So, figured I'd take the time to blog the game session from Friday night. The Friday gaming group continued their Shadows of Esteren campaign, starting a brand new scenario. You can read about the previous session in this blog entry, but it's not necessary since this entry starts a new adventure. As usual, the blog entry is quite long, so for those who are interested it is presented behind the cut so as to allow non-rpgers the mercy of not having to read the entry! :) For those who want to do so, enjoy! :)
Note: If you are in my Sunday gaming group, please do not read this post, as there are spoilers in it for a future scenario that you'll be playing in. Thanks. :)
Earr 18th, 907
The player characters begin the scenario around a week after their initial travails, and life is anything but mundane. The characters have healed of their injuries for the most part. Mylofa Kranet (Kathy) has been kept busy at the Farigal Ale House the last few days, as caravan traffic passing through the village has made the inn a well-populated locale. Tips have been good. Guirec (Nick) has been kept busy with guard duty, both in the village and with several caravans. Corentin Syanaf (Tom) has been busy with his own livelihood in the village. Nolwenn (Joanne) has gone about her ionnthén duties with dispatch. She and Corentin have spent some time together, and various villager tongues have expressed the view that the two are sweet on each other, much to their dismay (even if it is somewhat true). Morvena (Angela) has taken the week off to relax in the village of Tálesh for a bit, and has found herself the victim of Marija's (Ellie) idolation. The young Tarish girl and Taamra have been taken in by Dider and Alis Refell, while Taamra looks for a job in the village, and Marija has been behaving herself quite well, seemingly having settled into Tálesh life quite easily. Mazeo Balcaren (David) continues to run his small general store, and the arrival of trade goods and other mercantile items the past week has meant that business is good.
While going about their late evening business, on a relatively warm early spring evening, Marija is exploring the village of Tálesh when she comes across several figures skulking in the shadows of one of the more isolated parts of the village. The characters hear the scream of someone they recognise (Marija), and rush with all due dispatch to the scene. Guirec, Corentin, and Mylofa arrive on the scene to find what appear to be some rat-like men closing in on the young Tarish girl.
Guirec recognises them as Rattamen, a cult and/or tribe of hardy individuals who live in the wilderness surrounding the human settlements of Taol-Kaer, living like rats. Dressed in ragged clothes and wearing ill-fitting hoods, they bear leather armour and wield knives and spears, the rattamen attack the characters. Corentin shoves Marija behind him, and the three player characters attack and make short work of the rattamen. Nolwenn, Morvena, and several Tálesh guards arrive as the fight ends, and watch as Marija kicks one of the rattamen hard in the shins. Searching the rattamen, Mylofa finds a map on the person of the seeming leader, and the characters gather up their weapons, 15' rope, tinder and flint, and a small gem of unknown type to the characters. Once they are questioned, they gain no information from the rattamen other than they were supposed to find a dropped off stash and take it to another client several miles outside the town along the west road.
While the village guards and Guirec usher the rattaman prisoners to the local gaol, Taamra arrives to take charge of Marija, much against the girl's desires, and Mylofa, Corentin, Nolwenn, and Morvena head over to the Farigal Ale House for a drink and browse over the map found on the rattaman. The foursome realise that the map is that of the town of Tálesh, and are able to make heads or tails of the map with Corentin's help. He tells the others, after they are joined by Mazeo that the area where they found the rattamen was about 300 yards from their destination: the cellar of an inn that burned down during the last Feondas attack several years ago. The building and that part of the town was never re-built, as resources at the time were scarce, but Corentin believes that several of the goatherds and farmers use the area to store their animals there. The player characters are joined by Guirec, and they decide to take action the next morning. Guirec tells them that the rattamen are quite uncooperative, and that they may be killed, as has been the town's policy since they first started appearing and causing problems for the villagers.
The next morning, the player characters and the townsfolk are called to Moot. The Ansailéir, Edwart Mac Fhiorren, tells the villagers of what occurred last night, and that the townspeople have to be on the alert for more incursions by the rattamen, as it is unknown how they got into the village. He announces that the rattamen will be kept prisoner in the town gaol until they possibly learn more about their plans, as Heald of Dearg (the Bard) has heard that the rattamen have been active of late. In the meantime, he has learned of the map that the players acquired, and grants them the first shot at learning what it leads to.
Mylofa, Guirec, Corentin, Nolwenn, Morvena, the curious Mazeo, and young Marija head back to where the attack by the rattamen occurred, and are quickly able to find the location marked on the map. They find all manner of recent humanoid-sized tracks, leading around the building. Cautiously, the player characters make their way into the burnt, ruined structure, and with some effort are able to gain entrance to the cellar of the old inn. Whatever the rattamen were looking for is supposed to be in the northern wall somewhere. The sharp eyes of Mylofa see a few loose bricks, recently disturbed as there are no cobwebs there. The characters find a set of six keys of a fairly small nature, a small bag containing a wax-sealed bag, a scroll case with a map of some sort in it, that reveals a small burial mound that Corentin recognises as being around a day's walk from the village.
The characters, minus Marija, return to visit the Ansailéir, and he informs them that the area marked on the new map is Talkéride in origin, and shows a small burial cairn located in a small stone circle. He says that all sorts of people from various Talkéride and other communities in the area are buried there, but that many had believed the cairn to have been plundered years ago. He tells them that they need to talk to Keogan, the Demorthen of Tálesh, to see if he can shed any light on matters. Visiting the Demorthèn, Nolwenn appeals to him for assistance, but while he tells them that he can help them, it would be inadvisable to go there. All manner of "craven beasts" can be ound there; the Demorthèn have said that the place is now cursed. Nolwenn tries to get him to accompany them, but Keogan is having none of it; he has other duties to attend to, but suggests that Nolwenn and her friends go and investigate if they are inclined to do so. However, he adds, that he has warned them, and so "on your heads be it."
The player characters decide to set off for the cairn just after midday, and make arrangements to be let out of their daily routine, and prepare themselves for travel. They set out on the somewhat bright, cool spring day, and have an eagerness to their steps. After a few hours of travel, the characters split off from the main path, continuing to follow the map's route. Morvena tells them that all the evidence would indicate that this road has not been used in some long while.
After some time off the road, cutting their way through vegetation here and there, the characters hear the sound of rusted metal grating, as though something is swinging in the breeze. About one hundred feet further along the winding route, they see a metallic basket hanging from a sturdy ancient tree. Morvena and Corentin see that a long decayed body of a human, bone starting to rot away and flesh long since gone, is lying in the bottom of the cage. The lock on the cage seems to be rusted through. Nolwenn has a bad feeling about approaching the skeletal form, and Mazeo agrees with her for reasons of his own. But Morvena and Guirec are curious, and move forward. In horror, the player characters watch as slowly but surely the skeletal form drops to the ground, and then rises as a full-fledged skeleton - a gleaming, curved blade appearing out of nowhere!
The Friday game session of Shadows of Esteren went surprisingly well, with a good deal of character development, and the players were intrigued by the map and what they might find by following its route. They were totally surprised at the events in the wilderness at the session's end, and had a pretty good time of it. The combat system is becoming old hat to these players, and they're efficiently and effectively getting into the fights that come their way and resolve them with good speed. The character personalities are starting to fit the players like gloves (with the exception of Ellie who is still a bit too young to appreciate some of the nuances), and they're liking the whole "feel" of the game world around their characters.