Sunday, March 21, 2010

Friday Night Campaign, Session One

On Friday night (the 19th), I ran the first session of my BoL campaign.  The set-up was the one I mentioned a few posts ago: having discovered new clues to the whereabouts of the lost city of M'lor, the alchemist Radam Tyl recruits a band of intrepid heroes to travel to the Jungles of Qo, locate M'lor, and return with whatever First Age knowledge survives in the city archives.  (The BoL rulebook identifies M'lor as a Second Age city, but that doesn't seem to jibe with its "lost" status—so I moved it back in time.)

Radam Tyl's recruits (and the players' heroes):
  1. Dakar, a Valgardian swordsman whose brief career in piracy ended with him being booted off the ship and left to fend for himself in the port district of Zalut.  Played by Dave.
  2. Daneel, a Shamballan gladiator who parlayed his success in Satarla's arena into a noble's title.  He has come to Zalut to investigate rumors of sorcerous interference in the Sartalan games.  Played by Brian.
  3. Irryn, a dancer turned assassin who left her home in the Port of the Sea Lords to execute a contract on the magician Samaldran.  Played by Tim.
  4. Segdral Darkstar, a Halakti assassin who has also been hired to kill Samaldran (albeit by a different client).  He and Irryn met while casing their shared target and agreed to work together.  Played by David.
The adventure began with the heroes' arrival at Radam Tyl's luxurious townhouse.  Each of them was met at the door by Tyl's most notorious creations: his uplifted dinosaur servants.  While these small dinosaurs did not prove capable of human speech (forcing the players to endure my dinosaur squeaks and hisses), they were able to mix drinks, serve canapes, and light dreamsmoke pipes.  Tyl eventually arrived and made his pitch to the heroes, sweetening the deal with several chests of gold and jewels.  (The heroes were also allowed to take whatever loot they wanted from M'lor, provided that they saved the scrolls they found for Tyl.)

With surprising alacrity (and almost no hard questions), the heroes agreed to the alchemist's plans and set out making preparations for their journey west.  They decided to first purchase passage to Parsool on a deep-water vessel, then travel via coast-hugger and river-barge to Malakut.  There, in the City of the Thieves, they would be able to hire the local guides they would need to survive in the Qo.

Their search for a ship headed to Parsool was twice interrupted, though.  They were first approached by one of Radam Tyl's rivals, the alchemist Sorsha.  (Tyl is a specialist in animal uplight; Sorsha's palanquin-bearers, slaves with their eyes sewn shut, pointed to her own interests in information acquisition and the pain centers of the human body.)  Tyl was apparently not the only alchemist to learn of the ancient document offering hints to M'lor's location, and Sorsha was eager to hire the heroes to serve her interests instead.  Irryn was the only hero willing to listen to all of Sorsha's offer, receiving a jewel-encrusted necklace for her "open-mindedness."

The second interruption was far less polite.  Daneel's investigations into sorcerous cheating had apparently earned him the enmity of the magicians involved, and they sent a team of thugs armed with enchanted daggers to kill him.  The thugs, confident in their numbers, attacked Daneel—and were promptly butchered by the gladiator and his newfound friends.  Irryn demonstrated her prowess as a kill-stealer, finishing off thugs Daneel and Segdral had worked hard to defeat.  Dakar's massive Valgardian greatsword needed no assistance in parting the thugs' heads and limbs from their bodies.

Cleaning their weapons, the heroes were soon able to find the ship they were looking for: Captain Tinray's Screaming Manta.  Tinray had made some bad trades in Zalut and was more than happy to take the heroes' gold with no questions asked.  Unfortunately, he also thought that the Manta was fast enough to outrun the storm that bore down on the ship several hours out from Zalut . . .

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