Session 11

Finding the Sweeping Illness

Date Played: July 8th, 2012 8pm-5am apx
In-World Date: Early Winter

That was quite a long game. It had its fun parts, but it also had parts where it drug on immensely slow. I apologize that puzzle was so ridiculously hard, but it is good you guys got it without me giving it away. If I had more time to plan it and personally play-test it I’d have made quite a few improvements.

Active Quests

  • VugDush’s Damage: Ruka’s people are very low in number, with many slat-houses standing empty. There are few women, and there is only one barely surviving teen; none younger than teen still live. The shaman is not responding. Rignar has taken over as the sole adviser of the tribe.
  • The Researcher: The group spent many hours deciphering cryptic short-hand. They learned quite a lot about the spread and varied intensities of the illness. They also learned the Ulmratian researcher has gone missing and was very devoted to helping the orcs.
  • The Shaman: Nikon managed to commune with the shaman by reading her thoughts. Through a cacophony of screams of the dead, he learned she is trapped in “the spirit realm” with all the other recently deceased. She urged him to find the answer and complete the Ulmratian’s research.
  • The Lost Tribe: The Blood Gulch tribe was found dead, but the party located the much-needed date of the first fallen baby in the journal of an adviser. One orc was found alive, the very large chieftain, but he had to be put down in self defense. The journal mentioned his psyche crumbled as the tribe did. Extinction.
  • Finding the Source: Combining the results of the last two quests revealed the supposed location of the “disease’s” origin. The group is well on their way entering a mysterious facility at the location marked on the map.
  • A Strange Magic: Oswell is becoming a bit paranoid about the return of dark magic. Nikon is skeptical at best. The shaman revealed to Nikon she believes some sort of magic is holding the spirits in the spirit realm from finding their place of rest, and keeping her trapped outside her body. Nikon mentions how a all-consuming unmoving cloud of magic permeates every inch of the land. When he was younger, Deren’s Mom told him that if he didn’t finish his chores the dark-mages would snatch him up and turn him into a mindless zombie! He was only 12. It might have messed him up.

Passive Quests

  • Sons of Vaknama: 104 people have been recruited to the Sons of Vaknama, though you don’t know that yet in-character. Dionasus may require you to recruit up to 200, as is your deal with him. In three days, he will try to open the chest once again. In a week, he will attempt to sell it again.
  • Barthas Clan: Once you get that chest, Amol can start getting his clan together. He still requires a clan-hold though, his current solution his business and small attached warehouse (not great). Keeps your eyes open. You hear there is a lot of real estate, after all. Even a house up for sale across the street from the Bubbling Hearth (there are houses for sale all up and down the average homes district). Another thing I’d like to point out that you all may not have noticed due to the duration between games is the change in
  • The Bubbling Hearth: Aaron, the proprieter at the bubbling hearth, seems grimly determined and excited at the prospect of getting his leg back. He doesn’t give a second thought to trading his livelihood for it. He’s also displayed some odd behavior in acting very military towards a templar and having private conversations with Ruka.

Summary: Submitted by Sam

The group stands outside the fight club ready to head to the Bubbling Hearth for the night. As Oswell & Deren finish writing up some letters, Ruka looks down at the hammer she’s holding realizing it isn’t hers she takes off back into the arena to return it. Moments later she returns and the group heads off.

As they walked Nikon takes the time to speak with Ruka seeing that he will have to accept her as part of the group. Nikon talks to Ruka while walking to the tavern about her town that they’re going to visit. Ruka talks about the terrain through the Splinters involves a lot of climbing, in some areas ten or so feet, in others as much as 75ft. Also that it should take about 6-7 hours to travel to her village.

Ruka then mentions that Os, Deren & Nikon should bring a tribute of metal weapons or tools to the village. Deren spoke with her about the type of metals that would be alright and Ruka said the ones like Nikon’s dagger, then she picked up some dirt to show the color of Vak metals and said that they are ok… that her clan will accept them. Hearing Ruka speak of her Orc clan reminded Nikon about his time working for his uncle Glycon,Nikon proceeded to ask “So Ruka what is the name of your clan or what is it that your call yourself other than Orc? My uncle told about the classes at the library that saying Orc is considered derogatory.” Ruka replied “We are called Gro’VugDush” The group began repeating her clans name several times trying to pronounce it right.

After some more talking between the party about their coming travels and how they felt they did at the fight club, the group arrived at the Bubbling Hearth around three in the morning. Once at their room Ruka showed the group her meteor and attempted to describe a weapon/tool they use but the group struggled to find out if she meant a scythe or a pickaxe. Oswell gets everyone to get relaxed and to stop talking, Os says _ “Get some rest guys so we could be off to Ruka’s village as soon as we all awaken”._

Everyone awakens around noon the next morning, Deren & Ruka decide to go and cancel the carriage that was ordered for today as well as gather some daggers for the tribute to pass the time while they wait on Os to finish his morning prayers & Nikon to get his head out of his book. After an hour or so passes the group meets up at the Bubbling Hearth to begin their journey.

Ruka informs the party that we’ll be leaving past the stone homes, as the party made their way threw town Nikon made one last stop and picked up some axe’s and a pickaxe in hopes a larger tribute would help keep them alive if their diplomacy failed.

They made their way to their first major obstacle, a 60ft wall. Ruka and Deren began climbing the wall with excitement as Nikon & Oswell stared up at them. Deren began to make a race out of it and Ruka accepted the challenge. The two were almost to the top when both lost their grips and footing then began to fall. Nikon ran forward and stood trembling underneath were the two would fall knowing that if he missed his them with his spell he’d be crushed. Os ran forward to grab Nikon and move him but he resisted with all his strength, the two came within inches of Nikon but he smacked them both on the back of their heads and they continued to fall but at and extremely slow pace. Nikon was furious with the two of them and warned them he could not save them again if they began to fall, Deren and Ruka just shrugged him off since they were not injured in the fall but did climb back up at a slower pace then before.

Once to the top Ruka tied off the rope and threw it down to Os and Nikon, after a moment deciding who should go next Os began to climb the wall he seemed to stall a couple of times but made it safely to the top. Nikon began to climb the wall and struggled to get a hold of the rope at first but began to climb. He made it almost half way up the rope and lost his grip and fell to the ground, after a moment he got up to try again but tripped and fell face first on the ground. Ruka seeing his clumsiness yelled down and told Nikon to wrap the rope around himself and they’d pull him up. Nikon grabbed the rope and tied it around himself, after he did Deren and Ruka started to pull Nikon up, but Ruka kept stepping on the rope so she decided to move out of Deren’s way since he was doing fine on his own.

Once Nikon made it to the top the group collected themselves and continued on their way. The group traveled into the night the had to push themselves to make it to Ruka’s Village.

Ruka brought the party to a river just down from the village, the party could see the lights up on the hill ahead and knew they were almost there. The river was moving rather quickly and the party began to make their way across the river, Nikon moved with a fair amount of ease across the river but Os lost his footing in the current and started to get swept down stream, Ruka quickly yelled out to Os “Don’t worry just swim across… Oh and do it before the waterfall”. With that in mind Os quickly swam across to the shore. Ruka assist Deren across the stream as he was having some trouble getting across. Once they were all across the river they waited a moment for Oswell to walk back up to the party.

Finally the party arrived at Ruka’s village, she made sure that Os & Nikon knew they needed to act as Deren’s advisers and as far as they were concerned Deren was their Chieftain. Once everyone understood their roles Ruka yelled up to her clan mates in Orc that she had arrived and had people here to help with the sickness. After a moment or so passed the party heard an Orc yelled down to Ruka and she told everyone it was okay to begin climbing. Deren & Ruka made it to the top quickly and without any trouble, then threw the rope down to Os and he began to climb. As Os started to climb Ruka and Deren began lifting him up, again Ruka began stepping on the rope so she moved out of the way. Once the rope came down again Nikon made no attempt to climb he just swallowed his pride and let them pull him up.

Ruka lead the party off to a large tent that had interlinking huts made sporadically around in and they seemed to form one large circle around it. Ruka pointed to the large tents entrance and said that her chieftain was in there.

Wasting no time the party made their way inside the tent and saw an orc that towered over them covered in scars of battles passed, he stood proudly yet intimidatingly over the party, he wore a mix of leather armor and plates of molded bone and a head band of steel, in his hand he held a large axe made of steel and its edges were razor sharp.

As we approached him he said quite abruptly “What are you here for?” in orcish. Ruka was quick to act as our translator though Os understood as he had ask his god Rao to give him ability to comprehend these people. Os acted quickly as Deren’s adviser and told him to say we are here to see what we can do to cure the sickness plaguing these people. Deren said to the orc “We are here to see the chieftain about if we can cure your people.” The orc looked down at Deren with disgust and said “Yes! What are you going to do here?” Ruka repeated back to Deren his words, but Deren in confusion made the same statement back to him. Ruka still adjusting to the Vak language repeated Deren without realizing Deren’s mistake.

The orc looked down sharply at Deren and asked him “Are you challenging me boy!?!? Do I not look strong enough to you? Are you trying to fight me?! Ruka repeated what her chieftain said back to Deren. Realizing who Deren was speaking to he told the chieftain he was sorry but before Deren could continue the Chieftain spoke out to the other orcs “This human says he’s sorry…” He looks back at Deren and tells him he should leave that there is no way someone as weak as him could help cure them. Deren spoke up and said “We could sav… We will save your people”. At this point nothing said by Os, Nikon or Deren could save Ruka’s Chieftains view.

As he went to walk away Ruka yelled in a demanding yet pleading voice, “They can save us on MY HONOR! Let them do it I give you my word I will leave if they fail.” The Chieftain called Ruka to her and demanded to speak with her in private.

As Ruka went to him an orc that was sitting in the room came up to Nikon, Os & Deren. “Come with me quickly! My name is Rignar, I am the sole adviser left to Kunak our Chieftain.” The group seemed stunned for a moment as the noticed this orc spoke Vak quite fluently. Rignar leads the group to a hut with a couple beds, some bookshelves and a table.

Os and Nikon each sit down to one side of Deren and begin talking to Deren to tell him what to ask Rignar but they are all stopped short as Rignar informs the party that they needn’t stand on ceremony on his part that the each could speak freely around him.

With that being said Os begins asking about the deaths that have befallen this village and Rignar states that it started around a little over a month ago and that they noticed the insects started to die first, then the creatures that lived off the insects until it final started to affect the babies followed by the teens and then the younger of the adults. Nikon got permission to start casting some spells, and began to see if he could fine any magical tools that could be causing this affect.

The moment Nikon casts his spell he becomes flash blinded by the shear magnitude of the magic aura surrounding Ruka’s village. Once Nikon’s eyes come back focus he tries to look around put sees only a fog that seems to not be moving and is hovering over the village.

Os, Deren & Nikon ask about if anything new was introduced into the village right before this all started but Rignar says the only new thing in town was the Ulmratian that came to the town a week ago trying to stop the disease himself but he ran off into the woods and never came back a couple of days ago and that he left all his papers and belonging behind, and that many other orc villages have been affected and some are no longer responding. Rignar also mentions that the village shaman is unresponsive and is trapped in meditation.

Os asks Rignar to take them to the shaman. Rignar agrees and leads the way which passes right passed Kunak sitting on his throne, the party continues passed without even glancing his way. Once inside the room Rignar explains that Brushnak their shaman tends to look around from time to time but has to be feed food sometimes with some assistance to get her to swallow. Os tries to check her health but she seems fine, Nikon has an idea of what he could do but informs Rignar he’d need time to prepare.

Nikon thinks more about the other affected villages and asks where they are but Rignar states quite abruptly that any information about other tribes you’d have to find on my own that no one is allowed to give out that information, but if you do come across that information to keep it to yourselves. After a few more minutes of talking Rignar leads the group off the the researchers tent, “You are more then welcome to go through his papers but good luck, I couldn’t read or make sense of any of it” says Rignar. Nikon and Deren begin scouring the papers looking for anything that looks important, while the two begin looking Oswell asks if he could see any of the sick orcs.

Rignar leads Os out of the room and to another hut were one laid unconscious. “This is our only sick clan member at the moment and he is also our youngest alive. What ever you can do for him please do.” states Rignar. Oswell looks over him thoroughly and can tell the boy is near death but has no signs of being diseased, ill, poisoned, cursed, or otherwise to explain him being so weak. Oswell does everything he can do for the boy to stabilize him for the night and then heads back to check on Nikon & Deren.

Oswell arrives back to see the two scouring over to pages they’ve uncovered that seem to be of some significance. Os then reminds the two they should rest that way we could think clearer in the morning and Nikon could help Brushnak. Deren rolls out his bedroll on the floor and Nikon takes the Ulmratian’s bed, Oswell decided he’d rather be near the sick orcs side in case he should get worse.

Some time after the sun rose the next day the party begins to awaken. Nikon proceeds to lay in bed and study for a bit after he awoke. Oswell gets up after his morning prays and checks on the sick orc only to find he is near death again even after all his work the night before. Oswell begins to pray over the orc again but he notices that his powers seem almost weaker, with his new information about the sickness Os checks back with the party.

Once back at the Ulmratian’s hut Os cast a few more miracles on the party to check if everyone was alright, but as he did Deren seems to notice that the warm energy he normally felt after Os would heal him seem to fade much sooner then it usually did. Os & Deren began to become suspicious and felt some kind of dark magic was at work, but Nikon just shrugged their concerns off as silly superstition. “Give me a break guys, what dark magic there use to be was all wiped out by the Retainers long ago. You can trust me, I come from a society built around magic. There is no such thing as dark magic.” Oswell’s opinion about dark magic being at play was unchanged by Nikon’s argument. Os knew the only thing other than dark magic that could cause his abilities to feel weaker would be that his god was starting to ignore him, and Os knew his god would not just write him off so quickly.

After the group studied and attempted to decipher some more they received two visitors out of the blue. The first wore a blend of armor linked together and they all seemed to be pretty worn, the orc stepped forward and introduced himself as Erilg Gro’VugDush. “I am the messenger here in our village, if you should need anything just ask. Also let me introduce Row Gro’VugDush he is our town weapons expert. He wanted to stop by and thank you for the tribute, that they are all in great condition and if you had not made your selves look like fools he’d open trade with you” said Erilg. The group thanked Row for coming to see them, Erilg lets the party know that if they all come back after the new year and Row would welcome them as the villages new chieftain and would trade with them but they must wait till after the new year.

After the two orcs leave the party spends a little more time trying to decipher the researchers notes but without much success. They know the man needed something from the Valley, another orc village in the Splinters but don’t know what the item is. Only that results are missing which leave a whole in the formula the man was working on. Later the group discovers the “Valley” is called Blood Gulch loosely translated into Vak. Nikon decides it time to get more information and asks to see the shaman hopeing his powers give him some added insight today. The group heads of to the Brushnak’s room and find Rignar preparing a meal for her. Nikon asks if its ok for him to cast some of his powers on her and Rignar agrees.

After a few minutes Nikon releases his spells upon her and as he turns to focus on her Nikon is overwhelmed by the voices that seem to be pouring out of her mind. He struggles to make sense of all the noise, sounds of babies and small children crying in fear, other orcs screaming out “Why?”, “am I trapped?”, “What is this??”.

Nikon yells out to the shaman “Can you hear me? What is happening, why are there so many voices?” In that moment the shamans eyes turn and lock onto Nikon, focused on his every word. “Human?” Brushnak says. Nikon moves a bit closer waiting to see if its the shaman he hears. “Can you hear me?” Brusknak says, her eyes not breaking contact with Nikon. Nikon yells out to her “YES!? I can hear you, what is happening? Are you trapped in the shadow realm?” Deren & Rignar watch Nikon wondering what is happening and if he is truly speaking with the shaman. A few moments pass and Nikon turns back to the group, Nikon tells Rignar to get Ruka and tell her they must leave at once for Blood Gulch. Nikon tells Deren & Rignar the shaman has confirmed the Ulmratians death, that he to is trapped. Rignar informs Nikon and Deren he will fetch Ruka at once and if the chieftain will not grant her leave that she will sneak down and meet the group just outside the Blood Gulch territory. Nikon and Deren rush back to Oswell at the researchers hut.

Nikon starts grabbing his things ready to leave for Blood Gulch. “Come on Os we have to move it?! If we don’t find the thing the researcher needed we cannot stop this sickness” Nikon says hysterically. Oswell starts trying to calm Nikon down but he is in a frenzy after talking with the shaman. Finally after five minutes or so Os gets Nikon to shut up for a minute and explains to him they cannot leave until they know what it is they need for Blood Gulch or they will never find it, Nikon then begins to see the wisdom of what Os means and knows a blind search will not be very productive.

The group continues scour the papers looking for what it was the researcher needed. After very several hours of meticulous searching they realize he needed the date that the babies of their tribe began to die and from that they could extrapolate the source of the sickness. Just as they realize what it is they need Nikon panics and remembers that Ruka never came to the hut after Rignar went to get her and thinks she ran ahead already.

The group gathers the papers they’ve deciphered and their gear and head out of the tent in search of Ruka only to find her sitting just outside at a campfire. Nikon in his excitement to see she is ok ran up to her to hug her seeing she was ok but Ruka shoved him to the ground not realizing what he was doing. Nikon just laid on the ground in disbelief for a moment as Os and Deren spoke to Ruka about where they had to go. The group asked Erigl If he would lead them to Blood Gulch but he grabbed Ruka and ran off to a hut with her as soon as they asked.

After the group stood there for a moment wondering if they did something wrong Ruka exited the hut and yelled for them to come over. The party entered and Erigl said “she’s really subtle isn’t she…” Erigl agreed to lead the party but the moment they reach the border of the other clans territory he was leaving. Ruka told the group that she knew where to go and that Erigl did not need to come all that way just to head back here. The party agreed and left the village immediately, once outside Nikon pulled out four scrolls from his backpack and began summoning a horse from each scroll.

After a minute or so passed they party mounted their horses and began to ride towards Blood Gulch as fast as they could. They made much distance while they had the horses but after an hour they returned for where they came and the group continued on foot.

As they traveled Nikon saw something low to the ground off the trail from them but Ruka said it was to dark to ignore it and move on. A little later the party came again on a shadowy figure in the dark, upon closer inspection they saw it was an orc standing in front of a tree with an axe inbedded into it. Os examined the orc to see that he was dead and was covered in some kind of preservative. Concerned that this orc died from the sickness where he stood the group continued to the village. As they continued and were almost at village they saw more shadowy figures in the trees above them and they appeared to have bows drawn back at them. Ruka yelled up to them in orc but they did not move or reply to her, Os even tossed up a small stone in the trees where they were but nothing happened.

They continued on towards the village and once they reached the outside of the chieftains tent Deren yelled up trying to see if anyone would reply. A moment passed and an orc came out to them, he was the fattest orc any of the had seen standing before them wearing a metal crown around his head just as Kunak did. He wore a small amount of leather armor and carried a large pickhammer bigger than any they had seen before.

He pointed his pick at Deren and yell to him, “I’am Gubdish Chieftain of this village! What are you doing here human!” The group tried to advise Deren on what to say as Ruka translated. Deren looked at the large orc and said they were here in search of the date the babies started dieing in his village, that they needed it to find where the sickness was coming from. Gubdish glared down at Deren stating, “Leave here human! There is nothing wrong with my people. They aren’t sick!” Deren looked at the large orc unamused and said, “Your are lieing, tell us the date so we can help your people!”

In that moment the large orc lifted his pick into the air and took a swing at Deren for calling him a liar. Os seeing he was attacking threw his shield in the way and deflected the blow. The group realized they were in for a fight now and began moving back attempting to deflect his attacks, Oswell grabbed hold of his holy symbol and it began to glow as he cried out “Drop your weapon!” All of the sudden the crown around the chieftain’s head began to turn red as if were becoming fiery hot. Gubdish was thrown into a rage that this human was trying to force him to drop his weapon and Gubdish turned his attention to Oswell and swung violently at him. Os began a guarded retreat trying to keep his deadly blows from hitting him.

Ruka began fire shot after shot but could not seem to hit him, he was moving to quickly after Os. Nikon began to panic firing any spell he had at the large orc but they did not even seem to slow him down.

Deren charged after the orc dealing blow after blow trying to bring him down but to no avail.

Nikon yelled for everyone one to get a far away from the orc as possible, Ruka tried to run pass to get a better angle but as she did Gubdish took a swing at her and got in the leg. Os quickly lead him away from the rest of the party and Nikon grabbed one of his scrolls and began chanting as fast as he could and as he spoke the last word he shoot a large ball of fire from his fingertips towards the orc. The orc immediately dove to the ground away from the fireball completely avoiding the flames. Oswell could not get far enough back and was burnt by Nikon’s callously careless attempt to one-up the orc in a single blow. Managing to hurt none save his friend, Nikon took a cautious step back from the fight.

The orc again pursued Os again, the orc was starting to waiver in his attacks in his last effort he charged Deren quickly and swung at him, but Deren swung back and Gubdish fell to the ground instantly. Os made a quick attempt to stabilize him before it was to late but Gubdish had died immediately after hitting the ground. The group began to look around and saw he had lost much blood in the battle and never gave up till death took him.

Ruka began bandaging up the orc to make him atleast look presentable to his people if any were still alive, and as she did Nikon attempted to study the crown he wore feeling it was still warm he had concerns it might have been cursed. Deren & Oswell searched the chieftains tent and some of the other huts but found no one alive, only orcs that seemed to be preserved in time doing everyday chores.

Os found an orc that appeared to be the adviser to the chieftain frozen in place looking over a journal of some kind. Oswell gently removed the book from the orcs hand and started looking through it for any information about the sickness, after a few minutes he located an entry that had the date of the death of the first baby taken by the sickness. Through some more entries Oswell discovers that this advisor seemed to be the one who was trying to hold the village together so he takes the crown from Nikon and placed it upon the orcs head to signify that he was a better leader. Ruka seemed a little off set by this but did nothing to correct the matter.

Nikon and Ruka carried Gubdish to the throne and sat him back on it before they left. Nikon entered the new information about the babies Os collected and began to extrapolate to coordinates that the mystical fog affecting everyone was coming from. “I found it, we almost passed it on our way here. I would say its about three miles away” Nikon said.

The group gathered their things continued their treck back threw the Splinters. After a while they come to where they believe it to be and they begin the spread out looking for anything out of the ordinary.

After searching for a few minutes they find a small inlet barely big enough for one person to fit through at a time. The group slowly moves through one at a time and discovers it leads into small valley.

Once inside fearing more confrontation Nikon casts a spell on himself causing it to appear like there are five of himself. Oswell already suspecting dark magic at play becomes very cautious of Nikon and seems more concerned by Nikon’s current state then relaxed about it. The group sees ahead of them pairs of pillars moving in a line towards a large rock wall and as the pillars ascend the see they lead to a door a little over one hundred feet into the air. As the group begins to think of ways to climb up to the door Nikon takes off towards the pillars thinking that there must be some magic to them that will carry the group up.

As he approached a small ramp appears connecting the first set of pillars up it does n continue beyond that. Os points out that a pillar on one side is missing the top stone, it seemed to somehow have fallen off and was laying on the ground. Nikon got excited as he realized they might find more ahead and knew his talents might become quite handy.

The group got together and began to lift the stone but once off the ground the they could not seem to get it high enough to set back on the pillar. After a moment or so the group loses their grip and the stone drops to the ground, Nikon acted as quickly as he could and slapped the stone causing it to fall very slowly so no one got hurt. Deren, Os & Ruka grabbed the stone as it was slowly falling to try and lift it back up quickly but were unsuccessful. Nikon began looking for hooks to climb or some other way to get to the door while the others continued to try and replace the stone on the pillar.

The three made several attempts to replace the stone until about their tenth time the got it on the pillar. Nikon heard the sound of the stone sliding onto the other and came running to the stairs in excitement. The moment he saw the whole ramp was present he took off to the top in excitement. Oswell began to yell at him to slow down there could be a trap and that he could fall and die but Nikon shrugged Os off as being overly paranoid. Deren and Ruka passed Os walking up to the top and once they reached the door with Nikon they all began to push the stone door open.

Os saw what they were doing as he reached the top of the ramp and started to charg the door to give them a boost but just as Os reached the door he forgot to put his hands up to brace the door and slammed his face right into it. The others stared at him for a moment in disbelief at what he had just done doing everything not to laugh at him. Despite his brief moment of stupidity, he managed to unhinge the door from it’s stuck shut position to slightly open.

After a moment to regain some feeling in his face Os and the rest of the party began to push the door open. After they got the door opened the party slowly moved into the room, Os held his holy symbol in his hand and cast a light so illuminate the room. Os came up to a wall covered in Vak writing, Os told everyone that it more or less said to please ring the bell and someone will be with you shortly otherwise the security features would take care of anyone going where they do not belong. About this time Nikon cast four lights and spread them out into the room to help illuminate it better, and hearing what Os said Nikon realized he could ward an area to make the sound of a small bell if anyone would cross into the area. The party back away for a moment while Nikon prepared and once he cast it Deren entered the field causing the sound of a bell to ring through the place.

Several moments passed and they are not sure if the traps have been disengaged so the group heads towards the next room. Nikon notices the next rooms floor tiles seem to be conveniently placed. He then casts a detection spell and starts to see a pattern of magical aura surrounding them, but before he says where to step Os takes a step on the first tile to test the odds if it being a trap. Nikon yells to him to back up but its to late as a green ball of goo flies at him. Os quickly dodges it and side steps to the next tile to avoid it only to have another fly at him and it makes contact with his armor and begins to burn its way through. Os quickly starts trying to put it out but to no avail, finally he summons several gallons of water to cover his chest but just as he does the goo vanishes and Oswell becomes drenched. Nikon speaks up to everyone and says, “I see a path I believe to be safe, step only where I tell you to….”

Deren begins his trek across the tiles and makes it all the way to the end without incident but the final tile transports him back to the beginning again. Ruka & Os were following right behind Deren and Nikon tells them to jump the last tile but Ruka & Os seem confused by what Nikon is telling them and begin stepping across the final few tiles randomly. Ruka quickly ducks out of the way as two green darts fly towards her, but Os isnt as lucky and is hit. Again his armor begins to burn and after a moment the goo dissappears again. Nikon and Deren cross the tiles without incident. _


Player Critique:

Dave 3 gems

  • Acting: As is typical, great job acting. The finer things, like your reaction to smacking your face of a door, add a lot to immersion in my opinion. A very established voice and polite manner is also great. At one point you were being slightly rude to Sam OOC by saying “give me that”, but then realized you should ask for it IC and said in Os’ voice “Could you please hand me the map, Nikon?” This is awesome and hilarious. Great! 1.5 gems
  • Participation: I understand you didn’t want to showboat this game. In the beginning, you were far too quiet. After we ate, you seemed to speak up quite a lot like your normal self, without becoming the center of attention. Adequate .5 gems
  • Depth: We didn’t get to learn a whole lot about Os this game, but we shouldn’t expect to every game. It is interesting how he tried to diffuse a situation or two with humor, and tried to be friendly with Deren (sadly, with no result). Camping out next to the sick orc teen despite being needed on the paperwork was an indication of character priority. Good 1 gems

Sam 3.5 gems (winner)

  • Acting: Only once or twice was I unsure if you were using your Nikon voice and IC. Overall, it’s getting very easy to rely on you to be very in-character when interacting with others. Also the added excitement in the detect shaman thoughts scene was a nice touch. For the future, I’d recommend thinking about what effects your character and how that could change the way you portray him, or to take advantage of acting out Nikon’s reactions to these effects. A good example would be showing that Nikon is tired during a long day’s travels, or when Os’ panicked yelling at the group and beating at his chest when the trap went off on him. Good 1 gem.
  • Participation: You were right on top of things most of the game. I would even wager you were the one most immersed in that horribly designed puzzle. Great 1.5 gems
  • Depth: Nikon seems to have a slight arrogance about him in certain situations; that is awesome. Also the snide remark toward Deren (sadly, with no result) showed some racial tensions. Not a lot of instances of depth, but the few that did occur were great. Good 1 gem.

Jess 0 gems.

  • Acting: I couldn’t tell if you were in character, bro-ski. At a few points, even you didn’t know. Bad 0 gems.
  • Participation: You rose to very few occasions this game. In many situations that were almost tailored for your response, you chose silence, or to remain OOC. Bad 0 gems.
  • Depth: I feel I didn’t get to see much of Deren at all this game, let alone his depth.
    I understand the puzzle may have been a bit alienating for you, but it shouldn’t have been. I understand it was too long and drawn out, but there were many attempts afterwords to do things. I know things weren’t ideal this game, but I don’t get why you didn’t really try. Bad 0 gems.
    Sorry Jess. I don’t want to seem overly harsh. I’ll see what I can do to help you enjoy the game more and get more involved.


  • You’re getting close to something. I hope you guys bring your foresight next game.
  • Next game should be Monday, if there are no complaints against.
  • The character tab has been updated with the new relevant NPCs. I’d recommend taking a glance.
  • In Blood Gulch a huge, insane green man rides warthogs all day and kills anyone he comes in contact with. He then does strange things to their bodies.


I must be slipping. I didn’t come in first by a whole 2-3 points this time! I kid. Good job, Sam. Though next game, expect me to bring my game face. I held back at the beginning for a reason (Branson was aware that I was doing this intentionally), though I probably should have stepped up sooner. If you want to keep beating me, you will have to double your efforts from now on!

So, my thoughts on this game. I had a good bit of fun. The puzzle was tedious, and you know this Branson. No need to really bring it up, but it did hold back gameplay for a bit. It wasn’t a bad puzzle, and it wasn’t even entirely too hard, it’s just, it depended too much on too many rolls of 16 or higher, in skills that most of us don’t have incredibly high bonuses to. On average, for each roll, we each had to get a 14 or higher, depending. When we failed, it added hours onto our work (in game time). Either studying the notes needed to not ramp up, or we needed more information awarded with out successes.

Regardless, I had fun. I enjoyed adding new traits to Os, like his nervousness around arcane magic and his belief in Vaknamese folklore. I also really enjoyed the glowing bridge scene. It was described well, and was very fun and described eepicly. Also, the checkerboard puzzle was kinda fun, though I wish it were more complicated, like that it required multiple people to stand on different spots in order for each of us to make it across. I feel like, despite it’s dangerous nature, it could have been more complex. Still fun though!

Sam – As Branson said, you did very well. I enjoyed your slight racism against Vaknama, your arrogance (which I’m totally taking credit for, for recommending it in my comment on our last blog post) was implemented perfectly. Sam made me chuckle with his accuracy in roleplaying. Also, Branson didn’t go into too much detail, but your emotion with the Shaman was amazing. You were raising your voice, when Branson described many voices, as if you were trying to talk over them. I was impressed and proud. You deserved 3.5 gems. Maybe even 4. Damn good job. If someone would have told me last year you could do this well, I wouldn’t have believed them. I’m glad you’re able to shine as Nikon (and previously Teal’c as well). I think arcane casters are a good fit for you.

Jess – I really wanted you to do better. I know you don’t have much experience in DnD, and it takes time to find yourself in this complex game, but when we give you advice OOC, it’s meant to help your with your character, not hurt you. Remember, even if our characters don’t always agree, we players (and DM as well) want you to succeed. I wanted to so bad for Deren to maybe be slightly cautious with magic, or when you decided he didn’t care about it, I wanted him to yell at Oswell for being afraid. Your character is a stern and powerful man. Someone not to be crossed. He is polite which is fine, but maybe you should change direction. The thing is, you guys already have a polite person, Oswell. Remember those ranks in intimidate you have? I think you should take away your politeness. Deren should be blunt and upfront. Unafraid to speak his mind. Unafraid to ask a stupid question, because if anyone looks at him wrong, he will stare them the fuck down. It’s never too late to implement that. So, I think you should try this. If you are wondering something about the game, make Deren ask it, because he doesn’t give a damn what people think of him. You have a lot of potential, so expect us to continue to expect a lot out of you. Also, try to read Branson’s hints a bit more. He implied many times that Orcs don’t like politeness, or insults. He simply wanted you to be unafraid and stern.

Branson – You fucked up with that puzzle. The game was still fun. I wish we were able to actually connect or discuss more things with the orcs, but after a bad impression, we lost any chance of that. I like the place we ended the game in though. I wish there would have been some small random encounters along the way to the orc tribe, since getting there was basically a couple climb checks, and then a 10 hour fast-forward montage thing. Slightly anti-cimactic. Didn’t get to do much at the tribe. We studied the whole time, and Sam had an epic vision with the Shaman, but that was it. A lot of time spent doing very little. The build up to the frozen orc tribe was great though. I enjoyed the frozen people. The fight was fun, though maybe not so much for me due to only being able to run in a circle. I wish there had been more at the tribe though. Some sort of event, but I suppose our goal was to simply get there, find a number, and then get out. Loved the last location, as I already mentioned.

Overall, this was a fun game. Not our best, but not our worst either. The puzzle really slowed things down, and the beginning was a little anti-climactic, but the second half of the game was really, really good. Sam had very high points, and Jess had very low points. I was probably somewhere along the higher end of average this game. I’m going to rate the games out of 10 from now on. This is not indicative of Branson’s preparation alone, but also of how we as players interact with what he prepares. A 1 is absolutely horrible. The campaign is ill-prepared, the players do poorly, I doubt I will give out a 1. A 5 is average, most games will be a 5, so don’t look at it as bad, this rating system is not like a grade system, where a 50% is failing. A 10 is perfect. I doubt we will get any of these, but the day we do is probably the same day that Branson gives everybody between 4 and 5 gems for awesome roleplaying ability. Not impossible, but unlikely.

This game: 6/10

Session 11

Also, just to put it out there. Sam, you saved this game. It probably would have ranked as a 4/10, but you really stepped through, helped the plot progress, and really threw yourself into the story and the puzzle we were studying.

I think we can all agree, Sam (and the later half of this game) is what really made last night a great game. If this game had been shorter, and we just had those two things, we’d have been looking at an 8/10 rating, from me anyways.

Session 11

Branson, I may have to start a new post for the last half and you or Dave will have to put it with my first one. For reasons unknown to me my tablet refuses to let me save anything new on my existing post. As soon as I begin writing the save button vanishes… Anyway I do appreciate the corrections you made. I never wrote anything in school as fort hill you could pass while staring at the wall… I have trouble trying not to make run-on sentences or to know where a break should be made in paragraph. Thank you.

Session 11

Your effort is commendable Sam, don’t apologize for that. Me and Branson read a lot of books, so writing these posts come more natural for us. Keep writing and you will get better, so don’t feel the need to apologize.

Also, write up the wrest of the story, and then email it to me a

Session 11

Sorry I took so long to finish the post. I am looking forward to the next game session. Branson was there any exp gain from last game we should count? Also when you find time can you please explain the gem system with posting game sessions, I didnt quite understand what you said before. DEREN!! (AKA Jess) You can do it, DONT feel bad I use to never talk in an accent and I mean never. It’s not til Teal’c that I started to, that means it took me atleast 10 dead characters, 5 party wipes, and 1 death by bridge to get me to. I dont know how many game you have plays so far or if it being around me or dave that makes you more reserved but I know you can do it. Branson, I take 60% credit for Jess’s failure last game as I gave him redbull and while it gives my A.D.D. more focus I feel compared to previous game sessions he did seem way more distracted and I have seen that with some of my employees… So while I did feel like Jess was much more quiet then normal and didnt really come up with much. I point to all the pictures he was drawing to prove my point about his focus…. I will not bring any redbull again.

Session 11

That’s an interesting theory with the redbull, Sam. Definitely not sleepy, but definitely distracted. Though the game content had a large part to do with that too.

As for the gem system, I’m still ironing it out. I realize the system I put forth last time is pretty buggy. Dave is proof-reading it as I get new results.

Heh. 10 dead characters, 5 party wipes and 1 bride. I knew the bridge was the thing that did it. I’m including more bridges now.

XP! That troll was worth 1,600. So 400 each. That trap was worth 800, so 200 each. Having a fourth party member makes xp gain a littler slower. So mark down 600 xp this game.

Dave, I understand you would have liked a more difficult puzzle mentally, but it doesn’t work in this scenario. I design puzzles with their actual purpose in mind (as in, why the dungeon creator put it there), and then fine tune it a bit toward the party. If you do realize what this dungeon is, you may understand.

As for the travel montage, I agree. I’m not sure why, but I felt slightly rushed at that point. Due to the ravaged ecosystem, random encounter chances were very low. The travel was not exactly fast travel, as the climbing sections weren’t simply checks, as Sam pointed out in a few paragraphs. There was also crossing the river and dealing with fatigue. Luckily Ruka can guide by night. Not many things you can see at night though. But in total, I agree. I should have had some narrative for the journey, aside from the map and above mentioned.

A Dave rating of 6 is better than I would have expected. I would have thought you generous with a four, considering the puzzle and Jess’s distraction. Then again, there were some solid talky-encounters with the orcs (sadly, many not very successful) and quite a few exploration asides (trapped shaman, spirit realm = shadow plane, reading her mind, catering to the sick, finding a hidden structure, fixing a bridge, thinking and debating about DARK MAGIC, etc).

Where is Jess at?

Session 11

last game was a lot of fun. i enjoyed it. there was of course the puzzle that was a little over complicated where eventually i didn’t understand i just rolled my geographies on the map over and over again. don’t get me wrong the puzzle was interesting it’s just i didn’t comprehend it. the bridge scene was nice, fun, well described and i felt cool because i could show off my +4 strength. my favorite part was definitely the disco. i liked all the different traps and the puzzles. too bad we had to put down the chieftain :/ he was mentally unstable and in denial.

Sam GREAT job on the summary. went into good detail and i didn’t notice any mistakes..yet, I’m still not done reading it.

my performance this game was not very well at all. i feel i was doing very good then we met the chieftain and i failed at that, sorry i just didn’t know what to say. and that kinda put me off track then we did the puzzle which i didn’t understand which completely through me off my game. but i feel after we left the village i started improving again.
so to wrap it up fun game, you two did very well, i didn’t do that good at all and great job on the summary Sam.

Session 11

Thanks guys, don’t think I missed anything? I was trying to write it so that anyone that came on our page could get at least a feeling of what our characters went through. I am going crazy that this next game is Wednesday, I don’t know if I make it… I need to play asap lol I am dieing to get into the next session… it is killing me to have to wait. Doing this is honestly one of my favorite highlights of every week. When it gets move or we forgo a week its painful for me lol. We see you all Wednesday I guess 7:30?

Session 11

Branson – My “Dave Rating” makes fair use of all the numbers. A 6 is quite good. Last game was really fun for me. Despite the puzzle lag, there weren’t any parts when I was questioning the games worth. Not sure why you would think the rating would be lower. Yeah, the puzzle was a bit long and confusing, but the game was still a great game.

Sam – Yeah, I’ll be up whenever I need to be up on Wednesday. Also, I did have to change a few parts of your story, because you mixed up me and Deren a few times, but nothing major.

Also, this weekend, FRI-SUN, I won’t be available. Then, the following THU-SUN I won’t be available again. So, if we are going to play at all next week, it will have to happen MON-WED.

Session 11

Because of visiting the girlfriend’s parents (fuck) and Otakon the following weekend (yay).

Session 11

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