Anan the Wanderer (SteveR) - Ophirite Adventurer
Alethea (Tammy) - Saturnian Mercenary
Dubaku of Ophir (NPC) - Ophirite Sorcerer
Orabela the Silent (NPC) - Balam Tharshi Thief
Gunnarr of Haloga (Dan) - Halogan Scout
25th Du'uzu, Year 506 Meta Kataklysmos (M.K.)
In the aftermath of the incident involving the caravan attack, Anan the Wanderer checks the condition of Orabela the Silent, but can't determine what's ailing her, though he feels that she seems to be paralysed. Gunnarr of Haloga goes over and checks out one of the wagons. He sees that it is burned out, a complete wreck, and that the magical fire has seemingly melted some of the wood. Alethea goes over to see if she can help Anan deal with Orabela, but the Heroes are momentarily distracted by the flight overhead of the gryphon as it circles above them. Dubaku of Ophir suggests to Anan and Alethea that they search on the Balam thief for bite or fang marks on the limbs or around the neck/throat area. They find two fang marks near her right shoulder blade, and that confirms that it was the skull spider venom that has paralysed and incapacitated her. Gunnarr heads back towards the others after spotting the gryphon circling lower, and sees that Anan is in the process of giving Orabela mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Dubaku tells Alethea that he is going to get something from his horse, and heads in the direction where the horses are currently tethered.
As Dubaku returns carrying a small leather satchel, the mouth-to-mouth resuscitation seems to work, and Orabela starts breathing on her own again and coughing up some spittle. The Balam is alive but weak, and Dubaku has Anan open her mouth and throat, and pours the Panacea potion [heals 10 points of damage] down her throat. She coughs and spits up some more, her fangs snapping shut, and Anan is slightly injured [taking 1 damage point]. Orabela tells the others that she is fine, but the others can tell that she is weak and shaky after her ordeal with the skull spiders' venom. The Heroes are shaken out of their reverie, as Gunnarr warns them of the gryphon! Hearing the bird-like screeching of the creature, Alethea sees the creature descend at terrifying speed, snatch something off the ground near the caravans [it is one of the dead horses], and then wing its way back into the sky without skipping a beat. The Heroes decide that it is best if they leave the area. Alethea suggests that they make their way to one of the travel sheds that can be found in places in Tharshesh near caravan routes. She warns the others that they can be dangerous, as brigands and bandits tend to prey on those who make use of them in the more outlying and savage parts of Tharshesh. Indicating that Anan should lead, the characters mount their horses, Anan accepting the horseless Gunnarr's presence with him, after Gunnarr manages to calm his horse allowing Anan to mount.
The player Heroes and their mounts head to the north, Alethea believing that the nearest traveller's shed lies in that direction, although she tells Dubaku that she's not really sure where it is. After some time, the player Heroes come upon some tracks, Anan drawing the rest of the Heroes' attentions to them barely in time before passing them by altogether. In consultation, the Heroes determine that the tracks have been made by Ahl-at-Rab, some 15 in all, though the player Heroes can't fathom what the lizard-men are doing in this area. Since the tracks appear to originate and move to the northeast, Alethea decides that Anan should lead them to the northwest. The Heroes continue their travels, though it is obvious that Orabela is having trouble keeping up, and is still suffering from the effects of the skull spider poison.
After several hours of the travel, the terrain changes from plains with some coarse scrub to hillier land with scrub, trees, and a bit more cover. Anan's sharp eyes spot an area with rising, steep hills, as well as various trees and shrubs, among which can be seen various cairns, some large and some small. Most of the cairns do not appear to have been made by humans, as they are quite sizeable. The player Heroes note several things: the bark on most of trees is sickly looking, there are tracks of some sort (that Dubaku tentatively identifies as belonging to the Arac, the spider folk of Galacea), and there is a miasma in the air. Alethea notices that there is a bit of ground mist in the area of the cairns as well, and the horses are skittish and nervous. After debating what to do for a bit, Alethea is adamant that she is not going to travel through the mist, as she won't leave her horse behind. Dubaku tries to convince her that going through the misted area is safe, walking into the mist and then emerging several minutes later. Alethea remains determined however, and eventually Anan leads the characters due west and skirts the area of mist that seems to extend endlessly.
After another couple of hours of travel, the Heroes come upon a stand of hanging trees (so-called because their branches end in noose-like patterns, and because they are habitually bathed in the blood of enemies by certain tribes where they are found]. Having dismounted to examine the hanging trees, and the corpse that can seen hanging in them, the Heroes are taken completely by surprise (though Gunnarr is suspiciouly alert). A large band of what the Heroes first take to be Arac, but are revealed to be tribal disenfranchised, primitive Tharshi, with bone spears and knives and wearing bone armour, rush at them.
Anan and Gunnarr are at the forefront of the attack, and are hard pressed to defend themselves from their attackers. Dubaku moves to Orabela's side, as she's still not fully in command of her faculties, while Alethea awaits the arrival of a wave of the attackers. The battle is one that does not go well, the Heroes outnumbered by admittedly weaker opponents, and Anan the Wanderer falls to the spears of two of the Tharshi tribesmen, while his new companion, Gunnarr, can only see the outcome out of the corner of his eye while frantically defending himself against a similar onslaught. With their horses having fled, and the surviving Heroes clearly outnumbered, Alethea reluctantly shouts at the Heroes to beat a hasty retreat. They do so, but the Tharshi tribesmen continue to pursue, and Dubaku says they should flee into the mist! He doesn't believe that the Tharshi will follow, and his idea seems to work.
Engulfed in the cling, damp mist, the Heroes sound off the roll call, and determine that Anan is not with them. Gunnarr tells the others the last thing he saw of Anan, and the Heroes contemplate their next move, even as they check on their wounds. Alethea says they have to go back to the scene of the attack, and determine what happened to Anan...
The Sunday afternoon game session of Atlantis: The Second Age was pretty good overall, had a good feel and sense of characterisation about it, and I thought that Tammy and spross handled things pretty well (see below) and the addition of Dan's character was pretty good. He's still a bit hesitant in play and speaking out, but I attribute that to his still feeling new and getting used to the game and player dynamics. As noted above, spross's character, Anan the Wanderer, died in this session (fortunately near the end), and all I will say here was that this was a result of a couple of poor dice rolls and some poor decision making. Nothing more to add to that. spross will be creating a new character with me this week, so we'll see what direction and route he takes, and then how that character fits in with the other two player characters.
Overall, a good session of Atlantis: The Second Age, one where I feel I accomplished a lot, but the character death at the end of the session left me feeling a bit down. That said, I'm looking forward to next Sunday's game session. :)