What follows are the written notes that I took about the game (at Ellie's insistence), as she wanted me to post it up in the blog for all - well mostly her mom and dad - to see. :)
This is the tale of Ali Baba (JohnK) and Zumurrud (Ellie), and their travels across the lands of the Arabian Nights.
Zumurrud would be best described as a pious woman. While she was also skilled in storytelling and in the arts of (minor) magic, her religious nature and choices woujld largely determine the course of her life. On the other hand, Ali Baba was very much a thief, skilled in stealth and sneaking, but also was familiar with quick thinking and thinking on his feet, and with the use of weapons. Their adventures would become the stuff of legend.
Ali Baba set out from Baghdad seeking a mysterious woman who was to be his true love, one who dwelled far distant from the City of Light at the heart of the world. Travelling into the wilderness heading for Bulgars, Ali came upon a small artifact but was blinded by it! Undaunted, he continued his quest.
Meanwhile, Zumurrud set out from fabled Baghdad in an attempt to help a wealthy merchant find a suitable spouse. The merchant promised a hefty reward, though of course Zumurrud acted too out of the goodness of her heart. She set out for the far-off city of Su-Chou, where there was reported to be a slave market of extraordinary quality. The merchant hoped to marry a slave that Zumurrud would purchase for her. Encountering a small village with strange customs, Zumurrud married a man but when he died, discovered they had the custom of burying the surviving spouse with the dead mate! Caught attempting to escape, Zumurrud was beaten and then thrown into a pit, crippled. Encountering another woman in the pit who would not share her food, Zumurrud fell into a sleep like death, but was retrieved by a grave robber who took her for dead, and stripped her of her belongings. She managed to crawl out of the pit, dazed, with no memory of who she is, and penniless.
Continuing his travels, Ali came upon a terrible sight - a demonic 'efreet! Fleeing in terror, Ali was pursued by the creature but was able to fend it off, and gaining stories to tell in the process. However, in the process, Ali came upon his true love in the city of Yalta, and married her becoming a vizier (he also gained courtly graces and wisdom). Heading back to Baghdad by the long route, Ali came upon a pitiable sight - a creature like unto a wax statue of a man whose legs were transfixed in a pillar of basalt. While he could not aid the wretch, he felt pity and continued on his way.
Zumurrud's travels towards Su-Chou had her encounter a captain during a caravan trip, wherein he offered to split the profits if she aided him in robbing them. She prayed to Allah for help, and chose to refuse his offer, but in the process regained her sanity and sense of purpose. Continuing her travels, Zumurrud came upon a small kohl pot that allowed her to see miraculous treasures all around her, but her religious wisdom enabled her to see the truth in these shadows. She discarded the pot for a small fortune and a good story to tell, and then continued her travels to Su-Chou.
Continuing on his travels, Ali came upon a multitude of brigands. As they counted their loot beneath his tree!, Ali fell out of the tree, and fled into the forest. The brigands, for some reason, did not follow. Travelling on, Ali came upon a hypnotic beggar who proved to be of the cult of Magian, and decided to kill the evil man. Ambushing the magian and his bodyguards, Ali slaughtered them with ease, his weapon prowess increasing dramatically.
Arriving in Su-Chou, Zumurrud came upon a mad enchantress, but she was less than that, and when she attempted to follow her, Zumurrud beat her off until she learned her lesson. Travelling with another sea captain, she attempted to avoid him, but found that with the vessel trapped in a whirlpool, it was better to swim for shore, and that is what she did. In relation to her quest, Zumurrud found that the slave market exceeded her highest expectations, and she selected a slave who seemed perfect in all ways. In fact, despite her intentions to return the slave to the merchant, she found that she had fallen in love with him herself. Knowing that she would be stricken with grief if they were forced to part, she shunned the generous reward offered by the merchant and chose to marry the slave herself. Zumurrud was unfortunately pursued by the angry merchant who had planned to marry the slave, but this small shadow was unable to mar Zumurrud’s marital bliss, especially as she didn’t have much trouble staying ahead of her pursuer. She also managed to increase her wealth during this time.
Still heading for Baghdad, Ali came upon an infidel temple, and with a band of trusted men, attacked the temple. Making their way to the inner chambers, Ali and his men foiled a number of traps, and searching the outer chamber, discovered the treasure was hidden in plain sight! Gaining more wealth than he knew what to do with, Ali's quick thinking became legendary among the men and others. Returning finally to Baghdad, Ali Baba met a wise sage and learned a good deal from the man. He decided the time had come to return to see his wife and tend to the lands that he now owned, and vowed to head for Yalta.
Leaving Su-Chow in pursuit of some travel opportunities, Zumurrud came upon a farmer and helping him, stumbled on a chest full of coins. Having a religious change of heart when she first thought of stealing it, she gives the money to the farmer who is delighted to have it as he must ransom his son. As she travelled on, the merchant whom she had robbed of a slave finally caught up with her! Attempting to flee, the merchant caught her and punished her, crippling her severely and leaving her for dead.
While heading for Yalta, Ali came upon a gooleh (ghoul) who had trapped a man in the branches of a tree. Unable to tell whether the man or the gooleh was telling the truth, Ali continued towards Yalta, and his loving wife. On the outskirts of Yalta, Ali came upon a nomadic tribe of Bedouins, obviously brigands, and spotted a large caravan in the distance. Warning the caravan, Ali was well-rewarded for his efforts, and gained some new friends. Travelling back to Baghdad on a mission of some mercy, Ali came upon a dying beggar in the mountains and was rewarded with wisdom and knowledge, and found himself blessed by Allah - his blindness was gone!
Recovering from her wounds, Zumurrud discovered a golden statue of a coiled serpent inside a stone building. As the gold eyes glittered, the statue moved, shattering the rear wall of the building! Zumurrud fled in terror, as the creature lunged at her with adamant fangs. Some time later, while visiting a wealthy man in his home, Zumurrud finds a trapdoor hidden in the library. Carefully opening the trapdoor, she discovers fabulous gems - and the turban of an evil Magian fire-worshipper! She quite cheerfully robs the infidel blind, before leaving the house the next morning.
Returning to Baghdad, Ali met what appeared to be at first a foolish sage, but when he attempted to converse with the man, discovered him to be a numb witted fool in truth, with nothing to teach of value.
Travelling through Herat, Zumurrud comes upon a very large house fire, people running back and forth, the cries of several victims keening in her ears. She cries out, but a man tells her to stop her keening and shoves her in among the women and children who wail and lament the blaze.
And thus concludes the description of last night's game. I dearly love this game, a game about storytelling at its heart, with the winners and losers secondary to that aim. Ellie had a terrific time playing the game last night with me, and she dearly wants to do a five- or six-player game when her folks and the rest of the Friday night gaming group are around. In the meantime, great evening, and I got to relax with my goddaughter and take my mind off my own troubles.
Made today seem just that bit brighter.