This is simply a comment on something that happened in my Gloranthan Heroquest 2 game tonight. It was such an extraordinary session I thought I would share it, though it will be of very little interest to most of you I guess. :) We are playing the Colymar Campaign, and are moving towards Act 3 thereof. None of this has any spoilers for that campaign however; well almost none ( I mention the fate of the Dundealos Tribe). If game session write ups bore please you pass on and forgive me!
It was Storm Season 1618, and Leikestra the Esrolian was against her better judgment accompanying Bevendros of Storm Bull in a trip to The Block where he plans to heroquest to become a Storm Khan (devotee). They traveled south through Greenhaft, and down to Swenstown, arriving in the middle of the destruction of the Dundealos Tribe. The main session had ended earlier- I had those two players, and one who was joining us later, Desduvar, whose player had wandered off to church, so was left behind in Jonstown buying cattle.
Having not prepared for this side trip, the whole session had to be improvised. On arriving in Swenstown they found the horrors of the Lunar campaign to exterminate the Dundealos in full effect -- a city crawling with Lunar patrols, the Dundealos residents homes empty, the Dundealos Manor burnt. The rise outside the city was home to a small forest of Death Rune crosses, where the victims still hung, many still dying, while pyres burnt corpses night and day. It was to be one of the darkest sessions we have ever played in any setting. It was pretty grim, and oppressive. The players grew really emotional and angry at what was happening.
After moving around the city trying to find some way to help, and talking to those who had witnessed the scale of the disaster to the south, they had had enough. They met two Talastari Lunar soldiers who they managed to insult, and provoke in to a fight, and showing no mercy at all to slew. (The Storm Bull twisted the head off one, muttering about the Stormwalk Mountains) Then they put on the dead soldiers helmets and cloaks to try and evade the Lunar patrols and fled to Geo's, convinced there they would find sanctuary from the occupying force. After all they were Colymar - they planned to slip out of the city in the morning.
They were almost caught by a patrol - some amazing dice rolls and they were at the door, even as another Lunar patrol approached and was greeted by the strange sight of what appeared to be two Lunar soldiers entering Geo's. Geo's is strictly off limits to Lunars in my game. They struggled to be allowed in: when they finally managed it, it was to find it had over a hundred Dundealos refugees, who knew that leaving would lead to certain arrest, deportation and death.
Unfortunately the Lunars now effectively placed the Inn under siege.In the morning the reprisals for the dead soldiers saw more ordinary Swenstown residents marched out to join the dying on the rise beyond the city walls. For three days the guilt ridden characters found ways to feed, look after and support the harassed staff and refugees in Geo's, but increasingly more and more Lunar forces drew up around the inn in the city, awaiting orders and magic from Boldhome to assault the inn and kill everyone. It was a really really tense part of the game. For over two hours the players struggled to find a way out, and to save the inn and the inhabitants. Finally they decided that if Desduvar the Orlanthi had not arrived by dawn, they would buy time for the inn by the two of them making a heroic charge out in to the Lunar ranks; they could not fight in Geo's after all, so they decided to go down fighting. I ruled it would be Impossible to defeat the Lunars, so we cued "Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head" (if you have seen "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" you will know why) and the last twenty minutes of this part was them arranging to send the Storm Bull's axe to his infant son by clever magic, and then preparing to go out and go down heroically. Once they left the doors we ruled it was game over for those characters, and we would end there.
What they did not know was their friend Desduvar was (Tom had been communicating with since he got back, and was waiting to join the action). He had been at Jonstown, delayed buying cattle, then had been driving them south. However he had finally arrived, discovered the situation at Geo's, and just as dawn broke he pulled off an incredible feat. He decided to summon a Lesser Air God: in this case he wanted a whirlwind to sweep in from the deserts of Prax, and -- this was the astonishing bit - pick up Geo's and drop it outside the city.
In any other game I would have said "no". But would Storm Bull really ignore his devotee's plight? Desduvar spent a long time preparing his ritual in the shadow of the Lunar executions outside the city: he made sacrifice, evaded Lunar patrols, and invoked the winds in an lengthy rite. He made oaths to Orlanth, made sacrifices, and cried out to the Storm Pantheon to save his friends and the Inn. He called for a God of Desert Winds: a strong, violent, hot god to bring its anger to save the inn.
I ruled it was Nearly Impossible, rather than Impossible, and let the dice decide.
And somehow, remarkably, he did it, and when the resistance dice landed on 20 and he spent his Hero Points to boost his result, he managed to get a complete victory. A vast whirling sandstorm swept in from the desert, a Minor Storm God of Prax, and neatly leapt over the walls built by his ancestor Sartar's magic. As the Storm Bull charged through the door to certain death, followed by Leikestra with a shrug, they saw the storm slicing through the Lunar ranks, and tore back in to the inn.
Two hours later, the Inn and all within crashed to a halt. They opened the door, to see the vast mass of The Block towering above them, and to find themselves surrounded by a puzzled horde of naked frenzied Storm Bull cultists, who were astonished to find an inn with no beer dropped in the centre of a holy ceremony., and the heroic Bevendros the Bull leading the staff and five score Dundealos out in to the blazing sun of a new day.
I have no idea if any other referee would have allowed it, but hey it was epic fun: and that is why in my Glorantha Geo's, Swenstown, now stands in the shadow of The Block. ;)
Hope not spam: thought might amuse a few people.
CJ's uneventful life is now blogged: http://jerome23.wordpress.com/
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