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Rass Game


Here are some communities I'm going to stat out in HQG manner.

If a community is one that a Hero is a member of, I solicit your input. Stats explanation excerpted from pages 119-120 of HQG.

Wealth measures the community’s material resources, whether counted primarily in food, silver, or zebras.

Communication is the ability to extract favors from other communities through trade or negotiation, while minimizing the cost of its reciprocal obligations. This highlights how well-liked they are by other communities. A low rating shows that the community is disliked or hated by other communities.

Morale is the community’s belief in its ability to achieve its goals, and its willingness to follow the directives of its leaders.
High Morale rating: Unity, harmony
Low Morale rating: Disunity, internal conflict, derision, strife.

War is the ability to defend itself from outside threats, and to aggressively achieve its own aims through force of arms.

Something New, Again: Game Reports: Return to Pavis after Iceland

We started late due to the Richmond crowd getting a late start. No worries, as I needed the rest! Got a nap before everyone showed up. (Everyone being Jon, Brian, Brad & Chris via webcam.)

Dinner was slow too.

Much character transition work, little actual role play. Some in-character discussion about whom members of the family should marry to improve (or establish) relations with allies and outside power groups. Discussed possibles included a Zebra Tribe woman, other Nomad tribes, and marrying Senech to Uzkor's widow.

Next week's game starts when the characters enter the Rass family shrine for the first time since their return.

Into the Ruins and at the Temple

After a short delay, the Heroes met up just inside the Wyvern Gate. Rasa was no where to be found.

Moving toward the Real City, the Unicorn Riders broke off and continued toward their temple. Betira spoke her farewell to Oshun. "Your stalwart press of the center carried the day. I will not forget the bravery of you and your riders. My priestess, Morganeth shall hear your name." With that she departed.

Now the heroes stood before the gates of the Real City, which was clearly on high alert. All the pavisites could feel the tingle of agitated, watchful daimones guarding the gate.

Will I Am approached at the fore, and a guard called down the traditional greeting. "Peace of Pavis unto you. Who comes to the gates?"

Will gathered the blessings of Pavis around him, so that his aura of belonging would have been palpable to the least sensitive initiate. And more, he drew forth the first harp string of the Ivory Harp and let it sound. Ethereal echos and vibrations sounded from the gates and from more distant places. In short order the gate's postern opened and guards exited to protect the heroes as they guided their mounts through the gate.

Before they all finished getting into the city, one of Broosta's senior aides had arrived, looking like he had hurried. He escorted the heroes to the temple without delay.

Once inside the crystal dome of the old temple, worshippers left the outsiders. They continued on into the sacred precincts of the temple, where a ceremony already called for Pavis' aid. Oshun and his riders joined the outer supporters, but Will continued in until he was before the Holy of Holies, the altar and seat of Pavis.

There five of the seven Pavis priests worked their sacrifices and prayers. One spot was empty--Cyrillius Harmonius was not present. Ginkizzie was also absent, but a dwarf worshipper of Flintnail stood in his place.

Will I Am took in the ceremony, considering whether he should do more than aid it with his devotion. Watching it, he had a profound realization: he was the answer to their prayers. With that in mind, he layered his magics and awareness on, and entered the ceremony.

A timeless feeling of oneness enveloped him and he understood the entire purpose and direction of the ceremony. But now that he was here, another possibility existed. Rather than attempting the difficult reach across the ruins to the Flintnail temple, the priests and Will could invest Pavis' power in some of those here, now that there were enough warriors and magicians present to take up that burden and leave the temple.

His vision swayed the collected priests, who worked together to invest their chosen with the power of the city. Feeling the link to all those who aided the ceremony, Will and the priests also picked out one other member of the congregation to bear the powers of the god across the city and to Flintnail. They sensed him only as a nameless initiate among the crowd in the temple, but the power of his spirit and the firmness of his devotion made it clear he was a good choice.

The ceremony concluded successfully, and all those chosen to carry Pavis' power felt it invested in them, as if each of them rode a wave of the god's will. They could feel each other as well as the god.

The decision to include the unknown initiate seemed wiser still when they actually saw him. He was a tall man, broad shouldered and armed as a thane with mail and leather. A sun-browned face had seen many hard things, but his eyes were still clear if his beard had the first touch of gray in it.  Even now with the wind stopped and most proclaiming Orlanth dead, he wore the marks of the King of the Storms. Gathering together, the stranger spoke.

"Peace of Pavis. Friends, you are well met. It is a grim time, and we all need help."

"My name is Argrath of Pavis, and I am returned from the Cradle."

Wyvern Gate & Marble Phalanx, Part II

Oshun's zebra-riding Faithful Lancers continued to press the center of the Marble Phalanx Line, bravely standing and hacking among the stalwart and unflinching spearmen. Slowly they pushed their way into the ranks.

Will forced his way into the far left edge of the Dara Happan shield line, chain spinning and his spear driving the hoplites back with a series of feints and jabs. At one time or another, he faced as many as four of the infantrymen at once.

Betira skillfully led the Unicorn riders against the shield line again and again, taking the brunt of the losses to her Yelornans. They grew bolder with Oshun's success in the center, but paid heavily for their bravery with their blood and the blood of their mounts.

The Wyvern Gate and the Marble Phalanx, Part 1

September 14 2004

After entering the most outlying part of Pavis County, the dawn comes red, smoky and late. As the sun begins to peek out, the Yelornans all stop and offer prayers to their Star Maiden goddess, thanking her for protecting everyone through the darkness.

The cloaked strangers with them take sightings, measurements and make notes as the sun rises, and speak prayers in Dara Happan to a god you are unfamiliar with--"Penendros."

Nearing the city walls, everyone can see that something is wrong. Thief Town, the squatter community outside the New City, has swollen to twice its normal size. Lunar pennants and standards fly at a hastily dug fortification at the Griffin Gate to the Old City. Plumes of smoke rise from several spots in the main ruins and Zebra Town.

"It has upon it quite the appearance of complication,," says the Issaries guide, stating the obvious. "And more there be too. Now with the dawn, I am assured by Issaries-who-guides-us that we are being followed. None too close though."

Scouting by the Young Riders reveals that the ferries across the Zola Fel at the new city have been stopped, and that two files of the Granite Phalanx have dug in a position in and around the ruined Griffin Gate, preventing anyone from entering or exiting. Sable Riders run scouting patrols out of this spot, but are clearly reconaissance forces who do not come after riders who stay distant from the walls.

No obvious lunar presence shows itself at the troll break, but there's a good sized Sable camp at the northern entrance of the Zola Fel, on the Garden side.

All that means that there is no easy, direct way into the Rubble. Certainly not by daylight.

With twilight upon you, Garusharp gathers his prayers and magic about him and disappears off toward the walls of the old city. Will's blessing offers him further reassurance.

Close up the ancient blocks are even more impressive, bearing thousands of marks of battle and wind scourings. Even in their neglected state, ordinary climbers would have trouble with them, and ordinary men would hesitate because the stones themselves seem to silently radiate a message: "You, pitiful mortal, you may not pass."

In the half light and shadows cast by the setting sun, Garusharp freehands his way to the top of the wall a hundred yards south of the Granite Phalanx pickets at the Wyvern Gate. It is twilight of Waterday, the beginning of Clayday, Mobility Week, Dark Season 1621

Below him a cluster of ruins the size of a normal city spreads out from the gate, then peters out into icy stubble fields dotted with fallen walls. Hills rise within the walls, each covered with ancient fortifications. Some are whole and manned, others ruined and abandoned. Watch fires burn brightly from all the manned towers of the largest fort.

A mile or more away across the city, the icy river gleams by the fitful moon's glow. And across that, there's the distant sense of motion--slow moving cavalry (Cavalry?? they are the right size, but they move strangely) coming from the river and heading toward the northwest corner of the ruins.

Fires burn in distant ruins across the river and before the cavalry.

After taking this in, perhaps 60 yards forward into the ruins some sound and motion draws your attention. Shortly after that, a fetid stink reaches your nose.

In a partially collapsed and burned ruin, twisted, unclean figures move about. You hear guttural orders and see their attempts to start a small fire. Several of them move back and forth between two sections of the ruin. They are obviously where they are for the same reason you are--this is just outside of the perimeter of the gate guards.

Working to get a better view, Garusharp moves along the wall's top. As twilight fades into night, he sees hideous goatlike faces reflect the sickly light of the fire. A forward scout with scrawny little horns that wave about like a snake's tongue capers nearer to you, still unaware of your presence, watching instead toward the Lunar position.

The hair on the back of Garusharp's neck goes up as he hears snips of grunted prayers to their obscene and hideous spirits. Their tongue is a twisted mess of languages, but you pull one word out as it is repeated again and again: Ma-ll-ia Ma-ll-ia Ma-ll-ia Ma-ll-ia.

The mistress of disease.

Their ceremony has only begun. The shaman at the center of the magic lifts a tied dog up, croaks some dreadful benediction at the center of his circle, runs a knife along its side and parades it in a circle around his ritual space. The dog shudders and squirms, whimpering as its blood pours out on the ground, the walls and the other goat men gathered for the ritual.

It seems likely that this is just the first and least of several sacrifices.

Garusharp decided to find a spot in the ruins to run his ambush, a place where he could fire on both camps if necessary.

Will, Oshun and the others worked their subtle magics to move undetected to near the gate, where Will's Pavis magic made amazing progress moving stones and boulders out of the path of the combined Unicorn and Zebra cavalry, which promptly charged. Oshun joined the charge while Will attacked one edge of the shield wall from foot.

Rasa has pulled what simple magic it can together and is attempting to pass through the Dara Happan line unnoticed, in order to reach the tower of the Rass and his magical resources.

After some initial success, the experience and training of the Marble Phalanx is beginning to tell. Even though they have taken casualties and they're being attacked from two sides, their lines have held and they have twice pushed the cavalry charges off.

In the ruins behind Garusharp, the noise of the broo ritual is no longer quiet and whispered. It rises with screams and loud, horrific invocations.

August 2004 Recap

I thought I'd start giving a short summary of what happened in previous games. In the future, I'll try to do this in the day or two after the game.

Last session was August 30 2004. The game had a short list of players due to the tropical storm that sat over Richmond, dropping as much as 14 inches of rain on some places. Jon and Kirk attended.

Boomer and the Mark tried to find tunnels, but none were suitable. They were miles away from Pavis, and none of them allowed for mounts to pass all the way to the city.

Leaving Adari

Three days cooling heels while Will heals the sickest. By the end, there's quite a crowd surrounding the temple most of the time, and it would be easy to grow concerned about your ability to leave. Before falling into an exhausted sleep late on the second night, Will sends word to all of you that he intends to conclude with a big ceremony first thing in the morning on Wildday the 35th. In the mean time, Rasa feels worse, the cold continues and the wind does not return. Definitive word comes from Boldhome that Whitewall, the last free city of the Orlanthi, has fallen to Lunar assault. Surprisingly, there is no word of the capture of the Heortling King, Broyan or his various heroic followers, rumored to include Kallyr Starbrow and other Sartarite expatriates. The crowds on the street say that Orlanth is dead, that Lunar magic has killed him.

The Path of a Zebra Khan: Bittermouth's Burden - The River of Tears

Issaries Blessings to guide your Travel!
Issaries Blessings to ply your Trade!

...from my quill to your ears, *Hear* my words! I, Jerrod of the Tolkazzie, Scribe of the True Blooded Zebra-Khan and Pavic Wordsmith of the Lunar Era, tell you the making of my Lord, Oshun the Zebra Khan.

Our quest in the underword continued. Though my body shakes at the new and wondrous denizens of this place, Issaries steadies my hand for the documenting of ages. We have come upon a river, the River of Tears it is named. While I yet feel no desire to wail or weep, I have learned in my travels with my Lord and his allies that names hold power. Their purpose is not for the impressing of the ignorant and easily excited, but to profess a power they contain. The questors showed much confusion as what to do at this point. They had been told the River was an important part to navigate to reach their destination. But how? Enter it? Follow its path? The questors seemed to be once again on the verge of a characteristically long discussion if not for the fact that they continuted to verge closer and closer to the River. I myself felt a pull - one of yearning loss and possible renunion.

At the Edge of Prax and on the Pavis Road

The evening wears on, cold and silent once the trolls leave. A few questions of them let you get more familiar with the nearby area.

You're at the eastern edge of the Wolf Ridges, just above Battle Valley and at the edge of Prax. Still Lake is at your backs on the other side of the ridges.
The Sazdorf troll territory is mostly to the west and south, and the wolf people are from the west and north. It disturbs Oshun to know that the Telmori wolf-people are venturing out onto the plains. And the trolls who hunted them--is that cure worse than the disease?

Speth had apparently reached the foot of Humakt's Hill, a sacred place for the death god.

Sazdorf troll hunters and Garusharp Healed

Garusharp recounts:

After Oshun returned to camp and it became night once again, S'peth noticed that we were being spied on by Trolkin. After the trolkin were discovered a Big testicled Troll warrior used the usual line like "why shouldn't we kill you guys" (in his deep voice)? Wil I Am suprised him by knowing some of his relatives from around Pavis. They talked and it finally came down to us giving them a present for them being nice enough to not eat us. Garusharp gave them the Luner silver chain he borrowed back at Ice Fist's and S'peth gave the big troll some blood beer and nearly sent him over the edge (he will never want ordinary beer ever again).
After all this giving of gifts a Troll Matron showed up and took over the situation from her Blood Beer- crack addict war officer, Wil I Am asked if she could help Garusharp and she agreed. After exposing the horrible wound (and Garusharp's incredibly muscular back that ladies find breathtaking) she preformed some DARK ritual with the help of a trolkin. The ritual did not go exactly as she wanted because the trolkins head exploded at the climax. Now Garusharp has a nasty scar over his kidney that Wil I Am noted was like a ritual scar given to the Faithful Lancers. So there is the reason Garusharp is feeling better and if I got anything wrong just remember Garusharp has had a fever for quite a while!

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