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Company of the Bere

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But in the end, the village held fast.

Moving more carefully than previously, Lëodan pursued the retreating Antagonese mercenaries as they fled Gentleham. Though it takes him about two hours (or more accurately, takes the mercs that long), he finally reaches the camp where he observes an argument taking place between what appears to be the mercenary leadership, no doubt concerning the recent defeat. The arguing men enter a much larger tent, which limits the amount of information Lëodan might glean. After some time, the elf becomes satisfied that the Antagonese are not going to march a reprisal force back to the village and thus, heads back to Gentleham. He reaches the village near midnight and wakes Ser Kenrick to inform him of his findings; the knight then seeks out the acting watch officer of the lord-vicar to pass this on.

The following morning, the Company heads out, taking with them the survivor of the earlier ambush to the site of the Antagonese attack. Once there, they spend some time evaluating the tracks; Lëodan is able to easily pick up the route that the ambushers took with their prisoners which is, to no one’s surprise, headed in the direction of the mercenary camp. Ser Kenrick thanks the survivor for assistance and allows him to return to Gentleham while the rest of the Company follow the trail of the enemy.

Upon reaching the outskirts of the mercenary camp, the Company are surprised to discover that a large, open pavilion set apart from the other tents. There, a man Lëodan recognizes as the commander of the force is waiting underneath a white flag of truce; he has several guards with him, and, after a moment of consideration, Ser Kenrick advances with Rayna and Brother Getwelle, also under the white flag.

The mercenary commander identifies himself as ‘Mallus the Clever’ of the Brigandian Band and he is quite polite as they exchange pleasantries. From him, the Company learn that Band are members of the Mercenaries’ Guild, but they do not find out who has hired them. After a bit of discussion – and some very excellent wine – Mallus has a drunken Marthyn the Swift returned to the Company and accepts Ser Kenrick’s offer to carry the missive to the arl regarding a hostage exchange.

With Marthyn rescued, the Company returns to Gentleham to discover that the bulk of the lord-vicar’s forces have arrived, but he himself has headed back toward Nobleham to report his success to the arl. The Company spend a short time gathering supplies and saying their goodbyes before heading out, knowing that they will have to camp overnight.

Once at Nobleham, they make their way directly to the castle where they are escorted inside so that they may get cleaned up in preparation for a meeting later with the arl; Ser Kenrick has the chamberlain take the missive from the mercenaries regarding the hostage exchange so that the arl is made aware of it immediately. Some hours later, the Company is summoned to the arl’s Council where Ser Kenrick is asked to debrief them. Satisfied with these results, the Company is dismissed until later.

Released to their own interests, the Company splits apart to do whatever most interests them. Ser Kenrick, having grown up in the Woodlands, is fascinated by the sea so he spends some time walking along the bay and simply soaking this in. Most of the rest of the Company simply relax, while Lëodan replenishes his arrows and Brother Getwelle makes an attempt to heal the arl’s wife of her sleeping sickness, sadly without success. Later that evening, the Company are summoned to the more formal arl’s court where he officially thanks them for their successful efforts and declares their term of service complete. He also offers to employ them on a more permanent basis, should they tire of the Heroes’ Guild, but the Company defers for the moment, leaving the option open for later.

The following morning, the Company sets out, intent on reaching the Capital as quickly as possible. Along the way, they encounter some people burying a man and, when Getwelle advances to offer his services as an itinerant holy man, they learn that this poor fool died of the burning pox. To Murdok’s eyes, the corpse stirs and issues an ominous threat that hints at the dwarf having unfinished business with a demon; none of the other members of the Company see this, however, though they do note that the dwarf is visibly shaken.

Some days later, they reach the Two Burning Cocks inn where Getwelle heals the innkeeper’s daughter of a dire illness. In thanks for this, the innkeep gifts the militant brother with the borrowed “donkey” that Getwelle has grown rather fond of.

On to the Capital the Company press and, upon reaching it, they head directly to the Heroes’ Guild to report their success. Eventually, they are brought before Válaris of Heroham who asks of Aidin how well they did; the cleric admits that they were far more successful than expected and, as a result, the Company are promoted to journeyman status within the Guild. Payment is meted out and the Company are released to sell their captured loot.

Player Notes:

  • This recap is horribly overdue. We played this session two weeks ago (on 4 November) and I’m just now getting around to typing this up. We had more after this during the stream but it’s basically just paperwork.
  • This marked the conclusion of Giger’s initial run. Next up is a return to Frome County, CommJunkee’s GURPS: Western game.
  • We livestream our games every Saturdays at 6:00PM Eastern; the live stream can be found at Ronnke’s Twitch channel. He’s also setup a YouTube Channel.

See the Daniverse Blog for the GM’s post-game debrief.

Company of the Bere
Live Stream

Many men fell in this fight…

With little time to spare, the Company seizes a wagon from one of the villagers and quickly piles it full of detritus that is intended to foul any footing. They then liberally douse the entire thing with readily combustible lamp oil before dragging the wagon to the bridge where they position it on the enemy’s side while still being on the bridge. But even then, they are not completely done: using ingenuity and sheer luck, they quickly arrange a trap underneath the wagon that, once triggered, will flip the entire thing over upon the enemy. Satisfied that they have prepared as best as they can manage, most of the Company hunker down, opting for cover but not concealment. Due to the terrain, they all think it unlucky that they will be unseen so instead they are taking refuge in audacity. The mission that the Lord-Vicar of Churchbury gave them was simple: prevent the enemy from flanking his main force via the bridge and they mean to do so in this manner.

Lëodan however stealths forward, crossing the bridge and hiding amongst the trees where he intends to wreak havoc upon the enemy at the most opportune moment. He does not have to wait long as a troop of Antagonese mercenaries march into view.

At the sight of the barricaded bridge, the captain of these soldiers orders a halt and evaluates their options, none of which are good. Taking the fortified bridge will not be easy for them as they must first get past the wagon, a feat that will require physical effort and will leave them in a somewhat vulnerable position. After some consideration, he issues orders and the troop begins advancing, which they will soon regret.

With the formation of halberdiers at the forefront so they may began attack the barricade, while the pavisers surround the crossbowmen, the Antagonese approach and begin their efforts to break free. Now that their foe are in position, the Company triggers the trap, flipping the wagon onto the whole of the mercenary formation. Two of the enemy are unable to scramble out of the way in time and their screams of pain ring out alongside the distinct crunching of bone. At this, Murdok fires his crossbow at a halberdier, though it is not a killing wound. To add insult to injury, a burning lamp is tossed onto the oil-drenched wagon and fire erupts.

Seeing that this is an even worse position than he originally thought, the Antagonese captain orders a retreat and the mercenaries begin backpedalling. Perceiving this as his signal, Lëodan engages, intentionally targeting the captain – he falls to a well-placed arrow to his vitals. He rapidly takes advantage of his superior night vision and excellent vantage point to drop four more of the enemy, crossbowmen all, and seeing their fellows fall to an unseen but dangerously accurate archer, the Antagonese begin retreating in full. Lëodan, however, flanks wide around them, continuing to loose bodkin point arrows at their formation whenever they seem to be hesitant about whether to continuing fleeing the battle. His continued assault and their inability to find him eventually convinces them that flight is wiser.

Once the Company is thoroughly satisfied that the Antagonese have fled the field, Ser Kenrick sends Aidin the Heal-Sick back to the village to report their success and to seek additional orders while Brother Getwelle does what he can to save the lives of the enemy Lëodan felled. When Aidin returns, he reports that the enemy are in full-scale retreat. Since he does not return with actual orders, Ser Kenrick whistles for Ser Magnus and rides into to Gentleham to seek out the lord-vicar for further instructions where he learns that yes, the Company is relieved. Prisoners are herded into that same barn which, by now is getting quite full.

Following the battle, the Company learn that there were few losses on the side of the villagers; Old Man Bones was found dead but appears to have died simply of advanced age, not injuries. The pacifist patron, it is learned, found himself cornered during the fight by a mercenary and accidentally killed the man; to no one’s surprise, he is taking this poorly. More notable at the moment is that the reeve’s cowardice overtook him during the battle and the entire village saw him flee to hide. No one is happy with him. At all.

The lord-vicar is pleased with the results of the battle though he wishes he could pursue them over the border and would, if doing so would not be an act of war. Ser Kenrick mentions that he is still concerned about the missing retinue from the arl and volunteers the Company to investigate upon the morrow if they have not arrived in that time. The lord-vicar agrees to this and then implies that, if the Company just happened to cross the border and scout out the enemy, well, he would never actually ask them to do so! Lëodan, ever the loner, retrieves what arrows he can find and then heads out ahead of everyone else to pre-scout the route with a promise to be back before dawn. Rayna finds herself as the target of the lord-vicar’s lecherous advances but manages to diplomatically brush him off; she retreats as quickly as she can lest she lose her temper at his antics.

Some time after night has fallen, the village council assembles once more; curious, Ser Kenrick and Brother Getwelle invite themselves to it and no one complains. This meeting is mostly a gripe session centered around the reeve’s cowardice, though they do discuss maintaining a regular watch for several days to prevent a repeat of this as well as talking about rebuilding. It is decided that the slain mercenaries will be buried in the village cemetery.

Following the meeting, the council disperses to their own matters. As Ser Kenrick is leaving, he is cornered by Brother Rikall, the monk accompanying the lord-vicar; the monk believes he has met the knight before some years earlier at Hunterhall. The two reminisce about this, unaware that Rayna has overheard it and vaguely recalls visiting there when she was about three or four.

Night has fallen completely when the armcry is once again raised: someone approaches from the south! Some of the lord-vicar’s men rush out to escort this man into Gentleham. He is one of the arl’s men who was part of the retinue marching north and they were set upon by Antagonese mercenaries! This man was knocked unconscious and left behind when all of those marching north were taken captive.

Including Marthyn the Swift.

Player Notes:

  • This session turned out to not be what the GM intended thanks to PC shenanigans. To paraphrase him, the Players “had Plan A and Plan B prior to game-time, and then during the session, opted to go for Plan C.” He’s gone into much more detail on his blog as to ‘what went wrong.’ Ironically, I had a similar failure in my F2F game which he plays in the week earlier.
  • Evidently, the Kenrick-Rikall discussion is due to Kernick’s father’s secret popping. I think we’ve had one session where a Secret didn’t pop…
  • Looks like next week will be the conclusion of this run.
  • We livestream our games every Saturdays at 6:00PM Eastern; the live stream can be found at Ronnke’s Twitch channel. He’s also setup a YouTube Channel.

See the Daniverse Blog for the GM’s post-game debrief.

Company of the Bere

Live Stream


…With foul Mercenaries of Antagonese origin.

Having repulsed the mercenary attack upon Gentleham and convinced the rest of the two to stand against the inevitable reprisal strike, the Company of the Bere immediately look to their next course of action. Lëodan is eager to begin pursuing the larger force, which he does so only after advising Ser Kenrick and pausing long enough to have Dustan haste him. The elf is confident that he can easily catch up to the mercenary band, even in the darkness.

While he is gone, the rest of the Company turn to other matters. Once they are satisfied that the captured mercenaries are secure, many of them immediately find a place to bed down to rest. Ser Kenrick, still flush with adrenalin from their victory, moves around the village, discussing options with those who are still up and generally trying to be a positive, uplifting force, though eventually, he too must seek out his bed. Only Dustan remains awake the entire night as maintaining the spell he placed upon Lëodan requires some small measure of concentration.

Through darkened forest and over hills, across fast-moving streams that gurgle and babble, and under a darkened sky that smells of rain, Lëodan the Wanderer pursues the Antagonese enemy. He knows that he is likely much faster than the mercenaries, though they know the territory and route far better than he does. On he presses, moving both as quickly as he can and as stealthfully. As he pursues the enemy, he is actually surprised at how difficult it is to track these men: they appear to have emulated elvish travel boots that are intended to make pursuit harder than it should. What he does notice, however, is that these mercenaries appear quite disciplined and appear to be following a standard operating procedure.

While he tracks, the long-hinted at rain begins to fall. His pursuit uncovers a campsite of some sort – by his guess, this camp was likely used as a staging ground for the mercs who hit Gentleham. The band that he’s pursuing appears to have come here to pick up a much smaller group before continuing on. While pressing on, Lëodan stumbles upon a concealed trip-wire on the periphery of this campsite, set up no doubt to warn of anyone approaching.

He presses on, noting that the tracks lead him toward a rushing, wide stream that he hurdles; his landing leaves something to be desired, however, as he slips and falls into the mud. Soon after, he realizes that this particular leg of the tracks look to be a false trail and he must double-back. Evidently, the men he’s pursuing were sharp enough to lay a distraction.

With the rain coming down hard, he closes in on the enemy and discovers that their goal is a fortified camp. The rearguard of the men he was after are just now entering this camp. Lëodan spends an hour or so observing in order to get his best head-count of the opposition while simultaneously scouting around the outskirts of the tents to get a better grasp of the exact location and terrain. Satisfied that he has learned all that he can for the moment, Lëodan turns away and intends to retrace his steps back to Gentleham. This takes more time than he would like – his marking of the trail was insufficient to properly assist him and he briefly managed to get lost.

Back in Gentleham, dawn arrives and many of the Company roll out of their bedrolls so as to begin assisting the town in preparing for its defense. Aidin the Heal-Sick, who had remained awake for the rest of the night to keep an eye on the prisoners, turns this duty over to the villagers and seeks out his bedroll. At Ser Kenrick’s suggestion, the reeve is to send the young lad who ran to Nobleham to the arl with news of their plight. By now, at Dustan’s discreet suggestion, Ser Kenrick has publicly named the boy ‘the Swift’ and instructs the lad to carry a letter penned for the arl advising him of their plight. Dustan drops another spell upon Marthyn that will greatly enhance his overland travel speed (though it will cause the boy to promptly pass out once he has reached his destination.)

Once the lad is away, the Company then turns to aiding the town in erecting defenses. Ser Kenrick and Murdok are on hand to mostly for tactical suggestions and physical strength, while Rayna breaks away from the others to play with the children, in the process learning which of them will be most useful during the coming fight. Brother Getwelle waits just long enough for the knight to be distracted before slinking away and joining some old men men puffing away with their pipes. The Company learns that this is a relatively new village that is situated in a prime position for trade … or so it is hoped. In the process of reviewing what they have on-hand to defend, Ser Kenrick further asks of Reeve Walder about any survivors from other villages that have been raided by these ‘goblins’ and learns of ‘Old Man Bones,’ late of Farmville, who confirms that the reprisals always took place at night in the mist. On the bright side, there were no cavalry.

Defenses are constructed throughout the morning, mostly with an eye toward slowing the advance of infantry. Knowing that the enemy used fire arrows, Getwelle suggests that buckets of water are strategically located throughout Gentleham for easy access to put out flames. And having confirmed that the Antagonese like to come out at night, Ser Kenrick insists on light sources throughout the entire village. Rudimentary walls are to be constructed using the many trees throughout and, at Rayna’s suggestion, barricades are placed in the small walkways between houses to further hamper movement.

A tired and wet Lëodan reaches the river across from Gentleham sometime after dawn where he notes a pair of Antagonese mercenaries lurking in the woods so as to keep a close eye upon the village. Recognizing scouts when he sees them, the elf sneaks forward to get a better look. One of these scouts is dozing while the other seems to only be paying half attention to his duties; the elf considers his options, then decides to engage. A well-placed arrow kills the sleeping man almost outright; the other man he takes prisoner and marches into Gentleham.

Upon the elf’s approach with a prisoner, Ser Kenrick glances around for his horse but, upon not seeing it, whistles; from the east, Ser Magnus appears bearing Master Walder, the reeve, upon his back. The reeve appears most disgruntled at the horse’s refusal to obey commands. Realizing that the man had dared to try and steal his horse to flee, Ser Kenrick mentally slots Master Walder into the ‘not worth saving’ designation before joining Lëodan and the elf’s ‘new friend.’ The two interrogate the man, learning that the scouts had ‘observe and report’ instructions; their prisoner promptly insists – loudly and repeatedly – that they are mercenaries on contract and not bandits or criminals, though his refusal to name with whom they have a contract with allows Ser Kenrick to point out that, without any proof of this, it is entirely up to the arl as to whether they are actually just bandits after all. And everyone knows that Arl Gudrik does not like bandits…

The prisoner is shoved in with his fellows once it becomes clear he is not going to answer anything else, all of whom are badly injured due to their unfortunate fight with the Company the night prior, and Ser Kenrick discreetly instructs Ser Magnus to keep an eye on them before rejoining the others of his band so they can discuss Lëodan’s findings. Initially, they do not include the town council in this discussion, particularly in light of Kenrick’s firsthand observation of the reeve’s displayed cowardice.

After giving the report and retrieving the body on the other side of the river – which the Company now realizes is Antagonese land – Lëodan withdraws to find a spot away from the village to sleep and recover. Ser Kenrick briefly visits Eldyr the Old to whom Marthyn (now the Swift) acted as a crutch to get an alternate view of Gentleham’s personnel with regards to their efficacy for the coming battle. Upon hearing that Eldyr has a better grasp of the village, Ser Kenrick asks Murdok to accompany the old man and aid him in directing villager traffic.

Soon after this, Ser Magnus prevents the newly captured mercenary from sneaking out of the rudimentary prison, which causes Ser Kenrick to realize they cannot spare the people to watch these mean. With that in mind, he puts those capable of it, including the newly captured scout, to labor on the defensive structures. Fierce-eyed villages keep an eye on these prisoners while they work as does Murdok. In the process of this, spirits dip somewhat as the village patron complains loudly about why they are even bothering with erecting defenses. The Antagonese mercenaries are too many and will certainly kill them all! Brother Getwelle, who has grown increasingly irritated at the patron’s constant negative attitude and ill disposition, responds with a powerful speech about taking heart and holding fast against the darkness of evil. This speech raises spirits and counters the patron’s discontent.

Late in the day, the armcry is raised: the lookout in the high church tower has noted the approach of an armed band from the north! The Company rally to investigate and promptly discover that these approaching riders are bearing blue and gold banners, the colors of the Bredwelles. It appears that the arl has heard of their plight and sent reinforcements … though seeing them come in from the north is odd. Just in case this is a ploy of the mercenaries, the Company advances to meet these men-at-arms, taking with them the reeve since he is the man most likely to recognize legitimate authority figures.

At the head of this column is Lord-Vicar of Churchbury, the arl’s marshal; at the Lord-Vicar’s approach, the village patron asks the gods for patience and retreats to his church. Ser Kenrick greets the high-ranking churchman properly, but the Lord-Vicar immediately concentrates all of his attention on Rayna, despite her unkempt appearance at the moment. From him, the Company learn that the arl send a rider, informing him of the impending attack; the bulk of his forces are still on the road but he has his retinue and that should be enough. He is mildly disconcerted at the lack of other forces as evidently, the arl informed him that he was sending some of his personal guard. Hopefully their absence is not a bad sign.

The Lord-Vicar immediately assumes command and tours Gentleham to get a handle on the terrain and situation. After accomplishing this, he informs the Company that they escape the main force of the enemy to cross the Pale to the north, likely near Farmville, and march upon Gentleham, but it is unlikely that they will send their entire number. As it seems likely they will attempt a flanking maneuver to the south using that bridge, the Lord-Vicar decides to assign the Company to hold it and signal should they encounter too great a number. This will lead Ser Kenrick to late seek out Eldyr the Old so as to borrow a battered war-horn the knight saw in the man’s home; from him, Kenrick will learn that this horn was used during the last great war with the vile Overlord of Nefaria…

Abruptly, the Lord-Vicar remembers his manners and asks to be introduced to the entire Company, though it seems clear he is most interested in learning Rayna’s name. At Brother Getwelle’s introduction, however, the Lord-Vicar blinks in recognition and calls out for Brother Rikall, a monk accompanying him; did not the brother once know a man by the name of Getwelle? This monk expounds, revealing that he helped deliver Brother Getwelle many years ago and remembers this only because of the sizeable donation his mother left to the church to raise the child: six hundred and forty-seven crowns is a considerable amount of money and Brother Recall always thought it strange, especially once he learned this was ‘hush money’ from the child’s father. Later, Getwelle will discuss this more privately with the brother and learn his mother’s name: Annys.

As the sun begins to set, word is raised: hostiles are approaching! The Company, now fully assembled, heads to the bridge per their assignment.

And thus, the Battle of Gentleham begins…

Player Notes:

  • Evidently, we ended the previous session in a weird place, so this was mostly just a set-up session for next week’s ‘Battle of Gentleham.’ We also cut short so Ronnke could join Mook’s first ever Fantasy Grounds session, which can be found on Mook’s blog. It’s awesome seeing other people using the GURPS ruleset.
  • There was a miscommunication between the GM and myself (at least) regarding the Antagonese mercenaries; I thought they spoke only their native language, not Common, and as a result did not think to make an interrogation attempt until Lëodan captured the guy.
  • Once again, CommJunkee rolled under the 6 for his father’s Secret – this is a 0-point Secret that both he and I (Rigil) have for our characters since we’re unknowing half-siblings and brother to Rayna. Gigermann decided to have us treat this like a Secret in every way except for point costs since, otherwise, none of us would ever find out that we’re related! This led to the data-dump about Maykew’s mother.
  • We livestream our games every Saturdays at 6:00PM Eastern; the live stream can be found at Ronnke’s Twitch channel. He’s also setup a YouTube Channel.

See the Daniverse Blog for the GM’s post-game debrief.

Company of the Bere

Live Stream

…There was a Fight…

Warned of the approaching ‘goblins,’ the Company scramble back into position where they ready themselves for the ambush. As they do so, Lëodan re-positions himself so he can get a better view of the approaching force. He is already suspicious of them – according to his understanding, goblins don’t have glowing red eyes … in fact, glowing eyes simply defeats the natural advantage derived by predators to see in the dark – and nothing he’s seen thus far has changed that opinion. The closer these ‘goblins’ get, the more convinced Lëodan becomes that this is all a shell-game: yes, they appear to have upswept, pointed ears but their ‘eyes’ are actually glowing (and colored) rocks secured to their helmets.

Once the hostiles are in the kill pocket and move to take the ‘tribute,’ Brother Maykew empties a small bucket of simmering coals upon a great pile of oiled faggots dipped in pitch. They ignite suddenly and brilliantly, flaring up with an unexpected intensity, and it is this action that the rest of the Company takes as their signal. Most simply step out of their places of concealment, readying their weapons and cutting off lines of retreat, but Ser Kenrick spurs Ser Magnus forward to a second pile of identically-prepared wood; the knight throws his own bucket of coals down, which also provides light. Even Aidin the Heal-Sick steps into view, casting a spell that results in his blade catching fire.

‘Throw down your arms and surrender now!’ Kenrick orders loudly, which many of the Company repeat, but the false goblins – this close, it is clear that these are simply men, their skins blackened with paint – immediately try to retreat. The faux-goblins are orderly and disciplined, with a clear leader who issues orders via a whistle, but they have been caught wrong-footed and the Company does not let them recover. Lëodan drops the leader of the enemy with a carefully placed arrow while his allies engage as well. Rayna drops a foe with a lightning fast thrust of her rapier even as Murdok looses at bolt from his crossbow. From where he stands, Dustan casts a spell that begins creating a fierce windstorm around him; he intends to use this against the enemy but the fight is over before he can do so. Seeing that the Enemy are trying to escape via a specific route, Maykew steps into that path and brandishes his weapon. Ser Magnus throws himself forward, which provides Kenrick an opportunity to strike one foe with his warhammer; this man reels and, as he does, the war horse twists to body slam the poor bastard and knock him prone while putting his rider in a position to engage with another man. Throughout this entire engagement, both Kenrick and Maykew continue to shout out orders for the enemy to surrender.

By this point, the orderly repositioning by the faux-goblins has turned into an all-out rout as they scramble to get out of the kill pocket. Unfortunately for them, the Company is having none of this and only two of the hostile manage to get clear; this pair reaches the river … but so does Lëodan. The elf looses several arrows at the swimmers – one of the faux-goblins goes limp and is swiftly carried down the river by the stream; the other makes it to the opposite beach, but no further.

As Lëodan drops his last foe, he can see the ‘goblin’ reinforcements on the other side of the river; more than a dozen of them that he can see, they loose fire arrows into Gentleham before withdrawing. The elf momentarily considers emptying his quiver into the retreating figures, but decides against it and returns to the rest of the Company who are now either gathering their prisoners together or aiding the locals scurrying to put out various fires. After retrieving what arrows he can, Lëodan informs Ser Kenrick that he means to pursue the other ‘goblins’ so they know their numbers and the location of their camp; the knight wishes him good hunting.

Rayna, curious as to the identity of the enemy, does some investigating, confirming that these are simply men wearing paint and false ears. From the snatches of words they can hear from them, the Company deduces that these are Antagonese mercenaries, a fact that causes no small amount of embarrassment amongst the Gentleham citizens who were so eager to yield to the ‘goblins.’

After securing the wounded Antagonese survivors in a barn, Kenrick asks Murdok to keep an eye on them while he attends an emergency, late-night town meeting; Rayna, equally disinterested in the town politics, volunteers to join the dwarf in this. With Dustan and Maykew backing him up, Ser Kenrick joins the meeting already ongoing in the church.

Here, the Company discovers a tense disagreement ongoing. The faction led by the town’s priest is strenuously urging surrender as they have heard terrible stories about the fates of other villages who resisted, while the more militant of the citizens are cheered by the victory of the Company. Ser Kenrick and Maykew interject – the latter is far more effective at this sort of thing than the knight – but neither sway either side. In the end, the reeve of the village looks at the bickering villagers and the victorious adventurers before making his decision: ‘We shall fight,’ he declares.

Player Notes:

  • In terms of fighting, this was mostly definitely a complete victory on the part of the PCs. None of us took any damage and none of the bad guys got away, whether this meant they were captured or shot by Lëodan while trying to swim the river. Sure, there are a bunch of them on the other side of the river we have to chase down, but still, phase one is a Win.
  • We’re debating how to reward our repeat viewers by allowing them to have some sort of influence in the game, but nothing has been firmly decided as of yet.
  • We livestream our games every Saturdays at 6:00PM Eastern; the live stream can be found at Ronnke’s Twitch channel. He’s also setup a YouTube Channel.

See the Daniverse Blog for the GM’s post-game debrief.

Company of the Bere

Live Stream

…in the town of Gentleham…

Following the uneventful night at the Two Burning Cocks inn, the Company of the Bere prepare for another day of travel. Now equipped with an ass obtained from the innkeep, they hope to make much greater progress, and when Dustan reveals that he has a spell that will allow them to quickly travel, they are all eager to get on the road, even if they have to wait to get started while he recovers from its casting. Ser Kenrick takes this time to assist the stableboy in recovering all of the animals freed from their pens by a mischievous Ser Magnus.

18 Earlispring, 1000AE. Stronghold, Generica.

Onto the road the Company goes and they make very good time thanks to Dustan’s spell. Near midday, Ser Magnus strongly urges Kenrick to mount up and the young knight foolishly does so; instantly, the destrier charges madly forward, almost surprising a local band of patrolling soldiers. Upon seeing the rapid approach of what looks like a mounted warrior thundering toward them, these soldiers hurriedly ready themselves for a fight. Fortunately, Kenrick manages to rein in the horse before something dire happens. These men-at-arms wear the heraldry of House Surrly, and demand to know what business the Company has on this road. Ser Kenrick has nothing to hide so he proudly announces their destination and purpose. Once satisfied that they are not bandits, the patrolling men-at-arms allow them to pass.

From Aidin during the trip, they have learned that the Heroes’ Guild did not have positive interactions with the previous lord, so this will be a learning experience all around. The Company reaches Nobleham long after the sun has gone down and, after a brief moment of discussion, opt to make for the castle itself. At the castle’s gates, there is some brief confusion as the guards initially do not know what to make of them, but an elderly Lady instructs the soldiers to let the Company enter. She leaves them waiting while she goes off to inform Arl Gudrik, and a few moments later, a servant appears and exclaims his confusion at their presence. Eventually, matters are sorted – the Company are provided temporary lodgings and baths for the night. Those familiar with castle life – Kenrick and Rayna, especially – cannot help but to notice that the normal finery and decorations seem to be absent.

Rather than simply retire, Lëodan wanders around the castle a bit where he encounters a well-dressed man and engages him in conversation, learning a bit about the state of the arl’s House; evidently, Lord Gudrik’s late father was exceptionally bad with his finances, which has left his son in a difficult position. At no time does this man actually identify himself and, still being ignorant of human customs, Lëodan does not think to inquire about.

Brother Maykew is also less inclined to simply bed down and seeks out a kitchen, wherein he finds several servants who he engages in some sexually-charged banter so as to learn more about the House. The old woman who helped them, he learns, is Lady Hagnes, the arl’s mother who evidently has something of a reputation as being a busybody, so much so that Gudrik’s father once exiled her. Further, he learns that the arl’s wife is bedridden with the sleeping sickness, which he takes note of for the future in the chance that he might be able to cure it.

19 Earlispring, 1000AE. Nobleham Castle, Northelderland, Generica.

In the morning, the Company are summoned to the Lord’s court where they are presented as Ser Kenrick’s company, sent from the Heroes’ Guild. There is a brief deviation as Lady Hagnes once more intervenes, but soon after, they are properly presented to his lordship. Prior to the arl’s arrival, Ser Kenrick gives the members of the Company about what to do and what to not do; in fact, it’s probably best if they keep their mouths shut. Once the arl> has arrived, he thanks the Heroes Guild for arriving so promptly but asks for a demonstration: Rayna is to duel with one of his men.

As this is only a spar, Rayna eyes her opponent and then glides forward. Once the duel begins, she expertly slides forward and taps her foe across the mid-section while simultaneously evading his strike. This greatly impresses the arl, but the warrior declares it to be beginner’s luck … they must cross blades again! She agrees and they return to their starting spots; this time, the guard gives a better account of himself, but even so, Rayna is able to easily parry his strikes and counter with little difficulty. Once more, she gets the touch upon him, confirming that their first exchange was not merely luck after all.

At this, Arl Gudrik claps his approval and then addresses the Company. His holding in Gentleham is about to raided by brigands and his troops are spread too thin across his holdings due to dealing with other banditry. He wishes the Company to march to Gentleham, deal with these brigands, and bring any captured back to him so he can make a proper example of them. When asked about numbers, he guesses ten to twenty, though a larger troop is not entirely out of the question; as to how he knows about when the strike is happening, the arl reveals that Gentleham sent a missive to him, seeking aid. At this, the arl has a boy fetched who ran all the way to Nobleham bearing word. This boy, Marthyn, will show the Company the way to his village.

The Company sets out soon after with young Marthyn leading the way. From the boy, they learn that these bandits are supposedly goblins, which no one truly believes because those creatures have not been seen in these lands for decades. Still, Dustan discreetly interrogates the boy, hoping to get a better understanding of their foe. Marthyn insists that they are goblins who come with the fog and have fiendish glowing eyes.

It is near dark when the Company reaches Gentleham and, as before, Ser Magnus encourages Kenrick to mount before they enter the village proper before racing forward into it and rearing majestically. This naturally draws all attention – much to Kenrick’s irritation – and the villagers all surge forward. They begin murmuring and complaining that the Company do not appear to have ‘brought the money’ which is a matter of some confusion and the visible lack of excitement that Heroes have come to deal with the matter is even more strange.

Once everyone is gathered within the church, the Company learns that Gentleham has been extorted by these ‘goblins’ for many years and always managed to buy them off before. This year, though, the harvest was poor so they did not have the money and sought the arl’s assistance; evidently, they expected gold, not adventurers, and more than a few of them express fear that the goblins will respond in bloodshed. Maykew steps forward and gives a stirring speech about the need to stand against bullies that sways some minds … but not all. He notes that the village patron gathers some like-minded men once the meeting has broken up and begins to scheme; Maykew briefly attempts to interject himself into this but is rebuffed.

Expecting the goblins to come late that night, the Company splits up to attend to various tasks. Lëodan scouts along the expected route as well as the spot where so many have seen the ‘glowing eyes’ as he expects this to be a trick of some sort. At the same time, Murdok and Ser Kenrick seek out the best tactical means to defend the village, while Dustan and Rayna seek out locals to quiz them on the enemy. In the end, the Company does not quite agree on the best spot to defend and resort to the traditional Heroes’ Guild way of deciding things: they flip a Coin. It is decided they will ambush the ‘goblins’ once they come into the village proper to pick up their tribute.

As night sets in and the Company arrange themselves in various hidden locations, Murdok is the first to note that the village patron and his fellow schemers are attempting to bundle a young girl to a specific spot. The girl is bound and struggling, which the dwarf does not take kindly to, and all of these schemers are so busy with her that they fail to even notice his stealthy approach. When he clears his throat, they overreact and panic, then insist that presenting a virgin girl to the goblins is the only way to assuage their fury. Murdok – and the rest of the Company present – are having none of this, and their simple presence (along with the implied threat of violence in defense of the young lass) is more than enough to send the schemers packing.

And of course, in that moment, Lëodan looses his signal arrow: the goblins are coming!

Player Notes:

  • Following last week’s realization that we move really slowly overland, Maykew (CommJunkee) spent his earned CP to buy a very low-point ally in the form of a donkey in the hopes of speeding our troupe up. However, Dustan (Herodian) promptly discovered within his spell list the Quick March spell which almost made that animal redundant. Maykew still picked up the animal though because I think he’s got his eye on having a wagon (which is kind of common with CommJunkee, now that I think about it…)
  • Related to the above, we did discover after the fact that Maykew really shouldn’t have been up and about. Quick March has a thing where the subjects just collapse once it wears off. Live and learn.
  • We livestream our games every Saturdays at 6:00PM Eastern; the live stream can be found at Ronnke’s Twitch channel. He’s also setup a YouTube Channel.

See the Daniverse Blog for the GM’s post-game debrief.

Company of the Bere

Live Stream

Once upon a time…

We begin with a fight! The Company of the Bere are in a small ring and split into two teams: Lëodan, Maykew and Ser Kenrick are in one, Dustan, Murdok and Rayna are on the other. A disembodied voice urges them on and the company quickly engage. Rayna lunges forward with her rapier, intent on skewering Maykew, but the brother-militant feverishly backpedals to evade her strike; his counter-attack somehow slips through her defense and takes her leg out from under her so she falls to the ground heavily.

Unluckily for him, Lëodan’s attempts to loose an arrow at Dustan results in the elf crippling his own arm and the wizard takes advantage of this by attacking with his staff. The two dance back and forth for long seconds, Lëodan now armed with a knife in his off-hand which proves to be less than useful against Dustan’s staff, but neither can strike the killing blow.

Ser Kenrick opts for defense, intent on countering Murdok, but the dwarf is confused about the situation, no doubt due to his bad hangover from the previous night’s drinking. Eventually, Murdok does stumble forward to attack, but it is a wild swing that misses and Kenrick’s counter-strike drives the dwarf to his knees. Maykew, who has by now circled around behind Murdok, attacks the dwarf’s skull with his mace, which knocks him out. Kenrick scowls at the brother-militant for the dishonorable strike.

15 Earlispring, 1000AE. The Capital, Generica.

Finally, the ‘exercise’ is called to a halt by Tankred of Stonewall, the Marshal of the Adventurer’s Guild. The Company are instructed to get cleaned up and go to the inn, where they will be summoned shortly; evidently, Válaris, the grand master of the guild, has a mission for them. They obey, some with more alacrity than others, and are soon summoned to the grand master.

Válaris greets the Company and advises them that, with the coming of the spring thaws, so too comes the inevitable raid season. The Arl of Northelderland has learned of an imminent bandit strike against one of his holdings and has thus requested that the guild send someone. Per Válaris, the Company is to go to Nobleham and present themselves to the arl on the Guild’s behalf where they shall receive additional instructions. Nobleham is two to three days travel away and Válaris further assigns Brother Aidin the Heal-Sick to the Company where he will serve as an observer to determine whether they are ready for advancement within the Guild. Standard reward will apply.

Following this meeting, the Company discuss plans: they must all go to their places of residence to gear up, then agree to meet back at the tavern to further discuss travel plans. Dustan opts to head to the Spire, where the Wizards’ Guild makes its headquarters so as to use its library to research the region that they are travelling to. When he rejoins the others, he has more information than before. While reviewing the three most likely routes, the Company opts for the northernmost road where it is expected that they will be able to stop at an inn along the way. Only Ser Kenrick has a horse and he flatly refuses to allow ‘Ser Magnus’ to act as a pack animal; Maykew incurs the less than attractive (but oddly intelligent) destrier’s ire by calling him ugly.

From the Capital, the Company strikes out as soon as they are ready, hoping to make as much distance as possible since they are on foot. Barely an hour after leaving the city, Brother Aidin asks for a slight deviation so he can visit a woodland shrine to Saint Victus, which commemorates the saint successfully challenged Lord Opposus to a wizard’s circle so as to free a slave or captive (the stories vary), a man who would later become Victus’ acolyte. Several of the Company – Dustan, Ser Kenrick, who counts Saint Victus as a patron due to the Oath and Measure, Maykew, and even Murdok – express interest in paying homage to this shrine as well.

Night falls with the Company on the road, having not made as much distance as they would have liked, and it is decided that they will camp until the morning. They do so, not thinking to set up a watch rotation, and soon, all are asleep. Late in the evening or perhaps early in the morning, depending upon one’s definition, Rayna experiences a terrible nightmare and wakes the entire Company. Upon seeing her thrashing about violently, Kenrick braves her flailing fists to wake her and is mildly unsettled by the strange way she stares at him before she fully wakes. Afterward, Maykew discreetly casts a spell upon her that ensures she has a restful slumber.

The Company are on the road early the next morning. Today, they make good time and, by nightfall, reach the ‘Two Burning Cocks’ inn.

Player Notes:

  • As stated previously, Gigermann took over the GM duties and we switched to Dungeon Fantasy, albeit with our characters starting at a mere 150 points. This session was rife with the usual ‘first game’ issues, particularly with regard to Feste’s continuing fight with Fantasy Grounds. Everyone else is invariably fine, but his computer always has issues when we start a new game. Always.
  • There was some brief confusion regarding the initial fight since we started out in media res and were paired off against one another, but that ultimately was cleared up. Mostly.
  • Gigermann evidently miscalculated exactly how slow the Company of the Bere moves overland without access to mounts. On the bright side, he and I (Rigil) discussed Ser Kenrick’s equipment offline and we discovered I had the wrong armor loadout; once I adjusted that, Kenrick is much, much faster overland, but this still leaves Maykew slowing us down. We’re talked about burning one of our ‘Preparation Plot Points’ to obtain a donkey to carry the bulk of our gear since Ser Kenrick’s strangely intelligent warhorse will not allow himself to be used as a pack animal.
  • We livestream our games every Saturdays at 6:00PM Eastern; the live stream can be found at Ronnke’s Twitch channel. He’s also setup a YouTube Channel.

See the Daniverse Blog for the GM’s post-game debrief.

Spinward Star, LLP

Live Stream

Running the Gauntlet

With the away team secure in the launch bay where they begin undergoing decon, Admiral (retired) Gloval orders the Aimless Pilgrim to combat stations while they begin burning toward the gate that will carry them back to Corfu. The three other starships in this pocket dimension – the Imperial patrol cruiser, Lightning; the Vargr corsair; and the Kalamanaru freighter – are already en route.

Almost immediately, the four ships engage one another; thanks to the slow zone’s effects, all missiles launched are easily torn apart by point-defense systems, but lasers engage easily enough. The lead Kalamanaru ship is hit multiple times – the Pilgrim’s gunners concentrate on it as word has gone out that they cannot allow the pirates to escape – and quickly begins to trail debris; seeing that they will be unable to avoid firing after all, the Kalmanaru ship brings its own guns online. At the same time, the Imperial patrol cruiser and the Vargr corsair exchange fire, ripping into one another and causing massive damage.

Without warning, a ‘high gee alert’ sounds throughout the Aimless Pilgrim and their velocity rapidly increases – whatever was preventing them from accelerating above a top speed has changed, which everyone presumes is due to the protomoss back on that space station. This changes little, however, and the four ships continue their mad race toward the Corfu gate, still exchanging fire. The Kalamanaru freighter absorbs even greater damage – the Pilgrim gunner and begins tumbling out of control; they aren’t going anywhere.

A salvo of missiles launched at the Pilgrim by the Vargr corsair abruptly bank hard for no apparent reason, making them easy pickings for the point defense. As the Imperial patrol cruiser orients onto an approach vector with the Corfu gate, the Vargr corsair darts in front of it, clearly intending on escaping first. Seconds later, one of the corsair’s drives flames out and the vessel misses the gate’s event horizon, instead impacting with the great ring itself. The gate immediately begins flickering wildly, though that does not stop the patrol cruiser from continuing its hard burn through the portal.

From the bridge, Gloval comms Ella – they’re receiving an SOS from an escape pod launched from the Vargr ship and it appears to be using Sae’s codes! Shaking her head in irritation, Ella asks that her errant crewman be retrieved. This deviation slows the Pilgrim down briefly, which allows the Lightning to roar through the fluctuating Corfu gate … and an instant later, the gate goes dark.

Panic is about to set in as sensors have detected massive energy fluctuations at the station when Lorain suddenly has a brainstorm. She gets on the comm and instructs her uncle to use the activation device they left with Gloval and set it to a specific coordinates. It works as a distant gate suddenly activates. With no other options, Gloval orders them to make a hard burn to this escape route.

With a brilliant flash, the Pilgrim transits through the gate and then …

Player Notes:

  • CommJunkee’s Traveller run has officially ended with this session. Although it was much shorter than normal, he left use on a nice cliffhanger that will be addressed when I (Rigil Kent) pick up this campaign. As the bulk of this session was a space battle or dealing with technical issues, the recap is by necessity lighter than normal.
  • Next week, Gigermann’s Dungeon Fantasy game is scheduled to begin. Both Andricus and Loki are sitting that game out, but Feste will be rejoining us.
  • We experimented with running a space battle more as a Chase which was a partial success. Mistakes were made along the way, particularly with regards to range; what we should have done (which didn’t occur to a lot of us until too late) is utilize the Dogfighting Chase rules that were in a Pyramid magazine issue.
  • Ran into some irritating technical issues that are likely due to Fantasy Grounds releasing a major new update to their software and our GURPS ruleset not officially supported by it. There may have been some conflict with a layers extension that CommJunkee was using.
  • As stated above, we’ve started livestreaming our games. We play on Saturdays at 6:00PM Eastern and the live stream can be found at Ronnke’s Twitch channel. He’s also setup a YouTube Channel. Bear with us, please. This is still in it’s infancy. We have discovered that Twitch keeps the recordings only for two weeks, so it’s a good thing that he published to YouTube. With that in mind, I’ve removed the Twitch link for the “LiveStream” bit at the top.

Spinward Star, LLP

Live Stream

Things Get Worse

With a loud crash, the cargo elevator hits the floor of level five and the crew are hurled around by the impact. When they get up, the first they note is that Captain Stanbridge appears to be unconscious – Ibrahim checks her out and is relieved to discover that she is not badly injured. Unfortunately, the medical systems in her combat armor has been damaged and, as a result, she’s received an extra large dose of painkiller that has knocked her unconscious. Shy of exposing her to the unknown contaminants in the station which he strongly opposes, Ibrahim has no way of countering the drugs to wake her up, so the crew hastily rig a stretcher and carry her.

Rather than remaining in the elevator, they exit it and make their way back toward the non-cargo elevator shaft that will take them down to the sixth level which ostensibly houses a secret database. En route, they encounter a handful of protomoss zombies, but easily drop the ambulatory reanimated corpses who are absolutely not space zombies. Buck seals off the habitation section once the crew passes through, ensuring that the not-space-zombies cannot swarm over them but also ensuring that the way back is going to be slightly more difficult. That’s a problem for later, though.

Proceeding down to level six will require some careful manipulation – Ella is unconscious, after all – so while Buck and Haank first pry open the hatch and then rig up something to lower her down, Ibrahim and Lorain poke around into some of the rooms surrounding this lift shaft but do not find anything particularly interesting. Since he’s wearing space armor, Buck is the first to descend so as to ensure that they wouldn’t be swarmed by more glowing blue not-space-zombies. Once satisfied that a horde of ambulatory reanimated corpses are not waiting for them, the crew descend to level six.

A strange bio-organic computer-like device dominates the chamber that the crew enter upon exiting the elevator lift shaft on level six. Immediately, Ibrahim’s constant headache significantly intensifies; Buck looks over his suit, but does not find anything wrong. Looking around, everyone notes the unusual architecture of the room – it appears as if the strange bio-organic device was discovered here and the room around was formed around it. While looking around, Aris discovers another of the strange dial-out devices.

Jim the Drone is sent to further map out this level while Buck continues to poke around the chamber; he eventually theorizes that nanites were likely utilized to properly sculpt this room. He then breaks out a gizmo of his to do a quick scan of the protomoss sample that Ibrahim has in his possession, confirming that it is mostly comprised of nanomachines and is basically a ‘soft solid’ that is one step short of grey goo.

While this is going on, Ibrahim who is lurking near the elevator hears and observes the sounds and signs of a gunfight several levels above them; the elevator itself appears to have been completely destroyed so they’ll need to find a different way out. He advises the rest of the crew of this as well as the fact that someone is still fighting. No one is quite sure who to root for and decide that the Imperials are the least of three evils.

Aris begins examining the bio-organic device and confirms that it is some sort of computer, but he decides that he cannot begin to figure out how it actually works; from what little he can guess, it acts as a connective bridge to the stellar gates. Haank jokingly (mostly) declares that they’re in a really big router. They’re able to locate what appears to be a database of some sort and Buck tracks down the solid-state drives and simply removes them rather than trying to download them on the theory that they can figure the rest of the stuff out on the Aimless Pilgrim where it’s safe. They’re also able to determine that, despite the reactor having been mostly turned off, this level still had power to it.

Jim finds a sealed access hatch and alerts everyone of this. While Haank is talking to Gloval and exchanging a situation report, Lorain suddenly exclaims in surprise: she’s found a simulation that the Sky Raiders were running regarding the protomoss. If this stuff gets off the station, the entire Imperium could be threatened! It targets carbon-based lifeforms and then spreads insanely fast. If she understands what she’s reading correctly, the entire station was built from this stuff. The entire crew agrees: they can’t let this stuff get out.

When Armin opens the door that Jim found sealed, multiple yellow klaxon alerts begin sounding in ancient Vilani, warning of a ‘containment breach.’ Beyond the door, she sees an airlock looking into a tube that almost looks like a vacuum bridge used during spacecraft docking. Aris, Ibrahim and Lorain join her to investigate while Buck and Eddy stay behind to cover the elevator shaft in case of an attack. Haank has started trying to isolate the transmitter source.

Proceeding on through the airlock and traversing through the tunnel that is exposed to vacuum, Aris, Armin, Ibrahim and Lorain reach another hatch. Cracking the seal, they look into a chamber that is heavily overgrown with protomoss … and then the bluish lumps start moving. Abe immediately hits the CLOSE door and an ambulatory corpse stumbles into the hatch, momentarily halting it from closing. Jim the Drone immediately engages with his close-assault weapon and then Armin steps forward to deliver a powerful kick that sends the not-a-space-zombie flying back. This allows the door to close up but something explodes inside the room. Immediately thereafter, the alert klaxons turn red and a recorded voice declares, “Warning: critical contained breach detected. Evacuate the station.” Inside the room, the protomoss begins melting together … and then begins breaking down all of the materials around them. As the four (plus the drone flee), Ibrahim hears a psionic scream that fades into nothing…

At almost the same time, strobe flashbangs drop down from the elevator shaft, momentarily dazzling the defenders, and an instant later, a trio of Imperial space marines drop down into the room, bellowing for the crew to throw down their weapons and surrender now! They are to throw down their weapons and surrender or they will be fired upon. And almost at that very moment, the critical failure alerts begin sounding.

Eddy immediately lowers his rifle and raises his hands to surrender; Buck follows suit as does Haank as the heavily armored jarheads respond. A marine officer joins his team, demanding to know the reason for the alarm, which is about the same moment that Aris, Armin, Ibrahim, and Lorain stumble out of the airlock. Haank begins hurriedly explaining and the marine officer listens, then happens to notice a vidscreen with a camera feed of the room with the blue goop. The marine declares open a wide channel that all marines are to begin retreating at once; since his team have contragrav belts, they can get the crew out of danger.

The crew informs the officer that this stuff cannot get off this station; they need to destroy this station. Buck declares that he can rig the reactor to meltdown but he’ll need to go down a level; Armin volunteers to accompany him as protection and Aris decides to send Jim along as well. To try and earn some goodwill with the marines, Ibrahim volunteers to join the assault team that is engaged with Kalamanaru personnel and Haank declares that he will accompany the medic, while Eddy, Aris, and Lorain get Ella to the shuttle and begin prepping for dust-off.

Reaching the reactor level is no trouble and Buck immediately goes to work, intending on rigging the reactor to blow within an hour. While he’s doing this, Armin briefly wanders away to look around … and she’s almost jumped by a proto-not-a-zombie! Unfortunately for the ambulatory corpse, Armin is intensely strong and very skilled in martial arts, so she quite easily destroys the creature.

With a marine escort, Aris, Eddy and Lorain get Ella to the level where they have docked their shuttle. While there, they immediately get into an argument with the marine sergeant who has orders to escort them to the Imperial ship, not the Aimless Pilgrim. Eddy tries to talk the man down, but the sergeant refuses to bend, so Lorain interjects and offers the dialing device the crew discovered here on the station. This, along with Eddy’s valid points, leads the sergeant to let them go their own way.

Meanwhile, Haank and Ibrahim join the marines engaged in a holding action against Kalamanaru personnel. Abe immediately springs into action to help out a downed marine private, while Haank decides to sneak away in an attempt to flank the hostiles. During his attempts at stealth, he is detected and assaulted by Taren who has been far more successful in trying to stay undetected. The two exchange a flurry of blows, each attempting to get the other into an arm lock … and Haank is successful. In addition to breaking Taren’s arm, Haank then uses this arm lock to wheel his foe around into the line of fire of several Kalamanaru gunmen. As Taren goes limp from the fire, Haank reaches forward to arm the grenades on the man’s armor then shoves him toward the approaching gunmen before diving to cover. There is a satisfying explosion behind him as Haank retreats to the marine line and rejoins Ibrahim to ensure that his medic successfully retreats.

Now with their away team back on the shuttle, Haank takes flight controls and everyone buckles in. As they angle sharply toward the Aimless Pilgrim, the shuttle comes under fire from the Kalamanaru ship and takes damage. Trailing smoke and debris, the shuttle crash-lands in the Pilgrim’s landing bay…

Player Notes:

  • Technically, Armin wasn’t with us throughout the early parts of our space station exploration, but we just handwaved that away. What are you talking about? She was always there!.
  • Ronnke was in a hotel during the session but fortunately their wi-fi was good enough that he didn’t drop as everyone feared.
  • No Mel this session since she was off, lounging on a beach … like most of us would like to do.
  • CommJunkee’s Traveller run is winding down – he’s guessed that next week will be the last session. Gigermann will be taking over afterward with a Dungeon Fantasy game and the current plan is for me (Rigil Kent) to pick up with Traveller again after he’s done (although that likely won’t happen until well after the first of the year.)
  • As stated above, we’ve started livestreaming our games. We play on Saturdays at 6:00PM Eastern and the live stream can be found at Ronnke’s Twitch channel. He’s also setup a YouTube Channel. Bear with us, please. This is still in it’s infancy. We have discovered that Twitch keeps the recordings only for two weeks, so it’s a good thing that he published to YouTube. With that in mind, I’ve removed the Twitch link for the “LiveStream” bit at the top.

Spinward Star, LLP

Live Stream

Husks of Men

The station’s reactor has come back online and, as a result, the strange blue ‘protomoss’ has begun to glow ominously. There does not appear to be an immediate threat, but still, the crew cannot help but to think that this is not going to end well. Attempts to kill the reactor from their current location fails and it appears that some sort of interlock is in place preventing this from happening; according to Aris, this interlock appears to be modern code, which the crew take to mean Kalamanaru’s people.

Aris then hacks into the station surveillance systems, which are now coming back online, and in the process of this, stumble upon a quick image of several ambulatory humanoids covered from head to toe in the glowing protomoss. All attention immediately turns to these … creatures and, though the resolution of the image is not the best, Ibrahim theorizes based simply on what he can see that they are former Sky Raiders whose biological components appear to have been taken over by some sort of bio-mechanical apparatus which prompts Eddy to suggest that might have been infected by the protomoss, especially since they do not seem to require life support. This seems pretty logical to everyone, although Ibrahim points out that he won’t have confirmation until he can open one of them up. Everyone immediately double-checks the integrity of their vacc-suits and Eddy looks askance at Ibrahim’s eagerness to encounter these things. Aris reports that he is unable to seal off the level where these … things are.

Ella attempts to make contact with the Imperium naval personnel boarding, using the Aimless Pilgrim as a go-between, but they instead receive only further warnings and threats from Commander Ferris. While this is transpiring, Aris is able to detect counter-hacking attempts as someone endeavours to take control of the surveillance cameras; rather than engage in a protracted contest, he simply crashes all camera feeds. If he has to blind, then so do they! He extracts as much data from the obsolete systems as he can manage, but this data still does not clear up the exact nature of the biological event or what this protomoss actually is. There is reference to a secret database located on level six, which they do not have floorplans for.

Initially, the crew intend to go directly to level six and, as before, opt to traverse through the elevator shaft itself rather than summoning the lift; as they do so, however, the lift arrives at level four – below them – and since the Imperials are just arriving, this is clearly Kalamanaru’s team. Suspecting that the would-be pirates are attempting to go down to the lower levels as well, Buck steps forward and uses his engineering expertise to sabotage the power supply of the elevator, thus trapping Kalamanaru’s on four. As he finishes, he hears the distinct sound of gunfire, prompting the crew to suspect that the criminals have run afoul of the strange glowing blue bio-mechanical things.

From their current position, the crew head deeper into the facility, intending on heading to the cargo elevator that is on the far side of this level. As they do, a pair of the bio-mechanical humanoids approach the crew from behind; Ibrahim is the first to engage with his storm carbine, but the gunfire draws a great deal of attention, and in seconds, an entire swarm of the things flood toward the crew. With his line of fire clear, Ibrahim advances on his felled target, kneels and begins conducting a full scan of it with his medcomp, covered by Eddy and Lorain while the rest of the crew unload their weapons upon the creatures. Buck is gang-tackled by several of the creatures but they are incapable of bringing him down and with Haank’s assistance, he promptly breaks free; Jim the Drone once more hovers above the crew, raking a steady stream of gauss rounds at the charging hostiles. Once the hostile creatures are down, the crew take stock of themselves: Buck’s space armor is smoking from acidic saliva scars from the creatures while Ibrahim announces his findings, that these things definitely were human once, but are now mere husks of men thanks to this bizarre protomoss.

The crew press on to the cargo elevator, encountering no additional resistance. They creep through what was once the equivalent of a botanical garden but has now been transformed into a hellish landscape thanks to the protomoss, halfway expecting an ambush at any moment. Upon reaching the hatch leading to the cargo elevator, Eddy opts to unlock the smaller personnel door rather than the much larger vehicle entrance. Once through this hatch, they summon the elevator and crowd in; even though they have selected level five, the elevator display reveals they are heading to four instead. Buck mashes the emergency stop, then hacks into the system and overrides all other commands to ignore all other commands. As the elevator resumes its descent, Ella, who is standing next to the door, hears a metallic-sounding tink!

“Grenade!” Ella shouts in warning.

And then, an explosion rips the doors apart and sends the elevator in a sharp dive.

Player Notes:

  • Loki was out this week as well. No Mel next week (presuming Hurricane Irma doesn’t prevent her vacay) so based on the way this episode ended, we expect that Ella will be knocked out or something. I suppose the fact we’re aware of the biohazard present – the ‘protomoss’ – is a legitimate excuse why Ibrahim doesn’t pop open her suit to get her squared away.
  • Lots of weird technical issues this session due to some map/image sharing issues.
  • As stated above, we’ve started livestreaming our games. We play on Saturdays at 6:00PM Eastern and the live stream can be found at Ronnke’s Twitch channel. He’s also setup a YouTube Channel. Bear with us, please. This is still in it’s infancy. We have discovered that Twitch keeps the recordings only for two weeks, so it’s a good thing that he published to YouTube. With that in mind, I’ve removed the Twitch link for the “LiveStream” bit at the top.

Spinward Star, LLP

Live Stream

Through the Looking-glass

With Kalamanaru reinforcements on the way, Byard urges the crew to get clear as quickly as they can manage while he covers for them with the Imperium forces that he’s called in. He can give them twenty minutes tops, which is going to be tight for them as it will take Aris ten to fifteen minutes to get the shuttle here. The crew take this time to gather as much of the loot from the Vault that they can physically carry and, once the shuttle roars in, they scramble into it with Ella taking the controls. She has to do some fancy flying to evade the sensor nets that are freaking out over the shuttle’s (as piloted by Jim the Drone!) unscheduled departure, but eventually, she manages to dock with the Aimless Pilgrim once again so they can discuss their options.

Admiral Gloval is initially ready to get out of Corfu, having made sure to refuel the ship beforehand, but Lorain insists that what they’re looking for is in-system. Based on her understandings of the information they’ve gathered, she eventually identifies the coordinates which point them in the direction of the asteroid belt; unfortunately, there already appear to be multiple ships – an Imperium cruiser, Vargr corsairs, and an unidentified craft that everyone expects to be Kalamanaru-owned – converging on that location which confuses everyone: how did they know to go there? After some discussion, Haank suggests that they burn away from the coordinates and toward one of the inner planets. Once there, they will deploy a false beacon with their transponder code – rigged up in a missile; this is Eddy’s idea – and slingshot around the planet toward the coordinates while running silent.

Ibrahim retreats to the medical lab to study the data that Ella obtained at the lost temple since the trip will take multiple hours; what he discovers is confusing references to a ‘biological event’ that caused the Sky-Raider exodus to Corfu. Unfortunately, very little else can be gleaned from this treasure trove due to the extreme age of the storage units and the data itself being mostly corrupted. He suspects that he as lucky to get as much as he did.

While en route to the inner planet, the sensor operator notes that they’re being pinged by an Imperium sensor net and one of the Vargr corsairs are apparently pursuing the Pilgrim which causes Ella to wonder if they have a spy aboard. She digs into this, enlisting Buck’s and Haank’s assistance to poke into the systems on the ship to see if there are any indications of transmissions from the Pilgrim but find absolutely nothing. They are very confident that no one sent any messages out nor are there any signs of a homing beacon. Still, it’s somewhat troubling.

Many hours later, they reach the inner planet and conduct their slingshot maneuver complete with the deploying of the ‘cry-baby’ distraction device. With the Pilgrim now running silent, they race away toward the asteroid coordinates. Almost immediately, Eddy starts a pool about how long it will take the Vargr corsair to realize that they’re not following the ship. Buck ends up winning this pool – he guessed two hours and he’s almost exactly right on the nose – but the corsair is now multiple hours out of range.

A little more than a day later, the crew begin closing in on the coordinates where they find a mess waiting for them. Not only are there multiple Imperium ships, but the Vargr corsair and the unidentified vessel are both trying to maximize their stealth approach. The crew discuss and decided to replicate their cry-baby beacon (with a missile again) as a possible distraction; once this is implemented, their beacon is dropped and set to activate on a timer … and is very quickly destroyed by what appears to be a mine! Wide-beam comm-buoys begin transmitting warnings that this is restricted Imperium space and violators of this quasi-quarantine will be fired upon.

The Pilgrim matches velocity with an asteroid to use it as cover while the crew opt to send Jim the Drone out to peek over it and get line-of-sight of the target coordinates. What the drone sees is an immense but seemingly powered down gate-like structure that is being patrolled by multiple Imperium patrol craft; Lorain, fiddling with the ‘activation’ device, realizes that when it lights up, so does the stargate. While experimenting with this, she accidentally causes the gate to fully activate!

Almost immediately, the Vargr corsair burns hard toward the gate, passing through it before Lorain is quite aware of what is going on; the unidentified vessel everyone presumes to be Kalamanaru follows suit and Haank, realizing what’s going on, shouts for Lorain to turn it off. The corsair manages to get through before the gate deactivates and the Imperium patrol craft in hot pursuit simply passes through the ring without effect. Realizing that they may have just given Kalamanaru the keys to the Sky-Raiders tech, the crew decide to make a hard burn themselves to it. Everyone straps in and Admiral Gloval instructs his pilot, Lee, to ‘light this candle.’

The Pilgrim accelerates forward, ignoring Imperium communications ordering them to stand down. A volley of missiles head their way and the Pilgrim’s gunners go into point-defense mode to shoot them down. Lorain activates the gate via the device and they flash through the ring, hotly pursued by an Imperium patrol craft. With a suddenness that is exceedingly dangerous, the Pilgrim experiences a high-g deceleration which knocks everyone out briefly.

When they come to, they find themselves in a region of absolute darkness with no sign of stars. Arrayed in a perfect ring around several asteroids are a large number of additional ring-gates, though they all appear to be powered down as well. In the very center of this zone is a station that appears to be integrated into the largest of these asteroids; both the Vargr ship and the Kalamanaru vessel appear to be heading in that direction. The Imperium ship that pursued the Pilgrim appears to have suffered some damage and, at Haank’s suggestion, Admiral Gloval reaches out to what he will learning to be the Lightning as captained by Lieutenant Commander Ferris. The Lightning’s skipper is understandably furious with Gloval and the crew at their violation of Imperium law but after several minutes of … let’s call it ‘penis measuring’ for politeness, the two men agree to mostly leave one another alone for the time being. Gloval kills the comm-link when Ferris begins making yet another threat that includes words like impound and incarceration.

Upon seeing the Kalamanaru ship making a docking run at the station, the crew decide to follow suit, but opt to instead take the shuttle and board on the opposite side of the station. Lorain insists that she needs to be present since she’s the expert and she hands off the activation key to her uncle. After Ibrahim finishes attending to everyone’s superficial bruises and the like – Lorain’s father is the most badly injured, with a broken collarbone, so he cannot join them as he would like – the crew gear up and make sure they are fully armed and ready. Everyone expects to face Kalamanaru resistance somewhere and even Eddy grabs a gun.

Upon docking some hours later, the crew find the station dark and completely powered down. They are forced to manually open any hatches they find and they creep forward slowly, half expecting an ambush at any moment. Painted across several of the doors is an Old Vilani symbol for ‘Danger’ and Ibrahim reminds everyone of the ‘biological event’ that he read about. Since there is no atmo here, though, everyone remains sealed up in their suits. In the course of their examinations, they find a strange-looking foam or mold. Ever curious, Ibrahim cuts a piece free and deposits it in a sample bag that auto-seals up; while he does this, Eddy notices that this fungus seems to very briefly light up when Abe gets too close. After he passes this on, Ibrahim experiments, using a battery to determine that this strange mold-like substance seems to draw energy (and promptly drains the battery completely.)

Based on what they can see, the inhabitants of this station left in a hurry, which isn’t ominous at all. Moments after the crew use the turbolift shaft to proceed down a level into what appears to be a command deck, there is a minor rumble that vibrates through the deck of the station. Instants later, lights begin activating; Kalamanaru’s people have reactivated the reactor.

And then, almost instantly, the strange fungus-mold lights up in a brilliant almost neon blue light…

Player Notes:

  • Loki was out this week.
  • Amusingly, while listening to the recording on YouTube and working on the recap, I realized just how frequently we said some derivation of “What could go wrong?” when talking ourselves into doing something crazy. That should probably be our official company logo or something…
  • Every single one of the players has watched The Expanse on SyFy (and at least two of us have read the books that I’m aware of), so immediately upon entering the station and finding the strange growth in it, we started shouting “protomolecule.” Plus there’s the whole ‘GM is stealing from Book 3: Abaddon’s Gate’ thing for those of us who’ve read the books, so we’re all trying to brace for vomit zombies at any moment…
  • As stated above, we’ve started livestreaming our games. We play on Saturdays at 6:00PM Eastern and the live stream can be found at Ronnke’s Twitch channel. He’s also setup a YouTube Channel. Bear with us, please. This is still in it’s infancy. We have discovered that Twitch keeps the recordings only for two weeks, so it’s a good thing that he published to YouTube. With that in mind, I’ve removed the Twitch link for the “LiveStream” bit at the top.