June 15th, 215
The player characters are not taken completely unawares by the attacking dog-headed fighters, but they find that several more also engage in the attack. While somewhat dull-witted, the dog soldiers are strong and somewhat fierce opponents, and the fight is not a guaranteed thing. Ingrid Horoldsdottir (Kathy) is hard pressed by two of them but she is guided by Thor and her speed allows her to defeat her two opponents. Ogir Haralfsson (Nick) uses his speed and instincts to overcome his foe, but is wounded somewhat. Vigfur Egilsson (Tom) comes to the defense of Dagna Styrsdottir (Joanne) and Jordis Hodersdottir (Ellie), who are targeted by one of the creatures, but his speed and parrying prowess comes in handy, though he needs the staff work of the volva and her apprentice to defeat his opponent. Without Ingrid's protection, Sigrun Evardsdottir (Angela) is able to fight off her opponent with Amund Torkelsson's (David) aid, but it falls to Ingrid to strike the killing blow as both the skald and the Jarl's daughter are injured in the attack.
Once the player characters have killed the dog-headed humanoids, they seek shelter in one of the nearby outbuildings of Havnor. While none of the characters took deadly wounds, each of them bears the marks of the creatures' attacks. While Ogir and Dagna do their best to heal wounds, and Vigfur is able to bind up Ogir's wounds, Sigrun asks Amund what they just dealt with. The skald tells her that the sagas speak of the Hundehoveder (the "dog-heads"), a creature known to haunt the Midgardian mountains in various places. They were thought to exist in the Sneklaedte Mountains, but had not been seen before now. The stories describe them as the characters have seen them, but also indicate that they are vicious and prone to rage. Once the characters are all healed partially and have recovered their morale, Sigrun tells them that they have to look around the town and see if any Norsemen survived. They agree that this is their priority.
Cautiously making their way out of the building they've taken shelter in, the player characters surreptitiously start to move out, Sigrun dividing the characters into three groups - Dagna and Vigfur, Amund and Sigrun herself, and Ingrid, Ogir, and Jordis. The groups search out what they now realise is just the remains of Havnor. Dagna questions Sigrun on her division of the party, and the Jarl's daughter says that she's intent on protecting Jordis, but that the girl has good sneaking abilities, and that's why she's with Ingrid and Ogir. Much to Ingrid's annoyance, as she feels her place is with the Jarl's daughter. Sigrun will take no insolence at this point, and she slaps Ingrid on the face, hard, and the hirdman defers to her...for now. The groups set off to investigate.
As the groups set off through the remains of Havnor, they are each struck by the eerieness of the town - the quiet, the scavengers picking at the remains of food and other items that want no description, the sense of fear and terror of the unknown and the dog soldiers, and the palpable feel this could just as easily happen to Grontvand, if they are not careful.
Ingrid, Ogir, and Jordis move off towards the area where the businesses and some of the residences might be. They find several corpses of Norsemen along the way, and Jordis is scared. Ogir tells her the spirits of these people have gone to wait for their judgement, but that by Thor, there will be someone to pay for this. In a more practical fashion, Ingrid says that she will not allow anyone to harm the volva's apprentice. To back up her words, she is forced to defend herself as another of the "dog heads" attacks, charging out of one of the residential huts.
Vigfur and Dagna make for the communal areas of the remains of the town, and find no bodies at all. There are signs of several sets of hirdman armour, but the scout tells her that he doesn't think they will encounter any more of the creatures. They've done the worst thing they could do, either killing or driving off the Norse folk from the village. If that's the case, Dagna points out, where are all the children of the village? She also realises what the portents of the dogs that she saw meant, and tells Vigfur about this. They decide to head for the longhouse.
Sigrun and Amund go directly for the longhouse of Havnor, to find that it is a wreck, with lots of fire damage (and some burning areas still going). They cautiously enter the remains, and find there are several bodies here, most of them dead. Sigrun tells the skald that they won't be trading merchandise with the folk of Havnor any time soon, and she tells Amund to make sure that the song about Havnor is well constructed. Amund points out that there are no children among the dead, which she confirms. The two wonder about this fact, but are interrupted by movement. They are about to attack, but realise that it is Dagna and Vigfur who have joined them. They exchange information about what they've discovered.
Meanwhile, Ingrid, Ogir, and Jordis have decided that it's time to head back for the others, figuring that Sigrun will want to meet at the longhouse. As they are moving away, Ingrid's sharp ears hear the sound of whimpering from one of the huts nearby. She and the others move cautiously in that direction. They discover that there is someone in the hut...or someones...as a young man is revealed, defending a group of six or so children near the rear of the hut. He's bleeding from multiple wounds, obviously recent, but has several scars indicating that he's been fighting on and off for several days. The young Norseman greets the player characters, his adrenaline starting to seep away. He introduces himself as Ranulf Beinirsson, the son of the Jarl of Havnor, and says that he and these children fled to shelter here after the "dog faces" attacked the town. That was five days ago. After introducing herself and Ogir, Ingrid says there's time to talk later, as they need to get back to their friends.
The Grontvand hirdman checks outside the doors, and making sure that it's safe, tells Ranulf to quickly move the children with her and Ogir as they start for the longhouse. As they start to head in that direction, her senses barely alert her to parry the blow that comes, as a group of three of the dog-headed humanoids attack, barking loudly as they come... The children scream...
I pretty summed up how I felt about the game in this journal entry earlier today. I had a terrific time with the game session, managed to get the creepy, haunting mood that I wanted into the game as they explored
Fun game session. Looking forward to continuing the game next week, as the player characters will face some new challenges. Can't wait. :)