Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Vikings & Valkyries - Session Seven

Session 7 (February 22, 2014)

(Back to Session 1)

In which the party learnt of a legendary sword, fought some monsters, and negotiated with dwarves. The player of Esya (the Huntress) was abroad, so her place was taken by another player; the party thus consisted of the following characters:
  • Harald Greentooth (Viking 2), javelin-thrower and spear-wielder with an unlikely high Defense Class
  • Jormund (Sorcerer 2), cunning sorcerer; so far he has kept his powers hidden from his companions
  • Gottfried Flogasson (Prince 2), noble tank of the party; fiancé of Ingrid Olafsdottir
  • Freydís (Priestess of Freya 1), archer-priestess; eager to learn Jormund's secret identity
  • Möjmöj (Half-Giant 1), powerful warrior capable of turning any likely TPK to TMK (Total Monster Kill); at least so far

After defeating Varghöss in a formal duel and successfully defending her and Jarl Olaf's name, the party went home and celebrated. They met Möjmöj there, a half-giant who travelled far from his home to find Sven Greentooth (Harald's brother), who - according to Möjmöj -  slept with his sister once when the Greentooth brothers received shelter for the night from the ugly family. Möjmöj decided to search far and wide until he finds the debaucher and have him marry his sister.
Referee's note: I wanted to spend no time with carefully introducing a new party member, so I simply asked the new player to choose someone from the party and decide how they are connected. The player requested that everyone briefly introduce their character so he can make something up - and lo.
The party was concerned that Varghöss and his clan at some point will certainly act against their interests, possibly violently; so they discussed their options. The most straightforward action would have been simply killing off Varghöss and his close relatives; however, they agreed it could result in unnecessary bloodbath, plus there was no guarantee that their people's new leaders will not be assholes as well. They asked around and found out about a legendary sword that once belonged to a powerful leader when the two people were united. That sword, Sommarsverd, represented their unity and strength; it was buried somewhere close but its location was unknown to but dwarves.
Referee's note: I know the sword's name is kind of lame but I did not just want to make up something Nordic-sounding but have a thematically appropriate name; it was inevitable with my rudimentary Swedish that it would result in something simple. Regardless, the idea seems solid to me.
The party learnt of two ways of finding out the burial mound's location: (1) the local priest of Odin, Kjartan, told them that there was only one man who knew where that legendary leader had been buried: Hrotgeir, who now dwells in Helheim; (2) the local smith told them there were three dwarves involved in the burial (Bjar, Trygg, and Urf); from Jarl Olaf they learnt where they live as well. After solving the logistical problems, they headed north in search of the dwarves.
Referee's note: Although it would have been an amazing journey of the fantastical, they decided not to enter Helheim; I cannot honestly blame them, though. The logistical problem was the following: I marked the location of the dwarves on the party's map so they were able to calculate how long the journey would take. Unfortunately, the Huntress was not present so they were kind of obligated to take preserved rations with them; which made them even slower, requiring more time and thus rations - to the point where they were unable to move. In fear of their abandoning the plan, I helped them a little ("For God's sake, if you buy three mules, you'll have a steady speed and enough rations; you have like hundreds of silver pieces, don't be so cheap!").
On their way, the party encountered wolves, a single troll, and then some hunters who were following a magical beast (a by-the-boReferee's note: ok Fenrir Wolf) with a gem on its collar (just like Frafmarr from Session #5). It took only a minor detour for the party; they slain the beast and took its gem.
Referee's noteConsidering that Möjmöj has a maximum Might score (24) and even carrying his own equipment and somebody else at the same time makes him faster than the rest of the party, the players devised an undoubtedly hilarious plan: Gottfried would get on Möjmöj's back who carries him into battle, effectively making two charge attacks (one by Gottfried and one by Möjmöj). It sounded freaking awesome to me - so Gottfried rode into battle on Möjmöj.
Arriving at the dwarves' home they found the shape of a door carved into a wall of rock, and some dwarven runes around it. The party quickly solved the simple puzzle and, leaving Möjmöj behind to take care of their mules, entered.
Referee's note: I needed to improvise at this point. The puzzle was the following: activating (i.e. touching) certain runes would spell "ENTER"; it was pretty simple (first they tried to think of anagrams of the 10-letter sequence, then one of them experimented with the runes if they would react to the touch; an extra layer of difficulty was perhaps that we play in Hungarian while the solution was in English). Anyways, the players liked it.
Entering the dwarves' home the party heard pounding of a hammer from the workshop and noticed some light coming from another room; the third room was a storage unit, where Jormund found a sword made of dwarven silver and hid it under his robe. He made some noise, however, and soon an old dwarf (later to be identified as Bjar) came out of the workshop to investigate the noise. After some misunderstanding among the party members as well as between them and the dwarves (and using some Compel), they came to an understanding.
Referee's note: It was a pretty long scene all in all. Although the situation was less than ideal for negotiation and the initial Reaction was also horribly wrong, I simply did not want to state that there was no chance of success. It took a long time and several attempts at Persuasion. Also, it is worth mentioning that Jormund's casting ability became obvious to the rest of the party; up to this point, he has kept his magical powers a secret.
The dwarves told the party, in exchange for their huge gem recovered in perfect condition from the beast this session, of the location of the burial mound but refused to take them there. They also warned the adventurers about its dangers: only cursed people may enter freely and without repercussions; but one may pay a simple price for the secrets of the past which the mound holds (i.e. gouging one-eye like Odin did).

Then, the party left and headed home. On their way the party encountered another troll but while fighting, their archers and casters were ambushed by 7 trollmen. After a long battle, the party emerged victorious and continued their way home.
Referee's note: The last battle was way too long and, quite frankly, boring. The troll died within a few rounds, and the trollmen posed no real danger to the warriors once they were done with the troll. Anyways, next session will be about retrieving the magical sword - and we will see what else.
(Next session)

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