Re: How Orlanth helped Chalana Arroy to fight Malia

From: Pomeroi <pomeroi_at_34wI_uG510vmJFSC4gmLoz7aFGg1_QdCbaORl6FNuiir_cw2qgWiMxMrWzZgr1W6frB7>
Date: Sun, 15 Apr 2012 17:42:18 +0200

This may be not much to you experienced GMs lightly creating HeroQuests by the number, but I want to share this one with you, as I want to resume last playing session anyway and there was a specific request. My intention was to have fun (in gaming, but especially the humorous type), as a kind of comic relief to end the gruesome time the PCs had in their late adventures. I did not play exactly these scenarios, but I name my idea-givers so you have a clue to the background:

1) “Barbarian Adventures: These Women need Help” (party is "bodyguard" to a group of travelling Healers). I made this especially gruesome while they had to travel the borders of Upland Marsh. Even just _watching_ the Healers doing their job, repairing brave veterans who had been ripped to pieces by Delecti's Unholy Hordes, was traumatising... 2) an episode inside 1), after turning their back to the Lismelder lands. Idea from “Borderlands: Revenge of Muriah”, but with a stress towards cleansing the land which was stained with Malia beyond “natural” repair. A river in the Colymar mountains.

My decision was, this is the right moment to introduce my players to the concept of a HeroQuest. So I was looking for a myth starring a Storm god (helping Chalana Arroy in) fighting Malia. I researched the net and found there existed one (with CA, which was important to me at that time, but I dropped this later, due to the good ideas without her) in the KoDP computer game, but not many details. I asked for ideas in KoDP and this list.

Ideas and hints came up:
Heler's rain cleanses the land
Humakt destroys all infested beings as a last resort (lots of collateral damage - read part of the thread repeated at the end of this posting) Belveren (Chaos Cleanser subcult of Ernalda the Healer) Yuhurol, son of Heler and Esrola, purifying rain

First let me tell you it was the _first_ HQ for GM, players and PCs. Surely I have done both formal mistakes and tweaked myth/time. I am not sure the time I invoked in Storm Realm for this HQ does exist at all (contradiction in what already existed and what did not: time, death, sentient animals, chaos...), but I did not care too much, as my goal was to make it both easy to understand and fun (humour again) to the players, and I needed some creativity without being hindered by “facts”, which in my way of GMing is the least important thing...

Still, PLEASE FEEL FREE TO COMMENT, I am learning! My players' wit and coincidence even created NEW MYHTS!!

How Heler cleansed the land

My players didn't need hinting. In the brainstorming between PCs, Healers and village Elders various words for cleaning, washing, rinsing etc. fell naturally, so the rain became an obvious and preferred solution.

In short, the quest was: Convince Heler to do the right thing. To make the whole story difficult/interesting/humorous, I prepared the following stages and tried to have a special task for any PC (Warrior, Hunter, Entertainer, Shaman, Witch (Ernalda affinity)). The players themselves came up with the idea: If this was an re-enactment, why not have the Ernalda-Witch BEING Ernalda?! This eased quite some things and also was to become some source of humour! Preparing the quest, the High-Healer gave them a sounding horn to take with. “I dreamt you might need it!”

1) Meet the Beavers
While on their way to Storm Village, they meet a colony of beavers busy taming water. Some small talk, beavers hint “beware of Griss!!”.

2) Meet the Gods
Entering Storm Village (Hospitality, visit Karulinoran, soothe Orlanth' anger about suspicious non-orlanthi character in party through distraction/entertainment). Some gods and heroes present, but no Odayla (to tell him about Griss) or Heler. Hint: “He ought to be guarding his sheep!”

3) Find and convince Heler
Searching for sheep outside Storm Village. I presented the players Thunder Rebels p.126. “Of Course!” and heads in the neck they found him. Calling and shouting did not help, Heler was obviously not able to hear, up in the distant sky. The PC with the horn remembered. Player not talking, but mimicking to me putting the horn to his lips to raise a magically enhanced sound phenomena. “Ernalda”-Player not seeing this, her PC at the top of her thundering and earth-shaking earth-goddess voice at the same time: “HELER!!!!”
Both big noises sounded as one, Heler woke and fell out the sky! (In German “Falling out of all clouds” has the meaning of “being thunderstruck” in English! Of course, this is how this saying was invented :-) After apologies and introduction (fun and easy with Ernalda being here), Heler was still a bit grumpy and demanded to keep the horn, so no more nonsense could be done, to affright gods and sheep! This created the Myth “How Knut brought the Waking Alarm to the Gods, even before time!”
It took a bit to explain what they wanted Heler to do, because he was distracted all the time, whistling commands to the air-alynxes to keep his sheep in formation, and because it was before Malia was known to the gods. It was shortly after Chaos entered the world, but before the existence of the Unholy Trio as entities. They had to explain their needs without using words like Malia/disease etc. but they managed. Benevolent Heler agreed to help, but feared collateral damage to people and land, and to anger Magasta, and he demanded a personal gift: a) PCs to prevent collateral damage
b) Vow: In case Magasta turns up in anger later, PCs to make HQ to set things right
c) Heler (pointing): “What is that?” PC: “..urm, what? My shadow?!” Heler enviously: “Give it to me!” (It is before time, Elmal is not in the sky to create shadows). Heler was the first god with a shadow. Knut does NOT have a shadow since, even in the mundane world!

4) Beavers (solve 3a)
Beavers agree to help against expected flood, but demand: a) We ALL need to work then, so we cannot keep up the guards. YOU hunt and kill Griss!
b) another sub-task for the shaman PC
c) same for entertainer

Tasks done, beavers build awesome fortifications against flood! PCs flabbergasted eyeball constructions able to tame the towering waters. Heler satisfied, starts devastating downpour, HQ solved!

PCs awake, back in the mundane world.
The rain surpasses anything anyone has experienced so far, in strength and uninterrupted duration. All PCs, Healers, villagers, gather in the village hall, the only building giving enough shelter. All houses of lighter built suffer roofs damages, under-channelled by rivulets etc.. Nobody, even the Godi, had expected and prepared for SUCH a phenomena. Travelling or working outside is impossible. After one day, hunters (who have been out several days) return to the village, exhausted to their limit, almost like dead. “We wouldn't have done it, if it wasn't for the freshly killed bear we found in the forest! We were searching since days, but couldn't track it down. Dunno who killed it. Was still warm! We ate. Then came Heler's grim upon us! If we hadn't been so well-fed...” they fall asleep.
PC hunter: “?!” Player: “?!”, GM: “:-)” It rains for 3 days. Collateral damage is still high (buildings, things and plants with shallow roots washed away, cattle ran...), but nothing is beyond repair. One meagre harvest will have to be overcome, though. The river was largely kept in bed, thanks to the beavers. Travelling is possible by foot or boat only for several days.

If and when Magasta, Lord of the Seas, complains about Malia leftovers swept into his waters is not known yet, but this is an entirely different story to be told at camp-fires to come....

> >
> > - The Humakt solution sounds like the modern approach we often watch
> > in movies about epedemic plagues out of controll: concentrate plagued
> > people in one spot and use napalm or a nuclear weapon...
> > /// Only in zombie movies, and they're dead things already - dead
> things that shouldn't move around.
> Not only this kind. I was thinking "Outbreak"
> and there are quite some more
> examples. The morale here is like this: You know you can save ALL OTHERS
> by sacrificing SOME... unless there is this D.Hoffman character, of
> course :-)
> I am sure Humakt would try to find a way out, but what if he can't find one?
> > And I thought my idea had potential from dramatic tension, "do you
> dare do it or not ??? It's all in your hands.". But my preferred
> solution these days is : let the players figure something out. They'll
> surprise you, you'll surprise them, and you'll probably create Something
> New which then you'll share with us !
> I agree. It is always up to the players. I am eagerly awaiting the flow
> of decisions and actions my HeroBand is going to choose. But they will
> be hinted towards the Heler solution. I try to offer a Y-junction (or
> even more-way) while they are in a stop-over in Storm Village.

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