Sunday, April 17, 2011

Dark•Heritage session #1, part 1

Last night five somewhat intrepidish characters hooked up on the Untash frontier, united by a contract they had with the Margrave Bartomeo Baltazar i Morales to capture a live saber-tooth that he could show off in his menagerie to his more cosmopolitan colleagues down south. The characters were Soren, a human ranger, Grimace a jann pirate (fighter/rogue), Drizgohl, a vucari fighter/barbarian, Jekunzo, the cursed human ninja and "Rags" (short for Ragshamion, or something like that) a hellspawn scout. All characters were level 2.

A pre-game character exercise established some shared background between the characters. Grimace believed that Soren was his best friend, for example (although Soren thought he was annoying nuisance that he somehow seemed unable to get rid of.) Grimace had also fleeced Jekunzo in a prior gambling game, leaving him impoverished and having to work for his passage on a ship. Drizgohl had twice witnessed Rags fleeing an engagement, and was convinced that he was a worthless coward, while simultaneously being a bit more impressed with the agile fighting style of Jekunzo. There was more, but I don't remember all the details. It didn't lead to any really amazing revelations, but there was a bit of in-game banter as a result of the background exercise.

While Drizgohl, Soren and Rags were all sorta "wilderness literate" it was really only Soren who was best suited to find a sabertooth (the only one with Track.) After getting caught in a bison stampede, the managed to corner two hunting cats--one of which they brought down with a few wounds and a sharp blow to the head with a sap, of all things. The more city-folk types of characters then went in after the other cat, and nearly got killed for their efforts. Happily for them, it was more interested in chasing them away from the bison it had just killed than in killing them, so when they retreated, it let them be.

They loaded the heavy cat into a cage on a wagon, after tying it up first. At that point they saw smoke on the horizon. After a discussion on what their "mandate" was, they decided to go check it out. It looked like a small caravan had been attacked; a wagon was burning and several others were left nearby ransacked. The ground was littered with bodies, most of them Terrasan, but one was an Untash brave. After hearing a groan, the found one fellow that was still alive. He claimed that he was part of a party that was an invited guest of the Margrave, but they had made a wrong turn and wandered too far into the lands that the Untash claimed. They were set upon, and many of the group were killed, but the lord and lady and their daughter were carried off captive... along with all the treasure they could grab. See, the lord was fleeing domestic trouble at home, and he ransacked as much of his manor as he could before running away.

After a moment of thought, the group agreed that the wounded man could join the porters and the wagon and head back to the margrave's villa, while they went in pursuit of the Untash tribesmen, along with the field medic that had been provided for them. The trail was easy to follow, although on foot they had little hope of catching the mounted warriors quickly. They headed off anyway... and before long wandered across the path of a hunting short-faced bear. The Untash savannas are not to be traveled lightly.

Short-faced bears are monstrous hairy creatures, nearly six feet tall at the shoulder, and capable of standing nearly twenty feet tall on their hind limbs, with paws that can rip a person to shreds almost casually. Our group was cautious and tried to hide from the creature, but the ranger, of all people, made a clumsy move and gave them all away.

Rags was pretty thoroughly mauled, although not killed, and the rest of the group took a beating as well, but after Grimace threw some alchemists fire on the bear and Drizgohl mauled it back in return with his razor-sharp claws (he's not the brightest warrior in the bunch; going against a giant bear in claw-to-claw combat) the bear had had enough and retreated. While the medic was patching the crew up again and giving Rags CPR, they spotted another hazard on the horizon... the dust cloud of a mounted group of warriors heading their way...

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