06 December 2016

Earthdawn: Adventure Log 46 - Horror at the Gates

This is the forty-sixth Adventure Log in an ongoing series about Earthdawn. Introduction and Index.







Adventure Log – 046 Horror at the Gates

Written By: Bongani Kreskas

Date:  06 Strassa - 08 Strassa, 1509 TH
Group Name: Mismatched Steel

Group Members
Bongani the Scout
Honeysuckle Sunspray the Warrior
Ting the Swordmaster

Uriel the Illusionist

We are ready. Meta-Poobah Ein tells us to go to the Kara Cafe to meet with Poobah Best, a member of military requisitions, who might be able to get us some healing supplies. He directs us to a military outpost where we "requisition"(1) some healing potions. Then we go out to attack!

We travel to the crystal. We are met by a horrifying grinding noise, but we are used to such things. A high-pitched voice asks us, "Did she(2) send you? Have you come to free her poor, poor people?" We try to keep him talking, but he instead commands us to die, and then he bursts into thousands of shards(3), and a floating mass of maggots(4). In the center of the mass is a dwarf skull. How interesting!

Ting is quite effective at smashing the skull, make it writhe and scream and spew filth. The flying shards chase us, shredding our clothes and flesh. They move like schools of fish, in four large groups(5).

Maggot-Face (as we call him(6)) touched my body, and my skin tore from my frame, writhing all over me like a living wave. But death awaits at our backs - there is not retreat, so we fight on, relentlessly, desperately. Ting overcomes, smashing Maggot-Face upon the cold stone ground, but the shards continue to come after us.

Ting shattered shattered the first swarm, causing it to explode gloriously. Then she stomps another. Truly she is a living crucible of violence. Honeysuckle dove through the sky, fighting in a swirling mass of glittering dross. Uriel fought like an enraged beast, striking out in all directions. But I, spent and exhausted, collapsed to my knees, fumbling and weak.

Honeysuckle destroyed the last swarm, and we returned to the kaer, victorious but diminished.

A few days later we helped the army clear out the remaining tentacle beasts(7).(8)


*     *     *
(1) Did they steal them? Murder a bunch of people? I really just don't know with this group anymore. It could be a bribe as well. 
(2) Who is "she" in this context? That seems important. It could refer to either of the women in charge, but that seems unlikely. There is something else going on behind this and that makes it far more dangerous.
(3) Wingflayer. Bad news. I'm a little surprised to be reading this at all.
(4) Wormskull. Worse news.
(5) Is this indicating there were four wingflayers hiding under the cloak with a wormskull forming the head? What is going on here? This is more than just unusual. Zamrica needs to see this. In part so he will never sleep again. That explains the awful sound - so many metal shards just grinding against each other in a small space.
(6) The Named it. I know it. They Named the wormskull Maggot-Face. Of course they did. Why would anyone expect anything else?
(7) That sounds about right, but there are so many important an unanswered questions here. I cannot believe I am writing this: Why couldn't they just talk to the Horror more? It seemed pretty chatty...
(8) Received and edited by Ela Pono

Not a lot happened in this session, but it did mark a fairly major accomplishment - dealing with the Horrors at the gates of the kaer. I was pleased with how the conflict played out, in all. To balance things a bit, I removed the karma from the wingflayers. Turns out, this was a good decision on my part. The players would not have survived with that in play. As it was, the fight was challenging and forced tactics to evolve, with more tricks coming out to play. To be fair, they knew it was going to be rough, just not how rough. It probably helped a lot Maggot-Face got exactly one turn. Still, it was an ugly turn. What is really important here, and everyone needs to know, is they were deceived by Muppet Man. Also, the full name of the cafe they went to is Kara Lotte. I'm just going to leave that there.

There were more hints dropped regarding larger events and even things going on in the kaer. Real world time constraints kept this session with a laser-like focus for the most part. Which worked overall and provided nice bookends to the events. I'm not entirely certain what they're going to do next session - just leave this place, or explore the things they aren't yet seeing? I know the former has some support; they've been in the Badlands for a very long time. However, it also ignores why they came to the kaer in the first place. Looking for a key.