floor and still dazed by the electric attack, let loose a psionic attacks that kills one of the creature at once. Then he uses his Second Wind to regain some lifesource and crawl a bit at the side to avoid more claws. Hardok unleash an heavy swipe with his sword, hitting 3 creatures at once and pushing two of them away, Irann is still twirling around, hitting things, but apparently, the creatures are “healing” themselves by drawing blood from their prey.
The Chanters begins a low-rumbles, and provokes something like a low-thunder, that hits Varnag and Therai hard, bumping them on the ground, Hardok and Irann aren’t fazed.
Varnak is on the ground, so he swish his trickal hitting one of the creatures.
The creatures now attacks Hardok that is the most prominent figures, but they hit his shield, the third one unfortunately manage to circumvent the shield and hit him on the exposed leg. Again, there is this lifeenergy sucking effect and Hardok joins the club of “lying on the floor”. Therai try again with a mind-blast force, then Hardok rise on his feet, calls the power of heart assuming the form of mountains tunder and unleas a swirl with his sword hitting 2 of the creatures still standing, then he proceed with another hit of Lightning power, but this one seems to be less effective against the creatures (they have lightning affinity). Irann proceed to give another round of hits to all the remaining creatures, that are now looking really beaten-up (not as beaten up as our heroes anyway).
At this point the first Chanter that apparead, makes some very weird gesture and, somehow, manage to swap position with Hardok, that comments “this never happened to me before!”, then he attempt to attack Irann but she dodges the hit, then Varnag uses his healing power with Irann, providing some needed relief then he swing his trikal against the closer creature hitting it, the remaining creatures hits Hardok, again regaining vitality when drawing blood, the effect is that Hardok falls on his ass, that is fortunate because the second one simply hit the air, the third one, standing by Varnag hits him, knocking him unconscious, and then the last one try to attack Irann but she dodges again.
Therai at this point decides to prevent problems by popping his last Healing Fruit into Varnag’s mouth, this immediately make him regain consciousness.
Hardok get back on his feet and smashes one of the creatures, and his Thunder Power manage to hurts another one. Varnag get back on his feet, swallows the last healing fruit he has and manage to provide some encouragement words to Hardok, that is immediately attacked by the other creature but the creature misses. The other 2 creature attacks Irann, leaving her badly hurt but still standing. Therai at this point decides to use his psionic power to control one of the creature, tossing him around like a doll and using him as a projectile to bash another one to death. Everybody is getting tired at this point so a number of hits are wasted in swatting the air around.
Therai once again uses his psionic control to smack around one of the creature and bonking one against the others. Hardok, finally manage to hit the creature smashing his chest, and then he pops his healing fruit in his mouth to regain forces. Irann releases several hits on the remaining creatures that are lying on the floor.
The Chanter attempts another electric hit, but the only one hit is Varnag, who react yelling a command to Irann that immediately toss her staff in the air and uses her bare hands to unleash a number of punches on the creatures around her, finishing off the Chanter, Therai uses his psionic power to damage mentally the last remaining Hijink and Hardok finishes him smashing his skull on the ground.
Finished the fight, Hardok comments that “it was easy-peasy” (with everyone looking at him with funny faces), then he pops his head out of the door and calls the workers with “ok, is safe here now, came in, don’t mind the blood and the bodies on the ground”.
Everyone retreat outside to rest and recover.