ACTUAL PLAY:  Intrigues of Parsantium.  Episode 2:  Plots thicken

ACTUAL PLAY:  Intrigues of Parsantium.  Episode 2:  Plots thicken

ACTUAL PLAY:  Intrigues of Parsantium.  Episode 2:  Plots thicken


Steve (Rash)

Mike (Zehara aka Red Vela)

Pete (Roh Nazarian)

Storn (game master)

We picked up this session right where episode 1 left off, the dinner party announcing Rash’s nuptials to Allison Istakar.  After an uneventful dinner, Dominic Istakar, a young land owner in the Istakar family approached Zehara and while they danced, quizzed her on the scion of Al-Azir, Kavoos.  Kavoos, it turns out, had approached Dominic, to do a co-venture in growing certain medicinal herbs that are fairly rare and difficult to manage.  A way of doing business and mending fences between the two mercantile houses.  Was Kavoos on the up and up?  (A Spout Lore roll later) Zehara confirmed that unlike his mother, Kavoos did seem to be genuine.

Hetharu, the father of Allison and the leader of House Istakar took Roh aside.  He has a mission.  “I assume that you are hitching your star to Rash and that you have his back.”   In order for Rash to have some legitimacy,   Rash needs to have a win in front of the 7 Houses.  If Rash is seen taking care of a great issue, it could make things easier for him down the line.  Seems that docks have a new criminal player, stealing off the docks, intimidating, taking out House people and cutting into several of the House’s bottom line.  It is so bad, there has been talk about bringing the Golden Cloaks into the city, which is always an iffy thing, Golden Cloaks are military elite, not sherriffs.     There has been whispers about the “Felonius Larcinists” being a new player on the docks.   Where have they suddenly gotten the muscle and leverage to be making such inroads?

After some discussion, the trio decide to visit the docks and see what is brewing.  They make their way through the streets, about 1 in the morning, after the dinner guests have retired.  That sinking feeling of being watched comes creeping in.  4 figures, coming from various directions in the piazza that the trio are crossing, hem them in.  One with sickle and chain held menacingly, gives the lowdown:  “Back out the marriage, get some bruises.  Don’t back out of the marriage, forfeit your lives.”

Naturally, the trio are not inclined to be bruised or killed.  Rash sidles up to the piazza’s fountain, both as cover and as a distraction.  Roh notes that behind them on a roof is a bowman with one of those horseclan composite bows.. Nasty work.  Violence is touched off by Zehara pulling out her oud and playing the secret notes that cause brother to fight brother.  One of the swordsmen assailants attacks his brethren (7-9, Zehara has exposed herself, but the charm works).  Chain guy realizes that magic is afoot and throws his chain at the oud.  (Again 7-9, on Defy Danger, Zehara could take damage or get pulled into the fountain face first, but the oud will be missed).  Her clothing snagged, she is dragged into the fountain, face planting, while holding her precious instrument out of the water.  

Rash snaps a dagger at Chain guy, a substantial but not debilitating hit.  Roh had snagged one of Rash’s daggers before the confrontation and purposely ignores the bowman to take on Chain and Sickle.  The bowman puts an arrow into Roh’s back, but doesn’t hit anything too vital.  Roh grabs the chain and tries to close on it’s wielder.  (Pete was rolling pretty crappy, not out and out successes and more than one 6 or less.)  That fight quickly becomes one of who is quicker, stronger, rolling around, trying to close, not really succeeding, and getting nicked.  Meanwhile Zehara stands up and strikes that perfect note and the chain quivers and the last few ends shiver and shatter like grape-shot shrapnel, perforating the Chain and Sickle wielder (10+, 8 on damage on a guy who was already wounded)

A scimitar and buckler guy was advancing while his two comrades are fighting between themselves due to Zehara’s spell.  The bowman fires arrow after arrow, but Zehara and Rash take cover behind the statue.  Scimitar Buckler takes on Roh, who is now throwing around the remnant of the chain weapon.  But the Buckler traps the chain and it is Roh who is diving around trying to prolong his life.   Rash snaps out Magic Missile, a green shard of energy towards the bowman and at first their is no noticeable effect.  Then the bow slides off the roof and the bowman crumbles.  

Zehara casts her discordant spell again at Scimitar Buckler and blood boils out of his skull, he drops.   Unfortunately, the spell targets another, shattering the 400 year old statue and dropping Rash who was climbing it to get a vantage, into the water.  The two who were fighting finally shake off the spell, realize that their comrades are toast and split.  Rash, who is a street rat and has parkour like abilities, takes off, tackles one of them, breaking the thug’s leg in the process.  The other manages to get away before Roh can bring the bow to bear.  

A quick interrogation reveals that the thugs were hired by Gabert, a possible friend, contact (not quite sure) of Fwar Istakar.   Gabert was supposed to meet the assailants after the job was done at the Royal Exchequer.  Our trio decide to go there after stopping at their homes to change out of their nice, dinner clothes…now some are bloody and some are wet.  

(This was two players first brush with combat in Dungeon World, Pete had played before.  The consensus seemed that it was dynamic, fun and they seemed to really enjoy it.  They liked how the fiction drove the dice rolls.  I was pretty happy with it too.  Zehara the bard seems to be very powerful, although, Mike was rolling very well all night)

Later, now about 3ish, at the Royal Exchequer, which is a bar/gambling den of significant size, Rash asks for Gabert from the bored croupier.  The croupier relates that Gabert was here, but took off with another fellow, looking quite startled/scared.  The other fellow was the one assailant who got away from the ambush.   Rash picks a fight with a giant of man named Melvo after Melvo suspects Rash of cheating.  Rash was cheating.  Roh diffuses the situation and Zehara reminds them all that the task at hand is really looking into the Felonius Larcinists on the docks.

At which point, I say that the dock investigation is going to take a week and then some die rolls can happen to see what happens.  But assuming that they are investigating, asking questions and canvassing, they still have some time to do other things.  

Rash decides that he needs to break up with Pramanda in the most dramatic way possible, clearing his way to Allison.  Pramanda is an opera singer of some note and Zehara’s greatest rival.  So, Rash works it out that Zehara will be playing while he breaks up with Pramanda.  To really rub salt in the wound.  I make up a custom move using Rash’s CHA.

-6:  Bad Things

7-9:  -Some social backlash towards Rash automatically.

  Pick 1:  Break Pramanda’s heart

The shame and her reaction gets her fired from her current opera gig

Everyone knows that Zehara’s “street opera” is really about Pramanda’s disolving love life

10+:  Pick 2, no social backlash.

(Zehara tries to Aid, rolls 7-9 and gives a +1 to Rash, but there will be backlash.  Rash rolls a 10+, much chortling and laughter around the table).  So, her heart is broken and everyone knows that Zehara’s street opera is a pointed dagger aimed at Pramanda.  A few days later, we learn that Pramanda has hired the best playwright in the city to write “The spreading legs of Red Velvet” (Red Vela is Zehara’s stage persona) and that is the backlash.

We then switch to dealing with Velantius Kol and his street rats of the Felonius Larcinists.  (This was taken verbatim from the Parsantium text, Kol is a were-rat and infects some of the more promising children).  We go very meta-game at this point.  Roh has a move called “the perfect plan” and basically, you can meet goals as long as there are prices to be paid.  Rash tries to help with his “through the grapevine” move, but rolls -6.  So, instead of assigning a -2 to the roll (bad info), because the Perfect Plan has no die rolling, I assign to additional costs.

The goals:  

 Take control of the Felonius Larcinists

Make it look like it was destroyed so Rash can get his “win”.  

The prices:

 The temple of Vamana works with the trio to take care of this lycanthropy problem.  Vemana is the protector goddess of Parsantium.  Now the trio owe the temple big time.  

House Deviir learns of the were-rat problem and might do something on their own.

Kol and the kids are imprisoned by the Temple of Vamana, they will have to be killed by the next full moon when they change against their will.  This will be public and the trio will lose a lot of street cred killing children, especially children from the street.  

The Song of Change could reverse lycanthropy, but it has been lost.  In order to prevent price 3, it will have to be found.  

We determine that the Song of Change is actually an artifact, ancient.  Will cure lycanthropy, but then changes shape itself, it’s wielder then forgets how to play the song.  The last time it was used, it changed into the first “modern” guitar and it was in the palace of the Royal Family of Parsantium.  It became the blueprint for guitars as many craftsman studied it and Parsantium actually became the guitar capitol of the world.  But 50 years ago, the current elven ruler, Corvallius, sold it in a fit of rage (his mother was a lycanthrope and was never a smooth relationship even after she was cured).  

The Song of Change was sent out of the city on a caravan, but the caravan was lost in the desert, never made it to it’s destination.  

So, next session, our scheming trio will venture out into the desert to find the Song of Change before the full moon in 3 weeks.  Or as Mike put it; “road trip!”.  

One thought on “ACTUAL PLAY:  Intrigues of Parsantium.  Episode 2:  Plots thicken”

  1. Episode 3 Recap:  Doom in the Desert


    Pete:  Roh

    Mike:  Zehara

    Steve:  Rash (Steve was absent due to hectic convention travel)

    GM:  Me, Storn.  

    We decided to keep Rash in the background, because I knew that this expedition outside of the city might take more than one night.  I turned out to  be right.  So, we sorta just stuck Rash in the narrative background, but he was along for the ride.  

    Having been charged with finding the Lost Song of Change (see episode 2) that went missing in a large caravan meant for far lands of Khaladel.   Having a couple of days to fill before the expedition could pull itself together, Roh and Zehara pursued separate lines of inquiry.  Roh turned to his best friend in the Golden Cloaks, Lt. Aurius, to get some intel.  Fortune’s Road leading to Khaladel had been seeing an uptick in bandit attacks by an orc/dwarf alliance out of the Gryphon mountains.  A note of introduction was made for Roh, to the commander of Fort Gryphon, but this would later prove to be inconsequential.  

    Meanwhile, Zehara was pouring over old caravan ledgers and scout reports, looking for clues.  She did find a journal of a Golden Cloak who was investigating the lost caravan from 50 years ago.  Turns out that there was some tension within the caravan and when the scout had gotten new information, his expedition was blocked from higher ups for political reasons.  (This came about from Spout Lore roll)

    Then Roh tried to see if any of the caravan’s goods made it back to Parsantium, focusing on 12 erotic statuettes supposedly in the manifest.  This would point to foul play.  Roh, unfortunately, hit a brick wall.  Felt like actual forces, money, leverage, were working against him in the street.  (Pete started his spectacularly bad night of die rolling with snake eyes.  The other shoe dropping would be revealed later. )

    Later that night, Zehara has strange dreams, filled with divine music and a tune she can’t quite work out when she wakes.  On the way to the expedition, she runs into Roh, who sees that the symbol of Cetheria is softly glowing on her forehead.  

    Then it is off to the Temple of Cetheria, goddess of music and probably Zehara’s favorite divinity.  To figure out what is going on.  The head priestess, Nennentke, assures Zehara that she has Cetheria’s favor.  This is a good thing.  Nennetke also reveals that the most prolific mage in Parsantium, Anaxamander (stealing that name from a PC from distant campaign, having to make it up on the spot, this is the shoe falling from Roh’s bad roll) has inquired about the Song of Change.  Hoping to buy it, he has heard of the Temple’s backing of the expedition to recover it.  

    This worries Roh and Zehara, but they must be off.  The Song of Change must be recovered swiftly if it is to be played and cure the lycanthropy of the street rats before the next full moon.   They meet up with Rash, Kith Banu, an acolyte of Chetheria and Taeffala, an acolyte of Vanama, goddess of Justice.  And a whole lot of horses and supplies.  

    The trip is fairly safe, but on the fourth day, Kith reports seeing a sea hawk that keeps popping up, far away from the sea.  Zehara remembers hearing a pirate ditty about Anaxamander’s days as the Sea Hawk (Another Spout Lore roll).   Zehara, correctly surmising that it might be a familiar, uses her magic to coax it down (boxcars!).  The sea hawk, while not physically hostile, is wary, frustrated and definitely mystically linked to someone….most likely Anaxamandar.   Roh and Zehara decide to leave the Sea Hawk alone.

    Meanwhile, the song from Cetheria, in Zehara’s head, keeps getting more complete and stronger.  Hoping to make Fort Gryphon mid morning, the party is suddenly startled to realize that they passed it by several hours ago and are south of Fortune’s Road, deep into the badlands of the Dreaming Sands.  Zehara has been playing the most bewitching tune and they all have been ensorcelled.  But they are going in the right direction, the song of Cetheria is stronger.   

    Coming to a canyon, feeling the song’s pull, the small party was suddenly confronted by the armored terror of a giant scorpion bursting from the ground.  The size of a small house, it moved with alarming speed.  Horses screamed, one was killed.  Arrows fly from Kith and Roh, but they all shatter.  Retreat is in order and the party races out of the canyon to find another way.  

    Luckily, Kith scouts and finds another way into the canyon.  One with a more rocky floor, not the soft sands that the scorpion prefers.  About 2 in the afternoon, the canyon gets wider and they discover the lost caravan.  Or the skeletal remains of the lost caravan.  Obviously, a giant scorpion was involved, but many smaller wounds on the remains showed up too.  Claw marks, like from a tiger or lion, multiple ones.   

    Zehara still hears the siren call and they push past the battleground.  Eventually coming to a box canyon with an ancient fort crumbling around a still viable oasis.  After determining that the fort is indeed empty and devoid of anything useful besides shelter and water, the song pulls Zehara to a solid wall.  It is not an illusion, but Zehara plays the song that Cetheria has sent to her.  And indeed, the wall cracks and breaks into a man sized entrance to a natural cave.

    Now the chained ghouls on either wall certainly grabbed the attention of the onlookers, pillars containing a strange sigil,  6 curved arrows radiating out,  and these words chiselled into the sandstone;  

     “Know this and realize that what awaits you in cave will cost you your life.  Do not take it out of the cave.  Do not speak of this location.  What is lost should stay lost.  If our directives are disobeyed, know that your very lives are forfeit as your family.  We are the power in the Light and Shadow.  We are the Velvet Tongue.  We are the Hidden Claw.  We are Rending Teeth.  We are the wearers of EverChanging Skin.  We are your True rulers and we command your loyalty. “ 

    In the far back of the natural cavern is Song of Change, a guitar, propped up against the back wall carelessly.  Obviously, the runes on the chains of the 20 ghouls indicate a trap.  Entering would certainly be risky.  (I stated that ghouls are fast, strong and really tough.  This was a lot of them.  Then I looked at their stats… they are nasty, nasty, nasty).  

    Using arrows and magic, they manage to kill 13 of them, before running completely out of arrows.  Then forming up with Taefalla and Roh in the lead, they gingerly enter.  Sure enough, runes glow, chains release and the ghouls swarm onto our foursome (Rash having been relegated to watching the horses.)

    The battle gets off to a horrible start as ghouls pull Roh out of place, knocking him down.  Zehara’s charming magic manages to get a couple of them to fight each other, but Roh and Taefalla are wounded in short order.  Roh scrambles up, opening for the ghouls to rush Zehara and Kith in the backrow.  Kith goes down under the onslaught.  Roh breaks through the melee and rushes for the Song of Change, pursued by several ghouls.  The Song of Change is knocked across the floor as the ghouls converge on Roh again, wounding him in the process.  Taefalla goes down and it is just Zehara blocking the exit of the cavern.  Roh runs as Zehara manages to heal Taefalla with bardic magic and the two women stand firm, slowly taking out the ghouls.  Roh realizes that no one followed him outside, girds himself and returns to the fray, where now his preferred method of attacking from surprise (ie backstabbing) pays fierce dividends in destroyed ghouls.  

    Finally, Zehara succumbs to her wounds and falls.  But by this time, the ghouls had been whittled down enough that Roh and Taefalla finished the last one off.  

    The Song of Change is recovered.  Kith is paralyzed from the waist down.  Zehara has broken ribs and faces a long journey on horseback back to Parsantium.   It was the grimmest of battles and it was on a knife’s edge whether it could be survived.

    So.  I made some mistakes in my GMing.  I thought on a 7-9 result in Hack n Slash, PC does their damage, monster replies with their damage.  A lot of 7-9 results came up, resulting in a lot of damage dice to our heroes.  I re-read the rule after the battle, the rule is actually; “monster makes an attack”.  An attack COULD be damage dice, but it could also be grappling, taking away resources, etc.  So I didn’t HAVE to go so hard with the damage dice.  Also, earlier, we had determined that Cetheria’s favor was giving a +1 to Zehara’s bardic magic.  Mike must have rolled 3 9s.  A +1 would have made those 10s.  One 9 resulted in Kith getting hit by Zehara’s magic as well as the ghoul, killing Kith.  Once I realized my mistake, I retro conned that Kith was just serious ‘effed’ up.  

    And 7 ghouls vs. 2 PCs and 2 followers is a pretty insane challenge.  Ghouls have 10 hitpoints, 1 piercing and do 1d8 in damage.  However, it made for a really exciting, nail biting battle.  Zehara went to 0 and Roh was at 4 or 6 left.  Taefalla was taken down to 0, but the perfectly timed heal spell by Zehara brought her back to her feet, she was knicked once and came out at around 5 hp.  The battle could have been lost with one more rotten roll and really it was saved by getting Taefall up and in the mix again.  Having Rash/Steve in play would have seriously helped as well.  

    Having resolved a bond last session, Roh and Zehara want to have new ones concerning Kith and helping him recover.  Kith will probably be left at Fort Gryphon.  I think a new Bond around Kith is cool and can lead to more plot lines later down the pike.  So, while I made mistakes as a GM, I was really quite happy with the session overall.  

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