23 January 2017

Earthdawn: Adventure Log 47 - Forest of Feelings

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

Adventure Log – 047 Horror at the Gates

Written By: Elmod of Glenwood Deep

Date:  09 Strassa - 26 Strassa, 1509 TH
Group Name: Mismatched Steel

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

Uriel the Illusionist

I, alas, have been distracted by enchanting duties here at the kaer and have missed direct action in the most recent group adventures. I have also been studying many advanced Elementalist techniques and should gain very useful skills for the future. Bongani has been negotiating with Meta Poobah Ein about final training and costs.

Also, it is still very hot here. It tries me a little, but I manage. And suffer. The Air Armor is kept on much of the time to keep things tolerable.

I miss Regia from time to time(1). Nightmares of the White Queen and her mangled body appear(2). My heart hopes that she is safe and growing strong within her tree. Having not tended the forest, it is hard to know whatever may have helped her and the forest. I trust Kristof will tend it best(3).

I hear the group has been fomenting plans to go to the other connected kaer from the present. It will likely involved another Horror. Oh joy.(4)

While I cannot enjoy the institutional racism present in this kaer leveled against elves, I can't blame them too much. I'm fairly used to the ignorance and belittling from those misunderstanding Nethermancers(5). And the group(6).

The Elementalist I trained with was kind enough to lend me a spell scroll to learn from. The Mantle of the Fire Marauder seems an interesting way to perturb an opponent.

We arrange a meeting with Meta Poobah Ein and get invited to dinner with him to discuss plans. Ein is pleasant and happy to see us, his family is delightful. The mushroom-based meal as fine and earthy as has come to be lamentably expected(7). I could go with a few lighter flavors. Alas.

Upon mention of the plan, Ein cut short our dinner enjoyment of a strange mushroom liquor and we made a fairly quick exit. Ein handed us a note, however, which Uriel reads as a meeting for later in the evening.

We make the meeting at the kaer passageway, Ein meets us and explains some of the history of Kaer Kuzzins. Pains were taken to keep some channel open, Kaer Kuzzins made sacrifices and suffered disease and poor designs in a hastily made kaer just before the Scourge. Cover-ups and guile wove over the historical truth, a dedicated group preserving some hope of linkage. The will of the Grand Poobahs is unknown. The connection between them remains active, aid given to Kaer Kuzzins remains secret. The other Namegivers there that represent the others of Barsaive. An opportunity should arrive in two days.

I should have found some time to make some blood magic charms.

We get the message and depart for the passage. The guards alert us to traps in the passage, mostly directed towards the far end. Bongani disarms of of the traps in the passage, but a major magical seeing glyph remained. Most of us climbed (via rope) or flew (me) over. Uriel made an elaborate illusion and also successfully crossed.

Bongani examined the paths through the caverns, deducing the paths taken and not. He also worked out the lock to the gate to the kaer.

It made a lot of noise. They would know we're here.

They did. Upon exiting the date to the kaer, we are immediately ambushed by shortish (5 ft ish) bootless humanoid figures. Perhaps they are the famed wulfaiders. We are taken to some cells and locked up until we are let to an old and well appointed - wooden furniture, carved - room to meet their leader.

Brie, an overachieving weaponized elf greets us, basically describes the situation of their besieged status of defending the kaer from Horrors. Her companion, Bray've, is the commander of the Stalkers, the elite defense brigade that initially welcomed us.

Eventually we are deemed helpful, having offered such services as ours and given some space in the wooden appointed barracks.

Wandering around town, many humans, elves, and tall bipedal wolf-people(8). The entire place feels like a military base and outpost.

We find a large cavern where trees and vegetation are grown and maintained. We interview a wulfaider, Prood; Ting seems strangely enamored with the gruff Stalker. She pets it, after asking permission. She seems uncharacteristically pleased. At least without having killed something first.

Uriel learns many things from their hall of records. It is mostly a tale of slow decline, Uriel writes some epic ballads.

There is remarkably little else to do here.

Honeysuckle later recounts enjoying sleeping in trees and avoid Elementalists trying to catch her in the forest. She even fended off a wulfaider trying to evict her, but she eventually re-establishes her squatting supremacy.

Brie returns to tell of the Crystal Heart. An as yet unfound emanation of the Horror troubles befallen to the kaer. Crystalline spiders seem to guard it. Still not sure if the Horror is present or just minions. They suspect the Robber of Twenty Candles is the Horror associated. They have one of its pattern items, but don't yet trust us enough yet to have access.

So there's that, sins of the father, etc.

We prepare for, as Ting calls it, the "pants-off, dance-off", She codifies as her fighting preference, the next day.(9)

Gnasher 3's (10) abound, but are deftly dispatched. The Stalker guides only take us so far, but then depart after a point and describe some of what they know on a little map. Then we are alone.

Further on, I discover a portion of cavern with many gruesome Namegivers. I ask a few questions and they get agitated at the mention of the Robber of Twenty Candles. Then some strange creatures come out of the walls and eat the spirits that we were talking with. Then spits out another ball of... itself.(11)

Honeysuckle identifies the creatures as some kind of wraith. Uriel and I attack the found one and get their attention. They engulf me quickly after as they materialize and attack the group. We fight them off long enough to antagonize them into running away. We only actually killed one, but most of the others were wounded. Bongani tended my wound. My soul is further scarred(12).(13)

*     *     *
(1) Wait, what? The creepy little doll thing with the incredibly unhealthy relationship? Oh, wow. His companions are going to be delighted to find that out. 
(2) This feels exactly like something that was deliberately left out previously and someone forgot to scrub it. What does it mean? Is this a reference to the White Lady that meant something back in Sanctuary? I know there are things missing from here. Need some scribes to go through earlier entries and compile references that could relate to this, the cross-reference those against other logs and intelligence. Zamrica's team would be perfect for this.
(3) This is all a reference to events concluded in Mismatched Steel Log 028. Which appear to have even more critical information missing than I originally suspected.
(4) The very first thing upon entering they were told was "don't ever go here". I'm surprised it took this long to get to this point.
(5) There's a lot of misinformation about Nethermancers and people fear what they don't know. Of course, once you get to know a Nethermancer, there's the realization it's much worse than you initially thought. So much worse.
(6) Now I almost feel bad.
(7) Ever since Zamrica archived one of the earlier logs, he has been jonsing for their recipes. And he says I'm weird for drinking hurlg.
(8) Wait, if the tall ones are wulfaiders, what are the short ones? Details, people!
(9) ... what?
(10) What is a gnasher 3? How is it different from a gnasher?
(11) This part is unclear - here is what I think happened: They encounter and talk with the spirits of some Namegivers that were gruesome. Possibly tortured during life and after by a Horror, which is bad news. Not even death is a release. Then wraiths of some variety appear on the scene and begin feeding on the spirits. One of the wraiths then spits out a new wraith? That last statement is very ambiguous, and it feels like it is important.
(12) Understatement of the log.
(13) Received and edited by Ela Pono

This session served as a bridge to the next section of metaplot and revelations. Their actual objective in coming to this place seems to have been forgotten (the key), but everything will swing back to that by the end. For now, there were a lot of callbacks to events and information from previous adventures. Some went under the radar (which is fair, this game has been going on for a long time), but most tickled the memory of something related.

I will admit, the almost gleeful fascination with the wulfaiders is amusing to me. It's not terribly surprising, as something similar happened when the urshan were introduced as refugees years ago. That had a certain air of responsibility to it, this is a little more child-like. 

As to the log itself, there are some small details in there that I find terribly interesting and almost prescient in wholly unexpected ways. Definitely interesting times.