Day 24, Month 8, 3 After the Night of Fire (ANoF)
The session begins some two months after the player characters have returned to Wilkerson Dale. There have been some changes in the village. Construction on a wooden wall has begun in the aftermath of several attacks by goblins and orcs on the village. Several newcomers, primarily human, have arrived and settled in the village, and life in the village has continued without the player characters.
Kiarra Foxten is pleased to see that the Harp and the Hare, her inn, has survived her absence, although there are several problems. Asper Kalvi appears to have settled in nicely, but there are strange things about the girl, as Renna Wiltane (who took over running the inn in Kiarra's absence) tells her. She agrees to look into the matter. Devron Sharpis inspects his troops, and finds that the "soldiers" under his charge, now numbering 26, are lacking in certain basic skills. He assigns his second-in-command, Vale Joranis, to add some new drills for the men to practice. The relationship between Kiarra and Devron cools somewhat during their time in the village, as work and renewing ties with friends and allies takes precedence, but Anderton Hayzel (the mayor) and the villagers are pleased at the relationship. Barm Vaks discovers that Venta Hayzel, the love of his life, had another miscarriage some two months ago, and he is devastated. Her father, Anderton Hayzel, is not displeased about the relationship, but tells Barm that he needs to remain in Wilkerson Dale and take care of his daughter, as well as teach the hunters some of his tricks. Barm takes it :under advisement." Torvu Peng's return stirs up some bad feelings among the other village Rovers, who feel that he's not looking after his mercantile interests, and his own people in the village. Torvu differs with them in this regard, and finds it difficult to re-establish some business in the village. Finally, Teela Goran feels that there is something missing in her life. While she continues to work at the Harp and Hare, she feels the village stifles her connection to Nature, especially with the new walls, and desires to spend some time away from the village on retreat.
While the player characters dine together one night at the Harp and the Hare, discussing their various problems and matters, they are summoned to the presence of the village Council and Mayor Anderton in the common meeting hall. Mayor Anderton tells them of the small community that has been established at Stor's End in their absence, but that there is a problem... the supply wagon that was due two days ago has not arrived, and he would appreciate it if the player characters were to travel to Stor's End, and see what has happened to the supplies. The player characters do not wish to go as they have only just settled in to their daily lives once more, but Anderton Hayzel tells them that they are the only ones for the assignment: no one else in the village has the degree of wilderness travel and experience that they do. The player characters reluctantly agree to go to Stor's End. They agree to leave in one day's time.
After making their preparations the day before and dealing with the various business and work and family concerns, the player characters set off on the 26th for Stor's End, heading southwest from the village. As they travel, they discuss the irony of the fact that they've come full circle (their first trip together after the Long Winter was to Stor's End, then a goblin village and storehouse). Teela says that they've come a long way, and they've changed, since that time. The player characters make camp in a small copse of wood for the night.
Morning dawns bright and cool, but warms up a little as the day progresses. The player characters continue their travels onward. The player characters come upon a small caravan that seems to heading to the southeast. They chat with the caravan master, a Rover named Ni Lanah, who tells them that he comes from the village of Fairwell, west of the Clandar Hills, and is bound for a new village that he has heard of, Reren's Folly, that lies somewhere to the southeast. He and Torvu Peng get along rather well, and are able to make a deal for some merchandise. The two merchants talk for some time. When the rest of the group question this decision, Torvu says they may need some trade items when they reach Stor's End. When asked why he says that, Torvu becomes somewhat enigmatic.
The player characters depart the merchant caravan and continue on towards the southwest. They camp for the night by a small stream near a wooded region that wasn't there the last time they came this way. Concerned at first, the area is serene and quiet, and the player characters are able to catch a few fish and forage for some berries, and other edible plants. The player characters are woken by the screams of Kiarra, on watch in the early morning hours, as she is attacked by a pair of fern spiders. Barm Vaks and Devron Sharpis are able to leap quickly to her defense, and attack the creatures with the aid of Torvu Peng and Teela Goran. Both Barm and Kiarra take a venomous wound, but are treated by Teela and recover, although the player characters are forced to spend an extra day by the copse while the two recover from their wounds, suffering from the bite wounds.
Setting out for Stor's End once more, the player characters arrive to find the settlement in shambles, the smoking remains of the place bearing evidence of an attack of some sort. Kiarra and Barm head to scout the situation out, while Devron organises the others for defensive purposes. As they skirt a series of shrubs and boulders, Kiarra and Barm are attacked by a pair of orcs wearing leather armour and carrying axes and clubs. Barm is able to hold his own against the orc attacking him, but sees that Kiarra is in trouble, only her speed and agility keeping the orc from inflicting serious harm on her. Barm is able to defeat his foe, but takes a couple of wounds, but between them, Barm and Kiarra drive the other orc off. The Oruskan flees back deeper into the ruins of Stor's End. Staggering together, the two characters make it back to Devron Sharpis and the others, before Kiarra collapses.
As you can see, the players and their characters have their work cut out for them. Both Nick and Kathy said they had wondered whether Stor's End was going to come back to bite them in the ass, and they're getting their answers in this adventure, methinks. :) While Desolation does have its in-built themes, the consequences of one's previous actions in the post-apocalyptic fantasy world is something that I've been leading up to for a while. This applies both in terms of the characters' absence from the village for a long period of time, and something they did (freeing up the resources of Stor's End) about eight months game time previously. Kathy freaked out a little bit about the fern spiders, not surprising given her dread of the "eight leggers" in real life, but she said that she had a good time, even if her character seemed to get beat up this session.