Bell Digest vol09p07.txt

To: RuneQuest-Digest@Glorantha.Holland.Sun.COM
From: RuneQuest-Request@Glorantha.Holland.Sun.COM
Subject:  RuneQuest Digest Volume 9, no 7, special
Reply-To: RuneQuest-Digest-Editor@Glorantha.Holland.Sun.COM
Sender: Henk.Langeveld@Holland.Sun.COM

	Clay Luther, SPOILERS on Gaumata's Vision...

	[The author himself at word. -HL]

    I thought the list might enjoy reading this.  It is a from a
    conversation Nick Brooke and I had about "Gaumata's Vision" in
    SotB.  It is basically a transcript of the scenario.

    It does, of course, contain MAJOR SPOILERS -- so if you don't want
    to know anything about any of the scenarios in Shadows on the
    Borderland, then you know what to do...

	[Which means, delete now, or regret forever... -HL]

Clay Luther                    
Macintosh Software Engineer              Kodak Health Imaging Systems
Haloric was not impressed with Garrent's solution.  "Chaos Be Damned!  You
will NOT allow Giltaxe to re-enter the County with a posse of Sable Berserks!"


From: (Clay Luther)
Subject: Re: Massacre at Black Rock (forward)
Message-ID: <>
Date: 19 Oct 93 09:16:29 GMT


Thank you for your transcript.  I am very impressed with you and your players'

Our outcome was mightily different...because of the presence of a Pavic nee
Garhound Storm Bull who is nearing Rune Lord status.  Vega and Laertes, who I 
am finding apparently scheme together quite a bit these days, have learned
of the berserk, (Sir) Giltaxe (aka Bloodletter), Knight Son By Order of the 
Count and Former Champion of Garhound, is both an effective "detergent" and 
modestly discrete.  For relatively little expense, they have been able to 
coerce and use him, and a few of his only friends, for select covert duties.  
His Chaos Sense combined with a controllable and near-civilized Common Sense 
brought him to the notice of Sun County officals about two years ago.

Gaumata's Vision immediately struck Goldbreath and Coatilon as a "job for
the Berserk" (as they privately refer to him) and Vega was sent to "feel him
out" for the duty.  Giltaxe, who had been spending the past two seasons in
Garhound with his cow (wife), Melissande, and their two children, helping
teach the militia, administering the servants for the planting, and aiding his
cow in her studies to become a priestess. [SIDE NOTE: Bloodletter (Giltaxe)
has a modest Child Care skill somewhere in the 30-50% range he gained after
spending a few seasons in a Chalana Arroy nursery to repay the Temple for
several major healing magics they used for him.  Melissande, who at first
dreaded the idea of having a "roaming berserk" for a husband has learned that
Bloodletter is definitely not your ordinary berserk - he built their house,
helps raise the children (perhaps better than she can), and still manages to
garner rewards and favors from around Sun County and Prax fighting Chaos
wherever he learns of it.]

Giltaxe was interested in helping Vega with the problem, and within a week
set off for Pavis to collect Naiya the River Healer, his closest (and platonic 
female) friend.  Giltaxe takes every opprotunity to drag Naiya out of Pavis
Hospital.  He does not like the new High Healer, a Dara Happan Arroyan too
friendly with the Governor who also has a tableau of Chalana Arroy holding 
hands in a circle with Teelo Noori, the Red Goddess, and Nysalor in her 
office.  Any excuse to remove Naiya from the influence of this obviously 
corrupt priestess is good enough for him.  Still Naiya worries him, for
every time he sees her anew she is subtley different and increasingly 

After convincing Naiya to come with him, he next went to Golden Ears Stead to
collect his Sun Dome companion, Garrent Longstride, esq., and Headman of 
Golden Ears (Vega suggested Garrent since he had Position, is a Lokarnos and
Yelmalio initiate, and would be able to soothe over any Sun Dome conflicts the 
operation might encounter.)  Luck would have it that Antonius Flebian, a 
Carmanian scholar studying at Sun Dome, had also been ordered to accompany 
them [GM NOTE: The gymanstics I go through to get this party together are 
sometimes ASTONISHING.  Antony IS studying at Sun Dome under Hector, learning 
Firespeech so he may act as a translator for Sor-Eel in future negotiations.  
He is both used and untrusted by both the Sun Domers and the Governor as a spy 
and informant -- he's been playing both sides of the fence.]  Antony was sent 
to represent Sun Dome's interests if any Lunar entanglements in southern Sun 
Dome County occured.

I recall the "excuse" Vega and Laertes provided them with was Garrent (in his
Lokarnos capacity) and Antony (dressed as a tax collector) were performing a 
census.  Giltaxe was the bodyguard, and the Arroyan...well, don't leave home 
without one!

After puttering around southern SD County looking for something that matched
the Vision, they finally arrive in Black Rock.  Varloz saw the approaching
berserk and gathered the Children and fled up the to the top of Red Toad Falls.
Fethal, now forewarned, approached the Party coming up the trail and greeted
them in an extremely precise, offical, and not-unfriendly manner.  Like all
the villages before, upon seeing the "tax collector" he exclaimed "But we've
already paid our taxes!  And harvest is still as season away!  Have you 
detected a problem with our taxes?"  Of course, having heard similar worried
questions at other villages, they assured Fethal that they were simply 
performing a census to prepare (of course) for the next tax collection.  It 
was already afternoon and dusky, so Fethal, of course, invited the Party to 
sleep at his hut.  A meal is prepared and palm leaves laid out, Thosah is 
engaged in conversation and determined to be an idiot, and Fethal comes to be 
regarded as a Old Soldier happy with his retirement as a Village Headman.  
What could be more normal?

Of course, the Children and the Mistress (and Fethal, inside) are stirred up 
like a wasps nest.  The presence of an obviously advanced Storm Bull in the
village poses a dire threat to their lives.  Obviously, the berserk must be
done away with if the Party cannot be shooed out of town quickly.

During the night, Giltaxe goes outside to pray and encounters the Mistress,
but being happily married with children he foregoes the tempting target and
goes back in the hut to sleep.  The Mistress, unprepared to use stronger 
measures so soon in the game, devises a new plan.

The next day, Naiya decides to find the Wise Woman while the others perform the
census.  Fethal takes Garrent and Antony on a gruelling tour of the village and
fields while Giltaxe meanders around the town, counting heads.  The Children 
manage to avoid the berserk while still remaining active and in sight, 
presenting as normal a picture of village life as possible.  Naiya finds
Penliss and decides she is very distracted.  On a whim, she climbs the Falls
and meets Varloz at the top.  Nice boy.  Chip of the old block.  Varloz runs
off to play with the other Children (who scamper along the goat trails on the
ridge like acrobats).  Naiya climbs down, attempts to communicate with Penliss
again, fails, then decides to get Giltaxe, come back, and try once more.

With Giltaxe, three times a charm, and although Penliss lets Naiya into the
lean-to, not much more information is culled.  Giltaxe, standing outside,
is suddenly beaned in the head by a large stone falling down the cliff.  Only 
the presence of a Healer within a few feet saves his life.  Hurt, but alive,
Giltaxe doesn't believe that it was an freak accident and decides to climb 
the Falls to find the perpetrator.  Gathering the others and ignoring Fethal's
injunction against climbing on the dangerous cliffs, Giltaxe leads the Party
up to the top of the Falls, then decides to follow the goat path Naiya saw the
children take.  The climbing is treacherous, and the Party, relatively
unprepared (ie, some of them still wearing rather heavy armor), suffer for it.
Garrent takes a nasty fall, slipping 60m down the cliff face, and coming to
rest on a ledge, mortally wounded.  Giltaxe, still hurting from the stoning,
realizes that Garrent may be dying, literally flings himself down the cliff in
a controlled fall to reach him as quickly as possible.  Ooof.  Ooof.  Ouch!
He is able to apply enough healing to bring Garrent back from death, but
his internal wounds are severe and Garrent will need several weeks of rest (or,
some hefty Arroyan magic).  But more trouble strikes!  A rockfall starts
directly above them, pelting the Arroyan and pitching her off the goat path -
she catches herself by the rope she was lowering to help Giltaxe and Garrent
climb back up to the path, but she suffers a nasty blow to the stomach and 
begins to bleed.  Giltaxe manages to raise a shield in time to block-aside the
rocks from hitting himself or Garrent.

Naiya, swinging back and forth on the cliff face by the rope, in pain and her
legs useless, knows she has but one chance - climb the 10m she fell using only
her arms or fall to her death...and to do so before blood loss and pain drive
her into unconsciousness.  The Goddess smiles on her that day -- she makes it
to the top and collapses safely on the path.

It takes some time, but Garrent and Giltaxe finally make it back to the path,
and the wounded Party decides maybe Fethal was right about the cliffs being
*really* dangerous and heads back down to the village.

Fethal greets them at the bottom, both angry that they ignored him and concerned
with their wounds.  Once again he makes his hut their home for the evening.
Garrent tells him they will leave in the morning -- the village looks fine --
but (after prompting from Naiya) they would like to look over the records
before they go.  Fethal gladly agrees.  Garrent goes (limps) to the Yelmalio 
shrine and Naiya goes (limps) into the Earth shrine where she meets Azdala.  
Naiya is disturbed by Azdala and attempts to ask her many questions, but this
upsets the priestess and she lashes out at the Healer, cutting her arm.  This
only confirms Naiya's suspiscions that Azdala is insane, and therefore, 
something is horribly wrong here in Black Rock.  Naiya leaves, for she is
very upset herself at this turn of events, to notify the others.  The Party
huddles and begins (finally) to discuss the problem.  Giltaxe, having spent
the better part of the day counting heads and talking to the villagers, 
points out the population idiosyncracies of the village.  Naiya relates her
encounters with Penliss and Azdala.  Garrent reveals what he learned from
the Yelmalio shrine records (not much) although Naiya is quick to realize that
the "broo attack" that Fethal (when questioned about the paucity of men in
village) claims occured last year is not mentioned in the militia records --
a rather large oversight.  The link between Varloz and Varloz Brownfoot is
noted, but undecipherable.  Naiya decides that she must see the Earth records 
immediately and returns to the shrine.  Azdala, wacky as ever, is calmed down
and Naiya asks to she the records.  The priestess complies, heaving out the
clay Earthspeech.  Stymied, but quick thinking, Naiya asks
Azdala to tell her a story.  When Azdala agrees and asks "Which one?" Naiya
gives her one of the clay tablets.  Azdala proceeds to read the tablet to
Naiya, revealing the secrets otherwise locked within.  This continues for
*h o u r s* -- certainly a testament to the patience and wisdom of the Healer.

Deep into the night, Giltaxe again goes outside to pray.  The Mistress,
upset that her previous three attempts to murder to berserk have failed, 
finally tries one last ploy.  She decides to seduce him magically and have him
walk off the cliff.  Changing her shape to match Naiya (who she incorrectly
assumes is already sexually involved with Giltaxe) she approaches the Storm
Bull and begins the seduction.  She plays her trump card, the magical
seduction, and FAILS!  Now revealed openly before the berserk as a demon, he
attacks without hesitation, slicing off her arm before she can react.  But
before he can land another blow, she vanishes -- only to reappear in the Earth
shrine to terrify Azdala (and Naiya!), demanding that the priestess heal her.

Giltaxe raises the alarm (and so does the Mistress).  Naiya comes running out
of the shrine in a panic.  All hell breaks lose.  The Children attack on-mass
with Disruptions, hurting Giltaxe and Garrent but failing to disable them.
The Party makes a run to the earth shrine, the only apparently safe building
in the village.  Once inside, the Children begin taunting the Party 
"Ring around the Nosies, Pocket full of Toe-sies.  Asses!  Asses!  We'll all
bite down!"

Enraged, Giltaxe starts tapping some of his valuable magic.  From his sword
he calls out a Shield (to defend against more Disrupts), he Protects himself,
and finally Fanaticizes himself.  So armed, he opens the shrine doors and 
charges into the arms and teeth of the Children while the others watch 
helplessly from the shrine.  Snicker snack.  Two Children at a time, the
enraged berserk manages to slaughter fifteen of them before they turn and
flee, shrugging off spear attacks, bites, scratches, take-downs, and spells
like a duck sheds water.  [Very impressive display, actually.]

He then runs from hut to hut, slaughtering any babes he finds.  He drags
Fethal out of the hut, but finds the man catatonic and covered with wounds.
The village falls apart.  The women wail.  A man hangs himself.  The Party 
goes hut to hut, forcing the villagers out with threats.  Serendipity leads to
the discovery of the curse scratches in all the huts. Giltaxe razes the village
without a thought.

Amidst the burning huts, everyone returns to the relative safety of the
earth shrine, where interrogations begin in earnest, the rest of the earth
records are digested, and plans made for the next day.  No further assaults
come that night.

Naiya prevails and it is decided to take the villagers to Horngate, since if
they are returned to Queenscliff they will surely be put to death.  In Horngate
she hopes that the Sisters of Mercy can provide the necesarry healing the
villagers, especially the pregnant women, are going to need.  Fethal's
horde is discovered, and she thinks the wheels will allay the costs of the

It is felt that the Children are probably going to attempt to flee into the
Wilds.  Giltaxe decides he will go to Horngate with Naiya and the Villagers
so he can (hopefully) gather Sable berserker braves to help him track the
Children.  Garrent and Antony will return to Queenscliff and round up a posse
of militiamen.  Hopefully, they will meet again in Black Rock in 3 days.

Naiya and Giltaxe take the Villagers and the town's herd animals to Horngate.
They use the herd animals as a gift to Blue Rain Morning, Sable Khan at 
Horngate, though he at first demands the Villagers as well (that is, until
a Morocanth slaver present informs him that they are not fit for slaves).
Naiya takes the Villagers to the Sisters of Mercy, while Giltaxe attempts to
reconoiter Storm Bulls.  Unfortunately, tribal prejudice prevails and Giltaxe
fails miserably trying to convince the local berserks to help him.  He broods.

Then the worst happens.  The Mistress successfully seduces him that evening,
draining him.  Fethal is found dead the next morning, his throat cut with a
chirugeon's razor.  Fethal's dagger (which was carried by Giltaxe) shows up
in the Sable Khan's kidney, though the Sable's medicine men are able to keep
the Khan from dying.  Giltaxe, now seemingly helpless against the Mistress
powers, flees into the Hospital for refuge from her unwanted seductions.
Indeed, the sanctity of the Hospital seems to protect him and the Mistress
visits him no more.


Garrent and Antony arrive back in Queenscliff to tell their tale.  However,
Haloric, once he learns of the collusion of the Villagers, becomes "very
disappointed" with Garrent.  "You will return to Black Rock and perform your
duty, SOLDIER! [That is, slaughter every last man, woman, and child of the
village.]"  Garrent, stunned by the reproach, admits that the remaining
Children escaped into the Wilds, the Villagers are now safely in Horngate out
of Sun Dome's reach, and that Giltaxe is supposed to meet him in 1 day at 
Black Rock with a posse of Sable Storm Bull trackers.

"WHAT?!!" cries Haloric, his face red with disbelief.  "Chaos Be Damned!  You
will not allow Bloodletter to re-enter the County with a posse of Sable
Berserks!"  Haloric orders Garrent to return to Black Rock, deter the Storm
Bulls, and find and destroy the remaining tainted Children.  He gives him a
half-file of men and sends him on his way.

Garrent returns to Black Rock to find it completely abandoned.  He discovers
the dam, hazia field, and barn, and destroys them all instantly.  He waits
another day for Giltaxe to return from Horngate, time enough for the pond to
drain and reveal Visla's body.  The body is burned (thus removing the Mistress?)
and they set out after the Children.  The posse follow the trail south for a 
day, but lose it and return to Queenscliff in disgrace.

Meanwhile meanwhile...

Two weeks of relative safety in the Hospital goes by.  To pay his way, Giltaxe
tends the Villagers with Naiya.  Naiya helps Giltaxe recover from his 
exposure to the Mistress.  The unborn Children are aborted, a task the Sisters 
of Mercy find distasteful but necessary for no other cure works -- the evil is
too strong.

Giltaxe is about to leave Horngate to begin canvassing southern Sun Dome 
County for signs of the Children...alone.  Naiya is determined to remian in
Horngate tending the Villagers, and Garrent and Antony's current whereabouts
are not precisely known by me at this writing.

Clay Luther                    
Macintosh Software Engineer              Kodak Health Imaging Systems
Haloric was not impressed with Garrent's solution.  "Chaos Be Damned!  You
will NOT allow Giltaxe to re-enter the County with a posse of Sable Berserks!"