Maybe I like props
So how do you remember all these details and dialog? Are you recording the sessions?
No, I have a near edietic memory. That being said, these were from the notes I did have for these particular sessions.
Session 0.9 with Mikasa (Sarah) She is 9 so this story is a bit shorter and less in depth than the others.
Mikasa was born in the Silver Talon druidic tribe. This tribe rarely interacted with other tribes. Her tribe was tasked to keep the balance between The Southern Wilds and The Southern Plains civilized areas. Not many non-druids know how involved druids are in keeping The Wilds at bay. They move and grow like a living creature. Horrible and terrible things live in these Wilds. The difficulty in keeping them in check has been progressively getting harder to achieve. Despite her tribe’s best effort, they have been unable to keep the forces at bay.
Not too long ago her clan was asked to hold a new breach in The Southern Wilds while another tribe, The Sun Mares, would go in and try to cleanse a portion of it out. Her tribe paid a high price and were defeated in a fierce battle. She was left for dead and the creatures that overran her tribe killed many who were trying to purify the breach. The rupture wasn’t sealed. Over time the story of what happened began to circulate and soon the other tribes began spreading rumors that the Silver Talon tribe ran away during the battle in order to save themselves and left the others to die. Her tribe has been considered dishonored ever since.
As such, Mikasa distanced herself from others and has mostly spent time with the animals out in the wilderness. She offers her services as a guide from time to time but usually keeps to nature. Lately, she was getting weird dreams and visions from her tribal ancestors. Her parents and grandparents ask for her to set things right and restore honor to her tribe. Doing something heroic should restore their name legacy and they will be able to rest knowing that their tribe’s name is whispered with honor once more.
In one of her more recent dreams, her tribal elder specifically said that there will be one whom she will guide that will bear the sign of the Goat. Lead this person to their destination and by helping them she will be on the path of restoring the honor among her tribe. Do what it takes to protect them and see their journey through. The bearer of the Goat will face great evil and need your help. The Silver Talon tribe will answer the call and help.
Since the dream, she has been helping guide people around The Southern Plains ever watching for the sign of the Goat. One day she hopes to find this person.
Mikasa had been doing work around Sutton, one of the frontier towns near The Southern Wilds. Today she is escorting someone from the Crossroad Inn to Sutton. The wilderness here is new and unspoiled. Dangerous. Her charge is a farmer looking for a fresh start in the frontier town. He is a bit slow but has a stutter. He introduces himself as Bilgar. Along the way, she encounters a few goblins that try to ambush them. Mikasa makes quick work on them using her knowledge of spells and self-defense.
Bilgar thanks Mikasa and decides to carry on despite the danger. She takes it a bit slower weary that something else might be out there. She arrives at the bridge that is close to Sutton and is able to deliver Bilgar to safety. He thanks her and offers some coin in exchange. He mentions that she is more than welcome to come by again in the future. Perhaps he’ll have some nice crops to offer to show his appreciation.
While in Sutton she stops by Stromea’s Surveyors to see if there are any jobs for her on the way back to The Crossroad Inn. She finds someone who is wanting to leave Sutton and head back up North. She goes through town, several of the inhabitants of Sutton stare at she, others seem wary of strangers. After a little while, she finds the man in question.
He introduces himself as Elmer and only carries a small bag with him. “Is this all you are taking?” She asked.
He blurts out, “I would take more but… I just want to leave this place. It gives me the creeps.”
Mikasa looks around and doesn’t see anything out of the ordinary but decides to take him anyway. He is very quiet while walking through Sutton and on a couple of occasions she can see him staring at a few people longer than needed. Once she is well away from the town he eases his guard up a bit. He chatters a little to pass the time, and most likely, get stuff off his mind. “I don’t know what happened. I was visiting some friends down here and they barely even recognized me. They were acting weird and different. Not like my friends at all.”
He paused to see if she would chime in but Mikasa didn’t chit chat all that much. Instead, she was too busy keeping an eye and ear open for anything dangerous. He goes on. “I kept hearing strange sounds in the middle of the night and decided to leave this place. I think it’s cursed.” She doesn’t make good time and feels that she needs to take a quick break. Mikasa thinks she hears sounds behind her but when she turns around she doesn’t see or hear anything. Elmer catches on and hands her some minor healing potions in case things get bad.
She makes a small camp that evening and pulls out some food and starts eating. She looks around and notices the local trees and plants are starting to wilt and die. Come to think of it, she doesn’t really hear any normal insects or wildlife the last little bit of the journey. This area feels like it’s dying. It almost feels like the blight that sometimes accompanies The Wilds when they try to expand. Before she can think much on it she hears some rustling in the bushes a little way out.
Straining her eyes she eventually sees 2 reptilian creatures. When they get closer she starts to be overwhelmed by an awful stench. She recognizes the smell. Troglodytes. Normally they live underground in caves. She doesn’t know what they would be doing above ground and in a situation like this. She and Elmer make their stand. Elmer proved semi-competent as a fighter and he is able to kill one.
When the first one dies the second decides to run off but a shock of lightning from Mikasa stops him in his tracks and he is slain. Elmer asks if she can skip the camp and just push on. She agrees. Still, the fact that she saw Troglodytes and the forest starting to wither has her on edge. It isn’t for another hour before life seems to return to the forest and she feels more at ease.
She eventually arrives at The Crossroad Inn and Elmer is extremely grateful. He hands her some coins and wishes her well. He immediately heads in to get a room and sleep off today’s adventure. She looks through any new messages and finds two others that are wanting to head down south to Sutton. She is slightly hesitant but decides to wait until morning before taking the job. She wants a little bit of rest and perhaps daylight. The last trip was odd enough at night.
She looks around the room. There is a father teaching his daughter how to count coins and change from one denomination to another. Mikasa hasn’t been inside the inn for a while and she forgets how cozy it can be. The bartender isn’t familiar to her and he looks afraid and nervous though she isn’t sure why. In a corner of the room, she sees a table of shady looking people. She recognizes some of their gear and deduces that they are slavers. Not the nicest people to have around. She thinks that this is why the Innkeeper is nervous but isn’t sure.
The assignment describes what the two people look like and she looks around the inn. She notices that they are here but decides to skip introductions just for now. However, she glances down at the hand of one of them, a woman, and notices a beautiful signet ring. On it is the crest of a Goat. She muses for a moment and decides that it can’t be a coincidence. This must be the one she was meant to help.
All of a sudden the room grows quiet as a few large cloaked figures walk into the Inn. She recognized the overall shape. Dragon Knights. She immediately looked at the slavers in the corner who already have eyed the newcomers and have started to whisper with each other. The Dragon Knights sit down and order some food when the Slavers get up without paying for their meal and head for the door. This can’t be good.
Oh, been busy and forgot to post another 0.9 session.
Arianna doesn’t remember much from her childhood. It is unclear if it was through trauma or just pushing it out of her mind. The only thing she does recall is having a vivid dream in which a silhouetted creature covered in shadow from the front, but bathed in light from behind, spoke to her and told her that she had a destiny.
It identified itself as The Balance and that Arianna had a part to play in restoring the balance. She received her true name at this time and was told to never divulge this information to anyone as it may have severe consequences. She was also given the gift of magic.
Strangely enough, despite all that has happened since then, this one thing is the only thing that seems important. It took time, but eventually she learned how to increase her magical prowess. At first she didn’t believe she had magic, but it wasn’t until she said some insults to someone that the person recoiled as if in pain. Her words had power and she delved into mastering them. She learned to take care of herself and hurt those that would seek to harm her.
Arianna had been honing her skills for years trying to find an early way to retire from a good con. At first, it was small things here and there until she realized that the big money was in the long con. Royalty fit the two best criteria. Lots of money. Small amounts of wit. She kept honing her skills with the silver tongue and learning about royal life.
Eventually, she settled on a target. Small and obscure to not attract attention, but large enough to have a good treasury. The main settlement contained a robust manor with a few outlying farms and orchards. It was far away from the large cities so that they had their own established lands and wouldn’t attract the wrong kind of attention. The regency was called Tessaway.
It was a small Barony in The Southlands. It was ruled by Ransley. From what she could tell he was an ok ruler. He taxed the peasants a bit too much but made up for it by having nicer than normal living conditions for them. He really just wanted to stay out of the rest of the world’s problems. More taxes meant a larger royal treasury.
His wife was named Ennata. She was fairly mousey and quiet. She seemed happy even though she didn’t talk much. Their son was a different story. He was a normal pompous prince. Completely self-absorbed and eager to take over the manor. He wishes to expand to the north and compete with other baronies for more land.
Arianna staked it out for a few months. She would need to forge documents to begin her plan. While working on these documents she traveled around and used her bardic abilities to seed false information about her fake persona. She also realized that she would need some sort of a physical object that would confirm her story and establish her status as nobility. The Tessaway signet ring would be just the high ticket item she would need. It would be expensive to forge as it needed real precious gems. It would take a large chunk of her ill-gotten gains from past exploits in order to have a jeweler craft this object.
After the ring was completed and the rumors had been spread it was time to make her move. Her cover story was that she was sent away for high formal education that only the wealthiest of nobles could attend. This was common practice in the south. Go to school and then come back for marriage. The Southlands had a high investment in education compared to other sections of Stromea.
She began to get acclimated to her surroundings and started her job of fitting in by using copious amounts of flattery. She instantly became a sensation and popular. Many of the locals asking what it was like outside of their lands that they had never been out of. Over time she got the uneasy feeling that one of the Baron’s advisors didn’t buy her story. She felt that she was being watched and scrutinized a bit too closely.
It was easy for her to play the shy and coy flatterer around him in order to find out what he might suspect. Over the course of weeks, she almost spent more time observing and watching him than doing her primary objective. Over time though she ended up falling for the guy. She discovered that he was one of the Baron’s strongest fighters. His name was Demitri. Eventually, her objective slowly changed from getting access to the royal treasury and getting to know more about him.
Arianna had some contacts in the nearby land that she would use to try and get more information on him with. However, during one of their meetups, the secret came out and Demitri discovered who Arianna really was. Arianna didn’t know what to do and ran back to get her things as quick as possible and leave town. However, Demitri was already waiting at her house.
Demitri confronted Arianna and noted that he already suspected that she wasn’t around here. His biggest tip-off is that he would have remembered someone as smart and beautiful as she. She turned to him surprised that he was being so nice about it. He said that she didn’t seem to be up to no good and hadn’t done anything nefarious. She breathed a sigh of relief. He took her in his arms and they embraced.
Demitri and Arianna soon started to court. She spent much of the time learning everything she could about him and what he did. Demitri was very charismatic and genuinely cared for the people. In return the people loved him. Often when they were together around the farms he would often stop by to check up on everyone. Sometimes he would even help with the most mundane of chores.
He eventually proposed to her with a genuine Tessaway signet. It was the best day of her life. She still kept the old one for nostalgia, but that ring became her most prized possession. He loved the people. He loved the land. She no longer had to worry about the next con to keep her alive, she had someone strong to make her feel safe and she was, for the most part, surrounded by decent folk.
It was dark outside. The stars and moons hidden behind clouds. The smell of smoke filled her nose and the screams of people filled her ears. She woke up with a startle and looked out the window to the courtyard. From there she could see plumes of smoke rising from some of the nearby orchards and farms. A fog was starting to roll in, but oddly enough it seemed to be rolling uphill towards the royal estate. Running from the fog and smoke were several local farmers trying to head to the safety of the estate. Down below in the courtyard, she could see a makeshift defense of the militia and some of the Baron’s personal guards.
It’s a bit too far to see what is attacking the estate and since she wasn’t shy about the odd scuffle here and there she leaped out of bed. The inside of the estate was filled with panicked people running to and fro. A few injured people made it inside the estate and she stops to help bandage a few of them before heading outside.
She steps outside and the severity of the attack is upon her. Bodies lie strewn all over and it’s clear that the militia isn’t able to hold back whoever is attacking and about to run over the last defenses. In a panic, she frantically searches for Demitri who is fighting on the front lines. She gets closer and can finally see what they are fighting. A large mass of undead is clamoring towards the estate. She could see skeletons, zombies and even what looked like undead goblins and orcs. Normally the undead doesn’t leave the swamp areas to the west and so this is highly unusual. Outside the manor, several large wagons are full of corpses that are being heaved onto by these undead goblins. She has never seen or heard of anything like this before.
Demitri has a few wounds but is desperately trying to rally the militia and hold back the inevitable rout. She just wanted to leave. Even she knew that this place was a lost cause. Perhaps she could plead to him to leave with her and they can start again somewhere else.
“Demitri let’s leave this place. It’s already a lost cause. We can make it out. We can survive.”
After plunging his sword into another skeleton and crushing it under his boots he turns slowly. She could see the resolve on his face and already knew what he would say.
“I can’t leave these people. Even if it’s a lost cause, the best I can do is buy them as much time as possible.” He paused for a moment. “Perhaps a few of them might even make it away from here.” He couldn’t look her in the eyes. “I can’t just abandon them.”
Her first instinct was to run, to get away. All her life she had learned when to cut her losses. This was that time. She started to turn and then she realized that it didn’t matter. For the first time, she was invested in something other than herself. She decided to stay behind and help. She wasn’t the most graceful fighter, but she was able to use minor spells and inspire those around her. Demitri tried to talk her out of it but knew that she was set on staying.
While her contributions were noticeable, it merely delayed the end. Slowly they kept falling back closer and closer towards the manor. It didn’t matter. She had Demitri at her side and that was all she cared about at that time. She never realized just how capable a fighter Demitri was until this moment. She heard stories but seeing him first hand was magnificent. However, it wasn’t enough. Eventually, the hordes of undead broke them and they had to fall back into the manor itself. Only a handful of the militia was still around.
Once back inside she sees the panic on everyone’s faces as they try to throw together a makeshift barricade near the front door. Anyone not involved in the defenses seemed to be trying to find a way to escape. Demitri turns to Arianna with urgency in his voice.
“There is no real back way out of here. Find a place to hide and stay there until morning. Do not come out no matter what you see or hear. Promise me that you’ll at least keep yourself safe.” She holds his hands and nods while burying her head into his shoulder. He gently rubs his hands through her hair and lingers for just a moment before needing to push her away. “I will always love you.” He goes in to kiss her but pulls short as he quickly turns away and helps with the defense.
She pauses for a moment looking towards him but knows that he won’t turn around or it would be too hard to do what he needed to do.
She ran to a nearby food cupboard. In the back, there was a hidden passageway that she crawled into. This was a common place for the staff to hide to avoid work or for a promiscuous venture. It was cramped but she felt she would be safe here. A tiny peephole provided her with some information but it wasn’t very large. The large wooden estate door soon began to buckle and break. Large splinters shot off as it started to crumble. Demitri rallied the last few militias to hold the line for as long as possible.
“If we can get even one more to safety than we will have done our part.” And with that, the door burst open and the undead flooded in like a wave. Eventually, the militia begins to fall and Demitri tries his best to stem the tide. Slowly he gets too many injuries and his fatigue starts to catch up to him. Soon his weapon is knocked out of his hand and he is knocked to the ground. He begins to crawl towards his weapon with the last of his strength. His hand grips the pommel and he begins to hoist himself up but a scimitar thrust through his chest ends his life. With a final gasp, his eyes grow dim and his life leaks onto the stone floor.
Arianna bites her tongue to prevent from screaming out and tears blur her sight. She looks away but this chittering sound makes her look back out. Once again she sees these undead goblins picking up corpses and carrying them outside to the wagons. ‘What are they doing with those’ she wonders. Soon the mysterious fog seeps into the building and she sees a robed man standing near the entrance. He has a helmet that seems fashioned out of the jaw and skull of a creature.
The fog swirls around him like a dog to his master’s leg and he surveys the room. He looks towards the bodies being collected and then notices Demitri’s body about to be picked up. An ethereal voice seems to echo through the walls, “The carts are full… However… This one was strong. Take him.”
Upon command several undead goblins hoist the body off the ground and for a moment she almost feels as though he looked right at her. A strange sensation washes over her as she feels light-headed. Ringing in her head grows louder and she falls unconscious.
She wakes up with a gasp and coughs. Ashy air burns her throat and lungs and she looks out the peephole. No sign of the creatures through the smell of death was everywhere. She sneaks out of the secret hiding room and heads out. The manor is in ruins. Fire destroyed a large portion of it. Without Demitri, there was no point in staying around though she doubted many survived and would be here. Soon this place would be seized upon by bandits once news spreads of its fall.
She looked out into the morning horizon in a vain hope that she would see where they went. No sign of movement though she wasn’t surprised. The tracks from the carts were easy enough to follow. She gathered some supplies and took off in a wash of grief and anger. She would make them pay.
The cart tracks were easy to follow for a little while and then they just stopped. No signs of disturbed earth. It was as if they vanished. She looked towards the direction they were heading and there wasn’t anything immediate. A few days travel in that direction was The Billowy Bog and a small town named Sutton. She decided to look for answers.
Over the course of the next week or two she went through several of the local villages and towns nearby. Trying to filter through rumors didn’t seem to yield much. One such adventure through a town she noticed someone watching her suspiciously. After a while she caught him staring at her and when she decided to go towards him he bolted out the door. Left with more questions than answers she pressed on searching for answers. However, a few rumors stand out about Sutton itself.
The people in Sutton are really doppelgangers. They are being switched out for some nefarious purpose.
There is a tower that is growing deep within The Billowy Bog. No one goes near for fear of evil spirits.
The people of Sutton are leaving up north due to weird things happening at night. People are being kidnapped!
The people in Sutton have found something of significant power that is thought to overthrow the Invincible Overlord themselves.
An ancient sea monster is attacking boats outside of Vord.
The Dragon Knight army was destroyed a few days ago.
Someone of Good King Mikkah’s lineage is said to have survived and is on the run.
Most of these seemed nonsensical but things seem to keep on pointing her towards Sutton. She travelled to a relatively known Inn as sort of a halfway part between Sutton and a few other towns and villages. The Crossroads Inn. She decided she would hire someone here to guide her to Sutton as the way to Sutton was through wilderness.
She entered the Crossroads Inn and a rather plump barkeep stood nervously behind the counter. His eyes keep looking towards the corner where a shady group of people sat. Arianna could tell that they were slavers. She decided to post a message on the wall asking for a guide. It looked like someone else was also going towards Sutton. Perhaps she would have a bit of company on the trip.
She decided to sit down and wait for some food. There was quite a number of people in here and it seemed slightly busier than normal. Each time someone came in through the door the Barkeep would look over and immediately look nervous or scared. She decided to try an attempt to figure out what was wrong. The barkeep wouldn’t quite look her in the eye…
“Ppp… Please. I don’t want any trouble.” He shifted back and forth. When pressed, “I don’t have any rooms…” Curious, but she decided she would question him more after a full stomach. She sat down and ordered some food.
Just then two large figures burst into the inn. Dragon Knights. She hadn’t seen them since she was a child. Instinctively she looked toward the slavers and then back at the dragon knights. Instantly she scanned the room looking for the best course of exit or hiding place should things turn south.
This will conclude the last of my 0.9 sessions. My son’s backstory wasn’t really long enough for me to keep tabs on. Basically he is a happy go lucky pirate and just likes to wander around the world with the aid of his magic horn and aquatic friends. The 6th player was not super cooperative and one of the reasons the group dynamic changed from 6 players to 3. More to follow, stay tuned.
And another sneak peek at what awaits.