Chanda the Dark-Haired (KathyB) - Saabi Thief
Derori Bat Natanyu (Angela) - Shiradi Storyteller
Meheka the Wise (Ellie) - Saabi Sage, Sorceress
Menachim Bar Vidal (Mark) - Shiradi Physician
Erick Olafsson (Peter) - Orkadian Mercenary/Adventurer
(6th day of the second Ten-day of the 4th Month of the year 5997)
As morning arrives, the player characters meet for an early morning meal in the Sand of Imwar’s common room. It’s early enough that there’s no one else around, other than the inn’s staff. Over their meal, the Dragon-Marked discuss what they plan to do, and how they intend to approach the campsite of the agents of Carrassine. No one has a really good suggestion, so Chanda the Dark-Haired wryly comments, “So the plan is we’ll just go up to the campsite of the agents [of Carrassine] and see what they have to say for themselves?” Edrick Olafsson says, “Bluntness is good”, and the rest of the characters get a good laugh from that. They head to their rooms to pack and prepare, and agree to meet downstairs at the next hour.
After making some quick purchases in the souk, including a couple of camels, the Dragon-Marked set out from Seph, heading to the west. The player characters talk about their plans, and Meheka the Wise emphasizes the need to acquire information on their opponents first. They are in agreement that Chanda will attempt to scout once they get closer, though she says that it’s harder to do so in desert waste than in urban areas. After several hours travel, the terrain begins to change to serir, and Derori Bat Natanyu points out several tracks to the others, definitely not animal tracks and somewhat relatively recent [she rolls a 14, with 4 Magnitude]. The others become somewhat more cautious as they travel, looking to Derori and Edrick for guidance. Trees and small shrubs become visible up ahead, and it is Menachim Bar Vidal who spots the oasis up ahead first. The group decides that it is time to scout, and it is Chanda who sets off towards the oasis.
With Chanda absent, Meheka says that she has a plan - but they aren’t going to like it. The Dragon-Marked, minus Chanda, go over their plans, waiting for the Saabi thief to return. A couple of hours later, Chanda returns and she does not look happy. She tells the others that there is indeed a very small oasis up ahead, one that she believes isn’t on any maps (though she hazards a guess that most merchants may know of the place). And it is there also that the agents of Carrassine have set up their base of operations. Her careful scouting indicated there were perhaps five Carrassine agents, including Shimon and Sarah, but there were some 20-25 mercenaries (wearing Carrassine colours) and the (former?) Red Lion of Shirad. (Only Meheka sees the look that crosses Edrick’s face at the mention of Sarah.) The Dragon-Marked discuss the ramifications of this, and Meheka tells Chanda the plan - they will try to pretend that they are travelling from Seph to the west, in the hopes of going the main caravan road that leads from Carrassine south to the forges of Ishankti. When she asks why they are travelling west, Meheka tells Chandra that they are mercenaries themselves, banded together to travel and work together, but the former is not pleased about this, as Meheka well knows, as Chanda detests mercenaries for reasons that she’s not told her companions as of yet. (It’s also one of the reasons that Chanda turned down Edrick’s advances towards her.) Since they are several miles yet to the oasis, the group decides to camp among the stony protuberances that they are near, Meheka sensing no danger from them [she chose to use Urim and Turim to decide the matter, thus losing a point of Heroism]. The party camps for the night.
Once the Dragon-Marked have eaten and camp has been established with a night watch determined, Meheka pays a visit to Edrick, who is quite surprised by the fact. She asks him whether he can function properly if forced to fight the Carrassine agents, given how he feels about Sarah. Edrick counters that she seems to know of his affection for the Carrassine girl, and asks what she thinks. Meheka responds with a laugh, saying that she hopes that his loyalty towards his new-found Dragon-Marked friends exceeds the feelings of temptation that he’s feeling towards the Carrassine girl. He replies by saying that she knows him pretty well for someone who’s made his acquaintance less than a Tenday ago. Meheka laughs, saying that she’s a pretty good judge of character, but Edrick counters that she doesn’t know Orkadians that well. “Perhaps not,” she replies, “but you’ve been among the Saabi too long. It shows.” Meheka bids him goodnight, as Edrick takes up his watch.
The evening passes uneventfully, though Meheka wakes sore tempered and somewhat tired, having had terrible dreams during her sleep. Once the characters pack their belongings and tend to the camels, they set off in the general direction of the oasis. As they near the oasis, the Dragon-Marked see that it is indeed a small oasis, but there are clear signs of current activity. Once the player characters come to the attention of some of the oasis’ inhabitants, they wait about 1/2 a mile from the oasis as a small group of guards approaches them. The guards, all dressed in similar dark grey armour, approach cautiously, bearing Agalanthian weapons of war (spears, though a couple have tridents, gladius or spatha, and kopis). They inquire, somewhat pleasantly if Derori is any judge of conduct, as to what the player characters want. Derori says that they are travelling west to join the main caravan route south to Ishankti, and merely wish to freshen their supplies at the oasis. Edrick recognizes two of the Agalanthians as being those he encountered in Seph, but says nothing. The (Agalanthan) mercenaries agree to take them to the oasis, where they can speak with their leader. The group sets off in the direction of the oasis, Edrick noticing that the Agalanthians bring up the rear.
Once they arrive at the oasis, the Dragon-Marked are given no time to take in the oasis and its resources. One of the Agalanthians, Coros, hands them off to a burly Saabi fighter, who does not introduce himself (but whose name they catch as Rashan), who leads them to a somewhat large green tent. Inside, they are introduced to Deborah Bat Miryam, the [former] Red Lion. The characters allow Meheka to speak for them, and she and Deborah exchange in a battle of wits, something of a surprise to the Saabi sage, but she manages to convince the Red Lion that they are telling the truth of their desire to travel further west and merely spend a day or two at the oasis. Deborah says that the oasis can provide for their needs, so they are welcome. She says that she will assign them a spare tent for the time spent in the oasis, and the characters agree (though Chanda and Derori are not happy at the idea of spending the night, or any night, in a tent with Edrick and/or Menachim). Deborah calls for Coros, and has him arrange for their sleeping quarters. Before they leave the tent, Deborah tells them they should not disturb her or her people. When Meheka cautiously asks what Deborah and her people are doing in the oasis, the (former) Red Lion tells them that it is none of their business. Coros leads them out of the tent.
Coros lead them to a rather large, red tent deeper in the oasis, with shade from some palm trees and several fruiting bushes. They can hear the sound of water flowing from somewhere nearby. Coros bids them farewell and tells them to mind what Lady Deborah said. The characters make themselves comfortable, and discuss their first impressions of the (former) Red Lion and what they’ve seen so far of her people. Meheka tells them they need to go out and look around a bit, see what else they can find and learn, and then they’ll proceed from there. The group does so.
Meheka goes out and finds the source of the sound of water. It is a small merrily bubbling brook that seems to emanate from a series of small rocks and then flows some 100 paces before descending into the earth. She sense no magic about it [though she succeeded at an INT + Willpower roll to Detect Magic] and refills her own and the others’ waterskins. Chanda goes to see what she can figure out about the area of the oasis, and discovers its dimensions and that the Carrassines are taking up the whole oasis. While searching the area out, she comes upon the remains of two sets of burned out wagons, but before she can find anything about them, she’s approached by a burly Agalanthian guard who tells her there’s nothing for her to see in the area, and orders her to leave. Thinking the better of it, she does so. Derori finds herself a small area where she can sit and make some music and compose a few stories about her recent adventures. When she next looks up, she sees a small crowd of the mercenaries and two of the agents [not Shimon or Sarah] and begins to tell stories and sing, playing along on her small zither. The audience appreciates her abilities, some cheering and whistling in approval while others toss a few coins at her [she makes a couple of Gold Talents worth of cash]. While playing, Derori tries to listen in on several of the conversations around her, but she can’t focus all that well while telling stories and playing music. Menachim takes his physician’s kit with him, and wanders the area of the oasis campsite, inquiring if anyone needs his services. Several of the mercenaries do, and he treats them, taking what payment from them that they offer [he makes some 2 Gold Talents and 8 Copper]. He does learn several interesting facts about the mercenaries and the other Carrassine soldiers here. And their purpose. Edrick walks around the oasis, looking at potential defensive possibilities and any weaknesses in the Carrassine mercenaries’ camp and set-up but finds very little. He recognizes the (former) Red Lion’s handiwork here, but nothing out of the ordinary. As he walks around, Edrick is approached by Sarah. She asks him what he and his friends are doing at the oasis, and he tells her. The two engage in some outright flirting and seductive talk (but he’s not very good at it [he only as Flattery at 1]), and she laughingly dismisses that part of the conversation, turning it back to more serious matters. He asks Sarah what she and her fellow “agents” are doing in the area of Seph, but she refuses to tell him. Edrick demands to know if she and her allies are responsible for the disappearances and murders of the various caravans and their personnel in the area, but she merely tries to seduce him again. When that fails [as he uses his Loyalty to his friends], she is highly annoyed at him. They are interrupted by the arrival of Shimon, who tells his “little sister” to not play games with the Orkadian “barbarian”. Edrick barely manages to maintain his temper, but Shimon can see that he’s gotten under the Dragon-Marked’s skin. As the two leave, Edrick wishes he’d never left the inn at Seph. He quickly decides he’s had enough for the day, and returns to the tent assigned to the Dragon-Marked.
Friday night's game session of the Capharnaüm - The Tales of the Dragon-Marked campaign was very good, and highly enjoyable for both me and the players. There was a bit of something for everyone in the session, each of the characters having a momentary spotlight shone on them and all of the players agreed that it was a most interesting session with some intriguing elements to them. While there was no physical combat, there was a good deal of psychological combat in the session and the players were pleased with how things went.
Overall, a good session of the Capharnaüm - The Tales of the Dragon-Marked RPG and I'm rather looking to the game session on Friday night in two weeks time.