April 21st, 215
Without a moment's hesitation, Ingrid Horoldsdottir (Kathy) waded into the midst of the attackers, but her health betrayed her. Ogir Haralfsson (Nick) and the others went to her aid and that of the seeming refugees, but Dagna Styrsdottir (Joanne) held Sigrun Evardsdottir (Angela) back, while Vigfur Egilsson (Tom) struck at the attackers with his bow. Finally perceiving that the bandits were badly outclassed by the player characters, Sigrun offered them surrender terms - but with defiant howls, tthe remaining bandits renewed their attacks with vigour. Sheer luck as well as more combat skill (and the judicious use of Furor points) allowed the characters to win the battle. When it was over, the player characters did their best to tend to the few refugee survivors. They tried to question them, but got nowhere in this regard, as the survivors were rather overwhelmed and in a state of shock about the events that had just occurred. Searching around, Vigfur Egilsson (Tom) found tracks at the far end of the clearing, and the characters did learn that the survivors had come from somewhere along the trail. The player characters got into a minor squabble about how best to deal with the survivors, Dagna being concerned about the community of Grontvand, while Amund Torkelsson (David) and Ogir arguing that the characters needed to take them back to the town, but were stopped in their tracks by an ear-piercing howl in the night - that was answered by several others.
In the aftermath of the fight with the brigands, the player characters were moderately injured, and in no real condition to deal with whatever was making the howling sounds. While they were not inclined to relieve the bandits of what they had of value, at Dagna's behest, Sigrun (with Amund's assistance) was able to convince the survivors - a man by the name of Erland, a woman by the name Thora, and several other men, women, and children who were in shock and didn't say anything - to accompany them as quickly as possible. Vigfur returned, and the player characters and the survivors moved off and found shelter in a lightly vegetated, hilly area. This was just in time, as the howling creatures that had seemingly followed them attacked - a small pack of wolves. The party defended themselves, and Erland (Haakonsson) proved to be competent with a bow. Between them, Vigfur, Erland, Ingrid, and Ogir were able to drive off the wolves.
The characters learned from Erland and Thora (Ulvsdottir) that the refugees came from the former small community of Verkatu; Amund said he knows of it, having passed through it a couple of times, but they were pretty insular. Erland confirms this, then says that the refugees were seeking refuge anywhere that would offer it. The characters also gleaned from them that the supposed brigands that had attacked them were a scouting part of the Blod Bjorne (Blood Bears) tribe. After some heated debate, the player characters agreed to take Erland, Thora, and the other survivors back to Grontvand, despite Ogir's objections to this on the grounds that they would lead the Blod Bjorne back to the town. Vigfur argued that since the brigand attackers were a scouting party, they wouldn't have reported back to their Jarl - and Amund adds that the Tornede is a large forest. However, Sigrun was convinced when Erland and Thora pointed out that the refugees had skills useful to the community. Sigrun agreed to sleep on the matter, much to the amusement of the volva and thulr, and the party and the refugees bedded down for the night.
The next day, the characters took the survivors back to the town of Grontvand, where they faced the wrath and displeasure of the Jarl. Edvard was not thrilled about having to feed and accommodate the newcomers, if only for a night, but Sigrun pleaded their case and they were allowed to stay. After spending the night in their own beds, the player characters retraced their steps back to where they first encountered the refugees. Vigfur and Ogir convinced Sigrun that they needed to follow the Blod Bjorne scouts' trail back to the main group, so as to assess the threat to the village and possibly deal with them. Against her better judgement, Sigrun agreed.
Once Vigfur had led the characters as far as he could without being detected by the Blood Bear brigands, Vigfur and Amund (!!) went off to scout the situation out. While they were gone, Sigrun, Ogir, and Dagna discussed a few matters among themselves. Vigfur and Amund returned to the others, and told them that the Blood Bears were camped in what appeared to be the ruins of a small town or village. Amund said he thought it might be Verkatu, but they didn't know for sure. Vigfur noted that there were only 10 or so of the tribe, including what appeared to be either a volva or thulr among them, a bear of a man with an ugly sneer and a straggly beard. This was the individual that Dagna recalled seeing before they engaged the group, so he somehow managed to escape. While Amund is no healer, he tells the others that from what he could see, they appeared to be pretty badly off. At that point, the player characters debated what to do, and after finishing their noon meal, came to a decision. Vigfur went off to scout them out for the rest of the day, taking Ogir with him, while the others made their plans.
At dawn the next morning, the player characters set out for the brigands' camp. Arriving just as the brigands were about to break camp, Ogir Haralfsson pretended to have just stumbled on the camp, claiming to have been attacked by wolves (he still had a wound or two from the previous encounter with the Blood Bears). Their leader, Hring Mattsson, was suspicious of him, but allowed Ogir into their camp, offering him hospitality while sizing him up. The thulr at the camp, Igor the Right-Handed, did not trust him. The Blood Bears continued their preparations, and headed out. While Vigfur shadowed the brigands and kept an eye on Ogir, the rest of the player characters went ahead and set their plan in motion. Ogir told Hring and Igor of a series of small ruins near the river (that Amund had told him about), where a small tribe of people had lived. He suggested the brigands stop there on their way to wherever they were heading. They weren't sure why Ogir had volunteered the information (since he was technically their prisoner). He said that he just wanted to repay the warband for its "hospitality", and he finally got Hring to agree to this, despite the misgivings of several of the other brigands. The Blood Bears set off for the ruined village, following Ogir's directions. As mid-afternoon rolled in, Ogir led the Blood Bears to the edge of the ruined village... where the party was waiting to ambush them...
Last night's game session was an interesting one, though time-shortened due to weather (i.e., snow, snow, snow), but the players were quite satisfied with the session as quite a bit happened as they continued on with their current Yggdrasill adventure. There was a bit of fighting, a bit of negotiation, and a bit of disagreement on the part of the player characters on how to handle some stuff, but overall the player characters did a good job with what they had, and the players continued to keep their characters interesting and focused on the task at hand.
We managed to get in about three hours of gaming, the players leaving my place around 10:45 pm last night, as it appeared the weather outside was getting nastier.
Looking forward to next week's game, the Snow Gods willing. :)