Friday, 28 November 2014

Runequest solo 2 - part III, The shaman

Scene 3

chaos: 5

Setup: (6=unaltered) I rolled a random wilderness event, and randomly picked the picture above.

NPC list:
1. Ni'arouj, the Caravan leader
2. Pahshub & his mercenaries
3. whoever that is in the picture

1. get to the city of Hasharu
2. find a certain sage
3. don't get caught and dragged home

[Mythic questions to flesh out the encounter--
Q: is everything as it seems? 50/50: 87, No.
Q: is there still danger? 50/50: 12, Yes.
Q: is it a trap? 50/50: 93, No.]

In the dusty plain, four bodies lie sprawled. Ni'arouj orders the caravan to stop some distance [3d6x10=130m] off. At first they all seem to be still, though it is hard to gauge through the wavering heat. But one of them still seems to be moving, and even sitting upright.

"Well," Ni'arouj asks Lachaidiga, "don't you think you should go see what that's about before we continue? In case there's any danger?"

"Oh, I suppose," says the sorceress. "Maybe you should send a pair of swordsmen with me, though. Just in case." [Influence (63%) roll: 71, failure.]

"What am I paying you for?"

Lachaidiga makes no reply, but dismounts from her camel with a sigh. She throws her travelling cloak -- with the concealed shortsword scabbard -- over her shoulder and walks up to the sorry scene. As she comes closer she sees a young girl weeping over the bodies of three men. One of the men is in a simple tunic, the other two are clad in even less, though a long cloak lies twisted around one of them. A spear and shield and a pair of war axes lie scattered in the dust amongst the fallen. The weapons, like the men's bodies, are wholly unbloodied, but the taut expressions on their faces and the twisted attitude of their corpses suggests they met anything but a peaceful end.

The girl wears the simple and inexpensive style of dress of the masses in Anzakàr. Her face is buried in her hands, but she looks up as Lachaidiga draws near. Her tear-bedewed cheeks are swollen and nose is bright red. A sob shakes her small frame as she tries to say something.

"What happened?" asks Lachaidiga gently.

"Stay away," the girl croaks in reply. "It's not safe."

"Why not? Who... what did this?"

"Evil spirits walk abroad. They killed these soldiers from our village."

"They were Elite Soldiers, weren't they?" asks Lachaidiga.

"Yes -- nor man nor monster could best them, but they were powerless against the spirits. They ripped their souls right out!"

"Let me help you."

"I don't see how you can!"

"I'm a sorceress."

"Oh... maybe you can help. But it will still be dangerous."

"I'm not afraid. Is the village safe?

"Not if we don't put a stop to this."

"What will happen?"

"The spirits will claim more souls -- and devour them."

"Do you know what needs to be done?"

"Of course. I'm a shaman from the village. I... I only wish I hadn't arrived here too late... We shall have to work quickly. Would you give me a few more moments with my brother here? Just to say goodbye."

Lachaidiga runs back to tell Ni'arouj that she is going to help the shaman clean up a small matter, and that she will meet up with the caravan again in the village. Also not to worry and to save a place for her at supper.

[Mythic questions &c which fleshed out the scene:
Q: What killed the men? (series of Unlikely questions until one comes up yes): The girl? no. Soldiers? no. Each other? no. Bandits? no ? Monsters 02; Exceptional yes. So I grabbed the first random picture out of my Monsters folder that wasn't wild animals.

Q: Did the girl survive because she is a shaman? 50/50: 22, Yes + Event: PC positive - Overindulge / Magic. The shaman will give her a Spirit Shield matrix (stone pendant)

Her reaction roll (using the chart in the back of Legend): 02, Extremely friendly & willing to impart info at no cost.]

When Lachaidiga returns, the girl is standing with her back to the bodies, looking deeper into the desert. "There," she points, "it is that way we must go."

"I'm ready."

The girl takes her by the hand and leads her by what seems a trail known only to her. Lachaidiga can't seem to follow their progress, nor can she determine the landmarks the girl is using. As they crest a stony hillock, the girl abruptly stops and turns to Lachaidiga.

"We're just about there," she says, taking the sorceress by the hands. "But there's something I must tell you. Something I should have already said... oh, it's too late now. But you must know."

"Just tell me. I won't be cross."

The girl takes a deep breath. "The spirits," says she, "are not all we face. They're merely the servitors of something much worse: an evil witch."

"Then it's a good thing I've brought my sword. I felled an undead creature with it once before. I doubt a witch will prove as resilient to its trusty blade. Don't worry; I will look after you."

"I'm so glad you're coming with me. I was frightened to confront her alone. I'm sure we're going to be such good friends if we live through this. I'm Qes. It's short for Qelath-ganès, but only my parents ever call me that."

"Pleased to meet you, Qes. I'm Lachaidiga. I'm sure we shall be very close when this is through."

The girl smiles sheepishly, then reaches inside her tunic. She produces a delicate, hook-shaped grey stone tied on the end of a cord. She removes it from round her neck and presses it into Lachaidiga's hand. "This is my good luck charm," she says solemnly. "I want you to have it. It will protect your dear soul."

Lachaidiga opens her hand to examine the trinket. She fancies that the stone is almost a living thing, pulsing with life-energy. "Here," says Qes, "let me put it on you." She takes the cord and ties it round Lachaidga's neck, then takes her hand and silently leads her down the hill to the mouth of a cave. "When malevolent spirits are near, press it over your heart. Like this."

[The stone is a Spirit Shield matrix. It requires 1 magic point and a successful Folk Magic roll to activate.]

Lachaidiga blushes. "I feel safer already"

"Come on then," says Qes, "in we go."

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