11 October 2016

Earthdawn: Adventure Log 45 - Kaer Baere Stare

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

Adventure Log – 045 Kaer Baere Stare

Written By: Uriel

Date:  24 Doddul - 05 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

It seems I must write the log myself, for I am left out if I don't.

We had just entered the Kaer Baere and were asked to defeat the Horror which has trapped them. Meta Poobah Ein(1) welcomed us to rest in their very warm sandstone kaer. he warned us not to wander, the seem to have copious amounts of lava based traps throughout(2).

He told us not to go into a particular section where "evil has been contained". We may need to investigate it, just to be certain(3).

We are put up in the finest accommodations available, with more beds than we could possibly use. Ting and Honeysuckle needed to rest, so I took first watch, just in case. You can never be too certain in a new kaer.

Bongani is excited to have me research his bow, it seems to have developed its own pattern. Elmod went out to go shopping. He does not blend in with the dwarfs. To be fair, he can't blend in with humans either(4).

They don't use standard coins here, only their own coins which are adorned with dragons. Their economy seems to be mushroom-based. Even the ale is made from mushrooms. It's quite earthy(5).

Instead of sleeping, Honeysuckle, Ting, and I went looking for a dwarf party. We found a debate about how they treat their sister kaer. It seems that is where the evil was blocked off. Ting was not ready for an investigation, so we found a place with dancing. The dwarfs have excellent use of percussion and horns, but know nothing of strings or woodwinds.

Honeysuckle found work at a forge. Elmod seems incapable of finding gainful employment. I am spending the time researching the history of some of our items.

We spoke again with Meta Poobah Ein. He will arrange a meeting with the Grand Poobahs after the supplication period(6). They seem to be rather racist against elves. They also occasionally throw criminals into lava(7). We decided to observe the supplication process.

The Grand High Poobah wears the fanciest hat and sits on the best throne(8). [Ed. note: There's a hand drawn picture of a very strange hat in the log. It doesn't actually look like it could be worn, though I cannot tell which end is the top and which goes on the head]. 

Bongani went to find a way through the forbidden tunnel(9). Luckily, Bongani can find his way past any barrier, including dwarf guards with tall hats.

We witnessed the execution of a mad dwarf. He did seem beyond help. He was dipped in lava. There was much rejoicing. It was a little disturbing.

Honeysuckle is making friends with the master smith, having proved herself to be a competent adept. Bongani, Elmod, and I made the rounds of the philosopher cafes. Elmod and Bongani argued about coinage, but a round of mushroom ale was had. We also bought a round for our new dwarf friends. Kaer Kouszins separated many years ago. Before the Scourge, two towns came together to build the kaer. But they were sundered. Some of the people were "vole fighters"(10). Some of the younger dwarfs think it is time to re-establish contact again. Or everyone could be dead. The Poobahs claim they are Horror tainted. Bongani sparked a bar brawl by suggesting a job half done isn't worth doing. We slipped home after that.

Bongani believes "vole fighters" are a race from the North, where the worst monsters ever live. They have a terrible reputation among Therans(11).

We spend a week working on projects, forging, meditating on history, other mundane tasks. We wish to be prepared before truly getting into trouble.

The Grand Poobahs hired us to slay the Horror in exchange for training. They insisted Ting stop training the young dwarfs in the way of the Swordmaster, which appears to be too "elven" for Kaer Baere(12).(13)

*     *     *
(1) Where is the title/Name division here? 
(2) What? Why does an (apparently) unbreached kaer have even more and even more dangerous traps inside of it? Did Horrors just look at it and go, "There is nothing more we can do to these people, they filled their home with lava." There has to be an explanation further along. Regardless, the instructions to not wander seem solid, not that it's going to stop them.
(3) Is this the reason for the lava? There are three possibilities for this instruction. 1) This guy is incredibly naive, 2) this guy isn't terribly bright, or 3) for whatever reason, this guy wants them to go over there. Because of course they are going to do what you told them to do. They're basically psychotic children who try to do a good job, but were raised wrong as a joke.
(4) He doesn't blend in with anything. I have seen that guy - total freak show.
(5) I'm intrigued. This sounds like it could be delicious, especially with some good spice and a little rendered fat. Or, it could be awful no matter what. Zamrica is going to want this, he's on this weird mushroom and pork belly diet. So far his hair is super shiny and he smells awful.
(6) Meta Poobah is the title, Ein is his Name. We also have Grand Poobahs.
(7) If it's just laying around...
(8) Hat-based leadership, I love it. Are the title and authority derived from the hat, or is the hat simply a symbol of the title and authority?
(9) Of course he does! Though, I want to know what's down there also.
(10) What is this?
(11) Checking with some librarians and giving them this scant information, it sounds like this may be referring to "vulfaiders", Namegivers from the Northeast. There is minimal information on them, just some accounts from Therans before the Scourge, though more recent logs with accounts from urshan make reference to them as well and why they are now refugees. That may be a good reason to block off whatever is down there.
(12) The lava is still somewhat inexplicable, though there are a few inklings as to what purpose it may serve. Beyond executions.
(13) Received and edited by Ela Pono

There have been a lot of threads building to this session and slowly coming together. While they went unmentioned, many details in this place connect to various events in their past, including some reveals to seeds planted back in sessions 15 and 17.

Much of what was done here was logistical and trying to figure out this very strange place - currency was a big deal, along with the idea of getting a job. Dwarfs work hard, elves are lazy. It is basically the motto that was repeated over and over, and penetrated to the speech patterns giving rise to some incredibly casual racism. Having a job and working hard is valued much more than being good at the job. Their strange customs arise from how their culture has has been forced to adapt and evolve, though there hasn't been quite enough time to delve into that.

In all, there is still quite a bit going on in this place (even beyond what wasn't recorded) and sooner than later someone is going to make a run at Kaer Kouszins.