Melanie Franconi (KathyB) - Cat Burglar/Thief
Wendy Saltman (Angela) - Courier
Sandra Mitchell (Ellie) - Librarian/Magical Dabbler
Lucas Wells (Mark) - Realm Runner
Andar (Andrew Quilling) (Peter) - Transformed (Living Land) Athlete
April 6th, 2017
The Storm Knights and their allies spend about thirty-five minutes or so resting, recovering, and generally catching their breath. And trying to dry out some of their clothes under what appear to be primeval deciduous trees. Lucas Wells is relieved to see that all the Storm Knights and their civilian charges are all right, though several have scrapes and bruises here and there. One of the medical personnel does a bit of patching up here and there. [Lucas, Melanie Franconi, Wendy Saltman, and Sandra Mitchell require some healing of their Wounds, while Andar needs a serious injury stitched up.] Eventually, Lucas tells them there’s something not quite right about the area, but he can’t put his finger on it. The group prepares to depart the area, and cautiously heads in the direction that Lucas tells them leads towards Philadelphia. The vegetation is relatively light as they do so, and they make good progress. Eventually, it is Sandra who spots what appears to be a four-legged dinosaur of some sort through the brush. She brings the creature to the attention of the others, but it is gone as soon as turns to the others.
Andar is worried, and has Melanie and Wendy take the civilians in tow and move them along at a faster pace, while he and Lucas stay back somewhat and try to lure the creatures (whatever they are) after them. Sandra almost falls into a crevice as she moves, guiding and steering the survivors as she goes, but recovers [spends a Drama card]. The others keep moving cautiously forward, making good time, but some of the civilians are sorely wounded. The creatures chasing them become visible: They stand about 1 metre at the shoulder, with 30-centimetre long necks. They have noticeably very long front legs with short but strong hind limbs, and have small, blunt claws. However, their necks are quite long, and their jaws are full of razor-sharp teeth. Meanwhile, Lucas and Andar manage to draw the dinosaurs off [using Trick, and a Second Chance card], but when they try to rejoin the rest of the group, they discover the dinosaurs have followed them [while they make the Stealth test, they manage to fail the Dexterity test by a good margin]. For the next while, a chase that is more like cat-and-mouse unfolds, as the dinosaurs pursue the Storm Knights and their charges. Lucas realizes that the party is being herded to some specific location. It is too late, as the dinosaurs seize the moment and are virtually on top of the Storm Knights and the survivors, and May Armitage turns back and runs toward the dinosaurs, much to Wendy’s dismay and alarm. [Wendy rolled a 1 to spot May’s action.] She trips in the dirt and the grass, but then picks herself up and shouting for the others to follow her, races towards May - too late, as the dinosaurs tear her apart, and then start to fall on the rest of the survivors!
The Storm Knights, despite their momentary shock and horror [they each passed a Spirit or Willpower check with a DN 10], take the attack to the dinosaurs, but find they are no simple opponents, with twenty (20) plus of the creatures attacking the Heroes. As they engage with the creatures, Lucas, Wendy and Melanie shout for the survivors to grab whatever they can as weapons and fight for their lives. [Peter plays the Best Defense Cosm card, giving each character another Possibility.] Andar engages a pair of the creatures, killing one instantly and inflicting grave damage on the other [he spends a Possibility]. Lucas tries to fire his Glock at a pair of the creatures [he rolls a 1 on die] and Disconnects! The Glock doesn’t go off. Melanie thrusts her spear at one of the creatures, and manages to injure it [she spends a Possibility], but sees three more attacking the survivors and tries to move towards them. Wendy clubs another of the creatures with her staff [spending a Possibility] and takes it down with a single blow. Sandra propels a sharp rock at one of the creatures using her [Bullet] spell, and takes down the beast as well. The creatures return the characters’ attacks with those of their own, and the Storm Knights are hard pressed. With his second dinosaur all but disabled, Andar races to where Melanie is charging [he plays a Flurry card], and takes a fleeting blow [inflicting a Wound and 2 Shock] from the claws of another. The fight goes poorly for Lucas, now unarmed, as the two dinosaurs attack him and inflict a serious injury with their claws [2 Wounds and 4 Shock. Note: He can’t Soak the injury because he is Disconnected!]. Wendy’s staff work and Melanie’s sword work prevent the two from taking serious damage [both suffer 2 Shock], but Melanie is too late to save the three survivors (all of them boy scouts). The fight continues, the seconds feeling like minutes, and the Storm Knights hear barking noises - the dinosaurs flee, having taken a lot of casualties. When the Storm Knights take stock of the situation, they find that only fifteen (15) of the survivors remain, all the rest falling at the claws of the dinosaurs. The Storm Knights collapse in grief and shock.
A battered and weary Lucas tells the Storm Knights and the survivors that they cannot remain here, and medic William Droyer (the only surviving medical person among the civilians and survivors) tries to patch up the injuries and wounds of the survivors and Storm Knights as best he can, but he quickly runs out of medical gear and supplies. Wendy is still devastated at the death of May Armitage, not to mention most of the other survivors, but Sandra and Melanie try to raise her spirits. They take consolation from the fact that Sophie Kang and [David] Sanders survived the attack, as did Steve Hardiman, Wayne Derson, Emma Johnson and Jose Vasquez. Vasquez says that he blames the Storm Knights, especially Lucas, for the deaths of the other survivors/civilians, his tirade becoming a rant, until Sandra tells him to be quiet - if it wasn’t for her and the other four Storm Knights, he wouldn’t be alive! That shuts him up for a bit, but he continues to mutter under his breath about matters. Travelling on as best they can, the characters come shortly to the top of a ridge as the sun begins to set. It is Sandra who spots a path leading down that takes them to a hidden vale. There are tall cliffs surrounding the vale, with flowering vines and bushes growing on the rocks. The floor of the vale is covered with moss, there are trees growing in some areas, offering shade from the sun. The survivors are delighted to find streams cascading from the rock walls in small waterfalls, with deep pools linked by gentle currents. The pools are separated by rock walls or dense bushes and fruit trees, offering privacy. While Andar and the weary Lucas are alert for danger, all they find are brightly lit birds and small monkeys (the latter barely visible in the upper branches). After quickly scouting the area, Melanie and Lucas and Andar and Emma Johnson return with some trapped and killed birds and a couple of woven nets of fruits. The Storm Knights relax somewhat, and tell the survivors that the place seems safe and they should make themselves comfortable. The Storm Knights split up, as do the survivors and tend to themselves and wash off the dirt and blood.
Andar goes to one of the waterfalls, and stripping down, takes a shower that leaves him feeling somewhat invigorated. [He gains a Possibility from it.] He is surprised, but not embarassed, when Emma Johnson joins him there, and the two enjoy each other under the waterfall, her passion igniting his. As they relax beneath the stars after he’s made a fire for them, the two talk and she learns a little about who he was (though he remembers his past only vaguely). There’s a growing attraction between them, and the two decide perhaps they should gather up the others and have an evening meal together. Andar tells Emma that she should remain on her guard; in Lanala’s land, there is danger everywhere to test one’s resolve and experience new sensations.
At one of the small streams, Melanie cleans herself up and washes away the dirt and blood, as she mourns the death of the security guard, Chip Haley, earlier in New York as well as those who’ve perished recently. She is joined by William Droyer, and the two talk and reminisce together. It’s there that Andar and Emma find them.
Wendy goes to one of the secluded waterfalls, and takes a nude shower. [She also gains a Possibility.] Steve Hardiman comes upon her as she’s drying off, and he averts his gaze. Hardiman tells her that it’s been hard on all the characters but that she shouldn’t blame herself for May Armitage’s death. The old gal sacrificed herself to buy the rest of the survivors time, and he’ll never forget that; people are doing what they have to do to survive in this horrible time, but some go beyond thinking just of themselves - same as she and her friends have. They are joined by Droyer, Andar, Johnson, and Melanie.
Sandra finds herself alone with her thoughts at one of the waterfalls, and takes a leisurely nude shower in the cold water [and therefore gaining a Possibility], wishing that it were warm water. After cleaning herself off and taking care of her injuries, she’s joined by Wayne Derson. The two talk about various things and in a fit of pique with her, Derson admits that he’s had a crush on her for a long time. She’s somewhat surprised, and says that she thinks of him as a friend, nothing more. And there’s too much going on at the moment, what with what’s happened to the New York area and what’s going on with her personally. She talks to him a bit about that, and then they are joined by the other Storm Knights and their accompanying civilians.
At one of the large pools in the area, a despondent Lucas mulls over everything that happened during the fight with the dinosaurs. He strips down, and bathes in the pool, not noticing he’s being watched. Jessie Haller comes up to him, having doffed most of her clothes, and enters the pool with him. Jessie gushes about how he saved them all, but Lucas isn’t convinced at all, his mind’s eye still replaying the fight with the dinosaurs. She coerces him closer to her, and Lucas distracts himself with her during the course of a romantic interlude, but his heart’s not in it, much to Jessie’s dismay. As they dress afterwards, she tries to talk to him, but he’s rude with her, and she stalks away. Jessie passes the other Storm Knights and their companions on the way out of the pool area. Andar and the others talk to him, and tell him that what happened was not his fault. While he’s obviously not convinced, he does agree to accompany the others and they go gather the rest of the survivors, and eat a hot meal with them.
Some two days later, the Storm Knights have realized that they can’t stay in the “safe vale” any longer if they plan to travel to Philadelphia. Unfortunately, one of the survivors and refugees has transformed [to the Living Land axioms] in the two days, and the former Daniel Payne has come to believe that the vale is a sanctuary of Lanala that guided the Storm Knights and the refugees here. Melanie, Wendy and Sandra talk to Lucas and tell him that he needs to rouse the rest of the survivors and convince them to leave. Lucaa’s heart isn’t in it, but Wendy talks to Jessie, and she is able to bring him around to it. Lucas makes an impassioned speech about the need to leave the vale and travel on, and convinces all the refugees, except Payne, to move on the next morning. [Lucas spends a Drama card doing so.] The Storm Knights and the survivor refugees make preparations for departing the next morning.
The next morning, another couple of the refugees transform, and decide that they will stay in the vale with the former Daniel Payne. The Storm Knights and the remaining ten (10) civilans/refugees set out on the next leg of their trip as the sun is beginning to rise. They arrive at Princeton, and Sandra suggests that if there is any bastion of civilization left there, it will be at the university. When the group reaches the university, they notice the centre of the university is less overgrown than the rest of the city, and is still recognizable as the university though plants are growing on the buildings and animals are now nesting in the offices. And then a T. rex makes its appearance!
Shouting to get the survivors moving, Melanie, Wendy and Sandra get them to the safety of the trees [using Maneuver rolls], but the T. rex tries to cut them off, though it is discouraged as Lucas fires his Glock at it to no effect due to its tough hide and size. Andar’s bat also proves of no use against it, his pure prowess just not a match for the dinosaur. Melanie, Wendy and Sandra get the survivors and themselves up trees [with the expenditure of 2 Adrenalin, a Supporter, and a Hero card], and watch in horror as the T. rex pursues Andar and Lucas through some of the university buildings. The T. rex manages to bite Lucas, inflicting a dangerous wound [that he manages to Soak completely, using a Drama card], but the attack on Andar is nimbly avoided by the transformed athlete. However, the two Storm Knights suddenly find themselves backed into a dead end, with nowhere to run, as the T-rex moves in for the kill.
The Storm Knights are saved as a group of edeinos come to their rescue. Riding triceratops and flying pteranodons [lakten], the edeinos and their leader kill the T. rex in a fight of savage brutality yet orderliness, with a ferocity that is underscored by efficiency. They seem to be using miracles and raw force to take out the T. rex. As the dinosaur dies, it lets out a tremendous roar that is answered from three directions. Once the three new T. rexes arrive, the edeinos brutally and ruthlessly take them on, and kill them efficiently. When the battle ends, Andar and Melanie notice that the edeinos put their weapons away. Their leader dismounts from his pteranodon, and comes forward to talk to the Storm Knights. Melanie, Sandra and Wendy, along with the refugees/survivors, approach Lucas and Andar cautiously, waiting to see what happens.
The two groups attempt to talk to one another, at first with no success. Then, Sandra (the librarian) hits on the solution. Through a combination of gestures and drawing in the dirt, she manages to establish communication with the edeinos. The edeinos than try to convince the Storm Knights of their good will, and doing so, wait patiently. Using his wit and charm, Lucas is able to get the edeinos to agree that the characters are good people. The Storm Knights realize they must convince the edeinos they are worthy allies. After all, the edeinos proved their worth, having driven off or killed three T. rexes. Based once more on what Lucas tries to convey, and his gesturing to Andar, the edeinos accept that the Storm Knights are worthy allies against their foe [the High Lord]. Finally, the Storm Knights try to convey, with Lucas once more carrying the load, that they need to get to Philadelphia. Galmok, the leader of the edeinos, understands what they want to do and offers to go with the characters. [Note that this entire sequence of communication was a Dramatic Skill Resolution, and was a lot of fun for the players to handle, with everyone giving the primary task attempter at each step advice - and the trading of lots of Destiny cards went on as well.]
The player characters learn that Galmok Heer leads a small tribe of 24 edeinos, the Iceflower tribe, and their flying creatures, the lakten, and the triceratops. At one time loyal to the High Lord Baruk Kaah [and he explains the term of “High Lord” as he understands it], Galmok saw that Baruk Kaah did not obey the laws or Lanala. He does not think the High Lord serves Lanala any longer, and after several moons on this new world, he and members of their former tribe who agreed with him broke from it. They now travel this part of the realm and work to help the Core Earthers when they can. The edeinos welcome the Storm Knights and the refugees into their campsite for the night, and revelry occurs. The Storm Knights talk among themselves that night, and come to several conclusions and make a few decisions.
Last night's (Friday) session of the Torg Eternity RPG campaign was a lot of fun, with some serious fighting, some tomfoolery and a bit of (adult) romance, and some wonderful roleplaying all making for a memorable game session. The players all commented that they had a terrific time of it, and Mark said that he thought Lucas was going to buy it when he Disconnected during the fight with the small dinosaurs. [That was again a mess-up on my part, as both the player and I forgot that he had the Realm Runner Perk, which allowed him to reduce the penalties on Disconnections and the like, among other things.] All the players were surprised at how tough they were, though they acknowledged that it was more their numbers that almost took them out. They also admitted to some shock given some of the other events of the session, but overall had a great time with the game.
I'm rather looking forward to running the next session of the Friday night Torg Eternity campaign next week. Can't wait! :)