Kandaja (Donna) - Balam Galacean Thief
Pekkar the Strong (DavidW) - Cimmerian Pirate
Salali (Kendall) - Tamarac Adventurer
Ediwa (NPC/Crystal) - Otesi Slave-in-Exile
2nd Du'uzu, Year 506 Meta Kataklysmos (M.K.)
Several hours later, Kandaja the Lean has the other player Heroes stop their travels. She tells Pekkar the Strong and Salali that there is something odd about the area, something she can't put her finger on. Salali checks the area out and says that Kandaja was quite right - the forest around them houses a series of old ruins. The Heroes realise that the forest around them is too quiet, and Salali notices that there are several concealed pits, covered with jungle grasses near the "path" that they are following [she spends a Hero Point to do so]. Pekkar comments that there seems to be very little life in this part of the forest, something that is worrying. Picking their way carefully through the area, the player Heroes continue on their way.
The player Heroes continue their travels, and eventually emerge into a small meadow-like area where it is obvious they are in a series of ruins, with ancient white stone structures clearly visible though they are largely obscured by masses of vegetation. The Heroes hear what sound like padded feet, but can find no one and see nothing. A loud "thunk!" and the arrival of a large spear in a nearby tree heralds the arrival of visitors. The Heroes are surprised at the emergence of a Nemean from the forest, accompanied by a group of five large natives wearing furs and carrying bronze weapons as well as spears. The Nemean tells them his name is Rothuu, and asks what the Heroes are doing in their territory. Pekkar address Rothuu, and tells the Andaman that they mean no harm, and are merely crossing their territory. Rothuu accepts this explanation easily enough, and not judging the Heroes to be a threat, offers them a place to stay for the night. The forests of northern Saturnia are not safe at night. The three Heroes regard one another warily, but Pekkar decides to accept the Nemean's offer. The Andaman-Human tribe is very accepting of their visitors, and a celebratory evening of feasting, drinking, and carousing passes by where the Heroes regain some Hero Points, as well as Hit Points].
Morning comes with the Heroes recovering their senses, remembering little of the events of the night before due to the powerful alcoholic beverage they imbibed. The community reacts poorly to Pekkar's previous night's dalliance with one of the slave girls, Ediwa, as it turns out the Andaman-Human community thinks it beneath him to sleep with one of the "animals" (slaves). Heated words are exchanged between Rothuu, Pekkar, and Moraskis, the Anubim leader of the community, when it is revealed that Ediwa is to be exiled for her actions the night before. Kandaja and Salali are beyond anger about the matter, and while Pekkar is not pleased, he goes to see Ediwa and asks her if she wishes to travel with the Heroes. On finding out what the Heroes are planning to do, Ediwa is hesitant but given her choices, agrees to accompany the Heroes on their search.
Departing the Andaman-Human community, the three heroes and Ediwa continue their travels through the forest in search of the ruins of Kinjohla. Ediwa says that she's heard of the place, but only bad stories and rumours. After several hours of travel through the dense forests of northern Saturnia, the player Heroes and Ediwa emerge onto a large meadow and steppe, that ends in a sharp, hilly, scrub-infested incline with a valley below them - where sits the misty, overgrown ruins of a large city: Kinjohla! The Heroes look around for a way down into the valley, and Salali sees what seems to be an overgrown path, though she advises the others that it could be a treacherous descent; the sharp incline offers a tough clamber. Ediwa is somewhat afraid to make the descent down, as she is overcome by superstition, but it is Pekkar who tells her that he will protect her. Kandaja and Salali given each other a knowing look.
Salali leads the player Heroes and Ediwa to the trail and path that leads down the incline into the valley. Kandaja spots several birds wheeling through the mist of the valley, and thinks there's something odd about them, but doesn't think more of it. The trail leading down is winding, steep at times, rocky and somewhat overgrown with plant life; Pekkar is forced to use his longsword to cut away vines and other plants to allow the Heroes to pass, and it is tiring work. As the Heroes continue their descent into the valley, Ediwa begins to tire noticeably. The Heroes stop for a moment, but Ediwa screams in fear, as she stumbles across a corpse. The player Heroes examine the bodies, for there are multiple corpses. Salali determines they are human or closely related, and were killed by sharp bone weapons of some sort that fractured ribs and other bones of the bodies; she believes that the corpses were picked clean afterwards. Looting the bodies, the Heroes find not much, though they are able to give Ediwa a tattered leather cuirass (PR 3) and a spear with a bone tip (DR 8). The exiled slave feels much better, now that she has some protection and is armed.
So distracted are the Heroes by the investigation and search of the bodies that they fail to notice the approach of the birds spotted by Kandaja earlier. The Heroes realise that they do not have a lot of cover, given the terrain, but Pekkar says they will have to make do with what they have. They brace for the attack. The attack by the needlenoses (as Pekkar names them] is quite and savage, the birds diving at the Heroes, who defend themselves with their weapons and the cover they have. The strength of Pekkar brings down a couple of birds relatively easily, but the creatures seem to learn from their efforts, though Ediwa surprises the Heroes with her spear skill and her nimbleness. The Heroes manage to drive the creatures off, Salali discovering that they have a fear of fire.
Nightfall finds the player Heroes and Ediwa reaching the base of the incline, and arriving at the valley floor. They confront Ediwa, who tells them that she "is what she is, and nothing more." Kandaja is not happy with this answer, and determines that she will find out the truth about the woman, but she finds that Pekkar is very protective of the the former slave. The Heroes find shelter in a copse of trees, and deciding that lighting a fire is better than being caught by surprise in the dark, the Heroes make camp for the night. Ediwa agrees to take the first watch, but Kandaja is having none of that, and the Heroes agree to watch during the night in pairs. It promises to be a sleepless night.
Wednesday night's game session of Atlantis: The Second Age was highly enjoyable, and featured a little bit of everything and some player character conflict as well. The game session was made special by the fact that Ellie's godmother, Crystal, decided to see what the "gaming thing" is all about, and wanted to get into the game on Wednesday night for three or so sessions. I created a character for her to play, Ediwa, and she joined the adventure (as you can see in the post above). Both Donna (Kandaja) and Kendall (Salali) enjoyed the game session, the addition of a new female player, and the conflict that the new character has sparked among the player Heroes, and are looking forward to seeing what happens next. So am I! :)
Overall, a very satisfactory game session of Atlantis: The Second Age, and one that I have to say gave me a good degree of enjoyment. Since the players have decided to play next week (since I'll be heading to Indianapolis the week after), I'm looking forward to continuing on next Wednesday night.