Santi Sarkos (KathyB) - Bold Thief
Ollia Tarkun (Angela) - Cautious Explorer
Xosa Sassek (Ellie) - Driven Airship Pilot (First Born)
Atros Aasan (Mark) - Romantic Envoy
Kantos Shamm (Peter) - Compassionate Panthan
Padan 2, Teean 1, Ord 1
The player characters travel through the ruins of Kovarr with caution, searching for a somewhat intact place to treat their injuries, rest and spend the night. It is Santi Sarkos who spots a likely structure and points it out to Ollia Tarkun. The player characters make their way towards it, encountering no problems reaching it, and Ollia tells the others she will scout it out to make sure it’s safe. She does so, and returns to the others, and then leads them into the building ruins, which the others determine was some sort of public hall or drinking house. They reach a small chamber in the structure that is very intact. Ollia tells them that it’s perfect for their needs, and there’s even an old fire pit for them to use. Using some of the materials that she brought along for the purpose, Ollia sets a fire going [she spent a Momentum for this] and and is surprised when Santi and Atros Aasan also chip in some materiel that they find other parts of the ruined structure.
The characters proceed to treat their wounds and other injuries, engaging in some small talk, and having some cooked thoat with a few vegetables that Atros has with him [he spent a Threat for this]. They chat over the meal while discussing how to proceed the next day, and then set a watch for the evening; Santi will take the first watch, Ollia will take the midnight watch, and Kantos Shamm will take the daybreak watch. The player characters settle in for the night.
The morning arrives with the player characters having had a good night’s sleep, undisturbed by any events. Xosa Sassek tells them that during her watch she spotted several banths wandering the area. When asked, she says that she patrolled the whole ruined structure, and they are rather aghast at the thought that she left them asleep and unguarded while on her ambles. Xosa doesn’t see the problem, as they were safe for the night, but the others chastise her for what she did. The group packs their belongings, and Ollia remembers she has the journal/book on her. She tells the others, but says she didn’t have time to look at it with all that happened the day before and her exhaustion when they settled in for the night. They decide to look at the journal/book later [I added 2 Threat to my pool, much to the players’ consternation], and proceed to head out of the ruined building.
Emerging cautiously from the building, the player characters see no signs of life. Ollia finds the tracks that were made by the banths the night before, and determines there were three or four of them. Santi and Atros shudder, and state they’re glad they didn’t have to fight the creatures. Several zodes later, Ollia agrees with the others that there’s nothing of interest and value to be found in the ruins. At least nothing they can seemingly find. Atros and Santi both disagree with her, stating that the trinkets they picked up have to be worth something in one of the markets of the Principality. She merely grunts, and turns away. Atros comes up to her, and tells her that perhaps the book/journal that she has can shed some light on a few things. She agrees, and says that she’ll go through the journal when they camp for the night, but if there’s no insight there, she’ll lead them back to the rendezvous with the flier that is due to pick them up. He agrees, saying they’ll talk about it later with the others. The group heads for another of the ruined structures.
As they reach the edge of a structure that appears to be largely falling apart, Santi shouts a warning that she heard something. As both Xosa and Kantos draw their weapons, a group of 10 humanoids comes charging at the characters. They are about the same height as a red Martian, but have pale skin, wild eyes, ragged stringy hair, are wearing what seems to be old and worn harnesses, and bear vicious hooked blades. The other characters draw their weapons, and Atros attempts to calm them down but is unable to do so. The creatures attack, and the player characters are hard pressed to defend themselves against the sheer savagery. Santi is able to defend herself against the two that attack her, and takes both of them down quickly, though not before she suffers a serious wound [5 Fear Damage and an Affliction, though she generated Momentum and spent Threat in her attacks]. Ollia defends herself with a modicum of caution, suffering a slight injury [2 Injury stress and a Fear stress], but is able to defeat both her attackers in a good amount of time [she spent Momentum and 3 Threat during the fight]. Xosa attacks the two that come at her, and viciously defeats them in a quick flurry of motion, her blade sending the two humanoids to Issus, a battle cry on her lips. [She spent Momentum as well as 2 Threat to do so.] Atros’s weapon skills are put to the test against his two attackers, but the diplomat uses his vim and his ability to judge reactions to good effect, and though he is injured [taking 3 Confusion stress and 3 Fear stress] is able to defeat the two. With his dying breath, one of them tells Atros that the Thokosi will pursue them if it takes a lifetime of lifetimes. Kantos, who has been eager to get some action for the day, attacks his foes with viciousness but compassion, all the time entreating them to flee the scene. he suffers a cut to his arm [2 Injury stress] and takes the two humanoids to pieces with his sword work.
In the aftermath of the fight, a calm and quiet descends on the ruins. The characters comment on what just happened, and the sheer violence of it all, and Atros tells the others what the dying humanoid (presumably a Thokosi?) said. Ollia goes a bit pale, and asks him to confirm what he heard. When he does, she says that they have just fought members of the Thokos tribe. They are rumoured to be one of the nomad tribes that fell on hard times, and now inhabit places where white apes are rarely found, and are said to be savage, yet cunning and vicious fighters who live in small groupings of 20 to 30 individuals. Seeking temporary refuge in the ruined structure, the characters work on Santi’s injuries, as she gazes around in some trepidation. Atros is cared for by Kantos, as the former seems jumpy and fearful. Ollia is eager to depart the shifting, dangerous structure. As the others regroup and they vacate the structure, part of the building starts to collapse around them. The player characters barely make it out of the building, though as soon as they do so it seems to stabilize once more.
The player characters skirt through the ruins once more, Ollia leading the group cautiously. She tells the others what little else she knows of the Thokos and the group ponders encountering them again. Xosa laments that she didn’t take one of the Thokosi weapons that she saw them use, but she says that she didn’t feel “right” about doing so and is not sure why. The player characters continue searching several of the ruined structures, finding nothing of value, and finally decide to camp for the night. The characters prepare a frugal meal for themselves in the ruins of what was once a hall of worship (though none of them can determine who or what was worshipped there), and Ollia takes out the journal/book she found. It is difficult for her to peruse, as it is written in an ancient form of the Barsoomian tongue, but she [spends 2 Momentum and 2 Threat] is able to determine that it is the diary of one Saval Grev, and deals with the last days of Kovarr. The city was devastated by a green Martian horde after the oceans had disappeared sufficiently, and while there were survivors (including the writer) the predation of wild animals finished off many others and so the survivors fled south. Saval Grev chose not to, staying behind with others who felt as he did, but the diary ends in the middle of a siege by red Martians, though who they were is unknown. She is disappointed in the diary’s tale, but is cheered up when Santi tells her that it could be of value to a scholar in Saradin. After setting the watch, the player characters retire for the night.
The morning dawns bright and hot, and the player characters quickly make their preparations to head out for the day. Ollia disusses matters with the others, and the group of characters decide that it’s time to head south and return to the Principality of Karakh. With the decision made, the player characters make to depart south and out of the ruined city. It is the sharp eyes of Xosa Sassek that spots the flier that is approaching from the east. Using her field glasses [she pays 2 Momentum for them], Ollia is unable to identify the flier’s markings. And then the flier’s radium cannon opens fire on the player characters...!
Friday night's game session of the John Carter of Mars Roleplaying Game campaign was pretty good, with the characters having a good mix of roleplaying stuff and doing combat things. The players made good progress through the material, dealt with some more problems with Ellie's Xosa, and had a nasty surprise at the end of the session which led to the neat "To be continued..." moment. One thing that did come up was the fact that the players rolled terribly on the dice during the fight scene during the session, and used a ton of Threat in order to win out. Given the fact that I started the session with around 21 Threat (the normal value for the five player characters and the sum of their Luck scores), at one point during the fight I was sitting with forty-one (41!!!) Threat. Just crazy. The players enjoyed themselves a lot, as they told me afterwards, but actually felt some fear about their characters' lives during that fight due to the poor dice rolling.
Overall, another good session of the John Carter of Mars Roleplaying Game game with the Friday night players. I can't wait for the next session in two weeks, barring unforeseen stuff, and they're rather looking forward to it as well.