Home Forums Gaming in Glorantha RuneQuest Problems in the Zola Fel valley! (running Borderlands)

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  • #17090
    Profile photo of Runeblogger
    Runeblogger
    Spectator

    Hi there,

    I’m running Borderlands & Beyond next Sunday. A nostalgic one-shot big session continuing a long Prax campaign that got frozen years ago, with the same players.
    Warning: spoilers ahead!

    Glorantha, Zola Fel valley, Raus grantlands, 1620 TS, fire season:

    The 6 PCs are acting as mercenaries for Duke Raus. Half of them are River Voices (from the Troubled Waters minicampaign), so they are sworn to protect the river and its denizens. They recently killed the rebel newtling shaman of Five Eyes caves and his loyals, while letting the “good” newtlings live. The shaman hated humans and together with his loyal newtlings, had killed newtlings from other tribes, had staged some attacks on Raus Fort and also against some of the Lunar barges going down the river. These barges are full of soldiers going to Corflu in preparation for an attack in Karse and invade Heortland from there (!). One day, the PCs who are not River Voices witnessed a group of these rebel newtlings attacking one of the Lunar barges. The Lunar magician on board and the Lunar archers managed to repel the attack quite easily. The PCs were hidden on the opposite riverbank. The barge was on a very shallow part of the river. The shaman PC had a really big undine under his control (he got it after helping a lost daughter of Zola Fel), so the PCs decided to release it and make it capsize the Lunar barge and then drown all the soldiers within it (!!!). This happened right after the all-orlanthi PC shot an arrow through the Lunar magician’s head with a critical success. Well, they had reasons to hate the Lunars and they got lucky. 😀

    Now come the consequences:

    The Lunars in Corflu soon learn that the soldiers on the barge were killed/drowned, and go upriver to kill whoever did it. They guess the newtlings are guilty. The PCs expect this retaliation against the Five Eyes newtlings, and want to help them avoid the Lunar’s wrath, so they ask the newtlings to hide deep in the bog. However, the newtlings don’t want the Lunars to defile the Zola Fel temple in the Five Eyes caves, so the River Voices promise them they will do anything they can to protect the temple. Now, the Lunar commander in Corflu (Nomelion Flactus) goes upriver with 30 good soldiers and a Lunar sorcerer. Flactus wants to kill all the newtlings before the Lunar authorities in New Pavis arrive, so he can tell them he has already solved the problem. They get to Five Eyes and start searching the caves of the newtlings, but the PCs have hidden the secret entrance to the temple.

    How would you handle this session so it is tense and fun?

    My idea: the Lunars will keep searching if they find nothing in the first caves, so that will take them into Krang’s cave. Would that be a good time for Krang the dragon to return to his lair? 😉 Or would that be just too much coincidence? He doesn’t care about the newtlings, but can’t stand anyone touching his hoard. He cares about his hoard, tries to augment it if possible and he also would like to be entertained with songs or stories.

    Oh, and BTW, the captain of Duke Raus’ mercenaries, Daine, has been missing. He was murdered some days ago inside the cave, past Krang’s lair, by a resentful NPC friend of his while Krang was out, but no one knows that yet.

    Any ideas are very welcome! 😉

    #17108
    Profile photo of Terry Mullins
    Terry Mullins
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    GM’d the campaign myself a couple of years ago. Good times. As to the dream dragon it would depend on the party. If you think the party and newtlings can take the lunars, have the dragon turn up near the end of the fight, helping the lunar rout.
    If the party is out matched, have him engage the lunars first. Then the party/newtlings have the option of joining in. Or sitting it out.
    If you can, have the newtling shaman do a Lawrence of Arabia, you know NO PRISONERS! NO PRISONERS!

    #17111
    Profile photo of Hannu Kokko
    Hannu Kokko
    Spectator

    Playing El Deguello is customary in that kind of situations…

    #17158
    Profile photo of Runeblogger
    Runeblogger
    Spectator

    Wow, Terry and Hannu must have scrying powers!!! OK, this was the first time in a game when such a situation happened, so I hadn’t expected the players to do just that.

    Anyway, this is what happened during last Sunday’s game:

    First I warned the players that, if the Lunars defiled the secret temple, their characters’ relationship with Zola Fel would be badly hurt (meaning: they would lose most or perhaps all the cool water powers they got when they became River Voices).

    The Lunars searched the caves looking for the newtlings, and they didn’t find the first two secret doors to the temple. But they found the third one, barred. While a group of Lunar peltasts (Silver Shields) where quickly making a battering ram to break open the door to the temple, some others went into the fifth cave (Krang’s lair). When they found the dragon, the commander ordered them to attack it cautiously with charged javelins. All this time, the soldiers were guided by the PCs. When the dragon unleashed his flaming breath, five of the Silver Shields who were protecting the others armed with javelins were immediately roasted, and the others got burns. The PCs then suddenly attacked the Lunar soldiers, since the other 20 where outside. The screaming and burning muffled the cries for help. Then the Vingan PC asked the dragon if he could please roast the next Lunars that came for him, and he said “OK”, but he would ask a favour from the PCs afterwards in exchange. The PCs went outside pretending to be wounded, asking for reinforcements, and did the same as before. There were now only 10 Lunars left (two of them being a sorcerer and the Lunar commander in Corflu: Nomelius Flactus). The sorcerer went into the caves with six soldiers just to see what had happened. Now the PCs had covered themselves in ashes and blood, and pretended to be dead on the floor. The Lunars saw the carnage and decided to go back outside and leave this cave to the dragon for good. But when they turned to leave, one of the PCs stood up and shot an arrow that impaled the sorcerer’s head, killing him instantly despite his magic protection. Then the PCs promptly killed the other six soldiers. Krang then asked the PCs to leave immediately, except for the beautiful Vingan. He wanted to speak with her and enjoy looking at her while she told him stories.

    When the other PCs came out of the cave, the Lunar commander pleaded for his life while the other two soldiers deserted him and just ran away. When Flactus saw they were bent on killing him, he drew his scimitar and asked for a [b]divine intervention[/b]. Unfortunately, Yanafal Tarnils didn’t feel like listening to the plea of such a stupid initiate, who had just wasted the life of his men. So Flactus just cast True Scimitar and Shield-2 and prepared to die fighting. The humakti PC asked his companions to let him deal personally with the Lunar commander… and Humakt got a bloody revenge on his hated enemy. Meanwhile, the other PCs peppered the fleeing soldiers with arrows.

    Then the PCs went to the nearby Lunar barge that had brought the Lunars upriver from Corflu. They told the sailors to disembark and go back to Corflu on foot. The PCs threatened them to stay quiet about what had happened there, otherwise Humakt would find them and kill them no matter where they hid.
    Afterwards, the PCs set the barge on fire. Then they burned all the corpses in a pyre.

    After that, the sun went to the Underworld and the PCs went to sleep, as they were exhausted. The next morning, there were still some caves to be explored, so the PCs started looking into the cave of the strange uz tomb. All this time, the Vingan PC was reluctantly spending time with the dragon. ❗ She asked Krang how long she would need to stay with him. Krang replied 6 weeks looked fair to him. The beautiful Vingan tried to convince the dragon she had many pressing obligations outside the cave, but Krang didn’t care. The player controlling the Vingan character was getting bored and annoyed that the other players were having fun exploring the uz tomb, while his character was sitting with the dragon. I didn’t care much because usually this player is the natural group leader and always takes the center stage in all sessions. But then this player got sick of doing nothing and blatantly told the dragon she would have to leave. The dragon replied he would then have to devour her. ❗ She started running to the exit, while Krang unleashed his flaming breath and ran after her. Fortunately for the Vingan, a daughter of Zola Fel had recently rewarded her with Zola Fel’s spell Fire Shield, that halves fire damage. She thus managed to survive long enough to get to the river (also thanks to her thick armour). There, she and the humakti plunged into shallow waters to put off the fire and stood up again to face the dragon. The other PCs came out of the cave to help them. The humakti was nearly killed. The Yelornan Praxian shot an arrow and scored a critical on the dragon’s wing, while the Veskarthani PC plunged his lava-spear deep into Krang’s hindquarters. Together, they quickly killed the small dragon (SIZ 32 IMG). Shortly after, the session ended.

    When I was going back home, I kept thinking I should have done this and that differently (I was way too soft on the PCs!), but it was a fun session nonetheless.

    Now, what sort of consequences would you throw against the characters??? >:D

    Because New Pavis is still full of Lunar soldiers, and their commanders will have to go and find out what happened with the 30 Silver Shields and Nomelion Flactus… (muahahahaha!)

    What would you do?

    #17231
    Profile photo of Niall
    Niall
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    Have the Lunars make divinations and then approach Duke Raus ordering him to hand over the pc’s.

    Killing so many Lunars is a game changer.

    Will Raus stick by them or are the pcs now outlaws?

    #17236
    Profile photo of Runeblogger
    Runeblogger
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    Thanks for your reply, Niall! 🙂

    I had thought of that, but that would make me feel guilty. I always try to think of at least one possible solution to the problems the PCs face, and I couldn’t have done anything better in their shoes. So now punishing them so quickly would look too radical for me.

    So maybe the Lunars are going to send a big regiment of Marble Phalanx hoplites to the Five Eyes caves, just to make sure no other barge gets attacked. Their first goal is to let the Lunar barges flow down the river safely up to Corflu and then to Karse.

    Later, when they send people to investigate, the most obvious conclusion by looking at the site (pile of burning corpses, dragon corpse, empty barge, capsized barge) is that the newtlings did it. And the dragon killed the Lunar peltasts, so maybe he was allied with the newtlings. Then the PCs will add they saw the dragon attacking the Lunars and they killed the dragon. If the Lunars later start an investigation, they may make a divination, but the answer won’t be clear cut (because divinations are always hazy). Something like: “The River coughed up violence and rage, helped by treachery and a fire beast”. Does that sound right?

    I really want to keep going with other adventures I have in mind (like Dyskund caverns from “Shadows on the Borderlands”), and maybe later, all this massacre will come back to haunt them.

    BTW, I plan to run Dyskund caverns as a “this world” Lhankor Mhy heroquest (search for forgotten knowledge as the Lightbringers Quest sen from Lhanokor Mhy’s perspective). Has anyone run that one?

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