The first Game Sessions (May, 07 – August, 07)
Player 1: Mike (Human Thug named Bernolt)
Player 2: Marissa (Elf Outrider named Palemoon)
Player 3: Rich (Human Tomb Robber named Hamlyn.)
The story begins in the port town of Taalagad. Taalagad is dirty, crumbling town in disrepair. A barge docks at the port and the hung over Thug Bernolt stumbles off the ship and runs into his old friend, the Tomb Robber Hamlyn who is in the midst of a pub crawl.
They decide to find the next pub together but are accosted by several of the poor, unemployed citizen sitting on a nearby stone wall by the docks. Caught off guard two of citizens try to pickpocket Hamlyn and Bernolt. Hamlyn pushed one away and Bernolt attempts to follow suit but is still off balanced from the alcohol and falls on his butt creating a comical scene. Hamlyn and Bernolt arrive at a local pub with out further incident.
The pub is packed with people. Bernolt, followed by Hamlyn, struggle through the crowd to the bar for a drink. Meanwhile the elven outrider Gale Palemoon haggles for a room with the local Pub owner. Finally coming to an agreement, Palemoon is escorted to her room by a shady halfling named Chop Chop. On Palemoon’s return to the main hall of the Pub, she see Hamlyn. Palemoon meets Hamlyn a long time ago through his daughter, Hanna. Palemoon and Hamlyn catch up and she is introduced to Bernolt who is not only in the mood to drink but to have fun as well. Bernolt chooses a puny looking farmer to challenge to an arm wrestling contest, with the winner buying the next drink. The farmer Sven is apprehensive about to challenge but Hamlyn assists Bernolt by audibly reminding him the last time her challenged someone to a competition he bought drinks for half the bar. Sven instantly agrees, hoping to win a free drink. Bernolt shows no mercy and wins with out pause or strain. While he farmer is using a week’s wages to buy a rather expensive drink, Bernolt shows a bit of heart and pays for half the drink and makes new friend. Sven tells Bernolt to stay away from all the people who are coughing, they have plague. He also says there are several peasants who wish to re-settle the decimated town of Breitblat. The man responsible for recruiting men for the expedition is an incompetent drunkard of a magistrate. Hamlyn and Palemon decided to apply for the job and goes to speak with the magistrate. Unfortunately, the Magistrate is no longer seeing people. In a moment of lunacy Hamlyn trades a whole Gold crown for the magistrate’s time.
The conversation goes well. It’s a simple escort job. One hundred Peasants are to be escorted on a three day journey to re settle the town of Breitblat which is on the far side of the city of Talabheim. Talabheim is a large city in the midst of crater with only one entrance through an impregnable fortress at the end of a windy wizard’s road. Hamlyn is actually trying to gain entrance to this city for unknown reasons, presumably to raid tombs and sell items acquired. The job has several benefits. Hamlyn, Palemoon, and Bernolt will receive two Gold Crowns each and another eight after the job is completed. They receive a map and will receive special papers to enter the city of Talabheim. They have two days to gather supplies and tie up loose ends before they are summoned to their charge. Afterwards, Bernolt is filled in on the situation and the party retires for the evening.
The next day the party buys supplies and explores the city. People are in deep poverty and those in charge seem to be hiding in Talabheim. They have even restricted who can enter the city. There are whispers of plague and concern. Bernolt and Hamlyn find a bar called Skully’s. It a hole in the wall which is almost empty aside from the obese halfling sitting on a couch with human females feeding him skinned boiled rats. The halfling is Skully. Skully turns out to be quite the character and hits it off with Bernolt, seeing the unspoken Hamlyn as little more than a lackey. Skully is an entertainer of sorts. He has pit fighting shows and asks Bernolt to fight. Of course Bernolt agrees to a fight. Any chance for Bernolt to display the power of his club the “Peacemaker” is one he won’t miss. The plot thickens when Skully reveals his true desire. Pit Fighting turn a good profit but if he could display a fight with a unique creature the crowds would sell there house to see such a battle. Skully says he will pay 100 Gold Crowns for a black orc and 60 Gold Crowns for a standard orc. Bernolt’s eyes light up at the thought of all that money and Hamlyn isn’t opposed to the idea either.
While “the scoundrels” are occupied at Skully’s, Palemoon visits the area known as Little Kislev where she has a conversation with an old woman scrubbing wash. The kindly old woman tells of the plight of the Kislevites, and how they are being replaced by the newcomers in town – refugee’s and survivors of the Storm of Chaos – mostly from Hochland.
Later, Palemoon re-unite with the others where Bernolt tried to sell the idea of the black orc to her but she isn’t having it. She is concerned with the one hundred non combatants under their charge, and is taking her responsibility very seriously. The argument is short, and the elven maiden cannot be swayed… yet the scoundrels hope there is still a chance to persuade her, maybe on the way back from Brietblatt. The party retires for the night.
The next evening they go back to Skully’s and drag Palemoon to meet him. Bernolt is hoping Skully will convince her to accept the idea of capturing a black orc for the arena. Bernolt is hoping to fight but forgot to sign the roster the previous day and can’t fight. Palemoon is disgusted by Skully. Bernolt tried to tell him to convince her but Skully is angered Bernolt would even mention the idea of him placing such a bounty in public and denies everything. With nothing more to do the three get some rest for their big day.
In the morning, following another meal of fried potatoes and vinegar, a sergeant escorts the party to the peasants whose number exceeds one hundred. There are one hundred adults and an unknown amount of children. The whole bunch is excited to be leaving Taalgad and start anew. There are two peasants that stand out. An elderly veteran archer with a grey dog and very excited blacksmith named Minhadrt. The sergeant addresses the crowd briefly, and then introduces the three escorts to the refugees, asking them to speak to their charges. His request is met by silence. Then someone in the crowd yells speech, and soon there is a roar for a speech. The three escorts ignore this, readying themselves to move out, until a wee lad is the only one left yelling for a speech. Somehow this lone child’s convincing request cannot be ignored, and the two scoundrels step back, leaving the speech-giving duty to the elf Palemoon. She speaks slowly at first, the with more fervor and eloquence, informing the crowd of refugees that the road may be perilous, and they should move with utmost speed, keeping their children close by. When she is done, the crowd cheers and woots excited by the prospects of their future. She has won the respect from all of the refugees, and is now deemed the leader of the escorts.
The first day and night is uneventful. There is some concern about the coughing peasants and the possibility of plague but it is brushed off as “road dust”.
During the second day of the exodus the group encounters three ogres in brightly colored garb, wearing large hats with feathers. One approaches, removes his hat, and in what seems a polite tone requests a few children to feed their starving bellies! The thought of these ogres devouring the children turn the party’s stomachs. Palemoon and Bernolt try and convince the ogres of an alternate food source, but the ogre’s show little interest in a flask of vodka. Hamlyn listens carefully, but holds his tongue and his weapons. The ogre is not willing to accept refusal and turns to rejoin the others. Palemoon fires an arrow which flies wide over the ogre’s hat. And thus, the battle begins.
Palemoon rides to a good firing position and let arrows fly. Bernolt charges in and let’s his club, “Peacemaker” taste ogre blood. Hamlyn tries to follow suit but he’s a robber not a fighter and takes a club to the face for his insolence. The old veteran is guarded by his dog while he tries to lend aid by firing his bow. The fear combined with age renders him useless. Hamlyn is nearly killed when a devastating blow crush his left arm from the shoulder down. With Hamlyn down the ogre rushes the peasants and starts killing them left and right. Bernolt is still going “hit for hit” with the leader, while Palemoon turns the third monster into a porcupine. The excited blacksmith, Mihardt, joins the battle, confronting the other ogre, now in the midst of the refugees. His foolhardiness is only matched by his bravery, as his blacksmiths hammer cannot strike true. The Ogre once again uses his mighty flail to smash the young blacksmith into oblivion. The old veteran also falls before the battles concludes. The three ogres take a few bodies including that of the blacksmith and run off to have their meal and heal.