January 17, 2023 play report pariah playriah

Pariah Session 5 - Play Report

Use the tags to find previous and for some more details. Hex fills used this session:

  • River Rapids. 42, fishing village - salmon spawning.
  • Nothing.
  • Llama herds, predated upon by Nameless One in wolf pack.

The Band determined they would head north-west and investigate the warrior-lodge beyond the mountains. Checking they had rope and bundles of dry wood, they headed off - bringing their entire group, planning to establish a base-camp at the foot of the mountains. They passed through quiet alpine woods, unknowingly drawing the attention of a family infected with The Hunger. Quickly finding the foothills of the mountains, they set about finding caves to camp within whilst Purple Point, Blue Fallen and two followers headed out to search for firewood. At this point the family attacked, charging the group. Blue Fallen succumbed to the terrible muscle-cramps caused by some serum which dripped from their gnarled fingernails, as did one of the followers of the Band. From the cave entrance, Idle-Quiet One spotted the combat and raised the alarm. Purple Point commanded their wind spirit to make a great noise, noticing that the three surviving attackers were attempting to drag away his paralyzed companions. This terrible din drove them fleeing back to whence they came, leaving but a single corpse. Purple Point applied a draught of the healing-honey to Blue Fallen and brewed a restorative tea for himself and their companion. The rest of the night was uneventful.

A random encounter roll led to a small group of Ghouls surprising’ the party. Since they had said they were moving at speed, not stopping to forage or hunt, the Ghouls, numbering only 4, elected to bide their time - hence the encounter actually triggering much later on. Morale, as it often does, gave a swift resolution once spirits got involved.

The next morning, the Band awoke to find the weather had turned, heavy winds and rain dissuading them from challenging the mountain that day. Instead, they elected to investigate more caves amongst the foothills, finding a niche-filled cave with burnt moss and a damaged idol depicted a heavily pregnant woman. Leaving this second cave, they saw 6 wolves and a nude human surveying them from the mountainside. This odd group left when waved at.

During this time, Cunning Mountain caught an entire warren of hares whilst Golden Other led hunters to trap and kill and Llama. When trying to help with the hide preparation, Gold Other was begged to please do literally anything else - something they acquiesced to. For their wind-spirit exploits, Idle-Quiet One tattooed an incredible skull design on the chest of Purple Point. Meanwhile, Blue Grove brewed some strange puffballs they had found into a potent tea, drinking deeply.

A terrible ringing filled their very being as a heavy sea of nothing leaked from their eyes. Their cranial fault expanded like a balloon stretched over a cactus. They felt this ringing pass into them and through them, reverberating like a scan. They were both observer and subject, but were all to aware of an other also observing. As they came down from this potent trip, he found his physical form changed - his tongue replaced with that of a butterfly, a ribbon-thin coil within his mouth.

Idle-Quiet One immediately took the offered cup. The weight of reality crushed them down into a molecule thick pancake of suffering, aware only of the infinite everything bearing down upon them before it finally relented. The return to three-dimensions was almost as harrowing as existing in two - the pain haunting their eyes forevermore.

Blue Fallen was the last to drink of this tea - after which the colour slowly drained from reality, leaving everything monochrome. This slowly turned into true chrome, everything a shining reflective silver, the boundaries becoming murky and then immaterial - all reality a mirror reflecting the self/other that Blue Fallen recognised as themselves and as reality itself. A scream built within him before emerging metallic, echoing - a sound burnt into his ears to be heard and re-heard in every waking moment until he dies.

Interesting how much impact weather can make on these plans. The wolf encounter was simply a high-distance, neutral reaction roll. I like having the fills appear in some way in the encounters, allowing for multiple interactions during extended periods in one hex. I didn’t expect to have to ad-lib so many highly powerful drug-trips, but there you are. I think I’ll expand out the Banes tables for the journeys to other realms - two mutation results may have given the players the wrong idea about this brew. That said, nothing wrong with them not understanding what they are playing with.


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January 16, 2023 not games

USER.LOG

Every time you are about to use your computer for something, you must first record it in USER.LOG. This is a physical lined notebook stored near the computer.

The format is DATE - TIME - PURPOSE - LENGTH. The LENGTH is an estimate of how long you’ll be on the computer for. Keep the purpose specific. Once you’ve completed your PURPOSE, or your time is up, you must add a new entry to USER.LOG before continuing.

CONSIDERATIONS

  • Do not use shorthand or abstract terms. Be specific and concrete.
  • Do not make USER.LOG a digital file.
  • Do not use this notebook for other things. Ideally it should be a cheap, nasty one you already have hanging around.
  • The goal here isn’t to read back the log and feel bad - it’s to stop you wasting time and getting annoyed at yourself in the first instance.
  • You could have browse the internet” as your purpose, but I’d suggest against it - or limiting your LENGTH severely.
January 12, 2023 wolves

Belgic Wickermen

This is just a snippet from the upcoming update to Wolves Upon the Coast Grand Campaign.

Belgic Wickermen are Golems made of ensorcelled branches, woven into a 15’ tall humanoid form. They are powered by the living humans trapped within them, having HD equal to these prisoners - although always fighting as a 8HD creature. They are able to borrow the voices of those trapped within them.

41.24 Aunios

Aunios sprawls out into the ocean, hemmed in by its palisade walls and ditches maintained for generations. 65 call it home, living off the sea and their toll upon the road - 5sp a head. Such a toll does not allow access - this requires the relinquishment of weapons.

Orbissa (3HD, Maille, Bow, Sword) sits upon the stone throne of Aunios by right of combat, her predecessor and uncle buried some five years. She is much beloved by the people, her youth and vigour fêted. She brooks no insult to her power - to those showing decorum, she asks for aid. A Belgic Wickerman, sent from parts unknown, guards the road to the south. Her court priest, Ambilli (2HD, Maille, Spear, dedicated to Cernunnos), has been unable to command it away. To those able to destroy it, or drive it away, she offers 1000sp in the bronze coins of The Marches.

Where the jetties lick the sea, a crone, Divogenia (1HD) sleeps in an abandoned cart. Her biting wit and puerile imagination are well-known - her origin a secret. To one who would give her a horse, she acts an advisor. She knows many Wards, but only metes out her knowledge as needed. She knows of Betony, a Chant praising the deeds Ludeks which protects against illusions and mind-affecting magics, Cowslip, the creation of a Gargoyle-charms featuring the face of bearded serpent, Hazel, Hellebore, the skulls of horses, Rosemary, Rue and Yarrow.

10 footmen, 12 skirmishers plus 4 fishing boats.

41.25 Punitive Wickerman

Upon the road stands a lone Belgic Wickerman, filled with 6 living souls, screaming for release. It permits none to pass without offering - one human, scooped up and placed within its chest to join the chorus. If given Divogenia, it returns to 39.32, although it does not know her name.


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January 4, 2023

The Toothed Wind

Man brought fire with them but they found the Toothed Wind waiting. Some have learnt its language of screams and howls, and are able to invoke it. Others have opened themselves up to it, letting a little of the wind dwell within the hollow places of their chests. When they howl, it is with the full force of the Toothed Wind.

Those left exposed to it are chewed as by beasts of the land, leaving only scoured bones which are taboo to handle. A blade made of such bone kills like a rabid dog, but treats the wielder likewise.

No sacrifice pleases the Toothed Wind - it is aimless, irrepressible desire. Possessions and offerings only remind it of hunger, of what it does not have. How can one satiate a wind? Evoking it requires first-hand knowledge of its bite.


A maximum roll on the encounter dice represents an encounter with the Toothed Wind. Those outside take 1d6 damage per round. Those reduced to exactly 0 HP are left alive, gaining the ability to exhale the Toothed Wind - dealing 2d6 damage to all in a 20’ cone before them, and taking the larger d6 of damage themselves. The wind blows for d20 rounds.

Gnawed Bone Blades cause a save vs poison when they strike true. If the victim passes, the wielder must save in turn. Failure in either case results in death.

Those who have taken damage from the Toothed Wind are able to try and evoke it when outside. Roll Reaction:

2d6 Reaction
2- Hostile
3-5 Negative Inclination
6-8 Disinterested
9-11 Positive Inclination
12+ Friendly

Any result but Disinterest summon the Toothed Wind, which squalls and bites all in the area for d20 rounds.


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December 13, 2022 play report pariah playriah

Pariah Session 4 - Play Report

Use the tags to find previous and for some more details. Hex fills used this session:

  • River Rapids. 42, fishing village - salmon spawning.
  • River very deep. Giant Bee Hive - 262.

The Pariahs awoke after their celebratory feast the night before. Shaking off hangovers as the tribe set about their daily tasks, the decided to ask Dismal Fortune, the chief of this group, about the local area. He revealed to them a warrior lodge beyond the north-eastern mountains, a Giant Bee hive with healing-honey to the west, drowning-spirits upon the coast and friendly bog-dwellers to the south-east with powerful shamans - required in their dangerous home. The band also asked after the source of the Desert Rue used to secure fires against spirits - to the best of the chief’s knowledge, the desert lay 2 weeks upriver. The band decided to investigate the hive, feeling the honey may be useful in future expeditions. Blue-Grove recalled that some honeys were psychoactive, and best gathered after exposing the hive to smoke. Armed with this knowledge, they set off.

Gathering these rumours was as simple as looking at the nearby hexes and seeing what this tribe might know. This was made much faster due to the super-slim format - to the point I think it might remove the need for a rumour table. The fills used in this case:

  • River very deep. Giant Bee Hive - 262.
  • Dog Eating Lodge - 18 members
  • 13 Glaucon, coastal. Sun Eagle Spirit.
  • Boat people, 38. Crocodile god, filled with spirits. 9 ghouls.

As the Band sought the hive by following the river, they stumbled across a huge tree hosting a colony of bats. Beyond this, they found the hive - terrier-sized bees coming and going from the base of a fallen tree, some carrying entire squirrels. The band bound two curved pieces of bark together, and filled this with a mix of pine-needles and wet grasses. Taking some time, they lit this mix from the bottom, creating a slow-burning fire outputting gouts of smoke. Purple Point called upon his spirit once more, bidding it to keep the fire close. Choking and spluttering but protected from immediate harm, the band sans Blue Fallen entered into the burrow - following the agitated bees deeper into the hive. On the surface, Blue Fallen watched the stragglers slowly begin to form a swarm. He was still safe as the wafts of smoke drifted up from the entrance to the hive. Meanwhile, beneath the earth, the Band hit it big - discovering the honey-cells of the bees. Realising they hadn’t brought any containers, they emptied sacks and used Purple Point’s colourful flaxen cloak to gather 5 doses of healing-honey. They began climbing back up as the wind-spirit lost cohesion and released the smoke, allowing it to generally drift upwards. Upon reaching the surface, the swarm began agitatedly moving towards the group. Blue-Grove bid their spirit possess a bee and attack the others, providing a distraction for the band to begin fleeing. Realising the bees were slow but determined, they made for a clearing, planning to create a much bigger fire to drive away the swarm. Whilst gathering leaves, Cunning Mountain kicked a snake and was bitten, falling to the ground with a rapidly swelling leg. Purple Point applied a makeshift to the tourniquet the wound before spending a dose of their precious healing-honey to cure the poison. They through their smoker onto their pile of dried leaves, which quickly caught - before spreading to consume the entire clearing. Thankfully for the band, the wind carried the flames and resultant smoke towards the swarm, driving them away although rapidly growing in size. Seeing that they couldn’t manage this fire, the band elected to return home.

I allowed the smoke to effectively pacify the bees after some quick research. The expenditure of the spirits energies was simply determined using the initial roll to evoke the effect. The snakebite was due to an encounter roll - as they fled, I rolled for an encounter and knowing their plan (gather tinder for a fire) it made the most sense for it to happen then. From there I randomly determine who it was sprung upon. The healing-honey cured the failed poison saving throw - I like to have failed saves kill over hours or days where possible, as it drives a lot of play in my experience. The wind direction, as ever, was determined with a d12 roll. As a result of the fire, I’m going to update a number of the fills to show the passage of the flames.

Upon returning to the village, Dismal Fortune questioned them as to the huge and spreading fire behind them. The party plead ignorance, which the chief did not buy for a second. The shaman of the settlement traded Desert Rue for healing-honey whilst Idle-Quiet One told a story of a stealthy exit, aided by Blue-Grove burning Sorcerer’s Sage to ensure a receptive audience. This mollified the ill-will of the tribe somewhat, although the fire and subsequent lying still leaves a bitter taste in their mouths. During the trip, Blue-Grove saw the form of their spirit - the mother-leopard that haunted his sister. Idle-Quiet One tattooed himself with a screaming baboon using the viscera gathered previously, and convinced Cunning Mountain to get the word FEAR across his chest, offsetting the DEATH on his face nicely.

I’m tracking the reputation with each group as a simple +/- to Reaction rolls. Often the roll isn’t needed so much as the integer showing general good/bad sentiment, but it might be useful to have it tied to an objective’ mechanic at some point.


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December 13, 2022 play report pariah playriah

Pariah Session 3 - Play Report

Use the tags to find previous and for some more details. Hex fills used this session:

  • Learned shamanic baboon + 14 captives. Flint Mine.
  • River Rapids. 42, fishing village - salmon spawning.

Having resolved to approach the situation diplomatically, Idle Quiet One and Golden Other approached the settlement, immediately challenged by the spear-fishers and surprised to be able to understand them. They raised an alarm as they demanded to know the purpose of these visitors. The delegation from the band explained they were traders, showing the bear claws and teeth they had harvested. During the panic in the camp, the chief of this group, Dismal Fortune, strode up to them, brow furrowed with worries. He asked if they were killers to so openly flash the viscera of a powerful animal like a bear. Golden Other replied that they killed when the situation required it. The chief asked what they wished to trade for, leading them to explain they had witnessed the fire-warding the night before and wished to learn it against the spirits of the night. For such tutelage, Dismal Fortune asked that they rescue members of their band from the small red-faced mockery of a man who opened the head of a shaman and ate his brains” down-river. Running this message back to camp, the group agreed. They instructed the adults of their Band to maintain their camp, continuing to work the bear and yak hides they had accumulated. As the party left, the falcon that had been following the band landed nearby to watch over their camp. Golden Other fed it scraps of meat.

A bad reaction roll followed by a very good one led to the openness of the chief. Their problems made sense due to the proximity to the baboon shaman, even though not originally present in the hex-fills. The falcon getting closer was a random encounter result (Hawk) which I took as their semi-pet the Falcon.

Setting off downriver, moving somewhat stealthily, the band found their way back to the site where they had watched a figure tip out soil. Night was falling, limiting vision but highlighting the fire within the hill. The sounds of barking, laughter, and pained moans echoed up and out from the hollowed out hill, and several holes bored into the top of the hill vomited smoke. Half the band split off, moving around to the side to investigate. Behind the hill, they saw wooden cages set inside large pits. From a hidden entrance, a human figure emerged and passed something into one of the cages, revealing a humanoid captive. Watching through the entrance, Purple Point spied at least 6 humanoid figures moving around the central fire within the hill. He and Blue-Grove crept up the hill, planning to peer down the smoke-holes. Blue-Grove, having a bound elemental of the wind, asked his spirit to gently push the smoke down the holes, allowing them clearer visibility. With this clear sight-line, they saw waxen-fleshed humans dancing around a fire for the amusement of a baboon wearing a golden amulet and wearing a belt laden with pouches.

Some extremely fun use of a bound spirit - the stipulation of 5 word commands gives a lot of texture to how they can be used.

Golden Other painted the word DEATH across each face before the band stormed into the hill, using the element of surprise. The baboon was hacked to death after screeching for its captives to destroy the intruders”. With the death of this creature, the humans stood still, faces blank and empty. The band issues commands to free the others before following them back to the people upon the river. Amongst the captives unbroken to the will of the baboon was Eager Grave, who gave them some details of how they were made to mine flint for the baboon. From the near-unrecognisable corpse of the baboon the Band took the golden medallion, a jaw, a paw and miscellaneous viscera (for Idle Quiet One’s tattoos, naturally).

Some extremely good rolls and a failure by Gorefingers Manbrain to hear them approaching. If they’d not rushed at night, this fight would’ve been interesting - trying to avoid killing 14 minions whilst Gorefingers tried to use mind-control magic.

Leading this group back home, the party encountered a large hollow log washed downriver since they left. Apart from this, nothing of note occurred. Upon returning, Dismal Fortune welcomed them gladly, many families overjoyed to see their loved ones returned - although the DEATH markings on their faces gave him some consternation. As promised, the shaman begrudgingly taught the Band to ward their fires, explaining that a tea of Desert Rue must be drunk. He noticed that Golden Other was writing this down - although she wiped it off her arm, he was still displeased. The settlement threw a feast for the return of the captives, inviting the Band to join. They played their instruments and told tales, indulging in the fermented fish-drink of these river people. Cunning Mountain succumbed to this, allowing Idle Quiet One to convince him that getting the word DEATH tattooed across his face was a great idea. Finally, as the party wound down, Purple Point, Golden Other and Blue-Grove slept with members of the settlement.

This mostly consisted of music checks to impress the settlement followed by some Drinking checks to stay in control of their drink. I gave Cunning Mountain an X for getting such a great tattoo. Allowing the group to form some social bonds with settlement has been great and will hopefully give them some context for future wanderings. Most pertinently for them (and something they’ve not considered) - someone was trading with the baboon for that flint. I think I’m going to have to start giving more X’s in play as only 3 are required to improve something. One to consider on my end.


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