Kandaja (Donna Winston) - Balam Galacean Thief
Pekkar the Strong (David Winston) - Cimmerian Pirate
Salali (Kendall Scott) - Tamarac Adventurer
10th Simanu, Year 506 Meta Kataklysmos (M.K.)
The first one to be attacked by a Manuan tribesman, Salali (Kendall) is forced to Defend herself, but finds that she is somewhat outclassed by the "barbarian" Manuan. The rest of the player Heroes and the Ogaramango tribefolk are forced to defend themselves, as the large group of Manuans attack. Kaleo, Suumi, and the rest of the Ogaramango defend themselves with skill and ability, slaughtering the Manuan hunters with passion, though several of the Ogaramango are killed as well. Pekkar the Strong (David) finds himself attacked by several of the Manuans and is able to kill and slaughter them with the best of intents. He sees Salali struggling against her opponents, and manoeuvers towards her so that he can attempt to protect her as well. Kandaja the Lean (Donna) uses her speed and ability to dodge to whittle down her opponent, but starts to feel overwhelmed as several other Manuans join in the attack. Seeing the danger that she is in, Kaleo charges at Kandaja's opponents, and the two of them are able to turn the tide somewhat. The wounded and bleeding Heroes eventually realise that there is no one else to fight - between them and the Ogaramango, the anuan horde has been destroyed.
While the Heroes and the Ogaramango catch their breath and determine the extent of their losses, Salali goes and treats Pekkar's injuries, feeling she owes him a debt of gratitude for his actions during the fight. Maleko, the Ogata healer who has also accompanied the group to the glass/metal pyramid, goes over and treats several of his own people, before turning his attention to Kandaja's wounds; he reassures her she is not hurt as badly as some of the Ogaramango warriors, but sees she is in pain. As the Heroes continue to catch their breath, several of the relatively uninjured Ogaramango go to hunt for food, taking several of the weapons off the Manuan bodies. When Kandaja questions this, Kaleo tells her that it is the way of his people, and that he would expect her to do the same if the need arose.
The Heroes and the surviving Ogata (only four of them were killed, and eight severely wounded enough that they cannot continue) pick themselves up and continue to move through the swampy, humid, jungle. Kaleo tells Pekkar and the others that they will soon be in the area where the pyramid is located, but that they must be careful. There is a terrible beast that seems to guard the object. When asked what it is, Kaleo tells them they will see for themselves soon enough.
After another couple of hours, during which the Ogata and the Heroes avoid several Manuan patrols, Kaleo tells the Heroes they have reached boundaries near where the metal/glass pyramid is located. Salali mentions that the vegetation is lush, and both Kaleo and Jevojo, one of the guides and trackers for the Ogata, tell the Heroes that she is correct; the plants and vegetation grow well in this area, and the beasts and creatures are also stronger and bigger here too. Jevojo and Kandaja head into the jungle to scout out the pyramid, while the others remain behind. To emphasise the point, the two are barely able to keep themselves concealed from a jungle cat that seems twice the size of a normal one. Kandaja almost flees, but is calmed down by Jevojo. The two continue to sneak around, and make their way to the pyramid, where they find a pair of Manuans on guard duty near the object.
Kandaja and Jevojo return to the rest of the Heroes and the Ogata, and tell them what they have seen. Both groups talk, and plans are made. The Heroes and the Ogata sneak up on the two Manuan guards, Salali actually succeeding at her stealth check [she spent 2 Hero Points to do so], and Pekkar and Kandaja make short work of the two guards, throwing spears at them, and taking them down quickly [with the judicious use of some Hero Points to inflict extra damage, not to mention a Critical wound or two!]. The Heroes and Kaleo, Suumi and two of the others who are unafraid make their way to the object, which lies out in the open, in a meadow-like area that is almost devoid of plant life. Pekkar comments on the sheer number of skeletons that can be seen in the area, and the group heads to check out a few of these. Salali determines that many of the bony remains are those of short humanoids, possibly natives of the area, but there are also several animal remains. Pekkar tells her not to worry, as he will defend her from anyone or anything that might mean her harm. She says she's not reassured by this, but thanks him anyway.
Moving closer to the object, the three Heroes see that it is a 3-metre high glass and silver pyramidal structure. Pekkar says there are tales told of such objects even in Cimmeria, but he does not remember any details on these objects. Other than that people disappear around them. He tells the others that he can sense a powerful magic about the object. Before the Heroes can do anything else, there is a raucous cry - and the Heroes watch as an extremely large creature with the body, hind quarters, and tail of a lion, and the forelegs, visage, and wings of an eagle - flies at speed towards them! Screaming about "the Marakabo!", the Ogaramango flee into the jungle, leaving the Heroes to confront the beast in the open near the pyramid. But not before the creature swoops down and guts one of the Ogata tribefolk.
Seeing that there is an entrance of sorts into the glass and silver pyramid, Kandaja tells the other two Heroes to make for the pyramid as best they can. The Heroes engage in a hit-and-run battle with the creature, but its sheer speed and strength tax Kandaja, Pekkar, and Salali to the hilt, but eventually the Heroes reach the entrance to the obelisk and dive in...where they see what seems to be a star field...
...and after what feels like a psychedelic experience on drugs find themselves dizzily falling to the ground in what appears to be a temperate forest near a small cave...
And that was the wrap-up of the first Atlantis: The Second Age adventure with the Wednesday night group. The three players screamed at me when I ended things on such a cliffhanger, and I thought Donna was going to throw some dice at me! (She didn't, thank Goddess.) The players told me that they loved the game, David mentioning that the final sequence with the chase by the creature near the obelisk, the Heroes forgetting about the natives as they lunged for the entrance to the "pyramid thingie", was absolutely a perfect sword & sorcery moment for him, and exemplified the genre in terms of most traditional fantasy rpgs. Donna told me that she loved the game, the adventure, and the whole face-to-face rpg experience, but that she really likes how the game emulates the genre (based on what David has spoken to her about it). Kendall was a bit more circumspect about matters, but finally said that she learned an awful lot about the Hero Point dynamics during the course of the game, especially this session. All three players said they liked the gaming experience, and playing once every two to three weeks was perfect for them. All three want to continue on, since they're dying to know what happened to the Heroes and where they are.
So it looks like I'll be running the game again with them in two or three weeks. I'm just pleased they liked the first adventure, had a relatively easy time of the game and with the rules, and want to play some more Atlantis: The Second Age. I'm looking forward to running it and playing with them, to be sure! :)