Kandaja (Donna) - Balam Galacean Thief
Pekkar the Strong (DavidW) - Cimmerian Pirate
Salali (Kendall) - Tamarac Adventurer
Ediwa (NPC/Crystal) - Otesi Slave-in-Exile
4th Du'uzu, Year 506 Meta Kataklysmos (M.K.)
The player Heroes spend a restless night, Pekkar the Strong seeing something panther-like that doesn't approach the camp too closely as the only encounter of note. The rest of the player Heroes and Ediwa wake the next morning, and set off towards the ruins of Kinjohla. Kandaja the Lean tells the others that she advises caution, since they don't know what awaits them there. Salali wonders what Paila and her fellow villagers meant about the curse on the place and that those who travel there are "tainted", but Ediwa dismisses the Heroes' concerns as old wives tales and misguided folklore. Salali and Kandaja exchange a look, but Pekkar doesn't spot that.
Moving cautiously through the forested valley in the direction of the lost city, Salali comments to Pekkar that there is no birdsong, no sounds of typical animals in the forest. The Cimmerian merely nods, and the Heroes continue on their way. As the Heroes move on, Kandaja perceives that they are being watched, and possibly followed, though the others cannot sense anything. As the Heroes pass into a shadowy region of a copse of woods, several humanoid shadows detach themselves from the trees, and attack the player Heroes! At first, the conflict seems one-sided, the shades inflicting freezing cold damage through their touch, but it is Ediwa and Salali who sense [the latter through Intuition] that the shades cannot abide the touch of sunlight. The Heroes are able to lure the creatures into the light by dodging and outmanoeuvering them, and are able to dissipate them. Resting for a moment, the Heroes treat their wounds, and Ediwa uses a salve that she conveniently has on her that eases the pain of the freezing wounds. Once more, Kandaja and Salali share a look.
The Heroes pause by a stream, and refresh themselves. Salali questions the newest member of the group, and Ediwa says that she happens to be a herbalist. Creatures, such as the shades they encountered, have attacked the Andaman-Human tribe in the past, and she came prepared. Nothing more. She continues to dote on Pekkar as the Cimmerian and three women continue on their way. As the Heroes travel onward, Kandaja tells Salali that she thinks Ediwa is a magic user of some sort, as she believes she saw the girl use magic when they were fighting the shades.
Some hours later, the player Heroes and Ediwa come upon the first signs of the ruins, several pillars covered in vegetation. Pekkar spots what appear to be several skeletal remains, and the group stops to investigate. They are indeed humanoid remains, Salali concluding that they include human and andaman bodies, but they hold nothing of remaining value. The Tamarac adventurer can't tell them what killed the humans and andamans, though she expects it was violence. The Heroes move cautiously onward. As they continue on, they come upon what appears to be a small, hexagonal building of some white stone, again covered in vegetation. Kandaja tells the others that they should see if they can gain egress into the structure, and Pekkar agrees to stand watch while they do so. It is Ediwa who finds the entrance, a door with a complicated rusted lock mechanism on it, buried under the earth and vegetation. Kandaja goes to work, and the Balam thief is able to unlock the doors, though it takes the strength of Pekkar to open them. As they prepare to enter the building, Kandaja expresses doubts as to the wisdom of the action, but it is Ediwa who taunts her into proceeding.
The Heroes enter the hexagonal structure, lighting torches before they do so. Kandaja leads the way cautiously, Pekkar bringing up the rear, and the player Heroes find themselves in a series of hallways that are filthy with dirt, dust, detritus, vegetation, and cobwebs here and there. They find several chambers in the building that are quite empty, other than for a few skeletal remains that give Salali an uneasy feeling. With a heavy heart, Pekkar tells the others that he believes there's nothing of interest to be found in the structure, and the others reluctantly agree. Ediwa seems strangely interested in a couple of chambers in the structure that are bare, and oddly, have no dirt or other detritus in them, but she agrees to leave with the others. As the Heroes exit the structure, Kandaja tells the others that *something* is watching them. Ediwa agrees with her, but says that it's nothing supernatural, though the Balam thief doesn't agree with her. The player Heroes and Ediwa continue on into the heart of the ruins.
The Heroes pass through into the main area of the ruins, and Pekkar questions whether these are the ruins of Kinjohla. Ediwa confirms that they are, stating that everything she learned while with Moraskis's tribe of Humans and Andamen tells her this *is* Kinjohla. As they move, Kandaja says that she thinks someone or something is watching them. Salali adds that she's seen evidence of firepits and what might have been shelters, indications that the ruins are not as uninhabited as they might have thought. Pekkar immediately becomes more alert, and moves closer to Ediwa much to the other two women's displeasure. The Heroes can also see that quite a few of the "needle nose" birds are circling the area, though not seemingly inclined to attack them.
Kandaja is interested in seeing what some of the buildings, overgrown with vegetation, dirt, and other detritius that they keep passing hold, but Ediwa says that they are nearing what she was told is the main habitation of the structure. Kandaja shares a look with Salali again, and the two women move closer together, though still somewhat separated from Pekkar and Ediwa. The Heroes suddenly emerge into what was once a square, now overgrown with vegetation, though the four buildings that make up the edges of the square are still clearly visible. Salali and Kandaja are more concerned, however, by the signs of habitation here - several firepits, one of which still glows with embers in the daylight, and what seems to be "lived in" parts of several of the buildings, which are not so overgrown as they appear to be when Salali takes a closer look at them. A small, thin smile crosses Ediwa's face [though only Salali sees it, being as perceptive as she is]. Before Salali can say anything, there is a deep, throaty ululating sound, and a dozen wild, primitive-looking tribesmen with spears and knives come charging at the Heroes from all directions!
Last night's game session of Atlantis: The Second Age was quite an enjoyable little trip through the ruins, with lots of player character interaction and conflict, as well as some darkness and gloom being shed on the proceedings, with a hint of creepiness thrown in for good measure. The player Heroes had a few things to deal with, both within and outside of the player character group, and all three female players agreed that the dynamic going on was "interesting". Crystal told me afterwards that she's having a good time with the game, the adventure, and that she's not finding the rules to be all that difficult, but she's not convinced that roleplaying games are for her, though she's keeping an open mind. I'm all right with that, and am pleased that she's playing to see if she likes the gaming at all.
Overall, the game session had a good feel to it for me, and I accomplished pretty much everything that I wanted to do in the Wednesday night session. Atlantis: The Second Age continues to impress me as a game system, and the world is absolutely fascinating. Since I'll (presumably) be in Indianapolis for GenCon at this time next week, I won't be running the game. That said, the players are looking forward to seeing where the cliffhanger from this week leads them. So am I!