Alethea (Tammy) - Saturnian Mercenary
Dubaku of Ophir (NPC) - Ophirite Sorcerer
Orabela the Silent (NPC) - Balam Tharshi Thief
Gunnarr of Haloga (Dan) - Halogan Scout
Koralo Keen-Eye (SteveR) - Tharshi Scavenger
2nd Abu, Year 506 Meta Kataklysmos (M.K.)
Since it's getting late, the Heroes decide to travel a couple of kilometres from the ruins to set up their camp. As they travel, the player Heroes see what might be caves and the like in the hills up ahead. They discuss the possible wildlife that might live in the hills, and Koralo Keen-Eye expresses his concerns. Gunnarr of Haloga finds animal prints, several week to a month old, of what Dubaku of Ophir potentially identifies as either chimaera or manticore. Koralo hears the sound of flapping, and looking up, sees what appears to be a huge, winged creature in the skies above them, at quite high altitude. The player Heroes consider that it might be a roc. The creature flies off to the north, much to the relief of the characters.
Koralo alerts the characters to a large rock being thrown at the Heroes from some distance away. The various player Heroes dodge out of the way, although it comes close to hitting Dubaku. Koralo spots the creature that appeared to throw it, and describes it to the others - standing 3 metres tall, brawny, over-muscled, resembling a hulking baboon-like creature with grey skin and matted fur; the Heroes realise it's a troll. They retreat somewhat from the area, in the hopes that it will realise they mean it no harm. The creature continues to threaten and posture.
Gunnarr finds the Heroes a good spot to camp, some 30 metres distant, at a small outcropping of rock with an overhang that provides the Heroes protection. As the player Heroes start to make camp, even the weary and hurting Orbela the Silent contributing, Alethia goes to gather some wood and tinder to make a fire. Several small creatures, bat-like in appearance [called nightflyers], attack her but she manages to drive them off with a branch that she had gathered up. Once she returns to the site of the camp, Orabela alerts the Heroes to the presence of some puma shape-shifters beyond the campfire. They are led by Kitakis the Black. The Heroes talk with him, and he makes a deal with Gunnarr that the Heroes can stay the night, but can only have the shelter of the area and not take any of the resources and the like. Orabela talks to Kitakis, and learns of two main threats in the area - the Denizen of the Dark and the Chalaquin. Alethia returns the wood that they had not used for the fire to this point to where she obtained it, Orabela going with her for "safety", and the puma shape-shifters give them a token gift in the form of a dead hare.
Morning dawns, the player Heroes having run out of firewood in the early morning hours, and so wake up somewhat cold, though the Heroes wake up somewhat refreshed and restored [health-wise]. Orabela is feeling chipper and goes and scouts out the lay of the land, returning after an hour. She tells the other Heroes they must either go through the hills, or will lose half a day travelling around them to the west and then head north once more. The Heroes decide to travel through the hills, and so once they pack up camp, the group sets off.
They travel into the hills being cautious as they go. Given the danger of the area that they are in, Gunnarr scouts straight ahead of the group, while Orabela moves in a zig-zag pattern. While Gunnarr is still out and about, Orabela returns to the others and tells them there are a group of Uluka [the owl-men Andamen] ahead at a nearby stream. Spotted by the Andamen, the Heroes are visited by them as they arrive by air (though not having spotted Gunnarr), and the Uluka question them. Another of the Uluka arrives, a huge being with a strange, massive bow that intrigues Alethia. Satisfied by the player Heroes answers, the Uluka tell the party to proceed. As they leave, the Ulukan bowman whirls and quickly fires at the supposedly hidden Gunnarr [they were aware of his presence for the most part], striking the tree next to him as a warning about their hidden actions. Once the Uluka have left, Gunnarr attempts to retrieve the arrow, which is made of spun and wound bird feathers, with a blue binding at the end which holds a spell sigil. Coming under a powerful geas, Gunnarr walks off with the feather arrow despite the best attempts of the others to stop him, and leads them to a small meadow and stream, where a teepee-like structure sits with a fire in a pit nearby.
When he drops the feather arrow into the firepit, nearly singeing his hands, Gunnarr awakes with no memories of his actions. A woman emerges from the teepee, relatively young but old at the same time, with bright, white hair and with her arms covered in feathers, wearing a clean, Uluka feather coloured wool set of clothes. The player Heroes quickly sense that she is an avatar of the Ulukan goddess, Ochosi, though she does not confirm it. She demands to know what the Heroes are doing in her forbidden grove, and learns of their task. She tells the player Heroes that the mother and her unborn child are to be found in Byrkas, but not for long. The place is under attack, as the demon Baal-tamath has dispatched the manes [pronounced maness] to claim the unborn child. They can get to the town, but only if they hurry.
The avatar hands each of the player Heroes a [griffon] feather, and after she does so, there is a massive squawking from above them, and a group griffins lands in a flurry of buffeting wings. The avatar of Ochosi tells the Heroes they must mount the griffons, but that they must keep the feather against their skin to ride the creatures. The Heroes are overwhelmed. The player Heroes fly a-griffon-back to Byrkas. Gunnarr and Koralo barely hanging on to the sides of their griffons, Orabela arrives hanging on to the creature's leg, Alethea seems euphoric from the ride, and Dubaku arrives on board his griffon in style. As the Heroes dismount, Alethea points out that the town is on fire, and the Heroes can see black, bat-like shadow humanoid creatures that swirl in shape [these are the manes] crawling in the ruins. The griffons take wing, leaving the Heroes where they stand. When Gunnarr says Baal-tamath's name, the Darkness comes for him [and he takes a point of Fate]. Koralo asks the others what they should do, and Orabela responds, "We save the child!" and she starts moving towards the burning town. The other Heroes follow suit.
As the player Heroes race towards the town, several diseased creatures of the darkness (almost like spectral hyenas) move and shamble towards them [Eaters of the Dead]. Alethea, Orabela, and Koralo find themselves confronting one of the creatures each, while Gunnarr retreats behind the other Heroes to attempt to fire arrows at them, to which they prove impervious. While he moves back towards the other Heroes from the rear, leading two of the creatures towards them from behind, Dubaku casts a spell of enhancement on himself. Orabela is able to injure one of the creatures quite a bit [using Hero Points to do so], and Alethia is able to inflict some harm to her foe, though not before it takes a bite out of her. Koralo does minor damage to the creature he faces, but it is the sorcerer Dubaku who uses a Manipulate spell to enhance his fighting ability, and manages to destroy one of the creatures [using a prodigious amount of Hero Points]. In a surprise to the Hero, Gunnarr takes a sorcerous black bolt in the back from one of the creatures that he left in his wake, nearly dying [he spent a good number of Hero Points to not go to the grave]. The creature fighting Alethea turns to her, and says, "Be warned. This is just the first battle that you have won." Then the Eaters break apart, their bones turning to mist/dust.
The player Heroes make their way carefully through the ruins of Byrkas, and Koralo eventually spots the shrine of Orunmila, the only structure safe from the depredations of the forces of Baal-tamath. Cautiously entering the shrine, the Heroes see a source of light deep inside the temple, and making their way there, are met by a Priest of Orunmila, one Ollogash. He greets them, especially Alethia, saying that they have been expecting them, though had hoped the circumstances would be better.
Ollogash leads them into the antechamber, which is full of light, and the player Heroes finally see the quite expectant mother and her unborn child. She is exactly as described by the priest of Orunmila back in Cadaza - dark-skinned, not Nubian but more tanned, with blonde hair. She introduces herself as Karassi, and Alethea is surprised to learn that she knows who they are by name. Karassi explains that her [unborn] son told her of their coming. When Alethia tells Karassi that she doesn't know where they must go from here, the woman smiles, and says, "Hesperia. We must go
As can be seen from the blog entry above, this session of the Atlantis: The Second Age Sunday campaign had a bit of everything in it, and for the most part, I had a good time with the adventure. There were some elements that marred the game session. For one, Dan arrived rather late, and when he had to leave near the end of the session, I rushed it a bit to get to the final sequence, and wasn't pleased about that. For another, after the sequence where Gunnarr tried to use his bow against the creatures to no effect, Dan seemed to lose interest in the goings on in the fight, and nearly cost the rest of the player Heroes dearly. (It cost him -10 Renown.) As I said, the ending of the session was a bit rushed, and rather than going through the ruins of Byrkas and having some possible encounters and perhaps finding some supplies, I jumped to them arriving at the shrine. Otherwise, the game session went relatively well, but I was somewhat depressed at the end of the game session due to how it fell out.
In the meantime, I'm not sure whether the Sunday group will continue on with Atlantis: The Second Age next weekend, or whether they'll be switching to the Chill 3rd Edition game. Time will tell, I guess.