DARK•HERITAGE -- 16 installments to date, updated April 20th - Page 3
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  1. #21
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    Magsman (Lvl 14)

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    Module I: "Blasphemous Rumours" Part IV

    The Singing Sword was one of those mazelike taverns; numerous small common rooms twisted through a large setup around multiple bars, tables, booths and private rooms. The entryway led into a relatively large area though, with a dark bar that had a sander bartender absently polishing glasses and listening to a lute player on a small stage. There were other chairs also on the stage; Tson imagined that during peak times, the lute player was part of a fuller band of multiple musicians. However, the room only had two or three patrons at the moment, sitting in dark, smoky corners and chatting in low voices. He got several interesting looks when he walked in, but that wasn't unusual. It wasn't often that people saw an albino hulk.

    He walked up to the bartender and smiled. "A drink, please… Whatever local ale you have on tap is fine." The bartender smiled and poured him one; it was a bit spicy, and quite strong. Tson took a swig then sat it down, not wanting to cloud his wits with drink.

    "So, you new in town I take it?" the bartender asked, seeing that Tson seemed interested in conversation.

    "Yes," he replied. "I'd heard that this establishment was well known as a place where one looking for... er, security work, can strike up a bargain. I'm interested in partnering up with a caravan heading to the interior."

    The bartender leaned forward, apparently eager to follow this train of conversation. "Tell me, good fellow, have you not heard what's happening to the caravan guards lately? Finding able-bodied folks has been difficult, and many of the caravans have pushed back their schedules until the troubles."

    This was interesting. His first time out it looks like he found just the type of gossipy bartender he was looking for. "Troubles?" Tson said nonchalantly, arching an eyebrow.

    The bartender nodded eagerly. "Right, caravans all over the place have been attacked by some mysterious dark woman with two swords. She is supposedly a powerful witch, bringing demon corpses with her to kill the caravans, and then she raids them for some mysterious treasure. She's attacked at least three caravans in the last few days. One of them was only found later, the bodies already stinking and ravaged by wild beasts, another had three guards who faked their own deaths and thus survived. And the last one had one claimed survivor who was in here just recently; a crazy old man who says he was a porter for the caravan.

    "I'm telling you, caravan duty may not be what you want right now. There's plenty of other security jobs to be done, though. Although there's a fair amount of off-duty caravan guards who are interested in taking them, so competition's fierce." The bartender looked Tson up and down. "You look like a likely candidate though. Nice and big, and that chain looks pretty wicked."

    "What's the deal with that crazy old man, then?" Tson asked, trying to not appear too interested.

    "What? The old porter?" asked the bartender. "What was his name? Alexander Nuvksy or Nasky or something like that. Yeah, he was in here yelling and crying and throwing a fit. Not many people believed him, then these other guys, guards who've been stopping in here for years stand up and say their caravan was attacked by the same woman. Got real quiet in the common room then, let me tell you!"

    "Any of those guys still around? I'd be interested in a first-hand account of this woman," Tson said, again, trying to appear fairly nonchalant about the entire affair. Luckily the bartender was too caught up in his own story to think twice about the questions Tson was asking.

    "Yeah, there's a good chance any of them could come in here a little later, when the shifts are over. Not only that, it'll actually get dark in a few hours, and we always get bigger crowds when the sun's behind Fallare."

    Tson thanked the bartender, took another swig of his ale and plopped down a few coins to pay for it. Then he made his rounds through the labyrinth of rooms to get the layout of the place. He saw more patrons, and gradually the place began to fill up. Konrad and Roshan showed up a little later, separately, though they did not acknowledge each other.

    As the tavern filled, it became much louder and more raucous. More musicians appeared in time, and the songs also became louder and more raucous; quite vulgar even, and the increasingly more drunk patrons banged their tables and tried to sing along with rowdy and bawdy songs. Tson cruised through the tougher looking tables, trying to pinpoint any groups of off-duty caravan guards who may have been the ones mentioned by the bartender. He didn't find them yet, but if he truly had been interested in taking on any guard duty, he made a number of very promising contacts.

    After a few hours, Roshan approached him quietly. "We've got company," he said, jerking his head ever so slightly towards the door. There, looking eagerly through the crowd, was a tall, blond gangly fellow in a long leather coat. Tson turned away quickly and ducked his head down lower.

    "Our friend from the street? Does Konrad know?" Roshan nodded that he did. Then both of them dropped their jaws in amazement. Konrad had walked right up to the man and was talking to him angrily. The blond man suddenly spun on his heel and dashed for the door, knocking over patrons on the way and causing a fair amount of loud curses to be hurled his way. They all hurried outside as fast as they could.

    It had gotten almost completely dark by now; a very faint shimmer of light edged off the rounded shape of Fallare high in the sky. Tson and Roshan could see Konrad belting inside a squat brick four-story building across the rough cobblestone street, although the blond man that he was chasing was already out of sight. They hurried and followed him, Roshan drawing his rapier and Tson loosening his spiked chain.

    Bursting through the ancient silvered wood doorway, they discovered that the building was a forlorn tenement that seemed largely abandoned. A handful of tenants were standing in the hallway in various states of casual undress, apparently disturbed by the pounding feet of the pursuit. Tson and Roshan pelted across the hallway to reach the rickety wooden stairs at the other end. They could still hear the sound of two pairs of boots clumping heavily and quickly up the staircase, so they followed suit.

    The staircase ended in a door that was swinging open, and when they burst through that they found themselves on the rooftop. Konrad was there, but there was no sign of the blond man.

    "What happened to him?" asked Tson, not yet breathing heavily.

    "No idea," Konrad answered. "I was right behind him, but as soon as I came outside, he was already gone." They inspected the roof in the growing darkness, but there was little to be seen. A stinking pile of rubbish and rags sat in one corner, but they ignored that for the moment to look around. The building was not closely contiguous with any others, so their quarry could not have jumped to another building. There was no sign that he had climbed down either; he would still have to be clinging to the side of the building. What happened to him was a complete mystery.

    Konrad decided to go inspect the pile of rags, so he poked it with his mace, perhaps hoping to find the blond main concealed underneath it. He gave a sharp cry that brought the others over running as the pile started to move. They all watched mesmerized while it rose into an almost human-like form. Roshan nearly retched as he realized that it was a humanlike suit made of sewn-together human faces. Something inside the suit was writhing and buzzing.

    With a yell he stabbed it with his rapier, ripping open the suit. A vomitous spurt of something white and chunky erupted from the wound. He and Tson dived out of the way, but Konrad was caught by the blast and fell down screaming and writhing. "Get them off!" he shouted repeatedly, and Konrad and Tson realized that the blasphemous creature was filled with maggots that were now crawling over Konrad and burrowing into his skin. Konrad continued to scream and dance madly, swatting at the putrid white creatures.

    Roshan pulled out his pistol and emptied the chamber into the creature, and Tson attacked it with his chain, which allowed him to keep his distance. It surged forward again to engulf Konrad in a bear hug, belching another putrescent stream of maggots right in his face. Roshan approached it again to stab it, but it swung a clumsy arm-like appendage at him, knocking him back. The rooftop was slick with crushed maggots that had spilled out from Tson's repeated slashes with the spiked chain. Konrad himself, in a fury of fear and loathing bludgeoned the thing repeatedly with his mace, finally knocking it down where it did not get back up. The bag was extremely deflated by this point, and a few maggots still writhed listlessly, but whatever foul magic had given life to this abomination had fled.

    Konrad was trembling and hyperventilating, his face staring hauntingly at the mound of human faces and rags. Roshan and Tson were also somewhat pale and were breathing harder than their exertions demanded. Tson finally spoke, "I think maybe we should go back home and try again tomorrow…"
    Last edited by Joshua Dyal; Friday, 22nd October, 2004 at 07:06 PM.

  2. #22
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    Konrad would tell you that it really didn't go down like that (but, in truth, it really did).

    The incident with the facebag 'o bugs has set the precedent for Konrad in this campaign. Now, the running joke is "hey, Konrad, did you see this bug" or "hey, Konrad, do you think there'll be bugs in here?"

  3. #23
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    Magsman (Lvl 14)

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    Konrad has set a lot of precedents. If someone is going into negative hit points, it'll be Konrad. If someone is gonna lose sanity, it'll be Konrad. If someone is going to get a facefull of maggots, it'll be Konrad, etc.

  4. #24
    OK Josh, I'm finally checking back in.

    Before I make my general comments, I have a couple of corrections:
    1) The Gray's name is Rosham Boh, with an 'm'. I know that there was some discussion and handwringing over this topic, but not any longer.
    2) Rosham has never carried a pistol. I may have sliced the maggot sack into goo, but I certainly didn't shoot the foul abomination. Just an FYI so that you don't give my PC credit for equipment/gear he isn't carrying.
    And while there may be another detail with which you've taken poetic license, the rest seems amazingly accurate.

    As for overall impressions of the game and the Story Hour...Both are excellent IMHO. The game is unlike any other I've played in recent memory. The plot is intriguing and convoluted; the NPC's seem quite real; the setting is unique; our motives are compelling; and while the pace can bog down at times, the sessions are always good fun!! As for the Story Hour, I've got to say that I'm truly impressed. You weave a captivating tale fraught with great detail, interesting dialogue, curious circumstances and plenty of action. I really am taken aback by the fantastic job you ro reiterating the events of our prior gaming sessions. Kudos to you JD!!

    Henceforth I shall be a regular contributing member of this thread. After all, Boh does plenty of taking in game, so why not here as well ?

  5. #25
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    Magsman (Lvl 14)

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    True, Rosham has definately made a niche for himself as the faceman of the group. I'm glad your enjoying both the game and the associated story.

    Hmmm.... I wonder who shot the maggot bag, then, if it wasn't you. Someone was carrying a pistol.

  6. #26
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    Konrad carries a pistol, well two. But, I don't think he deserves credit for the death stroke in this encounter. He was using his mace here.

  7. #27
    Well, it's not likely that chain-boy (Tson) shot the accursed thing, so...

    a. We've got flawed memories and Josh is right.
    b. Rosham made like a cuisinart and hacked it to bits.
    c. Someone shot it during the encounter, but the effect was minimal and the killing blow was struck with another weapon, thus spreading the maggoty goo. Our fearless GM's memory has now merged the events into one graphic moment of bloodlust using a pistol, instead of several separate attacks.
    d. The blond guy that Konrad was chasing shot the monster, hoping the ichor freed by the wound would kill us or drive us insane.

    I'm gonna vote 'd' because that sounds like something Josh would do as GM .

    Anyway, great SH Josh, keep it up!!

  8. #28
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    Just a quick mechanical aside; we just played, literally 15 minutes ago (I'll catch up to tonight's session in, oh, half a dozen more updates or so...) and I'm finding that some of these rules need a little playtesting. The lack of healing is working out fine with the armor conversion rules, so that a fair amount of the damage the PCs are taking is converted to subdual, plus swapping the Heal skill description for the beefier Treat Injury description from d20 Modern means a successful Heal check can restore a fair amount of hit points.

    However, I'm finding that I'm not really encouraging the swashbuckling as much as I thought I was. Action points are hoarded to either stabilize when in negative hit points, or stabilize mentally when having a Sanity episode. Rosham Bo (sorry, spelled his last name wrong too) is in the twenties in Sanity right now. So, I'm going to whip up some kind of Sanity "healing" mechanism. Not sure exactly how it'll work yet, but we'll have something by next session, or everyone will be too scared to take anyone on. Although the presence of a fair amount of really freaky undead horrors in this adventure may have caused Sanity to drop faster than it otherwise would have.

    Anyway, I know some folks like a little mechanical discussion in their story hours -- my position this time around is this: I'm playing with a bunch of folks who are also DMs, and whom I can trust to not try and game the game, so to speak. I'm also cobbling together a set of rules, and the aggregate of all those changes is a bit unknown at this point, so I'm being really flexible about making changes to things that aren't working out the way we hoped. Anyway, I also wanted to just post a quick preview of coming attractions in the form of an image I showed my characters...
    Attached Files Attached Files  
    Last edited by Joshua Dyal; Friday, 6th August, 2004 at 04:45 AM.

  9. #29
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    A 1e title so awesome it's not in the book (Lvl 21)

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    Nifty pic. Considering the trouble they've had with more 'natural' foes, I'm sure the critter you got there will be sufficiently frightening.

    I really loved the beginning. It was just a great mood-piece. Likewise, the concept of the setting is phenomenal. It reminds me of Trigun in an odd way, only with huge cloud expanses instead of deserts. I'm also imagining some time in the future, the moons and planets are going to line up, and the entire world will be pitch black for days. But maybe I'm just amalgamating a few too many sci-fi settings. *grin*

    From a reader's standpoint, you do occasionally have over-long paragraphs, and you tag your conversation a bit awkardly. It's usually easier to know who's talking if you tell us at the beginning of the paragraph, or in the middle of the first sentence. As for the paragraph length, sometimes you mix a lot of description with some action, and it distracts from the action because the reader's mind is thinking it's still just something being described.

    I enjoyed the stuff on the airships the most, but I am hoping to see more of their investigation. It's the interactions that make the characters stand out more, and good characters are what make for interesting stories.

    I'll keep a look-out for updates on this one.

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by RangerWickett
    From a reader's standpoint, you do occasionally have over-long paragraphs
    Overlong paragraphs? Now that's not something I expected. I figger one of my weaknesses as a writer is a penchant for overlong sentences, though.

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