I’m going to mix 2 things I wanted to post into one post so that I don’t spam this board with my project too much. I wanted to share a link to all the concept art that we have from The Wyrd of Stromgard, final versions are all on the kickstarter page but I always like looking at how things evolved. The other thing I wanted to post is a quick synopsis of what the play-test session with our main game group was like.
Party is Stormcaller, Bearskin, Alfir (like a high elf), and a Fae with a wind affinity.
Party fights a Vaxa Ormr (giant snake) and the Stormcaller gets his arm ripped off. The Fae uses the name of a guard he managed to make small talk with to cast wild magic that stole one of the guard’s arms and magically transplant it onto the Stormcaller. Soldier is understandably extremely upset, Alfir promises to fix it but he storms off, cursing them all. Alfir delivers a poor gift to the goddess of healing in an effort to get help and it goes over so badly that the goddess demand she take care of some other task before she’ll even talk to her. The Fae manages to get the Stormcaller’s real and true name out of him during the confusion of casting the wild magic, leveraging the stressful, dire situation against his comrade to get what he wanted. This def comes up again later.
Party is sent to deal with a necrotic mushroom blight at the borders of Jotunheim and into the iron forest. They come across a village near the Jotunheim border that’s been infested with these things and a colony of Knutr, which are kind of like a cross between gibbons, gully dwarves, and kobolds. Real stinky, stupid, horde monsters with low HP but strength in numbers. The party makes too much noise so hordes of these little bastards start pouring out of the woodwork. This Fae PC looks me dead in the eyes and asks if he can cast his wind spell, but through the horn he picked up. I say sure since it wouldn’t change anything mechanically. He rolls, its almost perfect. We talk about the spell and the effects you can choose when you roll good. He starts blasting Knutr everywhere while the Bearskin is killing 2-3 of them in almost every attack. Its chaos. The Alfir is traumatized by the carnage. Knutr will tell legends for generations about the thunder sound and magic wind that Team Rocket-ed them all over Midgard.
Anyway they move into the Iron Forest and find the remains of a small Faewood ship. They discover they can ride it with the Fae’s magic touch and cruise into the forest. They fight a dead Jotunn being dragged around on vines like a creepy marionette and an undead Linnorm that chases them at high speed. They track down the source of all this- a necromancer with a botany specialization. We called him the necrobotanist because I was brain dead when I made him. He escapes their confrontation but only barely. Party gets somewhere safe and Alfir decides to contact the goddess again now that the threat has been taken care of for the time being. The goddess listens but says she can’t fix the arm situation. When the Alfir presses why I look at the PC and say “so you…stole… the innocent guard’s arm to put on the on stormcaller. You want the goddess to put it back?” and the player’s like “yes and restore the arm the stormcaller lost”. I pause for a second and then say “this battle happened weeks ago. You want her to put the Stormcaller’s original arm back on?” There’s a moment of dead silence as comprehension dawns and then the Bearskin player shouts ITS ROTTEN at the top of his voice and general shouting ensues for a few minutes. The goddess reveals that if they want the Stormcaller’s original arm back, they’ll have to go to Helheim and ask the goddess of the underworld to get it back.
They actually pursue the Going to Helheim thing. They get to a huge barrow that supposedly contains one of the gateways to Helheim but when they reach the entrance, its sealed and a dog skull hanging on the door animates and asks them to offer a tribute each to pass. The Bearskin gives up his bear skin, the Fae gives up his ability to accurately remember/perform a dance he learned a couple days prior in a halfling town, the Stormcaller offers a hand-scribbled map from the same town (it had value to him, so I thought it was good enough.) Alfir tries to play it cheap and give up one of her arrows. Dog skull is not having it and keeps suggesting terrible things as they haggle (memories of her family, her sense of smell, etc etc) finally they agree on her hair and the Alfir is now magically bald. All of these tributes were permanent, too. Anyway the go down through this huge barrow, thinking someone is watching them the whole time. When they make it to the portal they’re interrupted but a huge dog-like monster that calls itself Garmr. This thing nearly wipes the party out. The Alfir takes too many hits and cant get away and takes her Last Breath roll and refuses the deal to personally serve the goddess Hel to the extent of her power. The Stormcaller gets got next and gets shaken horribly in Garmr’s jaws. The Fae releases his holde on the Stormcaller’s name to revive him. They escape the barrow and came super close to taking down Garmr too!
Something’s not right with the Stormcaller but they can’t figure out what. He’s cold and a little dead-eyed and can’t heal above the 1 HP he was left with after reviving. The Alfir is gone and that player rolled a new character to join the team- a novice Hunter looking to be fully inducted into her order by performing tasks for her superiors. She and the Stormcaller/Fae/Bearskin run into each other in a swamp where the Stormcaller was tracking down a Crone who might be able to make sense of what was happening to him. After encounters with many frogmen and a kelpie, the party finds the witch’s hut only to discover they must contact her through a ouija board like runic carving and quartz circular planchette. The Stormcaller learns that he has been slowly changed into a wight and will need seriously pure magic to reverse the effect, if that was his goal. Otherwise he could try to appeal to Hel. The party leaves, with more questions than answers but they find Garmr the hellhound waiting outside for them.
In a stroke of pure genius, the Fae convinces Garmr to help them by telling him that the Stormcaller was a wight and Hel might get pissed if she finds out the hellhound let that happen. Reluctantly, Garmr becomes the party’s Zuko. So they go back to the barrow, Garmr helps them get through the portal and they get an audience with the goddess Hel, lady of the underworld. Long story short, the Stormcaller agrees to stay a wight and do Hel’s bidding occasionally with the promise she’ll help him control his powers and then she convinced the Bearskin that his goal of Vallhalla was a false honor for bootlicking Asgard worshippers, and they both swear fealty to her on the spot. Meanwhile the Fae is enjoying the chaos and his new hellhound friend and the Hunter PC is very uncomfortable.
So now in their next session, I want to let them run around with their new goals and a couple custom moves to mechanize their specific situation but dang! They went places I was totally not prepared for but this was probably one of the most fun/varied campaigns I’ve ever run.